Chapter 1

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Ma/ft, Consensual, Romantic, Coercion, Heterosexual, Paranormal, Interracial, Slow, .

Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Two... or is it three? Love stories, continuing the saga of Jenni, her 'family' and friends. It will make better sense if you've read the other 'Jenni' stories though it does stand alone.

Terry Knight entered the office with a degree of trepidation; not that he could think of anything he'd done wrong. He couldn't even think of anything he might be asked to do that he'd rather not. No it was just ... the 'Headmaster's Study' syndrome. Janice Trelawney sat behind her desk, though she stood as he entered and gestured to a chair slightly off centre in front of said desk. Sitting in a similar chair symmetrically placed was another woman; red haired, thirtyish, attractive ... Beth Hanson ... no, Robinson now, he ought to have remembered since he'd been at the wedding. She was smiling.

"Relax, Terry," Janice was also smiling, "this won't hurt me a bit."

It took a second or so for the little joke to penetrate; he smiled rather uncertainly.

"Beth?" Janice nodded at the other woman.

"Terry; I don't know if you'd heard I was leaving?"

He shook his head. "I'm sorry to hear that."

"That's kind of you, but I have a higher priority now," she rubbed her tummy. "I won't be going completely, but I won't be here every day, and I won't be sailing, possibly for several years. So. We – the charity, that is – are going to need another Mate for Emily Jane. I told Janice I thought you'd do very well. If you're interested, there'll be care and maintenance work through the winter and work in the office, if you're willing."

"Why ... yes, thank you!"

"There'd be a small allowance involved if you'd like to live on board through the winter. Rent free, of course."

He swallowed. "That ... sounds great!"

"One other thing ... not tied to the rest. We've had a request from the Ashcroft Centre. You may remember a little lad, Tom Carmichael?"

He nodded, remembering his first cruise on Emily Jane with Beth and Pete the skipper.

"Apparently Tom was rather taken with barge life."

Terry grinned. To say Tom was 'taken' with barges and sailing was rather like saying 'snow is cold'.

"Well," she went on, "He's got to do ... what is it, Janice? Six weeks?"

Janice nodded in confirmation.

"Six weeks work experience in the setting of his choice. Guess what his choice was?"

He shook his head – in disbelief, not dismissal. "Barges in general and Emily Jane in particular?"

"Got it in one. Now, this sort of thing is what the charity is about, in a way, though this particular request is a new one. Are you, as Mate, willing to take on a fourteen, almost fifteen year-old third hand? It'll be quite a responsibility."

"I suppose Pete'll be there to support me?"

"Ah ... now that's another thing. Pete's retiring this year, one reason we want someone to live on board and keep an eye on things through the winter. We've got a potential replacement, though. Do you know Marty Peters?"

"I've met him."

"He's facing the Board for his Master's ticket in January. If he doesn't get it – which I doubt – his wife, Jenni, will take up the slack. In fact, they'll probably job-share, with Jenni covering for Marty when he has to work. That'll all change next summer anyway."

"I've no problems with any of that. Can I think about it?"

"Certainly, though not too long. The Centre said that you could go and interview him if you like before you make up your mind."

That seemed like a good idea. Terry found himself a few days later in front of a modern building just outside Bury St. Edmunds, the words 'Ashcroft Centre' in foot-high letters over the entrance.

Inside, a young woman sitting behind a counter looked up as he entered.

"Can I help you?"

"I hope so ... my name is Terry Knight. I'm expected."

"Ah..." she consulted the screen in front of her, "just a moment." She picked up a phone and dialled. "Is John there? Tell him Terry Knight is here to see Tom."

Terry recognised the man who appeared, holding his hand out; he extended his own and they shook.

"Come this way," the man said.

The interview did not go well. Tom's responses were, at best, monosyllabic, more usually shaking or nodding of the head or grimaces. At the end, Tom said the longest sentence he'd uttered; "you won't be wanting me, then," before leaving the room. Terry sat there in perplexity.

John came into the room. "Well?"

"I ought to say, 'no way, José'," Terry said, frowning. "I'd have to live and work alongside that kid for six weeks ... but..."

"There's something about him? We've tried everything and haven't made a dent in his armour. The whole unit, even most of the other kids, have tried and bounced. That trip on Emily Jane was the first time we've had any reaction or response from him at all. I certainly wouldn't blame you for turning him down, but I hope you'll give him a chance. I think ... I think he'll work hard. You may not penetrate his defences, but ... just to give him something to aim for..." John's voice trailed away.

Terry nodded. "I'll talk it over with my boss. The trouble is ... say we take him and have to ask him to leave after a few days ... that could do some pretty severe damage, yes?"

"Yes, you're right ... but you've got a job to do and other people to think about. Obviously, if you do accept him, we'd have to allow you the freedom to dismiss him."

"I'll get back to you, John. There'll be a letter formally offering or declining the work experience for Tom in the post in a few days."

Terry went about his duties. There was one more cruise, a long week-end, before they would 'lower the gear' – that is, literally, lower the mast to the deck and remove the main sail and top-sail, 'dress' them with the dull red preservative and put them away for the winter.

It was his first outing as Mate, and it went well enough. As soon as it was over, the very next day, it was 'all hands' to drop the top-mast, lower the main-mast, remove the sails and check the standing and running rigging. Overhauling the rigging and dressing the sails would be Terry's duty for the next few weeks, or longer. He was called to the office again and once more saw Janice and Beth.

"We've thought about what you've said. You think it'd be worthwhile to try?"

"Yes," he said, "I think it's very worthwhile. I'm just worried ... you know, that we may have to knock him back."

"I think that's a risk that has to be taken. He's not going to have much chance of a life if no-one's willing to take a chance on him."

"And I've had an idea," Beth interjected. "Would you be happier if, at least for the first, say, week, you had a woman to back you up? Like a third hand?"

"Is that possible?"

"I think so. I've had a word with a friend of mine, and if she can make arrangements for her children, she's willing to take a week, possibly a fortnight, out of her life, for this."

"Can I meet her?"

"I was coming to that. If you're free tomorrow night, you could come home with me, have supper with us and meet her. Bring an overnight bag, and I'll bring you back in the morning."

Beth was looking at him with a slight smile. It was on the tip of his tongue to ask if her friend had a name, but decided she was being deliberately mysterious; he refused to rise to the bait.

"You're on, then," he said.

While he'd managed to restrain himself from asking the obvious question, he hadn't been able entirely to control his expression. Beth restrained her own smile as he left. She thought he would enjoy tomorrow night, as would someone else ... perhaps. And if the cost was to ... limit her ... interactions with her husband, it was probably worthwhile, at least if it worked.

Terry had a little difficulty getting to sleep and was rather slow in the morning. He had to drive himself to do what he considered a satisfactory day's work. Pete looked in after lunch, looked him up and down, looked at what he'd achieved.

"Take a break!"


"Terry, you're a good lad. You're conscientious, hard-working ... and you look like hell. Take a break. Have a beer with me."

Terry slumped. "Okay. I suppose I can catch up tomorrow..."

"Terry, you've got all winter to do the details. Relax a little. It'll do no-one any good pushing yourself. I want to talk to you anyway; hence the beer. There ought to be some Pedigree somewhere. There was, anyway. And some Newcastle Brown, for that matter. Let's get outside of some ale and chew the fat about this work experience kid."

Once Terry was settled in the saloon with a glass of beer and Pete started talking, he realised he was in fact doing something relevant and useful. The beer relaxed and loosened his inhibitions and he found himself listening and talking to Pete more comfortably than ever before. Pete was a fount of wisdom concerning the care and maintenance of Thames Barges and the management of groups of disruptive, or potentially disruptive, teenagers. In fact the time passed so well that he was surprised when Beth's voice broke in to their conversation; it was time to leave. He stood and offered his hand to Pete, thanking him sincerely for his advice.

Pete just shook his head, "you'll be fine. Just remember to be firm. Fair, but firm and don't give an inch on safety. Bless you, son! Carry on the tradition. I'm going to sit here a while longer and drink beer. I know I'm ready to retire, but it's going to be hard to let go." He squeezed Terry's hand gently and waved him away.

Beth was chatty in the car, but it was just chat; she wasn't giving anything away. Still it was enjoyable and Terry just sighed inwardly knowing it wouldn't be long before he knew what she was up to.

They were home before her husband and he sat in the kitchen as she started preparing vegetables for a stir-fry.

"Do you prefer rice or pasta?"

"Either is fine with me," he said.

Beth's husband arrived home not long after, entering the kitchen in his overalls from the garage.

"Now then, Pet, introduce our guest. Who, I note, you haven't invited to use the shower so he can change."

Beth gasped and covered her mouth with her hand. "Oh! I'm so sorry, Terry. I was so full of my plans ... that was really bad of me."

"Perhaps I ought to ... take you in hand, or tell our guest to do so?"

"James! Terry, this is my husband, James. James, meet Terry Knight, my replacement aboard SB Emily Jane."

"Glad to meet you, Terry. As my wife has kept you down here, I'd better show you round. Bring your bag, will you? There's only one bathroom, I'm afraid, but there's a toilet downstairs by the front door," he said, trotting up the stairs. At the top, he pointed to a door, "bathroom there," then to another, "guest room there. After you in the bathroom, I need a shower after grovelling around under baths and sinks all day!" And disappeared into another room Terry assumed was the master bedroom.

Terry correctly guessed his host would be happier if he got on with washing and changing, so he did so. He was back downstairs talking to Beth in the kitchen when the door-bell rang.

"Would you mind, Terry?"

He shook his head and went to open the door. When he opened it, he immediately recognised Amy Conway, who he'd met much earlier in the summer, actually during his first cruise as third hand, in West Mersea, then, after, at Beth and James' nuptials. It would be hard to say who was the more surprised. Indeed, they spoke almost in unison;


After the shock subsided, they both spoke simultaneously; "It's good..." "Won't you..."

They laughed and Terry gestured to invite her in, standing aside as she walked in.

"I thought about you a lot after we met on Mersea," he said, "and after Beth and James' wedding."

"Me too, but you know how it is with children ... never a moment to yourself!"

"I liked the kids..."

"They seemed to like you."

"We'd better go and find Beth."

Amy approached Beth, put an arm round her and kissed her on the cheek. "It was mean of you to tease us like that," she said, smiling.

"I didn't want you finding an excuse to back out," Beth said, quietly, seriously.

Amy met her eyes and nodded. "I know what you mean, and I might have," she agreed.

Once James had showered, dressed and reappeared downstairs, Beth began organising her guests. She produced a light Reisling to accompany the meal, which was a chicken stir-fry with rice. She put soy sauce, and some others Terry didn't recognise, on the table, but none of the others used any. Terry tasted his meal, and chewed thoughtfully.

"This tastes ... really good," he said, "I don't recognise all the flavours..." he took another mouthful.

"The main ingredients are fairly obvious," commented Amy, "I agree with Terry, it's good. Garlic? Cashews? Five spice ... something else?"

Beth nodded, "the only thing you haven't mentioned is green nori sprinkle..."

Between them, they made short work of the stir-fry, after which Beth produced cheesecake.

When they'd all eaten, James rose. "If you'll excuse me, I'll go and wash up while you folks chat; I'll only be in the way."

"Shall we adjourn to the lounge?" Asked Beth, "bring your glasses and we'll finish the second bottle."

Once settled comfortably, Beth began... "Amy was intrigued by the problem you're facing, Terry, though I admit I didn't let on it was you facing it. She said she was willing to consider letting her twins live with the Yeomans for up to two weeks next spring to support you."

"It's really time I began rejoining society," Amy put in, "as a single mother I've been quite isolated, apart from nursery, mothers' groups and friends. Lucy and Andrew are old enough to understand, and Ally gets on well with them. They'll be settled in first school by then as well."

They chatted on until James reappeared. "Night-cap anyone? Tea, cocoa, something stronger?"

"Thanks, but I'd better be getting home," Amy said. "Perhaps you could call a taxi?"

Beth nodded, and went to do so.

Amy turned to Terry; "now that Beth has pushed us together, perhaps you'd like to visit?Chat some more. Get to know the terrible twins, have some fish-fingers, that sort of thing?"

"I'd like that," Terry admitted, "I don't know much about children, but I liked what I saw of yours."

Amy scribbled her phone number on a scrap of paper. "Give me a call," she said.

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