Chapter 1

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Heterosexual, Oral Sex, Slow,

Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Serendipity is a sailing yacht, owned by Ted Quinton, who has escaped the rat-race to live a rather selfish life as a free-lance skipper and charter captain. Girlfriends come and go without any serious commitment until Serendipity is chartered by a young woman wanting a few months' adventure while she can; she's newly pregnant.

She had a thin face, with a mouth that was a little too wide and a nose that was a little too big. She had light brown hair with a tinge of red, that wasn't red enough to be 'ginger', or dark enough to be 'auburn'. Perhaps her best feature was her eyes, which were large, dark and expressive, though in that face she slightly brought to mind one of J.K. Rowling's house-elves. Of middle height, she looked so insubstantial that a strong breeze would lift her off her feet.

Me? Nothing special. You might, I suppose, call me a 'boat-bum'. In my mid-thirties I'd received a small legacy which meant I didn't have to work as long as I lived fairly economically. My hobby for years had been sailing, and I was qualified as an off-shore yacht-master as well as being competent to skipper small commercial craft, both sail and power. So I quit work, bought a forty-foot ketch and lived aboard, supplementing my income by skippering yachts, sometimes classic boats, or occasionally chartering Serendipity, my ketch.

I was rarely alone; my lifestyle, if not my appearance, made me a 'romantic' figure. Some women just wanted to fuck me for a day or two; some, to live aboard for longer, either for a passage as crew and bed-warmer, or perhaps for several months. The longest stay would have been about six months. By that time, the most determined had realised I was basically a self-centred, chauvinist, lazy so-and-so. I could focus attention on a girl for so long, but once one of us lost interest, that was it. I didn't have too many friends, as you might imagine.

April, and the beginning of the sailing season. I was kissing my current bed-warmer goodbye – in both senses, she'd had about enough of me (or perhaps was going after another skipper who was heading for the Mediterranean or the Azores) and was going to get a life – when I saw her, watching and waiting. I've been spoilt. I may not be fussy, but I'd had plenty of choice and I preferred a little flesh on my partner, so I didn't get excited when she approached me.

"Captain Quinton?"

I suppose she was technically correct, and I couldn't fault her courtesy, but still... "Ted," I said, "or 'Skipper' if you really want to be formal."

"Skipper," she emphasised, "I'm Grace Tyndall, and I want to charter your vessel."

Oh, so formal. Correct, of course, but formal.

"You'd better come aboard," I said, backing up and leading the way down the slightly wobbly plank.

She negotiated the plank cautiously but steadily and I showed her into the saloon.

"Drink?" I queried, heading for the galley.

"What are you offering?" she sounded dubious.

"Tea, coffee, juice ... whiskey, beer, wine?"

"Have you got decaffeinated coffee?"

Oh. One of those.

"Sorry." I don't suppose I sounded very sorry, "Only leaded drinks on board here."

"Perhaps a glass of juice, then."

A glass? On a sailing boat? I got orange juice out of the little refrigerator, which actually contained very little else; just milk, butter, a couple of packets each of bacon and sausage, and a half-finished bottle of white wine, and poured it into the least stained mug of my collection. Then poured myself a generous slug of Jameson's. I thought I might need it.

"So," I said, placing the juice in front of her and sitting opposite. I took a healthy swallow of my whiskey. "What can I do for you?"

She wrinkled her nose – possibly at the smell of my drink.

"I want to sail round Britain," she stated, "and I particularly want to visit Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles."

I thought about it. The idea had its attractions, but I thought about missing the barge and smack racing season and revised my charter fees upwards.

"I don't like to sail single handed for long," I commented. "I'll need at least one crew..." I was thinking I might find a suitable boat-bunny before setting off.

"I rather thought I would be doing that," she said, "though you'll have to teach me."

Lovely. Just what I needed.

"Do you have any experience?"

"Only dinghies," she said. "I've done quite a bit in dinghies."

"So if I asked you to define the word 'luff'?"

"I'd ask if you meant the leading edge of a sail, or turning into the wind to take the power out of the sail."

She had, rather neatly, 'taken the wind out of my sails' with her answer. I quoted a figure for the charter slightly less than the National Debt, "Assuming a six-month charter," I said.

She countered with an offer about half what was reasonable and we ended up with a figure that, quite honestly, was more than fair to me.

"When do you want to start?" I was thinking I needed to provision the ship and she'd probably need foul-weather gear.

"As soon as possible," she said. "I can be on board with everything I need this evening."

"That would be about three in the morning," I said, "There's a full moon and a clear sky, so we'll be fine down river. Might need to motor a little, though. You've got marine water-proofs?"

"Yes," she said shortly.

I left it at that. "Anything you don't eat?"

"Meat," she answered.

Wonderful. I raised an eyebrow.

"I'm not really that strict about it," she went on, "I just don't like the taste of meat."

That made me feel very slightly ... not much, but slightly ... better. I wasn't that pleased at the prospect of six months in her sole company, though, not to mention either doing without meat or preparing two different meals each time.

Provisioning was a priority. She walked with me to Tesco's, where I stocked up with non-perishables and UHT milk, plus a day or so's supply of perishables. She picked out stuff she was willing to consume including decaffeinated tea and coffee, herbal infusions and similar. It filled my large rucksack and made it a little difficult to lift. She left me to go to her hotel and pack while I carried everything back to Serendipity. She told me to meet her in the Queen's Head restaurant for an evening meal; I insisted that we do that quite early as I wanted to get a few hours sleep before getting under way.

It was a good meal. We had lasagne – mine with meat, hers vegetarian – a decent bottle of wine. Conversation was ... stiff? Or perhaps that should be stilted. Whichever, it was uphill and I was glad of the food to occupy my attention. I did question her about her aims for the charter. It seemed she didn't particularly want to hurry north, she just wanted to start on her 'adventure'. It was left to me to decide on intermediate stops. She loosened up a little as we got outside the wine and she surprised me, in view of her 'stick insect' appearance, when she opted for tiramisu for dessert. I had apple pie. Not having much in the way of conversation, the meal didn't take very long. Most of the time taken was thanks to delays in getting it in the first place. That's not a criticism, by the way, just a recognition that decent food takes time. But we were back at Serendipity by eight o'clock. I gave her the option of a single or double cabin and retired to my aft master cabin to try to sleep.

Five hours later I threw on my top layer and made my way to the saloon. She was sitting there with a book.

"I couldn't boil the kettle," she said, more than a little accusation in her tone, "no gas. I found the tap and turned it on..."

"It's turned off at the bottle," I explained, "LPG is dangerous if you don't treat it very carefully." I had to show her where the bottle, the spare and the spanner to change the regulator over, were kept. "Didn't you get any sleep?"

"Too excited," she said, shortly.

I just nodded, and as she boiled the kettle and made sandwiches, I went to disconnect the electric from the shore and hoist the sails. I was impressed she made decent coffee, and was pleased she had some too, even though that might mean I ran short later. Perhaps she wasn't so stiff as I'd thought.

I started the motor and cast off, pleased to see her coiling the warps as I released them, and we were under way by half-past two. I've always loved sailing by moonlight. The red or green lights on the fairway marker-buoys were hardly necessary with the almost full moon and clear sky. By the time we were passing Heybridge I was able to shut off the diesel and Serendipity was swishing along at a leisurely four knots or so.

Soon enough we were leaving the lights of 'civilisation' behind, and approaching Osea. Just the chuckle of water under the fore-foot and the occasional bird-call disturbing the silence. I'd almost forgotten my passenger/erstwhile crew in my own pleasure.

"It's magical," she said, very quietly in my ear.

"It is," I agreed. "Would you like to take the wheel?"

"What do I do?"

"See that red light flashing?"

She nodded.

"Head for that, leaving it close to starb'd, then head for the next red. Okay?"

"I ... think so."

I watched as she felt the wheel, moved it a little each way, then settled on a course that looked good enough to me.

"Shout if there's anything you're not sure of," I said, moving towards the hatch.

"You're leaving me?" Hint of panic in her voice.

"Only to put shades on the lights in the saloon," I reassured her.

I found the shades by feel – I should really have dealt with them before leaving – and moved round the saloon fitting them, again by feel, then switched one on. The dim red glow was sufficient to find my way forward to fit shades inside and outside her chosen cabin, the double. Why choose the double? I shrugged to myself; it was no odds to me what she wanted.

I made my way back to the cockpit.

"How are you doing? Sleepy yet?"

She didn't answer immediately and I watched a port-side buoy pass us; she adjusted the course slightly and I sheeted out a tad, the increase in speed perceptible.

"It's..." she hesitated, "I'm okay for a bit."

We were almost companionable, standing there. I pointed out the next buoy, a green one – 'the Doctor', which meant we had to come to the wind a bit, so I sheeted in as she adjusted course.

"You're doing well," I complimented her.

"It's easier than I thought," she commented, "much steadier than a dinghy, just slower to respond."

Then we were silent again, listening to the swish of water past the hull, until we rounded 'The Doctor' and bore away almost onto a dead run. Serendipity slowed significantly. It was about four o'clock.

"I'm a bit tired," she said after a while, "but it's so lovely I don't want to go to bed."

"You don't have to," I told her, "you'll probably feel wired once the sun comes up. But we'll need to find a mooring or an anchorage before the evening, and get a good night's sleep."

"Okay! You're the boss," she said brightly.

I was? I thought she was calling the shots. After all, she was paying the piper, so to speak.

We must have been making three knots, or less, through the water, but I supposed there was no great hurry. Another hour brought us up to the Thirslet buoy (which is a green one) and the eastern sky was beginning to lighten, the day-birds becoming vocal, though I still heard the 'kee-wick' call of a tawny owl, carried on the wind.

We were on a dead run heading to Mersea Island, but I noticed Grace looking up at the burgee. "A bit uncomfortable, a dead run, isn't it? I think we're safe enough, though," I commented. "You feel okay?"

"I think I've had enough for now," she admitted. "Would you like a drink or anything?"

"There's coffee in the flask there," I said, taking the wheel and indicating a flask in a bracket in the corner of the cockpit. "If you want tea or decaf, I'm afraid you'll need to boil a kettle."

"I think coffee might be a good idea," she answered quite seriously.

"Get mugs from the galley, then, if you don't mind."

We turned east as we passed Mersea Island, which brought the wind onto our quarter, much more comfortable, and we headed out. We were almost at the Bench Head buoy as the sun peeped above the horizon. My companion gasped at the subtle tints of gold, aquamarine, shading through azure to indigo. "Oh, wow... !"

One of the perks of what I do is seeing things, not for the first time, but experiencing them as others experience them for the first time. I'm used to the beauty of the dawn – ever changing, yet ever the same – but sometimes it's made very special as others respond to it. You'll gather I wasn't impressed with my charterer in the first instance, unprepossessing, to say the least, and a little ... cold? Brusque? Distant? Superior? I am finding it difficult to choose an appropriate adjective. In retrospect, it's even harder. But looking at her face in that dawn light, she was transformed. There was awe there, and wonder.

I hadn't really thought about food. I should have, because about an hour after sunrise we started to pitch gently in the swell and Grace hiccuped then made a dive for the rail to retch. When she stopped, not having anything except bile to bring up, I got her to take the helm again, and went below to find some ginger beer. Whether it's the ginger, or the slight fizz, or something else, perhaps placebo! Ginger beer seems very effective in countering nausea. With the distraction of steering, she seemed okay and I went below to make some sandwiches for breakfast. Marrow-and-ginger-jam for her, corned beef for me.

Normally I'd head up the Wallet, but that would have meant fifteen miles – three to five hours – on a dead run. So I carried on, past the Eagle, the Knoll, the West Gunfleet, almost to the West Sunk cardinal buoy; near enough fourteen miles from the Eagle. Still on a run, with quite light winds, it was getting on for mid-day when we turned north towards Harwich Haven. I set a course west of north, which meant a gybe to bring the wind on our port quarter, in fact almost a broad reach. After an hour – sandwiches again for lunch, made by yours truly as I didn't want Grace trying to cope below until we were at anchor – we turned even more west, putting us almost on a beam reach. We were making near enough five knots like that. Pretty good for Serendipity in such light winds.

She perked up with something undemanding in her stomach and with a beam wind making things a little more stable. We rounded to and dropped the hook on the Shelf by Harwich, opposite Felixstowe container port rather after four in the afternoon. I showed her how to furl the foresail, lower and stow the main and mizzen. I didn't insist on a harbour stow as I fully intended to move on the next day. Once everything was tidy, though, she looked at me.

"What now?"

"We relax, cook a nice tea, and catch up on our sleep, then set off early tomorrow."

"Before dawn again?" Her eyes were alight with enthusiasm.

"If you like, if we have an early night. High water is about four, I think. We'd have the first of the ebb and then a knot or two of current to help us on our way." She didn't seem bothered by her bout of nausea earlier; it spoke well for her character, I thought.

She insisted on cooking. I didn't fight over it. She produced, I have to admit, a very tasty sauce with lentils and tomatoes, to go with pasta, followed, to my surprise, by semolina. Not something I've bothered with before, but with strawberry jam, it was quite satisfactory.

When we finished eating, I thought she was looking faded, but as I started to clear the table she got up too and began to help. I stopped and looked her in the eye.

"Grace, you've been awake ... what? Thirty-six hours or so? You look wasted."

"I'm ... pretty tired," she said, "but..."

"Go to bed," I interrupted.

"I'm not that bad," she insisted, "I can help wash up."

"You cooked," I said, "and you need to sleep, or you'll be struggling over the next day or so. Go to bed."

"Aye, aye, Cap'n," she said, saluting. I think she'd tried to be sarcastic, but her fatigue came through too much.

"Grace, you've done well, more than pulled your weight, but you're the charterer here. You're supposed to be enjoying yourself, not being driven into the ground, either by me or yourself."

She nodded, shrugged and headed for her cabin. I dealt with the washing up before firing up the laptop to get a forecast. Seemed there was a depression building out over the Atlantic, but it was slow moving. Couldn't be helped; if I waited until there was no sign of poor weather we might be stuck in Harwich Haven all summer.

I shut down and checked round the boat, made sure the riding-light was working, then retired myself.

I haven't spent my whole life as a full-time professional sailor, so I've never got the hang of sleeping anywhere, any-when I need to, but though I'd had a few hours sleep in the last two days, I was asleep the moment my head hit the pillow, my watch set to wake me at four o'clock. I was woken, briefly, at about one, however, when Grace slipped into my bed behind me. What the hell? Of course I'm not averse to a woman's company in my bed. In fact, my previous companions were on board on the understanding they would be sharing my bed. But they weren't paying customers. Was this a set-up for some reason? It was rather later in our relationship that I found out it was, in fact, intended to be a set-up, though not one in any of the ways I had thought of. Right that moment, though, I was too tired to make an issue of it; in fact, I dropped off even as I was wondering what to do.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Consensual / Romantic / Heterosexual / Oral Sex / Slow /