Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Ma/ft, Consensual, Romantic, Heterosexual, Incest, Father, Daughter, First, Slow,
Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Her name is really Belinda. Determined not to spend her life behind the counter of her family's corner shop, she walked away - from the shop, her home, her town. Eventually she found her destiny as a sailor... and love. Companion to 'Serendipity'
Belinda Masters, seventeen, blonde and attractive, was upset. Pissed, even. Angry, disgusted, fuming ... any would do. Her father flatly refused to consider letting her continue into higher education; what was the point? Her consistently top grades and glowing reports, strongly worded suggestions from the Head, even the possibility of a scholarship. None of it mattered; none of it had any effect. Her mother? Might as well not be there. At the end of the year, she'd sit her 'A' level exams ... and be expected to work behind the counter of her family's corner shop for the rest of her life.
She laid her plans, saved every penny she could (not much) and enlisted the help of a sympathetic friend. Her eighteenth birthday came and went without fanfare; likewise her exams for her five 'A' levels. It was the second week in June...
Her father allowed her one day off a week. Whoopee. It was noticeable that the takings each Tuesday were significantly less than the other six days of the week. Belinda – Bee, or Lindy – was obviously an asset, especially as she had a clear head and could relieve her father of the burden of the shop records.
But her friend had an older sister, who was studying at Nottingham University. She, in turn, had a friend who lived in a shared house and there was an empty bedroom. Belinda popped a letter in the post to her parents, hitch-hiked from Leicester to Nottingham, where she found the house and sat on the doorstep for a couple of hours until one of the girls came home. Her parents reported her missing, but what could the Police do? She'd obviously packed and left deliberately (which was reinforced by the letter when it arrived) and she was over eighteen. She didn't know any of the other girls in the house except by sight and found she had little in common with them as they partied.
It could have been worse; at least she was away from the shop, but the only work she could get was behind the bar of a pub, serving boozy students ... she got used to deflecting amorous approaches, adept at managing immature young men disinhibited by excessive alcohol, and even became used to the assorted noises from the other rooms; squeaking bedsprings, creaking bed-frames, bed-heads banging on the wall, and the squeaks, groans, squeals and screams of passion.
Her minimum-wage job, despite the, at times, generous tips, left her very little excess money to spend on non-essentials and she had little inclination to get into the party scene like some of the girls whose house she shared; her entertainment came from the Library and the radio.
She was alone in the house for Christmas and, for perhaps the first time, felt a little sorry for herself. True, she never really had much to do with her house-mates, but they were there; someone to say 'good morning', 'hello', 'how you doin'', ''night', to. She even went to church Christmas morning. It helped a little and they were friendly enough, but then she had to go home alone, to the single, microwaveable, ready-meal she'd chosen.
So when the other girls, returning from their family Christmases declared they were going to have a New Year's Eve party and was she up for it, she said 'yes' without really stopping to think. It was not really her 'thing'; music – loud, and not very musical with repetitive vocals. Lots of alcohol, she wasn't fond of the taste and stuck to white wine and not much of it. Most of the people there seemed intent on consuming as much alcohol as possible as quickly as possible, with one or two smoking something that certainly didn't smell like tobacco. She retreated to the kitchen, mercifully empty and much quieter than any of the other rooms.
She wasn't alone long, though. One of the young men she'd seen smoking barged in. "Hey, what's a gorgeous babe like you doin' all alone in here? Gizza kiss..."
Her barmaid evasion techniques kept him at bay for a few minutes, but she found herself pinned in a corner, turning her head to avoid his lips – quite apart from his boorish behaviour, his breath stank.
"Now, Roddy, what're you up to here?" Another voice broke in.
Belinda looked across and saw a slightly older, perhaps mid-twenties, man, receding hair clipped short. "He doesn't seem to understand 'no'," she said.
"Leave the lady alone, Roddy!"
"Fuck off, grandad."
The older man somehow seemed to materialise behind 'Roddy'; Belinda didn't see him move. He grabbed the back of the younger man's collar and dragged him off her. 'Roddy' staggered, turned and lashed out with his fist. Again, Belinda didn't see the older man move, but the fist was captured and, somehow, the arm twisted so 'Roddy' was doubled over, then flat on the floor.
"Now, Roddy, I'm giving you a simple choice. Go home, now, leaving the lady alone, or I call the Police. You're facing charges of indecent assault, and I'm quite sure a blood-test will reveal the use of marijuana. This will not look good to the Faculty, now will it? Especially after that incident last year." He twisted the arm a little more, and 'Roddy' cried out in pain.
"Yes! Yes! Okay! I'm going!"
Released, Roddy staggered to his feet and, with a bitter glance at Belinda and a fearful one at his Nemesis, slunk out of the room.
"Are you hurt, Miss?"
Belinda shook her head. "Just ... a bit upset."
"Sit at the table and I'll make a cup of tea." He didn't try to approach her.
She realised why but, perversely, wished he would. She sat. "Yes, please. I'd like that."
He filled and switched on the kettle. "I don't think you need worry about Roddy. He's not vindictive; in fact, he's not a bad lad ... it's just he will smoke the weed, and he just can't cope with the stuff."
The kettle boiled and he made tea. "Tea bags," he sighed, "but better than nothing, I suppose."
"Leaf tea, of course. Good leaf tea, in a tea-pot, with a tea-strainer, in bone-china cups."
"I've never done that."
"Come to my place sometime, and I'll treat you. No etchings, I promise."
"I mean I won't try to seduce you."
"My name is Charles Featherstone," he said, "may I know to whom I have had the pleasure of addressing?" he said it in very plummy tones, but spoilt it by laughing.
"Belinda Masters. My friends call me Lindy."
They chatted about this and that. In fact, both enjoyed it so much that Charles begged her for a date and Belinda had no hesitation in accepting. Since her work, or the bulk of it, was in the evening, a daytime, Saturday, outing was easy enough to arrange.
"What shall I wear?"
"Nothing that matters, and trainers or plimsolls."
She raised her eyebrows.
"We're going sailing. I'll borrow a wet-suit for you, and wet-boots and gloves. Just bring some warm, casual clothes and don't worry."
It was one of those sunny winter days where the sky was clear, the wind strong enough for sailing, but not bitingly cold. It was wonderful, and it was obvious Belinda had a natural talent for the sport. You might say, 'she took to it like a duck to water.' Over the next few months she gained in skill and theoretical knowledge and rapidly became an excellent crew. Of course, she mainly sailed with Charles, but was greatly in demand, when available, by others too. Charles found that her abilities extended into helming. Had he been less comfortable in his own skin, he might have been threatened by her skill, which bade fair to exceed his by a considerable margin ... to the extent that he often ceded the helm to her because he liked winning.
It will not be surprising that their personal relationship grew too. It wasn't until May that they made love for the first time. Charles was amazed and humbled that he was her first. If he wasn't the most skilled lover in the world, she didn't really know any better. He was, at least, gentle and considerate, if rather conservative, and she enjoyed the intimacy. She also felt it was an easy and pleasant way to reward him for his behaviour towards her.
One year after meeting for the first time, he asked her to marry him
She turned him down; gently, but definitely.
"I'm sorry, Charles, I really am. You've been so kind; so thoughtful and so gentle. I've really enjoyed being with you ... but I don't love you. I like you enormously and respect you completely, but ... I don't love you."
It was the beginning of the end for their relationship. He did have one more thing to give her, though. Two weeks before Easter, he took her out for a meal. Over lasagne, garlic bread, Chianti and tiramisu, he handed her a letter.
"Lindy, my Sweet, I know you want to move on. The next step from dinghies can be keel-boats, but I think you might like the traditional sailing world. I have some friends, here and there, and you have an introduction to one of them. I've been in touch, and you can have a place as Third Hand in a Thames Barge. They are very special ships and you could learn a lot. More to the point, you can probably live on board. It won't be comfortable, but it could be a lot worse. I've done it a couple of summers. My friend is special, too," he smiled, sadly, "she turned me down, as well. But she's a good teacher. You may not be with her all the time, but she'll make sure you're all set and safe."
Her eyes fell and she reached out and took his hand where it was resting on the table. She held it, brushing the back of it with her thumb. A tear trickled down one cheek. She looked up and met his eyes.
"You've been so sweet..." she paused there and swallowed hard. "I'm sorry I can't..."
"Don't be. Just be yourself and ... follow your star. I hope you'll let me know how you are from time to time."
"But you've done so much for me..."
"I've enjoyed doing it. And you gave me something precious, remember?"
She shook her head.
"No," he countered the gesture, "don't diminish it. I'll treasure the memory, Lindy."
They slept together that night. The next day he helped her gather up the things she didn't want to leave – not very much – she bade farewell to the girls at the house she'd shared, and she stayed three nights with Charles. She was tempted, a little, to say, "No, no. I won't go. I want to stay here with you..." but restrained herself, knowing it was just uncertainty.
He took her to the station and stood there with her waiting for the train. As she was about to board, he handed her a fat envelope. "You need some waterproofs. Get some good ones."
She kissed him, hard, for the last time, and boarded the train. She found her seat, on the platform side of the train, and saw him standing, watching, a smile – sad, but a smile – on his face. She waved as the train began to move, and saw him wave back, then he was out of her sight and she was on her way.
Nottingham to St. Pancras, St. Pancras to Liverpool Street ... walking, to save the tube fare, it took just about an hour ... Liverpool Street to Chelmsford. Bus from Chelmsford to Maldon. Asking the first person she met after getting off the bus, what was the shortest way to the Hythe Quay? The shrug from the indifferent tourist. "No idea, dear. Sorry."
The scruffy young man in jeans and guernsey marked with something black, a Breton cap on his head. "Give me a couple of minutes in there," nodding at a small convenience store, "to buy some apples, and I'll walk with you, Ma'am, if that's okay?"
Ma'am? Is that me? "Thank you. I'd like that."
Walking with him down the High Street. "I'm Tom Carmichael. Mate of Reminder," he told her, though that didn't mean much to her. "Are you just visiting?"
"I'm to meet Jenni Peters. A friend of mine arranged for me to go sailing in a Thames Barge."
His eyes lit up. "Skipper Jenni! She's really great! You might be sailing with me. She said something about a young lady coming to get a taste of life on the barges."
They descended the short, steep slope to the Hythe, passing the Jolly Sailor, crossed the Hythe and Tom led her across the quay to the middle barge, up a very rattly aluminium gangplank, then across the ship to another, moored alongside. They had to clamber across a slightly intimidating gap, then again they crossed that ship and clambered across another gap to the outside barge of the 'raft'. (When boats moor up alongside each other, it's known as 'rafting up')
"Well..." said Tom. "Welcome aboard Sailing Barge Reminder. Let's go below to the saloon and make some tea." Once below decks, he pointed at an over-stuffed settee. "Make yourself comfortable." It took time for the kettle to boil on the gas range. "Never forget to turn the gas off at the tap, not just at the cooker," he said, conversationally, "LPG is heavier than air and leaks pool in the bilge and can explode. Now. Sailing barges. Vary in size up to one hundred feet or so. Carried up to two hundred and fifty tons of cargo at a time, operated by two men, though sometimes carrying a third crewman as a trainee ... like yourself," he grinned, "called a 'Third Hand'. Sadly sailing barges became uneconomic and were converted to power and the spars removed. The last one ceased trading in the nineteen sixties or thereabouts. Nowadays that work is carried out by big motor-barges carrying six hundred tons or more at a time. But at some point a few people started to feel the old barges shouldn't just disappear, and a few were saved from scrap; there's maybe thirty-five or so left out of thousands, all of them converted, either as private yachts, corporate entertainment or adventure holidays. Reminder is operated by a company called 'Topsail Charters', who operate several others as well. She can carry up to twelve passengers, usually with a Skipper, Mate and Cook. Occasionally with one or more supernumeraries ... like yourself," he smiled again. "I shipped as Third Hand every chance I got from being fifteen until I was eighteen, and made Mate..."
They both heard footsteps on the deck above, then on the companionway ladder.
"Hello, Skipper," Tom said happily, "the kettle's not long since boiled. Want some tea?"
"Oh, and I was forgetting. Skipper, this is Lindy, who's just arrived this afternoon."
Belinda stood and hid her shock. Jenni Peters was young – Belinda thought mid twenties. She saw a young woman of average height, with short, glossy, chestnut hair and brown eyes. Sturdy, with a no nonsense look, but undeniably attractive.
"You're young!" Belinda exclaimed. "Oh! I'm sorry ... I shouldn't have said that. But you are!"
The woman laughed. "I thank you! I am thirty-three, and I've been a qualified sailing-barge master ... oh, twelve years. Let me get a cuppa, then I want you to tell me about yourself."
Tom discreetly left them to it, and Belinda told Jenni her story.
Jenni made encouraging noises as she spoke, and when Belinda finished, "Lindy, I think you did the right thing. You've been lucky ... you know that, right?"
She nodded, and Jenni continued, "I ran away from an abusive home at sixteen and nearly died. I'm telling you now, don't try to make it on your own. Any number of us will gladly help you. For now, listen to Tom. He's a good sort and knowledgeable about barges, or he wouldn't be a Mate. Make no mistake, you don't have to be a big, strong, man to work one of these ... I mean, look at me! But you do have to work and pull your weight."
"Oh, I will!"
"Yes ... I think you will. Now, I hope you don't mind sharing a space with Tom. Crew accommodation is in the fo'c'sle. There is a screened-off space, but I'll warn you there's a leak round one of the lights in the deck-head, just over the bunk."
(Reminder has rectangular prisms, about eight inches long, set into the deck, which are effective in illuminating the space below – at least in daylight. She has a steel deck which is corroded, and the leak has resisted any attempts at a cure for years. The fo'c'sle is the forecastle, the space right in the front of the vessel)
"I don't think I mind very much."
"When there're no punters on board, you can use one of the cabins, but we've a cruise starting tomorrow. Have you got a sleeping bag?"
"No. I need to buy water-proofs, too."
"You'll have time tomorrow. Ask Tom to take you to the best places. There's a chandler's just up the way, and there's an outdoor shop on the High Street. Why don't you find Tom and ask him for a tour?"
They began in the fo'c'sle. There was a sort of cupboard to the left of the access ladder. Tom pointed to it. "That's the third hand's space," he said.
Entering it, she found a coffin-sized space against the hull, perhaps two feet below the deck-head. Tom pointed out the offending 'light'.
"It's possible to lay in such a way that the drips miss you," he said, "I slept there ... oh, three years. And you get a little privacy."
Belinda nodded. "Thanks. I can live with it, I think."
They left her kit-bags there and went above to show her more of the vessel.
"It takes time to learn all the ropes," Tom said, "there's more than on a bermudan-rigged yacht because of the rig. The brails, for example. And there's the vangs, for the sprit, as well as the back-stays"
(The vangs, pronounced in the barge world 'wang' for some reason, control how far the sprit can move. The brails reduce the area of the mainsail by bunching it up until it forms an inverted 'L'; the sail is not lowered and raised)
Her education continued until Jenni announced that it was supper time. She'd produced a tasty stew.
"I didn't ask," she said to Belinda, "if you could cook, but it would help if you can."
"Basic stuff, yes."
"Good. That's what we mostly eat. Anything more complicated is usually from the cook on a cruise."
When Belinda insinuated herself into her coffin-like bunk – if a coffin had a side entry! - she was tired, but content. 'I can do this', she thought.