The party barge pontoon boat was pretty close to overloaded when it passed me. It was tossing a large roostertail of foam from an overworked and improperly adjusted outboard motor, and it was loaded with what appeared to be a mixed crowd of college-age students, the male contingent clad in trunks, the female counterpart in bikinis, most of them waving beers as they passed. I don't know where they got the power for it, but a rock-crushing level of hip-hop music blared over the straining outboard's grinding whine.
I wished them past me. I wanted my solitude. I knew that soon I'd raise my sail and kill the little diesel engine that was motoring me along right now, and solitude would be the result. Speed? I was thundering along at six and a half knots and I could hear the water burbling in my wake.
The party barge passed all too close. I saw one blonde head pop up, eyes on my thirty foot boat, like she was doing an assessment.
The boat was leaving me in its wake when she grabbed a bag and jumped over the rail into the water.
Okay, that's different, I thought. I chopped the throttle. Five ton sailboats don't stop on a dime. I threw the transmission in reverse and throttled back up, coming to a full stop, then shifting into neutral. The party barge was turning back for her when she swam to my hull.
"Pull me in, please," she said. "Please..."
I tossed a bight of a mooring line over the side to her. She put the strap of her bag in between her teeth and grabbed the line. We both pulled and she was quickly standing on the bulwark.
"Are you okay?" I asked.
"Yes. If I can stay here. I don't want back on THAT boat."
'That boat' was pulling alongside.
"Kaitlyn! Come back!" One beer-bearing lad hollered. "I'm cool. Okay?"
"Forget it, Todd! I have a ride home!" She turned to me. "Act like you're okay with it." Her eyes were on the cusp between asking and begging.
"Be that way then, you frigid bitch!" Mister Romance hollered, producing general laughter from his mates.
The throttle opened up on the party barge and it struggled up to speed, leaving me dead in the water.
She stepped into the cockpit, an act that gave me a chance to assess what I'd just rescued. Tall, maybe five-ten. Slender. Bikini clad, so I could see that the breasts were smallish, the legs rather shapely, the hair dark while it was wet now, but this is the blonde girl I'd seen. And blue eyes.
"Your friend says your name is Kaitlyn?"
"He's no friend, but yes, that's my name. Kaitlyn Sandersen."
"I'm Robert Lister. People mostly call me Rob."
"Hi, Rob. I supposed her wondering what's going on here, huh?"
"Oh, no," I said. "I pull girls out of the channel every time I go out. But if you feel you must..."
"I made a poor choice," she said. "Should've known better. You're looking at the results of stupidity. Are you going back to town today?"
"If I need to, I can," I said. "Does it have to be right now?"
"I dunno. Dumbass over there spiked my drink. I don't know how much I got."
"One of the other girls said he put a roofie in my drink. I already had a few sips."
"I ... uh, don't panic. He was already getting touchy-feely before that, but when I found THAT out, I threw the drink at him and was trying to figure out an escape plan. Right now, you're it."