Chapter 1

This is Oyster's original first chapter, the chapter that caught my interest. With his permission I'm continuing the story, but it needs this to get things started.

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.

I nodded.

"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 you're 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."

"Spiked?"

"One of the other girls said he put a roofie in my drink. I already had a few sips."

"Oh, shit!"

"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."

"In another couple of miles I was going to hoist the sail and sail around a bit. Attitude gets better then. But if you need to go onshore..."

"I'll be okay. I just took a couple of sips. Might get drowsy, but that's all."

"Are you sure? I can turn around. Emergency room and all that."

"I don't think so. If you think I should worry. I didn't ... couldn't've gotten much of a dose." She paused, gazing at me. Blue eyes. "If you need the solitude. If you can stand the company of strangers, then I don't need to go right now."

"Then welcome aboard, Miss Kaitlyn," I said.

She smiled. Pretty smile. "Uh, please tell me you have something on this thing besides beer to drink."

"Water. Coke. In that chest right there at your feet. Help yourself."

She pulled a Coke out and popped the top. "You want one?"

"Sure," I said. "I've exerted myself already." I put the engine back in gear and pushed the throttle forward. We accelerated at a leisurely pace that was entirely in keeping with my desire for solace.

She fitted herself into a corner of the cockpit against the coaming. I noticed her eyelids getting heavy.

"Kaitlyn?" I said.

"Juzh call me 'Kay'," she responded, slurring a little.

"Kay, you're getting drowsy. Why don't you go below and stretch out. It's more comfortable down below."

"'Kay. Thankzzz."

She wobbled a bit as she navigated through the hatch and down the ladder. I leaned over to see her stretch out on a settee.

I knew about 'roofies.' The 'date-rape' drug. A sedative that messed with memory at the same time. That it usually took half an hour to take effect. And that in a normal dose, what an enterprising dirt-bag could get into a lady's drink without an offensive taste, was harmless aside from any liberties on the part of the dirt-bag. Kay said she'd only taken a couple of sips. She was drowsy, not comatose.

I got the boat into a straight section of the channel and kicked the autopilot on. I scanned a quick 360 and saw no traffic of concern, so I quickly dropped into the cabin.

She was breathing normally. I touched her lightly. "Kay?"

"Hmmmm?"

"Are you alright?"

"Mmmm, drowsy. I'll be okay in a bit."

"Okay. I'll check on you in a bit."

"Mmmm, thanks, Rob..."

Chapter 2 ยป