Chapter 11: Home Again
Copyright© 2012 by Coaster2
Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 11: Home Again - I needed help with math to stay on the football team. That's how it started.
I had two full weeks to myself and I didn't waste time heading for the campus and getting my courses and books set up for third year. I renewed my parking pass and paid all the fees for the whole year. I didn't have any doubt about my ability to pass any more. I knew what I had to do and I knew how to go about accomplishing it.
I couldn't resist going down to the West Van Top Valu store to see how it was doing and hopefully finding Eddie there so that I could thank him in person for his generosity. The store looked great, as it always did. I got a lot of questions about my time in Vernon from the staff that I encountered. Unfortunately, Eddie was not there that morning and wasn't expected. Curtis Leiter was the assistant manager and I knew the place was in good hands with him. He wanted me to have lunch with him so that we could compare notes.
"Well, you survived and from what I heard from Eddie, you did a hell of a job, Steve," Curtis said as we ordered our lunch.
"I was lucky, Curtis. Arnold Sung was there to help with the paperwork and approve the spending. The rest of it was just trying to do what Eddie taught us to do in this store. Keep it clean, keep it neat, make the customers happy, and talk to them about what they want. We found the manpower we needed and the rest was just getting everyone to do what we wanted them to do every day."
"Sounds simple, doesn't it," Curtis smiled. "I don't think we could have gotten better training that working for Eddie. I started just like you did as a box boy and somehow or other, Eddie decided I was a candidate for management. I was really lucky to find this job in the first place. Eddie made the rest happen."
"Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?" I asked.
"Hard to say. Eddie has other businesses, so I might end up there if he thinks I can help. The rumour is that he's negotiating to buy something right now."
"Have you met Arnold Sung?"
"Yes. Eddie's partner. Hell of a nice guy."
"Yeah, he sure is. He was a super help for me this summer. Really supportive."
"That sounds like him alright. He's got an uncle, Winston Sung, who owns Coastwide Produce. He's partners with one of Eddie's many cousins, Wilfred Chan. It's a real incestuous family," he laughed.
"Works for us, though, doesn't it?" I laughed.
"It sure as hell does."
We spent the rest of the lunch comparing notes on operations and ended up agreeing that I could spend some time with Curtis to see how he did things. We'd work out the details later.
Eddie contacted me the next day and wanted to meet before I went back to school. He had a job offer for me that would replace working at the store. I met with him that afternoon in his office.
"I buy produce company from cousin. You can be weekend manager. Wilfred show you how. Good pay, Steve."
"Okay, as long as it doesn't interfere with my studies, I'd be interested."
"You talk to Wilfred. He show you what to do," he said, pushing a business card across the desk. It was a Coastwide Produce card, the company Curtis mentioned. I called him that afternoon and an hour later, I had an appointment to meet him the following Thursday. His office was in the middle of the old part of downtown Vancouver and it would be quite different from working at the store.
When it came right down to it, I was at a loss to know what to do with myself over the next two weeks. I left a message for Rat on his home phone and then called the Chalmers house only to find that the number was no longer in service. That would indicate they had moved. I wondered if Rat knew what happened to Bob.
Any conversation with Rat was probably going to bring up the topic of Dory, but I was curious enough about her that it wouldn't bother me too much. I was pretty sure she had moved on and probably had another boyfriend by now, if not earlier. We'd been together off and on from the fall of 1992, our senior year of high school, through to the summer of 1995, completing our second year of college. Over two years. I thought I would have understood her, but I guess I was wrong.
"What are you going to do for the next couple of weeks?" my dad asked me.
"Don't know, Dad. I haven't got any plans and not much ambition. It's been a hard summer and I'd like to just goof off until school starts again. My friends are all working, so I'm the odd man out during the day."
"Why don't you go fishing?" Nana asked. "I hear it's pretty good this year."
"I might, for a day or two. Actually, I might go over to the Island and do some whale watching. There's a couple of places I could go."
"Oh, that's sounds so cool," Pam said. "I'd love to do that."
"Well, if it's okay with Mom and Dad, you can come with me."
"I can? Is it okay, Mom ... Dad?"
Dad shrugged and Mom looked at Dad and neither could make up their minds, so I took the initiative.
"Do you mind if we borrow your camera, Dad?" I asked. "I promise not to drop it in the ocean."
"I guess so. It sounds like you're going then?" he said, looking both of us.
"Pam's the better photographer, so she'll be assigned that task."
I could see the grin on Nana's face as we manoeuvred our way into this trip.
"How long will you be gone?" my mother asked, now looking worried.
"Five days," I said without thinking. "Well try the west coast first, then if we strike out, we'll go north up to Johnstone Strait on the inside. Should be great scenery this time of year."
"This is going to be awesome," Pam said in obvious glee. "Thank you, Steve. Thank you so much," she said hugging me.
We planned to leave on Thursday, taking the ferry from Horseshoe Bay and drive from Nanaimo to Ucluelet. I checked for motel reservations and we took a two bed room for two nights. We were lucky they had space when I thought about it. This was pretty much the height of the tourist season over there.
I made a reservation on the ferry for early Thursday morning, and Pam surprised me by being up before I was. She was really excited about this trip and it would be a real experience for her. I think Mom still had concerns about the two of us going off together, but refrained from saying anything. I'm pretty sure Dad had settled her down.
The trip was incredible. We spent the first day on a motor launch, cruising off the coast looking for whales. We saw a couple, but nothing like we would in the migratory seasons. On the other hand, we saw dolphins and porpoises swimming along beside the launch. Pam was sure she got some great pictures. The weather was overcast, but not raining or blowing, so we didn't have any problems with seasickness or miserable conditions.
The second day dawned sunny and I suggested we rent an ocean-going kayak and paddle around to the Broken Group Islands. At that point, Pam went nuts. There were seals, sea lions, sea otters and all kinds of wildlife on the rocky, treed islands. It was a gigantic outdoor aquarium and she was firing film off at a rapid rate. Luckily, I had bought a ten-pack at the discount store before we left, but I would be replacing it soon.
The waters were calm and the only sound was Pam's shouts of "look, Steve, look at that!" Inshore, close to one of the islands, we floated into a large group of big jellyfish. I called them the "raw egg" jellyfish. They were milky clear with a bright yellow center, just like a raw egg. It was amazing to see and Pam was only inches from the water as she snapped pictures of them.
We did some touring up to Tofino the next day, then headed back to the east coast and north to Johnstone Straight. We found a place to stay not far from Telegraph Cove and took a whale watching expedition on a large inflatable. We hit the jackpot. Orcas, often called killer whales, moving north to south in a large pack. It was an incredible sight and we were close enough that I didn't really want to be any closer. I thought Pam was going to wet herself she was so excited.
When we headed home on Tuesday morning, Pam was going through her pictures. She had over three hundred. She had them all developed overnight in Campbell River. Dad's camera really got a workout, to the point where I sprung for another lithium battery for the drive and focus mechanism when it sounded like it was slowing down.
Pam tore into the house when we arrived back, unable to resist showing Nana and Mom her pictures right then and there. We'd both got our share of sun and a bit of wind burn, but nothing serious. I'd never seen Pam so happy and it was worth it for just that reason. A little five day vacation for the two of us worked wonders for our morale.
"Your sister is happier than I have ever seen her," Mom said. "I wasn't so sure it was a good idea, but I was wrong. You did a wonderful thing for her. Thank you, Steve," she said, kissing me.
"It was fun for me too," I admitted. "That trip has her thinking about going to U. Vic and studying marine biology. She couldn't get enough of being close to the animals and sea life."
"Back to school for the both of you a week today," Dad said. "Pam will have lots to show her classmates and friends. I don't think my camera has ever had a workout like that."
I felt really good about taking Pam on that little trip. I could afford it and she left no doubt she enjoyed every minute of it and told me so. We were sharing a motel room and worked out a routine that would keep us from embarrassing each other. We used to do it all the time on our family vacations, but it had been several years since the last one we all took together as I worked during the summer.
I spent the rest of the week picking up some new clothes and shoes for college. It was nice to have some spare cash for once. I'd made a good salary for the summer and then the unexpected bonus made sure I had a flush bank account for a change. I was looking forward to getting back to the classroom. But before that, I had a meeting with Wilfred Chan.
"Can you explain what you want me to do here?" I asked him.
Wilfred's English was decidedly better than his cousin Eddie's. It wasn't as perfect as Arnold's, but it was still very good.
"We place many orders late in week. Need to follow up on shipments so they arrive on time for customers. Product come from many places. Must insure everyone know it arrive and ready for shipment from here. Use computer tracking to follow. You work Saturday and Sunday, ten to five. Print out reports for night manager when he come in at midnight."
It wasn't that difficult to see what was needed and fortunately they had modern computer equipment to track the shipments. I was amazed, however, at how many shipments there were and how much product went through the warehouse. This was a much bigger business than I first realized.
I was to work with his day manager for the first two weekends until he was satisfied I got the hang of it, then I was on my own. In fact I was the only person in the operation on the weekend, other than the truck unloading crews and the Sunday night shift when the shipments to the stores were assembled. The hours were easier and fewer than I had been used to and the pay was good, so I had no complaint.
I went back to college two days after Labour Day and began classes again. It took me a few days to get back into a routine but soon I had resumed my practiced day-to-day regimen and it felt comfortable once again. I wondered if and when I'd run into Dory, but with over 30,000 students on campus the likelihood was small. We had no courses together any longer. She was in the education department and I was in commerce.
The weekend job turned out to be quite easy except when things got delayed by weather or breakdown. Those were unavoidable and infrequent, and all I had to do was to make sure the key people were notified. After a while, I found the job a bit boring, but I was grateful for the work and the pay, so I said nothing about it to anyone.
I began to make some new friends, both male and female. I even dated a couple of young ladies, but there were no sparks between us. They were attractive and pleasant companions, but nothing more. Perhaps that would be enough for now. My acne had disappeared a year ago and I wasn't too ugly, so I was able to attract the attention of various co-eds.
I found my work during the summer had a big effect on my studies, particularly in the business management segment. I was one of a handful of students with real life experience and it gave me a more balanced perspective on how businesses could and should be run. I didn't always agree with the accepted theory, but I was able to show from my own hands-on practical knowledge that I could reasonably discuss my beliefs.
I ended the first semester with good grades and I felt confident I would be able to cope with the curriculum for the balance of my time on campus. Better yet, I was enjoying the courses more than I had in the past. They were directly related to my chosen path for the future. I didn't see myself as an MBA candidate, but I would be satisfied with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a broad base of know-how. I'm sure that would satisfy Eddie and my parents.
I was driving myself to and from the campus each day. I thought about finding some students to share the burden, but I also thought about giving up my freedom if I did. I could come and go as I pleased and decided that was more important to me than saving a few dollars on gasoline.
It was a particularly wet and unpleasant February in 1996 and I was counting the days until I would be driving to and from school in daylight. I had to drop Pam off at the Civic Centre one morning for a special class she was attending. It took me away from my usual route and caused me to drive through the village.
The traffic was slow, moving from block to block in the rain. I was approaching a red light and was stopped along side a bus stop when I happened to notice a familiar face. It was Dory, and she was standing in the rain with an umbrella in one hand and what looked like a heavy book bag over her shoulder. I honked the horn but she didn't react. The light changed and I moved forward.
When I reached the corner I made a snap decision. I turned right into a side street and found a place to park. I left the car and ran back to the bus stop.
"Dory!" I called and she turned to me.
"Steve. What are you doing here?"
"I saw you in the line-up. My car's just around the corner. Come with me and I'll take you out to the campus."
She hesitated for a moment, then followed me to the car. With her books on the back seat and her safely belted into the front, I made a U-turn and headed back to the main drive.
"You looked cold and wet. This will be a lot more comfortable," I said, hoping to break the ice.
"Yes ... it's great. Thank you."
"How have you been? I haven't seen you in ages." I was trying hard to get her to talk to me.
"Fine. I passed all my first semester exams."
"Why were you taking the bus? Are you not in a car pool?"
"I was, but my Tuesday and Thursday driver dropped out of school at Christmas. I haven't been able to find a replacement."
"What's your schedule?" I asked, an idea quickly forming.
She told me. It was a standard day on Tuesday and only a half-day on Thursday. Almost identical to mine."
"Why don't I fill in on those days? Your schedule is almost the same as mine. We don't live that far apart. We've done this before."
She was looking at me as I navigated onto the bridge and worked my way toward the city.
"I guess I could do that," she said tentatively. "Would you mind?"