The Crystal Cavern by david stevens

 

                                                The Crystal Cavern.

                                                   By david stevens

  

   The first time we met, I literally fell into his arms. It wasn’t intentional or even planned, though it might have been if things had been different. I was doing three things at once and the end result was we bumped into each other.

   First I was stepping off a wooden dock in the Bahamas onto a low lying wide bottomed tourist boat. Second I was carrying a snorkel and flippers and a dive mask and thirdly, I was looking toward the tall man with the darkest hair I had ever seen, beneath which a pair of opaline tinted, jade green eyes sparkled.

   He looked to be about six foot two or even three. He had broad swimmers shoulders a deep tan, which had clearly gathered beneath a baking Bahamian sun, he sported just the right balance of chest hair for my taste. His hips were slim leading down to muscular nicely shaped powerful legs. I like well defined legs on a man and his seemed perfect to me on examination. His chest caught my attention after his eyes and that was the point that all semblance of balance and physical control departed from me.

   I leant forward taking in the overall look of his body, the effect hit me like lightening, heat swelled in my breast, it drove down at a rate of knots flooding my stomach and onwards, which led to me looking further down his tall length. His shorts fitted him perfectly but also somehow looked baggy and concealed much I decided.

   Then the boat rocked beneath me driven by a wave; that was when and why I fell forward. My snorkelling gear swept towards him, he reached up and then my foot slipped on the wet wood of the boats side; that was it for me. I fell forward, careering into the arms of the man I had been so interestedly been admiring.

   He reached out and up catching me perfectly as I had closed uncontrollably, momentum drew us into a clinch and lust did the rest. I allowed him to halt my fall and to hold me tight, his broad chest made contact and what had been interest expanded. He lowered me gently to the deck, the effort seeming to me as nothing to him. His eyes sparkled and flashed drawing me into them, making me feel safe and protected. His chest expanded beneath me and I would have been a goner there and then if it wasn’t for the last three months of my life and the previous two years exerting a natural brake on my expanding lust.

   I pushed back once I had my footing; his arms held me for just that second to long before he let go. I stepped back and without thinking crouched down to pick up my diving gear. I looked up my eyes level with his shorts; the realisation of how I must look to him at that point hit me hard. I stood swiftly, looking down sharply to avoid those eyes of his. I had not even picked up the mask and snorkel but he bent picking them up for me and returning the view with a deep rolling chuckle of mirth. He handed the gear to me, his laughter having faded away; he smiled briefly, then once more flashed those eyes again before he said.

   “Hi I am Dirk, nice to meet you.”

   The emotions filling my brain drove all sanity out of the way, I looked at him and in embarrassment at having been on my knees before him I looked towards his out stretched hand. I took the mask and snorkel he was offering to me and then with a rather gruff thank you I turned away.

   There were three other women on the boat all equally equipped for snorkelling and all three of them looked at him with evident lust in their eyes. As for me I moved as far forward as I could and sat down looking towards the cabin wall, putting on a show of ignoring him.

   ‘Dirk, I rolled the name around my tongue, Dirk, it suited him perfectly. It had that right balance of macho male and it rolled easily of the tongue, and it was equally easy to remember, not that I intended to remember his name. His body maybe when I was alone and desperate, but not his name.

   He ignored me and turned to assist one of two men onto the boat. They were obviously an item, one being blond and lithe and the other dour and controlled. No threat to Dirk in those two, besides he had the choice of three other clearly interested women to chose from. I noticed that as he coiled the mooring rope he glanced my way; swiftly, so he would not catch my line of thought I turned away to look out over the rolling wavelets as they entered into the harbour. Dirk I repeated silently, Dirk what a dish. I banished that thought even as it exploded into my mind. Dirk might well be a dish but he was not a dish that this woman would be supping at.

   The boat eased away from the dock and then Captain John as everyone called him opened up the engines and sent the boat and us all skimming across the gentle waves. We left the dock and bay behind us and entered out onto the ocean.

   A slight movement caught my eye; one of the three other women on board was making a move towards Dirk, why would I care if she wanted to make a fool out of herself with the handsome Dirk, I silently demanded of my self as my natural instincts returned to compete with my thoughts. The battle raged within me as she the other woman stood up and tottered towards the male in shorts. He did not seem aware of her presence until she lightly touched him on the back. He turned and smiled up at her from the deck where he had been coiling down a rope.

   “Dirk, get ready: Captain John had called out, his timing perfectly interrupting the developing saga. Dirk stood and nodded once; he did not flash those eyes at her I realised, which in a strange way pleased me. Dirk eased past the woman ignoring her perfectly, whilst throwing a glance in my direction, catching me with a slight smile on my face at his rejection of her blatant come on. I looked down and away, I felt heat bloom in my cheeks at being caught out again. He smiled briefly and that was it, just a brief smile and he was away towards the pointed bow of our boat.

   I heard the splash of an anchor and at the same time watched as the woman turned away to return to her seat. She said something to her friend who leant closer and pointed forward nodding. What passed between them I did not hear but I recognised both the look and the action as being some sort of challenge. Both it seemed to me were interested in Dirk. Then damn it the third woman on this floating lust-fess joined in with the other two and so the challenge was set.

   I sat back deciding that I would play the part I had assumed for myself and totally ignore them all. I was out here to swim and dive amidst the corals, not lust after a man working a boat. Dirk returned, I tried to ignore him and failed, after all he was the hottest looking man I had seen for months.

   The boat rocked gently at anchor, I leant over the side looking down and wow what a sight it was beneath me. Corals sparkled as fish dashed, the water was crystal clear and perhaps forty-feet deep at that point.

   Captain John stepped out of his cabin, picking up and tossing over board a divers weight, which was attached by a long length of rope to a floating buoy. The rope dropped drawn to the bottom by the weight and the buoy followed. Why such a marker would ever be needed I could not tell, from down there the boat would be easy to see, but as Captain John looked up he grinned an aged cracked deeply burnt grin and said. “Rules are rules.” He glanced at the floating buoy and then dismissing it from his mind he turned to his charter party saying.

   “There are three things to remember, if you go down then you have to come back up, so please be aware of your limitations.”

    That one did not pose any problem for me I had free dived for years and sixty-feet was not an impossible or challenging depth for me.

   “The second is no touching the corral, because it is protected under law and it’s very sharp and will slice you into bite sized pieces before you know what has happened.”

    I had no interest in touching the coral so that rule was safe and certain, I had come on this trip purely to swim and admire the beauty on offer.

   Damn it, Dirk had glanced across at me as the words filled my mind. He was a beauty, a macho, self-serving, fit example of the male species, but still a beauty to me, and he was worth studying if nothing else.

   “The third rule is we stay aware at all times, there are all sorts of dangers lurking down there.” He pointed to a tattered edged poster taped to the cabin door. The ancient poster had the words ‘Warning & Danger’ emblazoned across its top; it showed pictures of sharks and moray eels amidst other things to watch out for.

   I knew and recognised most of them so again I was not too worried. As for the sharks, so long as no one cut themselves there would be little problem as sharks hunt mostly at night and don’t really like divers that much unless they are bleeding.

   “I have not lost a tourist for at least, what is it now Dirk?” He asked.

   “Well boss.” Dirk replied playing his part perfectly. “It must be at least three weeks now!” The grin returned lighting up his handsome face, again he glanced in my direction and that was despite number one competition sticking her medically enlarged bust-line out at him and pouting her best come hither look.

  

   With a last look at the boat I pulled down my dive mask and rolled backwards into the water. A splash and turn and a little effort later I was heading straight down into the bliss of the peaceful aquatic world waiting just below the waters surface. Others followed suit and soon the sea was full of bodies swimming and cavorting, enjoying the warmth of the water and the sparkling sunlight that lit up the subterranean world.

   I took a glance back and there he was Dirk the great white hunter, diving effortlessly, propelled by gentle but powerful strokes of his flippers. The world turned upside down for me, as I looked up I drifted lower and closer to the sea-floor and the coral.

   Like a torpedo he pirouetted and swam, his arms reaching out his legs bucking, he seemed to be on a collision course with me. I twisted sharply to face away from him, which was when I felt his hand grip onto my arm; with a jerk he pulled me upwards dragging me ten feet through the water.

   Only experience stopped me from losing the air trapped in my lungs as I turned to wave my hand at him in anger. Why did he have to go and spoil my first dive, was he so macho that the thought of not getting me to react like the rest of his captive harem had galled him that much.

    He let go and waved in front of my face, then he pointed down and I saw the fish. It was colourful and resting peacefully between twin peaks of corral, I had been slipping down towards it when he had grabbed me. Had I continued to be so distracted by his presence I would have felt the fiery burning of the stone-fishes raised spines. That would have put an end to my two week holiday on only its second day. Dirk had seen the threat and he being not too distracted from his duty had rushed to rescue me. I of course thought that it was his version of a pick-up line, what an idiot I was.

   The stone-fish looked up realising that I now posed it no threat, it slowly lowered its deadly spines as it calmed down and returned to doing whatever it was that stone-fish do. I shrugged and smiled at Dirk by way of an apology, he looked back at me, smiled briefly flashing those eyes of his and then turned away to supervise the rest of the party, he turned back as though having an after thought and waved for me to follow him. I glanced up then decision made I followed.

   As for miss ‘look at me,’ she was still splashing around on the seas surface; I spitefully though that perhaps her over inflated air-bags had kept her to buoyant to dive down.

   I tried to, honestly, I tried, I tried not to look at the pounding flippers and gently throbbing thighs of Dirk the diver, my rescuer, as he swam away from me, I failed miserably but it was well worth the look as I followed him.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

   There she was just a walking down the dock, nearly as the old song said; heading towards my boat, John my Captain noticed my interest and poked his head out of the cabin to see.

   “Nice, very nice just as you said she was, not that I would ever doubt your judgment boss.”

   “Shut it, she’s just a tourist.” I was lying to John and we both knew it, just another tourist, a woman that looked like her could never be just another tourist. She had on a loose white shirt tied at the belly, with a dark beckoning from beneath it, just visible in a way to drive men nuts was a nicely filled out bikini top. Her legs were bare and white and worth a long look, she obviously wanted to get a tan of sorts. In her hands she carried the accoutrements of snorkelling.

   I could not help wondering what she would look like against the back drop of the corral John and I were taking her out to swim amongst. I think she might just put some, if not most of the fish to shame.

   I had seen her the day she arrived and had found my interest piqued as she had glided effortlessly into my hotel lobby. Most if not all of the men present had turned to look at her, including me. She had checked in and I managed to over hear her name, Miss Jessica Whiting, not the most romantic name in the world or the most startling, but then I reasoned that looking as she did, she didn’t need a startling name.

   Later I made some discreet enquires and discovered that she was British, so far so good, that she was single or so the title of miss eluded to. She was in the bar lounge when I next saw her, sitting in the shade drinking an island special, which basically meant a drink that you needed to eat eventually or discard.

   She had gathered herself into the furthest corner but one with the best view out over the beach down to the rolling breakers. Sadly all the signs clearly indicated to me; ‘leave me alone please.’ I as a courtesy respected her desire for her own company, some others did not, but each received an off hand dispatching from her. I was glad I had refused to try my luck, besides she looked a bit snooty sitting as she was alone with her book and a drink.

   Perhaps she was not my type after all, but she certainly looked like my type. Her waist was slim but that led down perfectly to the swelling of her hips and onward to legs that filled out the lounger perfectly. She stood about five-foot nine I had guessed when I had first seen her in the lobby. I cast my eyes upward to her neatly cut and shaped hair, dark and luscious filled my mind, ‘dark and luscious and very sexy’ a little voice added to my pleasant meanderings.

   Her face was pale much like the rest of her, probably as a consequence of living in Great   Britain. Rick the hotel manager had informed me that she had booked directly, paying by credit card and so he though that her trip to the islands was a spur of the moment thing for her. She spoke nicely he had added, educated and pleasant but a little aloof or distant he had stated.

   Aloof, distant, all were one to me, she wanted her own company and I respected that so I headed out of the hotel for the evening intending to put an instant end to my self imposed torture. She could have her privacy, I needed a drink and not one of those fruit concoctions, I needed a cold beer or even two.

 

   There she stood before me with one foot on the boat and the other on the decking, looking down at me with a slight twinkle in her eyes. Miss privacy in all her sunlit glory. She leant forward slightly and then the boat had moved, she fell forward and down into my arms, she felt light as a feather and looked almost angelic in her evident humiliation. I held her tight halting her forward momentum and then slowly lowered her to the deck whilst asking if she was alright.

   Aloof Rick had described her as, but there was nothing aloof about her as I let go of her, she squatted down neatly to pick up her gear which she had dropped. I looked down seeing a different view of her, one I had not expected to ever see. Her head twisted upward, as she realised the erotic image she had created.

   I found that nature took control over my body and was pleased when she stood up and without further words slipped around me and away, heading swiftly towards the furthest point from me that she could obtain. Had she seen my reaction, did she find it unacceptable, whatever she thought I found that I desperately needed to turn my concentration elsewhere, anything else would do, not only to erase my slight blush but to calm my raging thoughts back down. I do not normally ever blush, in fact I can’t remember the last time that I had, but she had somehow created the reaction and I had to live with it for a short while; though I determined that it would not happen again.

   I looked up as two men arrived; they solved my problem for me. They were a couple, a seemingly well suited couple; German I remembered and also staying in my hotel. Gay clearly but that was not my concern, I helped them aboard followed by three other women. From there and feeling much returned to a normal state I un-lashed the boat and started coiling down the rope, sneaking a glance at the now seated miss aloof. John engaged the engines and steered us out to sea heading for the coral dive point. I found that when I sneaked another look at miss aloof she was glancing at me. I wondered what she was thinking; my body knew what I was so I swiftly returned my attention to the ropes again.

    One of the gaggle of three friends approached me, I was not in the mood for flirting with her sort, I played my part of guide and boat-man and left her to return to her seat and her friends. Miss aloof seemed to enjoy watching the interplay, was she one of those women that just liked to look or was there a deeper reason; perhaps there was a boyfriend tucked away somewhere. I hoped not, for all the good it would do me with her. Still there was no harm in looking so long as you don’t cause offence, and after all she was a guest on my boat and it was my solemn duty to look after my guests I justified, which meant helping and talking and looking as well, if only to keep them safe.

   For a brief second I nearly decided to introduce myself to her, that would take the wind out of her sails, but then I had not come away for a month just to unveil myself as the owner and chief executive of one of the Fortune 500 companies. I had escaped to the Bahamas for some peace and quiet and a little well earned normality amongst ordinary people. I had even managed to fool the wandering paparazzi into believing that I was elsewhere doing executive type things. They would get some grainy shots but they would not be me.

   She was ignoring me to perfection, well almost I realised, all the time not knowing that it was my boat on which she sat; my hotel in which she stayed as a guest. Note to self, upgrade her accommodation when we return, she deserves to have a wonderful time and a little luxury might loosen her up, which would be worth seeing.

   She splashed backwards into the ocean; I glanced down watching her kick furiously heading towards the bottom. She looked nearly as good as I had expected her to look. Her bikini now missing, her shirt highlighted her delicate lily-white un-tanned body. Her curves were perfectly magnified by the water, even without that extra aid they were enough to draw any man, and as I watched her dive she looked as though she belonged down there. A place popped into my mind, a little place for sure but one with a big reputation to those few people that knew of it.

   A short while later I entered the water behind her, taking a dive mask and an O2 tank with me. I departed into a slightly deeper section casting a wary glance at her. There I found the hose placed so long ago, sticking out and through the coral. Having connected the O2 tank to its valve I turned and swam upwards a little. She was still down, two minutes and counting I thought, not a bad dive time for a tourist. I glided over towards her, the angle of my arrival allowed my eyes to scan the coral and its crevices beneath her.

   A small cloud of fish scattered before me, the movement attracted her attention; she turned and looked up seeing me for the first time since she had commenced her first dive.

    That was when it happened, she had been distracted and so was gently sinking towards the coral. The flick of a tail and the lift of fish spines drew my instant attention. I reacted without thinking, pushing hard against the water with my flippers driving my body down towards her, at the same time reaching out I grasped her slim wrist and tugged, pulling her upwards, she resisted me but not enough to halt her rise.

   Her anger was evident as I looked into her mask seeing her eyes flash in annoyance. I lifted my hands trying to appease her, I failed, so instead I pointed down to the crevice and then she saw it. She saw the row of spines all pointed upward to greet her, she knew the terrible agony those poisoned spines could inflict and she shuddered.

   That simple shudder did the most amazing things to her breast; it had been worth being on the receiving end of her ire just to see that reaction. She had created an image in my mind that would remain for a very, very long time. Now it was my turn to return the treat.

   I indicated back where I had come from, I knew that she must be getting short of air as single lung full lasted only so long. Would she follow me or would she bottle out and head for the surface. The look of determination on her face told me that she would follow me and she did.

   I led her deeper and around a certain spire into a black dark tunnel, I picked up a torch placed on a man made shelf for just that purpose. She followed as I entered the tunnel and swam the ten feet into its heart. Trust is an amazing thing, she did not know me, did not know that she could trust me but she had followed me into the tunnel, I felt quite honoured by her reaction; I hoped that she would feel blown away by what she was about to see.

   I surface and she reared up next to me, she did not gasp as I might have expected, but once she realised that she was in a cavern filled with fresh air, she breathed out the last of her retained and replaced it with fresh. Then she looked around. I had already climbed out of the little circle of water onto the only ledge and was watching her carefully. The torch I pointed upward illuminating the crystal structure above me, the light exploded around the small cavern. It bounced wildly driven by billions of tiny crystallised creatures.

   “Oh my god, this is so… so beautiful… how?”

   I had received the reaction I had hoped for and I had her alone in a cavern beneath the waves, a mermaid in the oceans of Poseidon. Lit by the glory that is nature and all for my benefit. She reached up out of the water and I took her hand easing her onto the ledge. Her eyes sparkled nearly as much as the walls and ceiling around us.  

   Though beauty filled the cavern it was for her that I only had eyes, she moved as far away from me as she could, I had impressed her, yes, but that did not make her mine. A fact that dawned swiftly in my mind but still I had received the pleasure of lighting up her world and giving her a memory to take home when she went, a memory that I knew few ever saw. That was enough for me and I believed it was enough for her too.

   That was when that damned woman, one of the three from the boat splashed into the cavern, there was nothing I could do but make her welcome, so I did my duty as a tour guide much as I would have preferred the privacy with Jessica.

   Jessica slipped into the water and without saying anything she departed, leaving me behind with her. Why she decided to leave just then I did not know, but leave she did and swiftly. By the time I eased myself back onto the boat she was sunbathing right up at the bow, where there was no room for two. She was back to ignoring me.

   I tried to talk to her as we hove too in the harbour but she just glanced at me and then at the three women gathering around me. She smiled then mouthed ‘thank you’ followed by ‘enjoy’ and she was gone.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

   The second time we met was a very different affair to the first. It was late, dark and noisy, thick smoke filled the air along with the aroma of fish grilling on a barbeque.

 

   The hotel manager had sidled up to me and told me about the barbeque being held tonight on the hotels private beach. He had said that the food would be the freshest and best the island had to offer, which considering the restaurants standard was quite an incentive to attend. He had then asked me to stop by the reception desk as he had a little surprise for me waiting there.

  One half-hour later, I was standing in awe in an amazing twin double bed-roomed suite with a private balcony and all the trimmings, which also faced out over the bay providing an awesome view. Apparently I had been upgraded!

   Why I did not know, but I not being one to turn down a generous gift, I graciously accepted, my bags had been moved by a personal maid, now there is something a woman like me does not get all the time. The difference between the room I had booked into, and the room I had been granted could not have been wider, though the question still thundered through my mind ‘WHY ME?’

   He assured me there were no catches, he claimed that he thought that I would enjoy the room more, as it was vacant he had decided, as was his privilege he insisted, to offer me an upgrade. I took him at his word and accepted the gift. Though I half expected him to make a play for me at some point, which I was pleased to discover and as was proved to me over the duration of my stay, had never been his intention.

 

   The barbecue was everything the manager had said that it would be and much more, A steel drum band played noisily, the food cooked, drinks were served by white clad waiters and everything might have remained perfect and acceptable. Except an hour after I arrived, Dirk also arrived. I spent the next hour dodging him, until inevitably we bumped into each other.

   Second contact, the words exploded into my thoughts as I stepped back from the drinks tent carrying my order of fruit cocktail. I half turned and bam there he was, chest to chest facing me holding a pint glass of what I took for beer between us. I stopped so suddenly the drink I had in my hand did not and shortly he looked more like an overgrown waterfall of fruit cocktail.

   His open necked shirt was soaked and I had done it. He gasped, stepped back a half step and looked down. Damn him he looked gorgeous in his Mr Darcy shirt and cream trousers. His hand reached up to brush away some mango pieces whilst I mutter a quick sorry to him.

   “Damn that was my last clean shirt of the week, Oh well it was in a good cause at least you didn’t throw it over me, which I thought that you might.”

   “Come on it was an accident, if I wanted to throw it over you, you would know about it.”

   “You’re not angry with me then, I thought that you might be.”

   “Me angry, why would you think such a thing?”

   “Because you have been avoiding me at every turn, that’s why.”

   “I have not I just didn’t notice you were there.”

   Now that was a lie and we both knew it; I had been avoiding him, I had dodged behind the band when he had first appeared and I had been hiding ever since. I had only come out of hiding when I had lost sight of him and thought that he had left.

   After all I had reasoned, this didn’t seem like the sort of place he would chose for the evening, I pictured him in a more male orientated place, perhaps a bar with him playing pool and drinking beer from glass pint mugs. Not on a beach, at a tourist party drinking his beer from plastic glasses as real glass was not safe on the beach. Well here he stood before me looking Oh so sexy in his wet shirt, talking to me and driving my thoughts in directions, I would prefer that they would not go. He must know the effect he was having on me, but if he did he wasn’t showing that he knew. I was not really certain whether he was serious about his shirt.

   “Please let me get you a replacement drink, but only if you promise sincerely not to throw it over me again.” He said.

   “I didn’t throw it.” I started to say defending my position, when he laughed smiled and damn him, he had flashed those gorgeous eyes at me, then he was gone, I half turned to see him striding purposefully towards the tent clearly intending to make good on his offer. Now there are not many men that can make me gawp, but watching those legs and that tight bottom move away from me made me do just that.

   Sex on legs and dangerous, I said to myself, run girl run and hide before you do something you will wish you had never done. That was when an image of Jack popped into my head, he too had been wearing tan slacks when we had first met, he to had walked away from me to get a drink just for me. He to fit into those trousers perfectly, perhaps not quite as well as Dirk currently did, but good enough for a horny girl to fall for.

   My thoughts drifted to the last day I had seen Jack, the day he had slammed out of our flat and left for another woman, thank god I had not married him or heaven forbid had a child with him, that made it easier in a way, it would have been far worse had the situation been different. That had been the day that I had sworn myself to celibacy for at least a year and now not three months later I was watching another male walking away, would I never learn.

   I took to my heels and departed I could not face another re-run of the Jack incident, I knew I was probably being unfair to this Dirk, perhaps he was different but to find out meant opening myself to his charm and that I knew would swamp me out. I would swiftly find myself falling in love with him, if only because of those eyes and that bottom and god help me those strong legs of his, let alone that broad chest. I consoled myself by the fact that I did not actually run away from him. I walked quickly yes, but I did not run. The band passed and I exited the lit up area entering into the beach, I continued on in the hope that I might locate a place to sit quietly and think.

   The rock edge as it was known was exactly that, a jumbled tumbling line of rocks that entered into a secluded pool. I sat down on one certain that I could not be seen by anyone. The water beneath me sparkled as moonlight flitted across its surface; it was like a miniature version of the cave he had taken me to. I wondered why I kept referring to him, despite knowing his name. By then he would have returned and discovered that I had left. It wouldn’t take him long to find someone else to give the drink he had fetched to, not him not Mr sexy and I know it!

   I dangled my feet into the water having kicked of my beach sandals; shortly hundreds of tiny multi-coloured fish swarmed around them, nibbling at my toes; it felt strange but quite nice. I sat on the rock wondering, my thoughts had turned back to Dirk and I wondered if I had done the right thing, by myself I had, but by him who knows. I presumed that he would pick up some other woman, I remembered the three on the boat anyone of them would be more than willing to have a holiday fling with him, where as I was not interested and could see no future in playing such a game.

   Dirk would just have to accept that this woman had gotten away from him.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

   There she was, I had known that she would be there, but somehow the only glances of her, were just that, distant glances. The woman could be a ghost, there one second, gone the next; but I would track her down eventually, even if it meant waiting until after the food was ready.

   There she was again, this time I got a longer look at her. I watched as she glanced around her looking for something, then I stepped forward towards her. The effect she created on me was overwhelming; she looked so elegant in a simple way.

   She had on a sarong loosely wrapped and knotted about her gorgeous hips, that was secured over the same bikini that had driven my imagination wild out on the boat. She again had a shirt on, this time made of white cheese cloth again tied at her flat belly just allowing her stomach to show, with just the right balance of taste and acceptability.

   Her hair was pulled back and secured at her neck showing her face off. I approached, she half turned and then wham, I was wet and covered in cocktail fruit, it dripped down my shirt the thin material swamped by the liquid.

   “Damn that was my last clean shirt of the week.  Oh well it was in a good cause, at least you didn’t throw it over me, which I thought that you might.”

   The words just came out, I had no control over them and they certainly were not what I had expected or wanted to be saying to her.

   “Come on, it was an accident, if I wanted to throw it over you, you would know about it.”

   Somehow I believed her.

   “You’re not angry with me then, I thought that you might be.”

   “Me, angry, now why would you think such a thing?”

   “Because you have been avoiding me at every turn, that’s why.”

   “I have not I just didn’t notice you were there.”

   Was that true? Had she been unaware of my presence and so not avoiding me but just wandering around, enjoying the sights and scents of the party, listening to the music.

   Somehow, it just didn’t feel right, I decided that she had been avoiding me despite her protestations to the contrary, the real question was why?

   There is a lot more to this woman than first meets the eye and some of it seemed quite strange. My instincts told me that on the one hand she liked me, but her actions and reaction told me otherwise. Confused I certainly was, but interested all the same though I could not explain to myself why I was so interested. There was just something about her that drew me in, it had latched on to me and would not let go, in time I could brake down her barriers I was certain, the only real question was would I get the time.

    A good place to start would be by replacing the drink I was currently wearing and so I told her to wait there, that I would be right back. I could feel her eyes following me as I walked towards the drinks tent. When I returned which was a very short while later she was gone. Vanished, departed, clearly my gentlemanly offer to replace her spilt drink had failed to impress.

    Damn it, I needed to spend some time with her if we were ever going to get it together, if she kept on pulling a disappearing act on me then how was that ever going to happen. I had picked tonight as the best opportunity I had to get to know her; in fact I had arranged for the barbecue to be moved up three day’s just for that reason, not that she would know that. Doing so had caused a few problems, but I had no other choice.

   Tomorrow at six a.m. I was sailing with John down the coast to pick up a new racing yacht. I would be gone for a week testing it out and smoothing out any problems. A week at sea with my racing crew was going to be a long time away for me; that though popped into my head un-bidden, it was the first time I had really acknowledged just how much she had got to me. I was putting thoughts of her over thoughts of racing that boat.

   There was no option but to go if I was to have the ‘Fair Maiden,’ ready for the first regatta of the season. The press would be wondering what was going on if I missed that first day. The papers would start to dig and questions would be asked and soon they would discover that I had been lured away by a woman. Then the hunt for her would commence and that would not go down well with her. I already knew that she was a very private woman, so the though of setting here up in front of the vultures with cameras was abhorrent to me. She deserved better from me, much better.

   That was the moment, as coincidence would have it my phone rang. The device trilled an incoming call, but not just any sound, this sound indicated that my head of corporate security was phoning, it was a call that I could not ignore so another cocktail hit the dust or, should I say, sand in this case.

    I stepped away from the gathering, heading into the darkness I slipped past the steel drum band as I slid the phone open and listened. The man on the other end had spent years dinning into me that nothing of any importance should ever be said on a mobile phone and that still applied despite the encryption facility that was being used. I touched the key pad activating the encrypter and a male voice came bursting out of the speaker.

   “Dirk that little matter we discussed that interested you so much.”  The disjointed voice began. “I have the data regarding its location.”

   I listened, feeling interest bloom in my chest and loins.

   “The object has been located; it has been found at the main office and has been there for the last few weeks, under Mr Tenent’s care.”

   I choked in shock at what he had just informed me.

   “I thought that might come as a little surprise to you Sir.” He continued.

  “You’re not wrong there.” I replied my mind racing.

  “Do you want anything doing about the object or should I leave well alone?”

   I had gathered my thoughts together as he spoke, and quickly, as is my wont, I had decided that nothing was to be done, or said for the time being, with his instructions clear and his information passed on he disconnected, he was not one for talking on the phone for one single second longer than he had to.

   The line buzzed its annoying buzz and I shut the device down. I understood exactly what he had meant and now all I had to do was to understand exactly how I might improve my situation by the knowledge.

   Personal matters were filed away, sailing came to the fore and I headed up the beach towards the hotel intending to have a long bath and perhaps a scotch and soda before bed. Gone was the beer drinking Dirk of the beach it had been replaced by the scotch and soda drinking head of a fortune 500 company, it was time to put in an appearance for the press, an appearance they would be eagerly expecting. Jessica Whiting could wait now that I knew exactly what I could do, a plan of action had formulated in my mind as I scrunched up the sandy beach but first I had to return to the real world and collect my new racing boat, then I would see what happened next.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

   Someone was approaching where I was sitting, I lifted my feet out of the water scattering all of the tiny fish away. I turned on to my stomach and crawled up the rock seeking a view out over the beach. Dirk was walking towards me holding something that was trilling in his hand. I knew that it was him as he was perfectly silhouetted against the distant lights of the ongoing beach party. I watched as he lifted the something to his ear, he listened then spoke but he was to far away for me to hear what he had said into the phone. As the call ended I heard the distinctive buzz of an encrypted line, now why would a sailor-man, a tourist guide need an encrypted phone I mused. I thought that he might have known or guessed where I was, but apparently something more important than hunting me down had occurred, because he turned away and walked off towards the hotel.

   How I felt at being replaced in his intentions by a phone call I could not explain to myself, let alone anyone else. There was a strange feeling of loss and confusion, despite my continual avoidance of him, I quite liked being chased by him or rather, I liked the thought of being chased, though not caught by him. A tour guide and me, I did not see it working, I had a career to think of, a new challenging job waiting back home along with a new start; a tour guide, no matter how hot he was, did not enter into my equation.

 

 

Chapter Three.

 

The Third time we met was most unexpected by me.

 

   Week two of my two week long holiday had begun, the sun was high in the air, the gin & tonic I sipped at was perfect, the shade of the beach hut covered most of me as I sat back admiring the sea. High above me wispy clouds floated, effortlessly framing the ocean, adding to the delight. The Bahamas were everything I had expected and much more. The days had blurred since the beach party and each and every one of them had been found lacking. Not because the setting had failed to meet my expectations in anyway, but because the tantalising figure of Dirk had never once appeared.

    By the second day of the second week I had decided that I might like to take a wander down to the harbour, perhaps I thought, in the deeper more lustful parts of my brain that I would see the half-naked male body coiling down a rope, or chatting to Captain John or perhaps even paying attention to me.

   I strolled making my arrival seem to be as casual as it was possible for it to be, I had no intention of letting him know that I was missing his presence. God knows what would happen if I did. I did not trust myself quite far enough to spend time with him and not jump into something I would regret later. The boat mooring point stood up as it had always done so, but the white wide boat of Captain John was not moored to it.

    I looked out to sea wondering if they were out there somewhere, was Dirk showing some leggy blond his hidden cave. I turned and nearly bumbled into an old man carrying fishing nets draped over his shoulders, I decided, spur of the moment, to ask him if he knew where Captain John might be. He looked at me, grinned parting his teeth, revealing too much ancient decay and then he had uttered those heart destroying words.

   “Dey be gone miss, dey sail out last week and be gone.”

   I said thank you and walked on feeling the first pangs of loss flooding through my stomach.

   Located at the end of the jetty across a small access road there was a stone laid pathway that meandered upwards towards a white painted building, which totally dominated the hillside. If you followed the stone pathway upward you arrived at the building. There you found that it had a neat gold lettered sign, which declared that the property was ‘The Bahamian Sailing club, ‘members & guests only’. My hotel manager had told me that if I showed my key-fob at the door, I would be admitted into the club, I was.

   Inside was cool, it had air-conditioning and as I passed through the entrance into the main part of the club, the smell of roast beef hit me, dinner until that point had been the last thing on my mind, but the smell, well, reminded me of home and better times. I headed to the bar, bought half a larger, heavy on the lime and took a menu out onto the ocean facing balcony.

   The roast-beef and Yorkshire type puddings all coated in thick luscious gravy, with peas and broccoli and a scattering of roast potatoes, was every bit as good as it had smelt when I had first entered the bar area. The only thing that might have improved the meal for me was some pleasant hunky male company; say Dirk for instance. He kept popping into my mind at the most inconvenient times, him with his eyes and thighs to die for and his annoying habit of rubbing me up the wrong way whilst being ever so nice.

   I knew that I was doing him a disservice, he had never deliberately tried to rub me up the wrong way, well that was true if I discounted his sarcasm on the boat that one time. Lets face it, I told myself, you treated him rather badly so you deserved what little you got, was it his fault that the plastic bimbo had set her cap at him. No, but he could have been less, well pleasant to her. Don’t be a fool I lectured, being pleasant to her is part of his job and he seemed good at his job. Well he could have shown less interest in her attention, she approached him I rationalised, not the other way about. Damn Jack to hell, he had set me to distrusting all men, something I would need to take a long look at that sometime in the future.

   As it always must the last day of my holiday arrived without me having seen sight or sound of Dirk, despite my having looked around, though tentatively. I awoke early on that last day despite having been quite tired when I had gone to bed. I turned over still half asleep and reached out; there was nobody there to return my greeting. Loneliness is a terrible thing and right then I felt as lonely as a woman can ever be.

    I sat up looking across the bedroom; the blinds were open though the door out onto the balcony was closed. I got out of bed crossing the room, aware of the sinking feeling I felt through my feet with each step on the luxurious carpet. I threw the doors open allowing the fresh sea-breeze to caress my naked body.

    I felt quite safe despite my being quite naked, the sun cast long shadows and the beach was empty and I was on the top floor. Nothing short of a pair of powerful binoculars could threaten my modesty, if someone had taken the trouble to acquire such and had secreted themselves where they might just get such a treat from me, then good luck to them. I was not quite brave or confident enough to step out through the open doorway onto the balcony. There was no point in tempting fate, I turned away from the view and looked at the rumpled sheets, a double bed for one just wasn’t right I decided, but it was all that I had or would have for a while, so I had better get used to it.

   A quick shower and downstairs for a light breakfast of fruit, coffee and bread and I was ready to face the day. I booked a taxi at reception to take me to the small island airport, where a float-plane would be waiting to fly me to the big-island and from there another taxi would take me to the international airport and a long flight back home cramped up in the cheap seats.

   I still had the morning left to enjoy and once again I found myself down at the docks looking along the wooden planking, where to my surprise, rocking gently at its mooring post was Captain John’s boat. I did a double take, there was no one in sight but the boat was back, which might mean that so was Dirk and I possibly could get one last opportunity to see him.  Acting as cool as the proverbial cucumber, I strolled along the decking heading towards the boat. Still there was no one in sight, I was now not even ten feet away from the vessel when a head popped up from beneath the near side and saw me. It smiled a wide happy smile, one set across a deeply sunburned and craggy face.

   “Hi there, can I help you?” Said Captain John as he watched me through slightly screwed up eyes. The sun was behind me and he probably could not tell who I was. I stepped closer wondering what I might say, how I might ask if Dirk was on board.

   “Oh it’s you miss, well hi there, welcome, come on board if you like.” He had pushed himself out of the small hatch in which he had been standing, and had closed it beneath him. I hesitated slightly.

   “I would guess that it is not me that you are down here to see; though it would be mighty flattering to my ego if you were I can tell you.” He was grinning again as he spoke.

   “Dirk isn’t here, he left as soon as we docked saying he had things to do, important things, sorry miss, its Jessica isn’t it?” He asked.

   I nodded feeling disappointment flood throughout my body, I had so hoped that he might be on board. I had struggled with my excitement, which had bloomed in my breast, filling me up, when I had first seen the boat moored. I had to accept the deflation of my hopes at Captain John’s words, because he Dirk was not onboard. Damn him why was he not on board, why did he have to go as soon as they had docked, why hadn’t he waited. ‘For you,’ the little voice of common sense said, ‘you mean why hadn’t he waited for you, don’t be so daft girl, how could he have know that you might want to put in an appearance, how.’ I hated the voice of reason that ruled my life on occasion.

   Dirk I said, I did not come down to see Dirk, I came to see you, I thought it would be nice to be able to say thank you for the trip the other day.”

   “Well that’s very nice of you miss, glad that you enjoyed it so much, I hope that it was memorable!” He smiled again at me. There was a little something about the smile which clearly implied that he had not believed a word of my excuse for being stood by his boat. I turned to go, my disappointment badly hidden from Captain John, I no longer cared what he might think or say to Dirk when he returned. I just wanted to get out of there, to escape and nurse my troubles before the long journey home had to commence.

   I headed slowly back to the hotel where I was called to reception and informed that my taxi would be arriving in two hours, that my flights were all currently as advertised. I said thank you and headed to the bar and a certain lounger I had discovered very early on in my stay, the view was as before quite magical, the gin & tonic perfect and still I found myself moping at not having seen Dirk again.

   ‘You got it bad girl, it’s a good job that you have to leave today because there is no telling what you might have done had you seen him again.’ My little voice of wisdom was right of course but still…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  

   My taxi arrived on time, my cases were dutifully loaded into the car boot and I got into the rear of the car in readiness to depart. Rick the manager appeared at the window which I wound down, he smiled at me and said how it had been a pleasure to have me as his guest and that he hoped to see me again in the near future.

   Not much chance of that I thought as I was back at work from Monday morning. My new job was waiting for me and with it my new life. I worked for a conglomerate, at its head office, I had been there only a week as an introduction before having taken this prearranged trip. I had been rather nervous telling my interviewer about the trip but that had been of little importance; my degree from Cambridge University and my work experience since I had left there had seen me through, so now waiting for me in an office back home in England was my boss, a Mr Tenent. I was to be his Personal Assistant apparently, we had met only twice during the week of my induction, Mary his outgoing P.A. had steered me through his likes and dislikes; Monday morning I started for real. I was both looking forwards too, and nervous of, the coming Monday morning. I had no doubt that I could easily do the job required of me but there is always the question of getting on with the man you have to work so closely with. Every P.A. has a horror story to tell, I hoped that Mr Tenent would not be mine.

   Anyway I was still in the islands and technically that meant I was still on holiday. The taxi driver got in, I heard Rick saying to him to be extra careful as I was a special fare, why he would say such a thing I didn’t know, perhaps this driver had a reputation and he was ensuring my, his guests, safety; perhaps there was another reason one I could not or should not know about. After all it had been Rick that had upgraded my accommodation and very nice it had been. I waved back out the rear window as the taxi pulled off, very carefully I noted. Not how I had seen some of them depart during my stay, no wheel spinning no slewing of the car for me for which I was quite pleased.

   The sea airport or inter island departures was about four mile from the hotel, though not excessively quick I had a most pleasant trip. The driver even unloaded my bags and carried them down to the waiting area, for me. Something I noticed by the looks of disgust I received from the other waiting passengers was not the norm. Thanks Rick I thought, with a slight smile, it was nice to be important even briefly in your life.

   There were two planes waiting, one to either side of a long dock, I found my thoughts flicking towards another such Bahamian dock, with a deep feeling of loss and missed opportunities flooding my mind. I was meandering through my thoughts when the staff started the process of boarding the passengers. I joined the queue and waited my turn for what I expected to be a crumpled up but short flight.

   These craft hold sixteen people when fully loaded there were twelve to board when a man in the air flight uniform of the company approached me, he indicated to the spare craft.  To the evident disgust of the other passengers, he opened the door, offering me a hand to board.  His face was old, wrinkled burnt a deep oak brown, but his smile lit it up and the white regularity of his teeth as they showed, reminded me of the opposite of the other old islander, with his rotted out teeth, bringing back memories of the dire news he had imparted to me about Captain John, his boat, and Dirk.

   I had the pick of the seats being the first passenger to board. I sat to the left giving myself a window view and if I wanted it a view out of the front as well, not that there would be much to see.

   The old man still smiled at me as he closed and secured the door. I looked across at the other waiting plane noticing that two extra passengers were being squeezed into the other plane. What was going on I wondered, how long I would have to wait before we too were loaded. The interior was already getting hot under the baking sun.

   The little fasten your seat belt please sign came on in the aisle and as I pulled the belt around my waist the engine burst into life. I had not realised that the pilot was already on board. He was hidden from my sight by the back of his seat. Slowly the float-plane taxied out onto the ocean water leaving its companion behind.

   The aircraft throttled up, its single engine screamed and the ride became a little bumpy as we accelerated across the open clear water. The lift off came as a sudden change of balance, my stomach dropped away from me as the support from the water beneath our floats vanished, we were in the air, flying towards the long trip home.  The plane climbed effortlessly heading towards the few wispy clouds; we levelled off and flew onwards, I could see the pilot looking back in a little mirror at me, there was something about his eyes something almost familiar.

   “Would you like to sit up front with me Jessica?” The voice called to me, his head turning to look backwards as he spoke. It was Dirk, my Dirk and he was flying the plane, we were alone just him and me at last. I choked back a reply filled with shock at seeing him; I reached down and undid my seatbelt then I stood and walked forward to join him. He was sitting with one hand resting lightly on the steering column, whilst looking back at me intently with those ‘to die for eyes of his’ locked onto my face, whilst his face bore a grin of pure pleasure. He indicated to the co-pilots chair and I sat down, what the hell was going on I wondered, not that I was complaining. Where was the co-pilot and why was Dirk flying me?

   “Have you had a nice holiday Jessica?” He asked me.

   I nodded not trusting my mouth to form and enunciate my reply.

   “I’m glad to hear it, the islands are at there most beautiful at this time of year, try them in a while though and you are quite likely to be stuck in the hotel by a hurricane.”

   “Hurricanes!” I repeated. “I thought they missed the islands?”

   “They mostly do but on occasions they don’t and then everything gets interesting.”

   Only a macho man like Dirk could describe a hurricane tearing through the islands as interesting; though the way he said it didn’t make it sound flippant, just a fact of life to be taken into account and dealt with.

   I found myself wondering what it would be like trapped in the hotel, locked in that delightful suite with Dirk, as the winds and rain battered against the patio window and the sea, turned into a raging storm driven series of enormous waves. The thought somehow appealed to me on a basic level and the how we might spend such a time definably did appeal to me on a more lust-full level. Oh Happy days…

   The conversation continued on much like that, nothing really important got said by either of us, it seemed as thought we were both avoiding the obvious topic. Finally, I just had to interrupt him as he pointed out various little atolls we were flying over; I asked probably not politely, but I asked all the same.

   “Why are you flying the plane?”

   “Because I can!” he replied, with that smile fixed on his face and those eyes sparkling at me from beneath his neat eyebrows.

   “I realise that you can, that’s obvious, I mean why me, why now, why are you the pilot, where are all the other passengers?”

   “Well, its me because it is, the now, well that is because you have another plane to catch, the what fore is because I wanted to and I am back. As for the other passengers there aren’t any. Anything else you would like to know? I could always get out if you would prefer?” He added grinning that grin.

   I wondered if he knew exactly how dangerous to my peace of mind that smile of his was, then he had to go and add in the sparkle of his eyes, just to let me know that he did. If he had not been flying the plane at that moment, little voice in my head or not, I might well have jumped on him there and then, but he was flying and that put a stop to that. No matter how appealing it might have been to jump on him to feel his arms crush me against him, crashing into that clear blue sea was not on the day’s agenda, I hoped.

   He turned away from me looking out of the front screen; the planes nose lowered slightly bringing the coastline of the big island into view. I had eyes for none of what was approaching through the glass, my eyes were fixed laser like on his profile. It was an exemplary profile, his chin was firm and nice, not big, not too small, his nose flowed from a defined male brow to sit perfectly over the most luscious edible pair of lips I had seen in a long time.

   He spoke into the microphone he now held, talking to the local Air Traffic Control, giving our height and position out, and informing them of his intent to land to debark a passenger. ATC responded and clearance to land was given. I had leant forward towards him, he turned and before either of us knew what had happened our lips brushed. The touch sent lightning tingling down through my body, he jerked back slightly before taking control and moving closer.

   The kiss when it happened was like no other I had ever felt. It touched, caressed, engulfed and swamped me, it lasted only the briefest of seconds but it would remain locked in my memory for all time. I was the one that pulled back this time, the little voice was screaming in my head.

   I looked down not wanting to see his reaction, I had taken advantage of him then he had stolen a kiss and now the plane was demanding his attention; our time together was fast slipping away from us both. Gently but firmly he controlled our decent, the floats lined up and kissed the water not as noticeably as our first and probably last kiss had been, but then they were floats not lips. The plane bounced skipping across the water, as we slowed I looked up again. Dirk had all of his concentration fixed on landing us safely he looked to be in control to be the master of the craft, which made me feel good inside, safe in his hands. I looked at his profile again and wondered once more about hurricanes and hotels and this man sitting next to me, then the debarkation dock approached and our time was nearly gone.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

   Everything had gone perfectly to plan until the kiss, I had not intended to take advantage of her during the flight, I had just wanted to have her as a captive audience yes, but only to have some time to show her that I was not everything that she thought that I was. I had for a second nearly told her exactly who and what I was, but instead I had bottled out, something that I could not explain and would never normally do. There is something about this woman that drove me crazy and then our lips had touched; I had been unable to resist so I had stolen a kiss. Now God alone knew I wondered, what she would think about me, what a fool what a damned fool; I hoped that I had not blown it completely with her, only time would tell.

   The radio demanded my attention, there was too little of the flight left to explain or to tell her how I felt about her, as our landing point was fast arriving, and I had responsibilities to meet.

   She had sat back I knew, though what she was thinking I could not tell, she had looked down and away from me so her thoughts were probably not going to be complimentary towards me. She didn’t look angry, though she did look strange, almost distracted somehow. I watched the water approach setting the float-plane onto the perfect entry angle for it to drift up to the dock. The water kissed the floats, the column jerked in my hands forcing me to concentrate and then the plane was down.

   She was looking at me, studying, I smiled at her, hoping. The plane settled deeper into the water drawn down by its lack of speed. The dock slid beneath the wing and the trip was over. A porter waited to unfasten the passenger door. She had pushed herself up out of the seat and was hurrying distractedly towards the exit. I watched as she departed towards the waiting taxi, she half turned towards me waving goodbye and blowing me a kiss; now what did that mean I wondered as I sat back watching her leave.

 

 

 

Chapter 4

 

  Monday morning early.

 

   A nice suit in light grey, flesh coloured tights covered my legs perfectly, my makeup was perfect, neat and subtly right, my hair brushed, styled held in place by hairspray. A neat brown briefcase was tucked under my arm, my mobile phone was in its leather holder securely clipped out of sight beneath my jacket but easily available. I looked exactly how I hoped to look, every inch the perfect P.A, setting out to the office.

   How different I looked today, to how I had looked on my holiday, the professional woman at work had replaced the tourist in her bikini and sarong. The thought brought me back to the float-plane and Dirk. I had blown him a kiss and given him a wave just because I could, a last final farewell and a thank you for our one real kiss. The trip to the airport had been smooth and luxurious probably because I had been lucky enough to get a Mercedes for my taxi with another helpful driver as well.

   Once I had arrived at the airport and my luggage had been put onto a wheeled trolley by the taxi driver, I set off towards departures to check in. My passport got the usual perfunctory glance through it pages and I got the usual longer wishful look from the male examining it, but that soon passed, it was at check out that my run of luck reappeared.

   I had been dreading the long flight home and was wondering whether to try to find a good book to read, when a nice uniformed airport staff member stepped up next to me. She asked me to accompany her and wondering what was wrong, I dutifully followed her. She led me into the First Class lounge and pointed out the facilities available to me. I tried to say to her that I was not entitled to First Class travel, but she disagreed stating, that I was up-graded from economy at no extra cost to myself.

   The flight home had been perfect, everything I could ever have dreamed of, even the food and the champagne were superb along with the service. I relaxed and enjoyed it all, thanking my lucky stars for everything I had received during my holiday and hoping that my luck might continue forever..

   Being a First Class passenger apparently entitled me to free luxury transport to my front door, yet another unexpected perk another sign of my changing fortunes.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

   I entered the office of Mr Tenent, only to discover a perfectly presented young lady sitting at my desk, looking to me as though she belonged there. I introduced myself just as the office door opened and Mr Tenent stepped through it, looking to my mind a little flustered but swiftly getting whatever was bothering him under control.

   “Ah Jessica, there you are, I am afraid there has been a little change of plan, you don’t work here anymore!”

   My mind exploded with fear, I had lost my job and I did not even know what I had done wrong or how I could have done it. Why didn’t I work here any more, I had been trained to work here, I had been told that I was to be employed in this office for Mr Tenent and that he would be my immediate boss; now there he stood in front of me telling me that I did not work here. Confusion reigned, my anger bubbled beneath my perfectly presented exterior. I wondered if this was some sort of stupid joke or a mistake or… Well, what else could it be I puzzled.

   He handed me a letter, which he had pulled out of his inside jacket pocket. I took it as he pointed towards the door whilst he said to me ‘Turn right and go to the end’. Dumbstruck I turned around glanced at my replacement, she who looked as confused as I felt. I exited the office, turned right and walked towards a waiting lift. I stopped next to the door, my hands shaking as I opened the letter Mr Tenent had given to me.

   Dear Miss;  I skipped down to the main body of the letter, something dropped to the floor, I looked down and there resting on the carpet was a small gold coloured key with a tag tied to it, a tag with my name written on it. I picked up the key, turned it over and studied it carefully before returning my attention to the letter.

  

You will please report to the thirty-second floor for induction.

 

   That was what the letter said, no why or because, only a simple instruction to be followed, mysterious, it looked like I had not been fired at least. I pressed the lift call button and the doors parted instantly. The thirty-second floor, I looked and found the correct button and pressed it firmly just once, the doors shut and the lift moved silently upwards. I watched as the little lights flickered on then off with each floor I passed; no one halted the lifts progress, no one wanted to get on board so my trip upwards didn’t last long, nor did it give me any real time to think.

   The doors opened silently into a long corridor. Facing me set against the far wall was a half-moon desk with the obligatory computer screen resting on it and a smartly dressed, efficient looking woman of about thirty-five years old, a name -plate informed me that she was a Mrs Eddis. Before I had said a word she pointed to my right and waved her perfectly manicured fingers in that general direction; she also pressed a button on the console to her right and lent forward.

   “She has arrived Sir, I have sent her on as instructed.” A voice said ‘thank you,’ and then the device clicked off. Mrs Eddis turned her attention back to the computer screen and ignored me to perfection.

   Two could play at that game, if it was a game; I turned away from her and taking a silent but deep breath I strode along the corridor, noting the thick luxurious and obviously expensive carpeting and the individualistic paintings that lining each side of the walls. Without stopping I assessed each, mostly they were classical images ships at sea, trains racing across deserts etc: all very macho but equally bland in their own way.

   The corridor reached a cross junction, in front of me was hung the largest painting of them all; its subject was a man in his middle sixties, dressed smartly, standing half turned looking slightly down towards me, he had what I could only describe as a haughty look about him. Not the nicest stance, but effective and seemingly reflective of the man himself.

   To my right down a short corridor was a door marked security, the door popped open and a middle-aged suited male filled the door way, he pointed towards the other direction. I turned and strode towards the far door; courtesy demands that I knock and wait, but by this point I was both confused and not a little angry and feeling somehow manipulated. I reached out taking a hold of the door-handle, with a swift turn followed by a light push I had the door open, and was entering.

   A secretary sat behind a desk looking up at me and smiling. She, like the woman before her depressed a button and told whoever was on the other end that I had arrived.

   “Great, I will be right out.” Responded the half-heard male voice in reply. Something tickled at my memory, some little something that I thought I should be able to identify wafted through my mind. It and my confusion changed instantly as the only other door within the office space flew open, revealing a man standing back lit by a large window and a strong sun. I blinked, looked away and the man turned back into the room leaving the door wide open. I hesitated slightly then stepped forward, following him. He had his back to me gathering up papers from a large desk set before that even larger window.

   “Grab those files Jessica please, we have to go!”

   The files had been dumped rather haphazardly on a cream stitched leather couch located towards the left side of the room. I approached and gathered them together picking them up whilst trying to retain a sound grip on my briefcase. I turned and he was by the door looking at me.

   “Come on girl, we don’t have much time, everyone will be waiting for us by now!” Then he was gone, I followed as he exited into the outer office, thoughtfully having wedged the door open for me to follow him. There was no sunlight casting him into shadow, no darkness hiding him from my sight. I looked up and halted my hurried walking; the secretary looked up noting my reaction.

   His face, his eyes, his perfect nose over luscious lips exploded in my thoughts. His name followed instantly. Dirk my Dirk stood before me, looking both happy and hassled all rolled into one.

   “Come on Jessica we will be late, I don’t have time to explain right now ~ we have to go!”

   I sucked in a breath, I had forgotten to breath and now I needed that breath. An image of a man in shorts leading me deeper into the depths of an ocean, there to show me a cavern filled with nature’s gems over rode my anger at his presence, and the lies he had to have told me over the two weeks of my holiday. I followed Dirk down the corridor; the man who had so easily filled the security-office door fell into step saying to my surprise,

   “Good morning Sir, then he half turned to face me and said “Good morning Jessica and how nice it is to meet you in person at last.”

   Then we were silently walking as fast as seemed possible along the corridor with Dirk leading the way. Mrs Eddis was standing by the lift holding the door open for us, we entered, I looked at Dirk, he in return flashed those wondrous eyes of his at me and mouthed two words, ‘Later Jessica’.

 

Oh how my world changed from that day on…

                                                                             The End.

 

You may be interested to know that the tale you have just read was the first few chapters of a book submitted and sadly refused by Mills & Boon. It seemed such a waste of a lovely budding romance that I felt it deserved to see the light of day, I hope you enjoyed it  as for the rest of this tale that would require a change of heart by m&b, something I can not see happening unless you the romance readers of the world make your voices heard.

                             David Stevens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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