“I love being here with you, like this...” Joel murmured, snuggling up to Lisa in the guesthouse bed. It was Thanksgiving week, so school was often out a little early and they’d been spending many hours in that bed.
Lisa pulled Joel closer, hugging him tight. “Me too...I’m going to miss you so much when you’re gone... I want you to go – now more than ever, after what happened – but I’m going to miss you so much,” Lisa said, running her fingers through Joel’s hair.
Joel sighed, looking into Lisa’s eyes. “There’s something I haven’t told you about. I was hoping it could be a surprise. It’s still up in the air, but... I went to see your dad while you were at work a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to get him to let you go with me to Australia.”
Lisa snorted. “I love you for trying, but there’s not a fucking chance he’d ever...” Lisa’s voice trailed off, as she noticed Joel’s smile.
“He gave me a maybe. I think his remaining hang up is Trev’s father and the bombing thing. He said he wouldn’t let you go because he could try again. But, I think he meant on Atlantis, and from what Trev said, Atlantis will take a long time to fix.”
Lisa blinked in amazement. “Australia... with you, and to see Trev... oh, Joel! That would be so awesome. But, where would we stay if not on Atlantis?”
“Your dad won’t let you go for too long. One of the things I had to agree to was sending you to New Jersey before New Years. You’d have just over a week in Australia – I already made the reservations, but my dad won’t go through with it until your father agrees. I’ve got more than enough money left over from the charter to set us up with a motel if we need it. I’m hoping that if we won’t be on Atlantis, he’ll give his okay.”
“New Jersey? If it’s like last New Year’s, we’ll sit around with grandma and a couple of her friends, listening to them talk about their health problems. I have to leave Australia for that?” Lisa paused for a moment. “Still, a week would be so awesome! Do you really think Daddy will agree?”
Joel shrugged one shoulder. “I wish I knew. If Trev’s father is in jail by then, I think he would, but maybe he’d take us staying somewhere other than Atlantis, if not.”
Lisa wrinkled her brow. “Joel, the pirates! Daddy will probably stop me for sure if he finds out that somebody’s been trying to kill Trev again.” Lisa shuddered and paused for a moment, and then smiled thoughtfully. “But, Trev did ask that we not tell anyone at all, right? That would include Daddy. And it’s what Trev wants and needs, right?” Lisa said, giving Joel a very innocent smile, along with a wink.
Joel cringed. “Yeah, and if your father ever finds out, he’s going to kill me. But I did promise Trev, so... let’s see what we can do. I think Trev needs us both. I’ve learned a lot about sailing from him, enough to understand some of what he must have gone through in the Southern Ocean. Lisa, he was afraid to go anywhere near it when we were in the Med and talking about routes, and that was with Atlantis working and having all her parts. He’s been through hell, and that’s without people trying to kill him. We’re also the only family he has now.”
Lisa shuddered, trying to imagine Trevor’s ordeals. “I’d want to go more than anything anyway, but that makes it for sure. I’ll start working on Daddy tonight. Can your dad’s air tickets get us to that little town Trev’s at? I looked it up on a map; it’s in the middle of nowhere! And he can’t sail Atlantis down to Perth, or anywhere, to pick us up.”
Joel shook his head. “Not a chance. Perth is the closest. I’ll start looking into it. Maybe Trev can rent a car or something. One way or the other, we’ll find a way.”
Lisa angled her head. “What kind of baggage allowance do we get? We’ll probably need to take Trev some parts and stuff, and we’ve got to take him plenty of tortilla chips.”
“It’s still two suitcases and a flight bag each,” Joel said, scratching his head. “Trev should have a phone in a couple of days, so we’ll figure out what he needs from here then. Tortilla chips for sure though, and some stuff for Christmas. At least we’ve got a place we can stick stuff and start packing it.”
Lisa frowned, and pulled Joel close. “He loves that boat so much, it must be tearing him up with her in such a state. I’ll feel a lot better when he has the phone so we can talk to him more often, and I’ve talked to him myself. Do you really think he’s doing okay?”
Joel sighed. “He’s shook up bad, I can tell. Who wouldn’t be?”
“He wouldn’t have been out there, if not for his father. Even if he didn’t try to blow Trev up, he’s still responsible for Trev nearly dying out there,” Lisa said, darkly.
“Trev should be calling you tonight... are you going to tell him you’re going, or wait until we’re sure?” Joel asked.
“I’m not superstitious, but I don’t want to jinx it,” Lisa replied, playing with Joel’s hair. “When would we be leaving... and which way would we go, east or west?”
“December 21st, a Wednesday. The day before is the last day either of us have finals. It goes from Miami to Los Angeles, then to Sydney, then to Perth, and arrives there at noon on the 23rd.”
Lisa blinked. “That’s a month from now; we’ll need to get started packing soon, for Trev’s stuff anyway. Let’s set up a suitcase for stuff for Trev – no point in me packing my clothes until we know I can go. We’d better do that here, otherwise it’s going to raise questions about why Trev needs a load of stuff for Atlantis.”
“We’ll find a way,” Joel said, hoping that they could.
Bridget slapped her palm down onto her desk in frustration as the latest tape came to an end. “Those two little... They talk about the town where Trevor is, though they omitted the name! Sanchez needs the name.”
“They’re sure to mention it soon, and it’s a good thing you didn’t go through with booting them from the guesthouse,” George replied, from the comfort of an overstuffed chair. He wasn’t really focused on what Bridget was saying; his mind was busy examining what he’d heard on the tape.
Bridget scowled, and then her frown eased as she searched for, and found, a map of Australia. “Perhaps... they might have said enough. They have certainly narrowed down the area. They said Trevor would have to go down to Perth, so that means he is most likely north of there, and if transportation is an issue, a considerable distance is involved. If he is with Atlantis, he is on the coast. Joel mentioned the Southern Ocean, so Trevor would have most plausibly been approaching Australia from the southwest. My guess then... is somewhere in or near here,” Bridget said decisively, jabbing her bony finger at Geraldton, three hundred miles down the coast from Carnarvon. Then, in a less certain voice, she tapped her finger lightly, a few inches higher on the screen. “Or perhaps here, in Kalbarri. It looks smaller, so a better fit. Or perhaps south of Geraldton...”
George leaned in close. “I’ve worked many cases with maddening clues like these. You have something, but not enough, so you build guesses on guesses.” George leaned back, suddenly looking very pleased with himself. “We don’t know where Trevor is, other than probably somewhere in Western Australia. But, we know something far more useful.” Bridget sat back, staring at George in puzzlement, so George continued, “We know that either Lisa and Joel will go to him, or he’ll meet them at the airport. We also know that they are already talking about putting together some parcels for Trevor.”
Bridget thought for a few moments, and replied, “I’m afraid I don’t quite follow.”
George gave Bridget a proud grin. “We know the day and time they are arriving in Perth, so Sanchez can let his people know. All they need to do is be there, and either Trevor will show up, or they will go to him, and we’ll likely know which well in advance. A tracking device could make this foolproof. Or, another method: the Aussies have some damn strict drug laws. I’ll bet they’d frown on someone arriving with half a kilo of coke, and it’d be easy to find if someone phoned in with an anonymous tip.”
Bridget began to smile. “Brilliant, my dear. That opens up some interesting options indeed.”
Trevor awoke in the familiar cold sweat several times, the memories of pirates and drowning newly fresh. Eventually, he slept less fitfully, only to wake up startled, his heart pounding, at the sound of footsteps.
“Trevor, are you here?” Ned called out from the cockpit, and then tapped on the salon door.
“Yeah, I’ll be right out,” Trevor replied, pulling on the tattered shorts and walking into the salon, and then into the cockpit. He shook Ned’s hand and said with a sleepy smile, “I guess I slept in.”
“I’m here a bit early, because I thought you’d like some good news; it took some doing, but your insurance company’s claims agent gave me preliminary approval to tow Atlantis to my yard and begin some emergency stabilization work. They’ll be sending an independent assessor up from Perth in a couple of days – that’s normal in a case like this – but they’ve spoken to the customs’ guys and seem willing to go ahead. I did imply that the costs of delay would be high, because I mentioned the leaks but forgot to tell ‘em that you’re keeping up by hand pumping,” Ned reported, with a sly wink.
“Great, thank you! So, what happens now?”
“At first light tomorrow, it should be calm, almost no wind, so we can use my skiff to tow Atlantis around to my yard. I’ll need you at her helm, but it should be an easy run. Once we’re there, I’ll put in the temporary bilge pumps I talked about. I’ll clear a berth for her today, so even if we need a larger boat for the tow, we’ll get her in. So, that’s the good news. The rest is kind of a mixed bag... I brought up the idea of getting you into a catering hotel, and at the moment they’re saying no, because that’s not covered. They don’t know you’re still staying aboard Atlantis – I told them she’s uninhabitable, which by any rational standard she is – so don’t tell them that you are, or they’ll want you to stay put and pay you nothing for it. I did bring up the subject of the rental replacement clause, and they acknowledged it. I’m supposed to provide them with three quotes, which I’ll do as soon as I dig up some owners willing to rent. You might have to settle for a monohull, but it’ll be a damn nice one,” Ned replied.
Trevor shrugged. “Don’t worry about that too much. I like being on Atlantis, even the way she is. I’ll cope.”
Ned shook his head. “You’ll be shortchanging yourself, and don’t forget; you can’t live aboard while I’m doing glasswork or have her hauled out; it’s against the safety rules, and that’d get me in trouble with my insurance and the local authorities. It’s also just not a good idea, so you’ll need a place for a while. Besides, do you really want to spend months kicking around Carnarvon?”
“I guess it can’t hurt to look into it,” Trevor replied resignedly.
Ned saved the worst for last. “Your insurance will insist on you handling the two percent of hull value deductible, and they’re saying the insured value is six hundred thousand American. So, that’d be twelve thousand American you’d be out of pocket. I said I’d fudge that a bit, and I can, but if my hard estimate matches my guess, I’d be able to go half, no more. That’s the best I can do.”
Trevor cringed. He had far more than six thousand, but he knew he’d need it for his voyage and for when he returned home. However, he could see no options. “I can manage that, I guess. When do you need it?”
Ned waved his hand dismissively. “Not soon, a few weeks would be fine. Let’s get the project well underway first. Have you been able to check any of my work yet?”
Trevor grinned. “That I did. I had a look in the Kookaburra; she’s awesome. I love the look of the salon, and all the modern gear.”
“I’d love to know how you managed that, with that arsehole Shane aboard.”
Trevor’s jaw clenched, but then he replied calmly, “Shane and I had... kind of a disagreement, but we’re okay now. He gave me a full tour and we hung out for a while. I’ve got no problems with him now.”
Ned shrugged. “If I were you, I’d watch my back around him. He’s bad news, and I think the Blakes are crazy for trusting him, and I’ve told them so a few times. Anyway, I’m still making arrangements to get you aboard the Star Child and the Phoenix, and we can go see the Canberra the next time you’re at my yard.”
“I’d like that, for the ideas... but as far as your work goes, I liked what I saw, a lot.”
“Thanks,” Ned said, with a broad, proud smile. “I’ll be off then.”
Trevor waited until Ned had gone, and went ashore, shampoo in hand, heading for the yacht club and his call to Lisa.
The call was put through, and when Lisa picked up, Trevor said, “Hi Lisa, it’s me –”
“Trev! Oh my God, I’ve been pacing, waiting for you to call. Joel told me... what happened. We were so freaked out. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine now that I’m here, but Atlantis is... a disaster. How are you doing? And congratulations on the engagement!”
There was a long pause, and then Lisa replied quietly, “Thanks, I’ve never been so happy, but... are you sure you’re okay? Joel told me...”
“I’m fine, honest... I’m at the yacht club right now, using their phone, but Joel is sending me a new cell, so I’ll be able to call easier and at better times. Tell your dad I’m sorry for calling so late,” Trevor said.
“Daddy is fine with the call. I just told him you got to Australia, nothing else. Oh, Joel said the phone is being express-shipped directly to you, and should be there in about three or four days.”
“That’s great! I have a favor to ask; could you see what you can find out about my mother’s family? I can’t remember much, other than she grew up in Northam, which is inland of Perth. Dad wanted me to go to Perth and meet the relatives in December, but I figured I’d look ‘em up a little early–”
Lisa interrupted to say, “I went to the county records office a few weeks ago. Marriage licenses are public records, so I got a copy, but all I can tell you right now that your mother’s maiden name was Smith, which you already knew, and her place of birth is listed as Western Australia, something else you already knew.”
“Oh great, that makes it easy. I just need to look up everyone in Western Australia named Smith,” Trevor said, and then gave a defeated sigh.
“What about your dad, Trev? He said he’d put you in contact with them and he wanted you to go to Australia. He’s still on the run, but that can’t last forever. Once he’s caught, have someone go ask him how to get in touch with them,” Lisa said, already planning to take matters into her own hands, if the opportunity arose.
Trevor looked out the window, sighing again. “I’m stuck here until Atlantis is repaired and that’s going to take months. Maybe I can get a message to him via Jim’s office, or hopefully that mess will all be sorted out soon, but what am I going to do in the meantime?”
“First question: are you okay for money?”
“Yeah, for now... that’s one thing they didn’t find,” Trevor replied. His eyes opened wide as he remembered something important. “Lisa, please see if you can get my debit card canceled. The pirates have it. They don’t have the PIN, but...”
“I’ll go to your bank first thing tomorrow. Okay, so, your main problem is that, worst case, you’re in Australia with time to do whatever you want. Do you have any fucking idea how much I wish I had that problem? You’re in Australia, you idiot! If you have to, just do some sightseeing. I’d do anything to trade places with you,” Lisa said, trying to cheer Trevor up.
Trevor laughed. “You do have a point, but remember I’m in a small town, hundreds of miles from anywhere with no wheels.”
“So find some transportation until Atlantis is fixed. Joel said they got your wallet, so we figured you’d need a new driver’s license. Good news on that: the motor vehicle department has a replacement order system online, and all we needed that we didn’t have was your driver’s license number. But, Joel sweet-talked that out of your insurance agent, so we ordered you a new one, and it’ll be sent to the yacht club. It’ll take about ten days to two weeks, though.”
Trevor smiled; it was another small step towards getting his life back “Thanks, that’s awesome.”
Lisa was silent for a while, and then asked, “Are you okay, Trev, really? You sound kinda different; you hesitate between words sometimes.”
Trevor smiled. “Yeah, I’m fine now, Lisa. I’m just getting used to talking again; I was alone for months. It was touch and go for a while, but now that I’m back on dry land, I’m fine. Atlantis is hurt bad though; they stripped her and took everything. I think she’ll be okay, but it’s going to take time.” Trevor paused for a few seconds, and then added, “I’ll be able to call a lot more once I get the cell. I’m not sure how private this is. Uh, please don’t tell anyone about what happened or where I am, not until I figure out what’s going on.”
“We won’t tell anyone. So far, all that Joel’s parents and my father know is that you’re in Australia and safe, not what happened, or where you are. Oh, another thing: make up a list of stuff Joel can bring when he comes to visit – for you and for Atlantis. He’ll have at least two suitcases of space and more if you need it.”
Trevor blinked in surprise. “Lisa... you didn’t call Atlantis a tub. Are you feeling okay?”
“She’s hurt, so I’m being nice. Once she’s fixed, I’ll go back to calling her a tub,” Lisa replied, with a laugh.
Lisa and Trevor talked for a while, and Lisa caught Trevor up on some of the goings-on at home, and then what she’d heard about the manhunt for Dirk and Jim.
Trevor glanced at Joel’s old, damaged watch, and wet his finger so he could read it. He hadn’t set it to local time yet, but he could see that he’d been on the phone a while. “Thanks Lisa, it’s been so great hearing your voice again.”
“Call soon, okay?”
“Will do, as soon as I get the cell, if not before. And congratulations!”
After the call, Trevor went to pay, and then walked out into the sun, feeling suddenly very alone. Then, with a smile, he walked back to the small park east of the marina, and stopped at the beach shower for a wash.
Dripping, Trevor headed for the Kookaburra. As he approached along the dock, he remembered Shane’s demeanor when woken, so it was with some trepidation that Trevor tapped on the hull and called out, “Shane, are you up?”
“Yeah,” came a sleepy reply, and soon Shane emerged on deck, wearing the same short, tattered cutoffs he’d worn the day before. “Come aboard and come in, Trev. You don’t need to stand on the dock,” Shane mumbled, and then scratched at his unruly hair.
“I remember your grouchy bastard mode, so I figured I’d play it safe,” Trevor said, chuckling as he hopped aboard. He stopped in the cockpit and pointed at his shorts. “I just took a shower so I’m still dripping wet. I’ll stay out here.”
Shane nodded, his eyes half-closed. “Thanks... and don’t worry about my grouchy bastard mode; now I know you, I won’t react that way.” Shane rubbed his jaw, “And if I need any reminders not to do that to you, that right cross of yours is one I won’t soon forget. Hey, have you eaten?”
Shane angled his head. “Tell ya what... hang out on deck and dry off while I shower to wake myself up, then I’ll fix us coffee and brekkie. We’re still going around town today, right?” Shane asked.
Trevor smiled as he remembered that ‘brekkie’ means ‘breakfast’ in Australian. “Yeah, I’ve got to get some new shorts, at least,” Trevor replied, turning around and flicking his thumb at the partially-open rip.
“Not a sight to inflict on the half-awake, you bastard,” Shane quipped, chuckling. “I’ll get you a pair of mine so you won’t have to go around the shops with your arse hanging out.”
“Thanks,” Trevor said, jumping down onto the dock. “I’ll run my shampoo back to Atlantis, then come back. That’ll dry me off.”
“Just come on in, it’ll be open,” Shane replied, as he moved to the rail and watched Trevor walk away before heading back inside.
When Trevor returned twenty minutes later, he jumped aboard Kookaburra and Shane came out of the salon, wearing a towel low around his hips, which Trevor found very distracting.
Shane led Trevor inside, and handed him a cup of coffee. Trevor took a drink and smiled. “Man, that’s good. This is the first one I’ve had since...” Trevor let his words trail off.
Shane blinked in mock surprise. “What? I believed you about the jury rigging and everything else, but if you tell me you made the voyage across the Indian Ocean without a coffee that’s just fucking impossible, mate.”
Trevor laughed hard, shaking his head. “Well I did, so there.”
Shane set out toast and cereal. “Some things are just not possible... speaking of which, I’m betting you’ve never tried Vegemite?”
“I’ve heard of it, but never tasted it.”
“Another glaring lack you’re about to have corrected,” Shane said, buttering some toast and then spreading on a thin layer of thick, dark brown spread from a small jar. “Here, eat this,” he said, handing Trevor the toast.
Trevor took a careful bite, tasting the slightly salty, tangy Vegemite. “That’s... different, but kinda good. It’s sort of like concentrated brown gravy with salty coffee added.”
Shane laughed, spreading his own toast. “That’s a unique way of putting it. It’s made from yeast, and we do use it for making sauces and stuff, but it’s mainly for toast and sandwiches – and scaring foreigners.”
“I’ll bet it works great for both,” Trevor replied with a chuckle.
After breakfast, Shane nodded up the stairs towards the salon. “There’s a pair of shorts on the sofa. It’ll only take me a minute to get dressed,” Shane said as he walked into the starboard forward cabin.
Trevor bounded up the galley stairs to the salon and picked up the pair of faded black flame-print boardshorts that Shane had left for him. He quickly shed the holey shorts and pulled on the boardies, and then transferred his money to them.
Trevor set the castoff shorts on the sofa, and began looking around the salon, examining the fine woodwork.
After a few minutes, Trevor heard Shane’s footsteps on the galley stairs and turned to look, blinking in surprise as he saw Shane, with his hair neatly combed, wearing a pale blue polo shirt, canvass belt, and almost-new Levies over a worn pair of white hi-tops. “You look different,” Trevor mumbled.
Shane laughed at Trevor’s surprised expression. “I want to make use of our trip into town. For the past few days I’ve been writing up a résumé, and last night I printed some out. Now I’m eighteen I figure I’ve got a better shot at landing a job, so I dressed in my best outfit so I can do some applying while we’re out and about. I figured I’d need to do something better than my regular gear, which is a pair of old shorts.”
“Thanks for lending me these, they’ll be great,” Trevor said,
“I’d offer you a shirt but the only other I have – besides the one I’m wearing – is a grungy old T, and it hasn’t been washed since the last time I wore it. You don’t need one though: Carnarvon is a tropical beach town, so shorts are fine. That’s pretty much all I ever wear. Good thing too: there wasn’t a lot of room in my pack for much else.”
“What kind of job are you after?” Trevor asked.
Shane shrugged. “Whatever I can get. I’d like to be a tradie, such as a chippie,” Shane said, using the Australian word for ‘carpenter’. “I’m pretty good with tools. But I can’t afford to be choosy right now, so anything for a dollar. It’s just for a few months – until the charter season starts – but I need the money, plus something to add to my thin résumé. I can’t count on the Blakes forever, and I need some way to start getting on my feet. Crewing is fun but it’s not a stable living so I figure I need to find a trade.” Shane glanced at the holey shorts. “There’s a bin pullout to your left, if you want to get rid of those.”
Trevor shook his head. “I’m keeping them. They were all I had for over a month, and they’re one of the damn few things I’ve got left from... before.”
Shane gave Trevor a smile and a nod. “I can understand that, mate. Okay, let’s lock up and I’ll show you about Carnarvon.”
Shane locked up the Kookaburra, and with his skateboard and résumés in hand, they set off, walking in the warm sun, past the yacht club and the bank, to the sporting goods store.
Trevor shopped while Shane filled in a job application and stapled his resume to it, turning it in with a smile.
When Shane returned to Trevor’s side, he saw that Trevor already had a few things selected. “Nice boardies,” he said, with a nod of approval at the two pairs Trevor had picked out.
Trevor lowered his voice. “This place is kinda expensive, so I’m getting just what I need for now.”
“It’s the only place in town that sells skateboards,” Shane said, glancing over to the display, and then angling his head in thought before adding, “There’s a swimwear shop up near Woollies and this place is on our way back, in case you don’t find anything there.”
Trevor limited his selections to the two pairs of boardshorts. He looked at the shoes, shuddering at the prices, and then picked out a single blue t-shirt off the discount rack, and turned his attention to the skateboards. The selection was limited, but Trevor had his eye on one already, which had a deck painted in the colors of the Australian flag, with a large rendering of the Southern Cross. He checked the deck material, then the trucks and wheels. It was expensive, but Trevor’s old one had been as well; he knew the cheap ones didn’t stand up to hard use.
Trevor took his purchases to the cashier’s desk. The cashier, a girl Trevor’s own age, smiled at him, giving his bare chest a brief but admiring glance. “Will this be all?” she asked, in a demure tone, as Trevor put his armload of items on the counter.
“Yes, thanks,” Trevor replied, standing proud, enjoying the attention he was receiving, ‘too bad she’s a girl,’ he thought, returning her smile.
The clerk blinked a few times, recognizing Trevor’s accent. “You’re American, aren’t you?” she asked, and Trevor nodded. The clerk blinked again, glanced at Shane, and then looked back at Trevor, studying his face. “You’re him, aren’t you?”
“Him who?” Trevor asked, already dreading the answer.
“The bloke who was attacked by pirates and then sailed all the way here,” she said, in hushed, almost reverent tone.
“Uh, I had a little trouble, but the rumors going around are sorta exaggerated,” Trevor said, suddenly feeling very uncomfortable.
“You’re still hurt,” the clerk said, reaching out to gently graze Trevor’s chin, just below the tiny cut on his still-slightly-swollen lower lip.
Trevor took an awkward step back. “Ah, I got that after I got here, I bumped into something... thick. Uh, I’ve got an appointment in a few minutes...” Trevor said, glancing at his items on the counter.
The clerk took the hint and began ringing up the order. “Come back any time, I’d love to hear all about what happened,” she said, letting her eyes roam obviously over Trevor.
The total came to just over three hundred and fifty Australian dollars, and Trevor forced himself to keep smiling as he counted out the money and took his change and bags.
“Come back soon,” the clerk called, as Trevor hurried out the door, right behind Shane.
“So my head’s thick, is it?” Shane said, giving Trevor a grin and a playful light punch in the arm. He nodded back towards the sporting goods store, and in a quieter voice, added, “You’re nuts if you don’t go back, that chick is into you in a big way and she’s a looker.”
Trevor set his new skateboard down, choosing his words with care. “She’s not into me, she’s into the guy who got hit by pirates – big difference.”
Shane gave Trevor a thoughtful look as they set off, riding their boards on the sidewalk, and then Shane replied, with a roll of his eyes, “I saw how she was looking at you before she heard your accent and twigged to who you are. Besides, who cares? She’s hot, and I know you can’t have scored since you left your last port.”
“Just not my style, I don’t like one-night-stands,” Trevor said, wishing that he could think of a way to change the subject.
Shane chuckled. “I’m kind of the opposite. I’ve picked up a few girls – tourists – at the pubs here. Sometimes it was just for a night, other times for a few nights, and that’s the way I like it: no commitments. I don’t like to get attached, because I know I mightn’t be in the area for much longer.” Shane glanced at Trevor and added, in a less boisterous tone, “It’d hurt if I got attached to a girl then have to move on, so this way there’s no worries.”
“Did you see what I meant, about most everybody I meet has heard of me?” Trevor asked, in a bid to detour the conversation, making sure not to show his severe disappointment at the fact that Shane was attracted to girls.
“I got that. You’re about to be famous, and that’s a good thing.”
Trevor reminded himself that Shane only knew part of the story, and nothing about the bomb or the issues with his father. “I can’t be, not yet. I just need a little time to get my head straight, that’s all. I was alone for a long time, so the idea of being the center of attention isn’t high on my list, at least not for a couple of days.”
Shane turned to give Trevor a puzzled look. “You might be passing up a good thing, mate... you don’t want to do that.”
Trevor wished that he could level with Shane, but decided that the fewer people who knew the whole truth, the better. However, Trevor felt the need to add at least a small justification for his evasiveness, “Shane, I can’t talk about it right now, but part of the reason I left was some trouble at home, and that’s a big part of why I don’t want reporters around,” Trevor said, hoping that Shane wouldn’t press for details.
Shane gave Trevor a puzzled look, and after a few moments, said, “I think I can understand that, real well, especially if it’s trouble with the law.” A few moments later, as they skated further into town, Shane pulled to a stop and faced Trevor, who came to a halt beside him. Shane looked down, his shoulders slumping. “Oh... uh, about that... When you were telling me your story, I got the idea that I could make a few dollars off it by writing a short piece on it and flogging it to some newsies – I like to write, and I can turn a phrase when the need arises, so I typed up a piece. Anyway, that was when I still thought you’d love basking in the fame and would be making some serious money yourself. Just so you know, I’ve just chucked that idea, because you don’t want any publicity. I couldn’t do that to a friend, even a new one.”
“Thanks Shane,” Trevor said, a smile creeping onto his face. “That means a lot.”