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Never walk alone - 1. Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - Sorrow and Happiness

Andrew Devlin-Major raised his face into the wind blowing in his dark hair, relishing the warmth of the mid-morning sun. He was tall and lanky, just over 6 ft or 1.8m tall with wide shoulders from swimming and surfing, and a narrow waist. His face, like his body, was long and narrow, but pleasingly so, with brown, tawny-flecked eyes that held just a trace of sadness, a straight, well-shaped nose and full red lips. He was good looking as opposed to drop-dead handsome, but in Andrew, as everyone who knew him was aware, his beauty came from within. He had been blessed with the sunniest of dispositions and a caring nature second to none. He wore navy blue, knee-length pants, a white golf shirt and navy blue deck shoes, and stood, knees slightly bent on the foredeck of the sailing yacht 'Belle Catherine' as it sailed through the cold waters of Table Bay, off Cape Town.

Their position was roughly in the centre of the passage between Robben Island to starboard, or right, and the picturesque beach suburb of Bloubergstrand (Blue Mountain Beach) on the port side, heading for their home base in the Waterfront Marina. It was the final leg of a four day charter with six guests, that had taken them up the West Coast, calling in at several small fishing ports along the way and finishing up at Salhdana Bay. On the return trip, they spent a day at the Langebaan Lagoon and then sailed south heading back to Cape Town.

The only other person on board, apart from himself and the six guests, was, as far as Andrew was concerned, the most important - Ryan, his partner in business and life and Andrew's foil in every way. They had been married for just over a year and although there had been problems, one serious, they were closer than ever and blissfully happy . Where Andrew was just good looking, Ryan was the classically handsome, blonde, blye-eyed hunk. Slightly shorter than Andrew, standing just under 6 ft in his socks, he too had wide shoulders as a result of some sailing in his youth and his toned body hinted at his sailing exploits as well. He had short blonde hair that had just a hint of ginger that showed when he was in the sun and striking sapphire blue eyes, high cheekbones, a straight nose, strong jawline and well-shaped mouth that always seemed to be smiling. His fair complexion was lightly tanned and for a blonde, he was quite hairy, with golden blonde hairs on his arms and legs, and a hint of fur curling in the V of his golf shirt. He had caused many hearts to flutter, both female and male, but for Ryan, his heart belonged to only one person, and that was Andrew.

They had been a couple for almost ten years having met up again while at university, Andrew studying Hospitality Management while Ryan studied Business Management. They had played together as children, their parents having homes right next door to one another, but both had gone to different boarding schools as seniors and didn't see much of one another until their meeting at university. They were inseparable at varsity and shared an apartment off campus.

A few weeks after graduation, Andrew was devastated when Ryan dropped the bombshell that he wanted to go to Europe and work. He was interested in finding a position on board one of the luxury motor yachts cruising in the Mediterranean. Andrew had just been offered, and accepted, a management position with a large hotel group and felt he could not go with Ryan. So, for four long years, they had conducted a long distance relationship with almost daily Skype conversations, and two trips for Andrew to see him during the winter off-season. The second of the trips had been a difficult one.

Andrew, an only child, had been heartbroken when his parents had both been killed in a multi-vehicle collision on the freeway after an articulated truck had jackknifed in pouring rain and hail. Ryan had not been able to attend the funeral, as he was in the mid Atlantic, assisting with the delivery of the yacht he had been working on to the Caribbean for it's new American owner. He had cried with Andrew during their Skype calls over those harrowing days and as soon as they reached St.Maarten, where the yacht was to be based, he made arrangements to fly back home. The most convenient route to Cape Town from St.Maarten was either with KLM via Amsterdam or Air France via Paris with connections in either city with an overnight stop. He chose KLM and on exiting from Customs and Immigration at Schipol, was almost bowled over by a very emotional Andrew, who had hastily arranged to fly to Amsterdam when told of Ryan's plans. It was a bittersweet reunion, both weeping over Andrew's parents death, and their joy at being back together again. Ryan had a few weeks vacation prior to joining another yacht, and with northern Europe becoming rather chilly, they headed south for Ryan's stomping ground, and in particular, the Greek Islands.

They found an Air B&B cottage on Santorini at a reasonable price due to the off season that had direct access to the beach and was close to the village shopping and dining out. There, Ryan held Andrew as he wept and when he was cried out, they lay on and in the bed, or on one of the comfortable sunbeds on the patio, cuddling and talking and whispering sweet nothings. Or laying on the beach, with its black volcanic sand, soaking up the winter sun and just holding hands. And there, with Ryan at his side, Andrew began to find peace and acceptance for his loss. It was also there, on the day before Andrew was due to fly back to Cape Town, that he dropped his own bombshell. He told Ryan that he had inherited everything from his parents and that he was now quite well off.

"What exactly does quite well off translate into?", Ryan queried. Andrew had the grace to look embarrassed.

"Well, how does multi millions grab you?" Ryan's eyes got as big as saucers.

"You are kidding me! Really? I knew your parents were comfortable, but jeez, not that comfortable". Andrew became quiet, memories flooding his thoughts.

"Mom and dad were never really ones to throw money around or flaunt it. Dad worked had to establish his company and I know I wanted for nothing. He made some brilliant investments over the years and according to the will it all had to be liquidated on the death of the surviving spouse. With both of them gone, the executors of their estate managed to sell the company to an international consortium for a multimillion dollar price and now it's all mine, albeit most of it in a trust. All eighty seven million dollars!", his voice catching in this throat and sniffing.

Ryan stared at him, his mouth agape. "Eighty seven million US! Good grief, Drew, that's over 1.2 billion Rand! You're a little more than just well off. I'd say you are fucking wealthy!"

Andrew looked at him forlornly. "This isn't going to make a difference to us is it?", he asked softly. Ryan pulled him up from the couch where they had been sitting.

"No, it's not. Unless you allow it to. I can't say I am not intimidated by a boyfriend who is a billionaire. Fuck, I can't believe I'm actually saying that, but I think I know you well enough to know that it's not going to change you. If anything, it will make you an even better person, and I'll have more to love", he said, kissing him on the nose.

"But I don't want you to feel intimidated. I want us to be together forever and I want to share that wealth with you. I don't want it to be a barrier between us. I've just lost my parents. If I lost you as well, it would be meaningless. My life would be meaningless!"

Ryan suddenly realised just how much Andrew's parents death had affected him. He had never been an insecure person. He had always, for as long as Ryan had known him, been self assured and confident. But at that moment, in the Greek islands, he was anything but. His confidence had taken a massive hit and it was going to take patience, time and love to get it back again. Right then, Ryan decided that he was going home. The most important person in his life was hurting and needed him. And he had to be home to do that. He decided not to say anything to Andrew then. He did not want Andrew to feel like he was going home because of him, even though that was the case. But he did not want to lay even more on Andrew at that stage, his psyche was just too fragile.

Tightening his hold on Andrew's waist, he pulled him up against him.

"My love, let me assure you, I'm not going anywhere. The money does make a difference, but one that's not important. The important thing, as far as I am concerned, is that you are happy. And if makes you happy, the so be it. And by happy, I don't mean spending it frivolously and throwing it around. I know you too well for that. You will use it to be happy by doing something positive with it". Andrew laid his head on Ryan's shoulder.

"Thank you Ry, I needed that. I love you".

"And I love you too, Mr Moneybags. Let's go to bed, you've got a long day tomorrow to get home".

They caught the early morning high speed ferry to Piraeus on the mainland, followed by an Uber to Athens International Airport from where Andrew would fly to Dubai and connect to Cape Town. Ryan would fly to Nice and then drive to Cannes where his new contract was berthed.

Andrew flew out first and it was a very emotional farewell, with both guys battling tears and not wanting to leave the other. Eventually they broke apart and a weeping Andrew passed through security with Ryan standing nearby. The last he saw of Andrew was his tear streaked face as he turned and waved before disappearing into the immigration hall. Heavy hearted, Ryan turned and slowly walked towards his check in counter. Check in completed, he passed through security quite swiftly and as he was flying within the Schengen region, there was no immigration procedures, just a check of his Schengen visa so he was in time to see Andrew's huge Emirates jet taxi to the end of the runway and take off into the grey sky. Tears coursed down his face as the emotions of the past weeks overwhelmed him and he sobbed as he allowed himself to mourn with his love his parents passing. He had held his own sorrow in check, realising he had to be strong for Andrew. But now, it was his time to mourn and the dam broke.

After a few minutes, he felt a gentle touch on his arm and turned to find an elderly woman looking at him with concern evident on her face.

"Young man, are you alright", she enquired softly, handing him a wad of tissues. He wiped his eyes and blew his nose, then replied,

"Thank you ma'am. I'll be fine in a while. I've just said goodbye to someone I love very dearly who has just suffered a great loss. I was just mourning with him". She placed a soft hand on his face.

"Such sorrow for someone you care for means great love. You are young and you are strong as steel. The sorrow will weaken and pass, but your love will grow stronger and prosper".

He stared at her and although elderly, she exuded an inner strength. "Who are you? What is your name?", he asked.

"My name is Katerina, Sister Katerina. I am one of the nuns who take care of the chapel here at the airport. I was walking past and saw a young man in great distress. And I wondered the reason for that distress. So here I am. I hope you do not mind?"

"No Sister, not at all! My name is Ryan and thank you for your concern and your wise words. It has been a comfort".

"Then", she smiled, "My work is done. Where are you going?"

"To Nice and then to Cannes. I work on a yacht".

"Then travel well and bless you. Remember. Strong love", and she turned and walked serenely away leaving him feeling peaceful, energised and full of hope for the future.

Thank you all for reading. Comments will be greatly appreciated. I have thirty chapters almost complete, although I may just divide them into two separate books. Time will tell.

Copyright © 2020 Andre Delport; All Rights Reserved.
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Interesting start to the story. I look forward to its development.

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looks interesting and what's more, well written!

I have never been to Sth Africa, though my children's mother was born there (Durban). I'll get there one day!

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Andre, great start. I'm South African, from Durban, now living in Vietnam. 

I hope to read more great stories set in South Africa. 

Was the use of your initials for the main character deliberate? 

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Interesting start to this New story, drama and sadness, good to read a story from a fellow South African, I am from the east of Johannesburg, 

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5 hours ago, Cris L said:

Andre, great start. I'm South African, from Durban, now living in Vietnam. 

I hope to read more great stories set in South Africa. 

Was the use of your initials for the main character deliberate? 

Thanks for reading Cris. Initials were purely coincidental. Quite honestly, I didn't even notice it until you pointed it out. Although come to think of it, it may have been sub-conciousy done. But if definitely wasn't deliberate.

Edited by Andre Delport
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5 hours ago, mikedup said:

Interesting start to this New story, drama and sadness, good to read a story from a fellow South African, I am from the east of Johannesburg, 

 

5 hours ago, mikedup said:

Interesting start to this New story, drama and sadness, good to read a story from a fellow South African, I am from the east of Johannesburg, 

Thank you. I'm in the east as well.

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13 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Great start, look forward to reading more 

Thank Chris,  the plan is to post a chapter ot two per week. I have two dozen chapters that are complete.

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14 hours ago, Canuk said:

looks interesting and what's more, well written!

I have never been to Sth Africa, though my children's mother was born there (Durban). I'll get there one day!

Thank you. Can I assume you are from Canada? one of my favourite countries to visit. One of the later chapters includes a trip to the Rockies and Banff.

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17 hours ago, JCtoGO2 said:

Interesting start to the story. I look forward to its development.

Thank you. The first couple of chapters  deal with both past and present. So it may seem a bit slow.  Bear with me please.

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Marvelous first chapter Andre. Starts in present day, steps back in time to catch up on where it all began for Andrew and Ryan; the unfortunate death of Andrew's parents (setting the financial stage), and has the young men head back to South Africa.

Obviously the comforting words "Strong Love" by Sister Katerina to Ryan as he sees Andrew off at the airport, stays in his mind when he reunites with Andrew. After all their sailing yacht is named the Belle Catherine. 

Andre, as for you turning 30 chapters into 2 books? As an editor, the word count/length of this chapter is just right for an easy read. If the remaining chapters are about the same length, breaking it into Book I and Book II could work if there's a 'natural break'. A trip to Canada in chapter 15 or 16 could provide that.

Speaking of their trip to experience the Rockies and Banff, many in the travel and tourism industry (including yacht operators) make that a research trip. If that chapter hasn't been 'put to bed' / finalized, perhaps you'll have Andrew and Ryan take the overnight FPW Rocky Mountaineer* train to Banff? (First Passage West -Vancouver to Banff)

* www.rockymountaineer.com

Although I have cousins in Cape Town, Joburg and Durban I've yet to visit South Africa. Once C-19 is resolved and travel is opened up?

In the meantime, Stay Safe, 2m Distant (7 empty Lanzerac Cab Sauv & Viognier bottles laid on side ;) ) and #WearTheMask.

Take Care

Tony

 

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1 hour ago, Anton_Cloche said:

Marvelous first chapter Andre. Starts in present day, steps back in time to catch up on where it all began for Andrew and Ryan; the unfortunate death of Andrew's parents (setting the financial stage), and has the young men head back to South Africa.

Obviously the comforting words "Strong Love" by Sister Katerina to Ryan as he sees Andrew off at the airport, stays in his mind when he reunites with Andrew. After all their sailing yacht is named the Belle Catherine. 

Andre, as for you turning 30 chapters into 2 books? As an editor, the word count/length of this chapter is just right for an easy read. If the remaining chapters are about the same length, breaking it into Book I and Book II could work if there's a 'natural break'. A trip to Canada in chapter 15 or 16 could provide that.

Speaking of their trip to experience the Rockies and Banff, many in the travel and tourism industry (including yacht operators) make that a research trip. If that chapter hasn't been 'put to bed' / finalized, perhaps you'll have Andrew and Ryan take the overnight FPW Rocky Mountaineer* train to Banff? (First Passage West -Vancouver to Banff)

* www.rockymountaineer.com

Although I have cousins in Cape Town, Joburg and Durban I've yet to visit South Africa. Once C-19 is resolved and travel is opened up?

In the meantime, Stay Safe, 2m Distant (7 empty Lanzerac Cab Sauv & Viognier bottles laid on side ;) ) and #WearTheMask.

Take Care

Tony

 

Patience Tony. I will tell you that the Canadian trip already includes Banff to Vancouver on the Rocky Mountaineer as well as stays at Lake Louise and Banff Springs. As I said in my chaperone notes, all of their travels throughout the book are from personal experience. Yeah, I've been really fortunate.

As far as Belle Catherine goes, wait and see.

.

Edited by Andre Delport
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Good start.  Im hooked.  V fond memories of your great country. Two weeks of wonder. Thanks

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8 hours ago, Gary L said:

Good start.  Im hooked.  V fond memories of your great country. Two weeks of wonder. Thanks

You're welcome Gary. Happy reading!

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