Trevor completed the kickturn, breaching the surface and resuming his freestyle crawl. ‘That’s thirty, twenty to go,’ Trevor thought. As had become his custom, when he reached thirty laps, he’d begin counting down.
‘Nineteen.’ Trevor thought, pulling hard, eager to get the swimming workout over with.
Three times a week Trevor worked out in the pool, even when it wasn’t swimming season. His swim team coach demanded it, and Trevor liked to stay in shape, finding that it helped keep his energy levels up. Energy was one thing he needed; after practice, he usually spent several hours working on the Atlantis, which always had jobs that needed doing. In this case, Trevor had a weekend charter to make ready for.
‘Just two weeks until summer break,’he thought, as he flipped and turned, launching into yet another lap.
At the end of his final cool down lap, Trevor hauled himself out of the water, feeling his muscles burn. Padding towards the locker room, feeling the warm sun on his wet skin, Trevor’s mind was on the Atlantis, so the sudden shout made him jump.
“Trev, over here,” Lisa yelled.
Trevor looked to his left and waved, angling towards the bleachers. “Hi Lisa, what brings you here? You’re usually off school property twenty seconds after the last bell.” ‘As if I didn’t know...’ Trevor added to himself.
Lisa snorted. “I’m waiting for you, that’s what. I’ve been here since you started your workout. I swear Trevor, situational awareness is just not your thing. Anyhow, I wanted you to meet Ben; he moved here a couple of weeks ago and he’s in my English Lit class. I’ve been telling him all about your tub.”
“Atlantis is not a tub, she’s a boat, Lisa,” Trevor said firmly, and then grinned. Very few people could get away with insulting Trevor’s pride and joy. Lisa was one of those few.
Trevor glanced to Lisa’s right, at the guy sitting next to her who looked a little out of place. ‘Lisa can make anybody uneasy,’ Trevor thought, wondering if Lisa could be any more obvious in what she was doing.
“Ben, this is Trevor, Captain of the Atlantis and a guy who spends way too much time in the water. He’s a surfer, swimmer, and scuba diver. I think he’d be happier if he’d been born with gills,” Lisa said, and then elbowed Ben.
Ben fumbled with his books as he stood up. Setting the books down on the bleacher, he extended a hand to Trevor. “Hi, I’m Ben.”
‘And I’m the guy being set up,’Trevor thought, extending his own hand and shaking Ben’s. “I’m Trevor.”
Trevor watched Ben’s eyes as they looked down, lingering on Trevor’s torso and then roaming lower. ‘Okay, he’s checking me out, so that means it’s a setup, again.’ Trevor crossed his arms, suddenly feeling a little underdressed in just a wet, black racing Speedo. Ben raised his eyes and smiled at Trevor, who thought, ‘At least he isn’t blatant like the last one.’
Ben, in Trevor’s opinion, looked mildly interesting; average build, a nice smile, and decent legs and arms, which were all Trevor could really see due to Ben’s shorts and generic T-shirt. ‘Nice, but I told her not to try setting me up again,’ Trevor fumed.
Trevor considered giving Ben an unsubtle brush-off, but dismissed the idea; it wasn’t Ben’s fault he was there, of that much, Trevor was sure.
“Well?” Trevor asked, looking at Lisa.
“Well what?” Lisa replied with an innocent shrug.
“What did you come here for, Lisa? You said something about Atlantis?” Trevor asked, already guessing the answer.
Lisa smiled sweetly. “Oh, yeah... Ben said he wanted to see it because he’s never heard of a catamaran. I told him I was busy but you’re probably heading there after practice, like you usually do.”
‘Never heard of a catamaran? Yeah, right...’Trevor fought the urge to sigh. He turned to Ben and said, “Yeah, I can give you a tour but not for too long. I’ve got to get her ready for a charter that starts Friday.”
Trevor padded into the locker room to change, and when he returned, he found Ben sitting alone near the pool, watching the remaining swimmers. Coming up unseen behind Ben, Trevor couldn’t resist saying quietly, “Nice scenery, huh?”
Ben startled, stiffening up and snapping his head around to gape at Trevor for a moment, a look of pure shock on his face. After a few moments, he stammered, “Yeah, uh, nice place.”
Trevor fought the urge to laugh, instantly feeling bad for having made Ben uncomfortable, which had not been his intention. Taking pity on Ben, Trevor smiled and said, “I’m just joking around. Come on, let’s go see the Atlantis.”
As the two guys strolled across campus, Trevor decided to get to the point and let Ben down easy. “Level with me; was this whole setup Lisa’s idea, or yours?” Trevor asked with a smile, intended to let Ben know that he wasn’t upset.
With an embarrassed shrug and lowered eyes, Ben replied, “I guess it was pretty obvious, huh? Lisa kind of talked me into it at lunch today. She knows I’m new here and she has been introducing me to people. She tried to set me up on a date with a girl, so I came out to Lisa, then about thirty seconds later she told me about you and said she’d introduce us. Next thing I know, she grabs me after my last class and drags me to the pool.”
“Took her that long, did it? She’s getting slow,” Trevor said, chuckling.
Ben smiled. “I guess she’s done this to you before, huh?”
Trevor nodded, glancing around to make sure no one was within earshot. “Oh yeah, a few times. Usually at the pool, like she did with you, which is bugging me because I’m not out to very many people at school. Look, I’ll level with you; I’m not looking for a relationship of any kind right now. I don’t like sneaking around and I’m not out at home so that’s not a good mix. Anyways, between school, swimming, and running the Atlantis as a charter, I don’t have any free time. I’ve told Lisa this about a gazillion times, but she never listens. Sorry you got dragged in for nothing.”
Ben chuckled and shook his head. “Subtlety isn’t Lisa’s strong suit, I guess. I’d still like to see your catamaran, and to be honest I’m not in the boyfriend market either. My folks move a lot due to work so I really don’t want to get too attached to anyone.”
Trevor looked at Ben and grinned. “Let me guess; either Lisa didn’t give you a chance to say that, or you did and she didn’t pay any attention.”
“I tried but she didn’t let me get a word in edgewise,” Ben replied with a laugh.
“That’s Lisa,” Trevor said.
“I’m just looking for fun, not a boyfriend,” Ben said, letting the implication hang in the air.
Trevor glanced around to make sure no one was in earshot before replying, “If you need friends you can be out to – that I can do, but that’s it. All I ask is don’t advertise that I’m into guys. I’m not out to many people, especially my father, and I need to keep it that way. Lisa talks before she thinks sometimes.”
They reached the parking lot and Trevor stopped by his car, an old, grey, massively oxidized Honda Civic. “Where are you parked?” he asked.
Ben shook his head. “I don’t have a car yet; we moved here from Oregon and shipping my old one would have cost more than I paid for it, so I sold it. I’m looking for something cheap but reliable; I just haven’t found it yet.”
“Hop in,” Trevor said, unlocking the passenger door of his Civic and then trotting around to the driver’s side. As Trevor slid into the driver’s seat, he said, “I can give you a ride after we see the Atlantis.”
Ben shook his head. “No need; I’m used to the bus. Besides, I think I saw some used car lots down towards the marina when I drove down there with my folks last weekend. I’ll walk to the car lot then take the bus from there or walk; it’s only about a mile.”
With a whirr and a chatter, the old Civic’s engine wheezed to life and Trevor wheeled out of the parking lot, rolling down his window in the stifling heat. “The AC doesn’t work so roll down the window,” Trevor said, as he began to sweat. Normally he dealt with the Florida heat and broken AC by peeling off his shirt, but decided against doing so this time. He didn’t want to do anything to make Ben have second thoughts on the ‘Just friends’ agreement and Trevor had seen the way Ben had looked at him at the pool.
Trevor parked in his usual spot, at the head of the dock, and led the way down to Atlantis, which was parallel-moored alongside the pier, near the seaward end.
As the two guys neared the stern of the catamaran, Trevor said, “Here she is, follow me,” and jumped onto the stern of the starboard hull, which, like the port side, contained a built-in set of stairs. Taking the four steps in two bounds, Trevor stopped and waited while Ben cautiously followed. Trevor walked forward a few paces and patted the cockpit’s solid awning. “She’s a Lagoon 55, built by Jeanneau Techniques Avancées in France. Her hulls and decking are made of glass-reinforced plastic sandwich with carbon reinforcing, held together by epoxy so it’s both light and strong. Empty, she’s just thirteen tons.”
Ben looked around and nodded. He had virtually no knowledge of yachts and the technicalities were lost on him. Somewhat oblivious to Ben’s confusion, Trevor walked further forward, beaming with pride as he continued, “The mainsail is adjustable; I can run it fifty percent up or more. The rigging is a roller-reefing genoa or jib, a gennaker, and a storm jib, so she’ll often carry over two thousand square feet of sail. In a good breeze, Atlantis really moves.”
Trevor doubled back and hopped down into the wide cockpit and grasped the port wheel – Atlantis had two. “This is where I usually steer from, though she can be piloted from the main cabin as well. I’ve got an electronic autopilot tied into the GPS navigation system, so on open water passages Atlantis can pretty much sail herself.”
“How far out do you go?” Ben asked.
Trevor shrugged. “I’ve never taken her further than the Turks and Caicos islands, which are the other side of the Bahamas from here. I could easily do charter runs to anywhere in the Caribbean, but Dad isn’t too cool on the long distance stuff. After I turn eighteen, I’ll be taking charters wherever they’ll pay me to go. Most of the time I just take charters to the Keys or the Bahamas.”
Ben nodded, and followed as Trevor unlocked the main door and ushered Ben through. “This is the salon, which is kind of like a living room. It’s got the galley off to one side, a navigation station, TV with DVD player, stereo, the works.” Trevor pointed to a built-in wooden console: the navigation station. “The navigation station has the radars – one is an AIS, which is transponder-based and, if the other ship has her transponder on, it gives me her identity, type, course, and speed. The other is an active radar set, which doubles as my weather radar and is also my GPS-based Navtrak navigation system with electronic charts. I can slave this console to the one on either wheel pod. Atlantis has a depth gauge, compasses, barometers, and two autopilots. I can run it all from the nav station or the cockpit. Atlantis has a full suite of radios, including single-sideband and three marine VHF sets.”
“Damn, how long did it take you to learn all this stuff?” Ben asked.
Trevor shrugged. “I grew up with it, so it was easy for me.” He swept a hand around the salon. “There are five cabins, each with its own head – which means bathroom. So, Atlantis can comfortably sleep eight in her four passenger cabins. I’ve taken charters of up to ten people, but that gets crowded.”
After looking around for a couple of minutes, Ben said, “Cool, it’s like a seagoing apartment. Which room is yours, anyway?”
Trevor laughed and pointed forward and to his left. “It’s that way, portside forward, but you can’t get to it from in here; it’s in the bow of the port hull and the only way in is via a hatch on the deck and then down a ladder. If one of the four main cabins – which you can all get to from inside – is empty, I use it, especially when I’m out alone. If I’m running full and can’t use my own cabin, then I crash on the sofa in here or in my beanbag in the cockpit”
“Do you live here?” Ben asked.
Trevor shook his head. “Nope, not yet. Dad won’t let me move out. I stay over a lot, especially if I’ve got a charter the next morning, but I don’t really live aboard. I will do though, after I turn eighteen.”
Casting about for some way to make conversation, Ben asked, “What do you do if the wind dies?”
Trevor grinned and pointed aft. “Two sixty-five horsepower Yanmar diesel engines, one in each hull, with over two hundred gallons of fuel. I can motor along non-stop for over a week on that if I take it easy. Usually though I just use the engines for docking, station keeping, and when I’m in the Indian River. Worse comes to worst, I’ve got an outboard on the zodiac and that can tow Atlantis, just not very far and really slowly.”
“Where’s the Indian River?” Ben asked, having heard the name before.
Trevor smiled. “I forgot; you’re new here. Okay, the east coast of Florida, most of it anyway, basically has a long, narrow barrier island a couple of miles off the coast. Between the island and the main shore is kind of a lagoon. There’s a few passes through the barrier, including one a few miles out from this marina. Anyway, the lagoon is part of the Intercoastal Waterway, and they call the lagoon the Indian River even though it’s not a river. Don’t ask me why, because I have no idea. Anyway, from here in Fort Pierce it runs about a hundred miles up the coast and twenty miles down it.”
Ben glanced at the huge map of the world that was attached to one of the salon’s walls, but saw at a glance that it didn’t have enough detail to show the Indian River. Losing interest in that subject, Ben looked around, taking in the cabin’s plush design. The main cabin had a row of sloped windows at the front, so Ben walked forward to look out. “This is a great boat. I’ve never seen one like it before,” Ben said.
Trevor smiled. “Yeah, they only made twenty of ‘em.”
Ben nodded and looked around again. “Wow, so there’s only nineteen more like her in the whole world?”
Trevor turned away, his expression darkening for a moment. “Eighteen or less, now,” he said, remembering the Ares and instantly regretting his words. The Ares was not something Trevor would discuss with people who were not close to him, and Ben was definitely not in that group. Trevor saw a puzzled look sweep across Ben’s face, so Trevor headed off the question by asking, “Want a soda?”
Ben nodded in reply.
Tossing Ben a cold coke, Trevor brushed aside the memories of Ares and smiled. “Atlantis even has a refrigerator. Atlantis’s electrical system runs mainly on solar, which also charges the batteries, and there’s a generator too. She’s got air conditioning, but I only run that for charters. The only downside to her is it takes a hell of a lot of work to keep everything clean and working.”
“I’ll bet,” Ben said, as he looked around one more time, and then walked out onto the deck with Trevor. Ben swept his eyes around the deck and then, more slowly, over Trevor, and said, “Thanks for the tour, man.”
It dawned on Trevor that Ben had been only mildly interested in the tour, much of which he hadn’t understood.
As Ben waved and walked away back up the dock, Trevor felt that he’d handled an awkward situation the best that he could. That left him with one pressing task; trying to get Lisa to stop with the setups, otherwise, he was sure, she’d be dragging some other unwitting guy to the pool within days. ‘Sure as hell she’ll be coming by sometime tonight to see how things went. I’ll talk to her then,’ Trevor thought.
Ben, walking past the end of the dock and towards the used car lots, glanced back at Atlantis. ‘Trevor is a hotty but he ain’t interested in anything that doesn't have sails. Too bad, but oh well,’ Ben thought, as he rounded the corner and Atlantis disappeared from his view.
Looking around Atlantis’s salon, Trevor knew he still had a lot of hard work to do: mopping the deck, polishing the metalwork, cleaning the glass, and checking the bilge pumps. Taking a deep breath, Trevor peeled off his shirt, grabbed his mop and bucket, and started his work.