Trevor paced the decks of Atlantis for most of the night, torn between anger and hurt. He finally fell asleep, just before dawn, on his beanbag chair in the cockpit.
“What are you doing asleep out here?” said a voice that chased away his troubled dreams.
Trevor opened his eyes, squinting against the glare, to see Julie standing over him. “Dad and I had a big fight,” Trevor mumbled, and sat up, scratching his head and yawning.
Julie sat down and studied Trevor for a moment. “He bumped into me at the supermarket. I didn’t know you’d told him we had a charter, so I guess that let the cat out of the bag. He went kinda nuts. Where the hell were you, anyway?”
“Off Bimini. I go out there alone on the anniversary. Dad didn’t know, but he does now.”
Julie well knew what ‘the anniversary’ meant, coming from Trevor. “Sorry Kiddo, I should have known. I’m afraid I have to add even more to your troubles. Next week’s charter will be my last, at least for a year. You know I sometimes send applications for divemaster positions to resorts... Well, long story short, I had a telephone interview from one in Tahiti, and they made me an offer. It’s damn good money plus I’d be diving almost every day. And you know how much I want to travel... if I don’t do this now, I’ll probably never get another chance.”
Trevor nodded, feeling his world coming apart at the seams but unable to begrudge his friend her dream. “I’d go if I were you. I guess I’ll need to find a new captain for Atlantis, until I turn eighteen. Don’t suppose you know of anyone with a license who’d be interested?”
Julie shook her head sadly. “I wish I did and I’ll keep my ears open. Look, I’m sorry to spring this on you Trev, especially with all the other crap you’re dealing with, but I had to let you know as soon as I could. Give me a call if you need me, anytime, and if I don’t see you before, I’ll be here for the charter Thursday.”
Trevor nodded, feeling ever more tired, “Okay Julie. See you Thursday. Hopefully I’ll be in a better mood by then.” Trevor doubted it, but it seemed like a good thing to say.
After Julie left, Trevor sat brooding. Finding a new captain would be no easy task, not at what Trevor could afford to pay. During the summer he made good money, but the school year was a different story. The biggest problem was that Atlantis’s insurance and maintenance expenses, dock fees, and other monthly costs stayed the same, even though he could only take charters out on the weekends and school breaks. That meant that for most of the year, he couldn’t afford to pay much and it would be infrequent work. Julie had worked mainly for the diving and tips, but most people wanted a decent, steady paycheck instead. Still, he knew he had to try, so Trevor fired up the onboard laptop computer, composed and printed his help-wanted flyers, and then pulled a shirt on and set out, a stack of flyers in hand.
He spent the rest of the morning posting the flyers around the Marina and nearby restaurants and businesses. Then, gritting his teeth, he walked towards what he knew would be the best location for a flyer; his father’s chandlery.
“Hi,” Trevor said, as he walked in the front door, causing the chime to beep.
Dirk looked out from behind the counter, trying to remain calm. “Hi. I’m guessing you spent the night on Atlantis?”
Trevor nodded. “Yeah, and I’m sorry for storming off. Julie came by this morning. She got a job offer in Tahiti; she’s leaving after the next charter. I need a new captain so I’m out posting flyers.”
Dirk took a flyer, glancing at it. “Trev, that arrangement was always dodgy and I don’t think you’ll find someone like Julie, not that fast.”
“All I can do is try.”
Dirk took a deep breath, knowing that he had to deal with the main problem. “I don’t ever want you taking Atlantis out alone again. Furthermore, you won’t sleep aboard her except on charters, assuming I decide to allow you to resume doing those at all. For now, you’re grounded: you’re not to leave the house or so much as go near that boat until I say it’s okay to do so and I don’t care if you have to cancel a charter. I won’t put up with any arguments. You’ve made that damn boat the center of your life and it’s gone too far. I’m putting a stop to it whether you like it or not. It’s time for you to be a normal teenager.”
‘Again with the ‘normal’ bullshit, as if keeping me off my own boat will make me turn straight...’Trevor glared at his father, seething. “What about those divorce papers? I have to know what happened, and that you had nothing to do with Mom’s death–”
Dirk’s face turned an angry red. “This is neither the time nor the place for that conversation!”
Trevor turned towards the door, temper flaring. “Fine. Atlantis is mine, not yours, and I’ll run her as I see fit. Mom left her to me, not you, and now I think I know why–”
Dirk’s own temper lit off. “Enough of your damn snide remarks! I’m your father, you’re a minor, and... That’s it: you’ve lost the damn boat. I’m selling her. That damn boat is gone.”
Trevor’s jaw dropped and without a word, he spun on his heel, racing out the door, needing to get away, to be anywhere else but there.
The door chime sounded in the chandlery, and then came the silence, as Dirk began to calm down. He glanced out the widow, looking out across the Marina, at the masts of Atlantis in the distance. Unaware that Trevor only went on his pilgrimages to Bimini once a year and fearing that he went there frequently and would soon do so again, Dirk took a deep breath and made up his mind. “Sorry Trev, but I’ve got to do this, for your sake and mine. I can’t stand by and watch you wreck your life or get yourself killed for...,” he said, his words fading into nothing in the empty store.
Dirk took a deep breath, thinking that Trevor would head for Atlantis and perhaps even put to sea; Dirk locked the chandlery and walked quickly down towards the dock. As he neared the Atlantis, he struggled to find the words to say to his son.
“Trevor?” Dirk called out as he stepped aboard. Nothing, just the sound of the wind and the lap of the waves. Dirk used his key and checked every cabin, starting with Trevor’s, calling out his son’s name. Dirk had been aboard Atlantis countless times, most recently for lunch with Trevor just a few weeks before, and he shuddered to think of how things had changed.
Dirk felt a slight movement, the result of the wake from a passing boat, and felt his stomach churn. He could barely tolerate being aboard, even tied up alongside. He’d tried every remedy he’d ever heard of but nothing seemed to help. As a result, he’d come to hate the sea, a sea that now threatened to claim his son.
Glancing around the salon of Atlantis, Dirk reached a decision. Moving fast, he headed for the starboard engine compartment. Though he could not tolerate being at sea, he had many years experience in yacht maintenance via the chandlery and knew just what to do.
Ten minutes later, after a visit to the port engine compartment, he had two glow-plug wires in hand; one from each of Atlantis’s main engines, and then he took the distributor cap from the Zodiac’s outboard motor. Without those, Atlantis’s engines could not run, and Dirk believed that meant she could not put out to sea.
Dirk hopped down onto the dock. There, after glancing around for privacy, he flipped open his phone and dialed a number he knew by heart. When the call picked up, he said, “Jim, I need your help. Trev and I had a big fight and I’ve had to take the Atlantis off him. He went out to the disappearance site alone, for three days in bad seas, trying to find Ares. This damn boat has become an obsession with him; it takes up all his time and now he’s risking his neck, not to mention mine. I’ve told him I’m selling Atlantis and I’m going to let him think that I did. I need you to find a place to berth her and then sail her up there. It’ll need to be long-term; the way things are going, I won't give her back to him until after Christmas at the earliest... I’d like her out of here before the weekend... Okay, I’ll call you later. Thanks.”
With that taken care of, Dirk walked back towards the chandlery.
Driving aimlessly around town, Trevor felt numb. What had happened was his worst nightmare; Atlantis, the last link with his mother, was his life. ‘Like hell I’ll lose her,’ Trevor thought, filling with resolve.
‘First things first,’he thought, as he turned a corner and headed north, towards his bank. He really didn’t have a plan beyond one word, ‘going,’ but he knew he had to try. To Trevor, Atlantis was both his future and his last link to his mother. A threat to Atlantis was like a strike at his own soul.
At the bank, Trevor closed out his money-market account, taking the money in cash. He left the checking account and CDs alone, mainly due to the fact that the bank would not give him any more cash, truthfully claiming that they didn’t have enough on hand. As it was, they had to give him a small bag, and he walked out of the bank with over nine thousand dollars, about two-thirds of it in hundred-dollar bills and the rest in twenties.
Trevor parked his car, though not in its usual spot, and studied Atlantis from a distance for a few moments. Seeing no sign of his father, Trevor raced towards the dock, running flat-out.
He leaped aboard, cash bag in hand, looking up and checking his wind pennant. The breeze was light, coming in from over the water, towards the dock. That meant he’d need the engines, so Trevor hit the ignition.
The chugging of the engines shocked him. He tried three times to start them and all they would do is turn over, sounding very much like a flooded car. His eyes opened wide in disbelief, ‘not now,’ he thought, as he raced for the starboard engine’s hatch.He’d had engine trouble before, but never both engines at once. It only took him a few seconds to see the problem, and a fast dash to the other engine confirmed it. “He took my glow-plug wires,” Trevor muttered.
With fast thoughts born of desperation, Trevor’s head snapped around to look at the Zodiac. Then, he noticed the absence of a piece from its outboard motor. “Shit, shit, shit,” he swore, looking around, wishing the wind was from off the dock so he could just set sail.
He looked out across the water, towards the parallel dock just two hundred feet away. The idea was barely formed in his mind when he raced forward, ripping open the sail locker, where he kept his spare sheets, lines, and other assorted ropes. He pulled out three coils, doing the math in his head, and then without a pause, he hauled the ropes to the port bow, tying one end of the first one to the stanchion, and then tying the ends of the ropes together, forming one long line.
Trevor ripped off his shirt, kicked off his shoes and socks, and then yanked his wallet and cell phone from the pocket of his shorts, wrapped them in his shirt, and then tossed them, along with his bag of cash, down the hatchway to his cabin.
Trevor heaved the rope over the side, and with one end tied into a loop that he slung over one shoulder and around his torso, he dove into the sea, pulling hard across the channel.
Reaching the dock on the far side, he tied off his line to a heavy mooring post, and then dove back into the water, racing for the Atlantis.
Hauling himself aboard, he cast off, and then raced for the line he’d attached to the bow. Taking it in hand, his muscles straining hard, he hauled, taking up the slack, groaning as Atlantis inched away from the dock.
Five hard minutes later, gasping for breath and drenched in sweat, Trevor smiled with relief as Atlantis neared the dock on the far side of the channel. ‘Almost there.’
The lines he’d used were expensive and the only spares he had aboard, so Trevor didn’t want to leave them. Using the last of his strength, he inched Atlantis towards the dock and then leaped the final few feet. As fast as he could, Trevor unhitched the line, tossed the end onto Atlantis’s port bow, and as Atlantis came to a halt just three feet from the dock Trevor scrambled aboard. His first task was to partially raise the mainsail, and then, with Atlantis pointing into the wind and drifting backwards, he grabbed the boom, shoving it out with a heave over Atlantis’s starboard side, and holding it in place. Slowly, the bow swung around and Atlantis turned sideways to the wind, near the middle of the channel.
Trevor unfurled the foresail, and then hoisted the mainsail the rest of the way up, pulling the main sheet taut to return the boom to near parallel with the hulls, and took his place at Atlantis’s starboard wheel as she began to accelerate, heading for the harbor mouth. Standing at the helm, still catching his breath, Trevor glanced nervously back towards the chandlery.
Standing out to sea, Trevor knew he still had a lot of problems, not the least of which was having no engines. Without them, entering an unfamiliar port would be extremely hazardous, especially with the wind onshore and in a rage sea, which was exactly what he was facing that day. He also wondered just which port to head for.
Once clear of the main inlet, Trevor was at a loss for what to do. With no better ideas in mind, he headed south and engaged the autopilot. Then, he turned to a far more important task, and headed forward, to his cabin’s access hatch.
Trevor’s cash bag lay where he’d thrown it, on his cabin deck, but he had a far better place in mind, one he’d built....
Trevor’s cabin had a tiny bathroom, accessible only via a door in the cabin’s aft wall. It had a small sink, part of a stainless-steel countertop. On the aft wall was a toilet, and next to that, a circular area around a drain, cordoned off by a curtain: the shower. The floor was metal grating over watertight aluminum plates, which diverted any spilled water to the drains.
Three years earlier, Trevor had decided that he needed a hiding place for valuables, and a few months later, during some bilge system changes and refits, he’d picked his spot with care; a shallow space beneath the bathroom floor, used mainly for a pipe run. The area was set into a fiberglass bulkhead below the aluminum sheeting, but a void space, between two pipe runs, remained. From below, in the bilge, all that was visible was the solid underside of the bulkhead. He had found his stash spot.
Trevor had opened up the deck plating and boxed in an area under his chosen place, which was just big enough to hold two shoebox-sized rectangular plastic Tupperware boxes, which had the virtue of being watertight. Then, to the underside of the aluminum plate, he’d attached a metal spring-strip that, when pushed into place, would snap out under the adjoining sheet of aluminum. On the far side, near the door, he’d installed a spring-latch, which used a rocker arm for a release. Then he’d made the rocker arm out of aluminum, and attached a thick steel bolt to the far end. It had taken him a few days of tinkering, but at last, he’d gotten the balance right. As a final step, he’d replaced the rivets that had once held the plate with dummies, and then used rubber weather stripping as a seal. When closed, he found that it was watertight, as he’d hoped.
Trevor had been very proud of his new stash spot, especially the way it opened, which was magnetic: the aluminum sheeting would not be affected by a magnet, but the thick steel pin on the lever arm was. At first, he’d just hidden a large magnet in a drawer in his cabin, but then, six months later, he’d had an idea...
Setting his bag of cash on the toilet lid, Trevor closed the bathroom door, and pulled up a section of the metal floor grid, which he set aside in the shower. Then, he pulled his soap dish off the stainless-steel counter. He had to heave, because it was attached magnetically: Trevor’s idea had been to take a simple steel soap dish and glued the heavy round magnet to it, making what appeared to be – and in fact was – just a magnetic soap dish, perfect for staying in place on the metal counter during heavy seas.
The suction cup on the cup holder easily attached to the aluminum sheet, becoming the handle. The large magnet forming the base of the soap dish was the key. Trevor put it in place on the exposed aluminum, and the latch released. With a fast tug, Trevor pulled up the aluminum sheet, revealing the secret compartment where he stored his passport, Atlantis’s licenses, registration, title, and insurance papers, and one item his father had insisted that he carry for charters, just in case: a chrome-plated 357 magnum revolver, which he’d trained Trevor how to use and then given him for his sixteenth birthday. Only Julie and his father knew about Trevor’s stash spot, and Trevor believed it to be the safest place on Atlantis.
The other thing that Trevor used his stash spot for was storing his tip money; that was cash, and he could not deposit it in the bank without declaring it as income. Atlantis’s expenses had to be paid from the bank due to being deductible, which meant that Trevor ended up saving most of his tip money aboard Atlantis; he had very few expenses other than his boat. As a result, he’d accumulated seven thousand dollars: his share of the tips from Atlantis’s charters over the past two years.
After making a fast count, Trevor stuffed the money, a few thousand at a time, into zip-lock bags and piled it into the second Tupperware box. Then, he snapped the box’s lid back on and sealed up his stash spot. With that task done to his satisfaction, Trevor returned to the salon and flipped open his cell phone. Then, he sat down at the navigation station, checked his position, and started calling information, looking for marine chandleries to his south.
It took a few tries, but Trevor found a chandlery in Saint Lucie that stocked the glow-plug wires he needed. Fortunately for him, the wires were not specific to just his make and model of engine. The outboard would have to wait, but those wires, which Trevor paid for via credit card over the phone, would restore Atlantis’s main engines.
That problem led to another. Trevor checked the weather forecast, and then his charts for that port. The wind was onshore and the seas were rough, which meant he couldn’t go into port, not without engines. “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg,” Trevor muttered, trying to think of a solution, and then he gave up and dialed Joel.
Joel didn’t answer, so Trevor called Lisa. When she finally did, it was with a curt, “Make it fast, Trev.”
“I’m in trouble and I need help. Where’s Joel?” Trevor could hear a rustling in the background, and began to smile.
“I had the house to myself, so guess.”
With Lisa’s words confirming what he suspected, Trevor chuckled. “Sorry to interrupt, but hold the phone so Joel can hear it too. This is an emergency, Lisa.”
“It’s Trev and it sounds serious,” Trevor heard Lisa say.
Joel’s voice came on the line, “Hey, what’s up man, are you okay? We can both hear you now.”
Trevor took a deep breath and then told his friends about the fight with his father and his hasty flight in the Atlantis. Then, he explained about the disabled engines and that the parts were waiting to be picked up.
Lisa answered first. “Trevor, where the hell will you go?”
Trevor remained silent for a few moments before answering, “I wish I knew. I haven’t had a chance to think that far ahead. Right now, my plan is to get Atlantis running again and head for the Bahamas until Dad calms down. First things first though: I have to get Atlantis’s engines fixed so I need those parts. Joel, could you drive down to a marine chandlery in Saint Lucie – it’s at the marina – pick them up, and call me?”
“Yeah, I’ll put some clothes on and leave right now. It’s about twenty miles, most of it freeway so I’ll be there fast.”
Joel ended the call and sat up in bed. “This sounds bad, Lisa.”
Lisa watched as Joel jumped out of her bed naked and started tugging on his Levis.
“How come he asked you to go and not me?” Lisa asked, and then started putting her own clothes on in a hurry.
Joel shrugged. “No idea. I don’t even know if he meant it that way. Come with me.”
Trevor needed Joel, not Lisa, for a reason he hadn’t wanted to get into, because he still hoped to find another way. He rechecked his charts, looking at the twisting entrance through the outer island and into St. Lucie, knowing he probably couldn’t make it without his engines. The onshore wind and rage seas were the problem; catamarans are difficult to come about with when under sail, making them perilous without engines in confined water with strong, erratic currents and winds.
Joel phoned Trevor as soon as he had the parts. “Okay Trev, I’ve got your wires, now where are you?”
“Two miles off St Lucie inlet. Joel, I can’t get in without engines, not in these seas and onshore winds,” Trevor said.
“So what do we do, rent a boat and come out to you? Maybe jet skis?” Joel asked, while he walked back to his car.
Trevor chuckled. “Nope, I already tried that idea and phoned a few places. They won’t rent to someone who’s under eighteen and I can’t get ahold of Julie. The good news is there’s an easy answer: the only problem is some water in the way and you’re a swimmer. Those wires don’t need to stay dry; I’ll just wash ‘em with fresh water and dry ‘em out when you get here.”
Joel froze in his steps. “Dude, two miles in rough seas is a fucking long way, I don’t know if I can make it–”
Trevor cut Joel off to say, “Whoa, not two miles. That’s just where I am now. Call me when you get to the beach. I’ll spot you with binoculars and head in. I can’t anchor, not without engines to pull clear, but I can steer close to the wind and let the mainsail luff a little so I’ll barely be making steerageway, maybe a quarter of a mile from the beach, no more than that.”
Joel nodded. “I’ll be fine with that; that’s a short swim for me. Okay, I’ll call you from the beach.”
After the call ended, Joel told Lisa, “Now we know why he needed just me; I’ve got to swim out to Atlantis – about a quarter of a mile – because he can’t come in without working engines.”
“Can you swim that far? I don’t think I could.” Lisa asked, growing concerned.
“Easy, I swim farther than that doing laps and I’ve done rough-water ocean endurance swims before,” Joel replied.
Lisa glanced pointedly at Joel’s Levis and T-shirt. “If Trevor had half a brain he’d have told you what he had in mind so you could have brought a swimsuit along, but half a brain is half more than Trevor has.”
Looking up the road, Joel spotted a sporting goods store. “I need a new suit anyway, no big deal, come on.”
Trevor tacked back and forth, two miles off the point, until Joel called and said, “We’re at the point, heading for the water. Lisa’s with me but she can’t swim that far.”
“She’d yell at me anyway,” Trevor replied. “Can you see Atlantis?”
Joel looked out to sea as he walked towards the surf. “Yeah. I think so. You’re straight out to sea from me, maybe half a mile.
“Start waving,” Trevor replied, scanning the beach with his binoculars. He saw two figures, silhouetted against the early afternoon sun, waving their arms over their heads. “Got you in sight. I’ll head closer in,” Trevor said, and angled Atlantis towards the shore, pitching in the rough seas.
Joel handed Lisa the phone. “He’s coming in so I’m heading out. See you soon and I love you,” Joel said, tying the wires to his drawstring, tucking them into his suit and then trotting towards the water.
Splashing through the surf, Joel dove into the waves, pulling hard. Lisa watched and said into the phone, “He’s on his way out, Trev.”
“Keep us both in sight if you can,” Trevor replied, lining up on Lisa as he surged shorewards.
Joel dove under every breaker, ducking into a freestyle crawl as he cleared the whitewater and headed out to sea. Every few dozen yards he raised his head, seeing Atlantis growing larger.
A quarter of a mile off the beach, Trevor nervously eyed the depth gauge and the waves, knowing he could go no closer in. He put about, nosing close into the wind, letting his boom swing over, further reducing his speed until he was barely making steerageway with his stern towards the shore. With Atlantis in position, Trevor turned around to scan the water, asking into his phone, “Where is he?”
“I lost him. He was close to you but then I lost him,” Lisa replied, and Trevor could hear the panic in her voice.
Trevor was about to reply when hands and a head popped up over the starboard aft stairs and Trevor saw Joel’s grinning face. “He’s aboard, Lisa, he’s fine,” Trevor said, relieved.
“I see him, I see him,” Lisa said in an excited voice. “Okay, I’m heading back for the car, call me when you can.”
Trevor didn’t have time to talk; Atlantis was dangerously close to the beach. He turned her parallel to the shore, trimmed the mainsail, and breathed a sigh of relief as she picked up speed and he began a reach out to sea. With Atlantis safe, Trevor turned around to look at Joel, who was padding forward, the water still dripping from him, shaking his hair out.
Relieved and euphoric, Trevor grinned. “Have a good swim, Joel?”
Joel pulled the two precious wires out of his speedos and untied them from the drawstring. “Yeah, pretty easy actually, but you forgot to tell me I’d be swimming. I had to buy a swimsuit and Lisa picked it out.”
Trevor nodded slowly, running his eyes over his friend’s body before grinning wickedly and saying, “Let me know how much I owe you, and by the way, I very much approve of small red speedos on you.”
Glancing down at his tight, wet swimsuit, Joel shrugged and laughed. “Shut up you perv, it’s not like you haven’t seen me in speedos before, like at every one of our swim meets. And you don’t owe me anything; I needed a new workout suit anyway; my old ones are getting holey. But Lisa picked the color.”
“She likes red,” Trevor replied with a laugh.
Joel shrugged. “Anyhow, what’s the deal with your engines?”
Trevor glanced at the receding shore, set the autopilot, and headed into the salon as Joel followed. Trevor made a beeline for the galley, where he washed off the wires. “I’ll pin them in the wind on deck; they’ll be dry in a few minutes and then we’ll have engines again, I hope.”
Joel followed Trevor back onto the deck, where Trevor carefully tied the wires to a post. Resuming his place at the wheel, Trevor asked, “Want to take the helm?”
“Sure,” Joel replied, taking station at the other wheel. Then, he asked, “What’s the plan? I need to tell Lisa what’s up.”
Trevor shrugged, looking back at the shore. “If Dad knows I’m gone, he might put the word out to hold Atlantis if she comes into port, so I don’t want to go in, not even after the engines are fixed.”
“I take it I’m not done swimming for the day?” Joel asked, smiling to show that he didn’t mind.
Trevor laughed. “Maybe, but an easier swim. Once the engines are fixed, I can motor in through a pass and get you within a hundred feet of an inshore beach, anywhere along the Indian River.”
Joel nodded. “I’ll call Lisa and tell her to head for home and then she can pick me up later once we know where.” After the quick call, Joel said, “Lisa wants to talk to you, either face to face or, failing that, on the phone. Any reason you can’t anchor in the Indian River and swim ashore with me?”
“Yeah, she’ll yell at me,” Trevor replied, and then added, “But okay. We’ll figure out where after the engines are running.”
After a couple of minutes silence, Joel asked, “So what’s the deal with you and your dad?”
Trevor let out a sad sigh, and asked, “Did Lisa tell you about the divorce papers?”
Joel nodded. “Yeah. That’s totally weird.” Trevor looked out to sea for a few moments, and then told Joel all that had happened. When he was done, all Joel could think to say was, “Oh, shit.”
It was half an hour before the glow-plug wires were dry to Trevor’s satisfaction, and in the rough seas, he was nervous about leaving Joel at the helm. However, Joel had been doing well and seemed to be enjoying the challenge, so Trevor headed aft. It was an easy task, no different from attaching a spark plug wire. After installing the wires on both engines, he trotted back to the cockpit, hit the ignition, and grinned as the twin diesels coughed and roared to life. “We’ve got power,” he said with a grin.
Trevor let the engines idle and checked the nav display. “We’re two miles off the Fort Pierce inlet. I don’t want to get close to Fort Pierce itself, so.... After we’re in the Indian River, I’ll turn south. There’s a beach on Hutchison Island, right on A1A; we’ll meet Lisa there.” Joel, still at the wheel, nodded, and Trevor phoned Lisa. “Hi, Lisa! Thanks to Joel the intrepid swimmer, Atlantis is seaworthy again. I’m heading into the Indian River and turning south and we want you to meet us. There’s a place we can come ashore. Cross to Hutchison Island on the south causeway, and then follow A1A for three miles. You’ll see a beach on your right and Atlantis will be anchored there.”
“I’ll be there soon and I’ll swing by a drive through and get us dinner. Then we’ll talk, right, Trev?” Lisa replied.
Trevor sighed. He knew what was coming. “Okay Lisa, you’ve got it.”
Trevor took the helm as they entered the pass, and negotiated the hazardous shallows towards the beach he’d described. Keeping a wary eye on his depth gauge, he anchored with just five feet of water under the hulls, fifty feet off the beach in the calm, sheltered waters.
“We might as well wait here for Lisa, can’t take your phone ashore,” Joel said, joining Trevor at the rail.
Trevor glanced at Joel, deciding that Lisa had made a good choice; he looked great in the red speedos. Putting that thought out of his mind, Trevor replied, “Yeah.”
“So what are you planning, still heading for the Bahamas?”
Trevor shrugged. “Probably. I just need some time to think and let Dad cool down.”
Joel looked at Trevor for a moment, and, making a decision he’d been mulling, said, “Okay, take me with you. You shouldn’t be alone right now.”
Trevor met Joel’s eyes. “Thanks, but...” he glanced pointedly down at Joel’s Speedo, “Unless you’ve got a passport in there somewhere, we’ve got a problem.”
Joel laughed and shrugged. “Lisa can run me home, it’s in my room. Maybe she can find a way to come with us.”
Trevor shook his head. “I’ll find a place to anchor near here tonight, maybe even here. I’m supposed to set out on a charter this weekend anyway, out of Fort Lauderdale. I’ll ask Julie to drive down I guess... or maybe I’ll sail down tonight. But don’t worry, I’ll have her and a charter, I won’t be alone. After that, it’ll be time for our birthday trip. I’ll pick you guys up and we’ll go, for as long as you like.”
Joel chuckled. “Okay man, but let me know if you need anything, okay? You’ve got good friends in Lisa and me, don’t forget it.”
“Thanks,” Trevor said, and then pointed at the beach, were Joel’s car was pulling into the parking lot. “Now Lisa gets to yell at me, but she did bring food, come on...”
Trevor dove over the side, with Joel right behind him, the two guys racing for the beach. Joel, thanks to less drag, pulled a few strokes ahead, bounding ashore to where Lisa stood waiting on the beach, bags in hand. “You look good like that,” she told Joel with a wink, and then turned to tell Trevor, “You’re still in hot water, Trev. Your dad called me; he’s trying to find you and he’s really pissed.”
“I kinda figured,” Trevor replied. “My phone started going off like crazy an hour ago. I saw it was him so I didn’t answer. I guess he noticed Atlantis is gone.”
“Gee, ya think?” Lisa said in a sarcastic tone. Then, she said seriously, “You have to talk to him Trev. The longer you wait, the madder he’ll get.”
Trevor shrugged. “How much worse could it get? He was already going to sell Atlantis.”
Lisa glanced southwards, down the curving beach. “Let’s walk down. There’s a launch today and we should be able to see it from the south end of the beach. I think that’ll give us a good view, right up the Indian River.”
Trevor and Joel nodded. Shuttle launches were a spectacle they all enjoyed, and even eighty miles away, there would be quite a show. “How long,” Joel asked, glancing down the beach, where he saw a few people laying out and a few more fishing.
Lisa checked her watch. “About ten minutes, unless they scrub again,” she replied.
“Let me grab my jeans from my car,” Joel said, to Trevor’s disappointment.
Lisa turned and started walking south, away from the car and Joel. “It’s locked and I’ve got the keys,” she said, and then turned to flash a grin over her shoulder.
Suddenly feeling a little underdressed due to the people around, Joel shrugged and followed, hearing Trevor begin to snicker. Joel jabbed a finger in Trevor’s direction, “This is all your fault, you know that, right?” he asked, with a rueful smile.
Trevor nodded, jogging to catch up and then matching pace with Joel. “It’s okay, people will just assume you’re gay, no big deal,” Trevor said, and then threw an arm around Joel’s shoulders, and then, barely able to contain his laughter, added loudly, “Honey.”
Trevor felt Joel shudder, and Lisa spun around staring at them both, laughing hysterically as Joel began to sputter.
Joel freed himself of Trevor’s clinging arm, and then resumed walking, blushing hard and laughing. “I’ll get you for this Trev, so help me.”