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BLUESKY split second silence and then

====================================================
The following piece of fiction contains strong sexual
content and is meant to be read only by adults. If you
are not at least 18 years old, or if you are offended by
this type of material, please do not read any further.
====================================================
"Blue Sky"

by DG
My first impression of Mort and Noel was that they were father
and daughter.

They came up the channel in a 42-foot sloop-rigged Oyster, as
beautiful a boat as you would ever want to see. I stood on the dock
and watched as the gray-haired guy behind the wheel brought her in
expertly, giving the engines just the right little reverse kick
before cutting them.

The skinny blonde in the bow tossed the lines down to me and I
made the yacht fast fore and aft. Then she spent a few minutes
fussing around with the fenders, making sure they were just right,
looking over at the guy the whole time as if to say "Is this OK?"
Like a daughter anxious to please her demanding father.

The guy finally jumped down to the dock, moving nimbly for an
old man, and then handed down the blonde. I figured him to be about
fifty-five or sixty, but in good shape. Medium height, thick through
the chest, with iron-gray hair and mustache and a captain's hat
pulled down low over his eyes. He had a sort of presence about him,
a way of commanding your attention. I didn't even take a good look
at the girl until we got inside.

"Name's Mort," he said, crushing my hand. "This here's Noel.
Gonna moor here a few days, if that's OK."

"I'm Jim," I said, flexing my hand surreptitiously. "Welcome to
Four Palms Marina. You sure you don't want to dock it? Give you a
slip with electric, phone, water, for thirty bucks a day."

"Nope. I like to moor, get a little privacy." He was already
walking towards the office with the blonde in tow. I caught up and
opened the door for them, and then went around behind the desk.

Mort looked around at Four Palms Boating Supply, which I keep as
neat as a pin and well supplied with marine essentials, and said
"Boy, that AC sure feels good. Florida in July - Jesus Christ. It's
never this hot out on the water."

"Where you coming in from?" I asked.

"Newport. Been out two weeks."

I was impressed. That's a long cruise for two people. I had
the feeling Mort was waiting for me to say so, however, which goes
against my nature, so I just nodded.

Noel spoke for the first time. "We need to replace some
fittings. Some cleats and fairleads." Her voice was flat and
lifeless.

"No problem, " I said. "There's all sorts of stuff on the back
wall." I took a closer look at her and liked what I saw. About my
age, maybe a little younger - say twenty-five. Skinny, but with wide
hips and big, round tits moving around under her t-shirt. Stringy
blonde hair, not too clean. Her face was attractive, in a vacant
sort of way, with a wide, pouty mouth.

She gave Mort a little glance, like she was asking permission,
and he said "Yeah, go check it out, get what we need." As she turned
to go past me down the aisle he surprised me by trailing his big hand
down the curve of her hip and giving her ass a proprietary squeeze.
Making a point for my benefit.

"I'm gonna need water and diesel," he said. "And let's say
three days on one of the moorings." He had a hint of a smile on the
corner of his mouth, like he knew his little demonstration had gone
home.

"No problem," I said evenly. "Just fill this out." I slid a
registration card across the desk and turned my back to straighten up
a display. So he was her sugar daddy, big deal. All it takes is
money.

"This your marina?"

"I manage it. Guy who owns it lives in Miami, doesn't get up
here too often." I turned back around. No point being rude to a
customer.

"Looks like business is a little slow." He looked up from the
card to glance meaningfully out the window at the row of slips, which
were mostly empty.

"Yeah, July and August are the slowest times for us. Come back
in September, place'll be full. Sometimes we get two, three boats
waiting in line to dock." I sounded a little more defensive than I
had meant.

He gave me a little smile and a nod, and handed me the card.
Mort Carson, captain and owner of the Miss New Jersey, registered
in Newport, Rhode Island. No mention of the blonde.

Noel came back up to the desk and dropped a handful of stainless
fittings on the counter. I looked at her out of the corner of my eye
as I rang them up. A long, hot shower and a good night's sleep, and
she would be beautiful. But right now she was dead on her feet,
swaying from side to side and staring into space. She reached behind
her idly with one hand to scratch her back, causing the white t-shirt
to pull taught against her heavy breasts. Her eyes met mine, but she
let her gaze slide by with no change in her expression.

"How much I owe you?" asked Mort impatiently.

"Eighty-three fifty for the fittings and three days mooring," I
said, feeling flustered. These two were really getting under my
skin. "No charge for the water, and you can pay for the fuel later."

I held the door for them as we went back outside. Mort went
through first, and as Noel went by she looked right at me and gave me
a quick smile, bringing her face to life for a moment. I'm no high-
school kid any more, but that smile, coming on top of her previous
indifference, gave me a thrill. But when we got back to the big
Oyster bobbing gently next to the dock she went aboard and
disappeared below.

I hooked up the hoses, and as Mort and I stood there in the
beating sun he described all the features of his yacht in loving detail.
It was a terrific boat, the kind you could take around the world, and
it had all sorts of nifty adjustments to make it easier for two people to
handle it. But I guess I didn't seem too interested, because he
eventually trailed off.

"It's a real beauty," I said truthfully. "Classic lines. None
of that modern dropped-transom shit."

"You bet. Miss NJ was laid down in ninety-two, but you
wouldn't see any difference from an Oyster laid down in the thirties.
You get a design that works, you keep it."

"Lot of brass," I said. "Must be a lot of upkeep."

"Oh yeah," he laughed. "Lucky for me Noel loves to polish
brass. She keeps it gleaming."

I was working up my courage to ask him some questions about
Noel, when I saw his eyes turn cold and his jaw firm up. I looked up
and saw that she had come back on deck wearing a pink bikini top that
barely contained her soft tan breasts. She leaned over the side,
showing so much cleavage that I could see right between her breasts
to her flat stomach, and said "Almost done?"

"Just about," I said cheerfully. After getting an eyeful I
turned back to the fuel pump with a cocky grin on my face. Take
that, Mort.

He didn't say anything, but he must have given her a hell of a
look, because when I turned back around she was gone.

"Take any mooring you like," I said, indicating the row of buoys
in the little man-made harbor. "And feel free to give me a call in
the office if you or Noel need anything else."

He gave me a stare, and looked like he was going to say
something macho, but finally he just nodded and jumped back aboard.
I cast off for him and watched as he motored over to the farthest
buoy. Noel came back up on deck, wearing the t-shirt again, and she
snagged the buoy expertly and moored the yacht. Then they both went
below.

* * *

I didn't see much of either one of them over the next couple of
days, which was disappointing. There isn't a hell of a lot to do at
Four Palms in the off season, except stay out of the sun and drink
plenty of liquids. I really wanted to see Noel again, but I would
have been happy to shoot the breeze with her sugar daddy Mort just to
pass the time.

When she called the front office on Friday around noon, I
recognized her voice right away.

"I think there's a problem with the port engine," she said.
"You think you could take a look at it?"

"I'm not much good at fixing diesels. But if you come over to
the dock I'd be glad to take a look."

"I can't bring her in by myself. Mort won't be back till later
tonight, and he wanted everything to be ready to go."

I was getting a lot of vibes, a lot of stuff coming through
between the lines. I had a good feeling about this, you might say.

"OK, in that case I'll row out in a dinghy. Be right there."

"Thanks."

It was about a two-minute row over to the Miss New Jersey, but I
still broke a sweat under the stinging July sun. When I came up the
stern ladder she was sitting in the cockpit under an awning, an
apologetic smile on her pretty face.

"Your name's Jim, right? I'm sorry, Jim, I just tried the
engine again and it sounds fine. Must have been a bubble in the fuel
line or something."

She was wearing a bikini top and faded jeans, and she looked a
lot cleaner than the last time I had seen her. The jeans were tight
across her hips, but left a noticeable gap at her narrow waist.

"No problem," I said. "Glad to hear it."

"How about a cold beer? It's the least I can do." She gave me
a direct look that made me very curious to find out what else she
might do for me.

"Anything cold would be great," I said, and she went below and
popped right back up with a couple of icy Buds.

Beers have a way of disappearing in a hurry in the Florida heat,
and we polished off two each while we chatted amiably. She told me
she graduated from Florida State two years ago and still hadn't
decided what to do with her life, which sounded pretty similar to my
own situation. We kind of skirted around the subject of what she was
doing with Mort, and talked for a while about the Bahamas, which was
where they were headed next.

"Mort wants to do some scuba diving and explore some of the
uninhabited islands over on the western side," she said. "I'd rather
spend the time in Nassau partying, but he likes to get away from the
tourists."

"Well, he has a good boat for it," I said. "You can stay out
for weeks on a cruiser like this, as long as you don't run the
engines too much."

She wrinkled her nose. "Don't I know it. Another beer?"

I was already feeling the first two, and I think she was too. I
gave her a silly grin and said "Why not. It's not like I have much
else to do today."

"Come on below, I'll give you the grand tour. The AC is on, for
once."

She stood up and made an elaborate show of hitching up her
bikini top, and then she managed to bump her hip into me twice on the
way down the ladder to the galley, and to brush her breasts across my
arm as she opened the refrigerator. I started popping a nice hard
on, and I as I adjusted my shorts to hide it I wondered why I was
bothering.

The funny thing was, I wouldn't have minded getting to know her
better before we hopped in the sack. She had a sarcastic wit that I
liked, and wasn't half as vacant as she had first appeared. I could
picture us sitting across from each other in a nice Italian
restaurant, drinking Chianti and playing footsie, or maybe at an
outdoor seafood place, holding hands and looking at the water. Not
that I wasn't anxious to get in her pants, of course.

The interior of the Miss New Jersey was about what I expected:
acres of gleaming teak set off by lots of shiny brass. The cool,
dark atmosphere seemed incredibly intimate after the blazing sauna on
deck, and her voice grew sultry and distracted as she showed me
around. I made appropriate noises of appreciation, but I couldn't
tell you a single thing she said. When we finally went aft into the
master bedroom she stumbled into me on cue, and this time I put my
arm around her and pulled her up against me.

"Oops," she giggled.

"Oops is right," I said, and I bent my head down and kissed her.
Her lips were soft and receptive, as good as they looked, and we held
the clinch for what seemed like forever, neither one of us feeling
the need to rush it.

"This is the master bedroom," she said when we finally broke the
kiss. Her cheeks were flushed, and her green eyes sparkled in the
dim light. "And that concludes our tour."

I still had my arms around her, and I could feel her warm
breasts cuddled against my stomach. She started moving us towards
the bed, and I said "You sure Mort isn't coming back soon?"

"Yes. Definitely not for hours."

That was good enough for me. We sat down on the queen-sized
bed, which took up most of the cabin, and started kissing again. She
was eager and receptive, tilting her head against mine and opening
her mouth. I explored her mouth with my tongue and cupped my hand
around her breast, gently pinching the big nipple through the taught
fabric.

All signs were go, and it wasn't long before I had both of her
breasts spilled out of the bikini top. I kneaded and stroked them
while we continued to kiss, rolling her nipples back and forth
between my fingers, and she made a moaning sound deep in her throat
and spread her knees apart. I dropped my hand down into her lap and
unbuttoned her jeans, which created just enough space for my hand to
slide in. She wasn't wearing anything under the faded Levi's, and
she had such a generous space between her thighs that I was able to
lay my palm flat right over her soft bush.

She tilted her hips up just a little, and my middle finger slid
down between her pussy lips. I wiggled the lucky finger a little,
spreading the incipient moisture around and bringing out more, and
her whole body became tense and rigid.

"Yeah, that's good." she said softly.

I continued to slide my finger up and down her pussy, and she
became wetter and wetter, and started gripping my arm so tightly it
hurt.

"How we doing? " I asked.

"Real, real good." She leaned back on her hands. "Keep doing
that and I'll show you."

Sure enough, a few seconds later she closed her eyes and started
hyperventilating, and then she let out a long, drawn-out moan, so
loud it startled me.

"Not bad," she said when it was finally over. "I don't even
have my pants off yet."

"How about we both take our pants off."

When I finished stripping down, she was lying back on the bed
with her legs slightly spread, and I was looking right at her pussy,
which looked moist and fresh and good enough to eat. I hunkered down
between her legs and gently licked the pink folds that surrounded her
clit. She started moaning again, which was like music, and she
tasted so sexy I burrowed in deeper, drawing up the essence of her
and reveling in it.

She gasped and stiffened, and for just a second I felt that
little feeling of triumph again, but then I realized she was sitting
up, pulling away from me, and she said "Mort!"

Shockingly, his voice was right behind me, shouting "What the
fuck is going on, you little whore!"

I rolled over in a hurry and there he was, filling up the
doorway, still wearing the captain's hat. I saw the butt of a gun
sticking out of the waistband of his pants, and I figured maybe this
time I was really screwed.

"What the fuck is going on here?" he asked again. He was
looking at Noel, so I grabbed my jeans and tried to put them on, but
I was in such a panic that I couldn't seem to do it - I kept jabbing
my feet at them and missing. Noel was frozen in place, just looking
at him with that slack dead expression she had when they first showed
up.

Finally she said "Sorry, Mort. Didn't expect you to be back for
a while yet."

"I can see that, you fucking whore," he said. "I leave for a
couple hours and when I come back you've already started fucking the
locals. And you ask me why we never visit the big cities. Christ, I
bet you could fuck half of Miami on a weekend stopover."

"Sorry," Noel said again, in a small, deadpan voice.

"Now what the fuck am I gonna do with you?" He came into the
cabin and I saw the dark-skinned woman behind him for the first time.
I was still pumping out adrenaline from the first shock, so this
didn't really affect me much. A Cuban working girl, probably in her
late teens. Pretty, in a coarse sort of way: too much makeup, and
white shorts that were so tight you could see the outline of her
pussy.

I made another stab at putting my pants on, and Mort looked at
me and said "Where the fuck you think you're going?"

"Listen, I'm really sorry about this. I think it would be
better if I just left, so you and Noel can -"

"You fuck around with my woman, on my boat, in my fucking bed,
and think you can just walk away? Sit right there, keep quiet, and
maybe I won't kill you."

Noel said "It wasn't his fault, Mort. I invited him."

"I know who's fault it is." He grabbed her arm and pulled her
roughly to her feet, and then he pushed her forward so she was bent
over the bed right next to me with her ass in the air. Her ass
cheeks were criss-crossed with a faint pattern of white stripes.

Mort reached into a narrow closet and pulled out a belt. "You
know what I gotta do, dontcha?"

She said something vaguely affirmative and buried her face down
in the covers.

"Get your face out of there. I want you to look at your
loverboy. I want him to see what happens to sluts like you." She
turned her head obediently to face me. Her sensual mouth was open
and slack, and she seemed to look right through me.

I heard a whoosh, followed immediately by a sickeningly loud
crack, and Noel let out a little high-pitched grunt and said "Oh
God." The Cuban girl said something in Spanish, sounding worried,
and Mort said something back that made her laugh. A bright red welt
appeared on Noel's ass, making a sharp contrast with her pale skin.

I felt sick to my stomach with fear and anger, and I said "Jesus
Mort, take it easy - can't we talk about this?"

"You get off that bed, and I'll put a bullet in your brain.
There, we talked about it."

Whoosh - crack. Whoosh - crack. Mort gave her about ten more,
turning her ass bright red and making a hell of a racket. Noel took
it in silence after the first outcry, a faraway expression on her
face. I just sat there and watched, feeling like a real loser.

Then Mort put the belt away and said something else to the Cuban
girl, and she unbuttoned her shorts and struggled to work them down
off her hips. Finally they dropped to the floor, revealing her
thick, black bush, and the small cabin was suddenly filled with a
tangy, ripe pussy scent.

Mort said "OK, you know the drill. Show your lover boy what a
slut you are."

Noel dropped to her knees in front of the Cuban girl, who leered
invitingly at her and put one foot up on the bed. Noel put her face
right into the girls crotch and started licking, and something about
the way she did it told me that this wasn't the first time she had
received this type of punishment. I don't think she was enjoying
it, but she didn't seemed particularly surprised or shocked.

In fact, now that I had remembered to start breathing again, I
realized that this whole thing must have been a setup. Kind of
suspicious the way Mort showed up like that, out of the blue, with
the Cuban hooker conveniently in tow.

The hooker had her hands laced around the back of Noel's head,
and she was grinding her pussy into Noel's face and talking to her in
Spanish. I was glad I couldn't understand what she was saying. Then
Mort unzipped his pants, took out his thick, ugly cock, and said,
"Stand up. Get your ass up in the air."

Noel straightened her legs out, staying bent over at the waist,
and I caught a glimpse of her pussy between her long, slim legs,
still glistening from my saliva. Mort stepped towards her and sunk
his cock into her with one quick, brutal thrust. Noel gasped and
pushed herself back against him and made a little moaning sound.

I started to feel angry. Why the hell had they duped me into
their sick little game? What was my part supposed to be? I decided
not to stick around to find out. Mort was banging away at Noel,
occasionally looking over at me to make sure I was watching. He
didn't seem too worried about me; maybe he figured a guy who was
naked wasn't going to try anything. I made sure I looked
appropriately terrified, and then the next time he turned away I
bolted out the door into the main cabin.

It seemed to take forever to get to the ladder leading up to the
cockpit. If Mort wanted to shoot me, he had plenty of time. My bare
foot slipped on the first rung, giving my shin a cruel whack, and
then I shot up the ladder into the bright heat of midday. I heard
some shouting and what sounded like laughter down below, and Noel
called out my name. I jumped up onto the deck and immediately dove
overboard, taking a deep breath just before I sliced into the water.

When I finally came up my lungs were on fire and I was a good
fifty yards away from the Miss New Jersey. Being a good swimmer
comes in handy sometimes. All three of them were standing on deck
looking at me, and a few people in other boats were also watching
what was going on. I swam the remaining thirty yards or so to the
dock, climbed up the slippery wooden ladder, and hurried into the
office, covering my privates with my hands and feeling foolish.

Fortunately the place was empty, as it usually was this time of
year. I grabbed a new swimsuit from the clothes rack, tore off the
tags, and put it on. First things first. Then I went to the window
and looked out. Noel was rowing over to the dock in my dinghy. I
watched her as she came up the ladder and walked up to the door,
carrying my clothes in a neatly-folded stack.

She came in and we looked at each other for a few seconds in
silence.

"Enjoy your little game?" I asked.

"No, as a matter of fact I didn't. Here's your clothes." She
put them on the counter. "Your dinghy is tied up by the ladder."

"Thanks. Are you going to tell me what the hell is going on?"

She looked at me, and then dropped her eyes to the floor. I
wasn't buying the embarrassment act, though. "Mort's idea of fun, "
she said. "I seduce a guy, then he sneaks up on us and makes a big
scene, scares the hell out him. Mort makes the guy watch while he
fucks me, then he lets the guy get in on the action, which Mort
really gets off on. By the time it's over we're all good friends."
She gave me a rueful smile "So you should have stuck around a little
longer."

"Yeah, I guess. What about the hooker?"

"Another little fantasy of Mort's is to see me getting it on
with a woman. He's got a lot of fantasies. Lately he's been
combining them, which may not be a good idea."

"Are any of these things your fantasies too?"

"They used to be. Some of them. But not any more."

"So you want me to call the police?"

She looked startled. "God no! It's not like that."

"Then what is it like, Noel? Tell me, I really want to know.
And don't give me any shit about what a sweetie Mort is. I know an
asshole when I see one."

"I guess he is an asshole. But not a homicidal one. You were
never in any danger."

"Yeah, I know that. That's not what I meant. I want to know
what you're doing with him - how you met him. Why you stay with
him."

She shook her head. "It's not a pretty story."

"I didn't think it would be."

"Then why do you want to hear it?"

"Because I like you, dammit! After we made love I was going to
try to convince you to stick around."

She looked into my eyes, saw that I was sincere, and said "Oh
for God's sake...that's really...sweet."

"But stupid."

"No, not stupid." She seemed to be fighting back tears.

"Listen Noel, is there any way we can go out to dinner tonight?
Talk things over?"

She started to shake her head automatically, and I said "Yes you
can, dammit. Tell Mort I'm threatening to go to the police unless
you spend the night with me."

She thought about it for a second. "Yeah, I guess that might
work. That's the kind of threat Mort would appreciate."

"So go ask him. No, go tell him."

She smiled at me, and I could see that she was sizing me up,
maybe doing a little reevaluating. "You're a real go-getter, aren't
you?"

I gave her my best cocky grin and said "Damn right. When I see
something I really want, look out."

The phone rang a little while later and I picked it up on the
first ring. It was Mort.

"What's this bullshit about calling the police?"

"I don't appreciate being threatened with a gun. Or the way I
was set up, either."

"You got nothing on me. You're the one who was messing around
with my woman."

"So why did you call, then?"

He chewed on that for a few seconds and said "Noel tells me you
think you still got a little pussy coming your way." All class,
this guy.

"That's right. You send her over here for the night, and we'll
call it even. No police."

"You got nothing on me," he repeated. "But I guess I see your
point. I want her back on board by midnight." Click.

* * *

Noel rowed back over to the dock in my dinghy at six, and this
time I was there at the top of the ladder to help her as she came up
with her shoes in her hand. She was wearing a short green sundress
that matched her eyes and showed off her legs, and she had styled her
hair and put on a little makeup.

She gave me a bright smile and said "Did someone here order a
blonde?"

"You look terrific," I said. I wanted to kiss her more than
anything, but I knew Mort was probably watching from the boat, so I
settled for holding her arm to steady her as she put her shoes on.
She was talking a mile a minute as I walked her over to my car and
opened the passenger door for her, telling me how she convinced Mort
to let her go, and I just smiled and nodded, feeling bashful and
overwhelmed. It suddenly occurred to me that she was nervous, and
this made me happy for some reason. I pulled out onto the highway,
anxious to get away.

"Hungry?" I asked, when she paused for a second.

"Very. Where are we going?"

"Well, there are three decent restaurants around here. An
Italian place, a chinese place, and a seafood and steak place."

"Not to sound unladylike, but I could use a couple of drinks
first. Something strong and tropical. And then maybe a steak?"

"Sounds good to me - Billy Bob's Steak Shack it is. It's nicer
than it sounds."

We got a nice quiet booth at Billy Bob's, which really is a nice
steak house, and ordered a couple of drinks.

"So how did you end up running a marina?" she asked.

"Family business. Or it used to be, anyway. My dad started it
thirty years ago and did real well, well enough to put me and my
brother through college. But five years ago he got sick, and his
health insurance didn't cover everything so he had to sell it. When
he died, the guy who bought it asked me to run the place."

She nodded and asked "Why did you accept? You had your degree,
right?"

"A degree in English. I was actually working in a restaurant
when my dad died, so this was a step up. At the time I thought it
was what my dad would have wanted. He was always bugging me to come
work for him after I graduated."

"So you like it?"

"Hell no. I'm just trying to get up the nerve to quit and try
something else."

She smiled. "I majored in history. I guess we make a good
cautionary tale against majoring in the humanities."

"Yeah, good point. Listen, I hate to break the mood, but you
promised to tell me how you ended up with Mort."

She finished her drink, and we ordered another round. When the
new drinks came she said "I told you it's not a happy story."

"I want to hear it anyway, Noel."

"OK. I'll give you the abbreviated version." She thought for a
few seconds, stirring her drink with a swizzle stick, and then she
said "My boyfriend was a starter on the football team, and that meant
that we ran with a pretty fast crowd. A lot of partying, a lot of
sex. One thing the football players loved to do was gamble. As in
betting on sports. Mort was the biggest bookie on campus. Mort the
Sport, they called him."

"Cute."

"Yeah, everybody loved Mort. Every weekend he would have a big
party at his house for the athletes and for his high-rolling clients.
He provided the alcohol and the food, and people would place their
bets for the upcoming week, talk sports, that sort of thing. You
wouldn't believe how much money we're talking about. The players all
got cash under the table from rich alumni, and they drove around in
fancy cars and lived in nice apartments off campus."

"Yeah, I remember that from my days at good old FSU. It was a
good introduction to how unfair life is."

"Steve, my boyfriend, used to bet five thousand a week or so
during the NFL season. But he wasn't very good at it, and he always
owed Mort money. Mort was pretty flexible about payments if you were
a star athlete, and Steve took full advantage. So eventually he
ended up owing him some ungodly amount."

She paused for a moment, fiddling with the two little paper
umbrellas from her drinks, and I studied her face. Her skin seemed
to glow in the soft romantic lighting. But there was pain there,
just under the surface, and this story was bringing it out.

"So one night at one of his parties, Mort pulls me aside and
tells me how much trouble Steve was in, how he was going to be kicked
out of school for owing Mort money and for illegal gambling."

"Let me guess," I said sourly. "He had some suggestions on how
you could help Steve out."

She nodded. "He was pretty subtle about it, but I knew what he
wanted. I started sleeping with Mort, and with his friends, and
Steve kept getting more time to pay back his debt. But the thing is,
I didn't mind too much. Mort was a fun guy to be around, back then,
and I liked moving in the fast lane. Steve found out eventually, and
we broke up, but by then Mort and I were...I don't know. Heavily
involved, I guess you might say."

She had lost her earlier animation and good mood completely now,
and looked tired and depressed. "I know what you're thinking," she
said. "But most of the time he treats me pretty well."

"What about this afternoon?" I asked. "He called you a whore
and whipped you. Was that all part of the little game you were playing?"

"He was punishing me for flirting with you. He likes to see me
with other men, but only on his terms. I was surprised when he
wanted me to seduce you. He wanted to teach me a lesson, obviously."

"Has he whipped you before?"

"Yes, but not that hard. The real punishment was the girl.
When we first got involved I made the mistake of telling him that I
had experimented with women. Now he throws that back at me when he
wants to humiliate me."

I reached out and took her hand. "Noel, I don't care how it all
started. We all make mistakes. But you shouldn't stay with a guy
who treats you like that, no matter how rich he is."

She pulled her hand away. "You think I stay with him for the
money? You think I let myself be a sex toy for a sixty year old
pervert just because he has a nice boat?"

I couldn't think of a single thing to say, and she glanced at
her watch and got up and went into the ladies room. I thought it
over while she was gone, puzzled as to what I had said to offend her.
Why the hell would she stay with a guy like Mort, if not for his
money? Could she be in love with him? The thought made me
physically sick, but that didn't mean it wasn't true.

When she came back she was like a different person - bubbly and
apologetic. "God, I'm so sorry. I always get like that when I talk
about the old days. Forgive me?"

"Of course...but..."

Just then the waiter brought our steaks, and we dug in. Noel
ate like someone who hadn't seen a decent meal in weeks, cutting and
chewing with fierce concentration. We kept the conversation on
lighter topics for the rest of the meal, and she remained chipper and
upbeat.

"Would you like to see a dessert menu?" the waiter asked as he
cleared our plates. I looked at her with my eyebrows raised, and she
ran her foot up my calf and said "Time's awasting, Jimmy. I turn
into a pumpkin at midnight."

My cock twitched inside my pants. "Check please."

Noel stepped into my apartment, took a look at the plaid
furniture and the hideous carpet, and giggled.

"Nice place you got here. A real babe lair."

"Yeah, once I get them up here they pretty much turn into
putty," I said, brushing crumbs off the tattered couch with my hand.
"I soften them up with the comfortable furniture and the thirteen-
inch TV, and then the king-sized waterbed seals the deal."

"No...King sized?"

"Yeah, it's a real beauty. It was here when I moved into this
place two years ago. I paid the guy two hundred for the furniture,
and I haven't changed a thing. I figure this way if something better
comes along I won't hesitate to move on."

I tried to meet her eyes, to let her know that the something
better had finally come along, but she avoided my gaze and skipped
into the bedroom to check out the waterbed.

I followed her in and she was lying on her back in the middle of
it with her arms spread wide. Her dress had hiked up so high I could
see her white panties, and the waves were making her body undulate
rhythmically.

"Come on in, the waters fine!"

I swallowed hard, and said "Noel, I want you to know that you
don't have to sleep with me unless you want to. I'm not going to
call the police."

"I see. And Mr Jones feels the same way?" She pointed at the
bulge in the front of my pants with her toe.

"Well no, Mr Jones feels that you owe me big time for leaving
him high and dry this afternoon."

She laughed. "He's making more sense than you are." Still
lying on her back, she hooked her thumbs under the waistband of her
panties and slid them off.

I took off my slacks and boxer shorts and flopped down next to
her, making the bed slosh wildly. Our mouths met, and she pulled me
over on top of her. Without breaking the kiss we squirmed and
adjusted until finally I slid into her warm core of her.

She gasped and grabbed my buttocks, pulling me in even farther.

"Finally," I said.

She smiled and gently bit my lower lip. "Finally."

I began thrusting into her, and she wrapped her legs around my
waist and started moaning and whispering dirty talk in my ear. One
problem with fucking on my waterbed is that when I try to stop to
keep from ejaculating the waves keep me going. But this time it
probably didn't matter: she was so hot and so wet and I wanted her so
much that nothing could have slowed me down. I fucked her harder and
harder and then I lost it.

I groaned and rolled off her. "I'm sorry. I blew it."

She smiled and said "Don't be silly. That was the best thirty
seconds of my life. You aren't through for the night, are you?"

"Hell no," I said, recovering my spirits. "Just getting
started."

I took off my shirt and then I pulled her to a sitting position
and lifted her sundress up over her head, and she unhooked her bra
and took it off. She pushed me onto my back and lay alongside me,
molding her warm soft form against me.

I kissed her forehead and smiled as she slipped her warm hand
between my legs and cradled my balls. "Noel, what happens at
midnight?"

"Don't talk about that now, Jim. I want to enjoy this. I want
to enjoy being here with you." She had my cock in her hand now, and
she was gently squeezing and pulling, and I was starting to respond.

I slid down until I could kiss her breasts. She shifted a
little to help me and then moaned appreciatively as I licked and
suckled. She tasted faintly salty from perspiration, and the scent of
her skin filled my nostrils and made me giddy.

"Bite me a little," she whispered. Her breathing became heavier
as I took her nipple in my teeth and gently bit it. After a while I
put my hand between her legs and she gasped and laughed. "You know
what I want."

I brought her to an orgasm, and she murmured in my ear the whole
time, telling me exactly what she was feeling and how much she liked
it.

When she caught her breath she looked down and saw that I was
hard again, and she said "Already? That's encouraging. Maybe we
can go for three."

"That's the spirit."

She straddled me and sank down on my cock. This time it was
perfect: I was hard but in control. She leaned forward until her
nipples just brushed against my chest, and we found a nice steady
rhythm. Suddenly she gave me a surprised look and then she sat up
and half-moaned, half-screamed as she came.

"That was one to remember," she said, smiling down at me.
"You're pretty good at this."

"You're not bad yourself."

"Since I'm dealing with an expert here, I'm going to give you
some special instructions," she said. "When I tell you to, pinch
both my nipples. Hard."

I reached up with both hands and tweaked her nipples
experimentally.

"Harder. Ow! Yes, like that. But not until I say."

We fucked intently, smiling at each other like we had some sort
of delicious secret, and just when I thought I was going to lose it
again she bit her lip and said "Now."

I pinched her nipples firmly, rolling them back and forth
between my fingers, and she went off like a rocket. But louder.

"I'm jealous," I said when she was finished. "And a little
deaf."

She leaned forward again, compressing her soft breasts against
my chest, and said "Your turn."

From this position I could thrust up into her as fast as I
needed to, and I went to work. She covered my lips and my face with
little kisses as I pumped away, and then she buried her face against
my neck as held me as I erupted into her.

She was quiet for a while, and when I playfully rolled her over
onto her back I saw that she was crying.

There wasn't much point in asking why. "You don't have to go
back to him," I said.

"Yes I do." Her voice was flat and emotionless.

"Why?" I asked desperately. "Do you love him?"

She shook her head. "No. It's worse than that."

She rolled over to the edge of the bed and stood up and went
down the hall into the bathroom, leaving me rocking up and down on
the bed. I looked around at my depressing bedroom and decided that
when she came back I was going to get to the bottom of this. There
was something she wasn't telling me, something she thought I couldn't
handle, but whatever it was, she was wrong.

She ran back into the room and jumped on the bed, startling me.

"Let's go for three, big guy!"

I gaped at her, astonished at the transformation. Her cheeks
were flushed and her eyes sparkled.

"I bet I can wake this guy up again." She took my soft cock
into her mouth and started sucking, but she was doing it too hard and
she kept biting me. Suddenly I realized what was going on, and I
felt like an idiot for not figuring it out sooner.

I sat up and grabbed her shoulders. "Cut it out!"

She looked up at me with saliva all over her chin and said
"What? What's wrong?" Her breathing was shallow and rapid, and her
body was twitching all over.

"What are you on, Noel? What did you take?"

"Fuck you! Just because you can't get it up, don't blame me."

I ignored this, and repeated "What are you on?"

She struggled to get away, but I kept her pinned to the bed.

"That's why you stay with Mort, isn't it? He's got you addicted
to something. You don't love him, you just need him for your habit."

"That's right," she snarled. "I'm a fucking junkie."

"And that's all that's keeping you with Mort?" Perversely, I
was seeing an upside to this. I was feeling some hope.

"It's plenty. The stuff I'm on, if I don't get my next fix I
could die." She still shook like she was being electrocuted, but her
voice was steadier and her eyes were focused.

"What the hell is it?"

She wiped her chin and then stared at her shaking hand for a few
seconds. "It's an experimental drug called blue sky. Methyl
something - I don't know the scientific name. It was developed to
get people off heroin."

She laughed bitterly. "The idea was to switch the addicts off
of heroin and onto this, and then they could kick the habit. But it
turned out blue sky was just as addictive. It wears off after a few
hours, and then you have to take more or you crash. After three or
four doses, you're addicted."

"So you were addicted to heroin?" I was confused.

She shook her head, a spastic motion that sent her hair whipping
back and forth. "No. Mort got a supply of blue sky from a guy who
worked in a medical research lab. To pay back a gambling debt.
Being a generous guy, he started sharing it with his friends. I had
never used anything stronger than pot."

"Why would anyone want to take this stuff? I mean, why not just
take heroin or cocaine if you want to get high?"

She smiled grimly. "It doesn't really mess with your head like
a recreational drug, it feels more like a big jolt of caffeine. But
it has an interesting side effect. It makes an orgasm about ten
times as powerful."

I looked at her closely and saw she wasn't kidding. "Jesus.
Some side effect. So Mort would give it to women before sex?"

"Right. Kept them coming back for more."

"I guess that explains all the screaming and moaning. I didn't
think I was quite as good as that."

"You are good, Jim. The last one I had was all you - the drug
was wearing off."

I smiled appreciatively and said "One thing I don't understand -
you didn't act all hyper like this before."

"I took a double dose just now. I guess it was my way of
telling you what was going on."

"Oh Jesus, Noel!" Now I was getting panicky again. "I should
get you to a hospital. They can help you."

"No, I'll be fine. They won't know how to treat it, anyway. In
fact, if they give me the wrong drug, like a tranquilizer, I'll die."

"Who told you that? Mort?"

She looked me in the eyes. "It happened. Mort was having a
party and a couple of girls took too much and started getting hyper.
They probably would have been fine, but somebody panicked and called
an ambulance. They both died at the hospital. That was the end of
Mort the Sport - he had to dump the bookie business after that."

I wanted to ask her if she had been at the party, and if she had
been a participant, but I decided against it.

"So the only way you can get this blue sky shit is from Mort?"

"Yeah, that's the beauty of the situation. He doesn't give me
access to it for obvious reasons. He keeps it in a safe on board and
doles it out to me day by day. I just took the rest of what he gave
me for tonight. I'll be fine in about ten minutes, and then I'll be
in good shape for three or four hours."

I nodded. She already looked better than she did a few minutes
ago. "If you had free access to Mort's supply, could you kick it?"

"It would be tough, but I think so. One thing Mort's done is
not let my dose escalate too much. So yes. If I had someone's
help."

I kissed her and said "You got it." I just wished I knew what I
was getting myself into.

I poured myself another mug of coffee, sat back down at my
little kitchen table, and said, "I still think he would open the safe
if I pointed a gun in his face."

Noel was pacing around the kitchen restlessly. We were both
still naked. We had been at it for an hour, and we weren't getting
anywhere.

"Look Jim, Mort doesn't intimidate easily. He knows that I have
to have the drug, and that if we kill him we can't get at it. So he
won't give us the combination." She stopped pacing for a moment and
stretched, causing her breasts to do very interesting things.

I took a sip of coffee and tried not to stare at her body. I
needed to concentrate.

"How much blue sky is hidden in the bathroom?" Noel had started
a secret stash on board the Miss New Jersey by occasionally skimming
from her dose.

"I told you, only a few days worth. Not nearly enough for me to
kick the habit."

The coffee mug was halfway to my lips when I had one of my
better ideas. I froze for a long moment, turning it over and looking
for flaws.

"What is it? You look like you're about to give a toast."

"What does blue sky look like? Pills?"

"No, it's a light blue powder. Sky blue, you might say."

I grinned, feeling good all of a sudden. "That's the first thing
that's made sense all day. So you snort it?"

"That's what I normally do. But you can also inject it or even
dissolve it in liquid and drink it."

"Versatile stuff. Let's make some."

"What?"

I told her what I was thinking, and she laughed out loud.

It turned out to be easy: we took one of those blue cakes for
keeping the toilet bowl fresh and ground it up with some sugar until
Noel thought the color and texture were right. Now we just had to
get up the nerve to do it.

* * *

We drove back to the marina in silence, and I parked in the
empty lot in front of the office. We got out and stood next to each
other and looked out over the dark water. The crescent moon wouldn't
set for another hour, and it provided just enough light to keep from
walking into things. It was ten minutes to midnight.

"He's still awake." She pointed at the Miss New Jersey, lying
completely still at her mooring. The portholes to the main cabin
gleamed a warm yellow.

I put my arm around her, and she turned into me and gave me a
bear hug. She was trembling slightly and I could feel waves of body
heat coming off her. I kissed her mouth and we held it until it
started to turn into something urgent. She ground her hips against
mine and felt my erection through the thin nylon of my swimsuit, and
I could feel her smile through the kiss.

Impulsively, I lifted her up and sat her on the hood of my car.

"Yes," she whispered.

I reached up her dress to pull her panties down and discovered
she wasn't wearing any.

"Surprise. They're in my purse."

I had a sudden urge to taste her, and I pushed her legs apart
and nosed into the darker-than-dark recess. The scent was powerful
and basic: the yeasty smell of my semen mixed in with her own musky
essence. I smiled to myself as I probed forward with my tongue: it
smelled like some guy had been fucking her all night.

She tasted like the ocean: salty and fishy and yet somehow
clean.

I lost myself in there for a little while, and then I realized she
was pulling me upward by the ears. I stood up and she gasped "Fuck
me," and she grabbed the front of my suit and roughly pulled it down.
Wordlessly I stepped forward and sunk into her, and we went at it
fiercely, like it was some sort of duel.

She started to moan and call out, and I tried to shush her. I
didn't want to wake up the whole marina.

"I'm going... to come..." she gasped.

"Can you be quiet?"

"No...fucking way." I could hear the frustration in her voice.

I put my hand firmly over her mouth, and her eyes opened wide
and she nodded her head. I slammed up into her and she groaned and
grunted into my hand as she writhed on my stiff pole. There was no
way I was going to be able to come again for the third time while
standing up against a car, but I didn't care. This was for her.

When she was done she sprawled back across the hood and caught
her breath. "My God," she said finally. "I didn't know it could be
like this. Is this normal?"

"Not for me," I said truthfully. I put my hands under her
shoulders and pulled her up. She brushed my hair out of my eyes and
said "My hero."

"Not yet, I'm not. Are you ready?"

She nodded, but she looked scared. I probably did too.

I helped her down to the dinghy and watched as she slowly rowed
across the flat black water towards the dim outline of the Miss New
Jersey.

As it turned out, the waiting was the hardest part. After Noel
went on board the lights in the main cabin stayed on for another
hour. Noel had told me that Mort would probably grill her about what
we had done all night, and I could imagine him having sex with her as
well, reestablishing his control over her. It was a long hour, but
finally the lights went out.

A light farther forward came on half an hour later: Noel going
into the bathroom for her fix, like she did every night. I watched
intently, and when the light blinked three times I went down the
ladder and slipped into the milk-warm channel. The moon had set, and
it was so dark that I couldn't even see the water. I swam quietly
towards the boat, fighting a sense of disorientation.

When I finally came under the stern I couldn't see a thing, and
I had to fumble around for the ladder. Noel was waiting for me in
the cockpit, her face illuminated by the eerie green light of the
control console.

"What took you so long?" she hissed. She sounded like she was
losing it, and I didn't blame her. She pressed something cold into
my hand: Mort's forty-five.

"Good work," I whispered. "Stay here until I call you."

With the comforting weight of the gun in my hand, I quietly
padded down the steps to the galley in my bare feet, water still
dripping off me. The interior of the boat was lit with little night
lights spaced along the floor, like in a movie theater. I heard a
strange, rhythmic sound, and the hair on my arms stood up as I
tried to identify it. Then I realized it was Mort snoring.

I followed the lights aft and stood in the doorway to the master
bedroom, listening to Mort saw wood and trying to think of the right
thing to say. "Freeze!" seemed overly dramatic considering that he
was asleep. After rejecting "So, we meet again," and "Reach for the
stars, partner," I stepped forward and just switched on the light.

"Turn off the fucking light," he grumbled.

"Rise and shine, Mort."

He sat up and squinted at me blearily. "What the fuck?"

"Remember me?"

"Yeah, I remember you. I thought we had a deal." He scowled at
me, and rubbed his eyes.

I took a pair of wet handcuffs out of my pocket and tossed them
onto the bed. "I said I wouldn't call the police, and I didn't. Put
these on behind your back."

He gave me a long look, considering his options. "And if I
don't?"

"Then I'll shoot you in the meaty part of your thigh, below the
main artery." I pointed with the gun.

He swallowed and put on the cuffs. I walked him forward into
one of the guest cabins and carefully tied him to a chair which was
bolted to the floor.

While I was pulling the nylon rope nice and tight, he said "What
the hell are you doing? If you're gonna steal my boat, why don't you
leave me on shore?" His voice was steady, I have to give him credit
for that.

"I'm not stealing your boat, I'm stealing your girlfriend."

He didn't have an answer for that one. I shut the door and went
back up to the cockpit. I didn't see Noel anywhere, and then I heard
her voice above and behind me. "Jim?"

She was sitting on top of the coaming with a nasty-looking winch
handle clenched in both hands. I smiled at her and decided not to
tell her that she had almost given me a heart attack. "All set.
He's in the starboard cabin."

We started the engines, unmoored, and chugged down the channel
toward the Atlantic ocean.

By sunrise we were out of sight of land, and we raised the sails
and turned off the engine. We let Mort stew in the closed cabin
while we took turns sleeping. When I finally opened the door he
looked up at me with fear in his eyes. I got the feeling he thought
I was going to kill him, which was fine with me.

"How you doing, Mort?"

He licked his lips and looked at the big glass of orange juice
in my hand. "Thirsty."

"Thought you might be," I said solicitously. I held the glass
to his mouth. When he finished it he belched and said "Now I'm
hungry."

"I'm planning on untying you, feeding you, and letting you
shower," I said in a friendly tone. "But first you have to help me
out."

I think he realized by my attitude than I wasn't going to kill
him, because he seemed to be gaining confidence. I'm just not the
killer type, and I guess it shows.

He said "I know what you want, son. The safe combination. I'll
give it to you, but on my terms."

"I don't think you're in any position to be dictating terms."

"Noel's last dose should be wearing off about now. In case you
haven't noticed, she's gets extremely bitchy when her dose is late.
In fact, I'm glad you're taking her off my hands; I was getting a
little tired of her. Anyway, if she goes off cold turkey she'll die.
So untie me and give me my gun, and I'll guarantee you both stay
alive. Otherwise she dies, and it'll be your fault."

I nodded slowly, like I was seriously considering it. Then I
said "Noel is just fine for the time being. Turns out she was saving
up a little rainy-day stash behind your back." I took the ziplock
bag of Tidy Bowl crystals out of my pocket and showed it to him.
"Noel tells me she can last about two months with this."

I could see in his eyes that he bought it hook, line, and
sinker. He took a deep breath and let it out.

"So what's the combination, Mort?"

"Fuck you. We'll talk again in two months."

I laughed. "You're going to be awfully hungry in two months."

"You don't have the guts to kill me or torture me or even to
withhold food. And neither does Noel." He seemed to have found a
sudden source of energy. His cheeks were flushed and he was
breathing quickly.

"Well, actually you only have to last for a month," I said.

I watched his face and I saw the exact moment when he figured it
out.

"That's right, Mort. You got a little something extra with your
orange juice this morning. A couple of days from now you'll be just
as addicted as Noel." I set the ziplock bag on a shelf where he
could see it.

He started struggling and screaming obscenities at me, and I
shut the door in his face and went back up on deck.

* * *

Following Noel's instructions, I gave Mort four more big doses
of blue sky without letting him undergo any withdrawal, nearly
depleting our meager supply. I let him shower and eat, and I made
him as comfortable as possible. Then, just when he was thinking it
wasn't going to be so bad, I cut him off, leaving him alone in the
cabin as if we forgot about him. He was angry at first, then
hysterical, and then pleading. When his voice started to get weak
and hoarse I went down to the cabin and opened the door.

He was sitting on the single bed with his hands cuffed behind
him to a ringbolt. There was a look of pure hate in his bloodshot
eyes, but he licked his lips and said "Please. For God's sake."

"You know the deal. Don't make this harder than it has to be."

He didn't respond, and I started to close the door. "I'll check
back in a couple hours, see if you've reached a decision."

"Wait! Twenty-six, three, thirteen, thirty-two."

I called the numbers to Noel, waking her up from a nap. A
minute later she called out "Bingo!"

I gave Mort his dose, a much smaller one this time. Time to
wean him back off the crazy shit. I asked him if he wanted to go to
the bathroom or walk around a little, but he just shook his head. I
figured he was drained from all the yelling.

Back in the main cabin Noel was screwing the lid back onto a big
plastic jar.

"About a four month's supply left. I guess I don't have any choice
about quitting."

"Good."

"Yeah, I guess you're right. I wonder when he was planning to
tell me he was running low. Knowing Mort, somewhere out in the
middle of the Atlantic he'd just say 'Oh, by the way, that's the last
of it right there.'"

I put my arms around her. "It's over, honey. We won."

She smiled at me, and I could see the energy flowing into her as
the blue sky hit her bloodstream. Poison cleverly disguised as
elixir.

"So let's celebrate," she said. She unzipped my shorts and
opened them up, and took out my cock, which was hardening rapidly.

"Let me check the radar," I said. I went over and looked at the
screen. Nothing around us but deep blue ocean.

She sat down in a swivel chair, and I walked toward her with my
dick pointing straight forward like a bowsprit. She leaned forward
and took me into her warm mouth, and swirled her tongue around the
sensitive head of my cock, sending waves of pleasure through me. I
wondered what this would feel like magnified by ten, and then I put
the thought out of my head.

She bobbed her head up and down on me, taking my cock in and out
of her mouth with long, delicious strokes. We hadn't made love since
we had left Four Palms three days ago, and I soon realized I wasn't
going to last long.

"Hot fire below," I said.

She smiled at me and stopped long enough to say "I should hope
so, mister."

I put my hands on her shoulders to steady myself and gave myself
over to the sensation. I think it must be about the best feeling in
the world to know that someone is about to give you a blow job until
you come, especially if you are in love with that someone. She went
back to work, and we started making deliciously messy squishing
sounds.

I was getting very close indeed when there was a loud,
splintering crash as Mort broke through the cabin door, smashed into
the opposite wall, and fell to the deck.

There was a split second of silence, and then Noel started
screaming and all hell broke loose. Mort stood up awkwardly and I
saw that he was still wearing the cuffs, but he had worked his hands
to the front. He picked up a hatchet with both hands and staggered
towards us. His wrists and hands were covered with blood, and in the
back of my mind I realized he must have somehow worked the ringbolt
out of the wood over the past several hours.

I pulled Noel to her feet and tried to push her back into the
galley, thinking of the gun conveniently located all the way aft in
the bedroom. She was still screaming hysterically, and I had my
shorts down around my knees, and we fell down in a tangled heap.

I looked up, frozen with fear, as Mort walked towards us with
the hatchet raised like some sort of avenging angel. I thought he
was going to try to hack us to pieces, but he stopped about six feet
away and stood there with a strange expression on his face. Then he
dropped the hatchet and his whole body started shaking. He opened
his mouth, but nothing came out. Then he collapsed against the
wall and slid to the deck.

When I got over to him he was dead.

Noel came running back into the main cabin holding the gun,
screaming my name over and over.

"He's dead," I said. I had to repeat it three or four times
before she understood.

"How...what did you do?"

"Absolutely nothing. I think he had a heart attack." I took a
closer look at Mort. His upper lip and nostrils were smeared with
blue powder.

"I think maybe he ODed on blue sky somehow...Oh shit!"

"What's wrong?"

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. "The fake blue sky. I
left it in the cabin where he could see it, and then I forgot all about it."

"Oh my God! He snorted Tidy Bowl."

* * *

I turned the wheel until the Miss New Jersey was headed
directly for the hazy purple line along the southern horizon, and
then I reset the autopilot. The waves were up to four feet, and the
wind was freshening. The boat felt powerful and alive as it
shouldered its way through the ocean.

Noel was sleeping in a hammock slung along the side of the
cockpit, and I watched the even rise and fall of her breathing for a
few minutes. She had taken her last dose of blue sky three days ago,
and the rest of the vile stuff was now diluting the ocean. She was
still doing a lot of sleeping, but other than that she was fine.
More than fine, in my opinion.

I went below to check the latest weather reports. The tropical
storm we were heading for was out of season, and likely to be
unpredictable. When we heard the first reports a few days ago we had
decided to head into it rather than away from it.

It would sound more convincing to the coast guard to say that
Mort had been lost overboard in a storm than to say he had died in a
freak accident in good weather. If we survived the storm, and I was
reasonably sure we would, were home free. I think we both felt that
we were somehow asking fate to decide whether we were accountable for
Mort's death, whether we deserved to live happily ever after.

The latest weather reports said we would be entering the storm
in about two hours. I went back up on deck to start making the
necessary preparations.

Noel was awake, and she gave me a warm smile.

"Time to batten down the hatches," I said.

"Too bad. I was hoping you could help me wake up."

"I always have time for that." I slipped into the hammock next
to her.
The End, "Blue Sky"

1997 by DG. All rights reserved.

Notes:

1) Please let me know what you thought of this story - my email address
is dionysian1@hotmail.com

2) All my stories are available from my web page:
http://baird.pair.com/dg.htm

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