Hunter at Sea|
The Tarheel Writer
"Declaration of Intention"
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"That's the last grid, capt'n,"Ted said quietly. "Sorry we didn't find the boat." Max banked the Guardian to the right. "Uh, capt'n. The base is the other way."
"I know. We've got enough fuel for another half hour and I wanna check out a hunch." Ted shrugged his shoulders.
"You're the boss." Ted tried to figure out what kind of hunch his captain had as he continued to scan the waters of the Atlanta below them.
Max Westphal had been the lead search team captain for almost a decade. In Coast Guard circles, he was the best. Grid searches were monotonous, but necessary. Trying to find a lost ship at sea was frustrating, at best. Somehow, Max Westphal overcame the frustration and succeeded in finding what others wrote off as a lost cause. His gut instincts were legendary. Many a co-pilot questioned his judgment and his methodology, but the celebrated captain often just struck out on an unknown tangent and found what he was looking for.
In reality, Max relied on instinct and an understanding of the Atlantic Ocean. Once the grid was covered, he put his mind to work. A sailboat was missing. The gulf stream pushed northward. Prevailing winds were from the north, pushing the missing sailboat to the south. The search grid covered the area where the missing boat should have been, given its last course and destination. That was the best place for book-learned men to start. Men with years of experience knew that it didn't always play out that way.
Max flew well south of the search grid. Ted could only scan the waters as his captain followed his infamous hunch. The feeling was familiar. Ted had been on more than one mission when his captain went out on a tangent. It still amazed Ted as to how Max seemed to home in on an unseen and undetected signal, ultimately zeroing in on the missing boat.
The prevailing winds would have pushed a sailboat south. It was just a matter of figuring out how far out to sea the craft had been pushed before those winds took over. Max counted on the missing sailboat to be pushed toward the Bahamas and its some odd seven hundred islands covering over one hundred thousand square miles of crystal clear water. Many of those islands were privately owned. That didn't matter. A sailboat with a strong southerly wind would be pushed in the direction Captain Westphal was flying. His many years of experience told him, the missing sailboat was close by.
* * * * *
Max was the first one to try to influence his son, but it was ultimately Hunter that finally got Jesse interested in sailing. That kid had shown up at his door more often than not, barefoot and wearing nothing but cut off shorts, blond hair blowing in the breeze and puppy dog eyes that begging for Jesse to come sailing. The hesitation he'd seen in his son's eyes evaporated when Hunter was at the door. If the kid from down the street could get Jesse interested in sailing and the wonders of the ocean, Max was all for it.
He realized, looking back on it all, his son had been completely infatuated with Hunter. Why else would Jesse suddenly overcome his reluctance to go sailing? Thinking about it some more, it was his son's eyes that had been the dead giveaway, but Max had ignored all the signs. Jesse would be sullen after school, intently working on his homework. When Hunter showed up at the door, Jesse's eyes would light up like the afternoon sun. Max would watch as the two boys tore off across the backyard and down to the dock. The two twelve year olds would have the Catalina twenty-two foot sailboat underway in a matter of minutes. He couldn't help but chuckle to himself as he remembered them painting the name on the transom.
It was Max's father that most influenced his own love of the sea. Grandpa John was a sailor through and through. A fisherman by trade, Max's father's first love was sailboats. He taught his son every aspect of sailing, including a healthy respect for the sea. It was that respect of the ocean that ultimately led Max to join the Coast Guard.
"Got an island at two o'clock, capt'n," Ted said breaking Max from his thoughts. Max nodded and turned the jet right toward the island. They raced over the island at three hundred knots, but what he saw was unmistakable. In the one a a half seconds over the island, he saw the "Rum Runner" sitting silently in the island's lagoon. Two tiny figures lay embraced on the beach. Max took a deep breath and banked the Guardian around for another pass. He slowed his airspeed to a hundred-ten knots, just short of stall speed. The Coast Guard jet flew over the island again. One of the figures was standing on the beach jumping up and down and waving his arms like mad.
"Got'm Capt'n," Ted said with an ever growing excitement in his voice. "Good goddamn, I can't believe it! That's the 'Rum Runner!'" Max wagged the jet's wings from side to side letting those on the ground know they had been seen. He even went so far as to barrel roll the jet. "Whew we! Now that's what I call a celebration!" Max turned the jet back toward Jacksonville and called in his report. As he finished, a little niggling in the back of his mind, niggled harder. On the first fly over, two boys were embraced on the beach. What did that mean? Was Hunter glad to see someone? Had Hunter taken up with someone else after his falling out with Jesse? How would his son react to this? Max actually started to panic at his son's reaction to the news, but caught himself. What he saw wasn't necessarily indicative of anything. The circumstances could explain it in many different ways. Hunter had obviously been lost at sea for days and he would naturally be happy to be found. Where was Captain Turner in all this? He'd only seen two boys wrapped in each other's arms on the beach. Was the captain still on board? The discovery of the "Rum Runner" would be a plume in his cap, but the questions his discovery conjured up left Max perplexed. He didn't know the answer, but he did know he had to tell his son what he had seen. A Coast Guard chopper was already on the way and hopefully Hunter and Captain Turner would be aboard before nightfall.
* * * * *
Brice Throckmorton embraced the stranger in his arms and held him tight. The boy obviously needed the human contact and support. The sudden sound of a jet roaring overhead rousted both of them.
"Thank you," Hunter said with his voice full of emotion. "I've been lost at sea for four days. You're the first person I've seen. And, and I don't even know your name," he sobbed. Brice held the boy tightly in his arms. He must have been through a harrowing experience for him to act his way.
"I'm Brice," he said softly. "Welcome to my island." Jet afterburners blasted through the peacefully tranquility of the island paradise. Hunter looked up.
"They've found me," he whispered. He jumped up and danced on the shoreline. "They found me!" he screamed as the jet flew overhead again, wagging its wings to let him know he'd been seen. Hunter was ecstatic and he danced a dance of elation on the shores of Brice's island.
Brice didn't quite know what to think. He did know he was attracted to the young blond sailor, now cutting cartwheels down the beach of the lagoon. He also knew his father hated that he was gay. Brice looked out across the lagoon and gazed at the sailboat drifting lazily in the clear water. What the exiled boy saw was a ticket to freedom … an escape from his father's oppression. He glanced up and watched the jet do a flawless barrel roll. The clock had started ticking. Brice knew he had a very short time to convince the boy to take him away.
"Hey, what's your name?" Brice called out.
"I'm Hunter," the boy called out as he ran up grinning like a mad man.
"Hunter, nice to meet you," Brice said extending his hand. Hunter grabbed the offered hand and shook it firmly.
"Where are we?"
"This is my family's private island. We're about two hundred miles east southeast of Jacksonville or about two hundred miles northwest of Miami, we're right on the northern edge of the Bahamas," Brice explained.
"Good God, I've traveled over, ah, well, I started at Jacksonville, but we got hit by a real bad blow."
"We?" Brice asked as he gestured toward the lunch table. Hunter's smile vanished.
"Captain Bill, ah, Bill Turner was killed when we got knocked down," Hunter explained softly as he gazed off into the palm trees. This news stunned Brice.
"God, I'm so sorry," Brice said as he put his hand gently on Hunter's shoulder. "It must have been horrible." Hunter turned to look at the dark haired boy. Hunter's blue eyes watered as he felt the tears coming on, but at the same time he couldn't help but smile.
"It was pure hell, but now, here I am safe and sound and I have you and your island to thank for saving my life." Brice grinned and gave Hunter a quick hug.
"You must be hungry and I haven't even touched my lobster." A voice suddenly called out.
"Master Brice! Master Brice! Are you okay?" the butler called out as he emerged from the path to the house.
"I'm fine, Chuck. This is my new friend Hunter. He'll be joining me for lunch. If it wouldn't be too much trouble, please bring another plate." The butler couldn't hold back his surprised expression as he looked the soaking wet guest up and down.
"Master Brice, I don't think …"
"That's right, Chuck. You're not paid to think. You're paid to keep me comfortable, well fed and happy. Right now, what will make me happy is another plate of food for my guest." Sensing the tension, Hunter tried to ease the situation.
"I don't want to be any trouble."
"Nonsense," Brice said. "Chuck here was just headed up to get you some lunch, weren't you, Chuck?" The butler stammered a bit then regained his professional demeanor.
"Of course, Master Brice. Right away, sir."
"I am well paid to serve this family, sir, but I prefer to be called Charles, if you don't mind."
"Sure thing, Chuck," Brice said dismissively. Hunter watched was the man disappeared back up the path.
"You were kinda hard on him, don't ya think?" Brice smiled a wicked smile.
"That son of a bitch tells my father everything I do. He's never given me a break. Never! Dear old dad gets detailed written reports on my every move. I know dad pays him well, but you'd think he could give me a break every once in a while." Hunter sat down in the opposite chair and looked at Brice. A hundred different thoughts were going through his head and "spoiled brat" was at the top of the list.
Brice took in the look from his guest. He'd seen that look before.
"I may have just come off as a stuck up rich kid …"
"More like a spoiled brat," Hunter interrupted. Brice grinned and shook his head in agreement.
"Yeah, I guess I do act like that from time to time, but it's not the real me." Brice turned and looked at the sailboat. "I've dreamed of someone coming to this island to save me from all this shit." Hunter looked up at the huge house. Then he glanced down at the sterling silver, the bone china and the expensive bottle of wine.
"Excuse me, but save you from … what exactly?" Hunter questioned as he gestured to the surrounding opulence. Brice frowned.
"Not everything is as it appears." Brice took a deep breath. It was time to convince this boy to take him away. "My father keeps me under his thumb. He watches my every move or has someone watch me," he explained as he nodded toward the house. "I'm told how to act, how to dress, how to speak, whom I can socialize with or more importantly, whom I can't socialize with." Brice's gaze turned from the sailboat to his guest. "I'm gay, Hunter. My father does not like that one bit. He sent me here so he can get rid of the boy I've been seeing at school. He will stop at nothing to see that he can strut his boy out in front of this friends and business associates and say, "look what my sperm did."
Hunter was astounded as he took in the story of his new friend's life. On the surface, Brice had everything anyone could ever want for. Underneath the shiny exterior was a miserable life. It was one of those life lessons that stays with you all your days … money truly does not buy happiness. Hunter could only nod slowly. Brice interpreted the silence as to mean his guest was uncomfortable.
"I hope that my being gay does not make you uncomfortable."
"Oh, no. That's not it at all. It's just that I always thought if I had a lot of money that I would be happy. I guess I've just realized that we all have things in our lives that cause us hardship and pain, no matter what our net worth. And I've also realized that the two of us have more in common than our 'exterior' lives would lead people to believe." Hunter took a calming breath. "I'm gay too, by the way." He paused and looked directly into Brice's blazing green eyes. "I've never admitted that to anyone … until now." The smile on Brice's face slowly grew into an all out grin.
"You're very handsome, Hunter. I think some boy is going to be very lucky to have you." Brice blushed at his own admission, but his shyness dissolved as a sad look came over Hunter's face. "I'm sorry, Hunter. Did I say something wrong?" Hunter shook his head.
"No, no it's not you," Hunter said as he leaned back in the chair. "My best friend, or should I say, my ex-best friend and I had a huge fight just before I set sail. I told him I loved him and he told me he never wanted to see me again." Tears welled up in Hunter's eyes as he thought about Jesse. He glanced out at the "Rum Runner" then looked back at Brice. "We used to sail every weekend during school and almost every day during the summer. He was the first person I ever had sex with. To him, it was just a onetime experimental thing and it never happened again, but I never got over it. I used to dream about holding him in my arms again, feeling his warm skin against mine and touching his wonderful hardness and making him feel good." Hunter looked wistful as his eyes turned back to the sailboat. "I made the mistake of falling in love with someone that could never return that love. When he told me he never wanted to see me again, he ripped a huge hole in my heart that will never heal."
"And he made a huge mistake," Brice said softly. Hunter snapped his blue eyes around and locked them with the intense green eyes across the table. "From what little I know of you Hunter, you are a thoughtful, considerate, kind and caring person. It would take a fool to reject you." Brice threw caution to the wind and prodded on. "I'd never do that to you."
* * * * *
Jesse watched as his dad's jet landed. The good news of locating the lost sailboat and the sighting of a single survivor filled Jesse's heart with hope of a second chance. A Jayhawk helicopter had taken flight on the recovery mission as soon as the radio message came in on the sighting. In just a short while, Hunter would be picked up and brought to the Coast Guard Station. Jesse's heart was hammering in his chest. What would he say to Hunter? How could he ever apologize for his horrible response to Hunter's admission? And that's what it was, Jesse told himself. He knew he had feelings for Hunter, but he wasn't supposed to have 'those' kinds of feelings. He was supposed to fall in love with a girl, get married, have lots of kids and live a happy life. The feelings he had for Hunter interfered with those plans. Hunter's admission literally threw the wrench into the works and turned Jesse's world upside down. He'd reacted the only way he knew, defensively. Admitting to the feelings he had for his best friend was something he was not ready to do. He had to admit them to himself first and that hadn't happened. Then. But now, things had changed.
During the four days Hunter was lost at sea, Jesse's emotions had taken a severe beating. They ran from guilt and remorse to anger and rage and on to loss and desperation. The huge fight was the source of the guilt. The feelings, hidden deep within him, caused the anger and rage. The possibility that Hunter would never return caused the feelings of loss and a desperate need set things straight. The thought of Hunter being lost at sea, swallowed up in a watery tomb while thinking that he was hated by his best friend brought on tears of remorse at least three or four times a day.
Jesse had seen all the signs, but he chose to ignore them. He'd stolen glances at his best friend when he wasn't looking. The way the cutoffs clung to Hunter's skin barely hid the very healthy physique beneath. The way goose bumps would come up on Hunter's chest and the resulting perking of his nipples caused a shudder to pass through Jesse's body. The warm touch of Hunter's leg against his as they sat down to dinner in the cabin of the "Pearl" was enough to increase blood flow in areas of Jesse's body that caused him to blush. Jesse found himself hard pressed to find anyone that even remotely matched Hunter's handsome face.
It was natural for two young teenage boys to put their arms around each other and Jesse found himself remembering those times with a bit more than fond affection. Then there was the one time he had given in to all those feelings.
* * * * *
"Jesse! Come on!" Hunter yelled from the cockpit of the "Pearl." Hunter's best friend lumbered down the dock carrying an ice chest.
"Aye, aye, Captain Bligh!" Jesse yelled back as he handed the ice chest over to Hunter.
"Damn, this is really heavy. What do you have in here, the kitchen sink?"
"Nope, just dinner and a bit of a surprise."
"Surprise, huh? Lemme see," Hunter said as he tried to open the cooler. Jesse climbed on board and grabbed the cooler.
"Nope, not til supper time."
"Ah, you're no fun," Hunter faked a pout.
"Aye, captain. I can be a whole lot more fun than you can imagine." Jesse realized what he had said as soon as the words were out of his mouth. He immediately turned to the cabin to stow the cooler, all the while blushing furiously.
The "Pearl" set sail that Friday afternoon and headed for the Fort Church Inlet with two seasoned fifteen year old sailors on board. Their destination was the small beach just south of Amelia Island known as Boneyard Beach. It was the perfect place to anchor for the night. There was a lot of boat traffic in the inlet, but the soft sands of the pristine beach, more than made up for it.
A steady fifteen knot offshore wind pushed the "Pearl" south through the Atlantic Ocean just offshore of Amelia Island.
"Wind's picking up, ya wanna bring in the jib a bit," Jesse suggested as he looked up at the sails. Hunter looked at his best friend and felt warmth spread through his chest, and other areas south of there, as his eyes took in the entire Jesse package … starting from the top … a mop of fine blond hair, intense striking blue eyes, flawless complexion, cute pug nose, full dark eye lashes and blood red lips that looked bee stung, a relatively broad hairless chest, a slim figure, a very noticeable bulge in the blue jean covered crotch and a butt that defined "bubble" in the dictionary.
"Aye, matey, you'd be surprised at what I can imagine," Hunter mumbled under his breath."
"Huh?" asked Jesse. Hunter glanced down at his friend's ripped stomach and the happy trail that emerged from the cut off shorts and the great big bulge in said shorts.
"Ah, nothing. Just trying to make the inlet."
"So what's the surprise?" Hunter asked. Jesse smiled wickedly.
"Ya gotta wait 'til we get there," Jesse said with a wink.
"Oh come on, Jesse. Gimme a break. What are you hiding from me?"
"My great big ol gigantic hard-on, capt'n," Jesse said with a smirk on his face. Hunter just about fell off the boat.
The boys dropped anchor at seven o'clock, just in time to take in the sunset. Jesse disappeared into the cabin only to emerge a moment later.
"Surprise!" Jesse called out as he held up to ice cold beers.
"You got beer!" Hunter exclaimed with a broad grin.
It was one of those teenage nights that eighty year old men look back on with both fondness and a sense of sadness. The fondness for the memories and the sadness for what might have been.
The boys took of skif ashore, started a fire and set up the grill.
The steaks came off the grill a perfect medium rare. The corn on the cob came off the grill still in the shuck, but dripping with the butter Jesse had slathered on just before putting them over the coals. The meal was perfect and the beer took off the nervous edge that seemed to haunt the two boys over the preceding couple of months.
They ended up on the beach sitting by the campfire and sipping the last of their beer. Hunter felt emboldened and was pretty sure it was the alcohol. He glanced over at his best friend and found himself filled with an almost uncontrollable urge to kiss Jesse's thick red lips … moist lips that reflected the glow of the campfire. Approaching voices stirred him from his thoughts.
"Cool, it's a campfire," the boys heard coming from the surrounding shadows. Two young men emerged from the darkness. They were arm in arm and were both grinning.
"I told you all the gay boys hang out on this end of the beach" one of the young men said. Jesse jumped to his feet.
"We're not gay," he said defiantly. The two young men took in the site before them and nodded to each other.
"Honey, please. You two were made for each other. It's as clear as the big ol' bulge in your pants what you're thinking, thank you very much." Hunter ripped his eyes from the two visitors by the campfire and zeroed in on Jesse's crotch. Sure enough, the outline of an erection was clearly evident. He gapped at the sight and despite the dim glow if the fire, he saw the deep red blush on Jesse's face.
"You boys do have condoms, don't you?"
"Ah, ah, what?!?" Jesse stammered.
"Condoms. Protection. AIDS. Gotta cover it up before you do the fuck and all that."
"We're not gay!" Jesse affirmed as he stood defiantly.
"Sure, baby. Sure. And Randy here has never sucked my dick." Jesse gapped at the two visitors. "Might wanna close that mouth darlin', unless you wanna wrap those luscious lips around yer bud there." Hunter saw his opportunity and took it.
"Come on, Jesse. Let's get back to the boat and let these two enjoy the fire."
"We're not gay," Jesse said again as he walked toward the water.
"I hope you've got some lube 'cause your boyfriend looks like he wants to fuck." Jesse mouth looked like a fish as it opened and closed. "Here' ya go." The young man handed something to Hunter and smiled.
"You two enjoy yourselves." Jesse and Hunter rwed the skiff back into the dark waters of the inlet toward "The Pearl." A freshwater shower on the swim platform necessitated a change of clothes.
"What'd they give you?" Jesse asked as he pulled on a clean pair of boxers. Hunter pulled out a condom wrapper and a plastic tube of lube.
As the full moon made its way across the star filled night and the waves of ocean inlet gently lapped at the hull of the "Pearl" the two boys reached for each other and gave in to irresistible hormonal urges. Warm lips met warm lips and all of Jesse's worries went out the window. Hunter helped roll the condom on Jesse's erection. With his feet against the cabin top, Hunter groaned as Jesse eased himself into the hot flesh of his best friend.
* * * * *
Jesse blushed as he remembered the trip. It was a wonderful night. He didn't want to be gay, but the feelings he'd experienced that night left him confused. What they'd done couldn't happen again. It was just too much to comprehend. Being gay was not a decision Jesse was ready to make, despite the huge crush on his best friend. And, despite all his efforts, the memories of that night were at the forefront of every self-pleasuring moment.
Jesse tried time and time again to think of the girls he found attractive, but eventually, when the up and down motions of his hand reached a fever pitch, his thoughts turned to that night on the "Pearl." Hot spurts of teenage spunk sprayed across Jesse's stomach as he thought of himself tightly sheathed inside his best friend.
Hunter's frustration grew from the fact that Jesse never once mentioned what had happened. It was never brought up. It was as if it had never happened. Hunter's memories told him otherwise. Jesse had made love to him that night. It was a memory that was forever etched into his young mind … a memory he wanted to relive again and again.
Jesse's conflicted thoughts were broken by the sound of the approaching aircraft. The HU-25A Guardian Jet slowly taxied to a stop on the tarmac. The jet's engines wound down and finally the aircraft's navigation lights were turned out. Jesse found himself holding his breath as the door was finally opened and he saw his father step out.
* * * * *
"What do you mean by that?"
"You're a handsome young man, Hunter. I'd be lying if I said I didn't find you attractive." Hunter looked at the dark haired youth across the table. The boy called Brice was certainly gorgeous and Hunter found himself attracted to not only the boy's beauty, but his declaration of intention. The possibility presented itself and Hunter was intrigued by the possibilities.
"Brice, would you like to visit my sailboat."
"I'd love to." A short time later, Brice found his feet on the cabin top as his new friend, with each earth-shattering thrust, slowly erased the innocent memories of his times with Tyler and replaced them with the very real emotions and feelings of being made love to by the blond haired god that had sailed into his private lagoon. Brice smirked as Hunter drilled into his ass.
"If only daddy could see me now," he mumbled as the blond god's cock brushed against his prostrate.
On to Chapter Five
"Not Gonna Happen"
Back to Chapter Three
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