Hunter at Sea by Jevic    Hunter at Sea
by Jevic
The Tarheel Writer
Chapter Seven

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The Throckmorton Yacht
Rated PG 13+

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"No sign of them anywhere, sir." The guardsman reported to Lieutenant Dan Dutton.

"You checked everywhere?"

"Yes sir. I even talked to the ass, er, the stuck up guy at the house." Dan nodded. "The only thing the guy asked was if we checked the fishing boat," the guardsman answered.

"What fishing boat?"

"He said it was a hundred feet long and down at the dock." Dan quickly did a three-sixty. Then he zeroed in on the huge cleats along the edge of the dock and the light bulb went off.

"They left in the, what did he call it, a fishing boat?" The guardsman nodded. "More like a giant yacht. Does anyone know what it looks like?"

"There's a picture of a big yacht over in the dock building, sir." Dan took off at a trot toward the building. He quickly went through the door and sure enough, right there on the wall behind the bar was a painting of a huge white yacht with a fly bridge.

"What kind of pompous ass commissions a painting of his fucking yacht?" Dan thought to himself as he snapped a picture of said painting with his smart phone. Then he sent the picture to Max, Ted and Commander Walsh. He typed out a message to go with the picture.

"Looks like the boys took the family yacht. No idea where they went," he typed and then hit send. Dan trotted back to his chopper and saw Max and the commander coming his way.

"What makes you think they took this yacht?" Max asked.

"Because it's missing. It's supposed to be tied up right here. Look at those giant cleats. There not for a fishing boat. There for a big ass yacht. The guy up at the house clued us in by asking if we checked it for the boys," Dan explained.

"Damn smart kids," the commander muttered, then he squared his shoulders. "Nothing we can do about it tonight. They could have gone in any direction. By the way, a yacht that big should have an AIS (Automatic Identification System) transponder. What's the name of the yacht?"

"'Seas the Day'. It's right there on the picture," Dan pointed out.

"Radio the cutter and have them check for the AIS signature with that name," the commander directed. Dan grabbed the radio microphone just inside his chopper and called it in. A few minutes later, the call came back. No sign of the yacht.

"Could be on automatic so it's only on when the yacht is under way," Max suggested.

"So, it has to be fairly close by, probably tied up somewhere or it's on the hook," Dan added.

"Or Hunter simply switched it off," the commander said. "Hell, he's a bright kid, knows a thing or two and thinks we're out to get him."

"Beggin' yer pardon, mister CO, but I still think Hunter is probably scared to death since some of the members of the these here United States Coast Guard might have accidently, maybe slightly, maybe on purpose … shot their guns at him. If'in I were him, I'd be quite pissed off at us too."

"The only problem we have here, Hagan, is Hunter thinks we're out to get him. So, let's make a quick circle around this island. Let's go out for five miles or so and see if we spot the yacht," ordered the commander. Dan and Max saluted the commander and headed for their respective helicopters.

As Max lifted off the island, he looked below and saw the "Rum Runner" being towed away by the cutter. Max banked his chopper left while Dan banked his right in search of the elusive yacht. Twenty minutes later they were all headed back to base.

"At least we know how they got away from the island. Now we just have to keep an eye out for the AIS signature when they fire that yacht up. I'm worried Hunter is badly wounded and too scared to come to us," Max said

"Right ya are cap'n. They ain't done nothing wrong, but they think we're out to get 'em with all the gun fire and what not. At least we got the radar, or what's left of it. I still can't believe Hunter actually made it through all that. He's one hell of a sailor," Ted said. Max nodded his head in agreement. Forty-five minutes later, the three choppers landed at the Jacksonville Coast Guard Headquarters.

*    *    *    *    *

Ethan got up from the table and disappeared out the door to only, seconds later, return with a satellite phone in his hand.

"Here ya go mate," Ethan said as he handed the phone to Hunter. Ethan sat back down and continued eating. He had no idea the weight of the decision Hunter was about to make. Hunter just looked at the phone in his hand. His heart beating rapidly and a cold sweat broke out on his forehead. He glanced at Brice, then at Ethan. Brice looked concerned and Ethan just keep shoveling fork fulls in his mouth.

"If you'll excuse me, I'm going to step outside for a minute," Hunter said softly.

"Sure, mate," Ethan said smiling. Hunter got up and started for the door only to have Brice grab him by the arm. Hunter looked down into the face of his new friend.

"You gonna by okay buddy?" Brice asked, his face full of concern. Hunter nodded with a small smile. Brice patted him on the arm and Hunter went outside.

Standing on the dock by the giant yacht, Hunter looked at the sat phone in his hand and sighed.

"Well, do I call him or not?" That question repeated itself in his mind over and over again. Finally, Hunter punched in the number he knew by heart and paused his finger over the "call" button. Taking a deep breath, he pushed the button firmly and held the phone up to his ear. He heard a few clicks as the phone accessed the satellite, then a ring, followed by another ring, then another and finally …

"Hi, you've reached the voice mail of Jesse Westphal. Sorry I can't chat right now but leave me quick message and I'll get right back to you." Beep.

"Ah, Jesse, it's, ah, Hunter. Ah, I'm okay. Got shot by the Coast Guard, but it wasn't bad. Just grazed my thigh and bled a lot, but it's okay now. Umm, look Jesse, Dan Dutton told me you've been at the base almost everyday and that you're worried about me. I just wanted to call and let you know I'm okay. No need to worry. I still don't know why the Coast Guard is shooting at me, so I'm kinda on the run. Sorry I can't tell you where I am, but until I find out why the Coast Guard wants me, I've gotta keep, ah, well, under their radar. Don't worry about me. I can take care of myself and I have friends that are helping me. Umm, ah, look, there's something else I need to say and it's really hard for me … look, ah … I'm sorry we can't be friends anymore, but I understand … and I want you to please understand that … I can't help the way I feel. I just can't! Believe me, I've tried to not feel … like this … but, I do. I just can't help it! So, I'll stay as far away from you as I can, just like you asked. But the one thing … the one thing I can not do … is stop loving you." Hunter couldn't hold back a sob but continued with a shaky, crying voice. "I love you Jesse … and I always will," Hunter pushed the end button, dropped to his knees on the dock and wept.

*    *    *    *    *

Jesse Westphal sat on the steps of his house and looked out at his dog. Astro was playing with a stick. His father had brought him home from the base a short while ago and all he wanted to do was play with his dog. Astro kept bringing the stick back and dropping it at Jesse's feet and barking. Jesse picked up the stick, threw it as hard as he could and watched Astro race after it. This was done over and over until Jesse finally stood up. Enough was enough, sorry Astro.

Jesse made his way back inside and smiled at the smells coming from the kitchen. His mom was an excellent cook and Jesse looked forward to dinner that night. Walking down the hall to his bedroom, Jesse's thoughts turned to Hunter. He walked into his room and sat down on his bed. Looking over at the nightstand, he noticed his phone was blinking. He picked it up and swiped the screen. He had a voice mail from an unknown number.

"I don't get many scam calls, so this must be something I should listen to," he thought to himself. Jesse hit the voicemail button and put the phone to his ear to listen.

Jesse's face lit up with joy as he listened to first few sentences of the voicemail, but then he frowned. Finally, tears streamed down Jesse's face as the voicemail's last few sentences ended.

"Dad!" Jesse screamed. His father heard the scream from his son and raced back to his son's bedroom only to find his son crying hysterically.

"Jess, what is it? What's wrong?" he asked as he grabbed his son by his shoulders and hugged him tightly to his chest.

"H-hunter!" Jesse cried out through a torrent of tears. "He … he's okay," Jesse whimpered.

"What?" his dad questioned. Jesse stood back and looked at his father.

"Here, listen to this voicemail," Jesse said as he, pressed the voicemail button and passed the phone to his dad.

Max held the phone to his ear and listened as Hunter poured his heart out in an emotional shot across the bow. Max's own eyes teared as he listened to the distraught teenager's message.

"Dear God," Max said as the voicemail ended. He looked at his son and smiled. "At the very least, we know he's okay." Jesse's red, tear stained eyes and frowning face were greeted with eyes of optimism.

"I tried to call the number back, but there was no answer and no voice mail," Jesse sobbed.

*    *    *    *    *

"We should take the fishing boat out and have lunch at sea," suggested Ethan.

"I think I know what your idea of lunch is darling," Brice shot back. They both giggled, but turned their attention to the front door as Hunter walked back in. Brice stood at once, walked over to Hunter and wrapped him in a hug.

"Are you okay, Hunter?" he asked softly.

"Yeah, I'm okay now. I said what I needed to say and, well, so be it," he said matter of factly. Hunter handed the sat phone over to Ethan, mumbled a thanks and sat down. Brice knew his friend needed a distraction, a major one, so he offered it up.

"Ethan suggested we take the fishing boat out and have lunch at sea." Hunter slowly turned his head to look at Brice and slowly shook his head and grinned.

"Okay, sounds like a good idea, but first of all, it's not a fishing boat, it's a fucking big ass yacht," Hunter said with a grin.

"Well, first of all, you know I come from a family that positively swims in money and anything less than extravagant is simply … well, simple," Brice said with a smile.

"Trust me, it's a big ass yacht," Hunter said with a smile.

"Okay, it's a fucking big ass yacht. So, let's take her out and have lunch."

"Sounds like a plan to me. Let's go," Hunter said with a smile. The boys went to the kitchen and Ethan instructed the staff to prepare lunch. Ethan ran up to his room and came back with three bathing suits and a grin.

With a large basket firmly encased around Ethan's arm a few minutes later, and after a great big thanks to the kitchen staff, the boys headed for the big ass yacht.

"You know the Coast Guard is still looking for us and I have no idea why," Hunter said as he climbed the ladder on the stern of the huge yacht.

"I don't give a simple hot shit," Brice said. "Let's go out and have good time."

"The fuckers actually shot at us. You do realize that, right?" Hunter cried out.

"I know and it still confuses me as to why in the hell the US Coast Guard would be shooting at us unless … unless we had something they wanted," Brice suggested.

"What could we possibly have that they'd be willing to kill for?" Brice looked at the fly bridge navigation and steering station for a moment, when suddenly his eye brows shot up to his hair line.

"The boat! They wanted the fucking boat!" Brice yelled out, grabbing Hunter by the shoulders. Hunter's mouth dropped open.

"Of course! That's really the only thing I had, but why would they want it so bad?"

"Who cares?" Brice said as he smiled. "They have it now so they won't be looking for us anymore. We're free to do whatever we want," Brice beamed at Hunter and gave him a big hug. Ethan joined in the hug as they all laughed and celebrated.

"Well, let's get this big ass yacht out of here and go have some fun," Brice suggested.

"Okay, ya wanna grab a line and help us get untied?" Hunter asked with a smile.

"Aye aye Captain Bligh!" called out Brice. "Ethan, get the basket and take it up here to the fly bridge and we'll set sail."

Hunter was momentarily stunned by Brice's words. He heard the exact same Captain Bligh saying from Jesse. He had to literally shake his head the clear the memory.

Not registering how his words had affected Hunter, Brice went about releasing the lines. Hunter started the engines and waited on Brice to finish releasing the lines. Moments later, he eased the thrusters to push the yacht from the dock and pushed the throttles forward.

"Where to gents?" he called out as Brice and Ethan joined him on the bridge.

*    *    *    *    *

Ensign Ryan English sat at the AIS screen wondering why he got AIS duty. Coast Guard life was always filled with interesting adventure, but AIS duty was boring. Thousands of ships filled the screen as he looked for "Seas the Day." He hovered his mouse over little green, blue and red ship shaped icons on the screen. He had been given the lat/lon of the private island and was told to search a twenty mile radius. Unfortunately, the island was only fifteen miles from a major shipping lane, which put a lot more ship shaped blips on the screen. The commander had been quite clear that the moment the boat appeared, he was to call the commander immediately.

A sudden blip on the screen caught Ryan's attention. He rolled his mouse over and hovered on the blip. "Seas the Day" popped up indicating the vessel was on a current heading of 190 degrees at 15 knots.

"Okay, the commander's boat is on the move," Ryan said to himself. "Best alert the old man." This was a moment he was going to shine. He quickly left his post and headed for the commander's office.

A quick knock was followed by "Enter." Ryan stepped through the door.

"Commander," Ensign English started while standing at attention. Commander Walsh looked up and nodded. "That yacht you've had me looking for is on the move." Commander Walsh immediately stood.

"Show me," he directed. Ensign English quickly turned and headed for the AIS room. Ryan quickly clicked on the "Seas the Day" icon and the information popped up. Commander Walsh picked up the phone and dialed.

"Lieutenant Westphal, 'Seas the Day' is on the move. Get in the air and find that yacht," the commander paused, listening. "Okay, good. Get in the air as soon as you can." Commander Walsh hung the phone up and turned the Ryan.

"Good work, Ensign." Ryan beamed. "Keep an eye on her and let Lieutenant Westphal know exactly where she is as soon as he's in the air."

"Yes sir, you can count on me sir." The commander smiled and nodded.

*    *    *    *    *

"There's an island with a nice beach about ten kilometers south of here and nobody lives there. We can anchor just offshore, have a nice lunch and go swimming if we want to," Ethan said while pointing out a spot on the horizon. Hunter looked at the navigation screen and pointed to the screen.

"Ethan, is this the island you're talking about?" Ethan looked and nodded.

"Got it in one mate." Hunter smiled and nodded. He tapped the island on the screen, then tapped the "steer to" button and finally the "go" button. A line appeared from the boat icon on the screen straight over to the island. The yacht turned slightly from its present course.

"Nav system says we'll be there in twenty minutes," Hunter said and he sat back in the chair relaxing while the autopilot steered the yacht. "It's so nice to have a navigation system. It was pure hell on the sailboat with literally nothing, not even a compass and not even knowing where I was."

"What … the … fuck … mate?" Ethan stammered. Hunter glanced at Brice.

"Sorry, I didn't tell him. We were kinda busy with other things, if you know what I mean," Brice grinned and blushed at the same time.

"It's fine. I guess I didn't really tell you everything that went on cuz we were kinda busy with other things too," Hunter said with a huge smile. Ethan's mouth fell open.

"You guys … fucked?"

"Yep," admitted Brice. Ethan turned to Hunter and crossed his arms across his chest.

"And what the fuck is wrong with my ass mate? You fuck him and you won't fuck me? I happened to be very talented in bed. You don't know what your missing mister," Ethan huffed. Hunter burst out laughing, but then quickly shook his head.

"I'm not laughing at you, Ethan. I'm just laughing at the way you said it. And before you say anything else, I think you are a very cute young man with a wonderful butt."

"To right mate, cheers! Now what about this sailboat bit being hell?" Ethan asked.

"I was lost at sea on a sailboat with no mast, no navigation and a dead captain," Hunter explained matter of factly. Ethan gasped and Brice suddenly stood up. "Yeah, it was pretty bad. I even got shot at by a drug boat, but I shot one of their engines and they limped away from that fight."

"Jesus Christ Hunter," Brice exclaimed as he sat back down, hard. Hunter continued to tell his story to his new friends as the auto pilot steered the giant yacht toward the island and their lunch destination.

An alarm sounded from the navigation system. Hunter cut his eyes to the screen. He tapped the screen, silencing the alarm and grabbed the wheel.

"We're here," he announced as he started pulling the throttles back, slowing the yacht and finally stopped just offshore of the island. Hunter searched the steering station and after a few seconds, he found what he was looking for and flipped the port switch. The port anchor dropped into the clear blue water with a lot of clanging.

"What's that?" called out Ethan "Did we break something?"

"I just dropped the anchor. We don't want her drifting away," Hunter explained.

"Oh, oh cool, thanks mate." Hunter glanced at the clock on the console. Eleven fifteen.

"Look, it's kinda early for lunch. You guys wanna swim first?" Nods of agreement were followed by the three boys stripping. Hunter started to grab one of the swimsuits Ethan had provided but stopped and looked at the naked boys he was with.

"It's only us. Let's skinny dip," Hunter barked out with a laugh.

"Too right mate," Ethan said as he wiggled his hips making his dick flop back and forth.

"Let's go!" Hunter yelled out as he jumped off the side of the yacht.

*    *    *    *    *

Max Westphal, along with his copilot Ted Hagan, were racing their helicopter across the Atlantic Ocean, headed for "Seas the Day" with coordinates provided by Ensign English. In the rear jump seat, strapped in tight, was a very anxious Jesse Westphal.

After listening to the voicemail from Hunter, Max had grabbed his son and headed straight to the base and the commander's office. Max played the voicemail on speaker phone.

"Mary, mother of God," the commander said. He reached up with his right hand and wiped a tear away. "Well, at least we know he's alright. The problem we have right now is Hunter thinks the US Coast Guard is his enemy, after all, we did shoot at him. Now he's on the run for not one damn good reason!" The commander turned his eyes on Jesse. "You have to fix this, son. You're the only one he'll listen to."

Commander Walsh made it very clear that Jesse and Hunter were to be given the opportunity to talk so open hostilities could be brought to a close.

"Jesse," his dad called out through the headset.

"Yeah dad."

"We're about five minutes out. I'm going to ask you to take a deep breath and calm yourself. I know Hunter has a friend out here. I just don't know what kind of friend. There has been some … speculation, but, not one other soul on the planet has the history that you and Hunter do. So, stay strong son." Ted Hagan nodded in agreement. Jesse thought about his father's words. He knew there was a possibility Hunter met someone else. He'd heard the casual comments from the flight crews too.

"I'm good, dad. Thanks for the pep talk," Jesse said with a smile. It was down to the wire. Jesse thought back to the day that Hunter had bared his soul and had received such a harsh response. Now it was Jesse's turn to sit in that same seat and bare his soul to Hunter. If he got the same harsh response, then so be it. But Jesse was determined not to give up without a fight.

"Thar she be capt'n. The 'Seas the Day' is directly ahead. I don't see anyone onboard yet," Ted called out over the headphone as he looked through his binoculars. "She's at anchor. I can see the anchor rode trailing down to da water, but still no sign of anyone. Let's do us a quick three sixty." Max came in low and slow … at fifty feet, he could even see the bottom through the clear water. He maneuvered the chopper around the big yacht while Ted looked intently through the binoculars.

Jesse quietly released his seatbelt, stood and walked to the door. He grabbed the handle and pulled with all his might as the side door of the chopper rolled open. At first, the look down gave Jesse a wash of vertigo but he held on to the handle by the door.

"Jesse, sit back down. It's dangerous to be by the door," his father said over the headset.

Jesse Westphal looked at the huge yacht fifty feet below. Hunter was on that yacht and Jesse was not going to let this pivotal moment in his life pass by as he pulled his headset off. Jesse moved to the edge of the door, glanced back at his father, gave him a quick wave, then jumped out the door.

On to Chapter Eight

Back to Chapter Six
"He Said, He Said"

Chapter Index

Jevic's Story Page

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