Hunter at Sea by Jevic    Hunter at Sea
by Jevic
The Tarheel Writer
Chapter Six
"He Said, He Said"

Back to Chapter Five
"Not Gonna Happen"
On to Chapter Seven
"Voicemail"
Chapter Index

Jevic's Story Page

The Throckmorton Yacht
Action/Adventure
Drama/Angst
Rated PG 13+

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Brice looked at Hunter with both eyebrows raised. They were surrounded by a multitude of instruments. As far as Brice was concerned, they might as well have been in the cockpit of a 747.

"Does any of this make sense to you?" he asked. "We've always had a captain to run the boat."

"Sure," came the confident response from Hunter. "We just untie all the lines, crank the engines and away we go. I believe you have the keys?"

"Certainly, here you are my dear sir," Brice said with a flourish and handed over the keys.

Hunter put the keys in the ignition and turned them to the on position. He pushed the start button on the starboard engine and then the port engine. Both sprang to life.

"You get the bow line and I'll get the spring line. Then we'll both get the stern lines," Hunter directed. The boys scurred off to untie the big yacht. Once the lines were on board, Hunter eased the twin throttles forward and the yacht slowly moved forward. The sound of a helicopter powering up spurred Hunter into action as he quickly pushed the throttles to the stops. The yacht responded by quickly coming up to speed.

"Where should we go?" Hunter asked as he steered the yacht away from the island.

"That way," Brice said as he pointed to the left. "I have a friend who lives on an island just about ten miles from here." Hunter turned in the direction Brice pointed. The big yacht sliced through the blue water at thirty knots or almost 35 miles per hour. Hunter looked to the west and watched as the sun was slowly headed for the horizon. Hunter reached for the running lights switch, then he thought better. "Best not to give them a target," he thought.

As the big yacht raced across the calm waters, Hunter thought back on the day and even winced at his gun shot wound, knowing it bled a lot. The sting was still there, but the bleeding had long since stopped.

Brice's beautiful dark hair streamed back in the wind and Hunter was mesmerized, but the vision was clouded over by Hunter's vision of Jesse.

"We need to hide this monstrosity of a boat pretty quick," Hunter called out over the wind whistling through the flybridge.

"Just over there," Brice said as he pointed toward the island ahead. With the sun now below the horizon, the island looked like a dark shape in the water.

"Okay, but just how good of a friend do you have? I mean can we trust him not to turn us in?" Brice winked.

"Oh, he's a really good friend, if you know what I mean," Brice said as wagged his eyebrows. Hunter smiled and looked at the state-of-the-art navigation system, telling him they were just a mile from Brice's friend's island.

*    *    *    *    *

"We have the 'Rum Runner' in sight," Dan radioed in from his left seat in the helicopter. "No sign of Hunter or his friend. We're headed in. ETA on the cutter?"

"Ten minutes out," came the reply from Coast Guard headquarters.

"Tell them to come around to the south side of the island. We're about to land and see what's going on."

"T Roger, will advise the cutter."

The helicopter easily landed on the dock and guardsmen deployed quickly surrounding the "Run Runner." The second helicopter landed just beside Dan's chopper.

Dan exited the helicopter and headed straight for the sailboat.

"No one on board," a guardsman called out, coming from below deck. "There's a lot of blood in the cockpit though."

"Check the building and the surrounding area. Hunter's been shot by one of you nimrods and I want him found!" Dan yelled out. He turned back to the sailboat and took in the bullet holes in the salon canopy and cockpit fiberglass. Then he looked down and saw a pretty large pool of blood that had been smeared with bare feet.

"The old man's gonna go ballistic on this," he mumbled to himself.

*    *    *    *    *

Hunter eased the big yacht toward the dock at Brice's friend's island. There was nobody there in the dusk of the evening. The state-of-the-art navigation system screen showed exactly where Hunter was in relation to the dock. He accessed another screen and pulled up cameras on the bow and stern.

"Brice, I need you to grab a line and help us tie up," Hunter said to his new friend.

"No problem, Capt'n," Brice said as he headed toward the aft.

Hunter suddenly remembered the countless times he'd tied up with Jesse. There had been no direction necessary as Jesse knew exactly what to do. Hunter shook his head trying the clear the memory from his head. Jesse's bright blue eyes looking at him. His bulging biceps as the pulled on the line. The curvature of his ass as he bent over the rail. Hunter shook his head again.

Hunter used the thrusters to bring the big yacht smartly to the dock. Brice climbed down the ladder on the stern and tied a line to the dock. Jesse ran forward and threw another line to Brice from the bow. With the big yacht secured to the dock, Hunter let out a huge sigh of relief and turned off the engines.

"Okay, where's your friend? I mean does he live here all the time or what?" Hunter asked as he jumped down from the ladder on to the dock.

"I dunno. The house is that way. Let's go see," Brice said pointing toward a beautifully landscaped walkway leading into the bushes. The boys walked down the path and coming around a corner, saw a magnificent mansion all lit up with lights.

"Wow," Hunter said in awe just as a young teen boy came racing out the front door.

"Brice! Brice!" the boy said in a heavy British accent, as he launched himself into Brice's arms. Hunter watched as the beautiful blond-haired boy peppered Brice's face with kisses.

"Ethan! It's so good to see you," Brice said as he hugged the boy tightly. Hunter stood by awkwardly as Ethan locked his lips on Brice's.

"Ah, well, maybe I'll go wait on the boat while you two, er, get, ah, reacquainted." Ethan turned and finally looked at Hunter.

"Oooo, Brice, you've brought a really cute boy with ya," Ethan said as his eyes roamed over Hunter. "Yeah, really cute, mate."

"Ethan, this is Hunter. Hunter, this is my friend Ethan," Brice said by way of introduction.

"Nice to meet you," Hunter said as he reached out to shake Ethan's hand, but the teen was having nothing to do with that. He wrapped his arms around Hunter and pulled him in for a tight hug. Hunter hesitantly wrapped his arms around Ethan and then squeaked as Ethan grabbed his ass and squeezed.

"Ah, Brice," Hunter stammered. Brice just looked at him and grinned.

"Ethan is a very loving person. Very, very loving," Brice said while joining in a group hug. "We should head up the Ethan's room and, well, ya know, get to know each other a bit better." Hunter was tempted to do just that, but his mind was suddenly filled with images of Jesse and that night so long ago when they shared their bodies below deck on Hunter's sailboat.

"Ah, you two go ahead. I'm going to double check the boat and make sure all the lines are secure. We don't want it, ah, drifting out to sea or anything," Hunter said. Brice looked at him with questioning eyes. "Go ahead, I'll be along in a minute." Brice nodded slowly.

"Top of the stairs and first room on the right love," Ethan said while licking his lips. "Don't dawdle too long." Hunter almost rolled his eyes at the overly suggestive expression on Ethan's face.

"Okay, see you in a few." Brice and Ethan turned and headed for the house. Hunter stood and watched them go arm in arm. Turning back toward the dock, Hunter wiped a tear from his left eye as his thoughts still centered on Jesse.

Despite Jesse's hateful words, Hunter just could not get him out of his mind.

"Good goddamn, I still love that sorry son-of-a-bitch," he said out loud. "Now, what the hell can I do about it?"

*    *    *    *    *

Jesse sat in the commissary at the base and sipped on a coke. The tears had stopped a while ago, but their tracks still ran down his face.

"If only I could talk with Hunter, I could fix everything," he mumbled to himself. "I've been a coward and I've been a really bad friend." Ever since Hunter went missing, Jesse blamed himself for putting Hunter in danger. His stupid reaction to Hunter's confession was inexcusable. He knew he had feelings for Hunter. He knew it, but he had had a gut reaction of over the top denial. Jesse knew he was at least bi-sexual if not totally gay, but whatever he was, it was for Hunter, yes Hunter, who he had fucked, NO, he had made love to on "The Pearl." All these thoughts swirled around in his mind. Then his father's voice came at him like the Titanic striking the iceberg.

"Did you tell him you love him, and he rejected you? Is that what happened?" his father said as he put his arm around his son. Jesse slowly turned his head and looked his at his father with tear filled eyes.

"It was the other way around, dad. He told me he loved me and I, I …" Jesse dissolved into a torrent of tears grabbing his father tightly. Max held his son as the tears rained down.

"Jesse, it's okay son. I think I know how to fix this." Jesse's tears slowed dramatically, and he pushed back to look at his father with reddened eyes.

"You and Hunter need to talk. It's that simple. He told you how he feels and now it's time for you to tell him how you feel. The slight problem we have is Hunter has disappeared." The tears started up again. "I know you love him son and I want you to know that's fine with me. I don't care. I love you, period. Your mom and I both love you and who you love is up to you … boy, girl, Zebra, mountain lion" … Jesse snorted … "although I will be honest, I'm not too sure about the bestiality aspect of all that. Jesse looked up at this father and smiled.

"T-thank y-you," he stammered to his father. "I-I love you too."

*    *    *    *    *

Max Westphal cleared his mind of the conversation with his son and hovered his helicopter over the dock where Dan Dutton's helicopters had landed. The "Rum Runner" was tied to the dock and gently swayed from the chopper's rotor wash. Max rotated his helicopter parallel with the dock and landed near the other choppers. Commander Walsh was out the door in a flash heading for the sailboat.

"There's no one on board, sir," Lieutenant Dutton called out to the commander.

"I heard that on the radio. I just want to see her for myself," Commander Walsh replied curtly and continued over to the sailboat. He looked her over for less than a minute then turned sharply toward Lieutenant Dutton.

"That's a lot of fucking blood in the cockpit, Lieutenant!" the commander snapped out just before putting his nose inches from Dan's face and continued in a dangerously low growl. "Didn't know we were shooting at missing teenagers these days." Dan's face flushed red. "I want a written report, a d-e-t-a-i-l-e-d report on my desk by oh eight hundred. Are we clear?"

"Crystal clear, sir."

"What happened to Captain Turner?"

"Hunter said they had a knock down in the squall while the captain was below deck. Once Hunter got the boat under control, he went to check on Captain Turner. He found the captain on the deck with a pool of blood around his head. Hunter tried CPR but was unsuccessful. Hunter kept the captain's body wrapped in a sheet in the aft cabin. It was hot as hell, according the Hunter and he didn't run the air conditioning. After three days, the, ah, smell got to be too bad, so Hunter buried the captain at sea." Commander Walsh sighed and nodded his head.

"Thank you, Dan." The commander turned and headed for the arriving skiff from the cutter. Max walked up to Dan.

"What happened with Hunter?" he asked. Dan sighed and started to explain.

"We were talking and suddenly Hunter bolted. He swam out to the sailboat, cranked the engine and called out for Brice. Brice jumps in the water and next thing I know shots rang out, including a shot from Hunter than kicked up sand less than a foot from me. They haul ass out the lagoon while I'm screaming hold your fire. By the time I got everybody onboard the chopper, got the pre-flight done and got in the air, the sailboat was gone. We searched for probably half an hour before we found this dock tucked away back here in a clump of trees. Where the kids are, I've no idea. I've got my men searching the woods and even the house."

"What caused Hunter to bolt? That seems strange. And who's Brice?" asked Max.

"Brice is the son of the guy who owns this island. He's about the same age of Hunter. Anyway, after Hunter bolted for the sailboat, he, ah Brice that is, ah, gave me a real dress down. Said I was a dunderhead. He actually called me a dunderhead. Heck, all I did was tell Hunter than Jesse has been worried sick. Then Hunter yells at me from the sailboat to tell Jesse he can go to hell." Max was stunned.

"What the fuck?" he thought to himself. "So, Hunter really does hate Jesse because he's gay? He hates him enough to do this. To shoot at people? To run away?" The suppositions continued to rattle around in Max's brain while the crew from the cutter prepared the "Rum Runner" to be towed back to Jacksonville.

*    *    *    *    *

Hunter walked slowly back to the dock and looked over the huge yacht. His eyes saw the yacht, but his heart saw Jesse. Tears came unannounced. Hunter thought back to what Dan Dutton had said. Jesse has been at the base every day. But what did that mean? The way Dan said it was like Jesse was truly worried, worried about him. What happened to never talk to me again? This just didn't make any sense at all to Hunter. He scrambled onboard and headed up to the fly bridge. He sat in the helm chair and gazed up at the stars.

"I'm in over my head," he said out loud. Brice was a nice enough guy. He was smart, intelligent, really cute, loads of cash and seemed to genuinely care for him. The problem was with Hunter's heart, which still beat firmly for Jesse.

Finally, Hunter walked back up to the house and up the stairs to the first room on the right. The sounds coming from the room left nothing to the imagination as to what was going on behind the closed door. Hunter sighed and moved to the next door down the hall an opened the door to an empty bedroom.

"Perfect," he said to himself. After a quick shower in the ensuite, Hunter crawled between the sheets and tried to go to sleep.

*    *    *    *    *

Max Westphal climbed back in the pilot's seat of his helicopter in deep thought about what Dan had said, particularity about Hunter's reaction to Jesse. Commander Walsh was mumbling under his breath as his anger at the whole situation created enough tension in the air that you could slice through it with a dull butter knife. Ted remained uncharacteristically quiet, but not for long.

"Well saw me off at the knees and call me shortly! This is sum fucked up shit, of course beggin' the commander's pardon for the language." Commander Walsh looked at Ted with a stone-cold face for all of two seconds before he burst out laughing.

"You're damn right, Ted. It's sum fucked up shit!" the commander laughed as he tried to and failed to mimic Ted's country accent. Ted laughed and then looked over at Max, who wasn't even smiling.

"Okay, Cap'n, somebody piss in yer cornflakes? Ya got yer shorts rode up in yer crack? Ya got a bee in yer bonnet? What's goin' on buddy?" Max smiled slightly.

"A bee in my bonnet?"

"Heard that one in a movie, I think. Harry Potter in fact. Chamber of Secrets. Second book and it was the sorting hat that said it."

"You're a Harry Potter fan?" the commander asked with wide eyes.

"Of course, I am. Took all the kids to the midnight premieres. Now that Hagrid, I swear he's a distant cousin." The commander just shook his head in disbelief.

"Capt'n, you a Harry Potter fan?" Ted asked with a grin. Max took a deep, cleansing breath and started in on what he knew.

"Okay, look. From what I can understand, all this fucked up shit comes down to my son Jesse and Hunter Ward." Max took a deep breath and continued. "According to Dan, Hunter told him to tell my son Jesse to go to hell. I know for a fact that Jesse loves Hunter and I'm talking about romantic love." Even with the headsets on, the interior of the chopper was deathly quiet. "Ted, take the reins, I can't, I just can't right now." Ted took over flying the helicopter back to Jacksonville. "I apologize commander."

"Call me Matt," Commander Walsh said over the headset. "This, whatever you want to call it, has escalated to an unacceptable level. When people get shot on my watch, we have a problem."

"Beggin' your pardon, mister CO, but I think what we have here is a failure to communicate." Commander Matt Walsh looked Ted square in the face and smiled.

"Couldn't have said that any better, Ted."

*    *    *    *    *

Hunter woke the next morning to the sound of giggling. He raised his head and then raised his right eyebrow as he watched Brice and Ethan do rock, paper, scissors.

"Sorry, boys. I'm nobody's slab of meat this morning. Sorry to disappoint, but what I do know is, Brice, you and I need to have a talk. Ethan, I appreciate your hospitality more than you will ever know, but right now, would you please let Brice and I have a private conversation." Ethan rolled out his bottom lip and pretended the flick a tear away from his eye, then giggled.

"Of course, that's fine. I'll just pop downstairs and have the staff prepare a proper English breakfast, guaranteed to clog your arteries." Ethan grinned then flitted out the door, pulling it quietly closed behind him.

Brice walked over to the bed and sat down. He reached out to grab Hunter's hand, but Hunter pulled back at the last second. Brice looked up with a frown. He took in Hunter's tortured expression and took in a deep breath.

"You still love him …" It wasn't a question, but more of a matter-of-fact statement. Hunter pushed the sheets down and folded his hands across his bare stomach and slowly nodded.

"Despite all the hate speech, you still love him?" Brice asked carefully. Hunter couldn't look Brice in the eye, but simply nodded again.

"I knew you two had a special connection when you first told me about him. I didn't want to believe it and I really wanted to have you myself, but … I understand."

"Brice, I understand what you are going through with your father … I really do."

"Hunter, I when I first saw you, I thought you were here to save me from all the shit. The shit that is my life. I hoped against hope that that was true. As I came to really know you, I realized your heart belonged to someone else." A lone tear rolled down Hunter's face. "I will survive the wrath of my father, just not today. I can no more stand between you and Jesse anymore than I can admit that Ethan is a flaming fag." Hunter burst out laughing. "But you've got to admit, he is a cute flaming fag." Hunter laughed out loud and nodded.

"Yes, he is very cute and perhaps you two have a future together," Hunter said softly.

"Perhaps you are right and he is what I needed in my life all along," Brice said with a sad smile. "But you've got to admit, we had chemistry together." Hunter nodded.

"Yes, we did. I thought you were what I needed and vice versa, but we were only fooling ourselves. We already had what we needed in our lives but were too stubborn to admit it." Brice leaned down and wrapped Hunter in a warm hug.

"You will always be special to me and I want you to know you can call on me anytime and I will be there for you. You, Hunter Ward, hold a very special place in my heart."

"Thank you, Brice. I love you like a brother."

"Now, what are we going to do about getting you and Jesse back together?"

*    *    *    *    *

Jesse Westphal followed his father from the commissary toward the commander's office. He felt a renewed sense of hope. His heart was no longer heavy with self-doubt. His father loved him despite his love of Hunter. That, in and of itself, gave Jesse renewed hope that things would be okay. Father and son approached the commander's office and Jesse held his breath as his father knocked on the door.

"Enter." Max looked down at this son, smiled in reassurance, and opened the door.

"Max, Jesse, take a seat. We need to have a little discussion," directed the commander. That sat down and looked expectantly at man behind the desk.

"Jesse, it has come to my attention that we need to get you and Hunter together so you two can talk." Jesse started to interrupt, but Commander Walsh held up his hand. "Teenage romance is fine by me, but when guns get involved, I have to put my foot down. Do you know of any way to contact Hunter?" Jesse shook his head.

"I've tried his cell but it goes straight to voicemail."

"I was afraid of that. You do have your cell phone on, right?" Jesse nodded. "Good and keep it charged up. Hunter may reach out to you." Jesse nodded once again.

"Why was he shot? I mean, what was going on that made people shoot at each other?" Jesse quietly asked. Commander Walsh let out a deep sigh.

"Sometimes people get too excited, I guess. You do remember me telling you about the radar system?" Jesse nodded. "Let's just say some of Lieutenant Dutton's men didn't want to lose that system and were doing what they thought best to keep it in their possession." Jesse slowly shook his head back and forth.

"T-this is all my fault," he stammered. "Hunter told me that he loves me and I-I lost it. I told him I-I h-hated him and never wanted to see him again, ever. I know that was wrong, now, and I don't know what came over me. I guess I panicked. If I could take that moment back, I'd do it in a heartbeat."

"I understand and things will work out. We just have to hope Hunter reaches out to you or at least, someone."

*    *    *    *    *

Ted Hagan sat in the commissary nursing a now cold cup of coffee. Across the table was Captain Turner's niece, Samantha. Her tears had stopped some time ago, but her grief was plain to see on her face.

"Ya know, it's sad to think about it all, but your uncle lived a long, full life," Ted said while looking down at his cup of coffee. "Hunter was faced with a difficult decision out there. He was all by himself and didn't even know where he was." Ted paused and finally looked up. "What he did for your uncle is what Captain Turner would have wanted. I'm sorry you don't have his body to bury to give you some sense of closure, but I'm pretty sure that Captain Turner is where he wanted to be." Ted smiled gently and Samantha nodded in agreement.

"Uncle Bill always said he was one with the sea. He really loved sailing. After he finally retired from the Navy, he bought a sailboat and practically lived on it. Aunt Sally complained about that until the day she died," Samantha said with quiet chuckle.

"I grew up on a farm in eastern North Carolina, real rural like. Jest about as far from the ocean as you can git, but some how, I got the itch and it never went away. That itch is what brought me to the Coast Guard. I love my job and I kin see how your pops fell in love with the sea," Ted said with a slight grin on his face. "Now my wife, she puts up with it cuz I come home every night. My boys, well, their too young ta figger out what they wanna do. Heck, what their interested in changes bout as much as the weather." Samantha grinned at him, thoroughly enjoying his country twang.

*    *    *    *    *

Hunter and Brice made their way downstairs and were immediately met with the wonderful aromas of a full English breakfast. Walking into the dining room, they saw a table ladened down with all kinds of food.

"Come on and tuck in before it get's cold," Ethan called out. "Come on!" Hunter and Brice sat down and began to spoon food on their plates.

"Ethan, how long will you be staying here on this island?" Hunter asked just before popping a sausage in his mouth.

"Just during summer hols, then it's back to Surrey for sixth form."

"Brice, what about you?" Hunter asked.

"Just like Ethan, here for the summer or until dear old dad finally relents and lets me go home to my friends," Brice said sullenly.

"Have you thought about visiting abroad?" At that question, Ethan perked up and stared at Hunter. "If you knew someone, perhaps, that lived abroad, ya know, just saying," Hunter shrugged his shoulders trying desperately to hide the smirk on his face.

"Brice, come home with me! We'd have a brilliant time!" Brice looked at Hunter and grinned.

"You, Hunter, are up to no good." Brice grinned. Hunter just grinned back.

"Well?" Ethan asked Brice impatiently.

"Sure, sounds good to me," Brice said with a beaming smile. Ethan jumped up and hugged Brice tightly, tears falling down his happy face. Hunter just grinned and shoved a fried mushroom in his mouth.

Eventually, Ethan sat back down and continued eating his "fry up."

"Ethan, do you a cell phone here?" Hunter asked. Ethan finished swallowing a bite of fried egg and shook his head.

"No cell service here, but we do have a sat phone." Hunter nodded and munching on a crisp piece of bacon, his thoughts turned to Jesse. And a moment later he asked a question.

"So, Ethan, would you mind if I made a phone call?" Hunter asked softly.


On to Chapter Seven
"Voicemail"

Back to Chapter Five
"Not Gonna Happen"

Chapter Index

Jevic's Story Page


Hunter at Sea is © 2008-2022 by The Tarheel Writer.
    This work may not be duplicated in any form – physical, electronic, audio, or otherwise – without the author's written permission. All applicable copyright laws apply. All individuals depicted are fictional with any resemblance to real persons being purely coincidental.


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