The Gift

© Alex de Kok / Frederick Carol, 2001

My thanks go to Paul C and Cockatoo, for commenting on the original draft of this story, which has been rather amended. Thanks too to Cockatoo for the title. To Wida my grateful thanks for editorial comment. To those three, the credit. The mistakes are all mine

The first time I met Helen she never said a word. Her husband did all of the talking. "Mr. Jensen," he said.

That's me, that 'Mr. Jensen.' Steve Jensen, back then the owner and skipper of the Nora, a 38-foot ketch that was older than me. "Mr. Jensen," he said, "my wife and I want to get back home to Georgetown, and I've persuaded her that it would be good to sail back. The Harbor office tells me you do charter work."

"That's right, Mr.?"

"Grant, Jack Grant. We've been here on business, but now we want to relax." He smiled, all teeth and no eyes. Like a shark. "I guess it's only a four day trip, but I'd be happy to pay you for the full week."

I glanced at his wife. Tall, slim, expensive clothes. Blonde hair cut stylishly short. Still silent, I noted. Oh, well. I turned my attention back to her husband. "I usually expect whoever charters my boat to give a hand with her. I'm the only crew."

"I realize that, Mr. Jensen. I have some sailing experience and I'm looking forward to it. I'm sure Helen will help out, too. Won't you, honey?" His wife smiled politely. "But Georgetown is off the main shipping routes from here. I'm sure all will be well." He smiled again.

"OK," I said, "let's go aboard and sort this out. When do you want to leave?"

"Tomorrow morning, if we can. Will that be okay?"

"Certainly will. If you can get here for about ten we'll catch the tide."

"Fine, fine." He turned to his wife. "Helen, honey, why don't you take the car and see about packing. I'll sort out the details with Mr. Jensen, and then get a cab back. I'll just get my briefcase."

Helen Grant never said a word, just got in the car, passed her husband his briefcase, and then drove away without a backward glance. I shrugged mentally. It might be a silent passage, but I needed the money. I turned to Jack Grant. "Come aboard, Mr. Grant, and we'll sort out the paperwork."

On Tuesday morning the Grants arrived at the slip at nine-thirty. Jack Grant took me to one side.

"I have a problem, Mr. Jensen," he said. "Something has come up here and I'll have to see to it, but Helen would still like to go ahead. Will you be able to manage? Just the two of you?" he asked anxiously.

I looked at him while I gave the matter some thought. We'd be clear of the main shipping lanes by nightfall, I could lock the tiller or heave-to. "It should be OK. It might take a little longer if I have to heave-to, but I don't really see a major problem." I definitely needed the money.

"Suppose I pay you for two weeks?" Jack Grant said, reaching for his wallet. A few minutes later we'd sorted out the revised details and I was ready to go. Helen Grant had a big carryall with her and I took it and showed her to her berth in the fore-cabin. My own quarters were aft. I left her to unpack whatever she needed and went back on deck. Jack Grant brought a carryall from the car. "Will you take this for me?" he asked. "It will save me on excess baggage when I fly back."

"Of course. No problem."

He smiled. "I'll take my leave of you, then. Helen and I have said our goodbyes and I've never been very good at waiting and waving." He smiled, the shark re-surfacing, as he passed me the carryall. It was surprisingly heavy. With a casual wave he turned on his heel and walked back to his car.

I made a rude gesture - mentally, I'm no fool - and busied myself with the last minute tidying that accompanies departure. I stowed the carryall in a waterproof locker just inside the main cabin. It was about ten to ten when Helen Grant came back on deck. She had changed out of her tailored suit of shore clothes and was wearing jeans and a cotton sweater, deck shoes on her feet.

"Is there anything I can do," she asked politely.

"Have you sailed before?" I asked.

"Dinghies. Day-sailers. Nothing this big."

"Well, if you don't mind, Mrs. Grant, just sit over there until we're clear of the harbor, then we'll see about translating your dinghy knowledge into something bigger." I grinned at her and was rewarded with an almost whole smile in return. Away from her husband, Helen Grant seemed much more human.

She was not only human, she was intelligent and a quick learner and when I left her at the helm while I made some sandwiches for our lunch she showed no anxiety. There was nothing wrong with her appetite either, and we made short work of the beef and mustard. The wind was fresh and I hoisted the big genoa. Nora was butting into the waves now, and some spray was reaching us in the cockpit. I got two waterproof jackets out of the locker and handed her one. She looked at the garish orange and fluorescent yellow color scheme and raised an amused eyebrow.

I laughed. "There are no fashion police out here, Mrs. Grant."

She laughed in turn, surprising me as she shrugged into the jacket. "Call me Helen. And you're Steve, right?"

"Sure am, ma'am," I quipped and she smiled. She surprised me again.

"Steve, what are you planning to do tonight? I mean, about keeping watch or whatever it's called." She raised an interrogative eyebrow.

"Actually, I was going to ask you to take the helm from ten until midnight, if you think you can manage, then I'll take over until morning. I can get by on two hours a night. It's only three nights, after all."

She looked at me quizzically. "Wouldn't it make more sense if I did say ten until two, then relieve you at six, when it will be light again?"

"It would, if you're confident. We'll be clear of the shipping lanes by eight, so you should be all right. If you're sure?"

"I can always wake you if anything happens, or I'm unsure, can't I?" she said.

"Of course. In fact, consider it an order, first mate."

She grinned, looking incredibly young suddenly. "Aye, aye, captain."

That broke the last of the ice. Helen Grant turned out to be damned good company. She was bright, witty, interested in learning Nora's foibles. I learned that she'd been married to Jack Grant for four years, that she was thirty, my own age, a Computer Science graduate and was thoroughly enjoying her little voyage.

"I get sick of flying," she told me, "when Jack spotted your charter sign and suggested that we sail home, I didn't need much persuasion. We weren't in any hurry." She frowned. "I don't know what Jack needed to do that couldn't be done from Georgetown." She shook her head, curious but apparently unworried.

"I'm surprised your husband let you, I mean going off with a man in a boat." I smiled to show her I was joking, but her face closed and she shook her head.

"You made lunch, I'll do dinner," she said. "Do you mind if I rummage in your kitchen?"

"Galley," I said.

"I'm sorry?"

"Galley. It's not a kitchen, it's a galley."

"Oh," she said. "Of course." She started below, and then turned. "It looks like a kitchen," she said, and disappeared before I could form an adequate response. I grinned. I liked her.

Dinner turned out to be pork chops in an onion gravy, and she'd managed to make a side salad with the inadequate provisions I'd supplied her with. The chops were cooked superbly and I told her so.

"One of my many accomplishments," she said dryly. "Not that Jack really cares. We eat out more often than not, usually some business associate. I sometimes think I'm just there for decoration."

And very decorative you are too, Helen Grant, I thought, but I didn't say anything like that out loud. Instead I changed the subject and that led us into a conversation about books, art, boats, islands, and lagoons and then onto diving, where she surprised me again.

"I noticed you had some scuba gear, Steve. Are the tanks charged?"

"Yeah. I always keep them ready. I had to clear some rope from the propeller only last week. The tank means I can do the job without having to keep coming up for air. I have a compressor connected to the diesel." I smiled at her. "Are you interested in diving?"

"Oh, yes, but I haven't done any since I got married. Jack's not happy in the water." She grimaced. "On it, yes, but not in it."

"Tell you what," I said. "We'll be passing fairly close to an island tomorrow morning. It's small and uninhabited, but there's a bay where I can anchor. We could go down and look at the reef. It's only about twenty feet down. It will mean we don't reach Georgetown until Friday evening, probably late. It's up to you."

"Sounds like fun," she said immediately, "I'd love to."

"OK, then. I'll just work out the course alteration, then you can start your shift."

"Aye, aye, skipper," she said, throwing me a mock salute.

I always sleep well at night when someone I trust is at the helm, and for some reason I trusted Helen Grant. She woke me at two, with a cup of hot coffee and then took herself off to her bunk with a quiet goodnight. She was startled for a moment when I woke her at six, but smiled and took the coffee I handed her. I don't know what else she was wearing in her narrow bunk, but she certainly filled the shirt very nicely.

She came on deck after a few minutes dressed again in her jeans and sweater and took the helm while I tried to grab a couple of hours sleep. I don't sleep well when it's daylight regardless of who's at the helm, and I gave up after forty minutes, dressed and went back on deck.

"I thought you were sleeping," Helen said, surprised.

"I can't sleep when it's daylight." I smiled at her. "Breakfast?" I asked

"Please. What have we got?" she asked. I liked the 'we'.

"There's some ham in the refrigerator and there should still be some eggs. Ham and eggs?"

"Sounds good, Steve. Here, you take the helm and I'll get breakfast." She smiled at me; a good, honest, open smile and I think it was then that I began to fall in love with Helen Grant.

We ate breakfast together in companionable silence. Helen had a healthy appetite, which almost surprised me, as she was slender in build. She must have caught my curiosity because she paused, swallowed and said, "I play a lot of tennis and I go to the gym twice a week." I flushed and she grinned at me. "It burns the calories off." She shrugged. "I guess I'm lucky, I tend not to put on weight too easily."

I looked over her shoulder, and then pointed. "There's the island, just showing on the horizon. We'll be there by noon."

"Oh, great!" said Helen, and then frowned. She looked at me and reddened. "I didn't pack a swimsuit."

'Swim naked' I thought, my prick twitching. Aloud I said, "There's an old pair of shorts of mine, they've shrunk so much they'll never fit me again. With a piece of line for a belt they'll probably do, those and a t-shirt, maybe?"

"Oh, yes," said Helen, "that will do just fine!"

I was slightly out in my estimate, because it was almost one when I dropped the anchor in the little bay. Helen helped me lower the dinghy overboard and then went below to change, my old shorts in her hand. I went to my cabin and donned my faded pair of swim shorts. I hung an air tank on each shoulder, managed to pick up two sets of fins, two masks and two weight belts and staggered back on deck.

Helen was waiting for me, barefoot, my old shorts dragged in at her slim waist, long, lightly tanned legs, lovely legs. A black t-shirt was snug on her upper body, the absence of her bra manifesting itself by the perceptible protrusion of her nipples. She flushed slightly when she saw me looking but said nothing. I handed her a pair of fins and a mask.

"Try those for size," I said.

Five minutes later I moored the dinghy to a coral head showing above the water. "Ready?" I asked, then catching Helen's nod, "OK, let's go!" We let ourselves fall over backwards out of the dinghy and into the water. We trod water and I pointed. "The reef's there. Follow me. It's only twenty feet down, so we'll be fine. We'll just go down for ten minutes at first, then come up and check everything's OK. Right?"

Helen nodded, eager. "OK, Steve. Lead on."

A moment later we were lost in the wonderland that is a coral reef. I kept a careful eye on Helen at first, but relaxed when she proved herself a competent diver. I touched her hand when the ten minutes were up and pointed to the surface. She nodded and we went up.

"Everything OK?" I asked her once we had surfaced.

"Everything is fine," she replied, eyes sparkling. I saw the flash reflected in her eyes but I'll never know what else she said because the noise of the explosion was too great. I spun around just as the after-shock hit us and threw us against the dinghy. The Nora was just beginning to settle, her back broken and as I watched appalled, she slipped gently beneath the surface until just the mainmast showed. She'd gone down in about thirty feet of water and the mast still showed above the disturbed waves, a marker for her grave.

I turned to Helen. She looked stunned, her eyes staring, her mouth moving soundlessly. Slowly she turned to me.

"What happened?" she whispered.

I shook my head, stunned, staring at the mast, all I could see of my beloved Nora. "I don't know. It can't be petrol, because the engine's diesel. Not gas, because the stove is alcohol and the lamps are either electric or oil. I just don't know." I was in shock, watching my home and my livelihood sink before my eyes.

"What do we do," Helen asked, dragging me from my self-absorption.

I paused, gathering my scattered wits. "We'll have to salvage what we can and camp on the island. Once we've done that, we'll see what we can do."

"But no-one knows we're here," said Helen, panic starting to show in her tone.

"No," I said, then gripped her hand. "But there's food and clothing on the boat, if we can salvage it. There's also an emergency radio which might be OK, and we can make shelter from the sails."

"Yes, but..." she began.

"Helen," I interrupted her, squeezing her fingers. She looked at me, her face strained. "We're alive," I said gently.

She stared at me for a moment, and then smiled weakly. "So we are," she said.

"Come on," I said. "Let's get the dinghy and see what we can salvage."

Quite a lot, actually. Both the fore cabin and my own quarters were substantially undamaged and we managed to salvage our clothing, after I succeeded in opening the forward hatch to get at Helen's stuff. The cockpit was in splinters, the main cabin even worse and the galley was a mess. I managed to detach the stove from its gimbals and to get it and a fuel bottle out and into the dinghy where Helen waited. That, drinking water and some food. Most of the freeze-dried stuff anyway, and some from the refrigerator. By the time we'd done that, my air tank was almost empty and Helen's was down to a quarter. Ten minutes. I decided we'd keep that for emergencies. Other emergencies. The locker where Jack's carryall had been stowed had just about disappeared.

The locker where the emergency radio was stored was in the saloon, near the companionway. The blast must have distorted the door. I tried a few times, using anything available as a lever but I couldn't get it open. It was getting late by then and I'd been free-diving, Helen waiting anxiously in the dinghy. I reckoned we had better get a camp set up before it got dark.

By the time we'd gotten everything ashore and above the high-water mark it was almost six in the early evening. We sat together on the beach and stared at the mast showing above the water. I took a deep breath and asked the question I had to ask.

"Helen," I said gently, "was there trouble between you and your husband?"

She looked at me silently for a moment, and then nodded. "The marriage is on the rocks. We were going to arrange a divorce once we were home." She grimaced. "We should never have gotten married, at least not to each other."

"Would he try to kill you?" I flinched at the look of pain on her face, but she answered readily enough.

"No," she said positively. "The marriage is over, but we're not enemies; anything but. I think we're better friends now that we've acknowledged we made a mistake than we were before." She looked at me quizzically. "That explosion was a bomb, wasn't it?"

"I think so," I said. "The main cabin is in splinters, but as far as I can tell, the explosion seems to have been in the locker where I put Jack's carryall."

She stared at me, then began shaking her head. "No, Steve. Jack wouldn't try to kill me." She began to cry, soundlessly, the tears spilling unheeded down her cheeks. I held out my arms and she collapsed against me, her face buried against my shoulder. I put my arms around her and just held her.

She calmed, and pushed away from me, sniffing and dashing tears from her eyes. "There could be a reason," she said slowly.

"What?" I asked.

"It's my money, and he inherits."

"Your money?" I asked, confused.

"Steve, I'm your original little rich girl. My father left me twelve million dollars and the company." She grimaced. "Jack and I made wills eighteen months ago, with each other as beneficiaries." She smiled wryly. "The marriage hadn't gone sour then."

"We don't know it was Jack, do we? When did he find out he needed to stay?" I asked.

"Barely an hour before we were due at the dock. A telephone call," said Helen.

"It doesn't sound like he was planning a bomb, then, does it?" I asked, thinking 'unless he arranged the call'.

Helen shook her head. "He just took a few clothes out of the carryall, and his razor and toilet bag. He left everything else." Helen paused, a faraway look on her face. "There was something else," she said slowly. "One of Jack's business associates gave him a present, just before the 'phone call. I never really thought about it at the time, but why then? Why not earlier? He said not to open it until we were at sea, because it was something to enjoy. Jack put it into the carryall and I forgot all about it until now. Jack left it in the bag."

"I think that might have been the bomb. Can you remember who gave your husband the present?" I asked.

"I think his name is Guzman," said Helen. "It wasn't anything to do with the company, so I stayed away from their meetings." She made a little gesture of distaste. "I didn't like him."

"Well, if it was him, how on earth did he expect to get away with it?" I asked bitterly. "If we'd kept to our course, instead of diverting, the bomb would have probably killed us." I paused. "Although if we'd been on deck, we'd probably just have been blown into the water. Either way, we were dead."

"He didn't care about you, Steve, you were just the instrument he used to carry the bomb," Helen said sadly, squeezing my fingers.

"I'll be the instrument of his destruction, if I ever get the chance," I said morosely.

"We're stuck here," Helen said hopelessly, "how on earth can we do anything?"

"We're alive, and while we're alive, there is always hope," I said gently, squeezing her hand. "I'll have another try at getting the radio in the morning, it's getting too late now."

"Steve?" asked Helen.


"What are our chances?"

"Pretty good if I can get the radio out and get it working, not so good otherwise," I said wryly.

"Right," she said, taking a deep breath, "Let's go find some firewood."

We both donned damp shoes, and then I led the way off the beach. The island was a mixture of trees and scrub and we soon had enough fuel gathered. I had salvaged some waterproof matches in an aluminum container and soon had a comforting little fire going. I piled some flat rocks to act as a reflector, so as not to waste the heat.

"What now?" asked Helen.

"I go and cut some poles. You go and fetch the line we brought ashore and we'll see if we can dry ourselves some other clothes. After that, we see if we can find fresh water, otherwise we'll be out in a day."

Half an hour later, we had a line rigged and we each had some clothes drying on a line. I tried not to notice Helen's underwear. We were both still dressed as we had been at the time of the explosion, Helen in black t-shirt and my old shorts, myself in swim shorts, to which I added a damp t-shirt against the sun, although I estimated remaining daylight at little over an hour.

"Come on," I said, picking up an empty two-gallon container, which had originally contained fruit juice. "Let's go find water. We'll keep to the beach, should be easier going that way."

I led off, Helen in my footsteps. At one point, we had to clamber over some rocks and I took her hand to help her. She raised no objections when I didn't let go of her hand. Twenty minutes easy walk brought us to a stream tumbling down from some boulders. I tasted the water. Fresh and sweet. I filled the container, but left it standing.

"Come on, let's explore a little upstream," I said. We clambered up through the rocks without any problems and came out in a little clearing between the trees. The stream issued from a spring in some boulders, and formed a pool in a natural depression in the rocks, before running away down hill to where we had come across it. There was a flat grassy area beside the pool.

"I think we should move our camp to here," I said. "What do you think?"

"I think it's lovely," said Helen. Her face clouded. "Under other circumstances I'd love to be here." She looked at me and smiled. "With you," she murmured in an undertone, so that I wasn't sure what I'd heard.

I looked at the pool, then at Helen. Her t-shirt and shorts were still damp. Damp with salt water. We were asking for itching and chafing if we didn't wash the salt off. I bent and picked Helen up.

She laughed. "Steve, I can walk. Steve, what are you doing?" she asked in surprise as I waded into the pool. "Steve!" she squeaked as I dropped her into the fresh water. She came up spluttering. "What was that for?" she asked indignantly.

"We're soaked in salt water. Rinse off the salt so that it doesn't chafe," I said cheerfully.

Helen looked surprised for a moment, then smiled. "OK," she said, "but turn your back."

"Why?" I asked, surprised in my turn.

"Because I need to rinse these clothes I'm wearing and I can't do that while I'm wearing them," she said patiently, but there was a sparkle in her eyes and a half-smile on her face.

I nodded and turned away from her, lowering myself into the pleasantly cool water. I could hear splashing behind me and I could visualize Helen's slender figure. I could feel my prick thickening and quickly removed my own t-shirt and swim shorts, rinsing them in the fresh water and quickly putting them back on. My prick was still slightly engorged and I tried vainly to ease it.

"OK, Steve, you can turn around now. Can I?"

"Sure, I'm decent," I said and turned to face her.

Helen is lovely, and I have many treasured memories of her. One of my favorites is that moment. Standing mid-thigh deep in water in that black t-shirt and my old shorts. The water was cool and Helen's nipples had erected. Her hands moved and I think she was going to cover herself. I still don't know whether she stopped because she wanted me to see them or so as not to draw my attention to them, but she stuck her thumbs in her waistband and waited, a bright spot of color on each cheekbone. I turned slightly to help her out of the water and her gaze fell to my crotch. I guess I must have been half erect, just from thinking about her being naked behind me, and I flushed in my turn. A half-smile flitted across Helen's face but she said nothing.

"It's too late for tonight, but we can bring the other stuff along in the dinghy in the morning," I said. "For the moment, I think we'll camp overnight where we landed."

"OK," said Helen. As we moved away, she took my hand quite naturally. I squeezed her fingers and she looked at me and smiled, but said nothing.

By the time we got back to the camp, our clothes were just about dry. We cooked a quick but nourishing concoction while we still had some light, then set about organizing ourselves a bed for the night. I had a couple of synthetic sleeping bags, designed to be quick drying. They still had a touch of damp about them when I checked. I held one out to Helen.

"It's still damp, I'm afraid. Keep your clothes on, your body heat will soon dry it out."

She made a face, but took it readily enough, and we were soon settled for the night. The firelight was reflected in Helen's eyes as we lay beside the fire.

"Steve?" she said.


"What now?"

"In the morning," I said, thinking aloud, "after we've eaten, I'll dive again and see if I can get the radio. The locker door seems to be jammed, but I have some tools in a locker in the cockpit. I'll have another go." I laughed shortly. "That's if the blast hasn't jammed that locker, too."

"Can I help? I can free dive too, you know." Her teeth gleamed as she smiled at me.

"Yeah. Two of us might make the difference. But for now, Helen, goodnight."

"Goodnight, Steve," she said quietly.

I guess I slept, because the fire was down to glowing coals when Helen's scream woke me, startling me awake, then she was on her knees beside me, shaking me.

"Steve, wake up!" she said urgently.

"OK, Helen, I'm awake. What is it?" Her hand on my shoulder was trembling.

She pointed. "Over there. There's something moving," she said tightly, her voice strained.

I wriggled out of my sleeping bag and grabbed one of the torches we'd salvaged. The beam was bright in the night and the wild pig's eyes were brilliant before it turned and fled. I laughed.

"Wild pig," I said, "as scared of you as you were of it."

"Jesus, it scared me!" said Helen, then leaned against me, trembling.

I put my arms around her, as much to steady her as anything, then suddenly realized she was naked, just as she hurriedly broke away.

"Oops, sorry, Steve. I got hot in the bag, so I took them off." She laughed nervously.

I quickly switched off the torch, so as not to embarrass her, but the moon was near full and lit her clearly, silver and shadow in the moonlight.

I stared at her, mesmerized. "You're beautiful," I whispered, reaching slowly out to her. Hesitantly, she came into my arms, still trembling. As I put my arms around her she leaned her head on my shoulder. I loved the feel of her skin, soft and smooth under my fingers, and I stroked the length of her back, cupping her ass cheeks then running my fingers up the length of her back.

Slowly, hesitantly, she raised her head. My heart leapt, and I gathered her to me, bending quickly to taste her lips. Warm, slightly salty, trembling, but firming as the kiss went on, parting as my tongue went out, questing, searching. I could feel the pointed heat of her nipples against me. I brought my hands round and gently cupped her breasts and she shuddered violently.

She began kissing me frantically, burning little kisses all over my face, coming back to my lips, her tongue swirling with mine. My prick was stiffening, awkward in my swim shorts and Helen moaned into the kiss as she felt me against her. Her hands dropped to my waistband and she tugged at the ties, loosening them, pulling down my shorts. I broke the kiss and took her hands, stepping back and pulling down my shorts, my prick bouncing free, stripping off my t-shirt so that we were both now naked in the moonlight, reaching for her, taking her back into my arms, the kiss frantic now. I bent suddenly and picked her up, carrying her to a patch of mossy grass, soft, springy, laying her down. I paused for a moment, uncertain.

"Yes, Steve, yes," she gasped. She reached for me, her legs parting, urging me on with wordless cries, liquid heat in her cleft as I penetrated her, her gasps in my ears as I thrust fiercely, the heat building in us, higher, ever higher, until she peaked, shaking, trembling, a single exultant 'Yes!' ringing in my ears as I came, driving into her.

Gradually, we stilled, sweat-slick bodies still joined. She looked into my eyes and smiled slowly, wonderingly, her fingers stroking my face, tracing the shape of me. I bent and kissed her nose and her smile deepened, then turned into a grin. She chuckled.

"Yes," she said, "that's something to do while we're waiting to be rescued."

I laughed, but winced inwardly. Rescue? Maybe, but only if I could get to the radio. Aloud I said, "Impossible! You have drained me, woman, I have nothing left to give."

"Oh, not continuously," she said, pouting, "just as often as possible." She squeezed down on me with her internal muscles, laughing. Incredibly, I responded, my prick thickening, but slowly, very slowly. We kissed, lightly now, enjoying each other's taste. I tried to flex my prick and she giggled at the sudden movement, her hips beginning to move gently, drawing me on. The heat of her was building me up, lengthening me, stiffening me, and as I began to stroke my prick in the warmth and wetness of her welcoming pussy I came slowly back to full hardness.

I let my stroke lengthen, drawing back to almost leave her, then plunging slowly deep, ever deeper, into her honeyed depths only to draw back again and repeat the eons old cycle. This time it was slow, my erect tool caressing her internally. Her legs came up and her feet hooked lightly behind me. I bent my neck and kissed her nipple, then the other one, while her hand pressed me against her.

I lifted my head and she was watching me as I thrust into her, her eyes flickering over my face, warmth in them that I realized with joy was for me. She smiled when our eyes met and squeezed down on me. Her breathing was deepening, quickening and she began to croon wordlessly, her hands moving aimlessly on my back until she began to stiffen, then went boneless, this time her 'oh, yes!' a gusty whisper on a sigh as a rhythmic convulsion deep inside of her brought me, too, to climax and tipped me over the edge.

This time, we separated, and I brought a fire-warmed blanket to our mossy couch and wrapped us in it, spoon-like, her hand holding mine to her breast. I kissed her ear.

"Good night, my love," I whispered. There was no reply. She was asleep.

Morning dawned bright and warm. I wakened as I usually do, suddenly and totally, but made no move lest I disturb the blonde head cradled on my arm. I lay, just enjoying her warmth and nearness, until she stirred, squirming around until she faced me. She stared at me solemnly and then smiled, before leaning forward to kiss me gently on the lips.

"It wasn't a dream after all," she said.

"What wasn't?"

"Making love to you. It can't have been, because neither of us has any clothes on and my pussy feels wonderful this morning."

"It felt wonderful to me, too, last night," I said, kissing her gently.

Helen laughed, then wriggled free of me and threw the blanket back, to stand, arms raised exultantly, before turning to me again. She was beautiful. Slim, blonde, curvaceous, high-curving, deep-dipping beautiful. And a natural blonde, part of me noticed.

"I'm going for a swim," she announced.

"Why don't we move camp first, then you can have a fresh water wash in the pool after your swim?" I suggested.

She grimaced. "OK, slave driver."

It took us two trips with the dinghy, but we moved everything we had salvaged. The clothing we had hung on lines was dry, but Helen made no attempt to wear any and I was enjoying the sight of her naked beauty too much to suggest covering it, but by the time we had moved camp the sun was well up and showing promise of a scorching day. We had a quick swim together and then washed off the salt in our freshwater pool.

I looked out towards Nora's mast, and then turned to Helen. "Let's have another go at salvaging the radio," I said. "I'll go down first and see if I can get at the tools."

Helen nodded. "I guess we should. OK, Steve, let's go."

A few minutes later I fastened the dinghy's painter to the mast showing above the water. I must have looked a little strange, because I was wearing mask and fins and nothing else. I let myself fall over backwards and swam down to the wreck. The tool locker was intact, but it must have been distorted because it took me three dives before I could open it and get at the contents. On my fourth dive I was using the tank with our few remaining minutes of air. The saloon was an utter shambles, the locker where the bomb had been in splinters.

I checked the instrumentation in the cockpit. It was designed to survive immersion, but not a bomb blast, and a quick glance told me that I need spend no more time on it, as everything was either shattered or distorted. No chance of any emergency signal there, then, so our only hope was going to be the backup radio. I had a big wrench from my tool locker and I tried levering the locker door open. I couldn't get a purchase, so I swam back to the tool locker and took out a heavy screwdriver. Glancing up I could see Helen hanging over the side of the dinghy, her mask below water so that she could see me. I gave her a quick thumbs up and swam back into the cabin. This time, with the wrench as a fulcrum I was able to use the screwdriver in an attempt to open the locker door.

I braced myself and leaned on the screwdriver, gradually increasing the pressure until I could feel the locker door start to give. When it opened, it opened quickly and I lost my balance, spinning away and bouncing off the bulkhead. I quickly balanced myself, then stopped. My foot, and fin, were caught in the angle between the companionway and the bench seat at the side of the saloon. Normally this was a closed angle but the blast had opened it and my foot had become wedged. I tried to pull it, but only succeeded in tightening the gap, the sprung timbers working like a barb. The more I pulled, the tighter it got.

I paused, considering, then tried to use my other foot to press the angle open. Unfortunately, because of the angle I found myself working at, I couldn't exert the necessary pressure. I confess that I panicked for a moment, taking deep breaths of my dwindling air supply. The screwdriver, I thought, then looked around for it, my heart sinking as I realized it was out of reach. Oh, shit! What now? Helen! But how to signal her? Was she still peering down, or had she relaxed in the dinghy?

I offered up a quick prayer to the gods looking out for shipwrecked mariners and looked around again. The companionway down to the saloon had a low door leading into the cockpit, with a sliding hatch cover which moved longitudinally on the cabin roof to allow access without needing to be a contortionist. The cover was closed from when we'd taken to the dinghy for our dive. Gods, only yesterday! When I'd dived to the wreck I'd swum in through the doorway without trying to push the hatch cover, not needing the height. I could just reach the inner handle and I tugged fearfully, praying that it wouldn't stick. My prayers were answered and the cover slid open. My hand just reached to the opening and I waved it, making 'come down' signals to Helen, praying that she wasn't dozing.

She wasn't, thank God, and it seemed no time at all until she appeared in the doorway. I signaled her in and pointed to my foot. Helen is intelligent, and she turned to me, making spreading motions with her hands. I nodded and pointed to the screwdriver. She quickly retrieved it and braced herself to try and open the angle. Her first effort was unsuccessful and I thought she would have to go back up for air. Helen however was thinking quicker than I was and she pointed to my mouthpiece. Of course! I took it out and Helen took a couple of lungs full of air, then gave the mouth piece back to me.

Helen had bent to her task again, braced into the corner and suddenly I felt the grip on my foot easing. Cautiously I pulled back and my foot and fin came free. Helen steadied herself with one hand on my shoulder and pointed up. I nodded and she moved out of the cabin. Pausing only to grab the container with the emergency radio, I followed her.

On the surface we hung onto the side for a moment, then I boosted Helen into the dinghy before hauling myself in. I hugged her. "Helen, love, you just saved my life."

She looked at me, appalled. "That bad?" she asked, her voice shaking.

I nodded. "If you hadn't freed me, I'd have drowned when my air ran out."

She gave me a shaky grin. "Good thing I decided to keep my eye on you."

"Very good," I said feelingly. "Come on, let's get ashore and see to this radio."

My heart sank when I looked at the radio, because the waterproof case had distorted and water had gotten in. The thing was soaking. The battery compartment seemed dry when I examined it, so I took the battery out and checked it with a piece of wire. Plenty of sparks when I shorted the terminal, so the battery was OK. I put the radio itself to one side and turned to Helen.

"At the moment, the radio is soaking. There's life in the battery, and if we can dry out the radio, it may be OK. First though, we need to get the fire going again." I cast a glance at the sky. "The forecast was good, so we needn't worry about rain."

It didn't take long before we had a bright little blaze going again and I positioned the radio so that the heat reflected from the flat stones I had placed would dry it, but not so close that there was any danger of scorching.

"OK," I said, "now we wait." I glanced at Helen, still gloriously naked and watching me carefully. I looked up at the sun again and then rummaged through our salvaged goods. Among the things we had salvaged was sun block. I brandished the bottle. "Come here," I said. "If you're going to frolic about naked you'd better wear this."

Helen struck a pose, back arched, breasts pushed out. "You complaining, buddy?"

I gazed at her silently for a long moment. "For as long as I live I will remember your beauty here, where we found each other." I smiled. "I do not want to remember it covered with blisters, or peeling."

Helen grinned. "OK, you've convinced me."

It was fun oiling her, stroking her back, her long legs, rolling her over to oil her front, paying special attention to her pink-tipped peaks, stiff little nubbins betraying her arousal. When I had finished she took the bottle from me.

"OK, buddy, it's your turn. Face down, first." She oiled my back and legs, slowly, sensuously, her hands strong on me. When she told me to turn over, my prick was already at half-mast. She glanced at it and smirked, then began to oil my front. She oiled everywhere except my prick, coming teasingly close, but never touching. By the time she'd oiled everything else, my prick was as stiff as I've ever felt it. Helen sat back on her heels, capped the bottle and put it aside.

"Aren't you going to do there too?" I asked teasingly, having more than half an idea what she was planning.

"That's a very precious area to me," she said solemnly, "I thought I'd try a natural lotion first." She swung her leg across so that she was straddling my legs, then shuffled forwards on her knees. Taking my prick in her fingers, she guided me into her pussy as she slowly lowered her warmth and wetness onto me.

Reaching bottom, she stopped, sighing. "Oh, Steve, that does feel nice." She bent forward and kissed me lightly. She grinned. "Lie back and enjoy, Steve."

I laughed and raised my hands to her breasts, cupping them, rubbing my thumbs lightly over her erect nipples. She took hold of my hands, keeping them pressed to her breasts and began rocking on her knees, lifting herself up, up until I almost left her, then sinking back down, taking me deep within her again. She didn't rush, taking it slow and gentle, her breathing easy at first, a slim, agile woman taking her lover at her own pace, enjoying the easy, slippery friction of prick in pussy.

It couldn't last. Her pace picked up, her breathing quickened, my prick got stimulated, her pussy got stimulated, and her pace picked up some more. Soon she was driving herself down my prick, gasping great gulps of air, while I drove up into her, my hands at her waist, until we both climaxed with a great yell that scared the seabirds on the reef into a clamoring scramble.

Helen smiled down at me, still gasping for breath. "Wow!" she said.

"Wow, indeed," I gasped, struggling to adequately fill my lungs.

We stilled, gradually, Helen smiling down at me, beads of sweat standing on her clear brow. Her smile gradually faded and she stared at me, until suddenly she scrambled to her feet and ran from our camp, down to the littoral, where she collapsed on the sand, sobbing.

I got to my feet slowly, picked up a blanket and a handkerchief and went down to her. I said nothing, just put the blanket around her shoulders, then sat down and gathered the precious blanket-bound bundle of her into my arms. I held her close and waited. Gradually her sobs died away and she turned to me. I held out the handkerchief and she smiled wanly and took it, wiping her eyes and blowing her nose.

"Why?" she asked.

I shook my head. "I have absolutely no idea, but since he blew up my boat and didn't care whether he killed me as well as you, I think I have a stake in finding out. Whoever he is."

"Was the Nora insured?"

"Yes, but I'm not sure whether being blown out of the water is covered." I shook my head.

"If it does, will there be enough for another boat?" she asked.

"Not like the Nora." I shrugged. "I might have to crew for a while."

"Have you seen anything you like? Go on, pipedream a little." She squeezed my fingers encouragingly.

"Well, last time I was in Georgetown, there was another ketch for sale, a 65-footer, but it was worth twice as much as Nora." I lost myself for a moment. I had loved the Nora, very much, but she had limitations.

"What was she called?"

"Helena," I said. Almost as beautiful a boat as you are a woman, Helen Grant.

Helen was quiet for a few moments. "Steve?"


She paused, then shook her head. "Nothing, sorry."

We napped for a while, then I checked the radio again. It seemed to have dried out and I held my breath while I re-fitted the battery and turned it on. The cheerful green glow from the display was a great relief. I switched it off again and stood up.

"What's up?" asked Helen anxiously. "It's working, I saw it."

"Nothing's wrong, I hope," I replied. "But I want to use as big an aerial as I can. I brought some wire from the Nora, that should do."

Half an hour later, I had a dipole antenna - of sorts - strung between two trees, connected to the aerial socket on the radio. Taking a deep breath, I switched on the radio. I switched to the distress frequency, where I thought I would find Charlie. I'd heard traffic on the other frequencies, so the radio was receiving. But was it transmitting? Only one way to find out.

"Yacht Nora to Georgetown coastguard. Yacht Nora to Georgetown coastguard. Come in, please." I flicked to receive, and held my breath, but the response was almost instant.

"Georgetown Coastguard to yacht Nora. Georgetown Coastguard calling yacht Nora. Come in please. Georgetown Coastguard calling yacht Nora. Over."

I looked over at Helen, who was wearing a Cheshire Cat grin. She gave me the thumbs up.

I switched to transmit. "Yacht Nora to Georgetown Coastguard, go ahead. Over."

Charlie's voice was excited, which is not usual. Charlie Abrams is the least excitable man I know. "Georgetown Coastguard calling yacht Nora. Steve, is that you? Are you all right? Is Mrs Grant all right? Over."

I looked at Helen, bemused. She shrugged, as bewildered as I was myself.

"Nora to Georgetown Coastguard. We're both fine, Charlie. Over."

Charlie dispensed with protocol. "Steve, we understand that there may be a bomb on board the Nora, in Mr. Grant's carryall. Find a gift-wrapped present in Mr. Grant's bag and throw it overboard. Now, Steve! Over." Charlie's voice was tense and nervous.

"Too late, Charlie, it blew up yesterday. Over." God, if only he'd called twenty-four hours earlier! I would still have a home and a living.

"What happened, Steve? Are you sure you're all right?" Charlie's tone was anxious. "Where are you? What about the Nora?"

"Nora's at the bottom, Charlie. We stopped at Crab Island because Mrs. Grant wanted to look at the reef. We were in the dinghy when the bomb went off. We've salvaged enough for a few days, but we would like to be picked up as soon as possible. Over."

"Steve," said Charlie, "I'll call you back in twenty minutes, when we've sorted something out. Over and out."

I looked at Helen and smiled. "Rescue is imminent."

"Thank goodness," she said, grinning, and I realized that there had been a taut edge of worry about her which had gone now. "I'll make us something to eat while we wait for the call."

She did and it was her usual superbly effortless creation. Helen could do things with freeze-dried soups and our remaining ham that defied belief. Boy could she cook! It was nearer half an hour than twenty minutes before Charlie called back and everything had been organized. 'Cat' Chugman was picking us up and he was bringing Casey Kolinski to look at the wreck, but not until the next day.

'Cat' Chugman is a charter pilot. He got his nickname from flying Catalina amphibians while he was in the services, although they had to be some of the last Cats actually still in service! After twenty years in uniform, he'd retired and bought himself a De Havilland Otter floatplane that he used to fly charter groups out of Georgetown. He would have bough a Catalina if he could have found one, I reckoned. He knew where we were and would pick us up as soon as he could the following day. Eighteen hours to wait.

"Tomorrow, Helen, 'Cat' will pick us up. He knows where we are, he's been here before with charters."

Helen smiled brilliantly. "Marvelous, Steve." She paused. "Who's Casey Kolinski, that the Coastguard wanted him here?"

"Casey is a retired forensic expert. He's also an experienced scuba diver. I guess they want his opinion about the bomb. I certainly do."

Helen smiled. "Smart move. So what do we do for the next eighteen hours?"

"I don't know." I shrugged. "Any ideas?"

"Just the one," she said, so quietly that I could hardly hear her. She came towards me and put her arms around my neck, looking up into my eyes. "Kiss me, Steve," she whispered.

I bent to her and kissed her gently. She kissed me back fiercely, then grinned at me.

"I think we both have the same idea," she said, indicating my prick which had started to thicken and lengthen.

I laughed. "I do believe you're right, Helen."

She smiled at me, her eyes smoky, and reached out gently, taking my rapidly hardening prick in her cool fingers, caressing it gently to a pulsing hardness. She pressed herself against me, my prick trapped between us, then raised herself to a high tiptoe, swinging her hips forward to take me, my prick sliding easily into her soaking slit. She put her arms around my neck and lifted her feet off the ground, her legs around me, her ankles crossed behind me to lock her in place.

She grinned at me. "OK, Steve, your cock's where we both want it to be, now carry me somewhere soft so that we can fuck properly."

I carried her over to a mossy bank and went carefully to my knees, then tried to ease myself forward, but even Helen's slender weight was too much for me and I lost my balance, falling forward and driving into Helen with a force that brought a grunt from her lips. Then she was gripping me tightly and her hips were moving eagerly against mine. I sensed that this was not a time for finesse and began driving hard into her, pulling back and giving her my full length, reveling in the sensations she raised in me, exulting in the tightness and wetness of her as my prick pistoned in and out of her.

She was getting increasingly vocal, yips and moans interspersed with anguished cries of "Yes! Yes!" as her nails raked my back and her heels locked behind me as she tried to pull me further into her. This time, though, Helen beat me as we raced towards our orgasms, but only just barely. As she was about to go down again, I felt my balls draw up tight as I plunged down into my own personal little abyss of ecstasy; the tingle in my upper thighs just preceding the frantic pulses of my warm jism splashing against the clutching walls of Helen's pussy as we came in a frenzy of prick and pussy and primal yells. Gradually we stilled and Helen eased her stranglehold on me, smiling at me as I eased my prick from her soaking channel, sweat beading her brow and running down between her breasts.

We lay beside each other holding hands and napped for a while under a sail I'd rigged for shade and then, unspeaking, reached for each other and made love again, slowly this time, easing each other to a gentler crescendo. After we'd eaten we just lay, contented, holding hands, then made slow, gentle love before we settled for the night.

Next morning Helen woke me by gently licking my prick like a Popsicle, giggling as it twitched under her administration, slowly hardening under her gentle approach. She lay on one elbow when I reached my full height, length or whatever, eagerly spreading her legs as I rose and turned, my prick angling for her pussy, welcoming me within her with a gusty sigh and a four limbed clasp. This time our coupling was fierce and torrid, as if we both knew it was going to have to last us for a while. Helen was screaming as she came and I yelled in male triumph as she throbbed beneath and around me, both of us gasping like fish out of water, sweat running from us in rivulets.

Gradually we stilled, until I eased out of her, just before I would have fallen out, and flopped on my back, taking her hand in mine. Helen came up on her elbow and leaned over to kiss me gently.

"We'll have a last swim in a couple of minutes," I said, "then rinse off in the fresh water. Then, my love, we'll have to dress because our rescuers are due sometime after ten." Helen nodded ruefully.

When we heard the drone of the Otter's engine, we were dressed and ready. Helen was wearing my old shorts again, this time with a shirt. She was wearing a bra, too, to my disappointment, but I acknowledged its probable necessity because of our visitors. Cat made a superb landing in the lagoon and beached the Otter gently beside where we waited. Once the engine had stopped I took the rope he threw me and moored the Otter firmly to a nearby tree.

"Hi, Steve," said Cat, grinning at me as he and Casey clambered from the Otter. He turned to Helen. "You must be Mrs Grant?"

I thought I should introduce them. "Helen, this is Cat Chugman - "

"Hello, Cat," said Helen.

"Howdy, ma'am," said Cat.

" - and Casey Kolinski - "

"Casey," said Helen.

"Hello, Helen," said Casey.

" - two very good friends of mine. Guys, this is Helen Grant." I smiled wryly. "We understand that the bomb or whatever it was came with us in Jack Grant's carryall, right?"

Casey nodded.

"Where did it come from, Casey?" I asked. "We thought it was a present for Jack."

"That's what you were supposed to think. It turns out that, er, a lady friend of Mr Grant's, er.." Casey paused, embarrassed.

Helen smiled at him. "Rosita?" she asked quietly.

Casey nodded. "Rosita Moreno."

"My husband's girlfriend," said Helen. "It's all right Casey, I know about Rosita. My husband and I are getting divorced. Not over Rosita." Helen shrugged. "Basic incompatibility, I guess. Quite amicable. He never even met Rosita until after we had made the decision."

Casey nodded, relieved. "Well, this Rosita works for a guy called Diego Guzman."

"He was the one who gave my husband the present," Helen said tautly, gripping my fingers.

"Right," said Casey, nodding agreement. "It seems Guzman was talking to some guy that works for him. Rosita was just outside an open window when she heard Jack's name mentioned." Casey smiled tautly. "She hid and listened, heard him say that they didn't need to worry, that Grant and his wife were out of the picture, that the company was ripe for takeover following their tragic deaths." Casey laughed. "Rosita is a quick thinker. She knew Jack Grant was okay, because she'd seen him about ten minutes earlier, so she went straight to him and told him what she'd heard. The two of them took the afternoon flight and Jack went straight to the police."

"And the police got onto the Coastguard, trying to warn us?" I guessed.

"Right," said Casey. "Mr Grant and Miss Moreno are in Georgetown, safe, and Guzman has been arrested. He's being held on a charge of attempted murder, pending an extradition request."

"What now?" asked Helen.

"What's the name of your company?" asked Cat suddenly.

Helen turned to him. "Morton Marketing."

"Now I got you," said Casey, "you're Bill Morton's daughter!"

"You knew my father?"

"Only to play golf with," said Casey. "He played to win."

Helen laughed. "Yeah, that was Dad, sure enough. When he died, he left me the company. Mom wasn't - isn't - interested in business. Dad left her financially independent. Me, he left twelve million and the company."

"Enough to kill for," mused Cat. "OK, guys, let's go see a wreck." He turned to me. "We brought four fully charged tanks for you and Casey. I'm no diver, but I can keep Helen company in the dinghy."

I nodded. "Fine, let's get on with it."

It took two hours and four separate dives, but when we'd finished we had about seventy photographs - Casey had thought to bring an underwater camera - and copious notes. The four of us were sitting eating a fabulous concoction that Helen had contrived from odds and ends, discussing the situation.

"I'm ninety-five percent certain that it was a bomb," said Casey. "And I'm completely certain that the locker where Steve stowed the carryall was the center of the blast. I've got some fragments that I think may have been the timer, but we really need a full forensic team, and the sooner the better."

"In that case, we better get back," said Cat. He turned to Helen and me. "You guys ready to go?"

I nodded. "Just us and the two bags. Anything valuable from the Nora can be salvaged later."

Two hours later we landed in Georgetown Bay. Cat taxied us over to Immigration, who sometimes get paranoid, but the guys there were old buddies of Cat, they knew me, they knew Helen, and we were through in five minutes.

"What are we going to do?" I asked Helen, as we walked over to Casey's Jeep.

Helen frowned. "I need to sort some things out with the Company, and Jack." She took my hand. "I'm going to be busy, Steve, I'm sorry. I'll see you as soon as I can. Where can I reach you?"

"I don't know." I shrugged. "My home is at the bottom of the sea."

"You can bunk with me, Steve," said Cat. He took out a notebook and scribbled a number on it, before passing the page to Helen. "That's the house 'phone, Helen."

Helen was busy after that making sure that her divorce from Jack Grant was going smoothly, and that the Company was in good order. She told me later that she'd been worried by Guzman's assertion that it was ripe for takeover if anything were to happen to her and Jack. I hardly saw her for days on end, and then had to content myself with the occasional fleeting lunch. I was busy myself, trying to sort out the insurance on the Nora. By the time that was done, I knew I didn't have enough for anything nearly as good as her.

I was rescued from my gloom by a 'phone call from Helen, asking me to meet her at the marina. She wouldn't say why, but I was pleased that she had been able to finally find some time to spare on me. I was saddened that she seemed to have completely forgotten the intimacy we had shared on the island.

At the marina, Mike Bohannon, the manager, met me.

"Steve," he said, "good to see you again. Come into the office."

"I'm supposed to meet Helen Grant here," I said.

"I know," said Mike. "She'll be here in about twenty minutes. She asked me to apologize for the delay."

"OK, thanks," I said, then asked Mike a question that I'd wanted to ask for a while, but hadn't dared. "Mike, is the Helena still for sale."

"Sorry, Steve, I sold her last week. The new owner is coming down later this afternoon."

I was disappointed by his news, at the same time chiding myself for even entertaining the ridiculous notion that there was some way I could have afforded the Helena. I shrugged philosophically. "Do you know if they want a skipper, Mike?"

"I have no idea," said Mike." He looked at me. "Do you want another look, just in case you never see her again?"

"I dunno, Mike. I might cry," I said ruefully.

"Come on, a beautiful boat is always worth looking at," he urged, and not having anything better I needed to do while I waited for Helen, I agreed.

The Helena is indeed beautiful and I reflected that it would be wonderful to own something like her, but realized that it could never be. Mike and I were below when he glanced out through the port.

"I think that's Mrs. Grant just arrived. I'll send her along. You wait here, Steve." He smiled. "Privacy."

We went on deck and Mike hurried off along the dock while I gloomed moodily at the Helena. Soft footfalls broke my reverie. Helen. She smiled hesitantly.

"Hi, Steve, sorry if I seem to have been avoiding you, but I've been rather busy."

"It's OK, Helen." I smiled ruefully at her. "Maybe I read more into things than I should."

"You didn't," Helen said so quietly I almost missed it. She smiled at me while my heart began to beat again. "I've reorganized the company. I'm trying to give myself more free time," said Helen. "Jack takes over as Executive Vice-President, and Ben Sheldon moves up."

"Jack's still with the company?" I asked, surprised.

"Yes," said Helen, "We're still friends. He has some good ideas to increase profitability. Said he wanted me to have them even though we were getting divorced. I told him he had a year to prove the ideas himself."

Helen was quiet for a moment, then smiled and indicated the lovely vessel beside us. "This is the one you would have liked, isn't it?"

"You know it is, we talked about it enough on the island." When we weren't making love, I thought.

"Will you show me around, Steve, please. Mike Bohannon says it's okay."

I smiled ruefully. This was going to hurt. "This way then."

I surprised myself and enjoyed it, showing Helen over the Helena. I might still be able to sail her, if the owner needed a skipper. Sixty-five feet long, the Helena was quite a lot newer than the Nora, with the captain's quarters aft, day room and bedroom, a spacious cockpit with every conceivable electronic aid, all major lines easy to access. The main cabin was spacious, the galley compact but functional, stainless steel everywhere. Forward, there were two guest cabins. Altogether there was room for six paying guests in comparative luxury.

We had finished the tour and we were standing in the captain's cabin. Helen smiled at me. "I see why you would want her, Steve, she's beautiful. Would you have taken me with you?" she asked teasingly.

"You know that I would like that more than anything else," I said. I reached out to her and brought her into the circle of my arms. She leaned back, a half smile on her face.

"The bunk looks comfortable, Steve," she whispered. "Can we try it?"

I pulled her close to me and lowered my lips to hers. The kiss was heated, urgent, dispelling the frustration I had felt with Helen being so busy. She seemed as eager as I was myself to renew our love. Her arms were around my neck and I brought my hands up and cupped her breasts through her blouse. Without breaking the kiss she put my hands to the buttons, and I hurriedly unfastened them, then flicked open the front fastening of her bra. Her nipples were rigid points of heat to my fingers. She loosened her arms from around my neck and hurriedly shrugged her blouse and bra from her arms. Naked to the waist she came back into my arms.

Helen is not massively endowed in the breast department, but her twin lovelies are beautifully shaped, with sensitive nipples in deep pink areolae. I kissed each one lingeringly, and Helen clutched my head to her, a gasp in her throat.

I unzipped her skirt and slid it down her legs, kissing my way from her breasts to her belly. Lingeringly, I eased her panties down the curving length of her beautiful legs. She stepped out of the pile of clothes, and I picked her up and laid her on the bunk, bending to kiss her breasts again. She shuddered, and then smiled, her eyes smoky. She reached out her hand to me and lay back, spreading her legs.

"Hurry, Steve," she moaned, "I want you."

I threw off my clothes, almost ruining my shirt in my eagerness, then knelt between her spread legs, my prick rigid. Her labia were swollen with her desire and her clitoris was just beginning to peep from its hood. Moisture was visible in her cleft and as I lined up my prick and pressed gently forward I sank straight into the welcoming clutch of her soaking pussy.

She gasped as I bottomed and I pulled back and thrust gently a few times to spread her lubrication, then sank myself to my root in her again. Helen's hands clutched at me convulsively as her pussy clenched about my prick. She was so wonderfully warm and tight and wet around me that I lost myself in the sensation for a moment, then began to thrust gently but firmly, starting us on the slow climb to ecstasy.

Helen sighed a half-moan as she felt me moving. Our eyes met and she blew me a kiss then gasped again as my thrust went deep. Her knees came up, urging me deeper, and her feet clasped me to her. I was using the full length of my prick, easing up until I almost left her, then sinking back, deep, deep, deeper into the liquid heat and slither of her.

We were both eager, both on a high of anticipation and it couldn't - wouldn't - last. Helen's breathing began to quicken, her hands fluttered over my back and she began almost to gasp in time with my thrusts. Her wordless uttering triggered some deep subliminal response buried deep in the male psyche and I began to feel that gut-deep stirring, that tightening, that presages the male climax and my thrusts became harder, the animal in me surfacing.

My hands were under Helen, fingers hooked over her shoulders, holding her to me so that my thrusts would not move her bodily, but she was slamming her hips into mine as I thrust and the moment was taking us. My balls were tightening, my prick was reaching that stage of hyper-sensitivity that goes before climax. I opened my mouth to say something, anything, but Helen's nails dug into my back and her pussy clamped down on my prick as she came, screaming tightly in my ear as she felt me erupt within her.

I collapsed across Helen, our sweat-slick bodies slithering together, hearts pounding in unison, then eased my prick from the wetness of her pussy and flopped to my back beside her. I took her hand and raised it to kiss her fingers. She leaned across and kissed me.

"I love you, Steve," she said quietly, solemnly.

I squeezed her fingers. "I love you too, Helen." I smiled at her. "Will you marry me?"

"Yes, my darling, just as soon as the divorce is final."

I kissed her lovingly, then laughed.

"What is it?" she asked, smiling.

"We don't even know whose bed we just made love in," I said.

Helen's smile broadened. "I know," she said.

"You do? You know who owns the Helena now?"

Helen nodded. "Yes," she said, her eyes sparkling.

"Well, tell me, woman, who?" I said, exasperated.

Her smile changed, a deep joy in her eyes, warming me, lighting my life and I think I guessed before she spoke.

"We do," she said.

* * * * *

That's the end, folks, for those of you that made it this far! If you enjoyed it, I'd love to hear from you. If you didn't enjoy it, I'd still love to hear from you, as constructive criticism can only help me improve


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