I usually write about supernatural stuff or mystery/thrillers. Windhaven might have some thrills but no mystery and no vampires or trips to hell (see my other books.) It’s a survival adventure that could happen any day now.
But, What If? this story took place in space. A race around the solar system. Winner takes an asteroid with valuable minerals. What If? something went wrong and you couldn’t swing around Pluto (come on, it’s a planet) and you headed out to empty space and nobody knew where you were or that you were missing. How do you get back?
What If? you won the race and found an alien lived inside who didn’t want to give it up. But maybe it welcomed visitors and had something more valuable to give, if it didn’t eat you.
What If?, to get a bit supernatural, the race was across a desert and you found a cave in a moving dune and you had no choice but to go in out of a major sandstorm and you found…?
I’m not doing official chapters every post, just whenever. The numbers are to keep it all in order, for you and me. Comments and suggestions are always welcome as long as you know that I may or may not follow them. Anyway…….
The woman had a nice smile, a little shy, a little come hither. Noah turned away. He didn’t need to be thinking what he was thinking. Tomorrow he was leaving for six months, give or take.
Jubby set a beer down in front of her. “Linda, haven’t seen you in awhile. Long day in the third grade?”
“Always.” She took a long slug of beer. “Just need a beer or two and and some good jazz tonight.”
“I have both. The guys start in nine.” He threw a nod at Noah. “Meanwhile talk to Noah, there. He’s sailing around the world tomorrow. Probably won’t see a woman for six months.”
“Jubba, she didn’t come here to talk with me. Sounds like all she wants is beer and jazz. That’s enough for both of us. No offense.” There was that smile again.
“None taken. Around the world in six months? That’s pretty fast, isn’t it?”
Noah sipped his beer to give himself time to get whatever was happening to him together. Maybe a little conversation wouldn’t hurt. “I hope so,” he said, clearing his throat. “I’ll be on a seventy foot full on ocean racing sailboat. No stops, balls out all the way.”
“Sounds like an adventure.”
He stared at her well worn sneaker clad feet. Blew out a breath as if deflating himself. “To tell the truth I’ve barely had time to just sit and take in the whole thing. I just found out yesterday, I’m leaving tomorrow, two days later we’re gone.” Eyes wide he shrugged- what’re you gonna do?
Linda turned on her stool. “I did some sailing, just around here, Catalina, up to LA with my uncle when I was a young girl.”
“A young girl. That was what, yesterday?”
She laughed. A good laugh, self depreciating, real. “A lot of yesterdays. Teaching third grade ages you twice as fast as normal.”
“Yeah, I remember third grade.”
The band, a young group quartet, piano, bass, drums and a female guitar player, mounted the small stage. The audience grew quickly forcing Noah to move next to Linda, which he didn’t mind. Linda didn’t seem to mind either.
Knee to knee she asked, “So tell me about this race.”
He didn’t know much, but it seemed like three rich guys with big, fast boats wanted to do a long race. Length of the race got a little out of hand, so the next Sunday seven boats fifty-five to seventy feet were leaving Providence, Rhode Island to sail around the world. First one back won seven thousand dollars, the entrance fee, they were rich it wasn’t about the money, and a knock off America’s Cup trophy. The race wasn’t officially sanctioned, but they did have a command center they had to report to, supposedly every week.
The quartet began to play. The opening number had their feet tapping and heads bobbing. More jazz lovers entered, slowly forcing them closer. She smelled good. How long had it been? Oh man, don’t start thinking about it – her. In six months she’d have forgotten all about him. The same for him, probably. He rested his arm on her seatback. She knew it was there, but didn’t seem to mind. The next tune was Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage. He closed his eyes to listen, that tune always got to him. Somehow his hand rested on her shoulder. She leaned into it.
When the tune finished Linda turned to him, their faces inches apart. There was that wry smile bordering on snarky, eyes green as shallow tropical water. “Maiden Voyage,” she said, her voice a bit rough. “That’s you, tomorrow.”
“Yeah.” What else could he do but kiss her. Christ, so soft and warm. For a moment he jumped back to his first real kiss at sixteen with Carla Gramm, the girl he was going to spend the rest of his life with. It didn’t happen but those three months were real zingers. They parted, three inches, no more. She touched a finger to his cheek and kissed him a kiss that lasted until morning.