Enjoy this chapter - It moves quickly so buckle up kiddos.
- V.Di. 12/6/06
Glass bottles of drinks clinked together as Anna nearly dropped them onto the floor in the crowded kitchen. "That is the last box of alcohol I am carrying, Connor!" She screamed.
His voice carried from the dock he was walking on, "Fine, but you can't drink any then!"
Anna snorted as if the booze was an incentive, "I wasn't planning on it!" She retorted.
Connor scowled as he tromped down the angled dock section down onto the seashells and towards his car. He grabbed the last bag with one arm, "Well, looks like this is it – thanks for the ride, Dad."
His father nodded and looked at him, curtly saying, "Don't get arrested and don't ruin my boat." With his final words expressed, Mr. O'Hanley got into the suburban and drove away, leaving Connor behind him.
"Thanks." Connor sarcastically muttered to the air, "Love you too."
Rolling his eyes, he set off back down towards the dock and towards the boat, shutting the gate of the boat's stern closed so that the back of the boat now looked solid. He dropped the bag within a few feet of the stern's rest area and walked into the first floor area as Anna, three floors above her started the engines.
As his buddies, lounging on the couches, TV blaring with booze out on the table laughed, Connor grabbed a bottle of beer as they pulled out of the slip.
Anna cautiously navigated around the last channel marker and pulled the boat to the coast of the North east and officially onto the Atlantic ocean. She sighed with relief, so far- so good, and rolled another huge chart out onto the table behind her, leaving the station and controls.
She glanced behind her now and then, checking the readings of the control panels and turned away only when satisfied. Anna grumbled to herself, scrawling a number down on the pad of paper next to the chart and turned around to face the controls, unused to this degree of multitasking.
Adjusting the direction of the boat, Anna sat down in the captain's chair for a moment, glancing around the water, eyeing the distant shoreline as they hummed along the ocean. Connor came up as Anna was away from the station and scrawling more numbers, her nose scrunched in dissatisfaction as she angled her neck to better look at one of the chart numbers.
"What the hell are you doing?" He asked incredulously.
Anna looked up at him, but not before looking out at the water, "I'm doing the work you never gave me time to do."
"Okay..." Connor said slowly, "Then who the hell is steering the boat?"
"Me, Connor." Anna snapped, grabbing the pad of paper and read over it as she walked towards the captain's chair.
Connor watched as Anna seated herself in the Captain's seat, still scrunching her nose at the numbers, and not looking out at the water and he walked over briskly and grabbed the wheel, complaining, "You're already trying to kill me! The least you could do is wait a few days into the trip."
Anna rolled her eyes and slapped Connor's hands off of the wheel, sarcastically adding, "I'd at least wait until the Carolinas – god knows the weather would be a good enough alibi."
Eyes wide, Connor stared at Anna, "What?"
Anna smirked, "Nothing."
"You..." Connor began in irritation and then sighed walking away, "Why did I bother?"
"Because I'm the best." Anna called after him with a smirk, "Remember?"
Out in the hallway Connor marched towards the stairs, fists clenched as he cursed Anna, "Bitch."
Connor could not wait until they docked – there would actually be some fun girls around.
They had been docked for two days exactly as the fork in Anna's hand screeched against her breakfast plate, causing a highly undesired sound to echo about the room as Connor made another snide comment about his latest conquest. He looked over at her sardonically, "Do you have to make that noise?"
Anna sullenly asked Connor, "Do I have to hear about your sex-capades?"
"Anna," Connor sighed, "I'm paying you to charter the boat, not criticize me... so why don't you run along... check out the beach or something?"
Silently, Anna stood up fuming and walked over to the sink, threw her plate and utensils into it, and glared at Connor, her back turned to his friends, "Fine."
He immediately rolled his eyes and resumed the conversation like nothing had happened as Anna walked towards her room, settling for packing a large beach bag full of water, snacks and clothing.
When she returned later that night, the sun had long sense set; the boat was sporadically lit up on the inside. The kitchen light was on, of course, she thought, and a few lower portholes were lit, but the curtains had been drawn, and the upper deck had the deck lights lit and she was almost sure there were two people up there – doing what, Anna thought sarcastically, I don't want to know.
She glanced at her watch to check the time by tilting her wrist towards the light of the dock lamps – Almost eleven... Anna pursed her lips as she stood still on the dock, unsure of whether she should proceed into the boat... What if someone's making out – or worse? Her brow wrinkled, God, she sighed, that would be so awkward.
Anna took another deep breath to gather more resolve, but before she could set out towards the boat, a voice called out from behind her, "A little lost?"
She jumped and turned around, clutching her beach bag, "Not really..."
Her eyes widened, it was the young steward who she had secretly been hoping to run into again, "Oh." She laughed nervously, "Hi."
"Hey." He chuckled, "I didn't think you'd jump so high."
"I didn't jump." Anna argued and then paused, "...Did I?"
Josh, the steward, smiled at her and offered to take her bags, "Only a little," He nudged her with his arm as they walked slowly through the maze of docks to the boat, "But I won't tell anyone."
Anna rolled her eyes, "I guess then a thank you is-." They had reached the boat and as they stood at the stern most point, Anna mid-sentence, as a leggy girl emerged from the first floor, half clothed causing both Anna and Josh to stare in surprise.
Josh eyed and Anna turned to stare as the girl fumbled down the dock, "You saw that – right?" He asked her, staring back at Anna now.
Anna turned as the girl glanced back at her, "Yeah." She laughed, "Welcome to my life for the next week and a half."
Smiling, Josh tossed the bags over the water to Anna who was now standing on the boat, and she caught them as he offered, "Well, if you ever want to escape – I know all the secret spots to avoid stuffy tourists and half dressed girls."
Anna laughed, "I just make take you up on that offer."
Josh nodded and put his hands in his pocket so he wouldn't fidget. "I better be going back to the dock house... There might be drunken people falling down the gang plank."
Anna's smile grew, "They'll probably belong onboard here with me if that's the case... Have a good night, Josh." Anna said and then added shyly, "Thank you."
Josh nodded again and as he walked away, his grin grew.
Up above, Connor sat back away from the ledge of the upper deck and stood up; throwing back the sliding door and leaving it open as he stormed towards the stairs.
In what seemed like a record time, Connor was standing in front of Anna demanding, "Where were you? And what were you doing with the junior steward?"
"He was helping me with my bags, Connor." Anna retorted, "You know – his job."
Connor scowled, but refused to back down, "A part of his job, fine. But its not a part of his job to flirt with you for a half hour when you could be sleeping so you don't fall asleep on the way back!"
Anna paused, thinking about Connor's statement and then said slowly, "Connor." She stated making sure she had his full attention, "We have another week and a half here."
He opened his mouth to protest, but upon seeing she was in fact correct, he abruptly closed his mouth.
Anna smugly smiled and patted his chest as she walked by, "That's what I thought."
Connor jolted at the contact with Anna and turned to watch as she swiftly climbed the stairs and padded towards her room, leaving Connor flustered and annoyed with the night's events.
Anna never received an opportunity for a date with Josh, the young-junior steward. Connor had kept watch over her like an over-bearing brute, which, to his dismay detracted from his own time of "chick-hunting".
Satisfied that she had collected all of her mail from Mr. Carson, Anna set her two large bags down from the boat trip with relief – thank god it was all over.
Towards the end, Anna recalled as she opened her refrigerator and as usual found nothing edible and shut it, Connor had become completely unbearable. The thought of anymore contact with Connor became revolting to her, as she scowled; her stomach rumbling.
"Nice." She said to herself sarcastically, "I'm back for two hours and already I have to go grocery shopping...typical." She sighed and grabbed her car keys and wallet.
Anna had already run into four people eager to have a chat with her as she wheeled her carriage into the beginning of the market. She was debating over whether to get four or five bananas when she heard someone call her name.
"Anna, Anna dear!"
Anna turned around, searching for the person who was calling her name and was shocked to find that it was none other than Mrs. O'Hanley.
"Hello, Mrs. O'Hanley. How are you?"
"Oh dear, I'm just wonderful. I was meaning to call you sometime this week to thank you for helping Connor down to the Caymans... He's been itching to get away ever since he came back." She sighed wistfully as a mother would when discussing the absence of her children.
"Oh." Anna said awkwardly adding, "I guess most boys are at this age...you know, wanting to travel – a lot."
Mrs. O'Hanley nodded thoughtfully, "Yes...yes you are right, Anna... Well, I'll be sending along a gift package for your service..."
"Oh no, Mrs. O'Hanley – I couldn't." Anna said, her eyes widening.
She patted Anna's shoulder gently, "No, Anna. It's much more practical than that chicken scratch check you'll be getting from husband." She sighed, "His handwriting really is awful."
Anna laughed nervously, "Well I really should be going... I have a long list..." She waved her list around.
"Oh yes, yes... Well I've got some more to do in this section... I believe Michael is somewhere over by the bread... if you see him, do tell him I'll be in the deli line for Connor's lunch meat?"
Anna nodded dumbly, Mr. O'Hanley goes grocery shopping? That was something I didn't see happening... "I will, Mrs. O'Hanley." Anna agreed politely and then maneuvered her carriage quickly away.
The town was small, and therefore; the market was small – and fate had it in for Anna as she ran into Mr. O'Hanley, just as Mrs. O'Hanley predicted, by the breads.
"Oh hello, Anna! I'm surprised to see you out so soon after docking... I haven't even seen see Connor yet." He said politely.
Anna forced herself to smile, "Yes, I saw your wife back in produce – which by the way, she wanted me to tell you incase I ran into you that she's in the deli line."
He sighed, "Thank you... She frets over..." He trailed off and thought better of revealing such information, "Well, at any rate, I was hoping to speak to you about another chartering job."
Anna blinked, taken aback that she would have been approached about another job so soon after returning. "I... well, I've barely unpacked..." Anna began to explain.
Mr. O'Hanley held up his hand to stop her, "Of course, of course. It's too soon, today." He said, "I'll have Jeanie call you sometime this week, you can come over for dinner while we discuss the details."
"Oh." Anna stammered, "That's really very nice, but..."
He cut her off, raising his hand again, "No need to thank us, Jeanie loves to have kids around the house...besides we'll have a lot to work out, you'll be taking my twelve meter out to..."
"Michael! There you are! I've been looking all- Oh! You've found Anna, how wonderful!"
Anna suppressed a groan as Mrs. O'Hanley bustled towards them, maneuvering her filled carriage as only a mother could.
"Yes, Jeanie. Anna and I were just discussing dinner at the house sometime this week... doesn't that sound nice?" He said.
"Oh!" She brightened considerably, "That would be lovely! Connor will be pleased to have someone else there close to his age group too! Lord knows he talks about you enough...Well, anyways," She cut herself off, "Wednesday is best, I've set out a wonderful barbecue then."
"Oh." Anna nearly moaned, but managed to cover it up, "That's great. I'll be there."
"I'll call you with the times, sweetheart!" She called out as Mr. O'Hanley steered her towards the checkout.
Anna merely nodded, smiling until they rounded the aisle and disappeared from view. Only then did she sigh loudly, "What did I just get myself into?"
Wednesday came a whole lot sooner than Anna would have liked and as it neared five-thirty in the afternoon, the sun still high, Anna scowled. She'd have to get dressed for the dinner eventually.
She clipped the last branch from the from the front yard bushes and tossed it into the barrel behind her. She stepped back and saw they both looked even enough for now. Anna slid the clippers into the back of jeans and began dragging the heavy barrel around the side of the house with a hand. She was nearing her discrete compost pile when she heard a car come up the driveway and a door slam.
Anna sighed; at this point she didn't even have to turn around to know he was here. God, she swore to herself, did he have a tracking device on her or something?
"Anna." Connor said, sauntering down the yard in a bathing suit and old t-shirt, "My favorite person."
She wiped the sweat off of her forehead with her forearm and grabbed the barrel and struggled to heave it to the top of the tall compost pile. "This is getting a bit ridiculous, don't you think, Connor – I mean," She said through her clenched teeth as she pushed the barrel to keep it from falling, "I'm going to see you in like thirty minutes."
Connor rolled his eyes and grabbed the barrel, effortlessly dumping it and set it down. "I figured I'd make sure you weren't going to bail out on me last minute."
"Connor," Anna sighed, staring at him, "Don't get me wrong, I'd ditch you in heartbeat, but never your parents."
He glanced down at her cockily, as he brushed off her comment with a smile, "In that case I'll have to have my mother call you more often."
"I wouldn't put you past it." She said, walking away from the compost pile as she took off her work gloves.
Connor followed her, "Well, anyways," He said airily, "Now that I've made sure you aren't running away - I've got to go home and get ready..."
Anna looked at him, "Couldn't you have just called me, instead of driving over here?"
"Oh," Connor frowned sarcastically, "That wouldn't have been half as fun."
Anna made some sort of irritated noise and then took a deep breath – she should have expected such a stupid response, "How should I dress?"
Connor turned back around, surprised Anna had asked. He paused, to survey her, making Anna squirm slightly, "Yacht club." He said, "But more casual."
"Oh, super." Anna said cynically as she walked into her house through the back door, leaving Connor to walk around to his car and drive home.
Contrary to what most people thought of Anna if they saw her working around the yard looking like the ultimate tom-boy, she cleaned up very well.
Glancing at the clock, Anna put in her other silver star-fish like earring and slid into flip flops, her free hand grabbing her keys and ran out the door, hurrying down the road to Connor's house.
She mentally talked to herself as she walked down the road. Her outfit was fine – right? Nice white board shorts from J.Crew... she couldn't go wrong there...right? She adjusted her collared button up shirt and took several deep breaths as Connor's house came into view.
Anna noticed there were several cars in the driveway aside from the usual cluster of O'Hanley cars and she worried that Connor's friends would be there.
She knocked on the back door and was warmly greeted by Mrs. O'Hanley.
"Oh, Anna!" She hugged her, "Sweetheart, I'm so glad you're here!"
Anna hugged her back awkwardly, "Oh, thank you so much for inviting me, Mrs. O'Hanley."
"It was nothing, I'm just so glad to have another woman in the house." She admitted while steering Anna towards the kitchen, "Let's get you something to drink."
"Oh." Anna said, "Okay."
Mrs. O'Hanley began making conversation as the perfect housewife and mother she was, and Anna vaguely followed along, sipping from her homemade iced-tea.
Connor leaned over the railing that overlooked the kitchen and dinette area to better observe the situation without participating in it. He leaned away and walked back to his room, grabbing a t-shirt and pulling it on as he padded down the stairs, announcing loudly,
"Dinner ready yet, Mom?"
Mrs. O'Hanley slapped his hand away from the dessert tray she had set out. "Connor, say hello to Anna." She demanded and then said, "No. It is not – tell your father to start the grill."
"Hi Anna." Connor sighed and then said to his mother as he walked towards the porch, "The grill's been lit for twenty minutes, Mom."
Mrs. O'Hanley sighed, "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I thought you knew," Connor shrugged and then walked outside.
She shook her head and glanced around the kitchen, "Where did I put that tomato?"
Anna handed Mrs. O'Hanley the tomato, "Right here."
She tutted as if it was the most obvious thing in the world and then apologized, "I've just been so frazzled lately... I've been trying to redecorate the house for when we sell it... I haven't had the heart to tell Connor though – he hates change and loves the house..."
"When did you decide to move?" Anna asked, surprised.
"Oh, for sometime now that Connor's at school." She answered, scattering the tomato throughout the salad.
Anna picked up the tongs to toss the salad for Mrs. O'Hanley and she protested, "Oh no sweetheart," She said, "You're a guest you don't have to work, there's no need for you to work... I'm sorry I've kept you in the kitchen," She apologized, "Why don't you go outside with the others?"
Anna blanched, "Oh no, Mrs. O'Hanley," She said, eyes wide, "I'm more comfortable away from crowds..."
Mrs. O'Hanley smiled, and nodded, "If you insist, sweetie, I must say I do appreciate it."
Anna forced herself to smile back and tossed the salad, contributing rather minimal amounts of information to the conversation, extremely grateful for the relative solitude of the kitchen.
A short while later, Mrs. O'Hanley asked, "Could you just run this platter out? I think the wine has cooled enough for the cheese platter to come out."
Always eager to keep busy, Anna obliged and hurried through the hallways to the porch, carefully balancing the cheese platter. When she arrived out on the porch, a few people were strewn about in various white painted chairs overlooking the bay, some laughing quietly, others simply chatting about the previous night's regatta.
Mr. O'Hanley, ever the observant one called her over. "There you are, Anna! I was just talking about your navigational talents."
Connor stared at her avidly as she smiled politely, "Well I still have a lot to learn."
"Well said, Anna." He smiled back, "I'm sure Connor could learn a lot from you, seeing you charter so well."
"Yes," Peter Matheson, an older man who had lived in the town his whole life and sailed avidly said, "From the sounds of it, we sure could have used you last night at the regatta!"
Anna blushed, unused to such complements. Connor interrupted the conversation before anymore attention could fall on Anna, "I'm going to put the ribs and burgers on," He said, "You know, so we can eat before the sunsets."
Sighing, as such a snide comment was typical of Connor; Anna stared down at the floor as Mr. O'Hanley glared at his son for such a scathing remark in front of the guests. "Perhaps that's all for the best."
Connor glared back steadily and turned back towards the house. Anna politely excused herself, "I promised I'd help out with one or two more things, but don't worry," She assured them with a smile, "I'll be back out."
Connor hadn't gotten that far through the house and Anna quickly caught up to him, breathlessly asking, "Why do you do things like that?"
He stopped, causing Anna to run into him, "Do what?" He snapped.
Anna abruptly stepped back; surprised at Connor's angry reaction. She was glad that they were in the den and away from both his mother and the guests back out on the porch, for when she explained, Connor became more annoyed, "Say things to annoy your dad – you know it'll make him angry."
"Don't try to understand things around here, Ferland," He threatened, "Because it's just none of your business." With that, he turned around and stormed out a side door to the grill.
Anna sighed and walked back into the kitchen, "Connor said he was going to start the meat..."
"Oh, I've just unwrapped it – what wonderful timing." She said airily as she took off her apron, "I suppose now I can go out and relax for a bit."
"Absolutely," Anna smiled, "You certainly deserve it, Mrs. O'Hanley."
Mrs. O'Hanley beamed, "Why don't you come out with us?"
"Oh," Anna paused, thinking of an excuse and quickly found one, "I promised Connor I'd help with the grilling."
"Very well," She smiled softly and grabbed her glass of white wine and headed through the house towards the porch.
Anna looked down at the meat on the huge platter and picked it up with a scowl, she'd like to throw Connor onto the grill. She walked through the side door and ignored Connor's rather overwhelming presence as she set the platter down on the table next to the open flames.
"I was only trying to help." She softly explained.
Connor picked up the meat and methodically placed them into rows. After a while he sighed, "I know." He glanced at her, "I'm sorry."
Anna sat down on one of the stools in front of the grill and watched the flames dance in-between various pieces of their dinner – maybe the night wouldn't be so bad after all.
review. por favor.