Chapter 8

When Nick awoke in the morning, he couldn't believe he was in bed next to a beautiful naked woman wrapped around him as if they had been together for the past thirty years.

He kissed her on the forehead and Zoey opened her eyes and smiled. "Good morning, Sailor."

"Hi, Zoey."

"I guess it's really goodbye Zoey though, isn't it?" She asked with sorrow.

He put his finger on her nose and smiled sadly. "I guess so."

"I don't suppose you find your way out to Montana much."

"My daughter is in Colorado."

"I have a cousin in Boston."

He nodded. "That's good."

Zoey rolled out of the bed and Nick admired her lovely backside as she went into the bathroom. Zoey returned a few moments later, still naked, and she jumped onto the bed to kiss him

"I'm glad I'm back in the saddle again," she smiled. "But you'd better get dressed and get out of here before my parents come snooping. We're supposed to have breakfast downstairs and then head on out for Pensacola."

"Maybe I'll see you there before you leave," he said hopefully.

"Yeah, but you won't be able to kiss me like this if you do," she giggled as she gave him a wild kiss and tongued him while pulling on his dick.

Nick rubbed her breast affectionately for a few moments before they both broke from the embrace and Nick reluctantly got dressed while Zoey found her robe on the floor and slipped it over her torso.

Nick gave her another farewell kiss before leaving the room and returning to his.

Sparks was awake and packing his bag for the trip home. "I'm not even going to ask," he stated when he saw Nick come in half dressed.

"Good," Nick replied.

Nick showered, dressed, and packed and then went down to the lobby. Saying goodbye was a lot harder and less fun than saying hello and there were many sad farewells on Saturday night and now again on Sunday morning over breakfast and at the front desk check out as various shipmates prepared to head home.

Nick stepped into the lounge where some of the folks were having breakfast, including the James Family among others. Zoey gave Nick a wave and a smile.

Nick walked the James to the front lobby when they were done with their breakfast and Zoey gave him a farewell hug after he shook Buzz's hand.

"So long, Sailor," Zoey said bravely, kissing him on the cheek.

"Goodbye, Zoey," Nick sighed, stroking her hair and giving her a hug before watching her help her parents to the front door of the lobby.

He said goodbye to other folks departing while waiting for Sparks, Lapointe, and Gwayne to do the same and then they hit the road north and the reunion was officially over.

Sparks drove to start. It was noon and if they were lucky they'd be home by six the next morning. They talked about the reunion with Sparks giving his play by play opinion on everybody and everything that happened.

Gwayne grew tired of Sparks' endless drabble so he found some NFL games on the satellite radio and that kept the conversation limited.

Sparks and Lapointe weren't big football fans so Gwayne took over driving duties and Nick took the front passenger's seat while Sparks and Lapointe sat in the back shooting the shit with occasional input from Gwayne and Nick although they were more interested in the games.

They were almost through South Carolina when it started getting dark and Gwayne asked if anybody was interested in stopping for dinner.

"We could just stop at the McDonalds take-out to save time," Nick suggested and Gwayne looked at him, horrified.

"McDonalds?" He asked with disgust. "Are you nuts?"

Nick shrugged. "Maryanne and I used to go there a lot together."

It was the first time anybody had heard Nick mention his dead daughter's name out loud.

Gwayne steered the car off the highway and the next exit and he drove the car into the McDonalds lot. "For Maryanne," he remarked as they climbed out of the car.

It was mellow when they got back on the highway, Nick driving this time as the football played on the radio and some quiet mellow conversation continued with more observations and remarks about the reunion.

They were making good time until they hit northern Virginia around midnight and ran into miles of rubbernecking and back up due to road construction.

Lapointe took over driving duties and Gwayne was cat napping in the front seat as they drove through the night.

"So, did you bed Buzz' kid, Nick?" Sparks asked after several miles of silence, the last football game long over.

Nick didn't respond to the question.

"I'll take that as a yes," Sparks replied.

"Good for you," Lapointe spoke up.

They reached the exit for Gwayne's house at around four in the morning.

"You know, the three of you guys were all rescue swimmers in the Navy," Nick remarked as they headed for Gwayne's house. "But this trip might have been your best rescue yet."

"You talking about you, Nick?" Gwayne asked.

"Yeah, I think I've been saved this weekend," Nick replied.

"You mean you found God?" Lapointe asked.

"I mean I finally started living my life again," Nick revealed.

"Well, you deserve it, Nick," Sparks said. "The one thing I realized from almost dying that it is okay to live."

"Yeah, it is," Nick agreed.

"So, you did fuck her!" Gwayne laughed and Nick couldn't help but smirk too.

They dumped Gwayne off in front of his sleeping house in the dark neighborhood, shaking hands before taking leaks on the side of the garage and then piling back into the SUV for the final three hours to Lapointe's house. Lapointe was still driving and it started to rain somewhere in New York.

"Hell, it rained when we left and now it's raining when we get back," Sparks observed.

Nick dozed in the back seat by himself while Lapointe and Sparks continued with their usual irrelevant mindless banter in the front seat for the last leg of the journey.

Nick thought about his future and what he wanted to do with his life. He knew it wasn't cleaning offices at midnight.

Lapointe pulled the SUV into the driveway at a little after six thirty in the morning, in the rainy dawn. The three shipmates shook hands and Nick tossed his bag into his car and drove off to resume his life.

Valarie was waiting for him when Nick drove his car into his sister's driveway.

"Well, how'd it go?" She asked her brother as she followed him into his mother in law apartment.

"I was rescued," Nick The Klick replied with a smile.

Valerie gave her brother a hug before leaving. His cell beeped and he saw that it was a text for Zoey.

"Miss you too," Nick typed in response.