It looks like our favorite bad boy is up to no good again. This time though, he’s in way over his head. So to speak. Just read on and you’ll see what I mean.
Newcomers remember that copyright law is in force. My Blue Devil Monster does not like to see his story published anywhere else!
Much gratitude and best regards,
A whole new road for Arlan.
The chartered fishing boat was all ready, and Matt Peller, the captain, stood in front of his crew and welcomed the high-rolling and (very) high-paying passengers aboard.
“Good morning!” Matt’s weathered face belied the fact that he was only in his early 40s.
Arlan grunted, “It’s barely that! Shit it’s what? 3? Are you sure we needed to get going this early?”
Matt smiled. He knew Arlan from way back. Before the country singer was known to more than the usual crowd at Honkytonk Heaven in a Tennessee town so small even he had trouble finding it, and he was born there. “Absolutely! We’ve got everything ready for you. We can have you to the big fish in about an hour.”
Matt laughed. “As always. And it stands up to a spoon every time “
“Good. Need it.”
Arlan Truss was never totally happy about going fishing. He owned a boat or two, or three he couldn’t really keep count, but they were more for his friends and family to use than anything else. He might’ve named one of them, he couldn’t be sure, but that was as far as the interest went.
Today was one of those exceptional ones. Arlan had, of course what else?, met a new woman. She was nice. Actually, honestly, n-i-c-e. After several wild and goddamned dangerous weekends with Cat, Arlan needed someone safe, sweet and interested in him for more than his money. But, hell, he had so freakin’ much of the green stuff how could he ever really be sure of that?
Nina climbed aboard and introduced herself to Matt and his crew. She was tall, slender-curvy just the way he liked his women, had a mass of dark hair and a bright smile. Pretty and nice, she left the entire crew scratching their heads at how she could possibly be interested in a man with Arlan’s nasty reputation. But, miraculously enough, she was that.
“Arlan?” Nina rounded the corner into their massive cabin suite. “In here?”
He smiled at her. Couldn’t help it actually. Somehow this woman touched his heart, which was amazing in itself as he was normally only interested in being touched everywhere else but there. “Come right in, darlin’.”
“I’m so glad you asked me to go fishing! I’ve always loved going with my dad and brothers! You just spoil me rotten, don’t you?” Nina’s green eyes twinkled playfully.
Arlan pulled her close to him, kissing her on the top of her head, thinking God, am I actually doing shit like that now? “I love to spoil you, Nina. It’s becoming my own favorite pastime.” The words came out all on their own. Scary. He said the mushy stuff without even thinking about it first. And the terrifying part was that he did not have an ulterior motive. Nina wasn’t rich. She didn’t have a brother who directed Hollywood A-list movies. No connections in the music business. She was a writer. Yoga books. Yoga!
Nina felt Arlan taking something out of his pocket. “This is for you, honey.” It was a long, bright blue box with a dark blue bow on it.
“Arlan! You just gave me earrings!” Nina pushed her hair back. “See? I’m wearing them!”
Arlan touched the blue topaz and diamond earrings, then ran a hand down her cheek. “They’re lonely. They need family.”
Nina opened the box to find a gorgeous necklace with a large blue topaz and diamond pendant suspended from a cut gold chain. It was not subtly expensive. It was in-your-face ostentatious. It was never anything she would choose on her own, or be able to afford for that matter, but Nina was so deeply in love with this man she couldn’t help but feel the same way about whatever he gave to her. “Oh! I have never seen anything prettier in my life!” She turned around to allow Arlan to fasten the chain.
Hugging her from behind, Arlan whispered into her soft, dark hair, “I have.”
He never did learn to swim.
Two days later, both Arlan and Nina were dining on the day’s fresh catch, when Matt knocked on their dining room door and entered. “Sorry to interrupt. I just got a weather update and it’s not good. There’s a big wave headed for us. You need to go to your cabin and brace yourselves.”
“Big wave?” Arlan had already finished off a bottle of wine and was in the process of opening another. “How big?”
Matt looked at Nina, then back to Arlan. “Let’s talk out on deck.”
“You don’t have to do that. My dad is a commercial fisherman. I know what’s what on the water. I may be able to help.”
Once again, Matt Peller was impressed by this woman. She made eye contact and didn’t flinch. He smiled. “OK. This is a bona-fide tsunami. And it’s looking like we may take a direct hit if we don’t get real lucky.”
“Huh? How the hell can that be? We looked at the weather reports weeks ahead……”
Matt interrupted Arlan. “Things can change out here at the drop of a hat. Tsunamis can be caused by things that can’t always be predicted. My crew is top notch. If any fishermen can get through this in one piece, we can.”
Arlan glanced at Nina. She didn’t bat an eye. “What do you need us to do?”
An hour later the charter boat was in trouble. Matt and his men managed to navigate around the full force of the tsunami, but, even on the outskirts of it, they were in danger of being swamped.
“If we don’t make it,” Nina began, holding onto Arlan very tightly, “I want you to know that I have loved you from the first moment that I saw you. That’ll never change.”
Arlan felt tears come to his eyes. She had to be that wonderful? Not now. Not like this! He pulled her closer. “Don’t you worry. We’ll make it. I know Matt from way back. He can handle whatever gets thrown at him.”
Not at all sure of that, not this time, Arlan looked at the incredibly brave woman in his arms. She was a lot of wonderful things. No, she’d never be Claire. But she was here and real and clearly loved him. God knows she shouldn’t but she did. “Nina.” Arlan cleared his throat, “when we get back to dry land I want you to do me the honor of becoming my wife.”