Hot Crossings -1- The Start -2- The Ferry

Charlie always had to do everything his way.

~HOT~
~CROSSINGS~


THE START


By: Rebecca Anne Stewart.

With special thanks to Christy Lake & Misty Dawn




Becky had several paper shopping bags open on the bed. Between crying bouts, she'd been sorting and loading Charlie's clothing into the bags. Her stuff, what little she was taking with her, had already been packed except for what she would wear tomorrow morning. The bags on the left would go to either recycle or garbage. Just next to them, actually several bags, would go to the church for the next charity sale or be sent to the Salvation Army Store or the Community Family Centre. The next two bags would probably need to be repacked into a box or suitcase. One had some walking shoes, a couple of comfortable sweatshirts, and a few tee shirts. The second had some slacks, a couple of dress shirts, an old favourite sweater, and a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows. These she could wear after she moved to Vancouver, so she could be near the Hospital for the treatments. The last bags contained a few masculine knick-knacks that she would offer to her brother or nephews.

News from the hospital had been mixed. The cancer which had been in remission had changed and was now spreading rapidly. The oncologist said that this type, based on the C T Scan and the blood work, was very responsive to complete eradication with Standard Chemo and Radiation Treatments. He would be more certain when the detailed biopsy results were in next week. Nonetheless, he wanted her in treatment tomorrow afternoon.

Taking the ferry from her comfortable home to the hospital and back was out of the question. She had been through Chemo before. Though ungodly expensive, she had found a large studio apartment "over there". If she was feeling good, it was within walking distance of the hospital. If she was not feeling good, well, the bus ran on a cross street only a block and a half away.

Why had it taken almost forty years for Charlie to get his act together in this world? He'd known, and his mother had known, when he was very young, that he was really a girl pretending to be a boy. Pain and anger run thru her head just then as she suddenly remembered disturbing times during her formative years.

While Rebecca finished packing up the remainders of Charlie's life, she spied an old key chain that had been around for many years. Carefully fingering the fob, as if it possessed some magical power, she smiled remembering from where the token had come. It had been Charlie's first time. Sitting down, a smile coming to her face, she remembered that wondrous, rainy afternoon so very long ago.

It was during the fall...tender Charlie's twelfth year...that he had been invited up to the bedroom of one of his friends. Nancy, yes that was her name, she and Charlie had played a host of childhood games, including house, and doctor, for many years, and she had certainly known how easy it was to persuade Charlie to dress, even in the frilliest of little girl fashions.

Using the pretext, "Charlie, your clothes are soaked from the rain," she had gotten him to remove them and had then advised him she would find something dry for him to wear. The lad had rather reluctantly stripped out of his clothes and been given a pair of soft white cotton panties to replace his damp briefs. Giggling away his expected, but rather weak protests, Nancy had quickly positioned a beginner's bra over her nervous boyfriend's small, flat chest. And then she had quickly reassured him that he was going to be perfect. A white gym sock, folded over and pressed into an almost flat cone had filled and formed the small double "A" cups perfectly.

After the bra had been placed, some serious, very girlish, giggling ensued, a lot of it from Charlie as well, but there had been no further protest. Handing him a white cotton bird's eye lace trimmed slip, Nancy then quickly picked up the drenched boy-garments. And as she'd lifted Charlie's pants, his house key had fallen on the bedroom floor. She had scooped up the key, and held it up in front of the boys face and asked, "Do you ever lose this thing...? There is no chain or anything attached to it. How do you ever hold on to it?"

"I lose them all the time, that's why it's only just the one key. That way, when I loose it, all I've lost is one key," Charlie explained.

With an "a light bulb flashing overhead expression" Nancy suddenly remembered the key chain that she had gotten from one of her cousins on her birthday last year. Dropping the wet clothes she had gone quickly to her jewellery box, and begun rummaging thru it for the item she had in mind. She had never used it. Nancy found the simple gold coloured maple leaf attached to a short chain and presented it to the forgetful boy.

"Here, just knowing how forgetful you can be." She giggled and attached the key to the Maple Leaf fob. "Now, maybe you won't be losing your house key anymore."

Charlie thanked her for the gift with a quick peck to her cheek, and once again scooping up her bundle, with the feel of the kiss still warm on her cheek, she rushed down to the basement and hung his clothes up to dry in the furnace room. "So it would seem that he is interested in me after all." Nancy quickly deduced.

When she returned and discovered the half-dressed lad was admiring the sight of the "lassie" reflected by her mirror, she had nodded and grinned wickedly, as if making up her mind to do something she had not long been considering. Quickly sitting Charlie down at her vanity, she'd proceeded to performing a miracle with her meagre supply of cosmetics, powder, and paint, ending up doing his lips with lip rouge she had used only once. And then, for the first time wishing she was not quite so the tomboy and owned a complete makeup kit, Nancy carefully dabbed a tiny bit of the lip rouge on each of her boyfriend's delicately-formed cheeks and rubbing it in, created a girlfriend with high cheekbones and a pretty blush.

Charlie had sat a moment and stared at the sight in the mirror, and memories of his early years, of playing "dress up" with his mother in her bedroom had flooded his mind. Nancy had broken the trance by telling him to stand up and put his arms over his head, which he'd done without hesitation. The slight, flowery scent of the dress as it slid past his nose was intoxicating, and Charlie, being very much the young adolescent, had mutely displayed his sensual pleasure in that most distinctive-of-the-male manner.

Of course, his soon-to-be lover had noticed the interesting tent-bulge in the front of Charlie's panties and began sneak furtive caresses of it, while pretending to adjust the front of the dress. This had greatly added to Charlie's delightful distress. Somewhere between the straightening of the hem and crinolines that came affixed inside the waist of the positively feminine dress, their lips had met for that so-nervous first time kiss.

Nancy, a whole year older than Charlie, and "just a bit" more experienced in these matters, had quickly become the aggressor and had then directed him to her bed, where she had backed him into the edge of the mattress and pushed gently. With a surprised, but feminine little laugh, Charlie had fallen flat on his back. The delectable temptress had continued her delightful attack and soon, accompanied by playful tussling, wiggling and tickling, had his delectable boy parts fully exposed. In very short order the young rogue had been introduced to, and was thoroughly experiencing the joy of a female's more intimate kiss. Being a whole twelve years old he had reached his peak very early in the game.

Not to be outdone by her youthful gallant, Nancy had quickly changed positions and was very shortly instructing him on how a woman wishes a man to begin making love to her. Telling him in a throaty voice to be slow and gentle, she'd directed his avid kisses to her breasts and stomach. She showed him how to excite and stimulate a girl with a mere caress by placing her hand over the back of his and then delightfully directing the eager appendage to the various, most-sensitive, parts of her own budding body.

Charlie, youthful rogue that he was, had quickly recovered from his first-ever orgasm, and had proved to her that he was ready for more. As eager as he, she had then very deliberately, knowingly directed his erection to her special place. Again she had instructed her lad-in-lass' clothing in the correct procedure for giving a woman the ultimate pleasure, and being a very good student, the young degenerate, had soon proven to his youthful teacher he was quite capable of excelling in all his lessons.

Their teenage passion had soon regained its hold on them, and then, once again, for both of them, the whole earth moved. Long glorious moments later, as they had lain together resuming their normal breathing patterns, there was suddenly heard coming from outside the unmistakable sound of tires on wet gravel. This could only mean one thing...

"OH! MY GOD... MY PARENTS! THEY'RE HOME!"

A mad dash to clean up the mess had begun. Nancy had tossed Charlie her father's robe had told him, "Just remove all the girl's clothes!" and then, "Here, put this on!", and finally, "Don't forget to wipe off the rest of that make up," as she'd hurried downstairs and had quietly explain to her parents why there was a boy upstairs in her bedroom. The redeeming portion of this truth-within-lie had been the fact that Charlie's clothes had been hung up in the furnace room to dry.

Charlie had still gotten a withering "Death by Firing Squad" look from Nancy's mother as he'd waltzed past her clothed only in the purloined housecoat.

Still smiling, Rebecca looked fondly at the key chain, and decided that the treasure was just too precious to dispose of and slipped it into her handbag.



~THE FERRY~



Hot Crossings Part: # 2

By: Rebecca Anne Stewart


Four a.m. came too early as far as Becky was concerned. Slowly the realization that she had to get up at this ungodly hour sank in and spurred her sleepy little brain.

"Oh my god!" Throwing off the covers she snorted sternly, "Now, Becky! You have got to get moving! Jayne will be here in an hour and a half!" Then, suddenly, in almost frantic haste, the delicate blonde sat up on the side of the bed, "Now...where's my slippers...damn house coat...come on sleeve...co-operate...can't you tell I'm in a hurry...Oh, I hate Mondays!"

And then, rushing into bathroom, Rebecca decided she really didn't have time for the hot bath she had promised her self last night, and must be content with a shower instead. Slipping off her nightie, then quickly donning a plastic cap to protect her hair from getting wet, the naked beauty stepped into the steaming shower, saying for no particular reason aloud, "You'd better adjust the shower head to pulse today..." and then, as if answering as another person, agreed, "Yes, that'll wake me up in a hurry." The hot stream of riveting pressure caused her to wince slightly as her tender breasts were pummelled. "OW! Damn, that hurts!"

Quickly soaping the loufa, she scrubbed her trim, shapely body clean of yesterday's dirt with tangerine scented glycerine soap. With a soft appreciative smile, Becky deeply inhaled the delicate scent of oranges that escaped from the smooth bar filling her hands. It was several long moments of sensual pleasure passing before, she realized, she was in hurry!

Suddenly realizing her plight, turning off the shower with one hand, the delicious damsel quickly grabbed the bath sheet hanging just outside the door with the other. A quick gaze at the misty reflection in the mirror and Becky silently cursed her self for not turning on the fan before entering the shower. "Silly goose!"

With the drying process completed she sat upon the royal throne to do the morning business. Silently cursing the bit of soft, fleshy appendage still dangling, barely visible above the golden fleece adorning her nether regions, she smiled mirthlessly and wished that she was bionic, or better yet, part Borg, so she could simply detach what was left of "Willy" and flush him down the toilet like yesterdays quiche.

Reality set in again and she carefully wiped front to back, and then quickly donned the pretty, frills and lace satin panties she'd laid out the night before. Fumbling with hooks of the matching bra, she wondered, "Ghad, will I never get the hang of these things?".. Then aloud, "Why do these things always seemed to get twisted so only when you're in a hurry?" Glancing at the clock she was reminded of the time, "Ok fifty five minutes til Jayne gets here, and you still have to eat, put on your make up, do your hair." "Oh my God! Snippet! Mustn't forget Snippet! Oh, I'm gonna be late..."

Entering the bedroom, even in her fluttering rush, she noticed the deplorable state in which she'd left the room. The dim misty dawn's sheen streaming through the window gleamed from the panty and bra as she threw back the sheets and covers to quickly begin making her bed the way she had been taught many years ago. Perfect "military" corners, and although she didn't do it, she knew deep in her mind that she could've easily made that proverbial quarter bounce a good two inches high.

She then reached over and gave Emily, her cabbage patch doll, a kiss before carefully setting her in the middle of the pillows. Next she reached for Bernadette, her Teddy bear, and told her friend of many years, "I'm sorry I have to pack you in this case, but it's the only way. I just can't leave you behind." One more time her eyes traverse the room, again looking for anything out of place.

Satisfied that everything was perfect, as usual, sitting on the end of the vanity chair, Becky then wound on her matching frills and lace garter belt and cautiously rolled the new silk stockings onto her legs, long, sleek, shapely legs that she worked at to maintain. She loved the looks men wasted wanting to stroke them. She had bought the shiny silk stocking especially for today's trip. She enjoyed knowing that she still had enough of that indescribable "IT" to cause men to gaze at her with a bit of lust in their hearts.

Admiring herself in the mirror she noticed another dressing mistake. "How am I going to pee with my panties inside my garters?" Quickly fixing the mistake, she muttered to herself... "Should have got up at four o'clock." Still shaking her head over her noisy self-admonishment, she reached for the matching white satin and lace cammi, and slid it swiftly over her head. Becky smiled at the feel of the silky smooth soft satin as it slid past her smooth totally hairless cheeks. With a small quiver of anticipation, she whispered, "Next comes that that sexy new half-slip..." and only when it was settled in place felt she was ready to begin the breakfast ritual.

"No time for a fancy gourmet meal this morning! Looks like cheerios for today," she stated and reached for the box of cold cereal. Becky then rather reluctantly reached for the morning barrage of meds that kept her alive for another day. Downing them with water retrieved from the fridge, she sat down and quickly consumed her cereal.

Quietly concerned, she suddenly wondered where Snippet was. And called aloud, "Hey Snippet, where are you? Here kitty, kitty, kitty...Ahhh, there you are, you lazy good-for-thing...off you go...outside to do your thing." Turning away from the door, the sensual siren put her dish and spoon in the dishwasher and then, on second thought, felt it would be best to wash it right now, don't know when I'll be back.

Returning to her bedroom Becky again checked the time and proceeds thru to the ensuite, attached to her room. "Hope the steam has cleared by now... If not I'm going to have a heck of a time getting this hair to curl." Fortunately the mirror displayed an honest reflection of her "classy-lassie, if middle-aged self. Reaching for the curling iron she quickly plugged it in and waited for it to warm up. "Now, what am I to do with this mess?" she asked aloud, as she eyed herself in the mirror, and began applying powdered foundation.

Thanking the goddess above, that she had the good sense to have electrolysis when she was very young, she deftly applied the rest of her face. She smiled wanly at the sight of the crisp, business-like beauty beginning to take shape. "Not all that bad for an old doll," she muttered quietly to her self as she carefully applied eye make up to complete the picture.

Checking the curling iron, she decided that it was ready and started creating her trademark flip style. "Want to look stylish today, but very conservative."

Pleased with the result she quickly packed her make up away and laid it to rest in the case sitting on the floor beside the vanity. Remembering to unplug the curling iron, she rushed back to the bedroom and looking at the clock remarked. "Ghad! Only fifteen more minutes! Oh, heck, I might just make it yet." She carefully slid lissom hips into a Jones of New York skirt and drew closed the side zipper. Looking at the mirror she decided. "Damn! I should put on a girdle".

Quickly removing the skirt and slip, Becky opened a dresser drawer and retrieved the item. Quickly as possible, she wiggled, did her little dance, finally squeezed her so-luscious hips into the restrictive garment. Replacing the slip and skirt, she then reached for the jacket of her too-expensive "Power Suit". "God, I love this stuff" she chuckled aloud, twirling in front of the mirror.

"Now, all I need is a few accessories and I'm finished... OH CRAP! I forgot about the cat!" She rushed to the door to let Snippet back in and as "it" passed her she was awarded "that" look from the fixed feline which cats are famous for...You know the one... Gee, thanks Blondie! I was wondering when. If you were going to get around to remembering me!

"Okay, now what else do I need...let me see?" Becky then performed a sort of two-step jig... "Jeesh! That floor is cold this morning! Must be quite nippy out there today," she remarked. "SHOES!" she yelled. "No wonder my feet are so cold!" as she made the frantic dash back to her bedroom. "Note to self: These blonde moments are coming much too frequently these days!"

Slipping her small feet into coordinated pumps, Rebecca, as any other woman, paused as she passed the tall mirror on the wall, casually checking for any minor flaw that may have appeared in the last five minutes. Somehow I feel incomplete! Wandering back into the ensuite, she selected her cologne for the day. "Oh yes, Mark Jacobs newest one... that'll be perfect," she sprayed the air, and strolled into the cloud, letting it settle on her body. "Perfect."

Quickly dumping the fragrance into her "toolbox," as her daring-their-lives nephews called it, then she closed the lid, unwilling to leave a temptation for her ever-inquisitive feline pet. She remembered to close the bi-fold doors of her walk-in closet on the way by before shutting off the lights. Then she picked up the heavy suitcases, ready to go, by the bedroom door and lugged them to the front entrance. "God! What have you got in here, woman? Rocks?" she gasped. "Hummph! There's scarcely enough in them to properly maintain a woman for a week", she admonished that rarely heard inner self. Quickly glancing at the old school clock mounted on the wall above her antique Windsor Wingback settee, she smiled and said aloud, "Made it."

One last check around and I'm done. Clack-tapping her way into the kitchen she picked up her checklist a last time just to see if she might have missed anything.

Everything seemed perfect. From outside the window she heard the rustic sound of Jayne's Taurus, the 'Ramblin' Wreck' enter the driveway.

"Right on time," she remarked. A final check in the hall mirror revealed she had indeed forgotten something. "Lipstick!" she gasped. "No wonder I look incomplete!" Reaching for her purse, she moved to open the door for her little sister.

"Good morning Jayne, how are you this morning?" She managed without eating her lipstick.

"Wow look at you. What are you trying to do? Run for Prime Minister? That outfit is killer girl!" her sister remarked.

"Well, I wanted to make a good impression; first time and all, you know... let the Hospital staff know exactly what to expect right from square one," Becky replied.

"Girl, you will most certainly do that, and then some! All you need as a little document folder and you could pass for a corporate big wig with no problem a-tall!"

"Thanks sis, I needed that...but don't you think we should get going though, I'd hate to miss the ferry?"

"You're right there, Big Sis. Let's get this show on the road!"

"Jeesh, you sound just like the old man when you say that," Rebecca said.

"Oh, God forbid," Jayne snipped.

The car was quickly loaded and, with one more glance around the cottage, Becky sadly closed the door and locked it. While she was doing this she wondered if she would ever see her little place by the sea again. "We're being a bit morbid, aren't we?" Admonished an inner voice. Fighting back a tear she silently said bye to her home for over ten years and made her way to the vehicle. Sliding in, while being careful not to wrinkle her skirt, she instinctively reached for the seat belt and buckled it. The sound of it snapping shut accompanied a firm resolution not to think morbid, or negative thoughts again.

Jayne fired up the Ford Taurus wagon, and they were off.

"Now you won't forget to feed Snippet will you? And there are still a few roses left out in the garden, if you cut them now and put them in some water, they will open for you, so you can have some fresh flowers for the house."

"Yes, Mother," was the younger sister's reply.

"I've turned down the heat and shut off the water to the toilets, so if something happens you won't be faced with a catastrophe. There is lots of food for the Snippet, and...Oh yes...he likes the water out of the fridge, so you will have to remember to make some fresh stuff in the Brita from time to time."

Once again the, the younger of the two said, "Yes, Mother,"

The older sister very deliberately made a point of ignoring the sisterly sarcasm. Then, suddenly, Rebecca remembered something she may have forgotten, and reached for her purse. Opening it she found and withdrew the key chain that had been Charlie's so long ago. Smiling at a moment of resourcefulness she threaded her front door key onto the Maple leaf fob. With a sense of security, she held it in her hand and once again relaxed while she gazed out at the passing scenery.

Feeling the need to say something Rebecca remarked. "Fall is such a pretty time of the year out here isn't it? All the trees are turning a golden brown and vibrant red. It's a shame that in another few weeks the rains will be here and all of this will be but a memory."

"Sis?" Jayne hesitantly asked.

"Yes what is it pet?' Becky returned pensively.

"You're coming back right...?" I mean this isn't a one-way trip is it...? I couldn't stand the thought of losing you, not since it took so long to find you."

"Hey! Don't worry kiddo, I'm going to do everything I can to get back here, trust me, I'm not done for yet," she looked again at the younger girl, "...besides, I still have a few surprises planned for that mean, homophobic, bigot you're married to!"

Jayne smiled at her sister's last statement and remarked. "He can be a bit of a pain at times can't he? But, he treats me well most of the time, and he really is very good with the girls, so I really can't complain."

Confident that she'd taken Jayne's mind off of her own problems, Rebecca looked out her window and wondered to her self, " I just wish that I believed what I just told Jayne was true. The programme Melancholy Mundane Morbid Musings" will not open. Please remove disk from "C" drive, defrag, and reboot. End of Line" that tiny inner voice scolded again. Becky had to chuckle as the line from "Tron" flicked through her mind.

Soon they had cleared Victoria proper, and were accelerating north, towards the ferry terminal.

Once again feeling the weight of the silence, Jayne began a conversation.

"Sis, I worry about you. You live alone out there on that bluff... sure it's a pretty place over looking the ocean... but you are so remote out there. And now, with this cancer thing, well, I'm just worried that I won't see you again. Damn it! I can't help it, I love you, and Becky, and I'd really hate to loose you."

Fighting back the tears, this time because of her sister's feelings, Becky stated, "Look, Jayne, I'm not going to lie to you and tell you everything is rosy, that's not true. Yes, there is a chance that this time the cancer can't be stopped...but I don't, I can't, I won't, let that get to me. I refuse to give up, and if there is a way to fight this thing, you can bet your last dollar that I will be in there scratching and biting my way through this little setback. So, don't you worry, you just take care of my house and cat and I'll be back, just you wait and see!"

Noticing the tears on Jayne's cheeks, Rebecca continued "I'd give you a hug, if you weren't the pilot right now, but since you are, you better dry those eyes and concentrate on driving before we end up in the ditch."

Jayne's response was typical little sister. She turned her head and stuck out her tongue at her older sister. They both broke out in a fit of giggles and once again the atmosphere in the car returned to normal. Soon the lane for ferry walk-ons was in sight and the Taurus snaked its way to the drop-off zone. Placing the car in park, Jayne turned on the four way flashers and proceeded to join her sister already exiting the auto.

After unloading Becky's bags and placing them on one of the portable luggage racks, Becky turned to her sister and said, "Come here, and I'll give you that hug now." After what seemed only a few microseconds, the comforting hug had ended. It had actually lasted far longer than that by the looks that the other passengers were giving them.

"Damned lesbians," one man was heard to remark.

This brought the two sisters back to reality and Rebecca said, "Guess I better get going." The younger woman made a last, desperate, clutching grab at her older sibling's sleeve. "Here now, I'd hate to miss my boat now, after all the trouble you went through to get me here."

"Anytime sis, anytime.... and don't worry about your house or that sexless cat of yours. I'll make sure everything is looked after. Hell, I'm even going to make sure that Mike cuts your grass while you are gone."

Becky smarted back, "Now, that I would love to see... your husband actually doing me a favour! There'd be hope for humankind yet."

"Good bye, dear sister, and good luck."

"Thanks, Jayne, and take care of those cute little pixies of yours! I'll give you a call in a few days to let you know how everything is going."

"I love you, Rebecca," her sister sniffled.

"I love you too," was the older girl's sniffed reply. They finally broke their embrace, and Jayne watched her sister walk confidently away into the terminal to purchase round trip passage aboard the ferry.

The younger woman couldn't help saying a small prayer aloud, "Oh God, please take care of my sister, and let her return safe and sound!" She cleared her eyes, became suddenly aware of the sound of cars honking their horns at her.

"HEY LADY! You wanna move it?" an impatient driver yells.

Wiping her eyes of the latest crop of tears, Jayne silently drove away.

After checking her luggage with the purser, Becky boarded and found a seat well away from the hordes of tourists inhabiting these things. Looking about, she wondered, "Look at all the people...and it is the last of October, I can just imagine what this place would be like in the middle of summer?" Settled into her seat, she removed her pocket book from her shoulder bag and was soon immersed in her own little world. Becky quickly shut out the noise and bustle from the other travelers.

A few minutes after the boat slipped her moorings, her silence was invaded with, "Is that Ian Rankin's latest you are reading?"

Taken aback Becky responded rather sheepishly, "Yes it's called, "Beggars Banquet."

"I'm a big fan of his. How is it?"

"Pardon me?" was the stall, the still off balanced girl used as a polite reply.

"The book. How is it?"

"Oh," she continued, "I just started it, but so far it's pretty good." Though unusual, Rebecca had had to fend off her share of would-be swain.

"Oh, please excuse me for being so rude and ignorant. The name is Robert Arnold, but my friends call me Bob. I'm a computer systems designer from back east."

Rebecca smiled at the man and relaxed her guard slightly as he confidently introduced himself, and then she caught herself thinking, "Wow. Is this guy good looking or what?" The woman, incredibly, felt her insides melting. "He could be a movie star with those eyes."

She blushed at her own thoughts as she returned the infectious smile and offered a hand by way of greeting. She quickly stammered, "Rebecca... Rebecca Stewart. I'm pleased to meet you." And to her consternation, the minx within was indeed pleased to meet him.

Bob noticed Becky's blush and flashed his 1000-watt smile. "I don't normally invade beautiful ladies' privacy, but I saw you sitting there reading one of my favourite author's books," he indicated the forgotten book in her hand with the tip of his index finger, "and I just had to say hi and introduce myself."

"Oooh, Bob, you are a rogue, aren't you?" She thought.

Bob, determined, then asked, "Are you on your way to Vancouver on business?"

"Pardon me?" was again Becky's reply.

"You know on business?" His large hands moved to indicate the way she was dressed. "I thought that you were going there for business because of the way you are dressed"

Quickly searching for an answer she stated, "Yes, I have a few things to take care of in Vancouver."

"Do you mind if I sit down next to you? It's a long trip and, I don't really want to spend it looking down at you like some predator. I'd rather be sitting and talking to you face to face. That is if you are traveling alone."

"Oh, no, please...sit right here," she gushed and blushed, but removed her bag from the seat next to her. He declined the offer and sat across from her to make her feel less uncomfortable.

She smiled inwardly at the act and thought, "Hmmm, a gentleman to boot."

After only a few minutes of easy probing the two found that they are conversing like old friends. He told her an amusing story and she giggled at all the correct spots. Allowing a reasonable amount of time to pass, he glanced at his watch and remarked, "Now that the crowds have thinned out a bit, would you like to join me in the dining salon for some breakfast?"

Thanking him for the invitation, she replied, "Thank you, but I've already had breakfast."

Undaunted, he quickly rebutted, "Well, perhaps a cup of coffee or tea? Maybe a danish would be more to your liking, after all it is still early in the morning, and, we do have this long, boring boat ride ahead of us. Besides, how am I going to get to know you better if you say no?"

Rebecca knew she was blushing. She could feel the heat of her face and in her tummy as his assault continued. "I'll buy?" She also knew full well she was well on her way to being very properly seduced. The question in her mind was not "if" but "when".

"Are you always this aggressive with all the women you meet, or am I just lucky?" Becky quipped.

"Just the pretty ones." Bob responded with assurance unquestionable.

Surrendering to his final undermining of her defences, Becky giggled, "perhaps a cup of tea." They made their way to the stairs for the upper deck. What shocked the woman was that he gave no hint whatsoever of his triumph. If there was a way to keep score in the game of seduction, Becky knew she was falling far behind.

After Bob had a quiet word with a salon staff member at the door the couple was quickly escorted past a sectioned off portion of the room to find they were to be seated in an unused part of the restaurant. They were then seated at a table commanding a view of the islands they were passing. A waiter quickly appeared with a large silver coffee pot, the requisite white linen napkin draped over his forearm. "Coffee?" Bob asked.

"I prefer tea, if I may?"

The waiter, silent until that moment, asked Rebecca, "Would Madam like orange pekoe? Or would she prefer a breakfast tea? We have Earl Grey on board?"

Beaming a smile at the man, she replied, "The breakfast tea would be fine, thank you."

Bob piped up, "May we also have an assortment of Danishes and scones please?"

"Why of course, Mr. Arnold," was the reply.

The waiter dashed away to retrieve their order, and Rebecca, with more than a hint of suspicion, asked accusingly of her partner, "Who are you? You are obviously not just some computer geek like you said you were. That waiter knew you by name."

"Aw, my dear lady, but I am. I work for a large computer software company that is situated right over there, in Washington State. I was fortunate to get in on the ground floor of the business, while one of the founders was still building electronic paddle ball games in his basement. Needless to say, with a little savvy and some hard work this...uhhh...gentleman has made me a very rich man. I now work because I enjoy what I do, not because I have to."

"But that waiter knew who you were."

"Well Becky, if I may call you that, I ride this boat a lot, and over the past year or so, the staff has come to know me quite well."

Becky continued to gaze at him, somewhat in awe, but mostly in admiration.

"Ah, here we go... our breakfast has arrived."

The waiter quietly and efficiently rolled a breakfast cart up to the table and placed a silver tea service close to Rebecca for her disposal. He indicated that her tea has been steeping for precisely 2 minutes and 45 seconds as he stared at his watch. She once again blushed at all the attention. A smile curled Bob's lips as he secretly gave the waiter a wink and then looked over at the tray of goodies before them. The waiter performed a little bow of the head and with a flourish of his towel was gone.

Resuming the conversation Bob asked, "So how long have you been in Canada?"

Rebecca looked at her companion questioningly. "I observe and then make deductions; your accent. You are obviously from Scotland, but you have been here a while because you have a lot of North American mannerisms, besides which, I'm sure your accent was a lot stronger when you first arrived here." Continuing the lecture, he said, "So, whoot's it be me lass, aire ya goona tell me where yer from, or am I gonna hafta play The Twenty Questions with ya?" he asked in his best Sean Connery imitation.

Rebecca, giggling said, "That has got to be the worst Sean Connery I have ever heard!"

"Well it couldn't have been that bad. After all you figured out who it was," Bob laughingly replied.

Soon the couple had finished their second breakfasts of the day, and Bob announced, "Looks like the fog is starting to lift, that means it's starting to warm up a bit, we'll be going thru The Inside Passage soon. How would you like a stroll around the deck?'

"I would love to, kind sir."

When they left the private little nook, Rebecca hardly seemed to notice the hand placed gently across the small of her back at the waist, to ensure she did not stumble over the threshold in her lovely two-inch heels. Reaching into her purse Becky retrieved the sheer nylon scarf she had placed there the night before, for this very purpose, not that she ever truly imagined meeting a man, more to the fact of taking a stroll around the deck, to protect her hair from the ocean breezes that always whipped up when one least expected.

Strolling comfortably close, actually causing her to bubble, Bob began an easy sort of conversation again. "I have to be in Vancouver most of the day, tied up in meetings and such, and will have to stay the night. I am wondering if I may have the pleasure of your company for dinner this evening?"

Desperately searching for any plausible reason why she couldn't accept his exciting invitation, Becky, almost reluctantly, replied, "Thank you, Bob. I am very flattered, but I'm not sure how long my business will take me today, or what sort of mood I will be in when I am finished."

Not to be vanquished so easily, the sophisticate produced a business card with only his name and a telephone number on it. "It's my cell number, it's a satellite phone, and so I can be reached anywhere. I'll leave it on the whole day in hopes that you will call me."

A hot surge of feminine need almost decided the woman to chuck away her entire plans for the day. Regretfully, she looked at the card again and slid it into her jacket pocket. Smiling at each other they began their stroll again, each sensing their own form of victory.

Moving to the bow of the ship, the enamoured pair once again stopped, now to quietly enjoy the feel of the cool sea air blowing directly into their faces. This far forward of the engines, it was quiet and the constant low grade rumble of them much less pressing. Becky relaxed into the silence and savoured every moment. The ship was now entered into The Inside Passage and was now threading its way past all the little islands in its' path.

Suddenly the ship's whistle rent the air, and Rebecca screamed. Jumping from fright the lovely lass fell into the outstretched arms of her companion. An uncomfortable moment passed between them, but as they stare into each other's eyes, the moment becomes intensely comfortable. Suddenly, Rebecca was being kissed. She gave in to the incredibly wanton feelings now invading her body and mind and returned his kiss.

Quickly the kiss becomes stronger, and soon Becky felt herself giving in to the strong man's desires.

What seemed an eternity, or only a too brief few seconds, passed and their mouths reluctantly pulled apart.

"Wow," was all she could say.

"Ditto," was the male response. "Becky, I have got to see you again."

Like a schoolgirl just kissed for the first time, she could only stare up into his eyes. They were deep warm pool into which a victim willingly dove, knowing she would drown in their depths.

"We can not let this end like this!"

Silent, awestruck, Becky could only nod her head slowly.

"I think you are feeling something for me, and lady, the feeling is very mutual."

The dumbstruck woman could nod, but nothing more.

"Please say you will see me again for dinner," he pleaded.

She could but stare in disbelief.

"If not phone me anyway."

The woman began to shake her head slowly, her features distorting toward fear.

"Rebecca, please, I'm a wealthy man... I can arrange for us to meet anywhere. Just don't say no.

Her fears grew. No! He would never understand, or accept!

"I know you are not married... because you are not wearing a wedding band, so what do you say... give me a..."

Suddenly, with no warning, Rebecca turned and ran away, high heels clicking their way frantically across the deck.

"Damn!" he expelled, and then he chased after her. "Becky wait! Becky... please... wait, Rebecca, please stop!"

Finally, as she ran out of places to run and Becky was forced to stop.

Bob stood there face-to-face with the tear stained-eyes of the woman, his love.

"Oh Bob, I'm so sorry! Bob, you are a nice man! No, I just can't get involved."

"I don't understand. Are you married?" Rebecca shook her head from side to side. "Are you seeing anyone?" Again she shook her head as reply. "Now I'm really lost! You're not married, and you aren't seeing anyone." She just couldn't believe how completely feminine he made her feel! "It's plain as the nose on my face that we like each other." She was simply molten inside, "Why can't we see each other again?" But there was no way she could tell him.

"We just can't!" she offered again as the tears continued running down her cheeks.

Robert, being the consummate gentlemen, reached for his handkerchief and handed it to Rebecca. "Look, let's go back inside and... and we can settle down a bit... and then you can explain it to me why we can't see each other after this trip is over. You aren't an escaped convict on the run from the law are you? Or, an alien from another planet, or something like that, are you? Because... if you are, we can live in another country where they don't have an extradition treaty, or I can buy an island somewhere where we could hide your mother ship."

"No," she said as she playfully hit Bob's broad chest with the side of her fist.

"Oh Lord, thank you! There is still hope for me! She still smiles.'' He raised his hands and eyes skyward. "Now, you go into the ladies and fix that pretty little face, and I'll go see if I can find us some hot chocolate to help shake off the autumn chill, okay?"

"Uh huh," she responded in the little girl manner that had honestly earned her the name of Becky.

"Okay, I'll meet you back at the seats where we first met." He took her by the hand and carefully escorted her over the threshold to the ladies' washroom.

While she repaired the damage done to her face she became aware that someone was saying something to her. "Honey, I don't care what he said...it ain't worth it. Any man that would make a woman cry like that just ain't worth the effort!" Becky looked quizzically at a woman she had never before seen. "Now, you take my Harold. That man has never lifted a finger to me, or said an unkind word in the all the thirty-seven years we have been married. Course, I'd bat 'im right into the middle of next week if'n he ever tried, mind you!"

"I'm sorry. Do I know you?" Rebecca queried

"Well sugar, I just saw you crying out there...and then I saw you hit him, and then he throws his arms up in the air, and then he tries to make nice to you. Uh-uh honey, don't you believe it... I saw his kind before. Promise you the world... and then treat you like you was dirt."

"That's not what happened...really," Becky tried to explain. Somehow, she felt obligated to defend Bob. The woman had read everything ALL wrong!

"That's okay honey, I understand. You don't want to admit it was his fault. If'n I was you though, I'd stay right away from the likes of him. It'll come to no good, mark my words!"

Realizing that whatever she said wouldn't matter to this woman at all, Rebecca calmly sighed and said in mock surrender, "Yes, I guess you are right."

"Damn right I'm right. I may be a farmer's wife but I can spot one of them 'Don Jewan' types when I see's'em." Rebecca continued repairing the damage to her face and hoped that the red eyes wouldn't be to noticeable when she finished. "Now, you take care, honey. And you listen to what I said." Harold's wife exclaimed as she left the little room.

Returning to the seats Rebecca saw Bob sitting there patiently waiting for her return. As she approached he rose and greeted her. Rebecca took the seat next to where he had just been sitting. And when he handed her a cup of hot chocolate and a napkin before resuming his seat she smiled wanly at him. For a moment they both just sat there staring out into space, then almost simultaneously they turned to each other and start talking at the same time.

Bob smiled and told her to continue.

Rebecca began the composed speech she had rehearsed in the washroom. " Bob, you seem to be a very nice man, and although I only just met you, I have a feeling that we could become very close."

"So why st..."He exclaimed.

"Bob, please let me continue... this is very hard for me. The reason I can't see you is that I am on my way to the cancer clinic in Vancouver for treatment. Bob, I have hepatic cancer."

"Oh my," was his response. "No wonder you are so upset." She twisted the scarf she had been wearing about her slender fingers, while Bob continued. "God what a senseless fool I've been. I wade right in to you with all guns a blazing trying to woo the prettiest woman I've seen in ages... and she is on her way... Oh Rebecca, please forgive me. Sometimes I just react and don't think. I'm sorry."

"There's nothing for you to be sorry about, how were you to know. It's not like I wear a sign over my head that says 'stay away...cancer patient'. No, Bob, I should be the one apologizing to you for leading you on."

"Oh, no you don't girl. I don't regret meeting you at all! I've had a wonderful morning chatting with you, so far, and I enjoyed that kiss we shared very, very, much. Look, just because you have a teeny little problem with some minor health issue doesn't mean we can't go on," he cajoled seriously

.

"I would hardly call cancer a teeny little problem," Becky returned. The tears were now fighting their way to the surface again. Being fresh out of hankies, Bob gave Becky the napkin from his drink. She gratefully accepted with a mouse like squeak. "Thank you." He placed his arm around Becky's shoulder and slowly pulled the willing girl into his body. She rested her head on his chest and he began rubbing her back and slowly rock back and forth comforting her. It felt so comforting there in the cradle of his arms Becky just let it happen.

They remained like that for some time until their peace was broken by the announcer's voice over the intercom. "May I have your attention please? We are approaching Twassassen terminal. Would all bus passengers please return to the parking area? Those of you that are handicapped and require assistance please see the purser out side his office. Thank you for sailing B. C. Ferries and have a pleasant day."

Putting on his best Bogie accent, Bob said, "Well kid, looks like it's the end of the line." Rebecca smiled at the terrible accent as she gazed longing up into his eyes. "That bad eh?" Bob questioned. Rebecca just nodded her head and smiled. Bob started talking again, "Listen... Later today, I want you to call me, and let me know how you are feeling. After all, we still have to discuss our dinner arrangements."

"But..." Becky began.

"Yes, you do have a cute one." He chuckled, as she blushed, furiously. "You call me and I'll let you know where dinner is going to be and I'll arrange to have you picked up so you won't have to take a cab," the unflappable man simply stated and seemed to know it would be done.

"I never agreed to have dinner with you."

"Why, of course you did. You lost the discussion about the dinner arrangements, and so, by default, you have to have dinner with me, because that's just the way it is."

"You never quit, do you?" she queried. She had to wonder what was happening; she had never before liked "take charge" men, but she adored this quality in this man. It fit and he didn't seem to abuse the ability.

"Nope." This time it was Winston Churchill. "WE shall never surrender. We will fight on the beaches, in the air and on the sea. This will be our finest hour," he growled as he flashed the famous victory sign.

"Ohhh... you are just impossible!" she giggled. "Okay! I give up. Okay! No promises, but I will call you." Taking his stir stick and shaking it as if to knock the ashes off a cigar, he wiggled his eyebrows, Groucho Marx style. That earned him another tap from Becky's small fist.

The ship docked and the couple headed down the gangway much closer together now that they had been earlier on the Upper Deck. Stopping in front of the baggage pick up area, Bob obtained a dolly for Rebecca to put her bags on.

While they waited for the luggage, their conversation began anew. "So, Where is your treatment going to be?"

"At the clinic at VGH," the woman cautiously replied.

"The one on tenth just off Cambie St?" he asked.

"Yes, I guess so. I don't know the names of the streets. I just know where it is. How I recognize it is by..."

"All the signatures on the outside of the building." They both replied at the same time. Laughing, Bob said, "I know a few people there, let me put in a word or two in the right place, you never know it might help."

Panic struck Rebecca like a baseball bat as she realized the consequences and implications of his statement.

"No!" she almost shouted. Quickly thinking of an excellent excuse for her outburst, she replied, "No, Bob, I will not have you pull strings to get me preferential treatment. There are many people there who are a lot sicker than I am, and they deserve the same standard of care that lots of money brings."

"You are a pretty remarkable lady. You know that. I offer to move heaven and hell for you and you are more concerned about all the other patients who might need more care then yourself."

Rebecca smiled to her self, thinking that she dodged that bullet successfully. After all, if the last secret she revealed was earth shattering, just imagine what would happen when he discovered her most private of secrets. They loaded Rebecca's luggage on the rack, then strolled towards the door. Bob had his suit bag over his shoulder as they exited into the parking lot.

At the same moment, Jeffery, Rebecca's cousin, who was there to pick her up and hold her hand while at her clinical appointment, approached them. "Hi there!" he said to her as they came close. Giving her a kiss on the cheek, he took over pushing the cart. The look on Bob's face was utter paranoia. Quickly, recognizing the look in Bob's eyes, Becky realized she'd be wise to begin the introductions.

Both Alpha males stared intently at each other, each trying to size the other up, as she said, "Bob, this is my cousin Jeffery. Jeffery, this is Bob Arnold." Reluctantly the two shake hands as if on guard against invasion of their territory.

"Oh, stop it you two!" Rebecca snapped, realizing what has transpired between the two men. "I'm grateful you both seem to need to defend my honour, but I can assure both of you, my honour is not at stake here."

Both males smiled and returned to their previous relaxed state. Bob said, "Oh, I think I see my ride now," as a stretch limo, approximately a city block long, pulled up at the curb in front of the curved walk.

The driver quickly jumped out, adjusting his cap on the way, hurried over and said, "Good morning, Mr. Arnold. How was your trip over?"

"Very pleasant, Martin. Very pleasant indeed." he stated as he handed the ex-football player his bag. Turning to Rebecca he said, "You will call me later, won't you?"

She nodded yes and he gave her a quick hug and a peck on the cheek, which she warmly returned. Breaking their embrace, he started towards the wide door being held open by Martin, the combination driver/bodyguard. "Nice to meet you, Jeffery, perhaps I shall see you again some time." he stated. "See you, tonight, Becky." Quickly, the door was closed and he was whisked away.

Rebecca stood staring at the rapidly disappearing vehicle, as a smile came to her face.

"So who was THAT, cuz?" Jeff asked.

"Oh, nobody important to you, just someone I met on the ferry."


~Next up: Part# 3 [The Clinic].~
More [Hot Crossings]