Footprints In The Sea – Chapters 19 and 20
By Frances Penwiddy
Copyright © Frances Penwiddy 2015
Footprints in the sea is a work of fiction and any similarity to persons living or dead is coincidental.
This novel is not considered suitable material for minors and is rated X
I suggest you read Footprints In The Sea in chapter order so if you haven’t read Chapters 1 and 2, please do so.
Friends begin to gather and ask to come and live on the island and after speaking to Duncan, Randolph and Gwyneth, Charlotte invites a guest into her bedroom and is touched by the magic of the island.
We sat on the sand with the boat cover spread out as a table cloth and large leaves as seats eating sandwiches, pies, pieces of chicken and melon with tin mugs holding soft drinks or coffee except Gwyneth and I, we had coconut milk.
“Cox’n, why didn’t you catch a pig and roast it over a fire?” I asked.
“We were going to Miss Broughton but Lewis here reckoned as you wouldn’t like to get your fingers and clothes sticky.”
“You’re very thoughtful,” Faye said, “But next time please don’t deprive yourselves because we are here.”
“Quite right,” I added and if we had thought of it, we could have brought my scuba equipment and I could have gone crayfish and crab hunting. What do you think of the inlet, Andy?”
“Purpose built, a fleet could be hidden here. From what I could see from the cliffs, the water is deep and the entrance well concealed.”
“It would spoil it having aircraft carriers littered all over the place but Aurora and ships like her could anchor in concealed coves, Pacific Wanderer as well if she’s not needed in the lagoon.”
“I’m going to suggest we send Orca’s inshore explorer boat round here to take soundings when we get back.”
“Do they have divers, sports or professional?”
“I know they have two or three sports divers and so do we on Aurora, we also have two pro level divers we do on most navy ships. Is there a reason you ask?”
“Yes, I’d like to explore the lagoon and a few other places around the island but not so much in a professional capacity unless you count looking at the marine life and particularly shellfish and crabs. I want to see if there’s other fish as well, something we can use as a food source.”
“I don’t know the details but I understand somebody is coming from New Zealand to meet you and there’s going to be a bit of an official conference about the island laid on here as well as in Wellington or Auckland but it’s only something I’ve been told in brief, you’ll have to see the captain if you want details. Until then, I see no reason why a bit of organised sports diving can’t take place, the chaps would welcome a chance. Want me to have a word with our club diver and get permission from the captain to set something up. I think he’ll be enthusiastic because some of the lads are looking for a chance to do something else other than play table tennis and pool or go for a swim in their leisure time. You could organise your beach barbecue as well.”
“I’m all for the diving,” said Emma.
“You can dive?” I asked.
“Club level yes but I’m not dive fit, I haven’t dived since coming out to Antarctic, that’s three years ago.”
“The lagoon then, it’s ideal and would be good if anybody else wanted to join classes, I know Will does.”
“Me too,” said Liz, “I’ve always wanted to study some of the plant life.”
We all looked at Faye. She nodded and looked a little sheepish, “I’ve done a basic marine geology diving course but have never used it since I qualified, I’ll join in.”
“Gwyneth?” I asked.
“Don’t you think I’m a bit old for taking up blood sports.”
I grinned, “We don’t have that many accidents with spear guns. You’re fit aren’t you, heart, lungs bronchial tubes, ears, nose and don’t have fits or are allergic to saltwater and mildew. I’ve known people who’ve taken up diving in their sixties.”
She looked at the others and detecting no astonishment she nodded, “Okay, it should be fun but I think David is going to have a fit.”
“Just tell him to bone-up on decompression sickness and nitrogen narcosis.” I turned back to Andy, “That’s it then, we’re all organised and ready to go, just send your instructor over to help me and we’ll keep the crew fed for you.”
Andy stood up, “Back to work everybody and Charlotte, I have a great liking for scallops.”
The sailors started packing the picnic away and I asked Emma what she and the others were doing because Gwyneth and I were going to see if we could find any likely looking places for houses in the opposite direction to where we were earlier.”
“I’ll come with you,” said Faye. The cliffs along that way are more exposed and I might find a way down to sea level and have a look at the cliff face and the material that has fallen from it.”
“We’ll come as well but we’ll stay up top with you, and if we have time I’ll cross the meadow again and have a look at the bread fruit,” said Liz.
“Will they have any fruit at this time of the year?”
“No but all I need are a few buds, leaves and stems and if there are any of last year’s crop that hasn’t rotted too much, that will be all I need in the lab.”
“Right,” said Andy, we’re taking the boat and following the cliffs and checking the water depths close in so it’s the same as this morning, two hours and back here but if you get stuck somewhere, fire three shots and a red flare and we’ll come and get you.”
Gwyneth’s leg muscles were getting used to her new life style because after a quick massage she was off with Emma and Liz leaving Faye and I to trudge along behind.
“I wanted to talk to you about the island and living here. Are you serious about inviting people to join you and build houses?”
“Yes, I think about a hundred, perhaps a hundred and fifty. That’s why Gwyneth and David are going to be so useful. With that many people plus the others in the south side research centres, we’ll need a doctor in residence because there may be times when the project doctors or naval medics will need back up.”
“I spoke to my fiancé this morning on the phone, and he said I was to ask you if a couple of geologists would fit in with your ideas?”
“Without a doubt, we will need the right sort of people to advise us where to build our houses, go on exploration trips, find the materials to make our stills and vats; yes of course you would be welcome, Faye, very welcome.” I stopped and took her hands in mine, “I’m not just building a research island, I want this to be a lovely place to live with nice people around me. A good mixture of scientists, technology nerds, artists, writers and beach bums. What I don’t want is to have people who only stay a month and then go off leaving me all alone.”
“We’d be staying here as residents, Howard is coming to do another three year tour in Antarctica but I’ve been asked to work here in the island lab so we need a home because Howard will spend all his free time here and may even spend part of his time in the labs.”
“It means pitching in with some of the other work we’ll have to undertake if we’re going to make a success of the island as a community.”
“I’ll work as a barmaid, traffic warden, or sweep the communal areas, I don’t care, that sort of job is fun when you have to spend a lot of your time in laboratories.”
I squeezed her hands, “You’re in, pick a place for your new house.”
She hugged me, “Thank you, I know we’ll have fun here, nice lives and when all the children arrive, I’ll be a teacher as well.”
“Come on you two!”
It was Emma, they had stopped at the top of the path and were waiting, well she was, I could just make out Liz bent at the knees looking at something in the grass and Gwyneth was half in and half out of a thicket at the start of the tree line peering into the gloom beneath the trees. We quickened our pace and as we caught up I heard Gwyneth call out, “Liz are these breadfruit trees?”
Liz looked up from her grass patch, stood and walked over to join her took a quick glance and nodded so we went over to join them. “Two finds,” Liz began, “Gwyneth has discovered breadfruit and sweet corn, now if the sailors have caught a wild boar we can have a barbecue this evening.”
“Do they have fruit?” I asked.
“The breadfruit has one or two ripe and quite a few not ripe yet but still edible but no luck with the sweet corn, it’s going to be a few weeks yet. Still it’s the thought that counts, we can open a few tins and pretend they are from here. We walked up to the tree and Liz took one of the ripe fruit and gave it to me, “Ask the chef on Wanderer to cook it, he’ll know how and we’ll try it. I think it’s a variation of wild breadfruit but the sweet corn looks like the stuff that grows everywhere, nothing special.
We found two or three likely places for houses and Emma had found and sketched a small lizard like creature that she wasn’t sure about so she took loads of pictures and put it back where she found it but it didn’t seem in too much of a hurry so we watched for a while and then it eventually wandered off into a gap between two large rocks. “Well that tells us this place has never been settled by lots of people,” Emma told us, “It wasn’t the least bit scared of human contact.”
I was sitting at a drafting table that had been borrowed from the engineer’s workshop and working on an overlay of a large satellite photo of the island. A member of Aurora’s radar tracking team had drawn the outline of the island, the lake and hill and I had been asked to fill in the details of the lagoon and the top end of the inlet that had been explored. Somebody was working on the marine and land contour lines and marking up the building and proposed building that was taking part on the south side but nobody else could be spared from Aurora’s crew to do what I was doing. It was tiring work because I had to keep referencing latitudes and longitudes from the naval charts supplied to me and checking the various notations and bearings that Andy had given me. I was stuck, I had marked the names of the bays and coves that I had already named but the island’s main feature, the hill I had not yet named. I ought to let Will do that, so far he hadn’t named anything and left it to me and it was this thinking that gave me my inspiration; I wrote in ‘Devonshire Hill’ and sat back to admire my genius and then a second inspiration hit me and I leaned over the map and carefully wrote the name of the meadow and made a little ink drawing beside the name, and there was a light tap on the door and Emma walked in. “You coming up to the saloon, we’re going to have a sing-song.”
“It’ll only take me ten minutes to get ready, I’ve done all I can this evening on the map.”
She came over to look, “You’re very neat,” she bent closer to look at where I had named the meadow,
“I thought you might have named that after Liz, she was the first to see it.”
“I was going to, but in truth the three of you discovered it together so I’ve named it after all three.”
She glared at me, “And the bloody drawing as well.”
“It fits the name and if you look closely, the tip of the handle on the witches broom stick points at the top of the path where you sat down and waited for Gwyneth and I.”
“You wait till I tell the other two you’ve called it Witches Meadow!”
I was grinning broadly, “Well it’s better than Cowpat Cliff.”
“You’d better get your clothes off, Will’s on his way here and I’ll see you in the saloon,” and she left but not before calling out to Will, “Charlotte’s expecting you, she’s turned her back to the door so you can pinch her bum.”
Will came straight in with a grin on his face, “What’s that all about?”
I pointed at the map, Check that out whilst I get changed.”
I rushed into the bedroom, did a quick job of making my bed and started pulling my dresses out and looking at them, putting them back and then pulling them out again and finally settled on the burgundy dress, I knew Will liked me in that but it was not the sort of skirt that would flare out so I made up for it by wearing black fully fashioned stockings. I did my make-up, brushed my hair out of its pony-tail put on a necklace, bracelet, watch and a butterfly clasp in my hair, spritzed grabbed my shoulder bag and was just going to the door and had second thoughts and went to the top of my freshly made bed and pulled the counterpane down and fluffed the pillows and then went out.
“It’s good, accurate and neatly drawn and I can see why Emma had her nose in the air.” He pulled a sheet of paper out of a pocket and handed it to me, “These are the notes and measurements from the survey Andy and I did, I was going to add them but I can’t match your neatness so I thought I’d better leave it for you.”
“Okay, I’ll do it in the morning.”
“I like Devonshire Hill, we must go up there soon and have a celebration picnic.”
“Just the two of us?”
“Yes, we haven’t had a lot of time together this past few days, I seem to spend more time missing you than in your company.”
“Me too. How about the day after tomorrow, I’ll borrow the galley from Victor and prepare the food.”
“Will you have the time?”
“I’ll make time, it’s special. Come on if we delay any longer Emma, Faye and Liz will be going around suggesting we’re up to all sorts of things.”
He chuckled, “You’ve made good friends there.”
“And Gwyneth as well, she’s sort of taken me under her wing. She has a lot of kindness in her.”
“You don’t lack it yourself. By the way, I like the dress and the way you’ve done your hair, you look like a Thirties film star, seductive, exciting.” He took my arm under his and we went to join the others.
I behaved myself with the exception that this time when I danced the tango with David, somebody gave me a silk imitation rose and I danced with it between my teeth, silly I know but I think it made the others smile, in fact Gwyneth told me so, “They won’t take their eyes of you and I heard one of the officers say he wondered what you were going to do next, you were full of fun and surprises.”
“It’s the way I feel most of the time, Gwyneth. I have moods when I feel a bit depressed and wonder what tricks my body and brain are going to play on me next and when I shake it off, I want to have as much fun as possible, try to make up for all the years I spent being happy but always knowing that there was something not right about me and my life and not being able to truly be myself,” I paused for a while looking out of the windows towards the island and thinking of Auntie Mo and how she had held out her hand to me and drawn me in and wrapped me in a warm and secure embrace of love and understanding. “And the rest of the time I think I’m normal, well normal when compared with my other periods. Do you think there’s a chance that my love for Will is reliant on his willingness to accept me and my moments of self-pity or perhaps it’s because I have taken so long to develop physically the way I should have done from birth, it’s something of a schoolgirl crush? Have I fallen in love with the first handsome man I saw when I entered puberty?”
“Some of it, yes, we all want to be loved and offered security, women perhaps more than men because we need a safe pair of hands, a guardian and provider when we are pregnant or have babies to care for. That’s nature but there is also the need to have somebody you can share life with, a shoulder to cry on, a partner to laugh with somebody with whom you can share a beautiful sunset, a night sky, a baby’s first word and somebody with whom you can fuse and become one and together share those wonderful moments of passion we humans can have. But with you and Will I have watched you both and your feelings for each other visibly grow stronger each day. You have none of the awkwardness that couples often experience as they discover each other and when you are together, a stranger would believe you had been so for years rather than weeks. God made up for his earlier mistakes with you two and allowed two people to find each other in days when most of us take years trying to find just the right person.” She smiled at me, squeezed my hand and continued, “That’s why I have picked a spot to build my house that is fifteen or twenty minutes’ walk away from you rather than live next door, because the noise your numerous children will make will disturb me.”
“Twenty of them.”
“You’ll probably have two on top of each other, then delay for eighteen months before deciding on number three and there is a distinct possibility there may be a number four.”
“Probably, but two boys and two girls does seem like a nicely rounded family and Faye is coming here to live and wants to be the village schoolmarm, so I have to do my bit to find the children for her to teach.” I changed the subject, “Raymond radio telephoned me soon after we got back from our trip, David has already spoken to him and we had a long conversation about things, you know, physical relation things.”
“Did he help?”
“Yes, told me what to expect, how to make it easier and promised I would enjoy myself.”
“Don’t sink the ship,” she answered. “Come on, let’s join the others, they’ll be wondering what we’re planning and I think Emma wants to speak to you, she keeps looking this way and there’s a touch of impatience in her expression.”
PO Phillips had my second spritzer ready for me and suitably equipped I went first to Will who seemed happy enough exchanging views on what were the true meanings behind the words exchanged between the bishop and the actress; “Sorry I went off like that but I needed to chat to Gwyneth and now Emma wants a moment to tell me something, do you feel neglected?”
“Yes very, we needed your input, the female point of view.”
I was puzzled, “On what?”
“On why the actress wanted the bishop to help her take her clothes off.”
“That’s easy, she had never been baptised and wanted the bishop to bring her to a state of grace without her getting her best frock wet. I won’t be long,” and I left them, Will was happy enough.
“Emma, you wanted to have a chat?”
“How did you know?”
“Gwyneth told me.”
“But Gwyneth didn’t know, I haven’t told her.”
“She’s a doctor’s wife, of course she knew.”
“Yes of course, I forgot that. It’s not just me, it’s Liz as well but she’s gone off to the loo.”
“Let’s capture a table and go to the other end of the bridge, I gather it’s private?”
We carried the table up before Phillips had a chance to detail half a dozen matelots to do it for us and Liz joined us with a bottle of white wine. “Sorry to interrupt the evening but we wanted to discuss something with you,” Emma began, “Liz and I have been asked if we would be willing to spend some time here on the island. It seems that New Zealand asked Westminster if we could be borrowed from the Antarctic expedition doing research on the island. They picked us because we are already here and Liz’s fiancé is still in the Antarctic and my boyfriend lives and works in Wellington whereas everybody else with the necessary qualifications have family back in the UK. We’ve both agreed and so have our men but we want to set up home here like Gwyneth and wanted to know how you felt about it.”
“Have you spoken to Faye?”
“No, is she asking to do something similar?”
“Yes, she told me this afternoon, she wants to settle here permanently and her fiancé has agreed. She said that if she runs out of research support she’ll act as a consultant or take up teaching. At the moment, we don’t have a lollipop lady for the school and we’re going to need a seamstress and a laundry girl so yes, if you want to live here, it’s fine, I’d like to have you here, we all seem to be hitting it off and life is better when you have lots of friends around you. Have you given any thought to what you will do if your contract with the Antarctic ends?”
“With our qualifications, and Emma’s bloke being a micro-biologist, we could set ourselves up as an independent research lab, the drug companies and agricultural organisations would use us so we’d have jobs to fall back on. Being here with the necessary equipment and local knowledge makes it easy for us to compete for contracts because we can do it cheaper than the big boys,” Liz explained, “And this is a lovely place.”
“There’s no NHS hospitals and a lot of other things we are used to having at our finger tips?” I pointed out. “Peace, quiet, clean air and beautiful scenery are all very well until you develop a serious illness or have a bad accident.”
“The world is shrinking,” said Emma. We know they are considering a small airstrip on the island and Will and Andy were talking about the inlet earlier and Andy said it was sheltered and large enough for commercial sea planes to use. If something bad happened and we had to get to a hospital quickly, we could be in any one of half a dozen places where there are fully equipped hospitals. Wellington is less than five hours away by aircraft, the facilities in the Antarctic, Australia and the America’s can be reached in six or seven.”
“People have waited for ambulances and queued in outpatient departments in hospitals for urgent treatment for almost as long and that’s without taking into consideration what the various countries that are building facilities here are going to provide. I don’t believe they’re thinking of the island as a short term project, they seem to be willing to spend money here and both Emma and I have private medical insurance. The premiums would increase of course but look at the savings we would make on locally produced food and we’ll have our own electricity soon with solar panels and possibly even water driven turbines,” added Liz.
“Well as long as you’ve talked it over with your other halves and thought it out I’m all for it and I know Will agrees so my answer is the same as the one I gave Faye, pick a spot and arrange to build your house. You both know the places that need to be preserved and protected for research and environmental purposes and the places that are practical and if there’s doubt we can always have a meeting between ourselves and the people from the laboratories to help us in our choices.”
I told Will about the conversation as we walked along the deck enjoying the moon and stars and asked, “You don’t mind them coming here to live do you, don’t think I’m surrounding myself with friends to too great an extent?”
“Of course not. “They have become my friends as well and if we can populate the island with people we like and have a skill that contributes to the community, then that is what we should strive for.”
“We’ll have to stop and consider where any future buildings are placed though, houses, shops a community hall, pub, all the places that go to make a community strong and as self-sufficient as possible.”
You know we are going to have to think of ways of raising money to pay for the things we are going to need.”
I sighed, “I’ve thought about that quite a bit and we have to make sure that all the houses fit in with the island. We don’t want four storied concrete blocks appearing all over the place but I suppose the money is important, our salvage reward and anything else we can raise from the wreck and cargo isn’t going to go far. We need to raise taxes like every other civilisation, even if we only do it at parish council level in the beginning, we’ll still need to do it.”
“One way is charging rent. Instead of giving away the land or selling it we could grant lifetime leases, the rent will be a good income and if we start producing our own power, that too will be a way of raising money and by doing it that way we’ll cut down on the bureaucracy. If we’re going to build a paradise here, Charlotte we are going to have to work hard but doing it correctly will produce rewards that will make the labour worth the effort.”
“Harry Fellows mentioned rent and leases to me. At the moment all the development on the south side is being done on our verbal agreement to some extent and the countries involved will want that formalised before long. I suppose we’ll have to negotiate a rent for them as well but I don’t think I can charge New Zealand very much because they have supplied most of the labour and some of the materials for our own house and the cave and helped us to claim the island.”
“It was to their advantage as well. The cost of operating in the South Pacific and Antarctic without the use of the island will be far higher.”
“Yes I know but just the same, I don’t want them to think I’m taking advantage, I do owe them my life you know, not just my physical life either, they’ve helped with my intersex problem.”
“We’ll see what everybody has to say when we have our meeting with them in Wellington, I think they’ll be fair with us. I’m glad you’re thinking of the practical side to living here, I’m going to marry an intelligent, beautiful and practical woman, the perfect partner.”
“I’m always practical.”
I laughed, “You know what I mean.”
He stopped and turned me to face him and kissed me and held the kiss pulling me in closely and I began to feel excited and more than a little flustered. When we parted he said, “I know it’s a wicked thing because people died but Charlie, the wreck of the Pacific Wanderer was probably the most important event of my life, the best thing that has happened to me, I met and fell in love with you.”
“Yes,” I whispered, “For me too.” We had reached the bow and we stood silently looking out beyond the reef at the sea and the rippled reflection of the moon ran from the horizon, across the reef and straight to us. I looked up at Will’s face and saw the moon in his eyes, “We’ve been blessed by the Moon Goddess,” I said quietly.
He looked down at me, his hand caressing my arm below the sleeve, “You’re not being practical, you didn’t bring a jacket or cardigan and you feel chilled.”
“Love is keeping me warm.”
He slipped his jacket off and placed it around my shoulders, “Come on, it’s time to get inside before you get really cold and become ill.”
We walked back to the superstructure and listened to the murmur of talk coming from the viewing bridge and once we were inside the lift I realised just how chilly I had felt outside and shivered. Do you think I’ll be okay if I have a small brandy, I’ve had a couple of spritzers already?”
He looked at me, his lips pursed, a frown of disapproval on his face, “Two spritzers in nearly two hours, don’t you think you may be overdoing it?”
“You’re right, I’ll forget the brandy and you can dance a waltz with me and hug me tight, that’ll make me warm.”
We had our waltz and I did get warm but Emma yawned and that set me off and I grinned at her, “Fresh air is good for us but why do we feel tired after breathing it.”
“Too much of anything can be bad for you, I’m going to bed and turning my cabin thermostat up to thirty.”
“Me too, Will, walk me back to my cabin in case I fall down and go to sleep in the passageway.”
When we got to my cabin I opened the door and turned for my kiss and when he started to release my hand I held on, “Come inside, Will.”
“I’m okay, I don’t need a nightcap and you’re tired.”
I pulled firmly and stepped back forcing him to enter the cabin and I closed the door and placed my arms over his shoulders and locked my hands behind his neck and stood on tiptoe and kissed him again, “I’m not tired, I just said I was. I kept my hands locked behind his neck but pushed my head back so I could see all of his face, “Will, make love to me, take me to the bedroom, undress me and make love to me.”
I waited watching the changing expressions on his face until he spoke; “Charlie are you ready, it’s an important part of our relationship but are you ready to take such a large step now because I can wait, I can wait for weeks, months even years if I have to?”
“Will, stop talking, I want to marry a man of action.”
“I want to, I want to make love to you, I want to so much it hurts. I spend hours every day thinking of you and dreaming of our making love, dreaming of going to sleep at night cuddling you, dreaming of waking up and seeing you at your worst, grumpy and ignoring me because the most important thing in your life is a cup of sweet, milky coffee…”
“That’s true but I’m not asking you to make love to me for ‘Your’ sake, I’m asking because ‘I’ want you to make love to me, ‘You and I’ want you to make love to me, you don’t come into the equation it’s something ‘I’ and ‘We’ want. Lift me up, carry me into the bedroom, undress me and make ‘Me’ and ‘Us’ happy, complete and joined and when you’ve done that, make love to me again so ‘You’ become complete and we can live happily ever after.”
He smiled, “That’s a lot of people in one bed,” and he stooped, placed an arm around my shoulder, the other under my thighs and lifted me and carried me into the bedroom and gently placed me down beside the bed. One hand went to the back of my head and with light pressure he pulled my face close to his and kissed me and at the same time with his free hand he flipped the duvet back and exposed the pink satin sheet and pillow cases. That was the first thing I learned about love making with my man, he could multifunction, the second thing I learned was his peripheral vision was very good because whilst he was still kissing me he said, “Satin sheets, where did you get them.”
“The ship’s cargo,” I managed to say as we broke the kiss and I felt his fingers touch the fastener at the top of my dress and the zip slowly descended to the top of my buttocks. I was about to ask him if he liked the colour of my lingerie but he kissed me again and both hands came to my shoulders and he eased the top of the dress over them and down my arms freeing my arms and my dress dropped to the floor.
He broke the kiss again and stepped back twice still holding my hands our arms outstretched as if he was afraid to break the bridge between us and then he caressed me with his eyes, from my hair down my forehead past my eyes to my mouth and then down past my chin and neck and rested at the top of my bra where a slight cleavage rose and subsided with my breathing. Then they continued to my waist, lingered again at the top of my panties and then very slowly down the front where they stopped again before beginning to follow a suspender to the top of a stocking. “Will, you’re giving me goose pimples.”
He smiled but his eyes took their time returning to mine. “Pretty goose pimples, how did you ever think you could pass as a man,” and without warning he scooped me up and laid me on the bed and my hands flew to cover the front of my panties. There was a soft chuckle, “I’ve seen it before,” and he eased my hands away and I could only stare at his face and then shuddered as his finger traced the line of my small bulge, “I’ve seen it before and it’s not in proportion with the rest of you. A woman as slight, no as delicate as you needs a slightly smaller clitoris.”
He nodded, “It’s the only thing about you that is not perfectly proportioned, I’ll tell Duncan to fix it if you wish.”
I held my arms open, “Oh, Will come to me, kiss me again, keep kissing me and you can tell Duncan to fix it just the way you want it.” And he did kiss me and my panties went over the side of the bed closely followed by my bra, “Ask him to fix them as well,” I whispered between kisses and then he touched a nipple with his finger, the slightest of touches and then tiny caresses like the touch of a butterfly and I felt them hardening and tingles rippled down my body until they centred on the lower part of my abdomen where they spread in every direction; down to my thighs, around to my buttocks and up my back, from my tiny breasts to my shoulders and down my arms until my eyes couldn’t focus past his as the tingles touched my lips and I opened them slightly and like a timid mouse his tongue touched them and slowly entered my mouth and his kiss pressed harder and I was barely conscious of my hand as it moved and eased between us and I found his penis. Hard and hot yet with the feel of velvet and oh so large and for a brief moment I became scared of what was coming but the tingles which now seemed to cover my whole body became urgent and I felt more alive than I have ever done and my legs moved and my thighs opened and I guided his penis between them.
“Oh my Charlotte, my lovely, lovely, Charlotte, so exciting, so alive so very wonderful, my Charlotte,” and his hands moved under my thighs and lifted them slowly and he guided them until I was able to lock my heels around his waist and the heat and electric shocks in my body became more intense and I cried out, “Will, oh Will, do it now, I’m going to explode or catch fire, do it now!”
He entered me, it was difficult and he had to push but as it forced its way into me the pain started and kept increasing but I bit my lip, I had expected this, taught my brain to override it but when the wide section of his glands was fully inside me I thought I was going to be torn in half and I couldn’t stop myself from crying out and he stopped immediately and started to withdraw. “No, Will! No, no, no, go on. Don’t stop, ignore me, go on until all of you is inside me!”
He hesitated for a moment and then I felt him start to push again and once more I couldn’t stop the cry and I was gasping for air so he stopped again and I managed to whisper, “I’m okay, go on.” I shut my eyes, squeezed them to try and make them hurt and distract me but it didn’t work and I reached a point where I couldn’t let him go further and was going to stop him when, as suddenly as the pain had started, it went away and I felt him, all of him inside me and my body went quiet for a moment, no pain, no heat, no electric shocks and then he pulled back and pushed forward again and the electric shocks hit me and I felt my body spasm and I tightened my grip on him and tried to make my ankles push him deeper into me. He did it again and I exploded. My body became a million fiery lights and they flew from me, through the walls of the cabin, out of the ship, deep into the sea and high into the heavens and I went with them into a world of colours, flashing and bursting into a billion tiny points of their own and I flew and flew straight into another explosion.
Eons passed and then slowly the brilliant lights and colours faded and I opened my eyes. Will had his back arched and he was staring up at the ceiling, his mouth wide open and gasping for more air, “God, Charlotte, what happened!”
“I was high in the sky, deep beneath the sea and a comet hit me and exploded. We happened.”
He nodded and slowly sank down and lay on me and I slid my hands and feet down to his buttocks and increased the pressure, I didn’t want him to slip out of me. “If that is like being born,” he said, “Then I want to be born every day and if it’s dying, then I’ll die every day.”
“I was a star going into a nova and a comet smashed into me,” I answered, “And I exploded into billions of burning hot atoms, it was so, so, I don’t know so sensational, awesome, incredible. I should be exhausted but I feel so alive.”
“I was going to stop, I thought you were having a terrible seizure, I was going to stop and then it hit me and I couldn’t stop, didn’t want to, didn’t care what happened, I just wanted it to carry on.”
I felt him soften and he slipped out of me before I could stop him, “Oh.” I wriggled about and managed to cross my thighs.
“What are you doing?”
“I have millions of your little sperms inside me, I want them to stay there and be absorbed into my body so that you will always be with me.”
He laughed quietly, Let me know when you want more.”
“Now,” I said, “Give me some more now!”
“I can’t not yet, I need time to make more.”
“Well get on with it, I want more and you’re not leaving this bed until you give them to me.”
“I might need to stay for a long time.”
“I don’t care.”
“A very long time, probably until morning.”
“I still don’t care, you have to give me some more.”
“You’re an addict already.”
I propped myself up on an elbow and looked down at him, “I am and so are you. Get on with making more, do you want me to get some oysters to help?”
“At breakfast time but I don’t think I’ll need them, you’re all the oyster a man could ever need.”
So I snuggled up to him and he placed an arm under me and we went to sleep.”
I awoke in the same position, snuggled up against Will and I had to lift my arm from his chest slowly and ease out of bed without wakening him. He moved, mumbled something, sighed and went back to his dream so I tiptoed to the bathroom and had a shower and then picked up my clothes from the floor where Will had hung them and quietly opened the door of my wardrobe and took a white blouse and the pastel blue skirt out, hung my red dress in its place and dressed.
He was still asleep so I went into the sitting room, switched on the percolator and returned to the bedroom and brushed my hair, did my make-up and went to have my coffee and still he hadn’t stirred. I decided to go and see if Victor was about and there was a chance of breakfast so quietly left the cabin and managed two paces before Gwyneth came out of her cabin. “You look very fresh and spring like.”
“I feel it, I’m going to have breakfast and see if Victor has any oysters for Will, I can’t get him to wake up.”
“Oh, let me try,” and before I could stop her she tapped on his cabin door, opened it and peered in, “He’s not in here. Did you just tap on the door without looking in.”
“I nodded, he’s in my room fast asleep. I was going to get some oysters and bacon for him.”
“Oysters? Odd thing to have for breakfast.”
“I think he needs them, he’s a little weak that’s why he won’t wake up.”
“Well I don’t think oysters are going to do any good, shouldn’t you get Mark or David if he’s unwell?”
“I think he’s okay and half a dozen oysters should do the trick.”
She shook her head, “I think I’d better have a look at him or get David here…” and then the penny dropped, “Oh, he’s in your bed.”
I nodded, “But I think he’s run out of whatever there is in oysters that is good for men.”
“Have you tried blowing in his ear, that always works with David. I take it you’re okay?”
“Terrific. I’m having a full English how about you?”
She laughed, “You’re definitely okay, yes I’ll join you we can leave the men to their rest.”
She blushed, “Yes. Come on, breakfast first and you can tell me how it went,” and she hurried out onto the promenade deck before she started giggling too loudly and wake up the sleeping giants.
“Victor, good morning and do you have any oysters?”
“Oysters, I’m afraid not Miss Broughton, they don’t freeze well I’m afraid.”
“Remind me and I’ll organize a diving party, meanwhile the saloon is almost empty, is there any chance of two full English breakfasts?”
“I’ll send Phillips over directly. Your usual table?”
“You are bright and perky, it seems that whatever happened that sent Will into a coma has had the opposite effect on you,” Gwyneth remarked as we sat.
“It was nearly a total disaster, it hurt so much I was on the point of telling him to stop when the pain vanished and I went out into the universe and travelled faster than light and it was incredible. I wanted to do it again when I returned to Earth but Will accused me of being a junky but promised to try this morning but as you can see, he’s had it, I’ve worn him out, I hope he recovers, it was so wonderful.”
She was smiling, “He’ll recover don’t worry about that. No problems this morning, no bleeding or pain?”
“No, none at all, well none that I noticed when I had a shower. The only problem I had was having to pick my clothes up off the floor and hang the dress in my wardrobe. Will is obviously an untidy man.”
“I have the same problem with David. They get excited and impatient at the beginning and think nothing of throwing a Balenciaga in a corner and then moan when you tell them you need new clothes because they’ve worn your old ones out.”
“I’m going to stockpile until I marry him so I have a reserve supply.”
“That’s not such a good idea, it will mean you have to pay for them and he’ll think that’s the way it will continue after you marry. You have to appeal to his macho side, throw him into doubt about his ability to be a caring provider.”
“How do I do that?”
“When you are going somewhere special, hold a dress you’ve worn before in front of yourself and look sad. When he asks why you seem unhappy, tell him you feel as if you’re going to let him down by wearing old clothes when you know so many people will see it and think the worst of him. He’ll have you in Bond Street and Harrods before you can button up your out of fashion coat.”
“Does it work with jewellery?”
“Yes, just say diamonds would be lovely but unaffordable so you’ll look for a reasonable paste alternative.”
I laughed, “I’ll try it but I don’t think it will work. Will knows I have money even without the Pacific Wanderer and the island so he’ll expect me to pay for things like that myself.”
“You underestimate male pride. It wouldn’t matter if you owned the Crown Jewels, he will still want to pay.”
“At the moment I don’t think he could pay for a glass of wine, he’s just arrived with David.”
Gwyneth looked across to the entrance, “We’ll have to part exchange them for newer models.”
I shook my head, “No, I can’t, he’s a very good driver, he drove me around the Universe last night and didn’t get lost once, not even when we were hit by a comet. I love him too much.”
“Do you think we ought to go and help them, they do look a touch frail?”
“Leave them, Gwyneth, our breakfasts are arriving I’ll ask Phillips to send for Mark or a stretcher crew if they collapse.”
After breakfast Gwyneth and David, dressed in their safari jackets and boots, went off to look at the spot that Gwyneth had picked for their house. Victor had packed a Thermos and sandwiches into a small knapsack and Will had shown David how to operate a walkie-talkie and I waved goodbye as they made their way up the beach. “I have to go over to Aurora and then up to the cave to finish off and when that’s done everything is ready to move in,” he told me as they disappeared behind the trees.
“That was quick, I think I’ll go up to the house and make a list of the things we’re going to need and then go through the cargo manifests and see what we already have on board, it’s a nuisance really, it spoils my other plans.”
“Well leave the house for tomorrow what was it you wanted to do?”
“Help you to keep your promises and go to bed and cuddle up but I suppose as there were no oysters I’ll have to leave that for a while.”
He grinned a little wolfishly I thought, “Not for long, I’ll be okay by bedtime tonight and I’ll send one of the seamen down to the waterfall and see if there are any fresh water mussels there.”
“They don’t work like oysters. I’ll stick to my plans but dream about you all day. Will I get in the way if I go up to the cave when I finish at the house?”
“No, there’s only three or four of us working there commissioning the generator and checking everything works.”
“I’ll see you later.” I cuddled up for a moment and we had a nice kiss and then I went to our cabin to find my floppy hat.
“Geoff Roman.” The stranger approached me as I walked up the lawn towards the new house, his hand outstretched. I shook it hesitatingly, I had never met or even seen him before, Charlotte Broughton,” I offered in exchange.
“Yes, I recognised you from your visit to Orca. I’m from Penguin on my way back home for three months leave and I’ve occupied my time here helping with the architecture on your house.”
“It looks beautiful, much better than I thought but so much larger.”
“It is larger, we had the space and materials so I thought it a good idea to use them.”
“I like space, I am very territorial and if the house was a kilometre square, I’d still think of ways of expanding in the future.”
He chuckled, “Most women are like that and I suspect you’d expand the kitchen first.”
“Dead right and if I have my way, extra bedrooms for my twenty children.”
“You’re calling it a day at twenty then?”
“Possibly not, my fiancé Will thinks it’s the wrong number, we should plan on twenty two then we would have two soccer, cricket or rugby league teams.”
“Make if thirty and have two rugby union teams.”
“I hadn’t thought of that, I’ll mention it to Will.” I stopped to look at the house again, “It really is lovely, you’ve done a beautiful job but I think the solar panels are on the wrong side, this is north facing.”
“They aren’t solar panels, they are for hot water and they work by temperature differences, not light. There’s enough to supply all your hot water needs day or night.”
“At night as well!”
“Yup, day or night summer or winter unless the temperature drops below minus sixteen Celsius, then you need to use the electricity supply but this far from the Pole that will need freak weather conditions. There’s a leaflet on the systems, you’ll find it in the kitchen.
“It’s a very modern house despite its old log cabin design.” He opened the main door and we went inside and I stopped and gawked, “Good Heavens, it’s totally different.” All the walls were smooth where I had been expecting the other side of the logs. The only wall that was left as unplastered bricks and logs was the centre partition where the fire place was and it was effective.
He watched my face as I turned and looked around what was to be my sitting room, I could have put three, three seater settees in the room without it looking crowded. “I was going to speak to you about the plastered walls but I was never able to find you and when I spoke to Will he said to go ahead, you’d like it. Behind the plaster is insulation and extra supports for the ceilings and roof, it makes the house virtually monsoon, typhoon, hurricane and nuclear explosion proof.”
“Safe you mean,” I answered with a smile. “Yes I do like it, not so much dusting and a quick wipe with a soapy cloth and everything looks new again.”
“I’m afraid it will be another month before all the work is completed, perhaps six weeks but if you want to move in immediately, I can get enough power and lighting up and running in a week. There’s a bit of work outside that needs doing as well but the disturbance can be kept to a minimum and you should be able to live around it.”
“No don’t do that, we’ll move in, in about two months, we are comfortable on the ship and we have to go to New Zealand for at least three weeks, possibly longer and I’m sure it would be easier for you to not have us getting in the way.”
“Good, if Penguin leaves before the job is finished I’ll brief somebody to take over. But I will need to sit down with you and Will to discuss how you want the final commissioning to be completed, where you want lights, what sort of kitchen, things like that, okay.”
“Fine, tell Will if I’m not around or if you want, leave a message with Andy Bryant the acting captain on Pacific Wanderer and make sure you let us have your bill or we’ll forget to pay you.”
“I’m being paid by the Antarctic contractors until I land in New Zealand so there’s nothing to worry about.”
“No, Geoff, no, that’s not right, it’s our first home and we should pay, I know the authorities are supplying most of the materials so I think I should pay your fee. I want to pay for it, it’s my home and I wouldn’t feel right.”
He smiled, “We’ll talk about it when we sit down to discuss where you want your light switches.”
“As long as we do and if you’re interested I think I could get you the commission for building at least three more houses, probably a lot more. We are going to need an architect, other people will be coming here to live and I want all the buildings to blend in with the island and I really love the way you’ve done this.”
“I have my base in New Zealand, I was in the Antarctic because I wanted to put into practice what I had learned about building for extremely hostile conditions. I’ve finished the job, hence my not kicking up a fuss about being delayed here so yes, I would be very interested in more work on the island.”
“Good, when we get things sorted out, which should be soon I’ll ask you to look at my ideas and perhaps have a chat with one or two of the people who are planning to settle. There’s commercial properties as well as residential. Have you been approached about the work that is being done on the south side of the island?”
“It’s been mentioned but so far I haven’t been approached formally.”
“You have a word with the people over there and on Orca and I’ll do what I can when I go to New Zealand.” I started to leave and thought of something, “You might have to live on Pacific Wanderer or a portacabin whilst you’re here, I haven’t done anything about building a hotel yet.” I grinned and added “And there’s always the cave,” I gave a wave and started off towards the cave.
I kept to the higher ground where a path had been cut so that the workmen could move easily between our house and the cave. I was a little over half way when I came to an animal track and on a whim, turned off and followed it up the hill and soon it opened into a little glade. It was quiet, the trees and undergrowth insulated it from what little noise was coming from below and at the top end there was a fallen tree and I wandered up to sit down, the grass beside the trunk looked inviting so rather than sit on the tree as I intended I smoothed my skirt and sat on the grass with by back resting against the trunk and my head tilted up, eyes closed feeling rather than seeing the dappled rays of sunshine chase each other back and forth across my face as the leaves moved. There was tons of work to do but I had a need to think for a while and my last action came into my mind. Rather than plonk my backside on the trunk, I had sank rather gracefully to the grass and my legs were tucked sideways, the skirt almost covering them. A perfectly normal way for a girl to sit, comfortable, neat and discreet without being prudish. A month ago if I had elected to sit on the grass I would have sank down, leaned against the trunk and my legs would have been spread in front of me, probably in a wide V or bent with my arms resting on my knees, comfortable but not ladylike in a free swinging skirt and my action had been natural not carefully thought out as it had been on that first day I had worn a skirt and come to the beach with Will. There was nothing special about it until I considered the time span between the two actions, just a few weeks. I had come up here to think about my life after my parents deaths and an unconscious action had started my train of thought. Only weeks ago I was a mid-twenties male, grieving and feeling lost; now I was a mid-twenties female, in love with a beautiful man, engaged, living on what is virtually a desert island and last night I had had a sensational experience when I made love. The love making had been nothing like it had been for me as a male, that had been pleasant but nothing I would have gone to any great length to experience again but equally not something I would have run away from, just a nice thing to do sometimes. Yet last night it had been something totally different, an experience I was going to repeat at the earliest possible moment, probably tonight. Up until yesterday, looking at Will made my heart flutter, but now it thumped and the excitement I felt when he took me in his arms must show in my face.
Is it possible or am I having a prolonged erotic dream? I am able to understand some of what has happened to me, accept the possibility of an intersexed person rapidly adjusting to the sudden physical changes and I can understand my accepting the rapid mental changes but both to happen and be accepted in so short a time, surely this was unusual. I should be terrified at what is happening to me, lost, totally confused but I wasn’t, I was happy and as for self-confidence, well here I was, organising a new life in a place on the opposite side of the world to where I had once considered home and seemingly doing it well. I know I was probably going to make errors but even that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm, I cheerfully dived into making decisions, planning and looking for ways to make it work quicker and more efficiently, I was impatient for my new life not scared and if I had any misgivings at all they were centred on the practical side, would I be able to have SRS soon and would I make a quick recovery, but even here I wasn’t too concerned, if there was a reason I couldn’t complete my transition, then I would simply have to continue my life as I was at the moment, I know Will might be a little disappointed but not enough it seems for him to change his love for me.
I don’t believe in magic, well I do but not seriously, but if magic exists then it’s on this island. There is something in the air that makes me want to be the person I am, not the person I thought I was and makes me want it so much that my brain has decided it had better get its act together and sort things out rapidly or I might start causing it problems.
I laid my head back against the tree and closed my eyes again, squeezed them shut. When I opened them there was going to be a fawn grazing on the far side of the glade and if I spoke to it, it wouldn’t run away and I would know that this was a dream, I was dreaming I was in fairyland. But if there was no fawn and this was no dream, where would I be when I opened my eyes, back in Berkshire? Still on board Pacific Wanderer on the reef with no Will to fall in love with, no fairy prince of my own?
I suddenly found I was frightened to open my eyes and kept them closed. How would I cope with that? I lay there for five minutes becoming more frightened as I thought about it but before it got out of hand I’d make myself count to three and then open them. I hesitated at two and then pushed myself, said three out loud and my eyes snapped open and I sat up. A deer ran into the undergrowth startled by the sudden movement and sound of my voice and I cheered, it wasn’t a fawn but it was close enough and Prince Charming was waiting for me at the cave and I picked up my shoulder bag, dusted down the back of my skirt and skipped back down the track singing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’
In Chapters 21 and 22, preparations are made to take Pacific Wanderer to New Zealand but the journey will be far from smooth.
Footprints in the Sea Vol 2 – (Odysseus and Penelopeia) should be published on Amazon Kindle on the 13 or 14th of December 2016.
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