“What do you want me to say? I was bored, pure and simple. You asked me where all this started and I answered! Now, what is it really that has your knickers in such a knot?”
Now that he mentioned it, she hadn’t really thought about that, and of course, as usual, he did have a point. She had asked the question. She had asked the question. In spite of grueling days and endless nights at William Mitchell School of Law, she had asked the question. It was just different now. It was a duality of person and purpose. She wasn’t even going to for a moment consider discussing that quandary with him, not now. But introspect on the guy was more than just a Pulitzer – hell, it could be the icing on her cake; and endless supply of icing on her cake. Not that this guy didn’t have more icing than any measure of enough, just nearly enough cake, at least as far as she could tell.
He was without any question a catch, but for him, that word does not do him justice – none whatsoever. But yet, here she was, with him, and she knew he liked her, a lot. And she was quizzing him like some doofus that had happened into him at one of those Upper East Side parties she had only heard about.
He walked from the chart table, around the leaner (which was what he called the short wall where people could set their whatever, and hold on to them, and themselves if rough sea left them so inclined. While she had been watching him, but at the same time off to who-knows-where in her head, her silence was not at all to his liking. He sat on one of the plush velvet cushioned stools at a tactful distance and set his glass on the rail. Setting sun lighted his face, making his eyes glow, just about setting her off on a swoon. She didn’t change her expression, yet when she was recounting later she had no clue why. He said,
“Well?! Are you going to answer me, or just sit there and brood, or pout, or whatever it is scrunching that pretty face?”
She accentuated her expression, faux-dramatically puffed out her lower lip as long as she could hold back from breaking a smile… a smile, when it finally came, was garnished with one of her playful, pretty giggles that he confided later ‘nearly melted a lonely, aching heart’. She said that he had softened to putty, carefully setting down the dividers with one hand as he pulled his specs down his nose, eyes twinkling. They both had to agree that moment was the first totally endearing one between them since she had come aboard, and the way it looked at that moment, they loved it!
“I guess I was just letting my curiosity get the best of me – I was hoping that knowing more about what draws you to such things would help me get to know you better…” She had to reach, lean sideways on her per to lay her palm on his forearm. She gave it a gentle squeeze, adding “and I really would like that.”
He regarded her had on his arm, soaked-up the sensation – it had been so too long. Smiling more inside than out, he asked,
“Know me better?”
Having asked, just what she said, the way that she said it made him jumble inside.
“Yes, sir! And I do want to – just like Joni Mitchell said. You know what she said about what women must have? She grinned the best way that she knew just grabbed him, just the way she did the first time. And, actually, he did know what Joni Mitchell had say, but no way did he want to spoil her soaring mood. Corinthian nosed deep into a swell, foaming grey seemed outside of every window, warm sunlight running down every surface, even theirs. She remained unfazed, sitting strait, fingers locked just beneath her bosom, she recited
“A woman must have everything!” in a nearly perfect airy Joni Mitchell voice and timbre, he couldn’t help but happily laugh as she took two or three faux bows.
Shaking his head, his voice still reverberating the laugh, he told her
“You‘ve got that Joni cold!”
“Always try me best!” she replied in a cockney every bit Audrey Hepburn’s ‘Enry ‘Iggins as her Joni was pure California. If all had done was hear it, he would have absolutely had no doubts that Audrey Hepburn is was. Nevertheless, seeing from whence Audrey came at that moment, he was quite taken along with that moment; taking him a little longer than usual to recognize her recitations were less natural than practiced. He took a last drink to empty his glass. Smiling wisely, he asked,
“Acting in a previous life, were you?”
“Not really acting per se, just lots of voice lessons – did tons of commercial impersonations while I was at NYU becoming this mere journalist person you see!”
“And what a fine one you are!”
He showed what she would forever after refer to as ‘his warm, real smile, and she returned it as he rose and was enroute to the pocket-wet-bar at the forward end of the salon on the starboard side. It was hard for him to focus on what at that moment seemed the most trivial thing – refreshing his Scotch. As he uncorked the decanter he could hear her soft footfalls, the unconscious ticking of fingernail on Riedel. When he turned back around, she was midway to his chart-table-turned-workbench. She was doing her dainty happy-walk, pausing next to where he had spread all manner of paper: open books, bookmarked books, stapled paper, loose paper, maps, drawings and several notebooks. His unique printing and cursive seemed to be somewhere on every one of them. No sooner had he joined her and sat back down than she kneed his legs apart, fitting herself cozily herself into what turned out to be a perfectly fitting niche on his right lap, one hand coming to rest on the nape of his neck. She could feel a slight wave of gooseflesh risen to meet her soft touch. He could feel her warmth, and his,
“Must you have everything?” he asked softly, briefly searching her eyes.
She giggled, snuffed softly into the free knuckle pressed against her lips, her eyes glittering mischief. She took a tiny sip from her glass, unable to break the eye-lock he held her so tightly in.
“Have? Maybe not… might be able to settled to know what all this is, exactly. You know, just for starters… on the way to discovering that you in there”
The hand on his neck lightly tapped the back of his head. He felt the warm softness of her words against his temple, which excited him, and she could tell.
“Exactly.” His tone was rhetorical. “Mighty tall order there, cupcake…”
“OK. Then lets move on to that you in there!”
He laughed, deeply, and almost just to himself, wagging her back-and-forth on this leg.
“Hell, that’s even worse – I don’t think even I know all that!”
He turned to meet her gaze, swimming in her eyes again, she just taking a tentative dip into his. Quarter rotating iris’, she met his mouth, kissing him softly. His tongue traced a path along the sweet-spot on her upper lip – when tingling the corner she rushed. Unable to stop the erotically involuntary shudder, all a woman wanted now was more. She could feel him heating her tender underside. She cooed, turning her head slightly, only to be immediately, pleasantly surprised by another, deeper shudder when as his tongue traced her jaw-line to flicker ‘round her earlobe. She turned back to meet his lips, this time her tongue wanted playful reign in that domain, in that moment. They started swaying with the ship now, the Corinthian was changing course, probably obliged to after running the more comfortable direction all day.
“I’ll give you six hours to quit that…”, he murmured onto her lips.
“Only six hours?!” she exclaimed, playfully feigning an attempt to pull away.
“I’m budgeting!”, he replied, his little finger tracing inside the waistband of her clam-diggers. He could feel her gooseflesh following hid finger like the tide. It wouldn’t have taken anything and then only seconds for them to become naked and entwined, yet they both seemed to resonate on the same wavelength tuning them in to a time and place for every thing. This time and this place were meant for what they were being used before their brief firestorm of momentary passion: him working on his most recent blind obsession, and her doing all that she could to learn more about it.
For the moment, her intuition told her she best leave well enough alone so as not to become suspect of ulterior motive, which was a death knell no bell could ever sound and survive. This was running counter to her wanting to totally quiz him with everything she could muster from her interrogative arsenal. Wisely, she finally got ahold of that curiosity, knowing that it might very well do more bad than good – she had know idea how right on the mark she was on that count.
It had not taken very long for her to finally solve the perplexing poser like anyone gets when they know that they recognize someone- may have even known them, but cannot put their finger on how, or when, or where. And she did not put the pieces together until just earlier in the day when she had overheard him down the passageway, in his cabin, talking excitedly on the telephone, which she could barely make-out through the tiny crack he had left the door open, or nor closed completely, when he had come down from the bridge.
It was that combination her mind needed to sew the patchwork of snippets together: While in college she had been pacing outside a cracked door waiting for the lecture going late behind it to end so she could carry-on with hearing hers. He had been a guest lecture in an interdisciplinary symposia series she had, at the time, not found time to take in. But she remembered not his voice as much as the passion interleaved in it – his “discussion” that day had been with regard to the social and philosophical facets of Intellectual Property Law, about how one approaches the ownership of knowledge and all of the dimensions of debate. She only heard the very last few minutes, but those few moments were those rare moments of ones education that are never forgotten.
What she had learned in her time with him aboard Corinthian was there was really nothing in the least eccentric about the dear man, not at all. He was a seeker, a term she did not just pull from thin air to describe him, either. The press had frequently referred to him as a this-or-that genius, but that was not the man that she was sitting down with her pad to sketch tonight. Brilliantly world-wise, with a depth and breadth of accrued knowledge what seemed completely unfathomable to her. He did most definitely see the Universe through unique lenses, illuminated by different light, resonating with it on different wavelengths than anyone else: he was most certainly universally unique. There was not a single person or persona that in any way that she could see resembled him in the slightest.
And she had learned one thing for sure about her – she had not felt so peacefully curious (if that makes any sense), so timeless, so special as she had began to since the very moment she was picked-up by his people at the airfield, came aboard Corinthian, since the moment they had met for the first time. Her feelings seemed to have grown by orders of magnitude ever since, but for their sake she simply could not afford to squander the opportunities daily slipping through her fingers like sand through the hourglass swinging from side to side overhead.
She had worked so hard for the introduction, so fully committed to follow-up on the lead she finally found to him, to be the journalist, the reporter, the biographer of Arleigh Rhodes Gordon. Surprisingly, it took but few seconds actually in his company before feeling those priorities sliding lower and lower on the scale. Was this what falling in love is like? She had no frame of reference – she had never been. Could it? Now her yearnings, her thirst were not about him but to knew him, the within him where he really is… yet he remained as enigmatic as ever, if not more so knowing what she was seeking – and she had made no progress at all.
That is what is was! That was what had her knickers in knots!
“Just where are we going, exactly?” she asked, giving him a refreshingly cool kiss as he squinted up at her from his breakfast (the table set for two, of course).
“Yes, sir – exactly”
“Wellll my dear nosey-person, I’m afraid I cannot answer that question at this time!”
“Secret destination – some dark, dank, sea-cave?”
“Oh my goodness no!”
“You just can’t tell me? Company confidential?”
“Ohno. You have gone pretty much full-circle on this, how’s that for a clue?”
“I’m afraid not one that I like very much…” She tried out her faux-pout on him Nothing.
“I can’t tell you because I don’t know.”
“And if I ask the Captain. What then? Does he know?”
“He knows where he’s going, I’m sure.”
“And you don’t?”
“No, I don’t.”
“You are really making this difficult, you know!”
“What, are you pouting because we didn’t romp last night?”
“Maybe a little…. Actually no. But that’s not why I don’t know where we’re going.”
“Your Captain is not looking quite as good as I had originally thought?”
“Why do you say that? He’s top-grade, first-rate, best-in-class, all that and more.”
“I disagree. My Captain would have told me where we were, where I was going.” She paused, putting a finger to her as yet unpainted lips. “This is you boat, right?”
“Yes, this ship is mine – belongs to me – I own it.”
“Mr. Gordon, sir.”
“Yes?” He took a moment to fork some fresh fruit in to his mouth. She picked-up the as yet empty champagne flute, and pointed it at him like it was a microphone. He laughed. She tried her damndest not to.
“My readers would be interested in knowing why the Captain of your ship hasn’t told you where he’s going with it!”
“Yes, indeed they would like to know.”
“Well, we sure don’t want to leave your readers in the dark regarding such important matters, do we?”
“No, we don’t.”
“Well, I’m afraid you’ve got me cornered.”
“That’s right – now, out with it!”
He cleared his throat, took a sip of his mimosa, had dabbed his lips with one of the whitest damn napkins she had ever seen.
“I haven’t asked him.”
“WHAT!!”, she exclaimed, cocking her arm back as if to whip the glass at him, all the more surprised when it was snatched from her hand by the waiter, (who was also part of his protection detail). Bobs other hand was behind him, no doubt preparing to draw something, though this situation really didn’t indicate the need for a gun, perhaps he was just preparing to zip on a zip-cuff.
“Is everything alright here, Sir?” Arleigh was by this point almost as surprised, but definitely in a very jocular mood, especially given the expression on her face.
“Yes, Bob- everything’s just fine. Just a little morning joust.”
The man straightened his jacket, adjusted his tie, and produced the pitcher of mimosa he had set down when he had to grab the glass. Her face was very red, and she had kind-of sunk down in her chair.
“Yes, please- I think I need one.”
She mimed BRAT! At him as he filled the glass and set if before her.
“Would there be anything else?”
“Breakfast?” he asked with a mischievous gleam in his eye and a smile to match..
Arleigh indicated her with one hand, and tapped the rim of his glass to signal a refill with the other. She was taking her first sip, slowly, waiting for Bob to disappear down the outboard ladder. She shook her head, unable to completely wipe the embarrassment from her face.
“You could have just said that in the beginning”, she faux-snapped.
“Wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun – and for the record, I had no idea Bob was even close.”
“Oh sure. Seriously though, we are not going anywhere?”
He was tempted to start the whole circular Q&A again, but this time knew it would not be nearly as fun.
“I told the Captain he could indulge himself.”
“Well, I guess that was a very nice thing to do. But don’t we, you have someplace you need to be?”
“Actually, I need to think, and that is actually more the prime purpose of this fine craft than anything else!”
“Precisely. Now, before your breakfast arrives, are there any more things your readers are dying to know?”
“You can be a real brat can’t you?”
“Ohyes. But a kinder brat you’ll never find!”
“And not a cuter or more charming one, either” she thought as she sipped her mimosa, eyes twinkling mischief.
“Nope! They’re good for now, my readers that is. I was hoping you might give me a little time filling me in on what it is you’re thinking about… if it wouldn’t be too much trouble.”
“Not at all. In fact it helps me sometime to talk myself through things. Mind if I blither while you eat?”
“Kinda makes it hard to take notes, you know – eating and taking notes.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it. Let’s just say it will be some general background to sort of set the stage.”
“The stage, huh?”
“Yeah – you know, put things in some kind…”
“I know what setting the stage is, thank-you very much.”
“Of course. Well, perfect timing – here comes your breakfast. You go ahead and get started, I have a couple of things to do.”
“For one thing, I’m gonna find out where in the hell were going!”
[JgE1]This is where Arleigh nears the big AH about how much bigger what implications that are in the scrolls than the discovery of themselves: Herodotus had lied because he was under the watchful eyes of a Roman censor sent under a secret pact with the Egyptian High Priests to prevent his revealing the true history he had been hearing by feigning unspoken ommission