Authors: Danika Steel
WAVES OF PASSION
CHAPTER ONE - THE AMBER ROSE
Mom, I know you just want to help, but please stop trying to fix me up with the neighbor's daughter." I laughed at my mother's feigned look of surprised innocence.
"Seth, I just worry about you all alone out here…I want you to be happy," she said gently as she reviewed the latest expense report for my chartering company.
happy." I smiled lovingly at my dear mother who worried far too much about me.
"You've been alone for so many years."
"And so have you." I pointed out.
"It's different for me, you're still young and so handsome and I had your father for many long happy years."
"And I had Amber, albeit for a very short time," I said sadly. "I quite enjoy my peaceful bachelor's life, but I promise if I ever meet someone I like, I will not think twice about a relationship, but I don't feel the need to scour the neighborhood looking for a wife just because it's the socially acceptable thing to do."
"Alright Seth, I suppose I'll have to trust you to make your own decisions. You've done a marvelous job of it so far," she said with a teasing lilt in her voice.
How could she even think I could ever grow tired of the simple life I lived; waking up every day to beautiful, sunny, hope-filled mornings like today? I often asked myself that very question, despite the lonely bachelor's life I had chosen for myself. As far as I was concerned, I was living the dream. I had the freedom to come and go as I pleased, never succumbing to the boring nine to five jobs so many of my friends were plagued with. I had passion for my work and I was never bored or weighed down by anything as mundane as a routine.
I was lucky enough to have been raised on the sea, spending the better part of my childhood on my father's fishing boat. By the time he died, the boat was in disrepair, but I was young and grieving and the boat was my father's legacy, I couldn't let it die with him. He was taken from us so suddenly, just after my twenty-third birthday, but I welcomed the distraction of restoring the boat to its former glory. For months, I labored over the repairs, applying some much-needed tender loving care to her bodywork. I created a cozy living space on board, intending to make the boat my permanent home, despite my mother's reservations.
After eight long months of hard work, pouring my grief into the restoration, I re-christened her 'The Amber Rose.' With a silent 'cheers' to my father, I raised a glass and celebrated the newest chapter of my life, feeling a sense of personal satisfaction at the accomplishment.
Fishing had always been an important part of my life, following a childhood passion and the constant encouragement of my father. As soon as I completed my college education, I started my own business utilizing my father's legacy, The Amber Rose, as the perfect tool to help me launch my own chartering service. I had the necessary skills and patience to teach people how to sail and fish, and I had the passion to make it a success. It also enabled me to travel, which had always been a lifelong ambition. I wanted to travel around the world someday, how I would manage that has yet to be determined, but in the meantime I've enjoyed providing others with the opportunity to sail, fish and relax at a pace that suited them, like a working retreat.
I set up my company, Anglers Rest, in the early summer months that first year and by that autumn I had chartered several successful and enjoyable trips, venturing out into the Bering Sea along the Alaskan coast. My clients expressed their gratitude by re-booking trips for the following year. I've had a great many repeat clients since that first fledging year over a decade ago now.
Since the completion of the renovations and the launch of my career, I'd marveled at the romance of it all; I could come and go as I pleased, wake when I wanted and sleep whenever I needed. There was something to be said for being rocked to sleep by the soothing waves passing beneath the hull, lapping against the sides, rhythmically sending me into a peaceful slumber. Then there were the beautiful mornings when I would stir from my sleep where I was met by sunshine and cool breezes with the chance of meeting a new neighbor who had slipped into the marina to dock beside me sometime in the night. Of course, it all sounds idyllic, and for the most part, it has been, but there have been necessary adjustments to accommodate my lifestyle. I had to downsize my life, all material possessions were put into storage before I climbed aboard, but then I've never really been a materialistic kind of man and it certainly never felt like a sacrifice.
I was brought up with little concern for possessions, my parents weren't very well off but they weren't poor either; I never went without any of the necessary things in life, and this had been instilled into my own beliefs. My father made toys that were practical. He didn’t see the sense in wasting money on toys that lost their appeal after a day or so. I enjoyed watching him craft a toy car and very often he would allow me to help him which always made me look after them a bit better, it taught me to respect the things I had.
My father, Joseph Derby was a talented and creative artist, but unfortunately, his talent was wasted in the factory where he spent his working days. Carving toys out of wood wasn't going to pay the bills so his creative side could only afford to shine in his spare time. He was the manager of an ice factory and when you live in a thriving fishing village, ice is perhaps a vital necessity to the fishermen and fishmongers far and wide. It was a well paying job, but it took up most of his time leaving little time for hobbies.
My mother Clarissa, worked as a private seamstress to the local dignitary, leaving both my parents with demanding roles; it was no surprise they had precious little time for me. I didn't mind so much, I was more of a loner anyway, even as a small child. I was allowed to play down by the marina, as it was close to my father's factory and he could keep an eye on me while I helped the fishermen with their catches. My childhood was a good one, full of fresh air, learning a practical skill that would stay with me throughout my life. It was much preferable to the kids of today and their computer games and mindless gadgets.
During his non-working moments my father would build, create and decorate anything and everything, most of the furniture in our family home was made by him and must have saved him and my mother a small fortune. He tried to teach me his craft and I've managed to create some nice things, but nothing quite as lovely as the things my father crafted with his skilled hands.
When I took an interest in fishing my father was over the moon and he encouraged my interest for which I'm eternally grateful. My mother was thankful because it got us both out of her hair so she could concentrate on her own work, which very often left her with deadlines to meet, a pressure she handled well. I genuinely looked forward to those times with my father, as they were few and far between. He was a patient man who loved to teach new things and I hung onto his every word, reveling in his wisdom and knowledge. I owe my success to the man who raised me and I only wished we could have had him with us longer.
I remember with vivid fondness that special day when I was still a young boy. My father returned home from work and announced he had a big surprise for us. Mother jumped up from her sewing machine and pummeled him playfully for information but he insisted on her patience. He then took two small scarves from her closet and blindfolded us both, insisting we go along with his silliness. He walked us out of the house and across the green to the marina. Not until we were both standing next to each other did he untie the scarves from our eyes where he revealed his surprise, and it was large indeed. To my utter delight, I discovered my father had purchased a large fishing boat which now sat floating alone in her slip at the marina where I spent so much time already. I wanted to make my father's boat my home that first day.
“Oh Joe, what have you done?” my mother asked despairingly.
It wasn't like my father to spend money frivolously, but as her tone was soft and gentle, it was apparent she wasn't in too much disfavor. My young, impressionable eyes almost popped out of their sockets, it was a beautiful, shiny boat and I couldn't wait to climb aboard to explore. My excited father prompted me to do so and I immediately jumped on deck, it rocked gently with the pressure of on-board movement.
“Careful Seth,” my mother called after me.
I was already down in the cockpit, visibly devouring all the buttons and switches on the console. It all looked so complicated but now having full knowledge of their uses it's not so complicated after all. The boat was pointing out into the ocean and as I held onto the wheel I imagined I was embarking on a fishing trip with my father where we came across pirates and had to fight sharks off as they attacked the boat– but then again, I've always had an overactive imagination.
I knew even then that a boat was where I wanted to live, but sadly, it wasn't until my father died that I was able to realize my dream. I remember the first time we took her out. I was ready to go at the crack of dawn and I was anxious to see what she could do, but my father made me wait. We couldn't take her out until she was christened with a name. I watched with determined concentration as he sanded the spot where her name would go. He refused to tell me what he planned and he teased me with silly names like,
'Sea Me Smile,'
'The Sushi Bar'
Finally, he began painting fine lines scribed down the side of the hull. And then I saw it, she was 'Clarissa's Kiss' after my mother. It was a fine name for a fine ship.
None of my friends from school had been particularly interested in my hobby; actually most of my friends were the sons of fishermen and they hated the life and couldn't understand my fascination, but I didn't need anyone else as long as I had dad. I did however, know one girl from school whose father also owned a boat in the harbor; she and her family lived on the boat and I'd always pleaded with my parents for us to do the same. Mother lamented the impracticalities of such an idea but I think my father would have secretly wished the same as I.
I met Amber during my high school years; she arrived half way through our freshman year, all pristine and timidly-shy. She was introduced to the class, but I didn't pay her any mind until I overheard her telling a group of girls that she lived on her father's boat down at the marina.
I waited to catch her alone without the gaggle of girls that followed her around almost from the moment she arrived. When I finally had the chance to speak with her I told her all about my fascination with living on a boat. I was afraid she would think I was an absolute geek, but to my utter surprise and bewilderment, she hugged me and thanked me for telling her. She said she always feared people would think it was strange that her family lived on a boat and she was happy to tell me all about it.
I found her to be a very friendly, sweet and pretty girl whom I really wanted to befriend. Amber had waist long, thick blonde hair, tied back neatly into two beribboned pigtails, her bangs wispy and untamed. Whether or not the sea air had anything to do with it, she had the brightest pink cheeks I'd ever seen on anyone and when she smiled her cheeks shone even more. We immediately became the best of friends, inseparably joined at the hip. We enjoyed spending every waking moment together in school and down at the marina, but eventually, as we grew into hormonal teenagers we enjoyed a relationship that was much more than just friends; but that wouldn't happen for a few long years yet.
Despite Amber's doll-like features, she was quite the tomboy but I'd never looked at her like anything more than a friend, or a little sister I was slightly overprotective of. Amber could climb the highest of trees and whatever the boys could do, she could do, albeit, she usually did it better. In an unassuming way she was brave, and most of the time she caught me off guard with her daredevil antics but I loved spending time with her, even when she bullied me with her bossy behavior.
Around the early teens, most of my male friends assumed we were more than just friends and when they realized that wasn't the case, they would ask me to set them up with her. She had matured into a lovely young woman, still small and petite, but she had grown into her curves. She became quite the school sweetheart, boys everywhere would drool at the very sight of her, she of course was quite oblivious to all of the attention and even if she had been aware, she would have been appalled at the very thought of male attention.
It was probably in her sixteenth year that she started to become aware of boys. She would always tell me, much to my chagrin, which boys had caught her and her friends’ attentions. I was biased but Amber was by far the prettiest girl in our year and she could have easily gone out with any boy she had a mind to, but unfortunately she seemed to prefer the bad boys who were much more trouble than they were worth. I spent a lot of time worrying about her and keeping her out of trouble. I probably-- in fact I know I didn't realize it at the time, but I was already in love with Amber, although I found myself involved with another girl for a short while. Her name was Becky and she was pretty and very interested in me, otherwise I'd never have pursued her. We dated for a few months and Becky was my first. I enjoyed sex with Becky of course, but it wasn't an earth shattering experience for me. We broke up when Becky fell for a friend of mine; I wasn't broken hearted about it to be honest and I think Amber was relieved to have my undivided attention again.