Adventure Gay Romance

Christian Jones felt a breeze on his arm and almost jumped out of his skin.

Was it a dream? He rubbed his shoulder against his cheek, and felt the dry sandpaper of a five-day stubble, skin burnt by the sun. The deep blue ocean surrounding their small boat had been playing tricks with his mind, mirages of land, and what did those looks from Rafe mean?

Again, a gentle movement on his skin, and he leapt up.

“Rafe! Captain Rafe, a breeze!” Christian turned to look at the mainsail, eager for it to fill with wind, to pull them out of the hole in the ocean they had been stuck in for two days. But it only gave a half hearted wave before it fell again, hanging flat and limp. 

Christian slumped back down, Rafe and Lori's heads dropped as well, hopes dashed again, a cork bobbing in an unforgiving ocean, waiting. If only the wind would blow.   

Christian kicked himself again for coming at all. Sam had planned it, and his adventurous spirit would’ve loved every minute of it, the physical challenge of learning how to be an open water sailor, and yes, even the chance of death lingering over them.  

 This was supposed to be their honeymoon trip, after the glamorous wedding, scheduled for just a week ago today, if Christian had his dates right. After the last few days on this sailboat, he realized he might have lost count. Has it been five days or six?

 Christian’s carefully mapped life whirled into a tornado of dysfunction when their relationship crashed into Sam’s infidelity, and his lies. Then when he found out Sam had been sleeping with Christian’s boss, he resigned in protest.

Christian seethed in anger, furious at them, and at himself for not seeing the obvious signs that the relationship was off course, and had been for months.

 In vengeance at destroying Christian’s dream of the perfect wedding, he took Sam’s dream trip as his own, Sam’s bucket list trip he had wanted more than the wedding. 

And, Christian realized, Sam wanted it more than him too.

 “I‘m taking the damn boat trip! ” He screamed at Sam, after he found out it was paid for, and non-refundable. 

 Christian hadn’t paid any attention when Sam spoke about this honeymoon sailboat trip. Christian had been too busy, coordinating the guest list, seating the 120 family and friends into the absolute perfect reception hall. He had organized the caterers, the swing band, even the matching black tie tuxedos. Sam looked beautiful in the tux.

 A week on a sailboat, island hopping through the Bahamas. Christian imagined a yacht with margaritas and catered dinners, provided by waiters in matching polo shirts, stopping for shopping trips into Freeport, HopeTown and Nasau.

 Of course he should have known, this being Sam's trip. Sam preferred downhill skiing to snow sledding, preferred mountain climbing to the mountain views out of a Swiss chalet.

Christian would spend the week on a working sailboat, learning how to sail while cruising from Palm Beach, Florida through the South Atlantic.

 Christian didn't see Captain Rafe when he first stepped onto the small sailboat, his focus on staying upright on the bobbing deck, then finding where to stow his bags in the tiny back cabin.

The sailboat, the ‘Blue Horizon’ looked old, white paint streaked with yellow, the interior had faded wood paneling, with avocado green trim. Christian bumped into a shelf on one side, and then shouldered an array of pots, on the other, clattering in protest around him.  

The walls squeezed in, buzzed in his ears, pulling the breath out of his lungs. He lurched back on to the deck.

“I’ll sleep out here.” Christian said, looking around at the narrow rope filled walkway.

 The sailboat engine rumbled out of the marina, and then Captain Rafe, with quick fluid motions loosened some ropes, and the sail snapped into the wind, rolling out from the mast, and the boat took off, tilted to the side as the waves crashed against it, spraying a mist of optimism and hope into Christian’s face. Maybe, just maybe, Christian thought, this could be fun.

 At the ‘crew meeting’ as Rafe called it, he got the first real look at the others on the boat.

 Captain Rafe wore a tank top over loose drawstring shorts, barefoot with thick knots in his calves and forearms. His long limbs rippling in lean muscle, hung loose as he draped himself on the railing. Christian stared in awe at this bronze sea god, his dark hair tied loosely in back, with black sunglasses and an easy smile.

 The other sailor, Lori, joining in Sam’s place, stood near, her face in a tight grimace as she fought the swaying boat. Young and fit, her eyes were only for Rafe, her interest plain.

 “We’re going to have a great trip!” Rafe said, patting the side of the sailboat. “This old lady’s treated me well over the years. She has some issues, don’t we all- but she’s seaworthy and a good boat to learn on. We’ll have a lesson each day, some sailing skills, and then we’ll move to the next island.” Rafe said. “We’ll find a cove to spend the night, and then off again the next day. By the end of the week, you’ll be a top sailor.”

 “Guaranteed.” Rafe winked at Christian.

 Even with Captain Rafe’s expert training, Christian’s strengths of designing water-tight financial reports, sprung leaks when asked to do physical tasks.

 “Just wrap the rope around the winch,” Rafe said for the fifth time, as if repeating the instruction would get Christian to understand, his fingers to obey.

The rope, disobedient and contrary, kept slipping, too few loops and too little coordination.

 Christian couldn’t tighten his emotions either, and as the rope slipped again, a wave of failure crashed around him. Everything needed to be perfect, and nothing was. He had a clear specific course, and now it’s gone. He lost Sam, lost his job, and now couldn’t even perform the simplest task on the sailboat to wrap a rope around a stupid knob. The tears just poured out, salty and thick.

 Finally Rafe took the rope, and with a grunt, his large hands wrapped it tight and secure.

 Rafe lifted his glasses up and leaned in close, his eyes light brown wells of concern.

“It’s not that important,” the eyes crinkled in a smile. “You don’t have to work on the rigging, there are other jobs, do you want to steer?”

“Oh no, “ Christian sputtered, his hand wiping the snot from his face. “It’s not the winch, its…”

He stopped, not knowing how to start describing his problems, and not knowing if he could ever finish. 

“I can’t steer, I don’t know where I'm going…”

 Rafe laughed, light and clear brightening the storm clouds inside Christian. 

Christian began laughing too, at his foolishness, at problems thousands of miles away while he sailed in paradise.

Rafe reached out and his warm hand wrapped around Christian’s upper arm, sending an electric shock through him. Christian lurched away, scared of wanting it so much, of how much he needed physical connection.

Rafe put his hands up, wary.

“Come on, man.” Nodding his head toward the back of the boat. 

Christian stood at the helm, in front of a huge, metal steering wheel.

“Ok cap’n, you can steer.” Rafe pointed to a mountain just visible on the horizon. That’s Grand Bahama.” He reached into a cubby and pulled out an old faded captain’s hat and used both hands to place it on Christian’s head.

“Keep us on course.”

Christian swore he'd never take the hat off again. 

Each day, Christian listened intently to Rafe’s lesson, and then promptly forgot as soon as the words left Rafe’s mouth. Overwhelmed by his smooth movements, his competency in his small, tight world, Christian thought he might truly be a god.

He saw Lori eyeing him in the same way, and felt a sting of jealousy, but knew which way Rafe’s sail blew.

On the fifth day, south near the island chain of Exuma, the wind, their constant steady companion, stopped. 

Rafe looked up at the clear blue sky as the boat drifted, and nodded to himself. The horizon seemed endless, the blue sky and the sea merging into an infinity of possibilities.

“Let’s take a dip!” Rafe slipped out of his tank top and was over the side in a flash. Lori followed, a smooth practiced dive. 

Christian slipped his shirt off, and saw muscles developing he didn’t know he had, his pale skin darkening, and he almost looked like a human.

Christian knew their Captain could solve any problem, and so splashed in the clear water, enjoying the morning break. He didn’t look at the land sitting on the edge of the horizon, a reminder of all his problems. 

But the wind didn’t return, and soon Christian couldn’t look away from it, worried they would never get back to solid and firm safety. Rafe ran the engine that night, until the small tank sputtered out.

“Chris, maybe you can look at the radio?” Rafe’s forearm wiped the sweat off his forehead, a rag in one hand. “You’re good with those kind of things?”

Christian’s heart leapt in his chest. He moved into the small cabin, he would fix the radio, saving them all. Rafe would see him as a hero.

But once he saw the radio, an antique metal box, with faded icons next to worn knobs, he knew his skills programming computer software wouldn’t be of any use.  

“Maybe…” Christian said, opening the back panel to uncover the jumble of wires. He moved two, removed a rust covered piece, then reconnected to the battery. A squawk erupted out of the box, echoing in a possibility of rescue around them.

 “You did it!” Rafe hugged Christian from behind in a tight embrace. Christian’s eyes closed in pleasure, until Rafe pulled him away from the sparks shooting out the back of the now- fried radio.

 Another day of no wind followed, the sun beating down on the deck. Rafe stayed in the cabin while Lori and Christian were sent to clean the sailboat, Rafe’s superstitious belief it would get the wind to blow again. The food stores were low, only bread rolls and cheese, but still plenty of cans of wine and beer.  

That evening they gathered on the deck, a scavenged dinner in the finally cool air. Lori sipped on a beer, next to Rafe. Christian sat on the side nursing a can of wine, watching the blue of the night turn darker and the stars come out one by one, filling the sky.

“Is the wind ever going to blow again?” Lori asked, the unspoken question hanging over them all. “Or are we going to be stuck here, just floating?”

“It’s just when.” Rafe said. “But the next hour, day, or week?”

His low voice rolled like the waves drifting softly against the boat. 

 “Close your eyes.” Rafe said. “Believe with me; the wind will come to blow us through this great Blue. Out here, to change the world you must believe you can change yourself.”

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” Lori said. “We’re going to fucking die out here- almost out of food, no radio, and you want us to just believe?!” Lori said, her hands flying up.

“I believe.” Christian said quietly. Tears, and then sobs grew from somewhere deep inside him.

“My life’s a disaster. I have nothing to go back to, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

“You both are pathetic.” Lori left, disappearing into the cabin.

Rafe moved next to him, an arm over his shoulder, and this time Christian didn’t pull away.

Christian looked into Rafe’s eyes and saw a storm of desire. 

“I, thought you liked beer…” Christian nodded at the spot Lori had just left.

“I like beer, on occasion.” Rafe whispered in Christian’s ear.” But I prefer wine. It’s more, full bodied… What about you?”

“I like wine.” Christian’s body vibrated with intensity, responding to the man next to him.

“Oh good.” Rafe’s hand cupped Christian’s cheek, his thumb brushing away the tears.

“I’m a mess, I’m scared, and not sure of what to do….” Christian said, pushing against Rafe’s warm chest, though not that hard. 

“Do you believe, Rafe said, “believe you can change your life?”

“Yes, I believe.” Christian let go, falling into Rafe’s arms, falling into a belief of a better future.

“Say it again.” Rafe hushed under his breath.

“I believe...” And then Christian could no longer speak as Rafe's lips touched his.  

Later that night the wind picked up, and Rafe's hands loosed the ropes from the winch, freeing the sail and then they were off, toward an infinity of possibilities across the deep blue.

March 08, 2024 21:15

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23:20 Mar 10, 2024

Lots of interesting metaphors to visualize. Fitted the prompt well. Thanks for reading mine.


Marty B
03:42 Mar 11, 2024

I might have gone overboard with the metaphors, hope at least some of them found land ;) thanks!


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Mary Bendickson
23:57 Mar 09, 2024

Good descriptions. Perfect prompting. Thanks for liking my flood story


Marty B
21:41 Mar 10, 2024

I love that phrase- 'perfect prompting' !! Thanks!


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Alexis Araneta
11:48 Mar 09, 2024

Such a riveting story, as usual. Brilliant flow to this. Well, at least, Christian found someone.


Marty B
18:13 Mar 09, 2024

Christian just had to let go, and then his way became clear. I appreciate your comment! Thanks


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