tagRomanceOne Little White Lie

One Little White Lie


“Is anyone sitting here?” a soft, but very pleasant female voice asked.

I swiveled in my stool, as I responded, “No, the seat is yours if you want it.”

My first thought was, “The kids will be basketball players for sure.”

Why was that my initial thought when I met this female for the first time? Well part of the reason had to be physical—she was at least six feet tall, and was wearing a modest halter-top that showed a very flat stomach working up her slim figure to very nice breasts. She had soft brown hair and brown eyes that stared at me. Her voice obviously had triggered some sexual signal within me that also contributed to the thought. Finally, I was sitting at a bar with ten bar stools that overlooked the ocean, and I was the only customer—nine empty chairs beckoned her and she chose to sit next to me!

I stood up quickly to pull her stool away from the bar so she could sit, and the last element of the thought came into play—I was looking down at her since I am six feet five inches tall.

I thought, “Children? The sun must be getting to you. Sexual etiquette insists you at least find out the female’s first name before you start making little kids with her.”

She saw I was flustered and quickly said, “I’m sorry if I startled you. My name is Jennie McQuiston and I drove eight hours today to get to Key West. I just arrived two hours ago and this is my first attempt to explore the city. I was hoping you could give me some tips on what to see.”

I recovered and said, “I will be glad to tell you all the good places to go on this two-mile by four-mile island, but first I insist that your first drink in Paradise is a gift. What can I get you?”

She gave me a nervous grin and replied, “Your Corona and slice of lime looks great. I think that would be nice.”

I waved at the bartender who had watched the exchange. I pointed at my beer and signaled for another. This was an island where time was not relevant—the bartender might be over immediately, but if the waves looked interesting, it might take longer; that there were no other customers in sight had nothing to do with his urge to serve. The waves were obviously boring today since he came over and presented Jennie with her Corona and lime.

As she drank from the bottle I looked at her more closely. She really was very pretty—not classically beautiful, but a wholesome, fresh scrubbed kind of pretty with a light Mediterranean complexion that would turn into a beautiful tan. Her bare shoulders were broad and square with no hint of a slouch that sometimes infects females who try to hide their height. And, of course, those exceptional breasts didn’t hurt her looks either.

I let her finish the first swallow and said, “My name is Rick Harris and I better confess to you right away that I am flying under false colors. I am not a local, and I have only been here four days. But before you get too disappointed, I have spent twenty hours a day exploring this town and by now you might consider me a semi-local—at least where bars and restaurants are concerned.

“The first thing you have to realize is that Key West is really a goofy little town—the locals, who are called ‘Conchs’ refer to it as their island. For example, the work uniform here means you have to wear clothes, but even that rule is ignored during the last weekend in October, which they call Fantasy Fest. Half of the Key West population has bikes instead of cars and they consider it wimpy to have lights on the bikes at night. Another danger is the little signs—there is ‘men only,’ ‘women only,’ and ‘clothing optional.’ I missed the ‘men only, clothing optional’ signs yesterday and went into a courtyard bar for a beer and faced nine naked men! I think the ninth was disappointed when I made a tactical retreat.”

Jennie was giggling now and asked, “And if the sign only says ‘clothing optional’ that means”…she blushed as she realized what it meant.

She waited a second and then asked, “Now that you gave me your warnings I have my first question. If you were taking a couple to dinner tonight and they were paying for it and they liked good food, where would you go?”

I answered, “It depends Jennie. If they were from the Midwest like Chicago, then to take them to a meat place would be foolish, because Chicago has the greatest beef places in the world. So it should be a fish restaurant. But if they came from Florida or the southeast, a beef place might be great. There are two very nice beef restaurants and two very nice fish restaurants. All four of them are relatively expensive, but much less than a New York restaurant. So that’s a long way of saying you have to tell me more?”

Jennie answered, “They are from southern Georgia; I know they like beef, and it should be a quiet place where you can talk.”

I said, “Then the answer is easy. Richard’s is a very small restaurant with just eight outside tables on their patio; they only serve meat that they fly in from Chicago. The locals I talked to say it is by far the best for food and atmosphere.”

Jennie nodded and changed subjects as she asked, “Tell me about yourself Rick…why did you come to Key West?”

She stared at me as if each word I uttered was fascinating to her. Her serious brown eyes were focused on mine; I felt like a teenager. I replied, “I went to an engineering college in the Midwest—you earn a Master’s degree in five years. It was called the three-two program which meant that all the undergraduate courses were taken in three years, and then you started the graduate courses. At the end of the fourth year I received my undergraduate degree and one year later I received my graduate degree. My emphasis was on desalinization and distillation of seawater into fresh water. It is a specialty area that I always liked and it is in high demand. Thank God I didn’t become an aeronautical engineer—there are thousands looking for a job now. Anyway, I was offered a job before I graduated and I start in Tampa next month. My new company gave me a thousand dollar signing bonus; my college gave me a ten thousand dollar student loan that I have to pay back; and at least five banks gave me a free credit card, which I have yet to use.

“This is my one fling before I start my career. Five of us guys came down in two cars and rented a large, beat up suite in a bed and breakfast place. There are two beds; two pull out couches and the floor. The owners of the two cars that drove down got the beds. We drew cards for the rest—I got the lumpy couch! So I’m living on the cheap for another week.”

I paused and then said, “Jennie, that’s the short and dull version of my life. I think it’s your turn.”

She smiled and responded, “I graduated from Florida State a year ago and went to work as a Human Resources administrative assistant for a large company in Orlando. I thought it would be the perfect job for me—I could help the employees with their career path and help the company find and promote the right people at the right time.

“I was naïve. At my company there is open warfare between the employees and management. I never knew it could be so vicious. The employees want to take every sick day in the world and then use phony doctors to get them more paid days off. Management never wants to give raises and always cut corners with labor law. If an employee works ten hours in one day, they deserve overtime for two hours. My company makes them take comp time, which is wrong. They take a foreman who gets overtime and promote him to supervisor doing the same thing, and then don’t pay him overtime. The law says it isn’t the job title; it’s what you do. If the government ever audits my company, they will nail us.

“Anyway, I’m looking for another job. I had two weeks vacation coming and decided to take one of them in Key West to just relax. My girlfriend was coming with me, but her little boy got sick and she backed out; so I came by myself.”

Jennie paused and shyly asked, “Do you have a girlfriend Rick?”

I blushed a little and then admitted, “My ex girlfriend is probably with my ex best friend trying to decided what day they are going to get married. I should have seen it coming months ago, but I guess I was brain dead on how she really felt about me.”

Jennie touched my arm and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be pry. It’s just that…well I wanted to know whether…

“Oh shit! Rick, I have a problem and I need help. I’m a little desperate. I told one little old white lie, and now that lie has mushroomed into a major embarrassment for me.

“I’m not saying this right. Will you take me to dinner tonight?

“Shit. That’s not right either…I feel like an idiot!”

“Jennie,” I said. “You are in Key West, which is Paradise. Nothing can be that bad. Why don’t you take your time and tell me how I can help.”

Jennie sighed and looked at the bar as she said, “My big sister in college was a girl named Lisa. She was wonderful to me. I was always a little shy and didn’t date much and she was the opposite—a date every night. She teased every boy in town. Many times she forced her current boyfriend to find a date for me so we could double date.

“Lisa is very outgoing; she is almost an exhibitionist, and never found a party she didn’t like. She always tried to include me. Finally she found the right man and married him a year ago. It was the perfect fit; he is quiet and confident which offsets Lisa’s wildness. They really love each other, and like a fairy tale, he is fairly wealthy and works in the family business—they own six auto dealerships in the Southeast.

“Since I have been working, she calls me every month or so to see how I am doing—she is still looking after me. A month or so ago I got embarrassed when she asked how I was doing in the man department; so I told one little old white lie. I made up a boyfriend on the spur of the moment. She called again last week and I implied the boyfriend was still with me and we were doing fine.”

I was puzzled and asked, “I still don’t see your problem Jennie. What am I missing?”

Jennie’s face had a look of anguish on it as she replied; “Last week I told Lisa I was going to Key West with my boyfriend. I stupidly told her we were staying at a bed and breakfast place called ‘The Little Gecko.’ When I checked in today I changed my room to a cheaper one since my girlfriend didn’t come.

“As soon as I started unpacking the phone rang; I thought it was the front desk on the room change. It was Lisa. She and Jim have a forty-two foot yacht and they were going to take it to the Bahamas for three weeks. The weather forecast was so bad that they had to delay their crossing; instead they decided to surprise me by coming here for a day—they dock in one hour!

“What am I going to do?

“No, don’t say anything Rick. I’m not that dumb—I really sat next to you to pick you up. If you were nice, I was going to ask you to pretend to be my boyfriend tonight?”

Jennie looked at me. She was embarrassed, but there was also a look of pride on her face—she was asking me, but she wasn’t going to beg me. She waited for me to say something. The answer was easy since I was beginning to like this girl. I said, “Well Jennie, maybe you better tell me what Lisa knows and doesn’t know about me, so we can pull this off.”

Jennie grinned in relief. Her hands found my shoulders and she leaned over and kissed my on the cheek as she said, “I can’t thank you enough; I was so desperate.”

Jennie continued, “Well one good thing is that I always kept everything vague about you. I told Lisa I wanted to make sure about you and when I was, I would tell her everything. I know I never said your name and always changed the subject when Lisa pressed me. So almost anything we make up should be OK.”

Jennie blushed and then stammered, “Oops, I did say something to her; I knew it was a mistake at the time, but after my first little lie, this one didn’t seem so bad.”

I looked at her and remained silent.

She was visibly uncomfortable now and said, “It won’t matter because we are only going to dinner with them. They leave in the morning.

“Oh shit…how did I get myself into this. I told Lisa that we were living together.”

Without thinking I said, “Well Jennie, you better tell me now before we get caught.”

She replied, “Tell you what?”

I teased, “Do we sleep naked, and which side of the bed is mine?”

Jennie turned beet red and then giggled and punched my arm. She said, “I deserve that for my white lies; now promise to quit teasing and let’s get our story straight. I told Lisa we would meet them at the main marina and they are only forty-five minutes away.”

So we huddled for the next thirty minutes trying to figure out a common story. I suggested we keep most of my life as it was—that I received my master’s degree and would be moving to Tampa and that since Jennie hated her job, she would be following me as soon as she quit her company. We decided that we thought we loved each other, but it was too soon to make the big decision, so we were just going to continue to live together and see if our love was the real thing. Time ran out and we headed for the marina. I stopped at a phone booth and made dinner reservations at Richard’s for seven o’clock.

We stood on the dock waiting for Lisa and Jim to arrive. The yacht was called ‘My Lisa’ and the marina master said the boat had called in and was only minutes away. Finally a large white boat turned into the basin and Jennie yelled excitedly, “There she is; that’s Lisa.”

Jennie waved and Lisa waved back, but then turned serious. Docking a boat this big was not for amateurs and not for the careless. The boat slowed and then did a sharp turn as it reached its berth; the starboard engine raced to stop the turn and then both engines engaged in reverse and slowly backed the boat into the berth. Lisa threw a line to one of the marina’s employees and they proceeded to tie up the boat with fore and aft and middle stringer lines—one does not get careless with a $800,000 yacht.

Finally, the work was done and Lisa stepped to the dock and hugged Jennie. As they were talking I looked behind them and a good looking guy about five feet ten inches tall came forward and said to me, “My name is Jim and that little chatty-kathy is my wife Lisa. Her motor mouth will run down shortly and we will do the introductions again.”

Jim was grinning when he said it, and grinned when he shook my hand. My first impression was that he was solid as a rock in these situations. I liked him and thought he was probably twenty-five or so.

Finally Lisa turned and said to Jennie, “Well aren’t you going to introduce me to your secret boyfriend here who I know nothing about…God, your kids are going to be basketball players for sure!”

Jennie blushed and said, “Lisa, we aren’t even married yet, so behave. This is Rick and he is the first boyfriend in a while that I have to look up to.”

Lisa, who was about five feet three inches tall looked up and asked with a grin, “How’s the air up there?”

Jim said, “Lisa, I have to go to the marina office to take care of the berth and the hookups. I’ll check the weather and then after we hook up the electricity and water we can have happy hour on board. While I’m doing that, why don’t you give them the tour and get the liquor locker open.”

Lisa led the way and the tour began. ‘My Lisa’ was a twin diesel sportfisher yacht, which meant that there was room in the cockpit of the boat for fishing, but the enclosed main cabin was big enough for a semi-large galley and chairs and couches with a satellite TV entertainment center on one wall. There was a wet bar and wine rack. The master cabin had a queen-size bed with closet and small private bathroom. The second cabin was very small and had a full-size bed and that was about it. The shared bathroom for the boat was off the main passageway across from the second cabin. It was a snug arrangement, but the teak wood and brass fixtures were really classy. I was overwhelmed by it all.

Lisa never stopped talking. She loved the boat; Jim and she took off on it whenever they had the chance. Jim was always under a lot of pressure with the company because he constantly had to prove that he was management because of his ability, and not because he was family. Lisa just hated it when people thought Jim got a free ride. Lisa must have hugged Jennie ten times during the boat tour—a free spirit who lived in her emotions, but I could tell by her comments about Jim that she loved him passionately.

By the time Jim came back, Lisa had served me a beer and had opened a cold bottle of white wine for Jennie and herself. Jim came on board and mixed himself a scotch and soda and turned on the Weather Channel on the satellite television. He looked at Lisa and said, “The weather is a little iffy, but it looks as if we can head for the Bahamas tomorrow. I will check in later tonight and see if the weather forecast is holding up.”

Jennie and I were sitting on the couch together. I felt her leg touching my leg, and then she took my hand and put it on her thigh with her hand covering mine. Her skin was cool to the touch and felt great as I lightly squeezed her thigh. Jennie said, “Rick made reservations at a very nice restaurant. It is about a fifteen minute walk from here, so we have to leave in about forty-five minutes.”

The next forty-five minutes were nice. Lisa kept the conversation going and spent most of her time talking to Jennie. Jim found out about my new job and was actually curious about the increasing potential of changing seawater into fresh water. The forty-five minutes passed quickly and Jim finally said, “Hey guys, number one I am starving and number two, the reservation is for fifteen minutes from now, so we better head out. But before we go, I want no fights at the restaurant. Lisa and I are treating tonight; when you visit us, it will be your turn.”

We walked to the restaurant. Jennie and I walked hand-in-hand. It was obvious to me that Jennie was very happy and relieved. She and Lisa had never stopped talking on the boat, and every time I remembered that this was an act, Jennie touched me or held my hand and made it seem as if it were real.

The meal wasn’t good; it was fantastic! The stuffed veal chop was the house specialty and Jim and I both chose it. The filet mignon was direct from Chicago and it was the girls’ choice. Two bottles of red wine completed the dinner. The conversation was lively. I asked Jim a million questions about the boat, and Lisa and Jennie talked non-stop. I had been in social situations where five minutes felt like two hours. This dinner was the opposite; we looked up and we were the only ones left in the restaurant—three hours had passed in what seemed like five minutes.

We walked back to the marina—Lisa and Jim were ahead of us and we followed holding hands. As we got to the marina office, Jim said to wait a minute so that he could check the weather. Minutes later he came out and looked at Lisa and said, “The weather projections were wrong. It would be too dangerous to try to cross tomorrow, so we are here for another day.

“Some years ago my dad took me to a Key that is about two hours from here. The beach was isolated, but fantastic—most of the beaches in the Florida Keys are just muck, but this one for some reason was real sand. If you two are up for it, we will take off in the morning and have day of swimming and whatever and come back after dinner, but before it gets dark.”

Before Jennie could say a word, Lisa squealed in delight. She said, “Fantastic, Lisa and I are still not caught up with each other, and a relaxing day on the beach anywhere is fine with me. You two will go with us, won’t you?”

Jennie quickly looked at me with a little worry on her face, but the answer was obvious as I said, “We would love to go with you. Your boat is fantastic and it is either that or make a pub-crawl on Duval Street, and we can do that anytime. What time do you want us at the boat?”

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