Teddy With an I

byGrey Eagle 286©

I finished hosing off the stern deck and my floating home looked presentable again. I neatly coiled the white hose and placed it back on the hose rack. I looked across the river and watched the pelicans dive bill first into a school of bait fish. I watched fascinated as one bird struggled with a pouch full of mullet. There must have been ten tails sticking from his bill. He would tilt his head back and a -lump would slide down his throat. Then several appeared to get caught in his throat at once. He struggled mightily before he cleared the log jam, He took off and I saw fish drop from his bill as he flew away.

I heard the noise of high heels running along the walk. I looked up and saw a woman running down the sidewalk. She slowed and looked back behind her. She tried to catch her breath. Her chest heaved as she bent over trying to catch her breath. She looked back again then looked around. She wasn't twenty feet from me. The afternoon sun was right behind her so I couldn't see much.

She saw me. She looked back again then turned and stepped aboard. She pushed a large revolver at me. "Does this boat run?"

"Yeah, it sure does."

"Then get it moving as fast as you can."

I looked at her and said, "It will take a few minutes, follow me."

She was a very lovely black woman almost six feet tall in her heels. She stayed close as I led her to the pilot house. I went to the controls and started one engine, then the other. I turned and said, "I'll have to go cast off the lines. I ran forward and cast off the bow lines, then the fore and aft port side spring lines. Then I got both stern lines, the water and electric and phone, then hurried forward to cast off the starboard springs. I ran for the wheelhouse and grabbed the thruster joy stick. The bow was drifting to starboard so I pushed the thruster control to the left and the bow slowly moved to the port. I put the starboard engine in gear and played with the two main engines to work us out of the slip. I took the starboard engine out of gear, and swung the wheel over to starboard. I heard yelling from the dock and saw three black men yelling at me. The woman was crouching out of sight on the deck. I pulled both engines out of gear and asked what they wanted.

"Do you have a woman aboard? Have you seen a woman?"

"No thank you, I don't need a woman." I put both engines in gear, and motored away down river. I turned and looked down at the black woman. "You can get up now. They can't see you." I reached down and helped her up. "you can put the gun away now, before you hurt your self with it."

She looked intently at me. "You were never frightened by it were you?"

"Not really, where did you get it?"

She sighed and put the gun on the chart table. "I took it from the guy who was guarding me. They had me in a van down the street, three of them went to eat and left one guy to watch me. I told him if he would untie my hands I would give him a blowjob. He went for it. He came to me and I told him to pull up my skirt and pull down my panties and finger me while I blew him. When he bent over I caught him under the jaw with my knee. I grabbed his gun and hit as hard as I could with the butt of it and got out and ran." I saw a tear run down her cheek. "Then, when I could run no more I saw your boat. It looked like a good place to hide."

"Why did they have you in a van?"

"The best I can tell, someone saw me in the bank where I work and thought I looked sexy and offered those guys a bunch of money to bring me to Miami. They made remarks that I would love the drugs but would have to be a good hooker to get them."

I looked her up and down, she was gorgeous in her gray suit, with stockings and heels. "Honey, they were right, you would make a fortune for someone." I grinned as I saw a twinkle in her eye. "But do you have to call someone and let them know you are alright?"

"That is sweet of you to ask. I live alone. No one is waiting."

"Honey, that is a stupid answer. I could be worse than the guys you got away from."

"No, I don't think so, you didn't have to help me. Tell me why you weren't afraid of the gun."

"Because I know that the gun over there is a Ruger Blackhawk Single Action Revolver. Pick it up and hand it to me."

I took the weapon from her. I shucked the cartridges from the cylinder. I handed it back to her. "Here, it is empty now. Pull the trigger and see what happens."

She pulled hard on the trigger. Nothing happened. She stared at me. I held out my hand. I took the revolver and pulled the hammer back with my thumb. It clicked and stayed back. I handed it back and told her to try again. The hammer flew forward with a nice loud clack. "You have to cock the hammer for each shot."

"I guess I didn't play enough cops and robbers when I was a kid." she laughed.

"In this case it was cowboys and Indians."

I turned off the river and entered a cove where I had spent many nights. I slowed the engines and finally was in the right spot and dropped the anchor.

"You have a very nice boat, do you live aboard it?"

"Yes I do. Let me show you around." I took her down to the salon, It was a very nice room, I showed her the galley and the forward cabins, small but comfortable. I paused at the first cabin. I opened a drawer and the hanging locker. They were full of female clothes and swimsuits.

"If you want you can use anything you want. You look warm in that lovely suit. Help your self." I closed the door and went back to the salon and fixed a Captain and water. The air conditioning felt good and I sat on a settee and leaned back.

She came in the room wearing shorts and a halter top. She looked really good.

"Wow! You look very nice. Can I get you something to drink?"

"What are you having?"

"Captain Morgan and water."

"That is rum isn't it?"

"Yes would you like to try it? Here take a sip of mine, I guarantee you will get nothing worse than hydrophobia."

"Mmmmmm, I like it. Not too sweet, I don't care for real sweet drinks."

I fixed her a drink.

"Now the big question, I have a beautiful young lady at my mercy unless she is a damned good swimmer. I am plying her with rum after saving her life from a fate worse than death.

Now I want you to answer this………… what is your name?"

She laughed, "That is not the question I expected, You are cute. My name is Teddi LaBraun. Teddy with an I."

I grinned, then laughed, hard. I wiped tears from my eyes.

She wanted to know what was so funny. I said, "Girl, when you said Teddy with an I, I thought TIDDY. I'll never hear your name without thinking of your beautiful ones. OK, Teddi with an I, are you married, engaged, or anything? Any kids?"

"No to all those questions. How about you?"

"My name is Bill Nailor, unless you are really mad at me, then it seems to be Willll-yumm. And the answer to the questions is; not now, been there done all that several times."

"Ok, if you won't answer honestly, I won't ask anymore questions."

"Well, if you are going to be grouchy about it, I was married and had three boys, divorced, remarried, no kids, widowed. Now I am a lonely old man rocking and fading away.

"I don't believe that last part."

"I need to ask you another question, Do you want to go back now, or are you afraid they may still be there. You really should report this to the police."

"You are right. Does your cell phone work here?"

"Mine does, yours won't."

She talked for twenty minutes to the police. She hung up and turned to me. "They told me they would meet me at the dock. I don't know how to thank you for every thing you did for me."

"No thanks necessary, I enjoyed it. Come and see me some time."

"I will, I really will. Give me your phone number."

I started the engines and got the anchor in. We were back at the dock in twenty minutes. I was busy tying the boat up. When it was all secure with everything hooked back up I looked around and everyone was gone. I didn't feel much like cooking and slipped into some clean jeans and a T-shirt and walked to the Dockside Restaurant. I bought a dinner to go. I walked back, I had lost my appetite. I put it in the refrigerator and fixed another drink. There was a knock on the door. A strange man introduced himself as Detective Sergeant Brown. I checked his credentials and invited him in. He asked if I still had the pistol from the incident that afternoon. I assured him I had it. I told him I would gladly produce it for him but could not release it to his custody without written authorization from Ms. LaBraun. He smiled and produced such a document. I went below and booted up my laptop. I wrote a receipt out for him to sign and printed out two copies. I had him sign both of them. We verified the serial numbers and wrote his badge numbers on everything. He said they had the four men in custody. A police officer remembered ticketing a van for illegal parking near by that afternoon at the right time. The doors had all been left open and the officer was suspicious. Terri was down at the station identifying them now.

Brown looked at me as he was leaving, "You sure made a big impression on that girl, all she wanted to talk about was how nice and how wonderful you are." I thanked him and after he was gone I sat out on the stern and watched the people walk up the dock. After the traffic slowed down I went to bed and dreamed of a brown angel named Teddi with an I.

Two weeks later I was down in the stern compartment pouring some bilge cleaner down there where I thought it was needed most when I felt the slight shift in the hull that meant someone had come aboard. I lifted my head above the rim of the hatch and saw light brown legs and feet. Teddi!! I looked up to see her smiling face. I scrambled up out of that smelly place and grinned at her. "Teddi, Girl you look great, I've missed you, where have you been?"

"Bill I have been wanting to see you. I missed you too! Actually I can't believe how much I have missed a cranky old white guy."

I just stared her, she was beautiful. I know I was smiling like a moon struck kid.

She laughed at me as I looked down at my grimy coveralls. "Wow, Bill you smell pretty bad, I'll come back later."

"Please don't go. Give me a minute and I'll shower, OK."

"OK, but I have to leave soon."

I hurried down to my cabin and showered. I rushed out and opened my drawer and got clean under shorts and a clean pair of jeans. I grabbed a T-shirt and as I pulled it over my head I heard her giggle. I looked up, there she was sitting on my bed watching me. She grinned, "I didn't know you were in such great shape."

"I didn't know you were there, I guess I really should scream. I feel so embarrassed."

"Dear Bill, please forgive me. I just couldn't help it."

"OK, Come on, I need a cold beer, that bilge is hot and stuffy." We went to the salon and I handed her a beer. I was so glad to see her I was sort of speechless. "Teddi how is everything going?"

"Not good Billy, I just got fired from my job because of the publicity. I guess I will have to go home to Alabama now. I am all packed and ready to go, I just stopped by to thank you again for your kindness to a poor black nigger girl."

I flared up, I was furious, "Don't you talk that way or I'll wash your mouth with soap, hear!"

She was startled. I was really angry and it took a second for me to calm down. She stood and started away, I grabbed her and pulled her in my arms, I was crying, "Nobody talks about you that way, not even you." I felt her arms slowly move around me. She hugged me tightly, it felt good. I pushed back and looked in her beautiful brown eyes. I said, "I am sorry, please don't be angry with me."

"Bill, there is nothing to forgive you for, I am just upset. I wanted to be with you some more and the whole world has come down on me the last two weeks. It seems every one thinks it is all my fault." She started sniffling. I couldn't stand that, I pulled her head on my shoulder and rubbed her back, and whispered that I knew what happened, it was not her fault. She looked up at me and said, "Thank you Billy." then she kissed my lips. Damn! It was like a thunderbolt hit me. I didn't trust myself close to her, I sat her on the settee and just looked at her. "Honey, where the hell did you work that they treated you that way?"

"I was a trust officer at Morgan Trust Bank."

"Morgan, Morgan!" I walked over to the desk and got my cell phone. I pushed a speed dial number. Someone answered. "Let me speak to Fred Turner. ..Fred this is William Nailor.

I'm fine, I want to discuss one of your employees, a Ms. LaBraun. Yes, Terri LaBraun. I want her to handle my account exclusively from now on. WHAT, Oh my! Do you know what bank she went to. I am transferring everything there immediately. Good bye!"

Terri stared at me. Her cell phone rang. She answered. She listened. She said, "I don't know Mr. Turner. I am leaving town today……………Twice the salary! I'll think about it Sir. I'll let you know in a day or two. What! Three times the salary. I'll let you know tomorrow."

She grinned and threw her arms around my neck and kissed me hard. "Now that is what I call rattling someone's cage, how much money do you have in that bank?"

"Enough, I guess. When you call back tell him you want a paid week off starting tomorrow. Tell him AmTrust is offering you a position as a senior trust officer because you may bring several accounts with you."

She looked at me. "Would they do that?"

"Yep!"

She walked to me. She looked at me, searching my face. "Billy I just want to be with you for a while. I loved the few hours I spent on this boat, I really did, I have never been happier."

"Well, let's go get your stuff and we will cruise for a while, no strings, just good buddies, OK."

"Oh! Yes, that sounds wonderful. Where can I leave my car, every thing I own is in it."

"Not a problem, I have a garage you can put it in and lock it all up." Do you really want to do it?"

"Yes, I really do."

We carried her clothes and stuff aboard. We put it all in the second cabin, right across from mine. When her car was locked away we sat and talked a bit. I asked if she was in a hurry to leave, she shook her head and smiled. "I'm in no hurry, I am with you Billy." I fixed her a Captain and water only with a twist of lemon this time. She tasted it and smiled, "That's good, really good. I like that much better."

I laughed, "I was out of lemon last time."

She grinned, "Do we need to go shopping before we leave or do you have enough food on board for a few days?"

"I could use a few things. Hand me the phone. I dialed a number. "Jim, how are you, I'm fine can you do me a favor? Right, listen, I need six of your best steaks, New York strips, about 12 to 14 ounces, and four nice flank steaks, all Kobe beef.

A couple stuffed pork chops. A pound or two of Boudin sausage. ..Yeah for two people. Four baking potatoes. Yes, a couple twice baked would be fine. A head of lettuce and a couple tomatoes, and what ever fresh veggies look good, ..Right. Right a couple bottles of your best. You know what I need, yes that too. Right buddy. I'll be here 'til seven. Fine put it on my bill." I smiled at her, "There the food shopping is all done."

"Boy, you really know how to shop."

"Do you need anything? Bathing suits, sneakers, anything?'

"I don't think so. Thanks anyway. Where are we going at seven?"

"I thought we would take a little walk and look in several of the little boutiques and then get something to eat at the Dockside Restaurant. How does that sound."

"Sounds lovely, but Bill, please don't spend money on me. You don't have to."

"I know that, I assure you I am NOT trying to buy you. I respect you way too much for that. As far as I am concerned we are just good buddies, nothing more intended or implied, OK? If we see something you like and I want to buy it for you, please permit me to do that. It makes ME feel good to please you. Do you understand what I mean."

"I think so, Dear man, please understand, I am just getting over a relationship that broke my heart. You make me forget about it, but I am not ready to feel anything yet."

"Not a problem for me, I'm just your buddy, right?" I know in my heart I am falling in love with this sweet thing. But I am way too old for her. I know she will break my heart and never even know it. Hey, pain is good for us, Yeah, Right!

We had a good time window shopping, I loved having her on my arm. I bought her a pair of shoes. They were wooden slides with ribbons that wound around the calf of the leg and tied in a bow. Then I bought her a hat she didn't like. It was a fishing hat with a flap that hung down behind and covered the neck. "It's ugly," she said, but I insisted. Dinner was delightful. She couldn't believe I had a private table reserved for me every night. We got super service, the chef rushed out to greet us and asked what we would like. I asked Teddi if she liked sea food. She said she loved it. I told him to fix us seafood samplers, a bit of everything they had. He grinned. "Excellent choice. I think I'll put that on the menu."

The meal was superb. She loved it too. We walked slowly back to my boat. I told her to change into something comfortable, I slipped on shorts and a T shirt. We sat on the stern and watched the stars, We softly talked about the evening. She said she couldn't remember a happier evening. I held her hand for a while as we talked, I saw she was getting tired. I suggested we call it a day. Thunder was rumbling in the distance anyway. Might be here any time. I locked up and she stopped at her bedroom door. She gave me a sweet goodnight kiss that curled my toes. Wow, instant hard on. I crawled in bed and lay thinking about her, about how wonderful I felt when something I did or bought pleased her.

The thunder grew louder and louder. There was a crash that shook the whole boat. My door flew open and she ran in. "Can I get in bed with you, I'm scared." I held the covers up and she slipped in and snuggled up to me. Another lightning bolt crashed nearby. She held me tighter. "Thank you Lord," I thought. She had her face buried in my chest. I softly held her tight and whispered that she was safe now, that I would protect her. I gently kissed her head and stroked her back. I felt her relax until the next bolt of lightning struck. It was not near as loud as the previous one but it did the trick. She snuggled closer. I heard her breathing slow and become regular and gentle and I knew she was sound asleep. The thunder storm faded off in the distance. I soon fell asleep my self. I awoke during the night and found she had turned away from me. I moved over and cuddled her back spooning with her. When I awoke in the morning we were back in our original position with her head on my upper chest and her arm across my body. I very softly and gently pressed my lips to her forehead.

Her head slowly lifted and she smiled cheerfully at me. "Good morning." She pressed her lips gently to mine. She laughed, "I was just about to wake you, I need to use your bathroom." When she was through I had to go too. She was gone when I came out. I put on shorts and a t-shirt. I went to the galley and heated water for coffee. I knew she loved fresh perked coffee the first thing in the morning and just ate one slice of toast with a very light smear of peanut butter for breakfast. I had it ready when she came in. I apologized for using instant coffee. She said she really didn't mind. I handed her a cup and she said she used artificial creamer if I had it, and if not milk would do. I gave her the creamer and some packs of sugar and sweetener. I watched as she tasted the coffee. She sipped it and her eyes drifted closed, then opened wide. "This is great coffee, I love it. What is it?"

"It's a blend of Hawaiian Coffees. Expensive, but it is the best instant I have been able to find. They ship me four bottles a month."

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