Dexter's Renaissance Ch. 03-04bycoaster2©
Chapter 3: Sunshine and Lollipops
For the first two weeks in the Caribbean I was in paradise. Brilliant, hot sun, azure blue sea, cheap booze and fresh seafood. I acquired a straw hat, a pair of sandals and some Bermuda shorts that passed for dress wear on this island.
It took me a couple of days to find a place to live. I had been advised that Sint Maarten was the cheaper place to reside. It made sense to live there anyway, since the airport and our construction site was on that side. I found a small, three-room flat above a trinket shop in Philipsburg and settled in. I didn't need much. I ate out every day and used the place only to sleep and occasionally to write my reports to Tom Yardley.
Happily, the island had a high-speed wireless internet provider so document and drawing transfer weren't a problem. I had a portable office on the site that contained a computer, a printer and a plotter. It also had an air conditioner which was essential in what was otherwise a tin box.
My job was to liaise with the construction crew at the airport. They were American so no language problem was expected. They were quite competent but some of their day workers were less than efficient. As a result, the job would take longer than I was accustomed to. I hated to think how long it would be if it were a local contractor.
The temporary agent we employed had been on the job two months and had overseen the site location and footings before I arrived. We spent a half day discussing what was going on and what I should be on the look-out for. Shortcuts were common in this part of the world, especially if there was money to be gained from them.
I had been on the island a little more than a week when I made contact with my son, Jon. He was living in Antofagasta, Chile, working almost eight thousand feet up in the Andes at a copper mine. He was only at his home on the weekends but we both had Skype and luckily the connection was good.
"Hi Jon, how are you?"
"Good Dad, but you've sure got everyone upset with you disappearing like you did."
"Yeah ... I'm sure I have. What did your mother say about my reason for leaving?"
"Nothing. She said she couldn't imagine why you'd run off like that. She sounds pretty upset, Dad. Why did you go?"
"I'm disappointed that she couldn't bring herself to tell you the truth, Jon. She was having an affair with our financial advisor and planned to divorce me and take everything she could with her. I'll send you a couple of her e-mails to lover-boy and you'll get the drift pretty quick."
"Why, Dad? What would make her want to do something like that? I don't understand it."
"Neither do I, Jon. She's not at the stage where she's ready to face what she did so I guess we'll just wait until she can confess her deeds."
"Where are you, Dad? Are you still in Vancouver?"
"No ... I'm out of the country. If you promise not to tell anyone, I'm in the Caribbean. I have a job and I intend to stay here for some time. Please don't tell your mother or sister. I don't want to deal with your mother just now. I'm sure she hasn't told Merry what she did. Merry's pretty upset with me by the sound of her e-mails. I just quit responding to them. Have you heard from her?"
"Yeah, sure. Several times. You're right, she's pretty pissed with you. Figures you've run off with some floozy and left them high and dry. I think she ought to know the truth, Dad."
"Let's leave it for a while and see if your mother can come to terms with what she's done. I've sent the e-mails she was exchanging with her boyfriend to his wife. The guy's got five kids, for Christ sakes. Can you image what will happen when the courts get ahold of him?"
"Maybe that's why Mom's not working at that office any more. I don't know if she quit or got fired but she's looking for another job."
"Interesting. Sounds like things are getting a little hairy for her," I chuckled.
"Dad ... is this the way it's going to be ... I mean ... you hating Mom? I know she did something very wrong but ... Merry and I ... we have to stay in touch with her. We can't just abandon her. It wouldn't be right even if she did what you said."
"Yeah ... I guess I understand that. If you're talking to your sister have her call me on Skype, preferably when her mother isn't around. I'd like to talk to her and explain."
"Sure, Dad, I can do that. Are we in the same time zone? It's just past eleven o'clock here."
"We're an hour behind you. It's four hours difference to Vancouver from here."
"Okay. I'll try and set something up with Merry and get her to call on the weekends like you do."
"Thanks, Jon. Good to talk to you. I wish it was about something a little brighter but I'm afraid I don't see that happening for some time."
"Take care, Dad. Bye."
Well, at least we had a conversation that didn't end in recriminations over my actions. I think maybe Jon understood why I took off and I could understand why he would want to stay in touch with his mother. What a mess! Now I would have to explain myself to Merry. I wasn't looking forward to that.
I e-mailed Jon four messages from Sandra's file that pretty well told the story of their plan. I found four that weren't too sexually explicit. I didn't think that kind would help smooth the waters for anyone.
It didn't take me long to find a routine for my day-to-day work. It wasn't very demanding to be honest. I wandered about the site introducing myself to the various contractors and vendors as the opportunity arose. It was when I met the two people representing the prime lenders on this project that things got interesting. They were women, twins in fact, and they were quite a sight.
They were in their mid thirties, I guessed. They were clearly identical twins and two more formidable women I had yet to meet. They were definitely sun worshipers if their bleach-blonde hair and tanned bodies were any indication. They were also physically fit despite their size. If I were to guess, they would be at least five-ten and possibly one-hundred-and-eighty pounds. But from what I could see they were not fat ... just big.
"Good afternoon, ladies," I announced politely. "I am Dexter McLeod and I represent Pinecone Engineering. We are responsible for the design and plans for this project."
"Hallo, Mister McLeod, nice to meet you," one of them said. "I am Adriaana de Groot and this is my sister, Katerina. We are with ABN Amro. We are financing this project for the government of Sint Maarten. We are here to see that our monies are correctly used."
She had a big voice to go with her big body but the tone of her voice and her infectious smile weren't intimidating at all. Her English was very good, tinged as it was with a Dutch accent.
"Well then," I said, "we should be seeing a great deal of each other over the next few months. I am here to see that this addition is built according to the plans. Like you, I'm here to protect the investors' dollars ... or should I say guilders."
"Euros, Mr. McLeod," Katerina said quietly but with a similar smile and tone as her sister. "We can work well together I think."
We had got off on the right foot and I was pleased with that. I liked their outlook and yet I could sense the no-nonsense attitude toward their responsibilities. I wondered how they had come to be chosen for this job and why both of them?
"Have you done this type of work before?" I asked.
"Yes, this is our third project. Our company has investments in Aruba that we needed to ... secure. Also, almost two years in Curacao building a bridge."
"Well, sounds like you've really gotten to see a good part of the Caribbean and gained a lot of experience," I said.
"Yes ... it has been very interesting but I think soon it is time to go home," Adriaana said.
"Where do you call home?"
"Utrecht. It is in the south from Amsterdam," she replied.
I was getting the impression that she was the spokesperson for the two. Katerina seemed to be a little quieter ... more reserved. No matter, they were quite an impressive pair and I was pleased that we seemed to hit it off quite well.
"And where is your home?" Adriaana asked.
"Vancouver ... in Canada," I said, not wishing to complicate my answer.
"Oh ... yes ... of course. We have many relatives living near Vancouver. Do you know the town, Pitt Meadows?"
"Yes ... of course. It is right next door to where I live ... I mean ... used to live."
"There are many Dutch people living in your town?" Katerina asked quietly.
"Yes indeed, quite a few. They came after the Second World War and settled there. They taught us how to dike and reclaim the land that would flood each year. They have made good citizens," I said emphatically.
"I am certain we have relatives living there now," Adriaana said with some confidence.
"I wouldn't be surprised. De Groot is a common name. They might be greenhouse growers or dairy farmers."
"Oh, we have so much to talk about," Adriaana enthused. "We must sometime have a nice conversation."
"I'd like that. You ladies name the time and I'll try and be there."
As I walked back to the engineering portable, I found it interesting that the two women would work as a pair. On top of that, they were on the site every day from what I could see. That was unusual for a financial overseer. I expected they would spend their time examining purchase orders, invoices and estimates. You didn't often see them in the field, close to the action.
The two ladies arrived and left in an ancient hot pink Citroen 2CV, the iconic post-war mini-car designed by the French. While it looked ridiculous to many eyes, it had been in production for decades so it must have some redeeming features. Around here cars were a luxury with expensive gasoline, limited roads and the hopelessness of getting repairs. As a result, older cars were the norm for many of the residents.
Merry called me on Skype just before noon on Saturday. She had obviously been talking to Jon because her tone of voice was a lot more civil than her previous e-mails.
"Hello, Daddy. How are you? I miss you?" she said sadly.
"I know. I miss you too, Sweetheart. I'm sorry things have turned out the way they have. Has your mother told you why I left?"
"Yes. When Jon told me about the e-mails you sent him, I confronted her and she finally confessed. She's very ashamed of what she did ... especially since it was all for nothing."
"Jon said she wasn't working at Teller's office any more. Is that true?"
"Yes. There was some kind of problem. Auditors came in and were going through his records. They questioned Mom several times over a few days before they said she was okay. They never did say what it was about but Mom thinks there maybe something wrong with some of the accounts. Then she heard his wife was divorcing him. I guess I should have been more suspicious about them. I just couldn't believe Mom would do something like that."
"Yeah. I know what you mean, Merry. I'm still wondering why. What did I do ... or not do ... that caused this?"
"She's not opening up very much, Dad, but I got her to admit she knew why you left and who was involved. I don't know much more than that."
"Well, that's enough for now. As long as you know the truth, I'm okay with it."
"When are you coming home, Dad? When am I going to see you again?"
"I've got a job and I can't get away until it's finished. I'm not in Canada as you've probably guessed. I promise we'll keep in touch just like today. Are you all right for money, dear?"
"Yes. I have a job waiting for me when I graduate next month. I'm going to work with one of the big developers in town. I'm really excited about it. I'll just be an apprentice for a while but it sounds like a great opportunity and I'm really pleased I'm getting the chance."
"That's great, Merry. I'm very proud of you. Congratulations. I want to hear all about it when you get settled."
"I promise. Bye Daddy. I love you."
I sat back in my chair, a few tears at the ready. I was happy that Merry and I had reconciled over the actions of her mother. It would have been very hurtful if she had gone on being angry and disappointed in me. The fact that she had to force the truth out of her mother didn't do anything to lessen my anger at Sandra. If I hadn't shed many tears it was because I was so angry at her deceit. I'd lost a lot of sleep in the last month or more thinking about what she'd done.
Just the same, I missed the good parts of our marriage. Not just the sex but the companionship and closeness that we had shared. For almost all of our twenty-three years I had felt an attachment beyond just the formalities of marriage. It was an emotional bond and when that was broken, so too was I. Some things can't be fixed when they are damaged and our marriage was one of them.
I purchased a used Vespa scooter from a local garage. It had originally been bought in Germany and brought to the island ten years ago. I had no idea what year it was, but it ran, started without too much fuss and smoked only a little. It sipped gasoline and that was important with the cost being what it was here.
I developed a routine quite quickly. I would meet with the prime contractor's manager each morning to discuss any issues that might come up. I was not an engineer but over the twenty-three years I had spent designing various structures, I could converse intelligently with them and forward any issues to the office via e-mail for review. I was not expected to revise designs on the spot.
I saw the twins often over the next two months and I had taken to calling them the "dynamic duo," a compliment in my mind. We had begun socializing on occasion, stopping at one of the local cafés for a coffee and a pastry.
"Do they always call you Dexter?" Adriaana asked one morning.
"No, my friends call me Dex," I replied.
"I am Adi to my friends and of course my sister is Kat. You may call us by those names," she smiled.
"Thank you, and feel free to call me Dex. So ... we've become Adi, Kat, and Dex then."
"Wonderful!" Adi said, clapping her hands together. "We must have dinner together this weekend. Please say you will."
"I'd like that. Where would you like to go?"
"Oh, no. You do not understand. You would be our guest at our home. We insist. Kat is a very good cook."
"How can I refuse then," I grinned, looking at Kat and seeing her pleasure at my acceptance.
Friday evening I rode my little Vespa up the hill on the northeast side of Phillipsburg, following the directions the twins had given me. They lived in a very nice flat-roofed, one-level house off Guana Bay Road, with a wonderful view out to the east and south. I wondered how they could afford to stay here.
"Hello, ladies, here I am," I announced myself as I knocked on the already open front door.
"Come in, Dex," I heard from the back of the house.
As I entered, I immediately smelled something wonderful wafting though the large living area. I simply followed that aroma and quickly found a big, fully tiled kitchen with the two ladies bustling about, preparing the meal.
"My, my. Whatever it is smells terrific," I enthused.
"Thank you," Kat said somewhat shyly. She definitely had a different personality from her sister.
All the windows and doors were open, so I assumed there was no air conditioning in the house. Just the same, a slightly cooling breeze was evident as the sun had begun to set and the breeze off the sea had picked up. It would be almost nine before we ate but that was traditional in this climate.
Both women were dressed in loose fitting full body gowns, not unlike a Muumuu in Hawaii. Adi's was decorated in a variety of leaf patterns, varying from pastel, to leaf, to forest green in colour. It was very attractive. Kat's was a seashell pattern in blues, purples, and greys. It took me a minute to realize the ladies weren't wearing brassieres as the sway of their full breasts moved freely under the light fabric.
"Cold beer is in the cooler, Dex. Please take one," Adi said.
"Thank you, I will," I replied, opening the little refrigerator door and taking out a Heineken. The twins already had drinks on the counter but were busy with the meal at present. As I watched them I wondered if they knew just how enticing they were. Perhaps it was just me and my self-imposed hiatus from women but they appealed to me in a very visceral way.
Adi finished up what she was doing and joined me at the entrance to the kitchen.
"You have a lovely home here, Adi. Is it yours?"
"No ... it is rented by our company for this project. We don't know who owns it but they are not from this island. We think they are from Holland. We are very happy to have it. It is very nice and quite big for the two of us. Would you like to see it?"
She took me through a portal to the rear of the house. There was an area I would call a laundry and mud room, with a door to the back yard. A bedroom with a double bed, a large bathroom, all tiled like the kitchen and another room that looked like it had been set up as an office. I looked out the window into the back yard and saw nothing but shrubs and trees. It didn't look like there was a yard but I did see a concrete patio area with a large, rectangular umbrella. Altogether it was a very nice home for the ladies.
The master suite was large and dominating it was a very big king-size bed. There were a couple of wardrobe cupboards, two dressers and two night tables. I took it from that that both women slept in the same bed. I was about to say something but thought better of it. A small but complete ensuite bathroom was included as well. As I looked back at the bed before leaving, I thought what a great playground that would make.
"This looks like a very nice place to live," I remarked.
"Yes," Adi agreed. "A big room for guests, but we have not yet taken a chance to do that. Perhaps we will have visitors in the winter season."
She took my empty beer bottle and quickly replaced it with a fresh one. I thanked her and again admired just how attractive she and her sister were. I think she might have noticed my gaze but said nothing, turning back to the kitchen to help Kat.
I wondered how I would tell them apart when they weren't speaking. It was the only discernable difference between them. I had been around them long enough to recognize a slight difference in their speech and certainly in their tone of voice. Adi was the established leader and Kat was the quiet, reserved follower. It occurred to me that they might be lesbians but if they were, they didn't give off any hints to that possibility. I preferred to believe they were straight. It suited my growing fantasies much better. The twins represented a total opposite from Sandra in sexual attraction. Their deeply tanned and toned bodies, despite their size, were becoming an obsession with me. I found myself staring at them when I thought they wouldn't notice. Like that works, right!
"Dex, you are looking at us with hungry eyes. Perhaps it is time to eat, yes?" Adi said slyly.
Busted! Caught red-handed while I daydreamed.
"Uhhm ... yeah ... sure ... sorry," was about all I could manage as I scrambled to hide my embarrassment.
"You should not apologize. Women want to know they are attractive to a man. It makes us feel very ... warm."
That didn't help. I was a complete amateur at flirting and I was up against an expert in Adi. I glanced at Kat and saw her trying to hide her giggles behind her hand. She wasn't very good at it. I wasn't sure where this was going but as long as they didn't throw me out I would try and make something out of this little game.
"I have a question that's been bothering me," I said. "How can I tell you two apart ... I mean visually? I know there's a difference when you speak but I can't see any difference. So until one of you says something, I'm never sure who I'm talking to."