Thunder Bay Ch. 03
Rob idled the cruiser into the lagoon, searching out his friends. There were a couple of young girls, looking to be in their early twenties, floating on inflatable rafts. Not wearing their bikini tops, their breasts were exposed for everyone to see. Rob glanced at them but only for a second or two. A number of young men, wearing everything from swim trunks to Speedos, shouted off-color remarks and waved as we passed by them.
“Just ignore them.” Robbie asserted. “It’s the beer talking.”
I wasn’t taking their rude comments to heart, trying me best to shrug them off. A group of boaters, mostly women outnumbering men two to one, waved at us to pull in beside them. Robbie waved back at them, steering the cruiser towards their position. My feelings of being uncomfortable increased when I saw they looked to be in their mid-twenties, a good ten years younger than me.
One of the girls tossed me a line to tie off with. Her bountiful breasts nearly spilled out of her bikini top when she tossed the rope. Robbie cut the engines, while I tied the line to one of the cleats.
“Hey Rob!” A young man shouted, holding a beer bottle in each hand. “That the new babe?”
“Hey Glen!” Robbie responded. “Hope one of those beers is for me!”
We joined the young girl and guy on their boat, a nice looking pontoon boat with a canvas top for shade. Glen handed both of us cold beers without asking if we wanted one. I could tell he’d been drinking from the swagger in his step. He eyed me up and down like I was a juicy steak.
“Damn! She is fine!” The young man remarked with a grin. “She’s all you said she was!”
I was blushing, wondering what Robbie had told him about me. The young girl saddled up next to Robbie, blatantly reaching down and squeezing his cock.
“You taking care of business?” She laughed, grinning my way. “She looks like she could handle it!”
“Whoa! Hold on a minute!” Robbie exclaimed, sensing I was growing uncomfortable. “This is Valerie Marlowe. She’s the new owner of Thunder Bay. AND my new employer!”
“Oh….ok.” The young girls mumbled. “I didn’t mean to piss you off.”
“Why don’t you lie down on the couch and take a nap?” Glenn angrily suggested, pulling her away from Rob. “You’re making an ass of yourself!”
The young girl jerked free of Glen’s grasp, then sauntered off to the front of the pontoon boat.
“You’ll have to forgive her.” Glen grumbled, putting his arm around my waist. “She likes to mouth off when she’s been drinking.”
Before long we were joined by several other couples. The talk was casual, which helped me relax and have fun. The guys stole glances at every female onboard the boat, more so at me than any of the other women.
“You really think you can pull Thunder Bay out of the ditch?” One of the men asked. “Ole Frank’s got her buried pretty deep.”
“I’ve got too much money invested in the business not to make it successful.” I responded. “I hope to see it back on track by this time next year.”
“A year!” One of the women exclaimed. “You think you can sell that many houseboats in just a year?”
“With lots of promotion and the right financing, I plan to sell every houseboat we’ve got.” I answered, sounding somewhat boastful.
“Good Luck!” Glen exclaimed, handing me another beer. “The damn banks won’t go more than ten years on a houseboat and the bastards want ten to twelve percent interest to boot.”
“I’m knocking fifteen to twenty-thousand off each houseboat plus offering a twenty-five year loan at six percent interest.” I proclaimed. “That should bring in enough customers to dump the whole lot!”
“Sounds good but you’ve got to have damn good connections with a bank to be able to offer that kind of financing.” An attractive blonde in her early thirties remarked.
“I’ve got the connections.” I bragged. “All I’ve got to do is hook the potential buyers.”
“We’ve been interested in buying a houseboat for the past five years but we can’t afford the payments.” The woman’s husband avowed. “Coming up with the ten percent down payment makes it even harder to buy one.”
“I’ll go five percent down and finance the down payment on a signature loan if I have to.” I quickly responded. “I’m not going to let a buyer get away simply because he thinks he can’t afford it.”
“WOOHOO!” Glen shouted. “You must have good connections with a bank!”
“I need to recoup my investment so I’m going to be aggressive when it comes to selling off Thunder Bay’s inventory.” I declared, glancing over at Robbie. “I can’t afford to fail.”
“So, when you sell all the houseboats, what’re you gonna do next?” Another guy inquired, stepping towards me. “You gonna close down Thunder Bay once and for all?”
“I’m….I’m not sure.” I stammered, noticing the concerned look on Robbie’s face. “If the market’s still strong for houseboats, I may keep on building them. Otherwise, I’ll probably sell off the assets, including the real estate.”
“We’ve got one left to build.” Robbie spoke up. “She’s gonna be a hundred and ten foot long and twenty foot wide. The biggest and best güvenilir bahis Thunder Bay houseboat we’ve every built.”
“You know what they say. Size does matter!” A young woman in her late twenties smarted off. “Isn’t that right Rob?”
Robbie blushed, embarrassed by her remark. The others laughed, which added to Rob’s humiliation.
“It’s not the size that matters. It’s the quality that goes into it that matters.” I quickly remarked, wiping the smirk of the woman’s face.
“Sort of like Robbie.” I added, clasping his hand in mine. “With his help, I’m confident we’ll have lots of satisfied customers.”
“Hmmm. That alone would make a good salespitch.” The blonde woman laughed. “I’m ready to buy a houseboat if you’ll throw Robbie in on the deal.”
“Robbie’s not for sale.” I responded, pulling his hand behind my back. “I’m only selling houseboats.”
Robbie squeezed my hand, letting me know he liked what I’d said. I knew I’d made comments that I shouldn’t have but I wasn’t going to stand there and let his so-called friends make fun of him.
Thankfully the conversations turned to subjects other than boating. We spent the rest of the day in the lagoon, watching the people and enjoying each other’s company.
With the sun starting to set, we left the party revelers to return to the marina. Robbie had long since stopped drinking so he was sober enough to drive the boat. He didn’t say much as we cruised along the lake but I caught him glancing over at me several times with a smile on his face.
Back at the marina, Robbie guided the cruiser into its berth. I slipped the ropes over the cleats to secure it to the dock while Rob hoisted the cooler over the side.
“Helluva day!” He laughed.
“Yeah.” I muttered, helping him carry the heavy cooler. “I really like your friends, especially the little dark-haired girl that squeezed your dick.”
“That’s the way Beth is after she’s had a couple of beers.” Rob asserted, trying to calm my anger. “You oughta see her out on the dance floor. They don’t call her the Bone Breaker for nothin’.”
“Is that dancing in the vertical or horizontal position?” I retorted, glaring at him.
“GEEZ! I never took you for the jealous type!” Rob exclaimed. “Beth and I are history. She’s Glen’s girl now.”
“You dated her?” I asked, stunned at the news.
“More than just dated.” Robbie replied. “Beth’s my ex-wife.”
“YOUR EX-WIFE!” I shouted. “You were married to that slut!”
“Hey! She’s not a slut!” He countered. “Well….maybe just a little.”
“Yeah, right!” I thought. “Just a little bit of a slut. Sort of like being just a little bit pregnant.”
I couldn’t help but wonder how many of the girls I’d met at the lagoon had slept with Robbie.. I’d noticed a blonde-haired woman in her late twenties never took her eyes off him. Maybe she was just fanaticizing; then again maybe she was having a flashback.
“So. How many guys have you slept with?” Robbie questioned with a smirk. “Not counting me.”
At first I was reluctant to even let him know I’d heard him ask such a personal question but his staring at me was forcing the issue.
“Other than my ex-husband, just one other guy.” I finally answered. “And that was in college.”
“You’re still a rookie then!” Rob laughed, tossing the cooler into the bed of the pick-up.
“I’d rather be a rookie than a God Damn whore!” I exclaimed, slamming the tailgate shut. “Of course, you probably prefer your women the other way.”
“We’re arguing again.” Robbie declared. “I thought we weren’t going to do that.”
“Let’s just get going.” I suggested, walking towards the passenger side of the truck.
The drive back to Thunder Bay was short and quiet. Rob sensed I wasn’t happy with his outlook on extracurricular sexual activities but he knew better than to defend his moral attitudes at the moment.
After dropping me off at the houseboat facility, Rob drove off with saying so much as good-bye. I didn’t care if he was pissed off or not. If he wanted to fuck everything that walked that was his business. He’d probably have a fit if I shared his moral stance.
The following morning, I awoke to the sounds of rain hitting the roof of the houseboat. Dark clouds looming overhead didn’t offer much hope for a sunny day. After putting on a fresh pot of coffee, I sauntered into the master bathroom for a quick shower. Dressing in shorts and a tank top, I returned to the galley, dying for my first cup of coffee of the day.
Looking out, I saw Robbie unlocking the gates, then swinging them back to their latches. I knew he’d stop in to see me before going to work so I poured a cup of coffee for him. Rob drove his pick-up to the front of the building but proceeded inside. I assumed he was still mad so I wasn’t about to go after him.
With tons of work to do, I booted up my laptop. It was nearing noon when a fairly new Lexus sedan pulled into the sales lot. I recognized the couple as one I’d met the day before at the lagoon. Both in the mid-thirties, I couldn’t recall their names but the blonde I remember as the one türkçe bahis eyeing Robbie.
Stepping out onto the front deck of the houseboat, I greeted them with a hello and a smile.
“Hey there!” The guy exclaimed, giving me a wave. “Thought we’d stop by and see just how serious you were about selling us a houseboat.”
“Come on up.” I responded, motioning them over. “I’ve still got some coffee left.”
The three of us sat at the diningroom table, sipping coffee and discussing one of the houseboats they’d looked at earlier in the year. They seemed sold on the houseboat, a 2000 Stardust, eighty-eight foot by sixteen foot. Priced at three-hundred thousand, they hoped to strike a deal if I was willing to offer them affordable financing and take their powerboat in on trade. I wasn’t sure what their boat was worth and I wasn’t about to accept their appraisal as fact.
Remembering Robbie was in the construction building, I thought about asking him but I was hesitant to approach him. One of the RV websites had a link to boat financing and appraisals so I decided to see what their figures were. I linked to the website to find out what the couple’s 2003 Baja 342 performance boat was worth. Looking at the high and low retail values, they averaged just under a hundred thousand dollars. I couldn’t give retail for the boat, knowing I have to mark it up some in order to make a profit on it.
“I’d be willing to give you ninety-thousand for your boat on trade-in.” I proclaimed, hoping they’d accept my offer.
I could tell by the disheartened look on their faces, they weren’t happy with my numbers but I wasn’t about to offer than any more. I listened to them tell me about how nice their Baja powerboat was, remembering seeing it at the lagoon. With a flashy paint job and twin engines, I had no doubt there was probably someone out there who would buy it. Still, I wasn’t budging off my offer, hoping they’d give in and agree to my terms.
“We owe eighty grand on our boat.” The man revealed. “That only gives us ten-thousand in equity.”
“You mentioned yesterday that it’d take five percent to make the down payment.” The man’s wife reminded me.
They hadn’t given up so that led me to believe they really were serious about buying the houseboat they wanted.
“I’ll discount the houseboat ten grand but not on paper.” I stated, coming up with an idea. “That’ll double your down payment.”
“How can you do that?” The woman asked, sounding confused.
“We’ll leave the price of the houseboat at three-hundred thousand dollars, at least on paper.” I detailed. “But I’ll actually sell you the houseboat for two-hundred and ninety thousand. That’ll give you ten grand in cash, so to speak and another ten grand in equity for your Baja.”
“Twenty-thousand.” The man affirmed with a grin. “That’s cool.”
“I can work the up the figures if you’d like me to.” I offered, knowing I had them on the hook. “I assume you’d like to go a twenty-five year loan at six percent interest.”
Their nods and grinning faces said yes so I proceeded to run the numbers.
“Eighteen-hundred and four dollars a month.” I stated, seeing the figures appear at the bottom of my calculations. “I’ll throw in a little more for your Baja to bring the payments to an even eighteen hundred.”
“Let’s run down and look at the houseboat before we decide.” The woman suggested. “We should check it out one more time.”
I figured they wanted to be alone so they could talk it over without my being around so I ran into Frank Martin’s cluttered office to get the keys for them.
“Sell the Thompsons that houseboat?” Rob shouted as I rushed past him.
“Not yet but I’m sure I will before the day’s over!” I replied, glancing back at him.
I waited patiently while the couple drove down to the marina to have another look at the houseboat they’d been wanting. Seeing they were driving a late model Lexus, I assumed their credit score was sufficient for me to secure financing with Centennial Bank.
I was sitting out on the front deck when they returned. The expression on their faces was all I needed to get the financing procedure underway.
“We’ll take it!” The woman shouted. “How soon can we take possession of her?”
“Let me contact my bank.” I replied. “I’ll have an answer within the hour.”
Filling out a brief credit application was all I needed to get the process started. The couple paced back and forth in the salon, anxious to get word if they were approved or not.
“How soon can you get your Baja in here?” I questioned.
“It’s parked at our hotel.” The man replied. “Probably thirty or forty minutes.”
“That’s about how long it’ll take me to get the loan papers faxed down to me.” I stated with a grin. “They’ll be ready for your signatures by the time you get back.”
“WE GOT IT!” The blonde screamed. “WE GOT THE HOUSEBOAT!”
I was as happy as they were. Knowing I’d sold one of the houseboats, even though I had to take their trade-in, was a start in the right direction. I phoned Rebecca, asking her to come out to Thunder Bay so she güvenilir bahis siteleri could show me how to fill out the purchase agreement and title papers. Since she was well versed with both procedures, the transaction would go quickly and smoothly.
“What’re you gonna do with the powerboat?” Robbie inquired, coming out to look it over with me.
“I plan on selling it of course!” I replied.
“Or….maybe I’ll keep it for myself.” I added, grinning. “I’d look pretty damn hot running around on it!”
Looking over at Rob, I saw him smirk, then smile. A sure sign he agreed with what I’d said.
Thunder off in the distance alerted us another storm was nearing the lake. Securing the boat cover on the Baja, we barely made it before the downpour started. Rob shut the overhead door on the building to keep the rain from blowing in.
“I need to run into town and pick up some groceries.” I asserted, when Robbie joined me on the houseboat. “I’m getting tired of fast food and eating out.”
“How about I go with you?” Rob asked. “Unless you’d rather I didn’t.”
“No, I don’t mind.” I answered, glad that he offered to join me.
At the supermarket in Somerset, we filled not one but two grocery carts. Rob eyed the cleaning supplies I put in the carts, coming to the conclusion I had definite plans for the rest of my stay.
“You planning a party?” I jested, watching the young man shoving several cases of Michelob Light Beer onto the bottom tray of one of the carts.
“I might be.” Robbie replied. “You think we should get some wine too?
“Get some Reunite and Sangria.” I responded, pointing to the wine selection at the end of the aisle.
It was mid-evening when we made it back to Thunder Bay. Pulling alongside the houseboat, we managed to get everything onboard without getting drenched.
“How about I fire up the gas grille and fix us some steaks?” Rob suggested, tossing two of them on the counter. “Unless you’d rather have burgers?”
“You….you cook?” I questioned, somewhat startled.
“I’d starve if I didn’t.” He laughed. “I can’t go that fast food stuff all the time.”
“Ok. I’ll fix some baked potatoes and work up a salad while you do the cooking.” I asserted.
The dinner was great, the steaks cooked to perfection. Dining out on the front deck of the houseboat, the rain changed from a downpour to a steady shower.
“How long before you have to go back to Chicago?” Robbie asked. “A month or so?”
“A month!” I exclaimed with a laugh. “Next week is more like it.”
“That doesn’t give me much time.” He muttered.
“Much time for what?” I questioned.
“Much time to change your mind about me.” Rob responded. “I hate having to keep my guard up around you, afraid I’ll say something and you’ll take it the wrong way. Afraid I’ll do something and you’ll run off again.”
“Nothing you say or do will change my doubts about you.” I proclaimed. “It’s best if we leave it at that.”
“So, there’s no chance the two of us will get together again?” Rob hinted, looking disheartened.
“Depends on what you consider getting together.” I responded. “Seriously, there’s no chance in hell.”
“What about….sexually?” He stammered. “Any chance?”
I didn’t answer his question, leaving him wondering. As for wanting to sleep with him again, I was more than willing. As for letting it develop into a serious relationship, I wasn’t about to ever let that happen. Robbie was too much of a player to ever convince me he could be trusted.
After dinner, Rob parked himself on the couch to watch a movie on the plasma TV. I jotted down a list of tasks that I wanted to tackle before I had to return to my job at the bank.
“We need to get some painters out here.” I affirmed, getting Robbie’s attention. “And some roofers too.”
“I’ve got some friends who’re looking for work.” Robbie stated. “You want me to call them?”
“Not unless they’re bonded and insured.” I replied. “The last thing I need is someone getting hurt and suing us.”
“What about getting the old crew back to help finish the houseboat?” Rob suggested. “I might be able to get talk some of them into coming back.”
“Yeah. That’s a good idea.” I agreed. “Offer them a two dollar an hour raise. That might persuade them a little.”
“Is the one in the shop gonna be the last Thunder Bay ever built?” Rob inquired, joining me at the diningroom table.
“I don’t know. It’s too early to say.” I answered. “Depends on how well sales go for the ones we’ve already got.”
“There’s another six hulls stacked up out back.” Rob reminded me. “The supplier’s refused to take them back.”
“We might have to sell them for scrap metal then.” I asserted. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
Robbie returned to his movie, coaxing me to join him on the couch. Pouring myself a glass of Sangria and opening a beer for Rob, the two of us snuggled up on the couch.
It was sometime after midnight when a loud clap of thunder literally shook the houseboat. It startled me at first, waking me from a sound sleep. Robbie was sound asleep, his strong arms holding me, my head resting in his lap. Lifting his arm gently to avoid waking him up, I managed to free myself. I switched off the television, then closed and locked the sliding glass doors that led out to the front deck.