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No Tan Lines

Winter in Florida, a Girl, a Guy, and a Boat

By Chloe Tzang

© 2019 Chloe Tzang. All rights reserved. The author asserts the right to be identified as the author of this story. This story or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a review. If you see this story on any website other than Literotica.com, it’s been copied without the author’s permission.

And that obligatory (but short) little intro from Chloe: I started this story out for the Literotica Summer Lovin’ 2019 competition and ended up finishing it in haste, just, and with a few minutes to spare, for the 2019 Literotica Winter Holidays Competition (but okay, I had to change the seasons).

“No Tan Lines” didn’t quite come to me out of nowhere. My guy and I looked over a big old boat back in Spring of 2019 (an old wooden 45 foot Chris Craft Constellation from the early 1960’s with a couple of huge old original Chrysler V8’s and a lovely aft deck, huge swim platform and a flybridge). It was built from mahogany covered in fiberglass sheathing (I know, I know, now I do, anyhow. Fiberglass sheathing over wood is a big no-no. Much better to strip, replace any rotten wood, epoxy, and then layer with marine ply and more epoxy), which we didn’t think about buying because somebody else had already put an offer in, but the old guy in his 80’s who owned it said come and look at it anyway, and he spent an entire afternoon showing us over her, and answering lots of questions, and believe me, I had a lot.

My first experience looking at a boat like that and it was fascinating, and the woodwork inside was gorgeous. It sold really cheaply, he wanted to move it fast, it was quite a few hours’ drive from where we live, and it would have been waaaaaay too much work for us to restore anyway, not that I have any skill whatsoever in that field, and neither does my husband, altho he could probably turn his hand to it, and I’d happily give it a try, and I’d love to learn — but it needed a heck of a lot of work done to bring it back from that slow decay that old boats experience over the decades (as I found out when I started reading up on building wooden boats — George Beuhler’s book — and on restoring old boats, which makes sense), and I guess I was daydreaming about what it would be like to live on a boat like that, so when this story more or less popped into my head, I just had to write it.

It’s a sweet little first-time romance, 17-18 Literotica pages, 60k words, more or less, so it’s not so short, but with a happy ending, and with lots of sex but absolutely no blood and gore, and I’ve written far too many long introductions lately, so I’ll just leave it at that. I do hope you enjoy… and now I’m going back to work on the stories that I was working on before… Anyhow, enjoy, and if you like boats, fishing and romance, well, this one’s for you, and I hope I got the boat and fishing stuff right, coz I’ve never done either. Anyhow, enjoy, and Happy Christmas everyone… Chloe

* * * “No Tan Lines” * * *

People on the mainland wouldn’t understand

What it’s like dipping toes in the white sand

What it’s like every night going caveman

No tan lines, just you and I

I Wish, Emblem3

* * *

“They look pretty good from here, don’t they?”

I glanced sideways at him. He’d been standing there looking through the wire mesh security fence at the boats docked in the marina when I wandered up, kind of bored and wishing there was more to this place than the shops and restaurants and fishing shops. No beach within walking distance, and you couldn’t get near the river for the two big marinas and the boatyards though, and that was all there was. That, and seniors. Lots of seniors, with their walkers and their walking sticks and their little pet dogs that mostly looked as old and geriatric as the seniors, with their hearing aids and thick glasses, out enjoying the winter sun, and I don’t know about the rest of Florida, but so far, winter here wasn’t what I would have called cold.

Felt more like summer to me.

“Send Jenny down to stay with us over the winter,” my Aunt Suzy had said to my Mom and Dad a couple of weeks ago, when she’d called to see how I was doing. “She can stay come down before Christmas and stay on right through to summer, until High School starts in September if she likes. It’s beautiful down here, she can take it easy, maybe study when she’s up to it, and the sunshine’ll help her recover, I’m sure.”

Okay, I could see why my Mom and Dad would think that’d been a good idea, because all I’d been doing the last few weeks, since they sent me home from the hospital, was lying curled up in bed staring at my bedroom ceiling, or lying on the couch staring blankly at the family room walls, and Mom and Dad both had to work. That, and they’d exhausted themselves Bahçelievler escort over the last five months, coz one or the other of them had come in to see me every evening for five months, and they’d both come in on the weekends. They deserved a break.

I could kind of rationalize that, and besides, who wouldn’t want to get away from winter in Minneapolis, because it wasn’t like I was allowed outside, not with the cold, and I hated lying around at home by myself but I just didn’t feel up to anything else. It wasn’t like Mom or Dad could take time off work, and all my old friends were at school, and when they did come around to visit, it was like we didn’t have anything in common anymore.

Okay, maybe my Aunt and Uncle had thought me coming to stay with them was a good idea too, but now that I was here, with them, I knew they hadn’t realized just how ill I’d been. I guess my Mom hadn’t been completely honest with them about that either. Mom always looked at the rosy side of everything, and I guess she’d thought I was a lot better than I was. Or maybe she’d hoped that I was. I dunno, and I wasn’t going to ask, because at least it was better than staring at walls in Minneapolis.

I’d sort of thought yeah, okay, why not, myself, when Mom asked me if I’d like to go down to Florida for the winter, stay for Christmas, and maybe even over spring and summer, but after a week down here, I wasn’t so hot on it anymore. More like exhausted, and I was feeling worse after a week here than I had when I’d arrived, and my brain was fried, and it hadn’t been in good shape when I arrived here.

Here?

Small Florida town, on the Atlantic coast, south of Miami. Not quite the Florida Keys, but real close to the Everglades, and Key Largo was straight out there somewhere. Lots of sunshine for sure, but no real beaches, not here. Southern Florida winter, so it was actually kind of warm without being too hot, but there wasn’t much to do. This was small town Florida. Quiet, boring, not one of the big resort towns, or Fort Lauderdale, nothing like Miami, and I’d flown in to Miami, and sat in the car looking out the window while Aunt Suzy drove south, and it hadn’t looked like anywhere I wanted to be.

At least this town was quiet. Everything here revolved around a couple of big marinas on the river, a few boatyards and workshops with rows of boats being worked on, and a whole lot of seniors who must’ve retired here coz it was cheap or something. Nice enough if you liked boats and fishing and sitting around playing bingo, and dying of old age and everything, but I didn’t play bingo, and I didn’t plan on dying either, although I’d come close, and my Uncle and Aunt didn’t have a boat.

They had a Chinese restaurant.

It opened seven days a week. Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets.

It was busy, every day, and they lived in the apartment upstairs from the restaurant. The apartment wasn’t air-conditioned, and it wasn’t heated either, and it was noisy. Street noise. Parking lot noise. Customer noise. Clatter of dishes from the kitchen noise. It was a concrete shell and when it was sunny, it soaked up that heat. It hadn’t been chilly since I arrived, and at night, even in winter, it was too hot for me to sleep until the early morning. On a sunny winters day, it baked all day, even with the windows wide open, and every fan they had pointed at me. Seriously, I thought about going next door to the gas station and buying up half the freezer of party ice and filling the bathtub and just climbing in.

Yeah, it was that hot, and this was winter.

I hated to think what it’d be like in summer. Unbearable?

Auntie Suzy and Uncle Wayne liked the sun and the heat, and they didn’t mind the odd chilly night, said it was refreshing. They would, they’d moved down here years ago, been here almost all their lives. They were used to it. Me, I’d grown up in Minnesota, where it was nice and cool in fall, cold in winter and cool again come spring. Summer lasted about two months and we had aircon then.

A week with Auntie Suzy and Uncle Wayne and I was bored, and there’s not much worse than being bored, not when you combine it with being too tired and weak to do anything. That and not actually being interested in doing anything anyhow, because my brain was just a cloudy grey fuzz. I wasn’t even interested in the books I used to love, and I was going to be here for another eight months, because whenever I thought about going home, I wanted to throw up. Seriously.

Maybe it was better being here. Maybe.

Maybe I was recovering, because I’d been really ill, and the Doctor said I was better but I wasn’t supposed to go back to School until spring, and by then I’d have missed just about the entire twelfth grade, so what was the point. Might as well start Twelfth Grade again in September, after summer, along with everyone else. I was gonna have to do it anyhow, because three months wasn’t Bahçelievler escort bayan going to get me caught up. I had some text books and stuff to study, but every time I opened them I just zoned out, staring blankly at them, so I gave up.

I’d tried helping out in the restaurant. Thought it’d give me something to do, but the first day I tried, I was so tired after a couple of hours that I ended up dropping off to sleep in the booth right at the back.

“You’re here to recover, Jenny, not work. Go out, relax and have fun. Walk around, explore, go back upstairs, take a nap, watch a movie, read a book.”

My aunt tossed me out, and out was hot. Even in winter that heat was just exhausting, coz I still wasn’t feeling that great. Felt like crap, really, and I hadn’t seen a single person my age. Not one. Wasn’t sure I wanted to, anyhow. What was I gonna say? “Hi, I’m Jenny and I’m too tired to do anything.” I don’t think so.

Anyhow, yeah, well, it was hard to have fun when you didn’t know anyone, not that I thought I’d have any fun, coz really, I couldn’t think of anything that seemed like fun anymore. Not even the movies I used to like, or the books I’d enjoyed reading, back before. Maybe if you had a boat here, you could enjoy yourself a bit more, but I didn’t have a boat.

Not that I’d know what to do with a boat anyhow.

Sit there and look at the water?

Yeah, right.

This morning I was out again, while it was still whatever passed for cool in Florida in winter, before that winter sun started baking me, and I was on the wrong side of the marina security fence. All I could do was look through the mesh, and I’d been wandering around looking for the last couple of days. I even recognized some of the boats. I’d seen them that often.

“I like coming ’round this side and looking at them from here too.”

I’d almost forgotten about him. Didn’t sound like he was trying to hit on me. I was getting used to older guys here talking to me without trying to hit on me. Guess when you got to your seventies or eighties, and I figured some of them were maybe in their nineties, you kinda realized there wasn’t much point in hitting on some girl my age, but I wasn’t much interested in talking to anyone anyhow.

This guy was a lot younger than those seniors. Was he trying to hit on me? Honestly, I didn’t really care that much. I’d just ignore him. Don’t look at them, don’t respond, and these days that was real easy. Ignore them and they go away.

“Not from ’round here are you?”

Not from round here? Guess that was obvious. I hadn’t seen any other Chinese girls around here either, except in the mirror. Guess I stood out, coz I’d been getting a few looks. I’d ignored them, or I’d brushed them off. Another quick glance, and okay, he seemed harmless enough. Actually, he really didn’t seem that old at all when I looked again. Late twenties maybe? He had a nice smile, along with a lot of wrinkles around his eyes.

“No, just visiting, and yeah, I like looking at them.” It was kinda strange talking to someone again. I hadn’t really talked to anyone I didn’t know for months, and it almost felt like my mouth was someone else’s, and the words felt strange.

“I saw you here yesterday and the day before.”

I glanced at him again, checking him out and he didn’t look sketchy. He wasn’t looking at me at all. He was looking at the boats and yeah, no bad vibes or anything. Just a guy looking at boats. Short-sleeved shirt and muscles. Looked like he worked out a bit. No tattoos, not that I could see, but he did have all these scars on his arms. Baggy shorts, hiking sandals, weird collection of scars on his legs as well as his arms, tanned, fit looking, not that old at all. It was just his face, lined, with wrinkles around his eyes. Made him look older.

He sounded a bit tired. Like me.

I shrugged. “I like looking at them.”

“Your folks got one?”

“No, I’m staying with my Uncle and Aunt in town. They live here.”

“Sorry, thought you were one of the marina kids. Folks bring ’em down and sit on the boat in the marina all day, and the kids get bored silly.”

I nodded. I’d already noticed that from out here on the wrong side of the fence. In there, on the other side of the fence, the right side I guess, were the boats. Expensive looking boats, most of them. In there, one the other side of the fence, were the families on the boats. Dad, Mom, and two point five kids who either sat around listlessly or ran around on sugar highs from all the pop or juice they were drinking, and the junk food and ice cream they were eating.

Those boats, they’d go out. I’d watched them, and sometimes they’d come back. Other times I guessed they headed up or down the coast to another Marina, or maybe straight out to Key Largo or Bermuda or the Bahamas or down to the Caribbean islands. Guess they were down here for Christmas. Nice life for Escort bahçelievler some, and I wouldn’t have minded. Better than walking aimlessly around this town. Maybe one day that’d be me over there, sitting on a boat, soaking up the winter sun, looking casual and elegant or something.

Not this year, though.

“Not staying on one of those then?” Now he glanced my way and smiled.

“No, wish I was. My Uncle and Aunt run the Chinese restaurant back there.” I pointed. You could see the sign from here. “Golden Phoenix Chinese Buffet.”

“Hey, I’ve been there. Eat there all the time. Great food. Suzy and Wayne, they’re you’re Uncle and Aunt?”

“Yeah, and the food’s not bad.” Even if you were Chinese. And the spring rolls were the best.

“Hey, my name’s Dave. Dave Prentice.”

“Jenny,” I said, after a second. No, he didn’t look sketchy, and he knew who Aunt Suzy and Uncle Wayne were. “Jenny Dao.”

“You want to come take a close up look at some of the boats?” he said. “Take a walk around, inside the marina.” He grinned. “I live on one, over the far side.”

“You do?” I said, perking up. I’d like to look at them from a bit closer. “Yeah, okay, sure.”

I mean, marina, security, broad daylight. I could actually get into the marina. Get to see some of these boats up near them. Why not? Better than standing here, looking at them from the outside, and it wasn’t like I had anything better to do, was it?

Then, suspiciously, having second thoughts. “Are you trying to hit on me?” It just came out.

“Nope, but call your Uncle and Aunt, tell them where you’re going,” he said. “Hey, they know me, more or less. I bring in fish for Wayne every now and then. Here’s my Driver’s License, take a photo and send it to them, they’ll recognize me. Shouldn’t go off with some guy you just met without telling anyone.”

“Yeah, okay,” I said, pulling my mobile out, feeling more comfortable by the second. Quick photo, and yeah, it sure looked like him. Send a message to my Aunt’s phone. “What’s the name of your boat?” I asked, ready to key it in.

“No Tan Lines,” he said.

“Sent,” I said, tucking my mobile away. He better not be hitting on me. I couldn’t deal with that. Didn’t want to deal with anything like that.

“Let’s go,” he said, and we did. Turned out it was a long walk around to the Marina entrance.

“Mind if we stop for a minute,” I said, halfway there, sort of not exhausted but I was feeling it, sweating and breathing too fast, feeling a bit faint. The doctor at the clinic back home, he’d said take it easy, don’t push yourself. Walking two blocks was pushing myself? Jesus! But then, guess I’d been on my back in a hospital bed for five out of the last six months and they’d only let me out in the end coz the health insurance company was getting really shirty about paying, and they kept questioning the hospital, and the doctors, and my Dad. That, and I really wanted to get out of hospital myself, and the doctor on my case, he’d been a bit reluctant, but in the end he’d signed me out.

“Take your medication every day,” he’d said. “Get your weekly checkups. And rest. You need a lot of recovery time, and it’s going to take a while to get your strength back.”

God, my legs were quivering.

“Something wrong?” he asked, like he was all concerned.

“No,” I said, bending forward, hands on my knees. “Just wait a second.”

Breathe in, breathe out, get my breathing under control, rest, and in a couple of minutes I was okay, but Jesus, I was so tired and it wasn’t even nine am. Hadn’t slept to well last night either. Hadn’t slept to well for months now, except when they’d put me out, and that wasn’t exactly relaxing, was it.

“Sorry,” I said, when I could talk without panting for breath. “Didn’t mean to scare you. I went into hospital to have my appendix out back in summer, caught multi-drug resistant pneumonia real bad in the hospital and then there were all sorts of complications and I was there for months, got to know intensive care really well. Mom and Dad sent me down here to help get over it, but I still feel like crap.”

Complications? I’d almost died about six times, that’s what I found out after I got out, and I’d only found that out coz I read through my file while I was waiting to see the doctor at the walk-in clinic my parents took me to for my follow-ups, and god, I’d told him far too much about me. Maybe because he was the first person I hadn’t already known that I’d talked to in months. Besides doctors and nurses, anyhow. I better stop.

“Jeez, that’s not so good,” he said.

“It wasn’t,” I said. “And I’m sure not as fit as I used to be.” I stood up, slowly, breathed in, breathed out, and I wasn’t shaking. “I’m sorry. If I’m too much trouble for you, you go on. I can go back to my Uncle and Aunt’s.”

I didn’t want to though. That apartment was like a concrete cave. Maybe there was a library here somewhere. An air-conditioned library. I could ask. Or I could just hide out in that booth at the back of the restaurant that was usually empty. Or maybe go to that cinema and hide out and sleep at the back or in a corner or something, but I’d seen some weird people walking in when I wandered by yesterday, so maybe not.

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