“You are going to love the boat.” She had said. “And not just the boat but the entire experience.”
I wanted to tell her that I had been on a boat before but that certainly would have made me a killjoy. So, instead, I smiled curtly at her and said: “Boating, Catherine? I thought women hated such a thing?”
“I brought the griller, Jamie.” She said as she began to park the car close to the creek. “I hope you don’t mind some steak on the boat?”
That got me; it really did. As soon as she was done parking, I turned to her and frowned. “Grilling? On a boat?” I whispered.
“I did tell you that you are going to like the experience, didn’t I?” she beamed.
I was still confused and could only watch as she turned off the ignition and stepped out of the car. As soon as I was out as well, I felt a lump in my throat as I saw the large boat that was waiting for us at the shore.
“Uh, Catherine, we are not getting on that, are we?” I asked, glancing at her over my shoulder.
“Yes, we are.” She said. She threw a cold beer at me and tilted her head towards the cooler she was trying to get out of the booth. “Help me with this, will you?”
“Okay.” I whispered, impressed beyond words.
It took us a few seconds to get to the shore and then a few more to get the cooler onto the boat. The boat was bigger than any I had ever been on – it was almost the size of a yacht. It was painted white, and the sun reflected through it. There was a man in a uniform atop the boat, and he only nodded courteously at us, obviously having been instructed to only man the wheel while Catherine and I went about our business.
“The griller!” Catherine grinned and then head out of the boat in a hurry without asking for my help. I had to watch her run to the car and then retrieve the griller from the booth. There was no way any man wouldn’t admire her; she was totally independent, beautiful and thoughtful.
“What’s going on through that head of yours?” she said as soon as she was back on the boat.
“Nothing.” I lied, preferring to sip from my beer instead.
“Uh.” She said as if she didn’t believe me. She didn’t say anything else, and I had to watch her begin to set up the gas grill hanging on side of pontoon boat.
“I should help with the steak,” I whispered behind her.
“Thought you would never ask.” She winked and then handed me a small flask.
“Get the beef oiled and sauced.” She said.
We did everything together afterward and soon, and the boat began to sail slowly down the creek.
“Get us a good position so we could see the mountains and bridges.” Catherine grinned, and there was a curt “yes ma’am” from the uniformed man.
“Since when have you planned this?” I asked, setting the steaks on the griller.
Catherine tilted her head sideways as if she was deep in thought and finally said, “A week ago.”
“And I never suspected a damn thing,” I muttered.
“There are so many things you haven’t suspected in the past, sweetie.”
“Really?” I whispered, raising my eyebrow at her.
‘Yes, really.” She whispered back.
I thought there was something to her response and prodded further. “Care to tell me one?”
“Well, the reason for this boating for instance.” She said and glanced up to smile at me.
“I hate it when you do that.” I cursed.
“Do what?” she laughed.
“Smile at me after calling me clueless.”
“Clueless? I never call you that.”
She was laughing, and I was really getting embarrassed. The heat from the griller settled on my face at the same time that the breeze from the stream blew into my eyes. Having to experience such with Catherine felt heavenly.
“So, why did you plan the boating for us?” I asked.
Catherine was turning the steak, but she paused as soon as I asked. The expression on her face melted to become filled with emotion, and for a second, I thought I saw the desire in her eyes – the desire for me.
“I wanted to spend one of those times with you again.” She whispered.
“One of those times?”
“Damn it, Jamie! Must you always be such a jerk?”
Her outburst was unexpected, and for a second, all I did was freeze and watch as she stopped paying any attention towards the steak and stepped towards me instead.
I instinctively swept my arms around her and found myself planting a kiss on her lips – or perhaps she was the one to kiss me first.
“Catherine.” I moaned into her mouth, feeling electrifying jolts coursing through my spine. I had never felt like that with her before.
“Catherine,” I whispered again when we wouldn’t stop kissing each other.
“What?” she finally asked, pausing to stare into my eyes.
“I-I-I-uhm….” I stammered.
I caught a smell in my nose before I could say something stupid though and quickly pointed to the griller. “I think the steaks are burning.”
I felt like the most stupid man on Earth nonetheless.