The gang goes whale watching. The thing jumping from the water in the postcard banner is a whale. More explained in the chapter. Many events depicted in the chapter actually happened. I hope you enjoy it!
Postnote -Thank you so much for reading. The ratio of comments to people reading is so low for the writers - so, all comments are valued and welcomed. The support is sincerely appreciated!
Saturday, late morning…
"Come on, hold still…"
"Noooo! Stop it, Brian, I said no!"
"Come on, Sunshine, stop moving around... If you'd stop arguing with me, we could've been done by now."
"Brian, I am 25 years old and perfectly capable of putting on sunscreen by myself!" Again, Justin dodged Brian's attempt to rub lotion on his face.
"Last time you were supposed to apply it, you missed half of your face and neck and you got sun poisoning. I'll be damned if I've going to listen to you whine that stupid phrase, 'itchies and bloaties,' all weekend… And that rash was real attractive…"
Whenever they were reunited after being apart for awhile, with Brian in Pittsburgh and Justin in New York City, both men's feelings and emotions were always heightened for awhile. At the worst of it, Justin was more possessive and Brian was more controlling; both men did their best to accommodate or ignore these traits, whenever possible. However, Justin couldn't ignore Brian's behavior at that moment, because he found it highly embarrassing.
"What's the matter, Wonder Boy, you need Rage's help with your make-up?" Michael and Ben had joined them, after buying water at the ship's snack bar.
Normally, Justin would have ignored Michael's little, asinine dig. But, at that particular moment, he felt like an embarrassed, defiant 10 year old child and he reacted that way.
"Well, at least I don't need a booster seat to reach the breakfast table."
Michael's momentary confusion was quickly replaced by indignation. "I sometimes have to use the blow-up, donut thing when I sit because I bruised my cockle… lis…is-"
Ben quietly corrected him, "Coccyx."
Michael, "Coccyx… and it hurt this morning. And I don't need help reaching anything," It didn't take much to bring out the ten year old in Michael also, "because I'm not short… well… I'm… I'm taller than you!"
"Bullllllshiiiiit! You're 5'7' and I'm 5'8'!"
"Like hell you are!"
"Hey lady!" Brian spoke directly to Ben and deliberately addressed the professor incorrectly. "Do you mind getting your shih tzu away from my poodle? Don't you see that there's a dog fight building here?"
Justin and Michael turned shocked faces in his direction, and then began yapping insults at him. Brian spoke above their voices and told Ben to "Take him somewhere else; there's plenty of room in the dog park!" Brian waved Ben and Michael away.
Ben was struggling to keep his composure. His mouth twisted and contorted, and any passer-by may have quickly guessed that he was holding back a burst of anger. However, what he was holding back was a burst of howling laughter. He knew that if he let it rip, his husband would make his life a living hell. Wordlessly, he wrapped an arm around Michael and towed him towards the doors that lead to the outer deck of the ship.
Michael could be heard complaining as he was taken away. "Well he started it… I did not… it was a joke! You're taking his side… yes, you are…"
Brian flashed Justin a shit eating grin, and tried to carry on like nothing had happened. When he reached to apply lotion to Justin's face, the younger man playfully growled back at him, but there was a certain flicker in Justin's eye that made Brian pull back. He decided to try a different tactic; he cautiously draped his arm around Justin's neck and then very subtly pushed his dick against Justin's stomach. "Would doggie like a bone… or, if doggie has a boner…"
Justin scoffed and pushed the older man away. "There are children on this ship and there's no privacy in the restroom. No way… you're such a pain in the ass, sometimes… Oh, fuck it - hurry up and get it over with!"
Brian quickly applied lotion to Justin's face and other exposed areas. He tried to placate Justin with little kisses and compliments. It worked.
Afterwards, they decided to explore the ship, which was motoring out to open sea, in search of whales.
The ship, the Donna Lynn, was a 120 feet, deep sea, explorer ship, built thick and tough to withstand the strong winds and rough seas that were prevalent in the area. The vessel smelt of fresh paint and aging seafood – luckily, the fishy smell was very faint. The hull and everything topside was painted a military grey, except for the large band of neon, orange paint that wrapped completely around the entire ship, just below the railing. This band allowed it to be seen more easily, when sailing through thick fog.
A huge, passenger cabin dominated the deck and stretched from stem to stern. It had large windows that made up the top half of the outer cabin walls, making it possible to see the ocean from almost every angle. Located in the passenger cabin was a snack bar that sold souvenirs, snacks, disposable cameras, and camera paraphernalia. Small restrooms were next to the snack bar, and long rows of bolted-down benches faced it. The benches provided the passengers a place to rest, when they wanted to escape the sea winds on deck.
After listening to the life jacket safety instructions provided by a crew member, the passengers were free to walk around the ship, including climbing up the steep stairs to the upper deck that was located on top of the cabin. The view was spectacular from most areas on the ship, but even more so from the upper deck.
Michael commented that it was a little sad that the ship wasn't full of passengers. The ship, for that cruise, was filled to a little less than half capacity - approximately 100 people. Ben said that it was actually a good thing for them; because they wouldn't have to fight a huge crowd to catch a photo opportunity.
At times, the captain would make announcements through the ship's sound system, pointing out various aquatic life or unique landmarks on shore.
Justin had given Michael a transdermal, Scopolamine medicine patch to wear behind his ear and a homeopathic, wrist pressure band - which together would help stave off sea sickness. The blond wore both, as well, since he too was prone to sea sickness. The combined efforts of both preventatives seemed to work, because neither man ever had a moment of queasiness.
Justin also told the gang that if anyone started to feel sick, they should stay out on deck and keep their eye on the horizon. It helped the inner ear stabilize, thereby helping to reduce the cause of motion sickness. Brian and Ben both made mental notes to keep their partner/husband out on deck as much as possible.
The ship cruised at a speed that allowed the passengers to walk around comfortably. Emmett and Ted stayed inside the cabin, out of the wind. They said they would come out when there was something to actually see.
Michael, Ben, Justin and Brian stayed out on deck. At times, the two couples mingled – but only after Justin and Michael made amends by affectionately calling each other, "Jerk" and "Jackass," respectively. But mostly, the couples sought their own space.
Justin was particularly happy with that portion of the trip; when he became chilled by the winds, he was able to seek warmth in Brian's arms, without any complaints from the older man. But had he asked Brian, he would have been told that his lover had no qualms with sheltering Justin... he welcomed any opportunity to hold his Sunshine.
After they had been motoring out to sea for about twenty minutes, the loud speaker came on and the captain announced that they were going to pick up speed.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we found what you came to see. In the words of the old sea captains of yore – 'There'd be whales!'"
Unexpectedly, all the passengers let out a collective shout of joy, which was followed by a smattering of self-conscious laughter. The two Pittsburgh couples had reconnected at that moment, and Zen Ben shared, "That was a beautiful, soul bonding moment – the whole ship responding together! At least I know I'm not the only one looking forward to seeing the whales." Michael and Justin wholeheartedly agreed with the professor, Brian just rolled his eyes.
The captain instructed the passengers to get their cameras ready and move to the 'starboard' side of the ship. He helped everyone along with, "Stand looking in the direction of the flag, which is the front of the ship – it's called the 'bow.' Remember, you bow to the 'bow.' Now, everyone, stick out your right arm straight out to your side. That's the right side of the boat, called the 'starboard'. The left side of the boat is called 'port'– it has 4 letters like the word 'left.' And the back of the ship is the stern. I'll let you make up your own reminder for that… the person with the best reminder for 'stern' will win a prize… all the sea water you can carry!" The captain could be heard laughing as he turned off his mike. His sense of humor put a smile on many faces.
A small boy yelled out, "Big fishes are jumping behind the boat!" Just as fast as the young child said it, the captain came on and announced that a small pod of bottlenose dolphins were having some fun. They were following close behind the ship, jumping over the waves that were created from the surge of the ships' hull, as it cut through the sea. People quickly moved to the back of the ship, amazed and laughing, while taking pictures.
There was a 5 minute break before the captain's next announcement. "We think we've found a mother minke whale and her calf on our sonar. She's been charted in these waters before. She's nicknamed 'Mona' and her calf is called 'Squirt.' When we reach her vicinity, we'll cut speed and troll along with her, as close as possible. But, we have to keep a reasonable distance, we don't want to spook her or upset the calf. Don't worry, you'll be able to see her just fine... when we reach her, she'll be on our starboard side… just don't everyone run over there at one time, or the ship will tip over… JUST JOKING… wanted to make sure you were awake!"
Brian laughed out loud at the captain's wiseass joke and then at the fear on the faces of some of the passengers. Some others joined him, thinking the joke was funny, while the majority of the passengers just groaned off their frustration. A few irritated passengers could be heard quibbling; stating that they thought the captain's joke went too far.
After another 5 minutes, though it felt like an hour, the captain came back on the speaker and said the boat was coming up on the mother and calf. People moved to the starboard side and strained to see the whales, though many didn't know what to expect.
A woman yelled, "I see them! Good lord – that's a whale!" Children squealed and all the passengers held their breath, trying to see what the woman had seen.
Off in the distance, about 60 feet out, a black, large lump surfaced and in a rolling motion, moved forward for a short distance, and then rolled back down into the water. It was part of the head and upper back of Mona, the minke whale. The next time Mona surfaced, a dark grey, small lump appeared at her side and in tandem, followed her back down into the water. That was Squirt, the calf, diving beside its mama.
Passengers were talking excitedly, and cameras were clicking, but there was an air of expectancy, a need for something more to happen… The moving lumps just didn't completely provide the "wow" that the passengers had expected.
Then, it happened… The top of Mona's head rose out of the water, much higher than her earlier appearance, and more of her back followed… then - she blew water out of her blow hole! She sprayed water way up high and way out wide. Within seconds, Squirt followed mama's example, and blew out its own blow hole full of water.
The passengers shouted, laughed, and clapped with joy… and there was even a few tears. That moment brought it home for everyone – the lumps in the water were whales – real, live whales - swimming in the ocean… as their species had been doing for millions of years.
The ship drew closer to the whales and the captain began sharing some facts about Mona and Squirt. She was a minke whale, about mid-size for the whale world. She was as large as a school bus and weighed about as much, and the calf was the size of a small SUV. The lump that showed was only about ¼ of her length. Minke's don't "breach their flukes," meaning they don't thrust their tails, called flukes, out of the water before taking a dive, like most whales. The flukes were as unique and distinctive as finger prints. His crew had been able to catch sight of her fluke, and they verified that it was indeed, Mona.
Soon, the ship was only about 40 feet from Mona, and her incredible size was far more visible as she glided below the water's surface.
People were practically hanging over the sides of the ship, trying to capture every moment of Mona and Squirt on film. Justin took a break from whale watching to watch his lover and friends. Brian, Ben, and Michael were snapping away like paparazzi stalking a celebrity. Emmett and Ted were taking their experience at a slower pace; they were content to watch the whales swim and only took the occasional photo. All of them were completely enthralled and as excited as school children.
Brian looked like a professional photographer, as he deftly switched lenses, and reset his camera settings in a blink of an eye. Lust surged through Justin's loins, when he saw how the sunlight caught the copper highlights in Brian's hair and the wind plastered his clothing against his lean, muscled body. He looked more handsome than a model in any advertisement. Justin took a picture of Brian in that moment, so that he could paint him later.
Mona began to swim faster, and her increase in speed was noticeable. Other behavior changes began to rapidly occur. First, she spent more time under water. Then, during one of her dives, she moved her calf to her opposite side, away from the boat. Finally, what really caught everyone's attention was the appearance of her tail. She brought it out of the water and scooped it towards the boat, causing a two foot wave to rush over and crash against the ship. The impact wasn't felt, but the intent was. She continued to swing her tail and slap it against the water.
Within minutes of her behavior change, the captain came back on the speaker with some good news and bad news. "Bad news first, folks. We've got to say good day to Mona and her baby. She's showing some signs of stress and we are backing off… Before we get to the good news – are you having a great day of whale watching? Let me hear you!"
Many passengers yelled out at the top of their lungs, and others shouted various things, but the cumulative effect was a resounding "yes."
"Okay, then! You just earned yourself a bucket full of good news! Folks, we are heading for a kind of celebrity in these here seas. He's a big, son-of-a-gun… a young, bachelor humpback whale… Let me tell you folks, you are having a heck of a lucky day… not only did you see the rare sight of a mama and her calf… but now you're going to see the third largest type of whale in the sea… did I mention he was big? This boy is the size of a double-rigged, 18 wheeler truck and weighs just as much… Okay, we're heading for the big show… go do what you gotta do, you've got 10 minutes!"
People realized that this was their chance to use the facilities, get a drink, or whatever and they took it seriously and rushed to the restrooms or the snack bar. Other folks decided that they needed to sit down and rest after standing for so long.
The gang gathered together in a corner of the cabin and shared pictures and talked about their personal experiences of capturing the images of the creatures on film. Then, they broke up in teams, some going for drinks for everyone, others went to buy more digital memory cards for their camera, and Justin and Emmett headed for the restroom.
While Brian and Ben were standing in the non-food line at the snack bar, hoping to buy bigger memory cards for theirs digital cameras, a group of four, young women approached them. "Are you Brian Kinney?" When Brian nodded his head, the women quickly asked if they could get their picture taken with him. They said that they felt honored to meet the creator of the King of Clubs Foundation.
Brian wordlessly held his arms out and all the women hurried into them. Ben agreed to take the picture, and once done, the women left just as quickly as they had arrived. That was the third time that people had approached Brian since he had arrived in P-Town. Brian just wished he could see whatever advertisement had been used, he joked to Ben that he hoped that they had at least used one professionally taken head shot.
"You're becoming famous."
Brian replied, "Hardly." Then he smirked, but it wasn't a full-power-Kinney-special. He was used to being a known in Pittsburgh, so being recognized in P-Town really wasn't that big of a deal. However, he really wanted the foundation to be the center of attention, not himself.
The gang had re-grouped, right before the first mate came on the speaker and gave everyone a three minute warning. The humpback male had been spotted… and apparently, it had spotted the ship. "He's heading our way. He ain't normal, folks… he likes ships. We think he's looking for a mate… Stand by."
The gang exchanged curious looks and joked with other passengers… did the first mate imply that a horny whale was heading for their ship, looking for some afternoon delight? Brian demanded that the whale buy them all a drink, first.
The guys headed for the upper deck; Brian and Ben had decided it would be the best vantage point for pictures. They both wished they could have been on the upper deck when they were taking pictures of Mona, it would have been easier to see her.
"We've got him in our sights, folks. You're in for a treat. Get them cameras ready." Most passengers heeded the captain's warning and came out on deck, or climbed to the upper deck.
Brian was focusing his camera, with it aimed out to sea, when a shout went out from the lower deck. Loud and clear, a man yelled out, "HOLY SHIT!"
About sixty feet from the ship, a humongous thing leapt out of the water. It looked like it a submarine for a moment – with a long, dark gray and white, oval body. It flew straight up and high into the air; though it did not come completely out of the water. It seemed to be as tall, if not taller, than the height of the ship's upper deck. Then, it fell backwards and slammed down against the surface of the water, causing a huge splash of waves, before it slipped back into the depths of the sea.
The entire ship was shocked into silence… and were motionless… everyone… for several long moments… then, just as if a bubble burst, all the passengers realized what had just happened – and the crowd roared! Half of the crowd literally jumped for joy, yelling at the top of their lungs, while others shouted out words of astonishment and praise for the whale. A few people screamed out in actual fear, and more than a dozen yelled out in grief, because they had missed the shot… however, a certain handsome, auburn-haired man did not…
He grinned from ear to ear – he was the only one that had captured the incredible moment… Brian simply said, "Got it." That became the phrase that the gang used for the rest of the cruise, when they caught an exceptional moment on film.
"Folks, I think you're in for some… 'extreme whale watching.' He's frisky today."
Sweet Mona and Squirt had turned out to be just the warm up act; the humpback had become the main attraction.
The humpback 'breached' again – jumped out of the water - and people frantically tried to capture every second. Then, he began to breach his tail during his dives – he dove, head first into the water and flipped his tail up and out of the water and held it in the air for a few seconds before he slipped completely under the water. It was the iconic moment that many had waited for, the picture of the whale's tail.
Ben processed the moment verbally, sharing with the group that the symbol of the whale's tail had taken on many meanings for many societies. But, no matter what significance humans placed upon it, the whale's tail represented the existence of the gentlest and largest mammal on the face of the Earth, and that humans should do everything possible to ensure their survival. The gang all solemnly nodded in agreement, including Brian.
Then, the humpback decided he wanted a closer look. He dove under and remained under for almost several minutes. When he re-surfaced, he came up swimming parallel with the vessel. Though he was about twenty feet from the ship, it seemed like he was right next to it… Everyone, all over the boat, felt chills and thrills… and a last a moment of terror… because he was almost as long as the ship.
Despite the sense of fear and danger, cameras started clicking like Morse Code. On the upper deck, very few people spoke. However, one man tried to joke away the tension. He quoted a sentence from the movie, Jaws. "I think we need a bigger boat…" It would have been funnier if his voice hadn't wavered when he said it… and if people didn't secretly believe it.
Brian caught Justin's eye and smiled at him. He then strode over to him and gave him a quick, but deep kiss. It was Brian's way of saying "thank you." He had just experienced a high that no drug had ever given him… not that he did drugs as often as he once did… He loved every minute of their adventure on the high seas, and he owed it all to his partner. After another, wordless kiss, Brian returned to capturing the beautiful sea beast on film.
The humpback continued to entertain the ship's passengers for another 30 straight minutes,triple the time that Mona patiently endured their intrusion. People quickly got over their fear of the mammal, because they became obsessed with trying to capture every moment of his antics.
By the time that the captain headed back to P-Town harbor, everyone on board was exhausted. The humpback whale had put on quite a show and nearly every passenger strained some body part trying to keep up with his magnificent performance.
"Oh… folks, I forgot to tell you the nickname of that humpback whale… We call him, 'Sonny Boy.'"
Brian and Justin shared surprised grins and then indulged themselves in a deep, loving kiss.
The gang was exhausted, and it showed, as they slugged their way up from the harbor to Commerce Street. None of them could agree on what they wanted to eat for lunch or where they wanted to go afterwards. They amicably agreed to go their separate ways, and then catch up with each other after lunch, either while shopping or back at the inn. Ben and Michael headed for a vegan restaurant that Ben wanted to try, Emmett and Ted went in search of whatever caught their fancy at first sight, and Brian and Justin went in search of the best lobster roll in town.
Brian pulled a tired Justin along Commerce for a couple of blocks, while he promised the blond that they were heading for the best sandwich shop in town. He swore that the blond would not be disappointment with his lobster roll.
He turned onto a side street and headed into a small, 1920's Art-Deco-ish looking take-out sandwich shop, called "Pop's Eat Good." Justin giggled at the name and cracked a couple of lame jokes; eventually Brian quieted him with a soft kiss.
While they waited their turn in a small line, they noticed a teenager standing off to the side, in front of the deli counter, counting a handful of coins. The kid looked hungry, thin, and his clothes were well worn, as was his backpack. Justin moved to give him some money, but Brian pulled him back and shook his head. He kissed the blond's head and whispered, "Wait, I want to see something."
There were two men behind the long glass counter, one much taller than the other, and from their body language and open affection for one another, it was obvious they were a couple… if not, then the shop had a very affectionate working environment.
The dark haired, shorter man, who wore a name-tag with "Joey" written on it, took orders and packed them up, adding chips and drinks. The other man, who was taller, had a shaved head, and a build equal to Ben's musculature, wore a nametag that read, "Johan." He made the sandwiches and handled the short – order cooking.
Johan plopped 2 wrapped up sandwiches by the register, then went back to making another sandwich. Joey bagged the 2 sandwiches and handed them over to a waiting customer, all the while taking a new customer's order. The departing customer made a big show of dropping money in the tip jar, located next to the cash register. Joey responded with a hearty, "Thanks, Bobbie!"
Then, it was Brian's and Justin's turn and Joey greeted them with, "What can I get cha?"
Brian ordered 2 lobster rolls, chips, and soda for Justin, and an Italian cold cut and a bottle of water for himself.
Justin and Brian watched Johan grab Joey's attention with a slight touch to the arm; then he ever so slightly nodded in the direction of the teen; the kid was digging through his backpack, apparently looking for more money. Joey nodded his head.
Johan walked down to the end of the counter and quietly called the teenager over to him. Johan had a noticeable Slavic accent. "Hey kid - you hungry? I got sandwich here, I make one too many. You want?"
The teenager looked cautiously optimistic, but there was also fear in his face. "Sure… um… are… are you giving it to me? For free? I got money… I do, I just gotta find-"
"Yeah-yeah, just take it or we throw it out… but that's a sin. Don't make me sin." Without a smile or any facial expression at all, he handed over a paper sack, stuffed with the sandwich and several bags of chips. Then, he handed the kid a bottle of water. "We always have stuff left over at breakfast… come back if hungry."
The kid hesitantly nodded, quietly thanked the tall man, then asked, "Um… why?" Johan could be heard saying, "You hear of 'pay it forward'?" The kid nodded in response. "Someday, you pay it forward." Then teen-ager tucked his head down and then high-tailed it out of shop, half afraid that the tall man would change his mind and want the food back.
Justin was so touched by what he had witnessed, and he turned to share his feelings with Brian, but stopped himself when he saw his lover's face. Brian eye's had a far-away look, as if he was remembering something. Then, Justin knew… Brian had been that kid 15 years ago, when he was first came to P-Town.
Brian and Justin were told their order was ready. When paying, Brian asked Joey, "Is Pop still around?"
"You mean my dad? Nah… he's retired… but he comes in now and then. Mostly takes care of the grandkids and grows his tomatoes… You know him?"
"Yeah, we met about fifteen years ago. Glad to hear he's still going strong."
"Oh yeah, Pop is still going good."
Before they left, Brian discreetly reached into his pocket and pulled out a small bundle of folder money and slipped it into the tip jar. Only Justin saw him do it.
As they walked away from the shop, Joey came jogging out of the shop, calling for Brian. "Hey, buddy… mister… hey… I don't think you wanted to leave this." He held up the folded bundle of cash that Brian had dropped in the tip jar. "The top bill is a $100 bill. I don't know what else is in with it, but I'm sure you didn't realize that a c-note got slipped in there." He chuckled and held it out to Brian, who didn't take it.
"It's no mistake… just tell Pop… someone is paying it forward. Use it for sandwiches that you give away."
As Brian walked away, holding onto Justin's hand, he momentarily stopped and turned back to the silent shop owner. "I left my card in with the money… it's got my office number on it… You guys need some advertizing advice… it'll be pro bono… give me a call in a couple of weeks… I want to see this shop in business for a long time."
Once they were back on Commerce Street, Justin pulled Brian over to the side, and pushed him gently against a building. He grabbed Brian and kissed him, surprising the older man with the intensity of the kiss.
Then he pulled away and said, "I love you, Brian. So much."
Brian was experiencing feelings that were too raw for him to deal with, so he decided to change the mood of the moment, with joking. "Your blood sugar must be low, Sunshine. You almost chewed my face off. We better eat right away, before you start chewing on other body parts."
Justin snorted then playfully bit Brian's jaw.
Despite his attempt at levity, the Brian still felt too vulnerable. He placed his forehead on Justin's and whispered, "You'll keep my secret, right? This doesn't-"
Just leaned into Brian and softly said, "I keep all your secrets… I love you, Brian… always will… even if you are a control freak."
Brian looked deep into Justin's eyes and whispered, "Love you, too, Sunshine... Let's eat… There's a small park a block away, I think it's still there… and it used to have some benches. Let's go and get some food in you."
After their lunch, Justin pulled Brian back into the wooded area that lined the park. He dropped to his knees, opened his lover's pants and captured Brian's cock in his hand, and then with his mouth. He showed Brian just how much his lover meant to him, as he loving sucked, licked, and caressed his partner until his partner experienced a spectacular climax.
When Brian reciprocated, Justin had to blissfully admit to himself, that the only thing better than giving Brian Kinney a blow job, was receiving one from him.