Global warming. Sea level rise. Floating Community. Attempted Robbery at a pearl farm.
What a Gal's Got to Do
Later that afternoon, Andalib stood beside the bed in her boatel room, again dressed in her shorts, halter top and sneakers. She faced Ted who stood a few feet away from her, still wearing the garments he'd put on that morning.
She held up a cultured pearl necklace in front of her smiling face, while moving her right hand along the string, tapping each pearl with her finger while she chanted in a flirty tone.
"Ted loves me--Ted loves me not!"
She looked at him. He looked very uncomfortable.
"Ted loves me--Ted loves me not! Ted loves me--Ted loves me not! Ted loves me--Ted loves me not! Ted loves me--Ted Lo..."
She lowered the necklace and grinned broadly at him.
"Whether you love me or not," she laughed, "I've just got to lay you guy!"
She slowly and seductively walked up to Ted, easily slipping off her top to reveal a virgin white bikini that emphasized her tanned breasts beautifully. Halting in front of him, she leaned forward, her lips merely half an inch away from his and whispered, "You know, you've got to want it too, Ted." Without moving, she waited, feeling Ted's husky breath on her lips before he leaned and slowly kissed her.
Within seconds, Andalib threw her arms around him and held him tight, wrapping her legs around his waist while he moved toward the bed. His arms were tight around her, holding her, feeling her flesh in the palms of his hands. As they neared the bed, Ted tripped on the corner of the sheet and unceremoniously fell onto the bed, landing on top of Andalib. "We're eager, aren't we?" Andalib laughed tempestuously as she pulled Ted's shirt over his head, revealing a chiseled physique. "Oh my." She breathed and stared up at him.
Ted smiled at her haphazardly and leaned forward to kiss her again, relishing the feeling of a woman after so long. Especially a woman like Andalib. Holding her close to him, feeling her hot body under his, smelling the faint traces of her perfume made Ted forget his celibacy.
Breaking off their passion filled kiss to undo her bikini top, Andalib smiled knowingly at Ted and said, "I'm about to give you the best fucking you're ever gonna get!"
Just as she pulled loose the two thin straps of material that held the bikini in place and wriggled out of the meddlesome piece of clothing to bare her breasts to Ted, there was a knock on the door.
Ted hastily turned and stared at the door, a sudden feeling of panic coming over him.
"Don't worry." Andalib whispered, taking hold of Ted's face in her hands "I won't answer, they'll soon leave." Ted kept staring at the door, "Ted," Andalib said impatiently, "Look at me, Ted."
Ted turned to look at her and gasp. She was gorgeous but it was more than that. She was -- breathtaking in a way that Ted had only read about in books or seen on TV. "I -- you're -- " he faltered causing Andalib to smile at him.
Without another word, he leaned forward and was about to kiss her again when there was another knock on the door, harder than the first one.
"Damn it!" Andalib growled when Ted abruptly pulled away from her and sat on the edge of the bed. "Who's there?!" Andalib yelled in annoyance.
"Xavier!" Came the muffled response. "Open up, Andalib!"
"I think you should open the door." Ted said as he pulled his shirt on. "After you put your shirt back on."
"God." Andalib hissed through clenched teeth as she put her top back on and got off the bed. Looking at the necklace she had dropped on the floor when Ted started kissing her, Andalib told
Ted, "No reason to throw this in his face."
Andalib went over to the dresser, opened the top drawer and gently placed the necklace among her few pieces of clothing.
"What's going on in there?! Open up!" Xavier yelled.
"Just a minute!" Andalib yelled and walked over to Ted. "We'll continue this later."
She smiled and leaned up to kiss him but Ted back away. "What's wrong?"
"Xavier is right outside." Ted whispered.
"So, it's -- wrong."
"Says the man who had his tongue in my mouth barely fifty seconds ago." Andalib smiled smugly and once again leaned to kiss Ted.
Again he backed away from her and held her at arm's length. "We can't do this."
"We can." Andalib whispered, struggling to reach him, "It's easy. I'll show you."
"Xavier -- "
"Xavier doesn't mind." Andalib said hastily.
"Forget it! This is too much. You're too much."
"Too much of a woman for you?"
"No. Too much trouble. You're just too much trouble to deal with Andalib."
"Yeah. I know." She told him, "You're not the first guy to tell me that."
Taking a deep breath to calm herself, Andalib shut her eyes and hoped that Xavier wouldn't notice anything strange about her attitude. She then went to the door and opened it.
Xavier stood in the doorway, with a very aggravated look on his face.
She smirked, trying her best to appear at ease and in control "So no visible tooth marks on you. Where's Quin? Did she eat him alive?"
Xavier stared at Andalib and saw a familiar look on her face, one that signified she was in the middle of something rated higher than PG. Instantly he was furious and looked past her at Ted. Taking a long, hard look at Ted, he asked Andalib, "So that's him? That's Ted MacKenzie?"
She nodded, "Xavier, Ted MacKenzie. Ted, this is Xavier..."
"So you're the guy who bailed her out?" Xavier interrupted and stepped into Andalib's room.
Ted nodded, "That's right, Xavier. Andalib saved my life, after -- " he hesitated, "after somebody..."
Looking around. "And you're the guy who's paying for this? For the richest dude in town, don't you think you could have got her a classier place?"
Ted told him, "I want to assure you that things aren't the way they look."
"Really? So finding the two of you, alone, in the middle of the afternoon in her room is -- not the way things are?"
"Xavier, this is all innocent."
"Don't give me that crap Mr. Rich Guy! You seem to be forgetting that I know Andalib. I know her a hell of a lot better than you ever will so I know exactly what's going on here!"
"Xavier." Andalib told him, "Don't start with that bullshit, please. It's as Ted said, it's all inno -- "
"It's okay Andi. I understand. 'A gal's got to do what a gal's got to do.' So I'm not gonna do anything that'll make things worse, or more complicated, for either of us. I understand that's the way things are," he glared at Ted, "and who's in charge in this town; but that doesn't mean I have to like it."
Now Ted spoke. "If you want me to leave, I'll go."
Xavier said, "Please do."
Andalib told him, "That would be a good idea Ted. He and I have things to discuss, besides, our business here is done." She stared at Ted and saw the way he looked at her, a pained, somewhat guilty expression on his face.
Xavier frowned at Ted and saw Andalib's expression. So, it wasn't all innocent as they had played at. Who did they think they were fooling? Xavier stepped out of Ted's way as he walked to the door. "Before you go, Mr. MacKenzie, tell me, do you honestly think she has feelings for you?"
"Xavier!" Andalib yelled.
"You wouldn't be the first guy she's conned into believing that, you know!" Xavier laughed as Andalib shoved him forcefully. Ted stopped short and spun to face Xavier. The two men stared at each other then Ted slowly turned with a passing glance, he looked at Andalib and left, quietly closing the door behind him.
"Xavier!" Andalib yelled again and slapped him. "You are such an asshole! I can't believe how we ever got togeth -- "
"Oh stop it!" Xavier said and held her tightly in his arms, "You know exactly why we got together!" He said softly and smiled down at her.
"Yeah well, I'm regretting it now." Andalib whispered.
Ted moved away from the boatel, going along the floating dock, headed toward the spot where his runabout was tied up, while wondering what was going on.
I was about to get laid by Andalib. He thought, She said she wanted to give me a terrific fucking, and I was ready for it. Then that guy Xavier showed up?
Was this a sign from the Lord?
Now he prayed silently. Lord, I know I should thank you for keeping me from sin, but as of right now, that's going to be very difficult. Amen.
No. I shouldn't be praying like that.
I shouldn't get involved with her at all. I bailed her out and nothing else. The one who really matters to her is that guy Xavier. With me she just wanted to play and nothing else; so it ends now, without any permanent harm to either of us.
He moved further along the dock until he came to the spot where his runabout was tied. He knelt down to untie the rope when a familiar voice spoke behind him.
"Good afternoon Mr. Mackenzie."
Ted turned his head and saw Eric Mann standing there. Then he stood up and turned to face the alligator trapper.
The man said, "I just got a call from W. Parker Harrison himself. He wants you and I to meet with him on his yacht, as soon as possible."
Ted looked off into the distance, at the dark, oversized yacht with the three masts that dominated all the smaller vessels in the Marina.
Eric said, "He's the attorney of Miss Andalib Elkart, and her partners Quin and that guy Xavier. He says he wants to talk to both of us about the case."
"But I already told everything to the Harbor Police. I thought that'd be enough."
"You'll have to ask the man himself about that."
Ted told him, "It might be interesting to spend some time aboard a TV Star's yacht;" he laughed, "as long as we don't have to spend any of that time with her."
Eric said, "I can't believe the things she was screaming at that guy over the phone. She said he was her agent. That means she's paying for his services; but I'd never talk that way to anyone who I hired, and I'm sure you wouldn't either."
"Right. If I have a problem with an employee, I take him aside and speak with him quietly, so as not to embarrass him or myself either."
Back inside the boatel room Xavier was sitting on the chair in the room while Andalib sat on the corner of the bed, gazing at each other in stony silence. Finally, Xavier asked, "So how did your 'Community Service' go?"
A broad smile appeared on Andalib's face. "Well. It was just like you said." She spoke in a chanting tone. "A gal's got to do, what a gal's got to do." She walked over to the dresser, opened the top drawer, reached in and pulled out the pearl necklace. She turned to Xavier, holding it behind her back. "You know how much I fun I had?"
"Don't tease." Xavier said as he got up from the chair, straining to see what Andalib was holding. "What have you got there?"
"So much fun." Andalib smiled and started laughing as Xavier reached for her. "This gal's done really good."
"Andi!" Xavier moaned and finally grabbed her around her waist, holding her fast while his other hand found what she was holding and took hold of it, lifting it so he could see. "Yeah." He said gravely as he looked at the necklace, "I understand. Why steal any pearls, when all you got to do is the guy who owns the pearl farm?"
"That's not how I got these Xavier."
"No listen." Andalib insisted, running her hand across his chest, "When I said I was going to perform community service, I meant it. What I did was go back to the pearl farm with Ted and Eric Mann, to verify that the alligator was back inside the facility's fencing; and that's just what I did."
"That's right. I did that by going for a swim inside the fencing, to see if I could stir up the gator; and that's exactly what happened."
"You stirred up the gator?"
"Well," she smiled, "not exactly."
Xavier beamed. "And what does that mean?" He asked softly as Andalib began undoing the buttons on his shirt.
Andalib remained quiet as she took a deep breath. "It means that not everything is what it seems, X."
"I see." He said as Andalib went to lie on the bed, pulling her top off and motioning for him to join her.
An hour later, Andalib was lying in Xavier's arms, both of them naked except for the pearl necklace Xavier had fastened around Andalib's neck. "I like to see you wear beautiful things." He had whispered as he secured the catch.
"Tell me you don't really have feelings for him." Xavier said as he ran his fingers along Andalib's arm.
"It'll make me feel better knowing that it is just all part of the plan."
"It is all part of the plan."
"Then tell me you don't have feelings for him." Xavier insisted.
Andalib sat up and turned to face him, "Xavier, I just fucked you silly and you're questioning my feelings for you?"
"Not your feelings for me, Andi. You're feelings for him."
Looking down at him, Andalib knew she had to tell Xavier what he wanted to hear, "All right. I don't have feelings for him."
"Not -- a -- single -- one." Andalib said, kissing Xavier between every word. "It's business, Xavier. You know that."
Xavier stared into Andalib's eyes, looking for any signs of deception. When he found none, he smiled broadly and nodded. "OK."
Andalib relaxed into his arms once more and sighed deeply. If Xavier ever learned the truth -- gulping, Andalib forced that thought out of her mind.
"These are really crappy accommodations, Andi." Xavier said softly as he looked around.
"It'll have to do. For now." Andalib said and leaned over to kiss Xavier. "Besides, at least we have this." She said as she fingered the necklace.
"And it's not all I've received."
"You mean you got something else too? What is it? A pair of earrings?"
"No!" She laughed, "What I've been receiving is gratitude from everyone in Shellfish Shoals."
"That's right. Ever since the robbery, a lot of people have been stopping to thank me for saving Ted's life. Now after this, they're gonna be thanking me for risking my life, to verify that they're no longer in any danger from the gator."
"But I thought you had no idea where the gator is?"
"I don't, but they don't know that, do they?"
Xavier smiled, "You sly little minx."
"Thank you." Andalib sighed as she settled comfortably into Xavier arms once more.
"You know something, Xavier, hearing people tell me that they're actually grateful for something I've done really feels good. It's good to hear people say 'thank you' to me, when they're not just being polite. That's never happened to me before. I'm sure that the 'Queen of Pearl Thieves' shouldn't expect to receive that kind of gratitude from anybody."
"Yeah. Why not? You did save MacKenzie's life." Xavier told her, "Enjoy it while you've got it, 'cause it ain't gonna last too long."
"Probably not," Andalib told him, "or maybe it will."
"Not if you, me and Quin go along with what our crackpot lawyer, W. Parker Harrison told us. I wouldn't expect any kind of gratitude from the local citizens, if we do."
"That reminds me, why didn't Quin come with you? Clarissa Kellington didn't really eat him alive, did she?"
"No." Xavier sighed, "Just the opposite. As a matter of fact, she and her hubby actually invited him to come aboard their yacht."
"He's aboard their yacht?"
"That's right. No surprise. They and Quin share the same political ideology. They invited me too, but I'd had enough of listening to them at the Amberjack. The three of them just kept on repeating all that talk about 'Social justice', and 'Helping those who are exploited and abused', and 'redistributing the wealth'. You know; the kind of talk you hear on TV all the time."
"'Exploited and abused'?" Andalib laughed, "Like her agent 'Geoffrey'; along with everyone else who has the misfortune of having to deal with her?"
"Right. I'll tell you where that all involves us. The leadership of their movement has invented something new, for their followers to add to their ever increasing list of things, to say that their outraged about. They're saying that all the oysters behind the fencing at the MacKenzie's pearl farm, are being imprisoned."
She laughed. "You're kidding! My God, I haven't heard anything so weird since -- since she said my father raped me." Andalib suddenly stopped laughing. "I should have knocked her goddamn lights out for saying that." Andalib said softly and menacingly. "Bitch. Where do they come up with that crap?"
"I know." Xavier said softly, hugging Andalib to him. "It's complete rubbish. Just like this new thing of theirs."
"The imprisoned oysters, you mean?"
"Mhmm. They want us to say that we were liberating them from unjust imprisonment."
"I hope they're not serious." She laughed again. "If they want to use that as a defense, W. Parker Harrison would be laughed out of Court. Then you, me and Quin would be laughed into prison."
"Don't laugh." Xavier told her. "They really are serious. They want to turn us into martyrs."
"Martyrs?" Andalib had stopped laughing. "You mean W. Parker Harrison intends to lose?"
"Exactly. With them the cause comes before the case."
"Forget it! Isn't it bad enough that they want me to commit slander and say that my father raped me when I was a child? Then they want us to go along with this nonsense? Whatever their cause is, it isn't worth that. Let's get ourselves some pro-bono shyster! We'll be better off!"
"Right. As soon as Quin comes back, we'll tell him that we're gonna be getting a new lawyer; and I mean a good one. With what you can get from selling that necklace, we can afford a good one; and I'm sure he'd actually be on our side."
Andalib hesitated. Then she said "No."
'What do you mean 'No'?" He propped himself onto his elbow and looked down at Andalib. "I admit, seeing you wear that necklace is a great turn-one but -- we need the money."
"I mean 'Not right away'. I want Quin to continue to have access to Clarissa Kellington's yacht."
"Right." She told him, a mischievous smile spreading across her face. "It might be our way to help bring about social justice, by redistributing the wealth of Clarissa Kellington."