This story is mine not yours. If you wanna copy it, cause your laptop is broke and you wanna read in bed OK, but other than that don't spread it around. Nifty needs the business, not somebody's pay site.
Dedication: To Ry who is a cool guy, and Don who writes a great schtick!
Thanks: To Bill who takes the time out from writing his own story, Tanner and Robert, to lend a hand editing my scribblings. It is truly appreciated.
If you wanna write to me, I'd like it a bunch. JETjt@AOL.com. I hope you like this story, but if not, there is other good stuff on nifty too. Poke around a bit. John Tucker
RON AND BRYAN
Chapter Twenty Six
The new Cessna Citation II sat outside of its hanger waiting for the Las Vegas entourage to board. The Gulfstream had flown to New York the previous night to give the crew time to rest before transporting the "Big Apple" group to Florida.
The smaller plane was slower, had less non-stop range and was somewhat less luxurious than the Gulfstream, but perfect for transporting Ron and his staff around the western part of the country. The plane carrying the Las Vegas group would need to stop at least once for fuel on the way to their destination. Thus the hour was very early for their departure.
Ron, with Tim and Robert, arrived at 6 A.M. They had picked up Robert on their way a bit earlier. Jeff and Phil pulled into the parking lot as Ron and the boys were unloading their gear. Only Jack had not arrived as the earlier group rolled their luggage on a platform dolly to the hanger. At the hanger door they were met by their new pilot, Frank James, who escorted them to the waiting aircraft.
The men stood outside the white plane which had not yet been marked with the RET logo because of the quick delivery schedule. Their gear was being stowed away in the cargo compartment by the ground crew when Jack arrived. As Jack moved across the hanger floor with the captain who had returned to escort him, the other passengers boarded the aircraft so as not to delay their take-off time. Of that group, Ron entered last, beckoning to Jack to follow as soon as he had deposited his bag at the cargo hatch.
The two youngest guys, Tim and Robert, took the seats at the rear, with Jeff and Phil, the new whiz kids, settling in on two opposing leather seats which faced each other in the center. Ron took his place near the front of the plane and waited for Jack to board and to join him in a seat nearby.
After the last passenger was aboard, the pilot entered the craft and retracted the stairs before closing and locking the entry portal. Ten minutes later they were airborne and heading east .
* * * *
Two hours later, a similar scene was occurring at New York's LaGuardia airport. The large corporate jet sat majestically on the tarmac waiting for its passengers. On the passenger manifest was Matt who was acting as the host in Ron's stead. Bryan and Alan were accompanied by Rich and Brandt. Sam Bjornson and Tom Cordero had responded positively to Alan's invitation, rounding out the New York couples. Lonnie, Bryan's friend was coming too and would be Jack's companion on the boat.
A shuttle bus had been arranged to pick up the travelers at the home of Bryan and Alan. As it pulled to the curb at the Executive Terminal, everyone reached for their hand-held items and when the doors opened, grabbed their luggage as they passed the luggage rack located near the bus's wide entry door.
The co-pilot, Terry Moss, greeted them as they carried their luggage in through the main entry doors of the terminal. He checked his manifest for each passenger and then led them through the doors located on the opposite wall from those they had used to enter from the street.
The large corporate jet sat gleaming on the asphalt ready to receive it's travelers. Mark Stewart, the steward, and Terry loaded the paraphernalia into the cargo hold. Once the luggage was stowed and secured, Terry boarded the plane first to join the Captain, Peter van Winkle, in the right hand seat next to the experienced pilot.
Mark Stewart boarded next. Arriving inside the plane, he turned and greeted the passengers as they followed up the stairs and entered the luxurious cabin. As the passenger compartment was maxed out at 11 passengers, the eight travelers had plenty of choices for seating. Each couple chose to sit together, with Matt and Lonnie sitting together near the front of the compartment.
Mark retracted the stairs, pulled the entry hatch closed and locked it. The cabin was cool from having the hatch opened so long, but the passengers barely noticed the temperature as the jet engines of the plane began their starting whine.
As the plane taxied to the end of the runway, heat began to fill the cabin and the passengers wished that they had shed some clothing earlier. They would have to wait however, until the aircraft became airborne and had finished it's rapid ascent from the ground.
Moments later, the white corporate jet screamed down the runway, rapidly gaining speed until the nose lifted upward and the craft vaulted into the overcast sky.
After a steep climb, the aircraft broke through the overcast and though still climbing, assumed a more level attitude. The voice of the Captain came over the cabin speakers.
"Welcome, Gentlemen and Gentlemen. This is your Captain, Rip van Winkle. I have just awakened from my nap. Sitting on my right, in charge of vice, is our co-pilot Terry Cloth, mopping up.
Serving you in the cabin today is Martha Stewart. Not only will Martha be serving you the finest of cuisine, but you will be furnished with the recipes on handy 3 by 5 cards for your files at home. It you would like a drink of some tasty beverage, get it yourself. Martha can't be bothered. She's on the phone with her broker."
"This aircraft is the finest of it's type ever assembled by Munchkins in Wichita, Kansas. Its powerful engines are the best and most lusty ever repaired. Their thrust could make John Holmes envious."
"At the rear of the cabin you will find a one-holer. In the rack next to the throne, you will find a copy of Martha's latest book, Making Hot Tarts At 39,000 Feet. Good reading for all the hot tarts on board."
"On your left out the windows, you will see the Atlantic ocean. If you see the ocean, or if you see land on both sides of the aircraft, please step to the front of the aircraft and pound loudly on the door separating the crew area from the passenger compartment. There will be nothing to be alarmed about. The crew will be either asleep or distracted in the small crew sleeping cabin. Either way, a good sound rap on the door will usually get our attention."
"We hope you will enjoy your flight. We hope that we will enjoy the flight. It would be very helpful if you express your complaints only to the person sitting next to you."
"Oh, by the way, the seat cushions are life preservers for use if we crash into the ocean and you survive the impact. It is recommended by the Coast Guard that you keep the leather side up to discourage the sharks from taking a bite out of the cowhide. If you need to get out of the plane in a hurry, there is a handle on a window across from the sofa as well as one on the door. If you turn one of them while we are in flight, you will be too; Quickly! If we crash, they make dandy things to hang onto as we hit, if you can stretch your seat belt that far."
"We will be cruising on the beach, while you guys are stuck on that crummy boat. Woops! Wrong script! We will be cruising somewhere around 25 to 35 thousand feet. If we keep this thing pointed south and along the coast, we should arrive at our destination sometime between two hours from now and the time we run out of fuel over Havana."
"One last instruction. If you see us passing Palm Beach and we are still way up high, please follow the previous directions for our flying over the water. I'm sure Fidel Castro does not have us on his calendar for a visit today."
"Have a nice flight."
The men in the cabin all had big grins on their faces as Mark entered the spacious cylindrical space and took orders for beverages.
* * * *
Although it had started later, the GV from New York arrived first at the West Palm Beach airport which served Palm Beach. There, moored in the yacht harbor, was Ron's yacht the Pancake Turner II. The II was a surprise for Ron.
Two black limos were waiting outside the terminal building for the travelers' departure from the aircraft.. Bryan and Alan, along with the older Sam and Tom, followed the cart carrying their luggage to the first automobile, while Matt, Lonnie and the boys followed another cart to their vehicle parked behind the first.
Even though all eight passengers could have squeezed into a single limo, the luggage would not have fit unless the trunk lid had been left open. Captain Larson, who had arranged ground transportation, knew that Ron thought it was trashy to see a sleek limo with it trunk bulging with luggage, held from flapping up and down and restrained only by bungee chords.
In what seem like only minutes, the automobile drew up to the loading area of the yacht harbor.
Captain Larson and four crew members met the passengers at the curb. Greeting the men, he introduced himself to the guests and after receiving their names, asked them to identify their luggage.
After they had done so, the four crew members picked up the luggage and carried the bags toward the harbor.
Singling out Matt, the Captain asked that he and the others follow him to the vessel.
The harbor was filled with pleasure boats of every description. Small sailboats and motorized runabouts were in slips appropriate to their size. Larger craft up up to 50 feet in length were in another area. Another space contained Yachts in the 50 to 100 foot range. One pier had no slips. It harbored yachts of over 100 feet in length, tied along side.
Captain Larson walked toward that pier.
"Which boat is Ron's?" Matt asked the Captain.
"Mr. Turner's yacht is the big, all white one," the Captain said smiling. "By the way, any pleasure boat over thirty five feet in length is considered a yacht, and Mr. Turner's vessel is certainly much larger than that."
Matt looked and saw the imposing craft. It appeared terribly large compared to the most of the other craft in the harbor. There were 6 impressive yachts on the dock. The largest, The Pancake Turner II, was at least 50 feet longer than its closest rival.
"Wow, look that that boat!" Bryan said, pointing. "That thing is huge!"
Captain Larson smiled. "Yes, It's one of the larger private yachts. It is a surprise for Ron."
"Two years ago, Ron decided to get a larger yacht than his 50 meter one. He had this one built in Holland by a world renowned shipbuilder, and employed the most prestigious naval architect and interior designer that was available. This yacht is 61 meters long. That's roughly 200' feet in length! While it has no more staterooms than his previous one, the interior spaces are laid out more to his liking, and has a game room. On this trip we will be taking a small 4 place helicopter along for small side trips."
"One of Ron's helicopter pilots from Las Vegas will be joining our ship's regular crew of 11 for the journey."
"The big surprise is that the yacht is here. It was supposed to be delivered after the first of the year.
Due to an order to delay the finishing of another yacht they were building, the shipyard was able to concentrate on Ron's yacht. Since I personally spent half of the last year in Holland and knew Ron's preferences, we were able to keep it's accelerated schedule a secret from Ron."
"When this trip was announced, I was in Holland where the sea trials had just been completed. We were lucky that a yacht transport ship was scheduled to leave the Mediterranean Sea about that time and we were able to arrange transport. We could have sailed it across the ocean, but it is more economical to ship it if one is available."
"How much did this thing cost?" Bryan asked.
"Oh, around $250,000 for each foot of length."
Bryan fidgeted around with his mind full of numbers.
"Damn! Can that be right? 50 million dollars?"
"That's very close. But that's not as much as Ron paid for the plane you flew in on. That was over $65 million!"
"Its hard to believe that anyone's got that much money." Bryan said, looking at Matt.
"There must be." the Captain replied. "This imposing vessel is near the bottom in size of the 100 largest yachts in the world. And if this craft just sits in the dock, with a full crew aboard, the cost of maintaining and operating this ship is nearly $5 million a year! If it moves much, it can be a good bit more."
"This is a different world," Matt said in wonder.
"Yes, but it is a very pleasant one," the Captain answered smiling. " Let's go aboard."
* * * *
The Cessna had rolled to a stop at the terminal at the same time that the limousines returned to the airport. The passengers quickly disembarked and moved toward the terminal entrance with their gear on the same dollies that had been used just shortly before by the New York group.
15 minutes later, they had arrived at the marina and were met by the Captain and 4 crew members.
"Welcome, Ron." The Captain said in greeting as the owner of the gorgeous vessel stepped onto the curb.
"Thanks, Henri." Ron replied.
Ron introduced all of the guests to Captain Larson as the four young and handsome crew members picked up the luggage and headed for the docks.
"It's too bad that the new yacht could not be finished in time for this cruise." Ron commented.
"Yes, but wait until you see her. She is absolutely stunning."
"I guess I have something to look forward to on our next voyage."
As they descended the long ramp and crossed to the Mega-yacht pier. Their view of the yachts tethered there, opened up as they cleared the stern of the first ship along the passageway.
"Where the Pancake Turner?" asked Ron. I don't see her."
"She's at the end of the wharf; you will recognize her. She has a large gold ' II ' on her stern."
"The II is here? Oh, this is really great! What a surprise! It's champaign for everyone!"
With that, he took off running down the pier, unable to wait to see his new yacht. The youngest duo followed running at his heals while Jack, Jeff and Phil walked at a picked up pace alongside the Captain.
Matt, Bryan and Alan were waiting on the boarding platform as Ron approached. They all grinned broadly as the saw their friend and his tag-alongs tearing down the pier toward them. Matt waved a happy hello as Ron leaped aboard into his lover's arms.
After an enthusiastic kiss, Ron exclaimed, "Isn't she wonderful?" waving his arms and indicating the sparkling yacht.
"You ain't seen nothin yet , Babe! Matt exclaimed. " Oh, I'd like you to meet some friends, Bryan and Alan!", he added with a bit of sarcasm.
"Oh,....sorry guys! I didn't mean to be so rude. I'm just so excited!"
"We understand. You look like a kid who just opened the Christmas toy that he wanted so bad," Bryan piped up. "You'll be forgiven if ya give us a hug."
Hugs were enthusiastically shared.
Ron smiled broadly and said, "Speaking of hugs, did you hear about the dumb guy that went to the library and checked out the book entitled, 'How to Hug' ? It wasn't until he got home and looked at it that he saw that he had received the 7th volume of an encyclopedia!"
The Captain and the three other guests had arrived in time to hear the joke and joined the others in laughter.
"I'm glad to see that you haven't changed, Ron." Henri said.
"Fat chance of that!" kidded Bryan.
The men parted and all were shown to their staterooms before they would meet in the upper lounge to begin their tour of the luxury ship. A crew member stepped up and escorted the new arrivals to their cabins. Matt knew the way to the owner's suite and led Ron to the place where they both expected to find not only the finest in luxury, but the finest in loving.
Opening the cherry wood door to their suite, Matt lead Ron thorough the short foyer off of which a small, but fully equipped office was found. Ron looked quickly into the space and saw that it was furnished with all of the amenities and equipment that would be found in a much larger office on land.
Continuing a few more steps down the corridor, the hallway opened into a large room which had a huge king size bed situated in the center of the room. Behind the headboard of the bed was a sofa. Both pieces of furniture sat on a turntable circle. Forward in the cabin were a row of windows giving a beautiful view ahead of the ship. On the opposite entrance wall was a fully plasma screen TV and entertainment center. Either end could be viewed either from the bed or sofa by simply pushing a button and rotating the turntable.
On the other side of the entrance/office a huge marble clad bathroom was found adjacent to a large walk in closet. A round marble tub large enough for 6 people was placed in a corner. Next to it was a large shower of such size that a glass door would not have been necessary except that the enclosure was also equipped for either a steam or sauna mode. A redwood bench was provided within the enclosure for that purpose. Ron looked at the twin marble sinks and countertop mounted on bleached cheery cabinets. Gold fixtures and accessories graced the beautiful room. Ron knew that they were solid gold.
Returning to the main cabin, Ron stepped to the forward windows and saw a small seating area and a table and chairs for two next a small owners bar. The entire suite was so well equipped and furnished that the entire voyage could be made without ever leaving the space.
Ron turned to Matt. He kissed his lover hungrily on the lips.
Looking into his lover's eyes, he smiled and said, "How do you like your floating palace, my prince?"
"I love it. It is gorgeous but it would be desolate without you here to share it with me."
Still standing, they embraced each other tenderly while exchanging another longer kiss.
Ron drew back scant inches from his partner's face.
"I so look forward to our happy hours together in this room..... And as much as I would like to begin them now, we have a duty as hosts. Let's meet our guests in the lounge and begin our grand tour and our even grander celebration of being here on this beautiful ship with the ones we love."
Their eyes smiling, the young lovers held hands as they headed toward the upper lounge to greet their friends.
* * * * * *
Yikes! It sounds like happy times are upon our friends. (Grin) HUGs, John Tucker