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CHAPTER 13 — Rick to Jen (continued); Rick & Murph Tour the Island
I see I didn’t hit send last night; there was a bit of an interruption. Dad got home, in the midst of the storm, and brought a friend with him. Actually, a new acquaintance, somebody he met at the marina last night. Kind of peculiar circumstances, but he seems a really interesting guy. Maybe if we do the skype thing later today you’ll meet him? His name is Murph, well, Donald Murphy actually, but he says everybody calls him Murph, so he’s Murph. He’s from a little town in the west of Ireland, been a merchant seaman for a few years until he recently decided that he’d rather be on land. And guess what he’s been doing to support himself? He’s been a porn star! Well, not a star exactly, but an on-camera performer at least. And I gotta say, he’s totally got the looks—and the talent—for it. I really hope you and Gabby get the chance to meet him via skype today. Of course, if you don’t meet him then, you’re sure to see him later; he’s going to be staying with us, more or less indefinitely. You see, he’s given up the sea, and the porn career, because he’d heard about Dad and the Foundation, and thought maybe he could come to work here. Sounds kind of crazy, doesn’t it? I mean, we know how great the Foundation is, and the important work done here, because we’ve lived with it our whole lives. But it’s not exactly high-profile; I don’t imagine that one in a hundred people, even right here in South Jersey, have ever heard of it. And those who have heard of it likely figure that you’d need a PhD to be the janitor.
But that’s Murph. He has enormous…self-confidence doesn’t begin to describe it. He just says to himself, I’d like this, and goes for it. If it works out, great, and if it doesn’t work out? Well, most of us would get all bummed out, but Murph just says, Better luck next time and goes on with his life. It’s really very refreshing, and…charming is the word I guess. It’s like he just says to the world, Here I am, this is me, do you want to share the adventure? And most of the time the world replies, You bet!
I sure did. When I mentioned he had the talent to be a porn star, I wasn’t just kidding. You see, he came out of the shower last night, stark naked, I’m sitting up in bed and I couldn’t help staring at him. He’s chatting to me, drying his hair with one hand, and with the other he’s rubbing his cock, and then he just comes over to me and basically says, Ya know, I’m really horny, could ya do me a favor and suck me off? Now, I’d never even touched another guy’s dick before, and I said yes! And did it, and it was great. And afterward, he told me about his life, and showed me a bit of one of the films he’d done (I can send you the link if you want to see it), and then he says, I’m really tired but still horny, you wanna fuck again? So we did a 69 before going to sleep. And then again when we woke up! So I’ve gone from virgin to veteran in about nine hours.
This doesn’t freak you out at all, does it? I guess it’s safe to say that you’re bi, right? And you know about me and Gabby, and you’re okay with that. So finding out that maybe I’m bi too shouldn’t be too big a deal. I hope. But I thought maybe I’d better let you know before this evening. And now I’ve gotta write to Gabby too and let her know.
Jen, whatever you think or feel, if you’re cool with this or totally freaked, please remember that I love you. Okay? I’m still Rick, still Gabby’s brother, still the guy who was too dim to realize that his sister’s beautiful friend might actually like him. But is everlastingly grateful that she didn’t give up on him.
I love you, Jen Keller.
Your (if you still want him) Rick
“You’re pretty busy with the typing this early morning, aren’t you lad?” said Murph after Rick hit send. “Would it be work you’re doing for your schooling?”
“Ah, no, just an email I’d started last night. I was kind of in the middle of it when you and Dad got here. Thought I’d better finish it first thing.” Rick paused for a moment. “I need to write another one, to my sister. Do you want to find yourself something to eat? I should be down in a few minutes.”
“That’d be brilliant,” said Murph. “Me belly is a bit empty-feeling now. And I need to have a bit of a chat with your father to see what sort of chores I might be able to help with. There must surely be something that only needs a strong back and willing hands.”
“Yeah,” answered Rick. “There’s plenty of lifting and shifting to be done here; I do a lot of it myself, so I’ll be glad to have you aboard. And if you’re at all handy with tools, well, that’ll be a big plus. Some of the scientists here design great experiments but don’t necessarily know how to build them.”
“Each man to his specialty,” said Murph. “And leave the rest to the jack-of-all-trades. Now, I’m off down to the kitchen.”
“See you in a bit.” Rick started another email.
Just a quick note to you, Dad got home last night in the middle of a güvenilir canlı bahis siteleri big storm, brought a new acquaintance with him, Donald Murphy, aka Murph. He’s quite a character, interesting, confident (but not in an obnoxious way, just seems really comfortable being himself, and seems to approach everyone expecting they’ll get along just fine). Go to this link to see him in action (he’s the dark-haired guy who comes into the picture at the 1:20 mark). If you like what you see there, maybe you’d like to see more tonight. Let me know.
Gotta go now, I’m kinda famished. Love to Jen. And to Amy, if I’m not getting ahead of us here.
PS — I already emailed Jen about Murph (I was in the middle of writing to her when he got here last night, finished this morning). Let me know how she seems with it, okay?
PPS — She might be a little freaked. Not just cause Murph’s here. Because I told her we had sex. I mean, just cause she likes girl-girl doesn’t mean she’s okay with guy-guy, right?
PPPS — You’re cool with it, aren’t you?
Love you Gabster.
Emailing done, Rick headed downstairs to the kitchen. His father was at the table, and Murph was busy at the stove.
“Rick, you’re just in time,” said Dr Grant. “Murph was eager to demonstrate his culinary skills, which seem to run toward cooking for large groups. He’s scrambled a dozen eggs and he’s got about a pound of bacon going as well.”
“That should be enough for him and me, what are you having, Dad?”
“Ah, your father’s having a bit of fun with you there, Rick. Tis only six eggs, and perhaps half a pound of bacon, which for the three of us will be barely a nibble.”
“Should I get some toast going? I know I’d like more than a nibble for breakfast.”
“There’s four slices in the toaster, if you could stand ready with the butter when they’re done in a moment, and start another four, that’d be grand.”
“So Rick, did you two boys get along okay last night?”
Rick looked at Murph. “I’d say we did. Did you sleep okay, Murph?”
“Twas a grand night, indeed. Why, young Rick and I got on perhaps as well as me and yourself, Dr Grant.”
Rick grinned. “Perhaps even better. And I didn’t have to get half-drowned afterward.”
“Well, I’m glad the sleeping arrangements were acceptable to you both. There was some sleeping done, I hope? I was planning on getting a little work out of you two today.”
“We got plenty of sleep, Dad.”
“No worries on that score, Dr Grant. A bit of exercise before bed is always a healthy thing.”
“And a bit more first thing in the morning helps get the day rolling right,” added Rick.
“I envy your youthful vigor,” said Dr Grant. “Do you have some energy left to show Murph around a bit?”
“Sure thing, Dad.”
“Good. Murph, Rick can show you around the island, so you can see the lay of the land, where the different facilities are, so you’ll be able to find your way about. Then you two can come to my office, say about eleven, and I can introduce you to the staff. There’ll be a little bit of paperwork to fill out too, so that you’ll be an official employee of the Foundation, but then we’ll try to get you right to work this afternoon. Sound good?”
“That’d be grand, sir. I’d like to commence being useful as soon as I can.”
“Well, you’ve got our breakfast going, so I’d say you’re off to a good start. And now that I think of it, after you’ve met everyone at the labs, your first chore should probably be to come back here and clean out the spare room so you have a place of your own. That is, if you want to stay here with us.”
“Why, that’s most generous of you, Dr Grant. I’d be honored.”
Dr Grant laughed. “Nonsense, my boy. There’s no honor involved. We’ll all be happy to treat you as one of the family. Which means, you’ll have to pitch in with whatever chores need to be done.”
“And that’ll be my pleasure, certainly.”
“You haven’t seen the mess Gabby leaves in the bathroom sometimes,” laughed Rick.
“Now Rick, don’t criticize your sister when she’s not here to defend herself,” said Dr Grant, smiling. “I’m sure she could tell Murph a thing or two about you.”
“And I’m sure she will, every chance she gets.”
“Are those eggs almost ready, Murph?”
“They are indeed, doctor. Rick, can you pass me those plates, and I’ll dish up. And mind the toast if you would.”
“Rick, have you heard from your sister?”
“I got a couple of texts from her yesterday. Trip was uneventful, Jen and her roommate met her at the train station, seems like they’re all set for a good weekend. I emailed her this morning, to let her know you got home all right. And to tell her about Murph. Might talk to her later.”
“Good. I’m glad she and Jen are getting to spend some time together again. Oh, and if there’s any interesting news, Jen’s folks would love to know it. Apparently, Jen isn’t always as communicative as you and Gabby are.”
“I’ll güvenilir illegal bahis siteleri give her a reminder next time I write. And maybe Murph and I can stop by the Keller’s later. Haven’t seen Mrs K for a while now.”
“I’m sure she’d love to see you. But make sure she isn’t working first, okay?”
“Will do, Dad.”
When the three had finished their breakfast, Dr Grant left for the short walk to his office. As the younger men would be making a more extensive tour of the island, Rick led Murph out to the garage, where they collected a couple of bicycles.
“It’s not a long walk to anywhere on the island really, but touring the whole thing on foot is more than you should have to do on your first day. On a bike you can do the whole perimeter road in about an hour, but we’ll be making a few stops along the way, so you can see the places you’ll be working, the landmarks, all that sort of thing.”
“Now, I’m here to work, Rick, not on holiday, so I don’t want to be spending the day as a tourist.”
“But like my dad said, he mostly wants you to meet everybody today and get to know the place a bit. And he’s the boss! Besides,” he added, “knowing your way around the island is going to be important. Doing a quick bike tour is a good way to get started learning.”
“Ah well, there’s sense in that, so I won’t dispute the point any more.”
The two climbed aboard the bikes and took the narrow path east toward the ocean side of the island. There, they turned north on the fourteen-mile long road which circled the coast, always in sight of the water, and frequently not more than twenty or thirty feet from it, or at least from the edge of the cliff which stood almost straight up from the water along much of the shoreline.
“From here, it’s about four miles to the north shore experimental site,” said Rick. “That’s one of the busiest sites. Only takes fifteen or twenty minutes to get there if you’re in a hurry. The road’s pretty flat, a few small hills, but this whole side of the island is two or three hundred feet above the water. Lots of places, you’ll see birds nesting in the cliffs, down below you. Just don’t get so distracted by them that you go off the road. The edge of the cliff is pretty close a lot of the time.”
“Thanks for the reminder, Rick. ‘Tis a grand view of the sea from up here, though. It must make a fine bit of music when the wind is singing and the waves are crashing.”
Rick smiled. “Not everyone would call it music, but I guess most people don’t have an ear for it the way you do. You’re right though, it’s pretty impressive when there’s a storm.”
They proceeded up the coast, occasionally slowing to get a better look at some of the birds, or an interesting rock formation, or just to enjoy the sun and the salt breeze, but as Rick had said, after only twenty minutes or so they had arrived at the experimental site on the island’s north shore, where work was underway on a new device for generating electricity from the ocean tides. From there, they continued around the point at the north end where a lighthouse stood and then southward, down the west side of the island, the side facing the New Jersey coast. The road on this side descended slowly until, at the curving bay where the island’s docks were located, it was almost at sea level. Westward then, still near sea level, for two and a half miles to the westernmost point of the island. There was a small pond about a half-mile east of the point, where migrating water fowl, ducks and geese mostly, would sometimes pause on their travels to the north or south.
At the point itself, a tumble of rocks leading down to the water, barely three miles from the Jersey coast, Rick and Murph paused. From this distance, they could see the many small boats docked in the marina on shore, or cruising across the calm waters of the small harbor on their way out to sea.
“Tis almost as you could reach out and touch the shore, it seems so close,” said Murph.
“Bet it didn’t seem so close last night, when you were coming across.”
“No indeed, though with the rain and the dark, we were nearly ashore before we could see the island at all.”
Back on their bikes, they went eastward, the road steadily climbing toward the lighthouse at the southeastern corner of the island, then turned northward again, the road still climbing for the half-mile or so until they reached the path back to the Grant home. “We can leave the bikes at the house and walk to my dad’s office, it’s only ten minutes or so. And we can stop by and say hello to Mrs Keller, if she’s not busy. A day like today, she’ll be outside in the garden if she’s not writing.”
“A writer, is she?
“Yeah. Biographies, usually, and literary history. Not everybody here is a scientist. We’ve got a pretty well-rounded group on the island.”
After a few minutes walk, they turned off the main path to the lab and headed toward the Keller house. This side path was well-shaded, with several turns in güvenilir bahis şirketleri it which prevented the walker from seeing very far ahead, until suddenly there was the house, forty yards or so away. As with the other buildings on the island, it had a fine southern exposure, with plenty of roof space for solar panels. But there were also sufficient trees planted a short distance from the house to keep the late-afternoon sun from shining directly into the windows. As the young men approached, they saw a tall blonde woman, her slender legs shown to good advantage by her quite short shorts, just disappearing around the side of the house, pulling a small wagon loaded with gardening supplies.
“That’s Mrs Keller,” said Rick. “C’mon, let’s see if we can give her a hand.”
Rick and Murph caught up with Mrs Keller just as she was beginning to unload her wagon. “Hi Mrs K!” called Rick. “Can we help out?”
“Rick, how are you?” asked Mrs Keller with a smile, as she adjusted the midriff-revealing blouse, held in place by a knot just beneath her breasts. “And who’s your friend?”
“This is Murph, Donald Murphy. He met Dad last night and convinced him to give him a job working for the Foundation. I’m showing him around a bit before he gets started.”
“‘Tis a pleasure to be meeting you, Mrs Keller.”
“Greta, please. I’ve given up trying to get Rick and Gabby to call me by my name, but since you haven’t known me from infancy, maybe I’ll have better luck with you.”
“Greta, then, if that’s your preference. But now I’m thinking, as Rick tells me you’re a writer, that it may be as you’re perhaps G A Keller? Author of Women’s Work?”
“If you’ve read it and didn’t hate it, why yes. Though it surprises me whenever I meet a man who’s even heard of it.”
“Ah well, a young lass I worked with a while back was a big fan, and encouraged all of us she was working with to read it. When she encouraged you to do something, it was more of an order, but ’twas one I was glad to follow, for ’tis a grand book. Quite an education for an unschooled lad such as meself.”
“Well thank you very much, Murph. That’s the best review I’ve gotten in quite some time. Maybe I should reconsider my decision to give up the writing racket.”
“You decided to quit writing?” asked Rick. “When did this happen?”
Greta laughed. “Every day, about eleven o’clock, when I sit down at my desk. Which is where I should be in about twenty minutes. If your offer to help is still good, I need to get these plants into the ground, and get this mulch spread around them. Do you have ten minutes or so?”
“Absolutely,” said Rick. “Just point us in the right direction.”
In little more than the requested ten minutes, the plants were taken care of and Rick and Murph were on their way. “That is a fine figure of a woman,” said Murph, glancing back to watch as Greta brushed the dirt from her hands and went into her house. “A pleasure to hear, and to be looking at while you’re listening to her.”
Rick grinned. “She is a looker, and so’s her daughter, Jen. If things work out, you might get to meet Jen later today.”
“Jen is the girl that your sister is after visiting, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, but Gabby’s hoping we can do a skype call tonight.”
“It’ll be grand to meet your sister and her friend. Though looking at video over a computer doesn’t quite capture the idea of meeting, to my mind.”
“Sorry, it’s the best we can do for now. But Gabby will be back in a few days. I’m not sure when Jen will be home, but it should be pretty soon. At least I hope so.”
Murph looked at Rick and nodded. “Ah, so Jen is a bit special to yourself then? I’ll be keeping that in mind.”
Rick put his hand on Murph’s arm. “Don’t get the wrong idea, Murph.” He hesitated; how much did he need to explain? He knew that the Grant household was unusual, and that his and Gabby’s relationship with Jen was not exactly conventional either. But then, Murph didn’t seem to be a conventional sort of guy. “Jen and Gabby have been best friends since we were little, so basically we’ve known each other our whole lives. And we both love her, and she loves both of us. And…” His voice trailed off. What exactly was he trying to say?
“I get the feeling,” said Murph, “that when you say you both love her, and she loves the both of you, that you’re talking about more than being a bit fond of each other. Am I right in thinking that Gabby and Jen and you are friends, the way we became friends last night?”
Rick thought for a moment. There was something in Murph’s manner, when he said Gabby and Jen and you…It sounded almost like Murph knew that he and Gabby were more than brother and sister. But how could he know that?
“Well, yeah, I guess that’s so. So yeah, Jen is special to me, but it’s not like we think that nobody else can be…can be special too. Okay?”
Murph smiled and nodded his head. “Well Rick, I’d say the Grants I’ve met so far are a pretty special sort of person. I’m thinking that your sister, and her friend, if they’re at all like yourself and your father, are deserving of all respect, and kindness, and affection. If they should chance to like the cut of me jib, as a sailor might say, well, I hope we’ll all be as good friends as perhaps you and me are getting to be.”
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