Written in Blood
W. K. Hayes
Richard Dashing was indeed a dashing young man with the athletic build of an Adonis. Every girl by the swimming pool wanted him and every man in the area was jealous of his hard perfected body. The women eagerly watched as he rose up out of the water with his long dark hair slicked back from the water. Droplets of water glistened off of his muscles that flexed to an unseen hardness as he lifted himself up to sit on the side of the pool.
Sydney Darling was an incredible young woman, highly educated and very intelligent. Indeed, she was a bookworm with the body of Cleopatra. When the men were not busy being jealous of Richard, they were definitely checking out Sydney.
Neither of the two was interested in anyone else at the pool that day. Fact is, they were both sort of lost in their own little worlds. Richard was far from interested in love and Sydney was far more interested in reading the quatrains of Nostradamus.
Richard had come to the tropical island just to get away from the world that he cared nothing for. Indeed, it seemed as though the only thing he cared about was taking good care of himself and enjoying some rest and relaxation before having to return to the United States.
Sydney, on the other hand was forced by her friends who felt she needed a much deserved break from the real world and had teasingly told her she needed to have a nice romantic getaway. Sydney, on the other hand, totally disagreed with them. The last thing she wanted was for some man to take care of her. Truly, she enjoyed living her quiet life back home with her pets, Nali and Athena.
She closed to her book and contemplated what she had read. Her short blonde hair was a true testament to her modern day woman attitude. Looking at her watch, she knew it was almost time to catch the boat for the island tour. After all, she was there she might as well make the most of soaking up the exotic scenery.
Richard walked over to his chair and grabbed up his towel. A woman sitting next to his stuff made a soft grunting sound of pleasure at merely staring at him. Still, the sound was audible enough to catch his attention but annoying enough to where he simply ignored her. Noticing the time, Richard realized he was going to miss the island tour if he did not hurry along.
Simultaneously, they both dashed for the open doorway of the cabana style hotel and that was when they first met. Was it love at first sight? Hardly! She did not notice him any more than he had noticed her. Instead, they were both very much lost in the hurry to make the tour.
“Ladies, first”, he told her as he waited patiently for her to go.
She quipped, “Do people still do that”?
“I do”, he replied.
“Suit yourself”, she replied and added, “I’m in a hurry anyway”.
Feeling a little off at ease, Richard ignored her poor manners and simply waited patiently for her to go first and quickly, she did.
He knew he had just enough time to race to his hut, get changed into some dry clothes and be out front. Still, something about her crass behavior stuck in his mind with a small amount of annoyance.
Sydney had the same thought as him but for different reasons. She did not believe in the whole gentleman’s code of honor and preferred to do things for herself. Quickly she made her way to her hut and switched out into something more suitable for the tour. Not to mention she wanted to grab her camera for the sake of taking pictures she had promised to get for her friends back home in Washington State.
Richard grabbed his camera and was ready to go. Quickly he dashed out the door of his hut when he spotted her leaving from the hut next to his. Noticing the camera she was carrying, he knew she was signed up for the same tour and sighed in discontent.
Deciding to ignore her earlier rudeness, he was bound and determined to have a good time. Still, the more he thought about it, the more he realized that she was probably, wanting to be left alone as much as he was.
She had noticed him as well and realized he was taking the same tour as she was. That was fine by her as long as he kept to himself…she would do the same. Even if he was good-looking, she had no interest in him. Still, his annoying way of trying to be a gentleman for this modern day girl ate at her.
They both dashed for the front of the gorgeous and breezy open-air hotel in the hope that they had still made it in time for the tour. They reached the front only to find that everyone else in the hotel must have wanted to take the same tour as the driver announced that the tour bus was full.
“You have got to be kidding me”, she complained.
Richard was standing within earshot of her and jokingly replied, “Well, at least we have the hotel all to ourselves”.
Sydney simply grunted in disgust at him and walked back inside. Richard, by this point was feeling really frustrated with her rudeness and quickly followed behind her.
Catching up to her, he asked, “Hey lady, what did I do to you to deserve you being so rude to me”?
Sydney turned around and answered with a soft sigh, “It’s not you…I was just hoping to get some good pictures for my friends back home”.
“Oh”, Richard simply replied. An idea hit him and he made the suggestion to Sydney by saying, “Maybe someone working at the front desk might have a suggestion for us”.
“It’s worth a shot”, Sydney agreed.
The two of them headed to the front desk to find an Island native dressed in casual tropical attire. “Welcome to the Seaside Star Hotel. How may I help you”?
Richard started to ask about alternatives to the tour when Sydney interrupted him by asking the front desk clerk, “We’re guest here and we missed today’s tour…are there any alternatives”?
The clerk smiled at her and replied, “My cousin owns a helicopter tour of the islands. Let me give him a call and see if he has anything available”.
“Sounds great”, Sydney quickly agreed.
Richard was not so agreeable. He was not very fond of flying as it was and since he had never flown in a helicopter, he was a bit more skeptical about the idea. Then again, what is life without a little daring? “Sounds good”, he agreed.
The desk clerk told them, “I’ll be just one moment”. He took his cellphone out of his pocket and called his cousin. “Hey Jimbo, I have a lovely couple staying here at the hotel that want to know if you have any tours available”?
After a moment, the clerk hung up and told them, “Great news! He said he’s free to take you guys up”.
Sydney asked the clerk, “How do we get there”?
“That’s easy”, the clerk replied and explained, “He’s about a mile down the beach. Just take the hotel shuttle…the driver knows the way. Just tell her you guys are going to Jimbo’s”.
“Thank you”, Richard told the clerk. He looked at Sydney and said, “Well, since we’re spending the day together I guess I should introduce myself, I’m Richard”.
“Sydney”, she simply replied.
“Nice to meet you”, Richard replied still trying to be polite.
“Yea, likewise”, she remarked.
They headed back out front of the hotel to find a woman hanging out from underneath the hotel shuttle’s hood. Unaware of them, the woman simply kept working on the engine.
“Excuse us”, Richard said causing the woman to jump quickly from under the hood. Then he asked the lady, “Can you take us to Jimbo’s”?
“Sure I can”, the lady replied.
“Is something wrong with the van”, Richard asked.
The lady wiped some greases off her hands and answered, “Nah, I was just checking the oil”.
Sydney was less gentle as she asked him, “Are you one of those guys that thinks women are just helpless little things”?
Infuriated by her question, he commonly replied, “My mom always taught me to be helpful…regardless of gender”.
She actually liked his answer and whimsically remarked, “Good…that’s the way it should be”.
Of course, his answer also made her wonder if he was some kind of, ‘mama’s boy’.
“All aboard”, the driver told them.
Richard started to offer Sydney the front passenger seat when he realized she would probably snap at him again. So, instead, he simply waited for her to approach the van first.
Indeed, she chose to sit up front with the driver which suited Richard just fine. The last thing he wanted was to get caught in the middle of two women talking and even more so, he was still feeling the sting of her words and wanted to quietly pout about it.
The driver hopped in behind the wheel and asked, “So, where are you folks from”?
Sydney answered, “I’m from Washington…the state”.
“Me too” Richard replied.
“Really”, Sydney asked and quickly added, “What part”?
“Snohomish”, Richard answered her.
“Wow, small world”, Sydney remarked.
The driver was a bit confused and asked them, “Aren’t you two here on vacation together”?
Richard answered her by saying, “No, this is the first time we’ve ever met”.
The driver gleefully told them, “Too bad…you guys would make a cute couple.”
It took all Richard had in him not to puke at the thought of being with someone with Sydney’s personality. Apparently, Sydney felt the same way as she answered, “We’re just sharing a helicopter ride”. She turned to look back at Richard and asked him, “By the way, we’re splitting the ride fifty-fifty, right”?
Richard was staring out the window and enjoying the incredible view. He simply answered her, “Sure…sounds good”, without even looking back at her.
She turned around to look at the driver and asked, “Have you taken the tour on the helicopter”?
“No”, the driver replied and told Sydney, “But, I’m sure you two will have a great time”.
Sensing the sarcasm coming from the driver, Richard looked at her through the rearview mirror just in time to catch her smiling at him. He simply smiled back at her and went back to staring out the window when he spotted the helicopter sitting on a small landing pad next to an old business.
“We’re here”, the driver pointed out.
Sydney took one look at the helicopter and sarcastically asked, “Does that thing actually fly”?
Richard could not resist but smart off at her by saying, “Well, we’re about to find out”.
The driver of the hotel shuttle pulled the van up to the front of the store and told them, “Just have Jimbo call the hotel when you two are ready to be picked up and I will come back and get you”.
“Thanks”, Richard and Sydney replied in unison.
Jokingly, Sydney told Richard, “Jinx…you owe me a drink”. She could tell she had been a little too hard on him and that she really needed to loosen up so they could have fun.
Richard welcomed the change in attitude from her and replied, “I’ll get you one when we get back to the hotel”.
“So, are you ready for this adventure”, she asked him with a smile.
It was the first time she had smiled at him and Richard, for the first time, noticed how incredibly beautiful she was. “Yes…”
“That’s it”, Sydney asked. Then, as if a light had gone off in her head she asked him, “You’re not afraid of flying are you”?
“I’ve never been in a helicopter before”, Richard admitted.
A rather rotund man with an unshaven face popped out of the store just in time to hear Richard’s comment and told him, “Then you will enjoy today as a rare treat”. He smiled eagerly at them both and told them, “You must be the handsome couple from the hotel my cousin called about. Please, come on inside and we’ll get started”.
He held the door for them as they walked into the little beachside shop. Sydney actually went first without making any quips about equal rights. Richard was actually surprised she behaved herself…for once by simply going with the flow.
“So, how long are you folks staying for”, the pilot asked them.
“I’m here for another week”, Richard answered.
“Same here”, Sydney replied.
“Oh, so you two did not come together”, the pilot asked and quickly suggested, “Well, maybe the two of you will leave here together, instead”.
Richard and Sydney looked at each other for a moment and simultaneously shook their heads like that was not going to happen. Sydney was the first to vocalize what she was thinking by saying, “We sort of got stuck with each other today”.
Richard simply looked back at the pilot and asked, “So, when do we take off”?
The pilot rubbed his grubby face and replied, “Take a look around at the shop while I go do my pre-flight warm-up”.
The pilot headed outside, leaving the two of them supposedly alone. Richard went towards the left while Sydney started browsing towards the right hand side of the small store.
The shelves were loaded with a wide assortment of knickknacks and shirts. Nothing really grabbed Richard’s interest as he continued browsing. The same could be said of Sydney. She found a small book shelf with several books based on recipes for the local cuisine that would have grabbed her interest if she took an interest in cooking.
Richard noticed there were some snow globes with cute little palm trees sticking up out of the sand-like shaky stuff. The little kid in him could not resist the urge to shake up the small globe just to watch the stuff slowly settle back at the bottom. Afterwards, he put the globe back down and continued looking around.
Sydney gave up hope on finding any books of real interest to her and started checking out the t-shirts to see if the pilots little shop carried anything different from the gift shop at the hotel. Even then, nothing really grabbed her as she had hoped. Just t-shirts with silly beach sayings on them like, ‘Life is a beach’, and so on.
Richard found some stuffed animals and thought about grabbing one for his niece back home. However, the idea of sitting in a helicopter, holding a stuffed animal was less than manly. And, although Sydney grated on his last nerve there was something different about her that became somewhat charming to him…he just did not know it yet.
The helicopter pilot came back into the shop and told them, “Okay, she’s ready to go. Did you guys find anything that interests you”?
“I’ll grab a couple of snow globes and a teddy bear when we get back”, Richard promised.
Sydney felt like the odd person out and offered, “I will take one of your cookbooks when we get back. My dad loves to cook”.
“Okay then”, the pilot eagerly replied and added, “Oh, by the way…it’s one hundred per person and I like to be paid upfront”.
“Of course”, Richard remarked. He grabbed out his wallet and counted out a fifty, two twenties and a ten”.
Sydney simply handed the pilot a hundred dollar bill and told him, “Thank you for taking us on such short notice.
The pilot stuffed the money in his pocket and replied, “My pleasure…so what’s say we get this show on the road”.
Sydney and Richard followed the pilot out to the helicopter. The blades were slowly turning as the helicopter warmed up causing Richard to approach cautiously.
They boarded the helicopter and buckled in. The pilot sat up front by himself as he buckled up, turned around and handed them headsets and told them, “This way I can tell you about the many wondrous features of the beautiful islands.”
Turning back around, he started clicking buttons and tapping stuck gauges to make sure he was getting accurate readings. His tapping did little to reassure Richard of the safety in flying in a helicopter.
Sydney seemed oblivious to everything but what was going on outside of the window. She always enjoyed watching the waves barely moving in and out along the shoreline.
Richard saw her staring off and decided that paying attention to the pilot was probably not the best idea. So, he turned to look out his side of the helicopter only to see the shop and some little boy waving at him before disappearing back inside the store.
“You have a cute son”, he told the pilot through the headset as the helicopter fired to life with a few unsettling sounds.
The pilot replied, “That’s my grandson but thank you. Now folks, if you are ready, welcome to Island Hopper’s Chopper Tours. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.”
Suddenly, Richard felt his stomach sink as the copter rose up quickly off the ground. In no time, they were in the air and on their way.
The pilot came back on and told them, “We’ll be taking a look at some of the surrounding islands as we fly around the beautiful Caribbean. Please enjoy your flight and feel free to take all the pictures you want but do not lean outside the cabin”.
Sydney and Richard both got their cameras ready to take pictures in order to keep their promises to their friends and families back home. The helicopter started climbing higher into the air giving them a birds-eye view of the gorgeous surrounding area.
Within minutes, Richard was taking pictures of seagulls from an aerial point of view while Sydney captured shots of the luscious foliage of tropical plant life. Indeed, this was going to be a trip neither of them would soon forget.