Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

Worst Case Scenario

 

Helen Riley took the earliest ferry available, half terrified there would be some calamity and she wouldn’t get to the island on time. The boat delivered her without complication three hours ahead of when the meeting, forcing her to wander through the streets to kill time. There were a lot of great shops on the main street of town, conveniently placed within walking distance of the ferry lanes to ensnare the tourists. She bought a stuffed orca for her sister, stowing it in her bag as she continued her meandering.

After a few more shops, she realized she was looking more at her reflection than what was displayed on the other side of the glass. While at home, she’d decided casual was the best way to go. Now, seeing herself out in the world, she thought she’d made the wrong decision. A V-neck gray T-shirt and blue jeans, she looked like she had just returned from the gym. It was too late to take the ferry back home and change.

Unless she cancelled and apologized later in an email. That could work. She reached up and ruffled her extremely short blonde hair. She could postpone until it grew out a little, made her look a little less uber-butch. Unless that was the sort of thing Elena liked. She thrust out her lower jaw and growled at her reflection, turning away from it and stalking up the street with her hands in her pockets. Her purse bumped against her hip, reminding her of the orca toy. At least the trip wouldn’t be a complete loss, no matter what happened.

She saw a combination bookstore and coffee shop on the corner. Sensing the perfect place to waste time, she crossed the street and stepped through the vestibule into the cool, sparsely populated shop. A woman at the cash register smiled at her. “Morning! Welcome to Coffee Table Books.”

“Thanks.” She managed a smile and went to the counter, eyeing the treats. She noticed a sign that said a purchase would allow her a free book taken from the shelves at the back of the space, but a plastic jar was set up with a note that said “donations to Friends of the December Harbor Library welcomed.”

Helen wandered back and looked at the selection. New books vied for attention with older books, some of the spines protected by plastic and bearing library identification numbers, while others looked brand-new. She took one of the books down and thumbed through it before putting it back. Surely it wasn’t required she take a book with her purchase. Still, browsing was a good way to kill time.

She could barely believe she’d actually agreed to this. It had been so easy to blow off how big a deal it was in the privacy of her bedroom. She remembered hearing a tiny voice of doubt when the subject of meeting came up and, in the hours since, it had grown to a shout.

It started so innocently. Posts exchanged with someone called IslandHopper on a message board led to private messages, which led to longer conversations through instant messaging. Helen’s screen name was Firebunny, which referenced the nicknames she and her sister had been given after thoroughly confusing a lieutenant at a fire they were both working. It was a reference to the cartoon where Bugs Bunny played all the bases in a game, which the lieutenant had thought he was seeing simply because he didn’t realize they were twins.

Their conversations soon became more personal and, naturally, more intimate. One night she’d admitted she was in bed during their chat, wearing just a T-shirt and panties, and IslandHopper called her a tease. Helen shot back that a tease doesn’t intend to follow through with what they say, so at worst she was a flirt.

/So you’ll make good on your promise?/ IslandHopper had asked.

/What promise?/

/Oh please! You tell me you’re lying in bed in your panties and you don’t expect to turn me on?/

Helen had been surprised at how unsurprised she was by that turn of events. /Why?/ she’d typed. /What are you wearing?/

/Lots of stuff that could be taken off if the price is right./

Helen, fingers poised over the keyboard, curled like a comma around her laptop, squeezed her thighs together. /Go ahead/

/You’ll have to do better than that! you want it, you say it!/

/take your clothes off/

She moved her hand between her legs as she waited, pressing the first three fingers of her right hand against the crotch of her underwear. They hadn’t shared pictures of each other yet, because Helen’s webcam was broken and she didn’t feel right asking for one when she couldn’t return the favor. But she had a visual image and at the moment, she was imagining that mental construct putting aside her computer, standing up, and stripping down.

/There you go. Easier than describing all my clothes anyway/

/r u gonna be comfortable lik that? Wont the latop burn ur thighs?/

/I’m laying down, like you. And what happened to your typing skills?/

She considered lying, but then decided in for a penny… /I’m typing one-handed/

/:)/

She laughed at that. /Should I stop?/

/NOT ON MY ACCOUNT. Go right ahead. I’ll entertain myself/

/The way I am?/

/Should I?/

/Yeah/

/No say it/

/Stop making me say things!/

/lol ok/

Helen pushed herself up on her other elbow, spreading her legs to give her hand room to move. She continued rubbing the material of her underwear, closing her eyes as she imagined her friend doing the same. She moved her free hand to the keyboard and slowly typed out, /are you touching yourself?/

/yes u?/

/mm hmm/ She blushed and dropped back. She spread her legs, feet flat on the mattress, and began moving her hips against her hand. Right hand outside her underwear, she brought the left up and slipped it underneath. She pressed her underwear against her folds, circling her clit with the other hand. She turned her head, eyes half-lidded, and saw IslandHopper’s next message.

/Come for me, H. I just came for you/

Helen shuddered and lifted her hips off the bed as she followed her friend’s instructions. She collapsed, hands clapped over her crotch as a laugh bubbled up out of her chest. She finally rolled over onto her stomach and typed.

/Whoa. Intense/

/For me too/

/Were you really naked?/

/Of course/

She bit her bottom lip. /Good. Next time I will be, too/

/I look forward to that/

The next time had actually involved Helen telling IslandHopper what to do, talking (or rather typing) dirty while IslandHopper masturbated. Then they switched and IslandHopper talked dirty while Helen got herself off. After that, their online conversations nearly always ended with some variation of one of them asking if the other wanted to play, and the answer was nearly always yes.

Then last night, IslandHopper had sent, /don’t freak out. But I really want to meet you in person. You live near Anacortes, right?/

Though shaking, Helen managed to agree to the meeting. The next day at lunchtime would be ideal, and IslandHopper gave her directions to Squire’s Isle. Helen had stayed awake for hours after they signed off, staring at the ceiling and trying to decide how best to back out of the meeting without hurting anyone’s feelings.

But now here she was, standing between two tall bookcases, eyeing the spines without really seeing them, trying not to think about what she was doing there. She glanced toward the front of the store and one person in particular stood out to her.

She was tall, wearing a navy blue T-shirt that hugged the lines of her shoulders and upper arms. Her hair was on the long side, but not so long that it reached her shoulders. She scanned the room and her eyes locked on Helen. She looked surprised, then happy, and then immediately made her way across the room to where she was standing. “Wow, it is you. What are you doing here?”

Helen ran through IslandHopper’s description. Salt and pepper hair, short and a little stocky, muscular in the arms and thighs… it really didn’t fit the woman standing in front of her at all. This woman was a little too young, too intense, for Helen’s tastes. But hey, tastes were meant to be defied. This could turn out to be a happy surprise rather than a disappointment.

“Hey. I, uh, got to the island a little early and wandered a bit.”

“Oh. Well, I’m glad we ran into each other. Can I get you a coffee?”

“Sure.” She nervously followed IslandHopper – no, they weren’t online, so she would call her Elena – to the counter. She placed her order and then turned to run her eyes up and down Helen’s body. “Look at you. You look good.”

“Thanks. You-you too.”

“Ah, you know. Rachel really domesticated me.”

Helen furrowed her brow. “Rachel?”

“Rachel Tom. You remember her. She’ll want to meet you, too.”

Helen just blinked. “What… you’re… with someone?”

She tilted her head to the side. “Yeah. Rachel. You know Rachel.”

“No! I don’t, I didn’t. If I did, I never would have…” She couldn’t believe this. She shook her head. “This was a mistake. I had no idea you were… cheating on someone.”

Whoa… where did that come from? You’re not even gay.”

Helen was gobsmacked. “Where did you get that? After what we did together…?”

The woman looked stunned. Before Helen could tell her off, the barista put a cup on top of the counter. “There you go, Alex.”

Everything froze as the pieces clicked into place in Helen’s mind. Alex still looked horribly confused and not a little offended, and for good reason. Helen felt her face burn and she put her hands on her temples. “Oh, God. You think I’m Heather.”

It was Alex’s turn to realize what had happened. “You’re Bunny. Uh… I-I mean…”

“Helen.”

“Oh, God.”

“Crap.”

“Yeah.”

“God, I am so–”

“No, I’m– you didn’t do…”

“No, this was…”

They laughed awkwardly, and Alex noticed they were blocking traffic. She put a hand on Helen’s elbow and guided her toward an empty table. They sat down and Alex said, “I worked with your sister back in Shepherd, before I moved here to the island. I guess I just completely forgot she was a twin, so when I saw you I assumed… I’m so sorry.”

Helen shook her head. “You don’t have anything to apologize for. I should never have implied you were… well…”

“You didn’t imply anything about me. You don’t even know me.” She held out her hand. “Alex Crawford. Fire chief. Devoted partner of Dr. Rachel Tom.”

Helen sheepishly accepted the offered hand. “Helen Riley. Firefighter. Obviously far too desperate to be let out in public without a chaperon.”

Alex laughed. “Oh, we’ve all been there once or twice. I take it you’re here on a blind date.”

“Well, something like that.” She looked toward the door. “I’m incredibly nervous.”

“Don’t be. Just relax, be yourself… maybe get the introductions out right away.”

Helen laughed. “Right. Good call.”

“Worst case scenario, you don’t hit it off, you can have dinner with me and Rachel tonight. Female firefighters have to stick together.”

“Sounds good to me. And I’ll fill you in on Heather.”

“How’s she doing?”

“Married, two babies.”

Alex whistled. “Bugs has been busy.”

Helen chuckled. “You know, if we had to get saddled with these nicknames, I am overjoyed I got Bunny.”

“I don’t think she minded Bugs. But you’re right. You definitely got the better part of the deal.” She sipped her coffee. “Where are you and your mystery woman supposed to meet up?”

“On the boardwalk outside of Gail’s Seafood Shack at noon.” She looked at her watch. “In fact, I should probably go in case she’s early.”

Alex nodded. “Okay. Well, if things don’t work out and you’re still on the island, Rachel and I will be at Gail’s at six for dinner. You’re welcome to join us.”

“Thanks. I hope I don’t have to show up.”

Alex smiled. “Me too. Good luck.”

Helen stood up, thanked Alex again, and left the coffee shop. Awkwardness, embarrassment, and a bad case, if not worst case, meeting was already out of the way. Now the road was clear for a smooth and event-free meeting with the real IslandHopper. Her hands were sweaty, and she rubbed them on her thighs as she returned to the ferry lanes and took a wooden staircase up to the boardwalk.

It was almost like a beam of light was shining from the sky onto the woman standing, leaning forward with her arms on the railing, looking out at the boats in the harbor. She wore a leather jacket and blue jeans, her hips cocked so that the denim stretched across a really, really great ass. She had salt-and-pepper hair. Her fingers were splayed, and she tapped them against each other in the manner of a person waiting.

“Elena?”

She looked over her shoulder. A little older than Helen, but that was fantastic. She had a thing for older women. “Helen? Wow. You’re Helen?”

Helen closed the distance between them, smiling brightly.

Now that was more like it…

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