A Hug A Day…
Chip began to silently think of ways to get rid of ‘Mr. Sunshine’. Lee was waiting cheerfully beside him on the sidewalk. Relaxed and happy, his Skipper was optimistically relating future plans for the week of leave ahead of them. Lee’s week of leave, the Exec thought glumly. All Chip saw ahead this week were hours of computer time repairing the damage inflicted on Seaview’s last cruise. The circuit board the Admiral and Exec had thought was salvageable, which would have cut down on repair time drastically had been demolished by a clumsy seaman. Said seaman was lucky to walk away with his head by the time Sharkey was finished with him. After speaking to the unlucky man himself, Chip was sure that was an incident never to be repeated. The Exec sighed heavily, dreading passing this info on to the Admiral. Who was taking forever to get out of that meeting.
Listening to Lee’s appreciative remarks about the beautiful research librarian he had talked into going sailing with him, Chip had to restrain the urge to clobber his friend. Lee deserved this break, and here he was, someone Lee thought of as a close friend, resenting the man’s good fortune. Chip forced himself to smile, encouraging Lee to tell him more about the lady. A gleaming smile and sparkling eyes rewarded him. Lee broke off in mid-sentence, turning as Nelson walked up to them.
The Exec’s heart sank. The Admiral was already steaming. Guess his meeting didn’t go well. Wanting to get it over with, Chip blurted out the bad news. Both Captain and Exec took a couple of steps back as their volatile Admiral exploded. He was still ranting away when a middle aged woman approached.
"Excuse me." Lee and Chip watched in shock as she took a hold on the Admiral’s sleeve. He glared down at her ferociously. "You look in serious need of a hug." Throwing her arms around him in a great bear hug, she squeezed. The Admiral looked completely taken aback. Finally letting go, she slapped a round orange card into his hand, winked flirtatiously and walked off down the street.
The two younger officers were still holding their breath waiting for the Admiral’s reaction. He simply stared down at the card in his hand. Lee bent closer to take a good look and burst out laughing. Nelson raised a thoughtful brow, taking a step towards his Captain. Lee’s eyes widened. "Not me your not!" The Admiral just smiled, looking years younger with that silly grin on his face. He crooked a finger, beckoning. Lee rolled his eyes and walked forward, an indulgent humoring look on his face. Both men cracked up completely as they hugged and the Admiral slapped the card into Lee’s hands. At the Exec’s ‘you’ve lost your marbles’ stare, they started laughing again. Lee stalked towards his Exec, a mischievous gleam in his eyes and in his smile.
"Whatever it is you’ve got, it must be contagious and I don’t want it." Chip warily backed away from his loony Captain. Nelson ordered him to stand still. He stared at the older man in total disbelief. What had come over the two of them? Bracing himself he endured the forceful hug, finding himself relaxing unwillingly into the embrace. Lee’s smile was infectious and Chip ended up grinning reluctantly back. Chip then stared curiously at the card Lee placed in his hand.
It read. —You’ve been hugged. Pass it on.—
Chip glanced up to see both the Admiral and Captain watching him expectantly. "What?" They each folded their arms and raised a brow, eyes on the card in his hand. Looking down at the card and up again, Chip stared back. "You’ve got to be kidding me?"
Both heads shook negatively. After a minute of enjoying the Exec’s patent discomfort they started laughing again. "Never mind, Chip." Nelson teased. "You obviously need that more than we did." Chip bristled. Lee’s eyes dared him. The Exec peered around searchingly. There. On the corner a woman stood quietly at a bus stop. Her face pinched with worry and stress. Swallowing hard, before he lost his courage, Chip wandered slowly up to her.
"Uh, Miss?" Chip felt like a fool and a pervert as the young woman looked at him questioningly. He placed the card in her hand. Her face relaxed and she smiled as she read it. Laughing for the first time that morning she looked over at his nervous face and awkward stance. "I’ve heard about these. My sister got one last month." Her eyes danced as she spoke. It crossed the Exec’s mind that she was actually quite pretty when she smiled like that. He began to relax. "Well?" She asked. Chip looked confused. "Doesn’t this actually come with a hug?" She looked interestedly at him. Chip flushed, completely embarrassed. He could feel Lee and the Admiral staring. Looking back at that pretty smile, Chip grinned too. They both stepped forward at the same time. Arms open and welcoming. Enjoying the soft firmness of her body and delicate perfume wafting to his nostrils, he was reluctant to let go. Both still in synch, they stepped back at the same time. She waved the card at him as the bus pulled up. "Thanks." She hopped up onto the bus. Leaning out she added, "You just made my day!"
Chip stood watching while the bus pulled away and disappeared down the street. He wondered if she often used this bus stop. Smiling confidently, he casually strolled back to join his friends. Happy and more relaxed than he’d been in ages. She had just made his day.