The Beginning of a New Life

By JSRobertson


Lee Crane was standing in the observation nose of Seaview.  He was watching them load the supplies and gear that would be needed for the next mission.  Seaview, his gray lady, had a new lady to compete for her attention.  Seaview would always be his first love but now he had a wife. 


“I can’t believe I’m married.  I never thought it would happen.  I knew the first time I met Janet Cornwell interviewing for the secretary’s job on Seaview that I would marry her.”   


Janet Cornwell came from Illinois to interview for the job of Seaview’s secretary.  She drove all the way by herself.  She had no family and she needed a new start.


The interview had been at 9:30 but was there half an hour early.  Angie, the Admiral’s secretary brought in her resume and samples of work she had done at her previous job.  She looked qualified but had no naval experience.


“Good Morning, Miss Cornwell, I’m Admiral Nelson and this is Captain Lee Crane and Lt. Commander Chip Morton.”


They were reading the resume and looking at the documents she’d brought.


“Have you ever been in the Navy or on a submarine?”  Nelson asked.

“No sir.” 

“Does that make a difference in getting the job?”  

“No.” Captain Crane replied.

“The job is to take notes on the missions, collect daily logs and help with any paperwork that needs to be done by me or the other officers.  This job requires you to be on the Seaview.”  When we sail we could be gone for days, weeks or months.  Is there any problem with being gone that long?”  Nelson continued.

“No sir.   I have no one to be accountable to.  My husband was killed in an auto accident.  I needed a change, so I came out here for this interview.”

“Can you work on a computer?’ asks Lt. Commander Morton.

“We had computers at my previous job and I’m comfortable working with them.” 

“We are taking out all the interviewees for a pilot mission tomorrow,” Crane said, “Can you come back tomorrow to go on Seaview?”

“Yes sir.” 

Do you have any questions?”

“No sir.”  

“Be here tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.  Angie with give you the rest of the details.”


As she got up her bag got tangled on the arm of the chair and out fell a book on submarines.  Captain Crane picked it up “Is this how you learn about submarines?”  \

“Yes, sir, I figure some information is better than nothing.”


Angie gave her a letter to show at the front gate to let her in again tomorrow.  Angie was very friendly and told her to make sure she wore pants and flat shoes. It was very hard to get up and down the ladders on Seaview in a skirt.


“Thank you for the information.  I will see you tomorrow.”   


Well, that is something she didn’t know.  She would have to work aboard Seaview.  She had a hard time starting her car but got it started and drove back to the hotel, relieved the interview was over and scared of a ride on Seaview. 


Admiral Nelson, Lee and Chip were having a meeting on the candidates that they had interviewed. There were four vying for the job, two women and two men.  The other three all had naval experience.  Two were in the Navy and one with the Coast Guard.  Janet’s only asset is the fact was the fact that she was the only secretary and that was what they were looking for. 


“Does it make a difference if the last one, Miss Cornwell doesn’t have any Navy experience or that she could be the only female on a boat of 125 men?” Nelson asked.

“I don’t see a problem with the naval experience,” Chip said, “but I didn’t even think about her being the only female on the boat.  Lee has all ready told her it didn’t make a difference she didn’t have any naval experience so I think we should consider her. She is only one with the secretarial skills we are looking for.”

“I have no problem with her being the only female on the boat,” Lee said.


Angie called the Admiral and told him there was a problem on Seaview and Chip needed to get down there. He left to take care of the problem.


“Lee, do you have any preference as to who should get the job. Nelson asked Lee.

“They all have their good points.  I did like Miss Cornwell and her book on submarines.  Maybe I should ask to borrow it to see if I can learn anything.  It really doesn’t matter to me who we hire because Miss Cornwell is going to be my wife whether we give her the job or not.”

“You are going to marry her?” the Admiral laughed




 After the interview was over Janet was hungry.  It was close to lunch so she went to the diner to talk to Trish. 

“Hi, Trish, can I please have a grilled cheese sandwich and fries with a cola?” 


Janet had met her on her first day in Santa Barbara.  The diner wasn’t far from the hotel where she was staying.


“Sure.  How did your interview go?  Were you nervous?”

“Yes, I was and I hope it went OK.  I’m going out on the submarine tomorrow for a pilot mission with three other candidates. 

“Good luck.”  

“Thanks I will need it.”


After eating Janet went back to the motel.  Again she had a problem starting her car.   She really needed to find a place to live, but I didn’t have a job and while she did have some money, she felt it best to wait a little while longer to see if she would even be staying in Santa Barbara.   She watched TV for awhile and finally got ready for bed.


She couldn’t sleep.  She was so nervous.  She got up about 6:30 to get ready.  She was glad Angie had told her to wear pants and flat shoes. She picked up her bag and got ready to leave.  She was so embarrassed about her book falling out of her bag.  She should have left it there but forgot it was in there.  Maybe she’d take it today.  Captain Crane seemed amused by it.  He was very good looking.  Probably the best looking man she’d ever met.


It was 8:00 and since she didn’t know how long they were going to be gone, she figured she’d better get some breakfast.  She went to start her car and it wouldn’t start and she didn’t know anything about cars.

She went to the motel office.  Mrs. Thomas was there.  “Do you have a phone book?   I need to call a cab.  I have to be at the Nelson Institute at 9:00 and my car won’t start.”

“The cabs drivers are on strike.”

“What am I going do to?  Has Mr. Thomas left for work yet?” 

“Yes, he left an hour ago.” The Thomas’ had only one car.  Their son, Jimmy had one and he hadn’t left for work.

“Can Jimmy give me ride to the Institute?”

“Let’s ask him.  Hey Jimmy can you give Janet a ride to the Nelson Institute?”

“Not all the way, only to Ocean Drive.  I’m all ready late for work.”

“Tell him I’ll take it.”


Ocean Drive was the road that led into the Institute.  Jimmy drove her to the intersection of Eagle Road and Ocean Drive.  He told her it was about three miles to the Institute.  She would have to walk the rest of the way.  She could walk pretty fast but I didn’t know if she could walk three miles in forty five minutes.   She had to walk in the street or on the grass as there were no sidewalks and the street was very busy.

She got a ways down the road and it was already 8:30.  She didn’t think she could make it on time when a red sports car stopped.  


“Do you need a ride?”

“Yes, please.  I need to be at the Nelson Institute in a half an hour regarding a job.  My car wouldn’t start and the cab drivers are on strike.  Can you give me a ride there?”


 She hopped into the car not waiting for an answer.  She was so relieved that she had a ride that she didn’t pay any attention to who was driving the car.  At this point she didn’t care; she just wanted to get to the Institute. 


“Thank you very much for the ride.”  She finally look to see who was driving the car and it was Captain Crane.

“How far have you been walking?”

“I’m not sure.  I got dropped off at Eagle Road and Ocean Drive.  How much farther is it to the Institute?” 

“Another two miles.”   


If he hadn’t picked her up she never would have made it.


 “I cannot thank you enough for picking me up.”

“No problem. You must really want this job to be willing to walk to it.”


They got to the front gate of the Institute and the same guard, Howard, was there again.  He greeted Captain Crane and looked at her.  Jane gave him her driver’s license and paperwork from Angie to let her in.  He let them through the gate and they drove to the office.


 “Where is your car?”  Captain Crane asked.

 “It is at “The Blue Bird Motel. Why?”

 “I will have Tommy from the motor pool here at the Institute take a look at it.  He is the only mechanic I will let work on my car.”

 “It is a black car with Illinois plates on it.”


Captain Crane left her at the front desk with Wanda Jones, the receptionist.  He went to his office to call Tommy.


“Hi, Tommy.  It’s Lee Crane.   I need a favor.  Could you please go to the Blue Bird Motel and look at a black car with Illinois plates on it.  It won’t start.  Fix whatever is wrong with it and put it on my bill.  Let me know what the problem was.” 

“No problem Captain.”


At least Janet had made it on time.  None of the other candidates had arrived.  Wanda looked at her and asked,    “How come you came in with Captain Crane?” 

“My car wouldn’t start.   I was walking down Ocean Drive and Captain Crane picked me up.”


While she continued explaining her situation, the other candidates arrived.   They introduced themselves.   Barbara Manning worked for the Coast Guard, Bob Stevens was in the Navy on a destroyer and Tom Scale was also in the Navy on an aircraft carrier.  Janet told them her name and that she had worked as a secretary in Illinois until a few days before.  They all looked a little nervous.  Janet was not only nervous but down right scared. 


Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane came out of the Admiral’s office.


“We are going to take you down to Seaview,” Admiral Nelson said,  Seaview is a privately owned research submarine that will do work for the Navy and the United States government as well as private companies.  There are many classified areas on her.  You will only be allowed in the observation nose for this mission.  We are going to sail about two hours from the Institute to test a new piece of equipment.  We will be out about two more hours and then return.  Please follow me.”


“I’m not going to be going on the mission,” Barbara said, “I talked it over with my husband and we didn’t realize that I would be gone away for long of periods of time.  I have small children and don’t want to leave them for that long.  I didn’t want to let you know by telephone so that is why I came here today.  I’m sorry if I wasted your time.  Thank you for the interview.”  She said her goodbyes and left.


The rest were led down a path to the docking area of the Institute.  They finally get to see the Seaview, huge, gray and beautiful.


Following Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane, they boarded the Seaview through the conning tower. (Janet had learned that from her submarine book.)  Now she knew why Angie said to wear pants.  One has to climb down a spiral staircase to enter the observation nose.  In front of the Seaview were windows looking out to the sea.  They took us upstairs to the control room so we could see what and where it is.  There were many instruments, radar, sonar, computers, a large plastic map of the world and a charting table. There were about ten crew members working.  Lt. Commander Morton was already on board at the charting table plotting the course.


They returned to the observation nose and were shown where to sit.  Janet still wasn’t sure why they wanted them aboard today.  Maybe to test how they reacted on a submarine when it was submerged and to observe how things were done.  We couldn’t ask questions, as everything was classified. 


They left the dock and headed out to sea.  Looking out the windows in the front one could see Seaview cutting through the water.  It was a fascinating sight.  Janet wondered what kept the windows from breaking.  The water started going over the top of the windows and then they were under the water.   Bob looked a little nervous, Tom looked calm, and Janet was just amazed.  She didn’t feel the Seaview moving at all. 


“Set a course of one five zero.  All ahead standard,” Lee told Chip. 


When they reached their destination, they tested their equipment and then headed back to the Institute.


“How are you doing?’ the Admiral asked coming down the staircase to the observation nose.

“Fine” the group stated.   Nelson sat down at the table.

“I don’t know if I can do this.” Bob said, “being underwater all this time is unnerving.  How do they do for days or weeks at a time?”

“I think it is very calming.” Janet said.


 Tom agreed with her.


Before they knew it they were back at the Institute and leaving Seaview.  They were brought back to the office. 


“Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane I want to thank you for letting me go out on the Seaview,” Bob said, “but I cannot do this job.  Being under the water is not for me.  I prefer to be on the top of the ocean.” He said goodbye and left. 


Tom and Janet were left.   The Admiral and Captain went into the Admiral office to discuss what they wanted to do next. “We should take each one out separately on an actual mission to see how they handle themselves,” Lee said, “let them ask questions and see what is actually done when we are on a mission.” 


The Admiral agreed. 


“Tom, are you available on Friday to go out on a mission?” Captain Crane asked.

 “Yes sir.”

“We will be gone until Saturday.” 


Janet was disappointed that Tom was asked to go first; hopefully she’d get a chance to go out also when the Captain asked, “Janet, are you available to go out on a mission on Monday?’ 

“Yes sir.”

“We will be gone until Tuesday. You will both stay on Seaview overnight and see what actually happens on a mission.   Be here at the office by 8:00.”


They were done for the day.  Janet had one problem.  She didn’t have a way back to the motel and didn’t want to ask for a ride.  She really didn’t want to walk back and it was too early for Mr. Thomas or Jimmy to be finished with work.  So now what should she do 


Captain Crane came out of his office, “Tommy has fixed your car.  The distributor cap was cracked that is why it wouldn’t start.   I will take you back to the motel.”

“Thank you very much.  How much did it cost to fix it and who do I owe for the repairs.”   

“I will let you know what the cost is.” 


She thanked Angie and Wanda and said goodbye.  Angie winked at her and smiled. Janet hoped she had a say in who got the job.


Janet and Crane got into the Captain’s car.  He drove her back to the motel.  She got into her car and it started right up. She went back to thank him again for his help.  He drove back to the Institute.


Janet was starving so she drove to the diner. 

“Hi Trish, how are you doing?”

“Fine, how was your trip on the submarine?”


Janet proceeded to tell her that her car wouldn’t start, that she’d started walking but got a ride from the Captain of the Seaview, the trip out to sea and that she was going on an actual mission on Monday and wouldn’t be back until Tuesday.  She noticed two men are eating at the diner dressed in the uniforms the men on the Seaview had on. 


“Trish, do you know those two men over there?” 

“Yes, the one in red is Kowalski and the one in blue is Patterson.  They come here to eat once in a while.  Why?” 

“They were on the Seaview today.  I remember seeing them in the control room.” 


Janet had nothing to do until Monday.  She drove into the city of Santa Barbara.  She needed to pick up the boxes she had shipped earlier.  The shipping place helped her load them in her car.  Jimmy was home when she got back to the motel and he helped her unload the boxes into the hotel room. 


“Jimmy, thank you again for driving me this morning, I really appreciated it.”

“Hi Janet, how did your trip go?  ”Mrs. Thomas asked.

“Great.  I’m going on a mission on Monday and won’t be back until sometime on Tuesday.”

“Did you walk all the way?”

“No, I got picked up by the Captain of the submarine.”  “If he hadn’t picked me up I never would have made it on time.”  

“Seems like a good omen to me.”


Janet drove around the area see what kind of apartments were for rent.  If she got the job, she’d need a place to live.  Hopefully she could find something close to the institute.  If she didn’t get the job, she’d need to look for a job in the city and find someplace there to live. 


Finally Monday, and she’d packed an overnight bag and her bag with the submarine book in it.   She didn’t know what to expect when she got on Seaview.  She assumed there was a cabin for her.  She hoped she had everything she needed; there was nowhere to shop if she forgot something.


She arrived at the Institute at 7:45.  Wanda was just arriving and Angie was all ready there.

“Have either of you ever been on Seaview for a mission?” Janet asked.

“No” both stated. 

“We have been on Seaview,” Wanda said, “but never overnight and never on a mission.  Are you nervous?”


“Don’t be,” Angie said, “the crew on Seaview is very nice and friendly.  If you have any questions, just ask.”

“I’m afraid I will get lost.  The Seaview is so big.”

“I’m sure someone will be with you most of the time to show you where to go and what you will need to do.”

“Will I be able to ask questions and see what kind of paperwork they use?” 

“I think so.  That is why they are taking you out.  So you can see what they do and what actually goes on when they are on a mission.  Right now I take care of the paperwork but whoever they hire will have the responsibility of the paperwork from each mission.”


Lt. Commander Morton came to get her and brought her to Seaview. 


“Don’t be nervous.”

They boarded Seaview and came into the Control Room.   The Admiral and Captain were already there. 


“Welcome aboard” Captain Crane said, “let me show you to your cabin.”

He took the overnight bag and led her out the aft door to where the officer’s cabins are located.  He showed her the one she’d be using.  He put the bag on the bed and showed her where everything is located.  They went back to the control room another way and she was already confused.


“We will be getting under way soon, so you can sit in the observation nose and watch us leave port.  Once we leave the channel someone will come for you and take you to the control room to see what we are doing.  The mission is to look for some unexploded bombs in the southern Pacific Ocean and disarm them.   It will take us a few hours to get there,” Captain Crane explained.   It was amazing how they got the huge submarine out of there.


Captain Crane gave her a brief tour of some of the Seaview’s unrestricted areas.  “If you get hired for the job you will have access to all areas.  How are you doing so far?”

“Right now very confused on where I am.  Do you have a map?  It will take me forever to find where I’m supposed to be.”

“He sure is taking quite an interest in her,” Chip told the Admiral, in the Control Room, “he bet me that in three months they’ll be engaged or married.  If it doesn’t happen, I get to drive his car for a month.  You know he never lets anyone drive his car.”

“The first day we interviewed her he said she was going to be his wife whether she got the job or not.”


Janet asked if there is any paperwork she could look at to see what she would be using.  They brought her some of the forms to look them over.  There sure are ways that they could be made easier to work with.  She offered some suggestions on how to simplify the forms.  They liked her suggestions and said they’d try them out.


They traveled a few more hours and reached the spot where the bombs were.  A diving party consisting of Captain Crane and the two seamen named Kowalski and Patterson left the boat. They swam in front of the observation nose where Janet could watch them disarm the bombs and bring them back to the boat.  The mission was a success. 


“How do you like your trip so far?” the Admiral asked.

“So far so good.”

 “Not too much happening on this mission.  Some missions there is so much going on that you don’t even get a break.  No underwater sea monsters, no foreign country submarines chasing us or underwater laboratories to explore.” 


What has she gotten herself into?


They were on a course back to Santa Barbara and planned to be back in port by 9:00 tomorrow.  The first shift was over and a new one was coming on duty.  A Lt. Commander, Mr. O’Brien, took over commanding Seaview until the next morning.  


After dinner they retired to their cabins. Hers was across the corridor from Captain Crane’s. 

“If you need anything, just knock on my door.”


“We will be up at 7:00 to get ready to come into port.  I will pick up you then and take you to the wardroom for breakfast and then the control room.”

“Thanks.”  She would never find it by herself.


She didn’t sleep very well.  Not that the bed was uncomfortable, she was just too nervous.  At 7:00 there was a knock on the door.  She was ready to go.


“Did you sleep OK?” Captain Crane asked.

“Just fine” she lied.


They entered the channel at the Nelson Institute and Seaview is docked.   Lt. Commander Morton led her back to the cabin where she gathered her things to leave the boat.   She might have found it by herself, but was grateful he took her.


They walked back to the office. 

“We will be making a decision on who will get the job by tomorrow,” the Admiral said, “we will let you know whether or not you got the job.” “Is there a number where you can be reached?”

“You will have to call the Blue Bird Motel.  Mrs. Thomas is the owner and she will get me to the phone. “Thank you very much for the opportunity to go on the mission.   I really enjoyed it.” 

Well, Janet had never had such a wonderful experience in her life.  Even if she didn’t get the job, she would never forget her voyage to the bottom of the sea. 


The three officers went to the Admiral’s office.  Angie was there and asked how the mission went with Janet aboard. They said it was fine and told her about Janet’s suggestions on changing some of the paperwork. 


“She knows what she is doing” Angie agreed, “She can probably redo all those forms you use.  I vote for her. Besides that I like her.”

“The only problem I see is the fact she is a woman,” said Chip.   “How are the men on Seaview going to relate to a woman on board?”

“That’s their problem.”

“You’ve been very quiet, Lee,” Nelson said, “what is your opinion?

“I can see Chip’s point about her being a woman, but why should that stop her being hired to do a job I feel she can do?”  “I agree” the Admiral replied. 


The Admiral called Janet the next day to tell her she had the job and could she come in at 12:00 to sign a contract. 

“Yes, sir, I will be there.  Thank you for the job.” 

She couldn’t believe it, working for the Nelson Institute for Marine Research on the submarine Seaview.  She told Mrs. Thomas she got the job.  She was very happy for her.  She went to the diner to tell Trish.


“Hi Janet, you sure look happy.” 

“I should be.  I just got the job at the Nelson Institute.” 

“I knew you would get it.  When is your first day of work?” 

“I’m not sure.  I go this afternoon to sign a contract.”  


One problem solved.  Now she had to find a place to live.  She couldn’t worry about that now as she needed to get ready to go to the Institute to sign the contract.  Maybe Angie would of a place to rent.  She’d have to ask her.


Janet arrived at the Institute at 11:45.

“Congratulations” Angie and Wanda said, “we’re glad you got the job.  We look forward to working with you.”

“Me too” she replied.   “I do have one question, do you know of any places around here that are for rent?  I’m living in a motel right now and would like to find a place.”  Angie was about to answer when Captain Crane came out of the Admiral’s office. 


“Welcome to the Institute and Seaview.  We all look forward to working with you.  Please come in.” 

The Admiral and Captain Crane were the only two in the office.  They had a one year contract for her to sign.  She would be on probation for three months.  The salary is very generous.  When she wouldn’t be working on Seaview, she’d be working in an office at the Institute.   Captain Crane showed her to the office she’d be using.  It looks over the berth where Seaview is.  She had a job, now she needed a home.


“Lee, do you know of any places to rent around here?” Angie asked.  “Janet needs a place to live and you live near here.”  “Yes, I think I might know of a place.  There is a man in my condo building that is looking to rent his place out for three months while he goes out of the country.  Would you be interested in seeing it?  I can take you there right now.” 



The condo building was a few miles from the Institute.  It was a beautiful area by the ocean.   She didn’t know if she could afford to live there.  Captain Crane found the superintendent of the condo building. 

“Hi Sam, is Richard’s condo still for rent?”  “Yes, it is.  Do you know someone who wants to rent it?” 

“Yes, this is Miss Cornwell and she will be working at the Institute starting tomorrow and she needs a place to rent.  Can we see it now?” 

“Sure, I will get the keys.”

“Captain Crane do you know what the rent will be on this place,” she asked.

“No, but I know Richard only wants half of what the mortgage payment is and you would pay for the utilities.  He just wants someone to live here so it isn’t vacant while he is gone.  Also, from now on you can call me Lee.  When you are on Seaview in front of the crew you call me Captain Crane.” 


Sam came back with keys and showed them the condo.  The place was fantastic.  The rent was very reasonable.  She now had a home for at least three months and could move in right away.  Captain Crane came to the rescue again. 

“Do you live in this building,” she asked. 

“I live right around the corner in a unit that faces the ocean” he replies.  “Will you need help moving?”

“I only have a few boxes but a couple of them are quite heavy, would you mind helping me?  We should only have to make one trip as everything should fit in the car.” 


They drove back to the motel and loaded up her car.  Jimmy helped Lee put in the heavier boxes.   She said good bye and thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and Jimmy. 

“Thanks for your help,” she tell Lee.   Before the day was over she was moved in.


She had been on Seaview for six weeks.  The crew has been very welcoming and patient with her when she gets lost.  But, she was getting better at knowing where she was.   She had been on missions that have taken her to the Artic, Scotland, undersea laboratories and she’d seen some very interesting sea creatures.  She loved this job.


Lee, Chip and she had gone out for dinner after work at couple of times to discuss what paperwork needed to be revised.  They usually went to the diner.  Lee met with Trish’s approval since she told her about him.  He was only good looking, but very kind and considerate.


She was working at the Institute today and for the rest of the week as were no missions scheduled.  She understood this is very unusual.  Lee came to her office and asked, “Are you free for dinner tonight?”

“Yes, I am.”  

“Good, I will pick up at 7:00.”

 Wow, she was going a real date with Lee Crane.


She got home from work at 6:00.  It had been very busy at the Institute and she got home a little later than she’d wanted.  She needed to get ready right away because Lee Crane is never late. She didn’t know where they were going so she dressed up.  At 7:00 there was a knock on her door.  She was ready to go as she was also never late.


They went to downtown Santa Barbara.  The restaurant was quite crowded for a weeknight, but they were seated right away.  She got the impression that he came there quite often as they knew him by his first name.  They got some wine and he asked her about her family. 


“Do you have any family back in Illinois?”

 “No, I have some friends but no family.” 

“You said your husband was killed in a car accident.  That must have been very hard to get over.”

“You would think so but he had his girlfriend in the car at the time.  They both were killed.  His family still blames me for the accident.”

“That must have been a shock, but how are you to blame for his accident?”

“I guess I wasn’t a good enough wife for him that he needed to have a girlfriend.” 

“Do they know you moved to California?”

“No, I didn’t tell them I was leaving, but I’m sure they will find out and cause trouble.  They never did like me.” 


They were having a wonderful dinner and she asked him about his family.  His mother, Helen, lives in Rhode Island but he doesn’t see her very often as she travels a lot.  He also has no other family.  He told her that Chip Morton’s family has “adopted” him as one of their own.


She got to work the next morning and find out they had a mission.  They would be leaving on Saturday and be gone for a couple of weeks.


Lee came into her office and asked, “Are you free for dinner on Thursday?” 

“Sure, where are we going?”

“We will go to Giovanni’s.  I’ll pick you up at 7:00.” 

She put on a dress and heels. 


They arrived at Giovanni’s and Lee said hello to hostess and gave her a piece of paper.  They ordered dinner. The food was quite good.  Lee was telling her about the mission they’d be going on.  It was an undersea laboratory that was in danger of exploding and the reactor needed to be shut down.

“Is there something wrong? You are very quiet tonight,” Lee asked. 

“I’m going to need to look for another place to live as Richard will be coming home in a couple of weeks.  I really like living there.” 

“Well, if you marry me you won’t need another place to live,” he laughed.  She didn’t know if he was serious. They were just finishing dinner when the waiter came over and told Lee he had a phone call.  There was a problem on Seaview.  Chip and Chief Sharkey weren’t available so he had to go and check it out.


 “Do you want me to take cab home so you can go to Seaview?” she asked. 

“No, you can come with me”

“How did they know you were here?” 

“I leave a number where I will be with the guards on the dock so they can reach me if there is a problem. Sorry we have to cut our date short.” 

“No problem, let’s go see what is wrong.” 


They got to the dock area and there was an alarm going off on Seaview.  Lee needed to check it out.  They boarded Seaview and she learned why she had to wear pants and flats.  It is very hard to go down the ladder in a dress and heels.  There was only one emergency light on when they got in the control room. It was very eerie when all the lights weren’t lit, no beeping of sonar or radar and the computer was off.   Lee found the problem and turned off the alarm. 

“I will have to have the electronics crew look at that issue before we go on the mission.” 

Then Lee kissed her right in the middle of the control room, catching her by surprise.  He was a marvelous kisser.  They leave Seaview; he took her home and she got another kiss. 


She got to work early the next day and Lee was all ready there. 

“Sorry about last night.” 

“It’s ok.  I understand that you need to take care of Seaview.” 


Angie asked how their date went. 

“I think Lee asked me to marry him last night but I’m not sure.  He said it laughingly and then he got a call to go to Seaview for a problem.  So, I didn’t know what to say.”

Janet could tell by the look on her face that she wasn’t shocked at what she just told her.

“He has been in love with you since the first day he met you.”

“No, that can’t be, besides I think he all ready has a love.” 

Angie looked at her kind of funny.  “His first love is Seaview.  Whoever he marries will always come in second to his “gray lady” not that I think there is anything wrong with that.”

Janet told her that she was in love with him too, but didn’t want to be second in his life.  She had to think things over.


She needed to get back to work.  She had to gather the papers she needed to bring with them for the next mission.  She was redoing all the forms, lists and other paperwork they use.  It was quite a job, but it kept her busy when they were at sea.  Since they were leaving at 6:00 in the morning the next day, she could go home early and pack.  She would spend the night on Seaview so she didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn.  She would have a quick dinner and then head to the boat. She would speak with Doc when she got there.  He and she had become good friends.  Doc told her that Lee has spent a lot of time with him as a patient.  So far the missions she’d been on he hadn’t ended up in Sick Bay.  When he did spend time in there, it was mostly under protest.  He would take on any challenge no matter what the consequence to protect his men and boat.


They shoved off at 6:00.  It still amazes her how they got Seaview out of the channel.  She loved sitting in the observation nose watching her glide through the water.  Depending on what she was doing, she could actually work there.  


They reached the underwater laboratory.  Lee, Kowalski and Patterson dove out to the laboratory to shut down the reactor.  She got nervous when they go out diving.  She knew they are all experienced divers, but something could go wrong.  She was in the observation nose and watched them swim towards the laboratory.  They entered it and shut down the reactor when something went wrong.  Kowalski and Patterson got out, but Lee was caught in the hatch when the laboratory exploded.  The boat rocked and rolled and everyone was thrown about.  Kowalski and Patterson went back to get Lee but he was unconscious.  They got him aboard Seaview and he was taken to Sick Bay. 

”Chip, can I go to Sick Bay?” she asked

“Sure, go ahead.  The Admiral will be there shortly.” 

She ran up the spiral staircase to get to Sick Bay.  Lee was still unconscious.  He looked very pale.  Doc left her to sit with him when the Admiral came in.

“Doc, how is he doing?”

 Not too well.  He has a severe concussion”

“You really love him don’t you,” the Admiral came over to her.

“Yes, I do.  I didn’t realize how much until now.  I’m not sure but I think he asked me to marry him the other day.  I can live with being his second lady.”

“I don’t understand what you mean by being his second lady.”

“Admiral, the Seaview will always be his first love.  If he asks me again to marry I will say yes.” 

Lee began to stir.  Doc came over and said he was coming to.


“I’m asking you again, will you marry me?”


Lee heard almost everything the Admiral and she had been talking about.

 Well, what is your answer?” 

“Yes, I will marry you.  Admiral, will I have to give up my job on Seaview when I marry Lee?”

 “No, Lee and I have all ready discussed this.  It will be no problem if you are married, just no kissing in the corridors.”

“Would you have not married me if you couldn’t keep your job?’ Lee asked. 

“No I would still marry you even if I couldn’t keep my job.”

“Janet, will you go into my office and get the brown envelope in the top desk drawer and bring it here.” Lee told her. 

“Sure, I will be right back.”

“Lee, what is in the envelope?” Nelson asked. 

“Her engagement ring, I’ve had it for a month.” 

“You were that sure she would marry you.” 



Jane came back with the envelope.  The Admiral and Doc left Sick Bay.  Lee opened the envelope and tool out a beautiful diamond engagement ring.  He put the ring on her finger.


“Do you like it?  If not, we can take it back and you can pick out one you like.”

“No, the ring is perfect.  I do have one question however, how long have you had this ring?” 

“I bought it three weeks after I met you.” 

“You were that sure that I would marry you.” 



Chip came into Sick Bay to check on Lee.  Lee told Chip he had asked Janet to marry him at the restaurant and that I hadn’t been sure if he was kidding or not. 

“Did you ask her to marry you?”

“Yes, and she said yes.  You lost the bet.” 

“What bet?” Janet asked. 

“Lee bet me that he would be engaged or married to you in three months.  If that didn’t happen I would have gotten to drive his car for a month.”

“I told the Admiral the first day I met you that you would be my wife, job or no job.”


Doc came back and said enough excitement for now.  Lee would have to stay in Sick Bay for at least twenty four hours.  Lee was very upset about that.  Up until today, this was the longest time he hasn’t been in Sick Bay for some reason or another.  Janet stayed with him a little while longer. 

“What did you mean when you told the Admiral you would be my second lady?” he asks.  

“Lee, the Seaview will always be your first love.  I know that and I can live with that.  She has grown on me too.”


Hopefully, the crew wouldn’t have a problem with her marrying their Captain.


Lee and she decided to get married in three weeks.  They had a mission that would take two weeks and then would have a week off with another mission scheduled to last at least four weeks and didn’t want to wait that long.


Angie, Wanda and Trish helped Janet plan the wedding for the week they’d be off.  It would be a small afternoon wedding on the grounds of the Institute.  There was a small garden overlooking the ocean and Seaview.   Angie, Wanda and Trish would be bridesmaids with Chip, Doc, and Chief as groomsmen.  Admiral Nelson agreed to walk her down the aisle.  There weren’t too many people to invite as she had no family and the only friends were Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and Jimmy from the motel and Lee had his mother and Chip’s mom and dad.  Of course, the whole crew was invited


All the details had been completed.  No honeymoon them as they’d be leaving leave on a mission the day after the wedding. 


There was one little problem to solve before they got married.  Richard, the gentlemen whose condo she was renting was returning and she needed to move out before Lee and she got married. 

“No problem.  Just move in with me,” Lee told her, “we will be gone all but two days in the next two weeks.” 

 She moved into Lee’s condo the next day.


The next two weeks and the mission flew by.  Luckily, Lee didn’t end up in Sick Bay. 


The day of the wedding arrived and the weather was perfect.  The girls came over to help her get ready.  The Admiral came to pick her up.

“I’m very happy for you and Lee” he said as we drove to the Institute.  “He loves you very much.” 

“Admiral, I love him very much, more than I ever thought I could love someone.” 

She was a little nervous.  She had a feeling something was going to go wrong.


They arrived at the Institute.  The whole crew was there and they were all dressed in their dress uniforms.  Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and Jimmy were there.  So was Lee’s mom, Helen, and she wasn’t happy Lee was marrying Janet.  She thought he was rushing into this marriage.  Janet had only met her once.  Chip’s mom and dad have come in from Chicago for the wedding.  They were wonderful people. 


They were ready to start.   All the men looked handsome in their dress blue uniforms, but Lee looked dashing and nervous too.  The admiral walked her down the aisle and even he was a little nervous.  Janet didn’t know who was shaking more, her or him.  The ceremony started and before they said their vows.  Father John said, “Is there anyone here who doesn’t know why these two should not be joined in marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace.

“Captain Crane do you really want to marry her?” someone stood up.

 Janet looked over and there was her dead husband’s brother Joe. 

“Did she tell you she caused the death of my brother and that he was with another woman when he was killed?”

“She has told me everything.”

Janet was in shock as was everyone else.  She couldn’t believe he found out where she was.  He left before the entire crew tackled him. 


“This is the first time someone has actually stood up and didn’t hold their peace.” Father John said.

“Father, will you please excuse us for a moment?” she asked. 

She took Lee’s hand and the walked a little ways down a path.  “Lee, if you don’t want to marry me, I will understand and I will leave right now.  You will never have to see me again.” 

“Why wouldn’t I marry you?” Lee looked at me straight in the eye, you didn’t kill him and I love you too much to let you go.” 

“I’m so sorry he showed up and ruined our wedding.” 

“It doesn’t matter as long as we get married.”

They walked back to Father John where they finish the ceremony and are married with no more interruptions.

 “Lee, you may kiss your wife.”

Lee and Janet kiss.

“Let me present for the first time, Captain and Mrs. Lee Crane.”  

Everyone clapped and congratulated us.


 There were many questions regarding the man who interrupted the ceremony but everyone is too polite to ask, everyone that is except Lee’s mom. 

“Who was that man and what did he mean when he said you killed your husband?” 

“My husband was killed in a car accident with his girlfriend.  I didn’t know he had a girlfriend and his family blames me for his death.  Lee knew all about this.  I told him everything about my past before he asked me to marry him.   When we walked away, I asked him if he still wanted to marry me.  If he didn’t, I would have left him.  He chose to marry me.  Helen, I love your son very much.  I didn’t know my dead husband’s brother would show up.  I didn’t tell them I was leaving or where I was going.” 

She didn’t know what to say and walked away.


Lee apologized for his mother.  

“Please don’t apologize.  She is only looking out for you and wants the best for you.”  Chip’s mom and dad came over and gave her a hug.


Everyone was having a good time but all good things must come to an end.  They had a mission to leave for at 7:00 in the morning.  Lee and she were going to spend there first night as husband and wife on Seaview all by themselves.  Lee would have both his ladies to himself.   Janet left Lee a present on the desk in their cabin.  It is the book on submarines she brought with her the first day she met him.


Cookie left them their favorite dinner but who cared about food as they started their new life together on Seaview.


The next morning Chip came into the observation nose and saw Lee staring out the windows.

“What are you thinking?

“Just how lucky I am to have two ladies in my life”

“Where is Janet?”

“She is getting coffee because Cookie isn’t here yet.  Life is good.”