This is what happens when I get stuck in the airport for five hours – read at your own risk
Will Jamison walked unhurriedly up the steps to NIMR’s Administration
building. He was nearly twenty minutes
early for the senior staff Monday morning strategy session in Admiral Nelson’s
office, but not without a good reason.
he usually attended these meetings anyway, his presence this morning had been
expressly requested because the next cruise included a stop at a rather
secluded research station in
grin widened as he approached the reception area in front of Admiral Nelson’s
office and he slowed his pace, eventually stopping at the corner before
actually entering the wide area so as not to interfere with the current
conversation going on there. Seaview’s
dark, curly-haired, way-too-young-looking captain, Cmdr. Lee Crane, had hitched
a hip onto the corner of the Admiral’s secretary’s desk. One hand holding a large mug of coffee, Lee
was in casual conversation with her as well as a half dozen other secretaries. Will quickly realized that he was relating to
the bunch the details surrounding an apparently impromptu football game that
had erupted the day before between members of Seaview’s crew and NIMR security
personnel. The only other male present
was Lee’s blond Executive Officer and close friend, Lt. Cmdr. Charles “Chip”
Morton, occupied at the moment checking something on Angie’s computer.
PC tower was tucked under the desk and Chip was leaning over her chair,
fiddling with the cords and connections, and coming up for air occasionally to
add a comment to Lee’s tale and sip at the cup of coffee on the desk. Will was amused to find the ladies casting
appraising glances in Chip’s direction now and then. Surely just keeping an eye on the progress
of the work He nearly chuckled out
loud. But the ladies were being careful
that Chip didn’t catch them out, just the same.
Lee appeared to be totally oblivious to the ladies’ glances as he
continued on with his story. Although,
I do wonder… Will couldn’t hear
every word that was said, as Lee was speaking in a soft, slightly good-humored
voice. At one point the door to the
Admiral’s office opened slightly but no one except Will seemed to notice, all
attention focused on Lee. Apparently the
Admiral was loath to interrupt the narrative as well, since he folded his arms
and leaned casually against the doorframe.
Captain’s story continued, interrupted by an occasional question from one of
his female audience who needed a term defined or further explanation of a
particular play or maneuver. Will joined
Nelson in not wishing to disturb the quiet, relaxed conversation; it was a
scenario Seaview’s CMO saw all too infrequently – his Skipper enjoying a
peaceful moment unhurried by duty or harried by impending crisis. He adopted the Admiral’s stance and propped
himself against the wall next to the entrance.
He did visually examine Lee, looking for any bruises or other injuries
Lee would consider unnecessary to report to medical personnel. Seeing nothing overt, Will still made a
mental note to keep a surreptitious eye on the younger man. While the games were usually of the touch
football variety, there had been instances of momentary forgetfulness in the
heat of battle, and Lee set new records for unreported ‘oops’.
story seemed to include quite a few references to the exploits of a certain
blond, if Chip’s rather pleased expressions were any indication. Typical Lee story. Will nodded to himself. While Admiral Nelson was the acknowledged
storyteller aboard Seaview, Seaview’s Skipper could also spin a tale or two –
as long as they were about someone other than himself. It always amused Will that the very reserved
Captain Crane would talk at length with or about anyone else, just so long as
it didn’t entail too many of his own personal details.
seemed to be having problems figuring out what was causing Angie’s current
computer woes. Casually waving off any
assistance, however, he went back to fiddling with the cords and missed what
Will noted were more glances at the back of the blond’s front. Lee, distracted rather hurriedly by Angie
posing a question, apparently missed the looks as well. Not so the Admiral, Will noted, glancing
across the area and watching Nelson’s eyes sparkling. His shoulders were shaking as well as he was
apparently struggling mightily to suppress laughter that would surely destroy
the tranquil scene, but he did send a wide grin Will’s direction. Together they watched the ladies get their
expressions under control by the time Lee finished answering Angie’s question
and continue on with his recitation.
recognized that the tale was coming to a conclusion as Lee raised his voice
slightly and was a bit more animated as he related what had been the final,
defining moments of the game. Chip added
a bit of commentary, still struggling to figure out the wiring problem. Will heard him cast aspersions at one of the
security men for throwing an “obviously illegal block and destroying the pass
play Lee had called.”
the quarterback,” Angie said to Lee with a grin, and the dark head lowered slightly. Will smiled again and sent a wink towards
Nelson that the OOM acknowledged with a nod.
Lee seldom took credit for anything that he could pass off to someone
else’s ingenuity. This time was no
was a brilliant read of our offense, Chip.
Nothing illegal about it. And
with your quick thinking we pulled it off despite the tackle.”
did Chip do?” came simultaneously from a couple of the ladies.
straightened up, having apparently gotten the computer cords back under
control, as Lee continued on with the explanation.
was in the perfect position for me to lateral the ball, and he ran down for the
winning touchdown.” Lee’s quite
satisfied explanation ended with him finishing off his mug of coffee.
you played football at the Academy, didn’t you?” Trish asked.
position did you play?” Bonnie wanted to know.
started to answer, but his hand inadvertently knocked several sheets of paper
off Angie’s desk. Ever the gentleman, he
bent over to pick them up just as Lee said oh so innocently, “He was always a
tight end. One of the best the Academy
straightened up before the ladies had time to hide their appreciation for his
well-fitting trousers and instantly stiffened as Lee’s comment took on a whole
different meaning for the ladies than the one he thought Lee intended. He sent his CO a withering glare, made
somewhat less threatening by the fact that he had also turned fourteen shades
of red. “Lee, we have a meeting to get
to,” he sputtered out, and turned another couple shades darker as he looked
around and realized both Nelson and Will had heard Lee’s comment and seen the
reaction. A flash of anger helped get the
embarrassment under control; he couldn’t be sure that Lee had a clue as to what
meaning the ladies could read into what he’d said.
sorry, Admiral,” Lee apologized, standing up.
Will didn’t detect any awkward movements, but that didn’t mean that he
wouldn’t be keeping a close eye on the Skipper the next couple days – just in
at all, lad,” Nelson managed to get out, barely containing his humor. “Wouldn’t have wanted to interrupt your story
for anything.” He sent a particularly
brilliant smile Chip’s way. “But it
looks like Will is here as well. I
suppose we’d better get started.”
watched the secretaries head off toward their respective offices, somewhat
reluctantly, he thought, and followed the two younger men toward Nelson’s open
door. He took a deep breath and tried
desperately to get his face under control when his own indecision as to whether
or not Lee’s comments had been all that uncalculated were answered very
clearly. As the younger man stepped
aside to let Will precede him into Nelson’s office, he sent the doctor a
particularly dazzling grin, accompanied by a wink. Humm, Will ruminated, Lee may be in
one piece at the moment. Wonder how long
that will last once his XO gets a hold of him.