That piercing stab of jealousy I once felt for her had vanquished.  It wasn’t Chloe in the way I imagined her at all.  Sprawled across the pristine craft in elegant, white script spelled the name ‘Chloe’.  Are you serious?

This is Chloe?” I blurted out before thinking.

Alex laughed, “Were you expecting something else?”

You know damn well I was.  Where was this siren of a woman I fabricated in my head?

“Chloe is a boat?”  You’re kidding me, Chloe’s a boat.  I was beside myself.  Part of me wanted to jump up and down and cheer, and the part of me that still had some sense left, reminded me of two things:  First, people like him and people like me are on complete opposite ends of the dating spectrum.  Second, and more simply, I was leaving.  In two weeks I was back on a plane to the unrelenting misery of Twentynine Palms, and would probably never see him again.  The thought echoed agony through my chest.

He outstretched his hand.  “Come, I’ll introduce you.”  His mischievous, irresistible smile melted down my defenses long enough for me to accept, despite his obvious teasing.

My pulse tripped over itself more than I did as I accepted his warm hand and climbed aboard.  Once again, I proved to have no sea legs to speak of.  I knew nothing about boats, but I wanted to say something complimentary about his.  “She’s got sweet lines,” I said, hoping I didn’t sound completely idiotic.

He smiled skeptically.  “You know boats?” he asked, more impressed than he should be.

Embarrassment flooded my cheeks as I dropped my head.  “No,” I confessed, grinning sheepishly.  “I totally stole that from a guy down the dock.”

His laugh was musical and beautiful and genuine.  For the first time since I’d been here, he actually looked and sounded like the seventeen year-old he was.  I’ll miss him when I’m gone.

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