He got back to the boathouse late one night. After getting an early start, he brought home a couple of nice trout. His lines were set at the edge of the Mallard Point Club well before dawn, just as his dad taught him when he was a boy. He knew that when the morning sun hit the water, the fish became wary. Better to go out early and bring home a nice catch.
He put down his auger and ice scoop on the floor of the boathouse. There would be plenty of time to put his tools away in the morning.
His parents were supposed to get home late that night. He would fillet himself a nice dinner and take the other fish to his parent’s cottage in the morning. They were due into Detroit after a late flight from LAX. Drew was babysitting his best boyhood friend, Missy the golden retriever.
The phone rang. Drew dropped an old spatula on the wooden floor. The voice on the other end sounded mechanical, as if they were reading from a carefully written script. Drew sat on the floor next to the dog. As he listened, the trout in the frying pan burned to a crisp. It wasn’t the only fire that night.
His parent’s flight ran into some trouble, the voice explained. Seems that USAir flight 1439 landed and crashed into a commuter plane waiting on the same runway for take off. The fire was almost instantaneous as the 737 dragged the helpless turbo prop beneath its flaming belly.
The National Transportation Safety Board eventually reported that the fire originated in the forward cargo hold under the first class cabin. Drew’s parents were seated in seats 2A and 2B. They always flew first class. For the Beckers, money was never a problem.
Drew would later learn that only three of the six exists were operational that night. The front exits were blocked by flames. There was chaos, the smoke was blinding. While 76 of the passengers escaped, 43 did not. Drew’s parents died in the crash, presumably from asphyxiation. NTSB findings concluded that the combination of fuel from the crushed commuter flight, combined with the 737′s damaged oxygen system, was lethal. Drew was paralyzed with grief when he learned that his parents would never come home.
Drew Becker was an only child and dealt with his sorrow alone. At just 21 years of age, he already had a respectable boat repair and maintenance business and had everything his heart desired– except a girlfriend. He knew that when the right girl came along, he’d know her in an instant. But time went on, and nothing could assuage his deep despair and longing. Entering into a close relationship with anyone was a risk he couldn’t afford to take. If he lost the girl he loved, he could never survive another heartbreak.
Over the years, Drew’s business and reputation grew. He made a good living and called the boathouse his home. But he was all alone– until that spring day when he kissed Miranda on the dock. Though he was smitten by her fiery spirit and love for the water, he tried to keep his distance. Maybe she was the one. Maybe her alcoholism and late night binges would lead to trouble. But his heart wouldn’t listen.
He played along with her silly cat and mouse games, waiting for her to give into his subtle seduction of Oreo cookies, her bedtime favorite. Miranda would soon realize that she loved him, too. Drew was willing to take a chance after all these years. He decided to take a chance on Miranda.
But there were two things she didn’t know, secrets he chose not to share.
Over the years, Drew did several mechanical upgrades on the Atlantis, the luxury yacht owned by Dominic Manos. Last summer he installed a custom integrated bridge system, the most sophisticated navigation product money can buy. While the job required the utmost skill and experience, Manos treated him like a simple worker, someone who got in the way and deserved no respect. When he argued about the bill, Drew had seen enough.
The other secret was about his parent’s will, about the money that began to accumulate sixty some years ago when that fabled old rum runner, great-grandfather Hank Becker, started his clandestine and very profitable business. He wondered if he should have told Miranda about his inheritance, and what he knew about his rival. But she was married now, and once again, his heart was broken.
Drew Becker was a multi-millionaire. He could buy and sell Dominic Manos many times over. Now all that was left of the girl he loved were the memories.
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*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.