The yacht bobbed gently in the water. His father’s boat, so large it could house three families of six, and have a moderate sized party on the front and back decks on every story. The yacht rose three levels upward, a mini cruise, with balconies and decks wrapping around the whole of it. He and his father sat side by side on the lowest deck, fishing rods outstretched, into the murky abyss of the waters of Founders' Lake. Garret Circle, the area that Derek lived in, was fortunate enough to have a private lake, and there was a lot to do with a lake in your back yard, smack dab in the middle of it. Six houses, out of the entirety of the community, Derek’s among them, had been built with their backs facing the waters.
When his family decided to move here, before Derek was born, his father being the way he was, and against the better judgment of those around him, had decided to buy a boat. Derek sighed, thinking of his father, but he smiled slightly to. Most people that came to know his father, also came to love him, but Derek’s dad could be a bit impulsive at times, for better or worse. But this brilliant idea, at the time, was a burden on many. Derek’s father of course, had no boating, sailing, or fishing experience whatsoever, and the boat was a tad bit large for the lake it was meant to spend its days in.
Founders Lake was large, and yeah the boat fit in the lake, but it stuck out like a sore thumb. For the first few years, Derek’s father had paid a fisherman to take the boat out to the ocean so it wouldn’t go to waste, and so the parts wouldn't rust up or something, he’d also paid that same fisherman to teach him the basic mechanics of the boat he had just bought. Derek’s father, no matter how much his actions pointed to otherwise, was no fool. He had learned the ropes of sailing, became quite a good fisherman, took great care of his own boat and taught Derek the basics in the process, in no time at all really.
“What’cha thinking about, son?” His father asked, nudging Derek with a shoulder, sea green eyes on the water ahead.
“You, actually.” He said, chuckling.
“Me?” His father put a hand to his chest, the other still gripping the pole, as if in shock. “What about?”
“This boat, you’re just a wonder, Dad. That’s all I can say.” There was a tug on Derek’s line, but as he started to reel in, the weight of whatever had been at the end, was gone. He sighed and extended his line again.
His dad smiled over at him, “Thought you had something there?”
“Yeah, I did actually.” They’d only been fishing for an hour by then and his father had caught one, two … yep, six fish. Derek on the other hand …
“Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you’re too aggressive about it all, the fish won’t come to you. You must … relax.” His father said, sounding like a true Zen master. Derek watched as his father closed his eyes and waited. Derek stared at his father, wondering if the man had truly gone crazy. His Dad opened one eye, and stared at him blandly with it.
“Do it if you want to catch the fish,” was all he said, but he didn’t look away until Derek, feeling ridiculous, closed his eyes as well. A minute or two later, there was a tug on his line. He looked over at his father in astonishment. Maybe he isn’t so crazy after all …
“Well, don’t let it get away now.” His father said, closing his eyes again, but there was a smile tilting up the corners of his mouth. Derek reeled in his line, all the way this time, and what do you know, there was a fish at the end of it. Not very large, but a fish no less. Derek couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face.
“What kind is it?” Derek asked, as his father took the flopping fish off the line, and went over to a table with various tools, and a cooler resting on it.
His father looked back at him, with a sardonic expression on his face, “What is it you take me for, boy? A fish expert? How am I supposed to know?” Derek stared at his father, disbelieving for a moment more, before he started cracking up, and his father joined him. And I ever thought that he wasn’t crazy?
His father came back to sit beside him on the bench, overlooking the water, retrieving his rod. They sat in companionable silence for a while, before his father looked over at him.
“So, you were at Ally’s before I called you?” He asked, eyeing him hard.
Derek knew where this conversation was going, and he really didn’t feel like sitting through it again, not that his father would give him any choice, “Yeah, she said to tell you she said hi, and that she’d see you soon.”
“Hmmm …,” Derek looked over at his father, only to find him staring back at him, curiously. “I look forward to it; you know how much I love your Ally.”
Derek rolled his eyes at his father’s deliberate choice of words and chose to ignore them, “Yeah, you two have always been close, everyone knows that.”
There was a silence then, his father obviously annoyed that Derek had skipped around his attempt to bate him, “Will you be spending the night at her house again tonight, then?” He asked innocently, though Derek knew his intentions were anything but.
“She asked me to, so yes.” He replied, another tug on his line that receded quickly when he pulled back. Aggression, he thought. This was a topic, he was none too fond of and his father knew it. Yet, he pushed him, to what end?
“Would you have, even if she hadn’t asked?” His father throwing back another question. Derek knew that the spotlight was going to be on him for a while.
“Maybe, she seems scared … of something, and I’m going to be there when she needs me … what are you trying to prove, Dad?” He asked quietly.
“You know what?” His father said, looking away. “I don’t know. Maybe I'm trying to show you the extent of how much you care for her, that you’d go to the ends of the Earth in her name, asking for nothing in return. Oh I sound cheesy, don't I …”
“You don’t think I now that, Dad?” He asked, irritated then. “I don’t need you to let me in on my own feelings, as if they're some secret. I know how I feel about her, you don’t have to remind me, I’m well aware.”
His father chuckled, “I know son, and I’m sorry for getting you all rowled up.” His father squeezed his shoulder, “It’s just that … you remind me of how I was with your mother. We were best friends, we still are, but that ended up not being all that we wanted from each other. I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that … there is a chance, it may be small, but I’ve seen the way you two look at each other. She may not know it, but I can tell it’s there for her too, because I’ve been there.”
Derek looked over at his father and smiled sadly, “Thanks, Dad ... but I don't know if the same can be said about Ally and I … maybe it was there for you and mom, but … I know it’s not there for her. It’s okay though," He said, smiling at the thought of her, "I’m not giving up on her. She just has to open her eyes … and even if she doesn’t, I’d rather stay her best friend for life, than have a relationship that ends up separating us irreparably. I’m … good the way we are, if it's all she can give me.” His father looked at him and there was something else in his eyes … pride.
His father clapped him on the back, smiling, “You’re a good man, son. A good man. she’ll come around. Just you wait.”
Derek pondered that for a moment. A good man ... His phone went off then, and he pulled it out his pocket. His heartbeat skyrocketed and his smile spread again.
His father shook his head and waved a hand in the general direction of the lounge deck, upstairs, “Answer it, don’t keep her waiting.”
“Thanks,” Derek said, his smile still as bright as before, heading to the upper deck, he answered the phone, “Hey Bunny …”