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Come aboard

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Andrew blew at the fire, shutting the gas off. Not exactly a birthday feast, but he didn't really feel like celebrating. Which was strange enough, since his brush with death did make him appreciate his own life more than he had before.

And in a way he was celebrating, just not the way he used to, with his old friends and, well, her. He was keeping to himself these days, and it was actually a welcome change in his life. He found that he didn't miss his so-called friends. Maybe nearly dying was the best way to get to know yourself and the life that you really wanted to lead.

"Hey!" came a voice from outside.

Andrew went on deck to check it out. It sounded like David, but he doubted it was him.

David Worth, if that was really his name, had the boat next to him for a few months now.

He'd never spoken to him, until Andrew had gone over one day when he'd run out of food. He knew that David was storing the stuff as if he was planning to cross the Pacific. David had given him some ravioli, and when Andrew had asked if he was preparing for a long trip, David had said, "You never know. You wouldn't believe me anyway."

Andrew had nearly left it at that, because the cupboard full of tins was just a bit creepy, but there was something in David's eyes that wouldn't let him go. "Try me," he'd said.

"I think there are people out there who want to kill me," David had said, almost like a challenge.

Andrew had nodded. "I know the feeling."

It hadn't all ended in confessions and a deep friendship. David had told him a strange little story and he had relayed his own tale. He wasn't sure if he believed David, but he was certain that David believed it. They talked every now and then, about their boats, the weather, and where they'd been before they'd ended up here. Nothing too personal, and it had mostly been when they'd met by accident, or the few times that Andrew had felt like some company and had checked if David was there.

But now David stood outside and threw something up to Andrew. He caught it. A little cake in plastic wrap.

"Happy birthday," David said and turned to walk away.

"Wait," Andrew called.

David turned around.

"How did you know it was my birthday?"

"I'm paranoid, remember? Don't you think I would have checked you out before I allowed you to come aboard the first time?"

Check you out. Andrew had to admit that, shallow as their relationship was, he enjoyed the time he spent with David. He had a wicked sense of humor and a great ass. He'd never thought that David had given him so much as a second thought other than categorizing him as a non-threat.

"Do you want some of the cake?" Andrew asked, holding it up.

He could see David hesitating. He'd never been on Andrew's boat.

"Okay," he finally said, and Andrew smiled and stepped away to let him come aboard.