They rode along in the stretch limousine, slicing down the asphalt highway that led from San Francisco to their private dock in Carmel. The two men occupying the back of the spacious car were looking out of the windows, watching the cities fly past them.
The younger of the two men was sitting up a bit straighter in his seat, his fingers tapping his knee now and then, as he viewed all that they passed with an eagle's eye. "This is going to be an incredible weekend," he said to the slightly older man sitting across from him. Roman nodded and looked out his window thoughtfully, not looking at each thing as it passed, as much as staring past all of it and thinking deeply to himself.
"I'm sure that it will be," he replied with a smile.
Roman glanced at the younger man sitting near him. Allen was his employee, and though only a few years younger than he, Allen's eagerness and vibrant youthfulness was considerable without being immature. It was one of the things that Roman liked best about him.
Allen was tall and thin with carefully combed brown hair. He usually had a wide, easy smile and a loping walk. He had a relaxed posture, which Roman was sure came from Allen's subconscious efforts to slump down from his height and fit in with everyone else. He managed to keep an air of professionalism about him, while still maintaining a laid-back demeanor, and it was the combination of those two traits in particular, that drew people to him and made him successful as one of Roman's sales directors.
This was Allen's first business trip, not only with Roman’s elite yacht and sailboat company, but his first business trip altogether, and it showed in his excitement.
Roman turned his warm brown eyes from his companion to the outside world again, this time watching the city and hills fly past him. The coast came into view before too long, and then he lost himself in the early afternoon lambent light that glinted off the waves rolling in to shore.
It was his home, the water. He was most comfortable in or around any water, really, but salt water was his preference, and it made his job one of his great loves. He made enormous amounts of money selling yachts and sailboats out of his private marina on the San Francisco Bay, and had the passion of a child at play with the yachting club he owned.
He was wealthy in finance and, he supposed, wealthy in life. He was married to a red-headed vixen whom he had fallen for on sight. It didn't take her long to wrap herself around him, and then wrap herself around his wallet and his lifestyle.
Denise was gorgeous, from her bright red hair and her clear pale skin right down to her cosmetically enhanced body and six inch high heels. When other men looked at her, their thoughts went the same way that Roman's had when he first saw her, and there was no way to hide it. Roman had placed a giant rock of a ring on her hand as quickly as he could, and in the beginning they had set fire to their marriage bed almost constantly, but as the years grew older, she was often disinterested in him, too tired or not feeling up to forays of passion and heat.
She had moved herself from their bedroom into her own room, and while she still loved being Mrs. Roman Bruce in the public eye, their private
relationship was a hollow shell. He often thought it was ironic how quickly their love had burned through a white-hot blaze and had died down to cooled embers. It made his heart lonely and sad, but he hoped that someday she might find an interest in him again.
Roman thought it ironic that while his wife no longer had any interest in him physically, many other women did. He was tall and handsome in a rugged, almost dangerous way; deep brown eyes, full lips, a narrow nose and high wide cheekbones. Thick dark brown curls crowned his head and were cut short at his collar. His squared jaw was sharp and he often wore a carefully trimmed three-day beard on it, giving him the look of a weekend GQ model.
He loathed ties, and though he was always well dressed in pants, a shirt, and most often a jacket, his shirts were usually unbuttoned just a bit, allowing some breathing room for the muscled wall of his rock hard chest. Women, for the most part, often gave him double-take looks and flirting eyes. They often lingered near him and leaned close to him. They held his hand an extra moment when he held theirs, they smiled and batted their eyes at him, and they laughed too often and touched his arms and his back when they thought they could. Women had been like that with him since he had left high school, and he was used to it, though he did not ever capitalize on it.
Roman was enormously respectful of women, and he never took advantage of the countless opportunities he had to use them for whatever means he wanted. He felt strongly that women treated with dignity and respect would act with dignity and respect in return, and for the most part, he had found that he was correct in that regard.
There were always exceptions, but those were few and far between. He had held his ground in maintaining that he would be friendly, but no more than that, with the women who showed an interest in him, and he was extremely judicious in not allowing any relationship with a woman to progress to one of romance.
Except of course, for Denise.
He had wanted that relationship to progress as soon as he had seen her, and he'd wondered sometimes if he would have ended up marrying her, had he taken his time really getting to know her before they exchanged rings; rings which neither of them bothered to wear any longer. It had occurred to him more than once over the last few years of their marriage, to ask whether he had moved too quickly with her and not known her for her true colors. He had not loved her for who she truly was on the inside, but rather, loved the passion that they had shared and lost.
His life was what he had made it, both good and bad, and he had settled himself into the cadence of it for all that it was. His business thrived. His public life thrived. His marriage was a shining beacon to others on the outside, and a haunted house in the dead of night on the inside. He had lived with it long enough that it only crossed his mind from time to time. He let those moments of introspect stare back at him without answers or direction, and then pass when his attention was focused on business or society.
"Did you hear me?" Allen asked, with a kind smile.
Roman shook the reverie from his mind and looked up, smiling back at the man before him. "I'm sorry, I was thinking of something else. What did
Allen shook his head a little and laughed. "I was wondering who will be on the cruise this weekend. It's a big boat, and I wasn't privy to the guest list."
The two of them were being driven in a stretch limo from San Francisco to Carmel in order to join several other guests on a long weekend ocean cruise aboard a state of the art new super yacht from one of the sea vessel manufacturers that Roman bought his boats from. It was a luxurious sales pitch to him and all of the other guests who had been invited for the private viewing of the yacht in all its glory before it was shown to the public.
It was not Roman's first time being romanced by manufacturing companies, not by a long shot, and though he would never say it aloud or show it in any way, he had seen enough finery that it took a good deal to truly impress him. While he was always gracious and humble outwardly, he wasn't easily sold on every pretty thing to be passed under his nose.
He was looking forward to this particular launch, because the superyacht they were going to sail on was the star of solar powered innovation by Oceanco; the 105m Project Solar, which collected solar energy through a triad of Dyna Rig Sails. Roman was more than ready to see what kind of ecological differences could be made in the industry of luxury sailing.
The boat had been sailed to Carmel from the Netherlands where it would officially debut after this private premiere weekend. The famous and well-heeled guests in attendance had been hand picked for this exclusive event, and no one had turned it down. Roman had a suspicion that his head may be turned in the course of the weekend.
Roman answered him with a little smile. "I believe there will be about fifteen people for this cruise. That's the guest limit on the boat spec sheet that I saw, and I'm sure they'll maximize the opportunity in order to broaden their buyer's field."
Allen couldn’t hide his anticipation of the event. Roman chuckled a little, and then looked back out of the window to discover that they were arriving at the marina.
"Oh, it looks like we've made it." He unbuckled himself and stepped out as the driver opened the door for him. The driver took their bags to the boat and Roman and Allen took their first look at the superyacht. It was enormous and elegantly crafted. They could see the bridge sitting atop the glittering golden and white vessel like a crown jewel. Beneath that there was a glassed-in level, and then the main deck, which encircled the craft, featured an interior as well as the exterior, embellished with sunchairs, billowed white canopies, a floating pool, a jacuzzi, a barbecue area, a bar, and a kitchen with sliding glass doors to enclose it.
The bulk of the rest of the boat was below deck, and the Master Stateroom cabin at the back of the boat featured a private deck with a hot tub. The most stunning aspect of the yacht itself were the three enormous masts that rose up in a row from the deck toward the blue sky, each one supporting tall sails shaped something like a giant rectangular barrel from top to bottom; the likes of which neither Roman nor Allen had ever seen.