Background: Jes originally came to TEKville with her friend and private investigator, Gannon, believing that Colette's mother, Camille, was her birth mother. Gannon had unearthed a copy of her birth certificate listing Camille as her mother. Jes had been given up for adoption as an infant and had been abused, along with her friend and foster sister Giselle, by the evil foster father who abducted them. The foster father later met with a mysterious accident. Once Jes settled in TEKville and met her cousins, her desire for revenge was tempered by her delight at finally having a family and a normal life.
One night an intruder entered the bungalow on TEK Lane. Jes was sleeping on the couch that night because Giselle and Gannon were together in the bed that Jes and Giselle normally share. Jessy's instincts are finely honed from the years spent with her evil foster father, and she awakens at the first hint of a sound and faces the intruder with the gun she always keeps under her pillow. Eventually the intruder confesses that he is Jessy's biological father.
At Gannon's urging, Connor takes Jes and Giselle away from TEKville and they go into hiding to avoid discovery by the authorities who are still investigating the death of the girls' foster father. We join our story at that point.
Connor keeps Jes and Giselle constantly on the move. They travel all over Europe and to many countries the girls had never hoped to see. They have a wonderful time -- especially Jes, as she connects with the father she has never known -- but they miss TEKville, and most particularly a couple of specific inhabitants of TEKville.
Connor seems to have a sixth sense about possible pursuit. He never charges anything but always pays cash. Knowing that the authorities will be looking for a middle-aged man traveling with two young women, he often sends the girls on ahead to secure their own lodging, following an hour or two behind. On occasion he splits the girls up, sending them each to different hotels.
It is only when he buys a tent, sleeping bags, and camping gear and sets out into the wilds of Wyoming that his vigilance relaxes. The girls are not thrilled with the idea of camping at first, but as they settle into their backcountry site they gradually warm to the idea. Neither of them has ever experienced camping, and once their initial distaste for the dirt and primitive conditions is overcome they find themselves enjoying the great outdoors. It helps that Connor is an excellent camp cook.
One night as they make S'mores around the campfire, Jes looks up.
"Connor?" She still hasn't been able to bring herself to call him "father".
"Thank you." She says simply. "Thank you for . . . everything."
Connor smiles and ruffles her hair. "My pleasure, daughter."
One moonlit night when Jes is quietly unzipping the tent, trying not to let her bladder's urgent need wake the others, she is astounded to see a bear cub nosing around the campsite. Shaking Giselle awake with her hand over her friend's mouth to still the inevitable annoyed inquiry, she motions toward the open tent door. Soon both girls are delightedly observing the antics of the cub.
Suddenly they hear a loud snort from behind them and whirl to quiet Connor, but he is still fast asleep and they realize that the sound must have come from behind the tent. Their eyes grow wide at the realization of what the sound must mean hits them simultaneously. Ever so softly they ease back into the tent so their faces are less visible, and not a moment too soon. The grizzly sow snorts again as she lumbers into their line of vision, admonishing her wayward cub in bearspeak. The girls cling to one another, half in fear and half in delight at being this "up close and personal" with Mother Nature.
Connor keeps the girls moving during the day so they don't have time to think about being homesick. They hike to many beautiful lakes, valleys and waterfalls. One morning as they await the sunrise . . .
"This is beautiful, Connor. I'll remember this moment forever."
One night when the moon is full they go for a moonlight hike. Pausing to raise their faces to the glowing orb hovering over them, Jes breaks the awed silence.
"This is really beautiful, but . . . Connor, I'm getting lonely. It's not that I don't love you and Zellie . . . it's just that . . . " she halts, uncomfortable with telling her father that his company isn't enough.
"I understand, Jessy. It has been great here, but you're right -- it's time to move on."
The next day they pack up their tent and sleeping bags and begin the long trek back to civilization. When they reach the car two days later, Connor heads immediately for the airport. The girls quiz him regarding their next destination, but he merely smiles and tells them it will be a surprise. By now the girls are familiar with Connor's surprises and know that no amount of cajoling will wrest their destination from him, so they settle back and enjoy moving from one place to another on wheels instead of on their feet.
Once they reach the nearest airport, the girls begin to grow very excited when Connor hands them their boarding passes and they see that they are going to the Cayman Islands.
They talk more on the flight to Grand Cayman than they have for weeks. Somehow during their sojourn in the mountains they hadn't felt the need for much in the way of words, but now . . .
They take the opportunity to discuss things that have not been brought up between them for years. Giselle is increasingly unable to hide her concern about the similarities between this trip and the one on which they had been taken against their will when their foster father abducted them as children. They spend many hours quietly hashing out what they could have done differently in those years -- how they could have escaped the evil man and the things to which he subjected them so cruelly. The subject of the revenge they exacted does not, however, come up in the conversation. That is something that they have vowed never again to discuss.
The excitement builds as their flight nears its destination, and the girls chatter nonstop.
They land in Grand Cayman and navigate Customs without incident.
Connor seems to know his way around the island, and a taxi service van soon appears to pick them up. The girls' eyes are glued to the van's windows during the 45-minute drive, soaking up the island's tropical ambience. In what seems like only a few minutes the van pulls up to a beautiful pink home right on the beach just a few houses down the shore from Rum Point.
"Oh, Connor!" Jes says breathlessly as they enter the house and rush to the patio doors, camera in hand. "Are we going to stay here? Really??"
Connor smiles indulgently. "You bet! Only the best for my girls!"
Jes and Giselle exchange startled glances. OMG, that's what HE used to say! Jes gives her head a little shake to clear away that unwanted memory, and the girls grab their bags and go to find their bedrooms.
The girls settle into this tropical environment much more easily than they did in the unfamiliar mountain environment from which they only recently emerged. They are in their element here.
They relax on the screened porch of the home, named "We'll Sea".
They try out the various games found in a cupboard in the living room:
They catch up on their reading:
Occasionally the girls go out in the evening to the bar at Rum Point. Connor isn't happy about it, but they are, after all, of age.
The girls enjoy cooking with seafood and produce from a nearby farmers market, and Connor enjoys the results.
While not soaking up the sun on the beach in front of their cottage, the girls are often found at Rum Point, soaking up the rum and the admiring glances of every red-blooded young (and old!) man there.
They spend more and more time there, flirting with the handsome tourists and locals, drinking more than they should, and making new friends, not all of whom are the types of people that Connor would have chosen for them to associate with.
Jessy's tan deepens, but to maintain the contrast between them as well as to protect her ivory complexion, Giselle is careful to slather on sunscreen at every opportunity. Taken singly the girls are irresistible, but as a pair their effect on men is devastating and they work that angle mercilessly.
They go snorkeling, and Jes even dares to try scuba diving.
Life is idyllic on the beach. And yet . . . life on the beach is not TEKville. As wonderful as their idyll on the beach is, the girls become bored and restive. They have certain needs that the occasional furtive encounter behind a palm tree at Rum Point just doesn't fulfill.
One of the girls' new friends is Carlos, and they find him endlessly fascinating, but looking and fondling only makes them ache for the men they left behind . . . even if those men don't quite "measure up" (to their heartfelt relief!). Connor often disappears for days at a time, working to support them, and the girls take advantage of their unaccustomed privacy to entertain Carlos in style at "We'll Sea".
One afternoon when Connor has been gone for several days, the girls and Carlos are hanging around the cottage naked, as they've grown accustomed to doing.
Jes and Giselle are playing with their favorite new toy when the front door unexpectedly opens and Connor strolls in.
What he sees when he enters the room stops him in his tracks. His eyes slide quickly past his daughter's naked body and light upon Giselle. He wrenches them away from her, immediately realizing the inappropriateness of his covetous gaze. Unfortunately the only other person in the room to look at is Carlos, and while his brief glance in that direction almost makes his eyes bug out, it's not something he feels comfortable staring at. Mixed emotions render him speechless. The girls make no attempt to cover themselves, nor does their companion.
Connor is outraged on so many levels by the scene in front of him, but it is obvious that Carlos isn't "taking advantage" of his daughter and her friend. If anything it appears to be just the opposite. The sight of Giselle's naked body has aroused lustful thoughts that he moves quickly to banish. He realizes that "girls just wanna have fun", but this . . . this is simply not appropriate.
Realizing that someone needs to break the silence, Connor clears his throat and says, "Well, it looks like we need to be on the move again. You girls are obviously bored."
His words break the spell holding them all in stasis. Jes grabs a towel to cover herself while protesting "Oh come on, Connor! We were just having a little fun!" Giselle grabs a pillow to cover strategic parts of her anatomy, but she is too worldly to have missed the sudden lustful gleam in her friend's father's eyes and is already calculating what can be gained -- or lost -- as a result of that knowledge. She hands Carlos a towel without taking her eyes from Connor's face. Connor, however, steadfastly refuses to look in her direction.
"You." Connor points at Carlos. "Go home."
"You two," he looks pointedly at Jes, "get dressed. I'm going for a walk. I'll be back in ten minutes."
Connor stalks out of the cottage, slamming the door behind him.
Looking slyly at Carlos, Jes says, "Thanks, Carlos. You can go back to the bar now. I'm sure Billy is wondering what's taking so long!"
Carlos winks and slips out the door with a little farewell pat from Jes.
The girls pull on cover-ups, tidy up the room, and wait for Connor's return, wondering if their ploy will meet with the desired result.
The girls look at one another. Jes speaks first.
"Jeez, I was beginning to think that he didn't have a temper! I guess we finally found the right button to push!"
Connor's return is a bit more subdued than his exit had been. He notes that Carlos has taken his leave and pulls up a chair to sit facing the girls, looking first at one and then the other.
"I don't even want to know what that was all about. You two are both old enough to make your own decisions. However, I think it's time for us to pack our bags. We've obviously been here too long. Be ready to leave the day after tomorrow."
Without saying another word, Connor rises and heads for his bedroom, shutting the door behind him. The girls' eyes shine as they hug each other silently, careful not to provide any audible evidence at their delight at the success of their plan.
Home! Jes exults inwardly. We're going HOME!