Had Lewis Hamilton won or lost that race? Joshua's level of drunk indecipherable.
Em. Baby... this is Natalie. Natalie. She... Is—the queen of my skies.
Garbling to Natalie but pointing to Lemara. Made Lemara's chest puff. But after watching him do the forehead to forehead kissing he does with her, to Natalie, a pin pricked. The sight of that stung, puffed the air out of Lemara.
I know. You said. Natalie replied, wielding a smile.
Whatever had her wielding that smile? Lemara mused, her arms crossing her front. Her legs apart, keeping the door ajar, eyes raised under hooded lids, looking from him to her. He removed himself from Natalie's shoulder, hurled himself onto Lemara, the both of them stumbling back inside the door.
Josh, what exactly have you been drinking?
Whiskey, beer, vodka. That answer didn't come from Joshua.
There was a shift in Lemara's brain and the angle of her head from the miseducation of Ms Fitzwater. Was she to school Natalie on that last bit of info about her man? Joshua doesn't drink vodka; she wanted to spurt. But an education on her man, Natalie did not need. Neither did Ms Fitzwater require an invite into their suite because there she was helping her sit Josh down on the sofa. The same one he slept in last night, the same one Lemara just found comfort in.
Both women standing like lamps on both ends of a console table, looking down at him.
Stay. He was saying to Natalie.
Hun, I'm sure Natalie would love to, but your lights will be out shortly. Plus, I'm sure Natalie would mu-uch prefer the comfort of her room. Walking to the door as she said this. The open door putting the punctuation to the end of that sentence.
Then, like the fading light he was, his torso crashed onto the sofa.
The suite's door double-clicked shut again, this time locking Joshua in with her. The ship could do what the hell it pleased now.
She stood over him, his face and right hand outstretched to her.
Hmm. Her eyes on his hand holding onto hers.
We doing another cruise.
With Natalie. His eyes closed when his mouth opened, spilling those two words. She likes you.
Nope, nope. Natalie's staying. Slurring.
She paused. Ran her eyes from the low fade at his neck, down his spine, over his ass and to his loafers, remembering alcohol fully downloaded his freak.
The floor swayed under Lemara's feet, and she sat down next to him. Joshua pulling her closer.
I love cruising.
I'm glad to hear it.
More than flying.
Lemara laughed. Alcohol had opened that reserve of his, leaving him running his mouth, still; the sentence caught her on the crest. Because the day flying took the backseat to anything for Captain Joshua Hart... Maybe indeed he did drink vodka.
Sparks from clashing cymbals relit the entire suite. Eyes lifted from his hand holding hers, to his face.
Hun, just how much did you have to drink? Getting up from next to him.
Natalie wants... Natalie saw you holding hands with Harry.
Her back was turned; she never saw that second wave coming. That disjointed sentence, knocking her off her feet, sucking her under, sucking the air out of her. He turned onto his tummy, faced the back of the sofa, but his hand still held onto hers. Holding her between the devil and the deep blue sea. She waited, waited for a follow on, of that statement, something to determine whether she went direct to the devil. Or whether she went to the devil via the raging sea. The silence taunted. The weight of his words, like a ball and chain, held her down, suffocating. Only the sofa she sat back on next to him kept her from hitting the marble bottom. Her chest pained, removed itself, along with everything else in its wake, flushing a huge lump up through her throat.
Another flash of lightning, she surfaced, a beached fish.
J-osh. She sputtered.
The only response, the waves bashing outside. Just what else had Natalie seen, reported. She drooped herself over him; his lights, out.
Her lights, porcelain white and serving platter wide. Slouched over herself, one hand massaged out the pinch creeping into her forehead. This beach had a few red flags. Just what else about her and Harry would flow out of Joshua's mouth? How long has he been aware of this? How was Joshua this drunk? And come to think of it, Natalie that sober?
She sat with the quiet in the storm. The ship's intemperance teasing a watery sour paste to the back of her mouth. The sweaty whiskey cologne he wore causing a second-hand burn at the bottom of her belly.
Joshua back in the suite with her, although drunk was her Eden. But that sentence, he'd just dangled around her neck, set her adrift in another storm, this one all of her own doing. One that loomed but never saw it coming. At least not like this.
The night will never be long enough to digest that sentence.