23 - What Happens on a Cruise, Stays on The Cruise
Lightning, thunder, rain, raging sea, she'll do battle with those. Because Lemara would not be dethroned on Natalie's say so, or the Denhams or Mrs Chatterbox or anyone else for that matter.
But does Joshua know? Too many a red flag and the only white one came in the form of another man's white shirt in her room.
That, wasn't someone else's say so. That happened.
And if he does, why is he choosing to say nothing? This was very much unlike Josh. But then, infidelity wasn't a subject matter between them. And when indeed it was subject matter, they'd playfully puff at it like cotton balls. But if not and for whatever reason he's meticulously chosen to leave it there, something somewhere would come up, long after this cruise knocking them right back here like a wrecking ball.
No line of defence. None last night and none forthcoming. Five minutes into her first cruise and five minutes into what could only be described as a sexual escapade with another man. Even if, he'd photographed and framed her in his memory from year's ago. Still, she was never the carefree type of woman but yet she'd given in so willingly to Harry. And nothing about Joshua or their relationship should have sent her reckless into the arms of another like that. Drawing storm clouds over their sail.
What did stack up was her not checking for his text messages or even sending him one, her seemingly distant demeanour when he arrived and the white shirt in her room. Those were evidence enough.
The pain pinched, the massage no longer able to contain it. Captain Cantieri, at least, had been getting his ship under control. The ship's rolls less nauseous.
On her left, a leg drifted off the sofa. Lemara turned, removed both his loafers, setting his feet back together. He turned, facing her.
A little of her wanted him to answer. And when no answer came, the rest of her, glad he was out for sure. This abyss she kept finding herself in every night painted a picture. One she half contemplated, but now that the landscape began to evolve in front of her, Lemara knew she didn't want it.
No answer, she bent over him, loosening the belt of his trousers.
The belt strap, buckle, the top button of his shorts, then stopped herself. Eyes moving from his crotch to his darkened face. She stopped, simply hovered over him before turning to the kitchen.
In the kitchen, the countertops remained neglected of a coffee machine.
Cupboard doors closed just as quickly as they'd been randomly opened. But whoever was in charge of this magic cup game was good because Lemara's search uncovered no coffee machine. Her brain slowly reminded her, there had never been any coffee or a coffee machine in the suite since they checked in.
She fisted her lips. An oversight for sure, slamming a drawer door shut, it's soft shut mechanism making a mockery of her frustration, closing ever so gently. Instead, she lightened the minibar of two miniature bottles of whisky and a bottle of still water. The latter she placed next to Joshua, and on her way to the bedroom, going back past the kitchen put one of the whisky bottles back.
A sip and the bottle was empty. Tired, her body refused to stay upright, crashing back onto the bed.
Things had become twisted on this cruise. Though Joshua was clear on not going back down the aisle, he'd never deprived her of anything. She'd never not had his time, attention, interest. On his longest of long-haul flights, they've never not spoken as soon as he landed. They've certainly never not checked for each other's messages. So what on earth caused her to drop her guard, sending her into Harry's bed. And just what else does Joshua know. She dreaded Joshua's waking later in the morning.
Like the bottle, her brain was empty, clutching at anything, anything at all to help her make sense of her actions. And if Joshua is indeed aware and raised it, what could she say. There certainly wasn't sufficient brown crystals about to sugar coat any response she'd come up with.
The winds of her storm had their fingers curled around her neck choking her.
Lemara spluttered. Awake, but when had she fallen asleep? Awake, her breathing settled, settled with the rhythm of the ship, her face basked in the sunshine streaming in the glass-paned walls and a smile budded.
Sitting upright, she trapped one end of her robe's tie, rendering it undone, noticed the squall in the distance. Was that coming or going? A memory rehashed sweaty whisky and Joshua's drunken words before he fell asleep. The budding smile just as swiftly withered. Her stomach teasing to wretch.
Uneasiness kept her motionless, listening for any other noise around the suite. The sound of the shower came into focus. He was up. Then it stopped. Silence. The squall in the distance much closer than she realised.
Mmm. Her lips contorting, restricting words from ever leaving them.
Eyes went up to meet his, striding closer to the bed.
She couldn't identify anything to his tone, a little tiredness perhaps. But then again, this is Captain Joshua Hart.
Where did you go last night?