25 - What Happens on a Cruise, Stays on The Cruise
But he said nothing more. This wasn't one of their silly teases, where if he waited long enough, she'd take the bait, hang herself. And they'd both laugh at her minor misdemeanour. This wasn't one of those; this was a mighty transgression. One she's certain she'd be hanging herself on with no chance of being rescued.
The silence taunted; the weight of it across her chest, heavy, crushing. Between a rock and a very hard place is where Lemara now found herself. Which of these would be the lesser of two evils?
Damned if she pursued Joshua's events of last night, tormented otherwise.
She turned, walked to the huge framed glass walls framing the Caribbean Sea. It was all she could do, think to do, to break the tension. Or maybe somehow the answer was out the glass-framed walls.
She heard him sit on the bed as she stared out at the water. Another squall loomed.
Finishing his name like the sound of the waves splashing against the ship. Her stomach tightened, and none of it caused by the robe's belt she just re-tied. Knees weak, she steadied herself to finish the question.
But just where was she taking her next statement. Could she ask what she wanted to ask without fear of repercussions? And even if Joshua had completely forgotten those words that left his lips last night, could she deal with knowing that Josh...
Hands shoved in her robe's side pockets; she turned to him, he already facing her. There was nothing to detect in that poker face of his.
Did Hamilton win that F1 race? She asked sheepishly.
No, he didn't.
The 'ohh' simultaneously a shock and a disappointment. Because now she'd have to rule out drunkenness due to a celebratory win and if it wasn't that, what exactly was it.
But he's still in with a fighting chance for his sixth world championship, isn't he?
Trying to cut the atmosphere, she was sure the other answer would have done.
He lingered on his answer before laying back on the bed, his left hand massaging his temple.
I'll go get you a coffee, shall I?
Skirting around what she now knew was a massage to massage out a hangover that didn't come from Hamilton winning.
He called as she passed the bed but felt closer to a summons.
Turning back to him.
I've asked this before, but I'll ask again. Did you know Harry before you came on this cruise?
With nowhere to look but at him, Her eyes flicked.
What? Her voice cracked. (Ooh, Gawd, where did that wrecking ball come from again?)
Please. Don't shout.
Josh, we've been over this. Why are you bringing it up again? Reducing her snap.
Well, Lemara, some things aren't adding up, and if they aren't adding up, I have to find out why.
Josh, what is supposedly not adding up? Her shoulders square.
Where would you like me to start? Would you like me to start with you not calling or messaging me after you left London? Or would you prefer I started with you not returning my missed calls or reading my messages? Harry's shirt in your room? You lying to me about going to laundry services when instead you went to his room.
Her stomach knotted, burned too, at the sound of the word 'lying' leaving his lips. Lemara had to admit even to herself that none of that sounded good. None of that sounded like someone who's in a committed relationship.
Em, do you know that I have never not called you after I've landed down route or landed back in London? Even when I know I'll be seeing you within an hour of landing; I have never not called you. At least not since you gave me your number.
His words paced.
No, Josh, I did not know Harry before this cruise.
Redirecting the conversation back to the original question, sticking to what she knew was true.
Ok, so why the lie? If the situation is as innocent as you say, why lie?
That's just it, Josh. I did not see the need to mention it, as I thought I'd hand the shirt back, and that would be that.
Em, do I strike as an unreasonable person?
No, you do not, Mr Hart. (Gave him a half-smile.) Now can I go get you that coffee?
It was her escape route. Besides that lock their eyes on each other needed breaking and with his lips decidedly sealed, she walked off.
Then tell me, why were you and Harry holding hands?
Sound stopped. Movement stopped.
Please not now. She heard herself say.
Frozen, she could not move; her breath completely whacked out of her. Neither could she speak, and she certainly could not turn back to meet Joshua's eyes.
Wedged firmly between that rock, a hard place, and now, buried under an avalanche.
Have you got anything at all to say to that Lemara? Breaking the silence.
Where has this come from? Almost choking on her words.
Really, Lemara? Is that your response? Is that what you want to know?
Voice strangled, she stopped, looked to the floor.
I'm listening, Lemara.
His patience decided.