27 - What Happens on A Cruise, Stays on The Cruise
Her body language provided an air of shame.
Those words struck. Sucked the oxygen out of her, out of the room; words failed.
Weak, she leaned on the side of the bed.
Em, I was going mad out of my mind when for some two days, I couldn't get you. I rearranged three rotas. I disrupted three pilots' lives because I was concerned about you. So tell me, Em, what am I missing?
His face pained, drawn.
If Lemara was in the mood for confession, now was that time.
But the only thing she could confess to was an ugly substance in her mouth because he was right. None of her actions made sense. Even though she'd moved out, they spoke daily, knew each other's whereabouts, saw each other. She had indeed come on the cruise to clear her head and make the decisions she thought she needed to make, but somehow, the sun, sea and sand, the cruise, cocktails and company had derailed that.
What happened on this cruise had begun hitting home.
Sick and sinking with feeling, she moved to sit on the bed, but dizziness instead sent her to the bathroom. She hunched over the sink, arms supporting her guilt consumed body. The truth of the matter caused a lump in the pit of her stomach.
Even if the end result of her decision was to walk away from the relationship, this was not the way she would have chosen to do so. This cruise and what happened was surely the make or break of their relationship.
Em, (his voice came from the doorway) when finishing your Master's, you needed the time to concentrate on what you were doing, and I understood. You had sacrificed time together with me so that I could finish my command course. Then you lost your sister and wanted time away from me, the relationship. I didn't agree, but I respected your decision let you move out for what was an indefinite period. Then you wanted to come on this cruise in honour of your sister. Again I didn't agree, but I know how much the two of you talked about doing that together. So I let you have it because Lemara, there isn't anything I won't do for you.
Except marry me.
She replied flatly, looking at him in the mirror.
Good God, Josh, I've even asked you to marry me (whirling around to him, braids flailing). Do you remember what you said? You said, Em, we are as good as married. Yes, Josh. As if, near as, nigh on, as good as cut it?
She'd dismissed that comment with 'hmm' in the past and left it but not today. Instead, she found her fight back.
Did you near as, nigh on, as good as, marry your last wife? Arms crossed.
Joshua paused, articulating the next set of words to leave his mouth, strengthening his argument.
Em, do you know that there isn't a lot I have that doesn't have your name on it that I don't share with you? As a matter of fact, I can name them on less than ten fingers.
He raised his left hand, and fingers went up as he listed them off.
Birth certificate, driving licence, passport, pilot's licence, the apartment in Dubai Marina and a bank account. The latter two of which are in my and my sister's names. I treat you no differently than I'd treat you as my wife. We are. As good as married.
His statement was firm.
Matter of fact, I know of married people who don't have any relationship near what we have. At the end of the day, it's a paper. But don't get me wrong, I understand your frustration with our arrangement. Lately, I've noticed you stumble a few times in introducing me. Man, boyfriend, lover, partner, other half. There isn't the luxury of fiance or husband, and I get it.
So what are we going to do, Josh?
Em, no part of me wants to lose you, but if it turns out that what we have is no longer enough for you, is no longer what you want...
He paused, weighed his next sentence before he continued.
I'm man enough to let you find someone to treat you as good as I have and better. Never any less.
Really? What is with your great refusal to marry me? And if it is not me, what is that saying about you? And am I supposed to continue in a relationship hinged by your past? Rushing past him out of the bedroom.
Em, why is this an issue all of a sudden? Because I recall when we moved in together, we had this conversation, and you were ok with it.
Surely we have grown past that. What else is there? Is it your mother? Glaring at him, arms crossed.
Is it my mother what?
Is Eleanor the stumbling block here because we know she loves me.
Her tone, that of total contempt.
You know what, Em, this is crazy because I have given you everything I've got. This week, I've done as much as disrupt three people's lives, fly across the Atlantic ...
Josh, it is your job. Cutting him off.
He paused, inhaled.
...To make sure you are ok, be with you, and this is what I get.
You make out you came for me, but last night I could not find you anywhere on this ship, and when indeed I did, you were with another woman.
Tossing some items into a beach bag.
Have you thought that if you weren't otherwise so preoccupied with whatever or whoever and had called me, I just may not have had any reason to come here.
And why are you complaining? It gave you a chance to swan off with Maisie.
Arms, too, going up in question.
The flight attendant.
Em, what are you talking about? On the way back in the cab from the beach in Mexico, I told you what happened. Clearly, you weren't listening. Was that another of your preoccupied moments?
That floored her. She stopped. More air of shame.
Do you know what, Josh? Voice frustrated.
You know what, never mind?
She tossed off her robe, tossed on a kimono over a pair of shorts, tossed a few more things in a beach bag and marched to the door.
Em, where are you going?
Following her to the door.
You mean Harry.
The three words snapped out of his mouth. The door swung open, Lemara swinging back with it to find him on her heels.
And he's asked you to marry him, has he? Deadpanned.
She shook her head in disgust, turned to slam the door, but he barred it, held her arm, but she pulled away.
Lemara, please don't...
But she'd walked off before he'd finished that sentence.