What Happens on a Cruise, Stays on the Cruise - Part 8
Back on the ship, Lemara ventured over to the excursion desk on deck four. She should at least carry out the task she had left her room to do, cancel her excursion - the official one that is.
Lemara could hear the disgruntled tones of a passenger next door at guest services. Verbalising his disapproval at the early departure of the ship from the port of Cozumel the next day. He didn't think an approaching storm was a sufficient reason to do so. But just as nonsensical, he now wanted to be compensated with complimentary excursions at the remaining ports the ship would call at. Lemara raised an eyebrow and smiled to herself as she thanked the staff member and left.
Walking back to her room, Harry's last words to her were replaying themselves in her head, seemingly jamming her sonar. She quickly shook her head to block out his words. But it was clear that Harry could now take her focus into places that she would prefer him not to. As she approached her room door, she patted the sides of her dress for her key card and discovered both pockets were occupied. Her own key card was in her right pocket. She shoved her hands in her left pocket, and her fingers collided with objects that should not have been there. She pulled them out to discover Harry had placed the key card he had made for her and his cufflinks back in that pocket.
Lemara threw her head back and smiled coyly at Harry's undaunting show of bravado. She thought to run back to the pier quickly, but Harry was most likely long gone. She thought to go swiftly to his suite, let herself in and leave the card and the cufflinks. She'd at least know if the card works. But Joshua had been waiting long enough. She opened her room door to find Joshua laid half-asleep on her bed.
He hears her enter the room and opens his eyes; he gently pats the bed for her to lay next to him and closes them again. Lemara smiled in acknowledgement but instead went to the bathroom and stands in front of the mirror. Uncertain of where she could keep the cufflinks, she even considers flushing them down the toilet, until something catches her eyes. Entwined and engraved on both of them was his monogrammed initials - HL.
Or LH, depending on which letter she read first, She thought.
And now Lemara wondered if they were little mementoes. She squeezed the tip of her nose to slow her breathing, create an alternative focus, damn her thoughts because Harry Langdon was now in full occupation of them.
She closed her eyes, slowly massaged her forehead and exhaled deeply, then placed the cufflinks and key card in the concealed compartment of her makeup bag.
Joshua's grey t-shirt rested neatly on the back of the desk chair. His upper body laid bare and splayed across the bed for a magazine's two-page spread and arms positioned above his head as if to dunk a ball. She walks over to the bed where Joshua lay in just his Wooyoungmi shorts. A pair of shorts that could they fit her, he would never see their light of day again. As she lay down next to him, he whispers.
Mm-hmm. She whispers back.
On one of the television's radio stations, John Splitoff's 'Sing to You' was soulfully soothing through the speakers. He kissed her on her forehead, she settled it onto his right shoulder, his right arm snuggled her closer, her left arm caressed his torso and they fell asleep.
Midday had just gone when Lemara woke again, the word 'storm' rolling across the bottom of the tv screen caught her attention. For a tumultuous second, she wondered if her mind was once again playing games with her.
Was it a forecast of her days to come?
But as she stirred, realised the storm in question was the one the passenger at guest services had mentioned. Her stirring roused Joshua from his sleep who then rolled her onto his chest; inhaled her scent and squeezed her.
Hungry? He asked dozily.
Mmm. She replied softly.
Settling herself further, indicating she wasn't quite ready to move. Partly due to the fact she was quite comfortable where she was but also because Lemara hadn't entirely prepared herself for any encounters with specific individuals on the ship. Or indeed any drama they may bring, should they see her on the arms of another guy. All be it the right one. Maybe it would have been better for her if she had indeed turned into a pillar of salt. She knew she couldn't stay locked away in the room, and there's no way Joshua would be on board with that either.
She would have to erase the last few days from her memory and pretend they never happened. And with that, she kissed Joshua on the chest, rolled off him and onto her feet.
Walking past the desk, she notices a silver card laying next to his wallet. Looking identical to the one Harry had given her earlier, she asks.
Joshua, where's your luggage?
In our suite.
In our suite. Repeating and looking back at Joshua inquisitively.
Ohh! Lemara gushed, getting somewhat excited.
I think it will be to your liking Ms Heisen. (Theatrically smug with himself.) A jacuzzi, personal butler and a baby grand just for you.
But slowly her cogs began to turn, and a change of facial expression loomed, realising this she kept on walking to the wardrobe.
Shit! No! Was she now in a suite next to Harry? Was James also their butler?
She felt herself hit the back wall of hell and bounce back. She needed to speak to Harry although unsure at that point what Harry could do. But then she remembered Harry had pointed out odd numbers were on this side of the ship while even numbers were on his side of the vessel. So no, their suite was at least not next to his. But someone at least needed to prepare James for suite 9087 or at least ensure he was not the butler for suite 9087.
Sorry, did you say 9087? She asked knowingly from the wardrobe.
Yes, and now you have no excuse not to perfect your single hand melody of 'Lean on Me!' He jibed.
On any other day, she'd have given it back to Joshua. Call him on out on something he was yet to perfect (not that there were many), but today no wisecracks came to mind. Instead, her laugh was choked into a mild throat clearance.
Confident that she must have had all the surprises that could befall any one person in a day, Lemara put a stop to her fake rootling in the wardrobe. She picked up the royal blue and gold bikini directly in front of her. They were her favourite. For one they made her bust appear one cup size bigger and its design, timeless. And, had worn them on all the continents she possibly could, including this one whether you placed Mexico in north or south America and so she changed into them.
Shall we get some lunch? Lemara asked trailing the rail for the matching kimono.
Joshua was now standing behind her fully dressed. He acknowledged her question with a kiss on the back of her head and a caress across her ass as he moved to stand beside her.
To complete her ensemble, Lemara added a pair of nude sandals, raffia beach bag and a Panama hat.
They finally stepped off the ship, and Lemara noticed for the first time how calm the water was. She also saw the very long walkway that shot across it like an arrow and plunged into the dense foliage that was Costa Maya. The emerald green of Costa Maya being the only distraction between the merging of a spotless blue sky and the lapis blue of the Caribbean sea. The air - raw, hot and salty. She pulled her hat down at the front uninviting the harsh sunlight from her face.
A trolley had pulled up alongside the disembarkation area, and they hopped on it for the quick ride to the cruise port. Once they had cleared the port of Costa Maya, they jumped into a designated taxi.
Honey, where are we going?
Hayhu Beach. Holding the vehicle's door open for her to get in. Then closing it and walking around to the opposite side.
Oh! Was Lemara's only response at the unexpected answer, watching him walk around to the passenger door on the opposite side.
Driving down the sandy lane towards the beach, Pale Impala's Borderline tripped through the car's speakers. Lemara stuck her left hand out the car window, (her right hand in Joshua's and on his lap) allowing the breeze to glide over her arms like the wings of a plane. She felt a sense of relief. Happy for those cobwebs of the ship (cobwebs she had created) to be lifted and blown away (if only for a few hours) and allowing the fresh air of the Mexican Caribbean sea to roll in.
On the ride to the beach, Joshua told her he swapped his flight for the one he flew to Cancun yesterday and then made a four-hour journey this morning to catch the ship when it docked. That they were also overnighting off the cruise in Miami and from there, he'll be flying the plane back to London. None of which came as a surprise to Lemara.
Lemara only knew of one thing that gave Joshua more satisfaction than being in the cockpit of an aircraft. And there were possibly times when the two may well have merged. Joshua once equated the body of a plane to that of a female's - elegant, graceful lines and flying to that of lovemaking. He said both commanded respect, dedication, care and attention. In his view, that applied as much for take-off as it did for the landing.
When Captain Hart is at the helm of his aircraft, thirty-five thousand feet is your base. His bar is the stratosphere. And you certainly never forget a 'Joshua Hart's' landing.
It was undoubtedly this dedication to flying that had seen him achieve the title of youngest captain at his airline.
But as Joshua replayed his journey, Lemara experienced a slight twist in her chest. She realised that while she had inexplicably and readily journeyed to bed with Harry, her guy had taken on quite an arduous trip to get to her.
Okay, the last few days never happened. Lemara told herself. As long as Harry Langdon stayed out of sight and out of mind, she'll be fine. But even the mere thought of his name had begun to have noticeable effects on her.
The taxi had now pulled to a stop in front of Hayhu Beach. Graciously they were greeted as they stepped out of the cab, welcomed like extended family, then led to their private cabana. The crowd was barely fifty or so in total and mostly made up of couples and honeymooners. Conversations were relaxed over the music that played low. Except for the sighting of one family off the ship, this place was blissfully removed from the crowds that spewed from the cruise, leaving Lemara to wonder how Joshua knew about it. But just like on the cruise, the staff here were very attentive, and she soon realised she need not lift any of those well-manicured fingers of hers.
From their elevated position on the top deck of their cabana through the swaying leaves off the tops of short palms, Lemara watched the white sugar sands go out to sit beneath the turquoise coloured veil of the sea. Making the colour of the water appear silver where the veil touched the sand, and an ombre of blues the further out the veil went. Except for the sea containers and the dental white sun loungers, the aesthetics painted a more French Polynesian hideaway than a Western Caribbean hideout.
This is nice! Turning to Joshua (who was talking to their waiter who was now walking away) delighted with their getaway.
Glad I came? Pushing her hat up off her face to kiss her on the lips. Then hugging and swaying her as he did in her room.
Mmmm! Was Lemara's lighthearted response returning affectionate kisses to those lips that had garnered her attention all those years ago.
That's it? Mmm? Playfully Nuzzling her nose with his as his hands anchored her to him then kissing her hard on the lips as he questioned her.
Lemara giggled, she tried to pull away from his hold, but that was just another of those things she was yet to master with Joshua. She moved her head away from him, arching her back in the process, but that gave Joshua full access to her neck, which he was now kissing on playfully. Of course, that only caused her giggles to dissolve into laughter. Lemara took her hat off and placed it on Joshua's face to block his play.
Yes, Mr Hart, I'm delighted you came! Beaming while adjusting her hat on his head.
Confident that Joshua was satisfied that she was satisfied, they leaned into each other smiling. Even the sun felt that much more tender here at Hayhu Beach that Lemara offered up her face to the sun for a kiss as Joshua brushed her braids off her neck.
Well, either the waiter had been discreetly waiting for them to finish or he timed it rather nicely, but he suddenly appeared as if he was transplanted there. His arms were laden with sunset coloured drinks and nibbles burdened trays.
So what have you managed to get up to on the cruise over the last couple of days? Joshua asked as they sat in the shade removing their top and kimono.
Not much. The first night, I missed dinner. On the second night, I was insulted at dinner...
Insulted? Joshua interjected (but it was more of a statement) as he looked over at Lemara with concern. Anything you want to tell me about?
Not really, that's now gone with the wind.
Joshua looks back at Lemara but this time holds her gaze, checking it wasn't one of those moments that she dismisses something as being okay when it wasn't.
Didn't get a chance to go on the Old Town Trolley in Key West yesterday but it was ok. She continued, trying to play the day down.
She reaches for the camera in her beach bag and passes it to Joshua.
You were really having a blast then, weren't you? Joshua mocked, taking the camera. No time whatsoever to read or listen to my messages.
More or less. She scoffed.
Partied until the crazy hours of the morning?
No. Lemara looked over at him, smiling knowing what he meant. That only happens when my bodyguard is around.
That's very unlike the Lemara, I know. (Scrolling through the photos.) The Lemara, I know, would have swept the dancefloor all night, have all the men in the club staring at her and giving me palpitations at the same time.
Are you okay? Joshua teased, looking up from the photos.
As I said that only happens when my bodyguard is present.
And where is that bodyguard of yours?
He is here now! Blowing a kiss at him.
Feeling carefree, Lemara now sat back in her chair, all smiles at Joshua.
Joshua turned his attention back to the photos and was scrolling through them intently.
Ohh! Who took this photo of you? Joshua asked questioningly.
Remembering Harry had her camera on a few occasions, her carefreeness dissipated, she felt her chest constrict and a few heartbeats skipped. Had Harry taken any compromising photos of her? Harry would not have done that. She looked at Joshua, but his face revealed nothing, not that you looked at Joshua's face for answers. If Joshua's face were a photo developing studio, you'd question if it was in business as it rarely developed any pictures. As he kept staring at the photo, Lemara tentatively leaned over to look at the image on the camera and saw its one that Harry had indeed taken but had not realised he'd done so. Relieved there was nothing on towards she allowed her heartbeats to catch up.
Harry. She finally allowed herself to say.
Harry. Who's Harry?
Uh, another guest on the ship. (Her chest was tight).
He captured you very well. Almost as if there's no camera between you and him and he was in your soul. Makes me wonder what you were thinking about at the time.
Hmm, I don't even remember the picture being taken.
Joshua looked over at her, held her gaze, smiled but said nothing. But she could never honestly read what Joshua was thinking, whether he was smiling or resting in his poker face. Over the years, Lemara realised that whilst this made for the excellent characteristics of a good pilot, it had its benefits and downsides in their relationship. In that she never truly knew if or when Joshua was upset, annoyed, second-guessing her or indeed having palpitations. God forbid he should. But Joshua was still smiling, and now Lemara was smiling back at him.
Whaaat? She questioned grinning.
Nothing. Joshua replied, amused.
Their party of two was now joined by another, with Joshua being asked if he was ready to go kitesurfing. Lemara looked over at Joshua wide-eyed. Although she really should not have been surprised as Joshua is unable to stand still for any period. Either way, she continued with her question.
Yes. Joshua replied as he got up off the sun lounger. Coming?
Arm in arm, they walked out to where the kite surfing equipment awaited Joshua to get himself once again airborne. He squeezed her ass, kissed her on the lips and said.
And go read your messages.