Kate looked at the name as climbed onto the deck, The Horizon. Ironic, Kate thought, people talked of sailing off into the horizon, it had never been something she imagined doing. As she got to the top of the gangway, the young first mate took her hand gently, ensuring she was sure-footed. She thanked him and moved away but the warmth of his hand tingled on. She had caught a brief glimpse of his eyes and they’d startled her, she’d never seen such an emerald green. He blushed at her staring and turned his head away causing her to turn too.
She made her way along the deck looking for the doorway she’d been directed to. She paused looking over the side of the ship and back to the land but knew there was no-one there waiting for her. Yet she couldn’t help but hope she’d hear Michael’s voice shouting over the crowds begging her to change her mind, to stay with him instead. Alas, she turned around, her heart heavy with the thought she would never see him again as she sailed to lands faraway. Gathering her resolve, she lifted her bag and made her way along and through the narrow door.
She checked the glass sign and made her way down the decks to the entertainment lounge, she had been instructed to meet there. Four flights down Kate began to lose her breath, she hoped this wasn’t every day she thought to herself, all the while smile at an elderly couple wandering along the corridor in their bathing suits.
On entering the lounge she could see a group of others with their luggage, so she made her way towards them smiling awkwardly as she squeezed past to find a seat. Within seconds, a loud voice broke over the tannoy informing all staff to report to the entertainment lounge unless otherwise informed by their team lead. There was eye-rolls by the bar staff who never-the-less moved behind the luggage group. Kate couldn’t help but look around and within five minutes the room was packed. A sharp looking woman in a perfectly tailored suit and heels that seemed far too high to wear on a ship walked in and took the floor off the stage. The room fell into an immediate rush and the woman began to talk effortlessly with no microphone.
“Today, we have five new teams starting. I want each of you to take them through the required drills within your area in the next 48 hours. I want no-one looking unprofessional by the time we set sail. You have two days people, those who aren’t up to it will be let go before we get out of this port. Understood?”
The group was silent. “Good. Area Leads take over.” With that, she spun on her shoes and walked away. As she approached the door, the first mate walked to the room.
“Oh, running a little late are we Thomas?”
“Ehhh….” Thomas stammered, but before he could get a sentence out suit responded. “Well done, Thomas. Late and quick witted, you’re a catch.” She nodded her head towards the stunned group. “Let’s hope you can teach this lot to be even better.” With that, she walked out the door in a hurry.
Thomas seemed to recover after she left. and walked towards the group. “Right newbies follow me I’ll show you where you sleep and then we’ll grab some food.” He turned around to leave and Kate hoisted her pack quickly to follow.
“Em… suit lady said we only have 48 hours to learn the ropes. Shouldn’t we get straight to training?”
“Aren’t you hungry?”
“Well, yeah but I need this job more than I need food.”
He stopped and looked at her, behind her was a small gathering of equally sheepish looking new starters.
“Look don’t worry about Trish. She isn’t the captain and she certainly isn’t the boss. It’s just easier to let her think she is. She’s actually pretty resourceful and does keep things ticking over. But her job here is entertainments manager, nothing serious, so just let her get it out her system, don’t slack off and you’ll be fine.”
Everyone relaxed a little and followed him as he distributed them into tiny twin cabins, with a map, and an envelope that would apparently tell them their roles, responsibilities & an insurance form.
After unpacking, Kate made her way up to the food court. She was surprised to see staff eating in the same areas as the guests. As the other new starters talked away her mind kept drifting. She had always thought this would be an adventure her and Michael would take together. He had seemed to want it as much as her. Her heart torn every time she thought of him. They had been about to start their lives together. She hated him for hurting her, for leaving her, for choosing to stay in that stupid town and for choosing that stupid girl. He had said he’d leave her, that’s why Kate had stuck around for so long. Now she felt stupid.
One of the leads stopped by the new starter table and the others began to chatter excitedly.
“Did you hear that?” the girl sat next to her with the healthiest salad Kate had ever seen, was staring at her enthusiastically.
“Sorry, what was that?” Kate said then quickly put another fork full of pasta into her mouth.
“The lead said there is a party on top deck tonight. Everyone’s invited. Isn’t that exciting.”
Kate nodded then continued eating her heart just wasn’t in it. She knew she should try to make friends try to fit in, but she couldn’t stop her mind drifting.
After dinner, Kate had a long hot shower then while getting ready chatted to her new room-mate. The girl was really nice and had only been on board a few weeks. ‘Long enough to show you how not to get lost, but not long enough to have remembered people’s names’, she laughed in a friendly way, and Kate was starting to feel a bit more settled.
Heading up to the party with her roommate she made her way to the packed bar. She quickly tallied up her money in her bank and realised she really should be sticking to water, but her nerves needed something stronger. Trying to get the over-worked bar guy’s attention. She leaned further and further over, she felt the object behind her move before she heard it, cringing she turned round quickly to see the first made and his very green eyes.
“I’m so, so sorry. Let me buy you another one?” She grabbed tissues of the bar and began to dab his sleeve with them.
He pulled back. “Hey, chill out. You don’t get paid enough here to be that stressed!” He smiled at her and she felt herself blush again. She stood nervously not knowing what to say next Thomas laughed and leaned over the bar.
“Hey Joe, Can we you pass us two bottles down when you get a sec?”
Within seconds the drinks appeared and Thomas was handling a bottle over to her. “Let me pay for that”, she began rummaging through her bag, hoping she had enough cash on her, but Thomas put his hand on hers.
“Look it’s cool. You can grab me one another time, yeah?… You don’t seem as excited about this trip as the others are? You wanna go some were and talk about it, there is a gorgeous view from the tennis courts and no-one’s there at this time?” He sent her that dazzling smile and before she knew what was happening Kate was following him up to the top deck.
“So what’s made you so unhappy to be going on this amazing adventure?” He smirked at her.
“Look I don’t really wanna go into it!”
“So a boy then?” She stared at him hard, this was not how she wanted the conversation to go. “Hey, I’m a guy, we can be jerks, I get it.” He held his hands up in protest.
“Yeah, it’s my ex. We were supposed to be doing this together. I’m not really the adventurous type.”
“I think you are.”
“You don’t know me!” She blurted at him.
“I know you came on this trip anyway. You were the first person to question me on disobeying Trish, you came up here with me all on your own. You took a chance when others wouldn’t. I think you’re gutsier than you gave yourself credit for.” Kate opened and closed her mouth unsure what to say next.
“On the Horizon, you’ll find a new life, a new family…” he leaned over and put his fingers on top of hers. “Maybe even a new person to give your heart to. Someone who’s an adventurer like you.” He winked at her, then pulled away, getting to his feet.
“Fancy a midnight dip in the roof-top pool?” he shouted, then giggling he ran towards the stairwell.
Kate took another swig of her bottle then got to her feet. “Wait up”, she shouted. Then ran to the stairwell laughing after him.
Quote by Elizabeth Edwards (July 3, 1949 – December 7, 2010) an American attorney, a best-selling author, and a health care activist.
I hope you enjoy the short story on taking a chance and surviving. I think the plot could have been stronger and Kate is a bit wooly in places, but a reasonable attempt. Enjoy 🙂
Join in the #WQWWC fun over on silverthreading to read more creative works on the theme “Survival”.