Stepping out of the cab, Paige August smiled as she felt the warm gust of wind from the Florida coast blow on her face, and slightly move her chocolate brown hair. Helping her little brother Bryant out of the car, she made sure to hold on to him as she turned around to go help with the luggage. Her father enthusiastically tossed a bag in her direction, and she barely managed to catch it as is flew her way. Making sure her purse wouldn't slide from her shoulder, she put the roller suitcase on the ground, and let go of Bryant. He proceeded to run to his mother, whose arms were also full of luggage.
This was the Augusts' first year going on such a large vacation together. Their oldest daughter, Paige, was nineteen and the furthest they had ever gone from home in Phoenix, Arizona was Utah for a family reunion. Through much argument and deliberation, the family came to the decision to take a cruise of the Caribbean's Leeward Islands.
"Paige, hold on to your brother," her mother called over
"You know I'd love to, but my arms are just as full as yours." She answered, the yelled to her fifteen year old sister, "Clara! Hold onto Bryant!" Her sister looked up and swept a piece of blonde hair out of her face.
"Alright, geez you don't have to yell," she said, and she grabbed the four year olds hand as she passed by. With one hand she put her IPod headphones into her ears and began to zone everyone out.
Once all of the luggage was out of the car and the cab driver was happily compensated, they headed into the Cruise terminal where they found their Cruise line's sign and walked into the line. There were maybe thirty or so people in front of them, and it didn't take very long for the line to grow behind them. The line moved slowly as every passenger simultaneously scooched their luggage forward with their foot.
After an hour and a half of consecutive Security checks, bags checks, waiting in lines and picture taking, they finally made it out the two back doors where the white cruise line towered over them.
"Whoa," Paige mumbled as she took in the entire scene before her. The Ship its self must've been hundreds of feet high, and even longer length wise. The letters 'M.S. Rebecca' decorated its nose. There were lots of tiny little windows on the side, and she imagined there were more on the opposite side. It was so tall that she could not see what was on top of the ship, she guessed it must have been a pool or a bar.
"Well let's go Gang," her father chimed in, breaking her from her trance. They followed the rest of the crowd to a staircase that led them into the ship. Taking up the rear, Paige smiled excitedly as they were about to embark on the most exciting vacation she had ever been on.
As they entered the massive ship, Paige noticed the overhead sign that said 'Deck 4'. They kept following the crowd until they reached a large lounge with a small fountain in the middle. There were white couches, and white seats lining the walls, and chairs going around the tables.
"Alright everyone," their mom started, bringing them in a small circle. "I know you want to go explore the ship. So I'm going to let you do that but you have till Six o'clock to do so. I'm going to take Bryant with me, so Ron," she turned to her husband, "you can go explore too honey," she said smiling. Her husband smiled back giddily and pecked her on the cheek.
After agreeing to meet at their room at six, they split up and Paige immediately headed for the elevator. She figured she'd start from the top and work her way to the bottom. Her room was on the 3rd floor anyway. Looking at her watch, it was one thirty, so she had plenty of time to explore. Finally finding an elevator, she pushed the up button and waited patiently as it made its way to the 4th floor.
With a ding of the bell the door slid open, and there was already four people standing inside. She stepped in, and the first man she saw was in his late sixties with a bushy white mustache and eyebrows. He looked as if he were about to embark on an African safari with his khaki shorts, tan hunters vest and knee high white socks. The woman standing next to him was considerably shorter, and despite her weight she held a Big Gulp in one hand and was chomping on a cookie. Next to her was a woman who obviously didn't enjoy food half as much. Boney shoulders and anorexic legs peeked from under her dress and it sent a chill down Paige's spine. How could anyone be that skinny and not snap? The skinny woman, she noticed, was checking out the young man beside her. He was about 6'1" and wore a very nice gray suit. His blonde hair was short but his bangs were long enough to fall in front of his rich hazel eyes. She felt a blush creep to her cheeks as she stared at his handsome face, and smelled his cologne. She turned around so she was facing the elevator doors.
When they came to a stop at 9th floor, she heard a deep voice say "Excuse me," and she moved to the side as the handsome blonde passed her. She looked up momentarily and caught his stare for half a second and then he disappeared behind the closing doors. I hope I see him again she thought as she smiled a bit her bottom lip. Finally she made it to the top floor, and she stepped off and the safari man, the two women followed her off. There wasn't much to do on the top floor, even though the view was spectacular. There was a one room that seemed to be a lounge that doubled as a bar. She watched an elderly woman as she sat in a comfortable lounge chair and read her book. Smiling Paige thought of her Grandmother who loved to do the exact thing.
"On to the next floor" she said to herself, and went to the elevator.
The 10th floor was little too look at and without realizing it, Paige had wandered on to the running track, and she dodged to the side as she was almost run over by jogger. There was little area for Cruise games, where there were elderly couples and children playing around, and the hair salon where mothers and their daughters could pamper themselves.
Finding some stairs, she went downstairs, to the 9th floor and continued to wander. There were a few shops here and there, all with expensive cruise paraphernalia, and a café. Suddenly feeling an urge for some coffee, she stopped and bought a plain iced coffee, which she then assaulted with a lot of cream and sugar. She scanned over the shops, sipping her coffee and quickly got bored. At the end of the hallway- there was another elevator, and she took it down to the 8th floor. When the elevator bell dinged and the doors opened, she peeked her head out to take a look around. It was a cafeteria, so she stayed in the elevator and pushed the button for 7.
Paige went from floor to floor, looking, relaxing, and observing everything around her. The cruise liner was amazing, and she couldn't imagine whose idea it was to put so many things on a ship…it was like a floating mall. They were a genius… and probably fantastically rich.
While looking for her blonde haired mystery man, Paige suddenly heard her cell phone alarm go off in her pocket signaling that it was 5:45pm.
'Darn, I didn't get to see him again,' she pouted to herself, as pushed the '3' button on the elevator. Looking for her room was a little harder than she had expected. All of the rooms looked the same in the long hallway, so she walked down it inspecting every door, searching for '388'. As she neared the end of the hallway she did not have to look any longer, as she heard the all too familiar voices of her bickering family.
"Mom! I don't want to share a bed with Paige!" Clara complained. "She moves a lot, and takes the covers!"
"Well its either Paige or Bryant. Take your pick." Her mother said ending the conversation.
Paige walked into the room and leaned against the door frame. "I am so glad to know that I'm running against a four year old, as a bunk mate. Personally I'd love to be alone,"
Smiling, her mother sat on the bed. Paige looked around the room and noticed there was no luggage. Her father was sitting at the white desk with a vanity mirror attached. He was engrossed in some paper work and didn't notice her entrance.
"Hey mom, where's our stuff?" She asked, and her mom pointed toward the door.
"When all the luggage is sorted out, a bellhop will be bringing them to the door but I don't know when that will be."
"Oh alright," Paige sighed, and walked over to the small bedroom where she and her siblings would be sleeping. Plopping down on the bottom bunk, she rolled over so she was facing the wall, and closed her eyes.
Paige woke up to someone shaking her shoulders and rolled over to see Bryant bright eyed and bushy tailed as he stared at her.
"Sissy!" he said, "Wake up! We're moving!" Paige looked at her watch and it only read 7:30pm. "Take me up! I wanna see!" he begged, and grudgingly she got up.
"Alright Bryant." She mumbled, noticed her mother had also dozed off but her sister and father were no where to been seen.
Paige and Bryant made it up to the Lido deck, and walked to the stern and leaned against the railing. They were not alone, there were at least 50 others standing there watching the land slowly get smaller.
The sun was on the horizon making everything a beautiful hue of orange, blue and purple and Paige just stared at it holding on to Bryant's hand.
Suddenly through the hot humid air, Paige felt a chill run down her spine, and the feeling that someone was staring at her crept into her chest and she turned around. The blonde man was about thirty feet away from her, sitting at a table talking with another man around the same age. He wasn't looking her way, but she found it weird that he happened to be there at that moment. She looked around and there was no one looking at her, so she took Bryant and headed toward the elevator.
They passed the table where the blonde man and his friend were sitting and laughing and she distinctly heard his deep laugh and her chest fluttered. They made it to the elevator and she got the feeling again and looked up at him and found his piercing eyes staring in her direction.
"Paige!" she heard someone say behind her, and found her father and sister walking her way. One more glance at the mysterious man, and she joined her family for a quick snack before dinner.