Hidden 6 mos ago 5 mos ago
Zeroth Post

Thank you for choosing us to ferry you on the journey of love. We hope that these next seven days will be to your utmost satisfaction. Please feel free to explore the ship. We have many amenities available and as a valued VIP, we can assure you that your enjoyment will be our priority.

The SS Astarte offers you the best home away from home experience money can buy with your luxurious suite. But It is when you explore our ship that you will truly fall in love with this journey. On board we offer your every heart’s desire. Our wide selection of restaurants, buffets and bars are open 24/7 to serve you. Furthermore, we host an active nightlife experience with plenty of casinos, lounges and discotheques.

Want something more relaxing instead? Visit our health and wellness centre. Here we offer spa and beauty treatments, not to mention massages by our certified masseurs and masseuses. The library is always open, and the ship has several reading lounges. Or maybe you would rather watch a movie in our movie theatre on sea? Or perhaps you would rather crack your brain at one of our ship’s escape rooms?

On the deck of the ship we have our giant swimming pools, Jacuzzis and a giant water slide. Guaranteed aquatic fun for all!

Our sports centre means you can keep to your fitness routine even when you’re at sea. However, we also offer a variety of other sports facilities. Especially popular are our bowling alleys and rock climbing walls. Or maybe you would rather do something more unusual, and visit our on-board skydiving simulator?

And naturally, do not forget to visit our many luxury stores before you leave, to get the perfect gifts for your envious family!

Attached you will find our seven day itinerary. We hope you enjoy your stay aboard the SS Astarte.

Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Aewin
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Aewin Chomp!

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𝟷𝟶 𝙰𝙼. 𝙿𝚘𝚛𝚝 𝙲𝚊𝚗𝚊𝚟𝚎𝚛𝚊𝚕, 𝙵𝚕𝚘𝚛𝚒𝚍𝚊.

The sun this day would be the first good sign of things to come. Twenty-five degrees Celsius this late into December was warmer than expected, and undoubtedly a most excellent day to start a vacation. The sky was clear, save for the occasional cloud or sea gull. The cruise terminal was bustling with prospective vacationers. Some came with their own private car that they stowed in the nearby parking garage; but the vast majority came by taxi or bus line from the airport. Indeed, there were taxis and buses that only drove here specifically. But there was no crew outside, no. Hundreds of personnel parking places were already filled long before this moment, and the inside of the ship had already been thoroughly prepared for their arrival. After all, the prestigious SS Astarte could not keep their customers waiting.

As was to be expected, the VIP members were given priority boarding. And as they passed by the long queues they were trailed with eyes of envy; but sometimes of recognition depending on the VIP in question. With each boarding pass checked, the crew would welcome their new customers with a bright smile and a package that contained various pamphlets and a personal letter from the hosts themselves. Their luggage was then swiftly taken by clerks, and they would find it in their rooms later. After all, VIPs needn’t worry about a thing!

As each VIP came on board, they were asked to make way to the exclusive upper deck. The area was easily spacious enough for the sixteen invited to stand, or sit on one of the many lounge chairs and couches, while still being out of arm’s reach. The view gave a stellar impression of the morning sun and lit up the room beautifully. Once they arrived, they were served Dom Pérignon Champagne and offered their pick from a varied assortment of sweet treats of well-established luxury by one of the three servers neatly in uniform. It was as if to ensure anyone who had any doubts at this point that for them, there was truly no expense spared. That VIP ticket was truly worth the asking price.

Waiting for the VIPs were two people; a tall, wide man with a dimpled smile and a short woman with tight curls and expressive eyes. They weren’t wearing the standard uniform, but instead the man was wearing a white polo shirt with the United at Heart logo paired with navy blue slacks while the woman wore a sleek navy dress with white trims around her short sleeve and collar with a similar logo on the material. It was clear that these members of staff were important.

“We speak for United at Heart and this ship’s crew as a whole when I say that we wish you all welcome aboard our vessel!” The lady started. She spoke enthusiastically, but it was clear she had told the same speech many times before. “I am Maggie Simmons. And this-” She gestured at her co-worked, who had been radiating a cheeky smile throughout the talk. “Is Jack Sterling. We are your personal hosts, and the chiefs of staff of the VIP suite’s private staff. We, and all fifty members of our team, will be at your beck and call, 24/7!”

Jack took over next. “And that is enough about what we will be doing. Let's talk about what you will be doing, instead.” His smile crooked upwards just a tinge more. “You are here to relax, first of all, and I’m sure you’ve all read what amenities we offer. You want it, we have it. Yes, you know that. But you didn’t come to United at Heart for just a vacation, oh no. Here at United at Heart our main commodity is love.” He said. “As you might’ve seen, our itinerary offers ample opportunity to mingle with your fellow guests. This week the SS Astarte shall be your Pacific Princess!” Jack quietly hoped at least one person got that reference. Sometimes he worried that he was growing old.

Maggie swiftly cut in, though the amusement on her face was evident as day. “And today we will start with a simple speed dating event where you will be getting to know your fellow passengers. An ice breaker, if you will. But first we will take a small break, so feel free to talk to each other and introduce yourself.”

To say that it had been a long morning for Diana would be an understatement. The five and half hour journey between O'Hare and Orlando Melbourne International Airport gave her barely enough time to rest. In the last twenty four hours alone, Diana was certain she had necked at least seven cups of coffee, all because her bloody customer would not listen to her.

But that was for her peers to worry about. Diana was totally going to enjoy her forced week of vacation on the Caribbean sea. She totally wasn't on her laptop the entire flight over, drinking another three cups of coffee to fuel her the entire journey, working on paperwork and attending meetings.

From: Mom
Are you there yet?

From: Mom
Your dad tells me you're still attending meetings. Is this true?

Nope, not at all!

At least Diana knew how to placate her mother by this point. A simple (read: worthless) promise to do better was all it took for her mother to get off her case. Diana even made sure to send an additional text to her secretary, to keep her updated about the events at work in exchange for a Christmas bonus. It was a sweet enough deal, and Diana got to continue working as she pleased.

She continued to work until her private car stopped at the drop off point, forced to tuck her laptop away to begin boarding the cruise. After scanning through the pamphlets with mild disinterest, she headed towards the exclusive deck for the obligatory welcoming session. Diana tried her best to ignore her desire to check her phone. She could just feel it buzzing in her pocket, undoubtedly her secretary doing as she had asked and sending her the updates she wanted. Surely she could just slip into that corner over there and...

Her sly attempt to get to the corner was interrupted by a server with a tray of champagne. Although nothing fell - and a quick once over of the crew told her that he was fine - the clang was enough to cause even Diana to react in surprise. She looked around, noticing the eyes of Maggie and Jack on her when she let out an awkward laugh. Raising her half empty champagne flute, she spoke. "I guess these are getting to me, carry on." It was meant to be a joke, but it just made her sound like an alcoholic. What a way to form first impressions.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Kiki is Anxious
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Kiki is Anxious Shy Meme Deliverer

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As far as the tabloids were concerned, they speculated that she might have had a ticket to the United at Heart cruise simply because she had gone to Florida a few days before the ship would go off but given the recent information they were unsure of whether it was true. It hadn’t been confirmed, unlike the sightings of her at infamous bridal shops within New York and shortly after she had landed in Florida. The rumor mill went rampant and she had been trending, surprising footage of her trying on dresses leaking to the press. Before she had stayed within her hotel room, to watch the fallout and those who paid attention to her career closely guessing whether it was part of her normal M.O.. If she hadn't gone at least a month without getting spotted by the paparazzi that followed her close like a shadow since being sighted exiting her old family's abode, they might not have so easily believed their assumptions.

Which left plenty of the reporters who made quite a living reporting on her life rather confused she hadn't even put out a tweet. Thus, left the normal dishes of hot tea scoops to simmer in the background until she plopped back onto their radar in the strangest way yet. They were having a field day spreading what little they had received.

A few of those very influential gossip magazines displayed on the table in her hotel as she sat comfortably on a plush seat in a fluffy, fur rimmed robe in a lovely cream blue color, her hair being done by the stylist standing behind her. Both Shasta and Kiala resting by the woman’s feet in a peaceful slumber.




Where just a few of the headlines and debriefings put out, each with a blown-up picture of her in a wedding dress. Though no cover had the same dress, which would have only been found out the day all of them had already released their stories in what has been a very productive round of playing with the media’s need to spread private affairs into the public with the need to be the first to talk about it, that they don’t try to learn what the others have found out.

Her favorite magazine was within her hands that she was reading through and consequently holding up as though to hide her face from her assistant who was standing in front of her, rattling off about the different things going on within her company and the set schedule for her new line.


”Lily, are you even listen?” Mariel asked, exasperated from going through the whole spiel while her boss and friend seemingly didn’t listen to a word she said. Which annoyed the Latina woman endlessly and she was two seconds away from starting to curse her out in Spanish much like her mother would have when Lily lowered the magazine with a genuine smile few were privileged to see.

”Of course I was listening. Just because I trust you to run my company for the week I’ll be stuck with only my cell and laptop doesn’t mean that I’m going to give up the full reigns sooner than I told you I would.” Lily replied to her friend, winking at her for good measure before looking over at the stylist to see if he was done. Only after he had moved away to pack his things did she utter a quick thank you, giving the man a generous tip for his work at curling her hair to perfection before she would have to change and leave for the cruise. Her outfit already hanging from the door leading to the bedroom which was opened. She stood up to let her hairstylist out with her dogs following at her heels. Their tails wagging happily. Only once the door was securely closed did she look back at her friend with her hands on her hips. ”So the wedding line is set to be announced after I’ve been filmed going onto the cruise and the collaboration with the bridal shops are prepared to showcase the model dresses tomorrow morning?”

”Yes, and you’re car will be here in ten minutes, so you need to get your ass in gear and hurry it up. Especially if you want to avoid Luther.” Mariel answered back, her tone unamused but her lips twitched slightly into a smile though the news she was giving wasn’t necessarily the best to hear. Though knowing ahead of time that the Reigan’s youngest son was on his way to give his little sister a piece of his mind, no doubt with his wife and boy-toy in tow. At the reminder Lily rolled her eyes with a groan, petting her two dogs on the head before heading straight for her clothes hanging on the door. Unbothered by her assistant's presence as she dropped her robe so she could quickly put on her outfit. It was more business than casual, but she had suitcases of the clothes she would be wearing during the trip on their way to the ship as they spoke anyway. So she would settle for the dark navy combo of a suit jacket with bronze buttons and flared out skirt that was accentuated by the little black belt to make the white dress shirt she wore seem all the crisper on her figure.

”Don’t let either of my brothers or their wives near my children, you already know they’ll stoop low enough-”

”--To take your dogs hostage. I know. They’ll be fine with their Auntie Marie right puppers?” Mariel cooed to the dogs that yipped back happily, alert and watching the woman who ran her fingers through their fur after placing down her clipboard. Though the buzz of her phone soon made her tear her attention away. A grimace soon forming. ”Shit. He’s early...” The Latina cursed under her breath but could still hear Lily sighing deeply as she maneuvered her way out of the room fully dressed and tugging on her red heels to complete everything.

”Don’t worry about it, I can still sneak through the servants' exit, just text the driver to meet me there. And you can stay here until tomorrow since the room is already paid for the day.” The brunette says, placing a kiss on both dogs’ noses and wrapping her arms around her friend in a tight hug that was worriedly received. Mariel was ready to protest but was cut off quickly by the door to the room closing soon after Lily had let go with her purse in tow.

Ten minutes later she received the confirmation that Lily had gotten to her car. Though her driver did hint that some kind of altercation was happening before she had even gotten into the car. But at least she was safe in the car and thought the text she had sent her way said that it was just a normal Reigan screaming match that she never let go on for very long. But that did mean there was a possibility that it could get out that her father had decided to drag her back into the fray that was the unhealthy family dynamic as though they hadn’t thrown her out by choice.

When she was finally let out into the public eye again, for her to walk and be led to the VIP area, she was fine. A confident smile on her face as she greeted the people who worked for the cruise that was leading her up the stairs past the people who were stuck waiting in line. The ones that knew her and called out got a wave in return. Her stride graceful and effortless it would seem until she was whisked out of sight to the upper deck exclusive to only the VIPs, the usual fanfare being sent her way from the pamphlets to the care package with the personal letter attached. She gave them her thanks in return, courteous was the least she could be when they were providing a great refuge to hide away from her family in.

Without batting an eye, she took a serving of the champagne being offered and lifted it to her lips while making herself comfortable in one of the seats, her blue eyes watching the hosts of the cruise go through their entire speech before letting her gaze wander about. Observing the various types that would be enjoying the same luxuries as her to see if there was a familiar face. Or a good looking one at least to tide her over as more continued to come in.

Hearing a clang, she looked over to the corner to see a well-dressed, talking to one of the servers that she probably ran into, on what Lily assumed was a run to take a call in private from how she too looked like she was about to go to a meeting and not a vacation. Her attention wasn’t the only one brought to her either, but whether it was out of sympathy or empathy, the brunette she chimed in nonchalantly while she raised her flute to her red lips, ”It wouldn't be much of cruise without at least one person getting a little tipsy the first day. An early start at a good time is hardly a bad thing.”

Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Ozzoquen
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Ozzoquen \o/

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【Gage Zimmermann】

"You bought me a VIP ticket to a love cruise?" The overwhelming exasperation in his voice proclaimed exactly how he felt. Gage stood in the kitchen that he shared with his older brother, Peter, staring down at a ticket in his hand. He could already feel his heart pounding in his chest, blood pumping up to his ears, almost drowning out the noise coming from Peter's mouth. It was hard to listen to him talk about how good this experience would be for him. About how Gage needed to get himself back out there, find a man, be happy again. "But I am happy."

"No you're not," Peter rolled his eyes, arms sassily crossing over his chest. "You're miserable, Gage. You never go out unless it's for work. People will try to talk to you all of the time when you're playing on the street, and you just clam up. You need to learn how to talk to people, and how to open up, and be friendly!" Gage's mouth set in a thin line as his older brother rambled on, his gaze slowly raising from the ticket to the man. Slowly, Peter unwound his arms from his chest, and moved to Gage. Wrapping his arms around him, he let out a sigh. "Look. You're my little brother. I love you, I want you to be happy, so please. It's just a week. You can relax, try to meet some people, try to have fun. For me?"

There were no more words spoken after that. Peter was tenacious, and once he had his mind set on something, it was hard to get him to drop it. Even if he didn't go on this cruise, Gage knew that there would be other plans in the working. He couldn't get away. Begrudgingly, he agreed to board that ship, agreed to go on the cruise. If only to make Peter happy.

The day arrived sooner than he thought it would.

It took him an hour to figure out what to wear, with Peter's hand guiding his wardrobe almost the whole time. Eventually Gage settled on a black long sleeved shirt, thin enough to not make him overheat on the warm winter's day. A white hand was displayed on it, with a cube floating directly under it. Pairing it up with black skinny jeans, and a pair of black sneakers, Peter just stared at him as he left his room. "Really?"

Gage's response was the flip him the bird.

Letting it go, there was no more talk of clothing from his brother. The two stepped out of the hotel room they shared, making their way to the rental car Peter drove. Guitar between his legs, Gage stared out the window the whole drive, Gage bit his lip, fidgeted his legs, flexed his fingers. The anxiety was bubbling in his chest, and it wasn't until Peter placed a hand on his shoulder that he finally looked over, realizing they had arrived.

"Go get them, cowboy!" Peter had the biggest grin. Stepping from the car, Gage walked around it, and stared at the stairs as Peter slowly began to creep off. "Bye! Bye, I love you, bye! Have fun! Don't get too drunk! Be safe! I'll see you in a week bye!" Gage dragged a hand down his face as his brother finally drove off, and with one last deep breath, began to walk up the walkway and onto the ship. Surprised that the staff came and took his things, he stared after them as they carefully toted his guitar away, before taking another deep breath. The room he was lead to almost took his breath away, and he had never expected to be able to have such a luxury before in his life. How Peter managed to snag this ticket, he could only guess.

Gage's hands were hidden as he made his way to a seat, rather far from the two women that were already in the room. Listening to the spiel given, Gage graciously took the champagne offered, and desperately tried to not down the glass in one gulp. Holding it gingerly in his now free hands, he glanced over at the women as noise was made, before nodding.

"...Is that a free pass to get tipsy, then?" As if on queue, he took a drink. "I'll take it if it is."
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Melo
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Melo I am a hedgehog!

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Somehow it hadn’t occurred to Alexander until now that his bags were packed and he was ready to leave, that it was almost the end of the year. It was December 19th; the day he would travel to Orlando and stay there the night. The next day he would get on a boat and forget about life for a while. Then, after he was back, he owed Rosie all his time until new year’s. Alexander would do no more work this year. A realisation that he was only coming to terms with now. It felt like a weight dropping from his shoulders.

However, his teachers did say that a writer never truly stopped working. He reckoned that even in his holiday his mind would wander to fantastical places. To realms beyond the stars where the impossible happened both technologically and magically. Realms where humanity had surpassed all their limits for better or worse. That was the exciting work that came with good dreams. But there was so much other work that he had done this year that he only now acknowledged. He released his first book in what would be a 10-book epic. He was halfway through two other books. And finally, the Frontier 31 movie was going to be released early next year. That had taken a lot of his time this year. But he knew the end result would blow the fans away.

Yes, it had been a good year. And this vacation now was well-deserved, even if he didn’t always fully acknowledge how much it was also simply necessary. It had been a long year.

His train of thought suddenly reached a stop when he heard a bundle of soft footsteps and felt a soft tug on his coat. As he cast his glance downwards, he saw Rosie looking at him with eyes as striking as Camilla’s had been. God, if she didn’t have his hair and nose she would’ve been a carbon copy of her. He swore that she looked more like her every year. Although where Camilla had been bolsterous and energetic, Rosie was more muted and shy. He wondered if that would change with time as well? She was already wearing her coat and carried a small bag of clothes and toiletries.

”Are you ready?” He asked her.

She nodded. ”yes.” She answered simply. Though her expression was uncertain. She would miss him. Still, Alex knew that her grandparents would spoil her so that this would not be much of an issue. He knew that next week she would be dreading to leave them too! And he would just spoil her just as much the week after. Certainly that would restore the balance. He had already promised her as much.

Alex smiled and ruffled her hair. ”Did you remember to pack the presents for your grandparents?” He asked for all certainty, and was answered by another nod. And that affirmation meant they were ready to leave their apartment unoccupied for an entire week.

He drove them to his parents then. He came inside for tea and some small talk for an hour, then it was time for him and Rosie to say their goodbyes with a large hug. Alex made her promise to be nice and take good care of her grandparents, which she said she would. Then he kissed her cheek and tickled the same spot slightly with his beard afterwards. That always made her giggle.

What followed was a ride to the airport, a flight to the sunny south, a text to Rosie that he arrived safely, a text back that she loved him, another text back that he loved her too and finally a rather sleepless night in a hotel. How could Florida be so hot in winter! It was like a cool New York summer day here, and he was sweating bullets because of it. But as he slowly acclimatized to it, he did manage to snore a few hours away.

The distance from the Hotel to the cruise’s terminal was relatively short, and the arrangement he had booked from the hotel even included the ride there. As he arrived, his mind could only barely comprehend the size of the cruise ship. It could fit an entire galactic fleet inside; he was certain. How many people were going on this god damn boat that they needed this much space.

Judging by the line, it was a whole damn lot. But Alex didn’t have to worry about lines. VIP life baby! As he walked by, he noticed a number of faces that seemed to recognize him despite the vacation outfit and oversized sunglasses. Some of these guys probably had a book of his that they’d be reading poolside. He just hoped they didn’t expect him to sign it. Because he wouldn’t. It was his own damn vacation too.

After boarding he was quickly lead to the exclusive upper deck, where he was gathered with the other sixteen VIPs that had booked for this year’s trip. He reckoned this deck could easily fit double the amount of people present, and that included staff. But he had to admit that this place was nice. The view was great, the couches were cosy and the temperature was simply sublime. He wasn’t sure if that made the champagne taste extra good, or if it was simply something so expensive that his uncultured brain couldn’t comprehend it. Despite Alex’s ample wealth, he didn’t usually indulge in such expensive commodities.

Then the hosts introduced themselves, and dropped unto them the many assurances of an amazing vacation. Though the latter half of the talk still made him hesitant. Was this truly a good idea? In a way it felt like he was betraying her memory to even be here. He had wanted to give himself this chance, the possibility to find someone new. But this still felt like jumping into the deep end of things. Like, why hadn’t he tried to take one step at a time? You know, take things slowly.

Of course, the reason was that he’d chicken out otherwise. He was stuck on board here for a week and would do all these activities. He was stuck on a boat with no way out. That was the only way he knew to give love a chance again. Sometimes you needed to blow up your escape route in order to move on. People had loved that scene in Frontier 31.

Perhaps it were the nerves that made the champagne so palpable, then? Yes, that made sense, God damn it. Speed dating, what the fuck. What part of him had thought this was a good idea.

Peering cautiously over his shades he peeked at the others. A varied bunch, surely. A number of females they’d try to match him with; and then a number of males that might prove friend and competition in equal capacity. And then one in particular immediately drew attention to themselves with a small accident. Poor woman. Alexander would likely not fare much better. He rose his second glass at her in sympathy. Thankfully he wasn’t the only one in need of some liquid courage.

”A free pass? I didn’t think we needed one.” He answered the man in black. Odd choice of attire, that. ”And judging by their trays, neither do they.” He looked at the servers, whose trays still held enough glasses for everyone and then some.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Myling
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Myling A clown core enthusiast

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"Are you glad that I will be gone for a while?" There was a big grin on his face and a hint of mischief in his voice. It was actually happening. Tobias was alone in a car with his brother-in-law on his way to a love cruise. Few months ago he wouldn't have believed in nonsense like that. First Tobias previously wasn't able to take care of himself, so how could he have loved and cared for another person? Second of all he tried to avoid being alone with his brother-in-law. They were such different personality types and Toby couldn’t help himself: always when there was an opportunity he tried to provoke Seth. He was so serious and bland normally, that it was fun to see him show some emotion. But Tobias couldn’t do that. After all he had promised his sister to be on good terms with her husband.

"It’s not like you’re moving away. It's just a week, it doesn't change anything", the older man answered with a blank face. Tobias had been living with Tabitha's family for a couple months by now and it was getting on Seth's nerve. Tabitha had a habit of babying her little brother, which Seth didn't agree with. His opinion was that Tobias should just get a new job and move to his own place. Tobias knew he shouldn't be as dependent on his sister as he was. He really needed to move out and getting a new job wasn't a bad idea either. But he was scared. Scared he would get lost in dark thoughts, get devastated from not being able to play violin. At least he was nowadays so occupied that he didn't have time to think about such things.

"I will move when time is right." Tobias really didn’t want to have this conversation right now. After all he was going to a VIP love cruise to relax and have some fun. “Time is never right. You said you would be staying with us for a couple months, but it’s been at least five.” The older man kept a small pause. ”You should get over your hand injury already. You are not the only one in this world who faces misfortunes. You are at the age where people normally start to build families. But not you, you’re too immature for that. I really hope you find someone from that cruise.” Seth sounded pissed, but his voice got more apologizing during the end of sentence.

It was true but not something Tobias wanted, or needed to hear. He murmured in annoyance and faced the window, trying his best to not talk back. Or at least he reassured for himself that he was doing that. He was not going to complain or provoke anyone. However it didn’t take long from Tobias to start provoking his brother-in-law. “Well I might be immature, but not taking care of birth control or getting your kids taken to custody doesn’t sound very mature either, does it?” At that moment Tobias could see steam coming out of Seth’s ears. He was full of anger. Tobias knew he touched a sore point and started to regret his words. Seth had become a father at a young age when he was only eighteen. His girlfriend of that time had a drug addiction and he was the one left to do the childcare all alone. He had to drop out of school. He had a low paying job and he didn’t get any help from his family. In the end his first born daughter ended up in custody.

Seth had all the right reasons to be angry. “Im so sorry. You know I didn’t mean that..” Tobias started but it was too late: Seth wasn’t listening anymore. He drove to the next bus stop and came out of the car. He opened the back truck and started to throw Tobias’ stuff to the ground. Tobias came out of the car as well and couldn’t do anything, he just kept watching how his suitcase opened and his stuff started to flood on the ground. He frightened a little when he saw his expensive violin to drop, but he knew he had no rights to say anything. This was purely caused by him and his words, he just needed to take in all what was coming. Tobias only opened his mouth when he saw Seth going back to the car. “You’re not actually leaving me there!” It didn’t help, he was ignored. Seth started to ride away and Tobias ran behind the car. When he noticed his brother-in-law wouldn’t come back, he stopped running and went back to his luggage.

Firstly Tobias opened his violin case. There were a couple scratches on the violin, but it was mostly in good shape. Then Tobias started to re-pack his suitcase. Almost all the clothes were now dirty, but it was the smallest of his problems. What the hell was he now going to do? He had asked all his friends to drive him to the cruise terminal, but Seth was the only one he could get to give him a ride. His phone’s battery was dead and all taxes just kept driving past him. This was just his typical luck. Should he just try to hitchhike? At least he had some what fancy clothes. If he had his regular old band tee and ripped jeans maybe he would be mistaken for a homeless person. But did he really want to try hitchhiking? No, not really. At least for now he would try to walk to the terminal. There wasn’t too much time left but maybe he would be able to make it.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Metztli
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Metztli ___________

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P O R T C A N A V E R A L , F L O R I D A
P O R T C A N A V E R A L , F L O R I D A


To say the least, the past week had been downright shitty. Earlier in the week, Gabriel had had an interview with Alternative Press that had turned south rather quickly. The Interviewer, a man close to his age, began the session like any other. He asked Gabriel about the band, the direction they were heading, the next upcoming album and tour, and how he was doing. Everything seemed like a typical interview with the second-largest musician magazine. Gabriel's assistant, Cole, had informed him that the magazine would be sponsoring their next tour in Europe, their most extensive tour yet. Naturally, Gabriel put on his best leather jacket and tucked in his shirt. With a smile on his face, Gabriel answered without a problem. He needed to get his act together. Get back into the groove of things for his band and his lively hood.

Of course, that didn't last very long. The questions took a personal turn after the man asked Gabriel about his love life. Gabriel, being the good professional man he was, answered every question with a wavering smile on his face. These people just wanted any kinds of crumbs thrown their way—anything to get a glimpse of Gabriel's private life. The tiniest detail would send tabloids wild. Always waiting for any slip-up, any cracks, anything.

Who was his daughter's mother? Were they still together? Why was Gabriel so private about his personal life? Did his band member know his daughter? Why was Gabriel never seen around women? Was he gay? Bisexual? Was his lack of motivation the reason the band was falling apart?

Gabriel had handled every question with questionable tolerance. A few more minutes and the interview would be over. A few more minutes, and he could go home, plop down on his couch and get high. This was nothing he hadn't handled in the past! Gabriel had this under control. Easy peasy, as they say. This man was just another nosy interviewer trying to milk any details they could. Unfortunately, the man asked his last question.

Who is Daniel?

Every bone in Gabriel's body tensed up, hearing that. His face paled, and his fingers gripped the hem of his leather jacket. One little question, one mention of that name, and he was back there. Gabriel could feel those cold hands on the back of his neck, over his chest, over his mouth, slowly suffocating him. Pulling the life out of him insult after insult; you after beating. He could hear his assistant, somewhere to his right, call his name. An argument broke out around Gabriel, but all he could do was stare at the man's growing smirk on his face.

He knew. He fucking knew.

Without a hint of hesitation, he stood and walked over to the man. Gabriel doesn't remember what he said; all he remembered was punching the man square on the nose. After that, well, the tabloids already covered that.



Gabriel looked down at the magazine cover his assistant had handed him while in the limo.

"Looks like someone took the covers instead of you." Cole snorted as he pulled out his phone from his bag. Gabriel's assistant was a muscled man with large blue eyes and dirty blond hair. He had an aurora around him that screamed, "don't fuck with me."

"Most of the covers." Gabriel corrected, eyes trained on Lily Reigan wearing some wedding dress. Smart woman. Using the vultures as free publicity. "Rather her than a picture of me punching that fucking guy." Although most of the biggest tabloids had spared the cover for Ms. Reigan, he had still trended alongside her on Twitter. He discarded the magazine and pulled on his favorite leather jacket.

"Maybe you should thank her and her team." Cole mused with a smile, glancing up at Gabriel. "A fruit basket would be nice. Add some wine and a merch shirt."

Gabriel rolled his eyes at his assistant. Haha, funny,Gabriel thought but kept his sarcastic thought to himself. They were nearing the drop off zone for the cruise, and just the thought of being out on the sea for the next week made Gabriel feel like jelly. He'd miss his daughter, but even if he stayed, he wouldn't be able to spend Christmas with her. He had promised Marisol to FaceTime her every day before bed and send him pictures of the sea every time he could; in exchange, she would send him all sorts of pictures. He expected dog pictures with ugly sweaters and a photo or two of Marisol's mother cooking. While they had been separated for almost six years now, both of them continued to have a good relationship. He was glad Marisol had been spared from a messy divorce.

"We're here." Cole interrupted Gabriel's thought as he climbed out of the limo. He allowed the cruise staff to gather the luggage from the trunk while he turned to face Gabriel as he climbed out. "Remember, have fun, don't think about what happened these past days, stay away from Twitter, and for the love of God, don't fall into your bad habits."

"Anything else, mother?" Gabriel flashed Cole a smile. He didn't was him to worry and make a fuzz. Knowing Cole, he would probably be glued to his phone, refreshing his messages and DMs in case Gabriel slipped up or sent a message his way. "You relax and spend the week away from your phone. Pay attention to your spouse. They will kill me, you know how Ale gets when they don't get enough attention from you." Gabriel squeezed Cole's shoulder; besides them, the staff was already taking the luggage into the ship.

"See you in a week," Gabriel turned on his heels and slipped on his Cartier sunglasses. A staff member greeted him by the VIP gate with a smile, all the while people from the other lines looked his way. He heard his name and a quick flash of lights shortly after. Great. Gabriel turned to wave as more people recognized him. He took a selfie here and there while moving up the line. He could tell that the staff member was getting tired of waiting around for Gabriel, so he took the last selfie and hurried up the line. Luckily, none of the people had asked about the interview.

Once in the VIP deck, Gabriel gave a once over the people there along with their attire. Well, it looked like he would have to follow Cole's advice and thank a certain someone for sparing him the tabloid covers. That would have to wait, at least until they got to the speed dating. Was that really what they were doing? Seriously, speed dating? Oh right, this was supposed to be some kind of matchmaking cruise for the rich, something that Gabriel had completely forgotten. Whatever, it wasn't like he would actually try to search for someone. He was not. Gabriel still had too much shit going on in his life to involve someone else. Not only that, but it seemed like someone else was trying to slither back in.

Gabriel declined the champagne when a waiter offered the tray and asked for apple cider instead. He glanced over to the many faces, some he recognized and others he did not and wondered how Gabriel would fare with them. He would at least try to stay sober for the next week- hopefully. Just thinking about it made him want to dig into his pocket and pull out the small bottle of blue pills.

"Relax, you got this. One week." Gabriel whispered to himself as he drank from the flute, hand already shaking. Great.

Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Komo
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Komo Chill vibes MKII

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The familiar tune of Astronomia sounded suddenly in the silence of Rachel Kim's bedroom, causing her to groan as she was so rudely awakened by the ringing of her phone so early in the morning. There was no need for her to check her phone to find the identity of the caller. She had so aptly chosen the music not long after the meme of the coffin dancers became a viral sensation, given that her parents visit was never something that came without any fuss, especially if her mother was involved. Groping around for her phone on her bedside table, she briefly answered it to the sound of her mother's voice. "We'll be there in 15 minutes."

Without saying another word, she hung up, leaving her daughter to fumble for herself as she pulled herself awake. A brief thought of annoyance of could possibly be the visit about this time was promptly brushed aside as realization dawned onto her. Today was the day of the cruise. The Speed Dating cruise holiday aboard the SS Astarte. Her parents had made plans to ensure that she didn't forget to go to the cruise, her mother even going so far as to come to her apartment to prepare a home-cooked breakfast before they departed together for the cruise. Not long after she finished washing up and getting dressed, her parents arrived, right on the dot of the fifteen minutes announced her mother. As soon as she opened the door, her mother brushed through her and made a beeline for the kitchen, carrying bags of cooking ingredients on the counter as she began to whip up a storm. Her father soon followed with the calm and leisurely pace he so known for, greeting his daughter with a smile. The father and daughter pair sat themselves down in the sofa in the living area while they waited for her breakfast to be ready. "I hope you find someone good on the cruise. Someone you like that appeals to you. Just be yourself."

Rachel didn't exactly knew how to respond to that. She managed with a "We'll see." "You've got to make an effort to put yourself out there if you don't want to end up all alone in your old age. Give it a good honest try. Who knows, this might actually work out when there's no where to go, and no where to hide when you're stranded with other like minded folks on a ship out at sea." "I'll give it a shot. No promises though." Her words came with a sense of caution in case her parents read too much into this and were already starting to count their chickens before they were hatched. "Your mother and I just want you to take this trip optimistically and put in a good effort to make this work. If it doesn't work, then at least we've tried." There came her father's pet phrase again. She'd grown up listening to him saying that over and over again, and Rachel knew that he was fully serious and committed whenever he used those words. Their conversation was interrupted by the announcement that her breakfast was ready and Rachel found herself treated to a Korean home-cooked breakfast spread. Her mother's special Korean Street Toast and Jeon Vegetable Pancake which consisted of Squash and Zucchini fried a lovely golden brown was present like always.

The staple was in the form of a Korean Kimchi Rice bowl filled with freshly cooked bacon strips and a fried egg. The breakfast was a heavy one, but being a hearty eater, Rachel had no problems finishing all of it. After consuming her hearty breakfast, Rachel went to get dressed, and emerged in a simple black top and faded denim shorts along with a light flannel dark green and red oversized shirt and black boots. Pulling her luggage along with her, the trio left her apartment and began the trip to the cruise terminal. Anxiety began to build up and bubble within her as the cruise came into sight as they arrived the terminal. Hugging her parents and waving them farewell, Rachel began to make her way to the VIP line, bypassing many of the others who stood in the regular queue. Despite her popularity, her fame was no where compared to the more famous actresses and models. She was an athlete and athletes don't really get associated with the same these big entertainers get unless they were really big and world-famous. As she boarded the cruise, the staff promptly assisted with her luggage and led her to the exclusive upper deck where a small crowd of the other dating participants for United at Heart were already present.

Rachel could feel eyes on her as she approached the group, and she wondered to herself if there was any other athletes in the group. She didn't seem to recognize any, and there was certainly no other snowboarder present, or any other winter athlete present that she could see. She was totally out of her element here, let alone her comfort zone and she began to feel self consciously under dressed as she glanced the others present beside her. A small consolation was that there were a couple of others that weren't so formally dressed.

Declining the offer for a champagne as she was offered one, she opted for an apple cider instead, opting to keep her head free of any alcoholic intoxication. She needed her wits about her if she was going to make something good come out of this.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Fever Dream
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Fever Dream

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Sophie sat cross-legged on one of the barstools on the far end of the bar. She was quietly sipping on her Long Island, not necessarily paying any mind to the other patrons around her. Her attention was instead directed at the TV right above one of the bartenders. On it, they had a hockey game which coincidentally enough was showing a match between the Lightning and the Rangers, the latter being her home team. Sophie was currently a season ticket owner, going to most of the games with her friends and enjoying herself having a good time. There was much to do at the games: drink, eat, witness a fight or two, win a free t-shirt, yell at the referees, etc. It was an experience that extended past watching the actual match.

“You seem to be into the game.”

She smiled at the bartender in return, gazing over at him. “I enjoy the sport.”

“Not so common around here.”

“Well, I’m not from around here.”

“I figured, given the accent and all.”

“Well, I live in New York actually.”

His face dropped, the gesture an exaggerated one. “Oh no, you’re a Rangers fan.”

“Yep!” she replied smugly, sipping on her drink. “Tampa doesn’t stand a chance tonight, how sad…”

“It’s still early in the game, don’t count them out just yet,” he added matter-of-factly as he simultaneously began to wipe the counter adjacent to her. “They can make a comeback unlike the guys down south.”

“Oh, I know they're good, they’re just unlikely to take the lead against us.”

Their back and forth banter went on for roughly another minute or so before he had to get back to work. The bar was busy that evening, but that was the case with the rest of the resort. She was currently in CityWalk, in a bar just outside Universal Studios. They had a lot to do there…bars, restaurants, a movie theatre, and even a karaoke place with a big stage and a live band playing behind whichever unfortunate soul had signed up to get on and sing. Sophie had stopped by the karaoke place for a minute before heading to the bar, but she wasn’t feeling it, not without her friends there to push her into making a fool out of herself. She ended up in the resort because she figured she might as well enjoy her evening before boarding the cruise instead of spending it in her hotel room watching a movie. Besides, she’d never visited Orlando, and after a 5-minute Google search she found out they had a pretty good nightlife in the resort.

She took another sip of her drink in time to watch the opposing team score, and she shook her head. They were still down by one, so she wasn’t sweating it. Sophie continued to enjoy the game, making casual conversation with someone who just happened to sit right next to her. A man named Erick was nice enough to buy her a drink, and she ordered something a little less strong as she was very well on her way to being drunk. They socialized, for a bit, but not too long. Eventually, the game ended and it was only a little while before Erick left as well. Sophie was surprised, though in a good way. She could say from experience that it was almost always the case for a free drink to come with certain expectations. However, sometimes, like it was the case here, a stranger did something kind for another stranger just for the sake of it.

The time in the clock on the wall read 11:09 pm. Sophie reached into her purse for some cash to leave as a tip. It wasn't too late, but she was ready to go lie down and after closing her tap, she made her way outside. The cool evening breeze felt nice, though had she been back home in New York, she wouldn’t be able to wear the dress she currently had on. Sophie followed a small group who appeared to be heading in the general direction of the exit. She was scrolling through her phone, unaware of her surroundings when she felt someone walking extremely close to her.


It was the bartender from earlier. According to him, he had covered for his friend a couple of hours before his own shift started and therefore he had gotten off early. The two started talking as they walked, first about sports, then switching back and forth between random topics. It didn’t take long for them to reach a nearly empty garage. The space was massive, and she could only imagine the insane amount of cars populating it during the day.

“Well, it was nice meeting you.” Sophie smiled, saying her goodbyes. By then, she was more than ready to get to bed, so she didn't carry on with a conversation nor did she give him the chance to ask any questions.

The following morning, Sophie was feeling less than stellar. Not so much from a hangover but a headache that appeared out of the blue. She took her time getting ready and packing up the few belongings she had out of her bag. Hope you enjoy your week! That was the message her grandfather had just sent her. He was the one who had surprised her with the cruise, and she made a mental note to get him a thank you gift some time after she returned home. After reading over a couple of other messages, Sophie scanned her room one last time before gathering her bags and walking out. It'd be roughly an hour before she arrived down at the port, but she could just sit back and listen to music on the way. Downstairs, Sophie caught one of cabs waiting just outside the lobby. The driver went ahead and placed her bags in the trunk while she made herself comfortable, slipping on her sunglasses.

"To Port Canaveral, please"

The ride there was uneventful. She had been looking out the window then, her head leaning against it when she noticed they passed some guy walking by on the side of the road, and he appeared to be heading in the same general direction as her. Sophie sat up straight, wondering who in their right mind would walk such distance. "Stop the car!" The driver looked at her through the rearview mirror as if she were crazy, but he nonetheless did as she asked. Once the vehicle had come to a complete stop, Sophie opened the door and stepped halfway out. "Hey, do you need a ride to the port?"
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by XAnth
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XAnth A wise man's fear

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The day was here.

And so much sooner than he would ever be ready for. It was such an odd thing, this feeling he had been cultivating in himself, and he found it to be an interesting new kind of obstacle to deal with. He has always been that kind of idiot; the one that rushes head first into everything.

Especially if it was a new experience.

Something was so very different about what he was about to be apart of for the next week AND there wasn't any hope of turning back once he started. Elaine, Miss Dawn as the rest of the folk around the office knew her, had truly meant well in signing him up for this. She had never, EVER, lead him astray even in her most far fetched of ideas. This one, though, seemed one of her most abstract and he would be the only one to suffer should it be the one to finally fail. She had been so adamant, though, that he needed to take this "trip" and try to find someone for himself. She went on and on about how he was spiraling and she didn't know what to do to help him. So, her solution was acquiring the tickets... on the company card, HIS company card, and shipping him on the proverbial love boat for a week.

He sat up in bed still in disbelief of what was about to happen. The room he had been in the past twelve or so hours had already been altered to fit the needs of several Zoom meetings with his coworkers. There was at least one extremely important meeting he had already missed in his travels, Elaine went as a proxy, and he would miss AT LEAST one other before he could make it back. Now was not a particularly good time for him to be missing meetings, either. There had been an attempted take over in the last year by another one of the countries top hardware producers and it had nearly been successful. The truth was that it had shaken some of the foundations of UltraLite and the future of the company was as uncertain as it had been since it's inception. All of this was one of the largest problems he had with taking the trip at all but Emily was one of his closest friends so he agreed to humor her as long as she would continue to act as his proxy.

He grumbled past the momentary grogginess he felt, he had always been something of a morning person, and started to get ready. He was so grateful for Elaine. The only way anything... of this nature would ever work for him would be if someone was behind him lining up all of the logistics. He had his friends had been able to get away for many, many weekends but he would just cram some shit in a bag and walk out the front door. It didn't take thought to have fun, especially in the right company. He wouldn't dare show up in his ratty weekend wear, as Elaina so lovingly put it, and she had made sure he never had the chance to do so even should he feel so inclined. She actually threated to burn his clothing and send him nude should he even try...

It took him a comically long time to decide which might be worse.

His second day in transit, after burning one day for good measure, he had checked through what she had packed him and her judgment had been more than sound. She had gone against some of what she had said she would do and packed him some slightly dressier wear but allot of what he saw among the luggage was casual to the t.

to the tee*

He lined up his luggage and called down to have someone take it to his taxi as it would be arriving soon. He would have gladly taken it himself, he was all about stimulating the economy but he hated being waited on, but he had to squeeze one more meeting in before the taxi came. A quick "call to arms" for some of his immediate partners. Now was a time the company was going to need to band together if they wanted to protect their current way of life. Most of them were at the top in their world and they were going to have to show just how badly they wanted it.

The meeting devolved into stores of "better times" a distinct sign he had bene in the industry too long and he was rescued by the phone in his room ringing. The taxi had arrived and his effects had been loaded. Oliver bid his comrades a hasty farewell then grabbed what few personal possessions he had left and hurried down to his last land bound ride of the week. The taxi driver was a kindly older man and was obviously paid well because he didn't utter a solitary syllable to Oliver on the ride to the dock. It was a dear silence leading up to this event that was having such an unpredicted effect on him. He would have never guessed that doing this would fill him with so much... anxiety. He wasn't even used to identifying that within himself; it had been quite some time.

He was able to send out a few "vital" emails and message Elaina before arrival.

OLIVER - Almost on the boat... thanks allot...

ELAINA - You'll thank me once it's all over. Please just try it, Ollie?

OLIVER - You know the only reason I'd ever do this is for you, yeah? My guts are in my throat right now...!

ELAINA - Aw! That's so sweet! Getting butterflies in your stomach on the first day? I should screenshot this for later.

OLIVER - So kind and caring you are... I'll message you once I get settled in. At least I can get some sleep.

ELAINA - Be safe~!

He thrust his phone in his pocket and shook his head a few times in mock severity.

"...I'm not sure if I'm paying her too much or too little... little shit..."

He grinned and stepped out of the car. That grin was immediately wiped away as he was the boat and the line of people trying to board it. He knew he had a VIP pass and could simply walk aboard but he hadn't quite understood the scope of what Elaine had gotten him in to until now.

This wasn't a weekend out with the boys... not even close.

His bags were immediately taken up to the ship and he walked wide eyed up the VIP path. He could hear a large variety of murmurs in the line leading to the ship and what the passengers talked about ran the gambit. What he could make out pertained to some of the VIPs being actually celebrities and that made his guts turn ever so slightly. Just because he had money didn't mean he had ever... EVER rubbed elbows with celebrities. Where would he have found the time to even try? Now all he could think about was who had already arrived ahead of him. Would he know any of them? He spent basically zero time following what most would consider main stream celebrities and he doubted any of the ones he DID follow would be present. His mind began teeming with the possibilities and he walked, largely unnoticed, to the breath taking meeting area.

He was almost too preoccupied to see what was around him, almost. He grinned widely despite his nerves and took in the view a moment. Not long after he, and the other VIP members he had yet to identify, were addressed by some staff members he assumed were their hosts. As they spoke a waiter made his way swiftly up to Oliver and offered him something fluted and bubbly. He put up an absentminded hand and shook his head quickly.

"No... Thank you. May I have a water...?"

His voice was hoarse and it betrayed his composure. He didn't much get a chance to try and hide his slip up when one of the ladies present seemed to have taken a fall. Her retort was classic and he couldn't help but chuckle. It put him at ease, if only a very small bit, to see some kind of humor from the guests around him. He had been so relieved, and somewhat entertained, to see the spectacle that he had totally forgotten to properly freak the hell out about speed dating...


And instead opted to take a thorough look around at the other hopefuls that had decided to take the leap. His current company ran quite the spectrum and none too many of them were recognizable to hi,. thankfully, and then he saw Alex.

Alexander Fucking Vandenberg...

Oliver had read everything the guy had written and followed every bread crumb he or his publishing house would drop to his fans. As it stood right now, Oliver would stab a stranger in the face to see Frontier 31. He had already planned to so some serious monetary flexing when the premier came close so he could see it as early as humanly possible. The dude was a legend in Oliver's world and he turned promptly away from everyone to hide the growing look of excitement on his face.

What was he here for again? It certainly wasn't to meet one of his all time favorite authors!

His water was brought to him promptly and he gulped it down a bit too fast.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Bee
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Bee resident makoto niijima stan

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Was it weird to say that Allison was totally out of her element here? No, no it wasn't. Not at all, especially when you've spent the past few years of your life in a hospital walking around underneath the bright lights and tile flooring, walking the same floors over and over again hoping that something different would happen for a change and that someone was feeling better. Where the only interaction that you've ever had was with patients that hardly ever stayed around longer than a few months at a time. There were her colleagues as well, the fellow doctors and nurses that she had to work with on a daily basis.

They weren't exactly the most socially literate people, but that was what happened when medical school and their pursuit of a career in the medical field sucked people in. People hardly ever had time to develop socially, because they were so busy developing their brains and filling it with as much information as possible. It was probably why all the doctors on Grey's Anatomy always had so drama - because they would often come out of med school with the emotional maturity of a teenager (also partially because the writers have no idea what the fuck they're doing whatsoever but that's a story and a rant for a later time).

Needless to say, based on her interactions with all the doctors at Johns Hopkins, she decided she didn't want to date, especially not a doctor there. They were so busy sucking their own egos off that they often failed to see just how arrogant they were and just how far up their own asses they were. Allison didn't know how Meredith Grey pulled it off with Derek Shepherd.

That was why Dr. Bentley-Song was about to board this cruise ship. She needed some time out of the rather suffocating hospital environment, ironic given just how many ventilators and oxygen tanks were in that hospital. Everyone could use a break, especially doctors these days. She was aware of just how ragged she was going to be run, but nothing could prepare her for the true extent of stress, pressure, and weight on her shoulders that she carried with her. Allison was even starting to doubt if this vacation was even going to work and allow her to decompress and relax a bit, not when she had patients to think about and check up on while she was on this vacation. However, it was something that her doctor colleagues recommended that she do. A part of her was thinking that she was being set up for something else and giving everyone else an opportunity to encroach on her territory. But, she knew none of those doctors had anything on her skill and prowess.

With that being said, someone had still had to watch her patients. She couldn't be in multiple places at once, and since she was down here in Port Canaveral, about a thousand miles away from her hospital - she had to get someone to cover her patients while she was trying to get some admittedly much needed R&R. Allison was stood against a railing nearby the boarding, checking her phone for last minute emails. Much of it was just some staff memos about making sure they were up-to-date with protocols and that they weren't using the on-call rooms for some extracurricular activities. Not like Allison needed to pay that any mind. Besides, the on-call rooms weren't exactly the best place for extracurricular activities anyway. Were people really that desperate to do that in a place like that? Allison may have understood people, but she didn't understand why people did the things that they did.

Pulling her phone up, she dialed the number of one of her most trusted colleagues, one of her fellow residents who she had asked to cover her patients while she was gone, in exchange for the same sentiment when her colleague would take a break themselves. "Hey Penelope, have you been making sure to keep an eye on Robert Winchester's potassium levels? If they dip any lower it may be a sign of something much worse. I did put in a request for a tox lab shortly before I left, so keep an eye out for that too. If anything changes significantly or anyone goes south, call me." Allison said, before hearing some more voices from her phone, "That's a tall order, Penelope." Allison glanced at the ship, before back at the Atlantic Sea in front of her, "But I'll try."

With that, Allison hung up and started making her way to the boat. Hopefully this trip would go smoothly -- Allison didn't want to receive a call or a text in the middle of the night with some news she didn't want to hear. Before Allison left, she made sure that her patients were in good hands and were at least in a state where they were able to be transferred away from her temporarily. It was the only way Allison would even fathom leaving the hospital with so many patients under her belt. She knew they were in good hands, but there was always that underlying anxiety in her that something was going to go wrong, especially since someone else was calling the shots for her patients now.

Hopefully that anxiety would melt away on the ship. Allison had no desire to waste a vacation she so desperately needed, but it was hard to shed herself of the obligations she had back in Maryland. Somehow, Allison had secured a VIP pass for this cruise. She had no idea how these strings were pulled but she wasn't going to question it. It wasn't like she hadn't received a few favors before, especially being the daughter of two very prolific wrestlers. Allison figured it was her moms' doing somehow, which explained all the murmuring as she walked up the VIP aisle to board the ship. Keeping a hand on her bag, she could feel some stares bearing down on her as she made her way to the top of the stairs.

Greeting the people who helmed the VIP section, Allison smiled softly and nodded as she made her way to the actual deck. Upon stepping onto the deck, Allison soon realized why exactly there was so much hubbub about the guests and whoever walked up the VIP line. Allison didn't have to know much about these people to know what they were about. Somehow, she felt the same exact way she did around her doctor colleagues. Allison pulled a glass of champagne off a platter and took a sip, before posting up against a chair.

This time, she knew they weren't competition. Who knew what was in store for this cruise?

Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Fabricant451
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Fabricant451 Wild Hearts Never Die

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Kimmy Tran was temporarily grounded from most commercial airliners - though not internationally, thankfully, for all those international flights she was totally going to be taking in her life - which made her options for getting to Florida a bit limited and, admittedly, much more exciting. There was something so sterile about taking a plane. Sure, it was fast, but people tended to look at you weird when you spent the entire flight talking to them when all they did in respond was smile, nod, and look disinterested. The incident that got Kimmy grounded was totally not her fault; she had been on a first class flight to Las Vegas where she would no doubt dominate the poker tournament again when the flight attendant made the mistake of telling her 'anything you want is our pleasure to bring you'. How was she supposed to know that saying 'I want you and the tall Superman looking dude to be the bread in a me sandwich' was not covered in the 'anything you want' policy? In her defense, she was about five drinks in, but airlines take harassments very seriously, as Kimmy found out the hard way.

So after the disastrous flight and spending an uncomfortably long time in the back offices of McLaren only to have other flight attendants and pilots mention 'the loud drunk woman', there was an unprecedented agreement between major airlines to ban her for a year. Her second defense, after the 'being five drinks in' card didn't work was somehow an even worse call of "Hey, can't you see it for the compliment it is? You have hot flight attendants and pilots." Delta upped it to two years for that, but she only used them as a last resort anyway. The timing, of course, couldn't have come at a worse time given she was due in Florida in the near future and there was no way her mother or brother would be willing to road trip with her and Kimmy wouldn't wish that hell on anyone, let alone herself.

But mistakes have a way of working out and while she was sure the self important rich people that no doubt made up the VIP cruise that she was also signed up for were the types to show up in first class chartered flights or stretch limos or whatever didn't allow them to smell their own smugness, Kimmy made the journey to Florida in the most interesting way possible: Greyhound bus. Good ol' private public transportation! She spent a good six hour stretch of the trip talking to a senior who had pictures of her grandkids while Kimmy passed off pictures of Asian celebrities as her own relatives. It started as a joke but Cloris believed her and now Kimmy had to promise to tell Daniel Dae Kim that Cloris from Cleveland says hello.

Cloris departed in Atlantic City, where all roads eventually led if you were either old or a gambling addict unable to make it to Vegas or just way into Bruce Springsteen. Of course, Atlantic City happened to be where a transfer for the final leg of the trip happened which meant Kimmy had a good three hours to kill. The first hour she enjoyed a nice, overly greasy bacon burger with slightly overdone onion rings and a chocolate malt that she was able to put a little Irish in, and then by hour two she had the Blackjack table at Bally's hanging on her every word, laughing like she was the funniest woman in the world. She damn near might have been in that gloriously brief flash of time. By the time she was back on a bus, she was six thousand dollars up from when she started. The casino didn't let her put it in singles no matter how many times she told them she wanted to make it rain on some socialites who probably wipe their ass or their coke nose with twenties anyway.

Some people just didn't understand Kimmy's vibe.

Unfortunately there wasn't a Cloris on the trip from Jersey to Florida, and Kimmy fell asleep and woke up in time to hear the driver announce the final stretch of the journey and for her to turn on her music and look out the window as the port was in sights. A smile crept across her face as she turned up her music. "If my life was a movie, this would be the opening credits, man." Kimmy said to no one in particular as she imagined the camera pulling out as her song of choice played while her name splashed across the middle of the screen.

Yeah, just like that.

Kimmy Tran stepped off the bus, stretched her arms over her head, and got her bags from storage and debated if she should tip the bus driver before ultimately settling on giving him a cool thousand from the six she won before he told her he couldn't accept it, gave it back, and she shrugged her shoulders and proceeded on her way towards the harbor or pier or whatveer it was where people were lined up to get on a boat. To an outsider, Kimmy looked really no different from a random tourist. She had on an oversized novelty shirt that had a humorously crude saying on it, shorts, and flip flops and, to top it all off, sunglasses that weren't exactly novelty size but that were clearly bigger than what would be a fitted size of glasses for her, and a bucket hat to tie it all together. Kimmy Tran was ready for love. And to party. Probably more of the latter.

When the VIP boarding was started, Kimmy pushed her way forward, hearing some of the regular passengers expressing their shock and doubt as she handed over her ticket and was granted passage. It took every ounce of willpower for her not to stand at the top of the boarding ramp, turn to the boarders, and tell them to suck it. The only reason she didn't is because she figured if none of the fancy schmancy types were in with her vibe, then there had to be some of the normies who would be totally down to bag it with a stranger. What happens on the ocean causes a commotion, or whatever.

At a glance, none of the people on the VIP deck was anyone she had heard of enough to recognize on sight - she half expected to find some big name actor or someone but they just looked like people who had assistants and appointment books and lame shit like that. Kimmy didn't hesitate to grab a drink - even before some unfortunate person put attention on her for being a Clumsy Carol. In fact, Kimmy took two drinks. It was a cruise, right? A party? A shindig. But before speed dating was gonna happen, Kimmy had to know something.

"Hey, Sam and Diane," Kimmy was speaking, loud enough to carry from her position on one of the lounge chairs, double fisting champagne flutes, to the staffers Maggie and Jack. "Are you two on the list of potential slam dancers or are you two a thing? Because if you are and you're ever looking for some spice, I'm down for being number three in that combo meal." With that, Kimmy downed one glass of champagne like it was water.

"When can I get, like, a mai tai or a sex on the beach. Or a sex on the deck of a boat, if you know what I mean. Hey-o!"

If no one else was, at least Kimmy Tran was gonna have a good time.

Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Melo
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Melo I am a hedgehog!

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Following the announcement of the break was silence primarily. A few people made commentary on the small accident that happened in the back of the room with Diana and one of the servers. But when the most notable interaction was between a lady and a server, a host knew they had to step in. This was nothing out of the ordinary. Every year had the same kind of people: Rich and eager, but completely clueless what to do when the moment was actually there. Others were just so socially awkward they needed a lot of help, or drink, to actually get going. Also, the words “speed dating” often did send them into a panic. The knowledge that you suddenly had to impress one-on-one to a potentially romantic mate did something with one’s mind. Regardless of how many millions you had on your bank. Especially when most of these people only had social interactions with their secretary,

Two minutes of silence were not a worry for them. They’d come around. Jack and Maggie were not concerned about that in the least. But perhaps they needed one additional ice breaker. After all, it was difficult to talk when you didn’t have any idea what to talk about. Everyone just needed that conversation starter in order to start making friends. Something like-

Something like Kimmy Tran, gambler extraordinaire, apparently. Although, it would’ve been nice if she had at least remembered their names.

Luckily for the duo, this wasn’t their first rodeo. Far from it. Though even amongst the things they had heard and seen in the bizz, this one did rank pretty highly. Enough to make Maggie’s eyes pop slightly as she stifled her laughter. But it was Jack that answered first. “Oh Kimmy. The only list we are on is UaH’s payroll. But I don’t think we would be for long if we engaged in such... antics... with our customers.” He answered humorously.

Maggie, in tandem, looked at one of the servers. “You heard the woman. Get her her cocktails.” And the server elegantly glided through the exit and into the bar where they prepared these drinks. That would take maybe a minute or two.

“And we’re not an item. Though, neither of our spouses have sea legs, if you catch my meaning.” Jack told her. And that was as much of a peek she’d get into either of their private lives for now. That said, Kimmy didn’t seem the type that was interested in sharing family pictures.

To the rest of the passengers, they had another message. "We understand that some of you may have reservations talking to one another, but I can say with certainty that you are all here for the same reasons. To find that special someone you're looking for, you need to put yourself out there!" If they didn’t, it would just be one expensive holiday.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Melo
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Alexander Vandenberg knew he would be here many weeks in advance. Yet now, in the moment, he was caught up in a simple question: what the flying fuck do I do now? Sure, he was surrounded by a bunch of single ladies and gentlemen and was given free license to mingle to his heart’s content until the actual event started. Yes, it was a good way to make a few friends before jumping into the thick of things. But where should he even start? He knew diddly about these people… but that was kind of the point of this entire exercise, wasn’t it? To get to know the other people caught up in this maritime endeavour.

However, when he looked around he realised that there were a few people he recognized. It was not unexpected. This cruise served many rich and potentially famous people. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise him if somebody recognized him here. But he certainly wasn’t the greatest attractor of the common folk’s limelight. In fact, one of them had even made headlines this morning, Although Alexander had little interest in the daily tabloid gossip, it was difficult to not at least notice the imagery. And that knowledge told him enough to know that he had to be cautious in the presence of a type like Lilianna Reigan. Even association might drag his name through the mud if he wasn’t careful.

Alexander was not the type to believe that that was no such thing like bad publicity.

The other person he recognized was Aries. Alexander didn’t really know his name, as he didn’t really follow the band he sung in actively, but he had heard his music before. Alex listened to many different types of music, as a way to set the mood when he sat down for those long writing sessions. The band Fourdust did appear in his playlists a few times. He wondered if their next album was coming out anytime soon.

But then Alexander got his icebreaker. And the ice wasn’t simply broken, it was subatomically obliterated. It certainly was good to see that someone did have the courage to speak up, though the subject matter was perhaps not really what Alex deemed interesting. Though she did have a good sense of humour. It was a joke… right? The longer she went on, the more uncertain he became. At the very least it caused him to have a good, if a little loud, laugh.

For some reason she reminded him of good ol’ Captain Dundley from Chandler’s cosmic hike (his reasonably well-received attempt at a mix between hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy, star wars and alice in wonderland). An old spacefaring captain whose one purpose in life is to find the moon made out of cheese; and believes all other moons are simply, in his words, phony impostors. Yet despite his eratic nature, Dundley somehow gets all the men and ladies.

Alexander wasn’t sure if that was the character from his books he’d have elected to have come to life in some way. But here he was, and that was what he’d have to contend with for a week. At least it might provide interesting research for the yet untitled sequel that he had planned.

After he caught his breath, he stood up and walked to get a new drink from a server. Water. He could’ve waved him over, but this gave him a good excuse to get off his arse and actually move around a little. And it meant he could move closer to someone else to have a talk with. After all, it was probably a good idea to at least get to know some names. Plus, he could at least try to humour their hosts.

Not wanting to engage with someone either too famous or too crazy, he elected to approach someone a little more normal-looking. He didn’t know his name. But later he’d undoubtedly learn that he was called Oliver.

”That… wasn’t quite what I was expecting from a luxury cruise.” He said with chuckle as his head motioned towards where the conversation with the hosts had taken place, on the other side of the room. Perhaps not the smoothest way to start a conversation. But he couldn’t really think of something better in the moment. ”I’m Alexander. What’s your name?”

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Sorcha could hear someone talking around her. Their voice was distant and muffled as if she was submerged underwater. Words were being spoken quietly at her, like a whisper in the middle of the night during a sleepover. In front of her, she could see the familiar pages of her notebook opened to a blank page staring at her. Lost. She was lost in the lines of the page. They reached out towards her, wrapping themselves around Sorcha, trying to bring her into the page.

"Miss." Sorcha looked up from her notebook, dark eyes looking past the person in front of her. "Miss O'Sullivan, your drink."

"What?" Her eyes finally focused on the glass of martini on the tray that had been presented to her. "Ah, I spaced out, sorry about that, hun." She placed her pen down and reach for the glass with her left hand. She thanked the young woman with a smile and turned her attention back to the black pages. They continued to stare back at her until she had drunk half of the martini.

With a sigh, Sorcha forced herself to close the notebook and look up at the hosts of the cruise. Jack and Maggie were their names. She had been one of the first guests to arrive on the cruise. With no one to talk to, Sorcha had taken the free time to brainstorm any ideas into paper. Anything that popped into mind, she usually wrote in quickly capitalized letters. Her notes mostly consisted of random bullet points with no sense of real direction. To anyone, they would just be weird ramblings- to Sorcha; they were the bones of her films.

They had been the bones of her films.

Time had escaped her. The V.I.P. deck now seemed full of all sorts of mismatched people all looking for something. She looked at every one of them with critical eyes, separating those who looked comfortable enough to stand there and those who were itching to get away—the mention of speed dating only bringing the latter group more reason to flee. For Sorcha, speed dating was a walk in the park. She wasn't afraid of interacting with new people. In fact, she enjoyed it. Something about talking to strangers she might end up banging the next few days was exciting enough for her.

"Don't know, slam dancing sounds fun. The more, the merrier, right?" Sorcha stood up from the lounge chair she had been sitting, notebook forgotten in her bag. She shot the woman with the "boner donor" shirt a wink before she downed the rest of her martini in a similar fashion she had with the champagne.

Jesus was this week going to be something. Sorcha was looking forward to it.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Metztli
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Metztli ___________

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A collaboration between @Metztli & @Aewin

To find that special someone you are looking for.

Right, Gabriel was totally finding that special someone. If that special someone were a tightly rolled blunt he would gladly start his search. Instead, he was supposed to be searching for a person- a person that Gabriel knew didn't exist. He was surrounded by other people, wealthy ones at that, who would probably just toss Gabriel aside. He'd recognize quite a few, but none that he would willingly walk up to and strike a conversation. Gabriel could put on a friendly and approachable face in front of the cameras or out in public, but this was out of his comfort zone. He wasn't just supposed to talk to these people but to pursue them. The next week was supposed to be for "finding that special someone." God, he was getting tired of that phrase.

"Maybe I could sneak away." Go smoke at the back of the deck or to a secluded area of the cruise. It was a massive ship, and after all, he wouldn't be missed anyway. He felt like a caged animal trying to escape. The thought of just talking to someone seemed too foreign to him. Gabriel didn't understand why he was having such a hard time right now. Was it the withdrawals? The incident from this week? Whatever it was, the more he thought about it the worse the weight on his chest got. He really hoped he didn’t look like a nervous wreck in front of all these people. Oh, fuck, he totally did, didn’t he?

“If you’re lucky to make it to the exit before the cruise sets off, maybe.” Diana joined Gabriel, seeming just as unimpressed by the event. She wasn’t exactly nervous by any means, but her complete disinterest must have been apparent. “Who knows, maybe you’ll have better luck than me.” Luckily for Diana, her momentary fuck up had been mostly forgotten, instead the bold words by another had captured the attention of their interesting hosts. She would have gladly attempted to get away again, the itch to check her phone strong, but she didn't want to spook another staff member with her rare bouts of clumsiness.

“I’m Diana, by the way.” She introduced herself, finally extending a hand to shake his hand. Realising that she was sounding rather robotic and businesslike, she plastered a smile on her face, trying the humour route instead. “It'll be useful to know, just in case you don't make it out in time.”

Gabriel had been looking at a very interesting stain on the deck floor when he heard a woman's voice near him. Startled just a bit, he looked up at Diana. Ah, so she had heard him. He hadn't been trying to be quiet either. "Don't think I'll make it off the cruise. My assistant is probably down there waiting for the ship to leave and make sure I don't get off." His instincts kicked in as he put on that camera-ready smile on show. "I'm more afraid of him than the thought of speed dating, so I think I'll stay."

He studied the woman in front of him, eyes careful not to stare too much. She was beautiful by all means and had been kind enough to distract him from the anxiety building up. Gabriel took her hand and shook it firmly, his signature lopsided smile spreading over his lips. "Gabriel. It's nice to meet you, Diana." If they were going to be stuck in an oversized boat for a week together, he might as well introduce himself as Gabriel. His stage name gave people certain impressions that Gabriel did not want to keep up during the next week.

Diana understood the pain of not having a way off the boat. Although she didn’t have an assistant keeping watch like poor Gabriel, she wouldn’t be so surprised if her mother was keeping track of her using the Find My iPhone feature just to be sure. Creepy and overbearing? Sure. But without that threat, Diana would have directed the jet to Taiwan to talk with her customers directly instead of boarding the cruise.

She studied him in turn, his name invoking the sense of familiarity in her. Had she seen him somewhere before? A glance around at the rest of the passengers was enough to let her know that most of them were influential of sorts - business tycoons like Lilianna Reigan to the creative geniuses like Alexander Vandenburg and Sorcha O’Sullivan Mesa. It wasn’t his features she seemed to recognise, but the grit of his voice. “Although I’m painfully aware that this sounds flirtatious, I mean this in the least awkward way possible. Have we met before? It’s your voice, it sounds familiar.”

"Ah, well. Gabriel pulled back his hand to scratch one of the scars on his ink-covered arm. "My stage name is Aries, lead singer of the band Fourdust." It was hard for him to introduce himself like that in a setting that wasn't in front of cameras. This wasn't some interview room or a photoshoot set, so the man was out of his comfort zone. "And don't worry, I get that a lot- and not in the flirty sort of way." He let a small nervous laugh. He had just made it awkward, hadn't he? Great job, Gabriel. "People just remember the voice over the face."

"What about you, Diana? What do you do?" Gabriel brought the flute of apple cider up to his lips for a sip but forgot it was already empty. With a chuckle, he put it down, trying to play it cool. Idiot.

“Fourdust, of course!” Now she knew why. Fourdust regularly cropped up in her Spotify playlists, it was hard not to give it a chance. Though Diana didn’t expect it, she grew to enjoy something far different to her regular classical pieces. In fact, she particularly enjoyed listening to Fourdust as part of her workout regime to pump herself up. “Your last album was incredible, you have great talent.” Diana complimented with a genuine smile.

“What I do sounds far more boring compared to you.” She let out a laugh. “I’m the VP of the Huntley investment firm. It’s… a lot of work, it’s nothing short of a miracle that I’m even on this cruise right now.” Diana admitted. As if to prove her point, she felt her phone buzz again in the pocket of her skirt, undoubtedly her secretary keeping her updated regarding the work left back at Chicago.

Gabriel could feel the built-up weight on his chest lift up when Diana didn't change her demeanor towards him. He returned the genuine smile to match hers, a lot more relaxed than before. "Thank you, ah, I- we- all put a lot of effort into the last album." Gabriel had written most of the songs in the album, along with Daniel's help. It had been almost a year ago when the album came out just a few weeks before the breakup. While the songs in it had been mostly the typical metal songs, one of the ballads had been written for Daniel. Gabriel always laughed thinking about that. How stupid.

"I can imagine how busy it must be-and difficult." Gabriel had heard that name before, but he had never really known what they did. Whatever it was, if Diana was saying that it was a miracle she was standing in front of him, Gabriel trusted her words. Corporate jobs scared him; he knew how ruthless and determined one had to succeed, so Gabriel admired Diana's drive. "Well, we are here now, and there is no way to escape." He raised his flute towards her, "Here's to a hopeful relaxing week. Full of, uh, what I hope is some relaxing activities. And no work. Maybe." Again, he brought the flute up to his lips, only to be disappointed yet again.

“And no work indeed,” Diana parroted lowly in amusement. It would be a hard time tearing her away from her phone, but as pleasant as this first impression was, Diana started feeling somewhat hopeful. She could only hope that the rest of the passengers would be the same, it would make for a decent enough vacation. Maybe this trip wouldn’t be so bad after all. Diana her own flute, in turn, inclining her head in Gabriel’s direction. “To finding whatever we want from this trip. Whether it be love, or just a really expensive holiday.”

Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Ozzoquen
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Gage was having a hard time sitting still. The anxiety was bubbling up in his gut, spilling over into his hands, fingers twitching as they screamed for something to do. Shifting in his seat, he held onto the flute for dear life, even though it was empty. Moving it to one hand, his other moved up and into his hair, before it dropped to the hem of his shirt to tug at one lone strand of shirt. His mind was racing, going through all of the impossible scenario's he could be subjected to at this moment and the ones to come. It wasn't until a waiter came over that he was snapped out of it, jumping as he was spoken to.

"What?" He cleared his throat as his voice cracked. Trying to compose himself, he started again. "Can you repeat that?" Trying to keep his voice much softer than before, he took a deep breath. He wasn't going to make it a week, was he?

"Would you like another glass?" The waiter's smile was kind, as if he had seen someone as anxious as Gage before. Gage figured it was a more common occurrence than he wanted to admit, surely. After all, it wasn't every day that someone was booked onto a cruise that would, potentially, change their life forever. Assuming they found that 'special' someone.

Holding up his hand, Gage shook his head to the question. "No. No thank you, I'm fine," anymore, and he'd be liable for actually slipping over his own threshold and making it that much worse for his mental state of mind in the week to come. The waitor took his empty flute and left, on to check the rest of the party. As he left, Gage's eyes followed him, finally taking in the faces of the men and women he would be spending a week with.

Most he vaguely knew, at best. There was that one woman, the one who owned her own clothing line. Gage was almost positive that she was the one adored by his brother, Peter ranting and raving about how her clothes were life changing. Another man Gage faintly recognized, but there was no way he could put name to face, or even remember where he had seen him before (he would most likely later find out that it was on the back of a book).

Gage froze as his eyes wandered to a pair, speaking amongst themselves. Was that...? No. No it couldn't be. It definitely couldn't be Aries, lead singer of Fourdust. No, certainly not...But the more that Gage stared, the more that the man was convinced that it was. While Gage couldn't admit to them being his favorite band, they were definitely in the top ten. Just the sheer power behind their rhythms, and the fact that they had a bit of a softer side to them too, had Gage listening to their every single and album.

It felt like minutes when the man realized he had been staring at Gabriel for a bit too long. Ripping his eyes away, Gage wished for two things at once. First was that he didn't turn down another glass of champagne, and second, that he could disappear into a cloud of smoke and end up back home. He took to sinking down in his chair instead, face lighting up a light shade of pink at his own embarrassment, while his hand dragged down it.

"This week is going to be so bad..." He sighed to himself, feeling a shake starting to set into his bones.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by NeoAJ
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NeoAJ Fine. I'll High Five Myself.

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First vacation I've been on since Spring Break 2014, and it's a damn singles cruise. I'm going to be the only person under 40 on this thing, aren't I?"

As she sat in the rental A5 in the parking lot in Port Canaveral, staring out the windshield at the massive ship that sat in front of her, Crystal Powers was starting to feel some regret for signing up for this pleasure trip. But she didn't exactly want to go off the deep end immediately with all her newfound wealth. Whirlwind tours of Europe and Asia and New Zealand would surely beckon in the future, but a girl could get herself into a lot of trouble tackling that kind of trek. Especially a member of the "nouveau riche". So acting on a tip from her friend Samira, she signed up for something simple to start and get her mind out of her new duties. A simple cruise of the Caribbean for a week seemed like a great way to get some rest and relaxation. However, Samira failed to mention the whole "singles" aspect of her journey until she drove her amiga to the airport. Crafty devil.

So here Krista remained, getting the most out of the Audi she was paying the week for, but only driving for two hours. Debating whether she was rich enough yet to completely write off the cost of a vacation on the pretense that she didn't think there would be anyone worth knowing on this thing. "Probably can't start that kind of precedent with these things," she reasoned to herself. "I paid how much for this trip?" She sighs. "At least I'll get to go back to Cozumel... and see some of the islands... I guess I can just hole up on the deck for the majority of the trip. Try not to make eye contact... Hah... it won't be fun, but it'll be a week out of the New York winter." Having finally convinced herself, Crystal got out of the driver's seat.

After retrieving her suitcase, she walked up the gangplank, getting a bit of a sour look from the crewman on hand, who looked like he was ready to haul up without her. Crystal gave him an innocent look and mouthed "Sorry" as she tried to figure out which way to the VIP section where she could hopefully hole up for a moment to let the older folks have their fun and get the tour of the place until it was safe to come out. She heard enough cruise stories from Gram and Grandpa McLean to know that was their forte. But it wasn't hers.

Crystal wasn't going to have a choice though. Once she flashed that VIP pass, it was over. The crew was on her; taking her bag, giving her champagne, escorting her to the upper deck. There wasn't a lot she could do about it. Just try to quickly look over the package that she was given to figure out where her outfits were being spirited away to. Once she was on that sundeck though, at least one of her fears was being put to bed early.

"All right, all right, this isn't the AARP meeting I thought it was going to be... Guess Im'ma be the bull at the top of this hill...
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