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.