Destiny Interlude: a Summer Cruise - Cover

Destiny Interlude: a Summer Cruise

Copyright© 2021 by Lumpy

Chapter 1

Nine o’clock. It was nine o’clock and I was still sitting by the front door, waiting for everyone.

We had a three hour drive to get to Galveston, where the cruise ship was leaving. It was set to depart at noon. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. When I decided to go on vacation with seven women, I should have known scheduling would be a problem. I should have lied and told them the ship left at ten. But, Mom bought the tickets, so she would have known better. Still, we had all agreed we would be out of the house at seven-thirty, to give us a nice cushion so we didn’t have to rush.

That was wishful thinking on my part.

I looked over at the stack of luggage next to the door, and was glad I had at least talked them into renting a passenger van for the trip to the port. Sure, the eight of us could have fit into Megan’s suburban. It would have been a tight fit, but we could have made it. Or so it was pointed out to me the previous week when we were booking everything. But I had a feeling we would need more room, and looking at the mound of luggage, I knew I was right.

I couldn’t fathom why we needed so much luggage. I was thinking a single duffel bag would be all I would need. We were only going to be gone for ten days. Not that I was allowed to pack for myself. When I suggested all I needed were ten changes of clothes you would have thought I had declared I was going on a cannibalistic diet. Apparently, I didn’t understand the need to be prepared, fashion wise.

Thankfully, my traveling companions finally made it down from packing and I was allowed to load the van up. By this point, it was nine-thirty, and we had two and a half hours to make a three hour drive.

“I have to run inside one last time,” I said once they were all in the van.

“What? We are running late, Cas,” Zoe, one of my girlfriends, said.

Yes, I said one of. I have three girlfriends. Some would say I am the luckiest guy, others would say I am a glutton for punishment. Both would be right.

“I will be fast, I promise,” I told her.

“Well, hurry up. You’re making us late,” Vicki, another one of my girls, said.

I had grown accustomed to the girls finding a way to make things my fault, and had given up on trying to make corrections. I figured if I gave in on all the little stuff, it would give me a fighting chance on the big stuff. So I hopped out of the van without responding, and ran into the house.

Except I had told a small lie, I didn’t need to get anything. I wanted to make a phone call to my friend and sometimes attorney, Jonathan. Not because he was a lawyer, but because he was pretty persuasive. I explained my problem to him. After spending a moment to laugh at my situation, he said he would call ahead for us and see if he could stall them for a bit.

As I walked back to the van, I started to think it might be time to get cellphones for me and the girls. The per minute cost had always put me off them, before; but considering how many times I have had to sit by the land-line and wait for a call, it might be time to bite the bullet. Besides, now that my company had sold off our patents, I was set to get a pretty enormous payday. It wasn’t like I couldn’t afford it.

I hopped in the van and we were off. I didn’t tell anyone I had asked Jonathan to call ahead and stop the boat, mostly because I didn’t want to have to point out that they had made us run so late. Mom was doing her best to make up the time on the drive and I was a little worried we might get a ticket. But we weren’t really speeding more than the other drivers on the highway, so I figured that it was ok.

Mom did manage to make up some time and got us to the port just ten minutes after the end of boarding time.

“See, no problem,” Mom said as she indicated the ramp to the boat was still down and they were still set up to accept passengers.

We, however, were the only passengers there. Everyone else was already on-board.

“Excellent! Now we can stop waiting and get underway,” the man who checked us off the passenger list said.

Mom gave me the ‘stink eye’, and I figured the jig was up.

We had arranged for three cabins. One for me and the girls, one for Mom and Tina, and one for Megan and Sarah. Looking at the cabin, I could already tell the girls and I were going to be a tight fit, but there was no way we wanted to be split up, so we would just live with it.

The cabins were small enough that I had to back up and stand in the hallway, so the girls had room to put away clothes and do whatever it is they felt they needed to do, so it could be livable for the next week.

I was leaning against the hallway wall, across from our room, when the door to the left of ours opened up.

A guy and a girl stepped out of the room. They were somewhat older than me from what I could see, but still fairly young. If I had to guess I would say college age, give or take.

“Hi,” I said, smiling.

“Hi,” the guy said back. “I thought maybe the cabin next to us was going to be empty. You guys just get on board?”

“Yeah. We were pretty lucky the boat was still here.”

The girls stepped out of our room, probably because they heard me talking to someone.

“This is Zoe, Vicki and Tami,” I said indicating each of them.

“I’m Charles Bailey and this is my girlfriend Sandra. But people call me Charlie and her Sandy. You guys on vacation?”

“Yep. Us, Zoe’s mom, my sister, and a couple of other friends.”

“Wow, big group.”

“And all girls. Now you know why we were so la ... ow,” I said, feigning injury after Zoe slugged me in the shoulder. Sandy laughed at our antics and Charlie’s gave me an understanding look, one guy to another.

“Are all four of you staying in that one cabin?” Sandy asked.

“Uhh ... yeah,” I said.

In our insular home life, I had grown used to people knowing about my relationship. Now, it occurred to me that some people might take a dim view of it. Thankfully, neither pressed for follow up information.

“We are going to go explore. Wanna come along?” Charles asked.

“Sure. We should probably let our friends know where we’re going,” I said

“Ok. Invite them along if you want. We were gonna meet our friend Eddie by the front pool area. Meet us, there?” Charlie asked.

“Sounds good,” I said.

They headed off and we found the rest of our group. Mom and Megan both begged off, but Sarah and Tina wanted to come along. We headed up to the pool area and found Charlie and Sandy along with another guy their age I imagined was probably their friend Eddie.

After introductions were made Charlie asked, “So where do you go?”

“Truman High,” I answered. I assumed they were also from Texas, and so maybe had heard of it.

“Ohh, you guys are in high school?” he asked, seeming surprised.

“Yep, I am guessing you’re in college?”

“Let’s go find some people our own age to hang out with,” their friend Eddie said.

“Be cool, man, they’re only a year behind us,” Charlie told his friend before turning to me and saying, “We’re gonna be freshmen at Sam Houston.”

He was still adding several years to my age, and I felt it best not to point out we were four years behind him, not one. Ever since my genetics began doing their thing, and the girls had undergone their change, our bodies had made subtle changes. I had grown another inch and the girls had each picked up a little height, also. Coupled with the physical shape we were all in, and I could see how someone might credit us an extra couple of years.

Thankfully, the girls followed my lead, “We still have a little time to figure out where we want to go. I imagine you are pumped for college to get started.”

“You have no idea,” Sandy said.

We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the ship with the trio. Even though I had read the brochure on the cruise, I was still surprised by the variety of activities. There was a pool with water slides, a gym with basketball court, a small library, a movie theater, plus bars and clubs which were not open to us. I knew I would actually be on my own for part of the trip, as all the girls had scheduled to spend the better part of a day at the on-board spa.

After spending the better part of the afternoon touring the boat, the girls wanted to head back to our room and take a nap. This was a vacation after all.

“Do you guys want to meet up for dinner?” Charlie asked as we were saying our goodbyes outside the doors to our respective rooms.

I looked at the girls for confirmation and then replied, “Sure, sounds good. Meet up in the hallway at say, seven?”

“Works for us,” Sandy said.

Turns out the girls weren’t tired so much as they just wanted some alone time. That was easier said than done, considering the cabin we were in did not have beds designed for four people. We made do, however.

I left the girls sleeping and went to knock on Megan and Sarah’s door. There was something that Mom had pointed out to me before we left, that I wanted to check in on.

“Take a walk with me?” I asked Megan when she answered.

Sarah wasn’t in the room so I guess she was off doing something fun. We walked up to the deck and set a slow, leisurely place on the running track that went along the outside edge of part of the deck.

“So in about a month, you’re going to be leaving us,” I said as we walked.

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Excited?” I asked.

“At the beginning of the year, it was all I could think about, honestly. Now. Not nearly as much.”

“Feeling homesick already?”

“I guess. I mean, I had friends and everything before all that stuff happened this year. But now? It’s so much different. I feel like I am a part of something. I really don’t want to give that up.”

“You don’t have to. Even away at college you are part of something.”

“Yeah, but it’s not the same. Here I was contributing. Only a little bit, but it felt good.”

“You will still be contributing, at college. A lot of what we are working towards will need the education you’re getting.”

“I know,” she said, sounding unconvinced.

I wasn’t sure if this was some aspect of the genetic bond we now shared, or purely psychological. But I got where she was coming from. Even when there were no special circumstances, leaving what you have always known and striking out on your own was difficult. All you have to do is look at all the issues college freshmen have, to see that.

“If you don’t like it, you can always move to a closer college next year. Until then, any time you want to come home, even for a weekend, just say the word and I will have plane tickets standing by. How does that sound?”

She finally smiled and said, “Good. Thanks, Cas.”

We stopped walking as she gave me a hug.

“No problem. You know how important you are to all of us. All we want is for you to be happy.”

The source of this story is SciFi-Stories

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