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The Enchantment Night One
"I can't believe it! Everything is totally amazing!"
I couldn't believe it either as Julie Barnes and I gazed around one of the atriums of The Enchantment. The name suited this ship. I was definitely enchanted. It was huge and luxurious. I figured it would take all ten nights of the cruise simply to walk from one end of the ship to the other.
"Come on," I said, nudging Julie's arm. "Let's check out my cabin."
Julie was my best friend. Like me, she had blond hair. But her eyes were blue, while mine were green. And she was a little shorter than me, which meant she had a difficult time keeping pace when I was in a hurry like I was in now. I just wanted to see everything as quickly as possible. There was so much to take in. My time here would be short, and I didn't want to waste a single minute.
"Slow down, Lindsay," Julie ordered. "Your cabin's not going anywhere."
No, it wasn't, but I was anxious to see it, to get settled in. Still, I did slow down as we walked along a wide corridor, which closely resembled a boulevard. Stores and restaurants lined both sides. Plants, statuettes, artwork, festive lights, and a domed ceiling created an openness that I hadn't expected within a ship. It was like touring agigantic mallone of my favorite places to hang out. With so many people mingling around, it was like a bustling city floating on the ocean. I was a little overwhelmed by the crowds and the vastness of the ship.
"It's just not fair that I have to work and can't go on this cruise with you," Julie lamented.
Those words had become Julie's mantra ever since I'd told her that I was going on my trip.
"I'd give anything if you could come," I said. We'd shared everything since kindergarten. I couldn't imagine not sharing this too.
"I know. You have to send me a postcard from every port," she commanded. "I will. I promise."
"And since you are so into making lists, I expect a report listing all the yummy details about every guy you meet."
I laughed. I was a little obsessed with lists. I liked organization and had compiled several different lists as soon as I found out I was going on a cruiseeverything I needed to buy before I came onboard, all the items I needed to pack, and everything I planned to do while I was on this cruise.
"Maybe I'll just send you a list of their names. I'm hoping there will be so many that I won't have room on the postcards to tell you about all of them."
"That's a definite possibility," she said. "Have you ever seen so many cuties in one place?"
"Nope." From the moment I'd checked in and we'd started our quick tour of the ship, I'd seen at least a dozen guys who I thought I'd like to get to know better. Each one was smiling, laughing, or talking with someone.
"I think it is so romantic that Walter is going to marry your mom on a cruise ship," Julie said.
"He's definitely gone all out."
Walter Hunt was quiet and reserved, but when he spoke, people listened and did as he asked. Mostly because his name appeared on a famous list of the top one hundred wealthiest people in the world.
Hence the cruise. A special honeymoon for him and his new bridewho just happened to be my momand anyone else who wanted to tag along. Of which I was undeniably one.
They say that most people are introduced by a friend to the person they'll marry. That's how Mom met Walter. She was attending a friend's funeral. Her friend had worked for Walter's company so Walter had gone to the funeral as well. He and Mom met, hit it off, and now my life was on the verge of changing forever in ways that I'd never really anticipated. And truthfully, it's something I was having a hard time comprehending. For as long as I could remember, it had always been just me and Mom. Now it would be me, Mom, and Walter.
Still, Walter was nice and I liked him. I thought he'd be good for my mom. I was heading off to the University of Texas in the fall, and I'd been a little worried about Mom dealing with the empty nest. So I was definitely in favor of her marrying Walter.
And I was going to be a bridesmaid for the first time in my life. I had no doubt that I was embarking on a summer of firsts. And I planned for most of them to take place on this cruise.
I didn't think most cruise ships allowed wedding guests onboard, but Walter had made special arrangements so he and Mom could have their friends and family attend the wedding. He'd reserved the top deck for the ceremony. At midnight we'd have our official bon voyage and prepare to leave the port of Galveston. The guests would depart, and the ship would sail away into the night toward the Caribbean.
"I can't believe you are going to spend ten nights on this ship. Did you see all the stores we just passed on that boulevard?" Julie asked.
"I know. It's like a fancy mall or something. Plus there are lots of little shops on the islands. They're supposed to have some great bargains. Good thing I've been saving all my paychecks."
While Julie tore ticket stubs at our mall's movie theater, I worked in the concession stand. Sometimes I thought I'd never eat another bag of buttered popcorn in my entire life. Just the aroma of buttered popcorn made me lose my appetite.
Julie glanced over at me. "If you run out of money, I'm sure Wealthy Walter will buy you anything you want." Continues...
Excerpted from Caribbean Cruising by Rachel Hawthorne Copyright © 2007 by Rachel Hawthorne. Excerpted by permission.
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