So, I’m finally posting ASK! Shayne will be narrating from here on. 🙂 Enjoy.
“Ginny! Where did you put my shoes?” I yelled as I strode down the hall to her room.
“I put them back in your room,” the younger of my two sisters called back.
“They aren’t there,” I said as I entered Ginny’s room and put my hands on my hips. “Why can’t you borrow anything without losing it?”
“What’s all the yelling about?” my other sister, Natalie asked, poking her dark brown head in the doorway.
“Ginny lost my gray Converse. Again,” I said, rolling my eyes at Ginny.
“No, she didn’t. You left them by the front door yesterday.”
Seriously? I forgot that? And of course, Natalie would remind me. She always tried to fix other people’s problems.
“Oops,” I said and passed Natalie to retrieve them.
“You should try to stop yelling at her,” Natalie said, following me down the hall and downstairs. “Most of the time you yell at her, it’s for something you forgot.”
“I’m just a bit stressed, okay? Aunt Lorelei is gonna be here in ten minutes and I’m not even half packed.”
Natalie shrugged and walked away. I rolled my eyes and sighed. Natalie always told me to do something or other, despite my two years seniority.
I went to the front door, picked up my sneakers, and then raced to my room to keep packing. Our dad’s sister, Aunt Lorelei, invited the three of us girls to go on a cruise. Even though I’d anticipated it for weeks, I forgot we were leaving that day. Natalie, the ever-prepared one, packed a week in advance and helped Ginny do the same. She reminded me, but I had other things to do at the time, like message my best friend on Facebook. The doorbell rang just as I zipped my duffle.
Hi, Lorelei!” Mom’s voice echoed up the stairs. I grabbed my duffle and carry-on. As I headed downstairs, I listened to my mom and dad chatting with Aunt Lorelei. The contrast between Dad and Aunt Lorelei’s Texas accents and Mom’s Scottish one made me smile. Though Dad and his sister were both from Texas, their family had moved to California when they were teenagers because of my grandpa’s job. But after my grandparents passed away and Dad met Mom, they decided to stay in California, Dad because of Mom, and Aunt Lorelei because Dad is her only relative.
Both my parents stood by the front door with Aunt Lorelei.
“I saw on the weather channel that the next few days are supposed to be rainy. I hope the gray skies clear up for you,” Mom said.
“Yeah, that would be good,” Aunt Lorelei said. Then when she saw me, she said, “Ah, all packed, I see.”
“Yep, just in time. I forgot it was today,” I said.
“You’ve always been forgetful like that, Shayne,” Dad said as he put his arm around me. “Good thing you’re good lookin’ like your father, or we mighta sold you to the drug cartel.”
Mom giggled as I wrinkled my nose at Dad.
Natalie and Ginny raced down the stairs, suitcases in hand.
“Hi, Aunt Lorelei!” Natalie said, dropping her suitcase and giving Aunt Lorelei a hug.
“Hey, y’all!” Aunt Lorelei said, hugging Natalie. “Let’s go put your stuff in the car, then we’ll come back to say goodbye.”
She led us outside to her shiny aqua blue Camaro and popped the trunk with her fob. We put our luggage inside, and then walked back to the house.
“Have a good time and be safe,” Mom said as she hugged me.
“I’m sure we’ll all have a great time,” Aunt Lorelei said, hugging Dad. If only she’d been right.
After we girls hugged our parents about three times each, we headed for the car.
“I call shotgun!” I yelled and raced to the passenger seat door.
Aunt Lorelei laughed. Once in the car, Aunt Lorelei put on her large sunglasses, turned on the air and cranked up the country music. Aunt Lorelei was cool. Not only could she pull off those shades amazingly with her blonde bob but she wore stylish, expensive clothes, drove a Camaro, my favorite kind of car, and she was taking us on a cruise. I wanted to be just like her.
“We should pray for safety before we leave,” Natalie said.
“Good idea, Nat,” Aunt Lorelei said as she turned the music off. “Go ahead.”
As she prayed, my mind drifted to what we would do on the cruise. Yeah, I accepted Jesus as my Savior at VBS at age seven, but God didn’t matter much to me any more. After seven years, church and Christianity just got old and boring.
After Natalie said, “Amen,” Aunt Lorelei turned the music back on and said, “Okay, let’s do this thing.”
We drove about thirty minutes to the pier. Aunt Lorelei parked, and we got out and unloaded our luggage. Then, we joined the masses of people heading toward the cruise terminal.
“Okay, girls, we’re going to give our luggage to one of these porters over here. They’ll bring it to our rooms,” Aunt Lorelei said.
Aunt Lorelei had enough money that this wasn’t her first cruise. She knew the drill. When we reached the porters, we handed our duffles and suitcases to one of them, but kept our carry-ons with us. We thanked the porter, Aunt Lorelei gave him a tip, and we moved with the rest of the crowd to a building. Inside, we stood in a long line. Once our turn, each of us had to let them search our carry-ons. Then, we had to step through a metal detector. Our earrings set it off, because all of us except Ginny wore them. When the security guards realized that was all, they let us through. Then, Aunt Lorelei handed our passports, her credit card, and some other papers I didn’t pay much attention to, to a uniformed man at a desk to our left. After a few minutes of looking the documents over and doing something on a computer, he said, “All right, ladies, you’re all good. Welcome to the Pacific Mermaid.”
We left the building and another worker showed us where to board the cruise ship. Once up the ramp, we walked through a kind of open, roofed hallway on the outside of the ship, then through a hallway inside the ship. After that, we stepped through large glass double doors into the most luxurious, huge place I’ve ever seen. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling and red and gold jacquard carpet covered the floor. Matching red couches sat around the room, most filled with people.
We went to the safety drill so, as the ship staff told us, we would know what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency. Then, we decided to go to the pool. Aunt Lorelei warned us ahead of time to pack our swimsuits in our carry-ons since the ship’s staff would send the rest to our rooms.
As we made our way to the pool, a lady in a floppy sunhat bumped my side with some of her overabundant bags. She acted like she didn’t even notice. I turned to look at her, scowling. She scolded a brown-haired boy about Ginny’s age with more bags to be careful not to break her stuff.
I gave the boy a sympathetic smile, and then kept walking.
The water felt so good. I love swimming. The crowdedness of the pool didn’t stop me from having a good time. My sisters and I went down the five huge waterslides several times. I don’t like heights, but waterslides are the exception. Who can resist the awesomeness of waterslides? Well, Aunt Lorelei can. She said she was too old for that kind of thing. But people older than her went down the waterslides. She just didn’t know what she was missing. While we kept riding the waterslides, Aunt Lorelei sat in one of the chairs around the pool, tanning and chatting with a woman with long blonde hair. Aunt Lorelei waved to me. The woman said something to her, she responded, and the woman waved, too. I waved back. The boat set off while we swam. A few hours later, it started to rain, so we wrapped in our towels and followed Aunt Lorelei to our rooms for showers. One of us would share a room with her, and the other two would have the other room.
“It doesn’t matter to me who goes where,” Aunt Lorelei said.
“Could I share with you, Aunt Lorelei?” Natalie said.
I groaned inside. “Aunt Lorelei, couldn’t I share with you?” I said.
“No, Natalie asked first. There’ll probably be another time when you can share with me,” Aunt Lorelei said.
“Okay,” I said, annoyed. I would rather have shared a room with Aunt Lorelei or even Natalie than Ginny.
Aunt Lorelei gave me the key to our room, and we went in. It had brown carpet, two twin beds, a round window centered on the same wall as the bed headboards, and a large dresser with a mirror. We had to sort the luggage around, because whoever delivered it put it all in our room. Then, we took showers. Both bedrooms had their own bathroom. While Ginny showered, I got my stuff unpacked. Might as well use the dresser, since we’d be in there for a week.
“Can I borrow your brush?” Ginny asked, coming out of the bathroom and rubbing her hair with a towel.
“Didn’t you bring your own?”
“I’m not sure where I packed it.”
“Fine, just don’t lose it,” I said as I grabbed it from my bag and handed it to her.
She brushed her wet red hair straight, braided it, and then handed the brush back.
“Thanks,” she said.
“Did you leave me any space in the dresser?” Ginny asked.
“No. First come, first served. I’m going to go shower.”
After a delicious dinner of steak, loaded baked potatoes, and salad, we went to the concert hall, where a music group performed. The huge place could probably hold at least a thousand people in its soft burgundy seats, and a huge stage stood at the front.
The music wasn’t my type, being country, but Aunt Lorelei loved it. She and Dad only listened to country. After the concert, we went back to Natalie and Aunt Lorelei’s room. We played some Dutch Blitz, about the only thing Ginny and I both liked, because of our determination to beat each other. Stubborn and competitive Scottish blood, I guess.
After that, we headed to bed.
“Shaynie, can I borrow your pink headband tomorrow?” Ginny asked, pulling up her covers.
“Didn’t you pack anything?” I asked as I flipped the light off.
“I don’t have a pink headband and the outfit I’m wearing tomorrow is pink.”
“As a matter of fact, I forgot to bring it.” I sighed as I got into bed. No matter how hard I tried, I always forgot something.
“Did you bring your pink barrettes?”
“No. You lost them five months ago, or had you forgotten? If you always want to borrow my stuff, why don’t you just buy your own? Then, if you lose it, I won’t care.”
Ginny turned toward the wall, and from the way she breathed, I could tell she was trying not to cry.
“It’s fine, Shayne,” she cut me off. “I’ll just do something else with my hair tomorrow.” She stayed quiet for a minute, but then she said, “Good night.”
“Good night.” I shouldn’t have exploded on her. After all, she didn’t make money babysitting all the time like I did so she could buy stuff. But she did lose things sometimes. I didn’t want the stuff I put my money into getting lost.
“Hey, Shayne, wake up!”
I opened my eyes to find Ginny’s hazel ones inches from my face.
“Dude, Ginny! Personal space!” I said, pushing her away and sitting up.
“I tried to wake you up, but nothing works except yelling in your face. Anyway, Aunt Lorelei says to get up because breakfast is in half an hour.”
I got up and got ready, and then we headed to the dining hall.
After breakfast, Aunt Lorelei made us play shuffleboard. I thought only old people liked it, but it wasn’t too bad. After that, we headed for the arcade, Natalie’s choice. Suddenly the ship lurched and threw us forward and against a wall. My scream joined the screams of others.
A yell of, “We’re sinking!” echoed through the ship.
The four of us grabbed each others’ hands. The ship lurched again, causing us to let go of each other and bang into the walls.
“God, protect us,” Aunt Lorelei prayed out loud.
A man over a loudspeaker said, “Everyone please remain calm. The engine of the ship has malfunctioned in such a way that the ship can no longer sail. It’s storming, and this has already caused damage to the ship because the ocean floor is very rocky. Everyone please stay calm and come to the main deck for evacuation. Be advised that it is raining, so be careful to follow the instructions of the ship staff.”
“That’s really weird. Cruise ships don’t tend to get problems like that. Come on, girls,” Aunt Lorelei said, moving ahead and leading us down the hall to the main deck.
It was hard to walk, because the ship kept swaying. Some people tried to comfort small children who cried, but they looked just as worried and scared as the children. I couldn’t help being scared myself.
“Girls, don’t worry. We’ll get in a life raft and everything will be fine,” Aunt Lorelei said.
The ship’s crew distributed life jackets to the passengers and gave instructions as to how to enter the life rafts. At our turn, they gave us life jackets. As we put them on, they told us to jump into the chute one by one, and get out of the way of the chute right away. They said not to leave the life raft and to remain calm because help would arrive soon. They also warned us that since it was raining, we should huddle together for warmth. We went down the chute and found seats in the life raft amongst some twenty other passengers. I noticed that boy and his rude mother I saw earlier sitting in one corner of the life raft. Icy rain fell on us. Wind rocked the raft and blew straight through my clothes. Ginny huddled against me, digging her chin into my shoulder. I elbowed her.
“Personal space,” I said.
Ginny stopped leaning on me, and leaned against Natalie on her other side. I hoped help would come soon.
Aaaand, that’s the end of part 1! What do you think? This was the longest part, but I hope there were enough pictures to keep your interest.
-Shayne (And MorganAshley)