Lucy became aware of a gentle rocking as she opened her eyes and found herself in a gently lit room. The headache behind her eyes pounded and her throat screamed out for water and as her eyes explored the room they came to rest on a jug of water beside her with a box of aspirins on a plate. The cabin was quite luxurious and equipped with a double bed, cupboards, writing desk and a little fridge.
Lucy poured some water into a jug and swallowed two aspirins and gingerly rose to her feet. The floor rolled beneath her. She crossed to a window and peered outside. It was dark but there was plenty of light due to a full moon and she seen that she was on the water and from the dark shapes in the distance she was not far from the shore. It made no difference as she could not swim.
How did she get here? She had been to a school reunion with about thirty others. The last thing she can remember was getting in to a taxi very drunk. Maybe she had been drugged and raped. In a panic she examined her clothes and herself. Nothing was disturbed or wrong and she felt no pain or discomfort except her evening dress had vomit stains all down the front then she remembered vomiting in the taxi. That was the last thing she remembered.
Lucy explores the lower deck
Disgusted, she stood and listened. Silence. The only sound was the hum of the air conditioner and electric generator. No engines so the ship was at anchor. She went to try the door fully expecting it to be locked and was startled when it opened. Cautiously she stepped outside into the corridor. Still silence. The corridor was carpeted in thick luscious carpet and illuminated in the same gentle light.
There was the other doors, presumably cabins, one on her side and two more on the opposite side. To her left at the end of the corridor there was a small door, almost a hatch that had a bolt on it. In the opposite direction steps led upwards, presumably to the deck. Lucy carefully went up to the nearest cabin door and knocked gently on the door. There was no response so she opened the door and stepped in. It was identical to her own and just as empty. She tried the other two with identical results.
Lucy goes up to the deck
She left the cabin and went to the hatch but it was securely locked. It had a sign that said 'Engine room' so she turned around and climbed the stairs to another door and this also opened. She stepped through onto an open deck which had a few deck chairs and a table with two dining chairs. To her left was a door labelled 'Gallery'. She tried the door but it was locked. She banged on it and yelled out, "Is there anyone there?" There was only silence.
She tried the door on the other side labelled 'Toilets'. It opened and she entered. It was luxuriously laid out. Not only did it have a toilet but a shower and bidet with plenty of drawers and mirrors. She caught a look of herself in the mirror and was shocked. Her mascara had run all over her face and her chin, nose and lips had traces of vomit. Her hair was a mess with something sticky in it. She rushed to a wash basin and washed her face. Lucy looked at herself once again in the mirror. What did she do, she wondered anxiously, how did she get here and why was there no-one around. She tried to fix the mess in her hair but gave up and quickly left the toilet to climb the steps to the deck above, to the wheel house.
The wheel house was well lit due to the subdued night light and light from the instrumentation panels and it was obviously empty and locked. She went to the railing and yelled out "Is anyone aboard. Is anyone here. Anyone. Please. " The only sound was the gentle lapping of the waves against the hull. She was standing on a little board-walk that went around the wheelhouse so she followed it stopping at the front. This looked down on the bow of the cruiser which was empty except for some ropes and an anchor. Lucy turned and again peered into the cabin with no success and continued round the board walk till she was looking at the stern.
Lucy discovers the dining table
She looked up at the stars through the cloudless sky. It was a beautiful night, a night for romance. She laughed to herself, anybody that seen her now would jump in the ocean and swim for their life. She looked down on the lower deck and examined the table. It was set for two people complete with candle sticks waiting to be lit. Straining her eyes she thought she seen name plaques.
She climbed down the steps and approached the table. She read the name on the cardboard, ' Lucy' but then she was shocked to the core. The other name card said, 'David', the name of her dead fiancée.
"What sick joke is this?" She yelled, "show yourselves, you bastards." The only sound was an outboard motor approaching. She rushed to the edge of the ship and stared at the light. It eventually pulled up at the landing platform of the cruise ship but she could not make out the identity of the man getting out. He climbed up the ladder then removed his hat.
"My god," she gasped, "David. Your alive." David, her fiancée, had been executed by terrorists a year ago.
"Lucy, please sit down," he said. Lucy sat on the chair and David sat opposite. He snapped his fingers and soft lights sprang on, the candles lit by themselves and a magnificent waiter appeared.
"Bring us some champagne please," he requested and he returned with glasses and a bottle. The waiter poured some in front of Lucy and said, "Madam?"
In a daze Lucy sipped it and nodded. The waiter finished pouring.
"Do you remember what we were going to do before I had to travel to the Middle East."
Confused Lucy thought and said, "We were going to hire a cruise for a romantic night on the sea."
"That's right." David said, " When I was kneeling, waiting for my head to be chopped off, I made a promise to myself. I promised you a romantic night on a cruiser and I will keep that promise"
She laughed slightly, "I'm hardly in a state to go on a romantic cruise. Look at me, I'm a mess"
"That is no problem." He snapped his fingers and her dirty dress vanished to be replaced by a low cut evening gown that hugged every curve of her body. All traces of her binge night out vanished and she was left fresh and clean.
Lucy's romantic night begins
Out of nowhere the waiter appeared again. "Would Madam like to order?" He asked.
"But there is no menu," she complained.
"This night is for you, just you," David explained, "so whatever you want, just ask."
They sat and talked and gazed at each other throughout the whole meal and while they waited for dessert they stood together, very close, by the railings looking up at the stars and the moonlit sea, holding each other in silence.
"Your my whole life, David. The sun, the moon, the stars. My very soul is you and when you died, I died too."
"Well tonight I'm not dead. Tonight you have me all to yourself."
After dessert they danced once more but now to the tune of the violinists that had appeared on the upper deck.
They danced until David said, " I have to leave at dawn."
Lucy responded by asking demurely, "Have we time."
In answer David took Lucy's hand and led her down stairs to the cabin.
Pre-dawn arrived, rays of light crept over the oceans' horizon dimly lighting the hills on the shore. Lucy and David stood on the landing platform in each other's arms.
"Don't go, David, please," she implored.
"I have to," he said, "you know I have to."
Separating himself from Lucy he leapt into the dinghy.
Lucy, crying out, leapt after him, "I'm not letting you go David. I'll come with you. I don't want to live without you."
Suddenly she became aware of bells, beeps and people shouting. She felt an enormous pain in her chest but she ignored it.
"You can't come with me. You must live Lucy. I must see you living."
"No. I refuse to live without you."
She winced as another pain shot through her chest.
This time David took her in his arms.
"You must go back on the cruiser Lucy. You must live. I know you grieve for me. I know you will never forget me but you must let me go. You must learn to grieve without going out on Friday night binges and knocking yourself out with drugs. I don't want to look down one day and see you on a hospital trolley dead from an overdose"
"Don't you want me anymore, David."
Another painful thud in her chest.
"You know I do Lucy but if you love me, truly love me you will return to life, for my sake."
David took Lucy in his arms and she put her head on his chest.
"Please Lucy, promise me you will live and learn to love again."
Sobbing Lucy said, "I promise David."
The pain again.
David took his lover's face in his hands and said, " Lucy, look into my eyes and promise."
Lucy looked into David eyes. It was not David's eyes she saw but her own life for the past year, every drunken Friday night, every drug she consumed and the men she slept with. She sagged in his arms.
Thud. This pain was greater but she forced herself to concentrate on David.
"Do you promise Lucy"
This time it was David's eyes.
"Yes, I promise to live and learn to love again, David."
He kissed and hugged her and carefully helped her back on to the landing platform. He started the little outboard and headed off. Not to shore but out to the ocean. Lucy watched the little boat with sadness but now a sense of peace. He had kept his promise now she would keep hers. Lucy suddenly felt a tremendous tiredness and went back to the cabin they had just made love in and slept a deep sleep.
Lucy woke up and was confused again. The lighting was different, harsher and her mother was here.
"Mum, what are you doing here?"
"Darling, you have been in a car crash," her mother said.
"I'm afraid you have been seriously injured," a doctor said, "we almost lost you in the theatre. Luckily we managed to resuscitate you."
"What happened, mum. I wasn't driving."
"When you got in the taxi you vomited over the taxi driver. In an effort to avoid the mess he hit a bus."
"Oh god, is he okay"
"Yes minor injuries. You sustained the worst of it but your all right now."
"Yes mum, I'm all right now."
It was some months before she could struggle out on her own. Her leg still could not take her full weight so she had to use crutches to get to David's grave.
"I've kept my promise David. I have met someone. He was in hospital with me. He lost his leg in an industrial accident. We supported each other and now we are in love. I just hope you approve."
She laid the flowers on his grave and struggled to the car.