In Moving Forward, Marshall and Lee continue to explore the cruise ship on their own, but is it inevitable that they run across Denver and his cousin eventually? Find out in this week's installment. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
Moving Forward #21 (5.3)
They decided to randomly explore the ship on their own, rather than participating in some sort of organized tour. Just see what they could see.
What they saw was a lot of couples. Wall-to-wall men, holding hands, showing affection, kissing one another without inhibition. Smiling and laughing. Homophobia didn’t exist here, only love. Everyone they passed was excited. They greeted one another as if they knew no strangers, brought together by their common bond of loving other men.
It was amazing.
The dining room where they’d take their meals was huge.
“Think we’ll be sitting with someone else?” Marshall wondered.
“Most likely,” Lee said. “Looks like that’s the way it’s set up, anyway. It’ll be fun.”
“Yeah, it will.” For once, Marshall wasn’t worried about drawing anyone’s censure, or being hesitant to address a stranger, afraid of what he or she might think of Lee and him. Here, everything went, and all love was good. Here, he could be proud of being with such a handsome man as Lee. Hell, he didn’t even care of Denver and Dustin joined them. He just didn’t want to see too much of them. He’d always liked Denver. Dustin, not so much.
Marshall noticed the tables were secured to the floor. “They expecting rough weather?”
“Just a precaution. Probably required by the insurance carrier or something.” That made sense.
The room was well lit, and everything shone as if it was freshly polished, including the silverware. The tables were all set, probably for lunch. According to the brochure, lunch wasn’t as formal as dinner, and there were no set times for it.
On the Lido Deck, which was two levels above their cabin, they found another dining area which contained a long buffet. “I’d like to try that at least once,” Marshall said. They’d been to buffets in San Antonio, and he loved having so many selections to choose from. Especially those of the beefy kind.
“Sounds good to me,” Lee said.
On the same floor, they found a huge swimming pool. Men were already lounging beside it or floating in it, some in suits so skimpy they were barely there. This was a look that suited some rather well, others less so. A server circulated among those who chose to lounge beside the pool, and umbrellaed drinks were the order of the day.
“Want to hang out here?” Lee asked. “Get a drink?”
“Not right now,” Marshall said. “Later on, sure. Think the pool stays open all night?”
“I don’t know about all night, but pretty late. Guess that’s something we need to find out. What were you thinking about, skinny dipping in the middle of the night?” Lee grinned.
“I don’t think so.” Marshall laughed. “Especially when we have a hot tub right outside our bedroom door that’s a whole lot more private. But it would be fun to go swimming under the stars. If it’s not too crowded.”
“Then we’ll do that too,” Lee promised. “Anything you like.”
Marshall’s heart swelled with happiness. Lee was absolutely the best. “Mind if we stop by the room real quick and pick up the camera?”
“Sure, we can do that. You’re really jonesing to take some pictures, aren’t you?”
“I am,” Marshall admitted. “I’m going to make an album when we get home, something we can look at and remember. I just want to capture everything I can.”
“I love the way you think.” Lee pulled him close and kissed him, and for a long moment, nothing else mattered.
The moment was interrupted by a familiar voice. “Well, looky who’s here. Thought we might run into you somewhere, didn’t know it’d be so soon.”
They broke apart leisurely, as if they had all the time in the world, and Lee slid his arm around Marshall’s waist. “On a ship this size, that might not happen as often as you think,” Lee said. “You guys get all settled in your room?”
“Pretty much, just looking around,” Denver said. “What’s up with you two?”
“Just looking around ourselves,” Lee replied. “We were just going down to our cabin for a minute. You eat yet?”
“No, not yet, been too busy.” Denver glanced at his watch. “I think they’re probably serving now, don’t you?”
“Why don’t we have lunch together?” Dustin quickly suggested.
Lee didn’t answer immediately, and at first Marshall he was against the idea. Then he caught on that he was waiting for Marshall to extend an invitation. He was too happy today; not even Dustin could disturb that, so why not? “That sounds like a good idea,” he said. He could sense Lee’s approbation in his touch, and he felt good for having done something to please Lee.
“There’s a buffet down on Lido deck. Want to meet us there in ten or fifteen minutes?” Lee suggested.
“I think we saw that, yeah,” Denver said. “Sure, meet you there. C’mon, Dustin, we can scope out the tables before they get there.”
“See you down there,” Dustin said. Was Marshall imagining things, or did Dustin’s gaze linger a little too long on Lee? The other man turned to follow his cousin, and Marshall dismissed the idea as a bit too wild. Just his imagination.
They took the elevator down to the Empress deck, and found their cabin with little trouble. Lee pushed open the door. “Go ahead and get the camera, I’ll be right out,” he said, heading toward the bathroom.
Marshall laid his suitcase on the bed and unzipped it. Carefully stowed in the pouch was the digital camera Lee had given him for Christmas one year. It took really good pictures, and Marshall enjoyed playing with the different functions.
He heard a flush, then water, and when the door opened, he was ready, snapping Lee’s picture. Lee gave him a I-don’t-believe-you-did-that look. “Is this how it’s going to be for the whole trip? You gonna play paparazzi on me?”
“You know it.” Marshall grinned. “With and without clothes.”
Lee shook his head.
to be continued
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