Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Moving Forward #27 (7.1)

Good morning and Happy Wednesday! If it's Wednesday, it must be time for some flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, from 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts!

After relaxing in the hot tub, Marshall and Lee are ready for dinner and then it's time to watch the ship leave the harbor in this week's Moving Forward! Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Moving Forward #27 (7.1)

With so many dining choices, it was hard to select just one, but for their first night, they finally decided to try the steakhouse they’d spotted when they were wandering about the ship. They found a table for two and ordered rare strip steaks with loaded baked potatoes and fresh asparagus.

“Maybe tomorrow night we’ll meet some new people, but tonight is ours,” Lee said, and Marshall sure wasn’t about to argue with that. He couldn’t help but notice a lot of other men had the same idea, and love was most definitely in the air. Even the music was more romantic than he’d expected, soft and mellow jazz selections. Everything was perfect, down to the small touches, such as the candles on the tables, and the fresh flowers. They held hands across the table and nobody blinked an eye because they weren’t the only ones doing it.

Marshall found he still had room for dessert, even after all that good beef, but he couldn’t make up his mind what he wanted. The molten chocolate lava cake sounded good, but so did other things, some of which he wasn’t even sure what they were.

“What do you recommend?” Lee asked the server, whose name was Phillip. Phillip was slender and graceful, and had been most attentive to all of their dining needs without being pushy. A welcome relief after certain people who would remain nameless.

Phillip thought for a moment. “Have you ever had Bananas Foster?” he asked. Neither one had.

“What’s in it?” Marshall asked. “Besides bananas?”

“Butter and brown sugar and rum and cinnamon. Our chef adds banana liqueur, too, for just a little extra kick. It’s served tableside, set on fire, with vanilla ice cream on the side.”

“What do you think about that?” Lee asked.

“Sounds delicious to me.”

“Make that two,” Lee told Phillip.

“Good choice.” He grinned at them and left, returning a short time later with a serving cart. Marshall watched in fascination as Phillip assembled the dessert, ending with setting it aflame and serving it to them.

“Bon appetite, gentlemen,” he bid them, taking the cart back with him.

The sweet concoction melted in Marshall’s mouth. The soft ice cream took on some of the flavors of the bananas. “This is delicious,” he announced, taking a breath after consuming half his dessert.

Lee obviously enjoyed his too, although not nearly as quickly. “I’m glad we ordered this,” Lee said. “We’ll have to keep trying new things, won’t we?”

“We will,” Marshall agreed. From the glint in Lee’s eye, he knew he meant more than food, and the thought was a thrilling one. He remembered Lee’d mentioned a nude beach on one of the islands. A private nude beach. He could only imagine what sort of fun was to be had there.

After finishing dessert, they found one of the bars and had a couple of beers and listened to some music.

Lee glanced at his watch. “Almost time for the ship to get underway? Guess we should head to wherever we’re gonna watch from, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, I don’t want to miss anything,” Marshall said.

They’d discussed watching from their private balcony, but finally decided to head to the observation deck, to get a wider panorama. They negotiated their way through other men headed toward the elevators. Probably some of them had similar thoughts. Changing their minds at the last minute, seeing the crowd in front of the elevators, they took the stairs instead.

“Work off some of that dinner,” Lee joked. “And that rich dessert.”

Marshall laughed. “Afraid of getting a spare tire around your middle, old man?” he teased.

Lee stopped in the middle of the stair and turned to regard Marshall, eyebrow raised. “You care to compare bellies, boy?” he challenged him. “Right here, right now. See who’s got the flattest stomach? What are you willing to bet?”

Marshall considered the proposition carefully, glancing surreptitiously between his belly and Lee’s. He’d probably spoken too quickly. He knew Lee didn’t have any fat to speak of. He really wasn’t sure his own stomach could stand up to such scrutiny, although it would probably be close.

Lee laughed when Marshall made no immediate reply. “Just what I thought. Come on, let’s stake out a place at the rail.”

They reached the observation deck, which was already crowded with other men, and found a place where they had a good view of Galveston harbor.  The Wandering Star wasn’t the only ship displaying night time activity. Smaller boats were setting out and coming in both. From the looks of them, they were doing some night time fishing.

Lee put an arm about Marshall’s waist, and they leaned together, taking in the sights. If not for the lights slipping away as they moved out to sea, Marshall wouldn’t have known they were moving; the motion of the ship was that gentle. He wondered what it would feel like at night, when they were sleeping.

“You know something?” Marshall said, his gaze fixed on the far horizon toward which they quietly steamed.

“What’s that?” Lee asked.

“I’m afraid I’m going to wake up and find out this was only a beautiful dream. You and me, here on this ship. I mean, it seems… almost unreal, you know?”

“I know,” Lee said softly, “but it’s all real, I guarantee. You and me and this ship… all of it. And I’ll tell you something else.”

“What’s that?”

“This won’t be the last time. We are going to live our lives to the fullest and do things we’ve never done before.”

Marshall liked the sound of that. He snuggled closer to Lee as the ship pulled out of the harbor, into the open sea.

Life was perfect.

to be continued

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