Marshall and Lee and Denver and Dustin join the Captain of the Wandering Star at his table for dinner in this week's episode of Moving Forward. Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
Moving Forward #54 (13.3)
The dinner invitation was for eight o’clock. Lee didn’t believe in being fashionably late, so they arrived a few minutes early. They weren’t the first ones there. Four other couples were already seated. Denver and Dustin came just after they did. Promptly at eight o’clock, the Captain took his seat.
“Good evening,” he said, offering a friendly smile.
Captain Merrill stood well over six feet tall, with a strong physique. He looked to be about fifty, with dark wavy hair, and a well-trimmed beard and moustache. When he smiled, Marshall thought he resembled a giant teddy bear.
“Thank you for joining me this evening,” the captain said. “Why don’t we start by introducing ourselves? I’m Captain Isaac Merrill.” He looked at the first man on his right, and introductions were made all around, as drink orders were quietly taken.
“I hope everyone is enjoying the cruise,” Captain Merrill said, and his guests responded in the affirmative with great enthusiasm.
“Do you do cruises like this very often?” one of the guests asked.
“You mean to the Virgin Islands? Often,” the Captain replied.
“No, actually I meant gay cruises,” the same man said with a smile. “My husband and I would like to come back, if you do this again. We’ve been having the time of our lives.”
“This is one of our regular cruises,” Captain Merrill confirmed. “You should come back often. There is so much to see, more than you can explore in a single week.”
Marshall considered that a great idea, but he also knew there were other places he wanted to see. They’d always have the memory of this vacation, though. This was one trip he knew he’d never forget. He reached for Lee’s hand, their eyes meeting. Lee’s smile confirmed what Marshall was thinking, how happy they both were to be there.
The dinner was a fabulous success. The food was fantastic, starting with the appetizers. Each dish was better than the one before. Marshall was more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy, but he thought the fresh fish was great, and it was served with some delicious sauces. There was a veal Oscar dish, served with lobster, which he loved. Everything was accompanied by a choice of drinks, so he sampled different kinds of wine, according to the course. Some were more to his taste than others. He found the red wines a little sour, but the Prosecco was scrumptious. And the desserts were beyond description.
Conversation was lively, although he listened more than he spoke, but he enjoyed hearing what the others had to say. Lee had always said that Marshall had two ears and one mouth, so he should listen more than he talked, and he liked to follow Lee’s teachings as closely as possible.
After everyone had eaten, the couples began to disperse, but the Captain requested that Marshall and Lee, Denver and Dustin wait for just a moment, so they did.
“On behalf of the cruise line, I would like to apologize for what happened,” he said, addressing Marshall and Dustin. “I assure you, we don’t usually have some problems on our cruises.”
“Stuff happens,” Dustin said, and Marshall nodded.
“Nonetheless, I appreciate your understanding, and the cruise line would like to make it up to you. Your next cruise is on us. Any ship, any destination.” He handed each man an envelope. “This contains a number for you to call when you’re ready to sail with us again. I look forward to having you on my ship again.” He gave them a sharp salute, before heading off, greeting other guests as he left the dining room.
Marshall was floored. He certainly hadn’t expected that. One look at Lee, and he knew Lee hadn’t either.
“Looks like we’ll be taking another cruise,” Lee commented with a grin.
“Looks like,” Denver agreed. “You think they’re doing this to prevent being sued or something?”
Lee shrugged. “Maybe. Does it really matter. You weren’t planning to sue, were you?”
“Nah, I don’t think so. You?” Denver asked.
“Got better places to be and better things to do than worry about getting tied up in court.” He turned to Marshall. “Want to head up to our room, set for a few minutes, then head out to the pool?”
“Sounds perfect to me!” Marshall exclaimed.
Lee reached for his hand, then impulsively pulled him close for a quick kiss.
“I think that sounds good,” Denver said. “We’ll meet you guys out there.”
to be continued
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