Esther and Me Ch. 04bySlirpuff©
Chapter Four A new union and life without Esther
Catherine was already at the house by eight in the morning, bags in hand. I had stayed up most of the night over packing or should I say putting everything I owned into one HUGE suitcase.
"And they say women over pack. Do you have everything you own in that bag?"
"Everything except my mustang and I figure we'll pick it up on the way." I smiled until I tried to pick up the bag. Screw that, I'd let the porters deal with it. Passport, drivers license, a ton of cash, and one credit card is all I should need. I checked and rechecked the list the travel agency had sent over to me. The last thing I threw in was seasick pills. I wasn't taking any chances.
We said our goodbyes. Esther gave me a big hug and whispered 'good luck' in my ear. It was a five-minute cab ride to the storage facility and the port was about a three hours drive so we had plenty of time to talk. This would be my first official cruise and I was looking forward to it like you wouldn't believe. I had all my valuables, including the ring, in a small backpack I planned on keeping close to me until we got in our room. There would be no slip-ups if I could help it.
Even with express check-in it still took a while and our bags didn't show up until after some stupid thing called muster. I felt like I was on the Titanic listening to them explain what we would have to do in the unlikely event we needed to abandon ship. We were going to the tropics for Christ's sakes, how many icebergs could there be? I unpacked everything, hung it all up, and put the rest in the dresser drawers. Catherine hung up her two long dresses and that was it.
"I work out of my suitcase. I know where everything is so excluding my toiletries everything stays in here." I guess she was an old hand by now. We signed up for a few excursions but mostly we wanted to spend the time by ourselves. We walked the ship, found out where everything was and headed back to our cabin.
"Let's hit the pool deck," she suggested.
I grabbed one of five bathing suits I'd brought while she dug out hers. I was just tying the knot in front when I looked up and saw what she was wearing. Where's the rest of it? Were the first words that my brain asked. It was yellow, tiny, and tinier; that's the only way to describe it. She wasn't big breasted but what she did have was all out there.
"I think I've got a few bandages in my suitcase that would cover more than that suit is covering."
"Steve, we don't know anyone here, and I'll never see any of these people ever again. And unless you think I don't look good in this suit, what's the problem?"
"You see, we're probably not going to make it out of this room the way you look and the way I'm feeling right now." I looked down at a raging hard-on.
"I can fix that," she said sitting on the bed opening my swimsuit and taking me in her mouth. It didn't take her long as she deep throated me while caressing my balls.
"Oh fuck," I said holding onto her shoulders to steady myself while she drained me.
"Now," she said pulling up my shorts. "Shall we go to the pool deck?" Weak in the knees we made our way up one flight of stairs.
At fifty-four Catherine look better than good. If I didn't know any better I'd swear she wasn't a day over forty. She got more than one look from teenage guys to those a lot older than me. It got to the point I didn't want to leave her alone for even a second.
When I went to the buffet line to get us some fruit and a cool drink there was a guy sitting on my lounge chair talking to her when I got back. Even through his dark sunglasses I knew what he was staring at. I stood there with both hands full of food when they finally noticed me.
"Honey, you're back. Steve, this is Don, Don this is Steve."
"Steve, I'd shake your hand, but it looks like you've got them pretty loaded. Kate, maybe I'll see you around," he said getting up.
"Kate?" I said looking at her.
"Here, let me help you." She stood up taking both drinks." After that incident I never left her side.
We had the late dinner seating so after changing into something more appropriate we walked the decks until just before eight. There was a mob of people waiting to get into the dining room but within five minutes we had found our table and were seated. I ordered us drinks and a bottle of wine to have with dinner.
There were three other couples at our table. John and Tracy were in their late fifties, Linda and her new husband Paul were at the most in their mid to late twenties and just by looking at them you could tell they were newlyweds or close to it. The third couple came in late. Kevin was in his late forties but his wife April couldn't have been much more than twenty-nine. Looks like he had a trophy wife.
We went around and introduced ourselves and found we were from all walks of life and were scattered throughout the United States. When Catherine said this was my first cruise everyone added their tidbit of something I just had to do, but to a person they said it would be memorable.
Dinner was long and drawn out. Finally after finishing our wine Catherine suggested a walk on the deck. That's when my cruise went to shit. All the fucking outside doors had steps to keep water from coming in during a storm. I opened the door and plowed into one falling flat on my face. Then adding insult to injury, the door closed on my leg. Embarrassed doesn't even come close to describing how I felt.
Catherine was trying to re-open the door when the steward rushed over to help her. Feeling more like a klutz, everyone helped me up. It was then I realized I had a slight problem feeling the pain shoot through my right foot. A quick trip to the infirmary confirmed that I had a slight ankle sprain.
"Keep off it for a couple of days and you'll be as good as new," the doctor instructed me. "Take two of these three times a day for a couple of days, keep it elevated, and you'll be upright in no time." He handed me a small bottle of pills that contained what to me looked like large aspirins.
"Great, just fucking great," I mumbled softy to myself watching him put an ace bandage around my ankle. Standing up it was sore but manageable.
"I can't take you anywhere, can I?" Catherine said laughing. "Looks like bed rest for you."
"Not on your life. This is my first cruise and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it even if it kills me."
So, we didn't walk the decks that night, but we did hit the clubs. We got a table close to the dance floor and I got an extra chair to keep my foot elevated. The place was dark and the music was very loud. The best we could do is to watch other people dance. When Catherine was asked to dance by one or more guys she always said told them thanks, but no thanks.
"Go ahead and dance, I'll be fine. It's not like I'm going to be able to do much of anything for at least a couple of days."
"You sure about this?"
"Look, I know you love to dance. Have some fun and don't worry about me. I'll just be a good cripple and sit here in the corner," I told her sticking out my lower lip. She kissed me.
"Maybe we should go back to the room and do our own type of dance?"
"We'll have plenty of time for that later tonight. Right now it's time to party." So for the next two hours she went from one guy to the next on the dance floor. She never danced a slow song with any of them, but she did a few mean salsa dances with one. She sure was a great dancer. We left the club around one thirty in the morning.
"I haven't had that much fun in ages," she said beaming.
We made it back to our cabin, undressed, and sat on our balcony enjoying the night air. Holding her hand I reached over, kissed her, and said what a good idea this had been. We made our way back into the cabin and with the balcony door propped open so we could hear the ocean made mad passionate love and fell asleep in each other's arms.
We never made breakfast in the dining room but hit the Lido deck for the breakfast buffet. We were docking at Key West this morning and she was looking forward to walking around the downtown shops.
It was crowded and after an hour or so my foot started to bother me.
"Babes, I need to go back while I can still make it." I could see she was disappointed. "Look, you shop and have some fun and I'll meet you back on the ship."
"Are you sure?"
"Positive," I replied giving her more than a little peck. "Just don't spend all your money on these over priced touristy items." She smiled and I was off on my slow hobble back to the ship. What had taken us a half hour, took me almost an hour to get back. I was hurting and sweating like a pig when I finally made it back to the ship. I iced the shit out of my ankle, kept it elevated, and popped three of those damn pills. At least from the balcony in my room I could see the dock and the people walking back to the ship.
It was after four thirty when I saw Catherine and two guys walk up the dock to the ship. I recognized my new buddy Don and who the other guy with him was anyone's guess. I guess Don was right, he would see her around and it looks like he had.
She must have had four bags stuffed with clothes and over the next hour she modeled each item for me. When she brought out a bright pink swimsuit the size of a two cotton balls, my face showed what I thought of it.
"Loosen up. If you've got it flaunt it and if you don't, flaunt what you've got. This one I plan on wearing on that special sun tanning deck." I looked confused. "Steve, it's a topless sun deck for adults only. I want to go home without any tan lines this time and don't worry, you'll be right next to me."
An hour later we were up on that deck without our tops. I put plenty of sun tan lotion on the spots that were pale white and hadn't seen the sun in a long time. I did let my hand slip a couple of time and all she said to me was later. When Don and the other guy I'd seen her with came topside I wasn't too happy.
With a big smile she said, " You remember Don, and this is Paul. I met them both downtown today."
"How's the foot, Steve?" he asked looking at me through his dark glasses.
"Much better. It'll probably be all healed up by tomorrow." I lied but he didn't know that. When they sat next to Catherine and talked up a storm I started to get a little concerned. When more than one guy started walking around and staring at her I told her it was time to leave.
"You're going to get burned and ruin the rest of the cruise if I don't get you out of the sun."
"I guess you're right. We'll probably see you guys at the club later tonight." She got up from the chaise and put on her top. I said nothing.
Dinner was fantastic, and of course, we both ate more than we should have. I had only one glass of wine especially after she said that a walk around the decks was in order. I popped two more pills and although I was in pain, I told her I was fine. I was still limping a bit but sucked it up.
The club was packed and we could only find a small table in the back. I danced three songs back to back and after the last one, a slow one, the throbbing of my ankle let me know I was pretty much done. I had sucked it up as much as I could stand and now I had to get off my foot. With sweat rolling down my face I told her I just needed to sit for a couple of minutes; that's when Don showed up sans the sunglasses. He couldn't be much over forty and when he asked Catherine to dance I told her to go for it. That was the last I saw of her for the next two hours. I take that back, she was on the floor with Don, Paul, and two other guys most of the night. She'd wave at me but after three slow songs and too much to drink on my part I wanted her off the floor.
I made my way over to the dance floor. She was talking to two guys, had a drink in her hand and it looks like it hadn't been her first. One guy had his arm around her, and the other two were talking, laughing, and having a good old time.
"Hon, I think it's time we call it a night." I said looking at the guy with his arm around her; he immediately removed it.
"But it's still early and I haven't danced this much in a million years," she said with pleading eyes.
"There's always tomorrow night." I reached out to her.
"Well, guys, I guess I'll see you tomorrow," she told them but they didn't look any too happy with me. She'd had at least one too many and swayed to the music in the background all the way to our room. When we pushed into our room she was all over me.
"I want you so bad right now I can't stand it," she began pulling her dress over her head. However she slipped backwards and ended up on her ass. That must have jarred something loose inside of her because she covered her mouth and ran to the bathroom. Dinner and I think everything she drank that evening came up, that's what it sounded like, anyway. I went out and sat on our balcony while she tried to recover. Ten minutes later a glassy-eyed woman came out.
"I think I had too much to drink tonight. Everyone was buying drinks and I must have lost track." I was going to say no shit sweetheart but held my tongue. Our romantic cruise was not turning out the way I had planned.
Did we make love that night? Hell no. She was out like a light within five minutes snoring away. Hopefully, tomorrow would be a better day; it wasn't.
I left her sleeping and went to breakfast in the dining room. Only the guy with his trophy wife was there. He asked about my foot and I said it was pretty much healed. I told him that I planned on taking it easy today and maybe by tomorrow I would be back to normal. We shot the shit about Key West and how his wife melted two credit cards trying to stimulate the economy by herself. I laughed and said that she wasn't the only one. We finished and I headed back to my room but found no Catherine.
I spent the next hour and a half hobbling around the decks looking for her. Going from the gym to the dining room and finally the Lido Deck, I looked everywhere. I finally found her up on the topless deck with her new best friend, Don. I was pissed and I didn't hide it this time.
"I've been looking for you for the last two hours. You could have at least left me a note where you were going."
Well, I got up and you were already gone. You didn't leave me a note where you were going."
"If you remember correctly, you were passed out and asleep," I replied, thankful she couldn't see my eyes through my dark glasses. I looked over at Don.
"Well, I see you found your new friend on this big ship easily enough." I told her sarcastically.
"What the hell is that suppose to mean?"
"Forget it." I said now in disgust.
"Maybe I'd better leave," Don said starting to get up.
"You don't have to leave, Steve is just being a jerk. You sit your ass right back down there."
"That's right, Don, sit your ass right back there so you can finish memorizing every pore on her breasts." I'd had about enough of him. "If you want me, I'll be on the ship somewhere," I said sardonically and walked away. She said something to me but I was halfway down the stairs and never heard it.
There really was a lot going on aboard ship. From afternoon dance classes, art auctions, gambling lessons, not to mention pool parties and games on the Lido deck. I found myself in the gym on a stationary bike hoping it wouldn't hurt my ankle too much. It was pretty boring looking out over the bow at the water so I decided to sneak into the dry sauna and ended up in the whirlpool with four other people. The hot water made my foot feel much better but I was starting to get irritated with Catherine. I made it back to our room shortly after four o'clock. She wasn't there and it looked like she hadn't been back since she'd left earlier that morning.
I changed and spent the next two hours at an art auction. You'd be surprised at the prices people pay for what I considered junk art. I guess when you're on vacation sometimes you tend to let your guard down, well not me. I got back to our cabin just before seven and walked into a hornet's nest.
"Where the hell have you been? I walked the entire ship looking for you," she screamed at me. Where had I heard those exact words earlier today? "I was about to tell the captain that you probably went overboard. Where were you?"
"Well, after I left you I went to the gym, got something to eat, and then spent the next few hours between gambling seminars and an art auction."
"Why didn't you come back?"
"And spoil your good time? I wouldn't have dreamt of it." She heard the bitterness in my voice.
"You're starting to act like a real ass. I can't help it that you fell and hurt your damn ankle."
"Let's just drop it and go have a nice dinner, shall we?" We showered separately and got dressed in silence. I don't think we said more than five words to each other on our way to dinner.
Everyone was talking about our next port of call and what they planned on doing. We had signed up for an excursion to view the ruins and I was looking forward to it. When Don stopped by our table told Catherine that he'd love to show her the ruins since I was out of commission I about freaked. He was hitting on her with me right there.
"No need, Don, my foot is all healed, and I'll be showing her them myself." I shot him a look that basically said to back the fuck off. As usual we made our way over to one of the two clubs. There at a large table were the guys she'd been dancing with the previous nights and against my better judgment she talked me into sitting with them. We had two drinks and I was dancing more than half the songs with her.
I was paying for our drinks when one of the guys asked Catherine to dance.
"Why don't you find some other lady to dance with," I piped in. She didn't take too kindly to that remark and told him she would love to dance, giving me the evil eye. So the night went. An hour later when another smiling guy asked her to dance, I told him to fuck off, in those exact words.
"Steve, what's wrong with you? Why are you acting like this?" If she didn't know the obvious by now, my answering her question wouldn't have made any difference.
I guess I lost my cool and flipped him my room card.
"Here's my fucking room key, you might as well take that too," I said in a loud voice to the surprised group at our table. Just make sure you clean her up when you're done with her, I don't need her getting cum stains all over our sheets. Have fun guys because I'm out of here." They were all catching flies at this point. I was halfway down the hall when an exasperated Catherine caught up to me.
"What the hell is your problem, Steve? The way you're acting you'd think you were my father."
"No, not your father but I'd at least hoped your lover. Go back to your boy toys and leave me the hell alone. I guess this cruise wasn't such a good idea, after all."
"Stay here and let me go back and get my things so we can talk."
"About what? Remember when you said that you had bad cruises with your ex because all he did was to hit on this woman or that one? Right now I think I know how you felt." I kept walking away hearing her yell for me to wait until she got back. I'd had one woman tear out my heart. I wasn't about to give another one that chance.
I sat at the bar by the casino for the next two hours. After that I made my way into the casino where I dropped a couple hundred—it just wasn't my night. After that I went up to the top deck and with a double in each hand I proceeded to get blitzed.
In all my years of drinking I had never passed out but I did that night. I awoke with my head throbbing. My mouth felt like shit and I fought against opening my eyes. The one thing I did notice was that someone had thrown a blanket over me. Ever so carefully I opened my eyes. What time it was I hadn't a clue, but the way I felt I knew I was alive; dead people didn't have to go through all this pain.