She leaned back against the shower wall, the steam relaxing her neck and shoulders. The streams of water that poured down her face made it difficult to tell if her tears still fell–she simply knew her heart was still breaking.
Billy was exactly what she wanted, that had never been the question, but she wasn’t good for him. She destroyed his life and no matter how much he claimed she had been worth it, she still saw the pain in his face every time his family rejected him.
She wanted him to be happy even more than she wanted him. That’s how she knew, for sure, that she loved him.
The water slowed to a stop as she leaned forward and turned off the faucet. The warm robe was nothing compared to the warmth of his embrace, but it would have to do. She had to learn to live without him. She was strong and capable. She’d never needed a man before but God did she need him.
She crawled into bed, pulling the covers up tight around her. Sleep should be a refuge, and for most people it was. For her, it was an entrance into he dreams and fantasies that could never be reality. She’d dream of their wedding, of their home together, of the holidays they’d spend in. Aspen, in Paris, and more importantly in each other’s arms.
She felt the tears begin to stream down her face again as she clenched her eyes shut tight.
Billy waited by the small stand, shifting his weight from foot to foot, his nerves getting the better of him. He looked up as he heard footsteps approaching.
“Good evening, Mr. Abbott.”
Billy shook his hand. “I’m sorry to bother you so late”.
The man smiled politely. “It’s quite alright. That’s what the job’s about. They call it guest relations for a reason, right?”
“Well, yeah I suppose they do, but my request is going to seem a bit unconventional.”
“I doubt that,” the man scoffed. “I’ve had my fair share of strange requests.”
Billy smiled. “Well…”. He gestured to the large screen behind him. “I’m assuming that’s used for the family movie nights, right?”
“That’s right,” the man said, his face a bit confused.
“What time do those movies end and what time does the area close to the ship’s guests?”
“We started the last movie tonight at 8,” he replied. “The area closed at 10.”
Billy nodded. “I’m gonna need to rent that screen and this area tonight if possible..all night if I can get it. Money isn’t an issue…just give me a price.”
“Mr Abbott,” the man protested, “The thing is the movie content is controlled by our corporate office. We have no control over the content that plays. We can’t change what’s going to play or show on a given night and day.”
Billy pointed to the screen. “But that’s what’s playing now, right? That’s what would play tonight?”
The man looked up, checking the screen. “Yeah, it is.”
Billy sighed. “That’s absolutely perfect.”
Phyllis sat up, the knock on the door startling her. Room service was scheduled for the morning and it was far too late for the ship attendants to be making complimentary rounds.
She got out of bed, softly padding to the door. “Yes,” she said softly, leaning close to the door’s opening and waiting to hear the response.
“Phyllis, can you open the door?”
She stopped breathing, her hand frozen on the door handle. She wanted to let him in. She wanted to tell him that nothing else mattered–nothing except how much she wanted him, how much she needed him, how much she loved him.
“Phyllis,” he implored, “Just open the door, I just want to talk to you.”
She sighed, pulling open the door, her eyes widening as she looked at him. He wore a classic black suit but left off the tie, making him seem just casual enough to be comfortable. In his hand he held a garment bag, which he held out to her.
She smiled, taking the bag from his hands. “What’s this?”
“I know you said you wanted to go back to your room, but I saw something tonight…something that made me believe there’s something really special here…something that’s meant to happen between us.”
Phyllis looked at him, the sincerity in his voice rendering her speechless.
“Just look in the bag,” he smiled. “I think you’ll like the dress.”
She slowly unzipped the bag, revealing the sleeveless emerald green gown with a low back.
“It matches your eyes,” he whispered, “Do you like it?”
“Yes, thank you. I love it, it’s beautiful.”
“So are you,” he said softly. He smiled at her gain before continuing. “So tell me, you think you can put that on and come down to the deck with me?”
“Come on, Phyllis…it’s just us here. We can be anything we want to be. We don’t have to live up to the talk or the rumors or the hype as long as we’re here. We’re just Billy and Phyllis.”
Her mind flashed back to a day not too long ago, a time when she’d been wrapped up in his arms listening to his calm, sweet voice lull her into security.
“Two strangers? Two different worlds?” She asked, her eyes sparkling hopefully.
He reached for her hand, bringing it to his lips and kissing it softly. “Come with me tonight and I promise you won’t regret it.”
Phyllis picked up the dress with a slight smile. She leaned in quickly, allowing her lips to brush against his cheek. “Give me ten minutes.”