Jill and Pete enjoyed their week nights. During the day Jill interacted with the public and Pete spent his time almost in isolation on his computer. Among recent after tea topics was the next holiday. Their holidays had been varied and they factored in a number of issues relevant to each of them. Jill liked less busy places away from crowds and Pete liked new experiences.
“Can you stay here for a few minutes?” Pete asked. “I’ll call when I’m ready.”
There’s a surprise, Jill thought trying to run through some options as the minutes passed.
“I’m ready.” The call came as an excited whisper. The light was off in the room as Jill felt her way to the chair and sat down.
“This is mysterious Pete. I’m intrigued. Do I get three guesses?”
“No. All will be revealed.” Pete’s voice came from the doorway.
Click. Light flooded the room. Jill scanned the coffee table – colourful brochures were strewn everywhere. Their hats and beach towels were draped over the couch.
“Pete?” Jill wasn’t sure how to react. “What are you trying to tell me?”
“Our holiday!” Jill looked more closely at the brochures. There was a consistent element in each photo. She heard the sharp intake of her breath.
“Our holiday is aboard the Dawn Princess. I’ve got a fantastic deal. We’re off on the high seas.”
“Pete, we didn’t talk about a cruise in our holiday plans.”
Jill reached for the nearest brochure. The photo was of holiday makers, mainly women, lounging on rows of deck chairs around the pool.
“I might need some new swim wear.” Those extra kilos she’d gained would not look like these sun seeking tourists.
“Of course, love. Did you like the way I have the hats and towels? That was a clue. We won’t need much more than swim wear. The cruise is around the Barrier Reef Islands, snorkelling and diving are included.”
Underwater. The thought of donning a mask and snorkel had Jill’s heart rate increasing.
“There are glass bottom barges if you don’t want to swim. You’ll still see the coral and fish. Have a look at the magazine.” He reached across the table.
“Did you put a deposit on the tickets?”
“Yes, that’s how I got the great deal. I paid in full. It will be a bit tight with the budget till I get the bonus but it’s too good to miss. I knew you’d be surprised. We’d never thought of a cruise.”
Jill knew exactly why it hadn’t been discussed. Her very fair skin did not lend itself to sun activities and as for being in water out of her depth…
“How many nights are we on board?”
“It’s ten days with different stopovers.”
“It’s certainly a surprise Pete and lots to read about.”
Jill slowly put the brochure back on the table.