Murder on the Moonlight
AU, All Human. There’s been a murder and it’s up to Bella Swan to discover whodunit. On this cruise ship, there’s plenty of suspects. Was it the honeymooning newlyweds, the young fashion designer or, perhaps, that brooding, handsome stranger? You decide!
3. Hurricane Jessica
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She was still going on and on about something, her voice excited and really loud, but I realized after a couple of seconds that I’d tuned her out. I think I was standing there, dumbfounded, instead. Jessica didn’t even notice. She was too busy bending over her suitcases, trying to make some sense of where she was going to store them.
"… I couldn’t believe my luck, Bella! I’d been waiting all summer to go but all the tickets were booked. They tell me that this cabin was booked too, but your old roomie called in sick and you weren’t bringing anyone else. Well, of course I didn’t mind buying out that ticket, and I’m sure we’re going to get along great!"
I was able to catch the last of what she said so, when she popped her head back up and smiled hugely at me, I was just in time to offer a half-smile back. "Great," I mimicked, my voice nowhere near as happy as hers.
I was going to kill Jacob. I never thought of him as the responsible type—why would he go ahead and call the Moonlight’s staff behind my back and let him know that his ticket wasn’t being used? I could have sworn that there was a no cancellation clause on the brochure… but I guess it didn’t really matter now, did it? I was stuck on this cruise with some overly exuberant stranger for the next four days.
Or was I?
If the boat hadn’t left yet—
My thought was cut off when a loud whistle erupted through the air, causing the boat to shudder a bit. Jessica just managed to stay on her feet as I stumbled and fell back against the door. Luckily for me, I hit my shoulder instead of the back of my head, warranting a bruise instead of a concussion. I sighed. This boat seemed determined to send me to the hospital.
And now, with the departing whistle, I was stuck on it. I just hope I survived this cruise.
As soon as she realized what the whistle meant, Jessica squealed. "Here we go!"
I nodded. Aware that I was still hovering in the doorway—for just a second, I debated opening the door and making a break for it; I wasn’t that strong of a swimmer but we couldn’t have gone that far—I shrugged my shoulders and, carefully stepping around her suitcases, I made it over to the bunks.
When I got closer to her, I was able to get a better look at her. She was shorter than me but a pair of three inch heels and her big, lively hair made her look taller. She had a pretty enough face but she was wearing far too much make-up; her clothes were too tight for my tastes but she could pull it off. I would never dare.
Her heavily made-up eyes were watching me intently as I crossed the small, cramped cabin. As soon as I stopped, leaning against the edge of the bunks so I wouldn’t fall, she smiled again. "Are you a top bunk sort of girl, or a bottom?" she asked, gesturing towards the beds with one of her long fingernails. "I could sleep on either one," she added, giggling, "but I’m not sure we’re going to be doing too much sleeping! Oh, it’s going to be so much fun!"
My face must have paled then. I don’t know about her, but I liked my sleep—I just had the very unfortunate habit of talking in my sleep. I’d almost forgotten about it… what was I going to do now, sleeping in a room with a stranger? Especially a stranger who didn’t actually plan on sleeping?
This trip was getting worse and worse as every minute passed. First, that strange guy and his mood swing of doom, then an unwelcome roommate and now this. Maybe Jessica was right. I didn’t think I could sleep now.
Still, I could tell that she was waiting for me to answer her. I shrugged again. "The bottom bunk is fine, I guess," I told her, already bending down so that I was picking up my two bags. I hurriedly tossed them on the bottom bunk before she could say anything. There was no way I was sleeping in a top bunk. If I even managed to fall asleep, I could just see myself falling right out of it.
But Jessica didn’t seem to mind. Honestly, I didn’t think anything could faze this girl.
"Awesome! I was hoping you would take the bottom bunk. Me, I like to be on top!" She giggled again, a giggle that I swear was almost a snort. Her face flushed underneath that pound of make-up and I shook my head. She seemed to think something she said was funny.
I didn’t get it.
When I didn’t laugh, she was able to get herself under control. She took another glance at her luggage, then around the small room, before shaking her head. "There is no way I can deal with all this right now, I’m way too excited," she bubbled, her grin back in place. "We can worry about unpacking later, right, Bella? Why don’t we go check out the Moonlight first? I hear they have some good looking guys in this wing!"
Somehow, I wasn’t surprised that she would have guys on the mind—that, or that she would have already found a way to discover the attractiveness of our fellow passengers.
As I thought about what she said, my mind immediately fell on that bronze-haired, green-eyed stranger I’d already met. To call him good looking was an understatement. I can only imagine how Jessica would react if she had seen him. I had a feeling that a lot of squealing and exclamation marks would figure in.
Though it might be worth it to see both her and his reactions should the two of them meet, I didn’t think I wanted to stumble across him again. There was something strange about him—and I hadn’t forgotten that mean look he’d given me either. As far as I was concerned, I’d be better off spending the rest of my trip in my room. Especially if I’d get to be alone in it.
I wonder if this boat has room service…
Shaking my head, I told her, "I don’t think so, Jessica. I really should unpack some of my stuff first." I tried to sound apologetic.
Her lips turned down right away, her delighted smile a disappointed frown. "Are you kidding? You’d rather do that instead of exploring this amazing ship?"
Actually, yes. I did. I don’t know why she had to look so surprised that a teenager wanted to be responsible.
I tried to look apologetic, too. I knew I was a pretty bad actress—and an even worse liar—but I wanted her to leave me alone, at least for a few minutes. If I was going to have to spend the rest of my trip with her, I needed to get myself mentally prepared first.
"The way I see it, we’ll be on this ship for the next four days," I said, trying to explain, "and there’ll be more than enough time to, um, explore it. I really don’t think I’m gonna want to go through my clothes and stuff later if I explore first. I should do it first."
She cocked her head to her side as if she was really trying to understand what I was saying. She looked a little confused but that confusion didn’t last. Almost immediately, her smile was back and she was nodding. "I guess that makes sense. But not for me… procrastination is my middle name!" She giggled again. "Well, it’s not, but you know what I mean, right?"
"Great!" Pausing for a second, she seemed to be thinking about something. I found out what a second later. "You’re gonna come out soon, though, huh?"
I nodded. "As soon as I’m done." I doubted she’d let me stay in any longer than that.
"Amazing! Then I’ll see you then."
If she heard my lack of enthusiasm, she didn’t say anything. In fact, I don’t think she did. Jessica didn’t seem all that perceptive to me.
Instead, she stepped over her suitcase altar before turning around to face me. "Bye, Bella!" she said excitedly, waving her hand energetically as she bounced over to the cabin door. She swung it inward, resting her back against it as she looked over at me again. "I’ll make sure to save you a seat at lunch!"
I wondered where in my three word answers I gave her the impression that I wanted to sit down and eat with her before deciding that it didn’t matter. She seemed a nice enough girl and, besides, I would have to spend the next three nights and four days in her company now that she was rooming in the same cabin as me.
We wouldn’t be best friends for life or anything but I could at least act civilly towards her. After all, it wasn’t her fault that Jake had to go and come down with food poisoning at the last minute.
"That’ll be… great," I said, trying my best to sound sincere. It wasn’t that difficult. In a way, her obvious enthusiasm was catching. "I’ll see you soon."
If her smile was any brighter I would have to shield my eyes. It had to hurt, the way she made her lips so wide. Shoot, my mouth was wincing in sympathy.
"Now, don’t take too long. Oh, we’re going to have so much fun, roomie!"
With a tightlipped smile and a half-hearted wave in return, I watched as the back of Jessica’s curly black hair disappeared out through the doorway. The door shut with a near silent click; as she scurried away down the hallway, I could hear the tapping of her heels as she left me by myself.
I let my smile slide right off of my face as soon as the clack—clack—clack of her shoes died out. Pushing my lanky brown hair out of my face, I bent down at my waist and reached for one of my twin duffel bags. They looked even more piddling when, out of the corner of my eye, I spied Jessica’s matching pink luggage set.
Glancing around the cramped cabin with its bunk beds, I sighed and, after setting it on top of one of the two dressers, started to unzip the first of my bags. I tried my best not to think about the strange boy I met or the girl I was going to have share such close quarters with for three long days. I seriously hoped that Jacob’s food poisoning was really bothering him at the moment. For bailing on me like this, he deserved it.
Fun. Somehow I doubted I would be using that word half as much as her.
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