As the week progresses, tensions mount and not even a perfect day at sea can hold back the inevitable:
‘This is bliss’ Linda said to her friend as they dozed contentedly on the sun deck at the front of the boat, reddening in the strong July sun despite the layers of sun cream. Her eyes were closed and she was feeling drowsy, the sound of the water gently licking the side of the boat making her completely relaxed and unable to move to apply some more factor 50 even though she knew she should.
‘I could do this every day, that’s for sure’ Charlotte replied, smiling up at the sky and adjusting her hat to provide more shade to her face which was beaded with perspiration.
She sat up to accept yet another glass of cold white wine from Manolis, her elbow knocking the book she’d carelessly abandoned on the side, into the water in the process. Without a word the boy dived in after it, retrieving it before it had time to start sinking and held it aloft for her to take and then agilely clambered, dripping, back on board.
‘Thank you so much, I was getting to the good bit!’ Charlotte said, laying the book out in the sun to dry and rewarding him with a brilliant smile. The young man flushed and was thinking about how to respond when Marc walked up to call them for lunch. Charlotte’s attention was at once laser-focused on Marc and she leapt up to follow him, brushing past Manolis without another thought.
They all seated themselves around the table after collecting plates and cutlery, eagerly anticipating the feast that, by the smells they’d been enduring for the last hour, was going to be incredible.
The food started coming thick and fast, huge slabs of fresh bread, Greek salad with salty feta and juicy tomatoes from the captains garden, spicy tzatziki with enough garlic to blow your head off and grilled Saganaki drenched in fresh lemon juice. They all greedily started to load up their plates, exclaiming in delight with every mouthful, each new taste a revelation.
The captain walked through bearing a large platter and, with a flourish, placed it on the table in front of them. ‘Here you are, the best-mixed seafood plate you will find in Greece’ he announced proudly.
Five pairs of eyes looked down at the magnificent platter, two of which were horrified.
Laden with octopus, shrimps, oysters and small fish and decorated with lemon slices and fresh parsley, it was splendid, so it was unfortunate that it was due to become the cause of an almighty explosion.
‘What the hell is this?!’ demanded Linda, glaring at Kate, her face infused with anger. Scott jumped up holding out his hands, trying to calm her down.
‘I’m sure Ma has ordered something else for you’ he said, glancing at Kate and hoping for reassurance.
Kate paled. ‘I’m sorry, Linda, I didn’t think. I’m sure the lovely Captain can fix you something else up.’
Captain Yiannis, who didn’t understand what the problem was but realised he was expected to produce something else said, ‘I am sorry madam Kate, I have onboard only what you ordered.’
‘I can’t believe that you’ve done this again’ spluttered Linda, slamming a fist on the table. ‘Three years on and you’re still pulling this shit, treating me as if I don’t exist!’
With that she pushed the platter away from her, causing a deluge of food-laden plates and cutlery on the other side of the table to hit the deck with a resounding crash, stood up and stormed off back to the front of the boat.
‘Well,’ Charlotte said, whilst wiping at the debris that had landed on her lap, managing to smear more of it than clean it. ‘That’s not good’. Manolis instantly ran up with a roll of kitchen paper for her, standing by, unsure of what else to do while she tried to clean herself up, dabbing at the oily salad dressing running down her legs and picking bits of tomato and cucumber off her shorts.
Kate looked at Scott in trepidation, ‘I’m sorry, Scotty, I didn’t mean to upset her, I only wanted you to have your favourite foods and make today perfect for you’. Scott shook his head in despair, his face a picture of wretchedness as his eyes darted between the catastrophe that had been lunch and the direction Linda had gone.
‘Ma, I know you always have my best interests at the forefront of everything that you do, but you know what would make this day perfect for me? Linda being happy. That’s all I want, the girl I love with me and both of us having a perfect day. The sooner you get that into your head and start paying attention to her needs the better.’ And with that, he valiantly followed in Linda’s angry footsteps. Charlotte, looking up from where she was knelt, helping Manolis clean up the ruins of the meal on the floor said to Kate,
‘Ms D, you really have put your foot in it this time. Once she has calmed her down I think you’d better go and apologise to her big time. She’s madder than a wet hen!’
‘I’m sure she will be fine’ said Kate, smiling and pushing her chin out. ‘After tomorrow everything will be perfect’. Kate felt bad for upsetting the girl yet again, but she knew Linda would be ecstatic tomorrow when Scott asked her to be his wife – why wouldn’t she? – And then all this nonsense would be forgotten.