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Gabi Miller had been on plenty of cruise ships but Sapphire was something else entirely. A buzz ran through her entire body as she stepped across the gangway and onto the plush blue carpet. Ruby was at her side, just as she always was. 2020 would be a chance for them to get a new start. Things would be different on Sapphire. The magic of the ocean was one of the few things Gabi believed in unwaveringly. 

She glanced to her badge trying to remember their room number. 3012. They were on deck 1. Without waiting for Ruby, she made towards the stairs. If there was one thing she knew about cruise ships, it was that the elevators were always busy, especially on embarkation day. Their suitcases would be taken to the room for them, all she carried was her small laptop bag. Not that she planned to do any work while they were aboard, but she wanted it with her just the same. 

Ruby caught up to her on deck 2, puffing a little as she settled in next to Gabi, taking two steps to keep up with each of Gabi’s. 

“You could’ve waited.”

Gabi shrugged. 

“You can’t give me the silent treatment forever.”

Gabi focused on putting one foot in front of the other, she would not break.

“Fine. We’ll play it like this.”

Deck 3. Gabi followed the signs that pointed to the right, 3012. She was pleased to find it wasn’t too far from the stairs. The first cruise she’d been on had been a slog just to make it back to her room, the furthest forward it could possibly be, and the furthest from the lift. 

She slid her keycard into the door and watched for the green light, as she pulled the door open, she almost forgot for a moment that she was still angry with Ruby. The room was huge. At least twice the size of the last room they had on a cruise. Her eyes fell to the bed and her anger returned. One bed. She’d called a week ago to confirm. Two beds. They’d promised it wouldn’t be an issue. 

Gabi turned and glared at Ruby as she trekked back to the stairs and up to reception on deck 1. 

“What’s the matter?” Ruby called after her, jogging to keep up with Gabi.

“One damn bed. That’s what’s up.” Ruby came to a stop. 

“Shit. Didn’t you say you called?”

Gabi nodded, still striding toward the stairs. 

“I called. They confirmed.”

“Okay, do you need me to talk to them? I know how you get when you’re angry.”

“No. I do not need you to talk to them. You’re not my girlfriend.”

Ruby sighed. “No, I know I’m not. You made that pretty clear. I still know you.”

Gabi began down the stairs almost at a sprint, in the hopes of losing Ruby. She didn’t bother looking back to see if it worked, but the lack of talking told her it had.

She reached deck 1 only to find a line that snaked around the small area and out into the main deck. Perhaps she should have let Ruby deal with it.

A few moments later, Ruby settled into the queue beside her trying desperately to catch her breath. 

“You could’ve waited.”

Gabi shrugged. 

“You didn’t have to come.”

“And here I am anyway.”

The two fell into an awkward silence as the queue moved forward, slow as molasses. Each query seemed to take longer than the last. 

Finally, they made it to the front. 

“Hi there, we got to our room and found there was a king bed instead of the two singles we asked for.” Gabi kept her tone as sweet as possible, a contrast to the broiling anger in her chest. 

“Oh, I’m so sorry. What’s your room number?”

“3012,” Ruby cut in. 

“Not a problem. I’ll have your room attendant fix that up shortly. Was there anything else I can help you with?”

“No, that’s all.” Gabi jumped in before the poor receptionist had even finished talking, eager to get in before Ruby.

“Great. Enjoy your trip!”

Gabi began the trek back up to deck 3 with Ruby still trailing behind her. She was eager to see if her luggage had been delivered so she could unpack.

“I saw a glimpse of a gift bag on the bed. That ought to cheer you up.” Gabi grunted as she took the stairs two at a time, she made it to to deck 2 and saw Ruby a full flight below.

Truth be told, the idea of a gift bag did get her attention. 

When she made it back to 3012 she caught sight of the bag almost immediately. This time she ignored the huge bed as best she could, yet another reminder of her failed relationship, and made straight for the Pride 365 bag on the right hand side of the bed. It was a beach tote, the kind you could easily spend $50 on if you bought it in a shop, one both sides the rainbow lips of the Pride 365 logo stared back at her. The bag was heavy, leaving Gabi excited about what was inside. She unzipped it, noticing the thick towel first. Rather than the Pride 365 logo the towel sported rainbow stripes like a giant pride flag. Not a hint of subtlety. She loved it. Next she pulled out a reusable water bottle with a little tag attached to it reminding her that using the reusable bottle was better for the environment. In a separate cloth bag (again emblazoned with the Pride 365 logo) she found a rainbow lanyard and a leading lesbian ladies calendar. 

She put all of it aside and wandered onto their small balcony. This was not how she’d expected to start out 2020. She had expected to begin and end the cruise with Ruby by her side. That was how she’d expected the rest of her life to go. But things had a way of changing. She and Ruby certainly had. 

The sound of the door being pulled open caught Gabi’s attention. She couldn’t deal with Ruby, she needed space. In one motion, she snatched the lanyard from her bed, grabbed her laptop bag and slipped past Ruby before she’d even made it to the bed. 

“Can we talk?” Ruby asked.

“Can we not? This is the first day of the cruise.”

“Well, you’ve been ignoring my calls.”

“That’s because I don’t want to talk to you.” Gabi paused, the door was in sight. She didn’t owe Ruby anything. 

“Could you at least tell me why? Why did you break up with me?” Gabi sighed. She couldn’t deal with the pain she saw in Ruby’s brown eyes.

“Don’t follow me,” she growled to her ex-girlfriend, slipping into the hall before Ruby had a chance to respond.

Gabi leaned against the door for a moment sucking in lungfuls of air, forcing the lump in her throat down. It was going to be a long year. 

Read January 3, 2020 here.

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