If you haven’t read February 12 yet, you can do so here.

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Sammy had been running around the ship in a panic all week. Between the canceled shore days and the looming Valentine’s Day activities, she had her hands full. They had events scheduled back to back all day in almost every ship location they could find. From speed dating to the couple’s game show, to back to back movies, special lunch and dinner menus (not that she had to deal with those), and a Galentine’s Gala. Sapphire Wave was the place to be. At least, it would be if Sammy could get all the decorations up, the scorecards printed, figure out where the sticky name tags ended up, and find someone to blow up the balloons. 

“Have you seen Sarah?” she called to the passing form of Monica, the second in charge as they passed in the hall. 

“Which one?” Monica barely slowed.


“Nope.” Sammy sighed and hurried along the corridor. Typical of the Sarahs to go missing right before their first huge event. There had been plenty of other parties but nothing as large as Valentine’s Day had happened on Pride 365. Given everything else happening, it had to be perfect. They had to put on a good show for the women who had paid very good money to spend a year on their ship and thus far they’d been to a few locations before that damn virus got in the way. 

She rounded the corner and bumped straight into a woman she didn’t know. Probably one of the kitchen staff, but she wasn’t in uniform.

“Hey, you look like you can lift a box. I need hands. Come on.” She tried to redirect the woman back the direction she’d come from.

“I was on my way for a drink,” she protested.

“Come on, if you help me, I’ll buy you a drink. Hell, I buy you several,” she paused. The woman remained unconvinced. “The Sarahs have gone missing and all these decorations need to go up before the passengers wake up this morning.”

The woman groaned but Sammy could tell she was about to cave.

“Yes. Thank you so much. Seriously.”

The woman waved her off and trailed Sammy towards the passenger area picking up several boxes filled with pink balloons, streamers, banners, and far too many heart shaped things.

Sammy hated Valentine’s Day. Not that she could ever tell anyone on the ship that. 

Nor could she tell anyone on the ship that she wasn’t actually a morning person and 4 a.m. was not an appropriate time to be awake. Instead, she pushed herself through the fatigue and up the stairs to Ellen. Ellen would host by far the biggest display of Valentine’s Day decorations. It acted as the hub of the ship, many guests had taken to spending their afternoons chatting, drinking, or working somewhere within the two deck expanse of Ellen and Sammy wanted to make sure it looked spectacular.

“I’m Poppy,” the girl she’d accosted in the hallway told her as they set to putting the decorations up.

“Sammy.” Sammy dropped a love heart candle onto the center of the nearest table, then asked the question she’d been wondering since she bumped into Poppy. “Why were you headed for a drink at 4 a.m.?”

Poppy laughed. “I only finished work half an hour ago. I wanted a night cap.”

“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have grabbed you. You should get to bed.” Sammy felt immediately awful for pulling the poor girl away from her bed.

“No, it’s fine. Let me help. Besides, then you can buy me a drink.”

Sammy smiled. “Okay. So, what do you do that had you working until almost four? Bartender? No, I would know you. I know all the bartenders. Not in an alcoholics anonymous kind of way, just in an ‘I’m the cruise director’ kind of way.” Poppy laughed dutifully.

“I’ve been working for Ms. McCoy, as her personal steward.”

Sammy nodded. The name Poppy did ring a bell. Adrienne had mentioned something about a woman named Poppy but the way Adrienne spoke about her she was dumpy and useless. This young woman was efficient and taking time out of her morning to help Sammy when she could’ve been in bed. Surely they weren’t the same person.

“What’s it like? Working for McCoy I mean.”

Poppy shrugged. “It’s okay. I liked my job in the cafe better. It was busy. Now, I hardly see anyone. McCoy had me on call but she doesn’t need that much so I mostly just have to be available for her. She tips well though. So I guess it’s worth it.”

Sammy nodded. She definitely understood how lonely it could be working solo. It was true what people said about it being lonely at the top. Occasionally she longed for the long days she’d spent in the restaurant or reception desk. Her days were still long and she got paid pretty well for it but sometimes she missed the simplicity of life then.

“You’re doing pretty well. McCoy tends to run them into the ground. Stewards. She’s a lovely woman, but not the most patient. Takes after her daddy.”

“You knew Mr. McCoy?” Poppy asked.

“Oh yeah. He hired me. They had way less ships back then. Adrienne was just a kid. Lovely girl though. Always running about the ship getting into mischief.” Sammy smiled remembering how little Adrienne had followed her around while she tried to work asking endless questions then wandering off to bug someone else when she exhausted all of Sammy’s useful information. 

“I can imagine. I think we’re almost done.” Sammy looked over the railing at the bottom deck of Ellen and to the tables on the top deck. Everything was covered in a thick layer of reds and pinks. That meant it was perfect. 

“Come on. I’ll buy you that drink. You’ve been so helpful. Definitely saved my butt.”

You can read February 14 here.

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