"Can you believe this weather?" Delphine, a fifty-five-year-old actress, and mother of four calls from where she lounges. She and her two closest friends, Darina and Alouette, had gone in on a yacht together as a way to justify their sudden trip to their children, associates, and myriad hangers-on. "It’s lovely," Delphine adds, reaching for the gauzy hand fan at her side. Her tone was less than convincing, but at the moment, she was too over-heated to care.
"I personally think we could use more of a breeze," Alouette says, fanning herself with her hand. "I mean honestly. Who is in charge of this temperature?"
"I do wish those science types would find a way to regulate the temperature outdoors, already," Delphine agrees with a dramatic, longing sigh.
Darina pushes her sunglasses on top of her head. "I think Global Warming is who you want to contact."
"Maybe they should add that to marketing," Alouette says.
"Ooh, perhaps that can be our next campaign!" Delphine suggests eagerly.
Darina stares at her friend. "We will see about that..." She gets onto her feet.
Alouette continues to fan herself. "Must we have all these birds?" She waves a hand near where a bird was perched on the railing. "I mean I feel like we should complain to a manager."
"You sound less than enthused," Delphine says with a pout, ignoring for a moment Alouette's comment about birds. She stretches luxuriously. "Alouette," she says idly. "What perfume are you wearing?"
"Live for the Moment." Alouette rummages through her bag. "Though I do have Daring Damsel and Warrior Queen. If you'd like one of those."
"Ooh, Warrior Queen!" Delphine exclaims with a giddy clap. "I'll borrow that later." She clears her throat. "But I ask because of a fascinating article I recently read." She swings her legs clear of the lounge and eases up. "Did you know that birds are drawn to certain scents?"
"Are you trying to attract them or send them away?" Darina asks. "I'm not sure with that tone." She gestures at her friend. "Or that face."
"Oh, no," Delphine chuckles. "It occurred to me that Alouette's perfume may be enticing our feathered friends."
Alouette's eyes widened. "You think??" She presses a hand to her neck. "Maybe I should wash this off..."
"It’s possible," Delphine nods. "Plus, a little wash should help you feel cooler!"
"I'll be right back!" Alouette hurries down to the bathroom, pushing past the maid on her way down.
Darina makes her way across the deck to the bar and helps herself to a glass of wine. "I think maybe next vacation we choose something a little less outdoorsy." Even if the ocean was lovely and she felt like she was on a voyage.
"I don't know," Delphine muses. "I think this trip has gone well so far!" They've managed to avoid disasters big and small, after all, and were within a day or two at most of their chosen destination. Delphine meanders to the bar and orders a fruity drink from the handsome bartender.
"I'm not saying it hasn't... I'm just saying I think a spa weekend would be more.... fitting." Darina glances toward the direction where Alouette went. "But this is rather lovely."
"Why go for just a weekend?" Delphine asks grandly. "We should treat ourselves to at least a week at the spa when we return!"
"I think that would probably better suit Alouette. She's not a fan of the outdoors." Darina was honestly surprised she was for the yacht. Though they all have had a string of bad luck lately, so it was a necessary evil to get away.
"I think the need to get away outweighed her dislike of nature," Delphine murmurs, worrying at her bottom lip.
Darina sips at her wine. "Divorce will do that to you. We should know." She sighs. They all seemed to have hit the same rough patch at the same time.
Delphine heaves a sigh. "It feels like a curse, doesn't it?"
"I think it's just Hollywood." Darina looks toward the steps. "Where did Alouette go to wash up? The Atlantic?"
Delphine's laugh hides a touch of hysteria. Two divorces, a failed engagement, and a live-in boyfriend who was using her for her money and status... she'd certainly led a "Hollywood" life. She shakes those negative thoughts away. "Maybe!" She makes a show of waving her fruity drink at the ocean. "Alouette!" She sings. "Have you fallen overboard?"
"I'm driving the boat!" Alouette's voice calls back.
"What does that mean...?" Darina glances at her friend then move across the deck to find Alouette. "Please tell me that she didn't get a hold of the wheel. She's totaled two cars."
"You're what?" Delphine shrieks, plopping her drink onto the bar and striding out to peer at the navigation center. "Alouette! What are you doing?"
"I'm driving a boat!" she repeats. Alouette's laughter follows.
Darina hurries to find their friend. "Let's not do anything crazy. Just walk away from the wheel." She should have guessed that Captain Fabio (as they nicknamed him) would let Alouette flirt her way behind the wheel.
"Oh come on. What could I possibly hit out here? A whale?" Alouette lets go of the wheel to gesture. "It's the Pacific!"
"It's actually the Gulf of Mexico," Captain Fabio interrupts. At a look from Alouette, he raises his hands and backs off. "We'll work on your geography later."
"There are things in the ocean!" Delphine yells. "I don't know what, exactly, but I know there are things you can hit!"
"I'm not going to run over a whale. Relax." Alouette pushes the captain's hat to straighten it on her head. "You got away from L.A. to relax! Because that week in New York City just didn't chill you out at all."
Captain Fabio hides a smile at Alouette's antics. "I do advise you to pay attention to the compass."
"Captain!" Delphine scolds. "Alouette, please, if you crash, we will die, and I will not like you!"
"We are not going to die! You are such a drama queen. If I wanted more drama I would have stayed married to my wife." Alouette turns her attention back to the ocean stretched ahead. "You need to get off the stage and out into the real world! AND LIVE!"
"We won't live if you kill us," Darina says. "Captain, maybe you should know her history. She totaled two cars. This year. She has a driver for a reason."
"You didn't mention that," Captain Fabio whispers.
"Alouette!" Delphine shrieks as a sudden shift sends her off balance.
"This is a boat, not a car!" Alouette turns to face her friends. "You're both overreacting! I've been driving for 4-30 years!"
"Stop lying about your age, Alouette!" Delphine snaps. She hurries back to the bar for something to hold onto. "You're going to get us killed!"
"I am not!" Alouette protests. She begins to defend this when the yacht suddenly lurches to the side, sending them spiraling.
Darina grabs onto Delphine to keep her balance. "I knew you'd be the death of me Alouette Gardner!"
Delphine clutches Darina and squeezes her eyes shut. "Drowning is a thing!"
Darina watches as Captain Fabio takes the wheel and spins it back but not before the yacht takes a hit. Everything jolts forward and comes to an eerie stop. "Did we hit a whale?"
Alouette picks herself up. "We most certainly did not hit a whale. I am eco-friendly."
"Eco - " Delphine sputters.
"Please remain calm," Captain Fabio calls in his most officious tone.
"Calm?" Delphine demands, opening her eyes. "We're no longer moving!"
"It is essential to remain calm while we board the emergency boats." Captain Fabio says, straight-faced.
"What did we hit?" Darina asks. She takes a step forward. "Did you just say emergency boats?"
Alouette sighs. "I do not think it's that big of a problem. This isn't the Titanic and I know there aren't any icebergs out here. Except maybe the lettuce."
Delphine massages her temples to remain calm. "We have to use something with ‘emergency’ in the name," she says. "That's a big deal!"
"Captain, are you sure you've accessed this right?" Alouette puts her hands on her hips. "Because it feels like you're being dramatic."
Captain Fabio has to take a minute to remind himself that these are his employers, that he has been paid handsomely for this trip, and that even though they didn't bother to learn his actual name they had been pleasant for the most part. For the most part. He takes a deep breath and slowly lets it out. "I assure you, I've assessed the situation accurately. If you'll turn your attention to the flashing light indicating a rising water level?"
"Captain!" one of the maids comes running into the room. "There's water on the lower deck!"
"Now... that feels important..." Alouette says, gesturing at the maid.
Darina grabs Alouette's arm. "Off the boat!"
Delphine waves her friends over to the emergency boat to which the bartender had so gentlemanly escorted her when Darina made a break for Alouette.
Alouette crosses her arms as she plops down into the emergency boat. "I swear this is not my fault. It's the ocean!"
"You destroyed our yacht!" Darina says with wild gestures at the sinking yacht while the rest of the crew piled onto the boat.
"You're blaming the ocean for your actions!" Delphine fumes. "I didn't get to pack my things! My things, Alouette!"
"Relax, I made emergency bags, and if the maid -" Darina is interrupted.
The maids sit next to them with their carry-on bags firmly in hand. "We have your bags ladies."
"I had the maids on an emergency order to grab our stuff if Alouette killed us," Darina finishes.
"I love you," Delphine says, accepting her bag gleefully. She blows Darina and the maids each a kiss. "Ladies, I am doubling your pay as soon as we get to an ATM."
Darina hugs her bag. "We are definitely keeping you on full time. Once we aren't stranded..."
Alouette sulks in the corner. "I still say this wasn't my fault," she says as they bob their way to the nearest barrier island.