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A Shipboard Romance
by Melodie Corrigall

Betsy’s two romantic fantasies—remarrying one’s first love and a shipboard romance—were within reach.
As a teenager, Betsy had read about the remarriage of Richard Burton, what a voice, and Elizabeth Taylor, what a face, and longed to imitate such passion. Her husband Peter was out of the running for remarriage as they weren’t divorced and his only passions were his work and betting on the horses.
But the possibility of a shipboard romance had materialized when her sister, having come into money, offered Betsy a weeklong cruise and a promise to look after the home front. However, as always with her sibling, there had been a catch.
“You have to promise that on the cruise you won’t mention how your workaholic husband drives you crazy.”
“Okay, will do.”
“And not drone on about the girls: the toothaches, ballet recitals, etc.”
“Why all the rules?”
“You have a chance to be free and kick up your heals. Sitting in a corner, as you do at parties, waxing eloquent about how cute Trixie is in her new dress or how stubborn Lucy is about homework won’t make you friends.”
“I have friends.”
“I mean shipboard friends.”
And, for once, her sister was right. At dinner, on the cruise no one talked about kids or errant spouses, instead, they told of the exotic destinations they had visited or the day’s excursion. Betsy relished the tales of adventures and imagined possibilities for future trips. One man, Thomas, a gentleman with no wife in tow, became her dance partner on the dress-up nights and a companion on deck surveying the stars.
Betsy realized she’d done it: a shipboard romance. When they arrived back in port, Thomas slipped her his card, asked for her e-mail (no harm in that) and stood with her on the deck (like on the Titanic but drier) as they docked.  She had planned to take the bus home, having assured her sister that she had no need to pick her up.
But suddenly to her horror, there on the quay, waving like crazy, were her five girls decked out in straw hats, polka dot blue dresses and smiles. Her sister, standing behind them, gave her a shrug and a grin.
Betsy jumped when a voice behind said, “Look at that adorable group of girls: probably a school group. I’m sorry and I Rita didn’t have kids. I’d sweep those ones up in a jiffy. Then I’d never worry how to spend the weekend and finally have an excuse to go to the fall fair.
Wow, Betsy thought. Dreams come true. Now if she could only sidetrack her husband with an agreement to remarry again later, she could enjoy the best of both worlds.