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Harold, a widower and a retired government worker, misses his wife and decides to take up a hobby. Courageously stepping out of his shell, he joins a scuba diving class, where he meets a vivacious widow and discovers new adventures.
Attractive and fun-loving Aletha spices up Harold’s mostly routine life with one surprise after another. Neither of them expect any obstacles to a nice relationship, but everything—from sexual malfunction to legalese to Aletha’s new career—seems to interfere.
Will they ever find married bliss?
Page Count: 31
Word Count: 7990
“Is anyone going to the show tonight?” I asked.
“We are,” said the Scotsman. “We have seen that singer on another cruise, and she is very good.”
When the entrees came, conversation suddenly stopped. Only small comments like, “This is delicious,” “My prime rib is perfection,” “Could you pass the butter,” were heard. I noticed the Scottish couple ate with the knife in the right hand and the fork in the left hand, never laying the knife down. I saw Aletha did the same thing. I did not know she could do that. After everyone had finished eating, the steward came with a large tray of artistic desserts. This was only a display to order from. I was full, but everything looked just too good to pass up. I ordered two desserts.
So much food, so much wine, and such a wonderful feeling of contentment. I felt the luckiest man in the world.
We strolled toward the bow of the ship, heading to the theater for the show. When we passed the atrium, there was a gracious stairway, in the middle of which was a highly polished brass railing.
“When I was a kid, I loved sliding down such railings,” I commented.
“Why don’t you be a kid and do it now?” Aletha said with a mischievous grin.
“No way. I don’t think that would be proper. And I probably couldn’t do it anymore.”
“Let me show you how it’s done,” she said, mounting the railing and starting to slide.
There were quite a few people, all in elegant evening clothes, milling around. Suddenly all chatter stopped, and they looked on with shocked expressions. I just stood there with my mouth open and my shoes nailed to the floor. When she reached the bottom, she lost her balance on the rail and flipped over, hanging there like a pig going to a luau.
Just then the ship’s captain walked by. He looked at her and said, “Good evening.” She returned his greeting, still hanging there and laughing. By the time I reached the bottom of the staircase, she was standing, dignified as ever.
I was still speechless, but looking into her face, I saw someone I did not know. Her eyes were sparkling, and her lips had the biggest grin ever. A tomboy was suddenly unleashed and was happy to be free. People who had stared in shocked silence started to clap. Aletha acknowledged their praise with a wave of the arms and a bow.
“Harold, I need to get something from the cabin. Please come with me.”
When we arrived at the room, the steward had already turned down the bed and put a chocolate on the pillow.
“Harold, please come in and close the door.”
Is this the moment? Is this what I have been praying for? Oh, dear, will my little friend cooperate, or will he go flat? If it happens either way, will she respect me in the morning?
“Please, lock the door, dear,” she said softly.
Dear? She has never called me that before. What shall I call her? Will “darling” or “sweetheart” be all right? Something I have been waiting on for so long might now be happening… Now I’m scared!
“Just relax, dear. I shall turn the lights low and put on some music.”
I watched her find classical music on the television and adjust the lights. Then she came toward me where I sat on the bed and gave me a warm hug and kissed my lips.
“Harold, dear, I really need your help.”
“Anything. What is it?”
“Help me get out of this dress.”
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