Caroline & The Blue Lagoon
Rated 'R' for sexual content
--Jeannie entered her place of work, which happened to be her employer's loft…
"Mornin' Caroline." She greeted her boss in her typically cheerful way.
"Hiya Jeannie! Boy, do I have news!" Caroline announced enthusiastically.
"Yeah? Is this 'you better sit down' news? Or can I stand?"
"You better sit down." Caroline smiled broadly, and her happiness was contagious, causing Jeannie to mirror her grin.
She sat down and looked up at Caroline expectantly…
"Del proposed." Caroline told her friend and assistant, holding her hand out to show off the ring.
"Oh my God! It's about time!" Jeannie shrieked, jumping up and hugging her… "Congratulations!"
"What are we hugging about?" Annie, Caroline's best friend and next door neighbor asked as she entered the apartment without knocking.
"Del proposed last night!" Caroline informed in a high pitched tone.
"Get out!" Annie shouted…
"I'm out!" Caroline replied with equal volume, showing off her ring.
"Oh wow! Look at that rock!" Annie held her hand to inspect the ring, then hugged her… "I'm so happy for you guys!"
"Thanks. I was so surprised!"
"Sit down and tell us what happened!" Jeannie insisted, walking into the kitchen to get them all a cup of coffee.
"It was so romantic." Caroline started… "He took me out to dinner, and when we came back to the loft it was filled with roses!"
"Oh wow…" Annie sighed, hand to her heart…
"Then what?" Jeannie asked as she handed them their mugs.
"Then he got down on one knee…"
"Awwww…" Annie and Jeannie cooed in unison…
"And he told me he loved me, and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Then he asked me to marry him…"
"Did you say yes right away? Or did you make him sweat it out?" Annie asked with a smirk.
"I answered right away."
"So, when?" Jeannie inquired.
"Not sure. He's taking me on a romantic cruise and we'll discuss dates then."
"A cruise?" Annie repeated… "Wow! Fun!"
"What are you gonna do about the strip?" Jeannie asked, the answer about to affect her job.
"It's only a one week cruise… I can do 7 extra strips before I go…" she explained, then a slight chuckle followed… "How do you feel about taking a week vacation?"
"Sounds great! Peter and I would love to go to this cute little romantic bed and breakfast… you know, we're trying to get pregnant…"
"That's right! Well, hopefully a vacation is just what you need to make that happen!"
"Yeah, that or having sex." Annie interjected, laughing at her own joke.
--With her arm linked in Del's, Caroline looked around as they boarded the ship, and she audibly gasped at the sheer size and elegance.
"Isn't this amazing?" Caroline asked, her excitement almost childlike…
"Yep. Amazing." Del admitted with far less enthusiasm, but a smile showed his approval of the ship and Caroline's enjoyment.
--After they got settled in, they walked arm in arm around the ship, exploring and enjoying their time together. That's when Caroline spotted something. Someone, actually, and she was soon staring at him, watching as he interacted with a female passenger. He was… drawing her?
"What are you looking at?" Del asked, breaking her trance…
"Huh?" Caroline asked in response, pulling her eyes away from the man that held her interest. "Oh. Ummm… nothing." She smiled, hoping not to be questioned further.
He smiled in return and started to walk away with her following out of necessity… their arms were still linked.
--After dinner and dancing, Caroline decided to go out for a walk on the deck. She invited Del to come along, but he said he would rather pass… so she went alone.
--Richard Karinsky stood on the deck of the ship that had been his home for the past several months. He had looked for work… something artistic and creative, but not finding anything, he had to settle for a job as 'passenger artist' on the 'U.S.S. Love Boat'… as Richard usually called it. Basically, his job consisted of walking around and drawing pictures of the guests. Not unlike a caricaturist at an amusement park. He sighed at his pathetic existence, frustrated and irritated… then he saw her. Her beautiful red hair was like a beautiful autumn sunset, and she moved with the grace of a dancer. He watched her with fascination as she wandered about leisurely, without purpose or destination. When she stopped to look out at the ocean, his heart fluttered at the simple innocence.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" he asked as he approached her…
She spun around to see who had spoke... it was him. The gentleman she saw earlier… who had so mesmerized her… "What?" she asked, momentarily confused.
"The water. The moonlight shining off it…"
"Oh, yes. Very beautiful." She replied with a smile.
He smiled at her and extended his hand… "Richard. Karinsky."
She shook his hand… "Caroline Duffy."
The smile slowly left his face as he saw the engagement ring on her finger… "It's nice to meet you." He said cordially. Inside, he was disappointed, but he was no stranger to disappointment.
"Nice to meet you too."
There was a moment of silence between them as they looked out at the water. Caroline finally broke the silence…
"Are you a passenger?"
"No. I work on the ship."
"Oh yeah? Doing what?"
"I draw pictures for the passengers."
He just smiled politely.
She could sense his discontentment… "You don't like your job?"
"Oh, it's ok. It's just not where I expected to be at this point in my life."
"Oh. I see."
Another moment of awkward silence passed…
"So, recently engaged? Or…?" Richard dared ask; he was not usually so bold, but the words shot out of his mouth before he could stop them.
After a few more minutes of silence…
"Well, hope you have a great time on your cruise." Richard stated as he pushed off of the rail he had been leaning on.
She watched him walk away… her heart still beating a bit faster than normal. Why? She wasn't sure. After he was out of sight, she headed back to the room. To her fiancé, Del.
--For the next several days Caroline couldn't shake the thoughts of Richard from her head. And even when she WAS successful at getting him to leave her brain, something would bring him back to her thoughts. During a time where she should be excited about her engagement, deeply in love with her fiancé and thinking of nothing else but him, she was thinking of some stranger.
--She was alone, out by the pool sunning herself when Richard approached her, catching her off guard.
"Hello Caroline." He said simply, but his voice made her jump.
"Oh, hello Richard." She greeted him as she sat up on the lounge chair, suddenly becoming very aware that all she was wearing was a string bikini.
"May I draw you?" he asked, holding up his sketch book.
"Ummm…" she hesitated, looking as he held his position. She smiled, blushing slightly, the color getting lost on her already reddening skin… "Sure."
The corners of his mouth curved up into a slight grin as he quickly got to work. He positioned her the way he wanted her, then grabbed an extra chair and sat across from her, drawing fervently.
She watched with interest as he worked, his concentration deep and all consuming. It was stirring to witness, and she found herself fidgeting under his artistic stare.
Drawing passengers on a cruise ship was unfulfilling to Richard… until this moment. She was beautiful, but not in a model-type way. She had this inner beauty that radiated from her, and he was drawn to it like a moth to a flame.
--When Richard finished the picture, he was eager to share the finished product with his subject. He sat beside Caroline on her lounge chair and held it up for her inspection.
"Wow." She exclaimed, studying the pencil drawing likeness of herself.
"Do you like it?"
"It's incredible." She admitted, and he smiled at her genuine appraisal of his work. "I think I expected it to be…" she trailed off…
"Well, kinda like a cartoon…"
He nodded as he looked down. Truth was, most people did think that… "Yeah, you're not alone in that thought. I just… can't bring myself to draw silly cartoons…"
That caused Caroline's expression to grow somewhat sad, but Richard had no idea why.
"What's wrong? Did I… say something…?"
"No, it's just… I draw cartoons for a living."
"Oh. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean it like that, please know…"
"It's ok." Her smile returned, and he smiled when he saw it.
"What do you draw?" he asked respectfully…
"A comic strip. Well, and greeting cards and calendars… 'Caroline in the City'…"
"Oh, yes, I've seen that. It's very… cute."
"You're just being kind." Caroline replied shyly.
"I'm sorry about what I said before. I didn't mean to imply--…"
"It's ok, really. This is so much better than anything I could do, I can understand why you said what you said…" She reached for the picture, and their hands brushed innocently, but it sparked something. They shared a knowing stare, only to be interrupted by Del…
"Hey, Care, whatcha doin?"
Richard stood abruptly, taking a needed step away from where Caroline was seated.
"Del! Hi!" Caroline's voice sounded surprised… and guilty, but he didn't pick up on it…
"Hi! Whatcha got?"
Caroline looked at the picture, then back at Del… "Oh, it's a drawing… of me. Richard drew it."
Del looked at it, a smile crossing his lips… "This is really neat!" he said within seconds, then looked at Richard… "You must be Richard."
"How much for the picture?"
"There is no cost. It's part of our services."
Richard nodded politely, then stole a quick glance at Caroline before walking away.
Caroline watched Richard leave, subtly, as Del prattled on about the buffet.
--Caroline needed to take a walk… alone. She needed to clear her head, and think about some things. She wandered around the huge ship, not really caring where she ended up. Where she did end up however, was an act of fate. Or divine intervention. Either way, she found herself up on deck, side by side with Richard.
--Richard was up on deck painting, something that gave him comfort in times of stress. He was so engrossed in his art that he didn't hear or see Caroline approach him.
Her voice startled him… "Caroline. What are you doing here?"
"I was out taking a walk. I needed to think."
"Yeah, me too…"
She looked down for what she thought was a necessary pause before looking up at the painting.
He followed her gaze to his painting, then looked at her… "You inspire me." He stated simply, and she smiled…
"It's beautiful Richard."
She stepped towards the painting and looked it over carefully. It was of her, looking out at the water as the moonlight reflected off it. It wasn't exactly a realistic depiction, it was more…
"Abstract?" she asked, turning to look in his eyes.
"Yes." He caught her eyes with his and stared deep into them, the soft brown gaze a window to her soul.
He leaned in to kiss her, when suddenly…
Caroline jumped back away from him, her eyes wide from fear…
"What was that?" she asked nervously.
"I have no idea." Richard was just as worried, but didn't want to upset her by showing it. "Let's go find out…"
He grabbed his painting off the easel and was about to put it aside so he could break down the easel when there was another…
What could only be described as an explosion rocked the boat for a second time in less than 3 minutes, the second blast sending Richard and Caroline over the side of the boat. They hit the water with force, Richard's painting still clutched in his hand. When his head finally got up above the water, he frantically searched for Caroline.
A moment later her head emerged, and she fought to catch her breath, choking on the salt water she swallowed.
"Caroline!" he called to her again, swimming to her. He held her head above the water while she fought to stay afloat. "I have you. Relax." He told her, struggling to keep his grip. She stopped fighting him and he helped her to hold on to his painting, the canvas somewhat buoyant.
"Not sure…" he replied… "I think it was an explosion."
"What happens now?" she was near panic…
"When they realize we're missing, they'll come looking for us."
"How long will that take?"
"Not sure. A few hours… maybe…"
"Oh my God! We're gonna die!"
"We're not gonna die Caroline. Calm down." Richard tried to sound reassuring, but he was anxious in his own right…