Disclaimer: The characters in this story are the property of Stephenie Meyer and are only used for fan related purposes.
Murder on the Moonlight
The tickets were free, an early birthday gift from my mom and Phil. It wasn't really my thing, a three day cruise touring Seattle and most of the Pacific Northwest, but Jake had been super excited when the birthday card arrived unexpectedly two weeks ago. There were two of them included and he'd practically begged me to let him take one of them.
I hadn't had the heart to tell him that I'd rather sing karaoke in front of half of La Push than go on a cruise. When his pleading and pouting finally wore me down enough that I promised to a) go on this boat and b) take him along, his overwhelming excitement was almost hard to handle. But that was Jacob Black for you.
I'd almost wished that my dad might ban me from even stepping foot on the cruise liner. I couldn't see how Charlie would be okay with Jake and me sharing a cabin on a huge boat for three nights without a chaperone. Sure, Jake has been my best friend for years now—ever since I moved to Forks, Washington to leave with my dad—but he was still a boy. And, as much as my dad liked to pretend otherwise, I was a girl.
But then Charlie had to go and do the coolest thing he's ever done in all my seventeen years: he said I could go. There were a couple of stipulations—my cell phone must be charged and ready at all times, for one—but they all paled in comparison to Charlie's sudden coolness.
As the last weekend in August approached, I found myself, quite unwillingly and definitely unintentionally, looking forward to this trip. Things had started to get a little… iffy between me and Jake lately. This time alone was definitely something we needed. No fathers breathing down our necks, no friends butting in—by the time this trip was over, I'd either be his girl friend or his girlfriend.
Yeah, that kind of iffy…
To be honest, I wasn't quite sure what I was looking for as I entered my senior year at Forks High. School was starting up soon and, as far as I knew, this weekend was my last chance to make some kind of sense out of my relationship with Jake before he went back to school on the reservation and I did my own thing in town.
Maybe Renee had been on to something when she sent those tickets, after all. I could always count on my mom to, in that scatterbrained yet astute way she had, know exactly what was going on. Even though we were thousands of miles apart—her in Florida with Phil, me in Forks with my dad—she knew me better than anyone. Well, except for Jacob, of course.
And then that bonehead had to go and get food poisoning. On the night before the stupid cruise left port, too.
I mean, Jake had an iron stomach. I'd seen him hit the One Stop Burger Shop, eat four of their Specials and still manage to find room for desert. I just couldn't imagine him getting sick from one bad piece of chicken.
Yet, that was exactly what Billy Black told Charlie when he called to tell me that Jake couldn't go on the trip anymore. He sounded sorry enough and I could hear Jake in the background, retching so loud that I was glad that he wasn't going. He sounded awful.
But, in that selfish part of my brain that I didn't want to listen to but couldn't ignore, I realized that his sudden illness left me with an extra ticket and not enough time to cancel. Who, then, could I get to take his place?
Mike Newton had to work at his parent's store and, even then, I highly doubted Charlie's newfound coolness would extend to letting me share a cabin with him. Angela Weber was busy, and I would go on this trip alone before I even thought of asking Lauren Mallory.
It probably wasn't the best idea, though, to mention that fact out loud. I don't know if Billy had me on speakerphone or if Jacob's hearing was just that good, but I heard him holler that it would be best if I just went on my own. After all, didn't I like my alone time as much as anyone else?
And that was how I found myself standing on Pier 66 at the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal in Seattle. The Celebrity Moonlight was looming in front of me. The medium-sized white cruise ship—the 'pearl of the Celebrity Cruise line', according to the website I found online—was simply intimidating. I felt myself shrink away from it as I clasped my cursed ticket in my white hand. It wasn't as long or as imposing as some of the other ships that were moored but there was definitely something this one, the Moonlight, that made me feel apprehensive.
Honestly, I don't know how I let people talk me into these things.
Since she was a schoolteacher, I knew Renee didn't really have money to spend on cruise tickets. I guess she thought that an eighteenth birthday was special and worth a bit of treat but I wasn't surprised when I learned my room was on the aft of the boat, on the inside. They were the cheapest of the cabins but, hey… it was still a cruise.
After boarding, which took much longer than I thought it would, I went off in search of my room. That took even longer; I wasn't very good with directions and I think I took two left turns and bothered three flustered stewards before I got pointed in the right direction.
Finally, my hands almost cramped around the handles of my two blue duffel bags, I found it. Room #103.
Considering how many rooms had to be on this ship, I wasn't startled to see that it was maybe half as big as my bedroom back home—and even that was closer to being closet-sized than anything else. There were two beds—Charlie would've been glad to know that they were bunk beds—and a small refrigerator with a see-thru door.
I made myself a promise that, no matter how hungry I was or how tempting anything in that mini-fridge looked, I wouldn't buy anything. I had a part time job and any money I made was for college; I couldn't afford a four dollar Snickers bar.
But, of course, my stomach had no idea of the value of a dollar. It took one look at the chips and the candy that the ever-so-helpful crew of the Moonlight had stocked and decided it was starving. It grumbled so loud that I was surprised that my next door neighbor didn't knock on my door to ask if I heard anything strange rumbling since the boat hadn't actually started moving yet.
After dropping my bags at the foot of the bunks, I rummaged around my shorts pocket for some loose change. I was pretty sure that I passed a more reasonably priced vending machine on my wayward journey across the ship. Without having to worry about a roommate, I left my bags on the floor and crossed the five steps that it took to make it to the door.
It swung in easily but, in my hurry to escape the confining cabin, I didn't notice the small bump between my room and the hallway on the cruise ship's inside. My sneaker caught against it and, courtesy of my horrible sense of balance, I started to fall forward.
Like they do in the movies, I tried to wave my arms in a frantic fashion in order to regain my balance but all I succeeded in doing was hitting my hand against something really hard as my face was very quickly heading towards the shiny, shellacked floor. I just hoped that I didn't break anything. I hadn't had the chance to acquaint myself with the advertised medical center on board yet.
But then I stopped. My nose only a couple of feet away from the floor, I stopped falling. And I suddenly knew that the something hard that my fist had hit hadn't been part of the ship.
"My, my… aren't we clumsy?"
Author's Note: And we're off!
And, yes, I know I shouldn't be starting something new but, well, I can't help it. After reading non-stop Agatha Christie for weeks, I wanted to try my hands at a murder mystery. At the same time, I'm going to try my hand at an all human AU fic. It should definitely be interesting!