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“Attention all guests. Due to the ongoing concerns around the coronavirus in China, the CDC issued a recommendation overnight that nonessential travel to China be discontinued. As such, we have come to the difficult decision to forego our two day docking in Hong Kong. We will remain in the area and dock if it becomes safe to do so. Instead, we’ll be throwing our own Lunar New Year party here on Pride 365.”
Lalannah groaned. Just what she needed. The announcement came over the loudspeaker as she was getting ready for the day. Ruby was still browsing her phone in bed.
“Damn. I was looking forward to the Lunar New Year Festival,” Ruby complained.
“Same. But didn’t you see? They canceled it the other day. Because of the virus. We would’ve been just going to Hong Kong. Kara and I were going to do a big thing about competing to see who could get through the most things on the Hong Kong bucket list.”
Ruby was quiet for a moment. Sharing a room with Lalannah had been going pretty smoothly, aside from the fact that she was pretty sure Kara hated her.
“What’s on your list?”
Lalannah sighed and pulled their hastily written list from under her makeup bag.
Ruby scanned the list. “We could do a lot of these on the ship. Why don’t we make the video anyway?”
Lalannah scanned the list. “You got an idea where we can find a tram to the top of the tallest mountain in Hong Kong?”
“No. But we could get creative. Why not change it up to getting to the top of the ship the fastest. Even better. Let’s make it a shiplympics.”
Lalannah laughed, but the idea had merit. “Shiplympics. I’ll call Kara. Will you judge for us?” Lalannah dashed across to the door ready to grab Kara from the room next door. Just as she reached the door, she doubled back and planted a solid kiss on Ruby’s lips.
“You’re amazing, you know?” It wasn’t until she pulled away that she realized maybe kissing Ruby was a bad idea. She hadn’t meant for it to be sexual, she kissed Kara all the time, but something buzzed between the two of them. Ignoring it, she crossed to the door and ran across to Kara’s room.
“There will be just three events in this inaugural shiplympics. Our two competitors will compete to find out who is the best Sea Queen. Event one is our triathlon. Much like the triathlons of the land olympics, we’ll see our competitors take part in three legs of the event. Leg one is a race from deck 1 to deck 9. At deck 9 they’ll pick up their rollerskates and we’ll wait for them to complete 100 laps of the sports deck. Then they’ll ditch the skates and race down to the pools. Whoever finishes 20 laps of the pool first, wins.”
An utterly ridiculous triathlon, but given they’d put it together in a couple of hours, Lalannah was impressed.
“You know I’ll win, right?” she told Kara. Gabi was filming, Ruby was commentating. The shitalking was just for show, though Lalannah was pretty sure she would win.
“Not a chance.”
Lalannah dashed ahead of Kara for the first couple of floors before her naturally small stature proved to be an issue. She was tiny and fast but it meant she had to take the stairs one at a time while Kara could conserve a bit of energy by skipping some.
Kara pulled ahead at they reached deck 4. By the time they reached deck 6 she was a full staircase ahead. Lalannah pushed on, determined to win back her lead.
By the time she made it to deck 9, Kara was almost into her rollerskates. Lalannah grinned. Rollerskates were the perfect leg for her to pull ahead. She’d trained with the local roller derby team for a video once. She was pretty okay with rollerskates. She slipped into them easily and lapped Kara almost immediately. Kara was laughably bad.
At lap 10, Lalannah regretted choosing 100 laps at their goal post. Ruby had stopped watching their every moved. Instead, she’d begun shooting baskets, which only served to add the occasional obstacle to their path as a stray basketball rolled across the court.
By lap 30, Lalannah had realized 100 laps was way too many. As had Ruby. However, she already had a 10 lap lead over Kara. At least.
“Let’s change this to 50,” Kara puffed from behind her.
“Done. By the way, I’m on 32.”
“Screw you,” Kara called as Lalannah got even further away.
Getting out of the rollerskates felt like getting off a boat. Her legs were jelly and her body had forgotten how walking worked. Just for a minute. Kara was way behind, but Lalannah had to race down to the pool if she wanted to keep any of her lead. Kara was a beast in the water. Lalannah not so much.
The pool deck was packed. Just getting to the pool was more difficult than Lalannah anticipated as she had to weave her way through women talking and moving to and from the bar. There was no time to lament how cold the water was as she stripped to her bikini and lowered herself in.
The first lap was the first, followed closely by lap six when Kara showed up. Lalannah hadn’t seen her approach, but when she flipped to start lap six, there was Kara, climbing into the pool.
A couple of laps later Kara lapped her. Lalannah tried desperately to do the math on whether or not Kara could win if she lapped her at that rate.
It took until lap 19 for her to realize that she and Kara were tied. She pushed harder, every cell in her body screamed for her to stop. They’d been filming the same damn thing for almost two hours. Whoever said being a YouTuber was relaxing had never filmed shiplympics.
Lalannah lost all semblance of thought as she raced toward the finish line, always just a little behind Kara’s fingers. She just needed a little burst of speed to push forward and overtake her.
She caught sight of Ruby, at the finish line. Watching. A few other people had joined in. She had to at least put up a good fight. She stopped watching where Kara was and just swam. Pushing for the end. The wall was so close. A couple more strokes. Her hand pressed against tile. She looked to her left. Kara was right there. Had she been there first?
“Film something with each of us cheering and we’ll know who won when we look back.”
The replay showed Kara and Lalannah’s hands slamming into the tile at the same time. It was impossible to tell who won.
“Looks like the shiplympics just expanded to a tiebreaker.”
You can read January 26 here.
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