Midnight in Lace

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Georgina and Max were going on a cruise of a lifetime. They were bothlooking forward to it for different reasons. Georgina was hoping to fall in love with Max as he said he was, with her from the moment they first met.They were to visit Lake Garda, Italy, Georgina's favourite place to go. The people they were to meet there, would change their lives forever. With secrets and lies, and dangerous liasions, that would lead to a high speed police chase to catch an escaped prisoner that was a danger to them all. The people they meet are all embroiled with each other, after all the excitement, they were hoping to settle down, when the news about Paul came out, it was set to rock their world once more.

Chapter One - The Meeting

Georgina kept looking at the message that Max had given her on their last date, she thought to herself, ‘Why does he have to be so cryptic’, she sighed, as she finished packing for the mini cruise he had booked as a surprise for both of them.

He had a habit of surprising her. She never used to like being surprised even as a young girl, but it was different with Max; the only thing she didn’t like was that it was always at the last minute, which meant she went into panic mode.

She sat on the edge of the bed smiling as she remembered their first meeting.

It had been a lovely summers evening when Georgina and her old school friend Sarah, met up with her partner at the time, and his friend Max. Sarah always said that Georgina & Max were a forever together couple.

Georgina had laughed at that as she had said to Sarah at the time; you do say some funny things. They all had a lovely evening as far as she could remember She glanced down to her left hand and looked at the beautiful ring that Max had given to her a couple of years ago. It was a stunning single diamond on a band of white gold.

She started to gently take the ring off to have a good look at it as she went down memory lane again.

Her thoughts turned back to that lovely winters evening that they had spent the weekend in a log cabin in the French Alps. That was another surprise from Max. He knew how much she loved snow and had tried to make sure that there would be snow before he had booked it.

They were sat in front of a beautiful open log fire enjoying a glass of Chardonnay, when Max got down on one knee and proposed. She remembered it so well, because she was shocked as they had only been together for two years at the time.

Truth be told; she just wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment. She was still getting used to being a lady of leisure now she had Max and was getting used to the different lifestyle and if she had to be honest, she was enjoying it.

She sat him down and told him, that she wasn’t ready to settle down to a big commitment as she had been on her own since like forever, Max had been devastated. She handed him the box back, but he was adamant that she kept it and said it could be an eternity ring, at which she had nodded and agreed. She remembered saying that we never know what their future would bring, at least that gave him hope at the time as she never liked upsetting people. She was just about to fasten the case, when she remembered the card, and put it in the little pocket that was on the inside lid of the suitcase.

The phone rang which shook her back into reality. It was her dad on the phone, asking her to let him know when she was on the liner safely. She hurried of to get into the taxi that Max had booked for her. The taxi set off to meet Max at the Port of Dover where they were to join the cruise liner later that afternoon. She arrived albeit a little late.

Max was already there and was waving frantically at her to hurry up as they would be leaving any minute.

As always when Georgina had time to spare and think she would go into her memories, her dad had always tried to snap her out of it, as she always got into trouble at school because of it. So in the taxi she went into her memories once more.

Back to the time of their first official event that had been hosted by one of Max’s friends but he always called him his mentor as it was him that got Max interested in the computer world. They only got to see the host for five minutes that evening and she remembered why, she didn’t like him he was big obnoxious and had reminded her of someone from a film, but couldn’t put her finger on it.

This was one of the reasons behind the cruise as Max wanted to introduce Georgina to his mentor properly and spend time with him. This would turn out to be one meeting that they will wish for the rest of their lives that they had cancelled.

Max was a very wealthy entrepreneur who had made his fortune at an early age in computer software and had managed to build a little empire consisting of five companies.

Georgina hadn’t been too sure about him when they were first introduced by a mutual friend, who was her best friend at school.

She had been out with Max just over four months on and off and was thinking of ending the relationship. She felt he wasn’t right for her, as she didn’t feel the connection was as strong as what he said he did.

She had said to her friend in a whisper while they were on a double date, “He is well up himself”. Her friend whose name was Sarah, said “Give him another try George, I feel a good connection between the two of you, and Max’s eyes always light up when he sees you” So that’s what she decided to do and left things the way they were.

Georgina was a very attractive lady, she had beautiful auburn hair that was just below her shoulder blades and was naturally wavy, and had beautiful green eyes. Georgina would be forty five next birthday which was in July. She was of medium build but not fat, she was around five foot seven inches tall.

She never wanted to be a stick insect as she would call some models, and was happy with the way she looked. She had worked in the past as a librarian as she loved researching history and maps and thought that she was very lucky when she got the job of her dreams.

Max was also quite good looking for his age of fifty three. He had wavy black hair which sat neatly into his neckline, with a few natural highlights coming through; and the deepest blue eyes she had ever seen, he was quite the distinguished gentleman.

He was around five foot nine inches in height and of slim build. Georgina always called him her own Mr. Clooney. Neither of them had any children, which meant they could go anywhere at the drop of a hat.

Chapter Two - The Sail Away

Chapter Two – The Sail Away

Max had a lovely yacht of his own, but also loved to go on the big cruise liners as he loved ships, his favourite was the Titanic. He loved researching about the ship, and had started going down the list of the passengers that had died on the Titanic; he was hoping to find someone that had survived or at least a relative, as he had a notion in his head that he wanted to meet them if he could one day.

Max said “Thank goodness you made it, I was beginning to wonder if you were coming or not.” Georgina watched as the luggage was being sorted and put in the luggage container on board. They followed the last few who had also turned up late, onto the main deck of the liner as she turned to Max and said “I hope our luggage is here; I am glad I have my camera with me though, I don’t like to let it out of my sight if I can help it” Max laughed he knew what she was like with her camera.

“Well sometimes they let us on board before the luggage, I think it makes it easier for them” She laughed and said “I thought you knew everything about boats Max; sorry I meant ships”

They laughed as they went over to the railings so they could watch the ship and wave to friends and relatives that were being left behind as they left Dover.

“I love this part of the cruise; did you know it’s called ‘The Sail Away’ Georgie? Watch how quick they are at throwing off the lines and leaving port.” He put his arm around Georgina’s waist, as everyone waved goodbye to friends and family.

The lines were thrown, and the ship started to pull out of port. Everyone started cheering as the liner pulled out onto the ocean. She put her head on his shoulder as she said “I love the view from here of The White Cliffs of Dover Max, do you?”

He nodded and kissed her forehead as he said “You’re not going to start singing are you?” She shook her head and with a grin said “Come on let’s go and see if we can get into our cabin”.

On the way Georgina said “What is it about ships that you love so much?” Max started to tell her all about his passion, and she thought ‘Why the heck did I ask him that’ she smiled. “What are you smiling at Georgie?” She just laughed and shook her head and told him to carry on as they got in a lift to go up on their deck.

Max had booked one of the penthouse cabins on the liner, that was on the top deck and it also had its own balcony. It was a private cabin in a fashion, as there were a few special cabins that were sound proofed. The cabins were on the top deck as she got claustrophobic in confined spaces.

Max always tried to make light and would say “What do you do when you go to the bathroom then?” He always got a reaction every time he said it; he would then reply “You are so easy to wind up”

Georgina had gotten to like this side of Max that he could give her the lifestyle she had always longed for, although sometimes she did feel a little bit guilty. She felt she didn’t love Max in the way he seemed to love her and was hoping this cruise would bring them both closer together, because she did like him more now than when they first met.

“Max darling, will we be dining with the Captain on this cruise or not? So I can organize my wardrobe.” “I’m not sure Georgie, but we will be at some point I guess.”

The liner they were on was quite a bit different to the normal liners because it catered for specific themes and hobbies if that’s what you would call them. All of the cabins had themes. The cabin they were in had a pirate theme, which had made Georgina really laugh out loud as she loved the film Pirates and of course the main character was her favourite actor too.

She said “Max I love the way you always think of me in everything we do” She pulled him close towards her; as they embraced they shared a romantic kiss. They had done this many times before, but tonight Georgina actually felt some emotion. She thought ‘Wow that’s a first’ and smiled

Chapter Three - Memories

Chapter Three – Memories

After a quick shower and change of clothes they left their cabin as they wanted to look around to see what the cruise had to offer, and what shops there were on board. Georgina started to whistle as she skipped down the corridor, Max laughed as he said “What are you like you mad woman” as she replied “Me that’s who”

When she had calmed down, they turned the corner to see a staircase that resembled the one in the Titanic, where Jack met Rose in the film. Max turned to Georgina and said “Not one word from you madam” She replied “I am sure I don’t know what you mean” and stuck her tongue out which she did quite often and Max said “You’re going to stick like that one of these times”. They both laughed as she retorted “If I do make sure you get a picture of me”.

Georgina had a wicked sense of humour, and at times would use it in the wrong places and at the wrong time, but she always managed to talk herself out of trouble.

Her mother had always said “You can charm the birds from the trees with your silver tongue” Her mother had died at the age of sixty seven and they had been very close.

Georgina turned to Max and said “You know I really miss my mum sometimes I would have loved to see what she would make of my life now”

Georgina had been an only child so was already used to some of the finer things in life. Her father had an excellent job when she was younger which meant that they didn’t go without.

Christmas was always a special time in the Thompson household. Every year they would invite children from the local orphanage. It was always the first week in December and it was always Georgina’s job to give the children two presents each while mum cooked them a good hearty meal. They always gave money when they could to help the orphanage in times of trouble.

They lived in an old farm house that had a converted barn for all the entertaining her father did with his work. After he retired the family used it for parties and also hired it out for private functions, but he would also use it for charity events to raise money and awareness of homeless children.

He had commissioned to have the barn converted when he secured one of his big contracts which was to prove quite lucrative. The barn had been finished in the late sixties and for some reason he had called it ‘The Old Water Mill’; to this day Georgina couldn’t understand the logic in the name, as to her knowledge there were no wells or springs that she knew in that area. Georgina loved history so if there was anything of significance to be found she would know about it. Having worked in a library for many years helped feed her inquisitive mind.

Georgina flinched as she heard Max calling her name, “Georgie where were you? You drifted off again” “Sorry darling, I went down memory lane thinking about mum and dad,” They laughed as Max said “Come on I have something to show you” Georgina replied “What now? Is this to do with that message you gave me?”

“I am not going to tell you till we get there” he said with his villainous laugh.

He got a scarf out of his pocket and she gave him ‘The look’; he laughed and said “I have to blindfold you otherwise it wouldn’t be a surprise would it?” She shook her head with laughter and said “I guess not Maxi”

Max gently led her around the corner into the last corridor and the last unit on the ship that they hadn’t seen. He stood her in the doorway, and said “Happy Birthday darling”. She said “But its months till my birthday” “Just be quiet woman”

As he removed the mask she gasped with excitement as she said “How on earth did you know about this I haven’t seen it on the liner’s layout chart?” “That’s because I organized it for us where we could research if we need to or have the urge while were here”

Georgina squealed with delight and said “When can we go in?” “Not yet darling, we have to eat to feed our bodies then we can read to feed our minds later on” Georgina replied “You always know how to word things don’t you” He locked the door and made sure it was secure as they went on to change for their evening meal.

The ship started to buzz as it took on a whole new feel as dusk fell, and the entertainment started while people were finishing their evening meal the ship seemed to come to life.