Jack wasn’t sure what it was that attracted him to the young woman, there was something about the way she seemed to move so easily among the other passengers. He had boarded the Cruise Ship just in time to catch a late lunch and was now beginning to explore the ship’s facilities. She first caught his attention in the huge Atrium. It was a vast enclosed space at the centre of the ship, rising from the main deck, with an enormous glittering chandelier hanging above the curved staircase. She was ascending the crystal studded steps, in the company of a man who looked to be about her age. They were talking easily together and she seemed amused by his stories, with the occasional smile passing over her lips.
Later that afternoon, the tea and apple cake were both exactly what he needed, or rather wanted. He had been people watching for an hour or so but the young woman had not passed through the Venetian Themed café which extended across the entire ship on this deck, between the Jazz Bar and the Casino. Jack moved into the Casino area where the jangling of the gaming machines drowned out the ever present background music and the occasional cry of the croupiers at the tables. The bright lights simply enhanced the sparkling top she was wearing over her long dress. The young woman was sitting at the roulette table, now in the company of an older man, and once again, seemingly attentive and amused, in the way he had seen her on the staircase and clearly, completely at ease is striking up a conversation with other Cruise Passengers.
That evening, Jack wasn’t particularly interested in the fine dining options available on board and he was content with the allocation for dinner in the open restaurant towards the back of the ship. The sun was setting as he took his place at the table with four fellow passengers, where discussion centred around the excursion to Rome which was scheduled for the next day. As Jack looked through the huge picture windows, down to the deck below where the cocktail bar extended to the stern of the ship, the young woman walked into view, again with the young man she had been with when Jack first saw her. They continued on together to the rail and seemed to be staring at the wake of the ship as the last rays of the sun played on the tops of the waves. Jack turned to the waiter to give his choice of a drink with dinner and when looked again to the deck below, the young woman was gone. The man stood alone.
It had only taken a moment and Jack felt sure that there hadn’t been time for her to move across the deck and out of sight. He panicked. Rising quickly from the table, he went to the desk at the restaurant door and told the uniformed crew member that he feared someone had gone overboard. Jack was immediately taken to the Security Office where he explained who he was and hurriedly detailed his concerns about the young woman, giving a description of her and the young man she had been with. There was a brief huddled conference between the two staff members and then they asked Jack again for a description of the woman. He was frantic that they should take action but the both seemed to relax for a moment and told him to wait while they made an enquiry in another office. It seemed like an age before they came back and he was relieved when they invited him to accompany them.
When he was shown into the Office of the Chief Security Officer, Jack saw the young woman sitting at a desk. She was now dressed in a white uniform with two gold insignia emblazoned on her shoulder tabs. “Hello Jack” she said, “I’m sorry if you were worried about my sudden disappearance, but I had to leave quickly by the staff exit in the Cocktail Bar. I thought I had given the game away to one of the two potential con-men who may have been working the Cruise Ships”.