Navigate The Stars

What do you get when five eighteen year olds who are total opposites of each other end up stranded on an exotic island with no money, no food and no clothes?

You get two weeks of adventure full of mishaps, inventions and weird methods to try and find a way home.

Daren, Hope, Erik, Ceasar and Renee join a two-week long cruise trip and end up being late to board it again after visiting an exotic island. They try to find ways to return home as well as get along with each other.
Will two weeks of trials and tribulations bond them together? Or will it break them apart?

Copyright © 2015 by SyreneTajul
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the author.

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4. Chapter Three- On Board

I felt embarrassed, as well as partly frustrated by the whole incident a few minutes ago. I couldn’t stay at the lobby a minute longer; I felt like flying into a rage.

I quickly stormed away, not sure where I was heading towards. All I knew is that I wanted to get out of there and away from Erik and his friends.

I can’t believe that just happened. It was only the first day and I had embarrassed myself! Also, why did Erik make such a big deal anyway?

Okay, I bumped into him and caused him to score points for his opponent. I admitted my mistake! Why’d he have to be all PMS and mad about an accident? I already said I was sorry.

Before I could keep on ranting internally, I bumped into someone, with full force, and landed on the floor.

“Ow!” I exclaimed, pain shooting up my spine.

What is wrong with me today? Why do I keep bumping into people? I opened my eyes and tried to stand up, but my back was still sore from that sudden fall.

I saw someone in front of me, on the ground as well.

I also saw bags strewn all over the floor, as well as a phone.

I immediately tried to help. I quickly stood up, though the pain in my back was an immensely horrible feeling.

“I’m so sorry,” I said, picking up the phone, hoping that it wasn’t damaged.

I headed toward the person.

My eyes widened in shock when I saw who it was.

“Daren?” I said, sounding a bit confused.

Sure enough, it was him. I’d recognise him anywhere.

“Hey Hope,” he greeted, sounding in pain.

I quickly snapped out of my confusion (and maybe shock) to help him up.

“Daren, I’m so sorry,” I said, grabbing his arm and pulling him up.

He stood up and brushed his jeans, getting off any dust or dirt on it.

He shook his head.

“It’s alright. I’m fine,” he told me.

He looked up to face me and he saw my stressed filled face.

His expression immediately changed to worry and concern.

“You’re not though. What’s wrong?” he asked me, concern in his voice. His dark brown eyes glistened under the sunlight that was strewn through the windows of the lobby. His thick eyebrows creased in concern.

I nodded my head.

“I’m fine,” I lied. Somehow I have the tendency to lie when I’m not fine. I just didn’t want to pile my problems on other people.

Daren crossed his arms and studied my face. He knew me as long as Erik has. We used to be the inseparable trio of friends. Daren used to live a few blocks away from us, but now he’s Erik’s neighbour.

Erik moved away when we were eleven, but even though he wasn’t my neighbour anymore, we still played together, along with Daren.

Daren and I were there with him before he became the famous sports star of the school. He still talks to Daren, but because Daren is always busy with robotics and his IT club, they drifted apart. Daren’s still friendly with him though. The same thing can’t be said for me and Erik.

Since Daren is also one of my closest friends, he knows about Erik and my troubles with him.

“Is it Erik again?” he asked me gently, not wanting to push the topic.

I nodded. I figured I couldn’t always keep in my frustrations. Who better than Daren to talk to about this? He knew Erik and I like the back of his hand.

Daren gave a non-chalant look, as if he wasn’t surprised. This was nothing new to him.

“What’d he do this time?” he asked me as he walked over to his bags to pick it up.

I followed him from behind, crossing my arms.

I shrugged.

“Same old, same old,” I replied, knowing that he would understand what I meant by that.

He shook his head, chuckling.

“Don’t worry about it Hope. You know he doesn’t mean you any harm,” he said, slinging his backpack over his shoulder and picking up his carry-on luggage.

I scoffed and rolled my eyes.

“Yeah right,” I muttered to myself, but I bet Daren heard it.

He faced me, his expression calm, though amused.

“You know he doesn’t,” he repeated, a smile on his face.

He turned around and headed for the lift.

I followed him, wanting to ask what he was doing here.

“What are you doing here?” I asked him, running up to catch up to him.

He had longer legs that I do, so it made walking next to him hard because I’d have to run to catch up to him.

He gave me an amused look, cocking one eyebrow up.

“What do you mean? I’m here for a vacation of course. I want to relax too Hope,” he joked, pressing the ‘up’ button on the lift.

I creased my eyebrows.

“But I thought your parents didn’t allow you to go on this trip,” I continued, standing next to him while he waited for the lift.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m over the moon that Daren is here, but his parents are extremely strict and more overprotective than my mom, so I was a bit surprised that his parents allowed him to go on this trip…alone and unsupervised.

He shrugged.

“Daren Wolfhart knows how to pull some strings,”

He looked at me and gave me a cocky grin, joking around.

The lift arrived on our floor and the bell of the lift made a loud ‘ding’.

The doors opened and Daren entered. He pressed a button on the lift’s panel.

He looked up to face me, the cocky smile still plastered on his face. The doors closed, leaving me alone and confused.

I scoffed and shook my head, amused at his antics.

________________________________________________________________________________

I decided that I wouldn’t let that incident with Erik ruin my mood for the trip. It was only the first day. I should be having fun!

I decided to explore the ship some more and headed into a corridor that lead to god knows where.

I heard loud noises, like lasers being shot, loud music, voices of many people talking at the same time and songs of arcade games. You know, like the electronic and retro sounds of the arcade.

I continued to venture down the corridor, the noise growing louder and louder as I almost approached the source of the sound.

I reached the end of the corridor and to my left, I saw a huge colourful room where the noise was coming from.

The arcade noises came from here because, well, it was an arcade.

The fluorescent and neon colours of the arcade almost made my eyes hurt but at the same time, the pink, yellow and green neon colours enchanted me to enter the arcade.

I stepped into the arcade, as if in a trance. The music and the loud blaring noises meshed together, creating a cacophony of noises. It thudded in my ear, which hurt, but the games looked too fun to pass off the opportunity.

I looked around me, studying my surroundings.

All around the arcade, game stations and arcade machines were placed around, blaring noise and illuminating bright colourful light all around the arcade.

Most of the people here were teenagers and college students, though there were a few kids and families.

To my right, I saw a claw machine where you could win a toy if you managed to pick it up without dropping it.

I was never good at that game and always lost even though I had tried ten or twenty times.

I smiled, a memory forming in my mind.

When we were thirteen, Daren, Erik and I would hang out at the arcade in the mall that was near our house.

We’d spent probably hours on that claw machine, trying to win at least one of the toys in it.

The longest time we played at the machine was probably two, almost three, hours, trying to win one toy.

We tried all sorts of tactics and strategies, even letting other people play then continuing to play after them when they had lost and given up.

Erik said that it was probably by luck and chance, but Daren was convinced that there was a probability and chance to this, coming up with the hypothesis that it was programmed to allow someone to win after seven or eight tries.

So we stayed in the arcade, at that very machine, for two hours and forty five minutes, trying out Daren’s theory. We watched as six people tried it out before us and we went to play on the seventh try.

Sometimes, other people would take two or maybe four turns to win a toy, but Daren’s theory was never proven true. Well, at least we’ve never seen it happen.

Needless to say, we came out of the arcade empty handed and almost money-less.

I miss when things used to be simpler between us. I shook my head, trying to get that memory out of my head. It was too painful and upsetting to think about.

I continued to walk around, looking at what kind of games they had.

There was a war simulation game, with a fake gun as the controller. My lips tightened into a straight line. That game was too violent for me to play; I don’t particularly enjoy violence, which was why I never tagged along to the cinemas with Daren to watch movies.

He enjoys ‘action’.

I walked around some more.

There was a dancing game. I could see that this game was pretty popular among tween and teen girls, with the occasional college student joining in on the fun. I smiled to myself. That game did look fun.

I stood and watched the game for a while, standing at the corner and watching the group of girls, who looked like they were fourteen,playing the game.

They were laughing and having fun, cheering for their friends and shouting out the next dance moves the people were playing had to do.  

Watching them having fun made me miss my group of friends. They couldn’t join this cruise, though when we were first told about it, we all planned what we were going to do on the cruise trip and talked about how much fun we would have.

I liked to mingle around with everyone, though I was a bit reserved and shy in a crowd. The group of friends I usually hung out with were these five girls who have been my classmates since the first year of high school.

Their parents weren’t as strict as mine was, but they had their own holiday plans with their families. They were pretty surprised that my mom allowed me to go on this cruise trip.

After the girls finished their game, I walked away, exploring the arcade some more.

There were all sorts of games here, from racing to even sword fighting (simulated, of course) and also a fitness game, which was….interesting.

The whole arcade was pretty huge and loud. Really loud. I decided to go back to my room, or explore more of the ship; the noise of the arcade was too loud for my liking and was beginning to hurt my ears and head.

I headed for the exit, but because the arcade was huge, it felt like I was in amaze, trying to find my way to the exit.

I kept searching for the exit for fifteen minutes and was still unlucky in finding the exit.

I decided to look around for signs that point toward the exit and follow it, until someone called out my name.

“Hope?”

I stopped in my tracks and looked around, searching for the voice.

It was a guy’s voice. It sounded shy and timid and definitely familiar to me.

I couldn’t see anyone. I scrunched my eyebrows, confused.

I definitely heard a voice.

Am I hearing things? Maybe I am.

It was probably one of the arcade games’ songs or background noises.

The arcade was so noisy, I probably misheard it.

I started to look for the exit again until I felt someone tap my shoulder.

I quickly turned around, a bit scared.

What is someone wanted to kidnap me? What if they had been stalking me the whole time I was in the arcade? No wonder my mom always told me to bring pepper spray.

I was on high alert, until I saw a familiar face.

I let my guard down, relaxing shoulders that had tensed up without me realising it.

“Caesar?” I said, my eyebrows scrunched up.

I couldn’t see very well in the dim lighting of the arcade; though the neon lights were really bright, it just caused my eyes to have frequent quick light flashes because I wasn’t used to it.

He nodded.

“Yeah. Remember me? I was your IT lab partner in school?”

I nodded, a smile slowly creeping onto my face.

“Yeah. Yeah, I remember you. Of course I do. How are you?” I asked him.

He ran a hand through his hair and shrugged.

“I’m good, I’m good. You?”

I nodded, still smiling.

“I’m good too,”

Caesar Ramirez was one of the sweetest and nicest guys I’ve ever met. Though we were only in one class together which was IT class, he was probably one of my closest acquaintance in school; I’m not too sure if we were friends, we rarely talked to each other at school other than in class.

We’ve been in the same class for two years, since we were sixteen, and we became close from there, though we rarely saw each other.

Caesar was the type of guy you wanted to be friends with. Though he was five foot eight, he was friendly and always smiling. That was what drew me to him; I didn’t feel shy to approach him,even though I normally would with other people.

Caesar had that boyish charm as well, with his tan skin and dark brown eyes, his cropped curly caramel hair, his square  jaw that made him look model worthy (though he was too cute to seem as a model, he had that baby-face kind of look)  and the wrinkle near his eyes made him look like an elf. A friendly elf. Needless to say, Caesar had a lot of girl friends, but no girlfriend, as far I knew.

“I saw you walking around the arcade just now, though you looked a bit lost,” he said, smiling that friendly smile of his.

I used to think Caesar was born to smile, like it was a permanent feature on his face. I still think that.

I laughed, a bit nervously. I put my hand on the back of my neck and shrugged, embarrassed.

“Yeah...I was,” I admitted.

He chuckled, shaking his head.

“Well, good thing I bumped into you. Come on, I’ll walk you out,” he offered, motioning with his head to follow him.

I gave him a grateful smile, glad that he wanted to help me. I followed him, falling into step beside him.

“Thanks Caesar,”

He faced me and gave me a look.

“For what?” He turned back to facing in front, a small smile on his face.

I shrugged.

“For helping me find the exit. I don’t how long I’ll still be here if I hadn’t bumped into you,” I said, looking up to face him.

He laughed and shook his head.

“No problem. I’m happy to help,”

He turned his head and looked down to face me.

“You’re the last person I expected to meet here,” he remarked and I nodded agreeing.

“Yeah,” I said, laughter in my voice.

“I don’t usually go to arcades or anything,”

He shook his head.

“No, I meant like, here, on this cruise ship,”

He shrugged.

“I mean, yeah, you don’t seem like the type to hang out in arcades, but I just thought your mom wouldn’t allow you to come on this trip. At least, that’s what you told me,”

“Oh,” I nodded, now understanding what he meant.

“My mum changed her mind. She thought maybe this would be a good experience and to learn how to be independent,” I shrugged.

“I mean, it feels weird being alone and all. It’s my first time being so far away from home for such a long time,” I explained.

Caesar nodded, understanding what I meant.

Back when we were still schooling, a few months ago, I would always tell Caesar how I always wanted to go on vacation with friends and how I always wanted to feel independent.

He always understood how I was feeling and my desire to live my own life, to not be pampered and be spoonfed things. I guess that’s why I’ve always felt comfortable telling him things.

Caesar was friends with everyone; he had a certain aura that instantly draws people to him.

He’s like Daren to me, in a way. Though I don’t tell him about my problems with Erik, I know he wouldn’t tell him anything I’ve said about him.

Caesar was good friends with Erik, but he would never backstab me like that.

We both made small talk and stopped at certain arcade games to watch people play, but eventually,without me realising it, we arrived at the exit of the arcade.

I turned to face Caesar.

“Thanks for helping me to find my way out,”

He nodded in reply.

“No problem. I was on my way out too,”

He stepped out of the arcade and turned his head around to see if I had followed him out.

I shook my head and laughed.

“So it seems,” I remarked, stepping out of the arcade as well.

___________________________________________________________________________________

“Well, it was nice hanging out with you Hope, but I have to be somewhere. I’ll see you around okay,”

Caesar stood on the staircase that led to the upper floors, waving at me.

I waved back at him, bidding him goodbye.

After spending maybe half an hour exploring the cruise ship with Caesar, I got my mind off of the problems I had with Erik.

Why do I still think about him and why does he have such a big effect on me?

Goodness, get it together Hope.

“I’ll see you around too Caesar. Thanks for just now,” I told him as he was slowly ascending the stairs backwards, his eyes still on me.

He flashed that famous friendly smile of his.

“Anytime Hope. It’s no problem,”

He turned around and ascended the stairs in a rush.

I wondered where he was heading to, but didn’t want to seem nosy, so I turned around and headed for the east wing, where my room was. Caesar’s room was in the west wing, which was pretty far from where my room was.

I walked through the lobby, which was basically in between the two wings, keeping my head down, still embarrassed by that accident earlier this afternoon.

I hoped Erik and his friends aren’t there anymore. I don’t want to run into any of them, especially Erik.

I know I shouldn’t be affected by him, but I can’t help it. He somehow has this influence on me, as if what he thinks matters.

Of course, it doesn’t, but that doesn’t seem to get through my head.

I continue walking, ignoring the thoughts, that is, until I heard familiar voices.

“Didn’t think you’d show up,”

I heard Erik’s voice loud and clear. I looked up and turned to my side to see him talking to Daren.

They’re both smiling, as if sharing an inside joke between them.

Erik’s smile was the same smile he always wore back then, when we were close. Now, he reserves that smile only for his closest friend.

I guess he considers Daren one, but not me. How fair.

A tinge of jealousy sparks up inside me, though I try to drown it with rational thought.

‘It’s been four years since we grew apart, get over it,’ I tell myself.

It’s not easy to just forget a friendship that was cultivated since we were in kindergarten, but I guess people will be people and people grow apart, no matter how close you were.

I didn’t want to have any negative vibes and decided to turn around and walk away from this scene, but Daren realised that I was there before I had the chance to walk away.

“Hope! Over here!” I heard him call out to me.

I turned to face him, a slight grimace on my face.

He had a smile on his face as if he wasn’t aware that there was animosity between me and Erik. He motioned with his hand for me to come over to them and join their conversation.

I decided to just be a good sport and headed over to where they were both standing, though I felt like there were weights on my feet as I headed over to them.

Erik was holding a cue stick, leaning on it. He straightened up when he saw me approaching them,the smile that was on his face before falling slowly from his face until it turned into a neutral expression.

I reached both of them and waved lazily.

“Hi,” I greeted quietly.

Daren looked at both of us, smiling like a proud dad.

“Isn’t this nice? Just like old times! Right guys?” he turned to me and Erik, waiting for our response.

Erik and I shrugged at the same time.

“I guess,” we said in unison.

I looked up to face Erik, to see if he was still upset about my remark earlier.

He had a neutral expression on his face, so I couldn’t tell.

I turned to look away from him and faced Daren.

“So I ran into Caesar,” I told him and Erik’s attention quickly turned to me.

“Ramirez?” he asked and I looked at him, sort of surprised.

I was a bit taken aback that Erik was talking to me, ‘cause he normally doesn’t, that I stuttered my response.

“Y-yeah. Caesar Ramirez. I ran into him in the arcade,”

Daren cocked an eyebrow, a smirk on his face.

“Is that why you disappeared for almost an hour?” he asked me and I gave him a look.

“You were counting how long I was gone?” I asked him, weirded out.

He shrugged.

“No, but I’ve been talking to Erik for quite some time after I came down from my room, which was about an hour ago,”

He turned to face me.

“So I figured you were gone for that long,”

He paused, waiting for my response.

When I didn’t say anything, Erik piped up.

“Did you guys walk around together or something?” he asked me, non-chalant, his attention focused on the tip of his cue stick.

I nodded slowly, not sure what to say.

Caesar and I didn’t do much; we just walked around and explored the ship together, making small talk.

I relayed that to them.

Erik’s attention was suddenly on me.

“What did you guys talk about?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

I gave him a look, my eyebrows furrowed.

“Uhm….stuff,”

Why did Erik care what I talked about with Caesar? He never did before.

“Like?” he pressed on, raising an eyebrow.

“Like...games,” I randomly said.

He snorted and rolled his eyes.

“Sure,” he remarked, as if not believing me.

I rolled my eyes as well.

“Whatever,” I said, crossing my arms. That was truth; we talked about the games in the arcade and….yeah, basically that, but it was still the truth. It’s up to Erik whether he wants to believe it or not.

The atmosphere suddenly turned awkward.

Erik didn’t ask me any questions anymore and Daren was just leaning on one of the vacant pool tables, his arms supporting him by planting them on the edge of the pool table.

I sat on one of the vacant stools, crossing my legs, not sure what to say.

After what felt like an eternally long pause, Erik spoke up again.

“Did he tell you anything?” he asked me and I quirked my eyebrow.

“Like what?” I asked him, amusement in my voice.

I shook my head.

“Don’t worry if it’s a secret. Caesar wouldn’t tell anyone,” I said, putting Erik’s mind at ease, if he was actually worried about Caesar exposing his secret.

He shrugged, acting like he didn’t care.

“Guess you’re right,” he said quietly, averting my eyes.

He looked down at the ground, suddenly interested at the pattern of the floor carpet.

Daren looked at both of us, not saying a word.

Daren was usually the mediator when we argue and Erik is usually more toned down when Daren’s around, which meant that I didn’t get picked on as often compared to when I’m alone with Erik.

There was another awkward pause.

Daren felt it too and decided to kill the awkward atmosphere by creating small talk again.

“So,” he began, trying to sound chirpy.

“I was thinking maybe we should have dinner together? Like old times?” he suggested, raising his eyebrows, waiting for our response.

I shrugged.

“Sure,”

Erik shook his head.

“Sorry, can’t.  I made plans tonight.”

I scoffed, rolling my eyes.

“Of course you did,” I muttered to myself, but Erik heard.

He shot me a deadly glare.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked me, his voice hard.

I looked him right in the eyes, faking a cheery smile.

“Props to you DeGray. You sure work fast. It’s only been, what, three hours since we boarded this ship and you’ve already made plans for a date,” I said, confident, because I know it’s true. That’s just how Erik thinks.

It’s either he’s thinking about sports, girls and his friends. Occasionally about school, but that’s old news.

Erik didn’t say anything back, because I bet he knows what I said was true.

I can read him like a book and he knew that.

He just glared at me and turns away after a while, a smirk slowly growing on his face.

“What? Why are you smirking?” I asked him, unamused.

He didn’t say anything and shook his head.

He looked up to face me.

“Don’t have to be so jealous Hope,” he suddenly remarked, looking right into my eyes, the smirk still plastered on his face.

I suddenly felt my cheeks flush, not because I was blushing, but because I was annoyed.

What in the world? Why would I be jealous? Honestly, he would be the last person I would fall for even if he was the only guy left on the planet.

I’d rather be single than be with him.

“Excuse me?” I choked out, sitting a bit straighter on the stool.

He shrugged, looking like he didn’t have a care in the world.

“You don’t have to be so jealous. Yeah, I’ve got a date. So what’s it to you?” he pestered on, trying to rile me up, I just knew it.

Daren looked confused. He turned to face Erik.

“But I thought you said-,”

Erik cut him off before he could finish his sentence.

“Anyway, it doesn’t matter. I can’t join you guys tonight. Maybe tomorrow,”

He looked down at the ground again.

Daren looked at Erik, his mouth slightly agape and his eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

“But you told me-,” he began again, only to be cut off by Erik...yet again.

“So Daren, how’d you convince your mum to let you go on this trip?” he asked him, quickly changing the subject.

Daren seemed lost, but quickly realising that Erik had asked him a question, snapped out of his confusion.

“Oh. I just used the ‘I’m eighteen now’ card,” he crossed his arms, still leaning against the pool table.

Erik nodded, grinning.

“Nice,”he high-fived Daren.

Daren was going to say something, but was suddenly interrupted by an announcement on the intercom.

“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. This is your captain speaking. My name is Captain Michaels and I’m proud to be here today to give you a wonderful experience aboard the MS Queen Victoria. It is currently three in the evening and the weather is currently sunny, with no chance of rain for the evening. Perfect day to set off for a cruise. Please be aware of the safety measures as well as precautions to ensure a safe trip,”

The vice captain took over the intercom and began telling us of what we should do in case of emergencies and the precautions we should take, so as to not accidentally set the ship on fire or do anything that could cause everyone harm.

The captain took over again after the vice was done telling us everything we needed to know.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to leave the docks. We will be sailing for Tobago Island today and will be expected to arrive tomorrow morning at seven. I hope you enjoy your trip with us and if there is any need of assistance, feel free to ask one of the ship’s crew. My name is Captain Michaels and I wish you a pleasant trip. Welcome aboard the MS Queen Victoria,”

 

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