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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3. Chapter Two-Run-ins and Mishaps

I looked at the girl who had just entered my room, in shock. I mean, it was so sudden, I didn’t expect it.

She was tall and slender and she stood elegantly with poise, sort-of like a model. Her hair was a caramel-brown colour and it was tied up into a high ponytail. It went up to her back, even when it was tied up, so I was guessing that it was even longer when it was down. She looked familiar to me, though I couldn’t quite pinpoint exactly what made her so familiar.

“Hi, I’m Renee,” she said, smilling sweetly.

I looked at her and furrowed my eyebrows.

“Renee...Monreau?” I asked, hesitantly, unsure if it was the same girl that was in my chemistry class last year.

She gave me a surprised look and a small smile crept across her face.

“Yeah. Have we met?” she asked me and I nodded my head in reply.

“We were in the same chemistry class last year,” I told her.

Her face lit up when I told her, like a light bulb had lit up above her head.

“Right! You’re Hope, right? The girl who always sat at the back of the class?” she asked me and I looked down, facing the floor, embarrassed. Was that how people saw me? As ‘the girl who sat at the back of the class’?

I couldn’t disagree with that, because it was true; I did always sit at the back of every class.

I laughed, trying to sound lighthearted, but it sounded more like a nervous laugh to my ears.

“Yeah...yeah,that’s me,” I replied and Renee nodded.

“What an unexpected surprise. Well, I guess I don’t mind. You seem nice,” she smiled her signature sweet smile at me; the smile known throughout the school by everyone.

Renee was a cheerleader before we graduated a few months ago. She walked the halls as if she owned them, and by that, I mean that she walked through it confidently. She greeted everyone that walked past her as if they were good friends, though if you knew Renee for almost all of your school life (like I do; I’ve spent almost 10 years in the same primary and secondary school with her, she only had a few set of close friends and Erik was one of them.

Since he was on our football team and she was one of the school’s cheerleaders, they meet up often.

I guess they dated as well, but that’s none of my business.

Renee wasn’t only pretty, but she was also smart and I guess she’s nice too, so I guess it wasn’t so bad that I got her as my roommate for the next two weeks.

Renee picked up her bag and headed toward the vacant bed. She placed her bag down at the foot of the bed, pressing down on the mattress to check how soft and comfy it was.

Her hand sunk in and she smiled, satisfied.

“Not bad,” she remarked, mostly to herself. She looked around the room, studying it like I did a few minutes ago.

I didn’t know what to while she was checking out the room; I mean, I couldn’t just stand there and watch her. That would be creepy.

I decided to rest for a while and headed for my bed.

I took out my phone from my pocket and checked to see if there were any messages. To my surprise, my notifications were flooded with messages from so many people, my phone temporarily froze.

After a minute, it went back to normal and I unlocked my phone.

The first message was from my mother. Of course.

It read, ‘I hope you enjoy yourself for the next two weeks because I will be having a horrible time not having you around. Have fun Hope :)’

I couldn’t help but smile at my mother’s message; I felt like I was going to cry again.

I held back my tears. I mean, two weeks isn’t a very long time...right?

Plus, this could be a way for me to get used to being alone, without having my mum do things for me. I’m looking forward to college and I can’t wait, but it’s definitely not easy not having my mum around.

For the whole 17 years of my life, she has always been with me, always been there for me and I’ve never been one to be tough. As much as I hate for Erik to be right about me missing my mum, he was right; I do, but in my defense it’s been about half an hour without her, so I guess I just need to get used to being alone for a few days.

I open other messages as well; there’s one from my grandparents, wishing me a safe journey and to be safe. Another from Anthony, my best friend.

I’ve known Anthony since I was 13, when Erik decided I was too ‘uncool’ to be his friend. Anthony used to sit next to me in class and somehow, we started talking. Four years later, we’re still the best of friends, occasionally going to each others houses to hang out or have dinner.

He wanted to join the cruise trip as well, but his family had already planned to go to the Caribbean before he could sign up for this cruise trip, which was a bummer, since it would have been twice as fun with him than alone, with people I barely know or talk to.

I’m not one to make small talk or project myself out to people. I guess that was why I was so...lonely all the time. Somehow Anthony gets me, which is a good thing. It saves us from any drama.

Hey Hope. Hope you’re having a good time. The Caribbean is amazing but it’s not as fun without you. Stay safe and I’ll see you in two weeks’

His message put a smile on my face. Leave it to Anthony to make my day better. I decided that I’ll give him a call after I’ve read the other messages on my phone.

There were a few messages from my other friends as well, wishing me a safe trip and to have fun, also to not forget to buy them souvenirs. My neighbour, Samantha, messaged me as well, which surprised me ‘cause we weren’t that close, but I’m glad she did. She was nice and friendly, though I rarely see her unless there were gatherings in our community, since we go to different schools.

I was reading her message when Renee called out my name.

I looked up and turned to the direction of her voice.

She was standing at the door, a hand on the handle and her other hand holding her phone.

“I’m gonna go meet up with my friends and explore the cruise ship for a while. Wanna join me?” she asked me and I thought about it for a while.

Should I? With Renee? Wouldn’t our other schoolmates start talking? I mean, I didn’t usually hang out with her so I’m guessing it would raise a few eyebrows.

One part of me said I should go and get to know her better, considering that she was going to be my roommate for the next two weeks, but another part of me said that I should just rest for a while and go exploring by myself.

I decided to go with my second feeling, ‘cause well….I didn’t want the first day to be awkward. I figured I’ll get to know her better tonight.

I smiled politely and shook my head.

“It’s alright. Thanks though,” I told her.

She didn’t seem offended; she just smiled and opened the door. I heard it close.

Now that I was alone, I looked back down at my phone and searched for Anthony’s phone number in my contacts.

I found it and pressed the call button.

He picked it up after a few rings.

“Hey Tony,” I greeted him with his nickname.

“Hey! Glad you called, I was starting to get bored lying in bed,” he said, his voice sounding deep and gruff, as if he had been sleeping, but he had just woken up.

“Really? What time is it there?” I asked him and there was a pause, probably checking the time.

“It’s one thirty in the morning. It’s twelve hours behind our time,” he told me, sounding like he was leaning back into bed.

“You got jet-lag?” I asked him and he immediately replied.

“Yes. It’s horrible. I’m tired physically, but mentally, I’m awake. I’ve been here for three days and I feel like I’m being tortured. In the morning, I’m sleepy but I have to force myself to stay awake, but when it’s night, I’m tired but not sleepy, so I have to practically bore myself to death to fall asleep, like just now,”

I widened my eyes.

“Did I wake you up?” I asked, immediately sorry that I called him; I forgot about the difference in the timezones.

“Yeah, but it’s alright, I can’t go back to sleep anymore anyways,”

“Tony, I’m so sorry. I think you should go back to sleep. You’re gonna regret it if you don’t,” I told him, reading the room service menu that was on the bedside table.

He dismissed that idea as if it was a petty thing.

“Nah, it’s alright. Hey! Show me around the cruise ship,” he said, and I immediately perk up.

“Oh yeah! Sure. Hold on, I’ll video call you,”

I hung up and searched for the video call app.

I clicked it after I found it among all my other social applications, searching for Anthony’s name.

He picked up after a few rings after I pressed the call button.

“Hey!” I greeted him, waving.

I see that his short curly brown hair was messy, like bed hair, which it was, since he literally just got up from bed. He was sitting in bed now, leaning on the headboard.

He looked really tired and I could see a few eye bags under his eyes. The soft yellow light of his hotel room made his hazel eyes look a bit gold, which in turn made him look much more attractive, though I don’t like him in that way...I suppose.

I notice that the other half of the room was dark. His brother was probably sleeping; Jason could sleep anywhere, anytime and in any condition.

Anthony returned my wave, though it was more a lazy wave.

“Hey,” he greeted, his voice still sounding gruff.

“So you want a tour right?” I asked him,sounding excited, not sure why. He nodded in reply.

I got up from bed and walked around the room.

“This is my room for the next two weeks,” I told him.

“Hold on, let me switch the camera around,” I said, pressing a button to switch it from the face camera to the normal one.

When the camera switches, I bring him around, showing the study table, the closet, the beds, the lamps and even outside the window.

I saw him nod in the little box at the top right-hand corner, impressed.

“That room looks really fancy,” he remarked and I nodded, agreeing, though he couldn’t see me.

“That was exactly what I thought,”

“Have you explored the ship yet?” he asked me.

“Not yet,” I replied.

I turned my phone around so that the camera was facing me.

“But do you want to explore it with me?” I asked him and I see his face light up, his tired expression turning excited.

“Yeah! Of course,”

I turned my phone around so that it was facing forward and headed for the room door, taking my room key from the key slot with me.

I opened the door and closed it, hearing the click of the door being locked automatically behind me.

I headed for the stairs to head downstairs; that’s where all the entertainment and leisure activities were. Upstairs were just where the rooms were.

I told this to Anthony, who nodded as a reply.

“I wish you could’ve come Tony,” I told him, approaching the stairs.

His expression changes from excited to sorry.

“Me too. My parents already planned the whole Caribbean trip even before we found out about this cruise trip. It would have been fun spending two weeks on a cruise ship together,” he said and I shrugged, agreeing.

“Yeah. At least we can video chat though. Thank goodness for technology,” I laughed and he did too.

Tony and I were almost inseparable, I guess.

When we were still in school, he used to always bail me out of trouble.

The day I met Anthony was the day that Erik and his friends decided it would be funny to change my locker‘s lock code.

Erik, who knew me too well, knew what my original lock code was; it’s the same as every password and passcode that I use for social media accounts and my email. This was a dangerous piece of information, I admit.

After that day, I changed all my passwords and passcodes to different ones, so that he couldn’t guess them. Thankfully, he couldn’t .

On the day Erik and his friends thought it would be a ‘good idea’ to change my locker and as a result, I was late for class, trying to figure out what was wrong with my lock. I had been standing at my locker for fifteen minutes, trying all sorts of combinations and numbers, but it still wouldn’t unlock.

Frustrated, I leaned against the locker, trying to figure out what to do.

Then, Anthony came along. I knew he was in my class and sat next to me, though I’ve never talked to him before.

He saw me slumped against the locker and approached me, concern on his face.

“Are you alright?” he asked me and I nodded solemnly.

I didn’t want to load my problems onto him, so I decided not to tell him about my locker lock. He could tell I had a problem anyway.

“Is there anything I can help you with?” he pressed on. I shook my head.

I looked up, faking a smile.

“I’m fine. Thanks,” I told him. He raised an eyebrow at me, not believing a word I said.

“I’m sure you are,” he said skeptically.

“Is it your locker? Did you forget your code?” he asked me and I gave him a look, wondering how he knew.

“Yeah..,” I replied slowly.

He made a motion with his hand to step aside. I straightened and moved away from my locker.

He inspected my lock and the key hole, studying the pattern, I assumed.

He faced me after inspecting the lock.

“Do you have a pin?” he asked me.

I nodded, remembering that I always kept an extra hairpin in my bag just in case. I took it out and handed it to him.

He started to straighten it. I made a noise, like a hiss, at what he was doing.

“What are you doing?” I asked, my voice small and shrill.

He gave me a look.

“Trying to pick this lock,” he said, as if stating the obvious.

“You’re destroying my pin!” I exclaimed, still not able to click the pieces of why he was doing that.

He raised an eyebrow.

“I’m trying to fit the pattern of the lock,” he simply told me, still bending the pin to match the pattern of the lock.

Needless to say, he managed to open my locker and we began to become closer friends ever since that day.

As for Erik, we became bigger enemies, which is sad, to tell you the truth.

I reached the lobby and excitedly showed Anthony around.

“Look. Isn’t it amazing?” I panned my phone around to show him the interior of the lobby. Anthony’s expression mirrored mine. A look of shocked excitement crossed his face.

“This ship is amazing,” he said and I nodded in agreement.

The lobby was long, as well as wide, with a huge crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The gold-like interior of the lobby took my breath away, with the intricate designs of the ceiling and the walls. Flowers, cherubs and intricately beautiful lines and patterns were carved into the ceiling as well as the walls, which were painted in yellowish-gold, if that even was a colour.

There were a few paintings hung around the lobby. Some were huge, while some were medium sized. One painting was of a park, with its visitors having a picnic, playing ball and playing on the swings. Art never really caught my attention, but somehow this one did. The colours blended nicely with each other and it gave off a relaxing tone.

The paintings added colour and life to the lobby, though the large crowd of teenagers chatting and lounging around the lobby added enough life than needed.

I walked around, showing Anthony every inch of the lobby, as well as the games and activities that they had.

There was an air hockey table at one side, already occupied by a group of teenage boys playing excitedly and shouting loudly at their two friends who were playing with each other, big smiles on their faces.

Opposite side of the air hockey table, in the corner of the lobby, was a pinball machine, which was already occupied as well by a group of what looked like college students. A tall, muscular guy with a shaved head was playing enthusiastically as his friends looked on, cheering and prompting him to press certain buttons or to look out where the ball was heading.

I showed this scene to Anthony, who was eager to play the pinball machine, though he was miles away.

“I bet there’s a pool table. There’s always one on cruise ships,” he remarked and I immediately looked around, looking for it.

I spotted it a few tables away.

“There’s one,” I told him, irony in my voice. I didn’t play pool but Anthony plays a bit; he has a pool table at home. His dad was an avid player back when he was in college, occasionally joining tournaments. He stopped playing it competitively after Anthony’s older sister was born, though he sometimes played it at home with Anthony and his siblings.

“There’s a group of teenagers playing it. Wanna see how it’s going?” I asked him and he nodded, looking tired, but I know he’s still unable to fall asleep.

“Sure,”

I headed towards the pool table, the group of teenagers’ voices slowly starting to get louder. Their conversation could be heard when she was two tables away, their chants and cheering growing louder and louder as she approached the table.

I wasn’t sure if I knew anyone that was at the pool table, though some of the faces and voices looked familiar.

“Sounds like a tight game,” Anthony commented, hearing the frustrated groans and mutterings of a few guys after one of their friends took a shot but it didn’t hit any of the coloured balls.The guy who was playing ruffled his hair in frustration, his face looking visibly frustrated with his eyebrows knitted together.

I took a glance at the table, studying what was going on. Anthony taught me a bit on how to play pool. There were only a few coloured balls left on the table, most of them were striped, with the guy whose back is towards me currently winning the game. Most of his balls, which were non-striped, were off the table.

I relayed this information to Anthony.

“How d’you know that guy’s a non-stripe?” he asked me.

“Well, most of the balls on the table are striped and the guy who missed aimed at the ones with stripes. I’m assuming those are his,” I replied, still studying the game.

It was the second guy’s turn. The one who had his back towards me. Something about him reminded me of someone, though I wasn’t sure of who.

The guy took aim, his friends cheering him on at the side.

He pulled his arm back, ready to shoot.

Suddenly, a waiter stood by my side.

“Excuse me,” he said, sounding like he was in a rush.

I turned to face him and immediately looked apologetic for blocking his way.

“Sorry,” I said, quickly moving away by moving backwards….towards the guy that was about to shoot.

I bumped into him, causing him to move his arm to a different angle. He accidentally hit the white ball, causing it to roll toward a striped ball. It knocked the ball and the ball rolled into a pocket.

The guy had just scored for the other player, earning him a point.

Immediately, a wave of guilt rushed through me.

The other player laughed out loud, amused that his opponent had scored for him.

His friends laughed along, while the friends of the guy I had just bumped into gave frustrated groans. Some started eyeing me. Some even cursed me. Great.

Anthony heard the ruckus and started looking worried.

“Hope? What just happened?” he asked me, concerned.

“Seriously?!” the guy I had bumped into exclaimed.

Oh no…that voice….

Erik turned around, looking annoyed.

“Who the-,”

He saw me and his expression turned even more sour.

“Hope? What the heck? Were you trying to sabotage me?” he asked me, his voice hard and annoyed.

His brown eyes were looking directly into mine.

At the same time, Anthony was speaking to me.

“Hope? Seriously, what’s going on?” he started to sound distressed.

I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t know what to say. Everything happened so fast.

I quickly composed myself.

“I’ll you back later,” I told Anthony, my eyes still on Erik’s.

“What? Hope, what’s-,”

Before he could finish his sentence, I ended the call and held my phone.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to,” I told him, surprised at how calm I sounded.

Erik looked sceptical at my apology.

“Didn’t mean to? You sure?” he asked me, sounding like he was threatening me.

I nodded, still composed. I was freaking out inside though.

“Why would I want to sabotage your game? It would just be a waste of my time,” I told him, starting to turn around and walk away. I didn’t want to prolong this argument any longer and cause a scene. Some of his friends were looking at us, some were minding their own business.

I saw Renee standing among his group of friends, looking at me. She gave me an apologetic expression, like she felt sorry for me.

I wanted to get away as soon as possible.

“Woah, hold on. You’re not getting away so easily,” Erik stood in front of me, towering over me.

I took a step back, to avoid bumping into him.

I sighed, tired of this. I looked up to face him, a poker-faced expression on my face. It was better to not show Erik that he intimidated me.

What happened to us? We used to be the best of friends.

“Look, I said I was sorry okay? I genuinely am. Can you just let me go please,” I started to turn around to head the other way.

Erik just wouldn’t quit and ran to the other side to stop me from walking away.

I crossed my arms.

“Do you want to make a scene here, Erik?” I asked him, beginning to sound sarcastic.

He raised an eyebrow, a sly smile slowly creeping onto his face.

He shrugged.

“Maybe,”

I rolled my eyes.

“Well, I don’t,”

I pushed past him.

On the outside, I was composed, but inside I was surprised that I actually pushed my way away from Erik.

Of course, what Erik wants, Erik gets. He chased after me and stood in front of me again, still holding onto his pool stick.

“Next time,” he began, his voice almost a whisper. It sounded like a hiss.

“Watch where you’re going. The next time you cost me another game, I won’t be so kind,” he said, eyeing me.

I didn’t say anything back; I just stood there and glared at him.

Erik doesn’t intimidate me…much. I know everything about him, though I wouldn’t use that against him. The same thing can’t be said for him though.

I scoffed.

“There’s nothing kind about you,” I retorted, words coming out of my mouth like acid.

I instantly regretted what I said. I didn’t mean that. Of course I didn’t mean it.

I mean, yes, Erik could be mean at times, but he was kind, deep down. Deep, deep, deep down. Way deep down. Under all the social pressures and influences from his friends as well as the need to keep up with his image, he was nice and he was kind.

Knowing him for as long as I have, I realised that even if he spits those acidic, hurtful words to me, I would always forgive me.

Knowing someone for as long as you have lived does that to you. Is this what they call platonic love? I don’t have feelings for Erik, but I do care about him. Even though I always say that I hate him...I honestly don't.

Erik seemed to be hurt by my words, because for a brief moment, hurt flashes across his face, but as soon as it came, it was gone. It was as if he didn’t want me to see that he was affected by my words.

I saw it though; the hurt in his eyes. It was brief, but it was there.

I felt the need to apologise.

Before I could open my mouth to tell him that I was sorry, he walked away, heading for the pool table again.

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