The Costa Destiny (a short story of romance) - Shipwreck Writing Challenge

in fiction •  9 months ago

Rated PG - Parental Guidance may be required.

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The Costa Destiny

Jason rubbed his eyes again and put his sunglasses back on. “Should we drink an espresso while we wait?”

“We should! And look through dark sunglasses at the people who pass!” Sarah, as always, had the energy for them both. She pushed her sunglasses up on her nose.

Everything was going exactly according to schedule. He’d worried last night--this morning, when she’d insisted on a third--that they’d oversleep. But she could be very persuasive at two in the morning. When it was over and they lay there in the moonlight it was easy to believe everything she said.

“It’s more than love.” Sarah’s legs were white in the moonlight. “You know that, right?”

Jason wrapped his leg over and around hers, a leg-hug. “There’s nothing more than this love. I love you more than everything else all added together. No. Multiplied together! Take that and then raise it to the infinity power and it still isn’t as much as I love you. Nothing is more than that.” His toes drew lines on the back of her leg while he talked.

“It’s destiny. That’s what’s stronger than love. And it’s right here for us. This love is our destiny, Jason. You. Me. This place. This trip we won out of nowhere. Think about it. Does this happen to us?”

“It does! Look, maybe it happens to us now because we are so much in love. Maybe the universe sees what a true love this is, and this is how it wants to help.”

“Can’t that be Destiny?” She turned to look into his eyes, and he agreed. Maybe it was.

Now, as they walked through the terminal looking for a waterside café, he knew she was right. Their destiny was strong. He could feel it. He squeezed her hand and felt her squeeze it back. He smiled. Destiny it was, then.

“How about that little shoppe?” Sarah pointed to a seaside place with tables by the sea barrier. “Then we can wear our cheap sunglasses.” She laughed at the cheap, almost black sunglasses they’d bought the day before. Spy glasses, they’d called them.

They sat and ordered their drinks. A petite, swarthy waiter delivered them crisply as they were talking.

“Wasn’t Pinocchio from around here?” A third of Sarah’s face was covered by the sunglasses. They were a bit too large and kept sliding down her nose.

“Are you thinking about getting a nose enlargement, sweetie?” Jason reached across the table and pushed her glasses up again. “Do you want to be a bit more like Pinocchio?”

He laughed and bounced in his seat with his arms held up and limp above his shoulders like a puppet.

“Pinocchio! Pinocchio!”

Sarah started to laugh and sipped her espresso to hide her amusement. “You’re such a silly man!”

The waiter had turned to leave but turned back suddenly and hit Jason in the back of the head with his tray, knocking him to the floor. He began kicking Jason in the side and Jason rolled into a ball.

Sarah jumped from her seat, stumbled over her purse and fell against a woman who was passing by. The woman screamed and grabbed a can of pepper spray she had attached to a wristlet. She tried to spray Sarah but Sarah fell back against the little table. The waiter received the full dose in the face.

The waiter’s hands came up and Jason felt the backsplash over his head and face. “Please! Please!”

The woman with the spray blew a whistle. The pepper spray had emptied and she looked panicked. “Polizia! Polizia!”

Port police showed up immediately to sort things out.

The waiter thought Jason had insulted him. “Finnochio! He said it! Everyone heard him--he was dancing in his chair like a little fairy!”

Jason tried to deny the accusation but the policeman held his hand up. “No!” He turned to face Sarah. “I will hear what signorina will say.”

“It’s very simple. I thought Pinocchio might have lived near here, and my boyfriend was making fun of me!” She leaned closer to the policeman and lowered her voice. “We only talk about sexual things between ourselves. And we only talk, as much as I want to.” She winked.

She resumed her posture and gestured to the waiter. “Besides, isn’t it obvious that this man is a strong Italian and worthy of whomever he chooses?” She smiled that smile at him. The waiter smiled back.

“Your friend is wrong to make such fun of you, signorina. But he is correct that Pinocchio doesn’t live here. As much as he can live, Pinocchio lives in Verona, to the North.” He looked to the waiter. “I believe this woman. This was only a misunderstanding. Va bene?”

The waiter agreed. “Bene.” He bowed to Sarah. “My apologies, signorina.” He glared at Jason for a moment and returned to his duties.

When it was over Jason and Sarah hurried back to the debarkation area, but the ship had sailed without them. Ever the optimist, Sarah had the perfect rejoinder for their predicament.

“Destiny.” Her smile made it all the more believable.

Jason had to agree. Who could ever argue with that smile? Those eyes, that face--as long as that was the vision he saw, who could argue?

“Destiny it is, then.” He kissed her quickly on her lips, stepped back with her hands in his. “So what shall we do now?”

“We shall enjoy the day in Civitacecchia. We’ll walk along the sea. We’ll eat the best food they have to offer. We’ll find the best room in town and we’ll make love until we fail from exhaustion.” She winked. “Until you fail from exhaustion, I should say! And then we will sleep the sleep of innocent lovers, and wake in the morning to ride the train up the coast. We’ll board the Costa when it comes into Savona!”

The day passed exactly as she’d predicted. They walked the town, shopped in the local shoppes, ate things they’d never heard of and finally checked into the Hotel San Giorgio.

“I’m really needing a shower.” Jason sniffed his armpits. “Nothing good under here.” He grinned at her. “Want to join me?”

“You go ahead. I’m going to order some wine and turn on the television.” Sarah slipped her sundress beyond her shoulders and let it drop to the floor.

“Order Merlot!” Jason walked to the bathroom, undressed and turned on the shower. He heard Sarah yell from the other room.

“I can’t hear you!” He leaned his head under the water and rinsed his face. He heard Sarah come into the room.

“Jason! Get out of there and talk to me.”

Jason poked his head from behind the curtain. “What’s wrong, babe? You’re white as a sheet!”

“The Costa--it hit some rocks. It’s sinking!” Her eyes had lost that certainty he’d come to expect.

Jason pushed back the curtain and stepped out of the shower to hold her in his arms. “Oh, sweetie. It’s okay. We’re okay. Everything’s going to be okay.” He held her back from him a bit by her shoulders. “You know what you always say, Sarah-love."

She looked at him like she didn’t know the answer. “It’s destiny, Sarah.”

Her tears came fast and free as he held her close. He wrapped his arms around her and let her lean in on him. “You’re getting so wet,” he said. She looked up at him, her eyes puffed and red, her cheeks ablaze. “But I know how to fix that.”

With a swift and gentle move he picked her off the floor and stepped them both into the shower.

“Oh! You’re going to get me all wet!” Sarah laughed and pretended to shrink from the water.

“That’s the idea, love.” Jason reached past her to turn the hot water on full. “As wet and as hot as you have ever been. And do you know why?”

Sarah backed away slowly until she was against the tile wall. She grinned. “Why?”

Jason wrapped his arm around her and lifted her onto the raised edge of the shower. As he leaned in to kiss her he whispered.

“It’s our Destiny.”

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Images 1, 2

This is my entry for the Shipwreck Writing Challenge, Round One sponsored by @steemfluencer. Heckuva contest. You should check it out.

Thanks to the wonderful editors from @thewritersblock. This story seriously needed some other eyes on it, and those guys really came through with great edits and suggestions. If you write anything at all, you owe it to yourself to find us on discord. Just click the blocks below to get started.

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Your dialogue and emotional tugs are always so realistic. Definitely a romance story; you are getting good at these! Great story!


After the last one, I almost felt I owed everyone something romantic. Makes me glad that you like it. Thanks!

You did an amazing job, Jon. Really really great. His toes are much better now. ;-)


Toes beat nails. He just needed a bit of a trim. Thanks!


Oh lord, I can only imagine. LOLOL!


trust me when i say: the workshop was necessary. LOL

Great job, Jon! Steamy! :)


Well, I figured since I wasn't making it funny for you I had to make it something! <3

I find it interesting how many people chose to go the route of people who missed the boat! I honestly didn’t even THINK of it!!! Great job and good luck in the competition!


Thank you! My last story (My Lie) had so much violence and death that I just couldn't bring myself to write about it again.

I was really worried, knowing what the prompt was, that this couple would end up on that ship.

Thank you for not killing them off. I felt tears of relief but also sadness at the tragedy that no doubt happened to some less fortunate couples.


Well, they did end up under water...
Thanks for stopping by and reading. Your story for this contest simply blew me away.

Congratulations! This story has been curated by The SFT. :-) A small SBD reward has been transferred to your wallet.

It has been added to the Literary Reading Room at the SFT Library.


Thank you! I am honored.

I have to say that I love how you did this challenge from the perspective of people whom did not make it onto the Costa rather than people stuck on a sinking boat. Way to think outside the box! You get my vote.


Thanks! My last story had enough death. Wanted a happier story to tell this time.