So, I'll take the tag of love from ChemicalBilly, though she has not formally swabbed me with her blogistick.
K8 watched J9 break over the prow of the boat. Ship, she corrected. A throb of sympathy swept through her. She remembered the days of splash-over-the-side waves and San Francisco Bay so close she could dangle her hair over the edge and touch it, her mind shouting "We're going over! We're definitely going over!" And the miracle of keel preventing same.
She found, then, abject terror to be a most effective remedy for seasickness. Thence, motion conjured excitement, tingles of arousal that she hesitated to voice.
J9 straightened, leaning hard on the railing. After several rolls, she lifted one hand to wipe her mouth. K8 joined her at the railing, not touching her, remembering how touch once encouraged nausea.
J9 stared straight ahead, not looking toward K8, but K8 could feel the spark they shared, an old, embery warmth, not the flashy electricity of youngsters falling into the distance between each other. The horizon carried the promise of a clear afternoon, but K8 knew that spring's wildness powered the ocean's capricious nature this time of year, and what was clear in one instant could be cloudy wretchedness the next.
After many moments, J9 said, without turning her head "Well, all right then," as if she had just decided something. K8 moved her hand so it touched the little finger of J9's small, white hand. J9 gave a great sigh and turned toward K8.
"Remind me whose idea this was," she said, a look of defeat warring with irony in her eyes.
"Yours, Jeanine," K8 said, with gentle humor.
"Ah, yes, mine," J9 answered, and gave a small sigh.
K8 covered J9's hand.
"C'mon," she said, "let's take a walk."
"OK, maybe not," J9 answered. "Standing still is working for me right now, so maybe I should keep doing that. I can't even think about moving on a moving ship."
J9 closed her eyes, and K8 could sense the wave of nausea that passed through her. K8 quickly removed her hand.
"Sorry, sweetie. I thought it would help," she said.
J9 shook her head and took another deep breath.
"But you go ahead, Katie," J9 said, opening her eyes and focusing on the horizon. "I hate to be so pitiful, but I really need to be still for a while."
"'S'okay, sweetie," K8 answered. "You take as long as you need. I'll be around when you're ready."
K8 carried her disappointment up the ladder to the topdeck. She struck a course for the wheel house, counting her steps. One-tilly, two-tally, three-tully, four-telly, five-a-whack-a-doo, whack-a-dee, whack-a-day. The remembrance of her childhood counting scheme opened memories of other loves and other times. Her eyes leaked a tear or two, regretting and celebrating those past days.
One hundred-tally-sally-mally-whack-a-doo. And then J9-J9-I'm-a-loving-you.
She walked the circuit enough times to form a mile, then once again to cool down, and finally once more for the goddess of the sea. Then she settled into a deck chair, waiting for the wild red of the sunset to color the bottom of the cloud wall that raced toward the west.
"10q-J9," she whispered into the darkening sky. "10q very much."