After some gaming through lunch, we took to the shore and explored the island. Aaliyah wanted to get her father a souvenir, and some of the others wanted to get something as well. Personally, I felt bringing a souvenir to my parents from a bachelor party seemed a little odd. Besides, they had been here several times.
By the time we finished shopping, everyone was ready for dinner, so we went to the Nassau branch of the Intergalactic House of Awesome Sauce, knowing that Jarod would enjoy it. The building looked completely out of place, matching the one at home precisely.
“That’s because it is the same one, boss-man, sir.” stated Aaliyah.
Everything around us was frozen in place, except for Mila.
“Oh. Right. I suppose that was mentioned when I was on my date with Mila, but the concept is still a little bizarre to me.” I admitted.
“Hello, James. Hello, Mila. Always wonderful to see you! I was just talking with Aaliyah about how much Jarod is going to love today’s macaroni and cheese.” exclaimed Carl, seeming to appear out of nowhere.
“Does he actually see you here later?” I asked.
“Yes! Well, no. That is to say he does see me in this building again eventually, but not from here.” explained Carl.
“Carl is informed of the satisfaction of every customer, boss-man, sir. Customer service is important!” insisted Aaliyah.
“Well, I obviously can’t argue, though I must admit to feeling I’m a bit of a slacker.” I replied.
Mila was quick to assure me “We have you covered, master. Don’t worry.”
Before I could say any more, Carl was gone, and the group was walking into the restaurant.
“What? I mean… seriously… what!?” exclaimed Jesse upon stepping inside.
“This is unbelievable…” whispered Marlin as she looked around.
Alec shrugged and said, “Neat trick. Think the food’s as good as I’ve heard?”
Laughing, Jarod told him “Way better. I promise.”
We were led across blue sand to our table, a giant prism refracting the light of the fuschia sky. Purple waters lapped the beach in the distance. The trees here resembled palm trees but were made of similar crystal to the table.
After we took our seats, Shaurya said, “We need to take some pictures. No one will believe this. I can’t tell we’re in a building right now. Feel that breeze?”
“It’s pretty chill though. I like it.” stated Damien.
“You really just get used to things like this when working for James.” claimed Brandon with a grin.
Rolling her eyes, Lake said, “Yeah. Sure, Brandon.”
“The boss-man does have a sizable investment in the Intergalactic House of Awesome Sauce, so he isn’t exactly wrong.” insisted Aaliyah.
“Did he forget to give us menus?” asked Jesse.
“No. The food’s on the way. You don’t exactly order here.” I informed them.
“I can be a bit picky, honestly.” she stated.
“You’ll see.” I told her.
Linnea, our server, deftly placed dishes around the table before asking “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“No. Thank you.” I replied.
“Are you sure? I don’t know if I even want to try this.” stated Jesse.
“If you don’t, I’ll eat it! I love fajitas!” exclaimed Aaliyah.
“Mother does love her food.” stated Mila with a smirk.
“I’ve never seen fajitas look quite like this.” replied Jesse.
“Shouldn’t things be more… Bahamian?” asked Damien, smiling at his pizza.
Jarod laughed and said, “Not in this restaurant.” Then he took a large bite out of his macaroni and cheese.
“Hey, Aaliyah… What is this?” asked Lake.
“Stuffed lamb breast! You’ll love it!” she exclaimed.
“These wings are great, and the cheese fries are probably the best I’ve ever had!” claimed Alec.
“I’m impressed with this restaurant’s grasp of Thai cuisine. This is very good.” stated Shaurya.
“Whoa… This actually is good.” commented Jesse after finally taking a bite.
“The food is great, but I still want to know how there’s a beach inside of a building. I know it can’t be real with the crazy colors, but everything feels so real. Should we try to find the walls, or would that be a big faux pas?” asked Marlin.
“Let’s not disturb the other guests.” I suggested, not wanting to encourage questions about this place.
“I guess, but wow…” she muttered, looking around some more.
When we finished eating, we went back to the yacht for more gaming. Most of them seemed to feel too full for anything more active, which was fine. We didn’t have any tours scheduled until tomorrow.
The night came quickly with everyone having fun. Given that most of them were up still at two, I imagined a late start in the morning. The sudden feeling of magic near me surprised me, and I looked over the side of the yacht to the source for answers. Alma was walking across the water toward the boat.
Wasn’t that a bit risky here? What if someone was watching from the shore? Even if someone woke up on the yacht, that could be trouble. How did she even end up here? Having noticed me watching, she ran toward me in full haste.
“Intruder alert. Intruder alert.” playfully remarked Mila as Alma hopped on deck.
“Is something wrong? What are you doing here?” I asked.
“Didn’t Mila mention that my group is here as well?” she inquired.
“The master never asked where you were heading.” stated Mila with a grin.
Alma walked over to where Aaliyah was sleeping and poked her as she said, “I see. Mind some company?”
Mila lifted Aaliyah onto her lap, hugging her while giving Alma a disapproving look.
“Not at all, but won’t the girls be missing you?” I asked.
“The ones that sleep are sleeping. Portentia dragged Raine out to ‘patrol’ with her.” replied Alma.
“Is that safe? I guess I should’ve expected Portentia to patrol even on vacation, but taking Raine along seems… problematic.” I told her.
Smiling, she said, “Certainly not for criminals, but I’m sure they’ll be fine. Portentia apparently stopped a murder last night.”
“And Raine still agreed to come along?” I asked.
“According to Portentia, they’re taking Pufflewink for a walk, master.” explained Mila.
“I… see.” I stated, not thrilled with the idea.
“If the island disappears by dawn, we’ll know something happened to Pufflewink.” teased Alma.
“Ha ha.” I replied flatly.
Mila quickly said, “Don’t worry, master. Pufflewink was a gift from mother. Mother certainly wouldn’t let her gift disappear this quickly.”
“Let’s go for a swim.” suggested Alma. “Mila certainly has things under control here.”
“No power in the ‘verse can control mother.” argued Mila.
“She seems content enough for now.” replied Alma.
I was busy replaying the suggestion in my head and tiptoeing around the idea. Alma was wearing a dress. She might well have a swimsuit under the dress, since I doubted she’d actually go swimming in a dress. On the other hand, a dress wouldn’t impair her ability to swim in the slightest, but what if she had something else in mind. If she covered herself as she often covered the fey, she wouldn’t appear improper, right? The idea was still provocative to me. I wasn’t certain that swimming was the best idea for me right now.
Then I was flying through the air, physically thrown off the side. I heard a splash in the water before I had even landed, and a spell quickly stole my shirt, sending it flying back to the yacht. I was still amused by how the ocean waters could no longer sting my eyes, but the sight of Alma’s bikini-clad body coming toward me was even more thrilling. She was so beautiful.
Both of us could hold our breath for an hour with ease, probably much longer. The pressures of the depths weren’t challenging, at least as far as we went. The beauty of the ocean couldn’t compare with the beauty at my side, but both views were spectacular.
We didn’t need to speak. Alma had dropped her protective spells to speak with me in the manner of the fey, her thoughts appearing in my head. I worried over how well she could read my mind until I accidentally cut her off entirely.
When we spotted a pod of dolphins, I followed Alma as she chased after them. They seemed startled at first, but they grew friendly with me rather quickly. Alma discovered she could actually communicate with them to some extent. She projected thoughts into their minds, and they’d respond to her suggestions, such as scooping her up onto their backs.
Morning came all too quickly, stealing away the last of my amazing night. When the first rays of light touched the sky, we hurried back to the yacht. Then Alma left to wherever the girls were staying. I wondered at how many miles we swam in one night. There was so much more I wanted to see in that underwater world.