"60 quints on one bill, 30 on another"
Charlotte cheerfully informed the dressed suited lady at the boutique counter as she offered her a handful of notes
"Are you near finish?"
she bellowed towards a closed changingroom curtain nearby, causing the retail assistant to wince
"Yes, yes, nearly, just.."
Lottie answered as she exhaled and pulled a pair of drawstring, adjusting her underware further by pulling the garment further up her torso
"I'll be out in a moment"
Charlotte signed and looked towards the employee
"Oh, and two receipts"
she whispered then held her palm out
The curtain flew open wide open.
Exiting, clothed yet disheveled, Lottie left changing room, with her head held high.
Confidently, she strutted towards the checkout, failing to acknowledge Charlotte who looked puzzled, Lottie aimed straight for the the lady stood at the cash machine.
"What is your name?"
Lottie asked assertively
"Mm, ms, Melissa"
the lady stuttered as she looked up towards Lottie, clearly feeling intimidated
"Melissa. My name is Charlotte, however, I am known as Lottie"
Lottie greeted as she held out a hand, waiting for Melissa to accept her offer and shake
"I share a name with my childhood friend here"
she added as she gestured toward Charlotte with her free hand
"Yet the name is all we have in common"
A further startled Charlotte looked to Lottie with a slight scowl before she continued.
"Would you maintain a friendship with an individual who uses your misfortune as a talking point, your image as a spectacle and believes being half your size means she is entitled to pay one third any bill we incur? Such as these matching dresses she has chosen? That don't flatter my size and build"
Melissa, looking uncomfortable, slowly nodded, then shuck her head vigorously.
Charlotte looked between the two, harbouring an expression of surprise and increasing disgust, she was just about to respond, opening her mouth wide.
She blinked again.
She moved her hands up to her face, dragging her gloved fingers over her eyes before pushing back tarpaulin she lay under, she slowly raised herself to a seating position.
Lottie gained some composure, looking to the dull and dirty wall of the small vessel as she collected her thoughts.
"Was that a dream? Was I even sleeping? That happened, well, sort of?"
she quizzed herself out loud
"That was a memory"
she added in a sleepy manner
"Plus a fantasy"
Lottie exhaled, stretched and turned around.
She made direct eye contact with a terrified fisherman, twisted to look upon her from his position at the steering wheel.
he yelled at the top of his lungs
"Howdya get here?"
the captain yelled
"What ye doing here?"
the leader yelled immediately after
Lottie looked between the two of them with an opened mouth, all looked equally frazzled.
"I was being, chased, I took shelter"
Lottie answered as she looked towards the single tiny window, daylight beamed through it, highlighting the small, wooden captain's chair
"She'll have to stay"
the leader abruptly told his assistant whilst shaking his head
"We're not turning around'
he added as he approached his teammate and shoved him aside, taking the steering wheel
"I'm getting there, no matter what, and you.."
he turned to Lottie
"Better keep your head down and your mouth shut"
The still startled Lottie quickly gained some sense of composure, she spoke
"I beg your pardon!"
Lottie called in a raised voice as she entered the small control room
she yelled again as she approached the leader.
She outstretched her arm, offering a handshake.
"My name is Lottie, your friend Derek and I have introduced ourselves to one another, I would appreciate you displaying the same decree of manners, especially considering you have postponed taking me to safety"
He looked to her hand at his side
he answered, then received her offer to shake hands, however, the moment their palms met, Lottie harshly squeezed the captain and seized his lower arm with her free hand
"You may be able to intimidate your deck hand, but not I, you tell me what you're conceiving! Where we are and where we're going"
she asked in a low whisper as she glanced towards Derek, who had just entered
"Is that a, cruise liner?"
Derek asked as pointed ahead of them
Lottie and Cuthbert exchanged a brief glare in the moment their attention returned to one another, before they simultaneously looked towards the window with the Derek.
The three of them looked ahead out of the small window, the captain snatched his arm out of Lottie's hold before he scrambled through a messy box at his feet, retrieving a small telescope, his teammate imitated, taking hold of a pair of binoculars whilst Lottie squinted towards the view.
Within the horizon indeed sat what appeared to be a half sunk, yet upright and buoyant, large, modern cruise ship.
"I knew it"
Cuthbert uttered under his breath
"What was that?"
Lottie asked, turning her attention to the leader.
"This boat's pretty much just treading water and the sea seems still, so either we're somehow getting closer quick, this is one of those optical illusion thingies, or that ship's rising as we speak"
Derek speculated nervously
They looked on in silence, as the cruise ship in it's near entirety, sat ontop of the water.