“Todd?" I said, completely dumbfounded by the fact that my very recent ex-boyfriend was standing in front of me with his arm around Lauren.
“Yes, I'm Lauren's boyfriend. Lauren told me one of her old roommates would be joining us."
“Um, yes. I'm Shelby." I responded awkwardly. At first, I didn't understand why Todd would act like he didn't know me, but then a lump formed in my throat. Lauren said they had been together for four months.
“Shelby, you should go get changed, and we can all go up to dinner together. We are eating on the rooftop deck tonight." Lauren said, completely missing the strangeness of my interaction with Todd. She snapped her fingers again at another member of the yacht staff.
“Will you show Miss Shelby to her room?"
“Of course, Miss Lauren. If you will follow me, Miss Shelby," the woman said and started walking towards the double doors leading into the ship.
I glanced back at Todd and Lauren and quickly wished I hadn't. Todd was kissing Lauren again, and he winked at me as his hand started sliding down her back. I turned away quickly before I had to see where his hand landed.
“You are in the first room to the right, Miss Shelby."
“Thank you so much…" I paused.
“Thank you so much, Molly. Also, I am sorry about the snapping. I work as a bartender and have always hated when people snap to get my attention," I said.
Molly smiled genuinely at me after my comment. “Thank you, Miss Shelby, but we are all used to Miss Lauren and her ways. There is an intercom in your room. If you need anything, just press the button, and someone downstairs will respond."
I nodded and opened the door to my room, but room was an understatement. The size and luxury of the room were unlike anything I had ever experienced. The main room housed a king-size bed covered in a white silk comforter. There was also a lounge area with two modern black leather sofas. My suitcase was already waiting for me on an ottoman at the foot of the bed.
I sighed and threw myself onto the bed face down in the comforter. It seemed like a bad dream that Todd was here, pretending he didn't know me, let alone date me for two years.
We were comfortable, and our relationship was secure, or so I thought. It started with little things, like Todd bailing on plans we'd made and how he stopped inviting me to spend any time at his place.
Aubrey was always suspicious of Todd, but I never questioned him. Because I knew, deep down, he was cheating on me, but I went on pretending because it was easier than losing him. I didn't have to pretend for very long because he dumped me the day before graduation.
I'd cried for hours on the living room couch as Lin and Aubrey comforted me and supplied me with all the ice cream I could eat. I'd picked myself up the morning of graduation and packed away my pain. I would not let Todd, or anyone else, see me beaten; I thought maybe that would make me a good lawyer one day.
I'd walked across that stage and accepted my diploma with a giant smile on my face because I'd truly earned it. Right after the ceremony, I let myself fall into misery again.
And now he was dating Lauren.
Lauren had said that they'd started dating four months ago, which meant that Todd was definitely cheating on me. It was just hard to believe that he cheated on me with one of my friends.
Sure, Lauren and I fell in and out of touch as our lives drifted apart, but it still made the betrayal hurt more.
During college, we were very different people. Lauren attended NYU for the party life and never missed an opportunity to go out and have fun. I spent most of my time studying to ensure I didn't lose my scholarship. Even though we had our differences, we got along for the most part, and while we were living together, we became close friends.
I allowed myself a few more moments of self-pity before pulling myself off of the bed. I didn't let Todd see me beat at graduation, and I wasn't going to let him see it now. I made my way to my suitcase and rolled it into the connecting ensuite.
As I walked through the double doors of the ensuite, I was shocked again by the sheer size of the yacht. I could have fit my entire apartment inside just the bathroom. I took my time unpacking each item of clothing and hanging it in the closet. I picked out a knee-length black dress, which was the nicest thing I had brought, and changed into it.
Just as I finished touching up my copper tone eyeshadow, which complimented my red hair and grey eyes, I heard the click of the door latch opening.
“Hey, are you ready? Everyone else is here, and we are all heading up to eat," Lauren said while she burst into the room without bothering to knock.
“Yeah. Perfect timing. I just finished." I walked out of the ensuite and saw Lauren standing in a floor-length dress made of silvery fabric. She took one quick look at my outfit and said nothing, obviously unimpressed by my simple choice. I followed her out into the hallway, where three women and four men in black tie attire talked among themselves.
Lauren made quick introductions, but the only name I caught was that of the tall brunette woman, Megan, the one with the private jet. My hands had already started sweating, and I was grateful that most of the other guests ignored my presence as waiters brought plate after plate of food and set it in front of each of us.
“Megan, how was the flight here?" Lauren asked.
“Oh, it was the worst. My mom had to take the big jet to Japan for some business conference, so we were stuck with the little jet. Hudson nearly hits his head on the ceiling because it is so small." Megan threw a seductive look at the tall man with blond hair and piercing blue eyes.
“Well, I am sure you didn't have the worst flight. Shelby had to fly commercial." Lauren said.
“You poor thing. I have never flown commercial, but I hear it is horrible. Do you really have to sit next to strangers?"
“Yeah, you do, but in first class, you have a lot more room to yourself," I said, remembering how Lauren told me to tell everyone I flew first class, even though I didn't. It was typical Lauren to throw me under scrutiny when I had planned to avoid talking about how I got here or anything else to do with money, for that matter.
Luckily, the one dig at me seemed to be enough for Lauren because she got distracted by Todd.
“You are the sexiest woman I have ever met," Todd said as he ran his hand up Lauren's arm.
“You two are the absolute cutest," the blonde woman sitting on my right said.
“Oh, I know, right? It is so fun that we are equally numbered men to women," Megan said, throwing another look at Hudson, who seemed completely clueless.
I ate my meal in silence and tried my best not to watch Lauren and Todd. However, it was hard to ignore the fact that Todd had abandoned his meal and was instead licking Lauren's neck. She laughed, ran her fingers into his mess of brown curls, and pulled his face to hers.
I made it all the way to the dessert course before I couldn't take it anymore and quietly slipped away from the table. Of course, no one saw me leave; if they did, no one cared.
As the door closed behind me, a few tears started streaming down my face. I had to get back to my room before anyone found me crying. I quickly wiped the tears from my cheeks and did my best to keep any more from falling.
The day's events had finally hit me in full force. I was angry and hurt that Todd had been cheating on me the whole time, and now I had to spend my vacation watching him and Lauren together.
I was so distracted in my thoughts that I ran straight into a rock-solid chest.
I had hoped I had run into one of the yacht's staff members, but I quickly realized the man was not wearing the uniform. All I could see was a dark suit jacket. I pulled back and continued to try to hold back my tears.
“I am so sorry; I should have been watching where I was going," I said while trying to plan my escape.
When I looked up at who I had run into, I was met with the most dazzling eyes I had ever seen.
“Are you okay, Miss?"