It was around 1 am when the guys finally wandered off to bed. I wasn't tired and I had plenty of work to do, so I grabbed my bag and headed to the bow. Working under the night sky wasn't the worst thing in the world.
I situated myself in the bow, leaned on the cabin, and opened up my laptop. To my chagrin, the pictures I took at RW Guild were fully downloaded and ready to view. I couldn't help but click through. One picture in particular caught my eye. It was one of the windows into the Guild, reflecting the city around it. I stayed on that picture longer than was necessary as I took in that day and all the feelings associated with Millie's announcement. The reflected city had been there when all was well in the world. Its buildings were big, old, towering figures who had stood the test of time. The Guild, which I had every intention of falling in love with, now appeared to have the same impenetrable gloss as Millie and Jack's new life together.
I know that Millie isn't one to make rash decisions. She always sees the best in everyone, but she's very discerning about who she invests time in. I had known this when she started dating Jack. Maybe that's what is making their engagement difficult for me to swallow—the fact that there's nothing inherently wrong with him, or them together. I can accept this. What choice do I have?
Earlier that day, when Jack brought out the bottle of champagne for our annual embarcation toast, I knew what he would be toasting to, and it wasn't going to be the regular jovial toast to kick off our Pee-quad Journey.
Jack was full of excitement as he announced, “It really is fitting that it's my year to give the toast, because I have some pretty exciting news!”
Kip yawned, “Alright mate, on with it.”
“I asked Mills to marry me, and she said yes!”
“Wow! Congratulations, Jack!” Benedict said as he picked Jack up in one of his big bear hugs.
I moved in to congratulate our captain and quickly found myself rambling on about the etymology of congratulations. Kipling noticed my floundering and interjected. I made a mental note to thank him one day.
“That's amazing news, Jack! Really, we're so happy for you,” he said, raising a glass. We cheersed and drank, but then Kipling slapped Jack on the back and said , “but that's a sorry excuse for a kick-off toast! Why don't you try that again?”
“Ah, come on, Kip. You know no one does a toast quite like you,” Jack said. “ Why don't you set us up for a good sail?”
“I thought you'd never ask,” Kipling replied, clearing his throat.
“We don't toast to yesterday, because its slipped through our grasp,” Kipling was already slurring as he went on, “We don't toast to tomorrow, because it's not ours to have,” Ben, Jack, and I glanced at each other, knowing that we should never cut off an impassioned Kipling. He raised his glass higher, spilling some of his champagne, “We toast today, to this moment and this friendship—for right now, on this raging sea, it all belongs to us. Cheers, Pee-quad!”