|These medusa heads were part of the decoration|
in the Kids' lounge aboard the Carnival Legend cruise ship.
Caleb, Amber and Tina sipped their Hurricane Hawaiian punches as the heavy beat of hip-hop music bounced through the room. Most of the pre-teens and young teenagers were dancing. A few were racing around the room as though they were playing laser tag. The trio of new friends were taking a break, refueling with sugary drinks before dancing again.
"He likes you, you know," they heard a vaguely-distant voice say. The three youngsters looked at each other with wide eyes, wondering whether they were imagining the voice.
"Did you do that?" Caleb asked Tina as he leaned across the table to be heard over the blaring music. Tina leaned in toward him, too, secretly excited to find their faces so close together.
"What?" she yelled back and smiled. She cupped her hand to her ear and Caleb leaned in closer to repeat his question.
Amber smirked as she watched Tina in action. Boys were so clueless. Anyone could tell that Tina was just acting deaf to get closer to him. Amber shook her head and took a sip of her drink. She searched the dance floor, looking for someone new to hang out with if Tina and Caleb were going to hook up and make her a third wheel.
"Try the blond boy with the blue-striped shirt," she heard a voice say behind her. Startled, Amber turned around. She had been looking at the boy in the blue-striped shirt. Was it that obvious? Amber bit her lip and leaned in to interrupt Tina's conversation with Caleb.
"Hey, you wanna go dance again?"
"Not now!" the same unidentifiable voice chided. "He was just about to ask her to dance."
"Yeah, and you were going to introduce yourself to the blond boy," another voice said.
The three teens leaned back in their chairs, their mouths open as wide as their eyes. "Who was that?" Caleb breathed. They each scanned the space around them. The other tables were empty and no one else could have been heard so clearly above the noise. With eyebrows raised and bodies stiff, they rose from the table and moved to the dance floor, still searching behind them for clues as to who had spoken. But the seating area behind them was empty.
"Ah, youth," the head on the left said to the right. "It truly is wasted on the young."