Jacob wished this party was over so he could find Maryam and hang out with her for a little while after she was officially done working for the day.
The stern of the yacht had a little boat garage and seemed the perfect spot to hide and sit on the deck overlooking the vast ocean and gazing at billions of stars overhead. Whether or not she was willing to sneak away with him had yet to be determined. But he liked to think she would.
He was distracted by a conversation between his brother Nicholas, and the esteemed Prince Marcos Sayid of Madain Saleh, who had joined them for the farewell party. Nick and Marcos had been best friends since they’d met in prep school back when Jacob was just a baby.
The two richest kids at their school, and probably the two shyest kids at their school. Both hiding behind overbearing older brothers, they’d stuck together. Now as confident adults, Jacob could barely remember the timid boy Nicholas once was.
Jacob didn’t mean to be eavesdropping but couldn’t help overhearing something about a contested crown and likely civil war in Madain Saleh. When Marcos’ brother, Jared had died in a tragic motorcycle accident last year, his five-year-old son wasn’t old enough to be named as Crown Prince. There was an argument over who should be given that title. It was all very confusing to Jacob.
Why there had to be princes and kings and royalty at all didn’t make sense. All people were created equal and when one person tries to rule over another, the outcome is rarely positive.
“Come live in Dubai until your yacht is done, and then come to Cancun. We can dock our yachts side-by-side, build mansions next door to one another, and raise our children as best friends, just like us.”
“She’s a masterpiece, Nicholas,” the prince said with a grin. “I might get a complex docking my little yacht next to yours.”
“Thank you, Your Highness,” Nicholas said. They both leaned against the railing. “I’m glad you and Lyla could make it all the way down here to see us off.”
“Anxiously awaiting the opportunity to join you on the high seas.” Marcos spoke through an obviously fake smile. Jacob wondered what the prince was hiding and who he was hiding from.
“What’s holding you back from leaving now?” Nicholas asked.
“I want my first child to be born in Madain Saleh,” Marcos said.
“Not that I can tell.” Marcos shook his head. “Adele?”
“We suspect,” Nicholas said softly. “But we’re not telling anyone yet.”
“She’s not gonna handle the rough seas very well if she is.” Marcos chuckled.
“We realize that.” Nicholas sighed. “But this is the best time to leave, and the trip will only last a month.”
“Can’t you just fly?”
“And miss the maiden voyage of the Lady Bountiful?” Nick asked playfully. “Not a chance.”
“Okay, okay.” Marcos held up his hands in surrender. “Good luck handling a wife with morning sickness on a yacht for twenty-nine days.”
As if on cue, Marcos’s own wife Lyla jumped up from the chaise lounge where she was chatting with Adele and ran to the side of the boat right next to Marcos. She hung over the side of the railing and threw up the expensive appetizers they’d enjoyed all afternoon.
“You were saying?” Nick asked, wrinkling his nose. “I’ll go get your wife a water bottle and washcloth. Good luck to you as well, Your Highness.” Nick patted Marcos on the shoulder as he hurried away.
“Thanks,” Marcos said with a grimace, rubbing his wife’s back as she heaved over and over. Oddly he didn’t look upset that his wife was sick. More like excited.
Jacob had to turn away or he’d be hurling next. He’d leave the married guys with their pregnant wives. He decided now would be a good time to go find Maryam. He hurried down the deck pondering the strange conversation he’d just overheard, wondering what it meant for his brother’s best friend and the future of the Sayid Royal Family.