“She’s a masterpiece, Nicholas.” Mark leaned against the sparkling brass railing of the Lady Bountiful the night before its maiden voyage.
With plenty of room for a farewell party of this size, the yacht was a full 200 feet in length, had four decks above the waterline, two decks below, a helipad, two VIP suites in addition to the owner’s suite, a pool and jacuzzi, a movie theater, a massage parlor and beauty salon, a playroom, a bar, and a library.
Mark was a billionaire and a prince, but this felt like a step above luxury. If Nicholas was talented enough to envision the design of this beauty, Mark couldn’t wait to see what he came up with next.
“Thank you, Your Highness,” Nick said. “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.” Mark spoke through a fake smile, attempting to hide his plans from anyone who might suspect he was plotting an escape from the desert paradise he called home.
“What’s holding you back from leaving now?” Nick asked.
“Got any extra yachts laying around?” Mark raised his eyebrows.
“Workin’ on it,” Nick said. “We could always charter one.”
“I want my first child to be born in Madain Saleh,” Mark admitted the real reason for his delay.
“Not yet.” Mark shook his head. “Adele?”
“We suspect,” Nick said softly. “But we’re not telling anyone yet.”
“She’s not gonna handle the rough seas very well if she is,” Mark said.
“We realize that,” Nick said. “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.” Mark held up his hands in surrender. “Good luck handing a wife with morning sickness on a yacht for twenty-nine days.”
As if on cue, Mark’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 Mark. 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 Mark on the shoulder as he hurried away.
“Thanks,” Mark said with a grimace, rubbing his wife’s back as she heaved over and over. Mark wasn’t sure whether to be sad the party was over for the night, or excited that this might be a sign of new life. He chose excitement.