“Wow, what a rush!” Lauren gushed.
She stepped aside, nearly bumping into someone. Eyes on the sky, she stretched her arms and arched her back. The exhilaration from the ride woke up any sleeping senses she had. She felt more awake now than earlier. She couldn’t wait for what the day had in store.
Lauren turned around, “Hey, Colin—”
The words died in her mouth. Colin stood near a metal railing meant for disabled people. He held onto it, his feet moving slowly. His face remained calm but, upon closer look, his legs seemed to tremble.
A laugh threatened to escape her lips. She covered her mouth with a hand but it was too late. Colin looked up and glared at her. He huffed, letting go of the railing. Then, he walked over to her with an abrupt boost of confidence.
“What are you laughing at?” He cocked an eyebrow, pinching her cheek.
Lauren snorted, “Nice bravado.”
From the Stellar Star, they strolled to its left. Opting to avoid heights for a while, they checked out a colorful ride. It had a round canopy over it. The floor had been cut the same shape and size as the canopy. It had swirls of pastel warm colors.
Large cups on saucers littered over it. A tall teapot covered the middle. The cups, the pot and the floor rotated altogether. Seeing the overall aesthetic reminded Lauren of a tea set on a tray. She took Colin’s hand and pulled him towards it.
The sign on top of the entrance read, ‘Tylen’s Tea Land.’
“Have some tea, have some tea!” A tan lady called out near the front, a top hat on her head. She wore a black tailcoat and vest over a white dress shirt. A pair of striped trousers for bottoms and a cane on one hand, her leather shoes scraped on the floorboards.
Her curly black hair stopped at the nape of her neck. It swayed whenever she made a hard turn. Her chocolate brown eyes smiled at the people, “Welcome to Tea Land. Prince Tylen wishes you a good day! I’m Lyna! I’ll be attending to you today!”
“Wow, I would have thought this place was only pirate themed” Lauren remarked, leaning closer to Colin, “Will your legs be okay with this one?”
Colin rolled his eyes, “Now, you’re just mocking me.”
As she giggled, he led her to the VIP entrance. Lyna immediately spotted them. She gestured for them to walk to the front. The teacups still continued to run. They waited beside her.
“Well, well, on a date now, are we?” Lyna smiled politely, “Having a good time?”
She kicked the end of her cane, swinging it upwards. It landed on her shoulder. She placed a hand on her hip and continued to say, “Ride’s almost up. You’ll take the first pick!”
The cups stopped spinning the second after she said it. The people inside piled out towards the exit. Workers checked on the ride, making sure nothing seemed out of place. A few carried bags and picked up some trash. Once they finished, they gave Lyna the go signal.
“Alright!” She cheered, unlocking the fence, “Up you go, lovebirds!”
Lauren and Colin picked a teacup near the center. It had a light peachy orange color. A metal pole stuck to the middle, the pair chose to sit across from each other. Lauren held onto the ring at the top of the pole. Colin, on the other hand, simply sat and clung to nothing.
“Are you fine with nothing to hold?” Lauren asked. The way the ride rotated seemed fast. She had zero certainty that she would stay upright.
“It’s not that bad,” Colin explained. He watched the others fill out the other vacant teacups. A family of three sat close together. Another one became full from a group of friends.
An alarm warning blared out. It was the last chance for anyone to leave. Then, the gates for each cup closed. The floor slowly spun on its axle. Its speed increased until it reached the maximum.
Wind blowing in her hair, Lauren’s grip on the ring tightened. The sensation forced her to knock sideways. She refused to give in and pulled herself up. Colin sat leisurely and watched her struggle, an amused smile on his face. He used his feet to steady himself, letting his upper body sway a bit.
All of a sudden, the cups rose up by a few inches and rotated along with the floor.
“Ah!” Lauren yelled. The movement caught her off guard. Her hands slipped off the ring and she slid off her seat. Her back hit the side of the cup.
Just when she thought it was over. The teacup decided to spin the other way. This time, she reached for the ring and held onto it for dear life. Colin crashed to her side. Instead of the ring, he lifted Lauren’s head and cushioned her neck on his arm.
The rest of the ride passed by in a blur. The two hardly had a chance to talk. With Lauren’s light weight, she worried more about staying in place. At the second direction change, Colin held onto her shoulder and finally grabbed the ring. This position became permanent for the rest of the ride.
Colin released Lauren when the spinning finally stopped. He stood up first and climbed off. He offered a hand to her. She took it willingly, appreciating the help. She hopped off with her dignity still somehow intact—and in one piece.
Lyna thanked them on their way out. Once they were a few meters away, Colin checked up on her. The color on her face paled a bit. His head swerved left to right. Spotting the closest food stand, he jogged towards it and bought a bottle of water.
He kept a lookout for Lauren from the corner of his eye.
Colin immediately ordered her to drink when he came back to her. As she sipped, he took out a handkerchief and wiped off the sweat on her forehead. Then, he used it to fan her face.
Lauren screwed the cap back on the bottle, nodding her head. She sneaked a glance at Colin. He switched between dabbing her forehead and fanning her. The concern on his face felt heartwarming. She stood on her tiptoes and pecked his cheek.
The fanning stopped.
Colin’s breathing stopped.
The world stopped.
Colin shook his head out of his daze. He wrapped his arms around Lauren’s shoulders. His nose brushed on her hair. It smelled like vanilla. Before he could linger too long, he kissed her temple and stepped back, “Glad you’re okay. Still want to try another ride?”
Lauren looked around. She didn’t want to miss an excuse to avoid his eyes. No doubt she blushed for the nth time. Her eyes landed on a ship. It rocked back and forth in midair. It looked like a giant swing. The thought of the breeze on her face warmed up the idea for her.
“What about that one?” She pointed out for Colin, “Can’t be in the ‘Phantom Ship’ without trying an actual ship.”
Colin glanced over his shoulder. The ride was supposed to be a replica of a Viking ship. It had a purple dragon carved out on the front. A tall mast with plastic sails, the ‘Ytle Ship’ took up most of the east side. A long line coiled in front of it, the seats also had been filled to the brim.
Lauren’s head snapped towards him, “Is it bad?”
“We should probably sit at the center again” Colin took her hand and headed for the ship, “You probably want some air so you chose it.”
Invisible glue sealed Lauren’s lips together. How did he figure that out? She thought. The pair walked side by side. When they reached the entrance, Lauren didn’t hesitate to receive the VIP treatment. She stood by Colin near the front of the line and ignored any prying eyes.
“What a DEE-lectable day!” An attendant shouted, eyes on the flying ship. She had her hands on her hips, her back towards the line. Her wavy black hair stopped mid-back. A plum waist corset on top of her off-shoulder white tunic accentuated her slim waist and her curves.
She turned around and waved all the way to the back of the line. Her chocolate brown eyes tried to make out all the faces of her audience. A microphone pinned to her ear, she said, “My DEE-lectable jelly beans, good morning! How are ye today, skullycupcakes?”
The regular customers of the amusement park shouted their replies to her. She laughed and responded accordingly, “It’s such a good day. Grab some cupcakes to add sweetness! While ye’r at it, get me one too!”
Some of the audience chuckled at her humor.
“If ye’r new here, I’m Deelah!” She continued, “I’m the Pirate Queen around here and look after this ship.” She pointed a thumb over her shoulder, “She’s a beauty. And strong. Weak stomachs are advised not to ride it. Once the Ytle Ship flies, we can only wait for it to stop. The whole experience would be a total of 10-15mins.”
The ship slowed down to a crawl. It only rocked in a short distance. A little more and it would come to a full stop. Deelah hopped down from her post. She walked over to the VIP section and hugged Colin.
“My, my, my!” She said, “You’ve grown so much boy! Will you finally take this lady out for a date?”
Colin chuckled and gently pulled her arms off, “It’s good to see you too, Deelah, but today I’m with Lauren.”
Deelah shifted her eyes towards his companion. Her face turned into a teasing expression.
“With that blonde hair and your height, I would have mistaken you for a baby chick!” The PIrate Queen cackled, “I’m just kidding, cupcake. Nice to meet ya! You have quite the catch with this one. The others aren’t as gentle. If you ever need to blackmail him, just talk about how he pooped his pants at the Stellar Star!”
“Why does everyone keep talking about that?” Colin groaned, a deadpan look on his face. If he ever had a chance to hear it one more time from another attendant, he might just hit something.
Lauren gave Deelah a thumbs up, “You got it, Pirate Cupcake Queen!”
Deelah clapped her hands together, “I like you already! Sorry, Colin, I’m on her side if you’re ever in bad terms.”
“All aboard, cupcakes! Follow me to the ship!” The Pirate Queen turned around and led them to the Ytle Ship, “If it’s your first ride, kindly occupy the center—unless you’re a daredevil then, take your chances!”
The people had already filed out by the time the three of them reached it. Just like Colin and Deelah said, the pair sat in the center. With the long queue, it didn’t take long for the ship to be filled. The lap bars came down once everyone was seated. Excitement and nerves echoed in the air.
The Pirate Queen stood near the middle and barked out reminders. She also asked if anyone wanted to change their mind. When no one spoke up, she gave the signal to the control booth and saluted at the riders.
“Bon Voyage, cupcakes!”