Worth Every Penny — Aboard the S. S. Galaxy

Lisavet Darchiev swiped her key card in the lock slot and stepped inside Suite 484 on board the S. S. Galaxy. She glanced idly at the rate card on the back of the door as she closed and locked it; then she blinked, and with a shudder, she read, “L$5,200/week.” Bozhe moi!! It still gave her a shock every time she thought of how much this business meeting disguised as a party was costing her publishers. L$5,200 was more in one week than Lisavet made in a month at her old job, and she was not that badly paid. At the same time, the whole concept gave her a delighted frisson. Here she was, once an administrative assistant assigned to the Russian Embassy in London; now she was the toast of the literary world, or at least the mystery/thriller world, being compared to the next Stieg Larsson, and being feted like the Tsar of All the Russias at the release party for the English edition of her second book.

Andrei, her agent and publicist, born in London but Russian to his soul, was already in the suite; he waved across the great room from the windows, came to give Lisavet a hug and an air kiss, and said in Russian, “So, Lisavet Petrovna, how do you enjoy Miami weather?”

“Much nicer than home in Petersburg, Andrei Leonovich; maybe I can actually get a tan here.”

Andrei laughed, then took Lisavet upstairs to her personal bedroom, followed by a ship’s maid. It was a complete mini-suite, with a large shower, marble tub, comfortable bed, and a personal private balcony beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows. “I think this should do the job, don’t you? Just the surroundings for E. P. Darchiev, literary sensation, to make her first big splash in the world of charming the critics.”

Lisavet giggled as she dropped her purse on the bed. “The critics won’t be coming in here, Andrei. And I still need to get used to people calling me ‘E. P. Darchiev.'”

“Well, like I said when you hired me, do you know how long the British and Americans would struggle trying to get out ‘Elisaveta Petrovna Darchiev’? Let alone the spelling mistakes for years? Tell them your real name when they’re interviewing you, but give the printers and proofreaders a break, and life will be much saner in the end.”

While the maid put away the luggage in drawers, and the ship pulled out of dock to make weigh, Andrei gave Lisavet a rundown on the schedule. This first day would be free time for Lisavet until 6:30, as everyone else was getting established in their cabins and staterooms as well. Come dinner time, she would need to be ready for the party she was “hosting” for the press and booksellers’ buyers. Lisavet nodded happily; that gave her some few hours to enjoy the Galaxy‘s amenities before she had to get ready.

A half-hour later, Lisavet was clad in a new swimsuit, and floating on an inflatable chair in the ship’s salt-water pool on the top deck. Here in the Caribbean, the weather was warm and sunny even in November, miles away from conditions back home in old Saint Petersburg. She relaxed back into the gentle support, letting the tropical sun warm her and tan her while she considered ordering a margarita. Or would a piña colada be more appropriate…? Ah, well, for now, she would just kick back and get rid of a little of her boreal winter pallor. Saint Petersburg was her home, but it was good to get away for a little sun now and again — that’s why everyone in Russia seemed headed for Odessa on the Black Sea back in the Soviet days. She spread herself out to the best decorative position with an internal smile, watching through slitted lids and lashes as two men walked by on the deck and stopped to stare at her.

It ended up a margarita, after she got out of the pool, toweled herself off, and slipped back into her batik walking sash and sandals, left on a deck chair. She was a good daughter of Mother Russia; sometimes, though, you needed a change of pace from all that vodka….

After that, a light lunch of sushi and rice in the Japanese restaurant on the conference level — the tuna looked very fresh, and was — followed by a short round of shopping in the small stores, and then back to the suite to be primped and pampered for the party.

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Lisavet waved across the room and called out, “Andrei Leonovich, come here, please,” calling him over to help with an impromptu talk with one of the critics, this one for the New York Review. Things had gone splendidly all night, but it paid to never be caught out. She shimmered in her new evening gown: strapless, with a luxurious pattern in gold print on silk, it was appropriately named Goddess. That’s just how Lisavet felt all through the night. Everyone she had talked to raved about their advance copies of the new book, and it looked like she was well on her way to another best-seller. It wasn’t over yet, though; there were six more days of talks with individual reporters — the Review had decided to get his licks in early — as well as the usual shipboard activities to “cope” with. She grinned to herself; somehow, she thought, she could manage that….

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The details:

The standard stuff —

  • Skin: PXL Candy
  • Eyes: Poetic Gold Flake eyes (sapphire)
  • Nails: Mandala Nail Palette 1 (medium size, HUD controllable)

Daytime:

  • Bikini: Connors Hula Sash blue batik, w/ skirt for wear outside the water
  • Sandals: EarthStones Lalika sandals (Deep Ocean)
  • Hair: Analog Dog Harper (cherry)

At the party:

  • Dress: Gizza Goddess (includes armlets)
  • Shoes: N-core XtremeHeel II slingbacks (silver)
  • Jewelry: Finesmith Noga suite (earrings, necklace, ring)
  • Hair: Vanity Shizuka (Feux, w/o fans)
  • Makeup: Miamai XGen Vintage Liner, Dark Delight eyeshadow

All photos taken on board the S. S. Galaxy, a three-sim-large cruise ship with all the amenities you could imagine or desire. The teleport will drop you at the embarkation dock.

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