Right now is the best time of my life. You can't deny me that, and anyone else can't as well. This is the best time of my life, and actually, I'm not sure whether it is happening. For all I know, this could be an illusion, work of black magic, sorcery that my mind can't understand - but what does it hurt to savour the moment?
Does it hurt to take in the colourful display of guests all races and all colours and all dialects, who are currently as happy as I am? Is it painful to appreciate that, after years of working in tandem with my beloved, we were able to save up money in order to pay for this luxury? No, of course not. I loved that period of time, despite the hours I had to work and how much suffering I had endured to put in the effort I did. I loved it because it rewarded me with this - her head on my shoulder, both of us lazily swaying with the jazzy tune played by the live orchestra in this amazing locale whilst showing each other love in the most relaxed way possible.
There was no better prize for our efforts than a week-long ride on a cruise ship that only kings and queens could afford for our honeymoon.
It took her months to pick clothes to take for this journey. Everyday after work, I found her scurrying around in her ironically small wardrobe, trying to find the ideal garments for this once-in-a-lifetime occasion. Personally, I found it adorable how much she cared for people's opinion about her - she wanted to show herself to those wealthy individuals in the best way possible. I respected her for that, and so I didn't need to bargain with her to take her shopping - after all, it was only my responsibility as a loving husband to make her life as comfortable as possible even if it cost me my life. I loved her, and she loved me back - there was no reason why we couldn't marry. It was the perfect arrangement, as if Nova himself had orchestrated it.
Right now, all those times were behind us as her hands were lingering around my neck, her smiling face staring at me in a display of most sincere affection I had ever observed. It warms my heart to know that she is enjoying this cruise.
"Kirby, this is...this is beautiful."
Her feminine lips are stuck in absolute shock, and she still cannot comprehend that we are here, enjoying our young life by dancing the night away. I find that endearing and silence her with a kiss, to which she replies with a tighter embrace.
"You don't have to say anything, dear" - her hands are locked around my neck, pulling me closer - "it's enough for me to see you smile when you're with me."
Instantly, her grin widened and I saw her stomach relax, drawing my attention to her amazing dress. It is a lengthy baby-pink dress, its bright skirt starting at her beautiful hips and tumbling down to her godly feet. Its neck style is a deep V-cut, one that exposes just the ideal amount of cleavage and makes her confident about her figure at the same time. My traditional suit to her enviable accoutrements is like cereal breakfast to a five-star meal in a famous restaurant. The dress' straps rest on her shoulders, making her petite shoulders gleam in the light of countless crystal chandeliers. The dress is cut-out at her back, which allows me to comfortably embrace her and even tickle her while we dance - also, the material of the dress is so soft to the touch, which gives me an even bigger excuse to be closer to her at all times.
We continue our dance, despite getting disapproving looks from other older guests for our calm youthful frolicking - I breathe calmly into her pink hair as she breathes at my neck, her head on my shoulder as we slowly rock to the live saxophone solo, the saxophonist on the stage smiling at me in congratulation.
She lifted her head promptly and again attempted to speak to me, but shock won her over again. Her mind seemed to have gone blank as her eyes shone in happy confusion.
"Thank you for helping me organise this. I still really can't believe we are here, together. Look around, darling."
I manage to glance at some of the corners of this ballroom - I see a variety of foods laid out on countless tables - I observe people with discontent envy on their faces, showing off their jewellery to other similarly rich individuals - I hear the hard steps of other pairs dancing, but none of them looking as encompassed within their own love as much as us. They look as if they're there for the attention, perhaps fame, or perhaps money. Immaterial and material concepts that me and her never had.
"Do you see all those people? Kirby, we have got here together. We spent such a long time raising money for this trip, and truly, I wouldn't give up this time for anything else."
I kiss her lips lightly, caressing them with my touch and out of the corner of my eye, I can see her arms tingling with excitement.
"I love you, Ribbon."
"I love you as well, Kirby."
I love her and she loves me. I wouldn't replace her for anyone else, and nor would she replace me. This moment is the best time of my life.
Then, the music stops as the musicians notice the silver platters on the tables rattle maniacally - and they fall off the tables along with the guests who drop to the ground, while the ship is rocking from left to right like a drunk dancer. There is an announcement - the speakers within the ballroom spit out a bizarre but alarming sound effect while Ribbon is clinging onto my jacket, frightened to see that some of the lightbulbs in the room are broken and that a chandelier has fallen down.
Promptly, the captain of the ship unsettlingly whispers into our ears with the use of the countless speakers around the room.
"To all present on the ship - we have an emergency collision."
A collective gasp erupts in the room, but the power outage waits for nobody as we become enveloped in darkness and the speakers go silent. The captain's words can't save us anymore. Ribbon is weeping into my sleeve and I'm thankful that, even though I can't see her, I can feel hear hands wrapped around mine. Everyone stands up and I hear crowds screaming as they rush out of the room in their leather shoes or heels. Faintly, I can trace little trails of light snaking along the floor from flashlights of worried crew of the ship, assisting all people in escaping the room. But the ship is sinking, and it's sinking so surely and decisively that I know already none of us will escape. There is a complicated network of halls on the level we're on, and however much we try, we will not be saved unless we confidently jump into the icy water from one of the windows of the ballroom.
I feel the ship shaking underneath us, slowly submerging us down into the depths. Although the water is far from reaching us, we have ten minutes at most.
The room is now quiet, save for the screams of people somewhere in the ship and Ribbon's crying. The musicians are still on their seats however, debating silently with each other whether they should really leave the ship. They decide not to when they see us lying on the floor like lifeless corpses, Ribbon shaking with fear on my lap. With us in mind, young lovers who have been doomed, they gesture for us to stand up. They quickly get their instruments in check and they begin to play, quietly, a tune I know but can't recognise.
I gently ruffle her hair and pull her up along with myself, but seeing her shaking legs trying to stand still pierces my heart more than any other pain in this world. I don't mind her smudged make-up, her dusted dress, all folded and no longer complimenting her features - she is my girl and I am hers, and nothing would change that, even if we are about to face of death.
"K-Kirby, we were saving up for this trip so long, and now it has become our very demise! Oh woe, why aren't we escaping? Where are all the other guests?"
Feebly, she attempts to run to the exit but one of the larger reverberations almost makes her trip and she stops in place, longingly staring at the doorway out of the desolate ballroom. She turns to the musicians, and they nod at her. She creeps back to me and I offer my hand to her.
Smiling through her tears, she takes my hand.
Our hands intertwine and her other hand grasps my shoulder - I grasp her hip accordingly and the friendly band begins to lazily roar Prokofiev's 'Dance of the Knights'. We perfectly fall into step, stomping on the ground whenever the music has its 'hesitation moment'. At first, it seems like all of us have forgotten about what is happening and we all just concentrate on the music notes that are cascading into our ears. The only thing that reminds me of disaster are the glass shards of a broken chandelier that I seem to kick around whenever I move. I glance at Ribbon's face - her eyes are closed, her expression is firm.
Then, there is the ceremonial break from the usual chorus of the music and we launch into a series of twirls - her feet seem to have caught the rhythm more than me and she flawlessly sails upon this darkened floor like a ship. I notice that she is now leading the dance, pulling me along with her than the other way around. Her sound coordination must be absolutely perfect sice her eyes are still closed as she dances, afraid of looking at anything else than pitch-black darkness.
The musicians launch back to the chorus, and we move back to our usual arrangements, but our moves are becoming more hectic and rushed. Fear is keeping us moving as we waltz here and there, from left to right, her shoes close to stepping on mine and vice-versa from the hurry. Her pink dress swishes madly around us, blinding my vision with bright colour in the gloomy hall.
Suddenly, the music stops and the ship begins shaking even more violently, and I feel as if I am in a descending elevator - Ribbon seems to be feeling the same as she has latched onto me for safety. Through the ship's windows, I see water slowly snaking outside, rising more rapidly every second.
It's not far from us at all, I think disappointedly.
It was the last dance we would have.
Now, she is shrieking into my suit in fright, not having the courage to look up at me in the slightest. Once I feel water slithering its way into my shoes, I begin to panic and I embrace her back, trying to whisper comfortingly into her ear.
"R-Ribbon, c'mon, stop that now, I'm here."
She lifts her red face from my jacket and looks at me with her terrified eyes.
"So what if you're here!? You won't be here in about five minutes, and nor will I be!"
Slowly, I pull her to myself again and feel the cold liquid pouring out of my leather shoes and making its way up my socks and trousers. I shiver from the freezing sensation, but never let go of her.
"K-Kirby, the water...it's soaking my dress, and the cold hurts."
"I know, Ribbon."
I hug her tighter.
"K-Kirby!" - she sounds extremely alarmed - "KIRBY! It's up to my stomach, Kirby oh my Nova I'll freeze!"
"Baby, it's fine."
The water travels to my arms and then to my neck, resembling her arms embracing me on cold Monday mornings.
"KIRBY! It's at my neck now! I'm going to drown! For the love of Nova I'm drowning, Kirby, HELP ME!"
But I can't help myself as my head is being pushed to the ceiling, both of us as close to the top as we possibly could be. There is little breathing room for both of us, and the two of us know that we only have a few seconds.
There was no escape.
"I love you."
She smiles and opens her lips to reply, which allows water to make its way into her mouth in excess.
"I love y-"