One evening, Patrick took me to the casino and insisted I play the slots. I had never been to a casino before, but I knew there was some serious money flowing there. Within five minutes, I won $1,000.00. Patrick beamed; he was so proud of me. I used the money to buy pearl and diamond earrings for my mother. I was on cloud nine that night, filled with the fantasy of life on a cruise with an older man who adored me and couldn’t do enough for me. We made love every morning, afternoon, and night. I was beginning to want it as much as he did.
One night after dinner with our new friends, Patrick said that we had been invited to the captain’s quarters for a drink. He seemed almost secretive about it and I felt like he had a surprise in store for me. Did he ever.
We walked into a beautiful stateroom, filled with flowers, dimly lit chandeliers, champagne resting on ice, and a formally dressed crew and captain. It turns out that Patrick had arranged for us to be married at sea—our new friends were going to be our witnesses.
I was literally speechless. I truly didn’t want to embarrass him, but I wasn’t about to have a maritime wedding on a cruise ship with a man old enough to be my father. I pretended like it was all just a prank, a silly joke, but our friends—who thought it was a terrific idea—kept telling me this was for real and that I was a very lucky woman to have a man who had arranged the most romantic and lavish surprise for me.
I finally had to just tell Patrick how I really felt. “No, I can’t do this,” I said. I told him that if I were to get married, I would want my own family present and that they would be crushed if I went ahead and got married this way—to a man they had never even met.
Needless to say, the evening ended there.