A Trip

James is nervous.

He doesn't look it, of course, but Chris can tell anyway by the way James' hand is gripping his, or the way James is putting slightly more weight than usual on his heels.

Chris gives the hand a squeeze and throws James a reassuring smile, and that seems to work, because James' grip loosens slightly.

Chris still wonders if he'd forced James into a situation he wasn't comfortable with, but James had reassured him repeatedly that he wanted to go, and James had always been open and honest with him.

In any case, it was far too late to do anything about any doubts now, as they stood in line on the gangway waiting to board the ship.

Jake, ahead of them, is practically bouncing as Nate looks affectionately at him. Chris knows he'd been anticipating the endless sea of buffet food for a while.

"What are we going to do first?" Hannah asks, grinning as she moves beside Chris and grabs his arm. "Want to hit the pool?"

James stiffens again, almost imperceptibly, and Chris gives his hand another squeeze.

"I assume we're going to unpack in our rooms first, and then I bet Jake will want to eat again," he responds. Even though this was his first cruise, he'd heard a lot of stories about the frenzy surrounding embarcation day from his parents, who had embraced cruising with a passion in their retirement.

Hannah laughs. "Water slide after second lunch, then."

Chris starts to say something else, but then they're moving again, so he just nods and grabs his bag. The line is moving more quickly now -- he spots a woman having an angrily animated conversation with what looks like a crewmember, and assumes there had just been some sort of hiccup -- and they soon find themselves in their cabin with plans to meet shortly for food.

"Are you okay?" he asks James, giving him a quick kiss.

James smiles back at him and nods. "Yes. Sorry. Just overwhelmed."

"It was a lot of people," Chris says, gently squeezing his hand before dropping his bag on the bed. "It was pretty overwhelming."

James nods, dropping his own carry-on bag on the bed and unzipping it. Chris watches as James pulls out the few items there and puts them away in the closet. He wonders if he should deal with his own things as well, but figures it'd be easier to unpack all at once after his larger bag arrives.

"I'll put our toiletries in the bathroom," Chris says, unzipping his own bag. That, at least, was something that could be handled in its entirety now.

James is waiting outside the bathroom door after he does so, looking at him with affection. "Thank you."

"Thanks for coming on this with me," Chris says, slotting automatically into James' arms, his head against James' shoulder. "I know this isn't your ideal vacation."

"Haven't had extended time with Jake and Hannah and Nik in a while," James responds, arms tightening around him. "Glad to get the opportunity."

"Still. I'm glad you're here with me."

James kisses his forehead. "Will be nice," he says, and Chris knows he means it. "And Jake and Nate have a suite. Can spend more time there."

"Definitely," Chris says, already wondering what board games Jake had managed to fit in his reported second dedicated large bag.

"Maybe play a board game."

Chris laughs at that, and James is grinning when he looks up at him. "We'll find something you like one of these days."

"Already did," James says before kissing him passionately.

Chris knows he really has, too.