Love in the Time of Quarantine

Chapter One

by Heidi R. Kling
(a gift for readers in the time of quarantine)

The third day of quarantine aboard the Star Princess was Maggie Courtright’s birthday. Initially, a prize cruise ringing in her seventeenth sounded fun, but the holiday ended a few days ago when a mysterious virus was discovered onboard and they had to turn around and head back toward the Bay Area.
Now she was alone.
On a floating prison in the middle of the ocean. No presents. No friends. No family. Except her chaperone.
At least she had Prince Harry.
“Happy Birthday, Maggie,” Maggie said in her dog’s voice; a mix between her high school French and a British, male Siri. Then she branched out in song. The classic “Happy Birthday song,” but, like, in a British dog’s voice.
It was her best Prince Harry.
It wasn’t really her dog’s voice, of course—there was no way of knowing what her emotional support dog’s voice sounded like—Prince Harry was a dog. Maggie was a human. But she gave it a Scout’s honest try!
“Are you singing to your dog?”
A boy’s voice.
American. Ish.
But just as snooty as if he was a prince himself.
She recognized him immediately. They’d met before.
“No.” She felt her neck flush in the Bay’s grey cool.
“I heard you.”