They looked around the large entry lounge. The Yacht Club looked like a hotel lobby to Kira. There were small clusters of seating arrangements with low tables for members to converse around, plush carpets, and a desk where members checked in.
Her husband turned in that direction, when suddenly a man in a blue blazer appeared before them. "You must be the Barrons," He said, extending a hand. "I'm Cliff. Let me show you around." Kira sighed with relief. She didn't feel like she belonged in such a fancy place. They had only begun to look into buying a boat, but...
"Thanks, Cliff!" Her husband gave Cliff's hand a hearty pump. "I'm Ray, this is my wife, Kira. Nice to meet you."
"Let's walk, shall we?" Cliff didn't wait for response, but turned and stepped toward the lounge area. There was a trio of members sitting together, but otherwise it was empty. "Members are welcome to use the lounge area at any time, meet guests, conduct business, even if you are not using the docking facilities at the time."
Walking away from the lounge area, he led them slowly toward a corridor. "Please notice the artwork. Intricate paintings, aren't they? The detail is immaculate." They paused at one and Kira took in a breath.
"My goodness! That sea-spray almost looks live!" Cliff smiled and moved to the next.
Ray stayed by Cliff's side, trying to explain. "You know, this is all a bit overwhelming, Cliff. We were only looking into buying a boat. We don't have one yet." Cliff smiled and nodded encouragingly. "Our salesman suggested we look around the Yacht Club to help us make up our mind." He didn't know why he felt the need to explain their presence. "So, I guess, it might help you to know where we're at."
Meanwhile, Kira was fascinated by the paintings. "Oh, Ray, look at this one."
"Ah," Cliff explained what type of vessel it was, although there was a placard next to each painting stating the stats. "You like that one? You have good taste."
"Oh, well..." Kira was embarrassed at the compliment, and stepped back to take Ray's hand.
"No-no. Get in closer to the painting. Really look. You are here for help deciding on a boat, right?" Cliff encouraged.
Kira looked at Ray with a child-like gleam of excitement, then they both stepped forward and leaned in for a closer look.
The sea-spray splashed them with such force that Ray let go of Kira's hand and she was swiping water out of her eyes and laughing. Opening their eyes after the splash, they found they were out on the water, in the painting.
"Afternoon, folks!" shouted a young man with dark hair. "Sorry about that splash! You got here just as we hit a wave!" As the boat slowed and the sea calmed, he lowered his voice. "Ready for a tour?"
"I'm sorry, aren't you here from the Yacht Club?"
"Well, yes, but..."
"Follow me, please." They followed this guide through the boat, noting the positives and negatives, and at the end he asked. "Any questions?"
They had none, so he pushed them overboard. They landed back on their feet, staring at the painting of that very same boat, albeit somewhat damp around the face.
"And what did you think?" Asked Cliff as if nothing odd had happened. He offered them each a hand towel to wipe their faces.
"Um..." started Ray.
"Well..." said Kira.
"Perhaps a few others for comparison." Cliff led them on down the corridor. After three more similar experiences, Kira confessed to Ray, "This is a bit tiring." Ray turned to Cliff and said, "I think we've seen enough for today."
"Have you made a decision?"
"Well..." said Kira, looking to Ray for confirmation of her opinion.
"Um..." started Ray.
"If you'd like to discuss it together, you are welcome to partake of our restaurant. On the house."
"Oh, well," Kira looked down at her casual dress and tried to straighten her tangled hair. She looked helplessly at her husband. They weren't dressed for dinner at the Yacht Club!
"You'll be fine, I assure you," added Cliff, who pulled two guest badges from his breast pocket and said, "People here are most welcoming. Follow me." And so they followed, wondering if they'd ever be allowed to leave before making a decision on a boat.
Thanks for visiting my #AtoZChallenge! All month I'll be writing flash fiction, with the theme "Audience Participation".
Now it's your turn, lovely audience member. Do you have a writing prompt to suggest? Don't worry about choosing a letter of the alphabet, just leave me a word, a thought, a place, a concept... anything! and I'll add it to the list.