I write by the seat of my pants, so if I'm going anywhere with my story it is totally intentional. Coughliescough!

I also apologize for any fluff or any other cutesy stuff. I do not, however, apologize for any slash. There isn't very descriptive slash in this story but I am writing by the seat of my pants so. yeah. I, myself, am straight but it makes for an interesting story. Plus I like to write about that kind of thing and I hope you'll all be able to deal with it. Cause if not you're S.O.L.

"Speech"

(Sign Language)

I hope this makes it easier for everyone.

Chapter One: The Birthday Girl!

Katherine Crickett sat back on the plane. In no more than a week she would turn nineteen. She had long brown hair, which, at the moment, was pulled back in a French braid. Her deep green eyes fell to her friends. They were all stuck up girls whom, she was sure, were not really her friends at all. They just wanted to be friends with the rich girl. Sheila and Hunt were true friends though. When they first met she hid the fact that she was rich from them. Sheila tutored her in sign language, her father required her to learn it. He said that it would come in handy. She and Sheila became best friends before the girl found out Katherine was rich. She was angry that she had been lied to but her anger left her quickly enough.

They were meant to be friends. They learned that immediately. Katherine found comfort in Sheila and vice versa. Sheila had soft blond hair that always looked as if she spent hours brushing it. She had dark chocolate brown eyes that always seemed to smile; they stood out against her pale skin.

Hunter was her other true friend. She simply called him Hunt. He was a handsome lean young man. He had scruffy chocolate hair and eyes to match. He was the one that Katherine confided in when she found that Sheila wasn't someone could tell. He knew sign language so there was no barrier there. Katherine knew Hunt's mother was also mute he was not. He was like a second translator. He was a joker and kind of a pervert.

"We will soon reach our destination. Please fasten your seatbelts and prepare for descent." Katherine tried to poke Hunt awake but it was no use. She fastened the seatbelt for him. She elbowed her friend to try and get him to wake but to her dismay Hunt refused. Instead he yawned and rested his hand on her thigh. After a few really good pokes Hunt gave in and looked at Katherine. Suddenly, there was a tap on Katherine's shoulder. She looked up at the two girls that her father had invited along.

"Katherine, it's time to put on your blindfold." She opened her mouth to object but one of the other girls placed her finger on her lips. "We promised your dad that we wouldn't let you see where he 's sending you." Hunt sat by the window. Sheila sat one seat up by the window. The blond wasn't at all interested in where they were going neither was Hunt. The two laughed as the girls tried to put the blindfold on Katherine. She fought them.

"Kat. Just humor your father. He's meeting us at the airport." Sheila said gently. Katherine frowned but nodded. Hunt took the blindfold from one of the girls and placed it over her eyes.

"Kind of kinky huh?" He asked as the two girls left. Hunt had his hands very far up Katherine's thighs. She blushed and beat the boy's hands away. Once they landed, Katherine heard Sheila swear very silently. She grabbed Katherine's arm and led her out of the plane. Hunt had their carry- on. He walked just on the other side of Katherine.

"Hunt, get her. There are some stairs and she doesn't need to break her leg." The other girls hurried ahead leaving Sheila, Hunt, and Katherine standing before the set of stairs. Sheila took the bags from Hunt as he picked up Katherine but while doing so he whispered his irritations to the girls.

"With the way they boss me around you'd think I worked for them." Katherine put a hand over her mouth and laughed her soundless laugh. Sheila smiled and walked down the stairs and into the lobby of the airport. Hunt set Katherine down and saw the two friends and followed them as they went to find their luggage. The blond and the man grabbed their bags off of the conveyer belt and carried it to the point where the voiceless girl would be allowed to remove her blindfold. She slipped her arm in Hunt's so she wouldn't get lost. It was times like these that Katherine was happy to have Hunt around.

"Katherine!" She heard her father say. She was soon wrapped in a warm hug. She hugged him back and went to remove her blindfold. "No Kitty. I want to take you to your present. Then you can remove the blindfold. Ok?" She nodded and took her father's hand. They got into a limo and drove for a short time. They arrived at their final destination, or at least that's what Katherine thought.

It was clearly a crowded area. She bumped into people as she tried to walk. Sheila led the way making sure not to let anyone knock her down. Hunt held her hand stabling her as they crossed the wooden planks. Katherine felt uneasiness about the way her friends were acting. She knew that whatever was about to happen it would not be their doing. Maybe she was just homesick. Katherine thought she heard Hunt swear softly but she wasn't sure so she dismissed it. Hunt suddenly squeezed her hand and tried to whisper reassurances to her. Katherine couldn't figure out why she should be distressed.

"Hunt, pick her up and carry her up these steps." No one came to pick up Katherine. Sheila glared at Hunt, who, hadn't moved to pick Katherine up anyway.

"But sir-" Hunt said as Sheila placed herself between Katherine and himself. Katherine's father glared at Hunt and Sheila.

"Pick her up."

"But... She doesn't-" Hunt tried again.

"Take her up!" Her father growled. Sheila glared at the old man and let Hunt take Katherine up the stairs. She knew something was wrong. She hugged Hunt tightly and tried to look through her blindfold.

"Stay calm." He whispered to her. He set her down and she could feel the ground beneath her swaying slowly. She found Hunt's arm and clung to it. She hoped that she wasn't where she thought she was. "Kat, come here." Hunt slipped his arm around her shoulder and hugged her close.

"Welcome to the Luxury Liner, Star of the Sea, where you can enjoy gambling, swimming, great food, and much more. With eight decks there is something for everyone. You can enjoy the sun out by the pool or learn to dance. Please enjoy your stay aboard the Luxury Liner, Star of the Sea." Katherine's heart fell into her stomach. She quickly took off the blindfold and found herself on one of the most luxurious cruise ships she had ever seen. She saw the liner pulling away from the dock and she wanted to run. Instead she clung to Hunt. She looked to Sheila who looked so sorry at the predicament that Katherine was in. Her eyes scanned the horizon, after seeing only water she took off running. Hunt and Sheila immediately ran after her. She dodged in and out of people trying to find a way off of the ship. There wasn't one. Hunt caught her around the waist. As he did so Katherine lost her balance and started to fall over. The scruffy haired man managed to flip around and keep Katherine from hitting the ground. He took the brunt of the fall and allowed Katherine to fall on him. Sheila could see tears in the younger girl's eyes.

"Kat, I didn't know that he was planning this. I didn't even know where we were going. I'm sorry." She whispered. Katherine moved herself off of Hunt and into Sheila's comforting arms.

(You didn't know.) She managed as her hands shook slightly. (I imagine he wants me to get over my silly fear.) Sheila smiled at her. Hunt frowned and took hold of Katherine's hands.

"It's not a silly fear. If I had almost drowned I would be afraid of bodies of water too." He said as he gently stroked her cheek. "I'll help you get over it though." Hunt said as he stood. Sheila nodded.

"I'll help too." She offered Katherine her hand. She took it and let Sheila pull her up. She placed her arm around the other girl's shoulder and led Hunt and Katherine to the other side of the boat and took them to the room.

"This is nice. You don't think he went a little overboard do you?" Hunt asked. Katherine nodded as she sat down on her giant king sized bed. She sighed happily and relaxed as she lounged on her bed. The other girl scanned the huge room. Hunt found himself out on the balcony looking out at the awesome view.

It was a definitely one of the suites she decided. The navy blue comforter was covered with intricate designs. Hunt watched as Katherine rolled over and ran her hands over the eiderdown. She was delighted by the soft impressions. Her eyes wandered to the other things. There was a television hidden in a tall dresser and a door leading somewhere. She decided to check it out. As it happened it led to a large entertainment area. There was a bar and love seats. There was the balcony. Hunt walked down the steps and over to the bar. Sheila checked out the bathroom and found it to be wonderfully large. It housed a two-person bath and a huge shower.

"Kat!" The man was immediately by her side. "Want me to help you get over that fear of water now?" He said pointing to the large bath. She batted away his hands as they went to pick Katherine up by her waist. Suddenly the two friends burst into the living room.

"Katherine! Get on your swimsuit!" Katherine shook her head firmly. She looked at Sheila and quickly signed her response.

(Hell no!)

"Tasha. Kat says 'hell no'." The black haired girl frowned at him. She rolled her eyes and looked at the shorter blonde girl. The blonde girl laughed one of those stupid cheerleader laughs.

"Katherine." The blonde's voice reminded them of a valley girl from the eighties. "We don't want you to swim. We just want you to come out there and check out the really hot lifeguards with us." Hunt smiled at this information but he saw the look on Katherine's face and he quickly stood up for her.

"Trisha, I don't think-" Hunt started

"Good you aren't paid to think." Tasha interrupted. Katherine immediately jumped beside Hunt and defended him. Sheila was astonished at how rude the two girls were.

(Hey watch yourself. Hunt is a great friend and more importantly my best friend. Let him be!) She signed quickly. Sheila almost didn't catch the last part. She quickly reiterated what Katherine signed. The two girls saw that they weren't winning points with the mute girl by treating the help badly. They apologized and left for the pool. Hunt smiled at her.

"Thanks." He said. Katherine shrugged as she went to her room. She came out wearing a really pretty navy blue bikini top and a pair of dark blue short shorts. She tried to hide herself with her hands as she came out. Hunt whistled at her. This made her blush and reach for a towel. Sheila took the towel away.

"Kat, you're such a beautiful girl. I can't figure out why you don't show it off more." Sheila said gently. Hunt smiled and nodded solemnly.

(I'm not like that.) She moved her hands smoothly and gracefully. Sheila left and came out in a bright orange bikini. Her pale skin looked slightly darker with the bright color of her swimsuit. Hunt already wore a pair of green trunks. Katherine held her hands out to her two friends. They took them and all three of them went out to the pool. Once there they saw Tasha and Trisha lying on a couple of sun chairs. They had on their sunglasses and pretended not to watch the male lifeguards sitting by their tower. One was a very handsome young man with a nice body and a dark tan. He had light brown hair and pretty hazel eyes. Katherine smiled to Sheila who could not stop looking at the other one. The other was a fairly attractive red headed man. Katherine thought he looked nice but wasn't really her type. She found an empty seat and left her towel on it. Sheila ditched her own towel in the chair right next to hers. Hunt left his on the ground.

"Come on Kat. I'll teach you how to swim now." Sheila said taking Katherine's hand and leading her to the shallow end of the pool. The mute girl was really hesitant to go any further than her knees. The fawn haired lifeguard watched half out of curiosity as to what was going on. The other lifeguard smiled as he watched Katherine splash Hunt, who had just attempted to pull Katherine into his arms.

There weren't any children in the pool seeing as how expensive the tickets were. The cruise was mainly for couples anyway. So, at the moment, anyone near the pool was tanning. It was just Katherine, Hunt, and Sheila in the water. The light haired lifeguard laughed as Hunt got a face full of water after splashing Katherine back.

"Do you know how to swim?" The red haired lifeguard asked. Katherine raised an eyebrow at him as if he was stupid.

Sheila immediately interjected.

"She has a huge fear of the water." She explained. The lifeguard laughed.

"Why would she get on a cruise then."

"Her father bought her tickets and brought her here without her knowledge. If she had any say she would have gone camping." Katherine nodded in a sophisticated manner and sat down next to Hunt, who had given up on Katherine and was sitting on the steps.

"I'm sure she can talk for herself." He said motioning to Katherine. She just laughed the silent laugh and covered her mouth as she did so. Hunt rolled his eyes and pinched her knee. Katherine jumped and opened her mouth to scream but no sound came out. The red haired man looked slightly confused. Sheila and Hunt just laughed at him. He couldn't figure out what was so funny.

(Tell him I'm mute.) She signed to her friend.

"Katherine is a mute." Sheila said plainly. The young man looked slightly disturbed with the information he was presented with. Katherine smiled at him. "Well, are you going to talk to her? She can understand you." Sheila said. Hunt seemed against letting the red haired boy talking to Katherine but he didn't show it. The young man smiled at Katherine.

"So, your name is Katherine?" She nodded. "Do you have any nicknames?" She nodded again. "Do they call you Kathy?" Katherine made a few gestures and looked to Sheila to translate.

"Anyone that calls her Kathy dies." The red head laughed and hopped into the pool. They spent the next hour trying to help Katherine learn how to swim. It was unsuccessful. Katherine tried but she couldn't do it. As soon as her feet left the bottom of the pool she panicked and she had to put her feet down to keep herself from drowning. After a while Hunt could no longer resist the urge. He walked over to the other lifeguard and struck up a conversation about the ship. It turned out his name was Spike and that he had only been a lifeguard for a year now. Hunt found the young man interesting and vice versa. Hunt made his move but either the lifeguard wasn't interested and opted not to hurt Hunt's feelings or he didn't realize what Hunt was asking him. Whichever it was Hunt didn't get a number.

"Hey Sheila, I was wondering." The red haired man said as Sheila walked over to him. His name, as they had found out earlier, was Andrew. "Would you like to go out sometime?" Sheila blushed furiously. Katherine and Hunt tried not to listen in as they waited for their friend. They couldn't hear an answer but before too long Sheila tapped them on the shoulder. She started walking alongside the two. Hunt didn't say anything but he did look at Sheila questioningly.

(What did you say?) Katherine asked. Sheila smiled. She opened the door to their room and sat Katherine down on the bed. Hunt sprawled himself out upon it. He rested his head on Katherine's thigh and closed his eyes as the mute gently rubbed his head.

"I told him that I was supposed to stick with you. So, he offered to have a friend of his take you on a double date." She laughed. Katherine suddenly looked very uneasy. Sheila noticed. "Did I say something?" Hunt opened his eyes and looked up at Sheila.

"What about me?" He said in a concerned tone. Sheila laughed.

"He said he could get you a date too." She looked back to Katherine. The mute girl seemed to be contemplating the consequences of her decision. Hunt seemed content that he wouldn't be stuck in the room all alone.

(Will his friend be interested in a mute girl?) Katherine's hands moved slowly almost in an embarrassed manner. Sheila smiled and hugged her paranoid friend.

"We won't know until he meets you. Who knows, maybe there won't be any need for talk." Sheila said seductively. Katherine looked slightly mortified at the very thought. As did Hunt, he quickly wrapped his arms around Katherine's waist.

(Pervert.) She signed quickly. Sheila laughed as she made a well- known hand gesture at Katherine. The mute girl immediately jumped on Sheila and began tickling her. Hunt, who had been attached to Katherine, was thrown to the floor. He sat up and watched the two girls. Sheila fought back with some tickle attacks of her own. Katherine's body moved as if she were laughing but no sound came out of her, even though her mouth was open.

Before long Katherine was sprawled out on the floor watching the TV. Hunt gently rubbed her shoulders. Sheila had started picking out clothes for all of them. It was almost time for them to go. After taking a shower, Katherine put on a light blue sundress. It wasn't fancy but it was a good choice for meeting someone for the first time. Her coffee-colored hair flowed past her shoulders down to her hips. Her face was feathered by the gentle texture of the tresses that she loved so. Sheila came out wearing a short khaki skirt and a tight dark brown sweater. Her blond hair was curled and sprayed so it wouldn't fall out of place on such an important outing. Hunt wore a jade button up shirt and a pair of black dress pants. He even gelled his hair up. Sheila noticed how clean and handsome he looked when he was dressed up. Katherine already knew how cute Hunt was so he didn't stupefy her like Sheila was.

Katherine had to be dragged to the restaurant. She was really nervous, rejection was a common thing for her. Guys found her attractive before but once they found out that she couldn't talk they just wanted to be friends. They didn't want to have to work at a relationship. They didn't want to learn sign language either. She was considered a hindrance. Sure she was attractive, she had a great sense of humor, and she had tomboy instincts, but besides all that she couldn't communicate verbally. That meant that the guy would have to pay attention and think about her hand gestures. No, no guy wanted to actually concentrate; Katherine was just too much of a burden.

(I don't know about this Sheila.) Katherine signed at her. Hunt rested his arm on her shoulders. He did it to keep her from running off.

"Oh, Kat. You'll be just fine. If he doesn't show you any interest than I'll get us out of there." Hunt snickered at this.

"How about I just kick his ass. Then I'll whisk you off to my room for a night of passion and romance." His comment went on deaf ears as the girls ignored him and continued with their conversation

(But, what about Andrew. You like him right? I couldn't just expect you to ditch him just because of me. I can suck it up for you.)

"Who knows maybe you won't have to suck it up. Maybe you can mouth what you want to say to him." Sheila said. Katherine knew that meant that Sheila wanted to talk and she wouldn't pay much attention to Katherine or her date. Katherine sighed inwardly as she thought about how boring the night was going to be. Her mind went to Hunt and she remembered that he could translate for her, but her heart sunk again as she thought about how Hunt might not have an attention span for her with his date there.

When they arrived Katherine spotted Andrew and pointed him out to Sheila. There was an incredibly beautiful girl with him. She had wavy blond hair and bright blue eyes. Hunt smiled at her and Katherine suddenly wished that Hunt hadn't come. She never thought of herself as the jealous type but she suddenly hated the pretty woman. They walked over but Katherine didn't see anybody around that could possibly be her date. Andrew noticed that she looked somewhat concerned as to what was going on. He quickly settled her unease.

"Don't worry Katherine. He's just running a bit late. Let's get seated." The five were seated at a nice table near a beautiful tank that held brightly colored exotic fish. Katherine amused herself with the fish while Sheila and Andrew got to talk. Before too long the brunette grew bored with the fish and her eyes wandered about the room. She found herself looking over to the entrance of the restaurant. Her green eyes found a very attractive young man with wine-colored hair. She looked into his face and to her surprise she found him staring at her. Green eyes met turquoise; Katherine could feel the blush spread across her face. Hunt sat listening to the young woman but he looked like he was absolutely bored out of his mind. Sheila and Andrew had been, up to this point, engaged in a deep conversation, the subject of which Katherine hadn't bothered to catch. Andrew's eyes looked over at the voiceless girl, he followed her gaze and found her looking at the young man.

"Katherine, don't bother with him." Andrew said. The green-eyed girl gave Andrew a questioning look. He smiled at the confusion he had caused. "He's just not a very nice guy. Kind of anti-social." Katherine shrugged and allowed her eyes to dart back to the attractive man. She noticed the fawn-haired lifeguard from earlier talking with the man with the wine colored hair.

(It's Spike!) She signed to the man that looked as if he was about to kill the talkative bimbo. Hunt smiled as his eyes flew to the light haired man. Andrew looked at him and frowned.

"She says Spike is over there. Is he her date?" Hunt asked. He seemed slightly hesitant about the answer. Katherine noticed and smiled evilly at Hunt. He frowned at her and stuck out his tongue.

(Maybe later.) She signed at him. His tongue disappeared into his mouth as he smiled seductively. Katherine suddenly wished she hadn't signed anything to him.

"No," Andrew seemed slightly put out that Katherine was so obsessed with the turquoise-eyed man but his tone changed suddenly, "I think Lukas and Spike are on a date." He stated. Katherine frowned and looked back to the two. Hunt frowned too and looked at Spike. Katherine noticed the pout and reached across the table and patted her friend on the shoulder. No one else knew why.

"So that other guy is Lukas?" Sheila asked. Andrew nodded.

"Hey Frank!" Andrew said standing up. Katherine looked away from Lukas and looked up at Frank. He was about as tall as Andrew but much more built. He had huge arms and a hulking body. She shot a look at Hunt that basically said, 'This is a smart one huh?' Hunt nodded. His blond hair was spiked and out of his face, Katherine could clearly see his dark chocolate eyes. She smiled at him and he held out his hand. She shook it and looked to her menu. She wanted to look at Lukas again but she somehow figured that would be a bad idea. This big guy might do the other man some damage.

After ordering, Frank took it upon himself to talk until their food arrived. Katherine wasn't sure if he was doing it because he knew she couldn't talk or if he was doing it simply because he liked the sound of his own voice. Either way, Katherine learned a lot of things that she had never wanted to know, such as the time that he woke up in the middle of surgery and punched the doctor. Katherine didn't mind surgeries while she ate. In fact, one of the favorite pastimes, that she shared with Hunt, was eating pizza and watching knee surgeries but she was eating lasagna and Frank thought that she would want every detail. Hunt kept looked up at his voiceless friend to make sure that she was still sane. Katherine was truly surprised that he didn't describe what the doctors looked like. After the gruesome details of seeing his bone sticking out of his leg, Katherine began sorting out how she would throw herself off the boat and drown herself. When someone who is absolutely terrified of water starts thinking about drowning themselves so they don't have to listen to some idiot, that means they have completely lost the will to put up with said idiot. Katherine slipped into the deep recesses of her mind to kill herself as quickly as possible, she didn't even notice that Frank had stopped talking and that everyone at the table was engaged in a very spirited conversation.

"Sounds like fun right Kat?" Katherine was snapped from her torturous death back to reality. She looked at Sheila and nodded dumbly. She looked to Hunt to see him shaking his head at her furiously. Before Katherine knew what was happening Andrew, Sheila, Hunt's date, whose name was Veronica, and Frank had already picked out their next date. She had unknowingly agreed to a second date.

~*~*~

Lukas looked over at the mute girl as he and Spike looked over the bits of information they had. He found that he couldn't stop looking at her. It was a simple attraction. He thought that she was pretty but Lukas was never one to be able to identify with other's thinking, let alone his own.

"So, I think if we can get those girls they won't be able to fight us." Spike whispered. Lukas nodded as he watched Katherine from the corner of his eye. Spike noticed and smiled.

"What?"

"You like the mute?" Spike asked. Lukas flipped his pale burgundy hair with his hand and acted as if he couldn't hear what Spike was saying. Spike smiled. "You want to take care of that one then?"

"I will but only because I'm not sure you could handle it." Lukas replied. He was able to say it so smoothly that one could not be sure if it was an insult or his way of thanking his friend. With that the two went back to their silent deliberation as to who was going to take care of what.

~*~*~

The little brunette's heart flew into her throat as she fell. Her little body plunged into the icy water. The last thing she saw before crashing into the ocean was her father reaching out for her. Water swirled around a ten-year-old Katherine. The youth tried to pull herself to the surface but she couldn't get there she couldn't swim. She opened her mouth to scream but her cry was lost as water filled her mouth and into her body. She thrashed about trying to get air. She could feel her lungs bursting. She blacked out.

Paramedics managed to revive her. She was rushed to the hospital and they managed to get the water out of her lungs. They couldn't figure out why she wasn't able to talk. Upon further examination they saw that her voice box had been destroyed by a bacterium that was in the water. Katherine woke to a new world where she would never be able to talk again.

~*~*~

Katherine walked along the main deck. It was close to three in the morning, Hunt was asleep on the soft sofa in the living room and Sheila was asleep on the bed but the unspeaking girl found that she had a dire case of insomnia. Despite her fear of large bodies of water, Katherine found the salty mist had a calming effect on her. She wore her favorite pair of shorts and light blue tank top. She looked around and to her surprise saw Lukas standing at the front of the ship. He was watching the sky. Katherine looked up and saw the bright stars. She had only seen them like this when she went camping.

Katherine took a few steps toward him but then remembered how hard it would be for her to carry a conversation when she was mute and Lukas was supposedly anti-social. She immediately took up another approach. She walked over to a spot not more than ten feet away and looked to the stars. She tried not to notice that he had looked over at her. She couldn't help but look over at him. He wore the same expressionless face that she had seen earlier but as she looked into his eyes she couldn't help but blush. Lukas turned back to the sky. He didn't notice the pretty girl head back to her room. He was surprised when he saw her blush and he found that the corners of his mouth were twitching. Lukas smiled as he thought about the pretty girl. He wanted to get another look at her green eyes but when he looked she had already left.

~*~*~

Well, what do you think? Fairly interesting, yes? Review and I'll put up chapter two. Which I haven't written yet but I'm sure that I'll think of something.