Part 107

Part The One Hundredth Seventh:  Hope Is Adrift In Port

 

 

Hope gave the small bag in her hand a little jiggle.  The clinking sound emanating from inside it, the weight of the coins, their ridges which she could feel through the bag, all made her fingers reflexively tighten…

 

“We need to let others get their shares,” said Zoutman as he guided her away from the table.

 

Her feet complied, though her mind did not register what was happening as she tightened her grip on her booty.  She massaged the coins into her hand with her fingers, enjoying the sensation with each grip-

 

“And who is this with you, Goddard?” a female voice asked to Hope’s left.  “What, I am no good for you anymore?”

 

Hope looked at the speaker, a woman with dark hair in curls that flowed off her head like water from a fountain.  She noticed that this woman went around in a chemise so loose that the rest of her threatened to flow forth from under it…

 

“Ah, Elise,” said Zoutman as he waved her over.  “I was not about to leave without seeing you again.”

 

“I had thought when I saw her, that there was someone new who would try to take you and the others away?”

 

“No, we are just shipmates, nothing more,” said Hope.  “I am not your rival for this man’s heart.”

 

Elise took two seconds after hearing that before she burst into laughter.

 

“I beg your pardon?” Hope asked.

 

Jeune dame, I do not need this man’s heart.  I’m more interested in his coin, which I am more than willing to earn.”

 

Hope realized what Elise was referring to as she turned to Zoutman, smiling as she leaned forward to let her curves round out her chemise…

 

“Ah yes, I did so look forward to that,” said Zoutman licking his lips.  “Hope, many pardons if ye please, but there is-”

 

Hope just held up her hand and gave it a wave.  “Yes, yes, you did mention you had matters to address.  I shall not keep you.”

 

She heard Elise giggle as she led Zoutman over to and up the stairs at the back of the common room.

 

Abandoned, Hope looked around the tavern.  The men from the Gale who received their cuts were actively drinking more rum with abandon if they bothered to stay, while those who had not yet had a word with Campbell seemed ready to burst like shots fired from the ship’s guns as they sought his attention.

 

She reflexively tightened her fingers around the bag again.  All of her bad feelings about being abandoned, about abandoning Charity, the comfort from her coins kept it all at bay.

 

As she looked towards the door of the tavern, in came three freebooters, one of whom had a monkey on his shoulder.

 

“Where d’ye find tha’, eh?” a patron of the tavern asked the man with the monkey.

 

“There be a fine set to see in the market,” came his reply.  “The wares there now be a sight to behold.”

 

Hope gripped her fortune hard and made her way to the market.  She smiled as she knew what she was going to do…

 

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