Part the One Hundred Twenty Ninth: The Bait On the Hook
“I’m surprised you’re not insisting on my fan too,” Hope hissed at Charity.
She just gave a sly smile over the edge of her fan with a coy come-on.
“And why are you looking at me that way?”
“Just demonstrating how a lady can be both coy and alluring with a fan,” she replied. “A trait nécessaire for when the sloop comes along side us.”
She tried to get help from Abigail, but her back was to Hope. She was busy giving last minute orders to Osei to relay to ‘Captain’ Zoutman, who stood on the quarterdeck trying not to look like the last thing he expected today was to be handed command of the ship. He tried holding his head the way Abigail did when she paced back and forth, hoping that by copying her body language he could learn all her tricks.
When she did turn back to Hope she asked, “Are ye being ladylike yet?”
“As I said, she’s likely to outrun us if we raise the signal with naked intent. We attract her with a lure on a hook, then draw her in when she takes a bite.”
“And how big a bite do they need to take?” Hope asked.
“Soon after they come alongside us and board. Then the rest of the crew in the hold come out. If it all goes well, they fall without a single drop of blood being spilt.”
Hope looked at the crew that was still above decks. A few of them had to be encouraged by Osei to keep to their duties and stop staring at their captain and crewmates in dresses.
“Aye, they’ll be enough if things go wrong before the rest of the crew can come up,” said Abigail, answering Hope’s question before she can ask it. “Now try and get along with her, at least until we claim the sloop.”
Hope turned to Charity and said in a low voice, “You are enjoying my discomfort entirely too much.”
She did not respond to the charge, concentrating on looking enticing.
Hope’s disgust did not have time to deeply fester, for the sloop soon trimmed her sails to come within hailing distance.
‘Captain’ Zoutman greeted them with, “Hagel, sloep! Waar bent u grens?”
“Tortuga. Welke nieuws is er van daar?” the sloop’s captain replied.
“Yer not smiling enough,” Abigail said to Hope from behind her fan.
“I just know this isn’t going to work,” she replied.
“Maybe they are interested in women who are continuellement mécontentes,” offered Charity.
“I just know they’re going to take a good look at me and decide to keep going,” said Hope.
“Ye need confidence in yourself,” said Abigail. “If ye never see yourself winning, then ye never will.”
As Abigail finished, one of the sloop’s crew pointed at Hope and said, “Ja, ik denk dat de blondine heel mooi is.”
“And then sometimes you win despite yourself,” said Abigail, fanning herself faster.
All content Copyright © 2009 James Ryan