Part the One Hundred Sixty Fifth: The Morning After Dinner
“We’ll not be having another night like the last any time soon,” Abigail said to Hope, “so ye best come away from there.”
Hope stayed rooted to the spot, looking aft from the quarterdeck at Nevis as she set below the eastern horizon, blotted out by the rising sun.
Abigail adjusted the tiller to get the Gale to run before the wind, sails taut as they caught the breeze and hurled forward. “Unless you intend to wear your finery into rags, ye best get ready for duty.”
Hope sighed as she looked at herself, adorned in her best dress. “I didn’t think I could so readily go back to wearing dresses such as these,” she replied
“And if ye intend to wear it again, take it off!”
With great difficulty, Hope tore herself away from her spot and made her way down to the captain’s cabin, where she started to change out of her dress.
When the door to the cabin opened, Hope turned her head halfway to confirm her suspicions.
“And you still say nothing about last night,” Charity said as she closed the door and closed in on Hope, her nose taking short sniffs.
“What is there to say?” Hope replied. “We dined, and Abigail received considerable information concerning the Little Plate Fleet from Samuel.”
“From whom, did you say?”
“Samuel, of course.”
“Ah, right there!” said Charity, pointing. “You just meet this Porto and you refer to him casually. So casually!”
“I don’t know what you mean by that.”
“The way you look when you refer to him, the way your eyes change when thoughts of him cross your face. As your former lover, I know damned well what you are thinking.”
“My former… Of all the nerve!” Hope said, her hands going straight to her side.
She realized that Charity must have been very upset; she had stopped Hope midway through changing her clothes and was not reacting at all to the grand display before her…
“First of all,” Hope continued, “we were never lovers. I loved an impostor, not the woman you turned out to be. I never want to hear you make that claim again; such falsehoods will not go unanswered.
“And as for Samuel, there is no liaison amour,” Hope mangled the phrase with ugly annotations, “no burning, smoldering passion where he and I couple like Adam and Eve fallen at the first moment. We did no such thing, and are not likely to!”
Charity, taken aback at the outburst, noted through gritted teeth, “”Well, if he is un homme religieux, even just a little, he’d know better than to try and take a Gentile.”
“Yes, indeed, he would.”
“No matter what I’d say to him…” Hope froze when she realized she said that aloud.
“Incroyable,” Charity finally replied, after staring at Hope like a dog ready to pounce on game. “You want to throw yourself to this… this Juif like some…”
“If you value our relationship,” Hope found her voice, “you will not finish that sentence.”
The dark accusatory stares from Charity that followed made her feel that she was about to freeze solid…
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