Part the One Hundred Sixty Sixth: Hope Defends Herself
Charity stared at Hope for what seemed hours, ready to burst before continuing with a low moan, “What is it with you? How could you go for someone like that? Are you even capable of choosing a proper paramour for yourself?”
“And what is that supposed to mean?” Hope replied
“You’re among a good set of men, all of whom would certainly couple with you without questi- Uhh, I mean to say, if you chose them to couple with, no one would bat an eye at you two between here and La Rochelle. But you, you have to give your attention and shower your affection on those you cannot be seen with. What is it, the peur de découverte that makes you so… so…”
“Is it that I find him interesting,” Hope stepped in, “or that I might think such things about him that I cannot about you?”
Charity’s hand came up to the level of her shoulder, the fingers on it starting to flex and spasm…
Hope steadied herself, expecting things to get ugly quickly-
She did not expect the cabin door to open again.
“And what in the name of Davy Jones,” said Abigail with a sharp yet steady tone, “could you two possibly de discussing in here that requires your voices be loud enough to hear them through the bottom of the quarterdeck? And under full sail, yet?”
Charity sharpened her eyes on Hope, waiting for what would come…
Instead, Hope gathered up and put on a blouse as she said, “We were discussing the details regarding the Little Plate Fleet over and above what were noted at parley, sharing what was disclosed over dinner.”
“Is that so?” she asked Charity.
She loosened her stance before her captain and replied, “I just find these details so…well, not to be doubting what has been said, but how well do you trust him?”
“Did ye mention to her,” Abigail asked Hope, “that we should be past Borinquen and Hispaniola in under a fortnight and ready for her at the Windward Passage?”
Charity glanced briefly at Hope, shocked silent by the evasion, before she asked, “So you do not believe him, then? You think this Samuel is playing you for a fool, no?”
“I’d not have put his tale before the crew if I seriously doubted him. If he be playing us, it’d be an expensive joke on his part, seeing the amount he forwarded the governor. And between paying him off and the governor’s cut, we best be hauling the largest pile of booty ever seized at sea.”
“But how could he not- I mean, we have to trust him,” Hope stammered out.
“I know you’re ready to believe him and his intent,” said Abigail, “from how I watched ye act. And you,” she turned to Charity, “should let her make her own mistakes.
“Truth to tell, I need all hands ready, and I can’t take the time to maroon the winner of this fight. I want the two of you to bury this until we have seen the venture through. Do you savvy?”
There was an icy exchange of glances between Hope and Charity.
“I’ll take your silence as an aye, then,” spat Sanders.
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