Part the Two Hundred Sixteenth: Taking Up Arms
As Hope awoke from her ribald dream about Samuel, the realization that Charity had taken advantage of her hospitality made her blood slowly boil.
That it was not enough that she kept her from the wild streets of Port Royal, shared with her a meal and her bed along with the safety afforded by a room at the inn, that after all that she’d try to have her way with her…
It was one thing, the sideway looks and teasing paws in Abigail’s cabin as they served aboard the Gale; she wondered if now removed from the captain and her quarters, that Charity felt emboldened…
“Right!” Hope growled as she twisted around and confronted her.
Charity gasped, her hands frozen in position like a statue’s as Hope stared at her.
“And just what, pray tell, is the meaning of this?” Hope asked in a stern, measured tone.
“But- but you… When I…” Charity started to say.
“When my hands, they were on you, and you moved them. You even pulled them against you!”
“And why were they on my person in the first place, pray tell?” Hope asked.
“You mean, when you moved my fingers-”
“Why were they there to begin with?”
Hope felt her anger rise with every second that Charity said nothing…
…and felt it shatter the second Charity burst into tears.
“Je suis désolé,” she sobbed. “My hands, mes mains, they-”
“Yes?” Hope asked softly.
“I wanted to hold you. I just wanted to hold you tight, tight to me. Keep you close, never lose you again. I wrapped my arm over you, to hug you close. And when you moved your hand, I, I…”
Hope looked down, not wanting to explain herself.
“But I’m sorry,” Charity continued. “All I wanted was to have you close. And I can’t ask you now, no, not after that.”
“Ask me what?”
“Can you hold me? In your arms, tonight? Hug me like you would your sister in sleep?”
Hope looked down, not sure how to answer her.
“Please?” she pleaded. “Tenez-moi s’il vous plaît? I… I need-”
Hope said nothing as she moved her left arm under Charity’s chest and drew her closer until both her hands met behind her back.
“Like sisters,” Hope said with emphasis, “sisters, understand?”
“D’accord,” she replied. “Merci, mon amie, merci.”
Hope adjusted her grip, bringing her closer, looking for a comfortable position.
When she found it, she settled down, receiving Charity’s glow. Where they were closest to each other, she could feel what felt like melting, the two of them mixing, one going into the other as though two gold rings were smelted by a jeweler.
And with her in her arms, and she in hers, Hope felt a peace, a contentment she had never known before. For the first time, everything felt right, as it was supposed to. The Heavens no longer threatened and all of Creation welcomed her.
She adjusted her grip on Charity and enjoyed the moment of peace and goodness.
Right up to the moment when Charity started to snore in her ear…
All content Copyright © 2010 James Ryan