Part the Two Hundred Twenty Seventh: Preparing To Be Boarded
“You look lovely,” Charity said to Hope.
Hope just glowered.
“Don’t do that, you’ll smudge your white powder. I’m surprised Samuel could get us this face paint as quickly as he did; do you think he-”
Hope didn’t give a damn what would happen to her powder with the look she hurled at her.
Charity stopped talking as they continued past Fort James up to the docks.
“There’s every chance it won’t work,” Hope finally said.
“If they’re like most sailors ashore in port it will. Here especially.”
“If they have three men aboard her, or more, we’re doomed.”
“C’est absurde,” said Charity. “They’d need to tie them down to the deck to keep extra men on board in a place like Port Royal.”
“And if they do have three men?”
“I’ve had professional experience with having my hands full. I once had to-”
“Spare me,” said Hope.
“For all we know, there may be only one man there, and what you need to do could be relegated to just smiling.”
“It’d be easier to eliminate that as well and just concentrate on the other parts of the plan.”
“It’s a bit late to be showing doubt now,” said Charity. “Besides, did Abigail ever let her doubts about how things were going prevent her from doing what needed to be done?”
“That sloop there,” Hope nodded, “the one with the two cotton jibs, that’s the Swallow?”
Charity nodded with a smile.
Hope looked more closely. “I see two of them on her deck.”
“You just follow my lead, then. And remember, read him; you do something he likes, you keep doing that; he dislikes something, you stop. Comprenez-vous?”
Hope nodded and tried to smile, trying to find a way to preserve her thick, tawdry makeup as she approached the Swallow…
Charity took the lead as she started her way down the dock towards her. Hope watched the way she moved, one hip gliding out and around with each step forward, saying nothing but getting the attention of the two men aboard her anyway just by her walk.
Hope decided that, even if her last moments on earth depended on walking in Charity’s style, she could never present herself that way. It was not lack of desire to, she realized, but lack of ability to simply project with as much carnal force as her companion did. Not wanting to look ridiculous or distract the men with buffoonery, she settled for a slow stroll with a smile, hoping it’d be enough.
“Oi, now,” said one of the men on the Swallow. “What have we here?”
Charity stopped and gave a slow shake. “Aww, you two left alone here?”
He looked at his companion and replied, “Aye, it’s us two.”
“And you don’t care for the best that Port Royal can offer you?”
“How much we talking for the best, now?”
“And what do you two fine gentlemen have,” Charity asked with a suggestive gleam in her eyes, “to keep the night interesting?”
“We’ve got wine. That help any?”
She gave a squeal as she started to board the Swallow.
Hope followed, hoping that being had for so cheap a price would be as low as the evening got…
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