Part the Two Hundred Twenty Eighth: A Jug of Wine, and Thou
Hope closely examined the deck, all the while batting her eyes.
She tried to make it look like any interest crossing her face would appear to be directed to the two sailors on the Swallow, and not their ship. Single mast, boom and gaff, jib and flying jib tied to her long bowsprit; less sail that the Gale had, she noted, though for a craft a third the brigantine’s length she seemed up for the task.
“And who do my sister and I have the pleasure of being with, eh?”
Hope tried to hide her dismayed expression; the thought of playing her sister as well as a trollop felt like too much to carry…
“I’m Paul Little,” said the sailor who invited them aboard, “and that’s Alan Dell, the slow one.”
“Charmed,” said Charity.
Dell came over to Hope and put his arm around her shoulders, drawing her in closer.
Hope drew a fast smile, then asked, “Oh, you are anxious to take me below deck, aren’t you?” she nodded toward the hatch.
“What’s wrong with there?” Dell replied as he turned to face the cabin middeck.
“No offense, dolly,” said Little, “but below’s for cargo only. The cabin’s where we bunk.”
“And if we all go in there,” said Charity, “all four of us would have it to ourselves, no?”
“Oh aye,” said Dell eagerly.
“I could use a drink first,” said Charity.
“Yes, where are your manners?” Hope asked as she drew her sheer scarf off her shoulders, smiling to the gents as she exposed them while laying it to flap on the boom.
“Go get us the stuff,” Little said to Dell, who went down the hatch. Hope listened to the sounds Dell made below to try and figure out by the sounds he made how much clearance was below, and how much she carried in the hull.
“Such a charmer that one is,” Charity said wryly as she looked down the hatch.
“Oh, he’s not so bad,” said Little. “Doesn’t always get it the first time, but when he does he’s good to have at your side.”
“I meant, is he… safe to be around?”
“You, I can tell,” said Charity, “know how to treat a lady properly. Him, well…”
“Oh, well, he’s not as experienced, but your sister ain’t got nothing to worry ‘bout. Won’t be a problem for you, no,” he said to Hope.
“What a comfort,” said Hope with a forced smile.
Dell emerged from below with a two large jugs. “We got plenty,” he said, as he uncorked one and passed it to Hope.
She got a quick glance from Charity before she put the jug to her lips, blowing her cheeks in and out while keeping all but the slightest taste from her tongue. She then passed it back to Dell, who took some before passing it on.
“Well, I’m ready,” said Dell as he took Hope’s hand.
“Sir!” she said to Little.
Little gave Dell a small whack on the back of the head. “What’s your rush, you? You know it’s going to happen, you can wait.”
Dell gave Hope a hang-dog apologetic look.
…right before he wrapped his arm around her backside and drew her closer.
Hope worried about his hand wandering over her thighs…
All content Copyright © 2010 James Ryan