The captain watched over Andrews a spell to make sure he was tending to the decks before she turned to Hope.”Musician, my cabin anon,” she said, and Hope followed her orders.”Pay him no mind,” said Abigail after she closed the cabin’s door. “He’s been a rough one since he signed aboard, more of a sutler than a buccaneer in the way he carries himself but no more a scallywag than that.”
“A what?” asked Hope.
“Sutler? Aye, more like a merchant in port than of the Brethren of the Coast, but he has his place. He’s fierce in a fight when pressed, and runs the powder to Mister Collins without delay. He may have but a nipperkin’s worth of sense, but until now it’s not been a matter of concern. I be thinking that when he sees a pretty face, he puts himself on the shoals, perhaps without thought or concern as to how he trims himself before hitting the reefs.”
“Did he try that with you when he found out?”
“Nay, he came aboard after it be known about me. He showed no intent ever of being off his course, though it may be more me position aboard the Gale that keeps him down than me sex to draw him in.”
“Am I to never have peace from him then?” asked Hope.
“I be thinking he’d show a little more respect, as ye be a member of the crew now. So far as known, no one else has been willing to let his moorings slip, though I dare think Osei would not allow that man to be as free as Andrews was with another member of the crew.”
“Osei would… So it was Andrews who… when I was drunk…”
“Aye, though he did claim he just be helping to keep you from falling. The fact that Osei was quick to point out that ye’d not asked him to be so forward, and that made it punishable under the Articles, that kept the men in line.”
“Yet Andrews never apologized for what he did.”
“Nay,” sighed Abigail, “which be the pity but of the necessity. Were he to be forced to make his peace before the crew, under threat of the cat if need be, the men might not be willing to continue the venture. They be under me for the treasure, and I be there to lead them to it, but to be amongst them ye must prove yourself. If we be naught but mere lasses to them, then we both be sunk.”
“So what am I to do, then?”
“Ye play ‘till yer fingers fall off every time, and be there to perform such miracles as ye have so far. Keeping the beat during the run from the Casa, that be the type of service ye need bring every day.”
“And you, all that you’ve done…” Hope started to say before the words failed her.
“Aye, every day. But so long as ye keep to yer service and abide the Articles, I be here for any free moment ye need.” Abigail put a hand on Hope’s shoulder and added, “If we be serving together, we best be keeping together.”
Hope smiled at her captain, enjoying the moment…
“Sail! Sail” cried Bosfelt.
And the moment was gone…