Part of her wished the rest of the crew would just go over the side, leave her and Charles alone for a few moments to allow her to… she could not find the right words to describe what was making her heart race as she was close to him…
“What further did we get from the French?” Captain Sanders asked as she emerged from her cabin for the first time since taking the charts in with her.
For the first time in some while Hope suddenly regretted being in Abigail’s presence. She wondered why the captain had to pick now to leave her cabin.
“Five stone in silver ingots,” Osei reported, “over 400 reales from the chest-”
“Reales?” Sanders interrupted. “Must have been smugglers…”
“Assorted gems and coins,” Osei continued, “two barrels worth of rumbullion, provisions to replenish needed stores, assorted fineries and personal trifles, and two gentlemen here who have volunteered.”
Hope noticed before Osei that Charles and Abigail were staring at each other. Charles was gaping in amazement at the woman captaining the crew, stating with a gasp, “Mon Dieu, une vrai femme!”
Abigail’s look was hard for her to read; it seemed like a slow anger, though at what she could not discern. Hope could barely hear Abigail say to Charles as she closed in on him, “I do hope, monsieur, that you know well the game before you play.”
Charles seemed a little taken aback, but quickly found his center as he straightened his shoulders. “Charmed,” he managed with a smile.
Abigail just looked right into him as though her gaze were her sword. “See to their accommodations and size up their worth,” she said as she turned away from them, “for so long as they are aboard.”
“Was Madame Le Capitaine like that when you first met her?” Charles asked Hope.
Hope stared at Abigail’s back, her mouth wide enough to sail the Raging Gale through. She turned to Osei and asked, “What did Charles do to her?”
Osei could only shake his head. “I have never seen the captain react to new crew in that manner. Is there something you have not made plain to us, monsieur?” he asked Charles.
Charles only gave a faint smile. “Is Madame Le Capitaine perhaps acting as your musician’s mama and protecting her dear daughter from scurrilous dogs such as moi?”
“It could be!” Hope offered very quickly. “A woman alone on this ship, perhaps she is just making sure that order is maintained. That could well be it!”
Osei just gave Hope a long look.
Charles quickly added, “Mind you, with the interests of Akua’s fate, my main concern on this vessel-”
Hope was still trying to figure out what Charles could have done to make Abigail so mad…