Part the Fifty Third: Hope Plays for Charles
It was the next day that Hope tested Abigail’s patience.
Temptation was placed before Hope as Charles and Akua swabbed the decks. Charles was explaining to his friend in French the concept, holding his holystone in his long hands before Akua as though he were presenting him with a loaf of bread. Charles would show him the stone, then get on his hands and knees to start on the scrubbing down of the deck. Akua would try and do the same, although not with the same effort.
Hope bided her time like a spider, waiting for Charles and Akua to make their way down the decks. For every vigorous push Charles gave, every time his long arms were extended, Akua gave a few careful shoves, the holystone barely kissing the deck the way it slid quietly over the planking. She played a fantasy she was working on as these two came from amid ship to stern with the rest of the swabbers
When Charles got close enough to her, Hope shifted to another piece. She played the main stanza three times, Charles getting ever closer with each passage. When he was close enough, Hope started to sing the last two verses:
Rosemary’s green, dilly dilly, lavender’s blue
If you love me, dilly dilly, I will love you
Let the birds sing, dilly dilly, let the lambs play
We shall be safe, dilly dilly, out of harm’s way
I love to dance, dilly dilly, I love to sing
When I am queen, dilly dilly, you shall be king
Who told me so, dilly dilly, who me you so
I told myself, dilly dilly, I told me so
When she got to the last line she gave a quick look into Charles’ eyes. She noticed that Charles had paid attention to her song and gave a slight smile in return.
Hope wanted to smile back, but then noticed Andrews looking over Charles at her. His eyes darted about, looking for whom she had directed the song to.
Hope turned her gaze elsewhere to give Charles cover, then went back to the fantasy she had been playing. She cast her face upwards for a second to see if her captain had seen this incident; if Abigail had noticed what Hope had done, she saw nothing to give her a sign that her captain had.
Hope looked once again at Andrews, who looked at his fellow crew the way Zoutman would gaze at the horizon for a sail. The look in his eyes was not pleasant; the desires she saw in him this time were of a darker nature than before, baser and bloodier, the look she’d seen in others faces when they claimed a prize.
Hope wished now would be the time to spot a prize, to distract everyone from what she did.