“Such as?” Hope asked as she stepped closer to Abigail around the map table.
“There be grave concerns regarding what Charles is doing, which if I were less of a woman with no sympathies I would gladly speak on.”
“Which sounds like you have designs on him!”
“I do not have any such thing! I-”
“You what?” Hope asked, almost in Abigail’s face.
Abigail reached slowly for a knife at the side of the table. “I have to go to the head,” she finally responded, trying to sound level-headed before she buried the blade point into the table and left the cabin.
When the door shut, Hope felt tears start to come to her eyes. She gripped her hand and made a fist so hard that her nails bit into her skin. She refused to let her tears pour out, though.
She left the cabin when she thought she could no longer bear it, and found a spot along the gunwales to starboard behind the mainmast, hoping not to be disturbed if she was finally going to cry…
“Is there a problem, ma musicienne?” Charles asked Hope from behind.
Hope spun so quickly that he nearly tripped as he stepped back.
Hope decided to keep her tears to herself a little longer and asked, “What is it you want of us, Charles?”
“Are you trying something? Are you after the crew of the Gale?”
“Wha- no, not moi-”
“So you don’t plan anything?”
“Should I be?”
“So why does-” Hope stopped herself.
“Mon dieu, why does what?” Charles asked.
Hope caught herself before she said anything; part of her wanted to confront Charles, get from him assurances that she could take to Abigail, get Abigail to not have such suspicion about him, allow Charles to be able to…
And yet, as she stared at him in the faint moonlight on deck, so close to him that she could touch, she could not help but remember that every hunch Abigail had ever shared with her had always been right…
“Charles, I must ask you,” said Hope, “and you must promise me this.”
“Charles, I ask your pledge, right here and now, that you will not bring harm to this crew. I ask that you ever remain faithful to them, their captain, and especially me, and that under great pain you will ever remain so.”
“What could you hold over me to assure mon loyauté?” Charles asked.
Hope found herself desperate for an answer, anxious to find some way to keep Charles in line-
With no further thought, she pushed him against the mainmast and closed in.
Everything she had seen when others had done it, everything she had read about it, did not prepare her for when her lips found Charles’. The sensation of another’s tongue finding its way into her mouth, of long fingers tracing down behind her ear and along her jaw…