Part the Seventy Fifth: Hope Sinks in the Drink
“Which is why,” Abigail continued to explain to Hope regarding ‘Charles’, “confronted with another woman doing as I had, having been in her position, I could not cast her to a fate I had avoided. Even were she meant by Providence to suffer that, I could not have that happen at my hand. I could not bring myself to expose her, to suffer what I did not; I felt that would not have been right.”
Hope sighed, feeling she had to accept what was being said despite not agreeing with all of it.
“But at the same time,” Abigail continued, “I could not encourage her to stay. This crew was willing to accept me as their captain, but only after the considerable time I had spent among them and knowing full well I would not play them against each other, having laid bare my relations with Edwin to them and assuring that I would not bring such a situation with me aboard. One thing I will not stand for, it’s using favors to ply the crew; it be the way of mutiny soon after when it goes awry. Something that nearly cost you your place with me when you returned her flirts.”
Hope just stared at Abigail. She felt her face heating up and tried to fight turning a bright red before her.
“I watched ye,” said Abigail as she offered Hope a seat. “The figure of a lad she cut, maybe in coming up with how to be male she came up with just what ye wanted in a man. I be thinking, there not be too many men before him, were there?”
Hope said a curse to herself as she clenched her jaw before she shook her head. She kept her eyes from Abigail, scarred how she might read what she was thinking behind them…
“Ye might want to have some of that,” Abigail said about the tankard of rumbulloin before she took a swig from her own. “It does wonders for dulling any pains ye have. And don’t think yer a fool for falling for her; obviously you’ve been busier playing with strings on your instrument than with the lads.”
Hope stopped clenching her jaw and stared into her drink.
“As I be saying,” Abigail continued, “the way you went for her, that could have cost ye your post. People involved with each other aboard ship, it makes for bad feelings among others. And the last thing I need be any of that; it’s hard enough to captain men on the account as it is.”
Hope just continued staring into her tankard of rumbullion.
“Mind ye, the way the two of ye were going towards each other, that might have been interesting, if things had got under full sail in that courtship and…”
With lightning speed Hope’s tankard went to her lips, tiny rivulets of rumbullion going down the side of her mouth as she drained her drink.
Abigail just looked at Hope for a moment before she offered, “I can get us another bottle.”
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