I think some of you might like this chapter ;)
'Twas a new feeling - something more
Than we had dared to own before,
Which then we hid not;
We saw it in each other's eye,
And wished, in every half-breathed sigh,
To speak, but did not.
She felt my lips' impassioned touch -
'Twas the first time I dared so much,
And yet she chid not;
But whispered o'er my burning brow,
'Oh, do you doubt I love you now?'
Sweet soul! I did not.
Warmly I felt her bosom thrill,
I pressed it closer, closer still,
Though gently bid not;
Till - oh! the world hath seldom heard
Of lovers, who so nearly erred,
And yet, who did not.
Did Not – Thomas Moore
Chapter Seventy - Something More
I wasn't aware of what happened in the next moment or two that passed because I was unconscious, but Elizabeth filled in some of the blanks. It was of course James who caught me just as I collapsed. When he couldn't rouse me, he carried me down below decks to our cabin, shouting out orders for help and for someone to fetch the freshest water we had aboard. In our cabin he stood over me as Anamaria rushed in with a bucket of water and Mai followed behind with an empty one. Elizabeth stood in the doorway, not wanting to crowd everyone as Anamaria checked my temperature and then placed a damp strip of cloth on my forehead.
"What's wrong with her?" James demanded hurriedly. "What can we do?"
"I don't know," Anamaria snapped. I'd heard James's anxious questions for myself as I came round a little. I didn't feel like I could move at all and yet something was telling me to sit up, to push myself upright and I knew I had to. When I summoned the energy to do so, a hand on my shoulder pushed me back down. "NO!" Anamaria snapped again. "Let her up! Let her up! Mai, now!" The hand from my shoulder vanished and I lurched upwards just in time to meet Mai thrusting the empty bucket onto my lap. I clung to it for leverage as I emptied the meagre contents of my stomach into the bucket. Just as I felt myself beginning to slip again a strong arm snaked its way around my waist from behind to hold me in place. A rough palm brushed lightly up my forehead, pulling my hair back out of my face as I retched again and again. I let myself be drawn into the warm embrace because I had suddenly grown so cold. It was a sense of home and comfort when I'd not had that for years. I wanted to stay there forever in blissful ignorance of the rest of the world.
When I slipped into unconsciousness again, James laid me back down onto the cabin bed gently and looked to Anamaria for guidance. "What's wrong with her? What kind of illness is this?"
Anamaria shook her head at him but she wasn't stern. She could see how anxious he was and so she pushed her annoyance at his questions away. "I'm no doctor. It could be serious though. She's running a fever and shivering. Her hands are freezing but her forehead is clammy to the touch. She's whiter than the sails."
"She's grey," Elizabeth called from the doorway as I was raised into a sitting position again by the strong arm and Anamaria filled a cup of water and pressed it to my lips. "Not white."
James was suddenly hopeful and perhaps it was because I gulped down cup after cup of water. If I'm honest it was more to cleanse my mouth of the horrible taste there. "She had an infection before and she came through it just fine! Her gunshot wound was infected, and you patched it up!"
Anamaria's expression was grim. "That was an infection that I could see. It was external. It was a different kind of infection. If this even is an infection … it might be some other kind of illness, a contagious kind of illness. Which means we need to clear out."
"We can't just leave her!" James barked.
"We won't," Anamaria countered. "We'll make sure she has food and water and we'll check on her constantly. But we cannot all sit gathered around her bed or we might all catch whatever this is. Someone can keep watch on her from the doorway. Come, let's go."
"I'm staying right here," James announced.
Anamaria shrugged. "Suit yourself, navy man."
Mai and Anamaria cleared out, taking Elizabeth with them back above deck and I turned to look at James's face hovering above mine, for I had come round in time to hear Anamaria telling everyone to leave. "You should go. She's right you know," I croaked, and James's head whipped back down to look at me. "Disease spreads like wildfire on ships. You should go."
He took my hand and squeezed gently. "I'll stay until you've fallen asleep at least. You should try and get some rest."
"Why are you being so nice to me?" I suddenly asked. "I was a complete cow to you earlier."
James smiled softly then as he managed to pull a chair over to the side of the bed and sit down in it, all while still holding onto my hand. "You are ill. You're forgiven. Besides, you were being honest. I cannot fault you for that. It's one of the things I admire most about you. You've not been afraid to speak your mind with me."
"I was still being a cow. I'm sorry."
He squeezed my hand a little tighter. "Don't fret over it now. Just rest."
The way he was staring down at me then with those kind eyes had me thinking all sorts. I thought about how much I wanted to kiss him in that moment, when it was just us two and no one else was around. We were at relative peace with one another for once, after all. Then I realised how much of a state I must look and all thoughts of kissing him vanished from my mind. I pressed myself further back into the pillows in the hopes they would swallow me up, but to no avail. My Eyelids grew heavy again and I let them close, hoping that he'd vanish if I appeared to be asleep, but I think I dozed off almost instantly. …And here's the thing; he didn't leave. He was still there in the chair sleeping softly the next morning. I didn't see him though, because my mind was playing out an entirely different scenario. I was hallucinating, seeing before me a morning that had come to pass many months ago and that had changed me irrevocably.
"Fiona, I need your help on deck, now!"
"Mick leave off man! I've only just gotten over to sleep!" I rolled away from the grim grey light that was filling my cabin even as Mick was trying to drag me from my bed by my arm.
"A bad storm has picked up Fiona. I need every pair of hands on deck right now! That means you too!"
He must have decided not to waste any more time on me because he sprinted off again, leaving me alone once more in my cabin. I think he knew his words alone were enough to get me out of bed though. Sure enough, a few moments later I was following him out onto deck and into the midst of one of the worst storms I'd seen. I knew it was still very early morning as I'd not long ago gone to bed but the grey and foreboding sky above us could have lent itself to any time of day at all. The storm had brewed quickly then, either that or we had been making a rather exceptional speed and had cleared the tranquil waters of only an hour ago. We battled through the storm as we normally did, our fears growing when the raging wind didn't let up after a few hours.
It took us some time to notice the approaching of another ship through all the fog and the rain, so much so that they were almost alongside us when the shouts went up. Not one of us thought that they might be of help to us in the storm because we all knew it was every man for himself. If they helped us it might cause their own ship to sink. We were all wary of the sight of ropes being thrown across but I was stuck at the helm, trying to navigate us away from the ominous presence of the other ship in case they caused us to take on too much water. There was something quite strange and almost downright creepy about them trying to tether themselves to us in a storm. I could see little of the main deck because of the pelting rain, but I froze where I stood when I heard the first shot. Mick was the only man aboard who had a pistol, and it was still below, locked away in his desk drawer as far as I knew. He very rarely brought it above decks with him. I scrambled for the main deck then, taking the steps two at a time as I realised something must be drastically wrong.
As I reached the bottom of the steps, I tripped over something heavy and stumbled, landing on top of someone. I sat up and began to turn the limp form over, releasing a startled breath when I realised that it was Fergus the carpenter and he was gone from the world. He had been shot at point blank range, a musket ball shaped hole in the middle of his forehead. I recoiled from his lifeless form as more shots sounded out, this time too many to count and I ducked my head down, staying as low as possible as I began to crawl across the main deck in search of Mick. There were others strewn across the deck, some already gone and some nearly so. Mick was nowhere to be found though. I had no idea what was happening. Was it a pirate ship that had come alongside us? Did they think we had gold they could steal? What was the point when they might not even get out of the storm alive themselves?
I realised I had to forget about Mick and try to get the ship to safer waters. I pulled myself to my feet again and raced towards the steps once more. There were still shots being fired but I kept going, reaching the quarterdeck to find Mick already at the helm. He was trying to turn the ship's wheel but it was stuck. I threw my weight behind it too, not daring to look at his face and see the fear and shock in my own eyes mirrored in his. The wheel wouldn't budge but I kept pushing, jumping in fright when another shot embedded itself in the wheel only a few inches from where my hand was. Finally, I looked to Mick and opened my mouth to ask him what we should do, but another shot rang out and blood began to blossom across his shirt.
"NO! No no no!" I was screaming, panic setting in as Mick took a few steps backwards and let himself fall back against the railings, the look in his eyes one I had never seen before. His hope was lost. He knew the shot was fatal. I followed him, determined that I would help him and that he would live, but more shots were ringing out and they sounded as if they were firing from a closer range. I turned to glance about me, searching for the source of them. Something gripped my ankle then so strongly that I was yanked from my feet and slammed into the deck, my shoulder erupting in pain. I glanced towards Mick who had pulled me off my feet and his blank expression was unmoving, no light left in his eyes at all. I gulped in sharp panicked breaths, realising only too late that I too had been hit and that it would have been worse if Mick hadn't pulled me down out of the way. A musket ball had embedded itself in my shoulder, but I didn't get the chance to inspect it. A shadow fell over me, and I looked up into the barrel of a pistol. I was sure that was it, that this monster who had gunned down all of my friends was about to end me too. Then the pistol was retracted, and I stared into cold and hard grey eyes that appeared almost bored. How could a man be so unaffected? How could he mercilessly gun down innocent people and feel nothing?
A blade had taken the place of the pistol and I tried to recoil as much as I could, but his booted foot landed on my other shoulder, pinning me to the deck. Sneering, he lowered himself until he was crouched over me, and plunged the knife into the gunshot wound I bore. The pain was like nothing I'd felt before, the blade twisting and turning inside my flesh. I had to fight to stay conscious, feeling my tattered nerves beginning to fray and blur as the pain was almost too much for me to take. I knew I had to stay awake though. I had to remember the face of the creature that had killed my family. He was prising the shot from my wound and I watched on in horror as he rolled it between two of his fingers, somehow transfixed by it before he pulled out a crisp white handkerchief. With it he cleaned his bloody fingers but instead of throwing it away, he folded the handkerchief expertly, depositing the shot within the folds and then placed it back in his pocket. He threw me one final dismissive glance before he moved away. I heard his booted feet as he took the steps quickly and crossed the main deck. Then I heard nothing more as the wind and the rain began to muffle all other sounds.
I just knew the monster was gone. He thought the whole ship was going to go down and all of his misdeeds would be forgotten at the bottom of the sea. There was some part of me that didn't want to let that happen, so I tried to pull myself to my feet. Clutching my wounded shoulder to try and stem the blood flow, I ambled to my feet, using the railings to keep myself upright. The other ship was gone already. Whoever the monster was, he'd made a quick getaway. I glanced down at my friend then as if he might have come back to life in the last few moments. It was not to be. He was still slumped against the railings, his glassy eyes blank. A guttural sob escaped my lips as I realised that perhaps I didn't want to live any more anyway. I had nothing left in the world.
The ship was still braving the waves alone, and I didn't know how long it would take her to sink. I contemplated sitting down beside my friend and just waiting out the inevitable, but I felt this strange overwhelming urge to be in the water. It would be quicker to jump, to let the water take me. It would sooth all ailments, take away all my suffering. I was clambering up onto the railings before I really even knew what I was about. "Sorry Mick," I whispered softly as I realised he'd be disappointed in my sudden weakness. I stepped off the railings, letting the water come up to meet me, the sheer cold force of it hitting my body sent me into shock instantly and I greeted unconsciousness as if it were an old friend.
When I came to my senses I was standing on the railings, my legs wobbling like jelly as I realised I'd been about to jump. A cool breeze had caught my hair and had whipped it up into a frenzy around my face so I couldn't see much around me. I was shaking like a leaf, frozen to the spot and unsure of what I should do. There was still a part of that old version of me in my head that was urging me to just jump, that it would solve all of my problems. There would be no more pain and suffering if I let the water take me. The decision had been taken out of my hands though. Strong arms grabbed me from behind and dragged me down from the railings. I hit the deck and tried to squirm out of their hold, fighting back as I came back to myself more and more. I don't know why I panicked so much. I suppose I was still seeing those cold grey eyes in my mind and part of me believed it was Beckett who was wrestling with me.
My own shouting had drowned out his words, so it was a few moments before I realised that it was in fact James who had his arms clamped around my waist, pinning me to his chest for fear that I'd climb the railings again and throw myself overboard. "Fiona you're safe. It's me. Fiona! There's no one else here. You're safe!"
I still fought against his hold, sure somehow that if he released me, I'd sit up and see Mick resting against the railings with a hole in his chest. Maybe I could still save him. Maybe there was still a chance to write all of the wrongs I'd done him. I saw him once more then. Mick was standing on the steps that led down to the main deck. There was no red stain on his shirt, No fear and shock in his eyes. He was smiling down at me. "Mick! Mick!" despite my cries he began to fade once more, so that soon I could no longer see him at all. The arms around me tightened as I began to shiver, trying not to wail out loud as the waves of grief hit me all over again.
James held me as I cried. We lay there on the quarter deck together with James's arms tightly pinning me down. I know now of course that he really was worried that I'd throw myself overboard. He'd woken just after I'd left the cabin bed and he'd raced back out onto deck after me. He'd sensed that there was something very wrong. When he'd seen me climbing onto the railings, he'd known that I wasn't really aware of what I was doing, that I was watching other events unfolding before my eyes. How was I to have been so ill the evening before and have so much energy the morning after? If it had not been for his quick thinking in following me, I don't know what might have happened. I don't think I'd have had the strength or the courage to step back down onto the deck. I realised then that I'd not been dreaming as such, but hallucinating. I'd been replaying the events of that fateful morning and I'd believed them to be so real that I'd made my way up on deck, thinking I was witnessing Mick's death all over again. It really had felt all so real to me. Perhaps that was why I'd seen Mick once more on the steps. He'd come to remind me that wherever he was now, he was alright. His suffering was over and he was happy once more. He had been smiling after all, hadn't he? He was likely reunited with his wife who he had so loved.
I felt the fight drain out of me entirely then. I let James's hold swallow me up and leaned back into him, taking his precautious hold for the comforting embrace I'd wanted for so long. I was still crying softly when I eventually felt his hold slacken. I pulled away from him slowly, knowing all too well that the moment was over. I sat up gingerly, James's hand landing on my back to steady me. It was early morning again, and the deck was eerily quiet. I wondered vaguely where everyone was before I counted my blessings. No one had seen. No one would know I'd had an outburst, that I was likely going mad. When I turned towards James, he was watching me as one might watch a startled and wounded animal. I didn't know how to explain to him what I'd just seen and my frayed mind in that moment was struggling to string a sentence together. All I could think to say was, "I'm sorry."
"It was just a nightmare," he confirmed in a reassuring voice. "It's over now. You have a fever. It was likely the cause."
I buried my reddened face in my hands then, embarrassment overwhelming me. I was shocked to find tears still streaming down my face and tried to hastily syphon them away with the ends of my sleeves. When I felt a little more composed, I raised my head again and tried to calm my breathing. James was still watching me, but there was less caution in his eyes. There was almost a curiosity there instead. He moved closer to me then and took my hands in his. I was startled by the abrupt and intimate action but noticed a second later that my hands were still trembling. "I do not know what it is that you saw. I do not know what it is that you've seen in your own mind for many months now, but I can guess. I do not ask you to tell me. Yet again I only say that I am here to listen if you do wish to tell me."
I shook my head at him. It was quickly dawning on me that it wasn't just Mick's death I'd been replaying in my mind for months. I'd been dreaming of the night my uncle attacked me all those years ago in London. I'd been recalling the fear and worry I'd felt when I was living with those three old crones and had become their slave. I'd been drifting into another world and seeing the destiny that James and I both possessed. For months Andromeda herself had been bombarding me with it and whilst I had come to terms with it, I had not allowed James to. I'd left out one of the key components. I had no notion of how he might take the news, but I was somehow sure that this was the moment to tell him, because when I was back to feeling myself I would surely back out of telling him the truth. Right then and there, I had neither the energy nor the inclination to fight his growing curiosity.
"I don't think I can tell you." I saw his eyes flicker, perhaps a little in annoyance before he sighed and smiled softly as if he was trying to understand. "But I might be able to show you, or at least I think I can."
"How?" he asked then, his curiosity piqued again. It was remarkable how much a change he had undergone. Some months ago he would have balked at my statement. Now his mind was open enough that he simply accepted and questioned. I wasn't entirely sure I'd be able to show him anything at all, but I was willing to try. It was working when I tried with Mai, but then I think we all know she had some kind of magical force within her that might have been helping me all along. I glanced about us and sure enough, the deck was still silent and empty. No one was there to see me if I should fail miserably.
"Just keep a hold of my hands," I told him calmly even though I felt anything but calm. I thought my heart might burst out of my chest it was beating that wildly. "Concentrate on our joined hands. There's no ship around us, no ocean either. Just us. Focus on that … And close your eyes too," I added as an afterthought.
If James thought my instructions foolish, he did not show it. Even though I'd told him there was little chance of it working, he'd followed my instructions to the letter. I allowed myself a moment of voyeurism and took in the smooth plains of his now lightly tanned face. His handsome features appeared relaxed for once as he breathed in and out deeply. At length I closed my own eyes too and waited, schooling my own breathing to match his for a few long moments. Nothing seemed to be happening. James did not appear perturbed by it though. He trusted me enough to just wait patiently. I decided to follow his lead and trust in my own self and my abilities. I had made it work only a few days ago with Mai so there was every chance I could make it work with someone else. I followed my own instructions and concentrated solely on the feel of James's slightly rough palms against my own, his fingers intertwined with mine. I forgot the slight rocking of the ship, the early morning breeze and the fresh scent of the sea. I let it all go one by one and for a moment there was only the sheer bliss of nothingness before Mick's strained face swam into view.
Mick was shaking me awake below decks and I followed him out into the raging storm, the gunshots somehow a little more distant this time as one after another our crew fell until it was just myself and Mick at the helm, frantically trying to move the ship's wheel. Then Mick was bleeding and I was screaming. Beckett was hovering above me, blade in hand as he sneered down at me. Then he was prising the shot from my shoulder and I was lost to a world of pain. The image shifted then, another storm brewing around Andromeda as she stood chained to the rock. Perseus attacked the sea monster with force, his golden sword the only light in in an otherwise grey world and Andromeda couldn't help that her eyes followed it in its graceful arks. Then Perseus was upon her, his hands roaming freely as she willed him on with her eyes. He brought his lips to hers, pressing her against the rock as he explored her mouth with his tongue. Perseus was breaking her bonds then, carrying her away across the sea. In his rooms they made their pact to one another, promising themselves to each other in more ways than one even as Andromeda's uncle plotted to take her for himself. The cool temple floor was Andromeda's bed before her uncle dragged her to the altar, fighting every escape attempt she made before Perseus swooped in. Then Andromeda held the golden sword that had so transfixed her, swinging it around above her head in time to parry the blow of another blade that was meant for Perseus. Then her uncle was kneeling before her on the cold stone. She swung the sword a last time and her uncle was no more. They were at the alter then; Perseus and Andromeda, surrounded by his men and the priests of the temple. They were married properly in the eyes of the gods there and then so that no one else could ever tear them asunder. The image began to shift once more into some new vision that I instantly knew that I'd not seen before, but it vanished as quickly as it appeared.
The connection had been broken. For a few seconds I kept my eyes closed and willed the visions to come back even though I was not sure if James had been able to see them as I had. Very quickly though: I realised that it had been James who had broken the connection. I opened my eyes to find him staring back at me with undisguisable wonder written all over his face. He had seen then. So, he knew the truth. He knew what it all meant, whether he wanted to or not. I was a little disgruntled at having the last of the visions torn from me by his breaking of the connection though. One of his hands had released mine and had found its way to hover in mid-air just beside my face. I could sense his shock in how he was gazing at me, but I now know there was something much more there. His breathing was no longer deep and rhythmic but coming in short and sharp bursts, as if he had just run the length of the main deck ten times over. His hand slowly brushed across my cheek, the pad of his thumb grazing my bottom lip ever so gently. My own breathing began to mimic his as I stared back at him in confusion. What I'd shown him had evidently changed something in him … between us. He increased the pressure; his palm caressing my cheek once more before he let it trail down the side of my neck and I let out a gasp. That was all the confirmation he needed. He hooked his arm around my waist and pulled me closer to him, his hand tilting my chin up as he pressed his lips against mine. I couldn't breathe, couldn't move in those few seconds as he kissed me. His tongue danced across my lips, seeking entrance. I gave in readily, hardly daring to believe that the one thing I'd imagined in my head countless times was actually happening. As I threw myself more into the kiss he pulled away suddenly, a darkness in his eyes that was my undoing. He let go of me then, retreating a little.
"I apologise. I do not know what came over me…I…" My world crumbled. It had been the vision that had twisted his brain. He knew not what he was doing. He was as confused as I had been moments before when I'd found myself on top of those railings. I thought I must have looked heartbroken then, but James says he could not see it. He says I was flushed, panting and staring at him with a need and a longing so great that he found it hard to hold onto his self-control. James had turned away from me briefly, turning back to observe me quickly once more before he asked, "Is this what you want?"
I let a rare roaring laugh escape my mouth then before I nodded at him. "I've never wanted anything more in my life!"
Grinning, he hooked an arm around my waist once more, lifting me this time so that I straddled his hips. James kissed me again, not an ounce of tenderness there and I was glad for it. The reckless abandon in him made me sure of my reality in that moment. It was really happening. We were finally as one. His hand strayed into my hair as I clung to his shirt, pulling myself as close to him as I could get. He caught his hand in my tangled hair, tugging a little to try and free himself and I groaned softly, my eyes fluttering open to meet his dark tourmalines that could no longer hide their desire.
His fingers trailed a soft pattern down my neck, stopping to circle in one area before James frowned. "What on earth is that?" he asked me as he pressed more firmly down upon the skin. I reached up and met his hand at my neck and he guided my own fingers over the slightly raised lump on my neck. "It's an insect bite," James muttered softly as a light filled his eyes. "You were bitten by an insect! It's just a bite! You're not contagious!"
I don't know whether he was trying to convince himself or me, but I decided not to tell him that I still felt like I'd been hit by the bow of a ship and chose to laugh a little at his sudden exuberance. "Bit late for you worrying about me being contagious isn't it?"
He grinned back as he understood my meaning. We stayed just like that for quite some time, just staring at one another. Our longing never dissipated though, the heady mixture of truth and desire still in the air when James spoke once more. "Are you sure?"
My initial reaction was to nod my agreement because I didn't think I was capable of speech in that moment but instead I felt the urge to kiss him in answer, so I did. His hands left my waist and neck then and I felt them clutching my legs, trying to pull me even closer to him. One of his hands returned to my waist, pressing me against him as tightly as I might fit. The other hand was toying with the hem of my skirts for a few seconds before it delved beneath the worn material. At once I tried to pull away as I felt his palm ghost over the mottled scarring of my b\ad knee. His hold of me was strong enough to prevent me retreating though. He gazed down at me with eyes filled with such a dark and brooding storm as he broke the kiss.
"Don't pull away from me. Don't do that." His hand left my knee then, as if he knew exactly how ashamed I'd felt when he'd touched it. There was something in his speech that told me it was a subject he was not entirely finished with though. He pulled me back in for another kiss, deepening it almost instantly. His hand left my waist and cupped my face tenderly as I felt something new blossoming between us, something eternal and stronger than anything I'd ever felt before. His hand glided further up my thigh, the rough pads of his fingertips tickling the soft skin there. I couldn't help the soft moan that escaped into his mouth. He grinned beneath our kiss.
We made love right there on the silent deck. All other aspects of life were lost to us in those few moments together. We were so free and yet so consumed by one another at the same time. It was freeing though, more liberating than I've ever felt in my life before. It's strange to think we finally got to that place after dancing around one another for so long. When we both finally came to our senses, we threw off all of our cares. It's a miracle no one saw or heard us really, but then perhaps it was fated to always play out that way. Perhaps there was some unseen force keeping everyone else below decks that morning.
We lay together afterwards on the quarter deck, staring up at the clouds for a while before I felt James begin to pull away from me mentally. He sat up then, a grim expression on his face and I knew just what he was thinking. I followed him and sat up again, fixing the hem of my skirts as I did so. I placed my hand firmly on his arm and leaned in to him. "Don't you dare say what I think you are about to say. Don't do that. Don't shut me out after what we've just shared."
James shook his head; a worried frown crossing his features as he slowly turned his head towards me. "This should not have happened. We should not have…" I pulled away sharply, my hand retracting from his arm as if the contact had burned my skin. I sucked in a sharp breath, not believing my ears. I had always thought him such a decent man, a man of honour. Why was he choosing now to squirrel away his feelings and leave me feeling ashamed at the same time? "No!" James grabbed my hand in his own as I tried to shuffle away from him. "That is not what I meant. Forgive me if I have not the words to explain how I feel right at this moment. I am rather overcome. What I mean to say is that you are ill. You should not be above deck at all let alone… Well, this should not have happened here. I have taken advantage of you. I have done the one thing I swore I never would do to any woman. This should not have happened. I can only apologise."
He turned confused eyes upon me once more when I laughed loudly. I raised an eyebrow at him. "You eijit! Do you really think I'd have let it happen if I didn't want it too? Do you really know me at all?"
James sighed, some of the tension from his shoulders dissipating. "I do know you. I've been on the receiving end of one too many of your rather spirited reprimands. Eijit? What on earth does that mean? Yet another word from your broad and strange vocabulary that I do not understand."
I laughed again. "It's Irish for idiot. Don't worry. I'll teach you some Irish."
"I dare say there are a lot of things you could teach me." I scoffed a little at his comment, but it wasn't a salacious one. In his eyes there was only sincerity. I placed my hand on his arm again as he grew even more melancholy. "Regardless of either of our wishes, this should not have happened. You are a good and kind soul. I have known that since I met you. What I have done today shows you a great disrespect. I have not shown you the care and attention you deserve."
I increased the pressure of my hand on his arm. "To hell with respectful!" I cried. "I'm not some society pariah to be courted and complimented and danced around some ball room. I don't need to be flattered and cajoled. If that's what respectful is then I don't want it! I want something real!"
James covered my hand that rested on his arm with his own. He smiled softly at my exclamation, but I could still see a notion of doubt in his eyes. Before he could speak though, another voice entered the fray. "Is everything alright here?"
Both of our heads whipped around to find Will Turner watching us from the steps down to the main deck. James was on his feet at once, a hand held out to help me up. His mask was in place once more as he threw Will a blank look. "Nothing you should concern yourself with Mr. Turner. Miss Fiona was just getting some fresh air." He placed a gentle hand on my shoulder then. "Back below decks with you now, we can talk later."
I brushed past Will on the steps and avoided meeting his gaze. I think he knew rightly that all was not as it seemed but he's never mentioned it again. James saw me to the door of our cabin before he slipped off back above deck without a word. I think he was likely aware of the temptation that an empty cabin with a lockable door was to us both in that moment and he didn't want to linger long enough for it to take effect. I returned to bed, suddenly remembering for the first time how ill I had really felt the day before. Tiredness overwhelmed me once more and I think I must have been asleep before my head even hit the pillow.
So, there you have it. Fiona and James are finally on the same page, but can they stay there?
As ever, please review if you can. I'd love to hear what you think of the chapter!