Darren was waiting at the cliff when I got there, and he gave me his hand.
"The ship is coming," he said, glancing out over the harbour. I noticed he was wearing a large pack upon his back, much larger than mine.
"Are you coming with me?" I asked, and he gave me a lingering look that made my cheeks flush bright red.
"I am. I love you too much to let you go this easily." I turned to face the sea, and saw the ship nearing the shore. It was a beautiful thing, but I couldn't quite read the sloping silver lettering that said her name.
"Come on," Darren said, "Or they'll leave without us."
"Do they even know we're coming?"
"Yes." He didn't offer any more of an explanation.
"How are we paying them?" I was worried about that certain detail.
"I'm paying," he said, and his gaze told me not to worry, that he'd take care of me. I relaxed slightly, and hurried down the slope towards the docks, my hand in his.
Sailors bustled on the pier, carring trunks and tubs of goods, loading and unloading ships. The ship was just being pulled up. As the gangplank dropped to the deck, I saw her name.
Stardust. A smile spread across my face. It was the perfect name for the ship that was bringing me the chance of a lifetime. It was finally hitting me that I was actually going out to sea, even if I was leaving the home I'd always lived in. And I felt like dancing despite the tears that I hadn't bothered wiping from my cheeks.
Darren squeezed my hand and then let go.
"Captain Argon?" he shouted up to the ship's deck. a man appeared at the rail. I liked him at once. He wore a blue sailor's hat cocked at an angle over dark hair that he had tied back with a strap of leather. His smile was bright and his eyes sparkled brilliantly, like prized jewels. He had a scar that ran up his cheek, blackened and jagged looking, but it made him look all the more the captian of the ship.
"Aye, that's me, lad!" he said. His gaze wandered over the two of us. "You'd be Darren, I suppose?"
"Well, come aboard!" the captain called back, beckoning with his hand. Darren caught my hand in his again and helped me up the gangplank, for which I was grateful. I wasn't entirely sure my balance would hold after all the stress. Once I was onboard, I gave the captain a smile and a curtsey, remembering my manners.
"Thank you, sir." I said. He laughed, eyes sparkling even more briliantly.
"Just call me Captain."
Darren grinned, and I suddenly had the suspiscion that he already knew this Captain Argon. "Aye, aye, Cap'ain," he said. Captain laughed and clapped him on the shoulder.
"You didn't change much, did you?" he called, before strutting off to issue orders to embark.
I raised an eyebrow and turned to Darren. "What was that all about?"
"I'll tell you later. Now I've got to go help with the ship. The Captain agreed to give you the cabin beside his, on the starboard side. Go there and wait for me. I'll come and explain." He slid his hand under my jaw and looked deep into my eyes. "Trust me," he said. Then he ran off.
I didn't go to cabin immediatly. Instead, I watched as Stardust left the port and began to sail away from the place I called home. Suddenly, I wasn't sure if it was home anymore or not.