As the ship lurched away into the ocean blue, I brushed away the rogue tear slipping down my cheek and grabbed my pack. I ran down the deck, dodging men hoisting sails and climbing rigging. I seemed to be the only girl on board. It was a thought that both amused and frightened me.
Halfway down the deck, I slipped in a puddle of ocean spray and fell. Hard. Immediatly I heard someone yell.
"Watch out!" I covered my head with my hands, and a man tripped over my legs. He somehow kept his balance and turned to me. He didn't seem remotely worried that he had just nearly fallen.
"I saw you fall. You okay, missy?" I nodded, speechless, having expected someone to yell at me. Instead he offered his hand and helped me up. I smiled gratefully and found the cabin on the starboard side. The second I got there I felt better. It smelt of lavendar perfume and was much dryer than the deck outside.
I sighed. I loved the ocean, but all this hustle and bustle was giving me a headache, and it didn't help that I was still emotional from leaving home and the strange duke. I slipped across the room and sat down on the bed there, placing my pack on the floor as I went. Cradling my head in my hands, I waited for Darren to come. Maybe he could explain everything.
I didn't have to wait long. About five minutes later, a grinning Darren came through the door and crossed the room to me.
"Are you going to explain this to me?" I asked, looking up with a bit of a reproachful look. He laughed.
"I can't say everything, but I'll give you the gist of it." I blew a piece of hair out of my face and looked at him expectantly. He smiled softly and slipped his arm around my waist.
"Well, first of all I'm not a farm boy." I rolled my eyes but let him continue. I'd guessed that much already.
"I was actually part of this crew until two years ago, when I suffered illness and was forced to leave. I asked your father for work then.
"But I'll start from the beginning. When I was younger, captain hired me on as his cabin boy. I'm orphaned and he took pity on me one day when I was wandering the streets. Argon was always good to me. he basically treated me as his own son." Darren got a far away look in eyes, and I watched him intently. He would probably always be a mystery to me, but that didn't make him any less attractive.
"As I got older I was promoted from cabin boy, and I played a greater role in the ship's management. We got plenty of money from our expeditions, bringing back gold and silver from distant islands and earning plenty from the merchants in England and India.
"Argon always payed his crew the same, so we each got a profit. I learned a lot from him, you know." He glanced at me and smiled. "But then the crew mutinied. They wanted more money. They ditched the captain and me in England." His tone became bitter. "the ship I grew up on, The Eagle, is now controlled by a lot of bloodthirsty pirates." A shiver went up my spine. Pirates...
Darren continued, "Captain had enough savings to buy this beauty," he gestured vaguely at the walls and ceiling of my cabin, "and we got a new crew, but I think somewhere in Argon's heart he always wanted The Eagle back. In truth, I do to." He looked at me and smiled again. i took the moment to ask a question.
"But how did you get word to him so quickly?"
"We sailors have our ways," he said, and a mysterious grin appeared on his face. I pretended to pout, and he suddenly pulled me close and kissed me. I forgot about being disappointed that he wouldn't tell me the details.
"Oi! You two lovebirds done yet?" a laughing voice said from the doorway. We broke apart, though rather reluctantly, and turned to see the Captain.
"Didn't you ever learn to knock?" Darren and I said in unison. All three of us burst out laughing.