I stood on the deck, the paper in my hands, trying to refrain from crying as I looked out to the horizon. Maybe this was a bad idea, getting on this ship. Why did I do it anyway? I knew fine well why. There were many reasons. One, there was nothing left from me in Scotland. Two, the English didn't like me. And three, it's where my heart told me to be.
Footsteps aroused behind me. "What d'you want?" I murmer, hoping it wasn't a lost passenger. It wasn't.
"Evangeline," Robert said. It was the first time I'd heard him say my name. He gave it a sweet ring. "I'm sorry for-"
"-for what!?" I snapped. "Ruining the last piece of my family I have? Or humiliating me in front of everyone? Or for just making me look weak?" I spun around, and his expression was of genuine guilt.
"I am sorry for everything." He whispered.
I looked away and stared down at the ocean. "I don't expect you to understand."
He slowly moved forwards until he was standing beside me. Leaning on the railing, he too glazed at the sea. "When I was twelve years old, I came to work for the Thompson's. The orphanage threw me out as soon as they had the chance." He said, almost as if to himself.
Orphange? Guilt flooded into me. "I'm sorry. I didn't know-"
"It's fine." He interupted. "You're right about me not understanding." I looked at him at the corner of my eye. "I was put there when I was a baby. I never knew my parents."
"That must've been, eh - hard for you." I replied awkwardly.
He shook his head. "Not really. I mean, you can't miss want you've never had." I wish I knew how that felt. "But you must've had someone to miss, right?"
I'd never spoken to anyone about my father's death, and to few about my mother's. But now, with him, I felt a strange kind of trust forming. I knew then I could tell him anything.
"Mother passed away when I was young. She'd been ill for a while, so it was for the best, I suppose." I spoke quietly, in case someone was trying to eavesdrop. "My father, well, he didn't seem like my father." I explained. "He was more of a friend, a protector."
Then Robert asked the question I was dreading. "What happened to him?"
I swallowed hard. "He was a writer. And, well, he wrote some things that people didn't agree with. It made them angry and they..." I squeezed my eyes closed to fight the tears. "Anyway," I breathed. "He told me to listen to my heart. That's why i'm here."
Robert put his hand on my arm reassuringly but I winced. Deep, black bruises circled my arms in perfect handprints. "Sorry."
He smiled. "Stop apologising. I came to say sorry to you." He looked lost in thought. "You know, Evangeline, I can't get my head around you. The way you look, the way you talk, the way you think. It's all strange to me. I can't tell whether you're tame, wild or just lost."
He left me with that. It was the I began to think that maybe he wasn't so bad after all.