"You may be a barbarian, but I'm not about to let you manhandle me," she stated, her voice full of authority, and his gaze snapped to hers, shock obvious in his eyes the color of a lush forest. There were even golden flecks in his eyes, making them pop even more then they already did.
"What did you just say?" He asked, his teeth clenched with barely restrained anger. Charlotte noticed that his teeth were surprisingly well taken care of, white and all intact. His voice was deep and sultry, persuasive, and it got deeper when he was angry.
"I do believe you heard me. Now it would be foolish to try and escape, for the water is freezing and I don't know how to swim, so you needn't be holding me with such force. Either let me go or loosen your grip, both are fine, but take my word that you won't like what happens if you don't." The warning was there, threatening and real, and Charlotte stared the man down, neither looking away.
"Sean, just let her go," another sailor down the line said wearily. She glanced down at him, thanking him with her eyes.
"Please," Charlotte said, bending down to ease the pain. She was certain there would be a bruise, and if he didn't let go soon he'd break her arm. That seemed to get him, because his face softened and he released her gently.
"I'm sorry," he said quietly, looking shamefully down at his feet.
"No need to apologize," she said, gently rubbing her arm.
"Yes, there is. I was taught never to hurt a woman, and right now I did just that." He looked so disappointed with himself, Charlotte couldn't help but feel for him.
"Now stop right there. This is my fault because I allowed you to go for so long holding me tightly, so if anyone's to blame, it's me. Let's just forget about this and start over alright? Everyone, my name is Charlotte Deveraux." She waved at the men, and some waved back, other just grunted, and some said nothing at all.
"Sean Adams. You'll meet everyone later, but I can hear the captain coming and he'll be mad if we're not standing at attention. I'm going to have to take your arm again, but I'll do it softly, so as not to hurt you, alright?" Before Charlotte could answer, Sean seized her arm, lightly though as he'd promised, and stood completely still, seeming as if he were barely breathing. The door to the stairway Charlotte had noticed flew open, and out came the captain, causing all sound and movement to stop, except for Charlotte's startled gasp. His head flew her way, and he slowly walked over to her. Charlotte seemed to stop breathing, and looked to Sean frantically, hoping he'd sense her fear enough to help.
"Cap'n," Sean spoke up, shocking not only himself, but all of his crewmates. He couldn't believe he'd spoken in the captain's presence without being told. Never, in his entire time on a ship, had Sean talked when not told to. "Leave her be. She didn't so anything. Sides, she doesn't know all the ship rules and such."
"Fine,"the captain said with a grunt, his face red with anger. "But you'll be takin' it upon yer'self to teach her the way we opererate her on The Mist, ye hear me?" All Sean could was nod, for hew as stunned into silence. Spend more time with this girl that stood up to him and was sure to make his life a living hell? He didn't want to do it, but if it saved her from a beating or worse, then he would reluctantly do it.
"All right, mates. Ye did a good job. Now as for this one ye caught, Sean. I want the basics of her background, what her name is, and I want to kow if she's worthy of bein' on this ship, ye hear?" Without waiting for a reply, the captain trudged back downstairs grumbling to himself. The other men went back to work, but Sean just stood there, releasing Charlotte and looking at her.
"Thank you," she said meekly, doing nothing for his foul mood.
"Yeah yeah. Let's just get started. This is The Mist. Our crewmates have an assortment of names, so it's best you just approach them and start talking so as not to confuse yourself. You'll probably be sleeping with us in the birthe, but we'll set aside a somewhat ncie place to accomodate your, uh, differences." Sean thougth he was being fairly formal, and he directed Charlotte to roam around, but to stay within his sight so he could stop her if she happened to be doing something that could get her into trouble.
He watched her walk away, then climbed up to the mast, where Smith, a fellow sailor, stood, in need of Sean's help.
"Aye Sean, that one ye caught down there is a babe," Smith said with a smile, revealing the gap in his mouth where he was missing a tooth.
"Hadn't noticed," he replied distractedly. The truth was, he had noticed. With her fair brown hair that looked shot through with red in the sunlight, soft, feminine face, and blue eyes the color of the sky on a perfectly clear day, the short, slender woman was a kncockout.
"Yeah right," Smith scoffed, knowing full well only an idiot wouldn't notice Charlotte's beauty.
"Fine fine. So she's gorgeous, what does it matter? You're married with kids anyways," Sean pointed out, reffering to Smith's wife Lydia, who was waiting for their return back in England and his three children, Scott, Vivienne, and Gracie.
"Yes, but you aren't," Smith said with a suggestive laugh before climbing back down an dleaving the rest of the job to Sean.
"Aye, but that doesn't mean I'll be wanting to marry that gorgeous, determined young woman," he said outloud, though no one but himself was around to hear.