I shifted my posture slightly in my seat as I felt the dark, almond shaped eyes of Virote’s first mate, MinhTu, staring me down from across the doorway. I kept my unsteady gaze attentive to the wooden floor planks of Captain Bennett’s study. The air in the room was thick with the awkward avoidance of eye contact and unsteady heartbeats of all those waiting for the captain to sign the paper in front of her.

“So these are your terms?”  I perked up when she spoke. Virote gave one slow nod. “These are mostly in my favor,” she said, informatively. Once again, the captain of the Su Chin gave a single slow nod.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the slight, smirking curl of MinhTu’s mouth take form. “And you expect me to sign this with perfect trust that you will keep to this contract?” one slow nod.

“I have betrayed you greatly at a time when you were gracious and understanding. You saved me and my crew when we were most vulnerable and when you could have taken advantage of us. Instead, I took advantage of you. Su Chin would have fallen from the sky and we repaid your kindness with malice.” Virote stared out onto the endless blue that was the sky over Singapore. “This is my apology and my thank you.”

Captain Bennett stared at Virote in thought for a long few moments before shrugging nonchalantly, signing, and standing. Virote stood as well. “Is there anything else I can do to show my apology is sincere?” He asked. The captain scoffed.

“You can get off my ship,” She gestured towards the door of her study. I took it upon myself to open it for them as they walked out, Virote’s first mate nudging me in the shoulder as he left behind his captain.

“See you in the sky, white girl.” He muttered rudely out the door. I rolled my eyes and waited for my captain to leave before I followed her out. The Thai pirate and his Vietnamese first mate bowed before boarding their newly repaired ship. We watched them take off to the north before the captain turned around with tired eyes and shouted,

“You think this widow will sail on her own? Back to work!”

“You heard the captain!” I shouted, walking backwards with a half skip before following Captain Bennet back into her study. Roderick followed behind with a map and stood at the entrance.

“Captain,” he began, “I’d like to discuss our route from London to the middle east when we get back to England but I think that sooner will be better than-“ I slammed the door in his face to have muffled German swears thrown at it. I giggled and sat down in the armchair left of the door where Minhtu had been seated before.  The tiny flash of a flame ignited off of a match and settled onto the stick of Jasmine incense. I watched as the captain blew out the flame and the smoke from the glowing tip slithered into the air.

“You shouldn’t bully our navigator like that.” She said. I sunk into my chair with a smirk. Jabber crawled out of my bag and dropped to the floor with a green apple to which I responded by pulling out a pocket knife from my boot. He handed me to apple and I sliced it in half, giving him one side and biting into the other.

“Something didn’t seem right. He wasn’t his normal, vicious self.” I expressed, “I just don’t see how a pirate of his esteem could be so apologetic like that. Something’s not right. I don’t think he’s going to keep that contract.”

   “Pirates make contracts as way of saying sorry so that they don’t have to literally say it.” Charlotte sat down and cleared her desk. “He was definitely sincere though. Virote only apologizes on rare occasions.” She sighed and glanced up at me. “Let’s just hope we don’t run into the Su Chin during our time in the Middle East. Speaking of which, check outside my door to see if Roderick is there.”  I stood up and opened the door to see Roderick across the deck arguing with Dominique. “Arabella? Is he there?” I glanced back at the captain and when I turned around, he was hunched over Dominique’s fist, “Ara!” I closed the door and walked back into her study, placing my hands at the edge of her desk and leaning over it.

“He’s occupied at the moment.” I said with a grin. The captain smiled knowingly and shook her head. “Captain, do you really think Virote is capable of a sincere apology though?” I asked. She looked up at me from under her brow. “He just always acts so shamelessly. I mean, I guess we all have our limits though, right? No-“I held up my finger and shook it forward, “He always was a Darwinist…that’s a word, right?”

“Think about it this way,” she leaned back in her chair, “A few weeks ago, you went out and slept at that bar. You were gone for a few days and we had a lot going on at the time. I snapped at you, remember?” I thought for a moment and nodded as I munched on a bite of apple. What did you say to me, Arabella?”  I shrugged casually.

“I apologized and told you it wouldn’t happen again.” Captain Bennet sighed and looked down at a paper on her desk.

“And did you really think it wouldn’t happen again?” she asked me, glancing up from her paperwork.

“Of course. You seemed really angry about it.” I was slightly lying but I was starting to see where she was going with this.

“Where were you last Monday?” she asked.

“I slept at the Rejected Gear.” I answered.

“That’s right.” She said, “Now go make sure there’s someone keeping a close look out for trade ships. I’m in the mood for a good looting.”

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