“How dare he?” She lifted the paper in the air, perplexed, angry, and bitter at this unknown Falcon. As her hand dropped, still trembling, she looked at her parents with blazing eyes. She had to read the letter twice to understand the contents. The more she read, the angrier she grew.
“How dare he?” she spat out.
“You have to leave tomorrow morning early. Otherwise you will not make the deadline,” Captain Jean gasped. “His second-in-command is his son, a ruthless and cunning man. It was he who wounded me before I got off the ship, to make sure I would deliver the message.”
“What is his name?” Rosa-Lee asked, still seething.
“Roberto. He is very sly and very dangerous. I would do as they say if I were in your shoes,” he said through clenched teeth.
Finally Cisco spoke, and the anger in his voice was unmistakable.
“Who does this man think he is, to command in this manner money, my daughter and my son’s life, all in one breath?”
“My father is used to getting what he wants, and this is a small price to pay for your son’s life, I would say.” A very tall, dark-haired man, the expression on his face determined and fierce, stood in the doorway, filling it with his large frame. They had not noticed him before now and swung toward the deep baritone voice. A scar ran from the corner of his left lip to his left eye. The deep ochre shade of those eyes made him look even more dangerous.
He wore black trousers with high boots. A white shirt showed beneath his long black jacket. In his large hand that looked like a claw to Rosa-Lee he nonchalantly held a black hat. He glared straight into her father’s own piercing eyes without any faltering of his gaze.
She clenched her hands in fists, eyes blazing at the black cloaked man, the smirk on his face clearly in defiance of any law.
“We leave tomorrow morning at six. Be there or bear the consequences.” His eyes shifted to her with amusement and with a mockingly courteous nod to her, he turned and left. They were all stunned in disbelief.
“How dare you?” She shouted at his back.
He turned, glancing back at her, appraising her as if she were the most despicable thing he had ever seen. The guffaw that burst from his throat rolled over her. She stamped her foot in frustration on the marble floor.
Though his voice was cold and distant, his eyes were fiery darts pinning her to attention to him. “Be warned, Môn Petite, that you do not wake the beast.” And he left her standing there. For a moment, fear gripped her heart and her knees buckled. She melted into the love seat.
Her dress billowed around her in an unlady-like fashion. She was crestfallen at the very idea that she would be in this cold man’s presence for the next four months.
Cisco and Qonchita stood next to Manuel, who watched the activities with interest. Rosa-Lee knew his heart was not with the sea. This was his life, here, working the land. She would miss him, her big bear of a brother.
She bravely smiled at her family and they held her for a moment in silence. They had said all they could. Now they all had to believe that this voyage would not end in disaster.
Rosa-Lee was just hugging her mother when they heard a stern, brisk voice behind them.
“Very touching, but it is time.”
Rosa-Lee saw the pirate looking at her from the ship, the same amusement from the previous evening in his eyes. He looked menacing, unwavering in the same dark clothes of the previous day. She met his gaze in the same manner; unwavering, defiant. His chuckle sent fury into her eyes.
Roberto saw the fury and it drew him. This will be an interesting time with her aboard the ship. The Falcon is definitely going to know her, but there is no harm in having some fun.
Ochre eyes roamed over the enticing body wrapped in green taffeta. The dark braided hair lay over a creamy shoulder. Her bodice clung to the small frame in the latest fashion. Her perky breasts looked ripe for the plucking. He grinned at the picture he knew he will enjoy.
She stepped away from her parents with anger still visible on her face. She gathered her dress in her hands and walked up the plank with a steady gait and a rigid back, small shoulders straight, showing no fear, to where the pirate waited. She looked at him, eyes locking his with defiance. His guffaw rumbled up his throat, mocking her. She pulled her chin up. Without a word, she turned to wave to her parents.
Rosa-Lee Almaida definitely has some backbone, Roberto smiled. Backbone I would like to break and bend to my will. Yes, I am definitely going to enjoy this voyage.
He turned his attention back to the ship and barked orders still aware of Rosa-Lee at the railing.
“I refuse to eat with that man. I will stay here. Please go!” Immediately she raised her voice in anger. Who does this man think she is? I do not want any contact with him in anyway. The nerve of this man.
Enrico nodded his head in understanding and walked out, closing the door behind him.
She unpacked her trunk into the cupboard provided for her dresses and left a few things in the trunk for later use, especially the pistol, well hidden for now. She realized she needed a place to put them and, looked around her room a second time.
Her room was comfortable but small; not what she enjoyed at home, but for now it suited her purposes. She found her way around easily and decided to put her knife near her bed between the folds of the curtains. It would be close enough to get to easily.
In the one corner near the window was the tub for her bath, a luxury on a ship. Although the ship belonged to her father she had never been on it, only the larger merchant one, but her father undoubtedly thought of everything when he purchased it a few years back. Not suitable for a woman, but for this voyage it would do fine.
She was busy brushing her long hair when she heard a knock. Thinking that it will be Enrico, she answered, “Please come in.”
“Señorita Almaida.” The familiar stern voice greeted her. When she turned around, Roberto stood behind her. He was closer to her now than at any time since they had met, hovering over her, the menacing look more plain to see on his face. The scar running from his left eye to the corner of his mouth made him look fierce.
“I have been informed that you will not join me for the meals, Señorita. Can I ask why not?” His voice cold, while his eyes took in the interior of the cabin.
“I will not eat with you, a pirate.” Defiance was in her own cold voice. “I don’t want to discuss this any further. Please leave my room.” She turned away from him, peering out the porthole to the open sea, and continued brushing her hair.
She did not see the amused look that was followed by a stern one as he spoke “It is not a matter of what you want, Señorita. You will sit at my table and that is final!”
“Make me,” she said through clenched teeth.
“All right, if this is how you want to play it, I am fine with that. Good day.” He nodded but she did not bother to turn around to notice.
When he left, she let out her breath. She had not even realized that she was holding it. This man will learn that I am not very willing or easy to please. I will give him hell! She braided her long hair with trembling fingers.
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By A.D. Spencer