Chapter 6: Docks
The carriage jostled to a stop and Erik looked out the window to see that they had arrived at the docks. He looked back down at Beatrice who was still sleeping. He hated to wake her up because she looked so beautiful, but they had to get on that ship as quickly as possible, and she knew what ship it was that they had to get on.
“Beatrice,” he whispered. She groaned and stirred a bit making him stiffen. He cleared his throat and leaned close to her ear.
“Beatrice,” he whispered again. “Wake up, mon ami.”
“No,” she murmured and Erik frowned at her. “No, leave me alone.”
“Beatrice,” Erik tried again and nudged her a bit. “You have to wake up.”
“No,” she muttered again. “Go away. No. Stay away.”
She tossed a bit and Erik tried to sit her up, but it only made it worse.
“No!” she shouted and started hitting his chest as if trying to get away. “No! Get off of me! Let go!”
“Beatrice!” Erik shouted over her and shook her a bit. “You are having a nightmare! Wake up!”
“No!” she shouted one last time and her eyes shot open as she breathed heavily. “What? Erik?”
“You had a nightmare, mon ami,” he told her soothingly and stroked some hair from her forehead. She stared at him with wide eyes and he saw the horror in her eyes as she realized what her dream had been about.
“Erik,” she breathed and collapsed onto his chest again. “I am so sorry.”
“It is alright, Beatrice,” he whispered, patting the back of her head. “I understand.”
He sighed and realized how much he liked this. He liked comforting a woman when she woke up from a nightmare, even though he had never done it before. He didn’t want to let her go.
“Why have we stopped?”
“We have reached the docks.”
Beatrice gasped and sat up.
“We should get on board!” She smiled and leaned toward him a bit. “We would not want you to get caught yet, do we?”
Erik smirked as he studied her face.
“No, we do not,” he murmured as he started closing in on her. He loved flirting with her like this, even though he shouldn’t, and she told him not to in so many words, but he couldn’t help making her blush.
“You are closing in on me again.”
“Does that bother you?”
“I told you not to do anything inappropriate,” Beatrice swallowed.
“But it is so easy to be that way with you,” he whispered seductively and her skin stained crimson over her face, neck and chest. “You are blushing, Beatrice.”
“Hey!” a voice shouted outside the window behind Erik, drawing their attention. It was the driver of the carriage, and he looked impatient. “Are you two going to get out?”
“We are sorry, monsieur,” Beatrice gasped as she drew closer to the window and Erik didn’t look at him, not wanting to be recognized. “We are. Thank you very much for driving us here.”
She pulled out her small black purse and counted out enough money for the journey then handed it to him. He took it gladly and opened the door for them. Beatrice climbed out and the man walked to the back of the carriage to unload their baggage. Erik climbed out making sure his cloak was over his face and took one of the bags that were his.
“Beatrice,” he whispered and she looked at him.
“How many bags did you bring?”
Erik stared at her in disbelief.
“What is so extraordinary about that?”
“I only brought one!”
“You did not have much,” Beatrice retorted. “Now carry one of my bags like a good husband, will you?”
Erik growled in irritation and picked up one of her bags as the carriage drove off. She picked up two of her bags and turned to the dock. They took a long look at the ships lined up on the dock and began walking slowly toward them.
“What is the name of our ship?” Erik wondered.
“The Cruel Mistress, I believe,” Beatrice replied.
“That sounds dangerous,” he stated. “Who is her captain?”
“I do not know. We shall find out,” Beatrice said, looking around at the ships to find theirs. The two walked along the docks a little longer when they were greeted by a young man that had to be no more than seventeen years old. He had chocolate brown hair and charcoal black eyes that shined even in the darkness.
“Are you here to board the Cruel Mistress?” he asked with an odd accent.
“As a matter of fact, we are, young man,” Beatrice replied with a smile.
“Perfect! I’ll take you to her! Let me take those from you, ma’am.” He took her bags then turned and began leading them down the dock.
“Thank you,” Beatrice smiled and walked after him quickly with Erik trailing behind her. “My name is Beatrice, and this is my fr-husband, Erik.”
“I’m Matthew,” the boy answered, still walking. “I’m Captain Robyn’s first mate.”
“You are not from here, are you?” Beatrice wondered.
“I’m from Australia,” Matthew replied. “Captain picked me up with a shipment of sugar going from there to the New World.”
“You stowed away?” Erik suddenly assumed and Beatrice shot a look of disbelief at him. He had agreed that he wouldn’t talk, but apparently he changed his mind.
“Well, you might say that,” Matthew replied. “Couldn’t help myself. I love the sea. I couldn’t stay away.”
“Are you a sailor by trade?” Beatrice wondered.
“Not really,” Matthew admitted. “I don’t know much about sailing, but Captain is teaching me.”
“Who is your captain?”
“Here we are! You’ll meet Captain Robyn in person when you board.”
“Does he meet everyone that boards?”
“Captain Robyn does,” Matthew smirked, making Beatrice frown in confusion. They walked up a gangplank on board a sailing ship that didn’t really look like it would take on passengers.
“I have a bad feeling about this, Beatrice,” Erik whispered. Beatrice looked at him as they stepped on the deck. She knew that if Erik had a bad feeling, it might be very true.
“What kind of bad feeling?” she whispered back.
“Like something is going to happen.”
“Captain!” Matthew called. “Our passengers are here!”
Erik and Beatrice looked toward the stern and saw the door of the captain’s cabin open and their jaws nearly dropped to the floor.
The captain was a woman! She strode toward them with determined steps and her head was held high. She had thick, ebony hair that fell to her waist that was held back by a silk purple sash and turquoise blue eyes that said she must be respected and obeyed. She was dressed in a white linen shirt, a black leather vest over it, black breeches and tall, black leather boots with a red sash around her waist. She looked more like a pirate than a legitimate sailor.
“Mates,” Matthew smiled at Erik and Beatrice. “Allow me to introduce Captain Krystal Robyn.”
He gestured grandly at the woman as she stood at attention with an expressionless face.
“Welcome,” she nodded. “The Cruel Mistress would be pleased to carry you to Spain.”
“Th-Thank you,” Beatrice stuttered, her eyes wide as she stared at the captain. Krystal frowned at her in confusion then glanced at Erik who had the same expression on what little she could see of his face. She smirked and nodded in realization.
“Not quite what you were expecting in a captain I take it,” she smiled.
“No,” Beatrice blurted then shook it away and caught herself. “I mean to say that, well, you are a woman!”
“I get that quite a lot,” Krystal smiled. “No hard feelings, I merely go my way without caring what people think of me. I take it you met my first mate, Matthew Warren?”
“Yes,” Beatrice nodded. “My name is Beatrice, and this is my husband, Erik.” She gestured to Erik who nodded in greeting.
“You have last names, don’t you?” Krystal smiled, and Beatrice looked at Erik in horror.
“LaRouche,” Erik replied simply, making Beatrice look at him in awe at his quick response. “Erik and Beatrice LaRouche.”
Krystal nodded and turned a stern look at Matthew.
“What are you waiting for, lad?! Take their bags to the guest cabin!”
Matthew saluted and grabbed their bags then ran down a hatch in the middle of the deck.
“Will there be any more passengers?” Beatrice wondered.
“No,” Krystal said simply. “Just you two.”
“Only us?” Beatrice breathed in disbelief and Erik stood next to her as he placed his arm around her waist, making her blush. “I thought this was a passenger vessel!”
“I don’t usually take passengers, but for you, I made an exception. This is a cargo vessel.”
“Why did you make the exception?” Erik couldn’t help but wonder.
“I heard why you wanted to leave here and I understand completely. I won’t turn you in to the police. I myself have a bit of lawlessness in me.”
“How did you hear about us?” Beatrice wondered a bit worriedly. Erik held her closer, as if ready to take her away if things got bad.
“I have people,” Krystal shrugged.
“You mean spies,” Erik nearly growled. Krystal looked at him in mild surprise and scoffed.
“Something like that,” she smirked. “I have to know my passengers if I take them on.”
“We do not need help from people who would spy to get information,” Erik replied in a growl then turned to Beatrice. “I will get our bags, dear. We are not sailing with this pirate.”
He took her hand and turned to the hatch that Matthew ran into.
“Mr. LaRouche,” Krystal called, calmly and he stopped. “I must say, you’re holding your temper a bit better than I expected. Let me say that I don’t take offense by your calling me a pirate. But I will say that I take some offense at you wanting to leave my ship. We’ll get you to Spain without any problem. I’m not easy with trust, but I’ll ask you to not judge me at first sight. I know you wouldn’t want to be judged by your outsides, would you?”
Beatrice stared at Krystal in disbelief then looked at Erik with wide eyes as he turned to face her, standing tall.
“Capitaine Robyn,” he mumbled and Beatrice wrapped her arms half way around his chest, not wanting him to advance. “You have a way with words.”
“I take it you’ll sail the Cruel Mistress?” Krystal smirked and Erik simply nodded. Krystal turned to Beatrice who looked at her in disbelief again. “Your husband doesn’t say much, but when he does, he makes his point simply.”
“Thank you,” Beatrice could only say. She couldn’t believe that Erik had given in so easily. She expected him to keep walking and get their bags, dragging her behind him. This was totally new for him, and she couldn’t pinpoint what changed him.
“This way to your cabin, Mr. and Mrs. LaRouche,” Krystal gestured to the hatch Matthew had run into. Erik and Beatrice followed Krystal with Erik gripping Beatrice’s hand the whole time. Krystal led them to a small room with one bed and their bags sat on the window seat beneath a window flooded with moonlight.
“It seems another one of your rules is going to be broken on this ship, hm?” Erik whispered in Beatrice’s ear.
“Maybe it will not be so bad,” Beatrice murmured back. “That is, if you keep your hands to yourself.”
Krystal turned to them and smiled.
“Enjoy your stay on our ship,” she said. “The Cruel Mistress will see you to Spain as safely as possible.”
They nodded and whirled around when they heard footsteps hurriedly coming toward them.
“Captain!” Matthew gasped for breath. “Po-Police! They’re boarding to search the ship!”