Men are Troublesome
True to his word, Arturo came in ten minutes before dinner. He knocked twice and walked in, expecting her to be pressed to the window to watch the sunset or doing some other habit she had. However, Arturo came to find Marcelina asleep, wrapped thoroughly in the duvet and sheets. Her hair had been braided prior--not a surprise to him-- but the lack of a scale or two was a little off-putting. Marcelina was facing the sun, so Arturo had to walk around to see her face. It was serene, illuminated as a bronze color from the sun. Her eyelashes rested a little ways from her cheekbones, and her face itself was perfectly relaxed. All in all, Marcelina was, as always, a beauty all on her own. Arturo was almost loath to wake her because he didn't want to lose this guilty pleasure of staring at his...his what?
She wasn't a pet, nor a stow-away. Marcelina was a nereid away from home and in a borrowed body. They weren't friends or enemies, but not strangers either. They were in a complicated place, Arturo and her. Oh, but he did have power over her, as both her savior and the owner of her bond. So, Arturo decided the best title to give her was simply "his". It was crude and quite possessive, but who was Arturo if not a bit crude and quite possessive? Even so, what else could he call her and still be accurate? Arturo wasn't in her best--or even good-- graces, they tolerated each other. Marcelina was a nereid turned his servant. Simple. Arturo blinked slowly as he realized he was wasting time contemplating. With no more hesitation, Arturo shook her shoulder firmly but gently. "Marcelina, it's Arturo. Get up." She stirred a bit, but not enough to wake up, so he tried again. "You need to come to dinner or you'll go without." Marcelina responded better, this time, inhaling deeply through her nose and cracking her eyes open. Her nose wrinkled in a way not unlike a child, blinking bleary eyes. "Quis est?" Arturo recoiled at the Latin. Nobody spoke it fluently anymore, and certainly not him. "Get up, Marcelina. I won't repeat myself." It took a moment for it all to filter through Marcelina's head, but Marcelina gathered herself eventually.
They were both quiet, scanning each other before Marcelina sat up and the subject quickly changed. "Where is your shirt?" Arturo coughed loudly and looked away sharply. Marcelina seemed unbothered, pointing to the linen trunk. Her shirt was laid plainly across the lid, innocent and uncaring. Arturo hastily grabbed it and threw it at her. "I assume your trousers are on, yes?" Arturo wouldn't be able to stay in control if he had to fetch that as well. "Yes yes, don't nag at me so soon, Arturo." Marcelina got to her feet, a feat to how well Emilio had taught her. "Well, hurry and make yourself decent." Arturo ordered, his fingers tapping rhythmically on his hip where his hand casually rested. Marcelina rolled her eyes--countering his sass with her own as had become the norm-- and pulled the shirt on. Tying it up with comfortable expertise, she stood and regarded her boots. Marcelina would never get used to those, making a face, but after a second of self-motivation, she put the things on. Arturo didn't waste any time after that, pivoting on his heel and walking out of the cabin. He could easily Marcelina's footfalls, which were in tandem with his.
The mess hall wasn't entirely filled with crewmembers, a considerable number of them awaited the dinner bell, chattering amongst themselves in a variety of volumes. Arturo led Marcelina to an empty space and they sat together. "Will there be fish this time?" She asked, starting the careful but well-practiced task of undoing her sleep-ruined braid. "I dunno. Those cooks hardly keep a stable menu when our food stores are full. Give it a few more weeks and they'll start getting predictable." Arturo's voice caught the attention of one of the crewmembers. "Oye, Capitán, you hardly ever sit in the mess hall for dinner, what's the occasion?" He called out. Arturo made a little shrug, briefly glancing at the other."It's only because I had to lead Marcelina. Not that I couldn't eat here if I wanted to. This is my ship, after all." "Oh, I didn't mean to imply anything. Though, I have to ask, why didn't you get Emilio to do it? He's been the one at her every beck and call and need for a while, hasn't he?" Arturo stiffened as the sudden negativity in his heart from before started up again. Only this time it was stronger. How dare these men to question his decisions? Why were they associating his creature with someone like Emilio?
Marcelina watched Arturo from the corner of her eye, regarding his posture and his deep frown. It got her curious, but not alarmed. Arturo was an odd, negative sort of guy, and Marcelina had picked up long ago that he and Emilio were rivals. Arturo's bad behavior earlier today must be starting up again, for whatever reason. Before Arturo could let the sailor have a piece of his mind, the familiar trilling of the dinner bell interrupted them and the sailor rushed away into the building crowd. In a matter of minutes, the hall was completely filled, and everyone was feasting over a bowl of potato soup, a plate of bread, cheese, and a cup of water. Marcelina was only a little disappointed with the lack of seafood--one would think being on a ship would ensure plenty of it, but that was the irony of it--but she was drawn in by the smell of dinner. It didn't taste bad, so her internal pouting was drawn back. At first, the mess hall was peaceful. Men ate and talked, and while Arturo's demeanor didn't lighten, it didn't worsen, so she dealt with the subtle loom over them.
However, that all changed once Emilio found them. He sat in the free seat to Marcelina's right. Instantly, Arturo's mood started to gradually swell, weighing down on her. At the same time, being next to Emilio made her feel lighter and pleasant. It was an interesting invisible conflict. "Are you enjoying dinner, dear?" Emilio asked, smiling with what Marcelina thought was general, friendly affection. Emilio personally was having a mental field day. He thought of more thing than just potatoes while he prepared dinner, and came to many good things. For that, he was grateful to Marcelina. Marcelina smiled back, to a lesser degree, nodding. "Yes, it's still odd to be eating such human food, but you did well, as usual." She took a sip of soup to demonstrate her approval. Emilio nodded in thanks and took a bite a bread. Marcelina was suddenly absorbed in watching him eat. It was amazingly simple, but there were so many details involved in it. He licked his bottom lip before biting--teeth pressing firmly until the soft bread gave under the pressure--and then Emilio flicked his head back by mere degrees, tearing the bread away. A flick of his tongue pulled the piece into his mouth fully, then his lips closed and did an array of silly-looking compressions and waves as he chewed.
Emilio was a slow chewer--taking in flavor and texture, Marcelina assumed-- but he was fast to swallow. His Adam's apple bobbed up and down quickly, innocent but alluring all the same. The whole process lasted moments truthfully, but to Marcelina, it felt much longer. She blinked slowly, shocked at herself for taking such a simple thing so seriously, watching with such intensity. "I'm glad you find my cooking enjoyable." He said with a pleased hum. Emilio shifted his body to face her, prepared to change the subject to her. He was stopped short by Arturo's face. The latter was practically boiling in his seat. Normally, he was always a bit miffed at how easy it was for Emilio to woo women, but in essence, he never cared too much. This time, though, he was acutely aware of Emilio's effect on Marcelina. With how well Emilio was taking her attention, it was only a matter of time until Emilio would take other things. Arturo curled his lip in disgust and jealousy. Marcelina was his. He made the choice to bring her aboard, he protected her purity from the carpenter, he even clothed her and gave her a cabin! How DARE Emilio turn that into an-an afterthought?!
Arturo wouldn't keep quiet, he refused to let this slide. He wasn't harboring affection for Marcelina, not like that, but he certainly didn't like having his chances at her cut off, nor was he keen on having an affair on his ship. Interrupting Emilio before he could actually get started talking, Arturo took a rough bite of bread, swallowed just as roughly, and spat out pure acid when he spoke. "The mess hall is, ultimately, for eating, not for flirting like teenagers." Both Marcelina and Emilio recoiled at his voice. "Arturo, you haven't so much as eaten half your food, while Marcelina and I are nearly done." The second the name came out, the three of them shuddered violently and had to lean on the table for support. Marcelina was internally swearing vividly. The bonds were clashing violently, she realized too late. Arturo recovered the fastest though he was still shaky as he sat up. "You...gave him permission to say your name?" It wasn't a question so much as a disbelieving accusation. Marcelina nodded anyway. There was no reason to try and hide anything.
"How could you? You were bonded to me first! Only I'm supposed to call your name! You know what adding a second bond would do! Emilio has no authority to get familiar with you! You're mine!" By now he was standing, glowering at them. His eyes were bright with wrath, almost poisonous-looking in color. Emilio was frowning deeply, looking back between a still-bent Marcelina and Arturo. "Arturo, you speak as though we're planning a mutiny." Arturo refused to acknowledge him aside from a dark glare. The man had gotten enough attention. "I did, I invited him to, because he's my friend. From the very start, all he's been is kind and understanding! All he's done is help me to survive, with no grudge or ultimatum!" Marcelina was able to recuperate enough to defend herself, standing up and managing to glare him down despite her height. "What have you done, Arturo? Take me from my home as a 'charm', "save me" from a danger you put me in, and now I've lost my body! I've put up with you for months, with the help of Emilio and Sergio, but mostly Emilio." She inhaled and exhaled slowly, shoulders shaking from the invisible clashing of the bonds over her. "Yes, I'm aware of what creating a second bond does. I don't care. I don't regret forming the bond with Emilio. I'm tempted to do the same with Sergio, if not to spite you, then to secure the few friends I have. But no, you can't seem to handle that I can do things for myself, or that I don't belong to you!" Marcelina's finger jabbed harshly at Arturo's chest, making his whole body rock from the force.
She glanced between Emilio and Arturo, once with fury and the second with resignation, a sudden exhaustion. "I'm not physically capable of harboring love yet. Not until Poseidon deems it ready that my Geminius show himself. As that is neither of you, I assume, there is no reason for me to reject friendship." Marcelina excused herself promptly, dead silence accompanying her. The loom was still over her, weighing down every part of her and dredging up memories better left untouched. Males were troublesome in any form, it seemed.