Sir Graham nursed me back to health. Despite his young age, he was rather proficient at his job, and he had the softest touch that kept the screams at bay. It was – surprisingly – Sir Graham who banned the captain from his own room.
Instead of kicking me out of his room, the captain left me there, while he took to minimal sleep on the deck. The tinge of guilt I felt surprised me, but I ignored it. Even the thought of him brought a cold rush into my bones, and I found myself screaming Sir Graham awake while I dreamt only of pain. They were nightmares haunting me, through the deep pain in my skin and bones.
Sir Graham was actually lovely company. He was rather work-orientated, but he always showed happiness at any progress I made. My skin was healing slowly, but progress was progress. At least, that was what he tried to convince me.
Days passed by one after the other, and I often found myself wondering when we would be on land. I had missed the last possibility, since that was when Sir Graham had been kidnapped onboard. It was Sir Graham who kept me updated on these little things.
The cook was annoyed at me, Sir Graham claims, because I had “gotten away from cooking and cleaning”. He said that I should consider myself lucky. It was clear that Sir Graham had hoped to lighten the mood, as he let out an awkward laugh, but that story brought tears to my eyes. I was unhappy, and I didn’t know how to control the emotions anymore. I was miserable.
Still, Sir Graham tried his best, and I appreciated his help. He was the one who had helped me slowly recuperate. It went from basic movements of the arms to casually walking around. There was now a constant level of pain, but as long as I had the energy to bear with the pain for the day, I was able to move around with relative ease.
After several days of consideration, Sir Graham finally agreed to allow me to walk out to the deck. I needed to keep my limbs moving, as to ensure my muscles wouldn’t go stiff, and moving around the captain’s room wasn’t enough. We waited until the night to move around.
I was relatively excited. It was nauseating staying in a room without fresh air, and I missed being able to see the stars. Still, I found myself praying that we wouldn’t see the captain on our trip today.
I ignored the twinge in my shoulders as I pushed myself off the bed. Sir Graham offered me his arm, and I took it gladly. I needed as much help as I could get, and I wasn’t too proud to reject it. He kept a constant check on my back, making sure that there wasn’t blood pouring out of any opened wounds.
My legs were shaky as we made our way to the deck slowly. Sir Graham matched my slow pace, but his gaze was also locked ahead. He had stayed with me almost the entire time, leaving only to ask for certain supplies or to relieve himself, so he missed the outdoors too. He had this look on his face that almost made me smile.
Going up the stairs was a slow process, but as soon as we made it up, I couldn’t help the wide grin on my face. I was ecstatic.
Wind blew softly around us, and there was a loud calmness in the air that came from the ocean around us. There was noise, but it felt so silent. That was the wonder of being outdoors. Slowly, we walked around, smiles on each of our faces, and we took in the salty smell of the sea. It was surprisingly chilly, but I actually found myself enjoying the fresh bite of the wind. Living in a stuffy room could change a person, it seemed.
There were a few members of the crew on deck, but they dutifully ignored us. Some, however, glanced over my way every once in a while. After all, no one had seen me in a while. I didn’t recognize them, though, since I’d never properly been acquainted with any of the crew.
Graham stopped all of the sudden, which made me stop too. I glanced up at him, and he was staring at something to his right. I peeked over him to see the captain making his way towards us.
Nothing could have prepared me for the rush that went to my chest. Suddenly, my heart was pounding, and I could feel a strange sweat working its way up. My body, though, was locked in place, and it wouldn’t move no matter how hard I was trying to get away. My mind was begging me to run.
He stood in front of us, Captain Alexander Caine, as tall and devastatingly handsome as I remembered. I couldn’t move. His eyes met mine first, and no matter how hard I tried to look away, I was stuck. My body wasn’t listening.
Sir Graham broke the tension. “Good evening, Captain. I hope you don’t mind our stroll. We’re getting some exercise in us before we go back to staying indoors all day.” He was trying to act comfortably, but it sounded awkward no matter what.
The captain didn’t seem to notice. “As you wish.” He didn’t look away from me, and I couldn’t look away from him.
This tiny, little part of me, deep, deep down, wanted to know. The part of me that had yearned her entire life to be looked at the way he looked at me was curious. She wanted to know if this was our Alexander Caine. Was this the man who would smile and wrap his arms around us? Would he love us the way we wanted?
Immediately, that little part of me was shut down. There was a new part of me that dominated this mind. It was the Grace who was broken.
The little Grace wore her heart of her sleeve, and she was pure white. This new Grace had a cage around her heart, and she cradled the steel cage to her chest. Her back was bare, and there were scars everywhere. Her mind was crying, and she was drenched in blood. She was in charge, and she was terrified.
Finally, I was able to tear my eyes away. Graham squeezed my hand that held onto his arm, and I stared down at the comfort he was giving me. It was Graham who grounded me. He had saved me from the pain, and it was him who would keep me away from it. He was the light.
“We should get going.” I surprised them both by breaking the silence. Sir Graham nodded eagerly, but the captain didn’t step away. I forced my head to move, and I looked up at him. I was surprised to see that he wasn’t looking at my face. Instead, his eyes were on arm, the one that held on to Sir Graham’s.
His gaze was darker than before as he finally dragged his eyes back up. I met his eyes defiantly, even though I was shaking, and he stepped out of the way. A sigh of relief broke through me as we walked passed the most dangerous man I knew. We were only a few steps away when he called out to us.
“We arrive on land in two days. I hope you can make it with us on the land.” Sir Graham and I spun around in surprise, and I ignored the heated twinge in my back. Land? We were going to land soon?
The captain looked stoic, back to the man I knew and despised. This was easier. It was so much easier to face the man when he was the evil that had hurt me. I was almost relieved to see this side of him.
“I’m sure we can, captain.” Sir Graham was beaming. He even threw in an awkward salute to the captain, who didn’t react. Unbothered by the stoniness, Sir Graham spun us back around to head to the cabins. He was too excited that I almost didn’t want to tell him. But I had to.
“Sir Graham?” My voice sounded surprisingly strong, considering my situation.
“Yes, Lady Grace?” He was smiling as he looked down at me. Instantly, he froze. I couldn’t hide the pain on my expression. I could hear footsteps storming towards us. It had to be the captain. I mean, I’m sure he noticed the blood. I could feel the warm liquid trailing down.
“I think I’m bleeding again.” He looked stricken, and he glanced at my back, where I was sure there was some blood peeking through. He looked pale as he met my eyes once more. That meant there was more than a little blood. After all, I was wearing white.
“Let’s go.” Suddenly, Sir Graham ducked down, and he wrapped his arms around my legs and behind. I squealed in surprise, but that didn’t deter him. He proceeded to lift me in his arms. “Is this comfortable?” His arms were wrapped under my bottom, and if the blood weren’t spilling out of my back, I might have blushed. Instead, I nodded, feeling vaguely dizzy by the movement.
Sir Graham walked as quickly as he could. We had to get to the captain’s room. I glanced back as we descended the stairs. The captain just stood there. He was staring after us, but there was this expression on his face. I couldn’t quite explain it.
He looked lost, but there was this chill that went down my spine. I had a terrible feeling.