His Saving Grace

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Chapter VI

Something was wrong with Fig. The captain noticed it before I did. As soon as he pointed it out, it became so blatantly obvious. At first, he led the way for Beth at meal times. Now, they stood side by side, like new lovers. Oddest of all, he smiled around her and protected her from the leering eyes of those who also tried to cop a feel.

“She’s convinced him he loves her.” Captain scoffed. “Women these days.” He sighed as he leaned back on his chair. It was nighttime. I could barely keep myself upright, so I was laid down on the bed. Despite being physically exhausted, my mind was racing, making me unable to sleep.

Fig was around her at all times, so it wasn’t difficult to imagine that he had some form of puppy love for her. However, I had no idea if this was a plot to escape on Beth’s side or a genuine return of his emotions. She’d never fallen in love because she’d never been exposed to males anywhere close to her age.

Also, I had no means of communication with her, as the captain suspected we could be making some plans to escape, and no matter how much I pleaded, he refused to allow me to see her. The best I could do was glance at her briefly as I served food, but never directly to her as the captain had banned that too. He was smart, I could give him that.

“I should make sure she doesn’t do anything dangerous to him.” He muttered to himself.

“Can’t I go see to her?” I asked for what felt like the hundredth time.

“No.” He practically growled. I could almost imagine his annoyed expression, with furrowed brows and an angry glower, but this time, I felt some foreign form of confidence.

“Why not? It couldn’t possibly get worse than being kidnapped to a boat sailing to who knows where.” I was shaking as I spoke, recollecting the clear memory of his cold eyes piercing through me, and as soon as the words left my mouth, I wanted nothing more than to take them back. I closed my eyes, terrified of opening to see him in front of me.

He was silent. Suddenly, the bed sunk down around my sides, and I let out a shriek as I opened my eyes to see Captain on top of me. I tried to look away, but I barely had space to breathe, much less turn my head. He was too close, and my terror seemed to amuse him, as the usual smirk graced his lips. He was enjoying my discomfort.

“Please move away a little.” I managed to whisper, as I did everything I could to squirm away.

“Now why would I do that?” He asked. I couldn’t answer. “Come on, Grace, give me a reason.”

“I feel like I can’t breathe.” I practically squeaked. “You’re too close.”

“Am I?” He asked. With that, he leaned his face closer to mine, and he was now leaning on his elbows while keeping his weight off me. “What about now, Grace?” His breath was on my face, and I could smell faint traces of whiskey, his beverage of choice.

My entire face was heated up, and I felt genuinely out of breath. Finally, I managed to completely open my eyes, and his eyes were on my lips. Slowly, a different heat ran through my body as his eyes slowly trailed up to meet my eyes, and I shivered. Being so close, he must have felt it because a different light shone in his eyes now, a little more than the usual sadistic amusement.

Then, I was raised in the air and flipped on top of him, as he’d swapped our positions in a heartbeat, and he smiled. He actually smiled as I gaped at him, both in shock over the situation and his smile. I was lying on top of him, and he had his arms around my waist. His smile was so sensual and breathtaking to the point that it made me feel as though there wasn’t enough air, and the lifts of both corners of his lips with the slightest twinkle in his eye seemed like satisfaction itself. In return, without even realizing it, I smiled back.

I flailed a little, unsure of how to approach this position, but he held me close. “Relax.” He murmured, and his lips were on my neck. Little pecks from where my neck met my shoulder to my jawbone, and I shivered. He must have felt it because I could feel the smile on his lips as they trailed up my neck. His fingers trailed down to my shirt, where the buttons of his shirt I wore were done to the top. I could feel the burn of his fingers against my bare skin as he undid the first button.

“Stop...” I whispered, and to my genuine surprise, he did. I yanked myself away, the flush on my entire body practically engulfing my body. He’d made a new sensation of heat in my stomach, and I had no idea how to react to it. I jumped off him and the bed, and I stumbled back as I tried to breathe. He took his time getting back up, and he did so with a leisurely smirk on his face.

“Too much?” He asked, and I felt the inexplicable need to cover my entire body from his eyes and take a freezing shower. I couldn’t answer his teasing as another flush of heat cascaded over my body. Just with his eyes, he had the strangest power over me. “Come on, Grace. We need to sleep together, don’t we? Just like the past few days.”

It was true, we had slept in the same bed. However, that did not mean I was any more comfortable sleeping in his presence than I had been the previous nights. Never before had he touched me in such a manner, and now, I was terrified, not only of him, but also of my body’s reaction to him. I tried to calm my pounding heart, and I walked towards our bed once more.

He stood up, but instead of walking towards me, he walked away, turning his back on me. I climbed into the bed quietly, constantly glancing over at him as he sat back down at his table. He didn’t so much as glance at me.

“Stop watching me, Grace. Unless you expect something more than sleeping beside me, don’t keep looking at me in that lustful way.” His voice was strained, and this was the first time I’d seen him lack his control, even with his voice. It made me flush all over, but his voice was pulling me over. I stood, stumbling off the bed and making my way towards him. I reached my hand out uncertainly, just about to touch his shoulder, when he spun around. I was snatched forwards, and I could barely let out a cry before my voice was muffled by his chest. He was holding me, cradling me like a child.

“You’re so easy to tease.” I could hear the smirk in his voice, and the strain was out of it. He’d been teasing me. I squirmed, trying to get out of his hold, but that only tightened it. I was stuck. “A little gesture, and you run right over.” Now, I was embarrassed. He read me so easily, yet I could barely even look at him without flinching, much less read the emotions in his eyes.

It seemed odd that I’d spent so much time with him, considering the days mostly just blended into one another. I had had such a tight schedule with Beth that we had both woken up when barely right after sun did too, but now, I would wake with the sun on some days or wake even earlier on others. The captain, however, seemed to always be awake, and he always seemed to be around. He didn’t quite seem to be doing any captain-ly duties, might I say so myself. When I had any task, which was at all times, it would be with the chef, being cramped into the stuffy area called the kitchen, and he used every second I was in there to bully me around, physically and mentally.

Just that day, he’d set me to peeling potatoes without offering a hand to help, all while dozing off in the shadows, yet every time I stopped, his head would snap up, sending me a ferocious glare that got me going again. In addition to that, he taunted me mercilessly, teasing about my lacking muscles, lost life, supposed love for the captain, and much more, but I had no one to share these difficulties with. So I kept my mouth shut.

After all, he also constantly reminded me that anything reported would be my words against his, and I wasn’t a fool to stay ignorant to his underlying threat. However, unlike many others, he didn’t look at me in any way that could be considered inappropriate, and that was possibly the only thing I was grateful about him.

“What are you thinking about?” The captain snapped me out of my daze, but not only with this words. His hand curved around my shoulder, playing with the sleeve of his shirt that I still wore.

“The cook.” I muttered, silently sending out curses that I wished could reach the cursed man who might as well had handcrafted the blisters that now adorned my skin in a blaze of red.

“Thinking about another man while in my arms, Grace?” The way he said my sent a tingle up my spine, and he must have felt the tiny shudder because he smirked, pulling me slightly closer. Apparently, that was possible. Almost every part of my torso touched some part of him, but I was helpless, flopping like a fish to escape.

“The cook is a mean man.” I muttered sullenly, throwing my head back in an effort to keep my face away from his. “He bullies me into doing work, and I had blisters everywhere.” I felt like a weight was being tugged off my chest, grappled away through the captain’s smooth demeanor. He used his charm as a weapon, and it seemed to working.

Carefully, as though handling a child, the captain kept me upright with one hand with taking my hand in his other, and he flipped it over to inspect my palm. As I already knew, it was a part of me now, the blisters from haggling the pots and pans around to wash them while the cook did absolutely nothing. They had burned during the first few days, and any kind of touch had been torture. Any time I even considered slacking, the cook had found ways to poke the most sensitive areas of my body, not only my palms, so had held control of me. Now, they were calluses.

Captain gazed at the calluses, and suddenly, he pulled my hand closer to his face and pressed his lips against the inside of my palm. “They define you and your work, Grace.” Ever since I’d told him to call me Grace, an action I regretted many times a day, he made it his aim to deliberately emphasize the word, making me blush uncontrollably. This time, however, he didn’t say it to tease but to gain my attention. It worked. My eyes darted to his lips that left my palm, before quickly jumping up his eyes, and as usual, his eyes were on me. I couldn’t look away this time.

The hand he used to hold my torso up tightened its grip, and I couldn’t help but arch my back forwards, closer to him. He’s doing this on purpose, I reminded myself. It’s all a game to him. But my body betrayed me as my hands clung around his neck, my eyes trained on his lips. It’s all a game to him. Maybe I’d like to play.

“Captain!” A young voice that could have only been Fig’s interrupted us. He knocked on the door so violently that it finally knocked some sense into my dazed state of sparks flying. I ripped my hands away from him, pulling my body as far away from him as possible without falling. His eyes stayed on mine as he gently let go of me and put me on my feet. “Captain! It’s Elizabeth, she’s on the deck!”

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