Chapter 10

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"How badly are you hurt?" Eli asked. He tilted her head to see the bruise forming on her jaw. She hit his hand away.

"I am fine."

"You've barely been gone for a few hours and you're already getting into fights," he said. The Captain was nowhere around. "You said you were going after Benji. You don't have time for this."

"I know that. That was why I ended it quickly. If you will excuse me..." She gave him a slight bow of her head and walked away, rubbing her side. That man had a strong kick. She should have cut off his foot.

"Hailie, wait!"

She ignored him. She hadn't noticed how short the cigarette had gotten. It almost burnt her fingers. She dropped it on the ground and crushed it beneath her shoe and kept walking.

Eli spun her around again. His grip on her shoulders was tight. She couldn't get his hands off no matter how hard she tried.

"Come back to the ship," he said.

"No. I have to meet someone." She couldn't disappear so soon. Basil and Mrs Gregory would be disappointed.

"That was not a request."

"My answer is still no."

"Why do you refuse to stay with us? You were the one that forced the Captain to kick you off the ship in the first place. Is that what you really want? To be alone? To fight alone?" The pearl was still red but it had dulled a bit and there were black and blue swirls. Hailie wondered what made it change colour.

"Do you want me to stay on the ship?" she asked.

"What?"

"So far all you have been asking me is if I wanted to stay, and no matter how many times I tell you no, you still keep asking. Is it that you want me to stay on the ship?" she asked. She didn't wait for him to answer. "Even if the answer to that question is yes, it does not matter. For me to stay on that ship I would have to apologise to the Captain and I refuse to do so."

"Why?"

"That is none of your business."

His grip tightened on her shoulders, not enough to hurt but still too tight for her liking. "How do you expect anything to be solved if you never say what the problem is? Is the problem us? The Captain? The ship? You? Tell me."

"The Captain. My biggest problem is with the Captain." She glared at him. "And at this moment, you. If you are not going to help me when I am in trouble, then do not ask me how I am afterwards." She punched him in the stomach but he didn't let go. "I told you not to touch me. Let me go."

"You didn't need any help. You were fine on your own. I didn't enjoy seeing you being hurt. If the problem is with the Captain, then talk to him."

"Let me go," she said.

"There's no point in throwing away your best bet at getting your friend back because you're holding a grudge against one man on the ship."

She hit away his hands and he finally released her. "I told you do not touch me. If you touch me again, I will run my knife through your arm. You saw what I just did to those men."

"Defend yourself? Yes. I saw that. I would have killed them. You just injured them. You are tired, you're hurt, you're not thinking as clearly as you normally would. This is not the time to be making foolish decisions. Not when your friend's life is in danger." He came closer. "Come back to the ship and let Celeste look at you. I'm sure you're in a lot of pain."

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