Chapter 42

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One thing down, one more thing to go.

Now the only thing left to do was win her bet with Celeste and Shen. She didn't care about the cigarettes, it was more her pride though she couldn't remember exactly why she was doing the bet in the first place. Something about her not being able to do something. It didn't really matter.

At that moment they were sitting at the largest table in the dining hall, Eli on her right, Faith on her left and the Captain sitting opposite her. She and Gordon had spent most of the day cooking the dolphin and everyone who could be in the dining room without putting the ship at risk was. It made Hailie sweat but she tried to pretend as if they weren't there.

It wasn't working.

Her head was down and she was focused on the food in front of her but none of it made it to her mouth. She'd tasted it when they were cooking and was disappointed with her upset stomach.

Hailie felt Eli stroking her hair.

"It's just for tonight and tomorrow morning. After that it's just the crew," he said. She could see Benji stabbing the meat on his plate from the corner of her eye.

She nodded.

So much work went into the food. She almost felt guilty for what she was about to do. Almost. Not enough to prevent her from doing it. Everyone was almost done. She had to do it now.

Hailie took a spoonful of the food but her hand was shaking and it ended up spilling on Eli's shirt.

"I am sorry," she said, reaching for a rag but in her haste she tipped over the plate, the gravy getting on both his shirt and his pants. There were pieces of the dolphin and other food in the creases of his clothes.

"I can fix this," Hailie said.

She used the rag to wipe some of the food from his shirt.

"It's fine," Eli said.

She ignored him and started wiping the food from his pants. She felt him getting tense. Success. She continued to clean it up. The more uncomfortable he got the faster he would leave.

Eli grabbed her hands.

"I think it's best if I just go and change," he said.

"But I almost got it out." Hailie reached for his pants again but he held her hands tighter.

"I'm going to change."

He stood up and left the room.

The Captain leaned across the table.

"Hailie, what are you planning?" he asked.

She shrugged. "I do not know what you are talking about."

"You don't honestly expect me to believe you spilled food... by accident? And you just so happened to have a rag on hand."

"Things happen." Hailie used the rag to start cleaning the table. She could see the amusement on Celeste and Shen's faces. Celeste was even trying to hold back a laugh. They both knew what she was doing.

Kendra wasn't trying to hold back her laugh. "I've never seen Eli look that uncomfortable in my life."

"Why was he uncomfortable?" Lilly asked. "Hailie was just trying to help him clean his clothes."

Indira chuckled. "Try helping Zigzag. His reaction might be worse."

Zigzag placed his hands on the table and leaned closer to Indira. "Do you want me to die?"

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