Chapter 49

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Faith and Benji loved the shells and when she saw the little gem Hailie had slipped into it, she went over the world. Hailie thought it strange considering they were rich, her mother must have plenty jewelry, but she didn't push her away when she hugged her waist. Benji had quizzed her about the cave, wanting to know every single detail and then sighing that he wished he could swim so that he could see it as well. She hadn't shown them the one Eli had given her, not just because he asked her to keep it a secret, but because it was something she didn't want to share with anyone.

The sun was setting when Hailie went up for another smoke. The wind blew through her hair and the sea was so calm that the ship barely rocked as it sailed forward. Eli came to stand next to her.

"I find that I feel a bit more relieved when I see you wearing that vest," he said.

Shen had asked her to wear it longer and tell him what she didn't like. So far she had no complaints.

"It is just piece of leather. In a fist fight it will offer plenty protection but not much in a sword fight," she said.

"It is better than nothing. I don't want to relive those moments at Albert Town."

"Fights are dirty. Someone has to get hurt but I try to make sure it is the other guy," Hailie said.

He chuckled. "Yes, I've seen your handiwork."

Normally it felt a little uncomfortable when Eli was around, just a little. Now her heart felt like it would come up through her mouth with how fast it was beating. She couldn't believe she was being this ridiculous over a kiss on the cheek. It was a good thing he hadn't tried to kiss her on the mouth. She didn't know what state she would be in right now if he's done that.

"Hailie-Storm Castello," Eli said, playing around with it in his mouth, trying it out. "It has a ring to it, and it suits you perfectly."

"People seem to think so," Hailie said.

"I'd wondered for a moment before if that was your name but the governor only had six children, all of them died and none of them had your name. Of course, since you are obviously illegitimate then that would explain things, but it still wasn't top on the list."

"Please keep that name to yourself. I do not make a habit of letting people know. It always turns out badly," she said. She flicked the butt into the sea and resisted the urge to light another.

"I can see why. He was not a very well-liked man."

"Ask the questions you want to ask. You are beating around the bush."

"Maybe it's because I don't think you would answer if I asked." He paused and she didn't say anything. "How did you survive? I remember you saying you'd never left the house until after the attack. You were there."

"I was hiding. They could not find me but they know that I am alive. That is why I never stay anywhere for very long and I do not tell anyone my name. They want the notebook and the pearls and they want me, alive. I do not plan to let them have what they want."

"Did you see what happened?"

Hailie looked up at his face. There was no expression. His necklace was orange but there were blue specks.

"Does it matter?"

"Yes." He didn't elaborate.

"I saw. I saw everything."

"It must have been terrible."

"That is an understatement," Hailie muttered. There was something about the way he said that sentence though, that made her wonder what happened before he was found by the Captain and Kendra.

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