4 - Dangerous waters

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The two were still standing very close. So close that the loose fabric of James's shirt brushed against Nora's nightgown. She suddenly felt very exposed, and crossed her arms over her chest to cover up. The gesture caused a crooked smile to spread over James lips and his eyes to travel to her arms.

"You know, I would prefer for you to walk around like this in my cabin all day, but I need my men to focus, and this-" James grabbed her nightgown, running his thumb over the fabric. "This is very distracting. If I had you walking around on deck like that, Gisela would probably crash against the nearest rocks." James's dark voice sent shudders down Nora's spine. Taking a step backwards to escape him, Nora hit the bed and lost her balance. With a thud she sat down on the mattress, eyes still locked on James.

"Eager to share my bed, huh?" James grinned and cocked his eyebrow. Crimson colour spread over Nora's cheeks as she looked at him, her jaw almost hitting the floor at his blunt words.

"Absolutely not!" She said firmly, wishing desperately that she could look tougher than she currently did. James laughed a little under his breath, still studying the woman in front of him.

"We'll see about that, love. I got a way with the ladies. And from what I hear, the notorious Miss Monroe has spent quite sometime in the bed of strangers, so it wouldn't be the first, would it?"

"You shouldn't listen to all the gossip you hear", Nora stated. She was quite surprised to hear about the rumours Guinevere had made for herself. When she was home, she always presented the picture of the perfect daughter towards her father. But no one at the mansion knew what Guinevere did when she went to visit the homes of other Governors, Dukes and Lords. Perhaps she wasn't so innocent as she had made everyone believe.

"Guess only time will tell then", James said with a wink, before turning his back on Nora and walking towards the door. "Someone will bring you something to wear." With those words, he left the cabin and soon the sound of the door locking echoed through the room. Nora sighed heavily, laying down on the bed, staring up at the roof. She felt utterly hopeless. Having never been anywhere but the small town she'd grown up in, being this far from home scared her. The men on deck scared her, and most of all; James scared her. There was just something about him that made her blood freeze and her heart stop. Something in his eyes that made her fear for her life. But at the same time, she was intrigued. James Haddock was somehow different from the other men she'd met in her life. She had never of course met a pirate captain before, but there was something else as well. A spark of life and adventure in his eyes, a hint of something more, something bigger than she'd ever experienced as a server at the Governors. Nora had always fantasised about the ocean, the waves and what it would be like to sail towards the horizon. She'd always had a longing for more than what her hometown could provide for her. But never in a million years had she thought that pirates and a case of mistaken identity would be the start of her adventure. And honestly, Nora wasn't so sure that she now wanted any adventures. The safety of home was very appealing to her and all she wanted now was to feel the familiarity of walking down the market, or sitting in the kitchen, talking to the cooks as she waited for the Governors breakfast. Even though an adventure was all she'd ever wanted, the cost of it didn't taste as sweet as she'd imagined, staring at the ocean from her bedroom window.

The sun had began to set when approaching footsteps was heard once more. Quickly, Nora got up from the bed, tracing her fingers over the edge of the mattress, feeling the knife under her fingertips. It was reassuring to have it there, ready to use if someone were to try and figure out if the rumours of Guinevere's promiscuity were true or not. Hopefully, the knife wouldn't be used for a while though, as Nora wasn't prone to violence and had no experience with fights. Let alone with a pirate. Watching the door open, Nora leaned back a little, the knife pressing into her index finger. She half expected James to be the one to enter, but the man stepping inside wasn't James, but the big pirate who'd kidnapped her. Nora swallowed a scream as she stared at the man with wide eyes. The pirate closed the door behind him before turning towards Nora.

"Hello again, puppet", he said, his dark, growling voice sending shudders down her spine. "Got you a present." Taking a few steps into the room, the pirate threw a piece of fabric her way. Nora quickly picked it up and looked at it. In her hands were a simple dress, lavender and white, with lace as the ends of her sleeves. It was slim at the top, but flowed out a bit over the hips. Frankly, it was a beautiful dress, but Nora couldn't help but wonder where a bunch of pirates had gotten their hands on a dress like this. It wasn't as pretty or well made as the dresses Guinevere used to wear, but more in the style of what perhaps a merchant's wife would wear. Still, it was better than anything Nora had worn in her entire life.

"Go on, put it on", the pirate said, gesturing at the dress. Nora stared at him, as if he'd lost his mind.

"I will most certainly not change with a pirate in the room", she said defiantly, crossing her arms over her chest. The pirate laughed a rumbling laugh.

"It will be hard for you to find a place where there isn't a pirate on this ship, puppet. Gisela is crawling with them. Either you change, or you walk up in deck in what your wearing, I don't mind it." The pirate winked at her, making Nora fume with anger. Filthy pirates.

"At least turn around then", she said, pointing at the wall opposite her. The pirate rolled his eyes before throwing his hands in the air and turning around. Without wasting a second, Nora quickly pulled her nightgown over her head, praying that the pirate would stay put. Putting on the new dress, relief hit her as she was no longer so exposed. Sure the dress showed off a little bit more of her chest than she'd like, but it fit her well and the thick blue fabric hugged her body like an old friend. The lace created patterns on her hands in the last few rays of sunlight that made their way through the small windows. Her hair gleamed in gold and bronze as it cascaded down her back, a few strands making their way over her collarbones.

"Cleaning up well, puppet", the pirate suddenly said, causing Nora to jump. She hadn't noticed that he'd turned around.

"Thank you", she mumbled, looking down at her hands, tracing her thumb over the lace.

"Come on then." Nora looked up, staring at the pirate who was now standing by the door.

"Where are we going?"

"Up on deck. Time to meet the crew."

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