16 - Not giving in

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Hello my wonderful readers!

I just want to say thank you for all the love and support I've gotten on this story. I know I haven't been the best at updates, but when summer ended life caught up to me and I haven't been able to give this baby as much love as I would like. I will however, try to make time for it - that is if you'll still have me.

I hope that you're still enjoying this and don't be afraid to ask a question or give me some contructive critisism. 

Love, Lia

The days passed in a blur. Men came in an out of the cabin, repairing the ship piece by piece. Soon the hole caused by one of the many cannonballs from the English ship was no more than a patch of fresh wood against the older, darker timber. Outside the small windows the sea roared. Waves of blue and green splashed against the glass, wild and uncontrollable. During the day more and more seagulls started to appear, a tell tale sign that the ship was getting closer to land. In the beginning of the horrid adventure Nora had been forced upon, news of land might have brought her ease, hope. But now, knowing that the truth waited as soon as the crew's dirty boots touched land, Nora only felt despair. Despite the days she'd spent bound to the chair with plenty of time to figure out and escape plan, her mind was blank. There was no plan, not even the slightest idea of what she could do to escape the fate that awaited her. The ropes were tied throughly - it was a pirate who tied them after all. No matter how unpredictable pirates were, one could always count on the fact that they knew how to tie a knot.

No, there was no escape in sight for Nora Beckham. No one was coming to save her, and despite James's previous sign of softness, of mercy, Nora didn't believe that he would spare her if he found out the truth. He had after all pointed his blade at her, not a single doubt in his gaze if he could kill her or not. The only thing that had actually stopped him was the uncertainty regarding if she was lying. Because if Nora actually was Guinevere, the filthy crew wouldn't see a single penny if she was delivered to her buyer harmed. Especially not if she was delivered dead. So in some twisted way, Nora supposed that she was to be thankful to the mystery man who bought her, as he was the only thing standing between her and death.
Sore in both body and mind, she sat on the chair, as she had done since James left her there, bound. The only time she actually saw James was at night, when he studied his maps as usual. But even though they were only a mere distant apart, James didn't acknowledge her. He didn't speak to her or even payed her a glance. It was as if Nora wasn't there at all. Usually that kind of behaviour would've infuriated Nora. But knowing what kind of man she was dealing with, his silence was actually preferable over his clever comments and never ending suspicion. It did, however, become quite dull to sit there, day in and day out, waiting for the final end. Jack came by now and then, entertaining her with stories woven from the vivid imagination only a child could have. Or child was perhaps the wrong word. He was becoming a young man, Jack. Even though he still had something innocent over him, not yet ruined by the ways of pirates. But when the night fell and the stars painted the sky, Jack was no longer allowed in the cabin. He had shores to do and James did not want to be bothered by chatter and laughter. Nora belived that it was a punishment however. Not for Jack but for her. She feared that James wanted her to suffer, to sit bound to the chair, probably hoping that she would crack and spill her guts. That the isolation and pain of sitting still for days was going to be too much, that Nora would beg him to let her go and that she would tell the truth, maybe shed a tear or two, plead to the scraps of humanity that was left in him. But Nora would do no such thing. She was too proud and would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her break. No, if she was going to get caught, if James was going to kill her, he'd have to do it without the pleasure of seeing the young woman cave. Nora would rather die a hundred times over than to break in front of a man. Especially not James Haddock. A pirate. So instead of complaing or asking for Jack to stay longer, for him to tell her one more story, Nora only smiled and said goodbye. Sometimes she could sense James's irritation, his impatience for her to give up. Seeing his otherwise polished façade crack at the edges, knowing that she was the one breaking him, gave Nora even more strength to stand her ground, to never give in.

"We're reaching land tomorrow", James said as he entered the cabin, causing Jack to quickly stand up and give Nora's hand a quick squeeze before exiting, leaving her alone with the captain. Nora didn't look in James's direction. He hadn't spoken to her in almost a week, therefore she thought that he'd spoken to Jack. But even when Jack had left the cabin, James continued to speak. "This would be the time to come clean, love." His tone was hard but still curious with just a hint of frustration. Nora gave him a bored look, faintly raising one eyebrow, as if to say; what's your point? James let out a long sigh, scratching his head whilst he removed his weapons. The sharp sword gleamed in the light of the many oil lamps hung around the room. The mere sight of it made Nora shiver. She knew too well what that weapon had caused, how much blood that had been shed with it.

"Not speaking again are we?" With swift steps, James made his way towards Nora. A few feet infront of her he crouched down to meet her gaze. His icy blue met her forest green, something that usually would cause Nora's nerves to riot, but now only made her nauseous. Neither of them spoke a word, deeply focused on the staring contest between them. James broke first, to Nora's content. But he didn't move away from her, or even look away. Instead of staring right into her eyes, his gaze followed the shape of her face, the curve of her shoulder. A hint of curiosity could be seen in them as he watched her, studied her every feature. A hint of something else was there as well, but Nora couldn't figure out what it was. Or maybe she just did not want to know.

"You know, there is one thing that bothers me", James said when he finally got on his feet, standing up and walking away from Nora, who let out a big breath as the tension between them broke. Having him so close made her uncomfortable. Before it used to be an exitcing feeling, where every cell in her body burned for his proximity. But now it only made her skin crawl.

"And what's that?", Nora said, finally breaking the silence.

"These past days... being bound to a chair, barely getting any food or drink, with nothing to do, it would be torture to most people. Men rumoured to be the toughest of them all has caved sitting in that chair. Gone mad when alone with their thoughts. But you-", James gestured towards Nora, his eyes studying her every reaction. "You don't even budge, don't complain. Nothing." Approaching Nora again, James had a dangerous glimpse in his eyes. With every step he took, Nora's heart skipped a beat.

"Normally, I would be impressed. Especially since you're a woman.", he continued in a light tone, as he was discussing the weather. But Nora knew better. Behing that cool façade something dark was hiding. Only she did not know what it was yet.

"Why would a woman cave any faster than a man?" Nora said in defiance, not wanting her fear to show. Because she was scared, and she knew that she ought to be. Whatever was going on in James's head, it was anything but good. James snorted at her, rolling his eyes.

"It's what's expected of the weaker sex. You're sensible beings, vulnreble to most things. But that is not important." Again James talked as if they were making mere small talk, as if nothing was bothering him. "What does matter however, is that you are not who I thought you would be. Guinevere Monroe is as weak as they come, from what I've heard. A shallow, spoiled brat with a tendency to spread her legs for almost anyone as long as they have a steady amount of money to their name. Which only strengthens my belief that you are not in fact the daughter of Governor Monroe." Noras heart was pounding by now, James's words as shards of glas, cutting her deeper and deeper with every sentence.

"And who do you presume I am then?" She said, her voice a tad shaky.

"That, my dear", James said as he carefully placed a strand of hair behind her ear, his touch sending shivers down Nora's spine. "Is something we will find out tomorrow. I'll find out the truth somehow, and when I do... may God have mercy on your soul." 

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