Chapter 20: Pieces of Eight

99K 4K 619

Cade has left me with an important choice; however, I find the decision about what to do fairly easy.

I don’t want to go back to Panama, but I still have no intention of leaving. There is nowhere else for me to go. Instead, I just sleep.

The next morning, Arturo brings breakfast directly to my room. I attempt a friendly conversation – perhaps to learn a bit more about my hosts – but he remains mum and politely excuses himself.

I make a mental note to try harder upon his return. When I hear a knock again as I’m finishing the last of my papaya, I find Cade in the doorway, instead.

He doesn’t say a word. In fact, he remains rather morose.

I don’t know how I could get back into his good graces, so I just silently follow him out of the stone structure and back out to the courtyard. The same cart we took yesterday awaits us, and we climb on. Although it’s still early in the day, the air is already warm and humid. About halfway back to the docks, the weather suddenly turns, and we’re caught in the type of downpour that’s only possible in the rainforest.

The thick wall of water blocks everything in sight farther than just a few feet. After we pass the open fields, even the dense foliage above isn’t enough to shield us. The rain stops by the time we reach the river, but we’re already both drenched.

Quickly sidestepping fresh puddles, Cade helps me cross the walkway onto the ship. In spite of last night’s events, I’m still expecting him to lock me in my cabin, and I’m not surprised he escorts me all the way to its entrance. As he reaches for the handle, the door flies open and Leonor storms past us.

“This is unacceptable.” She shakes her head before sneezing into a white, lace kerchief already in her hand. “I can’t be expected to stay in that foul room.”

She wipes her red eyes and sneezes twice again, as the elder Kincade emerges in the doorway. “It’s the largest quarters, darling. Perhaps we can get it cleaned so that the irritation . . . oh, hello, son.”

“What is she doing here?” Cade cocks his head in the direction of the woman who has left the hallway and stepped outside.

His father sighs and shrugs his shoulders. “You didn’t think she’d stay behind, did you? Don’t take this the wrong way, but she no longer has confidence in your ability to succeed in locating Luciana.”

“I really don’t care what she does or does not have confidence in. As far as I’m concerned, I’m still master of this vessel. And you just thought you’d take over the captain’s quarters?” Cade continues with unwavering agitation.

“That also was not my idea. However, it seems Leonor is sensitive to something in that cabin. I’ve only seen her react this way once, when a local villagers brought us a litter of kittens.”

The thought of Ginger saving my room from Señora Leonor’s occupation makes me smile.

“I suppose you two can take the navigation room above. She shouldn’t have this problem in there. The cot is much smaller, but I’m sure that won’t be a problem for a couple so devoted to each other as you.” A mischievous grin finally appears on Cade’s face, as well.

His father, however, is not amused. “I know you’ve never taken a liking—“

“This discussion’s over.” Cade crosses his arms. “Now, if you don’t mind, I have to get the ship ready to sail.”

I bite my lip at his authoritative tone. The elder Kincade, however, mutters a quick “Aye, captain,” before leaving.

When we enter the room, we don’t get far because much of the floor space is filled with trunks and bags.

Plunder (Pirate King #1)| ✓Read this story for FREE!