Mariah awoke with a start. Her blurry vision took a moment to resolve itself. She realized where she was: her cabin aboard the Fairweather. She looked down at herself. All seemed sound and intact. No broken bones. She was a mass of bruises and sore muscles but otherwise fine.
“Ah, you’re awake.”
Mariah blinked. There, sitting on a bench next to her bunk, was Roderick. His brown hair was partially covered with a hasty bandage but he brandished that infuriating smile of his.
“I’m glad. I was worried when I pulled you out of the water.”
“You… you saved me,” said Mariah slowly.
Roderick bowed his head, not meeting her gaze. He let out a long sigh.
“Yes.” He stood up and came to kneel beside her. His eyes were red and watery. “I was terrified, Mariah. The thought that I might lose you forever was unbearable.” He reached out and took her hand. She didn’t shove it away. Roderick was shaking his head. “I am so sorry. Sorry for everything. Sorry for the past and for the present too. I was such a fool to leave. I didn’t trust you, Mariah. I didn’t trust anyone. Please forgive me for that.”
The words were like a strike to the face. But, Mariah, really believed him. All of the pain of their parting, the betrayal, it came rushing back to her—and she was angry all over again. Yet fate had brought them back to one another. It was once more chance to set things right.
Mariah’s eyes flooded with tears. She reached out and clutched Roderick’s hand. “I… I… forgive you.”
Roderick smiled and slumped a little in relief. He looked at her again, his blue eyes flashing. “I’m so glad you do.”
Mariah’s attention shifted. “What about your ship?”
“It’s gone. The storm took her and all aboard.”
There was a knock at the door.
“Come,” said Mariah.
Venik stepped inside. “Captain?”
Mariah’s face split in a happy grin. “You made it through, Venik. Thank the gods.”
“Aye, Captain.” Venik knuckled his forehead.
Another thing occurred to Mariah. “What of Chamberlin and his niece?”
“They are resting in their cabin.”
Mariah let out a shaky breath. “The sooner we get those two off my ship, the better. How bad is the damage to the Fairweather?”
“Surprisingly enough, it’s minimal,” said Venik. “We need about a day to make repairs to the rigging and we’ll be ready to depart.”
“Good. Thank you, Venik.”
The crewman left and Mariah looked at Roderick. “Want to join my crew?”
Roderick smirked. “Yes, I think I might.”
Mariah nodded. “Good. Let’s talk about that… and maybe a few other things.”
“Aye, Captain,” said Roderick.
Mariah burst out laughing.
Produced by: Eugenio Zorrilla.