~Against All Odds~
The gulls were cawing and flying lazy circles overhead. Unfortunately, the poor excuse for a sail was too small to provide any shelter against any droppings that might have fallen onto your head. The lack of shade wasn’t an improvement, either.
“Blasted birds,” you angrily grumbled and craned your head past the small mast to see how your sailing companion was doing.
As I thought, you frowned and threw him a disapproving look. He was suffering from apparent heat stroke, and that nasty gash he got earlier wasn’t making the situation any better. No matter how long you stood there and ran your mouth, nothing would get done. The task would have to fall on you to get the two of your where you were going.
“Fancy meeting a pirate who doesn’t know anything about self-preservation,” you snorted and began to tear a piece of cloth off of your skirt. You then leaned over the sides of the tiny boat and dipped the cloth into the ocean. At least it was cold. The seawater would be able to keep his temperature steady until he came to his senses again.
“Fancy meeting a lady who does,” the man lethargically responded.
You rolled your eyes and slapped the rag on his forehead without even bothering to wring out the excess water. The seawater began to drip down the sides of his face and dotted the hull with several droplets. With the sun being so high up, it wouldn’t take long for the water to completely evaporate.
“Unlike a certain privileged runaway of a wealthy lord’s son, I’ve been forced to know how to take care of myself from the day I could properly hold a knife without cutting my fingers,” you threw back.
The man chuckled. “Such a sharp tongue for such a fine woman.”
“Such a pompous attitude for someone who’s on the verge of death.”
“You have a point there.”
Instead of wasting your energy beating the so-called pirate senseless, you decided to focus on where exactly the boat was going.
“If we’re drifting further out to open sea, that would mean that in a matter of days, we will surely perish of starvation or dehydration—if something else doesn’t get to us first, that is,” you pointed out. “I don’t suppose you have a plan that will get us out of this predicament considering you’re the one who got us into it in the first place, do you not?”
Amazingly enough, the pirate had the audacity to wag a finger at you like he was taunting a child that had said something out of place.
“Now, don’t forget that there’s a reason for everything,” he said, his voice nearly breaking out into a singsong tune.
Impatient, you arched your eyebrows. “And what’s that supposed to mean? That you don’t want to take the blame for everything that’s merely happened in the last—oh, I don’t know—three hours?”
“Perhaps,” the pirate said.
“Unbelievable,” you hissed. “You’re not as much the gentleman I thought you were—nor are you any better of a pirate.”
Suddenly, with a low groan, the pirate took your cloth off of his forehead and sat up. You wondered if the heat had finally gotten to him. It was foolish of him to try wasting any of his energy given where you were.
“Alright then, Miss…”
“_________________,” you said. “Just address me by _______________.”
“_________________,” the pirate repeated, “if you would be so kind as to explain why none of this is your fault, then I will take it upon myself to ensure that we will get out of here alive and well.”
You sneered. “What a pointless bargain. There’s absolutely no possibility of knowing whether or not you’ll hold your end of the deal. Besides, I can be happy knowing all of this was your fault to begin with.”
“Can you?” the pirate asked. “Would letting your knowledge being bottled up truly satisfy you?”
Frustrated, you bit your lower lip.
“We might as well pass the time with a little recollection of the events,” the pirate continued. “After all, there doesn’t seem to be anything else to do—unless, of course, you enjoy staring at the gulls all afternoon.”
“I suppose you have a point,” you unenthusiastically admitted and made yourself comfortable in what little shade the sail was providing. There was hardly any wind. At this rate, the two of you were bound to perish at the expense of being stranded out at sea.
In the entire time that you had told your sailing companion of the events that occurred not too long ago, you had the pleasure of not being interrupted or questioned for your validity. That being said, you were more than confident that your side of the story verified that none of the events that led up to this predicament were your fault.
“Nicely told,” the pirate finally said after you finished, “but did you ever put into account your very existence into the equation?”
You furrowed your eyebrows. “Excuse me?”
Again, the pirate held up a finger. “Think about it, ___________, if you had decided to call in sick today, you would not have encountered us at that tavern. You would not have gone over to our table this morning to ‘teach us a thing or two about mannerism.’ It’s funny you would do that, too. I praise myself for my own etiquette.”
“Oh, don’t make me laugh,” you pouted.
“But did you not put into consideration the very way in which all of these events led to another?” the pirate continued. “If you had decided to hold your tongue and give us our drinks like we had ordered—and paid for, mind you—then there wouldn’t have been a need for a scuffle, as you common land-folk would call them.
“Had it not been for the scuffle, your boss wouldn’t have fired you for misconduct. You would not have decided to take your anger out on us, and we might have not decided that we could have used a spitfire-spirited lady aboard our ship of only men.”
You remained silent. The pirate continued.
“That being said, I do have to be grateful for one thing: thanks to you, I was able to discover that my very own first mate and a handful of my men were about to pull a mutiny on my ship. With your—albeit reckless—intervention, my life was saved, but I think you could have done better than lighting the entire cargo of gunpowder aboard and causing my precious—and expensive—ship to explode into smithereens.” He sighed. “Not to mention I lost a lot of good men.”
“You said it yourself: I saved your life. Blowing up the ship was necessary, or I’m sure your men would have taken over the ship and done unspeakable things to me—and you. The least you could do is be thankful.”
“I already mentioned that.”
“That’s right, you did.”
“But all that aside, I think your actions triggered a series of events that led up to where we are right now, and it all happened because you decided to tough it out for a day’s pay.”
“Had you not decided to come to our particular tavern to have a round of drinks, then your crew would not have ever bothered to encounter me,” you responded. “We could have both gone our merry ways and never have hoped to see each other—ever.”
Interestingly enough, the pirate raised one of his thick eyebrows in response.
“Actually, I think I like the idea of things turning out this way. I never thought I would meet someone quite like you. You’re one of a kind.”
Unmoved, you narrowed your eyes. “And how many women have you successfully swayed with that one?”
The pirate laughed. “You’re impossible.”
“I could very well say the same about you,” you huffed.
“Apologies,” the pirate quickly caught himself. “I meant that as a compliment. I never thought such qualities could ever fit together in such a person be it man or woman—although, being a man, I find it quite attractive to be able to find these things in a woman.”
“If you think you’re going to win me over, then think again, pirate,” you growled. “I've got more than just a sharp tongue in case you haven’t noticed, and I’m not afraid to put those skills to use if I have to.”
The pirate made a face. “I have a name, you know.”
“I never asked for it, but I take it from the old papers that you’re the missing Kirkland son, Arthur, correct?”
Arthur smiled. “Right you are.”
“_______________, did you ever consider the possibility that our meeting was more than chance? That perhaps it was fate?”
You furrowed your eyebrows and backed a little away from where Arthur was sitting. “Why in the world would you ask something like that?”
The pirate shrugged. “With the way it was all set up, I would say it was more than a series of events that led to us being here together, and I think we’ll be able to get out of this alive.”
“What are the odds?” You swept your arms over the pitiful boat. “There’s nothing but ocean as far as the eye can see!”
“Oh, I doubt that. There’s land out there.”
You sighed. “Just because there’s land out there doesn’t mean we’ll find it anytime soon.” With that, you leaned on the opposite side of the boat and looked back at the sky. The gulls were still hovering above. “Arthur, you are impossible.”
“Impossible to put into an equation, that’s for sure,” the pirate strangely agreed. You couldn’t be sure if he was being sarcastic or not. “You never know, ____________; there’s always a slight possibility that we’ll find a way out of here. We found each other, after all. Against all odds, there will always be more than one outcome for our decisions.”
“Some better than others,” you grunted and rolled over. At least this way, if the droppings fell on you, it wouldn’t be on your face.