“How’s your face feel?” asked Thomas.
He handed me a bottle of rum. I took it, feeling thirsty, and winced as I swallowed. I gasped and punched the banister with the side of my fist, the insides of my mouth burning.
“It…” I said, blinking back the pain, “It hurts. A lot,” I sighed, regaining my composure, “I never thought I’d say this but… a dying Lester Mild can really pack a few decent punches. He’s a dandy otherwise,” I laughed, “I have so many bruises on my face, I’m glad I killed him the way I did. I suppose the very last thing you need when your dead and moving on to the afterlife is your cock.”
“It was a horrible way ye killed him, ye know that? Absolutely terrifyin’.”
“He had it coming. Never had the gall to fight his own battles. It’s funny that I’d be the only one to say so while he was alive. He was a wasted man. Fearsome, terrifying, immensely powerful – but never led a war. Not properly. I’ve never seen him on the frontline,” I shook my head, “He may have looked like a man, but he never acted like one. And the way he died was fitting,” I leaned against the banister and sighed, smiling, “I’m glad I’m nearly home.”
“Aye,” Thomas murmured.
“Oh, come on,” I said, turning to him, “I’m sure you’ll meet plenty of…” I touched my brow and it came away bloody, “prettier and softer wenches to spend your time on.”
“True as that might be…” he looked out to sea, and paused.
“The deal was that we never see each other again.”
“Never is a strong word and a long time,” he said, and looked at me, “ye told me that.”
I furrowed my brows, “What are you saying?”
“I…” he sighed, “I… I don’t know,” he laughed awkwardly, “I think I may still be in shock by watchin’ ye castrate a man t’death.”
“No, no, it’s…” he touched the scar on his face, “it’s that fear that… that could’ve easily been me. Heck, I don’t think I would’ve threw in some decent punches in that circumstance. I’ve ne’er seen any man do that – and yet I seen a woman do’t,” he scoffed, “Gives me shivers all o’er.”
“So you’re a little freaked out,” I said, “but what has that got to do with us, you know, seeing each other?”
“I don’t know, I’m just makin’ meaningless excuses,” he said, shaking his head and drinking from his bottle, “The truth is…”
I paused and gazed at him for a long time, “Just… just stop.”
He gave me an understanding look, “A’right, a’right,” he said, turning back to the sea, “It’s like you said, eh? Ye’re a woman who deals with death and contracts and, and wealth. Not relationships and dalliances – though we once did that last one.”
I punched him in the shoulder, laughing, “Stop it! It was a slight–”
He laughed with me, “It was not a slight distraction! A’right?” he held his side, “You kissed me, afterwards, and ye said ye hated me.”
“It didn’t mean anything.”
“Oh, tosh!” he said, smiling, “Sure, it didn’t. But… there’s someth’un,” he became serious, and waved at the space between us, “There’s someth’un here. Can’t you feel’t? I don’t know what or why, but… I doubt that this is the last ye’ll see o’ me.”
I paused and then said, “I doubt it too.”