Looting The Ballroom

Ella Veal couldn't imagine life on land, sea was all she knew. But, when the age of pirating ends, and she's forced to live with her cousin, what happens?


3. Chapter 3

Ainslee had finally succeeded in putting that awful excuse for clothing so tightly around my body it was impossible to slouch or even sit slightly comfortably. This was why everyone around here walked like they had a stick up their ass. Walking was such a challenge, I sat down as much as possible. This was even harder, because I had so much energy.

Today I was supposed to cook breakfast, just making eggs and toast. I forgot to butter the pan though, and the eggs got burnt and stuck to the pan. The toast was black by the time I remembered to take it out of the oven. The orange juice was amazing though.

Ainslee laughed out loud when I brought her my plate. She scraped it all into the garbage and said we'd try again for lunch. Then she went and made her own eggs, they were a lot better then mine. She even put a bit of cheese in them. I had no talent when it came to these things. 

After breakfast came the part of this whole experience I was dreading the most, hair and makeup. You see on a ship, you don't worry much about your hair. You keep it brushed and out of the way, but you don't cut it often, Vera cut my hair every now and then, but really you only got it done at ports. And it was almost always just a trim, never anything fancy.

According to Ainslee, most of my hair was dead, so she cut it from being at my waist to my shoulders. Then she twisted, curled, knotted, and god knows what else until all of it was piled neatly on top of my head. I looked ridiculous, of course I never said that to Ainslee. 

"You really ought to be happy you got here when you did, otherwise all of your hair might have been dead. Who was even doing your hair while you were out pirating? Was it that other woman I saw? That can't be Aunt Mabel, I heard she died ages ago. Did your father remarry?"

Ainslee kept going on about how men shouldn't remarry, and stay loyal to their wives even if they were dead. I ignored this, since it didn't matter to me. The hairstyle made my head feel like it was being attacked by bees. I desperately wanted to take it out, but Ainslee said that if I walked around with my hair down, people would think I was a prostitute. 

This place had some really weird rules. But they weren't posted anywhere. On our ship, we had carved any rule you'd ever need to know into a post. If we thought someone broke a rule, we'd check the post. If it wasn't on there yet, they were off the hook, but we would add it. If they did it again then they'd get punishment. It was simple and effective, I didn't understand why these people had to make it so complicated.

"Ella, come here for a second," I heard Ainslee call from the other side of the room.

I walked over to find her standing at a table full of powders and creams and glosses, they all smelled like fake flowers. Ainslee started picking up powders and holding them up against my skin. She picked up the lightest one, it was almost white, and without warning grabbed a huge brush and attacked my face with dust. Then she started using creams and shadows, until my face was unrecognizable. 

"There, what do you think?" she asked.

"I'm white," I said, a little impressed.

My tanned skin had been covered in makeup, and now it was believable white. I actually looked like an English woman, instead of a Latina pirate. I wasn't sure whether that was good or bad. I was supposed to go to the store like this, and buy a whole list of things. Ainslee said it was what people did, and she gave me some money. 

Putting the coins in a small purse, I walked outside. Ainslee had written on a slip of parchment directions to the store. The dress covered my feet, so I was wearing my boots. I hoped that was okay, not that Ainslee noticed. I got some funny looks, probably because I was walking strangely due to the tightness of the dress. I never realized how tall everyone here was. I felt like an elf from the old stories my dad used to tell me.

I wound up having to ask for directions after getting horribly lost. I walked into the store, and picked out all the items, I wondered why this was supposed to be a challenge. Only after rI had tried negotiating with the clerk did I realize that those prices were set, and there weren't any changes. I walked out of the store, feeling pretty embarrassed. People were staring, starting rumors. 

I stared at the ground all the way to Ainslee's apartment. The minute I walked into the door, with a very red face, Ainslee laughed. She told me it was okay, she just wanted to see what would happen. We had some tea and she taught me how to make sandwiches. Those were easy enough, though Ainslee's still looked much neater. 

I ate my sandwich and we had some tea. We joked all through lunch. It was the first time I ever saw Ainslee as a friend rather than a threat. I also learned that her parents both died in a fire, Ainslee barely made it out. She was seven and lived with various relatives until she got her own house. It was weird how she didn't seem sad talking about any of this. 

Ainslee didn't ask many questions, neither did I. Normally this would have the conversation go no where, but it worked for us. It was more comfortable anyways, not always being pushed to talk about things you don't want to. After lunch, Ainslee and I went into town for a bit, she just showed me around. I could still feel the eyes of everyone on me, but Ainslee swore no one was staring.

The town wasn't so big once you got used to it.

"I have a little surprise for you," Ainslee said, grabbing my wrist and pulling me through the throngs of people.

We walked like that for a few blocks, until she stopped in front of a three-story brick building. I glanced nervously at Ainslee, scared that once I went in, I'd be attack with more makeup, as this was most of the "surprises" Ainslee had for me. Ainslee motioned for me to go in. Cautiously I pushed open the door. I was hit by the smell of... books?!?  I quickly went inside and there were more books then I'd ever seen.

No more was I confined to the small selection of books at ports, pirates didn't really care much for literature. This place had books, some of which I had read, but most were unfamiliar. They were all new, no cracked spines, faded covers, and dog eared pages. I thanked Ainslee as she handed me some money to go buy whichever books I wanted.

Things were starting to look up.

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