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?

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4. Chapter 4

Walking home with an armful of books, I was happier than a pig in shit. When I told this to Ainslee, she hushed me and said cussing wasn't ladylike. That put a damper on my mood, I really liked cursing, it was funny seeing people looked a little taken aback. For a lady, I had one hell, I mean heck, of a mouth. This was going to be a challenge, but I was willing to play.

Once we got onto our block, I felt the stares stop. Most of the people on the block had talked to me, or at least knew about me. As much as I would tell them, I kind of left out a lot about my past. They knew I was Ainslee's cousin and I liked to read. That was all really. Ainslee pulled out her keys, and we climbed the three flights of stairs leading to her apartment.

There were pictures of all of Britain's leaders hung up on the stairwell, I didn't recognize any of them except King James, and that was only because he was the king right now. Ainslee noticed me staring, and gave me a confused look. I guess it was nothing to her, but these portraits were painted with such accurate detail, it was hard not to marvel.

I quickly ascended the remaining stairs, and Ainslee unlocked her door. The apartment was dark, and Ainslee was fumbling with the match to light the oil lamps. I went into my room, and lit my bedside lamp. I pulled out my books, and was about to decide which one to start when Ainslee walked in. I wasn't necessarily unhappy to see her, just a little frustrated I couldn't read. 

"We have to do a little bit of house work before we read, house rules," Ainslee said.

I groaned and got up. Ainslee had a list of chores that I had to complete before reading. The list wasn't overly long, except she chose all the things I was no good at, laundry, cooking, and making tea. I always missed spots when doing laundry, and cooking was a no go for me, I always burnt everything. I don't know why tea gave me so much trouble, but I always left the water on too long, or left the tea bag in too long or too short. So the tea was either too strong, or too watery. 

Why Ainslee would give me these chores, I have no clue. But, I would do them, because this was another challenge. Just like the no swearing rule. I quickly pulled my hair out of the massive knot and got the washboard out of the closet. Ainslee was tidying up all the rooms when she angrily came into the washroom. 

"Ella, can you please explain why you have a sword in your closet?" Ainslee said, holding my cutlass.

"It makes me feel safer," I explained.

"You are not to have weapons here, understood? Do you have anymore?" Ainslee asked.

I forked over the pistol in my boot, and I instantly felt like a fool. There were two kinds of people in this world, people who always kept themselves protected, and people who die early. I was determined not to become the latter. What happens if someone attacks me and I have no weapon? I knew how to handle a gun, I grew up around them for gods sake. I don't think Ainslee really realized how insecure I felt without my gun. Suddenly, everything was a threat. I didn't tell he this of course, I let her think I was fine.

Ainslee said she was going into town to get a paper. I was happy. I finished my chores quickly. I wasn't sure if I did it right, but I had made eggs and tea. Ainslee was sure to be proud. That is, if she wasn't still angry with me. Ainslee came back, and she had a worried look on her face. She was clutching her paper tightly. She ran over to the windows and closed the curtains quick.

"Listen, Ella, they're looking for ex-pirates, apparently, most of them have given up, and retreated to Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. Scotland and Ireland aren't making a big fuss over it, but Britain is detaining them, and hanging them eventually," Ainslee said.

I looked at my feet. I knew what this meant, I'd have to leave. I had actually grown to love Britain, I wouldn't dream of harming any of the residents here. But, Ainslee could get herself into trouble hiding me here, I never thought I'd have to leave. But, it's come to that time, the point where no where is safe. It happened when I was a pirate, I always thought that our ship was safe, but that was when I was little. Once the crew found out I'd be living on board for the rest of my life, they were furious. I got many beatings from them as a kid, but I never complained. I became this tough as nails girl. They grew to respect me. The beatings never stopped for Vera though. I always tried to protect her, most of them knew I could punch like a mother fucker when I wanted to. 

It was time to leave this place I called home, I could head to Ireland, I still remembered the great ale they had at the Irish ports. I'd be getting some of that. After that, I'd go to a landlocked country, they were sure to hide me. 

I glanced up at Ainslee once, and she looked confused. I tried to look back down, but she started talking.

"Ella Veal, there is no way in hell I am kicking you out. I promised your father I'd turn you into a proper lady, you are not escaping this just because of some silly search," Ainslee joked.

I smiled. Ainslee really was such a sweetheart. Ainslee led me into her room, and she showed me how to do the miracle known as makeup. She wiped my face clean and had me try. I looked ridiculous when I did it. I put on too much eye shadow and blush. I poked myself in the eye a lot, making them all bloodshot and red. Ainslee laughed and did it herself. 

Ainslee told me she was looking for work, and I should consider a job, as then we could buy more books. At that offer, I immediately agreed. What can I say? I was a sucker for literature. Ainslee told me there was a position as the clerk of a general store, not a far walk from our house. I decided to check it out. Ainslee offered to come with me, but I declined, I had to be able to do this one on my own.

After a short, and quite enjoyable, walk, I stepped into the general store. There was an old man at the clerk. He wore a monocle, something I thought was a joke, but it was right there in front of me. The general store was plastered with Britain flags, so mentioning I was a fugitive was likely a bad idea. 

"You here to buy anything?" He asked.

"No, I heard there was an opening for the clerk position, and I was just wondering if that was still open," I said.

"It is, if you're interested. The pay isn't great, but it'll get you by. You'd be working everyday also," the clerk added.

It didn't sound great, but I remembered, Ainslee told me a while back her relatives sent her money every month to cover living expenses, so any money she earned was spent for leisure. That meant any and all pay would go to books, and anything else I would want, plus Ainslee. I told him I'd gladly take the job, and he threw an apron at me, and told me my shift started now and left. That was definitely weird. 

"Some one'll be here in two hours to take over," He called as he left.

It was four now. I wish I could go and tell Ainslee, I hoped she wouldn't get worried. I had a few customers, I helped them as best as I could, but the old man hadn't left me with any instructions. At six, a young man walked in, and said he was taking over. He handed me a few bucks and told me to leave. I went back to AInslee's still in shock.

I opened the door, but Ainslee was still going after her job. I suppose her's would take longer, as she had mentioned something about an interview. She'd left me directions to the building on the counter, and I followed them. A lady sat at a desk that was too large to serve any sort of purpose except to intimidate.

"I'm looking for Ainslee Witherfield," I said, trying to sound more important than I was. 

"Miss Witherfield is in her meeting right now, and can't be reached. You can have a seat over there if you'd like, or I could tell her you stopped by," the lady said.

I took a seat, I wanted to be there to see how it went. I had kept my money in a purse, since I didn't have keys to lock the house, and I didn't want to lose the money I had earned on the first day. The room was hot, and I wanted to leave badly, but I stayed until eventually, Ainslee walked out beaming like she won a hundred dollars. I wondered if she did. I was too busy figuring out how many books you could get for a hundred dollars, so I didn't notice Ainslee telling me we could leave now.

I left the room, and Ainslee said she got the job, and we'd be getting 20 dollars a week. She said we had to spend 15 of that on makeup, but the rest would go to whatever we wanted. 

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