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I felt awful. She had been thrust here, in an alien place, with no warning… Then again, it was out of my control. I just had to make sure she remained safe… We walked across the deck to the mess cabin, and most people turned to watch us as we entered. I nodded to the men as we passed, and took note of the ones who nodded back. We made our way to Steven, whose arm I touched gently. I had figured he would be here.
"How are you, Steven?" Loreena asked. I'd never know how she guessed who she was speaking to…
"I'm well, dear… I suppose."
"Is the ship nice?"
"Oh yes, yes… It's quite nice dear. Very large, made of good lumber…"
"Well," she said. "I'm sure it doesn't hold a candle to the Siren."
"That's true…" a small smile graced his lips.
I went and brought back all of our rations. As we ate, a few men from both crews came over to introduce themselves or chat. Lorie seemed to pay very close attention as they walked up and spoke. By the end of our meal, she was visibly exhausted.
"Alright, Steven," I said. "We're taking our leave.
"I suppose I'll see you tomorrow, Thatcher…"
"Yes, sir. And there our duty begins."
I helped Lorie to stand, and helped her slowly make her way to the door. We then shuffled across the deck, and were going down the stairs to the midshipman's quarters when we heard a cry of outrage from behind us.
"Midshipman Thatcher. WHAT exactly do you think you're doing!"
I turned to face the captain, a little confused.
"Captain Tremble, sir… We are going to bed, sir."
"What!" he looked furious. "You would take a woman who is not your wife into your bed chamber? Have you no decency, man!"
"Wh… Sir, I am Loreena's protector."
"Protector. From what exactly, Thatcher."
"She's BLIND, Captain."
"Which is why you are fortunate enough to have her sailing with us. I will NOT compromise her situation by allowing her to sleep in the quarters of an adult man. She will sleep with the ship's boys, in the hold."
"Captain, she cannot! She is unable to see to go there… I must be with her at all times, to lead her."
"You will not be in her room if you are not wed to her, boy."
"Midshipman Thatcher. Married, or parted."
I looked back at Loreena. She was exhausted… There was no way I could leave her to herself, helpless. No matter the alternative… It was better for her.
"We'll be married, Captain."
"Alright, then." He let out a brief smile before yelling to the crew. "All hands on deck!"
The cry was taken up across the ship, and the bell was rung. Before I had time to talk to Lorie, we were brought to the front of the ship. Captain Tremble came out of his cabin with a bible, and a few minutes later I found that I was married.
As the men went to their separate places for the night, I helped a silent Loreena to our cabin. We changed just as always, and I helped her to bed. As we lay there she sort of snuggled up to me, and I looked down at her in surprise. She looked so terrified… I gently stroked her hair. Soon she was asleep, and I kissed her forehead softly before closing my eyes.
"It'll all work out, Lorie…" I whispered. "I promise."