Amelie's days on the ship got a routine. On the morning she would go to the Captain. He wouldn't say much, just get over to the bed. She would go over to him, bend over his lap and he would smack her. The marks from the caning started to dissapear now, but every morning she got dark pink buttocks from the smackings. The Captain's smackings hurt, but she could handle them. Just at one time she started crying, otherwise she could hold the tears.
After the smacking she would go down to Archie in the galley. He gave her the apron, which she could then wear as long as she was with him. One of the guard questioned this, but Archie told him: "I can't have a naked person in the galley", and then no one said anything about it. It was a big relief to be able to cover herself a bit, because she still felt the men's gazes at her body.
The man who had tried to assault her was whipped. She didn't witness it but heard the sounds, they were horrible. He then spent his time in the cell.
Amelie would help Archie with all the meals for the crew. After the evening meal she would go to sleep close to the galley. This place was warmer thanks to the location, and also they were getting closer to the meditarrean sea with warmer climate.
About a week after Amelie started serving Archie, there was a big storm. The ship was almost thrown around by the big waves. Amelie got sea-sick. She felt terrible. But Archie seemed to care about her.
"Come" he said. Then he actually lifted her up and carried her to his own cabin, where he put her in his hammock.
"Don't worry, no one will notice" he said. "Three quarters of the crew are laying like dead, this storm brought down even those who usually can handle the sea. The rumour says even the captain feels bad."
Amelie didn't have the energy to think. But when the storm finally calmed down, she felt great thankfullness to Archie. She had started to really like the cook. He had a grumpy way, but he cared about her. And he actually had some humour. She felt good together with him, in a way she hadn't felt since her parents died.
But all the time she also had the worry about what would happen when they arrived to Malta. The Captain har promised to hand her over to the authorities. She didn't speak to Archie about her worries, though. She just tried to enjoy the time with him, because she did, she really liked being with him. And since she wasn't sure she would actually live much longer when she went ashore, the time was valuable.
Two mornings after the storm, she found the Captian standing beside the bed as she came into his cabin. He had put two pillows on the middle of it, and he was holding a wooden ruler in his hand.
Amelie swallowed. She knew exaclty what to expect. One time when her father had been really mad at her, he had put his pillow exactly like that and then used the birch rod on her.
"Come here" the Captain said.
Amelie went over.
"I'm not really reaching you with the usual smackings. So maybe the ruler will" he said. "Lay on the bed with the pillows under your waist."
Amelie didn't understand what he meant with "don't really reach you", but she didn't dare to ask. She just did as told.
During the day she wore the apron. In the mornings, before she went to Archie, she was still naked. But the smackings, laying over the captains lap, didn't expose much. This position, laying over the pillows, did, though. Clearly, the Captain didn't care at all about her dignity and humaliation seemed to be something he thought she deserved.
Trying to ignore her own exposed position, Amelie closed her eyes and prepared for what was coming. She had never got hit with a ruler before. She just hoped it wouldn't hurt as much as the cane had.
The Captain looked at the naked girl, who was laying over the pillows with her rear end raised in the air. In his old life, this had not been an unusual sight. Bu that was a long time ago.
The usual smackins he had given the kid hadn't really reached her. She had only cried at one single time. She was a malfactor. He wanted her to feel shame, sorrow and regret her crimes. That's why he had decided to use the ruler on her.
He sighed, then raised the ruler in the air and brought it down to he girl's naked buttocks.
It made a load "smack" landing on her flesh. The child yelped.
'Good' though the Captain, 'this will work.'
After around nine or ten smacks, the child was crying. As a child should at a chastisement. He finished with a extra hard smack and then told the kid to stand up.
She did so, but her legs were a bit unsteady. She rubbed her bottom with her hands. The sight once again remembed him of his old life.
"You will get the ruler every day from now" he told her.
The kid swallowed.
"Go down to the cook" he told her.
"Y... yes sir" the child sobbed. Then she left the cabin.
"How are you?" Archie asked.
Amelie had tried to wash her face, but she couldn't stop herself from sobbing a bit and Archie had obviously noticed.
"What did he do to you?" Archie asked.
"He... he used the ruler" she replied.
"Hmf" Archie said. He walked over to her and turned her around. "Hmf" he said again. "I understand. But you'll be fine soon. Don't worry, girl."
He gave her the apron and helped her tie it.
"He is too hard on you" Archie said.
Amelie didn't know what to reply.
"But he is the captain" Archie continued. "So we can't do anything."
Suddenly Amelie couldn't hold her feelings anymore. She sat down on the floor and burst out into tears.
To her big suprise she found Archie sitting down next to her.
"What's the matter, Amelie?" he asked. "Tell me."
Sobbing and crying she tried to explain to him. She tried to explain about her parent's death. About her escape. About her hope of getting to her aunt on Malta. About how the hope was crushed when she was discovered. About her fear of what would come when they arrived to Malta.
Archie didn't say anything for a long while.
When he finally spoke, he said: "I will go and talk to the captain. I can't promise I can make him change his mind, but... I'll try."
Amelie looked up at him. "Are... are you sure?"
Archie nodded. "Don't worry about me. I've been around longer than he has... he have a bit of respect for me."
Archie stood up and helped her up as well. Then Archie did something even more unexpected. He hugged her.
"What... what are you doing?" Amelie asked and resisted a bit.
"Hugging you" he replied. "According to my experience children need a hug or two once in a while. And since you have no mother ot father to hug you..."
Amelie gave after and let Archie hug her. She started crying again. No one had hugged her since her parents died. The feeling was so strong, so unused. But at this moment she felt all inside her that Archie was a nice person. Not just nice to her. He was a good person. He was loving. She knew it.
Archie hugged her for quite a while and carressed her hair. When he finally let go of her, he looked into her eyes and said: "I'll do my best to help you, girl. Trust me."
"Th... thank you" she whispered.
Archie nodded. "Let's get the meal ready."
And they went on with the preparations for the mid-day meal.