I've heard some great things about the teasers I've posted thus far, but I want to take a break from the beginning of the book, because I'm leaving you at a suspenseful point (I know, I'm mean) and we're going to jump forward a bit. Heart Like an Ocean- Chapter Eight
Just under a month had gone by, and in that time, Brant hadn't stopped thinking about Senona. He knew he should. He was certain when he arrived back in Port Royale she would want nothing more than friendship with him. Why did he even bother hoping? He had thought she was different, but she was like every other woman he had ever known. Untrustworthy.
"Sir?" asked Matt as he entered Brant's cabin.
He had been interrupting Brant's thoughts a lot during the voyage, and it was starting to concern him. Brant looked up from the map that he appeared to be studying, though really he hadn't processed a thing that was illustrated there.
"It appears we are heading into a storm."
"Thank you. I'll be right out."
Brant rolled up the map and put it in its case. After Richard had ruined a few, he had taken to putting them away after use. Maps of the quality Brant collected were not easy, nor cheap, to come by, and he couldn’t afford to have any more wrecked.
Brant walked out onto the deck and looked out to the open sea, shivering in the cool air. The sky was a dark gray, and the clouds held promise of rain.
"What do ye think? Should we ride it or try and get around it?" asked Matt from Brant's left.
"I think she can ride her out. We are running short on time to get to England before the storms start coming up, and if we try going around it, who knows how much longer it will take."
Matt nodded. "The girl is in good shape. She can take it."
"And hopefully we’ll be near enough to a port if any big repairs need to be done."
"We should be near Lisbon, Portugal."
"If the storm doesn't blow us too far off course."
Leaving Matt to his duties, Brant climbed up the stairs to the upper deck and looked back at the water they left in their wake. He leaned on the railing and sighed. Maybe the storm was just what he needed to get his mind on the here and now.
The storm came up quickly and without forgiveness.
"Tie down that sail! Get safety lines on!" shouted Brant as he walked around the tossing deck, struggling to keep his balance. "Don't let the sail rip! Keep that wheel steady!"
Wind whipped the rain around and grabbed at the sails. Waves tossed the ship about, threatening to send sailors from their perches high above as they attempted to tame the sails, wrestling with nature, a force much stronger than mere men. Brant took over at the helm and held it steady, bracing against the driving wind.
The night was exhausting, but as dawn broke, it brought relief for the men. They worked slowly, pulling down torn sails to be repaired, but fortunately, that was the extent of the damage.
Brant observed his crew as they tied down loose lines. "I know we're all tired but there is still some work to be done. Pull down the ripped sails, check on the cargo below, and put things back in place on deck. Then we can eat and get some much needed sleep."
Brant only got tired, dejected mumbling in reply. His men respected him and appreciated the fact that he treated them fairly, but right now all they wanted to do was collapse.
One lone man didn't turn away to do the work at hand. Oliver stood rooted in place. "What are ye going to do? Read maps or stare out at the water?"
Brant winced. He had been neglecting his duties during this voyage, dealing with thoughts that continually bombarded him. Nevertheless, Brant couldn't stand for insubordination like that.
"Mr. Cornhill," he said, deathly calm, as he walked towards Oliver. Oliver met his gaze evenly. "I understand I have been a little distant of late, but that gives you no right to question my authority. I am the Captain, and that means I am in charge. Not because I'm a better man, or because I have money, but because I am your employer. Your home is my home. I gave you this home, and I am in charge. My word is law out here, and when men stop following that law, people get hurt. I will not allow that."
Oliver Cornhill nodded, his face a blank mask.
Brant smiled and spoke loud enough for everyone to hear. "Don't any one of you forget that."
Brant started climbing up the rigging behind Oliver to help him pull down a sail. Oliver nodded his appreciation to his Captain, but Brant only smiled. He was merely proving a point.
The men made quick work of the tasks, and within an hour, nearly everything was done. Brant dismissed everyone for dinner as he looked over the sail that lay in a pile on his deck in a large pile. A few small tears from down below turned out to be a lot larger up close. They would repair this when there was time. Brant sighed, dropped the corner of the sail, and joined his men in the galley.
They ate breakfast in silence, everyone too exhausted to make conversation. Upon finishing their food, the men all went for some much-needed sleep.
Brant had been tempted to set a watch, but upon seeing his tired crew, ordered them to get some rest, and he stood watch himself. He strode the deck alone in the bright daylight. It was strange to have an abandoned deck at midday. It was at times like this that Brant missed Karl the most. Karl would often walk the deck with Brant and offer him council or a listening ear. He smiled sadly at the memories.
Brant shivered and looked at the ocean all around him. For the first time since he had stepped foot on this ship, his home, he felt utterly alone.