Okay so I totally rewrote chapter 4 and I'm lovin' it! I hope you will too.
The days turned into weeks and Maura was amazed at just how swiftly she gained the ways of the maritime. Each night she fell exhausted into her bunk. Every so often she'd stop and wonder how her father was faring the harsh winter without her and if his health were worsening. She couldn't dwell on those thoughts too long for she'd never make it through. She promised herself that after she were settled, she'd write and send for him.
She marked the calendar each day to reinforce to herself that time was passing and that before too long she'd be on dry land again. The first couple of weeks were spent getting her sea legs, as Godsey had remarked to her. The Captain took notice and was most kind in letting him get used to seafaring ways, knowing that he had never sailed before.
This particular Saturday afternoon had been a rainy day at sea. The men took turns topside, as did their Captain. He never asked anything of his men that he would not do himself. Maura respected that about Daniel.
She therefore made sure that his quarters were warm and clean and that his meal was hot and waiting for him when he returned to his cabin in the evenings.
While she was cleaning Daniel’s desk, as was part of her usual daily duties, his quill pen floated off of the escritoire and rested upon a dark cloth bag beneath his bunk.
She got down on her hands and knees and crawled halfway beneath the bunk. She could feel a large heavy wooden object.
She struggled to pull its awkward shape towards her and discovered that it was an intricately hand carved oak chessboard and on top lay a lush emerald green velvet satchel. Maura laced her slender fingers within the vined rope string and pulled gently until the satchel fell open.
Maura gave a persistent jiggle of the bag, pouring its contents into her hand. Her hazel eyes beamed with delight at the sight of the most beautiful pewter and black iron bejeweled chess pieces. She was in complete awe of their beauty.
With great effort she brought the game board and pieces to the table, next to the woodstove. She set it up as if to play.
Maura’s attention turned toward the cabin door as she was immediately put on alert by the creaking of swollen planks and heavy footfalls. Her thick lashes swept toward the portal entry as Daniel entered.
He shot her a glare look as he noticed straight away, the chessboard set up on the table. "I see you've been cleaning under my bunk." He raised a disapproving eyebrow in her direction.
He turned his back to her and began to untie the laces on his shirt. The linen garment was no longer a dense white but was opaque and transparent from the driving rains.
Maura’s breathing accelerated at the sight of him as she was experiencing envy for a mere piece of cloth as it clung to his chiseled form. She caught herself and just as quickly looked away as he peeled away the garment that served as his second skin. He quickly donned a dry shirt and came to stand by her at the stove.
A loud clap and the rough abrade of calloused skin briskly rubbing together caused Maura to whince and shrink away from Daniel. This response to his nearness did not escape him.
Maura thought to speak to distract him. She nervously tried to defend what she thought was an intrusion of his private property.
"Well ya see sir, I was tidyin' the desk area and a rather strong burst of wind from the open pane blew your quill pen under the bunk and, well, I just went to retrieve it and came upon the chess set." Maura spoke so swiftly that all of her words became one muddled sentence.
"Was it alright to take it from its hiding place, cap'n?" sounding a bit as though she may have done something wrong.
"Don't be stupid, boy. Of course it's alright." He shouted in frustration, throwing his hand in the air. "I couldna care less about the confounded chess set."
Maura had no clue why Daniel would have been so short with her… but Daniel did.
For the past week he had not been sleeping very well.
He kept awakening to the same frustrating dream that he had experienced on the night before the Arabella had left port. Waking, with tears in his eyes and shaking. He was also quite confused about his attentions to this cabin boy. A boy is a boy. Never had he been so over protective or overly generous with any male with regards to getting used to the ways of the sea.
It would have been, C'mon lad, pull ya self up by ya bootstraps and be done with it! No, it was more than just being Jeannie's nephew. Of that he was certain, but could not place his finger on what was different.
Another disturbing fact was that he kept thinking that he could smell a female about. Was he going mad? He silently questioned his sanity. “I am out to sea but a few weeks and already the omnipresence of women was thus insistent?” That usually did not occur until more than half way through a trip.
“Am I becoming a buggerer of boys?” This could not be. He was certain that he still lusted after the fairer sexes, which is why he keeps any and all sensual reading materials away from himself and his men during any long journey.
Daniel placed his head in his hands, rubbing his face in frustration.
Maura instinctively places her hand upon his shoulder in an attempt to comfort him, though not understanding her own motives.
Daniel straightened his back against her touch and then let fly an earpiercing shout in her direction.
"What the hell do ya do that for, boy!? Is it ya way ta be puttin' ya hands on every male that be within two feet o’ ya!?"
Maura jumped back and snatched her hand away from his shoulder as if she had just been burned by fire.
"N-no, Cap'n", she stammered. The thing that he hated the most was nervous stammering. He glared at her with a contemptuous look.
"I, I was just wantin' ta try and make ya feel better if ya was sick… with a headache, ‘tis all". Maura had forgotten her self for just a moment and her voice was far too feminine for both their liking.
"Off with ya now, boy, and fetch the evening meal. I'd like ta get it done, have my bath and get ta bed early. We'll have a long days work ahead of us in the mornin'. Tis time that ya started ta earn ya keep 'round here. No more makin' ya out to be the helpless lass."
Maura immediately became furious, within, and began to seethe as if she were embers in the woodstove. “Ooo that man! Helpless lass, indeed”.
“Why, she thought, I’ll show him I am not helpless if it is the last thing I do on this trip. Mark my words!”
With her jaw hardened and her fists clenched Maura stormed out of the cabin, slamming the door behind her, leaving Daniel feeling as though he'd just had a raging argument with a hot headed female.
Stunned, he breathed in an aire of shock, shook his head and asked himself, “Am I going insensible?” Again, that feeling of being around a woman, he could not shake.