Written to the Three-Word Wednesday Prompt: Crucial, malignant, yearning
Also written as a tiny character study for my next piece of my #nanowrimo: The Despot of Santa Roux Finds Love.
“Listen, it’s crucial that we get this shipment across the ‘basket.” Marie frowned at the steamboat driver, because she had yet to find that smiling did any good.
“And it’s ‘crucial’ that I get paid.” Marcus Wainwright grinned back at Marie, which he could get away with because he had the boat and what she had was a pile of fruit and wheat and a deadline.
“And we get paid at the other end of the ‘basket. Mar- Mr. Wainwright, we’ve been doing this for months. Years.”
“And that was all well and good, because you always paid. But then when my boat got attacked by bandits – well, I was out two good boat hands and the price of your shipment. I need to get paid, Miss Tanner.”
Marie took a breath. Marcus Wainwright was the most vile businessmen, the most malignant tumor on the face of the river, the most obnoxious handsome smile that she had ever seen. But he was the captain they had, the only captain that was willing to traverse the dangerous and bandit-and-slaver-ridden ‘Basket. Or, at the very least, he was the only one still alive. “If I can get you two more boat hands for this route, will you do it?”
“Where are you going to find two boat hands on this short of notice, Miss Tanner? I’ve combed every river town this side of the ‘basket. Have you been hiding them up your skirt?” He leered nastily in her direction.
She set her jaw. “In a manner of speaking. The boat hands I’m mentioning would be my brother – who I suppose people might think had hidden behind my skirts, although it’s a lie – and myself.”
If nothing else, it was worth it, whatever may come, for the stunned look on Marcus Wainwright’s face. And maybe a trip on a riverboat would solve this stupid yearning she could not seem to get rid of.
And it would, for all time, get her brother rid of the rumour that he hid behind her skirts.
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