“I get it. Nobody needs to be knocking anybody up they just met. And kids are awful. Nobody wants them, even if they say they do. But something tells me an apology isn’t going to cut it this time, and there’s more shit you aren’t telling me,” Ben says, tossing his squeegee into the bucket down by our feet and leaning his shoulder against the window.
I clench my teeth and refuse to look at him, cleaning the window faster so I can get away from Ben’s prying eyes.
“Holy shit. You’re in love with her,” Ben whispers.
The squeegee falls from my hand and clatters to the deck.
“I’m not in love with her. I just met her,” I argue, squatting down to grab the tool.
He yanks it out of my hand when I stand back up and tosses it into the bucket with his.
“Fine. Maybe you’re not fully in love with her, but you’re getting there. So what the fuck is the problem? Maybe you knocked her up, maybe you didn’t. Who cares? You two can ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after,” he says with a laugh.
“The problem is that she doesn’t feel the same!” I shout, regretting the words as soon as they leave my mouth when I see his smile and laughter turn into a look of pity.
“Um, have you asked her if she feels the same? Because, you know, you’re not exactly very forthcoming with your feelings, and maybe she’s the same way. Maybe—”
“She doesn’t,” I cut him off, reaching down to grab the bucket and walk away from him. “Can we stop talking about this now?”
Ben runs to catch up with me and follows behind me as I move inside the ship and downstairs to the galley, sticking the bucket in the sink to rinse it out.
“I’m just saying, a little talking goes a long way. Women like it when you open up to them and share shit with them. Stop being so damn closed off and maybe she’ll change her mind.”
Turning off the water in the sink, I glare at him.
“Since when did you become a fucking love doctor?” I ask.
“I know, right? It’s making me a little uncomfortable right now, but I can’t help it. Brooke makes me happy, and I want everyone to be happy. Even your sorry ass,” Ben laughs.
“Stop being a dumb little shit,” Marcel says in accented English, making Ben and I both jump when he suddenly appears behind us in the galley.
“You speak English?” Ben asks in astonishment.
“You’re both dumb little shits, but you’re the dumbest,” Marcel tells me, jabbing a finger into my chest. “You like her, she likes you, stop being—”
“A dumb little shit, I got it,” I interrupt, smacking his finger away from me.
“She’s not like other women we see on this ship. She’s kind and she’s funny and she doesn’t flash her money all over the place. And for some reason, she’s decided to set her sights on you. Maybe she feels the same, maybe she doesn’t. You won’t know unless you try. Pull your head out of your dumb shit ass and give her a reason to feel the same,” Marcel finishes, turning his back on me to start chopping vegetables on the island in the middle of the room.
Taking Marcel’s words to heart since it’s the most he’s ever said to me in four years, and there must be a reason he said them to me instead of just shouting at me in French, Ben and I leave the galley and head down the hall to our bunks.
“You’re going to give her a reason, aren’t you?” Ben asks as he pauses in front of his door and looks over at me.
“I don’t know what the fuck I’m going to do, but I should probably at least get the apology part over with first,” I tell him with a shrug.
“Excellent plan. You can’t exactly convince a woman to fall in love with you if she wants to slit your throat. Good luck with that,” Ben says, saluting me before disappearing into his room.
Standing in the doorway of the wheelhouse, I take a minute to stare silently at Mackenzie before she knows I’m here. After dinner, when the captain went to his room to rest, I had Ben tell Mackenzie that Captain Michael wanted to talk to her up here. I knew she’d never agree to come up here if she knew I was the one who wanted to talk to her.
I still have no fucking idea what I’m doing, but watching her with her hands resting on the counter in front of her, staring out at the water with nothing but the glow of the control board lights on her face, makes me want to say whatever it takes to get her to change her mind about this thing between us.
She’s still wearing a casual, floral print sundress that she must have had on for dinner. Her hair falls around her shoulders in thick, loose curls. The dress ties up around her neck, leaving her back completely bare, and the short skirt shows off her gorgeous long legs. She’s absolutely stunning, and I can’t take my eyes off of her. I want to get down on my knees and beg her to stay, but I know I can’t do that. What I can do, is give her a little more of myself, let her see who I really am, and hope that it’s enough to make her want more.
Her eyes close and her head drops down in front of her when I speak, but she doesn’t turn around.
Walking further into the room, I want to move next to her, but I know she’ll likely punch me if I do that right now. Instead, I move to stand behind the ship wheel in the center of the room, resting my hands on top of the cold, shiny metal as I stare at the back of her head.
“I seem to always be apologizing to you,” I mutter, which finally brings her head up.