Ava and The New World Ch. 05byPiratess©
"Most women don't look appealing in men's clothing, but you would be the exception to the rule dear Ava." Mendoza's voice reverberated around the small room, sending slithering chills through Ava's tired body.
"I'll take that as a compliment shall I?" Ava sarcastically responded, as she stepped inside taking her belt off, the dagger swinging close to her leg.
"Careful!" grunted Mendoza as he swept the dagger away from her skin.
The ship lurched into a wave throwing Ava off balance, the seas were growing higher and more menacing. She staggered as Mendoza expertly stood up to catch her. His arms gripped her, pulling her against his chest holding her steady. Ava automatically clung to Mendoza, grateful for his strength.
Mendoza paused, holding Ava tight before letting her step back from his arms.
"What can I do for you Mendoza?" Ava sighed, suddenly exhausted from the day.
Mendoza's stormy eyes darkened, "Well it's an important day dear Ava, your first day as a crew member, and dear lord I hope this news of you doesn't reach anyone we know, but you did well considering..."
"Considering what?" Ava blasted back, her hands on her hips defensively; her eyes flashing gold and green.
Their gazes bore into one another, tempers and wills battling silently. Ava began to unplait her hair, tousling it around her shoulders; it tumbled down to her waist. She lifted her chin, eyes burning into him, determined to change his mind on her once and for all.
"Considering I'm a woman? Is that what you were going to say, Mendoza?" she purred, eyes sultry and darkening.
Ava slinked toward him, and alarm bells rang for Mendoza. He stepped back away from her, knowing her game, but was enjoying it while it lasted.
Ava continued in seductive tones, and pouted "I should really stick to what I'm good for, shouldn't I?"
She stepped back a step, and started to unbutton the oversized shirt, revealing her caramel skin, and slipped it off one shoulder, pausing to look at him.
Mendoza kept her gaze, not once looking away. Ava's brow furrowed, this wasn't what she wanted, she wanted to get the better of him! Frustrated she shrugged the garment back onto her shoulders and Mendoza began to laugh. Ava's cheeks burnt red, "Get out of my cabin you brute!" she exclaimed.
Mendoza continued to chuckle, before smiling at her stormy face.
"Ava," he waited for her response and she looked away proudly, refusing to look at him and something on her bed caught her eye.
"Ava ...Happy Birthday." he finished gently, before he began for the door.
Ava walked to the bed, where a small brown box with string tied in a small bow sat on the pillow. Mendoza glanced back to her as he walked out, closing the door gently.
Ava thought that he had forgotten, and admitted she had near forgot herself. She was 19 today. Ava tentatively touched the box, as her memories of birthdays flooded back to her. Happy childhood, care free birthdays in Barbados, she smiled softly and tears stung her eyes.
Ava shook her head, as if to clear the memories, and studied the box with interest.
"What an earth could he have got me? Why would he get me anything?" She asked herself out loud. "And how did he remember?"
Ava deftly untied the bow, and opened the box. Inside was a small but strong rope necklace made of beautiful gold. She sucked a sharp breath, eyes as wide as plates.
Gently taking it out of the box Ava took it closer to the candlelight. It was a beautiful piece of jewellery. Ava had never been interested in jewellery, silvers, pearls and pewter but she had never seen a rope made of gold.
Knowing how much Mendoza cared for treasure and gold, Ava knew this wasn't just a trinket, stirring confused emotions, part of her ached for a sign of love from him, part of her wanted to leave and not face him ever again. Despite her battle of sexes with him, she enjoyed her time with him, admired his knowledge and skills, and knew that he had a huge effect on her physically.
Ava went to the small mirror, and slowly placed the necklace around her neck, the candles flickering shadows across the cabin.
Staring at herself in the mirror, she noticed she had changed since she left home, older somehow and frightfully, in love with that man.
Mendoza sat at his desk, head in hands tired and frustrated. What was wrong with him? He had never been involved with a woman for more than a few nights, what was so captivating about this one? How did she control him? Why couldn't he just take her, satisfy his needs and be done with it? And why did her care what she felt? Mendoza knew it wasn't because she was legally his wife; everyone knew that was for show. No, there was something much more.
He couldn't admit to anyone, but he was so very inspired by her work with the crew that he felt great admiration and adoration for her. She was witty, fun, intelligent, challenging, stubborn and so very tempting. And for once in his life, he valued a woman's thoughts, opinions and ideas. And, he wanted her to want him. Badly.
And he wanted her, even more. Tortured, Mendoza undressed hastily and retired to his bed, willing sleep to come swift. Relief was far away, his thoughts racing all the night.
In less than two days they would be in the straights of Magellan. He could already feel the cool change in the air, the harshness of the waves intensifying, and knowing what challenges lay ahead of them all. He mustn't be distracted by her! Mendoza slept, haunted by her in his dreams.
Ava tumbled heavily out of her bed by the waves; the ship was tossing around the ocean like a toy boat. Slightly stunned she gazed around glassy eyed, before realising what had happened. Her body ached, her arms felt like they were lead, the day of work had taken it toll, and she felt great. She smiled to herself; ship lurched again, and Ava slid across the cabin floor.
Her stomach dropped, fear began to uncurl as she had never been in such severe seas before. Ava scrambled to the cabin door, steadying herself against it and peeked out. The wind was violent, whipping spray from the sea across the decks; the ship creaked and groaned under the strain. Hurriedly she shut the door, and began to dress swiftly.
Mendoza was already up, assessing their position and weather, consulting with the captain about the next few days of travel. He had already decided that Ava was to be kept in her cabin for safety and the captain agreed, but was ready for her protests. He left the captains' quarters ready to do battle with her.
His eyes were drawn immediately to the slender figure out on deck. She was with the other crew members, helping the bosun secure cargo and weaponry. He could hear his heart thud, his temples pounded and he didn't know whether to run away or to her. Turning away he cursed himself then composed, his face steeling over and a frown tugged at his lips.
Mendoza glanced over his shoulder to Ava, his stormy eyes hard. The wind whipped up salty water and it stung his cheeks. He strode over to her and took her roughly by the upper arm. Ava snapped her head around, gasping at the harsh force that Mendoza held her with.
"You will stay in your cabin for the next few days, we are coming into the straights of Magellan, they are dangerous and the weather is ever changing."
Ava stood up, stumbling with the rolling deck, her eyes challenged his. Mendoza lowered his voice,
"Orders by the captain Ava."
Ava looked at him indignantly, knowing full well that it would have been Mendoza's suggestion, not the captains.
"I am more use out here and you know it, and you need every hand you can get Mendoza." Ava growled.
Mendoza spoke deliberately, "Orders by the captain. And that's final."
"No." Ava stood her ground, the wind was thrashing violently, spray saturating everything in its path. Tendrils of hair had escaped her heavy plait, licking her cheeks. Mendoza looked at her fiery eyes, burning green and gold.
"Now..." Mendoza's voice was sharp.
The captain appeared over Mendoza's shoulder at the helm. He looked at Ava squinting through the spray, and then gave a look of understanding. Ava glanced back to the captain, her face pleading with him.
Her eyes darted back to Mendoza's, which were as cold as steel. Ava shivered in the howling wind and water, and realising she wouldn't win this battle, and it would be better if she let it go. Her eyes stung from tears of pride. Ava pushed past Mendoza, scowling and stamping her way below.