“Tell me something, would you ever take her same path? Marry to protect yourself? Or even a child?”
Without thinking about her answer, Karina readily replied. “Nay. I daresay I would face a future of ruin before I even considered marriage to another.”
“Why?” Cole couldn’t help asking, curious about her answer.
“Because, Captain Black, although society deems it an impossible and silly notion, I am not a disbeliever of love. Once you have beat all the odds and found your true love, your soul’s resting place, being with another would seem an unfeasible option.”
Taking a step closer to her, he spoke lowly.
“You would suffer a lifetime of ridicule, all because of some feeling, or notion of love?”
Boldly, she stared into his questioning gaze.
Cole could see that the lady was very serious. He admired her passion and determination. The conviction in her speech moved his former linear thoughts, offering him the chance to see someone else’s point of view. Particularly, Lady Bardot’s position. Staring into her light brown eyes, Cole found himself wondering if the color would change were he to kiss her. Granted, they had already darkened at the simple discussion of a book.
“I must say, Lady Bardot, you make a convincing argument.”
Calming down a bit, she smoothed her dress over.
“You agree with me then,” she stated.
“I did not say that,” he answered instantaneously.
“I do not mean to fluster you, Lady Bardot. I only mean to compliment your strong argument. Very few women are able to argue as effectively as you so demonstrated only moments ago. ‘Tis truly a gift. Now, shall we continue on our trek up to the steer? I’m sure I can interest you in the mechanics of it all.”
Offering his arm, he waited for her to accept it, only to be confused when she took a step back. Eyebrows furrowed, she forced a smile.
“I do apologize Captain Black, but suddenly, I am not feeling well. I’m afraid my being a woman is wreaking havoc on my body.”
“My delicate sensibilities should be grateful indeed, sir, that one such of your status has bestowed upon me a compliment on the successful completion of my own argument,” Karina replied angrily.
Her slightly raised voice drew the attention of Leviah, Ackley, and James, who was taking his usual walk about the ship before he began the evening meal.
“Lady Bardot,” he started, only to be interrupted once more.
“Why, ‘tis a wonder I even know my own surroundings! Being able to formulate words into stimulating conversation can be a headache, especially for my gender, but not to worry, sir, I am up for the challenge. Hopefully, I will not be found lacking.”
She poked the Captain in his chest, which surprised him.
“You think to have my acquiescence with a compliment about my gender? About my astounding ability to interest one person in conversation? Have you no hopes or high expectations of women? Are we only placed on this earth for one purpose only?” Karina whispered the last inquiry seemingly more to herself. Taking a deep, and insulting bow, she pasted a very large and false smile on her already tight face.
“I must bid you good day, sir. Better to return to my quarters before my person is overcome with doubt at the competency to walk in a straight line without an escort.”