“Would you mind travelling with a pirate?” Turk asked, having overheard and feeling a kinship with the man. “I have nowhere I need to go at the present time, so I may as well take you there myself!”
“Why, thank you, Turk!” Simon accepted his offer with surprise, rising from his chair and offering his hand to the giant that stood now as well, towering over even Simon’s height. “I had not even thought of asking you.”
“And why should you not?” Turk laughed, his dark eyes sparkling when he saw Leigha’s look of pleasure at his offer to help. “I am a pirate but not without feelings, though I seldom use them to the good of others. I feel that we are kindred souls, my friend, and we shall get along just fine.”
“We were once kindred spirits, ‘tis true.” Simon smiled at him as they shook hands and returned to their seats, “but I’m afraid that Leigha has spoiled my wanton ways, and I only wish now to settle down and live out the rest of my life in peace.”
“Ah yes, she was beginning to have that effect on me as well!” Turk laughed and looked over at the now embarrassed Leigha, “Perhaps she has succeeded in part. I have changed greatly due to her influence, but I’m destined to roam the seas for the rest of my life. ‘Tis all that I know!”
“At least you know where your destiny lies,” Simon said, barely containing his momentary lapse into despair. Recovering himself as he saw the pain in Leigha’s eyes, he sighed, “Ah well, we shall see for ourselves in time, eh? For now, I propose a toast to the future of one and all here,” he said, smiling at all about as they raised their glasses to his. “May it be bright and happy and let the tears of our past roll away into the dust and there be forgotten!”
“Here, here!” Gordon agreed heartily, glad that things were beginning to look better. “May we all prosper and realize our hopes and dreams!”
The toast was given and received and then everyone turned to the platters of food on the table before them that had begun to grow cold as they had talked. Charles kept a conversation going with Turk and Gordon, leaving Simon and Leigha to talk quietly with each other as they shared their last meal together.
Turk bid his farewell to all when the meal was over and asked Leigha to come above deck with him. The moon cast a pale light across her delicate features as she turned to face him at the railing then stepped into his arms. He held her close for a moment and promised that he would come to see her in Scotland, reassuring her that he would always hold her close in his heart. Kissing her forehead, he stepped back and with a smile, brushed her cheek. Gazing one last time into her emerald eyes, he wordlessly tipped his head, and left. She watched her friend proudly walk away into the darkness of the wharf below, unaware of the great man’s tears as he wondered in his heart if he would ever see her again. Life at sea was cold and hard, full of dangers and adventures that could kill even a man as strong and brave as he. Shaking his head in the night as he returned to his ship, he hoped that all he needed was the rolling sea beneath his feet and time to heal his broken heart.