Camaraderie: Mysteries Of The Heart
Chapter 8: Pirates and Cowboys
Location: The deck
"Is this about Miyra?" Melisande gave him a worried look, "Dottie said you were in a relationship with her. The skinny lookout, right?"
Melisande was making things easier for him. So yes, Dottie had gossiped about everyone around... wouldn't she? Not that Chago cared the less. Gossips were the thing to be expected both aboard a cramped ship and in a town ashore.
"Yes, you are right. We are in a relationship... we have agreed to discuss and decide what we are going to do once we arrive to the Old West. Now that we are here, she ...avoids me. Yes, this is the word. She gave up even on our daily fencing lessons. I would have made time for it, especially that she is a promising student."
While she was throwing him a questioning gaze, worry, interest in the story and the genuine desire to help all caught in it, he found the strength to continue and to say what he had never said to anybody. (Well, about Luisa, many months after the oceans separated them, he had talked once or twice with his sister, Pepita, who had her own way of asking annoying questions...)
"I haven't offended her with anything, at least not that I know about it, and there are five days since she avoids me. I would have preferred if she told me that she didn't like a certain thing, if that was the case, otherwise I couldn't learn how to properly behave with her - and this is what courting should be about, isn't it? Or if she is as flimsy as the other women in my past, and she has changed her mind about us... a word would be enough. I am not knocking at closed doors," he bursted in frustration.
He took a deep breath, still managing to supervise his tone, to keep it low, no matter how he would have wanted to howl to the moon above his head with his bottled sorrow, "I admit that I am following the captain to Kanesville and beyond just because I have no idea what Miyra wants to do. We were supposed to discuss, to exchange plans and ideas, to forge plans for a common future. Silence can't achieve this. Silence can't achieve anything. Not even a good-bye from her part, if this is what she wants now."
Initially, he had wanted to ask Melisande if she had an idea, from a woman to another, what might have determined this strange behaviour. Or if he needed to conquer Miyra again, and how. But now he was merely stating the facts he had no grasp on. Indeed, he had never pretended to understand women, and it showed now.
"Hmm...I am not sure. I do not know her, but she looks awfully young. Some of her avoidance may have to do with youth and lack of experience in life. If she wanted to end the relationship, logically she would have at least wrote you a letter..." Melisande paused at the thought, reminding her of her own predicament with Gaston, her betrothed. Yet Miyra hadn't promised to marry someone as far as she knew, at least not with Chago. Outsiders seemed to break promises all the time, so it wasn't like she was stuck like Melisande felt about her own situation.
Seeing Chago's anxious expression, she snapped out of her thoughts, "Perhaps she feels guilty or ashamed of something? What, I don't know. Something from her past? How much do you know about her past? She is most likely scared of something. It could be related to that shame or it could just be because she is young and nervous of such a big commitment. Is there something you do that she likes that could somehow reassure her? I mean I could be completely off base, she might not be interested anymore, and just cannot think of how to say so. Even so, you would still be able to show her that you do love her and would like the relationship to continue."
Chago looked at Melisande, paying attention to her words and thinking aloud, as if she could help him arrange his thoughts, "Well, she is eighteen. She has no experience, indeed, but I think she arrived to know me enough that she can trust me with anything. I guess the lack of communication, her shutting off, is disturbing and worrying me the most. I think I could deal with mostly anything when understanding what is that about."
Luisa was seventeen when she got married, and at least they had a final discussion, a good bye. He hadn't showed then how much he had been hurt, he had simply told her that he wasn't the man to sin with a married woman, and that he'd leave before her wedding. But his new army friend, Melisande, had a point.
"I can understand about being nervous about a big commitment. I have been too. Let's say a commitment is not my strong point either," he confessed.
But he overcame all his hang-ups about committing, seeing that Miyra needed his protection, his love, his support. Her past? This was another good point. More food for thought for him.
"I know something about her past, but you are right, there might be things I don't."
He knew her parents were in one of the cities of the Old West, and that she was afraid that they might learn she had become a pirate. He knew also that she was Tainted, even if hiding it well, and that people here in Harling Pass seemed to hate Tainted more than others. This was a reason to keep distant from the others, but not from him...
Melisande's latest idea, though, was enlightening. Chago would think further, later, about the other issues Melisande had raised. Now he had to focus on this one. He knew something she liked, and which could somehow reassure her about his love. He had dedicated her songs before, but there were, usually, regular songs he knew, adapted a little for her. But, given that he had also the ring in his pocket, not making yet his mind to propose exactly because he saw her so adamant in avoiding him... this was a good idea. An original proposal. Ultimately, he had her ring around his neck; she should have his, given in a better way.
"Yes, I like playing the guitar and singing. I have dedicated her a lot of songs... but I think in this case I should be able to write the verses too. I guess this is the most difficult part."
"True. I do not have much experience there. I was taught singing and piano. Everyone is to learn an instrument and singing as a child in my nation to aid in prayer. So while I do not have any songwriting experience, I know what sounds good. Since we'll be leaving the ship, we won't have access to the captain's piano. I also do not know what sort of sound she would like. Outside of my own nation, the music I am most familiar with is Elladia, which is also very different from that found in here. Still, if you would like any help, just ask." She clasped his hand in reassurance. She smiled a the sudden awareness of how hard it was for Chago to tell her this and how natural it felt to be around him. It felt like he could read parts of her inner being and wondered if he felt the same way.
If Melisande was musically inclined too, maybe she could help him, Chago mused, enjoying the friendly clasp and her smile. Different personalities, but somehow convergent through parts of their backgrounds. Enough common points to ground a friendship upon. Yes, it felt natural, and in another way good to be around her. He could be himself, he could think loudly... well, with measure. The mercenary part wasn't yet common knowledge, and it shouldn't. Chago Moreno needn't be exactly El Moreno.
"Yes, I guess something interesting might result from your musical experience in Elladia and with my Merovingian one, with Old West inflections. And two brains, at matching verses, might do better than one."
Just as Melisande was about to say something she heard the sound of shuffling feet in the darkness.