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Torn Curtain Pt 66

Part 66: The Tide Is High

“Throwing things into the water will not solve your problem, Miss Margaret.”

“Then what do you suggest, Lieutenant?” she asked him, continuing to throw stones into the bay. “Shall I set things aflame?”

Margaret stiffened as Lieutenant Groves seated himself beside her on the large boulder in the sand. Of late, whenever she found herself near the officer, an odd discomfort made it difficult for her to breathe. She did not know why she felt so, as he was always kind. But there was always something in his gaze that made her uncertain of what he was thinking. Sometimes, she found his kindness to be very unexpected.

“Tell me what it is that causes you such agitation.”

Margaret sat silently, continuing to throw stones at the waves. There were so many things that weighed upon her. Marianne was forever worrying over her Captain. Mrs. Norrington was always with her, also worrying about her husband who had also sailed to Canada to fight against the French in addition to the unborn child she carried.

Margaret mused that Lieutenant Groves might also have gone were it not for an injury to his arm that he sustained in action against a pirate attack against the ship of Mr. Quincy's friend, Mr. Hancock. In considering the thought of his leaving, she found herself relieved that he had stayed. Despite the current awkwardness that now disturbed their tentative friendship, she knew that she would have missed his gift for humorous conversation.

“Marianne worries, and I fear for her health,” Margaret said, finally. “Her parents sent her to us because of her health.”

“I have heard an account of it from Mrs. Norrington,” the Lieutenant said with a nod. “I have also heard from one of my superior officers that the Commodore and Gillette are soon to return--- the battle having been won.”

“Oh,” Margaret said, looking up at him in surprise. “Have you conveyed the news to Marianne and Mrs. Norrington?”

“No,” he quietly answered. “I have only just heard.”

Margaret felt her shoulders stiffen once again. There was something in his tone that confused her. She was grateful for his kindness, of course, but while it was pleasant, there was something about it that unsettled her. In addition, he was looking upon her curiously. He was, no doubt, wondering why it was that he had entered into a strange friendship with such a childish girl. She certainly felt childish at the moment.

“Margaret,” he said tentatively, “What else is bothering you?”

She sat silently, thinking of what to say. She could not tell him that she was affected by the change in their friendship. Her confusion over the subject of their friendship was something that she, at all costs, would prevent him from seeing. She could not tell him that she, at one point, had harbored such silly hopes, nor could she tell him that she worried very much that he still thought her a child. He would want to know why, and she would never expose herself to such humiliation.

“I should not press you to tell me,” he said after they sat silently for a few moments. “However, it seems that you have other worries weighing upon your mind. I have confided in you, and found it to be very helpful, and I wish to be of service to you now.”

Suddenly, a gust of wind tugged the hat that she was wearing from her head and blew it onto the sand, near the waves. She took the opportunity to abandon the path the conversation had taken and chased after her hat.

“Miss Margaret!” the Lieutenant called after her. “The tide is high!”

She caught her hat, but as soon as she heard his call, she felt the wave crash upon her back. It was followed by a larger wave which left water to her shoulder blade. As the waters receded, she felt the tug of the undercurrent, and she struggled against it. By the time the wave had left the beach, Lieutenant Groves was beside her and had grabbed her by the waist. He then proceeded to rush her to the top of the sand dunes before the tide could come in again.

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” Margaret said, shivering. “You must think me very foolish for chasing after such a frivolous thing.”

“Not at all,” he said. “But Margaret, I hope that you will find you can confide in me with more ease someday.”

Authors Note

Why do I keep exploring the secondary relationships in this fic? It does build to a conclusion, I know it does, but I am a little frustrated that I don't have the time to finish this faster.

Feedback and concrit welcome as always...