Chapter Eleven: Hidden
“We can’t leave our rooms again… we just can’t…”
Gwenda was pacing the room looking very intense, though whilst she thought she was contributing ideas, Victoria and Andrew had already come to this agreement. Andrew was leaning against the wall, simply nodding, in so much shock he couldn’t think of anything to say. Victoria was lying on her bed clutching Millicent’s empty Heavy Ball, the Miltank lying besides her in silence as she understood how serious the others were. The Minder’s appearance had ruined what they thought would be a perfect chance to get back into the outside world and prepare themselves for their journey, but now they would be stuck inside, forced to avoid him for the remainder of their journey.
“There’s only a few hours left on the boat, right?” Gwenda said in a high pitched voice that she thought was encouraging. “We can just stay here and order some food, maybe work out what we’re going to do when we get off the boat, and then go and blend in with the crowd getting off when we dock. It’ll be dark, so we could probably find a place to hide and then set off in the morning.”
“Sounds reasonable,” Andrew said, but he sighed and sunk onto the beautiful carpet. Their rooms seemed dark and hideous now, as if the ship had just become plagued. The enjoyment had been sucked out, and they had been looking forward to going back to the pool, eating nice food, lounging under the beautiful sun.
“I just want to know how he found us,” Andrew sighed. “He did it so quickly… maybe they’ve been following us from the start. Like spy Pokemon… that Skarmory could have been stalking us!” Gwenda
gasped dramatically and rushed towards their bags.
“He could know we’re in this room! People may have spoken about us! We need to move now,” and she grabbed her clothes from the previous night and flung them in. But as she lunged for Victoria’s clothes, her friend grabbed them, sitting upright for the first time in about ten minutes.
“We’re staying here,” Victoria said seriously. “The Minder isn’t going to find us. Even if he does, there isn’t anything he can do to us here. We have Millicent to protect us, and there is three of us, isn’t there? He doesn’t have the Parrish’s to back him up anymore.”
“Good point,” Andrew said with a wide smile, getting up off the floor. Victoria stared at him and their eyes met, and for a few moments they simply stared at each other, both smiling. Victoria could definitely feel something between them, and almost forgot about the situation, simply glad that the two were there, together….
“Miltank Mil!” The two snapped out of their staring as Millicent stood, coughing grumpily. She pointed towards her stomach which let out a distinct grumble. Victoria had completely forgotten about feeding her, and knew she was use to getting her hay updated several times a day.
“I think we will have to risk going out a few times, to get supplies and stuff,” Victoria said, leaping off her bed. “I’ll go out now and get Millicent some food: we can’t have a hungry Pokemon that is our only protector, right?” Gwenda moved asides as Victoria rummaged through the bag, pulling out the hedge clippers and her hand mirror. “I’ll look around and see if the Minder is coming around bends so he can’t surprise me, and I have the hedge clippers just in case!”
“Victoria, you can’t go out there!” Gwenda whimpered. Her lips were trembling and her eyes were watering up, and Victoria couldn’t help get upset as well, instantly flinging her arms around her best friend before she could cry.
“Don’t worry, the Minder won’t be able to stop me!” She said soothingly, but Gwenda was still beginning to sob up. Victoria was reminded of escaping from the farm just over twenty four hours ago, and remembered Gwenda crying before they did so. The two were close friends, and she really didn’t want something to happen to her, and vice versa.
“Just… just… just be careful,” Gwenda sniffed, wiping her eyes, and Millicent passed a handkerchief over for her to blow her nose.
“I promise,” Victoria smiled, and walked off, slipping the hedge clippers into a pocket of her dress along with some of their money. At the door Victoria paused, staring towards Andrew with a rather longing look. He gave her an encouraging smile and went to pat her on the shoulder, but paused, seeming a bit nervous, and backed away slightly.
“See you all soon,” Victoria said rather sadly and walked out into the corridor. It was empty, but she still walked cautiously down the carpeted hallway, listening for any sign of movement. The thoughts she had had the previous night were rushing through her body with every pump of her body. If the Minder showed up and tried to attack her, there was no doubt in her mind that Victoria would raise the hedge clippers up and stab him. She heard something move, and Victoria gripped the clippers, ready to strike…
“I do say that was an awful kafuffle on the deck, wouldn’t you agree?” An elderly women said, and Victoria slinked back into her hallway. The couple who had eaten near them was walking past, the husband shaking his heads.
“Awful indeed. I do wonder if that man was just trying to sneak onboard the ship,” he said, and his wife made a sound in agreement. “I’m just glad management has taken him away to sort things out so we could finish our meals in peace!” The wife made the agreeing noise again before the couple disappeared. Smiling, Victoria let go of the clippers and rushed off in the opposite direction to the couple, back towards the dining room. Whilst she was glad she could get Millicent some food quickly, Victoria was also glad she didn’t have to face the Minder just yet. No matter what she told herself, committing murder seemed like such an evil thing to do, especially on such a nice boat.
For the rest of the day, Victoria and Andrew took turns sneaking around. Gwenda was too afraid about going by herself, so she stayed behind and ran around with Millicent, keeping the hyperactive Miltank entertained. Andrew went to buy some new clothes as Victoria didn’t want to go back there after how rude the sales woman had been, leaving her to go and wander around and try to find information. She found some gossiping cleaning ladies, the only other black people Victoria had seen on the ship asides from her and Gwenda, and eavesdropped to their conversation. Apparently the Minder was allowed to wander around the decks, but wasn’t allowed to go into any of the rooms and would have to pay for a ticket when they got to Slateport. Victoria was disappointed that he wasn’t being locked up, and wondered what tale he had spun.
The Johto Jewel was quickly nearing Slateport, going far ahead of the predicted schedule. They had entered Hoenn Waters as the sun began to set, giving the passengers spectacular views of golden and orange skies being reflected in the waters below. The captain made an announcement saying that they would arrive in Slateport around two hours, arriving a few hours earlier than expected. The guests had retreated inside to pack their bags before heading down to the dining hall, ready for their last meal before the ship arrived.
There weren’t any windows in the rooms though, so Victoria, Andrew and Gwenda simply lay on their beds, waiting for their ordered dinner to arrive. They were bored and restless, their rooms very confined now that there was no chance of leaving them. Victoria was chopping at some fabric she had found with the hedge clippers, sighing loudly, and trying not to notice how Andrew was staring at her from besides the door. He was rolling a ball of silk sheets towards Millicent, who was clearly enjoying being played with much more than the people playing with her were. Gwenda was examining herself in the hand mirror, seeing how her hair looked in different ways. The three of them were rather depressed about having their fun cut short, and though they had gotten the map of Hoenn out, they hadn’t had the enthusiasm or concentration to make a plan, the Minder still on their minds.
A knock at the door changed the mood. All three of them leapt up, Victoria instinctively raising the hedge clippers. There was a pause, and they all exchanged looks, wondering if it was The Minder trying to get through the door.
“Did someone order some food?” A voice asked. The three sighed and Andrew moved and unlocked the door, revealing one of the black maids with a white clothed trolley. “I thought I had the wrong room, almost everyone is down at the dining room!” She chuckled, and pushed the trolley in. A silver platter was on top, and she raised it onto a small table in the corner of the room. A succulent Grumpig had been cooked to a wonderful brown, and was surrounded by steaming vegetables and a basket of bread.
“Delicious!” Andrew boomed, and he grabbed his cutlery and cut a piece of the Grumpig off and began to chew it, clearly enjoying the taste.
“Thank you for this,” Victoria said, the hedge clippers tucked inside her dress again. She paused over a few dollars of thanks, but the maid shook her head.
“It is kind of you to offer, but I don’t take tips from my own people,” she said with a smile. “You keep the money, buy yourself something nice in Hoenn.”
“I heard they have markets there, is that true?” Gwenda asked.
“Oh yes, their markets are just wonderful!” The maid explained, moving away from the door. She raised her arm and showed Gwenda a blue bracelet she had brought, explaining about the kind man who ran the stall. Victoria moved over to examine it, but a figure moving past their open door caught her. The person was moving rather briskly, but Victoria still caught the crisp white shirt there were wearing, the smart black pants, and caught something thin and black in their hands.
Without thinking, Victoria moved forwards. Forgetting that the maid was there she pulled the hedge clippers out, making Millicent look up from the Pokemon food Victoria had gotten earlier. Andrew turned away from the pig as Victoria walked out the door, ignoring a gasp from the maid and marching down the corridor. The Minder was just ahead of her, walking at a familiar fast pace. The clippers were raised threateningly, and Victoria was ready to strike with them if necessary. She didn’t care about what the consequences were anymore, but her blood was boiling, and she had to do it now, there wouldn’t be another chance.
Revenge would be hers….
“Victoria, what are you doing?”
Victoria froze as an arm grasped hers. The person in front of her turned around and she saw the face was that of another elderly man, but it was a much healthier looking face that was currently in shock. He was trying to put his tie around his neck, and there was a distinct lack of a cane in his heads.
“Oh my… I’m so sorry sir!” Victoria gasped as Andrew lowered her arm for her. The man simply nodded and continued on his way, mumbling under his breath. Victoria was horrified at what she had just done, and her body began to shake.
“Victoria, what’s wrong?” Andrew asked. “Why did you chase after him?” Victoria turned to face him, his face still handsome as he looked at her in worry. The maid was taking the empty trolley out of their room, Gwenda rashly making up a story before she reported them. Victoria didn’t know what to say, her mind was getting clouded. But she couldn’t stop as a sob broke through, and then tears began to stream, and in seconds she had turned and was running down the corridor.
“Stay there with Millicent!” Andrew shouted, and as Victoria rounded a corner, she could hear his feet thumping after her. Desperate to get away, Victoria saw a door ahead was ajar and pushed it open, appearing on metal staircase. It was spiralling down and Victoria ran down it, her bare feet hurting on the metal. Andrew’s feet were bigger and were causing a bigger clang, but Victoria had no desire to stop, her tears falling quickly now and impairing her vision. Her feet found relief as they moved onto a flatter, more comfortable metal, but the room she had entered into was stifling hot. Victoria came to a stop as she wiped her eyes, looking around at where they were.
It appeared she had entered the ships engine room. The ceiling and walls and even a large part of the floor was covered with pipes upon pipes, leading to what and from what Victoria didn’t know. The room stretched on past where Victoria could see, but in the immediate area she was near two gigantic metal boxes, fires roaring inside of them. Stacks of coal were nearby, crowding up what was left of the space, and Victoria felt like lying on top of them, feeling like she deserved the pain.
“Victoria!” Andrew appeared at the bottom of the staircase, and Victoria turned to flee but was too slow: in three powerful strides Andrew was besides her, grabbing her arms to stop her fleeing, the hedge clippers falling onto the dirty coal. “Victoria, what was that about?” He asked. His voice wasn’t angry but Victoria felt guilty anyway and she collapsed into new found tears, clutching Andrew in a desperate manner.
“I wanted to kill that person,” she wailed. “I thought he was the Minder and I was about to kill him. I’m a horrible person, aren’t I?”
“That’s not true Victoria, that’s not –”
“Yes it is! Since we got on this boat my mind’s been filled with nothing but revenge plans. I want to kill the Minder, I want to kill Edmund and his sons, and frankly I wouldn’t mind giving a Judith a good stay in hospital! They are all such horrible people for what they did to us,” Victoria cried, “but am I just as bad? I could have killed that innocent man simply because he looked like the Minder in my head, and I… I… I…” but Victoria couldn’t continue her sentence, and she and Andrew sunk to the floor, her head buried into his chest.
“Victoria, you are not a horrible person!” Andrew said in a soothing but serious voice. “I want to kill them as well and I wouldn’t be this upset about it! They are horrible pieces of scum that enslaved us for no reason other than saving them a few bucks on labour. If those hedge clippers had been in my hands, I probably would have fought against the grip and stabbed that guy anyway.” Victoria looked up into Andrew’s eyes, her tears beginning to lessen as he smiled his handsome smile, stroking her hair with one hand. “You are a wonderful person because you stopped and felt guilty! That was an amazing thing to do, which is understandable for such an amazing person.” Victoria smiled back at him, and she suddenly felt something in her chest. She gazed up at Andrew, her mind becoming confused on something else. Maybe it was the heat of the room, maybe it was his kind words or what had just happened in the corridor, or maybe because Victoria just damn well felt like it, but she raised her head and kissed him.
Fireworks seemed to explode between the two in that one moment. Victoria had never felt such a strong feeling in all her life, and her lips were practically tingling as the two kissed. The moment turned into several, and than the two remained embraced for over a minute before they finally broke apart, their eyes meeting, their chests heaving as they gasped for air. Victoria had felt something between them for some time, a connection that had increased since they got on the boat, and she was glad it wasn’t one sided.
“I love you,” she said breathlessly, clutching his hands in her own. She half expected him to laugh or insult her, but Andrew’s smile was warm but timid, his eyes wild and excited.
“I love you too,” he whispered, and the two kissed again. Not caring where they were, forgetting about their dinner and Gwenda back in their room, the two collapsed backwards onto the floor. They continued to kiss, Victoria undoing the buttons as Andrew lay on top, his hands running through her hair. The fires roared unattended in their boxes, their flames dancing as wildly as the passion between the two, and they remained the only witnesses as Victoria and Andrew exchanged their love for the first time, letting time flow away with the sea, letting their emotions come out, letting themselves enjoy total freedom for the first time in years.