“The sea and I have never been at odds,” Rose mutters as she enters. She carries a bundle of burnt sticks.
Isaac knows she has been charring them over the galley fire. She often brings him Spanish oranges from Cook’s personal store. He suspects Cook knows her secret, hopes Cook’s interest is avuncular.
She kneels and scratches a hash mark into the planked wall of their cabin. Her accounting done, she tucks her remaining sticks away in her pack.
Her hair has begun to grow again. She is a russet-capped nereid, her limbs lean and strong, browned and freckled under her boy’s clothing. He rolls onto his side, puts aside the copy of Blake he borrowed from the captain of the Galatea.
“The sea is not your opponent, Rose.”
“So long as it lies between my daughter and I,” she says, her face level with his. Her eyes are the same endless gray as the rolling waves. “The score is 42 to naught in the sea’s favor.”
3 a : an account or reckoning originally kept by making marks on a tally
b : amount due : indebtedness