Henriette climbed back aboard The Queen, smiling as happy as can be. Fits followed up and helped the crew pull their little rowboat back on, "Well gents," he laughed, "Ya didn't miss much, Rocks everywhere," Henriette had already disappeared behind the doors of the Captain quarters, had she been there, Fits would have winked at her.
After the crew tied down the small boat, Fits set a new course, and followed Henriette into hiding, "You should just tell them," he pointed out as he closed the door.
Henriette rolled her eyes, "I know, I know, but I've only got," she counted on her fingers, "Three more months, if the mistress was right," she tried.
"At least tell Paully, the poor guy's confused as heck and he can't help but be curious," Fits sat on the bed next to her and rubbed her belly.
Henriette pulled away and began pacing, "It was nice to be away, not to have to worry.
But we're back now, and," she stopped and glanced at Fits, "Where're we headed? No matter." Henriette paced the floor a few more times and stopped again, "Alright. Send Paully in."
Fits looked back at her in shock, "Really?" he asked, standing.
"Send 'em in, Fits," she repeated.
Fits tilted his head, "Alright," he slipped out the doors and Henriette could hear him hollering, "Paully, report to the Captain immediately!"
A muffled "Yessir," was sounded and a small knock clicked on the door.
Henriette clapped her hands behind her back and faced the windows, "Enter," she called over her shoulder.
Paully opened the door slowly, "You wanted to see me Cap?"
"I said enter, man, come in and close the door," she said sternly.
Paully shut the door, listening for the click behind him, "What is it Captain?"
"Paully, You've proven yerself very loyal to me, and I'm grateful for that, so Fits and I have decided to let you in on our secret."
Paully stood nervously by the door, waiting for Henriette to turn around.
"You must keep it to yerself, if ya let one slip of the tongue to the crew, I'll cut it out and feed it to the seamonsters, ya'hear?" Henriette closed her eye and basked in the sunlight from the windows a moment.
"Yes Cap'n," Paully replied.
"Good," Henriette turned, keeping her hands behind her back, "Paully, Fits and I are expecting a child."
Paully raised an eyebrow but said nothing.
"I am no less of a Captain, nor anymore a housewife, You understand?" she hissed, walking towards him, "The only reason you are being informed is so someone knows when he comes around on the ship."
Paully nodded, "Course, Cap'n. If ya want my opinion-"
Henriette put a hand up to stop him, "If you insult me, Paully, I'll cut you to pieces."
"-I think yer very brave."
Henriette cocked her head, "You what?"
Paully nodded, "I never heard of a women Captain before, and frankly, it's workin' out for us here on The Queen," he explained, "And if ya stick through this, you'll be an even finer Captain one day."
~ ~ ~
Fits watched Paully step out of the Captain's quarters, so he slipped in, "So? How'd he take it? He's still alive, so I'm guessing well?"
Henriette nodded, "I didn't have to kill him," she laughed.
~ ~ ~
Another month flew by and Henriette started to loath Tennessee, "Kid, yer gonna kill me, ya know that?" she'd talk to him, "You had better be worth it," but of course, there were days where she loved the idea of a baby. Not on a ship, perhaps, but the idea of continuing the Cooper line was a proud moment for her.
Fits tried to get the medicine man in to see her, but Henreitte would have nothing of it.
"Please?" Fits tried again.
"If I have to put up with this pain," Henriette scoffed at her belly, "I'm not dealing with THAT one."
"He's only trying to help, Henriette, just keep that in mind," Fits kissed her on the forehead and stepped back outside to watch the crew.