Unsinkable (and other stories) - Stefano Pastor - ebook
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Three adventurous and brilliant stories.UNSINKABLE. How can a simple hub, as soon as a boy, have any hope with the woman he falls in love with, Lady Stuart, one of England's most powerful nobles? When a pirate vessel attacks the ship where they are both traveling, the impossible happens. Lady Stuart notices him. He even saves his life. And this is just the beginning of an unforgettable adventure.HANDS IN PASTA. Typical day of a family mother, who in addition to cooking must also manage the complex relationships that bind every inhabitant of the house. To succeed, it is forced to use very unconventional methods.LOST ITEMS. For Patrizia it is the beginning of a nightmare. Those two children claim to be her sons. They accuse you of abandoning them. But she has no children. How to try it? How to convince that policeman that it must be a misunderstanding?

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Illusion Short Stories # 5

Unsinkable

Original title: Inaffondabile

Translated by Chiara Perfetti

Hands in Pasta

Original title: Mani in pasta

Translated by Talida Mantegna

Lost Items

Original title: Oggetti smarriti

Translated by Cinzia Albanese

© 2018 Illusion

© 2018 Stefano Pastor

Graphics: Angela M.

UNSINKABLE

I fell in love with Lady Stuart at first sight.

To tell the truth I didn’t even know what love was like. I was only sixteen years old and I had spent the last two of them at sea on that galleon, so it wasn’t like I had seen many women till then. Anyhow, it happened, and my feelings were only confirmed in the following days. I was in love with her, I would always be.

Lady Stuart was young, much younger than her husband, but nonetheless a woman compared to me. On top of that, she was a Lady and I was only a cabin boy, the bottom level of the ship’s hierarchy. I didn’t stand a chance at all.

What Lady Stuart was doing on that ship was a mystery. Incidentally, she was alone, her husband wasn’t escorting her. He didn’t even come to witness the boarding.

That day, I was on the deck, dazzled by her beauty. I would have never expected that our ship owner, Lord Stuart, could have such a perfect wife. She came out of a shiny white carriage, which was driven by eight white horses. Her dress was a feast of laces and doilies and skirts and petticoats, totally inadequate to the shipboard life. Her skirts were so wide that it was necessary to broaden the gangplank to let her get aboard.

Her calm, placid gaze indicated a confidence and a strength that I’d never seen in any other before. Her poise was regal. She never lowered her gaze, not even for an instant, not for any reason. She knew who she was and was aware of her power.

After all, she had every reason to. Her husband, the Earl, was first cousin of the King and third in line to the throne, and she was the most popular lady at court. All of this made her presence on the ship even more mysterious.

The second thing I noticed about her – after her beauty – was that she was by herself. I’m not talking about his husband, whose absence I mentioned already, what I mean is that there was no one escorting her, not even a lady’s maid. On the other hand, she did have eight extremely heavy chests, all filled with clothing.

Looking at her, I wondered who would have helped her wear such elaborate dresses.

Her waist was non-existent, her bosom spilling over her dress, her skirts so ample that the closer you could get was only within three feet from her. From her white wig, a cascade of curls lightly touched her naked shoulders. Her eyes were blue like a calm sea. I saw them clearly, but she didn’t notice me.

The captain showered her with bows, and for good reason. His future depended on that woman. It was the talk of the ship and everybody had something to say about it. That it was her in charge of the family, that Lord Stuart was like a puppet in her hands. Knowing the Earl, it was easy to guess why.

I didn’t hear her speak. Lady Stuart dominated everyone with a simple wave of her hand. Besides, she only lingered on the deck for a few moments and was soon escorted to her cabin.

That day, I did everything in my power to be assigned to the deck, so that if she showed up I would have been near enough to see her. I made it and kept doing that day after day, until the tragedy struck.

It became clear what that woman was up to. The ship had just sailed when the bosun gathered us. He informed us that Lady Stuart expressed her wish for a valet. Then without delay, he appointed Mike to that task.

Of course, Mike was the best suited amongst us for that job, since he had been first steward for almost two years and served as a valet to the captain and to every personality who sailed with us. However, in that situation, I found it a little bit tacky. I was astonished that no one made comments about it.

I tried to lock eyes with Mike. We used to be friends, true friends. If he wanted to, he could’ve helped me get that task by putting in a good word with the Captain. I know, it would have been absurd. Why would a cabin boy get promoted to a valet? Valet to Lady Stuart, no less. But I was very young and naïve. I still believed that dreams could come true.

It goes without saying that Mike didn’t even notice my presence.

I was waiting for his reaction, I wanted to see to what extent he would go. In that moment, he had the decency to lower his head and admit: “I’m not sure I’m the right person for this task, let Jonas do it.”

Jonas was the longest-serving valet, the one from whom Mike had stolen the position. On that occasion, he briefly lost his impassibility and he allowed himself a smile.

Then the bosun sentenced. “That would not be possible, Lady Stuart specifically asked for you.”

Mike was finished. I realized it instantly and so did everyone else. I also realized the reason why Lady Stuart was on that ship.

Mike figured that out too. I saw him turn pale, I saw the dread in his eyes. In that moment, he looked at me. When everybody else lowered their heads to avoid his gaze, I was the only one left. He begged, he begged me to save him.

But there was no salvation for Mike, he had gone too far this time. He had no friends left on that ship, everyone despised him. I, too, hadn’t spoken to him in a long time.

There was a time when it wasn’t like that, when Mike was happy, full of life and loved by everybody. He was my idol, I wanted to be just like him. I admired him.

He was only a cabin boy, just like me, but for five years yet. He was very young when he boarded that ship, only eleven years old, and he immediately became everyone’s favourite. He wasn’t very clever, but he knew how to endear himself, and his honest smile and high spirits were contagious.

I was fourteen, two years younger than him, when I first stepped on a ship. It wasn’t my choice, but my father’s. He said I was a troublemaker, that I needed to fix my attitude, but it wasn’t the truth. I wasn’t that different from other boys my age, I didn’t make much trouble and I was there for him if needed. He did it only for the money, for the pay they promised him. In a sense, he sold me. Yes, that’s what he did.

Without Mike, I wouldn’t have made it. Too many rules, too many orders. I was at the bottom of the hierarchy and I was required to obey at all times. I had no time to breathe, the work was killing me, I would end up making mistakes and dealing with the consequences. I had been flogged more than once.