They ran back home as quick as possible, Bennet wasn’t home yet. Clarice and Ingram decided to go visit the docks and tell him about the conversation they had with Bathilda.
The docks were teeming with people, the golden sunrays barely made it to the ground. It was filled with fisherman, small traders, people arriving and leaving Hauyne. The crowd was double the normal because tomorrow is the weekly fish-market in Hauyne. Clarice held Ingram’s hand and led him through the crowd and into the shipyard. They saw Bennet there, he was one of the helpers of Hauyne’s shipwright.
“Benn!! We need to get to Mirefield immediately” Clarice panted, Bennet did not understand what she had said. He waited for her to catch her breath and asked “what happened?”
“After the blaze everyone shifted to Mirefield, we need to get to Mirefield quickly. Do something!” Clarice insisted. Bennet took them aside and tried to calm Clarice down. She slowly did.
“Clarice, there is only one ship a week to Mirefield and the ship just left 2 days ago. We need to wait another 4 days for that one to arrive. We don’t have –” Bennet was interrupted by Clarice.
“You work here! Arrange a ship. You can do that can’t you? You’ve worked here for so long can’t you do that much?” she was almost shouting at Bennet.
Ingram put his hands on her shoulder and said “Clarice, It’s not Bennet’s fault. It’s his family too, It’s our family he won’t hold back on any help he can get. Don’t blame him. We’ve waited for 2 decades, 4 days are going to get by in a flash. So, trust me we’ll be fine” he cooled her down “and go easy on my brother, he likes you too much that’s why he doesn’t get angry on you. He’ll do everything he can to make you happy” he smiled at her and pushed her towards Bennet.
Clarice playfully kicked Bennet and went on to look at the ships in the shipyard. They waited for Bennet to finish work and walked back home. The sky flushed with red as the tip of the sun waved goodbye.
They reached home and Clarice made dinner for everyone. Bennet went to bed as soon as dinner was done, he was tired after a hard day of work.
Clarice and Ingram sat in front of the fireplace and Clarice broke into a conversation.
“Ingram, I want to tell you something. Promise me you won’t talk to Bennet about it. He’ll simply worry” Ingram gave a quite nod not having the slightest idea what Clarice was about to tell him.
“This happened when you were in prison. Bennet and I tried to find you, we did not know you were in prison then. Bennet never let me into the towns all by myself, I know he was trying to protect me but then I had to help him. He was already hurting and we were running out of money too. It was a really hard time, I don’t know how we made it through. Some really bad things happened Ingram, I don’t know how to express it you” Clarice said, while her eyes filled with tears.
Ingram sat on his knees and held Clarice’s hands “what happened Clar? You can tell me. I’m here for you.” He knew something must have gone horribly wrong because it would take something really harsh for such a strong person like Clarice to become so vulnerable.
“Ingram please trust me, I will tell you what happened but just not today. I don’t think I can right now. It hurts! It hurts whenever I think about that time. I know how hard we struggled, we couldn’t find You, Elia and Daisy, we had no idea where you were, money was a struggle and it felt like everything was falling apart. So-”
“Clarice! It’s okay, I’m here for you whenever you want to talk about it” he comforted her. She got up, hugged him and went to sleep. “Get some sleep, don’t stay up too late” she said while she went.
But Clarice’s vulnerable face was stuck in his head and he couldn’t get over it. It was something he had never seen and it worried him deeply.
The fireplace mimicked the warmth of Clarice’s love. He sat cozy by the flame, the room illuminated with the flickering light. Though the air isn’t smokey he could smell the pine as it burns, just a faint fragrance to reassure his senses that there will be comfort in the long run.
For the next chapter: Chapter 9: The New Fear.
For Chapter 1: Chapter 1 : Emancipation