Charlotte was busy eavesdropping on Bobby and Greg who were talking softly just beyond the edge of where the crew was still huddled. Paulette was trying to sit up with Claude fussing over her. She was irritable and had half a breast exposed, pretty much assuring the rest of the sailors were watching her not Charlotte or the other two talking. She edged a bit closer as the wind began to catch their words and pull them out to sea.
"I don't know where she got the gun. It wasn't on her when she came onboard with Paulette. In that dress it would have been noticed. But she changed so maybe it was somewhere below deck. Claude's had friends visiting lately." Greg was mentally going through the list of lovers that Claude's wife had him investigate in the past three months and could think of two or three that were known to be violent. Maybe Claude had caught a break by not having any of them back since he began seeing Paulette a month ago. Tiffany had been pretty upset that last time Claude refused to let her come up a week or so ago when they were in Trinidad.
"She shot him in the middle of his forehead. It was a good shot but she must be some sort of expert. Most women miss with the first shot," Charlotte knew Greg wasn't deliberately trying to provoke her since he didn't even know she was listening. Greg went on trying to reassure Bobby, "See she has the gun hanging by her side. She's not pointing it at anyone."
Bobby nodded and said, "That's fine for now Greg, but she still has the gun. I thought when she had your sword it was bad enough but that gun makes me really nervous. What if she thinks I did something wrong?"
He was working himself into a state thinking of Charlotte shooting him. Like she would waste a bullet? She had a slightly wicked thought of what she would enjoy doing to both Bobby and his friend, Greg.
"Charlie, can you help Paulette downstairs? She is feeling a bit fragile," Claude's loud voice drowned out Greg's reply.
She casually put the gun into the pockets of the 'borrowed' pants. Paulette's eyes grew huge as Charlotte edged between the men to her side. It was going to be touch and go if Paulette would let her help her. Charlotte simply edged into the woman's brain and eased in some passive positive fluffy bunny-like thoughts. Charlotte nearly fell over with the amount of alcohol clogging Paulette's thought process. She was drunk nearly out of her brain and close to incoherent. It helped Charlotte with the vampiric mind trick but it gave her a contact high until she pushed the effects away and concentrated on making Paulette trust her.
"Charlie, you saved me!" Paulette tried to rise but giggled as she slumped back on her backside to the wooden deck. "Oops, I think I am still shaken up!" Her words were carefully over-annunciated and still she slurred a few.
More like plastered, Charlotte thought and kept to herself.
"Let's get you downstairs." Two of the boys helped Paulette to her feet. Suddenly aware of a breeze she clutched the robe over her breast. The crew sighed slightly at the loss of the spectacular bare breast view. Claude began to bark orders once he saw Paulette stumbling away along side Charlotte.
"I'll be right down, Paulette!" He called after them. It was all Charlotte could do to not cringe at the idea of Claude joining them. His thoughts were loudly broadcasting now. Ever since she had opened up to hear Greg's thoughts it was like the switch was turned over and she couldn't block any strong thoughts or emotions. This was one reason why she hated the water so much. It amplified pretty much everything.
She half-carried Paulette down the stairs leaving the men to work on cleaning up evidence and plotting what they were going to do next. Charlotte didn't bother to explain to them that all the bleach in the world wasn't going to erase their memories or the many memories of the men they had beaten and tossed over the side. Only time would shore up their fears or cause them to break. Those strong enough to compartmentalize would survive. The others wouldn't. Simple human nature -- fragile breakable humans -- so tasty and fear filled.
Paulette dove into the room she and Claude had been playing in when the ship was boarded. Charlotte hung back in the doorway as their scents were permeating the very walls. The makeup sex they had during the time she had been up top playing with the pirates had been fast and sloppy. The smell caused her nose to itch. Paulette hadn't lurched into the room to find clothes Charlotte quickly found out when she watched Paulette rummaging around in the ice for another bottle of champagne. The water splashed over from the melted ice and dampened her burgundy robe making it glue to her body.
Claude was at Charlotte's backside before she could twist out of the way. The little damn man had moved fast. It was just minutes since they had left Claude up on deck. He had his hand in the middle of her back before she could protest pushing her into the room shutting the door behind him.
"Where were we? Greg is handling all the stuff up top." He dismissed the entire dead pirate and fights with little interest in what was going to be done. He nearly bounced with delight when he saw the wet robe on his lover.
Paulette swung around saying, "Honey, where's the rest of the champagne?" She had long forgiven Claude's being married and heavy handed attempts to get her drunk and not let her steer the ship.
Her breasts were tipped and she was cold or interested in something Claude had. Charlotte was also interested but not for the same reasons. Claude still managed to slide his hand between her blouse and skin. His mind was bouncing with ideas of a highly erotic and totally improbable combinations usually dreamed up by adolescents and porn star directors.
"In the fridge in the galley, darling, why don't you fetch us another bottle or two and we will share?" Normally Paulette's instincts would have kicked in and warned her that Claude had split his interest. The nervous, clammy hand to the middle of Charlotte's back gave her an indication of Claude's plans. Not to mention the scent of sex still lingering in the room.
She heard him inhale and hold his breath while waiting for Paulette to agree.
"Sure, Claude, I'll be right back," her alcohol demons pushed at her and she launched past them both without even slowing a step upon seeing Claude's hand under Charlotte's shirt. Charlotte was torn with stopping Paulette and dealing with both of them right then and there. Instead logic won out. She let the woman find her bottle while she would take care of the leech next to her.
The door shut and Claude moaned, "Ah, alone at last."
Taking a step forward, Charlotte was out of touch range yet Claude was still under the illusion that everything was going in the direction of the bed. Charlotte wickedly pushed another illusion in his head. He stumbled and turned to her with his face frozen.
"Did you see that?" He sputtered and pointed to a shadowy corner of the room.
"See what, Claude?" Charlotte knew perfectly well what he had thought he had seen. After all she had plucked out a fear of his and projected it into his mind.
"It looked like my wife's coat." His voice was pitched higher. Not a major film moment special effect but definitely something that scared him. The garment was only in his head. The coat his wife wore daily. To him it meant she was there somewhere on the boat. And to Charlotte's amusement Claude snatched his toupee off the floor and tried to fix it without anything but his trembling hands.
With Claude no longer thinking of sex but fearful of being caught by his wife Charlotte felt her fangs descend and edged carefully behind Claude. Still pouring into his head various snippets of his wife from his own memories she watched him jerk saying, "Smell that? It's her scent. I buy it over here and bring it back from my travels on special occasions. Only she wears it." His fake accent had completely faded as his fears quickened his heart. The delicious waves of fear intertwined with anxiety were intoxicating to Charlotte. She had been denying herself far too long with all the excitement.
"Relax, Claude, it's all in your head." She stroked his head sideways and nipped into his vein. As much as she wanted to kill this man she couldn't but she could keep him out for the count. She took enough blood to weaken him and then eased him onto the rumbled bed with forgetfulness and sleep clouding his consciousness. The wounds had sealed automatically once she had enough. He murmured and happily went to sleep.
She did it just in time because the door was flung open by a completely hammered Paulette. She was holding two new bottles of champagne. One already open and missing a few inches and from the weaving Paulette was doing Charlotte had a pretty good idea where those gulps went. She waited to see what Paulette would say before she figured out how to handle her.
Paulette was happy it seemed. She laughed and said, "Oh, boy, Claude's out already?"
Licking the inside of her mouth she cleared her fangs of blood before answering, "I guess you wore him out."
Since he was still fully clothed Paulette took the comment at face value. She laughed at Charlotte's remark.
"Yes, poor old Claude. He isn't that bad just a bit confused about what he wants. I think he will do quite well once we take care of that awkward Vancouver thing." Paulette spoke of Claude's wife as little more than an inconvenience to be dealt with so that easily it was nearly beneath mention. But having seen them together it looked like it wasn't an impossibility. Charlotte wondered mildly what Greg would actually report back to the wife.
"Guess we girls will just have to party without him." Paulette spun towards Charlotte nearly falling down misbalanced by the two bottles she was still holding. The unopened one was causing trouble so in order to solve that issue she drained more out of the open bottle. That didn't work so she set the full one down and it nearly toppled off the surface. Charlotte caught it and set it upright without a word.
"Don't you wanna drink with me?" Paulette asked slowly while blinking her eyes trying to focus. Charlotte made it easier on the woman by moving closer.
"I'm still deciding." Charlotte coyly replied.
"Hell, what's to decide? You thirsty or not?" Paulette blinked and wavered in place.
"Paulette, I am always thirsty. That's not the question."
Charlotte slowly removed the bottle from Paulette's fingers after she finished taking yet another deep gulp from the neck. She really was drunk and Charlotte didn't much care for secondhand alcohol. It slowed her down at times and gave her the headaches more often than not. She was still trying to figure how she could get Paulette out for the count without having to drain her down.
Paulette removed her robe half seductively saying, "Well, I am going to bed. You want to join me?"
Charlotte made a mental note to dial back the vampire mind tricks with impressionable drunks of either sex. She didn't think Paulette usually flirted with women. The alcohol had lowered any and all of Paulette's inhibitions giving her the guts to say the first thing that came to mind. Well, what was left of her mind.
"I think you need to sleep a bit. Okay?" Nodding Paulette curled into Claude. Their bodies looked comfortable together. The blood still on the bedding was tempting Charlotte to dive in between them and rip a vein or three open but there were plenty more men up on deck she could sip from without getting a hangover. She pulled the sheet over them also hiding the blood from Claude's earlier head wound. Her plans on humiliating and tormenting Claude and Paulette had disappeared with all the activity. And whatever happened in the months ahead between them, Greg had enough information to keep all of them in courts for years. She needed to get a plan in order. Daylight wasn't that far away and she wasn't sure she wanted to sleep on this ship given all the traumas and dramas. Humans were so unpredictable.