* * *
The quay was a busy and chaotic place that day. Sailors and coolies loaded and unloaded huge chests from the docked ships. Pascal Costa arrived on a carriage. 2 slaves quickly unloaded a big chest and a smaller chest from the carriage on the ground. A captain from one of the ships alighted and walked towards him. Pascal Costa greeted him. ‘Hi Captain. How’s it going?’
‘Great. Lovely weather. We set sail tomorrow early morning. 3-4 months and we should touch Japan.’
‘Good. Men take these chests to the Captain’s room aboard and don’t leave it out of your sight. ’
‘Yes sir.’ The slaves quickly carried the chests to a ship.
‘Business seems to be blooming since your daughter married Antonio. You must have surely made lot of wealth these last few months.’
Pascal Costa winked at him. ‘Yeah the marriage in a way was a good bargain no doubt. Come lets grab a drink.’
The two walked down the street in deep hushed conversation. They neared the market place. Across the street at the jewelry shop, Pascal Costa’s eyes fell on the palatial chariot. He looked oddly at it and as he passed it, he saw Rosalin turn around with some jewelry. She too saw him and a smile spread on her face. She ran up to him and embraced him.
‘Pai. How nice to see you.’
‘Hey rapariga, you too.’ Pascal Costa held her at arms length. ‘You seem to have put on weight. I see Antonio must be keeping you pretty happy.’ He said with a mischievous smile.
‘Oh Pai, stop it!’ She replied, her face turning red in embarrassment. She then quickly looked at the captain who seemed to enjoy the scene. Pascal Costa turned around.
‘Captain, I want you to meet my daughter, Rosalin.’ He said with pride. ‘She is married to Captain Antonio of the royal family. Daughter, he is Gabriela, Captain of my trading ship, my friend and my mentor’
‘Oh please Pascal.’ The captain said with a wave of his hand. He took Rosalin’s hand and gently kissed it. ‘Glad to meet you Senora.’
Rosalin smiled at him. Somehow she felt as if she knew the man. Something seemed to attract her towards him.
‘I feel as if I know you.’
‘No Senora. We haven’t met before this.’ The captain said with discomfort. He tried to look away.
‘Oh. Anyway, I must get going. Pai, do come to meet me at the palace.’ She turned around and entered the chariot. She gave one last look at the Captain. His smile seemed so familiar.
The chariot sped down the street. The captain looked at it. He had a queer look on his face as if he was pondering something. His thoughts went back to those days when he was just a sailor on a trading ship and he had befriended Pascal Costa on one of his trips.
And one day, Pascal Costa had brought his newly married wife with him from Bombaim to Goa. They were traveling on the ship he was working on. Late in the night, she had wandered out alone in the night on the deck while the others were sleeping. Her husband too lay sleeping in his bunk without pleasuring her. She had wanted it so badly. Being in the middle of the high sea for a long time without a break and no women, the captain too had desperately wanted to relieve himself. One thing led to another and they met each on the deck. It was a dream come true and he had fucked her till the wee hours of the morning. Nobody was privy to the happenings and he had vowed to stay clear from Pascal Costa’s house after that all these years and today, she had turned up in front of him. He was absolutely sure that she was his daughter and how beautiful she had grown up into. She resembled him no doubt and luckily Pascal Costa didn’t notice it but then why would Pascal Costa doubt him. He had met his wife only once and that too behind his back. Smiling to himself, he turned around and thumped Pascal’s back triumphantly. He would use this piece of news someday if the need arise for his benefit.
The two then walked down the street and came to a roadside bar. Inside, the bar was scarcely filled. A local girl walked over and served them and left them alone. She went behind the counter and watched the two, especially Pascal Costa.
The captain continued. ‘It is a good thing that your Son-in-law sent the pirates running for cover.’
‘Yes. Business sure was affected but since the last couple of months the pirates were defeated, I have managed to cover up the losses.’
‘Losses? Tio, you are a part of the royal family. I am sure you must be utilizing this link for profit making?’
‘You bet Captain, you bet!’ And the two broke into laughter. The girl watched them pensively. Pascal Costa looked at her for a split second.
Two drinks later, the captain excused himself to go back to the ship. Pascal Costa finished his drink. He saw the girl go through a door in the inside room. he slowly made his way and entered the room following her. He closed the door behind him. The girl was seated on the bed. She eyed him seductively. Soon they were making love.
As he lay on top and made love to her, her expression changed and she pushed him hard to make him stop. Pascal Costa looked at her in surprise. ‘What happened?’
‘I am tired of all this. I want more. Can’t you take me away from here?’
‘I wish I could but…’
‘Please you have so much wealth. Maybe we could settle down somewhere else.’
‘I wish I could do that rapariga but you forget I have my wife and kids. Plus I give you everything over here, so why go there?’
Pascal Costa then tried to kiss her but she stopped him.
‘I need more than that. I need your love too and your name.’
‘No, I have decided. It’s now or never.’
Pascal Costa looked at her hard with a sullen face