Seafarer Blood (by Sibylle)

Summary:  It´s a brief glimpse at a time Joe needs his oldest brother to prevent him from a big mistake.

Rated: K  WC 600

The story was written for a Pinecone challenge. The first line was given. Thank you, Sklamb and Faust, for betareading and helping with the English part of the story.

Seafarer Blood

“Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I’ve come to learn, is women.”

Little Joe turned hastily hearing the familiar voice. His eldest brother leaned against a bollard, arms crossed, grinning smugly.

“Adam, what are you doing here?” The question sounded foolish even to himself the moment he asked it. Obviously, his big brother had been sent after him–sent by their father. The memory of his Pa’s angry and disappointed face as he slammed the door on leaving crossed Joe’s mind unwillingly; with fresh resolution he shuffled forward, closing the gap in the line of men before him.

“Joe.” Adam was beside him now, resting a hand on his shoulder. “That’s not for you. Believe me!”

“I have seafarer blood in my veins, remember?” Joe sputtered and took another two steps forward towards the door of the shipping company’s office.

“Sure you have. But you also have roots, Joe. Roots deep in Ponderosa soil where you were born. You will miss the land, the scent of the pines, the house, the horses you work with…and Pa.” Adam spoke quietly, not wanting to embarrass his sixteen-year-old brother in front of the other men.

Joe’s rigid stance softened a little. “But I can’t face Pa anymore,” he confessed desperately. “Not after what I said to him. I’m a man now and I have to stand up on my own two feet and act like a man!”

“Running away is very manly.” Sarcasm dripped from every word. “Joe, the only way you could really hurt Pa is by leaving him. Leaving him in this childish manner. Sure he was angry over your marriage plans. A marriage between two kids–how did you expect he’d react?”

“I knew he wouldn’t bless it. But I thought I could prove to him I could earn my own money and take care of my wife and he would understand me later and forgive me. Look, he wasn’t so much older when he married your ma.” Joe glanced at Adam and, seeing his brother’s small nod, continued, ”It was the only way to stay with Claire. Her family was going through Reno on their move back East, so we decided we’d meet there and get married. I waited for her, after I left home. But she didn’t come, Adam. She didn’t come…” Joe’s voice broke. “Just a note that she was staying with her family…”

“And you?” Adam’s smile was like an inviting embrace.

Joe basked in its warmth a long moment, then hoisted up his sea bag and stepped out of the line.

As he herded his little brother through the streets from San Francisco, Adam gave thanks that his instincts had led him to the harbor. Seafarer blood–he knew all about it. He wasn’t just a Cartwright but a Stoddard as well. There were other reasons that drove a man to sea. Wanderlust!

Adam surveyed the boundless, blue-glistered ocean one last time before turning back to his responsibilities with a lopsided smile.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.


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Author: Sibylle

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