Charisse couldn’t tell how long it was before they arrived on shore. Throughout their journey, there seemed to be no change in the scenery around them. She was a bit impatient at first, stuck on a boat with a beautiful stranger and nothing to do. Later, with Ajax’s help, she grew more comfortable, and the journey didn’t seem so hard to bear anymore. Whenever he opened his mouth to speak, he would shower her with compliments, but after some time, he started to discuss more serious issues with her, so she wouldn’t shy away from him anymore.
“Why do you think you were here?” he would ask.
“I don’t know.”
“Do you remember anything about who you are?”
“Do you want to get out of here?”
“I don’t know.”
It must have been difficult for Ajax to keep the conversation going. Still, he didn’t give up trying to talk to her. He tricked her into it.
“You’re beautiful,” he commented out of the blue.
“I…” Charisse was clearly caught off guard.
He gave her an intense stare, and continued. “You’re so beautiful, I want to look at you forever.”
“Embarrassed?” He chuckled at her blushing cheeks.
“Because…I don’t even…”
“Shh…don’t tell me you don’t even know me. It breaks my heart to hear it.” Ajax put his hand over his heart, and made a heartbroken expression.
It seemed real, but at the same time, it didn’t make much sense to Charisse. “I’m sorry…” She creased her brows again, uncertain.
Hearing that, Ajax leaned towards her, and spoke next to her ear. “There is no ‘sorry’ in love, dear.”
“I…” She knew she couldn’t shy away from Ajax when they were so close together in a tight space. She tried another approach to spare herself. “What about you? How did you end up here?”
It was then that Ajax knew his trick had succeeded—he’d only wanted her to talk to him. He gave a smile, and sat back in his original position. “You seem to expect me to know how I got here.”
“You don’t?” After all, he had gone to her telling her that he would take them safely across, like it was all planned.
“I do. But you wouldn’t believe me if I told you the truth.” Whenever he spoke, whether he was teasing her or not, there was always some kind of sincerity in his tone that made Charisse believe him in the depths of her heart. It was her mind that found it illogical to trust a stranger she’d just met, and one who flirted so aggressively too.
She cast him a curious glance. “How did you get here?” she asked again.
“Will you believe what I tell you?”
She thought for a moment, and shook her head. “Probably not.”
Ajax laughed. “I know. I’ll tell you details when we get on shore, but for now, I can tell you this much—I came to take you back.”
“You came by choice?”
“Yes,” he answered. “I came by choice. I came to free you from this hell.” He rowed a bit more before adding, “It may sound strange to you, but you can believe in me.”
This time, she was almost sure—he was serious.