The noises on the busy dock woke him the next morning. Some of the ships were setting sail on the next tide and for a few of them it was a last minute rush to be ready on time.
Stretching, he raised himself from the bed and went to freshen up for the day. He needed to make sure all their supplies were ready and stored for the next voyage and had arranged for two of his men to meet him in the town. Quickly dressing, he left the ship and went to the inn where he would meet his men for breakfast.
As he walked up to them he laughed. "I see you both had a long night."
The two men looked at him with bleary eyes and cursed his cheery attitude. Jake smiled and ordered breakfast for them. Some good food would get them moving again.
When they had finished eating, they headed to the produce stores to arrange their supplies. It didn't take long to finalise everything and the men were free to enjoy the rest of their stay in the port. As they wandered off, Jake smiled to himself. He knew they would be spending most of their time with women and drink and as long as they were back on deck and ready to sail on time he didn't care.
He was left to decide how to spend the rest of his time. The thought of spending it along the same lines as his men didn't appeal to him. He was restless to get sailing again. More restless than usual. A thought made him smile. Perhaps he would visit that inn again tonight and see if he could get the better of that young woman. He was up for a good challenge.
Jake made his way back to the ship to spend some time with his maps to work out the best possible route to take on his next voyage. As he stepped onto the deck and looked across at the open sea he felt it drawing him. Only two more days and he would be out there, sailing free. He couldn't wait.
He had been looking over the maps in his cabin for over an hour when he heard someone call out from the dock below. Carefully folding his maps and storing them away, he went out on deck in time to see Tom from the shipping office walking up the gangplank. He was a short, balding man with a round belly.
"Good morning, Jake," he greeted.
"Tom. What brings you here?" he asked.
Tom stepped onto the deck and took a good look around. "Nice ship," he commented. He slowly walked around the deck, taking his time inspecting everything he saw, delaying the inevitable talk with Jake.
"Tom?" Jake queried again.
Looking up from his inspection of the mast ropes, he turned to Jake. "Oh, all looks very good, I would say," Tom told him, avoiding the question.
Jake frowned. "Is there a problem with my next shipment?" He hoped there weren't any delays.
"No, no, the shipment is still right to go," Tom assured him. He cleared his throat. "In fact, there is an additional cargo for you to take with you," he told him cheerfully.
"What additional cargo?"
"Just something else the man wishes you to take from here to the next port." Tom was feeling uncomfortable. Jake would not be happy about this.
Jake looked closely at Tom. The man was sweating. "What kind of cargo!" he demanded.
"Well, you see, a situation arose and he needs help delivering this ... err ... other cargo to the next port. As you are sailing the shipment there anyway it seemed a good idea to send both on the same voyage." Tom was pleased with his explanation and grinned.
Jake didn't grin. He didn't even so much as smile. He folded his arms across his chest and frowned down at Tom. "What kind of cargo," he repeated.
Tom looked away. "Oh... wel