"It's dark and pretty much everyone is asleep. Besides," Emmie turned towards the Sunny, "We aren't that close." She winked at him and took a step back, "But if you really don't want to risk it I suppose I'll just have to go back to my room."
Nami came up on deck and noticed Franky hasn't gone to bed yet. "Franky, relax, nothing is going to happen to Emmie. Sanji went to stand guard, right?"
"Yeah," Franky replied with a nod as he stepped back.
"Then there is nothing to worry about." When she received a nod in response she smiled and the two headed below deck to join the rest of the crew that was already asleep.
When she saw the last light go out on the ship she stepped closer to Sanji and whisper, "I believe we are alone now. The only thing watching us are the stars."
Elsewhere, earlier that day, in a secluded area on what appears to be an abandoned island. "So it wasn't just a rumour," someone chuckled as they flipped through a magazine, "Avalon produced a child." The person clicked his tongue in annoyance as he read the article, "How many lies is Milo h going to feed these people?"
"Trijlo," a woman called, "The commander is looking for you."
"I'm busy Karliah," Trijlo replied as he seeing his leg down from the tree.
"It's about the girl in that magazine."
"That's unfortunate. Ask Amren to do it."
"Already did," Karliah put her hands on her hips, "He wants all the of us."
"I'm proud of you Emmie. I knew you could do it." Sanji smiled softly. "Normally I would kiss you but you know with the boat being so close." He whispered into her ear and smiled softly. "If only we could have alone time."
"I wanted to do something on my own." Emmie smiled a bit then friended, "Nami had a point earlier. I've never had to fear for my safety because I've always had someone to protect me." She started forgetting with her hands under water, "But knowing you were watching helped."
When Sanji locked eyes with Emmeryn it looked like she was about to come back but after a few moments she turned around and went under the water. "Emm?!" He dashed forward towards the water and then when she came back up he sighed with relief and smiled when she cheered that she had done it.
He dove into the water and swam over to her and then smiled. "I knew you could. You just had to have faith in yourself." He smiled before kissing her forehead.
Emmie took a deep breath when she felt herself begin to tense up, [i Just relax Emmeryn, you can do this.] With her eyes still closed she took several more steps until she was up to her shoulders. By now her body was almost relaxed but her heart was still racing, "You can do this. It's just water." Sadly she wasn't able to bring herself to go further and turned around, ready to go back.
When she saw Sanji she stopped and turned back around, [i No need to worry.] Taking one more deep breath she done under the water and reserved several seconds later a few feet from where she had been. "I did it!"
Sanji finally saw her and noticed her feet were in the water. [i Wait... is she trying to swim...?] He thought to himself as he quietly slipped off his shoes and jacket just in case he needed to dive in after her.
After standing in the shallow end for a bit Emmie took a few more steps until she was up to her knees. At that point she was totally oblivious to the fact that Sanji was nearby, her focus on the water. [I You can do this,] she thought as she took a few more steps, now able to trail her fingers across the water. [I Just relax.]
Sanji noticed Franky board the ship once again and smiled but when he saw that Emmie wasn't with him his smile dropped. "Where is she?"
Franky sighed. "She insisted that she would be fine. She's down by the water not too far from the ship."
Sanji sighed before putting out his cigarette he went to hop off the ship when Franky gently grabbed his arm. "She looked like she wanted to be alone... If you're going to watch her. Stay far enough away that she doesn't know you're there."
Sanji sighed then nodded. "Sure." He wasn't sure if he was actually going to stay far enough away because the thought of her being alone freaked him out enough.
"So you want me to view everyone as a possible threat of some sort?"
"That isn't it. We just want you to use caution." Nami placed a hand on Emmie's shoulder only to have it shrugged off. "You've never had to fear for your safety before so I can only try to understand what must be going through your head."
"I'm not afraid but I'm not a child anymore." Emmie looked down and sighed, "I know very well what people are like. But in the case of the farmer, he deserves a chance."
"Alright, we'll give him a chance." Nami looked up when the rest of the crew started filling in, as if knowing dinner was almost done. "How was swimming today?"
"I don't want to talk about it or anything else to do with me," Emmie stated which caused everyone to fall silent. "I want to hear about my mom. You all have fond memories with her and I want to know your favorite ones."
Late that night, after Emmie had gone to see Ava, she went and sat down at the beach. Of course no one was going to let her go alone so Franky accompanied her since everyone else was either asleep or busy . She noticed that Franky kept his distance, enough that she had her own space but close enough to get her out of a bad situation. She watched the water for a while, watching the waves crash against the shore.
"Do you often sit on the beach alone," a voice asked before it's owner say down beside Emmie.
"Huh?" She looked at who just sat down, [i The farmer,] she thought with a small smile, "Hello."
"What are you doing out here so late?"
Emmie shrugged, "Just thinking. What about you?"
"I was actually looking for you. I noticed you on that magazine, but you don't look like you."
"Modeling does that apparently. So why were you looking for me?*
"There's this girl in town," he watched her raise an eyebrow, "She runs the shop I sell my harvest to. She's beautiful but she always talks down on herself saying she isn't pretty and that I deserve someone better."
"What does that have to do with me?"
"I figured you could talk to her. Not as model you but as you you, like you are now, and convince her she is beautiful too." He looked down, "She means the world to me and it makes me sad that she views herself so poorly."
"I see," she let out a small chuckle, "Come find me tomorrow and I'll see what I can do."
"Thank you." He was about to get up but stopped and smiled, "That man yesterday, the blond you were with when I found you..."
"What about him?"
"Nothing. Nevermind, it's not important." He stood up and walked away, passing by Franky on his way.
"We should head back," Franky said as he approached.
"You go ahead, I'm fine here." When she noticed he wouldn't budge she smiled, "Really, I'll be okay. I'm close enough to the Sunny if something happens." Her response seemed to be enough because he sighed in defeat and left, leaving her alone. Standing up she slowly approached the water and was soon standing ankle deep. [I Maybe I should try on my own.]
Sanji sighed softly. "We don't have to condemn him. But we should keep our eyes peeled regardless if its the same man or not. People are after you for various reasons Emmie. Not only the suitors but you're an up and coming model... People are going to be after you for personal agendas too..." He didn't want to freak her out but he knew how men thought. The only thing men like more than money and women is when both are together and easy access to both.
"Farmer?" Emmie furrowed her brow trying to remember, "No, that doesn't seem right. He was genuine in his concern when he came to find out what happened." Leaving back in hey chair she turned her head to Sanji, "What do you think Sanji? Same farmer?"
"What does it matter if it's the same farmer? He could still come after you."
"I won't condemn an innocent man simply because he says he saw me. It's not right."
Sanji listened to Nami speak and when she mentioned the farmer he sighed softly. [i Must be the guy from the cliff incident... I better keep my eyes peeled...]
"I know," Emmie pouted before going to sit at the table. She kept pressure on her finger for a bit until Chopper rushed in to take care of it. Once it was cleaned and badges he left again to take care of Usopp who had been games up on for a group of men for trying to take the magazines away. "Today is just a nightmare. First I freak out in the water to the point you have to carry me back. Then I have a mini meltdown and question the last 24 hours. And my uncle is a power hungry dick that hates my father."
Nami walked in a few minutes later and say down at the table, her gaze on Emmie. "Be careful the next few days if you go out alone."
"I know about the suitor hunt."
"That isn't what I meant. There are some really sketchy people on this island. E overheard a farmer taking with a couple people saying he saw you yesterday."
Sanji spun around when he heard her say ouch and sighed softly with a gentle smile before grabbing a napkin and wetting it before bringing it over to her finger. "No more helping today. Can't have blood in the food that isn't from the meat." He gently gestured to the table to have her sit down. "I'll finish up from here." He kissed her forehead softly but quickly just in case someone walked in.
"Considering it was you I was describing." Emmie continued to cut the vegetables without looking up, "I meant every word I said." She started humming, trying to distract her mind from everything that was bothering her. It was a song she remembered Ava singing to her before she died, the tune sticking in her memory. "Sanji, I," she stopped when Luffy barged in.
"Hey! How did the swimming lesson go," Luffy asked with a grin that quickly faded when he heard Emmie say ouch. As soon a as he saw her move away from the counter, her hand covered in blood, he turned and went to get Chopper.
"No, Luffy it's okay," she called after him but knew it was too late. "It really isn't that bad."
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