"Mr. Leach, when we come back there will be more than two of us. I'll have the law and perhaps a barrister if I can find one. That shouldn't be too difficult if we mention the Leach family name."
Jacob added, "An if I find you here with a gang, I won't try to discuss a thing. The law can sort it out after I break your back!"
Rose could not believe men would risk a fight over her after what she'd become. Why would they risk injury over a whore? Maybe risk their own death in the river.
Jacob saw her face, remembering he could do nothing unless the girl gave him some encouragement.
"That is, of course, if you, Miss Blake, won't mind my comin back to escort ya home to yer father?"
Ollie made a slight move, probably intending to catch her eye with a threatening look. This American making a fool of himself over an English trollop. Why?
Her resolve fled ... then returned. It seemed possible that in one moment she could push Albert and Abigail away; forever freeing them from a daughter's shame; doing it for their own good.
Let them get on with their lives without their child's chains around their necks too. Oh, how much better to make the break with her father, once and for all, no matter the pain of the moment.
But then to what? She would be a slave to Leach; to his business of procuring women for those who would pay, not to mention his own need for a woman to roll with.
What about them?
That big one with the dark beard-- dressed more roughly than the farmers of England when they dress up. Yet somehow he's dignified and mean at the same time.
Her next thoughts made her blush. Think he's interested in you?
Interested in a whore?
Sinner among sinners?
Lady of the night?
Interested in you?
He's interested in preaching to Albert and using me.
But still he's willing to challenge Ollie to fight here and now for me.
She saw Leach's impatient silent threat again and felt anger; then hopeful about escape.
But for how long? How long if the Americans aren't around the next time? What if I leave Ollie and they then leave me? Ollie will get me back or send me into the river.
'Jacob', the other one called him, Jacob is willing to fight for me. What would it take to hold on to him?
I'm such a fool! Why would he be interested?
She looked one more time at Leach; afraid and knowing she had good reason to fear. But then, to her surprise as much as anyone's, she nodded at Jacob.
"Would you please? I mean, you wouldn't mind coming back for me?"