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Phil walked in the wheelhouse to find his daughter sitting in the chair on opposite side of the room. She had been crying and he sighed and sat down in the Captain's chair.
"Jessie come here." He said sitting back in his chair.
Jessie got up and walked over trying to swipe the tears off her face, knowing she would be crying soon enough again, she just knew he was going to spank her for running away.
Jessie stopped a few feet away and looked down at the floor, unable to look the man in his eyes.
Phil reached out lifted her chin, looking in eyes so much like his own. "Why did you run away, because I spanked you?"
"No." Jessie said just wanted to go hide from him.
"Okay why?" He asked again.
Jessie sighed and pushed her messy hair behind her ear. "Cause you don't want me, I figured I might as go ahead and leave, I don't wanna go to no damn foster home."
Phil gave her a stern look. "No cursing."
Jessie just looked away. "Sorry." She mumbled.
"Jessie, I'm not trying to mean , I want the best for you, I mean that, I don't want you growing up on a boat with a bunch of men, no women around, thats not best for you, I promised you I would find you a good home with two parents." he said wanting her to understand.
Jessie glared at him. "You don't care, I'm just some damn mistake you made, not like Josh and Jake, you wanted them, I was just a accident, Eve told me I was, she said you didn't want me, that you told her to get a abortion!" The child yelled.
Phil paled, she knew things no child should ever know thanks to her fucked up mother. "Jessie..I regret that, you might not have been planned, but you're not a accident..."
Jessie looked up at him with tear filled eyes. "Then why do you keep treating me like one?"
Jessie turned to run from the wheelhouse but ran right into Jake who had overhead the conversation. Jake picked her up. "Jessie, we all love you baby, even dad."
Jessie just shook her head and tried to wiggle out of his grasp. "Let me go."
"Let her down son." Phil said.
Jake looked at his dad, but his father just repeated what he said.
He sat her down and she ran out of the wheelhouse. "Jake she's not ready to hear anything right now, leave her be, we're fixing to head out anyway, you boys get to working on bait bags."
Jake nodded and turned and left and Phil just rubbed his head, he had no way to get through to the girl, Eve had did a dandy job of messing her up.
Jessie ran in the her quarters and flopped on the bed, she frowned and looked at the box of stuff on Jake's bunk, it had her name on it.
Jessie wiped her eyes and opened the box and pulled out a pile of clothes, it was more clothes than she had ever owned in her whole life, she fingered the jeans and sweaters, long sleeved shirts and a jacket and a coat, she pulled out a pair of sneakers and grinned, new stuff just for her, she quickly shed the rags she had been wearing and pulled on the jeans and a long sleeved shirt and then bent down to put the new shoes on.
Jessie carefully folded the rest of the clothes and put them in the one empty drawer in the small dresser.
She looked in the box and grinned as she pulled out a new laptop, she always had to borrow her dad's when he wasn't using it, she couldn't believe she could read whenever she wanted now.
Then she saw the little stuffed kitten and she grinned and pulled it out hugging it, no one had ever got her nothing in her whole life. She sat the kitten on the bottom bunk and put the laptop back in it's case and ran out of their quarters up the stairs to the the wheelhouse, busting in the door.
Phil jumped from the noise but relaxed when he seen it was Jessie. She came to a sudden stop in front of him. "Thank you Captain, I never had such nice stuff my whole entire life."
Phil looked at the kid, seeing the happiness in her eyes and it got to him, that she had never had anyone take care of her, he might have thought he was doing his part sending child support, but her mother hadn't spent a penny on her, and he accepted the fact, it was his fault for cutting himself from her life.
"You're welcome Jessie." He said.
Jessie shifted from foot to foot. "Umm are you gonna punish me for running away?" She was still nervous about that, and just wanted to get it over with so she could go get on her new laptop.
Phil nodded. "Yeah, afraid so." He called Josh up to the wheelhouse and her eyes got wide, what was Josh gonna whip her, she wondered.
Josh came in and grinned at his little sister. "Josh, Jessie here tried to run off today." Jessie watched Josh's eyes darken and he gave her a not very happy look. "I want you to take her down and get that weather suit and gloves I ordered for her, you're in charge of her, keep her right beside you, she's going to fill bait bags for the next couple of hours."
Jessi grinned. "For real, you mean it?" She said now really hopping from foot to foot..
Josh had to bite the inside of his lip not to laugh. Phil gave her a stern look."This is a punishment, its work, and you better not leave Josh's side for one second, because if you do, he going to spank your butt, then I will too, do you understand?"
Jessie tried her best not to smile, but it did no good, she was grinning from ear to ear. "Yes sir, I understand, I'll stay right beside Josh." She said and grinned up at his big brother.
"Go on get outta here." Phil said and the girl practically raced for the door. "Josh stay right on top of her, the seas are pretty calm, but if it gets choppy, send her back in."
Josh nodded and smiled at his dad. "You ain't foolin' me dad, you like the kid." Josh said befor he took off.
Phil just rolled his eyes and lit a cigarette.
Josh stayed right near his sister and he ran the bait through the chopper and pushed it down in a lug for her to fill the bags with, she was as enthusiastic as anyone he had ever seen "This is fun Josh."
He grinned at his sister. "yeah you got a weird idea of fun." Josh said as he watched her do a damn good job, she was fast too. "You're doing a good job kid."
Jessie smiled up at him. "Thanks."
Jake and Freddie came over. "Hey little one, you going to a part of the crew now?" Freddie asked.
"Yes sir, the Captain is gonna let me help you guys." She said about busting she looked so happy.
Jake grinned. "Never seen no one happy about doing the bait bags, we might have to keep you on greenhorn." He teased.
Phil watched from the wheelhouse, she looked so happy and she was doing a good job, he couldn't help but smile, seems like fishing might be in her blood, he wouldn't be surprised. Phil sighed, he had to get through to her that he was doing what was best for her, that he did care about her.
Josh tapped his sister's shoulder. "okay kid, get moving, you been out here long enough."
Josh shook his head when she began to pout. "Stop that, get a move on."
"Oh okay." She said and Josh followed her over to the hatch. "You did a good job Jessie."
She smiled up at him. "Thanks Josh."
He bent and kissed her cheek. "Go get a hot shower, okay?"
Jessie nodded and took off and he smiled, no way was dad going to be able to send her way, he was confident of that.
Jessie took her shower and put on a pair of the sweats pants and a sweatshirt her dad had got her. She tried to brush her hair, but she had so many tangles cause it was so long, usually Josh or Jake brushed it for her, she sighed and took the brush and ran up to the wheelhouse. Phil waved her over. "You did a good job Jessie."
"Thank you, will you brush my hair, Josh or Jake always does it for me." She explained looking shy about asking.
Phil nodded and she handed him the brush and turned around, Phil brushed her long hair carefully trying not to pull, hell he didn't know shit about little girls, what did he know about taking care of a girls hair. "You know, you can cut it off if its to much trouble." She volunteered
Phil growled. "Not cuttin' your hair girl."
Jessie stood patiently until he was done. "Thank you."
Phil nodded and handed her back the brush. "Everyone is going to sleep a while until we get to the fishing grounds, why don't you get your laptop and come up here keep me company, so I don't fall asleep."
Jessie grinned. "Okay, I'll be back." She said and raced off.
Phil just shook his head, it was getting harder and harder to keep himself aloof from her.
Jessie spent the evening with Phil, running him coffee up from the galley and being surprisingly full of chatter.
Phil was glad for the company, but he worried about the girl's erratic sleeping habits aboard the boat.
Jessie sat her lap top down and walked over."What are you doing?"
"Changing course." Phil said showing her how to put in the coordinates on the electronic navigation. "Cool." She said watching him.
"Here." He said lifting her on his lap. Phil read her off the coordinates and watched her carefully as she put them in. "I didn't mess up did I?" Jessie asked turning to look at him.
"No, you did just fine Jessie." He said tucking her hair behind her ear.
Jessie smiled and yawned. "You sleepy?" he asked.
"Nope." She lied, she was liking having her dad all to herself for a while, and plus he was being nice to her.
Phil was going to send her to bed, but he didn't. "Captain, can I help again tomorrow, on deck I mean?"
Phil wrapped his arms around her as she leaned her head on his chest. "Well have to see how the weather is, they'll be dropping pots, maybe, okay?"
Jessie yawned and nodded sleepily. "Kay." Phil smiled as she dozed off in his arms, he knew he should get up and put her to bed, he could put her in his bunk, but he sat there just watching his daughter sleep.