First mate right as always (4)
I believe the answer is:
'as always' is the definition.
(I've seen this before)
'first mate right' is the wordplay.
'first mate' becomes 'eve' (I've seen this before).
'right' becomes 'r' (common abbreviation).
(Other definitions for ever that I've seen before include "Veer away endlessly" , "Eternally" , "Continuously" , "Continually" , "At all times, always" .)