|Scourge Of The Seven Seas
Author: Katrina PM
AU. Gio/Betty. It's 1664 and rather than be trapped in a loveless marriage of convenience, Governor's daughter, Betty Suarez, decides to run away… Answer to Livia's 'Gio Throughout History' Challenge on MGSG Forum.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Gio R. & Betty S. - Chapters: 6 - Words: 14,713 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 10 - Updated: 09-02-12 - Published: 10-28-09 - id: 5472201
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
DISCLAIMER: "Ugly Betty" is copyrighted to ABC Studios. I retain rights to the plot, but not the characters. This story is meant for enjoyment purposes only. No infringement is intended.
SYNOPSIS: AU. Gio/Betty. It's 1664 and rather than be trapped in a loveless marriage of convenience, Governor's daughter, Betty Suarez, decides to run away…
Answer to Livia's 'Gio Throughout History' Challenge on MGSG Forum.
SCOURGE OF THE SEVEN SEAS
"Sir, news has reached us that The Fortuna has been sunk not three days out on its voyage."
Lord Callum Hartley sat at his large wooden desk and scowled unhappily at the young man who had just delivered the bad tidings. This was the eighth ship in the last six months that had been lost at sea.
"I take it that it was not inclement weather that was the cause?" the nobleman queried gruffly.
"No, Sir. We believe it was Captain Rossi again."
Hartley snorted in disgust then stood up and began to pace. "I am sick of hearing that blasted name," he growled angrily. "Why has he not been captured yet? How many more of my ships must I lose before that cur is finally hanged?"
The man in front of him shuffled his feet anxiously and looked down, unsure of how to respond.
"Go. Find out if there were any survivors and have them brought to me," Hartley ordered brusquely as he waved his hand for the messenger to leave.
Once alone, he sat back down and stared out of the window in contemplation. Rossi had been the very bane of his existence for too long now and it was time he took things into his own hands.
Pulling out a sheet of paper from his desk, the Lord picked up a quill and, after dipping it in some ink, he began to write.
"I will not marry him, Papi, and you can not make me!" Betty Suarez exclaimed furiously as she fought back tears of unhappiness.
"You know as well as I do that you do not have any choice in the matter!" her father, the Governor, retorted irritably. "The Hartley's are a powerful family and I do not have the finances available that allow me to dismiss this offer out of hand…and they know that."
Unable to stop her tears, Betty stepped up to her father and placed a hand on his arm, looking up at him beseechingly. "Please, Papi, I beg of you, do not make me do this," she pleaded. "There must be another way."
Ignacio sighed and wrapped his arms around his unhappy daughter in a comforting hug. "I'm sorry, miya, but the decision has been made," he told her sadly. "I have already said yes."
Betty pulled away from her father's embrace and stared at him in shock. "What? But…but I don't love him…"
"I don't love you either but that is not important," suddenly interjected a voice she loathed.
Betty spun around to see Matthew Hartley leaning insolently against a table with his arms folded and a sardonic smile on his face. His hat sat on the tabletop and an elegant ebony cane lay next to it. Although not a handsome man, his expensive looking dark blue coat and breeches were obviously made of the finest fabric and complimented his lean physique exceedingly, but they did nothing to enamour her.
"All that matters is that we get married and join our two houses," he continued in a bored tone. "Personally, I would have preferred to marry your sister but with that bastard child of hers just born, it would not have been appropriate. I do have a certain reputation to uphold."
"Mr. Hartley…" Ignacio began in a warning tone.
"And which reputation is that, Mr. Hartley?" Betty challenged scathingly as she pushed her wire-rimmed spectacles further up her nose. "The one where you go out carousing every night of the week or the one where you keep your mistress in fine clothes and jewellery?"
"Betty!" the Governor admonished sharply.
Matthew Hartley merely laughed and shook his head. "You amuse me, Miss. Suarez. Perhaps you are the right sister, after all." He pushed himself away from the table then picked up his hat and put it on as his gaze roamed over her form appraisingly, but what he saw obviously didn't please him.
Reaching for his cane, he touched the rim of his hat in a polite gesture and concluded, "The wedding shall take place next week. Good day, Miss. Suarez. Good day, Governor."
Betty watched her unwanted fiancé leave the room then turned back to her father. "I will not marry that hateful man, Papi," she declared determinedly. "And nothing you say can make me change my mind."
Before Ignacio could reply, Betty ran from the room and headed outside to the garden. She needed some fresh air and a place alone to think.
Ignacio sank wearily onto a high backed chair and let out a heavy sigh. How had things got into such a terrible mess? He hated the fact that he had make Betty marry a man against her will, especially when he was such a philanderer, but there was nothing he could do.
Nearly all of his wealth had been invested in helping a young man called Santos start a new cargo business. Santos had been engaged to Ignacio's other daughter, Hilda, and it made sense that he should help fund a business that would be kept in the family. But tragedy had struck and Santos had been murdered one night while he'd been checking on cargo. Ignacio had never found the killer but he still kept looking.
Lard Hartley had swooped in and taken over the line before Ignacio could anything about it. He had never signed anything with Santos to say he was a partner and so his money had been lost, leaving his family almost penniless.
Then had come the news that his eldest daughter was pregnant. Deep shame had been brought on the family because of that, but he hadn't been able to turn his back on her. She had never imagined that Santos would be gone so suddenly and so they'd consummated their love shortly before their wedding day.
How could he blame them for that?
Following her confinement, Hilda had given birth to a healthy baby boy. She still mourned Santos, but she had been getting better each day. Having a child dependant on you, didn't leave much time for wallowing.
He smiled slightly as he thought of his grandchild then grew serious once more as his thoughts turned to Lord Hartley. The nobleman had found out about Hilda's condition and had threatened to reveal all. Ignacio suspected it was a member of his own staff that had betrayed him but it didn't alter the fact that he now had to do what the unscrupulous man said or face the consequences.
He couldn't allow Hilda to be exposed in such a way and so had agreed to an alliance but it had come at a very high price…the cost of his other precious daughter.
How he hoped that God would forgive him because he knew without doubt that he never would.
Betty walked to the edge of the high cliff that was the east side of their garden and stared down at the sea. The waves crashed relentlessly onto the rocks below, the constant sound calming her frazzled nerves.
She knew that she would have to go through with the sham of a marriage because she couldn't bear to see her sister being hurt anymore than she already had been. But that didn't stop her from mourning the loss of a dream she'd had since a very young child.
Even though she knew she wasn't anywhere near as beautiful as Hilda, she'd still held out hope that one day a dashing young suitor would come and carry her away. Not on a white steed as most other girl's dreamed of, but on a large ship that would whisk her across the ocean to unknown sights.
Fanciful though her wish was, deep down all she really wanted was to marry a man whom she loved. Someone who would return her love equally and be strong and handsome and protect her from the evils of the world such as Matthew Hartley.
But it wasn't to be and all she had to look forward to in her life was a husband who cared only for wine, other women and money. It was going to be a lonely and unhappy existence.
"I do not think that jumping would be the right course of action," said a quiet voice from behind.
Betty smiled and turned to the tall, thin young man who stood there with a concerned expression on his attractive face.
"Do not worry, Henry, I am merely admiring the view."
"That is good to know," he replied with a trace of relief.
She looked down. "I take it you heard the conversation between us at the house?"
"I did," he confirmed sadly. "And I am very sorry."
Betty nodded then let out a huff of despondency. "Come, sit with me," she invited as she lifted the hem of her violet dress and sank gracefully to the ground.
"You know that wouldn't be proper, Miss. Suarez," Henry chided lightly.
"Servant or not, we grew up together and I consider you a good friend, Henry, so please…sit down."
The youth awkwardly did as he was bade and gazed fondly at Betty while she wistfully looked out over the sea again. He had carried a torch for the youngest lady of the house since they were adolescents but knew that he could never act upon them. That didn't stop him wanting to help her out of he predicament though. He would do anything to ensure she didn't have to marry against her will.
She turned to him suddenly and smiled as he immediately looked away. She knew of his feelings and had even harboured a few for him in return at one stage, but it was never meant to be.
They sat in companionable silence for a while until Betty realised it was time to return to the house. Henry accompanied her back and she gave him her thanks before seeking out her sister and newly born nephew.
Hilda was sitting in a rocking chair humming softly to her little boy when Betty entered. She made an angelic picture with the last rays of the days' sun casting a slight halo around her head of dark brown hair. Hilda smiled a greeting then stood up and gently laid the baby in his crib before walking over to Betty and taking a hold of her hands.
"Come, we don't have much time," she told her sister in a hushed tone as she led her out of her room and along the corridor.
"For what?" Betty asked in confusion as they came to a halt outside her own bedroom door.
Hilda opened the door to reveal a nervous looking Henry standing within, holding a small bundle of men's clothing.
"For getting you out of here," she then announced matter-of-factly.