A/N: Thank you for the reviews! Again, it means the world to me. :-) You're all very kind!
Total Eclipse Of The Heart
"What is that?" Jack requires as if he never has seen a child before. His eyes are wide and it is clear he is panicking.
His chest is moving by his hard breathing and he inwardly wonders if someone can pop an invisible bubble, successively waking him up from this nightmare.
He looks desperately between Mr Hans, who wears a determined yet somewhat hopeless expression. And Angelica, with the child.
The child who balances unstably in Angelica's lap, the tiny hands surrounded by Angelica's as the woman appears highly uncomfortable with it all. She too reveals nothing but pure panic in her eyes. Obviously she tries to hide it, but unsuccessfully.
"It is a child, Jack," she replies in suddenly a very calm tone. Fear is hidden deep in there and it causes Jack to peer at her.
"I know it be a child, Luv. Point be, what it be doin' in here?" he turns to Hans, demanding to hear this out. There is no way in the world he will do what he fears Mr Hans will suggest. This is far from what he signed on to do.
Angelica on the other hand lets her eyes wander, carefully examine the little child in her lap. She looks over it and as by nature has a steady hold of it.
Another woman enters, walks over and takes the child. She lifts it from Angelica's loosening grip and it causes Jack to pause to witness it all.
Angelica's eyes follow the woman's every movement as she sits down further back in the room with the child in her arms. For a moment, she looks over the duo before returning her wondering gaze to Hans. He still wears a determined frown and pretends not being too bothered by the pair's clear discomfort of the whole situation.
"What does this mean?" she wonders, for the first time on the same page as Jack. As result, Jack seems to straighten his back and nods in agreement but keeps his silence. He slowly sits down back in the chair beside her.
Hans stands up and seems troublesome, debating to just keep quiet and let the Teagues just deal with the situation regardless of lack of information or not. He honestly has no wishes upon enlightening them of how the situation really looks like.
"She is a nursemaid," Hans nods towards the woman behind Jack and Angelica, who both look over their shoulders. "And that is your daughter."
Jack is still keeping his mouth shut but surely also still panics inwardly. This is too far from what he had agreed on. At first he thought this would be an easy task. He would live life, undercover as a rich man in London. It would mean parties, women and loads of rum. Sort of a wonderful dream coming true. He even considered it for a slight moment when Angelica was dragged into this. That perhaps it could work. Maybe there was a slight chance he would survive being around her, but now? This? A child? This is not anything he should have in his life at all. Not a wife and certainly not a miniature. He is a pirate captain for God's sake. He is not a husband and definitely not a father.
Angelica is troubled as well. But comparing to him, she seems to finally have settled a little. Let the information sink in like a swamp. It bothers her highly, but she tries to adapt. More that can be said of Jack himself.
"Who is she?" she asks.
Hans waits for a long moment before he answers. "Bought from an orphanage. A man working for Governor Milton looked all morning after a child that would suit as your child."
"You stole a child?" Angelica points out.
"We bought it legally," Hans is fast to correct. "The child had to have the right appearance according to yours. We thought a suitable name would be Frances. It is aristocratic and fits this family well."
"What family," Angelica lets out and rolls her eyes. "I can't believe you'd bring an innocent child into this. When we are over with this… this will ruin her life for good. Confusing her like this. It isn't right. No está bien." In a sense, it is apparent she is expecting an agreeing comment from Jack. She knows him as the back of her hand. Never in a million years that he will agree to something like this. These terms are far from what they discussed.
Now, for the first time in a long time - Jack has been brought back to his senses. He wishes to just lounge for the grand window, jump out of it and forget all about this. Get his Pearl back and throw Gibbs into the Pearl's jail for a while. How in the world could Gibbs betray him like this? Thinking Jack would want to play house with Angelica?
But he realizes the difficulties in doing so. And frankly, even if he may not approve of having Angelica around - he does not want to cause any harm in her way. Which he definitely will if he so happens to disregard himself from the scene. As always, she is the perfect obstacle for his destinations. In the way, the position she somehow tends to end up at.
Thereof, his statement does take her with a grand surprise.
"Then we better hurry up and get this done, aye?" he suggests.
Hans is not the only with a baffled expression, but Angelica as well. She looks at him astonished.
"You're on this?"
She cannot believe it.
Jack gestures as if 'why not'. "We already signed the bloody paper back in Port Royal. It isn't really as if we have a choice, Darling."
Hans grows into a smile, at last feeling his achievement coming closer. Finally Mr Jack has figured out the importance of cooperation. Only the lady herself left.
Angelica swallows and glances back down on the ring glistening on her finger. She fumbles on it with her other hand, rubs the stone and frowns. It does not feel right but she has to do this. And as soon as Jack has made that Mr Rothley sign this sort of contract, making Governor Milton owner of that island in the Caribbean - she shall be free to return to her home. The ship shall be hers again and she will be able to return to her… partner of sorts.
"I knew I had to pretend being a wife," she starts. "But never a… mother." She is highly bothered by that word. Not only because she never really had one herself, she just has never seen herself as one. She is a piratess, captainess, a lady on the seas filled with mischief. Love for adventures just like Jack, challenges - but this. Oh this is too much of a challenge. Motherhood? Her?
Hans waves with his hand as if it is nothing. "Do not worry, Mrs Teague. The nursemaid shall do everything. You'll only need to pretend caring in front of… well, everybody."
Jack suddenly gestures to the nursemaid behind. "She knows of the situation?"
"Oh, no. You will meet your real nursemaid at your house. This one works for Governor Milton."
"Ah…" Jack is about to open his mouth again when the nursemaid has approached the two of them again. She hands the resistant Angelica her so-called child, and then leaves.
Angelica gulps as she accepts the baby-girl in her lap again, with having her there, yet she sees no other resolution. She wants to stand up, hand her away and just run out of there. Steal a ship and head back to the Caribbean. Head home. But here she is. Trapped.
She can see Jack watch curiously over her but she never meets his gaze.
"How old is she?" she eventually wonders.
"11 months. Around the corner of learning how to walk and talk, I suppose. Nothing she learns at the orphanage at least. She'll have it much better getting raised by a privileged nursemaid in a wealthy home. Don't you agree, Mrs Teague?"
When Angelica looks away from the child to see Hans sort of taunting face, both are aware that he tries to play on her emotions. But she as much as him know that he wins.
Angelica does not know what upsets her more. The fact that she has been brought into this soup which only gets worse and worse for each passing moment - that an innocent child has been brought into this, or that this innocent child eventually will be brought out of it. Or, the fact that she has to do this together with Jack. Although maybe it will be her rescue.
For a moment, Frances' gaze travels to meet Jack's eyes. He immediately tears his gaze away as if the child is dangerous. Instead he forces himself to look far ahead of him. Even if it means staring into the wall.
Angelica however meets her gaze carefully. There is a sparkle lighting in her and she also at once looks away. She swallows again and stands up - now with the kid in her embrace. She tightens the hold and Jack dares to eye her again.
"Are we done here?" Angelica interrogates.
"I suppose-." Hans is cut off.
"Come on then," she commands and turn on her heels. "Jack!" She shouts over her shoulder before she storms out of the room. "¡Ven conmigo! (Come with me!)"
Jack smiles sheepishly and shrugs to Hans before he is in tow of Mrs Teague.
As they rush out of the building towards the carriage, another woman is standing there with the widest smile. She does not notice the very determined and upset expression on Mrs Teague, nor the troublesome frown Mr Teague wears.
"Welcome to England, Mr and Mrs Teague!" she greets happily. "I am your nursemaid."
At that, Angelica stops tracks and immediately gives the baby over to her. "Marvelous!"
And back on track she is on her way to the carriage. As soon as an introducing servant has opened the door for her, Angelica is inside and quickly closes it behind her. She just needs space. She needs to be alone. It is too much, overwhelming. It all happens too fast. She was not prepared for this. She was not ready for this at all.
It takes a mere short moment before the door is opened again and Jack heads inside. Just as if he had not noticed her previous action. He may, but he does not point it out. Nor give her an eye for it. He knows her, and is also aware of her inner stress about the situation. He tries to calm himself down and sits down in front of her. And he also decides not to direct her when he sees how she pushes the curtains aside to peep out. It is first when he spot a worry in her eyes that he opens his mouth.
"They'll bring her on a carriage behind unless you want her in here," he explains.
Angelica shifts her vision and meets his eye. "It'd be wrong not to have her in here, wouldn't it?"
He nods slowly. "Aye, it would."
Again, Angelica is stressing. "Jack, I cannot do this. I wasn't meant… I wasn't… this." She ends up just breathing deeply in a tryout of calming herself down. Jack notices and opens the door. He motions with his hand for the nursemaid to come inside. He even stretches out his hand to assist her up aboard with her free hand. She sits down next to Mrs Teague and Angelica pulls herself together. At first she fakes a smile, pretending to be glad that the nursemaid and 'her daughter' sit beside her. But once Frances turns her head and looks at Angelica, smiles widely and holds her arms out for her 'mother', her faked smile grows genuine.
Also something Jack notices from his position in front of them. He says nothing but eyes it watchfully. How the nursemaid speaks happily, apparently not sensing at all about the mood between the 'married' couple. She talks about everything from books to different raising abilities, London's fine parties and even fashion. Neither him nor Angelica really listen, but both very good in the aspect of acting.
Angelica, pretending to follow the conversation when she really holds a warm look over the child, smiling genuinely whenever Frances beams to her. And Jack - pretending to listen when really keeping his attention of what the missus does.
A/N: Jack and Angelica... my OTP...
I plan on writing a long story. Working on my writing abilities and hopefully grow 'as a writer'. :-) I'd love for you to join this journey. And I hope most of all that you'll like reading this. Happy readings to the following chapters!