PLEASE NOTE: 1BabyBoy has very kindly uploaded the entire story to her computer and has edited it for me. I can now give you a readable version. Thank you 1BabyBoy, you're a star!
Also a heads-up for a new story that Hils and 1BabyBoy are working on together. That sounds fun!
Please also note that all author's notes will remain the same as well.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Belongs to Disney. Not making any money at all.
A/N: Okay this is my first POTC story.
I really couldn't help myself. I don't think I've felt so compelled to write a story as much as this one since I began "One time thing" over a year ago. I will be finishing "One time thing" I'm not deserting it; I have just had such a hard time of it at the moment that I wanted to write something lighter.
There's something about pirates which has fascinated me for a long time. My mother made sure I grew up on all the old pirate movies. It's actually from one of these films that my inspiration for this story comes from. I think the film was the Black Swan, but it was so long ago that I saw it last that I could be wrong. Anyway, the idea of Nell having a map tattooed onto her back comes from this film, so all credit to which ever film it was and whoever owns said film. The rest of this story apart from Disney's characters etc, is my own invention.
Also for this story to work I have to ask all you historical buffs out there to forget that at this time in history England was no longer Catholic but had become part of the Protestors faith and thus the Church of England (Protestants) was formed. I know that Henry VIII in wanting to divorce one of his numerous wives dissolved his connection with the Catholic church in order to marry again. And England was never again a Catholic Country as such. ( I can't remember which wife it was now) And thus started another bloody period in English history with the ransacking and murder of hundreds of monks, nuns and monasteries etc. But for Nell to be a nun I have to ask that you all forget that Catholics were persecuted at this point in history. I know I could have made her Scottish and part of the Clearances but that would make things even more complicated. Anyway, please forgive complete inaccuracies of English history. This is AU on the historical side of things.
And one other important thing: Jack will not be talking in the common tongue. I have nothing against the way some people write him, but he just didn't talk like that in the movies. If anything he was rather pronounced in his speech, take "Spring me from this jail and I'll take you to the Black Pearl and your bonnie lass." for example. I read an article in Empire magazine that he put the life into Jack. It was his idea how Jack would move and talk and also the gold on his teeth was his own idea. It wasn't written into the script at all. He's just a very skilled actor that can bring the character to life. He said in that interview that he based Jack on "Keith Richards" from the "Rolling Stones" when he was drunk. And if you listen carefully to Jack he does indeed sound like a Londoner sometimes; which would make sense as most of the pirates and buccaneers were English. The man (Depp) is a genius. For more proof of his absolute genius watch Benny and Joon. He just brings Jack to life in such a great way.
It's a J/OC eventually and there will be a little W/E later on. Yeah I know it's been done a million times before. Jack falls for Original Charater but I had to add my ten cents worth… so here goes:
Nell was sitting sewing a neat hem on Lady Clarence's day dress when she heard the first shouts from above. She looked up at the closed door, surprise coursing through her. The needle fell to the floor unnoticed as she got to her feet and crossed to the door. She pressed her ear against the door and listened, holding her breath.
She could hear the crew men running about shouting one word and it sent her reeling back from the door in fear.
"PIRATES!" someone banged on her door. "Pirates, miss. Go to m' lady's cabin and stay there."
Nell could hear the captain of the ship shouting at her through the door and then she heard him move onwards.
She looked about her as adrenalin flowed through her. Her eyes rested on the mullioned window of her small cabin room.
She knew that it was highly unlikely that Beaumont or D'Mornay, or anyone from the convent had chartered a pirate boat to follow her. In fact, she was almost certain that they would actually be glad to see the back of her. But she didn't really want to taken by pirates. She knew all about pirates, their deeds even whispered amongst the nuns in the convent: tales of pillage and plunder, rape and murder and things far worse.
She wouldn't let them get her. Determination made her move to the window and open it. The drop into the sea was frightening and Nell knew that if she were to fall, she'd most certainly die.
She looked sideways and saw the small balcony windows that lined the mullioned windows of the captain's cabin. There was little space on the balconies and she knew they were for show only, but between each balcony was a tiny ridge of wood that she would be able to edge herself between. If she could get there and hold on she might be able to remain unseen.
She looked back at the door. She would have to try and persuade Lady Clarence to climb with her. She couldn't in all good faith leave the woman to the mercy of the pirates, not matter how annoying she could be.
She crossed to the door and flinging it open she looked out into the now deserted corridor.
She made her way down to Lady Clarence's room just as she heard the shout from above to order fire. The boat rocked violently and Nell was flung to the floor. Shock poured through her but she got to her feet and banged on Lady Clarence's door.
"Lady Clarence. It's me, Nell. Open up!" She banged again, she could hear the woman hurry to the door and unlock it to let her in.
"We have to hide," Nell said breathlessly. "They will come across and search the ship for valuables. If we hide they might just take what they can find and go again."
Lady Clarence was far from her usual stiff self. She was close to hysteria and Nell knew that she would get them both discovered.
"Listen!" Nell shook the other woman and pointed to the window.
A flurry of shouts and gunfire came from above and Nell knew they had been boarded.
"We don't have time for this," Nell muttered and man-handled Lady Clarence to the window. Nell opened it and climbed out onto one of the balconies.
"I refuse to leave my jewels," came a highly pitched voice.
Nell closed her eyes in exasperation and leaned back in.
"My lady, please. If you come out here you'll no doubt have plenty more time in the future to buy more jewels. If you try to protect the ones you already have…. you may die."
Lady Clarence looked at her in horror and with a lot of effort managed to huff her way out onto the balcony. Nell shut the window behind her and helped the lady perch between two balconies. Lady Clarence was only a few years older than Nell but her station in her life had lead to her having a very spoiled disposition. She was taller than Nell, with striking black hair that was arranged artfully. Nell had blondish reddish hair that was arranged in a single plait that just skimmed her shoulder blades. Lady Clarence was classically beautiful with the pale face and rise tinted lips, which was the height of fashion. Her dress was heavily boned and made moving very difficult for her. Nell didn't have that problem as she was wearing a simple grey dress that was square necked and ankle length.
"Oh my lord!" the high voice of the woman rose to unbelievable heights as she realised she was now precariously perched above the sea. "I shall die!" she screeched and stared at Nell.
"Sshhh!" Nell clapped a hand over her mouth. "If you scream like that you'll lead them straight to us."
Lady Clarence narrowed her eyes in her pale face and glared as Nell removed her hand.
"I will not forget the way you have treated me young woman," she hissed but clammed up when they heard the sounds of more gunfire.
Nell kept herself perched closely to the lady so she could keep both herself and the woman from falling into the sea below.
They waited for what seemed like hours, listening to the sounds of fighting above them and then abruptly if seemed to go silent and then the sounds of cheers arose.
"Who's won?" hissed Lady Clarence. "Can I go back in yet? My legs are numb; I can not feel my right side and I am sure I have caught a chill."
Nell closed her eyes in exasperation and listened carefully to the cheers. But it soon turned into a victory song and Nell knew that only pirates would sing about pillaging and plundering in such a way,
"I believe we lost," she sighed. Her own legs had gone numb from being pressed so tightly between the wood and the woman beside her. Her arms were straining against her own weight and the added weight of Lady Clarence.
"Well, well!" came a voice from directly beside Nell. She turned her head and came face to face with the dirtiest man she'd ever seen. His head was shaved and suntanned a dark brown, but his face was lined and looked grimy. His mouth opened in a feral grin and Nell openly winced at the black teeth lining his mouth.
"You stupid girl!" Lady Clarence hissed. "You've got us caught."
"Cap'n?" The man's head disappeared back inside but Nell could still hear him.
"I think we got ourselves a couple of pretty birdies!" he cackled and Nell felt bile rise in her mouth.
"I can't move," wailed the woman beside her. "I can't move. I shall die."
"Oh do shut up!" Nell cracked out finally loosing her patience with the woman.
Lady Clarence glared at her, just as another head poked out of the window. This time, although still very dirty looking, his head was covered in long braided hair tied back with a red bandana.
"Now what would two little birds like yourselves be doing out here?" he laughed and Nell caught a glimpse of the gold in his teeth. But it was his eyes that struck her. They were so brown they looked black, a liquid black that seemed to shimmer. He had rimmed his lids with kohl and it gave his face a dark but very arresting look.
"Come along in ladies and we can have ourselves a little chat about what we're going to do with you."
"Let us go?" Nell asked hopefully, her voice quavered with fear.
"Well…" The man considered this for a minute and then shook his head. "Afraid I can't do that, lass. See if I'd found you earlier, you'd be in a boat safe with the other crew. But we've let them all go and Mr. Hock is, as we converse, setting fire to this pretty boat."
Nell heard his words with absolute horror.
Lady Clarence got the meaning of his words at the exact moment Nell did, but her reaction was instant and completely different.
"You stupid, stupid girl!" Lady Clarence screamed at her. "Hide, you said."
The man winced at the high tone of the woman and climbed out onto the tiny balcony beside Nell.
"Captain Jack Sparrow at your service," he spoke loudly and it effectively shut the other woman up.
"What are you going to do with us?" Lady Clarence demanded and Nell winced again.
"Well, if you'd be good enough to come inside I'm sure we can come to some arrangement that would suit us all," he indicated the window and Nell, seeing no other way, moved sideways to climb back over the railing. Lady Clarence followed her grumbling all the way.
Nell pushed herself back into the window and almost backed out again at the sight of four pirates in the room happily going through the trunks and chests of Lady Clarence's belongings.
Lady Clarence climbed in behind her and screamed in horror at the sight of the men going through her things.
"How dare you!" she screeched and Nell caught her arm.
"I don't think we're in any position to stop them," she said quietly. Lady Clarence caught a parasol that one of the men had picked up and a tug o' war started with the man growling at her. Lady Clarence growled right back and tugged even harder. Nell had to admire the woman's grit, even if she did have a death wish. She wasn't so sure she'd worry about a parasol over her life.
"Let her have it, Mr. Coals." Jack climbed in through the window and watched in delight as Coals let go of the parasol suddenly and Lady Clarence fell backwards onto the floor still holding the parasol. The men laughed raucously at her while Nell struggled to help her back up.
"Well ladies, if you would…" Jack indicated the door with a wave of his arm and he swayed through it expecting them to follow him.
"He's drunk!" Lady Clarence announced with horror.
"Aye, we all are," Coals grinned and came to stand right beside her. He leered at her and suggestively looked down at her chest.
Lady Clarence gave a gasp of horror and hurried after the pirate captain with Nell firmly in tow.
They stopped again when they were out on deck and Nell could see two boats drifting without oars and filled with the crew that survived. They were getting further and further away and Nell was actually relieved that she wasn't in that boat.
"You have two options open to you." Jack began to pace in front of him, his footsteps purposeful, his hands circling wildly with each gesture.
"You can come aboard with us or you can stay upon this wonderful ship and burn to death," he turned to them and grinned widely, bowing mockingly at them.
"What will you do to us?" asked Nell quietly as she kept her hand on Lady Clarence arm.
"Do with you?" Jack looked momentarily puzzled. "Why, what do you want us to do to you?"
"Set us ashore at the next port," Nell said quietly and watched as he laughed. Several of the crew had gathered around to watch.
Nell looked around her and spotted his ship for the first time.
"Black?" she couldn't help herself as she saw the black sails and black wood of the ship that was connected to their ship with grappling hooks.
Jack ignored her and began to pace again before stopping in front of Lady Clarence. "Who are you?" he demanded leaning forward and bending at the waist slightly. Lady Clarence lifted her head proudly but took a step backwards to get away from him.
"I am Lady Clarence Davenport. Wife of Lord Davenport and he will see you hanged for this outrage."
"He will, will he?" he mused and then laughed at her. "And will he pay a pretty penny for the return of his dear wife and her maid?" he asked her.
"She's not my maid!" Lady Clarence stated quickly and Nell groaned aloud. Nell rolled her eyes at how loose Lady Clarence was with her tongue.
Jack turned watchful eyes on the girl. "Then who are you, luv?"
"Nell…" she said quietly.
"Nell? Does Nell have a last name?" he mocked her.
"Just Nell," she replied carefully.
"Nonsense, girl," Lady Clarence spoke up quickly. "Tell the pirate, dear. You might get ransomed as well. I'll tell him. This is Sister Helen Montilice."
Jack looked at her and shrugged his shoulders. "Montilice?" he queried. "Should that fill me with awe or greed at the thought of a fortune in return for your good self?" his head turned sharply and he stared at Nell.
"Neither," she replied "I am…," she stopped, if she told him she was no one he might just kill her, make her walk the plank…
"She's a nun, a reverend sister," Lady Clarence told him confidently. "She's joining the Most Holy Order of the Virgin Mary in Port Royal." Lady Clarence crossed herself and Nell remembering herself in time did the same.
Jack looked at her in utter surprise, but a gleam entered his eye. "Is that so?" he asked her softly and watched carefully as she crossed herself again, place her palms together and looked demurely at the floor after nodding. She wondered if her little act was too much, but he seemed to believe them.
He just managed to keep the grin from his face as he spoke again. "You don't dress like a nun!" he pointed out waving his wrist in a circle.
"This dress is part off my habit. I have kept the rest of it in my trunk to keep it clean." She reached inside the pocket and brought out her prayers beads and her cross. She held them out for him to see and then promptly pocketed them again when she saw his eyes gleam at the sight of the gold cross.
He grinned and motioned to Coals. He waited till the man came close and then he whispered into his ear. Coals grinned and left immediately.
"Well, in that case, we'll deliver both of you ladies to Port Royal." Jack half bowed again, sweeping the hat from his head. "I'm sure whatever jewels you possess will be enough to pay for your passage."
"I beg your pardon…" Nell nudged Lady Clarence and smiled at Jack.
"Thank you," she said and glared at Lady Clarence.
Jack motioned towards the side of the ship. "M' ship awaits. Come this way, ladies."
"How do we get across?" asked Lady Clarence haughtily as she stopped at the edge.
"Rope, luv," Jack indicated one of the ropes and he caught it, jumping up onto the railings.
"You first, m' lady," he said mockingly to Lady Clarence.
She glared up at him and shook her head clutching the parasol to her in a defensive gesture.
"I do not think so!" she said stoutly.
Jack put his fingers in his mouth and gave a sharp whistle. A bald headed man called Timms came over and all Jack had to do was indicate Lady Clarence with his head and the bald man laughed delightedly.
He jumped up and took the rope from Jack, then he mock bowed to Lady Clarence.
"Can I 'ave the pleasure of this dance?" he cackled and leaning forward quickly, he caught her firmly around her waist, lifted her clean off her feet and swung himself out and over the sea.
Nell watched in horror as Lady Clarence clung to the grimy pirate her eyes firmly shut as they swung over and landed on the deck of the Black Pearl. She pushed herself away from him and dusted herself off as if she was covered in dirt. She raised the parasol and then thinking better of it lowered it again.
Jack laughed and looked down at Nell. "You're next, luv," he said casually and caught the rope that came back.
Nell looked from the rope to Jack with nothing short of horror on her face. "What… you mean swing from here to there on that!"
"That I do, luv; want me to take you across like Timms did with her ladyship there?"
Nell contemplated which would be the lesser of two evils: swinging herself across and, most probably loosing her grip, falling into the sea below; or allowing him to man handle her in that way. She took a deep breath. He might be the foulest person she'd ever met but she didn't want to fall into the sea. She was certain she'd drown and she wasn't ready for death yet.
"If you would be so kind," she said haughtily making him laugh.
He gripped the rope, twisting it around his arm and leaning forward put his face up close to hers. "You'll have to hold on tight now," he smirked and slid his arm around her waist and lifted her up onto the railings.
Nell's eye went wide as she saw the sea churning between the sides of the two ships.
He swayed slightly and they leaned right out over the choppy sea. With a startled cry she flung her arms around his neck and hung on tightly.
He laughed and straightened; he tightened his grip on her waist and called a few orders to the crew behind him. He turned slightly and Nell was pressed closely to his side.
"Hold on!" he said and the drunken slur was gone from his voice as he just stepped from the railings.
Nell couldn't help the cry of horror that came from her lips as it seemed as if they would fall to the sea; she buried her face into his neck, her eyes shut tightly as the rope swung upwards. She could feel the wind in her hair and his arm wrapped tightly around her. She heard him chuckle but she was too frightened to lift her head.
As soon as it started it was over and they landed on the deck of his ship. She stumbled and if he had let go of her she would have fallen. But he straightened her and when she let go of him, he stepped back away from her.
Lady Clarence came forward quickly and stood beside Nell who was still trying to catch her breath. She looked back at the other ship and could see the fires starting to break out. She saw a few more pirates sailing across on ropes and then the grappling hooks were removed.
She was vaguely aware of the captain speaking and she turned to see him mock bowing again.
"Welcome to the Black Pearl: finest and fastest ship in the Caribbean," he said with obvious pride.
Nell stared at him; her wits had deserted her the moment her feet left the other ship it seemed.
"Mr. Gibbs," Jack turned and hollered to another man who came forward quickly.
"Aye, Captain?" he eyed the women with distrust.
"Take them below to the guest cabin and make sure they feel at home," he grinned. "Wouldn't want them to think we don't know how to treat women aboard the Pearl, would we?"
"Tis bad luck. That's what it be!" Gibbs grumbled and jerked his head in the direction he wanted them to go.
Jack merely laughed as Nell and Lady Clarence followed the older man.
Lady Clarence kept quiet until Gibbs had shut the cabin door behind them. "What are we going to do?" she demanded of Nell and began to look around the cabin with distaste.
Nell was more impressed. It was certainly a lot darker than the "Rose" but at the same time, it was more comfortable. There were cabin beds against one wall and against another was a large chest of drawers that highly polished and very valuable.
Nell crossed to it and opened some of the drawers but they were empty. She turned and looked at the mullioned window. She figured that this cabin would be next to the captain's cabin, like Lady Clarence had on the "Rose."
"Well? You got us into this mess. I expect you to get us out of it. If it hadn't been for you we'd be with the rest of the crew now."
"Maybe." Nell crossed to sit on the rich velvet cushions of the window seat. "If we'd gone with them, we'd now be cast adrift with no oars and no land in sight." She looked at where Lady Clarence was inspecting the bottom mattress neglecting to tell her that it was quite possibly a much better way to die than the way she suspected was in store for them.
"Really?" Lady Clarence looked momentarily disturbed before shrugging and poking at the mattress with the end of her parasol. "Do you suppose there is anything living in there?" she asked disdainfully and poked the sheets again.
"I doubt it," Nell said wearily and got up to cross to the beds. She climbed the ladder and settled down on the top bunk. She could see no way out of this other than setting in and making the best of it. So far it seemed as if they would remain unharmed, and as long as Captain Jack Sparrow thought he could benefit financially from them, she could only pray that no harm would befall them.
Lady Clarence sat down with a humph of distaste. "If Henry could see me now, he'd have a turn," she sniffed looking around her.
"Is Lord Henry likely to pay for your return?" asked Nell carefully.
"Of course he is!" Lady Clarence said coldly. "He will be waiting for my arrival with baited breath. We have been parted for six months now and he is pining for me, I am sure."
Nell rolled her eyes, she wasn't so sure; unless the man was deaf.
"And what's more…" Lady Clarence got up and began to pace the room, the parasol still clenched in her hand. "He'll have the entire British fleet out looking for me when the "Rose" does not arrive on time." Lady Clarence looked at Nell. "And I suppose the Most Holy Order of the Virgin Mary," she crossed herself and Nell remembered in time again "will miss their newest sister."
"Shall I pray for us?" asked Nell on a brainwave and Lady Clarence seemed to settle at that thought.
"Would you?" she demanded and Nell swung herself down from the bed and knelt on the floor. Lady Clarence looked around and seeing the loose cushions on the window seat, took one and placing in on the floor beside Nell, knelt gingerly.
Nell drew the prayer beads from her pocket and pressed her palms together, bowed her head and began one of the long prayers that the Mother Superior started each day with at the convent.
It was completely in Latin and Nell was certain that Lady Clarence didn't have a clue what it was all about, which was just as well as Nell was actually asking for forgiveness for breaking the fast and holy spirit to keep oneself without spot through the day to come.
She finished up crossing herself and rose to her feet quietly.
"That was…. Beautiful," Lady Clarence said on a sigh and stood up slowly. "I feel empowered, as if I could face anything." She took a deep breath and let it out on a startled scream as the door was flung wide open and Jack came striding in, a wide grin on his face.
"You didn't knock!" said Lady Clarence, outraged. She took up the parasol in a defensive hold and Jack laughed openly at her.
"You won't be needing that, miss," he smiled and looked behind him.
A tall man with long blonde hair tied back came in carrying a small leather case.
"Thank you, Mr. Hock," Jack said cheerfully.
Nell recognised it immediately and stepped forward, a fake smile plastered onto her face. "You found my habit," she said and was pleased that her voice didn't shake.
"Indeed we did…" Jack motioned for Hock to set it on the floor. "Now, I know what you said earlier but I just feel you'd be better off if you wear your getup on board the Pearl, luv."
Nell looked at him in horror. "All of it?" she asked faintly "even the…"
"All of it," he said, his eyes gleaming as he watched her stare at the trunk in horror.
"It's too… hot," she said desperately.
"I know, luv, but think: If you don't get used to it now, what'll you do when you're at the Holy Order of the Virgin Mary? Port Royal can get hotter than out here at sea, luv. Best get yourself used to it."
Nell tried to smile and looked instead as if she'd swallowed her tongue. "Good…idea," she said faintly.
Jack turned to Lady Clarence and he circled his hands in a vague gesture before he began speaking.
"Now then, this husband of yours: how keen is he to get you back?" he motioned for Hock to leave. "Let's leave the lass to dress and we'll have a little chat shall we?" He placed an arm around her shoulders and beamed at her.
Lady Clarence shivered in disgust and pulled away from him slightly but he was leading her out of the room.
Hock shut the door behind him and Nell was left alone.
She crossed to the trunk and opened it. It was obvious that they had opened it and riffled through it before giving it to her. No doubt checking that there was nothing that she could use as a weapon.
She drew out the brown garments and a shudder went through her. She had thought that she had worn them for the last time. Stripping off her grey dress, she muttered the corresponding prayer as she drew on each garment. She knew it was pretty pointless praying after all the sins she had committed but she had done it for so long, it was too hard to stop now.
When she was finally dressed she felt stifled and she just resisted the urge to rip it from her. She drew the large cross over her head and let it hang down her front. She slid her hands into the hidden pockets behind the front panel and took a deep breath.
The door opened and she jumped slightly as Hock stuck his head through.
"Cap'n…," he stopped as he saw her in her habit, his eyes widening before he remembered himself. "Cap'n wants you in his cabin. I'll show you the way."
Nell nodded and followed him out of the room. Once, the flow of the robes on the floor and relative safety of hiding behind a habit had been enough for her. But it didn't give her any kind of peace now and as she walked, although she found herself easily slipping into the way of moving again, she didn't feel at all happy or secure.
Hock knocked on the cabin door and opened it for her. "There ye go, miss," he stood by the door.
Nell passed him and went in; she turned slightly and looked at him. "Thank you," she said softly and then turned to where Jack was sitting at his table, his booted feet resting on the surface as he sat back in his chair.
He was looking at her with something close to awe on his face.
"Bloody Hades, if I didn't know it was you under there I wouldn't know it was you!" he stated.
Nell looked around but Lady Clarence was nowhere in sight. "Where is Lady Clarence?" she asked quietly.
"Getting herself acquainted with the galley; and you're to help her."
"I beg your pardon?" she said and blinked at him, ripples of fear washed over her.
"You'll work for your passage to Port Royal, in the galley, cooking, cleaning, sewing. And anything else I can think of."
"And you will take us to Port Royal?" she asked him, not moving from the spot.
"I will," he nodded. "I understand Lord Davenport will be more than happy to be reunited with his beloved and I dare say the Most Holy Order of the Virgin Mary…" he paused and Nell got the distinct impression he was laughing at her despite the fact no humour showed in his eyes or face, "will be more than happy to have their sister restored to them."
"You would ask the Lord to pay for his servant's return?" she asked him coolly. He roared with laughter and fell backwards off his chair.
Nell started in alarm: what kind of captain fell from a chair? Was he drunk still? He certainly acted drunk most of the time and the way his eyes gleamed gave her the shivers.
But Jack was far from angry; he got to his feet and staggered slightly before heading to the cabinet behind him. He took a bottle from one of the drawers and uncorked it with his teeth. He spat the cork out and took a good long swig from the bottle.
He turned back to her and grinned before advancing unsteadily towards her.
Nell buried her hands deeply into her pockets and watched him carefully.
"I wouldn't ask the Lord, luv, just your Order. I'm quite sure the good friar there will have plundered enough from the poor folk to make payment towards your safe passage," he grinned at her, his gold teeth flashing. "And I'm sure you'd pray for me, now wouldn't you?"
"Pray for you?" she stammered. What kind of game was he playing now? Nell had the distinct impression that he was playing with her, but she was in no position to anger him.
"Come on, luv, on your knees and pray for the souls of my crew and me, of course."
Nell looked at him and narrowed her eyes. "Very well," she said quietly and stepped around him to the middle of the room. She lifted out her panel and sank to her knees. She pressed her palms together with the cross and prayer beads between them and closed her eyes.
She opened her eyes slightly and looked at where Jack had sat back down at his desk; he was watching her with interest taking sips from his bottle of rum, not looking the slightest bit reverent.
A little devil descended on Nell's shoulder, the same one that had got her into so much trouble as the convent she had left.
"We pray for the divine gift of your forgiveness, Lord. Bestow it upon these unworthy, envious, slothful, grievous and heinous criminals, Lord. I plead unto you to forgive them each the sins they do commit. They are not of a sound mind to know as what they do," she opened her eyes again slightly and was disconcerted to see him smiling wickedly at her as if he highly enjoyed it. "Men who are weak in spirit and soul are doomed to lead such immoral lives. Please do charge unto them the error of their ways that they may embrace you, Lord, and turn from these sinful courses. Pray to keep their souls and minds, what little they still possess, intact and in your care. In nominee Patris et fillii et spiritu sanctum," she crossed her self and stood up in one movement. She put her hands back inside the panel and looked at him, her face perfectly blank.
"Is that to your requirements?" she asked him coolly.
"I couldn't have done better myself," he announced and stood up quickly.
"Here am I, a lowly seadog, in the presence of the most illustrious Reverend Sister of the Most Holy Order of the Virgin Mary," he grinned as he approached her and began to circle her, his hands dancing all the time. "But something bothers me, Sister. Can I give you my confession?"
"I am not in a position to hear your confessions, nor do I believe we have the time," she added, replacing her beads and cross in her pocket.
He snorted with laughter. "On that point you are right," he stopped in front of her suddenly, making her startle slightly. "But you see what I need to confess to is this…. I have been blind; see, all the time I've been to Port Royal, I have never heard of this illustrious Order."
Nell felt her stomach sink, as her brain kicked in. "You have not," she stated as if she agreed with him.
"No, I have not. Why would that be I wonder?" he asked her carefully, and leaned backwards, jutting out his hips as his fingers played over the braids on his chin.
"Well… the Order is new," Nell said firmly, proud of her composure.
"Really?" he inquired and bent sideways to look her in the eye. She could do nothing except meet his dark eyed gaze.
"How new?" he asked casually, looking as if he was completely innocent of every crime he'd ever committed.
"Oh, very new," she stated and nodded her head firmly. He nodded his head with her, still making eye contact. Bent sideways he looked extremely strange, his beaded hair hanging and swaying in the motion of the ship.
"How very new?" he asked and straightened slowly, careful to keep her eyes on his.
"Well…" Nell stopped and tried to look as if she was counting the days. "It must be… five months, if that!" she said and blinked. She suddenly became aware of how dangerous this man was. He wasn't nearly as drunk or slow witted as he appeared. She could see the gleam in his eyes that told her he was in fact very intelligent and very cunning.
"Oh!" he considered her words carefully, one hand going to stroke the braids hanging from his chin again. "And you are on your way to join this newly installed Order? Whereabouts in Port Royal is it? I have friends there that would be pleased to hear of this establishment."
"Um…" Nell blinked again, thrown slightly by the mention of his friends. "Where is it?"
"Yes, do you know where you are going when you get to Port Royal?"
"Well, no not exactly," she hedged and her hand unconsciously came out to finger the cross around her neck.
"Oh, now tell me, Sister, is lying still a sin?" he asked her casually and Nell knew then that he had known she was lying right from the word go.
"Erm, yes, it is," she said and began to sweat under the confining and very hot wimple.
"Really!" he leaned back slightly. "And how many penances will you be partaking of to gain forgiveness for the lies you've been telling me, I wonder?" he asked softly, his eyes gleamed at her.
"I expect I'll still be paying for them when I'm fifty," she said resignedly. The game was up and she knew it; there was no point in continuing.
"I expect you will," he smiled and suddenly turned away from her to the desk. He pulled out a spare chair and motioned her to sit down.
She crossed to it and sat down, uncertain what would be happening next. She had no idea what he would do with her now.
"Why did you lie?" he asked her as he settled himself back into his own chair, boots going up onto the table.
Nell looked at him and closed her eyes briefly and shrugged. "I've been telling that story since we left England. Lady Clarence has no idea there is no Holy Order." Now why had she told him that? A simple "to keep you from sending me off the plank" would have sufficed.
"Why?" he continued and kept his seemingly unblinking eyes on her face.
Nell shrugged breaking eye contact to stare down at his booted feet. His boots were knee high and soft well worn leather in a dark brown colour. His trousers were an off black and loose. Her eyes continued to the red and white sash he wore around his waist and she could see the pistol still tucked into it. Her eyes stayed on the ties of his off white shirt as she considered his question.
"Maybe a little confession would be a good idea now," he stated softly, but she heard the steel behind his words.
"You don't have the time, believe me!" she snorted and ran a finger around the edge of her wimple.
"You can take that off if you want. I wanted to see how far you were willing to play your little game," he suddenly reached for his rum and Nell jumped backwards in her chair. He didn't remark on her actions though and just swigged from the bottle.
Nell reached up and thankfully set the brown hood back from her head and then removed the wimple and set it on her lap, the cool air around her face was a relief and she sighed as she ran her fingers through the loosening curls around her face.
"Are you really a nun?" he asked her quietly.
"I was," she said after a few seconds. "I left the convent, which wasn't far from Plymouth Harbour, where I was able to get passage on board the Rose. I told them I was Sister Nell Montilice and that I was traveling to Port Royal to join the Most Holy Order of the Virgin Mary," she shrugged, her fingers playing over the wimple. "Lady Clarence is very religious and seemed quite happy with having me with her. I was getting bored just sitting around all day; there are only so many prayers you can say," she couldn't keep the tremble from her voice that betrayed her fear.
"And why did you leave the convent?" he asked quietly.
"Why?" she shrugged again and bit her lip. "I wasn't cut out to be a nun."
He frowned and inclined his head to one side. "How long where you in the convent then?"
"I was nine when I was sent there. I took my vows at fifteen. I'm now nineteen. Ten years of silence and fasting and rigid rules were too much. I had to leave, so I stole out one morning and found passage on the Rose," she crossed herself suddenly and closed her eyes.
"How did you get the money to board the Rose?" he asked her quietly and wasn't at all surprised to see her cross herself several times.
"I stole from the poor box," she whispered and bit her lip. "See why I'm not cut out to be a nun?" she shrugged again and her fingers continued to play across the edges of her wimple in her lap.
"Well," he grinned and shrugged back at her. "I'm not really one to say, luv. I make a living from helping myself to things that don't belong to me."
"Yes, but you're a pirate. I'm supposed to be the bride of Jesus."
He laughed and set the bottle on the table, watching as it slid from side to side with the movement of the ship.
"What will you do with me now?" she asked quietly.
He looked at her and considered her question carefully.
"Well, I suppose there are no devoted sisters waiting to pay for your board and keep here."
"No," she whispered. "Will you make me walk the plank?" she asked and the fear was quite apparent in her voice.
"No, not just yet," he laughed and rubbed his hand over his face. "Our previous arrangement will stand. You'll help her ladyship with the chores round here."
Nell nodded anxiously.
"Where's your family?" he asked suddenly.
"What?" she blinked at him.
"You said you were sent to the convent when you were nine; who sent you there?" he asked.
"Oh, my guardian," she said with a bitter smile.
"Who is your guardian?"
"Sir James Beaumont," she said. "But he won't ransom you anything for me, I can tell you now. He sent me to the convent to get me out of his way; he won't pay to get me back again." Nell realised telling him the truth could have cost her a lot. "I shouldn't have told you that," she sighed wearily.
"Makes no difference: Beaumont was lost at sea six years ago," he stated quietly.
Nell frowned at him and shook her head slowly.
"No, that can't be right, unless there are two Beaumonts," she frowned. "He visited me not a year ago," she said carefully, looking up at him. His dark eyes held hers for a moment.
"Well, Reverend Sister Nell," he stood up and swept his hat from the table and planted it on his head. Nell stood up and staggered slightly as the ship hit a swell.
"Let's show you the galley and you can get started."
Nell looked down at her wimple and then back at him. He reached forward and taking the wimple from her slung it onto the table. He moved to the door and went out obviously expecting her to follow him.
Nell fell into step behind him as he lead her first out onto the deck and then across to one of the open hatches. Several members of the crew stopped at seeing her dressed as a nun. One or two whistled at her and made lurid suggestions about her state of virginity. Nell could feel herself colouring up as she hurried behind Jack, anxious to get out of their sight.
She could hear Jack laughing but he made no move to stop them from calling out to her. She shot him a vicious glare as he descended down the steps and into the galley. As Nell approached, she could hear Lady Clarence's high voice.
"I absolutely refuse!" she whined.
Nell frowned and climbed down into the long galley that connected the mess hall and the crew members' sleeping area.
Lady Clarence stood in front of a table covered in vegetables, her arms folded across her chest. Gibbs stood beside her, fists clenched and stuck on his hips as he glared at her.
"Ye will, miss," he roared back and then caught sight of Jack. "Cap'n, ladyship 'ere refuses to get them pretty 'ands of 'ers dirty."
"Does she now?" Jack looked at her and then turned to Gibbs. "How far are we from Port Royal, Mister Gibbs?"
"Seven days on our current course, Cap'n," he replied. He knew Jack had already known how long but he gathered that Jack was up to something.
"Seven? Such a long time to remain tied up in the brig, don't you think, ladyship?"
"Stop calling me that. My name is Lady Clarence," she pouted and glared at Gibbs.
Nell wasn't sure how much these pirates would take. After all, just because they hadn't attempted to hurt them yet, didn't mean they wouldn't.
Nell stepped forward when she saw Jack's face harden in anger. "I don't think the brig is a nice place," she hastily said and placed her hand on her arm.
"Fine!" she tossed her head admitting that Nell had a point. "But I absolutely refuse to…," she pointed at some fish that lay on the table as well. Nell looked at them and pulled a face herself.
"I'll do them," she said.
Gibbs cursed and shook his fist at Lady Clarence. "Spoilt wench!" he shouted and clambered back up the hatch.
Lady Clarence bristled but Jack clapped his hands together happily. "Right, now you two fine ladies are settled, I'll be leaving you," he followed Gibbs up the hatch.
Nell moved to the fish and shuddered as she rolled up her sleeves and stared down at the four huge fish.
"Are you really going to… prepare them?" asked Lady Clarence carefully.
"Apparently," replied Nell and picked up the huge knife that lay there.
Lady Clarence turned in the space and spotting a stool crossed to it and using the handkerchief from her pocket she wiped the seat before sitting down gingerly.
"I need to rest. I am quite overcome," she said and began to fan herself with the handkerchief.
Nell looked at her and taking a deep breath attacked the fish with the knife, not knowing what she was doing.
She had no idea what she was going to do for seven days. Indeed she had no idea what she was going to do when they arrived in Port Royal. She had accomplished her only plan, which was to leave the Carmelite monastery that had been her prison for ten years. What she was going to do now she had escaped still eluded her.
A/N: There first chapter. Please let me know what you think and if everyone is in character. I'm not certain about Jack.
Thanks for reading this far.
Have a great day wherever you are.