By Kayden Eidyak
His ship again at last.
The third day he spent clearing out Barbossa's things from the Pearl. Every last remnant went overboard. He used the entire evening on his cabin alone. Sorting through papers, treasures and trinkets. Memories washed over him as he found things he had not seen in ten years or more. Things he thought he may never see again.
Anamaria cleared her throat from the doorway.
Speaking of things he thought he might never see again.
Jack looked up and wondered how long she had been standing there watching him reminisce over his past. He never thought he would see her after she and the crew left with the Pearl while he was battling Barbossa in the caves. Why had she come back for him?
"Need something?" he asked when she didn't speak.
She shook her head, a toe drawing awkward circles on the wooden floor.
So Jack continued sorting through the cabin, setting everything to rights, all the while watching the woman out of the corner of his eye.
Was she expecting something? He wondered. An apology? Thanks? What?
His task complete, Jack dusted off his knees and walked the short distance to the door. Anamaria didn't move out of his way. He shifted uncomfortably, knowing he should be doing something…he just had no idea what.
"Are you gonna let me by?" he asked with a quirk of an eyebrow.
She opened her mouth as though to speak, but she promptly closed it again. And he saw in her eyes something he would never have expected to see, especially not from her, directed at him.
Tentatively, he reached out and stroked her cheek with a finger, hoping against hope he was reading her right and he wouldn't soon find himself with a smarting cheek.
He was right.
A slight smile escaped her and Jack grinned with a feeling of triumph.
She continued to remain silent. Perhaps she was still waiting for that apology. Or the thanks. Well, he'd fit them both in one way or another.
"I'm sorry I took your boat," he mumbled, staring off at the ceiling and clearing his throat at the same time.
It was a wonder she understood a word he said, but understand she did.
"Oh, ye daft fool. I'm not upset about that boat anymore," she said, giving him a playful shove.
Ah well, that wasn't it then.
She rocked back and forth on her toes.
He cleared his throat again.
Was it just him, or was she a heck of a lot closer than thirty seconds ago.
"Why'd you come back?" he asked, trying to make polite conversation and calm the nerves that had suddenly decided to hammer their way out of Jack's skin.
Yes, she was definitely closer now. All he would have to do is lean forward just a couple inches and…
He didn't know how it happened. Honest, he didn't. One second he was standing there, minding his own business, then next, his lips were in direct contact with hers and his hand was at the back of her neck, her hands tangled in his hair. It wasn't his fault, she started it.
Anamaria leaned away from him and reached for the door, pulling it closed.
Somehow, he didn't think he should be doing this. It was Anamaria, after all. Fiery, unpredictable, headstrong, life-long friend, Anamaria. She wasn't one to be trifled with. But as his fingers fumbled with the buttons on her shirt, he found he couldn't help himself anymore than it seemed she could. They were both at the mercy of their own hidden desires, suddenly to be revealed for the first time.
Giving up on the last button, he yanked the shirt apart. It slid off her shoulders and fell in a heap on the floor along with the rest of the discarded articles of clothing. Jack pushed her onto the bed and kissed her again, wondering all the while what he was getting himself into.
"Why'd you come back?" he asked once more.
"I don't know," she replied, batting at a beaded strand of hair like a playful kitten.
Time to test his limits.
As nonchalantly as possible, Jack ran a finger down her throat and between her breasts, watching her eyes all the while for the slightest change of expression that might suggest he should leave quickly if he valued his skin attached to his body.
She said nothing, did nothing and her eyes remained the same: locked on his. She may not have even noticed for all he knew.
She had noticed, though. She felt his breath on her face, every touch of his nimble fingers and the faintest brush of his hair against her skin. Why was she doing this? She asked herself. She was setting herself up for heartbreak, she knew. But her longing had only been able to hide behind a mask of standoffish resentment for so long. She had finally given in and opened herself up to him. And he was taking full advantage of it. His hands were becoming braver in their wanderings and she found she didn't care. So what if this was the only night she spent with him? What did it matter if she was just like any other whore to him? The last thought brought a pain to her heart. That did matter, she realized. She wanted to mean something more to him than all the rest of those women had. Much more.
"Because you love her," she said at last, tracing his jaw with a slightly shaking finger.
"Hmwha?" he asked, too engrossed in other matters to hear her the first time around.
"I came back because I knew you loved her more than anything and you wouldn't stop 'till you found her again, even if you did owe us a ship. It wasn't right, code or no code. And I daresay she loves you back."
Jack's hands stopped their roving and he just stared at her, his mouth slightly open.
"Thank you," he said finally.
"Yer welcome, Jack."
He leaned close and whispered in her ear, "But I love you too."
And it was all she wanted to hear.