He's still not mine :(
Well, this is it ladies. The final chapter – enjoy!
Chapter twenty eight: 'You know nothing of me, Mr. Valentine, nothing at all.
Jenny glanced around again. Now she knew she was being followed as a man stumbled against a crowd of people in an effort to keep pace with her. 'Who is he?' she wondered, starting to feel nervous. She had had a feeling for a couple of days that she had gained an extra shadow but this was the first time she had actually seen someone. She cursed. She had hoped to go to the market on the outskirts of town but instead changed direction and headed for the docks, wanting to be back aboard The Black Pearl where at least she felt safe.
'Ah Jenny, how nice it is to see you again.' She suppressed a groan as Absolon Valentine blocked her way and held her arm fast.
'Mr. Valentine, what a surprise.' She tried to pull her arm from his grasp, shooting a look at him when he gripped tighter. 'I really must be getting back to the ship, I have to help the cook prepare the food.'
'Ah, but you're the captain's woman, surely he doesn't expect you to work for your living?
'All of us work, including Jack. That's what makes The Pearl such a successful ship.'
'You must have found it hard when you were first taken aboard. A fine lady such as yourself…'
'You know nothing of me, Mr. Valentine, nothing at all. Now if you'll excuse me…' Jenny snatched her arm away and strode down the street, concentrating hard to keep her steps even and light, so as not to betray the tumult going on inside her. She reached the docks and glanced at some men lounging against the support posts, watching her from the corners of their eyes then looked up and caught sight of Valentine just as he disappeared into a crowd of people. Unnerved, she climbed into a boat and pushed off, trying to master the hang of rowing and ignoring the sniggers coming from the quayside.
'Cap'n! Looks like Jenny's heading back.' Danny Woods watched as she slowly made her way to the ship, glancing round as his captain joined him.
'Now why has she done that I wonder?' Jack mused aloud, stroking his chin braids. 'Jen?' he called down.
Jenny threw the line to those on deck then grabbed the rope ladder hanging down the side of the ship and climbed aboard, coming face to face with the two men as she reached the deck. 'I was being followed Jack. I have been followed for a couple of days, since the day after the dinner at Valentine's then I bumped into him just now and he wouldn't let go of me.'
'Is that so…? Why th'hell didn't ya say so before?' Jack's face hardened as he took her hand and led her to the privacy his cabin. 'What exactly did he say luv?'
Jenny told him about the exchange, feeling slightly relieved that she had not over-reacted. 'Why is he so interested in me?'
'I don't know luv but I'm not lettin'yer go ashore alone from now on. It won't be long before th'new sails are ready. Then we'll leave Tortuga fer a while, get ya away from him, savvy?'
'Oh, definitely savvy,' Jenny smiled, glad to be finally leaving the pirate town behind. She had had more than her fill of it the last few weeks, what with waiting for Jack to arrive then waiting for new sails to be made up.
'Toby! I've a job for you.' Absolon Valentine nodded his head, indicating for his right hand man to follow him into the sitting room.
'What is it, Mr. Valentine?' The tall, stocky man eased himself onto the settee, having known Valentine long enough to be at ease in his presence.
'I want you to go to Port Royal and find out whatever you can about Jenny Sparrow. I have a feeling Sparrow kidnapped her and I want to know the full story. How she was kidnapped, where she was living or working, anything at all. If she was kidnapped, find out if there is a reward and if it is worth our while then we shall see about luring Sparrow and his woman into a trap.'
'Aye, Mr. Valentine. When will I be going?'
'The ships are due back tomorrow, wait until then and The Nomad will take you.'
'Aye Sir.' Tobias Hoskins rose from his seat nodding at his employer before making his way from the room.
'Ah yes…' Valentine spoke aloud to the room. 'I will see about luring them into a trap…' Smiling to himself, he sat at his piano and started to play, losing himself in the music he made.
Jenny watched as the crew of The Black Pearl took down some of the older, more threadbare sails then went to help those on deck fold them as their mates in the rigging attached the new sails to the ropes and masts, smiling up at Jack as he and Mr. Gibbs passed by.
'Right, once we've got th'sails up, we'll be off.' The crew were starting to get restless, Jack was starting to get restless and he also wanted to get Jenny away from Absolon Valentine.
'D'ya reckon Valentine'll try anything else?' Joshamee Gibbs looked in puzzlement at Jack's stare.
'How'd ya know I was just thinkin' o'him?'
'Ha! Great minds think alike, eh Jack?'
'Aye, an' fools seldom differ…'
'Never a truer word spoken Cap'n,' chuckled Joshamee as he made his way to the stern to check the sails already in place there.
'So, what is Valentine like?' Billy Wheeler moved besides Jenny and looked at her, curiosity showing in his eyes.
'Billy, leave it,' warned Mad Pete, knowing that Jenny had had enough of being questioned about the man. Although he had to admit, he was curious himself. Absolon Valentine was rarely seen around the streets of Tortuga and no-one he had ever heard of had been invited to dinner at his grand house on the hill. 'Ah well,' he thought to himself, 'No doubt all will be revealed in time.'
'Thank you Pete,' Jenny smiled gratefully then bent down and concentrated on the job at hand, hoping no-one else would ask any questions. It was back-breaking work and took most of the day to finish but finish they did just as the last light was fading on the horizon.
Jack ordered the crew to make ready the ship, having had all supplies brought in surreptitiously during the past couple of days, not wanting to advertise that they were ready to leave and as darkness fell on the harbour of Tortuga, The Black Pearl slipped quietly out, unnoticed by many, but not all…
Toby Hoskins looked at the privateer captain ruefully. His boss was not going to like this news. 'Let me get this straight,' he mused, taking a draught of ale before continuing, 'Jenny Samuels was the companion of the Governor at a dinner party you'd thrown, in which Sparrow turned up and stole the coin half and kidnapped her, yes?'
'Yes, that's correct. She then returned for a few days, stayed with the Governor but just disappeared like that,' Stuart Button replied, snapping his fingers together.
'When did she re-appear?'
'Roughly a month back, I was out of town at the time, one of my men told me. If I had known she was here she wouldn't have left Port Royal in a hurry, believe me. So you're now telling me she's ensconced with Sparrow?'
'Aye, so it would seem. Were they working together beforehand, d'you reckon? Y'know, before the party?' Tobias Hoskins stroked his beard thoughtfully, the idea only having just occurred to him.
'Not sure Toby but if they were, she's a damn fine actress. Nah, they weren't in on it beforehand, I'd stake my ship on it. Th'Governor's been asking around 'bout her, seeing if anyone has any information. He practically lives at Turner's smithy, he's there so often.'
'He doesn't know she's with Sparrow then?' Hoskins suddenly brightened, wondering if there was a chance of profit here.
'I think he has his suspicions but now he's not in charge of th'naval ships, there's not a lot he can do,' Button laughed, grateful for the new Commodores' incompetence which gave him a chance to loot ships he would otherwise have had to leave under the rules of the letter of Marque. 'Why th'hell they brought in a man from England instead of promoting one o'their own, I'll never know. But then, th'Admiralty have never been known for their foresight.' The two men laughed and downed their ale, indicating for some more to be brought over.
'I might just pay th'Governor a little visit tomorrow, see if he'd be interested in capturing them an' how much he'd be willing ter pay.'
'No?' Toby Hoskins stared at Governor Norrington in astonishment. 'But… you'd get Jenny Samuels back and capture Jack Sparrow.'
'If Mrs. Samuels has chosen that path, that is her decision, but I will not consort with pirates and racketeers in order to capture Sparrow and I will most certainly not be paying your employer, whom you are so reluctant to name, or Captain Button for the privilege of doing the job for me.'
'Well ya don't seem to have much luck capturing him yourself or if ya do he escapes,' Hoskins taunted, sneering at the tall man before him.
'I'm a busy man Mr. Hoskins I don't have time for your games. Good day.' Governor Norrington nodded to a marine standing guard who escorted a fuming Hoskins from the office and out to the street.
James Norrington leaned against his heavy oak desk and pinched the bridge of his nose. 'So it is true then,' he thought sadly, cursing Jack Sparrow under his breath. He wondered what had happened when Jenny was taken aboard The Black Pearl and why she had returned to Port Royal, albeit briefly. 'That is something only she can tell me.'
Sighing, he picked up some official papers and made a pretence at reading them but his mind was going over the questions again and again until he pushed them to one side and brought out some writing paper and began to pen a letter to Jenny's father, Henry Marston, informing him of his daughter's situation.
You didn't really think I'd do that to you, did you? Mwahahahaha! The story continues with Bittersweet Homecomings coming soon to a fanfic site near you …