Usual disclaimers and I still don't like Dead Man's Chest as the title of the next film!
The thanks are going to be longer than the chapter today! Many thanks to lexie, Chelsey, Karna (welcome!), KillerK, Rose Pearl, BoricuaSparrow, Mrs. Depp, Punkdpirate, A Depp Girl, Tru Spirit, beatlechicksteph, Sparrow's Slutty Strumpet, Orlando's Hot Chick, Cayenne Pepper Powder and Hilary for reviewing, editing and playplotting.
Mrs. Depp, Patience didn't want to tell Jenny because of what had only recently happened to Jack and Jenny's baby.
SpadesJade, I'm glad you like Shay – get in the queue! ;)
Punkdpirate, thank you for your kind words. The story however, is not winding down…
Karna, would you rather I kill Jack off? :-o
This is the final chapter of this installment. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to review – even if it was only once. It really does help a writer when they receive feedback – even criticism. The story continues in Deceit and Decisions, which I will upload sometime this week.
Chapter Twenty six: 'There's nothing fancy about being a pirate's wife,'
'What d'ya think?' Jack and Jenny stood outside the gates of a house on the edge of Newcastle, waiting for the baliff's clerk. He had been very pleased when he had heard from his contacts in the town about this house, a week after they had married.
'It looks very nice,' she smiled, a little uncertainly. 'It's a bit big though.'
'Ah, Captain Hillier, I presume?' A portly, red faced man approached them, hand outstretched, which Jack shook. 'Jacob Lowe, I apologise for keeping you waiting. Would you like to follow me? I'm sure this house will meet all of your requirements.' They followed him up the path and waited as he unlocked the door. 'It hasn't been empty that long,' he assured them as he lead the way into the square hallway, a grand staircase leading off from the left. 'It was the townhouse of one of the plantation owners, but he had a bad harvest this year and needs to tighten his belt a little,' he informed them. 'He is also prepared to sell some of the pieces of furniture.'
'I see,' Jack mused, looking around.
'The drawing room is here…' Mr. Lowe, the bailiff's clerk, led the way into a large room with French doors opening out onto the garden.
'It's beautiful,' Jenny gasped, looking through the doors into the large expanse of grass outside.
'This way to the kitchen and scullery area - will you have many staff? There are a couple of rooms upstairs for maids and the like.'
'Perhaps,' Jack smiled. 'My wife likes to do a lot for herself though.'
'Of course, of course,' the clerk chuckled, looking a little nervously at Jack, not quite sure what to make of him. 'Please feel free to wander at your leisure, I shall be just outside if you need me.'
Jack and Jenny took their time wandering through the house, inspecting the kitchen, which Jenny approved of, then made their way up the stairs, looking in four small bedrooms before coming to the master room.
'It's enormous!' Jenny exclaimed, her eyes wide with shock.
'We'll have ter get a bed made ter fit,' Jack grinned lascaviously.
'I'd need a chart to find you in it,' she laughed.
'I'm sure I'm big enough fer ya ter find,' he winked, patting her backside.
'Jack…' she laughed, slapping his hand away. 'Behave yourself.'
'I'm always good - as yer well know,' he grinned, swinging Jenny around. 'D'ya like it?'
'Better than I thought I would,' she admitted. 'It's a little larger than I was anticipating, but maybe Patience and Shay could stay here until they go to Ireland?'
Jack raised his eyebrows, regarding the idea before nodding slowly. 'I don't suppose it would hurt, just fer a couple of weeks,' he agreed, albeit reluctantly. 'Right, let's go an' see th'clerk and get it all formalised.'
…Two weeks later
'I am goin' ter throttle that bloody woman before she has chance ter sail fer bloody Ireland!' Jack cursed as he entered the drawing room.
Jenny sighed and put down the embroidery she had been working on. 'What now?' she enquired. Jack and her friend had done their best to get along, but after two weeks, the strain was starting to show on them all, even the usually easy going Shay.
'She's just so damned… stubborn!' he hissed, stomping across the floor and staring out of the French windows at the garden.
'Pot, kettle and black,' Jenny teased gently, getting off the settee and walking over to him, winding consoling arms around his waist. 'They'll be gone in the morning anyway,' she reminded him sadly.
'I know,' he sighed, turning in her embrace. 'I know yer goin' ter miss her. Ya sure ya don't want ter come back on board?'
'Not all the time. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy being on land. I'll come with you next time you're here, I promise.'
'All right luv,' he smiled, kissing her lips. 'Can't have ya forgettin' yer sea-legs now, can we?'
'I doubt that will happen,' Jenny chuckled. 'I have too much salt water in my veins now. Anyway, I'd miss the sea too much if I were away for long.'
'Oh… sorry,' came Patience's voice from the doorway. 'I didn't know you were in here.'
'T'is my drawing room,' Jack sniped, feeling Jenny's reproaching squeeze around his midriff.
'Aye, so ya keep remindin' me. Well I won't be under ya feet fer much longer!' the young Tortugan snapped, turning on her heels.
'Go and apologise,' Jenny ordered, releasing her hold on her husband and pushing him towards the door. 'Go on.'
'She's as bad as I am,' he pouted, making for the door anyway. 'Patience!' he called, hurrying across the hallway towards the kitchen.
'Look… I'm sorry. We knew this wouldn't be easy – at least on a ship there's plenty of places ter hide.'
'True,' she conceded. 'An' I suppose I'm as much ter blame… but only sometimes mind!'
'Ah! Peace has broken out,' Shay joked as he came into the kitchen, having taken off his dirty boots outside.
'Ha bloody ha!' Patience bobbed her tongue out at him and lifted the small cauldron of water she had been heating for a bath off the stove and out of the kitchen.
'Ya all set?' Jack asked as Shay poured them both a mug of ale.
'Yes, I can't wait ter go, but I don't want ter leave either.' He took a long draught of the ale. 'Look Jack, there's somethin' I have ter tell ye.'
Jack arched an eyebrow, his stomach giving a slight lurch. 'Yer not comin' back, right?'
'No! No, that's not it at all. It's just that, well… Patience is pregnant,' Shay jabbered, shifting nervously on his feet. 'We didn't want ter upset Jenny.'
'Bleedin' hell,' Jack cursed, taking a drink of the ale himself and wishing it were rum. 'How far gone?'
'We're not sure, but we will be back before the babe is born, I promise ye that.'
'Should ya be goin' at all?'
'Probably not, but if we don't go now, we may never get another chance.'
'Fair enough,' Jack sighed, finishing off the beaker and pouring himself another.
'You two gossipin' again?' Patience teased as she returned and placed the cauldron in the sink and began pumping the tap until it was full again.
'Men don't gossip,' Jack informed her indignantly.
'Course they don't,' she countered, sarcastically. 'What were ya goss… sorry, talkin' about?'
'Nothing,' Shay put in quickly. He wasn't sure his wife wanted her erstwhile nemesis to know her secret. He would tell her another time – maybe.
'Are you excited?' Jenny asked as she checked the meat cooking on the stove.
Patience looked in awe at the fancy food that Jenny was preparing, never having seen such niceties before, apart from when Absolon Valentine had thrown a party at his mansion. 'Yes, I am,' she admitted. 'I've never been so far in me life.'
'I'll miss you,' Jenny admitted. 'It's been nice to have someone to talk to and gossip with. But still, it's only for six months at the most.'
'Aye, an' Shay is so excited,' the younger woman smiled, in spite of her misgivings.
'Yes, it's been a few years since he saw his family, hasn't it?'
'Though why he wants ter show me off, I've no idea,' Patience chuckled.
'Oh, get away,' Jenny admonished. 'Stop putting yourself down. I'll bet you're the prettiest girl he's ever known,' she smiled.
'But I ain't no fancy lady like you are Jenny. I'm a whore's daughter an' a bastard ter boot. What if they don't like me? Shay said they were religious,' she worried.
'I'm not fancy!' Jenny laughed. 'I was the widow of a farm labourer. Just be yourself and I'm sure they will love you like a daughter.'
'Ya can read an' write - yer were Governess ter Norrington's children fer goodness sake! If that ain't fancy then I don't know what is!'
'There's nothing fancy about being a pirate's wife,' Jenny reminded her young friend. 'Even if said pirate is Jack... Captain Jack Sparrow! To most people we're the scum of the earth.'
'Ah well, guess ye can't have everything,' Patience sighed. 'How many of these bleedin' pastry things do ya want anyway?' She paused, rubbing her nose with a floury hand.
'As many as you can do. Jack will wolf the lot down anyway!' Jenny rolled her eyes in exasperation.
'Ain't they a bit dainty fer th'likes of him? Not even 'alf a mouthful…'
'You'd be surprised at Jack. I reckon he could dine with royalty and they would be none the wiser.'
'They would when their jewels went missing!' Patience laughed.
'Very true!' Jenny agreed, laughing with her friend. 'But he'd be long gone by then,' she stated proudly.
'True, sneaky bastard that he is!'
'Pirate!' Jenny quipped. 'How do you feel about being the wife of a pirate captain?' she asked, this being the first opportunity she had had to speak about it.
'Shay ain't captain yet,' she reminded the older woman.
'No, but I don't think it will be too long before he is.'
'I guess I'd not care if he were a docker or whatever. I sometimes wish he weren't a pirate though.'
'I know what you mean,' Jenny agreed sadly. 'It's hard when they're away, not knowing if they're safe or not.' She looked around as the kitchen door opened.
'Here ye are ladies. I thought ye might like some refreshments,' Shay grinned carrying two goblets of wine. 'What? Were ye talkin' about me again?' he chuckled, raising his eyebrows hopefully.
'Aye, we were discussin' who had th'biggest prick!' Patience teased, winking at Jenny with a huge grin on her face.
Shay looked agog at both women, not quite sure whether his wife was joking or not 'Ye weren't… were ye?' he asked, forwning as both women started to laugh.
'Of course not, you daft idiot!' Jenny chuckled. 'I haven't seen yours,' she added saucily.
'And ya'd win if we were,' Patience chuckled.
'I don't think so,' Jenny argued with a grin.
'Ah, but I'm qualified ter judge, having seen both,' Patience retorted playfully.
'Shall I get Jack an' ye can measure us both?' Shay quipped, joining in the fun.
'If ya think yer showin' Jenny what she's missin', yer've got another thing coming, Shay Connelly!' Patience threatened, shaking a floury fist at him.
'Ah give over woman. Yer not th'only one who can tease!' he laughed, bobbing his tongue out at her.
Patience couldn't keep a straight face and started to splutter, turning away, laughing. 'P'raps I should call yer bluff then... or should that be buff?' she giggled.
'Patience Connelly! Ye behave yourself,' he grinned. 'Or I might have ter put ye over my knee!'
'Ya know I'd only enjoy it,' she retorted.
'Not as much as me,' came the riposte.
'Will you to stop it!' Jenny laughed, clutching her sides. 'You're giving me bad ideas...'
'Stop what?' Patience asked innocently.
'Giving me bad ideas...' Jenny winked.
'Yer head's full of 'em,' her friend teased.
'That's true,' she admitted with a wicked grin.
'Just a pity Sparrow's so old he's not up ter much these days…' Patience teased.
'Oi! I heard that young missy,' Jack drawled as he came to see where Shay had got to.
'Ya were meant to!'
'I thought I might be,' he sighed. 'I was startin' ter wonder if they had tied ya ter th'table an' were havin' their wicked way with ya, Connelly!'
'I should be so lucky!' Shay laughed.
'Is that enough of these bleedin' pastries now?' Patience asked, praying that it would be.
'No!' said Jack.
'Yes, said Jenny simultaneously. 'More than enough,' she smiled, ignoring Jack's scowl.
'Bring me some rope an' I'll do some more,' Patience said to Jack, a saucy smile on her face.
'Well how else can I tie him ter th'table?'
'Who said ye'd need ter tie me down?' Shay replied, raising his eyebrows suggestively.
'Get out o'here - both of yer!' Patence laughed. 'I'll make a few more.'
'Good girl,' came Jack's voice as they headed back to the living room.
Patience sighed and made another six pastries with the last of the dough. 'An' now I can't make any more!' she exclaimed, handing the tray to Jenny to put the preserve in before they went in the oven. 'Is that all ya put in them?'
'No, I'll put some cream in later. Cook used to make them back home, in England, and I've always loved them.'
'Sounds tasty... reckon Sparrow'll have a fight on his hands fer them,' Patience grinned.
'I'll keep some back for us. I can see Shay taking a liking to them as well,' Jenny said with a wry smile. 'Men always seem to like sweet things.'
Patience smiled, thinking the tiny pastries would disappear very quickly indeed. 'If that is all, then I guess we can sit down until they're cooked.' The two women carried the food into the dining room, and Patience placed the large piece of mutton before Jack. 'Jenny says yer ter carve,' she informed him.
'Of course I am,' he slurred, already having had a fair bit to drink. He proceded to slice the meat into wafer thin pieces, astonishing Patience and Shay who thought that he'd make a pig's ear of it.
Jenny smiled knowingly as she served up the vegetables and poured some more wine into the goblets.
Patience sat nervously at the table, staring at all the cutlery before her, glancing at Jenny for a clue as to which to use, relieved when her friend picked up a knife and fork, and nodded at her as she picked up the corresponding set.
'So… ya lookin' forward ter meetin' th'Connelly brood?' Jack asked Patience as he finished off the last of his tender meat. 'How many of ya are there?' he asked of Shay.
'Yes,' she lied. She was dreading it.
'I have two brothers and five sisters, unless Ma an' Da have had any more
since I last saw them,' Shay smiled, conveniently forgetting what it had been like, all of them cramped into a small cottage.
'Bloody 'ell!' Jack exclaimed. 'They're not all like you, are they?'
'I hope not!' Patience retorted playfully.
'What's wrong with me?!' Shay asked, a mock hurt look on his face. 'I'll have ye know, I'm th'best of th'bunch... well apart from Fin that is.'
'What's wrong with ya? How long have yer got?' Jack teased.
'Ah, Jenny, help me. They're gangin' up on me here!'
'You're big and ugly enough to fight your own battles,' she chuckled, standing to collect the dirty plates.
'Bloody hell, not ye too?!'
'Sit yerself down,' Patience ordered her friend. 'Me an' Shay'll collect these up.'
'I don't think so, you're our guests.' Jenny glared at Jack until he got to his feet and helped clear the table, muttering darkly under his breath until he realised he would have first refusal of the pastries.
'Ye all right cailin?' Shay asked once they were alone. 'No second thoughts?'
'Of course not.' Patience hated herself for lying to her husband but she knew how much the trip home meant to him.
'We can stay if ye want. I can send a letter ter me folks ter let them know about us. Finan can read, so he'd be able ter tell them.'
'No - ya want ter go...' she insisted.
'Do ye want ter go?'
'We've had this argument b'fore,' Patience sighed.
'Cailin, this isn't just about me. If ye really don't want ter go, then we won't.'
'We can't not go now...' she looked up as Jenny and Jack entered the room again.
'Here we are!' Jenny chuckled. 'I've managed to save some.' She placed the plate of pastries down on the table, smacking Jack's hand as he reached for it, a smear of cream on his moustache giving away the fact that he'd already had at least one.
'Yer mean Sparrow's left us some?' she retorted in mock surprise, reaching for a dainty pastry which was still warm from the oven and eating it appreciatively.
'Not if I had my way,' he grumbled good-humouredly.
'These are wonderful!' Shay mumbled through a mouthful of cream and preserve.
'T'were Jenny's recipe,' Patience smiled.
'Make sure ye get it off her,' he grinned, winking at Jenny.
'Ah, ya can wait until we return,' Patience teased.
'No. I definately can't wait that long. Besides, ye'd melt Da's heart with these,
not that ye won't anyway.'
'I have ter have some reason ter hurry ya home,' Patience reasoned
'I'll give you the receipe when you come back, how does that sound?' Jenny asked, playing along with her friend.
'Sounds fine ter me,' Patience smiled. 'But ya must excuse me – I'm very tired, what with th'late night after th'party on board last night. P'raps ya can find room ter stuff a few more in yer mouth,' she teased, looking at Jack as she spoke.
'Ya callin' me greedy?'
'You are!' Jenny teased. 'Goodnight both of you - see you tomorrow.' She kissed Shay then Patience and saw them to the door of the living room.
'Thanks,' Patience smiled, linking her hand into Shay's. 'See ya in th'morning.'
'Be safe,' Jenny smiled sadly, hugging Patience and then Shay. 'And make sure you come back to us.'
'We will cailin,' the Irishman assured her, giving a slight nod to Jack who was watching the scene. They would come back, for he was eager to start his training to be captain of The Black Pearl.
'Ya'd best get aboard, th'captain looks impatient,' Jack chivied, shaking Shay's hand. 'Take care of yourself,' he told Patience, hugging her.
She raised her eyebrows in surprise. 'I didn't know ya cared!' she teased, returning the hug.
'Come on cailin, Jack's right. We'll miss th'boardin' if we're not careful.'
They hurried up the gangplank of The Wynchester, their luggage already having been loaded, and the crew immediately drew up the board.
'Goodbye!' Jenny called, waving at them, flanked by Jack and many members of The Black Pearl.
'Goodbye!' Patience called back, waving with equal gusto. 'See ya soon.'