Title: Wedding Bells
Rating: PG
Pairings: J/E, W/E
Warnings: none
Disclaimer: Disney owns them all, no infringement meant.

"There you are, miss." Estrella laid the last of the filmy white veil over her mistress's curls. Elizabeth looked at herself in the mirror. It was all how she had dreamed: a long, billowing white dress, the latest from London, scads of pearls, her hair curled back and resting under the lace of her mother's bridal veil. Still, something did not feel right.

"Thank you, Es." Elizabeth tried to resist the urge to run her fingers over the veil. "Could… could I have a moment?"

"Surely, miss." Estrella tried not to giggle at the obvious case of bridal jitters that Elizabeth had. At the same time, she felt a tinge of sorrow for the girl. Usually, this was the mother's place: to smooth the veil and assure her daughter that married life wasn't so bad, that the man she was marrying was a good choice, a smart match. Estrella shook her head slightly and gently closed the door behind herself.

Elizabeth turned back to the mirror. Yes, it was all quite perfect. She was getting married, and to a man she loved no less. There was very little else that she could ask for. She turned her eyes down, trying to hold back the tears she felt forming.

"The picture of the happy bride." A voice came through the window, breezy as the gauzy curtains that hung over them. Elizabeth whirled around.

"Jack!"

"Aye, love." Jack was leaning against the window frame, hands folded across his chest. The sun glinted off of the trinkets in his hair, and his golden smile lit up his face. "And aren't you the happy bride." Elizabeth plastered a smile across her face. Jack's own smile began to fade. "Oh now, love, what could possibly be the matter?" He crossed over to her and took one of her pale hands in his. "Tell old Jack."

"Oh, Jack, I should be happy, I shouldn't be worried, I shouldn't be thinking…"

Jack chuckled. "You think you're the first woman in the world to ever be nervous for her own wedding?"

"No, but-"

"You miss your mother."

Elizabeth nodded. "A little. I mean, whenever any of my friends got married, they always had their mother there. She would smooth their dresses and pet them and… and just be there!" She dropped her hands into her lap. "And… explain things."

"Oh, well I could do that for you, love. You see-"

"Jack!" Elizabeth swatted him, smiling again.

"There, you see? I knew I could make you smile."

"You always could." Elizabeth mused. "Jack, it isn't only that I miss my mother."

"Well, you couldn't be having second thoughts now?" Jack stared into Elizabeth's pained, slightly guilty eyes. "Ah." He said softly. "Thinking you should have married the old Commodore."

"Oh no. James is a fine man, but no." Elizabeth started to wring her hands.

"I have to say, love, I don't see where your problem is."

"I could have loved you, Jack." She said, as though she'd not meant to, it had simply burst out of her. Jack, for once in his life, had the dignity to look surprised.

"What do you mean, love?"

"I could have loved you." She said simply, still staring down at her hands, twisting the ring that was on her left hand. Jack gently raised her chin so that she looked into his eyes.

"You and I both know that that would be ill advised." She nodded in agreement. "Besides, you said could have. You love Will." Despite his simple tone and logic, there was a shadow of doubt hidden in the back of his eyes.

"You're free, Jack. Will isn't, I'm not. And you are handsome." She smiled softly. "I think…I think I could have fallen in love with you, really you, not the Jack Sparrow who sacked Nassau port without firing a shot or who is captain of the Black Pearl, you."

"No one has. Never. I don't let anyone. You're no different, Lizzie." His tone grew rough. Elizabeth looked up quizzically. Jack continued "Love, you don't let anyone get close to you when you could die anytime. I'm a wanted man- I take women when I want, but I can't have one hanging around me. I can't- I can't allow myself the weakness." He concluded simply.

"Still. I could have loved you." She leaned over and kissed him softly on the cheek, soft pale skin pressed against sun stained skin. Jack patted her softly on the back, somewhat awkwardly.

"There, now. You'll be alright. I expect to hear of a little Will or Lizzie running around in a year."

"If it's a boy, it'll probably be a little Jack."

Jack smiled again. "I like that. I'll have to spoil the lad. Lord knows if I leave him with you too he'll be a bit of a eunuch like his dad."

"Jack!"

"M'Lady?" Estrella's muffled voice came through the door.

"That's my cue, love. Say hello to the boy for me." He squeezed her hand, doffed his hat, and whisked out the window.

"Miss, are you ready?" Elizabeth turned to the mirror once more. She stared at herself for a moment, a soft smile stealing across her face.

"Yes, Es, I'm ready." 'I'm finally ready.' She added softly