"A dishonest man is always dishonest, honestly. It's the honest man you want to watch out for, for you can never predict when they're going to do something stupid."
Stupid would not be sneaking into a town with a price on your head, to watch the wedding of your love to another. Stupid is wearing corsets so as to 'stay in character' to quote the advice of someone who never had any reason to love me. Apart from the boat that I gave her. Women are trouble – they always want something from you. Fidelity, money, a boat or the love of your life. It takes a very special kind of woman to get the last though, but Elizabeth has always been determined to live out the tale of 'old-friends-grow-up-to-marry-each-other', but she hasn't reckoned with my interference. No, she has forgotten completely about Captain Jack Sparrow.
She didn't even send me an invitation to the bloody wedding, can you imagine that? Getting married and not planning on informing me – if it hadn't been for the fact that her pompous ass of a father was spreading the news over the Caribbean I might have never made it. I'm sure that would have suited her perfectly, not that I have anything against her, except her choice in whom to marry of course, but I can't really blame her for having good taste. She's quite an interesting girl really, if you like the intelligent, confidant damsel-in-distress type, as Will apparently does.
Anyone willing to waste perfectly good rum is obviously not a real damsel-in-distress, although it's possible that they could be a temperance worker in disguise. If so, it's admittedly an excellent disguise. Much better than mine at any rate – I can't stop myself from scratching at the lace which sits on my wrists.
The gentlewoman next to me has already moved as far from me as possible, and is now giving me disgusted looks while whispering heatedly with her coteries of faded beauties. No doubt assuming that I'm an unsuccessful whore, since my makeup is poorly applied, and my dress is rather outré. Then again, a pirate doesn't know many women who'd be willing to lend him clothing. I could have stole an outfit I suppose, but that would have been rather a come-down from commandeering ships. As for makeup…artfully smudged kohl is all I'm used to wearing, but even I could tell that Giselle (at least, I hope she was called Giselle) has been quite liberal with its application.
It's an open wedding at least, so there is no reason for to eject me as long as I stay quiet and demure. Not something I can do for long, so I'm devoutly hoping that the bride will appear soon. Failing that, I'm hoping the roof will fall in. Over the groom's head would be the best – what was he thinking when he agreed to marry Elizabeth! Probably something along the lines of 'this is a dream come true, for my fairest maiden hath consented to accept my suit despite me being a lowly blacksmith, er, pirate'.
Well, probably not in those exact words, because amongst his many flaws is not that of talking like a chronicler, but something along those lines. Definitely harping on her station in life being higher than his. It's my opinion that boy suffers from low self-esteem. Not something that anyone has ever accused me of, so perhaps I should take him away from a little for a rest cure. It would be rather difficult to hand him back though, to her world of tea, corsets and happy-ever-after love. I don't think that he'd want to go back though, since Will essentially goes along with whatever story he is in. He has a taste for drama – all pirates do – and little resistance to danger, adventure and being a really bad egg. Will is not weak, but indolent. His sense of curiosity is too sharp for him to fight anything that looks interesting, and my world has far more to interest him than hers does.
Ah. The wedding appears to be starting in earnest, as a midget in white is proceeding up the aisle. Beg your pardon, two midgets in white – she is really going all out here, isn't she? Then again, I suspect that this is more her father's doing than hers, for say what you like about her, Elizabeth is not one for big crowds and publicity, unlike Will and I of course. We are at our best in front of an audience, where our witty epigrams can be properly applauded. Despite Elizabeth's former interest in pirates (it gradually faded over the journey as she realized what real pirates are like) she is a very domestic person. She would be happy to be alone with Will for the rest of her life. Will wouldn't. He'd need something more – like three hours of sword practice a day. I wonder if he is wearing a sword to his own wedding? It would be rather typical of him, but then again, even I have a small rapier strapped to the inside of my thigh. Of course, for a pirate, that is only prudent. Well, prudent would be burning, looting, and pillaging the town, and only then kidnapping Will, but I decided to go for the more subtle method of showing up to the wedding in disguise. I am not sure what I hope to accomplish though, I'm merely waiting for the opportune moment – a tactic has yet to fail me yet.
Here comes the bride at last. Can't say I think much of her bridal dress. Too much white in my opinion, it makes one wonder why she seems so keen to be thought of as virginal. Every single one of the old gentry will be whispering behind their hands about how she disappeared with pirates, and the licentiousness of them. Let's hope her name isn't linked with mine as I'd have to be drunk out of my mind before I made any moves on her at all. In fact, the only time I did, I was drunk out of my mind. What a coincidence.
She does have a certain air about her though, a sort of victorious glow. Marrying Will is her petty revenge, her way of breaking free. She'd never be a pirate; having to crew with us forced her to abandon those dreams, but she's not the type of girl to just sit back and let her father dictate her life. Hence this wedding; a way to strike out and be free. I'm sure that she cares for Will, I just doubt that she cares about him in the right way. Friendship, when confused for love, can have disastrous results – like a bride who looks like she was dipped in a flour barrel.
Been a while since I heard a priest reciting anything but the Last Rites, and even that was quite a while back. Not that I've missed much though, if this old fool's mumbling is anything to go by. Enough to put anyone off getting married. I suppose that this is some sort of test for the bridegroom – will the long sermon give him enough time to get cold feet and back out? Will he suddenly abscond from the church leaving behind a white witch? Let's give him lots of time in which to listen to someone who's never tried it babble about the responsibilities of holy matrimony, and if he doesn't do a runner, then he's obviously not going to cause any trouble…either that, or it's supposed to give everyone plenty of time to imagine the wedding night. Not that I'm doing that of course.
Will does look rather nervous actually. He's fidgeting a lot, and he keeps glancing at Elizabeth. Probbaly having trouble recognising her in that cloud of white lace…Oh. The part where they actually have to speak to each other has started.
"Do you Elizabeth" and blah, blah, blah. Of course she says yes. Who wouldn't? Will's turn now. Let's hope the poor boy doesn't stammer.
"No." What! He said no! No! NO! Well, not that loudly, but he said no. What's going on here? Around me, a wave of muttered shock rises, ebbs, and then swells again. If this is a practical joke, nobody seems to be amused. The preacher has to bang the Bible of his stand to get everyone to hush. Having gotten the quiet he wants, he turns to Will. Poor Will. His back is that peculiar kind of straightness that is only seen when someone is trying to nerve themselves to go through with an ordeal. Maybe I should kidnap him now and spare him the rest of this…but I want to see what he'll do next.
The priests decides to try again. "Son, perhaps in your confusion, you gave a false answer. Would you like to rethink your decision?"
"No, not really." A nervous cough from Will. "Thank you anyway."
"Am I to understand that you do not, in fact, wish to marry the woman who stands next to you?"
"Will, what's going on?" Elizabeth whispers tearfully, her fingers shredding the delicate bouquet in her pale hands. If Will looks at her, he'll be lost. Thankfully, he stares straight ahead, and replies to the priest in a monotone "No, I do not wish to marry her."
The priest is growing vexed, but before he can lose his composure and say something profane, Norrington does it for him. "If you don't want to marry her, than WHAT THE BLAZES ARE YOU DOING WASTING OUR TIME?" Apparently I'm not the only one who thought that the wedding was a tad over-long.
"Having," and here Will pauses apparently searching for the mot juste "an epiphany."
"Would you care to tell us what this epiphany could possibly be?" Five points to Norrington – I didn't think the man to be capable of sarcasm.
"Yes Mr. Turner, tell us what could have struck you as a good enough reason for not marrying my daughter?" Ah, the enraged father at last. Poor man, his daughter has been jilted at the altar. And by a blacksmith, no less.
"Uh," Will looks taken back. I don't blame him. As if what's happening isn't dramatic enough, it's all occurring in front of an avid audience. Behind me, I can hear someone laying bets as to who'll go for the groom first, the Governor or the Commodore. "It's a long story."
"Could it possibly be told elsewhere? I have another wedding scheduled soon. One where hopefully none of the members will get creative last minute." The priest pipes up, causing the father to round on him.
"I hired the church for the duration of the ceremony, and we will stay here until Will repents and realizes how foolish he is being!" The governor's attitude is that of a mother forcing her child to eat her peas by not letting him leave the dinner table until she does.
"But-" Will tries to object, only to have Elizabeth step squarely on his foot. A yelp of pain resounds around the church, and I grin. This wedding is turning out better than I hoped.
"Will, why don't you want to marry me?" She half-screams at him, her bouquet now a mosaic at her feet.
"It's not you Elizabeth," he manages to say, then dries up.
"What do you mean, it's not me? What then? My dress? The color scheme? A secret case of syphilis!" Elizabeth is getting hysterical. The last isn't likely – he acts like the eunuch that I so often accused him of being, even though I know from first-hand experience that he isn't.
"No, you're on the wrong track completely." He reassures her, pleased that there is finally something he can do.
"Then what? Will, this is not a game of Twenty Questions! Tell me what exactly is wrong." She seems to be cooling down, perhaps a result of having Norrington next to her now. Personally, having that fop on my side wouldn't calm me, but each to their own.
"You see Elizabeth," Good start there, very firm. Let's hope he keeps it up. "I realized that going through with this marriage could lead to nothing but our mutual unhappiness."
Too vague. She'll never accept that.
"What do you mean, 'mutual unhappiness? I love you, you love me, why wouldn't we be happy?" Knew it.
"That's the crux of the matter – I don't love you. I love someone else."
Before I realize what I'm doing, I'm on my feet calling out "I love you too Will!"
Unfortunately that seems to have been the wrong move to have made, as his face is completely innocent of anything except total humiliation, complete embarrassment and more confusion than the other two put together. My heart sinks.
"Miss, I'm sorry, but I don't love you either." Will pauses, and adds in a somewhat bewildered manner, "In fact, I don't think that I even know you."
Oh. The disguise. Removing my hat which has a fetching little froth of blonde curls attached to it, I allow my tangled locks to tumble out, rub my face hard with the hat, and grin rakishly. Instant recognition lights up Will's face – as well as that of most of the congregation. Nice to know I'm so famous infamous.
"Do you know me now?" I ask coquettishly.
"JACK!" Elizabeth cries, and for a second I think that she is about to faint. (I have that effect on people.)
"Jack Sparrow." Norrington growls, his hand automatically going to his sword. I clear my throat disapprovingly.
"That's Captain Jack Sparrow." I point out sweetly.
"That's Jack Sparrow? But the woman…man...pirate is in a dress." The Governor objects plaintively. Nobody listens. Finally, Will speaks.
"Jack," and his voice caresses my name like my hands caressed the Pearl when I first got her back "…nice dress." He grins back, and somewhere between his grin and mine, everything that could be said is, and I realize that this is the opportune moment. The most opportune moment that has come my way for years.
"Scarlet's always been my color. Shall we?"
"Let's." Just as I predicted, the second that Will tries to move away from his now-silent-almost-wife, Norrington seizes him by the collar.
"I will not let you abandon Elizabeth to be a catamite to a pirate!"
"Would you prefer that I was a sodomite to a pirate?" Will mockingly retorts, and with a flick of his wrist, slices his own collar off before leaping over the pews to me, leaving Norrington behind holding a piece of starched white cloth while rapidly turning purple.
"Men, stop him! He's insane!" Norrington shouts. I feel rather insulted. Just because he's leaving Elizabeth for me, he's insane? That man has no taste.
Several small skirmishes and a lot of witty banter later, Will and I are poised on the threshold of the church. I wait for his parting words to Elizabeth who is still standing by the altar, a resigned, yet somehow amused expression on her lips as if she knew what would happen.
"Elizabeth," Will declares imitating my voice "You will remember this as the day you almost married Will Turner." A smile tugs at her lips, and for the first time it occurs to me that maybe she really did know all along…
"No Will." She says with a queer note of laughter in her voice. "You will remember this as the day you almost married Elizabeth Swan." At her feet in a crumpled pile, Norrington stirs, and I wave at him.
"I hope you and Elizabeth will be very happy together." I say with something close to sincerity. I blow a kiss at him, and he groans, almost as if on cue.
Exit Captain Jack Sparrow, and Will Turner. Behind us, we hear outraged cries of 'He stole your husband!' and "Bloody pirates". The last brings a grin to Will's lips, which I kiss while en routefor the Pearl, and our own salt-sweet version of happy-ever-after.
Which will start as soon as I get out of these corsets!