Yeah so I finally updated, sorry for it taking as long as it has. Hope you guys enjoy it :)
Disclaimer: I don't own any characters you recognize, I do own Swimmer, Skip, Mac and any characters that might pop up in the future.
Chapter 6: The Governor's Mansion
Swimmer leaned her head against the pillow headrest behind her. She moved slightly in her seat to get comfortable and then allowed Skip to curl up like a cat on her lap. Lazy thing, she thought affectionately as she stroked the otter behind the ear. Mac was seated beside her on the red cushion, and across from her on another cushioned bench sat Will and Elizabeth. Swimmer had earlier questioned as to where the Governor was, but Elizabeth had only said he'd gone home early. Swimmer looked out the window and watched as the cobble-stoned street passed underneath the wheels of the carriage. She glanced at the people standing on the side of the street, merchants and storekeepers, men, women and children of all ages. One young girl pointed at her and Swimmer pressed herself behind the curtain on the widow of the carriage, trying to get out of sight. Mac looked at her curiously and she cocked an eye at him in a daring way.
The ride to the Governor's Mansion was silent and uneventful. Both Will and Elizabeth stared out the windows at their sides, Mac seemed to be taking a nap like Skip, and Swimmer just watched each of them in turn, her thoughts milling around her head.
Soon the carriage pulled up a long driveway and stopped outside some steps. The driver got down and opened the door for them. Swimmer quickly leapt out, startling the man at the door and stopped, standing and staring at the large house she was faced. The white sides reflected the dimming sun, as the windows glinted brightly. The large pillars on the top of the many stairs that led to the front door were feet wide, bigger it seemed than any tree. Swimmer let her eyebrows raise up and her mouth drop slightly at the huge house.
"Impressed?" questioned Elizabeth as she stood next to Swimmer with a slight smile on her face.
Swimmer let her eyebrows drop and her mouth close and gave Elizabeth an uninterested look. "I've seen ships bigger." She lied offhandedly, and turned to walk up the stairs, leaving Elizabeth staring after her.
Mac met her at the bottom of the stairs. "Mind your manners." He ordered her gruffly as they, along with Will and Elizabeth, ascended the stairs.
Swimmer cocked an eye and let a small grin creep across her lips. "Manners? What manners? I'm a pirate, remember?"
Mac opened his mouth to reply but at that moment their party reached the top of the steps and the front door, and his comment died on his lips. Elizabeth opened the door and they stepped through.
Swimmer had to catch herself before her mouth dropped open. A tall winding staircase was in the back of the large room, the ceiling seemed almost as tall as the sky. Gold railing and molding, with marble floors and tables, different colors and shapes. Flowers were set in the windows, with long drapes hanging from the window tops. There were tall white doors that were at almost every corner of the room, with vases and candle holders decorating it. And delicately painted paintings as well as beautifully sewn rugs all around the floors and walls.
"It's a very nice home." Mac commented into the silence.
Nice?! Swimmer thought to herself. I couldn't steal as much gold as it took to make the banister in my entire life!
"Thank you." Elizabeth smiled. "I'm going to go find my father, and make sure he's aware of the…situation." Swimmer snorted to herself, doubting that the Governor even knew that his daughter had brought two pirates home for dinner. Elizabeth looked at Will. "Do you want to show them around?" She asked.
Will nodded and Elizabeth sent him a smile before climbing the stairs. Will looked at Mac and Swimmer. "I'll show you around." He told them, leading them through one of the doors.
Swimmer ignored them both, Mac ooing and awing over the decorations and Will droning on about each thing. Swimmer wandered away from them to another door. She went through it, Skip perched on her shoulder and examined a vase sitting on the table.
It was gorgeously decorated. Blue, gold, silver, red. Designs were etched in it's sides. Swimmer blinked at the tall figure. "Fancy." She commented. She reached over to tough it and a cold hand grabbed hers.
Swimmer jerked away and turned, finding herself face to face with Commodore Norrington.
"I wouldn't touch that if I were you." He warned.
Swimmer crossed her arms. "And just why not?"
"Because the terms of our agreement state that if you so much as steal a piece of bread off the table I will throw your pirate butt right back into jail." He growled at her.
Swimmer returned the glare happily. "I wasn't going to steal it. Not everything I touch is going to go missing."
"I find that very hard to believe." The Commodore told her.
Swimmer wrinkled her nose at him. "And just what are you doing here?"
"Keeping the Governor in possession of all of his belongings, even after you leave." He replied.
"And here I was thinking it was because you were missing me already." Swimmer snorted at him.
The Commodore opened his mouth to make a retort but at that moment Elizabeth chose to come through the door. She looked alarmed at the scene. "Hello, Commodore Norrington." She said. "What brings you here?"
"Dinner, Ms. Swann." Norrington replied, glancing at Swimmer. "An invitation to dinner. From your father."
"Oh…well then." Elizabeth smiled at him. "I'm just going to show Swimmer to her room….dinner will be shortly. Could you do me the favor of telling Will to show Mac to his room and the new clothes as well." It didn't sound like a question, and the Commodore didn't take it as one. He nodded, sent an evil look Swimmer's way, and walked off to find the two other men.
"You really have managed to get on his bad side, haven't you?" Elizabeth asked, almost sounding amused.
Swimmer shrugged. "I get a room?" She said lightly. Elizabeth smiled and led her out of the room, up the stairs and down the hall to a large pale door. She opened it and beckoned Swimmer inside.
Swimmer inspected it in a glance. The large bed, topped with covers and drapes hanging elegantly around the wooden posts. The room was spacious, having a love couch on one wall, a desk with a chair on another. There was a large walk-through window that Swimmer guessed lead to a balcony. In one corner stood a to change behind. Swimmer glanced at Elizabeth.
"This is my room?" she asked, doubting the answer
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow. "Unless you would prefer the cupboard under the stairs."
Swimmer glanced at her and caught the edge of humor in the other woman's voice. "It'll do." She replied smoothly, her lips quirking.
A maid came up behind Elizabeth, hands crossed in front of her. "You needed me, Miss?"
"Yes. I was wondering if you could help Swimmer into her clothes."
Swimmer shied away. "I can get into clothes just fine on my own." Then she blinked. "And what's wrong with these clothes?"
Elizabeth cocked her head. "They're dirty, old, big on you, and have a hole in the elbow." Swimmer glanced down, a frown forming on her face. "You can wear those to dinner." Elizabeth pointed at the bed.
Swimmer glanced and saw a pale blue dress with darker blue lining and an under-dress sitting on the bed. There was also another piece of pale cloth with strings that Swimmer didn't recognize. She picked it up and held it in front of her body. Inspecting it with a glance and then looking up at Elizabeth. "What is this?"
Elizabeth smiled slowly.
Swimmer yelped loudly and barely refrained from whirling on the two maids pulling on the strings to the cloth that continued to tighten around her waist and chest, even though she argued there wasn't any more room to tighten. The bandages she'd always used to bind her chest were on the bed along with her other clothes. One of the maids had almost taken it away, but Swimmer had argued, loud and long, and they stayed on the bed, for now, in her sight.
There was another pull and Swimmer thought she would fall backwards if the maid wasn't holding her straight. Elizabeth stood in front of her, arms crossed, watching Swimmer. She had already changed while Swimmer had been forced to wash her face and arms. She looks like she's enjoying this, Swimmer thought bitterly as the constricting cloth forced her to gasp.
"What…is this…torture device?" Swimmer asked, breathless, putting a hand to her ribs.
"It's called a corset. The women use it in England." Elizabeth's voice sounded as if she was repeating words once told to her.
"And it's purpose is to, what? Stop you from breathing? Murder you at Court without anyone having to dirty their hands?" Swimmer asked bitterly as the maid finished tying the strings and stepped back to get the blue dress.
Elizabeth shook her head. "No."
Swimmer allowed herself to be put into the blue dress and frowned at Elizabeth. "Are you wearing one of these?"
Elizabeth's cheeks turned a faded pink. "Yes…you get used to it. Trust me."
Swimmer snorted. "You're asking a pirate to trust you? You've been around your beau, Will too long."
The pink sharpened to red and Elizabeth cleared her throat. Swimmer turned her head as the maid's brushed out her hair, and began arranging it on her head. A newly washed Skip sat on the bed, watching her, an human-like grin on his face.
"Oh you be quiet, river rat." Swimmer muttered at him. Elizabeth pulled her away from the maids and in front of the mirror.
Swimmer let her eyebrows raise at her reflection. Her hair positioned on her head, brushed and clean. Her face lacked the normal dust and dirt, but was still tanned. The dress fell about her shoulders and stretched to the ground. Her ribs were pulled in by the cursed corset, and, most surprising of all, her chest seemed to be much more pronounced. Swimmer put her hands to the collar of the dress as if to hide the new cleavage. She twitched and looked at Elizabeth.
"Is this…necessary?" I feel like a painted up doll, Swimmer added the back of her head.
Elizabeth smiled. "You look human now. And a pretty one."
Swimmer rolled her eyes. "Just what I was shooting for…"
Elizabeth ignored her. "Come on. It's time for dinner." She led Swimmer out the door, closing it behind her and the maids, leaving Skip behind. "He'll be fine." She assured Swimmer.
Swimmer sent her a look. "It's not him I'm worried about." She replied coolly. "It's your furnishing."
They went down the stairs slowly. Elizabeth first, and Swimmer coming a shaking second. I'm going to tip over with this blasted weight in front of me now, Swimmer thought grudgingly. And this long dress is under my feet. They paused at the bottom of the steps, Swimmer swaying slightly, partly from lack of air and partly because she'd stepped on the dress again. She looked up, glancing with envy at Mac in a snug, clean shirt and breeches, at Will who stepped up to Elizabeth, at the newest member of the group a graying heavy-set mane in his fifties, watching her with a cautious look, and finally at the Commodore, who stood hands locked behind his back, staring with cold, rock-like eyes at her.
Swimmer met his eyes and lifted her chin defiantly. He glared as if he could see through her facade, and Swimmer let her lips curl.
A bell rang, breaking the silence. "Dinner is served." The older man said. Swimmer stepped off the stairs and followed Mac, the Commodore, Elizabeth, Will, and the old man into the next room, feeling as if she was walking onto a sparing ground.
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