So there she was, one again, leaning over the rails of the ship, this time in the sun and with a heavy head. Though Alex would rather be back in her cabin counting cracks in the floor, Jack had persuaded her to start living again. And there was no better time, for him at least, than the present. As she chewed the inside of her cheek, Alex stared ahead, she saw the open sea. Behind her would be a small village called Monaterin, less than half a mile from Nassau. Not too much of a comforting notion considering her situation, but she decided later she would take a chance and go exploring. It was very rare the crew made port anymore. Since Jack's enemies were piling up by the hour, the men could barely be safe outside of Tortouga.
Getting off her drum barrel, Alex slipped back on her boots and fixed her hair. Then, after mentioning to Gibbs she'd be back in an hour, she headed out. As she headed off the ship, she saw Jenthry in the corner of her eye making barter with a fisherman over a gilly knife. Still, the embarrassment of the last few weeks made her twinge and move on. Surely not even a pirate would fancy her now. And so, she walked on, almost right into Jack.
"Well, well...nice to see someone's out and about. How's the light, love?"
"Sunny, to say the least. I'm going into town, I'll be back later on, sometime by noon."
"Where you headed?"
"Don't know, guess till I find something." Jack looked at her for a second, then nodded.
"Right then, take the time you need...just be careful. And don't go too far, right?"
"Yeah...bye." Alex moved on, walking with her hands in her pockets. Jack watched her disappear down the sandy path, with only a little concern. Maybe a good stroll would clear her head.
The town was almost quiet, just the everyday noises of life going on. Somewhere there were women chattering through a circle, men trying to move their livestock out of the middle of the road, and a small tumble of Jamaicans selling numerous flowers and herbs. Some of the sunshine came down, sprinkling the ground. Everything was fresher already.
As a crowd of small faces came towards her, Alex watched the children scatter and run to the beach. Suddenly, a voice behind her spoke up.
"They're all bastards, the lot of 'em." She was staunch, thin with a slight curve around her middle. She very much so resembled Alex, except for the red streaks going in and out of her hair. Her eyes were green, and her smile had a bounce to it. Weaving to Alex's side, she took her by the elbow and led her over to the shade, watching the younger play on the beach.
"You see the one in the green? That's my boy, Stanton. Quite the pirate, he is. I'm so terribly sorry, I'm manhandling you without a name. I'm Sylvia, the town whore in anyone's opinion but my own. Too forward, right? It's a nasty habit, but I suppose it comes with the territory. You see, unwedded mothers are used to telling their side of the story fast." Alex stared at her for a long, long moment, almost in awe. She was beautiful, and rash. She was perfect.
"I, uh...I'm Alex, orphan and unwedded myself all around."
"No, but where I come from that doesn't make much of a difference." Sylvia laughed and nodded slightly.
"Yeah, been there. Let me guess, proper family? Proper girl?"
"That was the plan, it seems. As it turns out, I was declared a failure," sighed Alex.
"So, what's a girl like you doing so far out here? Catch a ride with a trick?"
"What? No, I just boarded a pirate ship with a father I've never met running away from memories, judgement, and shame."
"Oh, so you're the ususal?" They both sat there and laughed for awhile, until Stanton came running up to his mother. He took his place between the women, resting his head on his mother's lap. Sylvia smiled and pulled back the hair from his neck, blowing cool rings of air.
"What's wrong, love? Tired?"
"Yes, and Billy stole my penny."
"Now why would he do a thing like that?"
"Said I owed it to him." Sylvia sighed and patted him to get up. On their walk home, she turned to Alex, letting Stanton run up the road.
"All the boys pick on him for one reason or another. Mostly due to their fathers, course the mothers aren't much better. I'd love to move out of here, but I'm afraid my financial status is less than parr. I work with the gardeners you saw on the way in. They take me under their wing. So, what about you, this father? Got a name?" Alex looked at the road and kicked some sand.
"He does, but I'm afraid you might know it."
"Love, trust me, reputations don't mean much to me." Alex smiled, and tried to push back the last few months.
"His name's Jack. You know, like a sparrow?"
"Oh, I see...so, your from the Black Pearl then, eh?"
"Yes...I am. We're camped out a little ways down the coast. Trying to steer clear of Nassau, you know."
"Don't blame you there, lovey. Nassau is a snob town. Nothing good coming from there."
"Actually, a little snobbery would be refreshing." Sylvia nodded and eyed Alex with interest. After walking a few more yards, they neared an old hut. It's shingles barely hung from the roof, giving it a sideways appearance. It was one room.
"Well, home sweet home. I'd offer you a bit of food, 'cept I doubt we even have anything. So, have anywhere you need to be?"
"As much as I'd like to say no, I promised my father I'd be back before noon and it's almost dark...now why am I calling him my father?"
"Love, trust me, it's better to accept than decline. I'm familiar with your dad, used to be a good friend of mine when we were younger. Trust me, give him some air to breathe and he'll fill it with nonsense, but give him something that means the world to you, and he'll show what's really important in life."
"Is that supposed to be reassuring?"
"No, it just means I've been in your shoes...give it time, love. Now, I've got a hungry boy in there, so we'll say farewell for now. Hope to see you around later?" Alex smiled.
"I would really like that, Sylvia. I really would."
"Very well, till later."
"Till later..." And with that, Sylvia shut the door and left Alex alone in the evening sun.
The whole town was a shadow as Alex made her way back to the Pearl. She was tempted to step into those dark traces and just fall asleep for as long and life would allow her. She watched her own figurines flux. As she saw the ship on the horizon, she noticed all the crew on the beach. It was a funny sight, all standing around in new trousers or shirts. As she came closer, she noticed her father standing in the middle of their distorted circle. He waved his sword in the air around this frail looking man on his knees. Alex crept closer, almost knowing that would happen, but too curious to stay at a distance. Finally, at closer range, she could hear Jack speaking.
"On your life, do you swear your innocence?" The man was weeping, clinging to his chest as if there were a ticking clock inside.
"I- I promise, Sir. I had not a clue, it was an accident." Jack lifted the man's chin with the side of his blade.
"Oh, I see now. What an unfortunate case for you...what say you, men? Guilty?" Everyone jeered and screamed. As Alex walked past Gibbs spitting on the ground, she head the man's last words.
"I killed a cook, and you'll give me the same? What say you that my life is equal to a pirate?"
"Says I," whispered Jack, "You're out of your jurisdiction, mate. I'm your last chance. If the boy lives, so do you. If he dies, I'll cut your throat out and feed you to the sea, savvy?"
"Either Jenthry lives or no one does!"
Alex stopped dead in her tracks...Jenthry...