Yes, it's certainly been awhile. I am so, so sorry for the long wait, but my life has been unbelieveably busy as of late. Between school and my personal life, things have not been great, so that affected my writing for a long time. But now I'm starting to have a sliver of free time agai, so I thought I would get moving with this again.
Thsi chapter contains one fo my favorite parts of the musical and I'm pretty sure you'll figure it out when you see it. Kind of a lighthearted chapter for now before the real drama sets in adn believe me, it is coming. I hope you enjoy adn don't forge to review! Who knows? Maybe it'll lead to a faster update...i mena 9 months...oy...:)
How dare he!
That simple statement seemed to be on constant replay in Pocahontas' mind as she stormed down the hallway toward the servant's quarters. The night had proven to be taxing enough on her. She certainly had not needed an interlude with that exasperating man. Rounding another corner, she ignored the greeting of a fellow tribes member as she continued her mental attack on the captain.
Who does he think he is? In this land he may be respected, but he would not last a day in mine. What gives him the right to speak to anyone, especially me, in such a manner! If he only knew...
"But he doesn't know."
A voice from behind startled her and she whirled to find Kokoum standing only a few feet from here. Tucking a stray strand of ebony hair behind her ear, she lowed her eyes to the floor. "Kokoum. I didn't see you."
His brow arched in amusement. "Obviously."
Not in the mood for his games, she only asked. "How much did you hear?"
Her companion became serious again, but a slight humor still lit his eyes. "Perhaps more than you wanted me too. May I inquire as to what happened?"
The princess's cheeks flushed a bright crimson. "I'd rather not say."
He shrugged. "Suit yourself. I can't make you share if you do not wish to."
She nodded. "Thank you, Kokoum. Goodnight."
She had barely turned don her heel when his voice stopped her dead in her tracks. "But if my intuition is right, which it usually is, I'd say it has something to do with the captain."
Pocahontas clenched her hands and let out a frustrated growl. She hated when he did this. He had done it since they were children. He always seemed to know what was bothering someone even when the individual themselves could not see it. This skill was, in part, what made had made him into the warrior he had once been. Many people admired him greatly for it.
She had always only found it incredibly, vastly, irritating.
"After all these years, I still fail to understand how you are able to do that."
He smirked. "A great magician never reveals his secrets."
This earned him only rolled eyes from his friend. "Will you ever grow up?"
Kokoum shrugged. "Perhaps. In times such as these, a person needs to be able to escape every now and then. Besides." he reached to brush another piece of her hair out of her face. "Only a select few are privileged enough to see me for who I truly am."
Pocahontas chuckled. "Maybe we have more in common than I first thought. Both of us have to put of a façade of courage for our people. We can not allow them to see us as weak." She reached over to place a hand alongside his face. "I find it refreshing to find someone I can talk to as an equal."
Kokoum began to shake his head. "but Pocahontas, we are far from equals. You are the daughter of our chief and I.."
"Stop." her response startled him, but he did as she asked. "While that may have been the case in our land, but here it means nothing. We are both servants to new masters. Besides," She squeezed his hand. "We have always been friends, have we not? That is more important to me than any social hierarchy."
Raising her hand to his lips for a kiss, the next words out of Kokoum's mouth were almost hesitant. "Pocahontas, I..." He sighed and shook his head."
Her heart went out to him. "What is it, Kokoum?"
He brought his gaze to meet hers. "Pocahontas, I know we haven't been reacquainted for very long and I understand if this is sudden, but I was hoping if we ever do get out of this land...perhaps..."
His voice had grown so soft that she had trouble making out the majority of what he was trying to tell her. "Kokoum, speak up. I can't hear what you're trying to tell me."
The warrior looked up in surprise. "You haven't heard a thing I've said, have you?"
A slight smile crossed her features. "I'm afraid not. You were speaking so softly and I-"
The couple turned to see another servant jogging toward them. Pocahontas recognized him as Aja, another member of her father's council. He came to a stop in front of them, his eyes flitting over to their joined hands. Not wanting to have rumors circulating within her tribe, Pocahontas immediately dropped her friend's hands from her grasp and turned to face him. "What is it, Aja?"
The older man offered a slight bow of respect before answering. "Forgive me, my lady, but your mistress is searching for you."
The amount of irony in that statement struck the native woman like a ton of bricks, but she simply nodded. "Thank you, Aja."
He bowed and continued on his way and she turned back to Kokoum. "What did you need to tell me?"
Clearing his throat, he only shook his head. "It not important." His gaze became concerned. "Although I am worried about you. You did have a run in with the captain, didn't you?"
When she didn't answer, he tipped her face towards his. "Pocahontas, answer me. What happened? It could not have been too traumatic. The captain is a kind man-"
She scoffed. "I have yet to hear a kind word come out of his mouth.."
His eyes darkened. "Pocahontas, he saved your life. Had you been sent to the copper mines, we might not be standing here having this conversation."
"I will give him that if I must. Otherwise he has proven to be nothing more than a thorn in my side. I have never met a more exasperating man in my entire life! Did you know that he was complaining like a child about his engagement to Lady Stone? You'd think the man was being led to the gallows!."
Kokum was silent for a moment and then. "Have you ever considered his feelings about this situation?"
A snort escaped her. "Please, Kokoum. What could there possibly be to consider? He mocks me to my very face. Why should I show him any respect when he shows me none. If he only knew whom he was dealing with..."
Understanding dawned on her companion's face. "So that is what you were so upset about. Pocahontas, listen to yourself. This is not who you are. You have never flaunted your position for the sake of power. Can you at least try to empathize with the captain? He is being asked to give up what he loves most."
"And what might that be?"
His answer chilled her to the bone. "His freedom."
"Forgive me, your Excellency. You speak as though you've been enslaved."
His eyes narrowed to a glare. "Perhaps not with chains, but a betrothal."
She turned and looked away. "It is not the same."
Kokoum was insistent. "How is it not? In a different way, maybe, but freedom is freedom nonetheless." His gaze turned down the hall. "You had better get going. Lady Stone is not a patient woman." He met her gaze once more. "At least try to be civil to the captain, Pocahontas. If nothing else, that he is your superior now."
She sighed. "I make no promises, my friend. But for your sake, I will try."
He smiled. "Good. Now off you go."
The princess threw him a smile over her shoulder as she hurried off and Kokoum felt his heart constrict within his chest. If she only knew...
Abigail sat at her vanity, staring blankly into the mirror in front of her. Absently twirling a golden curl around one lithe finger, she allowed her mind to wander over the events of the day. She hadn't had this much excitement in a long time. Usually her days were filled with court appearances, artfully avoiding the advances of eager young courtiers, or, her personal favorite, shopping with her friends for the latest fashions. She had been mildly disappointed when not one of her so-called-friends had come to the banquet tonight. This was, after all, her engagement party.
The thought caused her to smile. Perhaps the reason they had not attended was that they could not bear to see fiancé without becoming absolutely green with envy. And why wouldn't they be? Abigail's smile grew wicked. John certainly was a catch. The perfect gentleman with deliciously good looks and just a hint of danger about him. What girl wouldn't be lucky to spend their life with him? If only he weren't so perfect.
For heaven's sakes, the man had never even once looked at her with more than brotherly affection. Abigail understood that propriety was extremely important to her fiancé and wouldn't never even think of touching her before the wedding, but for goodness sakes, would it kill him to be even a little romantic? Looking down at the diamond that now adorned her finger, she placed her chin on her hand and sighed. He would be hers soon enough. After all, everything good in life was worth waiting for wasn't it?
She gave an impatient sigh.
She just wished waiting wasn't such a bothersome procedure.
A knock on the door to her chamber interrupted her thoughts and she looked up in surprise. "Enter."
Abigail let out of a sigh of relief when her newest servant entered the room. "Oh, Pocahontas. It's you."
The native regarded her with a questioning gaze. "Were you not expecting me, my Lady? I was told to come at once."
Abigail blinked a few times and then nodded. "Yes. Yes, of course. Forgive me, Pocahontas. I must have forgotten. I fear my head is not where it should be as of late."
Her servant said nothing, only moved further into the room. "Is there anything I can do for you, my Lady?"
Abigail was silent for a moment, as if contemplating what to do next. Finally she said. "Can I trust you, Pocahontas?"
Surprise flashed in her dark eyes. "Of course. Your secrets are as good as untold to me. What troubles you?"
The blonde sighed and stood, walking over to the large window that overlooked the grand courtyard. "Have you ever been in love?"
Pocahontas regarded her with questioning eyes. "Love, my lady?"
Abigail nodded. "Yes. Has there every been anyone special?"
The native shook her head. "I'm afraid not. My father always kept me quite well contained. I never had the opportunity to find anyone with which to share my life and my father was too busy with the war to arrange a match for me."
"How sad!" Abigail immediately crossed the room and took hold of Pocahontas' hands. "I do hope you will find someone here. Surely you have seen many of your people here."
She saw her servant's jaw tighten slightly. "I have indeed, miss."
Abigail immediately realized her mistake. "Pocahontas, I apologize. I spoke without thinking. It seems I have a habit of doing so." She squeezed her hands tighter. "I had hoped to be friends. You seem like someone I can talk to, something that I do not have much of. In fact, when it is just the two of us, I would like it very much if you would call me Abigail. Not 'miss', not 'my lady' simply Abigail. Do we have an agreement?"
Pocahontas couldn't help but smile. "I believe that is something I can live with."
The man in question turned to see his master coming toward him. "What can I do for you, John?"
The captain smiled upon hearing his name. "Good man. I see you're finally starting to listen to me for once." His smile faded. "I'm looking for Pocahontas. It seems I upset her earlier today and I simply wanted to offer my apologies."
Kokum turned his gaze to the west. "I just spoke with her myself. She was summoned to Lady Stone's chambers not a half and hour ago."
John did his best to suppress a groan. "Alright. Thank you, Kokoum. I'll see you later."
John turened to see Kokoum coming up behind him. "Yes?"
He hesitated at first, but then. "If I may be so bold, John. It may be best to wait a few days before speaking to her. She was still quite upset when I spoke with her."
He saw the captain grimice. "I hadn't thought of that. Thank you, my firend. Once again you have been the voice of reason when most needed." John patted his shoulder. "I'll do as you say for now, but I will offer my apologies the next time I see her."
When Pocahontas entered her mistress's chambers the next day, she found Abigail once again seated at her vanity, trying to pull a brush rather roughly through her golden locks. Each stroke only resulted in a frustrated huff and more tangles than were taken out. Pushing back a chuckle, Pocahontas quickly set down the basket of clean wash she had brought with her and went to the future Duchess's side.
Abigail glanced up in surprise, but relief quickly covered her features. "With pleasure. I just hope you have better luck than I did."
Pocahontas chuckled. "I shall give it every effort." The brush now slid effortlessly through the blonde's mass of waves. "How is your father?"
"He's recovering. It's all so strange though." Abigail's gaze became distant. "My father was always a healthy man. Even when my mother died, he was the one to keep the manor together. Our doctor can't even figure out why he is so sick all of a sudden. I only pray he gets better. I don't know what I would do if I ever lost him."
Pocahontas was silent. "I'm sorry."
She shrugged. "They are doing all they can for him. Although it was a wonderful feast, was it not? Even when sick, my father knows how to throw a superb party."
"It was excellent."
"And only a week left and yet there is so much to be done? The guest list must be finalized, the cake ordered, my final dress fitting. How does one do it all so quickly?"
Pocahontas laid the brush o the vanity and watched her mistress in the mirror. "Is must be so difficult."
Abigail looked up at her. "Planning a wedding?"
"No." Pocahontas was playing the role of a lifetime. "Being next in line for such a title. No doubt it must come with great responsibility."
A great sigh escaped the heiress. "You have no idea. Simply the idea of it scares me to death."
Pocahontas was curious to see where this would lead. "The people must expect a great deal of you."
"Sometimes too much." The blonde turned her gaze to the mirror. "The people want perfection. They don't understand. They expect a perfection and I'm only.."
"Exactly." Abigail turned to look at her servant. "How am I to give them everything they desire? I may come off as someone who has it all together, but I feel so empty most of the time. Perhaps it's just better if I lead them to believe that I can give them what they want..."
For the first time, Pocahontas began to see the true Abigail Stone. Here was a woman who hid behind a mask of frivolity and superficiality. A mask that hid beneath it a young girl scared to take her place in this world. A girl afraid of failure.
A girl not vastly different from herself.
"May I speak, your grace?"
Her mistress looked surprised. "Pocahontas, you know better than to ask. We are friends now. And that means that you may speak freely when we are alone. Please tell me what you have to say."
She nodded. "I believe you underestimate yourself, my lady. You have such potential to make a difference t those around you. I understand that you are frightened. Who wouldn't be? But if you have the courage to embrace your destiny for what it could be, the impact you could have would be enormous."
Abigail said noting, only stood and embraced a surprised Pocahontas in a brief hug. "Thank you." she whispered softly. "You are the first person who has ever said anything like that to me."
Pocahontas couldn't help but smiled as she patted the other woman's back. "I only speak what I see."
Abigail had no time to reply for at that very moment the man of her desires and her servant's irritation entered the room in quite a hurry. The noblewoman hurriedly attempted to fix her appearance while Pocahontas did her best to make herself scarce, not an easy task as the captain still blocked her only exit.
Abigail's face immediately lit. "John! What a surprise! I wasn't expecting...that is...I never thought...Pocahontas, leave!"
She was about to do just that when John stopped her. "Not so fast. Pour Lady Stone a glass of wine."
Pocahontas did and watched with morbid fascination as the scene played out in front of her. When she handed her mistress the wine glass, Abigail let out a feminine giggle and smiled coyly. "Why Captain Smith, are you trying to get me drunk?" She sauntered closer to him. "You know that is really not necessary."
John only took her arm and steered her toward the back of her chamber. "Is that your bed back there?"
Pocahontas felt her eyes grow wide as Lady Stone looked up at her fiancé through hooded eyes. "Fresh silken sheets and newly stuffed with feathers."
John put his lips close to her ear. "Why don't you go warm it up. I'll join you in a moment."
Abigail's hand flew to her chest. "You wicked man!" She exclaimed. "Are you sure? We are to be married I less than seven days."
She gave her his most charming smile. "And we've been engaged for nearly ten years."
That was the encouragement the blonde needed. "Good point."
When she had gone, John turned his attention to Pocahontas, who was know trying to discreetly sneak away. "Please wait."
"Far be in from me to keep you from your newest conquest, Captain." She turned at the door. "Now if you will excuse me, I have other chores to see to."
"I told you to stop!" His voice was still low, but the edge was evident. "How dare you. You speak to me like that and then think you can simply walk away? You forget that I could have had you sent to the copper mines.'
Her chin rose in defiance. "And you, captain, forget that I am no longer your property. I belong to her ladyship, not you."
Johns waved it off. "it doesn't matter anyway. I only came to aplogize for my behavior the night of the banquet and to tell you that you are right in that matter."
She turned confused. "Excuse me?"
From the back, Abigail's voice rang out. "John, I'm ready!"
Pocahontas could see him grimace. "I'll be there shortly." he called. Then turning his attention back to her, he said. "Look, Pocahontas. I was wrong. God forbid the Duke does not survive, this manor will need a leader, bith locally and in court and, quite frankly, I'm not sure Abigail is fit for the job."
The person in question called again. "John, your engagement party is waiting!"
Pocahontas glanced past him. "You should probably see to her. After all, you did initiate this little tirade.'
"It was the only way I could get rid of her so we could speak privately."
She crossed her arms. "And why, pray tell, would you care to speak to me at all?"
He hesitated before answering. "For some reason, even unknown to me, you fascinate me, Pocahontas. I can't put my finger on it, but there is something that just makes me want to know you better. Tell me, were you a noble woman in your land?"
She failed to see his point. "And what difference would that make? There is certainly nothing noble about me now"
She caught her arm a she attempted to brush past him. "I would have to disagree. You have proven yourself to be noble and courageous in even this short time. You speak with a refreshing honesty, something many men of higher station would never dare to do. On top of the fact that you are a slave-"
"Ah yes. We can not forget that, now can we." She glared up at him.
John released her arm, but instead took her hand and held it lightly between his own. "Pocahontas, I can't change the past. You and I both know that. And even if I could..." he sighed and looked down at her finger entwined with his. "Even if I could, I'm not sure if I would want top." He took a step closer. "Pocahontas, I..."
"John!" Abigail's screech resonated throughout the chamber and John immediately dropped her hand. They both looked up just as Abigail stormed into the room wrapped only in a bed sheet.
"John, you storm in here wagering a full-frontal attack, so to speak and now you're stalling. I want to know why?"
If it hadn't been such a close call, Pocahontas would have been laughing at the stunned look on the captain's face. "Forgive me, Abigail. I didn't realize..."
Irate was even an understatement to describe his fiancée at the moment. "There's a stunning young woman lounging on her bed waiting for you. What was it that you didn't realize, John?" He began to stutter, but she held up a hand. "I don't even want to hear it. Before our wedding ,pack up some of that dried rat meat you're so fond of and have our catographer draw you a map of the female anatomy. Perhaps then you'll be more inclined to explore!"
If looks could kill, John would have been dead where he stood, but he only turned and fled the room without another word. Not that Pocahontas could really blame him. Abigail stood and watched his back retreating with a perplexed expression. Turning to Pocahontas, she asked with the pure innocence of a child. "Was it something I said?"
All she could do was smile.