AUTHOR'S NOTE Jan 2014 – You might want to read back chapter 33 – Jubilee. The ring theft is detailed in the chase between Rogue and Jubilee.
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In answer to some of your questions: All will be addressed in time. Please be patient and just 'go with the flow' until then. I have a lot of ground to cover now that things are really rolling and I will get to it. A lot of the time I have to re-arrange how and when characters come and go, so feel free to keep an open mind when I say such-n-such will appear next chapter. I like to keep chapters around the 5,000 word margin so that doesn't always work out. Many thanks.
Hope you all enjoy the next instalment!
Chapter 35 – Four Months Previously
Four months previously…
Jubilee had never eavesdropped in her life. Well, she did listen at the door if her name was mentioned but she never eavesdropped. Not intentionally. Okay, she eavesdropped a lot. But it wasn't like the door to the Captain's cabin was locked. The door was only mostly shut and any words that happened to escape through the gaps of the doorframe were free for her ears to pick up. At least, that was what she planned on telling Logan if she got caught. And that was if she got caught.
Her face contorted with frustration as she tried to gain a better position with her ear to the door. The exchange of words between John and the Captain were difficult to discern when they moved about the room so regularly but finally it seemed they had come to a stand-still. Her curiosity rightfully itched when the mention of a woman by name came about.
"This ain't gonna be easy, if Anna-Marie don't agree to the match? She might cry wolf an' then what? We take her anyway an' have the cavalry hound us all the way back t' the Caribbean?"
Match? What did John mean by match? Why did they want to take this Anna-Marie girl? Jubilee waited with straining ears for the Captain to reply. His usual bravado and confidence seemed hardened by fortitude. As if the weight of his words had to come to truth.
"It must not come t' dat mon ami. If what mon Pere told us is true of his character, she will probably be more willing t' amend herself t' our marriage et leave wit' us willingly rather dan remain where she is. I'd bet a year's earnings she would take anyt'ing over him if dat be de case."
Jubilee felt her insides hollow and her heart drop to the pit of her stomach before jumping up her throat, causing a strangled sound to escape her lips. It was like being stabbed in the chest all over again. The scar across her rib cage ached and her heart began to pound like a raged animal. The word marriage parroted in her thoughts, creating images of a faceless bride standing at an alter with her dashing Captain LeBeau at her side. Jubilee swallowed hard as she backed away from the door a few, stunned steps. Captain LeBeau was getting married? To this Anna-Marie woman? Surely it was a hoax!
Jubilee swallowed her rapidly beating heart and clamped her lips shut as she put her ear to the door again to catch what else was said. Her heart begged it was just another scheme. A grand scheme to save a woman from whoever this Delmar person was.
"Might not be up t' her, mate. She could be a right basket case like him- worse, a victim who don't wanna be saved! We can't just- just go there, bribe the man and take her! This ain't gonna be as easy as that! I can feel it in my bones! What if the real Lord Black turns up in London?"
"We won't be in London mon ami. Et besides, Worthington assured me dat Lord Black will be engaged in Paris until next spring. We have a good window of opportunity et I for one, won't waste it."
John gave an exasperated snort.
"If someone who knows him recognises you ain't him, this whole scheme of yours will go up in smoke. So many things could go wrong with this an' it would only be you an' me- and the D'ancanto girl if we get caught in a bind."
"It'll be fine John. Between us, I have every faith dat we can bring de fille back without a hitch in de plan."
Jubilee bit her lip, pleading for him to admit it. That he wasn't really getting married. Anything but married! Her heart couldn't bear it if he was married and she was… and she was there to watch as he made a life for himself with someone that wasn't her.
"I sure hope you're right, Remy."
The Captain uttered a husky chuckle.
"Really mon ami, when have y' known moi t' be wrong?"
There was a long pause before John replied.
"It'll happen one day, Captain. I hope t' God it ain't gonna be this time."
"It won't. I made a promise, et I will honour it."
John heaved a deep sigh.
"Well, either we get out of this with you married or both of us dead. For your sake, I almost hope we do end up dead. The idea of y' actually getting married makes me think I should start lookin' for flyin' pigs or look in the water for mermaids."
The ensuing sound of a playful scuffle between the two friends became muffled by the sound of Jubilee's heart thudding in her ears like a hammer against stone. Hope hung by a solitary thread as she backed away from the door only to catch the opposite wall with trembling hands and slip to the floor with a thud. Swallowing, Jubilee felt the first tremor of disbelieve turn to growing grief she had never thought to prepare for. The pain was excruciating and left her breathless.
Nearly a year to the day it happened, Jubilee had known herself to be in love with Captain Remy LeBeau. And that there was no other she would ever want more than she wanted him. On mid-summer's eve they had encountered the Captain's life-long enemy Captain Magnus and his crew on the high seas. It had been a great battle between the Devil's Revenge and the Silver Blade. For as long as she could remember, she had hated Captain Magnus for his betrayal of her Captain and the LeBeaus. She had hoped to pay him back in kind for his treachery that night. Approaching the silver-haired traitor, she armed herself with her own blade and aimed for his back- over his heart. When she called him out, he turned and had the gall to laugh in her face. He called her a child playing pirates and told her to run along to her master while she still could. His words turned her blood to boil with hatred and she had raised her blade to strike him down- only for Remy's voice to stop her where she stood. She turned to see him rushing towards her; his face white with what she guessed was terror, fending off the blades that blocked his way. Her gaze barely shifted from his on-coming form before Captain Magnus' spine-chilling voice burned her ears. "Ahh so this is your Master, little one?" No sooner were his words spoken, there was a burning sensation followed by agony of torn flesh… her torn flesh.
Captain Magnus had stabbed her through her side- barely missing her right lung.
It had not been enough to kill her but at that stage, no one, not even she, had known if she would survive. Jubilee could recall only fragments of what happened next. The Captain had retaliated against Captain Magnus with an almost inhumane cry of rage- and the shallow cut across Joseph Magnus' throat would be a lasting reminder of his fury. While Magnus bled profusely from the shallow wound, it had been enough of a distraction for the Captain to pick her up in his arms and call his men to retreat. It was the first and only time the Devil's Revenge had ever retreated.
Nearly two days later, Jubilee woke in her own bed with Remy standing watch over her. She recalled thinking him a sentry from heaven in her groggy state; a watchful angel. Even with his clothes still bloodied and his face contorted with exhaustion, he was to her the most remarkable thing she had ever seen. There hadn't been a doubt in her mind that he had remained awake in the chair by her bed for two days. The moment she woke, his eyes seemed to glow with unspoken relief and a lazy smile had spread across his lips as he settled beside her and took her hand in his. New tears swelled bitterly in her eyes at the memory.
"Dieu merci… y' 'ave come back t' moi, ma petite chére." (Thank God)
It felt as if every hurt she had endured until that moment could not compare to the storm of feelings that erupted from her heart that day. Every time she saw him or felt his closeness she felt fireworks burst in her chest, burning through her like fire. Her dark moods would instantly evaporate in his wake. When he was gone, her heart ached like nothing else. Now, these new feelings of hurt and anguish tightened in her chest like a vice hold made of stone and iron. A strand of hope clung to her desperately as she turned towards the door, daring it to open and reveal her devotion and love not to be ill spent. Stubbornly, she vowed she would not believe it until that faceless bride stood before her and even then she would damn her to hell a thousand times before she accepted her love for the Captain to have no hope of being returned. She would not give him up without a fight.
No sooner was her silent pledge made, the door flung open and John appeared- only to stagger when he noted her presence. He eyed her warily as he spoke, his voice light with caution.
"Jubes- what are y' doin' there?"
Jubilee felt her back straighten as she stood up. She braced herself in an attempt to fend off the hurt radiating in her chest and the tears burning in the corner of her eys.
"Nothin'. Just slipped is all. The Captain in?"
Before John could reply, the Captain called from the cabin.
"Come on in petite. I wish t' speak wit' y'."
Sidestepping John and his wary glances, Jubilee went inside and shut the door behind her. Once inside the lion's den, the lamb set herself on the seat by the window. With her back straight and her arms crossed defiantly, she faced her Captain- only to find him with his back to her as he stood before the wide windows. He held something in his left hand as he observed the evening view of the ocean. She couldn't see what he pulled out of it but by the time he turned around to face her, it was obvious what he was holding. Her chest constricted with barely supressed whimper of pain. It was a ring box; sheathed in black velvet and two silver plates decorated with the all too familiar LeBeau crest.
Jubilee swallowed hard but the words choked out of her all the same.
"Whose that for, Captain?"
The Captain opened the box, revealing a ring fit for a Queen's finger. Set in a smaller ring of diamonds, the round-cut ruby caught the morning light like a beacon. He plucked the ring from it place in the box and held it between his index and thumb, twisting it gently in his grasp as he spoke in a tender tone.
"Dis was ma Mere's ring. De one mon Pere proposed t' her wit'. She wore it until her dying day…"
He offered her a gentle smile before replacing the ring into the box. Jubilee felt her stomach cramp with longing only to wince when the box lid slid shut between his fingers.
"Jubilee, I know y' heard John et moi talking."
His quiet revelation caused her gaze to snap back to meet his. The moment panic registered across her face, she schooled it towards a defiant scowl.
"I don't eavesdrop, Captain."
The Captain levelled her defiance with a penetrating look.
"I know y' heard what was said, petite. Et I need your word dat y' will not tell anyone what y' heard. Not one word of it. Understand?"
Jubilee felt the storm of emotions she had thought contained a moment ago come rushing to the surface, bubbling with the threat of release. Her fingers trembled, so she began to fiddle with the edge of her favourite yellow sash to disguise her nerves. Finally she managed to speak.
"Are you… are you really getting married then, Captain?"
Remy's penetrating gaze lost some of its usual vigour as he ran a hand through his hair. Discomfort gnawed at him but he hid it well as he moved himself to stand in front of his desk. He set the velvet ring box on the desk and it lay between them like a barrier.
"Logan will be in charge while John et I are gone. Y' are t' follow his orders et do y' best t' stay out of trouble until I return. I am counting on y' t' help him keep de crew in line, petite. I don't want t' come home et find half mon crew are in de holding cells, oui?"
When her gaze did not waver from his, nor break from its stoic expression at his attempt at humour, he finally amended to answering her question.
"I will be married before I return."
Jubilee swallowed, her stomach churning in knots. Her fingers gripped her yellow sash in a vice hold that left her pained. She forced the words out in her best show of insolence.
"Who is she? Some… spoiled little rich lady from London society?"
Remy shook his head, his expression patient and calm.
"I honestly can't say I know yet petite."
A snort of disbelief escaped her and like dominos, it caused a short burst of laughter to break from her quivering lips. She forced her words to take on a sarcastic tone in the hopes of masking the hurt beneath.
"You- you don't even know her? You're- you're marrying this girl and you don't even know her? Why would you do that Captain?"
The Captain sighed and sat down in his chair. His fingers traced the ornate edge of the left arm of the chair as he replied resolutely, like an elder brother consoling a young sibling. Jubilee had never hated his chiding and teasing, but now it was like salt on a wound. It stung bitterly and it took all her strength not to bellow at him to stop speaking to her like a child.
"Jubilee, dis marriage was arranged long before y' were born. Et regardless of how I feel about dis match. It will happen et I am counting on y' t' be supportive. When my wife returns wit' me-"
An exasperated snort escaped her but he continued and tried to gentle his words.
"-I would appreciate it if y' tried t' befriend her. She will be unused t' life on a ship. I will be counting on y' t' show her the ropes... make her feel at home here."
Jubilee felt like someone had slapped her across the face. Befriend his wife? The idea alone made her want to scream. She clenched her fists, her nailing biting the fabric of her sash between her fingers as she tried not to give into the temptation to scream. She bit back the urge as he came to kneel in front of her, his gaze beseeching her for her promise.
"I must ask y' t' promise moi dis. I will reward y' for it if y' like, mais will y' promise to do dis for moi?"
Jubilee felt herself falling into the depths of those ruby irises. They had haunted her dreams on many a night but they were not full of the kind of love she wanted- needed. They were beseeching, kind and full of easy affection. Such feelings reserved for a kid sister, not the girl who adored him like a woman did a man. By the time she replied, she knew she could not refuse him anything. Silently, she nodded. She was not capable of wording her response. His broad smile held little comfort for her but she managed a meek smile in return. Shakily, she asked when he would be leaving.
"As soon as we arrive in Port Royal."
Her heart clenched. That was tomorrow. He would be gone for who knows how long; with that girl he called his fiancée. Away from her... and married by the time he returned. It was enough to inspired tears to swell in her eyes, but she pushed them back resolutely. She would not be the crying little girl. She would win him with her loyalty and her love, not her tears.
Poor Jubilee! Review, new update to come soon!