This takes place a few months after AWE. Disregard ending of movie. In my little mushy love story, Will died in that final battle and Elizabeth, although sad for a bit, decided it was for the best...even though she wasn't sure why she would be thinking like that...hmmmm...So Jack has managed to get his Pearl back from Barbossa, and Elizabeth is trying to convince Jack to let her join his crew...

"What is your answer, Jack?" Elizabeth held his eyes in an unblinking stare."Will you allow me to sail as part of the crew, or not?" She figures if he says no, she will find another ship that will have her, even if she has to disguise herself as a man again. What she knows for sure is that she will NOT be settling herself on land for any long period of time. She had grown to love life on a ship almost as much as Jack himself does, but hopes he will agree to letting her aboard the Pearl because at least she will be starting her new life with some familiar people, it would definitely make things easier on herself, and the feelings she refuses to lay any serious thought to. Such as why she has only the most fleeting sadness for the death of the man she thought she loved with all her heart...

Even though Jack is still holding a bit of a grudge for how she betrayed him by killing him, he thinks to himself, hmmm..this could be interesting, very interesting indeed.

"And if ye are to sail on the Pearl," Jack said with a false look of indifference, "Where shall ye sleep? I cannot have ye bein' a distraction to the men, sleepin' below deck wit' them."

"I don't really care if I sleep in the brig, Jack", she replied drily, "or a broom closet for that matter, so long as it is dark and dry."

"Well, then, I see no reason to say no, so long as ye understand ye'll receive no special treatment 'cause you're a 'lady'," he told her with a slight sarcastic edge to the last word. Aye, this was DEFINITELY going to be a bit of fun! he thought to himself.

"Fine."

"Then ye can start by moppin' up that..er..mess on the rail, where Marty didn't quite make it all the way over during our celebration last night", Jack said with an evil smirk.

"What?!!" She said, almost shrieking the word,"You want me to clean...vomit?"

"No special treatment, aye, love?" He reminded her," Was that not our agreement?"

She looked at him scathingly, thinking how she'd love to smack that look right off of his face, but figuring it might not be a good idea as he could still change his mind and tell her to leave. No, best wait 'til they were already at sea to commence with any smacking. She'd just hold off for now and go along with it, and besides, a funny little feeling was creeping up on her...was it..a trace of happiness at the thought of being out to sea again soon? Maybe. Or maybe it was a bit of something else as well. She pushed that thought out of her mind and stomped off to find some rags to tend to the nasty task at hand, muttering "So much for being a Pirate King."

He watched her walk away thinking how absolutely beautiful she was when she was angry. He had actually expected more of an argument out of her, and was surprised at how she held that sharp tongue of hers. If not a tad disappointed as well. He had thought for a second he was going to be slapped, but then saw something odd pass across her face for just a fleeting moment. What was it, he thought suspiciously, was she up to something? He turned away, pretending to fiddle with some ropes, but watched her from the corner of his eye. She walked over to the small bit of 'mess' that dripped from the rail and had made a little puddle on the edge of the deck. He thought he saw her turn a shade of green before holding her rag at arms length by two fingers and trying to swipe the vomit off the rail and over into the water. He laughed out loud, causing her to turn and look at him.

He strode towards her trying to keep the laughter from bursting out. "Aye, I just can't do it to ye, love, ya look like you're going to make your very own puddle right next to the current one! What am I to do with ye now? What CAN you do as a part of this crew?"

Elizabeth was so grateful she had been relieved of the dreaded task, she didn't even think to take offense that he was implying she was useless. "I am not completely hopeless, Jack, I CAN clean , just not...THAT."

"Can ye cook?" Jack wanted to know, realizing he knew not much about her at all. And was surprised to find he cared to know.

"Umm, well, I can try", She said sheepishly, worried that he really was beginning to think she was of no use at all.

"Hah! I think I'd rather not risk it! You really were a pampered princess back in Port Royal, aye, Love?", he asked teasingly. He so loved trying to inflame her. He suddenly had an idea that might get her going again. "I've been thinking about the sleeping arrangements and...well I can't very well have our 'princess' sleeping in the brig, so what say ye to sleeping in my cabin...", purposely trailing off to give her time to respond the way he knew she would.

"What?!! Are you insane?! Just what exactly are you trying to say, Jack?" She was having the idea he was saying that since she could not be much of a help with ship-related matters she would have to do...other things instead. That might not actually be so bad. Now where had THAT thought just come from?? She felt an odd tingling sensation run through her and her face turned red. She was hoping against hope he hadn't noticed it.

He had. A smile played at the corner of his lips. "You didn't let me finish, Love-"

"Stop calling me that, my NAME is Elizabeth!"

"Fine then, Lizzie, what I was going to say before ye interrupted me, is, I have a small room off of my cabin that I have only a few things stored in, and I could clean it out for ye, and seein' as how I'm up most nights anyway, 'twould be unlikely we'd cross paths often." Knowing full well that was a complete lie, because he'd make damn sure their paths crossed often...

"Well, then..um.." She stammered, touched he'd go to that much trouble for her, and simply said,"Thank you, Jack."

"You're welcome Love..er...Lizzie", he corrected himself before she could.

Elizabeth didn't even notice, she was so stunned. Wasn't he just saying a short time ago she wasn't to have any special treatment? What was the reason for the sudden change in his attitude? And she wasn't going to correct his calling her "Lizzie" because something about HIM calling her that made her all warm and fuzzy inside. She decided that moment that no-one else besides Jack would be allowed to call her Lizzie, ever.

"GIBBS!" Jack shouted. "Aye, Cap'n?" Gibbs asked when he reached Jack.
"Have two of the mates clear out the little room in my quarters, except for the bed and stand, and have said bed made up with fresh linens for Miss Elizabeth", he ordered.
"Aye, Cap'n," Gibbs said, furrowing his brow. Fresh linens? Now where in the name of Morgan and Bartholomew did the Captain expect him to get fresh linens?
"They be in the stand, Gibbs," Jack said patiently, reading his mind.
"And what of the things we be takin' out of the room, Jack"
"Aahh...I don't care," Jack said distractedly. "Throw the bloody thin's overboard, I suppose." He was trying to not think about how pleased he was that they would be sleeping with nothing but a door separating them.
--------------------------------------------------------------

Jack stood on the starboard side of the ship, staring out to sea and awaiting Gibbs to tell him that they were resupplied with food, water and of course, rum. He was anxious to be heading out again, although he had no destination in mind, and somehow he knew his compass was going to be of no help to him. He was almost afraid to open the bloody thing...Oh bugger it, the crew'd be happy enough for a while just sailing with a large amount of food and rum, and he was sure they'd find some sort of adventure or another by the time they started getting bored. Speaking of getting bored, it had been a couple hours since he had seen Elizabeth..

Just as he was getting ready to go see where she was and what she was up to, Marty and Gibbs walked up to him. "Captain, Miss Elizabeth's room is ready now," Marty informed him. "Aye. I'll be havin' a look in a moment, then," Jack replied, starting away.

"Uhh, Cap'n?" Gibbs started. Jack turned back."Aye, Gibbs, what ye be wantin' now?"

"We put the goods we took out of the room below deck for ye, in case ye changed your mind about throwing 'em overboard."

"And why would I want 'em thrown overboard? Have ye already been at the rum, Gibbs?"

"Is anything wrong wi' ye, Cap'n?" Gibbs inquired, baffled by Jack's reply.

"Nothin' that getting out of this dock and back onto open sea won't fix. Now, why don't we all set sail in a general that-a-way direction. You take the helm for t'night, and I will relieve you at sunrise." Again, Jack started away, impatient to have a look-see at the little room(his Lizzie's room) and make sure it was suitable for her, but once again, Gibbs said,"Cap'n?"

Jack turned, exasperated, "Why, do tell Gibbs, are ye askin' me so many questions?"

"Do ye think it be entirely proper for the young lady to be stayin' in your room? I mean, aren't ye concerned for her reputation?" Gibbs couldn't help but remember that he'd known Miss Elizabeth since she was just a little lass.

"Mr. Gibbs", Jack said angrily,"do ye think it would be better for her 'reputation' to be havin' her sleepin' below with the lot of ye scoundrels? An' we are PIRATES, Gibbs, including my Liz--Miss Elizabeth! Since when do we worry about 'reputations'? Now, leave me alone before I toss YOUR bloody arse overboard!"

Gibbs caught Jack's little slip of the tongue. He wondered what was going on in Jack's mad head. "Uh...I..just...sorry, Cap'n, nevermind then."

Finally! Jack thought. He headed to his cabin. Once inside he went and opened the door to the little room, which was located just across the way from his own bed, a mere 5 yards or so away. Jack was pleased with the way it had been cleaned up, all swept out with a small navy oval rug filling the floor space between the single mattress and the wall, and the soft fuzzy baby-blue blanket spread out over the mattress, with clean sheets underneath. The bedside stand which held three drawers had an oil lamp set atop of it, Still, it was missing something..flowers, perhaps, in a small vase? Something to make it...prettier, for his Lizzie? Jack stopped suddenly at what he was thinking. First of all, when had it happened that he'd come to think of her as "His Lizzie"? He didn't really know, just knew that it had happened so fast. The girl had only been on his ship a matter of hours, for rum's sake! Secondly, what was this strange feeling he was feeling that he could not remember ever feeling before? Thirdly, where WAS she?
-
After a small walk around, Jack found Elizabeth sitting toward the bow of the ship, her back to him and facing the sea. She was cross-legged, with a pile of cloth next to her, what looked like a shirt in her lap, stitching with a look of concentration on her face. She sensed rather than heard him, and turned around with a triumphant look upon her lovely face. "Look, Jack! I have found what I can do! I shall mend all the rips and tears in the crew's clothing! Now, if you have any shirts or pants that need fixing, I am rather good with the needle and thread."

Jack gave her a look she had never seen on his face before, and she grew slightly uncomfortable. "Of course, maybe I should slow down, before I run out of clothes to mend too quickly, and you'll be back to asking me to clean up somewhat sickening messes..."

As he watched the almost-set sun shine golden streaks through her long wavy hair and a light breeze blow wispy strands across her face, Jack thought to himself, I will put rips and tears into my clothes myself before I'd have ye cleanin' the ship like some scabby deck-hand wench...

"Jack?" Elizabeth said uncertainly, "what do you think"
Jack snapped out of his semi-trance, and bent to inspect her work, deliberately putting his face close to hers. "Not bad a'tall, Love." He took hold of her hand and pulled her to her feet. "Come. I've somethin' to show ye."

Out of curiosity, Elizabeth let herself be pulled toward his cabin, his hand still gripping hers.

Once inside, Jack led her over to the door across from his bed, and opened it for her. She peered inside. "Oh Jack, I can't believe you did this for me!" Why, she wondered, did you do this for me? She threw her arms around him without thinking about it. He wrapped his arms around her also and hugged her tight. They stayed like that for just a moment, then he let go and said, "I know it's a mite small for a spoiled princess such as yerself, Love, but it'll do until you are sleepin' in MY bed."

This time she did smack him.

-
Yer a bloody ass!! what did ye go and say that for? She might 'ave gave ya a little kissy if ye'd have just SHUT IT! He thought, rubbing his cheek after she slammed the door in his face. Hehe, now THAT'S his Lizzie. He just couldn't resist, that's why. Besides, he had to do something before she started realizing what he had been thinking these past few hours. -
You bloody ass!! Elizabeth thought to herself about Jack's last words, What did you say that for? You were just about to get kissed! Well, maybe it's better this way. Safer. Safer? Just what is that supposed to mean?

"Lizzie?" Jack spoke through the door she had slammed in his face just moments before, "I'm sorry. Please open the door."

"No!" Elizabeth said. "I accept your apologies, but I am awfully tired and think I will get some sleep now. Goodnight, Jack, we will see each other in the morning, I fear." Ha! take that!

"Oh I know ye don't really mean that, Lizzie, I bet ye even dream of me to fill the hours before our next...encounter."

"HAH! I doubt THAT!" She retorted.

Jack smiled as he decided he would retire for the night also, seeing as he had first shift at the helm in the morning at sunrise. He pulled his boots off his feet and his shirt over his head, as he slept in just his breeches, when he was struck by a thought. Was she undressing right now?! What did she sleep in? He had an image of her sleeping nude. Bugger!! NOW how am I going to sleep, with THAT in my head?

As it turned out, Jack would've lost that particular bet, of her dreaming of him through the night, because she was unable to SLEEP to be ABLE to dream. She knew he had not left his cabin, she didn't hear footsteps out or the door shut. Yet she was unable to hear him moving around at all. Must've fell right to sleep, she supposed, picturing him lying in his bed wearing...what? She wondered, now plagued with the same images as he was. She tossed and turned, her mind showing her walking out of her room and into his, laying on the bed beside him, and...STOP THAT!! she shouted to her thoughts, embarrassed that she was really enjoying her little fantasy.

What would happen if she did just that? Walked right out and climbed into bed next to him? What would he DO? Oh, you know what would happen, she told herself, and you want it to happen. Admit it, whenever he is close to you, you get this...feeling...

She continued to toss and turn but didn't fall asleep til near sunrise.
-
"RISE AND SHINE, LOVE!" Jack yelled through her door. She groggily pulled the door open, squinty-eyed and disheveled from her rough night, but decidedly NOT nude, ah well...

"Jack...why can't I sleep longer...please...why do I need to be awake at this hour? I swear, I only fell asleep just an hour ago."

Jack raised an eyebrow and teased, "Trouble sleepin', Love? What seems to be the problem? Thought ye was SO TIRED, as it were. And, I told ye that ye weren't going to be treated like a spoiled princess, so ye'll be up with the rest of the crew in the mornin', learning how to do piratey things like tyin' knots and securin' ropes."

Looking into his still-sleepy eyes and somehow sensing he went through a similiar night, she told him bluntly, "I was unable to sleep for the same reasons YOU didn't sleep well, and fine then, I will be off to show you just what a SPOILED PRINCESS I can be!" She stalked off to where some crewmen were working on the ropes.

Jack stood there staring after her, wondering how she could know he slept poorly, and DID SHE JUST SAY WHAT I THINK SHE SAID?? Did that mean she guessed how he was feeling about her and she felt the same? Interesting, he thought with a silly grin, heading up to take the helm and relieve the over-night crewman so he could get some shut-eye now. He kept an eye on his Lizzie, though, as the last part of thier short conversation came back to him. Now what could she 'ave meant by that?

Elizabeth was watching the crewman who was showing her the various knots and explaining what each was used for. She managed the first couple successfully, then noticed Jack watching her from the helm. Here I go, she thought, I'll teach you to call me spoiled.

She started working on the next knot the crewman showed her, and purposely got a couple fingers tied into it." OW!", she shrieked, pretending to try and yank her fingers out of the tangle of rope. "Help. Get. This. Thing. Off Me!!!! She tugged and pulled, seemingly to no avail.

Jack walked over to see what the fuss was about, and Elizabeth promptly started whining. "Look, Jack, I'm stuck!! and I really don't think I should be doing this sort of thing...it will make my hands rough, and I don't want man-hands!"

The crewman who had been teaching her was curious about the absurd change of attitude. Why, she was doing just fine a minute a moment ago, and seemed to enjoy learning.

Jack just looked at her in disbelief until he saw the twinkle in her eye and the smile playing at the corners of her lips. He easily removed her fingers from the tangled rope and pulled her to his feet and right into him, wrapping his arms aroung her in a hug. "Ah Love, ye got me, good and fair. No more spoiled princess jibes, I promise ye." He kept his arms around her and when she raised her eyes to his, she felt lost in feelings of lust and longing...and made no move to pull free of his embrace.

Thinking of how he affected her every time he was near, an idea slowly started to form in Elizabeth's head. Maybe...if we just...I will be able to think clearly again...get him out of my system? After all, I'm 20 years old already, no marriage in the near future, and I live on a pirate ship, so no reputation to worry about. Why shouldn't I do what I want most? Because, what if he laughs at me and refuses? Well, i guess I will have to take that chance. And I suppose I am going to have to take this into my own hands, as Jack really is too good of a man to do anything more than tease and tempt me.

"Lizzie? What are you thinking about, Love?" Jack murmured into her ear. Holding her close felt so nice, so RIGHT, and he was vaguely surprised she was allowing it...

"Jack, I need to ask you...that is, I was thinking...umm...", she rushed the rest of the words out in one breath, "IreallywantyouandIthinkyouwantmetooso...ummm...weshouldgetitoverwithanddowhatwe", here she paused to take in a breath and continued,"reallywant,reallyNEEDtodoand..." He put a finger to her lips to shush her, and she caught that finger in her mouth and slowly drew it out.

He gave her a look of amazement, having a hard time breathing, tried to say teasingly,"Well if your NEED is so strong, what kind of man would I be to refuse? I must always help a lady in distress...especially my Lizzie!"-there went her heart, beating furiously at those words-"But, are ye sure ye want to do this, Love, because there will be no 'getting it over with', as ye so SWEETLY put it", he rolled his eyes, "ye won't be satisfied with just one time."

"Yes I will!" She said stubbornly.

He just laughed at that. "If ye say so."

"Where-ever did you get your thoroughly arrogant ego, I wonder?" She asked him.

"Years of women swooning at my feet, Love", He told her proudly. "Well, I do have a time at the helm to finish, as it were, so...shall I meet you in my cabin tonight, say at sunset?" He smirked.

"Fine. Sunset it is, then." She spun on her heel and went off to think thoughts where she would not be in view of HIM.

What have I done? She thought once alone and settled in a cozy spot at the back of the ship, staring out over the beauty of the sea, the lazy waves rolling along, mesmerizing her. What if I'm terrible? What if I hate it? Why, out of all those years of conning my tutors into teaching me 'things of no consequence to a lady", did I not think to be educated about...this?? Now I am stuck on this ship with no females in sight, and no-one I can talk to or ask anything!!

She looked around, contemplating possible information sources. Gibbs? No, he would just stammer and blush and run away from her. Mr. Cotton was unable to speak, and she couldn't see herself taking advice from a parrot...She didn't know Marty well enough, BUGGER!!! Why did Anamaria have to go and get her own ship and crew? She likely could have helped Elizabeth, were she here.

Then, she spotted Pintel and Ragetti repairing a broken rail on the port side. She thought well, they are my best option at this point.
"Gentlemen, a word please?" Elizabeth requested when she reached them.

"What can we do for ye, Poppet?" Ragetti stood up from his work.

"Well, I find I need some information...about sex." There, she said it.

"Ummm, well, see, Poppet, a man has...different parts than a woman...and...well...when a man and woman are going to..he puts his-"

"STOP!" Elizabeth yelled, then quickly looked around to make sure she didn't draw any attention to heself or them. When she was satisfied that no-one paid them any attention, she said in a low voice, "I know HOW it is done, I just don't know...anything else. What is the woman suppossed to do?"

Pintel cut in before Ragetti could try to stammer another useless explanation. "Don't worry, Miss, you will know what to do. It all comes quite naturally."

Ragetti asked her, "Why ye be wantin' to know, Poppet, got a thing for the Cap'n, do ye?"

Elizabeth blushed but stayed silent.

"It be obvious, so ye might as well 'fess up, we feel the sparks when you two are within arm's reach of each other", Ragetti said with a smirk."And the Cap'n looks half in love with ye when he looks at ye."

"Miss Elizabeth," Pintel said sincerely, "We understand it's hard to be the only woman on a ship, and we'll not be mentioning our conversation here to anyone else aboard this vessel. But I think Ragetti's right about Captain Sparrow, he's been... different since ye joined the crew."

"How so?" Elizabeth asked curiously.

"Less grouchy!" Pintel and Ragetti said at the same time.

Elizabeth smiled and said, "Thank you for being kind"
-
Time sure was passing by fast today. It was dinnertime already , Elizabeth thought as she went to find some food. Only an hour or two til sunset. Her stomach flipped at that thought. As she entered the galley, she stopped in her tracks. Apparently Jack had the same thoughts of food as she did, because there he was, rifling through cupboards and muttering something about the cook taking the day off to rest from a headcold. He sensed a presence behind him and turned, ceasing the grumbles. A smile spread across his face at the sight of the intruder leaning against the doorway watching him.

"Are ye as hungry as I am right now?" He asked her in a way that let her know food wasn't what he was talking about.

She ignored the implication and and said innocently, "Well we have some apples here, and stew leftover from yesterday."

He walked towards her and pulled her to him. "Ye know what I'm sayin', Love"
He bent to kiss her softly, and she wrapped her arms around his middle, kissing him back with all the love she felt in her heart for him. Bugger it, she decided to just let herself admit it. But only to herself, as she knew Jack was decidedly not a one-woman man and probably never would be. If she told him she loved him, he'd probably drop her off at the nearest port and make all possible haste away from her.

They broke off the kiss and wordlessly turned to walk out of the galley, Jack's hand resting on her back as they walked back to his cabin.
-
Well this is it, they thought at the same time, as Elizabeth stepped into the room and Jack shut and locked the door. He turned towards her and took her hand. "Don't be afraid, Lizzie, I'll not hurt ye, ye know."

"I know Jack, and I'm not afraid," but her eyes said differently.

He sat down on the bed pulling her with him, and started trailing kisses along her neck as he undid the laces at the back of her dress. She went for his lips as he pushed her dress from her shoulders down around her waist. They stood up together still kissing whilst Jack undid his pants and both his pants and her dress slid down to the floor. He laid her on his bed and laid beside her, running his hand across her stomach. It was so soft...so warm...she put a hand at the back of his neck to pull him closer for another kiss...and closed her eyes as his hands caressed all over her and she tingled everywhere his fingers trailed. She was almost senseless. He slid over her and then it was happening. Was this really happening??? That was her last coherent thought... She just knew that nothing had ever been this wonderful, nothing could feel more right to her. It was a thousand times better than she had imagined it...and it was true about knowing what to do coming naturally, as she moved in the same rhythm he did, and matched his movements as if they were one. -
...After.
As they lay in each other's arms, sleepy and content, Jack asks, "So when are ye going to tell me ye love me?"

She thought, When you say it first. But said nothing aloud.

"Lizzie, I know ye hear me," he teased softly.

"Trying to sleep, Jack."

"Not yet, Love. Answer me question first."

"No."

"I know ye do, ye know, love me. And now ye know that I know, so ye might as well say it."

"Shut it, Jack."

"Lizzie..." he whispered as he tickled her ear with a strand of his hair.

"Fine! Now that you have irritated me into wakefulness, what makes you think you KNOW I love you?"

"Because, my Lizzie, ye wouldn't have done what we just did if ye didn't. Trust me, I know ye better than ye know yerself. Ye can tell yerself all ye want that it was something else, anything else but not love, but I know better. And you want to know somethin'? I-"

"No." but his words were ringing in her ears, the truth of them. How, how could he know her so well? How could he know her feelings? She really tried to not be obvious, didn't follow him around or act silly around him...she couldn't admit to him she loved him, everything would change!

"Lizzie? What are ye so afraid of?" Jack asked softly.

"Nothing! I just don't see why you insist on telling me what I do or do not feel! They are MY bloody feelings! I should think I would know what I FEEL!!" She was yelling at him now, and felt bad for it. "I-I'm sorry, Jack, I really am just so sleepy, and not in a mood to talk right now. As you know, I only slept an hour last night," She finished lamely.

"As did I, Love." He looked her straight in the eye. "I will always take care of you, Elizabeth. Know that." With that said, and not the other that he was getting ready to say before she said she didn't want to hear it, he lay back down, threw an arm around her middle and promptly fell asleep.

Elizabeth lay lost in thought for a few minutes more...his words made her happy, she knew he cared for her, but it wasn't the same as loving her. Maybe she should just admit it to him and he might come to love her...but maybe not. Oh, who knew? She snuggled closer into him, never wanting to be anywhere else but his bed, with him, always.
-
Jack woke to a still-dark cabin, his Lizzie curled up into him, her hair all over his face. He gently blew the strands back into place, and wondered why she would not trust him with her feelings for him. Women, he thought, nothing could ever be simple when it comes to a woman. He did know she loved him, and he loved her, but why was she being so stubborn about it? How could he get her to say it? Hmmm...a plan started to form in his mind.
-
Elizabeth woke up to sun streaming brightly through the windows, and an empty bed, save for herself. She stretched, grateful and at the same time disappointed that Jack did not wake her before he left the cabin. She dressed and fixed the bedclothes, then stepped out onto the deck. She noticed they were docked at a port. Gibbs was at the helm, and Elizabeth looked around for Jack, thinking...bugger it , I will just tell him I love him, and whatever happens, happens. "Mr. Gibbs," Elizabeth made her way over to him, "Where might I find Jack?"

"Miss Elizabeth, good mornin' to ye. Jack went into town for a bit, sayin' we needed some things for the rest of the trip, wherever that may be to..." Gibbs rolled his eyes.

"Oh. Well, thank you, Gibbs." She turned away and decided she would just work on mending more clothes until Jack returned.

-
-------------Later that evening--------------------------------

Just as Elizabeth was starting to worry about Jack's absence, she heard his voice saying,"And here she is!! The Pearl! Is she not beautiful, dearie?"

A giggling voice replied, "It is so big!"-more giggles, then-"yes, she is a beautiful boat, Jack"

"That would be 'ship', not boat," Jack replied with a hint of annoyance.

Just then, he spotted Elizabeth. Who, at the same time, was looking at him and the pretty blonde wench he picked up to put his plan into action, with an expression of disbelief and pain. He wondered guiltily if this plan of his was really such a good idea. He really didn't want to hurt her... He shook the feeling off, thinking, If this is what it takes, so be it. She shouldn't have been so stubborn...

An annoying voice cut into his thoughts, "Jack, have you heard me at all? Are you listening?" The wench...

"I'm sorry, dearie, I was distracted for a moment. Let me show ye around a bit more, and ye shall have my undivided attention." She smiled flirtily up at him, and let him lead her away.

Elizabeth could not believe what she was seeing. She stared at their backs furiously as they walked away. How could he? It was only last night that they...was she really that bad?...well, good thing she didn't tell him she loved him! She was going to pack up what little she had and leave and never look back. She decided right then she hated Jack Sparrow. But a heavy feeling in her belly and a lump in her throat told her differently. She stood there fighting the tears, refusing to let them fall, for he wasn't worth it. She couldn't even bear to go into the cabin to get her things, she decided she would just leave the ship and never look back. Just then Jack and the blonde came into sight again, and headed over to the starboard rail. Elizabeth was a few yards away, pretending to fiddle with some ropes, so she could not clearly hear what was being said between them. She saw the wench tug on one of Jack's braids, and heard her say something about 'show me your cabin', and then she leaned close to Jack's face, clearly intending to kiss him.

Elizabeth shrieked, "GET OFF OF HIM NOW!!" and flung herself at the girl, grabbing a fistful of her hair on the way down. She rolled over until she was sitting on top of the blonde, still holding her hair, and screamed "DON'T TOUCH HIM!!"

She seemed to suddenly realize what she had done, and got up off of the girl muttering something about temporary insanity, and ran for the docks. Jack caught up to her before she could get off of the ship and grabbed her arm. "What was that all about, Elizabeth?" He asked her amusedly. The blonde chose that moment to come over and start whining, "Jack, what is going on here? Who is SHE?"

"Dearie," he replied, never taking his eyes from Elizabeth's, which were now freely streaming tears down her face, "Take this and get going now." He handed her a pouch of coins. "It is more than fair payment for what ye didn't even have to do, and I am truly sorry for this lady's behaviour."

The wench looked insulted for a minute but took the pouch of coins, peered inside of it, and walked off smiling.

He turned back to Elizabeth. "So, I ask ye again, WHY DID YE DO THAT?"

She wanted to punch him so bad. Why not do it? He caught her fist right before it connected with his cheek. "Ahhh...see, I told ye I know ye better than ye do yerself!"

"Why, Jack? How could you? Not even a whole day after we...I want to leave, now. I hate you...so much..."

"If that be the case, Love, why did you attack the poor girl? YOU are the one that said ye didn't love me, YOU said it was to be one-time...stop me if I'm wrong here... to GET IT OVER WITH!!"

Elizabeth just stared at him for a moment, at a loss for words. A first for her, Jack thought with a twinkle in his eye.

She stammered, "We..well...I wasn't going to tell someone that I love them, knowing they don't love me! And after what just happened, I do not regret my decision!"

"So, ye are sayin' ye do love me, but thought I didn't return your feelings?" He asked.

"That's not what I'm saying! I mean...umm...Jack," she said tiredly,"I just want to go, please move out of my way."

"I think not, Lizzie. I think your lies are bitin' ye in the arse right now. If ye'd have listened to what I wanted to tell ye last night, instead of bein' so stubborn, you'd know..." He let his words trail off.

"Know what?" She said suspiciously. He was probably going to say something like, I just can't tie myself down to a woman, freedom and all that, you know.

"That I love ye too, my Lizzie." He said softly. "and I meant it when I said I will always take care of ye."

She could hardly believe he just said what he said. Her heart flipped in her chest.

"Then...what was the girl doing here with you?"

"I told ye, I know ye. I figured how ye'd react, and then, when ye did react like that, how would ye then be able to deny your true feelings for me, when your reaction proved them?" Jack reasoned.

"And if I HADN'T reacted in the manner you expected...?"

"I would 'ave sent the lass away, and gone back to pestering ye until ye told me ye love me." He laughed and gathered her into his arms."I thought this way would 'ave been a lot less trouble!"

"All you had to do was say it to me first, Jack." She put her head against his chest and wrapped her arms around his waist.

"I tried! Ye wouldn't listen to me!"

"I'm sorry, Jack, truly. You really love me?"

"Aye, Love, I do. I have since ye stood with Will between the soldiers and I, and put yer own beautiful self in harm's way for the likes of me."

"So, what happens now?" She wondered.

"Anything we want, Love, anything at all."