This is a shorter chapter. Well, I'm sorry for being slow and not answering reviews personally. Anyways, thank you all for the great chapters. I'm going on vacation soon so expect another chapter the first week of August (if I can, I'll try hard though). Well, enjoy.
Promise Me, Audrina
Overwhelming darkness surrounded Audrina as she walked over the threshold and into the cabin. A lantern was lit and the orange flames flickered over her brother's face. Her breath caught in her throat as she took sight of him. He looked so alive, so wonderfully healthy. The light in his eyes had brightened; black hair no longer stuck to his forehead, the blood no longer bathed him. As she studied him, she didn't quite notice the gauntness of his frame and the deep shadows underneath his eyes. Audrina only noticed the happiness dancing in his eyes. Lucas sat up, propped on an elbow and smiled at her.
The door closed with a small thump as Angelina made her way out. As she walked, Audrina was strangely aware of her feet hitting the floor. She was aware of the heart in her chest racing frantically. Though, it seemed as everything else had melted away. Audrina saw only her brother. Her ears could not catch the sound of pounding waves against the hull of the ship. Nor, the booming voice of Jack only upstairs. The ship rocked and lurched forward but Audrina didn't even move. Her body was stiff and her eyes unmoving from his body.
"You look as if you've seen a ghost, Aud," he said.
"With good reason!" Audrina retorted. "You almost died and here you are, sitting and laughing as if that bullet never entered your body!"
Lucas tightened his thick eyebrows. "Well, I'm fine now."
Nodding, she said, "Oh yes, I can see that."
"That sounds sarcastic."
Furrowing her brow, Audrina shook her head. "No, it's not. It's just overwhelming, Luc. It startles me to see you like this. You look healthy and wonderful but I know you're not. You just don't understand, Luc."
"Trust me, Aud, I can understand perfectly well," Lucas said.
Instantly, she knew exactly what he meant. Memories flooded back and she closed her eyes. After a moment, she opened them and saw his face. It never occurred to Audrina that Lucas looked remarkably similar to Addison – daddy dearest. They bore the same mouth and jaw. Both had curly black hair though Addison's was longer. And in his eyes, there was hate and murder. In Lucas's there was merely love and affection. A twitching smile masked her deepening frown.
"I'm sorry, did it bring up…memories?"
"No," she said with a quick glance to the abandoned tray of food to avoid his forceful gaze.
Looking back to him, Audrina saw that he didn't believe her. His eyes narrowed quizzically and his brow slightly elevated. She looked down, unable to meet his eyes. Audrina moved towards him and sat at the very edge of the hard bunk, lightly touching the top of his hand. He flipped his palm and clutched her hand in a brotherly fashion, as if to say: everything will be all right, no matter what.
"I need to talk to you," he said.
"What," her hand tightened around his, "what is it?"
Lucas took in a sharp inhale of oxygen. The color began to drain from his angular face. "I don't know if I can do this anymore, Audrina."
"Do what?" Audrina said, clearly alarmed.
"Piracy, this life is not what I need nor want. You no longer need me by your side. I don't need to be here. Please understand, please."
Tears began to well in her eyes. Furiously, she wiped them away. She mustn't cry in front of him. That felt strange. To feel so vulnerable in front of her brother. To feel so terribly betrayed. Then, a strange realization hit her. She was being selfish.
Audrina cleared her throat to keep her voice from breaking. "I've held you here. I've ruined your life, haven't I?"
"No! You mustn't think that. No, I tell you no. I stayed because you needed me and I could not let my little sister be alone in this horrid world. Understand this! But now, now you have Jack. He's a good man, despite his protests. He'll look out for you. You no longer need me."
"I understand," she said. "Still, I feel as if I've stolen your life, Lucas. You're so smart, you're so terribly gifted and I've taken the prospect of a wonderful life away from you."
He put his fingers underneath her chin and lifted it up. He looked into her identical turquoise eyes. "No, Audrina. I've had a wonderful thirteen years of being a criminal with you and now it's over."
The tears that glazed in her eyes finally flooded her face. Audrina wiped them from her cheeks frantically. She tasted her tears on her lip as they feel. She always thought tears strangely tasted of the sea. "You mean this? You truly do?"
"I truly do. You'll be happy with Jack. I know you will."
Memories of the prior night began to enter her mind causing her to smile softly -- the feel of his lips on hers, his hands on her naked body and his hot breath tickling the delicate flesh of her neck. "Yes," she said. "Yes, I believe I will."
A smile widened on his face. "I knew you would. Tell me, Audrina, if you don't wish me to go. I won't. I really won't. I'll stay if you just give the word."
"That is so tempting, it really is. But I can't! I simply can't! I can't bind you here like I've done for thirteen years! I can't and won't do it, Lucas. You stay here and your life will be destroyed. If you leave me, maybe you will even marry and have children. I want you to leave. Go! Go now, if you like. But surely, you must go," she said with breath quickening as she struggled to gain her composure.
Then, Lucas began to cry as well. He clutched onto her hand tighter and after a moment, he spoke, "Have no fear, I will go. The moment that son of a bitch is dead at my feet, I will go, Audrina. I have to, yet I feel as if I'm betraying you and you will loathe me. You make me promise to you often, now promise to me. Promise that you will not despise me, Audrina. Promise to me."
"I promise," Audrina said with her voice wavering. "I promise with my soul."
Lucas wrapped his arms around her shaking, frail shoulders. He pulled her towards him and embraced her. She buried her face into his strong chest, making his shirt damp with her tears. Resting his chin on Audrina's downy black curls, the tears fell from the tip of his chin and onto her hair. Lucas began to relax his grip on her and Audrina sat back, gazing at her crying brother.
"That's good," he said finally. "I won't abandon you, Audrina. I won't. I'll visit you. I'll even live in Tortuga, for you."
Audrina gave a silent nod, unwilling to say much else. The guilt was evident in her watery eyes. Lucas frowned deeply as a pang of hurt touched his heart. Audrina knew she mustn't feel guilty but she did. She felt like a true criminal. She robbed him of his life.
Rolling up her sleeve, Lucas touched the 'P' swell. Audrina's gaze lingered to her scar. "This isn't your fault," he said. "Nor is it mine. Just remember this, Audrina: we didn't ask for any of this nor do we deserve it. This was our fate."
"I know, Lucas, I know," she whispered. "I would leave with you but I can't. I simply can't. I love it too much."
"I know, Audrina, I know."
Jack Sparrow had not been asleep long when the ship lurched forward and woke him. He groaned with irritation and swung his legs over the side of the bunk. Rays of sunlight began to fall through the closed curtains and Jack reasoned it must have been dawn. The sea was beckoning him. He needed to feel the wooden spokes of his ship in his hands. Though, his body ached of exhaustion; he could scarcely wait to feel the Pearl in his grasp once more.
Swinging his legs over the side of the bunk, Jack rose. Again, the ship lurched and his knees locked. He hardly moved. The sea was rough and would be for several nights to come. The previous nights had been stormy and by the looks of the darkening clouds outside his window, they would continue to be so.
Jack gathered his clothes from the bed. He slipped his dirty cotton shirt over his head and fastened his pants around his waist. Looking around his cabin, he searched for his boots and saw them by the bookcase.
He gathered them up but before placing them on, he eyed the books on the shelves. His collection was impressive. Stolen, yes, but impressive, definitely. As a child, he loved books. He loved the story within the leather, paper and binding. It seemed, though, that he no longer had time for his love of literature. Jack Sparrow was a captain of a pirate ship – not a bloody scholar. Still, he could not deny his love for it.
Lightly, his fingers ran over the spines of the books. He owned the entire Shakespeare collection. And most were in perfect condition. Romeo and Juliet – Jack had never cared for it. It was a rather womanly book. King Leer, Macbeth, the Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, the Merchant of Venice – all wonderful, wonderful pieces of literature. His fingers stopped at a familiar story – a Midsummer's Night Dream. A grin spread over Jack's face. It was perhaps his favorite. The character of Puck, sometimes known as Robin Goodfellow, reminded Jack of himself.
His mother use to say that. Isabella Sparrow – she often said that little Jackie was as mischievous as that little bastard Puck. With a smile, Jack silently agreed with her – wherever she was.
He took the book from the shelf and sat on the chair that was near his desk. Jack opened it and a whirlwind of dust rose from the pages. He fingered the first page, feeling its stiffness and leaning close to read the words.
"Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace. Four happy days bring in
Another moon; but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires,
Like a stepdame or a dowager
Long withering out a young man's revenue."
The door opened and Jack whirled around to face the man (or woman) who entered his room unannounced.
"Mother's love!" Gibbs cried as he saw the book perched in Jack's hands. "What are ye doin'? Readin'?"
"Oh, how observant ya are, Mister Gibbs," Jack retorted.
Gibbs cleared his throat. "Apologies, Cap'n. Tortuga is a little while off and somethin' don't feel quite right, Jack. A feelin' in my bones. I don' like it. It's a feelin', aye it is. I got somethin' churnin' in my stomach tellin' me somethin' bad's gonna happen. For every mother's son who gets this feelin', they just know it ain't right."
Jack waved him off and discarded the book on the desk. He went to his feet and placed his hat upon his head and his boots on his feet. "Get out, Joshamee, I'll be up there soon. I don't care what the feelin' is, mate, get us to Tortuga. And, Mister Gibbs, ya are not to barge into my cabin again. Ever. Savvy?"
"Aye, Cap'n." Gibbs looked worried but not because of Jack's threat. His face darkened ominously and he deeply frowned. "Jack, I don' think we should be goin' to Tortuga."
He smiled and took out his compass. "Well, if ya were holdin' the compass and my pretty little hat, that would make you Captain. Which yer not. Cap'n Jack Sparrow. I'm the captain, yer not. So there. Take us into Tortuga."