Here I am! You guys have been very patient, and all that waiting's paid off! Here's the first chapter of Kate's next adventure! This one promises to be a great one! If you guys haven't already figured it out, Norrington won the poll with a score of 22 out of 36 over half the votes. Thanks for sharing your opinion! Nobody better come crying to me later in the series…
Disclaimer: I do not own Pirates of the Caribbean or any of the characters mentioned here, excluding Kate and Inner Voice.
"Now…bring me that horizon…da-da-da-da-da-da-da…and really bad eggs…drink up, me hearties, yo-ho!"
"Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate's life for me," I finished softly, switching the movie off. And what a life it was. Out of habit, I fingered the piece of Aztec gold around my neck. I'd taken it off only on rare occasions since that day, hoping that it was start glowing again. But it hadn't. Not even a twinkle. Even my inner voice had left me…okay, maybe that wasn't all bad…
I pulled myself out of my thoughts and reached absently for the phone. "Hello?"
"Hello yourself, birthday girl!"
I instantly felt myself grinning. The voice on the line was none other than that of one Mia Walker, my best friend and fellow Pirates fangirl. Mia was your typical sporty type – usually wearing a sports outfit of some kind (specifically with the phrase "Lady Bengals Volleyball Team" printed somewhere on it), bright blond hair constantly tied in a low ponytail, a sports drink in one hand and a volleyball in the other. When she wasn't thinking about sports, she was usually thinking about a certain fictional blacksmith-turned-pirate-turned-ghost-ship-captain by the name of William Turner II. I still hadn't figured out why she hung out with me – she could be the most popular girl in school if she wanted to, while my destiny most likely involved our cafeteria's loser table.
"Eighteen at last," Mia went on. "Look out, world, Kate Cooper's a legal adult."
"If you use the word 'adult' loosely," I laughed, stretching out on the couch as best I could.
Mia giggled. "Yeah. So, what're you doing to celebrate?"
"Nothing much. Jeff and Ross are taking me out to Olive Garden once they get off work." Whenever my brothers were on vacation from school, they took over my numerous jobs to give me a well-deserved break.
"Ooh, get the spaghetti and meatballs! They got this really great new recipe for it –"
"Wait a minute, how do you get a new recipe for spaghetti and meatballs?"
"The hell if I know, but they did it and did it well."
"Hmm. How was practice?"
Mia started rambling on about spikes and Gatorade shortages, so I was able to zone out for a little. I closed my eyes and saw the Pearl gliding swiftly through the dark-blue waves, the crew scurrying around the deck, Jack up at the helm with a dashing grin on his face…Jack…
"Kate? Kate, you still there?"
I jumped in surprise. "Huh? Oh, yeah, I'm still here."
"Everything okay, Katie? You've been sort of…off, lately."
I blinked in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, you always seem so distracted about something. Is anything wrong?"
I felt my hand cover my medallion again. "No! Uh, I mean…nothing's wrong."
"Uh-huh…" Mia said thoughtfully. She was quiet for a minute. "Hey, why don't you come over to my place? I've got just the thing for your little problem."
I didn't bother denying that I had any problem at all. "What did you have in mind?"
"Watching At World's End. You, my friend, need Captain Jack Sparrow."
I sighed deeply. "You have no idea."
It had been fourteen months since I came back. Over a year since my journey into the Pirates of the Caribbean world. One year, two months, and ten days since I was last in Jack's arms.
But hey, who's counting?
Kate? Kate, wake up!
I frowned slightly and pulled the covers over my head.
Come on, get up!
"Go 'way," I muttered, curling into a ball.
My eyes snapped open and I gasped loudly. "You!" I yelped, but quickly lowered my voice once I heard a noise from my brothers' room. "No way! Inner Voice?"
You got it, kiddo! I'm back! Oh, and happy birthday, by the way.
Thanks…how did you…when…how come you didn't talk to me for over a year!?
Eheheheh…um, seriously not my fault. I kind of have these…rules to follow.
Yeah, I know, hard to believe. You see, I can only speak to you while you're in the Pirates world, or right before you enter.
Oh. I should probably keep that in mind for la –
What'd she say?
Congratulations, Kate. You made it fourteen months, and now it's time to head back.
"No way," I breathed, feeling euphoria start to kick in. I glanced down at my medallion, and as I watched, the coin began to glow faintly. Oh, my God! It's finally time!
The medallion's glowing grew brighter and brighter until the entire room was filled with golden light. Out of nowhere, I heard a deep, accented voice singing in my head: "Fifteen men on the Dead Man's Chest, yo-ho-ho and a bottle o' rum! Drink and the devil had done for the rest, yo-ho-ho and a bottle o' rum!"
Good luck, Katie! You better hold on tight, 'cause you are in for one wild ride!
I smiled disbelievingly, feeling a tear slide down my cheek. "I'm coming, Jack."
And there it was – the familiar lightning-struck jolt, and falling into the inky blackness…
Best. Gift. Ever.