A.N - Okay, I really, really like writing this story. I hope you guys like reading it too. I think it may be a pretty bumpy ride.
But oh so fun.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Seriously. All Meg Cabot. Basically, I got a bit random and thought hmm, what would happen if this happened. I'm borrowing Meg Cabot's wonderful characters in an effort to entertain myself, and others. (:
The sea was rough as the boat pulled up to the shore; men were sweating with the exertion as they fought relentlessly to keep their ship afloat. First mate Felix Diego oversaw the sailors' work, keeping a mental note of who was slacking and who was excelling themselves. Captain Jesse De Silva was at the helm, his shirt billowing open as the wind ripped at it whilst rain was cascading down and forcing the white fabric against his chest as he turned the wheel as far left as possible.
For all the hard work that manning a ship was – especially during a storm – the satisfaction you felt at successfully pulling into port, with no illnesses or any cases of cabin fever on board, was definitely worth it.
Now, it was time for the men to go ashore, get drunk and find a women to warm their beds before setting off all over again the next morning.
Susannah Simon sat on her window seat, her emerald eyes fixed on the sight of the boat pulling into the port, struggling through the torrents of rain cascading from the sky.
Thunder clapped as, simultaneously, her younger stepbrother flung the door to her bedchamber open and Susannah jumped in shock.
"Oh, David," she cried. "You scared me."
"Sorry, Suze," he grinned. "I was sent by Mother, to remind you to get your sleep."
Resting her head on her knees, Susannah's eyes found the mission in the distance. The place where, tomorrow, Father Dominic would make her Baroness Von Slater.
Her marriage to Paul Von Slater had been decided upon her birth. The only good thing about this whole arrangement was that Paul Slater was remarkably good-looking, and that it wouldn't be such a hardship to see his face every day of the rest of her life.
"It could be pretty ... fun to have a Baroness for a stepsister, though." He continued.
She turned to him and put a practiced, patient smile upon her face before faking a yawn.
"It's okay, David." She stood up and ruffled his hair affectionately. "I'm going to bed now. I'll be up nice and early tomorrow morning, ready for, well, you know."
He smiled sympathetically and nodded before leaving.
Glancing out at the window one last time, she saw the boat rising and falling, mesmerising her as a flash of lightning appeared directly above the mission's red dome.
In that split second, she made her decision.
Captain De Silva sat in the corner of the tavern, surveying his men as they threw back pitcher after pitcher of ale and entertained women on the laps.
The women were common whores, to put it mildly. Their make-up heavily overdone as they straddled men with their skirts bunched up to their waists.
Jesse could never stand women like that – he preferred his innocent to the ways of the world. But, he figured, it's not like he could ever get a woman like that. Being a pirate, the only women he was likely to ever meet were the women in this bar – the ones who were so unlike his sweet, younger sisters back home in the Caribbean.
His cousin was vastly different. She was entertaining his first mate at this very moment.
He shook his head and knocked back another glass of water.
Somebody had to be sober and get these men working tomorrow.
"Excuse me, sir." A boy who looked no older than sixteen interrupted Jesse's musings. "Do you know where the captain of the ship that just pulled in is?"
"That would be me."
His voice sounded so deep in comparison to the one belonging to the boy.
He smiled, brilliantly, at the news, stretching across his feminine features so widely he could be accused of being a girl.
"Oh, well then," he carried on. "I was wondering if you have room for another one."
Jesse raised an eyebrow.
"You don't look like you could do much work, boy," he inspected. "Why should I say yes?"
Susannah forgot for one second to make her voice deeper – not like it was working very well anyway – so when she spoke next it was in her normal tone.
"I love the sea."
The Captain's eyebrow never lowered from its position, as he looked Susannah –the new recruit – up and down.
"All right," he finally relented. "You're in. We sail at dawn."
Susannah nodded frantically – so much, in fact, that a strand of her fell from where it was being concealed in her cap.
"You have long hair, boy." Jesse noticed, causing Susannah to blush. "You should probably cut it."
She nodded, but made no commitment to the suggestion. Susannah had always loved her long hair. The only thing she resolved to do was keep it out of her way.
She went to leave the tavern, not liking the sight of so many women behaving so crudely in front of her, but her new captain stopped her.
"Wait, boy," he spoke. "What's your name?"
"Su – Simon, sir."
He raised an eyebrow once again, and dismissed her, allowing Susannah to finally leave the tavern and search for a place to spend the night.
After all, she couldn't return home.
"Brad," Andrew Ackerman called to his second eldest son. "Go and wake your sister."
"Get a maid to do it." Was his flippant response.
"I asked you."
His wife calmly touched his arm.
"I'll do it, Andy," she told him. "After all, it's hardly proper for a man to enter a lady's bedchamber – even if they are related."
Relenting, Andy kissed his wife's cheek before she left the room and walked up the wooden staircase.
"Susannah," she called. "Come on, Susie, wake up."
She knocked on her daughter's door, listening for the sounds of consciousness.
Hearing none, she opened the door … and gasped.
Her daughter's bed hadn't been slept in last night. Instead, the bedcovers were twisted and knotted to the bedpost whilst the window was flung open and the other end was thrown outside.
Susannah had used the makeshift rope to runaway.
A hand moved to cover her mouth as Helen Simon-Ackerman realised how strongly her daughter had felt against marrying Baron Paul Von Slater whilst, in the distance, the Savage Devil – manned by Captain Jesse De Silva – sailed away from port, Susannah Simon on board.