Angels Do Smell of Rum
(Takes place sometime before POTC 1 on a tropical island in the middle of the Caribbean under the hot, blistering sun. It's a first person perspective of Jack from a (mostly) proper English lady…)
You're becoming irritable and impossible to live with it. Not to mention rebellious, obstinate—with big, dark circles under your eyes—very unbecoming for a lady such as your self, 'ay?
I forgot what I was going to do when I stood up… the firelight flickering across Jack's face created a sensual glow I had not noticed before. I dare say I found myself more and more drawn to him as the days went by...4 or was it 5 now? I lost track and I did not care.
Yet my father's voice persisted in reminding me to keep my distance: Pirates are despicable! They should all be hanged—every last one of them...
But surely father would have recognized the disheveled manner of dress and the gaudy jewelry—most likely stolen—flashing on the hands he was entrusting with his daughter's life. And yet he was nothing like the criminal pirates I had seen at the pier, bound in irons and herded to the gallows with no life… no passion. There was a class about him—almost aristocratic—that put him far above the others with a sensual, unrestrained passion...
I watched him bend over again for another branch and throw it on the fire, being careful—of course—not to spill any wine. Oh yes! I was going to get another bottle of wine… So very different from the buttoned up, bewigged and perfectly polished men of my world; the ones my father foisted upon me as suitable suitors approved for future son-in-laws. They were the epitome of restraint in every sense, the latest being, what's his name... Lieutenant... Norrington?
But Jack's whole manner spoke of a life free from the burdens of society... no restraint whatsoever. We spent hours and hours sharing life stories and adventures—more his than mine—until he showed me those scars of his. It was in a suddenly serious moment of the "truth" behind all his "adventures" and I shall never forget how hard his dark eyes turned, daring me to ask—knowing full well I would not want to hear about the painful side of surviving as a pirate. No one did. All they wanted were the grand tavern tales of the legend he represented and wished they could be... so passionately unrestrained.
Still, it seemed much too high a price for this freedom he goes on and on about… and only added to the mesmerizing mystic… the unrestrained passion that was all so compelling... he was so compelling; then I realized with a start he caught me staring at him and was amused.
"Oh! I'm so sorry, how terribly rude of me," I stammered. "I was just wondering—was thinking, really—well, really wondering what your life must be like, to live so unrestrained, so pass—I mean, that is to say, so different from my life, really...
"Were you now?" he asked as he sashayed back and came right up into my face. "But I see no apology in your eyes, darling. In fact, you are blushing."
"No, really," I protested poorly, taking a step back to regain some semblance of space and sensibility. I snatched the bottle out of his hand. Was it just me or was the night air getting rather hot? I needed a drink and took a good strong swig, hoping he would not notice the tremor in my hand.
"In fact, luv, I think you were "thinking" how you would fair living so "unrestrained" and... whatever that last word was I didn't hear clearly." He dismissed the unheard word with a flick of his wrist.
I almost said it, but I bit my lip.
"Hold that thought," he commanded as he took back the bottle and gestured for me not to move. He carefully set the wine down securely in the sand before straightening and stepping right up against me in one fluid motion. Preening, he made a big show of turning up the corners of his mustache.
"I hope what you were "thinking" might be enjoyable, 'ay?" He continued as his eyes flashed flirtatiously. One arm circled my waist, bringing me completely pressed against him with a gasp.
That is to say, I was the one to gasp. He slid around to my side without releasing me, drawing his hand across my belly.
"To be so unrestrained," he cooed in my ear, " Or perhaps... ahhh, perhaps passion is the word I didn't hear clearly."
He slinked behind me and his hands came down lightly on my shoulders. Chills shot down my spine at his touch. It was rather unnerving how he could almost read my mind. Was I really that transparent? How could he have possibly known what I almost let slip and yet I felt myself melting under his hands—which was rather unnerving as well. That is to say, I am not some pure, pristine virgin who has never been seduced before. It's just that the moon was so bloody hot in the middle of the Caribbean and the wine was intoxicating...
"Passion is our way of life, luv. We are passionate about the horizon we see," he breathed in my other ear, "and the freedom it brings. Passionate about... treasure—oh yes—and the freedom it brings... whatever your heart desires."
His hand slid seductively gentle down my broken arm and lightly scratched the space between my skin and the splint. While it was not the most romantic of gestures, the relief from the itch made me swoon against him breathlessly.
"And passionate about..." he came around in front of me, "...I promise you, m'lady, you will never forget a pirate's passion for—" He paused, reading my face. His hands froze in midair near my cheeks.
In spite of being flushed with my heart pounding madly—an ardent puddle of desire completely at his mercy—my true reluctance must have been apparent as he obviously reconsidered what he was about to do. Having had a titch too much wine, he wisely realized I might regret such a dalliance later, and come to resent him for it as well.
He took a step back, brought his hands together in supplication and bowed slightly. "I promise to be a perfect gentleman, you have nothing to fear from me. And now, if you will excuse me, I will fetch me-self another bottle."
What? The spell had been abruptly broken, leaving me reeling with rejection. He turned and started swaying away. "Wait, your body!" I blurted without thinking. He whirled back around with wide eyes of feigned surprise at my unseemly outburst. "I mean the bottle—your bottle! Here, take it. I don't want anymore." I picked it up and held it out to him after taking another quick swallow.
"Thank you, but strange... I could have sworn I heard something other than "bottle". Must have been the wind, '"ay?"
Oh how chivalrous! We both knew there was no wind. "Bloody hell!" I swore under my breath as I turned away, fully flushed from embarrassment now and infuriatingly frustrated.
Suddenly, I felt his warm breath on my neck again as he bent down to my ear without touching me. "No worries, luv. I'll know if there's ever a change in the wind..."
I stood stock still, holding my breath until he finally moved away—hopefully to the far side of the island. I hated how he could sneak up on me without being heard, hated how pathetically transparent I was and hated how the open-ended invitation lingered in the air.
"Bloody hell!" I swore as I shuffled over to my coconut husks "village".
Sand castles were utterly impossible to build with one hand and so coconut halves turned upside down became my houses. The entire beach was littered with abandoned harbor towns, clusters of constellations and maps drawn in the sand. He taught me how to navigate by the stars, the best possible approach to various ports without raising an alarm and where all of the buried treasure he knew of lay hidden.
This village represented Nassau and he showed me how he planned to take it some day without firing a single shot. The husks turned right side up represented the ships in the harbor—he even carved a jolly roger in the side of one to represent the Black Pearl.
"Bloody, bloody hell!" I kicked sand in the Black Pearl, but that did not satisfy my ire enough. Finally, I just picked it up and threw it away as far as I could and yet I couldn't resist touching my neck where his breath had been moments before.
The torrential rain kept pushing my head under the waves again and again. And the ocean was filled with the noise of hysterical screaming. A vague part of my mind wondered how someone could scream so loudly under water when a stinging slap across the face brought me instantly to my senses and fully awake. I touched my cheek where the skin burned and burst into tears.
"Darling, I'm so, so sorry," Jack pleaded apologetically, "I didn't mean to strike you so hard, but I couldn't wake you."
I nodded in understanding. It was raining hard enough to soak through the clothes he had piled on top of the shelter and spill on my face, triggering the worst nightmare yet.
"Another nightmare, 'ay?" He picked up a fist full of sand and tossed it in the air. "But see? Not drowning, luv, nothing but sand all around and an ol' scurvy scallywag."
I could not help but smile his description of himself and he smiled back. He lifted my hand off my face and winced at the mark.
"Ahem," he swallowed hard. "Bit of a red mark, I see, but should be gone morning and you'll be your bright, beautiful self again."
This elicited a snort of derision from me as he lay back down on his back. He put one hand under his head and stretched the other one out, inviting me to put my head in the crook of his arm. "Sorry to wake you again."
He mumbled something about swimming lessons as he slightly shifted my splinted arm between us. I mumbled back a polite no thank you, to which he mumbled back something about needing to take control of my fear as he drifted off right back to sleep. I lay staring out at the waves rolling white with the storm. Last night's debacle of "passion" was all but forgotten in the shadows of the nightmare.
"Alright missy, it's swimming lessons for you today."
"No thank you." I declined politely. "I am fine, really."
"You are not fine," he declared as he firmly took my hand and led me to the waters edge. "You need to take control of your fear."
"No, really. I—"
"—Can't live the rest of your life in a nightmare—"
"—And I can't tolerate another sleepless night. "
"You!? You always go right back to sleep! I'm the one—"
"—You're becoming irritable and impossible to live with it. Not to mention rebellious, obstinate—with big, dark circles under your eyes—very unbecoming for a lady such as your self, 'ay?"
I dug my heels in and pulled against his grip. He stopped and dropped my hand with an impatient sigh. "Why ignore it, luv, when you can conquer it?"
"I can ignore it," I insisted. "I do not live my life on the high seas like you do and besides, the nightmares will go away."
"Darling, let's sit down and discuss this, shall we?"
He walked into the water until it was above his ankles and sat down. I sat down next to him as he stretched out his legs and leaned back against his arms, basking in the sun. This we have done many times before as it was refreshing to bathe in the cool waters.
"You're going to spend the rest of your life in Port Royal and not go back to England?" He asked with just a note of sarcasm in his voice.
"Of course, why not? I dare say I can run my father's estate from there just as easily. Besides, England is—"
"And how do you plan to get from here to Port Royal?"
"Well, yes, obviously by ship, but I shall be fine, I'm sure." The confidence in my voice was real. If I could walk on water, I would not hesitate to run on it right now knowing there was tea, and water, and a bath with soothing lavender oils and biscuits with marmalade waiting on the other side.
I watched as he pushed himself into the water until he was floating completely relaxed.
"Nature is a funny thing when you think about it. Take water, for instance." He flicked at the water with his fingers. "It's not solid, luv, and yet it can hold objects as big as a ship with the right displacement of buoyancy."
I automatically nodded in agreement even though his eyes were closed. I have to admit I was rather envious of his ability to just repose in the water like that with the waves gently rocking you.
"And then there's fear, and its displacement," he continued.
"Are you saying you are not afraid? Of anything?"
"Yes," he answered simply and honestly. "Why should I when I know that every beastie has a fear of its own. Anything with a heart knows there will always be something bigger and stronger or smaller and deadlier. Saavy? I don't have to be afraid, if I know it's afraid and displace it with its own fear."
I loved how he talked. His voice had this melodic lull to it that made any sort of a discussion interesting, even when he did not quite make sense.
"But if it doesn't have a heart—with flesh and blood and all that—it's just a thing. Or an element like water or fire. And that's all it is, just a thing guided by its own rules of nature that you can reckon with. You should really try this, darling. It is soooo relaxing, almost as blissful as rum..."
"I see... Alright, answer me this—and honestly, mind you. You are honestly not afraid of anything?"
"Darling, I'm Captain Jack Sparrow." He stated as though that was enough to settle the matter. In the ensuing silence he finally tipped his head up and squinted at me, only to find my glaring back at him. He sighed, rolled on to his stomach and glided back to sit next me.
"Alright, I will tell you this, and you will be the only living soul I've ever told."
I nodded eagerly, dying to hear what was his secret fear.
He lowered his voice. "I dislike intensely—which is not the same as "fear", mind you—but I intensely dislike those little beasties with six legs." He imitated the movement of a spider with his hand across the sand and up my arm. "And they have these little itty, bitty beady eyes. And some even have fangs!" He shuddered as though to shake them off.
It took me a moment to realize what he was saying. "What?! You mean a spider?!"
"Shhhh!" He hushed me with another shudder and a bone chilling shake of the shoulders. "Don't even say it, luv! The very idea of one—I'm telling you, truly evil, they are."
"A spider. You are afraid of a tiny little spider that spins webs and—"
"Not so little, darling. I have seen some as big as my fist! Not fear, remember? I intensely dislike them, but you see, I know what displaces them..." He paused dramatically.
"And that is?"
"They can't swim!" He laughed, almost hysterically, as he stood up as though he were officially ending the "lesson." "Nary a one can swim! And so you spit on them to subdue them and then you crush them mercilessly beneath your boot!"
He stomped his way out of the water to emphasize his point.
"Umm, Jack? You do know you are not wearing boots now?"
He froze in mid-step and pivoted around to me on one foot. "Good point."
I meant nothing more then how ridiculous it was to stomp in the sand. However, he tip-toed back to the water, glancing over his shoulder nervously. "Not sure if there are sand spiders—if there is such a thing—but why take such unnecessary risks when the water is so cool and inviting, 'ay?"
He effortlessly eased into the water again and glided out. I could not help but laugh at his strange sense of humor.
He swam back to me and took my hand. I resisted until he pulled hard enough for me loose my balance and I was in the water. Without letting go, he rolled on to his back and closed his eyes without a care in the world.
What if... perhaps, just perhaps he really was afraid of spiders? Somehow, the silly thought gave me the courage to cautiously lay back in the water until I was actually floating.
"Remember, luv, think displacement. That's all there is to it."
Displacement, indeed. I do believe some where along the way his mind had become displaced, I chuckled to myself as I floated serenely on the waves. That certainly would explain a lot...
(No turned up mustaches or imaginary spiders were harmed during the production of this story. Unfortunately the Black Pearl coconut husk was severely damaged and an insurance inquiry has been filed (United Association of Coconuts, claim #011362.)
The reference to suitable suitors unanimously approved by the Society of Single Royal Navy Officers.
Captain Jack Sparrow and the world of Pirates of the Caribbean are the property of Disney. What can I say? I am completely and utterly inDeppt to my ears. I'm just visiting for a little fun and not for profit, savvy? jk, 11/2008)