André Gillette tugged at his cravat with annoyance, although it already looked just fine. In fact, André looked fine. Better than fine. André appeared the perfect and charming gentleman today. His wounds from the battle aboard the Dauntless had, for the most part, healed. His shirt was freshly pressed, and his uniform was properly fitted without fault, and every pin in his wig was perfectly in place.
He looked perfect.
The weather outside was gorgeous. The sun was shining, there were just a few fluffy clouds in the sky, and there was a cool breeze drifting through Port Royal from the sea.
It was a perfect day.
Port Royal had long been bustling with gossip and activity surrounding the celebration taking place that day. The women in society were incredibly excited about the collection of bachelors, ready for seducing, that would soon gather. The men were looking forward to the free food and drink, strangely unaware of that they would soon be prey.
So it was a perfect day and everyone was happy.
André scowled at his reflection. The world was beautiful and everyone was happy. Elizabeth Swann would soon be Mrs. Elizabeth Norrington, the luckiest human being in the Caribbean—no, in the world. Everyone was happy and everything was perfect.
But André was not happy. He did not feel as though the day was perfect and all was right with the world.
And he felt horrid about it.
André should have been happy for his commanding officer—for his friend. James was marrying the woman he loved, who also happened to be the governor's daughter, making it a good and expected marriage, and André should have been happy for James.
But instead André wanted to die. Or perhaps for Elizabeth to die.
André adjusted his jacket yet again, continuing to stall. He wished that he could somehow simply not show up for the wedding. However, unless André managed to come down with a deadly disease with in the next ten minutes, he had no excuse to not go. Not one that would be accepted, at least.
André had turned down Theodore Groves' offer to pick him up in a carriage, and thus he walked the streets alone on his way to the ceremony.
Kicking at a few stray pebbles, André stubbornly gazed at the ground, not wanting to notice what a perfect day it was and also vaguely hoping that a runaway carriage would run him over and give him ample excuse not to go to the wedding.
André cursed under his breath as he reached the fort all too soon. The fort was beautiful set up for the joyous occasion. Where else would a Commodore marry?
"André!" His friend Theodore clapped him on the shoulder. "I was beginning to think you weren't going to make it."
André raise his sorrowful gaze to meet Theodore's eyes, and the one look explained everything. Theodore frowned; he was the only one fully aware of André's true feelings for James. James himself had no idea. Not really. He likely had some idea—André's rather rude treatment of Elizabeth and undying devotion to James were certainly clues. But James had just never considered another man caring for him that way. Thus, of course, he never considered loving another man that way.
All of James' attention was for his betrothed, whom everyone but James seemed to realize did not love him. The fact that Elizabeth obviously desired another, namely the apprentice blacksmith turned pirate William Turner, made this day all the more hellish for André. Poor James was being bond in a "perfect" marriage to a woman who did not love him. And damn it, James deserved better. James deserved so much better.
"Come on, André," Theodore said gently.
Most people likely think about how gorgeous the bride looks. But not André. His eyes were set on James, taking in every bit of perfection as James waited for his bride to approach down the aisle. Every button gleamed in the sunlight, every fold of his dress uniform just right, his beautiful green eyes sparkling, and he was…perfect. The one truly perfect thing about this day was Commodore James Norrington himself.
André sighed heavily as all the guests stood for the bride. André could hardly see Miss Swann through his tears. He found that he could not give Miss Swann the usual glare he reserved just for her. He had to accept that James loved and wanted her. She was, admittedly, very beautiful. But André still nearly cried when he saw the way James was gazing at her.
"If anyone has reason for these two not to be bound in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace."
God, André wanted to speak. No—he wanted to shout, to scream, to do anything to keep this marriage from happening. He loved James, so much, and Miss Swann did not. He could see it in her face—she did not desire to become Mrs. Norrington. She loved Turner. Not James. James could never be happy with her, not really.
Was that not ample reason? Glancing around at the officers and other wedding guests surrounding him, André wondered if anyone else realized or cared that the marriage about to happen would ultimately hurt both of those bound by it. He should do something. Say something. Anything.
But the ceremony continued, and no one spoke up.
André tore his eyes away from the couple. He suddenly felt as though the marriage was now his fault—he should have protested. But how would that be received? Like it or not, this was an expectedmarriage. And it was certainly not expected for a Lieutenant to interrupt his superior officer's wedding ceremony to declare his undying love.
André was not even aware of the ceremony ending, but somehow he was now standing in the shadows with Theodore handing him a glass of wine. "Drink up, mate," Theodore said when André simply stared at the offering.
André did not need any more encouragement to down the drink in one gulp. He congratulated the "happy" couple without looking at the bride and focusing only on the groom, trying not to allow his emotions to be too obvious. James, however, probably would not have noticed if André had burst into tears, given the way he was watching his new wife.
André left as soon as he could. Theodore, although he had been deep in conversation with a lovely young woman, followed him from the fort and took the depressed André home.
André's first thought as he entered his home was of alcohol. He needed to drink. A lot. And apparently he was drinking too much, because Theodore was soon forcing a bottle of whiskey away from him.
"I should have said something," André said, putting a hand over his eyes as he collapsed on the divan. "They ask the question for a reason."
"She doesn't love him!"
And suddenly André was sobbing and shaking and cursing himself and the now Mrs. Norrington. Theodore sat beside him and wrapped his arms about André, pulling the weeping man to his chest and running a hand through André's auburn locks comfortingly. "She doesn't! He's perfect…so bloody perfect…and she doesn't even want him."
Theodore kissed the top of his head, continuing to stroke his hair and hold him close, letting the man cry into his uniform. "I know, André. I know."