Chapter 19

Marietta stood at the stove in her kitchen and hummed and sang as she cooked tea for her sister and herself. Living on the outskirts of Tortuga proved to be a challenging sort of existence, her sister and brother in law were currently doing well though and her long time friend France was currently out at sea.

"Some men have died and some are alive and others sail on the sea," she sang the familiar words as she sprinkled herbs and spices over the chicken she was preparing, "with the keys to the cage and the devil to pay we lay to Fiddler's Green."

"Mari, Mari I need to talk to you!" Sophia said as she ran in the door and sat herself down at the table, shrugging her husbands' hands away from her shoulders, "you'll never guess what I heard today, Giselle told me when I was visiting Jeremy down at the Faithful Bride."

Sophia was jumping up and down in her seat and Marietta studiously went about putting the chicken in the oven and walking around the table to hug Jeremy and kiss him on each cheek. He had been part of the family for a week now, Sophia choosing to say her vows and get married with only France and Marietta present the night after Marietta's return.

"Mari! You'll want to hear this, its about your friend Jack Sparrow," Sophia had her arms crossed over her chest and her eyebrows raised, demanding full attention, "its rumoured that he's been here in Tortuga since he dropped you off. He found himself a girl apparently; they say he's engaged can you believe it?"

Marietta bit her lip and turned to check the chicken, as she opened the door she felt a hand on her shoulder and saw Jeremy reach into the oven to remove the food. Her arm had improved only marginally and any chance they had Jeremy and France had been helping her out, while the thought was nice and Marietta put up with it, it did bother her a little.

"Thank you Jeremy, I'll fix it from here you go grab another bottle of medicine for Sophia," Marietta shooed him towards the store room and dished out the chicken, "that's nice Sophia, speaking of news there was something I wanted to tell you…"

Marietta trailed off as Jeremy walked back into the room and took his usual seat at the table. She placed a plate of food in front of him and one in front of Sophia and sat down herself, as the three ate Marietta contemplated her news. To tell her sister would be necessary and informing everyone from here and half that sailed the seas, to tell Jeremy she wasn't sure about.

"What did you want to tell me Mari? And why is there a fourth plate? You do know that even when the baby is born it won't be eating solids for a while," Sophia laughed at her own joke and Jeremy smiled, indulging his wife, "seriously though Mari I'd like to know."

Jeremy coughed slightly into his hand and returned to eating his food as Marietta sighed. Sophia gave her a pointed look and sat down her eating utensils and crossed her arms over her chest.

"I'm expecting a guest and you will meet him momentarily I'm sure," Mari replied to Sophia's persistent refusal to eat, "we have an announcement to make actually."

She placed her hands under the table as Sophia's eyes lit up with realization, not wishing for the announcement to be made without her guest. The realization dulled and Sophia got a slightly petulant curious expression on her face.

The door in the hall opened and slammed shut and boots could be heard making their way towards the kitchen. Marietta was amused by the fact that Sophia was almost fainting in her chair and Jeremy was politely eating his dinner and ignoring his wife's childish behaviour.

With only a slight pang on jealousy Marietta realised that Jeremy was perfect for her sister. He was grown up enough to take responsibility for her and keep her safe, but childish enough to have fun with her and love all her juvenile quirks. How she hadn't seen it before was a miracle to her eyes.

As France strolled in the door with a big grin on his face and his arms wide open, Marietta ran towards him and gave him a hug. Looking over her shoulder she could see Sophia's eyes popping out of her head.

"What's wrong with you Soph? If you don't calm down you might give birth on that chair," he walked over and kissed her on the cheek and shook Jeremy's hand, "nice to see ye Jez, what's all the excitement about?"

Jeremy shook his head and shrugged his shoulders, "Marietta has an announcement and Sophia apparently thinks that you're going to marry her sister, judging by the look on her face anyway."

Frances face whitened and he spun towards Sophia, holding his hands up in a defensive position and waving them back and forth, "I can assure you dear that I am not marrying Ettie, I am however eating her lovely food and waiting with baited breath for this announcement."

France raised his eyebrows at Marietta and sat down opposite the girls next to Jeremy, beginning his meal straight away. Marietta stayed standing and cleared her throat slightly as she collected the others dishes and walked them to the sink.

"this place will smell like chicken for days," she laughed as she placed the dishes under the counter and whipped out a few herbs, throwing them into a small bowl and crushing them together, producing a sweet smell, "I'll be two minutes with this I promise, talk amongst yourselves."

She relaxed as she heard the others catching up about France's trip out on the Caribbean with a merchant sailing crew that was searching for Captain Kidd's hidden treasure. France made good money out of those trips, being a guide around the close islands brought in a larger portion of his income than his building and carpentry around Tortuga.

She crushed lavender and rose petals into the mix of herbs and added some cinnamon. The aroma was faintly reminiscent of rum, but either way it got rid of the chicken smell and Marietta quickly finished crushing it together. A fine powder was all that remained and she took a deep breath, unable to stall any longer.

Just before she could turn around she felt hands wrap around her waist. Leaning back into the embrace she sighed and ran some of the fine powder through her fingers.

"France, thanks for coming, I knew I'd need someone else besides Jeremy around to handle Sophia," Marietta gave a small laugh and played with the powder again, "distract them a little longer while I get rid of this smell."

She heard a deep chuckle as she screwed up her nose and the hands tightened around her waist as she tried to move away. With a start Marietta spun around and found herself nose to nose with Jack, grinning down at her as usual.

"I like the smell darling," he smiled at her as he gave her a quick kiss on the lips, "but I'm afraid that I've taken focus away from your guests' conversation. Shall I come back later?"

Marietta stuttered as she turned and faced her small circle of family. France had a small frown on his face and his hand was on the hilt of his sword as if he would need a reason to use it soon. Jeremy was looking quite shocked and had placed a hand over Sophia's on the table to restrain her from jumping right out of her chair and rushing over.

"Everyone, this is Captain Jack Sparrow, he saved my life in Port Royal you remember?" she smiled and pulled Jack to her side by his hand, "He's been taking care of me for the past few months. I swear absolutely nothing happened, Lizzie, the Turners and Anamaria were always there, France if you don't get your hand off that sword I'll bloody cut it off myself."

Sophia looked slightly shocked but jumped up from the table and hugged Marietta and Jack anyway. Jeremy shook Jack's hand and France remained steely in his seat.

"Come on France, you heard her nothing happened. Relax," Sophia moved to France and grabbed the hand that was resting on his sword, pulling him to his feet and moving him over to Marietta's side, "now, hug her and shake his hand and we'll all be fine."

France did as he was told and then placed his arm protectively around Marietta's shoulders, staring down Jack who was an inch or two shorter than him.

"Jack," he shook his hand again and then released Marietta to him, "I presume you're getting married so, considering you make Ettie happy and only for that reason I give you permission."

Jack seemed barely intimidated by France and Marietta sighed with relief. As her family walked out with a multitude of gushing and congratulations from Sophia, Jack made himself comfortable at the table.

"Well love, glad I passed that young lad's test," Jack smiled and bit into an apple he picked out of a bowl on the table, "reminds me of young Will, I'm sure this ones a eunuch though."

Marietta smiled and moved around the table, shooing Jacks feet from the wooden surface and sitting down in his lap. As he rubbed her back and finished his apple she sprinkled the powder she had made over the wooden table and the chicken smell vanished.

"Jack, you don't have to marry me if you really don't wish to," she fingered a plaited string of his beard as she talked and pretended not to notice that he had stopped eating, "I understand that you need the sea, but I have to stay here for Sophia until her baby is born and then there's France…"

"Listen love," Jack said, cutting her off and turning her face to look at him, "ol' Jackie knows what he wants, we'll get married on me ship next week like we planned. I'll go round with me crew lootin' other vessels and be back every weekend, we can do whatever ye like love, just say the word."

Marietta smiled as Jack kissed her and let him lift her finger and twist the ring around it. It was plain silver – half of the ring Jack had received from his dad – and had a sparrow positioned as if it was flying off it and towards the sun.

"This," Jack said as he lifted the ring towards her face, "was made 'specially for you by my dad love. Now in my time I haven't seen him do a nice thing for anyone, not even me ma, so ye always know ye have two men lookin' out fer ye."

He stuck his hand in his pocket and pulled out the gold half of the ring. It was the same as the silver except for the metal, and had a heart positioned so it was slightly off centre.

"When we get hitched, I'll give ye this one," Jack said calmly, "when ye twist them together the Sparrow is perched on top of the heart. Ye should always know love, even when I'm far away ye 'ave me heart, and I'll be flying back to ye."

Marietta smiled and kissed Jack again. She had found her happily ever after, she knew Jack loved her, and she in turn loved him. They would not have the relationship she had dreamed of as a little girl, but they would have something better.

Sophia was the lady of the night and Jeremy was the barman. Taylor was the baker's assistant and Will was the blacksmith. Elizabeth was the governor's daughter and James was the Commodore. Emily was the eldest and Callum was the horseman. France was the carpenter and Anamaria was the pirate. For so long Marietta had been the run away lieutenant's sister, but now she had her own label and identity. Marietta was the herbalist and Jack was the captain.

A/N: well that's the end then, terribly sorry if it was disappointing to anyone. I did have a sequel in mind though I may not post it if this isn't taken well. Please let me know what you think and I hope you enjoyed thanks, Ange.