Hey guys! Here's the next chapter. I want you to know that the French comments are not my opinions about them, but of the characters in the story. Anyway, read, review, and enjoy, please.

ClaudiaForever: Thanks so much for reviewing. Your English is fine. French, really? That is so cool, I love the language, it's very beautiful.

Pierre Gringoire: Thanks for reviewing, everyone deserves critique. :)

Elena gently slid a delicate, silver-ivory comb into her long, wavy dark hair. She smiled at her reflection in the mirror, pleased with her appearance. She was a vision in her long, black and white, lacy dress, her ruby red lips contrasting perfectly. Elena clasped a silver and pearl necklace around her neck, touching the pearl pendent as if it might break. It used to be her mothers, but she gave it to her on her sixteenth birthday, two weeks before she died. Elena swallowed and pushed the depressing thought aside. She picked up a glass perfume bottle and allowed herself two small sprays of the rose scented perfume. A sudden knock on the door made her jump.

"Miss," her tentative maid, Marie called,"your father requests that you join the ball now." she told her. Elena smiled and nodded.

"Of course, Marie." she replied, following her out of the door, towards a long, swerving staircase, her long hoop skirts swaying behind her.

Captain Jack Aubrey stood next to his best friend, Stephen, in the noisy, crowded courtyard, alive with music and dancing. His captain's uniform was freshly pressed and his gold hair was neatly tied back with a matching, navy-blue ribbon. Both men watched their fellow officers "mingle" with the many gorgeous young women in the room, amused smirks displayed across their features.

"Look at the." Jack elbowed Stephen, speaking in mock disgust."You take a man, put him on a ship for six months, then take him and put him in a room full of women for ten minutes, and he starts proposing." he joked, earning a slight chuckle.

"It seems that they are not the only ones who have formed attractions to certain women in the room." Stephen raised an eyebrow and glanced at Jack.

"Sir, I have no idea whom you speak of." Aubrey denied, nervously.

"Earlier this afternoon, on the beach, I saw you watching her. I have known you to long Jack." he teased. Jack glared at him.

"I was not attracted to her." he growled. Stephen only shrugged.

"So it may seem." he muttered. Jack was forced to bite his tongue from saying a menacing comeback for Don Raphael had approached, along with the object of their conversations.

"Jack! Doctor!" Raphael greeted. "May I present to you my daughter, Elena." he gazed at her with fatherly pride. Her smile seemed to light up the room. Stephen stepped up and kissed her hand.

"How do you do, Miss?" he asked. "Pleasure to meet you."

"This is Stephen, he is a surgeon on board the HMS Surprise." Raphael explained to his daughter. She smiled.

"How extraordinary." she exclaimed. "It is also wonderful to meet you, sir, I hope that your stay in this beautiful California is comfortable." Stephen smiled.

"Thank you, my dear." Raphael turned to Jack, who was struggling to keep his jaw from dropping to the ground because of Elena's amazing beauty.

"This is Jack Aubrey himself." he exclaimed to her."Captain of the HMS Surprise!." Elena smiled at him, and he reached for her soft hand, kissing it gently. She did not know what it was, but a pleasant, electrical feeling surged through her skin when he did that, but it had disappeared as quickly as it had come.

"How amazing, captian, I have read so much about you." Elena gushed. Jack smiled.

"Thank you." he grinned, turning to Raphael."You have a lovely daughter, Raphael." he told him. Raphael beamed and Elena blushed.

"Thank you." she mumbled. Aubrey was about to ask her to the next dance when a man with bright red hair appraoched Elena's side and take her hand. Jack noticed her grimace with disgust.

"Ah, Armand. I must introduce to you my friends, Captain Jack Aubrey of the Surprise, and the Surprise's surgeon, Stephen Maturen." Raphael quickly introduced him and the three men shook hands.

"Nice to meet you." Armand said, in his heavy French-English accent.

"Armand is a lord in England, also owning many vineyards in the French and Italian countryside." Raphael explained.

"Pleasure." Jack mumbled.

"Pleasure." Stephen replied a little more enthusiastically. You could cut the awkward tension with a knife. Armand shot a glance at Elena, who stood silently, forgotten.

"Elena, my dear." he said. Jack shuddered as he kissed her hand."May I have the pleasure of this dance?" he asked. Aubrey studied her face, he could tell that she was obviously forcing a smile. Stephen stared at Jack with a smirk; he found his friend's evidently attraction amusing. Elena nodded at Armand.

"I would love to." she smiled as Armand excused them and led her off to the dance floor.

Twenty minutes later, Jack Aubrey, Stephen, Raphael, and the Surprise's officers were all seated around a long rectangular table arguing about politics-as usual. Jack sighed at something Pullings had said, and worse, Blakeney seemed to agree with him. Mr. Allen's booming voice pulled his attention.

"The bloody French, have they not yet realized that England will always be superior to them?" he spat.

"Realization requires the ablility to generate inteligent thought, and the French are obviously uncapable of that." Mr. Pullings spat, and the table let out with roaring laughter.

"When England wins the war, the French would be to cowardice to dare to fight us again." Jack stated, as the laughter died down, all of the men muttered and mumbled in agreement.

"With all do respect, Captain Aubrey, if you win." a woman's voice piped up. The men turned their heads to look at Elena, who was approaching their table with Armand after the dancing. Jack narrowed his eyes. How dare she?

Thanks a lot for reading, review please. :)