Dolphins vs Cherubs
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from the pirates of the Caribbean. I will not hurt them (much). Okay, I will return them in one piece.
AN: My first POTC fic! Woop! Going all out with this AU. Let me know what you think!
Elizabeth stood awkwardly beside her father as he chattered merrily about the state of the housing Market in the north east of England and it's relation to the plummeting euro, at least, that's what she thought they were talking about; she had stopped listening about 10 minutes ago.
She fidgeted slightly, cursing under her breath at the discomfort of her dress. Her father had brought it for her especially to accompany her to this occasion, and she couldn't say to his face that she'd rather wear jeans when he was joyfully telling her that he'd had it especially made from a brand new line of some well-known London designer, and that wearing a corset was back apparently. She had even laughed politely at his joke 'corsets are the new black'. If she could have had known how difficult it was to breathe in this damn dress she would certainly have had the courage to just turn up in jeans.
She had a feeling actually that it didn't gave to be tied this tight. She had had to have Emma, the maid, tie it up because she couldn't bend that way, and the older girl had a bit of a grudge against the spoilt rich Elizabeth. She didn't blame her really. She hated being that person. As much as she loved her father she was an independent fiery person and was getting tired of his attempts to maintain control over her life. An aspect of this control was being demonstrated by this event.
Recently her father had been inviting her to more and more of his corporate events. Being a man of money in the area (the estate passed down from his ancestors was worth millions and they more than comfortably lived on the income from weddings and conferences held in the mansion and grounds) he was invited to events such as this, where small businesses and projects in need of funding would present their ideas to those who may invest in or donate to their proposals. It was like a less dramatic and untelevised version of dragons den.
She sighed and quickly and expertly turned this into an 'interested hum' at the programme she held in her hands. If she wasn't careful, she may in fact die if boredom. It wasn't like she needed to accompany her father. She wasn't stupid; she knew the reasons behind him coercing her into attendance. She was nearly 19, she was single (not through lack of trying, it was very difficult to ever meet guys with your father breathing down your neck) and he had taken it upon himself to find her a suitable husband (oh yes he would make sure they would marry before pursuing any time of intimate relationship- she sometimes wondered whether he realised they were living in the 21st century).
Her father was talking to her now and she had absolutely no idea what he had just said, though it must've been a question because he was turning his face to her and his eyebrows were raised expectantly.
She went out on a limb, "erm... Yes"
He beamed at her and for a second she was relieved, but then "excellent well here he is: James Norrington- Elizabeth Swann. I'll leave you two to get acquainted."
She groaned inwardly. She wasn't quite sure what she'd just agreed to do with this man, who looked about twice her age, and his face had a permanently bored expression, even when he smiled in greeting. She hoped it was just meet him.
"Very nice to meet you Elizabeth" he said grandly. "Your father was just telling me how interested you are in marine biology"
She nodded "I'm doing a course..."
He wasn't listening and was talking about himself, his chin in the air as though he was addressing the whole room. What an arrogant turd.
She was incredibly grateful when a voice came over the speakers announcing that the presentations were about to start, may the guests please take a seat in front of the stage. She took advantage of the rush of people moving through the open doors into the main hall area and hastily slipped through the crowds to be as far away from James as possible.
The hall was an impressive area. Seats took up the main floor which was centred with a large window on the Ceiling and natural sunlight alone lit the large room. Down the sides of the room were pillars and arches, like in the cloisters of a cathedral, and these were part of a wall of glass, with doors leading to a paved courtyard area, identical on either side, each with a spectacular fountain at the centre of a courtyard. She had been marvelling at the location and the seats had all been taken. She noticed a couple of people had pushed open the glass doors and were standing leaning against the columns. They were forming a barrier so that Boone could see through to the outside courtyards. This was her chance. She instantly choose the left side, purely because the fountain had dolphins rising up from the bottom bowl, whereas the other had cherubs and she was always going to choose dolphins over cherubs.
She slipped out behind the barrier of suited gentlemen, thankful that their attention was caught by the first business representative arriving on the stage. The warm breeze lifted her curls and she sighed in relief. She made her way over to the fountain and sat on the edge of the concrete bowl trailing her fingers in the cool water. It was actually pretty deep, she better not lean back too far or she could fall in.
The sound of voices snapped her head up to attention. At the far end of the courtyard, two men were involved in a very animated discussion. One had her back to her and she was immediately drawn to his broad shoulders under his black shirt. She wasn't secretive about her thing for broad shoulders on guys. The man with her back to her was evidently angry and/ or frustrated at the man facing her. It was only then that Elizabeth really took in the appearance of the man facing her (she blamed the other ones shoulders). He was wearing some king of costume. He had black dreadlocks which she wasn't sure were his own hair or nor, and a maroon bandana around his head. He had on black leather boots and a huge black jacket that covered whatever he was wearing underneath. She could only think that he must be boiling in this weather.
The breeze carried their voices over to her.
"Jack, you know I am grateful for you coming, but don't you think you could've changed?" "I'm a professional. I've got to keep in character!"
"I'm a professional! I'm trying to move my career forward by getting a grant here today. No one is going to take me seriously if you come onto the stage with me dressed like that!"
The other man snorted. "If anything it will help you. I can be like someone who would've originally used these swords."
Black-shirt made a frustrated groan, "they don't need to see someone who originally used these swords! These people will want the swords in display cabinets in their stately homes!"
"Then why are we having a sword fight?"
"I told you- it's an effective way of catching their attention. It's all about the power of advertising or something…"
The other man just shrugged nonchalantly. His companion shook his head and began pacing the width of the courtyard.
Elizabeth watched him, a smile playing at her lips at their exchange. Then he turned to cross the courtyard again and the smile froze on her lips. Even from 10 feet away, she would recognise those soulful chocolate eyes from anywhere. The combination of the shock and the suffocating dress was an unlucky one. She fainted with his name whispered from her lips.