AN: Sorry for the wait but I hope what happens in this chapter will make up for that. Dedicating the chapter once more to GlisteningShadow. Enjoy x
Chapter Seven: The Roles Which Bind Us (part two)
"Mmm..." came the elongated groan as I stretched, my eyes still closed. I didn't want to open them just yet; I wanted to keep this feeling for as long as I could before life interrupted. Lifting my arms lazily above my head, I stretched again, curling my toes as I pulled all the knots from my muscles. God, that was the best nights sleep I'd had in a long while. No dreams. Just sleep. I felt refreshed and satiated. I finally opened my eyes and instantly regretted it. Just like I knew it would, with the memory stimulated by my view of the Captain's quarters, life punched me right in the gut.
"Ughhh!" I muttered as I held back a frustrated yell, pulling the blanket over my face as I kicked my legs in my frustration. Why couldn't I just sleep forever? "Miley?" I ventured into the room. Silence was my only company in this room; I was alone. I breathed a sigh of relief. At least I didn't have to deal with that right away.
I sat up, the blanket falling to gather around my middle, exposing my bare chest to the slightly chilly room. That's when I remembered there was a broken pane of glass in the large back window. The breeze was soft, almost not there but a chill caressed my tingling flesh. Glancing behind me to look outside, it looked around mid-morning or perhaps later; it would seem I'd had a very long lie in. With a small shiver, I stood and grabbed my shirt and pulled it over my head relishing in the feel of the light cotton on my skin. Standing, I continued getting dressed.
I glanced around, there was still no sign of the captain even being in this room; the bed cover was still missing, as were the pillows. "Where is she?" I asked the empty room as I made my way over to the wash basin. "Did I care?" I continued, splashing my face with water. I looked into the looking glass after drying my face and hands with one of the thin towels. I saw confused eyes staring back at me. "I care."
Up on deck there was still no sight of her but that wasn't what currently concerned me. Every single pair of eyes was glaring at me. Not one single crew member had their eyes on anything else; they'd all turned to watch me with dislike written plainly across their faces. I wasn't exactly popular before but I had never been looked at like this by a single one of them, it made my heart beat erratically and my stomach churn with fear. And then, even worse, I spotted Black who sported a vicious black and blue bruise across his nose which spread up over his left eye. His glare was the most terrifying, he looked at me with a hate I couldn't have even imagined before today, and I felt physically wounded by his loathing gaze.
"Lilly," came a voice to my right and I felt my whole body tense, startled. I turned to find Oken's sheepish face, his bright green eyes focusing more on the dusty off-black boots adorning my feet. "I would advise you stay off the deck," he said with a nod to the crew who were now watching us both intently. "There's only so much I can do to protect you."
"I'm not exactly their favourite person, am I?" I said rhetorically and put my hands in my pockets, suddenly feeling very self-conscious and awkward under the gaze of so many eyes.
"The captain's been rather harsh on them since Black's comment last night," Oken continued in that low, shy voice as if he too were afraid of the crew. I suppose he was; I was hated and he was associating with me... and we were vastly outnumbered. "They've seen you only as 'the hostage' remember? They haven't seen the growing friendships between you and I, and you and the captain. This is all very surprising to them and definitely not the norm."
"Why can't she just explain things?" I asked, and then wondered how much she would explain... the whole kiss situation...
"Mutiny," came Oken's response and I was immediately thrown back into a conversation I had with Bellamy, that's what he'd said too. Maybe Bellamy knew more than I thought, more than I knew...
"But, she terrifies them," I countered, glancing at the crew who were still watching me as they repaired the ship. Oken nodded and glanced out to the crew; I wondered if, bar his friendship with me, the captain had scared him at all in the past?
"She hasn't told you everything," he said with a raised eyebrow, finally looking me in the eye. He tried to search my expression, trying to figure out what I did and didn't know. I could see in his own face that there were a multitude of things I still didn't know about the captain. "Has she?"
"I... I don't know," I finally breathed. I thought she had told me so much, she told me of her past and her fears and clearly of her wanting of me... but did I still not really know her? What hadn't I been told that Oken seemed to deem important? Would it make things clearer, give me a new perspective on these situations?
"I think it best that you speak to her, it's not my place to say," he said with his hand on my shoulder. And with a short nod and a smile, he left me to go bark orders at the crew and to begin his own duties. I sighed, if I were to ask her, I would first need to find her. I was about to speak up, to ask where I would find her but Oken seemed to predict this as he turned and pointed towards the island. "Somewhere," he mouthed. It was clear that even he, the quartermaster, didn't know where his captain had snuck off to.
"Somewhere," I repeated softly to myself and looked out onto the vast island. She could be anywhere.
The sky was forget-me-not blue and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I thought back to the previous night and how I'd longed to explore this island without the deception of the night. I guess now was my chance, I don't think I'm quite ready to face the captain, I'll have a few hours to myself before searching for her.
I descended the ladder carefully, knowing that there was no one at the bottom if I fell. I reached the wooden jetty without incident thankfully and felt much safer to have my feet on something solid rather than the slippy rungs of the ladder. I readjusted my shirt and pulled at my hair, still without a ribbon to tie it; I wonder if it were still tied around the hilt of the Captain's sword, I can't recall.
The island was beautiful. I spent several hours walking around the shore line, my feet in the surf and my boots in my hand. I still hadn't reached a half way point; at least, I don't think I have... "Where am I?" I said aloud as I scrambled over rocks which blocked my path. With a sigh, I thought it safer to go back the way I came rather than attempt to walk the entire island. I decided I needed a break and I collapsed on a grassy verge by the tree line. I lay on my back, one arm under my head and the other draped across my stomach and just watched the clouds for a little while as the golden afternoon sun bore down on me.
I found myself on The Storm, but it wasn't The Storm… it was so bright, so white. And what was that? Clouds? Smoke?
"She's quite taken with you Poppet," came Bellamy's voice, it echoed around in my mind. Those were the words he'd spoken to me so many weeks ago, months. And that's when I found myself standing just where I had been before, by the railing with Bellamy by my side and Miley escaping alone onto the island.
"If she doesn't show it, it's cause she's scared of mutiny," his echoing voice came again. What was this? A dream? A memory? Both?
"Mutiny?" I found myself questioning, my voice echoing my past. The thoughts that I had then returned to my mind; 'Why would there be mutiny if she was my friend?' And things became a lot clearer then, I knew Bellamy was referring to more than friendship and I just hadn't seen it at the time.
"Aye Poppet, not everyone is so approving. Shows weakness, you see." He said as he picked up a rope from the deck and began looping it neatly. And with a final glance to the Captain from all those weeks ago, finally reaching the shore of the clouded white island, I wasn't thinking about her being my friend, I was thinking of how she truly felt about me, something Bellamy seemed to know.
Before I knew it, I was on the Commodore's ship, back in the restraints of a red-coat with Bellamy before me, his hands upon his chest and blood seeping though his fingers. I didn't have any control of my body; it was as if I were trapped within my past body to observe. I felt myself elbow my captor, rush from his embrace and grasp Bellamy before he toppled down into the ocean.
"Bellamy..." I heard myself say and he managed a painful smile, his bloodied hands circling mine.
"Poppet..." he said in a weak, rasping voice. "Tell... her..."
Strong arms grasped me again, pulling me away from him. "Tell her what?" I called to him as I was dragged backwards, my limbs flailing in attempt to wriggle free.
"What's... in... here..." he said placing both hands over his heart. I hadn't understood him when I first witnessed it, but now, observing... I knew what he meant. But was it true?
With a jolt, I awoke, sitting up and finding the sun much lower in the sky than when I first laid upon this grass verge. "What..." I started, thinking about the dream I'd had, or memory, or both? I'd often experienced things like this in my dreams, flashbacks and such of perhaps my maids gossiping and I'd then be able to think of a decent retort that I couldn't think of when it happened. This time, it allowed me to see what I couldn't before; knowledge I had in the present had given me insight to events of the past. "I guess Bellamy really does see things that others don't." I mumbled to myself, lying back down and mulling over everything I'd just discovered.
I lay there for perhaps another twenty minutes or so but the coming chill in the air indicated that I should probably head back. Greyish clouds were on the horizon, it looked like we would be getting some rain soon, but for now, the sun was still shining and warm. I pushed myself to my feet and brushed off the dirt. I stumbled only slightly as I climbed back over the rocks and headed back the way I came.
For an hour, the only sound that escaped my lips was a sigh. I was so confused; I couldn't quite get my thoughts in order. "So Bellamy knew... but, was he right? About me?" I wondered aloud, how could he know something about me that I didn't know, that I still didn't know? I stooped down and picked up a smooth reddish coloured stone and threw it as far as I could out into the ocean. The Navy would be out there somewhere, angry and desperate. "There's just so much going on, how am I supposed to know what to focus on?"
"I could help with that," came a shy voice from somewhere behind me. Startled, I span to find Miley stood at the tree line, her hands in her pockets. Her entire body language demonstrated that she was a little scared, shy and embarrassed almost. Even her clothing suggested a different person to that of 'The Captain'. She wore only her white cotton shirt, similar but more fitted than my own, with the sleeves pushed up so far her subtly muscled biceps were on show, and her dark breeches were rolled up to the knee. Her hair was down, long and draped over her left shoulder. Her eyes dropped to her bare feet as if she couldn't even look at me watching her. "You know," she continued at a lower volume, eyes still on her fidgeting feet. "If you wanted me too..."
"How long have you been there?" I asked, my louder tone startling her and I immediately regretted it. I couldn't help it, my emotions were frazzled around her lately; I didn't know how I felt in order to relay that into my language.
"Not long," she said softly, still not looking up. Was that the truth? I couldn't be sure.
"I think..." I started as I picked up another stone, this one slightly bluish and dappled with red vein-like lines. I rolled the cool stone around in my palm. "I think we need to t-talk." I said, gulping before the final word escaped my mouth. She nodded silently. Since when did I take the more dominant role in the two of us?
"So..." I said and rocked on my feet. Again, she merely nodded. Christ, I say we need to talk and yet my mind is blank, I can't think of where to begin or anything. "This is going well." That got her to smile and I couldn't help but smile in response. I realised how much I missed her smile, that secret smile only I got to see.
"Sorry, I'm not making this any easier," she said and came out of the shade of the trees and into the sunlight. Golds licked at her hair and I marvelled at the sight, wondering if my own hair was capable of such reflection. And then she was only feet away from me, she seemed to pause before coming any closer and after a moment's deliberation, she sat upon the sand. "So..." she said echoing my previous statement as she ran her hands through the sand.
I didn't know what to say and was about to say as much when a thought suddenly appeared in my mind. I barely had time to process everything before it blurted out. "Oken said you haven't told me everything." She looked taken aback, her eyes surprised before they returned to the sand between her fingers. "And from what I gather, this everything is apparently a big deal and maybe... could...s-shed some light on um, our situation?"
"Okay," she sighed before looking at me once again, her eyes serious. "But this is of high importance, okay? You cannot tell anyone of this. Anyone. If you do, the lives of both myself and my crew will be in danger,"
"Not what I was expecting..." I admitted, slightly worried now at what secrets I was about to be told.
"I'm a king,"
"Excuse me?" I uttered instantly. Definitely not what I was expecting. "Care to explain that?"
"I'm the Pirate King," she said simply, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "I know what you're thinking; I'm clearly not a man and therefore cannot be a king. Well, that's what the majority of pirates believe too, so I just tend to avoid that little hiccup." Confusion was written across my face. What? Was this a joke? She got to her feet before continuing, pacing a little as if it distracted her from my presence. "Okay, I'll reduce it down to two factors. One, I'm a woman; stereotypically weaker than the male, more suited to look after the husband at home and most certainly bad luck on a ship etc etc. Two, mutiny."
That final word caught my attention, it appeared that mutiny affected a lot of things but it only got me thinking more about Miley and I. Was there a Miley and I? Did I want there to be? I still didn't know.
"You remember the compass, the thing that started all of this," she said and I nodded, how could I forget? "That was a gift given to the first pirate king and the compassed passed from generation to generation, through many battles and storms until it was finally given to my father," she paused slightly here at the memory. "There are two ways to become the Pirate King; be an heir or kill the previous.
"You know of my father's death, I told you everything. What I left out was why the attack was more important than just the compass alone. The Navy wish to destroy the pirates for good; by destroying the king; someone who is supposed to be the best, would severely lower morale. By both stealing the compass and killing my father, they killed two birds with one stone. Or so they thought. My father had two heirs, myself and my older brother, Thomas. Again, this is something I left out of my original story. We do not speak of my brother, he left us and renounced his inheritance to go to Europe and last I heard, he had a wife and several children. That left only me, an eleven year old girl to burden my father's heavy title.
"There are many pirates who believe that Thomas is now in fact the Captain of The Black Storm. Everyone heard of my father's brutal death but Thomas' leaving was kept quiet, no one knew that I had taken the crown. You see, there are many pirates who wish to take the title for themselves, if they kill the King, not only do they become King themselves but they gain The Storm and all its crew, the fastest ship on the oceans. That's why I hid you that day when pirates came close; I was scared they were there to take the crown. I trust my crew to not tell my secret, I'm good at scaring them and they have seen what I am capable of so I do not worry. But, coming back to my original points, if everyone knew the infamous powerful Pirate King was in fact a woman; they would find it a mockery and believe me weak and therefore easy to kill. Mutiny, Lilly, it's a very fragile thing, the slightest mistake or misjudgement and your whole world is tipped upside down. I cannot appear weak; I cannot allow my own crew to believe me to be anything but a cold, strong King. Even my being kind to you is a weakness they do not approve of, I have to be so careful... but it's so hard around you. You saw what happened with Black; I should have let it slide right past, perhaps had a quiet word with him later... but, you know my temper. I just couldn't allow him to say such an awful thing,"
"Okay..." I breathed and sat upon the sand. "You're... you're royalty?"
"Pirate royalty," she scoffed, also sitting again. "Nothing like what you're used to."
"And the compass?"
"The compass is a companion to the Pirate King, it hasn't been any other way since the first King several hundred years ago. It was my father's and losing him like I did gives me a greater more personal need to have it returned. And I really hate that your Navy has it in their grasp, finding treasures and even finding you; I presume the Commodore uses it to direct him to you?"
"So, is that the full story now?" I asked, wondering what else I wasn't being told. "And the Commodore does not desire me, merely what he could gain afterward,"
"Almost, but Oken should be the one to divulge another part of it," she said and I grew more curious than before. Oken? Oken had a part in this too? "And what do you mean, 'afterward'?"
"The Commodore does not love me like I always believed," I told her, the bluish stone still gripped in my palm. "He wished to marry me on his ship so that when we returned, he would be a hero who rescued his damsel in distress with my hand as his only reward," I said with a grimace on my face. "What he really wanted was both the fame and the inheritance of governor when my father passed, something he would bring about sooner if you know what I mean,"
"He wanted to marry you, kill your father and take his title?" she asked, her eyes wide.
I nodded. "He would have succeeded in marrying me right on the deck if you and your crew not turned up when you did," I said and rolled the stone in my palm which was now warm from my body heat.
"What?" Miley shouted, startling me as she jumped to her feet. "He was marrying you? Then?" she almost bellowed in her obvious anger.
"Yes," I said, standing too out of fear of being trampled by her pacing. "I was bound and gagged in front of a priest. Are you telling me you never noticed the wedding dress?"
She was practically fuming, her steps hard as she stomped through the sand over and over. "If I'd known that..." she muttered through her teeth, her hands in fists by her sides.
"What, Miley? What would you have done?" I asked with a raised eyebrow and jaw set. It was a rhetorical question, my harsh tone catching her attention. Everything that involved Miley confused the hell out of me, why can't everything just be simple? "One minute you're crying as you retell the story of your father's murder, then you kiss me, next you're shoving past me and telling me to leave your sight. Then you defend me and break Black's nose. And then you were shy and now you're, what, jealous?"
"Yes!" she practically yelled, as if she were finally getting through to me. "I'm jealous Lilly, I always have been! I can't help it, I've shouted at the stars and begged the heavens to stop it but it remains. I'm jealous of everyone who looks at you, I'm jealous of Oken who clearly likes you and you made no indication that you didn't return that attraction. Okay? I'm possessive of you; I defend you, everything, and all because I want you!"
I...I... I couldn't think. I couldn't speak.
"Okay?" she repeated at a much lower volume and I noticed shimmers of tears in her eyes. They didn't appear to be tears of sadness nor of happiness; I couldn't identify my own emotions of late so somebody else's were even more alien to me. "I want you," she breathed, as if a weight was lifted. Her voice was steady, her words were true. "I've wanted you since the first time I saw you,"
I still couldn't get my brain or my mouth to function and it was all I could do not to stand and gawp with my dry mouth open like a fish. My silence clearly affected her nerves and she could no longer keep her eyes on me; they found themselves examining a jade coloured pebble and she toed it absent-mindly.
"The reasons why... why I reacted like I did after you ran off... I was hurt Lilly. You hurt me. As much as I knew how unlikely it was, I thought that you maybe liked me too. It was little things, but maybe I misread them, choosing to see what I wanted," she paused, and took a deep breath. As she continued, those ocean eyes were full of pain and sadness as they darted from the ground and bore into my own. "But I never thought you could hurt me like you did, like you still are... you, you broke my heart Lilly."
"I didn't mean to..." came my small voice, barely a whisper, barely a noise. But she heard.
"I know," Miley sighed and pulled a hand through her hair and bit back those tears. Did her lip just tremble? Is that how badly she wants to cry? "I just, I guess, my imagination ran away with me. I mean, I'm a Pirate King for Christ's sake and you're the Governor's daughter. It wouldn't work out anyway; we each have our roles to play,"
"I...uh..." I started, not knowing where my still dry mouth was gonna take this sentence. Deep breath Lilly, swallow, yes, now, words would be good. "I-I guess you need an explanation to my behaviour too. I uh, god, this sounds rather pathetic," I said with a nervous chuckle; there was no humour, only embarrassment and a wish not to admit this. "I don't actually know what a-attraction feels like..."
Silence greeted me initially and I felt a hot redness creep up my neck. "Really? How could you not..." came her response making my cheeks burn.
"I've never felt it, I've never read about it and I certainly have never spoken about it. I guess I can appreciate attractiveness but I don't know when I am attracted to something... well, I know I'm not to the Commodore and I know I should be to Oken but I know I'm not as I only see him as a friend. How can I know if I am experiencing something if I don't know the signs?"
"Uh..." she started, thinking and I fell to the ground, utterly embarrassed.
"I know, it's naive and pathetic and childish," I huffed with my arms crossed. "I hate how I know nothing of the world. Sheltered from practically everything for nineteen years..."
"No, it's not bad," she said and sat in front of me, our knees just touching. "I think it's rather miraculous. I mean, look at my upbringing; fighting, death; I was forced to be older than my age to survive. You're not ignorant to the world; you get to learn and experience it whereas I was thrust into it head first." I didn't respond though I understood her words. She knew I wasn't ignoring her and we both sat in a mutual silence for a few minutes. It was Miley who first spoke, her voice shy like when she first came out of the trees. "I can help you learn, um, if you like..."
"Learn?" I queried, my brows furrowed in confusion. My mind had wandered and I didn't know to what she was referring.
"Well, uh," she started, blushing and averting her eyes. "I could help you understand what, um, attraction... feels like?"
"Oh," was all I said. What could I say to that? What did she mean by that?
"I mean... don't have to... suggestion..." she turned redder than I and couldn't even force herself to make full sentences. "Um... yeah..."
"I..." I started without thinking of where my sentence was going. Thankfully, a particularly cold gust of wind came then and caused me to shiver. She noticed and stood.
"Come on, we'll both freeze out here," she said as she looked up to the sky. Those grey clouds were almost upon us and a smell of rain was in the air. I glanced back in the direction of The Storm, that was another hours walk or so and I was certain I wouldn't make it half way before the heavens opened. "Lilly," came her soft voice, pulling me out of my thoughts. She had her hand outstretched and a shy smile upon her lips.
I reached up and took her cool, slender hand and she easily pulled me to my feet. For a few moments, we stood, hand in hand. It was as if neither of us knew whether to let go or not, or what it meant. Eventually, Miley cleared her throat and released my hand with a slight blush upon her cheeks. "I set up camp in here," she said with a nod towards the trees. I merely nodded and she headed off with me by her side.
We wound through trees and over branches, the canopy blocking out the majority of the fast diminishing sunlight. I managed to trip only once but Miley was there within seconds to catch me before I fell. Again, it took us a few moments to release each other; we simply looked at the other silently before awkwardly smiling and continuing through the forest.
A noise echoed behind us; spinning, Miley was the first to spot the deer which was, like we were, venturing deeper into the forest to escape the oncoming rain. The deer then spotted us and darted in another direction. Miley nudged me and we continued walking. Soon I noticed an orangey light in the distance, it flickered and as we neared, I saw it was a small campfire. I glanced to Miley and she nodded; it was her campfire.
"Make yourself comfortable," she said softly and pointed towards the fire. I headed in front of her and sat beside the flames, grateful for the soft heat in the cooler darker forest. I hadn't realised how chill it had become but I knew the trees would shelter us from the wind and the rain which I was sure wouldn't be far away.
I noticed a make-shift tent a few feet away, it only had three 'walls' made from what looked like thick beige sheets. It was only small, the 'wall-less' side facing the flames to allow the heat in more directly. Miley's pillows and her bed cover were also in the tent, her boots and weapons also found home in there. "So... warm enough?" she asked, crossing her arms around herself. "It'll get colder when the rain hits," she said. The awkwardness between us was almost tangible.
"I'm good," I said softly. For several minutes, that's all that was said as Miley stood not knowing what to do. I took a deep breath and patted the ground beside me. Her eyes darted from my hand to my face and then back to my hand before she too took a breath and sat beside me. She raised her hands to the flames, warming her hands. Leaves above our heads rustled, the wind growing in strength. "Miley..." I began with a lump in my throat. "Teach me,"
She didn't need any explanation, she knew what I meant. And with barely a moment's hesitation, she was facing me, our crossed legs touched knee-to-knee. "Close your eyes," she said with a blush faintly tingeing her cheeks. With a shaky breath, I did as I was asked. I didn't know what to expect; how can you teach someone what attraction is, what it feels like? All I knew was that I needed to know, it was the only way I could clarify things properly.
"Clear your mind and tell me what you feel," she said in a whisper and I felt her hands softly run down my forearms.
My skin tingled where she touched. "I uh... it's like, I don't know how to describe it. It's almost like you're not just touching my skin..."
"And this..." she said and her hands fell to my thighs. A sharp intake of breath took me by surprise and that unfamiliar yet now familiar sensation returned to the pit of my stomach, a soft tingling, a curious pulling. I was just about to attempt to describe this feeling when she started talking again. "Tell me, what did you feel that night on the deck... when we fell to the ground..."
"I..." I tried to recall but it wasn't so difficult, especially when that curious sensation flared at the mere thought of that night. "I don't know how to describe it..." she dug her nails into my flesh, whether it was purposeful or not I didn't know, but I knew she was trying to hurry my answer. "It's in here," I said and placed a flat palm on my lower abdomen. "And it gradually... moves further down, but, uh, intensifies..."
"A-and on that night..." she asked again, stammering a little and I peeked out from my closed eyelids – her eyes were shut too, her face almost serene and she emanated an aura which suggested she wasn't as serene as her face suggested.
I closed my eyes once more. "That was the first time I felt it; when you fell atop of me..." I heard her mumble something under her breath as she exhaled deeply. "What?" I asked with my eyes still closed, I hadn't quite heard what she had said.
"N-nothing," she stammered and cleared her throat. "Um, and when I... when I kissed you?"
"I..." I started and then stopped. I hadn't returned to this memory at all, I had stopped myself thinking about the details of it. Maybe now, knowing what I do now... "I remember wanting nothing more than to ease your pain," I said as I recalled Miley's story about her father's murder. "I wanted some way, any way to comfort you, I just didn't know how. And to see you so hurt, it hurt me too... and your eyes, they're so full of sadness, of pain and anguish. But, I also saw hope, a yearning, a... a wanting," I realised with that final word. "And... I think, no, I'm almost positive I-I wanted it too... a-and you, you kissed me,"
"You wanted it too?" she queried in a soft voice. I nodded slightly, unable to speak it and I hoped Miley's eyes were open to witness it. My cheeks were heating up; whether it was from the warmth of the nearby fire or embarrassment, I couldn't be sure as I barely felt anything other than Miley's presence and her hands on my thighs. "So... why did you pull back?"
"Shock," I said almost automatic, barely any thought process occurring before the word fell out of my mouth. "I was unprepared; I know nothing about these things. It scared me. I don't know... I felt scared... I guess, I don't know, betrayed almost?" I answered, questioning myself. I really didn't have a clear answer as to why I had pulled away other than shock and fear – the origins of which were also ambiguous. "I don't know if I'll ever know why I did, it was just an automatic response,"
"Betrayed?" she asked and I heard a quiver in her voice; she was hurt by that word.
"Who you were changed to me in that instant; first you were the mean Captain and I was the hostage but I developed a friendship with you, something I'd never really had before and that was special to me; having a friend. Then, the kiss... well it pretty much blew friendship right out of the water..." I explained after a few moments thought.
"I see," she said and I felt her readjust her position. Then her hands were no longer on my thighs. They were suddenly on my shoulders, soft and gentle as her thumb moved ever so slightly to rub small circles on the exposed flesh near my collar bone. A small, pleasant shiver shook my body and I felt my breathing pattern alter slightly as if I were expecting something instinctually. Is that what attraction was? Instinct? Something that couldn't really be learnt, but experienced?
"Miley?" I asked the silence which accompanied me. I was about to open my eyes when I felt her palm cover them.
"Just," she said in a bare whisper, as if she were out of breath or something similar. "Just keep your eyes closed for me, just a little while longer,"
I obliged with a furrowing of my eyebrows. So, for several minutes, there was only the sounds of the crackling fire, the wind in the trees and the sound of nearing thunder. A storm was approaching; I peeked by opening one eye, Miley's eyes were closed and she was taking deep breaths. Just then there was a flash of lightning, the light still visible despite the thick canopy of trees. I closed my eyes again just as I felt a few spots of rain fall on me; I knew it would be raining rather heavily but the trees were protecting us from the majority.
Then Miley's hands slowly, almost shyly, edged upward, caressing my neck softly before coming to rest on my jawline. I resisted the urge to open my eyes, biting my lip in the concentration. My heart was beating hard against my ribs, its drumming beat echoing in my ears so loudly it drowned out almost every other sound in the forest; I couldn't even hear my own breathing. Then her voice came through the din, she spoke softly, carefully, purposefully and I detected fear, hesitation and a sheer wanting in her voice. "Let's try again,"
I felt her lean in, my eyes still closed as I sensed her growing ever closer. One of her hands readjusted slightly for her thumb to softly run along my lower lip and my whole body felt alive and numb at the same time. Then, for the second time, those soft lips touched mine.
A crack of thunder rumbled deafeningly loud above us, but neither the captain nor I made any indication we'd heard it. I didn't pull away nor did I want to. I allowed the Captain, the King, to kiss me. Her lips were gentle and uncertain as if she were afraid I would again end the kiss. I didn't want to; my entire being was focused on the feeling of her soft kiss, every single nerve ending was alive with so many sensations I couldn't even begin to describe one of them. It felt... it felt, well, remarkable for lack of a better term; it felt natural, it felt like I'd always had a hole in my subconscious which was only now being filled, it was comforting and I knew... I knew in that very moment, that instant, I knew exactly what attraction was and that I'd felt it unrecognised for a long time, an attraction to the Captain of the Black Storm.
And then, slowly, still nervously getting my bearings so to speak, I kissed her back. I didn't really know how but I allowed instinct to take over; my lips pressed back into hers and I felt rather than heard Miley's previously restrained sigh. My returning of the kiss gave her the confidence to alter her position yet again; now she had one hand entwined in my hair and the other gently on my waist. She moved her lips tentatively, as if gauging something. I mimicked her actions and she hummed approvingly with a slight squeeze of my waist and a small pull of my lower lip.
Moments passed of our slow and exploratory kissing before Miley pulled away. I opened my eyes to find her slightly breathless and with her cheeks flushed. Her hands slid to take mine and she kissed each hand gently, my own cheeks flushing at the action. Lightning flashed again and the flecks of gold in her eyes shone magnificently. More spots of rain were making it to the ground, the droplets hissing as they fell in the fire yet neither of us showed any sign of moving.
"We should move," Miley said breaking the silence, her voice almost dreamlike and she never took her eyes off of me. I simply nodded, unable to form coherent words right now. All I could focus on was that beautiful face before me, like I was seeing her in a new light, a light that had been blurred before but now shone brighter than the sun. Those deep dark eyes, those sculpted cheekbones, those wonderfully arched lips... then it was me leaning forward, my hand snaking around the back of her neck and my lips pressed against hers. My confidence growing, we kissed with more passion than before, as if we were making up for lost time. I didn't know what had come over me; all I knew was that I needed to kiss her and that I didn't want to stop any time soon.
I don't recall, perhaps, the past hour or so. It's almost a blur; from kissing Miley to now sitting in her tent with both her bed cover and Miley's arm around me to protect me from the cold. What happened in between feels almost like a dream. We were sat in silence bar Miley's occasional happy humming, but it was a comfortable silence and words weren't currently necessary as we waited for the end of the storm. The wind had died down, the thunder a distant rumble and the rain a mere trickle but it was progressively colder as the night took over.
"I've waited ages for this," Miley whispered for what seemed like the hundredth time in my ear. She could say it a hundred more and I'd still feel my heart swell at the words. I seem to have almost mastered what attraction was, this, this right now in her arms and with those words, this was affection.
"Sorry I took so long," I responded and her face fell into the crook of my neck and I felt her smile.
"It's okay, I have you now," she said with a grin and placed a soft kiss on my pulse point. Then she pulled back to look me right in the eye, "Don't I?" she said with a hint of panic.
I chuckled lightly and kissed her lips shyly. "Of course you do. It's still unfamiliar to me, but, I couldn't think of anywhere else I would rather be," I told her honestly and settled myself further in her arms to establish my point. She smiled widely, her eyes bright and happy. It was truly amazing how comfortable I felt; after all we'd been through, after all the mix of emotions, I was at peace and content. Then I remembered something and I wished that I hadn't, I didn't want anything to ruin this moment. I wasn't going to say anything but she'd somehow sensed something was wrong.
"What? What is it, Lilly?"
"I couldn't help but think of the whole reason we met; the compass, and therefore, the oncoming navy... what are we going to do?"
"Well," she said as she held me tighter. "For one thing, I am not losing you. Second, I need to think of a plan to stop the Navy. As good as my ship is, it's no match against the entire armada in a fire-fight,"
"Exactly," I said sadly. Just what could we do? Was there any way to defeat an entire armada unscathed?
"That's why I wanted to talk to Oken, Black and the others; to come up with some sort of plan. Although, as you know, that little meeting never happened,"
"Yeah," I responded.
"I really don't know what to do; The Storm is best in the open water but this isn't just a few navy ships... it's suicide. The best thing I can think of to keep us all in one piece is to just keep moving, wait for them to give up. And that's an idea I truly loathe, I am not one to run away."
"Wait..." I said with a long pause, recalling information from my childhood. I'd always heard stories of battles and wars, I'd read a little in books; both fiction and fact. "Pirates don't run from fights," I told her, turning to face her, trying to convey everything into a look, to try and force my thought process into her own mind with my eyes. "They lure you into them."
AN: Yay? Nay? Please review, any comment you leave will be much appreciated. But yay, Liley! Finally :) But, there's still a lot in store for our two heroines, find out more in Chapter Eight: Something Wicked This Way Comes. Stay Tuned x