:: When they parted, proper like, he told her when she was done playing with boys she knew where to find him. What if little Jacky, Mary, Faber woke up one day missing that arrogant sailor? This is my take on Jacky and Jared, two piratical souls.::
:: For You're Imagination... Think of Jacky Faber as Sophia Myles. Joseph Jared as Sean Patrick Flanery. James Fletcher as Peter Facinelli. Mr. Higgins as Stellan Skargard. And eventually Wilhelmina Gregson as Jorden Strauss. Hopefully this will help with the creative prospect, it helped me at any rate. ::
:: ALSO... You may be wondering about all of this and the time line of Jacky Faber. Well, just having finally read The Wake of the Lorelei Lee, I have decided that this will take place after that book as follows. I will slowly unravel the past of Jacky Faber, after the events of that novel as I would have liked to see it happen. I hope it makes sense and you like it. I do like Jaimy but I like Jared even more. So I'm sorry but this is an idea of might out for a joyride. :D ::
Chapter One:: Without Him
I open my eyes slowly, shading my tired eyes from the sun peeking through my window drapes, streakin' across my sorry little bed in this room of mine I've paid for. If I had been anywhere else, this morning would have been a pleasant one, one that would leave me excited for this day but not today. I close my eyes and moan, rolling over to burrow my way through the covers until I suffocate, when a knock at the door breaks the unhappy silence of the room.
"Leave me alone!" I cry into my pillow. My head aches. Tears do that to me. Retching does too. But the door opens all the same and in strides Higgins, fresh clothes for me over his arm, and looking quite ready and willing to take on the world. I resent that look this morning.
"Leave me alone." I repeat callously.
"Now, now Miss. This is enough. You've been in this room for three days." Higgins pulls the drapes, igniting the entire room in bright sunshine. I groan again, haughtily cursing everything in my unabashed furry. My cockney tongue... my sailor's tongue. I've never lost it, not like I've lost so much else in my life.
I lay quiet for a minute before I feel the skin on the back of my neck prickle. Regrettably I pull my face from the pillow and gaze up at Higgins frowning at me. I know he's mad. He's a prime man who knows how to hold an expressionless face but today he doesn't. No, he shows it . I blink slowly and mumble a halfhearted apology.
"That mouth, Miss, I shall wash with soap if you do not desist that dirty and unladylike habit, you so currently have taken up in full."
Frowning I surrender to his threat, he's good for it, I know that for sure. It's not my fault, that, but there's no use arguing language with Higgins. He'll best me. Besides I'm too tired and angry to care who's gaining the point.
"Now Miss. Out of that bed." Higgins stands over me, laying the fresh clothes over a nearby chair and waiting for me to roll my ungrateful tail out of bed.
"Why?" I groan sourly, hugging my pillow. "I've got nothin'."
"You have me Miss and I intend to see you through this."
Aw. Dear Man, my Higgins. But I don't move. His words touch me, they really do but it's gonna take more than a kind word from him to rouse me. I'm that low.
"But still, why? I've nothing to do, no place to go, no one..." I bury my face in my pillow again and sob. No one. I don't say it aloud but Higgins knows it. I know he does.
"The past week has been hard on you Miss but I can assure you, there are still many worthy of your company. Already you have received word from Mrs. McConnaughey and Mr. Alsop. They wish to see you Miss, as do all the children."
"I don't wanna see anyone." I retort. It hurts me to say it but my anger don't disappear that quick.
"Regardless, you are getting up today. Now. Out of that bed and we'll dress you. I for one need something to do, this place is maddeningly boring. Up now." Higgins commands.
I wanted to refuse I really did but I've done that for three days now. And even though I'm at the point where I want to die, I listen. I haul myself out of the safety of my warm covers and let Higgins dress me. I don't have the energy but he does.
He dresses me in my new green dress, sewn much like my old school dress from Lawson Peabody, but more well suited to life here in London. It's low cut and fits tight to my ribs, just the way I like it. This new one is a favourite of mine, Higgins must have chosen it because of that. It looks fine on and makes me look a little more delicate than I am. Besides, it's got shorter sleeves than most so my shiv fits perfectly inside my elbow. Still, it's not my famous blue dress. The one I made while on the Dolphin. But that one is packed away at the bottom of my sea chest. I should really give it away, considering how things lie now but the memories of that dress make me keep it. Now, that one stays at the bottom of my sea chest.
When I'm dressed in my new rig, befitting our surroundings, Higgins steps back and smiles. I'd much rather be wearing my trousers and Lieutenant jacket or my pirate queen outfit but he'll not hear of it. No, he's pleased with his work. He then sits me in a chair, at the small table under the window, and disappears from the room, leaving me there alone. I sit at the window and stare out blankly at what people I can see below, ridding all fine in carriages and strutting down the streets like proper English gents and Ladies. I think over the past few weeks. The events that brought me back here, to London.
15 Lexington Street
June 10th 1809
Miss Jacky M. Faber
C/O the London Home for Little Wanderers
24 Brideshead Lane
My Dear Miss Faber
I write you today to answer the letter you posted me in request to ask after the whereabouts of a certain Lieutenant in His Majesty's Royal Navy. I regrettably write this letter to inform you that your suspicions based on rumour were correct, the marriage of Lieutenant James Emerson Fletcher and Miss Wilhelmina Theresa Gregson took place on June 2nd in the year of 1809 of our Lord the King. They have taken a house South of Drayer Street, London. I regrettably bring this news to you but most humbly ask that if you require anything further, please do not hesitate to ask it of me.
Your devoted Servant,
My chest hurts as I think about that letter from dear Caleb, but I don't cry now. No. There's no more tears now. That was a long time ago now. Back on my ship, when I got those words, those words hit me like a ten foot wave. Jaimy. My Jaimy, married another. I knew we were having trouble, him always getting posts on ships bound all over the world, our visits few and far between, usually ending with me causing mischief... and our fights... they were getting worse each time. It still hurt me though. Even though I actually tried to kill him last time I saw him. I still loved him. I always had, but this hurt more than anything. Why did he go? He said he never would, yet there he was a married man and me... I was just some lonely, crude, girl he knew from years ago.
Higgins came back then, interrupting my thoughts with breakfast. He sets the tray of hot food before me and drops the napkin onto my lap and frowns at my sullen face. He knew what I am thinkin' but he knows what to do. He removes the cover from my plate and stands back, letting the wondrous smells of good food reach my nose. My stomach growls.
I was sad and angry, sure, but there was no fooling my stomach, I quickly fall to it and dive into the hot breakfast. I am a heartbroken girl yes, but I'm a hungry one too.
After I've had my fill, Higgins takes the dishes away and returns with my cloak and bonnet. I shake my head at him. I don't wann go. He only smiles tenderly and holds the cloak open.
"A short walk to Poole Street and back. I've an errand and I'd like the company."
My shoulders sag. Of all the things I've learned about Higgins since I've met him, of him bein' a hard nosed businessman, a man with the mind of a spy and the soul of a pirate, I''ve know... but never sworn on him to have the heart of a saint. His words get me. I can't refuse. I stand and take my cloak, wondering why I need it at all on this fine day but not saying a word, I also take the bonnet from him. I don't like bonnets much but he insists. It's proper like, here in London so I don it and we go.
Later that afternoon, I sit with Higgins in a neat little tea room. It's not my style but I tuck in my tea and dainties with as much of the Lawson Peabody style and grace as I can muster. Actually it's the first time Higgins is the one completely in control, me not being in mortal danger or at deaths door, and he plays the part well. If any noticed us much they would have been sure I was a darling girl out to tea with her father. I've no doubt of that. And it was that thought that makes me smile. My dear Higgins, I thought looking at him sip his tea, what would I have ever done without you lookin' out for me?
Higgins puts down his tea and looks at me, surveying the room. "I know, Miss, that this not your first choice of establishment but I didn't think it wise that we thrust you into such company at this time. Besides, the taverns in London are not like those on the coast."
I nod. I know it to be true. I've been many places in my short life, and although I've a knack at putting my poor mortal soul in danger, I know enough to keep away from trouble such as that. Besides I've no energy for taverns yet, and Higgins knows it.
"I don't mind. It's kinda nice..." I muse, glancing quickly over the other's taking tea in this place. I work hard to keep The Look on my face but I let it slip a little, soften it, so that I look the part of Higgins' innocent daughter. "...I've never been to a place this grand."
"You Miss?" Higgins smiled, clearly not believing a word I've said.
"Honestly." I reply, somewhere deep down, pleased I've made him smile. "I've been to a place like this once but not London grand. ...I mean I've done a lot in my short life but I grew up around here, I never thought I'd actually be allowed into a place like this... ever."
"And yet here you are."
"Yes." I give him a weak smile. "It's strange really, to think I've sat in the company of the First Lord, entertained sailors from Boston to Cuba, sailed down the Mississippi, road an Elephant, sailed with a Chinese Admiral, and met Boney himself ... but this to me is better than all that."
"I am actually quite surprised a tearoom would delight you so much as to place it above such... monumental events as you've just mentioned." He smiled again.
"But that's just it. You'd think a thing like this, which you and a lot of people in here thinks as a normal place to visit, would bore me but it doesn't bore the little girl from Cheapside." I reply, looking around at the pretty painted paper covering the walls and lacy drapes over each window. "Even a place they serve tea is exciting for me."
"Then I suggest the next place you visit be Japan." Higgins retorts, picking up his tea once more. "I have heard many business men, during my employ with Lord Hollingsworth, mention such teahouses there. Houses completely devoted to serving tea and entertaining guests, Geishas in beautiful silk Kimono. I'm actually surprised you've never visited yourself."
I take a moment and think back on Cheng Shih, and how I almost got there to enjoy all of the Orient's exotic beauty. Oh Beloved Shih, has it really been two years since I've seen you?
"Perhaps I will." I answer him, thinking about such a place as exotic Japan. I think about all of the silk tapestries in Cheng Shih's cabin, her beautiful paintings and how much I would like to visit such a rich and beautiful place as that. It would make an exciting trip.
"Speaking of which, I hope you do not think me rude as to inquire after the next venture peeking your curiosity." He asks, watching me cautiously.
I shrug. For once in my life having no scheme in the works. That all ended four days ago.
"I suppose I'll just take my ship around the channel for a while. Maybe visit Liam and Moria in Ireland or Amy in Boston. I've no plans." I reply, a little chastened to say such a thing, being who I am.
Higgins nods at that and is silent a long moment, leaving me to my pitiful thoughts, until he pulls a few coins from his pocket and lays them on the table. "Shall we?"
I drain my tea and pat my lips with my napkin, feeling a pang at my heart, remembering Jaimy smiling at me as I wiped my face on my sleeve back all those years in Kingston. My eyes cut to Higgins's vacated spot across the table. I can still see him. Sitting there across from me smiling handsomely as he explains the workings of a fork. It's sentimental drabble, I know but it's what makes these moments without him harder to bare. As much as I am angry at him for leaving me, 'cause of the hurt that makes my heart ache, I hate him for those nice memories that make it impossible to ignore the ache. I feel the dark cloud settling over me.
But, like always, I try and push those thoughts from my mind as I stand to take the arm Higgins' offered me. He can see the memories flooding through my mind, and pats my hand, leading me outside.
"Time, Miss. Time is a great healer."
I nod silently. I don't like this feeling. I don't like me like this, but it's hopeless. There's never been anything so stable in my life, so good as me and Jaimy and yet even that's crumbled out from under me. I close my eyes and let the sun warm my face. It feels good. Maybe one day I'll forget the sight of him with her. One day I'll forget the sound of his voice or the smile he gave her. Maybe one day...
...but not this day.