by Pearl-o

It was after Elizabeth lost the second baby that Will began to notice a change.

Part of it, he thought, was the isolation. Elizabeth had never been especially friendly with any of the other women in Port Royal. Her old acquaintances had continued to call on her after their marriage, but they had stopped after only a few months of visits to the small dark house (which was grander than anywhere Will had expected to live; till his marriage, he had slept in the smithy, among his swords). This new absence was just as well, however, for after each of the visits, Elizabeth's face would be always drawn and annoyed, and her tongue cutting.

It was always after these times that Will felt especially strongly how much Elizabeth had given up when they wed. She had not realized how much it would be, he knew, and she did not ever mention it to him, but once in a while he could see an impatience within her at the state of their lives. He knew he gave her neither the luxury in which she was raised, nor the freedom and adventure she had dreamt of.

Will had always hated to deny her anything.

Elizabeth had kept her own company, then, but since the miscarriage, the state seemed to have grown more intense. Will suspected she rarely went out into the world these days, for her face seemed to have grown wan, and sharper and more hardened. Her days were spent reading: novels and poetry; history and adventure; pirates; whatever she could find.

It was all very worrisome.


"Will," she said, as he climbed into bed beside her. She set a book down on the table.

"My dear?"

"I want you to teach me the sword." Her tone was purely matter-of-fact.

Will frowned, hesitating, and Elizabeth set her hand upon his own, where it lay above the covers. "Please, Will."

After another second, he said, "Very well."

"Oh, excellent, my love! We can begin tomorrow." Elizabeth smiled, a wide genuine one, and Will felt his heart swell a little bit more as she kissed him and turned to blow out the candle.


He was not sure why he waited, but it was not until supper was almost over that he told her.

"I heard word today, of the Pearl," Will said, pouring himself some wine.

There was a silence. When he looked back to her, the transformation of her face was almost astonishing. He could not remember the last time he saw her face so hungry, so ... yearning.

"Yes? What do they say?" She leaned forward, forearms pressed against the table before her. Her eyes glittered slightly.

In theory, Will approved wholeheartedly of Elizabeth's eyes glittering.

"The Atlantic Jewel arrived yesterday. Her men say the ship has been spotted in the waters all around here the last few months. The 'terror of the seas'. " Will chewed another mouthful of meat; it made it easier to avoid Elizabeth's eager face. "Jack's legend grows by the day."

"Oh," Elizabeth said, a soft breathy sigh.

No more was said on the subject that night, by either her or Will.


They made love these days with a tenderness and fervor that had not decreased with the years -- more than two, now, since they had first laid hands upon each other in their dark bedroom, each shaking with nerves and anticipation.

But each day that went by without a quickening in Elizabeth's belly was a small disappointment to Will.

And each day, he made swords, and came home to his lovely wife. And Elizabeth read, and practiced, and grew quiet, and stranger to him.


He should not, perhaps, have been surprised, he thought. If he was truly honest, he had probably been awaiting this day since the Black Pearl left Port Royal. Surely it was not over, this was not the end; surely there was more between them. Surely Jack would return one day.

But he was surprised, nonetheless, when he saw the parrot, resting upon the storefronts; and even more surprised when he ran home at his quickest speed, only to found the house empty.

Almost empty, at least. She had left a note for him.

"I must leave", she said, and "We shall already be gone from the harbor when you read this", and "I am most sorry if this hurts you", and his eyes burned too much to go on. He rested his head on the table in his arms for a few minutes before he returned to it. And this time, he read, "I love you" and "I married a pirate; I await your arrival with bated breath" and "Jack sends his regards, and requests that you remember to bring the hat."

Their head start was not overly large, Will thought; and oh, he had gone after Elizabeth before.

It was not so much to give this up, after all. He could feel his blood quicken at the thought of the treasure he sought, and he laughed a little and hummed Elizabeth's favorite song as he thought over his plans.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Plain Style / Fancy Style