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Surprises (I own nothing of Pirates of the Caribbean, except the products of my own imagination. I certainly make no money from the following tale, my only profit being the sheer fun of it. Thank you to the wonderful people who created these characters that we get to play with. Ah, would that it were so in truth....) If you'd like to quote or post elsewhere any part of the following, please be very kind and ask first. I hope you enjoy. This is my first ever attempt at fiction and I welcome your reviews to let me know if its good for you too. (Smile) Chapter 1: Guess Who's Coming for Dinner. Will was trying to enjoy a few more languorous minutes of lying in bed before he had to get up. He was just convincing himself that there weren't too many outstanding orders and he might treat himself to sleeping in just a bit when the cacophony of a tangle of green parrots blasted just underneath the window. God, they sounded like a thousand cats getting their tails closed in a door and Elizabeth bolted up in bed. "Bloody Parrots," she swore, throwing the pillow in the general direction of the noise, not quite awake yet. Not really a morning person, which was particularly trying in such a bright house. There was a rustling at the window and they both turned to see a blue and yellow parrot, considerably taller than the wild greens that had woken them, perched on the edge of the balcony. "Any Port in a Storm. Any Port in a Storm," cawed the parrot, ruffling his feathers with self-importance. "Jack's in." she said, her face unable to containing the broad grin of anticipation. "I'm up." +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ With the sun barely 10 degrees over the horizon, Captain Jack Sparrow stood on deck of the Black Pearl, giving orders for the day with his bosun and first mate. The ship flew no flag at the moment, and was anchored in the main port itself rather than in a hidden cove for cover, which was itself a decidedly odd feeling. Even though Jack knew better than anyone the terms he'd negotiated with Norrington, he couldn't shake the feeling that someone would be coming along to clap him in irons at a moments notice. It was one thing to sit in Shell Harbor in Tortuga in plain sight in the bright light of the morning - although come to think of it, Jack had never seen much bright morning light when he was in Tortuga thanks to many pleasurable long nights - but it was bizarre to be doing it in Port Royal. Jack thought back to three months ago, when a ship of British privateers had suddenly gone off the edge of the map and demanded the commodore's attention. It was common knowledge that privateers were really no more than pirates with a permission slip, permitted to attack and plunder vessels and ports at will so long as they were those under a different flag than their own. All the great naval powers fighting for dominance in the Caribbean - the English, the French, the Spanish, the Portuguese and the Dutch - all employed privateers as a way to bedevil one another and help turn the tides of fortune their way. One ship, the Cyclops, operated according to the terms of its charter for about six months, then abandoned its agreement to avoid British ports, and seemed to have set a new standard for bloodthirstiness, apparently killing not for the sake of taking but for their own twisted delight in it. And the ship was fast. Very fast. Twice it had outrun the fleet vessels sent to capture it and it was becoming a major embarrassment to the crown. Jack was stunned one day to hear the lookout's cry of sail spotted, only to find the HMS Dauntless sailing a white flag and Commodore James Norrington requesting parle with Captain Jack Sparrow. The Commodore and an escort of two came on board the Pearl. "Well, Well, Commodore. Come to surrender the fleet? And this not even my birthday," Jack drawled. "Actually, I was hoping we might come to an accord," Norrington offered, with a surprising lack of condescension. After a lengthy discussion and several bottles of rum, Jack Sparrow was a bit amazed to find himself agreeing to help capture the Cyclops. For his efforts, the Pearl garnered whatever swag the rogue ship possessed and a rough truce with the British fleet, so long as he avoided certain territory that the Commodore couldn't ignore. And of course he was at least partially persuaded by the fact that the Cyclops was captained by one John James Barbossa. Clearly a certain level of betrayal and viciousness ran in the family. The Pearl overtook the Cyclops after a week's chase and the battle for the ship was one of the most vicious in Jack's memories. In the end the Pearl had proved victorious and burned the sails, leaving the Cyclops dead in the water. The Dauntless had swept in to mop up the mess, and Jack and his crew went back to their usual pursuits. And so that's how it came to be that Jack found himself enjoying this rather strange occurrence of being out in plain site in Port Royal. Jack was pleased though not particularly surprised to see his friend William Turner hurrying down to the dock so early in the morning His eyes did widen slightly at the sight of Elizabeth Turner rushing down to meet him immediately upon his arrival and even more so when she pulled him into a hug. "Elizabeth, my dear, I'm touched that you would rush to my side like this. And with such an impassioned embrace. I understand, luv. The Eunuch just isn't enough for a passionate woman such as yourself. Well, perhaps I might be of assistance while I'm in town, but well..." "You are so incorrigible," she interrupted " . . . but we have really missed you," she added, smiling. "At any rate, I've actually come to personally invite you to dinner. Will will give you the details - I've got loads to do - but it's important. So we'll see you at 6:00 - sharp. She stepped back several paces and cast a sharp, appraising eye on Jack's appearance. He was dressed in pretty much exactly the same ensemble as the last time they had seen one another. Brown leather high boots, grey pants, white linen open shirt, red and white sash. Black buckler with sword and pistol; battered leather tricorner hat. Face framed by trade beads woven into his hair that fell down his back, and tied back with a bright red scarf. Kohl-rimmed eyes, the black of the kohl making his own brown flecked with amber seem that much darker. She knew that the kohl was, in theory, to cut down on the sun glare on the water. But she suspected it was really because it added to the air of mystery that Jack loved to cultivate. As much as she had found this man to be infuriating and impossible, it was also impossible not to like him and she had come to do so even more than she might like to admit to herself. This face had what her mother called 'good bone structure' and it undeniably was a very handsome face. And she had to admit; those eyes did make him look mysterious and intriguing - so they were successful. And the chest that invariably was revealed between the lines of white linen was smooth, tanned and hard and spoke of muscles well chiseled by work on a ship. The raw material was good; it just needed cleaning up a bit. Yup, this was going to be a very interesting evening. Jack began to look puzzled and a bit bewildered. "Elizabeth darling, you are looking at me as though you are shopping - for a roast goose or a lover, I'm not sure, but your husband is looking daggers at me and it's becoming a bit awkward, luv." Elizabeth took no bait. She just smiled to herself, said "Don't be late-" to Jack and gave her husband one of those looks that wives give husbands that indicate they had better know everything they are thinking and follow through to the letter, kissed Will soundly on the lips and walked off with a purposeful stride. "Have I said yes?" Jack asked Will as Elizabeth bustled off. "Don't get me wrong, mate. I love your company and all that and would I get around to visiting quite soon but it is my first night in port in a month and I was rather looking forward something a bit more disreputable than a quiet dinner at the Turner's, however delightful it may be." Will grinned like the cat that swallowed the canary. He clapped a hand on Jack's shoulder. "Jack, come to dinner tonight and I promise you it will not be a quiet and respectable dinner. Elizabeth's cousin just arrived from England and....well...she's quite an experience." "Next you'll be telling me she has a good personality. No, I don't think so mate." "Actually, she came here from England just to meet you, because of what Elizabeth's written about you in her letters." Jack drew his head back and questioned Will further. "You're telling me that a woman - a single woman," he raised a concerned eyebrow to Will... "Widowed." "Better still. A woman of some means..." "You could say that", Will nodded. "...has traveled all by her onesies from England to Port Royal primarily for the purpose of meeting me." "Yes." "Well, what can I say mate. I am Captain Jack Sparrow." There was a long pause. "Well now, your Elizabeth's quite easy on the eyes - if not necessarily the ears. Is this cousin of hers a pretty picture as well?" "I think you just need to meet her with no more preamble from me. And Jack - one word of advice. Just be yourself. But be yourself with clean clothes and a bath. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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