Oh wow! ^_^ Thanks!
1. I love licorice (real licorice…not the strawberry flavored stuff that pretends to be licorice)
2. I have a Fine Arts degree but have never used it for any job since I graduated.
3. I lived in Alaska for four years (and loved it)
4. I live in the US – a Northerner who now lives in the South.
5. My favorite type of wine is muscadine - especially the scuppernong variety.
The grinding screech made by Barbossa’s chair as he swiftly and violently got to his feet, scaled along her skin, her eyes widening marginally as she watched him approach her with a forceful intent in each hard step.
And then he was there, hands spread menacingly over the expanse of the table before her, leaning forward threateningly. He had felt her then?
She had the decency to feel an inkling of shame for staring so unabashedly, so rudely…but an inkling only. Her lips parted slowly in soft astonished titillation at his last words. She saw the near crazed gleam that shown almost like gold in his gaze, and heard the ragged breathless edge in his voice. Though her features were delicately lined with confused innocence there lurked a darker shade in her hazel eyes, that betrayed a light devious coyness. She blinked up at him with falsely guileless doe like eyes…
“A cat may look at a King.” She defended in a quiet murmur, “Besides you did invite me.” She reminded him politely, “Did you not? I am merely waiting here, patiently, while you finish conducting your other…affairs.”
She took another languid swallow of her drink, eyes trained solely on him still, setting down the bottle, her tongue went out to dab at the right hand corner of her mouth, to save the tiny drop that had escaped her on first devouring. Her fingers dusted the bottle length lazily.
“Surely…there is no harm in that?” She asked simply.
Vi watched silently, sipping her rum and taking the situation in. This was the best opportunity to gather information she’d had in ages. She would not ruin it by being too obviously nosy, too persistant, or speaking up too much. She’d hate for them to clam up.
But when Barbossa spoke of being brought back, she raised an eyebrow. “Who, and what purpose?” She asked eagerly before she could stop herself. Then he expanded, and her eyes widened. She might get her information after all. But she jumped a little when he stood up abruptly and headed to the other table to talk to a brunette she vaguely recognized as one she’d seen multiple times with Jack. And yet, Barbossa seemed to be pretty familiar with her too. Barbossa just got more and more interesting every minute!
It was then that she signaled a barmaid to keep filling his mug and give her the bill in the end. It would definitely pay to keep on his good side.
“I do believe ye have me confused wit’ Jack, dear. I may be old but I’m not th’ one who doesna know th’ names of those I be beddin’.”
Kat gave him a rather approving look, and even a hint of a smile. “Oh, darling,” she said dismissively. “I would never confuse you with Jack.” Whether that was meant as a compliment was likely uncertain to those who heard it. But it most certainly was one. Kat would never confuse someone like Barbossa with anyone, most of all Jack. The man had a presence that could never be mistaken.
Kat couldn’t help but smirk as Calliope cut right to the chase and demanded an explanation of Barbossa. It was one of the things she and the madame had in common; a certain, selective lack of patience. Of course, the explanation that Barbossa then chose to give left something to be desired by a woman as detail-oriented as Kat. She glanced at Vi, who voiced a couple of the very questions she was forming in her mind. The detail about acquiring a ship flashed into her mind, and she eyed Barbossa in a very specific manner; a manner so specific that, had he looked at her, he would know exactly what his old companion was thinking:
It’s not the Pearl, is it?
But Barbossa left the table before any response could be made, and she followed him with her eyes, raising a brow as he bent over a table inhabited by Rachel Hobbes, whom she only knew by Genesis Morgan’s one-sided introduction. That was interesting…as far as Kat knew, Rachel was Jack’s lover. She frowned; what had Jack done this time to drive the latest lover away?
Normally, Calliope would indulge Barbossa’s vague and flirtatious ways, but not right now. The last time she’d seen him, she was holding back her husband, David, from trying to kill the unkillable captain for what he had ‘allowed’ his crew to do to some of the girls and, following being caught, the brawl that had nearly leveled the famed tavern. No, to the point was the mood of the evening for Calliope Miller.
“Please let it be a naval ship,” the blonde murmured in response to Barbossa’s comment about acquiring a very specific ship. “It’s take to take back from the bastards,” Calli noted, dropping her hand to her abdomen. Now, with her hand against the white fabric, the lock of dark hair between her fingers was far more obvious.
She started a bit when Barbossa rose quickly and headed to the table where Rachel sat. Her jaw set and her eyes narrowed. Calliope only heard Barbossa’s words, as Rachel’s response didn’t quite make it all the way to the table. Of course, the madam was returning to her normal maternally protective ways.
Perhaps Calliope surprised everyone else around her with how quickly she popped up from the chair; she certainly surprised herself. The only clue that she was weak was how she clutched the back of her chair. The woman’s voice was deep and firm and no-nonsense. “You harm a chair on her head, Hector, and I think we might not be friends anymore. Not every woman in this tavern is here for your pleasure. Some…” Her bright eyes drifted to Rachel. “…are worth more coin than any man could proffer.”
She had to calm herself. Really. It wasn’t like Calliope to act so off the cuff. Some things had changed since she’d been unconscious. “Hector, come and take your seat, please? And Rachel, duck, if you’d like to join us…” The blonde wanted to have both of them easily in her sights.
Barbossa watched her face intently as she reacted to his words. It was almost with a feeling of victory when he saw it: The carefully constructed innocence, in both expression and words, could not hide what he saw behind her eyes – something cunning that held a promise of things to come.
“Besides you did invite me. Did you not?
Had he invited her to follow him? He could have sworn he had done no such thing. He may have wanted her to but in his introspective state when leaving that other tavern, he didn’t remember ever verbalizing it.
Barbossa ignored the question about whether he had invited her or not and instead focused on something else she had said. “Will ye be patient now? Ye haven’t struck me as th’ picture o’ patience, m’ sweet. Rather, I believe ye be a tester o’ patience in others.”
His eyes watched her every move as she took a slow drink of rum, eyes on her mouth. His attention then shifted to her hand as she toyed with the bottle, his eyes first watching her movement there and then shifted to her face with a knowing look. Remembering what he had seen behind her eyes at his blatant suggestion, he realized she was toying with him in much the same manner as she did the bottle.
A tease, he thought to himself in an attempt to slow his hammering heart, she be nothin’ but a tease. Suddenly, he reached out toward her and covered the hand that had been poised at the neck, stilling her wandering fingers against the glass underneath his grasp. Just as he meant to speak his sentiments aloud regarding her nature, there was a sudden scraping of another chair against the floor and Calliope’s voice called out to him.
Her tone of voice caused his jaws to clench and a hard glint came to his eyes. With his back to Calliope, however, Rachel would have been the one to see this reaction. Even though he had been a frequent customer of the Albino Peacock he always felt like he was on a short leash given Calliope’s strict rules. The main reason for his enduring such things, which went against his nature, was the woman now berating him from his own table.
He slowly straightened, the hand covering Rachel’s moved to the back of her chair and he turned slightly to face Calliope. For a long moment he looked at her, and then finally he answered her, his voice reflecting irritation, “I know th’ rules ye set verra well, dear. But, I didna realize that mere threatening tones o’ voice have since been banned as well.”
Clenching his teeth once again in an effort to curb the sarcasm, he paused and then continued in a lighter tone, “I assure ye naught will come from m’ words,” his voice trailed off as he glanced down at Rachel. He reached for a section of her hair and rubbed it between his fingers, eyes on hers before continuing to speak to Calliope over his shoulder, “which may be a disappointment fer both parties involved.”
Leaning over, his face close to Rachel’s, he took the strand of hair, put it to his face and breathed in the scent. In a soft whisper he added, “If ye can stand th’ heat, yer welcome t’ follow m’ once again.” He left it up to her to decide exactly which form of heat he referred to as he straightened once again and strode back to his table, eyes flicking to Calliope’s face before sitting back down.
Barbossa took a deep breath, as if to clear his thoughts, and then drank deeply from the rum. He glanced at each woman at the table, trying to figure out how best to restart after his own interruption. His gaze strayed to Vi as he recalled her earlier question, a question he knew the others were wondering about as well. “Th’ “how” doesna matter at this point e’en though ye all be burnin’ t’ hear th’ tale. Well, yer curiosity be damned, fer I’m not of a mind t’ share right now.” He paused slightly at his own words and his eyes sought out Rachel as if in silent communication, before continuing, “And th’ “why” hasn’t even been revealed t’ me yet.”
Remembering the look that Kat had given him when he had first mentioned acquiring a ship, he turned to her with a knowing smile, “It isn’t th’ ship ye be thinkin’ Kat. And e’en though that thought be verra temptin’ t’ me, that isna part o’ her plan,” he paused and his gaze dropped to study the contents of his bottle, hiding his eyes from the others before adding in a softer tone, “…yet.”
He continued to study the bottle and let the silence fill the air before voicing one word as if to himself: “Integrity.” Then he looked up and his eyes happened to fall on Calliope as he repeated himself, an intense look on his face, “HMS Integrity. I mean t’ have her. She’ll put up a fight fer sure. Th’ virgins always do. But once I get her into a submissive posture, there willna be much integrity left in her.”
Pride of Baltimore II With every stitch of canvas flying
Ivan Aivazovsky, The Bay of Naples, Misty Morning, 1874