Bird Of The Sea

56 The Parting Glass

Great Inagua, October 1722

In the late afternoon, Thomas and Jemima sat in the tavern, surrounded by sailors, the warm wind and pleasant weather a sign of good fortune and peace that settled over them. Jemima rested her head on Thomas' shoulder and gave a contented sigh, filled with comfort. Thomas had his arm around her, feeling like she was a missing puzzle piece that was always meant to be a part of him. Now she was here, he was complete.

They said little, blissful in each other's company as they listened to the yammerings of the sailors around them, an amused smile alighting on their lips when they both heard something funny. Anne stood beside them, in conversation with another sailor, but their sound soon faded to nothing as the pair became cut off from the others and it were as if they lived in their own perfect world.

"Evening." Kenway said, approaching them, jolting the two back to reality.

Anne turned from her conversation with the sailor, and taking his cue, the man left.

"Edward." Anne greeted and the two sat down beside Thomas and Jemima.

"I'll be sailing for London in the next few months." He said, pouring himself a drink. "Are there any of you who wish to join me?"

"London's not the best place for me to be right now." Thomas said, the dark past suppressed back in England. He was free from that here. "Maybe I'll return to England one day, to visit. But not now."

Kenway nodded.

"I'd like that. Come and see me as a middle aged, upper class gentleman. And I'd like to see you as a husband, starting a family."

Thomas and Jemima grinned.

"Aye. We'll do just that."

With a smile, Edward turned to Anne.

"I'd be a hopeful man if you were beside me."

She gave a laugh and bowed her head.

"England's the wrong way 'round the globe for an Irishwoman." She told him.

Again, he nodded, figuring he would be travelling alone. He glanced from Anne to Jemima.

"Will you stay with the assassins?"

Jemima made a face, as if pondering the idea, unknown to Kenway that she'd given the idea much thought already.

"I am, aye." She smiled as her love took her hand. "It's time I hung up my cutlass in exchange for a second wrist blade."

"And you would exchange your hat for a hood?" Edward grinned at her mournful expression at the thought of it.

Jemima turned to Thomas.

"How strict are they with the choice of clothing?" She asked and he laughed.

"I think a hood would suit you better." He said and took off her hat, placing it on the table as he ran a hand through her jet black hair, kissing her.

Kenway smiled at the sight of them.

"And what about you, Anne?"

"No." She shook her head. "I haven't that kind of conviction in my heart. You?"

"In time, aye... When my mind is settled and my blood is cooled."

"Sail ho!" A voice called out. "Coming into the cove!"

As the British colours came into sight, Edward stood and took a step forward. He felt the pressure of the future on his chest, but also the uplifting joy it would bring. Anne joined him and put a hand on his arm.

"You're a good man, Edward." She smiled. "And if you learn to keep settled in one place for more than a week, you'll make a fine father too."

Anne stepped back and turned to the table. She took Jemima's hand and pulled her to her feet. With a grin, she signalled for a sailor to pick up his instrument.

"Come on, lass. It's time for a song."

Jemima glanced back to Thomas who nodded, and with a smile, waved the two women on.

"Of all the money that e'er I had,

I spent it in good company,

And all the harm that e'er I've done,

Alas it was to none but me."

As the sailor began to strum on his guitar, Thomas stood and joined Kenway as he looked out at the other men around him. Maybe he saw the same thing that Thomas saw, but he smiled at the sight of it. Men and women, dead and gone, sat before them, not arguing, just happy in one another's company. With drinks by their hands, they watched Anne and Jemima sing, a smile on their face, as bright and bold as if they truly were sitting there. Thomas nodded to each of them, whether they were an ally or foe, a dear friend or someone he was yet to meet, as he recalled each of their names. Stede Bonnet, Benjamin Hornigold, Charles Vane, Mary Read, Jack Rackham, Edward Thatch and upon his knee, the small, gentle child, with thick black hair that she shared with her mother and her grandfather. His daughter gave a beautiful smile as she tugged at her grandfather's beard and Thatch chuckled because of it.

Thomas turned away from the vision and took his love's hand. Anne nodded an understanding as he led her away from the tavern and followed Kenway. They watched him pluck flowers from the side of the path before stepping down to the docks as the ship pulled in. From a distance, they watched the young girl, Jennifer Scott Kenway, step down the gangplank and up to her father. He knelt down, passing her the flower as she graciously took them, a doll clutched in her other hand.

"One day, we'll have a child as beautiful as her." Thomas smiled, his arms wrapped around her.

"Even if it's a boy?"

"Even if it's a boy. We'll have a beautiful little boy." He said and Jemima grinned at the thought of it.

"Aye. One day."

Anne's voice carried through the island and as they watched their friend walk along the shore before boarding his own ship, the mighty Jackdaw, his daughter's hand nearly lost in his. Jemima sighed, blissful in her love's arms, now that all the harm and darkness had drawn to a close. Their fingers intertwined, their hands rested on Jemima's belly as if to hold their future child, not yet born.

"I'll gently rise and I'll softly call,

Goodnight and joy be with you all." She sang and for the last line, Thomas joined her, the three voices giving Edward Kenway a final farewell.

"Goodnight and joy be with you all."

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