2 - Almost Home
“You still haven’t told me where you’re from or why you’re here.” The blond Swede asked, panting as she rolled away from the mystery man she knew as Jacob-no-last-name.
“Where I’m from doesn’t matter, nor does why I’m here.” He said in his deep voice, rubbing his dark, rugged beard. He had never had one before, but he kind of liked it.
“Look, I can hear your Aussie accent; I’m not deaf!” The blonde rolled onto her side and started rubbing her index finger along his bare chest. He pushed her hand away and sat up.
“I’m leaving tomorrow morning. Alone. I’ll probably never be back this way and it’s more than likely that you’ll never see me again.” He said, getting up and pulling his pants on.
“So that’s it then.” The blonde pushed herself up to a sitting position. She sounded hurt and accusing.
“What do you mean?” The man asked, turning around to look at her while pulling on his white undershirt.
“I mean you meet a girl in a bar, hit on her, bring her to your room so you can have fun and then drop her just like that? You said you moved around a lot, but I didn’t know you meant you move around girls a lot too.” The blonde stood up and started looking for her missing boots and clothes.
“Stop. Wait. It’s not like that. I left home to get some stuff together and I only have a few days before I have to get back. And you were the only girl I’ve met who I’ve done anything with.” The man grabbed her arm and pulled her back to him.
“It’s been two weeks. We’ve taken each other’s clothes off for the past ten nights! Talk to me.” The blonde said, almost pleading. When he didn’t answer she said, “I know Jacob isn’t really your name. Tell me what’s going on!”
He sighed and stroked her bare arms with his thumbs. “My name is Connor Tempest. And I honestly don’t know where to begin, but I’m glad I found someone I can tell my story to.”
“Just start at the beginning.” The blonde said, rubbing his arms. She felt him relax all of his muscles for the first time since she’d known him.
They sat on the bed and she waited for him to tell her his story.
“The interesting part started when the man I thought was my father died, so my twin sister and I ran away, except we didn’t really run. We jumped in my dad’s old boat and sailed out into the open ocean. Then there was a huge storm and we were shipwrecked. I had no idea if either of us would make it out alive, but that was over seven years ago. Then I was saved by some pirates and I became one myself. They taught me stuff I’d never even dreamed of. The whole time I thought that Grace had died in the water, but later-” Connor was cut off by the blonde.
“Is Grace your twin sister then?” She asked, holding his arm.
“Yeah. And I found out almost a month later that she was alive and well, aboard a ship of vampirates. But they were the good kind. They called themselves Nocturnals, and Grace fell in love with one of them.” Connor continued telling the story of the war and all they’d been through since they were shipwrecked all those years ago.
“So that’s how you ended up here.” The blonde sat on the bed, utterly shell-shocked. Of all the things she thought could have brought him here she had never once imagined anything like this. She thought he must’ve spent a couple hours telling her the story of his life, all the terrifying things she never could have imagined in all of her wildest dreams. She’s seen him laugh and smile at some of the things he told her, and she’d seen him cry and shake at some of the things he’d told her. She could see him on the deck of The Diablo, during the first couple of months of his being a pirate, sparing with his best mates, Jez Stukeley and Bartholomew Pierce – Bart for short. Both of them had died, however, and she couldn’t imagine how it must have felt for him to lose both of his best friends.
“Yeah, that’s how I ended up here.” Connor said, wiping his eyes.
“So, are you going to go back?” The blonde asked. Now Connor addressed her by her name.
“Kaiya, you are an amazing girl, but I have to go back. I wish I could just stay here, but there was a reason I left, and now it’s time for me to go home.” Connor said.
“I understand, Connor. I just have one thing to ask of you.” Kaiya looked at him expectantly.
“What is it?” Connor asked, worried of what he might hear.
“Take me with you.” Kaiya grabbed Connor’s hand as he turned to walk away again.
“I can’t.” He said, taking his arm away from her and putting his coat on. There was silence as he opened the door, before he closed it he said, “Why would you want to come anyway?”
“Because, I think I’ve fallen in love with you.” Kaiya looked to the floor and then back at Connor. He sighed and for a minute she thought he was going to tell her that he loved her too. Instead he turned around and slammed the door.
“Dammit, Kaiya!” He yelled, almost as loud as he’d slammed the door.
“What?” She asked.
“I love you too! Okay? I’ve loved you since the first night you took my clothes off!” He said, grabbing her arms above the elbows and pulled her up to stand in front of him. “I love you, okay? I love you, and I can’t take you with me because where I’m going, it’s dangerous. And if something were to happen to you I,” He paused and took a breath, “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.” He rubbed her arms.
“I can take care of myself you know.” Kaiya said, pushing his coat to the edges of his shoulders and playing with the neckline of his t-shirt.
“Have you ever met a pirate before?” Connor asked, stepping away from her and shrugging his coat back on.
“Well, no, but I’ve met you!” Kaiya answered. He laughed.
“Yes, you’ve met me. But you haven’t met the pirate me,” He grabbed her arms again and she flinched a little. “You haven’t met the me who’s gone into battle and killed men twenty, thirty, forty years older than himself in cold blood while they begged for mercy. You haven’t met the me who’s beheaded vampirates on their wedding day! You haven’t met the guy who would look you in the eye, smile, and kill you. And yet you’re looking at him.” He pushed away from her and rubbed his rugged beard again.
“I don’t care. I may not have known people like that, but I know some pretty bad people. I may never have met a pirate, or a vampirate, but I’ve met vampires. My dad, he turned into one. He came home one night about a month after he died and killed my mom and both my sisters. Then he turned to me and tried to kill me too. Somehow I managed to knock him into a candelabra that mom had out. While he burned I ran to the back room and grabbed an old sword to decapitate him with.” Kaiya answered, taking her turn to grab his arms and turn him around with force.
“I’m sorry you had to go through that.” Connor answered, realizing for the first time that land pirates did have power.
“Don’t be. I always hated my dad anyway. But I think that if I can handle that, I can handle a few rude pirates.” Kaiya started playing with the edges of his shirt again and flinched when we grabbed her arms again, then he shrugged his coat off his shoulders and started kissing her again, passionately.
She threw off his coat and kicked off her boots, before falling onto the bed and pulling him onto her.
“It’s your turn to be on top.” She said with a playful smile. He smiled back and went in for another kiss, while pulling his shirt off.
“I won’t be for long.” He whispered, biting her ear lobe.“Just take my shirt off.” Kaiya said, pushing her hands up under his undershirt and pulling it off.
“The taxi boat will be here in a few minutes.” Connor said, laying on his back, rubbing Kaiya’s arm.
“We should get dressed.” She said, snuggling into him a little more.
“You get dressed, I’m going to go pay the taxi boat. Meet me at the harbor.” Connor kissed her and dressed quickly. While he was gone she got dressed slowly, opening her trunk and picking out the dress she thought looked most like what a pirate would wear, based on old photos she’d seen of pirates when she was a child and interested in that kind of thing.
She looked in the cracked mirror on the wall and tried to fix her hair a little bit, so that it would look better than the nest she had currently. She brushed it and then pulled it up in a high ponytail with her bangs out, framing her face. She thought she was ready.
She left the room and walked down to the harbor, deciding to leave her trunk behind and take with her only what she was wearing and two sacks of money, which she attached to the inside of her belt so they hung silently, out of sight, under her skirt.
When she made it to the harbor she found the taxi boat waiting for them, but no Connor. She looked around wondering where he could’ve got off to and found him on his way with two pints of rum.
“You had me worried there for a minute. I’d thought you’d left me to go on my own.” Kaiya said, taking one of the pints from his hand.
“No, I was just grabbing us some drinks for the ride.” He smiled, helping her into the taxi boat.
“Where are we going?” Kaiya asked.
“That’s something I too would like to know.” The taxi driver said pointedly to Connor.
“Pirate Academy.” Connor answered simply. The driver smiled toothless smile.
“That’s a long ride, it’ll cost ya.” The driver said, writing a number on a napkin and handing it to Connor.
“I can’t afford that!” Connor said, handing the napkin back.
“Then get out of my boat.” The driver said, staring daggers at him.
“It’s okay. I’ll cover it.” Kaiya said, unclipping one of the sacks from her belt and pouring out some of its contents. Connor stared in awe at the amount of money she had poured out of the small bag. The driver smiled again and wasted no time in taking off.
“Why pirate academy? I thought you were already a captain.” Kaiya asked.“I’ve been dead for seven years, I’m going to need to explain myself to the top man in the system.”