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Based on a Book or Play Quiz

Originally posted by morethansirius at Based on a Book or Play Quiz
An author can find inspiration in all sorts of things. The stories on this week's quiz were all inspired by a book or play. Have you read all these works which moved our SSHG authors to write?


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If you could change one thing about yourself, except for looks, what would it be?
I'd only need 6 hours of sleep at night and then feel completely refreshed without coffee.... I guest that's two things really. Oh wait, I'd change my credit card statement to read $0 owed.

Writer's Block: The winning ticket

What would be your first purchase if you won the lottery?
A new lap top and a velvet lazy boy recliner. Oh, and then some diamond jewelry.

A month off shopping

My first journal entry that isn't fiction, but my life. For the month of April, I am going to try and go cold turkey, no clothes (shoe or makeup) shopping. That also includes going crazy at Target, buying garden gnomes, or flowers... any ridiculous stuff I don't need.

Day One:

I love to shop. I love the way shopping makes me feel; the smell of store, the texture of clothes, the fantasy that they provide. Also, shopping for me is huge stress release and it's been a very stressful winter. My toddler daughter has been sick and house bound. She has asthma and is prone to pneumonia. So she had to be taken out of preshool and now has a stay at home nanny 3 1/2 days a week while my husband and I are at work. This has been a very costly solution. We're probably spending $600 more dollars a month on child care AND on top of that, every time she gets a runny nose, I'm worried we'll be back at Children's ER with another pneumonia. When you're child can't breathe, its' heart wrenching.

She's doing well now, but our budget doesn't leave us much money to travel like we use to or to go out to fancy dinners downtown. On top of that-- maybe this is the new mom in me, or just the mom of a sick child-- I dislike going out too far away from my child at night, because I worry so much about her.

But when I shop and buy a pretty dress or blouse, I feel pretty and fun again, like I'm about to embark on an adventure. Though the true irony is that I don't go anywhere. And even when I do, it's with an active, playful, fussy 20 month old, so it's not exactly like I can wear a silk blouse and heels.

Intellectually I know this, I know I'm in credit card debit and I should be buying said object, and yet, somehow my mind gives me permission. I'm horrible at holding myself accountable. I've always said it's a good thing that I don't smoke or do drugs, because I think it would be VERY difficult to quit. Yet, shopping and clothes are my drug!

It's really difficult with a toddler too because all the things that I use to love to do: play violin, write ff on my lap top, take long walks-- I can't do any more because my husband works 3 nights a week and every other weekend. I work everyday 8-3:30pm. When I get home, I want to spend time with my family, but it doesn't allow me to work on the lap top (she want's to watch elmo), play the violin (I can't put on head phones and work on learning music when I have to watch the baby!) and it's been a long long winter, and doctor's orders not to go outside in the cold because it stimulate pnemonias.

What else is left for me to enjoy myself-- shopping. BTW I hate cooking.

Anyway, this is day one and I've failed. I bought a SUPER cute white cotton dress at Anthropologie. But to make amends, I'm going to take a dress back to Macy's that I bought last week and brought home and then thought "wtf"?!! The next step I'm going to do it cut up my J.Crew card. Ugh... "I love you JCrew, but we need to break up." Thankfully, my CrewCard is debit free. I only have one credit card, but it has a (pardon) shit-load of debit that will (hopefully) be paid off by the end of July.

HOWEVER, if I keep buying clothes (that I don't need) I'm going to just keep running it up. I know that I'm more than the sum of my clothes. But what makes me want to spend and to buy? Hopefully, I'll explore that more here. At least my LJ account is free.

Signing off.

L.L.

ps I'm experiencing shopper's remorse.
Fandom: Star Trek 2009
Title: Exam Room 2 / Part 2 of 2
Characters/pairings: McCoy and Scotty-centric, with Jim, Keenser
Rating: PG-13
Words:2221
Disclaimer: I don't own ST09
Author's note:This story focuses on McCoy and Scotty. Exam Rooms is a series of short stories that examines McCoy's character while he treats colleagues and friends aboard the newly launched Enterprise. Keenser is Scotty's little green alien friend that has a propensity to climb on things and appears in the new movie. I thought he was so cute that I had to write him into ff.
Story Note: Part 1 can be found at my journal.
Summary: McCoy discovers Scotty suffering from a broken heart. Drinking and comedy ensue.


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Tags:

Exam Room 2: McCoy, Scotty, Jim, Keenser

Fandom: Star Trek 2009
Title: Exam Room 2 / Part 1 of 2
Characters/pairings: McCoy and Scotty-centric, with Jim, Keenser
Rating: PG-13
Words: 1799
Disclaimer: I don't own ST09
Author's note:This story focuses on McCoy and Scotty. Exam Rooms is a series of short stories that examinesMcCoy's character while he treats colleagues and friends aboard the newly launched Enterprise. Keenser is Scotty's little green alien friend that has a propensity to climb on things and appears in the new movie. I thought he was so cute that I had to write him into ff. Also a huge thank you to Kimbari who does some awesome beta work on my ST09 stories and tries to keep me on the cannon path.

Summary: McCoy discovers Scotty suffering from a broken heart. Drinking and a comedy of errors ensue.

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Exam Room 1: Chapter 2 McCoy, Uhura, Spock

 

Fandom: Star Trek 2009

Title: Exam Room 1 / Part 2 of 2

Characters/pairings: McCoy, Uhura, Spock, Spock/Uhura

Rating: PG-13

Words: 1284

Disclaimer: I don't own ST09

Author's note: I want to start examining Dr. McCoy's character and his actions in regards to treating both patients and friends. Thanks so much to my new beta Kimbari for helping me with Chapter 2.  Awesome suggests and helping me keep it ST!! Also, thank you for reviewing.  I love to know if what I'm writing is conveyed to the reader.

Summary: McCoy must see Uhura and an awkward situation ensues. Now Spock enters. McCoy must surpass being just a doctor and offer some hard learned advice.

 

 

Part 2: CureCollapse )

Tags:

Exam Room 1 McCoy, Uhura, Spock

Fandom: Star Trek 2009
Title: Exam Room 1 / Part 1 of 2
Characters/pairings: McCoy, Uhura, Spock, Spock/Uhura
Rating: PG-13
Words: 1284
Disclaimer: I don't own ST09
Author's note: I want to exploreDr. McCoy's character and his actions through his treatment of patients and friends.
Summary: McCoy must see Uhura as a patient and an awkward situation ensues.

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Tags:

Next Entry
A Highwayman Came Riding: Chpt 4
A Highwayman Came Riding
Chapter 4: Her Mantle So Green

Notes: James Norrington is reinstated as a R.N. Captain, but he regrets his failure to marry after the loss of Elizabeth. By chance, he decides to take mysterious and dangerous Scottish woman his wife . A highwayman is also on the loose. Can he get the girl and snag the mysterious thief that's haunting Port Royal?

Pairing: Norrington/ OFC
Post: POTC
Rating: M





As I went out walking one morning in June,
To view the fair fields and the valleys in bloom,
I spied a pretty fair maid she appeared like a queen
With her costly fine robes and her mantle so green.

Says I, "My pretty fair maid, won't you come with me
We'll both join in wedlock, and married we'll be,
I'll dress you in fine linen, you'll appear like a queen,
With your costly fine robes and your mantle so green..."



He had awoken to what he thought was a strange dream and then he saw shinning handle of a flintlock pistol on his nightstand. Remembering how he had pulled her roughly and impulsively to him as he sat atop his horse, he brought his fingers gently to his lips. Her burning kiss still lingering there.

“Good God,” he murmured to himself as sat upright in his bed. He had acted very unlike himself with such a rash kiss. He cringed-- this was an act of pronounced change in his character. He was no longer the consummate gentleman that he had been before the hurricane, Tortuga had changed him... or maybe it was Elizabeth that had changed him.

With young Elizabeth Swann he phrased every word carefully, ever gesture had thought and meaning, but with Norah-- it was as if he didn't have time to think! Her actions were quick and her words bold. She did not allow for slow graces or gentle caresses. She had entered his house last night, tied up his valet, held him at gun point and now demanded he go through with a sham marriage.

Rubbing his forehead, he abandon his bed and night clothes and began to dress. Perhaps not completely a sham marriage, she had promised him a wedding night; there could be no meaning lost in her words which held heavy innuendo. There marriage would be legitimate in every way and quite possibly produce heirs. He paused as he buttoned his waistcoat and smiled; he had always wanted children and now there was a very real possibility that he would have one and if it was pleasurable... many.

But she didn't love him and he didn't love her. Not that he was naïve enough to believe that marriage had anything to do with love. Most marriages in England were formed for purely financial and social gain. Also, he had known that Elizabeth didn't love him when he proposed to her or excepted her bargain on the ship when he saved Will. Love certainly hadn't mattered then because he figured that love would follow. It didn't. He didn't even make it to the alter before his marriage crumbled, would this time be any different? Yes, she said that she wanted this marriage to release her from a bond made by her father and there was a certain physical attraction between them-- he was sure she felt it as well.

Yes, it was so! He was actually excited about the proposition of marrying Lady Cunningham. He smiled as he put on his coat. He wished to be married and she was beautiful, wealthy, connected and intelligent. Maybe a little hot headed, but she'd soften with marriage, he was sure. Looking in a silvered mirror, he adjusted his wig and frowned. Suddenly, he became aware that he looked old and dull-- what could this Scottish beauty see in him? Age lines framed his lips, his brow was tanned by years at sea and thin lines of gray streaked his once dark hair. James positioned his hat on his head and suppressed his initial excitement. Better not to get his hopes up.

“By this time, she's probably, changed her mind,” he said to himself as he dusted off his lapel.

Abruptly turning on his heel, he decided he would definitely subdue his feelings towards her as he was sure they would not be returned.

****************

As soon as James was welcomed into the hall, he was pounced on by Norah.

“James!” She said smiling widely as she rapidly descended the main stairwell with haste and rushed to his side. Her thin body wrapped in luscious green silks, her eyes wide and glowing in the afternoon sunlight of the hall.

She grabbed his hand tightly, “How are you?” She asked leaning her head to the side, as if she wanted to say more.

“I'm well Lady Cunningham.” James offered stiffly.

“Good! Good!” Then shooing away the old butler, she pulled the Captain to a small room off of the main hall. She shut the doors. “There, that's better.” Then brushing down her skirts, “Still ready for our bargain? My father is in his study.”

“I gave you my word last night. I intend to keep it.” James offered trying to act more civilized than he did the previous evening.

“Aye, and a bonny kiss, if I remember right?” She smiled mischievously and the Captain blushed.

“That was... uncalled for. I offer my sincere apologies, madam.”

Norah laughed. “Who is this?” She asked, flicking his hat askew. “That's better. You're completely too proper this morning, Jamie.” Then laughing, “I held you at gun point, I think I can beget you a kiss.”

James looked at her seriously as he centered his tricone. “Are you sure this marriage is what wish? If I speak to your father today than it's a done deal, Norah; no going back.”

“Aye, I wish it.” Norah said extending her hand. “No going back.” He clasped hers tightly. “But you best understand I will be your wife. Not your maid, not your servant, and certainly not your slave.” She added. “I expect to be treated with respect and consulted in all household affairs.”

“Agreed.” Norrington nodded. “And I will be your husband. Not a man to be manipulated with violence and... not a man beneath your class.” His eyes burned her. “I shall treat my wife as an equal, Norah and that respect must be returned.”

Norah flushed, remembering her snobbish words last night and gripped his hand tightly to convey her sincerity. “Agreed.”

“And...” He paused, voice low as he released her hand. “And I wish for children... in time.”

She gazed on him what felt like an eternity and he felt his face grow hot. “Aye. Children... in time. Now where's my father pistol?”

It seemed that everything had been agreed upon and unbuttoning his waistcoat, he withdrew the firearm from his waistband.

“This is highly inappropriate in several ways.” He noted sternly.

“But Jamie, t'were soon to be engaged!” A smile laughing on her lips as she slipped the warm pistol beneath her skirts.

A hand on his hip, “Where are you putting that?” He whispered hotly, enjoying the inappropriate glimpse at her shapely legs.

“You'll have to wait 'til our wedding night to learn all my tricks, laddie.” She answered and winked. His fingers grasped tightly around her bicep and he wasn't sure what he intended to do when they were suddenly interrupted.

“Captain Norrington,” called the butler.

His hand instantly dropped to his side.

“Well, go on,” she gave him a slight push. “But give me a few extra minutes to get this back, alright?”

Norrington huffed, and turning on his heel, left to be escorted to Lord Cunningham's study.

“Bring him in.” A rough voice commanded from behind a set of gilded doors.

“This way, sir,” bowed a footman, as James Norrington entered the lavish study of Lord Cunningham.

Then the butler called out, “Captain James Norrington.”

A small, dark man looked up from his papers. “Well, this is a surprise.” Then standing, he moved from behind his desk, “Captain Norrington.” He said his names as his dark eyes made quick study of the younger man before him. “Is there trouble at the fort?”

“No, sir. I have come on personal business.”

Black eyes shrewd, “Personal business?” His dark demeanor faded to calm. “Well, this is a surprise. I'm not sure what I can do for you, but I'm happy to meet with an officer of His Majesty's Navy. Especially one I've heard so many wonderful, if not fanciful sea tales about.”

James pressed his lips tight, hoping the man hadn't heard too many rumors about his encounter with a ghost ship. “Thank you, sir.”

“Please have a seat.” He drew forth a chair opposite his desk and walked towards the decanter. “Brandy, Norrington?” And then he paused, asking over his shoulder, “Or rum?”

James inwardly cringed hoping the Earl especially hadn't heard about his time in Tortuga. A period in his life when there was never enough rum. “Brandy, sir.” Norrington answered firmly.

The crystal clinked as he pour forth the amber liquid. “Now what is this about, Captain?”

The Scottish Earl wore a red silk waistcoat and buff trousers; his head covered with a rough periwig. So far, James liked his unpretentious appearance, however, that might be about to change.

Passing the younger man a sniffer of brandy, “Go on.” He insisted.

James took a large gulp of air, his knuckles white on the brim of his hat. “Sir, I've come about your daughter.”

The Earl took a deep sigh and then sip of his brandy. “What has she done this time?”

“Well, ummm....” James really wished he'd thought a bit more about his approach on the topic of matrimony before he'd come into the Earl's home. “It's nothing she has done, sir.” Then setting down his glass on the man's desk, he mustered his courage.

“Rather, I have come to ask you for Lady Cunningham's hand in marriage.”

The old Earl lifted a shaggy eye brow. Then in a booming voice directed to the door. “You may as well come in Norah! I know you're listening through the door.”

The gilded doors pushed open and Norah softly entered. Her bravado of earlier now quietly contained beneath the guise of a polished, aristocratic woman.

Then looking at Norrington, the Earl added, “She has no dowry.”

“I do not wish to marry her for her dowry, sir.” Norrington answered quickly.

“I do have a dowry, Captain Norrington.” Apparently the guise of dutiful daughter for her to maintain.

The Earl's shrewd black eyes narrowed on Norah. “Are you with child?”

Norrington's jaw tightened, fingers brushing the hilt of his sword.

“Oh, papa, do stop!” Norah rolled her eyes as she sat in the chair besides James. Touching his hand, she reassured him with a gentle smile. “We had the benefit of an introduction last week at Mrs. Bennett's home and realized that we have a great deal in common.”

“You can take your hand from your sword, Captain.” The Earl said, resting a hand on his hip and turning his attention back to Norrington. “I'm not questioning your honor, sir or why you'd wish to marry my daughter. She's wealthy, beautiful and well connected and if I can be blunt, I can not imagine why she would wish to marry a sea captain of modest means and no few connections.”

“For love, papa!” Norah spoke before James had a chance to intervene.

The Earl rolled his eyes as he sat at his desk. “Ah, yes... For love.”

“You never said that I couldn't marry for love.”

His eyes hard on his daughter. “You're right, Norah. I never said you couldn't marry for love.... So tell me Norrington, where do your people come from?”

James suppressed his now growing dislike for the man before him. “My father, John Norrington is a shipping merchant in Bristol, my eldest brother, Charles is in business with him. My second brother, Peter is a priest and has the support of Lady Catherine de Montague at the parish church of Berwick-on-Tweed. My mother passed away several years ago, but she was the daughter of Sir William and Lady Anne Westerly of Chorely.”

“Then you are the youngest?”

“Yes. Sent into service when I twelve. I made the passage to Jamaica ten years ago as a Lieutenant when I two and twenty.”

“With Governor Swann and his daughter. Yes, your name is not unfamiliar Norrington. Governor Swann has spoken very highly of you and I wouldn't be surprised if you name is soon to move up the lists.”

The Earl stood and poured a second glass of brandy. “What I fail to understand, Captain and I'll put the question to you exactly as I did to Swann -- You were made Commodore here three years ago and shortly after resigned your commission. Why?”

Norrington's expression was unblinking. “My company suffered a terrible loss in a hurricane. Nearly two hundred men dead, the rest of my crew barely survived; only those of us that could swim and avoid drowning and shark attack were rescued...”

James looked down at his shoes. “One hundred and eight nine souls lost in one day, it was difficult to bear.”

Norah took his hand and squeezed it. Her touch was an unexpected gesture, returning him to the present.

“I would have readily given my life for them sir, but it was not the sea's time to take me. It was a horrible guilt to live with and when I returned to health at Port Royal, I decided that I was not fit for service with such a weight on my conscious and my soul.”

Lord Cunningham's eyes were as dark as his daughter's. “You know I sit on the Admiralty board, Captain. I remember your letter well, and yet you did write for reinstatement nearly a year later? It was most unusual.”

“Yes. With the support of Governor Swann.”

“You saved his daughter and her husband from pirates and outed Lord Beckett's abuse of the law.”

James nodded humbly, “I played my part, sir. The Governor and his daughter were greatly wronged. The Old Bailey has since carried out justice to Beckett and I am glad that I have helped restore liberty to the peoples of Port Royal as well as to the proper stewards of this colony.”

Lord Cunningham, “Yes, Beckett quite overstepped his bounds.” Then black eyes looking up. “Never much liked the little prick myself.”

James couldn't help but smile.

“Good service to the crown always redeems a man, but tell me...” Crossing his hands in front of him, the Earl looked to Norah. “As I established earlier, my daughter has much to offer you, but what have you to offer her?”

A broken heart, a fragile ego, a tattered soul...

“I am a Post Captain, I have a town home and servants; a fair amount prize money. I am respected in the community and believe she will live comfortably... And as Miss Cunningham said...” He added quietly, “I am in love with her.”

The Earl sighed and mumbled something under his breath about 'children today'. “Well, Norah. There shall be no going back from this. Is he what you want? This Englishman?”

“Aye, he shall make a fine husband.” She looked upon him and smiled; dark eyes glittering with sincerity.

James felt his heart warm.

Cunningham studied the younger man closely.

“Very well.” The Earl stood and extended his hand, “I except your offer to marry my daughter.”

The shook hands, “Thank you sir.”

“Banns should will be read this Sunday and a small service held here in another week.”

It was surprise blow that hit James hard, he hadn't expected to be wed so soon. He physically blanched.

“Captain Norrington, might you join me for some shooting tomorrow after tea? I have a fine new set of pistols that I am eager to test.”

“Of course, sir,” He bowed.

“Norah, see the Captain to the door.”

“Yes, papa.”

As soon as they were in the hall alone, Norah spoke breaking the awkward silence. “That went well.”

“I think so.” James said, eyes distant, and then, “Your Scottish brogue has diminished quite a bit since you were holding my hostage.” Then turning his green eyes on her. “You're quite the actress.”

Norah's cheek's burn, “I find that I'm a bit more intimidating when I break into my Scots dialect. It's not an act James. Just another side of me that doesn't get out much anymore.” She added wistfully.

James wondered what that meant, but couldn't think of how to ask politely.

“And I am not the only actor here!” Norah continued. “You were quite convincing in there declaring your love for me. Although I must admit, I am easy to love.” She smiled confidently.

“Did I declare my love for you? I thought I was declaring a love for your money.”

“Jamie!” She slapped his arm.

He smiled, alighting his green eyes and playfully rubbed his bicep. Norah found his rare smile endearing.

“It's James and Miss Cunningham, our deal with the devil is done.”

“Aye. If that's how your choose to look on marriage to me, Captain.”

They were now standing on the front drive as his horse was presented to him. He took the reigns and then turned back to Norah. He bowed formerly and kissed her hand. “Good afternoon, my she-devil!”

As he mounted the horse, she questioned, “If I were a she devil, I'd wear red.”

“Don't. Your mantle of green suits you.”

She smiled like a cat in cream and commanded, “Lean forward.” For some unknown reason, he did as she bid him.

“We need a proper love token amongst us.” She said and stroked his jaw wistfully.

His green eyes studied her deeply, “Agreed.” Thinking she wished to kiss him, he leaned forward, eyes fluttering closed.

“Here,” she caught the lapel of jacket and taking her golden brooch quickly from her green silks; she roughly pinned it to the breast of his frock coat. Then pushing him upright, she analyzed her work. “There, that's fine. And it will be hidden beneath your coat.”

Eyes opening, his fingers fluttered to gift. “A brooch?” He replied with dull surprise-- not quite the gift he was expecting.

“A Luckenbooth. A Scottish gift for her English intended.” Norah stepped back and studied his lean frame; her golden love token gleaning in the setting sun of Jamaica. “If you truly love me James, you'll ne'er take it off.” She added seriously.

He put hand his hand over the brooch, and the needle pricked his finger. “Mmm... I shall consider that request. Good-day, my lady.” Then kicking the flanks of his horse, he was gone.

“Goodnight, Captain Norrington!” She called after him as his horse kicked up dust and galloped into the sunset.

Reviews appreciated!

Tags:

A Highwayman Came Riding: Chpt 3
A Highwayman Came Riding
Chapter 3: Jamie, Come Try Me

Notes: James Norrington is reinstated as a R.N. Captain, but he regrets his failure to marry after the loss of Elizabeth. By chance, he decides to take mysterious and dangerous Scottish woman his wife . A highwayman is also on the loose. Can he get the girl and snag the mysterious thief that's haunting Port Royal?

Pairing: Norrington/ OFC
Post: POTC
Rating: M
Notes: This was formerly “My Bonnie Lover” which has has been greatly reworked for the better. Please read!



What have I done?

Despite her outward confidence, Lady Noah Cunningham was distressed and confused. She had expected to find a pot-bellied, gray haired, snuff snorting Torie; yet, what she found, to her deepest surprise, was a young, well muscled commander with soft brown hair which swept into fiery green eyes-- James Norrington was beautiful man! When his long fingers wound tightly around her writs and again, when he had stood a breath's link away from her, she had the strangest sensation of all-- desire.

The air between them seemed electrically charged when he pulled her to his lap and when they stood at the window, his breath hot on her bare shoulder. What would his lips have felt like there? Violently shaking her head, God rid me of this desire! She chided herself twice more as she rubbed her weary eyes. She should be thinking of Donald. That was why she came here and yet her mind and body only had thoughts for the handsome Captain.

“If you don't mind, sir, I'll wait in the parlor alone.”

The red coat bowed politely, “Yes, my lady.” Then shut the parlor door behind her.

How could this have happened? How could the man she had sworn to seek revenge against be so bloody attractive? And why, why had she not investigated him before she'd barged into his house, gaged and bound his servant and held the Captain himself at pistol point? She sighed deeply regretting the answer-- she was reckless. Her reckless and impulsive behavior had always flawed her genteel character.

She leaned her hot cheek against the cool marble of the mantle and recalled the Captain's fond words for Donald. “He was an officer and gentlemen of the finest caliber ...” Of course, they could be lies, but she had sensed a profound sincerity in his amber voice and would a man that had just given up his freedom so her reputation wouldn't be ruined be such a cad as to strip a low ranking officer of his rank and pension?

It didn't make sense and James Norrington didn't make since either. What had he meant by, “You're not the only one in this room who has been robbed of both...” Had he lost a true love as well? Had he actually desired a wedding day and a wedding night? At times, Norah thought she saw pain beneath his green eyes and at other moments strength but mostly, a shielded indifference.

Fingering Donald's Luckenbooth, she closed her eyes regretting how easily she had sold out to the Captain's marriage ploy; although, she had little other option. Her plan had been to marry her childhood sweetheart Donnie MacCallum upon her arrival in Port Royal, but that had all changed when she received Captain Norrington's letter only a week before her trip across the Atlantic. Now, with her twenty -second birthday fast approaching, she didn't have many options left; her father had seen to that.
She didn't know this Norrington fellow, but surely he would be better than the old twit her father would marry her to in three months merely to rid himself of an aging daughter and to extend his lands.

Plopping into a nondescript parlor chair, she laid her head back and closed her eyes. And would the Captain actually go through with the marriage?

“Why not,” Norah mused to the empty room. He was single and she was of noble birth, her father held great sway in the Admiralty and she believe herself very attractive to the male sex. Laughing aloud, “I'm the hart and he's the hunter with the prize.”

The parlor door opened and before her stood the Captain in all his naval glory. His blue coat sharply framing his broad shoulders, his cream trousers impeccably clean and crisp, tricorne centered. He bowed. “Lady Cunningham.”

She rose from the chair and curtsied deeply. “Captain.”

Then eying a very angry valet behind him, Norah bit her lip and conceded again. “Apologies to your valet for our misunderstanding.”

James looked to Evans whose face was soured as if he'd eaten a lemon. “Of course, these things... happen.”

Then smiling at Norah mysteriously, Norrington walked forward and extended his arm. “Shall we my dear?”

In silence they walked behind Captain Hartlett as a stable boy prepared two horses. The night was nearly moonless, and a cool wind rustled the palm trees. Once Hartlett walked off to speak to his soldiers, James inclined his head to hers.

“Should I speak with your father this evening or do you want to wait until tomorrow?”

“I hadn't thought...” She began when James stopped her.

“Tomorrow is probably better.” His hands knotted behind his back. “I think two or three weeks and then you can break this off with some dignity.”

Norah turned her head sharply, James's beautiful eyes were far away on the dark horizon. This must be how he looks when he's pacing the boards of his ship- beautiful.

“Perhaps you'll have fallen out of love with me, or you'll decide that I'm too old or away too often or ...”

Placing a gentle hand on his forearm, her black eyes serious. “ I don't think you understand. I'm not releasing you, Captain Norrington.”

He turned to her meet her solid gaze. “Then you wish me to leave you?”

She laughed lightly. “No. I wish for us to marry.”

His face showed his confusion. “I don't understand.”

At that moment the horses arrived. They remained silent, as James aided her upon her horse and the small party trotted toward Morgan Hall, the Earl's temporary residence.

“You know, Hartlett,” James began, drawing his horse forward towards the officer's. “It might be more practical if you don't accompany us onto His Grace's property.” Norrington gave the man a knowing look.

Hartlett, the army captain a few year younger than Norrington, chucked. “James, I've know you since we were both boys stationed here. I don't know what's going on with you and this lady, though I'm not so thick as to believe about 'wee misunderstanding' .”

“Yes, I know. ” James sighed. “It's just that it's complicated.”

Hartlett drew his horse closer. “I know you are an honorable man and she's a beatiful woman.” His eyes pierced the naval officer. “I don't think the Earl or anyone needs to know the exact details, but the sooner the banns are read, the less questions all around and less time for cold feet.” He winked on the last bit.

“Yes,” James mumbled.

He slowed down his horse and brought it up to a trot besides the Scottish black-eyed beauty. They rode nearly a mile side by side in silence until Norah could no longer bear it.

“If you wish me to release you, then I will. But my wish is to marry you.” She affirmed again.

“Was this some kind plot from the beginning, then?” The captain's voice held doubt.

“No,” Norah laughed darkly. “Rather a rash decision put right by fate.”

James was silent.

“However Captain, if I'd known you were a friend to Donald as well as young and handsome, I perhaps would have devised this plot.” Pushing her horse a bit quicker, forcing James to increase his pace. “But I can't think of everything, the gods must take over somewhere!”

He was breathless as he caught up with her. She was good horse woman and the years at sea had left him an awkward rider. “You are aware that I never proposed to you? That we don't know even know each other.” He added exasperated.

“Many married couples don't know each other but, besides that, is there something about me that offends you? Well, besides the whole incident in your bedroom, which I promise never to do again once we're married. I'm actually opposed to violence, Captain!”

James laughed and Norah was surprised to find his laughter warming. “Opposed to violence? Ha! You're running a close second with my former fiancée. But I really am at a loss for words Lady Cunningham, it sounds as if you're proposing to me.”

Norah looked audaciously into his playful green eyes. “Perhaps I am!” She conceded. “And I doubt you'll find much better, at least here in Jamaica. I'm rich, I'm noble and I'm not completely dog-faced.”

“You're quite a rare beauty, miss” James blushed as the words quickly tumbled from his lips.

“Thank you.” Norah replied quietly.

“Which leads me to wonder why you've chosen to accept a marriage to man you barely know so quickly after the death of your 'true love'.”

“Tis fair...” Lady Cunningham sighed. “I never said he was my true love, but I did love him. He was my best friend when I was young. Life at sea changed him, but all things change. His family was.. is quite precious too me as his mother was near like my own mother. She was a distant cousin to my mother who died when I was very young and I spent much time with her. Mrs. MacCallum had only one other child, a crippled daughter both of which are in need of Donald's pension after Mr. MacCallum's, his father's, untimely death which left them with several outstanding debts.”

“I'm sorry to here that.”

Norah raised a hand to continue. “My father did not think highly of Donald's family. Mr. MacCallum and he had a continuing disagreement about a series of loans, etc. Despite this, I had planned to marry Donald even if it meant eloping. However, I don't know if it would have come to that. The only supposition that he's ever put on my marring is that I must be married by the age of two and twenty or he will give my hand to Lord Johnstone our elderly neighbor to get me out of his house and to increase our lands.”

James brow furrowed, “Are you sure he's serious?”

“Very serious,” Norah sighed. “He showed me the marriage contract before we sailed for Jamaica. I have three months to find a husband or marry Johnstone or... run away.”

“I've heard of such stories, but is this true?”

“I promise you upon the grave of my mother, I have spoken no untruth.” They trotted forward, Morgan Hall now glowing on the dark horizon. “You said earlier that you were denied both a wedding day and night.” She reached across the black emptiness and took his hand, “I can offer you both and more .”

He stared at her awestruck. Tentatively, her voice weak, she continued. “If you have another love or some other strong objection then of course, I release you. You need ride no further.”

He squeezed her hand briefly before dropping it and adding frankly, “I have no sweetheart or mistress. I am free to marry Lady Cunningham. I will not deny that I have wished to be married.... I'm tired of returning from sea to an empty home.”

His words held a deep sadness and Norah shuddered as she realized they were both in this world alone and it was this common condition that was binding them together. In the glow of the gate lamps, she smiled slightly as she whispered, “You shall no longer have to return to silence, Captain.”

“James. Please call me, James.” He added slightly.

“You shall no longer have to return to an empty home... James.”

If they had been alone, she would have kissed him, but the intensity of their gaze burned hotter than physical touch.

“We'll leave you here, sir.” Captain Hartlett broke their spell.

Norrington dipped his hat, “Thank you sir”; as he and Lady Cunningham rode forward.

“Oh and sir,” called the marine Captain. “Mind your ride back to town. We've had reports of a dark rider on the road... a highwayman.”

“Right, I shall be aware.” He called back as the horses trotted and crunched on the gravel path leading to the large home.

Norah laughed to herself and began to sing,

“If thou should ask my love, Could I deny thee?
If thou would win my love, Jamie, come try me!

If thou should kiss me, love, Wha could espy thee?
If thou wad be my love, Jamie, come try me!”

James Norrington's chest contracted from the tenderness of her singing. With restraint, he replied, “You have a lovely voice.”

Smiling mysteriously as she dismounted her horse with ease, “Aye Jamie, love, I do.”

Then walking to the side of his horse, she grabbed his reigns in her small gloved hand. “Don't dismount! You'll never get back on. I'm sorry Capt- James... But your horseman ship leaves something to be desired.”

James was not too offended because Norah's lips were upturned, eyes dancing on him.

“You certainly don't keep you thoughts to yourself, do you?” James sighed. “But your right, I haven't much time to ride since I've been at sea for so long.” Inclining his head, “There are seahorses but a complete different beast altogether.”

Norah laughed at his joke. “You're funny James.” Then her eyes widened. “When you return tomorrow don't forget my father's pistol!”

With that she slapped the horses flank causing the animal race forward. “Good night, Captain!”

James pulled tightly on the reigns causing the horse to buck, but also to double back it's direction.

Norah was still laughing as he pulled his stead along side her. “Come here,” he said briskly as he grabbed her arm and pulling her up against him, leaning down, he and kissed her. It was quick but, she was no longer laughing. Her breath catching with surprise as he lowered her to her feet.

“I think you must always kiss your intended goodnight, Lady Cunningham.” Norrington stated breathlessly and smiling he turned his horse to the gate.

“Norah!” She called after him, mind racing with curiosity, heart with joy. “My name is Norah!”

Waving his hat. “Goodnight, Norah.”

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