At last! It seemed like forever before he’d finally settled up with his crew and his father’s purser this week, Andre thought as he entered his father’s courtyard behind the brothel. Because of that shipboard competition he’d declared after Sophie‘s retrieval, Andre and the purser had had to put their heads together to figure out the extra percentage of swag for the winners. Now all hands were happy, and well on their way to pillaging and plundering, and Andre could once more return to his wife.
What contentment, what serenity, that single thought brought to his mind; to have his wife back these last few days, whole and relatively unharmed, with her memory intact and her love still strong. The only cloud on the horizon of bliss was her headaches. Because of their continued presence he dared not push her toward the intimacy he craved. He would much rather live with Sophie forever without that physical relationship, than to attempt that closeness and lose her again.
No, just sleeping with her in his arms every night since her memory’s return had been satisfaction enough; recognizing she knew his faults and still accepted him in her bed went a long way toward soothing his anxiety. And he could hardly wait to see her again.
Goaded by these thoughts, Andre slammed into le Commandant’s house, eager to take the stairs two at a time for the second floor and his wife’s bedchamber where she’d remained convalescing these past few days, napping and eating. On his way up he overheard the tail-end of a conversation floating out from his father’s office. It stopped Andre in his tracks.
“…so I think captaincy of my own ship, as well as lordship of my own sea, would be proper recompense, Commandant.”
Pausing in his forward movement, one foot on the bottom stair, Andre’s head turned toward the study, kohl-lined eyes narrowing in concentration. He waited for his father’s squashing response to Limey’s preposterous suggestion, wondering at the unmitigated gall the youth had in even suggesting such an absurd notion! It was bad enough the Brit spent his nights at the Dubois residence instead of onboard or at the brothel; now he was requesting his own ship and sea? Just wait; le Commandant would put him in his place in no time!
“If that is what you so desire, Master Wharton, then that is what I will grant you. I must say—“
What? Andre’s jaw dropped as he processed his father’s answer. Louis was actually entertaining the idea? He couldn’t have heard right! Could he? Intent on getting to the bottom of this exchange Andre made an about-face and strode to the doorway of Louis’ study, gathering quite a head of steam in the process over what Andre felt was the old pirate’s blatant favoritism, or mental confusion, toward the Brit.
Bursting into Louis’ office, kerchief ties bouncing, dark-fringed eyes flashing angrily while startling the room’s occupants, Andre snapped, “Ce que l’enfer? What the hell? Before I could take my rightful place as Lord of the Caribbean Sea I had to prove myself time and again, over and over, your very own son, the fruit of your loins, Papa, and yet here you are, granting this—this pirate infant, a ship and captaincy of his own? While you’re at it, perhaps you’d like to assign him the Princess? Or, maybe, your ship? Wait! I know!”
Chest heaving, Andre struck a pose, index finger to his chin as he studied the ceiling with exaggerated care while continuing, “Why don’t you retire and make him le Commandant! Well? What say you to that?”
Both seated men stared up at Andre’s noisy intrusion, Limey with a sinking expression writ upon his face while Louis gazed blandly back at his carping son, meeting Andre’s eyes while waiting for him to wind down.
When no more was forthcoming from his angry offspring, Louis quietly replied, “I owe him my life, Fils. Had he not rescued me back at Lord Zheng’s compound while you were fighting off that butcher, you would now be le Commandant. It is that simple. Whatever I grant him will never be enough. Do you not agree?”
Father and son held a speaking gaze. Unspoken emotions winged between them.
|Johnny Depp||as Andre Dubois|
|Rachel Weisz (from The Mummy)||as Sophie Bellard Dubois|
|Hector Elizondo (portly)||as Pedro de Gallo|
|Leonardo DiCaprio (from Titanic)||as Limey|
|Keith Richards||as Louis Dubois|