Captain Hook: Redemption
Sally McCoy had been a serving maid in the Gray household for almost 10 years, and in her time there she had seen and heard plenty of strange things. But as she left Wendy Darling in the parlor to fetch her Mistress, the maid had to say that this newest turn of events took the number one spot for absurd happenings. The whole situation was absolutely preposterous!
The young Miss Darling couldn't be right; surely she must have been mistaken. . . She had to be. Alexandra Mercedes Gray had never in her life cared for anyone but herself, and now she was 'supposedly' taking on a student, and a young and pretty one at that?
No. Sally decided that the girl was confused, or knowing her luck, this Miss Darling might even be a little barmy! Or perhaps she had merely told the coachman the wrong address? That was it! She must have had the wrong address!
With this happy idea in mind Sally turned to go back into the parlor and tell the young woman that she was mistaken, when she bumped headfirst into someone. At first she didn't recognize him, but after a moment of sputtering and adjusting her eye glasses the woman realized it was the Master of the house.
"I-I'm sorry, sir," Sally stuttered in her heavy cockney accent, as her cheeks blazed with embarrassment. "I didn't see you there. . . I wasn't- I wasn't paying attention to where I was going."
The man lifted one of his glossy black eyebrows. "I can see that, Miss McCoy. But what could possibly have claimed your thoughts so thoroughly? Is it the new butler, Sebastian," he asked in mock interest before he shook his head. "Oh no, that couldn't be it. No, Sebastian wouldn't have any interest in a homely little maid like you . . . Then perhaps you've just been drinking too much scrumpy on your nights off and forgotten how to watch where you are going."
Sally felt anger rise in chest, nearly suffocating her, as her Master openly insulted and mocked her. If she hadn't been so bloody afraid of the bastard, she most likely would have used her apron strings to strangle that ivory neck of his. But she was afraid, so she settled for the next best thing. She stood her ground.
"I was thinking about the disaster that is just waiting to happen, sir," Sally said, disgust coloring her tone as she glared at him. "That is, if what I've heard is true."
"And what is it that you've heard," he asked without interest.
"That Miss Alexandra is going to take on the duties of a tutor and have her pupil live here in the Manor." Sally saw her Master's mouth quirk into his trademark smirk but she continued as if she hadn't noticed. "Madame Alexandra is not the type of woman who enjoys learning, sir. So I was wondering why on earth she would ever become a tutor."
Sally looked into her Master's eyes for the first time and instantly noted that his blue forget-me-not eyes were sparkling with mirth.
"My sister isn't going to be Miss Darlings' tutor," The Captain stated, to which Sally breathed a loud sigh of relief. But then he killed the maid's moment of joy by adding two frustratingly simple words, "I am."
"But sir-" Sally began to protest, but immediately stopped when her eyes focused on her Master's appearance.
She had only seen Captain Gray look like he did now once before in her life, and Sally didn't try to hide the look of surprise or the little gasp that escaped her as she took in his attire.
Since the night of his return to the Gray Manor, the man had never worn more than a shirt and trousers and perhaps a thick winter jacket if the weather was cold. But tonight, he was dressed to the nines.
James Gray wore a midnight blue dress coat and white poet's shirt, with form fitting black trousers and matching boots that shone from the expert polishing they had received. And his hair was a raven black mass of perfectly combed curls that would have made any female ferociously jealous. But it was the thing that the man wore in the place of his right hand, that made Sally intake a large breath.
The maid silently admitted that she had never seen Captain Gray look so handsome or so imposing before. And as his stunning eyes watched her, Sally had to remind herself to breathe.
"Captain . . . I thought you said that you would never wear that thing again." Sally pointed to the gleaming metal hook with something akin to awe.
James' smirk disappeared and in its place a solemn expression appeared. If Sally didn't know better she would have thought he was in desperate need of a hug.
"Yes Sally, I thought I would never need to wear it again. . . But circumstances have made my old vow impossible to keep."
As the Captain spoke something clicked and Sally looked back in the direction of the parlor with wide eyes. "It's because of that girl, initt?"
As the words left Sally's mouth, she instantly regretted them. The Captain was surely to lose his temper now, and she might have to clean up after his anger subsided. But his reaction was quite the opposite. The man smiled wistfully as he answered her, and his voice was softer than she had ever heard it.
"Yes . . . Miss Darling is my reason, but I, myself made the decision to wear my forgotten appendage once more."
Sally didn't fully understand, but she sensed that she didn't need to. She wouldn't pester her Master any more tonight or he would surely make her regret it.
"Very well sir . . . What would you have me do?"
In a matter of seconds, James was back to his usual self, a composed, commanding, and calculated sea captain.
"Go find Smee." He instructed, to which the maid nodded. "He has a particularly hairy task at hand and I'm sure he would welcome some help."
Sally bowed her head and was about to walk away when the Captain grabbed her forearm quite forcefully.
"Sir," Sally asked in a small frightened voice.
"Miss Darling and I are not to be disturbed for the next hour, for I have many things to discuss with her. I will not tolerate any interruptions."
At the woman's silence, James' grip tightened. "Do you understand?"
Sally winced at the painful grip but nodded, "Yes, sir! I'll tell the staff not to disturb you!"
But even as the maid agreed, James did not let go, instead his gaze intensified. At the menacing look Sally cried out, her eyes growing even wider than before. And when Captain Gray spoke again it came out as a hiss.
"Also, Alexandra is not to know Miss Darling has arrived yet. If she comes anywhere near the parlor, I assure you there will be need for a new serving maid by the next morning."
Sally was used to threats from the Captain and Miss Alexandra, but this was different. This time, James actually meant it.
"I won't tell 'er anything, sir! I swear I won't!" Sally promised, tears slowly slipping down her plump cheeks and staining her glasses.
After several more seconds of studying her, James let go of her arm, satisfied that she was telling the truth.
"Now away with you, before I lose my temper."
Sally quickly left, her head held down and her hands viciously wiping the tears from her eyes.
The Captain watched her go with a shallow feeling bubbling in the pit of his stomach. He would have to do something about the maid. She was far too emotional and accident prone. And it was a well-known yet horrible truth, that ones' servants reflected upon ones' self.
But that was for another day. For now, he needed to focus on the present.
With his traditional smirk in place, James moved forward and opened the doors to the parlor. He entered the room with a slow and steady stride, his eyes sparkling with unknown motive as he set eyes on the young woman that sat with her back to him.
Oh, how beautiful she looked! His future wife. . . His little Wendy.
Wendy gently chided herself as she smoothed out her large traveling skirts and sat up straighter in her chair. Though the snappy maid had left her several minutes before, Wendy was still somewhat indignant. The woman had been nothing but rude, making her feel foolish and insignificant, as she looked at her with large indifferent eyes, like she was a child throwing a tantrum instead of a grown young woman.
As she thought about the maid, Wendy wanted more than anything to pick up the crimson vase that rested on the table next to her and smash it into a million pieces. But since it was not her vase, Wendy resisted and tried to take some deep, calming breaths instead. Afterall, she would need to be calm and have her manners in check when her new tutor came to meet her for the first time.
Wendy knew very well the dangers of bad first impressions, for she had experienced the aftereffects countless times in the past. The girl shuddered at the thought of living with an offended, ill-tempered woman for the next six months, and forced herself to focus on her breathing. Once the young woman had calmed down somewhat she opened her eyes again.
And it was then that Wendy felt the pair of eyes that were currently watching her from the doorway, and her blood ran cold making her turn deathly pale in a mere matter of seconds. Though it was only dimly lit in the parlor and Wendy had to look directly through the lamp itself to meet the strangers gaze, she knew exactly who it was.
There was only one person in existence that had such beautiful forget-me-not blue eyes.
Without hesitation, Wendy jumped up from her seat and moved away from him, looking for a weapon of some sort to defend herself. After a second, she spotted a blazing poker lying in the grate of fireplace, but it was too far away for her to reach in time. He would surely make it there first, if she tried to grab it.
"You died," Wendy whispered in disbelief, more to herself than the man that stood several feet away from her. "You-You- I watched-I watched you die. . ."
A chuckle resounded throughout the room at her words and the Captain moved past the doorway, making Wendy gasp.
"No, Miss Darling, you didn't watch me die. You watched a crocodile swallow me whole."
Wendy watched as he sauntered towards her, his eyes never leaving hers as he drew near.
"I must say that the years have been kind to you," he offered with a smirk as he stopped only two feet away from where Wendy was standing, "Though you were a lovely child to begin with."
The young woman was silent for several moments and Hook's eyebrow lifted. "The storyteller has nothing to say? That is very unlike you, my dear."
Wendy gritted her teeth and forced herself to speak, despite the warning bells that were ringing in her head.
"What are you doing here?"
James' lips quirked up into a smile. "This is my home, Miss Darling. Your father thought it would be prudent if you came to live here, did he not?"
Wendy felt her stomach sink, when she looked into his eyes. He was telling the truth about Willow Wood Lodge.
"My father wanted me to come here to live with my tutor," Wendy interjected. "I am certain that if he knew that it was a man's household, he wouldn't have let me come."
The young woman made sure to keep eye contact with Hook, trying to bluff a sense of a bravery that didn't exist.
Hook shook his head, "No, my beauty. Your father thought it was more than appropriate for you to be my guest."
Wendy scoffed in a most unladylike fashion and glared up at the pirate that had drawn closer still. "You're a horrible liar, Captain. My father would never let me stay in a man's house without the presence of a chaperone unless I was married."
Captain Hook closed the remaining distance between them and placed his good hand on the wall to the side of her head, leering at her and whispering, "True enough, Miss Darling. I had to sign a marriage contract before he would even consider my offer."
Wendy felt tears grow in her eyes, but fought them back.
"What?" Wendy asked with wide eyes.
Hook leaned down so that his nose grazed hers.
"You heard me properly, the first time, Wendy."
"My father. . . He wouldn't-He wouldn't. . ."
Hook smiled, "Oh, Miss Darling, I think he would."