Spanish Eyes Part 3 by Mary G
For Disclaimer see part 1
19 April, 1701
These last two weeks have passed by far too quickly. So much has happened. Pillar is certain we will reach the Canary Islands before noon tomorrow. I've only been on land a few minutes in the last month. Funny as it sounds it will seem odd to be on dry land again.
My arm is much improved. The doctor removed the stitches yesterday. He was pleased at the way it has healed, though oddly enough Pillar seemed more so. I have to admit, the doctor did a wonderful job. Though still red at the moment, I'm sure the scar will barely be noticeable. It still aches a little but Pillar said that is to be expected.
Tonight will be my last night on the ship. If I am to be honest I must say that the thought fills me with sadness. The possibility that tonight may be the last evening I spend in Pillar's company is driving me mad. As absurd as it may sound I've grown to care for her very much in these last two weeks. More than anyone else I have ever known.
Whenever I'm with her I feel so...alive. My blood races and I have such energy as I have never known myself to have before. And when she smiles, it's like a vision of heaven to me. But it is more than that. In an odd way we seem to compliment one another quite well. Almost like two halves of a whole. Indeed, for when she leaves me here in my room every night my heart literally aches. It keeps me awake at night and does not cease until I am in her presence once again.
When I fist discovered this I was alarmed. I did not know what to think about what was happening to me. But then the other night when Pillar escorted me back here, as has become her custom, she kissed my hand as she normally does, then as she straightened I closed the distance between us and place a kiss on her cheek.
I smiled when I saw the round eyed expression on the Captain's face. She looked like she had just been hit by frog. It only took her a moment to regain her composure and asked what the kiss had been for. I simply told her I wanted to thank her for everything she had done for me and that it was greatly appreciated. Of course, as is Pillar's way, she scoffed saying it was nothing. But to me it meant everything.
When she left I spent a moment replaying the moment in my mind and surprised myself when my mind placed the kiss on a different location than where I had actually placed it. It made my heart race and I smiled to my self as the realization hit me. Pillar Montenegro I do believe I am falling hopelessly in love with you.
There is nothing I wouldn't give to be able to actually say those words to her. It's bad enough that as I am writing this my heart is aching just to be with her. How will I ever go on without her? I would like nothing better than to throw caution to the wind and remain here. My skills as navigator are steadily improving both Pillar and Mr. Mendez agree. In fact just yesterday I relieved him of his duties for a time while Pillar was at the wheel. No doubt given more time I would be able to work an entire shift unsupervised. I could earn my keep, and most importantly I would be free.
I would be free from my father and his many forms of discipline. Free from the confines of a society and class to which I was born into whose hold on me has me struggling for breath. Here I would be free from all that and in an odd sense safe. Yes safe, respected, appreciated and perhaps even...loved?
No, I cannot allow myself to fall into a young girl's romantic dream. The reality is, Pillar cares for me. We are great friends, and nothing more. Our friendship means everything to me and I will not jeopardize it with silly romantic notions. I will keep these feelings to myself and enjoy what we have. Just to be near her is enough to pacify that need within my heart.
I will take the opportunity tonight to broach the subject of my remaining here. Hopefully my argument will be persuasive enough to convince her. At any rate I must get ready. Pillar will be here soon enough to escort me to dinner.
Pillar straightened her jacket for what must have been the tenth as she took in her appearance in the mirror. She wanted to look her best this evening. She had been in a mood all day but she knew it was due to the fact that the voyage was almost over. She would miss Ianna terribly of that she was positive. She barely heard Rodrigo as he spoke behind her, giving her a progress report.
"I have a few of the men keeping an eye on Omar and Montalvo. They grumble from time to time but are seemingly on their best behavior."
"Mm Hm." Replied Pillar still looking in the mirror.
Rodrigo regarded her for a moment and continued. "We are on a steady course and should reach the Canarias by mid-day tomorrow."
Rodrigo folded his arms over his chest and let out an exasperated breath. "However, I do not think we will make our destination due to the fact that the North Star has fallen out of the sky and landed on the deck."
"Make sure you have some one to clean up the mess I don't want..." Pillar stopped when her brain actually registered the statement. "Have you gone insane? The North Star?"
"Pillar, you have not heard a world since I began my report. What is the matter with you tonight?" He asked genuinely concerned.
Pillar let out a long breath, "It is nothing." She answered.
Rodrigo raised an eyebrow. "If this is what you call nothing I would hate to see what you consider something. You and I have been friends for a long time. What is it that has you so distracted?"
Pillar remained silent so Rodrigo took his best educated guess. "Is it Senorita Ianna?"
Pillar nodded and he continued. "We will be in port by this time tomorrow. I did not think I would say this but I will be sorry to see her go, as I know you will."
Pillar turned her back to Rodrigo as she controlled the emotions that were threatening to overcome her. "How do I let her go Rodrigo? Every time I even think it I...I...I love her."
"I know you do Pillar. I knew the first time I saw you with her on the deck. I've never seen you look at anyone the way you look at her. The two of you have been spending a lot of time together. Is there a possibility she might feel the same way?"
Pillar shook her head. "No."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. No. I mean...I don't know." She answered with a growl.
"Why do you not just tell her how you feel?"
"I can not do that. She must return home to her family, her fiancé. This is no life for her." She answered simply.
"Oh I do not know about that. I think she is doing quite well and you said yourself she has a natural skill for navigating. The men have taken a genuine liking to her. And have you seen her Pillar? She looks happy." Explained the first mate.
Pillar regarded her friend a moment. "Were you not the one who was against her coming along in the first place?"
"Yes perhaps, but that was before she saved my life." He answered with a smile.
This got a smile out of Pillar. "Even if she were inclined to stay or I inclined to let her, she does not feel for me as I do for her. I will not ruin the friendship we have by telling her how I feel and risk losing it."
"No I will not. That matter is not open for further discussion." She concluded heading for the other room.
Rodrigo followed her out and watched as she looked over everything to ensure it was perfect.
After seeing everything was to her satisfaction she straightened her jacket once more. "I have to go get Ianna. I will consider speaking to her about becoming a permanent part of the crew. Does that satisfy you?"
Rodrigo shook his head and followed Pillar out. Sometimes his friend was too stubborn for her own good. If she wasn't careful she would lose something more valuable than any treasure in the known world. Or in the unknown world for that matter. He watched her as she went down the hall towards Ianna's room and sighed.
"What am I going to do with her?" He said to himself as he went in the opposite direction.
Pillar stood at Ianna's door. She rotated her neck and heard a series of pops that would make any normal person wince. She took a deep breath and began to raise her hand to the door then stopped. Pillar what is wrong with you? This is not the first time you pick up Ianna for dinner. "No, but it will be the last." She said to herself.
She pushed the sad thought aside and knocked. Her spirits brightened the moment she heard Ianna's voice. "Come in."
Ianna waited for Pillar to enter and her breath caught as she entered. Pillar had on a stunning dark blue suit. The pants were cut perfectly to her form and the legs were tucked into a pair of excellently shined, knee high black boots that Ianna was sure, if she were close enough, would produce a reflection.
The jacket was short, the bottom stopping at her waist. It was a style commonly used in Spanish fashion. She had seen jackets such as those in the shops back home. Beneath the jacket she wore a silk cream colored shirt and a black silk sash around her waist. Her hair was tied back exposing the medium sized hoop ear rings she had decided to wear at the last minute.
Ianna simply stood and took it all in for a moment. If this was to be her last evening with Pillar she wanted to remember every last detail. She was about to compliment Pillar on her appearance when Pillar began to speak first.
"Ianna you look beautiful. They did a wonderful job with your dress did they not?"
Ianna blushed slightly. "Thank you and yes they did an excellent job. You don't mean to tell me you have your own private tailor on board.
Pillar chuckled. "No, no of course not, it is simply that when you spend a lot of time at sea and things need to be mended you either go without or learn to do it for yourself. Several of the men are quite skilled in fact and offered their services when I asked for some assistance."
"That was very kind of them. I must say, they are quite good it's like new."
"Yes it is almost perfect." Said Pillar looking very serious.
Ianna's brow furrowed a bit. "Almost perfect? Well I am at a bit of a disadvantage seeing as how I only have one dress to choose from."
"Yes that is very true but it is not what I meant. I thought perhaps these may be just beautiful enough to be worthy of being worn by you." She said taking a small velvet pouch out of the inner pocket of her jacket.
Ianna watched as Pillar gently spilt the contents in her hand and her eyes widened as she saw the green sparkle. Pillar took one of the precious offerings and stepped closer still to the girl. "If you will permit me?" Asked Pillar quietly.
Ianna nodded as Pillar gently placed one then the other ear ring in their designated places. Then she stepped back placing her hands behind her back.
Ianna reached up a hand tentatively and touched the ear ring. "So how do they look?"
Pillar smiled, "Look for yourself." She said gesturing towards the mirror.
Ianna turned towards the mirror and stopped short. "Oh my God Pillar they're beautiful." The emeralds stood out nicely against her fair skin catching the light from the lamp making it impossible to ignore the fact that they matched the green in her eyes.
"I hoped you would like them. I wanted to give you something special to remember...your adventure. Now, if you please. Can I have the honor of escorting you to dinner?"
"I would be honored Captain." She answered and took Pillar's arm.
They sat together on the couch after dinner. They were each seated slightly sideways so they could face each other as they spoke. Pillar had her arm draped along the back of the couch and smiled as Ianna moved her hands animatedly to help emphasize her point. They both laughed and fell suddenly silent looking at one another. They could both feel the pull of their attraction. They knew it was late and they should say good night but neither one wanted the night to end. Ianna looked down at her hands in an attempt to break the spell.
Pillar remained silent sitting there quietly looking at this beautiful woman who had captured her heart. The hand she had on the back of the couch was itching to reach out and feel the softness of that perfect cheek. She wanted to run her finger through the back of that beautiful blond hair draw her closer and kiss those full lips that drove her to distraction.
Pillar's mouth went dry and she licked her lips before she spoke. "Ianna."
Ianna hadn't looked up fearing what she might do if she had to gaze into Pillar's eyes a moment longer. Her heart was racing and she was doing all she could to control her breathing. She looked up slowly, "Yes."
"Um...would you care to take a walk up on deck with me? The sky is clear and the stars are beautiful tonight." Yes some fresh would be good.
Ianna jumped on the opportunity to extend the evening. "Yes I'd love to."
Pillar smiled and stood then extended her hand to Ianna and they made they're way silently up to the deck. They passed a few deck hands as they made their way to a spot Pillar had in mind. The men halted their tasks only long enough to bid them a good evening and smile at one another as the pair walked on.
They passed Rafael and stopped a moment to bid him a good evening. "Good evening Senorita McClarrin, Capitan. The weather is perfect for an evening walk no?"
"Good evening Rafael. Yes it's lovely out tonight." Replied Ianna with a smile.
"Everything under control Rafael?" asked Pillar in an official tone.
"Si Capitan all is quiet this evening." He reported quickly.
"Good man." Said Pillar giving him a firm clasp on the shoulder.
She turned to Ianna and gestured that she proceed. Ianna waved to Rafael and took Pillar's arm once again.
Rafael watched them go and looked up towards the captain's wheel. Rodrigo looked down at the boy and they exchanged knowing smiles.
When they finally reached their destination they each took a spot by the rail and looked up at the sky.
Ianna's mouth opened in wonder. "I've never seen so many at once before."
"Si, they are very beautiful. It is a shame that they are outshined." Said Pillar in a low tone.
Ianna turned to Pillar a little puzzled. "Out shined? By what?"
"You." She answered very seriously.
Ianna knew she was blushing but hoped Pillar would not be able to tell. Suddenly Ianna shivered and scolded herself mentally for forgetting her shawl. Pillar felt Ianna's grip on her bicep tighten a little as she moved closer.
"Are you cold?" asked the tall woman.
"A little." She admitted. "I forgot my shawl."
"It is alright do not worry." Said Pillar and took off her jacket. She stepped behind Ianna holding the jacket open for her.
"Oh no, please don't trouble yourself. It's my fault for being so forgetful. I wouldn't want you to catch a chill." She protested.
"No not all, I am quite used to this type of weather where as you are not. Please humor me."
Ianna gave in and Pillar helped her into the jacket. Ianna chuckled as she noted the length of the sleeves and pushed them up as best she could. She stopped laughing when she felt the weight of Pillars hands on her shoulders. She stiffened a bit and Pillar noticed. She removed her hands and Ianna turned around.
She looked up this time wanting to be caught in Pillar's gaze. She could see the hesitation in Pillar's eyes and searched for the words to put her at ease "I don't want this night to end." She said taking a step closer.
"Nor do I." Replied Pillar, her voice a little shakily. She took a deep breath and did something she rarely ever did. She listened to her heart.
She reached up and placed her hand on Ianna's cheek. Her heart almost leapt out of her chest as she felt Ianna lean into the touch. She ran her hand gently to the back of Ianna's neck and lowered her face towards the girl's. All the while with eyes locked until the moment just before their lips touched.
The first contact was so soft. Ianna thought for a moment she might faint on the spot. Pillar's lips were so soft and despite the chill, impossibly warm. Their lips separated for a second only to have them joined again I bit more firmly. Ianna felt a tingle up her spine and her hands moved of their own accord as they slid up Pillar's arms, past her shoulders and around her neck.
Pillar felt a shiver go through her as Ianna's arms went around her neck. She wrapped her arms around the smaller woman and gently pulled her closer. She licked Ianna's lips lightly and Ianna complied by parting them and giving her entrance. That first delicious contact almost did them both in. It was the sweetest moment either woman had ever known. They explored one another with a gentle curiosity and longing. Stopping only because of their need to breath.
Pillar looked down at Ianna with a very serious expression. Ianna caressed Pillar's cheek, "You are so beautiful." She whispered. Then leaned into the tall woman resting her head on her chest.
Pillar looked up and gave a silent prayer of thanks then closed her eyes as she placed a tender kiss on the top of Ianna's head. She let out a relieved breath she was sure she had been holding the entire time. When she heard Ianna give a very contented sigh she couldn't help but smile. They stood there for a long time, Pillar making soothing motions with her hands on Ianna's back and Ianna with her arms around Pillar's waist afraid to let go lest the spell would be broken.
Holding some one had never felt so good, so...right. They both would have been content to remain there forever in that perfect moment. Ianna sighed and loosened her grip just enough so that she could look up a Pillar.
"What do we do now?" She asked quietly.
Pillar thought for a moment completely at a loss for words. Finally she took a deep breath and said, "Bueno, I had intended to ask you tonight what you thought about staying on."
Ianna looked at Pillar in surprise then gave her broad smile. "I had intended to ask you if it would be alright for me to stay."
They laughed and hugged each other tightly. "I would like nothing better than for you to stay, but..."
"Buuut?" asked Ianna slightly concerned.
"Have you really considered what this would mean? Your family, your fiancé, your position..."
Ianna stopped Pillar by placing two fingers gently on her lips. "Those things mean nothing to me. And yes I have spent much time considering everything and the consequences. And for all the reasons logic gave me for going home there was one that won out over all the rest."
"And which reason was that?' asked Pillar softly.
"It was the one my heart gave me." She answered gently taking Pillar's hand and placing it over her heart. "I love you." She finished, her eyes glistening with unshed tears, reaching up to place a hand on Pillar's cheek.
Pillar closed her eyes and turned her face placing a kiss on Ianna's palm then turned back to Ianna and looked at her tenderly. "I love you too."
They stayed there for quite some time. Ianna faced the water and Pillar stood behind her with her arms wrapped firmly around the smaller woman. They were searching the sky for familiar patterns and both women felt as though they were about to burst from the happiness they were feeling.
Pillar stifled a yawn and smiled when she noticed Ianna trying unsuccessfully to do the same. She leaned down and kissed Ianna's cheek glad beyond compare that she could indulge in this behavior. "The hour is late; perhaps we should retire for the evening." She suggested.
As much as Ianna hated to admit it she knew Pillar was right. It had been a long day and now that she needn't fear losing something so precious, she found the relief had brought with it a sense of exhaustion.
"Perhaps you're right. I am feeling a bit tired." She turned in Pillar's arms placing her arms around the taller woman's neck. "But I wish this night, this feeling could last forever." She said rising on tip toe to be able to give Pillar a soft peck on the lips.
Pillar smiled, "As skilled as I am, I do not think I can make the night last forever. But as far as the feeling is concerned I think that can be arranged." She dipped her head and kissed the girl gently.
Her intention had been to give her the same loving gesture she had received only moments before. But when she went to pull away Ianna captured her lower lip in her teeth and sucked on it playfully. A knot formed in the center of Pillar's stomach and she felt her breathing catch at the unexpected enthusiasm. Ianna nipped Pillar's lip playfully for a moment then kissed the older woman soundly. She let a small moan escape as she pulled Ianna in closer.
Ianna felt a hot flush travel through her as she heard Pillar's reaction to the kiss and felt herself be pulled closer into the embrace. She felt like her body was on fire and tried impossibly to get even closer to the other woman. The kisses she had shared with Ranger, though pleasant enough, had never felt like this. They had never made her body feel like this. She liked it and quickly realized she wanted more.
Pillar's breathing was growing raged as the sensation in her stomach began to travel further south. She moved her hand to the back of Ianna's neck and broke the kiss only to move her lips to a different location. Ianna threw her head back and whimpered when she felt Pillar's lips on her neck just below her ear. The sound almost drove Pillar past all rational thought. Almost.
She loosened her hold a little and backed off a bit. They were both breathless and flushed, chests heaving. Pillar looked down avoiding Ianna's gaze for a few moments feeling slightly embarrassed that she let herself get so carried away. Ianna was not the type of woman one rushed. She did not want to take advantage of her innocence.
"What is it? What's wrong?" asked Ianna concerned, trying to meet Pillar's gaze. "Did I do something wrong?"
"No, no of course not, on the contrary in fact. It was very nice, a little too...nice." Answered Pillar a little at a loss for words.
Ianna thought for a moment then realized what she had meant by that. "Oh...well...I mean...is that a bad thing?"
Pillar smiled, "No it is not a bad thing. But this is not the time or place...I do not want to rush anything with you. You are so very special to me and I love you very much. When the time comes I want it to be as special and magical as the way we feel for one another."
Ianna felt the tears building and had no control over them when they overflowed and slid down her cheeks. "That was beautiful." She said softly.
"It is...how I feel." She replied with matching softness as she wiped Ianna's tears away.
They looked at one another and broke out into unexpected giggles. A welcome release from the unspent energy they had built up. "Come let me take you to back to your quarters. You should get some rest. No doubt the day will begin early and we will have much to do."
Instead of offering her elbow she took Ianna by the hand and laced their fingers together. Ianna looked down and smiled allowing herself to be led back the way they had come. Ianna was very pensive during their walk back. While she enjoyed walking at Pillar's elbow she found she liked walking hand in hand with her more. This was more personal, more of an expression of emotion. The other, though pleasant, was more a mater of protocol than an expression of genuine feeling. Yes, she could definitely become very accustomed to this.
As difficult as one might imagine, Pillar escorted Ianna to her quarters and after exchanging a few heart felt kisses, took her leave. They both acknowledged that they wanted nothing more than to remain together but with the flood of emotion and sensations they had just experienced the temptation to do more than sleep would be too great. They each wanted to come to terms with the newness of it all in their own way. They agreed it would be best to wait and let things evolve in their own time, at their own pace.
Ianna stood there in silence for a moment wishing Pillar would return. Then a smile took possession of her features. She spun around and ended up in front of the mirror. "She loves me!" She proclaimed to the emptiness of the room. She took a seat at the desk and grabbed her quill. She knew if she didn't get the feelings down on paper she would never get to sleep.
19 April continued
She loves me! I can't believe it. Never did I dare hope this could be a possibility. She kissed me! She smiled to herself. Several times. Oh and what kisses. Her lips are so soft. I thought for certain I would faint when her lips first touched mine. They were warm and tender and just so...so...perfect. I never imagined a kiss could be like that, so full of emotion, love...desire.
Pillar was right to insist we keep to our quarters. I fear if we had not I would definitely have ended up doing something most unbecoming. I know she is concerned for me. She knows I am inexperienced in matters such as love and the intimacies exchanged by lovers. I admit the idea of exchanging intimacies with her both thrills and terrifies me.
Though my virtue has never been compromised I do have some idea as to what such things involve between a man and woman. But in the arena I find myself in I have no inkling as to what is expected of me. I only hope it will not prove to be a hindrance when the time comes.
The evening was full of so many emotions on both our parts. I never did get around to having the conversation I'd planned. But it worked out so much better than I could have ever hoped for.
She stopped writing a moment licked her lips and continued.
God I can still feel the warmth of her lips on mine. The feel of her arms around me as she pulled me closer to her. The sounds she made, the sensation that coursed through me as our tongues made contact for the first time.
Her breathing had dramatically changed. Her chest was heaving as she unconsciously moved a hand up to her throat and let it trail down to her breast bone. Then she stopped suddenly and shook her heard to dispel the images.
I just know I'll never get to sleep tonight. I wish Pillar were here. Though she's only a short distance away and I will surely see her in the morning my heart still aches to be with her, to hold her, be held by her. Have I gone completely insane?
Perhaps I have, but if this is what insanity feels like I never want to be sane again. I do not know what the future holds. There are sure to be many pitfalls along the way as we go through uncharted waters but one thing is certain, I love Pillar Montenegro and what's even better is she loves me too. That's all I need.
Pillar was up and ready before sunrise. It was her usual custom to begin her days early but today was different. Today she practically sprung out of bed and readied herself while in the best mood she had seen herself in for a long time. She smiled as she pulled on her boots and found herself humming as she made her way up to the deck to begin her shift at the wheel.
Rodrigo watched his Captain approach with what could only be called a spring in her step. He worked hard to keep the smile off his lips as she reached him.
"Buenos días Capitan." He said in his usual tone.
"Buenos días Rodrigo." Replied Pillar looking up at the clear sky. "A beautiful day is it not?"
"Beautiful indeed, do I even need to ask how your evening went?" He asked a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.
Pillar took the wheel before answering. "My evening went quite well if you must know."
Rodrigo waited and when Pillar offered no further details he spoke again. "Quite well? I saw you walking hand in hand with a certain Senorita. I would think things went more than well. Am I mistaken?"
Pillar was serious for a moment. In fact, the moment was so long Rodrigo began to think that perhaps he was mistaken. Maybe what he had seen was merely their last moments together. He wondered if he should inquire further and looked up to see a smile slowly take possession of Pillar's features. His brow furrowed then realization hit him. She got me.
She couldn't contain the laughter that bubbled in her chest as she looked over at her friend. "I am sorry my friend but the look on your face was priceless."
Rodrigo chuckled not angry at the good natured bantering. "Sooo, how did everything go?"
Pillar looked towards the horizon, "Better than I could have ever imagined. She...loves me."
At this Rodrigo smiled. He had secretly hoped that would be the case. Of course if they chose to pursue this it would open up an entirely new set of potential problems. But deep in his soul he was a true romantic, though he would never admit it. He wanted to see them happy and together and hoped they would be able to overcome the challenges that awaited them.
"That is good news indeed. Did you discuss any of the...problems you might encounter?" He asked.
"Well yes and no. She has considered all the consequences that involve her personally and she has decided to accept them. I in turn have done the same for my part." She answered.
"But?" He asked knowingly.
She shrugged her shoulders and he looked at her surprised. "Pillar, believe me when I tell you I could not be happier for you. I wish only the best for you both, but please be careful my friend. You will talk to her yes? Make sure she understands everything? Trust me it will not make her love you any less."
They stood in silence for a few moments. "Go get some rest; we will be docking in a few hours."
Rodrigo raised am eyebrow. "You do not wish me to make sure the men are ready?"
"I am sure they know what to do. And I fully expect to see you back on the deck long before we dock." She answered with a smile.
He returned the smile and took his leave. Pillar returned her gaze to the horizon, lost in thought. She had no idea of the passage of time and was surprised when she heard a familiar voice raised in greeting.
"Good morning." Said Ianna cheerfully as she approached Pillar.
Pillar smiled, "Buenos días Ianna. Did you sleep well?"
Pillar quirked an eyebrow when she saw her question had elicited a visible blush from the girl.
Ianna become aware of her blushing state and became immediately self conscious causing her to blush even more. She covered her face with her hands and growled slightly.
Pillar simply laughed, "I did not know such a simple question could cause such a reaction. Should I rephrase the question?"
"No, no, I assure you Captain that somehow I will manage to endure. Um, I have had better nights though I must say." She answered chuckling.
"Was something troubling you?" Asked Pillar a little concerned.
"No I was just...too excited? I mean...I couldn't...Stop thinking about you? That is..."
Pillar took pity on the poor girl, "I had some difficulty sleeping as well." She confessed.
"Si Senorita, it seems I spent most of the night preoccupied with a fascinating subject."
"Really? And what would that be?" Asked Ianna genuinely curious.
"The fact that you love me." She answered quietly, lowering her glance.
Ianna felt a lump in her throat but did not let the tears escape. Instead she lifted her hand and placed her fingers under Pillar's chin tilting her head up so their eyes met. "That's what kept me awake too."
Pillar smiled and leaned forward giving Ianna a soft kiss on the lips. The both turned quickly when some one cleared their throat behind them.
"Excuse me Capitan, Senorita, I did not mean to um...interrupt. I wanted to let you know that we are on course and on schedule." Reported navigator Mendez efficiently.
Pillar straightened to her full height. "Very good. Go get some rest; I think you will be properly relieved for the time being." She said looking over at Ianna.
Mendez smiled. The fact was, he would indeed be properly relieved. After five years as the only navigator on board his personal time was extremely limited. He had thought that the lovely young woman would be parting company with them once they docked. But after witnessing the exchange of affection between the two he was not so sure. He silently hoped she would stay on.
"Si Capitan. Should anyone require my assistance I will be below." He informed then took his leave.
Pillar looked over at Ianna and noticed the blush on her cheeks. She didn't know why but it was something that endeared the girl to her even more. She decided not to mention it least it make her blush even more.
"Alright Senorita, what is the first thing you do after relieving Mendez?" Asked Pillar in an official tone.
Ianna quickly shook off the embarrassment of being caught kissing Pillar. "I check the course that has been set, consult the charts and make sure we are indeed on the course indicated." She answered confidently.
Pillar suppressed a grin, "And what else?"
"I direct the helmsman of any change in course that is needed, adjustments and so forth. Lastly, I record my actions in the log book"
"And what is the significance of recording items in the log book?" She asked knowing they had not covered that topic.
Ianna thought for a moment, "Well, I would think it would be so you would know who was navigating at all times. That way in the event that there were some mishap or error in course, you would know who to approach in reference to the situation."
Finally Pillar smiled, her pride showing in her eyes. "You have learned well Ianna. You should be proud of yourself. You have accomplished much in little time."
"I had an excellent teacher." She responded with a gleam in her eye.
Pillar chuckled a bit. "Is that so? Well, off with you then to perform your duties...Navigator McClarrin."
Ianna had turned to go and hesitated for a moment at the use of the title. It felt strange. She new it meant her place as a member of the crew had been finalized.
"Yes Captain." She said with a smile and continued to her destination.
Pillar smiled as she heard the yell. She looked to the horizon knowing it would only be a minute at most before she saw the shore line. As much as she loved the sea she was ready for a break and so were the men. They had been on the water for at least two months. A few hours shore leave here and there to replenish supplies did not count as rest in her opinion.
She ship needed a few repairs, general maintenance actually. They had plenty of cargo to unload and deals to make. She glanced over her shoulder at Ianna who was engaged in conversation with Mendez. He had returned a little while ago and Ianna had been assaulting him questions ever since. Her desire to learn was rivaled only by her desire to do well.
Both traits were admirable in Pillar's opinion. She faced forward again and noticed the glimpses of the shore. She let out a deep breath and relaxed. She was looking forward to spending some quiet time with Ianna. No work, no lessons, just the two of them getting to know each other. In more ways than one I hope. She felt a sudden flush overtake her as the thought came to her. She had to shake her head to clear it least she end up running them up on the rocks.
Ianna came and stood next to Pillar. She smiled when she saw the shoreline and the definite outline of the docks. Her brow furrowed a moment then she asked, "Do they have shops there?"
Pillar looked down at the girl, "Yes they have a few small shops. But anything you need can be easily acquired. Are you planning to shop?" Asked Pillar amused.
"Well, I could use some clothes don't you think? I'm grateful for the ones Rodrigo gave me however, I would like a little more variety. I don't like being limited to one pair of britches and one shirt. Speaking of which, don't forget you promised Rafael you would replace his shirt. You did tear the other one to shreds." She said with a smile.
"I completely forgot about that. Thank you for reminding me. I think that was his only one. I have not seen him wear one since that day."
"Maybe he's afraid you may decide you need new dish rags if he does." She said chuckling.
Pillar couldn't help but chuckle at the remark. "Alright, your point is well made, as usual. I will see to it personally. And as far as your shopping expedition is concerned, please feel free to get what ever you feel necessary. I have much to do once we dock, I'm afraid I will not be able to join you, at least not right away."
"Oh that's alright do you want me to wait for you?" Asked Ianna.
She was tempted to say yes. She did not really want Ianna walking around the island unescorted. After all, there were reasons Pillar considered this a safe port. As did most everyone else in her...profession, but she knew how the girl felt about being "escorted" and did not wish to upset her. There was also the matter of Omar and Montalvo. She knew they resented being dismissed and did not trust they would simply not bother with the matter. If they dared to lay a hand on Ianna she would not hesitate to send them to their eternal rest.
She had vowed to herself that while she lived no one would ever hurt her again. Ianna had not brought up any of the events of her past yet except for a few animated tales that involved her sister and fiancé. Former fiancé. She corrected herself with a grin.
"No I do not know how long I will be detained. Please go on and enjoy yourself. I will find you once my business is concluded." Answered the taller woman placing her arm around Ianna's shoulders. I'll just have some one keep an eye on her.
Ianna watched as the skilled crew did their jobs with perfection. They lowered the sails and allowed the ships momentum to move it along the final distance. The anchor was ready to be lowered and the ropes were manned and ready to be thrown overboard. Pillar guided the ship smoothly into an empty berth and they settled with a slight thump against the dock.
She waited a few minutes for the commotion on the deck to lessen and for the gang plank to be lowered. Finally she turned to Pillar, "I'll see you in a little while."
"Count on it." Replied Pillar.
She watched Ianna head for the gang blank and looked around for some one she could trust an important task to. She caught sight of Rodrigo and was about to call him over when a shout caught her attention. "Montenegro!"
She turned to see a man boarding. He was tall, taller than Pillar even and she herself stood six feet in height. He had a wide build and sported a dark pony tail. He was clean shaven and had dark eyes. His manner of dress did not betray his financial status for he wore a simple pair of black britches, the legs tucked into worn boots and a simple white shirt. To look at him one would never suspect he was the wealthiest inhabitant of the Canary Islands.
Pillar approached the man with a serious expression. "Sebastian, I see you found your way home. I thought the authorities had finally caught up with you. Or so I heard."
"Oh and wouldn't you have been only too glad? You will not be rid of me so easily. I warned you of that the last time. Or have you forgotten I am a man of my word?" He said taking a menacing step forward.
Pillar held his gaze. She would not be intimidated b the likes of him. She also advanced practically standing nose to nose with him. They stood in silence for a moment like two predators in the wild. It was Sebastian who broke first throwing his arms around Pillar and lifting her into a tight hug.
"Welcome back! Where the devil have you been? I've missed you!" Said the big man good naturedly.
Pillar laughed and returned the hug. "Well if you put me down I will tell you." She answered patting him soundly on the back.
He complied but continued to hold her at arm's length. "You look wonderful. How long has it been? Over a year I should think. Tell me everything. What trouble have you been getting yourself into?"
Pillar couldn't keep the smile off her face. "That is a lot of questions. Why do we not save them for later? I must see to the cargo and crew first."
"Same old Pillar all business and no pleasure. Well, not exactly no pleasure. You'll never guess who is here also." He said with a mischievous glint in his eye.
"Who?" asked Pillar curiously.
"Catherine." He said grinning.
Pillar lost her grin, "Catherine? Surely not Catherine Rivaldi."
"The very one. She will be very surprised to see you. I'm sure she remembers you with great fondness." He answered, a bit of sarcasm tingeing his voice.
Pillar ran her fingers through her hair. Catherine Rivaldi...the last person she expected to see...ever, let alone here. She had had the misfortune of meeting Catherine in France a little over five years ago. They had, engaged in a passionate affair. It ended only due to the fact that Catherine's husband had discovered the indiscretion and given Pillar's reputation had done something unheard off. He challenged her to a duel.
The night before the duel it was Pillar's bed that Catherine had shared, not her husband's. She had grown very fond of the woman during their acquaintance and Catherine assured her that her feelings for her knew no bounds. She convinced Pillar that if she fought the duel they would be free to be together.
The next morning she went to the designated place and fought the duel. Mon Sur Rivaldi should have listened to his friends and withdrawn the challenge. Pillar won the duel, but not with out some measure of regret. Once it was over it took Catherine all of a month to send Pillar on her way. That was the time it took to settle her husband's estate. She was a rich woman free to live as she pleased and Pillar was no longer included in her plans.
In truth Pillar was crushed. It had been her second serious relationship and just like the first time she had ended up with a broken heart but worse. She had been used. A nice legal way to murder her husband and inherit his fortune.
She had given up the thought of returning to sea for this woman. When she'd met Catherine she was on leave from her duties as first mate on a ship she'd served on for five years. Santiago had been less than pleased when she informed him she would not be returning. He and his ship had left port and after breaking with Catherine she decided to strike out on her own. She was not without her resources and it took little time for her to acquire her first ship.
She had determined after that last time to never go through that again. It hurt too much. She had closed herself off from everyone. Oh make no mistake she was far from chaste, she had an eye for beauty and her natural charm and stunning good looks kept her bed from being empty for too long. But she never put her heart into the matter. The encounters were either strictly physical or there was a benefit to be gained from it. Either way she never allowed herself to develop any attachments. Until now. She thought, smiling to herself.
"Oh and does Catherine deserve a smile like that?" Asked Sebastian amused.
"No amigo, she does not. But there is something that most certainly does. Tell me, are you free tonight for dinner? We have much to catch up on and I have some one I would like you to meet."
"The moment I saw your ship I ordered up something special for dinner. Come by tonight I have much to tell you and am curious as to whom you wish me to meet. Until tonight then." He finished heading towards the gang plank.
"See you then." She replied.
She stood with her arms folded and looked out over the water. Catherine Rivaldi She wondered if she should tell Ianna the whole wretched story. Ianna!
"Maldita sea!" She looked around in search of...ah! "Mendez!"
Mendez turned at the sound of Pillar's voice and walked towards her. "Si Capitan?"
"I need you to do me a great favor. Ianna is on the island unescorted would you please find her and guard her safety. I do not trust Omar and Montalvo."
Mendez accepted the task without hesitation and turned to go but was detained a moment longer by the Captain.
"Do not make it seem as though you are guarding her. She would not like it." She added a little tentatively.
Mendez tried not to smile. "I will do my best Capitan. Do not fear, she will be safe." With that he turned and trotted off towards the gang plank.
With a slight sense of relief she let out a deep breath. She had a lot of work to do and all she could think of was Ianna. She set to the task of fulfilling her duties. She caught site of Rodrigo in conversation with a lees than reputable looking gentleman. She headed in their direction with a determined look on her face. Time to earn my living.
Continued in part FourReturn to the Academy