Spanish Eyes Part Four by Mary G
For Disclaimers see part 1
Ianna made her way to the small town not far from the docks. She was glad to be off the ship if only for little while. After a month at sea under fairly stressful conditions she was ready for a break. She did not think to ask Pillar how long they would be staying. Whether here or on the ship Ianna did not care where she laid her head to rest at night as long as Pillar was there. Or at least close by. She thought with a smile.
In truth, the island was quite beautiful. She took a deep breath and her lungs were filled with fresh air and the breeze coming off the ocean made the tropical heat much more bearable. She had never been away from England in her entire life and the prospect of seeing many more places such as this filled her with a great sense of anticipation and excitement. She stopped in front of one shop and caught sight of her reflection in the window. Her shirt and trousers had seen better days. I suppose I won’t be needing any evening dresses for the time being. She thought as she entered the shop.
It was the closest thing she could find to a tailor. The shop had an impressive assortment of fabrics and the like. She didn’t see any ready made items though and figured she would probably have to have the clothes made. I would take a day or two; surely they would be there at least that long. The crew seemed to have been looking forward a few days rest.
She looked around for the owner and was about to give up her search and go elsewhere when a voice from behind her startled her.
“Can I help you?”
Ianna turned quickly in the direction of the voice to find a young man standing in a doorway. He was of medium height with auburn hair pulled back in a ponytail and hazel eyes. He eyed her speculatively taking in the state of her current attire. He took in the worn shirt and trousers and smiled at the scuffed boots. He let out a breath and approached his customer.
Ianna watched him approach and gave him one of her best smiles. “Yes, good afternoon. Would you be the tailor?”
He was thrown off guard by her English accent, one whose dialect was that of a cultured young woman. Not at all what her dress suggested. “Um, yes that would be me. I am Lo and this is my shop. Please, feel free to look around and tell me if there is anything you like.”
Ianna smiled at him pleasantly and began to look at the materials in earnest. Lo watched her as she moved from one fabric to the other running her fingers over the material. She had poise and carried herself very well. He was truly intrigued. What was a lady doing here of all places dressed like a common brigand?
She finally decided on a nice cotton material, practicality winning out in the end. Cotton was warm in winter and cool in summer. She had no idea if they would see any cold weather but it paid to be prepared. “Excuse me, I’d like three shirts from this and two pairs of trousers from this. How long will it take? I’m not certain how long we will be in port.”
He thought for a moment, “No more than a day. I have no other orders to fill at the moment. Do you wish them cut in the same style as what you are currently wearing?”
“Yes that would be fine though a little closer to my size would be preferable. These are on loan I am afraid.” She answered gesturing at herself smiling.
Lo found the smile contagious and found himself chuckling as he gestured towards the back so he could take her measurements.
Pillar walked through the streets of the town glad that she had a free moment finally. The cargo this trip had been extensive and in truth it wasn’t until they unloaded it all that she was able to get a good account of what they had carried. She had raised an eyebrow when she’d seen what the bulk of Santiago’s had been. A huge stash of weapons and ammunition.
Not his style, he normally went for the luxury items. They were always easy to unload and fetched a good price. But this was a different matter all together. Perhaps his priorities or associations were changing. In any case, it did not concern her. There was a buyer interested in the weapons and it would take a few days to finalize the deal. They would fetch a handsome sum indeed. With the political troubles of late some one was sure to need them. Wars were messy affairs and she had no intention of getting mixed up in the current one.
The Spanish crown was in question and there were a number of individuals who claimed to be the true ruler of the Iberian Peninsula. After the death of Charles II Austria and France both claimed sovereignty over Spain and its territories. A successor had been named, but unfortunately he was also in line to inherit the French throne. That was simply too much power for one individual. Pillar was not concerned; she was only concerned that her mother was safe and well cared for. So far she was and that brought her a small measure of comfort.
The town had grown since her last trip here. There were more shops, a pub, even an inn. The population had grown considerably. The Canary Islands were a rich source of sugar cane and many had come to settle and cut the cane. There was money to be made for those who had no aversion to hard work.
She thought about her dinner plans with Sebastian and smiled to herself. The thought of escorting Ianna to dinner at her old friend’s house delighted her. She looked up casually at a storefront and was drawn to it immediately. In the window was a dress. But not just any dress, it was Ianna’s dress. There was no other way to describe it. It was perfect for her. It was a dark green, shimmering satin with full skirts and came off the shoulders. With Ianna’s eyes and the emeralds she had given her it would be perfect.
“She should have something nice to wear tonight.” She said to herself and entered the shop.
It only took her a few minutes to conduct her business. She hoped her judgment of Ianna’s measurements would prove to be accurate and gave instructions that the dress be delivered early enough in case adjustments needed to be made. She smiled to herself feeling very self satisfied and thinking that her love was surely going to be the most beautiful creature on the entire island. Indeed she was so distracted she did not look up to see some one entering the shop at the moment she was trying to exit.
She was slightly startled and more than a little embarrassed. “Umph…oh excuse me Señorita please forgive my clumsiness.”
The woman was about to give this clumsy oaf what for when she looked up and was caught in a pair crystal blue eyes she had thought she would never see again. She literally stopped breathing for a moment. “Pillar?”
Pillar stood stock still when she recognized the voice. “Katherine?”
“Pillar! I simply can’t believe it. It’s been years since I saw you last.” Stated the woman throwing her arms around Pillar’s neck and giving her a fierce hug.
Pillar hesitantly returned the hug then felt an overwhelming need for personal space. She broke the embrace and spoke quietly. “Let us get out of the door way at least.”
They moved outside and Katherine looked Pillar over. Very nice. “I still can’t believe it’s really you. It must be what five years. I’ve heard about you over the years, it seems you have made quite a reputation for yourself.”
Pillar smiled politely. “Yes it has been a long time. You are looking stunning as always.”
Katherine smiled coyly at the compliment. In truth the years had not changed Pillar at all. She was older of course and carried herself with the grace and dignity fitting a woman of her birth but a little out of place for a woman of her profession. She had been trying to figure out a solution to a minor problem and perhaps Pillar was that solution.
“Well, you must buy me a drink so we can sit and talk. Five years is a long time we have much to catch up on.” Said Katherine cheerfully placing her arm through Pillar’s.
Pillar swallowed hard and looked down at the woman. In truth she was exactly how Pillar remembered her. The last thing she wanted to do, ever, was to see her again. In truth, their last meeting had been devastating. She lost her innocence on that day, her ability to trust and believe in people. She closed her heart to everyone and for a while she doubted her desire to go on. But she would not let herself be beaten and had put herself back together the best way she could.
She swore she would never be that vulnerable again. That she would never let anyone into her heart again. It was too much of a risk and the pain would cut too deep. And she kept her word. She hadn’t let anyone in. Ianna had simply come in and claimed her heart as if it had been hers all along. A lost treasure rediscovered and returned to its rightful owner. For that is how she felt when she was with Ianna, like she had returned home after a long and treacherous journey through fog and murky waters. What she’d had with Katherine paled in comparison to what she had with Ianna.
She smiled politely and gently removed Katherine’s arm from her elbow. “I am sorry Katherine but I am afraid I have some business to attend to perhaps some other time.”
Katherine smiled sweetly. “Of course you must have a million things to attend to. Being captain of your own ship must carry with it an infinite number of responsibilities. I have no wish to keep you. Perhaps we could have dinner tonight then?” She asked hopefully.
Pillar was about to decline when a familiar voice caught her attention. “Pillar!”
She smiled and turned to see Ianna trotting in her direction. She opened her arms and the younger woman ran into them throwing her arms around the tall woman’s neck. “There you are! I thought I would be returning to the ship by myself.”
Pillar smiled, “I promised you I would join you here did I not? I am a woman of my word.”
Pillar’s smile faded when she saw Ianna shift her gaze to Katherine. She cleared her throat and turned to face her. Ianna stayed close to Pillar and took her elbow. There was something in the way the woman was looking at Pillar that made the hair on the back of her neck stand on end.
“Amor, this is Contesa Katherine Rivaldi. An old friend here on business and a touch of pleasure I should think. Katherine it is my pleasure to present to you Señorita Ianna McClarrin. Senorita McClarrin has recently become a member of the crew.”
And your bed too no doubt. “Charmed my dear.” She said to Ianna, slightly annoyed at the term of endearment, then turned to Pillar. “I am surprised Pillar, I did not think you would have women among your crew save yourself of course. Isn’t it dangerous?”
Pillar opened her mouth to answer when the smaller woman suddenly took the lead. “Oh I’m quite safe Countess I assure you. The men are friendly and I can assure you I’m very well protected.” Answered Ianna rubbing Pillar’s upper arm with her free hand for emphasis.
Katherine looked form one to the other and smiled. A slightly wicked smile in Pillar’s opinion and she stiffened a bit and swallowed hard.
“Oh I can see just how well protected you are my dear. How long will you be enjoying the hospitality of the island?” She asked casually.
Ianna looked up at Pillar inquiringly and the taller woman offered an answer. “I am not sure yet. The men could use some leave and I too could use a few days rest. I am sure we will run into one another again. If you will excuse us I promised my lady I would take her shopping.” The last words were spoken with a mixture of the warmth she felt for being able to say them and the coldness that her eyes held as she looked at Katherine.
Pillar casually removed Ianna’s hand from her elbow and grasped her hand instead, intertwining their fingers together comfortably. She led Ianna away from the shop and they walked in silence for a bit before Ianna cleared her throat. “Well, that was pleasant.” She said with a chuckle.
Pillar did not respond and Ianna began to grow concerned. She stopped walking and since they were still holding hands Pillar was forced to stop also. She looked back curiously at her smaller companion. Ianna smiled slightly, “Now that I have your attention, would you please tell me what is wrong?”
Pillar’s brow furrowed and she took a deep breath. “Nothing really, it’s just…she was the last person I expected to see.”
“She seemed friendly enough. What am I missing?” Asked Ianna innocently. Then she looked up at Pillar as realization hit her. “Oh wait…did you…was she…Pillar?” She looked up at Pillar but the taller woman could not meet her gaze.
Ianna placed a hand gently under Pillar’s chin and tilted her head up. “Please tell me. I won’t be angry. I promise.”
Pillar took a deep breath and led Ianna to a quiet section of beach. They took off their boots, rolled up their trousers and walked a little before Pillar took a seat on the soft white sand. Ianna followed her lead and followed suit. Pillar took a deep breath and told Ianna the entire story. By the time she’d finished she had a lump in her throat for the memory was not a pleasant one for her and she had never recounted the tale before except on one occasion to Rodrigo.
When she was done Ianna stood, walked close to the shore and looked out over the horizon. Pillar watched her and stood slowly convinced she had lost her. She walked over to Ianna prepared for what she certain to be a rejection. Ianna turned suddenly and threw herself into Pillar’s arms.
“Oh I am so sorry that happened to you.” She was sobbing with her head on Pillar’s chest. Pillar was confused. But offered what comfort she could to the girl. “How could she do that to you? What a wicked woman!”
“Sshh…It is alright, amor.” Said Pillar tenderly.
Ianna looked up at Pillar, “It is most definitely not alright to play with some one’s emotions that way.” Ianna dried her tears and took Pillars bigger hands in her own, “Pillar I swear to you on all I hold dear that I would never do such a wretched thing. I swear to you my love that no one else will either. I will make sure of it until I take my last breath on this earth.”
Pillar was speechless. She could only laugh nervously. She squeezed Ianna’s hands firmly and smiled. “I will not lie; I have heard those words before. But I have never believed them until now.”
Ianna returned the smile, “I love you.”
“And I you.” Responded Pillar lowering her head to place heartfelt kiss on Ianna’s lips.
Ianna felt her heartbeat quicken and her breathing change as she wound her arms around Pillar’s neck and the kiss deepened. Pillar drew Ianna closer their bodies making more contact than on the previous night. Layers of petticoats had stood between them but today there were not nearly as many layers separating them and the feel of Ianna’s body was quickly undoing her resolve.
Ianna’s hands moved down to Pillar’s waist and Pillar cupped Ianna’s face gently as they continued their sensuous duel. Pillar broke the kiss and placed several more on Ianna’s cheek tracing a path to her ear. “Te amo Ianna.” She whispered before flicking the sensitive lobe with her tongue and bending her head to pay homage to that beautiful neck.
Ianna heard herself moan and became suddenly aware of where they were. As much as she hated to admit it, propriety was very much a part of her. She struggled to take a deep breath trying to gain some control over her thoughts.
“Pillar.” She said breathlessly.
“Si Amor.” Answered Pillar her voice low and husky with desire.
Ianna place her hands on Pillar’s chest. “We can’t.”
Pillar blinked a few times and regained control of herself. Ianna saw a blush start on Pillar’s neck creeping up and making the tips of her ears an interesting shade of pink. The taller woman took a step back and looked down at the sand.
“I…Please forgive me Senorita. That was unforgivable. I had no right to impose on your person in such a way. You are a lady and should be treated as such. I meant no disrespect I assure you. I allowed myself to be carried away on a wave of passion, it will not happen again.” She finished with a slight bow.
Ianna almost interrupted several times but let Pillar finish the apology she so obviously felt was necessary. She looked up into eyes that held love, apprehension, and anticipation.
“I am not offended love. I was swept away on the same wave you were, and to be honest, had we not been in such a public venue I might not have been able to stop myself. You are so beautiful. Did you know that? I find you most alluring, you make me feel things I’ve never felt before, things I want to explore with you, for I will admit I am some what nervous about it all.”
Ianna smiled shyly and Pillar returned the smile and quirked an eyebrow at her. “Do not worry, when the time comes I am certain you will not disappoint me.” She said caressing the smaller woman’s cheek.
It was Ianna’s turn to blush as she leaned into the touch. “I don’t know…I mean I’ve never…that is I want to…ugh.”
She covered her face and shook her head well aware of the blush she was trying to hide. Pillar couldn’t help but chuckle. She decided to let the smaller woman off the hook. “Tell me Ianna do you ride?”
Ianna was surprised at the sudden change of subject, but grateful none the less. “I am a lady good Captain. Of course I can ride.” She answered, grasping hold of an invisible skirt and executing a perfect curtsy.
“Ah si, I thought as much. Tell me then, would the young lady care to join me for a ride on the beach? It is a lovely afternoon and we have been invited to dinner this evening.” She said formally.
“Dinner? Who could have invited us to dinner? Pillar I don’t know anyone here except for you and the crew.” She said with a smile.
“An old friend of mine is residing on the Island. I ran into him this morning. It has been a few years since last we spoke. He invited me to dine with him this evening, I could not even consider going unless you accompany me.” She explained taking Ianna’s hand in hers as they walked.
They walked in silence for a bit. Ianna keeping pace with Pillar safe in the knowledge that at least one of them knew where they going. The taller woman cleared her throat and Ianna glanced up at her friend and waited patiently.
“Ianna I think you should know that I am a very private person when it comes to certain things in my life. But I find myself suddenly wanting to tell everyone I see how much you mean to me. In truth I do not know what the protocol is for…” She raised their linked hands and smiled. “us.”
Ianna thought for a moment. “Well, from what I understand, the practice is not uncommon. However I do not recall seeing any of the couples in question walk hand in hand. There are many who do not approve of such relationships.”
“Oh si, I am aware. If you would prefer we not display what we are to one another in public I would not be offended.” She said sincerely.
“But I most certainly would be. I do not care what others think. When two people love one another it should be celebrated not condemned. I would be honored to be seen walking hand in hand with you.” She said, a broad smile lighting up her features.
Pillar lifted their joined hands and placed a kiss on the back of Ianna’s hand. “So it was alright to refer to you and my lady to the Contesta?”
“Oh it was more than alright. Refer to me as that anytime you wish to anyone you wish.” She paused a moment and a wicked grin found its way to her lips. “Especially to the Contesa.”
Pillar laughed heartily. This was something she had not expected of her beloved. “Oh it would seem the Senorita has a…predisposition for the green eyed monster as it is called.”
“Pillar Montenegro I do not!” Protested Ianna giving Pillar a light slap on the arm. She finally gave in and broke into a fit of giggles. “Alright I admit it; I guess I am prone to a little jealousy.”
“And with those eyes mi amor, I would expect nothing less.”
20 April 1701
Today was a most interesting day. Ok, perhaps I feel that way about everyday lately but…well, we finally reached the Canary Islands. I cannot tell you how pleased I am that we’ve arrived and I need not fear being left behind. I was simply terrified that that was to be my fate. But now…I smile to myself as I consider all the new developments.
The Island we are on is quite lovely. So far everyone has been friendly and I was able to indulge in a bit of shopping. With any luck the new clothes I ordered will be ready sometime tomorrow. Not having a change of clothes is somewhat disconcerting. Not that I miss changing two to three times a day mind you. I’m glad I don’t have to that anymore. But I would however like to have something to change into if I so choose.
Things with Pillar are going very well. We had a walk and then a ride on the beach today. It was absolutely wonderful. Being in love is really rather nice. I hope I never know what its like to be without this feeling. The more time I spend with Pillar the more I get to see that part of her that no one else is allowed to see. To be honest, I like that Pillar. I like that Pillar very much. I hope to see a lot more of that side of her.
To my surprise we have a dinner invitation for this evening. It seems Pillar has an old acquaintance residing on the island who would like to spend the evening catching up on old times. If nothing else the stories should prove to be quite entertaining.
I also had the opportunity to meet one of Pillar’s former lovers. It was odd because I believe I was actually jealous. I’d never had a reason to be jealous before and believe me the feeling was quite a surprise to me. The Countess Katherine Rivaldi…hmm what can I say about her? Nothing if I wish to retain my dignity and honor as a proper young lady. What she did to Pillar was unspeakable. How could anyone be so manipulative, cold, and self absorbed? It makes me furious to think of what she did to Pillar. I hope for her sake our paths never cross again. I will not be responsible for my actions.
On a much brighter note, I received a most splendid surprise today. When we returned from our ride on the beach I entered my room to find the most beautiful green dress laid out on the bed. I was speechless. I turned to Pillar who was sporting the most beautiful grin on her face. As usual she played down the gift by stating that since I had been deprived of my personal things so abruptly, that the least she could do was try and make it up to me. She’s going to spoil me. I must look for something special for her tomorrow. I have no idea what to get her but I’m certain the perfect gift will present itself.
I must take my leave for now. Pillar will be by to call for me soon and I must finish up my hair. I wish to make a good impression on Pillar’s friend.
Pillar put on her jacket as Rodrigo went on with his report. He tossed a pouch at Pillar and she stuck out her hand and caught it smoothly. She tested the weight and lifted an eyebrow at her first mate. “All gold and the men have already been paid. That my dear Capitan is yours. That is only the payment for our cargo. The weapons we took from Santiago will fetch one hundred times that at the very least. I have some one interested in the shipment and will be meeting with him tomorrow.”
“Well done my friend. I will leave the arrangements to you. Will you be joining us for dinner? I am certain Sebastián would be glad to see you.” Asked Pillar.
“Actually I did want the opportunity to visit with him. He does play a most excellent game of drafts. Give me a few minutes to change into a clean shirt.” Said the first mate taking his leave.
Pillar went out after him and headed for Ianna’s room. When Ianna opened the door to greet her she was rendered speechless. She was absolutely stunning. She knew the dress would look good on the young woman but she had no idea.
Ianna smiled sweetly, “There you are.”
Pillar entered and closed the door behind her. She approached Ianna and took her hand formally placing a kiss on the younger woman’s knuckles. Ianna felt a tingle go straight up her arm and her eyelids fluttered an instant. She closed the distance between them and cupped Pillar’s chin with her free hand. Rising on tip toe she kissed Pillar on the lips.
“Thank you for the dress it’s beautiful.” Said Ianna taking in Pillar’s appearance then continuing with a smile. “You look very dashing.”
Pillar bowed slightly, “Thank you Señorita. I can hardly be expected to escort the most beautiful woman on the island in my casual attire. Only the best for you amor.” Finished Pillar with a gallant bow.
Ianna chuckled, “Oh how I would love go to one of my father’s boring parties with you as my escort. I dare say it would be much more entertaining. We would be the talk of the town without even saying a word. The looks on their faces would be simply spectacular.”
Pillar half smiled, “And what would your Papa have to say about that?” she asked.
“Oh I can just imagine. It wouldn’t matter as long as the end of the night I get to leave with you.” Answered Ianna a little more seriously than intended.
Pillar knew she was treading in unknown waters and wanted to take great care. She didn’t want to push Ianna too far before she was ready. “But of course mi amor, it is either that or I remain there with you. But I would whole heartedly recommend a tactical retreat.”
Pillar was relieved when the blond woman smiled. “Yes a tactical retreat would probably the best course of action. Then I would have you all to myself.” She said softly placing her hands on Pillar’s shoulders.
Pillar circled Ianna’s waist with firm hands. She could see playfulness in Ianna’s eyes and a touch of desire as well. The thought that this beautiful Senorita wanted her made her heartbeat quicken. Her mind flashed to the passion that had stirred earlier on the beach and she felt her breath quicken as well.
She bent her head quickly and claimed Ianna’s lips. The contact was sweet and she melted into it losing herself to the moment. She felt Ianna’s hands go up around her neck and she pulled Ianna closer. Ianna let a moan escape into Pillar’s mouth and her hands began to move of their own accord. They traveled down Pillar’s neck and across her shoulders. When she felt Ianna’s hands brush past her collar bone she was struck by the realization that if they didn’t stop now they would miss dinner.
Pillar reluctantly broke the kiss and took hold of Ianna’s hands to prevent further wandering. She looked down into Ianna’s eyes and saw they were dark with desire. Her lips were dark and swollen and they were both breathing hard. With great difficulty she spoke.
“I’m sorry amor, but we must go. If we continue we would most certainly miss dinner and I would hate to do that to Sebastian. But were it not for the fact that it is him I would gladly remain here with you.” Said Pillar kissing the fingers of Ianna’s right hand.
Ianna took a steadying breath. “I’m sorry I don’t know what came over me. It was like an intense need. I had to be close to you. Touch you.” She said caressing Pillar’s cheek. “Taste you.” She said in a softer tone as she touched her own lips.
They looked at one another for a long moment. Neither one moving. “Pillar?”
“If we’re leaving, we must do it now. Otherwise…”
Ianna did not get the opportunity to finish her sentence. Pillar took her by the hand and turned towards the door leading the younger woman into the hall. Ianna laughed as Pillar hurried through the corridor. When they finally reached the deck Ianna was slightly out of breath but still amused.
Pillar took several deep breaths of the crisp night air and felt better instantly. She led Ianna to the gang plank but this time at a much more leisurely pace. All activity on the deck had ceased when they appeared on deck. There wasn’t a man in shouting distance that did not wish them a good evening. Ianna couldn’t help but smile. She waved shyly to a few of the men as she passed. She took Pillar’s arm as the descended the gang plank to ensure safer footing on the way down. When they reached the bottom Rodrigo was waiting with Rafael and the horses. They were talking quietly and Rodrigo paused when he noticed the expression on Rafael’s face. He followed the boy’s gaze and his breath actually caught when he saw the cause of Rafael’s distraction.
Ianna was beautiful. Of that there was no doubt. But so was Pillar, even if she refused to admit it. The two of them together was a sight indeed. Both dressed in their best proudly wearing their feelings for one another openly. Love looks good on them. He thought to himself. He smiled as they approached and he bid them a good evening.
“Buenas noches Senorita. You are looking most lovely this evening. I hope you do not mind my company. Pillar asked me to join you for dinner with Sebastian.”
“Of course I don’t mind. I would most certainly enjoy the company, and I must say you are looking very handsome this evening indeed.” Replied Ianna with a sweet smile.
Rodrigo felt a blush creep suddenly up his neck to his ears. He hadn’t blushed in years. He was a hardened sailor, a pirate even, in certain circles. And here was a young English girl as good and pure as the driven snow, able to elicit one from him with merely a kind word. He looked over at Rafael who was trying desperately to hide his grin. Afraid he would burst out laughing he addressed Pillar instead.
“Capitan, I did not know Rodrigo would be joining you. I did not procure a third horse. There are only the two the Senorita and yourself rode this afternoon.”
Pillar thought for a moment. She had completely forgotten that small detail. “Bueno, I have a solution but only if Ianna is willing. Rodrigo can take one horse and,” she continued turning to Ianna. “If you don’t mind, you can ride with me. It is not very far but his house is on a hill which would be a difficult climb in such a beautiful dress.”
Ianna smiled, “It’s no problem at all.” She said and walked over to Pillars mount and waited for some one to help her into the saddle. To her surprise Pillar stepped up confidently and placed her hands on Ianna’s waist. Ianna felt herself leave the ground and reached for the saddle horn to steady herself as she positioned herself. Then Pillar took hold of the saddle horn placed her boot in the stirrup and settled herself snugly behind the girl.
Rafael handed her the reigns and she watched as Rodrigo mounted the other horse. “Are you comfortable?” Asked Pillar quietly.
Ianna was sitting side saddle and it was a simple thing for her to turn her face up to look at her companion. “Very comfortable.” She answered. Pillar smiled and kneed the horse into motion.
Very comfortable indeed. Thought Ianna with a sigh as she leaned into Pillar slightly. It wasn’t just comfortable she realized but safe. With Pillar’s arms wrapped around her feeling the warmth of her body against her own she felt as if she was in the safest place in all the world. That was something she had never known before. She took the feeling and tucked away into a collection that she found was growing rapidly. She hoped it would be a collection she could add to for the rest of her life.
Strange as though it would seem to some people but in their short acquaintance Pillar had come to mean more to her than anything else in the world. She knew in the deepest recesses of her heart, in that place she had visited and examined time and again during the last week when sleep had eluded her, her head filled with thoughts of Pillar. She knew that her heart and in fact her very soul belonged to this woman. She did know why and in fact had given up trying to find the answer. She only knew that her happiness lay here, right where she was and to deny herself that would be a great injustice to them both.
Ianna remained lost in her thoughts and after a while Pillar began to grow concerned. Ianna was usually very talkative and curious about everything. Now however, she appeared to be very within herself and she and Rodrigo exchanged concerned looks. Rodrigo took the initiative to ride ahead slightly to afford the women some measure of privacy. He did not want his presence to keep Ianna silent if she felt the need to share her burden with Pillar.
Pillar reached a hand up Ianna’s chin. “Ianna, are you alright?”
Ianna blinked several times as she was snapped out of her self induced trance. She turned her face towards Pillar. “Oh I am so sorry. I’m afraid I was lost in thought. I didn’t even realize it. You must think me nothing more than a foolish girl.”
Pillar was quiet for a moment then spoke. “I find you to be a beautiful young woman whose beauty is only surpassed by the goodness of her heart. But if it is not too personal a thing can you tell me what it is that has taken you so far away from me?”
Pillar’s words had found a place in her heart and rendered her speechless for a moment. Then she took a deep breath and answered. “I was thinking about how happy I am and how wonderful it is to have found some one under the strangest of circumstances that fills that space inside me that nothing else could fill.”
Pillar swallowed the lump in her throat but she knew speech would be impossible. She bent her head and kissed Ianna allowing their lips to linger together for a long moment before parting. She secured her hold around the girl and felt Ianna snuggle comfortably into her chest. She sighed contentedly and marveled at the feeling stirring within her. It was something familiar yet unknown, or perhaps merely forgotten. Her mind could not place it but her heart and soul told her what it was. She was complete.
Victor stood by the rail of the ship. He looked out into the darkness and could just make out the silhouette of the island ahead. His heart beat raced with anticipation and the thrill of the hunt. For to him that is exactly what this was, a hunt for very dangerous prey. He turned his head as he heard foot steps approach.
“Report.” Said Victor in an official tone.
“Nothing yet sir. Would you hazard a guess as to which of the islands they are on if any at all?” Asked the first mate.
“It does not matter. We will find them eventually.”
“Are you sure they are here sir? After all we have no confirmation.”
Victor turned and gave the first mate an icy stare. “They are here. Make no mistake about it. Once we have found them we will deal with them in the swiftest and harshest way possible.”
The first mate swallowed hard. “Yes Victor.” He turned to go and in his haste did not see Ranger and ran into him rather forcefully.
“Umf..” uttered both men.
The first mate bristled from embarrassment and looked up. “Watch where you’re…oh dam sorry Master Ranger. I did not see your approach in my haste to be on with my duties.”
“It’s alright Jean. It was an accident, no harm done.” Replied Ranger.
Jean nodded to the younger man and went on his way. Ranger joined Victor by the rail. It was the first deliberate contact in days. Ranger could not bring himself to be in the same room with Victor after over hearing his conversation with Santiago a few nights previous.
“How soon before we dock?” asked Ranger casually.
“It is difficult to say. We must locate the right Island first. There are several in the chain and we need to find out which the correct one. Do not fear young sir, we will get your young lady back safe and sound.”
Ranger kept the contempt from his face. He knew Victor cold care less for him or Ianna. As long as he located his father’s cargo that’s all that mattered. He on the other hand cared nothing for his father’s cargo or business.
Once they docked Victor could do as he pleased and he would go after Ianna. He only hoped that he had been correct in assuming that this was their destination. He new the longer Ianna was missing the lesser the chances of them finding her safe and sound. He clung to his belief that Captain Montenegro meant Ianna no harm. Ianna’s “kidnapping” had been an accident caused by a careless fool on the dock. If he knew the identity of said fool he would have surely run him through for his stupidity. He wanted no quarrel with the Captain; he simply wanted his fiancé back. He stared off into the horizon feeling very much like he was being fattened up for the kill.
The trio dismounted in the court yard. Pillar helped Ianna down and the horses were taken away to be attended to. Ianna looked around, taking in the appearance of the garden and the house. Not really a house a mansion really. It was like a sanctuary from the outside world. The décor and architecture had a strong Spanish influence and she almost felt as though she had been transported. She imagined what it might be like to visit Pillar’s home one day. She smiled at the thought; she would like that very much.
Her attention was called over to her right as she heard a voice calling out. “Pillar! Come over here you wench! Give me a proper greeting.”
Pillar approached Sebastian and gave him a warm hug. “Did you think I would pass up an opportunity for good food and intelligent conversation?”
Sebastian laughed, “And what makes you think you will find either of those here?”
“Well, good food I know I can always find here.” She said patting his belly. “And as for intelligent conversation that is why I brought two guests.”
Sebastian looked around and caught Rodrigo’s eye. Both men burst into smiles as they greeted one another. “You old sea dog! Does Pillar still have you tied to the mast?”
Rodrigo laughed, “Not since I became first mate. And what of you my friend? The years have been good to you.” He said gesturing around him.
“They have been fair. It is truly wonderful to see you both. Tonight you leave your cares outside for in here the outside world does not exist and the troubles of an ordinary life can be set aside for a time.” He put an arm around Rodrigo’s shoulders and turned towards the house and stopped dead.
Pillar stepped forward and took Ianna by the hand. “Sebastián, un momento por favor.”
Sebastián stepped towards them, a charming smile on his face. Pillar cleared her throat amazed at the fact that she actually felt a little nervous. “Sebastian, it is my pleasure to present to you Senorita Ianna McClarrin. Ianna, Sebastian Vega one of my oldest and dearest acquaintances.
Sebastian stepped forward and took Ianna’s hand. He bowed and kissed it formally. “Senorita, it is truly an honor to meet you. Please accept my hospitality and consider my home as your home.”
Ianna curtseyed, “Thank you Senor Vega. You are most generous.”
Sebastian had straightened but still held Ianna’s hand. “Thank you my dear but please call me Sebastian. Senor Vega was my father.”
She inclined her head politely and regarded Pillar. She stood quietly with her hands behind her back watching the scene play out. Ianna went to her and took her arm. Pillar looked down at her beloved and gave her a stunning smile. Pillar could not possibly be happier than she was at that moment.
Sebastian led the way into the house and he spoke animatedly with Rodrigo as they entered the study. “A drink before dinner to toast to old friends and new acquaintances.” Said Sebastián.
Everyone nodded in agreement and Sebastian did the honors himself taking out a bottle of twelve year old scotch he had been saving for a special occasion. As he poured the drinks he glanced over at Ianna who was watching him intently.
“Do not worry Senorita McClarrin I will put some fizz in yours.” He said with a smile.
“No thank you I’ll have it plain please. Fizz ruins the flavor of the scotch.” Responded Ianna quite straight faced.
Sebastian looked at Pillar who merely shrugged. “Give the lady what she wants Sebastian. I think you will find she is full of surprises.” She finished with a smile.
Sebastian did not protest and merely handed the drinks around. They toasted to friendship and reunions. Everyone including Ianna downed their scotch in one gulp. The three men looked at each other then back at Ianna. She looked at the three of them and smiled sweetly. “Very nice Senor…I mean Sebastian. It was aged very nicely.”
Sebastian bowed in her direction, “Thank you Senorita you are most kind. It is very refreshing to have some one of good taste to speak with for a while.” He strode up to Ianna and held out his elbow. “Senorita, it would be my pleasure to escort you to dinner this evening. It has been a long time since my table and indeed my home has been blessed with so stunning a creature as yourself. Please do not refuse me.”
His voice had been a low tenor and it tickled her ear. Ianna found him simply charming. She took his elbow and he gave her a wide smile. As he led the way to the dining room he looked over his shoulder to Pillar who was slightly less than amused at the moment. He quickly glanced at Ianna then back at Pillar and stuck his tongue out at her like a spoiled child. Pillar growled in a subdued tone and Rodrigo intervened with calming words and a soothing pat on the back.
Dinner, in Ianna’s opinion had been simply marvelous. The richness and spices let her experience flavors she had never tasted before. She decided she could become used to it all too quickly. She sat quietly and watched as the trio argued over whose recollection of a particular misadventure was the most accurate. She found it very amusing especially since each claimed to not be responsible for the mishap. She sipped her wine contentedly as the three finally gave up.
Sebastian was no fool. He had observed the looks shared across the table by the two women. As well as the blushes various comments had caused. Ianna seemed to be very intelligent, sweet, inquisitive and friendly. He hoped that for Pillar’s sake all these attributes were indeed genuine. He would hate for his friend to be deceived once again, especially when she was obviously in love with the beautiful girl. He cleared his throat and placed his napkin on the table.
“Pillar, when you have a moment. There is something I wish to discuss with you. I promise I will not deprive of the company of the lovely lady for very long.”
Pillar looked across the table to Ianna then over to Rodrigo, he knew that was his cue. He turned to Ianna. “Senorita, could I interest you in a walk in the garden to help the meal settle?”
Ianna smiled at him, she knew that was her cue to give Pillar some time with Sebastian. “I would be delighted kind sir. Please lead the way.” They stood and left the dinning room arm in arm closing the door behind them.
Once they had departed Pillar turned to Sebastian. She opened her mouth to speak but he spoke first. “She is very beautiful Pillar.”
“Yes she is.” She agreed as a wistful smile formed on her lips.
“So, tell me. How is it that such a proper English lady finds herself in the company of pirates?’ He asked simply.
Pillar took a deep breath and related the story to her friend. He thought for a long moment before speaking. “You could be charged with kidnapping. You know that don’t you.”
“I know that. But what can we do? She does not want to return and what’s more I don’t want her to return either. I’ll not leave her Santiago I can’t.” Said Pillar as she stood and went over to the window.
Santiago sighed, “Pillar are you sure? I mean are you certain her feelings for you are true?”
“Yes,” she answered without hesitation. “She has given up everything for me, her home, her family and her position. She is a good person Sebastian. A genuinely good person, I know she is young and she lacks life experience but she makes for that with determination, curiosity and a genuine desire to learn. And she loves me Sebastian, me, Pillar Montenegro from Valencia not Capitan Montenegro the pirate. I never dared dream I could ever be worthy of that. I love her with all that I am. I would…it would not be good if I were without her.” She finished quietly.
Sebastian walked over to his friend and put a strong hand on her shoulder. “You are right; she has given up much for you. Her entire life as she knew it you could say. What would you give up for her then?”
“Everything, anything.” She answered as she caught sight of Ianna and Rodrigo in the garden.
“Even the sea?” He asked seriously.
“Yes, even the sea.” She answered without hesitation.
They were quiet for a long time then Pillar turned to Sebastian. “Rodrigo was hoping to lure you into a game of drafts.”
“Was he now? Well I’ll not disappoint him. Go to your lady, I’ve kept you long enough. I think maybe this time you finally picked the right one.” He said with a smile.
“Oh no my friend, make no mistake, she picked me. Had it been left up to me I probably would have let her slip through my fingers.” She said chuckling as she turned to go.
She made it out to the garden just as Ianna and Rodrigo were turning back in the direction of the house. They were wrapped up in conversation but Ianna felt the hairs on the back of her neck prickle and looked directly in Pillar’s direction. Rodrigo followed her gaze and couldn’t help but smile as Pillar approached them.
“Rodrigo, Sebastian has issued you a drafts challenge.” Said Pillar good naturedly.
“Oh has he? Well, if you ladies will excuse me I must go and meet this challenge.” He said turning his charge over to Pillar.
Pillar took Ianna’s hand as they watched Rodrigo ascend the steps to the house. “I think we are going to be in for a long evening. When those two play drafts one has to be prepared to occupy ones self for a few hours.”
“Oh I don’t mind.” replied Ianna cheerfully. “That just means I get you all to myself.”
“You can have me all to yourself whenever you like. All you need do is ask.” Said Pillar a little more serious than she intended.
The seriousness of the tone was not lost on the girl. “Is everything alright with Sebastian?”
“Oh si amor. Everything is fine. He merely wanted to talk to me a bit about you. He wanted the story of how you came to be traveling with us. And he wanted to make sure your intentions towards me were honorable.” The last comment was accompanied by a wide grin.
Ianna stopped in her tracks and looked up at Pillar. “Should I have invited him to a brandy to ask for formal permission to call on you?”
Pillar was taken aback a bit. She didn’t know if the blond was serious. She hoped she hadn’t offended her. “Well…no of course not…I mean I am a grown woman after all and…” She halted in mid sentence when Ianna broke out into giggles.
Pillar could feel the blush as it took possession of her face and neck. But she was relieved she hadn’t made Ianna angry. She reached out and gave Ianna a little pinch in the ribs eliciting quite a squeal from the shorter woman. Pillar’s eyes opened wide then a devilish grin crossed her face.
Ianna caught the look. “Oh no, Pillar, what are you…oh no don’t you dare! aahhhh!”
Pillar shot past Ianna’s defenses and attacked her sides with both hands. To Ianna’s dismay Pillar discovered the one thing she hoped she wouldn’t. Her tickle spot. Ianna struggled but to no avail. It wasn’t until Pillar noted Ianna couldn’t breathe from the laughter that she stopped.
Ianna breathed heavily and looked up at Pillar. The girl gave her a swat on the arm. “Pillar Montenegro you are positively wicked! Don’t you dare do that again.”
Pillar simply could not stop laughing. It annoyed Ianna to no end. “Stop that this instant! You are having simply way too much fun at my expense!”
Finally, when it became clear the taller woman was in a helpless fit of giggles Ianna did the one thing she was certain would cure it. She gave a small growl and hurried up to Pillar. She placed a hand on each of Pillar’s cheeks and pulled her quickly into a very thorough kiss.
Pillar’s first reaction was surprise. But then she felt the teasing and probing of a soft tongue seeking entrance and all thoughts of tickling and giggles vanished. She drew Ianna into her arms and enjoyed a very long slow exploration of Ianna’s mouth. She took in the scent of lavender and the mild taste of the wine from dinner that still lingered a bit.
Ianna slid her arms around Pillar’s neck seeking more contact. Pillar pulled her in closer and let her hands move up to Ianna’s back and then her bare shoulders. Ianna’s breathing grew erratic at the feel of Pillar’s hands on her skin.
Taking a firm grip on the back of Ianna’s shoulders Pillar broke the kiss and lowered her head to the hollow of Ianna’s throat. Ianna moaned and this time instead of drawing her back to her senses it only ignited her passion further. Pillar looked around quickly and spotted a secluded alcove very near by. She took Ianna by the hand and led her there. She positioned Ianna against the wall and braced her hands on the wall trapping Ianna between them hovered over her for a moment looking down in to green eyes darkened by desire. Ianna was breathing hard her lips were parted slightly and for that one moment in time there was nothing and no one in their world save for the two of them.
Ianna broke their eye contact but not the spell. She looked Pillar over with a careful eye. She wanted Pillar. Never had she felt like this before and she had no idea what to do but at that moment she didn’t care. Her hands moved up of their own accord and she ran them up over Pillar’s chest and rested them on her shoulders. She looked up at the taller woman, and placed a very soft kiss on her lips. Reaching up a hand to stroke Pillar’s cheek
Ianna whispered into Pillar’s mouth. “Pillar.” Then another soft kiss and Pillar placed her hands on Ianna’s waist. “Si amor.” Whispered Pillar moving her hands up Ianna’s sides until her thumbs rested just under Ianna’s breasts. Ianna had a sharp in take of breath. She tilted her head up and ran her hand from Pillar’s cheek to the back of her neck. With a feather light touch she flicked the inviting lobe. She moaned as she felt Pillars thumbs move back and forth beneath her breasts. “I am yours forever. Take me.” She said breathlessly and moaned again when she felt Pillar’s hands move up to cup her breasts.
Pillar bent her head to Ianna’s neck and the girl threw her head back as a sensation began to grow in the pit of her stomach. What at first had felt like butterflies changed. Her stomach felt tight and she began to experience and throbbing of sorts deep within her. She was frightened at first then realized the sensations increased as Pillar grew more amorous.
Pillar ran her hands down Ianna’s hips and reached around to grasp her buttocks pulling her in closer to her. Ianna reached up suddenly and cupped Pillars face. She kissed her passionately and ran her hands down Pillar’s collarbone and under her jacket until they came to rest on Pillar’s breasts. She could feel the firm nipples on her palms through the material of Pillar’s shirt. She ran her palms over them slowly and Pillar squeezed Ianna’s rear in reflex.
Ianna wanted more; she wanted to give more but did not know what to do. “Teach me.” she whispered. “Please.”
Pillar ran her hands up Ianna’s back and began to undo the buttons of her dress while Ianna began to open the buttons of Pillar’s shirt. Once Pillar had undone enough buttons to her satisfaction she carefully lowered Ianna’s bodice to expose her full breasts. Ianna watched Pillar’s face, she felt as though her blood was on fire the look of desire on Pillar’s face further increasing the throbbing sensation which she realized had moved between her legs.
Pillar bent to place soft kisses on Ianna’s breasts. The softness of the skin and Ianna’s natural scent was driving Pillar past the point of self control. Ianna’s nipples were firm with arousal and Pillar gently took the left one into her mouth. She ran her tongue in slow circles until she felt Ianna place her hands on the back of her head.
Ianna had serious doubts that she would be able to remain standing if Pillar continued in this manner. The sensation was like nothing she had ever felt before and yet she still wanted more. Everything Pillar did was too much and yet not enough. She moaned as Pillar switched her attention to her other breast. She felt her skirts being hiked up slowly and her breathing began to grow ragged.
Due to the heat Ianna had not worn pantaloons only her under skirts and garter with stockings. Pillar had no trouble reaching the soft skin beneath. She ran her hands up smooth strong thighs, caressed Ianna’s hips and stroked her firm bottom.
Pillar reached down and to the juncture between Ianna’s legs. When her hand touched Ianna’s warmth her knees almost gave way. She pressed Ianna’s back against the wall and with her free hand she lifted Ianna’s leg slightly. She bent to Ianna’s ear and whispered. “Hold on to me amor do not be afraid I will be gentle.”
Ianna wound her arms around Pillar’s neck and hung on. Her breath had caught at that first touch and now her breaths came irregularly as she felt Pillar begin her exploration. Pillar was stroking her on the surface slowly but firmly. She moaned unconsciously and felt her hips push forward as her body craved more contact with her companion.
Pillar deepened her exploration as she went past the outer folds of Ianna’s center. Ianna’s arousal was evident and Pillar could feel her own desire growing as well. She used gentle strokes to heighten Ianna’s arousal and elicit her passion. Ianna’s movements became more urgent and Pillar knew it would not take much longer. She concentrated her attention on Ianna’s swollen nub, using her fingers in a circular motion she stoked the fire that had been ignited.
Ianna tightened her hold on Pillar and bit her lip to keep from crying out. She felt as though she was climbing higher and higher. When she finally reached the top she tumbled down in a series of explosions that caused her body to convulse uncontrollably. “Oh god, Pillar.”
She would have fallen had Pillar not let go of her leg and embraced her. “Te amo Ianna.” Pillar whispered in her ear. She slowed then ceased her motions to allow Ianna the opportunity to recover. She held Ianna in her arms and placed soft kisses on her forehead and cheeks. When Ianna had recovered enough to regain the power of speech, she leaned her head on Pillar’s chest.
“That was…it was…I mean, is it always like that?” She asked with a contented sigh.
“That was a first for you no?” She asked quietly.
“Yes.” She answered a little embarrassed.
Pillar raised Ianna’s chin so she could look at her. “I am honored that you chose me to share that with.” She kissed Ianna tenderly then cleared her throat. “We must get back before they come looking for us. It would not do for them to find us this way.”
Ianna looked down at herself and initially agreed. Then she caught sight of Pillar’s open shirt. She put her hands inside the shirt and Pillar felt a shiver go up her back. “Amor.” She gasped out.
Ianna rolled firm nipples between her fingers as Pillar had done with her. “I know we have to go love but I want…” she paused placing a kiss Pillar’s breast bone. “To do for you what you did for me.”
There was a sudden flash and a loud crack as bolt of lightning split the sky and both women jumped. A moment later there was a loud crash of thunder and a thick drop landed on Pillar’s shoulder. “Come we must hurry.” Said Pillar turning Ianna around so she could do the buttons more quickly.
Back at the house both Sebastian and Rodrigo stood by the window. The thunder and lightning had drawn their attention away from the game. The turned in unison when the door to the study opened admitting two very out of breath women, a little wet but none the worse for wear. Both men wore identically amused looks on their faces.
“That must have bee quite a walk if the dear Captain did not notice the impending storm.” Said Sebastian chuckling.
“And who would notice such a thing with such a beautiful distraction to occupy their attention?” Asked Rodrigo.
“You are right my friend. With two such beautiful women to distract me I would not even notice the coming of Noah’s flood.” Answered the large man.
The men laughed as both women blushed and made their way to the couch. Pillar took off her jacket and placed it on Ianna’s shoulders. They had made it back to the house with out getting too wet but where Pillar had her Jacket to keep the rain off her shoulders Ianna’s bare shoulders were not as fortunate.
Another flash of lightning drew their attention back to the window. “Looks like you will be spending the night as my guests. You can’t possibly ride back in this weather. And even if you tried, the lightning would spook the horses. I would hate to see any of you injured.”
Rodrigo and Ianna looked to Pillar for a decision. “Thank you my friend. We gladly accept your hospitality.”
Sebastian gave them a broad smile. “Excellent.” He proclaimed as he went to the door and spoke to the servant just outside.
After a few moments he returned. “The arrangements have been made and your rooms will be ready for you when you wish to retire. Rodrigo, shall we finish our game?”
“By all means.”
The two women remained on the couch. Each lost in her thoughts replaying earlier events in her mind. Ianna could still fell Pillar’s touch and the thought of it causing a throbbing between her legs that made her shift slightly in her seat. Pillar reached over and Ianna’s hand leaning down slightly and speaking quietly. “Are you alight?”
Ianna looked up at her smiling, “Yes love I’m more than alright.”
Pillar returned the smile and drew Ianna to her so that she was snuggled comfortably against her. They sighed contentedly each a little preoccupied with thoughts of love and excited at the prospect at what the prospect of bed time would bring.
Continued in part FiveReturn to the Academy