Pirate Festival > Port of Call

ZARA

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Welsh Wench:
"So, Phillip Briggs, what has kept you away from Barbados and visiting Maison Le Loup all these years?"
"Now wait a minute! I have been there. But you were either at school or with your friends.  But I have been in different parts of the world dispersing our sw--- I mean, our merchandise."
"Swag. I AM the daughter of Jack Wolfe, you know! But what have you been carrying lately?"
"Oh...coffee, wine, fine textiles...."
"And jewelry?"
"Sometimes."
She looked up at him. "How fascinating! Do you ever have any sapphires? I have some money saved and would be glad to purchase one from you. At market value plus a 10% finders fee."
Phillip took her hand. "If I find one worthy of you, I shall gladly give it to you in remembrance for a delightful afternoon."

Just then a large handsome lad marched up to Zara, completely ignoring Phillip.
"I have a dispute with you, Miss Wolfe."
She idly looked at her fingernails.
"And that would be.....?"
The young man held his cloak out.
"THIS! This was an expensive cloak from Paris!"
On the back was slashed a letter Z.
Zara took it by the hem and held it out.
"Why, so it was!"
"You ruined it! I demand retribution!"
 "I'm sorry but you must have snagged it on a branch."
"Excuse me, sir, but....." Phillip interjected.
"Who asked you?" the lad retorted.
Zara glanced at Phillip. "I can handle this."
She returned her attention to the lad.
"Yes, I did do it. You stood too close to me and you didn't keep your hands to yourself. No one stands that close to Zara Wolfe unless invited to. And you are not going to be drawing a map of my body unless I personally authorize and copyright it.  Be glad it was just the cloak."

He grabbed her by the arm and quick as flash, Zara reached into her bodice and whipped out a silver dagger.
"Now, Tristan, you have just one chance to leave with your nose and other body parts intact. And if you don't turn tail and leave, I'll carve my initials on you but without the benefit of a cloak. Savvy?"
He stared at her and she raised an eyebrow, mirth at the corners of her mouth.
"I don't repeat this offer. It expires in the next five minutes."
His face flushed and turning on his heel, he left.
Just as quickly as she removed the dagger, she returned it to its rightful place.
"Tsk!  Children!..... Now...as you were saying?....."

Welsh Wench:
Phillip stopped in his tracks.
"Zara Wolfe, do you mean to tell me that you took a sword to that man's cloak?"
She waved her hand airily.
"Oh pish tosh! What if I did? I was in a tavern--the Blue Moon, I think it was--and this big---"
"You were in a tavern?"
"No big deal, Phillip. Do you want to hear the rest of the story or not?"
He crossed his arms.
"Continue."

"Alright then. I was with some friends---Sally Monroe and Elizabeth Connors, I think it was--and that big oaf came over and put his hands on me. So what if I used to see him on a social level? NO ONE accosts Zara Wolfe without my permission. So I kneed him in a place he wouldn't soon forget and called him an weed puller.He had been drinking or else he would have remembered that. I decided to teach him a lesson. And a way to remember me."
"Does your father know what you are up to?"
"Up to? Up to what? I was doing him a favor by not telling my father. He would have made him into a shish kebab. He got off easy. "
Phillip chuckled. "And how did you learn the fine art of swordplay?"

Zara flashed him a smile. "My mother insists that all of her daughters learn how to defend themselves."
"Well, she had the right idea. After all she...."
Phillip broke off.
"She....what?"
He quickly added, "After all, she has the right idea to keep her daughters safe whatever it takes in this town."

Phillip thought back to a story his friend Zach Roberts had told him once about the indominatable Honour Wolfe. They had been in a tavern in Tortuga.....

"See that man over there?"
"Which one?"
"The one with the crippled hands."
"You mean Captain Jonas Corwin of the Golden Phoenix?"
"The very one."
"What about him?"
"You know how he got his hands that way?"
"I heard he wronged a tavern doxy."
"Something like that. Seems Jonas Corwin took up with a pretty young thing for the night. She wasn't a doxy, just a mixed up young girl who was looking for love in all the wrong places. Well, the story goes--heard it from his quartermaster--that he roughed her up pretty good. So when he was sleeping it all off, she took his clothes and tossed them out the window."
Phillip just about spewed his drink across the table.
"Well, that was ingenious!"
"It was the talk of the taverns for a few years. Still is, I guess, whenever Corwin shows up. But that wasn't the end of it."
"No? What more could she do to retaliate?"
"Corwin had to make it back to his ship wrapped in a coverlet--heard it had a bunch of little flowers embroidered on it--and it was during the day. Not a farthing to his name, either. She rolled him for whatever she could find on him. Well, a few  nights later, Jonas was in the tavern, trying to ignore the snickering and what passed for good-natured ribbing.  You know these pirates, they love to stick it to each other but Jonas was in a foul mood. And he was likkered up but good. And whose path did he cross but the girl!"
"Uh oh.....I take it he got even with her. A repeat of the night before?"
"It may have been what he intended but the lass was quick on her feet too. And one thing he didn't count on."
Phillip raised an eyebrow.
"She had companions that protected her and put the hurts to his hands?"
"Oh, no, Briggs--she was armed. Whether it was adrenalin or skill that kept her alive, she gave as good as she got. Unfortunately she was losing. Hurt her pretty badly. But she did have a bit of help."
"The crew?"
"No, the wharf cat. Corwin stepped on him and he sunk his claws in his leg. That was the advantage the lass needed. She racked him and then clocked him under the chin. He was out cold and she stepped on his hands in a fit of rage. Good boots with spike heels will do that, you know. His crew found him once again under some canvas. And his hands didn't heal right. "
"So did he ever find her?"
"No. He has been looking for her ever since. Swears one day he will find her and gift the crew with her. He's been searching from the Caribbean to Cadiz. Hasn't found her. She's probably dead."
Roberts leaned back.
"Yep...when he finds her, Honour Bright will be the star on the ship's Christmas tree!"

Phillip choked on his ale.
Honour Bright.
Now known as Honour Wolfe.

And her progeny now stood next to him.

Zara linked her arm through Phillip's.
"I have a wonderful idea. My parents would love to see you. Escort me home. And stay for dinner!"

He looked at the fascinating young girl next to him. But now he was seeing her with a different view.
Not a young girl.
A young woman.

"You know, Miss Zara Wolfe, I think I would like that!"

Welsh Wench:
Zara and Phillip walked up the lane on the outskirts of Bridgetown. The oak trees formed a canopy. The house never failed to draw admiration from Phillip in the times he had come with his father since he was fifteen.
The Wolfes were always hospitable and had treated Phillip as one of their own. It had seemed that Jack and Honour Wolfe had never aged and were just as much enamored with each other as the first time Phillip had met them.

Zara gave Phillip's arm a gentle squeeze and leaned close to him. He could smell the delightful scent of her. Not like other women who had doused themselves in floral sachets.
No, this young girl smelled of new-mown hay and sunshine. And Philip found the scent almost sending his head reeling.

"Philip, have you not been listening to me?"
"I'm sorry...what did you say?"
She threw her head back and laughed. "Your mind must be elsewhere. I asked you if there was a special woman in your life right now?"

A wave of guilt washed over Phillip. And a face came to mind.
Lenore.

Ah, Lenore. Lenore with auburn hair that shone like a copper penny and mesmerizing green eyes. She was statuesque and had a well-rounded figure. Not voluptuous but she was everything that held Phillip's attention.
Lenore was a year younger than Phillip. She had just returned from living in Venice, could speak fluent Italian and French and wore the latest in fashions. And if it wasn't the latest, then Lenore could certainly start the trend.

He had met her at a social engagement at her father's house. Rarely had men of the sea--and ones with dubious connections--been invited but for some unknown reason, Phillip and his father had been invited to talk a bit of business, a bit of socializing.
The house was grandeur but it was Lenore that caught and held Phillip's attention.
The lace...the rose scent. The cascading chestnut curls of her hair.
One look and he was intrigued.

It had been about a year that Phillip had been courting her. And the prospects of a diamond ring, a manor by the edge of town and the promise of a family were plans in the works.
Yes, Lenore was a woman who held her own and rose above others.

Phillip found himself glancing at Zara on his arm and he heard his voice saying, "No.....no one in particular."

'Where did that come from?' He thought bewilderedly.
Zara smiled up at him, looking at him from under her long lashes.
"In an odd way....that pleases me, Master Briggs!"

Phillip found himself smiling. 'You know....you've grown into quite a young lady, Miss Zara."

And all of sudden, the ring, the manor and the family plans grew a little blurry around the edges.
Maybe Lenore Culley could wait a bit.
After all, when you are the governor's daughter.........

Welsh Wench:
"Mum! Da! I'm home!" Zara called from the foyer into the manor house. "I brought a surprise home! Can I keep him?"

From the back of the house a man's voice called out, "It had better not be another stray, you scalawag!"
"Oh, come on, Da--he is really cute!"

Phillip could feel the heat in his face rising. From the back veranda a man came out. He looked the same as Philip had met him fifteen years earlier. He took the pipe out of his mouth and a grin spread over his face.
"Well, well! I guess you can keep this one, Zara. Shall we put him up in the barn?"
Zara tapped her foot impatiently. "Oh, I don't know, Da. He can always sleep at the foot of my bed!"

Zara ran up and gave her father a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"I ran into Phillip at the marketplace and I invited him to stay for dinner."
He noticed she altered the truth a bit....the tavern had become a vegetable market in her slightly adjusted tale.

"The more the merrier, we always say. Zara is always having someone over. Her girlfriends and the numerous young men....."
He trailed off as he noticed Zara making 'cease and desist' motions behind Phillip's back.
As Phillip turned to her, she said demurely, "School work. Always school work.  I sometimes need help finding the occasional island or two."

From the parlour came a feminine voice, "You should ask your father for help on that. He knew the Caribbean like the back of his hand."
Jack called back, "But I couldn't find a maze."
A giggle was the reply heard.

Zara took Phillip by the hand and dragged him into the parlour.
"He's no cat....but he has a cute little nose all the same, Mum!'

On a rocker sat a beautiful blonde woman. She hadn't aged at all. In her arms was a little bundle wrapped in a pink blanket.
She beamed at Phillip. "How wonderful to see you again, Phillip! You ARE staying for dinner, aren't you?"
"Well, Zara did invite me and...."
"And if she hadn't, we would have. We haven't seen you in six months. Where have you been keeping yourself?"
"Well, Father had me working on the booty....I mean, the inventory that we had um...purchased in...Jamaica. Yeah, that's it. The Jamaica one."
Honour raised her eyes to the ceiling. "Oh yes, the Jamaica one. Coffee, tea, textiles....and some of it has already replenished the Wolfe wine cellars. When Jack isn't making his own from the vineyard over by the south pasture."

Phillip stepped closer to the blanket.
"A girl, from the looks of the blanket. What is her name?"
"Jack wanted Arabella but I was able to convince him we would NOT have a child that can be called Airy-belly so we settled on Reinette."

She pulled the pink blanket back and a tiny face, flawless, yawned as she slept. Black hair crowned her head.
Honour sighed contentedly,"I never did have any bald babies!"
Zara came in with an apple and handed one to Phillip.
As she casually munched on it, she asked, "Where is everyone else?"
"The boys are on that botany trip with Uncle Duckie over in Antigua and the girls are at Aunt Megan's for the night."

Zara linked her arm in Philip's. "Then it is settled. You are staying for dinner and I won't take no for an answer!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zara pulled her chair closer to Phillip. Jack reached over and passed the platter of meat to Phillip.
"So, Phillp, how are things in Havana?"
"Prosperous. The unloading of.....merchandise is simple. We drop it off, arrange the price with Fernando DeCastro and collect the money. He worries about the legalities and the distribution."

All of a sudden, Phillip felt a pressure on his leg and glanced down. Zara's hand had rested on his thigh. Unfortunately, she had taken to running her finger up and down his leg. He could feel the heat rise on his ace as Zara sat here with an angelic smile on her face, a soup spoon in the other hand.
"Phillip?" Jack asked.
"Hmmm?"
"Is it too warm in here?"
Zara looked at her father. "I feel fine but you know how it can get hot all of a sudden. At least that is my prediction. Phillip? Are you hot?"
Jack walked over and opened the French doors.
"There! That should cool things down somewhat."
"Not necessarily, Da---the night always gets quite sultry and steamy, as you know."
Phillip concentrated on his soup. "I'm sure things will cool down just fine."
Zara's hand kept a gentle but firm touch on Phillip's leg but suddenly he felt her foot gently run up and down his lower leg.
The only thought that went through his mind was, 'She's only seventeen?'

Honour walked in. "Renny is asleep. Now I can enjoy my meal."
She gave Zara a glance and she put both hands on the table. But her foot was still resting on Phillip's leg.

The dinner proceeded without any more incidents. Jack and Phillip talked of old friends and business deals over brandy. Zara sipped a small glass of wine.

Honour did a quick calculation. Zara was seventeen. Phillip was--how old? Twenty-six? Just about the same age difference....and she was transported back to a time when she herself was sixteen and a man named Rhys Morgan entered her life.
'This bears watching.....' she thought.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I really  must be leaving. I have business to attend to....and thank you for dinner and a lovely evening."
"Again, Phillip--you know you are always welcome here. You are family."
Honour stood up. "The baby is asleep and I rarely have all the children gone at once so I am going to take some time for myself. Jack, are you coming?"
He got a grin on his face. "I'll be right up," he winked at Phillip.
Zara gave Phillip a knowing look.
"I'll see Phillip out as the good hostess that I am. After all, he IS my guest."

They walked out the back verandah. Zara linked her arm with his.The smell of honeysuckle was too close to be come from any vine. No, it was from Zara.

She stood close to him. "It was grand seeing you, Phillip. And I daresay we shall be seeing much more of each other."

She stood on tip toes and before Phillip knew it, her lips met his in a sweet, searching deep kiss.
As they broke away, Zara sighed, smiled and said "I'll be seeing you soon, Phillip Briggs!"
She waked back into the house without a backward glance.

Phillip stood there, not quite knowing what to do.
'Oh my God...Lenore! I should have been there two hours ago!'

But then he said out loud, "I just snogged Mad Jack's daughter!"

Welsh Wench:
Phillip rode up to the mansion on the hill. By the light of the moon, he took out his pocket watch and read '9:30'.
"Damn! My arse is cooked!"
With great reluctance, he walked up to the manor door. Herndon the butler answered it.
"Good evening, Herndon. I seem to be a bit late."
"To say the least, sir."
"Is she in the parlor?"
"And waiting, sir."
"Oh, bollocks, " Phillip muttered.

He opened the door and saw Lenore standing there facing the mantle.
"Close the door, Herndon."
She turned to Phillip, controlled fury marking her features.
Her cinnamon hair was piled high on her head and tendrils framed her face. She was dressed in a pale green dress with ecru lace.
Her features were finely chiseled, with high cheekbones prominent in a regal face.
"You are late. Exceedingly late."
"I know. I'm sorry."
She crossed her arms.
"Well? I'm waiting."
"For what?"
"An explanation, what else?"
"I had a business meeting that went longer than I expected."
A white lie.
"And you couldn't break away?"
"No, I couldn't. It was a merchandise inventory and once you start it, you can't stop it."
Another white lie.
"Well, it is too late to go to the consulate dinner. Father went ahead of us."
She made a very definite gesture of throwing her evening wrap and fan on the couch.

Phillip helped himself to a brandy from the sideboard. If there was one advantage--and there were many--to courting the Governor's daughter, it was that he had access to the finest brandy that money could buy. Or ships could steal.
Not that Philip didn't have his own stash of brandy. But oh, so much better when it was hassle-free.

He took a deep sip and turned to face Lenore. She sat on the settee with her hands folded.
"Do you know how embarrassing it will be to walk in at this late hour?"
"I know and I am sorry."
She pouted.
"So what shall we do, Phillip? Go in late and breach etiquette?"
She ran her finger along the arm of the settee and casually said, "Or do we make good use of the time that my father is away for the night and the servants are retired for the evening?"

Phillip sat down on the settee next to her, putting his arm around her. She leaned against him.
"I suppose it wouldn't hurt anyone if we were to take some time for ourselves now, would it?"
He gently pushed the tendril away from her face and caressed her cheek with the back of his hand.
He kissed her ear and whispered, "And the servants will be the none wiser?"
She leaned in and kissed him. "They are instructed to never wake me up before 10:00."
"Then I shall climb down the trellis before 9:00."
She laughed and stood up, taking his hand.
"I'd race you to the room but I am wearing slippers with heels."
He touched her forehead with his. "That is a race I am willing to concede."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The moonbeams shone through the floor length window. Lenore slept soundly next to Phillp but sleep eluded him.
Lenore was everything he wanted in a woman.
She came from money.
Social connections.
Class. Always high-classed.
Yet she never let him forget it.

It was her haughtiness that bothered him. The feeling of superiority over most of the residents of Bridgetown.
She was like an Arabian mare---stately and statuesque and sedate in a social setting but with a streak of restrained enthusiasm when they were alone.

He slid out of bed and walked over to the window overlooking portside.
And suddenly he found his thoughts drifting to an untamed and untried little filly.

A wild filly named Zara Wolfe.

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