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Started by Welsh Wench, May 11, 2008, 03:05:40 PM

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Welsh Wench

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Topic author: Welsh Wench

Caesaire had given her crew leave to go ashore. She slipped into her high-heeled boots, the ones she wore exclusively to town. Pulling the red dress over her head, it skimmed and swirled around her hips as it traveled southwards. She adjusted her hat, the one with the three large feathers and checked to make sure her cleaveage was where it should be. If things go well, I just may get into another little card game and add to my fleet. She looked out on the port towards Desire Street to see what ships were docked and who was in port. And to see what dear Papa has been up to in my absence.

Walking through these streets, the sights and sounds were so familiar. As she past Madame Laveau's place, she nodded to the old woman sitting in front.
"Caesaire! C'est vous, ma cher? Asseyez-vous! I shall tell you what awaits you!"
She gave a smile to her. "I am sorry, Marie. I have to visit my father to see how he is."
The old woman shook her head,. "Ah, pauvre petite! I have heard stories that votre pere intends to sell the place. Says since his daughter has run off from St Ursulines Convent and fell into company with Jean Lafitte's crew, there will be no one to care for the place as he intends to go back to France."
Narrowing her eyes, she said, "Oh, he did, did he? We shall see about THAT!"
Picking up the pace as she walked down Chartres Street, she passed Father Antoine. He stopped and stared at her. "Mon Dieu! Is it possibly little Caesaire Trosclair? Child, you have changed!"
She could hardly contain a grin. "Pere Antoine, as I live and breathe! Still think I am on the road to perdition?"
He shook his head. "The nuns tried. They really did. You chose otherwise. Where are you headed off to in such a fine steam?"
Caesaire said, "To keep my father from selling the home and then I am off to straighten out a few messes."

As she rounded the corner, she ran into the arms of someone. He caught her and said, "Pardonnez-moi, Mademoiselle!"
She looked up and into the face of her worst nightmare.
Jean LaFitte.

Caesaire looked at Jean and laughed. And in not such a pleasant way.
"If I wanted to stay in partnership with you, Lafitte, I never would have jumped ship. Now why would I want to partner with you on something that I can do all by myself?"
She leaned forward, affording him an ample view of her cleaveage.
"Mais non, cher. I can take care of this myself. As far as the old man is concerned, that house belongs to ME as his sole surviving heir. He wants to go back to France. Let him. But the house is mine. MINE. And it shall stay mine as a place for me to reside when in port."
She ever so slightly tapped the whip that hung on her side. He remembered that she was an expert and could flick anything out of a person's hand at twenty feet.
"So don't try your sweet-talk on me. And dont worry about the Spanish. I have them right where I want them."
She pushed past him and walked off, turning to wave.
"A bientot, love. TRY to get along without me!"

Caesaire entered the courtyard of the townhouse where she used to play as a child. Across the street the Grimas lived. I hope I can get into the house without seeing Alberto. Godfathers are nice. But I hate to hear him talk about how I've gone astray.
She latched the gate and entered the house.
"Pere? C'est moi--êtes-vous à la maison ?"
"Caesaire? Oui!"
A tall man with silver hair came out. "Ma petite! Comment allez-vous? Quand etes-vous arrive?"
"En anglais, s'il vous plait, Papa."
He sighed. "Very well."
She took off her hat and threw it down. "What is this I hear in town about you wanting to sell the house and go back to France?"
"I am old, cher. I want to go back to France and die in peace. You have left the convent and the sisters and taken up with that..that...pirate!"
He spit on the floor.
Caesaire said, "Don't be so dramatic. I am prepared to send you back to France. Right now. On one condition."
"What is that?"
"You give me the house. I'll give you money but you turn my inheritance over to me right now."
He said, "Just like that? You are prepared?"
"This was Maman's house too. You will not sell it and have strangerrs living in it!"
She turned to go. He said, "Just like that you are leaving?"
"I'll be back later."
"Where to, child?"
"I'm going to visit the nuns, what do you think?"

She walked down the street and came across a tavern. May as well have a shot of absinthe before I look Drausin up. He always was a good time. In the back room, she saw men. And cards. And men. And money. And men.
Walking to the back, she saw her old mentor sitting there. She smiled to herself. Ah, lady luck doth shine on her favored child!
She strode up, leaned over the table and smiled sweetly.
"Gentlemen? I have the feel of fortune. Deal me in."


Caesaire stood outside the tavern where she had just made a small fortune off the gentlemen playing cards. She laughed to herself as she remembered the look on Jean's face as she leaned over the table and ended up playing most of the night. They never even noticed that Jean was playing with a marked deck. I'll bet he cursed the day he ever showed me how it worked. But what could he say?
She walked through the French Market, buying a beignet from the nigra with a bright tignon tied around her head. Heading towards the Toulouse Street Wharf with a purpose in mind, she stopped and pulled the currency out of her bodice. It was a nice sum for an evening's diversion. Never have I seen men so eager to lose their money--and so cheerfully too!
After counting it out, she placed it back into what she considered the safest bank in the parish.

She looked up and saw the building she wanted next to the wharf. Entering, she said to a clerk sitting there. "I am here to see Drausin D'Estrehan. Please tell him that Mademoiselle Trosclair is here to see him."
The man nodded and went to a back room. Within a minute he came out and said, "Monsieur D'Estrehan will see you now."
She went into an office. There sat a devastatingly handsome man. His eyes were of deep brown. His hair was dark brown tied back in a ponytail. He was slim but strongly built and he had his sleeves rolled up. When she entered, his face lit up.
"Mademoiselle Trosclair! To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?"
She held out her hand and he kissed it. "I have come to arrange the purchase of my family home. Title transfer and all that, Monsieur D'Estrehan. Since you being a lawyer I felt comfortable asking you to handle the transfer."
He nodded and turning to his clerk, said, "That shall be all, Pierre. Mademoiselle Trosclair has me on retainer."
As the clerk left, Drausin asked, "You are really buying Old Man Trosclair out?"
"Yes, I am."
"Anything else I should know?"
She looked at him steadily. "What do you think?"
And with two steps, he swept her in his arms.
"About time you came back into my life, Caesaire..."
"Drausin.." she whispered.

Two minutes later, her chemise dropped to the floor.
And that was the best closing on real estate in Lousiana history.


Caesaire quickened her steps to the Ursuline Convent on Chartres Street. May as well get this over.
She knocked on the door of the Mother Superior's office.
"Entrez-vous, s'il vous plait.'
She opened the door. Behind a huge mahogany desk sat the nun who had been her nemesis through her teen-age years.
"Caesaire Trosclair. I thought we were well rid of you."
Caesaire laughed, "You are. Did you think I was coming back as a novice?"
"Heaven forbid. You gave this convent a bad name. Dancing in Congo Square with the slaves.. And on a Sunday too."
Caesaire shrugged. "And what my father didn't know didn't hurt him. Everyone should dance with wild abadon, Mother Superior. Even you."
"So why are you here, child?"
"I don't rightly know. To let you know I am alive and doing well, I guess."
The Mother Superior frowned. "Working with pirates and becoming one yourself is not considered 'doing well'."
Caesaire opened her mouth to protest but the Mother Superior held up her hand. "No use denying it. I know it to be true."
Caesaire shrugged, "I didn't do it for the money. I did it for the fun. I have made a success of what I do."
"And what is that?"
"Supply and demand. The residents of the City demand and I supply."
"And supply what?"
"Whatever they need or crave. Silks. Coffee. Gold from Spain to adorn the necks of the women of New Orleans.'
"A pirate."
"A privateer, Mother Superior."
"I'd rather you work in the brothel. At least you'd be safer."
Caesaire stood up. "I promised myself I would visit you at least once since I left. I fulfilled my promise to myself. That's it."

As she turned to go, the Mother Superior asked quietly, "Still seeing Jean Lafitte, are you?"
Caesaire gave her a wistful smile and said, "Only in passing."
She shut the door and stood out in the sunshine, the sights and smells of the City filling her senses.
'Let's see....I got a satisfying closing on Father's house. I visited the nuns. What else can I get into?'

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre Baudouin walked out from Madame Badeau's, the young woman he had spent the night with all but draped around his shoulders. Dressed only in her chemise and knee length bloomers, her auburn hair a mass of tangled curls. Andre's own state of affairs was not much better, his wide black leather belt was still unbuckled around his burgundy sash, and his matching long coat hung over his left arm which still clutched his sword and baldric. Wisps of long black hair had escaped his ponytail and hung over his face.

"Non, Cher, non." The tanned beauty whispered huskily into his ear, her lips playfully tugging the gold ring piercing the lobe. "Stay but a while longer. My treat."

Andre grinned, showing even white teeth beneath his waxed moustache. "Ah, Cheri, if only I could." He spoke lowly as he struggled to slip the baldric over his shoulder with her arms in the way. "But I am now late for a rather important meeting, and there are times when the business must take precedence over the amore."

"Bonne journée, mon cher." He grinned, planting a quick kiss on her cheek as he pulled the long sea coat over his weapons. "Perhaps I may return tonight, au revoir"

As she watched the tall French buccaneer make his way down Bourbon street adjusting his burgundy Cavalier's hat with the white and black ostrich plumes she smiled. There went perhaps the best French pirate in all of New Orleans. Pity Madame Badeau insisted on charging. She would have gladly bedded Andre Baudouin for free. C'est la vie.

Andre kept a brisk pace as he left the infamous red light district and headed for the docks. After three months in the Caribbean and two Spanish prizes under his belt he had been due. The only draw back to the life of a pirate he had ever found was such a long separation from the ladies. And so he kept, how was it the English put it, a lady in every port. That they all cost him a bit of gold bothered him not in the least. After all what was more important in life than a good meal and the company of a pretty woman?

It was a convenient arrangement. The life he had chosen for himself left little time for the wooing of a permanent lady love. What woman would put up with a man who spent months on end away from her arms. Perhaps one day, but until then working girls would suffice. Besides he had yet to meet a woman who could pull the strings of his heart.

By now his crew should have been able to sell the spoils of the two galleons. One he unfortunately had to sink, the other he put up for sale in Jamaica. That would mean Le Faucon de Mer would be all but empty with his men enjoying the fruits of their labors. He began to whistle a jaunty tune as he walked along.

"Andre Baudouin!!!" A rough voice, filled with anger called from the doorway of one of the many taverns that dotted the waterfront, freezing him in mid stride. Andre's hand closed upon the gilded hilt of his broad bladed rapier.

"Oui?" He turned his head just enough to see over his shoulder. His left hand had already slipped a throwing dagger from the secret sheath inside the cuff of his coat. A large scruffy pirate whom he recognized as one of Jean Lafitte's lieutenant slavers emerged from the dark opening, drunk and cutlass in hand.

"I told ye I'd be getting' the chance ter settle with ye, ya motherless French pig!" The smelly hulk strode down the short steps into the street.

Andre slipped the dagger back into it's sheath before turning around. The man was alone, and that would mean a fair fight. "Mon Ami, you lost at Liar's Dice fairly. Is it to be my fault you could not bear to afford what you lost?"

"You cheated, and then had the gall ta put yer filthy French Creole hands on me!!" The unkempt ruffian howled. "I'm not near as drunk as I was last night, and yer gone ter pay!"

Andre's brown eyes narrowed at the last insult. This English pig had succeeded in spoiling a perfectly joyous morning for him, and dared to use his Creole heritage as an insult. Any thought of leaving this stinking brute alive left the suave pirate's mind.

"Very well, porc!" He hissed. "I hope you've spent a good night, it shall be your last!"

With a guttural howl the filthy brute charged Andre, intending to overwhelm his opponent with the pure force of his much larger size. Andre shook his head inwardly, this was going to be too easy. At the last moment he parried the downward slash of the rusty cutlass, whipping his own blade over until it rested on top of the drunken slaver's blade. A grim smile spread across his lips as his opponents eyes widened with realization. Fast as a striking serpent Andre's arm shot upwards slicing the offending pirate's throat from ear to ear.

The uncouth ruffian's sword clattered to the cobblestones as his dirty hands went to his neck in a vain attempt to stem the blood flow. Andre lunged forward at the man's now unprotected chest running him through the heart and killing him instantly. Pulling a white linen handkerchief from an inner pocket he leisurely cleaned his blade, then tossed the soiled cloth unto the dead man's body.

"Au revoir, mon ami." He sheathed his sword and brought two fingers to the brim of his hat. "A pity you could not have been more of a gentleman, you might have lived to regret this day."

From the deck of Le Faucon de Mer his own English Quartermaster waved. "Ahoy, Captain!" John Hubbard grinned. "And what trouble be ye bringing aboard with ye this time, Mate?"

Andre laughed heartily, clapping the broad shoulder of his friend. "No more than I seem to bring with me any other time, Mon Ami." He then related the fight near the water front.

Hubbard gave a long low whistle at the end of the tale. "Lafitte may not be takin' lightly to yer killin' a one of his men, Captain."

"C'est trop mauvais, My friend." The tall dark haired pirate grinned. "Jean is not the only pirate in New Orleans. I did him a favor by ridding his crew of such a, how you say, blot upon his honor. Now why are you yet aboard? Do you not wish to partake of Lady Orleans pleasures before we set sail?"

Now it was John's turn to laugh. "Already have, Captain. Just got back aboard meself, I did."

"Very well, Mon Ami." Andre stretched like a jungle cat. "I shall be in my cabin should any more of Jean's men come to call. I must lay plans to replenish our pockets after this night."

"Aye, aye Captain." John Hubbard grinned as he watched his friend enter the door just below the raised deck to the captain's quarters.

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre removed his long coat and hung it from one of the wood pegs mounted into the wall near the door. Shaking out the billows of his sleeves he adjusted his scabbard and set down behind his oak desk. For a moment he surveyed his domain with a small measure of pride. The polished oak beams, shining brass lamps, and the rich tapestries and small bits of plunder that he had taken a fancy to all testament to his rise from a poor street child in New Orleans to a ship owner and wealthy pirate.

Opening the top drawer to his left he removed a map, several papers, and spread them out onto the polished top. Studying the purloined letter he had taken from the ship he had to sink Andre let out a low whistle. According to a letter from the governor of Macao a shipment of Chinese silver, and rare Japanese silks were due to be brought across the Panamas, and from there shipped to Count Eladio. All without the knowledge of King Philip.

So if the prize were taken, then no one would be the wiser. Since the goods were of no official shipment they would not be missed, except perhaps by the Count. It would be both the richest, and safest, plunder Le Faucon de Mer had ever taken. They would be rich beyond their wildest dreams. Or at least until they made the next port.

Andre studied the map. Timing would be everything this time. As far as he knew none but he and the Quartermaster, John even knew of the shipment. All others who knew lay in Davey Jones locker. Except, of course for the Galleon chartered to ship the haul. From the letter, and the manifests he knew the ship was due to sail from Panama in three weeks, with a slight layover in Cuba.

Somewhere between Cuba and Nassau would be the best place to spring the trap. Then they could make berth back here in New Orleans, and have the goods stored weeks before the ship would be expected in the Canar.....

A sudden uproar on the docks near his ship broke Andre Baudouin's train of thought. Though he could not make out what was being said he could plainly hear Hubbard,s voice raised in anger. He sighed and stood up, it would seem he would have to lay his plans later. Leaving his sea coat hanging on the peg, he stuffed two loaded flintlocks into his belt, adjusted his hat, and opened the door to the deck.

"You tell zat dandy sans mère I wish to speak with 'im now! Ce moment même!!" Jean Lafitte's voice shouted from the dock, his accent was thick with anger.

Andre chuckled at the insult. Seven of his men blocked the gangplank, and John Hubbard made eight. Andre decided to let Lafitte stew for a moment as payment for it, and straightened his shirt to while away the time, and prove Jean right.

"An' I'm telling' ye that Captain Baudouin is busy at the moment, and he'll see you when he's damn good and ready!!" John shouted back. "I'm not going at interrupt him just because you say so, Lafitte! Wot? Ye think yer the only pirate in N'Orleans??!!"

That was all Andre could take and gales of laughter erupted from him at hearing his Quartermaster echo his words of a few moments ago. Still chuckling he drew his rapier and walked over to the side of the ship. "Why, Jean, what ever is wrong, Ami?"

There on the dock, at the foot of his gangplank stood Jean Lafitte and four of his men. "Wrong??!! Wrong??!! Sacré bleu!!! You murdered Higgins not more than an hour ago, and you ask me what is wrong??!!!" Lafitte's color turned beet red as he pointed an accusatory finger in Andre's direction.

"Assassiné? Moi??" Andre grinned and crossed his arms over the gunwale, letting his rapier dangle loosely in his hand. "Non, Mon Ami. That filthy pig...and I do mean filthy...attacked me. I should allow myself to be hacked to pieces to satisfy your crew? Where did you find him anyway? In the butcher's pig sty? He certainly smelled like it."

Jean Lafitte stood open mouthed at Andre's matter of fact demeanor. "He was drunk! You did not 'ave to kill him! This cannot go unanswered, Baudouin!!"

Now it was Andre's turn to become angry. He griped his rapier firmly, straightened up and pointed at Lafitte with it. "The reeking swine dared to insult my Creole heritage, Mon Ami! I will lay any man in his grave for that! Even you! I did you a favor, Slave Runner! Perhaps your stock will sell better without that pig's ordure hanging about them!"

Jean looked up the gangplank. To a man Andre's crew had drawn their weapons and stood at the ready. Like it or not he would have to back down this time. "Very well, Andre." His tone became more civil. "But this is not over between us."

"Another time then, Ami." Andre returned lowly. As he watched Lafitte and his men turn on their heels and stalk up the dock.

"You know he'll be back, Captain. Sooner or later." John rubbed the stubble of his chin.

"Aye, John." Andre frowned. "He is a proud man, but that is something left for later. Send three of the crew to fetch the rest of our drunken lot. Drag them back if necessary. There is no sense leaving them out numbered in town. We sail in three days. Until then I want them all aboard making ready, and out of the reach of Jean Lafitte."

Reply author: Welsh Wench

"Well, that was a typical display of your temper, Jean!"
He heard the solitary clapping behind him. Whirling around, he came face to face with his former partner.
Caesaire walked up to him in a measured gait, slow and cofident.

"Ah, Jean! Always the hot-head, oui?"
His face darkened. "And what about you, ma petite? I have seen your temper, non?" He reached out to stroke her cheek.
"We used to go at it pretty well ourselves, cher. A partnership made in heaven. Or a little lower. It was mutually...satisfying. In all aspects."
She turned her head and he laughed. "Such a lovely shade of red! But the business end of it was getting in the way of the pleasure. It worked well. You would move the goods that would appeal to the ladies of New Orleans. No one suspected that Mademoiselle Trosclair was a privateer in her own right! And run through the blacksmith shop and finding its way into the parlors of Creole Society's finest. And all under the nose of the Spanish."
"And at a very nice profit, I might add. Which has benefited you too, Jean. Keeping your hands off the finery while you sully them in the slave trade."
He shrugged, "It is what is required to make this colony prosper."

"A problem, Caesaire?"
Caesaire turned to see her friend Solange D'Estrehan coming towards them, carrying a few packages. She looked back at Jean Lafitte and said haughtily, "None that I cannot handle. Monsieur Lafitte and I were just discussing the upcoming ball. Were we not, Monsieur Lafitte?"
He bowed low and said gallantly, "I do so hope you will save a spot in your dance card for me."
She gave him a brittle smile, "But of course I shall!"
He took her hand and kissed it, gazing into her eyes. "A bientot, Mademoiselle Trosclair. Till then."
He turned and walked up the street.

Solange put her packages down to draw her gloves on. "Drausin told me you were in his office earlier today. You were having your father's house turned over to you so Monsieur Trosclair could go back to France."
"Yes, we went over deeds this morning and it should only take a few days to file it with the city."
Solange hugged her friend. "I am so happy to have you living in the city now. We have hardly had a chance to see each other."
Caesaire nodded, not really paying attention. She was looking towards the River.

She turned to Solange and discreetly pointed towards a ship with her feathered fan. "And who might THAT be?"
Solange looked up from her packages and said, "Ah! That just happens to be Captain Andre Beaudoin of Le Faucon de Mer."
Caesaire leaned on the rail on the dock. She gazed intently at the fine form of the captain, his white shirt billowing in the river breeze and his rapier glinting off the sun.
"Could it be...? Andre Beaudoin? Mon Dieu, how we have grown up, ne nous avons- pas?"
Solange looked at her friend and said, "You know him?"
Caesaire nodded slowly, her eyes never leaving the captain.
"Oui. Certainement! He was the best friend of my cousin Sebastian. I used to tag along and they would torment me with frogs and all sorts of river nasties. Then I would go home and cry to Tante Isabelle. She would make them take me to la patisserie and buy me a beignet. That would really make them upset. La femme, you know. And that age how they hated me for that!"
She turned to face Solange, a look of devilment on her face.
"I do indeed feel the need to reacquaint myself with my childhood friend."

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre sheathed his blade once he was certain that Lafitte had given up, at least for the time being. He watched as his Quartermaster sent six of his remaining force to scour New Orleans for the remainder of the crew. As much as he hated to cut short their pleasures, he knew better than to leave them to Jean's mercies. Lafitte had no qualms about taking advantage of an outnumbered man, in fact he preferred it.

Adjusting the ruffles of his cuffs he thought for a moment of Lafitte's first insult, one that used to be a term of endearment when Andre was Quartermaster of one of his three pirate ships. A smile came to his lips, perhaps he was a dandy, but he had grown up a street child, and had spent many hours envying the wealthy of New Orleans. Their fine clothes, and clean appearance had become an obsession with him. He had resolved even then that he would one day be dressed in finery, and be as clean as they were.

As a result when he had joined with Jean and proved his worth to the man, his fortunes rose quickly with the Quartermaster's share. He had begun to save a large portion of his earnings, the rest he had used for the finest of boots, shirts, breeches, and weapons. The first time he had shown up at Jean's plantation in his finery, clean and perfumed, Jean had broken into fits of laughter. "You look like a motherless dandy, My Friend!" He had gasped, clapping Andre warmly on the shoulder.

That had been a long time ago, before the hard words, and the mutiny. Strange how the twists of Madame Fate can change so much. Turning friendly teasing into venomous insults, and pitting former friends against one another. C'est la gere.

"Captain?" John's voice broke into Andre's thoughts. "Are ye alright?"

"Il n'est rien, Mon ami." Beaudoin grinned. "I was, how you say, chasing the ghosts of the past." He waved one ringed hand in the air as if to clear it. "Now, what were you saying?"

"Ye said we were sailin' in three days." Hubbard repeated the words Andre had missed in his reverie. "Does that mean ye've figured out the timeline 'o the prize?"

"Give or take, John." Andre smiled. "They may be delayed passing through the Panamas, but I think I have an idea that should guarantee placing her in our hands."

The Quartermaster of Le Faucon de Mer listened intently, the Captain was one of the most cunning men he had ever known. Rarely did Andre Beaudoin's plans go awry, and on the occasions that they did he had seen the man pull more than one miracle out of his arse.

"Regardless," Andre continued, "the ship will dock for her layover in Cuba in no less than two weeks from now to take on supplies for the voyage to Spain, and possibly to lay some much needed bribes. We will make berth there and wait. Did you purchase the broken mast?"

"Aye," John grinned, "though I've little doubt the shipwright thought me mad as a March hare fer wantin' it. She's down in the hold now, next ta the spare."

"Excellent, ami John!" Andre chuckled. "Along with the papers that I paid a house maid at the governors to steal we will have the perfect excuse to be in Cuba for at least a week. As far as the Spanish will know we are merely New Orleans sailors paid to ship coffee from Columbia to the New Orleans market. They will think we work for them. And if we need more time we could always have a few turns of "bad luck" repairing the mast."

John Hubbard threw his head back and laughed aloud. "Aye aye, Captain! Now what are yer orders when our drunken dogs are finally aboard?"

Andre scowled in thought, then brightened. "First have them detail Le Faucon, for some reason she smells of the slave trade. Then send two squads of men, fully armed into the city. One to bring back a feast for the men, the other to find a replacement for poor Francois, the cabin boy we lost in the last fight. However, make certain they understand discretion. I do not want Lafitte getting wind of any of this. Later this night we will bring up the rum, and have ourselves a good old fashioned Creole barbecue!"

"Aye aye, Captain!" The Quartermaster smiled broadly at the prospect of a night of feasting and drink. "They'll get it right, or I'll set my foot at their backsides!"

"Aye, ami." Andre laughed. "Of that I am quite sure. Come to my cabin afterward and we will fine tune the plan. Our timing will be everything this time."

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre moved the lamp closer to the sea chart he had been studying with unbroken concentration. Dusk was beginning to fall, and the light in his cabin needed augmenting if he were to attempt to guess the route the Galleon would take from Cuba. He doubted it would follow the usual sea lanes since the letter stressed both discretion and stealth. It would seem Count Eladio was taking every precaution. Only blind luck had brought the shipment to the attention of the buccaneer.

The Faucon de Mer had just left Jamaica, having put their last prize up for sale there, when the second Spanish Galleon came into view. Using his usual ruse of being a Dutch trading vessel, Andre maneuvered to hailing distance under the Dutch flag then opened fire shattering the main mast. Swinging the Faucon around to the rear of the Spanish ship they then opened up with the bow chasers.

The Conquistadors fired upon them with muskets as the crew readied the boarding hooks, or returned fire. John Hubbard kept the men steady in his role as Quartermaster. The Englishman certainly knew his job well, and their losses were few compared to the Spanish. Soon the pirates swarmed the deck of the larger vessel.

Hand to hand fighting was both brutal, and bloody. Andre found himself engaged in a fierce duel with the Spanish Captain. Fortunately for Andre the Captain, though well schooled in the art of fencing, had obviously been leading a softer life than the average solider. Baudouin's clothing suffered more than his body did.

Eventually their fight brought them to the upper deck. The captain was breathing much harder than his younger opponent. Andre pressed his advantage and soon locked three inches of his rapier into the wire basket of the Spaniard's. A quick twist, a jerk and his adversary's blade sailed over the side to sink to the bottom of the Atlantic. The Captain quickly surrendered, calling for the rest of his men to do likewise.

In the captain's cabin he had discovered the letter, and orders detailing the secret shipment from the Orient. Andre thought long and hard about his choices. If he let this crew live, the chances were the fortune would be lost, as they would certainly warn the other Galleon. Outright murder didn't set well with him, but he had his men and his future to think of. These were some of the hardest decisions a Pirate Captain had to make, if he had any conscience at all, and far too few did.

In the end he did what he had to do. Privately ordering his men to make the Spanish deaths quick and painless, he had the survivors executed to a man. Then placing a broadside just below the water level of the Galleon, sent her to join her Captain's sword.

Now he had to take the prize. Too much blood had already paid for it.

He never heard the knock at his door, lost in thought as he was, and John Hubbard risked entering without leave. "Still brooding over them Spanish dogs, Captain?"

Andre started from his thoughts, then grinned. "You have sailed with me for too long, Ami."

John shook his head slowly. "Yer problem, Andre, is you're a good man. It ner sits well when a good man has ta make hard decisions."

"Be that as it may, John." Andre turned serious. "The decision was the only one I could make. Had we let those men live the prize would be lost. I knew that these times would come when we took Le Faucon for our own, and mutinied against Jean."

The grizzled Quartermaster brightened at the memory. "I would have loved to have seen his face when he found out that we took the prize and over half his crew that day. The slave trade never set well with me either. It's why I threw me lot in with ye, stead 'o turnin' ye in like I should have."

Andre laughed loudly. "And do you regret it, Mon Ami?"

"Not in the least, Captain." Hubbard grinned. "But to Hell with this. There's rum, and the patrol what ye sent fer the provisions has come back. What say we start this shin dig early, and leave the details fer tomorrow, Mate?"

"I think that is a tres bon idea, Ami" Andre smiled as the sound of the musicians tuning up wafted through the thick oak of his door. "Après Vous?"

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Caesaire and Solange continued their shopping throughout the finest dressmakers and bootmakers in the Vieux Carré. They laughed as they came out of the millinary shop.
"That hat is perfect for you, Caesaire!"
The feathers from the brim swept her cheek and caressed her neck.
Caesaire smiled. "I always was partial to yellow!"
Solange said, "I'm getting hungry. Shall we stop for a beignet and some fruit?"
Caesaire drew her attention away from a shop window.
"That sounds fine. My treat."

From across Royal Street, two men were watching. They were dressed dashingly in their gauze shirts and breeches, rapiers scabbarded to their sides. Their cavalier hats cocked just so on their heads.
Etienne de Marigny and Francois Loupe were coming out of a tavern on Royal Street when they heard feminine laughter. Francois nudged Etienne and nodded in the ladies' direction.
"Ah....voici les belle femmes! Regardez!"
Francois casually crossed the street and, taking off his hat and bowing low, he said, "Ah, bonjour mademoiselles!"
Before Caesaire could respond, Francois had her hand in his and was bringing it up to his lips. As he gazed into her eyes, he said, "Un fleur de Nouvelle Orleans!"
Solange could barely contain her giggles. Caesaire shot her a look and gave Francois her most dimpled smile.
"Such a smooth talker with an even smoother way of introducing himself, Monsieur...?"
"Loupe. Francois Loupe at your service, cher. And you would be...?"
"Mademoiselle 'Isabelle Valcour'."
Solange coughed, "ISABELLE?"
Caesaire said quickly, "You will have to forgive Solange, she is used to me going by my first name. Marie."
Francois laughed and said, "I have eight sisters all named Marie. Marie Amelie, Marie Josephine, Marie Odile...well, you understand!"

Caesaire was clearly enjoying it. Etienne bowed and said, "And where would such lovely ladies be heading on this fine day?"
Solange replied, "We were about to get a bit of repast."
Etienne said, "I am Etienne de Marigny, just ported this morning. Would you allow us to join you?"
Caesaire was quick with, "We would be delighted!"
Solange started with, "But Drausin always said...."
Caesaire took Solange by the arm and hissed, "I don't care WHAT your brother said! Let's see what they want."

A half an hour later, the four of them were sitting in a small eating establishment on Decatur Street. Solange was clearly not happy about being with what turned out to be pirates. Etienne said, "Mademoiselle Valcour, I am wondering if you have ever heard of Captain Andre Beaudouin. He is captain of Le Faucon de Mer."
Solange said, "Why, 'Isabelle' was just...OW!"
Etienne raised an eyebrow. "Something wrong, Mademoiselle D'Estrehan?"
She rubbed her arm where Caesaire had pinched her, "Mais non! Just a sting from a scorpion, no less."
Caesaire turned her guileless blue-eyed look onto Etienne.
"I have never heard of him. Is he famous?"
Etienned and Francois burst out laughing. "His exploits are legendary but we are sure you may not have heard of him, two fine ladies of this town."
Francois ran his finger softly up and down Caesaire's arm. "Are you in for a bit of adventure, cherie?"
She delicately took a bite of her beignet. "Well, I don't know....a fine lady that I am."
Solange had taken a sip of her cafe au lait and choked.
Caesaire patted her on the back and said, "Are you alright, chere?"
Solange managed to glare, "Oui! I just found something hard to swallow."

Francois daringly put his hand lightly on Caesaire's back. "We are having un bon soiree upon Le Faucon de Mer if you would care to join us? We shall be having libations and barbeque and you are most cordially invited, ma cher."
Francois took her hand and gazed into her eyes. Solange said, "Look at the time! 'Isabelle', we really must be going."
Caesaire stood and Francois kissed her hand. "You will come?"
She smiled and said politely, 'We shall see, Monsieur Loupe. We shall see."
Caesaire and Solange gathered their things and bid the two pirates adieu.

Francois looked after the retreating forms of the two lovely women and Etienne said, "It will never happen."
Francois turned to him and said, "A sou tells me different."
They shook hands and lifted their glasses in unison. "Long may Le Faucor sail!"

As soon as they were out of earshot, Solange hissed, "You have been out in the sun sans parasol!"
A slight smile played on the corners of Caesaire's mouth. Solange erupted with "Sacre bleu! You ARE considering it!"
Caesaire took her hat off, adjusted the feathers and put the hat back on her head. "What better way to visit an old childhood friend?"
Solange stopped in the middle of Conti Street and stared at her best friend. "You wouldn't!"
Caesaire raised her eyebrow and said, "But of course! Captain Andre Beaudouin is about to meet his childhood friend. Only not as Captain of the Shattered Dreams. But as Caesaire Trosclair in the form of 'Isabelle Valcour."
Solange shook her head. "I certainly hope you know what you are doing, Caesaire."
She looked in a dressmaker's window. She put her hand on the shop's doorknob and smiled radiantly.
"I most certainly do, Solange. I most certainly do!"

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre's joyous laughter filled the deck of Le Faucon de Mer, clapping his hands and stomping one bell booted foot in time to the raucous Creole and Cajun music that filled the air as the cook basted the spit pig slowly roasting over the portable iron pit they had hauled up from the hold. It's mouth watering odor filled the air about the ship, mingling with the tantalizing smell of Gumbo and Jambalaya. The crew danced, either alone, or with one of the many ladies that the second patrol had returned with instead of the sent for cabin boy.

Several Kegs of ale sat tapped on their cross legged platforms, and a table beside them held not only the finest Puerto Rican rum, but fine wines and bourbon as well. The ropes of the well kept pirate vessel supported nearly thirty lamps, bathing the polished deck in bright amber light. The entire spectacle resembled more a Creole wedding feast than the deck of a fighting ship.

"Not a bad soiree eh, Mon Capitaine?" Francois Loupe shouted above the music and sounds of merriment. A filled tankard waved across the party only slightly sloshing some of it's contents to the deck.

"You are drunk, Francois, but you are also correct, Mon Frère." Beaudouin laughed loudly. "Not a bad substitute you have found for the cabin boy I sent you after either, non?" He motioned to the several swirling women in the middle of the fore deck, then cupping both hands to his mouth voiced his pleasure. "AI-YEEEEE!"

Loupe laughed loudly as the cry of Creole happiness was echoed several times from various positions of the frigate. While not actually related to his captain it always made him feel better when he heard Andre use the term to refer to either himself, or another member of the crew. "Well you know what ze say, Capitaine. Never send a Frenchman to search for a boy, he will inevitably return with a woman!"

The Captain of Le Faucon de Mer laughed as he retrieved his own tankard from the top of the small barrel beside the one he sat on. "Mais oui, even though you, Etienne and the others seem to have returned with several." He took a long drink before continuing. "Still I hope there are no disagreements aboard. You seem to have brought too few."

"Aucun problème, Capitaine." Loupe grinned like a school boy. "There are still several invitations yet to be filled. I suspect they will arrive in their own time." Then he leaned closer to Andre and lowered his voice to a conspiratorial tone. "One especially whom I hope will arrive soon. You should 'ave seen her, Mon ami. Un belle blond femme."

Andre placed one hand on his knee and half turned to Francois. Cocking one eyebrow high he pretended to frown. "I see, Frère. So this is how you spend your assignment? Chasing pretty blonds?"

"Mais oui, is there any......" Francois Loupe's voice trailed off as he looked up. "Bon Dieu! Unless I am mistaken, Capitaine, that is her coming down the dock now!" He straightened up and adjusting his clothing on the fly made for the gangplank.

Andre chuckled as he watched the man all but run to welcome this particular woman aboard. Shaking his head he drained his tankard and set it down before returning his attention to the ongoing party, shouting encouragement to his men.

No sooner did Caesaire Trosclair pass a pile of tarp covered cargo sitting to one side of the mouth of the dock than a shadowy figure silently slipped from behind it's shadows. For a moment it watched vigilantly as she made her way confidently towards the brightly lit ship and sounds of merry making. Then quietly as an alley cat it ran off in the direction of the Quarter.

"SHE WHAT!!!" Jean Lafitte hurled the crystal glass he had been drinking from against the wall, along with the remainder of the bourbon it contained. A nervous slave girl quickly moved to clean up the mess as he fumed, red faced. "She would not dare!!" he hissed.

"I'm afraid so, Captain. Saw 'er meself I did. Came sashayin' down Canal Street an' made a bee line straight fer Beaudouin's ship, she did." The spy confirmed.

Lafitte paced up and down in front of his fireplace, one hand stroking his chin in thought. "Well if that hellcat thinks she can make a fool of me by forming an alliance with Beaudouin......" his voice trailed off menacingly. Suddenly he stopped in mid stride and whirled to face his spy.

"Parker! You are to take twenty of our best. Go down to the docks quietly. Once you are there you will all scale the side of The Shattered Dreams, kill the crew aboard and sail her up the river to our special dock." Jean grinned evilly. "Let us see what kind of arrangement Caesaire Trosclair can forge sans vessel."

"Aye-aye." Parker grinned, and with a quick salute was gone back into the night.

"Caesaire, Caesaire." Lafitte spoke lowly to the empty room as he poured himself another bourbon from the crystal decanter. "Maybe I can never have you again, Cheri. But I will be damned if I will let Andre Beaudouin possess you.

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Caesaire walked towards the dock. She stopped suddenly to see the magnificent ship known as Le Faucon de Mer. She did a quick stuff and fluff. Her boots were white kidskin and she had on a simple dress of white lawn. She had a shawl of palest pink. Her hair was piled loosely on top of her head but was coming down to frame her face.

For once she felt her breath come up a bit short. 'Am I prepared to meet Andre Beaudouin after all these years? He can't possibly remember me....can he?'
She paused at the rail of the dock, looking out over the River. Her thoughts drifted back to another time. A time when she was five years old....

"Sebastian! Sebastian! You come in here!"
Sebastian and Andre came trooping in through the parlor. The two boys were inseparable and as different as night and day in appearance. Where Sebastian had blond hair and crystal blue eyes, Andre was dark as a gypsy. His black hair complemented his dark hazel eyes.
Sebastian's mother stood there with her hands on her hips.
"What is the meaning of this?"
They looked and saw the little girl sitting on the chair, her feet not even touching the floor and her face was tear-stained.
They both looked at each other with guilt.
Isabelle Trosclair stood there, tapping her foot. "I'm waiting for an explanation."
Still they said nothing. Finally Madame Trosclair said, "Am I to understand that you put a frog down your cousin's back and threaten her with a snake?"
Sebastian looked down and Andre looked out the window. Sebastian said, "No, we didn't."
The little girl flew off the chair, crying and beating her cousin with her little fists.
Madame Trosclair pried the little girl off her son and said firmly, "There will be none of that, Caesaire."
Caesaire buried her face in her aunt's skirt and sobbed. She put her arms around her.
To Sebastian, she said, "You should be ashamed, son. She's been having a hard time since her mother died."
Sebastian scuffed the floor with his foot. "But Maman, she is a GIRL!"
Isabelle shot her son a warning glance. To the little girl, she said, "Dry your tears, ma petite. Sebastian and Andre will take you to la patisserie and buy you a beignet."
"But, Maman!" Sebastian protested but one glance from his mother and he shut up.
"Oh, all right..but we won't like it!"

"Madamoiselle Valcour!"
The name called out brought her out of her reverie. She put on her best smile and said, "Ah! Bonsoir, Monsieiur Loupe."
He took her hands in his and looked admiringly at her. "And you look as beautiful caressed by the moonlight as you were kissed by the sun!"
She gave him a smile and tucked her arm in his offered one. He led her to the gangplank of Le Faucon and asked, "And we shall have a grand time, oui?"
She quickly scanned her eyes on the deck for Andre Beaudouin and seeing his dashing figure, she gave him a smile and said, "I think this shall be an evening to remember, Monsieur Loupe."
Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

From the moment she came into view at the top of the gangplank Andre was overwhelmed with a strange sense of déjà vu. There was something familiar in her smile, something that told him in his gut he had met this woman before. He returned her smile with a slight nod of his head, then forcibly turned his attention elsewhere. She was the guest of one of his crew, and a friend. It would be bad form to show her undue attention. Still he would watch her from the corner of his eye at odd moments.

She was obviously from a well off family, as her demeanor attested to. She mingled with the crew while never making Loupe feel as if she was ignoring him. The overwhelming sense that he knew her from some where was maddening, like an itch that you couldn't reach. The way she held her head when speaking, the lilt in her voice when she reverted to French, the way she unconsciously twirled her golden hair around one finger when.....

Attente un moment! He knew that habit. Rapidly the captain of Le Faucon de Mer searched his memory in vain. Damn it. This was impossible. No matter how much Andre Beaudouin strained he could not place this woman in his memory, and memory was one thing he prided himself on. He never forgot a friend, enemy, or a woman.

"A quoi pensez-vous, Capitaine." The soft female voice brought him back from his search. There stood Francois Loupe with the object of his memory's frustration. A slightly teasing smile played about the corners of her mouth.

"Pardonnez-moi, Capitaine. May I introduce Mademoiselle Isabelle Valcour." Francois grinned has he formally introduced the beauty on his arm.

Andre stood and swept the burgundy Cavalier hat from his head, bowing he gently kissed the fingers of her offered hand. "Enchante, Mademoiselle Valcour." Andre smiled his warmest smile. "Please make yourself to home aboard Le Faucon de Mer."

Caesaire's breath caught for a moment at the touch of Andre's lips against the back of her fingers, and she felt her heart beat race. Suddenly she remembered the true reason she had insisted on following him and her cousin where ever they went. Quickly she hid her feelings. It was obvious Andre had not recognized her any more than she had him.

"Merci, Captain Beaudouin." She smiled, a mischievous twinkle lit her blue eyes. "It is plain where your crew get their good manners from." Andre's smile did little to cover the change in his color, even in this light. "Pardon me for saying so, but you did not seem to be enjoying your little party a moment ago."

"Pardonnez-moi, Mademoiselle Valcour." He bowed for a second time. "But I was lost in thought. The price of being the capitaine, I'm afraid."

"But tonight is not the night for such deep thoughts." Caesaire smiled warmly. "With Monsieiur Loupe's permission, perhaps I may take your mind from such burdens?" She nodded slightly to the area of the deck that was set aside for dancing.

Francois Smiled to his friend and nodded. As Andre took her small hand in his and motioned to the dance floor with his free hand he felt his heart race. "Apres vous, Cheri." He smiled as he led her onto the deck.

The two guards on duty upon the Shattered Dreams watched the glow coming from the far away vessel. Just barely they could hear the sound of the music and laughter. Secretly they both wished them selves there instead of guarding Captain Trosclair's prized ship. Their own shore leave was over, though, and most of the remaining crew were off in New Orleans. Barely eight men were now aboard and they regretted taking their own turn first.

"Think the Captain is over there?" Pierre asked.

"I think if there is a soiree within fifty miles of here she is there." Jacques grumbled. "It would seem this time drawing the long straw was not in our...!"

The dagger suddenly drawn across his throat cut Jacques complaining short. The thrust of a cutlass a split second later dropped Pierre. With quick hand signals the twenty dark figures swarmed over the vessel. Ten bodies hit the water, and the moorings of the Shattered Dreams were soon cut free. Silently she made her way to the mouth of the Mississippi, and unnoticed slipped from view into the darkness.

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

As they made their way to the cleared deck, from the corner of his eye Andre saw John lean down to the lead musician and whisper something. The next tune changed to a softer, slower pace and several more couples joined them as Caesaire slid quickly into his arms. He made a mental note to either reward Hubbard with an extra share, or throw him overboard as soon as the dance ended.

Etienne de Marigny came up to stand beside his shipmate, a coin held between his fingers. "The sou I owe you, Mon Ami." He grinned. "Unless you would like you make it double or nothing zat you have lost this game to the captain?"

Francois eyed the coin frowning for a moment, then grinned good naturedly as he placed it in his pocket. "Non, mon ami. I am not fool enough to take that bet. Women are naturally attracted to the power of position. And unless I miss my guess, our capitaine is in far more danger than even he realizes."

"Then I am not imagining it?" Marigny queried.

"Non, any one who has known Andre as long as we can see it written across his face." Loupe grinned. "John noticed first. Andre Beaudouin is infatuated with this woman."

"Acclamation vers le haut, vieil ami. Regard." Etienne pointed to the dock where several more girls were making their way towards the ship in a giggling group. "All is not lost yet, eh?"

"Mais oui." Francois smiled, running one hand along the plumes of his hat. "Shall we leave Andre to his fate then?"

"Pourquoi pas?" Etienne shrugged, grinning. "There is not much we could do to save him from it." The two men shook hands and made their way to the head of the gangplank to welcome the late arrivals.

Andre felt his temperature rise slightly as the soft form of Caesaire moved in time with his. Without warning he felt her move even closer to him, and he felt his next words stick within his throat. "M-Mademoiselle Valcour...." He began.

"Please, Captain Beaudouin," Caesaire spoke softer than she had intended, and for a moment regretted her ruse. "Call me by my first name. Isabelle."

"Tres bien...Isabelle." He prayed that she could not feel the pounding of his heart in their closeness. "But what of Francois? From what I understood you are his guest."

"Dans la verite, Capitaine Beaudouin." Her blue eyes looked warmly into his. "I only accepted his invitation to meet you."

"Then you must call me Andre." He smiled warmly. "Isabelle."

The song ended and he reluctantly relinquished her warm body as they turned to applaud the music makers. He noticed Francois and Etienne were happily chatting up two new women near the gangplank and breathed an inward sigh of relief. It was against his nature to interfere with his crew's plans as long as they did not endanger the ship.

Smiling at his good fortune he turned to Caesaire and offered his arm. "Would you care to accompany me to the upper deck, Isabelle? There we may speak in privet, if you wish."

Caesaire slipped her hand beneath his arm to rest in the bend. "I would be delighted...Andre." she smiled warmly. "You simply must tell me all of your adventures."

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Andre led her up the stairs to the upper deck. She looked around. It was secluded and quiet. The gentle lapping of the water against the ship was the only sound she heard.
Except one.
It was the beating of her heart.
"May I get you something to drink?" Andre asked graciously.
Caesaire said quietly, "Whatever you recommend is fine with me."
Andre reached into a small cabinet and produced a bottle of Cognac.
"The best France has to offer."

She looked at him covertly as he poured the Cognac into a crystal goblet. 'He certainly had changed from the street-smart boy I knew, she thought. How much older were Andre and Sebastien from me? Let's see...I was five. They were ten. So, that would make Andre twenty-seven now.'
Andre handed her the cognac.
"Ah, merci, Monsieur....Andre."
Andre took a sip and motioned for her to have a seat. She laughed. "I very much prefer to sit on the deck, if you don't mind! A habit from when I was younger."
Andre used this as an opening to find out. Where did he know her from? New Orleans? She was a woman of breeding. Certainly not a brothel. Had he dealings with her father? Was he an importer? A broker of port goods? Had he met her at a ball that he attended from the plantations along the River?
"Mademoiselle....Isabelle. I am sorry, it is unusual for me to use a Christian name when we have first met. Creole Society, you understand."
She sat there and smiled, casually twisting the lock of her hair.
It was driving Andre mad. Why was that gesture threatening his memory banks?
"Not to worry, Andre. I am now calling YOU by your name proper."
He asked, "Are you in town for a visit?"
Caesaire ran her finger over the rim of her goblet and daintily sucked the cognac off her finger. Andre was watching that subtle gesture with fascination.
She took another sip and said, "Mais non! I was born in New Orleans but I was sent away to school. In...Baton Rouge."
Her voice caught a bit on that lie. It would never do for Andre to know she was sent to St Ursuline's Convent. Two blocks from the Cathedral in Place d'Armes. She had stayed in the neighborhood, cloistered under the watchful eyes of the nuns.

She leaned forward, her legs tucked under her. He could catch the soft scent of honeysuckle and jasmine. It seemed to muddle his senses.
"And are you from New Orleans, Andre? I know nothing of you until Francois mentioned your name."
Andre had always been guarded in his dealings with others on his past. He said, "I was raised in the Quarter, on St Louis Street. My mother was a housekeeper for Monsieur et Madame Trosclair. I was friends with their son Sebastien. Blood brothers, we called ourselves."

The music drifted up to the upper deck. Andre stood up and held his hand out. "Vous inquiéteriez-vous pour danser?"
"Je serais enchante."
Andre took Caesaire into his arms and she melded her body to his. He could feel the indiscernible heat between the two of them. She had both arms wrapped around his shoulders as his hands met at the small of her back. Her head rested gently against his chest. Something...something! What was it about her? Like he had known her all his life.
Had he?
Or was he just mesmerized by this charming woman? He had known hundreds of women in his life. Wenches and ladies. Tavern girls and landowners' daughters. They were an evening's entertainment.
He felt himself drawn to Isabelle.

Suddenly they were no longer dancing but standing there on the deck under the stars holding each other.
Andre lifted her chin to raise her face to his. She touched his cheek gently. He drew her closer to him.
Their lips met in a tender kiss that had caught fire, deep and searching. Andre had never been so taken by the intensity of a first kiss. It actually had frightened him. And he was a man who had never known fear.

Isabelle felt her knees weaken. She was being pulled into the passion and was feeling powerless. Yet as she had learned before, 'always leave them wanting more.'
She reluctantly pulled away from his ardor and said softly, "Monsieur Beaudouin, you take my breath away."
Andre's eyes were full of desire. It would have been so easy to give in. Yet Caesaire knew that if she did, she may very well quench the fire that she stoked in him.
Andre stood there and for once in his life, he didn't know what to do. A beautiful, passionate woman. He wanted her at that moment more than he had ever wanted any woman before. It was stronger than anything he had felt before.
Was it the beginnings
He shook his head.
Not to Andre Beaudouin.
He wouldn't allow it.
Would he?

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

As Andre walked the deck of Le Faucon the next morn his mind kept going back to the night before and Isabelle. This was madness. Watching the men make the fighting vessel ready to set sail the morning after tomorrow, he barely registered their presence. The mysterious blonde lady filled his thoughts even now.

Who was she? He had searched his memory long into the night, certain that he knew her from somewhere. He was also just as certain that he had never before met any woman named Isabelle Valcour. Slowly he made his rounds of the ship, giving to all who did not know him the impression of a pirate captain inspecting the work of the crew. Eventually he made his way to the short stairs leading to the upper deck and strode up them.

"It would seem our captain has been bitten." Etienne de Marigny observed to the quartermaster.

"Aye." John Hubbard spoke thoughtfully as he watched Andre vanish from sight. "But you know he's nere going to admit it. Least of all to himself."

"Mais oui." The first mate grinned. "Until now Monsieur Andre Beaudouin has fancied himself immune to ze arrows of Cupid. It will be sometime before he will come to terms with it."

Andre stood at the aft of his ship, leaning with both hands on the rail he stared out to sea from the river port. The ghosts of the night before echoing within his ears. Her laughter, the twinkle in her rich blue eyes, the warmth of her body next to his as they danced here alone, and the kiss. Never before had he felt himself swoon to the kiss of a woman, but he had certainly done exactly that last night.

The passion that her lips had raised within him had nearly robbed him of any semblance of common sense. Only a supreme effort of will had kept him from making a complete fool of himself that night. Instead of offering to share his bed aboard Le Faucon, he had instead offered to see her home, as would any proper gentleman. An offer which she had graciously, yet firmly declined. Had he indeed made himself the fool? Had he been too forward with the kiss? Enough to turn her away from him? He certainly hoped not.

Suddenly Andre whirled around in frustration, crossing his arms in front of his chest and roughly slamming his backside into the molded railing. What in God's name was he thinking? These thoughts were not his! He was acting like un garcon d'ecole, a school boy! A lovesick school boy! He would not have it! There was too much a stake and he needed all of his wits to take the prize he had set for Le Faucon de Mer.

Desperately he tried to rid himself of her image, only to have it float tantalizingly before his eyes. The sent of her perfume hung in his nostrils. The sound of her voice rang within his ears. He could still feel the softness of her in his arms. Like a dream that he never knew he had. How could he rid himself of it? There had to be a way to regain himself. There had to.

"Captain?" John Hubbard's voice broke into Andre's conflicting thoughts and the emotions they raised. A wave of relief flowed through him at the distraction. Anything to keep his mind off of the fact that he was not in her arms where he secretly wished he was.

"Oui, John." He smiled with relief. "What is it, Mon Ami?"

"There seems to be a bit of a disturbance from last night." The Quartermaster looked grim. "The Spanish soldiers are here, and their captain has some questions he would like to ask you."

"Perturbation?" Andre's brow furrowed. "Surly our little party was not that loud. Or was one of the guests Francois invited the governor's daughter?"

"Nothin' like that, Mate." John Hubbard's face turned grim. "It seems a ship was stolen from the port last night, and ten of her crew found floating under the docks."

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Caesaire laid in her big four-poster bed draped with netting. She tossed and turned as dawn approached. She could not get the feel or the taste of Andre Beaudouin's kiss out of her mind. She rolled over and punched her pillow, her thoughts drifting back to the soiree and the evening before.

Andre looked at her in that minute before their lips touched with such an intensity that it made her weak even now.
'Fool!' she called herself. 'If I wasn't so stubborn and practical, I'd be lying in his arms right now!'
But did she have any guarantee that Andre would come calling the next day? And if he did, he would realize that Isabelle Valcour, whom he held in his arms and kissed under the stars was really the grown up version of a five-year-old that used to tag along behind him and her cousin Sebastien. How would he view her then?

Caesaire had broken away from his kiss and said, "Monsieur Beaudouin, vous enlevez mon souffle..."
She looked into his eyes and could see desire. Caesaire knew that look. She had seen it before in men's eyes. Certainly she was no stranger to the ways of men. Or physical love.

Drausin was foremost on her mind as her most ardent suitor.
He thought she was newly arrived back into the Quarter from a finishing school in Charleston. At least that was the story her father gave out to his associates. Father was too ashamed to admit his only daughter had taken up with Jean Lafitte, privateer and the purveyor of fineries to the best households of Creole Society.

She threw her covers off and went to her windows, looking out towards the River. She could barely see the outline of Le Faucon by the docks. The lights had been extinguished from the gaiety of the party. She sighed as she closed the shutters, climbing back into bed.

Caesaire threw the covers back over her head. 'This is madness! I never intended for this! It was a prank! A trick to see if he would remember who I am. Well, it certainly back-fired', she thought.
The huntress got captured by the game.

She sat up and ran her fingers through her hair. After the kiss, Andre hesitated. The party was winding down. Caesaire was afraid that if she stayed one more minute longer, she would make a complete fool of herself and that would never do for the daughter of Christophe Trosclair.
But Andre had taken her hand and asked her, "Est-ce que je peux vous escorter maison ?"
She fought every urge to say, "Mais non! I want to stay with you..."
Instead she had murmured, "Captain Beaudouin, I appreciate the kind gesture but I live up the street. It is quite alright. I got here on my own, I shall return on my own."
"But Mademoiselle Valcour, I would be remiss in my duties as a gentleman to not see you properly to your abode."
She touched his lips with her fingers and whispered, "Perhaps another time, Andre...'" and enfolded herself in his arms again.
They stood there, holding each other tightly, each not saying a word until Caesaire whispered, "I really must be leaving."
Andre walked her down the stairs. She could feel the questioning eyes of his crew on her. Were they surprised that Andre had a woman on the upper deck? Or the fact that she wasn't staying the night?

At the end of the dock, she took his hand and said, "We shall meet again, Captain Beaudouin. Of that I am certain."
She turned and started walking away. She heard Andre call out, "May I come to call on you like a proper gentleman?"
She was afraid to turn around lest she run back to him.
And with that, she walked into the fog that settled on Decatur Street.


The early morning sun streamed into her room, the sunbeams filtering onto her face. Caesaire snuggled deeper into her quilt.
A knock on her door.
"Allez-vous-en! I'm still sleeping!"
She threw the pillow over her head.
Insistent knocking.
"Oh, very well--entrez-vous!"
Eliza, a house servant, came in and shut the door behind her.
In a nervous whisper, she said, "Mademoiselle Caesaire, there are men here to see you."
Her head popped up from under the pillows.
"Men. Spanish soldiers. They want to know about a ship that is now gone. The Shattered Dreams. And a dead crew."

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre made his way to the top of the short steps leading to the main deck. There a few yards from the bottom stood a Spanish lieutenant, and three soldiers. They looked up as one at the appearance of the Creole buccaneer. The lieutenant had been deeply engrossed in questioning the crew of Le Faucon de Mer, ceasing his interrogation of François once the captain of the vessel had come into view. The arrogance that lit his brown eyes told Andre Beaudouin all he needed to know about the man.

"Bonjour, lieutenant." Andre put on his most diplomatic mask. "And what, may I ask, can we do to be of assistance to you?"

"Ah, Captain Beaudouin. Buenos días." The lieutenant's voice was dry as dead leaves. "Is there somewhere we may speak in....privet?"

The question was meant as an order, and Andre knew it. His ship and crew were in danger from this man, and their fate now lay in his hands. "But of course, Lieutenant?"

"Guerrero. Lieutenant Enrique Guerrero." The man's eyes bore into Andre's.

The pirate merely smiled warmly and gestured to the door leading to his quarters. "Tres Bien, Lieutenant Guerrero. We may speak in my cabin, après vous?"

The Spaniard gave him a half bow before moving to the door. Andre held the door open for the official. "Mr. Hubbard! See that we are not disturbed." By giving the order to the quartermaster, instead of the first mate, Andre had given the prearranged signal to secretly prepare the Faucon to sail immediately should things go wrong and they had to kill the Spaniards.

"Aye, aye, Captain." John saluted, then turned to give their key men their assignments while the soldiers waited for their commander, unaware.

Guerrero immediately sat down in Andre's chair behind the oak desk, and the Creole pirate breathed an inward sigh of relief that he had locked the sea chart, and letters safely away before the soiree last night. He was also highly angered by the Spaniard's arrogance, yet kept it off of his face and out of his voice.

"May I offer you something to drink, Monsieur?" he asked in his most gracious tone.

"No. Thank you." The Spanish lieutenant returned icily. "While my inquiries of your crew has convinced me that you were indeed here last night the fact remains that you are a thief, and a pirate, Andre Beaudouin. Whether, or not, it can be proven at the moment. And I for one have little use for pirates."

Andre felt the hackles on his neck raise and for a moment thought seriously about killing this Spanish dog. Instead he replied in a shocked tone. "Pirate? Je? Non, monsieur, you have me all wrong. I am but a simple merchant. I am...."

"You are a pirate, and a murderer, Captain Beaudouin!" Guerrero rudely cut him off with a certainty of conviction. "While nothing can be proven, yet. It is still my pleasure to inform you that until our investigation of this matter is finished both you, and your crew will remain docked here. Every ship that was in port last night are officially under house arrest until further notice."

Andre nearly choked at the news. At the most he could delay a couple days longer, but any longer would put the prize beyond his reach. "But, Lieutenant, surely you cannot be serious! I have urgent business in Nassau that demands...."

"Your 'business' can wait, Pirate!" Guerrero stood to leave, again deliberately cutting the protest short. "And perhaps King Philip's ships can breathe a little easier with you safely here, instead of robbing them blind. Good day to you, Senior."

Andre's fists trembled with the exertion he applied to them in a Herculean attempt to control his temper after the Spanish pig had left. Damn him to Hell! Now the prize would sail safely into Count Eladio's arms. He should have gutted them the moment they had set foot on Le Faucon de Mer! Thrown them overboard and sailed immediately. A discrete knock on his door ended the bloodthirsty thoughts that raged through his mind.

"Oui! Entrez!" He snapped.

John Hubbard poked his head through the door. "Is it that bad, Captain?"

Andre took a deep breath and released it loudly before replying in a more subdued voice. "Oui, my friend, it is that bad. That pig has us all hamstrung until the mystery of the stolen ship is solved. The prize will slip through our fingers with out our even trying for it, and all those men I had killed will have died for nothing!"

Hubbard had fully entered the cabin by then, and stroked the stubble of his chin thoughtfully. "Well, it may be no consolation to ye at the moment, but the lady ye were dancing' with is makein' a bee line straight fer us, and she sure don't look like the lass what left the ship last night."

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Caesaire ran towards the dock to where she last docked the Shattered Dreams. A cluster of people were gathered around. She pushed her way through. There on the banks of the River, Pere Antoine was blessing the bodies that were covered with sheets.
"NO!" Caesaire screamed. "NO!"
Pere Antoine turned to her with sad eyes and said, "Oui, ma petite." He stiffly raised himself up from his knees and took her by the elbow away from the crowd.
Caesaire was trembling despite the warmness of the morning. She laid her hand on the priest and whispered, "All of them? All who were on board?"
Pere Antoine sadly nodded his head. She put her fist to her mouth to choke back the tears.
"Mon Dieu. Pierre....Jacques.....Lucien....mes amis. Mes amis....."
Pere Antoine held her and patted her on the back. "Perhaps, Caesaire, some spiritual guidance..."
She looked at him with a tear-stained face. "Non, Pere. NO! Do not give me a 'repent and sin no more, child' discourse."
She broke away from him and whispered, "I know who did this. And there will be le diable to pay."

She ran up St Peter Street to Bourbon, then to the stucco and brick small Creole establishment. From the outside it looked like a dwelling. She yanked the door open. Inside Dominique You and Pierre Lafitte looked up from some papers they were poring over.
"Where is he? OU EST JEAN LE CHIEN?!"
Dominque was startled. "Caesaire? What is wrong?"
The tears started flowing down her face. "My crew is dead. DEAD! And my ship is gone. Disappeared. Sometime during the night, the crew was killed and the ship was taken. And...PIERRE LAFITTE, WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU GOING?"
Pierre had gotten up and headed for a door in the back. She ran to him.
"Do you think you are going to warn that dog of a brother of yours that he has a distraught woman in his receiving room? LET ME SAVE YOU THE TROUBLE!"
She pushed him aside and flung the door open.
Jean Lafitte sat at his mahogany desk, his shirt sleeves rolled up, a thin cigar in his mouth.
"Bon jour, cher. What brings you here on this fine morning?"
The smoke from the cigar wreathed his face in blue smoke.
She flung herself at him, beating him with her fists. "YOU KILLED THEM! YOU KILLED THEM AND THEN STOLE MY SHIP!"

He grabbed her by the wrists just as Dominique and Pierre burst forth. Pierre pulled her off Jean.
Jean dusted himself off and said coldly, "I don't know what you are talking about but I strongly advise you to get yourself under control. It would never do for you to become known as a pirate diva."
She broke herself away from Pierre's grasp. She could barely whisper, "Murderer. Thief."
She turned and ran out.
Dominique and Pierre looked at Jean. He just shrugged.
"She's overwrought. A woman thing."
They closed the door and went back to their business.

Caesaire walked back to her house on St Louis Street, her emotions in a whirlwind. As she entered, her father came into the foyer.
"Caesaire? What is wrong?"
She flung her hat down and turned her face to the wall, sobbing.
"Jean Lafitte has stolen my ship and killed my crew that was on watch."
Alarmed, Monsieur Trosclair said, "You know that for a fact?"
She nodded and wiped her tears with the sleeve of her blouse.
"Oui, Papa.C'est vrai."
He motioned to take her in his arms and she held her hand up. "Please, no false sympathy, Pere. You are secretly relieved that I will no longer be at sea and shall settle down to take my place in Creole Society."
He exhaled a sigh. "Ma chere, it is time you stopped this vagabond existence. If your mother...."
She yelled, "Don't you DARE bring the memory of my mother into this! You have repeatedly told me how she would be shamed by me. Well, that is not true. Mother loved me. She accepted me as I was, as only a mother can. And now she is dead."
Christophe Trosclair's mouth went into a grim line as he said with controlled fury, "I loved her too. She was my wife. It is about time you married and had children. Mon Dieu, all your friends are married. Except Solange and she is about to be engaged to your cousin Sebastian. You need to settle down with Drausin D'Estrehan. He has been courting you for a few years now."

She shook her head. "No. Not now. Drausin is a wonderful companion and a charming and successful man. Another time, another place...perhaps. But no, Pere. Something is lacking. The fire. And once I had that, I could never go back."
Monsieur Trosclair looked at his daughter and said, "If you insist on acting like an alleycat from behind the Cathedral, I shall thank you to please keep it there. Behind the church, off Holy Ground and out of the light of day."
She ran up the stairs but not before she flung over her shoulder, "You never did understand, Pere. You never did."

She flung her clothes off and pulled out of her armoire what she needed. She put on her black breeches that fit snugly on her hips and down her legs. A black shirt, and a waist cincher of black leather. She took a leather belt and attached her scabbard with the rapier she took as a prize when she and Jean attacked that Spanish Galleon off the coast of Cuba. She took it out and looked at it. Fine Toledo steel with a swept hilt in gold. It was just the right size. Jean had given it to her as a present after they had made love in celebration.
Her face flamed with embarrassment at how easily she had been fooled by him.
She put on her black boots and grabbed her tricorn with the red feathers trailing half-way down her back.

As she descended the stairs, Christophe demanded, "And where are you going dressed like that?"
She opened the front door and said, "To exact my revenge. And I'm asking help from the only man I can trust at this time."
And with that she slammed the door.

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

"Isabelle?! She is coming here?!" The change that John witnessed in his captain's mood was startling. Andre had gone from morose to happily excited in the literal blink of an eye. Never had he seen such a change overtake a man so quickly.

"Aye, that she is. But I wouldn't be getting' me hopes up yet, Captain." John grinned. "The look on her face is anything but pleasant, and ye better see the way she's dressed first."

"Getting my hopes up?" Andre Beaudouin's mood changed yet again before John's eyes, turning more somber and controlled. "I have no hopes to get up, Mon Ami. I am merely pleased that she has decided to visit with us again so soon. However, if she is perturbed as you say, perhaps this will not be as pleasant a call as I first assumed. Please go to greet the lady, and offer my apologies as I must make myself the more presentable."

"Aye, Captain." Hubbard saluted his friend with a grin before turning to leave.

"And wipe zat smirk off your face, before I toss your English arse into ze river!" Andre shot after the quartermaster's retreating form, his accent thickening in his turmoil.

As the older man made his way to the top of Le Faucon de Mer's gangplank he smiled at the changes he had seen in his friend. Never before had he seen Andre act in this way and it would do him good to at last find love in this life. He watched as Caesaire strode toward them, the determination in her stride was as evident as the clothing she wore. She could have easily made a member of their own crew in that getup, and John secretly hoped that her bearing wasn't a forerunner to any displeasure with his captain. Andre would be crushed.

Caesaire stopped for a moment, a few yards from the magnificent fighting vessel. For a few moments the rage in her heart was replaced by softer emotions at the thought of seeing Andre again. The man was as breathtaking as his immaculate ship, and she felt the rise of the long crush she had held for him since childhood. Should she drop her ruse and tell him who she truly was? No. Not yet. She needed his aid now, and couldn't be sure of his reaction if he learned the truth now. She would remain Isabelle Valcour for a while longer.

She pushed her feelings for Andre down for the moment, there would be plenty of time for that later. Once again she let her hatred of Jean Lafitte rise within her. Le chien jaloux malheureux would rue the day he dared to make a true enemy of her!

At the top of the gangplank she spotted John Hubbard, Etienne de Marigny, and Francois Loupe. A slight feeling of disappointment that Andre was not among them swept over her for a moment as she stopped at the foot of the gangplank.

"Permission to come aboard?" She smiled up at the trio, ignoring the few other pirates who periodically looked over the sides of the ship to see her.

"Permission granted, Mademoiselle Valcour, and welcome aboard Le Faucon de Mer." John smiled warmly.

She hurried up to the waiting men. "Is Captain Beaudouin aboard? I must speak with him on a matter of high importance."

"He's here, Mum." John smiled. "It's just that he has been working with the crew this morn, and wished to freshen up a bit before greeting you himself."

No sooner did the quartermaster fulfill his orders then the door to Andre's cabin opened and Caesaire felt her breath catch at the sight. He had changed into a fresh white silk buccaneer shirt, whose billowing sleeves ruffled in the slight river breeze. The highly polished baldric cut a diagonal slash of black across his chest, it's shining silver buckle glinting in the morning sunlight. His newly combed raven black hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail beneath the burgundy cavalier's hat that rested at a jaunty angle on his head. A three inch wide black leather belt was strapped over the matching burgundy sash, it's two knee length ends waving across the skin tight leather pants securely tucked into his knee high belled boots.

"Isabelle." He crossed the short distance between them, sweeping the hat from his head, and bowing to lightly kiss the back of her fingers. "It is a pleasure to see you again so soon?"

She felt the warmth of his smile to her core, and again regretted her deception. "May we speak in privet, Andre?" She smiled warmly.

"But of course, Cheri." He swept one ringed hand in the direction of his cabin door, then turned to his three friends. "Please see we are not disturbed, Monsieur de Marigny." Then in a lower voice so that she could not hear. "And if the three of you don't stop grinning like fools I'll maroon you on the first spit of sand we come across!"

"Aye, aye, Mon Capitaine." Etienne saluted, still grinning. Andre shot him a scowl for good measure before turning to open the door for Caesaire.

Andre quickly pulled one of his best leather cushioned chairs over to the front of his desk for her to sit in. "Rafraîchissements, Isabelle?"

"Mais oui, Andre." She smiled. "After this morning I could use it."

"Troubles, Cher?" He asked after handing her a crystal glass filled with his best Cognac. He removed his hat, setting it down to one side on the polished desk and sat across from her in his usual seat.

The genuine concern written across his face endeared him even more to her, but she had to set aside the feelings welling up within her. This would take a great amount of tact if she were to keep her secret. "Oui. Have you ever heard of the ship named The Shattered Dreams?" She asked.

"Les Rêves Brisés? Non, Isabelle. I cannot say that I have." His brow furrowed.

Inwardly Caesaire breathed a sigh of relief. "The ship was mine. It was also the one that you may have heard was stolen last night."

Andre Beaudouin's Hazel eyes widened in surprise. "That was your ship, Cheri?" He swallowed a healthy gulp of his own drink before continuing. "No wonder the Spanish showed up on my door step this morning. They probably suspect that I was distracting you as I had your ship stolen, and her guards murdered. I swear to you, Isabelle, I had nothing to do with it!"

Caesaire nearly laughed out loud at the distress he was exhibiting. It was sweet beyond words to think she had made so much of an impression upon him. "Non, Cher." She reassured him softly. "I know you would not do such a thing. I know full well who did this to me. I believe you know of him. Jean Lafitte."

"Lafitte?!!" Andre bolted to his feet. "I will 'ang zat chien from my yardarm by 'is diseased bowls!!!" His accent grew heavy with his anger.

"Please, Andre, calm yourself." She whispered to him, rising to embrace his trembling body. "I need your head clear if you are to help me recover my ship. Then together we can take our revenge against him."

The moment he felt her arms around him Andre's anger evaporated. Gently he gazed deeply into her blue eyes and stroked her cheek with the back of one finger. "As you wish, Isabelle." He smiled. "Jean's little prank on you has put us both in dire straights, but perhaps a friend of mine can help us both to, how they say, kill two birds with one stone?"

"Oh, Andre!" Caesaire almost jumped for joy. "Is this true?"

"Mais Oui, Cheri." He grinned, putting his hat back on. "Let us go and see him now."

As they made their way onto Saint Claude Avenue Caesaire felt the chill of dread run up her spine. She knew this area all too well and had fully guessed who Andre was leading her to. Her cousin Sebastian. There was nothing she could do about it now. Soon they would arrive at his office and her secret would be exposed to Andre. Mère de Dieu! How would he react to the news that she was none other than Caesaire Trosclair? Would the truth about her deception drive him from her? For the first time in years she prayed fervently that it would not. Not now when she was so close to making him her own.

Soon they arrived at the well kept Creole Townhouse with the sign that hung at the short walkway: Sebastian Trosclair, Attorney. Her heart sank as Andre turned to grin at her, and she fought the urge to run far away. All of her iron will was focused on keeping her panic from her face.

"Here we are, Cheri." He smiled reassuringly. "A very powerful and well connected friend of mine since childhood. If there is any man who can help us, it is he." Caesaire smiled warmly and nodded, not trusting herself to speak lest her voice give away her fear.

As they made their way onto the large pillared porch of the Townhouse she felt her panic rising with each step. This was worse than walking to the hangman. Andre reached up and rapped the large brass doorknocker loudly against it's brass plate sending echoes through the house. Caesaire discreetly slipped behind him from view, and shut her eyes tightly in an attempt to make the nightmare go away.

"Andre!" The tall blond lawyer embraced his old friend warmly. "Is this a social visit, or have you gotten yourself into some more trouble which requires my aid?"

"A little of both, I'm afraid, Mon Frère de sang." Andre grinned. "But I fear the large part of the trouble is not mine alone." He moved to one side exposing the trembling form of Caesaire.

"Caesaire!" Sebastian shouted happily. "This is indeed a surprise. The three of us together again!"

"Bonjour, Cousin." She smiled weakly.

"C-C-Caesaire??!!" Andre stammered open mouthed as the realization of how he knew her flooded his senses. "Little Caesaire Trosclair??!!! Mon Dieu!!!" He felt the world swim around him and Andre fell backward into the short hedges that lined Sebastian's walkway.

"Andre!" Caesaire screamed and rushed to his side. "Are you alright, Mon Cher? I'm so sorry I deceived you, it was only a jest at first to see if you would remember me. Please do not be angry with me."

Andre looked into her eyes, and smiled warmly. "Well, Cheri, at least now I know why I've felt I knew you so well. So much for my legendary memory, oui?"

The three laughed loudly as Sebastian and Caesaire helped Andre untangle himself from the shrubbery.

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Welsh Wench

"More gumbo?"
Sebastian motioned to the soup tureen the servant girl held.
He had insisted that Caesaire and Andre join him for lunch. They were sitting in the brick courtyard, the soft fragrance of magnolias in the air. Sebastian had set a lunch of gumbo, fresh bread and crayfish etouffee.
Caesaire shook her head no. Andre eagerly nodded. Of all the things he missed while at sea, aside from the company of beautiful women, was the cuisine of the bayou countryside.
Caesaire laughed, "I'd know Minerva's cooking anywhere, Sebastian. No one could make gumbo like she could."
Sebastian smiled, "She will let no one in the kitchen when she makes the roux. Says it is a closely guarded secret. Although I do believe she has entrusted Lucille with the recipe."

The warm summer breeze flowed through the banana trees. Sebastian poured the chicory coffee in the teacups and handed them to Caesaire and Andre.
"Of course you will have some bread pudding, oui?"
Caesaire nodded happily. "Now that I shall have. With rum sauce?"
Sebastian looked at Andre with twinkling eyes. " Mais non, ma petite. You are still too little."
She playfully smacked her cousin on the arm.
"You are still teasing me, cousin!"

Sebastian took a sip of coffee and said, "How the two of you ended up on my front porch together has got to be one of the most fascinating stories. Caesaire, Uncle Christophe told us you were in Charleston at a finishing school. But I wasn't fooled. I heard stories that you had taken up with Jean Lafitte and were in Barataria for a time being."
Caesaire felt her face flame hot. She did not want Andre to know that she and Lafitte had been lovers at one time and she was living at his complex in Barataria for a while until she won a ship in a card game and decided to cut into his blackmarket trade.
She said, "It was a business arrangement. I helped him with his invoices and merchandise. Kind of a...consultant for his niceties that found their way into the parlours of the best Creole society homes. Certainly that was how I furnished my house on St Louis Street and...."
"YOUR house?"
"Oui. I bought Pere out. He wants to go back to France but he has been singing that song ever since I can remember. But he decided to give me my inheritance and Drausin D'Estrehan was kind enough to help me with the closing."
"Drausin? It all becomes too clear now! I had heard he was keeping company with a woman from a good Creole family and I had no idea that it was...OW!"
Caesaire had kicked him under the table.
Andre looked up from his bread pudding and said, "Problem, mon frere?"
Sebastian glared at Caesaire as she innocently took a sip from her teacup.
"Non! Nothing but a small problem I have had for a long time."
Andre nodded, "Aye. A cramp in the leg is no fun."
"Nor a pain in the...ah! But how did the two of you come to be at my front door together?"
Caesaire lowered her eyes while Andre smiled. "Votre cousine decided to play a prank on me. I had un soiree aboard Le Faucon de Mer and she managed an invitation."
"A prank?"
"Mais oui! It seems I had spent the evening being charmed by a Mademoiselle Isabelle Valcour, or that was the name she gave me."
Caesaire turned her innocent blue eyes on Andre. My, how he made her heart race! "I wanted to see if he would recognize me grown up."
Sebastian laughed heartily, "Ah! And I take it that it was unsuccessful, from the amount of leaves we had to pick off you, Andre!"
Andre chuckled, "I was half mad trying to figure out where I knew her from and...AHA! That is what drove me mad!"
Caesaire looked up. "What?"
"You are doing it now, cherie. Twirling that lock of hair around your finger. You did that as a child, as I recall. Mon Dieu, how you have grown up!"
He gave her a look that made her feel warm all over. Sebastian raised his eyebrow.
Caesaire and Andre?
After all these years?

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre sat back in the chair and stretched his bell booted legs out to one side. Leaning on his left elbow he crooked one finger around his chin, just below his lower lip. "An excellent repast, Mon Frere, as always. I fear though that your hospitality is not the reason your cousin and I have sought you out today."

"I thought as much." Sebastian grinned. "However, before we get to the crux of your problem, I'm afraid I have some papers which require you signature, Frere. A small matter of the transfer of the sugar cane plantation just outside of Nassau."

"Ahhhh. Oui, the owners then have accepted my offer?" Andre smiled.

"Yes." The blond Attorney grinned. "Your overseer will take possession in your name as soon as the papers are properly signed and registered with the Governor of the Bahamas. I would say you could expect to see a profit within the next three months. Sooner if your plan to use the bulk of your crop for the distillery goes as planed."

"Sugar cane?" Caesaire interrupted, surprised. "But I thought you were a pirate, Cher."

The two men looked at each other for a moment, then laughed heartily. "He is far worse than a pirate, cousin." Sebastian chuckled. "Far worse. He's a business man."

Caesaire had reddened slightly and her cousin quickly continued. "One of the reasons that Andre and I were such good friends while we were growing up is that, although poor, he was as clever a person as I had ever met. Through me Andre has invested a large portion of his "acquired wealth" and owns several profitable enterprises."

"And if you think I am a pirate, Cheri," Andre spoke up with a merry twinkle in his eye, "you should see what your cousin charges me!"

This time she joined in the good natured laughter which followed. Secretly berating herself for underestimating Andre. Of course he would not have been as foolish as others of his profession and simply spent his gains as soon as he made port. Like herself, and Lafitte, Andre Baudouin looked to the future and made the most of what he plundered. While the two best friends were engrossed in the finalizing of Andre's latest endeavor she sipped her coffee and eyed him with a growing, desire filled interest.

Drausin D'Estrehan was indeed a charming companion, and she did not regret one moment spent in his arms, but she also knew that something was lacking in their relationship. There was no fire, no real passion except for the quickly quenched moments they shared. What she was beginning to feel for Andre went far beyond such moments, beyond even the crush of a five year old little girl. Whether he knew it or not, Andre Baudouin would be hers.

Suddenly his voice cut through her reverie. "That then is the crux of both our problems, Frere. As long as Le Faucon de Mer is essentially dry docked neither of us can resolve our situations fâcheuses."

Caesaire looked hopefully at her cousin as he sat back frowning. After a few moments of thought Sebastian smiled. "I believe something can be arranged. Recently our governor has asked me to help him in resolving a most delicate matter of his own. I am sure he can be persuaded to grant Le Faucon a special dispensation from the order."

"Blackmail, Cousin?" Caesaire teased.

Sebastian shrugged. "If you wish, Little One. I prefer the term persuasive argument myself. Regardless you shall have leave to sail by tomorrow morning."

"Then we will have much to do before then." Andre rose, extending his hand to his oldest comrade. "I will, of course, see that you are well compensated on our return, Mon Frere."

"Not this time, Andre." Sebastian shook his hand. "Lafitte has attacked the house of Trosclair, and that is something that can not go unanswered. I wish the both of you luck."

As Caesaire hugged her cousin goodbye he whispered to her. "You could not have made a better choice, Little One. Pirate or no, there are few men like Andre."

"Why, Cousin, what ever do you mean?" She grinned as they parted, favoring him with a quick wink.

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Andre shook his best friend's hand and whispered to Sebastian, "Mon Dieu, how she has grown up!"
Sebastian whispered back, "If you don't treat her right, you shall answer to me, mon frere."
They hugged each other and Andre walked down the stairs to where Caesaire was waiting for him at the gate.
Sebastian shook his head. Andre Baudouin and cousin Caesaire? Will wonders never cease?

As he watched them walk down the street, a voice from behind him said, "Sebastian? Qui visitait?"
Sebastian turned to see his mother come outside to the garden.
"C'est Andre Baudouin, Maman."
"Andre! Sebastian, why did you not call me? You know Andre is like a son to me!"
Sebastian said, "Because he had a most delightful companion with him. I daresay, Maman, that our Andre has been stricken by Cupid's arrow. And this time he was not fast enough to dodge it."
"Mon Dieu! A woman has claimed his heart? Why did you not call me to meet her? I should like to see who this extraordinary woman is."
Sebatian could barely keep a straight face.
"Maman, she had the face of an angel and was very well-conversed. An intelligent woman of breeding."
Isabelle made the sign of the cross on her chest. "Ah, he has found a Creole woman to settle him down and he can give up this pirate's life!"
Sebastian rubbed his chin. "Oui, she is a woman of Creole blood, Maman. But as far as giving up a pirate's life, I daresay she would be more than willing to join him in that venture."
A confused look crossed Isabelle's face. "But you said she was a woman of breeding! Do I know this woman? She is from a good family, oui?"
Sebastian said, "Oui, Maman. From the best of New Orleans society. I am very surprised the two of them met. After all these years."
Isabelle impatiently tapped her foot and put her hands on her hips. "Sebastian Trosclair, if you don't tell me who this woman who has captured our Andre with her charm, I shall..."
"Maman, it is Caesaire."
"Caesaire? OUR Caesaire?"
"Oui. Our Caesaire."
Isabelle sat down suddenly on the chair. "Santa Maria! Caesaire Trosclair."

Caesaire and Andre walked down Royal Street. Caesaire had her arm lightly on Andre's crooked arm. One could not tell which one felt that fate had smiled kindly on. They were both lost in their own little world of good fortune.
Caesaire would glance at Andre's handsome face when she thought he wasn't looking. Andre would feel the looks of envy as they passed both gentlemen and privateers.
"Do you think you shall be ready to sail the morning after tomorrow, Isa---I mean, Caesaire?" He then blurted out, "Why did you not tell me who you were?"
She felt her face grow flushed. "Andre, you thought of me as a pesky little five year old who grew into a pesky eight year old. And by the time I turned twelve, my father sent me to St Ursuline's Convent. Not Baton Rouge or Charleston like he told everyone. He wanted the sisters to straighten me out."
"You were only a few blocks away all this time?"
She nodded. "Cloistered behind those walls only two blocks from the Cathedral."
"All those times I walked by the Convent, you may have been on the other side of the wall. Stucco and brick separating us."
She laughed, "Andre, you would continue to think of me as that little girl you were forced to endure all those summer afternoons. I know you and Sebastian were wanting to go swimming in the River but did not dare shed your clothes in front of la petite jeune fille!"
He laughed. "C'est vrai!"
She gave him a look and whispered, "And I am not la petite jeune fille anymore."
He laughed and said, "Are you saying you want to go swimming?"
As they rounded the corner on St Peter Street, they were engrossed in light-hearted conversation.
"Ooof! Excusez-moi, Mademoiselle...CAESAIRE?"

She was caught by the arms of the man she accIdently ran into.
"Mon Dieu! DRAUSIN!"

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts
Drausin D'Estrehan stood open mouthed and stunned for a few moments. Of all the people he had never expected to encounter on St Peter Street, Caesaire Trosclair certainly topped the list. He quickly eyed the pirate whose arm she had been lightly holding. She, herself dressed in the clothing she wore as captain of The Shattered Dreams. He did not look like a member of her crew, but there was something familiar about the tall flamboyantly dressed buccaneer. New Orleans had long been known to be a city where piracy flourished.

"My dear Mademoiselle Trosclair." He put on his official face. "What brings you so far into the city this time of the day?"

Caesaire quickly recovered from the shock of the sudden meeting with her lover. "Captain Beaudouin and I were just visiting my cousin, Monsieur D'Estrehan."

Drausin's brow wrinkled slightly. Beaudouin, Beaudouin....Andre Beaudouin. His brown eyes widened with realization. That is where he knew the man from. Captain of Le Faucon de Mer and rumored rival of Jean Lafitte himself. But, why would Caesaire be accompanied by him? Unless? He felt the rising heat of jealousy rise within him. Of course! Solange had told him of her intention to attend the soiree aboard his ship. An old childhood friend indeed!

"Caesaire, may I speak with you for a moment?" His voice held a flinty edge as he shot a glance at the Creole pirate. "In privet."

"Non, Drausin, excusez-moi." She smiled as graciously as she could at the moment. "Andre and I have pressing business that must be attended to."

D'Estrehan's temper broke at the rebuff and he roughly took her by the arm. "Andre? You are now on a first name basis? I am not one of your former playthings, Caesaire, to be easily discarded when you have found another!"

Several pairs of eyes turned in their direction at the sound of the raised voice, and Caesaire was keenly aware of the unwanted attention. "Drausin! Control yourself and unhand me this moment! This is neither the time, nor the place!" She hissed lowly.

"Non, Cheri!" Drausin continued, clearly beyond caring. "This is exactly the time and place! You will listen to..." His tirade suddenly stopped, and he looked down to find his wrist clamped in a viselike grip. A grip that belonged to Andre Beaudouin. Like a dash of ice water thrown into his face Drausin D'Estrehan felt his jealousy change to fear.

Andre leaned close to the distraught lawyer, his voice low and firm to keep the gathering crowd from hearing. His hazel eyes blazed with anger. "You will release her immediately, Monsieur, and you will honor her wishes, or by God I will gut you where you stand!"

Drausin released Caesaire's arm without hesitation and Andre pulled the slightly built attorney even closer to him. "It is very bad manners to embarrass a lady like this in public, Monsieur. She will speak to you dans le privet when she is damn good and ready. Until then I would suggest you apologize and quite loudly."

The attorney shivered involuntarily under the enraged gaze of the buccaneer. Drausin knew he was no match physically for the powerfully built sea farer. "Pardonnez-moi, Mademoiselle Trosclair." He spoke loud enough for all to hear. "It was nothing, a misunderstanding. I will, of course, await your pleasure."

"Think nothing of it, Monsieur D'Estrehan." Caesaire favored him with a smile she did not feel. Her own anger welling up inside her. "I will be in touch shortly." She leaned in close to him and whispered. "Drausin. If you ever lay hands on me like that again, I shall make a woman of you!" She glanced down at her whip for emphasis.

Placing her hand firmly in the crook of Andre's arm she tossed her head and walked away down St Peter's toward the docks. Drausin D'Estrehan felt his color change to bright crimson as the crowd they had gathered went about their business. Their low half murmured comments stinging him all the more.

"Perhaps I am no match for you in a fight, Andre Beaudouin." He thought. "But there are other ways to match you. You will not take her from me without a fight. Caesaire Trosclair will be mine again."

As they made their way back to Le Faucon de Mer Andre suddenly stopped. "Caesaire." He spoke gently. "I would not have had that happen to you."

"Andre, it was not your fault." She began.

"Please, Cheri. Permit me to continue." He smiled warmly. "I have no illusions as to your life before we met again. I have had my own share of lovers over the years. Your privet life is your own, and I have no desire to know of it. A woman has needs, the same as a man, and I make no judgments there. I suppose what I am trying to say is to me you are now, and will always be a lady."

Caesaire felt a warmth in her heart spread through out her body at Andre's gentile words of reassurance and she reached up to stroke his cheek. "Thank you, Cher." She smiled. "However, I do believe it is time I changed attorneys. Do you think Sebastian could use another client?"

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Caesaire clung a bit tighter to Andre's offered arm. Andre smiled to himself as he looked down at the lithe form of the woman he knew as a child. She always had a charm. That was one reason why he tolerated her presence when she was tagging along with him and her cousin.
Andre thought back to that day when she was gone.

Sebastian came out of the house with a smug look on his face.
"She's gone."
Andre looked quizzically at his best friend. "Who is gone? Minerva?"
The cook had always been a favorite of theirs. She was always ready with a treat for them.
"Caesaire. She has been sent to Charleston. Some school to try to turn her into a lady."
"Where did you hear that?"
"Maman. She heard that and went over to Uncle Christophe's and told him he had no right to send her away. Uncle Christophe said it would be good for her as he couldn't raise her since Tante Clothilde died."
"Will she be back?"
Sebastian shrugged. "I suppose eventually she will be. But she's out of our hair now. Do you want to go fishing?"
Andre said, "Why not? We can cook them for lunch."
Sebastian laughed. "Provided we catch them, mon frere!"
Andre couldn't figure out why he felt out of sorts all day.
Like something was missing.
Something small and blonde.
He sighed.
He was going to miss being someone's hero.

Caesaire was lost in her own thoughts. That she was determined to be Andre Beaudouin's one and only was a given. And once Caesaire made up her mind, she always got what she wanted. At one time she had wanted Jean Lafitte. She thought back to the day she met him....

It had been a Sunday afternoon after Mass. She was supposed to spend the day in reflection of her penance for her sins committed during the previous six days. But what the nuns were not aware of was the fact that Caesaire would slip out of the convent and cross the courtyard under the shade of the trees when the coast was clear. She had carefully left the window unlatched so she could be back before the evening meal.
She had discovered that on Sunday afternoon, the slaves would congregate in what was known as Congo Square. The women would be dressed in the newest silks, gauze, muslins and percales while the men would beat the rhythms from their homelands. There would be singing and dancing with wild abandon, sometimes up to six hundred slaves enjoying what time they had off.
Caesaire felt the music penetrate her soul and before she knew it, her feet were tapping to the music and her body swaying to the beat.
It wasn't long before two of the slaves saw her enjoying the music. They pulled her into their dance circle, their faces grinning to see the blonde Creole girl become a part of their circle.
From that time on, Caesaire was hooked. And every Sunday, for almost a year, she would escape to the Square.

Then one day as Caesaire was heading back to the convent, she saw Sister Marie Josephine and Sister Marie Odile walking down St Phillips Street. If caught, she knew she would be punished and her good times would end. She saw a building built of brick and stucco with timbered frames. In desperation, she flung open the door and entered. Her eyes adjusted to the dark and she looked up into the eyes of Jean Lafitte.

Drausin D'Estrehan entered the tavern and sat at the mahogany bar.
"Aquavitae, s'il vous plait, Arnaud."
Arnaud set the drink down in front of Drausin.
"Trouble, mon ami?"
Drausin downed the drink and ran his fingers through his hair.
"Oui. A small package of trouble."
"Either it is a land deal gone sour or it is trouble a la femme."
Drausin held his glass aloft for a refill.
"It will take more to make me feel better, Arnaud."
"Care to talk, I am here."
Drausin's lip curled in derision.
"Two words. Andre Beaudouin."
Arnaud said in a low voice, "The captain of Le Faucon de Mer? That is no small package of trouble, ami. That is trouble you do not need. Is it a legal problem gone wrong? A shipment of goods held up on the docks?"
Darusin downed the whiskey and said, "Andre Beaudouin stole something that belongs to me."
Arnaud wiped off the bar and said, "But you are not in collusion with pirates--are you, Drausin?"
Drausin snapped, "Of course not! I am an upstanding citizen. You think I would consort with the likes of them?"
Arnaud leaned on the counter. "Then what problem do you have? No business dealings. It must be personal."
Drausin finished off his whiskey and slid his glass towards Arnaud.
"Have you ever heard of Caesaire Trosclair?"
"The daughter of Monsieur Christophe Trosclair who has the townhouse with the big wrought iron gate over on St Louis Street?"
Drausin accepted the next glass of whiskey and said, "Oui. The very same."
"I had heard she left the convent a few years ago. Fell in with some unsavory people. Rumoured to have fallen in with pirates and thieves. Namely Jean Lafitte."
Drausin nodded. "She consorted with him, ran away to sea and captained a ship named Shattered Dreams."
"Mon Dieu! That ship's crew was just murdered and the vessel disappeared!"
Drausin tossed off the rest of his drink and said, "I have lost her twice now. Once to the sea and now to Andre Beaudouin. Losing her once was enough. I shall be damned if I lose her again."


Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Anxiously Andre scanned the docks for the hundredth time, hoping beyond hope to see her hurrying along to make the tide. He had already delayed the morning launch, and several others trough out the day since the papers granting Le Faucon de Mer leave to set sail had arrived. Brought by none other than Lieutenant Guerrero himself. A bright point to the day, seeing that pig eat his own merde as he handed Andre the papers.

"You are free to set sail, Captain Beaudouin." He had spoken with ice in his voice, and Andre could not help but to add insult to injury by laughing loudly. A laugh that quickly spread to the rest of the crew as the embarrassed official turned on his heel and stalked off up the dock. Francois swore he saw smoke coming from the man's ears.

"And what would you say you see coming off of the captain, Mon Ami?" Etienne de Marigny asked as the two of them and the quartermaster watched him pace like a caged animal, stopping only long enough to stare at the head of the docks.

"Pure worry, Ami." Francois Loupe returned. "Should we guess whom he is pacing for?"

"Nay, mates." John Hubbard answered them all. "But he'll not be able to wait much longer for her. If we miss this tide we lose all, and the captain can't afford to let that happen."

"Oui," Etienne frowned. "Only the four of us know what is at stake this time. He cannot afford to have this prize slip through our fingers. Not even for her."

The captain of Le Faucon de Mer took a long look at the waterline. In thirty minutes the tide would change, and all hope of intercepting the Galleon would go with it. As it was he couldn't be sure they would arrive in time to catch her. He felt his disappointment change to something alien to his heart before Caesaire had reentered his life. Though it saddened him beyond expression he turned and shouted. "Weigh anchor, you scurvy dogs!"

As the sleek vessel slowly pulled out into the river he leaned against the rail, his eyes never leaving the dock. What could have happened to her? It would be at least a month before he would have the answer to that question, and he knew it would haunt him day and night until he knew. Was Lafitte responsible, or perhaps that smarmy little lawyer? It mattered not, either would rue the day they had heard the name of Andre Beaudouin should it prove so!

The frigate was nearly fifty yards from the docks when he caught sight of her. Caesaire virtually flew down the length of the pier, her arms waving high above her head, and the faint sound of her voice calling his name caused his heart to soar like his ships namesake. Before he could order a longboat to be launched for her Caesaire dove headlong from the end of the dock into the water, swimming for all she was worth towards them.

"Drop sail! Launch a longboat for us!" Andre shouted as loud as he could.

"Us, Mon Capitaine?" Francois asked, puzzled. In the next moment he found himself holding Andre's hat and baldric as he watched in open mouthed shock. Andre had climbed onto the railing and dove over the side before anyone could stop him.

"Mon Dieu!" He gasped. "The man is insane!"

Etienne de Marigny and John Hubbard both laughed. "Oui, Mon frere." Etienne wiped a joyful tear from his eye. "Is that not what amore is?" He turned and shouted. "Launch ze longboat! Captain overboard!"

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Andre and Caesaire met halfway between his ship and the dock.
Caesaire gasped, "I was so afraid you would have sailed off without me and I would never have seen you again!"
Andre grabbed her by the shoulders and shook the water out of his eyes. "Cher, where WERE you? I thought for certain you had changed your mind. That you decided to...."
"NEVER! Andre, there is so much to tell you that I don't know where to...."
"Ah! Bon jour, jeunes amoureux! Lovely day for a swim, n'est-ce pas?"
The longboat pulled alongside them and Rene DuBois leaned over the side.
"Mon Capitaine, you are swimming with a young lady when you should be commanding your ship! "
Andre laughed, "Oui, but it is not just any young lady! It is the captain of the Shattered Dreams!"
Rene said, "Ah, well, be that as it may. I think we had better get the longboat moving before we have to row all the way to the Caribbean."

Andre pulled himself up into the boat and extended his arms to Caesaire. She climbed aboard. Andre looked at her in astonishment. She was dressed in a chemise and that was about it.
"Caesaire, where are your...clothes?"
Rene handed them both a blanket. Andre threw one over Caesaire. She drew it close to her.
"It's a long story, Andre."
"Then I shall hear it when we get on board. It is a good thing your trunks arrived late yesterday afternoon. They are safely stowed away in my cabin."
Caesaire began to shiver. Not only from the water, but Andre could sense something else.
Fear? Apprehension? He knew she would eventually tell him in her own time.

He remembered back to the time he and Sebastian dared her to swing across the bayou on the tree vine that stretched across the water and went to the other side. True, it hadn't been very wide to the bank but he remembered...

"Go ahead and do it! Or are you too much of a girl to try?"
Her little head tilted defiantly up and she bit her lip to keep it from trembling.
"Mais non! I am not afraid! I am NEVER afraid! Je suis un Trosclair! We are never afraid!"
Sebastian looked at Andre and smirked. "We shall see about that, n'est-ce pas, Andre?"
Andre just nodded. The little girl shut her eyes and took a deep breath. He didn't know why, but he felt his stomach start to sink. She was so little and delicate.

Wrapping her little hands around the vine she took a running jump and flew across the water. But being of light weight, she didn't have the momentum to carry her to the other side.
Andre and Sebastian watched her land in the water.
"Mon Dieu! Maman will kill me if anything happens to her!"
Sebastian and Andre both jumped in the water and dragged her to the shore. Andre remembered pounding her on the back until she coughed up the water she swallowed.
Relief flooded both the boys.
She sat there, coughing and gagging up the water until she had enough breath to say, "I almost made it and that counts for something, doesn't it?"
Reluctantly the boys nodded.
"Oui, Caesaire, we will grant you that."
They bought her a praline in exchange for her silence to Tante Isabelle.

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Andre helped her out of the longboat and up the ladder to Le Faucon de Mer. The crew stared open-mouthed at the woman in the wet chemise with the blanket wrapped around her. Their captain fared no better, water dripping from him and puddling at his feet.
"Back to work, you scurvy dogs! Haven't you ever seen a woman fished out of the water before?"
From behind the ranks, a voice called out, "Aye, but never a mermaid!"
Andre couldn't help but laugh loudly. Caesaire clutched the blanket closer to her.

Andre led the way to his cabin and opened the door. She stepped in and he closed the door behind them and said, "I shall leave you to change into dry clothes, cher. I'll be back in half an hour and we can tallk about what happened."
She nodded and said shyly, "Merci, Andre." She reached out and touched his hand. He brought her hand up to his lips and kissed it.
"I shall see you anon."
He closed the door.

Caesaire dropped her wet chemise and wrapped herself in the towel on the wash stand. She washed up from the pitcher of fresh water and washed the River water out of her hair. Opening her trunk she got out a simple dress and laced it up. She picked one of Andre's shirts off the floor and the scent of him on the shirt thrilled her. A combination of bay rum and....Andre. A comforting, masculine smell. She hugged it to her body. Just then there was a knock at the door and she walked over to answer.
Andre was at the door with a bottle of wine and some fresh fruit and bread.
"I thought you may be hungry so I took the liberty of providing us with a light repast."
He set the plate down and she sat on the bed, tucking her legs under her. To Andre, she looked so much like that little girl who fell in the bayou that he chided himself for not recognizing her that first night at his soiree.

Andre pulled up one of the leather chairs. He opened the bottle of wine and handed her a glass. She took it gratefully and then said, "I know you are wondering about the untimely delay and the most unusual arrival to your vessel."
He smiled, "It did cross my mind. You always knew how to make your presence known, Caesaire."
She took a deep drink and said, "I can hardly believe this myself."
"Start wherever you like, cher."
Caesaire took a deep breath and said, "I was kidnapped."

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Andre almost overfilled his glass, so taken back by her statement.
"Kidnapped? What? Where? How? By whom? Are you hurt? Where are your clothes? And what..."
Caesaire silenced him with a soft touch to his lips with her finger.
"I shall try to explain it as best I remember."
She took a sip of her wine.
"You told me to be at the dock at dawn. So I left the house and headed down St Louis Street. I turned on Bourbon and was cutting through the alley next to the cathedral when all of a sudden, someone grabbed me from behind. A rag with something on it was put over my nose and mouth and the next thing I knew, I woke up in a warehouse office. Very dusty and dirty. My dress and all my personal effects--even my boots!--were gone! All I had on was my chemise."
She blushed at that. Andre could feel blinding anger rising up in him.
"Do you think he..they...well,...."
Caesaire shook her head no. "No, my dear Andre. My virtue was safe."
"Any idea who it may be, cher? I shall see that they pay for the indignity that you suffered."

Caesaire rubbed her temples and closed her eyes.
"Whatever it was gave me a headache. The warehouse was down by Desire Street. Abandoned. I kept banging on the door but it wouldn't open. But I heard noise out the door. There was someone posted guarding it."
"How did you escape?"
"I pretended to be bleeding. Screamed that I was bleeding to death on a piece of glass. This burly man unlocked and came in. I hid behind the door and crashed a metal bar on his skull. That will be a headache for HIM."
Andre could feel his anger rising. He said tightly, "Any idea if it was Jean Lafitte or Drausin D'Estrehan?"
She shook her head and yawned, "I have no idea. I waited with that metal bar to make sure no one else would come and then I ran. I was so afraid you would sail without me, Andre! And when I saw your ship sailing out, I thought for sure I would be too late. That was when I decided to try to swim."
Andre stroked her cheek and said softly, "Just like that little girl who couldn't quite make it to the other side of the bayou..."
She yawned and laid her head on his pillow. "Umm hmmmm...."
And she was sound asleep.
Andre covered her with a blanket and kissed her forehead.
"Rest well, ma petite cher...."

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre closed the cabin door behind him, having taken care to lock it from the inside. On his desk he had left the only keys, and a note for Caesaire:


Here you will find the only keys to my cabin. You will be quite safe, and comfortable here. Your trunks are next to the starboard wall, and you will find soap and water, as well as a small oil heater to heat it with in the door next to them. A tub is also in the small room should you wish to bathe.

Please to make yourself at home. I will be probably be on the quarter deck should you have need of me. If not I am bunking with my quartermaster, John Hubbard. Ask any of the crew and they will direct you to the proper quarters.

Rêves doux, Cheri;

"Orders, Captain?"

Andre turned to find Etienne behind him. He placed a single ringed finger to his lips. "Our guest is sleeping. She has had a troubled time getting to us. Set course South by South east for that little island we discovered just above Cuba. Full sail, and our best speed, Monsieur de Marigny. There we will "repair" our forward mast and make for Antilla to await our prize. I shall be on the quarter deck should anyone need me."

"Aye, aye, Mon Capitaine!" His first mate grinned, saluted, and turned to make certain that Andre's orders were carried out. One of only four people aboard who knew of the secret shipment they meant to take, as well as Andre's intentions for his share of the wealth. An intention that all four of them shared and would see become a reality should they be able to take this prize.

"Ah, Andre Beaudouin," he thought as he watched while the crew unfurled all of Le Faucon de Mer's sails, "you are without doubt the luckiest man I have ever known. Not only will our names be written in history should we take this ship, but you have at long last found amore as well. Puits fait, Mon ami. Puits fait."

Andre glanced at the compass as the navigator adjusted Le Faucon's course. Reveling in the pitch of her deck beneath his boots as she sliced through the waves with ease. Her polished deck gleamed in the sunlight as the occasional over spray of her bow deposited droplets of water there to glint like precious jewels. Almost as precious as the pearl which now slept in his quarters.

Even when he was younger she had fascinated him. The fearless little girl who had looked up to him as an older brother. He could never admit it to Sebastian back then, but he had never minded when she would tag along with them on their boyhood adventures. Having Caesaire with them had made him feel as if he were truly a part of the Trosclair family. Often he would find himself pretending that the petite blond was his own sister, and Sebastian his cousin.

Although he had gone along with the teasing to keep on Sebastian's good side, it had left him feeling like a villain. He often would let Sebastian do all the talking when his mother scolded them for their ill treatment of Caesaire. Too ashamed to even look mama Isabelle in the eye he would stare out the window in a vain attempt to escape the sound of the little girl's sobs. Tears he felt as keenly as if they were his own.

On the day she vanished from his life he remembered each and every time they had been cruel to her, and regretted each one. He had been too much of a coward to stand up for her then, as he knew he should have. Even to Sebastian. That night he had prayed for forgiveness and swore that if he ever saw his dreams come true he would make every one of those times up to her. If she ever came back he would never again fail to stand up for her and protect her. He would be the hero she had always thought him to be.

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Caesaire stretched out on the bed with the down coverlet and snuggled deeper into the covers. She reached out and whispered, 'Andre...'
She woke up with a start and realized that she slept alone in that bed. Andre's shirt was crumpled next to her. She didn't realize she had taken the shirt to sleep with as she took a doll to bed with her as a child. She sat up and looked around. Judging from the darkness in the room, it was evening at the earliest. More probably towards night. She reached over and turned up the wick in the oil lamp. Andre had left it burning with a soft glow.
She smiled to herself. So considerate he is!

Caesaire sat up and stretched her arms above her head, yawning. There was a note propped up on the dresser. She walked over to it and read it. Then she saw the keys.
She didn't know whether to feel flattered or disappointed. Flattered that he thought enough of her to protect her. Disappointed for the same reason.

She walked into the small room and filled the copper tub with water and waited while it heated.
Andre's dresser was there.
And where there are dressers, there are drawers.
And where there are drawers, there are secrets.

She opened it quietly and saw a small cedar chest. Would it be wrong to open it?
Did that stop Caesaire?
Of course not.
She's a woman.

Inside were a few keepsakes. But one really took her by surprise.
It was a heart crudely cut from red paper and embroidered with some lace. There was a child's scrawl on the heart.
It said five words.


She felt the tears spring to her eyes as she touched the red heart that she gave with her own so many years ago.
Here we are, Andre.
You and I.
Will our hearts beat as one?

Caesaire went into the bathroom and tested the water. Just right. She saw that Andre had towels hanging up. Was there any creature comfort the man did not think of? Caesaire dropped her chemise and lowered herself into the hot water.
On a small table there was soap in a dish and some oil. She poured a bit into the tub and relished the feel of it on her skin. Sliding deeper into the hot water, she just soaked the turmoil of the kidnapping away.

The kidnapping. She reluctantly took her mind back there. Who was behind it? Jean Lafitte? Drausin D'Estrehan?
Did it really matter at this point?
Yes, it did.
Because it would determine how Caesaire, with Andre by her side, would get even with whoever hired the kidnapper.

Caesaire dried off and padded over to the trunks. She shook out a dress of black silk and stepped into it. The dress hugged her curves and where it dropped from her hips, it swirled out so the slightest of movements sent it into a gentle sway all its own.
She slipped on a pair of black boots in soft leather and gathered her hair up and pinned it at the nape of her neck. A few strands curled gently around her face. Fastening a chain of gold with a solitary emerald, which incidently was a gift from Lafitte, she glanced in the mirror and then deemed herself ready to present herself to Andre.
But not as Isabelle Valcour.
As Caesaire Trosclair, fully grown.
A woman in love.

The ship was quiet except for a minimum of crew. She spied him on the upperdeck, leaning against the rail. A circle of smoke wafted into the night breeze. She suddenly felt her breath catch as she whispered, "Bonsoir, Andre."

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre stood at the rear of his ship leaning on the rail where he had previously been fretting over his feelings for Caesaire after the party. He certainly was not fretting now, but at the time he had no idea that Mademoiselle "Isabelle Valcour" was in fact his long ago childhood friend. A friendship that had gone from brotherly love to something much deeper by the time she had turned twelve, just before she vanished.

He straightened up for a moment and removed a long, thin black tobacco cigar from the inside pocket of his burgundy colored leather jerkin. Leaning over he flipped the storm window open on one of the oil lanterns and inhaled deeply. Returning to his former position, he crossed his arms over the ornate railing, and happily exhaled a cloud of fragrant smoke, watching as it disappeared into the their leeway.

They were well underway now and all else would be left in the hands of Madame Fate, and good planning. Far more important to him was the fact that she was aboard with him. It was time to admit it. He had secretly longed for Caesaire to return to him. It had been the memory of loosing her that had kept him aloof to all others. In his secret heart he knew full well that he had fallen in love with her long ago, and had been heartbroken when he thought her father had sent her away from him before he had even the chance to tell her.

A contented smile graced his lips as he thought back to the day in February when she was six years old. Mama Isabelle had invited him to join with her family as they celebrated the day of Saint Valentine. He had bathed as well as he could that morning and dressed in the cleanest of his hand me down clothing his mother had acquired from doing the laundry of others. Gifts from her many satisfied customers, and as close as he would be to having new finery to wear.

Mama Isabelle had hugged him warmly when he arrived, carrying a small bouquet of wild flowers he had picked from the river banks.

"Andre, mon cher." She had beamed, holding him at arms length to look at him. "You look quite the Creole gentleman. Please come in and enjoy yourself. Sebastian is in the back yard helping with the decoration."

"Merci, Mama Isabelle." He had grinned offering her the flowers he had held behind his back. "Pour vous."

Isabelle Trosclair brought one hand to her lips, taking the flowers gently with the other. A small tear swam in the corner of one eye. Even in his poverty Andre Baudouin was every bit as much a gentleman as the most privileged of New Orleans. She leaned down to kiss his forehead. "Merci, Andre, merci. Now run along and see if Sebastian needs any help." She smiled warmly as he had run off to obey her.

"Andre!" the small voice came from his right as he entered the large living room. He turned to find Caesaire standing shyly at one side of the curtained opening to the foyer. Quickly he looked around to see if Sebastian were near before kneeling on one knee in front of the petite little girl.

"Oui, Caesaire?" He smiled warmly to her, his voice soft.

"I-I have something for you." She blushed slightly and turned to and fro as if uncomfortable. Then placed a small envelope into his hand, kissed him on the cheek and ran as fast as she could to seek her aunt.

Alone in the well furnished living room he opened the envelope and took out the red paper heart with the lace border and the scrawl of a child new to writing in the center. He could only guess how long she had worked on the valentine, and for the first time in his life he realized just how far her feelings for him truly went. Gently he placed the gift back in it's envelope and hid it in his shirt. He had kept it secretly ever since.

The warm salt air mirrored his inner feelings. While Andre had never been one to give in to despair, he had from time to time felt slightly empty inside. There were times, especially when he was at sea for long periods, when he would idly wonder how his life would have been had Caesaire's father not sent her away from him.

Andre had nearly worked up the courage to tell her of his own growing feelings for her when Sebastian had given him the news. His poor blood brother had been elated, and at times was more than a little puzzled by Andre's brooding. Once he had even asked him if he missed her and Andre had lied through his teeth. The only lie he had ever told Sebastian.

He took the sweet rum soaked cigar from between his teeth and flicked the ash over the side, watching it disappear into Le Faucon's wake. Now she was here with him, aboard his ship at a time when Andre was about to make another, more recent dream, come true. It seemed more than fitting. If their plan went as he hoped not only would he become one of the most powerful men in New Orleans, but he would have acquired the only woman he had ever dared to love in the bargain. Life was indeed good.

"Bonsoir, Andre." The soft sound of her voice raised his heartbeat. So lost was he in his remembrances that he had not even heard her approach. "It's a lovely clear night, n'est pas?"

Before he could turn around to greet her she was by his side, the soft stroke of her hand down his back sent shivers of warmth through him. As he turned to her still leaning against the rail Caesaire saw the desire in his hazel eyes. It was not that she was unaccustomed to seeing desire in the eyes of the men who looked at her, but that there was more than just passion in Andre's gaze. His desire was tempered by a tenderness she had never before seen in another's eyes, except for his. It was a look she had not seen since she was twelve.

"Bonsoir, Cheri." His voice held the same tone she had only heard him use when Sebastian was not around them. "The night is lovely, but I think it is not so lovely as you."

"Merci, Cher." She smiled gently reaching up to let her fingers trace his jaw line for a brief moment. Her stomach trembling with her rediscovered emotions for him. Slowly, Caesaire, she chided herself, slowly.

"And what are our plans for this voyage, Mon Capitaine?" She asked turning to gaze out upon the moonlit ocean. Lightening her voice and the mood in the air before her emotions consumed her.

Andre returned to his pervious position next to her. "We are bound for a small island a little above Cuba, Cheri." He continued as warmly as before. "There we will change the forward mast for a broken one in the hold, and limp into port at Antilla for repairs."

Caesaire smiled wryly. It was obvious that he had something extraordinary in mind. Why else replace a perfectly good mast with a broken one? She was even more pleased that he was reveling his plans to her. A clear sign that he trusted her with his secrets. She waited to see how far he would go.

"Once there we will await a Spanish galleon, the Pata del Tigre." Andre continued without hesitation, and she felt the mood of before returning. "She carries a secret cargo of immense wealth, enough to make every man aboard wealthy for life. I intend to take her before she reaches Spain."

"And then?" Caesaire asked huskily as she moved closer to him, placing one hand softly over his.

"We will return to New Orleans to solve the mystery of your missing ship, Cheri." His own voice as deepened. "As well as to who kidnapped you. We will make them pay for their transgressions upon you."

Without thinking she reached up and placing her hand against the back of his neck gently pulled his mouth to hers. The kiss was both tender and passionate, seeming to go on forever to them both. When they finally released the embrace her breath came in heated gasps. Andre simply pulled her close to him, more than contented to have her in his arms. He would leave anything more that may occur between them for her to decide when she was ready. He had waited for her for nearly twelve years, he could certainly wait a while longer.

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Welsh Wench

"More cream, Isabelle?"
"Oui, Christophe."
Isabelle Trosclair sat in the walled garden of her brother in law's courtyard. It had been their habit once a month to meet and Isabelle would review his household accounts and they would share breakfast.
Silvere, Christophe's brother, was happy that his wife could help his widowed brother.
She took a sip of her cafe au lait and closed her eyes in contentment. Their houses were next door to each other. It had been convenient because Isabelle had taken on the task of mother to Caesaire from the time that she had been a little girl. It was hard for a man to raise such a handful of a daughter.

Isabelle put her cup down and reached for a pastry. Casually, she said, "I stopped over to see Sebastian the other day."
"And how is the boy?"
"Hardly a boy, Christophe. He is now twenty-seven. Caesaire was visiting him."
"Was she now! I admit, she has always been a headstrong girl but it will be nice when she accepts Drausin D'Estrehan's proposal."
"Proposal? Drausin proposed to her?"
"Mais non. As a gentleman, he spoke to me of it first and I have given my permission with my blessings."
Isabelle frowned. "Have you talked to Caesaire about this...proposal?"
"Non. Drausin wanted to do it in his own way. Very romantically. It will be good for her to settle down. Have children of her own. A home and take her place in Creole society. She will be an excellent hostess. After all, no one knows about her association with that..that..that PIRATE Jean Lafitte."
"Maybe Caesaire has chosen another."
Christophe snorted, "Do not be a fool, Isabelle! She just had dinner with Drausin a few days ago. He will tame her."
"I thought the convent had tried, Christophe. And failed miserably. She always had an independent streak. That is why she tagged along after Sebastian and Andre."
Christophe glowered. "The nuns tried their best. But my daughter was always hard to handle. And I had to get her away from----"
"From what?"
"More like whom."
Isabelle grew impatient. "And from WHOM did you have to get her away from, Christophe?"
"From Andre Beaudouin."

Isabelle almost knocked her coffee cup over.
"Andre? You wanted to keep her from ANDRE?"
Christophe nodded. "I was heading off a potential problem. I could see the way Caesaire would look at him. At dinner it was 'Andre this' and 'Andre that'. "
Isabelle bristled. "So what? They grew up together. They knew each other since Caesaire was five years old! Andre's mother worked for us. Silvere and I thought the world of her and a more honest woman you never would find. Andre has all of her good qualities."
Christophe waved his fork. "Yes, yes....but from such children come children. Caesaire was growing up fast and while Andre was an admirable young man, he also had nothing to offer."
Isabelle jumped up and threw her napkin down. "And so you decided to ship her off to St Ursuline's Convent! You had her less than two blocks away and only last year you told me where she had been all these years! She wasn't in Charleston like you told everyone!"

Christophe shrugged. "It was better this way. St Ursulines was a walled cloister. She was safe and would not be away from New Orleans. Let's face it, Isabelle. Les americains do not understand us. That is why we meet on Canal Street to do business. As genteel as it is, Charleston would not be the place for her."
Isabelle gave a sharp burst of laughter. "And she managed to escape that walled prison time and time again and run the streets! She ended up in the company of Jean Lafitte. An upstanding citizen, so they say, but a pirate no less!"
Christophe said resolutely, "And that is over now. Caesaire will be married to Drausin D'Estrehan."
Isabelle tried very hard to hide a triumphant smile. "Au contraire, Christophe."
He raised his eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
Isabelle stood up and said, "Because right this very minute, your chère fille is sailing on Le Faucon de Mer.
With Andre Beaudouin."
"That's ridiculous! She's not with him! She's..."
He caught himself in his words.
Isabelle gave him a sad smile. "You can't stop love, my dear Christophe. May as well change the course of the Mississippi."
"And how do you know that she is with Andre?"
"Because Sebastian was down at the dock and saw the two of them in a longboat heading to the ship. So you see, Christophe, your plans for your daughter backfired. Because the separation made them want each other all the more."
Christophe sat there, trying to assimilate all that Isabelle told him.
She stood and said, "Maybe some day you will understand your daughter. But I doubt it. You are a man. My advice to you is to let your daughter find her own heart's desire."

Christophe had nothing to say. Isabelle touched his shoulder and said quietly, "Let them love, Christophe. He is a fine man."
"He is a pirate."
"It's an occupation. He may surprise you yet."
And with that, Isabelle picked up her shawl and headed towards her own house.

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

As Andre looked down into Caesaire's deep blue eyes he felt his old feelings rise to their fullest within him. The warmth of finally having her in his arms, as he had so long ago wanted to brought with it feelings of shame as well. How had she managed to love him through it all?

"Caesaire." He breathed. "I would have you know that I have no excuse for my part in the torment your cousin and I put you through as a child. I was a true coward then, more afraid of losing my friendship with Sebastian than allowing my feelings for you to show."

She looked back at him in silence, her heart secretly jumping for joy that he was unburdening himself to her. "But, Andre, that was so long ago. We were but children."

He released her and turned to face the open sea, unable to look her in the eye, as he had been when tante Isabelle had scolded Sebastian and him for tormenting her. "That is no excuse, Cheri. The truth was that I loved you as my own sister back then, and I was too much of a coward to stand up to your cousin when he was doing his best to drive you from us." He continued miserably. "I should have stood up for you, even to my best friend, but I did not. I only want you to know that I suffered with you, and as we grew my love for you changed. I did not get the chance to tell you before your father separated us. So I tell you now."

Andre turned to face her again, tears of remorse swam in his eyes, threatening to spill over their banks. "Never again will I stand idly by while another abuses you, Cheri. I would gladly spend the rest of my life making all of it up to you. Even if you never forgive me for my part in it. I only want you to know that you were never far from my heart through all these years."

"Andre." She whispered as she slid deeply into his arms again. Now she knew for certain that she owned his heart, and why he had kept the little paper heart she had made for him as a child. Other memories of their childhood came flooding back to her. Of times when she found herself alone with him, and the kindness he had never failed to show her then. Times when he would make her laugh, and secretly comfort her when Sebastian was not around.

Now this confession to her. She felt his hands gently stroke her back, and the regret he held inside himself for all those years. After all this time she realized that she had been seeking his substitute in the other men of her life. She had discarded each one in turn simply because they were not, and could never be, Andre.

She raised her head from his beating chest and looked up into his sad eyes. "I forgave you a long time ago, Cher." She whispered. "I knew you only did those things to please Sebastian."

The joy that leapt into his eyes made her heart beat faster, and her breath quicken. Tenderly he lowered his lips to hers and a second kiss soon began to raise her passion. Deep and infinitely more tender than any she could remember, she let her hand stroke the back of his neck. She felt her longing for him grow ever stronger as the kiss continued, and she wondered how much longer she could bear to awake without being in his arms.

"Excusez-moi, Mon Capitaine." Francois Loupe's voice forced a quick and slightly embarrassed separation of the two lovers.

"What is it, Francois?" Andre asked, unable to keep a slight irritation from his voice.

"I am truly sorry to interrupt you, Captain." Loupe continued. "Perhaps it is nothing, but I believe we are being shadowed."

Andre and Caesaire looked in the direction that Francois pointed. There, just on the edge of the horizon, were the lights of another ship.

"Perhaps it is nothing, Francois. We are near the shipping lanes, yet." Andre stroked his goatee thoughtfully. "But have the lookouts keep an eye on her anyway, just to be safe, and let me know if she comes any nearer to us."

"Aye, aye, Mon Capitaine." Francois saluted, then turned to relay Andre's orders and leave the two of them in peace.

"My apologies, Cher." Andre turned to Caesaire. "But with all that we have at risk with this voyage, the safety of Le Faucon de Mer is our main concern." A tender smile grew on his lips as he gazed at her. "Especially with so precious a cargo aboard."

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Caesaire kissed her fingertips and placed them gently on his lips.
"And you must see to your crew. As a captain, I do understand. Now, go! Be the captain I know you are."
He took her hand in his and brought it to his lips. "Cher, I shall bid you a good night and count the hours till the morning."
"I feel guilty taking over your cabin, Andre. It isn't right. I should have thought about all this before I..."
He silenced her with another kiss.
"No worries, Caesaire. John Hubbard has enough room in his quarters for me. Besides, we shall probably be consulting maps and charts tonight and be ready to put our plans in motion."
She so badly wanted to say, 'Stay the night with me.'
But she wanted to take this slow. It had to be right.
It had to be perfect.

Andre walked her to the cabin. He unlocked the door with the key she handed him.
"I shall bid you a good night, Caesaire, and see you in the morning."
She nodded and without a word, she embraced him one last time. He kissed her tenderly and from the depth of his soul, a man who had been dying of thirst and never knew it until he drank of the well.
She opened the door and went inside before she made an offer to share the bed.

Closing the door, she turned the key in the lock, feeling safe and secure that Andre was nearby.
She also felt very alone.
She hung her dress up and slipped into a nightdress. Pulling the coverlet down, she slid between the sheets. She laid there and gently stroked the pillow, wishing that he was next to her.
Her mind drifted back to that summer evening so many years ago......

Andre and Sebastian spent the day at the French market. Caesaire tagged along as usual. She had bought a few hair ribbons with her money and the boys had been checking out the swords from a blacksmith on the corner. She watched as Andre's eyes lit up when he watched the ships with their colourful flags come into port and unload their cargo. Standing next to him, she said, "You'd like to be out there, wouldn't you, Andre?"
Andre nodded. "Oui. Just look at the assortment of goods!"
Caesaire stood by, looking at the ships and fumbling with her hair ribbons.
Andre gave her a tender look and said, "You always have trouble tying them. Here--let me help you."
She turned around and handed him a hairbrush.
"Here. Tie it in a bow. A big bow!"

Andre took the brush and carefully brushed her silky hair, taking it in his hand. He gathered it together in his hand and tied a ribbon around it.
She looked at her reflection in the store window and exclaimed, "It looks....HEY!"

Sebastian came up behind her and grabbed the bow, jerking it out of her hair.
"What are you doing, getting all girly on us, Caesaire? Who are you setting your sights on? That new guy, Drausin D'Estrehan that moved over on Royal Street?"
Her face flamed red and she retorted, "Of course not!"
Sebastian began to laugh and sing, "Drausin and Caesaire..Drausin and Caesaire...
She felt the tears spring to her eyes with anger and humiliation. She jumped and tried to grab the ribbon back but Sebastian ran across the street and tied it to the harness of a horse pulling a dray.
He ran back, laughing. "There! That's much better!"
Caesaire's shoulders drooped as she turned and walked towards the River.
Andre said quietly, "Do you think that was nice, Sebastian?"
He raised his eyebrow and said, "What? Are you now Caesaire's champion? She's been a tagalong for seven years now."
"But, Sebastian, she's your cousin yet you delight in tormenting her. She's over on the riverbank and no doubt she is crying."
"So? It will be good practice for her when she finds a man dumb enough to marry her. She can turn on the waterworks for him!"
Andre said nothing and Sebastian glowered.
Oh, alright, let's go make peace with Miss Prissy."

They walked over to where Caesaire was sitting. She had been crying and whispered, "Bastard!" to Sebastian. To Andre, she whispered, "And YOU! You always let him get away with it! Don't I count for anything?"
She looked at the two of them and tried to contain her tears.
"Someday. Someday you both will be sorry!"
Sebastian retorted, "What are you going to do? Run away to sea?"
"Maybe! Maybe I shall join Jean Lafitte's crew and sail away and never see either of you again And then I shall come back richer than Midas and you will be sorry. I shant share any of it with either of you!"

Sebastian burst out laughing. Caesaire stood up and kicked out at him. He grabbed her foot and she landed on her backside on the grass. It was bad enough that Sebastian taunted her in front of Andre but this embarrassment was too much and she burst out crying.
Sebastian sighed and extended his hand to her. "Oh, alright. Get up. I'll buy you a pastry."

Caesaire and the boys sat enjoying the sounds of the summer night. The crickets were chirping, the June bugs were illuminating the dark of night. The riverboats were moving up and down the river, their paddles drawing the muddy water up and over. The night air was laced with the scent of jasmine. Caesaire leaned her head against the pillar on the verandah, fanning herself.
She turned to the boys and asked, "More lemonade?"
They both nodded. "Oui, Caesaire."
She put her fan down and went inside to get the pitcher.

Sebastian grinned at Andre.
"Looks like I made a faux pas! I guess goldfish and koi do not mix! Ah, domage! That is one on me! COMING, MAMAN!"
He passed through the hedges separating the respective Trosclair properties.

Within moments, Caesaire came out with the pitcher.
"Where is Sebastian?"
"Maman Isabelle found out about the goldfish."
Caesaire sat down. "Oh, dear!"
"Mais oui! I think we shall not be seeing Sebastian the rest of the evening."

Caesaire poured Andre a glass of lemonade and one for herself. They sat there in companionable silence until Andre broke it.
"Caesaire....about the hair ribbon...."
She said quietly, "I can replace it...but to see it on the horse was just too much."
Andre looked down at the brick courtyard. "It looked tres jolie on you, ma petite."
Caesaire said softly, "Merci, Andre. But if you have noticed, I am not so little anymore. I AM growing up."
Andre was glad of the creeping darkness.
"I have noticed, Caesaire."
He moved closer and cupped her chin. Their eyes met and then closed.
Andre kissed her gently on the lips, lingering. She touched his cheek.

They both broke apart, an awkward silence between them.
Andre said, "I must be going home. Even though Maman knows where I am, she will want me home before too long."
Caesaire stood up and said, "Then I shall bid you good night, Andre."
"Good night, Caesaire."

The next day, Caesaire was gone.

Two months later, Andre signed on with Jean Lafitte and left the port of New Orleans behind.

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre had Le Faucon subtly change course several times. While still headed for their destination the zig zagging pattern was chosen to conserve time while testing to see whether or not they were truly being followed. If the new ship were simply a trading vessel it would continue on it's way and soon be lost to the night.

"She's still with us, Capitaine!" Pierre Mansle called from the crow's nest. "Just over the horizon, attempting to remain below our vision!"

"Well, Mon Capitaine, that is, how they say, that." Etienne de Marigny frowned. "The bastard is most definitely following us."

"Aye," John Hubbard removed his pipe and spat into the scuppers in disgust. "and we can ill afford to have him make his move once we replace the forward mast."

Andre placed both hands onto the railing stiff armed and stared out at the darkness where the pursuing ship lay just out of sight of the deck. "She could only have come from home." He scowled. "Only they know Le Faucon de Mer has put to sea. It could only mean one of three things, Mon Ami's. Either she is a Spanish vessel attempting to discover why we were able to escape the lockdown, or someone with a lot of juice wants to catch us unawares."

"And the last, Mon Ami?" Francois Loupe inquired.

Andre turned to face his co- conspirators, a look of utter disgust in his hazel eyes. "She set sail from Barataria."

"Damn it to Hell, of course!" Hubbard cursed. "Didn't you say Caesaire suspected Lafitte of murdering her watch and taking her ship?"

"Oui, but let us not jump to conclusions just yet, Ami." Andre looked thoughtful for a few moments. "Regardless as to who it is following us, we cannot permit this to go on." He turned to the crew.

"Monsieur Randal!" He shouted up to the pilot. "Take her into the wind, full sail! Pierre, as soon as you lose sight of that fils d'une chienne shout out! The rest of you worthless sea dogs prepare to douse the lanterns as soon as Pierre signals!"

"An idea, Captain Beaudouin?" John Hubbard grinned.

"Aye, John." Andre smiled. "As soon as we are out of his sight we will go dark. By all rights the captain will think he's been spotted and we are trying to outrun him. He will most likely douse his own lights and attempt to over take us from our last known position. Head us off as it were." He clapped Hubbard on the shoulder. "Man the guns, Mon Ami, we are going to try and head straight for her. As soon as we are in range fire the bow chasers right at her bow waterline. When we pass we will broadside the dog at the water line. Let the bastards swim home!"

"Won't they return fire, Captain?" Francois grinned.

"I suspect they will." Andre grinned wickedly. "But the last thing they will expect is for us to charge them, and if it is one of Jean's vessels he gave up using bow chasers when he entered the slave trade. Makes more room for slaves by lowering the ship's weight a bit more. We will swing wide to take us as far out of range as we can be and still do the damage. Besides a bit of cannon damage will add truth to our story when we make port in Cuba, non?"

Francois Loupe laughed loudly. "Oui, Mon Capitaine, oui. I shall make sure the pilot knows exactly what to do."

"A bit of risk, eh Andre?" Etienne whispered as he stood at his captain's side.

"Oui, old friend." Andre turned serious. "And to be truthful I would prefer to run, especially with her aboard, but we cannot take the chance they would find us again and life herself is a risk, non?"

"Oui, Andre." de Marigny grinned holding out his hand. "To Le Faucon and victory."

"To victory." Andre echoed grasping his friend's forearm. "Now, let us rid ourselves of this parasite."

"She's running, Mon Capitaine" The call came down from the Hazard's crow's nest.

"Then Beaudouin has spotted us." Captain Garnier Depaul scowled. "Full sail for Le Faucon's last position! She will try and run with the wind to escape us! Pilot adjust our course to bring us in front of them! All hands to battle stations, and douse those lights!"

"Was it a mistake to leave them on, Captain?" The first mate inquired.

"Non, had we been spotted without them they would have been suspicious immediately. Now that our ruse of being a trading vessel has failed we have no choice but to obey Jean's wishes and sink Le Faucon de Mer." Garnier brooded.

"You sound almost sad, Captain." The mate observed.

"I am, Lefever." Depaul looked out to where Le Faucon de Mer had last been seen. "I knew Andre from the moment he signed on with us. Up until the mutiny he was a fine man, and a damn good pirate. I would still call him friend were our circumstances different."

Pierre Mansle strained his legendary night vision to it's limits as Le Faucon came about, leaving the speed of the wind for the element of surprise. Sweat trickled down the sides of his face. Everything rested upon his being able to spot their shadow before they spotted Le Faucon.

Desperately he scanned the wide area of sea where Andre had guessed their opponent would most likely come from. Below all was silent as his crewmates waited for his signal to spring into action. He saw the wake of the Hazard first, it's white split rooster tail curling into the darkness as if some invisible finger were drawing a line in the ocean. "For points off the port bow, Captain!" He shouted at the shadowed deck below.

Without waiting for orders William Randal adjusted the Frigate's course setting them on a collision course for the fast closing Hazard. Suddenly the other ship began to turn as her captain attempted to get his ship out of the trap he had fallen for.

"Hard to starboard, helmsman! Now!!" Captain Depaul shouted as they saw the Le Faucon de Mer bearing down upon them.

"Dear God! That fou aliéné is trying to ram us!!" The first mate exclaimed.

"Non, Lefever!" Garnier yelled realizing the trick that Andre had played upon him. "She's trying to take us with her bow chasers!! Andre knows we no longer carry them and he's going for our weakest point!! Port guns prepare to fire as she passes us!!"

Randal readjusted Le Faucon's course to keep the front of the ships as aligned as he could. Fifty yards from the Hazard he heard the bow chasers explode into the night, and three feet of the Hazard's port bow disintegrated into splinters as the hungry sea flooded into her.

"Hard a starboard!" Francois Loupe shouted to William and the helmsman spun the wheel with ferocity.

"Fire the broadside!" John Hubbard shouted as he ran from the bow to take his place with the port side gunners.

"Fire port cannon!" The quartermaster of the Hazard shouted at his own crew.

Both ships belched orange flame and white smoke into the night, but the rapidly increasing distance and quickly sinking bow of the Hazard sent her cannonball off their mark and only two impacted high on Le Faucon's port side. Six of the frigate's own shots exploded just above the waterline and more saltwater poured into the mortally wounded ship.

"Break off!" Andre ordered from the quarterdeck. "Mr. Randal! Resume course and speed!"

"Aye, aye, Captain" The pilot grinned as he turned the wheel back to their original compass point to the Southeast. A cheer swept the deck of the sleek pirate vessel as the smoking Hazard was left behind them.

"All hands abandon ship!" Garnier Depaul regretfully ordered. After he watched his crew ready the longboats on the quickly listing ship, he turned to watch as Le Faucon de Mer was swallowed by the inky blackness. "Well done, my young friend." He whispered. "Once again you have proven your resourcefulness, and placed another thorn into Jean Lafitte's side. I pray your luck holds out."

The moment the bow chaser's fired Caesaire sat bolt upright in the feathered bed. Leaping from her warm cover, she raced to put on her clothing and find some weapons in Andre's cabin.

Reply author: Welsh Wench

Caesaire rifled through the sea chests....'has to be in here......any good captain worth his salt makes sure his cabin is armed...YES!'
She took out a dagger and two flintlock pistols. Checking to make sure they had shot, for once she thanked Jean for teaching her to shoot that summer she spent in Barataria. She locked the cabin door, stowing the keys in her boot along with the dagger. No time to put on a bodice....

She ran up the stairs and stopped.
There was Andre in command of his men. The ease with which he did that stopped her short. He was even laughing and joking with Ettienne and John Hubbard!
Caesaire hung back in the shadows and watched with awe.
Jean Lafitte was never like that. His mouth was always in a firm line. His brow furrowed when he concentrated. Andre may as well be in a tavern with his friends.

She watched as the smoke filled the night air. And then the command of 'Resume course and speed' and then the cheer from the crew. All of a sudden, Caesaire was filled with pride for Andre.
And for the fact that he was her man.
Was he?
He never told her he loved her. Not in so many words.
She began to play the 'what if' game.
What if he told me?
What if he wasn't friends with Sebastian?
What if I never went to St Ursulines?
Would my life be different?
What if....

Caesaire remembered that day all too well.

She had awakened early that morning to the sun streaming through the mosquito netting. She rolled over, smiling to herself. A glow began to spread through her very being.
Andre was the reason for it. She replayed the previous evening over and over in her mind. Skipping down the stairs, she saw her father sitting in the drawing room.
"Caesaire. Venez ici, s'il vous plait."
"Oui, Papa."
She sat down, but her mind was elsewhere and her eyes were looking out the window for any sign that Sebastian or Andre may be stopping by for her on their way to another adventure.
She drew her attention back to her father.
"Pardonnez-moi, Papa. It is such a beautiful day and I want to go outside and..."
"I've made arrangements for you."
"Oui. You are to go to St Ursuline's Convent this afternoon. Bessie has packed most of your things already.
"Papa! I can't go! I just can't! I'll have to leave Sebastian and Andre and go live with the NUNS?"

Christophe Trosclair's mouth was set in a firm line.
"You will only be a few blocks away, Caesaire. I can see you at Mass on Sundays and visit with you in the afternoons. It is time you had a formal education."
"But...but..but...NO! I shall not go!"
"But oui, you shall! And this afternoon. The streets of the Quarter are no place for a girl about to grow into womanhood. When you leave in a few years, you will make a good match with one of the Creole gentlemen who are landed along the River. Maybe one of the Marmillion boys or the D'Estrehans...."

Caesaire argued with her father for over two hours. Finally, with a tear-stained face, she was defeated.
A twelve year old girl was no match for a forty-two year old man. No matter how stubborn she was.

She ran out of the room and into Pere Antoine.
"Pardonnez-moi, Pere," and she dashed up the stairs.
Pere Antoine came into the parlour.
"I see she did not take the news well."
"Mais non, Antoine. She argued until she had no more arguments. Thank you for making the arrangements."
The priest nodded solemnly. "Caesaire, Sebastian and Andre Beaudouin have always been a fixture in the Quarter for the past seven years. You never saw the boys without each other and Caesaire was always tagging behind them."
Christophe sat in his chair and ran his hands over his face. "Precisely why she has to leave. She's twelve. Andre is seventeen."
Pere Antoine raised his eyebrow. "I don't quite understand."
Christophe let out a sigh. "Caesaire, even though she is twelve, has the mind and heart of a woman. A woman in love. And I am beginning to think that Andre has more than a friendship in mind for my little girl. Out of sight, out of mind."
Pere Antoine said quietly, "Andre is a good boy who is growing up into a fine man."
Christophe said quickly, "Oh, I agree. He is. I have nothing against the young man. Except for one thing. He is not right for my daughter. I removed the temptation and the potential problem."
Pere Antoine picked up his hat. "I am sorry to see it come to this."
Christophe nodded. "I did too. But I looked out the window and saw Andre kiss my daughter. From such children come children. She is too young. In a month she will forget Andre Beaudouin even existed...."

Andre saw her standing in the shadows. A grin spread over his face. He crooked his finger to her and she grinned back and ran into his waiting arms.

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts

Andre watched from the quarterdeck as the smoking vessel grew ever smaller in the night. Soon only the fires that had broken out in various places gave away her position. Had it been one of Lafitte's? True she had carried no bow chasers, as he had correctly guessed, but that was not proof. With the exception of pirates and military few ships did carry them. If it were one of Barataria's finest he could only guess at the implications.

Although in the end it would not truly matter, he knew he could only irritate Jean so far without upsetting the balance of their plans. For all his faults Jean Lafitte was loyal to New Orleans first, and that was something they might need to count on in the endgame. Perhaps his renewed love for Caesaire had already put that part of the plan in jeopardy, but that was not something he had planned on and he would be damned if he would give her up now after all these years.

Cest la vie. He had learned long ago that even the best laid of plans often went awry and the best that anyone could do was to remain flexible enough to adapt. If it did turn out that Jean was responsible for what had happened to Caesaire's ship and crew that part of their plans would be a moot point anyway.

"Well, Andre, d'ye think we've pissed Lafitte off enough by now?" John Hubbard came up to lean against the rail, facing his captain.

A quick smile graced the lips of Le Faucon's commander. "Perhaps, John. There is no proof she was one of Jean's vessels."

"Piffle!" The grizzled quartermaster grinned. "And just who else would be a chasin' after us this time 'o the night? That were no Spanish scow, and I doubt any other save us could have left port in New Orleans. I'm still not sure how you worked that one. It had to have sailed from Barataria."

Hubbard's logic was impeccable as always. Andre shrugged then grinned. "Unless the crew is very lucky it will be a few days before Jean knows. Even then he will never admit to it."

"All to true, Mes Amis." Francois chimed in as he and Etienne de Marigny joined them. "By the time he can do anything about it our job will be all but finished, non?"

"With luck, Francois." Andre grinned. "We still have to catch the prey and take her. She's not going to just give us her treasures, like so many of your women."

Etienne and the rest burst out laughing. "Oui, but we can dream, can't we?" He chuckled, then turned serious. "Will our friends be ready once we have everything in place?"

"Possibly," Andre frowned for a moment, "but this is not something we should discuss here, mes amis. Below decks in John's quarters would be much better. We did have to replace a few men in New Orleans and we can not be sure of their allegiance just yet."

"And the lady?" John looked hard at Andre for a moment. "I'm sorry, Mate, but someone had to say it. Do you trust her? From what I heard she did take up with Lafitte for a while."

"I would trust Caesaire Trosclair with my life!" Andre's voice took on a dangerous edge.

"Easy, Andre." John Hubbard raised one hand. "We had to know. If you trust her it's good enough fer the rest of us." Francois and Etienne nodded firmly.

Caesaire's heart leapt warmly hearing Andre's words. She smiled to herself hearing the tall Creole buccaneer take up for her without a moment's hesitation. The conviction with which he spoke brought a tear to her eyes. If only he would say to her the one thing she wanted to hear from him. The one last thing that would remove all doubt from her heart. The one thing she had waited to hear from him since she was a child.

"Let us go below where there are less ears." Etienne suggested.

"A good idea." Andre agreed as he opened a lantern to light a fresh cigar. "I will join you as soon as I make sure all our new hands are above deck. The second mate could use a bit of the practice with his duty as well, n'cest pas?"

"Capitol idea, Mate! I've a bottle 'o Jamaican rum what's just beggin' ta be opened!" John grinned in anticipation. "We'll try and save ye a bit."

As Andre's three friends passed her hiding place she put a single finger to her lips. The three pirates looked at each other grinning and gave her a knowing wink as they passed without a word.

She watched Andre call one his crew over, and whisper something to the man, one hand on his shoulder. The pirate grinned and nodded quickly before he left to fulfill his new orders, obviously pleased. Andre took a deep final draw from his cigar before flipping the stub over the side and heading for the short flight of steps. Caesaire held her breath, her heart pounding furiously with her desire.

She almost giggled aloud at the look of surprise in his hazel eyes when he spotted her in the shadows of the quarter deck. Grinning wickedly he raised one ringed hand and crooked a finger, motioning for her to come to him. She grinned back and ran into his waiting arms. His warm embrace filling her with contentment.

"And how long have you been on deck, Cheri?" His smile belying the grim scowl he tried to effect.

"Long enough, Monsieur Beaudouin." She teased, her voice a bit too husky.

Gently he hugged her closer to himself and he felt her snuggle deep into his arms. "There is something I must say to you Caesaire. If I am wrong to say it, please forgive me, but say it I must."

He drew her away just far enough to look into her deep blue eyes. The same conviction she had heard earlier filled his soft whisper once again. "Je t'aime, ma petite. Je t'aime."

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Blackjack Roberts
Replied on: 02/08/2008 16:09:33

Caesaire looked up into Andre's eyes. The love light that lit them was as unmistakable as a morning's dawn. For so long she had waited to hear those words from him. Her stomach trembled in a strange mix of emotions that she had not felt before in her life. If this was a dream she prayed she would never see the morning come. She felt tears of joy rise in her eyes.

"Oh, Cher!" She buried herself in his arms, breathing in his air. Her voice choked with the overwhelming tide of her love. "How could such words be wrong coming from you? Have you any idea how I have longed to hear you say them?"

He wrapped her deep in his embrace, resting one cheek tenderly on her head. "And you, ma petite?" He asked softly, then felt her arms tighten around him.

"Je t'aime, Andre." Caesaire whispered against his chest where his buccaneer shirt opened exposing his bare flesh. Her warm breath causing a shudder of desire to pass through his body. "I always have."

Gently she felt one ringed finger lift her chin. Her lips sought his without waiting, pulling his head ever closer to her. Pressing her body as close to his as she could she drank in his kiss as if she had been starving all her life. Delighting in the feel of his own passion matching hers, measure for measure. His hands caressing her back, sending waves of pleasure through out her being. She would deny herself no longer. She would deny him no longer.

When they finally parted, all too soon for either of them, Andre looked into her eyes tenderly. "There are a few things I must yet attend to, Cheri." He whispered quietly.

In answer Caesaire reached down into her boot, pressing the keys to his cabin into his hand. "Do what you need to, My Love." She whispered softly to him. "But when you have finished, return to your cabin. Return to me."

She returned to Andre's cabin on feet that never touched the wood of the floor. Locking the door she began to make everything just right for the night she had dreamed of. Andre Beaudouin was now hers, and hers alone. Caesaire would make their first night in each other's arms perfect. She would settle for nothing less.

She was certain she had seen, yes here it was. Jasmine incense from the Indies. Quickly she lit a charcoal briquette and sprinkled the powder on the glowing coal. Soon the sweet smell filled the cabin. Candles were next, not many, just enough to give the polished wood of the cabin a soft golden glow. Just enough to make the light dim enough to soften the vision.

Caesaire undressed, and checked herself in the mirror, quickly she brushed out her golden hair, patting stray strands into a halo frame for her features. Then she turned her attention to the bed. Straightening out the covers from before, she soon had them smoothed out to perfection, one corner turned down in a triangle.

Then she slipped in, wiggling over to the far end. Leaving a inviting space in front of her she draped the open cover around her legs, letting the cover drape over her knee and across her thigh to her back. Leaving herself exposed from the knee up she gently raised one knee in front of herself and waited, resting on one elbow.

Her heart beat faster as she heard the key turn in the lock. Andre entered the dimly lit cabin and hung his hat on one of the carved pegs that lined the wall next to the door beside the burgundy sea coat he wore when he left the ship. Turning he spied Caesaire's lithe form awaiting him, and nearly dropped the sweet French wine he had brought from below.

"Mon Dieu!" He whispered at the vision of the woman he had given up as lost to him forever lay waiting for him. The soft smile of her lips made his heart beat like some mad drummer were furiously playing it. It seemed as if his breathing had also abandoned him. Never in his wildest dreams had the sight of a woman so effected him.

He walked quietly over to the bed, her eyes never leaving him. Drinking in his every graceful movement as he sat on the edge of the bed, one bell booted foot yet on the floor, the other bent at the knee in front of him and hooked behind the other. Smiling he poured the two crystal wine glasses to within an inch of their tops with the fragrant deep purple wine. Offering her one he sat the open bottle on the floor next to the bed.

"Of all the treasure and finery I have seen in my time as a pirate none have come close to your beauty, Mon Cheri." He breathed huskily.

Caesaire's eyes and warm smile spoke more to him in that moment that any words she might have said could. Tenderly they entwined arms and drained the goblets. As soon as she finished she dropped the empty crystal to the bed and pulled him into her arms. Her mouth hungrily seeking his as her hands pulled the long tail of his white shirt free from the confines of his leather britches.

She felt his hands gently stroking the length of her soft back as her own arms flew beneath the shirt to touch his bare flesh. She wanted nothing between them now, only the feel skin touching skin would satisfy her, as years of longing began to rise within them.

A slight wave of disappointment nudged her consciousness as Andre pulled back for a moment, but only to pull the garment over his head and discard it on the floor. Almost instantly he was back in her arms and they lay back into the soft pillows, passionately kissing once more, their hands exploring each other with increasing intimacy. Their lips tasting each others flesh over and over.

Without his knowing Caesaire had unbuckled his belt and opened his britches. Her voice dripped desire and love as she whispered, "This is not fair, My Love. I want you sans habillement as well."

Gently Andre removed his boots and the last of his garments then lay down softly beside her. Tenderly he took her wrists in his hands and holding them in a firm, yet gentile grasp began to kiss her face. With infinite patience he moved to the side of her neck, Caesaire's eyes closed with the thrill that the touch sent through her, gently biting her lower lip as his heated kisses traveled down her body in a slow torture of love she wished would never end. Her breath sucked sharply inward as Andre gave her the most intimate of kisses. Pulling her hands free she entwined them in his hair drawing him even closer to her.

Just before her passion became more than she could bear he rose above her. The purest love she had ever seen glowed from his eyes. Softly he stroked her cheek with the back of one bejeweled hand. Tenderly moving to the softness of her golden locks. A sharp gasp of passion escaped both their lips as they gave in to love's final embrace, and the outside world was lost to their lovemaking.


Reply author: Welsh Wench
Replied on: 02/10/2008 21:13:36

Andre tenderly touched her cheek and put his hand under her chin to give her the gentlest of kisses.
"Merci, mon cher," he whispered huskily.
She stroked his hair back from his face and said softly, "For what?"
"For making a ten-year old dream come true."
Caesaire's eyes misted up.
"Oh, Andre. What time we have wasted! Who knows how our lives would have turned out if I had not been sent to the convent."
Andre reached over and picked up the bottle of wine, filling the goblets again.
He gave her a gentle smile. "Making love is thirsty work, cher. And I am parched."

She accepted the goblet and sipped, pulling the sheet up around her. Her hair was loose around her shoulders, her face was flushed and her eyes had a dreamy after-glow. Andre couldn't believe what had just happened. The girl he had deep feelings for in their youth was now the woman he possessed. He put his arm around her and she rested her head against his chest.
He bent his other arm to the back of his head and sighed. "Things happen for a reason, ma petite. Perhaps it is the way it was supposed to be that you came to me a seasoned woman and not a young girl."
She felt the tears trickle down her cheeks.
He stroked her shoulders. "Don't cry, cher."
She took the sheet and dabbed at her eyes. "I'm crying because..."
She stopped and he said gently, "Why?"
She held him close and said softly, with a blush on her face, "I am sorry you were not the man to take my virginity, Andre."
He stroked her pale hair and kissed her forehead. "No matter, ma cher. We are here together and that is all that counts."

Andre gently pushed her back to the pillows and kissed her neck slowly and sensually. Caesaire found her breath catching in her throat as she anticipated another round of lovemaking. She didn't care where they were. Only that they were together. His whispered 'Je t'aime, Caesaire' was the sweetest sound she had ever heard. To be with him after all these years. It was a schoolgirl's dream come true in the form of Andre Beaudouin. His hands wandered sensually down her body till she thought she would burst with her love and desire for him.

The early dawn found the two lovers entwined. They had scarcely moved from the way they had embraced each other before falling asleep.


John Hubbard stood on the quarterdeck breathing in the salt air of the new morning. Francois joined him on the deck. He clapped his hand on John's shoulder and said, "Ah, Andre is either checking the powder supplies or he is still asleep in your quarters."
John turned to him and took a deep draw on his pipe.
"No, Francois my friend. Neither."
Francois looked at him quizzically. "Then where is he?"
John pointed with the stem of his pipe towards the captain's quarters. "The captain, my friend, never made it back to my quarters."
Francois grinned, "It seems our captain has found amore at long last!"
John nodded, "Aye. And he picked a fine time to fall in love. Everything hinges on our meeting up with the Spanish ship. I can only hope that Mademoiselle Trosclair has not gone too far to his head that he cannot concentrate. Timing is everything."
Francois nodded, "Andre Beaudouin is an extraordinary man. He has never let the affairs of the heart cloud his judgment before."
The quartermaster tapped the burnt tobacco out of his pipe on the gunwale and sighed.
"Aye. But he never let anyone into his heart. Until now."


Reply author: Blackjack Roberts
Replied on: 02/15/2008 16:06:13

Andre quietly closed the door to his cabin behind him. He knew he should have been on deck sooner, but the pleasure of watching the love he had waited a lifetime for softly sleeping was too much to resist. The gentile rise and fall of her breast, the tender smile that half graced her full lips as she slumbered caused warm flames to engulf his heart. His body remembering the feel of hers as they loved. His love for Caesaire growing with each passing moment.

Quietly he had slipped from their bed, unwilling to disturb the angelic vision that lay so peacefully before him. With infinite care he had washed, shaved, and dressed simply for the day. He draped his baldric across the burgundy silk buccaneer shirt, twin French pistols stowed into the wide black belt that securely held the matching sash firmly in place. Waiting until he was at the door to slip on the knee high black belled boots over his supple doe skin leather britches. Blowing a soft kiss in her direction he entered the hall as silently as a ghost, locking the door behind him.

"Welcome back to the land 'o the livin'." John Hubbard teased as he came out onto the main deck. "I was beginin' at think we'd have at drag ye out, Captain. Land Ho!" He pointed at the distant speck of island on the far horizon with his stubbled chin.

Andre turned to regard the small island. "Well done, Mes Amis." He smiled, checking the position of the sun for the time. Just a few hours after dawn. "We have made very good time. All that remains now is to have the crew replace the forward mast. Leave the cannon ball embedded in Le Faucon's side for the moment, and we will take a party ashore to bring back fresh water and supplies once we make harbor."

"So soon, Mon Capitaine?" Etienne de Marigny asked as he approached, two steaming white cups in his hands. "Café?"

"Merci, Etienne." Captain Beaudouin took the steaming mug gratefully, sipping the strong brow liquid with relish.

"Oui, Capitaine." Francois leapt lightly down from the quarter deck to join them. " We brought precious little supplies with us as it was, but they should be enough to make port."

"Aye, Francois," Andre nodded in agreement, the coffee chasing the last vestiges of the night from him. "However if we are to enter the jewel of Caribbean Spain with the story that we were waylaid by pirates...."

"Then the fewer store bought supplies we carry will add credence to the tale!" Francois exclaimed lightly slapping his forehead with his palm.

"And carrying fresh island supplies will make it look like our journey took longer than it did." Etienne grinned roguishly. "Very clever, Mon Frère."

"Aye." John grinned, lighting a fresh pipe of aromatic tobacco. "And with the damage from our little skirmish last night the dogs will have no reason to doubt our story."

"Also," Andre continued, "although our voyage to Cuba is short enough, we will have to follow our quarry half way to the Canaries and then make the trip back. That is a quite a long voyage and it will be good to have as many supplies has we can before we take her. They will be scarce on the return home with the cargo aboard."

"Then you've decided. We scuttle her?" John let out a long ribbon of white smoke.

"Aye." The captain of Le Faucon de Mer spoke firmly. "We have no choice. We will permit the crew their longboats, and supplies, but the Galleon must rest on the bottom of the ocean."

His three friends nodded in agreement, knowing that the one thing that set Andre Beaudouin apart from almost every other pirate captain who plundered the Caribbean was his unwillingness to commit outright murder.

"Then it is settled." He grinned. "Now if you will pardon me, there is yet one more treasure that I must attend to. I hope the galley cook still has some café left."

The light knock on the cabin door brought Caesaire's deep blue eyes open. Instinctively she reached for Andre. Disappointed to find the space beside her empty. She pulled the cover high onto her chest. "Entrée." She called out. A warm smile lit her features as Andre entered the cabin.

A large teak tray filled his hands, piled high with cheese, bread, and fruit. In the center a silver pot steamed, releasing the fragrant aroma of fresh coffee into the room. He closed the door with one bell booted foot, smiling like a schoolboy. Never before had a man brought breakfast to her, not even Drausin, and she felt as if she were a child with a crush again.

"Forgive me, Mon Amour." He smiled softly. "But there were things that needed my attention, and you looked so lovely sleeping there that I could not bear the thought of waking you. I have brought you breakfast to make up for it."

Caesaire smiled teasingly, letting her covering drop to her waist as she sat up. "Merci, mon cher. I am hungry, but not for food." She held her arms out to him. "Leave that on the desk for the moment, and come to me."

His heart pounded in his chest as he sat the tray down. Dropping his baldric to the floor, he laid the flintlocks next to the tray, then pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it to one side. Tenderly he lowered himself into her arms, giving in to the passion of her kiss. Their arms softly exploring each other as they lost themselves in their love for one another.

"And you were worried that his love would interfere with his ability to think." Etienne teased John.

"Ye do know he is back in his cabin, don't ye?" John grinned tapping his pipe out on his boot heel.

"No harm there." Francois grinned. "A sou that we do see him again until we make harbor." He held his hand out to Etienne.

"Non, merci." The first mate laughed. "After all......he is French."

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Welsh Wench
Replied on: 02/17/2008 19:43:31

Andre stood up and reached for his shirt.
"Mais non, cher! Do you really have to leave me?"
Andre grinned, "Oui. Caesaire, ma petite, we cannot spend all our time in the cabin. What would the crew think of a captain that did not appear?"
"They would think he was a great lover that his woman already knows."
He bent over and kissed her on the lips. She gently encircled his shoulders and drew him down to her.
"Well, maybe for a little while....after all, I have a reputation to protect for all Frenchmen..."
All Caesaire could manage to do is giggle a bit before Andre stopped that with his lips.

Andre reached again for his shirt and then held up his hand. "Caesaire, I am a fairly young man. But damn, cheri!"
She laughed and laid back on the pillows, her arms above her head and she sighed.
"I never knew it could be like this, Andre. Oh, I imagined all those nights I was in the convent dormitory. You were never far from my thoughts. But I thought you were lost to me forever."
He took her hand and kissed it gently. "I think I started to fall in love with you when you were six and gave me that valentine."
Caesaire faked her astonishment. "You kept it after all these years?"
"Oui. I realized that the little girl with the pale blonde hair and deep blue eyes had given me not only a paper heart but her own as well. But the day I figured it out was the day that your father had sent you away. That first kiss told me all."

Caesaire stretched out languidly and ran her finger up and down his arm.
"Non, Cher. Please. I only have so much strength."
She laughed and said, "Pere may have well tried to stop a runaway horse. Love always finds a way. But look how our lives turned out. So much wasted time. Andre, I would have died for you. I did. My only escape was to run over to Congo Square. But I never saw you or Sebastian."
Andre leaned back against the pillows and stroked her hair back from her shoulders and her face.
"I signed on with a pirate ship. After you disappeared, I really found no future to stay in New Orleans. Sebastian was going to law school. I was thinking of becoming a doctor but lacked the funds. I didn't intend to stay on."
"Who did you sign on with?"
"Jean Lafitte."
Caesaire's mouth was a perfectly formed 'O' when she realized that her former lover was the captain of her present lover.

"Did you stay long with him?"
"Until the mutiny."
"Oui. A story for another time."
"A bedtime story?" she grinned wickedly.
"Oui. But for when the moon is full. We shall have a candlelit dinner on the upper deck under the stars!"
She reached for him, drew him close and whispered huskily in his ear, "Why can I not get enough of you, cher?"
He whispered back, "Because you are French, too!"

As Andre pulled his boots on, he asked her, "Your ship. Such an intriguing name. 'Shattered Dreams'. Why such a name, ma petite?"
Caesaire rolled over on her stomach and propped her chin with her hand. She ran her hand up and down the blankets and her voice was hushed.
"I must tell you first how I won her."

Andre sat next to her on the bed. "This would be so much easier to concentrate on if you were not dressed in what God gave you."
She rolled back on her back and crossed her arms in front of her chest. "Then I shall save it for another day if only you would lie with me again."
Andre shook his head no. "Cher, I never realized your....capacity for love. But tell me the story."
She sighed. "Very well. But you shall have to make up for it later. Jean had taught me many things. Being the gambler he was, he had me join him on the riverboat as he had business up in Natchez. One night he entered a high stakes game of cards. I joined them in the game. Jean had taught me how to read a marked deck. A Monsieur Babineau was losing badly. He had a fine schooner. Being the proud Frenchman that he was, he put the ship up as a bartering chip."
"You won her in a game of chance?"
She nodded her head. "I wanted to try my hand at supplying the ladies of New Orleans with what they needed and wanted. Being Creole and my father well established, no one would suspect that little Caesaire Trosclair was a privateer. I didn't like the way Jean was running things. So I went into partnership with him in the black market. I soon realized I didn't need him and we went separate ways."

"The name, ma cher? Why 'Shattered Dreams'?"
Her eyes started to mist up. "It was for you, Andre."
"Oui. The day I went in the convent and you went to sea was the day my heart broke. All my dreams were...shattered."
She couldn't hold back her tears any longer.
"I tried to pretend I didn't care. But Andre, it was you I wanted. I looked for you in every man that ever made love to me. But in the light of day, they weren't you. And I hated myself for it."
Andre gathered her in his arms as she sobbed. "So many nights I wished they were you. I tried to pretend that it was you...."
He rocked her back and forth and whispered, "It's all over now, Caesaire. Your shattered dreams. We shall mend it together."
She looked at him with the tears running down her cheeks. "I'm so sorry, sorry I did not wait for you...."
Andre silenced her with a kiss and whispered, "The crew knows where they can find me, I guess...."


Reply author: Blackjack Roberts
Replied on: 02/17/2008 19:49:52

Jean sat back in his chair pondering. Across from him sat the newly rescued Captain Garnier Depaul of the now scuttled Hazard. That Jean had to send an empty ship to bring back the rest of the crew sat not well with him at all. Once again Andre Beaudouin's legendary luck had foiled his plan. Not that he intended for them to drown, the orders were specific. To sink Le Faucon de Mer and humiliate Beaudouin by depriving him of his prize ship, as well as Caesaire.

Uncharacteristically calm, Lafitte shook his head pouring two crystal glasses of bourbon for himself and Depaul. "Will the man's luck never change?" He asked exasperatedly of no one in particular.

"Not all Luck I am afraid, Jean." Garnier sighed raising the glass to his lips. "He knew just where to take us from, and just where our weakest point was."

"Nonsense, Ami!" Lafitte guffawed. "No man can accomplish what that motherless dandy has in so short a time unless he is possessed of far more luck than is due him. Not even me."

Captain Depaul turned his attention to his whiskey. Arguing this point with Jean would be a waste of time. When it came to the captain of the Le Faucon de Mer Lafitte had a blind spot as big as the swamp, and it would always cause him to underestimate Andre. He simply could not admit that the Creole buccaneer was anything more than a pretentious street urchin, and it was often the true cause of his humiliation at Andre's hands.

"No matter," Jean continued, "For the moment he has slipped the noose, but he must return to Mother New Orleans eventually. I will consider what to do about them then."

"Them?" Garnier was puzzled.

"Oui." Jean grinned. "The single female that I instructed you to bring back had you succeeded is none other than Caesaire Trosclair."

Depaul almost spit the mouthful of bourbon across the desk. "Caesaire is with Andre?!" He choked out once he could swallow. Now it all made sense. Lafitte had never before made such a direct move on Beaudouin without some excuse, but if Caesaire was now involved with him. Yes. It would be more of a humiliation than Jean would tolerate. Then it was Lafitte who had murdered her guard, and stole The Shattered Dreams!

"Oui!" Jean Lafitte's features dissolved into a mask of pure hatred for a moment. "I had hoped the loss of her ship would prevent her from partnering with him, but that has not been the case."

Depaul stared open mouthed at his commander. Though no saint by any ones measure this was too much. He could hardly believe what he had just heard. Jean Lafitte was eaten alive by jealousy, and it was causing him to make decisions that Garnier was not sure he could stomach. Now he was secretly glad that Andre had sunk his ship. Jean was going too far.

"Thank God!" Andre whispered as the Le Faucon de Mer limped into the Harbor at Antilla. There moored to the docks the Pata del Tigre gently rose and fell in the clear blue water. They had made it in time, and now all that remained was to replace the broken mast in time to follow her out to sea when she left.

"It would seem our prize is waiting for us, Mon Capitaine." Francois Loupe grinned.

Andre breathed easier as he stood looking at the ship that held the key to the other half of his dream coming true. Gently he increased his hold on Caesaire's shoulder, drawing her closer to him in his joy. "Oui." He smiled. "Once we arrive ashore and convince our hosts that we are in need of repair have some of our men take shore leave. Half with you, half with Etienne. Discreetly find out when she is due to sail. We want to be no more than three hours behind her."

"And how will you know which route he shall take, Mon Cher?" Caesaire asked.

Andre laughed warmly. "For that, Mon Amore, I will need you, myself, and a friend of mine who should be staying quite near. She will prove the key to unlocking that secret."

"She?!" Caesaire looked hard at Andre for a moment.

He smiled and pulled her deep into his arms. "Do not worry, Cheri. There is only you for me. She and I were never lovers, but we have had many profitable business arrangements. I was also never fool enough to try to bed her. Jacqueline's preference in lovers runs to shall we say, her own kind."

"You mean....." Caesaire's eyes grew wide.

"Oui, Mon Petite Cher," Andre grinned wickedly and winked, "but do keep your feelings of jealousy. We will need them once the three of us find the captain of that Spanish garbage scow."

Reply author: Mad Jack Wolfe
Replied on: 02/17/2008 21:52:19

Benjamin le Renard coldly regarded his new suroundings - an upstairs flat on Toulouse street. The moving crew had done an adequate job setting things up, but he was concerned about getting back to business. Andre and Caesaire were close by, and that bufoon Lafitte would show his face soon enough, The only real diversion awaiting him was his monthly meeting with Aaron Burr. Burr was still pressing his secessionist agenda, and Ben was all too willing to keep supplying him with just barely enough money. Once Burrs' conspiracy was found out, He could easily get his money back. But what to do with Burr? He doubted that a history would care much for an arrogant, capricious hothead. Burr would be dealt with in the customary ways.

"Will this be suitin' your needs, Monsiur la Renard." the landlady asked.
"It will be pefect, Madame D'Estrehan. He pressed a wad of money into her hand, "Thank you for everything."
"Oh, I can't possibly accept all this, monsieur!"
"Consider it a retainer, madame. And do try to shine up your appearance. Now, off you go."

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Welsh Wench

Reply author: Welsh Wench
Replied on: 02/22/2008 18:46:48

Andre docked the ship and made sure it was moored in the harbor. He went into the conference room with John Hubbard, Etienne and Francois. Caesaire was in the captain's cabin, looking for the right kind of dress that Andre had instructed her to wear for making port.
She shook her head as she looked in her trunks.
"Somewhere..somewhere..ah! Voici!"
She shook it out. It was a crimson dress with black lacings. She pulled out a pair of black lace gloves and took a parasol of red silk trimmed with black lace and an ebony handle. A pair of delicate shoes adorned her feet.
She shimmied into the dress and brushed her hair out.

She emerged on the deck to the astonishment of John Hubbard.
He whistled. "I must say, Mademoiselle Trosclair, that you look stunning. I mean, you look like...are you sure Andre wants you dolled up like that?"
She laughed and said, "I am sure Andre knows what he is doing. Although I must say he has been a bit vague. He told me to dress flashy to garner attention. Is this flashy enough?"
"If you are looking for all eyes on you, I think you have succeeded."

Andre came out of his cabin and breathed, "Mon Dieu!"
Caesaire looked at him with twinkling eyes. "I take it you approve, oui?"
"Mon amour, when I said you should dress to attract attention, I had no idea!"
Caesaire twirled around so Andre could get the benefit of the dress swirling around her legs. He gave a low whistle. "Mademoiselle Trosclair, if you wore that dress at the party, I would have insisted you stay with me instead of acting like the gentleman I profess to be."
She stroked his cheek and said, "Andre, you are always the gentleman."

Francois and Etienne joined them on the deck. Etienne feigned exasperation. "Francois, what are we going to do with the two of them? Always touching, always hugging!"
Francois shrugged. "He is the captain. He can do what he wants when he wants. And with anyone he wants, mon frere."
Etienne replied, "Captain, we must insist you put your passion on hold while we discuss the next step."
Andre looked over Caesaire's shoulder and said, "The next step is to seek Jacqueline Villard."
Francois instinctively lowered his hands to cover a portion of his breeches.
"Is that necessary?" he asked Andre in a hushed voice. Etienne and Andre let out a loud laugh.
"Oui, Francois, but I am sure you understand the way things are."
He muttered, "Oui. I surely will not make a faux pas like that again!"

Caesaire raised an eyebrow. "This must surely be an interesting story, mes amis."
Andre nodded in the direction of Francois. "Care to tell ma chere the story, Francois?"
His face could not get any redder. "I would prefer not to, mon capitaine."
Etienne elbowed his embarrassed companion and said, "Oh, go one! It was a moment of glory."
Francois scuffed his feet and said, "I'd rather not."
Andre sighed. "Very well. So be it. Caesaire? Would you accompany me to the cabin as I want to go over the plan with you?"
She put her hand lightly on Andre's offered arm and gave him a smile that melted him. "I would like nothing better."
As they walked off, Etienne shook his head.
"She will be the death of him, you know."
Francois watched them walk away, Andre with a look of total contentment and Caesaire like she had the world at her disposal.
He sighed, "There but for a twist of fate could have gone I."
Etienne clapped him on the back and sympathized, "Aye, but you lost her to your captain. No greater love hath any man than to lay his---"
"Don't say it, Etienne. Just...don't say it!"
They both laughed and walked toward the upper deck.

Caesaire snuggled herself deeper into Andre's arms, her dress a puddle of crimson silk and black lace on the floor next to the bed. Andre's shirt was hanging from the lantern fixture.
She traced his lips with her fingers and whispered, "Your crew will hate me. I am taking their captain away from them."
Andre kissed the top of her head. "Mais non, cher. They always chided me for not finding a love of my own."
"But, are....well, you are a perfect lover", she said quietly.
He ran his finger through one of her golden locks, wrapping his finger in it gently and kissing her ear.
"Cher, I did not say I did not know the ways of...physical love. But my heart was never given completely."
She looked up.
"And do I have your heart?"
He looked deeply into her eyes and said, "Completely, cher. It is yours to keep for all eternity."
He kissed her neck and whispered, "Now that I have found you again, Caesaire, I am never letting you go."

She looked up from resting her head on his chest, knowing that his heart beat just for her. She said, "Tell me the story of Francois and what happened. Why is he so reluctant to tell it?"
Andre's eyes were full of mirth.
"It happened in a tavern in Port Royal. But I shall make it a bedtime story for you tonight, cher."
She playfully took his face and drew it to hers. "Mais, non! You know what they say...'curiosity killed le chat but satisfaction brought her back'. Do you want me satisfied, Andre?"
He grinned, "Mais oui! As a Frenchman...."
She cut him off with, "The story, Andre, mon cher. The story?"
He leaned back on the pillows, his arms folded behind his head. He sighed. "Alright. The story. But that's all. As I said, it was in a tavern in Port Royal....."


Reply author: Welsh Wench
Replied on: 02/22/2008 22:01:42

Andre drew her close and she rested her head on his chest, idly stroking his ebony hair.
"Francois, Etienne, John and I decided to spend an evening's diversion at El Taverna del Toro."
Caesaire interrupted with, "Francois is a bit of a ladies' man, is he not?"
Andre burst out laughing. "A BIT? The man is legendary!"
Caesaire smiled, "I know. If not for his invitation, I never would have had a reason to come aboard Le Faucon de Mer."
"And for that I shall be forever in his debt. But to continue, we are in the tavern having a great time, spending coin, drinking, gambling and wom...."
"I didn't say anything, mon cher."
"Un huh, Andre. I will overlook that as it was before 'us'.
"Merci, cher. Francois had more than his share of rum. We all did. All of a sudden, a captivating woman walked in."
"Oui. Jacqui. Oh, don't look that way, ma petite. Jacqui, while a beautiful woman, would have been too much for even me to handle. But Francois has never known his limitations and plunged head-first into his flirtation."

Caesaire raised her eyebrow. "I have a feeling this was more than a flirtation."
Andre grinned, "Oui, Cher. You are very perceptive."
"I am a woman."
He kissed her and murmured, "Mon Dieu, I can attest to that!"
"Please continue, Andre."
"As you wish. Francois came up behind Jacqui and grabbed her derriere. He never told us what he said to her but she turned around and very seductively draped her sash around his neck and drew his face close to hers. Quick as a flash, she had her dagger--she keeps it sheathed to her thigh--and had it pressed against a very important part of Francois' anatomy."
Andre could barely keep the mirth out of his voice. "A part he is very partial to."
"Oh, my!"
"Oui! I have never seen Francois so nervous. She whispered, 'The only way I would consider your offer, Monsieur, is if I did a little alteration on you and made you into a woman. Except your chest is lacking. And we do not have enough'--and here she glanced to his breeches--'to make ample ones.' She let go of Francois and he scrambled backwards, fell into Etienne and they both fell into a gambling table where the stakes were extremely high. So not only did Francois almost become Francoise, he ruined a game of chance!
Fortunately I was able to smooth it over with the gentlemen of the tavern. Jacqui was another matter."

"She did not accept his apology?"
"What apology? In the end, I challenged her to a duel."
"You WHAT?"
Andre burst out laughing. "Cher, that is a story for another time. By now, John has come back with the address where she will be residing. So we need to put the plan into motion."

Caesaire rolled out of bed, taking the coverlet with her. Her hair lay in a tangle around her shoulders and her eyes reflected a contented glow from within her very being. She gave Andre a warm smile and said, "Je t'aime, Andre."
"Et je t'aime aussi, Caesaire. Mon Dieu, I never thought I would repeat those words!"
"Oui. I practiced them the night I got home from your father's house. I would have asked for your hand right then but I wanted to wait for you to turn fourteen."
Her eyes sparkled. "I would have said 'yes', Andre. Except for one thing."
"What is that, mon amore?"
"Just the hand, Andre?"
He grinned wolfishly "Oui, ma petite! I'd ask your father for the hand but it was up to you to offer the rest of the package."
She drew him to her and whispered as she kissed his lips, "A package that you have unwrapped, my darling!"
Andre sighed. "And now it is time to wrap that package again. We have a job to do. And if the plan is successful, we shall have a lobster dinner on the upper deck under the stars."
"And after, Andre?"
"Dessert. In my cabin."

She laughed as she grabbed her clothes. "I shall save some room for later then!"
Andre pulled his breeches on. "And now to business, I am afraid. Are you ready to meet Jacqueline Villars?"
Caesaire sighed, "If I must."
Andre chuckled, "Unlike Francois, I am afraid you are more her type!"
She threw a pillow at his head.
"I was afraid of that!"

Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....