Elizabeth was growing tired of parties and the endless dancing and chatter and so she searched the crowd intently in the hopes of finding the one man who could make them end. But despite her father's efforts, she spotted many of the same people who'd been at last week's party or the week before. It was all very frustrating. Like all girls of her wealth and status, once she hit sixteen and made her debut in society, lavish parties, open to the public, were held in the hopes of identifying her soulmate whom she would marry if her father approved.
She scanned the sea of faces, looking for those she hadn't already danced with, men in their brocaded frocks, men of wealth, the sons of merchants and politicians.
She saw someone approaching and recognized him with a start as the young blacksmith she'd often seen from afar (she knew commoners often came to these parties in the hopes of a dance and some good food but she hadn't expected him to be here) and she tried to turn away, imagining what everyone else would say but then he was there and it was too late to appear anything else but rude in doing so.
"Miss Swann." He removed his hat and inclined his head. A light breeze swept over the courtyard and played with the loose ends of his hair.
"Mr. Turner," she replied.
"May I have this dance?" He held out a hand and Elizabeth cringed inwardly but she was secretly curious and so she slipped her hand into his and suddenly knew her mistake for she suddenly couldn't breathe and there was a humming in her ears and the terrible beating of drums. She withdrew her hand quickly but the damage was done and she could see from the shock and fear on his own face that he felt it too.
Gasping for breath, she stumbled and turned around and fled. Back inside and up the stairs to her room, ignoring the startled exclamations of the guests, falling on her bed, unaware of the tears that welled up in her eyes.
No, no, no, she thought. It can't be…
"Elizabeth?" A knocking at her door. "Elizabeth?" His voice sounded worried and when she didn't answer, the door opened and her father entered. Weatherby Swann took one look at her and immediately knew what had happened. "Oh, Elizabeth…"
"It was Will Turner," she said, answering his unspoken question.
She nodded, rubbing at the side of her head. The humming was still going strong, a joyful sound that caused her heart to seize.
"It will be alright," Weatherby said and he sat on the bed and held her and she closed her eyes. He stroked her hair much like he had done when she was a child. "Everything will be alright."
"But you don't understand," Elizabeth said, her voice soft. "I actually do like him." She'd known long ago not to allow herself to have such feelings and yet she had anyway. Had often fantasized about marrying him though she knew that could never happen. Soulmate or not, he was a blacksmith. He had neither wealth nor status and that's all there was to it.
James Norrington had both along with the advantage of being a trusted friend to Weatherby. His soulmate had taken ill and died five years previously. So when Weatherby had proposed the arranged marriage, he had accepted.
Elizabeth sat still and silent as Estrella worked on her hair. She had since grown numb to the incessant humming but it was still there, always in the background of her thoughts. She hadn't seen Will since that day, the last party, but she thought of him every day with an aching heart, knowing that it would never be satisfied.
"You have absolutely nothing to worry about," Estrella assured her. "You look beautiful and I'm sure the commodore will think so too."
"Mm. Estrella? Does it ever get better? The humming?" Estrella's soulmate was a wealthy merchant who'd gone off to marry a French woman.
"It'll fade, Miss," the maid replied. "In time."
But Elizabeth heard the sad frown in her voice and knew it was a lie. Her heart would long for Will until the day she died.