Part 1 – Chapter 1
Line your lips and keep 'em closed.
Thank you to my beta: redchicken888
Disclaimer: I don't own Pirates of the Caribbean, but I do own this story and my original characters
Third Person POV
"Richard! Please! Richard, stop!" a voice screamed, pure fear in the woman's voice. The clanging of pots and pans rang through the empty house as the woman continued to cry; either in pain or fear...or both. The angry shouts and yells that emanated from the man, Richard, shook a particular little girl's bones, spreading terror throughout her rapidly.
"You're a worthless bitch, Mary!" Richard yelled. Soft crying followed the silence after his words. Hushed tears slipped from the little girl's eyes, hitting the rough, wood floor of the dark closet she was hiding in. Her mother, the woman, had hidden her there to protect her. "Where is that whelp of a daughter?" His boots seemed to get louder to the little girl when he spoke of her. Her eyes widened as the footsteps did in fact get louder and closer to her hiding place.
Mary continued to cry from the kitchen but that didn't stop Richard's pursuit. She whimpered in pain even though the girl's father wasn't near her. She was hurt badly.
It was deathly quiet except for the slow footsteps of the girl's father and him softly calling her name, taunting her, as he walked past the closet. She held her breath, her heart pounding in her ears. She was sure that her father could hear it. The candlelight from Richard was shining from under the door and she could see the shadows of his feet. They passed right by her and she breathed a sigh of relief.
But the closet door was ripped open suddenly, a flood of light blinding the little girl. The only thing she could see was her father's face that was twisted into a malicious smile, one of demons and devils. His hand grabbed a fistful of her hair and a gut-wrenching scream of pain and horror came from the girl's mouth as he yanked her from the closet.
Her loud scream jerked her from her sleep, causing her to bolt upright in bed. She was sweating, panting and glancing around the room to reassure herself that it was just a dream. Or rather, reassure herself that it was just a memory…
The girl's heart rate finally went down after a moment and she brushed her long, raven hair out of her face. It looked just like her father's.
I'm not in a dream; I'm in a living hell, she thought.
Her slender fingers fondled the fraying sheets of her bed as she chewed the inside of her cheek. The dream had been a memory of her seven year old self. Memories like that always resurfaced at one time or another.
Her head whipped upwards as the door to her bedroom flew open and banged against the wall. In the doorway stood a fuming Richard, still in his wrinkled and disheveled clothes that he had worn yesterday. He had passed out drunk last night, once again. Fear filled the girl as he stalked towards her, red faced and fists clenched.
"You listen here, Carol Anne. I'm tryin' to sleep and you're screamin' your damn head off in here. Now shut your fuckin' mouth before I do it for you!" he threatened, giving her one last angry look before leaving. He slammed the door on his way out, leaving the wood panels of the wall rattling.
Carol Anne glared after him, huffing at his ridiculous anger before getting out of bed.
I'm awake anyway, she thought.
She stumbled to her dresser, grimacing as she clumsily stubbed her toe against the polished wood. She found her clothes needed for the day before carelessly throwing them on the bed.
Carol Anne was definitely not the most graceful or the most organized person in the world, and both of these aspects were ones that her parents despised. She was rather a disgrace to them and they both made sure she knew it but they each show it in their own way. Her father expresses it in physical violence. Her mother, on the other hand, rudely corrects Carol Anne with an insult or by digging her nails into her arm, a habit she had picked up from when Carol Anne was younger.
She never fails to run out of insults either, whether it's about Carol Anne's intelligence, hair, clothes, lack of balance, or just being herselfㅡit didn't matter. Mary only cared about reputation, for suitors of course. She wanted her daughter to be perfectㅡeven though she never truly could be perfect in her eyes. She only wanted the money and fame; she wanted to brag about how her daughter was lucky enough to marry a rich boy.
Mary mostly nags Carol Anne the most about her manners and clumsiness. Carol Anne doesn't think that her mother can go an entire day, let alone five minutes, without correcting or belittling her. One day, her father had remarked how she looked like a lumbering, one-legged frog. Her best friend, David, calls it a beauty flaw, considering that almost everyone thought Carol Anne to be beautiful.
And she knew it of course. One either must be inhumanly modest or just plain stupid to not realize if they're beautiful or not. Carol Anne absolutely knew she was beautiful, she embraced it and she loved the attention she got from it. She took it for granted as well, finding life particularly easy for herself despite her situation at home. Beauty was something she also took advantage of when she needed it, she enjoyed the special treatment she always received.
But clumsiness is something that is contradictory to beauty. Beauty was elegant and graceful but clumsiness was the opposite. It was a curse on Carol Anne and it made her parents hate her all the more.
She was just about to strip off her nightgown to dress herself when her mother burst through the door, unannounced. Carol Anne looked her in the eye as she was always told to do; meet someone's gaze when they enter a room, especially if they are of higher rank than you.
Mary's graying, blonde hair was a bit frizzy from her sleep. It was tucked into a tight bun that looked as if it were going to pull the skin off her face if it stayed like that for too long.
Perhaps it hid the wrinkles, Carol Anne thought at the sight of her mother's aging face.
Mary's nightgown swayed at her slipper-covered feet as she closed the door behind her. Carol Anne was standing up completely straight now, knowing that posture was important to her mother.
"I assume that you forgot about you courting today with Charles Avery, Carol Anne?" Carol Anne's cheeks flushed in shame and dread. Her mother just stared at her. "I expect you to bathe and then I shall prepare you for the courting. You will bathe quickly. I expect you to be back in your room in no less than ten minutes, otherwise there will be consequences. Is that understood?"
Carol Anne nodded, looking back into her mother's hard and cold blue eyes. They were the ones she had inherited. Mary's eyes used to sparkle like stars when Carol Anne was little. But that was before she became cruel. Mary was always rude but she just got worse as her daughter matured. When Carol Anne was much younger, Mary would make her look in the mirror and point out the stars in her eyes like they were something special. Carol Anne found the stars in her mother's eyes too. But Mary gave up on Carol Anne being special and the light in her eyes had frozen over. They turned into solid blocks of blue ice. Carol Anne's had faded into blank pools of bright baby blue. She could never find the stars anymore.
"Yes, Mother," Carol Anne answered, her voice stoic and emotionless. Mary nodded once, curtly, before turning and striding out of the room with a ridged back and straight shoulders. She had always criticized Carol Anne about her posture but Carol Anne didn't want to walk like she had a pole up her back.
She sighed; her mother was right when she said Carol Anne had forgotten about her courting that day. She hated being courted even though it meant a brighter future. It was supposed to be about the couple but for Carol Anne, it was just constant harassment from her mother about what to do and what not to do. It grated on her nerves. Carol Anne longed to be doing other things, rather than be shoved into a dress that squeezed her in strange places and trying to be the perfect wife. It was absolutely horrible. Carol Anne wanted a life where she could be free. She didn't want to worry about stupid dresses and mannerisms.
But a life like that didn't seem to exist for Carol Anne.
The time was ticking by and she rushed to get a bath started before Mary had a heart attack. The family was lucky to have a house with a nice plumbing system. They weren't particularly rich but they weren't exactly poor. The house was bigger than the average with one floor. It could've been so much more if Richard hadn't blew most of their money on women and booze and Mary bought Carol Anne fancy dresses and other such things.
When the tub was filled with water, Carol Anne stepped in. Her muscles relaxed, her worn-out body feeling relieved.
Even though her family was a fortunate one, Carol Anne still helped her best friend, David, with his work. His father was an honest merchant and David and his brothers had to help with loading and unloading the ship. They worked other jobs as well with their mother. When Carol Anne was bored, she would accompany them. She would help deliver, store, package, load, unload, stack, and even sell the goods their father delivered. Because of that, she had bruises and scratches on her body. They were scattered in patterns on her skin―some from working and some from occasions where her father had gotten too drunk. Bruises were more frequent on her arms while scratches and cuts; from injuries or her own clumsiness, varied.
Carol Anne never spoke to anyone (except David) about her rough life at home. She didn't really have that many close friends in town―and certainly none of whom she could trust with such a secret. Rumors spread like wildfire in their small city of Saint John. If everybody knew what her parents did to her, she would definitely receive a punishment for ruining the family's reputation. Carol Anne knew that some people suspected her secret; they saw her strange bruises that were always on her skin or the excessive powder covering a black eye or a cut on her cheek. But no one said anything. It wasn't anyone's business what a man did to his family behind closed doors.
Her finger traced a scar that still hadn't faded away on her bicep in a melancholy way before she shook her head, trying to rid herself of all the bad memories the scars held. She grabbed the soap bar and began scrubbing herself. She scrubbed until her skin felt quite raw and got out. After wrapping herself in a towel, she skittered to her room. Luckily, she got there just before her mother entered the room. Mary was already in half her skirts that she needed to wear for Carol Anne's courting. Mary had always said it was proper for a mother to be at her daughter's courting but Carol Anne thought it was silly.
Mary didn't speak to Carol Anne as she dug through her closet for a dress and her other skirts. She tossed her daughter a white shift and Carol Anne quickly changed into it while her back was turned. When she whipped around again, Mary held one of Carol Anne's most fancy dresses in her hands and Carol Anne immediately knew that this courting would be important. She held still as Mary slipped her corset over her head and began to tighten the strings.
"Carol Anne, remember to be polite and do not slouch," she commanded. "It makes you look hideous and barbaric. Do not speak rudely to anyone and act as if you are the happiest woman around." She tried not to flinch when her corset constricted her chest almost unbearably. "Be kind to their slaves, we do not need anyone of the household against you."
"Do not stuff your face; we do not you fatter than you already are. Do not stutter―speak clearly when you talk. And most importantly…" she paused as she yanked the corset even tighter, "...do not fall."
"Yes, Mother." Carol Anne sounded a little wheezy. Mary didn't respond as she finished tightening her corset. She then helped Carol Anne into her dress that had been tailored to fit her perfectly. After her dress was on properly, Mary fiddled with the skirt before standing to examine her daughter from a distance.
"Carol Anne, I wish you'd stop eating so much. It ruins your figure." She sighed. Carol Anne didn't respond. Mary just shook her head before leading her over to her bureau, plopping her down in a little chair and combing through her hair.
Everyone in the city reassured Carol Anne that she was not fat. Whenever she mentioned that she was only eating vegetables or taking a break from sugar, they would say that she should be eating more and that she was as skinny as a stick. What they said comforted the young girl and she was no longer affected when her mother mentioned her weight. The opinion of the city had become more important than her mother's. For Carol Anne knew that they would not lie.
She stared blankly at her reflection, her blue eyes staring back at her pale face lifelessly. She would grimace every once in a while as Mary pulled too roughly on her hair or scratched her neck. Carol Anne was relieved when she was finished. Her curly, wild bed-head had been transformed into a delicate hair style: her curls being used to her advantage instead of being a nuisance. Her eyes were wide as they took in her hair. Mary had never done such a beautiful job before!
Mary continued to stay silent and Carol Anne didn't bother to break that silence as she started to smudge some of that rotten makeup onto her face. She put some on her cheeks and eyes before dusting her face with powder. Carol Anne's lips were red enough to leave uncovered. The Cambridge's maid, Grace, once told Carol Anne that her lips looked like she had eaten too many red licorice twists at the sweet shop.
"Stand," ordered Mary and she stood. Carol Anne hadn't even gotten a chance to examine her face. Her back was straight and her hands hung loosely by her sides. "Well, I did the best I could. Hopefully Charles Avery will be able to see something of worth in you. I'll finish getting ready and we'll be on our way." Carol Anne nodded. Mary turned and swept out of the room faster than lightning.
A bad feeling settled in her stomach as her mother mentioned Charles Avery again. She had heard what a snob he was and how he loved to brag about his riches. He was far from what Carol Anne would even consider marrying―if she even wanted to get married, that is―but there was no choice when her mother was involved.
Carol Anne caught the sight of some ivory, high-heeled shoes that had been placed on her bed. She groaned, but slipped them on her feet anyway.
If Mother wants to put me at a higher risk of falling, so be it.
As she put her shoes on, she noticed an elegant but unfamiliar figure that was in the full-length mirror by the wall. Carol Anne stood up straight quickly, surprised by the unknown person in the room. A flash of fear flooded her chest at the thought of an unexpected stranger. But the figure in the mirror copied her movements. Carol Anne crinkled her eyebrows at her, realizing that this...woman...was her. She walked closer to the mirror and the woman did the same. She looked her up and down with a confused expression. The woman in the mirror did not look like the girl she had always seen.
This woman had a curved and defined figure, her face delicate and her ebony hair done up perfectly. By just a glance, this woman appeared flawless in every possible way. But Carol Anne looked in this woman's eyes and saw a storm. It was a hurricane of emotions with rain pounding down and thunder booming; clouds rolling in and out, bringing new feelings with each wave. The woman who stared back in the mirror was not Carol Anne. Yes, their hair was the same, their facial features were the same, and they had the same life. But the real Carol Anne would not wear this dress and the real Carol Anne would not be wearing her hair pinned up in such a way and the real Carol Anne would most certainly not be going to visit a suitor.
The real Carol Anne was a girl on the brink of becoming a woman. Even though she was nineteen years old, it still appeared that she had some growing to do. She even had some baby fat to spare. The woman in the mirror was a matured, young lady and did not resemble Carol Anne at all.
She cast a hostile glare at the woman, angry that her curves were so deep and her face so defined. The woman in the mirror mimicked her and she growled softly while resisting the urge to rip off the dress and dive into the sea to wash away the fake identity. A fake identity that her mother had forced upon her. But instead, she turned away to dig through her jewelry box. She picked out a pair of pearl earrings and put them on before spraying some perfume.
Carol Anne's hands found her favorite piece of jewelry sitting in the box―a rose pendant. David had given it to her for her seventeenth birthday. Mary had warned her that she was not to be "sentimental" towards him because he was not to be her husband. He was a merchant's son, and not a very wealthy one at that. Carol Anne always reassured her mother that they were just friends and that it was a token of his friendship but she never believed her. She always frowned whenever she mentioned David.
She clasped the silver chain around her neck, watching the worn metal glisten in the already risen sun. The light reflected off of the many grooves in the necklace's intricate design. David had told her that his father bartered for it and planned to give it to his mother. But he had decided against it and gave it David for his birthday. David then had it cleaned up by a craftsman before giving it to Carol Anne.
Carol Anne had tried to convince him that she didn't need the necklace. She couldn't take something of such expense from him! He was much less fortunate than she. But he insisted. She liked it though, the silver rose embedded in the black pendant with an elaborate design of intertwining metals around it. The memory of him giving it to her in a little wooden box with a bow on it and their argument resided in those intertwined metals. She stared absentmindedly at the necklace, a light smile floating on her lips.
She was suddenly jerked out of her reverie when the sound of her mother's quick footsteps made her turn to face her at the doorway. Mary was dressed up as well and her hair was tied in a neat bun on the top of her head.
"It's time to go―we need to get there on time or it's all for naught." Carol Anne nodded.
After turning to look at herself in the mirror one last time, she decided to really look at her dress this time. It was elegant, made of heavy cloth with a beautiful design printed all over it. The sleeves stopped at her elbows and the skirt swayed at her feet; perfect for late spring. The bodice made her stomach look sucked in and her breasts look bigger―all while making her waist tiny at the same time. She was amazed at how defined her body was, but another sharp call from Mary pulled her from her trance.
Carol Anne tried to hurry out of the room without stepping on her dress but she tripped anyway. While managing to catch herself on the wall, she met her mother's annoyed face at the door. Her father was nowhere to be found but she didn't dwell on the fact, following Mary out the door and onto the cobblestone streets of town.
Because it wasn't that far and Mary wouldn't miss a chance to flaunt Carol Anne around the city, they were going to walk to Charles Avery's house. Carol Anne would have rather used their carriage, but Mary wouldn't want her to get all dressed up only to have one boy see her. She hated being stared at like a prize or some sort of trophy. It was uncomfortable. Carol Anne was like Mary's merchandise and the highest bidder―the richest boy in town―won by marrying her. If she was going to be merchandise, she would be the only one to sell herself.
Mary stopped her as they walked off their property and to the busy morning streets. "Charles Avery is expecting us for breakfast, so there's no time for any idle chit chat." She didn't bother to look at Carol Anne as she spoke.
"Yes, Mother." Carol Anne began following her as she continued forward. She waited for a moment before falling in line behind her. It was a sign of respect and usually she was scolded if she didn't do it.
As the pair walked through the streets, Mary's head was held high with a no-nonsense look on her face. Everyone seemed to move out of her way. Carol Anne trailed behind her like a lost puppy, hands folded neatly in front of her, back straight, and eyes focused ahead. She could feel the stares as she walked. Young girls were casting her dirty looks and whispering with jealousy, while the boys smirked and elbowed each other. Even older men were eyeing her. She shot them all malevolent looks and would've given them a piece of her mind but she couldn't speak without getting in trouble with her mother.
Carol Anne absolutely hated prancing around in these frilly school-girl dresses! She wanted nothing more than to smack those leering boys upside their heads. Only God knows what Mary would do if she saw her daughter behaving in such a barbaric manner. She always complained about how boyish Carol Anne was, always complained about how she had always wanted to fight and wrestle in the mud. Of course, Carol Anne was to be a lady, not a pigheaded boy. And so her wrestling days were put to an end.
About halfway through the walk, Carol Anne spotted David a little ways off, holding a rather larger sack of sugar over his shoulder. Sweat was dripping down his face and soaking into his shirt. Carol Anne instantly felt even sillier than she already did; walking around in a fancy dress when she would much rather be sweating alongside David. His three older brothers were ahead of him while the youngest was behind him. The oldest carrying four sacks of sugar, the second oldest three sacks, the third oldest two sacks, David one sack. The youngest was the only girl in the family; she carried nothing but a ripe, red apple.
The oldest, John, was a muscular, twenty-five year old with light brown hair. He was to be married to a woman named Estella. She wasn't the prettiest, nor the smartest, but John chose her. Even though John was very handsome and wanted by most of the ladies in town, he chose the one that didn't want him. And that one was Estella. She was a kind woman with a good soul. Carol Anne liked her.
The second oldest was Gregory. He was a skinny little thing, with his chestnut hair hanging in front of his eyes. His mother always pestered him about it, wanting to cut it but he wouldn't have that. Gregory was twenty-three and had yet to find himself a woman to marry. But Carol Anne had heard rumors about a blacksmith's daughter named Evelyn. She had asked him about Evelyn once. Amusingly, he just blushed and stuttered an answer while hiding behind his hair.
The second youngest and third oldest was Jacob. He took after John with his growing muscles and handsome face. He was also very good with the ladies, but happy without a love at twenty-one. Jacob shadowed John, trying to follow him everywhere but John always shooed him off.
David was nineteen, same as Carol Anne, with dark brown hair tied back into a short ponytail. He was a mix of all his brothers. David had a wiry build, the same leanness that Gregory had, with a bit of good looks from Jacob and John. He was shy like Gregory, but talkative with Carol Anne.
Now, Mary Margaret. That child was something else. She's going to be no lady, that's for sure. She's tougher than all the boys her age, can fight better, run faster, and spit farther than any of them. She had the round, cute face of a girl but the muscular frame of her brothers. A leaf or two was always stuck in that long, brown mane of hers. She always wanted Carol Anne to brush it out because she always had "nice hair" as she put it. That was a relief to her mother, since the ten year old refused to let her touch it. Mary Margaret's eyes were the brightest green Carol Anne had ever seen and they were always delightfully twinkling. She often thought of her as the sister she never had. Carol Anne did love that wild child.
As soon as he saw Carol Anne, David did a double take, staggeringly wide-eyed. Carol Anne chuckled. He took in her dress and her hair, a ghost of a smile playing on his mouth. She waved slightly and he waved back, taking a hand off the bag of sugar. It fell to the ground with a puff of dirt in the air. Jacob turned at the noise and began to scold him before following his gaze to look at Carol Anne as well.
A knowing smile spread across Jacob's face. He nudged David's shoulder before saying something that Carol Anne couldn't hear. David glared up at Jacob, his cheeks reddening as he shoved him. Jacob erupted into laughter at this. John looked back at the two who had dropped their bags of sugar and were now bickering as well as shoving each other. A teasing smile was still wide on Jacob's mouth.
Carol Anne hadn't realized that her walk had slowed until she was fully stopped, watching John yell at the two, who ceased their fighting immediately to continue on. David cast Carol Anne one last embarrassed look before picking up the sack of sugar and hurrying to catch up with the others. Mary Margaret trailed behind him while happily munching on the apple. She had witnessed the fight but chose not to participate, she knew better than to get trampled under her brothers.
A warm feeling had spread inside of Carol Anne as she watched this exchange. This...this was how a family was supposed to be. Looking out for each other, having fun teasing. David always told her that he wanted to be an only child and that he wanted to kill his brothers and sister at times (not literally of course) but Carol Anne never believed him. It must be so nice to have someone to be so easy-going with.
The four continued on their journey, forming a single file line with the oldest in the front and the youngest in the back.
"Carol Anne!" Mary's faraway, sharp voice called. Looking back at David's family once more, Carol Anne sped up to get back to her mother. Even though she tried to be ladylike without hurrying, she was forced to pull up her skirts, stumbling in her high-heeled shoes. Mary's face looked disapproving. Carol Anne slowed down and tried to walk as fast as she could without tripping. But Mary gave Carol Anne a glare anyway when she reached her before turning and walking on.
It was clear to everyone in Saint John that Carol Anne was no lady. Everyone remembered how she was when she was a child. Even though she was being trained to be a lady, there was still that part inside of her that longed to get muddy again.
What a stupid notion to have.
Carol Anne and Mary finally arrived at the doorstep of Charles Avery's house but Mary didn't ring the doorbell just yet. Instead, she turned to Carol Anne and smoothed her hair down, adjusting anything out of place before sighing like something was missing from her daughter.
"Remember everything I told you. Be polite and don't fall." Her voice was serious; her cobalt eyes slicing through any confidence Carol Anne had built up before they got there. She nodded sincerely, knowing how important this was to her mother. While fingering the rose pendant between her fingers, she watched as Mary knocked on the door. Taking a deep breath, she felt the corset restrict her chest movements. She released the air she had.
The door swung open and Carol Anne felt like she was opening a door to a new opportunity. Whether it was a good one or a bad one, she wasn't sure.