Author: Kat Lee
Fandoms: California Dreams/Pirates of the Caribbean
Character/Pairing: Jake/Lorena, Jack/Will, Pintel/Ragetti
Warning(s): Future Fic, AU, Character Death, Suicide
Word Count: 2,452
Date Written: 26 September 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
They were deep into each other, kissing like there was no tomorrow, when they suddenly heard loud, raucous music. The song seemed familiar but was played by old instruments. Jake tried not to ignore it at first as, tipping Lorena’s head back slightly, he deepened their kiss, his tongue reaching as far as it could into his fiery girlfriend’s passionate, large, and eager mouth. The music just kept playing louder and nearer, however, and finally Jake caved, opened his eyes while still kissing Lorena, and froze. His eyebrows shot up, but his tongue slipped back into his own mouth and then stilled completely.
“What?” she frowned, opening her eyes at last. She followed his terrified gaze and shook her head, a small smile playing across her swelling lips. “Es solo un fantasma,” she said,trying not to laugh at her normally brave boyfriend’s obviously terrified expression.
The Pirate ship barreled down faster on their shore. “We should run for it,” he muttered, grabbing her arm a little more firmly, so hard, in fact, that it would leave bruises that would make her laugh with every reminder over the next several days.
“There’s nothing to run from,” she retorted, rolling her beautiful, brown eyes at him. She stood to face the ship even as it came onto the shore, spraying water with it. Very real mist splashed across her face, and the wind tugged invisible fingers through her long, brown hair. She was just beginning to think maybe she was wrong and they should vamoose when the ship stopped moving.
It was a mere inch from her face. She swallowed hard as Jake called from behind her, “Lorena! Come on!” He ran up to her, grabbed her arms, and started to pull away.
“Relax, Somers,” she said, rolling her eyes at him. “It’s not real!” She reached a hand out for the ship. Jake pulled harder but then stopped as her fingertips swept right through the ship’s bow. “It’s Halloween, for God’s sake,” she reminded him.
“I know,” Jake said, trying to swallow the fear that had made his eyebrows shoot up, his hair stand on end, and his face turn pale. “I thought at first Sly was playing some kind of prank, but that’s not Sly.”
“No,” Lorena agreed. “It’s a fantasma, a ghost,” she explained.
“But ghosts -- “
“Are real,” she insisted, “despite what you gringos think.”
Already the gang plank had descended down onto the shore, and very real-looking Pirates were beginning to descend it. “Maybe we should go,” Jake muttered, tugging on Lorena’s arm.
“Are you kidding?!” The bold Latina shot him a withering look. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!”
“Yeah, to have a Pirate run a sword through us,” Jake muttered.
“It’s Halloween,” she pointed out again as though he was dumb. “They can come ashore. They can be seen. But they can’t harm us!”
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that -- “
“Ah! What a beautiful lass!” one of the Pirates exclaimed suddenly, turning toward them. The eye that had apparently been made of wood or glass in his life rolled about in his head. “Sing us a song, won’t you, beautiful?”
“You don’t want her to sing,” Jake remarked harshly, stepping in between his girlfriend and the oncoming Pirates.
A skinny Pirate standing beside the balding one with the fake eye slithered his tongue like a snake, rapidly in and out of his hissing mouth. “I can think of way better ways for her to entertain us, Pintel. It’s been a long, lonely voyage.”
“Shut your trap, Ragetti -- “ the one called Pintel snapped, looking disgusted, while Lorena considered, for the first time, that maybe Jake had been right and they should have ran.
Heat blazing into her face, she defied them, “I don’t do that sort of thing with anyone but my boyfriend!”
“You might not want to mention that right now, sweetheart,” Jake muttered through clenched teeth. He kept a hand behind him on her arm but still stood between her and the motley Pirates.
“Really now?” Lorena felt a cold chill sweep through into her very bones as Pintel zeroed his gaze in on her. “That’s no way to make a man feel welcome, girl.” He smiled, but there was only ruthless coldness and a barely veiled threat in his toothy grin.
“THAT’S ENOUGH!” a commanding voice called out. Instantly the ghosts and humans looked to see the Pirate Captain himself sashaying down the gangplank with a purpose. One hand held to that of the man beside him while the other hand waved through the night air.
“We were just having a little fun, Captain. Isn’t that right, Ragetti?”
“Oh, yeah!” Ragetti looked at Lorena again and once more slithered his tongue between his teeth. Unable to stop herself this time, she grimaced.
“But she seems to find the idea of having Ragetti or myself for a partner,” Pintel spoke in what Lorena could not tell was more anger or dismay, “unthinkable.”
“Is that so?” The Captain arched an eyebrow as he looked at the girl in question.
Lorena reached ahead of her, groped blindly, and finally found Jake’s hand. She threaded her fingers through his, taking comfort from the knowledge that, if it came to it, he would fight to his very last breath to protect her. “It’s not that!” She glanced at Pintel and Ragetti and instantly wished she hadn’t. Refocusing her gaze on their Captain, who was obviously a much better looking man, she explained, “I’m in love, sir. The idea of doing anything like . . . like that with any man other than the man I love is unthinkable!”
“Aw,” Pintel mocked her with a sneer.
“I don’t know.” The tall one called Ragetti suddenly looked uncertain. “That is kind of sweet.”
“That is very sweet,” the Captain declared, “and it’s good to know that those kind of morales still exist in today’s world! Go!” he ordered his Pirates, waving a hand at them. “Scatter and have your fun this night! Loot and pillage where you will, but only take the willing wenches!”
“None of them are willing any more,” Pintel argued, his voice not quite reaching a tone underneath his breath.
The Captain narrowed his kohl-rimmed eyes at Pintel and Ragetti. “Enough complaining, you two!” he commanded as another Pirate’s parrot squawked and shook his tail feathers. “We all know you’re together! You’d think, after we’ve all been sailing together for over two hundred years, you’d give up the bloody pretense!”
To Lorena’s slack-jawed amazement, Pintel and Ragetti exchanged a look and then slunk away without another word. Other Pirates chuckled, glanced in her and Jake’s direction, but continued on out over the shore and toward town. She was suddenly very glad they had been here to see them come ashore and wondered what kind of mischief they would cause in their small town. She imagined Tiffani and Sam seeing them and screaming their heads off. She could see Sly fainting, Mark and Tony screaming like girls, and Tony turning as white as Jake’s skin was now. She squeezed his hand as she actually laughed out loud.
The Captain’s head swung toward her. His dark eyes narrowed at her. “Do you find something funny, Miss . . . “
“Lorena Da Costa,” she informed him with no small amount of pride, but then she reconsidered things as she gazed at the Captain. He was a commanding figure, and she knew that most Pirate Captains, especially dead Pirate Captains, would not have cared what his crew had done with her. She remembered that he’d even specified that they take willing “wenches” only, and although they weren’t likely to find any willing in her modern world, she couldn’t help wondering --
“You’re wondering,” the Captain spoke, striding forward and cutting into her thoughts, “why I care. I don’t, not really, not about the others. But love is a splendid thing and to be respected. Those two aren’t usually like that,” he explained to her surprise. “They really are together.”
“And I really do love him,” she said, lifting Jake’s hand to her lips and kissing it. She moved up to stand beside him.
To her surprise, the Captain smiled kindly upon them. “I can tell,” he said. “I’m in love myself, you see.”
She felt Jake start to say something as he lifted the hand of the handsome man who stood beside him, but Lorena cut him short with a quick elbow to his shoulder. “That’s . . . beautiful,” she said, choosing her words carefully. “Not many know the love we have.”
“No, and that is why I’m going to release you tonight. Tell no one what you have seen.” She wondered why but did not dare to ask. He winked at her as he explained, “They would never believe you any way, senorita. No go.”
Jake’s hand still clutched in her own, Lorena started to walk away. Behind them, she could hear the Captain’s lover murmuring, “That was sweet,” and heard the sound of their kiss. She leaned into her own love as she whispered excitedly, “This will be a Halloween to remember!” But, then, she thought, every night with him was memorable. Jake Somers really was the love of her life, and he remained that way for many years after he’d broken her heart, including the year that found her back on the shore on another Halloween night when the Pirate ship once again came illegally into their port.
She was there, waiting, when the gangplank descended and the Pirates began to emerge. She readily spied the two whose names she did not recall but whose threats she remembered along with the fact that they were truly together with apparently little use for a female between them. Pintel and Ragetti eyed her nervously before almost breaking into a run as they took off toward the town without a word to her.
The Captain actually smiled when he saw her, but then concern touched his haunting, dark eyes when he noted she was alone. “Where is your love?” he asked her, his voice as soft as the night wind.
Lorena lifted her own, haunted eyes to his. “Somewhere,” she answered with the air of one who did not care, “in the land of the living.”
“And you,” he asked, “are no longer -- “
“No, and I have not been for some time now. But I tire of haunting this little town, Captain. Will you take me with you?” she asked. “Please?”
“Some ghosts are limited to where they can travel, Senorita Da Costa,” he warned her, simultaneously surprising her that he recalled her name, “but if the Fates allow it, yes, you may certainly come with us.”
She smiled and moved slowly up the gangplank. Once on the ship, she looked out over the railing and down in the direction of the town where she’d once thought all her happiness lay within her reach. Then Jake had chosen Tiffani over her, and one by one, she’d lost each of the Dreams. She had no friends or family left. She had no reason to stay, and evidently, the Fates must agree for she felt no pull back toward the land.
“Very well,” she heard the Captain say. “She’s one of us now!” he called to his crew.
Lorena marvelled silently. Of all the things she’d once thought her future would hold, she never would have guessed that she’d become a modern girl on a seventeenth century Pirate ship, but then she’d believed that Jake would love her forever only a decade before. She had loved him long before he’d loved her and long after, and she knew she would never stop. He was still her endgame. She would love him for as long as he existed, no matter how many other Tiffanis the now-famous rock star took to his bed.
“You didn’t question her,” the Captain’s man whispered in surprise.
“There was no need,” Jack returned, turning to look up at where Lorena was now standing on his ship. “I saw in her something missing,” he explained, “the same hole that I felt in myself when you were taken from me.” He squeezed Will’s hand. “She did what I would’ve done myself,” he further dared to explain, “if you had not come after me.” He raised Will’s hand and kissed his knuckles for all to see.
Will beamed up at him, his dead eyes shining with emotion. “I’ll always come after you, my Captain,” he vowed in a husky whisper. His hands cupped Jack’s face, and he kissed him long and deep with the same kind of passion and care Lorena and Jake had once kissed before on that very beach.
Lorena looked away from the Pirates and up toward the stars with a sad smile on her face. Her eyes glistened with tears that she finally let fall in silence. It was good to know that true love still existed in the world. It would only have been nicer if the love she’d shared with Jake had been as real for them both. She’d always felt it for him, but she’d wondered many times since he’d broken her heart if he’d ever truly felt it for her.
She would never know now, she realized, but at least she did have a future again, a future, she knew, that would come complete with twists, surprises, and plenty of Pirates -- and, she didn’t know yet, a family that would one day come to mean to her as much as she’d always tried to have the Dreams mean. She was with her family now, her own ancestors among them, but she wouldn’t find that out for another hundred years or so. What she would learn far sooner was that sometimes life, or afterlife, did continue after love had shattered, and hers was far from over.
“Yo ho ho!” she heard the Captain cry out into the Halloween night. “It’s a Pirate’s life for me!”
“And it’s a Pirate’s life for me,” she whispered, smiling through her tears, “after all.” Who knew? Maybe she’d finally find everything for which she’d searched her entire mortal life amongst these dead men, but at least she now had a place to belong and people who could not only see her but welcomed her as well. It was far better than the life she’d been living for years before she’d finally surrendered to the endless sorrow, and especially far better than haunting a place where she could not be seen. “Yo ho ho!” She began to hum. “It’s a Pirate’s life for me!” And for the first time since she’d been only a teenager in love, Lorena began to look forward to what the morrow would bring.