Jack hardly ever thinks about it. The three of them work together,
and it doesn't matter who stood up in front of God and everybody and
promised to love and obey. (Obey! Now there's a laugh. . .)
But sometimes, Elizabeth looks at Will like he's all she sees. Like now,
she's doctoring Will's leg, changing the bandage with a deft and gentle
touch. Neither of them notices Jack watching. She whispers something to Will
and he touches her hand like she's the answer to his every prayer. In that
moment, they seem as distant as the horizon, and twice as enticing.
Elizabeth weighs the letter in her hand, unwilling to open it and the flood
of guilt it brings, and yet hungry for what it holds. A snippet of hair? A
charming anecdote about her son's roguish ways? (Blood will tell,
At the helm, Will and Jack are laughing together, unconcerned, as if they
are everything to each other. When she reads the infrequent letters, she
imagines them adventuring on without her. She sees herself in a dress,
raising her son, a proper lady, far away from the sea. Sometimes, she's
afraid they wouldn't miss her all that much.
Will never doubts Elizabeth's love for him. He is never jealous of Jack's
attentions. Who could complain about such a surplus of affection? How could
three in bed seem like not enough to go around?
But Will hasn't had the experience Jack's had. Perhaps Jack knows some trick
to satisfying a woman that Will is too naive to grasp. Perhaps Jack prefers
Elizabeth's fiery intensity, the perfect match to his own, to Will's slower,
more measured response. They are as alike as two peas in a pod, Jack always
says, and Will can't help but wonder where that leaves him.
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