Memoirs of a Pirate Cook

Sam allowed his mind to drift as he ambled down the familiar path from his family estate to their farmland where several families lived. He made this very same walk several times a week as of late, and it was becoming a pleasantly mindless activity which helped him to think about whatever he so pleased.

Sam knew immediately that something was very, very wrong. Brigid's family's sleepy farmhouse, usually quite dark at this hour, was alight, and the front door was ajar.

"Excuse me, I was just -"

"Yes, yes, just comin' on by to meet up in secret with my daughter, aye? Heard all about it."

Sam blinked, a cold uncomfortable feeling grabbing hold of something between his stomach and his heart. What should he do? What had Brigid said? Should he lie? Had she lied? No, it seemed like she had told the truth, but how much of it? He dared not open his mouth and perhaps unwittingly contradict what she may have already said. Instead, he stood a little straighter, reminding himself that it was he that actually owned this land, not this poor farming man. Promptly, however, he looked down, ashamed by such a thought.

"Perhaps we could all-" he stopped short. The door, several yards behind the angry irishman who stood before him, had swung open so that the candlelight within highlighted the graceful silhouette of Brigid.

-

Brigid was looking anywhere but at the young man before her. She wrapped a hand up in the fabric of her skirt and squeezed it until her skin turned white, then disentangled her hand only to quickly entangle it again, this time in her own hair by the nape of her neck. Sam searched her face for some small resonance of the emotions she was feeling, but she wouldn't meet his eyes, and her expression was otherwise impossible to read.

"My father's arranged for me to marry a close family friend from a few towns over... he's a nice man, and really not too old." She still wasn't looking at him. "He even has most of his teeth," she added, but her tone lacked any trace of amusement.

"No, you don't have to marry someone else. I - I'll -" he stopped short. I'll what? Marry her? Surely father would give me his blessings, he thought sarcastically. Sure, he was a bit of a romantic, and Brigid - her bright blue eyes, her soft skin, melodic voice... but he wasn't stupid. And he couldn't bring himself to say words that he knew he could never back up with an action. Anyway, he was 16, marriage wasn't something he'd ever thought of seriously. Not even to someone as insouciant and positive and soft and beautiful...

"I want to marry him, Sam." Finally, she raised her head to look him directly in the eyes, though her expression was still impassive. Surely she didn't mean what she was saying, but what was he to say?

"If you're sure it's what you want..." his voice trailed off. The knot in his chest was growing unbearable, though, and he clenched his jaw, unable to say anything else. He wanted to shout, to demand some sort of explanation of why she didn't care enough about him to try and stay, but his pride forced him to remain stoic. She wanted to marry. She wanted to marry someone else. How could he fight for someone who didn't want him? He had learned already from his father that it was a fool's errand to even try.

He cleared his throat as quietly as possible, and managed to carefully construct his tone of voice so that it was quite steady. "Well, you'll always have my blessings Brigid. I suppose this is good - this is good-bye..." He gazed at her intently, studying her. Memorizing her. The shape of her eyes, the gentle curve of her chin, her straight nose and the two small freckles illuminated against her creamy skin in the moonlight. Then, he looked away.

"I'll walk you to the door," he murmured, expressionless. It was a foreign feeling for him to look so unhappy, almost painful. His green eyes had become quite dull despite the shining full moon.

"Sam." Brigid was fumbling with the clasp on her necklace, unsuccessfully attempting to remove her St. Brigid's cross. Finally, frustrated, she pushed her eyes shut, and pulled the necklace down harshly, wincing with the sting of the metal on the back of her neck. The necklace was one of the most valuable things she possessed, and she hadn't taken it off since her mother had given it to her some years before. "Sam!" She repeated, more sternly. He looked up, and she promptly looked down again, suddenly shy. Slowly, and hesitating as though she expected his skin to burn her own, she reached out to his hand. Timidly, she unfurled his fingers and pushed the pendant into his palm.

Her skin did burn his hand. It burned his heart and his mind, because he knew this would be the last time he would feel her skin against his. She softly wrapped her hand around his to make sure he was holding her necklace, then withdrew to herself.

"Please don't forget me."

Sam didn't answer her. Mostly he didn't trust himself to say the right thing, whatever that may be. He didn't trust himself to not make a fool of himself. He studied his hands and the small necklace that was drowning in them. The metal scraped against the only jewelry he regularly wore: the Crawford family ring. It was silver with a few small precious gems, but he had always hated the gaudy thing. Without another thought, he wiggled it off of his finger, and mimicked Brigid's earlier motion, this time depositing the ring in her hand.

"I'll never forget. Let us go back before your father comes after me with a pitchfork," he commented dryly.

The End

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