"It belonged to my wife," I say. She clears her throat.
"Aye, I recall you saying you had one."
"Then you'll also be remembering I told you she left me long ago."
"I seem to recall that as well," she says, handing back the locket.
"The last time I saw her she threw this back at me, told me she never wanted to see me again. I had gone to her parent's house, trying to win her back. When she finally come to the door she said there was nothing left in her that wanted me. All these years I've been trying to make my fortune, trying to make myself good enough for her. Do you think she'd want me now, Kidd? Do you think she'd take a pirate king?" Mary scoffs.
"I think the woman doesn't sound like much fun," she says, taking a swig of her rum and passing the bottle to me. I hold it, but don't drink.
"She wasn't. We fought a lot, too. She was from a wealthy merchant's family, didn't understand why I always wanted more, always needed more than a peasant's wage. But you know what I've decided?" Mary shakes her head no.
"I've no idea, but I bet you're going to tell me."
"And in that you are correct. I've decided I don't want to be good enough for her. I'm not going back to England. I think I'll stay here and continue being a pirate king."
"Cheers to that," she says, swiping the bottle back and taking a drink. I study her features in profile as she watches the fire. She really is quite beautiful. I guess no one noticed because no one wanted to be found studying the face of a teenage boy. Speaking of which...
"And what of you, Mary?" She has a dagger at my throat before I can blink.
"Don't call me that, Kenway. Anyone could overhear."
"Relax, Kidd, we're the only ones left on the beach." She turns her head to look around and I use that moment of distraction to roll her underneath my body and pin her to the sand.
"What do you think you're doing, Edward? Anyone could walk by and think you've spent too many months at sea. There's a whorehouse not a mile from here, go get one of them to wet your whistle," she says, but her dagger stays in its sheathe.
"Aye, but I don't want another whore. What I want is you." I cut off her laugh by covering her mouth with mine. She doesn't respond for a few seconds, but then slowly, almost lazily, rolls her tongue against mine. She tastes of spice and rum and fire. A heady combination. "Mary, I find you utterly bewitching," I say, breaking from her lips.
"Ah Kenway, you'll regret this in the morning," she says on a sigh. I grin at her.
"Why don't you let me be the judge of that?" I say, moving to unfasten her leather vest. She stops me.
"Think this through Edward. Someone, somewhere, will hear or see something and think you're screwing a boy barely out of his teens, if that." I shrug my shoulders.
"You know as well as I that half the pirates in Nassau use each other for companionship on the sea."
"That's different, we're on the land." I roll my eyes.
"Okay, it's been thought through. Moving on," I say, moving for her vest again. Once again, she stops me.
"And what of your wife, hmm? What of Caroline?" she asks.
"Were you listening to me not five minutes past? I just told you I'm done with her."
"A decision made on a beach in the middle of the night, when you've had too much rum."
"Mary, look at me," I say, catching her eyes with mine. "I haven't had a drink all night." She narrows her eyes.
"Why not?" I sigh and roll to the side.
"Because I had some thinking to do and I thought, for once, I'd do it sober." I lay on my back with my arms behind my head, staring up at the stars. "You're always telling me that I need to do better, that I need to be better, but that's not the same thing as not being me at all. The truth is, Mary, ever since our paths crossed in Kingston I haven't been able to stop thinking about you. How you fight, how you kill... how you look when you're not pretending to be a boy..." She scoffs and I grin. "And how you're here, living your life as a pirate, doing what you wish, but with a purpose, with something guiding your actions beyond the next ship full of gold.
"I'm done with Caroline because I'm done being something I'm not, but I'm not done with trying to be a better man. And thus far in my 27 years of life, you're the first person to make me feel like that. Like I want to be better not just for you, but for myself." Mary is silent for a moment before getting to her feet and pulling me up next to her. She keeps hold of my hand and starts to walk, dragging me along. "Where are we going?"
"To your manor to find a proper bed. After the speech you just gave, one is required for all the things I plan to do to you," she says without turning around. I grin. Somehow, I think this is just the start of something beautiful.