Ava and The New World Ch. 01byPiratess©
The door slammed inches from her face, a menacing voice bellowed through the wood,
"Dinner is a six, and by god daughter, you will there and appropriately dressed!"
Ava suppressed an angry scream, tossing her long, tumbling auburn tresses back from her face, stormy green eyes glimmering.
"This is ridiculous!" she hissed to herself, as she sat on her four poster, floral bed.
She looked out and could see the snow begin to fall over the French fields, icy winds tapped sporadically at the window. A far cry from her childhood of Barbados.
Ava sprang up angrily and paced the small attic room feeling cooped up like a bird in a tiny cage, muttering
"Arrogant overbearing beast, lord knows I will make him sorry for this!"
Ava was furious. She flopped back onto the bed, tears brimming.
Her father, Lord Anton Moreau was making her marry for money and status, and the wedding was in three days to a complete stranger. And worse, he was a Spaniard. She was meeting her betrothed Mendoza, tonight at dinner.
She had unsuccessfully escaped the night before. Ava had decided she could stow away on a ship headed for the Caribbean, or anywhere away from this arranged marriage. She had escaped the house to the docks early morning in hope of such luck. Unfortunately for her she was instantly recognised by some of the sailors who promptly returned her home to an angry stepmother and father.
Now she walk locked in the attic room, waiting for the dreaded meeting to come.
"Oh what am I to do," she sobbed desperately into her pillow.
All Ava knew was that this Mendoza, a well travelled Navigator for the Spanish Fleet was at least 17 years her senior, and the only life he knew was the sea. She assumed he was old fashioned, orderly and boring. She had pictured him to be greying haired, wrinkly and totally un-passionate about anything else but himself. How dare they arrange a marriage, she thought.
"if only my mother were here too see this," Ava whispered painfully.
And what did this man know of her? This was not a life for Ava, who was fiercely head strong and independent, not to mention romantic and adventurous. She had plans to see the world and sow the world she was as good as any man. Marriage had never been high on her agenda, and if she had the choice she wouldn't ever enter into it.
As a child she grew up in the Caribbean, surrounded with natural splendours, activity of developing colonies and free reign of her home. She grew up with tales of daring pirates, adventurous pioneer women and successful new settlers. Ava loved to out-do anyone especially boys on the islands. She was as good as any archer back in France, fished in the shoals around the islands, and learnt to shoot wild pigs. When she returned to France only 6 months earlier, her Father and new stepmother tried to change her dramatically. No more man style horse riding, shooting or archery and definitely no pants. Ava was not used to layers upon layers of restrictive undergarments, let alone crinoline skirts and billowing gowns.
There was a soft rap at the door from the maid, "Miss Moreau, I've brought your gown for this evening."
The door slowly creaked open as the maid peered cautiously around it. Ava rolled over to slowly sit on the bed.
"Its all right Alice, you can come in." Ava sniffed softly, fat tears rolling down her hot cheeks.
Alice shuffled over to Ava, "Oh Miss, don't be like that, everything will work out okay, just wait and see. No come on, let's get you ready."
Alice had been with Ava since she was a little girl, and knew Ava like no one else. She knew of her romantic dreams about love, about her wild streak and voracious temper. She also knew how caged in Ava must've been feeling, from where she lived in the Caribbean and the way she lived before, to this constricted way under her stepmothers guidance in France. But Alice had a feeling that this man was going to be Ava's match. She had heard many tales of this Mendoza from sailors, renown as great adventurer, courageous, and a powerful but harsh leader.
Ava glanced over to the dress that Alice had laid out. It was stunning; deep V neck ball gown, a wild rainforest green colour with gold flecks through the huge skirt. She sighed; resigned to do her fathers will, but in the depth of her heart she vowed to fight to the end.
Mendoza waited uncomfortably in the foyer. It had been a long time since he had worn such a constricting outfit, or been around so called civilised people. He hated the caged in feeling, tight in his chest. He was only 35 this winter, and had loved his life, til now. God! how he wanted to back out on the open seas. To feel the sun on his face and the salt spray sting his skin, to be with his crew and to test the adventure.
He had been told during the day by some old friends that his betrothed had tried to stow away on one of ships that early morning, and to be wary of her fiery disposition. From local accounts she was rather wild, and rumours she used to hunt and shoot, fish and take part in duels in her hometown. Mendoza wasn't amused for he found had no time for any woman while there was a world to explore, especially gold to be found in the New World.
He had already defied his King's wishes twice, leaving women at the altar not wishing to enter in such a binding contract to a woman he did not know. To him, they were more trouble and grief than they were worth. There were too many things in this world to discover. But to enable him to discover more of the world he must marry into France, by decree of the King.
Lord Anton Moreau entered the foyer, welcoming his guest with a sherry.
"Ah, my daughter is just getting ready sir, she shouldn't be much longer, would you care to accompany me to the dining hall?"
"Certainly Lord Moreau, thankyou. You have a charming place sir, beautiful grounds."
The two men continued the small talk, and walked though to doors to the dining hall.
Ava haltered at the top of the stairs.
She could hear Mendoza'a voice, echoing through the old house, it seemed to penetrate every fibre of her being, sending a shiver down her spine. She felt the fear uncurl in the pit of her stomach as the reality of what was happening sank in.
"I can't do this..." She whispered, "I just can't."
"You must Mistress, you have no choice," Alice replied confidently straightening Ava's skirts, and knowingly how handsome he was she encouraged her. "Now go down there and be polite, you don't want to scare him away do you now."
Ava's mind started to tick.
Yes actually, she thought, yes I do want to scare him away.
She knew that being wilful and obstinate was not a desirable quality for most gentlemen, so she would be extra untamed tonight. A surge of confidence coursed through her, as she swept purposefully down the stairs.
She stepped into the room and graciously smiled at her stepmother, father and several other guests, friend's of her fathers, as well as many servants.
She gazed around the room seeking this man she was to marry. She gazed over the guests, - His dark storm blue eyes met with hers glimmering green. Ava stopped in her tracks, her stomach fluttering and her resolve to be thorny quickly dissolved.
Mendoza's face was cold as he assessed her appearance. Ava was almost breathtaking. Her hair was all shades of fire and autumn leaves; gold, orange and red shimmering in curls down her neck. Mendoza could not help but stare at this young woman. The green gown complimented her beautiful hair and warm caramel tanned skin, her fiery eyes the same green as the gown with gold flecks. Mendoza noticed that her arms were bare; showing beautiful sculpted but toned muscles, unusual for a lady he thought. He cast his eyes back to her face, lingering at her revealing neckline. He stood up, bowing politely at Ava.
He admired her slender but strong waist, the swell of her hips, and his mind raced, imagining her firm thighs beneath the skirts, glancing back at her breasts which were taught against the green bodice. Mendoza tore his look away briefly to still his imagination.
Her father's voice echoed around the room dragging them both to reality,
"Ah, this is my daughter Ava, and Ava this is the best Navigator to the Spanish Fleet, Mendoza."
Ava curtsied politely, "Sir," she studied him warily, but his deep ocean blue eyes were captivating her.
"Miss Moreau," he replied.
Their electric gaze lingered a fraction longer, before he broke the silence.
"Shall we start?" he continued, gesturing at the dining table, a nonchalant look glazed his face.
Still suspicious of him, Ava broke into a dazzling smile, her eyes sparkling making Mendoza stall in his tracks, his heart skipped and thudded in his ears. Feeling quick uneasy with this reaction Mendoza's face clouded over, as stormy as his eyes.
They began to eat and drink, her father engaging Mendoza with polite conversation about the weather, politics and travel.
Ava kept unusually quiet which was noticed by everyone on the house, for she was exceedingly taken aback at her future husband. She was intrigued to find he didn't have one grey hair. He was tall and well built with powerful shoulders that seemed to be bound in his coat, struggling to get free. He was rugged and weathered but very handsome. Chiselled features, cropped hair dark brown, almost black, and his eyes were like windows to the wild pacific the colours of dark stormy seas at night.
She shook herself away from thoughts of this man. Feeling quite fearful of her own emotions about him already, she sensed he already had some great power over her, and anything that was against her will, she would not have.
The conversation turned the subject of her impending marriage, money and where they shall live. Ava started boiling inside, furious that they should talk about it and her as if she were not there. Determined to be part of the conversation, Ava went to voice her strong opinion.
Her blazing train of thought was interrupted, as piercing dark blue eyes burnt in her direction, putting her out of kilter.
"Tell Miss Moreau, do you miss Barbados?"
Ava glanced down, recollecting herself then lifted to meet his gaze her chin thrust up proudly,
"Very very much, it will always be my home and holds a special place in my heart. I would do anything to be back there." Ava snapped, still angry about the entire staged situation and more so with herself as she felt a deadly and unstoppable attraction to this man.
"And you sir, do you miss the...sea?" she awkwardly spluttered, blushing hot up her cheeks.
Mendoza's eyes narrowed, and darkened, "Yes Miss Moreau, I do miss the sea. But my time has come; to do my duty as a man and to my King, and..." he stalled.
Ava noticed his simmering frustration to her question, changing his eyes to a brighter blue. As she studied him, his answer reached her ears. .
"Produce an heir?" she forcefully stated, her eyes boring holes in him, her temper flaring.
Shifting her gaze to her father, she met threatening eyes, stoping her from any further argument. Ava felt as if she would burst.
Mendoza was surprised by her reaction and display of raw emotion, he thought that he would get a simpering, silly 18 year old girl, yet this girl was a woman, a worldly woman that had so much more to offer. He began to think she was more trouble than she was worth.
"Well yes," he cautiously replied.
Ava huffed and stood up, absolutely seething, not knowing what to say or do, and not wanting to embarrass her father with her full temper she strode to the dining hall doors.
She sarcastically spat at them all,
"Excuse me, I've had a tiring day doing my female duties, I think I should retire to think about producing some offspring!" She turned and ran out into the dark, to the gardens.
"AVA!" her father bellowed after her, knocking silverware as he leapt to his feet "Ava Moreau get back here!"
He turned to Mendoza with frustration, "I'm so sorry for my daughter's..." Lord Anton Moreau began, only to be cut off.
"It's all right, Lord Moreau, she is young and apparently discontented with the situation at hand. Perhaps I should talk to her." Mendoza coolly answered.
"Sir I don't think that is the best idea, she is extremely wilful, hot headed and untamed. You may but yourself in danger," Lord Moreau continued.
Mendoza looked out the doors, "I enjoy a challenge, I will talk to her, please excuse me." He stood up, and strode out after Ava.