A pirate captain returns to plunder her favorite port, where she and a ravishing young lady play a familiar game.
While my crew works to moor The Santiago, an impressive galleon we “borrowed” from the Armada three months ago, I hop onto the creaking dock with a pistol in hand.
Swaying with the waves, I inhale deeply, a grin on my lips. The tropical air is thick and warm, teasing me with the smell of spices, sugar, and other luxuries.
It’s good to be back. Of all the towns in the Spanish Main, there’s something seductive about this one’s treasures, charm, buildings… and yes, the people.
While my first mate, Diego, pays off the harbormaster with silver, I stride past a few fishing vessels and pause to steady my feet on the firm ground.
“Take what you can until I give the word, boys!” I shout, waving my pistol. “Gold, liquor, food—and don’t forget soap this time, for God’s sake.”
My crew rushes onto the land with cheers and roars, ready to pilfer as much as this town has to offer. “Aye, Captain!”
As they rush into the streets, civilians notice their guests and run for cover in the brick and wood buildings. Screams, barking dogs, and braying mules rise in a chorus.
I’m keen to be rid of the boys for a while. I love them like brothers, and like any good siblings, they annoy the hell out of me. In the long days at sea, I often wish for the company of other women—but unfortunately, few who are sane choose a life of piracy.
While panic erupts, I dash through the streets to my familiar target: the extravagant brick towers that make up the House of Méndez. My heart pounds with the anticipation of what’s inside.
I shoot the lock on the door with a clang of metal on metal, then kick the door open with a flourish. “Lovely day for a pillage!” I sing. “Miss me?”
The House’s three servants clamber back, expressions taut with surprise. One of them drops a pile of washing.
Before they get any ideas about a show of courage, I walk inside and fire a shot into the ceiling. “Everybody out! Come on.”
Wood fragments shower down, and the servants flee into the street, screaming.
Beneath the residual gun powder, the home smells mouth-watering, like freshly baked cake. I’ll have to remember to grab something to eat on the way out.
Nobody else comes to meet me.
My lips curl into a grin. If the man of the house isn’t here, that gives me time.
I race up the stairs, checking in every room, before arriving at a closed door.
I draw a breath, ready my pistol, and enter.
The bedroom is the same as I remember it, from the gold cushions on the bed to the ornate dressing screen. A young lady stands beside the writing desk at the back of the room, her delicate hand gripping the back of a wooden chair.
My stomach swoops, a sensation like cresting a wave at sea.
She’s in a black dress with gold embroidery, which flatters her tan skin and dark hair… but I will never understand fashion. Yes, the bodice gives her waist a tantalizing shape, and the ornamentation is lovely, but the dress has so many layers of skirts that it hides her shape from the waist down.
Women’s legs should not be hidden. If I were responsible for fashion, we would all be in trousers.
“Señorita Antonia!” I lower my pistol and shut the door behind me. “What a lovely surprise.”
Antonia laughs, a glint in her emerald eyes. “Captain Lucia. How convenient that you’ve arrived when my parents are out.”
I step closer. “Lucky timing.”
She lifts an eyebrow, stepping back until she’s leaning against the desk. “Or planned.”
I grin, then remember my courtesies and bow. “You look ravishing today.”
“And you look… like you’ve been at sea for a while.”
I lift my chin and run a hand down my sand-colored braid. “That may be true, but I’ll have you know that I bathed this morning for the occasion and am wearing my finest attire.”
“So it would seem. Isn’t that my dear cousin Carlos’s jacket?”
I look down at it, feigning surprise. “Well, I suppose it is.”
Antonia sighs, peeking between her fluttering curtains to the chaos in the streets. “There’s no point in protesting, is there?”
I stride closer. I would tell her that I regret having to steal from her, but that would be a lie. “No. What’ve you got for me today?”
She doesn’t move, so I keep advancing until we’re nose-to-nose. Her breath hitches, and her gaze flicks down my body and back to my face.
She smells as sweet as the town she lives in, like cocoa and cinnamon. Her soft, smooth skin is easier on the eyes than any of the haggard men I’m forced to look at every day.
“Did your father bring you gifts since we last met?” I say quietly.
“Chocolates,” she whispers. “A crystal pendant. Silk stockings.”
“Silk… stockings?” I say, mouth dry.
“Yes.” Her rosy lips curve upward. “You might not be familiar, given your choice of trousers and other men’s fashion, but—”
“I know what stockings are,” I snap.
“Do you want to see?” She wiggles her shoulders in a way that makes heat rush to my cheeks.
She grows bolder every time I see her.
“I—well—are you wearing them?” I say. Any control I had over this situation is slipping through my fingers.
More heat. I back up a step. “I’ll take the pendant and chocolates.”
“Very well.” She brushes past, and a ripple travels up my arm as we touch.
As she rummages through her wardrobe, I steady myself with a deep breath. Beyond the closed door, the house is dead quiet, and Antonia’s every movement is sharp in my ears. For now, it’s just us. Everything going on in the streets is a world away.
Part 2 coming tomorrow. Read the full story right now on “Sweet & Spicy Sapphic Stories” at patreon.com/tianawarner. Plus you’ll get early access to next week’s story!
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