Pairing/Characters: Estrella/Lt. Groves
Word Count: 1438
Genre: general fic, with a touch of romance
Summary: Four days before Will and Elizabeth’s wedding, Elizabeth’s maid finds herself faced with a proposal of a different sort.
Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine, they all belong to Disney. No money being made from this.
Spoilers: Just for CotBP
Notes: For those who don’t recognize the characters, Estrella is Elizabeth’s maid from the first movie, and Lt. Groves is the guy who said “That’s the best pirate I’ve ever seen.” Also, the lost item is found by the end and the argument is rather short
The wedding was in four days, and Estrella Lawrence had worn her self completely ragged. As Elizabeth’s lady’s maid, Estrella had been entrusted with flowers, decorations, and overseeing the dress. She spent her days running through the governor’s mansion, pointing people here and there. At the center of the storm was her mistress, a speck of calm in a whirlwind of activity. On this afternoon, instead of rushing to her last fitting, Elizabeth was wandering in the garden, humming to herself.
“Miss Swann? Miss Swann!” Estrella called, rushing over to her mistress. Elizabeth took no notice of her, stopping to pick a few roses that grew along the path. “Miss Swann, it is nearly two in the afternoon! Your fitting was nearly ten minutes ago!”
Elizabeth sighed, her voice unnaturally calm and excited at once. “Oh, Es. It’s not that late. I’ll be up in a minute. I was just picking flowers. Wouldn’t they look lovely at the wedding? And they’re red. Red is the color of love. Oh Es, I do so want to be married.” Elizabeth turned around, walking slowly back to the house. “Are you married, Es?”
“What happened with the lieutenant? I thought you two were a lovely couple.”
“I believe he’s attempting to progress further in the ranks, ma’am.”
“Have you even talked about it?”
“Ah. Waiting for an opportune moment.” Elizabeth nodded, a shy smile stealing across her face.
“I’m sorry, Ma’am?”
“He’s waiting for the opportune moment.” Elizabeth turned to her maid, flashing a grin.
“And men always wait for the opportune moment?”
“No, they don’t. Sometimes you have to show them.” Elizabeth laughed. “It took a pirate to teach Will that.”
“I remember that pirate. Simply awful. If weren’t for him, you would be married by now.”
“Yes, but to the Commodore. Jack Sparrow didn’t do everything wrong.”
“If you say so.”
“Is the Lieutenant coming to the wedding? I’m sure we invited him.”
“He was invited, but there is someone arriving that day. They wanted him to be at the fort.”
“Oh that’s a shame. Don’t worry, Es. That moment will come. I hope you won’t leave me when it does.”
“Ma’am?” Estrella stopped, facing her mistress.
“It’s a small house, Es. I only need one person to help me, and you are certainly qualified. Now, I’m late for my fitting, isn’t that what you came out here to tell me?”
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll be looking after flowers and such.”
“Come and see my dress. It’s beautiful.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Estrella dropped a small curtsy, then went through to the kitchen as Elizabeth went upstairs.
“Bess!” Estrella called loudly, entering the kitchen. “Bess, what are we doing?”
“I’m afraid she isn’t here.” Lieutenant Theodore Groves was seated on a stool, eating a small plate of cold meat and cheese.
“Lieutenant!” Estrella exclaimed. “You shouldn’t be here!”
“Oh, you don’t wish to see me?” Groves teased her gently.
“Theodore.” Estrella sighed. “I have so much to do.”
“You’ve done nothing but work. Even you need a break once and a while.”
“I can’t afford to. There is so much that needs to be done. This is all very depressing. Distressing.”
“I’m sorry? Is something the matter?”
“Lieutenant, you have been courting me for nearly a year, though courting is a very loose term. What exactly are your intentions?”
“Estrella, what is this all about? What brought this up?”
“Miss Swann asked me if we were considering… ever taking this courtship farther. I think it’s a fair question to ask. What are your intentions?”
“This is a conversation I should be having with your father-”
“My father is dead.”
“I understand. That is why it is a conversation I have had with your sister. Your brother is not old enough.”
“You should be having this conversation with me.” Estrella felt herself losing control over her emotions, but the combined effect of the stress over the wedding and the lurking fear that Lieutenant Groves had never meant for their relationship to become what it was had stripped away her self control.
“That would be… highly unorthodox.” Groves stood up, affecting a more military stance.
“I am highly unorthodox. My family is highly unorthodox. You knew that when you met me. I want to know. I need to know.”
“Estrella.” Groves said in a low voice. He moved his hand to his pocket, fishing for something. “I only discussed it with your sister because I wanted her opinion. I had to be sure.”
“Sure of what?”
“That I wouldn’t be making a fool of myself.” Groves smiled, then shifted to search his other pocket. Estrella looked at him, unsure of what he was talking about, or why he was searching every pocket he had. Groves’ face had fallen as he realized that the small pouch that he had carried on him for so long was, in fact, no longer on him. “Oh no.”
“I can’t find it.”
“Can’t find what?”
“Estrella!” a voice seeped weakly through the kitchen door. Estrella turned toward the door, then looked back at him. “Miss Swann is asking for you!”
“Go.” Groves said. “I’ll be here. Just looking for... something I lost.” Estrella nodded, then ran out the door. Groves sighed to himself, the bolted out the door. “Why is the opportune moment always inopportune in its arrival?” he muttered to himself.
Estrella raced up the stairs, pausing to smooth her dress down before entering the room. Elizabeth was standing in front of a semi circle of mirrors, smoothing the folds of her wedding dress.
“What do you think, Es?” Elizabeth turned to face her maid. She smiled, radiant with joy, the gold of the dress only emphasizing the already golden air of the room and the glitter in her eye.
“It’s lovely, ma’am. It suits you wonderfully. Though if I may…” Estrella moved toward her mistress, grabbing a brush from the vanity table. She twisted Elizabeth’s hair away from her face, leaving it still flowing around her face and down her back. “There.”
“Thank you, Es. Do you think it needs anything else?”
“I think it’s wonderful, ma’am. May I run back downstairs, I think I forgot something.” Estrella was looking down, pushing invisible strands of hair behind her ear.
Elizabeth smiled, as though she knew something. “Yes, Es. Go right ahead.”
“Thank you, ma’am.” Estrella walked quickly out of the room, shutting the door behind her. Elizabeth began to laugh as she heard the girl run down the hall toward the stairs. “I think I know what she forgot.” She remarked to the dressmaker as they began to carefully unfasten the dress.
“And what is that ma’am?”
“The opportune moment.”
Estrella raced down to the kitchen, determined to discover exactly what Groves was going on about. She stopped in front of the door, smoothing down her dress and patting down her cap. She took a deep breath, then slowly pushed the door open. As she did, Groves swung the side door open, his wig in his hand, breathing heavily.
“Lieutenant? What’s the matter?” Estrella gasped. Groves leaned against the door frame, breathing deeply. He started to put the wig back on, but Estrella walked over to him and grabbed it out of his hand. “Don’t. I’ve never seen you without it.” Without his wig, Groves looked much younger, almost boy like. He looked up at her, and took a deep breath.
“Remember that conversation you said I should have with you?”
“Yes?” Estrella took a sharp breath. Groves held up a small leather pouch.
“Do you know what this is?”
“A leather pouch?”
“Funny girl.” Groves reached into the pouch. “This is my grandmother’s wedding ring.”
“Estrella, will you marry me?”
“Yes.” Estrella managed to say. “Are you sure? I’m just a maid-”
“And I’m just a sailor.”
“You are a gentleman.”
“I am now. You can be a lady.” Groves reached for her hand, gently squeezing it. “May I?” He lifted her hand gently, softly kissing it.
“Lieut- Theodore.” Estrella smiled, then laughed softly to herself. “So you finally found the opportune moment?”
Groves started to laugh. “Yes. Young William wasn’t the only one who heard Jack Sparrow say that.”
“I must go tell Miss Swann. May I- may I stay with her, even after we wed? I wouldn’t want to leave her.”
“You may have to stay with her as a companion, not a maid, but-”
“Thank you!” Estrella jumped up and kissed him square on the mouth. From her place behind the door, Elizabeth smiled, then silently shut the door. She turned around and smiled.
“Three cheers for the opportune moment.”