Ok I have just finished the book by Laura London (aka Tom and Sharon Curtis) and of course I loved the characters, especially Cat. If you’re curious, the book is basically a romance and it happens aboard a pirate ship where the young girl Merry is kidnapped. You’ll have to read the book since right now, this is not a book review. This post is more like a tribute to my favourite character in that book, which is Cat. OMG, everytime, I think about him, I just can’t help it. Yesterday, I started a little story on him, I guess… So you could say this is a fan fiction story. But anyways, I tried to be true to Cat’s nature and the writing style so it it would seem like a continuation of Cat’s story after The Windflower. And so this is the first part….
Cat stood out like a sore thumb in his class. Even though it had been two weeks since he’s been in the well-known university of Oxford, all the other boys around him couldn’t seem to get over the fact that he was real and different and of course, an ex-pirate. His ivory hair was braided neatly behind him, a dark green velvet ribbon at it’s end. The black and gold of the uniform he wore, similar to the other students, accentuated his pale but lightly tanned skin. From experience, he was used to people staring at him due to his exotic appearance. Yet while the cold and jealous stares were too petty for him to mind at the beginning, lately it was starting to wear out his patience. Avoiding any sort of exchange, even a simple conversation, in order to avoid conflict seemed to be making things worse for him but Cat had no desire to mingle with these stuck-up and condescending lot. If most of them weren’t looking daggers his way, they’d be sniveling behind his back with rumours and tall tales. Forcing himself to sit as still as he could, he half-listened to the professor’s lecture, his fingers absently twirling a pen. Inside his mind, he was back in the Black Joke, moving with ease, and familiar faces all around. He saw the rich blue satin of the sky and the far away line of the horizon. He could almost smell the wind as it caught the billowing white sails of the pirate ship. He pictured Morgan with his devilish face as he smiled saying, “Good luck, babe.” A sudden flare of anger burst inside his chest, but he extinguished it quickly, hardly taking off his gaze from the talking old man’s stout figure. Sometimes, he wished Morgan hadn’t made it known to his father that he was alive.
As simple as it was to come to this rich boys’ school every week day, it was an effort for Cat to try and be the son that Cathcart wanted him to be. He didn’t feel like himself and thoroughly felt like a fool pretending to be the same as these spoiled brats. It was bad enough that he now has to answer to a new name as was suggested by his father. “A new name for a new chapter in life, both yours and mine,” his father had said with a tender smile. He couldn’t bring himself to hate the man even if he consciously tried. Besides, the name wasn’t half-bad.
Cat let his eyes wander to the heads of the boys in the front row, settling his bored eyes to one who was busily scribbling in his notebook and intermittently looking up at the instructor and nodding as though in agreement before going back to his notes. Nobody else was as interested in law and ethics as the boy with the funny dark brown hair. All the other students, aside from him, were yawning or already asleep if they weren’t shooting glares at Cat. Cat allowed himself to wonder what the boy found so stimulating about lectures that included boring court statements and passing of bills and such.
A bell rang once and everyone seemed to come alive around Cat, hurrying out the double doors of the amphitheatre lecture room. The boy with the funny hair looked up as though surprised and scribbled some more before getting up and gathering his books. Cat sat there waiting, until all the other students had gone. Professor Langham, who was now putting his papers back into his bulky leather case, stopped to listen and waited as the boy tried to manage his books in his arms.
“Professor, if I may, why is it that only men can make laws? What about the girls, I mean women, don’t they have a say in law-making? The world isn’t populated in its entirety by males, is it?” A slightly challenging tone could be heard even from where Cat sat motionless, at the furthest row from the professor and from the doors.
The stout belly jiggled as Professor Langham cleared his throat. “Well, boy, isn’t it obvious that the genteel ways of ladies will be too strained to be handling things that the intellect of men can handle? Women serve their purpose by being the ladies of the house. That is the best they can achieve.”
Getting intrigued by the conversation, Cat remained seated and leaned on his palm, waiting for the boy to react.
“Well, isn’t that more of an assumption than fact? A fair example is the Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen; she ruled with excellence and she didn’t even need a king! She sure didn’t settle for sewing embroidery and waiting around for a husband to order her around. If you didn’t know, Queen Elizabeth was excellent in writing Italian, Latin as well as French and Greek. She’s one of the best educated women in her time!” The frantically escalating voice of the boy was getting pitchy from emotion. As Cat figured, the boy with the funny hair was more than a little willing to back up the reputation of girls or women, as he had mentioned. “Why can’t our society accept that today for our women?” the angry question came at an almost shout.
Flushing beet red, Professor Langham shuffled his papers into his case and shut it with a snap. “Young Evans,” he said, as his eyes bulged out as though trying to intimidate the boy with his glare, “You just have to accept the fact. Men govern, and women follow orders. Now, enough of this nonsense! Go off to your next class, shoo!” The balding old man kept mumbling about impertinent students as he made his way out and disappeared as the doors swung shut behind him with a bang. In the silence, Cat stared at the boy, who was still staring at the doors. Suddenly, as though he felt Cat’s eyes on him, the boy turned his head towards Cat. For a split second, the boy appeared to be searching his face. Again the pitchy voice came, “What are you staring at?” When Cat didn’t answer, the boy stormed out of the room.
After a yawn, Cat stood up and left. He wandered aimlessly through the halls as he always does, avoiding or driving off any of the others’ attempts at conversations with a single icy glare from his pale blue eyes. Nevertheless, his feet eventually took him past the arched halls and giant stone walls to a quiet spot where he was slowly getting developing a liking. It was a small garden in the northeast of the campus, past the wide field that was used for sports and ceremonies. There in the small garden were two benches made of gray stone which had cracks that told the age of the twin seats. In between those two benches was a tiny pond, overgrown with water lilies and water spiders crisscrossing the glasslike surface of the water. Behind it was a forgotten plot where vegetables must have been grown once upon a time. Cat saw some small tomatoes starting to turn orange-red he but couldn’t recognize the rest of the plant population among the small plot of land.
He settled himself on a cracked bench and stared at the small pond. Seeing the dark moldy water, he was reminded again of the ocean. Shaking his head, he murmured to himself, “Jesus, this had better stop soon,” as though uttering it to himself would make it happen. The homesick feeling crept up on him when he wasn’t careful about his thoughts. He had to guard himself from remembering the freedom of the ocean breeze and the familiar ease of being with his fellow pirates. Somehow he couldn’t make himself believe that he was a university student now and not a pirate. He remembered his father’s kind but naive advice. “Try to get along with your peers in the campus and if there’s any trouble, tell me at once.” The aging man had a blessed soul but Cat knew he would never utter a word even if there was trouble. Not that he was keen on making one for himself in the rich boys’ school; he was more preoccupied with the fact that the Black Joke had already sailed, and without him.
Two weeks ago, right before he started university, the crew had said their good lucks and farewell salutes. Raven, clapping him on the shoulder and shaking his head desolately, aptly said, “Hey, Cat, I’m sorry you have to go to that school.” Morgan had pulled the dark skinned boy away from him and faced Cat. “You belong here now, not on a pirate ship. We will all miss you, babe. But, who knows, eh? We might come back here.” Somewhere in his captain’s dark eyes sparkled a vague promise of some sort; one that Cat knew if he took seriously, he’ll be the one falling for the trick.
Feeling he was close to tears, Cat had willed himself not to do so. He knew better than to shed tears in front of his mates. “Yes, I know, Morgan. You’ll pass by here again in a hundred years, right?” he remarked, letting the sarcasm drip with every word. The whole crew guffawed and a shadow of a smile could be seen from Cat’s lips.
Bringing himself to the present, Cat kicked a rock and he watched as it tumbled away from him to settle close to the edge of the pond. He sighed, knowing he should put his frustration in check before he exploded on someone. The lazy afternoon sun was still high and the hot rays made him feel close to boiling in the constricting and heavy linens of the uniform. His hair was shorter, now only reaching his shoulder blades and the single braid felt lighter. Stretching his neck from side to side, Cat silently wondered if this was now truly the life he was to live.
That’s the first part. I still have to find a way to properly introduce our heroine for the story. =) Her name is Lilian but she is often called Lily. I have her character in my mind and she is one funny girl, very spunky, too. So, did you like Cat’s story so far?? I originally intended for him to still be on the Black Joke (I started thinking of his story before I even finished the book) but when the ending gave the fact that he was going to school, I had to change things around.. I still like the other version.. if I have time, I’ll write it down sometime.