It had been, in every respect, a perfect day. Perhaps it was the snowball fight with Will in the morning, or the fact that the very snow itself reminded her of half-forgotten childhood joys back in England, of sledding with Edward's arms clasped around her waist and the big hill in the estate's park stretching down below them forever, white and perfect and thrillingly steep. (There had always been hot chocolate in the kitchen afterward, made especially for her by Rosalynn, the cook, and if her governess scolded her about wet stockings and ruined shoes, well. It was worth the chastisement every time.)
Or, perhaps, it was being entirely out of sight and earshot of James Norrington for one complete day. And Caro, for that matter - both were developing a disturbingly apt ability to throw her into a foul mood, and she'd found herself apologizing to Will and Jack too often for sulking or snapping. It wasn't quite so bad as it had been, perhaps, but she was still irritated with James, and Caro...well. Caro was Caro, and Lizzie was beginning to suspect that there was not going to be a reconciliation there. In any case, a day without them had no doubt contributed to her mood.
Tired but elated, all bright smiles and loose limbs, Lizzie had returned to the Pearl with little Danny an hour or two before sunset. She was sitting now on the capstan with a pomegranate and a book, entirely at her ease as she waited for Jack and Will to return. There was no way it could've taken them this long to do whatever business Jack had at the monastery, and she assumed they'd spent the day as she had, sight-seeing and enjoying all that Venice had to offer.
She was surprised, then, to see only one of her companions returning in a longboat. Unaware of what had passed between the two of them, she waved cheerfully, if mildly puzzled, and set her book aside as she waited for Will to get there.