"If you could have anything you wanted, what would you want for your birthday?"
"You", he answered.
"Seriously, anything . . ."
"Seriously, you . . ."
"And what would you do with me?"
"Whatever I wanted".
That had been their conversation. She sat there - his birthday present, his to do whatever he wanted - waiting.
Parents whispered his name to scare their children into behaving. "Be good or the Dread Pirate Roberts will come get you". Preachers shouted his name to scare their flock into behaving. "Be good lest God send the Dread Pirate Roberts to come get you". And all who lived in port towns looked to the sea, praying today would not be the day Dread Pirate Roberts sailed into town.
His name alone was enough to cause any ship to immediately drop sail and surrender.
His name alone was enough to cause any town to pay whatever price he demanded to not savage them.
"Place your most priceless treasure on the beach at sun up and I will not plunder your town".
It had been the threat made all up and down for the coast for years. None had dared challenge. Towns to the north, towns to the south, all had been made victim; but never her town. The town of his birth. The town that, in a sense, created him.
They had flirted, she and he who would go on to dangerous fame. He was not her equal and she thought he understood it could never be, that it was just all in fun. He didn't understand, he dared to dream, and her father beat him for asking to court her. He ran from the town that day, never to return . . .
. . . Until now.
The town elders had debated the price to be paid in her father's home. They had all known what priceless treasure the Dread Pirate Roberts expected to find on the beach at dawn.
She sat there, nearly naked, exposed, vulnerable, tied to the chair . . . waiting.