tossed Ray in the cabin rather unceremoniously. Spinning
around, she pinned him to his spot with her eyes. “Don’t
“I should shove
you overboard Ray!” Nick stood in his spot. If he dared
move, he might choke the girl. “Ray, you push Kevin way too
far. If he finds out what we have done, I would hate to think
of the consequences.
“I didn’t push
him. I just looked at him. Sir High and Mighty is used to
everyone around him being under his command. He loves subservience,
which I will not be. I’m a free person.” Ray’s voice was
just a short of yelling.
“Ray, please calm
down and think clearly for a minute about what you just said.
Of course, he is expecting that from you. You are still a
stowaway on his ship. He likes you so far so he hasn’t decided
to toss you overboard, walk the plank, or keel haul you.”
Ray needed some
time to clear her head. Walking around the small confines
of the tiny cabin wasn’t working. If she could read a little
it might help. Grabbing a book, she sat on the floor and
began to read aloud. Edmond didn’t have many books for her
to read and she had missed it sorely. When she discovered
that Nick had books, she was thrilled beyond belief. “Where
did these come from Nick? Books are expensive.”
Nick nodded knowingly,
“Kevin buys them for me. He thinks I should be well versed
on many things, not just sailing.”
Ray disliked the
Captain most of the time but someone who could buy books was
fascinating. Buying books and giving them away was unheard
of except by the well to do in society.
Nick sat on the
bunk and waited for her to finish, hoping that her reading
would be enough to diffuse the anger that once again Kevin
had stirred in her. As Nick lie in the bunk, he began to
see in his head what had transpired over the last few weeks.
If he didn’t know better he would think that Kevin knew Ray
was a woman. At least he hoped he knew, because if he didn’t,
then Kevin was beginning to hold an attraction to a male.
Ray’s voice seemed
to calm Nick too. He wasn’t too pleased by Ray’s actions
either. You should never openly defy your Captain on deck
and give him grief, attitude, or anything of the sort. Ray
seemed to take great pleasure in both. Many times over the
last few weeks, Nick had to warn Ray to stop, to watch what
she was saying and the tone of her voice. One evening, he
chastised her for over an hour for walking like a girl and
swaying her hips. He wouldn’t have noticed had Kevin not
had a pleasurable look on his face. When Nick followed Kevin’s
line of vision, Kevin’s eyes were focused on Ray’s backside
as she waltzed across the deck. Nick scrambled down the rigging,
dragged Ray out of sight, and then laid into her for walking
like a girl.
Ray’s back was
to the wood of the quarterdeck. “I am a girl you oaf,” she
you had better hide it better than that because he is watching
you walk and he is liking it way more than he should.”
Nick lay in his
bunk listening to Raina talk, her voice sounded strange sometimes.
Times like this reminded him that she was a girl.
The reading wasn’t
working, Ray was still angry with Kevin. Whipping her cap
off she tossed the woolen garment to the floor. Ray pulled
the over-shirt that she wore over her head and tossed that
to the floor as well. Grabbing the shirt she wore to cover
the cloths strips that bound her breasts, she began to remove
it as well.
After many weeks
at sea, seeing Ray in some state of undress no longer caused
Nick’s lust to rise. He didn’t view Ray in that manner any
longer. When she first undressed in front of him, it was
an awkward moment for both of them. Not having any other
choices at hand, they soon came to realize it was only in
this room that Ray could truly be herself. The one thing
that Nick couldn’t become accustom to was the color of her
raven colored locks. Nick melted every time the blue-black
tresses tumbled out from under the cap and down her back.
Ray began to unwind
the cotton strips as she turned her back to Nick. “If I’m
to be confined here then I might as well be comfortable.
That man is so arrogant.”
a smile as he began to speak. “Ray never question the Captain
out on deck again. He let you off lightly this time.”
“I didn’t question
him. He asked me a question and I answered it. The man makes
me ill. He is always watching me and waiting for ‘Little
Ray’ to make a mistake.” Ray pulled a shirt over her body
to cover herself as she turned around and faced Nick again.
the room her eyes focused on Nick. “Why do you allow him
to treat you like a child? Why do you allow him to treat
me like a child?”
Nick shrugged as
he pulled his boots off. “It’s a good thing he won’t be looking
for dinner since you have undressed already.”
evening meal is the last thing that I’m thinking about Nick.”
Ray crawled up into the top bunk and closed her eyes. Silently
she cursed herself for ever coming up with this idea. Now
she had no one to turn to but Nick and it seemed as if every
moment she spent around the Captain was an opportunity for
her to make a mistake or a fool of herself. Today was no
different than the others. She just stood up to him in her
own way, even though she knew she shouldn’t. Nick was thinking
clearly and better than her at the moment. From this night
forward she would follow Nick’s lead no matter how much Kevin
tried to needle her.
The others weren’t
like the Captain. Brian was kind and spent many an evening
talking to her and Nick. Sir Alexander told her dirty stories
that would make her blush and she wondered if he would still
tell her the stories if he knew she were a girl. Sir Howard
made her a little uncomfortable; often he would study her
and then smile at her. Nick was her best friend, her only
friend for now. Smiling she closed her eyes and thought of
happier days back with her mother. Soon she would be in America
and would be able to do as she pleased without someone telling
her what she could and could not do. “No Elders,” she whispered.
what?” came from the bunk below.
my friend, nothing,” Raina reassured Nick.
“Ray, what are
you going to do when we finally dock?” This question had
weighed heavily on his mind. He didn’t like Raina being on
her own with no protection, no male escort, no parents to
watch over her.
“I don’t know,
I haven’t really made my plans yet. I just have some ideas.”
Ray turned on her side and looked over the bunk. Her head
rested on the rail as she looked down at Nick. “Why?”
have a place with me Raina. You won’t ever be alone.” Nick
grinned at her.
Nick had begun
to foster the need to take care of Ray from day one. Now
he no longer had a problem telling her so either.
“Thank you Sir
Nickolas. What would your family say?”
A deep sigh escaped
the young man that was resting below her. “Kevin is the only
family I got now.”
“I’m sorry Nick,
but we can be each other’s family.” Ray smiled stunningly
Kevin,” Nick chuckled as he watched her frown.
“Why do you always
ruin good things by mentioning that man’s name.” Ray thumped
her pillow and pulled her body back into the bunk.
of them quiet, they eventually fell asleep.
Ray set to her
chores the next day bright and early. She was looking from
some private time to bath even though fresh water was scarce
on the ship. Managing to get through half the day by simply
holding onto the thought that she might get something close
to a decent bath kept her mood light. Nick had come up with
an idea to get her another water to bath.
The dinner hour
approached and she felt the dread begin. Kevin and his officers
had taken to eating in the galley. It was the place where
she worked and it was always occupied. This evening, Kevin
had requested that his meal be served in his cabin. Nick
laughed as Ray cursed knowing that she would have to haul
all of the platters and trays to his quarters. “Why can he
not eat here?”
Captains don’t Ray, you know that.”
Sitting at the
table, Kevin waited for his dinner. His eyes rested on the
young boy he couldn’t seem to stop thinking about. The unnatural
shape of the body, the pert bottom and trim waist. “I’m going
to lose my mind over this. Something is wrong,” he murmured
as he watched Ray struggle with the platters but refused to
His voice ricocheted
off the timbers of the cabin. “Sit down Ray, I would like
to speak to you.”
The platters that
Ray held clanked together. Cautiously she turned to look
back through the door. She was hoping Nick would come to
the Captain’s quarters.
The sound of a
chair moving across the floor made her turn back towards him.
Kevin pulled the chair out next to him. After hearing Ray
speaking last night and seeing the boy with a book he knew
there was more to this boy than anyone was telling him about
or that he could figure.
This morning he
had thought of a plan to keep Ray under his thumb as well
as explain away all of the gossip on the ship. Kevin had
come up with the ingenious idea that he would be training
his next student. All the times that he had been studying
Ray had been to see if he could handle the position. Naturally,
Ray would be assigned the lowest position possible. “Ray,
Nickolas is busy so sit now. I have just a few simple questions
Kevin caught the
platter that was almost dropped to the floor. Quickly grabbing
it, he slid it on the table. “You do not have to fear me.
I will not hurt you.”
Ray gulped, being
here alone with him was not a good idea. She would make a
mistake, Kevin would find out, and Nick would be punished.
It was very simple, she wouldn’t be able to make a mistake.
“Yes Sir,” she sat on the chair.
Kevin didn’t miss
the way the boy sat, it mimicked a woman in a prissy sort
of way. “You know how to read?”
“I understand you
also can do arithmetic. Is this correct?”
“Has the cat got
your tongue boy, I would like to hear your next answer. It’s
difficult to hear your head nod.” Kevin took the lack of
a vocal response as another act of defiance on the lad’s part.
Letting out an exasperated gasp, Kevin sat back in the chair.
“Young one, life at is sea difficult. You need to understand
that it is a society like no other, but still a society.
We have officers and crew that follow a set of standards.”
Dropping her head,
she gazed at the tip of his well shined boot. “I understand
“I’m glad you understand.”
Kevin leaned forward toward the boy. “I like you very much.
You are a good boy. You remind me very much of Nickolas when
he was this age. I don’t want harm to come to you. I’ve
heard whispering on the ship that you are a slip of a boy....”
Kevin let the insinuation hang in the air between them. If
anything Ray would comply to his order but he would prefer
that he do it on his own.
“I’ve heard such
but I always stay with Nick.” Ray’s face rose to face the
man she so detested. “Nick watches out for me.”
“What would you
do if Nickolas were not available to be your great protector?”
Kevin posed the question as he leaned closer to the boy.
Something was driving an inner need in him to posses this
child in an unmanly manner.
can take care of myself Sir,” the retort was bellowed in his
Kevin smiled, “I
disagree.” Shifting in his chair, he leaned back. Lacing
his fingers together, he waited for the boy to show him anger
once again. The face soured and then turned red. “I have
decided that as of tomorrow, you will take on one more duty
aboard this vessel.”
Ray’s mouth dropped
open at the mention of more duties piled onto her workload
that she had now. “I cannot see how I can do anymore than
I am now.”
“This one is very
simple Ray. Since you are a stowaway on my vessel, I will
expect full compliance. I know that has been a problem for
you since the day you snuck on my ship. I’m hoping by having
you close by me, you will understand that I’m not the brute
that you think I am.”
Ray shook her head
back and forth, not sure of what Kevin was implying. Her
steadfast refusal wasn’t sitting well with him, that was evident
by the red on his face.
tomorrow, you will also be my Cabin boy,” Kevin sneered the
words and watched the boys face contort in rage.
“AND IF I REFUSE?”
Ray jumped to her feet. “You don’t respect anyone on this
ship especially Nickolas. I will not do this!”
Kevin’s arm snaked
out roughly and pulled the boy by his forearm. Jerking the
lad towards him, they were face to face. “You will do anything
I ask or tell you to do. If you do not Nickolas will suffer
the consequences of your actions!”
You care for Nickolas!”
“Aye, ‘tis true
but you are going to come to harm on this ship if I continue
to let you do as you please, disobey orders, and have Nickolas
scurry after you. I cannot even find the man when I need
Raina checked the
tears that were welling up in her eyes. It didn’t work as
two tears spilled down her face. “I don’t want too. I want
to stay with Nick.”
“Boy don’t cry,
things will be fine. Nickolas spent most of his time with
me until you jumped into our lives. He will be around you
just as much. You need to understand that this is for your
own good. For God sakes child do not let the men on this
ship see you crying, that is the last thing I need.”
Ray didn’t speak
as she picked up the trays. She should just tell Kevin the
truth right now, but he already told her Nick would suffer
for her wrongdoings. If she was assured that only she would
be punished, she wouldn’t care, but Nickolas had done nothing
wrong. “On the ‘morrow Captain.” Giving a mock bow, Raina
hurried to the galley with her arms heavily laden with trays.
She refused to acknowledge anyone, even Brian, as she dashed
down the steps.
Brian knocked on
Kevin’s door. Pushing open the door, he saw Kevin seated
with a bottle of brandy. “Why is Ray upset? Is that child
“He’s upset because
he doesn’t like his new duty assignment.” Kevin smiled triumphantly.
With Ray as his Cabin Boy, he could slowly see what made him
tick. He would find out what Ray was all about.
“The boy can’t
do much more, I can’t imagine what you would have the boy
do now?” Brian frowned back.
raised his glass to Brian, “My new Cabin Boy.”
shouted as he ran in the door and knocked Kevin completely
out of his chair.