A Penchant For Pirates

Chapter 12

Nick tossed Ray in the cabin rather unceremoniously.  Spinning around, she pinned him to his spot with her eyes.  “Don’t shove me!”

“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 hissed.

“Well 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.”

Nick suppressed 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. 

Walking around 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.”

“The Captain’s 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.

“No what?” came from the bunk below.

“Nothing 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?”

“You’ll always 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 at him.

“And 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.

Both 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?”

“Most 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 help her.

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 for you.”

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?”

Ray nodded.

“I understand you also can do arithmetic.  Is this correct?”

Ray nodded again.

“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 Sir... “

“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.

“I can take care of myself Sir,” the retort was bellowed in his face.

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. 

“Starting 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 wouldn’t!  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 him!”

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 crying?”

“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.

Kevin raised his glass to Brian, “My new Cabin Boy.”

“NO!”  Nickolas shouted as he ran in the door and knocked Kevin completely out of his chair. 

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