A Penchant For Pirates

Chapter 13

Kevin recovered slowly from being blind-sided by the paunchy blonde’s fist.  Pulling his body forward to a chair he frowned, then he smiled a smile that hinted at pain for someone.  His gaze now rested on Nick. 

Nick gulped two breaths of air successively and waited for the attack.  By now the noise and commotion had A.J. and Howie entering Kevin’s cabin.

“What is going on in here?  You’ve been struck Kevin,” Howie spoke as he watched a tiny trickle of blood ooze from the side of Kevin’s mouth.  “Who struck you?  Nick?”  Howie questioned as he watched the two men, one was glaring, the other one looked sorrowful and was shaking his hand and moving his fingers next to his side. 

A.J. saw Nick glance to Ray.  He could see the eye contact that they were making as they fixated on each other.  Obviously, this had to do with Ray or Nick wouldn’t be acting this way.

Nick was pleading with Ray for help now with his eyes.  His emotions had taken over his common sense and he had attacked his Captain and friend. 

“Nickolas, I am going to assume that there is a damn good explanation for you striking your superior office.”  Howie demanded answers, he hated disharmony among them.

“I…  I… I… Kevin changed Ray’s duty assignment.  I don’t want Ray to be the Captain’s Cabin Boy.”  Nick chewed his lower lip as his eyes darted around the room to all of them, one at a time.

A.J. leaned onto the desk with his hands resting on the top.  “We’re waiting.”  A.J. wouldn’t settle for this being caused by a simple change in duty assignments.

Nick had thought out what he was going to say and why he would speak them in the manner that he did.  Yes, he would offend Kevin; however, it was the only way that he could cover for his own sense of insecurity, stupidity, and jealousy.  “I thought maybe Kevin liked Ray a little too much.”  The comment carried enough innuendo to get his point across to the others.  Either the statement would save his hide in Kevin’s eyes, as well as explain his actions or they would inflame the man’s temper.  The words intended to play on Kevin’s protective instincts as well as insinuating something a little darker, depending on the way the words would strike Kevin.

Kevin sat unmoving in the chair, his eyes focused on the young man that had taken him by surprise.  As Kevin’s eyes turned to Ray, she began tugging down on her cap trying to hide the loose hair that threatened to reveal her to all in the room.

Once Nick’s scowl reached her, Ray stopped fiddling with her hair and she returned an angry scowl back to him.

“I see,” Kevin’s lips murmured.  Craning his head back and forth and around Kevin cracked his neck.  Nick had knocked him off his feet with one blow to jaw.  Normally it wouldn’t have been so easy but Kevin was unguarded and he had to admit, Nick was no longer a little boy. 

Wetting his lips, Kevin focused on Nick, “I will admit I admire your chivalry when it comes to the boy.  I’m glad that my lessons were not wasted on you.  You have forgotten one thing…  HE’S A BOY!”  The Last part was yelled as his face turned as red as a blood sun.

“I know,” Nick toyed with his cap that was in his hands, twisting it roughly back and forth.

The tension intensified in the room as all the parties stared at Nick and Kevin waiting to see what was going to happen next.

Ray was battling her hair and a sense of guilt at the same time.  Nick had reacted in a manner that was unacceptable to Kevin and his crew.  She had brought trouble onto Nick once again, albeit unintentional.  As her hand was tugged on, she turned to the person who had grasped her arm.  When bright blue eyes twinkled back at her, she followed him, since he had her by the arm and was pulling her into the corridor.

Brian feverishly began tucking the long back locks back under her woolen cap as he spoke to her.  “It would be detrimental if Kevin finds out that the girl that picked my pocket and her brother are the same person.  It would spell deep trouble for you and I for not telling the truth… even more for Nick for aiding you.”

“You know?” Ray blinked back at him.

“Yes, now hurry before Nick makes a full confession to Kevin and he ends up in chains over this.  Nick is good at lying but not to Kevin.”  Brian latched on to her arm and yanked her back through the portal again. 

Kevin wasn’t shouting at Nick, which alarmed Brian even more.  Nick looked regretful, which seemed to be working in his favor, this time. 

Kevin grabbed the tails of his shirt and pulled them over his head.  Walking over to a washstand, he poured some water into the basin.  Wetting a cloth from the water in the basin, he wiped the blood smear from the corner of his mouth as he looked at his own reflection in the mirror.  Setting the cloth down, he balled up his fist, and turned in a flash to Nick.  He buried his balled fist into Nick’s stomach.

With a thud and a loud “Ooof,” Nick landed on his backside.  Raina ran to him after clamping her mouth closed so her scream wouldn’t break out.

“Leave him alone boy!”  Kevin barked his orders. 

“NO!”  Ray barked back.

“Please Ray, don’t make it worse.  Do as the Captain says, step away from me.”  Nick whispered as he battled to stop the contents of his stomach from expelling from his body.   Kevin had hit him unexpectedly and it hurt like hell.

When Ray didn’t move, a hand clamped on her shoulder and shoved her away from Nick.  The words thundered in her ears, “I said leave him.  That was an order boy!”

Kevin stood over Nick with his arms crossed and his feet spread apart for balance. 

Brian closed his eyes for a brief second thinking that Nick was going to get a royal pummeling for this.

Nick flinched as Kevin’s hand extended down toward him.  But the only contact that he made was a hand wrapping around his wrist and a strong pull upward.

Ray, who should have taken Kevin’s command seriously, stepped between the two men after Nick was back on his feet.

Kevin leaned over the top of Ray’s head and forced Nick to look him directly in the eyes by grabbing him by his shirt collar.  Ray was trapped between the two male bodies, both of them towering over her.  “You ever strike me again, unprovoked, and I will have you whipped and hanging in chains.”

Ray stood, anchored in her spot staring at the Captain’s chest, which was now in her face, completely.  Taking a breath, she noticed the curves and lines of the man that stood in front of her.  Her mind was absent of the man that stood behind her with his palm resting in the middle of her back.  The chest in front of her seemed sculptured, like of piece of art in a way, with each muscle rippling along as he breathed air in and out of his lungs.  His breaths ragged as he grounded out his words to Nick and his chest mirrored this.  She felt a strange sensation in her body.  She felt a little dizzy, and her mouth became parched.  Unsure of what she was feeling; she caught herself.  Closing her eyes tightly, she fought to fight the foreign sensation and the fear inside of her suddenly.  She didn’t understand what compounded her fear.

A loud sigh emanated from A.J., Howie, and Nick simultaneously signaling the confrontation was over and the knowledge of what had taken place would never leave Kevin’s cabin. 

“Yes sir,” Nick smiled back at Kevin.

“Don’t mock me Nickolas!”  Kevin forced the words from his lips, trying not to smile as he jammed his forefinger into Nickolas’s shoulder.

“I’m not,” Nick giggled.

Brian closed his eyes as he watched Raina, ‘Oh girl don’t do this to yourself… not Kevin, do not fall under his spell.  If he finds out about this, he will bed you for spite and then discard you; you are no Jocelyn.  He’s a good father figure to Nickolas and I’m sure in time, he would forgive him but not until he beat him to a pulp.  Then there is me, his loyal cousin who has played along with this trick, even helped by embellishing some things.’ “This is going to be a long voyage,” Brian whispered and then moaned loudly.

All eyes turned on him and he made a goofy face, “A little seasick.”

“All of you are dismissed but Ray.  Boy, you have a peculiar air about you.  You smell foul.  If we are to share a cabin, you’ll be bathing more often.  When is the last time you bathed?”

A chuckle came from A.J. as he watched Ray become hurt, offended, and angered in a short amount of time.  He watched the small boy raise his chin to Kevin, who was only inches away.

“I beg your pardon?”  Ray matched Kevin’s earlier fury.

“I’ll have a bath brought in for you and if you don’t wash, I’ll help you.  When you are done, I’ll bathe.”  Kevin looked down on the waif and gave him a menacing smile.

Brian thought for a brief moment the little trick they were playing on Kevin was over.  Then Kevin issued one more order as he grabbed a clean shirt from the chest of drawers that had been anchored to the wall so as not to move when they were at sea.  “Nickolas, see to it that our young man here starts smelling better so that I don’t have to do it.” 

Kevin took the few steps towards the door and the he halted.  With his hand on the door itself, he looked at A.J.  “Let’s go and play some cards gentlemen.”  Kevin headed to the galley, some place far away from Nick and Ray.  He needed some time clear the thoughts in his mind.  Something had happened between the three of them.  When Ray stood between them, Kevin felt a pull that he shouldn’t have, that old familiar knot in his stomach that usually was the beginning of a sexual jolt of energy.  Something was very wrong, maybe Nick was right.  Maybe he liked the boy a little too much.

Howie and A.J. followed as Kevin shook his head from side to side and mumbled to himself.

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