Violet eyes turned upwards towards
Nick, the tears spilled next. "I'm so sorry. Are you
okay? He is such a dreadful man."
Clearing his throat,
Nick tossed her the towel that hung on the hook by Kevin's
mirror and shaving stand. "Don't cry now because any
minute some of the men will be bringing in a tub and some
water that has been heated. Please just wait until they leave
to fall apart."
Ray took a seat
at the table as she watched Nick and the men settle a huge
wooden tub in the center of the room. She didn't speak out
of fear of revealing what she truly was, a girl. Raina cursed
her own self under her breath for acting so insipid and female.
The men grunted as the huge cypress tub was then filled with
boiling water and then cold to temper it. Taking over a half
of an hour to fill the tub. Ray knew the water had come from
the galley and she would be the one who would have to replenish
all the pots that had been brought up to Kevin's cabin.
One of the older
men chuckled, "Scrub up boy or the Cap'n 'ill do it for
ya. Ask Nick 'bout dat."
Nick motioned them
all out of the room. Ray's entire body shuddered as she finally
Nick watched her
pout as she wrung her hands together. "Ray, whatever
you are thinking, stop right now. There is no way out of this
without us telling the Cap'n you are a girl. That ain't gonna
be good for me or you."
Raina watched Nick's
body shake as he spoke. Sighing she pulled her hat off and
looked around the room that she now would call home. "It's
not fair that he can just do this. What about a voice of two?"
him first, so this is part of my punishment, I'm sure of it.
Now get undressed and clean before Kevin gets sopped up and
ends up coming back here." Nick shouldn't have spoke
as though Kevin might commit some type of folly against Ray
but Nick was unsure of Kevin at this point in time. Kevin
had never struck him the way he had this evening and it wasn't
as if Nick thought that he would. After all of their years
together, Kevin was used to Nick's flashpoint anger and dealt
with it as it occured.
Ray wasn't paying
much mind to Nick as he spoke. She looked around the cabin.
The woods were old and heavy, truly a male's chamber, male's
den. She had been in the room many times but never left alone
in it. There was a huge, ornately carved bed of some exotic
wood. It was also the only bed that she could see.
Nick followed Ray's
line of vision to the bed, he then laughed. "Ray you
won't share Kevin's bed, you have your own." Nick gave
his old hammock a push. "You will sleep here."
Gulping air she
looked back at Nick, "I don't like this. I think I should
Nick had gambled
so much so far that Ray wasn't aware of. The highest price
he could pay for this scheme was to lose Kevin as his best
friend. The anger started to boil in his body. Reaching forward,
he grabbed Ray by the arm and shook her, "No, you will
not tell him, never. If he finds out or becomes suspect, then
we will handle the matter."
don't understand, we'll be sharing a cabin, how am I going
to keep things, personal things, from him?" Ray blinked
back the tears; all of this was going to blow like a powder
keg. "I didn't have to hide things from you. You weren't
in our cabin much and then we worked in the galley."
Nick chewed his
lip, he had taken special care to make sure Ray had some time
alone more than once a day to take of 'female stuff.' "Just
try, if it becomes to difficult, we can figure something else
out. Maybe by then Kevin will have calmed down and his fascination
will have run dry."
Ray tossed her hat on the table after she plucked it from
the top of her head. Her hands slipped beneath the rough cotton
shirt she wore and pulled the garment over her head.
Nick never turned
his gaze from her for he knew he didn't have to as he faced
her. He knew that her breasts were tightly bound with strips
of cotton. He frowned as he saw how dirty the strips had become
during the voyage. She had had no time to care for them properly
by cleaning them.
Turning her back
to him, Raina waited for Nick's assistance. Nick had always
tied the last knot in the back so it would stay secure and
not come undone. "Come on Raina, we've talked about Kevin
and you before. At the moment, he is confused because he thinks
you are a male. God help us if he finds out you are a female."
he do?" Ray questioned as she waited for Nick to turn
his back to her. Once done she tested the water in the tub
with her foot. "It's nice," she sighed as she settled
in. A bath on a voyage was a rare treat.
Turning back around,
Nick smiled a smile that Ray was unfamiliar with. "Don't
look at me like that, that is how Kevin looks at me."
Nick laughed, he
was caught, "Well if he was here right now and saw you,
you wouldn't be in that tub."
I be?" Raina asked innocently.
Nick narrowed his
gaze, "Flat on your back and in his bed." His gaze
never left her face as he watched her cheeks pink and it wasn't
from the heat of the water. "I apologize but it is the
truth." Nick could see the embarrassment on her face,
'thank God that tub is big,' he moaned in his head, 'And high,
I can't see anything.' Now he was battling his libido, as
well as his mind.
Walking by the
door, he stood, spreading his body in front of the portal
as if someone were going to try and come in. "Wash your
"I will if
I could ever get the knots out. I don't have a proper brush."
Ray fought with her huge, heavy, mop of hair as it fell in
her face after she dunked herself under the water. "Jocelyn
always helped me wash my hair."
"So now I'm
a ladies maid as well," Nick muttered as he looked around
Kevin's cabin for anything that might help. He couldn't find
anything that would assist them but then he might find something
in Isabella's trunk. Kevin carried the trunk everywhere and
on every voyage. "Watch the door."
went to the trunk and lifted the lid. Kevin never locked the
lid unless they were under siege. There had been many times
when Nick had been told to go below deck during those times
when he was younger. Nick would perch himself on the lid of
the trunk and look out the portal. All the years he had spent
in the cabin with Kevin, he never once ventured a look inside.
do this," Nick raised the lid and looked inside. Among
the various items that he could immediately see that was on
the top was a sterling silver hairbrush. Removing it quickly,
he closed the lid. His eyes darted back to the door as if
were going to be caught.
Raina laughed at
his antics until Nick shook the brush at her. "Hurry
up, you heard him say he wanted to bathe."
"Help me rinse
my hair." Raina leaned forward as Nick pulled a bucket
of fresh water off the floor. Dumping it on Ray, he bit his
tongue, for the water was cold and he knew it was when he
picked it up.
Ray sputtered under
the cold shower and shoved at what she thought was Nick. "That
was not funny Nickolas."
hurry up," Nick turned his back as she stood up in the
tub and stepped out of it.
Drying her body,
she slipped on her pants. Then she began to bandage herself
again until Nick pulled on the other end of the strip of fabric.
"Those are soiled. You need to new ones or something.
Give them to me and I will wash them and return them to you
Raina covered her
mouth and giggled. Her mind couldn't picture Nick slaving
over a boiling kettle of clothes with soap. Scrubbing, stirring,
and rinsing them clean.
Nick pulled her
hand away from her. "You'll be able to wash them after
tomorrow because you are now Kevin's cabin boy. Not only will
you be doing your wash but his as well."
A look of indignation
crossed her face, "I most certainly will not." She
pulled a clean shirt over her body, one of Nick's no doubt
since it was so huge. She was limited in boy apparel to what
she already owned, two pair of pants and one shirt. Her shirt
was in an unclean state at the moment.
"Yes you will
and he is very particular, especially about his shirts."
Nick dried her hair as she sat in the chair. He began tugging
the brush through the matted and gnarled mess.
hurts." Raina put her hands on her head. "You are
supposed to hold the hair."
me," Nick gave her hair another yank and then set about
the task of trying to finish before Kevin came back. He worked
methodically at her hair until once it again it was as beautiful
as when he has first set his eyes upon it. Shiny, and black
like a raven's wing in flight. Hearing commotion outside the
door, Nick hid the brush behind his back. Neither of them
breathed for a few scant seconds as they waited for whomever
it was to either enter or pass.
Blowing out a breath,
Nick tossed Ray her hat and returned the hairbrush to its
Ray spun her hair
around her finger and tied it at the top with a string. Quickly
she pulled the hat down over her head as a knock sounded at
the door. Her heart fluttered hoping that nobody would notice
the oversized shirt she wore.
is the lad done or are you two having a little fun in there?"
A boisterous chorus of laughter echoed off the timbers of
Nick stuck his
finger up in the air for Ray to hush. "Aye, the boy is
The door swung
open and two burly men entered. "You're a cute boy, don't
be spending all your time with the young pup," the man
with arms as large as kegs winked at her.
talk," a commanding voice that was steady but true came
from the door.
Ray mustered all
she could not to just run out the door.
the seaman muttered as he removed his cap.
"I bet you
are," Kevin frowning made the man uncomfortable. "See
to your duties and that is all." Kevin followed the man
outside; turning back, he looked at Nick, who was obviously
playing stupid for the boy's sake. Kevin closed the door and
had a conversation with the man under his command.
the room and pulled off his shirt. "Nick, go see that
Shamus heats my water properly. He might try to scald me after
what I just said to him."
I... I..." Nick stammered. He could see how uncomfortable
Ray was with Kevin standing next to her only clothed in his
boots and pants.
"Did I stutter
Nick?" Kevin glared at Nick's insolence.
Nick was backing out of the room.
"I have no
idea what has gotten into him Ray but I do believe it has
something to do with you?"
Ray stood up and crossed her arms. The Captain may be the
Captain but he was just a man and he wasn't going to boss
her. Then her mind clicked a few minutes ago she was willing
to give him a full confession, now she was confused as she
looked at herself in the mirror. She did mimic a boy rather
well maybe she could do this.
Kevin had to admire the boy's courage if anything. Going to
the washstand, he poured water into the basin. Splashing his
face, he reached for his towel but couldn't find it. The towel
was placed in his hand, soggy and cold. Kevin cursed. "Tomorrow
we will lay down some ground rules for the rest of the voyage."
Ray watched Kevin
swirl a brush in a cup, and then apply the foam to his face.
Pulling a straight blade from the pouch that hung on the mirror,
she watched him shave. He would pull his cheek up and run
the blade over his skin, then swirl the razor in the basin.
He would rinse the blade after every stroke of the razor over
his face. "Have you ever shaved before?"
Ray shook her head
no, trying to hide the shock.
you how, when you get some whiskers." Kevin chuckled
as he watched the little one's face pucker up in displeasure.
Nick coughed after he had tripped over the chair leg.
I know you are there. Your figure is hard to miss, neither
is your clumsiness." Kevin smiled in the mirror. "Thank
you Nickolas. Have a good evening." Kevin dismissed him.
"Do you need
anything else?" Nick was hesitating, he had just had
a short chat with Brian, something was making Brian uneasy,
but he wouldn't tell Nick what it was.
"No, Ray is
here if I need anything." Kevin waited for Nick to close
the door. Kevin slowly turned and saw that the waif was pasty
white. "Off with you to bed," Kevin motioned to
the hammock. "Tomorrow we'll go over your duties and
what is expected of you."
Ray's brows furrowed,
she didn't like the sound of what he had said. Climbing into
the hammock wasn't as difficult now as it was when she first
boarded the ship. She turned her back to the Cap'n afraid
of her reaction of what she might see in the lantern light.
She remembered the sounds that Kevin had made when he was
with Jocelyn. She heard the water slosh in the tub and a loud
sigh, that was the last thing she heard as the waves and the
motion of the hammock lulled her to sleep.
Kevin sat in the
tub and watched the small frame fall asleep. It wasn't to
hard to see when the boy had fallen asleep, his body actual
relaxed. "You are a puzzle Ray, a true puzzle, and after
my conversation with my cousin tonight, I think I know why.
Do you know what he told me? He told me that I'm just looking
for someone to mother and father, that I miss Isabella and
that Nick has grown up on me. I didn't want to believe it
at first but the more I dwell on his words, the more I believe
he is accurate. " Kevin paused as the sleeping lad turned
under the blanket. "Tomorrow, little one, we'll talk...
talk about your future... and all the adventures we are going
on. We're going to sail to Barbados to re-supply and continue
our hunt for British wealth. I'll make a man out of you yet."