we need to discuss this," A.J. grabbed her arm so she
wouldn't try to leave.
" J.C. registered the look on A.J.'s face,
it wasn't anger it was concern.
"I need to
explain this to you," A.J. opened his door and saw Brian
and Nick standing in the hallway. "I'll talk to her.
You need to get the galley; he has called a meeting. He'll
be down here in a minute to clean up, things went unpleasant
after you left. If you are here, it will make things worse."
A.J. closed his door silently. He listened as he heard the
oak plank dropped across Kevin's cabin door. A.J. turned to
J.C., he wanted to give her the short version of Ray and what
was taking place under the Captain's nose.
As Kevin headed
back to his ship, his thoughts turned to what had taken place
aboard the Lady J. Kevin and J.C. sorted through the crewmembers
on J.C.'s ship. Her crew assembled as they were pulled from
the mass of men. Then they went through the blue coats to
see who had been enslaved and who had enlisted. The amount
of men that had been pressed into service or imprisoned was
staggering. Carefully Kevin sat back and watched. He didn't
want all of the men to stay on either ship so he studied them.
He watched to see who talked to whom and who would spit on
the others. He separated the friends and tossed in a few enemies
to keep balance. He felt safer keeping the most dangerous
of the lot on his ship. His plan was to maroon them on one
of the barrier islands that was little more than one day away.
They were eight days away from New Providence and a nice Spanish
ship loaded down with treasure. If his conquest was met they
would sail northward afterwards and be home in a fortnight.
Kevin and J.C.
waited as the dead blue coat Captain's body was prepared for
burial at sea. Kevin would have let him live had it not been
for the disparaging remark about the 'Young boy child with
the tight arse that seem to rule the Captain's ability to
think and command'. The man's laugh did not last long once
his throat had been slit. The words, "Never judge or
harm the innocents. The boy tried to save you," were
the only words Kevin spoke as the man bled to death on the
Kevin wearily dragged
his tired body to his cabin. He needed to change, to get the
stench of death off him and the blood splatter. The smell
of smoke and sulfur assailed his senses to the point that
he could no longer stand it and his head pounded. He shook
his head as he walked by A.J.'s cabin listening to J.C. shout
that she would go to purgatory and back before she married
him. Kevin laughed and waited for A.J.'s reply. "I'll
make you marry me." Kevin rolled his eyes when he heard
J.C.'s lilted laughter followed by, "Sure you will, my
love." He continued into his cabin after hearing the
laugher and shook his head. Maybe that wasn't such a bad idea,
A scrub down in
his washbasin and a change of clothes brought on a change
of feelings. Going to the bureau that was anchored to the
wall, he unlocked the small chest at the bottom. Removing
a bottle he eyed is suspiciously, he had been drinking too
much lately or one of his Officers had been helping themselves.
Pouring a large glass, he savored the first sip. He watched
the clouds drift over the yellow moon that hung in the sky.
The moon now spliced in half by a cloud. The light reflected
off the gently rippling waters casting a mirror image of the
sky. It's a beautiful night. A perfect end to a horrible day
he reflected. Throwing the balance of his rum to the back
of his throat, he hissed at the burn, and then wiped his mouth
on his shirtsleeve. He felt the heat unfurl in his belly,
satisfied that it would stay there, he turned to the hammock,
"Now I have to finish this day off properly."
Walking to the
hammock, he stopped to check on the lad who had said nothing
as he changed and drank his liquor. Peering down at the sleeping
form, he moved a wisp of hair aside. "I'll check on you
later after I talk to Brian. You and I will have a little
talk about your actions today and what they caused."
his door from the outside he headed to the galley. Upon entering
his eyes searched each and every face that was before him.
Then his intense stare landed squarely on J.C. She knew what
matter they were all here to discuss. Normally a discussion
wouldn't even take place, however this was J.C. they were
dealing with. She was a person known to them, a woman, and
by the look on Alexander's besotted face, the love of the
Kevin made his
way to the top of the table and was highly amused at J.C.'s
J.C. slammed two
glasses down on the table, pouring three fingers of rum in
each glass. "I'll drink you for it."
Kevin slowly ambled to his chair and took his seat. He smirked
back at J.C., who returned to him a scowl. "You know
how this works. I'm giving you respect and kindness that others
wouldn't receive." Smiling he grabbed onto the glass
and tossed the liquor back. Kevin looked at each one of his
men, the rum that they were drinking was his own. By the look
on Nick's face, he was the one who had pilfered it from his
Kevin's smile returned
when a platter of food was set before him. He stifled the
laugh as he heard the definitive 'Hmmpf" come out of
J.C. Stabbing at the unknown concoction on his plate, he pushed
it away, his lips twisted back and forth, as he glared at
Shamus. "Nickolas could do better than this."
was tendin' to that wee brat of yours so he couldn't ready
your evening meal."
A.J. read the signs
on Kevin's face and then he looked at Shamus. He was wondering
how the man could be such a fool. "Take your leave Shamus.
Nick, make the Captain something fit to eat."
"He can make
his own damn
Brian ceased his sentence.
With as much noise
as he could make, Nick prepared a meal for Kevin and the rest
of the Officers.
In between Kevin
trying not to smile over Nick's temper tantrum that he was
having, and the strange looks from his officers because he
was saying nothing to the man about it his behavior. Kevin
waited it out. J.C. was boiling mad over her provisions being
taken from her hold and some of it wasted as well.
A short while later
a plate of cold beef was slammed in front of every person
at the table. Warm buttered potatoes and fried corn bread
sat neatly on the plate. The entire meal had come from J.C.'s
ship. Her mouth fell open as Kevin smiled and delicately sliced
from my stores!" she glared at Kevin.
my stores," Kevin gave her a shit-eating grin. "It's
I'm surprised he forgot the raisins."
Kevin gave Nick a droll stare as Howie outright laughed at
realize you were so much like your two children," J.C.
emphasized the word two. She squeaked as A.J. pinched her
backside, warning her to be quiet as the table fell silent.
Kevin's grin didn't
turn into a frown, instead it grew wider. "Yes, I have
two boys now," Kevin waved his fork at Nick. "One
is prone to temper tantrums and the other refuses to listen."
be boys," J.C. smiled a smile that frightened those who
knew what she was up to.
Brian choked on
the beef in his mouth as he looked at A.J. He thought for
sure A.J. would have explained it all to J.C. However, J.C.
kept forging ahead.
"And how did
you come to meet the newest member of your lovely little family?"
J.C. ignored the pain that A.J. was causing her as he latched
onto any limb he could and squeezed as hard as he could.
a small time thief
I'm guessing. He had some help from
Nickolas getting onboard. I'm grateful though, the boy is
an excellent cook." Kevin didn't shoot any glares at
Nick's direction, he actually smiled.
J.C. wasn't making
head way on her problem with Kevin. She wanted her ship and
her riches back; she had fought hard for them. "To think
that he challenged you in front of everyone
Nick had to move
the conversation, he of all people knew how mad Kevin still
was over the incident, and it was far from being over. "So
do we get to split the bounty from J.C.'s ship? We did capture
it." Nick wore his angelic, fresh face, which usually
inferred to outsiders that he was dim-witted. To those who
knew him, Nick was beginning launch an attack of his own.
A.J. laughed loudly
as J.C. began to spit and sputter her ale. "What do you
mean Capture? I thought you were coming to my aid and rescuing
me." J.C. reached across the table to slap Nick, only
to have her hand caught in an iron grasp mid-strike.
your hand to Nickolas again J.C.," the stern warning
came from none other than Kevin.
Slowly J.C. lowered
her hand and she fixed her gaze on Kevin. "Fifty-fifty,"
she ground her teeth together.
Kevin laughed at
the redhead's audacity. "Seventy-thirty."
"Well if that's
all you want," J.C. smoothed her hair back into place
as she tied the mass of curls with a ribbon.
"You get thirty,"
Kevin lifted his tankard to this lips.
"No! I earned
it," A.J. corrected her.
Nick could barely control their laugher at J.C.'s next move.
she spoke as she leaned forward over the table causing an
ample amount of her breasts to be exposed to Kevin's view.
She batted her eyelashes at him. "Old friends,"
Kevin's loud laughter
boomeranged off the timbers of the galley. "No wonder
A.J. is always smitten around you."
A.J. jumped in to defend himself.
The entire table
was laughing at A.J.'s offended face and J.C.'s red one, her
embarrassment evident to all.
"J.C. my holds
are almost empty. I've had a rather unsuccessful voyage. We
still have to maroon the blue coats and I have to continue
on to New Providence..." He stopped short of the information
that he had acquired. A Spanish ship carrying taxes back to
Spain was directly in their path and it was his primary target.
fair!" J.C. was steaming as she stood up quickly.
"I could always
follow the code or I could render the Lady J helpless or better
yet, take it from you and give it to another?" Kevin's
eyes rested on A.J. "Couldn't I Alex?"
A grin exploded
on A.J.'s face knowing damn well Kevin wouldn't give in but
Kevin was up to something. "Aye, you could."
J.C. had lost her
footing in the negotiations. Something went wrong by the looks
of things, A.J. was going to command her ship and in turn
by the look on Kevin's face, her as well. "I want another
deal," J.C. walked towards Kevin. She stood next to him,
she was actually pleading with him in her own way.
Kevin thought for
a moment and looked at the incredible sexy pirate with the
red hair and a temper, as well as a reputation to match. She
had been taken over and he wasn't sure that she would have
come out of the situation whole had they not arrived on the
scene. Stretching his legs out, he leaned back, and looked
at her. "Last deal."
J.C. nodded her
acceptance at her only option left. She had hoped for sixty-forty
she could get by on that for now.
Moving his hands
behind his head, he laced his fingers together. "Marry
A.J., we'll go Fifty-fifty."
J.C. pulled her dirk from her boot and shoved it in Kevin's
"Oh, big bad
lady pirate, give me that before he hurts you with it. Then
he will demand that I give 20 lashes in front of the entire
crew. I'm rather fond of your back as well as the rest of
you. I would like you to remain intact." A.J. stood next
to her as the entire table froze. Not one of them had anticipated
J.C. reacting the way she had, nor had they ever seen A.J.
move so quickly and fluently.
Kevin lips moved
from side to side, this was not a good day at all. From his
peripheral vision, he watched A.J.'s hand open to a flat palm.
J.C. exhaled and then placed the weapon his palm.
In a flash J.C.
was resting in Kevin's lap, being held tightly to his body.
She struggled to free herself and yelled for help. Finally
settling down when A.J. told her to do so.
With his arms wrapped
around her arms, he spoke words directly into her ear, but
loud enough for the others to hear. "We saved you this
time. We might not be around for a second. I do not want my
life long friend to be as sad as I am some days. You have
four days to think about your answer. In one day we'll maroon
the blue coats. Until those four days have passed you are
to be locked in Alex's cabin to do with you what he pleases.
I will send part of my crew to tow the Lady J along with us
so your ship will be safe. When we enter the harbor of New
Providence eight days from now, you will be married or penniless."
"I bet you
weren't counting on that one," A.J.'s languid laughter
echoed of the walls as he dragged J.C. from the galley.
you keep the Lady J," Kevin laughed at her retreating
figure and listened to her spout off about the way she would
torture and kill him for this; at the very least maim him.
Brian shook his
head as he began to laugh; he never thought that even his
cousin could come up with such a punishment. "He needs
a good woman, he's loved her forever."
time he dry docked her and started a family," Howie tossed
into the conversation only to have Kevin shake his head at
Kevin became mellow
at the word family as he searched for the answer in his tankard
of ale. His friends were well on their way to getting drunk
and he wasn't in the mood. The tall tales began as old friends
reminisced. Kevin listened to them for hours but he was still
hearing the word 'family' in his head. His eyes fell on Nick's
empty chair; Nick had retired earlier in the evening. He was
saddened to see the boy grow up on him. Kevin's thoughts settled
on Ray. Thinking back he began to feel that he might have
gone slightly overboard on the disciplining the child. "I'm
off to bed," Kevin announced. Making his way to his cabin,
he paused to check on Nick, who was sound asleep in his bunk.
Listening at A.J.'s door, the distinct noises of lovemaking
were audible. Looking up he smiled, he thought he had done
at least one thing right today.
Removing the bar,
he quietly entered his cabin. He set the oak barrier on his
side, in its iron cradles. "Well Ray, it seems as though
we have a problem between you and I," Kevin swaggered
to the hammock. "I didn't get to speak to Brian so I
am at a loss as to what to do with you."
was out of place here. He needed to think, to reflect on things.
Tossing his shirt aside, he stood in breeches pouring more
rum to dull the pain of the day away. "Something isn't
not as it should be, is it Ray?"