wanted to sleep later but the incessant tapping on his door
interrupted his sleep. Swinging his feet to the floor, he
walked to the door. Raising the timber from the cradles, he
signaled to whomever that they might enter.
Once during the
night he awoke to relive himself. He had thought about moving
the timber then but one glance at Ray lying in his bed coupled
with the blue coats aboard his ship sent him back to his hammock
with the door still bolted.
Standing by the
washstand, Kevin waited for the door to open as he splashed
water on his face.
Alex murmured as his eyes fixed on Kevin's bed.
Kevin watched his
Quartermaster from his mirror. Sir Alex was studying Ray rather
intently. "Did you do as I requested?" 'Oh tell
me that he is not involved in the ruse too,' he studied the
man behind him in the mirror.
A.J. nodded, still
fixated on the bed, "Naturally."
Ray turned uncomfortably
in the bed; the sheet fell from the upper half of her body.
A.J. could see Ray's clothing was undisturbed, even the cap
remained in its place. A.J. literally sighed with relief.
Now he was satisfied that the secret was still a secret. He
started to grin as his hand referred to the bed, "What's
the meaning of this?"
own Alex," Kevin slid a shirt on as he hurried out the
door. Striding down the hall with a purpose, he took the metal
mug of coffee that was thrust in his hand. Turning to see
who had been so kind, Nick retuned a smile to him. If he didn't
have an agenda for the day he probably would have thrown a
punch at the boy. He needed more time for his head to clear
from too much liquor. Some clarity had formed and he seemed
more settled now that he knew he wasn't lusting after a lad.
Kevin turned to
cast a stare at Brian and Nick. They were looking into his
cabin without entering the room. "Tend to Ray Brian.
I want to know what shape the child is in when I get back."
Kevin cleared the steps up to the deck two at a time.
Five sets of eyes
peered into Kevin's cabin, all of them wondering the same
thing. "Alexander! Howard!" Kevin yelled down into
Hastily they ran
up the stairs. Howard still having one question unanswered,
"Did Kevin know Ray was a female?"
Ray cringed as she struggled to sit up. She rubbed her arm
cautiously. "He yells to loud." Ray grimaced at
Nick bounded to
her like an over protective large dog. Nick yanked the covering
from her and frowned.
Ray's mouth opened
to scream as she looked at where she had slept.
only alarm him and he will race down here to what has happened,"
Brian spoke as he entered the room.
J.C. smiled at
Ray, "'Tis a good thing the Captain is fond of you. I
didn't think he would give-up his bed so willingly."
Ray weighed J.C.'s
would Kevin do this?" Nick scratched his head; this was
strange, even for Kevin.
Brian helped Ray
to stand. "I would guess guilt would be the reason that
he gave up his bed. Obviously he doesn't know because we would
have arrived this morning to a different situation, entirely."
Ray had yet to
speak as Brian went through the motions of touching the tender
areas, pushing and prodding. When he began to rotate the shoulder
slowly, Ray winced slightly and nothing more.
"Does it hurt?"
Nick studied Ray's face as he hovered over her.
"Just a little,
nothing like what Edmond has done to me."
Brian wasn't sure
if she was hiding her pain or if some of the medicine was
still in her body. "Here hold this," Brian handed
her a book from Kevin's bookshelf. The book fell to the floor
with a loud thud.
Brian grabbed Ray's
face. "Do not lie to me Ray. It will make it worse if
you go back to your regular duties."
hurt at first. Then it felt like I had been struck again by
that monster." Ray seethed with anger and she was beginning
to plot how to get even with the good Captain Richardson.
say?" J.C. stepped forward. Clearly, Ray didn't see the
real man that was behind the Commander. Ray didn't know Kevin
as a compassionate man that his close friends did, maybe an
example was all that was needed. "Kevin is marooning
the blue coats that were troublesome to me, and would be to
"Is that what you call that? Marooning?"
He should take them to New Providence with us," Ray spewed
at the lady pirate.
J.C. laughed even
harder than Brian, "Oh I don't think so youngster. They
truly are dangerous men. Kevin will not risk his crew and
cargo being taken over. Kevin is thinking about the safety
of everyone on this ship first and foremost."
doesn't justify safety," Ray balked as Brian continued.
Nick was glaring
at her for arguing with J.C. to begin with.
J.C. switched her
gaze from Brian to Nick and back again. She could not believe
this child. "Aye it does, when it protects all the ones
that you care about. The men are being put out to sea a half-day
row from an outer island."
Ray still thought
leaving the men on an island was cruel.
J.C. watched Ray;
the child seemed unimpressed. "Along with another rowboat
of provisions and water, so that they can survive until another
ship passes by them. This will leave them at least two days
Ray's eyes enlarged
and J.C. saw the striking violet coloring for the first time
and knew that Kevin must have been driven crazy for the past
months. The girl mimicked a young lad but the eyes were a
give away. The figure was disguised with a baggy shirt and
torn pants. J.C. began to speak again. "He doesn't want
them to die Ray. He's not a cruel man. At times when he does
these things it seems as if he is, but you need to understand
the meaning behind his actions."
lighted as she listened to J.C. but in the back of her mind,
she still plotted against Kevin. 'Raisins in his food, I'll
taint his ale. I'll make him sick with my cooking,' Ray's
J.C. walked around
Kevin's cabin appreciating the fine qualities of the items
he kept to himself. "Take for instance yesterday. He
didn't strike you because he wanted to. It was because he
had to. You forced him into a position where he would have
to show weakness in front of many men. That would have been
dangerous for all of us considering you are a mere child.
Your compassion for others overruled your common sense."
J.C. had defended Kevin and left Ray to think about what she
Nick sides were
paining him as he tried to hold in the laughter. He had listened
to J.C.'s little speech and could only hope that in a few
days when she was shackled to A.J. for the rest of her life,
she would be just as forgiving to Kevin. Brian punched his
arm lightly and winked, they both were thinking along the
pissed but that was at least an accurate account of Kevin."
along with Nick. Ray sat on the bed; she felt her shoulder
throb as Brain cleaned the wound on her arm.
Ray stared at Nick,
"Why is she upset with the Captain?"
Nick laughed, "Kevin
is making her marry Alex." A chorus of laughter followed
the sentence from both Brian and Nick.
Ray grasped at
them, "He can't do that."
"Oh yes he
can and he is. He's worried about J.C. getting hurt. Alex
loves her but they have never been forced to work out their
relationship. She thinks she has a choice but she really doesn't."
Brian grinned at Ray.
Ray laughed for
the first time. "Where I come from you don't have choices.
You don't work things out. You have to do as you're told without
"I'm so happy
I heard those words come from you." Kevin leaned on the
door with a sly smile.
Ray's lips curled
down into a frown as the Captain continued to grin at her
at his place from the doorway.
how is the whelp?"
Brian dropped his
eyes slightly. "He'll be fine in a couple of days. I
don't want him to be lifting anything heavy or doing any tasks
that would tax him. You dislocated his shoulder but its now,
as it should be. The wound from hitting the rail that will
have to be watched."
from the doorway, Kevin entered the room fully and shot Nick
a look. Nick didn't take off running or wither under his glare
as he would have normally. Kevin was impressed with him in
an odd sort of way. Maybe Ray was teaching Nick something.
"So what do I do with a stowaway who can't earn his keep?"
"I have earned
my keep until you struck me yesterday!"
caused Kevin's eyebrows to rise and Nick's eyes to bulge.
Brian coughed his warning to her.
"Can you do
anything that is worthwhile to me?" Kevin's voice had
a devilish lilt to it as he glanced from Nickolas and then
to Brian. Brian stared directly back at Kevin unsure of what
his true meaning had been.
"I will help
Nick in the galley. I just can't lift the pots
"Or cut or
" Kevin was enjoying needling the creature.
Ray stood back
a distance from Kevin. "Well what would you have me do?"
she snarled back at the Captain in a manner that made Nick
take a long look at her.
Kevin took it in
stride, yet faked some anger for the sake of the people in
the room and the ones looming in the hall waiting for the
clash that they knew was inevitable. Ray refused to rein in
under Kevin's command. When he glanced out the door and down
the hall, he saw traces of snickering and smiling. Now he
was angry, they were laughing at him. Reaching Ray in three
strides, he grabbed her by her wrist and pulled her to his
desk. Not letting go, he flipped open a loosely bound book.
"You have an intelligent mind to match your insubordination.
If you were in any condition, I would have you whipped for
your lack of respect!" Kevin took care not to grab the
arm that he had injured, but he made doubly sure that her
bottom connected soundly with his hard oak chair. What this
child needed was a good paddling to set her in her place.
Ray said nothing
as her teeth still clattered since Kevin had just slammed
her into the chair, her bottom smarting from the contact.
Now she was afraid to look at him, again she had not minded
her place. Next to her, an index finger began to thump on
the sheets of paper. "This is J.C.'s Manifest. I want
a fair accounting so that she gets her due share. Double check
the sheet with what we have in holds. When you are done, you
will do the same for our docket. That should keep you occupied
and out of my way!" Kevin fought the rage to slap Ray,
since she wouldn't look at him. "Alexander. will escort
you when you are ready. I guess as a child, you need more
adult supervision than I can give you at this moment!"
Kevin slammed the huge door, which for most would have been
impossible to do because of the nature of the hulking piece
Ray raised her
head slowly, braving a look to both Nick and Brian who just
closed their eyes at her. "I did it again," she
mumbled. She was having a terrible time controlling herself
around Kevin. He angered one moment and then she would feel
strange things happening inside of her if looked at her a
certain way or touched her.
Brian swiped his
hand down his face, "You, little one, need to remember
your place around that man. Yesterday he killed a man over
a simple remark. A remark the man made about you." Brian
grabbed his leather satchel and walked out the door.
Nick sat on the
bed and stared at Ray, he hadn't had the opportunity to tell
Ray what he had learned of yesterday. Tiny tears slid down
her cheeks, Nick needed to explain. Before Kevin retired for
the evening last night, he stopped and spoke to Nick. Kevin
dressed him down about his insubordination. However, he also
said he would not measure out any punishment since Ray was
the instigator. Kevin had relayed part of what happen aboard
the Lady J to him. Nick had watched Kevin numb his feelings
at the meal and didn't know why. Something upset Kevin drastically,
now Nick knew what was troubling his mentor. Kevin wasn't
a killing man. "I don't know what was exactly said but
Kevin was very angry. All I know is that it was a remark the
man had made about you referring to a relationship with Kevin.
Kevin didn't like it and killed him."
Nick stood up and
took a few steps. Turning he looked at Ray, who was very pale.
"Please just do what he wants, at least until we get
to New Providence. It is only four days from now. Please Ray,
watch what you say. If anything else happens I can't imagine
what he would do."
Ray whispered as she looked at the book that was before her.
The feeling that Kevin could kill a person made her stomach
flip, especially over mere words. Now she had to take care
not to create any more trouble for those who were helping
her. Angering him at every turn was only causing misery for
Ray read down the
manifest but couldn't concentrate. It seemed that she couldn't
reconcile what J.C. had told her earlier with what Nick had
just told her. She didn't have anyone to speak to about the
things that were happening to her. She missed Jocelyn terribly,
even her mother would be nice to talk too. She couldn't tell
Nick or any of the other Officers. She wasn't comfortable
with J.C. either. The woman respected the Captain immensely.
She began to speak
to herself, "He kills one day and maroons the next with
enough provisions that they will surely survive." Time
slipped by and her arm began to ache. Holding it close to
her body, she tried to ignore the pain that had started out
as a throb. She heard Kevin yelling above at the men along
with Sir Alex. By the conversations she heard, Ray could tell
that they were cleaning the ship from top to bottom since
there were so many extra hands aboard. The clanking of chains
along with grunts and groans of the men; objects being dragged
on deck, dulled her senses. Placing her head down on the desk
after finishing the first manifest, she yawned. Her arm hurt
and she was tired.
A loud noise startled
her awake, she sat straight up and blinked, not immediately
knowing where she was. Her head whipped to the side, the shock
registered, she was in Kevin's bed again. Confusion cluttered
her mind; she had been doing as he had asked.
Blinking her eyes
into focus, she now saw Kevin sitting where she had been with
an oil lamp burning on the desktop. Her eyes flashed to the
portal and she groaned loudly, it was dark outside now.
evening," he spoke as he sat at his desk with his back
Ray's eyes were
sharper now. She saw the strong back that faced her. His muscles
rippled as she stared at him. Sitting at his desk, he was
only wearing his breeches.
you a tray to eat. According to Brian, you are to drink the
tankard of whatever concoction he has mixed for you after
you have eaten. Then you are to go back to sleep." Kevin
didn't turn to look at her because when he did his blood would
begin to pulsate and his body would quiver, but not out of
anger. He lusted for the woman/child and he would have her
but in his due time and in his manner. "Do as I say and
don't question me," Kevin forced his eyes to stare at
the numbers she had finished. Ray had even gone through the
trouble of putting down estimates of what the goods should
bring on the market. He was very impressed but he was not
willing to tell her that. When he heard the silver moving
about the tray, he surmised that she was doing as he had requested
and eating. "Wonders will never cease," he muttered
under his breath. Going over the figures, the totals were
more than he expected but not as much as he needed. He still
had the Spanish taxes to seize on their way home. This would
be more than enough to recapture his lands, sorely not his
reputation or his pride. Sighing he listened as the bed covers
were moved. Yet still he refused to look at her, for he knew
if he did he would end up in the bed with her, willing or
not to serve his baser needs. Fiddling with things on the
desk, he waited a long while. Once he was satisfied she was
asleep, he rose from his chair. Extinguishing the flame, he
stretched and cautiously moved towards the bed. She was sleeping
on her back but holding onto her arm. Slowly he loosened the
grip she had on her arm and let the injured limb slip to the
mattress. "In due time Ray, things will change and you
will admit your folly and repay me in manner I would expect
from a tavern wench," Kevin whispered as he walked away
to the hammock.
When he had come
in earlier, he couldn't stand to see her curled up at the
desk with arm folded around the other protectively. Gently
he moved her from the chair to the bed without her stirring
even slightly. Hanging his trousers on a peg next to the hammock,
he flipped into the swaying object. Kevin felt the breeze
waft through the portal, his gaze turned to Ray and his hand
moved to his manhood as he stared at her in the moonlight.