finally teaching Ray to take care of himself. The boy needs
to learn how to defend himself and to fight." Kevin didn't
take Nick's comment as a challenge, just curiosity.
Ray was intent
on listening to Kevin but her concentration broke by the strange
feelings welling up inside her. Trying her best to ignore
them, she froze when the small weapon locked on her.
Kevin shook his
head, "One fluid movement, as I showed you. Let's try
it again." Kevin leaned over her and grasped her hands
in his. Together they loaded the pistol together properly.
Her hands seemed so small and dainty in his. He shouldn't
be teaching her this, he should lay his claim on her and just
protect her himself. A ship was no place for a girl like Ray.
go," Nick nodded his approval. He was pleased with the
progress Ray had been making. Nick could see the anger build
in Ray with each lesson. Kevin could be overly demanding when
it came to learning something new. He would not stop until
you had the task perfected.
Kevin's inner turmoil
was growing as his body brushed up against Ray's. He was stilling
his inner thoughts and feelings so as not to show how much
he lusted after the chit. Having his manhood give a full salute
wouldn't be a good tactic at the moment.
Ray was shaking
on the inside for reasons she did not know. The Captain's
body pushed against her backside and she dropped her head.
She could feel the heat rising up her neck and into her cheeks.
A small knot formed in her stomach. Quickly she loaded the
pistol again, without error, hoping to escape Kevin's attentions.
Nick was called
away by Howie, who grinned at Brian. Brian was horrified since
now Ray and Kevin were left alone once again. Most of the
men were paying little if no attention to the two on the quarterdeck.
They were to busy getting drunk on the ale that was free flowing
this evening. Brian hoped the evening would conclude soon.
If everyone retired then Ray, Kevin, and Nick would be safely
tucked away in Kevin's cabin, together. "Safety in numbers,"
Kevin showed the
small dagger that he kept in his boot. From behind his back,
he pulled a matching dagger. "This is to be on you at
all times," he instructed Ray as he placed the silver
blade in her hand. "You can carry it in your boot for
safety. Never pull it unless you are planning to use it. You
have my permission to use it freely when you threatened by
any of the crew."
Ray's body reacted
strangely to Kevin's intent gaze on her. His arm wrapped around
her and he bent her forward. She had no choice but to follow.
With ease he slipped the dagger in her boot.
Kevin had to force
himself to concentrate on teaching, not exploration of the
young, lithe body wrapped in his arms. It was a damn hard
fight but so far, he was winning over his own carnal instincts.
His hands grazed over her stomach and his hand fastened onto
her hip. "Now when someone comes from behind, what are
you going to do?"
in one fell swoop, Ray grabbed the dagger, hooked her booted
foot around Kevin's leg, turned, and locked onto his body.
Kevin slowly swallowed since the knife was now precariously
poised on his throat. "Very good," he whispered
as his gaze swept her face and locked onto the violet tempting
eyes that looked back at him. He smiled slightly as he saw
the dawning of what was to come from the chit that had latched
onto him. Kevin could see the smoky desire in her eyes, the
need, and the want. Clearing his throat, he ended the lesson
as he backed away from her. "That's enough for the evening.
I want you to retire to the cabin. I'll be down in a minute,
once I see to the men."
Ray called to him as she tried to steady her trembling body.
Kevin noticed the respect and offered the same, however his
voice was laced with need.
will the ships be tied together?" Ray needed to know.
She needed to get away from this man, he did things to her
that she couldn't explain.
Ray, but you'll be very busy, so I wouldn't make any rash
decisions if I were you. Tomorrow we will finish these lessons
as well as some more. You'll be with Nick or I day and night."
Kevin intended to squash any plans that the girl had of seeking
immunity on J.C.'s craft or of escaping him. He would be sure
to have Brian or Howie watching her as well. She would never
be out of sight from any of them. Most of her time would be
spent with him, it was a conclusion he had already reached.
His body reacted strongly to the girl but his instinct to
protect was even stronger.
Ray reached the
safety of the Captain's cabin, relieved to finally be alone.
Angry at herself she tossed her cap to floor in frustration.
Realizing her mistake, she quickly retrieved it and pulled
it over her head. She stuffed her hair into the cap trying
so as not cause the hat to bulge in any particular place.
Pulling her boots off her feet, she set them next to Kevin's
bed. Swinging up into the hammock, she closed her eyes seeking
peace from her troubles at hand. Her body had been reacting
oddly around Kevin. Feelings were overtaking her thinking
and she needed to discuss this with another. She didn't understand
what was happening to her. Not having Jocelyn with her saddened
her, there was no one she could confide in.
Dutifully she rose
the next two mornings and set about her obligations. Forming
a new strategy in her mind as she succumbed to sleep the evening
before last, she decided to become the obedient cabin boy
to Kevin. If she did as asked, without questioning him, possibly
he would give her the distance that she needed to get away
from him. Her anger seemed to roll with the tide, it would
ebb and then peak. The breakfast conversation was little if
none at all. Brian and Howard ate together but did not speak.
Playful banter seemed to have been banned from the room. Kevin
immediately swayed into her path as she finished cleaning
the galley. Ray froze as he stood in her way, it was time
to begin her plan again, it had worked yesterday, and she
yearned for it to work today as well. "Yes sir?"
for some sword lessons little one," Kevin stood next
to the door, not quite out the opening.
Ray focused her thoughts and emotions as she brushed by him
in her effort to reach the main deck.
Howie and Brian
both tossed questioning looks to Kevin. Kevin smirked, "The
boy has found respect after all. It's amazing what you can
teach them when they are well disciplined."
Both men held back
their mirth until Kevin was a safe distance away. When they
heard him yelling orders above them, the galley filled with
"He is so
confused, he cannot figure out what is going on. We just may
be safe until we reach New Providence." Howie offered
that," Brian moved back his chair. "Ray's sudden
complacency with him should be an alarm to all us. You forget
Howard, we are just as involved with this as Nick and Ray.
We all could be in for some serious troubles ahead. We dock
in New Providence tomorrow." Brian left Howie with something
to think about.
After giving everyone
his orders for the day, Kevin set about training Ray. After
reviewing the pistol and knife skills, he moved onto teaching
Ray swordsmanship just as he had the day before. Every now
and then Kevin would follow Ray's gaze back to the Lady J.
Her lines were slacked so that the vessel would trail behind
Kevin's without creating a weight on his own ship. The Lady
J rode high on the water, since her cargo was now safely tucked
in Kevin's hold. Every now and then communication was present
between the vessels. It was the Captain's way of checking
on A.J.'s welfare. Ray never missed on opportunity or a communiqué
between the vessels. The more Ray focused on the other ship,
the harder Kevin drove her to pay attention and to do as he
had requested. The idea of her escaping to the other ship
without he exacting what he wanted from the chit annoyed him.
His anger would flare and he would pull her attention back
By nightfall, every
muscle in Ray's body ached. The swords were heavy and Kevin
was insistent that she learn everything without fault. She
had practiced for hours with the heavy metal weapons and her
arms throbbed. Kevin had called everyone to the galley for
the evening meal. Ray didn't think she had the energy to prepare
anything. Upon entering the galley, she was surprised to see
a cold meal had been set on the table. Smiling, she turned
to Nick who smiled in return. She mouthed a thank you to him.
on the state of A.J., and loud laughter. A bawdy conversation
filled the room in regards to their docking in New Providence
tomorrow evening. Kevin laughed and Ray tried very hard not
to blush. Kevin suddenly turned to Ray. "You can retire
now. I will help Nick clean up after the meal. Shamus will
bring the tub and hot water to the cabin. You worked hard
today and need to bath." Kevin stopped short of giving
her any accolades on how she had done. He didn't want her
to think that she could be alone with anyone on the ship other
than the people present in the room. She still would not be
safe on her own, whether she was masquerading as a boy or
Ray didn't know
whether to stay or go. She counted her blessings and quickly
left the galley for the safety of the cabin. So far her plan
to listen to all of Kevin's orders had worked. Granted she
was extremely tired and her body ached, yet today the physical
contact was limited to learning what she needed to know. Earlier
in the day, she had resigned herself to the fact that Kevin's
lesson would only serve to help her well when she ventured
off on her own. Her anger towards him seemed to lesson due
to physical exhaustion as well.
Silently Shamus and another crewmember filled the tub. "We'll
be outside Ray, if you need us. None will pass."
Ray sighed with
relief when the door finally closed. She had no idea why they
were posted at the door but she didn't question the decision
any further. The bath was truly heaven as she finally settled
in for a soak after thoroughly washing her hair. Wallowing
away the time, until the water grew tepid, she extricated
herself from the tub. She finally felt clean, her hair smelled
fresh and soft, no longer like salt and scratchy. Dressing
quickly in her clean clothes, she opened the door only to
be standing face to face with the Captain.
formed a smirk, his eyes a bright green. His intention of
letting Ray clean up served his own purpose. He had had time
alone with Howie and Brian to discuss how they would keep
a watchful eye on the young upstart after they docked. Also,
he knew that the girl just needed some time and the feeling
of safety to be exactly that, a girl. He wasn't total ignorant
of the female psyche. "I thought you had drowned in their
boy. I was just coming in. I need a bath, so you will stay
and help if I need you."
Ray groaned loudly
and then ducked her head.
need to wash my back chit. I swear you bathe like a woman."
Kevin began to undress as the large vat was emptied and then
filled with hot water once again.
Ray stood off to
the side until Kevin reached the button on his breeches. She
turned her back not wanting to see him in any state of undress.
Her body had betrayed her over the last two days. Her mind
wanted to run from the man, her body wanted nothing more than
to be closer to him.
Pouring a glass
a brandy, he set it on the table next to the tub. "What
is the matter with you?" Kevin was giggling like a small
schoolgirl on the inside seeing Ray panic as he undressed.
'You are afraid to look, I have to wonder why. You are nothing
more than a tavern wench. I'm sure many have bedded you before.'
you some privacy Sir," Ray swallowed and turned to face
the man that she no longer understood. As she turned, she
heard an audible sigh. Her heart thumped loudly in her chest
when her eyes landed on the tub. Kevin had settled and now
sat smoking a cigar. His chest was glistening from the water,
one arm lazily draped over the tub, his fingers wrapped around
a brandy glass.
he motioned to her to come to him.
Her feet dragged
as she made her way across the room.
With his head down,
he smiled to himself. Nick's timing always seemed to be the
worst and he was waiting for the older boy to come charging
into the room. As if the man had read his thoughts, Nick barged
in on them.
are you doing?" Nick eyed Kevin suspiciously, since Ray
stood by the tub holding a cloth.
a bath, you should try it sometime. You might get more women
you take your own bath? You don't need him to do it!"
Nick's face turned as red as could be. In all the years he
had never helped Kevin bath, Kevin usually kicked him out
Kevin smiled, knowing
full well what was upsetting Nick. "I can't reach my
"Yes you can
Nick stormed over to the tub. Pulling the rag from Ray's hand,
he slapped it into the water. Water splashed all over Kevin.
"He's tired and you are acting like a bastard."
Kevin gripped either
side of the tub and began to raise himself out of the water.
Before he completely stood, Ray turned and bolted for the
door of the cabin and then halted when he spoke. Kevin frowned,
"What is the matter with you two? You certainly are acting
Hearing the water
slosh, she closed her eyes and slowly turned around. "It's
my fault Captain. I'm very tired from today's lessons and
Nick knows this. He was trying to spare me from your wrath."
What wrath? I'm not angry at either of you. I think we all
have had a good day, don't you?"
Ray answered without opening her eyes.
that tired go to bed. I can manage on my own." Kevin
stared at Nick to see his reaction. Normal color had returned
to Nick's face and the whelp let out a slow breath. 'Don't
worry boy, you'll get what is coming to you and I will scare
you witless when it happens.'
Nick began to talk
to Ray and Kevin as Ray climbed up into the hammock. Kevin
saw her small feet since she was bootless now and had to shake
his head, what a charade this was turning into.
"I can't wait
to show you New Providence. You will love it Ray. It has the
best food and so many things to occupy your time. The markets
are wonderful. You can find anything your heart desires."
Nick swung up into his hammock and began to make it swing
violently. Once it had slowed, he spoke again, non-stop.
to the incessant chatter of the two until finally he had heard
enough. The discussion had been thinly veiled as to what the
two little twits had in my mind. Too bad neither of them knew
that he would be with them at all times when they were in
port. He was not going to lose the one boy that he considered
his son to a wayward girl that he had every intention of bedding.
"Enough, I'm tired. Both of you go to sleep." Kevin
had long finished his bath and the large vessel had been removed
from the cabin. Now he lay below Ray looking at the delicious
backside that swayed back and forth above him. He hardened
as he lay under the covers with the only thought being that
he should be on top of Ray not Ray on top of him. He would
take her soon
. Very soon
he groaned as his hand
covered his manhood to cease the ache that had grown.