wandered from stall to stall at the open-air market. Colors
seemed to be sharper and the surroundings were lush as a breeze
gently swayed the fabrics hanging from twine and ropes. Inhaling
deeply, she smiled. She smelled different aromas, fresh fruits
that were sweet and flowers, mixed along with spices. Her
fingertips ran the length of a piece of silk that hung over
a line. Everything was new and exciting. Music filled the
air along with laughter, the noises of children playing, and
the beat of drums. Ray thought she had found home, it felt
Nick whispered to get her attention. Kevin and A.J. walked
ahead of them. Kevin turned the corner and headed down a row
of buildings. When he entered an establishment, Ray and Nick
dutifully followed, since Alex had stopped and waited to be
sure that they did.
By evening, Kevin
resisted the urge to pick Ray up and squeeze her. After all,
he wasn't supposed to know that she was a woman. After spending
the day negotiating with the merchants, they emptied the hold
of Kevin's ship. The profit from the ship was a quarter more
than what they had originally hoped to earn from the sale
of the goods.
Nick was more than
pleased as he managed to squirrel some fabric that was very
similar to a fabric that Ray had admired when they were in
England. He wasn't sure of the quantity but he felt he had
overbought rather than under bought.
soared as he accounted for each sale. "I'm wealthy,"
he chuckled to all of them.
Stopping a short
distance from his final destination, he turned to A.J. "Yes
A.J., we are, as long as we can keep it." Kevin sauntered
down the paved street with the three of them. "It's getting
late. You need to get back to J.C. and the Lady J. We will
speak later. I have some things to do."
Alex stopped abruptly,
"I should, I'm sure my bride is missing me." Knowing
the streets of New Providence, A.J. had a good idea where
Kevin was heading. They were within walking distance of Mademoiselle
Celestine's. Lilting his head to the side, A.J. waved his
fingers in the air. "Come, let's go back now."
staying with me. I will see them back safely." Kevin
nodded to Alexander.
stiffly at attention. Kevin's voice was that of a man being
a Captain, not a friend. The day seemed to have passed as
friends, not a Captain and crew. "I thought that you
were going to
"I have changed
my plans. These two will stay with me. We will return together
when I finish."
Warily eyeing him,
A.J. was suspicious. Kevin was a man of habit and pattern.
Celestine's was always a stop for the man, especially on the
first night in port after a long sail.
"I don't understand
A.J. stepped closer to Kevin. His hackles rose, if Kevin was
not going to see Celestine, then where could he possibly going
and why force Nick and Ray to go with him. His eyes searched
the street, which now seemed less than safe in the dark than
it had during the day. Men moistly milled about and the lot
did not seem like a friendly or honest bunch.
replied, "There is nothing to understand. I gave you
an order that I expect you to comply. I'll keep an eye on
the young ones." Kevin waited for yet another challenge
from Alex. If Alex continued to challenge his authority or
question his plans then he would see to it that the man was
properly punished as well. He had thought this trickery out
thoroughly; in order for the events to take place, as he wanted
them to, nobody from his crew must be present except Nick,
Ray, and himself. It was time for Ray to admit what she was
to him, otherwise the next two weeks sailing home would be
dreadful for him. He doubted that he could exercise much more
constraint where Ray was concerned.
Ray and Nick exchanged
nervous glances to each other. Ray's plan to slip away from
all of them would be thwarted for this evening if Alex left
without her. "I think I should go with Alex
"Are you questioning
my directive Ray?" Kevin intended to intimidate the wench.
He knew he had succeeded when she searched out Nickolas to
rescue her. The fact that she did so annoyed him even more.
"Excuse us Alex," Kevin admonished his Quartermaster
as he stood silently in a street that was filling with unsavory
characters. "We must be going soon," Kevin's eyes
searched the street for any intended harm directed at them.
reflected in his voice when Kevin received an, "Aye Captain,"
in return. A.J. literally marched away in a huff rather than
walking away at a normal place.
to me," Kevin barked at the two as they stared at him.
Kevin refused to drop his head as he walked slowly down the
street. He would not show any fear amongst the populace that
dotted the street. To show fear would invite a threat, a threat
that he was willing to end to protect the two that walked
next to him. For this night, he would extricate from Ray and
Nickolas a full confession. The balance of his travel would
be sweet with a wench to warm his bed, whether by her choice
or not. Nickolas, on the other hand, would be sore from the
beating that Kevin was more than willing to administer himself.
Kevin turned at
the next corner and entered a luxurious home. Knocking on
the door, he smiled slightly; this was the beginning of the
end. A man answered the door and offered a hearty greeting
to Captain Richardson. All three of them were ushered into
we?" Ray whispered to Nick, who only shrugged his shoulders
indicating he did not know.
A beautiful woman
entered the room. Nick's mouth fell open as he stared at the
brunette haired woman with deep blue eyes. She was tall and
slim, her lashes long and dark. Her skin sun kissed and flawless,
her features stunning. If he didn't know better, he thought
he had fallen in love.
Ray frowned, Nick's
tongue was almost rolling out of his mouth. Placing her foot
on the top of his, she pressed down with her own. Nick frowned
at her, gave her a slight shove, and looked back at the woman.
Kevin's head shake
and the closing of his eyes amused the stately woman before
him very much. However, at the moment he had to speak to the
woman alone, without the other two present. "I need to
have a private conversation with you first."
Kevin had asked
for privacy, the woman titled her head slightly. She saw the
velvet smile that always seemed to get the man what he wanted.
He reached his hand out and captured hers. Kevin kissed the
top of her hand, he raised his head, and he winked at her.
"I never could tell you no. Osgood, could you show these
two young gentlemen to the other parlor for a moment?"
The man who had
shown them appeared from the entry hall. He led Nick and Ray
to another room. The pocket doors of the parlor were slid
shut once they had entered. Ray held her breath waiting for
a turn of the key to lock them in. It never came.
he brought us?" Ray nearly tripped over Nick. The boy
was lost to her as he focused on the raving beauty in the
other room. The door closing ended his titillating fantasy.
"Nickolas," Ray tried to kick at him.
that," Nick smacked her leg away. "I don't know
where we are. I've never been here before. Kevin doesn't always
take me with him." Scanning the room, Nick couldn't fathom
where they were. With the parlor door shut, he could see nothing.
Ray began to prowl
the room looking for an exit. The windows were open but the
building was up one story. A group of men whistled when she
glimpsed out the glass. Backing away, she continued her search.
Nothing in the room hinted as to where they were. "I'm
uncomfortable. I don't like this. I don't trust the Captain
Ray searched for some kind of clue.
Ray ceased speaking
when the door to the parlor opened after minutes ticked by.
Osgood stood board straight and waited for the two of them
to follow him. Ray thought she had seen the butler smirk at
her. Her entire body stiffened as they re-entered the room
that they were ushered from. The room was now filled with
women. All types of women, heavy and thin, short and tall.
Some exotic and some not, some were older and some were not.
hard; he had never seen such a varied amount of women before
him. Some beguiled him, but none as much as the woman he had
met when they first arrived.
"Shall I pick?"
the woman spoke with a hint of amusement in her voice as she
walked towards Nick but directed her question to his Captain.
"Nay, I think
they should pick." Kevin laughed heartily. His plan was
coming together and seeing the bemused look on Nick and Ray
"But I know
them so well," the woman laughed as her hand came to
rest on Nick's chest.
Nick smiled at
the gorgeous beauty in front of him. Nick could feel his heart
begin to pound. His manhood was beginning to stir, this woman
smelled wonderful, her touch was soft, not rough like other
women he had lain with.
Ray ground her
teeth in frustration, not sure of what was going on, but well
aware that Nick was now ignoring her for the woman that stood
in front of him.
Nick's eyes were
planted on the hand that effortlessly caressed his chest.
Urges and thoughts made his mind begin to spin. It had been
a while since he had been with a woman. He spoke just above
a whisper, as he enjoyed the feeling that was beginning to
build. "Pick what?"
The women in the room giggled and smiled.
Ray looked from
the ladies that stood in the room, to Nick, to the woman,
and finally to Kevin. "Where are we?" Ray spoke
to Kevin giving him the obedient voice that he always requested
Kevin smirked back
at Ray. This was all too much for him to handle, he wanted
to outright laugh in Ray's face. With one single plan to manipulate
both of them, Ray had just lost Nick, her protector. Folding
his arms and still smirking, he walked forward to stand next
to the woman, who touched Nick's chest. His eyes dropped to
the hand that still had not left Nick's body. With a snort,
he turned his gaze to Ray. "We are at Mademoiselle Celestine's."
Celestine's!" Nick shouted and stepped back from the
hand. He gawked at Kevin and then to Ray.
Kevin watched Ray's
eyebrows furrow together in confusion. Smiling as she glanced
to Nick for clarification, when she did not get what she was
seeking, her features changed remarkably. Kevin watched the
anger build in the chit. He saw many emotions on her face,
fear, confusion, anger. Ray definitely felt threatened. Kevin's
smile increased ten-fold watching a nervous Nick start to
fidget. The boy actually started to sweat as he stood in front
of him. Whether it was because of the information that Nick
had absorbed as the boy's brain linked everything together
or was it because he was under Kevin's direct scrutiny. Kevin
preferred the later, he knew that everything was about to
dawn on Nick rather quickly. He wasn't ready to let the proverbial
cat out of the bag yet with Ray. "Oh now, you don't have
to afraid. I'm sure Celestine will let you pick."
a brothel!" Nick screamed in horror at the thought.
Kevin's roar of
laughter filled the room as well as the women. Stepping closer
to Ray, he leaned down and stared directly at her. All color
had drained from her face and he thought she would faint.
"I'm sure you will find one to your liking as well,"
Kevin heckled at her.
Nick's inner voice screamed. 'What are we going to do?' 'Stay
calm, his inner voice answered him, it will come to you.'
An idea struck him as a hand squeezed his backside. He did
not want to sacrifice this. This was a big step in Kevin's
book to becoming a man. But Ray, poor Raina, what could he
do? Nick shifted from foot to foot. "I need to talk to
Ray," Nick licked his lips nervously, as he waited for
Kevin to refocus on him.
"What in God's
name for?" Kevin let out an exasperated sigh. He didn't
see this coming as he glared at Ray waiting for a confession
that didn't seem to be coming. Now he was annoyed as he straightened
up to his full height and looked Nick in the eyes. "I'm
waiting. I have all night, but I would prefer not to spend
it down here."
Nick was going
to go so far out on the proverbial limb on this. He hoped
Kevin didn't cut down the tree and the limb on this. "I
want to consult with him. Make sure that I don't pick what
he wants." Nick's headed bobbed up and down as to confirm
his thoughts as he spoke them.
Kevin snorted once
more, "Is this a joke?" Kevin's eyes narrowed on
Nick and he could see that focusing his intention on the lad
seemed to be working. Nick was now practically sweating all
the way through his shirt.
"No, but it's
his first time. He should pick
Nick kept shifting his weight from foot to foot. If he didn't
know any better, he would swear that this was some type of
game or something. However, it wasn't because Kevin didn't
know about Ray.
"No, I don't
know," Kevin rolled his eyes. "Fine, confer with
Ray, but be damn quick about it or I'll do the picking. I
have a feeling you won't like my choice." Kevin's eyes
landed on a specific woman that was very far from Nick's taste.
He watched Nick's eyes grow wide, twice their normal size.
The woman that Kevin had picked scared Nickolas.
So far Ray had
remained calm, but barely. Kevin had trapped her and she had
nowhere to go. He would find out for sure. Once the idea had
planted itself in her mind, it grew from there. A horrible
idea went wild in her head. If she were discovered here, how
would he react? Her previous conversations with Nick and Brian
whirled around in her head. The worst thought pressed forward
in her mind as she glanced to the face of her tormentor. Kevin
wore a deep scowl, obviously, he wasn't happy. Nick's fierce
grip on her arm and his determined pull forced her to the
"You're hurting me," she pulled from Nick's grasp.
as much as he is going to," Nick scowled as he looked
over Ray's shoulder. Kevin was staring at him and he needed
to do this quickly. "We should just go with this,"
he whispered and placed a finger up to silence her as he watched
her mouth open widely. "Take the young one on the end."
Nick glanced towards the woman to make sure Ray knew what
he was talking.
"I think you
have lost your mind. In case you have forgotten
Nick growled at her. He had a dilemma that he was going to
deal with. He would get out of this. The mere thought of the
punishment that Kevin would measure out to him made his skin
quiver, especially the skin on his back. The skin on his back
wasn't the only thing quivering, so were his loins. Ray needed
to be convinced, "She's a slip of a girl, she barely
weighs four quarters. Drink with her and get her plenty drunk.
When she passes out, she'll remember nothing." Nick studied
Ray's face for acceptance, he winced when her expression changed.
"I will never
FOOLS!" Kevin bellowed with as much force as he had.
Both of them ran
back into the room and slid to a stop before him. They waited
since his back was now towards them.
Kevin rested his
head on his folded arms as he leaned on the mantel. His head
pounded much more loudly than his groin. His booted foot absently
rested on the grate in the unlit hearth. Celestine's hand
slipped inside his doublet, her soft voice came to his ear,
along with her warm breath. "Now if you wish this to
work according to what you would like, you need to calm down."
Her hand lazily swept over his stomach and rested softly.
he whispered as he pulled himself to a stand. "Have you
decided?" Kevin rolled his eyes at Nick and Ray as he
battled inside himself. He wanted nothing more than to step
forward and reveal Ray to all. Then he would take her upstairs
and do what he pleased to Ray. He was waiting for Ray to say
something and the damn girl still had not done what he had
her," Nick pointed to a girl of immature age with a small
Kevin's head swam
with the implication.
Nick thought wisely,
as he saw Kevin's exaggerated expression. He wouldn't be getting
Celestine, even if he picked the woman. "Her," Nick
pointed to an auburn beauty.
Now confusion settled
in Kevin's head, Ray had picked a woman. The sordid idea slapped
him mentally; he had lusted after a boy, who actually was
a woman that preferred women. "ARRGHHH!" Kevin bounded
out of the room and up the stairs three at a time. His hand
on the banister pulled his body along with the force of twenty
men. He could no longer maintain a grip on his anger. CELESTINE!"
Kevin thundered as his headed pounded as loud as his heart.
His anger grew teeth and gnashed at his insides.
spoke to Osgood as her eyes darted up the staircase. Repeating
her instructions, she left the room with extreme haste. Lifting
her skirts so she did not trip, she ran up the massive steps,
dreading what was waiting for her on the other side of her