A Penchant For Pirates

Chapter 29

Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, she opened the bedchamber door. Closing the door silently behind her, she waited. Kevin had begun to strip his clothes from his body, huffing as he did so and almost tearing at the buttons of his breeches. Tossing all of his clothing to a chair, he finally acknowledged her presence by abruptly walking towards her. Swiftly she tried to gauge his emotional state. As he forcefully turned her around and began to unbutton her dress, her ability to see his face erased. Celestine had thought about calling for a ladies maid, however, with the tension in the room, she thought it was best not too. It was a rarity that she saw clients herself, however, Captain Richardson was not one to go with just any doxy in her house. He was more refined and demanding as a lover. His hot breath grazed the skin on her neck. He was barely containing his anger. She entreated mutely that he wouldn't take his anger out on her. Air rushed over her body, causing her shiver as the dress was pulled away.

Yanking at the laces of the corset after dispensing with the gown, he groaned when he finally touched the flesh of her back. Pulling her body back to his, he moaned at the feeling of skin touching skin, he was hungry for her, for Ray. His thoughts halted as Ray's name and a vision of the girl entered his thoughts. "Bed," he growled in Celestine's ear.

Hours later, Celestine lay next to Kevin. He had rebuked her cuddling for lying on his back with his hands laced together and placed under his head. He stared at the fabric-draped canopy above their heads, his eyes wide open, and lost to her in his own thoughts.
Celestine moved closer only to receive a cold glare from him. Ignoring his expression, she let her hand rest on his chest. Dawn would be coming soon and neither had slept. Kevin always slept in her arms after a night of lovemaking. However, this evening was drastically different from the other times they had been together, which were many. After bedding her once with the fury of a hurricane, he hadn't touched her since. He hadn't offered to return pleasure to her either. It was a coupling that was rough and solely for his benefit.

"Do not forget my other request," he grabbed at her hand to stop its movements as it journeyed from his chest down to his stomach. Kevin was well aware that Celestine was trying to arouse him, he was just no longer in the mood to make love to her.

Celestine only nodded to let him know that she hadn't forgotten. His fingers gently glided over hers. She enjoyed his touch and wished he would touch her in other places as well. "What disturbs you so?" She asked trying to lift his black mood. A loud expelling of air came from him, in the form of a huff. She wouldn't venture forth to ask again. Last night didn't go as the Captain had planned as far as Ray was involved. She understood why the man seemed disheartened but there was nothing he could do to change the situation.

If the Celestine hadn't figured it out herself she surely was daft. Lord, how he missed Jocelyn now. He could talk to her about anything. She would be able to help him with this disaster. Celestine was different, she wasn't like Jocelyn. Celestine was nothing more than a paid amusement; he felt no connection to her. Of course, Jocelyn was part of his problem as well.

Slowly moving from him, she pulled herself from the bed.

Kevin didn't miss the taunting she had begun. She strutted around the room naked in search of a robe that lay in plain sight. "Where are you going?" Kevin pointed to the robe when she turned towards him.

Grumbling she snatched the robe, knowing that she had failed. "To address your other request since nothing is going to take place in this room." Frowning at him, she pulled the light day robe over her body. She drank the sight of him in as he lay in her bed. The thin linen lying across his body revealing all his contours delighted her. Kevin was a fine specimen of man, but this evening he was purely a disappointment to her. Under the guise of looking for her other lady slipper, she slipped to his side of the bed. Leaning down she looked under the bed. A hand landed on her behind, it wasn't a forceful blow but a caress.

"Do as I requested and you can rejoin me. I promise you will have my full attention." Feeling badly about how the evening had played out, that was the one thing that he could offer Celestine to make things right. He smiled as he closed his eyes, he heard her almost purring when she righted herself.

She stood next to the bed awaiting any other dictates that Kevin would have. She had learned a long time ago that Kevin was not a deep thinker in the early morning. Always she would walk away, only to be called back to him.

"Before you return, I want you to rouse my young ones. Tell them that they are to be ready to sail this evening." Kevin rolled on his side and stared at Celestine. The shock registered on her face. Grabbing her forearm, his thumb brushed over her skin. "Please."

"You just arrived," Celestine gaped on him.

"I can't stay. Send someone with them to the market. This will keep both of them at a safe distance from me. I want the trunk ready for then," Kevin sighed heavily. Under no circumstances would he stay in port after last night. He needed to get away from the reminder of what happened. He was sorely put out that Ray would choose a woman over him. All night he sifted through what he had learned. Her preferences explained so much to him. She was not attracted to any of the men on his ship. She entrusted Nickolas with all of her secrets. His brow creased as he recalled the look of horror when she saw him naked. Lost in his thoughts and his ego bruised, he never saw Celestine leave the room but he did hear the words. "I'll send Jukoo with them so that the other may be done."

Walking to her kitchen, she shocked not only her cook but Jukoo as well. "Is Osgood afoot?"

"No Mademoiselle," her cook answered her as she pulled scones from the oven.

Jukoo stood watch by his mistress's doorway. Osgood stood on the threshold waiting for the tall bulging mass of a black man to move. The man truly frightened him most days. Celestine had brought the manservant into her home as a guard for the girls. He was a freeman of intimidating proportions. If a patron became what Celestine deemed inhospitable, Jukoo would eject him. Certain things Celestine would abide by, however the women of her house were never to be harmed. Jukoo was in place to see to that. Most men ran in fear of the big black buck with the omnipotent glare that he wore as a mask to outside world.

Jukoo gave Osgood a droll stare and stepped aside. He laughed when Osgood jumped.

"Leave him alone Jukoo," Celestine admonished the large man knowing that he wasn't half as barbaric as he looked. Jukoo returned a smile to her. "I have to wake Kevin's two…" Celestine stalled, she could not bring herself to say the words. It was Jukoo who finished her sentence for her.

"Lads," he laughed knowing well what had happened in the house last night.

Celestine laughed with him, as well as Osgood. "Has Felicity returned to her room?" Celestine asked Osgood.

Osgood gave her a nod as he prepared a tray for breakfast. The breakfast would be delivered to the Captain. Celestine's customers were fed and bedded.

"Leave that, he's in a foul mood. I want you to go and tell Felicity to join me here in the kitchen." Celestine gave the tray a push. She was going to get to the bottom of this once and for all. Minutes ticked by as she thought of the circumstances that had come about. Kevin's other request could wait until she had the information that she needed.

"Do not scare that girl," Jukoo voiced his opinion. Absently he swung a large cast-iron kettle for the cook and waited for a response. More minutes passed, he knew Celestine better than most of the servants in the house. Since he came and left freely, he spoke freely as well.

Folding her arms across her chest, she gave him a furious glance. "A girl is an accurate description. She is such a disappointment. I don't know why I let her come into this house."

Jukoo flashed a large smile, "Because you have a heart, you drag them in like lost puppies to save them from the unsavory lot outside of these locked doors."

"I do not," Celestine pouted back but knew that Jukoo was right. When she heard her cooking cluck in amusement, she straightened the folds on her robe. Holding her head high, she haughtily spoke to them. "It is a business."

The noise of sniffling behind her and small mewling sounds made aware that Felicity had joined them. She rolled her eyes at Jukoo, who suppressed his grin.

She couldn't bare facing the child, she sighed. "Felicity how did the evening go with Ray?" An awful bawl made her gasp and she turned to face the fair hair girl. "Felicity if it was that terrible why did you not call for Jukoo?

Jukoo readied himself for an order to retrieve the girl masquerading as boy at Celestine's command.

"Nothing happened!" the girl threw herself in the arms of Celestine and cried.

Celestine shook her head as she enveloped the sobbing mass in her arms. "There, there, now what do you mean nothing happened?" Celestine smoothed a mass of wet tangled curls from Felicity's face as she pulled her away in order to see her more directly. Hot tears slid down red cheeks. "What do you mean nothing happened?"

She sniffled, "We drank. Then we drank more and more… Then we both fell asleep."

Jukoo's laughter filled the kitchen.

Felicity's sobs became louder and louder. "I'm sorry I'm such a disappointment," she wailed over and over again.

Celestine closed her eyes, for once in her life she couldn't wait for Captain Kevin Richardson to leave her house. He was upsetting the balance of her home. Some of the women now lurked in the doorway of the kitchen. They had heard Felicity howling and were coming to her aid. Turning to Jukoo, she let out an exasperated sigh. "I'll deal with them, you deal with her. Both of you can escort Nickolas and Ray to the marketplace. He sails tonight." Celestine flounced from the room, her anger evident.

Jukoo stepped forward and wrapped his arms around the petite blonde-haired girl. Felicity looked up at the man who had taken her from the streets and brought her here. "I'm sorry," she sniffed. Jukoo shook his head, he would need to speak to Celestine. The brothel was not the place for Felicity, perhaps another station in the house would suit her better.

The women entered the kitchen for their morning meal and began to gossip about the prior evening until Jukoo let them know the topic would not be discussed.

Addressing Kevin's other request would have to be done before she checked on Ray and Nickolas. Stepping into a room at the top of the stairs, she had a conversation with an older woman. After a slight disagreement, the woman began to work on Kevin's next request telling Celestine that it would be impossible. "Nothing is impossible when the coin has been generous." Closing the door, she smiled after telling Sarah just how much coin. Sarah would do the task and do it well.

Celestine had already checked on Nickolas, who was not in his room. Checking her own room, she saw only Kevin, who slumbered lazily in her bed. The sheet had fallen and he lay naked before her eyes. His earlier promise of his full attention caused her to close the door and seek the two characters that had caused all havoc in her house. She stood outside of Ray's door. Leaning closer she heard them talking. It was wiser to listen to the conversation before she entered, it may prove beneficial.

"What did you do?" Nick giggled, amused at Ray's state. Not only was she disheveled she was not pleased either, by the look on her face.

Celestine's head backed up when she heard a loud slap and a yelp from Nickolas.

"That hurt," he rubbed his cheek.

"I should beat you for what you did to me last night. You only thought of your own lusts and wants. How dare you leave me with a girl." It wasn't a question, it was an admonishment.

Nick took a seat in the leather chair, this would take awhile. Ray was scolding him like a shrew, but quietly nonetheless, since the house was full of people. Ray stood in front of him as he sat in the chair. He was cautious knowing Ray would strike him again. He began to snicker and she did just that.

Ray was so angry, she could feel her body start to explode as her emotions rolled out of her. "Do you know what it was like for me? Do you even care? Or were you like Kevin, nothing more than a rutting beast."

Celestine covered her mouth to trap her own laughter. Kevin was a beast last night, but the rutting left her flat. The girl called Ray was obviously angry with Nickolas. Placing her ear by the crack of the door, she listened intently.

Nick squirmed, Ray was beyond mad. "It worked didn't it?"

"Yes Nick, it worked. I got the poor girl drunk. I kept watering down the rum for myself or pretended to drink it. I felt for her. She's much younger than me. Twice she tried to touch me, my skin crawled." Ray hissed as leveled a look at Nick. "Do not ever do that to me again. I am a woman, not a man. I prefer ..."

Celestine swung the door open and swayed in the door. She had heard all she needed to. Felicity had made no mistakes on her part with Ray. Ray did indeed prefer men; no wonder the child was upset. Celestine pursed her lips together as Ray snapped to attention still dressed from the evening before. Her gaze settled on Nickolas who literally beamed a smile back at her. Walking forward she fluffed his hair. "Aren't you cheerful this morning?"

"I am," Nick's slow lazy smile broke free.

Ray wanted to kick him again for his behavior. Nickolas was more of a man than she thought he was.

Standing back, Celestine debated. She could tell Kevin about the nugget of information she had just learned or she could ignore it and see all of them on their way. Her house would be back to normal if she chose the second. "Kevin said that you are to go to the market and purchase your goods. You will sail this evening."

"This evening!" Ray shouted back at Celestine. Her mind raced to comprehend the words. She would have no chance now. Panic set in.

"Yes Ray, this evening." Celestine patted Ray's shoulder. "I didn't know you were so edgy. I thought after some time with Felicity, you would be… Well, relaxed."

Nick snickered as he stood and motioned Ray to follow him. There was too much work to do now that they were leaving. He didn't understand why and after last night with El he didn't really care either. It was an enjoyable evening not having to watch Ray and he was able to get lost in his own little world.

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