A Penchant For Pirates

Chapter 30

Nick journeyed down the hall. Stopping, he waited for Ray.

Ray opened her mouth to start questioning him and Nick silenced her with a finger. He pointed to the door, Celestine's door. Both of them tiptoed by the closed entry.

Celestine stood back, watched the comical pair, and shook her head. She had made the right decision. Jukoo would ensure their safety and return. Hearing voices arguing downstairs she assumed that they had just learned that Jukoo would be their escort for the day. Placing her hand on the knob, she opened her own bedroom door after leaving Ray's room. Disrobing she joined Kevin on the bed. Her hands roamed the expansive chest as she kissed his sleeping lips.

Kevin rewarded her with a return kiss. Grabbing her hips, he pulled her to his own body. Lifting her, he slid her body on top of his. Her legs now straddled his hips. Her hands stroked his stomach and ventured to his manhood. His own hands rested on her thighs, as he forced them farther apart. Pushing himself up on the pillows, he smiled as he held her thighs wide open to his view. "Pleasure yourself, I want to watch." With each stroke that she made upon herself, his own arousal grew. His manhood stiffened as he watched her bring herself up slowly to the pinnacle. She was close to finishing his directive when he halted her movements by snatching her hands into his.

Celestine wrestled with the grip on her hands. Slowly he pulled her arms towards him. With both of her hands now gripped in one massive hand, he pulled her closer about the waist. Her bare breasts lay on his chest as her body twisted from being denied what it craved. "I told you that you would have my full attention and now you do. Did you question the girl?" Kevin yanked harder as he ignored his own lust beating loudly in his ears. He knew Celestine would question her employee without him asking to do so.

"I did," Celestine whined her answer and began to shift towards his manhood. She wanted Kevin; she needed Kevin, now. She wouldn't dare ask which girl, she was sure he meant Felicity.

"And?" Kevin smiled down at woman that he held in a suspension of lust and pain.

"They had a wonderful time… Many wonderful times," Celestine lied. She only lied to repay Kevin for what he was doing to her now. He lifted and rolled her hips. She groaned as he pushed himself into her and filled her completely.

"This is much better," He mumbled as his hands held fast to her and set the pace. Moving his hand to the center of her body, he forced her to ride him harder as his fingers sought out her pleasure point. He watched her head begin to fall back as she gasped for air.

Hot and sweaty she pressed her hands on his chest for support and lifted her upper body. Opening her eyes, she saw a man who was wearing a well-satisfied grin along with what she thought was a hint of arrogance. Her mouth puckered at him.
The smile grew on his face as she frowned at him. Gently he pulled her towards him. Rolling her on her back, he began to take her again. "You have my attention. The children are gone for a while."

Jukoo walked behind Ray and Nick with Felicity. He had spoken with Felicity about Ray and told her the truth as long as she swore to keep it to herself. Felicity seemed very child like, much like Ray. Felicity bounded around the market like a scamp trying to show Nickolas and Ray the best merchants to deal with. An hour had passed and now the three seemed to be walking together and chit-chatting. On occasion, Nick would curse or snap at Ray since she incessantly talked. Jukoo smirked from behind them as they walked, knowing that Ray had to be a woman. She never closed her mouth and neither did Felicity.

Nickolas dropped back to speak to Jukoo privately. He felt foolish when Ray began to talk about fabric. "He has a sister," Nick stood off to the side with Jukoo trying to make any plausible excuse for Ray's intense concentration on the different textiles.

Jukoo nodded an acknowledgement to him. His face broke out with a grin when Ray finger a brightly colored Jupe and matching Cotillon.

"The natives wear these. No decent women would be caught showing all of her legs in such a manner," Felicity pushed Ray away from the clothing. "The underskirt can be seen by everyone."

Ray stopped for a moment. She thought the remark was odd coming from a woman who sold her body to use for any man's pleasure. This girl spoke as if she was a proper member of society. Ray tried to reconcile Felicity with the likeness of Jocelyn. They were worlds apart. Jocelyn knew her place in society and so did Ray. Letting out a sigh, she let Felicity drag her to yet another cloth display. She still had purchases that they needed to make and they would have to be done next. No more time could be spent on guilty pleasures that she would never be able to obtain.

Jukoo nodded at Nick as he spoke

Nick winced, "You see…"

"It is not unusual for a girl to dress as a boy here on the island. They are safer from the men when dressed so." Jukoo offered up more sage advice to Nickolas. "Your Captain is not pleased with the matters of last night."

Nick inhaled, and let is breath out in a long slow exhale. Jukoo obviously knew about the circumstances, "We didn't have a choice."

"Confession is always good for the soul," Jukoo offered some sage advice. He focused a sturdy gaze on Nick who cringed under gaze.

"You upset Celestine and Felicity as well." Jukoo gave him a gentle reminder.

Nick wasn't mean by nature to anyone. "I will apologize to both…" Nick hesitated before he asked the next question. "We'll they tell him?"

Jukoo softened for a moment as he looked at Ray and Felicity. The two were not very apart in age and both held an innocence that was uncommon. Last night was to be Felicity's first time. After arguing against the idea, he had lost his appeal with Celestine. Being a man who sailed and knew the way of life of a sailor; fate, would be unkind to Ray if she were to be revealed to the Captain. "I will talk to Celestine about your dilemma. I would suggest that finish your tasks so that we may return to the house before it is too late."

"RAY!" Nick yelled for her since he had lost her in crowd. His heart thumped in his chest when she didn't answer him. "RAY!" Nick shouted again and waited for her to answer.

Jukoo saw the fear of the blonde man, when he was not able to find her. "Come," Jukoo walked at such a pace that even

Nick had difficulty matching the man's stride. He was barely able to suck air in his lungs when Jukoo stopped.

Jukoo entered the mercantile almost knocking the door from the hinges. The business had customers but he was seeking two small females, one dressed as a boy. A few of the customers were staring at him as he walked towards Ray who stood at the counter. A strange sensation seemed to cause him to distance himself from them. He stood off to the side and waited for Nick. Others in the business openly showed their disgust at Felicity and he as she joined his side.

Nick stood next Ray. When he walked into the store he was relieved to find her but angry that she had left him. "Don't do that to me ever again."

Ray shook off the casual grip he had on her elbow. Ignoring him, she began to rattle off her requests. Pausing when the shopkeeper needed to check for some items, she walked around the store.

The scent of spices foreign to her drew her to the table next to where Jukoo and Felicity stood. Lifting a lid, she would inhale the scent. A few were very enticing and she dipped her finger in to garner a taste. Some were very different from what she was used too. Others were foul to her and she quickly placed the lid back on the crock.

Nick waited at the counter and watched Ray look for advice from Jukoo and Felicity. Jukoo was the one to join her and walk with her. He could see them whispering and felt uncomfortable. He was sure that Ray was acting the role of cook and nothing more. Felicity stepped up to him. "I wish you had picked me last night."
Nick's face burned red, he coughed and stood up straight. "I'm sorry Felicity. About last night…"

The girl literally bounced in front of him. "It's okay, Jukoo told me. I felt better after he did. I thought maybe I wasn't good enough."

Nick brushed a curl from her face, she seemed so young and vulnerable. She wasn't tough and well versed like Ray. "I think you would have been good enough." For the first time Nick saw the girl for her beauty. Her eyes sparkled and her lips were pink as rose petals.

His hand lingered on a curl and caused her to touch his hand. "Thank you," she dropped her head and stared at the floor. When she lifted her head again Nick was smiling at her.

"You shouldn't be doing this. You should find…."

"I have another position in the house. Jukoo told Celestine he didn't want me to be with the men."

"Jukoo is a good man," Nick whispered as the guard and Ray approached.

Ray frowned watching Nick get too close to Felicity. She deliberately placed herself between them. The shopkeeper began to call for help with loading the carts of supplies. Ray pulled the merchant over to the spices. The man began to take small packets of paper and wrap up the request that had been made. "I'll need some raisins, lots of them."

Nick groaned as the shopkeeper showed her the offending food as well as other fruits that have been dried as well. "We must hurry Ray." Nick waited against a counter. A woman came in and walked directly to Jukoo. A deep conversation took place away from the others and she left. Nick stood a little taller as he walked towards the man. He had trusted Jukoo and hoped he had not made yet another error in judgment. "Jukoo…"

"Don't be alarmed, she was sent from the house to ask me questions." Jukoo understood the stance and knew Nick felt threatened and had become wary. It was a good thing to see in the young man. The woman had come at Celestine's bidding and needed information for which Jukoo was sent to gather. Sarah needed confirmation on some details. Jukoo revealed none of this to Nick. "All is well," he nodded to him.

Returning to the counter Nickolas pulled coin from his pocket to pay for the inventory for the ship.

"You have coin with you," Ray's eyes focused on the money that sat in Nick's hand.

"Aye, the food is not free," Nick closed his hand as Ray gripped his arm. "You'll not be taking any of this coin, it belongs to the Captain."

Ray startled when Jukoo's voice was right next to her. "You'll be returning to the house Master Ray and nowhere else." Ray looked at the menacing man, she would return to the house without any other thoughts of escape on her mind.

They journeyed back to Celestine's only to find Celestine sitting in her parlor. Kevin had left for the docks. "Kevin requests that you return to the docks as soon as you returned here."

"Oh," Nick looked confused. He didn't understand why Kevin would leave them alone. It wasn't like them.

"Have you finished?" came from the door. "We must return without delay. We are sailing tonight."

Ray turned to see Sir Howard standing in the entry. Her lips pursed together, for a small moment, she thought she had an opportunity to escape.

Nick felt relieved as he rubbed the back of his neck and closed his eyes. Kevin wouldn't leave them unattended on the island. He also knew Ray wanted to leave, but if she left now, Kevin would only hunt for her. Most likely he would offer each man on the ship a sum of money to find her and return her. There would be no telling what could befall Ray here. "We're ready," Nick gave Ray a shove to the door. He really wanted to speak to Celestine alone but wasn't given the opportunity.

Jukoo stood inside the parlor. "It will be the same," he looked at Nick hoping Nick understood the what he was trying to say. When Nick surged forward and clasped hand for a handshake, he knew the man had understood.

Howard walked silently next to Ray and Nickolas. The ship was in a state of turmoil. In his mind, he debated whether to inform Ray and Nickolas or not. Most likely he should since the two of them seemed to get the brunt of Kevin's anger, even if they did not cause Kevin's current state of dissatisfaction. He thought more deeply as they walked towards the dock.

"The Lady J is gone!" Ray gasped as the entered the slips. Only Kevin's ship was docked where they had disembarked.

"Oh God!" Nick ran towards their ship with Ray right behind. "He's gonna kill'em!"

"I guess I don't need to tell them," Howie mumbled. He had been so lost in his own mental debate that he hadn't realized that they had arrived. Idly he took his time as he watched both of them run up the boarding plank onto the deck. He hurried for fear of missing anything that might happen.

The minute he had stepped on deck Nick wished he hadn't. Kevin had A.J. by the throat and lifted him off the ground. Nick ran forward only to be followed by Ray.

"Put Sir Alex down!" Ray yelled at Kevin in front of the crew.

A.J. fell to the ground, coughing and gasping for air. His hands wrapped around his neck to see if his head was still attached. Sucking air in as fast as he could.

An intense green graze fell on her, she chewed on her bottom lip. She had angered Kevin once again by questioning him in front the crew. Retribution was sure to come. As his eyes rested on her, her breath caught in her chest but she refused to back down from the man.

Kevin waited for her to drop her eyes. Instead, Ray's chin jutted out and she challenged him all the more. He had no fight left in him at this point. He watched his crew move away from him, not wanting to be harmed in any way when the tangle started. "I told him to watch J.C."

"I did," A.J.'s scratchy voice now entered the conversation. Once again, he needed to come to Ray's aid and his own as well, before Ray answered Kevin. Kevin would surely take a swipe at the young pup.

Kevin spoke as he stared down at Ray. He took two steps towards the child as the memory of last night rolled again to the front of his mind. A hand jerked his arm distracting him from wanting to throttle the chit.

Kevin turned to A.J., who still held his hand on Kevin's arm and he listened. "Let's go below and sort this out."

Kevin stormed to the stairs and flew down to the galley. When he had seen the Lady J was no longer in port he wanted to kill every man on his ship. A.J. had gone off and J.C. had slipped away. He had already dealt with Shamus, who would he deemed a fool. He felt the bigger fool for leaving Shamus in charge of J.C. No punishment would be deemed necessary since he was to blame for his own error in judgment. A.J was the one accountable for J.C. She and her ship now belonged to him. A.J. should have kept a better eye on his property. Kevin stormed around the galley, to his cabin, and then back again. A.J. was giving him time to blow off the head of steam he had. When finally A.J. did join him, Brian, Howie, and Nick accompanied him. Kevin looked up the stairs to see if Ray was going to join them.

"He is overseeing the loading of the goods they purchased." Brian offered an explanation for the unasked question.

Kevin said nothing, his anger boiled to the top and he paced back and forth. "Alex, I married you for a reason. J.C. needs protection. You were to watch over her." Kevin now stood over A.J. since A.J. now sat in a chair. "Could you explain to me how this happened?"

"She wanted one more sail," A.J. smiled broadly at Howie, who sat across from him. It was pure enjoyment when one of them could get Kevin riled up.

Howie thought A.J. was either drunk or delusional as he poked at the very thing that had angered Kevin. Caving into a woman's wants wasn't one of Kevin's strong suits.

The same words Alex had spoken were shouted back at him. He said nothing until Kevin ceased shouting. Kevin ranted and raged about the dangers of sea, of unprotected women off on their own.

When his anger petered out A.J. calmly stood up. "J.C. is mine to do what I wish with. You married us. She and her ship are my responsibility not yours."

Kevin swung but struck nothing as the force of his own arm spun him around. A.J. landed one punch that sent Kevin to the floor. A.J. stood over him threateningly, "Before you get up and strike me again, you had better think about a few things. I have posted the banns so that all will know that we are wed. J.C. is not a woman that can be put in a home and worshipped, she thrives on adventure. We reached an agreement that is mutually satisfying to us. You were not involved. She is my chattel, not yours"

Sprawled on the floor and his anger deflated he listened to Alex. A.J. was correct, Kevin had no business in the marriage, nor the decisions that he had made. "Her safety was my only concern."

A hand reached up to pull him to his feet. "Understood… Now that the men are angry because you have cut short the docking I suggest that you explain to us why."

Nick's restlessness as he fidgeted only served to draw Kevin's attention to him.

"What did you do Nickolas?" came in the form of a sigh from Brian. Brian had drawn his own conclusion of why the landing had been cut short. Nickolas must have been up to mayhem and it most likely involved Ray as well.

"The boy did nothing," Kevin defended Nick. Frustrated as he was Kevin didn't want to deal with the antics of the evening before. After his anger had cooled last evening and lay in Celestine's bed. He began to form a strategy to catch the Spanish Galleon loaded with tax money. Due to the swiftness of the other ship, he could only use a surprise attack to catch Spaniards off-guard. His ship was far to slow to out-sail the larger vessel. The advantage of a daytime attack as they lay in wait of the vessel appealed to him the most. Turning once again to Nickolas as he took his seat, he thought it would not be wise to include him. Nickolas would be guarding Ray below deck. Even though his stomach lurched at the very knowledge of what he had learned, Ray still needed protection. "Go above deck and help Ray. I do not want to be cheated on my purchases."

Nickolas followed the order and silently thanked Kevin for such an order. He did not want to be involved in any further arguments over J.C. and A.J.

Kevin waited for Nick to leave the galley before he spoke. "I have become privy to some information that will lead us to as much wealth as any man could desire. All that we could imagine could be ours. However, it will be very dangerous so if you want out now, inform me, and you are free to leave."

"You have my attention," Howie sat up in the chair.

A.J. shot Kevin a grin, which indicated to Kevin that he was in.

Kevin waited for Brian to decide. When Brian nodded his head in agreement, Kevin began to lay out his plan to his officers. "Untold riches will be ours…"

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