three days and nights, Kevin tormented Ray mentally and her
physical body as well. He pushed her to nearly collapse on
the third evening. Collectively the officers had tried to
intercede on Ray's behalf. Kevin ignored their requests continuing
to try to force a confession out of Ray by breaking her down
physically and psychologically.
Shamus had approached
him before this evening's meal and offered his help to Ray
and Nick in the galley. "The wee ones are tired. They
need to rest." Kevin was hard-pressed to resist Shamus's
request since the entire crew needed to rest. In one day's
time, they would be at the destination that Kevin had planned
to isolate his ship from the view of the Spaniards. A day
of rest and they would be up to a good fight.
A natural jetty
forms a safe harbor for my men and I to rest. From this point,
we will lay waiting for the Spanish gold. We can out-sail
them and we can out-maneuver their ship due to our size. My
entire plan hinges on the ability of my crew to easily sail
around them and board the vessel before they have the opportunity
to fire upon us. If we succeed, the ship and its riches will
be ours for the taking.
meal was unusually quiet. Tension was evident in the room
but I couldn't seem to pinpoint why. Part of me knows that
it is because of me. I have taken Ray and Nickolas to task
as of late. I'm angry at Ray, for the child is still carrying
a secret, one that I want revealed to me by Ray and only Ray.
Nicholas has stuck
close by, never really leaving me alone with Ray. I suppose
I could command the time to be alone with the brat but my
mind is weighing heavily on the Spanish treasures. Nicholas
is harmless yet protective as bear when it comes to Ray. My
instinct is to beat a confession from Nick. I'm angry that
he is still hiding this from me. Yet, on the other hand, I'm
sickly proud that he is so loyal to the little one. I wonder
where I went wrong on teaching that principle, the boy is
supposed to be loyal to me and only to me.
For now, I have
to set my emotions aside for Ray. I will deal with the matter
after we have taken the taxes. I need to restore my wealth,
my lands, and my good name.
I must admit begrudgingly
that Ray is a good sailor. The last three days I have been
a beast with the child and set forth many goals that needed
to be accomplished with perfection. The waif, unfortunately
for me, attained all of them. As Ray met each of my challenges,
that stubborn chin would jut out at me. It taunted me, yet
tantalizing me at the same time. The lips would form in slight
pucker and I had all I could do not to ravish them in front
This is where my
difficulty lies in dealing with Ray. One moment I would like
to thrash the child and in the next, I want to seduce. I'm
torn on the inside from so many different angles, the masquerade
itself and my crews' involvement, as well as the lies. The
attitude and behavior; also the lack of manners, which is
usually reserved solely for me. All others are treated appropriately
to their station on the ship. Some have even fallen in favor
with Ray and seem to get more out of the child than I can.
I'm beginning to resent Alex being on this ship. When Ray
is not with Nick, she is with A.J. I guess I should not complain,
I was the one who requested that they watch over Ray.
As of this moment,
that sweet body is gently swaying in a hammock above my bed.
Even after learning of the sexual preference, it no longer
seems to even factor into my thinking or my lust. I would
say that I care, however, I truly do not. I would like nothing
more to than to slam Nick to the floor from his hammock and
throw him out of my quarters. I would bar the door and deny
entrance to anyone and from Ray leaving. Ray would be mine
for the taking. Yet, something inside is making me hold back,
I need the confession first. I detest having scruples. A privateer
has morals, I don't feel very moral as I sit here and gaze
at her body while she innocently sleeps. How I dream of her,
my body covering hers. To touch her in ways that only a man
can enjoy, the friction of her body against mine, as I take
what I want.
I close for now,
on the 'morrow we will rest and then take what is there for
Kevin S. Richardson
Kevin mumbled through clenched teeth. He had given Ray another
task and yet again, she had accomplished it. What annoyed
him even more was the cheer from some of the crew. It now
had become a competition even though it was to be a day of
relaxation, a competition between him and his errant Cabin
Boy. If he didn't know better, he would swear on his mother's
life that somebody was helping the child beat him at every
Nick smirked as
he raised his head to the Quarterdeck. With his hand shielding
his eyes from the sun he spoke, "He's not happy."
happy, he needs to go back and see Celestine," Ray disguised
her laugh since A.J. and Shamus stood next to her. Shamus
gave her a look that made her think twice about speaking so
derisively about the Captain.
Kevin barked from Quarterdeck.
slumped as she locked her eyes on A.J.
A.J. smirked at
her, "You child, have become a major thorn in that man's
side." A.J. watched Ray take her time strolling to the
Quarterdeck after laughing at her. He didn't miss her cursed
mutterings and calling Kevin a brute as she left them.
Shamus spoke quietly.
A.J. nodded approval
for Shamus to speak.
Dropping his head
so that his lips could not be read by others, he expressed
his concerns. "You have to talk to that boy. The Captain
is just about ready to skin him alive."
A.J. stole a glance
to Nick who seemed to want to join Ray and Kevin. He was hesitant
to do so, since Kevin had just turned Brian and Howard away
from the private discussion. "The Captain is tense; we
have too much at stake on this. If Ray is not careful, I would
agree with you. However, if Kevin discovers that you, Colin,
and William have been helping Ray with his
who do you think will suffer more?"
Shamus's eyes froze
on Alex's as for him to speak again. This news could encourage
a punishment if A.J. were in inclined to do so.
Ray, you are only making matters worse."
Shamus's head bobbed up and down with agreement. Slowly he
backed away from the Quartermaster. "I will tell Colin
and William the same."
"You do that.
The Captain can handle Ray." A.J. began to bark orders
across the deck. It was time to ready ship to hunt its prey.
Carefully he watched the men neatly stack ropes and double
check lines. He began to sing an old sea shanty song and the
crew sang along with him. Out of the corner of his eye, he
saw Kevin stop and look at the men. When Kevin's lips began
to move, Alex smiled then he launched into the chorus. Kevin
seemed to relax as the music and work flowed together in harmony.
The Boatswain checked sails and rigging, objects were anchored
so as not to cause harm. Guns were cleaned and prepared, as
well as the cannons. Cutlasses and knives were sharpened to
the finest edge.
Ray sat on a barrel
next to the ship's wheel studying a piece of paper. Yanking
on Kevin's shirtsleeve, she then pointed to the map. "Correct,"
Kevin mumbled and then looked back over the deck. "Let's
get ready, tomorrow will be a long day of waiting." Kevin
walked away leaving Ray to sit. Bringing her knee up, she
propped her elbow on her knee. Her chin rested in her hand,
her other leg began to swing to the time of the music. She
examined the map closely and read the markings that Kevin
had made. Time passed by as she listened to the singing and
studied the papers in front of her.
"If you start
singing, you will give yourself away," Brian chuckled
as Ray quickly snapped to attention. "I think you should
go below deck now and start the evening meal. Night will come
soon and we have to have all fires out."
Ray surveyed the
deck and found Kevin working the lines. His shirt had been
removed and he was working along side his crew. Kevin's muscles
tensed on his back as he began to tug at the long rope. Sweat
glistened on his body as he pulled with his men. She shook
as she boldly watched him. His muscled rippled with each tug,
his back strong, and his shoulders wide. A feeling began to
move through her body, the same one she had felt before. She
still couldn't identify what caused it to begin or what it
was. She could only sense that her body was changing as she
watched the Captain. A warm feeling slowly grew from her stomach,
the muscles in her legs tightened, and she felt something
different deep inside her body. The sensation seemed to grow
with each passing moment.
Kevin felt her
eyes on his body and refused to acknowledge it. The last thing
he needed was the real Ray to be revealed before they attacked.
It would cause a situation that could get out of his control
quickly. His eyes followed the rope down the crew as many
hands were on the rope. As he studied each face down the line,
they all had one thing in common. All of them seemed focused
on the Quarterdeck and not on the job. This needed to cease
immediately. Dropping the rope, he turned and placed his hands
on his hips. His feet apart holding his body steady and full
of power, he glared at Ray openly.
Brian's gaze switched
from to Ray to Kevin and then back again. "Go below deck
now." He didn't miss the small shiver that rattled Ray's
body as Kevin stared at her with lust laden eyes.
up to the Quarterdeck and pulled Ray down. He towed her to
the stairs by her arm. She didn't balk or argue as he dragged
her down to the galley. "Why in the world would you stare
at him like that?" Nick almost screamed the question.
stare, he was staring at me," Ray started the preparations
for dinner. The way Kevin had stared at her rolled around
in her mind. His body gleamed in the bright sunshine with
Nick closed his
eyes, some day she would understand what she could do to Kevin
without even trying. "Don't do it again," Nick's
hands whisked the bowl away from her.
Ray stuck her tongue
out at Nick causing him to give her a lopsided grin. "I
mean it," Nick brandished a ladle at her.
Ray giggled, "Aye
"No I'm the
Captain," Kevin announced his arrival into the galley.
Turning away, Ray
took a deep breath. He still was shirtless. Closing her eyes,
she braced herself for the brunt of his words. Something about
him being shirtless stirred something inside her. She wasn't
quite sure what made her stare at him in such a manner that
he had acknowledged her and then chastised her for it without
saying a word.
are done, take a tray, and eat in the cabin. Both of you,"
Kevin spoke from the door. "Nick, bolt the door."
really pissed now," Nick grumbled as he slammed objects
around the kitchen. "I can't wait until tomorrow. I'm
going to enjoy this raid and release all of my energy."
Ray said nothing
and let him rant. She tried to figure out what was happening
to her and why Kevin always seemed to be the cause. Working
steady and quietly together, they finished the meal. Picking
up her tray, she excused herself as the Officers and Kevin
began to file in behind her. Nick never joined her for the
meal as she ate in solitude and appreciated the luxury of
time by herself, it happened very little lately. She decided
against returning the tray to the galley when she finished.
Climbing into the hammock, she relaxed and let the gently
swaying of the seas rock her to sleep. She never woke when
Kevin and Nick entered the cabin and retired for the evening.
Ray woke to the
sound of shots and shouts. Stumbling from the hammock, she
grabbed her boots and fled up the stairs to the deck. Running
as she fought to dress herself, she stood on the deck. She
was shocked to find that Kevin was engaging the galleon. Her
body slammed into the deck as their ship cut through the waters
quickly and tightly. Grabbing onto the side of the stair housing,
she pulled herself up and held on.
you doing up here?" Nick yelled as he let go of the rail
that he held fast too so he could remain upright.
Ray couldn't hear
above the cannon fire. The Galleon had at least 20 cannons
aimed at them, no wonder A.J. and Kevin were steering frantically
to avoid being hit. She peeked over the shed room and saw
them on the Quarterdeck. One of the cannonballs had flown
over the shanty roof and landed on the other side of her into
the sea with a loud bang. She jumped but didn't scream. The
cannonball had been followed by three sets of eyes.
The green set now locked on her and looked murderously at
Kevin shouted. "NICKOLAS GET RAY BELOW!"
Nick shook his
head as he ran to Ray's side. "This isn't the time to
annoy him, we could be killed."
"I just want
to watch," Ray stood clinging to a beam on the shanty.
Both of them heard
A.J.'s call as Kevin's ship swiftly rode up to the Galleon
on the opposite that had been firing on them. Within a split
second, Kevin's crew swarmed the rigging of their ship and
swung to the Spanish vessel. Ray couldn't believe her eyes.
The crew swarmed like bees in the rigging as they boarded
by ropes and any other means they could to get on the other
ship. Then she heard the screams of true men in battle and
she swallowed back the contents of her stomach. A hard shove
forced her down the stairs and back into the cabin. Musket
fire, cannon fire, and screams of death assailed her ears.
Opening her eyes, she saw she was alone; Nickolas hadn't followed
her to the cabin. She huddled up on Kevin's bed as she listened;
this wasn't the romantic vision she had of being a pirate
or privateer. Waiting and waiting she rocked her body with
her arms wrapped around her knees. She needed Nick; she was
limbs, she stood up, walked to the door. Kevin had issued
an order, however she was too frightened to stay below and
curiosity overshadowed her ability to follow orders. Creeping
to the top of the stairs, she saw that most of the crew had
abandoned their ship for the other. The smoke burned her eyes
and the taste of sulfur hit her nose and mixed with the salt
of the sea. Ray could taste both in her mouth. The sounds
that accompanied the taste and smells made her stomach churn.
Slowly she ventured to the rail where ropes danced from high
in the rigging. Smoke rose from the other ship as well as
the cries of battle. The sounds of muskets shots filled the
air with puffs of smoke to mark their location.
As her eyes moved
over the deck of the ship, she could see Shamus fighting with
a man, A.J. as well. She smiled as A.J. swiftly out maneuvered
the man. A.J. could move quickly as he was small. Her eyes
searched more and watched as Colin received a slash to his
side blood gushed from the wound and she moaned. One of Kevin's
men skewered the villain that had slashed Colin. Something
slapped her in the back and caught her off guard. Pulling
her knife from her boot, she turned and aimed for whatever
had hit her. A long rope from the rigging had assaulted her.
She returned her knife to its proper place.
Her eyes caught
sight of a Spanish officer now traversing the rigging of the
two ships. His knife slashed at the ropes that held two vessels
tied together. If the ships became separated, Kevin and his
crew would be abandoned on the Galleon. The vessels needed
to stay moored together. Swiftly and silently, she climbed
the rigging to cut the rope that the man had been clinging
too. The preoccupied officer didn't notice her rapid or quiet
climb to the ropes above him. Hooking her knee into the rigging,
she leaned down to cut the rope. Carefully she made two slices,
and the third would part the rope.
the man yelled up to the boy hanging in the rigging. Pulling
his pistol, he aimed at the child. "PRADA!" He shouted
Ray didn't hesitate
as she sliced the rope for the final time. Closing her eyes
as she heard the man scream as he fell to his death below,
it was something she did not want to see. She waited for the
noise of bones crashing to the deck below but only heard a
splash. Sighing with relief, the man had fallen into the sea
instead of to the deck below. From her vantage point, she
could see the deck of the Galleon easily. Her eyes darted
around the deck to find Nickolas when she did she was horrified.
Nick was fighting two men by himself. Racing down the rigging,
she grabbed a rope and swung to the Galleon. Landing with
a soft thud, she dodged two of the adversaries on her way
as they tried to grab her. She saw their faces and she ran
in terror to help Nick and to escape them. Racing up the stairs
to the Quarterdeck of the Galleon, she pulled her knife and
plunged it in the back of one of Nick's attackers.
For a split second
Nick stood facing the man whose expression was now marred
with pain. The man dropped from his hands as the other attacked.
The second man attacking him fell backward with a loud thud.
Nick was standing by himself. Looking down at his feet he
blinked twice, smiled, and then groaned.
Ray popped up from
the deck, "You needed help don't yell at me
Ray's voice was cut off as Nick swung out with his cutlass
and Ray ducked thinking that Nick was swinging at her. When
a man landed on the boards next to her, she shot to her feet.
Nick yanked her
arm and began to search for Kevin. He couldn't fight and protect
Ray at the same time, he needed help. He didn't have to search
long as both his and Ray's name were yelled from the deck
below. Closing his eyes for a scant second, the look on Kevin's
face told it all. He was going to get the thrashing of a lifetime
when this was over. Nick didn't have long to argue as Kevin
was besieged by three men and jumped to his aid from the Quarterdeck.
Ray followed Nick
out of habit; jumping down to the deck. She became pressed
between two bodies, Kevin and Nick's as they continued the
battle. They fought off the three men and one who had joined
them. Ray felt trapped between the two men. Pulling her own
knife from her waistband, she slashed at the attackers and
landed her blows with accuracy.
Kevin fought hard
both externally and internally. His emotions were getting
the better of him in the battle. Ray had no business being
in the middle of this fight. A woman didn't belong in battle.
A small knife swept up in front of the man he was fighting
and stabbed him in the belly. Kevin saw the look of horror
on the man's face as he looked at the waif who had inflicted
the injury who was between the two hulking men. The man growled
and went directly for the person who had injured him. Her
small frame pressed tightly next to him seeking protection.
He felt her shoulders tremble against his back. His instinct
to shield her went full bore. Kevin struck one hard blow and
watched the man tumble backwards to the deck. Ray's pensive
face met his gaze briefly, her face registered fear as he
grimaced at her.
Ray said nothing
to him but continued to slash out at the men who were attacking
them. She wouldn't run from the battle even though she was
ill with the thought that she was killing people. It was their
lives or hers.
As fast as the
battle had started, it ended. Bodies lay strewn across the
deck in unnatural positions where they had met their death.
Pools of blood had marked where some had fallen and others
had hauled them off.
Ray stood and watched
as if she was not present. Men dragged off in chains to an
empty hold below; Brian tended to the injured. The lives that
were lost from Kevin's crew were returned to his ship for
a proper burial. The unloading of cargo had begun. After watching
for what seemed like hours, a hand gently clasped hers. Looking
up she saw Nick's blue eyes shimmering back at her. "Come,
you don't need to be here. This is not a place for you."
Quietly he led her to their ship and down to Kevin's cabin.
She said nothing as the door shut. She waited for the timber
to slide into place, barring her from leaving the cabin but
it never did.
for more than an hour, she tried to reconcile in her mind
the deeds that she had done. She needed to justify to herself
that the acts were for self-preservation. Ray was shaken from
her introspective by the screams of a familiar voice. The
voice of Nickolas from the deck above, the second scream came
as a plea and she heard the words. "NO KEVIN PLEASE DON'T!"