up the stairs, she burst on the deck. Blinking rapidly her
eyes searched and located Nick. Her body shook as her mouth
fell open. She ran across the deck and threw her body in front
of Nickolas. "NO!" Ray screamed at Kevin and Alex
who stood in front of Nick. Chains creaked as Nick's body
was lifted from the deck. She screamed again at them, both
of them watching her.
A.J. held a Cat-Of-Nine
Tails in his hand, waiting for The Captain's signal as he
walked around Nick. Now he faced Nick's bare back. His stomach
squeezed on the inside, this was something he did not want
The sound of chains
clanking behind Ray caused her to turn to the man who hung
precariously behind her. His limbs were being drawn away from
his body. She saw the tears fall from his face. Nick was frightened.
Not once did she hear him cry out from pain. It was as though
he had accepted his punishment. A bead of sweat ran from his
temple down his cheek and dropped not far from where the tears
had landed. Nick was being punished for something he had done.
He had angered Kevin somehow aboard the other ship. "No,
you can't do this," she hissed at Kevin.
Alex knew better
than to question Kevin and his command. Kevin had the consent
of two, but A.J. thought that maybe by seeing Nick hung in
chains would bring Kevin back to reality and cause him to
snap out of his anger. Nick had not followed orders as the
Officers had quickly discussed after re-boarding their own
ship. With a hasty meeting held on the Quarterdeck, Brian
was the lone dissenting vote. A.J. wanted to do the same but
knew that he could not do so without revealing to Kevin that
he knew the truth about Ray. Knowing Kevin, not only would
he take the offense personally, he would most likely maroon
all of them or throw them overboard for failing to inform
him that Ray was a woman. Kevin demanded loyalty from all
but even more so from the people that he called his friends.
Alex was at a loss that it had gotten this far. However, he
also understood Kevin's fury; Ray was almost killed protecting
Nick. Ray had left the safety of their own ship to protect
one of their own. Alex couldn't quite see why Kevin had such
a problem with Ray's courage, all of them would have done
the same. He sighed when Kevin nodded for A.J. to commence.
Raising his arm he closed his eyes and let the whip fly, as
he opened his eyes he focused on the back of Ray's head, he
couldn't bear looking at Nick when the Cat-O-Nine Tails hit
its mark. The only offense Nick had committed was not taking
care of Ray, Nick did not deserve this over something so simple.
A.J. shifted his stance and narrowed his eyes at Kevin. Their
eyes met, that is unless, Kevin knew what Ray truly was. Knowing
Ray was a woman in the middle of a fight would be the only
thing that would make him act like the rabid animal that he
was right now.
Nick howled in
pain as the fine strands of leather landed across his back,
the knotted ends sinking into his flesh. He felt his skin
tightened at the pain, split, and then he felt the blood flow
from the open gashes. Nick tried to prepare himself for the
next blow by pulling on the chains, the metal made an eerie
squeaking sound as he waited for the next strike. His skin
burned from the knots in the whip ends and he let out a hiss
as the sting increased.
Ray flew to Nick's
side. Her hand swiped his face. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."
She begged Nick for forgiveness. It had to be her fault that
he was being beaten, there would be no other reason that Kevin
would treat Nick so poorly for.
Ray," Kevin's chest heaved with anger. He had had enough.
Ray and Nick had bested him in his own little game. If Ray
wasn't going to confess then he would beat it out of Nick.
After all, Nick was responsible for Ray being on his ship.
It was Nick's fault that Ray had tormented him all these months.
Nick was the one to blame for Ray almost being slain today,
his Ray was almost lost. Kevin blinked as the realization
hit him, he had referred to Ray as his. Then he watched the
diminutive hands tend to Nick. "I SAID STEP ASIDE NOW!"
Ray, you are only making it worse for me now." Nick fought
the tears that were welling inside. A.J. would strike again,
he had to or he would be the next one to hang in chains and
receive the same punishment. A.J. was the Quartermaster. Picking
his head up Nick focused on the man that he deemed his father.
Silently he pleaded with Kevin to make it end. Only Kevin
could stop this. Nick could see the anger in Kevin as his
fists pumped opened and closed, he was breathing heavy, and
his brows were drawn together tightly. There was no chance
that even pleading with the man would help him. He didn't
understand what he had done wrong since the charges were not
officially given to him.
Ray's eyes looked
down Nick's bare back. Nine red strips of flesh swelled up
from his form. Small trickles of blood flowed down the side
of each end. She inhaled deeply and from somewhere deep in
her soul she summoned her inner-strength. Power and anger
boiled to the top. Going up on her toes, she glared at Sir
Alex. "How dare you!"
Alex stepped back;
Ray seemed like a feral beast. In a flash, he watched her
as she turned and ran straight towards the Captain.
Kevin stood his
ground, his chest tight. His anger only matching that of Ray's
as she dared stop this. "Interfering again? Questioning
my orders?" he growled at her.
stop this," her defiant chin jutted out. Her eyes locked
on him and she refused to yield her ground.
Kevin gave her
a menacing smile and began to nod his head towards A.J. to
begin again. As he nodded, an open hand made contact with
his cheek. He blinked as he felt the burn and sting of his
own skin. His head twisted to the side from the slap. Rubbing
his cheek with his hand, he took two steps forward to Ray.
He towered over her and hissed in her ear. "He'll be
sorry you did such a thing. You should be the one hanging
there, not him." Pausing, he glared down at her, yet
she refused to do nothing more than taunt him with her eyes,
her lips, and that damn chin.
Ray swallowed as
Kevin stared her down. He was trying to intimidate her so
she would fear him. It would have probably worked had Nick's
had not been hanging in chains. She sensed more was going
between the two but she wasn't sure what. Ray could hear some
of the crew mumbling that the boy would be next for he had
struck the Captain. She heard other words such as treason,
insane, and jealous. Yanked up by her forearms off the deck,
her body turned around, and Ray was slammed to her feet, facing
Nick. A puff of hot air by her ear made her squirm as Kevin
held tightly to her wrist. Her body yanked back to his. A
hand squeezed her bottom, she knew, he knew. This was the
end; she now knew what angered him. Then she heard the words
whispered harshly so that only she could hear. "Now you
will watch another take your punishment."
Tears fell down
Ray's face as the second lash landed. She twisted away from
Kevin, who freely let her go. Running to Nick, she went up
on her toes, her lips almost brushing his ear. "No more,
you can't protect me anymore from him. I won't let you do
a horse groan came from Nick. "It will be worse
Ray turned and
slowly walked back to Kevin. "This needs to stop. You
aren't angry at him, you are angry at me." Ray's hand
swiftly moved to the top of her head. She plucked her cap
from where it had been for many months. Her hair cascaded
down to frame her face. Shaking her head, she let the tendrils
and curses came from the crew. Ray held her breath long enough
to let it out slowly. Obviously, her charade had still been
in place until this moment for many of the crew were shocked
that she was a female. Her eyes went to Howie first, for he
was the lone one who did not know about the masquerade. When
he simply smiled at her, she whipped her head around to others;
the crew looked dumbstruck. She needn't bare her breasts to
them to prove who she was, her hair was trademark enough.
Ray faced the man that she had angered the most. His chest
heaved and he looked like the devil himself as he stood in
front of her.
Kevin seized his
fury in the pit of his stomach. For the first time he had
seen Ray as a woman, a true woman. She had finally revealed
herself to him and the crew. The tension grew between them
as she glared back at him, daring him to make his next move.
His hand swept out and his fingers brushed a lock of hair
from the small porcelain face. Porcelain was now an inaccurate
description, her face now dark from the kiss of the sun, which
only seemed to add to her exotic looks. The violet eyes sparked
back at him as she slapped his hand away from his face, the
little one's anger flashed in her eyes
Nick groaned. His welts did not hurt as much as his limbs
from being in an unnatural position.
Kevin cocked an
eyebrow at her and flashed a set of white teeth at her. Again,
his hand reached for her face.
it Ray," Nick gasped as he struggled to free himself.
If Ray slapped his hand away again, there would be hell to
pay and she would suffer, she had hit him twice now. Kevin
had been fascinated with his cabin-boy for many months and
to now see her for a true woman was justifying everything
that Kevin had felt. Nick knew Kevin to well after all of
Ray raised her
hand to slap the offending object away from her again. Quickly
her hand was snagged from the air, jerked, and twisted behind
her back. The air rushed out of her lungs as she slammed back
into Kevin's muscled body. An arm wrapped around her waist
to hold her firmly in front of him.
Kevin felt her
bottom connect with his hips as he pulled her up against him.
He wanted her, he could smell her, and wanted nothing more
than to take her right now. Her hair scratched against his
chest as she struggled in his embrace. Her struggling seemed
to lick at his desire and cause it to inflame, almost to the
point that he wanted to burst. She fought against his every
move until finally she settled. "Resigned yourself, have
you?" Kevin whispered into her ear. She began to struggle
again, only to have a few of the crew begin to laugh at her
Nick begged as his eyes went around the crew. Most of them
respected Ray as the cabin boy, Ray as a woman would be free
to take. A few would stand for her, the Officers, Shamus,
Colin, injured or not, William, and possibly a few more, but
not many. He could call Kevin's attention to the shift in
mood but could only hope that he understood what he could
not say. Ray struggling against Kevin's commands and body
were only serving as an arousal for the crew.
Nick's eyes around the circle that had formed on the deck.
Nick had intuition, as well as A.J. Kevin quickly sought Alex's
gaze and he seemed to support the unspoken words of Nick.
Howie and Brian nodded in agreement, as they came closer to
Kevin in order to protect him and Ray. "Bring him down,"
Kevin barked as he glared at his own crew. How dare they even
think such thoughts? Ray belonged to him and only him. She
Ray had ceased
to struggle against Kevin's body. If she were to break free,
she could see by some of the crew that they would go after
her and the first one to catch her would have their way with
her. For now, she was safer with Kevin even if she didn't
feel all that safe with him. The man was going to do her great
harm; she felt the apprehension crawl through her body. A
rough jerk from Kevin caused her to be pulled even closer
to him. Her back pressed tightly against his chest, her feet
almost off the ground. Kevin's arm wrapped around her, just
below her breasts, feeling like a steel band being drawn so
tight that she couldn't breath.
Nick began to breathe
normal as the chains creaked and he was lowered to the ground.
His arms and legs hurt but not as badly as they could have.
There was an enormous amount of slack in the chains so as
not to pull his limbs from his body. He would thank Alexander
for that later.
his hold on Ray as she pulled to free herself and go to Nick.
Her head shot up at him and he grimaced at her. "Nay,
you'll stay where you belong." To demonstrate his point,
he roughly jammed his hips into her body.
Nick shook his
arms as Brian helped him to his feet. Struggling he made his
way to Kevin. "I have deceived you and I'm sorry. I can
only hope that you will forgive me in time." With his
shoulders slouched Nick walked away slowly.
Kevin barked and Nick halted in his steps. Kevin watched his
shoulder's slump forward in defeat. He waited for Nick to
turn and face him. Later he would finish the brunt of his
anger out on Nick, it would be in private, right now he needed
to issue a dictate. "I am issuing an order to all of
you. If any of you seek Ray out without my permission, you
will die. I will not take the time to necessitate a cruel
torture, I will slay you where you stand."
Kevin paused and
looked down at the face that was snapping with anger. "She
belongs to me now, to do with what I wish. She stowed away
on my ship and deceived me, as well as Nickolas." He
smiled down at her, which caused her face to screw up in fear.
He snickered as he hauled her body up next to his. He roared
with laughter as she kicked and yelled against the very idea
of what he had announced. Kevin let her freely thrash about,
it would do her no good to defy him now. "I have something
I need to take of gentlemen!" Kevin shouted with glee
as he headed down the stairs to his cabin dragging a thrashing
Ray with him.