seeing to the kitchen duties and cold platters of food for
lunch, Raina grabbed a basket and handed it to Nick. “Come,
we must go to the market for supper. Bring your list and
maybe we can purchase some of the smaller things. Possibly,
you could purchase the other things and have them sent to
your vessel. I know a few reputable shopkeepers.”
Nick followed Ray
out to the barn, “This should be interesting. We are leaving
in two days. My list is very long and I’m not sure what most
of it is for. This is actually Old George’s list.”
Ray headed up to
the loft. Once again, Ray appeared before him dressed as
a boy when she dropped down out of the loft.
Standing with her
hands on her hips and a basket handle tightly in her grasp.
“Nickolas Carter, do you always complain so much?”
Nick’s face glowed
red again today. “Not always,” as he attached the horse to
“We don’t need
a carriage Nick. They will deliver the items for you. Do
you not think before taking action?”
Nick’s head snapped
up as he dropped the bridle. “If you knew how much you sounded
like the Captain right now, you would cease talking.”
say boy?” she grinned at him.
say,” Nick nodded as he saddled the horses.
“Well the Captain
could be a little bit more responsible. He could crawl from
between Jocelyn’s thighs, and help you.”
Nick laughed as
he shook his head from side to side. “That will never happen
Ray. All of us understood that when we docked that he was
going to look for Jocelyn. If he found her and he did, he
would be spending all his time with her.”
They mounted and
spent the time taking in the pasturelands outside of town.
Ray rode quietly and out of the blue she felt like a hand
had gripped her heart. The hand was squeezing her heart very
tightly. She had a plan and wouldn’t unveil it until she
had properly thought out every angle. One thing would muck
up her plans. “Nick, is the Captain going to marry Jocelyn
or take her away with him?”
snorted and followed his snort with a very loud and over pronounced,
“Are you sure?”
Ray turned those violet eyes on him.
“Very sure. We
talked about that very same question. He told me Jocelyn
is a whore and nothing more.”
“How strange, he
seems to care about her.” Ray sat tall in the saddle as they
plodded along. Dressed as a boy, she never seemed to have
a hard time getting what she needed in town. Not being restrained
by a corset and petticoat appeared to make her life much easier.
Dressed as a woman, she was subjected to being called filthy
names and being cheated out of her purchases.
As they came in
town, they continued their discussion, heading to the stable
from the night before. Nick couldn’t understand why Raina
wasn’t as tired as he was. “He does care but he told me something
that I couldn’t share with a lady. I think it must be some
kind of code or something for him, but it’s inappropriate
for a female.”
of them dismounted, then handed the reins off to a stable-boy,
who was different from the one last night.
Raina’s hands were
firmly planted on her hips, she bowed deeply. When she came
up, she smiled, “Do I look like a lady?”
it isn’t proper for me to repeat my conversations with Kevin.
What he said would offend you. The way you are dressed isn’t
Ray began to walk
away. “So it’s not fit for my ears.” The comment about the
way she had been dressed she chose to ignore.
Nick nodded as
his tongue pressed to the top of his mouth. If he had told
Ray about the Captain’s little speech, she would think even
less of him then she did now.
Ray began to mumble
as they walked up the street to the market. What could be
so horrible that Nick wouldn’t repeat the words to her. Walking
into the second doorway she encountered without telling Nick.
He just seemed to follow her. She motioned for the list
that Nick was carrying and read down the lines. Ray had requested,
Nutmeg, Cinnamon sticks, Pepper, and Cloves. “We’ll get the
flour and sugar down the street. Mr. Hawkins is cheaper.”
A woman clucked
from behind the counter as she bundled up the spices the two
had just purchased. “Mr. Hawkins’s flour has weevils and
you know that Ray.”
Ray winked at Nick.
“I know, but he is a shilling cheaper per pound. This is
a friend of mine Mrs. Wilson. He is getting ready to take
a long voyage to America. Nickolas needs large quantities
of goods and so the expense will be different.”
Ray waited a moment
for Mrs. Wilson’s reaction. Ray knew the old woman well.
She could sniff out a large sale if she had too. She also
knew that Mrs. Wilson had three fine young sons to deliver
the provisions that Nick needed. However, Mrs. Wilson needed
to strike a deal.
Turning her back
for a moment, Ray spoke to Nick. “Don’t say a word. We could
have all this done right here.”
“The entire list?”
Nick’s eyes bulged.
and it would be delivered but she needs to negotiate her price
down, just a little.”
“I see,” Nick nodded
as he pointed to the list. “I could have time to myself if
“Do you have a
list boys?” Mrs. Wilson looked at them suspiciously. She
had outfitted more than one ship for a journey. If they truly
were setting sail then the quantities on the list would reflect
“Yes Ma’am,” Ray
handed the list to the woman. If she had come into Mrs. Wilson’s
shop dressed as herself she would have charged her double.
Ray looked around
the mercantile. As nonchalantly as possible she made her
way to a display of fabric. Her eyes landed on a bolt of
fabric. Gingerly she fingered the fine silk, the color a
shade of light lilac. It felt like heaven, it had been so
long since she herself had a new dress. Memories of her mother
sewing beautiful dresses from fabric by a campfire; flickered
in her mind. The fabric had been for payment of her mother’s
services. Raina wasn’t a fool hearty young woman, she knew
exactly what her mother was.
“For your girl
Ray?” Mrs. Wilson appeared behind Ray. The note in her hand
with numbers scrawled on the list. Mrs. Wilson held the list
out for her to take.
“Nothing I could
ever be able to purchase for … her,” Ray gulped; she had almost
ruined her disguise. Mrs. Wilson had only seen her one time
as a girl. At that time, Mrs. Wilson had been dealing with
a group of men. When Mrs. Wilson charged her double for the
same purchases she swore on her very own soul that she would
never purchase from the woman as a woman again.
Hastily Ray turned
to Nick to see the shine in his eyes. “Is something amusing
“No,” he smiled
as he stuffed his hands in his pockets. Ray may dress like
a boy but she acted like a woman when it came to the frilly
things. “It’s very pretty, maybe I’ll get some for my… sister.
How much do you think I would need?”
Ray’s eyes lit
up and then danced. Nick couldn’t tell if it was anger or
Ray ignored Nick
and his comments, he was either teasing her or he was serious,
she couldn’t tell. “This will do.” Ray handed the note to
Nick studied the
figures, they looked right to him, actually he would have
a few coins left over. He wondered how angry Kevin would
be if he spent the coin on something that wasn’t for the crew,
but for his friend.
Ray went about
the shop placing a few items in the basket that she would
need over the next few days. If her plan worked, after that,
she wouldn’t have a worry in the world. Her days would be
her own and she wouldn’t be subjected to Edmund’s wrath any
Nick, she listened to the instructions he had given Mrs. Wilson
of where the ship was docked. He wanted the goods delivered
a day earlier so that he could account for his purchase.
If there were any problems with the purchase then he would
be back. Ray put a few more items on Nick’s list. The amount
was small but enough that he couldn’t buy the fabric that
“Are those necessary?”
Nick shook his head.
“If you want to
keep the Captain happy, then yes they are.” Ray smirked at
Nick, knowing the Captain grumpy was not his idea of fun.
The balance of
the shopping trip was spent idly going in and out of shops
and talking to each other. Nick told her of all the beautiful
places that they had sailed to. Ray told him a little more
about her family, not all of it, but most of it. They seemed
very comfortable in each other’s company.
gulped when the bell tower rang and she began to run.
“What is the matter
with you?” Nick chased after her.
“I’m late, Edmund
is going to be furious.” Ray ran into the barn and rushed
the stable hand to hurry tacking the horses. “I can’t bear
Nick had time to ask before Ray mounted her horse and galloped
out of the barn at a break neck speed.
Nick closed his
eyes and tried to quell that uneasiness in his stomach. Something
inside him told him that Ray had a fear of Edmund and it must
be justified because she didn’t frighten easily.
ran her horse into the ground to get back. Nick lagged behind
the entire time. When he did catch up, Ray was up in the
loft changing clothes.
care of the horses for me please?” she begged as she lifted
her skirts and ran out the door.
“I need to hurry,”
he mumbled to himself as he dashed around the barn. Removing
the horses’ tack, he placed them in their stalls. Placing
water and grain for them.
Nick ran to the
backdoor of the Inn. He heard Ray pleading with Edmund and
apologizing to him for her tardiness. “It won’t happen again.
“I took you in
when nobody would. I could have sold you to the highest bidder.
This is how you treat me girl?” Edmund’s voice was louder
Nick ran in the
door only to see how truly frightened Raina was. He froze
in his footsteps. She cowered in a corner of the small kitchen
shaking like a leaf on an autumn tree.
“The next offer
I get for you, I’m taking it. You are useless and disrespectful.
I should offer you to the Captain. I bet he would pay well
for a virgin in his bed. That is, if you still are a virgin?”
I’m sorry. I was trying to assist the Captain’s cook. I
thought that if we kept the Captain happy then maybe he would
give you more coin.” Ray babbled but backed away from the
will,” Nick blurted out, causing Edmund to turn to him.
“What are you to
the Captain? He is constantly fussing about your whereabouts.”
Edmund turned to step closer to Nick. The attraction of this
boy to him was undeniable. How he would love to kiss the
man. His hands seemed to take a liking to the young man as
he touched him.
Ray could see the
lust in Edmund’s eyes and the fear in Nick’s. Nick was no
match for Edmund who haplessly stood with a large club in
his hand. Now she had a dilemma. She didn’t want anything
to happen to Nick but she didn’t want to go to the Captain
directly for help.
Slipping out the
door, she found Jocelyn on the other side of the bar. “Jocelyn,
go find the Captain, Edmund is after Nickolas.” After the
words were spoken, Ray ran out the front door. Sneaking to
the back of the Inn, she waited for what she thought might
happen and it did.
Ray gasped as the
Captain ran into the room and punched Edmund square in the
jaw. The sound was similar to wood splintering when it was
hit with a hammer. The man that had thrown the punch was
not completely dressed and had shaving soap on half of his
face and a towel around his neck. Lacking his shirt and his
breeches were barely clinging to his hips.
Jocelyn stood at
the door and watched as Kevin lifted Edmund to his feet.
“I told you to not molest the boy and leave him be.”
“I… I…,” Edmund
couldn’t speak as he rubbed his jaw, he thought it might be
broken, he could barely speak.
“Nickolas, go up
to my room. I’ll meet with you there shortly. Edmund, you
have been warned. Tonight, my men will be here. I leave
in two days. If you go near any of them, your coin will be
cut in half.”
stepped out of Nick’s way but whispered to him as Kevin’s
eyes focused on Nick’s back, “Show gratitude to Raina for
“Do not touch that
boy again. I do not want you within a seaman’s mile of him.”
Kevin’s eyes bounced around the room. The only thing that
caught his attention was the wisp of a girl who hovered outside
the door. Fear evident on her face.
hadn’t heard Kevin’s words, since he was given an order and
must follow it.
Nick’s head bowed
as he shuffled up the stairs. Sitting in a chair, he waited
for Kevin’s return. It was announced when the door was slammed
almost knocking it off the hinges. “I can’t leave you alone
for a mere second, can I?”
“I didn’t do anything!”
Nick yelled back. “I went with his cook to the market. I
finished the list and it will be sent to the ship on the ‘morrow.”
Kevin went back
to the washstand. Raising his straight blade in the air,
he began to shave again. “Finished? All of it?”
“Yes sir,” Nick
lowered his eyes. Kevin was still pissed.
swirled the blade in the basin and shook off the excess water.
“So now that you have accomplished your duties, what should
I do with you to keep you out of trouble?”
began to grin, Kevin was no longer mad.
“Don’t get insolent
boy.” Kevin could tell that Nick took a step back when he
looked slightly impish. “Who is the girl?”
Nick smiled, “The
cook, she helped me. She said she would teach me a few things.”
“Matters of the
heart Nick, beware.” Kevin chuckled.
“Not like that,
she’s like a sister to me.” Nick smiled. “I miss my family.”
“I know you do.
As soon as you are of age, I will take you back. I won’t
take you until then. I won’t have you living under their
Nick stood up as he had forgotten about poor Raina. “Are
“Yes boy, I’m done.”
Kevin wiped the soap from his face. Turning he looked at
Nick. “Please stay out of trouble. I don’t want to have
to send you back to the ship. Stay away from Edmund. I’ve
sir,” Nick placed his hand on the knob of the door.
“You had better
bed that wench before you leave. I can see it in your eyes.
You have a soft spot for her.”
laughed, “Is it always about mating with you?”
Kevin shot him
a wily grin, “Not always…. Usually, yes.”
the room, slightly flustered. “I have just spoken to her
and now I will speak to you. You are getting her in trouble,
Ma’am,” Nick nodded.
seemed very please, he had called her ‘Ma’am’, he had treated
her with respect. “Now skedaddle, the Cap’n and I have plans.”
rolled his eyes, “I’ll bet they are similar to ones you had
pretended to bellow from the washstand as Jocelyn began to
fuss over him.