Kevin paced the deck as the sun shone brilliantly
in the sky. Dante was given a proper burial, even though he
preferred to let the body be used to chum the water. J.C.'s
men were released to Howard's custody. Howard now possessed
the ship that was moored to his.
Nickolas strolled the deck watching the seagulls dip and
dive. Land was near and that land was home. He was relieved
this morning when he had snuck in to speak to Ray while Kevin
was turning J.C.'s ship over to Howie. J.C. clucked around
the cabin with Ray as if she was a lost sister. She was trying
to make up for her mistakes to Kevin. It annoyed Nick until
Ray finally showed her the door. "Help me dress,"
she smiled at him.
"I'm not a ladies maid," Nick stood and huffed
out his chest. It was her face. It was always her face that
got to him, that and her smile. Grabbing the hairbrush that
she held in the air he surrendered. "Fine, but this is
the last time I'm doing this for you. This is Kevin's job,
not mine." Nick pulled the brush through the back of
her hair. He hitched up the fussy buttons on the crème
colored dress. He laughed when she refused to wear the accompanying
He hooted as he heard her words again in his head, "I'll
not be trussed up like a Sunday chicken." Ray tossed
the garment out of the porthole to be taken away by the sea.
Nick glared at her, "You need to dress properly. He
isn't going to let you parade around in attire that isn't
"Ha, he'll let me do anything I want," Ray stood
proud with her head cocked to the side.
Nick thought about J.C. last night and the threat of Kevin
beating her backside. He looked at one of his best friends
as stood across from him. She was full of herself and had
no doubts. "We'll see about that Ray," he snickered
"It's time Nick." Kevin stood next to him. Nickolas
was lost in his thoughts as Kevin watched him stare out over
the sea. He noted some sorrow and wanted to know why. Nick
turned to him and stiffened. "Relax, I'm getting married,
not you." Kevin reached to re-do the tie that was haphazardly
knotted. "What bothers you so Nickolas?" Kevin deftly
re-knotted the tie and reminded himself that Nick needed to
work on his knots.
"I'm lost once again Kevin. I have no home, no family
to go to." Nick wheezed the last words as the tie jerked
tighter around his neck. He half smiled at his friend who
was pretending to choke him.
"Your home is with Raina and I and always will be. Give
me some time with my new bride and I will take you to my family.
This time it will be different. I'll not leave her behind
but she will sail with us. We'll go see your family, all of
us together." Kevin's dimple showed as he gave Nick the
reassurance that he needed.
Nick returned the smile. "Make sure she gets a ladies
maid. I don't treasure the job." Nick punched Kevin in
the arm lightly.
"I heard." Kevin let out an exasperated breath.
"A very expensive corset made from the finest baleen
whale bone was cast to the waves this morning."
Nick's body shook; raising the pitch in his voice, he mocked
Raina. "I'll not be trussed up like a Sunday chicken."
Kevin wiped the tears from his eyes with both hands. "Oh
the chit has me and well she knows it."
Nick cast grinned at Kevin, "Aye, she does. She tells
me you'll let her do anything."
Kevin dropped an arm around Nick's shoulder as they walked
towards J.C. His hand reached to scratch his goatee. "Why
don't we let her continue to believe so? At least until after
the ceremony." Kevin winked at the man that he referred
to as his best friend and son.
Raina walked to him as he took his place in front of J.C.
Kevin sighed at the beauty but her curves were displayed proudly.
He thought of her words that Nick had relayed to him and grinned,
nothing was bound up under that wedding dress. Taking her
hand, he kissed the top of it. A hush lulled the crew as J.C.
spoke the words that would join Kevin and Raina in matrimony.
A gently breeze blew filling the sails, sea gulls called above
from the skies, and Kevin closed his eyes as he breathed in
the sweet salty air. "I do," he repeated for the
benefit of all.
J.C. spoke with a sweet voice again.
"I do," Raina whispered quietly.
Kevin's fingers wrapped around her hand. He pulled her closer
and waited for J.C. to say they were legally joined and those
magical words that he could kiss his bride. Alex stood next
to J.C. proudly, although his hand running up and down her
backside was proving to be a distraction for the woman.
"J.C.," Kevin warned with a glint in his eyes.
The words rushed out of J.C.'s mouth so quickly not many
had actually heard them.
Raina frowned as Kevin pulled her from her feet into his
arms for a kiss that crushed their bodies together. They walked
hand and hand down to the table that was set for everyone
to eat and drink well. Kevin sat with his bride on his lap
and bumped Nick's elbow to get his attention. "Ray, I'm
sure by now that you have heard that I threatened J.C. yesterday
with thrashing that she sorely deserved."
J.C. turned pale since Kevin spoke loud enough for everyone
at the table to hear. Her face turned red as Nickolas, Howie,
and Brian laughed, even Shamus joined in. She paled again
when she saw the silent communication between Alexander and
Kevin. She opened her mouth and was ready to snap at Alex
when he raised her eyebrows at her.
Raising his mug of rum to her, Alexander flashed a smile.
"The man gave me a bull whip for a wedding present."
J.C. started to laugh until A.J.'s words halted her.
"I still may let him, be very careful how you step my
sweet little wife."
J.C. said nothing and lowered her head. Ray snorted at a
chastised wife. She never thought she would see the day that
A.J. would have complete command over his wife. Her laughter
prolonged, at least until Kevin's voice raised above the din
of laugher. "Know now wife, you are not above such measures.
I will freely paddle you if I feel you need it."
Kevin flashed a smile. Ray stood up quickly, and grabbed
Kevin was amused thinking that she would just storm off in
a huff such as all women were known to do. When her dirk whizzed
by his head, he set his mug down on the table. His eyebrows
rose in a gesture that did not bode well for her. Ray laughed
at him in front of the entire crew. "You may try my husband,
but you will have fought hard to do so."
Laughter from the men reached a new peak as Kevin chased
down his beautiful but dangerous new wife. She raced around
the deck hampered by the dress and petticoats she wore. Kevin
laughed as he caught her to him. "Time for bed, my wife
and perhaps a few new lessons as well." He chuckled to
the clapping crowd as he picked Ray up and carried her down
to his cabin. Ray wasn't shrieking obscenities this time but
laughing at him. Her arms wrapped around his neck securely
with a smile of love firmly planted on her face.