WARNING: This chapter contains some sexually graphic content
A loud noise woke her. Shadow and Tommy were carrying Jack into the room. "But Shadow, the Capt'n said he was staying in your quarters, 'cause the bed here is too cramped."
"Hush, boy," Shadow said seeing Peggy was awake. "Miss Agatha, your husband got a knock on his head. Could you and Tommy tend to him? I have to get back on deck."
"I think we can manage, Shadow. Thank you," Peggy said, as she rushed to Jack, ignoring the pitching deck. "He is soaked. Tommy, help me strip him."
"Naked, Ma'am?" the boy said with a blush.
"He is my husband. Now come on, pull off those boots." Peggy was working on the buttons of his shirt. Soon they had him down to his drawers. Tommy refused to have any part of removing those from his captain.
"Oh, all right. Help me get him in bed." After an exhausting effort, he was settled. "Now, Tommy, you go get some dry clothes on, yourself. I don't need you getting a chill, too."
Before covering him, she untied the waist string of his damp drawers and pulled them off. She gasped at what was revealed. She might be a virgin, but with the work at the orphanage, and on the plantation as a nurse, he was not the first naked man she had seen. He was, however, the most handsome she had seen, and his limp manhood seemed huge. A hot tingling was beginning in her breasts and lower stomach. It was a feeling she had never had before. She knew instinctively, she would be having it a lot around Jack. She resisted the urge to feel him and tried to regain her senses. She giggled as she pulled the covers over him. 'I couldn't shoot that off with one shot; it would take at least two, maybe three.'
When Tommy returned, a few minutes later, she was back to normal, more or less. A tear from her laughing still glistened on her cheek. "Mrs. Miles, please don't cry, I've seen him bashed a lot harder than that. He will be fine when he wakes up."
"Tommy, oh, I really wasn't..." She couldn't tell him she had been laughing and about what. "Well, never mind. He does have a bump on the back of his head, but nothing seems broken. I think sleep is what he needs."
"He sure does, Ma'am. He hasn't laid down in the two days since he came back to the ship," Tommy agreed.
Two days. She had slept at least one of them. Suddenly, she wondered how long ago it had been since that dinner with Mr. Crofton. "Tommy, this may seem to be a strange question, but what day is this?"
"It's now early Friday morning. You were real sick when the Captain brought you on board. I sat here most of the first day. You slept like a baby, never moved a muscle. I checked a few times to see if you were breathing. I was almost as worried about you as the Captain was."
"Well, I thank you. I guess you had better get some rest, now, if you can. He is not going to be in a very good mood when he wakes up, and I will need you to help me."
"I'll be sleepin' in the hammock in Shadow's cabin next door. If you need me, just knock on the bulkhead over the desk, and I'll come in a flash."
"Thanks, Tommy, I'll see you in the morning." Tommy left, and Peggy bent to check on Jack. He was sleeping peacefully enough, but he had a chill and was shivering. She searched for more blankets, but didn't find any. She knew he needed to get warm. The idea that formed in her mind caused the peculiar warm feeling to return to her. Slowly, she undressed and then blew out the light. Returning to the bed, she trembled slightly, thinking that this was, in reality, her wedding night. She was getting into bed with the man she loved, and they were naked. 'Oh, stop thinking like that, girl. He couldn't do anything. Even if he could, he wouldn't, but, oh, how nice it would be. STOP that right now!' she told herself and slipped between the sheets.
His skin was cool and the hair on his legs tickled. She lay on her side - there was not room any other way - her breasts pressed on his upper arm and her left leg over his legs to give her some balance. She felt her nipples grow hard against the cool flesh of his arm. Her body was yearning for something she couldn't imagine. She shifted slightly, and her hand came to rest over his manhood. She could not resist holding it and caressing it. When it responded to her, she quickly pulled her hand away. She was breathing heavily. 'Oh, Lord, I hope I know what I've gotten myself into, tonight.' She drifted off to sleep, never once thinking that perhaps she should leave the bed or at least put some clothes on. Her eyes drifted closed, and she entered the world of a virgin's erotic dreams.
Jack slowly became aware of a very warm, soft body pressed close to his. He couldn't shake the sleep enough to think clearly. His head felt as if it had been kicked by a mule. He must be hung over and asleep with a whore. Well, there were worse ways to wake up. It was pitch black and the movement he thought he felt must be the hang over, too.
He turned on his side and reached his hand up to fondle a breast. It was so soft and warm, and very quickly the nipple became erect in his palm. The girl moaned in her sleep. Thus encouraged, he continued. He gently kissed her lips and was surprised by the jolt of electric passion that shot through him. He felt his manhood stir and become ready for duty. He lowered his lips and gently began kissing and sucking her breast. She moaned again and began to thrust her hips. His hand slid down and found the soft fur of her womanhood. Slowly, he caressed her and was amazed at the heat that was soon responding to his hand. Gently, he moved his middle finger between her lips and found her hot and moist; she was ready for him.
She drifted from an erotic dream of Jack kissing her to the reality of him truly making love to her. It was too late to protest; she couldn't stop herself now. She never dreamed a man would do these things. He was suckling her breast, and the feeling that created was a fire hotter than a blacksmith's forge in her whole body. Then he put his hand on her most private place. If she had been able to think about it, she would have been disgusted. The hot desire that immediately burst into flame stopped any thoughts, except of the desire and the need to have it filled.
When his finger slipped into her private place, her body took control of itself. Her hips rose to meet his exploration. Her tension grew to an almost physical reality. She was lost in unknown desire, striving for a release instinct told her only he could provide.
Jack moved on top of her, spreading her legs. With slow motion of his hips, he began to enter her, then there was resistance. He froze.
Jack's mind raced. 'My God, she is a virgin.' Then his memory cleared and he knew where he was. "Agatha, my Lord, I wasn't totally awake, I - - -"
"Jack, oh God, don't stop, I need you, now." She tried to pull him back to her, but he withdrew to lie next to her.
"Agatha, I don't know how we got in this situation, but I never meant to compromise you. I know I married you without your approval, and took you away on my ship, but your virtue was never part of this. Don't you see, I am responsible for you, now? You are young, and an heiress. I removed you from a very dangerous situation. I have no intention of doing to you what that scum had planned."
Her desire had been cooled as completely as his. Now anger was building to take its place. "So, I am not to have any feelings in this, except, possibly, gratitude. How do you see yourself, a saint, knight in shining armor or possibly a true gentleman? Well, you are showing yourself to be an uncaring brute, with a history of sordid behavior that would cause even Attila the Hun to blush."
"What the Hell are you talking about? You know nothing about me. Speaking of sordid behavior, I don't remember asking to share your bed, much less stripping myself. Whose idea was it for you to climb in bed with a naked stranger, yourself as naked as the day you were born? What kind of morals does that show? Those of a 'lady'?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact. A lady, who, at the time, at least, felt her 'husband' was a good man worth saving from pneumonia. A man who showed his bravery trying to save this ship and got himself knocked unconscious and chilled to the bone. I merely got you out of your wet clothes. When you didn't regain your warmth, I decided, I would provide warmth, since there were no more blankets in this room."
"Well, you should have thought about what could happen."
"I did, you jackass! I thought that you were a gentleman and I was perfectly safe. However, if you will think, if you can think, I haven't protested being your wife. I still think, God only knows why, that with a little effort, you might still make a passable husband."
"Now look here, I didn't marry you to get a wife!" Unfortunately that statement struck Peggy funny. She couldn't help herself, anger disappeared, and a giggle began deep in her chest, and she began to shake. The more she tried to control herself, the harder she laughed. Soon she was bent over double, tears running down her cheeks.
"Women! Can't even have a decent argument with one," he sighed. Then he too laughed. He recovered first. "Well, 'wife,' this has been wonderful, but I had better get topside and see to my ship." He climbed over her and dressed in clean clothes and left.
It was still pitch black in the cabin. Peggy was amazed that he moved so confidently without light. She lay back down with a thousand thoughts crowding her mind and drifted back to sleep.
The worst of the storm was now past. The clouds were thinning, and the moon was now providing a soft glow. Jack strode out on deck, and up the short stairs to the helm. Shadow watched him approach. His smile changed to a grin and then to a shoulder shaking silent laugh. None of it was lost on Jack.
He looked at Shadow with a glare that could have frozen a volcano. "Just what do you find so amusing?"
Shadow's gaze began at Jack's feet and worked it's way up. The captain's boots were on the wrong feet, his pants legs were tucked into one boot and not the other, his belt was missing, his shirt was buttoned incorrectly, leaving an extra button hole at the collar. His face was a disaster all its own; unshaved, bloodshot eyes, uncombed hair, and an expression of angry bewilderment. Still chuckling, "Just glad to be through the rough weather. Somehow I think I missed the real storm."
"Very funny. I suppose it was your idea to let Agatha tend me last night." Jack scowled at Shadow, hoping in vain to remove the laughter from Shadow's eyes.
In his best Father Ramon, Shadow replied, "My son, a man's place is with his wife."
"Damn it, Shadow, cut that out! I got big trouble down below. Don't say it. Don't you dare say it. I am in no mood for you to comment on the size of certain things. If everything is under control, let's go below to your cabin and have a drink."
"Capt'n that sounds like a real good idea to me. I am sorry, I didn't get to say you got the biggest 'problem' down below of anyone I know." Shadow quickly turned to the man at the helm. "Hold her steady on course. The Capt'n and I will be in my quarters, if we are needed."
They entered Shadow's cabin and lit the lamp. Tommy was still asleep in his hammock. Shadow found a bottle of rum, and he and Jack sat on the bed. "Well, friend, tell ole' Shadow what has you so well dressed and debonair looking this morning." He took a drink and passed the bottle to Jack.
Taking a swallow, Jack replied, "I just walked out of the damndest situation I have ever been in. Do you know she stripped me to the skin, put me to bed and joined me?! Oh, God. Then, I wake up, I don't know where I am. This woman is naked in my bed and..."
"Don't tell me you... Jack, even you couldn't... Could you?"
"Damn near. She is one hot potato. I damn near died when I found she was a virgin." Jack shook his head.
"Jack, if you done that, you can't get an annulment." Shadow's mind was working fast.
"No, she is still a virgin. That, my friend, was the hardest thing I have ever made myself do. Then she got mad that I stopped! I tried to explain that I was trying to protect her, and she got even madder. A hurricane is nothing compared to her fury! Then, to top it off, she went into a laughing fit when I told her, I certainly didn't marry her to get a wife." Jack took another drink.
"Let me see if I got this straight. You wake up, think she is a whore, get her hot, bothered and willing, then just stop. How come you're surprised she got mad? It makes me mad to think about it." Shadow looked into Jack's eyes with a stern look of disapproval.
Jack looked away and took another drink, "Makes me mad, too. The thing is, Billy, I think I could love that girl. I mean after the way she has been treated, she doesn't complain, and do you know what she told me before I left? She said 'with a little work I might make a passable husband.' Damn, I don't think she will go for an annulment." Another drink slid down Jack's throat. He was drinking, too much, too fast.
"Jack, as a friend, I am going to give you some common sense advice. Don't drive her away from you, yet. We don't know what has happened at Ashbrooke Manor. We don't know anything that has happened there in the past ten years." Shadow paused and glanced at the window in his cabin, looking for one of Father Ramon's lightning bolts. He was about to lie to his friend. "Peggy is the biggest unknown. I know you have loved her deeply all these years, but she was only twelve years old when we left. She is twenty-two now, Agatha's age. She may be married by now, or who knows what. She may hate you for leaving her and not coming back, or for fighting for the Union and not Virginia. If you have any feelings for Agatha, and she has them for you, don't pass this up. You may never get another chance." Shadow looked up. Capt'n Jack was passed out cold on his bunk. "Best damn speech I ever made, and the fool sleeps through it."
Shadow got up to leave. He noticed a flicker of Tommy's eyelids, then a bulge in the crotch of his pants. 'Damn, the boy woke up. and no telling how much he heard. I remember how curious I was at fourteen. Shit, I better handle this right now. No telling who he might ask what.'
"Tommy, I know you are awake. I got a story to tell you. If you ever say a word about it, you ain't going to live long enough to find out what to do with that thing in your pants." Shadow talked until dawn's light came in the window.
"What we going to do to get them together, Shadow? Can I help?"
"It looks like you and me got our work cut out. I think if we can keep them together enough, nature will solve the rest. Right now, I think you should get some breakfast for yourself. Then, at six bells, bring breakfast for Miss Agatha and me to her quarters. Now remember not a word to anyone. If you have a question, come to me. I'll talk with you before I go to sleep. Right now, I'm going back up on deck."