Ocean Blue
Chapter 1

Caution: This Historical Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, NonConsensual, Heterosexual, Historical, First,

Desc: Historical Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Katherine Moore grew up on the sea, her father the captain of the infamous ship, Ocean Blue. After a tragic turn of events, Katherine finds herself thrust into a world filled with romance, pirates, intrige, and a mysterious treasure she only wishes she could remember.

June 1680

The deck of the ship was filled with men, running back and forth as a gust of wind kicked up, the sails straining against the ropes holding them in place. The little girl stood just inside the captain's quarters, watching the hulking figures strain to bring in the sails. A rumble of thunder and the quickly disappearing light made her guess that a storm was brewing; one of those summer storms that would toss the ship all over the rough ocean before finally either taking it into the depths or letting it continue on its way.

The little girl in the red dress watched as the rain slowly started to patter onto the deck, the men shouting back and forth frantically as the sails were rolled up and stowed. Suddenly, the ship pitched violently, knocking men off their feet as a surge of water came over the deck. The little girl rocked to the side, grabbing the door to keep from falling to the deck. Her father had warned her to stay inside the cabin during storms, lest she get swept overboard and get eaten by the monsters lurking just below the surface and at eight, she still believed his every word. He was after all the captain of this entire ship and the crew she saw before her.

"The lines are breaking!" Came a shout from the bow, accompanied by the sound of rope snapping and a huge groan as the ship rolled again. "Tie 'em down, lads!"

Storms always had a special feel about them, making the girl excited and scared at the same time, something that she could never explain. The only thing that came close to this feeling was when her father would let her climb to the eagle's nest, high atop the main mast and use his periscope to look out over the glassy, blue waters. The dizzying heights and the breathtaking views always made her heart pound.

"I need some help!" A voice came from just outside the cabin. "Someone, please!"

The girl found her footing again, peeking outside the doorway as another wave of water tossed the ship to the side, the storm now in full force. A boy of twelve was digging his heels into the deck, trying to hold the rope in place as he attempted to tie a knot through the iron ring on the side of the ship. The wave of water plastered his red curls in his face, causing him to sputter and grip the rope tighter in his hands as he hit the railing full force.

Taking a deep breath, the little girl lifted her skirts and ran out into the driving rain. "I'll help, Danny!" She shouted over the wind and rain.

"Kit, Papa told you to stay inside." Danny yelled as his sister grabbed the loose end of the rope and started to run across the slick wood.

"Bugger off! I'm helping you." Was her reply and he had to laugh at his little sister, too courageous for her own good.

A gust of wind swept over the deck and Kit stumbled, hitting the deck hard on her hands and knees, her skirts and dress soaked through with the cold rain. Danny grabbed her around the waist and pulled her against him, keeping his grip tight on the rope as water swirled across the planks in another wave. She was coughing on the brackish water, her eyes stinging as she felt Danny wrap the rope around her hand.

"Run! I'll keep this end down." He yelled over the wind as he shoved her to her feet and towards the iron ring.

She scrambled across the deck, looping the end of the rope through the ring as Danny put all of his weight on the rope, trying to give her some length to work with. Men were shouting back and forth as the rain poured down harder on the ship, each section being tied down before disaster struck. The captain and the first mate were sharing a laugh on the main deck, congratulating each of the men on a good job. Kit concentrated on the rope before her, expertly tying it off in a knot and pulling it tight.

"I told you I could do it." She bragged, sticking her tongue out at her brother as she looked over her shoulder.

"I didn't say you couldn't. I just said that Papa told you to stay inside." Danny said, brushing the wet hair out of his face as lightening lit up the darkened sky.

Kit gasped at the loud thunder and gripped the iron ring tighter in her hand. She heard Danny yell at her before the boat shifted and her feet left the deck. She screamed as a wall of water forced her over the top of the railing. With a grunt, her small body slammed against the side of the ship, her grip on the ring slipping as water rushed out through the gaps on the deck.

"Danny!" She screamed, coughing as water continued to rush over her. Her slippers were running over the slick wall of wood, trying to find a hold as she struggled to pull herself back over the side. "Danny, help!"

Looking over her shoulder, Kit could see the ocean rolling beneath her, white caps smashing against the side of the ship. She started sobbing, remembering her father's stories about the monsters as she screamed for help again. Danny had a grip on her wrist, but he wasn't strong enough to pull her over the edge. Her fingers slipped off the ring and soon, she felt Danny's grip loosening. Kit squeezed her eyes shut tight as her fingers slipped through his and she started to fall towards the water below. Suddenly, her falling stopped as two muscular arms wrapped around her and started pulling back up towards the deck.

"I got you now, love." Her father grunted, hugging his daughter close to his chest as he grabbed Danny by the arm and drug him back into the captain's quarters.

Kit whimpered and buried her face in the crook of her father's neck, wrapping her arms tightly around him. She peeked over his shoulder at the sailors as they started down into the depths of the ship, the storm beginning to die down a bit. Her father's first mate and one of his friends followed behind him, closing the door to the cabin.

He angrily spun Danny around by his arm, forcing him to stand in the middle of the cabin as he pried Kit off his neck and stood her next to her brother. "What do you two think you were doing?" He asked, his deep voice rumbling in the cabin.

"Papa, I told her..." Danny started, silenced as their father raised his hand, his blue eyes blazing.

"Katherine?" He asked, looking down at his daughter.

Kit knew she was in trouble the minute he used her full name. She looked up at her father, his huge, muscular arms crossed in front of him as he stared at her. His short brown hair was plastered to his head, clothes dripping on the floor of the cabin. Behind him, the first mate, Jack, stood smiling, knowing that Jim would never stay angry at his children for long. It just wasn't in his character to be angry at people, most of it was just for show. Toby, a close friend of the two, stood leaning against the wall of the cabin, watching out the porthole at the ocean as the rain fell steadily over the rolling waves. He never said much, a quiet man with a thoughtful expression on his face. Kit always felt uneasy around him, like he was hiding something, but whenever she told her father about it, he just laughed and told her to put her imagination to better use.

"Well?" Her father asked again, his expression stern.

"I'm sorry, Papa." She said, her voice barely a whisper as she stared at the floor, shivering slightly in the cold air as her lower lip quivered with tears. "I was helping Danny."

"Helping Danny, eh? I told you to stay in the cabin when a storm comes, did I not?"

"I said I was sorry, Papa." Kit insisted, tears rolling down her cheeks as she brushed back the wet hair from her face.

"Well, Jack, what do you think a fitting punishment would be for the two of them?" Jim said with a smile as he turned to his friend.

"Punishment? Papa, I was just trying to help." Danny insisted, staring at his father in disbelief as he wrapped his arm around his sister's shoulders, letting her sob into his shirt.

"Well, for that help, you have to clean the galley. Understood?" Jim said, his face taking on that stern look again. "And as for little Miss Katherine; I think Jack can decide her punishment later. Now, go change out of those wet clothes before you catch cold. You stay the rest of the night in your in room."

"Yes, sir." Danny whispered, taking Kit's hand and walking to their tiny room just off the main cabin.

It had once been a closet that had been used for storage. Shelves lined the little room, the bottom half having been removed and built in with beds. A curtain had been set up in between the two beds by their mother in an attempt to give the children more privacy, although in the past year Danny had taken to staying below deck with the rest of the crew. Danny ushered Kit inside and shut the door behind them, drawing the curtain as he sat down on his bunk with a sigh.

"Are you mad at me, Danny?" Kit asked in her small, scared voice as she stared at the curtain.

"No, I'm not mad, Kit." Danny said, pulling off his tunic and throwing it against the wall, watching as it slid down and hit the floor with a loud smack. "Why should I be mad? You helped me, didn't you?"

Kit smiled to herself and quickly changed out of her red dress and petticoats, pulling on her nightgown and curling up on her bed with a quilt that her mother had made just before she died. It still carried her scent of roses and the sea, something that she would remember for the rest of her life. Kit had been very young when her mother died, just three, but she still remembered her bright and airy voice and flowing red hair, just like she and Danny had. She also remembered that her mother hated the broken English that most sailors spoke on the ocean, so she had tutored her brother and herself to speak the regal English that she had been brought up on. Her father carried on that tradition long after her death, always scolding them if they slipped into the rough language.

The gentle roll of the ship and the warm blanket lulled Kit into a light sleep and after an hour of dozing, she awoke to the sound of men talking just on the other side of the door. Danny was snoring on the other side of the curtain as she wrapped the blanket around herself and tiptoed to the door. She knew she was risking more punishment but it was her natural curiosity that made her push open the door a crack and peer out. Her father and Toby were walking across the cabin to the door, heading out to check on the damage from the storm. Jack turned slightly in his chair and smiled as he spotted her in the doorway, peeking out. As her father left, he motioned her over with his finger, giving her a quick wink.

Jack was like an uncle to her, always there with wisdom or a joke to cheer her up. His long face and mousy brown hair always reminded her of a horse with buck teeth that accentuated the fact. Kit silently eased the door open and padded across the room, stopping just in front of him. Jack just laughed at her and lifted Kit into his lap, turning to show her the map that was spread out on the table in front of him.

"Ya know wot this is, Katherine?" He asked, motioning to the yellowing paper.

"England." She whispered, pulling her arm out of the blanket and tracing her fingers across the coast. "Are we going to England?" She asked, suddenly very excited.

"No. We're gonna sail by. Ya can wave to people on shore though." He said with a laugh.

"Chasing after other boats, you mean." Kit whispered, wrapping up tighter in the blanket as she looked over the map. "Uncle Jack, is Papa a pirate?"

Jack laughed and kiss the little girl's hair. "Many men on this ship are pirates, poppet. Your father is a very decent man. Some may call him a pirate, but ya 'ave no reason to be shamed by that."

"What do you mean?"

Jack took her chin in his hand and raised her head to look straight into his eyes. "The sea is in yer blood, Miss Katherine. As long as yer eyes remain blue, you'll always 'ave a bit of the sea with ya, no matter where ya go."

Kit smiled at Jack and leaned her head against his chest, looking back over the map spread out. She didn't quite understand how she could have the ocean in her blood, but Jack had never said anything that didn't come true. He must be right about this too.

"Now, about yer punishment."

"Uncle Jack, you don't have to punish me. I learned my lesson." Kit begged, looking up at the older man with a pout.

"Now, d'ya really think it fair to give Danny a punishment and let ya get off free and clear?" He asked, watching as the little girl shook her head. "Ya get to coil the ropes and yer banned from the eagle's nest for a week." Kit opened her mouth to protest when Jack started tickling her sides, the argument dying as she laughed in a high pitched squeal. "Okay, just rope duty." He said continuing his assault.

Managing to squirm out of his grasp, Kit gave Jack a big hug, feeling safe and warm with her makeshift family on this boat. It was in these moments that she forgot all about the huge world out there beyond that ocean and she couldn't imagine a life without the sea softly rolling beneath her feet.

July 1690

The sounds of the busy seaport filled the carriage as it rounded the corner of the cobblestone street, heading straight for the docks. On all sides, houses were crowded into a row, making the street seem narrower than it really was. Katherine Moore wiped her forehead with the sleeve of her dress, the heat stifling inside the grand carriage. She reached out and parted the heavy, green curtains that had been drawn, staring at the women and children who stopped in the road to watch the carriage pass by.

"Wouldn't you agree, Kate?"

Katherine looked from the window to the woman primping her hair and smoothing out her dress across the carriage. Anne Mickelson was using the silver finish of the wall sconce as a mirror to asses her looks. She looked no worse for wear after the week of travel from her father's manor house in Suffolk to the small port town of Fishguard in the north of Wales. She had been talking nonstop since the two women left the inn this morning, trying to make it to the port to catch a ship that would take them to Lord Mickelson's, Anne's father, new home off the coast of Italy. At some point, Katherine had stopped listening to the constant chatter, staring out of the crack in the curtains as the lush, green countryside passed by.

"Kate?" Anne asked, looking from the sconce at her maid who sat in the other seat. "Have you been listening to a word that I said?"

Katherine sighed, gritting her teeth slightly as she let the curtain fall back into place, looking back at her mistress. "Sorry, Miss Anne. Just a bit preoccupied."

"Scared of the boat, Kate?" Anne asked, her voice grating on Katherine's nerves with her snobbish tones. "Me, on the other hand, am looking forward to getting to the new place. Imagine it, Kate. Parties and balls and new dresses. It's going to be a dream." She murmured as she looked back at the sconce, arranging the loose blonde curls around her shoulders as she gave her reflection a pouty look. She shifted in her seat, adjusting the top of her gown so that her cleavage practically spilled out of the corseted gown.

"Maybe for you." Katherine whispered, watching as Anne practiced her flirtatious ways.

"Excuse me?"

"Nothing, Miss Anne." Katherine answered, wiping her forehead again.

Katherine would give anything in the world to give up her job as a lady's maid, to go out in the world and make her own fortune. How she had come to the Mickelson's household had always been a mystery that she closely guarded. All anybody knew was that Katherine's father was dead and her older brother had disappeared one night. No one had been able to piece together any information and Katherine was never forth coming with details about just where she had come from. She had just shown up on their doorstep, a fourteen year old beggar looking for food during a particularly cold winter. Katherine never knew what made Lord Mickelson take her in, but she soon found herself as the companion to the spoiled Lady Anne.

Whispers in the kitchen had been that the Lord was taken by her beauty, something that Katherine had never really noticed. People would whisper behind her back about her looks, but she never saw herself as the great beauty that others claimed she was. Whenever Anne wasn't looking, Katherine would sneak peaks of her reflection in the beveled glass mirror on her vanity. She was a skinny whip of a thing, no matter how much she ate she never managed to put on weight. Her height was something of a novelty to most men, being almost as tall as the male servants. An hourglass figure accentuated by the tight corset that she wore, as most ladies of the day did. Long, red curly hair the color of the setting sun and piercing blue eyes that always caught people's attention. Freckles covered her nose and arms from her days of living on the streets. Everything about her was the exact opposite of Anne and sometimes Katherine found herself wishing she could posses the beauty and confidence that Anne had.

Anne was the only daughter of the Lord Mickelson and his second wife, Genevieve, who had died when Anne was two. She was a spoiled brat who talked of nothing else besides parties and gowns, her entire life leading up to the day when she would marry a rich duke. As the youngest child, her older brothers always took care to treat her like the baby of the family, always at her beck and call. She was short and dainty, with long blonde hair and eyes the color of dark mahogany. Where Katherine was naturally shy and mostly kept to herself, Anne was flirtatious and coy, always after any man that caught her eye. In fact, in recent years, Lord Mickelson had warned Katherine that it was her duty to keep a close eye on Anne. After all, she was now eighteen and ready to be married as soon as the right man was found. Katherine, at eighteen, found herself in the opposite position and she knew that she was destined to become a spinster, especially if her past ever caught up with her.

A knock at the carriage door brought Katherine out of her thoughts and she turned her attentions to the door, noting that the carriage had finally stopped.

"Well, answer it!" Anne scolded, her voice taking on a haughty tone as she sighed with impatience and flopped back against the seat with her arms crossed.

Katherine stood up and pushed the door open, smiling at Bill, the footman, as he gave her a low bow. "We've stopped, milady." He whispered so low that only Katherine could hear.

"Thank you, Bill." She said, as she took his hand and stepped out of the carriage and into the bright summer day. She squinted slightly, shading her eyes with her hand to look around the port.

"Sure you want to go through with this, Kit?" Bill whispered in her ear.

"Like I have a choice?" She whispered back, looking over the docks with a keen eye.

"You could stay here and marry me, love."

Katherine giggled softly, keeping a eye on the carriage. "Billy, you're three times my age. Don't you think that I can find someone a little bit better?" She joked as the other footman tossed her down her rucksack and Anne's parasol.

"I'm insulted, Kit!" Billy joked back, mock shock on his face. Billy was one of the sweetest people that Katherine had ever met, a grandfather figure in her life at the ripe old age of 65. He always made her feel like a princess. "I'm going to miss you, little lady."

"I'm going to miss you too, Billy." Katherine said, giving him a quick hug as Anne shouted for assistance.

"Don't let her get to you." He whispered in her ear as he held out his hand and helped Anne out of the carriage.

Katherine smiled as she turned and looked up at the huge ship that was tied to the end of the dock. Seeing the ship brought back memories of her childhood, some happy but most of them sad. A shiver ran up her back despite the heat as she watched the sailors throw ropes and lines back and forth across the ship. A jolt from behind brought her out of her fog, two of the pageboys apologizing for running into her and saying their goodbyes as they started moving Anne's luggage onto the ship. Katherine smiled at them and watched as they started up the gangplank.

"Kate! I need my parasol!" Anne shouted from the carriage, her voice tinged with anger.

With a sigh, Katherine shrugged on her rucksack and hurried over to Anne, opening and holding out the parasol. Standing beside her, Katherine felt uncomfortably shy about her clothing. Her long, blue dress seemed coarse and common compared to Anne's bright yellow silks. Grabbing the parasol out of Katherine's hands with a glare, Anne began to walk down the pier, her hips swaying gently as she eyed a brown headed sailor who was holding out his hand to help her up the gangplank. Katherine rolled her eyes at Billy, gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, and started down the pier herself.

There was no one there to help her up the gangplank, just lewd comments from a group of sailors milling around the end of the pier. She looked straight at them, her blue eyes blazing. With indifference, she tossed back her long red hair, squared her shoulders and started walking up the plank. It was a calm day, light breeze blowing the sea into gentle waves. The creaking of the ship as it brushed against the side of the pier made Katherine stop and look around at the ocean. She closed her eyes, taking in the smell and soft breeze; she was finally home again.

"Kate!" Anne yelled from the deck of the ship. "I need you!"

Katherine sighed and turned to continue up the plank when suddenly a gust of wind pitched the ship violently against the pier. Wood scraping against wood whined in the noisy air, drowning out the sounds of the seagulls overhead. Katherine screamed, throwing her rucksack on the deck as the plank jumped from the railing and fell into the ocean. With a leap, Katherine grabbed the edge of the ship, her nails digging into the wood as she scrambled for a foothold. Men were shouting on deck, running back and forth as they tried to steady the ship. Katherine whimpered, her hold slipping as she dug her slippers into the wooden side, trying to pull herself over the edge.

"You must be Kate." A man said, walking across the deck towards her.

"A little help?" She shouted at him.

The man just laughed, grabbing her by the elbow and hoisting her over the side. Katherine was shaking, her breath coming in frightened gasps as she bent down to pick up her rucksack. She straightened back up, running her hands over her blue skirt to smooth it out as she looked at the man who had just saved her. He was taller than she was, but not by much. A handsome, chiseled face that was framed by short ash blonde hair with the brightest pair of green eyes she had ever seen. His body was fit and muscular, very much the body of a sailor. Katherine gave him a quick smile and turned to find Anne.

"Wait there a minute, little missy." A hand grabbed her elbow. "Not many ladies could hold on as long as that."

"What about it?" She snapped back defensively, turning to glare at him, her blue eyes blazing. "Besides, I'm no lady."

A deep laugh came from his throat as a row of pearly teeth appeared on his tan face. "So, you're not a lass?"

"I didn't mean it like that."

Another gust of wind tipped the boat violently, making Katherine lose balance and fall into the man's arms. She gasped and grabbed his upper arms as the boat swayed back and forth on the water. Katherine couldn't help but notice the muscles under her hands, no doubt from years of hard work on a ship. She blushed a deep red at the close contact and quickly backed away from him. She bit her lower lip, adjusting her pack on her shoulder as she stared at the deck, a deep laugh coming from the man.

"So skittish on the water. Why is that?"

"I hate bloody boats, okay?" She said quickly, looking up into his eyes.

"And why do you hate boats? Most lasses in your position have never set foot on a vessel such as this."

Katherine opened her mouth to answer him when Anne's shrill cry rang across the deck. "Kate! I'm not going to ask you again! Move it!"

Katherine gritted her teeth and sighed, turning quickly from her conversation and making her way over to a visibly angry Anne.

"Why are you talking to the crew when you should be attending me?"

"I'm sorry, Miss Anne. I fell and he was helping me."

"You are so clumsy, Kate, I swear." Anne huffed as they were escorted to their cabin. "I expect this place to be scrubbed from top to bottom by the time I get back." Anne ordered, looking over the room with disgust.

"Where are you going?"

"None of your business." She answered as she flounced off towards the captains quarters.

"Spoiled brat." Katherine said under her breath as she stepped into the cabin.

It was fairly clean for a ship as large as this one. A simple wooden bunk on one wall with a nightstand bolted to the floor. A writing desk, wooden cabinet and a small table with two chairs finished out the room. Searching the room, Katherine found a small trundle bed that folded out of the wall. Throwing down her rucksack, Katherine sat down with a heavy sigh on the small bed. She had half the mind to walk back to the pier and catch a ride with Billy back to the manor house. Those thoughts were quickly dashed when the ship pitched to the side and the call was given to raise the sails. She got up and walked over to the small port window, watching as the pier drifted away and the ship steered out into open waters.

It begins again, she thought to herself as she pinned her hair up on her head and rolled up her sleeves.

She worked late into the afternoon, setting Anne's things up around the room, airing the tiny space out and scrubbing the floors with salt water. She was finishing up the floors when Anne finally came back, her face flushed and a smile on her lips. Katherine snickered when she noticed her skirts in disarray and her normally carefully plaited hair was mussed. If Anne was still pure was always something that Katherine wondered, and if she wasn't it would serve her right on her wedding night.

"How am I ever going to live in this place for so many weeks?" Anne asked in disgust as she looked out the window at the fading coast of Wales.

"You'll just have to make the best of it, Miss Anne." Katherine answered simply, throwing the brush she was using back into the bucket of dirty water. She sat back on her calves and yawn, stretching out her back with a pop.

Anne huffed and walked over to the cabinets, rummaging through her gowns and pulling out a silky purple evening dress, holding it up against herself as she stared into her prized mirror that Katherine had set up on the desk. "I believe I will change for dinner now."

"Yes, Miss Anne." Katherine said, standing up and pushing the bucket of dirty water aside as she reached out to loosen the ties on Anne's old gown.

"And by the way, you'll be cooking my meals from now on, Kate. I saw what the cook on the ship has been serving and it's atrocious." Anne replied as Katherine pulled the yellow silk over her head.

She stopped with the gown clenched tightly in her hands, her face flushing red in anger. "I don't have time to cook your meals along with my other duties, Anne."

Anne whipped around, her brown eyes blazing. "I didn't ask, Kate. I'm telling you. I don't know what my father told you about your duties, but forget it. You're my servant and you'll follow my rules. Understood?"

"Yes, Miss Anne." Katherine answered quickly, as she turned to set aside the yellow gown.

"Good. I'll be eating with the captain tonight. You know what I like to eat and I expect you to serve me promptly at seven." Anne stated, pulling on the new gown and standing still as Katherine laced her up and smoothed out her hair. She smiled at her reflection in the mirror, giving herself a few coy smiles. "Maybe I'll catch myself a wealthy captain on this trip." She whispered to herself, loud enough for Katherine to hear.

Katherine just rolled her eyes as she set aside the gown to clean later. "Anything else you need before I go to the galley, Miss Anne?"

"No. Remember, seven sharp. I don't like to be kept waiting."

"Of course, Miss Anne." Katherine replied as she walked onto the deck once more, slamming the door to the cabin shut behind her.

After questioning a few of the crew members, Katherine found herself walking down a steep stairway into the bowels of the ship. The wood stank of sea water and rot, ropes were swinging from the timbers as she walked across the system of planks to the galley. Through the closed door, she could hear men shouting and laughing, someone cursing at the top of his lungs for them to get back to work. With a sigh, Katherine pushed open the door, stepping into the hot kitchen area. The three men turned to face her, all surprised to see a woman this far down in the ship.

"Wot we got 'ere?" A hulking man with a nose ring through his left nostril asked, placing the large knife that he had been using down on the wooden counter.

"Looks like a wee lass." Another man with a tattoo that stretched across his chest answered back.

"Who's the cook?" Katherine asked, her voice wavering a bit as she took another step into the kitchen.

"That be me." The last man bellowed. He was a skinny, disgusting man with stringy black hair and a mouth full of yellowing teeth.

"I'm here to cook for my mistress. She told me to come to the galley."

"Aye, the princess." He said with a laugh as the other men snickered. "Well, little lass, you're welcome down 'ere anytime. Just watch out for ole' Thom and his rovin' eye," he said as he motioned to the man with the nose ring, "and Dirk 'as a mouth on 'im."

"Thank you." Katherine stated, walking further into the kitchen as she looked over the storeroom and the goods that she had available.

"I think you an I will be good friends, lass." The cook said as he slapped her on the ass as he walked past her and into the hull of the ship, his laughter filling the quiet space as he walked up the steep stairs for the deck.

Katherine gasped and jumped at the slap, staring at him in wide eyed shock, her anger quickly building. She reached out and grabbed a knife, tightening her hand around it and readying herself to charge at the man when Thom reached out and barred her way with his arm.

"Not worth it, miss." He said with a smile. "Ole' Charlie 'as a problem with keeping' 'is 'ands to 'imself."

"I'll keep that in mind." Katherine murmured as she let the knife drop back to the table.

The two men shared a smile and a quick laugh as she turned back to the materials and quietly began to prepare the meal for Anne, taking her care to ensure the quality of the ingredients.

"'ey, lass," Dirk suddenly said, turning from the huge pot he was stirring. "didn't catch a name."

"Katherine." She stated, not missing a beat as she continued to assemble her meal. "You can call me Kit, though."

"Kit. A good name for a little hell cat like you." He said with a laugh.

"I'm not a hell cat." She said with a laugh.

"A temper that's as quick as a storm in the summer." Thom commented. "I think you cause problems for all the boys, don't ya?"

"If there were any boys." Katherine retorted as she concentrated on cutting through a fish with the knife.

"Ya mean to tell me a pretty little spitfire like you ain't got a boy after ya?" Thom asked in amazement.

"If there were, do you really think that I would be on this bloody boat serving miss high and mighty night and day?"

The two men just laughed and the conversation continued on much the same way until Charlie returned and all talking ceased. Katherine could feel his beady eyes burning into her back as she worked and the feeling made her skin crawl. A few times, he brushed against her, always excusing himself and claiming that the boat was entering rough waters. At one point, Thom stood between the two of them, claiming that he was having trouble finding a certain item. A quick wink told Katherine that she was safe for the time being and she smiled to herself, knowing that as long as he and Dirk were around, she would have nothing to worry about from Charlie.

As seven o'clock rolled around, Katherine rushed to put the finishing touches on the simple meal of fresh fish mixed with some of the porridge the Dirk has been working on. She placed the meal on a tray, along with a glass of wine that the captain had in the store room and made her way from the hot, cramped kitchen.

"See you soon, lass!" Charlie shouted after her with a laugh in his voice.

She sighed, her skin crawling at the sound of his voice when she felt someone tug her elbow. Turning, she saw Thom, smiling at her. "Listen lass, don't be alone with 'im if you can 'elp it, alright?"

"Alright." She whispered back with a nod.

Thom smiled again and hurried back to the kitchen as Charlie shouted as to his whereabouts. Katherine shook her head and laughed to herself as she hurried across the ship to the stairs. She bounded across the deck, spotting the sailor she had first met tying down lines on the other side of the deck. He gave her a smile and a wink that made Katherine blush as she knocked and pushed open the door to the captain's quarters. Standing through the meal, Katherine listened to Anne drone on and on about herself and her father's fortune to the captain, who was obviously bored himself. Anne flirted shamelessly, bending over the table to show off her cleavage while coyly smiling at the man seated across from her.

"Tell me Captain Richards, this trip surely can't take more than one week, can it?" Anne asked, still trying to seduce the older man.

"Sometimes longer, Miss Mickelson."

"What can take so long?"

"Lots of things." He stated, taking a draw from the wine glass in front of him.

Katherine tried not to listen as she busied herself cleaning up the meal, but the conversation suddenly caught her attention and before she thought about it, she was talking directly to the captain. "The sea between the straight and Italy is dangerous this time of year. Especially if the Berbers have people roaming the ocean." Her eyes widened as she realized the words had just come out of her mouth. "I'm sorry, milady. I spoke out of turn." As Katherine turned around the face Anne, she noticed that the captain's eyes were wide in surprise. Anne was seething silently in anger, her face taking on a red tone as she glared at her.

"Tell me, my dear. How would you know about the Berbers?" The captain asked, one eyebrow raised in interest.

"I ... I" Katherine stared, unsure of what to tell him. "Stories. Just stories from market." She answered quickly, not wanting to tell him or Anne the truth. "If you'll excuse me, sir. Miss Anne." Katherine said as she gathered the plates and started out the door.

"I'll be retiring in an hour, Kate." Anne shouted after her as the door shut and she was alone yet again with the captain. "Now, where were we?"

Katherine hurried across the deck, taking in deep breaths of the fresh night air as she tried to calm her nerves. The sea was quiet, a thin layer of clouds drifting across the sky. From below the wooden planks, Katherine could hear the crew cheering and singing songs as they drank their rum and suddenly going down to put away the dishes seemed like the last thing on her mind. She set the dishes on a wooden crate and made her way behind the stacked crates and coiled ropes. Finding a quiet spot, Katherine sat down on a coil of rope, leaning back against a crate and looked up at the sky.

"What are you looking for?" A voice came out of the darkness a few moments later, startling Katherine.

She squinted in the dim light, making out the shape of the sailor who had helped her earlier. He was leaning against the edge of the ship, his arms crossed as he smiled at her.

"The north star." Katherine answered, leaning back into place as she watched the clouds move slowly across the full moon. "You can't see it tonight."

"Sure you can." He stated, walking closer to her. "Mind if I sit?"

Katherine smiled at him shyly as she scooted over to make room. He sat down with a sigh, stretching out his long legs as he leaned back to look up at the sky. "Don't be shy." He said with a laugh as he looked at her. Katherine gave a nervous laugh as she slid down and laid down beside him, pulling her skirts tight around her legs. "Now," he started, taking her hand and pointing it up at the moon. "just follow the line and you'll come to the north star." Slowly, he moved her hand until it stopped at a point and the clouds moved, showing the star as it shown brightly in the dark night sky.

"The dipper." Katherine whispered, tracing the figure in the air. "Orion. The bear. You don't even need to sail during the day when you know the stars. God, how I've missed all this."

"And who taught you this?" The man asked, intrigued that this common ladies maid could know so much about the sea.

"You pick things up along the way." Katherine said with a shrug as she sat up, smoothing out her skirts with a sigh.

"So, tell me ... Kate, is it? Tell me Kate, how does a ladies maid learn about the stars, the sea, boats, while at the same time having time to be at the beck and call of the princess?"

"My name's not Kate." Katherine answered quickly to change the subject.

"It's not?" The man asked, sitting up on the rope as he gave her a smile. "Then why does the princess call you that?"

"When you get paid well your employer can call you whatever they want."

"Then what's your real name?"

"Katherine. My friends call me Kit."

"Katherine." He said, thinking over the name and saying it a few more times. "I like that. I'm Philip."

Katherine smiled shyly and bit her lower lip as she let her eyes roam over his lounging figure. She took in his light blonde hair, tanned skin that was perfectly smooth. His perfectly chiseled features and the perfect white teeth that gleamed when he smiled.

"See something you like?" He asked, laughing as he caught the faint blush spread across her cheeks in the moonlight.

"God." She whispered softly, looking out over the sea, embarrassed that she had been caught. "I'm sorry."

"Why? It's nice to have a pretty girl so enamored with you. I'm surprised you haven't caught me staring yet, beauty."

"I'm not a beauty, Philip."

"Sure you are." He said, sitting up and staring at her face. He reached out and gently placed his hands on her cheeks, watching as she jerked back suddenly. "What's wrong?"

"What are you doing?"

"Showing you how you're beautiful." He said with a smile. "First, your skin is smooth and pale." Philip said, gently running his hands over her cheeks. He slowly drew his index finger up her right temple and slowly across her forehead. "Second is this perfect nose." He whispered, staring into her beautiful blue eyes as he slowly ran his finger down the bridge of her nose. "Those cute freckles, complimenting your lovely eyes."

Katherine felt herself relaxing as she stared into his eyes, her heart racing as he traced each feature of her face. It had been so long since someone had made her feel like this, loved and beautiful. Philip laughed as she took a shaky breath and began to chew on her bottom lip as he drew his finger slowly down her throat.

"What are you thinking about, beauty?" Philip whispered, noting her eyes deep in thought.

"That I have things to attend to." She stated, her voice wavering slightly.

"I don't think that's it." Philip whispered back, cupping her chin and raising her face slightly so he could get a better look at her.

"Oh, really. Then what am I thinking about, since you seem to know it all."

"You're asking yourself how long it's been since someone made you feel like this." His smiled widened as her mouth opened slightly in a gasp. "Ah, I see I'm right."

"I ... I have to go." Katherine stammered, starting to stand up.

Philip grabbed her wrist and pulled her back down onto the rope with him. "Don't leave yet, beauty. I'm sorry if I offended you." He said, noting her body tensed as if she were ready to fight him. He couldn't help but wonder what had her so spooked about the ship and about himself.

"It ... it's not you. I ... I ... I just..." She started, so flustered she could barely string together her words.

Without thinking, Philip leaned forward and kissed her gently on the lips, his hands encircling her tiny waist. Katherine gasped and whimpered softly at the sudden kiss, everything melting away around her. Philip slowly pulled away from the kiss, leaving her breathless and dazed. Katherine suddenly became aware of his hands around her waist, his sweet smell of the sea swirling around her senses. She raised a shaky hand and traced her bottom lip lightly, the feeling of his lips lingering on hers.

Philip expected her to flee from him after the kiss, she had been so skittish before, but he was pleasantly surprised when she gently placed her hands on his face, kissing him softly again. Katherine was tired of running from her past and she finally decided that she was going to take the opportunity to be with a man who thought she was so much more than she really was. Little did she know that Philip was silently congratulating himself on breaking through her barriers so that he could add another notch to his belt.

Without warning, Philip deepened the kiss, his hand sliding up her back as he pulled her fully against his chest and began to lean her back against the coils of rope. Katherine paid no head to his movements, totally lost in the moment of the kiss. Philip gently slipped his tongue in her mouth, enjoying her taste of mint and wine as his hands traveled over her stomacher and bodice, resting for a moment on her breasts. He squeezed gently, smiling as she whimpered, the sound muffled against his mouth. Slowly, he moved his hands over her chest and shoulders, caressing her arms as she whimpered and arched her back in a need that surprised her.

"Not yet, beauty." He whispered with a laugh, lacing his fingers with hers and pulling her hands over her head, holding her firmly to the deck.

It was in this moment that Katherine panicked, memories suddenly flooding back to her from the past. Instead of Philip softly kissing her, she saw another man holding her roughly to the deck as the other men jeered around her, making lewd comments. Arching her back again, Katherine desperately tried to buck the man off, fighting against his grip but he was just too strong. She started to sob in frustration, jerking her body back and forth in an attempt to get away. She could hear him shouting to the other men that this was going to be an experience as she felt her skirt slowly slide up her legs. Tears fell down her face as she screamed and kicked, frantically struggling to get away.

"What's wrong? Katherine?" Philip whispered, startled by the turn in her emotion. Her blue eyes were welling with tears as she seemed to stare straight past him. She tugged at her hands as if trying to free herself, even though he was barely holding her to the deck. He quickly let go of her hands, sitting back on his knees. "Katherine?" He whispered again, shaking her shoulders slightly.

With a cry, she sat upright, her hands flying to her mouth as she gasped for air. "I'm so sorry." She whispered, tears falling down her face as she looked over him.

"What in the hell was that all about?"

"I have to go." Katherine shouted, pushing past him and running across the deck quickly.

Philip shook his head and leaned back against the crates, disturbed by the sudden turn of events. At first, she had been so willing, but then it was almost like she had slipped from the present and was staring at an image from her past. Obviously someone had treated her very badly and Philip was going to find out everything he could about the girl. What had started as a simple conquest had now turned into his sole mission. Looking out over the open waters, he smiled to himself as he began to plan his next move.

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