Age of Edward Contest

Title: A Pirate and A Lady

Pen Name: Stacy Bumblebee

Type of Edward: Pirateward

If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this contest visit: The Age of Edward C2 Community:
http://www(DOT)fanfiction(DOT)net/community/The_Age_of_Edward_Contest/70125/


A/N: An example for The Age of Edward contest. I got carried away with the narrative but Vixen1836's beta skills made the ideas flow nicely :)

Notes: Trout Tickling - An ancient form of catching fish by rubbing the underbelly using fingers, causing the fish to enter a trance-like state. Bow, Stern, Mast, Rig, Cordage - parts of a structure's boat/ship.



July 1786 - The Atlantic Ocean

Seagulls screeched overhead, circling the two ships. There was usually something menacing in their circular formation. They were the vultures of the sea and knew disaster would hit soon, anxiously waiting for the leftovers. One squawked in impatience, interrupting my calculating thoughts.

The sails billowed behind me and the wind breezed across my face. I tucked my hair tightly around my head with a scarf before we attacked any ship. My father may have been a good sailor, but his flaming red hair passed onto his only offspring and had never helped me at times like these. I was Captain and would remain responsible for my crew and our safety. I secured my hat over my covered hair as we neared our goal.

Jasper was my fellow strategist, right hand man to my ship, and good friend. I gave a direct glance to him across the deck, letting him know that I was ready. I was in my prime element right before an attack. Calm and collected, focused on the gold, and taking every precaution and advantage of their weakness.

Merchant ships were too easy and the process would be painless. First, take the ship hostage. Second, gather the loot and get out. Third, no gunfire unless necessary, no prisoners are to be taken. Unlike many other pirating crews, I felt that ours performed with a certain charm and skill, sailing the high seas and conquering ships without casualties of my men or mistreatment of others. This was our only method of survival after the Revolutionary war. It paid for the food in our bellies and the supplies to run my ship.

With a reassuring pat to my sheathed dagger on my belt, I reached for the rope, hoisting myself onto the edge of the deck. The opposing ship was in my sights and confidence swelled. Yes, this would be too easy. As we neared the vessel, I gave the signal with my hand and my crew immediately went into action.

The front line threw anchors over the side toward the merchant vessel so we could latch onto them. The second row of men spotted everyone else with their weapons aimed and ready. As soon as we were securely anchored to the other ship, weapons intact, half of the crew and myself went abroad for the loot and produce while the others stayed behind to guard and spot us. After years of loyalty and hard labor, we worked together seamlessly.

As to be expected, passengers and their crewmembers were instantly alarmed by our violation. Between the yelling men and screaming women, I knew the situation would escalate if my men weren't surrounding the ship already.

I slammed my booted feet on the deck, with Emmett close behind. He was my largest crewmember and his rock hard muscles could take on any physical threat. With his trousers tucked into his large boots and open vest baring his hairy chest and wide shoulders, he was the perfect image of intimidation. My other men were snapping their teeth menacingly on the main platform with their weapons poised.

"Ladies and gents, we mean you no harm. I am Captain of the Voltaire and this is my crew. If you cooperate with us, I assure you no one will get hurt." I raked the quieting crowd, looking at everyone directly in the eye to keep them grounded as I spoke. Women were cowering, men were scowling behind their fear, but all were giving me their full attention.

My eyes fell to a woman by herself apart from most of the crowd. She was in a simple frock and coat, pale skin and long dark tresses of hair loosened from her ornate bun. What caught my attention first were her brown eyes, wide and innocent, looking at me unblinking. The open curiosity in them held my gaze. Eventually her eyes fell from my stare and I moved on, raking the rest of the crowd.

I began pacing the deck back and forth.

"We will not be taking up more of your time than necessary, just some of your belongings. Not a person will move or stray from their position. Any rowboat that follows us will be shot on sight."

I heard Jasper barking orders and communicating with the others as they unloaded and loaded their bundles onto my ship greedily.

A raspy yell interrupted my line of focus as one of the opposing crewmen from the merchant ship bellowed and lunged toward me, swinging his heavy arms and a raised fist. I drew my dagger out of its sheath instinctively as Emmett stepped in the way of his path. He grabbed the man by his wrist and shirt and forced him back with brute strength. The man was belligerent and reeked of rum so I wasn't worried about the threat, but rather amused that the man thought he could overtake Emmett, or myself for that matter.

"Arrgh!" Emmett roared as they braced and stumbled against each other around the deck. Bystanders leaped away from the ruckus to avoid getting trampled. Emmett was smiling wickedly at the fellow, relishing the fight. Usually these things didn't occur but the man was drunk and Emmett was the type of sailor who had a personal fetish for fighting. I let him continue for a bit, but quickly tired of his toying. It was time to get the business over with.

My sight flickered to other areas of the ship, keenly observing the other opposing men and civilians off to the sides. I didn't want them to plot against us by taking advantage of the distraction of Emmett's wrestling.

A crash sounded, drawing my attention back to Emmett mildly struggling with his belligerent opponent as they smacked into one of the wooden masts. Emmett was still smiling with glee and roared with fierce laughter. Passengers gasped and once again tried to flee from the two.

My attention diverted again to the woman with the rich brown eyes; she was dangerously close as they fumbled. I knew Emmett was trying to throw him overboard but I thought he could at least make haste. I didn't want the people on this ship to get riled up and try to overthrow us in retribution. We always remained in tight control with calm assertion and weapons aimed as fair warning, but provocation wasn't wise.

The intoxicated angry man started to flail his arms and shrieked, his face red and spitting.

"He has a knife!" The woman cried out right before they barreled into her and the three of them tumbled over the edge of the boat. They went overboard in a mixture of grunts and yelps with their tangle of limbs.

Christ. Curse you Emmett to the dark watery pits of Davey Jones Locker!

The water from their impact splashed up into the air. Passengers and crewmen alike became excited and I knew all too well the mob in the man would come out soon enough. I whistled between my teeth and fingers toward the stern of the ship. "Jasper, our time is up!"

He obligingly saluted "Aye aye Captain!" from afar and ordered the rest of my men off the boat with hollers and shouts. "Oy, make haste you bastards, take what you can carry!"

I fought off the few in my way, clearing a path by knocking men down with the hilt of my dagger and the back of my forearm. The small group that had accompanied me on the main deck, Embry, Sam, and Quil were fighting off others in our way.

An emaciating man lunged at my feet with his sinewy arms clutching my boot. "Please sir, take me with you! I've sired three children... need food for my family--"

"Git yer filthy hands off the Cap'n." Sam growled and detached him from me, throwing him back against the wall of people.

"Pick pocketer." Quil muttered as we latched ourselves onto the ropes of the anchors and monkey climbed back onto the Voltaire.

I was concerned about Emmett's whereabouts even though he could swim like a great white. And what of the girl? I briefly recalled her innocent expression and courageous warning. She'd said the man had a knife…

I marched to the bow barking orders at the rest of my crewmen who crossed my path. Then I turned to Embry and Sam. "Get the rowboat and search for Emmett before that blasted merchant ship runs him through. He's like a tadpole in a shark's den down there."

"Aye Aye Captain!"

I leaned against the wheel, checking my compass as the little boat descended and rowed off. Glancing up at the sky, I shielded my eyes from the sun's rays and watched the squawking seagulls overhead. They'd worked themselves into a circling frenzy. It was time to depart. Despite this unexpected fumble, it was no large mishap. Once our loot was traded in, food and drink, women and rest, our reward was so close I could almost taste it. Again, I checked my compass, planning our next route to occupy my mind.

Soon enough the little boat rowed back to safety and I heard it being hoisted back up. The few ogling that were not helping moved to the side as I made my way over. Emmett was dripping wet and grinning from ear to ear. To my surprise, the lady that had been taken overboard, popped up from behind him. I was relieved to see she'd survived for the ease of my conscience. I didn't believe in putting women and children in harms way due to our illegal activities. We may be pirates but we weren't brutes unlike other renegade ships.

"Well lookey here the Titan survives another show." Jasper approached and clapped Emmett on the back. "Saving the day and bringing home a lady too." He said with a teasing jab but looking impressed and interested in the girl nevertheless. The entire crowd was looking at her like a pack of hungry wolves, licking their chops and grinning.

She was also drenched, resembling a drowned cat and her hair wet and matted across her face like seaweed. She pushed it aside with a trembling hand to reveal her large brown eyes, lively and scared. Her frock was wet and pasted to her form, leaving little to the imagination. She shrieked and tore her arm away from a helping hand. Eric was a leering man.

"Forgive these gents, it's been a while since they've seen a lovely lady up close." I said with an apologetic smirk and approached closer.

"I've seen one just last week!" Tyler cut in with a boasting smile.

"Oh aye, but your granny doesn't count." Emmett flashed a grin, his dimples still filled with water. The men roared in laughter.

I swooped off my hat in a grand gesture to her. "Welcome aboard the Voltaire, I am Captain Edward Masen—"

"The Captain." She interrupted. I stopped and looked at her. "I remember." She said in a stronger voice and made an attempt to straighten her spine and square her shoulders. "I am Isabella Swan and I request that you take back to that merchant ship from whence I came from."

A beautiful name for a beautiful woman.

Emmett guffawed in a deep low rumble beside her. My lips stretched into an amused smile as the rest of the crew snickered quietly.

"Pleasure to meet you, Isabella Swan. I'm afraid that no one will be making requests aboard this ship other than me." I pointed to my chest with a thumb. "Captain." I emphasized. I was toying with her a bit, but I couldn't bring her back to that other ship. The crowd back there was excited with mob mentalities and we were already sailing away. I was sympathetic that she got herself involved with Emmett's debacle, but I wouldn't endanger my crew any further.

I turned to Emmett, eyeing a fresh cut on his shoulder. "What of the man you went down with?"

He shrugged. "Snapped his neck once we hit the waterline. He's joined Davey Jones."

"Are you badly hurt?" I asked seriously.

"It's naught but a flesh wound." Emmett shrugged again but winced slightly. "The bastard didn't know who he was messing with."

"A rampageous fool." I muttered. "Go rest up with an aged bottle." He nodded and departed the main deck but not before giving Isabella a friendly pinch to the rear, still grinning. She yelped and blushed red with outrage.

"Hoist the sails!" I shouted to the rest of the men.

Isabella stumbled to my side soothing her rear with a hand. Panic crossed her features as I turned to leave. "You could send me back on the row boat, have them meet me—"

"No." I interrupted in a firm tone and continued walking down the deck, toward the front of the ship. "We've gotten what we came for. We cannot go back to that ship for obvious reasons. The people on that boat are wild, frightened, and angry at this point."

"Because of you!"

I rounded on her, putting my hands on my hips. "We look out for ourselves Miss Swan. It does not make sense for us to take you back." She shrunk back a little as I towered over her shapely form.

"I'll teach her a lesson, Cap'n!" Eric chortled.

"Woman's been missing the touch of a real man, you bugger." Tyler cut in.

I turned to the rest of the crew and drawled, "Get back to work!"

Knowing I meant business, they dispersed with other snide jokes and laughter and began rigging the sails.

I turned back to her with finality. "As I've said, welcome aboard the Voltaire Isabella Swan."

**

I hurried after him as he descended below into the deckhouse. "How dare you. This is kidnap!" He did not turn around or answer me so I trailed his steps. "What exactly are you planning to do with me?" I asked, my voice more hysterical than I'd intended. We had already set sail and any means of communication with the world I would have had were slipping away with every bit of distance this blasted ship made. I was trying to be strong and not to panic, but the sheer possibility of one of those dirty men… I fought a fainting spell with more determination as the mounting hysteria of my current predicament closed in around me.

He stopped in front of a door down the narrow hallway of what I assumed were the ship's quarters, pausing before turning to me. I flinched back, intimidated by the man's presence. He was at least a foot taller than myself with broad shoulders and a commanding look about him. His blazing green eyes swept over me again like he could see right through my courage and perhaps my thoughts.

"I don't know what I plan on doing with you, but I cannot bring you back to that ship." He stated evenly.

The thought of staying here with all those men… I cringed, remembering again their vile remarks. I wasn't a person of wealthy social standing, but I was a respectable woman. I stared up at him with renewed anger. "I'll not be your whore. For you or any of your men." I warned disdainfully.

He blinked back in surprise. Then his mouth formed a tight line and he leaned closer to me. "Firstly, I do not need to force a lady, or even a wench to do such things and secondly, I don't allow women and children to be mistreated, especially on my ship. We live by a set of codes and guidelines Miss Swan. Don't assume anything about my character."

I was unnerved by his words and close proximity. He smelled of sweet tobacco, salty air, and a scent that was entirely… him. And he could have forced himself upon me right now and I wouldn't be able to stop him. But one good deed simply couldn't outweigh the rest of his crimes. "And what do you know of God's moral code? You're a pirate. You take from the world and never give back to it. His creation is your playground."

His jaw clenched. "So what if it is? You don't know anything about me." He replied in a low, steely voice. Dismissing me, he turned and pushed the door open, revealing a cozy chamber lit with soft light.

"And I do not wish to." I whispered, stepping passed him and accidentally brushing my shoulder against his hard chest in the small corridor. When I turned to look at him, his face was unreadable, but I paid him no more attention for fear that he would see my tears, and I shut the door.

The room looked hardly used, untouched and slightly desolate. It had a small window revealing the sky and sea line, allowing the setting sun to stream through. Gold patches of light danced along the dark wood furnishings. Filling the small space was a single bed, a chest, bookshelf, chair, and elaborate rug underneath it all. Mismatching fabrics of detailed patterns draped the walls and around the room. The man must have a likeness for tassels, I thought to myself. What was this, a room for a concubine?

I shivered for the first time as I realized my dress still damply clung to me. I saw that there was no lock on the door either and a fresh wave of tears welled in my eyes. I'd lost my only bag of belongings when I'd hit the water. Nothing of real consequence was in there except an extra set of dress, my ivory comb, and a picture of my father. The tears burned hot rolling down my cold cheeks as I realized my two choices. I could sleep in my clothes and risk catching ill or strip and pray to God that I was safe here in the night.

Ever since my husband died, I had gotten very good at undoing the laces to my clothing. Sometimes my maid had helped but I preferred her to draw my baths and set my hair. Hot bathes… I longed for one…but it would do me no good to dwell on that now. Peeling off my dress, I unlaced my bodice reluctantly, draping them on the chair in hopes they would dry by morning. In my undergarments, I paused to listen for any sounds behind the door but I heard none but silence save the muffled voices of the crew above me. I quickly threw off my undergarments on the chair and slipped into the squeaky cot.

As I felt around under the blanket for anything uncomfortable like bugs, I thought of my current predicament. I had nothing left in America to keep me there but I hadn't bargained for this boatload of pirates either. Satisfied that the bed was clean if not completely comfortable from the wooden boards, I closed my eyes, resigned to worry more later. I was exhausted from swimming and stress, and nothing more could be done today.

As I drifted off to sleep, my mind wandered to Captain Edward Masen. From his heavy stomping black boots, brown tweed trousers that buckled in his cotton white shirt and to the cloth around his head topped with his Captain's hat; I'd never come into acquaintance with such a man. A renegade pirate. A man forging his way outside the law with unsavory dealings. It would be difficult to reason with him; the man frightened me.

My memory drifted to the collar of his shirt exposing his throat, his square unshaven set jaw, and mostly his green eyes locking onto mine.

I squeezed my eyelids shut more tightly, willing my sinful thoughts to flee as I drifted off to sleep.

**

She'd not spoken or left her quarters for two days. At least, not that I had seen. I had Seth tap on her door and leave her a plate of food. He'd said when he went back hours later to fetch it, the plate was outside the door, empty. So she was alive but keeping to herself.

Perhaps I had been wrong in keeping her here.

I was in a strange and uncommon situation with her staying aboard the Voltaire. I didn't know what to do with her. She was undoubtedly upset with me, but I could not change the course of my ship for her. The men were hungry and eager to trade in their loot. They had earned it.

Where was she from anyway? Somewhere from the Americas I assumed. She was Caucasian with no European or British accent and it was the direction that the merchant ship had sailed from. But I wondered why a woman would be traveling by herself without a friend or escort too. Her clothes were of the middle class and decently stitched, though they had seen better days. The edges were slightly frayed but she held herself respectably, portraying a lady of proper breeding. I could therefore assume that she had been in some trouble or her kin had abandoned her.

I lost myself in these thoughts, staring at the water unseeing. I didn't notice Jasper approach until he spoke.

"What are you planning on doing with the girl?"

We leaned with our elbows on the edge looking out at the sea and the fogged cloudbank. The breeze rustled our hair pleasantly.

"Not sure. She'll have to stay here till we dock at a reasonable city I suppose. What are the men saying?"

He shrugged. "The usual things a man will say about a fine woman."

I snorted. "She's quite headstrong, so much so that it retracts from the usual female loveliness."

Jasper nodded politely. "I think the men are curious as to what you plan on doing with her. There is talk that you should drop her at Port Royal…"

I waved the idea off. A disastrous earthquake had victimized the city and many had died under collapsed buildings. The clumsy clearing of corpses left the area rampant with disease. The port continued to struggle with upholding its station as the center of commerce for the last ten years. It was more so a filthy place, even for a pirate.

"I agree. That's no place for a respectable lady."

"We'll have to wait and see. The men are not to touch her in the meantime." The wind picked up and I looked to the cloudbank rolling in. "It'll be dark soon and a storm is heading in our direction."

Jasper nodded once. "I'll secure the rigs and make sure the lookout and the others change their shifts guarding tonight."

After doing my rounds to survey that all was well on my ship, I thought it best to warn Isabella of the coming storm. I wasn't sure how long she had been traveling on the merchant vessel but this old ship of mine rocked heavily against the waters forceful current. I headed down into the deckhouse just as the first clash of thunder sounded. The clouds had moved in fast but the storm would be vicious and short-lived.

Nearing the room of Isabella, I paused outside the door to listen. I heard muffled whimpers and sniffling… She must be crying, I thought with an uncommon mix of curiosity and sympathy. I never liked to deal with a crying woman, they were difficult to reason with. I convinced myself to warn her of the storm and bid her a hasty goodnight. I knocked gently against the door and her sounds halted.

"Miss Swan it is I, Captain Masen."

Silence answered me and I hesitated before continuing. "May I enter?"

I heard her rustling within her chambers for a few moments.

"You may enter." She finally squeaked.

I slowly opened the door to see her sitting against the wall on the far corner of her bed and fully dressed. A blanket was wrapped around her like a shawl and she clutched it more tightly as I entered the room. Her eyes were red from dried tears and her lips jutted out slightly in a pout.

I don't believe I had ever felt more uneasy around a woman than her. "Miss Swan, there is a—" A crash of thunder sounded, interrupting me. "…A storm is upon us tonight."

She glanced at the small window and sank further into her corner. The obstinate woman from last I saw had vanished. She looked so pathetic that I felt a strange surge of need to comfort her, and yet unsure how to do so. I wasn't welcome in here.

"The ship may rock back and forth more than usual but that is just the wind and choppy water. You are quite safe here." I felt more unease just standing over her when my presence clearly did not agree with her. "I'll leave you to your thoughts then." I said quietly, not wanting to disturb her any further. A bolt of lightning flickered through the window as I turned toward the door.

"Wait!" She called in a small, panicked voice.

I turned around. She was leaning forward with a worried expression.

"I don't… I don't like storms. And… I will be frightened on this boat." She said starting to tremble and bit down on her bottom lip. I hesitated, unsure as to what she wanted me do. She was scared, just as she should be. The ship would rock violently and we were used to it, but she wasn't. I looked into her brown eyes, warm and endless and swimming with unshed tears.

I sighed heavily. "Very well." In three slow strides I walked across the small room and sat in the chair. I wasn't sure what to do now as we stared at each other. This was going to be an uncomfortable night; I hoped she would sleep soon. I resigned myself for the moment and thought it best to settle in for a bit. I leaned back in the chair with a sigh, propping my foot up on my other knee, and took off my hat. When I ran my fingers through my hair I heard her gasp.

Instantly my eyes flew to her brown ones. They were observing me with the same open curiosity I had seen on the merchant vessel. "What is it?" I asked her with some bewilderment.

A soft pink blush rose in her cheeks and she averted her eyes. I'd seen nothing but brazen wenches for years and here was this china doll a mere few feet from me, blushing. It was beautiful. I wondered if I had embarrassed her with my bold inquiry.

She finally spoke. "I didn't know you had hair like that. Its… a very bright auburn I have never seen before on a creature." She blushed a deeper shade of pink and refused to meet my gaze.

I couldn't help but chuckle at her modest behavior. "I apologize if it startled you. I forget that I am among a stranger on my own ship here."

She looked at me with another quizzical expression. "You cover your hair intentionally?"

I smiled at her naivety. "I must cover it in the presence of possible enemies when I invade other ships but… you have been hiding in here for quite some time that I forgot myself."

"You think I am your enemy?"

"No, but clearly you have noticed the trait and it is one that is not easily forgotten. It is an icon to my character that can be remembered and traced back to this ship and me. I will not endanger my life nor my crew by giving the advantage to the enemy, even if it is something as ridiculous as the reddish color of my hair."

She sucked in one side of her cheek, mulling this over. Her face was so expressive and yet, I couldn't imagine what she was thinking. I wanted to know very badly. Would she pass on this knowledge to others when she safely traveled the rest of her journey? "Tell me what you are thinking." I asked seriously, wondering now if I'd said too much.

Her chewing stopped as the color drained a little from her face. Her eyes widened at me, triggering the realization that I was leaning forward in the chair, staring at her like I possessed the power to lift the thoughts from her mind. Clearing my throat, I sat back, feeling embarrassed by my sudden intensity toward her.

"It's nothing of consequence. I was just thinking how fascinating it must be to stay remembered simply by the color of your hair. I'm used to my plain brown eyes and plain brown hair. I've never had an attribute of my character stick out like that. I must admit that I'm strangely envious…" She trailed off seeming unsure by her little confession.

I chuckled at her innocent worry. Did she really think she was plain? I could not disagree with her more. She was a unique beauty. Her eyes were like liquid cocoa, her hair dark and shimmering about her shoulders, skin that looked pale and smooth as ivory, and her petite shapely figure could never leave a man unsatisfied…

I jerked myself mentally to quell these improper thoughts. Something about leering at her in her very presence didn't seem right. "How did you come to be on that merchant ship?"

She was taken aback by my sudden change in subject and straightened her posture as she prepared to answer. "I was journeying to stay with a cousin in England."

"Alone?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes." Her lips pursed. Interesting… What could this woman possibly have done to find herself in this arrangement?

"And how does a woman such as yourself come to be traveling alone? Are you escaping from something?" I asked, calm on the surface, but internally more anxious by the moment.

"Just an empty household." She replied, affronted. "I have no family left in the states. My husband died in the war last year and… my father has recently joined the Lord." Her gaze dropped to her hands.

"I'm sorry. Your husband, I'm sure he died a brave man."

Her gaze snapped up to me. "And what does a pirate know about bravery?"

In my expert opinion, bravery had everything to do with it. My jaw clenched and I leaned forward in the chair again, knowing it would intimidate her. "Perhaps you should question your government instead."

"What does that mean?"

I sighed, feeling a little frustrated. "All of a sudden piracy is frowned upon but the American government didn't hesitate to use us for their own agenda. They think they can hire private ships during the war and then do away with us as they choose. I would rather live this life of freedom and if it means being a pirate, then so be it."

Her lips parted to speak. "How did you serve in the war?" Her voice was hesitant and gentle now.

Determination to correct her ignorance, to show her my justification suddenly rose within me. "Many ships, including mine were recruited as naval warships. We stayed at sea, intercepting English vessels from trade and travel, cutting off their sources. We were allowed to steal anything including their gold as our reward." I had to pause and take a calming breath through my nostrils. "As soon as the Revolution ended, the American government no longer required us to prey on enemy ships and condemned our way of life."

I was leaning so far forward in my chair now, within this tiny room that my face was but a few feet from hers. I peered at her more closely, wondering if she understood. I found my gaze wandering to her lips, they were a natural dark shade of pink and her shining eyes held more depth than the deepest of oceans. Another flash of lightning flickered across her pale complexion. With a loud gust of wind bringing the tremble of thunder, the water crashed against the belly of the ship knocking us off balance. I unsteadily fell against her cot, my hands brushing along her leg as I tried to brace myself.

It was one thing to see her skin smooth and pale, imagining what she felt like. The reality of her, so soft and warm, caused a vivid thought to enter my mind of how incredibly soft and heated the rest of her curves would be…

I looked up at her, expecting to find her frightened once again. She was startled but remained calm and still. What did that mean? As I continued to stare, her complexion gradually turned a deep blushing pink until she finally drew in a ragged breath, the sound jerking me from my mood.

I pulled back as she retracted her limbs and tucked them under herself like a skittish deer. My hand started to shake, wanting to follow her limbs, craving the touch again. I would whisper words of comfort in her ear, as my hand slowly traveled along her softness and heat, pleasing her in so many ways… All of a sudden it was difficult for me to catch my own breath and I knew I had to depart from her chambers before I quietly claimed her.

"Get some sleep Miss Swan. We have a busy day tomorrow." I said, grabbing my hat off the back of the chair.

"Where are we going?" She asked, looking slightly panicked again, her face still flushed.

"Fort Barrington, off an island known as Potters Village. Goodnight." I closed the door behind me, trying to push back my illicit thoughts. My mind swam with images of resting between her legs, holding her bare against my chest while muffling her noises. I would be slow and tender to her… I shook my head again to dismiss these fantasies, ignoring the urges of my cock with a mixture of relief and discontent.

**

The night was extremely uncomfortable and I did not get my usual amount of rest. The hardness of the cot, the creaking of the ship, and the man that had invaded my dreams were all perpetrators for my disturbed night. I was having a difficult time coming to terms with my intrigue for him.

I'd had my first wayward dream of fornication last night. God forgive me for I have sinned.

I had done my wifely duty and mourned Michael's death for many months while performing my daughterly duty and caring for an aged father. I had never been particularly attached to Michael and our marriage did not age pass the newlywed stage. He had willingly enlisted himself in the army soon after our ceremony. His father owned Newton's General Store and Mercantile in town and my father was very close friends with him for many years. I had prayed for Michael everyday and received a small handful of letters from him. It was a lonely, mundane life that I grew content with, but I had preferred it to the pressures of my unsatisfactory marriage.

With my father gone shortly after Michael, I was left to a desolate household and despite letting my maid go, the funds soon ran out. Charles Swan, beloved husband and father, died May 15th 1786. I loved my father dearly, despite my arranged marriage to Michael Newton. The only sensible course of action was to continue to England and find my cousin Angela.

I had heard of dealings with pirates from neighbors' gossip and it was widely known that they were not to be trusted. They gave their hearts, minds, and souls to their evil activities. Their morality had withered and knew no bounds of treachery. How many of those stories had been true? My intrigue and curiosity with Captain Edward Masen had begun to alternate between bouts of curious excitement and justified anger whenever I thought of him. He made my body start to feel things unfamiliar and my mind think things no man had caused before.

Captain Masen was strong and even though he was a thief and probably a scoundrel like all pirates, he also wasn't what I'd expected. I remembered how anxious he was when inquiring about Emmet's injuries. He was also patient and spoke with me last night like I'd asked him to. He was a renegade, but his eyes had been kind and gentle. His body was hard and lined and I wanted to touch him, run my fingers through his fiery hair…

He ignited a passion within me that I thought only existed in books and it flared with his close proximity. Every time he'd looked at me last night I felt it spark. As these thoughts swirled, my hand traveled to my bodice and over the fabric at my breast. I imagined his hand there instead of mine and my breathing picked up.

A thud of heavy footing sounded above me on the deck overhead, startling me from my sinful thoughts. I felt my cheeks burn with embarrassment as to what I was about to do to myself. I realized that if I couldn't escape this sinful ship and his crew, my soul could be lost to Satan.

Tired of this stifling chamber, my dangerous thoughts and the annoyance of my sleep deprivation, I flung my shawl aside and continued getting dressed. From the noises above, it sounded as if we were getting close to our destination, Fort Barrington. Other than to use the privy, it was my first time wandering the ship. I gingerly stepped up the stairs to the main deck and looked around while shielding my eyes from the sun.

"Oh the lady lives at last! Thought yer garments were permanently in a bunch." Emmett towered over me with his broad muscled form and toothy grin.

Two smaller, sinewy men popped out from behind his shadow. "We was gettin' worried about you, thought you might 'ave hanged yerself too." One said, his eyes were wide with amusement and concern.

"Naw, Captain woulda tied 'er down before she was able." Then Emmett leaned in closer as if to share a secret. "Or did he tie you down now?"

"The boat was rocking awfully hard last night." The third chimed in and they all erupted into raspy laughter and smacking their knees.

I gaped at the three of them and to my relief another man who looked like more of an authority came to put an end to their ruckus. "Gents we're about to dock, leave the lady alone." He smiled good-natured at me, which looked rather inviting despite the small scars that peppered his skin. He had one larger than the rest cutting through his right eyebrow.

Emmett bumped his little cronies on the head with his meaty fists. "Just Tyler, Eric, and I having a bit of harmless fun. No harm intended…" They left us, still chuckling and elbowing each other.

"I apologize for their behavior, it's not everyday they see a fine woman." He turned back to me with a smile. "My name is Jasper Whitlock, second in command of the Voltaire."

"Isabella Swan."

He gestured for me to follow and we moved to the edge to breathe the fresh air of the sea and watch the strips of land pass as we glided by. The water was the most exquisite shade of blue I had ever beheld. Dolphins jumped and swam alongside the boat and I laughed at them, feeling exhilarated for the first time in weeks.

Jasper was polite enough not to stare at my childish behavior and focused on the landscape ahead with a smile. "It's not so bad is it?"

"I suppose the scenery could be worse..."

He glanced at me, knowing I had avoided the true meaning of his question. "He had no choice under the circumstances ya know." He stated quietly.

I focused on the pretty dolphins again. "I should have kept clear of the fight," I said, reciting my frustrations, a regret that had haunted me in that little room for the last three days.

"From what I heard, it was very noble of you to warn Emmett of the knife. Edward would have been very upset if he was hurt. Or rather, if any of us were hurt for that matter."

Captain Masen had shown much pride for his crew and his line of work with a good deal of disdain for the leadership of his country. It seemed he led a life of reckless dealings and hoarding the gains of honest men, but I was seeing that he did care about others.

"You look surprised." Jasper commented with raised eyebrows. "He is a passionate man and does not take his actions lightly. His crew are his brothers. We've all come from different places and have felt very fortunate to live under such a fair captain."

"Despite the original circumstances, he's kept me here against my will."

"I meant fair treatment." He replied sharply. "You have remained here unscathed and free to move about the ship have you not? We have not hurt or starved you and have given you your privacy."

"That is true and I am grateful. But how long will this go on for? I must be back on my journey…" I wasn't so sure I wanted to leave without knowing more, but I also needed to know if I had a choice in the matter and if intentions were to remain pure.

"That is up to him of course. I cannot speak for him. He'll steer this ships course as he chooses and his loyal men will remain true to his wishes." He said somewhat apologetically.

Jasper was less intense, more inviting, and I felt comfortable speaking with him. "How did you come to be a crewmember of the Voltaire? I am sure you were not always living a life of piracy."

He smiled again. "Edward and I go far back. Originally fighting on opposing sides too. I was wounded on a battleship and left for dead. I remember him and his crew were going through the corpses on the boat I had been traveling and fighting on, checking for survivors when he happened upon me. I am not sure what it was exactly that made him pause, but we looked at each other and I said 'you can take my gold and batter my body but my soul is free' and in that moment he decided to save me."

He brushed a strand of his blond hair away from his face. "Many of these men grew tired of the bloodshed, some are deserters, and some simply want to see the world. All of us are here to be free men." He finished eloquently and I found myself lost in the tale as more puzzle pieces came together for Edward Masen's character.

I stared into the water again, thinking over this more intently. How could a scoundrel and a thief also be a good man in other ways? Do his methods justify the deed?

Then he added, "I am saying that what we do is neither heroic or Satan's mission. Our countries may have abandoned our way of life, but we still have standards."

**

I scoured the port and surrounding landscape from the lookout. This was a friendly city but one can never be too careful. Despite my trust in the crew, I always had to check with my own eyes for any potential danger. As I observed our surroundings again, I saw Jasper speaking with Isabella. I squinted though my telescope to better focus on her smile, curious about their conversation. She seemed at ease and enjoying herself for a bit. She laughed, pointing at the water where dolphins swam with our pace.

I climbed down the cordage of the main sail as the men began to dock the Voltaire. My boots hit the deck loudly, startling Isabella. Her and Jasper were making their way to the middle of the boat toward my direction. They parted with a few more quiet words and Jasper's mouth twitched with a smile that only I could see as he passed me by.

"We will be staying here for a few days. We need to trade in our loot and rest." I told her as I approached. She nodded agreeably and we made our way off the Voltaire.

"Arrgh! Landing ship!" Quil boomed over the crew as he heaved the anchor overboard.

Emmett and Sam subtly brought up the front for my protection and to clear a path through the eager crowd until we arrived at the center square where everyone dispersed. These villagers wanted and thrived off our business.

"Stay close." I whispered in her ear. I wanted to keep an eye on Isabella for her protection and to keep away the brazen whores. And I admit, to indulge my fixation. I liked having her close simply to look at her. I was a selfish man.

A faint blush blossomed in her cheeks as she conceded to my request. I wondered about that… Was that my doing or a sudden heat wave? I cast the thought aside as we went to several shops and vendors in the market. I made a few trading arrangements with some regular shopkeepers and other peddlers. Bartering was a tricky business sometimes and I felt I had good eye for quality. These people loved to haggle but they eventually learn their lesson. If you do not give a pirate his asking price, he will cheat you. I listed off my prices and made sure Quil and Embry brought out the booty for buyers to examine and heckle at.

Isabella remained silent and observing in my shadow. She did not chance an escape which I was grateful for. I knew she did not like to stay with us, but I suspected she feared this place more. She was a woman, alone with little money and no connections.

Afterwards I led her to the only local brothel where I knew the crew was passing the time. Long periods without a stiff drink and the touch of a woman were no good for a man's health and spirit. Places like this weren't properly maintained in terms of standard cleanliness that I could only assume Isabella was used to. Needless to say, I had my reservations about bringing her but she had been a very good sport with me today. She had obeyed my every request and had even gotten a bit friendlier with Jasper. We joined them at a worn wooden table and the men made their happy vulgar greetings.

"Oh Miss Swan you've survived with us yet!"

"Did a pretty in the market catch yer fancy?"

"I bet she needs a stiff drink to loosen her up."

"Famished lovely?"

The men gulped down their ale, eating and laughing, dunking their bread in the local fish stew before devouring. Isabella took it fairly well with her usual grace and dignity and didn't seem quite as affronted as she had been on her first day. Instead, she politely sipped her stew and smiled occasionally at the stories that were told around the table. I liked having her sit close to me as our arms accidentally brushed each other. The heat of her leg was warm and inviting, almost touching mine underneath the table.

I caught her glances and shyly averting her eyes several times. I was unusually content with it all. That is, until the women showed up offering their special business around the room. Though Isabella and I had gotten along well this afternoon, she was personally impacted to a large degree by being the only woman in the house not in that line of work. She looked more uncomfortable by the minute.

Two women were quite taken with Emmett and Jasper. A tall blonde with bright red lips introduced as Rosalie, fancied Emmet right away. She ran her fingers up his muscles while he gave her rump a good playful whack every now and then. A petite wench with ebony ringlets named Mary-Alice sat on Jasper's lap and giggled. A lewd wench with sandy brown features tried to catch my attention by trailing her finger down my neck until I took her hand off my shoulder and placed it at her side decidedly. Her expression was that of insult until Tyler pulled her from around the waist and into his lap. Isabella had stiffened beside me, so I turned to her.

"Is the food not to your liking?" I asked politely in a low voice, attempting to distract her and myself from the whores.

She shook her head, glancing at the prostitutes across the table before her gaze fell to her lap. And once again, she blushed. "I thought you told me the men would be resting." She mumbled.

"I cannot deny their needs or that of any other man."

She glanced at the wench now flirting with Tyler and frowned. "Are these the type of ladies men like you are interested in?" She asked pointedly, her dark eyes boring into mine, anxious for my answer.

My brows rose a little at her inquiry. Was she jealous? How was that possible?

"Surely you do not envy these women." I replied above a whisper, my face moving closer to hers to keep our conversation private. I chose my words carefully. "Their lives are run by the keeper of the house; they endlessly serve brute men to fill their bellies. It's not something a lady such as you, who has… beauty, respect, intelligence, and a future, should dwell on."

I was rewarded with a small smile from her. "That is very kind of you to say." And then she gave me a peculiar look. "Thank you."

My lips parted to speak but I couldn't as my gaze locked onto hers. The dim lighting of the tavern danced in her eyes and gave a soft glow to her skin. A rosy blush filled her cheeks once again but this time she did not lower her gaze from mine. "May I tell you something Miss Swan?" I asked quietly.

"Yes." She whispered.

"These women, they could never blush the way you do."

Her eyes grew wide with wonder, our gazes mirroring each other with more unspoken questions. Her eyes seemed endless but I couldn't imagine what she was thinking or how she felt. Was she…interested in me beyond her politeness and grace? Did she see the pirate or the man?

"Another round for the Captain!" Eric shouted halfway to belligerence, startling us both from the moment. The tavern maid sloshed more ale into my mug as she went around the table with her pitcher.

After the men had had their fill, and some were still in for a pleasant night, I paid for a proper room for Isabella. I'd always have more than enough gold for myself, now I had a good purpose for it. I led her to the door and opened it for inspection. It was nice enough, much better than her arrangements on the ship. I hoped she found it comfortable, and that the gesture spoke of my desire for her safety.

"I thought you might feel more comfortable in a private room then aboard the ship." I said, trying to smile slightly at her.

To confuse me further, she frowned. "Is this room purchased with money made from your stolen goods?"

"Need I remind you that you have survived by our methods for the last four days?" She stood stubbornly with her chin held a notch higher and her lower lip jutted out. I raked my hand through my hair under my hat, losing tolerance. I had to be patient but firm with her. I put my hands on my hips and towered over her menacingly. "It's this room or you can sleep with the pigs in the shed for all I care."

Her jaw dropped in a you wouldn't dare expression that closely resembled an angry kitten. So this is the reaction I receive for being a gentleman? "Do not test my patience or you will know the truth of my threat."

"Hmph." She said, unconvinced by my authority and stepped into the room to survey it. She turned to face me. "And where will you sleep?"

I folded my arms across my chest and leaned against the inside of the doorway. "In this hallway of course. I must make sure that any man does not treat himself with you tonight. They are eager and intoxicated."

Her brows rose in surprise before furrowing. "Would you be more comfortable in here?"

I smirked at her. "I think people might get the wrong idea."

"What I mean is, I have my shawl and I could put this blanket for you on the floor."

I shook my head reluctantly. "It is improper for me to share a room with a lady unless I had other designs." I paused. "I'll be sleeping out here, no one will disturb you." I offered her a smile.

"Nonsense. You would be more comfortable in here and you could still guard the room. And if any men came by, they would assume that I'm um…busy for the night."

It was very tempting to agree with her plan. It made perfect sense and was advantageous to us both. But it was too tempting for other reasons. Her idea placed a lot of faith and trust in me, as a gentleman. I tried to feel honor and pride but it was quickly quelled by the lustful musings I'd had of her previous to this. My imagination conjured a startling vision of her bare and undressed, open and desperate for my touch. The noises she would make, begging and sighing as I held her in my arms and made her mine… I wasn't sure I could trust myself to resist claiming her.

And here I was trying to protect her from that action by other scoundrels.

"I would rather you stay," she said then.

Did she think I had a wench waiting for me? This woman was really something. She was stubborn when she had made a decision but supported it with reason, uncommon for a woman. Christ, she was tempting and challenging my instincts too. Not only that, but I was the Captain and here she was trying to tell me what to do.

"Fine then." I conceded, closing the door behind me.

As promised, she set down the blanket across the floor for me. I waited for her to slip into her bed before I reclined on the blanket, feeling awkward by this intimate yet businesslike approach. She spread her shawl over her and snuggled into her pillow.

"Goodnight Captain." She mumbled playfully.

I couldn't help smiling a little. "Have a good night Miss Swan."

It was difficult to sleep, not only because of the beautiful woman sleeping just feet away from, but also the stillness of the earth. I was accustomed to the rocking of the ship lulling me to sleep that it always took some adjusting every time we docked. As soon as Isabella's breathing evened into a deep sleep, I sat upright, watching her for a moment, thinking I should leave her room. She looked very sweet and genteel, so pale and beautiful in the moonlight with her dark hair all around her and her full lips parted slightly. I imagined what it might be like to lie in that bed with her, feeling the softness and warmth and curves of her figure flush against me.

"Edward…" She mumbled sleepily.

I froze for a moment thinking she was awake and it would look strange for me to be sitting upright and staring at her. I waited a little longer but she was indeed still sleeping. Did she have a bizarre habit of sleep talking? Why would she say my name? What was she dreaming of? I wondered.

My guessing game was getting me nowhere though. So many mysteries lie within a woman.

It was strange but I wanted her to say it again, for her to think of me like that. I decided not to leave, vainly hoping to hear my name again but she spoke no more. I sighed, lying back down, and attempting to get some rest.

Right before the first rays of sunlight, I woke naturally. Isabella was still sleeping sweetly. I quietly rose and put my blanket over her before departing from the room. I assumed she would want privacy whenever she woke, so I seated myself in the hallway like I had originally planned, deciding to wait for her.

As I sat thinking, I pondered that although I was a man of action, for the first time, I didn't know what to do next. Isabella was different from most women. She wasn't brazen and coarse, but intelligent and curious about the world. She had some backbone and respect for herself, even under the most disheartening circumstances, and showed genuine emotion. She was also the most beautiful woman I had ever crossed paths with.

My affection and desire for her was growing and I wanted to show her things, touch her in ways that she would never forget. I knew she had some interest in me by the way she snuck glances at me and blushed, but she was also a lady.

A little while later she opened the door to her room with a shy smile and inquiring expression. "Good morning."

"It is a good morning." I said seriously. Her stomach growled and I chuckled when her face went abashed as her hand flew to her middle. I stood up lithely and adjusted my dagger at my hip. "Let us go."

"Where?" She asked, hurrying to catch up to me.

"To break our fast. I know you would not prefer this brothel so I am taking you fishing."

We walked at a quick pace through the city square toward the coastline. It was a beautiful stretch of white sand and sparkling ocean that bordered the island. The trees and vegetation of the hills were lush green, and could provide shade from the blistering sun.

"My father used to go fishing a lot, I'm pretty sure we need rods and tackle."

"Not today." I glanced over at her with a sly smile. I enjoyed that little crinkle she got between her eyebrows when she was confused.

I chose a location by the bay where the water gathered serenely unlike the choppy currant of the ocean's waves. Far from town, we stopped to sit on the sand and I pulled off my boots and coat. She finally followed my example and kicked off her shoes.

"Is this some kind of pirate joke?"

I barked a dry laugh as I rolled up my pants to just below my knees. "You'll need to tie your dress off if you don't want to get it soaked at least six inches deep in water."

As she bent over I glimpsed a peek at the tops of her milky white breasts exposed from the neckline of her dress. I wondered how the curve of her breast rose underneath her bodice. If she were bare and in my arms, how they would fit perfectly in my hands, soft and full. Shaking it off, I watched her movement from the corner of my eye as she knotted the fabric of her skirt on each side.

"Like this?" She asked, referring to the two knots of fabric, providing me with a lovely view of her shapely legs too.

My gaze snapped away from her delicious figure and the softness that I imagined in my grasp. "Yes."

I needed to move away to tame this desire. Trying to keep my hands at my sides and not go after her, I bounded down to the water's edge.

I waded through the water, the chill of the temperature shocking me a bit. We laughed and joked for a moment as I attempted to clear those earlier thoughts of her. I kept myself from turning back to face her, knowing I would see her full breasts and shapely legs. Instead, we bantered innocently as I demonstrated how to catch a fish with my hands.

She was cynical about the whole process till she saw me perform the job. I was bent over the water with my hands dipped below the surface, explaining. "You have to stay patiently still with your hands cradled a little. The fish will swim around you but you must wait for them to stay idle, any sudden movement will startle them. My fingers move slowly till I'm close enough to tickle the underside of their belly."

It took some time and precision, deciding the exact moment to act. When I was close enough I grabbed a fish, scooping it out of the water with a splash. I held its squirming slippery form out to her in pride. "And that's how it's done. Tickling a fish."

"Well I must admit I'm impressed, though I've never seen fishing quite like this. You're wearing your captain's hat too," She said with a laugh, giggling at me. Was she laughing at my hat?

"It is a perfectly useful hat. It blocks the rays of the sun." I said with fake hurt.

"It's a rather silly hat. What kind of pirate are you that doesn't have any grand plumage or a parrot on his shoulder?" She was teasing me and I liked it.

"The kind that catch fish with his bare hands." I stated proudly. "I'd like to see Davey Jones or Blackbeard boast as much."

"I suppose that is true. Without your fishing expertise we would starve and you don't have a parrot to eat, so perhaps it's best." She giggled again at her joke. "Since you are so talented, why don't you teach me?"

"Very well Miss Swan." Instead of slapping my caught fish against a tree I set it free, sloshing against the water and turned, finally allowing myself to look.

I nearly groaned in lust. She moved closer to me in the water and I diverted my eyes from her breasts to her dark gaze. She lowered her eyes and waded quickly, coming to a stop at my side. Moving to stand behind her, I spoke in a low voice, quite close to her ear. "Lean down and put your hands in the water."

She obeyed and I put my hands over hers, holding them to guide their movement. "Remain still." I said above a whisper, feeling the heat radiating from her face. I liked the warmth of our legs pressing close on each side, much like I'd enjoyed the sensation of them under the table yesterday evening.

Watching for fish, we remained still, breathing in unison. A catch swam curiously toward us and I knew we could win this one. With my hands laced over hers, I slowly curled our fingers, bringing the idle fish within reach. We were about to tickle its belly when her breathing picked up a little. Her rougher breaths turned into quiet pants, and I immediately wondered how she would sound in the throes of passion.

"Edward..." She whispered and turned her head to face me, her lips lightly brushed against my cheek and she gasped softly. And all so quickly, I was battling between my concentration on the fish and my distraction with her. With the feel of her increased warmth, I realized very quickly I was becoming hardened by my thoughts and closeness.

Shocked by my sudden impropriety, I straightened, releasing her hands, and scaring off the rest of the fish nearby. She turned then and we stared at each other for moment, unable to speak a word. I wondered why she'd breathed that way. Was it the anticipation of the fish, or of me? She is a lady! Stop this at once!

"I don't think I'm very good at catching fish", she interrupted my thoughts. Fighting for words, she quickly changed the subject. "I... I think I must bathe while we are stationed here on Potters Village, I should like to before we break our fast. Is there a spring here? Preferably with cold water..." She spoke hurriedly and trailed off in mumble.

Imagining her nude and wet was too much. I ran a hand through my hair, setting my mind right again, trying not to think of her reaction before. I must be imagining things; she was hungry and was leaving me the responsibility of fishing while she washed up. With composure and a clear mind, I considered her question, remembering a stream not far from here.

"Uh yes, up over that hill there is a small stream." I pointed in the direction over her shoulder.

With my desire temporarily tamed, we put on our shoes and adjusted our clothing. I began leading the way for her, following the sound of the rushing water as we climbed. The path inclined and we continued to walk through the tightly packed vegetation. I was slower than usual, so she could keep up with me. Not long I found the stream with the little waterfall nestled and surrounded by rocks.

"Will this suit you?" I asked, hoping it was what she had in mind. She hadn't planned her stay on the Voltaire, but I found myself anxious to provide for her and secure her comforts. I wanted to please her and make her happy. I must be a filthy pathetic pirate to her, but how I wanted her. Smiles and touching and laughter, my masculine urges were wrought with passion. She'd awakened so many feelings within me in just these few days.

"It's beautiful, thank you." She said in deep appreciation, bringing me back from my desperate thoughts.

"I'll be back for you in an hour, please take the time that you need." We parted at the rocky edge and I almost ran back to the beach trying again to escape the thought of her nude and wet and what had passed between us not long ago. I was halfway to the beach when I jerked to a stop. The waterfall was loud, the rocks would muffle footsteps, no snapping twigs to be heard... What if someone stumbled upon her on accident and... and violated her.

The thought alone made me furious. I couldn't allow that to happen.

I whipped around and rushed back to the stream, my anxiety was rising and adrenaline coursing faster with every step. Not far from the stream, I keenly observed the surrounding area but there was not a soul to be found. I needed to check on her though, to see that she was safe with my own eyes, before she began bathing. As I inched closer through the opening of the trees, I tried to convince myself that I was here for her protection and not the kind of man to spy on an unsuspecting lady. Then again, perhaps… it would be harmless as long as I was protecting her, to indulge from afar…

I took my hat off and pushed aside a branch. My breath caught when I saw her. She had already begun, and was perfectly safe. The water rose up to her bare hips, her pale skin bright and beautiful in the sunshine. Her back was to me and I watched in rapture as the waterfall streamed down her thick dark hair, wetting it before trailing in small streams down her bare skin. Her head was leaned back as she rinsed her hair with her hands, turning in the water, exposing her breasts to me. Cascading water covered her, dancing and streaming over her skin and curves.

She was beautiful and I'd never seen anything more private. My cock began to respond as I watched openly now. I had intended on staying hidden until she was done, just to allow my eyes the pleasure my flesh may never have, but as she turned, her eyes opened, landing on me.

The motion of her movement and the realization of my discovery hit me hard, my own face turning hot. What would she think of me now?

Quelling the panic, my lips parted to offer an excuse but I didn't have one. We continued to stare at each other through the noise of the waterfall and with each passing second, I slowly realized that she didn't bother to cover herself. Was she too shocked to react? But she appeared calm, not skittish or angry. Just staring back at me…

I continued to wonder over this as another second passed, growing increasingly more embarrassed by my own behavior. I'd told her of my values, and just demonstrated the opposite. I hoped that my humiliated expression conveyed to her how sorry I was for invading her privacy.

The waterfall was too loud so I forced myself to leave, resolving to apologize when I returned for her. Just before turning away, her hands lowered from her hair as she touched her skin with her fingers, starting at her neck, trailing down to her shoulders. She cupped some water in her hand and trickled it over her front. Mesmerized by the subtlest movement, I followed the rivulets of water running down her shoulders, dripping from the tips of her breasts.

Understanding dawned. Despite her shyness and blush, she was a woman, and in this moment, she was inviting me into her privacy, just as she'd done the night before when asking me to stay. She was bathing for me, her eyes never leaving mine. I was rooted to the ground, wondering to myself what I should do or say. Nothing came to mind, though. My thoughts were impossible, my eyes were entranced, and my body was yearning. Her hands rose from her shoulders then as she raised her hand to the water, cupping again and pouring it over her breasts. Before I could resist any further, my body acted upon the undeniable pull it had toward her.

I dropped my hat and coat on the ground and stepped passed the brush, making my way into the stream. The water was warm from the baking sun but cool deeper below the surface.

My sight wandered over her body appreciatively as I neared, and she seemed to not mind. My cock throbbed for her with ever step as my heart pounded nervously as to what she expected from me. Wading against the current, I tried deciphering her expression as I drew closer. To my surprise, she looked up at me with unconcealed desire and blushed further under my gaze.

"I thought it was a dream or trick but… you're really here," She said, her voice stronger than I'd expected.

I moved closer to her, hoping to be heard over the roar of the water. "You've dreamed of me?" I asked, remembering her speak my name last night.

She nodded, the droplets on her lashes falling. "I've dreamed of so many things... About you." Her chest rose and fell more heavily from my close proximity. She'd said my name last night, she had been dreaming of me and I very much wanted to know those details but all I could think about was her blushing admission and her dripping wet form so close to me.

"May I touch you, Miss Swan?" I asked in a low voice. I wanted that badly, urgently, and if she'd have me, I would take her, show her and touch her in ways she'd never forget. It had been too long, and never had I had a proper, beautiful lady.

She nodded wordlessly, and I held her eyes as I took the final step toward her, stopping just inches from her wet body. Water was still flowing down her arms, between her breasts, and dripping off the tips. With desire and lust racing through me, I placed my hands on her shoulders, running my fingers along her arms and collarbones with curiosity and reverence. I wanted to please her and she was ivory and silk, so smooth and soft.

Feeling the texture, I worried my hands were too rough on her soft skin, callused from rope burn and labor, but she swallowed hard and let out a shaky breath, responding to my touch. I let my eyes wander over her intently, slowly, exploring her skin. My thumbs grazed the sides of each breast and dropped to her waist, roving to her hips. Her curves were soft, her body was tight yet delicate and she looked incredibly delicious.

Her chest was heaving more quickly and I looked back to her face, hoping she liked my touch. Her head was tilted back slightly, looking at me through heavy lidded eyes, and short breaths escaped her full lips. She stepped in closer, her hips pressing lightly against my hardened cock, and causing the water to sway against us. With mounting exhilaration, I slid a hand up to her breast and cupped it firmly, groaning at how full and round she was. Her breath caught with pleasure, pushing herself more firmly against me. Tentatively, she lightly placed her lips to my shirt, kissing my shoulder. My hands set to work then, fondling her soft, delicate breasts, rolling her stiff pink tips between my fingers. She yelped softly, before moaning and leaning into my touch.

By pure instinct and need, my other hand curled in her hair, tugging her head back so her lips could meet mine. I pressed my lips to hers roughly, finally tasting her for the first time. She had the softest mouth, her tongue wet and eager for mine. She reached her hands up to my neck to press me closer, pushing her breast into my hand more.

Emboldened by her encouragement, I moved us deeper into the waterfall, reeling from the sensations of her skin and the cool water raining down, splashing our heads. I rubbed and caressed, kissing her harder and after a moment, we both gasped for air, inhaling against each others lips. Again, I plundered her mouth with my tongue, desperate to have more. She arched her back in response, letting the tips of her breasts graze my chest. We elicited soft and desperate sounds of pleasure, each one sending thrills of desire racing through me.

I shivered against her cold fingers as they trailed inside my drenched shirt, moving the cloth away before tickling down my chest, tantalizing and teasing me. She moaned into my kiss before strengthening her hands, touching me with need and urgency now. I'd never physically ached with arousal and need for any woman nor felt the passions she was stirring within me.

Breaking from her kiss, I moved her head to the side and nudged her silky wet tendrils away from her neck with my nose, greedily licking the arch of her neck, and tasting the water droplets on her skin. The taste of her wet skin reminded me of the morning dew on flower petals, something I rarely reveled in since living on a ship or compared a woman to. She panted against me while clutching the edges of my open shirt.

"Oh, Isabella…" I moaned into her shoulder and neck, the soft skin in my mouth and my cock urgent with need for her.

Her eyelids fluttered closed. "Please, I want to feel again." She whimpered as her hand traced down my stomach. I startled as it traveled lower toward my cock that was pushing against the fabric of my trousers. I crushed her to me, my throbbing sensitivity pressing hard against her hip. I hissed into her shoulder wanting her small hand to grip me but I wasn't sure I could handle it without pushing her against the rock wall like a brute.

"Do you want to feel me inside of you?" I growled low against her ear, wanting to be sure she would take everything I gave her. Her hands urgently roamed me again and she kissed me hard, moaning and diving her fingers through my wet hair. She was incredible in my arms and I ached for more of her soft, wet skin.

She wanted me, but I had to remind myself that she was a lady. I had to be patient and give her comfort and pleasure.

I mustered some control and broke from the kiss to spin her around, my hands never leaving her. They traveled up her waist and I cupped her breasts with each one, pulling lightly and teasing her. She felt so good in my hands. Leaning back on my shoulder, she moaned loudly, breathing anxiously. I leaned down to her ear from behind. "Do you see the cave straight ahead?"

She shivered and nodded before bringing her hand to the back of my head and pulled my lips down to hers. We kissed over her shoulder for a moment.

"Wait for me in the cave." I requested urgently, wanting to retrieve my coat for her comfort. Her desire for me was clear, but I knew what I was, a pirate, and she was a genteel woman, deserving the best I could give her. A cave was inadequate, but neither of us wanted to wait. It was up to me to make this something she didn't regret.

She clutched at me harder and kissed again. "No. Stay with me. I want you to continue touching me." My hips arched slightly into her bare rear, and I fought the urge to bend her and slip inside of her. I turned her back around and my hands cradled her face, my thumbs brushing along her cheeks.

"I want that too. I'm going to make you feel wonderful." I murmured against her warm lips. It was too easy to cling to her, she was impatient and desperately craving me too so I conceded to give her what she wanted, what we both wanted. She'd been adamant for more kisses so my lips met hers, sucking gently on her bottom lip, tenderly showing her I cared. I pulled my wet shirt off and draped it around her respectfully before I lifted her from the water.

I carried her in my arms to the cave as she planted kisses along my jaw and touched my hair. She was so sensual and erotically distracting as I set her down gently in the dimly lit cave. I kissed her, nipping at her lips and laying her down on the earthen floor. Her hands eagerly roamed me again from my hair down my chest. A thrill swept through me, having this beautiful lady finally in my arms, bare and warm and wanting me. My previous fantasies flooded my mind, the things I would do for her, the sounds she would make only for me…

I breathed in sharply, feeling her cold fingers trace down my stomach again and dance at the edge of my trousers, not bold enough to grip me. Or was she? "Why do pirates have so many tools on their belt?" She asked huskily, pouting and gazing up at me with desire. Seeing her blazing dark eyes, I realized the question wasn't to be taken at face value. She was so flushed with need, panting in shallow breaths beneath me. She watched me hungrily as I kicked off my boots and stripped off the rest of my wet clothes. My belt buckle hit the ground with a muffled thud against the earth.

Her eyes widened when my body was completely revealed to her and I thought for a moment that some of my nicks and scars scattered along my flesh disgusted her. "You're…a beautiful man." She whispered, surprising me. To even fathom that she could possibly worship me the way I did her was…unthinkable.

Disrupting my thoughts, she pulled me down to her and we kissed and touched, reveling in the difference of our skins and desperately exploring more. Hovering over her, my cock not far from her heat, it would be too easy to take her now. I wanted it badly, ached for it but her body was glorious before me and my reverence for her swelled in my chest again. This was more difficult than any of my escapades in piracy, but I would force myself to be patient.

She responded with a little whimpered sigh as my lips dragged along her neck and in between her soft, heavy breasts. I took one into my mouth and sucked gently, moving my tongue over her, still tasting the freshwater on her skin. Her lips parted and a heavy moan escaped her as her hips instinctively raised to meet me.

Sensing what she wanted, I reached down in between us and slid my fingers along her soft skin like I'd wanted to do the night of the storm. It was heated and wet and I groaned, just imagining what it would feel like to be inside of her. I dipped my fingers into her, causing her hips to buck again. She bit back a moan, and continued panting from my touch as I steadily worked her up. I lifted my mouth from her rosy tips and anxiously watched her face and her state of desire and helplessness shining in her dark eyes. The entire sight of her beneath me was glorious.

"I love the feel of you, the way you touch me." She said breathlessly from her parted pink lips.

I smiled with pride at her admission, eager to please her further. "Mmm, you feel wonderful too and I can't wait to taste…" I leaned my head down between her legs to kiss her sensitive flesh. She breathed in sharply and exhaled deeply. I kissed her there again, eliciting more sounds from her. My hands moved down along her shaking legs and inner thighs to steady her. I pushed my tongue against her wet skin, sucking gently on her sensitive flesh, causing her to tremble. She tried stifling her cries of pleasure but the sounds she made only spurred my attempts to please her more.

She grabbed at my hair with her fingers, twisting and tugging as she squirmed beneath me. By her ragged breaths and the movement of her hips, I sensed she was getting close and decided not to wait much longer. I kissed a path back up her thighs, getting her ready for me. She whimpered, missing the contact and I smiled, licking and nipping a trail up the curve of her waist. The skin was cooler there but I couldn't get enough of her smoothness and softness.

I lowered myself down between her silky legs, kissing her neck and finally pressing my lips to hers hungrily. She reciprocated eagerly, franticly running her hands over my back. I pulled away from her slightly, our breathing mingled between our lips, staring into her dark eyes for a moment to let her know I was ready. My tip nudged her wetness and she pulled me to her fiercely, wrapping her arms around my neck. With my breathing uncontrolled and my heart pounding against my chest, I slowly pushed into her, parting her wet skin open. Clearly she had not been with a man since her husband, she was a bit tight. The sensation of her body overwhelmed me, combined with the realization that she'd scarcely been with another.

"Oh Isabella...." I was dizzy with lust, shuddering with pleasure and heat as I started a slow pace with her. Her sounds were short and heavy against my shoulder, her legs wrapped tightly around me.

"You like the feel of me inside of you." I whispered to her, wanting her to tell me she enjoyed this. I wanted to know how to truly pleasure her, if she preferred tenderness to vigorous coupling.

"Yes…don't stop. Please, I need this. I need you." She moaned, her breasts bouncing firmly against my chest, fueling my need to move faster.

"Tell me, who makes you feel this way." I filled her with increasingly forceful strokes and her sounds only turned louder, echoing off the cave walls. Feeling the rise of my peak with each hard thrust, I wasn't going to last much longer.

She gasped for breath. "You, Edward."

It was me, inside of her and her body kept begging me for more. Pushing into her, I yielded completely to the feeling, rocking us together with abandon. I grunted in pleasure of her body and words; the urge to release was upon me and I knew I would be finished soon.

I tried to fight it back, still desperate for her encouragement. "And what am I?" Her body squeezed more tightly, her sighs and sounds heavily mixing with mine. "Isabella, what am I." I demanded in a strangled voice, looking into her hooded eyes.

"You're…" She tensed, biting her lip and whimpering with our rocking movements. So glazed and helpless beneath me, I knew she couldn't resist any longer. "You're a… a bloody pirate!" She cried out as her body drew me deeper inside, triggering my release. My stomach clenched and my seed spilled into her, feeling the onslaught of the rush and sensitivity.

Clinging to my last bit of coherency, I prevented myself from collapsing onto her small form. "Thank you Isabella." I whispered against her skin. I'd wanted her acceptance entirely, her admission. I was a man before anything else, but piracy was my life and now, she could be my life too… I rocked with her gently till I could bear it no more, shuddering against her and trying to compose my ragged breathing.

She loosened her quaking limbs from around me, fighting for breath too. She looked up at me with her glazed helplessness, her complexion flushed and glowing. I nuzzled her neck affectionately until she put a hand to my cheek and whispered, "You're my bloody pirate."

A wicked grin stretched across my face. "That I am." She giggled shyly, her body shaking beneath me. "Arrgh" I growled and crashed my lips to hers again.