"Beyond Blackbird Pond" by Adina-Marie Myers
An unauthorized sequel to "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" by Elizabeth George Speare
Chapter 1: Wethersfield, Connecticut Colony: Spring 1688
If one were to tell you that your life would take on a direction so unexpected would you really believe them?
That is just what Kit Tyler felt.
A year ago, almost to the day, she was walking the same path with the same young man. But at that time the animosity between the two young people was palpable. Today, there was a different feeling, a feeling of love that only two people who had been through so much together could possibly understand.
Now, they walked together, hand in hand, smiling laughing, planning a future that included love and passion.
"We could live on the Witch during the winter, then come and live either here in Wethersfield or Saybrook if you like." Nat excitement was contagious.
Kit laughed, "Nat first we need to get married."
Nat stopped suddenly and pulled Kit to him, "If I could marry you this instance I would. I don't think I can wait a moment longer." Suddenly his hand caressed her face and his eyes sparked with the need for her. Without another moment hesitation he bent to her and kissed her lips.
Kit's heart felt as if it would explode out of her chest, her stomach rolled with a delicious sensation that then settled deep inside her. She wanted Nat to be closer to fill her soul that suddenly felt empty and yearning for him.
The kiss ended with a breathless regret. "Your uncle had better give permission, or you will find yourself kidnapped!" He smiled mischievously at her.
"Well, we better hurry, I'd hate for you to be arrested, and then I may just have to break you out of prison!" She grabbed his hand and pulled him merrily along the road that lead to her Uncle Matthew's home.
Kit and Nat rushed into the house with a flurry of excitement. Aunt Rachel and Mercy were busy making the noon meal, while John and Matthew worked on a piece of farming equipment. The disruption caused by the young couple stopped everyone in their tracks.
"Kit!" Mercy exclaimed, and then suddenly a smile so sweet and loving formed on Mercy's lovely face. She recognized the young man with Kit and knew instinctively what was happening.
John, Mercy husband and Kit's best friend also recognized the signs. Of course he knew from the very beginning over a year ago when He and Kit sailed together that the young seaman was in love with the lovely girl from Barbados. He knew that it was only a matter of time and God's divine providence that would finally get these two to stop fighting and realize how much they loved each other.
Uncle Matthew walked towards Kit and Nat. He looked at them suspiciously, noting how they stood so close together and how their hands were entwined showing an intimacy between the two young people.
"You are Nathaniel Eaton the one who helped Kit at the trial, the one who sat in stocks for 5 hours after setting Jack-o-lanterns in Master Ashby's new home." Uncle Matthew was not making this easy for Kit and Nat.
Nat sighed; he would never live down that foolish prank. A prank play out of jealously for the man who was suppose marry his beloved Kit, but instead married her lovely cousin Judith. "Yes, sir I am. But, I've paid for my crime and I've come back because…" He looked over at Kit. Her eyes were anxious. So much like that first day when she arrived in Connecticut so unsure of her future so unsure that anything good could possibly come from the whole experience. "Sir, may I speak to you privately?"
Kit held her breath as she looked around the room. Aunt Rachel's head was down as she kneads dough but there was a smile that lit her face with mirth, Mercy's face was beaming with delight, John's look almost relived, but it was Uncle Matthew's face that forced Kit to breathe again. He looked, well downright…amused…
Uncle Matthew cleared his throat, "Why don't we go outside and speak young man. Kit assist your Aunt with the meal, and Mercy, set another plate at the table."
As soon as Uncle Matthew and Nat walked out the back door, Aunt Rachel rushed over to Kit and enfolded her in a loving embrace.
"Oh Kit! Oh how wonderful!" Aunt Rachel cried happily. "Oh such a fine young man!"
Mercy laughing with delight took Kit's hand once her mother released her cousin. "Kit this is a blessed moment! Oh he is so handsome! You two belong to each other!" Smiled lovingly at her beloved cousin.
John took Kit into his arms as a brother would to a cherished sister. "I'm so happy for you Kit. I have been praying for you and Nat. I have always known that he loved you and you he. But, God needed to reveal to you that love in His time."
Kit looked up at her best friend. John was so like the brother she never had, she loved him so much. "John, my dearest friend, would you perform the ceremony? It would only be right."
Aunt Rachel gasped in pleasure as Mercy clapped her hands with joy.
Kit went to the large kettle to stir the stew that would be served for the noon meal. "I hope Uncle Matthew doesn't scare Nat off." In the past year, Kit had come from fearing her Uncle to a restrained respect. She knew in her heart that her Uncle cared for her, but she never felt truly comfortable in his presence."
Aunt Rachel placed a reassuring hand on Kit's shoulder. "Your Uncle is so pleased, I can tell. He will play with Nat just a little to test his mettle, but I can assure you knowing what I know of Nat Eaton, your Uncle has met his match. Never fear child. God's hand has been in this from the very beginning, trust that."
Kit smiled up at her Aunt. Yes, Nat could hold his own with her uncle. He has proven his strength of character time and time again. She just wished she could be a small fly on the wall listening to their conversation.
Nat stood facing Matthew Wood. He was a tall man, but Nat was taller, stronger and passionately in love with Matthew Wood's niece.
Matthew shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his pants and rocked back on his heels. His eyes never leaving the handsome seaman. "When did you know?"
"Excuse me sir?" Nat was taken aback; he hadn't expected a question like that.
Matthew slowly began to circle the young man. "When did your finally realize that you were in love with my niece?" There was a hint of amusement in his voice. "You see son, I knew that William Ashby would never be able to make Kit happy. Oh sure, he is rich and he could provide her with all the finest things money could buy. But, I knew that he couldn't make her happy. When Kit first came to live with us, I was hard on her. I was hard on her because I knew she had the strength and the fortitude to do great things, and though I love my own daughters very much, I realize that Kit embodied a strength that my own daughter's lacked. I needed to know that Kit could survive, and survive she did. So, my boy when did your finally realize that Kit was destine to be the love you have been searching for?" He stopped in front of Nat, looking deep into the young man's soul.
Nat smile, Matthew Wood would never cease to amaze him. He knew how hard this man was, how set in his Puritan ways. He knew that Matthew was a rebel, set to see the Colony that he loved free from the tyranny of the King. Nat admired him, and so out of that admiration told Matthew Wood the unbridled truth. "I loved Kit from the moment I set eyes on her. Though I was too stubborn to realize that what I was feeling was love. She frustrated and exasperated me. . ."
Matthew laughed at this declaration. "Yes, she exasperated me as well, that is part of her charm. So, what do we do now?"
Nat knew what Matthew Wood was after; his admiration was for men who knew their own minds, whose strength of character exceeded anything else. "I want to marry her. Now! I don't think I can wait a second longer. I'm possessed with need for her." His faced reddened when he realized what had confessed.
Matthew just laughed, "Oh my boy, do I know exactly how you feel. You may not believe it to look at us now, but that is exactly how I felt about my Rachel. She was so beautiful, exquisite to be exact. I was obsessed with her; my need for her was distracting she was all I could think about. Her father refused to let us marry, he was a Royalist and hated the Puritan way, but Rachel loved me and she defied her father and ran off with me. There were times were I regretted what we did, but when I remember the passion we shared on our wedding night and all the nights since I realize that all the hardships were well worth it, because I have the woman that I love with more passion that I have ever loved anyone else by my side.
Nat was moved by this confession. "You do understand. I knew you would understand." Nat's eyes met Matthew's with a new found respect. "Sir, do I have your permission to marry Kit?"
"Why don't we go in and share this blessed occasion with the others?" Matthew placed an arm around Nat's shoulders and led him back into the house.
When Kit saw the two men reenter the house her heart stopped but then as she survey the scene in front of her she realized with joy the outcome of that private meeting.
Nat left the security of Matthew's arm and hurried to Kit. Getting down on one knee he took Kit's hand in his. "Beloved…" His voice was clear and his eyes bore into hers with passion. "Marry me! Marry me and be with me until we take our final breath. I love you desperately, and I don't think I can go on another moment without you with me. Say, YES!"
Kit fell to her knees in front of Nat, tears of joy filled her eyes as her hands reached out and caressed that face she love so much. "YES! Oh Yes!" She fell into his embrace, and then with no shame about them kissed each other passionately. The kiss, deep and sweet promising so much went on and on until Matthew Wood loudly cleared his throat.
"We better get these two married quickly, or instead of a wedding we will be going to a stoning." The whole room erupted in laughter as the two young lovers embraced happily.
Kit and Nat had to wait a whole week to say their wedding vows. Matthew insisted on at least that much. He felt that Nat should do the right thing and make sure that his mother and father could attend the blessed ceremony.
As it turned out the whole town of Wethersfield was in attendance along with Captain and Mistress Eaton and several of the crew members of the Dolphin and Witch. Only Hannah and Nat's grandmother were unable to come. Both Kit and Nat feared for Hannah's safety and Nat's grandmother was too old to make the trip. Another person not in attendance was Goodwife Cruff.
Kit appealed to Goodman Cruff to allow Prudence to be Kit's attendant at the wedding. He was pleased to allow this, and discussed with Kit at length his ever growing fear that his wife, who still harbored much resentment towards Kit would, in retaliation, harm Prudence. Kit spoke with her family about this new development, and it was decided that Prudence would come to live with John and Mercy. She would work for the Holbrook's and would attend school as well. Goodman Cruff felt that was best for his daughter and Prudence was happy to be living with the gentle Mercy and her kind husband John.
Besides attending to Kit's wedding dress, it was decided that Prudence needed a new gown as well. Kit picked out one of her best dresses that she had brought from Barbados and with the help of Mercy, Judith and Aunt Rachel cut the dress down to size to fit the young Prudence.
The day of the wedding was beautiful and warm. John Holbrook officiated the marriage of Nat Eaton and Katherine Tyler. There was food, music and dancing. Everyone laughed and was merry. At the end of the day the happy couple took their leave and boarded Nat's ship The Witch. As they were walking up the gangplank to board the ship, Kit heard someone calling to her.
"Kit! Wait! Kit!" Young Prudence looking beautiful in her new dress and decorated hair was running towards the ship.
Kit smiled and turned to Nat, "Will you give me a moment?"
Nat smiled and kissed his beautiful bride, "Of course, give Prudence my love." He turned and boarded the ship.
Kit stood and waited for Prudence to make it to the gangplank. "Prudence are you okay?"
Prudence stood tall before her friend. It had been only a year since Kit and Prudence first made their acquaintance. But, in that year, Prudence had blossomed into a beautiful intelligent young lady.
"Kit, I wanted to talk to you. I'm sorry, but I wanted to say goodbye, I'm going to miss you so much. Thank you! Thank you for all you have done for me!" Tears of joy welled up in her eyes as she impulsively embraced her former teacher.
"Oh Prudence! My darling girl. I love you! Do you know that? I love you so much and I will miss you so much! Are you going to be okay?"
Prudence smiled brilliantly. "Oh yes! John and Mercy are so good to me. I will be going to school and then helping Mercy about the house. John promised he would take me to Saybrook next month when he goes to visit his family! He said he would take me to see Hannah! Isn't that wonderful?"
Kit was so happy, it was wonderful. Prudence would blossom under the guidance of Mercy and John. They would love her and treat her kindly. They would make sure she got an education and had everything she needed. William and Judith have also pledged to help the young Prudence. William had promised that when the time came, he would take Prudence to Boston to attend the finest school and perhaps when she was older he would take her to England to be presented to Society. The whole Wood household felt obligated to the care of young Prudence. It wasn't exactly discussed, but there was an undercurrent of fear that Goodwife Cruff would do something to harm the welfare of her child, and Goodman Cruff was beyond himself on what to do. John and Mercy were the first to step up, with William and Judith right on their heels to offer assistance.
Kit would not need to worry about Prudence, and she felt secure in the knowledge that Prudence would be well cared for. "Goodbye Prudence, I will tell Hannah that you will be coming to visit next month, she will be so pleased!"
"I will write to you often, and you will write to me too! Tell me all about Barbados! Maybe one day I can go to your island!"
Kit was happy at the thought of showing Prudence her beautiful island, "Perhaps one day you will. But for now, you need to be of help to Mercy and John and go to school!"
"Kit! Kit darling we need to shove off!" Nat called down to her from the deck. Kit hugged Prudence once more before turning and walking to the deck. As Kit stood at the rail, Nat stood behind her holding her around the waist both looking down at all the friends and family who came to the docks to see them off. Prudence continued to wave as the ship moved soundly down the river towards Saybrook.
A small sense of sadness filled Kit. While she was extremely happy to be married to Nat, she was a little sad too. She was leaving Wethersfield. How funny it was to be sad to leave a place that not only a year ago she long to escape from. She realized that even with all the hardships of the past year, she had some to love her new family. Mercy and Judith were like sisters, Aunt Rachel like the mother she never knew, and Uncle Matthew like the strong father of her dreams. John and William became like brothers to her, taking pleasure in teasing and coddling her as brothers would. John and William even went so far as to take Nat into the fold and providing a party for the young man before the wedding. Kit was told that the men played cards and drank rum in William's fine home, while the womenfolk prepared Kit for her wedding night. William no longer harbored any ill will towards Nat, and he now understood why Nat had placed the Jack-o-Lanterns in the window of his home. To show there were no longer any hard feelings, William had Judith make a pie out of pumpkin and served it to Nat at the wedding, it was a joke that only the two men truly appreciated.
Kit felt Nat's sweet kisses on her neck and felt his warm breath in her hair. "I want to take you below now. Come with me." He whispered softly into her ear.
A warming chill ran through Kit, this was it. This was when she would show her husband how much she loved him. She remember with a blush the conversation she had with Mercy, Judith and Aunt Rachel about the "wonders of the marriage bed" She was slightly embarrassed by the frank talk of the 3 women in regards to their husbands and the physical act of love that made marriage the most blessed of all unions. She noted how happy Mercy and Judith were when they spoke of the love they shared with their husbands and how wonderful it felt to express their love in that way.
Kit knew that Nat would show her the miracle of marriage with love, passion and respect, and she could hardly wait.
Walking into the large cabin, Kit giggled, sitting ostentatiously on the floor in the corner were 7 trunks! Kit turned to a smiling Nat.
"You are so naughty!" She laughed and ran to the trunks throwing them open as she spied the beautiful silks and brocades of the gowns she had not worn in over a year.
"I want you to be my tropical bird Kit." Nat walked over to her and knelt beside her peering in the trunks and gently touching the soft material. "I want you to be dressed in the brightest colors, I am tired of seeing you in that nonscript homespun lindsy woolsey, it is not you. You are meant to be adorned in the finest clothes of the brightest colors my love…" He reached out and caressed her face.
Kit turned into his hand and kissed his worked roughened hand. Tears traveled down her cheeks. "Thank you my love, thank you…" She whispered as he gathered her into his arms.
Carefully, with reverence he lifted her in his arms. Seeing the passion fill his deep blue eyes, Kit knew what would happen next, and she was ready. Her heart beat and the feel of heat traveled through her stomach. She wanted her husband in a way she didn't understand but knew instinctively what was expected of her.
Nat laid her on the large plush bed in of the Captain's quarter and in that quiet room, with the ship moving swiftly through the blue waters of the Connecticut River, Kit and Nat shared their bodies and souls. Flying up on wings, like eagles, touching the sky as bursts of flames shot forth from the passion of their shared love. They flew together somewhere between heaven and earth, never quite coming down for a landing. It was the most beautiful and exquisite thing that Kit had ever experienced. The physical pleasure of her husband's love expressed in such an intimate and soul shattering way.
She wanted more and more of him. She couldn't get enough, and hours after they finally landed back on earth she fell against her husband's strong chest and slept the sweetest sleep she ever slept in her life.
The sun tilted into the windows of the late afternoon. Kit's eyes fluttered open and a sense of warm pleasure surged through her body. She was wrapped in her husband's strong arms and her head was nestled on top of his strong chest. He was fast asleep, and Kit moved quietly, careful not to disturb him.
She looked down at her handsome husband. Asleep he looked so young, so beautiful. His lashes lay softly on his cheeks and his lips were relaxed and soft. Kit memorized every line and feature of his beautiful face. She would hold each feature close to her heart for all times. Tenderly she touched his sandy colored hair. It was soft and thick, it fell to his shoulders in soft waves and when her own luxurious locks fell over her shoulder the color of her hair blended with his most exquisitely.
Her body awakened with the need to be with her husband again. Did she dare? She thought wickedly. Oh yes! Leaning down she softly touched her husband's lips with her own. A soft moan of pleasure escaped from Nat as he awoke to her ardent kisses. As he fully awoke, Kit deepened the kiss and once more, this time with Kit leading the flight to heaven, the two lovers soared together.
Several hours later Kit awoke once more, this time to find herself alone in the large plush bed. For a moment fear took her heart. Had she gone too far the last time when she initiated the love making? Was Nat appalled by her wanton behavior? Quickly she got up from the bed and wrapped the blanket around her shoulders. Then breathing a sigh of relief she saw a note from her husband:
I had to go to up on deck, though I much rather stay in bed with you; I do have duties to attend to on the ship. When you have dressed come up to the deck, I miss you already.
I love you
Kit's heart felt full of love. Could she be anymore happier? Quickly Kit washed and dressed in one of her finest dresses. Nat had said he wanted her to be his "tropical bird" and so she shall.
The river was inky black as the night settled across the sky. Kit walked up to the deck with assurance, she greeted several of the crew as they bowed with dignity before her greeting her as "Mistress Eaton" How delicious that name sounded to her. She loved being called "Mistress Eaton". She found Nat straight off. He was talking earnestly with his first mate and Kit concluded that their conversation was of some utmost importance. She waited patiently as Nat and his First Mate concluded their business. With a jaunty salute, the First Mate took his leave and Nat turned in time to see his beautiful wife standing in the twilight.
"Kit, come here I want to show you something." He led her to the forecastle deck and faced her towards the bow of the great ship. "Look out there. What do you see?" His voice was soft against her ear.
"No, look harder. Tell me what you see" His hands massaged her shoulders gently as the soft breeze ruffled her hair.
"Freedom, peace, the vastness of the ocean, happiness. . ." She could go on and on…
Nat turned her around and held her to him, "I was going to wait until we left Saybrook, but I just couldn't wait." Nat noticed a change in Kit's demeanor; she looked suddenly nervous and unsure. This was perfect; it would make the surprise more tantalizing. "I wasn't sure if I could do this, I didn't feel that it was the right time, but I just had to take a chance."
Kit was now beyond anxious. What was Nat trying to tell her? "What is it Nat? Has something happened? Please don't keep me guessing."
Nat couldn't resist, a broad smile lit his face. "We won't be living in Saybrook."
Kit was shocked. "What do you mean? Are we going back to Wethersfield? What about Hannah?"
"I've already discussed this with Hannah and she agrees, and no we are not going back to Wethersfield. We are going to Barbados."
Silence. Did Kit really hear what Nat said? Barbados? Was he joking?
"Please Nat; please don't let this be one of your crazy pranks."
Nat leaned in close to Kit, he kissed her softly on the lips then barely breaking contact he whispered against those luscious lips. "I'm not joking Kit, I'm taking you to Barbados."
Tears rolled down Kits face. "Oh! Oh! Nat! Oh Really? Really?" She kissed him hard as tears fell from her eyes. "Oh, my love! My love! Thank You!" Now she was kissing him with gratitude.
Nat laughed heartily. "Well, I'm glad you are excited." He continued to laugh as she rained kisses on his face. "Okay, Okay! As much as I love your kisses, I daresay we should take this display of affection back down to our cabin!" Swinging Kit into his arms he carried her across the deck to the amusement of his crew. Kit continued to kiss Nat, as the two of them laughed and laughed.
She was going home! Nat was taking her home! Back to her beautiful island, back to the warm sun and ocean. Back to the paradise she left behind more than a year ago. Back to being able to swim in the ocean and run on the warm sandy beaches, back to the delicious tropical fruits and the sweet smells of tropical flowers, home she was going home, and Nat was taking her there. It would be paradise to walk on the beach and to swim with Nat by her side. To make love in the warm sunshine of a private cove, and to share all the wondrous things she loved with the one she loved more than life itself.
That night, Kit showed Nat her thanks, and Nat never had a sweetest thank you in all his life.
The next day the Witch docked at Saybrook Harbor. Kit could hardly contain her excitement as she disembarked. Without waiting for Nat, she ran through the town to the small house at the edge of the Commons.
Not bothering to knock, Kit walked into the tiny home that was now shared by Nat's grandmother and Hannah.
"Hannah!? Hannah I'm here! It's Kit!"
Slowly entering from the back door, Hannah smiled and tears filled her eyes. "Kit! Oh 'tis really you? Oh child come here!" She opened her arms and Kit ran into them. Embracing the old woman that she loved so very much.
"Hannah it is so good to see you! I feared that I would have never seen you again, God saw to that didn't He?"
Hannah sat on the rocker as Kit knelt in front of her holding her hands. "Thee has done well for thyself haven't you? Marriage to Nat looks to have agreed with you."
"It's agreed with me that is for sure!" Nat's cheerful voice spoke from the doorway.
"Nat! Oh my dear boy how good to see you!" Hannah was as excited as a child at Christmas when Nat made his way over to her chair. He knelt down next to Kit in front of Hannah and took her hand in his.
"Thee wishes, that Thine could have witness thy wedding, but thee knows why, and am most grateful for thine consideration."
Kit lifted Hannah's hand to her lips and kissed the soft wrinkled skin, "Oh, how we wished you could have been there, but we are here now and Nat has promised that we will have a celebration and you and Grandmother Eaton will join us!"
And a celebration they had. Nat's family invited friends and relatives living in Saybrook to party celebrating Nat and Kit's marriage. It was a surprise to Kit, that Mother Eaton had been planning this celebration for several days. There was food and drink a plenty, music and dancing. It was just a wonderful as their wedding in Wethersfield. Kit could not have asked for a more pleasant celebration.
Towards the end of the celebration, Kit noticed that Nat was no longer at her side, she spied in the corner of the room having a serious conversation with his father. Kit was curious about the conversation and moved within earshot.
"Son, I'm concerned about this trip to Barbados. I've heard stories of increased activities of Piracy. The Caribbean seems to be a haven for the scoundrel."
Pirates? No, it was not possible. She had heard stories as a child of the infamous Pirates of the Caribbean, but until now they have only been stories.
"Father, the East India Trading Company has a strong hold over the shipping in the Caribbean. Also, the English Navy has doubled its forces. I've been concerned too, but I have a contact in Jamaica and he has assured me that the Witch will have safe passage through the Caribbean." Kit breathed a sigh of relief. How like Nat to do all in his power to assure Kit's safe arrival to Barbados.
But, Captain Eaton was not as reassured, "Still Nat, I think that maybe you should rethink this trip. I'd hate for anything to happen to you or to Kit."
Nat appreciated his father's concern, but he had all confidence in his Jamaican contact.
Who better to fight Pirates then a Pirate?
The next day at dawn, Kit and Nat boarded the Witch and once more waved farewell to loved ones. Their next stop would be Barbados.
Days at sea were blissful and nights were passionate. Kit and Nat fell into a pleasant routine. Nat would spend his days on deck immerse in the day to day dealings of the ship, while Kit would sit on deck and read or write in her Journal. Sometimes Nat would take Kit to the wheelhouse and show her how to use the navigation equipment and sometimes even let her take a turn at steering the ship. It was exciting to have her hands on the large wheel and to know that she was in charge of every movement of the ship.
At night after enjoying dinner on the deck, they would make love and talk about their future. Kit told Nat all about Barbados and all the wonderful things they would do once they get there.
"Kit, not every day will be a holiday darling. I do have business I need to attend to. I have been summed by Lord Belfry who runs the operations of the East India Trading Company. I will be negotiating contracts for shipping rum and molasses between the Caribbean and the Americas."