Jack slowly returned from the fog of unconsciousness. He became aware of his cabin and that he couldn't move. He looked, and his hands were tied to the corners of his bunk and so were his feet. He then scanned the cabin. Agatha sat at his desk. She was reading something. He tried to talk but he was gagged.


Agatha heard him and turned around. “Good morning, husband. I trust you slept well. You hardly moved all night. Of course, you couldn't have moved much, anyway." She laughed.


He was shocked that, as mad as he was, he wanted to hear that laugh again. This wasn't a woman she was a witch! She moved across the cabin to stand by his bed. "You know, you are just as handsome angry. I, however am not intimidated by that look. Is that the one you used on poor Tommy yesterday? You will have to pay for that, you know. A bully, I will not tolerate!" Jack tried to talk again. "Now dear, you should know better than to talk with your mouth full. Isn't your sock tasty? I hope so, since it is your breakfast. Lunch will be served in two hours, if Tommy has the courage to enter your cabin with you awake." Her laughter was like music.


She walked over to the door and withdrew the dagger. Jack's eyes widened. “Oh, don't be scared, silly. I'm not going to slit your throat... yet."


Her smile was doing things to him. How could he be sexually excited, madder than Hell, and scared half to death, all at the same time? Witch, witch, witch, he thought to himself, over and over.


"If you promise to be a good boy, I'll remove the gag." He nodded yes. With a lightning swift slash of the dagger she cut the gag by his ear. Not even a scratch, but even more adrenalin was sent pumping into his system.


He spat out the gag and screamed to Shadow for help.


Agatha just stood there and laughed at him, until she gently placed the tip of the dagger to his throat. He stopped. "I always thought a 'gentleman's' word was his bond." She was smiling, but it was not a friendly smile, and it made his blood run cold. "What do you want, Agatha?" he asked, as sweat formed on his upper lip. "I want, dear husband, to be able to talk to you. Get to know you, and you to know me. After all, I need to understand you before I decide to ask for the annulment. I can refuse, you know. You did sleep with me. I have witnesses, too."


"You wouldn't dare. You are still a virgin. I didn't consummate the wedding."


"Can you prove that to a priest, if I say you did?" She slashed again with the dagger, neatly cutting a button off the front of his shirt. "Of course, I could take matters into my own hands and consummate the wedding and get myself with child. Oh, yes, it would be rape, but who would believe I could rape you? Would Peggy believe that?"


Hatred suddenly filled Jack. "Damn you to hell, Woman! Peggy is a real lady. She has waited for me to return home for ten long years. She is so much better than you. You aren't fit to look at her. I swear I'll kill you, if you talk about her like that again!" He struggled against the ropes binding him, but they held fast. Rage consumed him; he was literally seeing red.


She stroked his cheek gently. "Now, now, you and I are going to talk about many things. One is going to be Peggy, so get used to hearing some things you don't want to." Peggy still stroked his cheek in a loving way.


He tried to ignore the sensations she was producing in him. "Why? Why are you doing this?" His struggles were decreasing, as he physically tired himself.


"Because I find that, although you are a self-centered tyrant, with no brain, you are kind hearted, and, I believe, honest and loyal. For some bizarre reason, I find myself head over toes in love with you." She continued stroking his face.


"Self-centered! Tyrant! Of all the worst curses of the devil! Who do you think you are? Love? That's a good one, Agatha, real good."


"Love can be really good, Jackson. You should try it with a real woman."


"I am in love with a real woman!"


In a calm, quiet voice, she said, "No, you are not. You are in love with your memories of a cute little twelve year old you haven't seen in ten years. I have just finished reading your letters to her. Very enlightening."


His rage flared again, "You had no right to read those. I am going to deliver those to her personally, to prove to her that I never forgot her. You had no right."


"Perhaps not. I will not argue the point. Why did you not mail them?"


"She was too young. I was writing my feelings in those letters, and she wasn't old enough to understand."


"So you were afraid that this girl who loves you so much, has waited all these years for you, wouldn't understand your feelings. Jackson, that is about the stupidest thing I ever heard."


"Well, she never wrote to me," he replied defensively.


"As hard as it is to get mail on a ship, you don't know that. Are you telling me that your own mother never wrote you again after your father died?"


"You have been through every paper in that desk, haven't you?"


"Yes. Answer my question."


"I'm sure she wrote lots of letters, they just never caught up with the ship. We moved quickly and without an itinerary. This ship was a free trader. Going from one port to the next, solely with profit in mind. Until the War, anyway."


"Very good, husband. Now you lay there and think about what you just said. I have other things to do for a while." Peggy got up and returned to the desk. She took out a sheet of paper and pen then she straightened the letters. Then she dipped the nib of the pen in the ink and started to write.


Jack watched her for several minutes. Finally, his curiosity got the better of him. "All right, Agatha. I give up. What the hell are you doing?"


She turned slowly. Her look could have frozen a flame. "Jackson Benford Miles, I will not be spoken to with that kind of language. I am a lady. I am also your wife. You owe me the respect that both of those facts entitle me."


"Excuse me, Mrs. Miles. I beg your pardon. A sailor's habits are hard to break, Ma'am. What may I ask, please, are you doing?"


"See, that wasn't so hard, was it? I am listing the characteristics of my competition. It is quite interesting. Would you like me to share this with you?"


"Competition, my ass!" She shot to her feet. "Lady, you ain't no God Damn competition for her!" She was next to him. "You have got to be fucking crazy." The dagger flashed, the second button flew off his shirt. "Damn it, woman, stop, put that thing away." Another button disappeared.


"Darling, you only have one button left on your shirt. Your pants are next, and you don't want to know what comes after that."


"I don't believe this is happening. I'm dreaming. I'll wake up and you will be gone. My life will be in order again." He closed his eyes and smiled. She went back to the desk. He lay with his eyes closed. The silence was broken some time later by a knock at the door. Peggy got up and unlocked it, and Tommy came in with a tray of food and a bottle of wine.


"Is he asleep again, Ma'am? He sure was kickin' up a fuss. Shadow told me; he about died laughing up on deck. The crew is real worried about his fever."


"I'm afraid the fever hasn't broken yet. Just remember, he isn't leaving his sick bed until he is fully recovered." She winked at Tommy.


"You got Tommy in on your little game? Shadow, too, by the sounds of it. Tommy, I don't hold this against you. You are too young to understand, but this is mutiny. If you untie me now, I'll not press charges."


"Excuse me, Captain, but isn't mutiny when the crew revolts against the orders of the captain and takes control of the ship?" Peggy's voice was innocent and sweet.


"You know very well it is."


"Then a wife, who was illegally smuggled aboard a U. S. Navy ship, keeping her sick husband in bed, so that his illness doesn't endanger the crew, isn't mutiny. Also, no member of the crew has refused an order, nor will they. Before you test that out on Tommy, here, he is not a part of this crew. He has never been signed on. In fact, his presence here could be illegal, also. Therefore, he is now my personal servant. His loyalty is only to me."


"Well, I could use a bit of his loyalty and a bit of privacy."


"Tommy, I think the Captain is in danger of wetting his bed. I'll set the table."


Tommy crossed to the bed.


"Untie me so I can get up." Jack whispered to Tommy.


"No, sir. I'll help you but I can't untie you. Here I'll get the chamber pot." Tommy bent down and got a chamber pot from the floor. He then unbuttoned Jack's pants. "Sorry, Capt'n, but it's got to be done this way."


"Unless you want me to handle it," Peggy giggled.


"Oh, God. Just get it done."


Tommy reached in and pulled him out, "Good thing you're so big, Capt'n. Makes this easier for both of us."


Jack ground his teeth in humiliation, as he relieved himself. When he was done Tommy set the pot on the floor and tried to put his penis back in his pants.


Jack whispered, "Damn it, boy, be careful."


Tommy replied, "Sorry, sir, it's hard to do for somebody else, and it's so big."


Unfortunately for Jack, the stimulation of someone else handling him, and thoughts of the woman so near, brought about a purely physical response.


"Capt'n, that ain't helpin'. Damn, sir. How big's that going to get?"


"Shit, Tommy, let go of it!" Jack whispered desperately.


Peggy could still hear every word and collapsed into a chair, laughing.


"You have to untie me now. Agatha is crazy. She has been cutting the buttons off my shirt with that dagger. She could slip and kill me."


"Oh, no, sir. She is an expert with that knife. She showed me yesterday afternoon. Said that an Indian taught her how to use a knife." Tommy noticed that the distraction had eased the Capt'n's problem. He quickly reached down and, using both hands, got him tucked in and buttoned up. "There, sir, I hope you get better soon; that was much more of a problem than I ever would have guessed."


"When I get 'better', I'll have a talk with you about men and certain things."


"He means women, Tommy. Jackson, the very least you can do is speak plainly to the boy. Tommy, I'm not sure my husband is qualified to speak to you about women. I shall be glad to tell you all you need to know."


Tommy's face matched his red hair again. He quickly made for the door, "If that's all, then I'll be leaving you two alone." Without waiting for a reply, he was out the door and gone. Both of them laughed.


As Peggy crossed the cabin and locked the door Jack said, "You know, we scared him to death. Poor kid. He is just starting to become aware of girls and himself."


"Let's eat." Peggy picked up the plate and sat down next to Jack on the bed. She alternated between him and herself with forkfuls of food. When they were done, she commented, "Not exactly how Miss Abigail at the finishing school would have done it, but it got the job done."


"Agatha, you are full of surprises. Expert with a knife, finishing school, prison guard, I hate to think of what next." Jack shook his head.


"Lover, maybe?" Jack almost choked.


"Let me get us some of that wine." She poured a glass full. "Good, red, just what you need for eating crow."


"Just exactly what is this about?" Jack asked seriously, as Peggy gave him a drink of the wine.


She took a sip, "It's about us, Jack. I want you to get to know me. I refuse to let you treat me like a kitten you rescued, patted on the head and then set down in the middle of a cavalry charge, thinking you were doing such a wonderful, kind thing. I'm a woman, Jack. I have feelings, and hopes, and worries, and desires, and fears, just like everybody. I have survived this damn war. I don't know if any of the people I loved and left in Virginia are even alive, now. You are so sure that your neat little life is waiting for you just the way you left it. You're dreaming. When you wake up, you are going to need someone to understand and love you through the hurt. I think I could be that person. I want to find out if I am."


"Agatha, that is very sweet, but what makes you so sure my family will have changed."


"You have no idea how much I pray it hasn't changed. Until the War, I was exactly like your Peggy. I had been raised as a self-centered, spoiled brat, in other words, a true Southern Belle."


"I don't know what to say. I am helplessly in love with that girl, I always have been. You seem to be saying that I should forget her and focus everything on you. I am not the kind of man who could do that."


"No, you missed the point again. Yes, I think I love you with that once in a lifetime kind of love. But you are blind to anyone else except Peggy. I'm afraid she is not going to be what you want in a woman. As a matter of fact, I don't even think you know what you want in a long term relationship. What I want now is to help you find those things."


Jack's frustration was building again. Agatha wasn't listening to him at all. "Don't you understand? I cannot love you. I have promised my life to another woman. I also happen to love that woman. That woman also loves me!"


Very softly Peggy asked, "How do you know she still loves you, Jack?"


"Damn it, Agatha. I just know she does." He didn't even notice his last shirt button fly off, when he cursed again.


"Oh, Jack. You believe she does. You hope she does. Maybe, you need her to, but, you don't know that she does." Peggy looked at Jack like a mother talking to a slow child.


"Shit, woman! (a button disappeared from his pants) This is just crazy talk. You don't have any God damn idea of what you are talking about! (another button gone) You don't know me, and you certainly don't know Peggy. I sure as hell don't need you to tell me what I think. (only three buttons held him in his pants, now)


"I know you, Captain Jackson Benford Miles. I know how hard you have worked to get where you are now. I know how you want your future to be. I know how you think. I even know how you feel."


"That does it. You are crazy. You know so much about me, do you? Then why in the hell did I try to save you?" (two buttons)


"All right, you saved me because you saw a person in trouble that was not of her own making. A situation that was totally beyond my ability, at the time, to alter. You saw danger for me, and my parents. In other words, you saw an injustice and set out to correct it the best way you could. That, sir, is a part of your character. You could not help yourself."


Jack was angered that she had known why he had done what he had. "So, what am I going to do now? You are so damn smart. (one button) Predict the future."


"You are about to lose the last of you pride." The smile on Peggy's lips was that of an innocent angel.


Jack now realized that she had been cutting off his buttons. He had been so mad he hadn't even noticed. His temper snapped. "Lord, all mighty, woman. What the Hell have you been doing. Holy shit, get away from me with that knife. SHIT!!!" Peggy calmly popped off the last button. She then slit his pants from the crotch to ankle of each leg and pulled them out from under him. He was frozen in terror as she stood over him smiling at him and waving the dagger above his 'personal' property.


"Now, husband, we will find out how you feel about me." She threw the dagger across the room and it stuck in the wall just above its scabbard. She then bent over him and kissed him the way she had always dreamed of him kissing her.


He tried to resist her gentle kiss, but soon found himself responding and returning her kiss. She didn't know how to deepen the kiss but she followed his lead, as soon as he took it. He probed her lips and was rewarded with her tongue searching his. He felt emotions in this contact of just their lips that he had never felt before.


She withdrew her lips, and her dazed eyes met his. "I am not a piece of furniture you can discard when you reach Baltimore." She kissed him again, before he could respond, their tongues exploring, feeling, learning, searching for the others' very soul. She placed her hand on his chest and opened his shirt. She felt the iron hard muscles tighten under her touch. She felt the texture of the hair at the center of his chest. Her hand explored and found his small male nipple. To her surprise it responded and hardened just like her own. She pulled back again. Knowing she was in full control of the situation was all that was keeping her from being terrified. She looked him over from head to toe. His face was flushed, his light brown hair was plastered to his forehead with a fine layer of sweat. His gray/green eyes seemed to have grown deeper in color, like the ocean depths on a summer morning. His chest was rising with his deep breaths, almost panting. The hair on his chest was not a full bushy fur like that of some men. Just the right combination of bare skin and brown luxury. A fine line of hair led to a swirl around his navel and then down to the thick bush above his erect manhood. Now, she was totally enthralled. Unexcited men, she had seen before, but this man was special even when limp. Now she felt weak and dizzy. She stared at it, trying to memorize it. Her breathing deepened and quickened. She felt her pulse race. The center of her womanhood began to heat.


He was watching her reactions. He was about to go crazy. Just feeling her eyes on him was bringing him close to release, which he most certainly didn't want right now. "Stop this, now, woman. You don't know what you are doing."


She wanted to feel him, stroke him, and, a thought that never occurred to her before, she wanted to kiss him there, too. "No, I don't. Tell me, teach me to please you. Will it hurt you if I touch you?"


"Yes! No! Lord, Agatha. No, don't... I can't... Please..."


Peggy felt as if she were watching someone else. Her hand reached out and touched him. The feel of him, silky soft, satin over iron hardness. It twitched in response to her touch, and a small drop of clear fluid formed on the tip of the velvety head. She was fascinated. Her finger traced around the head, and then down the length to the soft pocket of skin with two bulges.


Jack moaned. He was on the brink of orgasm. It had been almost two months, since he had been with a woman, and his fuse was short. This whole situation was ridiculous. This girl had no idea what she was doing, but he had never been so excited in his whole life. 'No, I have to stop thinking about what Agatha is doing. Peggy is waiting for me. Peggy... Peggy... Peggy'


Her hand curled around his stiffness. She couldn't reach completely around, it was so fat. Then she stroked up and down. It was long, too, maybe eight inches. How it went into her she couldn't imagine.


Suddenly, he tensed every muscle in his body; she froze. "God, Agatha, don't stop now!"


She looked at him, his eyes were glazed and dilated, beads of sweat covered his forehead. His face looked as if he were in great pain. She pulled her hand away, and he groaned again. "I'm sorry, Jack. I didn't mean to hurt you. I'll leave you alone."


Through clenched teeth, Jack said, "Don't you dare move. You started this, and by God you will finish it or I'll die or just go crazy."


"I don't understand."


"Oh shit. Just touch me. Hold me. Stroke me."


She slowly took hold of him again.


He moaned, "Yes, that's it." She stroked up and down. "Oh, yes." He tensed. She felt him grow harder in her hand. "Faster, Aggie, yes, OH YES!" He shot his seed onto his chest and stomach.


She groaned in her amazement, as she experienced her first male orgasm.


"Agatha? Are you all right?" Jack asked, through the dazed aftermath of the most intense orgasm of his life.


"I don't know. I feel strange." A longing for something burned deep within her, a desire for him to relieve the tightness in her breasts, the tingling between her thighs.


"Yes, sweet, innocent Aggie. You might know me but you don't know about yourself. You don't know your power or weakness." Jack wished he could hold her and comfort her. To stroke her smooth skin. To take off that silly shirt and fondle her breasts, to kiss them, to suckle like a baby. To stroke her womanhood, to put his finger in her. To give her the pleasure she gave him. He drifted off into a satisfied sleep and dreamed of Agatha.


After a few minutes, Peggy had settled down enough to move. She went to the desk and went back to work on her personality profile of Jack's Peggy. Later that afternoon, a soft knock at the door awoke Jack. He kept his eyes closed. Agatha came over and covered him with a blanket, gently brushed his hair out of his face. Then quickly grabbed his discarded pants and a few buttons off the floor. After putting them in the cabinet, she opened the door. Jack thought, as he watched her through slitted eyelids, she had a damn fine body.


Shadow entered and looked at Jack. "How is the 'fever'?" he asked, as he set a bundle on the table and sat down.


"I don't know yet, but I think I have made some progress. At least, when he fell asleep, he wasn't screaming at me in anger." Peggy smiled thinking about the provocative smile Jack had when he fell asleep.


Jack thought, 'Damn woman made more than a little progress. She is affecting me no matter how hard I fight it.'


"I hope things go well. We have had a good wind and soon will round Florida and pick up the Gulf stream. You need anything?"


"No, Shadow. Just have Tommy leave the meals outside. Now let's get this set." She unwrapped the bundle and Shadow removed a leg shackle and a couple of locks. "Wait, can't we wrap that with cloth. I don't want him to hurt himself." Peggy's concern showed on her face and in her voice.


"That's a good idea. But remember that even a well treated slave is still a slave," Shadow said. "That is a lesson that the South couldn't quite learn, isn't it. I am glad that it was so well illustrated to us at home."


Shadow interrupted her. "Watch what you say, girl. I've known him to pretend sleep for hours, just so he could listen to folks talk. You have to remember who you are." The warning tone in Shadow's voice wasn't lost to Jack, but he couldn't figure what there was to warn her about. Shadow quickly wrapped the shackle and placed it around Jack's leg and secured it to the frame of the bed. "If there is nothing else, I will go."


"The keys?"


"Right here." Shadow handed her the keys and left the room. She locked the door and placed the keys on the desk. She then came to the bed and removed the blanket.


Jack pretended that the change in temperature awoke him. "I seem to have fallen asleep, Aggie. Sorry to be so rude. We were having such a delightful conversation."


"Yes, but we need to talk about Peggy."


"No, Aggie, we need to talk about you." He had to try to find out what she was hiding from him. "Please tell me about yourself."


Peggy described her life in general, omitting any detail that might give her true identity away. She made sure he would see that, until the war, she and Peggy were very similar. When she got to the war, he began to really concentrate on her story. She only changed her Aunt's name and the location of the ranch. She told of learning to ride western style, and then of doing a man's work. How Black Wolf, a half breed, and the only remaining hand on the ranch, had taught her to shoot and handle a knife. She told of hardship and joy. The most amazing story was of a week when she, Black Wolf, and her Aunt had been attacked by renegade Indians. They were saved by a band of outlaws that they then had to fight off.


Jack asked, "How did Black Wolf fight off so many by himself?"


"He didn't. My aunt loaded the guns, and he and I fired them. I am really quite good with a rifle, and even better with a pistol at short range." His look was one of amusement and disbelief. "Yes, I have killed a man, quite a few that week, actually." She gave him a very sweet smile. "The other day, I would have hit you right where I aimed."


"Why doesn't that make me feel better?" Jack tried to joke.


"Because, husband, you have never known a lady that can handle herself well. A lady who can, and does, go and get what she wants."


"And what is it that this lady wants?" He taunted.


"I have given that a lot of thought this afternoon. Do you really want to know?" Peggy looked into his eyes for the truth, as he answered.


"Yes, Aggie, I really want to know your dreams." His concern was real, and she sensed it. "What I want most is a man who can accept me as the person I am. A man who will allow me to work with him in facing life. I do not want to be placed on a pedestal and protected from trouble, and worshiped for my charm. I would like to have children. Live well enough to see them attain whatever goal in life they set for themselves." Peggy sighed, leaned over him, crossing her arms on his chest and admiring his handsome face.


"Where do you place me in that dream?" he asked, trying to sound cold, but not quite making it.


"I do not know if you have any place in it, at all." Disappointment showed in his eyes, and he inwardly rejoiced. "I realize now that I have much to learn about what it takes to please a man. You have your Peggy to deal with, and it may well be that she will be all you think she is." Peggy added silently, 'She will, that, and so much more!'


"Are you saying that you will give me the annulment when we get to Baltimore?" He couldn't believe she would give in so easily and sensibly.


"Certainly, NOT! When we arrive, I shall find a hotel and await your return from home. Then, if you can convince me that Peggy is really better for you than I, you shall be free."


"How in the name of God, do I prove to you that she is better for me?" His frustration rang clearly in his voice.


"Don't worry, Jack, if she is, you will have no problem proving it. Just remember two things, I must remain a virgin, and so must she. If you try any sneaky little trick like getting her with child, and think I will be nice and let you go, forget it. Thanks to Margaret Brent, Maryland is one of the few states where a woman may own property. Remember, also, that in that fine Catholic state, the courts are hard on adulterous husbands. I will have a sizable piece of this Company and be around to haunt you for many years to come."


"That is quite some threat," he stated, after a pause.


"Fact, sir, fact."


"Yes, I do believe you mean every word." Further discussion was cut short by a knock on the door.


"It's me, Tommy, I have dinner here. Do you need anything else?"


Peggy went to the door, "No, Tommy, just leave it there. I'll get it in a bit."


"I mean, Ma'am, does the Capt'n need my help with, ah, you know."


Peggy could feel Tommy blushing through the door. She couldn't resist her reply, "I can handle 'it', Tommy."


He muttered loud enough for Jack to hear, "OH, MY GOD!" and then his footsteps as he ran from the door.


Jack burst out laughing, "Damn, Aggie. That boy is going to imagine all kinds of things are going on in here. I bet he doesn't sleep tonight."


She was laughing, too, as she opened the door and retrieved their dinner. After locking the door again she pulled the dagger out of the wall and returned to Jack. He sobered quickly at the sight of the dagger. "Does your problem need to be handled?" she asked pointing to his limp manhood with the point of the blade.




She set the knife down, and broke into a giggle. "Now why on earth would I want to do that any harm? After all, it may be a source of pleasure in the future."


"Now, Aggie, stop talking like that, please. I could use the chamber pot now, but hurry please."


She retrieved it and noticed that he was twitching and starting to grow. She quickly took care of him, and then dumped the pot. "We'd better eat, before it cools."


Jack nodded agreement but said under his breath, "I don't think 'it' will cool at all, with you here."


"If you will give me your word to behave, I will release your hands, so you can eat." She smiled at him with a mocking shine in her eyes.


"What if I refuse?"


"Then you will face my anger, I do not particularly enjoy feeding a grown man like a baby."


"Heaven protect me from your anger! I do so swear on my honor, as an officer and gentleman." There was humor in his voice but a cold calculating glint in his eyes.


"Not good enough. I have seen too many 'officers and gentlemen' in the past few years to believe there is any honor in them to swear on." She stuffed a forkful of food in his mouth, as he opened it to reply.


He almost choked on it. 'Damn' he thought, 'I really riled her with that. I hope she calms down before she chokes me with food.' The meal was finished in silence. Peggy then put the dishes outside the door for Tommy. She stood by the door and admired his naked body on the bed. He really was marvelous. He had strength and gentleness. His maleness was something else. It would have completely terrified her if it wasn't a part of Jack. As she watched, it began to harden. She was fascinated, as it moved, elongated and stretched, until it was pointing straight up and all it's wrinkles gone.


Jack said, "Well, Aggie, I can't help it. A beautiful woman admiring me does cause me to have certain thoughts."


"Thoughts of an 'officer and gentleman,' no doubt." She smiled and stalked across the cabin towards him.


"Why, Aggie, I assure you, there wasn't a single gentlemanly thought involved." His smile was as devilish as the tone of his voice.


"I'm sure." She sat on the bed, so she could watch his reactions, as she ran her finger down the rigid length of his penis. "Jack, I need to know something." She fondled his testicles, and he began to squirm.


"Oh God, Aggie, I'll tell you anything I can." His breathing was ragged, as she grasped him and began to stroke.


"Do you, or rather... Oh Hell. Does this happen when you think about Peggy?" She couldn't have been more effective, if she had thrown a bucket of ice water on him. His face paled, and his organ went limp in her hand. He tried but couldn't speak.


"That was quite an answer." she stood up and walked to the desk, made a note then turned and stared out the window. Jack was totally puzzled by her question and her reaction. After a long silence, and with dusk starting to dim the light in the cabin, Peggy finally turned to him. "I am amazed that you could be in love with someone and yet have no desire for them. My God, Jack, I sure as hell desire you. I want to explore your body and soul. I want you to know my body and soul. I want us to be one in every way. I haven't been able to get that thing," she pointed at his crotch, "completely out of my mind, since you almost made me a woman. How can you love without those feelings?"


Jack's voice was soft as he tried to answer her honestly, "I have loved Peggy since I was fourteen years old. That was before I had any sexual desires at all. She was only twelve years old, as I last remember her. One does not have sexual desires for a twelve year old."


"Jack, she isn't twelve, now. She is my age. From your letters I gather I must be something like her, same age, 'golden' blonde hair, eyes the color of 'a bright spring sky'. Oh, and I mustn't forget my favorite, teeth as 'straight and white as a picket fence'." She couldn't stop the giggle as she remembered the gap between her two front teeth that had given rise to the comparison to a picket fence. She had been sixteen before the gap had closed.


"I must admit that I have not really thought about how she might look now. My desire for her is different. She is like a part of me, and I cannot be whole without her." He sighed.


She didn't begin to understand. "You are trapped in a memory of love, Jack. Until I met you, I was, too. You have awakened in me a desire for more. I do not think I could be happy now with what I dreamed of before. If that man I had longed for were to come to me now, just as I imagined him to be, I couldn't want him as I want you. He would be a polite shell. I realize now, he is still a boy to me. A tender and caring child, and, I am afraid that is how I would treat him, and how he would treat me as well." She leaned over him, placing her hands across his chest. She bent her head until their lips met.


He fought the intense feeling of her soft kiss. His resolve failed completely, when her tongue touched his lips, seeking entry. The kiss deepened, and he felt his body responding to her, once again. No woman had ever had this power over him. Then he heard himself say, "Aggie, please release my arms so that I might hold you."


In the fading light, she found the dagger and severed the ropes. She then threw the dagger; it struck the door and embedded itself.


As the ropes fell away, he reached for her, and she melted in his embrace. He held her softly, as he gently stroked her back and felt her long, unruly hair slide between his fingers. As her breathing became ragged she drew away. She then groped for the ropes on his feet and managed to release them, also. He now had freedom of movement in the bed, but couldn't escape her, since his right leg was shackled to the bed. She felt him sit up behind her and reach his arms around her; a breast filled each of his hands. The jolt of desire that shook her, made her tense. "Aggie, my sweet, Aggie. Relax, let me show you how men and women can please each other. You have given me pleasure, now let me please you." He was gently stroking her breasts and unfastening the shirt. She sighed, as he slipped the material off her shoulders. He quickly pulled her arms free and she turned to his embrace. They fell back on the bed and kissed deeply. She soon reached a hand down to grasp him, and he fumbled in the dark with the buttons on her pants. He began to chuckle, and it built to a deep laugh.


She sat back up and said in a very insulted tone, "I'm sorry you find my attempts so funny." There were tears in her voice, just like the ones filling her eyes.


"No, my sweet Aggie, you misunderstand. I am so taken by you, that I was having trouble with those buttons, and then I remembered that those are Tommy's pants. Well, it struck me funny that I would be so damn hot to get into a boy's pants."


Now, she joined him in laughter and helped him remove the pants. "Just remember my virginity and the rules of this relationship." She sighed, as he again began caressing her body. "There is much that two can do, without endangering your virtue."


They spent the night exploring ways to please one another. Near dawn, she fell asleep on her left side, concealing her scar. Jack watched her sleep as the cabin became filled with light. Finally he sat up slowly, so as not to awaken her. He took a hair pin that had fallen out of her hair onto the bed and removed the shackle from his leg. He resisted the childish impulse to put it on her, although, the thought of poor Tommy having to deal with her, in her present state, did amuse the imagination. He dressed quietly and left the cabin, locking the door and taking the key with him. He realized that he was happier this morning than when they got the news that the war was over, and he could go home. He was whistling a rather bawdy tune, as he came on deck.


Shadow was talking with Tommy and neither saw him approach. Shadow had no time to react as he felt his shoulder being pulled around. The last thing he saw before all went black was Jack's grinning face.


Tommy reacted quickly, by backing up out of reach as Jack's fist hit Shadow. "Good morn'n, Capt'n. I hope you are feelin' better this morn'n. I didn't have nothin' to do with it, Sir, honest." Jack was still smiling, as he stalked Tommy around the deck. The crew were in shock. The Capt'n looked as happy as they had ever seen him. Yet he had just flattened his closest friend, and now was going after the boy he treated as a son. Tommy was backing away, and not able to watch where he was going, Jack was maneuvering him toward the barrel used to catch rain water. When Tommy bumped into it, he glanced back to see what he had hit. It was all the chance Jack needed. He bent quickly, grabbed Tommy's ankles, hoisted him up and dunked him head first into the barrel. He pulled the boy out as quickly and set him back on deck. Tommy was still spluttering when Jack knelt down next to him and whispered so no one could hear, "Mission accomplished. Now go drip on my friend and the two of you are relieved of duty for the next eight hours." Jack stood, and so all could hear, said, "Dismissed." The rest of the voyage was spent with Jack on deck during the day, and in his Aggie's arms, all night.