Captain Tucker pulled a ragged blanket from the small boat and handed it out to me while I was still standing completely naked in the water.
“Here you are Miss Ashton, for your decency.”, he said while looking at my naked form through the water.
I could feel my cheeks getting red at his stare and I grabbed the dirty blanket from him to cover myself as fast as I could. I pulled the blanket around my shoulders and made my way out of the water towards the beach. When I got out of the water my hands were shaking. Not from the cold, but from the thoughts of the unknown. What were these pirates going to do with me? Would I be safe? I had no other options and was stuck here. I was praying to God that they would help me find my way, but even I didn’t know my way now. Now that Father was gone, where would I go? I couldn’t go to the plantation in Barbados now, I could never own slaves. And I knew I could never succeed in my fathers dream without him. I was completely lost.
The pirates pulled their little boat up the beach and I could sense the awkwardness lingering in the air behind me, I was still completely naked under this blanket and there were six men, no, six pirates behind me. I decided I needed to be strong, no matter what would happen to me, I would fight my way or die in the process. I raised my shoulders and stood as straight and ladylike as I could and hugged the blanket as tightly around me as I could, then I turned towards the pirates behind me.
“If you excuse me sirs, but I need some privacy to change back into my clothes.”, I said and looked at each man coldly in the eyes. When my eyes met those of Captain Tucker I stumbled a bit from the shock of his beauty.
Standing tall on the beach in front of me I was able to take in his full form for the first time. Unlike the men around him, his clothes were clean and elegant. He wore a dark green coat made of a thick material, the trim and cuffs of the coat were lined with black velvet and was decorated with black knots and buttons. He wore a black linen shirt covered with a black vest and had black pants. His feet were covered with black dyed leather boots that were clearly made with the highest quality leather.
His face was handsome, smooth and golden from the sun. His facial hair was short and expertly trimmed in the current fashions of London elite. His eyes were a dark green, like a dark emerald. His hair was dark brown, the top half pulled back and under his hat, but he left the bottom half of his hair down, it came in waves just below his shoulder. His head was topped with an elaborate pirate hat that perfectly matched his dark green and black jacket. He came towards me and I could see how tall and strong he was, I could feel his power and authority radiating off of him, though he couldn’t be more than 25 years old.
He stopped a few meters away from me and looked at the crumpled pile of rags near my feet. A smile came to his lips and revealed nearly perfect teeth, this man knew how to keep himself properly groomed. The butterflies in my stomach were starting to make my head feel weak as I took in the handsome man before me. I knew my cheeks must have turned red as he started laughing lightly at me.
“Are these your clothes Miss Ashton? This pile of rags?”, he bent down and lifted my shredded dress from the ground.
I stuck my chin up defiantly, not letting him make fun of me as he was, and I ripped the dress away from his hands.
“If you remember Captain Tucker, I was just in a shipwreck from a hurricane just three days ago! I regret to inform you that my luggage did not survive the hurricane as I did.”, I shouted at him with an irritated tone. I immediately regretted it, I should act more respectful, so these men don’t hurt me.
The Captain raised his hands up in front of him apologetically, “I am sorry Miss Ashton, I should not have tormented you so. I should not have been so harsh, I am but a humble pirate after all.”, his lips pulled to the left in an amused smile.
“As it so happens we have quite a few extra women’s garments aboard our ship and within our treasures on the island. You are most welcome to pick any which you find suitable to your liking. After all, a lady as beautiful as yourself should not be dressed in torn up rags.”, he turned towards his men then and spoke to them as well, “You have my word Miss Ashton that none of my men will harm you in any way.”
I felt a bit relieved but then was also confused about the women’s garments, so I asked, “Why would you have ladies clothes? And what do you mean they are on the island? I have roamed this island the last few days, there is nothing but jungle and sand.”
Captain Tucker spun back towards me with a cunning look on his face, his piercing eyes looking right into mine, “Miss Ashton, we are pirates. This is our island where we hide all of our stolen treasures and plunder. We would never just leave these goods laying around in the open, they are hidden. As for the clothes, any fine women’s garments we obtain are sold to some of the best dress shops here in the Caribbean, we make quite a profit on them.”
He came closer to me and reached his hand out for the blanket wrapped around me. He pulled it away from my body and held it out in front of me, so no one could see me, “I will shield you while you change into your rags Miss Ashton, then I will escort you to our stores and let you chose your wardrobe.”
After I was done changing Captain Tucker gave me his arm to escort me to the dresses. He led me about half a mile into the jungle. There was a large area that had been cleared for trees, but the ground was covered with grass and shrubs. Captain Tucker crouched down and pulled under one of the shrubs in front of him. I was surprised to see that all of the shrubs in front of me were actually sitting on top of a tarp. Once the tarp was completely gone, there was a large square hole in the ground nearly 30 square feet wide. The hole was filled with wooden containers.
Captain Tucker lowered himself down into the hole and extended his arms to me to help me down. His hands went around my waist and easily brought me down to the ground he was on. For a moment we were standing so close that our chests were touching. I felt flustered and pulled myself away, only to find that I was pinned to the wall of dirt behind me. Captain Tucker chucked and pushed closer into me, his eyes looking deeply in mine.
“You really are Oliver Ashton’s daughter, aren’t you?”, he said while studying my eyes as closely as possible, “You have his icy eyes, I would recognize them anywhere.”
I cleared my throat, it was hard not to get lost in his dark emerald eyes while they he was so close, “Y-you knew my father?”
He didn’t hesitate for a moment and was still inches from my face, “Yes, I did. Him and my father were stationed in Port Royal together. He was my godfather, I was named after him. I was only eight when he returned to England, and never saw him again. But I will always remember how kind he was.”
Then it came to me, he had said his name was Captain Phineas Tucker. My fathers middle name was Phineas. Memories of my father came flooding into my head and my heart started to sting with sorrow. I would never see my father again, he was gone forever. I looked away and let my eyes drop to the floor, causing the tears welling in my eyes to spill onto my cheeks. I felt the Captains hand come to my cheek and wipe away my tears. The touch was too much and sent my emotions out of control. I fell into his chest and let my sobs shutter through my body. I hadn’t had any strength or time to mourn for my father and all the emotions were finally breaking free.
Captain Tucker pulled me into his large hard chest and wrapped his strong arms around my back. He moved one of his hands and started to lightly rub my back, trying to comfort me for my loss and pain. We must have been that way for a few minutes. When my body stopped shaking and I was warmly nuzzled against the Captains chest, I felt much better.
“There, there love. It will be alright.” He pulled my head gently away from his chest and turned my tear stained face to look up at his, “He will always be with you in your heart. Always guiding you.”
I took a moment to just gaze into his emerald eyes. I had never seen eyes like these, and every time I looked into them I felt myself getting lost. I felt relaxed and soothed. I didn’t know this man at all, yet for some reason I felt like I had known him all my life.
He broke our gaze and his eyes traveled down to my dark brown wide lips, I could sense the hunger in his stare, I was feeling it too. But he was a gentleman and instead of leaning into my lips he gently cleared his throat and pulled away. I felt a sudden sense of rejection, but quickly pulled myself together. I just met this man, I didn’t know him, what has gotten into me?
Captain Tucker turned around and went to a large wooden crate a few meters away from us. He pulled out a large knife from under his coat and pried open a nail that held the lid of the crate in place. After a moment he pulled the lid free and revealed a large array of fabrics and colors.
“Alas, here you are my lady. Please chose whatever you need.”, the Captain walked past me and pulled himself out of the dirt hole, “I will leave you with some privacy to choose your attire and change properly. I am sure you are famished. Come back to the beach when you are ready, and I will have a meal prepared for you. My crew and I will be camping on the island for a few days before we sail to Nassau. I am happy to sail you to wherever you wish to go.”
He smiled and turned around back towards the beach. I was left alone with the large assortment of dresses in front of me. I turned and looked at the other crates in the large hole. I was curious as to what treasures were hidden under the wooden panels. I brought my attention back to the dresses. Each one was made with fine silks and lace, tailored in the highest English fashion. They were much more fine than the clothes I was used to wearing.
I found a new clean white chemise and a sky-blue corset. I did as best as I could to lace the corset on my own. I found a deep blue sapphire silk dress, it was lined with black lace and had silver flowers stitched along the lines down the front of the bodice. The neckline was cut low and exposed the top of my breasts. I also found a pair of knee high black boots that fit my feet perfectly, they were quite comfortable and made of the softest leather.
At the bottom of the crate I saw a glimmer of metal signing in the light. I picked it up to find a small dagger about three inches long. I decided to keep in, just in case I may need to protect myself. Captain Tucker assured me that I would be protected, but I knew not to trust all men so easily. I trusted him, but how could I know that I could trust his men? I tucked the knife into my right boot and made my way out of the hole to head back to the beach.