Martha wasn’t sure how long she stayed watching the family of dolphins, but the light had changed and her knees were feeling sore. But, even the discomfort couldn’t drag her away from the window and the antics of the dolphins. So, when there was a light knock at the door she was not only startled, but disappointed. She hadn’t interacted with anyone else on the ship and Martha felt nerves flutter in her stomach.
“Come,” the Captain spoke clearly, and the door opened.
A young man entered. He was tall and thin. His hair was blonde and messy, but he reminded her of someone else. She couldn’t place it but he seemed familiar.
“Angus?” The Captain raised a brow quizzically at the boys appearance.
“Captain,” the boy began, his voice was soft and respectful, “it’s ready. Can I set up?”
The Captain nodded his assent and Angus left the room returning with a tray. He set the table efficiently, and again he left the room. A few moments later he returned, the tray was ladened with two bowls and a plate full of bread. He set the soups and bread on the table and turned to address The Captain.
“I’ll return in 15 minutes with the next course,” and with that he nodded once in the Captain’s direction and once in hers. Martha frowned. Was this normal?
The Captain was looking at her and she felt a blush rise to her cheeks. They had been sat silently for a while, once she had exhausted all her questions, which he had answered patiently. He had seemed amused by her curiosity. He stood up and held out his hand to her. Martha moved awkwardly, her legs stiff from sitting so long, and took his hand.
He led her to the table and Martha sat down. He sat down on opposite side. She kept her hands on her lap unsure. He picked up a piece of bread and placed it at the side of her plate.
“I will provide three meals each day,” he began, his voice was calm and conversational, “but you will not eat unless you have asked permission to do so.” He picked up a second piece of bread. “If you eat without asking, you will be punished. If you do not eat, you will be punished. Do you understand?” Martha nodded. “I do this to teach you to respect me and, also to keep you healthy.” He looked at her as he tore a piece of the bread off and dipped it into to bowl of soup.
As he waited for her to ask, Martha ran through her options. She didn’t want to ask to eat. How silly. Why couldn’t she just eat? But she didn’t want to be punished .. ‘really?’ That voice was back.. it didn’t believe her. Taking a deep breath she made up her mind. She needed to eat. She needed to be strong.
“Please may I eat Sir?”
“Yes Martha,” he smiled, and the sight took her breath away. The skin around his eyes crinkled, he eyes brightened and he looked … Beautiful. “Thank you for obeying me without a fight.”
She had done it. She had asked permission to eat. He felt the satisfaction surge through him. She would be easy to train, she would soon be his entirely. He had seen the inner turmoil as she had worked through her options. He had seen her decision, before she spoke it. She was becoming easier to read, slowly surrendering to him and she had no idea.
She flushed, confused by her feelings. She felt good. She liked his approval. Why? Why would she want his approval. Martha kept her eyes on the bowl and picked up the bread. The soup smelt delicious. A broth of some sort. If it smelt good, it tasted even better. Her stomach growled in appreciation. She continued to eat while she allowed the thoughts to continue in her head. She couldn’t understand her reactions and feelings.
One moment she was relaxed and the next her body was tense, she felt an anticipation that she didn’t understand. When he touched her she felt an excitement, her privates felt strange, warm and alive. She was sure this was wrong in some way and she felt ashamed of these reactions. And yet, she wanted more. She wanted to feel them again. They were nice. They felt – good.
The bread and soup were gone.
Martha put the spoon down in the bowl and glanced up. The Captain was watching her.
A knock on the door announced Angus had returned. This time he entered without waiting, a tray in one hand. He put two plates down and removed the empty dishes.
“Wine for the lady?” He asked The Captain, not looking at Martha.
“Yes Angus,” The Captain responded, “one small glass for Martha. I’ll have my usual.”
Angus left and returned a few moments later with a glass of wine and a large mug. He must be using a nearby room as a staging area Martha thought.
Martha wondered if she would need to ask permission to eat again. Despite the traitorous little voice that was dancing about demanding to be spanked, Martha was determined not to disobey. Angus had finished serving and after expressing his desire that they should “enjoy” he departed, again advising that he would return in 15 minutes.
She kept her eyes down and her hands on her knee. The Captain was watching her closely and he wondered if she would ask to eat. He hasn’t specified deliberately. He wanted to see how she would handle it. He allowed the silence to stretch while he picked up his fork and began to eat. It was a rice and seafood dish that was a favourite of his. They used a fish stock to flavour the rice and a mix of fish and squid that they caught as the meat. Angus knew how to cook, his mother had taught him well, and The Captain had not once regretted making Angus the cook on board. At 21 he had been the cook since he was 15.
“Please Sir,” Martha spoke up, and he looked up at her. “May I eat?”
“Yes Martha, you may.” He was thrilled. She had obviously decided that it was prudent to ask permission rather than assume it was alright, that was what he had wanted. She had passed his test.
He admitted however, that he was just a little disappointed. He had wanted to spank her delightful behind again. As he ate, he watched her. She appeared to be enjoying the food and he decided to reward her behaviour by talking to her.
“Angus, is the cook on board the ship,” he said. “He’s Smithy’s second son. I told you about the island, do you remember?” Martha nodded, “Smithy has 3 children,” Martha was listening closely, and as he paused the story telling to eat, he could see the curiosity building in her again. He swallowed his food and continued, “Their eldest, is married. He lives in England. Angus you have just met and their youngest Beth is newly married, to the helmsman, Joseph, and they are expecting their first child soon. Aggie is so excited to be a grandmother, and although he tries to hide it so is Smithy.”
Martha listened, fascinated. She had thought he was kidding when he had spoken of the island, but clearly he was serious. Families really lived there. A baby was to be born. Did he plan to keep her there? Would she be his prisoner? Her inner voice started to celebrate, ooh to be his prisoner. Colour crept into her face again. She was sure he knew what she was thinking when she blushed, for his mouth would twitch into a slight smile.
When Angus returned, the plates were empty and Martha’s glass was empty. She was full and drowsy. The Captain’s voice was soothing as he talked about the island and it’s inhabitants, he cared for them, this was obvious, they were family. He seemed to be as excited by the anticipated arrival of Beth’s baby too, and an image of him holding a baby flashed through Martha’s mind.
What kind of pirate was he? They were supposed to be brutal, ruthless, violent people. Captain H seemed to be none of these things.
Just as Angus was about to leave the room, The Captain spoke up.
“Wait one moment Angus,” he said, and he turned to Martha. “I think it only appropriate that you thank Angus for the food he has prepared for you over the last few days, don’t you?”
Martha went bright red, feeling ashamed to be criticised for bad manners. “Yes, I’m sorry,” she said. “Thank you Angus the food has been wonderful.”
Angus frowned at The Captain, puzzled by his behaviour, but relaxed when he saw him wink in his direction. “You’re welcome Miss,” he replied before leaving the room.
The Captain turned to Martha. “Feel free to relieve yourself and ready yourself for bed. It’s late and you look tired,” he said, getting up and moving to the bed. He layed down relaxed with his arms folded under his head.
It was pointless to waste time and so she completed her business quickly and went to sit back down on the window seat. Before she could settle herself however, The Captain spoke.
“Please come here Martha.” There was an edge to his voice that troubled her, but she did as she was told. “I have been pleased by your behaviour today Martha. You did everything I asked of you. Good behaviour is rewarded.”
He stood up and indicated that she should get on the bed. Reluctantly Martha got on the bed.
“Move, all the way on,” he waved his hands at her, as he walked to the foot of the bed. “Lay back and get comfortable.”
Martha lay back feeling nervous and…. excited.