With Brandy's wink firmly in mind, Zaire turned on his barstool and gave the whore the once-over he knew she was expecting, eyes lingering on the shadow of nipples through the thin robe she wore. Ignoring her flattery, he reached up and touched her chin, turning her face first one way and then the next with an appraising glint in his eye.
He recognized her, though couldn't remember her name and hadn't ever spent a night in her company. Had he not set his sights on someone a little paler, then he'd never have turned her down . . .
"You're lovely," he praised, and there was no lie in his words. A gold coin appeared in his hand, held up in offer, "Next I'm in port I'd like the pleasure of your company." His eyes flicked to Brandy, hoping that he hadn't read her cues wrong otherwise he was going to be a very lonely man for the next fortnight of travel. "Tonight though, I have my heart set on someone else."
The woman's brows raised in surprise. She accepted the coin with a flirty smile - after all, she wasn't going to complain about getting paid not to work. As she departed, she cooed, "Hurry back, Captain," with all pleasantness… but shot a dirty look at Brandy before she walked on her way. Even if she still got paid, it didn't sit well that one among them was giving away what all the others were charging for!
Brandy might have been passing off ale after ale, but her attention was divided enough as she listened in that she ended up sloshing drink on the girl's hand. At least this one took the slip up in better spirits, laughing and making a sexy show of licking her fingers that elicited bawdy laughter from several patrons nearby. Then as she was tucking mugs against her breasts to carry all four at once, she spoke up, "Aww, that's damn near romantic!" A rarity, here. Then, in a faux-whisper, she added to Brandy, "Be careful with that one. Word is that Captain Visser can get you pregnant just lookin' at you the right way!" Laughing at her own joke, the girl sauntered off.
"Is that what they say?" Zaire laughed, reaching out to give the passing whore a playful slap on the rump as she passed. Must've been one of his men who fed her that line and he wondered which of them was flavoring his pillowtalk with tales of his Captain's prowess. Jimmy, most like.
"Sorry to disappoint, Captain, but I'm not a whore," Brandy said, as she set her nearly-empty glass beside his and filled both in one careful pour. Sure, she'd totally intended to get laid tonight, but her plan had been more to get tipsy on free booze while bartending and then go find a partner on the beach when most of these guys were passed out. And sure, the eye sex was doing the trick, arousal coiling low in her belly. And sure, she was plenty curious what patterns of black and white he had going on under those clothes… But she also kind of figured that anyone who'd pay for sex was a lazy lover, and she had no intention of putting on some porn-star show like the noises she'd heard behind the doors in this place. Rum poured, Brandy traded the bottle for the other half of her orange and gave it a firm squeeze over her glass. "And, I doubt you came here to work for it."
His eyes went back to Brandy as she proclaimed her refusal to take payment for a night of pleasure but it was her insinuation of his laziness that had Zaire's eyebrows rising and a laugh escaping. "Beggin' yer pardon, Brandy, love," he tossed back his refill, "but you don't know fuck-all 'bout me."
Was she playing coy now because of what the other whore had said? He could hardly blame her for hesitating when her coworkers made it sound as if he dumped a baby into every womb he came into contact with but, truth was, there was only one womb in all of Eventyr that he had any desire to fill.
Zaire shook his head. Fuckin' Jimmy, running his mouth . . .
Again, a smile quirked his lips and he fixed her with a steady gaze, "And I don't remember offering to pay."
It was a simple test, to be sure, but an effective one. If you challenged a man's ability to satisfy, he would do one of two things, she found. The lazy fuckboys who couldn't find a clit to save their lives would get defensive. Brag about this or that threesome they had once, brag about their number, or - worst - insist on sharing a dick pic. All red flags that they would be a terrible lay. The ones worth fucking? They did exactly what the pirate captain did - leave the door open for her to find out.
And therefore, Brandy wanted to.
"Good - apparently you need to keep your money for a college fund for all these babies you're leaving all over the goddamn place," Brandy joked in return, refilling his glass before taking a sip of her own. What time was it, she wondered? It was odd, not having her phone to check. Maybe 11…
She pressed the glass against her lip and planted an elbow on the bar to lean in so she could whisper, "I need like… an hour to get everyone in here hammered. Then we can slip out." Because while the brothel was a comfortable-ish spot, Brandy had something else in mind...
Poor Brandy had no idea how on-the-nose her comment about college was and it was an unwelcome reminder of the last time Zaire was home, when the son he'd expected to join him on the Siren's Song instead admitted his desire to be a scholar. It had been so unexpected that Zaire had taken it . . . less than well.
That was a worry for tomorrow though and tonight the Captain had the promise of free company with a beautiful woman; a prize he wasn't willing to pass up. "An hour it is," he promised with a wink, rising to his feet and bypassing the recently filled glass for the entire rum bottle instead.
With one last glance over his shoulder, Zaire made his way toward the corner that his crew had claimed and settled into a seat quickly vacated by the carpenter's mate. From there, he had clear view of the entire tavern and, possibly more importantly, a clear view of Brandy at the bar . . .
Brandy knew how to work a room, that much became apparent very quickly. Without intervention, this bar would be running until two or four am. But if she started discounting hard liquor to the men favoring ale, they'd be in bed in half the time. Make salty snacks free, and patrons bought more drinks. Ridicule the manhood of anyone asking for water. And, whenever a whore needed a quick turnaround, Brandy tapped her bi side and - who knew - after a sultry lesbian kiss, her partner had a new client. In that hour, three quarters of the clientele was handled (in one way or another).
And Brandy loved it. She wondered if she'd be happy opening her own spot in Eventyr - blogging was great and all, but the restaurant scene in New York was a beast and here things were simpler.
….But she still didn't know what this place actually was, and thus those dreams remained fleeting thoughts at best.
When she finally handed the reins over to the owner, who had been napping to handle the early morning hours and awoke to find such an easy caseload, Brandy made her way over to Captain's corner and plopped her curvaceous ass down in his lap. The shoulders she wrapped one arm around were solid as fuck, she noted.
Brandy plucked up the bottle of rum on the table - a different one than he'd left with, she surmised by its fill - and looked at it skeptically. "How are you still conscious? Did I give you defective rum?" She tipped the bottle back, and immediately winced and put it back. As a foodie, Brandy knew her way around a drink. But there were no subtle notes of anything going on there. A little too tipsy to recognize how poorly her words fit context, she said, "Oh Jesus Christ… it's like the love child of sugar cane and battery acid." So she handed it back to Zaire. "That is yours now."
The time passed faster than Zaire had anticipated, between the booze in his hand and the drunken tales of his crew and, afterwards, a soft discussion with a local sailor who had information about a shipment of silk scheduled to dock in Lake City in a weeks time - for a price, of course.
Throughout it all though, Zaire kept half an eye on Brandy. She moved with purpose, putting on a show when necessary, and steadily cycling his crew from common room to rented rooms to passing out on the tables or stumbling their way back down the beach. And, finally, Zaire's patience was rewarded when she settled down on his lap and slung an arm around around his shoulders. Her words didn't make much sense to him, but then by this point he was thoroughly distracted by the cleavage tantalizingly close to his face and the curve of one deliciously rounded hip under his hand.
He willingly took the offered bottle but rather than taking a swallow, he tipped it up, pouring a trickle along the swell of Brandy's breasts and leaning in to lick the rum from her skin. "Mmmm," he hummed against her skin, his arm tightening around her waist as he pulled her closer. "Where're we slippin' out to, love?" he asked, thinking there were plenty of good rooms just up the stairs.
Brandy's chin tipped back as rum trickled over her chest. Warmed skin from her exertion chilled by the drink... then the sensation of a tongue sent spasms downward and Brandy's free hand braced herself against Zaire's thigh.
"Where? - that's your job," Brandy responded lightly, her voice walking straight down the line between tease and challenge. Surging to her feet, Brandy pulled the captain along with her, placing the hand she'd claimed on her waist as they left.
Outside was what Brandy only knew to call a boardwalk - a street in either direction of bars, eateries, hotels, and, yes, brothels. But instead of choosing a direction, Brandy skipped forward into the sand and its corresponding darkness, hopping quickly and awkwardly as she pulled off her boots, eager to feel the sand between her toes. It was a Bahamas vacation, but she hadn't had to pay or plan or pack…
When she was free, Brandy's steps slowed, and she took a long moment just to drink in the unbelievable beauty of this place. Some days, she told herself it wasn't real, just a dream. Other days, she rationalized that it was too consistent to be fake. But tonight, she made no effort to try to figure it out. She just basked in the majesty of the moonlight, the cool texture of sand under her feet, the fresh smell of saltwater as she breathed.
Zaire's gait remained a steady saunter as his companion pulled ahead and skipped out onto the beach, pale feet kicking up little arcs of sand and the moonlight turning her vibrant hair strawberry blond. His vision was fuzzy around the edges, a testament to just how much he'd drank tonight, and somewhere in the back of his mind a little voice warned him that this could very well be some sort of elaborate plan to rob him . . .
Brandy turned back. Zaire's whiteness glowed in the moonlight. As her heels touched the coolness of wet sand on the waterline, she spoke up.
"I want to fuck on the beach," Brandy said, when the bypassers were quite behind them. It was a fantasy she'd had ever since she'd first seen a Sports Illustrated magazine with all those gorgeous re-touched models with their perfect noses posing in swimsuits, but there had never been an opportunity in New York. "Have you seen a sexier setting?" Brandy didn't, however, want a gaping audience or sand getting in every crevice, and that was where Zaire's expertise came in. If anyone knew how to keep it hot, he would.
Fuck on the beach? Zaire's lip curled just a bit. It wasn't as magical as she likely hoped it was, with sand ending up positively everywhere and no comfortable place to pass out afterwards. Half turning, the Captain gazed down the stretch of beach as he tried to force his sluggish brain to work. His men had a camp set up, their fires visible just before the bend but somehow that didn't seem appealing either. His eyes drifted out to the sea, where there in the waves the Siren's Song bobbed gently with furled sails as she waited patiently for her crew. She was nearly empty, with only a handful of men left to guard her and keep watch - those lowest in seniority.
He closed the distance between them, his free hand coming up to pluck at the laces of her bodice, loosening them just enough that her already overfilled top threatened to lose its cargo completely. It was a delightful tease and had him nearly agreeing to having her right there, sand be damned.
"Ever been aboard a ship, Brandy, love?" he asked, thinking his Captain's quarters would provide plenty of privacy, even if the hammock wasn't exactly designed with rigorous rutting in mind. There was a heavy desk though, bolted to the floor . . .
She caught the expression on his face at the suggestion and couldn't help but laugh. So much for that! Stupid magazines and music videos making beach sex look hot! As he drew in and turned his attention to her laces she smirked and held her tongue, hopeful he might come around…
Actually, Brandy had just been on a ship! She'd been hired to do cooking demos on a cruise ship last Christmas, and so she took her unfortunately unemployed friend - the only one with enough time on her hands - and sailed from New York to the Bahamas and back, working like two hours a day and spending plenty of the rest at the poolside bar. It was one of those surreal moments where she'd realized the extent to which she'd made it, and really thought about sending in that audition tape to Food Network…
"Not a pirate ship," Brandy answered, with a certain curious wonder in her voice. She followed his gaze out to the ship floating in the distance - it was too far away to read the side, but it's distinctive shape was undeniable. It could have been the Jolly Roger or the Black Pearl. As she weighed the suggestion in her mind, she turned toward the sea, pressing her back against Zaire and lifting a hand over her shoulder in a silent invitation for him to continue exploring her body as curious fingers enjoyed the rough texture of his beard.
"But - hmm," she mused aloud, a bit of teasing in her voice but the concern wasn't invalid, just as his worry about being robbed wasn't either. "Isn't this how women end up getting kidnapped and ransomed? I have it on good intelligence that you're the scourge of the west, Captain."
It was impossible to stop his hands from wandering when invitation to explore was so readily gifted and Zaire took the moment to enjoy the sensation of her pressed against the front of him. Her hair smelled like flowers and her skin like oranges, and urged on by the hand caressing his beard, the captain began leaving a trail of hungry kisses and nibbles along the side of her neck.
Her words elicited a chuckle, breathed softly against her skin, and his hand slid around to her bodice again so his fingers could continue their work with the laces there. "No," he answered, his attentions going to the sensitive skin at the base of her neck. "Women worth ransoming rarely board a pirate's ship willingly." He paused, his hand finally making its way inside her bodice, and there was no hiding the teasing in his tone as he continued, "Are you worth ransoming, Brandy, love?"
She could have been, for all he knew, and it would certainly explain her name and the lust for adventure that had her popping through the nearest fairy circle without a destination in mind. Strangled by her father's expectations, eager to get a bit of life experience under her belt before settling down with a nice husband to pop out a litter of squalling babes. It wasn't too difficult to imagine Zaire thought, though it also could have been his liquor soaked imagination simply running away with him.
His hand was warm, but it felt cold against her flesh swelling with arousal as her heart rate ticked up and sent blood to the appropriate places. The sensation, along with those full lips at her throat, elicited a moan that was somehow both relieved to finally be touched, after so much anticipation, and yet somehow even more hungry. Brandy closed her eyes and focused on the rise and fall of his chest, the breath against her skin, and the rather promising bulge against her ass.
But when he spoke, she opened her eyes to cast a skeptical glance back and added the speech tag the way she took it, "He said, not at all considering it." The dripping sarcasm made it hard to tell if she was afraid because he seemed to know a little too much about these ransom situations worked or offended that he thought she wasn't valuable enough for one. And she wasn't going to tell him, either, as she chose the cheekiest possible answer to his question, "I am priceless."
'He said' . . . - what? The turn of phrase made his brain balk but, luckily, sarcasm transcended even alternate worlds and Zaire found himself amused again by her. She wasn't quite sure how to take him, it seemed, but that was only fair since he wasn't quite sure how to take her either.
"Priceless?" he repeated with another laugh. The rum bottle, mostly forgotten, landed with a sloshing thump in the sand, the liquid splashing over Brandy's bare feet and Zaire's boots, and maybe it was the breast in his hand or the way she pushed her hips back against his or even the taste of her skin, but suddenly sand seemed such a silly reason to draw this out any further. He wanted her bad and Zaire had a nasty habit of getting what he wanted . . .
"We'll see," he finished, reaching up to turn her chin toward him so he could catch her lips in a deep kiss.
The urgent kiss stole all of her attention and, with it, any worries about starring in some Liam Neeson movie. The win of convincing him to fuck on the beach was totally lost when she felt expensive rum splashing against her feet, convincing her that this was his only priority. She hiked a knee up over Zaire's hip and grabbed up the obnoxious handful of fabric of her skirt back when it bunched, exposing her pale thigh to the moonlight. She wanted to feel him against her leg, and his shoulders provided plenty of leverage as she did so.
Then, they tumbled, and Brandy felt a cushion of soft sand and ocean waves in her hair. It channelled her inner Beyonce in Drunk in Love, though, and the grit of sand or the stick of salt didn't bother her at all. All she felt was the strength of muscle on top of her, the heat, the bass of his voice. She sat halfway-up in the shallow waves, forcing one arm back deep into the sand, and grabbed at Zaire's clothes with the other, eager to tear them away. She gave zero fucks that they would soon be wet and cold and dirty - they were making memories for a lifetime.