Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Misbegotten Lace Chapter !

Misbegotten Lace
by Nix Winter

Note: This story is not historically accurate. Very little attempt was made to make it so. If enough people want to see an  historically accurate version, I could probably be talked into it, but it might not be nearly as fun.. certainly not as playful.

This story is going to be very wicked... very wicked... :) 

Chapter One

The backgammon board sat between them. Sunlight filled the room. Twins, a boy and a girl, in their early twenties, blond as the sunlight, leaned over the table. This sitting room linked their staterooms.  He sat with his elbows on the ivory inlaid table, chin in his hands, blond curls around his face, blue eyes staring at the board.

"I'm sure you cheat," he said. He had a sweet voice, light and more innocent than was fashionable in a man about to attain his majority. Blue eyes, like a fine spring English sky, watched his sister, as if waiting for her confession.

She leaned back in her chair, beautiful yellow silk draping over her perfectly, a low enough cut bodice cupping creamy, shapely breasts. Her hair was every bit as golden and silky as his was, only just a little longer.  "I'm not the one who was caught with loaded dice in my possession."

He rolled his eyes. "Yes, but we both know they weren't mine. We both know quiet well whose dice they were."

"But you're a good brother and you'd never tell," she said, smiling. "As it happens, I'm not cheating. You're just losing naturally. It does happen, you know."

"Witch," he complained affectionately as he picked the dice back up. "Now you should conjure up the winds, make us get safely home."  He rolled a pair of sixes and smirked happily as he moved his tokens.

"I don't see why I would want to do that. Grandmother is hardly going to be anything close to pleased with either of us. You're homosexual and I'm pregnant and she has a perfect cure for both of us."

"Marriage," they said in unison, looking just slightly green at the idea.

"I'd fling myself overboard, but I can hardly say I'm homosexual if I've never had sex. Just looking does not really do the job. One has to go a little farther than that." He gave her belly a pointed stare.

"Umgh. I would think," she patted her still flat belly, "that this would be proof that I'm not homosexual. Don't kid yourself, Lanie. You are a man's man, and not the way that Papa is. Honey, I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I don't think there's anything wrong with being pregnant either. I don't need some man's guidance or his money."

"Just how do you expect to live then? Grandmother is going to beat those thoughts out of your head, and beat me just to be sure they haven't gotten to me too."

Genevieve leaned back in her seat, arms across her chest. "The truth is the truth. It will go worse for me when if I were to get home and my baby were born there."

"Oh Genni," Lancelot leaned back, a hand over his mouth. "You told Father that American, Hastings, was the father. He was the father, wasn't he?"

She templed her fingers, spread her legs, elbows on her knees, as she leaned forward, giving him the serious look. This look had preceded most of their adventures, most of their disasters.

Lancelot leaned back in his chair, as if he could keep whatever was about to splash from hitting him.  "What have you done?"

"I'm a bit of a pirate," she whispered, real concern for her brother's opinion on her face. "I knew the combination to Father's safe."

"Oh god, what have you done? He'll be after us."

"He won't," Genevieve said. "I only took the money in the back and he had ever so much of it. I bought a ship."

"That's a lot of money! He will notice!" Lancelot rose, pacing.

"Even if he does," she said, a dark edge in her voice, "I left him a not explaining to him why he shouldn't mention the loss. I'm not going back to England, Lanie."

He grabbed the back of his chair, staring at her, utterly stricken. "Where will we be going?"

"We're not going, Lanie. We're trading."

"Excuse me?"

"Listen to me, my love," she said, leaning back again in her chair. "I want to sail. I want my own ship. I want to be the captain of a merchant ship. The father of my child is Justice Whitecrane.  Lancelot St. Chevalier can do that. He can sail for his father. He can marry Justice's sister."

Lancelot's mouth dropped open, then snapped shut again.. "What an adventurous life you've planned for me."

"I've made arrangements for you, Lanie."

"Why thank you so much," he snapped, more speechless than not.

"There is a gentleman," she started, continuing even after he refused to look at her. "His name is Sebastian Baker. He's not a peer, and grandmother will be displeased, but he has already pressed for Genevieve's hand in marriage. He's very wealthy, very attractive, very gentle. We knew him before we left for the West Indies. I do remember you smiling at him as a boy. He was only five years our senior. It's perfect. He will secure his place in the business world, with the connections that father can give him, live with completely propriety, and yet have the hand of the boy he's dreamed of for a decade."

"That's such a lovely plan," he snapped, "Except that I am a man and you are a woman!   I think people will notice. I don't want to be a woman! Do you really want to be a man? Swaggering around and spitting on things?"

She grinned, knowing she'd already won her point. "Actually, I rather like swaggering and spitting. And you, my dear brother, enjoy water colors and pretty flowers, comparing cake, and reading novels on the lanai. Keep your face clean shaven, smile a lot. You'll pass just fine."

"You insult me," he hissed, arms across his chest.

"Come now, you remember Sebastian? He had dark hair, deep colored eyes, blue like the color of sunset? Can you honestly tell me that you won't enjoy strolling Hyde Park with Sebastian as he whispers in your ear and tells you how much he desires to press his manhood between your sweet cheeks? You can have a little cross dressing to have the life you want. Lanie, I love you. I want you to be happy. Homosexuality is illegal in London. You would not survive going to jail and I wouldn't survive your death. Just try this plan. If it doesn't work for you, write me, and we'll arrange for you to have your name back and I shall just pick another."

"I don't know how to live as a woman."

"Yes, you do," she chided. "You've been my best friend and more often than not my best maid. You know how to do my hair, just how to do my dresses."

"I have no breasts."

"As if I'm all that well endowed? Then you shall have to be more modest than I have been, but after you lose the baby, I'm sure you'll find ways of explaining the personality change."

"You want to go live such a dangerous life. What if I never see you again?"

"My dear," Genevieve said, rising to hold out her arms for him, a tolerant smile on her face. "As your brother I shall write you very often. I shall come to see you. You could be so much more of everything, if only you were not pretending to be that which are not."

"And what am I, Genni?"

"You are a gentle, sweet man, who desires to love and lead a life filled with art and poetry. You are all the good things that I shall never be." She hugged him fiercely.

"You are all the brave and courageous things that I wish I could be," he whispered, ashamed.

"Courage, like tea, comes in many flavors!" She reached to the top of her head and lifted her hair off like it was nothing more than a wig. This she plopped onto his head. "There, my dear. You've got my hair. All my clothes fit you. Maybe I'll drop by and leave you with a spawn now and then."

He grabbed her by the arms, the wig of her hair going askew on his head. "This is crazy! What have you done to your hair? You can not possibly be serious! How could you keep this from me?"

She grinned, joyful. "Every time I thought about telling you, I thought about what you're saying right now, and I felt much better about keeping it from you."

"You're just.... unspeakable," he said, his hold on her arms turning gentle, yet firm, as if he could hold onto her forever.

"Sebastian has sent you letters. This was his idea. I think it's a brilliant idea. He's going to meet us when we dock in two days, in Charleston. I'll depart as you, and he'll continue back to England. You'll know by the time you get there if you can marry him or not. If you want to, maybe you both can live in the New World."

"I thought you said he was pressing Grandmother for 'my' hand."

"He is! Through his solicitor. It's easier if it's a done deal by the time you get there," she smiled, hands on her hips now, hair short and boyish around her face. The yellow silk didn't matter. He could see her as a captain, even a bit of a pirate.

"What are you going to do when one day I am more interested in my own interests than in yours?"

"Nonsense," she said, dismissing both the idea that he would or that that was what she was doing now. "Let's trade clothes, rooms. Try calling me Lanie?"

"Oh, I don't think that suits you," he said. "I think you'd be more of a Lance."

"I like it!" She shoved him then, both hands on his back into her room. "And you? Genni doesn't suit you either. Those were our childhood names anyway. I'll be Lance and you can be Eve."

"That's not funny," he said, moving to peer out the round ship's window, ignoring his sister's rummaging  though her closet. "There are two ships on the horizon." He picked up the small pair of 'opera' glasses that his sister had custom made and peered out the window again. "They're flying Spanish colors, but they look French to me."

"Get out of those clothes, Eve."

"My name is not Eve," he said. "Those ships worry me."

"Fine, just don't worry. I had this dress done just for you."

"Have you thought about what will happen if this does work and Sebastian... excites me at an inopportune time?"

"Um," she said, lips twisting as she tried not to laugh. "Don't worry. Skirts are too full for such a sight to be visible, unless you're sitting. I suppose you'll have to have firm undergarments made."

"You're utterly horrible!"

She laughed, and his heart gave way. He'd worried about her marrying, her life being drawn into line with a proper husband. He'd worried that she'd have faded away like an orchid dragged back to England.  "You'll be careful? You'll send me the child, even if he is darker?"

Standing there, new blue gown held up, she hugged the gown close and sighed, biting her lip a little. "I'll send you the child, unless Justice is desperate to keep it. I will always do my best. I just... I just can't be what they want me to be."

"I shall expect many letters," he said firmly as he undid the cuffs of his shirt. This wasn't a great adventure, but neither was it really the end of the world. In the end, she was right. He would have his water colors and his garden. She would have her ship and her swagger.  "If you die in this venture, I shall be very full of wrath."

Words slipped around on her tongue, but she closed her mouth before they got out. After a moment, she shook threw the gown on the bed, and grabbed up a petticoat, a pair of fluffy bloomers. "Don't think about it being women's clothes. Think about how good silk feels on your skin."

"Oh that's so easy for you to say," he complained, moving behind the narrow little changing screen. He threw his shirt over at her, then his pants.  "If we get caught, you can blame it on me. I'll be dead of mortification anyway."

"We will not get caught," she said firmly, her voice dropping a little, to a splendid mimic of his. "My name is Lance Saint Chevalier."

He tried the same, letting his voice go just a little higher. "Then I must be Genevieve Saint Chevalier."

The undergarments were not all that uncomfortable, really, and he let himself imagine coming down the gang plank, the handsome Sebastian waiting for him, knowing his secret, wanting him all the more because of it.

"You did that so well!" She tossed the gown over changing screen. "Hurry up so I can do up the laces and give me your boots."

"Really? My boots are in my room."  He stuck his foot out, showing the embroidered blue satin shoes he wore. "I don't know that my boots will fit you."

"They do," she said, sounding much too confident for his tastes. He peered out from behind the changing screen. Her wig on his head and he tucked at his own hair, making sure it was under the cap and what wasn't was hidden by the ringlets of the wig.  His shoes, which had felt so masculine only moments before, now felt right at home with the long blue gown. He tugged at the laces of the dress, trying to lace it up. The bodice seemed to be designed to flatten a chest, but had soft curves built into it.

Seeing himself in the mirror, he saw his sister, perfectly, only looking more comfortable in her skin. Her cheeks were flushed, lips darker. He forgot about the laces and reached to touch his own face. He could see his fingers moving over his cheeks, feel his fingers, but it looked like Genevieve touching her cheeks. "This is unnerving."

"Yes," she said, standing in the door way, wearing his coat, his leather belt. Her hair was actually longer than he'd thought when she first pulled the wig off, not as curly as he thought of her hair as being - more like his own hair.  She was indeed wearing his boots. It was like looking at himself. "Come, let's finish our game."

"I feel... overcome," he said softly.

"Come on then," she said, moving to take his arm, to place his hand on her arm. "I'll make you some tea. You'll see. It will all settle perfectly."

"I'm only doing this for you! To keep you out of a horrid marriage, away from Grandmother's cane."

"The possibility of being kissed by Sebastian in public has nothing whatsoever to do with it," she said, straight faced.

"There might be that," he admitted letting her sit him down in the chair that had been hers.

"Now you're winning," she pointed out, wiggling an eyebrow.

"My manhood lays shriveled in a nest of lace and linen. I'm not sure that counts as winning," he complained, sitting with his knees together, hands instinctively more graceful, genteel as he reached for the dice.

"Your manhood," she said respectfully, "is wrapped as the most delicate of gifts, to be unwrapped by a man you know you want. You are sneaking under the eyes of watchful matrons, stealing their authority so that you may live your own life."

"Be that as it may," he said, remembering that he'd rolled double sixes and it was really 'his' turn. He handed the dice over. "It's your turn and just exactly how shall I enjoy my cigars?"

She took the dice, smiled wickedly. "If you smoked cigars, the bedroom might be a good choice. Or the garden. Honey, I don't think you'll be much of a society pigeon. You have always been private. Irritated Father to death."

"Everything about me irritated Father. He'll like me much better now."

"He'll like me better too," Genni said.

They looked at each other, a moment of seriousness passing between them, maybe wondering why they hadn't bothered to do this before.

A hurried and urgent knock on the door sent Lancelot pale, but Genevieve rose and strode to the door as if she'd been a man her whole life. She opened the door decisively and said, "Yes?"

"Sir, the ship is being stalked by unknown vessels and Captain believes we shall be cut off by a third vessel ahead of us. He requests you join us on deck with whatever pistols you may possess, Sir."

"Yes, of course," Genevieve said with a voice so close to her twin's that he could barely believe he'd just said that.

As soon as she closed the door, he rose to his feet, hands made into fists. "I don't own any pistols."

"I do," she said, giving him a wink. "And I know how to fire them."

"Genni! Have you actually shot someone? You haven't, have you?"

"Don't be a puppy," she said, giving a genuinely stern look. "Do you remember last year, when Father accused you of dueling?"

"You didn't! Did you kill someone?" He pressed his hands to his cheeks, beside himself.

"Not at all," she said, returning from her room with a pair of pistols in her hands, and a bag of balls at her waist. "He didn't die. He was much nicer to you afterwards."

"Oh good lord! 'I' shot Uncle Ben." Lancelot staggered back to sink into the chair. "What else have 'I' done?"

"You are apparently quite good in bed as well. I was completely sure that Father would dismiss the idea that you were homosexual, after the governor's daughter."

Lancelot held his head with both hands. "How on Earth?"

She smiled gently. "When we get through this I can demonstrate the technique for you, Lanie."

"Oh hardly, no, not really, I don't think so," he said holding up his hands.

"My dear brother," she said, coming close to hug him and kiss his forehead. "You're entirely too sweet and innocent. Sebastian is a bit of a bad boy.  You're going to have to be a bit more worldly to hold him you know."

"No, actually, I don't know. How do you know?"

"He was on the island last year," she said. "Now don't fuss. I'm not stealing your man."

"Hardly," he said, blond eyebrows arching up.

"Stay here. Read his letters. You'll see for yourself. He's utterly smitten with you."

Lancelot looked away, arms across his chest.

In some very real sense, Lancelot strode from the room. His  pride felt as if it had taken a ball to the heart.

The ship shuddered under the evil intentions and actions of their attackers and soon nerves drove him to Genevieve's room, in search of those letters. If those letters had been written for him, he had every right to read them.  Sebastian had been in his thoughts many times over. The man was taller than Lancelot, with long dark hair, dark violet eyes and a smile which had always suggested the edge of wicked thoughts, dangerous desires to Lancelot. True, they'd been very young when they'd seen each other, but at least for Lancelot, Sebastian had been with his thoughts grown into adulthood.

Violence pitched the ship and Lancelot barely caught himself, half tripping on the dress. He looked back to his room and considered changing back into some of his own clothes, but he hardly wanted to out his sister. There couldn't very well be two 'Lancelots' running around.

Heart in his throat, he focused on searching through his sister's trunk. The letters were not hard to find though and he clutched their fawn colored parchment being to his chest.  A shiver went through him! There were so many things he'd thought of, but only knew through secretly read naughty books! He told himself that he was not that innocent! He wasn't!

He stared through across the sitting room into his room, feeling it draw farther away, that this was truly the right path. He didn't belong there.

Then a cannon ball tore through the ship's wall, through his chest of drawers, over his bed, and out the other side, leaving a trail of smoke and destruction.

His breath caught and he held the letters even tighter. Angry, he shoved them down into the tightly drawn corset, and made for the door. He WAS a man! He'd help in what ways he could.

The door though refused to open. He tugged, twisted, and like a mental cannon ball, he understood that his sister had locked him in. She hadn't wanted a second Lancelot either, perhaps. So he ran back into his old room and out the whole the cannon ball had torn. Up the stairs and onto a deck filled with black smoke and vile scents. Blood, bile, and things he certainly had no ready name for, and he froze.

A man with less than a mouthful of teeth ran by him, grinning demonically.  Lancelot covered his mouth with his hand, eyes very wide.

"Lanie!" Genevieve yelled at him over the battle. "The Marie Kate is going down! Do not let them take you!"

"Just what do you suggest I do?!" He strode out onto the deck, as if authority alone might provide some solution.


He did and she fired over his head. Hot blood splattered over him, running down his neck, soaking into his clothes.  Lancelot screamed.

She grabbed him by the bodice and jerked him to his feet. "The ship is sinking. I'm leading a party to take their wounded schooner! For God's sake, Lanie! Get out of that dress! You cannot swim in it! You'll go right to the bottom!"

"My clothes are gone!"

"Your soul will be gone if you don't have quick wits. There are worse things than being caught in your petticoats. I would know!"

"This can't be happening!"

"It is happening, Lanie. Stay alive! I will be back for you! Sebastian will kill me if I let anything happen to you!"

"I'll come with you! To the other ship!" He peeled at the gown. "I can help!"

"Dear Heart! You cry when pigs get slaughtered! I'm going onto their ship and I'm going to kill them to the last man!"

"You can't kill people to take their ship!"

"Explain that to the pirates who are attacking us! I'll be back for you!"

Just barely holding onto the gown, the letters from Sebastian in one hand, he watched his twin dive overboard - wearing his last pair of pants.

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