Here is part of the first chapter of The Flight of the Black Swan, my novella-in-progress.
After young Emily is betrayed in love (in Chapter One) and still suffering from heartsickness, she meets one of the Green Men (refugees from Her Majesty's Navy who want to avoid being hanged for their sexual inclinations)and agrees to run away with them in an old sailing ship renamed The Black Swan. They cross the Atlantic to intercept a blockade-runner in the American Civil War, and appropriate a precious cargo of cotton and tobacco. Along the way, Emily gets married and falls in love (not with the same person) and everything works out to her advantage.
This tale is a kind of sequel to an earlier pirate novel set in the nineteenth century, and published in 1939.
Almost the worst thing that can happen to a young lady is to be loved by her parents.
Consider it: attentive mothers and fathers do all in their power to protect their daughters from risk and notoriety--in short, from every experience which gives savor to life. Fortunately, I approached the age of majority with my most exciting memories of childhood intact. They kept me from dying of ennui, especially after I lost my dearest friend.
I am Emily ---, born on the island of Jamaica to English parents who placed me with my brothers and sisters on a ship bound for England when we were young. At length we arrived, of course, but not before being kidnapped (as the newspapers termed it - "waylaid" would be more accurate) by pirates.
If you have no knowledge of my history before the beginning of this narrative, please forgive me for closing the door on that chapter of my life. I prefer to begin a new acquaintance with no preconceptions on either side.
Suffice it to say that when I was restored to my Mama and Papa at age eleven, no effort was spared to give me a "normal" upbringing. My mother even tried to arrange for my presentation at Court when I would be of age. She went into contortions to show me the proper way to curtsey to the Queen, and I was to be outfitted with three feathers for my head like a horse in a procession.
Pity the fate of a well-bred daughter! I would as soon be sold at an actual slave auction in America than to be displayed to all of Society.
What of marriage? I hear you ask. Dear Reader, it was never my goal. As things turned out, however – well, read on and you shall see.
My Mama was always exclaiming over my silken brown hair, my eyes as blue as the sky, my rosy coloring and the gentle curves of my figure. She seemed intent on assuring me that my physical beauty, at least, had not been spoilt by anything which might have happened to me earlier. I was no more capable of explaining myself to my parents than if they had been ancient Picts with no knowledge of English.
Lucy, my dearest friend at school, was a lively girl who understood me better. Yet even she believed that I carried unspeakable knowledge like hidden treasure under my clothes.
I learnt this one day when we were both fourteen, as I watched her aim an arrow at a target. She had been rehearsing for a school play, and she still wore her costume, which consisted of stockings, a man’s white shirt and feathered wings attached to her back with straps. Her flair for drama was never confined to the stage. As she drew one strong, flexible arm back to give the arrow speed, I felt as if she were aiming it at my heart.
The school archery range was deserted except for us. After looking around quickly to make sure she wouldn't be overhead, Lucy spoke to me. "Emily," she told me in a low voice. "I don't care what those dreadful men did to you. They didn't steal your spirit. I hope you never marry because you’re too good for a man, and I want you all to myself. Am I horribly selfish?”
“Yes,” I whispered back. "You're not a proper lady, and I'm glad." She let her arrow fly, but turned her head to throw me a quick glance, and it pulled her trajectory to the left.
I felt absurdly proud that I could distract her so much. “Focus on what you’re doing, Lucy,” I told her, trying to sound like a schoolmistress. “We must go away together after graduation. We might have to become hunters and trappers in the wilderness, beyond the laws of civilization.”
She laughed loudly. “I doubt that, dearest! I only need to wait patiently until I’m twenty-one, when I get my inheritance.” She switched her attention to her target, released another arrow, and watched it land quivering in the center. “Whoo-oop!” she shouted.
That night, I crept into her bed when all the lights were out, and eased myself under the bedclothes. She pretended to be asleep until I wrapped her in my arms and kissed her on the lips. She couldn’t maintain her facade, and burst into giggles. Her hips moved beneath me.
“Ssh!” I told her, fearing discovery.
“Our nightgowns are in the way,” she whispered. “Move a little so we can take them off.”
When we were both naked, we admired each other as best we could in the dim light from the nearest window. Lucy grabbed both my hands and brought them to her exuberant, womanly breasts. “Emily, I want you to have me,” she whispered as urgently as she could, holding the counterpane over us to muffle the sound. “I want you to do whatever you like. We can both be fallen women together. We’ll have our own code of honor, no matter who scorns us.”
She reached beneath the mattress to bring out the candle she had hidden there. I had no doubt that she had already experimented with it alone. I was equally sure that she believed a real loss of virginity must be a two-person undertaking.
Dear Reader, the pleasures of Venus are too thrilling to be covered by a blanket of silence. Surely you knew when you embarked on my story that it would prove thoroughly candid.
I didn't know what to say, so I wrapped my arms about Lucy and gently pressed my lips to hers. For a long while, we kissed like bosom friends. Then she pushed her tongue in between my lips and my teeth, and the intrusion gave me the strangest feeling between my legs, as though she were tickling me there.
She withdrew from me to see my expression. "That's a French lover's kiss," she whispered. "It's in Mademoiselle Rosier's French book about the arts of love."
"Did she lend it to you?" I could hardly believe it.
Lucy laughed. "No, silly," she answered. "I can unlock doors without a key. I'll show you later. Do it to me now, Emmy."
She wanted to be unlocked, invaded, burgled and read from her head to her toes. I wanted to do every intimate thing described in the filthiest of French books, but I didn't want her to think I lacked finesse. I decided to proceed cautiously, by degrees.
I caressed her breasts and felt the weight of them in my two hands. I nuzzled my face between them, enjoying the sound of her sighs. The tender buds that crowned her bubbies grew hard beneath my fingers. Feeling her beneath me was the sweetest experience imaginable.
Like a flower, she had her own distinct fragrance, which grew stronger as I nuzzled her neck with my lips and left a trail of kisses ffrom her collarbone to her breasts to her waist and the soft skin of her belly. I could hear her breathing as I nudged her thighs apart and enjoyed the aroma of the dark curly hair between them. On impulse, I kissed her hairy cleft. When she squirmed, I imagined that her cunny was an animal with a mind of its own.
"Emily darling," she whispered. "Use your fingers. I want you to."
I slid an index finger into the sucking wet heat of her, and stroked her inner folds. She was like an oyster inside. I had touched myself there when I was sure no one would discover me, but discovering Lucy's inner sanctum was like exploring a new continent.
"Em!" she urged me. "Don't be afraid." She seized my hand and showed me how she wanted to be ravished. "I'll tell you if it hurts."
And so I sneaked a second finger in beside the first, and played her like a violin while she moved her hips in response.
I found a little button of flesh inside her lower lips that grew hard when I touched it, so I teased it unmercifully.
Lucy shivered violently, but didn't ask me to stop.
"Use the candle, darling," she told me, sotto voce. "You can pretend you're a pirate and I'm your captive."
"Pirates don't-" I began, but I had only had a very particular experience with them, and was hardly an expert on the whole salty tribe. I supposed that real defilement by criminals would be altogether less enchanting than Lucy seemed to imagine, but I wanted to fulfill her utmost fantasy.
"Don't scream," I threatened, making sure to growl as quietly as possible. "No one will save you, my girl. I have you now." And so I pushed the bigger end of the candle into her very wet opening, watching her closely to decide how to proceed. She clasped me with her arms and legs, urging me on with the most delicious of bounces and shimmies. I marveled at how much of the candle she could accommodate.
I lay on her belly, wrapped in her heat, feeling the rhythm of her beating heart as the increasing force of her breath stirred my hair. Knowing her this way made me realize how much more I wanted to learn about her.
"Oh!" she moaned when her crisis came. "I -- love -- you!" I withdrew my waxy love-spear one inch at a time, and felt it slippery with her juice. I had no way to tell whether I had made her bleed, but if I had, I hoped she was glad of it. What was done could not be undone.
"My love," she whispered, her breath tickling my ear, "that was the best! You'll see." She reached between my legs, but I seized her hand and held it.
"What're you doing?" demanded an accusing voice from another bed. There were shiftings and heavings in the beds around us, like the beginnings of an earthquake. I was afraid of a full-scale eruption that would leave us as shelterless as a real cataclysm.
“Nothing," I answered the accuser. I pulled Lucy back down under the bedclothes. "I’ll come back tomorrow,” I whispered in her ear. I pulled on my nightgown as well as possible, and slid out of bed as silently as I could.
(to be continued)