DOVER Chapter 32
Tomlin stretched out his arms as he lay across the bed. He blinked his eyes trying to focus on his surroundings. He yawned softly and then, and then he felt it, a warmth against him. He was not alone. He felt a stirring below and then lifted his head seeing who was next to him. It was a nice feeling, soft, warm, comforting. He heard the rustling of the heavy cloth sheets and then the stirring. He put an arm behind his head, looking at who was next to him in the bed, it made him a little nervous. He laid back the covers and discovered he was completely nude. He rolled quietly up and out of bed and put his feet to the floor.
"Where are you going, Thomas?" The soft voice came in the dim light.
"I was going to leave you in peace."
"Abandoning ship? Is that anyway a 1st should act?"
"I didn't want to disturb you, Mr. Dunhill."
"You're not disturbing me, Thomas. Stay for a while, my cook will not be in the kitchen as of yet."
"I really should be off. I must be returning home."
"Family obligations, I can understand that. I would not stop you." Farrow said as he raised himself up on one elbow, watching Tomlin get dressed in the dim light. "At least let me make some coffee to send you on your way. It will clear some of that fog in your head out as well." Farrow rolled and got out of bed, reaching for his own clothes. Tomlin had never seen him naked before, even aboard ship. He marveled at Farrow's body, it's tone and muscle, he was beautiful in the dim light and it stirred Tomlin. He cleared his throat.
"Thank you, that's most kind of you." Tomlin said in a meek voice.
"Think nothing of it." Farrow said with a smile, pulling his shirt over his head. "The great Sea Lord will be up and about, no doubt as well. I know how he likes his coffee in the morning." Farrow slipped on his buckle shoes and walked to the door and walked out, Tomlin followed him. Farrow went into the kitchen and Tomlin went to the center room. He sat at one of the tables. He heard something and looked over his shoulder. There was a bleary eyed Dustin coming off the stairs. Tomlin smiled at him. Dustin smiled back and came over to the table and sat in a chair next to Tomlin.
"How is the Captain this morning?" Tomlin asked.
"He certainly had a time of it last night after Dr. Crawford was done with him. He seemed to have constant dreams that plagued him."
"Oh? I wonder what they were?" Tomlin asked, looking concerned.
"How was your night?" Dustin asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I don't remember much at all." Tomlin said in a quiet voice, rolling his eyes. "I do remember coming in here and sitting down and then Mr. Dunhill pouring me an ale, and then another. I guess it went to my head rather quickly. I woke up this morning with Mr. Dunhill, in his bed, just now." Tomlin said, Dustin went wide eyed.
"Do you think anything...?"
Tomlin leaned close to Dustin. "That anything happened between us? I don't believe so. But, have you seen Mr. Dunhill? He's quite fetching out of his clothes." Tomlin said, looking around to see if anyone was around them. Dustin was still wide eyed.
"He's very muscular. I didn't realize that, even after all the time I've served with him."
"I see." Dustin said and sat back in the chair. "What of Lt. Holt?"
"What do you mean?"
"Have you seen him?"
"Not since yesterday. I had reason to stop at the Garrison. He was getting ready to go on home to Cambridge, to rest and heal."
"I see." Dustin smiled. "You live in Norwich, don't you?"
"Cambridge is on the way to Norwich, isn't it?"
"On the King's Road, yes, in a roundabout way, I suppose. Why?"
"Oh, I was just thinking, you could make a stop in Cambridge and see about him on your way home. Two birds, one stone, as they say?"
"Yes, I suppose I could at that." Tomlin smiled thinking about it and sat back in his chair, as Farrow came around the long counter.
"Ah, and how is our young master this morning?" Farrow asked, as he approached the table.
"Well, sir, thank you." Dustin said, bright and cheery.
"Always that smile, you brighten the day with it."
"Thank you, sir." Dustin blushed a little.
"And what of your Captain?"
"He is still tucked in, sir. He had a rather bad night after Dr. Crawford left."
"I see, that's most unfortunate." Farrow said. "Is there anything that I might do?"
"I'm not certain. Dr. Crawford said he would return later this morning and check on him, sir."
"Well, we'll wait for the good Doctor then." Farrow frowned a little.
"Coffee should be ready in just a bit," Farrow said, "and my cook should be here in short order, would you two care for breakfast?"
"That would be nice, thank you." Dustin said. Farrow nodded and turned and walked away. Tomlin and Dustin watched him walk off. "Thomas, I have some errands to do for Quintan today. When are planning on leaving for home?"
"As soon as possible." Tomlin said, keeping his voice down, even though there was no one around, "I need to arrange for a carriage or see if there is a coach heading toward Norwich."
"May I suggest something?"
Certainly." Tomlin said, and Dustin leaned forward on the table.
"I know that Quintan wants to visit Mr. Arvin. He made mention of it yesterday, I'm certain that he will want to do it in a day or two, when he rested a little more. We can take you, on our way to see Mr. Arvin, and perhaps you can see Lt. Holt."
"That's generous of you, Dustin. Are you sure it will be alright with him?"
"That I'm certain of. He would be more than happy to do that for you,...and for him as well." Dustin smiled.
"Alright." Tomlin said, thinking about it and then relaxed in the chair a bit. "I'll secure a room then from Mr. Dunhill for the duration. What are these errands you need to do?"
"Well, Mr. Carson gave a list of needs for the Great Cabin that needs to be filled. Quintan will require a few more shirts and another tunic, as the others were apparently cut apart and are beyond repair."
"I could join you, if you wish." Tomlin smiled.
"I'd like that, yes." Dustin replied in his bright and cheery voice. Tomlin smiled wide himself. "We can see to it after breakfast then. Mr. Dunhill can look after Quintan until Dr. Crawford comes."
"Good." Tomlin replied. "I'd like to see about a few things myself actually."
"Really?" Dustin replied, as Farrow returned, carrying a tray. He set it down on the table and unloaded its contents in front of Tomlin and Dustin.
"Here is coffee." Farrow said, looking at both of them. "My cook arrived a few minutes ago. He's ready to start preparing your breakfast. Is there anything that you would like rather than standard fare?"
"I would think not." Dustin looked at Farrow and then at Tomlin.
"No, nothing special at all." Tomlin replied as well.
"Very well then." Farrow smiled and walked away again. Tomlin and Dustin watched him, again, and then looked at one another.
"Don't you think he is acting a bit...strange?" Dustin asked softly.
"Yes, I do." Tomlin answered. "He is not the same man as I knew aboard ship. Perhaps it's not being aboard ship in the serve any longer."
"I'm not sure," Dustin said, "perhaps it's because of last night?"
"What do you mean?" Tomlin gave Dustin a look of worry.
"Perhaps something did happen last night that you are not aware of?"
"Such as?" Tomlin looked nervous now.
"I'm not certain, but, I think he thinks that something happened."
"I think you're mistaken." Tomlin seemed angry now.
"I'm not implying anything, but perhaps in his mind, he has other thoughts." Dustin said softly. Tomlin calmed himself a little, looking toward the long counter, not seeing Farrow, and then looked back at Dustin.
"You might be right." Tomlin said, shifting in his chair. "I wish I could remember last night." Tomlin sighed.
"Perhaps we can ask him, in a roundabout fashion."
"Make him give up certain details without him knowing." Dustin said. "I do that with Quintan, from time to time."
"Do you now?" Tomlin asked being intrigued. "And what details do you get from him?" Tomlin raised an eyebrow. Dustin gave Tomlin a crooked little boy smiled in return, telling Tomlin what he needed to know. Tomlin smiled wide and chuckled. "I think I understand."
"I'm certain you do." Dustin blushed a little as Farrow returned, carrying plates and set them down in front of them, an English breakfast, eggs, sausage, black pudding, with scones. Dustin smiled and looked up at Farrow. "Won't you join us, Mr. Dunhill?" Dustin asked.
"Most kind of you, my lad, however I have a few things that require my attention before my regular patrons start to arrive." Farrow smiled, and looked at Tomlin, giving him a long hard look with soft eyes.
"I needed to ask you, Mr. Dunhill..." Tomlin said.
"Please, we're all friends here, Thomas, call me Farrow. I've long since dropped my rank as you well know."
"Very well, Farrow, as I was saying, I need to ask for a room for a day or two before leaving for home to Norwich. Would you have one for me?" Farrow's eyes went wide for a moment.
"You may...," Farrow started to say something and then changed his mind quickly, "yes, uh yes, I have a room available for you, certainly."
"That would be excellent." Tomlin said, as Dustin was eating quickly, watching the two of them.
"I thought you said that there were family obligations?"
"That is what you said. I need to return home, yes, but I will be travelling with the Captain and Dustin. He has offered to take me as far as Mr. Arvin's home. We will be leaving when the Captain has rested further."
"I see." Farrow said, giving a brief smile. "I will prepare a room for you near them then. If you'll excuse me, I have to attend to some things."
"Thank you." Tomlin said, watching Farrow walk away, and then turned toward his breakfast. "I think you may be right. He has thoughts of something."
"Of that, I'm certain." Dustin smiled, then looked down at his plate again. Tomlin smiled wide at Dustin. Dustin looked at Tomlin now and then as he continued to eat, giving a soft smile from time to time.
Soon after they were done, Tomlin got up from the table. He saw Farrow toward the far end of the bar area and went toward him. Dustin got up and went to go for the stairs as Tomlin reached Farrow.
"Pardon me, Farrow," Tomlin said, making Farrow look up from his task of setting a new barrel of ale below the long counter, "I seem to have misplaced my duffel. Would you know where it is?"
"Why of course." Farrow said, then narrowed his eyes realizing that Tomlin did not remember last night or part of it. "Come with me." Farrow said and came around the end of the long counter, leading Tomlin toward the back of the tavern. Farrow entered the door at the end and Tomlin followed him in the darkened room. "It is over there near the bed." Farrow said, letting Tomlin slide by him through the door, Farrow was watching him walk by him and kept his eyes on him the entire time. Tomlin looked around the bed, but didn't see it, as Farrow closed the door behind him. The room darkened and Tomlin stood straight, turning back as Farrow drew near.
"It's certainly a dark room." Tomlin said, seeing only the form of Farrow drawing closer to him. Tomlin swallowed hard as he got closer.
"Don't you remember last night, Thomas?" Farrow said in a soft voice, getting so close Tomlin could feel the warmth from his body.
"No, I can't say that I do." Tomlin was trying to see Farrow's face clearly, but couldn't in the light that was there. "What exactly happened last night?"
"I'll show you." Farrow said as he put his hands on Tomlin's chest, going around his waist and then around him slowly. "Don't you remember any of this?" Farrow whispered.
"No." Tomlin said, swallowing hard again whispering his answer.
"You might remember this..." Farrow said as his lips touched Tomlin's, making him sigh softly as he felt the pressure against him. Farrow pressed firmer to him and Tomlin melted into it, moaning softly. Farrow gripped Tomlin tighter, pulling him to him, making their bodies come tightly together. Farrow worked his mouth on Tomlin's and Tomlin responded, wrapping his hands around Farrow tightly. Farrow opened his mouth and Tomlin felt the tongue touch him, wanting it, needing it, and opened his own mouth as Farrow's hands slid down Tomlin's back over his butt, clenching the muscle tightly. Farrow moaned as he worked his mouth and tongue in Tomlin's, Farrow guided Tomlin to the bed and slowly they fell upon it together, hands working each other over, grasping and clutching. Tomlin felt something that he never had before in his life, Farrow's firming length. Tomlin lost himself in the feeling of it. He had done it to himself of course, but never had he ever touched another man's before and he instantly loved it, the feel of it growing and hardening in his hand through the fabric of Farrow's pantlet. Farrow moaned loudly in Tomlin's mouth as they began to work faster against each other. Farrow started to pull back with Tomlin trying to follow him, Farrow got away from him and took in a deep breath.
"Now do you remember last night?" Farrow asked softly.
"I really...don't." Tomlin was breathing hard as his hands continued to explore Farrow's body. "I wish that I did. I'm sorry."
"Think nothing of it." Farrow said softly, then kissed Tomlin quickly. "It would seem that you want more of the same."
"This is very...nice, yes." Tomlin whispered, "But, I..." Tomlin paused and then pulled back away from Farrow, letting his hands go as well.
"But you, what?" Farrow asked softly, then realized it. "Ah, your young Lieutenant that you spoke of so tenderly."
"Yes." Tomlin whispered. Farrow moved closer toward Tomlin again, putting his hands on Tomlin, making him almost gasp.
"Has he done that to you?" Farrow asked.
"No." Tomlin replied, feeling Farrow clench his hard cock, than another hand grasped his butt again tight, making Tomlin groan softly.
"Has he done that to you yet?"
"No." Tomlin answered and exhaled with the feeling of it.
"Then let me show you what can happen. I would be more than happy to teach you." Farrow said and then kissed Tomlin softly.
"I might let you..." Tomlin took in a deep breath, and slowly let it out as he felt Farrow sliding his hand on his pantlet, sliding his hard cock inside the fabric. Tomlin moaned at the feeling. "I must go, as much as I want you to teach me, I must...go." Tomlin whispered.
"Then perhaps I will teach you later tonight."
"Yes, that might be better, if you wish." Tomlin licked his lips and tried to even his breathing.
"Oh my dear Thomas, I so wish it." Farrow said softly.
"Then, I should..."
"I should give you something to help remind you..." Farrow whispered as he came forward, kissing Tomlin firmly, working his mouth and tongue over his, making both of them moan into each other's mouths. Farrow slowly pulled back from Tomlin, humming softly as he did. "Now, will that be reminder enough?"
"Yes." Tomlin whispered, then licked his lips.
Dustin opened the door to their room, and saw Callum sitting on the far edge of the bed, weaving a little. Dustin closed the door behind and crossed the room quickly, coming up beside Callum.
"Quintan?" Dustin said as he knelt beside Callum, putting out a hand to Callum's arm. "Are you alright?"
"I seem to be." Callum said slowly. "My head is rather foggy this morning. What time of day is it?"
"It is still early morning, long before noon. Are you feeling ill?"
"I am not quite myself to be sure." Callum said as he lifted a hand to his head. "I should be up and about, there are things to be done."
"All is well, I assure you. You must rest some more. Dr. Crawford will be here this morning at some point."
"My chest is, uh,...very tight. It is difficult to breathe." Callum said softly as he was wheezing slightly.
"Do you remember Dr. Crawford tending you yesterday?" Dustin asked, and Callum shook his head slightly. "He had to resew you yesterday. He gave you something to make you sleep as well."
"That is what is probably making the fog in my head then." Callum said in a low growl. He tried to stand and was having great difficulty. Dustin got to his own feet and tried to make Callum stable. "I think I should go to the privy and then return to the bed."
"I'll help you." Dustin said as he got under Callum's arm. "We shall go slowly to make you steady. Let me take most of your weight."
"Alright." Callum said softly. "I'm not sure what I would do without you here with me, Dustin."
"Where else would I be, Quintan?" Dustin asked, and Callum smiled faintly. "You need me with you, and I want to be with you, injured or not." Dustin said as they neared the door.
"One of the reasons that I love you so much, Dustin." Callum said softly.
"And I love you, my Captain." Dustin looked up into Callum's eyes as he opened the door. "I will always love you." Dustin smiled softly. Callum bent forward a bit and kissed Dustin softly.
"You are like an angel to me." Callum whispered and smiled. Dustin smiled back up at him. They got into the hallway and went to the end door next to them. Dustin opened it, not noticing the two figures at the other end of the hallway, watching them closely.
"I believe that is him, Ezri." The cloaked figure whispered.
"Callum." Ezri growled quietly through clenched teeth. He watched them go through the doorway and the door close. "It seems that he is ill. This may be easier than I had thought."
"Patience, Ezri, patience. You will have your opportunity, and soon."
"I cannot wait much longer, Maupin. I must have satisfaction, for my brother's memory, and soon."
"You will, mon ami, you will." Maupin said softly, turning slightly as he heard something behind him. He turned more and saw Tomlin coming up the stairs. He recognized Tomlin almost immediately, and smiled to himself. "Well, if it isn't our young friend from the docks. How are you this day, good sir?"
Tomlin reached the top of the stairs and looked at both of them, and then recognition set in. Tomlin reached out his hand. "I am well, thank you. I thought you were booking passage across the Channel?"
"Ah, alas we were unable to. The Harbor Master could not help us in that. He suggested that we go on to London and seek passage from there."
"Then why have you not gone onto London?" Tomlin asked, looking back and forth at the two.
"We will, however we need to arrange for a coach that will be heading there. Do you know where we may find a freight office to secure one?"
"No, you might inquire with the landlord, I'm certain he will know."
"We will do that, thank you. Tell me, are you staying here as well?"
"Yes, actually." Tomlin said as he lowered the duffel off his shoulder, letting it drop near the floor. "I have secured a room here, down the hall. I am actually here to see friends of mine that are staying here as well."
"How nice. It seems that this part of the world is very small indeed, everyone knowing everyone? Wouldn't you agree?"
"A port city is a very known place to all that are within it, yes." Tomlin smiled.
"Ah." The cloaked figure said. "Well, we have another engagement and must be off. Perhaps we shall see you later on?"
"Yes, I'm sure you will. Good day to you, gentlemen."
"And to you, our young friend." They turned and hurried down the stairs. Tomlin watched them as they reached the bottom and then went toward the front door of the inn out of sight. Tomlin frowned, something about them was not right to him, he turned to head down the hallway. Farrow had told him where Callum and Dustin's room was. As he reached the end of the hall and was about to knock, the other door to his left opened. He saw Dustin and Callum come out, and went wide eyed, seeing Dustin under Callum, helping him.
"Captain!" Tomlin said as he stepped forward dropping his duffel.
"Thomas." Callum said, giving him a faint smile.
"Let me help you, sir." Tomlin said as he stepped to Callum's other side from Dustin.
"Slowly, Thomas. We must not pull his stitches." Dustin said softly. Tomlin was careful and got next to Callum letting Callum lean on Tomlin as well as Dustin. They got into the room and crossed it carefully, slowly laying Callum back on the bed. Callum winced a couple of times as he settled onto the bed.
"Let us help you get into bed, Quintan." Dustin said, then shook his head. "I should have gotten you out of your pants last night. Let me help you off with those now."
"It will be alright."
"You will sleep far better without them." Dustin said, with a firm tone. "Now, let me take them from you. Thomas, would you lend me a hand?"
"Certainly." Tomlin said and they set about removing Callum's pants. They got them off and Tomlin got his first sight of his Captain fully naked. His eyes went wide with what he saw. He looked away and tried not to look again, until Dustin covered him with the spread.
"Now, are you comfortable?" Dustin asked.
"As well as could be expected, I suppose." Callum smiled up at both of them. "Thank you to you both." Callum nodded. Dustin bent down and kissed Callum on the cheek.
"You're welcome. Now rest yourself, for me, please?"
"I shall, I promise." Callum smiled.
"We are going to be off now. I shall see the man about your tunic and the tailor for your shits. Do you need anything else while we are out?"
"No, I don't believe so. Thank you." Callum said in a soft voice. "My purse is in my tunic. Take the money from it and leave the purse here, you will need the money."
"Alright." Dustin said and went to the tunic, looking inside at the pocket. He pulled out the purse and walked over to Callum, handing it to him. "Take out what you think is correct. I don't want it all." Dustin smiled.
"You might need more..."
"I have money of my own as well, remember? If there is a short fall, you can make it up to me when we return." Dustin said, Callum rolled his eyes.
"Who is in command here?" Callum asked.
"Right now, I am, Captain. I am the Admiral of the Inn." Dustin smiled, "And you shall follow your orders, sir." Dustin took what Callum held out and then dropped the purse on the bedside table. "Now, your orders are to rest, Captain. We shall return shortly I would imagine. I expect you to be sleeping when we return." Dustin shook a finger gently.
"Aye, aye...sir." Callum said with a slight grin. Tomlin was trying to keep from laughing watch the two of them together. Callum looked at Tomlin and winked. Tomlin smiled at him and bowed his head toward him. Dustin frowned at Callum, then leaned down and kissed his cheek again. "Thank you, now be off with you two, and try to stay out of trouble."
"I cannot promise that, especially with having Thomas with me." Dustin said wiggling his eyebrows, picking up Callum's tunic and a shirt to take with them as example. Tomlin opened the door and walked out, Dustin reached the door and looked back, he smiled at Callum and then closed the door behind him, walking down the hall with Tomlin. Dustin stopped at the long counter, telling Farrow about the errands. Farrow said he would check on Callum when he went upstairs in a bit. Dustin thanked him, then walked out of the tavern with Tomlin.
"Where to first?"
"I think we should see the man about a new tunic for Quintan. That will possibly take the longest time. I think he is down this street here, if I remember correctly." Dustin said as he pointed. They walked along together, talking of different things. Tomlin would stop now and then, looking in the windows of various shops, taking mental note of returning to various ones. They finally came to the shop that Dustin had seen before, and they walked in.
"May I be of service, gentlemen?" The older man behind a long table asked. He was balding and wore spectacles, wearing an apron with straight pins sticking in it all over. There were several pieces of material that lay on the table in front of him.
"Yes, you may." Dustin said with his bright cheery smile. "We need to see about another tunic being made."
"Well, you have come to the right place, gentlemen. Is it for one of you?"
"Actually no, it is for our Captain."
"Ah, thoughtful of you to see that he is properly attired. And who might your Captain be?"
"Captain Callum of the Dover."
"Ah, Captain Callum. I have heard of him." He said with a smile, coming around the table toward them.
"You have?" Dustin asked cocking his head slightly.
"Yes, he has gained quite the reputation here in Portsmouth. All within His Majesty's Navy come in to see me for their uniform needs. They all speak rather highly of him."
"I see." Dustin smiled and relaxed a little, thinking they were in good hands. "I have one of his tunics here to use as example."
"Does it fit him well?"
"It does, sir." Dustin said softly, as the man took it from him and held it out. He looked it over carefully, turning it back and forth, frowning as he did so. "Is there something wrong?"
"It is older in style and cut. Are you certain that it fits him correctly?" He looked over it at Dustin, lifting an eyebrow.
"Yes, he is quite striking in it, I assure you." Dustin said matter of fact.
"I see, then I shall take your word on it." He smiled briefly, laying it on another a table to his left. He opened it and looked inside at the lining of it, feeling it slowly. "Seems to be a heavier lining." He said softly almost in a whisper.
"The Captain asked how much and how soon to produce another one."
"Do you sail again in short time?" He turned, asking Dustin.
"No, Dover is going in to dry dock for major repairs after our last mission. He will be leaving for Birmingham in a few days to return home, that is why he was asking."
"I see. Well, I could have another in two days' time. It will be three pounds."
"Seems to be a bargain for such a thing as that."
"I know that the King does not pay our warriors what they are worth, sir. I charge a fair price for what I create. Officers in His Majesty's Navy should look their best to command the respect that is their due, would you not agree?"
"I do, I agree with all of it that you said." Dustin smiled. "Would you care for payment now or when it is picked up?"
"Either will do." He smiled, watching Dustin reach into his pocket.
"Then might I press you to create two of them?"
"It would be my pleasure, young sir." He smiled watching Dustin peel off the pound notes.
"Then two it shall be." Dustin said, handing the man the money. He took it. "I trust it will be only an extra day or so?"
"Yes, you may have them in less than a week for certain. I may have to send for more of these buttons. I am not certain if I have enough. But it should not be a problem. Would the Captain be available to have a fitting to make certain that all is well with them?"
"The Captain is healing from severe wounds at this time, hence why I am here acting on his behalf. It may be possible in a few days' time to have him come for a fitting yes, if not then we will have to make out accordingly."
"The young master must be overseeing for the Captain's health as well." He bowed his head slightly.
"I am, sir. The Captain is very important to us,...and His Majesty."
"I see, then I shall double my efforts."
"Most kind of you." Dustin smiled.
"Think nothing of it, young master." The older man put out his hand, Dustin took it, giving it a firm squeeze.
"Good day to you, sir." Dustin nodded.
"And to you, gentlemen." He bowed his head, taking back his hand. Dustin and Tomlin walked out of the shop.
"You were most impressive with him." Tomlin said with a smile.
"Thank you." Dustin said, puffing up his chest a little. "I learned many years ago how to deal with tradesman and shop keepers of his sort while I was living in the streets. If you appeal to their vanity, you can gain almost anything from them."
"I'll have to keep that in mind for the future." Tomlin said, as they walked around a corner onto another street. They walked up to the shop that Dustin knew, Harbrow's the tailor, where Callum and Dustin had purchased clothes before on their last trip to Portsmouth. They walked in together.
"Good morning, gentlemen. How can I help you this fine day?"
"Mr. Harbrow, we are in need of some shirts. I have an example here of size and type."
"Ah, let me see." He smiled, taking the shirt from Dustin, looking it over. "Yes, I have several over here actually, of this size and weight of cloth." He lead them over to a table, showing Dustin what he was speaking of. "I seem to recall you, don't I? Let me think a moment, yes, now I recall, you were here with another officer some weeks back were you not?"
"You have a good memory, sir." Dustin smiled. "It is that officer that requires these shirts."
"He purchased some pantlets and a long pair as well, if I'm not mistaken. You purchased a couple of shirts and a pair of pantlets as well."
"You do have an excellent memory. Do you also recall the size of the long pants that the Captain purchased as well?"
"I am wondering, do you have more in that size for him?"
"He is rather slender as I recall, is he not?"
"That he is, sir." Dustin smiled.
"Yes, over here. I believe I have a pair or two that size in the Navy's white. Yes, here they are." He said as he took a pair and unfolded them, showing Dustin. "These are a shilling a pair, and the shirts are six pence each."
"A bargain at any time." Dustin smiled. The man nodded and smiled. "May I press you, do you have long pants such as these in any other color?"
"Yes, I have them in a deep blue, here, as you can see, and a rather dark brown."
"In that size as the white?"
"Yes, of course." He smiled. "They are of a heavier cloth, more durable for someone to actually do work in."
"Then I shall take these shirts," Dustin said, as counted them down the stack, "six of them, those white long pants and also a pair of the dark brown, and what do you think, Thomas, one or two pair of the blue?"
"I would think possibly, two" Tomlin was wide eyed, guessing at what Dustin was doing.
"Yes, alright, let's make it two of the blue."
"Very good, young sir." Harbrow nodded, smiling.
"Could you have them sent over to the Heritage Arms Inn?"
"It would be my pleasure, sir. I could have them sent early this afternoon, if that would be satisfactory?"
"Most satisfactory, thank you. How much do you require?"
"Let me see, shirts, pants. That would be one pound six." He smiled.
"Here is two, to cover for the delivery in short order."
"Very good, sir. You certainly know what you want. It's pleasure doing business with you again. Whom shall I say the delivery is for?"
"Captain Quintan Callum." Dustin said with pride in his tone.
"Very good, sir. Captain Callum is rather becoming known throughout Portsmouth."
"So we have been told." Dustin smiled, as he handed the notes to Harbrow. "It was good to see you again, sir. We shall return, I'm certain. You've been most kind and helpful."
"A pleasure to assist you, young sir." Harbrow nodded taking Dustin's hand and giving a firm squeeze. Dustin and Tomlin walked out of the shop and headed back the way they came.
"Well, that's all of the errands for Quintan. Would you like to stop somewhere?" Dustin asked.
"Not now, I think. Perhaps we should check in on the Captain. He had me rather concerned this morning."
"Yes, me as well. I hope that Dr. Crawford will be with him shortly."
"Yes." Tomlin said with a smile, as they continued to walk along the street, stepping out of the way for a lady now and then.
They reached the inn and walked inside together, Tomlin closing the door behind them. They saw Farrow in the center room, wiping down tables. He looked up and saw the pair. Dustin nodded toward Farrow and then went up the stairs to see Callum. Tomlin walked into the center room. Farrow pointed to a table to have Tomlin sit down. Tomlin pulled the chair out and slowly sat, watching Farrow the whole time, remembering what he had seen of his body this morning in the dim light. The clothing that Farrow wore did not do him justice, and Tomlin found himself wishing they were tighter fitting on him to show his body off. Tomlin gulped as Farrow came near him.
"Yes, please." Tomlin answered, watching Farrow walk away. Farrow smiled, knowing in the back of his mind Tomlin was watching him, was more than curious about him, and would have him tonight. Farrow walked into the kitchen and poured from the large pot of coffee into a smaller, and set out a cup on a tray with the smaller pot. He turned and walked back out into the center room, coming to the table that Tomlin was at. He set the tray down and emptied it of the items, letting Tomlin serve himself.
"Do you require anything else?"
"Not at this moment, thank you." Tomlin smiled up at Farrow.
"Very good, then I shall take coffee up to the great Sea Lord's room, and prepare yours as well. You may see it if you wish. It is the door across the way from their room."
"Excellent." Tomlin smiled again. "I wish to thank you for letting me have it on short notice."
"Nonsense, Thomas. There are plenty of rooms available here. I only wished that you wanted to stay in my room, with me." Farrow smiled out of the corner of his mouth. Tomlin's eyes went wide.
"I,...uh,...well that is,..." Tomlin stuttered, Farrow chuckled at flustering him.
"I understand of course. Fear not, all will be well." Farrow said, putting a hand gently on Tomlin's shoulder. Farrow walked away, Tomlin watched him again. Farrow went into the kitchen. Tomlin settled himself with his coffee and Farrow came back out with what looked like the same tray. He walked around the long counter and headed for the stairs, smiling at Tomlin as he did. Tomlin watched as he sipped his coffee, Farrow going up the stairs. He reached the door and knocked softly. Dustin opened the door, with his bright and cheery smile.
"I brought some coffee for you both." Farrow smiled.
"Most kind of you." Dustin said as he stepped aside for Farrow, letting him in with the tray. Farrow brought it over to a small table to the left of the bed, looking at Callum, who was lying on his back with his eyes closed.
"He seems to be resting peacefully." Farrow whispered.
"Yes, he was that way when we returned from the errands. I hope that Dr. Crawford comes soon to check on him." Dustin whispered himself stepping up behind Farrow. Farrow looked back over his shoulder at Dustin.
"Would you be wanting luncheon later? I'll speak to my cook, if you wish."
"That would be nice, thank you. I need to have Quintan eat something, if he will wake long enough for it."
"Yes, he only had some cheese and bread yesterday when you arrived. He does need to eat. I'll have my cook make up some broth or soup."
"Mr. Carson was doing that for both of us while we were aboard. It seemed to us both a world of good."
"Indeed." Farrow said. "My cook is far better than Carson, as I recall. His cooking was...lacking as I remember." Farrow said, lifting an eyebrow, making Dustin chuckle softly.
"It is indeed, but I would never tell him that."
"Neither would I, especially when he has so many knives handy in the galley." Farrow smiled and Dustin chuckled softly again.
"Good point." Farrow pat Dustin on the shoulder and walked around behind him, heading for the door. "I wanted to say, thank you, Mr. Dunhill for all your kindness you have shown."
"Think nothing of it, my lad." Farrow said as he reached the door. "It is him that I owe and have much to make up for." Dustin narrowed his eyes in question, watching Farrow. "I'll leave you to him. I'll send Crawford up directly when I see him."
"Thank you again." Dustin nodded. Farrow nodded in return and closed the door behind him. Dustin went to the tray and picked up the small pot and went to pour the coffee for himself.
"So, Farrow thinks he owes me?" Callum said softly with his eyes closed still. Dustin went wide eyed and looked over.
"And how long have you been awake?" Dustin asked.
"Since before your return." Callum said, crossing his arms over his chest, gently laying his hands on himself. "Are you pouring coffee for just yourself?"
"I probably shouldn't let you have any without the Doctors consent."
"Ah, well, I'll countermand that. Would you pour some for me? It smells absolutely wonderful."
"You can be a bit of a sneak, can't you?" Dustin asked as he poured another cup.
"It comes from living in tight quarters aboard ship, I suppose." Callum sighed, keeping his eyes closed. "The errands, how did you make out?"
"Quite well, I must say." Dustin said as he walked around the bed, coming to Callum's side, sitting gently next to him. "They will have your shirts delivered soon. I placed the rest of the money back in your purse already."
"Yes, I heard you put it away."
"And you didn't say anything?" Dustin asked, shaking his head. "What am I to do with you? Here, let me help you sit up so you can have your coffee." Dustin set the cup on the side table next to the bed and got up. Callum opened his eyes and dug his heels into the mattress, pushing himself up gently while Dustin took an arm, pulling gently. Callum leaned forward a little and let Dustin prop more pillows behind Callum, making him groan softly. "There, are you alright?"
"Actually, I feel as if the ship is sitting on me fully." Callum groaned with open eyes. "I wonder what Arthur actually did to me yesterday. It is so tight in my chest, it's difficult to breathe."
"I know. I hope he arrives soon and has a look at you." Dustin picked up the cup and handed it to Callum, who smiled at it, and then at Dustin.
"Thank you." Callum said, taking the cup.
"You probably shouldn't have much." Dustin said, with a raised eyebrow. "The good Doctor might be upset with me when he finds out."
"Don't worry, I have my sword close at hand to fend him off." Callum smiled, making Dustin smile as well.
"Oh, I commissioned two tunics for you, as they were a good price each in my opinion."
"Really, and how much is a good price?"
"Three pounds each."
"Hmmm." Callum nodded. "It does seem fair."
"He asked for a fitting. I explained the circumstances to him and he understood. If you feel up to it in a day or so then we can go and see him."
"Yes, if I feel up to it, I suppose. And what of Thomas, I thought he was leaving for home?"
"I talked him into staying long here with us. I know that you wish to see Mr. Arvin and thought we could drop Thomas on our way, in Cambridge, so he might see Lt. Holt, while on his way home to Norwich."
"You're quite the little navigator, aren't you?"
"It seemed only right." Dustin said, hanging his head a little. Callum smiled and took up one of Dustin's hands in his, squeezing it gently. Dustin lifted his eyes back to Callum.
"Of course it's right, why wouldn't it be? If it is along our way, then so be it. I for one have no trouble with travelling with Thomas. He is a very pleasant young man."
"Yes, he is, isn't he?"
"You two seem to have become good friends in a rather short time." Callum smiled and sipped more coffee.
"I suppose you're right. He makes it easy to be that way with him, easier than I expected actually. He has an unguarded manner about him, and seems to be quite new to all things."
"You think also in the way of...love?"
"I am most certain of that. He was very concerned waking up in Mr. Dunhill's bed this morning."
"I beg your pardon?" Callum was wide eyed.
"Yes, I was quite shocked as well, to be sure." Dustin said with an uneasy look. "He said he couldn't remember much of last night at all, having had too much ale. He doesn't think anything happened between them, however, Mr. Dunhill was acting quite strange this morning with breakfast."
"I seem to have missed quite a bit, haven't I?" Callum said, handing the empty cup to Dustin. Dustin got up off the bed and went around and poured more. He carried the cup back and sat down again, handing it to Callum.
"Well, there's not much more to tell than that, as far as I know."
"I know Farrow and how he works." Callum said, sipping the coffee. "We need to warn Thomas to be careful. Farrow can be most possessive when his mind is made up."
Tomlin was done with the coffee and got up from the table in the center room. He walked toward the stairs and went up slowly. He reached the top and walked down the hallway toward the end door on the left, seeing it was open. He knew it was his room as Farrow had said, and went in, stepping just inside the doorway. He saw Farrow finishing up the bed and smiled at him.
"Ah, there you are. Will this be adequate for you?" Farrow asked as he straightened on the far side of the bed.
Tomlin looked around the room, with wide eyes. "More than so, yes." He said softly. "This is larger than my room at home."
"I see, then you should be comfortable here, with room to move about as it were." Farrow smiled and drew closer to Tomlin. Tomlin noted the small amount of furniture about, the bed, a chair and a small desk in the corner. There was another chair, that was upholstered next to the window. The curtain were light and seemed soft and the light was streaming in through them. "I shall check on you later, if you wish." Farrow smiled and reached out a hand, touching Tomlin on his chest.
"I would like that." Tomlin said softly, looking into Farrow's eyes. Farrow drew closer to him.
"And what if I wanted to check on you now?" Farrow asked softly.
"That would be alright as well, I suppose." Tomlin said with a hint of nervousness in his voice. Farrow's hand slid down slowly over Tomlin's jacket and shirt and reached his pantlet. He could not take his eyes from Farrow's, and then he felt a hand cup him, softly squeezing him, and Tomlin let a soft breath escape his lips. "Oh, Farrow." Tomlin whispered as the grip became more and then it felt as if he was being kneaded, making him stir in his pantlet. Tomlin closed his eyes at the touch, wanting more of it, more of what they done earlier this morning. Farrow stopped as he heard something through the open door behind Tomlin. He looked over Tomlin's shoulder and saw Dustin open the door across the hall and Farrow pulled back his hand slowly.
Farrow saw Dustin had a tray in his hands.
"I will return in a few minutes, Quintan. Stay there in the bed and rest." Dustin said, and closed the door behind him. His turned and saw the open door and his eyes went wide as he saw Farrow step around Tomlin in the room, coming toward him. "Uh, Mr. Dunhill, I was just taking the tray back to the kitchen."
"Thank you, my lad, but I shall do that for you." Farrow said as he came out of the room, leaving Tomlin standing there, now behind him. Farrow took the tray from Dustin. "I have placed Mr. Tomlin across the hall from you, if that is alright?"
"That is most appreciated, I'm sure, for both he and I. Thank you."
"Think nothing of it." Farrow said, looking back at Tomlin, who was slowly turning to face them. "If you require anything, please let me know?"
"I will, thank you." Tomlin said softly. Farrow nodded to Dustin and then walked down the hallway and then down the stairs out of sight. Dustin looked at Tomlin and then swallowed hard.
"Are you alright, Thomas?" Dustin asked seeing the look on his face.
"Yes, I am, why do you ask?"
"You seem to have a look of distress."
"I, uh,...no, actually." Tomlin said, trying to gather his thoughts.
"Perhaps I should have you speak to Quintan?"
"Why is that?"
"He is...very familiar with Mr. Dunhill." Dustin said softly, stepping toward the doorway. "Forgive me, I spoke to him earlier about what you told me this morning." Dustin said softly and Tomlin's eyes went wide.
"I see." Tomlin had a look of embarrassment.
"It is nothing to be concerned about, he understands very well, but is concerned regarding Mr. Dunhill."
"Quintan put it to me this way, that Mr. Dunhill can be very possessive at times."
"I have noticed something like that." Tomlin said. Dustin smiled briefly at him.
"I apologize if I spoke out of turn to Quintan. He is only concerned for you."
"It is of no issue, I assure you."
"That's a relief. I would not want to harm our newfound friendship, by any means."
"And you haven't." Tomlin smiled. "I think I am going to take a little rest for a while. Is my duffel still in your room?"
"Yes, it is. Let me get it for you." Dustin smiled and opened the door to his room, reaching down and picking up the bag, turning and handing it to Tomlin. Tomlin smiled and nodded. "I will go back and sit with Quintan and wait for Dr. Crawford. Have a pleasant rest, Thomas." Dustin smiled. He turned and walked back into his room, closing the door softly, leaving Tomlin in his own room. He slowly closed his own door and looked at the bed. He walked over and dropped the bag on the floor and sat on the edge.
His thoughts were going wild in his mind like a raging tempest. Christian was foremost in his thoughts, his want and desire for him, his feelings of more than friendship for him, but he couldn't put a name to it as of yet, and then there was Farrow, and what had happened with him this morning, how he made Tomlin feel things that he had never felt before. It was driving him slowly mad, all things colliding with one another. For the first time in his life, he was so uncertain as to what to do. He was also trying to remember what had happened last night, what Farrow had said, what he was hinting toward, making Tomlin even more confused. If something had happened last night, wouldn't he have remembered it, shouldn't he? He shook his head in frustration. And there was that kiss, that sensation, that stirring that Farrow made him feel, how he loved that feeling. Tomlin thought of the kiss that he and Christian had shared aboard Dover less than two days ago, how that made him feel as well. Yes, Christian could kiss and kiss well, comparing the two, but Farrow was here and now, and Tomlin was uncertain if Christian would even see him if he came to Cambridge.
Their meeting at the Garrison had been brief, all too brief for what Tomlin was feeling toward him. He had wanted to say so much to Christian, and it seemed to Tomlin that he had things that he wanted to say as well. But the carriage was waiting and there were others that were trying to get underway, making their time together brief. Christian had taken Tomlin's hand in his and they looked at each other with such longing, that look was burned into Tomlin's memory, and was haunting to him. He kept seeing it over and over in his mind's eye. Tomlin sighed heavily and lay back on the bed. He stared up at the ceiling and slowly he closed his eyes, seeing both Farrow and Christian as he was shrouded in darkness.
Dustin walked over to Callum and sat next to him, putting a hand on Callum's. They smiled at one another as Callum was trying to breathe easy. They sat there watching each other for a long few moments and then Dustin got up off the bed.
"Shall we try and get down in the bed again, to make you more comfortable and rest?"
"I suppose I have no choice, do I?" Callum smiled softly, rolling his eyes. "Since you seem to be the Admiral of the Inn?"
"You are correct in that fact." Dustin smiled. "Did you by chance hear me speak to Thomas out in the hall?"
"I heard part of it. Is he alright?"
"I see confusion in his eyes, possibly over Mr. Dunhill." Dustin said as he helped Callum move down into the bed. "I think that if he were to see Lieutenant Holt again, it might bring him some clarity."
"I would agree with that." Callum said as he groaned in his movements. He settled back down and Dustin lifted the covers up, straightening them out over Callum. Callum breathed a little easier now, making Dustin smile again. "I am certain that all of this is new to Thomas, and he is having quite a time with it."
"I agree." Dustin said as he sat back down on the bed. "I mentioned to him to have you talk to him about Mr. Dunhill, he seemed apprehensive about it."
"You weren't forceful with the suggestion, were you?"
"Not at all, I was treading very carefully." Dustin said with wide eyes.
"Hmmm, then we shall see. I only wish I was better, so we could travel and take him to Cambridge. I feel that we should get him away from Farrow as quickly as possible. I have a bad feeling about it, knowing him the way that I do."
"Perhaps he has changed since you knew him. I mean he has changed somewhat since our last visit here."
"Yes, you are right in that. I have noted that change in him, one of...caring, as it were. But I still have reservations about him. Perhaps it is just my memories of the way he was with me. It was so long ago."
"Perhaps." Dustin smiled softly, then patted Callum's shoulder. "You should rest now. I'll go downstairs and wait for Dr. Crawford to arrive. It will give you quiet in the room." Dustin smiled softly again and got up from the bed. He leaned down and kissed Callum on the forehead, making Callum smile and then close his eyes. "I love you, Qunitan."
"I love you as well." Callum said softly. Dustin walked to the door and opened it, stepping out into the hallway, closing the door softly behind him. He looked at the door of Tomlin's room, and then walked down the hallway to the stairs. He stepped into the center room and took up a chair at the closest table near the stairs where he could see the front door of the inn. He settled himself and watched the door, as Farrow came up to him.
"I see that you are alone, my lad."
"Yes." Dustin looked up and smiled at Farrow. "Quintan is beginning to sleep and I thought I should wait down here for Dr. Crawford."
"I see, and what of Thomas?"
"He wished to take a rest in his room." Dustin said and Farrow nodded.
"Yes, he did have a rather restless night."
"I'm sorry to hear that. I would have thought that the ale he drank would have let him sleep soundly."
"Well, it did for the most part, but he couldn't seem to get comfortable as it were."
"Hmmm, I wonder why?" Dustin raised an eyebrow. Farrow cleared his throat.
"May I get you tea perhaps? And some scones? My cook has just made some fresh from the oven."
"That would be nice, yes, thank you." Dustin smiled. Farrow nodded and turned away, leaving Dustin alone. He watched the door and saw the two men come in, one with the brilliant cloak, the other following him, closing the door behind them. They came into the center room and stopped, seeing Dustin sitting there. The one behind went to say something to the one in front but was stopped by a hand raised in the air. Dustin watched them for a moment and they continued on their way into the center room, going to the far corner sitting at a table, Dustin looked over his shoulder briefly as they were behind him at some distance. Farrow returned with a tray.
"Those two men that came in just now." Dustin said, Farrow looking about and seeing them in the corner.
"What about them?" Farrow asked softly, setting tea out with a small plate of scones.
"They seem a bit odd to you, don't they?"
"Yes, they do actually. Nothing I can put my finger on, but they are out of place."
"Yes, it seems that way to me as well. Do you know them?"
"No they arrived yesterday before you did actually. They are trying to get passage across the Channel from what they said. I sent them to the Harbor Master's office, and then they returned and secured a room from me. They're a couple of doors away from you actually."
"There's something not right with them, they give me an uneasy feeling."
"They were a little difficult with me yesterday as well. I wonder." Farrow said softly. "Do you require anything else?"
"No, thank you for this. They smell wonderful." Dustin smiled up at Farrow.
"I'll be sure to tell my cook that." Farrow smiled back and put a hand on Dustin's shoulder, giving it a pat and then walked toward the two men in the corner. "Can I get you gentlemen something?" Farrow asked as drew near them.
"Two pints, if you will landlord." The cloaked figure said without looking up. Farrow nodded and then walked toward the long counter.
"The boy is with Callum." Ezri whispered, leaning toward the cloak as he watched the back of Dustin.
"Yes, he is. He may be able to give us certain information. I think I will approach him and ask him a few questions."
"Perhaps if you were to keep him occupied, I could slip upstairs and slice Callum's throat if he is that ill." Ezri growled with a whisper.
"And I thought I told you to be patient. Callum's time will come and soon."
"I am losing my patience quickly, Maupin. You had better do whatever you are going to do and very soon, or I may act without you."
"You do, my friend and it will be the last thing you will ever do in this world, I assure you." The voice in the cloak was firm and even, sending a chill down Ezri's spine.
"I will wait, as you require."
"That is good. Keep your anger in control for another day." He said in that even voice, as Farrow walked up, carrying to tankard. "Thank you, landlord."
"You are welcome, sir."
"I was going to ask, that young lad over there near the door, do you know him?"
"Yes, why?" Farrow asked softly.
"He seems familiar to me. Does he have a traveling companion with him?"
"He does." Farrow answered softly, narrowing his eyes at the cloak.
"And who might that be?"
"Why do you ask?"
"That is of our concern, landlord." Ezri growled looking up at Farrow, making his scar grow more menacing looking. Farrow tensed seeing it.
"I am not in the habit of gossip when it comes to my regular patrons, sir." Farrow said in a firm tone.
"We mean no offense, landlord, I assure you." The cloak said, putting a hand on Ezri's arm, calming him.
"As I have said, I run a quiet house. I will have no trouble here."
"And we ask for none." The cloaked voice said. He moved as if lifting his head, seeing someone else coming in the doorway. Farrow turned and looked as well, seeing Dr. Crawford.
"Excuse me, gentlemen." Farrow said and walked away toward Crawford.
"If you are not careful, Ezri, you will compromise us and what we are trying to do."
"I grow tired of this...lurking about in the shadows." Ezri growled.
"Perhaps you should take a lesson from your dead brother. He was quite good at lurking about in shadow. You would do well to follow his example." Ezri just stared at the cloaked figure and then growled his disgust at the suggestion.
"I prefer a good fight."
"I'm certain that you do, but for now, you will follow my lead, do you understand me?"
"Yes, Maupin." Ezri turned away from the center of the room and faced more toward the corner that they occupied, growling.
Dustin stood up from the table and put out a hand toward Dr. Crawford. Crawford took it, looking at the fare that Dustin had on the table.
"Would you care to join me, Doctor?"
"Most kind of you Mr. Perkins." Crawford said, dropping his bag on the chair nearest him. He smiled at Farrow as he approached. "Morning, Farrow."
"Morning, good Doctor." Farrow said as he came up behind Dustin. "Are you joining our young master for tea?"
"Yes, he has been gracious enough to invite me." Crawford smiled at both of them.
"Then I'll shall fetch some more, make yourself comfortable, Doctor." Farrow nodded and turned away.
"Well, he certainly has made a change for the better." Crawford said as he pulled out a chair, sitting down across from Dustin.
"That's what I've been told as well. But, not having known him when he was officer aboard the Dover, I have no true idea."
"Well, let's just say, he has developed...manners." Crawford smiled. Dustin smiled as well. "So, how is our patient today?"
"He seems to be having difficulty with his breathing. He had a very bad night as well. He kept dreaming, it made him very restless most of the night."
"Hmmm, unfortunate. It must be what I gave him to make him sleep. As far as his difficulty with his breathing, I had to sew him rather tightly to make sure he holds together. In a few days, I should be able to release them, once his body begins to heal itself. What is he doing now?"
"He was beginning to sleep when I came down here a while ago. I got him to where he was more comfortable. He was mentioning that he was hungry earlier."
"Excellent, a good sign at least. He can have simple fare, nothing spicy. I'll speak to Farrow about it and see what his cook can do for him. How are you doing?"
"I am well, thank you."
"Your jaw still aching?"
"Not as bad as it was. The ringing in my ear has gone away for the most part as well."
"Very good." Crawford said as he looked Dustin's face over carefully. "It seems that that second blow to the head that night during the engagement helped you more than I did. I'm rather pleased. Show me your teeth." Dustin pulled back his lips. "Does that hurt any?" Dustin shook his head. "Excellent. I think you are doing very well indeed." Crawford sat back as Farrow returned with more tea and scones. He set them down in front of Crawford, and smiled. "Farrow, I was just saying to Mr. Perkins about what we can give the Captain to eat. Can your cook do simple bland fare, nothing to heavy?"
"I'm certain he can, Doctor."
"Very good. I'll draw a list of a few things for him for the next few days and leave it, if that will be alright?"
"Quite, Doctor. I can see to it right away."
"Most accommodating of you, Farrow. I'm certain that the Captain will appreciate that as well."
"It's the least I can do for him, Doctor. As I said to someone earlier, I have some ground to make up with Quintan."
"I see." Crawford said as he lifted his tea. "These scones smell excellent."
"Yes, our young master here made comment of that as well. I'll pass it along to my cook. He likes to hear when patrons are pleased with efforts." Farrow smiled, turning and walking away.
"Yes, he has changed, considerably." Crawford said quietly. Dustin looked over his shoulder at Farrow. "Hmmm, I wonder why." Crawford shook his head slightly.
Dustin was sitting at the foot of the bed on the opposite corner from Callum as Doctor Crawford was slowly looking over Callum's stitches, humming to himself now and then as he probed Callum's chest and stomach with his fingers, checking the tightness and the color about them.
"It is truly a wonder Quintan, how you are still alive after all of this." Crawford said softly.
"I stay alive so you may write about it in your medical journal, Arthur." Callum said softly, as Crawford continued to probe. Dustin smiled hearing Callum, Callum winked at Dustin. "I am also here to keep you amused and give you something to do. I wouldn't want you to get bored and stale while we wait to sail again."
"Very gracious of you, Quintan, I'm sure. But I have other things to attend to as well." Dustin turned and looked as he heard a knock at the door. He got up and walked over and opened it, going wide eyed.
"Mr. Perkins, a pleasure to see you."
"And you, Lt. Eddington." Dustin replied softly. He stepped out of the way of the door.
"May I see the Captain?"
"Certainly, sir." Dustin letting him, along with another officer.
"Captain Callum. I'm sorry to disturb you, sir." Eddington said, seeing Callum on the bed half naked with Crawford sitting next to him.
"Paul." Callum said as he smiled. "I'm sorry to receive you properly, this was Dr. Crawford's idea I assure you."
"Yes, I'm certain it was." Eddington said softly with wide eyes. "Are you alright, sir? I had heard that you were injured but not so severely."
"Dr. Crawford thinks it's only a few scratches, and that I am trying to get out of my regular duties. I am well, as you can clearly see."
"Yes, I see." Eddington said, with a raised eyebrow.
"What brings you here, Paul?" Callum asked.
"His Lordship requests that you come to London right away and give a full report." Eddington said. Crawford turned and looked at Eddington with a glare.
"You can go back and tell His Lordship, that the Captain will not be going anywhere for at least a week, and if he needs a full report then he can come here and get it from the Captain."
"It's alright, Arthur." Callum said softly, putting a hand on Crawford's arm. "I'm sorry, Paul, but I am under Doctor's orders not to move about. I can write out a full report for His Lordship and send it along in short order, if he wishes."
"I will convey to His Lordship what the Doctor has said, I assure you. And I will make certain that His Lordship understands fully."
"I thank you, Paul." Callum smiled.
"This is Lt. Pallow, he's with the paymaster's office from the Admiralty. He wishes to have you sign for the tally for the captured ships during your engagements."
"I see." Callum said, nodding toward Pallow. "I do apologize for my state of undress, Lieutenant."
"It is quite understandable, Captain. If you wish, we can do this at another time before we return to London." Pallow bowed his head slightly.
"No, you've come all this way. I'm certain you have other things to attend to. I would not want to inconvenience you and make you come back."
"Most kind of you, Captain." Pallow said and opened a satchel that he held. He removed a document and stepped forward toward the bed, handing it to Callum. Callum took it and looked at it, reading it. "You will see that there are five ships listed there, all of the ships that were towed back to port in London as well as the ship that Captain Barrish sailed back to Portsmouth. All of them have been weighed out for value to His Majesty's Navy and if you agree with the tally, I will have you sign your agreement at the bottom of the tally. Callum scanned down further and saw the total of the tally, and raised an eyebrow at it.
"This can't be right." Callum said, then looked up at Pallow, who raised his eyebrows and cocked his head slightly. "Has this been verified?"
"I assure you, Captain, that it has. A few times, to make certain there was no mistake. You will see that it's not just the ship's themselves, sir, it's what they carried in their holds. It will be of great use to His Majesty."
"Yes, but..." Callum said, lowering the paper. "I never would have thought."
"Apparently, neither did His Lordship when he made the agreement before the ships were actually searched by those at the London port. His Lordship was quite unnerved by the discovery of the cargos they contained after writing the agreement out, naming you as the only recipient of the tally."
"Well, I can understand why he might be upset then."
"Upset?" Eddington asked, with a wide smile, "He positively had a fit over it."
"I would have given anything to see that." Callum smiled.
"It was entertaining to say the least." Eddington smiled and rolled his eyes.
"I'm certain. Well, Lieutenant, if you are certain that this is correct, then I will sign it certainly. What about my officers and crew?"
"Perhaps you don't understand, sir. There is a separate tally for them, that is just for you, in your name alone."
"You must be joking." Callum said with wide eyes. "I thought tallies were for all involved, officers and men."
"Except in this case, sir. There has never been such a tally as this, except when Drake himself took the Armada and turned it over to the Queen. He apparently almost bankrupted the royal treasury." Pallow gave a half smile. "As far as your officers and crew, we have found most of them as they have returned to their homes." Pallow said and then looked at Dustin. "I say, you must be a member of the Dover are you not, sir?"
"I am." Dustin said, with a smile.
"I have the tally here for you as well. I am also looking for a Lt. Tomlin, your second, I believe."
"He is across the hall actually in his room, would you like me to fetch him?" Dustin asked.
"If you wouldn't mind, thank you." Pallow nodded toward Dustin who smiled back. Dustin stepped through the doorway, knocking softly. As he waited, he looked down the hallway and saw the two men, who looked out of place at the first doorway. They all stared at one another for a long moment and then the door opened in front of Dustin.
"What is it?" Tomlin asked with bleary eyes.
"There are some gentlemen here from the Admiralty about the tally. They asked me to fetch you." Dustin said, half looking at Tomlin, the other look was toward the two men. "Thomas, do you know them?" Tomlin looked out the door and saw them both as they entered the room they were standing in front of.
"Not well. I have seen them and have walked with them, yesterday at the docks. Why?"
"There is something odd about them." Dustin almost whispered as Tomlin stepped out, closing his door behind him.
"I thought that as well."
"I will ask Mr. Dunhill about them later." Dustin said and turned back and stepped out of the hall into his room and rejoined the group.
"Are you Lt. Tomlin?" Pallow asked.
"Yes, I am."
"I am Lt. Pallow, of the paymasters office at the Admiralty. Do you have a moment to go over your part of the tally from the captured vessels?"
"I do, sir." Tomlin nodded and then saw Eddington. Tomlin smiled, "Lt. Eddington, how are you?" Tomlin asked as he put out a hand. Eddington returned his smiled and took his hand.
"I am well, Mr. Tomlin. You look fit."
"Thank you." Tomlin said, smiling.
"Well, let's get down to it, shall we?" Pallow said, pulling another paper from his satchel. "Let's see, Lt. Thomas Tomlin....yes, here we are. Lieutenant, if you would look at this, and if you are in agreement, you may sign here next to your name." Tomlin looked and his eyes went wide, his mouth opened.
"Are you certain this is correct?" Tomlin looked up into Pallow's face, he nodded and gave a half smile. "This is more than a king's ransom!" Tomlin was more than wide eyed, with a look of astonishment. "Captain, I..." Callum just smiled and nodded.
"You earned it, sir. I assure you that it is correct. If you agree with it, you may sign here." Pallow said, pointing next to Tomlin's name.
"Yes, I'll sign it." Pallow handed him a loaded quill. Tomlin leaned down with the paper and signed on the line using the small table. He handed the quill back and the paper. Pallow opened the satchel and pulled out a bundle of notes and started to peel them off, counting as he went. He reached the amount and handed them to Tomlin. Tomlin gulped as he took them. Pallow looked at Dustin.
"Now, are you ready, Mr. Perkins?"
"I suppose I am." Dustin said, seeing Tomlin as he stepped back, still looking at the group of notes he held in his hand. Dustin stepped forward, looking at the paper, not really knowing what it said. It was all a blur to him.
"Now, if you agree to this, sign here or make your mark." Pallow said, handing Dustin the quill. Dustin took it and put it to the paper and began to slowly write out his name. It took great effort from him, but he finally did it, handing the quill back, looking at Pallow, smiling at what he had done. "Excellent, you're able to write your name." Pallow smiled.
"Yes, the Captain has been teaching me how to read and write."
"Excellent." Pallow said in a soft voice and peeled off quite a few notes, handing them to Dustin. Dustin looked at them with wide eyes.
"This is more money than I have ever seen in my entire life."
"You can do anything that you want now, Mr. Perkins, anything at all. It's quite a start in your young life, isn't it?" Eddington said, whispering into Dustin's ear. Dustin nodded as his eyes welled.
"Now, Doctor Crawford, would you care to sign the tally as well." Pallow asked.
"Certainly." Crawford said, looking over the tally and then back at Callum. "I must say, it certainly pays to sail with you, Quintan. I shall have to do everything in my power to keep you alive, so we can do this again." Crawford said, giving Callum a side glance. Crawford took the quill and signed next to his name. "This will cover some replacement supplies I should think." Crawford smiled and then handed the quill and paper back to Pallow. Pallow set them aside and then peeled off quite a bit of notes, handing them to Crawford. Crawford smiled as he took them. "Thank you, Lieutenant." Crawford said and put the notes into his bag at his feet. Pallow nodded.
"Now, all that is left is you, Captain. Would you care to sign your tally?" Pallow said as he dipped the quill and tapped it on the inkwell. He held it out for Callum. Callum sighed softly and then reached for it.
"Who am I to argue, I suppose?" Callum asked as he took the quill, checking again where to sign and then put the tip to the paper he held. He signed and handed both back to Pallow. Pallow took them and went back to the satchel. He pulled out a leather pouch and handed it Callum.
"It was precounted for you, Captain, but if you would so kind as to count it again, to be certain that there is no mistake."
"I will take your word for it, Lieutenant." Callum said, "If you can't trust the Admiralty, who can you trust?" Callum smiled, raising an eyebrow. Pallow looked at him and gave him a brief smile in return.
"If you are certain, Captain." Pallow said, looking a little nervous now.
"I'm certain, Lieutenant." Callum said, raising an eyebrow. "Now, gentlemen, if you will excuse me, I feel the need to rest myself after the good Doctor here has worked me over yet once again." Callum said with a groan. "Paul, when are you returning to London?"
"Tomorrow, I suppose. His Lordship is waiting."
"I see. Well, perhaps you will also give him my compliments, along with Dr. Crawford's orders."
"I will certainly do that, yes." Eddington smiled wide. "It was good to see you, Quintan. I look forward to visiting you again, very soon."
"As do I, Paul." Callum said, reaching out his hand. Eddington came closer and took it, giving it a firm grasp. They smiled at one another and Eddington pulled his hand back. "Lt. Pallow, a pleasure to meet you, for certain." Callum held out his hand, Pallow came around Eddington and took it.
"The pleasure was truly mine, Captain. It is not often one meets...a living legend." Pallow bowed his head and then took his hand back. Callum nodded toward him, lowering his hand, resting it. Pallow gathered up the papaers and put the quill away and the inwell, in the satchel and closed it, securing the straps and buckles. They walked toward the door, Pallow following Eddington. Pallow stopped and looked back at the four in the room. "Gentlemen, on behalf of the Admiralty and His Majesty, I thank you for your great service to our country." Pallow said, and bowed deeply. The others bowed back, except for Callum, who only nodded his head. They closed the door, leaving the small group alone.
"Well, I would say this is cause for celebration." Crawford smiled. "Gentlemen, would you care to join me downstairs, except for you, Captain? I'd be happy to purchase the first round, I think I might be able to afford it." Crawford smiled and they all chuckled.
"I would be honored to join you, Doctor." Tomlin smiled.
"Not too much now, Thomas," Callum smiled as he settled further in the bed, "remember last night."
"Yes, I do recall part of it for certain." Tomlin said, rolling his eyes. Crawford smiled and opened the door, going out, he stopped.
"I will check on you before I leave, Quintan."
"Thank you, Arthur. I shall be right here still." Callum gave him a brief smile. Crawford frowned and then walked out with Tomlin. Dustin walked over and came close to Callum, giving him excited eyes.
"Quintan, I don't know what to say." Dustin all but whispered.
"Say nothing, my love." Callum smiled looking into those sparkling eyes. "You earned every bit of it with your masterful handling of the wheel. The mission would not been a success without you. This is the only time I have regrets in thinking it was best to leave you at home in Birmingham. Without you there, I'm certain we might have had disastrous result."
"Thank you, but all of this, what will I do with it?"
"Well, I would say, save it, bank it. You have plenty of time to think about what you want to spend it on." Callum smiled. Dustin leaned down and gave him a kiss, he pulled back. "Do you have the key to the room?"
"Yes?" Dustin narrowed his eyes.
"Good, from now on, we keep the door locked at all times. With this amount of money about, the walls will have ears and we might have issue with being robbed."
"I didn't think of that."
"Yes, it is entirely possible." Callum smiled. "Now, go and join Thomas and Arthur downstairs.
They will be looking for you to celebrate with them over their good fortune. Lock me in the room, I will be safe and sound in here."
"I will." Dustin whispered and put his money in Callum's hand. "I know you will keep it safe for me."
"With my very life." Callum smiled. "I will see you when you return."
"Alright." Dustin said softly and then kissed Callum again. He walked to the door and opened it, pulling the key out of his pocket, he closed the door and Callum heard the lock turn. Dustin tried it from the outside and it wouldn't open. Callum smiled and closed his eyes.