Another Way to Serve
Part 3
by Kellie Winkler

Prologue

"Two years!" Bush said to himself as he left the room honoring
Archie Kennedy's reinstatement in the Navy. He watched as Horatio and
Archie left together, heading for the pub across the street. Emily
waited for him but he knew he had to speak with Archie. Archie had
to know what had happened to his Emily. "What do I do?" Bush hated this.
This was the worst thing he could imagine! Would Archie hate him for
taking his dearest love? Would Emily leave him for her first love?
Bush wanted to die as he entered the pub. He cleared his throat,
nervously announcing his presence. Six pairs of eyes fell on him as
he spoke. "Good evening gentlemen. I didn't mean to disturb you."

Archie greeted him with a friendly smile. "Nonsense Mr. Bush! Pull
up a chair and join us!"

Horatio felt his stomach. He knew why Bush was here. He
could sense it by the way Bush held his emotionless face.

Pellew chimed in, "Certainly sir, would you not have a drink in
celebration?" How could he refuse the commodore? Bush nodded, finally,
and took a chair. Sitting directly across from Horatio he caught the
look of worry on his face. Did Horatio know? He had barely mentioned
Emily to him but he had talked about her. After becoming engaged to
her, he remembered the celebration. Horatio and he had consumed a
bit more alcohol than intended one night on the ship. But he knew
his heart felt love for Emily had been spilled to Horatio. And now
Archie was buying him a drink. He didn't deserve to be in the same
room as him!

"To friends!" Archie cheered.

Bush raised his rum but saw that look from his friend. Horatio knew,
he was certain. "Mr. Kennedy," Bush said placing his drink in front
of him. Archie grinned happily at him -- a bit to happy. "Bloody
hell!" Bush swore under his breath. "If you'll excuse me sirs, I
really must take my leave."

"Good evening to you Mr. Bush," Pellew replied, watching him
curiously. Bush quickly disappeared outside and paused, leaning
against the building.

"Mr. Bush, is there something the matter?"

He turned to see a concerned Hornblower staring at him. "Well, I."

He cut himself off and stared at the ground. Horatio stood silently
waiting. "You know about Emily." His gaze bore into Horatio's brown
eyes.

"Yes," he said simply. Silence passed between them before Bush spoke
again.
"We were to marry next month. But now." He trailed off once more.

"But now?" Horatio prodded.

Bush turned away from him, ashamed. "But now, I can not. She will
marry Kennedy."

Horatio's heart was breaking. He remembered Bush and
the night he had proclaimed his love for Emily James.
"At least tell Archie."

"No," Bush faced him again. "I must tell Emily first. She deserves
that much. I'll have to answer to Mr. Kennedy tomorrow."

Horatio nodded, "Good luck." He reached out and shook his hand as if
he would never see him again. Sadly, he watched as a crestfallen Bush
crossed the street. Inside he rejoiced for Archie's new life and
cried for Bush's broken heart.

"What was that about?" Archie said watching Horatio take his place
next to him. Pellew, too, was concerned shooting a quizzical look at
him.

Horatio smiled as he spoke. "Mr. Bush has a personal problem he must take care of
immediately."

Archie wrinkled his nose. "Nothing serious I hope." Horatio didn't
answer only took a sip of his drink.

Bush knew what he had to do. He would not let anyone think he was a
dishonorable man. Purposefully, he strode up to the James' home and
knocked. Christopher didn't answer the door. In fact, no one did. It
was only eight o'clock. Surely, they were still awake? Slightly worried,
Bush rapped on the door again, a bit harder. Finally, he heard the
bolt unlatch. But the servant boy didn't greet him, Admiral James
did.

"Sir?!" Bush was taken aback.


"I'm sorry William," He now called his future son-in-law by his
first name, "it has been a grave day."

Bush agreed. "Yes sir, it has."

James gave him a questioning look. "You have heard then?"

"Yes, I was there."

The admiral shook his head. "We are talking of two different matters
here. Christopher died this afternoon."

Bush was flabbergasted and the look on his face showed it. "I would
invite you in, but things are very chaotic at the moment."

"Yes sir. I'm so sorry, I didn't know."

James gave him a slight smile. "Come by tomorrow. Emily will be
better then. Right now she is devastated."

"I will sir, take care."

James closed the door and Bush lingered on the steps a moment
longer. "Another day of torment! I don't think I can take this." He
hated himself. Inside his heart was dying. He was about to lose two
friends -- Archie and Emily. Slowly he stepped off the porch and into
the dark night. His thoughts raced through his mind as he walked
aimlessly. Two years ago he had never heard of Emily James. But now,
she was all he could think about. His every thought revolved around
her. She was his reason for living. "I need to get drunk," he spat
and headed back to the pub where Archie's party had been.

Nearly midnight but the party was still going strong. Bush spotted
Archie first, standing on top of a table making a fool of himself.
But where was Horatio? Swooning women soon answered his question. In
the far corner several members of the opposite sex surrounded him as
he danced a reel for them. They cheered and clapped, egging him on.
"Good heavens," Bush thought to himself and ordered a bottle of rum.

Quickly he pulled the cork from the bottle and took a big swig. He coughed as the
liquid burned his throat. No, he was not a drinker! Taking his bottle he walked over to Archie who was spouting lines as if he were an actor.

"Mr. Kennedy, please get down before you break your neck!"


Archie's glazed eyes focused on the admirer talking to him. It took
a few seconds for the recognition to hit him. "Mr. Bush! I knew you'd
come back!" Archie was completely wasted. "Horatio!" he yelled at
at the top of his lungs, even though his friend was only six feet away, "Bushy's
come back!"

Horror crossed the older man's features. "I don't think I care for
that title Mr. Kennedy!" he retorted and helped Archie to safety.
With both hands the young man grabbed hold of Bush's free hand and
shook it furiously.

"Of course, Bushy! I knew I could count on you."

He nearly fell as Bush guided him to a seat. Suddenly, Horatio sprang from
his corner and through the swooning gals, nearly leaping over to
them. The astonished look on Bush's face quickly turned to amusement.

"Bush! Come back to us, eh. Guess I owe you a drink Archie."
He slapped Bush on the back, almost knocking him over, and smiled a
lopsided grin at him.

"You bet on me?' he chugged down more rum.

Archie nodded excitedly. "Yes! And I won! I won! More rum Horatio.
Pay up!" Horatio did as ordered and swaggered over to the bar.

"Where is Pellew?" Bush asked suddenly remembering his attendance
earlier.

Archie leaned close to his ear and whispered, "He had to go. His
wife needed him." Archie winked and chuckled at his own joke. Bush
gulped more rum. Slowly, with help from the rum his resentment of Archie was fading.

Horatio set another bottle in front of him. "Drink up men! To
Nelson!" he cheered. All three stood up and toasted.

"To Pellew!" Archie announced. They all cheered, swallowing the rum.

Now they waited for Bush to give a toast. He raised his bottle of
rum. His feelings of hurt and anger still swirled around Archie,
Emily and the Renown.

"To whoever pushed Captain Sawyer!"


It was a good thing the pub was nearly deserted for if any Naval
officer had heard that, Bush would have been thrown in prison.
Horatio sank into his chair, shocked. But Archie raised his glass.

"To Wellard!"

Bush couldn't believe his ears. Wellard had pushed Sawyer? But it
made perfect sense. He downed another shot and plopped into his
seat. Archie smiled happily and nearly fell into his.
Horatio was suddenly sober. "Archie, you mustn't say such things,"
he warned in a hushed tone. But nothing could penetrate the rum.

Bush turned on Horatio. "But it's the truth! Why not speak it!"
He knew it wasn't the time or the place, but the alcohol was
speaking.

"You weren't there. You don't know," Horatio rebuked.

"Oh really!" Bush was brewing for a fight. "As 2nd officer I should
have been there!"
Archie finally heard the conversation and butted in. "Where were
you, the head?"

Bush burned at his accusing tone. "No! I was on deck doing my duty,
which is something you wouldn't know about!"
Horatio blinked, knowing where this was headed.

Now it was Archie's turn to get angry. "Duty! I died and came back
to life for duty! I took the blame for duty!" He rose angrily from
his chair, yelling down at the seated Bush. "I lost everything for
duty!"

Bush jumped to his feet ready to strike. "But you failed your duty!
Left poor Emily behind! You bastard!"

Horatio tried to calm the drunks down. "Gentlemen, please!" But it
was too late as Archie raged, slamming his fist against Bush,
connecting with the man's right eye. Tables and chairs were knocked
over as Bush sailed into them. Archie stood over him and ranted on.

"I love Emily and that was not my fault! DUTY! Ha! I will show you
duty!" He strode out of the bar furious. Horatio let him go,
kneeling down beside Bush. "Oh dear."

Bush rubbed his eye and slowly sat up. Blood poured from a cut on
his lip. "Are you alright?" Horatio asked.

"I'll live." He stared after Archie, suddenly remorseful for what he
had just done. "Please go after him. Emily will die if she sees him
like that."

Horatio nodded and ran out the door.

Chapter 1

Light poured into a tiny room, announcing the afternoon. It finally
began to register to the sleeping person in the bed. Bush cautiously
opened one eye, then realized he couldn't open his right eye. A
groan escaped his lips and suddenly he inhaled in pain. Carefully he
touched his mouth and felt the huge welt his upper lip become.
Investigating further, his fingers moved over his cheek and to
his swollen eye. It bulged out of its socket. Bush dropped his hand
to his side as the events of last night began to reassemble.

"What have I done?'

His head throbbed as if someone was whacking it with a belaying pin.
He felt awful. No worse, he knew death felt exactly like he did at
that moment. Ever so slowly he sat up. "Where am I?" He had been
staying in a room but this wasn't it. Every muscle in his body
protested the tiniest movement. He ran a hand through his disheveled
hair and sighed. His mind took in his surroundings and he rose from
the bed to a water basin in the corner. Gingerly, he splashed water
over his bruised face. Taking the towel he hobbled over to a small
mirror to inspect the damage. He barely recognized the face staring back at him.
His entire right eye was a dark purple and his upper lip a definite deep blue.

"God I look like Styles!" he said to himself.

A light rap on the door made him jump unexpectedly. He opened the
door a crack and was relieved to see a friendly pair of brown eyes
staring at him.

"Well, you look very becoming!" Horatio teased, though his manner was serious. Bush sighed and limped back to the bed.

"And I suppose this is your doing?" he said pointing about the room.
Quickly Horatio entered and closed the door.

"Indeed it is. After what happened, I couldn't let you return to the
James' residence looking like that."

Bush touched his lip and winced. "No. Thank you," he held his hand
on the welt as he spoke.

"Here," Horatio presented him with a steak. Gratefully, Bush took it
and placed it over the right side of his face, lying down in the process.

"How's Kennedy?"

Horatio pulled a chair along side him. "He's still passed out in the
next room."

"What!" Bush tried to ignore the pain as he spoke. "Next room?"

Horatio grinned. "Both of you drank enough rum to kill an elephant
last night. I'm surprised you remember anything."

Bush closed his good eye. "I remember a rather feisty blond sailor
kicking my arse."

A chuckle from Horatio echoed in his still throbbing head.
"You deserved it. Calling Mr. Kennedy a," he cleared his throat,"
Bastard? Yes that was the word."

Bush lifted the hunk of meat off his face and stared at him
dumbfounded. "I didn't?"

"You did."

Bush placed the steak back over his face and groaned. "I think he
accused me of falling in the head or something."

"Well it doesn't matter what was said," Horatio was deadly serious
now. "You have to face Archie, sooner or later."

"I know," came the humble reply.

A thump from the next room brought Horatio to his feet. "Sounds like
Archie's awake. I'd best see to him."

He reached the door before Bush spoke. "He didn't make it to Emily
last night did he?"

Another chuckle escaped from Horatio. "No, he did not make it to the
street."

Bush struggled to sit up. "What do you mean?"

"Mr. Bush, you and Mr. Kennedy are quite a pair. Seems in his
inebriated condition, Archie lost his footing and now the left side
of his face looks about like the right side of yours!" And with an
amused expression, Horatio left Bush to his misery.


Archie stumbled into a chair as Horatio entered the room. "Good
morning! Or should I say afternoon!" he exclaimed getting the
reaction he had hoped for. Archie clamped his hands over his ears.

"Whoever you are, you should be shot," he groaned. Horatio held out
a steak for him. "I'm not hungry," came the response.

Horatio grabbed his hand and slapped the meat in it, then forced it
on his left eye. "Ow!" Archie whined.

"Well it's for your own good! I hope this teaches you a lesson."

Archie glared up at him with his good eye. "Never become
acquainted with anyone named Horn Blow Er." His voice dripped with sarcasm.

Placing his hands on his hips Horatio scolded," No! Never do battle
with a bottle of rum. Or in your case, three bottles!"

Achie groaned and covered his face with the beef. "The rum won."
Suddenly he removed the steak and his face began to turn green.
"Horatio, I don't feel so good."

Quickly his sober friend scanned the room snatching an empty basin
for him. "Here!" he thrust it on Archie's lap just in time for him to see the
contents of his friend's dinner from last night.

Chapter 2

Horatio did his best to help Archie with his hangover. But after
half an hour he decided to find some food, since Archie had
thoroughly cleaned out his stomach of any substance.
As he left the room he nearly ran into Bush. Before he could ask, Bush spoke.

"I'm off to see Miss James." And with that he hastily climbed down
the stairs and out of Horatio's sight.

A cold wind hit him as he crossed the street. It was a cloudy, gloomy
day as he buttoned up his naval coat. His face was still swollen but
at least he could open his right eye. Looks of curiosity followed
him and he pulled his hat lower over his face. Reaching the James'
home he collected his thoughts before knocking. "You don't have to
do this," he thought. "Marry Emily today!" This was the hardest
thing he had ever faced and already he felt guilt and shame at his
actions. He had stolen another man's future wife. But the other man
happened to be a friend. "Hell", he swore and stiffened as the door
opened. A new servant took his hat and led him to the study. As he
entered, Emily and the admiral were engaged in funeral preparations.

"Afternoon sir, Emily," he greeted solemnly.

At first glance, Emily smiled, then gasped in shock at his beaten
face. "Dear God in heaven! William, what has happened to you!" She
rushed to his side and immediately forced him to sit on the sofa.

"It's nothing."

The admiral shook his head and excused himself from the couple's
presence. A low chuckle was heard from the hall as he left. Emily
took his face in her hands and turned it looking over the damage.

"Nothing! I don't call that nothing Lt. Bush!" She almost sounded
like a captain barking orders.

He tried to smile and reassure her but it hurt too much. Instead he
took her hands and held them tight. "I was so sorry to hear of
Christopher," he said changing the subject.

She sighed and looked away. "Yes. He was like a brother to me. Did
father tell you how he died?"

"No."

"He was run down in the street. A tragic and senseless accident. I
suppose he wasn't paying attention and just stepped right in front
of that dung cart!"

Bush gave her a grave nod. "That's horrible."

"Yes." She turned her brown eyes back to him. "But look at you. Oh
Will, how did this happen?"

Here it comes, the moment he was dreading. He was about to rip out
his heart.

"Emily," he began," I have some very shocking news to tell you."

"Yes?" Her eyebrows shot up in concern.

He took a deep breath. "There's no easy way to say this. Archie
Kennedy is alive."

She didn't react for a second, but then smiled.

"Oh Will! That's not very funny. Archie died almost two years ago!
Stopping pulling my leg."

"Oh God! She doesn't believe me," he thought.

He didn't return her smile. "I would never lie to you about such a
thing. He is alive Emily, and still very much in love with you."
Every word tore him apart, but he had to say it. "I cannot marry
you. I'm sorry Emily."

She sat in stunned silence, the words still not registering in her
mind. "Archie alive? I can't believe it." Her gaze fell to the wall.

 

"He is at The Dragon now if wish to see him. Room Two."

"Yes!"

Her mind was a total blur and she flew out of the room to
find her father, leaving the crushed Bush to himself. He couldn't
stay there. It hurt too much. Slowly he rose from the sofa and found
his hat.


"Goodbye Emily," he whispered and gave the house one last look
before walking away.

Well, he'd done his duty and his honor was now restored.

"To hell with honor," he thought bitterly and strode toward the docks.

He was going to get as far away as he could. "Duty
calls," he sighed. The Retribution would give him something to do
instead of wallow in pity and despair. He climbed into a boat and
watched the shore get smaller.

Emily hurried back into the study only to find it empty. "William?"
Puzzled, she turned back to her father. "Where did he go? I wanted us to
see Archie together."

James shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe he is headed there now,
dearest."

She hugged him and agreed. "Yes. I can't believe it!"

"Neither can I."

"I'll be back soon. The Dragon isn't far -- I'll walk." She ran out
the door and made her way quickly to the pub. Evening would soon be
upon them. As she entered the pub, her heart was pounding. What would she
say? What would Archie say? Her dear Archie, alive!

Chapter 3

She climbed up the stairs to the room Bush had told her. Pausing, she
held her breath and knocked.

"Just come in Horatio!" Archie said impatiently as he swung the door open.

His eyes grew wide. "Emily!" he whispered.

She threw her hands over her mouth and shook her head in disbelief, tears welling up in her eyes.

"Oh dear God, please tell me you aren't a ghost." Her voice cracked
on the last word.

They stood stunned before each other until Emily ran into his open
arms, a blubbering baby.

"Archie! You are alive!" she cried as he held her tight.

"Oh Em! I have been dead without you," he whispered in her ear.

They clung to each other not wanting to let go. Archie had dreamt of
this forever. Never forgetting his love, not for an instant. It was
what kept him going as a spy.

Finally her sobs began to quiet down and she pulled away. But Archie
pulled her back and kissed her. It took her breath away as his
passion enveloped her. Her emotions spun about her. She was happy
and sad all at the same time. Someone cleared his throat, interrupting their embrace. They pulled apart to see Horatio standing nervously in the doorway.

"I'm sorry to bother you two, but you forgot to close the door."

Archie's wore a huge grin on his face as he pulled his friend inside,
closing the door.

"Horatio Hornblower, I want you meet Miss Emily James, my future wife."

Horatio shook her hand awkwardly and wondered about Bush. "Lovely to
meet you, Miss."

A happy sigh escaped Archie as he took in every detail of Emily
before him.

"Actually, Archie we need to talk," she said calmly, brushing the last of her tears away.

"Yes!" Archie burst out. Horatio had never seen him like this -- ever. It
was astounding to see Archie at a whole new level of happiness. Was
it love?

"Come Horatio, this calls for a real celebration!" He dragged them both out of the room and to a table downstairs.

"But Archie, you two should be alone," Horatio protested as they
were seated in the nicer part of The Dragon.

"No, my friend," he exclaimed," I want you to get to know Emily."

He smiled eagerly at them. Then he jumped out of his seat. "We need
wine! Be right back. Horatio, why don't you dance with the future
Mrs. Kennedy," he called over his shoulder as he darted away.

"Oh, but Archie," he tried to protest.

Too late -- Archie disappeared into the bar room. Uneasily, Horatio took her hand. "May I have this dance?" She smiled and nodded, following him to the small dance
floor. The piano player gave them a lively jig as they danced together.
Emily moved as a swan to Horatio's nervous steps. "I won't bite, sir. Relax."
He smiled and tried to do as she asked. Several other couples danced about them as they silently moved on the floor till the song ended. Respectfully they bowed to each to other.

"You dance very well," she commented as they returned the table.

"Go ahead," he prodded," for a sailor. You can say it."

She smiled at his joke. "No Archie yet," she said more to herself than her company.

"Miss James?" he questioned.

"Call me Emily, please."

"Emily, I take it Mr. Bush talked to you."

She looked at her hands folded in her lap. "Yes, this afternoon. I
thought he would be here with me."

"Excuse me if I'm being rude, but just who are you engaged to?"


Her eyes suddenly met his. "Um, well William, but only after Archie
was dead. Oh dear, now he is alive." Suddenly her mind comprehended
his question. "Oh God! I'm engaged to both of them!" Horatio sighed at her dilemma.

"I suppose I'll have to make a
choice." Bush's words came back to her at that moment. "I cannot marry you.
I'm sorry Emily."

"No," she gasped. "Oh William, I am so cruel!"

"What are you talking about?" Horatio asked confused.

Her eyes pleaded with him. "This afternoon William broke off the
engagement and I didn't realize it until now. He must think I don't
care about him at all! I didn't say a thing to him! I just let him
leave. He probably thinks I don't love him anymore." She was on the
verge of tears.

At that moment Archie appeared, placing a bottle of wine on the table. He
snatched Emily up and on to the dance floor. "Oh Em! How I have
missed you're beauty and charm." He whisked her about gracefully,
loving every minute. "Say we will be together forever!"

"Archie," she protested.

"Say we will never leave each other again!" He twirled her about
keeping time to the waltz.

"Archie!"

"I'll quit the Navy!" he laughed, overjoyed. "We'll move to London or France!"

Emily froze, making him stop

"Dearest? What is I?.."

"I love William Bush."

He blinked. "Bushy? No," he laughed.

"Oh Archie!' she burst into tears and ran from the room. Archie
turned to give chase, but Horatio stopped him. "Let her go."

"Let her go? You knew?"

Anger clouded his blue eyes and he brushed past his friend.

Emily ran all the way home, the waltz music and Archie's words
resounding in her ears. How could she not love Archie anymore?
Reaching her home, she ran in and up to her room, slamming the
door shut. She flung herself on the bed and cried.

Chapter 4

Archie got as far as the street before he stopped. Night was
falling and the clouds were threatening, but he stood on the corner, unmoving.

"Bush? She loves Bush? What was going on? How could Bush do such a
thing!" The anger was building, like a volcano. All that time on Retribution Bush knew, and yet he didn't tell him. Didn't tell him of Emily or their love. If Emily was in love with Bush, surely he returned her affection.

"Horatio!"

He whirled around and walked back into the pub. Horatio sat were he
had left him ­ at the dinner table. But he was so lost in his own
thoughts he did not notice the agitated Archie standing in front of
him. Archie slammed his fist on the table, making Horatio jump and
stare up at him, startled.

"How long?"

"Archie, calm down!"

"No," his voice was low and threatening. "Tell me how long they have
been together."

"Archie please!" Horatio pleaded trying to appeal to his friend. But
Archie's usual carefree blue eyes raged.

"Damn it Horatio! I have to know!

Slowly Horatio stood up and faced him. "Why? So you can punish
Emily? Or Bush!"

"You don't think I hurt as much as they do?!"

Horatio lowered his voice. "You don't know what they have been
through the last two years. Or what they are going through now."

"Been through!" Archie hissed. "I died damn you! Don't tell me what
THEY have been through!"

Horatio sighed, desperate to find a way to save his friend. "This
isn't the way. Listen to me, Archie."


Suddenly Archie's blue eyes seemed to flame. "Two years! That pig didn't
even give her time to mourn. I'll kill him!"

Archie turned to go but Horatio's hand stopped him. "Let go Horatio."

"No. You can't do this. Think Archie!" He held tightly to Archie's arm.

"I'm warning you," Archie growled.

"Please listen.." Horatio didn't get to finish before Archie lost
his temper. With the strength of a crazed man, Archie slammed his
fist directly into the nearest target he could find ­ Horatio's nose.
With a sickening thud the blow knocked him off his
feet and to the ground. Blood gushed from his nose and he stared,
horrified up at Archie.

"Now stay out of my way!" Archie spun on his heel and left. But just
as he reached the door, someone grabbed his arm again. Horatio held
his ground, glaring down at the surprised Archie.

"Bush was engaged to Emily, but he broke it off today."
With that said, Horatio released him and put his hand under his nose,
trying to stem the gushing blood.

"That doesn't change anything! Why did he not tell me?"

Horatio only tried to tend to his wound, angry that a so-called
friend would do this to him

"I don't know," he finally answered when he realized Archie was waiting for his response.

"Oh Horatio," Archie suddenly felt very guilty and his anger seemed to fade.
"Let me help you."

Back in Room Two, Archie gave Horatio a cloth to hold on his nose.

"I'm sorry. Please forgive me."

Archie's large blue eyes stared at Horatio apologetically. Horatio sat on
the bed, pathetically looking up at him. Who could resist those sad
eyes!
"Bloody Frog," he laughed, forgiving Archie.

"I have to find Bush!" Archie said. Satisfied their friendship was healed, he rushed out the door.

Horatio called after him," Archie! Wait a blasted minute!"

But Archie was already gone -- ready to confront Lt. Bush.

Chapter 5

On board Retribution, Bush made ready for the storm that was fast
approaching.

"She'll be on us soon sir," someone commented.

But Bush was a million miles away, his thoughts on one person -- Emily.

"Sir?" the voice questioned and Bush snapped back to the present.

"Yes! Make sure those cannons are proper tied down now!" he growled.
Quietly he paced the quarterdeck, watching as the lightening
flashed. "Looks like one hell of a storm," he thought. "Hope Emily's
safe." Back again, her image took over, and he sighed.
Suddenly someone yelled out," Rowboat ahoy!"

"What the bloody hell?" Bush dashed to the rail, trying to make out
the tiny speck. "What fool would be out in this gale?" he stated
irately. "You men!" he shouted over the howling wind," Make ready to
give assistance if they need it!" After what seemed an eternity, the
little boat pulled alongside. Bush waited to greet the unexpected
guests.

****************************************

A knock on Room Two brought Horatio to his feet. "Archie," he smiled
and opened the door. Commodore Pellew greeted him with a furrowed
brow. "Sir!" Horatio was totally taken by surprise and the commodore
saw this. He held open the door, inviting Pellew inside.
He stared in concern at Horatio's nose, which was red and a bit
swollen.

"You haven't been brawling have you Commander Hornblower?"

Horatio stood nervously before him, fidgeting with his coat button.

"No sir. Just a misunderstanding between friends."

Pellew was intrigued and his eyebrow shot up.

"You mean Leftenant Kennedy did that to you?" Pellew was amused.

"Um, well, yes sir, but. . . . ."


The commodore cut him off

"Actually that's why I am here. I need to speak with Mr. Kennedy immediately. Where is he?"

Horatio shrugged," I don't know sir."

Pellew didn't like that answer. "You don't know!" He began to
pace about the tiny room. "You must have an idea where he went?"

Horatio swallowed the lump in his throat. How was he going to
explain this?

Chapter 6

Emily's face greeted the astonished Bush as he leaned over the railing.
Quickly he reached out his hand and helped her up the ladder. They stood looking at each other for a moment, not sure what to say or do. Finally Bush spoke, but he
had to yell over the rushing wind.

"What are you doing here?"

"We have to talk. You didn't give me a chance the other night -- just
up and ran out on me!" she shouted back.

He lowered his gaze in guilt. "I'm sorry Emily, but I knew you
wanted to see Archie and I wasn't going to stand in your way." His
words were heard loud and clear as the wind eased. She smiled at the watching crewmembers.
"Can we go below?" she questioned.

Bush reddened as he realized every word they had said had been heard
by all on deck. "Yes." He took her hand and escorted her to the
deserted wardroom. Everyone was on deck because of the storm and he
knew they would not be bothered there.

She removed her cloak as they entered. The storm was the only noise
about them as each waited for the other to speak. Bush stood on
the other side of the room, his back to her. It was as if he wanted to
be as far away from her as he could. He spoke first, still not facing her. He couldn't.

"Why have you come here?"

She almost didn't recognize his voice; it was hard and cold.

"William," she began softly," I had to see you -- to apologize."


"Apologize?" he whirled around. "It is I who should apologize."

"No!" She protested and walked around the table to stand next to
him. He backed away when she stepped closer. "William, I was so
cruel to you!"

"No, it was I. Emily, don't you know Archie is in love with you? He
has been for years now!" His blues eyes were filled with hurt and
pain.


"I know," she sighed her eyes gazing into his, "but I do not love
him anymore. I love you!" Her voice pleaded with him, as did her
brown eyes. She took his hand, but he pulled away from her grasp.


"Emily, don't be a fool!" he stated angry.

She had him backed against a corner.

"I can't explain it, but that day you told me Archie was dead. a part
of me died too. I never thought it possible to move on from that
horrible day. But then you came to see me and it was as if my soul
was returned to me and I had a second chance at life and love." She
grabbed his hands again and this time he held on to her.

"Oh William, you saved my life!"

Tears threatened to fall as she waited for a response from him. Slowly his face softened and his eyes had a twinkle in them. He leaned closer to her and gently placed
a loving kiss upon her lips. His arms wrapped about her body and she
in turn hugged him back. The tears fell as his kiss answered her
question. Did he love her?

They pulled apart from their passion and he smiled down at her.

"I love you more than life itself, but when I saw that Kennedy was alive, I
knew I had to give you up. He is my friend and I. . . . ."

She hushed him by placing a finger over his lips. Gently she reached up and pulled
his lips to hers, letting her passion flow. His kiss was warm and
willing as he enveloped her, once again, in his arms. Time stood
still for the couple locked in their romantic embrace.

"Emily! What are you doing!?" a voice boomed from the doorway.

"Archie," she said in complete shock as Bush stepped back from her.

"Mr. Kennedy, how did you get on board?" he questioned nervously.

"That doesn't matter! What does matter is the duel I am challenging
you to at dawn!" His sapphire eyes were afire with rage.

"No Archie!" Emily cried," This is ridiculous!" She grabbed his arm,
trying to convince him. But he ignored her pleas, glaring at Bush.


Bush spoke calmly, addressing Archie. "I had hoped it wouldn't come
to this." A sighed escaped him as he went on. "But my honor is at
stake. I accept your challenge."

"NO!" Emily screamed. "Are you both mad?"

Archie smiled satisfied. "Very well Mr. Bush, I shall see you at
dawn. Mr. Hornblower will have the location for you."

And with that he turned and left. Emily stared after him, then at
Bush now silent in the corner. She darted from the room and after
Archie.

"You can't do this!" she cried out reaching him on deck. Rain poured
down from the sky, drenching her instantly.

"I have no choice!" he shouted against the storm. "We both love you
Emily! This is the only way." He caressed her chin then climbed over
the rail.

Desperately she clutched his hand. "Please don't do this! I beg you!"

He only shook his head ­ 'no' -- and jerked free of her hands, getting into the
waiting rowboat.

She stood stunned, watching him fade into the dark; his eyes fixed on
her the entire time. Even after he was gone she remained in the
rain; her mind and body numb.

"What have I done?"

Dumbfounded she stumbled below and back to the wardroom. As she
entered her eyes fell on Bush. He was deep in thought, sitting at the
table -- never noticing her until she spoke.

"You can't do it! I won't allow you to!"

His head snapped up at her and he gasped at her appearance. Her
dress clung to her wet body as water ran into a puddle at her feet.
The once perfect hair was plastered to her damp face and hanging
down her back.

"Emily," he rose and went to her, wrapping his coat about her soggy
shoulders. "Come on, sit down," he comforted and helped her into a
chair. She began to cry. "Emily, I have to fight Archie."

"No!" she wept," You don't have to do anything!"

He gave her a quick grin. "Do you want me to be called a coward? To
be labeled a dishonorable man the rest of my life?"

"Yes!" she sobbed.

"If I don't fight Archie, I'm as good as dead. No one will hire me
anywhere. I will lose my naval commission and this ship. I will have
to beg on the streets."

She shook her head but knew he was right. "Let me get you a warm cup
of grog."

Chapter 7

Reaching the shore, Archie quickly returned to the pub. He was
surprised to see Hornblower and Pellew waiting for him inside. He was in no mood to talk and said nothing, waiting for them to approach him. Pellew tried not to show his surprise at Archie's bruised and swollen face.

"Your orders are to report to Indefatigable at once Leftenant
Kennedy," Pellew said wasting no time.

Archie met his stern gaze, barely noticing Horatio's puffed red nose.

"I regret to say I am unable to obey that order sir."

Pellew's eyes darkened. "And why, pray tell, is that?"

"Sir, I have challenged Leftenant Bush to a duel at dawn and must prepare myself."
Horatio's mouth dropped open.

"I see," stated Pellew, not showing his shock.

"If you please sir, I have requested Mr. Hornblower to preside over
the event." Now Horatio's eyes grew wide as his mouth hit the ground.

"Very well. And where is this duel to take place?" Pellew continued his look sterm.

"There's a little meadow just outside the city called Eden Park."

Horatio finally snapped out of his shock.

"Yes. I've heard of it."

"Good," Archie smiled. "You will need to have Bush and his second there by dawn."

Archie was totally serious. Horatio couldn't believe it! He dared
not say anything in front of Pellew.

"Yes, I will see to it."

"Very well, good evening gentlemen." Archie marched off into the
bar, Pellew and Horatio staring after him.

"Better follow him Mr. Hornblower. After what you explained to me
about Emily James, I think you are the only one he will listen to."


Horatio nodded. "Yes sir. I just hope my nose can stand up to it."

Pellew gave him a frown, and Horatio saluted then trotted off after his hotheaded friend.

******************************************

"You can't kill Archie!" Emily said matter-of-factly, sipping her hot
grog.

Bush stared at her curiously from across the table. "Well then I suppose I just let him shoot me?"

"Well, no but," she argued.

"But," he jumped in," but nothing! Archie will kill me. Be sure of
that Emily."

She set her cup down and gazed into it, looking for an answer. "I
can't lose you." Her stare pierced his concerned blue eyes," And I
will not lose Archie again!" I can't live through that!"

He sighed heavily. "Why don't you get some sleep."

"No."

Someone tapped lightly on the door. Styles cautiously poked his head
into the room.

********************************************

"Archie, you can't kill Bush!" Horatio said sternly over his cup of
coffee.

"And why can't I? He stole my future wife!" Archie argued back from
across the table. The pub was deserted except for them.

"All right, say you manage to kill Bush. What then?"

"Then, my dear Horatio, I get Emily, we get married and live happily
ever after."

Horatio set down his half empty cup and sighed.

"You are forgetting one thing lover boy."

"Oh, and what is that Mister All Knowing!?"
A smile of victory crossed Hornblower's face as he spoke.

"She doesn't love you. She loves Leftenant William Bush. And if you kill
the man she loves, I highly doubt she will want to marry you."

His smile grew bigger as his friend's face fell.

"Oh bloody hell! I didn't think about that."

Just then a man clearing his throat stopped their debate. Matthews
stood looking down at them in worry.

*****************************************

Styles swallowed his astonishment at Bush's black and blue face.

"Yes Styles?" Bush asked.

"Report from on deck sir, storm's died down, almost calm again."

He knuckled his forehead and started to shut the door.

"Just a minute Styles," he called out.

"Sir?" he said as he pushed the door fully open.

Bush thought a moment before he spoke, Emily drinking her semi cold
grog quietly.

"Would you consider me a friend?"

"Why yes, sir!" he said instantly.

"Good -- and if I needed a favor from you?"

"Anything sir," the sailor responded again.

Now Bush left his seat and stood in front of Styles.

"And what if I said there's a chance your life might be in danger."
Bush placed a hand on his shoulder in friendship.

"No matter sir, ask away." Styles smiled proudly at him.

"I need you as my second in a duel against Archie Kennedy."

******************************************

"Good evening Matthews," Horatio greeted the man warmly. The older man
nodded.

"Sirs, I was told I could find you here."

"Oh?" Archie's right eyebrow shot up. Matthews hid his curious look
at both men's beaten appearances.

"Yes, I was unable to return to the ship sir, due to the storm. So I
decided to report to you here."

Horatio nodded. "Very good. Have a seat."

Matthews decided there would be no harm in joining them and took a
chair next to Archie. Suddenly a slight smile pursed the blond man's
lips.

"Matthews, we've know each other a long time now."

"Yes, sir." Matthews said and ordered a beer.

"And," Archie continued casually," I consider you more than a
friend."

The old sailor smiled. "Thank you sir."

Where was Archie going with this, Horatio wondered?
"You know I would lay down my life for you."

"As would I sir!" Matthews agreed.

Archie suddenly snatched the surprised man's hand, shaking it
furiously. "Oh Matthews! You don't know how much it means to me to
hear you say that! Thank you for helping me out!"

Matthews face showed the confusion he felt. "Helping you sir?"

"Yes!" Archie exclaimed," Acting as my second in my duel with Mr.
Bush."

Chapter 8

Dawn was fast upon them as two carriages bumped along the rocky road
to Eden's Park. They screeched to a halt, jostling the passengers
inside. Slowly Bush and Styles climbed out of the first carriage
while Hornblower, Kennedy, and Matthews scrambled out of the second.
Horatio carried a wooden box which contained the two pistols.

"I must address Mr. Bush. Stay here," he ordered Archie.

"Morning Mr. Bush, Styles," he greeted them wearily.

The night sky was growing brighter by the second. Bush did a doubletake on seeing Horatio's rearranged nose.

"Um, Mr. Hornblower, did you have an accident sir?"

Horatio smiled slightly, then had a sudden idea. His face grew
serious.

"No, Mr. Kennedy did this." He pointed to his swollen beak.

"Good God, man!" Bush exclaimed. "But I thought you were friends?"

Horatio faked anger as he went on. "We were. Last night he beat me
insensible."

The jaw of Bush fell open and he stared at Archie and his own blackened face.

"And over a lousy hand of whist! He's a poor loser. Why I remember
Mr. Kennedy so bitterly angry at some Frogs, he started firing a
cannon at them. And they were unarmed Frogs too!"

"Why did he do that? What did the Frogs do?" Bush believed every
word, suddenly feeling a bit fearful of Kennedy.

"They looked at him wrong."

"What!"

"So, Styles is your second," Horatio quipped changing the subject.
"Very impressive. Let us hope Mr. Bush doesn't need you, else you'll
end up shooting Matthews!"

Horatio turned back and chuckled to himself. He couldn't help seeing
the humor in this absurd situation.
As he walked back to Archie he overheard Styles comment. "Matthews
is his second?"

"Is it true what he did to those Frogs?" Bush asked, not hearing a
word of the big man's worry.

Horatio put a look of fear on his face as Archie watched him get
closer.

"What's the matter? What did Bush say?"

"Well," Horatio began tentatively," He said something about this being his tenth duel."

Archie's eyes grew big in disbelief. "Nonsense!"

"Oh no, it's true!" Horatio said setting his plan. "He has killed
over ten men -- won every duel. His nickname is Wild Will-Kill."

Horatio dared not crack a smile if this was going to work.

"Besides Archie, you have nothing to fear. Matthews can always shoot Styles
if it comes to that."

He walked away smiling ­ an ear to ear grin on his handsome face.

"Sir," Matthews piped up," I can't shoot Styles!"

"Come on Matthews," Archie barked and followed Horatio to the field.

The sun peaked over the tree line, giving off plenty of light. Horatio opened the box and presented it to the assembled men.

"Choose you weapon gentleman." He sounded like the ring announcer at
a circus!

Bush stepped up and studied each pistol. Styles watched over his
shoulder. Archie also stepped up to Horatio and glanced at Bush, then
the guns. Matthews, at his side, gave Styles a friendly grin. Archie
touched the barrel of one of the guns with his finger, poking it
as if it was a piece of fruit he was about to buy.

"Now wait a bloody minute!" roared Bush, making Archie jump. "You
touched that one, you have to use it!"

"No I don't!" Archie argued back. Horatio rolled his eyes in despair.

"Mr. Kennedy," Bush growled," I know once you touch a gun, it
becomes your choice."

"Fine!" Archie snatched up the weapon with his fingerprint on it. "I
wanted this one anyway!"

He whirled around, turning his back to the equally angry Bush, who grabbed the remaining pistol and followed suit. Both men stood back to back as Horatio closed the case.

"Um, where's Miss James? Didn't she want to see someone get their
head blown off?" he asked setting the case behind him.

Archie glared at him in horror. "Really Horatio! There's no call for
that!"

Bush agreed. "Here, here, Besides she's at home. Didn't want
anything to do with jackasses she said."

"Smart woman," Styles commented. Bush and Archie shifted their glare
from Horatio to Styles. He raised his hands in surrender. "Sorry!"

"Now gentlemen!" Horatio shouted on purpose, making everyone jump.
"For the last time, can you stop being pig-headed and see how
ridiculous you both are acting?"

"No!" Archie grumbled.

"No!" Bush mumbled.

Styles and Matthews took a few steps back.

"Very well. I shall count off five paces. Then you will turn and face each other. Then I
will count to three at which time you will point your deadly weapons at
each other and fire. Understand?"

"Yes!" Archie mumbled.

"Yes!" Bush grumbled.

"One!" Horatio began counting as the men stepped off.

Chapter 9

Emily sat quietly in the garden, watching nothing. It was nearly noon
and she was worried.

"Where are they? That damn thing must be over by now?"

The house she and her father were staying in was actually
their winter home in Plymouth. The rest of the year she was in
London. Nevertheless, she didn't mind Plymouth, as long as she was
close to William.

Nervously she left the garden and headed for the kitchen.

"Maybe if I eat something, I'll feel better."

Entering the cooking area she was curious to see it was empty of
servants. "How very odd?" she thought and grabbed a banana. As she
bit into it she caught movement in the hall and heard voices.
Peeking around a corner her eyes where filled with horror.

"NO! William!" she screamed and ran to his lifeless body on the
floor.

Horatio and Archie stood solemnly next to him. Their heads
were bowed and their hats in their hands. Emily threw herself on top
of Bush and beat his chest.

"No! You can't be dead!"

She hit him harder and harder, making his head bounce. A small bloodstain showed through his uniform, dead center on his chest. He was dead! Emily stopped and stared at the
red smear.

Her father tried to drag her off his corpse but she refused, pushing
his hand away. Tears fell down her face and gently she kissed her
love on the check. Slowly she stood and faced Archie. Her fists were
clenched in rage as she spoke. "How could you?"

Archie's face was unforgiving. "I had to Emily. Honor dictated it."

Her fiery gaze turned on Horatio. "And you! Why did you let him kill
your friend!"

Horatio lowered his head in shame.

"Come Emily," Archie said and grabbed her wrist. He dragged her to
the door, but she protested at every step.

"Let go of me!"

He pulled her as far as the porch before she reacted.

"I'm warning you Archie! Don't make me hurt you like I did when we
first met!"

Instantly he let go and stared at her in shock. "You still remember that?"

She smiled a devilish grin. "How could I forget. I didn't mean to kick you in the. . . . ."

"Yes," he said hastily. "I know. It was an accident."

"Well I got your attention, didn't I."

He smiled and winked at her. Suddenly, she turned back to see into the
house and Bush dead on the floor.

"WAIT A MINUTE! What am I doing? You just killed the man that I
loved!"

She took a step back to the house but her father stopped her.

"Emily, I have arranged for you to marry Archie immediately."

"What!" she said in confusion. Archie grabbed her wrist and pulled
her toward a waiting carriage. "NO! This is insane!" she shouted.

She tried to break free from his iron hold. It was no use. Closer
and closer they got to the carriage

She whipped around to face Archie. "I'm sorry I have to do this." Quickly she drew back her knee, then slammed it against Archie's groin. His blue eyes only
twinkled at her. "Huh?"

She kicked him again. Nothing. Over and over she smashed her knee
into him but he only laughed, louder and louder, the sound echoing all about
her.

Suddenly she snapped up in bed. She was having a nightmare. Bush
wasn't dead and Archie wasn't the devil. Rubbing her eyes she
realized it was dawn.

"Five!" Horatio bellowed.
Bush and Kennedy turned slowly and faced each other.

"Ready!"

Horatio yelled much too enthusiastically.

Both men nodded and raised their pistols.

"One!" Horatio went on.

Bush was like a rock. No one could tell he was quaking in his boots.

"Better cock your pistol Archie," Horatio said dryly. "And two!"

Archie fumbled nervously with the hammer and quickly pointed it back
at Bush. He couldn't keep his hand from shaking.

Bush had never fought a duel before and had never pointed a gun at a
friend either. Staring at Archie in front of him, he suddenly
remembered their first meeting on the Renown.

"I don't think I care much for your tone, mister?" he had said, a bit
harshly

"Kennedy, 4th leftenant," had come the response.

Then Archie forcing him off the cliff even though he couldn't swim,
came to his mind. He had saved his life that day. Finally he saw
Archie in the prison hospital, arguing with him and finally deciding
to take the blame for Sawyer.

"I can't do it," Bush whispered as Horatio barked,

" THREE!"

Chapter 10

Archie jumped when Horatio shouted the final count. His eyes
couldn't focus on Bush. How could he shoot him?

Suddenly he saw Bush on the Renown, joining him and the others in
the mutiny against Mad Captain Sawyer. And when Horatio was ordered
to blow up that Spanish fort on his own, it was Bush who gave him
the idea to disobey Buckland and help Horatio. And finally he saw
that awful hospital in Kingston; Bush at his side. It was Bush
who had given him the comfort and help to write to Emily.

"Oh Em," he sighed in regret.

Archie watched as Bush's arm jerked as if he was about to fire.

"This is it!" he thought in fear, "he's going to kill me."

Bush had his pistol leveled at Archie but slowly he started to raise
it. Higher and higher it went until it was pointed over his head.
He squeezed the trigger -- the loud report echoing about the silent
meadow. Taking a deep breath he tossed his gun to the ground and
stared, waiting.

Archie blinked. He couldn't believe what he had just seen. All eyes
were upon him as he continued to point his weapon at the now unarmed
Bush.

"Well," Horatio said impatiently," Either shoot him or stare him to
death Archie! I don't have all day!"

Slowly Archie lowered his pistol and smiled. Everyone sighed in
relief. But in his state of shock Archie accidentally brushed the
trigger, shooting it off into the ground.

Bush nearly jumped right out of his boots.

"Damn Kennedy!" he swore loudly, then began to laugh.

Horatio too started to chuckle. Archie stunned, looked at his
smoking gun then at Horatio. Slowly his grin reappeared and a laugh
rose inside him. Bush was now doubled over, laughing like a hyena. Horatio was no
better off, sitting on the wet ground in fits of laughter.

Matthews and Styles stood next to each other, watching the spectacle.

"I never knew Mr. Bush was such a bad shot," Matthews said in jest.

"I did!" Styles teased.

**************************************************************************
Emily paced impatiently in the hall. It had been over an hour since
dawn.

"Where are they?" she whispered anxiously.

Someone tapped on the door and she froze. The servant opened it to
reveal Commodore Pellew. She ran to him as he entered.

"What is the news? Please tell me!"

He smiled warmly, reassuring her.

"They are both fine Miss James."

"Oh thank you dear God," she sighed. "Where are they?"

"At the pub, celebrating," he answered in amusement.

Emily's eyes grew wide, first in disbelief, then in anger. But Pellew
spoke before she could explode

"I need to speak with your father. Is he awake yet?"

"Yes, in the study," came the answer.

She watched Pellew head down the hall, then clenched her fists and
walked out the door.

"I'll murder the pair of them!" she hissed.

The walk across town did nothing to ease her anger. As she reached
the pub, she was a volcano ready to erupt. Entering, she heard William distinctively singing. She would recognize that voice anywhere. Stomping into the barroom, her eyes
beheld a sight she would never forget.

Bush stood on top of a piano belting out "Hearts of Oak," a bottle in
his hand. But where was Archie. Suddenly she spotted him on the stairs,
climbing to the top of the rail. Her heart leapt into her throat as
she realized he was going to jump. A crowd egged him on from below.


"Come on you land lubber!" she heard Horatio taunt, being the
loudest in the throng of people. He seemed to be missing his shirt.

Bush encouraged Archie from the piano. "Remember the cliff!" He almost fell
as he cheered.

Archie raised both arms in a muscleman pose. Then he flew off.
But instead off falling into the mass of people, he grabbed the
hanging chandelier. The audience roared in approval. Bush pitched
over, falling into the lap of the piano player. Horatio raised his
bottle and ranted in shock.

"Heavens! I didn't know you could fly Archie!"

Back and forth Archie swung, going higher and higher to the cheers
of those below.

Emily stood watching. Her anger gone, she began to laugh.

"Weeeeee!" she heard Archie squeal in drunken delight.

Quietly she turned and exited, leaving the men to the release of
boyhood fun.

"Guess they all kissed and made up," she chuckled and headed for home.

Epilogue

Emily marched slowly along the deck of the Indefatigable. Admiral
James held her arm as everyone stood at attention. Carefully,
Matthews and Styles helped her climb up to the quarterdeck, where
Bush waited eagerly for her. Archie and Horatio were at his side, dressed in their naval splendor.

Admiral James took Emily's hand and placed it in William's. He sighed
and stepped back, admiring the couple. Bush grinned at her happily
and gazed at the glowing white wedding gown she wore. They turned
and faced Commodore Pellew, who began to speak.

"It is always wonderful to join together on occasions such as this.
I haven't know Leftenant Bush very long but I have come to learn he
is a brave and honorable man."

Emily didn't hear a word that was spoken. She was lost in the blue eyes
that twinkled at her. Bush squeezed her hand and she blinked. She
looked at Pellew who had been talking to her.

"Well miss? Do you want him or not?"

She reddened as she realized she had missed her line. "Yes!" she
blurted," I most certainly do!"

A small chuckle came from those around her.

"A simple aye aye will suffice miss," Pellew teased.

"And do you, Leftenant William Bush, take Miss Emily James to be your
wife?"

Bush smiled and winked at her. "I do sir, with all my heart."

"Then with great pleasure, and by the powers entrusted to me by the
Royal Navy and King George the Third, I now present Mr. and Mrs.
William Bush."

A cheer went up all over the ship as Bush gently kissed his new wife
on the lips.

"Congratulations Mr. Bush!" Pellew said and shook his hand.

"Thank you Commodore," he replied.

Archie and Horatio beamed at his side. "Oh happy day Mr. Bush!"
Horatio gushed.

"Take good care of her William," Archie said sincerely, and took his
hand.

Bush met his eye. "I will Archie. Thank you."

Emily smiled at Archie. "I will miss you," she said warmly.

He grabbed her into his arms and held her tenderly.

"Take care Em."

"You too Archie."

Quickly the happy pair climbed off the Indy and into a waiting
rowboat. Everyone shouted excitedly and threw rice.

"Toss the bouquet!" someone yelled.

Emily threw it, aiming for her intended victim. Horatio caught it, but embarrassed, tossed it behind him. Matthews and Styles laughed out loud as Oldroyd held the flowers in
his hand.

"Serves you right staying here and getting promoted to gunner!"
Styles teased.

Matthews only laughed." Come mates, they'll be serving rum below deck by now."

Archie and Horatio remained watching the rowboat.

"I heard Bush say they are naming their first born Archie," Horatio said mockingly.

Archie's eyes grew wide in shock. "No!"

"Yep," Horatio nodded and tried keeping a straight face.

"Perhaps they will name their second one Horatio!" Archie teased.

His friend's smile faded. "That's not very funny Mr. Kennedy."

"I thought it was Mr. Horn Blow Er!" Archie said smugly.

Pellew cleared his throat making his presence known.

"Lovely ceremony sir," Horatio commented.

"Thank you," Pellew sighed and looked about his old ship. "I sure miss her. I envy you Mr. Kennedy."

Archie smiled. "Yes sir. It feels like I'm home."

"You sail in two days' time Mr. Hornblower?" Pellew asked changing
the subject.

"Yes sir. Retribution is almost ready. At least Mr. Bush has one day
for his honeymoon." Horatio replied.

"Ah, there's Captain Bracegridle. Excuse me gentlemen." Pellew
nodded and left the two on their own.

They stared off, watching Mr. and Mrs. Bush reach the shore.

"I hope they will be happy," Horatio said, not expecting an answer.

Archie sighed," I think they will be. Emily is a strong lady. I will
miss her."

"So," Horatio said playfully and grabbed his friend by the shoulder.
"How about a drink?"

Archie's face suddenly began to redden.

"I think not! I swear I will never drink another drop of rum as long as I live!"

Horatio only laughed and started to lead them below and to the real party.