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The next time Fuzzy saw Russell, he was at the bar with the rest of the Sirius crew at Yamato.

Captain Alan had initially planned to leave them as he usually did when they went to Yamato, but not today, and Fuzzy wasn't about to stop him, either. As soon as he'd heard word that the little wench from the Sirius pirates was here, he’d come barreling over to the local tavern, and Fuzzy had decided tag along to brush up on her dancing skills in the hopes she’d see Russell again and show him.

But this was much, much better than she’d been hoping for.

Russell sat with the rest of his crew at the table, sulking as adorably as ever, and Fuzzy . . . she was about to put a show on for him that he wouldn't soon forget. She'd show off her pole dancing skills, wearing little more than some scraps of cloth—and Russell's scarf tied around her neck.

She was gorgeous, she was sexy, and there was no way Russell would be able to turn her down tonight. Russell would finally become her man in every way possible, and they’d be together forever and ever. Someday, when Captain Alan finally became Pirate King, she and Russell would take over the Rika and run the ship together as Captain.

She pursed her lips in happiness as she watched Russell lean back in his chair, ignoring the mug of ale in front of him.

Through the closed curtains, she waited impatiently for the music to begin. She'd been practicing her routine for weeks, and the captain had praised her so much, he begged her not to dance any more and ruin a perfect routine.

Russell was finally going to be hers tonight.

She wouldn’t let Thomas or anyone else get in her way like it had last time. She just knew Russell had been so close to passionately loving her on the bed before Thomas so rudely interrupted—

But she'd gotten to keep Russell's scarf, so it hadn't been a total loss.

She lifted the scarf to her nose and inhaled the still-lingering scent of Russell, though it’d begun to fade. Today, she’d show him everything she was made of, and how seductive her dancing really could be.

She smiled as Captain Alan introduced her—her captain was the best, helping her out with her love plan like this at the spur of the moment—and then, as the music finally began, she proudly made her way onto the stage, smiling down at the shocked faces of admiration and lust.

Even Russell hadn't been able to stop himself from staring, and she couldn’t help the smile that beamed on her face as she slowly began to move to the sounds of the tambourine and guitar. She waggled her hips, thrust out her breasts, and rotated her hips as her arms and legs bobbed along to the music.

Russell would watch her dance until he couldn’t take it anymore, and then he’d drag her off stage and away into his arms per her plan and—

“Boo!” a man shouted, throwing his half-full glass of beer at the stage. “Go back to the zoo, heifer, and get a real woman on stage!”

Fuzzy stared at the spilled beer at the end of the small stage in shock, missing a step as she gaped. The man called that a throw? He threw worse than Captain did—completely sloshed!

“It’s rude to throw things at a beautiful woman!” she shouted, stepping forward to hurl the empty glass to smash to pieces at the bald man's feet. “You’re interrupting my sexy dance!”

The man continued to rant, but Fuzzy ignored him as she sought Russell back out in the crowd. He'd gotten distracted by the rude man, it seemed, because he'd turned his attention to his drink instead of staring at her.

Fuzzy wished she had another glass to throw at the bald man, but she didn't have time to take one from someone else. She had to up her game if she wanted Russell to march over and steal her away from the jealous crowd!

“Good, then stop dancin'!” another man shouted as she moved back into position to continue her dance. “Yer ruinin’ our meal!”

Of course she was ruining their meal, she realized. She was so gorgeous that they’d rather have her instead!

“That’s too bad!” she called out as she continued to dance around the stage, this time adding twirls and leaps and bounces as she tried to recapture Russell’s attention. “Because I belong to someone so you can’t have me!”

“Gawd who would want ye?” the man snapped back. “I take pity on ‘is soul if 'e’s stuck wit’ ye!”

She scowled back at the man, ready to stop over and rip every hair of his mustache out. How dare he insult Russell like that!

However, before she could reach the end of the stage, a glass came hurling at her. This one, she realized, wasn't going to richoet harmlessly off of the stage. It was going to hit her directly.

Russell suddenly stood before her, glaring out into the crowd as he knocked the glass out of the way with the hilt of his sword. “This is how you’re treating a woman?” he growled, as Fuzzy flushed with pleasure. He'd protected her!

Before she could even blink, the rest of the Sirius crew was standing beside her as Russell protectively stood in front of her, blocking her view of the tavern floor. Eduardo pulled out his gun and smirked into the crowd.

“If anyone wants to throw something, go right ahead. I’ve been meaning to test out my new gun…” Eduardo chuckled darkly.

“I’m always happy to fight to defend a woman’s honor,” Morgan said with a laugh as he folded his arms across his chest. “Especially one as, ah, beautiful as this one here!”

He tried to stretch out to pull Fuzzy close, but Russell reached out to grip her arm and pull her tightly against his chest.

“Back off, Captain,” Russell said shortly. “She ain’t like the others. Leave her be.”

“If that’s how you want it, get out your swords! I can take some washed out pirates any day!” another man crowed. “You ain’t nothin’!”

Nathan smirked as he readied his weapon. “Hmph. Yer don’t know nothin’. We’re the Sirius crew.”

“And we consider it our duty to defend the honor of such lovely ladies!” Morgan added with another loud laugh, somehow managing to pull his own woman pirate into a one-armed bear hug. “So prepare to have the fight of your lives–I have a lot of practice to make up for!”

“Russell, take her out of here and make sure she gets safely back to the Rika,” Christopher added gently. 

Fuzzy almost opened her mouth to protest, but then she realized this was exactly what she wanted. The crew of the Sirius would no doubt be busy with a bar brawl for a while, leaving Fuzzy to finally get her romantic night with Russell.

With no interruptions.

“Oh, I’m about to faint!” she said loudly, pressing her hand to her forehead as she attempted to swoon dramatically.

“Fine,” Russell replied grouchily, “I’ll make sure she doesn’t keel over or nothin’.”

He grabbed her hand and dragged her off stage just as the Sirius crew got rushed by the other men in the tavern. Russell then roughly dragged her out of the bar, ducking and weaving through the masses as the other pirates lunged at each other.

She couldn’t stop beaming. “I knew it would work!” she shouted happily, gripping Russell’s hand tightly they reached the paved street.

Russell stared at her suspiciously. “I thought you were sick,” he said, releasing her hand as he stopped to glare at her.

He was going to leave! That would ruin everything!!

“Ooooh,” she instantly moaned, determined to keep him holding onto her and at her side. “I’m soooo woozy and sick! I don’t know if I can walk!”

He scoffed. “I sure as hell ain’t gonna be able to carry you!” he snapped.

She placed her arms on her hips. “Sure you are! You’re so strong, Russell, and you’ll carry and protect me all the way back to the ship! I know how much you love me and—”

He covered her mouth with his hand. “Yer fine, yah crazy woman. I don’t know why I was even worried about yah.”

She couldn’t help how she beamed at him in pleasure. “You were really worried about me, Russell?”

“I wasn’t!” he instantly protested, but she could tell even in the dark that his face was bright red. “I was jus’ doing what Christopher said, that’s all.”

Now was her chance! If she moved now, he would be hers forever!

“I think I could walk to the ship on my own if I had a kiss,” she blurted.

“What is it with you and kissing?” he asked defensively. “Yer always askin’ for them!”

She pouted. “I just want a kiss from the man I love,” she grumbled. “Nothing I do ever works out right! I spent days planning on how to get you alone, and now that we are, you aren’t even looking at me! I even danced my sexiest dance for you and all I wanted was at least one kiss if not your body and—”

Russell’s lips suddenly covered her own as he pushed her back against the wall of the tavern, kissing her deeply as his tongue moved into gently stroke her own. “I ain’t kissing you 'cause I want to or anything,” he said against her lips as he slowly ended the kiss. “It’s just 'cause I don’t want to carry you or hear Doc complain that I didn’t take care of you or nothin’. Got that?”

She reached out to grip his shirt collar and tugged him right back into another kiss. “Shut up and kiss me like you mean it,” she commanded, pressing into him.

His eyes widened, but then his face suddenly grew serious. “Like I mean it…?” he repeated. “Fine. I’ll give you a kiss you’ll never forget, and then you’ll never ask for one again.”

He shoved her roughly back against the wall, and then reached out to pin her arms to the wall with one hand.

“I don’t want to hear any complainin’, either, 'cause you asked for this,” he added, before pressing his body flush against hers.

His aroused body, because she felt every hard inch of him, and she almost couldn’t contain her glee.

Before she could reply, however, he was kissing her so hard her lips would probably be bruised. His other hand moved to grip her head and move her head as he wanted but she didn’t even try to get free.

This was exactly where she wanted to be.

His lips, tongue and teeth all dove into the kiss, licking, sucking, and biting on her lips and tongue, and all she wanted was more, because she was finally seeing the real Russell. A man who wanted her above everything else, and she liked it.

His hand left her hand and moved to grope her breast through her scraps of cloth, thumbing her nipple occasionally as she tried and failed to arch into the touch.

She was completely pinned by the man she loved and she felt her whole body flush with pleasure.

“Please, Russell,” she begged as his lips moved to suck and bite down on her shoulder. “Please!”

He pulled back slowly, and she noticed with pleasure that he was panting and flushed.

“No. I promised to take you back to the Rika, and that’s what I’m going to do,” he said roughly, but as he pulled away, his hand gently laced with her own fingers, and she knew right then that he wouldn’t be leaving the Rika that night.

Because he never promised he wouldn’t keep her there.

She had a smirk on her face all the way back to her ship.