His head turns. We’re lying on opposite sides of the fire on the thick mats of moss he found. They’re comfier than you’d think.
“Yeah?” His soft voice is comforting. I’m glad he’s here. I don’t know how I would be reacting if I was stuck on this island alone.
“Do you think we’ll ever get home?”
After we ate, we walked around the mountain and saw the rest of the island from above. There were no parked boats waiting to be used and no emergency phone booths tucked away on the beach. There were no signs of civilization anywhere. It finally sank in that we’re going to be here for a long time.
We may be the only two people on the planet who even know this island exists.
“I promise you that we will.”
I wish I could believe him. But how are we going to get rescued if no one knows we’re here? If they think we died in the plane crash? If no one knows about this island?
Am I ever going to see my parents again? Or my friends? Or my dog?
I’m never going to have a career or a family or travel to another country. All the books to read, the art to admire, the movies to watch, the experiences to have… They’ve all slipped through my fingers.
This island is it for me from now on.
I turn and look at Blake. He’s lying there watching me—the glow of the fire washing over his skin, the shadows dancing, the look in his tender green eyes telling me everything is going to be okay.
All I have is this island and Blake.
And yet… it somehow feels like it might be enough.
“I don’t want to die here,” I whisper as my chin quivers. He goes blurry as my eyes fill with tears. “I hope you’re right. I hope we can leave this island one day together.”
He gets up as the tears leak out and drip down my cheeks.
“We will,” he says in that deep rumbling voice as he lies beside me and tucks his big comforting arm around me.
I close my eyes and inhale the earthy scent of his skin. You’ll be okay. As long as this man is with you, you’ll be okay.
This exhausting day catches up to me and my eyes drift closed. I fall asleep with Blake holding me close…
…and I dream about him all night.
We’re exploring the island when Molly suddenly grabs my arm with a gasp. “Blake! What’s that?”
I look where she’s pointing and my heart rate picks up. That’s not from the jungle…
People have been here.
It’s a metal clipboard wedged into the mud. I hurry over and dig it out with my pulse racing.
Molly is beside me watching over my arm. Her soft breath tickles my forearm and makes the hairs rise.
It’s hard to focus on anything else with her so close, but I shake out the unhelpful desires swirling through me and try.
“It’s some kind of research notes,” I say as I rifle through the pages. The top few are soaked with mud and completely illegible, but a few papers near the bottom of the pile have a few dry spots. “Something with monkeys?”
“There are monkeys on this island?” Molly grabs my arm with both hands and starts scanning the treetops in a panic.
I smile as I watch her gorgeous brown eyes flitting from one tree to the next. “You don’t like monkeys?”
“I do,” she says as she nervously bites her bottom lip. “When they’re in cartoons and in children’s books. In my general vicinity, not so much.”
“This is good news,” I say as she whips her head around, looking behind her. “Researchers have been to this island before. Maybe they’ll come back.”
“I hope they get here before the monkeys eat us.”
I laugh as I toss the clipboard back onto the mud and take her arm. “I’ll save you from them. No monkeys are going to harm my girl.”
She smiles gratefully at me, puts her hand on mine, and we continue exploring the island.
There’s plenty of food. The rocky shore offers a whole bunch of options—fish, crabs, little lobster-type creatures, seaweed that I’m not sure is edible, mussels, and maybe even birds. We’ve seen big tropical fruit growing in the jungle and I’m sure there are some vegetables growing in the ground. I’ll have to pull up every single type of plant I can find to see if there’s anything edible growing underneath it.
There’s a freshwater creek that flows down from the mountain. There’s fish in there too and I even saw some frogs hanging out on the rocks.
If this island has enough food to sustain monkeys, then it should have enough for us too.
We walk around the coast of the island and come across a spectacular hidden cove. It’s private and sheltered by large rocks, so the warm turquoise water is nice and calm.