"So the first thing I want to establish is, we're fine," David said.
"Oh my God, what happened?" his mom said.
"Uh," David said, watching the last bit of the sailboat sink gracefully under the water. "Nothing, really! We just might have gotten a little bit shipwrecked."
The next five minutes of conversation pretty strongly implied he was never getting to leave the house again for the rest of his life. David shut off the satellite phone and glared down at Archie, who was curled dozing on his side in the warm sand. "You could call your mom."
"We should save the battery," Archie said, lifting his head and blinking at David with big innocent eyes.
"Uh huh," David said. He was on to the big-innocent-eyes trick by now. "Anyway, she's going to call the Coast Guard and the satellite phone company to figure out exactly where we are." He squinted out at the endless blue horizon stretching away.
Archie reached out and put a hand on his leg. "Are you okay?"
"You know, I have to point out, nothing really wacky ever happened to me before I met you," David said.
"Oh my gosh, what about Idol! You didn't even know my last name before top ten week," Archie said indignantly.
"I'm just saying, since I met you I've become a celebrity, plane-crashed, gotten married, and now we're shipwrecked, so I'm getting a little concerned what comes next," David said.
Apparently getting beat on, followed by sex under a palm tree, so all in all, being shipwrecked wasn't that bad. David sighed and settled back on the sand and tucked Archie closer—Archie muttered something about still being mad, but it didn't really pack a lot of heat when he was snuggling.
"Seriously, this is great. Private island, no paparazzi," David said, and yawned. "We'll take a nap and probably get picked up before sunset."
"Mm," Archie said.
Then David called his mom back after about an hour, and found out the cavalry wasn't so much over the next hill as it was in Barbados. It was going to be two days before they could spare a boat, there was some kind of storm blowing up and they needed all hands rescuing people who were in actual danger of drowning.
"Oh," Archie said.
"It'll be fine," David said. "We'll eat coconuts or something."
"I don't – can you just eat coconuts? Like, raw?" Archie said doubtfully.
"Yes, dork," David said, except you still had to get them open, which turned out to be an interesting challenge when you didn't have anything bigger than a swiss army knife and were on a big sandy beach. Coconut one met a sad and brutal end on the rocks out in the water, smashed into so many pieces most of the milk leaked out and the chunks sank. Coconut two cracked more easily, except it turned out that was because it was apparently the oldest coconut in the world.
"Ugh," Archie said, recoiling, and David pitched it out as far into the ocean as he could.
They finally managed to hunt up a bigger sharp-edged rock and got the trick of cracking them open. David was ready for some rum and crushed ice to join the party by then, but the fresh coconut tasted pretty amazing anyway, and what the hell, they were on a deserted Caribbean island watching the sun set into this huge riot of blue and orange-red clouds.
"Um," Archie said after a bit.
"Yeah," David said peacefully.
"No," Archie said, "I mean, um."
David looked again and realized the whole horizon was a wall of massive, darkening clouds, with some long fingers stretching down to the water. And it was getting closer. "You've got to be kidding me."
It wasn't a big island – a hill of black volcanic-looking rock, a bunch of white and gray sand, some palm trees and beach grass and – weirdly – evergreens. There was plenty of driftwood and seaweed, but not so much anything to hide in or under.
They found a couple of flatter pieces of driftwood and started digging a pit, lining it with rocks and palm leaves. Digging was seriously not as easy as it looked—it was pitch dark before they got three feet or so down, using the screens of their otherwise useless cellphones for light.
"Okay, new plan," David said. "Forget about getting deeper, it's harder the further down we go. Let's just widen this thing, then we'll lie down flat."
Archie nodded, panting for breath, and they opened the hole up just enough for the two of them to fit in side-by-side, on a pillow of dry seaweed with palm leaves spread out on top and anchored with rocks. Rain was pattering down on their skin by then, nice after they'd been digging like crazy for a couple of hours, and the coconut-halves they'd set out were catching the water. They drank everything and took the empty halves inside to nibble on.
It took some squeezing and squirming to get wedged in, and then they had to fix the palm leaves that had fallen down while they did the squeezing and squirming.
"Um, happy honeymoon?" Archie said tentatively, when David finally crumpled down into their nest after getting the last leaf tucked under. The rain was drumming overhead, the wind whistling by in noisy gusts, and he was hungry and going to stay that way, hands sore and blistered from digging and fighting with palm trees. But Archie was tucked up against him, and their body heat was starting to warm up their little hollow. It was snug, and the rain was drying on his skin.
"You know," David said, "I've got no complaints," and leaned in to kiss him, while the storm grumbled overhead, starting to give up and move along.
= End =
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