Authors: Pepper Pace
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Erotica, #African American, #Romantic, #United States, #Romance, #Multicultural, #Multicultural & Interracial
By Pepper Pace
© 2011 by Pepper Pace. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Pepper Pace
Dedicated to my father, James Roberts, whose voice I have never forgotten.
Marshall climbed onto the plane gripping a small overnight bag and briefcase nervously. His damn boss and all of his secrets was becoming too much for Marshall. Instead of taking an airline home from the Caymans, he had to book a private plane. Since his boss wanted everything off the grid, the pilot was some suspicious looking character straight out of a low budget drug run movie.
Despite all of that, Marshall wasn't so comfortable with flying that he enjoyed two-plus hours pitching, jerking, and feeling as if the damned plane was going to come apart at the seams. It only made it marginally better that there was a pretty woman already strapped into one of the few seats. She had a magazine opened but seemed preoccupied, maybe a bit sad.
She spared him the briefest look before turning back to her own thoughts. His nod of greeting went unnoticed, so with a shrug he stowed his belongings and sat across the aisle from the woman.
Oceans was her name. Sometimes people thought it was a nickname, or maybe a last name, but no, she was named Oceans by her Daddy because as a baby she had been wet, loud and well...one of the true wonders of the world.
Thinking about Daddy still caused her sadness. He'd only been gone two weeks and her life seemed like a big empty expanse before her. She'd devoted the last three years of her life to taking care of him when his Alzheimer's disease progressed to the point where he could no longer take care of himself. Oceans was leaving Kingston, Jamaica for the first time in three years.
Events were supposed to have gone in a totally different direction. It was supposed to be just a short trip to Jamaica to secure her sick father's possessions, sale his small home and to bring him back to the states where she'd lived almost all of her life. But it had become pretty obvious that Dad was not leaving Jamaica. He had his routine which kept him grounded. When it was disrupted, he became a little lost child. Daddy needed to take his morning walk along the ocean front in the morning. It was essential that he walk to the outdoor market in the afternoon and chat with his old friends. And at night he had to sit on his porch and watch the moon and the stars before going off to bed.
Oceans had no choice but to move into the little spare room and to call Kingston her home. She'd quit her job at a local telemarketing firm, sold her few possessions and then she had to break it off with her boyfriend Franklin—no big loss there. They'd been together for six years and he hadn't thought twice about marrying her. He seemed to think that she was his hole when he wanted to fuck, his maid when he needed his underwear washed, and sometimes his punching bag when he was angry.
Oceans pursed her pretty full lips as she noted the man that had just boarded the plane. He was a tall, good looking, and obviously rich businessman. His expensive suit and briefcase gave him away. He seemed too young for such a suit; he couldn't have been older than thirty. He screamed 'privilege' with his neatly cut brown hair and Armani suit. Oceans turned away, not wishing to see his eyes appraise her worn and old sundress, the flip flops that donned her feet and the way she had carelessly pulled her short curls back to be held by a cheap, plastic band. Oceans wasn't poor, but she wasn't rich either. She just hadn't cared about things like fashion while looking after her Dad.
The pilot pulled himself up into the plane after Mr. Businessman. His name was Geddes. He was a weathered Aussie with long grey hair and matching steely grey eyes. Tall and thin with a perpetual cigar shoved between his lips; he also had a great smile.
"Okay, mates. Strap up, we'll be flying for approximately three hours and then I'll need to make a fuel stop in Cay Lobos. There'll be time for you two to stretch your legs and such." With a quick slap of his hands, Geddes directed the remainder of his speech to Marshall. "Mr. Cohen the lifejackets are along that wall—which I've already explained to Miss Delano. The weather's been choppy so I'm going to suggest that you stay in your seat and belted." Geddes good-naturedly saluted them and then disappeared behind a small door.
Marshall got as comfortable as he could in the small seat. It definitely wasn't made for a broad shouldered 6'2" male. His mood had soured once Geddes announced the choppy ride. He reached into his briefcase for a pill to calm his nerves. He'd gotten a prescription once he found out that his boss had expected him to personally make the trip to the Cayman Island in order to deposit money into an account free of the prying eyes of the American Government. As the engines began, Marshall squeezed the armrest and closed his eyes. Soon they were in the air and after a few moments Marshall drifted off to sleep.
Someone was shaking his shoulders, but all Marshall wanted to do was roll over in his bed and pull the covers over his head. He grumbled and tried to rollover before feeling the resistance of the seatbelt. Marshall dragged himself back up to awareness from his drug induced sleep. Everything was moving and trembling while a pretty black woman had gripped his lapels and was shaking him with a strength that seemed at odds with her small form.
"Wake up!" She was wearing a bright orange life preserver and holding another one clutched in her arms. Marshall lurched up in his seat looking around frantically. The woman was yelling but it was so loud, that he could barely hear her. "Put it on! Hurry!" She thrust the preserver at him and then buckled herself in the seat next to him.
Marshall felt as if he was on a rollercoaster ride. But he didn't let go of the life preserver. "What the hell is happening?!" He screamed.
Oceans' eyes were two black saucers. She gripped the armrest. "Geddes, the pilot—he said the engine is failing!"
The blood drained from Marshall's face. He quickly pulled the preserver over his head but had to unsnap the seatbelt in order to put it on completely. As soon as he was no longer belted in, Marshall's body was thrown violently against the adjacent seat. The woman reached out with both hands and gripped him. If not for her, he would have hit the ceiling next. As the plane flipped, the items stowed on the small plane began to fly about, hitting the seats and dangerously close to hitting them.
"My god..." he thought, “We're crashing!" Using all of his strength, Marshall pulled himself back into his seat and the woman helped him to buckle himself into it. "GEDDES?!" he screamed, once his body was fairly stable in his seat. But there was no answer. Marshall chanced a look out the window and he wasn't sure exactly what he was seeing; the water was in the air and the sky was on the bottom of everything...
The woman next to him began screaming as she realized that they were spiraling down to the ocean below.
His cheek was burning as if someone had thrown acid onto his face. "What...?" The sound of his own voice was like gravel—felt like gravel too. Everything sounded muffled and his body was one huge ACHE. Marshall opened his eyes slowly but they burned from the brightness of the sun. He coughed and his chest and ribs hurt. Suddenly salty, briny water came sputtering from his mouth and nose.
For a moment, he thought he would drown in his own fluids but then he pushed himself off the damp sand and out of a puddle of water. He coughed one last time and spit up blood tinged phlegm. Marshall squinted and looked around. He was on a beach. He pulled himself up to his feet noting that he no longer wore shoes and had only one sock. His jacket was torn so he pulled it off and tied it around his waist. "Hey!" He called and then immediately began coughing. His lungs felt like someone had shoved burning embers down his throat. There was debris on the shore and floating in the water. But he didn't see any other person. Where was Geddes and the lady from the plane?
He didn't know why, but he began running until he was waist high in the water. "Hey!" He called again. Marshall began swimming amidst the debris, searching for a form, cringing at the idea that he might come upon a bloated corpse...
"Mr. Cohen!" Marshall could hear the faint call of his name. His ears were still hearing things muffled and were unsure of where the call was coming from. He searched until he saw the sight of a form on the beach. "Mr. Cohen!" She called again. It was the woman from the plane. Feeling immense relief, Marshall swam back to shore. He was exhausted but the woman caught him before he fell on his face.
"You're alive...." he was panting.
"Mr. Cohen, you hit your head- you're hurt." She helped him lay on the cold wet sand.
"I don't know." Oceans sat down beside him. Her legs were pulled up to her chin and she was rocking slowly. Her pretty brown eyes were wide and frantic in her head. Marshall saw her waver in and out as his eyes began to close.
"No! Don't Mr. Cohen...Pleassssse-" But Marshall was already unconscious.
Oceans had dragged everything in sight onto the beach. It had taken all of her strength to bring the items far enough onto shore to avoid the incoming tide. Some things were simply just too heavy for her and she regretfully watched them float out to sea. She looked at the man periodically. He had hit his head and had been knocked unconscious while still on the plane. It was Oceans that had unstrapped them both after the impact.
The crash had been so huge that it sounded and felt like a building had crashed in around them. Her body had whipped against the restraints of the seatbelt, causing painful whelps to instantly form across her shoulders. Oceans' breath was knocked from her chest and just as she thought she'd surely black out due to lack of oxygen, her body took over and a ragged breath was dragged into her lungs. Water was filling the cabin and the cold shock of it revived her quickly enough.
There was a frantic few moments when her seatbelt jammed and she didn't think she'd get out, but with another jerk onto the release button she was free. The water was to her knees, then to her waist, so she knew that she only had moments before it would be to her chest and then her neck....
Standing on legs that almost buckled, she jerked the seatbelt off the unconscious passenger. Blood was pouring liberally from the top of his head where his own briefcase had fallen from the overhead carriage and smashed into his skull. Limply, the man fell out of his seat and his dead weight was almost too much for Oceans. She was tall, at 5'10 and strong, due to lifting her ill father for so many years. If not for that, Oceans would have had to leave the man floating in the cabin of the plane.
Instead she used the water to tow him, thankful that he was wearing the life jacket. She headed to the front of the plane where the thick metal door was now broken from its hinges and lying cocked off to the side. The water was at her head by the time she swam out the opened door towing her charge after her, only seconds from being sucked under by the undertow.
Geddes had apparently been heading for a small island because Oceans could clearly see the tree line. Two miles? She sobbed, already exhausted. Her body was numb from the cold and in so much pain...
They needed shelter. The sun was setting and she had no idea how to make fire. She'd checked the man's pockets and he didn't have a lighter. It was going to be dark and she'd already heard the sounds of movement off in the dense woods. They would probably be eaten once night fell, but she'd done what she could. She just hoped the man would wake up because she just couldn't do it all alone.
Using metal and fiberglass sheeting that had flown off the small plane, Oceans formed a lean-to. It was flimsy and if it got windy it would probably fly away, but it would keep them underneath something more solid then the eyes of any passing predator. She didn't have time to go through everything that she had dragged onto shore, but had found jagged metal that she then fashioned into several make-shift shanks of varying size.
Once the lean-to was finished, the sky became orange and purple--yet still mostly orange; she went back and checked on Mr. Cohen again. She had stopped the flow of blood. The gash wasn't so bad but head wounds do tend to bleed a lot and she didn't know what was going on beneath the cut. He could have a concussion, swelling of the brain... All she could do was clean it with the ocean water and pray that it would kill any bacteria.
Oceans hooked her hands under the man's arms and proceeded to drag him up the slight embankment to where she'd chosen to build the lean-to. He was dead weight and her body was sore and bruised. Grunting, she finally got him laid out comfortably on top of his torn jacket. She found one corner to lay her head down on and as she gripped her little shank, Oceans watched the orange and purple sky turn mostly purple. She was asleep within seconds.
Marshall gasped and sat up with a jolt. He bumped his sore head on top of something hard and reached up blindly. Then he realized that he was under a makeshift lean-to. The world was pitch black except for the soft glow of the moon and the reflection of it off the water. He looked around, ignoring his sore neck and shoulders and the sharp pain in his head. The woman from before was sleeping and the steady sound of her breathing helped to calm his panic. He waited for a long time, listening to the strange sounds outside. He wondered why he thought a night on the beach would be quiet...it was loud and strange.
Marshall had little choice but to get out of the makeshift lodging and to release the pressure that had built up in his bladder. He walked some distance but did not want to get too close to the tree line. The forest looked like it was a perfect hiding place for some predator. As he searched for the perfect place to piss, he marveled at the things that were littering the shore and wondered if the girl had been responsible for bringing them up. She'd worked hard, all by herself.
He began to scratch at the salt that had dried onto his skin, plastering his now dry clothing to his body. He unzipped himself and urinated a great stream against a nearby rock.
Marshall stood there for a long moment, penis in hand, skin crawling with salt and cold. "We're stranded." He finally said.
Oceans awoke alone in the lean-to. The sun was bright and the air was hot, and she was so thirsty. She sat up quickly and looked around. She was still holding the shank. Where was the man, Mr. Cohen? Oceans hurried out of the lean-to and immediately spotted the man examining something that had been dragged to shore the day before. He looked at her and sat back on his haunches as she walked over to him.
"Hi." She responded shyly. He'd unbuttoned his shirt and it lay loose about his shoulders, a white wife beater beneath it. His expensive slacks were rolled to his knees.
"Did you find all of this stuff?" He asked, squinting his eyes against the sun. They were a pretty hazel and Oceans thought that he looked much different with his messy hair and stubble on his cheeks. She noted one of those cheeks was scraped pretty good, but other than that he didn't appear any worse for wear. She nodded in response to his question.
"Any sign of Geddes?"
Oceans hesitated. "I didn't see the pilot after he announced the engine failing. But...I did hear a hatch open in the cockpit. I think he bailed after auto piloting us to this island."
Marshall gave her a long look, his mouth hanging open. He couldn't seem to form words. "He-he...you think he parachuted out of the plane and left us to crash?" Oceans nodded once. Marshall looked out at the expanse of ocean.
"Well he's shark meat now." He whispered. He took a deep breath and turned back to the woman. "I'm sorry." He stood and held out his hand. "I'm Marshall. Marshall Cohen."
She took the offered hand. "Oceans Delano." She was impressed that he didn't ask about the name.
"Well Oceans, I was looking at the things we have here and more things washed up this morning. He reached over for a heavy suitcase. "Is this yours?"
Oceans jumped. It was her suitcase. "Oh thank the lord!"
Marshall appraised the pretty lady as she dropped to the sand to drag the zipper across the vinyl material. She was tall, not what he'd call fat but she did have a nice rounded form. Her short hair was a curly cap over her head and her brown skin was the color of caramel. She wore a thin dress with straps and it was torn at the seams in areas. He could see that she wore black panties and bra. Ashamed he looked away from the sight of her underwear.
"I'm sorry, I opened that, but when I saw the ladies things I closed it back, figuring it was yours." She glanced at him and smiled. Then she happily began laying her clothing out on rocks to dry. Touching the items in her suitcase made her feel at home. But she avoided thinking about it. She didn't want to face what she already suspected as true.
He watched with interest. "You wouldn't happen to have a steak dinner, salad and a slice of pie al-a-mode in there would you?" He joked.
Her belly tumbled at those words. "No...sorry."
"We're going to need fresh water and food, and soon."
Oceans and Marshall each grabbed a man-made shank. He worried because he had no shoes and he left the one lone nylon sock back at the camp. He was grim as he thought about the place they'd slept as 'the camp.' He was so thirsty and hungry as he walked through the dense foliage; he had no idea what he was looking for or what leaves and plants were edible.
Oceans was an island girl at heart even if the majority of her life had been spent in the states. When Marshall saw bananas in a tree he was so excited, until she warned him that they would be completely inedible unless they were ripe enough to fall to the ground—the same with most of the fruit--so between searching for water, they searched for fallen fruit. Before long they found mangos, plenty for each of them! The sticky sweet fruit helped to slay their thirst for awhile, but now they were bait for insects!
Oceans knew that water could be found in all kinds of plant life. She wished for a machete just to get through the dense foliage. But this was all a good sign. She looked at Marshall who was slapping at gnats and scratching away ants that had dropped onto him. The flies were miserable for the both of them, but at least she was able to ignore them for the most part—not true for poor Marshall.
"Fresh water is in abundance on this island. Look at all of this green!"
"Well where the hell is it?" The soft curl of his lip let her know that he wasn't completely exasperated.
"This is a pretty big island and I heard animals, so there has to be fresh water that's accessible to us..."
"I guess we could always follow the sound of the animals." He said with a worried raise of his brow. He was a city boy after-all. And he really didn't want to run into any animals in order to find water.
"Birds!" And they both looked into the air at the same time. Birds would take them to fresh water!
With that settled, the two made their best attempts to follow the birds...not as easy as it sounds. It was midday before they finally began to hear the welcomed gurgling sound that let them know that they were nearing a large body of water. Practically running, they finally came upon a small lagoon surrounded by large black rock and a waterfall to one side.
Marshall had never been so relieved in all of his life! One day without water had been torture. The salt from the sea and the heat of the Caribbean sun had taken its toll on him. But Oceans appeared so graceful. Besides the cracking of her lips, she showed no signs of having the same desperate need for water that he did.