It felt like hours that she had been paddling with Michael, she kept looking over at him under her lashes, trying to determine if he was tiring. He did not look like he was even breaking a sweat, and she knew her clothes were soaked. Her arms felt like they were going to fall off any minute. Just as she was about to cave in and admit defeat, he put his paddle down.
"We should take a break, don't want to wear you out, do we?" Michael teased.
"Well if you feel you need a break, I'm all for not overworking the help." She teased back.
"The Help…? I'll have you know…" and he stopped as he realized she was teasing. "Shark bait.. I knew it, she's going to be shark bait before the trip is over."
"Are you mumbling to yourself? Has the sun already fried what brains you have?" she asked.
"Are you hinting that I have few brains?" he asked.
"Well you can't be both." She answered.
"Both?" he asked in confusion
"Yes, both handsome and smart." She said
"Oh, so now you admit that you think I am handsome." He smiled
"I did not say I think you are handsome, just that you have the manly qualities that some women might appreciate as handsome." She told him, picking up the paddle, "I think we should paddle a while longer to try to get as far as we can while we have daylight, don't you?" Trying to change the subject before he realized that she had noticed his muscles while he paddled.
But he had decided he was going to play this out a little longer, just to see her squirm. "So if you don't think I'm handsome, what do you consider handsome?"
"I didn't say you aren't handsome, just not my type of man, and shouldn't we be paddling?" she tried again to get him to help.
"And what is your type of man, may I ask?" he waited to hear, finding himself impatient for her answer.
"I find that I like brown eyes with light brown hair to be my flavor this year." She laughed at his expectant look.
"So, I'm guessing you just described your boyfriend?" he replied.
"Okay, I admit defeat, you are sort of smart." She laughed again.
"I give up too, I admit you are right about paddling, I figure we should paddle until dusk and then rest until dawn. The sea is calm, so we shouldn't travel very far in the dark." He told her.
"Why would that matter?" She asked putting her paddle back into the water.
"We don't want to run into anything that might damage the raft. And what we can't see, we can't avoid. So as soon as we can't see any longer, we'll lay back and relax until we can."
So they picked up the paddles and started paddling, neither was going to admit to the burn in their arms and both praying quietly for the sun to set.
"I came up with a idea, even with my limited brain, that you might like." Michael said after paddling for ten minutes.
"This I can barely wait to hear." She baited him with a little grimace. "I just hope it is better than you telling me that the Island was only 5 minutes of your rowing. I know with me helping with the rowing time goes in reverse. Right?" She said with heavy sarcasm.
"Fine! If you're going to throw that in my face, I just will not tell you my idea." And with that he went back to rowing.
"Come on, Michael, I am sorry. I only said that because I am tired and my arms feel like they are going to fall off. You know you should be nicer to me, I've had a very trying time this last few weeks. You shouldn't be so mean to me."
"Mean…Mean to you?" Michael sputtered. He turned to look at her. "I have been very nice to you, I only thought of throwing you to the sharks once, no twice now."
"Really, I am sorry. What was your idea?" She tried to sound contrite, but was having a hard time as he had a puppy dog look on his face, almost a pouting look. She so wanted to ask him if he was five.
"Nevermind my idea, I have something that will make you even happier. Turn around and look at the skyline." He said with a big grin on his face. She turned around slowly not sure if she should trust him, but what she saw brought a big smile to her face too.
"How long until we get to that little speck? Hey and truthfully this time, please. I realize you were just telling me the five minutes before because you don't like hysterical women. But haven't I proven I am not going there?" She pleaded.
"Yes, you have proven to me that you are not going bonkers any time soon." He said with a grin. "As for when we'll get there, probably in the morning, and before you start in on me, we have to have a rest from rowing. So we will rest while it is dark and as soon as it is daylight we'll start up again."
"Whatever you say. I will be glad to put down the paddle, I think I will dream of paddling for weeks." She laughed and gratefully put down the paddle
She crawled over and sat next to her dad, who had been quiet all this time.
"Hey! How are you doing?" She asked him.
"Feeling guilty watching you two row and not being able to help." He said dejectedly.
"Dad, hey this was just a free gym. I was trying to build up my upper body strength." She teased him. She wrapped her arm around his shoulder and hugged him. "Besides it was time I showed you I can help out. And if you don't quit moaning, I'll let Michael throw you to the sharks."
"So, already it's Michael?" He asked.
"On no you don't, there will be no teasing, no making up romances. No! No! No!" She glared at him.
"Alright Missy put away your evil glare, I'll be a good boy." He turned his head to look at the island in the distance. " For the moment" He laughed under his breath.
"What did you say?" She asked him
"I was just wondering if your pilot, Michael, knows what exactly is in the waters around here and how safe we will be floating around in the dark." He answered.
"If you are trying to scare me, that will do it." She turned hurriedly in Michael's direction. "You heard him, do you know what you are doing?
"Great drop her from a plane, shoot her dad full of fuselage and she handles it like it is nothing, mention the unknown and she freaks. You are not like any of the normal girls I meet that is for sure." He said shaking his head.
"Oh so now I am not normal?" She said her voice raising an octave.
"Whoa, I was complimenting you." He said but he scooted back as far as he could just in case. "And I can still throw you to the sharks you know."
"That is a two way street, mister." She replied.
"What do you mean by that." Actually knowing full well what she meant, but couldn't stop his mouth from asking the stupid question.
"I have been building my upper body strength all day and I could throw you to the sharks." She threatened. Her dad burst into laughter.
"I am sorry, sweetie, but that just sounded so funny. Can you two just call it quits and let us all relax and enjoy the evening? Come on, Cassie, if you are a good girl I'll tell you a story or two." He offered.
"My choice?" Sounding just like a two-year-old. Michael looked at her quizzically. She caught the look and turned to face him. "My dad was a spy before I was born and sometimes he shares the stories."
"Come on, Sir, even I promise to be a good boy." Michael said with a laugh.
"Fine you two children sit down and behave, and I'll tell you a story." He laughed and wriggled around until he got comfortable. "Let's see…No, Cassie, you said you wanted to choose, where do I start?" He waited for her answer. But he knows what she had kept asking him. And he wasn't to be disappointed.
"I want to know your first mission and how you screwed it up." She said with a smirk.
"I knew that was coming. Okay." He said with a sigh. " I was 20, just had turned 20 three days before we left. I had a handler, by the name of Max, and yes he reminded me of a German shepherd. Anyway, we left on a night flight out of France…"
All of sudden the raft was knocked hard and everyone had to grab onto the sides of the raft.
"What was that?" Cassie asked with a tremble in her voice.