Gilligan stood in the shadows of the jungle holding the pie. The others were all sitting around the table, arguing and yelling and gesturing wildly in the direction that he had run. He could see MaryAnn standing next to Skipper trying not to laugh.

"I say we track him down and take it back," Thurston Howell said, as he pounded his fist on the table.

"Well, if we had any chance of catching him, that might be a good idea," Skipper answered. "As it is, by the time we did find him, the pie would be gone."

Gilligan skirted around the clearing, just inside the trees, staying in the shadows. He came out of the jungle behind his and Skipper's hut and walked around the corner, very nonchalantly holding the pie out in front of him.

"I was just kidding," he said, still giggling. "I wouldn't really eat it all by myself." As he walked towards them, the others started to panic. He was heading right towards a small pile of firewood that had been put out for the evening fire. There was a chorus of warnings.

"Gilligan, watch out."

"No, you knucklehead, watch your feet."

"Egads, boy, watch where you're going."

"Oh, Gilligaaaaaaan!"

"He's such a walking disaster."

"Oh dear boy, do watch your step."

With everybody shouting at the same time, Gilligan had no idea what they were trying to say. He hit the first small log, which of course, rolled under his foot. Then with one foot in the air, he started to tip backwards, joggling the pie.

Skipper jumped towards him and tried to catch the pie, succeeding only in hitting his hand against Gilligan's upraised foot, crushing any chance the boy had of regaining his balance. Backwards he went, landing flat, and they all helplessly watched as the pie twisted and spun in the air, then landed soundly on Gilligan's face with a soft squelch.

They groaned in unison.

Gilligan lifted his head and propped himself up on his elbows. Licking his lips and as much of his lower face as possible, he said, "Perfect, MaryAnn . . . as usual. Not too coconutty, not too sweet . . . just right." With a big grin, he reached up to his cheek, took a finger full of pie and put it in his mouth.

Later that evening, Gilligan was on his way back to the clearing. He had been at the waterfall, shampooing the coconut pie out of his hair. It was a breezy evening and with a wet head, he was feeling chilled. Still wearing the checkered blanket as a superhero cape, he pulled it around his shoulders for warmth.

It was just starting to get dark in the jungle, and he hadn't brought a torch. But as he ambled along, humming softly to himself, there was still enough light for him to spy a cluster of primrose-willow. They were pretty little flowers, soft yellow, with light green leaves. He reached over and picked a small bunch of them to give to MaryAnn. He continued up the path, humming and clutching the flowers, when he saw a torch coming up the path towards him.

"Helllooooo," he called out. "Who goes there?"

"Hi, Gilligan. It's just me," MaryAnn said in a rather sad voice.

"What's the matter?" he asked. He was close enough now to be in her little circle of light. She could see his dripping hair, the blanket that was wrapped around his shoulders and the flowers he was clutching. He held the flowers out to her. "Are you still sore at me for ruining the pie?"

"No," she answered. "I'm sad because I can't find my book." She took the flowers from his hand and instinctively smelled them.

"Do you mean that beat up old paperback that you've read six times?" he asked, as he reached his hand out to take the torch. "When was the last time you remember having it?"

"I know I had it at the beach yesterday. I thought I put it back in my basket when I carried my things to my hut, but I can't find it anywhere. I think maybe I dropped it."

"Well, I'll come search with you," he said, gallantly. "Are you cold? Do you want the blanket?"

MaryAnn smiled. "Thanks, but I'm all right. I have a sweater."

Gilligan looked at her in the flickering light. She had traded her little blue dress from the picnic earlier, to her jeans and bulky sweater. His heart fluttered a little at the sight of her.

"Come on," he said. "Let's start at the beach, where you were sitting."

MaryAnn smiled and took his hand. "Thank you, Gilligan." She reached up and kissed his cheek.

Gilligan grinned and blushed. Still holding her hand, he led the way down the path, back towards the beach.

They didn't talk much as they walked; they just listened to the night sounds of the jungle. At one point, something screeched so close to MaryAnn, that she practically climbed into Gilligan's arms. He pried her off and tried not to laugh.

When they got to the area of beach that MaryAnn had been sunbathing at the day before, they tried to use the light from the torch to see, but came up empty-handed.

"It's no use, MaryAnn," Gilligan said. "It's just too dark. I'll help you find it tomorrow, okay."

"Okay, I guess you're right. No reading for me tonight," she said, as she plopped herself down in the sand.

He sat next to her, holding the torch out in front of them. "Hey, do you want me to build a little fire? We could stay here on the beach for a while," he asked.

MaryAnn grinned at him and asked, "And then what would we do . . . just the two of us . . . out here on the beach . . . alone."

Gilligan shrugged. "I guess we could . . . uh . . . talk, maybe."

She giggled. "Okay, that sounds lovely. Come on, sailor man. I'll help you collect some driftwood." They had fun running up and down the beach in the moonlight, collecting wood and some rocks to make a ring.

The end result was a delightful little campfire, with the two lovebirds cuddled up next to each other, just listening to the surf and the jungle sounds.

After the picnic that day, and the walk back to camp stealing little kisses here and there, Gilligan was feeling brave. He was sitting rather close to MaryAnn, so he shyly put his arm gently around her shoulder. He glanced out of the corner of his eye to see what her reaction was.

She immediately smiled at him and snuggled a little closer, laying her head on his shoulder. Gilligan smiled back, then he leaned his head against hers and let out a little sigh.

They stayed that way for over an hour, just listening to the night sounds and talking in whispers. Finally, when he noticed that MaryAnn's eyes were getting rather droopy, he kicked sand over the last of the embers and they slowly walked back to the clearing holding hands.

When they got to her door, Gilligan looked at her for a moment. Then he looked at the moon . . . the trees . . . the table . . . until MaryAnn finally giggled, took his face in her hands and kissed him goodnight.

Over the next few weeks, Gilligan and MaryAnn started spending most of their evenings on one beach or another. They frequented different beaches to keep the others guessing; though they were fond of all their island family members, those evenings were just for them.

Sometimes they talked as they sat by the fire, and sometimes, they just listened. When they did talk, their conversation often took them to Kansas, or maybe Pennsylvania – telling stories about their families and childhood adventures.

They were also becoming more intimate with each other, as Gilligan grew more comfortable with the idea of having a girlfriend who liked to kiss and hug.

One particular night found them on the most western stretch of beach. They had gotten there early to watch the sun set, and the view had been spectacular.

Now, several hours later, their fire was starting to die down.

Gilligan took a stick and poked the embers. "I'll miss the campfires," he said softly.

"What do you mean?" MaryAnn asked.

"Someday, we'll get rescued and go back home. When we do, we won't have campfires like this every night." He shrugged. "I'll miss them. I like the smell, the crackles, poking the embers when the fire dies down."

MaryAnn wrapped her arms around his and laid her head on his shoulder. "Do you really believe we'll get rescued, Gilligan?"

"Of course, we will," he said with confidence. "You can't give up hope. I think about it all the time. Don't you?"

MaryAnn shook her head sadly. "I try not to think about it. Every time we think we're going to finally go home, it doesn't happen. It hurts too much to get your hopes up." Her eyes filled with tears, and though she tried hard to stop the flow, a few escaped and trickled down her cheeks.

"MaryAnn, don't cry," he said, reaching over to wipe her tears. "I know how much you miss your aunt and uncle and your cousins – how much you miss Kansas. I don't know how yet, but someday, I'll do it – I'll find a way to get you home."

"Gilligan, that's sweet. It really is, but how? How could you possibly get us rescued?"

"I've been thinking a lot about this, MaryAnn." He stopped and looked at her with shifty eyes. "Don't tell Skipper or Professor, though. They never think my ideas are good."

MaryAnn looked at him carefully. He was serious. He really had a plan. "What are you thinking of doing, Gilligan?"

"Well, look at the natives," he said. "They have everything on their islands that we do on ours, right? If they can make canoes that can travel across the ocean to different islands, we should be able to, too. Next time any of them land here, I'm going to examine their canoes. I have to find out how to make one."

"Oh Gilligan, that could be dangerous," MaryAnn exclaimed. "What if they caught you?"

"I'm pretty sneaky," he said, shaking his head. "I get away with all kinds of stuff with the Skipper. I bet I can get by them."

"So, say you build a canoe – then what? Are you just going to go off by yourself in it?"

He looked at her and scrunched up his face. "Don't say it like that. It's not like I'm leaving you here. I'm going to build a canoe and get out to the shipping lane and when I get picked up, I'll take them back here. I know the coordinates. I can do it."

MaryAnn stared into the fire. She took his stick and poked the logs. Looking back at Gilligan, she said, "Sounds like you've been giving this a lot of thought – like you've really come up with a plan."

"MaryAnn, before, it was just thoughts and dreams. But now – now that you're my girl, I . . . I want to be the one to get you rescued – I want to be your hero."

"Awww, Gilligan. I love that you want to rescue me, but I'd be so scared of losing you to the ocean. I'd be a wreck the whole time you were gone." She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and snuggled into his neck.

"Well, it hasn't happened anyway. Not yet," he said, with a determined look. "Although, there is that big tree that's laying across the trail to our secret ledge. That would be a good one to use. I just have to figure out how to get it down to the beach."

MaryAnn hated the thought of him trying something like that on his own. In an effort to distract this line of thinking, she climbed into his lap to cuddle. He looked at her with wide eyes.

"Uh, what are you doing?" he asked.

"Cuddling," she answered. She still had her arms around him and her head on his shoulder. She snuggled in closer and kissed his neck.

"Oh," he said. He sat there awkwardly for a moment, before he decided to put his arms around her, too. When he did, she lifted her head and looked into his eyes. He gulped.

"What's the matter? You seem nervous. Do you want me to move?" she asked, not making any motion to move at all. Instead, she snuggled in a little closer.

Gilligan looked at her and thought about it. "No, don't move," he said in a husky voice.

MaryAnn put her hand on his cheek and leaned in to kiss him. He met her eagerly and tightened his arms around her. Sitting there by the fire, in the moonlight, with the prettiest, sweetest girl he had ever met, William Gilligan got his first French kiss. He blinked and pulled away, looking at her.

She let him take his time processing what had just happened. She knew how scared he still was of girls, and one false move could send him racing through the jungle. Though they had been kissing each other a lot more lately, this night was different somehow. In the dark, on the beach with the fire, after that beautiful sunset . . . it was even more romantic and arousing.

It didn't take long for his lips to be searching for hers again. In the process of kissing and hugging and shifting positions, he suddenly found his hands on her hips, resting just under the hem of her sweater. He slid his hands up to her ribcage and felt her skin under his fingers, hot to his touch . . . steaming. Without meaning to, he let out a little moan.

This time, it was MaryAnn who pulled back. Neither of them moved – they just stared at each other, both with wide eyes . . . both breathing heavily.

MaryAnn knew that if she was careful and let him make the moves, there was a very strong possibility that she could lose her virginity on this beach tonight – that they both could. She also knew that she had been fantasizing about it for months. Slowly, she lifted her fingers, very subtly, and ran them through his hair on the back of his head.

She didn't smile; she didn't say anything. She just sat there with his hands on her skin, and her fingers tickling the back of his neck and playing with his hair.

Slowly . . . ever so slowly, Gilligan slid his hands up a little more. He realized that she wasn't even wearing a bra; if he slid his hands around to the front just a little . . . the thought of it was almost too much for him. He started to panic.

MaryAnn saw the shift in his eyes and knew that he was on the edge. If she lost him now, it could take weeks – even months – to get to this stage again. In those delicate moments, her mind frantically worked out the best course of action – should she let him run and hope that he'd come around again – or should she take the aggressive approach and take him past the point of no return.

Inwardly, she sighed. She knew that she couldn't force him into it. Something like that – something that big – he had to decide it was the right time for him. She trembled from arousal, as she laid her forehead against his. This time, she sighed out loud.

Gilligan sat there for another moment. His forehead was against hers . . . his hands on her back . . . frantically assessing the situation. He knew that she wanted to go further. He did, too . . . but did he dare to? He didn't want to stop – to chicken out. With a determined look, he made up his mind.

He tilted his head and kissed her again. With his hands still under her sweater, he tightened his hug, and MaryAnn knew then that he wouldn't run. Whatever dilemma ran through his mind, he had worked it out.

She shifted her position so that she was straddling his lap. He pulled her against him and moaned yet again. Lying back, he took her with him, and with her on top, their kiss steadfast, he finally slid his hands around to her breasts. His fingertips slid across her nipples, causing her to let out a little purring moan as she thrust her hips against his.

In a surprisingly graceful motion, he slid her down and around so that he was suddenly on top. As he did, his hands moved on their own accord and slid her sweater up. His lips found her nipple and he eagerly licked and sucked, while his fingers pinched and squeezed her other breast.

MaryAnn let out a primal growl as she reached down and undid his pants, releasing the beast in one swift motion. As she took his shaft in her hand, he sat back and slid her jeans down to her ankles.

Positioning himself back on top of her, now both of them practically nude, he paused. How he found the strength to, he did not know.

"I . . . I don't want to hurt you," he said, huskily.

"Don't stop, Gilligan. Please, don't stop now. I want you," she pleaded.

He looked into her eyes, and her hand gave him a squeeze. He shifted closer, and she guided him in.

Meanwhile, back at the clearing, Skipper and Professor were playing cribbage at the communal table. They had brought some of the torches close to provide light. Ginger sat next to the Professor urging him on and clapping for his good hands.

The Howells had gone for an evening stroll, and they were just coming back to the huts.

"Captain," Mrs. Howell called out. "Could you please have Gilligan collect just a little more firewood. It's rather chilly this evening.

"GILLIGAN," Skipper yelled out. There was no answer. "GILLIGAN, where are you? GILLIGAN!" He looked around the clearing in annoyance. "Where the devil did he go?"

"I'm sure he and MaryAnn have gone off on one of their beach adventures," Professor said.

"Come to think of it," Ginger added, "I haven't seen MaryAnn since right after dinner." She couldn't keep the smirk from her face. When Professor looked over at her, she winked.

"But we ate dinner hours ago. They should have been back by now," Skipper said. He looked at Ginger and the expression on her face. "Although they have been getting in later and later." He thought a little harder, then he started to blush. "He couldn't, could he? He wouldn't, would he? He wouldn't know how!"

Ginger giggled. "They've been getting pretty cozy lately, if you hadn't noticed. He's got to figure it out sooner or later."

Skipper's mouth dropped open. He couldn't even imagine his little buddy . . . he closed his mouth. Then he stood up and started pacing, wringing his hat in his hands.

"We should go out looking for them. What if something happened; maybe they're in trouble somewhere. They . . . they could have gotten lost."

Professor stood up and tried to stop the Skipper from pacing. "Now, listen, Skipper," he said, calmly. "Firstly, the day Gilligan gets lost on this island is the day Albert Einstein shows up to rescue us. Secondly, they are a couple now. It's bound to happen sooner or later . . . if, that is the case at all. Thirdly, well . . . you've got to let him grow up."

Ginger approached Skipper from the other side and put her hand on his arm. "Come on, let's finish the cribbage game. They're fine. Any minute now, they'll come strolling into the clearing, both blushing and knowing that we all know what they were up to." She looked at Professor and winked again.

Back on the beach, Gilligan and MaryAnn lay in each other's arms on the checkered blanket. Despite the chilly evening, they were both coated in sweat and all covered in sand.

"Ewww," MaryAnn squealed. "I have sand in places I didn't know I had."

Gilligan chuckled. "Let's put the fire out and go over to the hot tub. We can rinse the sand off in there." He was on his side facing her and his arm was draped across her waist.

She rolled over onto her side facing him and put her hand up on his chest, tickling the little tuft of hair he had there. "Remember a few weeks ago, when I told you that you'd make a great boyfriend?" she asked.

He looked down at her fingers then back at her face and nodded. "Uh-huh," he answered.

"I changed my mind," she said. When he looked at her with a panicked expression, she laughed.

"I upgraded you from 'great' to "Absolutely Fabulous," she said. Then she cuddled up against him and kissed him.

Gilligan wrapped his arms around her and kissed her hard. He still couldn't believe that this wonderful girl wanted him. He wasn't brilliant, but he was smart enough to know that she was a far better catch than he ever thought he'd get. If she wanted to hug and kiss and . . . stuff . . . well, then, he wouldn't let her down.

Feeling himself becoming quite aroused again, he pulled back from her. "Come on," he said. "Let's go to the hot tub." He reluctantly pulled his jeans and shirt on; then searched around in the dark for his hat. Then he turned around and MaryAnn was dressed, too. He took a thick stick to use for a torch, lit the end, and then they kicked sand on the fire and extinguished it.

Holding hands, they made their way through the jungle to the hot tub. The path was becoming worn, as the seven castaways all enjoyed the unexpected luxury that they had found. As Gilligan and MaryAnn strolled through the jungle, he found himself hoping that nobody else would be there.

Luck was with them, as they approached the little clearing; there was not a soul around. Gilligan took the torch and lit the three permanent torches that they had erected. By the time he was done, he turned around to where MaryAnn had been standing. He was greeted with the site of her clothing in a little pile. He glanced around and she was already in the water, vigorously rubbing the sand off of her limbs.

She looked up at him. "Aren't you coming in?" she asked.

He stood there, realizing that she was watching him. Despite the recent lovemaking, he was suddenly shy about undressing in front of her.

"Turn around," he said. Then he waited while she looked at him for a minute trying not to laugh, then she turned her back to him.

He slithered out of his clothes and slipped into the water. Then he, too, started vigorously washing the sand out of cracks and crevasses. It wasn't long before he overcame his shyness again, and let MaryAnn approach him. They giggled and kissed, as they helped each other wash the sand off.

MaryAnn found that the hardest part was getting the sand out of her hair. Without any shampoo to help wash it out, she kept dunking under and swishing her head around violently. She sprayed water all over, and Gilligan would laugh and shield his face.

When they both declared themselves clean again, they sat on the rocks set on the edge of the pool. With the water up to their chins, they were both warm and comfortable. Sitting side by side, they held hands. Gilligan laid his head back on the mossy banking and closed his eyes.

"You're not going to fall asleep on me again, are you?" MaryAnn asked. He could hear the smile on her lips.

"No, just enjoying the moment," he whispered.

"Well, enjoy this," she said, as she climbed back onto his lap.

The next morning, Skipper awoke with a start. He immediately checked the hammock above him and found it empty.

"Oh no," he muttered.

He didn't seem to care that it was only five o'clock. He ran out into the clearing and right through the door of the girls' hut.

"Did MaryAnn come back?" he hollered, causing Ginger to shriek and pull her blanket up to her chin.

Then he saw the other empty bed.

"They stayed out all night," he said, his face white. "Something bad had to have happened."

Ginger chuckled. "Or something amazing. Oooh, I'm positively shivering at the romance of it all."

Skipper looked at her and suddenly realized that he was standing in her hut and she was wearing only her orange blanket. He gasped and said, "I'm sorry, Ginger. I just . . . I'm worried about my little buddy." And he hurried back out to the table, bumping into the Professor.

Professor watched him back out of the girls' hut with raised eyebrows. When Skipper bumped into him and stepped on his toe, he grunted.

Ginger came out, still wrapped in her blanket, and the Howells came out of their hut, complaining about the morning chaos.

As it happened, the five of them were standing there, stammering and arguing (except for Ginger, who was giggling wildly), when Skipper spied a flash of red through the trees heading their way.

"GILLIGAN," he yelled. "Little buddy, are you okay? Where have you been?"

Gilligan and MaryAnn looked at each other and grimaced. They had been hoping to sneak into their bunks before the others woke up. They were both exhausted, having not slept a wink all night. After making love again in the hot tub, they climbed up a little hill and found a clearing overlooking the eastern beach. From there, they snacked on mangoes and pineapples as they watched the sun rise.

"We're fine, Skipper. Sorry to have worried you. We . . . uh . . . we just went out to watch the sunrise." He tried to look innocent, but didn't quite make it.

MaryAnn giggled when she saw the expression on Ginger's face. She reached up and kissed Gilligan's cheek, then walked over to her hut. "I'm not fixing breakfast this morning. Sorry, everybody, but I need to get a little sleep." She glanced at Gilligan with a huge smile.

He stood there blushing furiously. Then he tried to sidestep Skipper to get to their hut. "There should be enough water for washing up and breakfast," he said. "When I wake up, I'll go get some fish for later." When Skipper tried to block his way, Gilligan ducked under his arm. Rushing into the hut, he hollered over his shoulder, "Good night, everyone."

He slammed the door behind him, hung up his hat and kicked off his shoes. By that time, Skipper had recovered enough to follow him into the hut.

"Gilligan, Little Buddy, were you two really out all night?" he asked, still in a state of shock.

"Skipper," Gilligan answered, as he ushered Skipper back towards the door. "I'm really tired. We'll talk later. Right now, I just gotta get some sleep." With that, he gently pushed Skipper back out of the hut and shut the door again.

Climbing into his hammock, he grabbed his pillow in a hug and buried his face into it. With his eyes closed, he recalled the image of MaryAnn . . . lying on the beach with her sweater pulled up and her hands on him, pleading with him not to stop.

As he drifted off to sleep, a smile slowly spread across his face.