Eleni opened her eyes but everything remained dark. She felt something hard and slimy underneath her body. She tried to feel around and realized that she was laying on some wet rocks. She touched her safety vest and tried to see if there was a whistle or maybe a light, she found neither. What was she going to do now? After a moment of despair, she saw a tiny flicker of light many feet away. It grew brighter and bigger as it approached her, her eyes couldn’t focus on what it was. She was hoping that it was Ash, but she couldn’t be sure. She tried to say his name but her voice was barely louder than a whisper. She tried yelling but
her throat hurt and it was barely as loud as her normal voice. She said a silent prayer and hoped that it wasn’t some sort of undiscovered cave creature come to devour her.
When Ash finally saw her he breathed a sigh of relief and thanked whoever was listening that he had found her. He held the light in his mouth and swam as fast as he could to get to her. From what he could tell, she was laying on some rocks at the entrance of the cave. When he got to her, he said her name and felt her hands go around his neck. She kissed him and cried out in pain from the movement.
“Let me shine the light. The cave opens up right behind you.”
He pulled himself up slowly and helped her into the cave where they found a place to sit on a large flat rock. She held onto him closely and wouldn’t let go. He loved the affection but he needed to see where she was hurt.
Eleni felt like it was all a dream again, but this time she knew it was much too real. When she had heard Ash say her name, she had kissed him, hoping it would not be the last time. She had to tell him now, she didn’t want to wait anymore. They were alone, she thought, and laughed silently.
“I need to check you Eleni.”
He placed the light beside them and it was bright enough for them to see a few feet around each other. Eleni was terrified. No one knew where they were and from what she could tell, the boat had been lost to the sea. Thank goodness Ash had found her or she would have been fish food by now.
“I need you to tell me where it hurts.”
Eleni pointed to her right side and flinched when he touched her softly.
“I need to see the wound.”
That meant she needed to remove her dress. She nodded and
pulled her dress off over her head. She let it fall between them and waited for him to check her. She saw a worried look cross his beautiful face.
He touched her side and she winced in pain, what was wrong with her?
“I think you have a broken rib.”
He picked up her dress and helped her put it back on slowly. She cried out in pain a few times, but got in on and looked down at herself in panic.
“What can we do for the rib?” He shook his head.
“We have no ice or medicine, the only thing you need to do is take deep breaths to avoid getting pneumonia.”
Eleni started as soon as he told her. Ash wanted to stay with Eleni but he needed to see if he could find anything in the cave that
could help them. Maybe someone had come along at some point and left something behind. He searched in vain and came back to find her sitting exactly where he left her. He was terrified but he didn’t let her know because he needed to be strong for the both of them. He had no idea if his uncle would notice the boat hadn’t been returned in the morning and if he did, maybe he wouldn’t send anybody for a while, thinking Ash had used it longer than
expected. All he knew was that they had to spend the night in the cave and it was something that scared him more than he wanted to admit.
“I need to talk to you Ash.” She said those words as soon as he sat down next to her. The light cast shadows on her scared face, he watched as she took some deep breaths and continued.
“I need to tell you all about my past. I don’t want to keep anything from you either.”
Ash knew where this was coming from and he didn’t want her to say anything.
“Eleni, you don’t have to say anything because you think we won’t make it. I promise you, we will get out of here.”
She took his hands in hers and smiled.
“I’ve been wanting to talk to you since I came back from Athens but I haven’t felt like it was the right time. This is it.”
He listened quietly while she explained about all that had happened in the past few months, she told him everything up until the Athens trip. She kept the feelings she had for him silent for the moment. She wanted to see how he would react. The only thing he did was squeeze her hand and say,
“I’m really sorry you had to go through all those things in such a short time. Thank you for sharing.”
She let go of his hands and held him close to her, crying out in pain as she did so. He tried to push her away and stop her from hurting herself but she held him until he held her back.
“I love you Ash. I think I have since the moment I met you and it
scares the hell out of me.”
She let him go and he saw that she had tears rolling down her
cheeks. He slowly wiped them away and kissed her gently while she continued crying.
Neither of them could have predicted what happened next.