Chapter 11: Pirate's Booty

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When the next day begins, neither of us mentions the events from the night before. We ignore the kisses. We forget the conversations. We act like strangers.

This actually makes it much easier for me to get into character.

First, I feign a headache. It allows me to idly remain in the cave while Cade scours the fresh tidal pools for breakfast. He takes longer doing it alone than if he had my help, but he doesn’t complain once.

Meanwhile, the temperature soars and the heat gives me the idea for my next move.

I wait until he’s out of view and unbutton my shirt, exposing the skin all the way to where my breasts meet. After rolling up my sleeves and tying the bottom of the fabric above my flat stomach, I feel much cooler. I’m fairly certain it makes me more desirable, as well. Of course, I could have followed the natives’ example and not covered up at all. Luciana, however, prefers to tease and therefore, so must I.

I look myself over, but something’s still missing.

Twisting my hair into a high knot to accentuate my long neck, I’m finally pleased with the results. When he brings a handful of his catch back to the cave, however, Cade doesn’t seem to notice my transformation.

I’m going to have to try harder.

The fates must hear me because as we begin our exploration of the island, they quickly put me to the test.

Although we’ve only eaten the bounty of the sea since our arrival to the island, Cade passes under several trees bearing what I know to be edible – and quite tasty – fruit. He’s preoccupied with covering as much ground as possible, and even if he sees the unimpressive, brown balls hanging from the limbs, he could easily be dismissing them as worthless.

I’m tempted to point out his mistake, but Luciana wouldn’t know this flavorful sapodilla from the similar, but inedible cannonball fruit. My mouth, however, can almost taste the super sweet, syrupy goodness of its soft, yellow flesh as we continue to pass the perfectly ripened fruit scattered on the ground around us.

Cade must make the discovery on his own accord, but somehow I need to help the process. I consider pretending to slip on one of the soft, juicy fruit. While that would certainly draw his attention to me, he could still easily overlook the food source.

When I can see the end of the trees and the openness of the beach beyond it, I know I have to do something drastic or risk losing this chance. Picking up a plump ball, I take aim at the back of my companion’s head as he walks several paces ahead.

“Ow!” He immediately reaches for the spot where the fruit made contact and turns. “Did you throw something at me?”

“Why would I do that?” I shrug my shoulders. “Maybe it came from up there.”

He looks up and observes the still-hanging fruit. Bending, he picks up the one I just threw. “Do you know what these are?”

I walk closer. “No, but could it be edible? I’m famished.”

He sniffs the skin before carefully pealing it back. It reveals the familiar, mushy yellow flesh and a strong, sweet smell. Touching it to his lips, he cautiously tastes it. “I think so. It’s sweet. Let’s get some more.”

We load our arms and head to the nearby beach. From the position of the sun and the lack of large rocks like at our original camp, I suspect we’re on the opposite side of the island. Here, a sandbar about thirty feet from shore has also created a perfectly shallow – and protected – area to fish.

Cade also sees this opportunity. Sharpening a length of wood into a spear, he takes off his boots and shirt, and rolls up his trousers. After heading into the thigh-high water, he attempts to secure the staple of our lunch.

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