Warnings: Teen/Adult romantic interactions, partial nudity, implied sexual activity
Round One: The Gapp Family
It took quite a while for young Bridge Gapp to come to terms with the fact his parents had died in the shipwreck.
Being quite a sensitive child, he cried many tears and spent many sleepless nights.
However, his naturally good-natured, optimistic personality eventually surfaced once again.
He realized how blessed he was to still have his grandmother, and he put all his efforts into becoming closer with her and trying to make her life easier.
"Do you want some help, Grandma? Grandma? Do you want me to stir? Peel the coconuts? Grandma, I can help you!"
Ginevera sighed with irritation. "Bridge, the best way you can help me is to go to the other room and do something quiet to stay out of my way."
Bridge's face fell. "Oh. Okay, Grandma..."
He walked into the room he was using as his bedroom and sat down on his bed. Despite his efforts to hold them back, his eyes filled with tears.
It was no secret his grandmother wasn't happy about being saddled with him. She hadn't ever been the most motherly type, according to his father... and now, in her old age, she obviously wasn't thrilled about the prospect of repeating it all over again.
Bridge felt terrible. He knew, on some deep level, that it wasn't his fault... but it didn't stop his feelings.
He knew his grandmother didn't want him.
But she was all he had.
Ginevera regretted her irritation the minute Bridge disappeared into his room. She thought about calling him back, but decided against it. He would get in her way, and she wanted to get dinner cooked without him underfoot.
He was very quiet at the table... staring at his plate and not speaking at all while he ate. It made Ginevera feel ten times worse.
Finally she spoke. "Bridge, honey... I'm sorry I snapped at you earlier."
"It's okay, Grandma." Bridge said softly. "I know I'm a handful."
Where had he heard that? "No, Bridge," Ginevera protested, shaking her head. "You're not. You are one of the best-behaved little boys I've ever known." She sighed. "I'm afraid that even after all this time on the island with you, I'm just not used to having children around. When your father was small, your grandfather was still alive... and he took care of all the things children need."
"He was always much better at that sort of thing than I am." Ginevera admitted. "I'm not really the nurturing type, you see... But it doesn't mean I don't love you, Bridge. Because I do, very much."
Bridge chewed quietly as he thought about that.
"I'll try to do better, Bridge," Ginevera promised, standing and beginning to clear the table.
Bridge hesitated only a second before he hopped up, smiling hugely, his curly red hair bouncing over his forehead. "I'll help you clean up, Grandma, okay?"
Bridge did have one very close friend his own age... Cheer Less.
"... and when we get married, Cheer... we'll live right here on the beach."
Cheer laughed. "Married?"
"Yes." Bridge's grey eyes were serious. "Will you marry me, Cheer?"
"You're silly," Cheer giggled. "We can't get married, Bridge. We're too little."
"We can pretend," Bridge insisted. He grabbed her hand. "I, Bridge Gapp... do solomnly swear..."
"That's not what you say at a wedding!" Cheer shook her head and smiled. "It's like this..." She cleared her throat. "I, Cheer Less, being of sound mind... Oh wait, that's not it either."
Bridge was laughing uncontrollably. "I, Bridge Gapp... swear to tell the truth, the whole truth..."
"...so help you God!" Cheer finished, collapsing on the sand from giggles.
Bridge fell down beside her and they lay on the warm sand, staring up into the bright blue skies, until their laughter died away.
"We'll always be together, won't we, Cheer?" Bridge said confidently. "No matter what... just you and me."
Cheer didn't answer. Instead she sat up and gazed out into the sea.
"What's out there?" Bridge asked, following her eyes. "Cheer? What do you see?"
"Nothing." Cheer answered finally, her aquamarine eyes still intently scanning the waves.
"... I don't see a thing."
Round One: The Petal Family
Rose Petal's parents had died in the shipwreck that had brought Rose and her two younger sisters to Prosperity Island.
Rose missed them terribly, especially since she was feeling the weight of very very grown-up reponsibilities these days.
However, despite her youth, she had done a good job of raising her baby sister Marygold to childhood,
...helping her middle sister Violet learn to read and write,
all the while keeping a reasonably tidy home for the three of them and learning to cook delicious meals.
Violet had become very good friends with Joy Less, and the two of them could often be seen playing together on the sand... building sandcastles,
searching for shells,
... or just talking.
Meanwhile, little Marygold found she had a soft spot for all the island's animals, and built a cage with her own hands when she found an injured scarlet mccaw she decided to nurse back to health.
That first bird led to another,
and still another!
Soon, there were so many that Rose and Violet sometimes wondered if they lived in a beach hut or an aviary.
However, when Marygold also began to leave food and bones out for a starving pack of hyenas, Rose felt she had to draw the line.
"Marygold! You need to stop encouraging those filthy animals to come around here! I mean it!"
"But Rose... they're hungry!"
"Wild animals are always hungry, Marygold! Now you do as I say. Birds are one thing, but hyenas are dangerous! You will stop putting food out for them, do you hear me?"
"Okay, Rose, I'll stop." Marygold replied contritely, but in her heart she knew she wouldn't.
Her "dogs," as she called them, depended on her now. Besides, they weren't threatening at all... not to Marygold. They were beginning to accept her and were quite gentle and tame in her presence.
Marygold desperately wanted to have them as her very own pets, but she knew Rose would never allow it.
Not for now, anyway...
Rose treasured the close friendship that had developed with Hope Less, as the two of them were so near to the same age and had shared many of the same experiences.
Hope had come to Rose for advice regarding her budding relationship with the scientist, Lazlo Curious, and they both worried about how to tell Hope's family.
It was Rose who suggested Hope talk to her grandmother first.
And while Rose fervently wished the best outcome for her friend's situation, she felt a terrible weight of guilt inside... for she was also romantically involved with an older man.
Hope's father... Worth Less.
Rose was certain Worth had not intended for their relationship to turn romantic. It had been, Rose thought, just as much of a surprise for Worth as it had been for her. He had acted nothing but paternal toward her at first... making sure she and her sisters were provided for, and keeping the proverbial wolves from the door.
But one night it all changed.
That wonderful night...
That magic night when Worth had brought over some food and found Rose collapsed in exhausted tears...
... when he'd quickly dropped the basket of food on the floor and hurried to gather her in his strong arms, listening to her pour out her sorrows,
...comforting her with his strong embrace...
...quieting her with his lips on hers.
That night, she'd fallen in love with Worth Less, and she didn't care one bit that he was more than twenty years her senior.
She loved him.
From that point, the romantic relationship between Worth and Rose had progressed. He'd had doubts at first, but Rose would hear none of it. She lived for the times they spent together.
"Worth, I'll do anything for you," she told him as he held her one night. "You've done so much for me, and I'm so grateful for that." She hungrily pressed her body against his. Rose didn't feel like giving Worth her love was nearly enough, but she would give it gladly.
"Rose... oh, Rose..." Worth murmured. "Please don't say that. You don't owe me anything."
"We shouldn't do this, Rose," Worth continued, sighing. "I'm old enough to be your father! You're a beautiful girl, and I do care about you... but you don't have to do this for me, Rose! I'll take care of you and your sisters no matter what."
This is wrong..." he framed her earnest face with his hands, holding her at arms' length "It's so wrong..."
"I don't care!" Rose cried, throwing his hands aside and clinging to him. "I don't care. I love you! There's no one else for me here, Worth! No one else who cares as much as you do... and if you don't want to be with me now, I'll wait! I'll wait forever! I'll wait until you're old and grey if you want me to, Worth! But we don't have to wait... we can have this! We can have this now!"
And to prove it to him the only way she knew, Rose smothered Worth with kisses, pulling him to her, drawing him close...
...encouraging him... guiding him...
She made it impossible for Worth to resist, even if he had wanted to.
And he didn't.
More to Come...