Story 1: How It Happened
The clouds were gathering. A tropical storm was on its way, but the Professor was unworried. He and Mary Ann were in a remote corner of the island gathering plant specimens. He had been surprised but pleased when Mary Ann offered to accompany him. While he wasn't sure what to do with the feeling, on some level he thoroughly enjoyed her company. So sweet she was, so beautiful, so kind, and so bright.
He often dreamed of that far-off day when they were rescued, and he would return to his work. Frequently, those dreams would include a partner and protegee, and more and more, the person he envisioned in that role looked like Mary Ann.
He was unworried because they were likely to be back at camp before the weather turned, and even if it changed ahead of schedule, he knew of a nearby cave where they would be protected. And while he'd never admit it to himself, the Professor was secretly hoping that this would be the case.
Sure enough, the clouds opened up while they were in the midst of collecting plants. The Professor grabbed Mary Ann's hand and ran with her to the cave.
As they reached it, a sudden wind seized the basket in which Mary Ann was carrying the samples, and she darted out to retrieve it. It had landed under a large palm tree, and as she reached for it, another gust pulled the tree from the ground, roots and all.
All the Professor could see was the tree coming down directly in Mary Ann's path. He leaped out of the cave, seized her wrist, and pulled her out of danger, back into the cave, and into his arms.
"Mary Ann! You could have been killed!" he exclaimed. "Oh, my dear ..." And then he was holding her not just with his arms but with his lips, in a passionate kiss that startled them both.
Suddenly he broke the kiss and the embrace and turned away, flustered. "Good heavens, Mary Ann, forgive me," he said.
"Professor, it's all right," she said softly, approaching his side and tentatively touching his arm. "What just happened here ... well, it's something I've been hoping would happen ... for a long time."
He turned abruptly to face her. "You mean ... ?"
She just smiled and held out her arms.
He folded her into another embrace, overwhelmed and overjoyed by the near-bursting sensation in his heart. She pulled back enough to look at his face, and their lips met again.
The Professor had never in his life read a love story or watched a romantic movie, so he had no words for what he was feeling. But somehow he suddenly knew the meaning of that old cliche, "This is bigger than both of us."
When the kiss ended, he stammered, "Mary Ann, I ... you ... we ... that is ... I mean ...."
"Shhh," said Mary Ann, gently touching her finger to his lips. "I know." They embraced once more.
The storm was over, but it was late, and too dark to make the trip back to camp. Neither the Professor nor Mary Ann had to say a word; it was obvious neither objected to staying in the cave, together, until daylight. The Professor ventured out to gather some wood and built a fire, and the two sat there in its warmth. The Professor wrapped his arms around Mary Ann, and she rested her head on his chest. After a while, they drifted off to sleep.
Mary Ann had been dreaming of being held in strong, gentle arms. As her eyes fluttered open, she realized it was no dream. Slowly, the previous night came back to her. She looked up to meet the Professor's tender gaze.
"Good morning, my love," he whispered.
"Professor, did you say ... `my love'?"
"Yes," he answered, a little incredulously. "I was afraid to use that word, but it just -- came out. It's true, Mary Ann. I'm in love with you."
"Oh, Professor," she said. "I was afraid of it, too, but now I can say it. I do love you."
He drew her closer. After a minute, he said, "Mary Ann, did you say, `Professor'?"
"Oh, yes," she said with a little giggle. "I guess it is time I stopped calling you that ... Roy."
"Oh, Mary Ann," he cried, "do you know how sweet it is to hear you say my name? Oh, say it again!"
"Roy," she said softly, nestling into his embrace. "Dear, dear Roy."
They held each other for a long time.
Finally, Mary Ann said, "The sun is up, darling. We should go back to camp. The others will be worried."
"Yes," the Professor replied. "If we're lucky, though, nobody will be up yet."
They weren't so lucky. Ginger had awakened a few minutes before dawn and been alarmed to find Mary Ann's bed empty and apparently not slept in. Remembering that her roommate had left the previous afternoon with the Professor, she peeked into his hut -- also empty.
Panicked, Ginger ran to Gilligan and the Skipper's hut. "Skipper! Skipper! Wake up! Mary Ann and the Professor never came back last night! I'm so afraid!"
The Skipper tumbled out of his hammock and ran outside, Gilligan at his heels. "Ginger, what is it?" Ginger repeated what she'd found.
"Relax, Ginger," said the Skipper. "I'm sure they're fine. They probably went somewhere to wait out the storm and didn't want to try coming home in the dark. They'll probably be back any minute."
"Oh, I hope so," said Ginger. "I'm just afraid they got caught in the storm and something terrible happened."
"Yeah," said Gilligan. "Maybe they got struck by lightning or eaten by wild animals or ... " Ginger began to wail.
"Gilligan, stop it! Can't you see you're making her feel worse?" the Skipper hollered, patting Ginger's shoulder awkwardly. His composure returned, and he said, "Little buddy, why don't you go gather some wood for the breakfast fire?"
"Aye aye, sir," Gilligan said, and left.
While the Skipper genuinely believed that the Professor and Mary Ann were all right, he couldn't help picking up some of Ginger's fear. What if something had happened? What would the other castaways do without the Professor's brilliant mind and Mary Ann's sweet, generous spirit? Although they probably didn't realize it, those two were the glue that held the group together.
By now the Howells were up, awakened by the commotion outside. Just as the Skipper finished explaining what was happening, the group heard Gilligan call, "Here they come!"
And here they came, looking a little rumpled from having slept in the cave, but otherwise perfectly fine.
"Are you all right?" the others asked, almost in unison.
"Yes, yes," said the Professor. "We got caught in the storm and took shelter in a cave. By the time it blew over, it was too dark to come back. So we made a fire and stayed put."
"We're sorry to have worried you," Mary Ann added. "But it's a good thing we waited. The storm took down a lot of trees" -- nobody but the Professor saw her shudder as she remembered her own close call -- "and we would have fallen over them in the dark."
"Well, thank goodness you're safe," said the Skipper.
There was an awkward silence. The other castaways perceived something different about the Professor and Mary Ann, but nobody could say what it was. Ginger, however, had her suspicions.
The Professor cleared his throat. "We, uh, found all the plant specimens we were looking for." Mary Ann nodded and held up the basket.
Another awkward silence followed, which Ginger finally broke.
"You know, I could be wrong," she said. "But I have a feeling you found something else out there."
"What do you mean?" asked Mary Ann.
"There's something about the way you keep looking at each other," said her friend.
They'd been trying not to let on to the others about what had passed between them, but apparently their eyes couldn't lie. And there was no mistaking the look that Mary Ann and the Professor gave each other now. It said, "Should we tell them, darling?"
They didn't have to. It was Mrs. Howell who burst out, "Oh, Thurston, look, isn't it wonderful? They're in love!"
Their faces -- his beaming, hers blushing -- were all the confirmation the others needed. They surrounded the couple with a chorus of congratulations.
"We'll explain it all later," said Mary Ann. "Meanwhile, could breakfast wait a few minutes? I need to freshen up."
"No problem, Mary Ann," said the Skipper. "Take your time. Gilligan and I will take care of everything."
"I'll help," Ginger chimed in.
Gilligan, Ginger and the Skipper chattered about the news they'd just received as they prepared the meal. What could have happened out there?
"It's very simple," said the Professor, who emerged from his hut in the midst of their conversation. "A longstanding mutual affection, which both of us had repressed via a psychological defense mechanism known as denial, manifested itself during a period of emotional vulnerability precipitated by an episode with life-threatening implications."
Just as Gilligan was about to ask for an English translation, Mary Ann appeared at the Professor's side and took his arm.
"In other words," she said, smiling, "I'd had these feelings for R- -- the Professor -- for a long time, but didn't say anything because I had no idea he felt the same way. Then I was almost killed in the storm. He saved my life, and that's when it all came out."
"This is just like a movie!" cried Ginger. "I can just see it. Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. No, Rock Hudson and Patty Duke. ... Wait until we get home; I'm going to tell Hollywood all about this! It'll be the love story of the century!"
"If it's a love story," said Gilligan, "shouldn't there be a wedding?" The Skipper gave his little buddy a warning elbow to the ribs, but the Professor just smiled at Mary Ann and said, "You know, my dear, he's right." She smiled back.
A few weeks later, Mary Ann Summers, in a lovely lace gown she'd made over from one of Mrs. Howell's dresses, became Mrs. Roy Hinkley in a ceremony presided over by the Skipper. Gilligan was best man, Ginger was maid of honor, and the Howells hosted the reception.
The best was yet to come. Through careful questioning of the Professor, the Skipper had learned the exact location of the cave where the couple had declared their love. In the days preceding the wedding, he and Gilligan had made several trips to outfit it with bedding, food, firewood and other supplies. After the reception, the castaways led the newlyweds back to the cave -- their honeymoon suite -- and said their goodbyes.
That night, the soft light of a tropic moon found its way through the entrance of the cave to light the lovers' way as they lay down together.
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