The Gilligan's Island Romance Fan Fiction Site
Story 5: Rescued Hearts
Another summer, another reunion of the S.S. Minnow passengers and crew. The Howells rented a small Hawaiian resort, complete with private beach, for the occasion. The castaways and their families would have the place to themselves.
One of those families had grown since the last reunion, with the birth of Gilligan and Laura Jean's daughter, Ginger Ann. Their 3-year-old, Buddy (christened Roy Thurston, he'd been dubbed Littler Buddy at birth by his godfather, the Skipper, and it stuck), was relishing the role of big brother.
Thirteen-year-old Eunice Hinkley, younger daughter of the Professor and Mary Ann, was eager to see the baby but had an additional reason to be excited. Ginger would be bringing copies of the 10th anniversary edition of "Rescued Hearts" for each of them. It wasn't due in video stores until fall, and she'd have it first!
"Better bring a case of those new tapes just for us," Mary Ann had quipped to Ginger on the phone a week before the reunion. "Eunice has worn out three copies of the old version already."
Back on the island, when Ginger heard how the Professor and Mary Ann had fallen in love, she knew it would make a great movie. After they were rescued, she'd brought the idea to the financially strapped Sunrise Pictures, the first studio that had taken a chance on her as she sought to rebuild her career. She persuaded the Hinkleys to turn over the rights to their story to Sunrise in exchange for a share of the film's earnings.
It was a good move: "Rescued Hearts" was a smash. In Hollywood, it was known as the "little movie that could," the film "that kept the sun from setting on Sunrise."
Eunice -- she'd given up the nickname Lovey at 11 -- was a film buff. And her all-time favorite movie was "Rescued Hearts." Her twin, Jonas -- formerly known as Skipper and now called Skip -- suspected something Freudian in his sister's fixation on a love story about her own parents, but Eunice claimed she didn't even think about whom the lovers were based on; she just thought it was a beautiful story.
Ginger was the last castaway to arrive, and like the others, was greeted with hugs all around. Mary Ann noticed that she seemed to be taking her time letting go of the Skipper, but didn't think much of it. The big old sailor did give great bear hugs, after all.
The years had not dulled Ginger's looks. She was as sexy as ever, but different. The breathy seductress was gone, replaced by a cool beauty who was at home in both light romantic comedies and serious drama. While the industry press had likened her to Marilyn Monroe in the pre-shipwreck years, she was now drawing comparisons to Diane Keaton.
She was regularly offered parts that would normally go to much younger actresses, and she played them beautifully. But she was becoming fond of the mature roles; they gave her more opportunities to flex her acting muscles.
She could have her pick of leading men both on and off the screen. But despite Hollywood gossip linking her to dozens of handsome male stars over the years, she had remained single, which mystified her friends.
The sun was setting over the Pacific on the second night of the reunion. Gilligan, the Skipper, the Professor and Mr. Howell were in the hotel bar, reminiscing. Skip had taken Buddy to get ice cream. Mrs. Howell and the Hinkley daughters were fussing over Laura Jean and 2-month-old Ginny, arguing good-naturedly over whose turn it was to hold the baby.
That left Mary Ann and Ginger alone on the beach. Ginger had been telling her old roommate about her next movie when she began to cry.
"What's wrong?" asked Mary Ann. "You said this movie had a happy ending."
"Oh," said Ginger, "I was just thinking about someone -- I mean, something."
"You won't get that one past me," said Mary Ann. "It *is* someone, isn't it? Who? Travis Patterson? Craig Scott? Ryan Gill?" These were three of Ginger's most recent leading men.
"You won't believe me if I tell you," said Ginger.
"Well ... there is a man I've been thinking about a lot. Thinking about whether he and I belong together. Someone I've known a long time."
"Aha!" exclaimed Mary Ann. "Simon Pugh!" Simon had played the Professor in "Rescued Hearts," and he was gorgeous -- although Mary Ann had to admit she was biased, as the actor did look like her husband.
"No, but you're getting closer," Ginger replied, "because it does have something to do with `Rescued Hearts.' I think this started with the interview I did for the new video. I was remembering how you and the Professor got together, how your feelings for each other had to come out after all those years of denying them. And there's someone I'm feeling that way about -- but I have no idea whether he feels the same way.
"I've been out with a lot of men," she continued, "but if I'd married any one of them, we would have ended up divorced, another Hollywood statistic. That's because not one could understand what those years on the island mean to me. It was a big piece of my life! You people were -- are -- my family! Everyone else thinks it's just something that happened in the past, that it shouldn't matter anymore. But it does! It changed me.
"And the only ones who understand are the ones who were there. That's why when I think about settling down with a man, I think about" -- she took a deep breath -- "the Skipper."
Mary Ann quickly suppressed her first impulse, which was to giggle. The *Skipper*? Why, he was more than 20 years older than Ginger and certainly not the ideal mate for a movie star. Or was he? He was strong and brave, kind and loving, and down to earth. He'd be the ideal mate for anyone.
Yes, she thought, Ginger deserved better than the shallow glamour boys who populated Hollywood, and the Skipper was as far removed from that as anyone could be. As for the age difference, that was no barrier; her own marriage was proof of that.
"Ginger, you need to do something," said Mary Ann. "An accident brought Roy and me together, but you can't always wait around for fate to step in. You need to get him alone. I'll help."
"How?" said Ginger.
Mary Ann thought for a minute. She had it! Quickly she outlined her plan to Ginger. Then she rose to leave. "Stay here," she said. "You know what to do. Act like you've never acted before. Pretend the Oscar judges are watching!"
She found the men in the bar. "Skipper!" she cried. "Ginger fell on the beach and twisted her ankle. She can't walk. You're the only one strong enough to carry her. Can you help?"
The Skipper jumped to his feet, and the other men prepared to follow. "No," Mary Ann told them. "He can handle it." She sat and motioned for them to do the same. "Roy, darling, have you told Gilligan and Mr. Howell about that funny accident in the lab last month?"
The Skipper heard moans of pain coming from the beach and followed them. There was Ginger, rubbing her ankle and sobbing.
"Ginger! Mary Ann told me you were hurt. Here, let me carry you."
"No, wait, Skipper, I think I'm all right now." She looked into those sincere, concerned blue eyes and knew she couldn't continue the act. "Actually, Skipper, I'm not hurt at all. This was Mary Ann's idea; she just wanted to get you down here because ... "
"Because -- why?" His heart gave a little leap. He knew what he wanted her answer to be, but he didn't dare think it possible.
She took her time before responding. "It's like in `Rescued Hearts,' " she said, finally. "A woman loves a man, but she's afraid to speak up because she doesn't know if ... "
"Ginger ... are you saying what I think you're trying to say?"
"Yes! Yes! Skipper, I love you!" she blurted out. She was sobbing for real now, terrified that he might laugh or run away.
"Oh, Ginger!" He took her into his arms. "I-I've loved you since the first day I laid eyes on you. But I never thought a beautiful movie star like you could ever care for an old sea dog like me."
"An old sea dog is just what I want," she whispered. "It just took me all these years to figure it out."
Hours passed, and the little group in the hotel bar was joined by Mrs. Howell, Patty Hinkley, Laura Jean and the children.
"Time to put the kids to bed, dear," said Laura Jean. "Patty has offered to watch them after they've gone to sleep, so we can rejoin the party."
"Is that OK, Mom?" asked Patty.
"Of course," said Mary Ann. "Where are the twins?"
"Skip's in the video game room, and Eunice went up to our room to watch 'Rescued Hearts' " -- Patty rolled her eyes -- "*again.*"
Buddy had climbed into his father's lap. "So, I guess you'll want to hear your favorite story again, huh?" said Gilligan.
"Yeah!" said Buddy. "Story!"
"What story is that?" asked Mary Ann.
"The one where Daddy and Big Buddy save all those people from drowning in the big storm at sea," said Laura Jean. "He won't go to sleep without it."
"But he's heard it enough times to tell it himself -- right, guy?" said Gilligan. "When we put Ginny to bed, he stands by the crib and tells it to her."
"It's so cute," said Laura Jean. "When Gilligan tells the story, the Skipper is the hero. But in Buddy's version, his daddy is."
At the mention of the Skipper, the little boy began to look around for his old friend. "Big Buddy!" he cried. "Where's Big Buddy?"
"Yes, where is the captain?" said Mrs. Howell. "And Ginger?"
Mary Ann explained about Ginger's ankle.
Gilligan glanced at his watch. "Gee, wasn't that two hours ago? Do you think maybe she had to go to the hospital?"
"Oh, no," said Mary Ann. "She wasn't that badly hurt. He probably took her to the hotel nurse, then helped her upstairs and turned in for the night. Yes, that's it ... I'm sure that's what happened."
The Professor smiled to himself. Mary Ann was such an honest soul, and so rare were her attempts at deception -- usually involving such innocent matters as surprise parties -- that he could see right through them. But the others did appear to be buying her story, although Gilligan did remark that it was odd the Skipper hadn't come by to say goodnight.
Gilligan, Laura Jean, Patty and the children left. The Howells followed; it was time for Mr. Howell's pills. "We'll be back," both couples told the Hinkleys.
When they were alone, the Professor took his wife's hand. "Dearest," he said, "every day you grow sweeter, more beautiful, more brilliant. But you have remained a terrible liar. What are you hiding?"
"I can't tell, darling," she said.
He leaned in close, caressed her cheek and whispered in his huskiest bedroom voice, "Not even me?"
Mary Ann grinned. "Who do you think you are -- Ginger? Sorry, my love, you're not going to seduce me into telling." She pressed her lips to his palm. "You'll find out when everyone else does, if there is anything to find out."
The Skipper and Ginger, arms around each other's waists, were walking silently along the beach, occasionally stopping to kiss and embrace -- and to gaze with amazement into each other's eyes. The Skipper, especially, could hardly believe what was happening; the woman he'd worshiped for all these years had just declared her love for him. He'd already pinched himself a dozen times to make sure this wasn't all a dream.
He would have been even more incredulous if he could see this moment through Ginger's eyes. Overweight and showing his age, he knew he was no hunk, especially compared to the movie stars she'd been with. But now, when Ginger looked at him, she saw the handsomest man in the world.
Behind Ginger's gaze was exhilaration, relief and a little regret for all those years she'd wasted looking for her dream man, when he was right here all the time. But at last, she had faced her feelings and made her dream come true. Thank goodness Mary Ann had talked her into taking action.
The Skipper cleared his throat, and his hands shook as he clasped hers. "Ginger," he said, "We've waited so long, both of us. Let's not wait any longer. Let's get married."
"Yes," she said, holding him close. "Let's do it while our friends are all still here. It will be just perfect."
They resumed walking, no longer silent but busily discussing plans for the ceremony and the future.
At breakfast the next day, Ginger broke the news to the others by announcing a change in the schedule for the end of the week. Instead of a farewell brunch on Saturday, there would be a wedding.
"Yes!" Mary Ann leaped out of her chair and hugged her friend. Mrs. Howell, Laura Jean and the girls followed. The Professor, Skip and Mr. Howell surrounded the Skipper, thumping his back and pumping his hand in congratulations. Even Buddy, who didn't know what was happening but knew excitement when he saw it, jumped up and down with glee.
Gilligan, however, hung back, baby Ginny in his arms and a glum expression on his face.
"What's the matter, Gilligan?" the Skipper asked. "Aren't you happy for us?"
"Yeah, but ... I ... well ... I thought ... does this mean I won't be your first mate anymore?"
"Little buddy, you'll always be my first mate. Ginger is going to be my *life* mate; that's different."
Gilligan beamed. "Oh, I get it. Just like Laura Jean is my life mate and Buddy is my first mate, and Ginny is ... uh, wet." He handed the baby over to his wife with a sheepish grin, and everyone laughed.
On Saturday, a local justice of the peace officiated at the wedding of Jonas Grumby and Ginger Grant. Mary Ann was matron of honor, Gilligan was best man, and Mrs. Howell presided over her third castaway wedding reception. She was distressed that there would be no more, until Patty Hinkley assured her that there was a new generation awaiting her services ... someday.
Ginger returned to Hollywood long enough to announce she was going into semiretirement from acting and moving her production company from California to Hawaii. Desert Isle Productions' next project, she said, would be "Rescued Hearts II: The Sailor and the Movie Star."
Back home, the Professor and Mary Ann watched Ginger's announcement on "Entertainment Update." When it was over, the Professor switched off the TV and smiled at his wife.
"You did it again," he said. "First Gilligan and Laura Jean, and now Ginger and the Skipper. I thought Mrs. Howell was supposed to be the matchmaker."
"Now, I didn't fix up Gilligan and Laura Jean; you know that," Mary Ann protested. "I just happened to get the idea to have our students meet our friends. Who knew they'd fall for each other? As for Ginger and the Skipper, that match was already made; it just needed a little push.
"And remember," she continued, "Mrs. Howell wasn't much of a matchmaker. If she were, I'd be with Gilligan, you'd be with Ginger, the Skipper might still be alone, and none of us would be as happy as we all are."
"So true," her husband
said softly, folding her into his arms. "So true."
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