Author Topic: Tropical Getaway  (Read 1240 times)

Matt Foster

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Tropical Getaway
« on: August 02, 2020, 03:26:27 PM »
Summers in Rhy'Din were so much more predictable than summers on Earth. With the warm weather now very much in control for the next couple of months, and university off the books until September, Matt and Cas had all the time in the world to spend together on the things they loved most. The beach was definitely one of those things, and a little digging had found the portal to a tiny tropical island somewhere in the Rhy'Din Ocean, where they could spend a few days and nights camping and just generally enjoying crystal clear waters, white sand, and warm sunshine together.

They were old enough now to go off on their own and not have to answer to their parents about it, though they always let them know where they were going and when they'd be back, so they didn't worry. Matt had promised Cas' brothers, under threat of death, not to take advantage of her or hurt her in any way. So far, he'd kept that promise, but not because of the threat so much as because it was the decent thing to do. He had come to care for Cas in a different way than he cared for anyone else in his short life. It wasn't so different from the way Lucas cared for Fliss, he supposed, though he wasn't anywhere near ready to propose marriage.

The best part of that was that Cas cared for him in the same way, but they were both so laid back about it that there was no pressure from either side to push for more than just a mutual acknowledgement of that fact just yet. Their mutual interests and studies also meant there was far less embarrassment about seeing each other in their bathing suits, thanks to lectures undertaken underwater a few times over the last few years, leaving the young adults completely at home in each other's company. Cas was currently kneeling in the shallows of the warm surf, utterly entranced by the tiny octopus that was crawling around her hand and wrist.

"You know what Mom will say if you bring that home," Matt teased, knowing both his mother and girlfriend too well. His mother had agreed to take her in so that she was closer to school and work than she would be if she were at home, and so far, the arrangement had worked out pretty well. Besides, Cas needed a mother, and without a daughter of her own, Jessica Foster was happy to fill that role.

She laughed, lowering her hand to the water to encourage the little creature to clamber off. "I can live without an octopus in my bedroom," she promised him with a grin. "How's it going over there? Find Nemo yet?"

"I doubt you could squeeze anything else into that aquarium of yours," he teased her further. Their shared love of the sea and the animals who called it home was what had brought them together in the first place. "Not Nemo, but I may have found Flounder!" he declared with a grin.

"Oooh, show me!" Rising up from her knees, she brushed the wet sand from her bare legs as she moved over to where he was investigating the slightly deeper water, not for the first time envying him his gills.

It wasn't a very exciting species to look at, but there it was floundering, so to speak, near his feet. "I wonder what it's doing here. It should be farther out to sea," Matt mused aloud, submerging himself in the water to take a closer look. Without the need for any breath apparatus, it made exploring the sea that much easier for him.

"Could be sick," Cas mused. "Or if there are rays feeding in the bay, it might have come up here to escape and can't get back?" She knelt down, up to her chest in the water, looping her goggles and snorkel into place before submerging her head to take a look herself.

Matt gestured to Cas once she joined him underwater, signaling with his hands as if to wordlessly ask if they should help the little fish get back where it belonged.

She ran her fingers gently over the little flatfish, smiling at the way it wriggled. There didn't seem to be any injury or any lesions that suggested illness, and its reactions were vibrant and strong. Seemed as though it had just gotten lost. She gave Matt the OK signal with her hand - it had taken a long time to learn that a thumbs up underwater meant help I'm drowning.

Matt signaled his understanding before gently scooping the fish up in a net and kicking farther out. He didn't want to go too far from shore, but far enough that the little fish wouldn't have any problem finding its way back where it belonged.

Following on the surface, Cas watched as Matt gently guided the little flounder to a better place, where the current would encourage it to stay away from the shallows. She wished she could breathe underwater sometimes. It would be fun to explore the ocean with Matt and no need for an oxygen tank.

It didn't take long before Matt released the little fish and watched as it swam away to find its own way in the deeper water, but something else had caught his eye, and he gestured to Cas to follow his lead.

Curious, she took a breath and dove down to follow him, able to hold her breath for at least two minutes now after a lot of practise. She tilted her head at him, wondering what it was he had seen down here.

He knew she shouldn't stay down here too long without a tank, but he'd spied a school of brightly colored fish, unlike anything he'd ever seen before.

It was one of the joys of finding this little island - it was uninhabited by humanoids, which meant that the animals and sea creatures were not afraid of them in the slightest. The little school of fish flashed around them with rainbow bright speed, not rushing away but just as curious as the two young people in their midst.

Matt grinned in amazement, but he knew Cas couldn't remain submerged as long as he could. Taking her hand, he drew her to the surface, emerging with a laugh that was pure joy. "Did you see that? They weren't afraid of us at all!"

It took a moment to pull the snorkel from her mouth, but Cas was grinning along with him as they bobbed on the surface. "I love this place," she agreed. "Everything is so fearless!"

"Lucky for us Professor Radcliffe knew about this place," he said, shoving his wet hair back from his face. The island was not only pristine but isolated. It was the perfect place to get away for a few days of peace and quiet.

"Lucky for us she trusts us enough to let us come here alone," Cas countered with a low laugh, lifting her goggles up on top of her head once again. "Hey, did you find out where that eel thing was going in the end?"

"Yeah," Matt replied, with regard to the professor anyway. In his opinion, they were luckier his mother and her father trusted them to be on their own. "Oh, I don't know," he said, blinking as she pulled his thoughts back to the matter at hand. "I let him ... her go."

Matt Foster

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Re: Tropical Getaway
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2020, 03:26:48 PM »

"It was a girl?" Cas looked fascinated. "If the females are that colorful, not sure I want to see a male. I'd go blind!" She laughed merrily.

"I don't know," Matt admitted, flushing a little in embarrassment. "I was too excited to tell." He hadn't been thinking much about whether the eel was male or female so much as where it was going.

"We'll see it again," she predicted. "We're the interlopers, after all." She winked at him, kicking away to float on her back with the push of the surf toward the shore. "I love it here so much."

"It is a kind of paradise, isn't it?" he asked, though the question was a rhetorical one. "Perfect place for a honeymoon," he murmured, mostly to himself, before moving to paddle beside her.

It was such a perfect place for the pair of them to spend a couple of days. The current gently deposited them on the sand, in the surf that lapped at the shore, and Cas wriggled for a moment, tossing her snorkel and goggles further up onto the beach before crossing her arms behind her head.

"Wish it could be this warm all the time," she mused. "I hate wetsuits."

"I wish you didn't need a snorkel," he remarked, collapsing on the sand beside her. Since they were sharing wishes, he thought he'd make one of his own. "You'd think this being Rhy'Din, there would be a way."

"There might be," she said thoughtfully. "We've never really looked into it. There's gotta be some way for me to get down there without a snorkel and really get a good look around."

"Professor Radcliffe never mentioned anything, did she?" he asked. He had only lived in Rhy'Din a few years, but if anything was possible, it was possible here.

"Pretty sure she would have said something about it if she knew anything about it," Cas said, turning her head to look at Matt. "But maybe it's never really occurred to her."

"Maybe," he said. It was food for thought anyway. Anything was possible in Rhy'Din, or so he'd been told. "You're getting sand all over you, you know," he pointed out with a smirk, reaching over to brush some from her arm.

"Mmm?" She glanced down, watching his hand smooth the damp sand from her arm with a smile. "We can always jump back in the water to wash it off," she pointed out. "Besides, I'm not the only one getting a little gritty here."

Trailing his finger against her arm, it was just an excuse to touch her really. "I'm not afraid of a little sand, are you?" he asked, already knowing the answer to that.

"Not unless it's in my mouth," she agreed with a grin, rolling over to push him onto his back and lean over him. "I can think of other things I would rather have in my mouth."

He arched his brows at her remark, his imagination wreaking havoc on his libido. He was pretty sure she didn't mean what he thought she meant. "Uh, like what?" he asked, trying hard to remain calm, despite her teasing.

She leaned down until the tip of her nose brushed his, teasing him with the promise of a kiss. "Ice cream," she murmured, drawing back with a truly wicked grin to drop down onto her back at his side once again.

"Ice cream ... right," Matt murmured, clearing his throat in an attempt to cover his frustration. There was no ice cream on the island. There was, in fact, no one but them, and he was pretty sure they hadn't packed any ice cream in the cooler. "Anyone ever tell you you're a tease?"

"You, constantly," she answered without shame of any kind, giggling as she looked over at him. "I trust you to stop me if it ever gets annoying, you know. You're the last person I want to be mad with me."

"I'm not mad," Matt said. Far from it really; just frustrated sometimes, but he was careful to be respectful of her and not push her to do anything she wasn't ready for. "I just ..." He trailed off. He'd been about to say he was only human, but that wasn't entirely true.

"It's not like I don't smooch you like some kind of barnacle stuck on a ship's keel most of the time," she pointed out, wriggling closer in the lapping surf. "I do like kissing you."

He couldn't help but smile at that, turning onto his side to reach over and brush a finger against her nose. "I like kissing you, too," he told her. "It's one of my favorite things to do."

"Mm, now that makes me very happy," she said, her nose crinkling for just a moment under his fingertip. "Who'd've thought one random race in a swimming pool would end up here, huh?"

"You couldn't resist me," he said, with a teasing grin, knowing that wasn't quite true. They'd been friends first, before things had followed a natural progression.

"You're just irresistible," she agreed. "And, I mean, so am I, or you would never have invited me into your home literal days after meeting me."

"It's not like you had any competition," he said. Not for him anyway. He hadn't been in Rhy'Din very long before they'd met, and she was the first girl who'd showed any interest.

"That you know of," she pointed out with a grin. "I might have had a few duels in the girls' bathroom over the last couple of years."

There went his brows arching upwards again in surprise. "Oh?" he asked. "You're just teasing me now," he said, doubtfully.

Cas laughed, lying back on the sand once more. "I'm really not," she assured him. "Didn't you ever wonder where Natia got her black eye from?"

"You did that?" he asked, eyes widening in shock. "Why?" he asked further, curious what Natia had done to incite Cas to give her a black eye.

She sighed, shading her eyes. "She riled me up," she added. "Something about how you'd be hers for the taking if she made a play for you, and instead of being grown up and leaving it there, I kinda punched her."

Matt Foster

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Re: Tropical Getaway
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2020, 03:28:25 PM »
His eyes grew wider for a moment, obviously surprised by all this, and then he laughed. "I'm flattered ... I think," he said, a little uncertainly. He'd never known girls to fight over him before.

"I guess I should have let you make the decision, but, uh ... I think I'm possessive," she admitted with a shy laugh. "Sorry? I guess?"

Matt chuckled again. "Do you really think I would have picked her over you?" he asked. He and Cas had a connection he'd never had with any other girl and probably never would. It was almost like they were made for each other, at least as far as he was concerned.

"I was an insecure nerd," she offered, though she was grinning. "Not as insecure now I slimmed down and developed a figure. Especially since I catch you peeking all the time when I'm bikini'd up."

"Slimmed down?" he echoed, those brows furrowing again, looking confused. "Did I miss something?" he asked. He didn't remember her ever being chubby, unless she'd slimmed down before he'd met her.

"I had this fat round face for a while there," she reminded him, rolling her eyes as she shook her head. "Like I said, insecure. But I'm better now."

He wasn't going to deny that he liked how she looked in a bikini, though he tried not to gawk. "You've always looked good to me," he admitted a little awkwardly. How did you tell someone you found them attractive and always had?

She smiled, but he knew her well enough to spot the signs of shy delight in her expression as she looked back up to the blue sky above them. "Good to know," she murmured. "Especially since you're pretty much the most gorgeous guy I am ever going to see in my lifetime. And just as gorgeous behind the veil, too."

His brows arched upwards again at her unexpected remark. No one had ever called him handsome, much less gorgeous before. "Behind the veil?" he asked, a little confused.

"You're not just a pretty face," she explained, tilting her head toward him with a fond smile. "And incredibly cute when you're confused with the words coming out of my mouth, too."

He smiled a little shyly at the compliment. At least, he assumed it was a compliment. "You're not so bad yourself," he told her, leaning in closer to brush a kiss to her lips when a muffled buzzing sound came from one of their bags.

She smiled as he leaned into her, that smile growing into a quiet laugh at the intrusive sound from their bags. "Me or you?" she asked, kissing the tip of his nose. "Pretty sure mine's somewhere at the bottom."

"Who the heck would be calling us here?" he muttered, a little annoyed at the interruption. The sound was clearly coming from his bag, not hers. It took a minute to locate his phone, but not long enough for it to go to Voice Mail. He furrowed his brows when he saw the Caller ID, tempted to ignore it, but what if it was something important? "How'd you get this number?" he said as he answered the call.

Cas frowned as she heard him speak. There was only one person he spoke to in that tone of voice, and to be honest, it was a good question. His dad should not have been able to get hold of Matt's Rhy'Din cell number. But there was nothing to be learned by eavesdropping, so she stood up from the sand, moving to their little campsite to start a fire so they could cook a meal. Keeping busy was a good way to pass the time; Matt would tell her what was up if he decided to.

From the look on his face, Matt wasn't too thrilled about the phone call either, not only because his father was interrupting their getaway but because most of the time, his father had an ulterior motive for calling his youngest son. Matt did his best to keep his voice low and to remain calm, despite his annoyance. It annoyed him that Cas had stepped away but maybe it was better if she didn't overhear what he had to say to his father.

One thing he had always known Cas was good at was her discretion, though. She might tease him constantly, but when it came right down to it, she never pushed him to tell her anything, and tried very hard not to overhear anything she shouldn't. By the time his phone call was coming to a close, she had a healthy little fire going, poking at the burgers that were just beginning to cook on the little metal tray balanced over the flames.

Despite his attempt to remain calm, Matt's voice rose loud enough that Cas wouldn't be able to help but overhear him. "I'm nineteen years old now. I'm not a kid anymore. I'm going to university. I've got a job and a girlfriend. I've got a life here. You had your chance, and you blew it."

Hearing that, Cas winced, deliberately turning her head away to root out the rest of their fixings in the hope that she could at least look as though she hadn't heard that. Matt's dad really didn't know when to let something go.

"Do whatever you have to do, but don't call me again, unless you're really ready to be a father," Matt added after a moment during which his father presumably replied. "Bye, Dad. Sorry," he said, before disconnecting the call. He sat there for a moment, as if waiting for his father to call back and argue with him further.

Cas was quiet for a moment before she spoke up. "You don't owe him any apology, you know," she said softly, looking over at her boyfriend with gentle concern.

Matt lifted a shoulder in a shrug. He felt guilty for being so hard on his dad, but hadn't been much of a father to him or to Lucas in years. "He only calls when he wants something," he murmured, turning the phone off and shoving it back in his bag. If anyone needed to reach him, they could leave a message.

"What did he want?" she asked, still quiet and gentle, holding out a hand to invite him over by her side. "You're not obliged to do anything for him. But if it would make you feel better to try, then maybe you should consider it."

"He wanted me to come back. Said we could go on a fishing trip together," Matt said, sounding doubtful, as he joined her near the fire and took her hand. What did his father really want? And why now, after all this time?

Sliding her fingers between his, Cas tugged him close, propping her chin on his shoulder. "Well, if he really wants to spend time with you, he could come here to go on a fishing trip, right?"

"Here?" Matt echoed, startled by her suggestion. "I'm not sure he even knows where here is," he said. Even if he did, he wasn't too sure a visit from his father would be a good idea, given the circumstances.

Matt Foster

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Re: Tropical Getaway
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2020, 03:28:41 PM »
"But it would help you find out if he wants to see you, or if he wants you to be seen, wouldn't it?" she asked curiously. She couldn't even begin to understand the estrangement, her own relationship with her father being healthy and warm, but she didn't like to see Matt so riled up by one man's selfishness.

"It's an election year, Cas. All he wants is some publicity showing what a good family man he is," Matt said, looking sullen. He picked up a small hunk of driftwood and tossed it into the flames.

"So screw him," she said, with a faint shrug. "He's the one who is losing out here. By not being able to accept his sons the way they are, he's lost both of you. You're never going to trust him again."

"He wasn't always like this," Matt admitted. There had been a time before his father had gotten so involved in politics when his family really had come first, but that was a long time ago. So long ago, he hardly remembered it.

"He's lost sight of what is truly important," Cas said quietly. "But the worst part of that is that he doesn't know he's blind. He thinks he can have everything back with the right kind of manipulation, and he's wrong. But Matt, he's the one who should suffer for it. Not you."

"I'm not suffering. I'm just ..." He trailed off. He just what? "I'm just angry. Why couldn't he be more like your dad? Your dad is awesome."

"You can't really compare people," she said gently. "My dad's circumstances and ambitions are totally different to your dad's. Your dad would not be able to live on a sheep farm worrying about whether or not the ram can service forty ewes in a single day."

"My dad wouldn't be caught dead on a sheep farm," Matt remarked with an ironic chuckle. "He'd be too worried about getting his expensive clothes dirty."

She smiled, glad to see his mood lighten a little. "I think I might actually pay good money to see your dad try to shear a sheep, though."

Matt chuckled again. "I haven't even mastered that yet," he said, not from lack of trying. It was a lot harder than it looked, and it looked pretty hard.

"Neither have I," Cas laughed. "I don't think I am ever going to master sheep shearing. I'm much happier with shark herding."

"It's not a skill I really need to learn," he admitted, visibly relaxing a little now that she'd changed the subject. He turned quiet a moment, as if considering something. Maybe it was the call from his father, or the fact that they were alone, or that his brother was getting married soon, but there was something on his mind that he needed to ask. "Cas, um ... Do you think we'll ever get married like Luc and Fliss?"

She blinked, a little surprised by the question. "I've never really thought about it," she admitted, meeting his eyes with candid warmth. "But ... well, whenever I think about the future, you're in it."

"Really?" he asked, almost as if he could hardly believe her reply. He turned to face her, taking both her hands in his. "I can't imagine my life without you in it anymore. I don't want to imagine my life without you."

"Really." Her smile was a beaming light for a moment as she squeezed his hands. "Just a sec." She let go, leaning over to rummage through her bag for a moment before sitting up before him once more. In her hand was a white metal ring decorated with the alchemical symbol for water. "So, uh ... if I give this to you now, does that mean we get married when we graduate?"

He chuckled, though it wasn't because he found her question funny. "Cas, are you proposing?" he asked, his eyes shining, a bright smile on his face. He looked amused for some reason, though he didn't say why.

She flashed him a bright smile. "I guess I am," she said easily. "I mean, the plan was to wait until we were star gazing tonight, but since you brought it up, I thought why not?"

"Oh, there was a plan?" he asked, trying to hide the smirk from his face. He had yet to accept and take the ring from her, but he'd had a plan of his own. He reached for his own bag, rummaging inside for something other than his phone.

"What, you think I don't plan some things in advance?" she asked with a  low laugh. "I know I wing it on a lot of stuff, but important things get thought about, you know." She tilted her head curiously as he leaned away, a curious grin on her own face.

"I've had this for a while, but I've been waiting for the right moment to give it to you," he said, uncurling his hand to reveal a little silver ring set with an oval piece of aqua-colored sea glass. He reached for her hand to slide it onto her finger.

Cas laughed out loud, holding out her hand to let him slide the gorgeous ring onto her finger before doing the same for him with her own. "I love you, you know that?" she told him, curling her hands to his cheeks to kiss him tenderly.

It wasn't a fancy, expensive ring, but he'd chosen it just for her, knowing how much she loved the sea. His smile brightened at hearing those words from her - words they'd both felt for a while, but hadn't felt it necessary to say. "I love you, too," he told her, for the very first time, before her lips met his and his arms reached to hold her close.

She smiled into his mouth, easing just a little bit closer to curl her arms about his shoulders. "How dead do you think Fliss would make me if we were married before we go home?" she teased impishly.

Matt mirrored her smile, eyes alight with amusement. He would have shaken his head, but that would have spoiled the moment. "Pretty dead," he replied. "I thought you wanted to wait 'til we graduate."

"I just kinda picked that out of the air," she admitted in amusement, brushing another kiss to his lips before continuing. "Fliss would fry me like an egg if I did drag you to a registrar before she gets hers, though."

"I didn't realize you were so impatient," Matt said. Until about five minutes ago, he hadn't even known she wanted to get married. They had never really discussed their relationship; he had always just assumed they'd always be together.

Matt Foster

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Re: Tropical Getaway
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2020, 03:38:36 PM »

"Not really impatient," she admitted. "I just, you know, kinda like the idea of being your wife, that's all." She winked at him, abruptly pulling away to hastily turn the burgers as she remembered she was supposed to be cooking.

"This doesn't have anything to do with sex, does it?" he asked, eying her suspiciously as she pulled away from him. He had a feeling it had everything to do with that, but there was no one really stopping them from taking the next step except them.

She snorted with laughter. "No," she promised. "I mean, we'll get there in our own time, but bumping uglies isn't going to change the way I feel about you."

"Are you sure? Because, I mean, getting married isn't gonna change anything except what beds we sleep in," he pointed out. And the fact that they were still living with his mother.

"Yeah, I'm sure." Cas leaned back from the fire, raising her brow in his direction. "Matt, if it turned out that putting your dick in my vag was a death sentence, that still wouldn't change the fact that I want to spend my life with you. Sex would, I guess, be nice, but you can't miss what you've never had, right?"

"Yes, you can!" Matt insisted, but then he was a young man with a young man's libido. He didn't seem too upset though. In fact, he looked more amused than anything else. "Wait ... Why would it be a death sentence?"

"I'm just saying that if we couldn't, it still wouldn't change the fact that I want to marry you, you dipstick," his adoring fiancée informed him with a laugh.

"Oh," he murmured, unsure if he felt relieved or disappointed at what she'd said. It wasn't that sex was all that important to him. Like she'd said, you couldn't miss what you'd never had, but he couldn't deny the fact that he'd fantasized about it. From the look on his face, he was a little confused.

Cas held his gaze for a long moment, her smile still warm. "I mean, I'd offer to strip off right now, but we'll burn dinner if I do," she told him impishly.

"It's okay, I'm just ..." He trailed off with a shake of his head. Women were confusing, that much was certain. She had told him she loved him and had asked him to marry her; that was all that really mattered.

"Matt, it's not something we have to rush," she said quietly, a little shy of saying it aloud. "But ... but it's not something we should be putting off, either. I mean ... I kinda fantasize about it a  lot."

"The thing is, you're right," Matt finally admitted. "I don't want to wait forever, but I would for you. So long as we're together, that's all that's really important."

Sitting back beside him, she leaned in close, touching a kiss to his bare shoulder. "Glad we're on the same page," she murmured. "But then, you're always gonna be the academic in this relationship."

"Me?" he asked, a doubtful expression on his face. "You're the smart one, Cas," he told her. Sometimes he thought he only got into marine biology to keep up with her. He'd never been terribly studious back home, more interested in surfing than studying.

She giggled. "Who out of the two of us actually understands homework on the first try?" she pointed out. It wasn't that she was slow or unintelligent, it was simply that she had a mind that turned more easily to practical matters than theoretical ones.

"Point taken," he admitted, though he still thought she was the smarter of the two of them. "I wouldn't have gotten interested in marine biology if it wasn't for you though," he pointed out.

"You've got a gift for it," was her answer as she leaned forward to set the buns on the tray to toast now the burgers were almost done. "You would have found it eventually."

"Maybe someday we can get our own boat do research of our own," he suggested. Right now, they were only interns with the RhyDin Aquarium, at least until they graduated. He wasn't sure what awaited them after that, but he was secretly hoping they'd still be able to work together.

"That would be amazing," Cas agreed. "Maybe if, one day, we can find out a way for me to go underwater indefinitely, like you, we could spearhead research into actual marine behavior, rather than how the creatures behave when they're surprised by humans."

"There has to be a way," he said, circling back to their earlier discussion. This was RhyDin, after all; if it wasn't possible here, it wasn't possible anywhere. "Maybe we should talk to Professor Radcliffe about it."

"Isn't she related to that mermaid woman?" They'd met that little branch of the Granger family precisely once, but apparently it had stuck in the mind.

"Uh, I think so," Matt said uncertainly. "She's married to Cian." Who was the son of the man his mother was currently dating and living with. "Are you hoping to trade your legs for a tail?" he teased.

"What, you don't want me to go all Darryl Hannah on you?" she asked cheekily, winking at him. "I guess I'd have to grow my hair a bit longer if I wanted to go full Splash."

"So long as you don't screech," he said, a teasing smirk on his face. "Actually, I mean the Disney version. You know, the one where the mermaid trades her voice for legs?"

"Yeah, but if I traded my voice for something, I would lose out on teasing you in certain ways, and you are totally adorable when you get flustered," she countered.

"Seriously, Cas ... Do you think Cian's wife might know of some way you could breathe under water?" he asked, somewhat dubiously again. Just saying it sounded ridiculous, but stranger things had been known to happen, especially in Rhy'Din.

"We could always ask." Cas shrugged, finally adding cheese slices to the tops of the still cooking burgers. Dinner was almost ready to eat. "It's a good place to start, at the very least. And if she doesn't know, she might have some ideas."

Matt frowned, wishing she could be like him, though he wasn't entirely sure what he was exactly. A mutant, his father had said. A freak was more like it, but here in Rhy'Din, it didn't really matter. No one cared if he had gills or if his brother had wings. "Maybe," he admitted. "I hope so."

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Re: Tropical Getaway
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2020, 03:39:21 PM »

"So do I." She leaned close again, pecking a kiss to his lips. "Wanna load up your bun? I got all the bits out." It might seem like a very small, simple meal for the pair of them, but it would tide them over until the next morning and the planned eggs and bacon breakfast.

He smiled into her kiss. How could he not smile? He was the luckiest guy in the world - no, the luckiest guy in the multiverse - to love a girl like Cas. "Yes, ma'am. I'm starving!" he told her, as he reached for two buns - one for her and one for him.

It didn't take them long to load up their buns with everything they might want to add to their burgers, sharing a bag of chips between them as they relaxed, watching the sun slowly beginning to set over the ocean. "This place really is gorgeous."

"Let's just hope there aren't any sand flies," he said, though they hadn't encountered any so far. "I wonder if anyone owns this island," he mused aloud, taking a bite of his burger.

"They'd have started eating us by now if there were any," Cas said confidently, licking ketchup off her thumb. "I wonder how cold it gets here after dark," she added to his musings. She was probably going to have to put on a sweater and shorts sooner rather than later.

"Don't worry, I'll keep you warm," he assured her with a smile. It might be clichéd, but he didn't care. He couldn't think of anything better than snuggling with Cas, even if it was just to keep her warm. She hadn't answered his question about the island, but she probably didn't know either.

"We pretty much built a blanket fort in the tent, we're gonna be snuggling all night," she predicted, happy to look forward to that. "You'd assume someone owns this island, if the city has a portal placed to it."

"I'm surprised there aren't more people here," he added, but maybe there was some kind of magic involved where there was a limit on the number of people who could be here at one time. "I was just thinking we should buy a house near the sea someday."

"We could build a house under the sea," she suggested, though her tone made it clear she didn't really think that was possible. "It'd be nice to live somewhere that wasn't at the mercy of snow for three months a year, too."

"Nah, we'd end up looking like prunes," he said, with a teasing smirk. "Maybe we could get a ship of our own and sail away someplace warm for winter," he suggested, a shrug of his shoulders as he took another bite of his burger, licking at the ketchup that dribbled from his mouth.

"Become polite, fish-obsessed pirates, you mean?" Cas asked, chuckling at the mental image. "You'd look good in the hat and the shirt, have to admit."

Matt laughed. "No, become polite, fish-obsessed scientists," he corrected. "I'm too civilized to be a pirate," he said with another shrug, though he was flattered by the compliment.

"Captain Granger looks like a pirate, but she totally isn't," Cas pointed out cheerfully. "I wouldn't mind embracing the sea-faring wench look, if only to seriously confuse every other scientist out there."

He chuckled again. "I'm not wearing a hook," he said, though the thought of her dressed like a pirate wench was an intriguing one. "Maybe we'll dress up as pirates for Halloween," he said, though they were far too old for Trick or Treat. Strangely, most of the holidays he was familiar with back home were celebrated on Rhy'Din, too.

"In Rhy'Din, do we need an excuse to dress up?" she asked impishly, swallowing down the last of her burger and licking her fingers clean. "I mean, we could both go full pirate, and no one would look twice at us walking down the street. Maybe we should embrace the whole aesthetic, like some people go through Goth and emo phases."

"Yeah, but isn't getting noticed half the fun of dressing up?" he countered. Wasn't that the point of masquerades? It wasn't just about becoming someone you weren't, but showing off to other people.

"I guess so," she mused. "But for some people, they just like the dressing up. They don't care about people noticing or caring. I don't really know, I've never tried it myself."

"You've never worn a costume?" he asked, looking a little incredulous. Halloween was something most people took for granted back home, but he wasn't too sure about Rhy'Din.

She shook her head, smiling. They'd never really spent a Halloween together, so it was no surprise he hadn't known this. "I think the most I ever did was paint my face and put my hair up to look like a mouse giving out candy when I was living in halls at BC."

"We're definitely doing Halloween this year then," Matt said. He took the last bite of his burger, licking ketchup and burger juice clean from his fingers. "You know, rumor has it Professor Radcliffe's husband was a pirate." Was? Is? Did anyone ever stop being a pirate?

"With the eyeliner and the leather coat? That one is kind of obvious," Cas said thoughtfully. "And he's got that gorgeous wooden wall now, too. Kinda fits that he got sucked into marriage and babies with Professor Radcliffe, though - she's totally obsessed with the sea.

"Sucked into?" Matt echoed, chuckling. "Is that what you think is happening with us?" he asked, though he looked more amused than anything else by the way she'd put it.

She snorted with laughter. "I totally sucked you in and you know it," she informed him with cheeky mischief. "You started tutoring me, and before you knew it, I was all up in your grill."

"In my grill?" Matt echoed, brows furrowed. "Baby, you can get up in my grill anytime you want," he said, waggling his brows, though he wasn't too sure what she meant by that remark.

She cackled with laughter, hugging her arms about his waist as she cuddled into him. The breeze off the sea was chilly, but for now, she was ignoring it, hoping not to need to pull away in search of something to put on over her bikini for a little while. "Is that an invitation?"

"I'm here, aren't I?" he asked, remembering his promise to keep her warm, even if that meant holding her close all night. He drew his arms around her to pull her close, the fire casting a warm glow on her face, the sky alight as the sun started to sink into the sea.

"Nah, I was just wondering if I need an invitation to do wicked things to you when you're least expecting it," she teased, nuzzling close as he wrapped his arms about her.

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Re: Tropical Getaway
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2020, 03:39:38 PM »
"I guess not?" he replied uncertainly, brows arching in curiosity, though he supposed it depended on when and where and what those wicked things were. "What kind of wicked things are you talking about?"

She wriggled her fingers against his side teasingly. "I do like a good grope from time to time." She kissed his shoulder, grinning against his skin.

"From me or from you?" he asked, though he sensed it hardly mattered. He wasn't sure he'd call it groping exactly, but the thought of exploring her further was a pleasant one.

"I guess that's an aspect we'll just have to explore," Cas mused, lifting her chin to bump her nose against his. "But not while we're sitting on sand, because the thought of sand in some of those places is just ... eww."

"Which places would those be?" he asked, a teasing smirk on his face. He wasn't that worried about sand, though she was right in that it tended to get everywhere.

"Well, I don't know about you, but there's a reason my bikini has shorts, not a thong," she told him with wry good humor, winking back at him.

"Yeah, I'm not wearing a thong either," he said, that smirk widening into a grin. He was obviously enjoying teasing her.

She snickered, her wriggling fingers turning into tickling fingers, seeking out sensitive places on his side and under his arm. "Cheeky water sprite!"

He eeped as she found his ticklish spots and batted her hands away. "Who's a water sprite?" he asked, not quite getting that she was talking about him. "I'm more a merman!"

"You are totally a sprite!" she argued, still working on tickling everywhere she could reach. "Mischievous, gorgeous, and a lot of fun to be around!"

"But I'm not the one with wings!" he protested, falling off the piece of driftwood they'd been sitting on and landing on the his rump in the sand with a muffled, "Ugh."

She landed on top of him. "I know you're not a fairy," she promised, hands in the sand either side of his head as she leaned down to kiss him. "They're much too innocent for me."

Okay, so maybe a water sprite didn't have wings. He still didn't qualify as one, but he knew she was only teasing. "Are you questioning my innocence?" he asked, eying her even as she kissed him.

"Only your willingness to lose some of it." She grinned against his lips teasingly, nipping gently at his lower lip. "I mean ... we are totally alone here."

She was either having a good time teasing him or she was just as eager to lose her innocence as he was. "So you keep reminding him," he said, a playful smirk on his face as his hands moved up her hips.

She giggled, happy to kiss and be kissed a moment longer before the breeze on her bare skin started to really annoy her. "We need a blanket or something."

"Or a tent?" he asked, his eyes bright with amusement. Though privacy wasn't an issue on an uninhabited island, it seemed the chill from the sea breeze was, at least for her.

"Mmm, you're a genius," she teased, reluctantly lifting herself up and off him. It took a moment to build up the pit around the fire so it would burn out without causing harm overnight.

He followed her to his feet, shifting uncomfortably at the way his body was betraying him, but hoping she didn't notice. It wasn't easy to hide when he was only wearing a pair of swim shorts. "It is getting a little chilly," he said, before moving to help her with the fire.

"I'll warm you up," she promised as they worked, quick to set their little camp to rights before catching his hand to pull him into their comfortable tent.

He paused a moment to look out at the sea, the sun going down and the moons yet to rise, wondering momentarily at the vastness of it. They'd been to sea before with Professor Radcliffe to do research, and he yearned to go back there, his heart never quite happy on land ever since, except when he was with Cas. She was the one person who grounded him, who calmed him, who held her heart in his hand, whether she knew it or not. He turned to follow her, his heart beating rapidly with anticipation. No matter what happened inside that tent, he knew in his heart, they were meant for each other and that they'd always be together. At least, he hoped so.

As he stared out over the sea, he felt Cas' arms slide about him from behind, her chin resting on his shoulder to share the view with him. Whether he knew it or not, Matt was the anchor that had kept her from drifting when she was away from her father in those first months; he'd helped her find the focus to choose a path and stick to it. She would walk beside him for as long as he let her, she was certain, and the new weight of the ring on her finger was a comforting reassurance that he felt the same way. She kissed his cheek tenderly as he started to turn back, her smile soft with hopeful excitement. "Love you."

He mirrored her smile, his expression soft with affection as he met her gaze and slid his arms around her waist. "I love you, too," he told her, for once entirely serious. They'd never really said the words before today, and maybe they wouldn't say them often in the days to come, but when he looked into her eyes, he knew she shared what he was feeling in his heart. He tipped his head down to capture her lips in a kiss that was full of love and desire. This was so much better than words.

The best part was knowing that neither one of them had ever asked for more than the other could give; that they never would ask, and yet here they were, sharing as much as they each had to give without a second thought or concern. There was no real need for nerves or fears as Cas gently drew him down into the soft nest of blankets and pillows that was their tent, trading kisses back and forth as she finally let her hands wander where they willed, trailing tender caresses over his skin.

He didn't really know he was supposed to do, letting instinct lead the way, taking his cues from Cas' reaction to his kisses and caresses. His fingers found the straps to her bikini top, but hesitated as if asking for permission, though she had not yet tried to stop him.

They were both hesitant with each other, but Cas let the nerves wash away as Matt's fingers tucked beneath the straps of her top, gently rolling her shoulders to help the smooth fabric slide down her arms as she kissed him slowly.

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Re: Tropical Getaway
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2020, 03:39:55 PM »
His kiss was as languid as hers, savoring the sweetness of her lips, exploring the secrets of her mouth, while he clumsily pulled the fabric away so that his fingers could slide over the soft warmth of her skin. Neither of them had been wearing much to begin with, and yet, he was eager to discover the curves of her body and the secrets she'd kept hidden beneath her clothes.

Despite her comfort in her own skin, there was something exhilarating about letting the bikini top fall by the wayside, feeling Matt's gentle exploration of her body unhindered by fabric of any kind - exhilarating enough that she moaned softly, arching into his touch, her body pressing ever closer to his. Instinct was certainly their friend in these moments. Who cared whether they were practised? There was more to making love than technique.

It was a kind of slow exploration, the way his fingers and mouth moved over her body, from the soft warmth of her lips to the graceful line of her neck. His kisses and caresses trailed downward, ever gentle but insistent. He had never gone this far with a girl - no, a woman. Cas was his first when it came to so many things, and he hoped she'd be his last - his only. He knew some might find it boring to ever only know and love one person in your whole life, but it was more than Matt had ever hoped for.

They were together in that, just as they had been in everything almost since the day they had met. It was a good feeling, to know that the person holding you up was also relying on you to hold them up, that you would be at their side through everything to come. And as the last of their clothing was swept aside, there was no room for doubt or uncertainty - Cas knew, deep in her soul, that this was where she wanted to be.

He was gentle with her - or at least, as gentle as he could be given his lack of experience, but what he lacked in experience, he more than made up for in tenderness. He felt a little shy at first, awkward and uncertain, but together they guided each other forward, one slow step at a time, their hearts beating as one, bodies trembling with desire.

They both trembled as they took this step together, learning each other, what worked, what didn't. Learning, too, that it was natural to talk and laugh as they guided each other through these steps with the sound of the surf lapping at the sand to mute the sounds that rose from the tent.

By the time they were done, the sky was dark and full of stars, twin moons on the rise, but the couple tangled together inside the tent hardly cared. Their eyes, their breath, their attention completely focused on the other, as if nothing else existed outside of this tent or this moment but them.

For a long moment, there was no sound between them but the gasp of slowing breath as they gazed into each other's eyes, but finally some semblance of reality managed to make its way through to Cas' mind. "Wow," she whispered, drawing her fingers gently against his cheek. "We should do this more often."

"Are you okay?" Matt asked, suddenly more concerned about Cas' well-being than his own desire now that the deed was done. "I didn't hurt you, did I?" he asked, a worried expression on his face, feeling a little bit guilty.

She laughed fondly, kissing his cheek. "I'm good," she promised. "It didn't hurt. It was ... That was amazing. You're amazing."

He flushed, glad for the darkness so that she couldn't see his embarrassment. "No, I'm not," he insisted. How could he be amazing when he hardly knew what he was doing, going on instinct alone? "But ... it was nice, wasn't it?" Whether she could see it or not, there was a smile on his face.

"Was it ... was it good for you, too?" she asked a little hesitantly, not entirely sure how she would feel if he had not enjoyed himself as much as she certainly had.

He knew it was a clichéd question that lovers tended to ask each other after their first time, but for two people who truly cared for the other, he understood why it was so important to ask it. "Good doesn't really describe it," he told her, fingers brushing her cheek in a soft caress.

Her smile strengthened once again, reassured by his answer as her cheek tilted into his touch. "And your mom isn't going to hold me at gun point for proposing and deflowering you in a single day?"

"Deflowering me?" he echoed, chuckling with laughter. "I don't think it's called that for a man," he said, amusement apparent in his voice.

"Did I make a man out of you, then?" she asked, her voice cracking with sudden laughter as an inappropriate animated film song sprang into her mind.

"Because I wasn't one before?" he asked, a little confused. He was nineteen years old now, old enough to be a man, he supposed.

She giggled again. "It's a saying," she assured him. "You've been a man for a while now, promise." Nestling closer in the blankets, she kissed the tip of his nose. "I guess this was a good idea for a getaway, huh?"

"Yeah, except ..." He frowned as a thought came to him that he hadn't considered in the heat of the moment. She had asked about his mother, and now he couldn't help but wonder about her father. "What's your Dad going to say? Or your brothers?" he said, though they didn't really need to know.

"Well, for a start, it's none of their business whether we're having sex or not," she said matter-of-factly. "And for another thing, they love you. You're pretty much an honorary Delaney at this point, so being engaged is not going to bother them."

"You don't think they'll mind we're engaged then?" he asked, though he had no reason to think so. He hadn't asked her father for permission, but they'd unofficially been together for years.

"No," she assured him. "I think Sirius and Orion might give you stick for asking me without permission from them, but they're full of bull anyway."

"It's only your father I'm worried about," he admitted, his fingers drifting through her hair for a moment. Now that they were comfortably tangled together, he found himself feeling sleepy, lazy, and strangely content.

"Dad loves you," she murmured, lulled by the gentle drift of his fingers through her hair as they relaxed together. "I mean, he let you try and shear Missy, and he adores that grumpy ewe."

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Re: Tropical Getaway
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2020, 03:40:12 PM »
"Try would by the key word," Matt murmured. He'd learned the hard way that shearing sheep is a lot harder than it looks, but at least, he could say he'd tried.

Cas giggled softly, remembering that particular day with warm nostalgia. Meeting her father and brothers had seemed like a monumental thing for Matt at the time, but they had just welcomed him in and put him to work as though he was already part of the family. It had been a good day. Her eyes strayed to the ring on her finger, her thumb stroking over the smooth sea glass. "This is beautiful, you know."

"It's not as nice as a diamond," Matt remarked, with a frown. Not as expensive either. Though he knew most women expected a diamond for their engagement, he couldn't afford one quite yet, and the sea glass, though less expensive, seemed a better fit for her anyway.

"It's better than a diamond," she told him, looking into his eyes. "You thought about me and what I might like. It isn't just for show; it's a real gift, like a tangible sign of the promises we've made to each other, and you got it just for me. That's what makes it beautiful, Matt."

"I'm glad you like it," he said, the dim light illuminating his smile. "We both thought of it at the same time. That has to mean something," he said, regarding the fact that they'd both planned on surprising the other with a ring.

"I didn't tell you what the symbols mean," she remembered suddenly, her smile brightening as she took his hand in hers to show him his own ring. "It's the symbols for water in ancient alchemy and modern science."

"Oh?" Matt said, looking to the ring she had slid onto his hand. He hadn't had much of a chance to examine it, as he'd been too nervous about giving her hers. "I see," he said, running a finger over the symbols, a thoughtful expression on his face. "So, we both went with a water theme."

"You're so comfortable on land and on sea," she mused. "But the way I see it, I'm your anchor to the shore, so you can embrace the ocean as much as you want. Just come back to me, and you won't get lost."

"Cas, I love the sea as much as you do, but I'm not going anywhere. Promise," he assured her, fingers touching a caress to her cheek. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you, whether we're on land or on sea."

"We will," she promised, her cheek stroking into his touch. "We'll be together, whatever comes, right?" She didn't want to think of anything bad happening, but Matt had already been on one terrifying mission on Earth; she knew he would do it again if he had to.

"Right," he agreed, sealing that promise with a soft but sleepy kiss. "Is it too late to roast marshmallows?" he teased, a smirk on his face.

He should have known better than to suggest it; this was Cas, after all. "Never," she insisted, despite her own languid comfort. "Nude roasting, coming up."

"Whoever said anything about being nude?" he asked, chuckling. It was unlikely anyone would see them, but now that it was dark, there was a chill in the air. "Never mind," he said, burrowing closer, too comfortable to get up. "We'll roast them for breakfast."

Cas laughed, letting herself be drawn close again under their nest of blankets. She couldn't stop a yawn from making itself known; it had been a long day for both of them. "I think I'm in for some sweet dreams tonight."

"You don't have to dream about me," he told her. "I'm right here." He brushed another kiss against her lips, ever eager for her kisses, before adjusting the blankets over them both and settling himself close.

"What if I like dreaming about you?" she asked with sleepy mischief, her breath warming his lips as they cuddled together under the blankets.

"Then by all means, dream away. I just hope you don't love Dream Matt more than the real thing," he teased, lying on his side to face her. Though he couldn't see much in the dark, he could feel the warmth of her body there beside him.

Her laugh was wicked in the darkness. "Kinda liking the imagery of being the Cas in a Matt sandwich, not gonna lie," she teased back, nuzzling closer before letting herself relax in his arms.

"Sandwiched right between my legs?" he teased, though at the moment she was in his arms and not looking like she was likely to move. He drew a sleepy sigh, feeling more content than he could ever remember being. "I'm happy here with you, Cassie," he whispered.

"Happier with you than I am anywhere else," she murmured back sleepily, slowly beginning to give in to the teasing approach of sleep. Her arms tightened about him for a moment before she relaxed once again.

Happier even than when he was at sea. He could imagine himself living a long, happy life with her. Maybe they'd buy a ship of their own and explore the seas of RhyDin. Maybe someday, they'd even have a family. Whatever path their lives took, he knew he'd be happy, so long as he was with her.