Miss Castaway Castoff:
As promised, here's another GI fic. Enjoy.
Gilligan had chosen a monkey as the most beautiful castaway on the island.
Mary Ann sighed as she tossed a rock into the lagoon. She really shouldn't be so surprised - there was no way the contest could've ended without disappointment. The plucky first mate could hardly have chosen one of the three women without starting a three way feud. All in all, he'd probably made the smartest choice possible.
But he'd still chosen a monkey over them. Over her.
Mary Ann hefted a bigger rock into the water and watched it make a satisfying splash. She supposed she'd get over it soon, probably before Ginger or Mrs. Howell would, but she couldn't stop thinking how nice it would have been to be chosen.
When the toasts had first began, she hadn't expected to even be in the running. And she would have pretended to be content about that. But then the Professor had stood up and said wonderfully sweet things about her, and she'd begun hoping … well, among other things, she'd begun hoping that she had a shot at winning the contest.
So much for that.
She plopped another stone into the water at her feet and was startled when a second rock whizzed out into the lagoon, skipping four times before slipping under.
Must be Gilligan, she thought, familiar with the island's resident rock skipping champion. She prepared herself to face the reluctant pageant judge. Disappointed as she was, she bore him no ill will. He was Gilligan after all, and the mishaps were as much a part of his nature as his kindness and curiosity.
Another rock bounced three times into the lagoon. Mary Ann turned to glance at her new companion and was surprised to see that the rock skipper was not the first mate. "What are you doing here, Professor?"
"Observing the forces of gravity and velocity as they engage with the properties of water." He skimmed another stone out into the water and turned a bright smile her way. "Otherwise known as skipping rocks."
Mary Ann found herself observing just how blue the Professor's eyes were. Turning away quickly, she plunked another pebble into the lagoon.
The Professor came closer, almost hesitantly, and took a seat beside her. He sat shuffling his hands and looking out over the water. "Mary Ann, I'm sorry how this whole thing turned out."
She sighed and busied herself with searching for another rock. "I suppose it really was unfair to make Gilligan the judge of this competition. I can't blame him for choosing a monkey over any of us."
Her companion shook his head a little ruefully. "Gilligan certainly didn't mean to convey anything negative about the other contestants. If anything, I think he did a masterful job talking himself out of the situation." The Professor turned to glance her way, but his hands continued to shuffle idly, as if they ached in the rare sabbatical from action.
"I wouldn't worry about having his favor," he reassured her. "Gilligan's rather fond of you."
"Gilligan's fond of everybody," Mary Ann told him. She gave a little laugh. "That's what got him into this mess. No, he's a good friend, and I know that I have his support in the important things."
That really did mean the world to her. Gilligan was bumbling and accident prone, but he was also thoughtful and sweet and unfalteringly loyal. He'd be by her side the moment she needed him, likely tripping over his own feet in his hurry. But the contest and its result still had her feeling down and a bit like the castaways' castoff. Sure, she knew she could never truly compete with Ginger's looks or Mrs. Howell's class, but it turned out that she could be beat by an orangutan.
Yet, then she thought of the man sitting beside her and how he'd declared her the most beautiful woman in the world.
"And that's invaluable," the Professor commented, unaware of where her thoughts had wandered to.
Pulling herself back, Mary Ann agreed. "Yes. But as I said, Gilligan likes everybody." She turned the rock over and over in her hand and risked a glance his way. "Having your support meant even more to me."
The Professor raised a cynical eyebrow, but his lips quirked in a smile. "Because I don't like anybody?"
"No! No, not that," Mary Ann hastened to reassure him. "I know you care for everyone on the island, but having you choose me… Well, it just meant a lot," she finished lamely. "The Skipper was right to call Ginger the most beautiful castaway. And Mr. Howell was certainly right to compliment his wife. I just didn't expect anyone to say anything about me."
With a tilt of his head, the Professor glanced her way, his blue eyes and gentle voice somehow insisting. "I meant it," he said softly. "You certainly deserved someone to sing your praises."
Mary Ann gave him a curious look. "So you didn't just choose me to make me feel better?"
The Professor met her eyes almost shyly, but he smiled that bright smile again. "No. Of course, I didn't want you to go unappreciated, but that wasn't my sole reason for speaking up."
Curious as to what he'd been thinking, Mary Ann followed his admission with a hypothetical situation. "If it was someone else who went unnoticed," she said slowly, "I can't suppose who, but imagine; would you have spoken up for her, Professor?"
Gilligan had given his own toast to every one of the three women. But the Professor's attention had been on only her. She had to know just what that meant.
The Professor considered her question, his eyes fixed out into the lagoon where only a short time ago her swimsuit had been the catch of the day. "That might have made it a harder decision. Each person on the island has individual merits, and I would have felt bad if someone truly did feel left out."
Mary Ann could feel her face fall. "Oh." Maybe she hadn't been his first choice. He was just being nice and trying to lift her spirits. He'd probably only chosen her because Ginger was taken first.
Her tone must have alerted him to what she was thinking, because the Professor turned and laid a gentle hand on her arm. "Physical appearance and class do not exclusively determine beauty," he told her as if reciting a universal fact. "It's mind, heart, and soul above these."
To what seemed to be both of their surprise, the Professor reached out to tilt her chin upwards so that she was looking at him. "And I thought yours to be the most beautiful, though you're lovely in every way. Mary Ann, I would have chosen you anyway."
She was speechless a moment, breathless even. He removed his hand slowly, carefully, and made a show of searching for his next skipping stone, a flush in his cheeks.
"Thank you, Professor," she managed at last. He really had meant it, and a bubbly warm feeling sprung up in her stomach.
He stood and his last rock whizzed out across the water, the furthest yet. Dusting his shuffling hands, the Professor offered her one as she rose. "Certainly. We should probably get back to camp and make sure Ginger or Mrs. Howell hasn't killed Gilligan."
Mary Ann grinned at him. "Or Mr. Howell or the Skipper," she added, knowing that Gilligan was probably best off spending the afternoon with the monkey he'd chosen. "Come on, let's go keep the peace."
He let go of her hand when she'd risen, but they took their time walking back to camp, and Mary Ann found herself forgetting the feeling of being the castaway castoff. As she walked along, laughing at something the Professor said, she found herself hoping … well, among other things, she began hoping that there might be other afternoons like this.
Hope you liked it! Please leave a review and tell me what you think!