Chapter 3

James woke up to the smell of cooked fish. He blinked a few times before yawning and attempting to stretch, which only irritated his wound.

"Argh!" James recoiled.

"You okay?!" Cinderella rushed to his side.

"Yeah!" James shouted, "Yeah I just… it still hurts,"

"Here. I have more of those pills,"

Cinderella handed him two more pain killers and his bottle of water. James quickly took them and laid back down.

"How you feel? Other than your left side hurting," Cindy asked while placing her hand on James' forehead.

"Hungry," he admitted.

"Well that's a good sign," she commented.

"Really?" James asked.

"I think so. It means you have an appetite. We need to keep you hydrated and fed if you're going to heal properly. And you still need to rest,"

James chuckled.

"It's weird being looked after by someone other than my mother,"

Cinderella smiled but her eyes looked sad. James felt like he said something wrong, and he wanted to apologize, but Cinderella stood up before he had the chance.

"I'm going to see if anything else washed up on shore. Here you go,"

Cindy handed him a cooked fish.

"Eat as much as you can," she said before walking away.

James watched her disappear behind the boulder again and suddenly felt alone. He sat himself up against the boulder and glanced around. He noted how beautiful the island looked, even though it felt so isolating. Nothing but clear skies and the ocean past the small tree line. Everything looked perfect. He sighed and looked down at the cooked fish.

"Sorry little guy,"

James pulled out his pocketknife and began to cut open the fish.

Cinderella wandered the shoreline aimlessly while looking for something that may have washed ashore. So far, she saw nothing. After another minute of walking, she noticed a coconut on the ground that wasn't there the day before. She rushed over to it and picked it up. After careful examination, she decided that it was good enough to take back to the settlement. She continued to wander down the shoreline and saw something shiny in the shallow part of the water. Cinderella ran toward the object and it turned out to be a water bottle, still filled with fresh water.

"Oh thank goodness!" she exclaimed.

She quickly retrieved the water bottle and ran underneath a tree. She put the coconut down next to her and opened the bottle. She gulped half of the bottle down before closing it for later.

"We can't survive on so little water," she sighed.

Then, as if the island heard her, she spotted more water bottles floating in the shallows. Cindy couldn't help but shout in glee and run to gather the floating bottles. They now had 4 new water bottles. Cinderella figured she should take these back for now and search again later.

James finished eating the fish and tried tossing the bones toward the ocean, but it landed in the sand not far from him. A seagull flew down and retrieved the bones from the ground and flew away. James scoffed and sat back against the giant rock.

What if she found a way off this island? What if she left me behind?

James chuckled while closing his eyes.

I mean, I wouldn't blame her. I'm useless after all. I might as well just die right now and let everyone forget about me…

"James!"

James quickly opened his eyes and saw Cinderella rushing towards him.

"What's wrong?!" James asked.

He tried to stand up, but the pain made him plop back down.

"Don't move!" Cindy shouted.

She quickly sat down in front of him and showed him what she had found.

"Water," James observed.

"Yes!" Cindy exclaimed with a smile.

"This should last us a little while longer,"

James sighed with relief and grabbed one of the new bottles.

"Here," Cindy opened the bottle for him, "You need it more than I do right now,"

James smiled and started drinking the water. Cindy saw that the fire was out again, and she attempted to reignite it.

James put his water bottle down and noticed the coconut on the ground next to the water bottles.

"What's that?" he asked.

Cinderella turned around and looked at the coconut.

"It's a coconut," she replied, "Ever seen one?"

James shook his head.

"It's really good. You drill a hole in it, drink the milk inside and eat the soft parts. I haven't had one in years,"

James eyed it curiously. It looked like a giant ball made of twigs.

"It doesn't look like much. It just looks like a mass of twigs," he commented.

Cinderella laughed.

"Yeah it does. But wait until we get it open… somehow,"

She went back to trying to start the fire, but she winced at the rawness of her hands. James noticed this and grabbed his jacket to hand to her.

"Here," James offered.

Cinderella turned to him and smiled.

"Thanks"

Cindy eventually started the fire, and she began to cook her own fish.

"We're going to need to start fishing again," she said while pulling out the last fish from the cooler.

"Now that I can do," James joked.

Cinderella let out a small smile but did not say anything. James wondered if she was still sad from last night, but he was afraid of bringing it up. He tried to think of something to say but nothing came to mind.

"Do you remember anything? About the crash?" Cinderella finally asked.

James' smile faded from a smile to a frown.

"Yeah a little," James sighed, "I was in a conference room when the blast happened. Things got chaotic after that. We were told to go to the longboats. I ran with a bunch of other people and when I got there, I heard the second explosion. I climbed onto a longboat and someone tried to start it, but the floor above us caved in and the last thing I remember is the debris falling towards us… then I woke up here,"

Cinderella flipped her fish over before sharing her story.

"It all happened so fast. First, I'm in the kitchens and there was a loud blast noise that shook the ship. I ran out into the hallway and there was a second blast that happened closer to where I was and… the floor caved in. I fell into one of the longboats in the lower level. Someone else did too. A man. The bottom of the ship was already open. I didn't know how to operate the boat, but that man did. He got it started and we left the ship. I remember looking up and seeing flames on both sides of the ship. It was terrible. We flew down here but we couldn't slow down the boat. It hit the water hard and I flew out. Luckily this island wasn't too far, and I was able to swim here but… I don't know what happened to that man,"

James became saddened by her ordeal, and worried about the mystery man she mentioned.

"I… I'm sorry,"

Cinderella looked at him.

"For what?"

"For… what you've been through,"

"I'm fine," she said turning back to the fish, "It's you I'm worried about,"

James' face softened to a look of amusement.

"Really?"

"Yeah,"

Cinderella removed the cooked fish from the fire.

"If something happens to you, I'd be all alone, and I would have to bury you somewhere. Or would you rather be let go into the ocean?"

James let out a small laugh.

"If you bury me here, maybe I can haunt this island for the next crash survivors,"

"Not a bad idea," Cindy joked.

She sat down next to James and reached her hand out.

"What?" James asked, clearly confused by her gesture.

"The knife, please?" she cooed.

James found that rather cute.

"Sure," he smiled.

He reached into his right pocket and pulled out the knife. He opened it for her and carefully placed it in her hand.

"So… alone huh?" James playfully asked.

Cindy shrugged and began to eat her fish.

"I can see that. Not much company around here," he remarked while looking around at what little he could see of the island once again.

Cinderella couldn't help but glance at him with the corner of her eye. Maybe it's because he's the only guy here, but he started to feel a little differently towards him. He is easy on the eyes and from what she felt last night, he was well built. Not too slender and not too bulky. Average, which wasn't bad in her opinion. He's smart, which makes talking to him easy and fun. At least she's not bored with him around.

He's so different from the prince though…

She curled her knees in a bit closer to her chest, thinking about how she felt when she met the prince. How she… fell in love with him, practically at first sight. The prince was a true gentleman, something she felt only existed in fairytales. He was tall, much taller than James for sure. Both are equally handsome; she couldn't deny that. But James is no gentleman, at least not like the prince. James is nice and considerate. He swears a lot and he's not afraid to speak his mind from what she could see, but he's not a bad person… right? He couldn't be.

Oh stop it Cindy. You're in a dire situation. You shouldn't be curious about James like that. I'm not going to end up in a situation where a girl falls in love with a guy simply because they are the only two people left alive… or on an island. That's not going to happen.

"You okay?" James asked.

"Hmm?" Cindy asked with her mouth full of fish.

"You seem distracted by something,"

Cindy quickly swallowed.

"Nope! No I'm fine,"

James chuckled and rested his head back against the boulder. Cinderella watched him close his eyes before she started eyeing his calm face, his relaxed jawline and his neck.

Cindy, no.

Cinderella looked away but only for a second. Her eyes darted back up to his neck and trailed down to his chest until he started to move again. She quickly looked away and focused on her half-eaten fish.

"Can you hand me my water bottle?" James asked.

"Yeah,"

Cindy quickly handed him the bottle and his fingers managed to rub slightly against her own. Cindy almost dropped the bottle, but James managed to catch it.

"You sure you're okay?" James asked.

"Yes I'm fine! I should… get more fish,"

Cinderella quickly stood up and rushed to the medical kit. James cocked an eyebrow at her sudden change in behavior, but figured it was no big deal and just drank some of his water. Cinderella grabbed the fishing line she used before and walked toward the water.

"I'd like to fries too. And Ketchup!" James called out.

Cinderella turned to him and gave him an amused smile.

"Anything to drink?"

"Yeah! An ice tea!"

Cinderella laughed and turned back to the shore. James found her laugh as cute as when she asked for his knife earlier. He wondered if he'd be lucky enough to make her laugh all the time. James put his hand down to his side to adjust his position, but he ended up touching the crystal ball and this time the ball lit up. Curious, James picked it up and watched as the glow inside began to take form. This time, it showed his mother crying at the table. James thought that this was a memory because he saw her crying before as when his father left them over 10 years ago. However, this looked recent. The interior of the Benbow Inn was just the way he left it 3 months ago before he left on his voyage. James held the ball closer to try and see what was happening. His mother sat up and held up a letter. Apparently, this letter was making her cry for some reason. Is it about him? The shipwreck maybe?

What the hell is going on?

Then the image faded away and the ball was empty once again.

"No! Come back!" James shouted.

He shook the ball but nothing happened. He grew even more frustrated and just tossed the ball. It landed a few feet away. James sighed in frustration and ran his able hand over his face and through his hair.

"Damn it," he sighed, "we need to get off this island,"

James looked down at his side and tried to lift his shirt up to see the wound. It was slightly painful, but he managed to pull it up enough to see half of the bandaged wound.

"So that's what you look like," he commented.

"We should change those bandages," Cinderella stated.

James quickly pulled his shirt down and looked up to see Cindy smiling at him.

"Hey! Uh, what about the fish?"

"I tied the string around a branch so I don't have to stand there all day. I'll go check on it later. Right now I should check that wound,"

"Oh, okay,"

James let Cinderella lift up his shirt to look at the bandage.

"The bleeding isn't so bad. I need to take the bandage off,"

She helped him lay back down onto his back and lifted his shirt again. She slowly started to take the bandage off. James winced and hissed the whole time, but he remained still. After the bandage was off, Cinderella looked at his wound.

"Doesn't look infected, which is good. I'll need to clean it though. Make sure it heals properly,"

"Awesome," James sarcastically remarked.

Cinderella ignored him and grabbed the medical kit. She pulled out the peroxide bottle and some clean rags.

"I have to warn you," she said, placing her hand on his tense arm, "This is going to hurt,"

James took in a deep breath. Cinderella poured some of the peroxide on his wound and sure enough, James let out a cry of pain, followed by some swearing. Cinderella quickly wiped around his wound to clean the area and placed a clean bandage on top of it.

"There you go," she exhaled.

James was too tired from fighting the pain to say anything. Cinderella pulled his shirt back down and put the supplies back into the medical kit.

"I'll go see if we caught anything,"

"Great," Jim groaned, looking utterly defeated.

Cinderella held back a laugh as she walked away. James just stared at the blue sky above him, watching the clouds float by ever so peacefully. After a few minutes, his eyes began to feel heavy.

Just let me wake up at home… please let me wake up at home…

"James. James wake up,"

James slowly opened his eyes to Cinderella's calm face and the sunset sky.

Was I asleep this whole time?

"Hey," she said.

"Hey," James smiled, "What is it?"

"I managed to get the coconut open," she said, holding up the coconut.

"You… did?" James asked while rubbing his eyes.

He was still half asleep, after a few blinks his vision cleared, and he saw the opened coconut in her hands. It was split down the middle.

"Uh… how did you do that?" he asked.

"It took a lot of effort. I had to beat it against the boulder here and use a rock. I managed to save the milk for you,"

Cinderella showed him a bottle with what looked like milk inside. It wasn't a lot, but it looked delicious.

"Wow! That was inside that thing?" James asked in an amazed tone.

"Yes. It's called coconut milk, but it doesn't taste like it. It's actually much sweeter. Want some?"

James nodded. Cinderella handed it to him, and he took a sip.

"Mmm!"

James drank the rest. Cinderella laughed and shook her head.

"I'll try finding more tomorrow, when the sun comes back up," she stated.

"That's pretty good. I can't believe I didn't know these things existed,"

Cinderella chuckled and turned to the fire, where two fish were being cooked.

"Hey, you caught some!"

"Yep! I caught four actually. The fish here are really easy to catch. No wonder the seagulls can thrive here,"

James looked around and saw the sun setting.

"Hey… the sun wasn't there yesterday,"

Cinderella looked in the direction James mentioned.

"Hm," she furrowed her brows together, "No it wasn't,"

James stared at the sunset.

If it wasn't there yesterday, then… did the sun shift it's position? Or did the island move? Or maybe the planet we're on rotates differently… What the hell is going on?

"Wh-what does this mean?" Cindy turned to James, looking concerned.

James noticed and he tried to think of a way to explain the situation.

"It… it could mean that either the sun rotated, or we did. The island or the planet,"

Cinderella turned back to the sun.

"So… so it's possible that we're not on Earth?"

James let out a deep breath.

"It's possible. I mean the island could've moved too, but…"

"I doubt it. Wouldn't we have noticed that the island was moving? Maybe feel the waves or something?"

James groaned and just rubbed the back of neck.

"I don't know," he admitted.

Cinderella became overwhelmed. She wanted to cry out of frustration, but she instead got up and walked away. James watched her walk in the opposite direction of the sunset. He understood how she felt, but there was nothing he could do about it. Not only because he was still wounded, but because they still had no way to get off this island. He had no solution, and that made him feel useless. He turned to the fire and noticed the fish being overcooked. He shifted his position to retrieve the first fish, which was closest to him. The second one, however, took a bit more effort. He had to shift himself closer and avoid the flames to grab the second fish. He placed each fish on his jacket and shifted away from the fire. He sat himself up against the boulder and grabbed the first fish.

Maybe I'm not so useless after all.

As the sky grew darker and the sun disappeared beyond the horizon, Cinderella finally came back from her walk. She saw that James was asleep against the rock and that he had finished one of the fish. The second fish was laying on his jacket.

"Oh no! I forgot about the fish!" she thought out loud.

She ran to the second fish and picked it up.

"But I need his knife,"

She looked around the settlement, but she couldn't find the knife. That's when she remembered that he often keeps it in his pants pocket.

"Oh boy," she whispered.

She inched closer to James and tried to wake up.

"James… James," she gently called out.

James didn't move. She tried tapping his shoulder, but still no movement.

Maybe I can wait until he wakes up.

Just then, her stomach growled.

Or not…

Cinderella sighed in defeat crawled even closer to him.

It's alright, you're not doing anything. Just grabbing the knife. Nothing wrong with grabbing a knife, right?

She was now on top of his legs when she began to reach into his right pocket. Slowly and carefully, she felt inside and found the knife.

Gotcha!

The next few seconds felt like forever as she slowly pulled out the knife. Cinderella could hear her heartbeat over the sound of the ocean, which she never thought was possible considering how loud the waves can be. When she finally pulled the knife out, she scrambled away from him in hopes that he wouldn't find her leaning over him like that. James did start to move a bit, but he didn't wake up. Cinderella looked down at the knife and remembered that it needed his fingerprint to open.

Of course.

She carefully reached over and placed his thumb against the scanner. The knife opened.

"Yes," she whispered.

She began to cut the fish. When she finished, she leaned back against the boulder and let out a sigh of relief. She really was hungry. She looked at the night sky and noticed that the stars were rotating differently then she remembered. They were slowly spinning in a circle, rather than gliding across like it does on Earth.

"We really are not on Earth," she let out, "I wonder what else is different out here… wherever here is,"

She tried to remember if anyone said anything about where they were in the galaxy, but nothing came to mind. People gossip all the time in the kitchens but she never heard anything about where they could be.

Hopefully someone will find us.

Cindy put the knife down between her and James. She gathered the fish bones and stood up to throw them in the ocean. James began to wake up. She didn't notice him open his eyes as she walked away. James looked around and saw his open knife on the ground next to him. He chuckled and picked it up.

She must've used it for the fish.

He used the scanner to put the blade away before putting it back into his pocket.

"Finally awake I see," Cinderella called out.

James turned toward the ocean and noticed her outline in the moonlight.

"Yeah," he yawned, "anything happen while I was asleep?"

"Nope," Cindy chuckled, "By the way, did you notice the stars?"

James looked up.

"They're rotating differently than on Earth," she added.

"They are? Huh. I'm not familiar with Earth so I wouldn't know that,"

"Any idea on where we could be?"

James couldn't help but laugh at her question.

"You think I would know that because of the stars?" he asked.

"No! No I just… I was hoping you would know about a planet that that rotated like that,"

James looked up at the stars again.

"There's only one planet I know that rotates like that. But it's a desert planet. No water whatsoever so I doubt we're on that planet,"

"Oh," Cindy sighed.

She made her way back to his side and sat down.

"The ship was meant to disembark at Erans, a planet similar to Earth's atmosphere, but 3 times larger and it has two moons. Plus, the planet is covered with giant cities and high-tech transportation vehicles like flying cars and highspeed subways. It's really cool,"

"Erans," Cindy repeated, "How much further did we have to travel to get there?"

"At least another week," James admitted, "So if they ever come looking for us, it'll be a while before they search this planet,"

"If they bother searching. It'll be very unlikely they would find us," Cindy groaned.

"We'll just have to wait and see,"

The two continued to sit in silence, watching the ocean waves and the stars do its slow spinning rotation. The moon wasn't able to be seen since it sat behind the boulder, but it was bright enough to illuminate the ocean waves and most of the land in front of them. The fire wasn't needed. After a while, Cindy let out a yawn.

"Tired?" James asked.

"Yeah, pretty much. The ocean sound isn't helping either,"

"Here, lay down," James offered the spot where his jacket was laying.

"Oh no, you should lay down first,"

Cindy positioned herself in front of him and tried to help him lay down.

"No it's fine!" James protested, "I'm not even tired yet. You go ahead and lay down. I'll sleep later,"

"You sure? You know you need rest too,"

"I'll rest later. Don't worry about me,"

"I can't help but worry," Cinderella huffed, "You're the only company I have, and I don't want to deal with a dead body if you die from infection,"

"I'm beginning to think there's more to it than that for keeping me alive," James joked.

"You wish," she scoffed and laid down on his jacket.

James chuckled and watched as she got comfortable and closed her eyes. Her head was closest to him, so James could see her calm resting face. She really was beautiful, and not just because of the moonlight. Her eyelashes were long and thick, her lips were the perfect shade of pink, not to mention the shape of them. Her nose was cute and her eyebrows seemed perfectly shaped for someone struck on an island. Actually, everything about her seemed perfect. Even her personality.

Is this how all Earth women are?

Just then, Cinderella began to react to something she was dreaming about.

"No," she mumbled, "Please… don't,"

"Cindy?" James whispered.

"Not my… my dolls… please,"

James became worried.

"Cindy," he tried again, "You're dreaming,"

"huh?" Cindy asked while still asleep.

"It's just a dream, Cindy,"

Cindy let out a small moan and then her face relaxed. She was breathing steadily again. James waited a few seconds before relaxing himself.

"Her dolls… did something happen to her as a child?"

He figured he'd ask about it tomorrow, if she's in a good mood. Actually, there's a lot of things he wanted to ask about herself, but they never seemed to find the right moment.

Maybe I can start talking about my home and see if she talks about her's too. We gotta start somewhere, right?

The night dragged on and eventually James got sleepy again. He made himself comfortable against the rock and closed his eyes. Listening to the ocean waves did give him some mild comfort, but it was the gentle breathing of Cindy next to him that allowed to him to fall asleep quicker.