Crashing Into Paradise
by Elizabeth Kent
Face laid the pen down and rubbed his eyes. Then he raised his hands over his head, clasping them and stretching his arms up, trying to work the kinks out of his shoulders.
Hands caught his arms from behind, the caress starting on the inside of his wrist and gliding slowly to his arm pit to stroke the soft hairs there. Face bent his head back to look up into a pair of warm brown eyes. "You're lucky I took a bath earlier," he said. He unclasped his hands, then reached back to clasp them around Murdock's neck, pulling his head forward and down.
Murdock bent down, his hands traveling on down Face's bare sides to the colorful material knotted loosely around his hips. "I noticed you had plenty of help with that," he said. "They were lined up three deep waiting to help scrub your back in the pool." He nibbled gently on Face's shoulder, tiny bites that sent shivers down Face's spine.
"You had quite a few assistants yourself, if I remember correctly," Face said. "And you weren't looking too unhappy about it, either." Face pulled Murdock's arms around himself, feeling Murdock's warm, bare skin against his back.
"They think I'm irresistible," said Murdock. "At least I think that's what they said. We were having a small failure to communicate."
"Huh," Face responded. "Their intentions were perfectly obvious to me the first day." Especially the one whose hand kept disappearing under the water only moments before Murdock's face turned crimson. "You're sort of cute when you blush, you know? The red goes all the way up to the top of your head."
"You're too kind," Murdock said, biting just a tiny bit harder than was absolutely necessary. "Come on, you've been working on those ads long enough."
Face allowed Murdock to pull him off the bench and lead him out of the tiny hut and onto the beach. The sun was just beginning to set over the ocean, turning the sky and water a fiery red. The sand was still warm underfoot as they walked to the water and allowed the waves to lap around their bare feet.
"You should crash your plane more often," Face said. "I keep expecting to see Mr. Rourke and Tattoo."
Murdock laughed a little. "Well, this ain't exactly Fantasy Island, but it runs a close second. And I didn't exactly crash it. It was just kind of a hard landing."
"Felt like a crash," Face said.
"Nah, a crash is when your wings fall off or you burst into flames. A hard landing is where the plane stays intact."
"Ah. Is that in one of the aviation handbooks or something?"
"Yeah. It's under `Unexpected Termination of Flight."
"Is that before or after `Unexpected Arrival of Storm?'"
"Uh, it's before, I believe."
"What about the part where it sinks into the ocean?"
"Well, that's a `Water Landing' and not the same as a crash at all."
Face nodded and took a few more steps into the clear water of the small bay. He wiggled his toes and watched bright tropical fish dart around his feet. Three days ago they hadn't even known this place existed. The two of them were flying back from a job they'd taken in Honolulu. No beachcombing for them, though. It was a long job, and they'd been busy the whole time, so they were all more than ready to leave when they were done. They'd already caught glimpses of Decker, alerted somehow to their presence on the island.
Hannibal and BA had left a few days before Face and Murdock. Face had scammed them tickets on a cruise for gay couples. BA's eyes bugged a bit when Face explained the plan, but of all the places Decker might go looking for them, that would probably be the last. So it was a perfect getaway. And, as Face pointed out, it wasn't flying. BA was at least amenable to the plan, if not exactly thrilled by it. And if neither Hannibal, nor BA ever went up on deck for the duration of the cruise, well, nobody would ask any questions. They would assume the two were just too busy with other interests. So they could maintain a low profile. Hannibal laughed, clapped Face on the shoulder, and said, "And you two are passing this up?"
Face shrugged. He and Murdock had a couple of loose ends to tie up, and Murdock really wanted to get a plane and fly back, just him and Face. They were just coming off a month-long separation and wanted some time alone. Face would probably have preferred the cruise, but for Murdock, he scammed a plane. They stayed a few days longer than the others, sending Decker off on a wild goose chase to Maui while they finished up business.
They'd known the false tip leading Decker to Maui wouldn't keep him occupied for too long, and he was back by the time they were ready to leave. There was a storm moving in, but they couldn't afford to wait any longer. Decker had the military and the local police looking for them, and Face was feeling just a little claustrophobic sharing an island with the military police, so they took a chance and tried to beat the storm. Unfortunately, it was faster than they were.
By the time they knew they had to set down somewhere, they were nearly out of places to do so. Their fortuitous landing on this island was fifty percent skill and fifty percent luck. Maybe closer to forty-nine, fifty-one, but Face wasn't going to be the one to say so. The landing had been very rough. In fact, they hadn't quite made it to land. The plane ended up almost half a mile offshore, and Face and Murdock had to scramble out and swim for it. The wind and waves made it tough going, and the two of them, already somewhat battered from the crash, had been bashed against rocks and scraped over coral reefs on their way to the shore. It was a long, hard swim in heavy surf, and it taxed even their strength and endurance. They dragged themselves as far up the beach as they could get before collapsing, too sore and exhausted to go any further.
They awakened sometime the next day to find themselves lying naked under a thin blanket, sharing one large hammock in a one-room shelter. The walls were woven of thin branches and twigs and covered with mats of some kind of sturdy grasses. They were achy and stiff, and for a couple of minutes they just lay still, assessing their injuries and deciding they were only minor.
"Where are we? This looks like something from the Swiss Family Robinson set," Face said.
"Well, I'm not positive where we ended up," Murdock said, trying to figure out how to get out of the hammock without dumping Face out. "We were still over the South Pacific when we decided to set down."
"Where are our clothes?" Face said, glancing around the hut. A wooden bench and a small table stood in the center of the room. Against one wall was a freestanding cupboard with some hollowed out gourds on it, and against the other was a large wooden chest. A kerosene lamp stood in the center of the small table. The hammock in which they lay was suspended from sturdy posts buried in the ground. That was it.
"They are...how do you say...in the wash." Startled, the two men looked toward the doorway where their visitor stood. Face and Murdock just stared at him, struck dumb. He was a giant of a man, naked except for a brightly colored cloth that was wrapped around his waist and hung halfway down his thighs. A narrow band of the same material was tied around his forehead, holding back his long hair. His long, blond hair.
Face exchanged a startled look with Murdock. The man smiled genially and walked into the room to stand beside the hammock. "Hi," the man said, his voice heavily accented. Norwegian, Murdock thought. Maybe Swedish. "My name is Lars."
Face struggled to sit up and nearly dumped Murdock off until Lars steadied the hammock for them. Face pulled the blanket off with him when he stood, wrapping it around his waist and leaving Murdock trying to pull one edge of the hammock over his own lap.
"Well, Lars," Face began, "we were expecting someone..."
"Polynesian?" Lars laughed. "Yah, I am sure. Well, for sure they don't grow many blonds around here." He laughed again, apparently greatly amused by his own joke. "You are feeling better now, yes?" he asked, looking Face over.
"Yeah, thanks. If you could just, you know, give us some idea where we are, we'd be glad to get out of your hair."
"Out of my hair? What is that?"
"Uh, you know. Leave you alone."
"Ah, an Americanism! I love American English. So colorful! But sadly, I'm afraid you cannot, as you say, get out of my hair."
Murdock and Face exchanged uneasy looks.
"Don't look so worried!" Lars said. "You'll enjoy it here. Come, it's almost time to eat anyway, and you must be very hungry."
Yes, they were. They were also very naked. "Uh, Lars," Face said, gesturing at his blanket. "I'm not exactly dressed to go out."
Lars laughed again. He laughed for a long time. Much longer than either of the others thought the comment required. Then he went to the door and pulled it open. "We are...what's the word...very casual here. Come and look."
Face rearranged his blanket so that Murdock could wrap himself in half of it, and together they shuffled to the doorway and looked out. On the beach not twenty feet from their hut, a fire burned in a shallow fire pit, and three people stood tending to something they were roasting on a spit. Other people carried driftwood to the pit or rolled out large mats on the sand. They were all men. And they were all naked.
Confused, Face looked again at Lars. "Where exactly are we, Lars?" he asked.
Lars beckoned to a man who waited nearby with two cloth garments like the ones Lars wore. The young man smiled shyly at Face and Murdock but said nothing, just handing the clothing to Lars and walking away.
"You are not so comfortable with nudity yet, yes? So put these on and come out to the fire. I will explain while you eat." He pulled off his own garment and laid it aside, laughing again when both Face and Murdock blushed. "I put it on when I came in so I would not shock you, but I prefer not to wear it."
Face and Murdock shuffled back into the room, shut the door, and looked at each other.
"Oh, man, Murdock, we're not in Kansas anymore, are we?" Face said.
"Well to tell you the truth, it looks more like Kansas than it does the South Pacific. They're all white!"
"They're all men."
"They're all naked!"
Face looked at the bit of cloth he held in his hand. "How do you wear this?"
Murdock looked at his, turned it around the long way, and looked at it again. "Um, I'm not sure. I think you just wrap it around your waist a couple of times and sort of tuck it in or something."
With a cautious look at the doorway, Face dropped his blanket and wrapped the cloth around himself, knotting the ends together securely. "How's that?" he asked.
Murdock looked at him and nodded. "Nice, Facey. The blue matches your eyes." In fact, Murdock thought, it looked really good on Face. There wasn't much to it, and Face would have to be careful not to bend over.
Murdock wrapped his own around his hips. It was a muted gold color. He settled for just tucking the corner of his in, as Lars had done. "What do you think? Does it make me look fat?" he asked, turning around.
Face smiled a little. "No, it doesn't. It just makes you look half naked."
"I thought you liked me half naked." Murdock batted his eyelashes seductively, but Face turned away.
"This isn't the time for that, Murdock," he said. "We're stranded on an island somewhere with a bunch of naked guys who obviously are not natives unless we got further off course than we thought and ended up in Greenland."
"Too warm for Greenland," Murdock said. "And too green."
"You think they know who we are?"
Murdock shrugged. "I don't know about that. I do know that I'm hungry, and no matter what else happens, we need to eat."
They moved to the door, opened it, and stepped out. By now everyone was sitting on mats or standing around the fire eating, all of them chatting animatedly in a language Face did not know. All conversation stopped, though, as he and Murdock slowly made their way to the fire, their bare feet sinking in the soft, warm sand. Face could feel the eyes following them as they walked, and he felt very exposed.
Lars smiled at them and said, "Welcome! Let's eat and I will explain." A tall, golden blond man brought Face a cup of water and a wooden bowl with a generous amount of meat and some vegetables in it. He stood very close to Face, closer than Face was used to, and smiled at him. Face knew other cultures had different ideas about personal space, and though he was uncomfortable, he didn't want to offend the other man by moving away, so he stayed where he was. Lars spoke to the man, glanced toward Murdock, and the man went back to the fire to fill another bowl for Murdock. But his eyes kept straying back to Face until the red-haired man turning the spit said something that refocused his attention on his work.
When Murdock had been served and conversation had resumed around them, Lars led Face and Murdock to an empty mat. Face looked at the mat and tried to decide how he could sit without revealing too much of his anatomy. He finally settled for kneeling, then sitting on his feet. Not particularly comfortable, but it kept most of him hidden. Murdock followed his example.
For a few minutes, they were silent as they dug into food that turned out to be delicious. It was better, even, than a lot of restaurant food they'd had. They ate with their fingers and made short work of the meal. The water was lightly flavored with lemon and was very cold.
Lars finally broke the silence, saying, "Well, I imagine you want to know why you are here surrounded by nude Scandinavians, yes?"
"Uh, yes," Murdock said. "We didn't know where we were when we landed."
"Yes, well, you are still nowhere near Norway!" Lars laughed. "This is my island. I live here all year. This is my...what is your word...resort."
"Resort?" Face echoed. Resorts had pools and multi-story hotels and tables with umbrellas.
"Yes. I am a nudist. This island is a vacation spot for certain nudists."
"Certain nudists?" Murdock said. "Like Norwegian nudists?"
"Yah, mostly," Lars chuckled. "They come by a cruise ship that makes the trip from Norway once every two weeks. They get off at the nearest port of call, and a boat is hired to bring them here. It will not be back for one more week."
"If you don't mind me noticing," Face said, "all your guests are men."
"Ah, yah, they are," Lars said. "I hope you are not offended, but we are all..." he cast about for the proper English word, "happy."
"Happy?" Face said.
"Yah, happy." Face dared to look around then and noticed that the men were not simply bunched in groups. Even within groups they were, for the most part, in pairs. "What, you mean gay?"
"Gay! Yes, that is the word!" Lars slapped himself on the forehead. "I am so stupid sometimes. I learned English many years ago and do not use it much."
"Do you mean to say we've crash landed in the middle of a gay nudist colony on a remote island in the South Pacific and can't get off for a week?" Murdock said.
"Oh, my God," Face breathed. "I've died and gone to heaven."
"I have a radio and could call for transportation if absolutely necessary, but I use it only for emergencies. If you must go back, I will call."
"No, no," Murdock said. "We're perfectly willing to wait, aren't we, Templeton?"
"Uh, yes, we are," Face said. "No hurry at all. I think we've found a place we might have liked to go to ourselves."
Lars smiled and nodded. "I guessed so much when we found you on the other side of the island with your arms around each other."
"How did you manage to get through the storm with no damage?" Murdock said. There were several other huts up and down the beach much like the one Face and Murdock had awakened in. They looked like they should have blown away in a storm like the one that had just passed through.
"Come with me, and I will show you," Lars said. They followed him back to the hut, where he pulled back slightly on one of the grass mats to reveal steel rods and a concrete foundation. "This looks primitive but is not really. Nobody wants their house blown down on vacation. When the storm was over, I had to tie back on a few of the mats, but the house frames stayed put. People want the illusion of a primitive life but not the hardships"
Face nodded. He could sure understand that.
"Hidden further back in the trees," Lars continued, "is my own home, a very modern structure. My kitchen is where the majority of the food is prepared." He pointed at the redhead carving up what remained of the meat on the spit. "Thor is a chef by profession. He is my partner in all things, and he is in charge of meals. He has won prizes for his meals."
The more they toured the grounds, the more impressed they were. The bathroom was a separate building with hot showers and flush toilets. There was a large pool fed by an underground hot spring in which most of the men preferred to soak before rinsing in the showers.
"The island is nearly ten square miles," Lars said. "As you can see, the center of the island is quite rugged. We have left the far side in a natural state and have developed only the beach on this side for our guests. As far as possible, we try to work with the environment."
"It's nice," Murdock said. He put his arm around Face's shoulder, glad that for once he could do that in public and be comfortable with it. Besides that, he thought it sent a pretty clear signal to the other single guys that this babe was taken. It didn't keep them from looking, though, and now that Face was comfortable with the idea, he didn't seem to mind.
"I am not sure how much longer we will be able to keep it going, though," Lars said. "We don't get quite enough guests to make a profit."
"There are nudists all over the world," Face said. "And millions of gays and lesbians. I'm sure you could attract more guests. It's just a matter of marketing. Getting the right ads to the right people. And with a chef like Thor, I'm sure you could be turning people away in less than a year."
"Ah, perhaps," said Lars. "But marketing is not my specialty. Nor is it Thor's."
"Ah, but it is Templeton's," Murdock said. "He's sold the Brooklyn Bridge several times."
"Never mind," Face said. "What he's getting at is that I know marketing. While we're here, let me write up some ad copy for you and give you some ideas. When I get home, I'll make some contacts and get you in touch with some other people that can help. I'm sure that inside of a year, you'll be turning a big profit."
"You think?" Lars said, looking hopeful.
Face was confident. "Yep. Just leave it all to me."
"But I am afraid I cannot pay you much for your work."
"We'll work something out," Face said. "And we already owe you for putting us up here. How did you find us?"
"As the storm moved in, we evacuated all our guests to my home and away from the beach here, but we were missing a couple who had been out hiking. We checked the other side of the island as soon as the storm passed and found you there."
"Did you find your hikers?"
"Yah, we did. They had found their way back by the time we got back with you. They were a bit wet and hungry, but not injured. They found a cave to shelter in."
Hiking in the nude...not an option that really appealed to Face. That would be something else Lars would need to put in his literature. Nudity encouraged except on hiking trails. Face's mind was already working on ads as Lars led them back to their hut and showed them around.
The freestanding cupboard turned out to be a small refrigerator with a bottle of wine and some fruit already in it. The outlet was cleverly concealed in the floor behind the cupboard. The chest was also not a chest. The top opened, the front came down, and a soft bed opened up for people who didn't want to sleep in the hammock. A smaller chest at the foot of the hammock would hold the few clothes a nudist would need.
Lars gave them each a toilet kit in a mesh bag so they could clean up. He suggested they soak awhile in the hot spring to ease their sore muscles. "There are towels in the basket by the spring," he said. "Everybody is very friendly," he finished with a smile, "and nobody will steal your clothes."
Face laughed and held out his hand. "I'm Templeton," he said. "My partner is H.M."
As Face had expected, Lars showed no sign of recognizing their names. Hannibal and BA would worry, but they'd be safe here for the rest of the week, and by then the military police would expect them to be back in Los Angeles, so there wouldn't be anyone hanging around the major airports. There was no help for it; they might as well stay and enjoy themselves.
Lars waited while they cleaned up, then he walked with them to the hot spring and introduced them to the other men there, whose English was limited mostly to the word "hi." But the looks Face and Murdock got from the unattached men there spoke volumes. Bowing to tradition and growing more comfortable with the idea, Face and Murdock took off their wraps before climbing into the spring. Their stiff movements and sighs of relief were enough to alert the others in the pool to their minor injuries, and Murdock almost laughed when Face was immediately surrounded by single and sympathetic men who wanted to ease his pain. Used to being fawned over by both sexes, Face submitted to their ministrations, though he was careful not to allow himself to relax too much into their hands and send the wrong signals.
Murdock's laughter died when he discovered he also had his admirers. One of them, a handsome young man with eyes just slightly less blue than Face's and hair slightly more blond, moved so close to Murdock that he was practically in Murdock's lap. Murdock kept trying to edge away but soon found an admirer on his other side as well. One rubbed his sore neck while the other knuckled his spine. Just as he closed his eyes, deciding he was just as cool and debonair as Face was, somebody's hand closed around his penis. His eyes shot open, and he actually gasped in surprise.
He closed his own hand over the wrist and pulled it away from him. Face said, "You okay, Murdock?"
"Yeah, Face," Murdock said. "One of my massage therapists just hit a...a tender spot."
"Mmm," Face murmured. Obviously his massage therapists were not doing anything he didn't like. Murdock looked, but everyone's hands were in plain sight over there.
Murdock's admirers returned their attention to his back, and it was some time before he felt the hand between his legs again. Once again he moved it away, this time scowling, but the man it belonged to smiled sweetly at him.
"Uh, Face?" Murdock asked.
"What's Norwegian for `don't touch my cock?'"
There was a little bit of soft laughter around the pool. Evidently cock was a word they were familiar with. Face's eyes narrowed as he looked at his rival across the pool. With an apologetic smile, he pulled himself away from his attendants and made his way across the waist-deep spring until he stood just in front of Murdock. "Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, Murdock." He pulled Murdock to his feet and into his arms. "Let's do some nonverbal communication, shall we?" he said.
He kissed Murdock. Not a little peck on the lips, but a full, deep kiss, his tongue first licking, then parting Murdock's lips. He felt Murdock smile around the kiss, welcoming Face's tongue. Face turned Murdock just a bit, making it look as if he were just adjusting his footing, but making sure they ended up where Murdock's admirer could see exactly what they were doing. Face's hands cupped Murdock's backside, his fingers splayed out as he pulled Murdock against him, thrusting himself against Murdock's hips.
For a few moments it was a show, letting everybody know they each belonged to the other. Then they pulled back, looked into each other's eyes, and forgot the others entirely. "I love you, baby," Murdock whispered, cupping his lover's face in his hands. "I'd be stranded on a desert island with you any day."
"This hardly qualifies as a desert island," Face said, closing his eyes and raising his face again, "but we can stay here as long as you like."
There were a few soft sighs from the perimeter of the pool, but nobody spoke or interrupted them as they kissed.
"That's your hand, right?" Murdock mumbled against Face's lips.
"What, you don't recognize it?"
"This is how you say `Don't touch my cock' in terms anyone can understand."
"I think I'd better practice so I don't get it wrong next time. Is this right?"
Face sighed. "Yeah, that's good. Isn't it nice to be bilingual?"
Face pulled back, and they looked at the young man who had been putting the moves on Murdock. He was looking quite downcast, and Murdock could almost feel sorry for him. They heard someone get into the water behind them, and the young man's eyes opened a bit wider. Murdock turned and saw a handsome, curly-haired stranger duck himself underwater then stand and shake himself. He was deeply tanned, and his hair and mustache were dark, almost black. Murdock's admirer forgot him entirely and drifted over to greet the newcomer.
Face and Murdock almost laughed. Other men around the pool did snicker a little, but the young man ignored them all, intent on his newest conquest, who seemed to welcome the attention. After that, the other men gave them friendly greetings when they appeared in public, but they were understood to be an item. Still, as castaways, and foreign ones at that, they enjoyed celebrity status, and each attracted a small following of single men who made sure their sore muscles were massaged and their backs scrubbed whenever they slipped into the pool.
Neither of them could quite get used to the idea of running around naked all day, but they also didn't think it would be polite to go around fully clothed even after Lars returned their laundered clothing the next day, so they opted to remain in the skimpy wraps they'd been given and soon got used to the idea of wearing nothing else.
Now, as Face watched the fish nibble his toes, he knew he was going to miss this island when they went back home. He'd quickly gotten used to the nudity of the other men, but that wasn't what attracted him to this place. It was the freedom to be seen openly as Murdock's partner, to walk hand-in-hand on the beach as the sun set, to sit close and touch him when others were around, to kiss whenever and wherever they felt like it. He knew his plan to help Lars advertise this place was not entirely unselfish. This would give them a place to come when they needed to get away from everything, a place where their preference was shared by everyone else, where they were normal.
He pulled off his wrap and tossed it up on the beach, then swam out a ways and paddled around looking at the fish and letting the warm wind soothe him as he floated. Other men swam in the surf as well or lay on the beach catching the last of the sun's rays, and Face felt like he was home. They'd needed a getaway, he and Murdock. Murdock had been in the VA for almost a month recovering from an infection he'd picked up on their previous job. He'd been very ill, sicker than the others had seen him in a long time. Too ill even for a proper goodbye when they'd taken him back, delirious with fever and aching in every joint.
They'd had to leave him, of course. Face had worried and fretted, calling the VA several times a day to check on him, demanding the best doctors money could buy. Doctor Richter assured him over and over that Murdock was already getting all the treatment he needed and that he'd make a full recovery, but Face had been hard to convince. Murdock had seemed to recover, but he suffered a relapse and was sick again. And again Face mercilessly harassed Richter, calling every day at noon on the dot and demanding to be put through. Murdock told Face later that Richter had finally just cleared his calendar every day from noon until ten after to take Face's call, calm him, and explain Murdock's condition. If Richter hadn't known before who Murdock's mysterious lover was, he sure knew now. Luckily for them, Richter logged the daily ten-minute conversation as a therapy appointment, which allowed him to keep their conversations confidential without guilt.
Face floated on his back and looked at the shore where Murdock napped in the sand. They'd broken him out for the Honolulu job because they needed a pilot, but Hannibal had not allowed Murdock to do anything other than fly them and help Face work a couple of nearly risk-free scams. Murdock was still pale and too thin, and that half-mile swim to the shore had taken every last bit of energy he had. Face had all but dragged Murdock the last few yards, afraid that if he let go, Murdock would just sink. It was going to be a few more days before Murdock fully recharged his battery, and Face was glad they were going to spend them here where it was warm, safe, and stress-free.
Eventually Face let the waves carry him back to the beach. Murdock woke at his approach, as Face knew he would. They sat together and watched the sun set, then they headed back to their hut for the simple meal that was just being delivered as they returned. They dined on fruit, fish, and a soft, warm bread that they both adored. Cold water had been delivered with their meal, and they drank that gratefully, learning to appreciate the pleasures of simple, well-cooked meals. Just as they were finished with dinner, tea was delivered along with a plate of delicious cookies.
Having learned how to balance on the hammock, they sat there to finish their tea. As they had been instructed, they would put their dirty dishes out to be taken away and washed. The clean dishes would reappear at sunrise wrapped in a zippered pouch right next to a thermos of fresh, hot coffee.
Face reclined in the hammock while Murdock put the dishes outside and extinguished the little kerosene lamp that illuminated their hut. There was a building further up the beach, a common room in which men could gather for conversation, cards, or reading in the evenings, and it had electric lights, but Face and Murdock got so little time together that they preferred to sit in the hut or on the beach just outside it and enjoy each other.
Murdock lay in the hammock beside Face and reached for his hand. "We got a few more days in paradise, lover," he said. "What do you want to do?"
"What did we do today?"
"That sounds good."
Murdock laughed and pulled Face closer. "I thought you'd say that."
"What did you want to do?"
"I want to see what's under that cute little skirt you're wearing."
"It's not a skirt."
"Looks like a skirt. All it needs is a poodle."
"It's not a skirt."
"One of those with the little leash that leads up, you know?"
"It's not a skirt!"
Murdock used one hand to pick apart the knot Face had tied in his wrap. "Criminy, Face," he said, "you got more knots than a pine tree!"
Face smiled. "I'm a naughty pine."
Murdock groaned. Suddenly he rolled off the hammock, pulling a surprised, and naked, Face with him. They landed with a thump on the soft sand of the floor. "Got you out of your skirt at last," Murdock said.
Face pulled at Murdock's wrap and finally got it loose enough to unwind. "Got you out of yours, too," he said. "Now what?"
Murdock rolled Face onto his back and straddled his legs. "Want to look for buried treasure?"
"Depends on the treasure." Face reached up to stroke the side of Murdock's face, just visible in the moonlight that shone through their open door. "And where it's buried."
"It's probably outside. In the sand." Murdock leaned down then, bracing his hands on either side of Face's head, and kissed him. "I'll bring the blanket, and you go look for the x so we know where to start digging."
Still clinging to each other, still kissing, the two tried to rise, laughing at their own awkward movements. Then they were up, and Murdock finally pulled out of Face's arms and turned to gather the blanket off the hammock.
Face strolled outside and headed toward the water. Another couple walked by hand in hand, and Face greeted them casually, not even recognizing until after the fact that he was as naked as they were and hadn't even given it a second thought. What would the nuns think if they could see him now? Stark naked in a setting where lustful thoughts simply could not be avoided no matter how much one prayed for strength. Not that he was praying for strength. Not that kind, anyway.
Murdock rummaged in the chest at the bottom of the hammock for the lubricant Lars had supplied them, then he followed Face outside. They were alone. The moon bathed the beach in ghostly light, and Face looked almost silver. Murdock simply stood and admired him as his lover looked out over the water. Then Face turned and beckoned to him.
"I found the spot," Face said as Murdock joined him. There in the sand was a large X.
Murdock made a show of studying it, pacing from a nearby tree to the X, carefully placing one bare foot in front of the other. Then he nodded and said, "Yes, I believe this is the right place." He spread the blanket on the X then sat down and held out his hand. Face took it and knelt next to him.
Murdock looked Face over just as carefully as he had the X. "Facey, you're the best looking nudist I've ever seen."
Face laughed. "How many nudists have you ever seen, Murdock?"
"I get around. Just the other day Chuck Delmonico tore off all his clothes and streaked across the lawn at the VA.
"Delmonico? Isn't he one of the docs?"
"Yeah. He always says we should open ourselves to our inner child and allow ourselves to be playful."
"What does Doc Richter say?"
"He says Dr. Delmoncio's inner child should learn to play with its clothes on."
Face laughed and lay back on the blanket. "Maybe he was really getting in touch with his inner nudist."
"What about you, Facey? You getting in touch with your inner nudist?"
"My inner nudist appears to be an outer nudist, at the moment."
"We've come out to BA and Hannibal as gay. Are we gonna have to come out as nudists, too?"
"Somehow, I think that's something neither of them really wants to know. Or visualize."
Murdock stroked Face's cheek with his thumb. "I like to visualize it." He looked at Face, tracing his fingers gently over the contours of Face's body, following the curve of his neck and shoulder, down over his chest and ribs to trace the curve of waist and hip and thigh, then back up again. Face's skin was soft under Murdock's fingers, the fine hairs on his arms and legs nearly luminous in the moonlight. "When I'm back at the VA, I'm going to keep this picture in my head and take you to bed with me like this every night."
Face cupped Murdock's face in his palm and turned it so he could look in Murdock's eyes. "And I'll see you like this, too. With the moon shining behind you. You look like one of the saints, Murdock. You've got a halo."
Murdock chuckled. "Saint Murdock," he said. "Patron saint of the insane."
Face pulled Murdock down to lie next to him. "And of gay Norwegian nudists. Don't forget that."
"You like it here, Facey?"
"I love it, Murdock. Really. I'm glad we crashed."
"It wasn't a crash..."
"I know, I know, it was a hard landing."
"Mm-hm," Murdock said, leaning over to brush his lips over Face's. "Is there anything else hard around here?"
Face's arms went around Murdock's shoulders and he pulled Murdock closer. "There could be. Very soon."
Murdock brushed his lips across Face's lips, felt them part, and slipped his tongue in, teasing first, then pushing it in deeper when Face opened his mouth further and strained his hips upward. Then Face rolled over to lie on top of Murdock, his hips moving against Murdock's, his hands stroking and petting until Murdock quivered underneath him.
"God, Murdock," Face whispered into Murdock's neck. "I didn't think I was gonna make it through those four weeks you were sick."
"I had a few doubts about it myself, from time to time," Murdock said.
"I would've been there if I could." He ran his fingers through Murdock's hair and over his face, caressing and comforting him.
"I know, darlin'. Doc told me every single time you called."
"Yeah. He says he thinks you've got an anxiety disorder. You anxious, Facey?"
Face laughed and pressed himself tightly against Murdock. "Nothing a few days on a tropical island won't fix," he said. "I'm sure it's just what Richter would have ordered for both of us if he could."
Slowly, tenderly, they reacquainted themselves with each other's bodies. Lips, tongues, and hands traced old paths and charted new ones until the roaring in their ears drowned out even the ocean.
With shaking hands Murdock opened the tube of lubricant. "You ready, baby?" he asked.
"I'm ready," Face said. He gasped aloud as Murdock spread the gel over his cock, stroking him firmly.
"Oh, baby. You and me naked in the moonlight," Murdock said. "What could be better?"
"Give me the lube and I'll show you."
Face took his time preparing Murdock, not because Murdock needed it, but because Face did. He needed to touch every inch of his lover, inside and out. He needed to reassure himself that Murdock was healthy and whole again. He needed to show Murdock how desperately Face needed him. Maybe he really did have an anxiety disorder.
When Murdock was moaning almost non-stop, Face slid lower then lifted Murdock's legs over his shoulders. He watched Murdock's eyes shut, heard him sigh when Face finally eased into him, entering him slowly, inch by inch, careful not to cause any pain.
"Oh, Face; Oh, Facey," Murdock moaned. "Come on, baby. Give it to me good."
Face smiled at Murdock's declaration and thrust slowly, keeping Murdock steady beneath him as he leaned forward and kissed Murdock again and again. He stroked Murdock firmly when he was nearing his own climax.
"Faster, baby," Murdock said. "Faster!" Face increased his pace, and Murdock's legs tightened around his back, pulling him closer. For a few glorious moments they were one. They climaxed together, howling their joy to the full moon before Face collapsed on top of Murdock in a sweaty, sticky, panting heap. Finally Face raised his head from Murdock's chest. "Did you find your inner nudist?" he asked.
"I don't know about mine, but I sure found yours, and he's a beaut!" Murdock exclaimed. After Face carefully pulled out of him, Murdock reached up with one hand and brushed the hair back from Face's sweaty brow. "Wish I had the energy to do it again."
Face put his hand over Murdock's, pressing a kiss into the palm. "Wish we'd found this place ten years ago!" He looked over his shoulder. "Want to go skinny dipping?"
A slow grin spread over Murdock's features. A naked Face was a wonderful thing, but a wet, naked Face was even better. When Face rose and headed slowly for the water, Murdock followed him, intent on helping Face bathe. Too many other men had been scrubbing Face's back recently, and it was time Murdock got his own job back. They played in the warm water, splashing and scrubbing and laughing like kids again. Somehow they managed to find the energy to make love in the ocean, letting the waves help them create their rhythm and clean them when they were done. Finally, almost too weary to walk, they staggered out of the ocean and across the sand to their hut, where they dropped into the hammock and curled together.
Yes, Face thought as he drifted toward sleep in the slowly swaying hammock, his inner nudist and his outer nudist were happy men right now, and looking forward to being happy several more times before their time here was up. Who'd have thought you could crash into Paradise? But they had, and he would crash a hundred times over if this is where they'd end up. He settled deeper into the hammock, pulled Murdock's solid weight over to lie on him like a blanket, and slept.
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