"Hardly," she said without a glance in his direction.
It bothered him when she talked to him without looking at him as if he was not worth her time. She did not know how worth her time he was yet, but he was working on it.
"So what's out there? Any stars to guide ships to us?"
Her lips curled up into a partial smile at that. "No."
"There are worse ways to spend your Christmas than being out here on the beach surrounded by palm trees, able to be outside."
"Stranded on an island instead of being home with your family?"
"It doesn't sound like many of us have family to spend the holidays with anyway."
"True. What would you be doing if you were home?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. Having a turkey pot pie or something."
She laughed then and turned to look at him. "Be serious."
"Who says I'm not, Sweetness? I'm a loner, I like to be by myself. Or haven't you figured that out yet?"
"I've figured it out but thought it was fake."
"My life's an open book, Freckles, just ask. I suspect you might be more hesitant with your answers than I am so be careful. I might just want some answers in return." He chuckled lightly. It figured she was the one with an armed escort on the airplane yet he was the one with a target on his head and who was the resident fall guy whenever something went wrong on the island. He realized he was mostly to blame for that and he would never rat Kate out to the others. He was capable of a lot of things underhanded and downright cruel but he could not find it in his heart to do that.
"Do you have family?"
"None to speak of."
"What does that mean?"
He shrugged, massaging his fingers in the rich sand beside him. "It means I don't have any family that I know about. I suppose there might be some cousins or something out there, I imagine there are but being orphaned as a boy I haven't seen them." He wanted off this subject quickly. His past was a checkered one, beginning at a very young age. "What about you?"
"None to speak of."
He chuckled lightly. "Well, I see you get it."
"Yeah, I do," she whispered.
"What would you be doing if you were home?"
She shrugged. "I don't know. I don't know that I remember what life used to be like anymore."
"Well, you must have done something when you were a kid."
"Sure, Mom would cook dinner and Dad and I would go outside to stay out of her way. We would hike or play a game of catch."
"Catch in December?"
"Sure," she said with a laugh.
"Do you miss it?"
"I've been gone long before the plane crash."
"I know," he said simply.
"Yeah," she whispered.
He palmed the bright purple wild flower he had picked earlier and leaned toward her. She smiled warily as he moved closer. It bothered him to see that look in her eyes. It meant she was afraid of him. He did not mind that the others did not understand him and were frightened of him. He had not done anything to deserve it from her though.
"I'm not out to hurt you, Freckles."
"I know that." Her eyes softened and her smile changed to a more genuine albeit curious smile.
He turned his palm up and brought it so she could see the flower. "At least I know I don't have to worry about picking a protected flower around these parts," he said with a shrug.
"Merry Christmas, Kate, it's not much but I suspected you might know what day it is."
"Yeah, I did. Thanks. Merry Christmas to you, Sawyer. Maybe we'll get our own savior soon."
Sawyer doubted it, if they had not come already chances were a rescue was not forthcoming. But he was not going to burst her bubble tonight. Holidays were horrible things for people who were not in their predicament. "I'd wager we will," he said with a shrug as he placed the flower in her hair.
He moved to draw away but she stopped him, brushing her lips over his briefly. Far too briefly for his liking. "Thanks for humoring me."
"Anytime, Freckles, anytime."
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com