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Arise. Darkness turned into light and it hit her body with such power that it forced air out of her lungs. Awaken. She gasped and squeezed her eyes shut tight. It was still and quiet… incoherent…not quite solid. Her skin or body didn’t feel quite real. Live. All over, feeling started to travel down her body and the sudden intense sensation of pain and panic made her jolt and eyes snap open. The pain that came from her wrist made her gasp. She glanced down at her arm which laid by her side. How…how am I alive? Her eyes welled up with tears and they slid down her cheeks.  I’m here. Still here. She sniffled and reached up with her uninjured arm and brushed the tears away with her hand. She didn’t know how she had gotten to shore. She had fallen unconscious in the midst of the water. Thank you Father. Time and time again you save me…

    Sand covered her and she could feel it all in her hair. Thankfully, her clothes had remained intact in the rush of the water. She reached down to tenderly touch her wrist. It was a little swollen and tender. But as she slowly rotated it a rush of relief came over her. It wasn’t broken. Thank God. As she looked up into the sky, the sunlight shined almost as to soothe her. She took a shaky breath and licked her dry chapped lips. If she was alive… then was Hiroto? He had to be. She had to find him. 

    Slowly, she lifted from the sand and brushed the sand off of her face. She turned her gaze and all she saw was sand and wave. Where was he? He couldn’t be far…Glancing to the left of her, faintly in the distance she saw a figure. There! She slowly made her way over to him. There he laid on his side, arm laying behind him. Sand covered him like a blanket. From the looks of it,  he wasn’t moving. 

    “Hiroto…” She fell to her knees, her legs still weak. She bit her lips as she crawled towards him. 

    “Hiroto!” Nothing. She panted as she finally made it to him. She grabbed his shirt. 

    “Hiroto wake up!” She tugged on him to make him lie on his back. His hair was scrawled across his face in all directions, his skin cold, pale and wet to the touch. She noticed that when she laid her hand against his chest… that it wasn’t moving either. Alarm spread through her like fire and she felt tears well up in her eyes. He was not going to die… not today. She put her mouth on his and breathed into him. Placing her hands on his chest, she began to push. 

    “You are not doing this today!” She huffed before leaning down to give him more of her breath. She pressed several times before she felt his body jerk. Water spurt up from his lungs and he slowly began to take in breath. She laid her forehead against his chest, her hands balled up underneath. 

    “Thank you Jesus…Thank you.” She silently whispered as tears streamed down her cheeks. 

    “…Rae…” His voice was quiet and raspy. 

    “Yeah?”

    “Are you okay…” She let out a big sigh and lifted to find him looking at her, his gaze tired underneath his hair. She gently moved it back from his eyes. That would be the first thing he asked.

    “Don’t worry about me. I’m okay.” 

    “That’s good…”

    “Are you okay?” 

    “You’re alive… so…I’m fine.” She smiled gently. 

    “I’m happy you’re alive too Roto. Can you move?” 

    “Mm.” He slowly lifted only to groan and clutch his ribcage. 

    “What’s wrong?!”

    “My…rib must be broken.” 

    “Oh Jesus…” He leaned against her, his breaths haggard. 

    “What…what can I do?” She asked, gently pressing her hands against his shoulder blade. 

    “Don’t…do anything…” It grew quiet except for his rough breathing and she felt helpless. 

    “D-Does it hurt?” 

    “…mm…” 

    “Should you lay back down?”

    “No…help me up.”

    “You wanna move and your rib hurtin?”

    “It’ll be dark before we know it Rae… we have to find… someplace to stay for the night.” He answered, his cheeks red with exertion. 

    “O-okay…” She gently lifted up off her knees and he wrapped his arms around her and slowly stood up. He inhaled through his nostrils sharply and winced, pain flashing across his features. He gripped her shoulder and panted some, sweat starting to dot his hairline. 

    “Let’s do this quick so you can rest Roto.” 

    “Y-yeah.” They began to walk and slowly came upon a small rocky path upward to the main land. 

****** 

 

    In the still of the night, he stood in a small pond. The stars were visible and beautiful as they twinkled in the sky. He took a deep breath and slowly glanced back at the small cave where Rae was. She had taken the clothes he had on and gently put them over several wooden sticks by the cave wall. Besides her sat a cracking fire. He sighed and looked at the dark water underneath him. Thank God they had found a cave near a waterfall. The cool temperature soothed his swollen and inflamed rib. He found it easier to breathe.. less painful.. even a little bit. He dipped underneath a bit with a sigh. They had fallen considerably. He hadn’t been sure how to get back on the mainland or the road so they had walked around, unfamiliar with the territory. Before it had grown dark, they had settled on this cave.  He had gone to pluck firewood, despite his injury. Despite the pain, he knew he needed to be strong for her… He knew right now… though she appeared like she was okay… inside she was freaking out.

    

***** 

 

    She sat by the fire and looked out into the darkness. The moon was high and bright in the sky and all around she heard all kind of creatures moving and creaking. Where was this man? Every two seconds she was touching her skin to make sure somethin wasn’t makin her dinner. Sighing, she licked her lips. Glancing over at his clothes that were probably by now dry she closed her eyes. Who knew that today all of this would happen? She was glad that she had packed as much food as she did. Not knowing what lie ahead. 

    “Hiroto?” In the silence of the night she heard water splashing somewhere close by. 

    “Yeah sweetheart?” 

    “Um… are you okay?” 

    “Mmhm.”

    “Does the water feel good?”

    “Mm. Nice and cool.”

    “Is it helping your rib?”

    “Mm.” 

    “That’s good.” It grew quiet and she sighed. 

    “Rae?” She heard in the darkness. 

    “Yes?”

    “Are you okay?” 

    “Yeah why?” The crickets chirped some more. 

    “I know you. That’s why I’m asking.” She sucked her teeth. 

    “Look you’re the one with the injury. I’m okay! I just wanna make sure you’re okay.” She heard him sigh. Soon, she heard water splash again and feet against stone. 

    “Are my clothes dry?”

    “Lemme check.” She got up and touched the pants. 

    “Pants are.” 

    “Toss them please.”

    “I can’t see you. Where you at?” He chuckled. 

    “I’m closer than you realize. Just throw them.” She tossed them into the dark and a couple minutes later, he came into the cave.

    “Uh….you see your rib area?” He looked down at his ribcage to find a deep rouge bruise.

    “Ah…it looks bad doesn’t it?” He looked at it some more, gently gliding over it with his thumb. 

    “Don’t touch it… here come here.” He looked up to find Rae going through some bags. She fished out a first aid kit, something she had thrown in there last minute. 

    “Rae-”

    “Come on…” He slowly came towards her. 

    “Lay down.” He carefully laid down on his back, his jaw tight. 

    “Does anywhere else hurt?” She asked as she got something from the kit. 

    “No.” She glanced up at him and smiled. 

    “Relax. You look all tense.” Ripping open the ointment, she softly spread it across his bruise. 

    “I don’t know if this will help. It don’t look open or nothin. But still, we’ll use what we got.”

    “Hm.”

    “Does it hurt when I touch it?” 

    “No. The water helped it greatly.” 

    “That’s good.” She smoothed it into the bruise before drawing her hands back and putting the rest in the kit. 

    “Thank you.” He said behind her. 

    “It’s nothin. Thank goodness it’s just a bruise.” He sighed and reached up to gently caress her curls. 

    “Rae.” 

    “Yeah?”

    “Your hair…” She blushed and looked down. 

    “Yeah I know. I look a mess.” 

    “You don’t look a mess to me.” 

    “Boy please. Save that for somebody else.” He sighed playfully. 

    “It must be love. Even with sand in your hair, I like you.” 

    “Nah, you like triflin. Cause I am all kinds of dirty.” He smiled softly and let his fingers fall away from her face. Grinning, he scooted closer to the fire. 

    “Go bathe. I’ll get something to eat for us in the meantime.”

    “Yeah…I think that is best for both of our sakes.” 

 

******* 

    He sat by the warmth and all the while… inside he was silently thanking God. Only He had saved them. It seemed that time and time again…Rae and him were always put in near death situations. Why he didn’t know. Oh Rae…He smiled to himself. She was something. That woman always seemed to get him into trouble. He sighed to himself as he reached into the bag and pulled out some sandwiches. But still, he loved her. Still, it was worth it. He was so grateful that more than half of everything she had packed had been salvaged. Drinks included. It had weighed him down in the water but he was glad he hadn’t been separated from it. 

    He heard the splash of the water and soon bare feet against the stones. 

    “R-Roto?”

    “Yes sweetheart?”

    “Are there any clothes dry?” He got up to check. 

    “The only thing dry is my shirt.” She had kept her clothes on all day and they were still very much damp even after the sun had gone down.

    “O-Okay…c-could you throw it to me?” He tossed it to her dark figure and cleared his throat. Soon, she stepped into the cave, gingerly pulling down his shirt. 

    “Is it too short?” 

    “N-no.” She slowly came over and folded her legs underneath her, carefully pressing the edge of his shirt against her knees. 

    “I’m glad it will be okay.”

    “Yep.”

    “Well, I grabbed some of everything from the bag and a water and gatorade for the both of us. We need to keep hydrated.” 

    “Preciate it.”

    “Let’s dig in.” He said grabbing a sandwich. Biting into it he sighed contently. But all she could do was stare at him. He blinked and slightly tilt his head. 

    “What?” 

    “I can’t help but feel bad. Because of my playing around, we’re in this mess.” He slowed his chewing and a small frown spread on his face. 

    “I’m not upset at you Rae.” She sighed and unwrapped a sandwich. Taking a small bite, she looked away from him. 

    “Anybody but you would be.” The crickets chirped somewhere out there in the dark blanket of the sky. He looked at her, a bottle of water in his face. 

    “You were being you…” He said, pulling it away from his mouth. 

    “You know, sometimes you just don’t make any sense. I can cause you pain and you still feel a way towards me.” He leaned towards her, his hands pressed flat against the ground, bottle away from him.  

    “Because I love you.” He said softly, his voice still slightly raspy. She looked down at his hands, her cheeks warm. 

    “I-I know that…” 

    “Being in love with you means that even if you make mistakes… I forgive them. And you forgive mine.” She kept quiet. 

    “I’m sure by now you’ve read the letter.” She gripped his shirt by her knees. 

    “Y-yeah.” 

    “What did you think?” She took a breath. 

    “It was…it was beautiful…” 

    “Ah…” He replied, small smile on his face. 

    “To be honest… when I read it… I cried.” His eyes lifted from the ground and met hers. 

    “You did?” She nodded. 

    “I needed what you said so badly…” He pulled back some and swallowed. 

    “I know.”

    “Thank you Hiroto… for writing it. And… letting me read it.” 

    “It was yours to read from the beginning.” She watched as he pulled away completely.

    “Hiroto?” 

    “Yes?” He answered, his back to her. 

    “You said that it was time to let the love between us heal us…”

    “Mm…”

    “I agree.” She watched as his back grew tight and he grew still. 

    “You also said that you’d be there to protect me and listen…”

    “I did.”

    “T-thank you.” 

    “It’s nothing.” He cleared his throat and grabbed the small towels he had brought with him, to dry themselves. 

    “I think we should sleep now. We should get up early and try to find our way back to the mainland.” He turned to give her one of the towels. She took it slowly. 

    “You said that if I let you, you’d cherish me all the days of my life…” His cheeks grew red but he nodded, his jaw tight. 

    “I did.” He laid his towel out and laid down by the fire. 

    “I will let you…Because…I…I need you.” He turned his head to find her curled up by the fire a little ways from him, her back to him. 

    “Rae-”

    “I just needed to get that off my chest. I’ve been holdin that in ever since I read it…” 

    “…”

    “Good night Roto…” 

    “Oyasumi.” 

******** 

    He laid there, watching her. The fire light blazed across her face, some of it hid in shadow. She had grown lax, her body still curled up. Her hair fanned across the small towel beneath her head, some curls gently resting against her cheekbone. She had her arms around her waist as if to hug herself. He swallowed and slowly lifted up. He went over to the wooden sticks that held their clothes. He touched her pants and shirt. They would be ready for her tomorrow. Good. Picking up his athletic jacket, he quietly went over to her. Kneeling he gently grabbed one of her calves and laid it straight out. Grabbing her other leg, he straightened it. The smooth soft skin underneath his fingers beckoned his lips but he simply let go. He placed his jacket over her form. It was enough that it covered all the way to her ankles. Perhaps now she would be more comfortable. 

    He sighed and gently moved the curls back from her cheek with a smile. 

    “You’re the reason I can’t sleep.” He said quietly, stroking her temple. She was free in the way she slept. She wasn’t inhibited or locked in. That made him smile. 

    “I’m just thinking about how much I need you too.” He whispered against her forehead and tenderly pressed a kiss to the skin. Pulling back from her, he laid down, closer to her than before but still a little distant. Closing his eyes, he listened to the crackle of the fire until slumber found him. 

 

******* 

    Birds chirped and the sun brightly hit her in the face. She inhaled and turned her face away from the sun. She noticed a heartbeat against her nose and slowly opened her eyes. She grew still as her eyes grew wide. Her hands shot down and found that his shirt was still against her lower calves. She released a breath. Thank God. His bare skin startled her and she thought maybe they had… did somethin they weren’t supposed to… She slowly relaxed and closed her eyes. His warmth was so nice. The fire must have died down while they were sleep. With the jacket he had placed over her and his warmth she had remained toasty. She sighed, smiling as she felt his arm around her waist. So safe. She gently grazed his bruised rib area with her fingers and he inhaled, making her draw them back immediately. Was he in pain? Reaching up, she pressed her knuckles against his forehead. Slightly warm. It could be the fire. Or a fever. Slowly, lifting up away from his warmth, she went to get the first aid kit. Coming back, she got out a cold pack. Checking his forehead again, she waited. If he woke up and still was warm she’d do something about it. For now though she couldn’t be so sure. 

    Gently caressing his cheek, she sighed. Watching him sleep was something she hadn’t done in a very long time. She’d missed the tranquility on his face when he was resting. He sighed audibly and turned towards her fingers. 

    “Whattimeisit?” He asked in a slurred sleepy voice. 

    “Probably still morning. My phone died so I can’t tell you exactly.” 

    “Mm.” 

    “I’m sorry I woke you up. I thought you had a fever.” 

    “It’sokay.” He pressed his cheek against her. 

    “Didn’t you wanna get up early?” 

    “RightnowIwannastayput.” 

    “I’m sure you do.” 

    “Mm…”

    “Come on buddy. You makin your shirt go up.” 

    “ReasonwhyIdon’twannamove.” She sucked her teeth. 

    “You nasty. Get up.”  He groaned in protest as she shoved his shoulder playfully.     

    “Fineee.” He slowly got up, the cutest pout on his face. 

    “Don’t pout at me. You know I don’t got nothin on and you up here actin nasty.” A slow grin came to his lips. 

    “Please don’t remind me Rae. I just woke up.” 

    “Well get that together bud.” Pursing her lips, she got up. 

    “Go jump in that fresh cold water and let’s go.” She said behind her as she went to go grab her clothes. 

    “Hai Hai….” He dragged himself on towards that oh so refreshing bath that awaited him and she watched him with a grin. Chuckling, she began to get dressed. 

******** 

 

    “Rae!” 

    “Yeah!” 

    “Clothes?”

    “Hold on…” Soon, his clothes were thrown towards his way. 

    “Thank you!” 

    “No prob!” He quickly dressed and came up the bank. The sunlight was starting to blaze and for that he was glad. Taking a deep breath of the air, he sighed and pushed his hair back as Rae came into view. 

    “Eat somethin.” She pressed a water, peanut butter sandwich and some trail mix into his chest. 

    “Yes ma’am.” She pursed her lips and gathered some for herself. 

    “I’m glad we got up relatively early. I’m so ready to go back home.” 

    “Me too.” He answered, mouth full of peanut butter and jam. They ate in silence and soon packed up the rest of their things. 

    “Ready?” 

    “Ready Freddy.”

*********

    “Rae, what happened? We tried to call you and it kept goin to voicemail.” She looked into the face of her sister Amee and Erica and smiled a little. 

    “Girl if I told you everything now it’d take days.” Erica blinked but Amee pursed her lips. 

    “Oh it would would it?” 

    “Yeah.” 

    “Erica, why don’t you go help Mama set the table?” Amee said softly with a kind smile. 

    “Sure.” 

    “So, you and Mr. Iwase all alone together in a big ol cabin in a big ol forest. My guess as to what happened.” She said with pursed lips as she leaned against the couch. 

    “A, nothin like that-”

    “Don’t even fix yo mouth ta lie Ebbie. Y’all finally caved didn’t y’all?” She felt her cheeks grow hot. 

    “Do you think I’m a teenager or something?”

    “Shoo around him you might as well be.”

    “Hiroto and I almost died A.” She grew still. 

    “You…almost died?” 

    “Yeah. I was playin around and we ended up fallin off a cliff into this big body of water.” Amee reached up and pinched the bridge of her nose. 

    “Waaaaiitttt. Wait. What??” 

    “I kid you not A. We fell God knows how many feet and we ended up washin ashore. Then we had to find some place to stay and ended up in a cave. In the mornin we made our way back to the main road, to our cars and to the cabin and booked it back here.” Amee was dumbfounded and just sat there shaking her head. 

    “Rae…I..I don’t know what to say….the only thing I can say is thank God…” She reached over and hugged her tightly. 

    “Yeah… I’m so blessed to still be here A.”     

    “Man…you would never think that in the blink of an eye stuff would go down.” Amee sighed heavily. 

    “And here I thought you was just bein petty but Lord. Hiroto tryna get you killed. I’ma have to have a talk with him.” 

    “Tryna be petty?” She blinked. Amee shook her head. 

    “You always act out when you with Hiroto.” She scoffed. 

    “I do not!” 

    “That’s ya boo Ebbie. Don’t even act like he ain’t.” She sucked her teeth and crossed her arms. 

    “Well…” She murmured under her breath.     

    “All jokes aside, I’m glad you made it back home to us safely Ebbie.” She smiled at Amee’s concerned expression and gently hugged her. 

    “Me too A. All thanks be to God.” 

    “Amen to that!” 

    “So answer me somethin…”

    “Sure.” She said as she pulled away from their hug. 

    “You and Mr. Japanese popularity vote really behaved y’allselves?” She snort with laughter. 

    “You did not just call him Japanese popularity vote… I am done with you.” Amee sucked her teeth. 

    “Shoo errbody know about this man. I mean dude can’t catch a break no matter where he go.” 

    “Yeah you right about that one.” She cleared her throat of a small chuckle. 

    “We ain’t do nothin.”

    “Mm.” Amee lifted her eyebrows. She pursed her lips and rolled her eyes playfully. 

    “For your information, we talked and stuff. He um… He wrote me somethin while we were takin a break from each other and I finally read it. It was a much needed experience…despite the drastic measures. It gave us another chance to bond.”  Amee smiled to herself and sighed. 

    “I’m glad to hear that. Every chance y’all get to bond it makes me happy. One thing I can say about Hiroto is that he loves you madly and would do just about anything for you. He aiight."  She felt her cheeks grow warm but nodded. 

    “Thanks A.” She sighed, thoughtfully looking down at her hands which were lightly clasped in her lap.  

    “Amee?” 

    “Yeah Ebb?” 

    “Since we made it back to land.. Ever since we were cast in from the sea… things starting to appear much clearer.” Amee giggled. 

    “They should. After all y’all been through… things should be crystal by now.” She smiled. 

    “Yeah… now…now we feel solid.” 

    “If that’s the case then Ebbie…” She grasped her hands gently. 

    “Go forward. Keep going forward.” 

    “I will…we…we will.” 






Chapter End Notes:

A/N (1) ** RE-UPLOADED! THANK YOU MS. J (jacqua43) for lettin me know! Now thangs should flow and be complete again! Whew! :) Now to original author note!** 


A/N: Hey guys!!! It's been such a long time!! The semester has ended and I am home for the summer! <3 I am currently in a job search and I am trying to get my license this summer! :) So many goals and plans for this summer so I have to fit in time for writing lol. Of course you guys know that I will be writing feverently as I always do. :D It's been a lot going on lately so I haven't written as much as I would have liked butttt being that it is summer, I have time :) <3 Now that that's out of the way, HOW ARE YOU?? How do you like this chapter?? 


I be honest with you, when I dreamt this... I say that the dream went through phases LOL. Cause at first the flesh y'all. I know a lotta y'all thought they was gon get jiggy lol. And originally, they did LOL. I have to say, I've deviated quite a bit from the dream(s) I've had some of the time (a lot of the time in certain areas). lol. I've just let my creative flow and it don took me in a whole new direction lol. Trying to stick to the original dream has been so hard lol. But for the MOSTTT part I don stuck with it! lol. The creative process is not a straight road I tell you. There are a lot of jagged rocks, roads and forks. 


Overall, I'm pleased with it! I'm very pleased with how the story has turned out :) At first, my first dream they did some thangs married folk do lol. But as the dream started to reoccur, it started to change. It became a desire not to let my flesh rule but to show the beauty and maturity of both of my characters. Cause sure I could write a whole story about them making love but then that would be no different than my past "works" right? And, what purpose would it serve? Hiroto and Ebere are deeper than love making and through their story I've been able to inspire not only myself but prayfully so others as well! <3 They've made it to land y'all and they solid as a rock! This was a major turning point for the story and now people from the past are going to come back up to be dealt with! Once this happens, I'm thinking I am going to briefly go a wedding chapter(s?) and then three to five to ten to 20 years into their marriage! 


Just a plan but not concrete lol. I will cover the rest of their life span soooo a lotta time skips ahead lol. I want to thank you for reading this letter of an author's note LOL and for the support, comments, opinions and love! Till next time, 


Sunhalo17! 


P.S: Please check out my website: http://sunhalo.wix.com/shine AND if you are enjoying what you are reading and feel led, please donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/5fksue44 God bless you guys! <3 See you soon! 







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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.