The telephone in our room rang at three in the morning and at first I thought I was dreaming.
I let it ring, then after a few moments Paul rolled over and said, "Are you going to answer that?"
Reluctantly I rolled over and picked it up, and with a sleepy voice managed to say, "Hello."
"Dave!" the voice exclaimed. "Ive been trying to get hold of you for two days."
It was the head of New Edge Studios, Steve Richards.
"Do you have any idea what time it is here?" I asked him.
"Yeah. Sorry about that, but it was the only way I reckoned I would be able to catch you."
"What do you want?" I asked.
"Dave, now is that any way to talk to the man who made you filthy rich?"
"Steve, at three a.m. I couldnt give a flying fuck about money, all I care about at the moment is getting some sleep. And if my memory serves me correctly, I already had enough money in the bank from the book, long before you and your studio came along."
Paul had sat up and was watching me intently. Moonlight was flooding into the room through the open windows and we could hear the waves crashing on the beach just on the other side of the sand dunes.
I could just picture Steve sitting in his office in Hollywood, half a world away. Probably sipping on a cocktail while some scantily clad secretary took notes. It may sound cliched, but hey, that was Steve. That was just what he was like.
"Well? You still havent told me what you want."
"We need you Dave. Vinnie has pulled out of the promotional tour Down Under and we need someone else to help Jonathan. And seeing as you are already down there "
"Nope. Sorry. You can forget about that idea. We are on holidays," I replied and then slammed the phone down.
Paul leaned across me and took the phone back off the hook, and then as he started to retreat back to his side of the bed he paused in the air above me. I could see him grinning in the pale light.
"Whats your problem?" I asked him.
He simply shook his head, then leaned down and kissed me.
Daydream Island proved to be everything that the brochure had said it would be. The white beaches, the azure seas and the palm trees waving gently in the sea breeze were just as I had imagined them.
I was glad that as soon as the premiere of the movie was over and my commitments to it were completed, I was able to book a months holiday for Paul and myself, as far from the rat-race as possible.
At dawn, just a few hours after our sleep had been disturbed, Paul and I found ourselves walking hand in hand along a secluded beach watching the sun make its first appearance for the day, when we were approached by one of the staff members, bearing an envelope.
"I bet I know who this is from," I said to Paul, as I took the envelope, tipped the guy and then tore the envelope open.
I quickly scanned through the contents and then smiled to myself.
"What is it?" Paul asked me, so I handed him the telegram to read for himself.
Paul read it and then simply shook his head. "They think that money is everything, dont they?"
"Hmmmm," I replied.
"They know that youre on holiday, right?"
"Yeah, I told him that just a few hours ago, remember? And if they think that by simply waving a cheque book in front of me Im going to jump to their every command, theyve got another thing coming."
"So what are you going to do?"
I shoved the telegram into my pocket and said, "Ignore them. Come on, lets go get some breakfast."
We walked back up the beach until we found the path that led to the resort complex and then followed our noses to the restaurant, where a sumptuous buffet style breakfast was served each day.
As it turned out, we were too early for the morning feast so we started by grabbing a pot of coffee and sat ourselves down at a table, while we waited for the food bar to be filled. There were no other guests in the restaurant at this early hour and we had the place to ourselves.
"Are you sure its wise to just ignore them?" Paul asked me after he had taken a sip from his cup.
I just shrugged and said, "Theyll probably come back with some legal crap telling me that Im obligated under Clause 17B, subsection C, paragraph 3 to participate in the promotion of the film, and to tell you the truth, itll take something like that to get me involved. If they do that, then I probably wont have much choice, but until they do, well, I aint budging an inch."
"What about Jonathan?" he then asked me.
"What about him?"
"Would you get involved if he asked you?"
I picked up my cup and took several sips of coffee, trying to give myself some time before I had to answer him. All the while Paul was watching me intently.
"Well?" he asked.
I put the cup down and then said, "Well, maybe then I would, but I really dont know what I would do."
He shrugged then had a sip of coffee.
"Can I ask you something?" he asked after a brief silence.
"Sure," I answered.
"Was there ever actually anything between you and Jonathan? I mean were you ever more than friends?"
I was suddenly taken aback by the directness of his question, but now I could see what I thought was the root of his frustrations.
"You mean, has there ever been anything, err, physical between us? And is there still anything there between us?" I asked.
Paul nodded, looking suitably concerned.
"I have often wished that there had been," I said, "but basically it was only ever in my imagination. Thats where the story came from in the first place I suppose. Out of pure fantasy."
"And do you still wish for that?" he asked.
I shook my head. " I have you now, I dont need JTT or anyone else," I said to him, trying to reassure him, but somewhere in the depths of my brain that little voice spoke once more.
Paul smiled at me in a way that I hadnt seen in quite a while and reached across and took my hand in his.
"Thank you," he said to me. "I really appreciate you telling me that."
"Anytime," I answered.
When we returned to our bungalow about an hour later, after a healthy breakfast and another leisurely stroll along the beach, we found the telephone ringing once more. In the ten days we had been on the island we had not had one interruption, yet now, when the wheels were falling off the studios precious promotional campaign, we had two calls in the space of about five hours.
"Are you going to answer it?" Paul asked me as I sat myself down on the bed.
I looked up and grinned at him.
"Let em stew for a bit," I replied. "I want a shower. Care to join me?"
The studio eventually got hold of me again, but only after someone from the resort had to come down to our bungalow to check that the telephone was actually working.
"Would you rather we held your calls?" the girl asked.
"No, thats alright, thank you. Well take them now," I answered.
Within minutes of her leaving, the telephone rang again. I picked it up and said, "Hello."
"Where the hell have you been?" Steve yelled down the phone. "Ive been trying to call you all morning."
"Weve been out," I answered. "Were on holiday, remember?"
"Well, we need you."
"So you said when you woke me up at three this morning. Go find someone else."
"But youre already there."
"And on holiday! Do you want me to spell it out for you?"
"Come on Dave, we need someone to help us out here. I mean, its in your best interesttoo you know."
"How do you figure that? The movie is already a smash hit in more than a dozen countries. What difference is one more going to make, especially when we already know its going to be a smash hit here too?"
"How do you know that?" he demanded.
"Stands to reason, doesnt it? If its a hit back home, its bound to be a hit down here. You guys have got it covered, with or without me."
"I, err, wouldnt say that exactly."
"Well, you can say what you like. The answer is still no Steve. And goodbye," and with that I put the telephone down and looked across at Paul, who was standing by the doorway looking at me with eyes that were almost jumping out of their sockets.
I smiled at him and said, "He hasnt mentioned the lawyers yet. So until he does Im going to continue to have a bit of fun."
"Revenge, is it?" Paul asked.
"Something like that. And as the old saying goes, itll be sweet."
Paul just laughed.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing by the bungalow, having a swim in the nearby lagoon, and enjoying a picnic in the shade of some palm trees while we watched the lazy ocean roll endlessly onto the beach.
This was the life. And to think, just a few weeks ago I was standing in the snow gazing at pictures of this idyllic place.
As night fell and the island came alive with shimmering lights set along forest paths and around the waters edge. We were invited to join in the activities down on the beach, where a large bonfire was burning and the resort management was planning their weekly feast for all their guests.
There was food and drink and music and people, and we all had a great evening.
As things started to die down later in the night a few people had started drifting off to their bungalows, while the rest of us that were left, being no more than about a dozen guests of varying ages, plus a few staff members, gathered around what was left of the bonfire and listened to one of the band members strum away on his guitar.
"Can anyone else play?" he asked when he finished the tune, holding the guitar out by the neck, offering to let anyone have a go.
"Go on," Paul said to me.
I shook my head, but the guitarist noticed and got up and walked toward me, holding the instrument in front of me and urging me to take it from him. Reluctantly I reached out and took it from him and placed it across my knee.
All eyes were on me, and I was immediately taken back to the last time that I had played a guitar for a crowd the night I had met Jonathan for the first time.
The feel of the instrument in my hands was almost magical, as I felt a renewed peace wash over me. Then I ran my fingers across the strings and a soothing sound came from the instrument.
Before I knew it, I was plucking one of my old favourites, an Elton John and Bernie Taupin instrumental tune called "Song for Guy."
It was relaxing, and it seemed to suit the moment, which was confirmed for me when I glanced up and saw the contented faces around the fire, not the least of which was Pauls.
When I was finished I looked around me once more and could see everyone smiling.
"Please play another," a young woman about the same age as Paul, said to me.
I shook my head and offered the guitar back to its owner, but he pushed it back toward me and said, "No. Play another."
I shrugged and said, "Well, maybe just one more then."
Settling back in position I strummed a few chords, not playing anything really, but just trying to give myself a little time to think. I settled on another song and started playing, then when I got to the chorus I opened my mouth and started singing along.
"And it seems to me
"You lived your life "
"Like a candle in the wind "
"Never knowing who to cling to "
"When the rain set in "
A few others started singing along with me quietly and together, like some small island choir, we finished the song, after which I got to my feet and made sure that the guitar went back to its owner.
I thanked everyone for an enjoyable evening and Paul soon got to his feet as well, then we said goodnight to everyone and we made our way along the dimly lit paths towards our bungalow, while behind us we could hear the choir belting out another tune.
"That was nice," Paul said to me as we climbed the few steps up to our door.
"Yeah, it felt good. Thank you," I replied.
"For making me do it," I said, as I placed my hand on his shoulder and we walked in through the doorway.
The next few days were spent doing pretty much the same things as we had on all our other days, being walking along paths through tropical rainforests, fishing, swimming, sleeping, and generally enjoying each others company.
Steve called, at least twice a day only to get the same answer from me each time an emphatic, "No."
"Dont you think you are being a bit hard on him?" Paul asked me while we were having breakfast early one morning.
I just looked across the table at him and smiled and said, "If you knew just how much trouble I had when we were negotiating the contract for this bloody movie, you wouldnt be asking me that."
He simply shrugged and never mentioned anything more about it.
One of the highlights of our trip occurred a few days afterward, when we went sailing around the island on a small yacht. It was skippered by a local boy, who seemed to be barely out of his teens, but he had that look about him that said he had been on the water all of his life. The tan, the sun-bleached hair, the toned body, it all spoke eloquently of a life by the ocean.
When we first approached the jetty, I carried a picnic basket in one hand and had Pauls hand in my other, and he eyed us suspiciously. I quickly let go of Paul and it wasnt long before our skipper, who had introduced himself as Danny, warmed to us though and was soon ordering us around as we made ready to leave the harbour.
The plan for the day, he told us, was that he would sail us around to the other side of the island to a quiet cove where he always took his customers. We would be able to enjoy a picnic on the beach, go swimming in the clear waters and do whatever we liked while he stayed on the boat.
"Thats no good," I said to him sternly, as we hoisted a sail for our Captain and he pointed the nose of the small boat towards the breakwater, the vessel bobbing up and down in the gentle swell.
"It isnt?" he asked.
"Thats right. We arent going to go enjoying ourselves on the beach while you just sit on your arse here on the boat."
"But ," he began to say, but I held up my hand to silence him.
"No buts," I said. "Theres enough food here for all of us, youre coming ashore with us. You know the island dont you? You can show us around a little."
Danny stared straight out ahead of the boat after that, while he negotiated the narrow passageway into the harbour, but each time when I glanced at him I swear that I saw a faintest trace of a smile on his youthful features.
Other guests waved to us from their boats as we passed them, heading into open water. We waved back, but within minutes we were out of sight of them all as we rounded a headland and the winds picked up, propelling us along like a dolphin surfing the waves.
It was an exhilarating feeling, having the wind in our hair and the sun on our face, and we could see Danny enjoying himself, watching us enjoy ourselves, the master of his vessel.
A couple of times I touched Paul in a gentle kind of way as I often did, running my hand down his thigh, or putting my arms around his shoulders, then suddenly remembered, almost too late, that we werent alone. I looked at Danny to see if he noticed, and caught him staring at us, but he quickly looked the other way. Obviously he had noticed and was either too embarrassed, or too polite to say anything.
I got up and left Paul sitting there and walked forward to where Danny was steering the boat.
"Sorry about that," I said to Danny. "I hope it didnt embarrass you."
He just grinned at me.
"It aint nothing I havent seen before," he answered.
"Yeah, the last couple of guys like you pair that I took out ended up spending the whole trip making out up front there," he said, motioning towards the bow of the boat. "That was all the time they were on the boat anyway. The rest of the time they were skinny dipping around at the cove, or showering naked under the waterfall."
"Sounds exciting?" I said to him.
"I suppose it could be," he answered, still grinning, then returned his attention to the job at hand.
It took about an hour to get to where we were going to be spending the day, and it was well worth the trip. Danny pointed the nose of the boat between two rocky headlands and we sailed into a quiet little cove with a pristine beach and waters as clear as you would find anywhere.
"Wow," Paul said to me as he joined me on the bow and looked around us, having emerged from below decks.
"Beautiful, isnt it?" Danny called out to us.
"It certainly is," I called back.
We dropped anchor as close to the beach as we could get, and within minutes Paul had stripped down to his shorts and dived into the water.
"Go on," Danny said. "You are the guest, go and enjoy yourself."
"What about you?" I asked.
"Its OK. You go and have some fun. Ill join you shortly," he answered.
I looked at him doubtfully.
"Go," he said. "Ill just transfer everything to the shore for lunch, and then come in for a swim."
With that I stripped off my shirt and then dived into the water after Paul, who had by now swum a little away from the boat and was waving back at us.
The water was refreshing and cool and invigorating, and it felt wonderful to be out here enjoying this freedom. I reached Paul soon enough and for quite some time we clowned around in the water, playing like a couple of love struck teenagers, before finally heading towards the beach.
We noticed that Danny had transferred all of our picnic needs from the boat to the beach, along with our towels and the clothes that we had taken off, a blanket and some fold up chairs, using the dinghy that we had towed along behind us.
He stood up and looked our way as we emerged from the water, shading his eyes from the glare of the sun and watching us as we walked up the sandy beach towards him.
For some strange reason I had this feeling that we were being checked out, or sized up, by our host, but I quickly dismissed this as the paranoid delusions of a gay man on the verge of a mid-life crisis, wishing that the young virile male was interested in him.
All the same, it certainly left me wondering all through our picnic lunch.
When we were finished Danny told us about the waterfall and swimming hole that wasnt far away from the beach and soon convinced us to follow him into the rainforest to go and have a look at it.
"You wont be disappointed," he said to us as we followed him along the rarely used path.
It was only a short walk from the beach, no more than a couple of hundred yards, and as it turned out, he was right, we werent disappointed.
The narrow path, which wound its way along a small creek, soon opened out into a clearing, that was beside a large crystal clear waterhole, which was beneath a spectacular waterfall which cascaded down over moss covered rocks.
"This is the best place to go skinny-dipping, if thats what you want to do," Danny said. "Its freshwater, not salt, it empties into the cove a little further down, but drops over another smaller waterfall, so the tides never come in here."
"Well, Im game if you are," Paul soon said, and quickly stripped off his shorts and waded out into the water.
Danny looked at me, as if to say, "Well, go on."
So I did just that. And as I too headed for the water, I glanced back to see Danny doing the same, dropping his clothes in a pile near ours and coming towards us.
His body was one that was smooth and toned, with an even all over tan. Both Paul and I stopped and admired him as he walked towards us, and once again I heard those voices in my head telling me I was crazy.
"So, how long have you two " Danny began to ask, as we relaxed in the shade of a grove of palm trees after our swim, only to stop in mid-sentence.
"Been together?" I said, finishing the sentence for him.
"Well, just since last May," I answered.
"And are you both happy?"
I reached across and took Pauls hand and gazed into his smiling eyes.
"Yeah, I know I am," I answered.
"What about you? Is there anyone special in your life?" Paul asked our host, who just nodded, shyly and looked away from us.
"Come on," I said. "Dont go all bashful on us now."
After a brief silence Danny said, "Well, there is someone, but we arent too serious at the moment. He "
"He?" Paul said forcefully, cutting him off in mid-sentence.
Danny grinned at us. "Yeah. He," he said. "Why else do you think the resort would give me this job, and every other similar one? I get to take all the gay couples for a cruise, mainly because no other boat owners want to do it."
"So they know about you then?" I asked.
He shrugged. "Well, not really. I suppose its just that the resort owners know it doesnt bother me like some of the other guys, I guess Im just not as paranoid as they are. If theyve figured me out I dont really care. Im enjoying the life I have here."
"What about youre ummm friend?"
"His name is Michael. He works on the next island in the chain. Its a smaller resort than this one and I stay there with him sometimes when things are quiet here. We enjoy each others company and have a bit of fun when we can, but like I said, we dont take things too seriously."
"How many couples like us do you get to take out?" Paul asked.
"You would be surprised," he answered.
"So what made you want to live here?" I asked him.
"The peace and quiet mainly," he answered, after thinking for a moment, while gazing out over the water. "I mean, that may sound strange with this being a fairly popular resort and all, but for the most part I just do what I want to do, when I want to do it. When my father died all he left me was that boat, so its pretty much all I have in the world, and pretty much all I want too, I suppose."
"So, you are happy?" Paul asked him.
"Yeah. I think I am. Happy with what I have at least. Life wouldnt be as easy for me as it is, if I wasnt," Danny answered.
We stayed there for a couple of hours, having another swim and then sitting in the shade of the trees again for a while, just chatting about life in general, then some-time during mid-afternoon we dressed and wandered back towards the beach. It was a warm day, and when we reached the beach we were ready for another swim, but decided against that when we found another yacht moored near ours, and a group of tourists being rowed ashore.
"Looks like we timed that well," Paul said to the pair of us.
Danny just grinned. "If they had of headed towards us we would have had plenty of time. Most tourists usually make enough noise to get themselves heard."
As they beached their dinghy on the sand about one hundred yards from where we were, and giving us a wave, we packed up our lunch things and stowed them in our dinghy, then set off for Dannys boat.
It was just on dusk as we pulled into the jetty, and the island was coming alive once more for the night ahead, with lights coming on all along the shoreline.
Danny dropped us at the same spot where he picked us up, but stayed on his boat.
"You not coming ashore?" I asked him.
He just smiled and shook his head. "I havent seen Michael for a few days, so I might head over there," he said with a grin.
"Well, dont do anything we wouldnt do," I said to him.
"Not a chance," he replied.
We shook hands and then Paul and I climbed onto the jetty, then much to our surprise Danny reeled in the sails and started the motor, before pulling away from the dock and heading once more towards the breakwater.
He waved to us, and we waved back, then we stood and watched as he was swallowed up by the darkness.
Next Chapter Previous Chapter