At the hotel John was looking everywhere for Brady. He was downstairs near the bar and found Marlena at a table with Greta and Austin.
"Did you find him, dear?"
"No, and none of the staff has seen him."
"Did you try Chloe's room? They were going off to talk when I last saw her," Greta offered.
"She's gone too."
John arched an eyebrow and noticed Mimi fidgeting and the next table.
"Mimi? Do you know something?"
"Know...something? What would I know?"
"Mimi, how long have we known you? Now, please, I can tell you're hiding something," Marlena prodded.
"They went to the island to search for Belle, Shawn, and Philip. Since no one else was."
"No one else is looking because there's a storm out there," John explained.
"It's okay. I showed them what island to go to," Mimi responded.
"I'll be right back with a map, you can show me where since I didn't ask your teachers," John said leaving. He returned and Mimi pointed to an island.
"That's not the island we were at, Mimi," Kevin told her.
"It's not?" She looked worried.
"Oh no," Marlena gasped.
"They're all going to die. Belle, Shawn, Philip, Brady, Chloe. All because of me. I killed four of my friends," Mimi cried.
"Mimi, calm down," Greta tried to calm her.
"They'll be fine," Austin added.
"We're going to have to go find them," John said.
"I'll go with you, Austin offered.
"I'm going too," Greta claimed.
"Greta, it's dangerous out there," Austin warned.
"So, people I care about are out there. I'm going."
"Greta, two of my children are out there, I don't want another one in danger," John pleaded.
"I'm going," she insisted.
Just then Shawn, Belle, and Philip walked into the hotel, dirty and tired. They saw John and Marlena and ran up to them.
"What happened? Are you alright?" Among other questions were tossed about.
"We're fine, we're fine."
"How did you get back here?" Marlena wasn't letting go of Belle.
"We fought Paul. He died and then we found his boat and got back here," Shawn answered.
"It was so scary, mom," Belle cried. "It's so nice to come here and see all of you." She looked around at everyone. "Where's Brady?"
"Um, he and Chloe are missing," John told Belle.
"What? What happened? Why is Chloe with him?"
"I knew she'd come for me," Philip cheered.
"She and Brady snuck off to look for all of you and they went to the wrong island," Marlena said.
"I'm so sorry, Belle. I thought it was the right island, but I sent them to the wrong one. It's going to be all my fault if he dies out there," Mimi exclaimed.
"We've got to find them, John," Marlena hugged him.
"I want to go with you, dad," Belle asked.
"Me too," Shawn stood behind her.
"I need to get to Chloe, she needs me," Philip gushed.
"Phil, bro, give Chloe her space," Austin ordered. "You haven't seen her all summer. Mom and Victor are here and I know they want to see you're all in one piece. Now, John and Greta and me, we're going to go look for Brady and Chloe. You and your friends need to get some rest."
After much argument it was decided that John, Austin, and Greta would be the only ones looking for Brady and Chloe.
"Brady, this doesn't look like the island that Mr. Woods and Ms. Perez said they'd be going to."
"It looks like no one's been here in ages. Do you think Mimi was wrong?"
"Yeah, I do."
"That sounds like Mimi. Guess we should turn around and go back."
"The storm looks like it's about to get worse, Brady."
"You're right. We'll try and find some shelter, wait till it passes."
"Okay," she said. They walked side by side, trying to find somewhere safe.
Brady had found a cave in one of the smaller mountains where he and Chloe could stay for the night. They were lucky he'd packed a few blankets, it would help keep them warm. They set up a small camp inside their tiny cave and Brady went to pick some fruit.
Chloe sat in the cave with her knees pulled up to her chest, deep in thought, wondering about what had happened between she and Brady in the hallway. She asked herself where she thought it might have gone if Mimi hadn't interrupted.
"I think that we would have gotten carried away," she said to herself, knowing that he wouldn't be able to hear her admission. "No one has ever kissed me like that. Okay, so I only have Philip to base my opinion on. With him it was nice, at first, but then felt like an obligation. Everything got to seem that way with him. I sort of feel bad I couldn't be what he needed. He makes me feel needed. Brady makes me feel like an equal. I wonder what he meant when he said he couldn't lose me either? When he kissed me, it was like tasting chocolate for the very first time and never wanting to give it up. He always said was a kid, but lately he's been treating me like, like, like a woman. It's a nice feeling to be giving and taking. I sound like he and I are dating. Does he see me that way? I hope he does, because after all those talks with Greta this summer, I know that I see him that way. Normally I can read him like an open book. But this, I don't know. Maybe I'm not getting it because I'm afraid he won't see what I see."
Brady wandered through the flora, thinking about the young woman awaiting him in their cave. He thought of what it paralleled. He saw it so clearly. He was dressed in a nice suit, black with white shirt, top buttons undone. He carried a plain black briefcase and had just returned from Basic Black. The company was a success. John still headed things up, Belle worked there after she married Shawn. He had married Chloe in a beautiful ceremony two years after her Julliard acceptance. He entered their home to find her on the sofa nursing their first born. She was as radiant as ever, cradling their daughter in her arms. Sadie was two weeks old. They'd found out about her impending arrival while Chloe was touring in Italy. They were the happiest family around. Sitting atop their mantle was her first Tony Award and multiple other accolades from her still short career.
Brady shook his head and chuckled at the thought. He'd never ever dreamt of who he'd spend the rest of his life with. He wondered where it came from. Though he was shocked about what he'd just imagined a big part of him was smiling. "I want that," he said quietly, while picking a pear from a tree.
"I wonder if she feels it too. We did have that incident in the hallway. I think if we weren't interrupted we'd have gone further. I've liked her more than any other girl I've ever been with. She's not even a girl to me, she's a young woman. One that I guess I can see in my life forever. Chloe's the most amazing person I've ever met. No one ever has made me feel so alive. I look forward to things now. I wonder what she and Greta are talking about all the time? I'd better get back to her. I miss her."
He found her sitting in the cave and they smiled widely at one another as they came in.
"Find anything worthwhile?" She looked up at him.
"A bunch of fruit. Hey, how about when we get out of here you make me a BLT?"
"Well, since you asked so nicely..."
"All BLT's pale in comparison to yours. Especially considering the turkey bacon."
"Since you're complimenting me I'd be happy to make you one." They sat next to each other, eating. After a few moments, Chloe spoke. "Brady?"
"This is frustrating, isn't it? I mean, we're on the wrong island and now Belle, Shawn, and Philip are still out there."
"I know what you mean. But, it didn't take us all that long to get here, so we should be okay getting back. And then we'll just try again."
"So now it's your turn to be optimistic?"
"Something like that. Chloe, you hit it when you said that Belle's strong. So are the others. They can make it through this."
"I just hope the storm ends soon."
"Yeah, me too. Until then, we're sitting ducks."
After talking for quite a while longer, they began to settle in. Brady noticed Chloe shiver.
"A little," she admitted.
"Come here." She went and laid down next to him, facing him, inches away. He put his arms around her and looked at her. I guess I'll never know unless I try, he thought. He kissed her, tasting her, taking his time, making the moments last. He pulled away after a few seconds. This time it was her turn to take the initiative and she kissed him. She fell asleep in his arms as he watched her. He moved his hand along the outline of her face, loving the way her skin felt. He reached down and softly kissed her. He wanted to remember what she tasted like.
He spent a long time just staring at her and thinking. The scenes of his future with her continued throughout. The thought of it in more detail, certain events, even what she wore. Always what she tasted like when he kissed her. Their future together was bright, happy.
He looked at her eyelids, so delicate. "I love you, Chloe," he whispered before dozing off himself.
John, Greta, and Austin were still at the hotel. They were told the storm would pass by morning and it would be easier for them to get there then. Tense about the next morning, Greta invited Austin to sit with her that night.
"You're worried, aren't you."
"He's my brother, Austin. I have grown to really care about him. And she's become a great friend to me. I want to be there to make sure they're okay. They have so much ahead of them. But my father's right. Brady is strong and Chloe is a lot tougher than she looks. I'm sure they'll be okay."
"It's amazing how much you're able to care for people."
"Those two are worth caring about."
"So, what do you think is going on between them? Because Brady swears up and down that they are nothing but friends."
"See, that's what Chloe's been telling me. But today, before they left, she told me that there might be something more going on."
"Why do you think they've hidden it from each other?"
"Austin, sometimes when you love a person, they're a little hard to reach. Brady's probably not sure she's entirely over Philip, and she needs to be able to feel completely safe."
"So, they aren't sure yet?"
"When you love someone you give them their space until they're ready. When the two of them are ready they'll admit it."
"I spoke with Sami before we left. She came by the see if there was anything she could do. Since Belle's her sister and all."
"How was it?"
"I didn't miss her like I thought I would. It was like standing in front of someone that I just didn't care about. I need to be with someone I can trust. Someone who will be completely honest. Carrie slept with Mike, Sami with Brandon. You're the only one that's been completely faithful and we aren't even together."
"Yeah," she said mournfully.
"What's wrong, Greta?"
"Nothing, I just got to thinking about Eric, going off with Nicole. Then Jack, he'll always want Jennifer."
"Guess we both have had some bad luck."
"Guess you could say that." She looked at him. It's now or never. If I don't do this right now, I'll never be able, she thought before kissing him softly. "Goodnight, Austin," she said before turning around and going to sleep.
Belle walked into her parents room. She found them on their bed, sitting together, talking.
"You guys think Brady and Chloe are going to be okay, right?"
"Sweetie, your brother is a strong, capable person. I'm sure he and Chloe are doing just fine. But in this storm, we just want to make sure that they're all in one piece," John answered.
"I can't believe the two of them went off to rescue us. I'll never forget that. I mean, I'm sure Chloe went partly because she missed Philip, but it's still amazing of them."
"I wouldn't be so sure about that," John told her.
"Sure about what?"
"About the Philip part. We saw Chloe everyday this summer and she never once mentioned him unless someone else brought it up," Marlena informed her daughter.
"Why did she come over everyday?"
"She and Brady spent everyday together. I don't think I saw either of them without the other this entire time," Marlena continued. "I think that she's very much over Philip."
"Oh no," Belle gasped.
"You don't want your brother to see your best friend?"
"It isn't that. It's Philip. He always been suspicious of any guy talking to Chloe, especially Brady. He's not going to take this well."
"He'll just have to be an adult about it and that's a fact."
"I'll see you two in the morning," Belle left them.
Back in the cave Chloe woke up and found Brady sleeping soundly. It was still dark out, not even close to dawn. I've never seen him look so peaceful, Chloe was thinking. She didn't now that the peace he was experiencing was because of thoughts of her. He placed the palm of her hand to his cheek and kissed him lightly. "I love you, Brady. Maybe someday I'll have the courage to tell you when you aren't asleep."
Bright and early the next morning the storm had passed and John, Austin, and Greta were ready to head out with a boat in search of Brady and Chloe. Marlena and the kids had wished them luck, even though they thought they'd only be gone about a day or so.
Their boat ride was short. Mimi had pointed them in the right direction. They hoped. Unsure of what they would find there, even though they were hopeful of finding the others in one piece, they'd brought everything they could possibly need. First aid kits, blankets, tents, the works.
John stayed with the captain while Greta sat, Austin stood next to her.
"Greta, you kissed me last night."
"So, you noticed that. I was wondering."
"How could I not? A beautiful woman kisses me, I'm going to notice."
"Sorry about that. I couldn't help myself."
"Why are you apologizing?"
"Well, because you're still getting over Sami and you and I have always been friends. Even after everything in Europe, I don't want to jeopardize that," she began pacing back and forth. "Austin, the last thing we need is something on the rebound. No matter how in love one of us may be, it'll just have to be put on hold."
Austin took her in his arms and kissed her, finally getting the point. When it was over Greta cautiously made her way back to her seat, looking dazed.
"Greta, are you okay?" He leaned down in front of her, smiling. She smiled back, placed her hands on his face, and kissed him again. "I've been over Sami," he finally said. "Something based on friendship and trust is a lot more special, Greta."
From the front of the boat John watched this exchange, happy for the two of them.
Back in their little, blissful cave Brady and Chloe were beginning to wake.
"Morning," he smiled and yawned at the same time.
"Morning," she replied.
"It seems pretty quiet out there," he said. "I wonder if the storm is gone."
"We should get up and check."
Reluctantly they stood up, picked up their stuff, and looked outside of their cave to see the sun shining brightly.
"Congratulations, we've survived a hurricane," he proudly announced.
"Something to tell the grand kids," she laughed.
He flashed the picture he'd had in his mind from earlier, his family with Chloe.
"So, let's get started. We need to get back to the jet skis," he said.
"Yeah," she remorsefully answered him. She liked spending time with him there, just the two of them.
Walking out into the sunlight they began their journey. After about twenty minutes of heading back to the beach Chloe broke the silence.
"How about when we get back you take me bowling, Brady. And I'll make you a BLT. We can rent The Sound of Music."
"Sounds good, you've got yourself a date," he replied, unaware of his exact phrasing.
Moments later they reached the shoreline. They looked around.
"Brady, where are our jet skis?"
"We left them right here."
"Yeah, we tied that extra shirt of your to the tree so we'd know where we left them. The shirts still there."
"Dammit! They must have gotten lost out in the storm!"
"Oh no. Brady, what are we going to do? This is island is paradise, but not if you're stuck here." She noticed the pained expression on his face. "Brady, I didn't mean stuck. There's nobody I'd rather be deserted with." She turned red, then tried to cover it up. "I mean, you handle yourself well out here and you take care of me. But we have to find Belle and the others."
"I know, I know," he said hugging her. He'd removed the wetsuit and was just wearing a pair of swim trunks. She loved the feel of his bare chest, it was strong and she felt safe. She looked at him, giving a small smile.
"No problem. We're going to be here for a while I guess."
"Unless they find out Mimi sent them to the wrong island. Hopefully they'll find the others, then they'll come look for us."
"How about we explore this place?"
"Sure. It might be a nice place to see, under different circumstances." They still hadn't parted, he was still hugging her. They looked at each other and she pressed her lips to his. He returned the kiss, which left both breathless.
"We're still going to do that when we get back, right?" He grinned at her.
"Maybe," she winked.
They spent a good amount of time looking around, just observing, talk about everything and anything that popped into their minds. They were walking along the side of hill when Brady stumbled a bit.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, fine," he told her. "Just lost my footing." He grinned at her and she smiled back. He tripped again and went tumbling down the hill, bumping into rocks and bushes.
"BRADY!" Chloe screamed after him and carefully made her way to where he was.
She found him the bottom near the shore, unconscious with scrapes, bruises, and some blood. She kneeled next to his body.
"Brady, Brady! Wake up," she began shaking him.
From the distance, having heard the shouts, John, Austin and Greta ran to where the voice was. They found Chloe, in tears, trying to get Brady to come to.
"Chloe, what happened?" John kneeled next to his son. Greta stood behind Chloe for comfort.
"He, he, he fell, from up there. I think he hit his head on the way down," she frantically answered.
"Son, son, open your eyes."
"Hey, Diva," he grinned.
"Brady Victor Black if you ever scare me like that again I will never speak to you, ever. Don't you know how scared I was, how much I love you. How could you be so insensitive!" She didn't realize she'd said it. He did. So did the others.
"I'm sorry, Chloe. I really am. I didn't want you to worry," he looked thoughtfully into her eyes. "If it makes you feel better I really was knocked out. I just woke up sooner than you thought."
"It doesn't make me feel better," she wiped away the straggling tears.
"I'm sorry. I'll let you win when we go bowling," he tried to get her to smile. She started to grin.
"You're forgiven, but you aren't going to let me win because I'm going to show you I can beat you without beginner's luck and without Nancy's help."
"You're dreaming," he said standing up, dusting himself off, but noticing the scrapes on his torso.
"Brady, let's get you checked out and cleaned up."
"I'm fine, dad."
"You had a pretty nasty fall," Austin said.
"You did hit your head," Greta agreed.
"Brady, please, have a doctor check you out," Chloe pleaded. He ignored everyone else and kept looking at her. Remembering her admission of love, the taste of her lips, their conversations.
"Okay," he relented.
John and Austin helped Brady to their awaiting boat as Greta and Chloe followed. One the boat John sat and talked with Brady as Austin looked out at the water. Great and Chloe sat together.
"Chloe, what happened out there?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you and Brady were stuck on that island for a day and there's obviously a change in your relationship. Chloe, well, Chloe, you said you love him. We all heard it and we all saw the way you two looked at each other."
"Oh my God. I didn't even know it had come out. I didn't know I'd said I love him."
"So, you do love him. I knew it."
"I do. I told him last night too. But he was asleep, then I wished I could tell him when he was awake."
"I'll bet you didn't picture it happening like that."
"No. I can't believe I did that. And he didn't say anything back. Greta, what if he doesn't feel the same way? The way he kisses me and we've made all of these plans..."
"Chloe, are you completely blind? You honestly don't see the look in his eyes when you two are together do you?"
"I'm too busy getting lost in his eyes."
"That's about the sweetest thing I have ever heard. I'm going to go talk to Austin. You need to talk to Brady." Great left her there and went to Austin, who smiled, kissed her, and placed his arm around her waist. Chloe smiled at the scene.
She didn't see it, but immediately felt inside of her that Brady had sat next to her.
"Hi," he greeted her.
"I love you."
"I love you. You told me and it caught me off guard. I don't want you to think that you're the only one feeling this. I'm so in love with you I can hardly see straight."
Tears began streaming down her face and he looked worried until a smile spread across her face. "I love you so much, Brady."
They got back to the main island and Brady was immediately taken to the hospital by the four people with him. He sat on the examining table, Chloe sitting next to him.
Belle, Shawn, Marlena, Mimi, and Philip arrived at the hospital.
"Where's Chloe? Is she alright? Where is she? I know she's asking for me," Philip yammered on.
"Philip, bro, calm down," Austin said. "She's in with Brady. He took a pretty nasty fall.
"That's so nice she's worried about him," Philip tried to smile. He walked towards the curtain areas and saw Chloe resting her head on Brady's shoulder. Brady still without a shirt, and Chloe's arm linked in his.
"I was so afraid you were dead, Brady. You can't do that. I'm too in love with you. You can't end us just when we're getting started."
"I love you, Chloe. I'm sorry," he said kissing her passionately.
"What the hell!?" Philip stalked over to them. "Brady, what are you doing kissing my girl?"
"Philip, we went through this before you left. We're not together. I'm with Brady now," Chloe explained.
"Philip, I told you to wait," Austin said.
"Why didn't you tell me he'd stolen her away from me? And what are you doing with Greta? I thought you were with that hot Sami?"
"No, Philip, I love Greta. And from what I can see, you and Chloe were over. We've become friends this summer and you shouldn't have said what you said to her. She and Brady are good together. If you love her, you'll let her go."
"No, no. You'll see how wrong he is for, Chloe. You'll come back to me," Philip said storming out.
"Brady are you okay? You have all kinds of cuts and you're bleeding," Belle cried.
"I'm so sorry, you two. I never meant to lead you to the wrong island. It'll never happen again, I swear. Not that we'd ever be in the position for it to happen again, but you get what I mean," Mimi rambled. "I'm done now."
"Actually, Mimi, thank you. If Brady and I hadn't had that time together we might not have realized what we mean to one another."
"Thanks, Mimi," Brady added.
"I think you're welcome."
"So, what? You guys are dating?" Shawn had his arm around Belle.
"That's so great," Belle gushed.
"Slow down, Tink."
She didn't and neither did Brady and Chloe. After graduation they'd gone off to New York together. He was there to run Basic Black's New York office, and she was at Julliard, singing with the emotion he'd always told her she could. After graduation they were married and after her first world tour, singing opera around the planet, they found out she was pregnant.
Happily married they were with a daughter, Sadie Isabella, and a son on the way. Belle had married Shawn, Greta had married Austin. Brady and Chloe fell more and more in love with each other everyday.