Of Sea and Sky: Part 2

            “So how do we make a wish?” Caspian asked again, almost failing to notice that they had come upon a little sea shack in his desperate single-mindedness. Lani turned at the entrance to the lopsided home, letting the armfuls of flowers she had collected on the way fall to her bare feet.
            “There is a special formula. I’ll teach you, if you like.” Her raised eyebrows were tentative, revealing something sharp and sad behind blue irises.
            “I’d appreciate it,” Caspian replied. Darting forward, he kneeled to collect the flowers she had dropped.
            “No,” she smiled down at him. The silk of her robe brushed against his face, making him light-headed. “Leave them.”
            “Are you sure—“ Lani abandoned him at the threshold, gliding into her dark, two-room house on legs that—revealed through a slit or fold in her many patterned fabrics—might have been a dancer's. Without further protest, Caspian followed, finding as he did that the entire floor of the sea-bent home was covered in similar blooms.

            Lani crossed to a teapot by the rough-cut window. It was a badly beaten thing, warmed by a tiny fire on a makeshift stove. Caspian eyed the strange space that contained a pile of chipped china, a trunk with travel stickers, two wooden chairs, a matching table, and a door that presumably led to a bedroom.
            “Was all this here when you got here?”
            “Most of it,” Lani’s voice had drawn thin.
            “How did you get here?” Curious, he’d moved nearer to her, near enough to see the tension enter her back.
            “How did you?”
            “I thought it would be obvious from the stench of seaweed,” he joked.
            “A shipwreck?”
            “Yeah.” Rubbing the back of his neck with one hand, Caspian accepted a cup of tea with the other. He hardly knew what to make of this strange, distant girl.
            “Are you all alone here?”
            “I am. Do you want to start on the wishes now or later?” Cocking her head to one side, the island girl watched him.
            “Now, I guess.” Together they sat down at the wooden table. Lani wrapped long-fingered hands around her mug, some of the tension leaving her body.
            “What will you use it for?” Caspian asked because he was fresh from society and couldn’t bear the quiet that had fallen between them.
            “The same as you, I suspect.”
            “You aren’t very talkative.”
            “You’re very talkative.”
            Caspian laughed, and because he had not expected to laugh on a lonely island after a shipwreck he laughed again. As the chortles shook his battered body, Lani watched him with the expression of one who is trying to remember a word in their native tongue after long speaking in a foreign one.


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