Trashed / Page 76

Page 76


Ron, the pilot, takes off smoothly, and then we’re buzzing a thousand feet over the blue waters of Caribbean.

We’re alone in the airplane. I could ask her now.

No. No. I’ve got a plan; stick to the plan. Dinner on the beach, a moonlight proposal.

I lose track of time scripting out what I’m going to say, and then Des is gripping my hand so tightly it hurts as we sink toward the water.

“Holy shit holyshitholyshit!” Des is shaking, petrified, eyes scrunched shut.

“Relax, missy. Done this a hundred thousand times. Ain’t nothin’ to it.” Ron’s voice is smoke-roughened, an unlit cigarette tucked behind his ear.

“It’s terrifying!”

Ron chuckles. “First time is a bit scary, I guess. Just keep your eyes shut and hold your man’s hand. Be down ’fore you can blink twice.”

Sure enough, barely a minute later, there’s a light splash, a brief sensation of weightlessness, and then we’re skidding across the water. I lean in my seat, trying to get a glimpse of the island through the windscreen. It’s all green trees, with a stripe of white sandy beach at the edge. I can see sunlight gleaming off glass, a dock extending several hundred feet out into the water. Ron brings the seaplane to a gentle halt at the edge of the dock, shuts off the engine, and then shoves open his door and jumps to the dock with an easiness that belies his age. He ties the plane to the dock, and then takes the suitcase I hand to him. I jump down, and then hand Des down after me.

She takes two steps past Ron and me and then stops, hand to her mouth, staring in awe at the island. “Adam, this is…incredible.”

I just laugh. “You haven’t seen anything yet, babe.”

Ron gestures toward the island. “Y’all go on. I’ll bring your bag up for you.”

“What is this place, Adam?”

I lead her off the dock and onto the sand, up a stone-lined path leading into the jungle. Unlit tiki torches mark the path on either side. It leads up a steep hill and curves around, following the shoreline and then cutting inland, emerging in a clearing. We’re around the curve of the island, so the dock is out of sight. The clearing is easily two full acres, the jungle rising high on three sides, tall trees casting shade on the back of the house that sits in the middle of the clearing. The house faces west, into the setting sun, with another, shorter, rock- and tiki torch-lined path leading down to the beach, smooth wooden steps and handrails in places to assist the way down the hill.

The house itself isn’t massive, just over five thousand square feet. But it’s all richly appointed, the footprint extending north and south so every room faces the beach. There’s a covered porch that wraps around the perimeter of the house, which sits on the cusp of a hill, so there are actually two floors to the home, one at ground level, and the lower one set into the curving hillside, each level connected outside by an elaborate series of walkways, bridges, and gazebos. The porch, walkways, and gazebos are lit by strings of white lights and gas-fed, electronically controlled tiki torches.

Dawson took me on a complete virtual tour last week, showing me every feature, every control panel, every little nook and cranny, so I’d know the layout and how to operate everything. The floor plan of the house is stunning. It’s all open plan, but the square footage is spread into cozy nooks and comfortable spaces, every wall a floor-to-ceiling window that can be slid open to let in the constant Caribbean breeze.

I take Des on a tour, pointing out the wine cellar, the gym, the incredible kitchen, and, last but most importantly, the bedroom, which is its own entire wing set at an angle to the rest of the house, connected by a covered walkway. It’s glass on all four walls, which like the rest of the house can be opened all the way. There’s an en-suite bathroom with an outdoor shower and an outdoor soaking tub set directly into the hillside, shielded from view from the rest of the house behind clever landscaping and design.

She’s speechless. “Adam. Seriously. What is this place? Is it a resort of some kind?”

I laugh as we sit on the porch of the master bedroom, watching the waves lap on the beach. “No, babe. This is ours. Welcome home.”

She turns to me, eyes wide. “What do you mean, welcome home?”

I grin even more widely. “This is the real graduation present, Des. Not just the trip here, but the island, the house.”

“The island. Explain that one, hon. The island?”

I love her inability to comprehend this. “We own half of this island.”

“You mean you do.”

I shake my head. “Nope. We.” I lead her back toward the kitchen. “Come on, there’s something I need to show you.”

On the counter in the kitchen is the paperwork, laid out in piles, with a yellow-highlighted ‘X’ wherever a signature is needed. I take the pen Dawson left, and sign each page, and then extend the pen to Des. “Sign, and it’s really, truly ours. Yours and mine. Both our names.” With a provision enabling us to update the paperwork if Des was ever to take my name. But I don’t mention that proviso just yet.

She stares at the papers, then out at the water and the sun lowering itself toward the horizon. “I don’t understand. How can we own half an island? Who owns the other half?”

“My friend Dawson Kellor, and his wife Grey.” I wave toward the other side of the island. “They have a house over there, a lot like ours, with the dock in between. On the opposite side of the island from the dock there’s a boathouse, with a sailboat and a powerboat.”

“So you and your friend bought a whole island?”

I grin cockily. “Sure did. It’s a small one, though, not even a full square mile. It was owned by some rich guy who wanted to build a house here. He actually did most of the hard work, creating a workable, self-contained power and plumbing infrastructure.” I tap the papers. “And not just Dawson and me, but you and Grey, too.”

She sets the pen down and walks back outside, and leans on the railing. I follow her and lean my butt against the rail, and wait for her. “This is big, Tory. Really big. And really permanent.”

God, she’s serious. She only calls me Tory when she’s feeling emotional.

“Are you scared?” I ask.

She shrugs, and then nods. “You bought a fucking island, Adam. Jesus. I mean, what am I supposed to do on an island?”

“Des, baby. This is a vacation home. A getaway. I’m still going to act, and now that you have your degree, you can do whatever you want. You want to stay in Detroit? I’ll buy the apartment. We’ve got my place in L.A. Where else would you want to live? I’ll have to fly back to L.A. for filming, and I’ll have shoots in other places—that’s not going to change. This doesn’t change us, Des. It’s just somewhere we can go and get away from the studio and the interviews and the paparazzi, and everything. Just be us, no interruptions.”

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