They walked through the jungle, searching, rifles at their backs, until the humidity grew unbearable. Sayid stopped and sat beneath a palm.
Danielle looked down at him. “I thought you grew up in a very hot country.”
“Hot yes. Not so humid.” He ran his hand through his hair, pulling it back from his face. “Besides, admit it, you’ve lost the trail too. It won’t hurt for us to rest a bit.”
“I’m not tired. I have had a much longer time to grow accustomed to this place. But I have an idea. Come.”
He pushed himself back up and followed her. The faint sound of rushing water drew louder.
She parted the blanket of vines that lay before them, and revealed a fairy-tale picture. Water cascaded down rocks into a pool, making what looked for all the world like a natural shower.
“That’s beautiful,” he said.
“Yes. Very pretty,” she answered. “I come to bathe here, sometimes. The water is not hot, unfortunately, and I have nothing but the water itself to cleanse me, but I can pretend.”
I think I can help you with that.” Sayid knelt down and took some items from his back pack. “I have some soap.” He the white-wrapped bar with the now-familiar octagonal crest out to her.
“Soap.” She unwrapped the bar and held it to her face, sniffing the fragrance. “It smells so clean. Thank you.”
“And this.” He held up a small bottle. “Shampoo.”
She smiled. “Wonderful.”
She felt the ends of her sun-damaged hair, and her eyes, hardened by years of solitude, lit up like a little girl’s.
“Would you like me to wash your hair for you?”
“I can wash my own...” she started to snap, then stopped herself on seeing his expression. “That would be very kind.”
She lay the gun on the ground and pulled at her tank top, as he looked away. “Don’t be such a gentleman, Sayid. I’m sure I have nothing you haven’t seen before. Nor you I. I’m not in the custom of bathing in my clothing.”
Sayid pulled off his own top, undid his own pants and joined her, naked, in the water.
She handed him the soap and he lathered it over his body, then let it run off under the cascade. She watched him, his bronze skin glistening in the sunlight.
He smiled, then picked the bottle of shampoo from the ledge beside the pool He walked towards her, and she stood, like a gazelle, trapped in the light of his eyes. He stood behind her, squirting the fluid directly onto the top of her head, then used his strong fingers to work it through her hair, trying not to pull the tangles. Her hair was long and thick as he rubbed it between his palms. He led her by her hand to the tumbling water, continuing to massage her scalp with his fingertips. She moaned in satisfaction.
She turned to him, a silent ‘thank you’ on her lips, then watched him use the shampoo on himself, tossing his head and flipping a spray from his black hair as the droplets caught in the sun.
Then he worked the conditioner into her hair, starting at the damaged ends and working his fingers through, this time easing out the tangles. She ran her fingers through the for the first time in so many years, squeaking the ends with a smile.
“Let it set a bit,” he said. He then picked up the soap and, instead of handing it to her, rubbed it against her back until it was slippery. “You’re so very tense.” He kneaded his fingers into her wiry muscled shoulders, working through the knots there as he had her hair. She gasped as he pressed against her. “You’ve been alone so very long.”
She turned towards him, and caught his lips with hers. “So, I think, have you,” she whispered, drawing in his tongue. Tasting him.
He worked the soap onto the front of her, playing with her hardening nipples, her lean torso, the dip in her navel. He worked lower, lathering her curly hair and running his soapy hand between her thighs.
She took him in her hand and he suddenly drew back. On this island, an unexpected pregnancy was certain death. As if reading his mind, she said, “I am beyond that, mon ami. Don’t be afraid.” She opened to him, as he pushed her back against the rocks, and he plunged deep within her. The waterfall veiled their love making.
Later, they lay on the grass beside the pool, wrapped in each other’s arms.
“You are right, Sayid,” she sighed, her hair tumbled across his chest. “I was alone too long.”
“No more,” he said, taking her hand in his. “No more.”