The Stipulation

by Patricia Kennedy

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Ten years ago my father bought an island. He wanted to create the ultimate in island luxury where the residents' every wish and need is met to the nth degree. But six years mother nature decided that my father's time had come to an end. So, every year my two best girlfriends and I spend the Fourth of July honoring him on his dream oasis. And this year isn't any different. That is, until the man I've wondered about for the past six years shows up. He's more than anything I could have ever imagined and in every way too. He, nor his friends back down from any of our 'truths' or 'dares' either. No, instead they rise above them. And even though it is just a game, for once it makes the three of us wonder if there could be more.
I know it's not possible.
Because things like this only happen in fairy tales.
And at the end of this vacation this fairy tale will only exist in our dreams because our time in Wonderland will run out.


Six years ago, after I retired from the NHL I decided I wanted to develop land. Low and behold this island fell into my lap and all the dreams I've ever had I made come true. Thankfully the original developer did all the infrastructure work so all I had to do was complete it. The odd part is I've never heard from him nor seen him since the sale and yet we're neighbors on the island. But then I got a call from Daniel, the GM of Nell that said his daughter and her friends were going to the island for the Fourth and I couldn't not go. My curiosity just got the better of me. So, I called my buddies and the moment our eyes landed on them we knew we'd jump down any rabbit hole they 'dared' us to, for Ryan was my Alice. She was perfect, and in every way. She made us never want to leave Wonderland, it too was perfect.
But time is a thief and a villain.
And she refused to believe that there could be more beyond this Wonderland she created because to her all things come to an end in due time.
So I had to do something that could make her believe.
I 'dared' her.
She turned her back on me and walked right out the door.
Off the island.
Now I know that if I'm ever going to get her to believe I'm going to have to go all in, head first down that rabbit hole of no return.
It's that or walk away from my Alice, just like she did to me.
But is that what I really want?
Is that even what she wants?