"Hey, Professor?" Gilligan knocked on the edge of the professor's hut.
"Come on in, Gilligan," the professor called back to him.
Gilligan stepped into the professor's hut and shut the door behind himself. Then he just stood there for a second, nervously shifting from foot to foot.
Eventually, the professor looked up from the project that he was working on and asked, "Can I do something for you, Gilligan?"
"Well," the first mate started. "Here's the thing, Professor, you're real smart, and I'm having a difficult time figuring out a way something should be done, so I thought that maybe I'd come ask you how you think that I- that is, how you think that it should be done."
The professor surveyed his friend, noting his obvious nervousness as the Professor leaned back against his work table and gave Gilligan his full attention. "Alright; what's the question?"
Gilligan started, "Well, ya' see, I've got this friend."
At this the professor raised his eyebrows. That excuse was transparent enough under normal circumstances, but here on the island it was even more pathetic. Only Gilligan would use it here.
"And this friend," Gilligan continued, "Has this lady friend that he really likes. A lot, ya' see."
The professor nodded, trying to school his features away from the smile that was pulling at his mouth. "Alright."
"And... my friend and his lady friend... they really like each other a lot, and they've been getting really extra close, and my friend has been thinking about asking his girl if she wants to, ya' know... get married."
The professor raised his eyebrows in surprise. "He has?"
Gilligan nodded quickly. "Yeah. But... my friend... he doesn't quite know how to ask her, you know. And I thought that maybe, with you being so smart and all, you might know what I- I mean, my friend ought to say to her. How he ought to go about asking her to... marry him."
"Well, Gilligan," the professor said, crossing his arms over his chest, his eyes narrowing a little as he framed his answer. "Under most circumstances, I might be a good person to ask for information, but when it comes to women…" the professor shook his head in amusement. "I am not the person to ask. If it's a way to propose that you're after, I would go ask Ginger. With her experience in movies, I'm certain that she would have an idea for something that would be fitting for you…'re friend."
"Yeah!" A grin split Gilligan's face. "Hey, good idea, Professor!"
And then he was gone; off to the girls' hut in search of Ginger.
"Oh, Gilligan, this is great!" Ginger gushed excitedly once Gilligan had explained his dilemma. "And it's about time too! Oh, and I know exactly how you have to do it!"
"I said I was asking for a friend," Gilligan interjected.
Ginger shot him a glare, showing that she knew better, and that, unlike the professor, she was not willing to play along with his ruse.
Gilligan looked down at his shoes, flustered now. "Okay… what's your idea?"
With that, Ginger went off into a description that left Gilligan with a spinning head. "Ginger," he finally said weakly as she was in the middle of dramatically describing the actual proposal. "I can't do all that; I'd die if I tried half of it."
"Oh, but, Gilligan!" Ginger turned to him and stamped her foot. "It's a proposal; it has to be romantic!"
"But I don't do speeches very well at all; everyone on the island knows that."
"Oh, it's not that hard at all," Ginger declared in exasperation. "Here, I'll even let you practice with me. I always practiced before doing a big scene in a movie, and this proposal is definitely a big thing in your life."
"Come on," she gestured him towards her. "It's not that hard at all. You can just pretend that I'm Mary Ann."
Gilligan gave her a skeptical onceover. She was in no way, shape, or form Mary Ann, and as Gilligan reluctantly stepped towards her he was more than a little thankful for that.
"Here, you have to get down on one knee, silly, and take my hand and declare 'Mary Ann, ever since I saw you for the first time, I have been deeply, irrevocably in love with you.'"
Gilligan was mortified at the very idea, but sometimes it was better to just go along with Ginger until she finally released you. This appeared to be one of those times, so he slid down onto one knee, took her hand, and swallowed with difficulty. "Mary Ann…"
"Deeply irrevocably in love with you."
Mary Ann froze outside her and Ginger's hut with a basket of laundry on her hip when she heard these words float out into the air. Her eyes widened as she took a step back and peeked carefully through the window.
Gilligan. Was proposing. To Ginger!
But… but she had thought that she had something special with him!
Mary Ann tried hard to stifle the sob that came up into her throat, but it escaped anyway as she dropped the laundry basket and fled into the woods.
Gilligan's and Ginger's gazes snapped towards the window as he asked Ginger, "What was that?"
"I don't know," Ginger said with a casual shrug.
Gilligan scrambled to his feet and went to look out the window. "It sounded like Mary Ann." He caught sight of the laundry that had landed spread across the surrounding sand and realized what had happened. "Oh, no. she saw us," He paled. "I've got to go find her."
Ginger nodded briskly. "I'll look around the huts and lagoon, you go check the woods."
Gilligan ran to follow out the orders. He had to find her so that he could explain. All he had wanted was to make sure that he would be able to make proposing to her just right, but he wouldn't be able to propose to her at all if he couldn't fix this.
So he kept running around in the jungle, calling out her name. "Mary Ann! Mary Ann!"
Eventually, he couldn't run any further, so he stopped and leaned against the outside of a shallow cave, panting hard. And that was when he heard the muffled crying coming from inside the cave.
He crouched down to look inside the cave. "There you are, Mary Ann!"
"Go away!" she demanded, burying her tear-stained face in the bend of her elbow.
"No," he replied gently, crawling into the tiny cave and sitting down beside her.
"You're marrying Ginger!" she accused sharply.
Gilligan couldn't help it; he chuckled. "No, I am not."
His laughter only upset her more. "I saw you ask her to marry you!"
Gilligan slid his arm around her shoulders, hating the way that she stiffened at his touch. "Actually, I was asking Ginger for help, so that I wouldn't mess up when… when I proposed to you."
She froze and turned slowly to look over at him, whispering, "What?"
"I was going to propose to you tonight when we went to the lagoon. I just didn't want to mess it up," he sighed wearily and studied his knees. "But apparently I messed up even trying not to mess things up." He shook his head and looked at her. "And now you know about it, so there's that. Some mess of a proposal, huh?"
"No," Mary Ann shook her head as a smile spread across her face. "It was just the sort of proposal that you would give. Not something that Ginger planned, but something that came directly from you, and that's why my answer is 'yes.'"