seven: waena

 

Susan and Kumai remembered yesterday differently, especially the experience of Kumai driving the Maserati in pursuit of Kane.  Susan’s version included words like maniac, possessed, and Indy 500.

 

“Some of it was a blur for me too,” Kumai laughed, “I remember the feel of maneuvering our car past the Hummer then making them swerve without losing control of the vehicle.”

 

“Oh, our vehicle seemed pretty outta control to me.”  Susan grumbled.

 

“That was a smart move.  Lava can disable any vehicle.” Bonnie offered, “You said that Hummer was armored so you couldn’t shoot at ‘em.”

 

“We also didn’t have guns.”  Susan noted.

 

“Guns would have come in handy when they made a run for it.”

 

“Their guns made handy work of Taka’s car.”  Susan rubbed her ears.  “Shootouts aren’t that loud in the movies.”

 

“You’re not sitting inside the target vehicle in the movies.  By the way, Taka texted that they didn’t hit anything vital.  The car is fixable.”

 

“When do you see Taka again?”  Susan’s question sounded casual.  Too casual.

 

“I’m so glad you two didn’t get shot.”  Bonnie blurted out.   She dug at her empty shell of papaya and tidied up the scraps on her plate.  It was another Puako day, breakfast out on Kumai’s lanai, birdsongs.  Yesterday’s events lingered as dark shadows under this bright world.

cutpapaya

“Thanks.”  Kumai meant it.  “Me too.  Wouldn’t want to miss any moments like this. Only thing I need now is a swim.  Anyone else?”

 

“Sure.  I’ll go put on a suit since you’re already in yours.”  Susan said and hobbled a bit when she went into the house.

 

“Not me, thanks.”  Bonnie sat up, “I have a project I need to inspect at the machine shop.  And I got a lead on the missing palm tree.  I’d sure like to find whoever took it.  But I guess if we don’t find the actual tree, you could use my rent money to buy another one.”

 

“Rent money?  I’m not charging you any rent.”

 

“I know.  But I’m paying some.  I put it in that model boat in there.  Saw the other money inside when I was cleaning and it fell apart.  Figured that was your rainy day money.”

 

Kumai lifted her cup to her mouth, didn’t sip, lowered it,  “You don’t have to do that, you know?”

 

“I know.  Wanted to.  Seemed right and I am grateful.”  Bonnie shifted in her patio chair.  “What you saving for, if you don’t mind my being niele.”

 

“Dive boat.”

 

“Sounds nice.  You ever going back to work on that other one?”

 

“This afternoon, in fact.  I’m also looking to get my concierge job back at the Four Seasons.  Telephone tag so far.  I’ll have to clean up some day and go in there in person.”

 

“That’ll do the trick.”  

 

“Huh?”

 

“You clean up good.”

 

“Bonnie!”  Kumai chuckled.  “Anyway.  Diving today.  That’ll feel good to be back in deep water.”

 

“Deep water like that gives me the heebie-jeebies.  It’s like jumping off of a tall building to drop down light beams into blue blackness.”

 

“Hmm.”  Kumai nodded, thinking.  “I guess it does feel like a height, at least until you break the surface.  Then it feels like…”

 

“Yeah?”

 

Kumai sighed, “Deep sea diving feels like a hammock swing and a massage both at one time.”

 

“That would be difficult at the same time.”  Bonnie looked lost in thought.

 

“But diving gives me that.  Maybe for me diving is about how my body feels underwater.  Hadn’t thought about that.  I’ll try closing my eyes on today’s dive and check it out.”

 

“Just don’t close ‘em for too long!”  Bonnie shivered.  “Well, I’ll leave you to your thoughts.  More?”  She stood and reached for Kumai’s mug.

 

“Thanks.”  Kumai sat back into the breeze that stirred up, cool, wet air, alternating with warm and dry.  The currents felt completely unmixed like saltwater and fresh streams in the ocean.

 

Bonnie returned after a while with a fresh mug of coffee and said, “I made a bite of lunch for you two.  You might not have much time after your swim to get to work.  Maybe you can eat on the road.”

 

“I hope you know you also don’t have to prepare my meals.”  Kumai frowned.

 

“I know.”  Bonnie patted Kumai’s shoulder and left.

 

A tribal drum sounded from her phone.  Kumai wondered if she should change Taka’s ringtone to Madame Butterfly.

 

She picked up the call.  “Yo.”

 

“Kane made it through the airport.  Private arrivals, assumed another identity.  We’re on it.”

 

“Any idea where he is going?”  Kumai regulated her voice.

 

“Oahu.  Then no idea.  Our best guess is he’s headed to Vegas.”

 

“I need to talk with my dad.”  Kumai blurted out.

 

“Your dad?”  Taka asked.

 

“Yeah, I suppose I should call my mom too.”  She tried to sound unconcerned.

 

“It’s pretty normal to want to reach out to family after a trauma.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“What?”

 

“What what?”

 

“What aren’t you telling me?”  Taka waited.

 

Kumai debated.  Clearly, she had stepped fully back into this clash.  That didn’t mean that her family needed official protection.  Warning them might be sufficient.  If Taka thought that her family was in danger, that would mean it was really bad.  She didn’t want it to be really bad.  Was she willing to risk their wellbeing by not telling Taka of Kane’s threat?  It was one thing to make reckless decisions for herself.

 

Taka broke the silence.  “Fine.  Let’s have lunch and you can not tell me about it then.”

 

“Can’t.  Got a dive this afternoon.”

 

“Dinner then.  Splasher’s has French Toast all day long.”

 

“You know, when you know things about me without my telling you, that’s not charming.”

 

“You told me that you like French Toast.”

 

“It’s just creepy.”

 

“On the plaza, in Paris?  I asked how you were liking France.”

 

“Oh.  Oh yeah.”

 

“You said that the only thing missing are the fries and the toast.  ‘French Toast is my favorite food and I haven’t found it anywhere in France.’”  Taka quoted her in a falsetto voice.

 

“Okay, yeah.  Sorry.”  Kumai chuckled.  “Only I don’t have a Kiwi accent.”

 

“Give me time.”  Taka said.

 

Kumai’s heart skipped a beat.  She would love to give Taka lots of her time.  “Dunno ‘bout dinner.”  She said.

 

“We’ll just eat.  You can go ahead and not tell me stuff then.”

 

“I’ll text you after the dive and we’ll see.  That work for you?”

 

“I’ll take whatever you offer me.  Thanks.”  Taka said and disconnected.

 

Kumai wiped sweat from her temple.  It was getting hot today.  A swim was just what she needed.  She set down her phone and decided to go wait in the water for Susan.

 

Completely unprepared for Susan’s Brazilian bikini or the information it confirmed about Susan’s perfect figure, Kumai decided to lead the way into the swim.  She grappled with feeling butch and curvy compared to Susan’s lithe composition.  A large portion of her thoughts included wondering if thongs ever really become comfortable.

 

She acclimated to the water and loosened up.  They stopped swimming to float and chat.  Susan imitated Kumai’s bobbing with ease, toes peeking up out of the water.

 

“You seem distracted.”  Susan glanced at Kumai.  “Everything okay?”

 

“Yeah.”  Kumai half-smiled, “Perfect.”

 

“Worried about your family?”

 

“Actually, yes.  I’m not sure how to warn them without alarming them.  Taka said that Kane made it to Oahu.”

 

“You talked to Taka?”  Susan said.

 

Kumai smiled.  “He called just a few minutes ago.”

 

“He doesn’t even know I exist,”  Susan frowned, “Standing next to you.”

 

“Me?”  Kumai snorted.  “Wear that and you’ll show up.”

 

“Oh I would never.”  Susan gasped.  “This is only for private sunning.  I hate conflicting tan lines.”

 

“Yeah, I struggle with that too.”

 

Susan laughed.  “Yes.  I suppose it’s universal.  You would totally rock one of these suits…”

 

“Oh no.  No, no, nope.  Don’t even get the idea.”  Kumai laughed.  “Let’s swim a loop and then I have to go.  Feel free to stay out here.”

 

“Not without you!  I’m only being brave and swimming in the open ocean because I’m with you.  Lead on.”

beachcombers

They circled an underwater area that Kumai named the Coral Garden.  Grey globes of coral opened into blue valleys where ocean business carried on until the fish saw the swimmers and darted away to watch from the shadows. Yellow tangs, clown fish, rainbow wrasse, and small silver fish that usually traveled in schools flitted and fed.

 

Kumai remembered to start out swimming toward the current this time to save energy for their return.  Susan was a strong swimmer and kept up well.  Kumai pointed to the surface of the water where just below the silver line of air were other silver lines of needlefish.

 

They floated back to waist-deep water and rolled over to sit before grunting through the awkward process of transitioning from water to land.  Kumai couldn’t help but wonder if Susan didn’t wish for more coverage on her bottom at the moment.  She tried to remember what the ocean felt like on bare skin.  She sighed to remember her fresh water skinny dip with Kirby.

 

“Gotta go?” Susan asked.

 

“‘Fraid so.”  Kumai smiled.  “Susan, would you be interested in visiting my dad on Oahu?”

 

“Oahu?  I’m not crazy about cities.  The whole island is basically Honolulu.”

 

“Yeah, basically.”

 

“Is that the kind of help you need?  Someone to warn your dad and watch over him?”

 

“Well, you do know what Kane looks like, and what he’s capable of.  I don’t want to alarm my family if it turns out to be an empty threat.”

 

“I can do Oahu.”  Susan smiled.  “I wasn’t due back in Kona for a week yet.”

 

“That would mean a lot to me.  I’ll tell my dad you’re coming over for a visit.”

 

“I’ll go this afternoon.  Just text me his address.  Better yet, arrange it all for me as my concierge.”

 

“Deal.”

 

Susan looked back at Kumai’s house.  “I’ll clean up here and head out after lunch.  Any arrival on Oahu before dark will be fine.”

 

“Got it.  Thanks for joining me on the swim.  Let’s do that again soon.”

 

Susan raised her hand in goodbye as Kumai headed for the shower.  She washed quickly, dried and dressed in a fresh pair of boardshorts over bikini bottoms.  A rash guard covered her swim top.  In her reflection she looked too muscular, she decided, for a thong.  That and she would be completely embarrassed.  She chuckled at her own pun and left.

 

pensivekumai

 

…and then?

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