Synopsis: Danny encounters an accident, and more, when during an afternoon off.
Category: Hawaii 5-O
Genre: Police, Action/Adventure
Word Count: 27,050
“You’re not going surfing?” Steve McGarrett looked at his second in command with concern. “Are you ill?” he asked and he was only half-joking.
“Relax, Steve,” Danny Williams responded with a grin. “I do other things besides surf, you know.” He rolled his eyes and shook his head. “I’m going hiking instead.”
“With whom?” Steve asked. He knew Danny enjoyed hiking, but he was slightly surprised that his friend was going pass what was supposed to be a great weekend for waves.
“By myself,” Danny replied. “Is there a problem?” He wondered if his rare weekend off was suddenly going to vanish before his eyes. It wouldn’t be the first time and he didn’t suppose it would be the last. He resigned himself to the loss of his free time.
“No problem,” the boss assured him. “I’m just surprised you aren’t going surfing. Even I know this weekend is meant to be really good.”
For a moment, Williams’ smile faltered. “I’m not up to surfing the big waves and I’d rather not show myself up in front of some of the guys who are going to be competing this weekend,” he confessed. He had had a minor tumble a few days before and had a slightly sore back. It wasn’t all that bad, but enough that he knew it would affect his balance and daring on the board.
“Oh, I see.” McGarrett didn’t pursue the matter any further, to the younger man’s relief. “Have a good time,” he offered. “Are you planning on camping out?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Dan replied vaguely. “I don’t think I want to do that this time.”
“Then get out of here and go and get ready,” Steve scolded. “Go on; shoo!” He flapped his hands at Dan and smiled.
It was rare for him to knock off early, but with the boss’s approval, Danny was not going to turn down the opportunity. “See you on Monday,” he smiled and headed out of the door before the phone could ring or Steve could change his mind. Two whole days to do as he pleased lay in front of him and he could hardly wait.
“Forecast for perfect weather, with maybe a shower this evening,” Danny mused aloud to himself the next morning as he packed some food into his rucksack. “What a surprise.” The weather was seldom anything but perfect in Hawaii. He zipped the pack closed and hefted it onto his back. With a last glance around his tidy apartment, he headed for the door.
The trip up to the Wa’ahila Ridge State park car park at the trail head didn’t take too long. It was still early and there were only a few other vehicles parked there. Danny once again checked he had food and enough water. This trail was considered moderate to difficult, but Danny wasn’t in any hurry. He was here for relaxation, not to win medals for speed.
The trail was one that Danny really enjoyed. It provided spectacular views into the Monoa Valley, Palolo Valley as well as Honolulu and Ko’olau Ridge. Danny had brought his camera, hoping to maybe catch some good shots, depending on how the weather played out. When he reached as far as he could go on this trail, he planned to go down the Kolowalu trail, which led steeply down into the Monoa Valley, from where he thought he would view the falls before retracing his steps back to the car. With his objective firmly in mind, he set off.
It was a beautiful morning and Dan found himself relaxing as the fresh air and sunshine drained the stresses of the working week away. It had been a busy time for Five-O lately and he hadn’t realized how much he needed to get away and enjoy himself.
There were a few other hikers on the trail, mostly tourists, but Dan set his own pace and was soon alone again. Once or twice his sore back twinged and he eased off the pace until it settled again. By mid-morning, he was well up the trail and completely alone. He stopped and eased the pack from his back, sitting down on a rock. The ground was still a bit wet from the heavy rain that had swept over his island home the previous night and he didn’t really fancy a wet backside from sitting on the grass! Retrieving a candy bar and a bottle of water, he settled down to eat the snack.
He was well on the way down into the Monoa Valley, branching towards the falls, when he heard a cry. Pausing, he stopped, listening intently, suddenly not sure he had heard it at all. “Hello?” he shouted.
“Help me!” cried the voice and he hurried in the direction the voice – the female voice – had come from.
It was not ground upon which to hurry too quickly. Danny called repeatedly to the woman and after about 10 minutes of hunting, he realized that she was at the side of the trail in some underbrush. Pushing the foliage aside, he paused.
A young woman in her early twenties was lying on the ground, her foot awkwardly twisted and trapped under a large fallen tree branch. The branch had obviously been there quite a long time, for there was moss and flowers growing on it. Quite how the young lady had managed to get trapped there Danny couldn’t see, but he knew that almost anything was possible, having been in a few unusual scrapes himself over the years.
“Hi,” he offered, smiling in what he hoped was a reassuring manner. He also hoped he wasn’t drooling, for this young lady was a stunningly beautiful Hawaiian girl with long silky black hair and large, expressive brown eyes. “My name’s Danny. What happened?”
“I slipped back there,” she replied, pointing vaguely upwards. “I couldn’t catch myself and I got stuck under this tree!” Tears of rage slipped from her eyes and she wiped them away with an impatient gesture that had a hint of vulnerability in it. “I’m Kamea,” she added, remembering his introduction. “I don’t suppose you can help me?”
“I’ll do what I can,” Danny promised. He looked around, instinctively looking for her backpack. It was very hot and humid and Danny suspected there was probably a shower of rain on the way. “Where’s your stuff?” he asked.
“What stuff?” Kamea asked.
“Food, water, insect repellent,” he amplified.
“I was only out for a short walk,” she retorted. “I didn’t know I was going to fall, did I?” She looked so utterly woebegone and so incredibly beautiful that Danny decided that now was not the time for a lecture. He handed her a bottle of water and advised her to sip it slowly while he got her foot free.
It was not going to be an easy task. If he did not get the angle just right, he risked injuring her, but he couldn’t leave her sitting there alone. It could take long enough to bring help back here and finding the exact spot would not be easy. Besides, he admitted to himself, it wasn’t every day that you got to play at being a knight in shining armor for a beautiful young lady. He set to work scraping the dirt out from around her foot.
It was hot, hard work. Danny wiped the sweat from his brow often, aware that he was probably wiping dirt onto his face in place of the sweat. His hands were muddy to the elbows and he didn’t seem to be making much progress. The sky overhead – what they could see of it – was now black with rain clouds and Danny knew that this wouldn’t just be a shower of rain. It would be a downpour. He tried to hurry.
The first few drops were falling when Kamea suddenly was able to pull her foot free. Danny, startled by the sudden movement, fell onto his butt. He smiled as he rested there for a moment. Kamea cradled her ankle as best she could, moaning in a mixture of pain and relief. “Thank you, Danny!” she cried. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he replied. “Let me see it.” He carried a rudimentary first aid kit with him, but he could see at once that he didn’t have anything to help the bruised and swollen ankle. “Where do you live?” he asked and was relieved that the answer was not too far away. She clearly could not walk on her own, but he could help her and then he would walk or get a cab back to retrieve his car. “Come on,” he urged and pulled her to her feet.
As they emerged onto the trail, the heavens opened and within seconds they were soaked to the skin. They exchanged rueful grins before they headed off down the trail towards Kamea’s home and safety.
It wasn’t a long walk, but with Kamea unable to put one foot to the ground, it was slow going. The torrential rain slowed them down even more as the trail become muddy and slippery. Kamea hopped gamely along, leaning heavily on Dan, but she needed to stop to rest frequently. It took them almost 2 hours to get down from the trail and the rain did not let up the whole time.
There was no small talk as they went along. Every now and then Dan would ask if she was all right and Kamea always replied “yes”, even though she clearly was in a lot of pain. Danny’s estimation of her climbed even higher. She asked to rest only when she had to, obviously aware of the dangers of flash floods, mud slips and simple exposure because of the rain.
“This is my street,” Kamea panted at last. “I live at number 92.” She pointed further along the road. “There. The house with the red car in the drive.”
It was less than a quarter of a mile. Danny was tired, but he sensed that Kamea was exhausted. “Don’t take this the wrong way,” he gasped, “but it’s quicker if I carry you now.” Without waiting for a reply, he swept her up into his arms. With the paved sidewalk underfoot, he was no longer worried about tripping over a tree root he could not see whilst carrying her and he increased his speed. With a sigh of relief, Kamea leaned her head on his shoulder.
When they reached the house, Kamea slid gracefully from his arms to one foot and rang the doorbell. “I can’t be bothered looking for my keys,” she murmured. “I can’t thank you enough, Danny.”
“I would say it was a pleasure, but I’m sure it wasn’t for you,” Danny responded gallantly. He wondered if now would be a good time to ask if he could see her again, but before he had the chance, the door opened and an older Hawaiian man stood there, frowning to see Kamea so intimately standing in a stranger’s arms.
“Dad, don’t panic,” Kamea said quickly. “I had a fall when I was out walking and Danny very kindly rescued me and helped me home.”
“Come in,” Kamea’s father urged and took his daughter from Danny. “Come in, Danny. Let us get you a towel and something warm to drink.”
That sounded good to Danny, who now realized that he was growing cold as he stopped moving. He stepped into the porch and toed his muddy hiking boots off. He was reluctant to go further into the house, because he was dripping dirty water everywhere, but Kamea’s father kept urging him to come in, so he did so.
The house was spacious, airy and homely looking. The floors were mostly hardwood, which would suffer a lot less than a carpet. He was ushered into the kitchen where warm, savory smells emanated from the stove. An older version of Kamea was stirring something. As Kamea limped in and sat down, she gave a startled cry and hurried over to her daughter. “What happened?” she asked, looking at the injured foot.
While Kamea told the story, her father gently pushed Danny onto a stool at the breakfast bar and handed him a bath towel. As Danny dried his hair as best he could, the older man made coffee for both of the young people while Kamea’s mother went off to gather first aid supplies.
The coffee was more than welcome. Danny realized how tired and cold he had become. It was a daunting thought to remember he still had to walk back to his car. The rain had not eased and he wondered if the forecasters were blushing at getting it so wrong. He was going to be even wetter before he reached his car.
“I think this needs an x-ray,” Kamea’s mother declared.
“Mom…” Kamea protested, but her mother refused to be swayed. She helped Kamea to her feet and took her to get changed.
“I’ll be heading off now,” Danny announced, feeling awkward. He gulped the last of his coffee. “Thank you for the coffee and the towel.”
“Where are you headed?” Kamea’s father asked, frowning slightly at Danny.
“Just back to get my car at Wa’ahila State car park,” he replied.
“We can drop you there on the way to the hospital,” the older man insisted. “It’s the least we can do after you helped Kamea.”
“I’m glad I found her,” Danny replied. “Thanks. I wasn’t looking forward to walking much farther in this rain.”
“I know your face from somewhere,” the other mused. “I’m sorry; I didn’t introduce myself. I’m Akamu Kekoa.”
“I’m Danny Williams,” Danny replied, shaking the outstretched hand.
“Williams … Williams… That rings a bell.” Kekoa was clearly trying to place the name.
Sighing, Danny told him what he wanted to know. “I’m with Hawaii Five-O,” he amplified.
At once, Kekoa’s face cleared. “Of course! You’re Steve McGarrett’s right hand man, aren’t you? Pleased to meet you.”
There was no time for any more chat. Mrs. Kekoa came back with Kamea and they all trooped out to the car and got in. Danny felt this was not the time to ask Kamea out. She might be younger than she seemed, given that she lived at home, and he didn’t want to risk offending her parents. He cursed his luck.
They pulled up beside his car and Danny offered his thanks for the ride. Kamea put her hand on his arm. “Danny, thanks for the help. I really mean it. Can I call you sometime so we can talk?”
“I’d like that,” Danny agreed, after casting a weather eye on both Kekoas. Neither of them seemed to object.
“I know his number,” Mr. Kekoa told her. “Thank you once again, Danny.”
“It was my pleasure,” he replied and smiled at them. Kamea leaned over and kissed his cheek.
“I’ll call,” she promised.
Standing in the pouring rain, Danny watched the car drive away before he got into his own vehicle. Starting the engine, he headed in the direction of home, a warm shower, something to eat and a long sleep in a comfortable bed. He realized that his back felt much better, and although his thoughts turned to the possibilities of surfing the following day, he also kept thinking of Kamea’s warm dark eyes and the feel of her lithe body in his arms.
He was looking forward to her call.
A long hot shower, dry clothes and some food made Danny feel human again. He felt comfortably tired now, as opposed to drained as he had felt earlier, and he thought that perhaps he might hit the surf the next day after all. His back felt 100% better. A good night’s sleep completed his transformation and he felt bright-eyed and bushy tailed as he loaded his surfboard into the car.
Several times during the day, as he caught a glimpse of a girl with long dark hair, Dan thought about Kamea. He wondered how she was and wished he had managed to give her his phone number instead of relying on her father saying he already knew Danny’s number. That worried him –- his private number was unlisted. How did Kekoa have it?
Mindful of his strenuous day the day before, Danny did not tackle the biggest waves and stayed away from the Pipeline. It was exhilarating, and when Dan quit for the day in the late afternoon, any residual tension that had been left in his body was long gone. He felt totally relaxed as he tugged a t-shirt on and loaded his board once more.
He was relaxing in front of the TV –- a very rare occurrence –- when the phone rang. Sighing, for a cop was rarely totally off-duty, he answered. “Williams.”
“I thought you said you weren’t going to surf this weekend?” accused his boss’s familiar voice. While teasing in tone, there was an undercurrent of concern in his voice. Surfing was not the safest of sports and Steve didn’t understand the attraction.
“I changed my mind,” Danny replied lightly. “How do you know, anyway?”
“Danno!” Steve exclaimed in mock reproach. “I have my sources.”
“Which you clearly aren’t going to share,” Danny teased back. “I’m fine, Steve.”
“None worth mentioning,” Dan denied. “Do you need me to come in?”
“No, not at all,” McGarrett reassured him. “I just wanted to make sure you’ve had a good weekend.”
“I have; thanks.” Danny relaxed back into the chair cushions. “How about you? Been busy?”
“Nothing that won’t keep until tomorrow,” Steve replied. “See you then.”
Smiling, Danny replaced the receiver. He wondered who had seen him surfing and then laughed to himself. Lots of people had seen him; there had been quite a few people there that both he and Steve knew. Word was bound to get back to McGarrett.
Monday morning started with the usual staff meeting. Danny was quizzed about his weekend and told them about his encounter with Kamea, although he didn’t mention her name. He enjoyed the badinage they indulged in, but was quite glad when Steve called the meeting to order.
“There was another hotel room robbed yesterday afternoon,” Steve reported. “HPD are asking us for help. Chin, can you have a look into that please? Kono, what about the theft ring at the docks?”
“Caught them red-handed over the weekend,” Kono declared. “Red-handed, bruddah.”
“Good work,” McGarrett praised. “Danno, I need you to work with me on the security arrangements for the Governor’s ball.”
“Right,” Williams agreed.
The intercom buzzed. “Danny, there’s a Kamea Kekoa on the phone for you,” May reported.
Kono whistled. “THE Kamea Kekoa?” he asked, but Danny didn’t reply. He didn’t know the answer to the question anyway. He headed to his cubicle to take it away from prying ears.
“Hi, Danny, its Kamea,” came the reply and Danny smiled.
“How’s your foot?” he asked.
“Not broken and a lot better,” Kamea replied. “Thank you again. You know, Danny, when Dad said he had your number, I thought you’d given him your home number, not your work one!” She laughed.
“To be honest, I didn’t give him either,” he confessed. “Your dad somehow recognized me. It wasn’t until yesterday that I wondered how come he had my home number! I never thought about him giving you this one!”
“If I’d been in less of a state, I might have recognized you, too,” Kamea confessed. “I’m not usually as hopeless as I was on Saturday.”
“You weren’t hopeless,” Danny objected. “You were very brave.” His sincerity shone through his words. A lot of women would have made a good deal more fuss than Kamea.
“Just to prove I’m not usually like that,” Kamea rushed on, glad the detective couldn’t see her blushing, “can we meet up sometime? I guess as a cop you can’t guarantee to make it, but when is good for you?”
“Tomorrow evening?” Danny offered. He suggested one of his favorite eating places on the beach and Kamea accepted with flattering alacrity. “7 pm?”
“It’s a date!” Kamea replied. “Listen, here’s my number in case something comes up. I’m flexible, so don’t sweat it.” She dictated the number and he scribbled it down.
“See you tomorrow,” Danny promised and found he was wearing a big grin on his face.
“So…” said McGarrett’s voice. “Was that THE Kamea Kekoa?” He was leaning on the door, his arms folded.
Flushing, Danny shook his head. “You’d need to ask Kono,” he replied. “I have no idea what he meant. She’s the only Kamea Kekoa that I know.”
“Then that’s the first order of business when both you and Kono are both in the office,” Steve ordered with a smile. He straightened up, moving back into work mode. Danny grabbed his notebook and pencil and followed Steve into the big office where, periodically, his thoughts strayed to Kamea as they discussed the up-coming governor’s ball.
It was late in the afternoon before Kono and Danny were both in the office. “So?” the big Hawaiian asked. “Is it THE Kamea?”
“I don’t know,” Danny replied, exasperated. He had been over checking on the rooms in the hotel that was being used for the governor’s ball and it was such a rabbit warren that he already had a headache just thinking about security. “What do you mean? Is she famous? An actress or model?”
“No, not an actress or model but well-known all the same.” Kono saw that Danny didn’t know of her at all and told him. “She’s a quilt maker.”
“Quilt maker?” Danny was pretty sure he looked as dumb as he sounded and felt. “Someone who makes quilts? For a living?” That sounded kind of pointless to Danny. It was almost never cold enough for a blanket in Hawaii, never mind a quilt.
“Yeah,” Kono nodded, but his friend continued to look perplexed. “It’s more than just that,” he tried to explain. “She’s got the gift, bruddah.”
“The gift?” Danny decided that he had obviously missed part of this conversation because he had no idea what Kono was talking about. However, a glance at Steve, Chin and May told him he was not alone. They looked confused, too. That was rather comforting, Danny thought. At least if he was losing his brain cells, they were leaving with company.
Sighing as though his colleagues were being deliberately obtuse, Kono explained. “When Christian missionaries arrived on the islands in 1820, the women were expected to learn to quilt, amongst other things. They started doing patchwork, but decided that was a waste of material and began to design their own. The designs were based on the old Gods and flowers, major events and stuff. Each quilt had a purpose, like when grandchildren are born. Some believe the best quilters have the designs come to them in dreams. Kamea is going to be the best quilt maker on the islands. She’s already winning lots of prizes, bruddah! She’s young for it. There is one great quilt maker born every generation, they say.”
“Well, I still don’t know how to answer your question,” Danny said after a pause to assimilate all the new information. “She never mentioned quilts and it was hardly the most important thing on our minds.”
“Is her father called Akamu Kekoa?”
“Yes,” Danny nodded.
“Then it is,” Kono concluded with satisfaction. He whistled slightly. “Boy, you flyin’ high, kaikaina.” He slapped Danny heartily on the back and almost knocked the slighter man off his feet. “Kamea is a beauty.”
“How do you know all this, Kono?” May asked.
“He’s a secret quilt maker,” Dan quipped.
“Don’t knock it, bruddah,” Kono warned seriously. “Quilts is sacred. You never sit on a Hawaiian quilt. That’s disrespectful. If someone is ill, put a quilt over them and all the love that went into making that quilt will heal them. The person who makes the quilt will sleep under it for one night and then give the quilt to the special person it was made for. And if you take a design and change it, that is stealing and will bring bad luck.”
“But how do you know about it?” May persisted.
“My tutu told me,” Kono replied. He looked at Danny. “When are you seeing her, bruddah?”
“Tomorrow night,” Danny replied. “And I’m not telling you where or when because I’m a big boy now and can go on dates alone!” There had been one time he had told Kono where he was going and Kono had crashed the date. Danny had actually been glad, not that he had let on to Kono. The girl had turned out to be very strange indeed.
“You know what her name means?” Kono asked as they all broke up. “The One.” He nudged Danny in the ribs. “Might be a sign,” he added and winked.
“Probably a sign of how many dates he’ll get,” Chin added to the teasing.
“Yeah, yeah, you’re all comedians,” Danny retorted with suitable weariness but the teasing didn’t faze him at all. He was intrigued by what Kono had told him and was really looking forward to the date.
At seven the next evening, Danny met Kamea at the restaurant. She was simply dressed in a sleeveless frock with her hair down. She looked a million dollars and Danny was well aware of the envious glances he was getting from other male diners.
It was like they had known each other for years. There wasn’t a single awkward pause as they talked and ate and then moved on to go dancing. Kamea told Danny about the quilting and explained that was why she was still living at home. She had studied textile design at the University of Hawaii and hoped to go on to study with an older lady on the Big Island who had been making quilts for decades. “It’s a coveted spot,” she explained. “I want to go on to own my own store selling the most beautiful fabrics I can find and maybe even design my own fabrics like I do my quilts.”
“I’d like to see your quilts,” Danny told her. He found her passion for her work very attractive. It was similar to the passion he had for working for Five-O.
“I’m taking part in a competition and exhibition at the weekend,” Kamea offered shyly. “Maybe you could come if you aren’t working.”
“I would love to,” Danny responded. He was amazed by how quickly and easily she had grasped the nature of police work, understanding that he might make a promise, but if something important came up, he would have to break their date. “So who is your closet rival?” he asked.
“There are lots of good quilt makers on the islands,” Kamea denied with becoming modesty. “I suppose the one who I compete with the most is Kekipi Monona.”
“A man?” interrupted her bemused date.
“A man,” she laughed back. “In this enlightened day and age, even men do sewing sometimes. Who sews the buttons onto your shirts when they come off?”
“The button fairy,” Danny replied with a straight face.
Kamea laughed. “Surely you know how to stitch on a button?” she scoffed.
“Knowing how and doing it are two different things,” Danny pointed out, laughing as well. More often than not, May would quickly stitch a button for him when she saw his amateurish attempts at sewing. He did know how and did do it, but it was no pleasure for him.
“I’ll teach you to quilt,” she threatened.
“I’d never live it down,” he warned her. “I have a reputation to uphold, you know. And it has nothing to do with Five-O,” he added. “I’m proud of my handlessness.”
It was after midnight before they left the club. Both of them had brought their own cars and Danny walked with Kamea back towards her car. There were still a lot of people on the streets. Some of the clubs would be open for another couple of hours and tourists were milling about. There was less traffic on the roads, and as Danny and Kamea started across the road towards her car, there was only one moving car in sight.
Suddenly, Danny became aware that there was a revving engine nearby and turned his head towards the sound to see the previously slow-moving car now bearing down on them at high speed! Kamea, slower to react, seemed to be glued in place. Danny grabbed her, all but throwing her out of the car’s way as he wrapped himself around his new girlfriend and dived for safety.
They almost made it. Danny felt the car strike him and then he was in the air, thumping hard off the hood, the windshield and then the road. As he blacked out, the last thing he thought he heard was Kamea screaming his name.
The ringing phone drew Steve out of sleep. With the instant alertness of one who was accustomed to this kind of summons, he answered on the second ring. “McGarrett.”
“Mr. McGarrett, this is the ER at Queens Hospital,” reported a crisp female voice. “I have been asked to inform you that Detective Daniel Williams was brought in a short time ago.”
“Danno?” Steve already pushed the sheet aside and reaching for clothes. “What happened? How is he?”
“I’m afraid I don’t have those details,” the woman replied. “I was simply asked to contact you.”
“I’ll be right there,” Steve promised. “Has Dr Bergman been informed?”
“The M.E.?” The woman sounded confused. “Detective Williams is still alive, sir.”
“Just contact Bergman,” Steve ordered, not wasting time arguing. He slammed the phone down and dressed quickly. What had happened? Danny had been on a date with Kamea –- was the girl involved as well? He left the apartment at a run.
The ER wasn’t too busy when Steve arrived and he quickly identified himself to the receptionist. She asked him to take a seat and vanished. Too anxious to sit, Steve paced for a moment until he spotted an HPD officer by the pay phone. He spotted Steve at the same moment and looked relieved. “Mr. McGarrett -– I was trying to contact you,” he said.
“Dan – Detective Williams – was struck by a car at approximately 12.10am,” the officer reported. “An emergency call was received and I was first on the scene. It was a hit and run, sir. The woman Detective Williams was with was slightly injured. I believe she is still with the doctors.”
“And Danno’s condition?” Steve demanded, appalled and angry this could happen to his friend.
“He was unconscious,” the cop replied. “I don’t know any more than that.”
“Thank you.” There were times when civility seemed futile to Steve. This was not one of them; the cop had given Steve as many details as he could. The doctor would give him the rest.
The receptionist from the desk returned and led Steve through to the treatment rooms. She opened one door and indicated to him to enter. At once, his eyes were drawn to Danny’s still figure on the exam table and his breath caught in his throat. Dan’s eyes were closed and the side of his face was scraped raw. For a heartbeat, Steve thought his friend was still unconscious, but as the door clicked shut, Dan’s eyes opened and he looked right at Steve. A faint smile of welcome tugged at his mouth and was gone.
“How’s it, Danno?” Steve asked, going over to stand beside his friend.
“I’m all right,” Danny assured him in a gravelly undertone that did nothing to convince the listener.
“And now you’ve got that out of your system, can I have the truth?” Steve smiled. From the state of Dan’s torn and bloody clothes, Steve doubted his friend’s veracity on the state of his health. He glanced at Doc Bergman. “Doc?”
The crusty ME cocked an eyebrow in McGarrett’s direction. “Considering he tangled with a car and came off second best, I’d say he was very lucky,” he replied. “He’s got a mild concussion and I’m waiting for x-rays to rule out a broken wrist and broken ribs. He’s covered in cuts and bruises, is going to have a spectacular black eye and a dentist will have to repair that broken eye tooth.” Danny sighed at the recitation and Steve absently patted his hand. “I’m keeping him overnight at least and he should have a few days off, but knowing Danny the way I do, I know he won’t heed that, so light duties for the next week.”
“I’m all right,” Danny protested again, but this time, his denial was accompanied by an unpleasant bout of nausea that left him pale and sweating.
“Dan, I’m going to give you something for the nausea and pain before I clean you up,” Bergman told him. He issued instructions to the nurse who returned a few moments later with a couple of syringes. Doc injected them into Danny’s IV.
“How’s Kamea?” Dan asked Steve.
“I don’t know the details,” Steve replied, “but HPD told me she was only slightly injured.”
“Kamea Kekoa?” the nurse asked. At Danny’s slight nod, she assured him, “Just a few bumps and bruises. She’s been discharged and sent home already.”
“Good.” Danny sighed and closed his eyes. His furrowed brow told Steve more about his pain than mere words could have done.
The x-rays arrived and confirmed that there were no broken bones. Doc helped his patient to strip off his grimy clothes and get into a hospital gown. The painkillers were clearly making Danny drowsy, but Doc painstakingly cleaning his injuries kept him awake. Steve stayed by his side right up until Dan was settled in a room. Only then did he allow Bergman to persuade him to go home for a couple of hours of sleep.
Despite his broken night, Steve was at the office early. When Chin and Kono arrived in a short time later, they both already knew about the accident, thanks to the coconut telegraph and the chatter on the police radio. It was the main topic of their morning meeting. “I’d be grateful if you could field as many things aimed at Danno as possible,” Steve requested. “Security questions about the ball need to come to me, but this morning I am going to talk to Kamea Kekoa about the hit and run -– get her impressions.”
“Do you think there’s something suspicious about the accident?” Chin asked, frowning.
“I don’t know,” Steve admitted. “Probably not, but… I don’t know.”
Chin and Kono exchanged glances. Steve was well-known for having a sixth sense about things, especially where Danny was concerned. “You want us to put da kaikaina under guard?” Kono asked, clearly concerned.
“No, I don’t think we need to do that,” Steve replied after a moment’s thought. “However, I do want to check things out myself.”
“We can handle things here,” Chin assured him.
Rising, Steve took a moment to check Kamea’s address, told May where he was going and advised them all to contact him if they needed to.
It wasn’t often that Steve was impressed with Danny’s latest girlfriend. Usually, he didn’t get to meet them at all or grew to tolerate the ones that lasted for more than a few dates. There had been a few that he had liked a lot and a few that he couldn’t stand. Kamea, though, impressed him.
“Mr. McGarrett.” She smiled when she opened the door. “Do come in. Is Danny all right?” Her concern was obvious and genuine and that endeared her to Steve to begin with.
“Danno’s going to be fine,” Steve assured her. “I just came to ask you a few questions about last night if you feel up to it?”
“Of course, anything I can do to help,” she agreed. “Would you like coffee or a soft drink? Please, have a seat.”
“I’m fine, thank you.” Steve sat in an armchair and Kamea sat on the sofa, wincing slightly as she sat down. “How are you?” Steve asked. He wanted to know, and he knew that Danny would also want to know.
“A bit sore and bruised,” Kamea admitted ruefully. “Danny saved me from the worst of it.” She shook her head. “That’s twice in a week he’s saved me.” There was awe and admiration in her voice. “He’s a special man, Mr. McGarrett.”
“You won’t get any argument from me,” Steve agreed. He gently began to question her about the previous evening, asking if anyone had bothered them, where they had been, what they had done and finally came to the accident itself.
“I did kind of notice a car as we started to cross the street,” Kamea admitted, her eyes looking into the distance as she focused on the memory. “But it was going so slowly. I don’t know if there were any other cars on the road or not. I didn’t see any. Then, suddenly, I heard the engine revving and Danny grabbed me and sort of threw me and I landed in a heap on the sidewalk.” She swallowed and focused on Steve again. “I rolled over and looked back and he was kind of standing there.” Kamea closed her eyes for a moment and shook her head. Steve thought she was probably banishing the unwanted image from her mind. Her words had pained a vivid picture in Steve’s mind, too.
“He jumped out of the way,” Kamea went on before Steve had to urge her to. “The car drove off and I ran across the road, shouting for someone to call the police and get an ambulance. Danny was unconscious. His clothes were torn and his face was bleeding…” She stopped and drew in a deep breath, visibly calming herself. “I thought he was dead at first,” she stated quietly.
“It was a very traumatic incident,” Steve agreed. It was bad enough to hear about it; he could only image how much worse it had been to live through it. “Can you remember anything about the car? The color? The make? The license?”
Sighing, Kamea thought about it. “It might have been brown,” she ventured tentatively. “It wasn’t dark; that I can say for sure. It was a big four-door.” She closed her eyes, frowning, trying to dredge up the memory. “I don’t think it was in very good condition,” she added and paused again for thought. “I’m sorry; I’m not being much help. I don’t remember seeing the license at all.”
“Can you guess at the make?” Steve asked hopefully. He didn’t really expect her to remember anything else.
“I don’t know anything about cars,” Kamea replied. “I couldn’t begin to guess. Sorry.” She looked really apologetic.
“Thank you for trying,” Steve responded politely, although he was a bit disappointed. He rose to leave.
“Danny really is going to be all right, isn’t he?” she asked, getting up. “I was worried when I heard they had kept him.”
“He’s going to be fine,” Steve assured her again. “I’m going to see him now. Thank you, Miss Kekoa.”
“It’s Kamea,” she corrected him. “I just wish I could have been more help.” She saw him to the door. “Tell Danny I’ll call him, or he can call me when he’s feeling better, please,” she added.
Smiling, Steve promised that he would.
The first stop after seeing Kamea was the site of the accident. The road was open again, but Steve pulled the car over and got out, walking along the sidewalk and looking at the chalk marks that were still evident. He found Danny’s car parked nearby and arranged for someone to drive it back to Danny’s apartment. He stood for a time trying to imagine how it must have felt to Danny to have the car barreling down upon him and wondered that his friend had not been killed. Shuddering, he waited for HPD to collect Danny’s car, then walked back to his own. He was surprised to find it was almost 1pm.
He was barely back in the car when the radio crackled and he heard his name. “McGarrett.”
It was May. “Steve, the hospital phoned to say Danny can go home.”
“Tell them I’m on the way,” Steve replied. “Mahalo, love.” He aimed his big Mercury in the direction of the hospital, glad that Danny was fit to go home, for a small niggle of worry had never quite left his mind.
He arrived to find Danny, clad in scrubs, waiting impatiently. The scrapes on his face had scabbed over and there was livid bruising there, too. His right eye was three quarters shut and he was moving very gingerly indeed. “Are you fit to go home?” Steve wondered aloud.
“I’m fine,” Danny insisted. “A bit stiff and sore, but I don’t need to be in hospital.” He didn’t mention his headache.
“All right.” The nurse arrived with the obligatory wheelchair and showed Steve the discharge papers. They went down to the car and Steve drove Danny home.
“Can you wait for me while I get changed?” Danny asked.
“You should be resting; you have a concussion,” Steve replied repressively.
“There’s too much to do,” Danny countered. “And I’ll be fine at the office, I promise.” He trailed off and Steve glanced at him, surprised that he had stopped protesting so soon. “How did my car get here?” he asked.
“I got HPD to bring it,” Steve told him. “You won’t be driving for a few days.” He gestured to Dan’s black eye.
“Thanks,” Danny replied warmly. “I’ll just be a few minutes.” He wasn’t quite asking.
“All right.” Steve knew he should insist Danny take a few days off, but at least if his detective was at the office under his watchful eye, he could make sure that he rested regularly and ate something. Danny climbed from the car and disappeared in the direction of his apartment. Steve took the time to think about what Kamea had told him. He had the very distinct impression that Kamea did not think the incident the night before had been an accident. He couldn’t blame her for thinking that. He didn’t think so either. When they got back to the Palace, he was going to question Danny about it. He didn’t know who was behind it or why, but he was going to find out.
“Thinking about it, I think the car had been crawling along behind us for a while,” Danny admitted. He was nursing a cup of coffee but wasn’t drinking much of it. He was sitting in one of the white leather chairs in front of Steve’s desk. His boss was half-sitting, half-leaning on the front, his legs braced, ankles and arms crossed as he listened intently. “When we started to cross the road, it accelerated. I managed to get Kamea out of the way, but my balance was all wrong to follow her.” He glanced up from his cup to meet Steve’s eyes. “I thought I was dead,” he admitted quietly.
“What do you remember about the car?” Steve asked, nodding to show he understood Danny’s feelings.
“It was a four-door,” the younger man answered. “Not dark-colored. Brown, maybe?” He gingerly sipped his coffee. “I’m pretty sure it was a man driving it.”
“Did you get a look at the license?”
“No. I couldn’t see the front of the car because of the headlights. What I saw of it, I saw as I jumped away before it hit me.” He sounded apologetic and looked shame-faced. “Sorry, Steve.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry for,” Steve soothed. “I don’t know how you managed to escape so lightly, but I am very glad that you did, aikane.” He straightened up. “Do you need to get a dental appointment? Didn’t Doc say something about a broken tooth?”
“No, thanks. Doc arranged for someone to come this morning and it’s fixed.” Danny touched the tooth tentatively, but it was still numb. He was afraid to drink his coffee in case he spilled down himself. “You don’t think this was an accident, do you?” he asked.
“Do you?” Steve countered.
“No,” Danny admitted. “But why? Who’s behind it?”
“We’re looking into it,” Steve advised. “You say it was a man driving. What do you remember about him?”
“He was Hawaiian,” Danny remembered, closing his eyes. “I’m not sure of his age –- 30s maybe? He had long hair, down to his shoulders.” He sighed. “I doubt if I’d know him again.”
Slightly disappointed, Steve knew that his friend had probably seen more than the average witness. “It’s a starting place,” he declared.
Despite Danny’s protests that he was fine, Steve had insisted he lie down on the couch in McGarrett’s office for a short time and within a few minutes, he was sound asleep. Steve left him to sleep; it was what he needed. Danno really shouldn’t be in the office at all, and this compromise soothed Steve’s conscience.
They made no progress on tracing the car or driver from the previous night. There had been witnesses around, but unsurprisingly, none of them could agree on anything except the car racing along the street and plowing down Danny and Kamea. One witness even insisted that both of them had been killed. Much as he hated to admit it, there was nothing for them to go on. Danny was just as disappointed and annoyed with himself that he couldn’t remember. Steve took him home late in the afternoon and insisted he take a couple of days off and Danny agreed.
Despite his best intentions to spend time with Kamea, Danny found that the best he could manage was a couple of phone calls. His headache persisted and he found himself lacking in energy for a couple of days; about all he did was sleep and rest. Both evenings, Steve called round to his apartment bearing food. Although he would have sworn that he was really not hungry, both times Danny had cleared his plate.
He went back to work on the third day, knowing that he looked dreadful and still feeling rather under par. Steve would not let him go out into the field, and after lunch, admitting defeat, he went home without being coerced into doing so. Disgusted with himself, Dan went to lie down for a short nap and slept clean through until the next morning, not even hearing Steve hammering on the door or letting himself into the apartment. He would have been mortified if he had known his boss stayed for several hours, keeping an eye on him before going on to his own home. But after his long sleep, Danny felt much, much better. He returned to the office with renewed vigor.
The weekend rolled around again, and since Steve was still insisting that Danny was not fit to be out in the field, Danny was given the weekend off. He called Kamea and she told him where to come to meet her at the exhibition. He had to admit that he had no idea what to expect. He had never been to anything like this, having had no interest in it whatsoever, but when he entered the ballroom of the hotel where it was being hosted, he stopped, his mouth open as he took in the explosion of colors and fabrics and patterns.
“Like it?” Kamea asked, slipping her arm through his as he stood there, mouth agape.
“I don’t know what I expected, but this wasn’t it,” Danny stammered. The colors ranged from vivid reds, blues, greens and yellows through subtler hues he was not sure he could name to pastels of baby pink and blue. There were plain fabrics and patterned fabrics, small quilts and large quilts and quilts that stretched for over 10 feet. “It’s incredible!”
Smiling, Kamea urged him out of the doorway and led him around, explaining the different kinds of quilts to him. There were traditional patchwork quilts, dove-in-the-window, log cabin…the names swirled over him and he wondered how on earth she knew all this. He couldn’t tell the difference, but he was amazed at her knowledge.
“These are mine,” Kamea concluded, going to a stall where her mother was sitting. “That’s my own design of Hawaiian quilt,” she added proudly, indicating the large quilt that hung on the wall.
“That’s beautiful,” Danny told her. “It is fabulous.” The colors were bold, the design subtler and more intricate than he first thought.
“Kamea designed it herself,” Mrs. Kekoa declared proudly. She gestured to the smaller quilts and quilt blocks that lay on the stall. “And she made all of these.”
“May I touch them?” Dan asked, for it seemed incredibly presumptuous to simply pick up the work as other people around them were doing.
“Of course you can,” Kamea agreed and laughed as he checked to make sure his hands were clean.
Close up, the quilts were even more elaborate than Danny had realized. The stitching between the pieces of fabric –- the actual quilting –- was incredibly detailed and intricate, and he was even more stunned by her talent than he had been just a few moments before. “They are spectacular,” he praised and Kamea, to his delight, blushed. “Didn’t you say something about a competition?” he asked, suddenly wondering if he had dreamt that idea up.
“Yes, we find out who has won tomorrow,” Kamea replied. “Everyone in here has entered something.”
“I would hate to be a judge,” Danny said truthfully. “They all look so good.”
As Kamea started to explain to him how the judges decided on a winner –- something to do with neatness and quality of stitching –- he became aware of a man standing just behind him and turned his head. Kamea stopped speaking and the animation vanished from her face and voice. “Danny, this is Kekipi Monona. Kekipi, this is Danny Williams.”
“Williams,” the man sneered. He looked Danny up and down. “Haole,” he declared.
“Gosh, I hadn’t noticed,” Danny remarked dryly and the other man looked slightly surprised.
“Kekipi made this quilt,” Kamea reported quietly, pointing to the next door stall. The quilt hanging on the wall was very handsome, in warm browns and golds. There was something masculine about the design.
“Very nice,” Danny reported. It was, but there was just something about Kamea’s quilts, he thought. Of course, he might be prejudiced, he admitted.
“Thanks,” the Hawaiian man grunted. Dan looked at him more closely. Kekipi was perhaps in his late 20s or early 30s, with long hair, held back in a ponytail. He wore an Aloha shirt in a subtle grey and white pattern, jeans, and flip-flops. His whole body language shouted that he had a chip on his shoulder, and from the dark looks he was giving Danny, it would seem that the Five-O detective was his latest target for whatever injustice he thought he was suffering. “Kamea -– you with this haole?” he asked.
“That’s none of your business,” Danny replied. He wanted nothing more than to grab this rude man and shove him hard against the wall and warn him to leave Kamea alone, but sadly, bad manners were not against the law.
Shooting Dan another contemptuous look, Kekipi spat something that Dan’s Hawaiian was not up to translating and walked away. Kamea shuddered and the gesture was real, not affected. “I sometimes think he’s pupule,” she complained.
“Forget about him,” Danny told her, although Kekipi worried him. “Tell me more about your quilts.”
Mrs. Kekoa was more than happy for Kamea to go off with Danny for some lunch while she stayed at the stall and chatted to the people who had come to the exhibition. Once again, it was as though they had known each other for ages and the time flew past. Danny could have lingered over coffee forever, but Kamea was cognizant of the fact she was the one exhibiting and had to get back to the stall. Danny stayed for quite a while, but in the end headed off to do a few mundane chores before he returned later in the evening to collect Kamea and take her out for a meal.
It didn’t take as much time as he had expected to do his chores, so he snatched a few minutes to call Kono. “What do you know about a man called Kekipi Monona?”
“He’s a quilt maker,” Kono replied. “He’s never been married and he ekes out a living as a handy man to some of the big houses. He’s got a chip on his shoulder a mile wide. Why you want to know, bruddah?”
“I met him this afternoon,” Danny replied. “He didn’t seem to like me much.”
“You a haole,” Kono observed. “He don’t like haoles.”
“You don’t say,” Danny retorted. “I had figured that one out for myself. Does he have a record?”
“I’m not sure,” Kono admitted. “He’s known for having a temper and people don’t cross him. Want me to check it out for you?”
“If you could,” Danny agreed. “There’s no rush though. This is just personal curiosity.” He wondered if it was just Kekipi’s personal animosity that was arousing his suspicions or if he was just reacting to the fact that Kekipi clearly wanted Kamea for himself. Danny had to admit to himself that he was very taken indeed with Kamea and would take Kekipi making a pass at her very much the wrong way.
Shaking off thoughts of the Hawaiian man, Danny went to shower and change before heading back to the hotel.
This time, the evening ended with a moonlit walk along the beach. Kamea removed her high-heeled sandals and Danny stripped off his dress shoes and socks, and they meandered along the shore for a time. “I hear you like to surf,” Kamea said, as they stood looking out on the small waves gently lapping the shore.
“And who told you that?” Danny asked, smiling at her. He drew her close for a kiss. She didn’t resist.
“I have my sources,” she chided him, laughing. “I hear you could have turned pro. Why didn’t you?”
“I don’t know,” Danny admitted. “I guess I did think about it, but…” He paused. “I wanted to be a cop more, I guess.”
“It looks like it paid off for you.” Kamea smiled. “I want to do what you’ve done, you know.”
“What – be a cop?” Danny frowned, wondering if he had missed something somewhere along the line.
“No!” Kamea gave him a mock smack on the arm. “Be successful young, silly! I want to finish my studies with Miss Yuki on the mainland and then open my own store here in Honolulu, selling my designs, making quilts for people and supplying quilting fabrics and supplies and running classes.”
“That’s a wonderful dream,” Danny agreed. “And I don’t doubt for a minute that you’ll manage it.” He brushed off the reference to his own success, because he wasn’t sure he could be considered ‘young’ anymore. He had got his position at Five-O through hard work and catching the eye of Steve McGarrett at the right time, but although he had dreamed about making the state police when he was a rookie, he had never expected that it would ever happen.
“You know the right things to say,” his date sighed as she turned her body in to his.
“I hope so,” he whispered as he bent his head to kiss her.
He hoped he would know the right things to say this afternoon, as he stood with Kamea and her parents as they waited while the judges announced the prizes for the exhibition. Kamea had already won a couple of smaller prizes, but the main prize of the afternoon was for the big quilt. There was a substantial monetary aspect to the prize as well as a cup and the prestige which, Danny had gleaned from listening to many conversations around him, was immense. The best quilters in the islands were there, and to win was really something. Danny would be heartbroken for Kamea if she didn’t win and he knew she would be very disappointed, indeed.
Finally, the moment had come. The judges would announce the winners in reverse order of merit, in time-honored fashion. Kamea was rigid with tension and Danny was dimly aware of Kekipi standing just behind them, muttering something under his breath. Mrs. Kekoa had her eyes shut and appeared to be praying. For a moment, Danny was surprised that he had become so caught up in something that he had known nothing about just a few short days ago, but now it mattered to him because it mattered to Kamea. She had already grown tendrils into his life.
Third prize went to a very short, very fat woman Dan was not aware of ever seeing before. She seemed flustered and blushed almost the same color as her red hair and burst into tears as she was given her prize. Like everyone else, Danny politely applauded.
Second place went to Kekipi, and the glowering Hawaiian made a point of shouldering Dan rudely out of the way as he went past to get his prize. He found an unconvincing smile for both judges and audience and went to stand beside the third placed lady. She bravely offered him congratulations and offered to shake hands, both of which he ignored. Even more flustered, the short lady retreated. Even more, Danny wished there was a law against bad manners.
Now was the big moment and the judges were drawing it out. Danny had never seen the need for the hesitations before this kind of announcement; he thought it was cruel to draw the moment out. He glanced down as Kamea latched onto his hand and gently squeezed hers in a show of support.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, it is our pleasure to announce that the cup this year goes to Kamea Kekoa!”
For a long moment, Kamea stood stock still, then she gasped and a broad grin broke across her face. “Me?” she squeaked and glanced at Danny and her parents. “Me!” She let go of Danny’s hand and headed towards the stage.
Applauding wildly, Danny kept his eyes glued to Kamea. Mrs. Kekoa was crying beside him and he spared a moment to hug the older woman and then shook Mr. Kekoa’s hand. On the stage, Kamea was thanking everyone and accepting the cup and check, looking stunned and ecstatic.
Glancing over at the two runners-up, Danny saw that the small lady looked as pleased for Kamea as she had looked for herself and was applauding generously. His heart warmed towards the small lady, even as his eyes were inexorably drawn towards Kekipi.
In that unguarded moment, Kekipi’s emotions were displayed on his face for all the world to see. He was choking on his own jealousy. Dan stiffened. Kekipi looked downright dangerous and Dan was afraid for Kamea. He took an involuntary step forward and saw those dark, disquieting eyes turn on him, and in them read hatred. Dan froze and for an interminable moment, the two men stared at each other; as Kekipi turned away, Danny knew that he had an enemy there.
The hotel had laid on a dinner-dance that evening for everyone competing. Danny waited in the bar for Kamea and her parents to return and found that he had an ‘in’ to the quilting social circle because of his relationship with her. He was reluctant to describe himself as her boyfriend, simply because they had not discussed whether this was a casual relationship or a more serious one. For his part, Danny knew he wanted to see her regularly, spend as much time with her as he could. She seemed to be always on his mind, which was a new experience for him. Usually, his girlfriends were shoved into a compartment in his mind when he was working and only surfaced if he had to cancel a date. So far, with Kamea, he had been lucky that he had not had to do that. Somehow, he doubted if his luck would hold.
He took his seat at the table with the Kekoa family and wished with all his might that he and Kamea were alone. He liked her parents, but he really didn’t know them that well. Was he ready to get to know them? Was their relationship at that level already? He held the chair for Kamea to slip into and was gratified when she reached for his hand where it lay on the table and held it.
Whether he was ready or not, Danny did get to know her parents a bit better over dinner. Akamu, he found, was a professor of Hawaiian history at the university. Her mother, Lana, was a nurse at Leahi hospital in the children’s ward. Neither of them seemed concerned that their daughter was dating a cop, which was nice. Danny had had a few relationships that had foundered on that rock.
The evening flew past and Akamu Kekoa finally brought it to a close. He had to be at work the next morning and they were driving home. Danny escorted them to their car. He also had to be at work next morning, but he was perfectly willing to sacrifice sleep to spend more time with Kamea.
As her parents discreetly talked between themselves, Danny gathered Kamea into his arms. “When can I see you again?” he asked.
“Whenever you want,” she replied. She looked up at him shyly through her eyelashes. “Can I tell my friends that you are my boyfriend?” she asked.
“Only if I can tell mine you’re my girlfriend,” he responded.
“It’s a deal!” she exclaimed and kissed him. She pulled away reluctantly as her parents got into the car. “I’ve got to go. Phone me.”
“I will,” Danny agreed. He stood and watched them leave, giving them a wave and blowing a kiss to Kamea as she leaned out of the window to wave him goodbye.
He had not brought his car with him this evening because he knew he would be having a couple of drinks. It was late, but not that late and he wasn’t tired, so he decided to walk the mile or so back to his apartment. He set out, realizing after a few moments that he was smiling. Everyone he saw smiled back.
He had walked a couple of blocks when he began to feel uneasy. He checked over his shoulder a few times, but there was no immediate sign of anyone following him. Unconsciously, Danny picked up his pace, his senses on high alert now. Once, he thought he saw movement from the corner of his eye, but when he whirled around to look, there was nothing there. He was walking at a brisk pace when he arrived back at his apartment, but there was nobody to be seen.
Feeling foolish, he cautiously entered his home, but it was undisturbed. Dan wished he could say the same thing for his nerves. He was positive that he had just been followed home, but who was following him and why?
“There’s been another hotel room robbery,” Steve announced as they went over the caseload in their usual morning meeting. “Danno, I want you to get over there and speak to the victim.” He quickly mentioned the hotel and Danny somehow wasn’t surprised to learn it was the one where he had spent the majority of the weekend.
Steve caught his look. “What?”
“That’s where the quilt exhibition was held,” Danny replied.
Acknowledging that, but not really interested, McGarrett nodded and moved on. However, as his detectives stood, ready to get into their working day, the thought came back to him. He didn’t believe in coincidences. “Danno, a moment.”
The other two detectives left the office. Danny paused, looking expectantly at his boss. “Yes, Steve?”
“Did you see anything out of place at the hotel yesterday?” Steve asked.
“No, I can’t say that I did,” Danny admitted. He hesitated for a moment, then met Steve’s eyes. “I’m pretty sure someone followed me home last night from there, though.”
“Did you see anyone?” McGarrett asked, his focus tightening on his second’s face.
“No,” the younger man said, “but I’d take oath that there was someone there.” He glanced up at Steve again. “But why is someone following me? And is it related to the hit-and-run?”
“I don’t know –- yet,” admitted the lead detective. “However, I intend to find out. You be careful out there, Danno. Watch your back.”
“I will, believe me,” Danny agreed fervently. He got as far as putting his hand on the door handle before Steve spoke again.
“Oh, Danno -– how did Kamea get on at the weekend?”
A beaming smile broke across Williams’ boyish face. “She won,” he reported, his pride obvious.
“Send her my congratulations,” Steve offered and saw Danny’s pride grow.
“Thanks, Steve,” Danny replied softly and left the office.
“What’s that you’ve got there?” Steve asked Kono as he stepped away from the coffee machine with a fresh cup. The large detective was placing a folder on Danny’s desk. “Is it important?”
“I dunno,” Kono replied. “Da kaikaina asked me to look into Kekipi Monona for him. He said it was just personal curiosity.”
“Who is Kekipi Monona?” Steve asked, never having heard the name to his knowledge.
Looking a trifle flustered and somewhat embarrassed, Kono replied, “He’s Kamea’s biggest rival. Dan met Kekipi on Saturday. Kekipi don’t like haoles and left Danny in no doubt he don’t like him at all. Danny just asked me to look into him.”
“Does he have a record?” Steve asked, interested.
“Yeah,” Kono admitted. “Nothing much in and of itself, but when it’s added up…” He pulled his thoughts together. “He’s had a few brushes with the law, mostly over being drunk and disorderly, but there are a couple of things there about assault. He was picked up a few times, but never convicted because the victims refused to press charges.” He met Steve’s eyes. “It gives me a bad feeling, boss.”
“Yes, me, too,” Steve agreed. He took the file from the desk. “I’ll just have a little look at this,” he decided aloud. “If you hear anything else about him, let me know.”
“Will do, boss,” Kono agreed. He hoped he didn’t hear anything else bad about the man. He did himself few enough favors without adding to a bad reputation on top of everything else.
It seemed inevitable that the first person Danny saw when he entered the hotel was Kekipi. For a horrible moment, he thought that Kekipi was the victim of the robbery, but as he drew closer to the desk where the Hawaiian was arguing with the desk clerk, he realized that the other man was arguing about the fact he was not allowed to leave until the police had spoken to him. Wryly, Danny reflected that he would be even less popular with Kekipi than he already was.
Initially ignoring the other man, Danny flashed his badge at the desk clerk. “Williams, Hawaii Five-O,” he announced.
“Yes, Mr. Williams, we have been expecting you. All the departing guests are in the ballroom waiting for you to talk with them, and HPD is already up at the room.” She smiled expectantly. “Where would you like to go first?”
“I’ll take a look at the crime scene, then come back and speak to the guests,” he decided. “I assume that HPD took a statement from the victim?”
“Yes, sir and she is in the manager’s office at the moment. She is naturally very upset.”
“Naturally,” Danny agreed. He obtained the room number and turned around to find Kekipi had moved into his personal space and was now standing nose-to-nose with him. The belligerent expression on his face alerted Danny to potential trouble.
“I ain’t stayin’ here ‘cos of you,” Kekipi informed the detective bluntly.
“I think you’ll find you are,” Danny replied mildly, biting down on his temper. He saw the HPD officer across the lobby straightening and gestured to him to stay put. The last thing he wanted was for this confrontation to turn even nastier than it already was. “I’ll be back shortly. If you’ll excuse me?” He didn’t wait for Kekipi’s reply, but stepped around the man.
Fortunately, he was expecting trouble, because that was what he got. Kekipi grabbed Danny’s arm and yanked him around, forcing the slighter detective off-balance. Kekipi shouted something too quickly for Danny to grasp, but he was pretty sure that it wasn’t a declaration of undying love. Off-balance Danny might be, but he wasn’t going to allow this man to push him around. With a quick, practiced movement, Danny caught Kekipi by the wrist and twisted, spinning him around, forcing his arm behind his back and shoving him face-first against the reception desk. “That wasn’t polite,” Danny breathed in his ear, his tone hard. “I’m going to let it go this time, but take heed, Kekipi; my eye is on you!” He let go and stepped back. “It’s all right,” he told the HPD officer who had come over. “It was just a misunderstanding.” He gave the glowering Kekipi another hard look and headed for the elevator.
This was not going to be an easy task.
After a quick word with the lab team who were hard at work dusting for prints and collecting evidence, Danny went back down and spoke to the guests who were leaving. He divided the work with the HPD men who were there, getting one of them to speak to Kekipi so that he didn’t have to. He made a mental note to check with Kono about a record. With that part done, he went to the manager’s office to speak to the victim and was horrified to find it was the lady who had come third in the quilting competition.
Her name was Nancy Davidson and she lived on the Big Island. She had returned to her room after breakfast that morning to discover that someone had broken in and stolen not just the valuable check she had won, but also her prize-winning quilt. She appeared to be more upset about the quilt going missing than about the check, an attitude that would have confounded Danny before the weekend. Now, he felt he understood why; the money was nice and very welcome, but the quilt was her own design and irreplaceable. She had made it to commemorate her daughter’s wedding and now she no longer had it to give to the happy couple. Danny promised they would do everything in their power to see that the precious object was returned to her as soon as possible.
Heading to the car, Danny decided his next move would be to go to the lab and see what they had found. Then he would settle down and look at the guest statements and see if he could see any more in them than the HPD officers had. The hotel staff had also been questioned, but they were so busy with their duties that they had seen nothing. The housekeeping staff had been working on a different floor.
“Have you got anything?” Danny asked hopefully, standing carefully just inside the door of the lab. He always felt slightly wary of stepping in and maybe messing something up.
“Not really,” Che Fong, the head of the lab replied. “Just a section of the quilt that was stolen. It must have been torn off by accident.” He proffered the material.
Stepping closer, Danny had a look. A frown crossed his face and he dug his notebook out of his pocket. He had asked Mrs. Davidson to describe her quilt and had planned to ask Kamea to explain the different shapes the lady named. While he might think he knew what a curlicue was, he thought it would be better to get an expert to corroborate it. He glanced at his notes, just to confirm that he was remembering clearly, and then back at the sample. “This isn’t from her quilt,” he declared. “The colors are wrong.”
“Lots of colors on a quilt, bruddah,” Che mused.
“Not on this kind,” Danny replied. “I don’t have time to explain it to you, but trust me. This quilt was done in grey and white only.” The piece in the bag was red and yellow. It was clearly a corner and the intricate quilting and binding were done in a contrasting blue. Danny was not sure he liked the color combination; it unsettled him for some reason. “This must have been dropped by the thief.” That was an unsettling conclusion. Almost all the departing guests they had interviewed that morning had been quilters.
“There are no prints on it,” Che offered. “But fabric is difficult to get prints from.”
“Can I take this?” Danny asked. “I might have a way of identifying who it belongs to.”
“As long as you sign for it,” Che agreed. Nodding, Danny scribbled his name and tucked the bag into his pocket and hurried back to the office.
“And you think Kamea can identify the maker of this quilt just by this scrap?” McGarrett asked skeptically. He looked up from the piece of fabric in his hand to eye his second meaningfully. He quite understood that Danny was enamored of the girl, but this seemed to be taking the initial glow of a new relationship a bit far.
“I’m not certain,” Danny replied, “but I know that she told me something about different patterns and styles and techniques. I didn’t quite grasp it all, but if she might know, then we’d be a step further along the road. It’s also possible that she saw the quilt that this fragment came from.”
Frowning, Steve looked back at the fabric. He wondered if Danny was looking for excuses to spend time with his new girlfriend, but that wasn’t really his style. While he would squeeze in dates at all sorts of extraordinary times, he was not in the habit of shirking his duties to run off and meet someone. He was too like Steve in that respect. “I think it’s a long shot,” he finally said, handing the bag back to the younger man. “But you’re right; we have to take the chance.”
“Thanks,” Danny replied, heading to the door.
“Just don’t be all day,” Steve called after him. He got a wave in reply. It was only after Danny was long gone that Steve remembered about the file on Kekipi.
It was only after he was on the road that it occurred to Danny to wonder if Kamea would be at home. He should have phoned before he left the office so that he didn’t make an unnecessary journey. He consoled himself that it wasn’t that long a drive if she wasn’t at home.
He drove past the University of Hawaii campus and wondered if Akamu was teaching at the moment. The traffic was thinning out slightly as he reached the residential area and he vaguely noticed a pick-up following him. His attention sharpened for a moment, then the vehicle indicated and turned off on a side street. Danny shook his head, wondering if he was paranoid. The hit-and-run, along with the idea that someone had followed him home, made him jumpy. He sighed and concentrated on looking at the street signs, as he wasn’t entirely sure which turning to take. This was not an area he was terribly familiar with.
Another turn appeared ahead, but farther on, he could see a large house on the corner of a road that was familiar and he remembered seeing it when Akamu had driven him back to his car that first day. Content that he knew where he was going, he speeded up slightly.
He was abreast of the first turn-off when he became aware that the pick-up he had seen earlier was bearing down on him from the side street. Mashing the pedal to the metal and yanking the wheel round, his only hope was that he could swerve and accelerate out of trouble.
It was too late. The pick-up smashed into the side of the LTD, just behind the driver’s side door. Danny gasped as the big car was knocked sideways across the road. For an instant, it teetered on two wheels, then crashed into a parked car, which knocked it back upright, but sent it skidding back into the path of the pick-up, which hit it again. The impacts jolted Danny’s hands off the wheel and he was dizzy from the sudden changes of direction. His car slammed back across the road and came to a sudden stop as the engine cut out.
Dazed, head ringing, vision darkening, Danny became aware of someone grabbing at his clothes, yanking him from the car. Good idea, he thought fuzzily. There might be a danger of fire. He tried to get his feet under him, but his legs weren’t taking many instructions from his brain. His knees buckled.
“I warned you,” hissed a voice. Danny thought it ought to be familiar, but his brain was too muddled to remember who it was. “You are not wanted.” A fist crashed into his unprotected midriff and as he doubled over in pain, another blow caught him between the shoulders. Dimly, Danny was aware that he was falling, but there was nothing he could do about it. All the breath had gone from his body and the crash landing face down on the ground tipped him straight into darkness.
“Isn’t Danno back yet?” Steve asked as he got himself a fresh cup of coffee.
“Haven’t seen him,” Chin replied. “Where was he going?” He hadn’t been in the office when Danny left.
“He was going to follow up on a wild goose chase that involved his new girlfriend,” Steve retorted sharply. He had the sudden feeling that Danny had been playing him for a fool earlier. He should have been back from Monoa ages ago, even allowing for a little billing and cooing while he conducted police business. He glanced at May, who had her head down, expecting an explosion. “Has there been anything from him on the radio?”
“Nothing,” May replied.
“See if you can raise him,” Steve requested, “and tell him to get back here wiki-wiki.” He turned on his heel and went into his office, slamming the door behind him. May and Chin exchanged glances before Chin reached for the mic.
“Three… two… one,” May counted and the door of the big office opened once more and Steve grabbed the mug of coffee he had left sitting there. His expression dared the staff to say anything.
The office door shut with a resounding bang as Chin put out a call for Danny.
“I can’t raise him at all,” Chin reported somberly. “There’s no answer at the Kekoa home either.”
“Where the hell is he?” Steve demanded. To the uninitiated, he sounded angry, but to Chin, who knew him so well, there was an undercurrent of worry there. This was not like Danny. He wouldn’t go off with his new girl and ignore his job.
“I’ve put out a BOLO,” Chin offered. “Kono is out there looking for him right now. Do you want me to go out there, too?”
Before McGarrett could answer, May popped her head round the door. “Boss, Kono is on the radio.”
“Thanks, love,” Steve replied, jumping to his feet and hurrying into the outer office. “Yes, Kono?”
“Boss, I found Danny’s car,” Kono reported, sounding anxious. “It’s out in Monoa and it’s been involved in an accident.”
“Is Danno hurt?” Steve demanded.
“Boss…” Kono was not sure how to say this. “There’s no sign of da kaikaina.”
Sound was the first thing to pierce the comforting darkness, but none of it made any sense. It was simply a cacophony and Danny didn’t try to tune in on anything. His head was throbbing and his body hurt and he wanted to simply slide back into the blackness where nothing hurt, but somebody seemed determined to make him wake up, handling him roughly and shouting at him. By the time Danny persuaded an eye to slit open, he had been dropped to the ground and there was nobody anywhere near.
It seemed to Danny that this ought to be something he should worry about, but he couldn’t quite summon the energy for that. It was easier to just close his eyes and drift. He was vaguely aware that he was outside, but it wasn’t until a shower of rain passed over him that he realized that he was cold. Shivering hurt. He forced his eyes open again and blinked until he was able to focus on the grass that his cheek was resting on.
Grass? Somehow, that didn’t seem right. He was almost sure he hadn’t been on grass the last time he was aware of time and place. Frowning, he tried to get his mind to work, but it seemed to be packed with cotton wool. He was pretty sure he had been on a road before… before…
To try and solve this mystery, he started to bring his arms up to push his body up, but pain erupted all round, but especially across his left shoulder. Nausea rose in his throat and he gulped and swallowed, not willing to be sick on top of everything else. His stomach muscles were already protesting his movement.
Subsiding, Danny lay still, concentrating on breathing and allowing everything to settle. He knew he had to get up. He had to figure out where he was and what he was doing there because he was certain that he was in the wrong place. His thoughts were too muddled to remember exactly where he had been going, but he was certain that his destination did not involve grass.
It took several attempts to sit up, but Danny managed it in the end. His head reeled sickeningly and he swallowed desperately against the rising bile in his throat. His left arm dangled uselessly and every movement shot pain through his shoulder. He was pretty sure it was dislocated; he had had a dislocated shoulder once before and remembered the sickening pain only too clearly.
Once he regained his equilibrium, he looked around. He had no idea where he was, except he was certain that this was not where he had been, nor where he had been headed. The rain shower that had roused him had passed over and as the clouds lifted, he was able to look at the mountains and gain an inkling of where he was.
It wasn’t comforting. He guessed he was somewhere near Wahiawa, but he couldn’t be sure exactly where. Far enough from the King Kamehameha Highway, he guessed, to make walking there a real problem, given the condition he appeared to be in. So far, he hadn’t even managed to get to his feet and he was wet to boot.
“Come on, Williams,” he chided himself aloud. “Stop moaning and get on with it.” Wryly, he thought it would have been more convincing if he’d been able to speak louder than a whisper. But he couldn’t just sit there; rescue would not come to him. He would have to meet it at least half way.
Getting to his feet proved to be an almost insurmountable obstacle. His head reeled and for a few minutes he thought he was going to throw up as pain shot through his shoulder and down into his stomach. He felt totally pulped, and standing made his head reel violently. With nothing handy to cling on to, he just had to close his eyes and hope for the best.
Finally opening his eyes, Danny decided he could not just stand there, swaying like a drunk in a high wind. He had to make the effort to start walking. He was still dizzy, but his eyesight seemed to be okay, for which he was grateful. “Move!” he chided himself.
The first step dropped him to his knees with the pain from his shoulder. This time, the nausea won. He retched a couple of times, but it had been a while since he had eaten and there was precious little to come up. Still, it was not a pleasant sensation and he found himself lying in the grass once more.
When Danny had recovered as much as he could, he pushed himself into a sitting position and forced his addled brain into doing a bit of thought. He clearly could not go anywhere with his injured arm unsupported, so he finally hit upon the brilliant idea of tucking it into the front of his jacket. Of course, he had not expected it to be so agonizingly painful to accomplish and when he finally got the arm secured, he spent several minutes leaning heavily on his good hand, panting and hoping that if he puked again, he would not puke into his own lap. That really would be adding insult to injury.
As he staggered to his feet once more, Danny wondered how much time had gone past since he woke up. Looking at his watch was out of the question, since it was on the injured arm, but he guessed, just from the look of the day that it was late in the afternoon. He had, perhaps, two hours before sunset and the last thing he wanted was to be stuck miles from anywhere in the dark. Taking a deep breath, he forced himself to start walking in the direction of the main highway.
The car was badly damaged and Kono had arranged for a tow truck to come and remove it as soon as the crime team was finished with it. There was precious little to see apart from the damage to the car — a couple of skid marks on the road, but no blood and -– most important of all -– no Danno.
“Had he been to Kamea’s home?” Steve asked Kono.
“No,” the detective replied. “They live up there, on that next street to the left. I’m not sure exactly where the house is…” He left the sentence dangling. If necessary, he would find out.
“Better go there and make sure that everything is all right there,” Steve instructed.
“You think Kamea might be in danger, too, boss?” Chin asked.
“I don’t know,” Steve replied, frustrated. “She might be. After all, she was almost killed in that hit-and-run, too. I want someone to keep an eye on her until we get to the bottom of this.” He glanced around. “Have you knocked on the doors?” he asked.
“HPD are doing that right now,” Kono replied, pointing to the uniformed men that Steve could now see moving about the neighborhood. “We’re not holding out much hope of witnesses, though. Most of the people who live here are out at work all day.”
“See what you can do,” Steve sighed, acknowledging that. He glanced around once more, but Danny didn’t miraculously appear as Steve had rather hoped he might. “I’m going back to the Palace,” he announced. “Put out an ABP on Danno.”
As he got back into the Mercury, Steve’s gaze lingered for a moment on the damaged LTD. Where are you, Danno? he wondered.
Leaning up against a convenient tree, Danny closed his eyes and tried to calm his breathing. He had covered a reasonable distance, but it had taken him a good bit more than an hour and he still hadn’t found the highway. Pain was his constant companion and it was draining his energy slowly but surely. Every step caused pain in his shoulder and stumbling was another kind of hell. Now that the light was starting to go, he knew he was in even more danger. It was hard enough walking in daylight, where he could look ahead and see the dips in the land, but as the light faded, he had to look down and looking down was not a good thing. It made him feel very dizzy.
It was only as his chin hit his chest that Danny realize he was almost asleep, standing there leaning on the tree. With a monumental effort, he pushed himself off the support and staggered forward. That rest had been a mistake. He was even more exhausted than he had realized and for the first time, he doubted that he would find the road that night. The prospect of spending the night outdoors was not something he welcomed. Blinking sweat out of his eyes, he tried to persuade his leaden legs to move faster, but it seemed that a shambling walk was the best speed they could manage.
Once more, Danny fell into a kind of reverie. Mechanically, he put one foot in front of the other, stumbling far more often than he cared to, his breath coming in short gasps. He knew that he would not be able to keep going for much longer.
With shocking suddenness, he took a step that landed on asphalt rather than grass. The change in footing knocked his precarious balance completely out of kilter and he tumbled to the road before he could catch himself.
Purely by luck, he didn’t land on his injured shoulder, but the pain was horrific despite that. Winded, exhausted, wet through and in agony, he simply lay on the road, unable to get to his feet. The world was spinning around him. His fingers scrabbled uselessly at the road surface, trying to find a handhold so that he would not fall off the surface on which he lay. Dimly, he knew that he could not fall off the road, but the rational part of his mind was not in control at the moment.
After a time, the spinning slowed and he laid his head down on his arm, his eyes drifting closed of their own accord. Sleep lapped over him in warm waves and he was more than willing to succumb. He had done everything that he could to rescue himself; the next part was up to someone else. With a sigh, he drifted off.
Steve knew he was snapping, but he was unable to stop himself. As the hours stretched out and they were no closer to finding his missing friend, Steve’s nerves were stretched to the limits.
“Boss, HPD have had a call about a body lying on the King Kamehameha Highway!” Kono reported excitedly. “The caller didn’t give their name and said they didn’t stop, but they gave us a location.”
“Where exactly?” Steve asked, breath catching in his throat.
“Up near Wahiawa,” replied the detective.
That was almost 40 minutes’ drive away, Steve realized.
“Get a chopper up there now!” the lead detective ordered. “Tell HPD to keep me posted. Where are you, Kono?”
“I’m at the North Shore,” Kono reported. “Do you want me to head over there?”
“No, come back here,” Steve ordered. “If I’m not here when you arrive, I’ll be at the hospital.”
“I’ll meet you there,” Kono corrected. If it was Danny and the worst had happened… Kono cut the thought off. They would all need to be there. He quickly radioed to Chin.
The wait for the chopper to get to the ‘body’ was the longest 15 minutes or so Steve thought he had ever known. He paced anxiously by the radio, waiting for the call that would tell him if it was his second-in-command or some other poor soul lying out there on the road.
At length, the radio crackled. “HPD to McGarrett. It is Williams. He is alive.”
“Take him to Queens,” McGarrett directed, relief now warring with worry over how badly Danny might be hurt. He snatched a moment to alert the hospital to the arrival of the chopper and ask for Dr Bergman to be told and then hurried out to the car. Ignoring radio protocol, he grabbed the mic. “Kono, Chin, did you hear that?”
“Yeah, boss,” Chin replied and Kono chimed in a moment later. “We’ll meet you there.”
The sound of the helicopter blades was heard before the machine came into sight. Steve stood waiting with the medical personnel as the chopper touched down gently in front of the hospital. They had no real idea of Danny’s condition, because the HPD men on the chopper were not trained in anything other than basic first aid. Danny was beat up and wet, drifting in and out, but more than that they did not know.
As soon as the chopper was down, Bergman led the nursing staff over and they ducked under the blades and Steve could see them lifting a limp body out with great care. He chafed to go over there, but knew that he would only be in the way. As they hurried over to the entrance of the ER, he rushed to join them, peering down on the unconscious body of his friend.
Anxiety flared and McGarrett refused to leave the treatment room, hovering over by the door, listening to everything that was said and trying to gauge the severity of Danny’s condition.
“Get that jacket off and be careful of his shoulder,” Bergman ordered. “Where’s x-ray? Get an IV started.” Berman started to listen to Danny’s chest. After a moment, he nodded. “What’s his BP?”
“Slightly high, doctor,” the nurse reported. “135/110.”
“That’s probably from the pain,” Bergman deduced. He shook his patient’s good arm gently. “Danny? Danny, I need you to wake up for me.”
The only response was a slight rolling away of Danny’s head. Bergman tried once more with no results. Steve stepped forward without being asked. “Danno, it’s time to wake up,” he ordered. He glanced briefly at the nurse. “I need his clothes for evidence.”
There was no immediate response to him either, and Bergman smirked slightly in the direction of the head of Five-O, but then Danny groaned and his eyes opened. “Huh?” He blinked against the lights and squinted around the room. “Where…?”
“Danny, you’re at Queens,” Bergman told him gently. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“Um… I was … outside,” Danny remembered, his voice gravelly. “On grass. Not meant to be on grass,” he continued, sounding confused. He tried to move and a cry of pain escaped his lips.
“Don’t move!” Bergman warned, too late. “Tell me what hurts?”
“Everything,” Danny replied, when he regained control again. “My shoulder, my stomach.” As the fluid dripping into his veins started to take effect, he was becoming more coherent. “So tired.”
“You just rest, but I need you to stay awake for me, Danny,” Bergman ordered. “Steve, you talk to him. I don’t want him to go back to sleep just yet.”
“Steve?” Danny forced open his eyes again and a tentative smile crossed his face. “You all right?”
“I’m fine,” Steve told him. “It’s not me lying on that examination table.” He touched Danny’s arm gently to keep him awake. “Do you remember what happened?”
“No,” Danny sighed. “What happened?”
At Doc’s slight nod, Steve prompted him. “You had a car accident.”
Danny jerked as though someone had touched him with a cattle prod. He let out a strangled cry as his shoulder protested, but clearly the memory had returned. “The pick-up!” he cried. “He hit me.”
“Easy, Danny, easy,” Steve soothed, shooting an alarmed glance at Doc.
“I thought he was following me,” Danny explained, the adrenaline from the memory boosting his body for a few moments. “Then he turned off, but he came at me side on.” His eyes were wide. “Kamea!”
“She’s fine,” Steve soothed. “We’ve got her looked after. Just relax.” He gestured to the nurse to give him Danny’s suit jacket and anxiously felt in the pocket. If the piece of quilt had gone, they were in trouble. However, the little bag containing the evidence was tucked safely in an inside pocket. Steve slipped it into his own pocket for safe keeping. “Tell me about the pick-up.”
“It was white and dirty,” Danny replied. “He came at me from a side street and hit me side-on.”
“Did you see the driver?” Steve asked.
“No,” Danny replied uncertainly. “He spoke…” he remembered and frowned, trying to dredge up the words. “’I warned you’,” he quoted. “’You are not wanted’.”
His pulse quickening, Steve leaned over his friend, ignoring Bergman’s scowl. “Did you recognize his voice, Danno?” he asked, trying to hide his excitement.
“Not sure,” Danny replied. The brief burst of adrenaline had worn off and he felt even more exhausted. He tried to think, but couldn’t get his mind in gear.
“That’s enough,” Bergman warned quietly. “Danny, do you remember hitting your head?” Bergman felt all around Danny’s head for knots and bumps, but found nothing.
“No,” Danny sighed.
The x-ray machine arrived and they adjourned to the corridor for a few moments, Steve looking enquiringly at Doc as Kono and Chin joined them. “Well?” Steve asked.
“From what I can see, his worst injury is the dislocated shoulder,” Bergman replied. “He’s sore from the accident, but I don’t think there’s anything broken, but obviously I’ll have to wait for the x-rays to confirm that.”
“What about his confusion?” Steve asked. “Has he hit his head?”
“I don’t think so,” Bergman replied. “Again, I need to wait for the x-rays to confirm that, but I think perhaps he’s got a touch of whiplash. Being thrown about like that in a car can cause all sorts of injuries. I think if we get the pain under control and let him have a good sleep, he’ll remember a whole lot more.” He saw the relieved looks on all three detectives’ faces. “What’s going on here, Steve? Is someone out to get Danny?”
“I’m not sure, Doc,” Steve replied, frustration clear in his tone. “But it’s something we can’t rule out. We just have to figure out who and why.”
An hour later, Danny was safely tucked up in a hospital bed, his shoulder back in place and his arm completely immobilized. He was in remarkably good shape, considering the damage done to the LTD. The only odd thing was a large round bruise at the base of his neck. Steve surmised that Danny had been hit there by someone’s fist. The size of the bruise matched the ones on Danny’ stomach and indicated that his attacker was quite a big man.
Turning, Steve saw Kamea standing there. She was pale and her father was with her, as was the HPD officer who had been assigned to protect her.
“Kamea. How are you?” Steve went across to her and introduced himself to her father.
“I’m fine. How’s Danny?” Her anxiety was clear as she blinked away tears.
“He’s going to be just fine,” Steve assured her. “Would you like to see him? He’s asleep at the moment.”
“Yes, please.” She followed closely behind Steve as he led her to the room where Danny slept. “What happened to him?” she asked. “And why have I got a police guard?”
“Danny was involved in a car accident,” Steve explained. “Someone deliberately rammed him. He was on the way to talk to you, and since we don’t know who attacked him or why, we thought it would be far safer for you to have an escort until we sort this out. We don’t know if the person is after just Danny or just you or both of you.”
“Who could it be?” Kamea asked. “Who would want to hurt Danny or me?”
“That’s what I’m going to find out,” Steve promised. He stopped by the door of Danny’s room and introduced her to the guard, adding her name to the allowed list of visitors. He opened the door and ushered her in. For a moment, he debated about leaving, but when Kamea gasped and covered her mouth, the tears welling once more, he decided to stay.
Walking slowly over to the bed, Kamea stood for a moment looking down on the sleeping man. She hadn’t known him for very long and they hadn’t been officially ‘going out’ for very long, but Kamea knew at that moment that she loved him. “Danny?” she whispered and touched his arm gently.
To her surprise, his eyes opened and focused on her. She could see that he was quite dopey, but he clearly knew her. “Kamea,” he whispered. He fumbled to grasp her hand and she twined his fingers into hers.
Forcing a smile onto her face, she leant down to kiss him. “I came to see how you’re doing,” she told him. “Now don’t you go chasing any of those pretty nurses, do you hear?”
A smile crossed his wan face. “I don’t need a pretty nurse,” he whispered in groggy gallantry. “I have a beautiful quilter.”
“Flattery will get you everywhere,” Kamea teased. “You need to get some rest now and get better.”
“Love you,” Danny breathed and his eyes closed as he succumbed to the sedating effects of the painkillers.
“I love you, too,” she replied and as she turned from the bed, she blushed to see Steve still standing there.
Although he had heard the whole exchange and was touched by the scene, Steve didn’t let on he had heard any of it. “You can come and visit whenever you like,” he told her. “I’m sure a visit from you will make him feel a whole lot better. Promise me, though, that you won’t ditch your guard.”
“I promise, Mr. McGarrett,” she vowed.
“Good,” Steve smiled. “And call me Steve.” He smiled at her startled look.
“Steve, we’ve found the pick-up,” Chin said, sticking his head around the office door.
“Where?” Steve demanded, thinking that at last they had a break on this case.
“It was abandoned down at Diamond Head,” Chin explained. “It was stolen this morning from near the university. Che has matched paint samples from the bumper to the samples he took from Danny’s car.”
Frustrated, Steve thumped his fist onto the desk. “We just aren’t getting anywhere!” he snarled, although he knew it was not Chin’s fault. A thought suddenly struck him. “I’m going out,” he announced. “You and Kono head on for home. It’s late.”
“Where are you going?” Chin asked.
“Danny was going to speak to Kamea about that scrap of fabric they found in the hotel room. He didn’t get there because of the accident, and when I saw Kamea at the hospital, it slipped my mind.” He had been too caught up in thinking about possible ramifications if Danny was serious about Kamea. Danny getting married would undoubtedly change the dynamics of Five-O. As he had done earlier, he shoved that worry into a compartment of his mind. He didn’t enlighten Chin as to why the fabric had slipped his mind.
“Better be careful,” the Chinese detective warned.
“I’ll be fine,” Steve promised. “See you in the morning.”
He followed his other two detectives out of the building and promised them both that he would not return there that night. After he saw Kamea, he was going to return to the hospital for a while before going home to get some sleep. He drove out to Monoa and found the Kekoa home. There were lights on and the HPD car was parked outside. Steve nodded to the officer as he headed to the door.
“Mr. McGarrett!” Akamu exclaimed in surprise. “To what do we owe this honor? Do come in.” He ushered the head of Five-O inside and into the homely living room.
“I wanted to ask Kamea about something,” Steve explained. “Is she here?” Since her police guard was outside, she had better be there, Steve thought ominously, or he would know the reason why.
“Yes, she’s upstairs, sewing. Would you like to come up?” Akamu led the way up a couple of floors into what was clearly a converted attic. Floor to ceiling windows covered one wall and there were heavy duty spotlights flooding the area now that it was dark. Kamea was standing at a table, carefully cutting a length of fabric.
“Hold on,” she muttered in a pre-occupied voice and continued with her task until the fabric lay in two sections. Only then did she sweep her hair away from her face, straighten up and lay down her large, heavy scissors. “Steve,” she said, blankly and then horror swept over her face. “It’s not Danny, is it?”
“No, it’s not Danny,” he soothed. “He’s fine.” He found a smile. “It’s you I came to see. May I come in?”
“Of course. What can I do for you?”
“I want to ask your advice,” Steve replied, “but I would also like to see some of your work if I may.”
“Of course.” Kamea got out some of her quilts and finally showed him the one that had won her the prize just a few short days ago. Steve was very impressed and said so. He appreciated artistic talent, in whatever form it manifested itself.
“That is magnificent,” Steve declared after looking at the quilt from a distance and also close up. “Thank you for showing it to me. That brings me to why I need your advice. This was found at a crime scene and Danny thought perhaps you might recognize the pattern or the stitches.” He tried to keep any doubt out of his voice.
“If it’s a quilt I’ve seen, then yes, I should be able to identify it,” Kamea replied. “Quilters are like writers; they have a particular style, especially if they have been doing it for some time. Like anything, it takes time for your style to evolve, but you tend to have a fondness for certain types of colors, or shapes or quilting stitches or…” She saw from his face that he was following along, but she was starting to lose him. “Let me see it.”
Fishing in his pocket for the bag, Steve handed it over. Kamea took it and from the look on her face, he knew at once that she recognized the pattern. She turned the piece over to look at the underside and then back at the patterned surface.
“You know who made this.” It was not a question.
Sinking into a seat, Kamea nodded, holding the scrap of fabric out to Steve. He took it from her and returned it safely to his pocket. “Yes, I know,” she agreed quietly. “It was Kekipi.” She looked up at Steve, her face full of misery. “He told me he’d made it for me, so that I would love him.” She swallowed. “He was very angry when I thanked him, told him I couldn’t take the quilt and that I wasn’t interested in him romantically.”
Sitting down opposite Kamea, Steve took a deep breath. “Tell me about Kekipi,” he requested.
“I’ve known him since I went to university,” Kamea replied. “He came in to one of my classes to talk to us about quilting -– I studied textiles at university,” she explained. Steve nodded. “I asked him quite a lot of questions, because quilting was always what I wanted to do, and he asked me if I wanted to go for a drink to talk about it some more.” She flushed and glanced up at Steve. “I’m not stupid, Steve; I said no. But after that, I seemed to meet him in a lot of places. He turned up at classes I took, sometimes quilting and sometimes taking them and I got to know him. He made it quite plain that he had a fancy for me, but…” She stopped and looked into the middle distance. “There’s something about him that scares me a bit. I don’t quite know why. I could never go out with him and since I met Danny… You’ll think I’m foolish, but Danny is the one for me.”
“Thank you,” Steve said, patting her hand gently. “I don’t think you’re at all foolish. In fact, I think Danno is a very lucky man.” He rose and Kamea stood with him. “Thank you for your help. Kamea, I don’t want to frighten you, but I must ask again that you stick close to your guard at all times, all right?”
“Do you think Kekipi would hurt me?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” Steve replied. “But Danny would never forgive me if harm comes to you.”
“I think Danny would forgive you a lot of things,” she observed wisely. “I’ll stay close to the guard.” She smiled bravely, but Steve could see that she was naturally frightened. “Do you think Kekipi is behind this?”
“I don’t know,” Steve hedged. “We need to look into it.” He squeezed her hand and took the liberty of kissing her cheek. “See you soon. Thank you once again.”
“No doubt I’ll see you at the hospital,” Kamea agreed. Steve smiled at her as he left.
Once back in the car, Steve issued an APB for Kekipi Monona.
“There’s no sign of him anywhere,” Kono reported the next morning. “His house is empty. His car was there, though.”
“Go on,” Steve urged, sensing from Kono’s tone that there was something significant about the car.
“It’s a four-door sedan,” Kono reported. “It’s a faded red; the kind of color that looks brown under the street lights.”
McGarrett’s gaze sharpened on the Hawaiian detective. “Have you examined it?”
“Che is looking it over right now,” Kono replied.
“Good,” Steve commented. He didn’t think it was likely there would still be traces of the hit-and-run after a couple of weeks, but you could never be sure.
“We found Kekipi’s prints in the stolen pick-up,” Chin informed their boss. “The island is sealed and we’re as sure as we can be that he didn’t skip out yesterday before we got the APB out.”
“Somebody must know where he is,” Steve commented. “Hit the streets and see if we can’t get a sniff of him.” He collected nods, but neither detective moved. “What else?” Steve asked.
“When we searched Kekipi’s place, we found the stolen quilt, as well as some of the less valuable items that have been stolen recently from the hotel rooms,” Chin reported. “It looks like Kekipi has been supplementing his income by stealing.”
“Good work,” McGarrett complimented them. He glanced at Kono. “You know him best, Kono. How far do you think he would go?”
“I dunno, boss,” Kono responded uncomfortably. “I never met the guy, but from what I’ve heard, people are scared of him. He can be violent, we know that. But I can’t guess if he would kill.”
Unsatisfied by the answer but knowing that he couldn’t expect miracles, Steve nodded. “Thanks, Kono.” He watched the detectives leave. After a few moments, he got to his feet. “May, I’m going to the hospital,” he announced. He needed to speak to Danny.
A good night’s sleep had certainly helped Danny’s mental acuity, even if his body was still protesting loud and long about being knocked about so much the previous day. He eased himself against the pillows, wincing and hissing at the pain, even as he tried to look healthy. He wanted out of the hospital, but knew that Steve would refuse to help him if he looked too sick.
“So it was Kekipi,” Danny muttered. “But why…”
“The oldest motives in the world,” Steve replied. “Love and money. He seems to have fallen hard for Kamea and when you came on the scene, it reinforced to him that she wasn’t ever going to love him. We don’t know yet if he started stealing to have more money for wooing Kamea, but we will find that out.”
“I’m surprised he didn’t kill me, then,” Dan commented. “With me out of the way, his path to Kamea would be open.”
“I wondered about that, too,” Steve agreed. “I could be completely wrong, but this is what I think: Kamea is pretty strong-minded for a young woman. If he killed you, one way or another we would have found out about it. There is no way that Kamea would look near him if she knew he had had a hand in your death. But if he managed to frighten you away from her, his path would be clear and she would never know why you dropped out of her life. He’s got a record of frightening people and he seems to be very effective. None of his previous victims have been willing to talk to us about him.”
“Do you think he’ll come after me again?” Danny asked. He glanced towards the door. “I know I’ve got a guard.”
“Kamea has a guard as well,” Steve mentioned. “I want both of you safe until we have Kekipi behind bars. I don’t know if he would try to come after you again, but better safe than sorry.”
There was logic there, even if Danny didn’t want to admit to it. He knew that in a fight, he would come off second best to the Hawaiian, who outweighed him and was a good bit taller. Plus at the moment, he was less than fit. It galled him to admit that a guard might well be a good idea. “Has Doc said when I’m getting out of here?” He tried to sit up a bit straighter, but his body had other ideas.
“Not yet,” Steve replied. “I don’t want you rushing to get out of here before Doc gives the go-ahead,” he warned. “A car accident, however minor, is not something to brush off lightly. I can see you’re really sore.”
Biting back the undignified whine that he really wanted to voice, Danny nodded briefly. He could tell from Steve’s tone of voice that he was not going to aid and abet an escape attempt that day and, in truth, he was not sure he would be able to walk out of the hospital under his own steam, no matter how much he wanted to leave. He had not yet been allowed out of bed and he knew from past experience that dressing one-handed was easier said than done after a dislocated shoulder.
“Don’t worry,” Steve added. “We’ll find Kekipi before you get out of here.” His easy confidence was a balm to Danny’s injured pride.
“Just keep Kamea safe,” Danny urged.
Steve nodded. “We will,” he promised.
Later that morning, Danny was helped out of bed and urged to move around. He was sore, but getting moving helped a lot. A long hot shower loosened more muscles as did the mild muscle relaxant that Doc prescribed. He was not pleased to be told he would not be going home that day, but the drugs were making him really drowsy and he didn’t have the wherewithal to put up much of a fight. He was sure he’d be fine by morning.
Kamea’s arrival was another factor that reconciled him to staying in bed. She came in, startling Danny by greeting Steve by his Christian name before she came over and kissed the patient. She sat on the edge of the bed, took his hand and suddenly it didn’t seem such a bad thing that he was in a hospital bed.
As Steve smirked his way through his farewells, Danny pondered on his girlfriend’s familiarity with his boss, who seemed equally at home with Kamea. When had they had the chance to become friends? “It hasn’t taken you long to get friendly with Steve,” he observed when McGarrett had gone.
“No, it hasn’t,” Kamea agreed calmly. “I’m kind of surprised, though. I thought he’d be difficult to get to know, but he’s been so lovely.”
“Hey wait a minute,” Danny teased. “You’re my girlfriend, not his!”
“Don’t be so silly,” Kamea chided him. “As if I’d look at him –- at anyone –- when I have you.” She leaned over and they exchanged another kiss to their very mutual satisfaction. “So, when do you get out of here?” she asked.
“Tomorrow,” Danny sighed. “I tried to persuade Doc to let me go today, but he wasn’t having it and Steve was no help.”
“Steve clearly knows how to follow doctor’s orders,” Kamea observed and Danny burst out laughing.
“Let me tell you, Steve makes me look like a model patient!” Danny sniggered. Laughing still hurt, but in a perverse kind of way, it felt good, too. “He leaves AMA all the time.”
“Don’t tell my mother that!” Kamea laughed, trying to picture Steve sneaking out of the hospital. It wasn’t really working for her. “She’d have a fit.”
“I value my hide,” Danny joked, remembering that Mrs. Kekoa was a nurse. He felt better than he had all day. His relationship with Kamea was so easy and natural. He realized that thoughts of her were never far from the surface of his mind. “Always on my mind,” he murmured.
Smirking, Danny drew her closer. “You,” he amplified. “You’re always on my mind.”
“Isn’t there a song called that?” she asked. Elvis had had a hit with it a few months before. She wondered if he was being facetious.
“Trust me,” Danny smiled. “You really don’t want me to sing it to you.” He kissed her again. “I don’t want to scare you off.”
“Nothing you could do could scare me off,” Kamea assured him quietly. “Nothing. Danny, I love you.”
It was an important declaration from a courageous young woman. Danny recognized it as such and knew that the majority of people they knew would think it was far too soon for her to know that she was in love with him, but Danny was well aware of the punch-drunk statement he had issued the night before and he had meant the words then and he meant them now that he was not doped out of his head.
“I love you, too, Kamea,” he told her, raising his good hand to stroke her cheek. “When all this is over and you think the time is right, I will speak to your father and any kahuna you want me to. I want to spend my life with you.”
“Is that a proposal?” Kamea whispered, her dark eyes luminous with tears.
“Not yet,” Danny denied. “I want to be able to get down on one knee with a ring when I do that, and I don’t want a threat hanging over us. We need some time to just be with each other first.” He kissed her gently. “And you need to see what it’s like to be with a cop. It might not be the way you think it is. This isn’t the first time I’ve been hospitalized.” He knew from past experience that the harsh realities of his life could chase away girls.
“It might not be the last, either,” Kamea agreed. “I know you’re right, my love, but I can’t imagine a life without you. I can wait for a proposal, Danny Williams, but not for too long.”
“No, definitely not for too long,” Danny said huskily.
They sealed their pact with a kiss.
Although still rather stiff and sore the next morning, Danny was moving more easily. He dressed with a little help from the nurses and his HPD guard for the day informed him that Steve had given strict instructions that Dan was to go home and stay there. Despite Steve’s promise, Kekipi was still at large.
The drugs he had been given to help with the pain still kept him drowsy and Dan was disgusted to realize that he had fallen asleep on his couch and lost a good part of the day. Rising carefully, he vowed to only take the pills if he really had to and splashed his face with water to try and help waken up.
Feeling more alert, he made an effort to persuade his escort to take him to the Palace, but the man was far more intimidated by McGarrett than he was of the injured, slow-moving second-in-command and Danny had to accept that he was trapped in the apartment. He couldn’t even phone Kamea because she had already had plans for the day that she couldn’t cancel.
By the time Steve showed up that evening with some food, Danny was all but climbing the walls with boredom. “So what’s happening with Kekipi?” he asked as he took his first bite.
His own mouth full, Steve made an eloquent face as he quickly chewed and swallowed. “He’s vanished,” he replied in disgust.
“Relatives?” Danny asked around a mouthful of food. He had suddenly realized he was starving and was not as fussy about his table manners as he usually was.
Throwing his second a disgusted look that had no discernible effect, Steve shook his head. “His parents are dead, he has no siblings and his only cousin lives on the mainland and hasn’t had contact in years.” It was a personal affront to Steve that he had been unable to keep his blithe promise of a couple of days ago and find Kekipi before Danny got out of hospital.
“He can’t hide forever,” Danny sighed philosophically, his mouth empty this time.
“No and he can’t get off the rock,” Steve agreed. “Still, someone must know where he is and nobody’s talking.”
“Is he really that dangerous?” asked Danny and Steve knew at once that his friend was not worried about his own safety but Kamea’s.
“Yes, I think he is,” the older man stated after a little more thought on the matter. “Don’t worry; I’ll keep Kamea safe for you.”
At that, Dan’s eyes flashed up from his plate to lock with Steve’s and searched there for something -– derision? mockery? –- that he didn’t find. Color mounted in Danny’ face as he realized that Steve somehow understood how much Kamea meant to him — understood and approved. It warmed Danny right through. “Mahalo, Steve,” he murmured huskily. “Mahalo nui loa.” It seemed a woefully inadequate response to his friend’s generosity, but it was all he could manage.
“She’s ohana,” Steve brushed it off. “Thanks are not necessary.”
As Danny recovered his strength over the next few days, he split his time between his home, the Palace and Kamea. He was frustrated that his immobilized arm prevented him from resuming full duty, but he had to admit to himself that even if his shoulder had been all right, the rest of his body was not yet ready for wild car chases with Steve driving or any foot chases that might occur. The few hours he spent at his desk each day allowed him to catch up on paperwork –- everyone else’s as well as his own!
The evenings were spent with Kamea, who had been contacted by Miss Yuki, the quilting mistress she wanted to study with, and she was busy making some things to send to the old lady. Danny watched the progress with awe and only laughed when Kamea suggested she could teach him to sew. He thought he probably owned a needle and thread but where they would be was anyone’s guess.
The only thing that marred their days was the fact that Kekipi was still at large. Kamea looked strained and Danny was beginning to feel claustrophobic.
On the Friday morning, Kamea phoned Danny at work. “Mom and Dad were going to the luau at the Ilikai hotel tomorrow night,” she told him. “But mom’s been called in to cover an extra shift so dad has offered us the tickets. Do you fancy going?”
“Sounds great,” Danny agreed. He had been to quite a few of the luaus at the Ilikai, and although they were aimed at the tourists, they were usually good fun. It might be just what they needed to take their minds off their woes. “I’m seeing Doc this afternoon, so perhaps I’ll have two arms to hold you with tomorrow.”
“See you there,” Kamea concluded.
“That’s the first smile I’ve seen in a while,” Steve commented, hovering by the coffee pot.
“Kamea and I are going to the Ilikai luau tomorrow night,” Danny told him. “I’m hoping Doc will say I’m okay to use this arm again. We can dance properly.” He saw the anticipatory smile slide off Steve’s face. “What?” he asked defensively.
Knowing that Danny was feeling cooped up, Steve knew that he would have to choose his words carefully so that Danny did not lose his temper. “It will be more difficult for your guards to protect you,” he offered as neutrally as he could.
The urge to shout something rude was almost overwhelming. Danny snapped his mouth shut and turned his gaze out of the window as he fought for control. “I know that,” he managed at last, his tone barely civil. “But we’re still going.” He turned to look at his friend. “We can’t live our lives in sterile boxes. I won’t let Kekipi force us into a life of imprisonment. If I do, he has won!”
The urge to snap that the guard was for Danny’s own good and would remain in place forever if necessary was just as powerful as his friend’s anger, but Steve fought it down. He had been in a similar position a time or two and had also chafed against the restrictions. “I know, aikane,” Steve soothed. “That was just my clumsy way of trying to express concern. I hope you both have a good time.” He was relieved to see the tension and anger drain from Dan’s face. Even as he shepherded his friend out to his doctor’s appointment, Steve knew that he would spend the following evening in an agony of apprehension.
The sheer relief of being able to use his arm even though it was supposed to be in a limited fashion was enough to set Danny into a great mood for the weekend. He spent Saturday morning at the shooting range and was relieved that the injury had not affected his aim. The ache in the healing muscles could almost be forgotten in the sense of freedom that he felt.
After finishing at the range, Danny went shopping and bought Kamea an orchid lei. It was very expensive but exquisite and Danny knew she would love it. His next stop was a jeweler, where he bought her a pair of small diamond earrings. He also had a look at the different styles of engagement rings -– and prices! The jeweler was disappointed that the ring was not going to be bought that day, but Danny, while sure that Kamea was the one for him, would not be pushed into buying a ring before he thought Kamea was ready.
He spent a couple of hours on the beach that afternoon, just kicking back and relaxing, swimming a little but being good and not overdoing things and not trying to shake off his dutiful shadow.
His escort for the evening turned out to be Duke Lukela. Dan liked the older man; they worked together quite often. He knew that Duke would be discreet in the performance of his duties.
When Kamea arrived, she was wearing a colorful muumuu and the white orchid lei enhanced her beauty. Kamea thanked him with a kiss and then, arm in arm, they went to find a table while Duke flashed his shield at the manager and explained his and the other cop’s presence.
It was a wonderful evening. Duke, as Danny had hoped, proved very discreet and it was almost possible for the young couple to pretend they did not have a pair of watchdogs. They ate and drank and talked and a couple of hours into the evening, Danny gave Kamea the earrings he had bought. She was thrilled and put them on at once, discarding the ones she had been wearing into her purse.
It was growing late as the guests at the luau gathered on the sand to watch some fireworks. Dan and Kamea were on the edge of the crowd, right where the shadows began. They were more interested in each other than in the fireworks, and when Kamea stiffened suddenly and stepped back out of a kiss after a particularly loud explosion, Danny was surprised. Opening his eyes, he saw that Kamea’s eyes were wide and it wasn’t caused by delight. Standing slightly behind Kamea was Kekipi and he had a gun nestled against her side.
“Do exactly what I say, haole,” he warned, “or I will kill her now.”
His mouth dry, Danny nodded. He would take no chances unless Kekipi showed signs of taking Kamea away and leaving him behind.
“We go this way,” the Hawaiian ordered and stepped smoothly into the shadows, taking Kamea with him. Danny followed, not even glancing around at their escorts.
It was scary how easy it was to slip unseen into the darkness. The intermittent light from the fireworks was enough to show Danny that Kekipi had a firm hold of Kamea and to show Kekipi that Danny was obeying orders.
About 20 feet along the beach, Kekipi stopped and pulled a roll of duct tape from his pocket. He tossed it to Danny, who caught it easily. “Tape her hands behind her and do it properly or I blow a hole in her.” To emphasize his words, he placed the barrel against the girl’s forehead.
Gently taping Kamea’s hands, Danny squeezed her fingers in what he hoped was a reassuring manner. She clutched his fingers fiercely in return but gave no other outward sign of fear. Danny’s heart swelled with love.
When Danny was done, Kekipi pushed Kamea down onto the sand and indicated to Danny to turn around. Seething, for Kekipi was too close to Kamea for him to try anything, Danny did as he was told, full expecting Kekipi to blow his brains out. To his surprise, his hands were jerked behind him and securely taped together. His shoulder protested the movement, but there was nothing Danny could do about that. A strip of tape over their lips ensured silence and they were prodded a bit further along the beach and then up to the road.
A battered car stood there. Danny swallowed when the trunk was opened and Kekipi ordered him to get in. He had no choice and his feet were taped once he was in. Then the lid slammed shut. Danny feared he was going to be left there to die while Kekipi went elsewhere with Kamea, but the others got into the car and the engine started and the car began to move.
Where were they being taken and would anyone ever find them?
“Where are they?” Duke demanded.
The other cop, an HPD patrolman called Harrison, shrugged unhappily. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “They just disappeared. One minute they were there on the edge of the crowd, the next they had gone.” Duke had been in the men’s room and when he returned, Harrison admitted that Danny and Kamea had vanished.
Cursing, Duke pulled out his walkie-talkie and issued an alert. “Where exactly were they?” he demanded and Harrison led him over to the beach.
The fireworks were over and people were drifting away. The sand was pretty churned up, but to Duke’s trained eyes, there were three sets of footprints leading away into the dark. “Get me a flashlight,” he ordered. “Hurry!” There was no point in going any further without light. Duke knew he had to use the few moments he had to alert Steve McGarrett to the problem. It wasn’t something he looked forward to doing.
The ringing phone was exactly the thing Steve had dreaded hearing all evening. He had been unsettled since Danny had announced the evening’s plans the previous afternoon and the discomfort in his gut had just grown worse over time. Now, he knew. “McGarrett,” he barked.
“Steve, its Duke.”
“What went wrong?” Steve asked, closing his eyes. Why didn’t I try and make Danno listen to sense?
“I don’t know, but it looks as though they’ve been taken right off the beach here. I’ve found some tracks, and I’m just waiting for light to follow them. I’ve alerted HPD.”
“I’ll be right there!” Steve promised. “You follow those tracks! I want them found wiki-wiki!”
Grabbing his jacket, Steve hurried to the door. He knew Kekipi had to be at the back of the young couple’s disappearance. Where had he been hiding? And more importantly, where was he taking them now?
It was slow going following the tracks through the sand. One of the people who had made the tracks seemed to be going out of their way to make the tracks obvious and Duke suspected it was Danny. Slightly further on, they found a place where someone seemed to have fallen and the tracks milled over one another before finally continuing in the same general direction. When Duke realized that they were now angling towards the road, he alerted the HPD men to start heading in that direction.
There were more clues on the road. Oil stains indicated a car had sat there for some period of time. Duke cursed, for that meant that further tracking was out of the question. However, proof that he had been following the right tracks was provided by Kamea’s purse, the sparkles on the evening bag glinting in the flashlight’s beam as it lay discarded on the ground.
A car appeared around the bend of the road and skidded to a halt. Duke recognized Steve’s Mercury and his impatient style of driving. He braced himself for the inevitable onslaught of worried McGarrett, and beside him, the hapless Harrison gulped audibly.
“What the hell happened?” Steve demanded. “How could you lose them?” He fixed both men with a penetrating glare.
Wilting under the intense scrutiny, Harrison remained mute. Duke quickly filled in what details he knew. Steve’s furious gaze fastened on the patrolman. “How did you miss seeing them moving?” he demanded angrily. “What were you doing?”
“I just glanced away for a second,” the terrified man replied. “I looked at the fireworks, just for a moment and when I looked back, they were gone.”
Dismissing him mentally, Steve focused on Duke. “Do you think they were taken, or do you think they sneaked off deliberately?”
“They were taken,” Duke declared firmly. “I followed three sets of tracks to this point and this is Kamea’s evening bag. It has to be Kekipi.”
“Yes, but where has he taken them and why?” That was the burning question and it was one there was no answer to.
The car journey was not long, but more than long enough to Danny cramped into the small trunk. He braced himself as the trunk lid was yanked open and Kekipi smirked down at him for a moment before cutting the tape that kept Danny’s feet bound and then hauled the hapless detective part way out of the car. Fortunately, Danny was athletic enough to be able to get the rest of the way out unaided. He glanced around, making eye contact with Kamea. He didn’t immediately recognize the area where they were and before he could try and spot any other landmarks, they were hustled inside the small house the car was parked beside.
The house was basically one long room, divided loosely into kitchen, living and sleeping areas. A door at one end led, Danny guessed, to a bathroom. The kitchen had a stove, a sink, a small fridge and a couple of cupboards. There were dishes piled in the sink. It looked familiar to Danny, who also was inclined to pile dishes in the sink if he was too tired to stack the dishwasher. The living area was dominated by a large table and there were piles of different fabrics scattered over the few hard chairs that comprised the rest of the furniture. The sleeping area was similarly sparsely furnished with a bed and a single wardrobe. Danny guessed they were in Kekipi’s home. He ached to speak, to question Kekipi, to push him a bit, to find out what the Hawaiian intended. Danny could see no good way out of this, especially for him.
Carefully clearing a chair, Kekipi pushed Kamea to sit down and took the tape from her mouth. She couldn’t contain a gasp as the tape ripped off her face and Kekipi reached out to stroke her cheek. She instinctively recoiled, and the large man’s face darkened in anger. Danny caught Kamea’s eye and shook his head. She had to play along with whatever Kekipi intended to do. That might their only chance. She seemed to understand and meekly allowed the repulsive contact.
With Kekipi mollified for the moment, he turned his attention to Danny. “Get on your knees, haole,” he ordered harshly. “You show respect to the native Hawaiian.” He roughly pushed Danny down and bound the kneeling man’s feet with tape again.
“What are you going to do with us?” Kamea asked. It wasn’t her normal confident tone, but under the circumstances, it was a creditable attempt.
“I’m going to let you watch this haole die and then we will go to the kahuna and be married,” he replied. He reached out to stroke her face again.
“You don’t need to kill him,” Kamea suggested. “He’ll go away if I tell him to.”
“He is haole,” Kekipi ranted. “His kind pollute the islands. One less will not matter. I promised the gods a sacrifice and he is it. With his death, the gods will be appeased and our union will be blessed. I will teach you everything I know about quilts and together we will be unsurpassed.”
“I won’t be able to help you with my hands tied,” she responded with some asperity.
“I know, my love,” Kekipi soothed. “Soon I will free you, but not yet. First the haole has to die.” He stepped over to Danny and grabbed a handful of hair, jerking the detective’s head backwards at an uncomfortable angle.
It was clear that Kamea was completely out of her depth trying to deal with Kekipi. Danny was not surprised. He was out of his depth, too and there was nothing he could say to help her out. He scanned the room for a weapon, or something that he could use to free his hands. On the table lay several pairs of scissors. Any one of them would make short work of the duct tape.
Abruptly, Kekipi let go of Danny’s hair and pushed the kneeling man viciously. Danny, unprepared, toppled over, groaning as his recovering shoulder took the brunt of the landing. Kamea looked at him, anguish in her eyes. Danny met her gaze and then looked towards the scissors. He did it another couple of times before Kamea nodded her understanding of what he wanted.
During this exchange, Kekipi was rummaging in a drawer in the kitchen. To Danny’s horror, he produced a large butcher’s knife and butcher’s steel and began to run the long blade up and down, sharpening it carefully. Fear coursed through Danny’s belly. There was no time to wait! Kamea had to get him those scissors now. He struggled to get back onto his knees.
For a moment, Kamea was frozen with fear, then as Kekipi tested the edge of the blade against an orange lying on the sink, she moved. The blade sliced through the fruit effortlessly. Kamea grabbed the nearest pair of scissors with her bound hands and crouched to cut through the tape keeping Danny captive.
Kekipi let out a yell of anger as he saw what Kamea was doing. She jumped and dropped the scissors. Danny fought against the partially cut tape, but it resisted his efforts. He fumbled for the scissors and managed to grab them as Kekipi went after Kamea, his hand raised to strike her.
With no thoughts for his own safety, Danny threw himself against Kekipi’s legs, knocking the larger man off balance. Danny tumbled to the ground and tried to right the scissors in his grasp to use them, but they slithered through his fingers. Kekipi regained his balance and kicked at the fallen detective. Danny sensed it coming and partially deflected it onto his thigh. He winced at the force behind the blow and fell onto his elbow. The dropped scissors dug painfully into his forearm.
As the enraged Kekipi reached for Danny’s shirt front and pulled him upwards, the tape finally gave under Danny’s frantic struggles. Ignoring the pain in his shoulder, Danny brought his arms forward and up and boxed Kekipi on the ears. The big Hawaiian let out a roar of pain and let go of Danny, who fell to the floor once more, his still-bound ankles hampering his movement.
For a fraction of a second, Danny wondered if he should rip the tape from his mouth or free his feet. He could do with more air coming in and he needed the mobility of his ankles free, but he didn’t have time for either option. Kekipi was coming after him, the knife held poised and a murderous look on his face. Danny scrabbled backwards, his hands frantically feeling for a weapon that he could use, but the only thing he found was the scissors. They were large, stainless steel and very solid, but although he had no doubt they were sharp, they did not have a sharp point, unlike the knife that Kekipi was wielding. Still, Danny grabbed them and brought them up in front of him, just in time to deflect a slice with the knife that might well have gutted him. Steel clashed against steel.
Fighting Kekipi would be unfair even if Danny had full use of all his limbs. The Hawaiian was taller and stronger and urged on by the murderous jealousy and rage he felt. Danny was desperate to keep the big man’s attention on him so that Kamea would at least escape. He had not seen her for…time had no meaning to him now. It could have been seconds, minutes or hours since this desperate fight began; he had no way of judging. All he knew was that Kamea was nowhere in sight and he took comfort from that, even as he grieved that their life together was going to be over before it had ever begun.
Sharp pain across his forearm alerted Dan to the fact his attention had strayed for a moment and Kekipi had almost succeeded in his attempt at sacrificing the young detective. He pushed backwards once more and collided heavily with the table. The structure rocked and fabric cascaded down, enveloping Dan and temporarily blinding him. He pushed the offending fabric off him and inadvertently prevented another attempt at his life. This time, he felt the air move as the knife swished past his face.
Throwing more fabric at Kekipi, Danny managed to use the table to get to his feet. The Hawaiian was throwing the fabric away, but with a curious reverence for the material that seemed strange under the circumstances. Danny took those few seconds to grab another pair of scissors and lean over and snip through the tape on his feet.
With a roar, Kekipi lunged at him again. Danny instinctively dodged, but the tape was still entangled around his feet and his left ankle turned painfully beneath him, dumping him onto the ground. Kekipi dived after him and Danny raised his right arm to block the bigger man. The knife, partially deflected, ran up his torso from just above the waistband of his pants to somewhere about his collarbone instead of lodging itself deep in his gut.
The shrill cry of pain got no further than his teeth, for his mouth was still sealed shut. Kekipi was not so silent, bellowing and ranting things that made no sense. Danny gasped for breath, the pain from the knife cut driving out all other thoughts. He pushed at the Hawaiian, who was lying on top of him, pinning him down with his greater weight. Danny looked into Kekipi’s face, the lips drawn back from the teeth in a snarl of hatred and read his own death in the other man’s eyes.
There was nothing else he could do to save himself, Danny realized. He was trapped and Kekipi would deliver the coup de grace any moment. I love you, Kamea, Danny thought and closed his eyes, conjuring her image in his mind.
There was a shout from the doorway and then Kekipi’s dead weight was gone from Danny’s body. With a reflexive gasp, the detective rolled over and curled around his injured body. He was panting and groaning, shaking from the shock of his injuries and not at all sure what had happened.
Glancing up at the frantic female voice, Danny saw Kamea kneeling over him. He wanted to talk to her, but his mouth was still taped and he could not summon the energy needed to remove the offending strip. Kamea appeared to be unharmed and she gently picked at the edge of the tape and pulled it free. Danny opened his mouth to gasp in some air. “Kamea,” he panted.
“Easy, ipo,” Kamea crooned. “We’re safe.”
Ipo –- sweetheart –- that one word told Danny that it was true; they were safe. He allowed his eyes to shut as the pain swept over his body. Kamea cradled his head in her lap, crooning softly to him and covering his wan face in kisses.
“Danno!” That voice was eminently familiar and Danny opened his eyes to see Steve kneeling by his side, dressed casually, and looking intensely worried.
“Steve,” Danny acknowledged. His voice was hoarse; his throat desert dry.
“Everything is under control, aikane,” Steve told him. Danny nodded as Steve glanced over his shoulder and beckoned to someone. Ambulance attendants gently lifted him onto a gurney and he closed his eyes once more as he was taken to the ambulance.
The blood loss from Danny’s knife wounds was substantial but not life threatening. The gash on his arm took 10 stitches to close and the one up his body took 36. How the knife had missed all his vital organs was something of a mystery, for the wound was deep. He was taken to the OR to have his wounds stitched and a blood transfusion was quickly arranged. Kamea was treated for shock, cuts and bruises. When the doctor released her, she joined Steve in his waiting room vigil.
“How is Kekipi?” she asked, hugging herself to stop from shivering.
“He’s in the OR as well,” Steve replied, draping his jacket around Kamea’s shoulders. She snuggled into the warmth. “I don’t know if he’ll make it.”
“For Danny’s sake, I hope he does,” Kamea said after a few moments of thought. “Taking someone’s life is not easy, no matter the provocation.”
Nodding approval of that, Steve agreed. “Yet for Kekipi, death might well be the easier option,” he observed.
“It’s quite a dilemma,” Kamea sighed. “Do we hope he lives or dies?” She shook her head. “What am I saying? Of course we hope he lives, no matter what he did. He’ll go to prison for a long time, won’t he?”
“A very long time,” Steve promised. If he had his way, Kekipi would never see the light of day again.
They had come too close to losing everyone that evening. Kamea and Danny had been found by sheer chance. Kono and Chin had been alerted that Danny and Kamea were missing. Nobody had the least idea where to look for them, so men were sent to the Kekoa home, Danny’s apartment, various dangerous cliff faces and Kekipi’s house. Chin, travelling from his own home, lived fairly close to Kekipi’s place. There had been a patrolman on duty watching there until earlier that evening when he had been called away to a disturbance a few streets over and missed Kekipi arriving home with his captives. Chin had had the good fortune to arrive as Kamea had stumbled from the dwelling. Chin had radioed at once, not waiting for any kind of acknowledgment and rushed into the house just in time to push a severely injured Kekipi from on top of Danny, who was also seriously injured. Steve, who by that time was prowling the streets of Honolulu in his car, had arrived within a few short minutes. Nobody liked to speculate on how quickly he had been driving.
For the chief of Five-O, seeing his detective lying on the floor, head on Kamea’s lap, bleeding, had been a heart-stopping sensation. He had not been sure if the young woman was kissing her still alive but badly hurt boyfriend or grieving over a corpse. The relief on seeing Williams alive had been overwhelming.
“Someone will have to take a statement from you,” he mentioned to Kamea, pushing away the picture of the blood-stained Danny being stretchered out of the small house. Kekipi had gone in a different ambulance; Steve would not let him travel in the same one as the injured detective.
“Yes, Chin said he would come here and do it, once we know…how Danny is.” Kamea drew in a deep breath, visibly fighting for her composure. “Danny tried to warn me about times like this,” she told Steve.
“He would,” Steve agreed. “It is something you need to know can happen. Five-O is different from HPD; we tend to face a different caliber of criminals. They are often more violent. Accidents do happen.” He kept his tone as neutral as he could. He didn’t want to push her one way or the other.
After a moment, Kamea looked up to meet his eyes. The danger of tears had passed and her eyes were luminous. “This kind of waiting is tough on you, too, isn’t it, Steve?” she asked. “You love Danny as much as I do.” She wasn’t asking a question this time.
Stunned, Steve was unsure what to say. He was an intensely private man and sharing his feelings, even with people he knew well, was really hard, yet there was something about this young woman that invited confidences. It was partly because she was Danny’s girlfriend and well beloved and partly because Steve found himself considering her a friend -– more; ohana -– already. “Yes, I do,” he admitted softly. “He’s the brother I never had.” The admission wasn’t as difficult has he had expected it to be.
“I know Danny feels the same way about you,” Kamea replied. She reached over and took his hand. “Danny will be all right, you know.”
“I know,” Steve agreed. He clasped his fingers around hers. “Has this scared you off?” He thought he already knew the answer.
“No,” she replied calmly. “I would rather face this than live without Danny in my life.” She smiled and squeezed his hand. “Besides, I’ll have you with me, won’t I?”
“Indeed you will,” Steve agreed. “You and Danny have my blessings.”
“That means so much to me,” Kamea told him huskily. “And I know it will mean a lot to Danny, too.”
They were still sitting companionably together when Doc came into the room. He was accompanied by the ER doctor who had been treating Kekipi. Steve rose and Kamea stood with him, leaning a little on his strength in this tense moment. Doc smiled. “Danny is going to be fine. He’s worn out and he’s going to be off work for a while, but he’s going to make a full recovery.”
“When can we see him?” Kamea asked and Steve grinned down at her.
“In a few minutes when he’s settled in his room,” Doc replied. “He’s going to be pretty groggy; he’s had enough painkillers to stop an elephant.” He patted Kamea’s arm and she gave him a smile.
“Thank you, Doc,” she said warmly.
“And Kekipi?” Steve asked, turning to the other doctor, relief lightening his heart.
“He’s in a serious but stable condition,” the medic replied. “We had to remove his spleen and his bowel had been nicked, but we cleaned out his abdomen thoroughly and have started him on antibiotics. Obviously, I can’t give you a definitive outcome, but I am guardedly optimistic about his prognosis.”
“Thank you,” Steve nodded. So it looked like Kekipi would live to stand trial. He exchanged a glance with Kamea, who also nodded. That was the best outcome, especially for Danny’s sake. Steve was not even sure that Danny knew he had stabbed Kekipi with the scissors he had had in his hand. It was not something Steve was in any hurry to tell him. “Let’s go and see Danno,” he suggested and gallantly crooked his arm for Kamea to take.
“Let’s,” she agreed and slipped her hand through his arm.
“How did I manage that?” Danny asked a couple of days later. He was looking a lot better, the blood transfusions having done their job and a couple of days of complete bed-rest under his belt. His left arm was back in a sling, for the healing muscles had been strained by the fight. The stitches across his forearm were well padded with gauze and he was swathed in the stuff over his chest to protect the stitches there. His left ankle had been badly sprained and was elevated on pillows.
“I’m not sure,” Steve admitted. “The best we can come up with was that you still had the scissors in your hand when Kekipi came at you again, and as you defended yourself, the scissors got turned around and stabbed into him. His own weight seems to have done the rest.”
“He is still alive?” Danny asked. While seeing Kekipi dead was not something he would have quarreled with, he did not want to be the one to have killed him.
“Yes, he is.” Steve didn’t mention that the other man had had a brush with peritonitis, but was now recovering from that and cursing Danny up hill and down dale. There was no point in bringing it up. Danny still had the trial to face sometime in the immediate future and no doubt Kekipi would have a few choice comments to make then.
Laying his head back on the pillows, Danny sighed. “That’s something I suppose.”
The silence stretched comfortably between them. Danny finally sighed. Steve took that as a signal that his second had made peace with what had happened. “That’s some girl you have there,” he commented lightly.
“Yes, she is,” Danny agreed. Kamea had barely left his side in the last two days. They had talked about everything and nothing and Danny knew that whatever life threw at them, Kamea was more than capable of handling. Her parents had not been happy about her need for a bodyguard and even less happy when they learned of the events of that fateful night, but they were fair-minded and knew that none of it was Danny’s fault. Kamea had spoken to her parents and they had given her their blessings for her life with Danny. Danny had had a talk with Kamea’s father on the phone the previous evening and they had reached an understanding. Danny was now chafing even more to get out of the hospital. “Steve…I’m going to ask Kamea to marry me.”
Smiling, Steve leaned close. “If you think that’s a secret, Danno, you’re wrong,” he whispered conspiratorially. “I don’t think there’s anyone on this island who doesn’t know that!”
A smile flitted across Danny’s face. “It will change things at Five-O,” he went on. “I won’t be staying half the night most nights anymore. I’ll become like Chin and go home to my wife at a decent hour.”
“Unless there’s an emergency,” Steve qualified.
“Yes,” Danny agreed. “If you want to choose someone else as your second, of course I’ll understand and step aside willingly.” It hurt him to make the offer, but his honor would not let him do any less.
“We’ll cope,” Steve told him. “Of course things will be different, but they’ll be a good different. I don’t want anyone else for my second, aikane. That position is yours.” He held up his hand to stifle the instinctive protest. “No ifs, buts or maybes,” he concluded. “You’ve made the offer; it’s been rejected. You are my second, kaikaina.”
“Mahalo,” Danny breathed.
His great escape from the hospital was made two days later. Kamea collected him and took him home, telling him that she had parceled up the quilt samples and sent them off to Miss Yuki. She was excited to hear what the old lady thought, but realistically certain that she would not get the training place with the old lady. She had gone to buy food for him and insisted on staying to cook for him. As they ate, Danny mused that he would soon be looking for a bigger apartment. His bachelor pad would not be the right place for the two of them to live.
Next morning, Steve came to collect him and took him shopping. Danny found the exact ring he wanted in the second shop he looked at. He had already arranged to take Kamea out for a meal the following evening. As he relaxed for the rest of the day, Danny could not help looking at the beautiful ring sparkling in its blue velvet box on the coffee table.
He dressed carefully the next evening. Ideally, he would have gone to collect Kamea, but he wasn’t yet cleared to drive, so they had to meet at the restaurant. As soon as he saw his date, he knew there was something on Kamea’s mind.
“Out with it,” he said, after they had ordered. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing…” She hesitated, but Danny wasn’t having that.
“Kamea, we’ve got to be honest with each other,” he told her. “What’s wrong?”
“I heard from Miss Yuki today,” she replied and her eyes were suddenly filled with tears. “Danny…she wants me. She wants to train me.”
“Darling, that’s wonderful!” Danny exclaimed, so proud he thought his heart would burst.
“You don’t understand,” she cried. “Danny…she lives on the Big Island. I have to go over there to work with her for a year!”
It was true that Danny hadn’t realized how long the training period would be, but that was partly because Kamea hadn’t told him. “Kamea, do you love me?” he asked.
“You know I do!” she declared passionately, tears pouring down her cheeks.
Tenderly, he wiped them away. “Darling, it’s just the Big Island,” he reminded her. “I can fly over to see you and you can come home. We can call each other. If our love can’t stand this test, then we’re not meant to be together.”
“I don’t want to be apart from you,” she sobbed, refusing to be comforted.
“Do you want to learn from Miss Yuki?” Danny asked and she nodded.
“Yes, that’s the worst part. I want to go, but I want to stay, too.” She wiped away the tears and found a tissue to blow her nose. “Oh, Danny, what am I going to do?”
“Silly girl,” he chided lovingly. “You’re going to take this place and learn all you can. We can phone each night, see each other once a week or so and we’ll get through it. Of course I’ll miss you, but this is an opportunity I can’t let you turn down. Do you remember that you told me you wanted to be successful young? Well, this is your chance to make that a reality. I’ll still be here when you come home.”
“Thank you!” She flung her arms around his neck and Danny gently hugged her back, knowing that now was not the time to ask the question he was dying to know the answer to.
It was going to be a true test of their love. Kamea’s parents had been supportive, but couldn’t quite hide the idea that she was moving too fast with this relationship. A year apart would indeed test their love, but both Danny and Kamea were certain that it would stand the test of time.
It was only a week later that they were standing in the airport, waiting for her flight to be announced. Miss Yuki had told Kamea that weekends were her own and she planned to come home every other weekend and Danny, police work allowing, would go to the Big Island on the alternative weekend. They had their schedules all worked out as far as they could. And Kamea’s misgivings had given way to excitement. Danny’s pride in her knew no bounds, although he knew he was going to miss her horribly.
Her bags already checked in, Kamea’s parents moved away to give the young couple a little privacy for a few minutes before she had to go to the gate. Danny hugged her, then suddenly got down on one knee. Instantly, heads in the airport turned. “Kamea, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?” Danny asked, and opened the little blue velvet box.
“Oh, Danny,” Kamea breathed, as an unexpected silence fell around them as all the jaded, world-weary travelers waited with bated breath for the answer. “Oh yes!” she exclaimed. “Yes!”
As Danny slid the ring onto her finger, she pulled him to his feet and threw herself into his arms to kiss him fervently. Applause broke out from all around and the couple broke apart to look around, their faces flushed as they realized that everyone was congratulating them.
“It’s so beautiful,” Kamea breathed as she looked at the solitaire diamond on her finger. The ring fit perfectly.
“So are you.” It was a cliché, but his love for her made the age-old sentiment brand new.
Her parents were suddenly there, hugging them both, patting Danny on the back and it was only belatedly that they heard the call for Kamea’s flight. There was no time for a teary parting and Danny stood with his future in-laws as they waved the young quilt maker onto the plane.
A year was no time at all. It would soon be over and they would be together forever.