Crash and Burn - Chapter 11: 'ole ne'e

Steve was tapping on the comp table, trying to find a crack in his two prime suspects’ airtight alibis, trying to find another possible motive for the two recent murders, anything to crack the two cases, and coming up empty. He suspected the lull in his investigating process had as much to do with the fact they had absolutely no other suspects or motive as it had to do with the puzzle currently sitting in his office, on his chair, at his desk, getting a feel for his father’s last case, searching for Wo Fat, probably calling up every single contact she had in the entire world...

He still didn’t know why she was really helping him. To make amends? Because Marcus Hawthorne ordered her to? Because she had nothing better to do?

Steve rolled a chair to the comp table, positioned it so he could see both the screens and her. Did it really matter why she was helping him?

Yes, it did. It shouldn’t, but it did. And he had better things to think about than what went on in that beautiful head of hers.

He concentrated on the data on the screens, trying to see some semblance of a pattern, but it just didn’t make any sense.

Who would kill a housewife in Aina Haina? It hadn’t been robbery, the house hadn’t been broken into, indicating she had known her assailant. The prime suspect: her husband, Anthony Roth. There was no big life-insurance policy, but the guy did have a younger lover in the sidelines. Would he kill his wife if she didn’t agree to a divorce. You bet. Pity, the guy had an airtight alibi. He’d been to dinner with his mistress at the time of the murder and they had a restaurant-full of witnesses to corroborate his story.

Next order of business—who would kill an elderly bookshop owner in Manoa? They might have made it look like an interrupted robbery, but the ladies’ poker buddies had confirmed the money had been deposited to the bank the night before the murder. It had been premeditated and the only motive he could find was money. A group of investors have been making offers to buy some of the buildings on that street and turn them into a shopping mall. Most of the struggling shop owners had caved and sold. Ms. Liwai had been the only one not wanting to sell. Despite the many heated arguments with her son.

Enter the prime suspect, Keanu Liwai. Who also happened to have an alibi. He’d been on the mainland at the time of the murder. His hotel had confirmed it, so had the video feed off their security cameras.

So what did Steve have after an hour of picking the two cases apart and putting them back together. Nothing. He’s tried connecting the two suspects—their work had nothing in common, they lived in two different neighborhoods, they had nothing in common besides being murder suspects. They both commuted to work using their own cars—no public transportation, they didn’t gamble, one had a mistress, the other was still single, they had vacationed in different resorts at different times...There was nothing that could tie them together.

So he’d taken the hired killer angle. There was nothing in their accounts to indicate a payoff for a hit.

He had absolutely nothing to show for all his work and unless there was a miraculous break in the two cases, they would remain unsolved. And he absolutely hated that idea.

A movement in his office drew his attention. Sabrina was up, rolling her neck. Then she lifted her arms over her head and stretched. Though not meant to be, the movement looked sensuous, sexy, inviting, and Steve simply leaned back in his chair and enjoyed the show.

Danny chose that moment to make his appearance. Fully expecting to be the first one in the office, he was early as usual, he was surprised to find his partner at the comp table, the two cases neatly outlined on the computer screens in front of him. He was about to start ribbing him about his early start, when he noticed his small, genuine smile, and followed his gaze to the largest office, where a lithe body performed stretches and bends no normal body should be forced into.

He winced as Sabrina Logan bent forward, placed her hands on the floor, while lifting her left leg, did a standing split, then lifted her right leg in an inverted split balancing solely on her hands, placed her left leg back on the floor in another standing split, and slowly, her back arched in a perfect gymnastic pose, returned to a standing position.

Grace would’ve loved it. His little monkey was going through a gymnastics craze, watching competition DVDs, clamoring to be enrolled in a gymnastics class. He had to introduce the two.

“I had no idea you had so much space in your office,” he remarked, grinning as Steve flinched.

Steve turned to his partner, mentally kicking himself for not hearing him. His former CO would have a cow if he knew all it took to break his training was a sexy woman contorting her beautiful body.

He shrugged. “Anyone can move furniture.”

“True,” Danny agreed. “But not anyone can do such contortions and have all their limbs in place when they finish.”

Steve just grinned, then turned to Sabrina as she emerged from his office. “Anything?”

She shook her head. “Zilch. Hey, Danny. It’s all right if I call you, Danny, right?”

Danny blinked at the beautiful smile she flashed him. She looked completely different from the woman he met the first day, more at ease and relaxed. “Yeah, sure.”

Reena smiled again. “Great. You can call me Reena, everyone else does.”

“He doesn’t,” Danny said, looking at Steve.

She chuckled. “He’s special.” She rolled another chair closer, sat, and placed her forearms on the edge of the comp table. “Steve, the audio is damaged beyond retrieval. If you want, I can send it to a friend for confirmation.”

He didn’t have much to think about. Sure, his father was on that video, but they needed to know how John McGarrett was connected to Wo Fat and the previous governor apart from the investigation he was conducting on them. Besides, he knew he could count on Sabrina and her contacts for discretion.

“Go ahead.”

“Okay.” She pulled her phone out of her pocket and taped a string sequence. “Done.”

“Are you wearing his shirt?”

They both looked at Danny whose detective skills have come online.

“Mine got wet.”

“Ah.” He smiled and wiggled his eyebrows. “And how did that happen?”

“It was raining.”

“I see.” He looked from her to Steve and back. “I also see you’re both wearing identical shirts. Those he keeps in his drawer for emergencies.”

Steve nodded. “This was an emergency.”

“Right. You got wet, too?”

“Yeah.”

“In the rain?”

“Yeah.”

Danny nodded, thoughtful. “You both got wet in the rain before getting here?”

Steve sighed. “Danny, is this leading somewhere or are you just killing time?”

“Don’t break my thought process, Steven.”

“Don’t hurt yourself, Danno. We met on the beach, got caught in the rain, ran here, and changed shirts.”

“Danno?” Sabrina asked.

“Don’t ask,” Steve replied.

“Understood.”

“No, you see, you don’t understand,” Danny snapped. “I told him the story once, in confidence, and he just goes and uses it whenever he pleases, disregarding every objection I make.”

“I say it with love,” Steve said innocently and was rewarded with Sabrina’s laughter. He looked at his partner and smiled at his arrested expression. She was working her magic again.

Danny snapped out of his surprised state at yet another facet of Steve’s one-that-got-away and returned to his newest investigation. He crouched, peered under the table, straightened, and nodded.

“Okay, so you met on the beach, got caught in the rain together, ran here, and changed into identical shirts.”

“That’s what I said.”

“Did you also prearrange the rest of your wardrobe?”

When Sabrina and Steve just look at each other, he continued. “Cargo pants and boots.”

Reena looked at him. “They’re practical.”

He nodded. “Sure. Let me ask you something. Were you wearing a polo shirt before you got wet.”

“Yes,” she replied cautiously.

“I see. Tell me, you qualify for the gun?”

She blinked at the change of subject. “Yes.”

“You carrying?”

“Of course.”

“What gun?”

“SIG P226 E2.”

Danny glanced down at the gun in Steve holster, grinned. A perfect match. “I rest my case.”

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