Crash and Burn - Chapter 19: Ohana

Governor’s residence, that evening

“Let me get this straight,” Marc began, pouring Sabrina a glass of red wine. “He agreed to use you as bait.”

She swirled the wine in the glass, looked at the rich ruby color, smelled the delicate bouquet of the Pinot Noir. “Not exactly.”

He slammed the pan against the stove. “You didn’t tell them you’d be the bait.”

It wasn’t a question, but she decided to answer it anyway.

“I couldn’t, without revealing other things,” she said in a placating tone.

“Jesus, Sabrina!” he exploded. “Why all the secrecy?! You keep saying it’s over and done, yet you still refuse to tell them everything. Tell him everything.”

She looked away.

“What are you afraid of?”

“I don’t know.”

She sounded so lost, so vulnerable, he circled the marble counter and gathered her in his arms. “Reen, what is it?”

She shrugged, circled his waist with her arms, hugged tightly. “I just...If he hates me, at least he feels something. If he learns the truth, I’ll have nothing.”

“He doesn’t hate you, honey.” He looked down at her with a crooked smile. “Trust me, I might be a guy, but I know it’s not hate in his eyes when he looks at you. And what makes you think you’d have nothing if he knew the truth?”

“I wouldn’t have him.” She sniffed, moved away. “God, I’m pathetic. I knew what I was doing, I knew the consequences...Feeling sorry for myself is pointless.” She drank her wine. “He’s with Catherine. He’s happy. He’s moved on. I should be happy for him. I am happy for him and let’s change the subject. What are you cooking?”

He wanted to talk some more, but he could see she’d already hid behind that wall of hers. The wall she’d only let him glimpse behind a few times. The wall only one man could knock down. And that man didn’t have all the facts to bother getting an RPG.

“Veal involtini a al Hawthorne.”

Her woes well-hidden, her mouth watered. “Oh, yum. What’s the occasion?”

He drizzled olive oil into the pan, shrugged. “We’re celebrating a breakthrough.”

Reena didn’t buy his nonchalant tone or attitude. “Breakthrough? As in Mary-McGarrett-related breakthrough?” Her eyes widened as he actually blushed a little. “Oh my God! You got her to talk to you?”

“Not really.” He grinned at her. “But she did unblock my number. I left her a message on her voice-mail.”

“Ooh, voice-mail message. Very smooth. How did she ever let you get away?”

“Shut up.”

“Feed me and I will.”

Mary Ann McGarrett’s rental house

Mary McGarrett listened to the single message on her voice-mail for the who-knew-what time since receiving it. There was nothing in the message to get her heart racing. Marcus Hawthorne had simply issued an invitation for coffee, whenever she wanted, but her heart was galloping anyway.

His voice, that deep, slightly raspy voice, evoked so many memories. Happy memories of picnics in the moonlight, walks on the beach, drives to Napa, movie nights that often ended in breakfast...And yet another memory his voice brought to mind. That of Marcus Hawthorne looking utterly sexy and rumpled, lifting himself on his arms above her after he woke her up with a kiss.

And then it all had gone to hell that night when she had turned into every freaking cliché out there and followed him home, only to see him invite another woman into his house. And now, to make matters worse, that same woman had turned out to be the one who had broken her brother’s heart.

And Mary still had no idea what to do about Marcus Hawthorne and her jumbled feelings toward him. She was afraid to confront him about that night, but she knew sooner or later she would have to. If she accepted his invitation, that is. But wasn’t that the idea when she unblocked his number after all this time? For him to call her, to initiate a contact? And she was too chicken to call him back immediately, accept his invitation, and demand answers.

She chuckled softly. Sure, it was damned easy giving advice to her brother about how to go around discovering what had really happened five years ago—whether Sabrina had dumped him for Marcus, which was the obvious reason given everything they knew, but appearances could be deceiving...And sometimes they weren’t.

And she was back to where she’d started. Too afraid to call him back, missing him too much not to remember, wanting to hear his voice too much not to listen to his message just one more time.

But before she could access her voice-mail yet again, her brother saved her from her folly, by showing up with two bags full of Kamekona’s shrimp.

Feeling like two guinea pigs for the big guy’s shrimpy-experiments, brother and sister talked about this and that, circling around subjects too painful or embarrassing to explore, spending a quiet, comfortable evening in each other’s company, touching on the subject of their father only long enough for Steve to tell her about the team’s theory, but they never broached the two subjects that were really on their minds.

He didn’t talk about Sabrina Logan, and she never mentioned Marcus Hawthorne. Theirs was just a quiet family evening.

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