Crash and Burn - Chapter 23: La’i mua ‘ino

Two weeks have passed. Two weeks since the night Sabrina had killed Jelena Zagorinskaya. Two weeks of waiting for Wo Fat to show up. Two weeks of keeping family, friends, and loved ones under constant protection.

Kono and Chin’s family was the easiest. With so many cops of the same blood-line, the chances of someone attempting something were very slim. Mary Ann McGarrett had refused to leave the islands, so she spent her days with Kamekona and his buddies, going slowly nuts, but deciding not to be more of a bother to her brother. He had other fish to fry. Marc Hatwhorne had his usual gubernatorial entourage to keep him safe, with added protection in the form of a gun in an ankle holster, another in his briefcase, and a knife hidden God knew where.

It was Danny that worried the most. And rightfully so. For Stanley ‘the Asshole’ Edwards refused to let bodyguards encumber him in his business dealings. And he absolutely refused for a bunch of thugs, as he called them, to follow Rachel and Grace around, disrupting a pregnant woman’s routine and cause her apprehension of any kind.

It didn’t occur to him that a pregnant woman’s routine might as well be disrupted by a hired killer or that her daughter’s kidnapping might cause her plenty of apprehension. He remained an asshole, determined to hire bodyguards from a private firm, owned by one of his golfing buddies. A firm no one has ever heard about, that had no reference, and the backgrounds on its employees showed absolutely no training.

But luckily, in the two weeks, there have been no sign of Wo Fat, despite Reena’s dark predictions of his imminent vengeful return.

Beside Wo Fat, there was something else that has been absent in the past two weeks. Any kind of warmth between Steve and Sabrina. They have barely spoken and even when they did it was about a case their little task force was working on.

Oh, they were civil, all right. Civil, polite, professional. But nothing more. It hurt, it chafed, but she didn’t push. It was, after all, what she wanted. As much distance as she put between them, the less danger he was in.

Did she delude herself she could protect a trained Navy SEAL? Probably. Had she deluded herself before. Most likely. But she couldn’t help it. She refused to be the reason he was in danger. She refused to risk his life because of her. So the cold front wafting from him each time they met, worked perfectly.

The incredible change in the relationship between their boss and Sabrina Logan hadn’t escaped the rest of the team. The three had questions, but didn’t want to ask them. They had drawn their own conclusions, but didn’t dare express them.

Even Danny was in the dark as to why the relationship between Steve and Sabrina had cooled. Not that he hadn’t asked. He had, often, but Steve remained close-mouthed, his eyes filling with pain at each question, so after a while Danny stopped asking. He missed the light-hearted Steve, though. The guy who had emerged when Sabrina Logan had joined their fold. There were no more easy smiles, no more banter, no more glimpses of that dry sense of humor. He’s gone back to his acerbic, taciturn, brooding self, though at sometimes he appeared even worse than before.

And today was no different. Danny sighed. Sabrina’s mostly kept to herself lately, cocooned in Steve’s office, tapping away at her computer or talking on the phone, but every time she came out, whether to give her input on a case, go out for lunch or to take a bathroom break, he felt, they all felt the chills. And he was really getting tired of it. Hawaii were supposed to be warm and sunny all year long, but if Steve and Sabrina kept it up, that characteristic would have to be changed.

He fiddled with his phone, looking at pictures Grace had sent him from the Edwards’ still-lasting trip to New Orleans—at least he didn’t have to worry about her or Rachel being in danger for a while—when Chin stormed into the office.

“We have a double homicide in Lānaʻi. Honeymooners rented a 4WD to visit Keahiakawelo. They didn’t return to their hotel last night. They found them this morning. It doesn’t appear to be robbery, the jeep is still there, so are their documents and money...The chopper’s waiting.”

Without a word, Steve stood, looked at Danny, motioned to his office.

Danny rolled his eyes and knocked on the glass door. “Sabrina?”

She lifted her head. “Danny.”

“We’re going to Lānaʻi, double homicide.” He cleared his throat, beyond uncomfortable, feeling like a teenager brokering between two class-mates.

Reena saved him by shaking her head. “I’m expecting to hear from a contact. You go, I’ll watch the fort.”

He nodded, turned to leave, when she called his name.

“Send me the photos and the prelim report, I’ll see what I can find.”

His lips curved in a silent thank-you and he was off.

Three hours later Reena debated whether to call Marc and invite him to lunch, when her email program pinged. Her heart beat faster as she read the short message. She called the sender immediately. “Are you sure?” She didn’t bother with a greeting. And when the person on the other side of the line confirmed the intel, she also didn’t bother with saying goodbye.

She immediately called Steve. Despite their quasi-animosity he had the right to know.

The number you are trying to reach is not reachable. Please try again later.

“What the...”

She tried again. Same spiel. She didn’t even get to leave a message on his voice-mail. Where the hell were they? The moon? No wonder she hasn’t received any data from Danny.

So she called her brother. “He’s in Hawaii. Not sure where exactly, but he’s here.”

He was brief, “I’ll take the necessary precautions. Mary?”

Reena smiled. “I’ll call and tell them to be on the lookout.”

Before she could call Kamekona and ask about Mary, give him a heads-up about Wo Fat, his name appeared on her caller ID.

Her heart in her throat—Steve would never forgive himself if something happened to his sister, she answered.

“Sorry to bother you, noelani koa. I tried calling the haole cop, but I can’t reach him.” Though she was a haole, too, he never called her that. He preferred ‘warrior princess’, said it suited her more.

He was taking his sweet ‘island time’, so she interrupted him. “Kamekona, the point.”

“Oh, right. Sorry. My cousin who works at the airport called me. The Edwards family is back on the island.”

“What?” Reena ran her hand through her hair. “They were supposed to stay in New Orleans for another week.”

“True, but my cousin said The Asshole was bragging about a big deal he returned for.” Kamekona was silent for a moment. “He also said it was all hush-hush, that even his associate who arranged the meeting didn’t know the other party.”

A mysterious other party in a secret, important business deal that forced the Edwards’ to return early. Just when Wo Fat arrived in Hawaii. The sudden double homicide on a different island, a crime that was immediately transferred to the Five-0, keeping them away from O’ahu for a couple of hours...

“Shit. It’s a decoy.” She grabbed her helmet and the keys to her bike. “Kamekona, when did they land?”

“About half an hour ago.”

“Damn it, they’re probably home already.” She ran down the front steps of the HQ. “Kamekona, keep trying Steve and Danny. Tell them it’s all a trap. Wo Fat is on the islands. He’s going after Grace and Rachel. I’m on my way there.”

She heard him start to object, but she disconnected, straddled her bike, and roared toward Kuli'ou'ou.

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