Crash and Burn - Chapter 40: Aloha

Friday

Steve sighed as he stared out his office window. He’d spent the three days after the shooting in that damned clearing in Coronado, hoping that a glimpse of his previous life, the easy camaraderie between the SEALs would spur something inside him, help him put everything aside, help him forget...Everything. Maybe make new plans. But it hadn’t helped.

The loose ends were bothering the hell out of him, but there was nothing he could to about it. Wo Fat was dead. By his hand. And with him had died the only lead to finishing his father’s last investigation. To discover whether his mother’s death was truly murder, to know what his father knew that had gotten him killed...

The truth was dead and buried with Wo Fat.

Another sigh as he wondered, not for the first time in these four days, whether there was still something keeping him in Hawaii. Not his job, not his family...Nothing. And that was a truly miserable feeling. That someone who’s always had something in his life anchoring him—the SEALs, his job in Naval Intelligence, his mission to uncovering the truth—was floating rather aimlessly like an untied balloon.

It was disconcerting, discouraging...And completely futile, but he couldn’t help but feel like crap.

There wasn’t even a smidgen of an investigation for his little task force to keep his mind off the bleak thoughts.

A soft knock on his door made him turn from the window and his heart made the familiar half-painful, half-happy leap in his chest when he saw Sabrina hesitate on the doorstep. He mentally berated himself for being such a sentimental idiot, that for a second there he’s forgotten his adamant resolution of putting their past behind him and moving on, and actually thought of her being an excellent excuse to stay in Hawaii.

But that was not to be. That ship has sailed five years ago. They were over. And he really should stop waiting for a miracle. There was Marcus Hawthorne, for one. And she was leaving soon. Very soon, now that Wo Fat was dead.

God, she was leaving soon. She’s probably even now come to say goodbye. And what remained of his stupid heart sported yet another crack.

“Hey,” he said when she made no move to come into his office. “What’s up?”

Reena shot him a quick smile, her heart doing its usual pitter-pat that happened whenever she was near him. But that was her problem, not his, and she’d die before letting him know how she still felt about him. He’d moved on. So should she. Yeah, good luck with that one.

“Hey.” She entered his office, pulled a SD card out of her pocket, and placed it on his desk. “I thought you might want this.”

He slowly looked down at the flash drive. “What is it?”

“A copy of Wo Fat’s files on your family.” She shook her head. “I’ve never encountered a more meticulous crime lord. He kept everything. In minute detail.” She nodded toward the SD card. “There’s also all the data on your father’s involvement with him. There’s proof your father was mixed with him and governor Jameson merely to gather evidence. Which got him killed in the end.”

“How did you get it?”

“Off his computer that was stashed in the helicopter.” She hooked her thumbs into her belt-loops. “I just came from the USA’s office. I gave them and the IA all the information on Pat Jameson’s dealings and her connection to Delano’s little dirty force.”

He looked at her and she smiled sheepishly. “Somehow your father’s name never made it into that particular report. Very strange indeed.”

The smile he shot her almost brought her to her knees. “Thanks, Reen.”

She felt tears gather behind her eyes, but fought them bravely. “You’re welcome.” She cleared her throat, feeling beyond uncomfortable with just the two of them in an enclosed space. “Well, that’s not the only reason I’m here.”

He quickly stomped on the tiny sliver of hope that made his breath hitch a little. “What’s the other?”

“I came to say goodbye.”

A huge lump formed in his throat, making it difficult to swallow, even more difficult to speak. “You’re leaving?”

She nodded, blinking like crazy to keep from crying. “Tomorrow morning.”

He swallowed. “There’s still that ball or whatever the governor’s throwing.”

“Right. Of course he invited you.” She looked away, quickly wiped her cheek. “I’m not going.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah. I hope you have fun. And I’m sure you and Catherine will make a striking couple. You always looked great in formal wear.” She was starting to feel nauseous. “So this is goodbye.”

He circled his desk, pulled her slowly into his arms. “It was good seeing you, Reen,” he murmured into her hair, squeezing his eyes against the moisture there. “Thank you for everything, milimili.”

She sniffed quietly, circled his waist with her arms. She clung a little, before she blinked her tears away and stepped back. She wanted to tell him she loved him, tell him the truth, and hope for the best, but as always, when it came to them, she took the coward’s way out. She stood on tiptoes, kissed his cheek, and smiled brilliantly. “Aloha, Steve.”

She turned and left him staring through the glass wall as she said her goodbyes to the rest of the team—a hug for Kono and Chin, a hug and kiss on the cheek for Danny.

Then she looked at him one last time, the fake brilliant smile still firmly attached to her lips, waved, and left them as suddenly as she’d entered their lives.




“Hello, Mary.”

Mary Ann McGarrett looked up from the thick book she was reading and blinked at Sabrina Logan. The grim expression on the woman’s face clashed with the bright yellow smiley on her green top.

“Can I sit?”

The question was rhetorical, because Reena didn’t wait for an invitation. She dropped onto the bench opposite Mary McGarrett, nodded to Kamekona who tinkered around his shrimp ‘restaurant’, and glanced down at the cover of the book Mary was reading.

Ana Karenina. Marc’s favorite book. Classic, thick, ‘heavy’. Reena preferred modern-day thrillers and romantic suspense.

She had no intentions of beating around the bush, losing time with pleasantries and small talk. There was a time limit on this conversation, so she came straight to the point. “I heard about you and Marc.”

Mary stared at her own reflection in the woman’s dark sunglasses. It was disconcerting and rather impersonal talking to someone whose eyes you couldn’t see. As if reading her mind, Sabrina Logan pushed the sunglasses on top of her head, and Mary could finally meet her gray gaze. Of course, there was nothing there.

“I heard you severed all contact because you saw us together,” Sabrina continued and Mary didn’t have to wonder who had tattled. Only one other person knew.

“My brother has a big mouth.”

Reena shrugged. “I’m here to tell you that you were wrong.”

Mary felt something lodge in her throat.

“He’s my best friend.” Truth. “But there’s nothing romantic between us.”

With eyes that resembled calm pools of blankness, Mary couldn’t be sure whether Sabrina was telling the truth, but she had no reason to lie. And Mary felt the lump in her throat get even larger.

“He loves you, Mary, and from how you look right now, I’d say you love him, too. I’m giving you the opportunity to fix things.”

There was a strange tone in her voice, something very much akin to wistfulness, though Mary could see Sabrina was slowly retreating behind some kind of a wall. The eyes were a little too blank, the voice a little too calm.

“Why should I believe you?”

Reena blinked slowly. “You don’t have to. Drawing wrong conclusions runs in your family, so I wouldn’t blame you.”

Mary had to smile at Sabrina’s ability to convey censure without changing the pitch of her voice or her expression.

“But think about it,” Reena continued. “When you saw us before, did we look like a couple? When you saw us again, here, on the beach, did we look like a couple to you?”

She had a point. They had been cozy, with a smile, hug, touching of hands, but when Mary had seen them from up close, there had been no romantic vibe. They had looked like friends, family even, but not lovers.

Damn it. Was drawing wrong conclusions really in the family genes? Had she made a huge mistake? Possibly. The McGarretts were notorious for their hotheadedness.

“I thought not,” Reena went on. “It’s not too late. You can still fix things, live happily ever after, yadda yadda yadda.” A pause. “You can be his date for tonight’s gala.”

Mary blinked. She couldn’t go as Marc’s date, even if she was starting to believe Sabrina’s story. She’d promised Steve to go with him.

Had there ever been romantic feelings between you two?” she asked.

“No.”

“My brother doesn’t think so.”

“Family genetics.”

Mary nodded. “I’ll give you that one. Why didn’t you tell him he’s wrong?”

“It was complicated.” She glanced down, composed herself, and then met Mary’s eyes again. “Now it doesn’t matter anymore. He’s moved on, he has Catherine now, and all I wish is happiness for them both.”

So it wasn’t just Sabrina keeping secrets, her brother also hadn’t dished on the fact he and Catherine were no longer an item. She smiled at the thought that sprung to mind—of locking these two into a room and not let them out until they talked it through. It would probably be a long wait.

“Well.” Reena stood. “I’ve said what I came here to say. Have a nice day, Mary. And a nice life.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m leaving tomorrow. This is goodbye.”

Mary sucked in a quick breath. Went for it. “Do you still love my brother?”

Her heart in her throat, Reena lowered the sunglasses onto her nose and walked away without saying another word.

Mary grinned. Oh, yeah. Sabrina still loved her brother. The big question now was whether she should tell Steve about this conversation or not. She pulled her phone out of her pocket, and called him. No answer. Typical. He falls off the grid for a couple of days and when he finally comes back, he doesn’t answer his phone.

She thought better than leaving a message on his voice mail. Something like this couldn’t be discussed over messages, but in person. She would try again later.

Then she remembered the little tidbit about her being Marc’s date for tonight’s gala. Which meant he didn’t have a date, which meant he’d invited Sabrina and she’d refused. Which also meant, if she knew Marcus Hawthorne, that he was planning something.

Her grin grew bigger. If Marc was planning something it would go down at the ball. He would not have gone all out on a fancy event if he didn’t have something huge in mind.

She slipped the phone back into her pocket, picked up the book. She’d wait until the ball. There was still plenty of time to tell her brother everything later. Sabrina wasn’t leaving until tomorrow morning.

One last thought went through her mind, before she started reading again. That she couldn’t wait to see what happened at the party.

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