Crash and Burn - Chapter 44: ‘Oia’i’o

She’d lied.

She’d told him she wasn’t coming to the ball, yet there she was, sitting prettily next to the governor, wearing a dress made for a goddess, looking absolutely amazing in his favorite color. Steve wanted to hit something or someone and the most likely candidate was Catherine’s date, Lieutenant Nathan Westin. Not because he was there with Catherine. The man looked at her the way she was meant to be looked at—with utter adoration. No, the reason he wanted to hit Westin was because of the way he’d picked Reena up earlier and twirled her around.

He wanted to smash the guy’s face in because he’d touched the woman Steve wanted to touch. Because he’d held the woman Steve wanted to hold. And because she’d smiled at him, the way Steve wanted to be smiled at.

Damn, but he was pathetic. He’d decided a week ago, after the shooting in that clearing, to throw in the towel, and now, here he was, munching on whatever he’d gotten from the buffet table, feeling jealous and angry. And itching for a fight.

Which Catherine had obviously seen, directing her date as far away from him as the round table allowed.

Reena sat between her brother and her father, the food—whatever it was—completely tasteless, feeling Steve’s stare with every fiber of her being. He hasn’t stopped staring ever since he sat down at his table and she was starting to get the urge to look at him and flip him off.

It wouldn’t do of course, but she was itching to do it anyway.

And she’d really appreciate it if Sebastian would stop prattling already. It was just small-talk, nothing overly personal or revealing, but he was really starting to get on her nerves.

And it was then that Marc came to the rescue—finally. “Want to dance to make room for desert?”

She didn’t want to dance—everybody, and that meant Steve McGarrett—would get to look at her even more closely, but she’d rather dance than empty her wineglass down Sebastian’s shirt.

As soon as they hit the dance floor, the smooth jazzy soundtrack was replaced by the love-song from one of her favorite Disney movies and she knew without a smidgen of a doubt her brother had helped in the soundtrack selection for the evening.

“Weasel,” she hissed.

He grinned. “But you love me anyway.” And then he swept her in a long arc around the dance floor, making her forget for the duration of their dance the whispers and the stares. Forget all stares but one. Those intent blue eyes followed her every move.

Mary also observed the dancing couple, debating whether to tell her brother what Sabrina had disclosed earlier or keep mum. What would hurt him more? Keep thinking he’d been dumped for Marcus Hawthorne or learning the truth while still not knowing the real reason for the breakup? And would he even believe her?

She watched as Marc twirled Sabrina on the dance floor, whisper something in her ear that made her laugh, and kept searching for clues as to what the real relationship between them might be. They didn’t act like lovers, not even now, merely very good friends, and she wondered how she hadn’t seen that before.

Because she hadn’t wanted to, she observed with chagrin. She hadn’t wanted to see and she couldn’t see because she was directly impacted by their relationship. While an objective observer...She met Catherine’s eyes over the table. The woman smiled slightly and Mary realized Catherine had probably seen it that first day. As had probably everybody else around their table, Westin excluded, since he knew them both from before.

The only one still oblivious was her brother, who cursed quietly under his breath when the dance ended and Marcus kissed the back of Sabrina’s hand before escorting her back to their table.

Steve was looking for an opening to leave the party—albeit knowing Mary would be furious if he didn’t dance with her. If he saw Hawthorne dance with Sabrina one more time, he would toss his cookies. And he wasn’t sticking around for desert either.

He lifted the napkin off his lap, ready to make up an excuse, when that handsome bastard stood, picked up a microphone from the table in front of him, and turned to address his guests.

“Good evening ,everyone, and thank you for coming.” Marc smiled. It was time. “I hope you’re enjoying your evening, but before we get to the desert—which is my favorite, by the way—I’d like to say a few words. I won’t be long, I promise.”

Steve rolled his eyes.

“Ever since I came to this beautiful island, I’ve been fascinated by the language, especially one word—ohana. It means family. And so much more. You see, family is more than just blood relationship, it means support and sacrifice for the ones you love. Being honest with the ones you love. And I’ve decided I’m done with keeping secrets.”

Steve frowned as he saw Sabrina reach out and grab Hawthorne’s hand, shake her head. What was going on?

“You see,” Marc continued. “There’s this woman, this amazing, beautiful, stubborn young woman that means the world to me. And she’s been keeping a secret for almost twenty years. Why? Because she felt she owed it to me. To protect me. But I don’t want to be protected anymore. So I decided that tonight, I’m done with secrets.”

Sabrina’s eyes filled with tears and her lower lip wobbled.

“There’s been speculation about my relationship with Sabrina Logan,” Marc said, brushing his fingers down his sister’s cheek. “Not from the media, because I’m apparently not that interesting, but from those who’ve know the two of us a long time, some even from our school days, and those who just met us. A lot of wrong conclusions have been drawn, conclusions she should’ve corrected, conclusions that hurt. Especially the people who love us, who we love. But she kept mum because she wanted to protect all the people she cares about, all those she loves. And when she could finally tell the truth, she still kept the secret. Because she was scared. Scared of being rejected, scared of getting hurt, scared of getting her heart broken.

“And I’ve had enough. So I decided to give you all the truth. Because I owe it to her, who’s always been there for me, through good and bad. I love this woman before me with all my heart, but she isn’t my lover, my fiancé, my wife. or the mother of my secret child. She is the secret child. My father’s secret child,” he said, pointedly meeting Steve McGarrett’s shocked gaze.

“Sabrina Logan is my sister.”

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