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The Broken Road, Chapter Six

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I used to give Danny a hard time about the places he lived the first couple years we knew each other. I know his finances weren’t exactly keeping him in the lap of luxury, and real estate in Hawaii isn’t cheap. Sometimes when you have a house you grew up in and that your parents footed the initial bill for, it’s easy to forget that newcomers to the island don’t just sashay in and pick up a prime piece of property on the beach for the loose change in their pockets. I wondered what would happen when Danny moved in with me. I know his latest place was nice, well-kept, and he’d put some thought into decorating it. 

I like things tidy and organized. People all jump to the conclusion that’s my military background. I wasn’t a slob when I was kid, either. My stuff was clean and I never had a big problem putting something back in a drawer or hanging it in a closet. I liked my room neat. I never understood why some of my friends liked climbing around on their clothes that were all over the floor or finding petrified pizza under their beds. Mary was another story. Her room was usually chaos, and she resented the necessity of tidying it up. My mother used to say she thought I was switched at birth because she never cared for housework either. I don’t care for it, really, but I see the purpose of it.

I rarely stayed over at Danny’s place, probably because on the times that I would have, he was living in some unsavory hotel or one-room apartment, so I didn’t really see how he lived the way you do when you co-habitate with someone. I was pleasantly surprised as he started moving his things in with mine. I know Danny’s personally very tidy and clean, so I didn’t really expect him to keep his clothes in a dirty ball on the floor, but I wasn’t sure about his organizational standards, and if his socks and underwear were going to barge in like a bunch of loud house guests and intrude all over my regimented, well-mannered, symmetrically rolled garments that were carefully organized in the dresser. 

Okay, some of it’s military training.

They didn’t. His socks were matched in pairs and folded and his underwear was tidy and organized and his things fit in the drawer I cleared out for him. I knew our socks needed to be separated. There was no way in hell I was wearing anything on any part of my body with multi-colored polka dots on it. Just no. Although, Danny’s socks are part of what make Danny interesting to me. I just wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them. I threatened him once that if something happens to me and he buries me wearing a pair of those, I’m coming back to haunt him. 

He said I could count on being buried in them, then, because anything that would bring me back to him in that situation was okay with him, even if I was a pissed off, ill-mannered poltergeist. According to him, that wouldn’t be much different than living with me now. He’s such a smart- ass little shit. I don’t know why I love him. But I do.

Since I had to move things out of the closet and the drawers to accommodate him, I stacked a few boxes in the hall and pointedly left them there, figuring he could handle taking them out to the storage shelves in the garage. I guess I never moved my stuff for Catherine. She sort of fit in around me and never really moved all the way in. My underwear was sharing real estate with Danny’s now, so I guess that meant we were marriage material.

Of course, there was the influx of dress shoes and dress shirts and ties that required a good chunk of my closet. According to him, t-shirts and polo shirts don’t need to go on hangers because if you fold or roll them up right, they still look fine. That was his justification for taking over more than two thirds of the clothes rack space. I know. I measured it after he moved all his stuff in there. It was more than two thirds but not quite three quarters. 

I’m not gonna talk about the upswing in hair and bath products that invaded my Spartan bathroom. I’ll give him a pass on those because they’re fun to play with in the bathtub and the shower and they smell good. So does Danny. So I keep my mouth shut, most of the time, about his...man cosmetics in my bathroom. I didn’t expect Grace staying over would cause any more of a bathroom upheaval than her father already had.

Since he’d looked at the cartons of my stuff I’d cleared out for a couple days and they hadn’t magically walked downstairs by themselves, he decided to take care of them while I went for a swim. Danny’s not nearly as aquatic as I am, so in his world, taking cartons out to the garage while I went swimming wasn’t the punishment it sounded like. He told me not to be too long, to be careful of my shoulder, and not to use up all my energy that we might need later. 

He missed his calling as a drill sergeant. It rarely occurs to me not to do what he tells me at home. I guess that’s his payback for me rarely listening to him on the job.
My shoulder was getting stronger, and I enjoyed the swim. Everything seemed a little more enjoyable now. I figured my swim would be followed by sharing a beer or two sitting out on the beach with Danny before we’d throw together something for dinner. I hoped to put on a little romantic music later and get him to dance with me again. I knew we’d probably have plenty of chances to slow dance while we were baiting our suspect out to come after us, but somehow that didn’t hold as much lure as doing it in the safety and privacy of our living room.

Our living room. That made me smile as I headed toward the house, toweling off my hair and anything else that was dripping. I didn’t expect to see Danny sitting on the steps with a pained expression, trying to straighten out his knee without groaning in pain. He was still in his work clothes, so he’d obviously been there awhile. The two overturned cartons at the foot of the stairs that were regurgitating on the floor my seldom-worn clothes and other non-essential personal effects were also a clue he hadn’t completed his mission to the garage.

“What happened?” I asked, finding it somehow more upsetting to watch him in pain now than it had been before. I hadn’t paid much attention to how hard it was for him to get around the last time he’d been hobbling with a cane.

“The cartons weren’t very heavy so I thought I’d take two down at once. I couldn’t see past them all that well, so I missed a step and came down really wrong on this leg. My knee’s fucking killing me.”

“Why didn’t you call me? How long have you been sitting here?”

“What did you want me to do? Send you a message by underwater sonar, Aqua Man?”

“I had my phone on one of the chairs. I guess it wouldn’t have made much difference. I’ll get some ice. Do we need to go to the emergency room?”

“Not unless there’s bleeding or a bone sticking out. I’ll call the doctor in the morning and see if he can work me in. I’m not spending all night in the ER to get an X-ray.”

“Does it hurt as much as when you tore it?”

“It hurts like hell right now.”

“Do you have your cane here somewhere?”

“It’s upstairs in the closet.”

“Let’s get you on the couch and I’ll get some ice.”

“Help me get out of my clothes first, okay?”

“You don’t have to ask twice.” That made him roll his eyes at me, and I kind of didn't blame him.

“I’m too warm. I don’t want to spend the evening on the couch sweating my ass off.”

“Okay. You want a t-shirt and shorts from upstairs?”

“Yeah, and those sandals you talked me into. Flip flops and canes aren’t a good mix.”

“Sit tight, sweetheart,” I said, kissing the top of his head before I hurried upstairs. I gathered the clothes and the sandals and hunted around in the closet until I found the cane. When I got back to the stairs, he was sitting there smiling at me. “What?”

“I’m your sweetheart now?” 

“Huh?” I hadn’t even thought of the endearment when it slipped out, but I felt sorry for him that he was hurting, and I wanted to say something mushy to him. “Looks like it,” I added. “You have a problem with that?”

“No,” he said, smiling at me. “It’s kind of nice.”

“Good. Now take your clothes off.”

“If my knee wasn’t killing me, that would really turn me on.”

“We’ll have sex later - purely to release endorphins that’ll be good for your pain.”

“Beats the hell out of ibuprofen.”

“You’ll get some of that, too, but yeah, it’s not really the most enjoyable pain remedy out there.”

“You should hang out your shingle. If you have sex with all your patients, we’d have a line all the way back to headquarters.”

“You say the sweetest things,” I joked.

I’d brought him one of his tank shirts instead of a t-shirt. It was for purely selfish reasons. I’d get to look at more of his chest and his arms that way. He spent too much time way too covered up for my tastes. He didn’t seem to care. He was glad to get out of the hot clothes and into his cooler things. His knee was swelling up, so I was anxious to get him situated and start icing it. I felt like an ass for leaving the boxes in the hall. It wouldn’t have killed me to set aside the principle of the thing and take them downstairs myself. But then Danny works out and can lift a hell of a lot more than the weight of those boxes, so I didn't foresee any issues with it. 

Between the railing and me, he supported himself while he stood up. I could see by the strain in his features that he was in pain. I think the stoicism was for my benefit. I wished he wouldn’t worry about that. The training I’ve had did teach me how to work through pain, withstand torture, carry on injured. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel sorry for someone I love when they’re hurting.

“Just let me get you down the steps,” I said. If I used the word “carry”, he’d never agree to it. 

“Okay.”

I got a good hold around his middle and moved him the four steps down to the floor. Once he was there, he leaned on me and the cane to hobble to the couch where he landed with a sigh of relief. I went into triage mode, gathering the ice pack and ibuprofen, getting pillows to prop up his leg. I shoved the ottoman over to the couch and used that. I wanted to be able to sit next to him, and he liked that idea, too, instead of being laid out across the entire couch. 

I took a quick shower and threw on a tank shirt and shorts and went downstairs to make us some dinner. Danny held up his telephone, announcing he had it covered and had ordered pizza. I didn’t really want pizza again, but that meant I could hang out with Danny on the couch instead of spending my time in the kitchen, so overall it was a win.

“We’re gonna have to rethink the undercover assignment,” I said, handing him a beer and sitting down next to him. 

“I’ve been thinking about that.” He paused to take a drink. “As long as my knee’s not too screwed up so I can’t get around, it could work in our favor.”

“How do you figure that?”

“Both times, our killer has struck when he could get half of the couple separated from the other, on their honeymoons. What’s a great, believable reason for a honeymooning couple to occasionally be separated?”

“Because one of them is laid up with a cane and, being the giving kind of person that Jeff Martelli is, he tells his husband, Brian, to go swimming and surfing without him on occasion, so he can enjoy the trip.”

“You nailed it.”

“I’d rather nail you.”

“Let me have some dinner first, and then I’m all yours. Just don’t expect me to stick my bad leg up in the air.”

“How about the good one?”

“That’s a different story,” he replied, laughing. 

“I’d rather we faked you having an injury. I don’t like the thought of you not being able to move as fast as you usually do if something goes wrong.”

“You’ll be backing me up. I’ll be fine. And I look like easy prey. I don’t have to remember to fake a limp, and I know how to actually walk with a cane so I won’t forget and limp on the wrong leg or something.”

"I don't like it."

"If you didn't love me, you would."

"Well, I do so I don't." I put my arm around him and he settled against me with his head on my shoulder, laughing.

"Can I quote you?"

"I didn't say I wouldn't go along with it. I don't have to like it." I kissed the side of his head. “I wouldn’t have liked it before, either.”

"Something has to make this nut pick us, out of any of the other gay couples he might spot. This is our edge," he said, gesturing at his leg.

"For right now, you're not going anywhere." 

"I got you and an ice pack. Why would I move?"

"Can I tell you a secret?" I asked him, because I was remembering a moment back when I couldn't tell him how I really felt about him, that remained one of my favorite memories.

"As long as you're not gonna have to kill me afterwards."

"Not one of those secrets," I replied, laughing. "Remember the Halloween before last?"

"I guess so." He was quiet a minute. "Oh, yeah, Grace went trick-or-treating with her friends and I came over and screwed up your evening with Catherine." He snorted a little laugh. "What made you think of that?"

"A few nights later, you guys came over trick-or-treating, remember?"

"That's right," he recalled, smiling. "Gracie gave me a do-over on the trick-or-treating. You were out of candy and we had to watch that god-awful chick flick."

"The Notebook."

"Don't tell me - you lied, and you secretly love that movie, and want to watch it tonight while we're making out on the couch."

"If we're making out on the couch, I don't really care what's on the TV," I told him, laughing.

"Then what is it?"

"I remember us sitting here on the couch, kind of like this, watching the movie."

"Yeah, I remember that, too," he said, looking up at me and smiling. "It was nice."

"There was nobody else on that couch I would have rather sat there with. Just thought you should know that."

"Now I get to sit here and be the one who stays over. Life has definitely gotten better, babe," he said, hooking his hand around the back of my head and pulling me down for a kiss.

"It sure has," I agreed, catching his hand and kissing it, then kissing him again. We started getting into it when the doorbell rang.

"Pizza's here."

"Who cares?" I kissed him again. The doorbell rang again.

"The kid with the pizza, and me, because I'm hungry."

"Your wish is my command," I joked, getting up and heading for the door.

********

“Oh, no, not your knee again,” Kono said as I hobbled into the office. Steve was parking the car. There were benefits to being his fiancé instead of just his partner. The last time I’d hurt me knee, he really hadn’t shown me any mercy. Now he was doting on me. I could get used to that.

“Yeah, I twisted it on the steps last night. Missed one and came down wrong.”

“Ouch. I feel ya, brah.”

“I know you do,” I replied. Kono and I occasionally compared pain gripes when we ended up doing something stupid to our respective bad knees. Hers didn’t seem to act up as much as mine did, but then she'd had surgery on hers and I had a few years on her, so I’m sure she was looking at me with my cane and cringing that could be in her future. “Where’s Chin?”

“He’s not here yet. Why?”

“You have a minute?” I asked, inclining my head toward my office. I wanted to get off my leg, and I also didn’t want to have our conversation out by the command center.

“Sure. You want coffee?” she asked, holding up her own partially full cup.

“That’d be great.”

“I’ll get it. Let’s not have you spill coffee on yourself in addition to the knee thing,” she joked. I went into my office and sat down, relieved to be off my leg, and she came in a few seconds later with her coffee refilled and a fresh cup for me.

“Thank you.” I took a drink, glad to have it. Steve and I had a choice that morning between having sex and making coffee. Three guesses which option won. If I hadn’t had the cane, I probably would have been walking funny anyway. She sat across from me.

“Did Chin say anything to you about his conversation with Steve?”

“Not willingly, but I dragged it out of him. How upset was Steve?”

“I think he was hurt more than anything else. You know, we expect to get a lot of heat from sources outside Five-0, whether it’s just bigots in general, or people who think we shouldn’t work together, but I think he counted pretty heavily on support from our team.”

“Chin sees it as being honest, and I don’t think he would be comfortable lying to Steve.”

“How do you feel about it?”

“I think what Chin said Steve told him makes a lot of sense - that he didn’t just suddenly start loving you the moment your relationship changed. It’s been going on a while. Anyone with eyes could see that you two are inseparable and have close relationship. You know, men put way too much importance on sex. It should be the result of feelings, not the reason for them. Guys think waving their magic wands changes everything.”

“Did I just turn as red as I feel like I did?” I knew my face felt like it was flaming.

“You haoles do turn a nice shade of pink when you’re embarrassed.” She gave me an evil grin.

“That answers that question,” I said, laughing. 

“You and Steve are a great team, and have been for a long time. I know you also have loved each other for a long time. We’re all close friends, so if you apply that rule of personal involvement or emotional attachment compromising a law enforcement partnership or team, we’re all screwed.” She took another drink of her coffee. 

“That’s how I feel. It’s not like Steve would coldly put any one of us in the line of fire without feeling the stress of putting someone he loved in danger. I do know he’ll still do it. It’s programmed so deeply in him to achieve the mission, I don’t think he can stop being who and what he is even if he tried. He might treat me differently in a lot of ways because of how things changed, but if we’re in the heat of battle, out on the streets, he’s gonna get the job done and command this unit the way he always has. I know that even if he’s not sure of it.”

“Chin’s spent his whole life around cops. Admiring them and wanting to be one of them. Those principles are very ingrained in him.”

“But not in you?”

“I spent a lot of time hanging out with the surfing community. Let’s just say my influences are a little more varied than his.”

Steve walked in then and spotted us in my office. My door was open, and he poked his head in.

“Chin here yet?” he asked.

“Not yet,” Kono replied.

“When he gets here, we need to do some tactical planning for the undercover operation.”

“I’ll tell him. I’m sure he’ll be in soon. He hasn’t called or anything,” she said.

“You need ice?” he asked me. I did, but the thought of limping down to the vending room and getting it to tide me over while my cold packs froze in the freezer made my knee throb.

“Yeah, I could use some. Can you stick these in the freezer?” I asked, holding up the packs. 

“Be right back. Did you call the doctor yet? Let me know when you get a time and I’ll drive you.”

“Okay, thanks, babe.” 

He smiled as he took the cold packs from me, letting his fingers brush over mine fleetingly. After he was gone, Kono smiled at me.

“What?”

“He’s a goner. The way he looks at you, I’m surprised he didn’t melt your ice packs,” she said. “Give Chin some time. He’s overcoming a lot of family tradition and cop culture. Sometimes that messes with your head.”

"I hope you’re right."

"Have you read the M.E.'s reports on our two victims?"

"I was saving that for lunch hour," I quipped. “Steve and I went to see Max and the most recent victim." 

"Whoever did this kept these men alive most of the time they were missing and tortured them. I think everyone's ignoring the elephant in the room. These two victims look like you."

"That's in our favor if that's not just coincidence. If a third body turns up and that victim fits the general type, then we know it's a pattern. If he makes a play for me, that's good. Steve and I are bait."

"What about your knee?"

"It gives me a good reason to sit around by myself while my hubby goes off swimming and surfing."

"If Five-0 doesn't take this case, the Feds probably will. Let them bring in someone to go undercover."

"I really appreciate the concern, but it's our case. Steve committed to it with the governor, and it's the condition for keeping Five-0 intact," I said. I didn't know if I was telling tales out of school. Steve hadn't explained that to the team, but I figured Kono wouldn't blow the whistle on me for telling her.

"Denning is forcing you guys to be live bait for this psychopath and holding your relationship over your heads to do it? That's...disgusting."

"It's the only way to keep the team together. According to Denning, it'll give him the credibility to back us up if we can bring down a killer like this one, using our relationship to our advantage on the job."

"So the other pile of cases you've solved don't count? Just this one?"

"We weren't a couple when we solved those. So I guess not." I paused, sighing. "Look, this case is a rough one, no question. But we probably would have caught it anyway, whether or not Steve and I got together."

"I just want to be sure we're taking this case for the right reasons, and with clear heads. And that the governor isn't throwing you two to the wolves. Either you pull off the impossible, or die trying, but either way, the two of you being a couple isn't his problem anymore."

"Shit, I'd hate to think Denning thought about it that way."

"If we take on this case, that's fine, but I don't think it should be because he's holding it over your heads as some kind of leverage. Even if you weren't a couple, do you think Steve would be comfortable dangling you out there as bait for a sadist who tortures and mutilates his victims?"

"Cops are used for bait all the time. Fortunately, most of the cases aren't this grisly."

"What did I miss?" Steve asked, joining us in the office. I guess our expressions were pretty grim.

"We're talking about the case."

"That would do it. The second victim's husband is still on the island. I figured we could have a sit down with him today. Probably should bring him here so we're not spotted around the hotel with the victim's husband. In case our psycho is watching."

"Is it true that the governor is pretty much forcing you guys to go undercover on this?"

I wished she hadn't said anything, but I understood her anger. It really did feel like a screw job of sorts, and we were at Denning's mercy if we wanted to keep things the way they were. Steve shot me a look, but he didn't say anything. 

"He's not forcing us to do anything. He offered me a deal, and with Danny's agreement, I took it."

"Are you really comfortable with using human bait to catch a monster like this?"

"Comfortable would be the wrong word, but it's true that Danny and I are in a unique position to take this on. I don't like it that Danny appears to be this nut's type, assuming the physical traits of the victims weren't coincidence. Realistically, that’s an additional advantage to the investigation."

"Somebody has to get this maniac off the streets before he kills another innocent person," I said. "All things being equal, we're the best choice to do that, and we do have a vested interest of our own in making it work."

"There are worse things to lose even than Five-0. Please just think this through." She paused. "Do you want me to contact the victim's husband and ask him to come down here?"

"Yeah, thanks," Steve said. She nodded and left the office. "You think that was a good idea to tell her that?"

"I don't know. I feel like this is already tearing us apart here, Steve. You and Chin are on the outs, you and I are live bait for a maniac, and Kono has a point about us being essentially blackmailed into this."

"Danny, I said I was prepared to walk away from Five-0 to stand by you, and I meant it. If you don't want to do this, we walk together."

"I know, and I love you for that, babe. I really do." I leaned back in my chair. "I looked at those guys, and all I could think about was how I'd feel if something like that happened to you. Somebody's gotta get justice for the guys these dead guys left behind. The ones who have to live with knowing the person they loved died that way. It would made me really happy to nail this sick son of a bitch."

"That's how I feel, too. Except I hope his victim type is a coincidence. Just two confirmed murders attributed to him...it could be."

"I think that's wishful thinking, but it could just be the draw of the cards. The victims are about what, ten years apart in age?"

"About." Steve sat down across from me. He looked stressed. "One couple was married a long time, one just married. Their sexual orientation and the physical appearance of the victims are the two most obvious common threads."

"There's probably something else. There's always a reason with these fruitcakes why they do what they do, even if it's completely out there to anyone sane."

"Commander McGarrett?" A young police officer tapped on the doorframe of the office. "Delivery for you."

"Thanks," Steve stood up and took the long, narrow black case from the officer. It looked like the case for some high-tech rifle.

"You order a new toy from Guns and Ammo?" I teased. 

"No, I got you a present," he said, setting the case on my desk and flipping the top open. Inside was an elegant looking cane, shiny black with silver accents.

"I have a cane," I said. I hated using one, and a pretty one didn't make it any more appealing.

"Not like this one." Steve took it out of the case and with one hand supporting the lower part of it, held onto the handle and pressed something underneath it. The bottom disengaged and revealed about a eight-inch steel blade, razor sharp. "You might not always have your gun on you."

"Whoa, now that's a cane," I said, and he laughed softly, putting it back together and handing it to me so I could try it. There was a little button under the handle that triggered it. I stood with some difficulty and tried it. "This is perfect."

"I measured yours."

"My what?"

"I haven't used a measuring tape on that yet, but I suppose that's an idea for later."

"I have a better idea for how you can measure that length."

"We measured it that way last night."

"That was last night," I replied, hobbling around a little to test the new cane. "We measured yours this morning," I added, loving that he was actually turning a little pink.

"It'll look sharp when we're all dressed up and out for the evening."

"It'll look sharp if I hit the button."

"That, too." 

"Thanks," I said, stopping to really look in his eyes. I knew he was doing everything he could to take care of me, to protect me. I also knew he didn't like this any better than I did. "Do I wanna know how you got this?"

"Probably not. Besides, if I told you, I'd have to kill you myself."

"Kind of defeat the purpose of the cane, wouldn't it?"

"A little, yeah." Steve paused. “More props,” he said, pulling a plastic bag out of his pocket. There were two rings in it. “I tried to get something that didn’t look like what we’ll pick out for our own rings...”

“God, I hope not,” I said, looking at the rings that were white gold with four obvious diamonds. 

“I was thinking plain gold bands for us,” he said. 

“Yeah, that’s what I want, too,” I said, smiling at him. He smiled back then, looking relieved. 

“I think this one’s yours,” he said, taking one out of the bag and handing it to me. “This is weird...do you want me to...put it on you?”

“No, not til we get our own. This one is just a prop for the job,” I said, trying it on. “How’d you know the size?”

“It fits well?”

“Yeah, perfect.”

“I like your hands,” he said quietly, like he was a little embarrassed to admit that. “I know them pretty well.”

“That’s nice,” I said, touching his cheek. “These have to be pricey.”

“They’re on loan from a local jeweler. I figured Brian and Jeff would have flashier rings than we will.”

“Can’t wait,”I said, and his big smile was just like watching the sun rise over the water.

********

Mark Fredericks was a slender man with brown hair and glasses. He was average height, and wore a pair of tan slacks and a white short-sleeved shirt. He looked tired and sad, older than his 45 years. I figured losing the love of your life in such a gruesome way would do that to a person. I know losing Danny would gut me like a fish and leave me to bleed out slowly. We were sitting in my office after he'd arrived at Five-0 headquarters. Chin had picked him up as a courtesy, and one of us would drive him back to his hotel when we were done.

"I appreciate you coming down to talk to us in person, Mr. Fredericks. I know this is a difficult time."

"That's a smooth understatement, isn't it? A difficult time." He looked down. "It feels like the end of time."

"Sorry I'm late," Danny said as he joined us, hobbling as quickly as he could with his bad knee. "I was on the phone with Max," he said. Danny had called Max with a few questions about the autopsy report on Tony D'Angelo. Fredericks stared at Danny a moment, and it was obvious he saw a resemblance to his dead husband. "Detective Danny Williams," he introduced, extending a hand toward Fredericks, who shook it. "I'm sorry for your loss."

"Thank you. You're not from around here, are you?"

"Still that obvious, huh?" Danny asked, smiling. "I'm from New Jersey. Moved out here about four years ago."

"I thought so," he said, and for the first time, cracked a slight smile.

"My ex-wife remarried and moved out here with our daughter, so I packed up and moved out here, too. I could have lived without the ex, but not without Grace." 

I knew what Danny was doing. The distraction seemed to put Fredericks at ease, take some of the stress out of coming to headquarters to talk about his husband's murder.

"Do you have a picture?" he asked.

"One or two," Danny quipped, pulling out his phone and tapping a couple times to get to the photo gallery that was 90% Grace, and about 10% anything else in Danny's life. "These are the newest." He handed him the phone.

"She's lovely. How old is she?"

"She's twelve."

"She'll be thirteen in a couple months," I chimed in, just to tease Danny a bit.

"Don't remind me," Danny said as he took the phone back and tucked it in his pocket. 

"Do you have children?" I asked.

"No. Tony and I thought about adopting when we were younger, but time seemed to just get away from us, and..." he let the sentence go unfinished with a gesture of his hand. 

"I know the police went over everything with you extensively about the night Tony disappeared, but now that we're taking over the investigation, we'd rather hear it first hand than rely on reports. Plus, there might be something you remember that didn't seem important at the time that could give us a meaningful lead." 

As Danny spoke, I pulled my desk chair closer to where he stood. I'd been sitting on the front of the desk, trying to keep the setting more casual for Fredericks, but I knew Danny's knee had to be hurting and he needed to sit.

"Here," I said, gesturing to him to sit. 

"Thanks, babe," he said, not even seeming to notice the endearment had come out as he sat in the chair with a little wince. Of course, Danny had called me that in front of a lot of people over the years when we weren't together this way. It was the way he looked at me, the way he smiled at me like I was the best thing in the world, that screamed "couple" more than a single small word.

"Before Tony disappeared, do you remember anyone hanging around, maybe someone who seemed to be watching you?" I asked.

"I told the other detectives, no, I don' t remember anything like that. Tony was always the life of the party, and he loved to meet new people and work a room. Or a beach, or whatever, so he talked to a lot of people," he added.

"I know this is difficult," Danny said, leaning forward a bit in the chair, "but please try to think back of the luau, and anyone you saw Tony with before you couldn't find him. You must have looked around and seen where he was, what he was doing, before you lost track of him."

Fredericks was staring at Danny, watching him. 

"I'm sorry. You remind me of him," he said.

"In what way?" 

"I'm sure you've seen photos of Tony, so you must know you resemble him."

"There are some similarities."

"Your mannerisms are similar..." 

"Would you like some water, coffee, something?" I asked. 

"Water would be good if you have it."

I got a bottled water out of the refrigerator in my office and handed it to him.

"Thank you." He took a drink. "I still can't believe he's gone. I urged him to go on this trip."

"You can't blame yourself for that," Danny said.

"I don't. I blame the Honolulu Police Department for not doing all they could to catch this monster before he killed Tony. And if they couldn't do that, the least they could have done is release more details about the first case to the media. We had no idea anything like this had happened here or we would have never come."

"Generally the police try not to put the community into a state of panic unless they have reason to believe there's a pattern," I explained, but I knew it would sound lame to someone who had lost a loved one to a crime that probably seemed preventable.

"They also don't say anything that will harm the tourism business unless they absolutely have to."

"Unfortunately, one murder doesn’t suggest a pattern, and the investigation often centers on people who would have had reason to do something like that to the victim, versus assuming it’s a serial killer who'll strike again,” Danny said.

“Who would have a reason to do to anyone the kinds of things this psychopath did to Tony and the other man he killed?”

“It would definitely indicate a personal grudge against the victim if it was a single homicide case,” Danny replied. “Unfortunately, while the police were pursuing the case in that direction...”

“Yes, unfortunately. You two are big on understatements.”

“Did you and Tony argue at all before he disappeared?” I asked. I knew it would probably set him off again, but maybe enough time had passed that he’d admit it if he’d denied it before.

“You think we had an argument and so I lay in wait for him, tortured him, and castrated him in retaliation?”

“No, we think there’s a pattern here and if we’re going to find the killer, we need to find that pattern. There are a lot of gay couples who come here on their honeymoon, but there’s some reason he chose the victims he did,” Danny said.

“Maybe he likes short blonds,” Fredericks said pointedly. 

“Thank you for your time, Mr. Fredericks,” I said. I wanted to slug the asshole, but he wasn’t saying anything we didn’t already know, and if someone had done to Danny what this maniac had done to this guy’s husband, I don’t think I’d be polite, either. Still, Danny’s resemblance to the first two victims was a hot spot for me, and I didn’t think I’d mind my manners through another reference to it, especially when there was sarcasm or hostility behind it.

“That’s it? This is what I had to come downtown for?” he asked, rising.

“We were hopeful you’d have some insights that could help us with the investigation, but this hasn’t proven to be productive for any of us,” I said. “You may see Detective Williams or myself in or near the hotel where you’re staying. We’re going to be investigating the case now, and it’s possible we may attempt an undercover operation.”

“So don’t blow your cover? Fine, if I see you around the hotel, I won’t acknowledge you.”

“Thank you,” Danny said. “If you think of anything else, please call us,” he said, handing Fredericks a card. “We can give you a ride back to the hotel.”

“I can take a cab,” he said, rising. “Your medical examiner’s office isn’t exactly forthcoming about when they’re going to release Tony’s body. I won’t go home without him,” he added, his voice strained. 

“I’ll call Dr. Bergman and see if we can expedite things for you,” I offered.

“I’d appreciate that,” he replied. “How long have you two been together?” he asked. I looked at Danny and he looked at me, then he smiled. 

“Not long. We’ve known each other about four years, but we just got together. You know. Like that.” Danny’s awkward explanation seemed to break the ice a bit with Fredericks, and he actually smiled.

“Must be challenging, in law enforcement, and working together.”

“You have no idea,” I said, thinking of how I was backed into a corner with this case.

“I’m sorry about that remark...the ‘short blond’ thing.”

“It’s not entirely untrue,” Danny said.

“No, it isn’t. Be careful with your partner, Commander McGarrett. You only get one love of your life, and when he’s gone, nothing else is going to matter.” With that, he turned and left the office. I was a little speechless. It made me angry that he’d assume he had to tell me to be careful with Danny. I’d die for Danny. His life, his safety...that’s everything to me.

“He’s grieving,” Danny said. “Don’t let it get to you.”

“It got to me long before he said anything.”

“We’ve been over this.”

“Yeah, well, maybe not enough.”

“You want to take Mary and Joanie out for dinner tonight and tell them?”

“What?” I was totally thrown by the subject change.

“We probably only have a night or two before we start this thing. Be nice to tell your sister about us, don’t you think?”

“What about your family?”

“My mom’s going to go nuts and be all excited, my sisters will handle it fine...my dad...it’s gonna take a little adjusting. That’s not a one-shot phone call. I was thinking when this case is over, maybe we could go out there for a few days. I don’t want to just tell them. I want them to have a chance to spend some time with you and get to know you.”

“Sounds like a great idea. When do we go to the doctor?”

“Shit. I’m supposed to be there in half an hour.”

“I’ll bring the car up front. Just take your time. We’ll knock ourselves out getting there to wait for two hours.”

“You don’t have to come with me.”

I just gave him a look and headed out to the parking lot.

********

“You’re lucky this time, Danny,” the doctor said. Danny was sitting on the table fully dressed except for his pants, shoes and socks. I was standing beside him, knowing I had it bad because I had to work hard not to tell the doctor to quit twisting his knee around while he was examining him. “It's not torn, just inflamed.”

“That’s good news,” I said, smiling at Danny. 

“You’ll still need to take it easy, use the cane until your symptoms improve. I would recommend crutches but I know you won’t use them anyway.”

“It’s a little difficult in my line of work, Doc,” he said.

“Tell me, is this the same partner you mentioned last time you tore your ACL?”

“One in the same,” Danny said, laughing.

“Didn’t follow my advice on that, either, I see,” the doctor joked, making a couple notes in the computer on Danny’s file. 

“Your doctor gave you advice about me?” I asked. I couldn’t stand it. I had to know.

“For the sake of my knee, he recommended I get a new partner.”

“Thanks a lot, Doc,” I replied, laughing, and the doctor just nodded. 

“Yeah,” Danny said, taking my hand, which surprised me, since we hadn’t defined our relationship to the doctor beyond “partner.” “I not only didn’t get a different partner, I decided to marry this one.”

“Congratulations,” the doctor replied, smiling at us. “When is the big day?”

“We haven’t set the date yet, but sooner than later,” I said, and Danny squeezed my hand and gave me a big grin for that answer.

“Your blood pressure is a little high. Any unusual stress lately?”

“A couple things,” Danny said. “Fairly big things.”

“They’re getting resolved?” the doctor asked, looking at him, and then at me, as if I must have not only destroyed Danny’s knee, but also his peace of mind.

“Slowly but surely,” Danny said. “The biggest one is taken care of.” I knew he was referring to Grace’s DNA test.

“I want to see you again in a month and we’ll check it again.”

“It wasn’t that high, was it?” Danny asked. I’d watched the nurse check it, and it was above normal, but it would surprise me if Danny’s blood pressure was ever normal.

“Not alarmingly, but high enough that I want to be sure it’s not a pattern.”

Trust me, Doc, that’s not the worst pattern we’re coping with right now...

Once we were in the car heading home, I had to ask.

“What did you tell him about me?”

“I think the word ‘maniac’ may have come up.” Danny laughed. “I don’t remember exactly.”

“At least he didn’t suggest surgery.”

“He has before but I’ve vetoed that plan. At least for now.”

“I didn’t know it was that serious.”

“It’s weak and it’s susceptible to re-injury. There are pros and cons to it. As long as I can get by with my own equipment in its original factory condition, I’d rather do that.”

“You should have told me.”

“Why, so you could worry about it every time I run or jump or take a fall on the job? Usually it’s okay, and I work out and do all the exercises the doctor recommends to keep it as strong as I can. Someday, I’ll probably do something to it I’ll need to get fixed. I can’t stop living because of it.”

“No, but if you’re walking around with something that might need surgery, I want to know about it. I love you. I need to know this stuff.” I thought he’d look pained at what I was saying, but instead, he was giving me a big smile.

“I love you, too,” he replied, then he patted my leg and relaxed in his seat, still smiling.

“What?”

“You really do have to know everything, don’t you?” 

“About you, yes. Is that clear?”

“Duly noted,” he said, still smiling.

********

I have to admit I've always thought Steve’s sister was kind of a flake. A nice flake, but a flake, nonetheless. She really does a nice job with Joanie; motherhood seems to agree with her. Joanie’s adorable, even if the first time she parroted back my name to me, she called me “Anny.” I told Steve the first time he says, “Book ‘em, Anny,” I’ll shoot him.

We went to a nice seafood restaurant overlooking the ocean - so much stuff overlooks the ocean in Hawaii that I guess it’s no big deal to the natives. For some reason, I still find it notable. I guess going to Red Lobster back home is a more inland experience than having seafood in Hawaii where you actually look at where your dinner came from while you eat it. I kept Joanie entertained while Mary updated Steve on Aunt Deb’s condition, which was declining a bit, though not as rapidly as we'd feared. Mary planned to fly there and spend Aunt Deb’s last months with her, despite Deb’s vocal objections that she didn’t want to be a burden. 

Mary has a knack of having this incredible flexibility with her employment and still managing to feed and house herself and Joanie. I think her fallback plan is named Steve, and I don’t think he’s too good at saying no to pretty much the only consistent blood relative he has. Mary might be flaky, but their mother takes flake to a new level. We don’t even know where the hell she is most of the time, now that we know she isn’t dead. So if helping support his sister and niece is something he’s happy doing, there’s no way as a friend, or a husband, that I would interfere with that. 

Even if I think Mary does need to grow up at some point and figure out that holding a job for more than a few months at a time is required to support a child and create some kind of stability for her. I still wonder how she managed to adopt Joanie when there are so many couples waiting in line for a child who have a lot more solid resume as parent material.

I could see Steve’s mood take a decided downswing after Mary talked about Aunt Deb and how she’s having more headaches and needs some help around the house. I didn’t know Deb all that well then, but she seemed like a great lady, and she was there for Steve and Mary when they needed her. It made my heart ache for him that he was losing another parent figure. I hope I manage to avoid getting shot and that I live to a ripe old age. I want to be his stability, the one person who never leaves him, no matter what.

“We should visit Aunt Deb while she’s still feeling up to guests,” I suggested. 

“That would be great!” Mary replied, excited. “We could all fly out together, and then Joanie and I will stay on.”

“We can’t do it right now,” Steve said, taking another drink of his iced tea. I could see how moist his eyes were, and he was trying not to get emotional. The fact Joanie chose that moment to hold up a shrimp toward me and say, “Anny” gave us all the laugh we badly needed right then. “Danny and I are in the middle of a major investigation. But I’d like to see her again, if she’s up to having all of us show up there.”

After I’d eaten the offered shrimp and repaid it with a french fry, I hoped we could get the conversation on a slightly happier track for Steve’s sake.

“We have some news we want to share with you and Joanie,” I said. Steve smiled at me and squeezed my thigh under the table. Just a little higher and more to the inside, babe... 

“Don’t keep me in suspense,” Mary said, carefully wiping Joanie’s mouth with a napkin. 

“Danny and I are together,” Steve said. Mary looked at him, then at me, and then realization dawned. 

“Oh, together,” she said. “I don’t understand...what about Catherine?”

“She’s actually back in town, but this has nothing to do with her,” Steve said. “Danny and I have had feelings for each other for quite a while but we’re apparently really good at not communicating with each other about it, so it took us a while to figure it out.”

“I kind of thought there was something, but you seemed to have a pretty steady thing with Catherine.”

“A thing? What is this, the McGarrett family term for ‘relationship’? Please, Steve, tell me we don’t have a thing.”

“I’ve got a thing for you, all right,” he said.

“I guess that use of the term is okay,” I replied, smiling, liking it a little too much that his hand was still on my thigh.

“Oh, my God, you two are so cute together. Steve, you look all goofy when you look at Danny.”

“Thanks, sis. Does that mean you approve?”

“I suppose you were going to break up if I didn’t?” she joked.

“Not quite,” Steve said. “I’m gonna marry him, so I just wanna know who’ll be in the wedding.”

Mary let out a squeal and decided she had to get up and hug us both so, needless to say, our quiet, private family dinner was suddenly the center of attention for half the restaurant. That was okay. Steve was smiling and he really looked happy. I didn’t think Mary would have any objections or bad feelings about us getting together, but I know she liked Catherine and thought of her as Steve’s significant other.

“Have you set a date yet?” she asked, giving Joanie one of her toys and working at quieting her down, since the excitement had gotten her riled up.

“Not yet,” I said. “We have to get through this case first.”

“What kind of a case is it? Wait, I know the drill. You can’t tell me. It’s classified.”

“It could involve some undercover work, so if we tell anyone, it could compromise our cover,” I explained. 

“Does Catherine know? You said she was back in town. Is she okay?”

“She’s staying at the Hilton. As far as I know, she’s fine,” Steve said. “She wasn’t exactly throwing us a parade or anything, but she handled it well, considering.”

“I’ll have to give her a call and go to lunch or something. Just for moral support. Unless she thinks of me as being in the enemy camp now.”

“I hope not. I don’t have any bad feelings toward Cath. I loved her. I still do, as a friend, though I don't think she's exactly on board with that.”

“Kind of explains why that relationship never took off. I never could figure that out. You two seemed like a perfect match. I just chalked it up to you being a dense jerk who’s afraid of commitment, like most guys,” she added.

“That’s obviously not the problem,” I said, and I suppose by Mary’s standards, I looked goofy while I was looking at Steve.

“I proposed first but he turned me down until he could do it his way.”

“You were supposed to ask again but you were taking your damn time.”

“Something tells me there’s a really good story behind that you probably aren’t going to tell me,” Mary said.

“Something like that,” Steve confirmed, grinning at me.

********

Danny was laid out on the bed, naked, a pillow under his bad knee, one arm behind his head, while I worked on giving him a blow job that would replace pills and ice as his favorite methods of pain relief. I wanted to try doing it with him inside me and me on top. We’d done it that way a couple times when he was on the receiving end and he seemed to like it. I know I liked it. A lot. 

He was moaning, sighing here and there, starting to arch a little as he got harder. When I stopped, he raised his head, looking disappointed.

“I’ve got another idea,” I said, leaning across him to reach for the night stand. He caught me and kept me in a tight embrace so we were nose to nose. 

“Kiss me,” he said. “I’m lonely up here.” He didn’t have to ask me twice. I held him and kissed him until we both took a break to breathe. People say you can breathe while you’re kissing. I say if you can, you’re not doing it right. You should be into it enough that you’re short of breath. You can get some oxygen but not a whole lot.

I kissed and nipped at Danny’s mouth, liking the way he looked with his lips pinker than usual because I just kissed him senseless. He framed my face with his hands and just looked at me for a moment before he kissed me again, but this wasn’t urgent. It was soft and sweet and unhurried and full of love. 

“I love you, Steven,” he said softly, looking at me like he couldn’t possibly love me any more. I don’t think he could. I know he couldn’t be a better partner, friend, or lover, and he couldn’t make me happier.

“You’re my heart and soul, Danno,” I whispered, not too sure of my voice if I tried to speak out loud. “Don’t you ever go anywhere.” I didn’t mean to say it in so many words, but the thought of losing him terrified me, and it still does. I guess that’s the price you pay for loving somebody that much. I’ll pay it and then some. He’s worth anything, everything.

“I sort of figured falling in love with a Navy SEAL was a lifetime thing. The tracking skills are legendary,” he said, kissing me again. I held him close and he hugged me back. I love the feeling of his skin against mine, the contrast of the places he’s smooth and the places he’s hairy, firm muscles, soft skin, some nice curves. 

When I finally got around to slicking him up for the main event, he stopped me before I could get to it. 

“Let me get you ready.”

“I’m pretty ready now.”

“You stuck your finger up your ass once or twice. That’s not enough.”

“It’s enough for me.”

“Just lie there for a minute and calm down. We’re not on a deadline.”

I lay there on my belly for a few minutes, and he went to work on me with the lube, using a lot more than I had and taking his time stretching me. I’m sure the times he rubbed over my prostate were not accidental. 

“I’m gonna be in you deep in this position, babe. Don’t want to hurt you.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“Just take it slow. Don’t just sit on me.”

“I’m not gonna hurt you, either.”

“I’m not worried about me. Gravity is a factor here. Just take it slow and easy.”

“That’s a Whitesnake song,” I said, straddling him. 

“You didn’t just say that.” He started to laugh. “Shit, now that’s running through my head.”

“Guess I better get your mind back on the business at hand, then.” 

I lined him up with my hole and started lowering myself. He was right, gravity was playing a serious role in things, and I did pay attention to his advice to give myself time to take him in, to adjust. This was deeper and more forceful, inescapable, than other positions. Danny ran his hands up and down my thighs, and he was looking at me with some cross between love and desire that shot straight to my heart, and other places. Then he held his hands palms up toward me and I grabbed onto them, lacing our fingers while I started moving. It was like nothing I ever felt before...he was inside me but I was deciding on the pace, controlling our movements. I could read in his face and hear in his gasps when I was really making him feel good, and that turned me on as much as the sensations shooting through my own body. 

He withdrew his hands and leaned up, stuffing a couple pillows behind him quickly so he was almost sitting and then took me in his arms. We could kiss like this, and his hands were running up and down my back and into my hair where he got a good hold on my head so he could keep my mouth right where he wanted it. 

The pressure on my prostate was driving me over the edge. It was too intense and I couldn't hold back anymore. I came like crazy, gasping and swearing, calling out his name, and before long, he was joining me, and when it was over, we lay there like two dead fish, one on top of the other, catching our breath and in no hurry to move. We did finally shift enough for him to slip out of me and to settle with me against his side, my head on his chest, his arm around me. It's different in bed with a guy. It's kind of nice sometimes to be the one who gets held afterwards. 

"Love you," he mumbled, kissing my hair. I could tell he was close to sleep, and that was okay. I was, too. That was something else that was just too sweet and perfect with Danny: falling asleep in each other's arms, no words really needed and nobody mad that great sex is one hell of a sedative when you're tired.

"Love you, sweetheart," I replied, knowing he'd liked it when I called him that. His heart was thumping rhythmically under my ear, and I could hear the sounds of the ocean in the other ear. People say Hawaii is paradise. It's a beautiful place, but my paradise is in moments like these, just Danny and me against the world, forever. I fell asleep with a smile on my face, thinking about how lucky I'd be if I could fall asleep every night right there, next to him.

********

"Wow, nice room," Danny said, looking around. "Must be exciting if you don't already look at this every day," he said, checking out the view from the corner room in the Rainbow Tower of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

"I have a feeling it'll still be romantic at night, even if you do look at the ocean every day," I replied, chuckling. 

"If you're with the right person, you've got the drapes closed at night anyway," he said.

"Nobody would see you up here."

"You'd have sex with the curtains open?"

"Closing the curtains on the view sort of defeats the purpose of it. Unless you're worried about birds, it's private when you're up this high."

"What about people in other tall buildings?"

"Danny, look at how far we are from any other equally tall building."

"Not so far somebody couldn't have a high-powered lens aimed at us."

"I suppose if the FBI wants to do surveillance on us, they might have equipment sophisticated enough to see us having sex from another tall building."

"That's good enough for me to close the curtains. And what about helicopter tours?"

"I'm sure Kamekona has added our room to his itinerary so he can buzz dangerously close to the hotel and point out two men having sex to his customers."

"I'd buzz a hotel with a helicopter to see you naked."

"You don't fly helicopters, Danny."

"I'd learn."

"Fortunately, you don't have to do anything that difficult to get me naked, except–"

"Yeah, I know, we need to go downstairs and start honeymooning publicly to get some psychopath excited enough to want to kill one of us."

"Hey." I took him in my arms and looked into his eyes. Suddenly, the ocean didn't hold nearly as much lure as a view. "This isn't our real honeymoon. We'll have one, somewhere else, just the two of us. No psychos, no guns, no job, no danger. Just you and me."

"No pineapples and no coconuts," he added. “But about that ‘no guns’ thing...”

“I mean other people won’t have guns. We’ll still take ours.”

“Okay, that’s better.”

"I’ll even honeymoon with you somewhere cold if you want. Skiing in Colorado, Tahoe..."

"Eh, my knee's pretty shot for skiing anyway. We can go somewhere warm, but I want to take you back home to meet the rest of my family."

"We'll do that, too."

"I know you think you're indestructible, but just be careful, okay?"

"I think I'm over the illusion of being indestructible, but I will, Danno. I promise. I've got too much to live for to fuck it up now."

"Don't forget it," he said, hugging me tight. I held him close and didn't let go for a while. If this particular killer didn't do such horrific things to his victims, if our relationship wasn't so new, if we weren't having some sick parody of a honeymoon before we ever got married, maybe it wouldn't have seemed so difficult or...scary. 

I hated to admit it, but I was scared, and I know Danny was, too. I'd come close to tossing my cookies looking at the last victim's body, just because he was the same general physical type as Danny. We could have faked Danny's knee acting up if we thought that would lure out our suspect, but this was real. Danny was slower than usual and was hobbling around with a cane. Albeit, a cane with a steel blade in it, but a cane, still. 

We spent our first afternoon there sitting by the pool, sipping expensive drinks on the government's tab, and playing a twisted game of speculating who our suspect might be. Truthfully, we didn't see any likely prospects, but we lightened our tension and made ourselves laugh by targeting some extremely unlikely people and pretending to "surveil" them from our chaise lounges. I know part of the lure would be leaving Danny alone, but ditching him to hit the beach the first afternoon we arrived would look a little too urgent even to a killer hunting prey. We also knew we might have to move to the Sheraton if we didn’t get any nibbles here.

“Don’t look now, but backup just arrived,” Danny said, taking another sip of his drink. Kono was claiming a lounge chair on the other side of the pool, little smirk on her face as she reclined there and took a long drink from a bottle of water. “Man, this is a rough assignment, isn’t it?”

“Rookies always get the dirty jobs,” I replied, smiling. “We better switch to something non-alcoholic on our next round.”

“You’re not that much of a lightweight.” 

“No, but we’re technically on the clock.”

“We’re technically on our honeymoon.”

“Are we going to have our first newlywed spat this soon?” I teased him.

“Nah, let’s save it for later. Both abductions happened at night.”

“True. Some men have difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection when they’re drunk.”

“Some men probably do,” he countered, pointedly taking another long pull on the straw stuck in the concoction of booze and fruit juice buried under skewers of fruit garnishes.

“So that’s not a problem for you?” I asked.

“Nope,” he replied, grinning at me. “You?”

“Don’t get drunk when I want to have sex, so I’m not sure.” I raised the stakes. “I don’t have sex with drunks, either.”

“That’s some kind of McGarrett policy, or is that a military thing?”

“Maybe a little of both.”

“I’ve had two drinks. I don’t think I’m impaired. I don’t even have a gun on me.”

“You need your senses on full alert.”

“Yeah, so far, the biggest thing that’s happened is Kono getting here. I already gave her a hand signal and she already flipped me off. So what’s next?”

“Wait, when did all that happen?”

“While you were fretting over my drinking.”

Actually, I’d been watching him swallow. Then following the line of that down to his chest and the way he was wearing his trunks, kind of low on his hips. If I could have evacuated the pool area, I would have, so I could do him right there in that chaise lounge.

“I’m not fretting. I’m just making an observation. I do still have to answer for this operation.”

“This is my last one of the fun drinks anyway, babe. You know, I’ve been doing this surveillance and undercover stuff for a few years, too. I wasn’t planning on getting shit-faced on the job.”

“I didn’t say you were.”

“Then relax. You have a face.”

“I don’t have a face.”

“You were giving me a face. You still have a face. It’s not your ‘undercover on my honeymoon’ face, either.”

“I suppose you’re going to tell me what it is then.”

“It’s your constipation face.”

“I’m not constipated.”

“Thanks for sharing, but it wasn’t literal. It’s that face you get when you don’t approve of something.”

“I thought you weren’t going to pick a fight with me until after dark.”

“You’re the one with the face, not me.”

My phone indicated I had a text message. I checked it. It was from Kono.

You’re supposed to be newlyweds. Quit bickering. Make out or something.

I handed the phone to Danny. He texted something back to her and showed me before he hit “send”. 

I vote to put you in charge of this operation. D

Kono had to play it cool and not pick up her phone right away. We didn’t want it obvious to the casual observer that we were communicating with each other. About ten minutes later, she picked up her phone and performed a few more functions on it, then checked the text. We figured her laugh and slight shake of the head was a sign that she’d read it.