Chapter 1: Pilikia A Kokua
Danny has a problem. Can Steve help.
This story is not betaed. If you find any mistakes please let me know, politely. I will always consider constructive criticism. I may not agree with the suggestion, but I will think about it.
Thoughts and emphasized words will be in italics.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was Saturday and Steve was relaxing on his lanai when he heard someone walking through his house. As he prepared for a fight, he recognized Danny’s unique gait. He turned to greet his friend, frowning when he noticed Danny's scowl, and that he was alone. Wait, that’s not right, he should have Grace with him. "What's the matter Danny? Where's Grace?"
Danny made agitated motions with his hands as he talked. "Rachel won't let me see her. She's decided that since Stan has all of the government approvals he needs for his new hotel the governor won’t be able to interfere with her new suit for sole custody with no visitation rights." Steve stared shocked as Danny slumped into the chair next to Steve dropping his face in his hands. "What am I going to do Steve? Stan has a lot more money than I do, he can pay better lawyers than I can. I can't lose Grace, I just can’t."
Steve had hoped that the Gov.'s interference earlier would've kept her from trying again. Steve was becoming angry. How could Rachel do this to Danny and Grace? "I don't know Danny." He paused. "Wait, I might be able to help you."
"I don't think another call to the Gov. will help Steve. I mean Rachel knows now that I have some major backing but she's still trying."
Steve placed his hand on Danny's shoulder and squeezed gently. "That's not what I have in mind. I have a good friend who is a lawyer." Steve held up his other hand to keep Danny from interrupting. "I know you have a lawyer Danny. My friend Bill went to Annapolis with me. We've kept in touch over the years and I’ve had dinner with him a couple of times since I returned. He studied law at Cambridge University and graduated in the top five of his class. He served his time as a JAG lawyer before going into private practice here in Honolulu. I understand he's one of the best lawyers here in the state and specializes in family law." Steve leaned toward Danny earnestly. "I know he’ll take your case Danny and won't charge you an arm and a leg for his services because you're my friend. I know you won't take pro bono which I'm sure Bill would do, but will you accept a discounted rate instead?"
Danny rubbed his face thinking about what Steve said for a few moments. He then looked at Steve eyes desperate. "Do you really think he can help?"
Steve patted Danny shoulder. "I know he can." Steve smirked. "Personally I think that you have a strong case. After all you moved all the way from New Jersey to Hawaii just to be near your daughter, and see her whenever possible, that should go a long way with most judges here in the state. Bill will know for sure." Steve grabbed a beer from the cooler at his feet and gave it to Danny then grabbed his phone. "Have a beer while I give Bill a call right now and see if he can meet us tonight for dinner."
While Danny sipped his beer Steve talked to his friend who agree to meet them for dinner that night.
Steve put his phone away looked at Danny. "Well Bill said he'd be over for dinner in about an hour and a half. I need to check to make sure I have enough food for three." Danny nodded as Steve got up and headed to the house. He returned a few moments later smiling. "I hope steaks and grilled vegetables are alright with you Danny?"
Danny rolled his eyes. "As if you didn't know I like steak. I really appreciate you doing this for me Steve." Steve waved his hand dismissively as Danny put his hand on Steve's arm stopping the motion. "No I'm serious. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have your help right now. I'm still freaked but not as bad as I was when I came here."
"No problem man. You're my friend, part of my ohana. I couldn't do anything else. Now why don’t you come in with me and help get the vegetables and steak ready."
The two friends headed inside so that they can get dinner prepared.
An hour and 15 min. later Steve had started the grill and Danny was placing some beer in the cooler out on the lanai. There was a knock on the door. Steve looked up. "That must be Bill. I'll be back in a couple." Steve reached the front door quickly and opened it after checking to make sure it was Bill. "Good to see Bill thanks for coming by."
Smiling they shook hands. "My pleasure Steve. Any friend of yours is a friend of mine. And it sounds like he could use some help." The two men stepped out onto the lanai. "Bill let me introduce you to my partner Detective Danny Williams. Danny this is my long-time friend William Houseman."
The two men shook hands. "I appreciate you meeting me on such short notice Mr. Houseman. Steve says you’re one of the best lawyers around and I could really use the help."
Bill smiled pleasantly. "Please call me Bill, as I said to Steve, any friend of his is a friend of mine."
"Call me Danny then. Would you like a beer?"
"I very rarely turn down a beer Danny." The three men laughed. "Now let me make a suggestion, let's eat then we can sit down and talk about your problem Danny." Danny nodded.
Steve spoke. "Sounds like a good idea to me. So you still like your steak medium rare Bill?"
"Of course, it’s the only way to eat steak."
Steve chuckled. "Some things never change."
While dinner was grilled and consumed the three men talked. The conversation was light and friendly. Bill was amused listening to the two partners’ talk, if Steve hadn't told him about Danny and their partnership he might have thought the two men didn't like each other. Bill observed the two men carefully during dinner, he was amazed that two men were so different had become such good friends. He was enjoying listening to Steve and Danny as they teld stories about some of their cases. The difference in the storytelling made him laugh. Steve was fairly matter-of-fact about describing the case and his escapades; on the other hand Danny would expound on Steve's description and Steve's recklessness and disregard for police procedures. As Bill watched Danny talking with animated hands going a mile a minute, he could see that Steve was clearly amused and annoyed at the same time. He was happy for his friend, Steve had been without true friends for a long time.
Steve and Danny cleaned up the dishes while Bill grabbed his briefcase and pulled out his notepad getting ready to work.
Danny sat down at the table handing a cup of coffee to Bill and holding onto his own. "I'm going to head out to the lanai and let the two of you talk in private." Steve remarked as he headed for the sliding glass door.
"You don't have to leave in my account Steve." Danny said. "You already know the whole story so if Bill doesn't mind that you stay, I don't mind."
"Danny you're the client. If you want Steve to stay I have no objections."
So Steve turned around and sat down at the table with his coffee to support his friend.
Bill looked at Danny. "Well, Steve has already given me the basics of the problem Danny. Your ex-wife is suing for sole custody of your daughter Grace. She claims that being around you is dangerous. Can you tell me what she's basing this idea on?"
Danny sighed rubbing his hand down his face. "I think it really started when Rachel and I were still married, she wanted me to stop being a cop because it was too dangerous. She hated the odd and often late hours I kept when working cases. She hated waiting at home wondering if I would come home. I guess she just couldn't handle being a cop's wife. We had been fighting a lot before she moved out. The final blow to our marriage happened after another detective’s son was killed in a drive by shooting. She was convinced that the boy was killed because his father was a detective. She moved out and filed for divorce before I found out that the second boy who was killed was the target, not the detective’s son. By that time Rachel wouldn’t talk to me unless it was through our lawyers. She met Stan while the divorce was being finalized and married him shortly after. When Stan wanted to build a hotel in Hawaii she was happy to move with him. The move would remove Grace from my sphere of influence and the danger I presented."
As Danny talked he became agitated but calmed down when Steve placed his hand on his arm giving a slight squeeze in support. "I couldn’t live with the idea of being a vacation father so I set my affairs in order and transferred to the Honolulu Police Department. The visiting schedule set up by our lawyers while we still lived in New Jersey, has been followed since we moved here. Then I was recruited for 5-0. At first I resented Steve's high handedness in recruiting me as his partner. It didn't take long for me to realize that I found my place among people who accepted me and my daughter despite any differences we might have."
Danny paused scrubbing his face to put his thoughts in order. "The incident that spurred Rachel to sue for sole custody most recently, was because of a shooting at a high school football game that Steve had invited Grace and I to see with the rest of our team. While we were at the game two gang bangers entered the stadium and shot the quarterback’s uncle, the head of the rival gang. I sent Grace home in a patrol car, so that I could help deal with the fallout. Steve was able to help stop Rachel by getting Governor Jameson involved; Stan needed government approval for building permits so he could build another hotel. So she dropped the suit, I thought for good. However now that Stan has all of the government permits he needs for the new hotel she feels safe in pursuing sole custody again. I was supposed to have Grace this weekend; Rachel decided that since she was pursuing sole custody that Grace should get used to not seeing me. That's how confident she is that she'll win. After all, Stan has lots of money they can afford the best lawyers possible. What can cop do?" Danny said bitterly.
Steve placed his hand on Danny's shoulder. "Plenty Danny. Especially when he has the support of his ohana."
Danny smiled gratefully at Steve before turning back to Bill. "So do you think you can help me?"
Bill sat back in his chair looking thoughtfully at the partners. "I believe I can Danny. Custody cases are not just about money, they’re about providing for the needs, all of the needs, of the child or children. Money can only provide material things, children need their parents love, support, and stability or as much stability that can be provided under the circumstances. The judge will take into account your profession Danny, but it shouldn’t count against you as much as your ex-wife seems to think it will. After all, there are plenty of cops who are good parents. The judge is really looking at whether or not you're a good parent not that you’re a cop and the inherent dangers associated with the profession or how much money you make compared to the ex-spouse." He paused tapping his chin thoughtfully. He sat up looking Danny in the eyes. "I'm not going to lie to you and say this will be easy. Your ex's new husband will try and throw his weight, rather his money, around to get what he wants. That normally does not work in custody cases as it does when trying to get a building completed. The real question is whether or not you want me to be your lawyer. I believe I can help you. I want to help you, Steve has a lot of good things to say about you, and I like to help good men and women. Knocking arrogant people down a peg or two doesn’t hurt."
The three men chuckled. "Steve says you're one of the best, I trust his judgment. So how about we stick it to my ex and her new husband." The two men shook hands as Steve smiled happily. "Now my favorite part of talking to a lawyer, how much is this going to cost me?"
Bill tapping his finger on his notepad replied. "I'm going to charge you at cost Danny. Which means you'll pay for any investigator I may hire, materials and my paralegal. My work personally will be pro bono." He held up his hand forestalling Danny. "Danny, you know that Steve and I go way back right?" Danny nodded. "I’m sure that Steve didn’t tell you that he saved my life during a training exercise. I won't go into details but it's part of the reason why I went into law instead of the SEALs." Danny's eyes widened as he looked between the two men, comprehension dawning. "Steve told me that you’re a proud man and wouldn't accept charity; otherwise everything would be pro bono. Honestly, I can easily afford it. However I won't trample on someone's pride."
Danny smiled gratefully. "Thank you. I'll take you up on your offer. So what else do you need from me?"
Bill made a list on a separate page of his notepad as he talked. "I'll send you the paperwork that you'll need to sign to have everything transferred from your old lawyer to my offices. I'll need you to provide me with a list of character witnesses as well as a copy of your work history."
Danny interrupted. "Should I see if someone from Jersey can come as a witness outside of my family?"
Bill nodded. “That would be a very good idea since your tenure at the New Jersey Police Department was probably longer than HPD or Five-0. If the person or persons can’t come, a notarized affidavit will work just as well." Danny nodded to let Bill know that he understood. "Just to warn you, we may have to call in a child psychologist to speak with Grace in order to show that taking you out of her life would be detrimental to her mental health."
Danny sighed shaking his head. "I understand, I don't like it, but I understand. Damn Rachel for putting us through this. Excuse me I need a minute." Danny got up and walked out to Steve's lanai for breath of fresh air.
Steve watched his friend leaving with concern. "Let me know if there's anything I can do to help Danny other than be a witness. I just can't bring myself to think about what would happen if Danny lost Grace. She's everything to him. And no I'm not just worried about him going back to New Jersey either. Granted I would hate it if he did that, he's my friend and a great partner. I'm more worried about his mental health if he lost Grace."
Bill scratched his cheek in thought. "Right now, the best thing you can do is be there for him. He's going to need a friend. This means you need to go out there and be there for him now."
Steve nodded getting up determined to help Danny. He found Danny leaning against the railing of his lanai so he joined him. He didn't say anything just looked at the ocean. Since talking wasn't Steve's strong suit, he allowed his presence to say what his words couldn't that he was there for Danny. Steve stood next to him waiting to see if Danny wanted to talk or if he just wanted to look out at the ocean.
Danny appreciated Steve's silence. He wasn't ready for talking yet, but having Steve standing next to meant a lot to the detective. So the two men stood in silence lost in their own thoughts.
When Danny was ready to go back inside he straightened and turned to Steve smiling slightly. "Thanks Steve. I'm ready to go back and now."
Returning the smile Steve patted him on the shoulder as Danny walked ahead of them towards the door.
"Sorry about that Bill. I was afraid that if I kept talking I'd start yelling instead. Neither of you deserve that it's not your fault."
Bill waved away his concern as the two men joined him at the table. "I can certainly understand your feelings Danny. Why don’t we set up an appointment to meet during the week, so that we can go over any information that we missed. It will allow both of us time to consider the issues at hand and you can give me the list of witnesses for yourself."
"Alright, that sounds good."
Bill pulled out his business card and gave it to Danny, who exchanged his own card with Bill. Bill took the card put in his briefcase along with his notepad getting ready to leave. "I'll have my secretary call you first thing Monday to set up an appointment." He looked at Steve slyly. "Hopefully your boss will let you have the time off to meet with me."
"Well, if you think it's really necessary I guess I can give Danny the time off." Steve sighed dramatically.
"Oh you're funny, just so funny. I'll be waiting for your call; hopefully we won’t get a case that will interfere with the appointment."
Steve huffed. "Danny, unless were in the middle of a gunfight, I think we can spare you for your appointment."
Bill stood up followed by Steve and Danny. "Well I really have to go. My wife is expecting me home soon."
At the door the three men shook hands. "Thanks for coming Bill. A appreciate you helping Danny like this."
"So do I Bill. So do I."
"Not a problem gentlemen. Glad to help."
He left and Steve shut the door. "Want another beer Danny, I sure could use one."
Danny headed for the lanai with Steve right behind them. "So could I."
Beers in hand the two men sat in Steve's Adirondack chairs looking out at the ocean. "Danny I have been thinking about something else that might help."
Danny's head hit the back of the chair dramatically. "That statement right there is enough to make me want to run and hide." Steve quirked an eyebrow at him in question. "You're thinking usually leads to gunshots and explosions."
"Now who's being funny? Seriously Danny I'd like to help." Steve paused gathering his thoughts, before looking directly in Danny's eyes. "I'd like you to move in with me. Let me finish please. We both know I've got plenty of room, for both you and Grace when she comes to visit. The house is in a nice area, you'll be able to deliver her or pick her up from her current school with ease. I hate to say it, but this place will look better to the courts than yours." Danny grimaced. "I would also like the company. I guess I’m still used to the Navy and living with other people unless I was on a mission. The house is paid for so all you would have to do is contribute for your half of the expenses and some money for taxes. Also this is not a spur of the moment thing; I already have a rental agreement, drawn up by Bill, for you to look over when I asked you. This just upped the time scale. Just think about it Danny, please?"
Danny looked back out the ocean thinking. He knew Steve was right about his place. It was just that if he moved in with Steve living in Hawaii would feel more permanent, something he realized subconsciously he was trying to avoid. He sighed scrubbing his face, but as long as Grace was here, Hawaii was home with his second family. It was time to face that fact.
He looked at Steve. "Thank you. I'd like that, bullet holes and all."
Steve mock scowled. "I fixed all the bullet holes thank you very much. So when do you want to move? You are still living out of boxes so it shouldn't be too difficult to pack you up and get you here."
Danny wanted to make a sarcastic retort but he knew Steve was right, he had never really unpacked. "Do you think tomorrow's too soon? I'm on a month-to-month lease that's up at the end of the week. If we can move my stuff tomorrow I won't have to pay another month's rent. The landlord told me when I first moved in that one week would be sufficient notice."
Steve snorted as he pulled out his cell phone sending a text. "Why am I not surprised? I’m texting Chin and Kono to see if they can help tomorrow." He put his phone away. “Now why don’t we look at Mary’s and my old rooms to see what needs to be done to make them more personal. Dad never changed either room after he sent us away, and I haven’t had the time or inclination to do it.”
The two men headed inside to make some lists.
Chapter 2: Halawai
Lawyers meet to discuss the custody of Grace.
Disclaimers same as first chapter.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Bill Houseman strode purposefully through the hall towards his destination. He had made an appointment with Stan and Rachel’s lawyer in the hopes of keeping the custody battle from going to court. He would enjoy taking the Edwards to court if it wouldn’t negatively affect Grace Williams. Bill truly detested any parent who would keep a child from seeing the other parent without good reason. The only parents that were truly unsuitable in his eyes were abusers, and drug/alcohol addicts. Yes Danny’s job was dangerous, however he was not. The man adored his daughter and would do what he could to keep her safe. Danny also had the full and unconditional support of his teammates who would also protect Grace if necessary.
Bill had spoken to a number of people who knew Det. Williams both here in Hawaii and in New Jersey. All of them spoke of a man dedicated to his work and to his daughter. His former partner and his wife were willing to fly to Hawaii to testify on Danny’s behalf if necessary. This pleased him immensely; it was a testament of Danny’s character. Rachel Edwards wouldn’t know what hit her if she continues to pursue the custody suit.
He reached his destination entering the office with confidence.
The receptionist looked up from her computer. “Good morning. May I help you sir?”
Bill reached into his pocket and retrieved his business card handing it to the woman reading her nameplate. “Yes Ms. Page. I have a 9:00 appointment with Mr. Blakely.”
She took his card smiling and checked the appointment calendar. “One moment please and I will let his administrative assistant know you're here.” She made a quick call before looking back at Bill. “Mr. Blakely will be with you momentarily. Can I get you some coffee of tea while you wait Mr. Houseman?”
“No thank you Ms. Page.” He walked over and sat in the office’s waiting area pulling out his cell phone to check for messages and to turn the ringer off.
“Mr. Houseman?” He looked up when he heard his name finding a 20 something woman standing in front of him. “I’m Lisa Wong, Mr. Blakely’s administrative assistant.” Bill stood up and shook her hand. “He is ready to see you now if you would please follow me.” “Thank you Ms. Wong.”
She led him to a small suite of offices. Stepping to the second door on the right she knocked and opened it. Bill found himself walking into a nicely decorated office. “Mr. Blakely, this is Mr. Houseman your 9:00 appointment.”
Blakely stood up coming around his desk to shake Bill’s hand. “Thank you Lisa. It’s nice to finally meet you Mr. Houseman, your reputation precedes you.” He moved back to his seat. “Please take a seat. I’m sure that our receptionist already asked, but can I have Lisa get you some coffee or tea?”
“No thank you Mr. Blakely. I've had my morning coffee, and Ms. Page did offer to get me something.”
“Very well, shall we get down to business than? You are here about the custody suit that Rachel Edwards has filed.
"I am. According to the information that you sent, Mrs. Edwards is filing for sole custody with no visitation rights. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the suit and if we can come to an accord outside of court."
Mr. Blakely sat back in his chair studying Bill Houseman. He had heard a great deal about Mr. Houseman over the years but had yet to face him. Mr. Houseman appeared confident but not arrogant which worried him. He knew Mrs. Edward's case was not the strongest, under the right circumstances it could be won, he was beginning to think he didn't have the right circumstances. But he was being paid to do a job and he would do it.
"Mrs. Edwards is concerned for her daughter's safety and well being. She believes that Detective William's line of work is not only dangerous for him but danger follows him when he is off duty. His involvement in this new task force is even more dangerous for him and for Grace. All she wants is to protect her daughter by keeping her safe from the dangers of her ex-husband's work. I believe a good judge will see her side and rule in her favor. There's also a concern about Detective William’s apartment. It is not in the best neighborhood, nor does he keep it up to, how shall I say, adequate standards."
Bill nodded thoughtfully. "I see. I notice you didn't mention anything about Detective Williams personally, such as his reliability, dependability, or what kind of father he is to Grace. It's not as if Detective Williams is the only cop with children. Being a cop does not make him a bad father. Furthermore, Detective Williams has moved in with his partner Lieutent Commander McGarrett. Commander. McGarrett's house is in a very good neighborhood, with a private beach and close to the school that Grace attends."
"I'll make a note of Detective William’s change of address. That only addresses one of the concerns that Mrs. Edwards has about her ex-husband. She firmly believes that he is a danger to her daughter. And being a danger to his daughter whether it's himself or his line of work is very relevant to his capabilities as a father. I'm sure that Detective Williams told you about the incident at a recent high school football game." Bill nodded in acknowledgment. "A perfect example to show that being around Detective Williams is dangerous to his daughter."
Bill had known this would be brought up. "Let me get this straight. An incident that would have happened at that football game whether Detective Williams was there or not is being blamed on him."
"And how do you know it would've happened if he wasn't there?"
Bill's eyebrows rose in astonishment. "Do you know all the details of the incident Mr. Blakely?"
Mr. Blakely said almost negligently. "There were a couple of deaths plus several injuries due to gunplay. Detective Williams was involved in the incident thereby putting his daughter in jeopardy."
Bill reached into his briefcase pulling out a copy of the incident report that he had received and handed it to Blakely. "Here's a copy of the incident report Mr. Blakely. Two young Triad gang bangers entered the Stadium with the intent to shoot the leader of the Samoan gang. Detective Williams saw the young men with guns, alerted the rest of his team who were at the game with him, and attempted to stop the incident. Before he could, the young Triad gang member pulled his gun and shot the Samoan leader. The other Triad member fired his weapon a few times as he took off. This incident did not revolve around Detective Williams or his work in the task force."
"Well, the incident may not have revolved around Detective Williams however he chose to act thereby putting his daughter in danger."
Unbelievable Bill thought. "Detective Williams was being a conscientious cop and citizen. I seriously doubt a judge will hold that against him. Furthermore, Detective Williams did his best to protect his daughter and keep her out of harm’s way. His partner Lieutent Commander McGarrett, sent him to get his daughter once McGarrett had secured the firdt suspect." Bill reached down at his briefcase and pulled out some more paperwork. "Now I would like to get back to Detective Williams qualifications as a good and reliable father. I have here several statements supporting Detective Williams and his abilities as a father. I have statements from the Five-0 team members, the governor, and from former colleagues and friends he had in New Jersey. Several are willing to fly down here to testify in court on Detectives Williams behalf."
Blakely was impressed and concerned. He had gotten the impression from Mrs. Edwards that her ex-husband would not have the finances to hire a lawyer of Houseman’s caliber. Evidently she was a little behind the times, this would require some thought and perhaps a new discussion with her. "I'll have a look through this paperwork and talk with Mrs. Edwards. I don't think it will change her mind."
Bill pursed his lips. "If this goes to court Mr. Blakely, I will insist on having a child psychologist talk with Grace to determine how losing her father will affect her. Perhaps you should remind Mrs. Edwards that the courts are going to do what is in the best interest of Grace. The court will not cater to her personal fears about her ex-husband’s work that caused the dissolution of their marriage." Bill checked his watch. "Unfortunately I have to leave; I have another appointment that I was unable to cancel. Please discuss these issues with Mrs. Edwards. Detective Williams and myself really do not wish to go to court over this but we will. One last thing to remember, he moved from New Jersey to Hawaii just so that he could see his daughter when he is allowed. That action alone will weigh heavily in Detective Williams favor not to mention all the testimonials that I have. Please keep that in mind when you talk with Mrs. Edwards." He closed up his briefcase and stood up in preparation to leave.
Blakely stood up to see Houseman out of the office. "I'll bring this information to Mrs. Edwards and I’ll let you know what she decides."
"That's all I can ask right now. I look forward to hearing from you." They shook hands when they reached the lobby and Bill left the building.
Danny was sitting in his office completing the paperwork on Five-0’s latest case when Steve walked into his office just as his phone rang. He grabbed it checking the caller ID looking up at Steve. "It's Bill." Steve looked concerned as Danny answered the phone. "Williams." Steve became more concerned as he watched Danny's eyebrows scrunch together as he listened to Bill. "Hang on a sec Bill I'm going to put you on speaker so that Steve can hear you too." Steve shut the door without being asked and pulled a chair close to Danny's desk to sit down. Danny put his phone on speaker so that both men could talk to Bill. Danny looked at Steve and said for his benefit. "Rachel is determined to continue with the custody suit. I guess that means we go to court Bill?"
"I'm afraid it does Danny. I'll try to get this on the docket as soon as possible so that you can let your friends in New Jersey know when they need to be here. I've already filed papers with the courts to make sure that your ex-wife can't keep you from seeing Grace before the court date."
Danny scrubbed his face. "Thank you I appreciate your help Bill. You’re still confident that I have a good chance to win this?" "You have a very good chance of winning Danny. Being a cop has nothing to do with being a good father. And that's what the courts look for is whether or not the parent is a good and if they are personally a danger. Yes your work is dangerous; the three of us know that. But you personally are not dangerous to your daughter that is what will be important in court." Bill answered Danny reassuringly.
"Thank you. Is there anything else you need from me right now?"
"Since we're going to court, you're going to need to fill out the paperwork to approve the child psychologist. Do you want me to send it to you, or would you rather come into my office to fill it out?"
Steve spoke up. "Danny you take the time that you need to get this done. And I'll help in any way that I can."
Danny gave Steve a small smile. "Thanks man. When would be a good time for me to come and fill out the paperwork Bill?"
The partners heard some shuffling on the other end as Bill checked his schedule. "I have a half an hour tomorrow at nine o'clock that I can hold aside for you. Tell you what; I'll e-mail you the paperwork that needs to be filled out to you this afternoon. It'll give you a chance to look it over and start filling it out before we meet. That way if you have any questions we can address them when you see me tomorrow."
Danny looked at Steve for confirmation of that is okay. "He'll be there tomorrow Bill. If a case comes up he can meet me after you're done. I'll just take Chin or Kono as a partner until he's done."
"Gee thanks for making my decision for me Steve." Steve rolled his eyes good-naturedly. "Guess I'll be there tomorrow."
"I'm sending you the paperwork now. I'll see you then Danny." With that Bill hung up.
Danny placed his phone on the desk before putting his face in his hands. "I really had hoped that Rachel would see reason. I hate putting Grace through this but Rachel is very stubborn."
Steve leaned forward in his chair putting his elbows on his knees speaking earnestly. "She's not going to win this Danny. Bill wouldn't lie to you about your chances of winning. He's a good guy who's always straight up with his clients and friends." Steve stood up. "After you receive the file, get to work on it. Once it’s done the team can go out to dinner and then have some beer at my place, get your mind off things. I’ll work on the paperwork until you’re done."
Danny sighed sitting back. "That sounds like a great idea Steve thanks. I'll let you know when I'm ready."
Steve nodded smiling before he left the office to talk to Kono and Chin.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I don’t think that Rachel is evil, or anything. I think she is afraid and fear can cause good people to make poor decisions.
Chapter 3: Ko'iko'i Pilikia
Rachel is causing more problems. Grace needs to see her Danno.
Thoughts and person on the phone: italics
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Steve was heading back to headquarters after a meeting with the governor. Meanwhile, Danny was meeting with Bill again to go over exactly what the child psychologist will cover when she talks with Grace. Danny had been concerned about any trauma this situation would cause his daughter. His thoughts were interrupted by his phone. He didn’t recognize the number.
“Is this Lieutenant Commander McGarret?” Asked a female voice.
“I am. Who may I ask is calling?” This could not be good.
“My name is Julie Kahele. I am the counselor at Sacred Heart School. I am calling you about Grace Williams.”
Steve turned the car around, heading for the school as he answered. “What’s wrong with Grace? Are you having trouble getting in touch with her father Danny?”
There was a sigh. “There is a problem with Grace. However, I would rather not discuss this over the phone Commander. I have left a message for Detective Williams. This matter is rather urgent or I would not have called you. We have authorization from Detective Williams allowing us to call you in his stead. Can you come to the school right now?” Ms. Kahele asked.
“I’m already on my way. I can get in touch with Danny if you need me to. He’s in a meeting with his lawyer and probably turned his phone off.”
“I would like to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Since you will be here shortly, we can hold off contacting Detective Williams for now. If you could have someone speak to him and request that he meet you here, I would appreciate it.”
“Alright, I’ll have another member of my team meet him at the lawyer’s office. I should be at the school in a few minutes. I will speak to you then Ms. Kahele.”
“Thank you Commander. I will leave word with the secretary that I am expecting you.”
With that they hung up. Steve dialed Chin.
“Done with your meeting already brah?”
“Yeah. I just got a call from Grace’s school and am headed there right now.” Steve made the final turn before parking in front of the school.
“What’s wrong with Grace? Is Danny there already?”
“I don’t know what’s wrong yet. The counselor didn’t want to discuss it over the phone. I’m thinking that it has something to do with the custody suit. I’ll let you know what’s going on as soon as I can.” Steve sighed before continuing. “Danny is meeting with his lawyer and doesn’t know yet. The school couldn’t get a hold of him so they called me. Would you go to Bill’s office and ask Danny to come to the school as soon as he can. I'd rather a friend tell him in person than hearing it over the phone at this point.”
“You’re probably right about the reason for the call. I’m headed out now. Thanks for asking me to tell Danny, brah. He’s going to go pupule.”
“I’m thinking volcanic eruption. Hopefully I’ll be able to help.”
Steve stepped out of the car as he answered. “Mahalo.” He disconnected and put his phone away. After checking for cars he crossed to the school with confident strides. It didn’t take him long to reach the office.
The school secretary greeted him. “Good morning. How can I help you?”
Steve pulled out his ID as he answered. “I’m Lieutenant Commander Steven McGarrett. I received a call from Ms. Kahele.”
She looked at his ID quickly returning her gaze to Steve. “She’s been expecting you. I’ll let her know you’re here Commander.” She made a quick call and returned her attention to Steve. “Ms. Kahele will be with you in a moment.”
“Thank you.” He looked out the office window not really seeing anything. He was worried about Grace and Danny.
His introspection was interrupted by a quiet voice. “Commander McGarrett?” He turned acknowledging his identity. He was met with a young Caucasian woman with light brown hair and green eyes. Under different circumstances he would have been amused to note that she was taller than Danny. They shook hands. “I’m Julie Kahele. We can talk in my office if you don’t mind.”
“Of course not. Lead the way.”
They passed a couple of doors before reaching their destination as pointed out by Ms. Kahele. “Please have a seat Commander. Can I get you something before we start?”
“No thank you. Pardon me for being blunt, but I would rather get to the reason I’m here. Does this have to do with the current custody battle between Grace’s parents?”
Ms. Kahele sighed as she sat down. “I'm afraid it does. Grace’s teacher came to me with some concerns about Grace’s recent change in behavior. In the last week she has withdrawn into herself. She isn’t talking to her friends, participating in class or in any activities at recess. Normally she is outgoing, loves to learn and have fun with her friends. I have had a couple of meetings with her before she would open up and tell me what was wrong. Normally I would contact the parents and schedule a meeting with them, but something Grace said made me hesitate.”
She paused and Steve sat forward, his face showing concern. “What did Grace say, or can you tell me?”
Ms. Kahele looked at Steve seriously. “I can tell you only because Detective Williams has given us permission to view you as next of kin. Mrs. Edwards has told Grace that her father doesn’t want to see her anymore so she is going to make sure that he can’t.”
Steve sat back utterly shocked at Rachel’s brazenness. It didn’t take long for the anger to surface causing the counselor to sit back at the cold, hard and angry visage of Steven McGarrett. He scrubbed his hands over his face trying to regain control of his temper. It wasn’t the counselor’s fault Rachel was being a bitch. Once he was calm he spoke. “There will never be a time when Danny Williams doesn’t want to see Grace. She is his life. I can’t believe that Rachel would lie to Grace like that. Especially after Danny moved from New Jersey to Hawaii just so he could be close to and see Grace.”
Ms. Kahele nodded sadly. “I agree with you. I met Detective Williams when he first moved here and was pleased with his devotion to Grace. Grace’s teacher has also had good things to say about Detective Williams. Mrs. Edward’s statements have confused and hurt Grace. Would you be willing to speak with her? I think it will help her. Her father obviously trusts you.”
Steve nodded. “I would be happy to talk to Grace. I will also talk to Danny’s lawyer when I leave here. I know he submitted paperwork with the court to make sure that Danny is allowed to see Grace while the custody suit moves forward. Would you be willing to testify in court about what happened today if you’re allowed?”
Ms. Kahele responded positively. “As long as the proper paperwork is submitted to release me I will be more than willing to testify. Now, let me get Grace so that the two of you can talk.” Steve nodded as she left.
The door opened to reveal a subdued Grace who brightened up when she saw Steve. “Uncle Steve.”
He opened his arms to her and she flung herself at him. “Hey kiddo.” He pulled her into his lap and started rubbing her back soothingly, when he realized she was crying. “Sh, shh Grace. I’ve got you.” He hoped he was doing the right thing; this was normally Danny’s thing to handle.
After a few moments, Grace’s tears stopped. She pulled back sniffing. “Why doesn’t Danno want to see me anymore?”
Steve’s heart broke hearing her question and seeing the sad brown eyes. He searched for the right words, while contemplating all the things he could do to Rachel and she would never know it was him. He brushed some loose hair from Grace’s face. “Let me tell you something Grace. There will never be a time that Danno doesn’t want to see you; he loves you more than anything. He moved from New Jersey to Hawaii just so he could be near you didn’t he?” Grace nodded. “Danno lives to see you. He would see you every day if he could.”
Grace looked down then back up at Steve. “I don’t understand. You say that Danno wants to see me but Mommy says he doesn’t. I don’t understand why she would say that if it wasn’t true. Danno always said that we should always speak the truth.”
Steve smiled slightly at Danny’s wisdom. “And he would be right. We should always try and speak the truth. I can’t tell you why your mom told you Danno didn’t want to see you. I can only make a guess. You remember what happened at the football game that you and Danno were going to watch with Uncle Chin, Aunt Kono and me? How there were some bad guys that your Danno tried to help us catch?” She nodded. “Well, you were in danger because of those bad men and it scared your mom. She’s afraid of you getting hurt and losing you. She blames Danno for putting you in danger. I think she believes that you would be safer if you didn’t see him anymore. She’s trying to protect you in her own way.”
“But it wasn’t Danno’s fault that those bad men were there, was it?”
He gave her a reassuring squeeze. “Absolutely not kiddo. They would have been there even if we weren’t there. Unfortunately, people who are scared can do and say things that hurt other people and they may not even realize what they have done. Your mom didn’t mean to hurt you, but she did. Do you understand?”
“Not really Uncle Steve.” Grace just looked sad and confused.
Steve pulled her close as he tried to think of a way to explain it to Grace. Maybe he should have the counselor try. No, he would do it, for Grace and Danny. “Grace, did your dad tell you about my mom’s death?” She nodded into his shoulder. “Well, it scared my dad when he found out that the person who killed mom was really trying to kill him. He didn’t want the bad person to kill Mary Ann or me so he sent us away to protect us. We didn’t understand why he sent us away and it hurt a lot. We thought that maybe he stopped loving us. Now I understand that he was afraid for us, not that he didn’t love us. I don’t believe that he realized how much he hurt us by sending us away.”
Grace hugged him tighter while he talked. She pulled back to look at him when he finished. “Does it still hurt Uncle Steve?”
“Sometimes Grace, it does. Just remember, that your mom and dad love you.” Grace snuggled back into Steve’s arms. He pulled her to him, giving her what comfort he could. After a few moments he kissed the top of her head saying. “I bet Danno is here and would love to see you. Would you like me to check? If he isn’t, I can call him so that he will know that you need to see him.”
Grace looked up. “Would you?”
Steve smiled as he set her in the chair next to his. “I’ll do it right now. You wait right here while I poke my head out of the office. Actually, I bet he’s waiting right outside the door. I’m just going to tell him what happened, okay?”
Grace nodded while wiping the remaining tears off her face. He kissed her forehead before heading to the door.
Steve was right; Danny was standing impatiently outside the door. Steve stepped into the hallway and shut the door. “Hey Danny. Did Ms. Kahele tell you what happened?”
Danny scowled and nodded. By sheer force of will he kept his voice down. “I can’t believe Rachel. How could she tell Grace that I didn’t want to see her?” Danny flung his arms out.
Steve shook his head as he placed a hand on Danny’s shoulder stopping his rant. “I don’t know Danny. The only thing I could think of was that her fear for Grace’s safety has overridden her common sense. Look at my Dad. He sent Mary Ann and me away because he was afraid someone might kill us. He had good intentions, but he still hurt us. That’s what I told Grace anyway.”
“How is she?”
Steve indicated the wet spot on his shirt. “She was very upset and confused when I first saw her. She seems a little better now. Seeing you will probably help her the most. I’ll call Bill and tell him what happened today while you talk to your daughter.”
Danny looked at Steve gratefully. “Thanks partner.”
“You’re welcome, kaikua’ana. That means brother by the way.” Steve clarified patting Danny’s shoulder.
Danny smiled slightly as he entered Ms. Kahele’s office. “Danno!” Steve heard as Danny shut the door. He smiled as he pulled out his phone to call Bill.
Steve could hear heals clicking coming in his direction as he hung up the phone. He turned to see Rachel approaching. She looked angry and upset. Too bad for her, he thought.
“What do you think you are doing here Commander McGarret? And where is my daughter?” She snapped at him angrily.
Steve’s look turned cold and angry as he advanced on her forcing her to back into the wall. “I’m here because the school called me. I’m listed as Danny’s next of kin and the person to contact if the school can’t get a hold of Danny. Grace has been having problems because you told her that Danny didn’t want to see her anymore. How could you lie to Grace like that?” Steve’s voice was low but held a world of menace.
Rachel tried to take an involuntary step backwards but couldn’t because she was already backed into a wall. This was the Lieutenant Commander of the Navy SEALs, not the polite man who drank tea while on a stakeout in her home. She answered, trying to remain calm though she was intimidated. “It’s for the best. Once I win the custody suit, she won’t be seeing him anymore. Seeing him today will only confuse her.”
Steve leaned over her, causing her to shrink down some. He practically growled. “You shouldn’t be so confident that you’ll win the suit Mrs. Edwards. Danny has an excellent lawyer who will go above and beyond to make sure that Danny stays in Grace’s life. You will be hearing from the court that you are barred from denying Danny his visiting rights. You won’t like the consequences if you do continue to bar Danny from seeing Grace.”
Rachel scoffed. “Danny can’t afford an excellent lawyer on his salary. Fighting this will only delay the inevitable. The court will understand that keeping Danny from seeing Grace will protect her.”
Steve smirked. “You seem to forget that Danny isn’t alone on this island anymore. He has a second family in the Five-0 task force. Some of us have contacts that could make life for you and your rich husband very uncomfortable, and I’m not talking about the governor either. One of those contacts is Danny’s new lawyer. He’s an old friend of mine. He graduated from Annapolis, top of his class. He completed his law degree at Cambridge University; he was in the top 5 of his graduating class. He served as a JAG lawyer for several years before going into the reserves and opening a private practice here in Honolulu. He is one of the top family lawyers in Hawaii. I understand that Stan tried to hire him but Bill refused. He knew that Danny is your ex and a friend of mine. He would never take a case that would go against a friend of mine. So I think that Danny has a very good chance of winning this case.”
Rachel’s phone rang before she could retort. She moved away from Steve and had a quiet conversation. When she hung up and turned to Steve, he could tell that she was trying to appear calm, but he had scared her, he could see it in her eyes. “You were right about the court order Commander. It seems I have no choice but to allow Daniel to see Grace. Since this is his normal day to have Grace, he can take her home. Tell him to have her back by 8:00 tonight. Good day Commander.” With that she walked off, not waiting for a response from Steve.
Steve watched her leave with a smug smile. He walked to the school office looking for Ms. Kahele. After speaking briefly with her he returned to her office and knocked on the door before opening it. He smiled at seeing Danny and Grace together. “Hey you two. What do you say we blow this pop stand and get some shaved ice?”
Grace smiled brightly while Danny frowned at him. “Steve, it’s morning on a school day. Grace has lessons. And what about Rachel?” Grace’s smile dimmed.
“I spoke with Ms. Kahele and she thinks that Grace should spend the day with her Danno. Rachel said to have her back by 8:00 tonight. So what do you say Grace, would you like some shaved ice?”
Grace hopped off of her father’s lap to hug Steve enthusiastically. “Can I have grape with lemonade?”
Steve returned her hug. “If that’s what you want, I’m sure that Kamakona would be happy to make that for you. Why don’t you go to the office and ask Ms. Kahele to help you get your things and speak to your teacher. I’d like a minute to talk to Danny.”
“Okay Uncle Steve.” Grace practically skipped out of the room.
Steve turned back to Danny. “To answer your question. Rachel showed up here pissed. We got into a discussion about her behavior and how good your new lawyer is. She got a call from her lawyer telling her it would be a bad idea to continue to prevent you from seeing Grace while this whole custody suit is going on. So now you can see Grace for your normal visiting hours and days. Ms. Kahele thought it would do Grace more good to spend the day with you than to go back to class.” Steve finished with a smirk.
Danny blinked at Steve. That was quite a bit of information to absorb and he knew that wasn’t the whole story either. He’d get it later; meanwhile he got to spend some time with his Gracie. “I don’t know how to thank you for what you did today. You came here and helped Grace. You faced off with Rachel and managed to get me extra time with Grace. You’re a terrific brother.”
Both men looked at each other not knowing how to deal with the emotions running around in their heads. They were rescued by an excited eight year old girl. “I’m ready to go Danno.” She had her bag and was holding Ms. Kahele’s hand.
Danny smiled at Grace. “Well, then we should go. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on getting your shave ice, now would I?”
Grace giggled as she shook her head. She looked at Steve with puppy dog eyes. “Are you coming with us Uncle Steve?”
Steve smiled, laughing to himself. “Of course I am Grace. I’ll have to return to work after we finish, but I wouldn’t miss having shave ice with you for anything.”
Grace smiled beautifully grabbing Danny’s and Steve’s hand. “What are we waiting for then?”
“I don’t know what we’re waiting for do you Danno?” Laughing Danny shook his head. Steve turned to Ms. Kahele. “Thank you Ms. Kahele for all you did today.”
“You’re welcome Commander, Detective. Have a wonderful day you three.”
Grace responded. “We will. Thank you.” With that the three left the school and headed for their vehicles. Steve called Chin to let him know what was going on as he drove to Kamakona’s stand. Today was looking much better Steve thought. He just hoped that everything turned out alright in the end.
Ko’iko’i: serious (grave)
Pomaika`i: good luck
Mahalo: Thank you.
Chapter 4: Hihia Ho'omaka
Danny and Rachel face off as the court case begins.
Thanks to all who have read this story so far and those who left Kudos. It's much appreciated.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Today was the day that Danny dreaded, court day, where he had to face the possibility of losing his daughter permanently. His parents, older sister, his former partner and his wife, and the babysitter that he and Rachel had used quite often for Grace had flown in from the mainland. They were staying at a local hotel using rental cars at a very big discount secured by Chin and Kono through their extended family and numerous contacts. Steve, Chin, Kono and Kamakona helped fix up a room for Danny as well as a room for Grace in Steve’s house after he had been moved in by his ohana. He slept on the sofa for a few nights while the work was being done. He didn’t mind, Steve’s sofa was comfortable. The entire team had done their best to keep Danny busy during his time off when he didn’t have Grace, to stop him from brooding about the custody suit too much.
Steve had conferred with Gov. Jameson regarding Danny's case. She was more than willing to testify on Danny's behalf. Julie Kahele, Grace’s school counselor would be testifying. Danny's late partner Meka's widow Amy had heard the rumors about the custody suit and came forward willing to testify on his behalf as well. Danny was a little overwhelmed with the number of people who were willing to stand up for him. The biggest shock was when Sgt. Gage of IA came forward willing to testify to Danny's willingness to do the right thing no matter the opposition.
So here he was sitting next to his lawyer Bill in the courtroom that would decide his fate. His friends and family were sitting behind him dressed in their best including Steve and his dress uniform. Danny had been shocked to see Steve in his Navy uniform that morning; he was expecting Steve to wear a regular suit to court. Steve reminded Danny that he was still in the Navy and it was a requirement to wear his dress blues. Danny hadn’t thought about Steve’s status, he was so used to seeing Steve dressed in his cargos and t-shirts.
Danny looked over the next table to see his ex-wife Rachel and her new husband Stan sitting with their lawyer Mr. Blakely. Rachel was dressed immaculately in a nice dress suit, which probably cost more than his salary for one month. He looked in the seats behind Rachel to see if he knew anyone who was waiting to testify on Rachel’s behalf. There were people he didn’t recognize, so they must be people Rachel and Stan associated with in Hawaii. He did not see anyone from New Jersey though. He was a little surprised at that, after all Rachel did have friends outside of the common friends that they had when they were married. What really surprised him was that Rachel's mother was not there; surely she wouldn’t consider it a bother to fly all the way from London to support her daughter. Especially since his ex-mother-in-law hated him. Oh well none of his business.
The bailiff walked into announced the judge asking everyone to stand.
"Please stand. The Honorable Judge Keahi will be presiding today."
Everyone did as asked waiting for the judge to enter and sit down. Once all the niceties in the court case were laid out the judge asked for Mr. Blakely to give his opening statement.
Mr. Blakely rose calmly buttoning his suit jacket as he moved around the front of his table. "As you know Your Honor this case is about the custody of Grace Williams. Mrs. Edwards, Grace’s mother, is concerned that her ex-husband poses a danger to their daughter. Detective William’s line of work as a police officer is dangerous and she fears that danger can include their daughter. He now works with the Governor's task force, which handles high profile cases. This increases the danger surrounding Detective Williams. Danger even follows Detective Williams when he is off-duty. He was involved in a deadly shootout at a high school football game he had brought his daughter to see. Mrs. Edwards believes that keeping her daughter Grace from seeing Detective Williams is in Grace’s best interest. By doing this, she is keeping her daughter safe. Thank you for your time your honor." Mr. Blakely returned to his seat calmly.
Judge Keahi finished making a few notes before turning to Bill. "I'd like to hear your opening statement now Mr. Houseman."
Bill stood up quite calmly and moved in front of this table. "Thank you Your Honor. I cannot dispute the fact that being a police officer can be dangerous. Also being part of the Governor's task force adds an additional element of danger. However, there is a distinct difference between being dangerous and doing a dangerous job.”
Bill paced in front of his table some before continuing. “Mr. Blakely mentioned an incident that happened at a football game that Detective Williams, his daughter, and the other members of the Five-0 task force attended. I question why this was brought up. Is it to imply that because Grace’s father is a detective, that anything criminal that happens in his vicinity is his fault? The fact of the matter is that the shooting was gang related. It would have happened whether Detective Williams was there or not. Did Detective Williams respond to the shooting? Yes he did. He is an officer of the law and did his duty along with his fellow task force members, after seeing to the safety of his daughter. Getting back to what should be the main issue in this custody hearing is whether Detective Williams is a danger to his daughter, not whether his work is dangerous. I intend to show that Detective Williams is a good man, a dedicated law officer, and a wonderful father. Furthermore, I will prove that it would be detrimental to Grace Williams to keep her father out of her life. My question is this; is it better to keep Ms. Williams safe at the expense of her emotional well-being? Thank you Your Honor." Bill returned to his seat confidently.
The first witnesses that Mr. Blakely called to the stand were friends of Stan and Rachel who testified that Rachel was a good mother and Stan was a great step father. Bill had chosen not to cross-examine these witnesses, neither Danny nor Bill questioned Rachel's ability as a mother. Mr. Blakely stood up. "I called Rachel Edwards to the stand."
Danny watched Rachel walk up to the stand and give her oath. Not once did she look in his direction, although he really hadn't expected her to look at him. He'd had some time to think about Rachel since the issue about the custody suit came up. When he was being honest with himself he knew that he still had feelings for his ex-wife, rather had feelings for his ex-wife. The combination of her moving to Hawaii with Stan, taking his daughter with her of course, and this custody suit to prevent him from seeing his daughter in the future had altered his feelings for his ex. The last straw was when Rachel told Grace that he didn’t want to see his beloved daughter anymore. That act alone killed any feelings of love he may have had for his ex-wife. He just didn't understand why she was doing this. He loved his daughter and always did his best to protect her. Rachel knew this, so why was she trying to take her away from him? Well he was going to do his best make sure that didn't happen. He never thought he would admit this but he was glad that Steve made Danny his partner even though it was originally under protest. Thanks to Steve he now had a family in Hawaii that would stand behind him and do what they could to help him keep his daughter. He refocused on the front of the courtroom when Mr. Blakely started speaking.
Mr. Blakely had approached the witness stand in order to question Rachel. "Mrs. Edwards could you please tell this Court why you are concerned about your daughter's safety."
She folded her hands in her lap as she answered. "When Daniel and I were married I always worried about his safety. After all he is in a very dangerous line of work. At the time I had not understood that that danger could encompass his family. I heard rumors and stories about some of the detectives in other towns' families being threatened by criminals, for several years I believed that that's all they were, rumors." Rachel stopped for a moment.
"What changed your mind Mrs. Edwards?"
She shifted slightly in her seat as she replied. "The son of a detective that Daniel worked with was gunned down at his school. It was a drive-by shooting, two boys were killed and several other children were wounded I was told. Another detective’s wife told me that the boy was shot because his father was a police officer. It was then that I realized that I couldn't stay with Daniel anymore; his work was dangerous for my daughter. Even before this incident I tried to get Daniel to change his line of work or at least take a desk job, but he was unwilling to do so. Because of his unwillingness to change, I filed for divorce. I met Stan shortly after filing the divorce. We dated and were married once the divorce was final. When he decided to open a hotel here in Hawaii I thought this would be an opportunity to protect my daughter from the continued danger my ex husband’s profession presented. I thought that we could settle on Daniel seeing his daughter a few weeks every summer, maybe a month, and Grace would remain safe and still see her father."
"So you weren't trying to keep Grace from seeing her father altogether, you simply followed your current husband and would've allowed Detective Williams to see his daughter?"
"That is correct. Grace loves her father and I had no desire to stop her from seeing him."
Mr. Blakely nodded thoughtfully. "So what's changed? Why are you suing for sole custody of your daughter now?"
Rachel took a deep breath as she replied. "Daniel surprised me by following us here. I guess I should have realized that his devotion to Grace would bring him to Hawaii and away from his family. So we went back to the custody arrangement that we had in New Jersey. It worked out more or less for several months. Danny always wanted more time with Grace, but I was still concerned about her safety and followed the custody schedule set up by the court. Then Daniel was recruited to be part of the Gov.'s task force. This work is even more dangerous than what he did as a detective; they go after the worst of the criminals on a regular basis. Then Daniel took Grace to that high school football game that you mentioned. Two men were killed and several wounded and Daniel was in the middle of it even though he had our daughter with him. He left her with some stranger to go play the hero. I need to protect my daughter, and the only way I can think of doing that is by keeping Grace from seeing her father."
"So the only reason that you're suing for sole custody is to protect your daughter?"
"It is. I love my daughter; I want to do what's best for her by keeping her safe." Rachel looked at her hands as she finished.
Mr. Blakely nodded in understanding. "Thank you, no more questions."
Judge Keahi looked at Bill. "Your witness Mr. Houseman."
"Thank you Your Honor." Bill stood up taking his notepad with him. "Good morning Mrs. Edwards." Rachel nodded in acknowledgment. "I can understand your wanting to protect your daughter Mrs. Edwards, it is highly admirable. But I wonder if you really protecting her, or hurting her."
"How dare you suggest that I would harm my daughter." She bristled.
Bill held up his hand. "Forgive me Mrs. Edwards. What I mean is although your intent is to protect your daughter; in the long run will your actions hurt your daughter? It is my understanding from reading books, and speaking with child psychologists, is that children need both of their parents. Now you're suggesting keeping your daughter away from her father, even though you admit yourself that he loves her. At this time, I would like to address the two instances that you use to try and show that my client Detective Williams is a danger to your daughter."
Bill walked to the table and picked up a file turning back to Rachel and the judge. "You mentioned the incident of the drive-by shooting where a detective's son was killed. Without question this was a tragic event. Your supposition that the boy was shot because his father was a police officer is incorrect. I have here a copy of the police report from that shooting. It includes the arrests and confessions of the young men responsible for the drive by shooting. The drive-by shooting was gang related and the detective’s son was not the intended target, but an unfortunate casualty simply because he was in the wrong place. The driver and the shooter had no idea that the other boy they killed was a detective's son; their target was the first boy who was shot and killed. They didn't care who else was harmed as long as they killed their target." He handed the file to the judge. "Therefore this incident had nothing to do with the father's line of work, the father could've been a plumber and the result would have been the same." Rachel appeared shocked by the news. She had never bothered trying to find out what really happened assuming that it was related to the father's work.
Bill walked back to the table and picked up a second file before turning back to the judge and Rachel. "Mrs. Edward you mentioned the incident of high school football game. Now I already discussed this incident in my opening statement. I'm curious Mrs. Edwards; you made a point of stating that Detective Williams had gone after the shooters even though his daughter was there at the football stadium. Are you suggesting that Detective Williams should have ignored the armed young men who were entering the stadium and hoped they weren’t there to cause trouble?"
Rachel replied indignantly. "I'm not suggesting anything of the sort Mr. Houseman. He could have called the other task force members and let them handle it while he protected Grace. Instead he left our daughter with a stranger and went after the shooters. His priority should have been our daughter, not some common criminals."
Bill nodded thoughtfully. "So you don't see this action as protecting Grace by going after and stopping them? You see his actions as putting her in danger instead."
"Yes I do."
Bill looked at Rachel thoughtfully before he responded. "I see, well you are entitled to your opinion. I would like to ask you about Detective Williams ability as a father. You already told the court that my client loved Grace and that his devotion to her brought him to Hawaii. Is he a good father to Grace? Does he endeavor to do what is best for Grace?"
Rachel looked distinctly uncomfortable as she answered. "Well Daniel does try to be a good father to Grace. I believe that he tries to do what's best for Grace even if it isn't."
Bill frowns momentarily before he speaks. "Mrs. Edwards would you please explain to this court what you mean by that statement?"
"Well, let's discuss the incident at the football game shall we? I maintain that he should've just called Commander McGarrett and let him and the others deal with the shooters instead of getting personally involved. He should have stayed with Grace."
Bill nodded. "Perhaps Mrs. Edwards he should have. Do you think he would have had the time or been able to give an accurate description to Commander McGarrett of the two youths? After all, Commander McGarrett was sitting in the stands and may not have been able to get to the field quickly enough to apprehend the young men. The young men could have headed into the stands and got lost in the crowds. I doubt that Commander McGarrett could have found them under those circumstances. On the other hand, Detective Williams could follow the two youths quickly and easily. I wonder if there would have been more injuries or deaths if your ex-husband had not followed the two young men? Of course that is simply speculation."
Rachel shifted in her seat uncomfortably aware that in a way her view was selfish. There was a part of her that knew Daniel did the right thing, but she didn't want to acknowledge that. It would mean that she was in the wrong in trying to keep Grace from Daniel.
“Has Detective Williams ever physically harmed Grace?” Bill went for the real definition of danger to a child.
Danny knew that Bill had to ask this question, he still hated it.
Rachel answered reluctantly. “No.”
“Has he ever verbally abused Grace?” Bill pushed some more.
“Police work can be very stressful. Has Detective Williams ever taken out his frustrations on you or Grace?” Bill was relentless.
Rachel looked at her hands but didn’t answer.
Judge Keahi ordered. “Mrs. Williams, please answer the question.”
"Thank you. Can you tell me how you think Grace will be affected by keeping her father, Detective Williams, out of her life?"
Rachel took a moment to answer. "It will be hard at first, but in time she will understand that I'm trying to protect her. My husband, Stan, loves Grace as if she were his own; he will raise her as such. Perhaps when she is older she can see her father from time to time."
Bill paced towards the witness stand. "So you really don't think that Grace will miss her father? You don't think by filing this custody suit that Grace will begin to resent you for keeping her father away?"
Rachel looked at Bill angrily. "Grace is a smart girl. It may take time but she will understand that I'm doing what is best for her."
Bill walked up to his table before turning around to face Rachel again. “You have agreed, reluctantly, that Detective Williams is a good father to Grace. You don’t believe that losing her father will affect her negatively. Is this correct?”
Rachel answered. “Yes.”
“In that case, can you tell this court why you told Grace that Detective Williams did not wish to see her anymore?” He could hear shocked gasps coming from several people.
Now Rachel couldn’t even look Bill in the eye and didn’t answer.
Bill looked at the judge for help. Judge Keahi demanded. “I would like to hear the answer to that question Mrs. Edwards.”
Rachel answered in a quiet voice. “I wanted Grace to get used to not seeing her father.”
“So why didn’t you tell Grace that you were trying to get sole custody to keep her safe? Instead you tried to make Grace think that her father didn’t love her anymore.” Bill paused for effect. “If you truly believed that Grace would accept your reasons in time you would not have lied to her, would you?” Bill waited for an answer that didn’t come. “You don’t have an answer for that do you?” He waited, still no answer. “In reality you know that Grace would not understand why you are keeping her father away, so you chose to lie to her.”
Stan and Blakely were staring at her. She had neglected to tell them about what she had done.
Bill walked back to his table when she continued to remain silent. "Thank you for your time Mrs. Edwards. No further questions Your Honor, however I reserve the right to recall this witness."
“Noted Mr. Houseman.” Judge Keahi looked at Rachel impassively. "You may step down Mrs. Edwards. It is noontime so we will recess for lunch and reconvene in one hour." The judge banged his gavel. He gathered his papers and stood up to leave the courtroom as everyone stood in deference. Once the judge was gone Danny slumped down into his seat like a puppet that has had his strings cut. He felt a strong hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Steve giving him an encouraging look. Danny nodded in appreciation.
Bill gathered his papers and put them in a file folder. "Let's head out for some lunch."
I am neither a lawyer, nor a judge and have never been to court before. So if I’m not following proper procedure please forgive me. Besides this is fiction, not fact.
Hihia: Court Case
Chapter 5: Hihia Ho'omau
We've heard Rachel's side of things, now it's Danny's turn.
Thoughts are in italics. Stressed words will also be in italics.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Lunch was over and court was back in session. It was now Bill's turn to present his case. He called Danny's old partner from New Jersey, who talked about how Danny was a dedicated law officer but also a devoted father. Bill spoke with Amy, Meka's widow who revealed that Danny and Grace had spent time with her family before his transfer to Five-0 which kept him very busy. In the time that he had spent with her family she had seen a devoted and loving father. She talked about how Danny had stood up for her late husband when it was believed that Meka was dirty. She revealed that Danny stayed in touch with her and her son Billy making time for him when he could. She spoke about how grateful she was for Danny staying in Billy's life. Blakely had tried to get her to talk about, or rather admit that she had been worried about her son’s safety because of Meka being a cop. She flat out told him that she was proud of her husband and Danny and would not have changed her husband for anything despite the fact he was killed. Meka had been a wonderful father and husband.
Sgt. Gage from IA spoke about how Danny had stood up to him in defense of his old partner Meka. Sgt. Gage admired Danny for his tenacity as well as his dedication to do what was right despite what anyone else said or believed. Gov. Jameson talked about how the task force was enhanced by the addition of Detective Williams. He has proven to be a dedicated officer, and partner. After speaking with him a few times, she was impressed with his obvious devotion to his daughter. After all how many fathers moved thousands of miles just to be with their daughter.
Bill had chosen not to question Chin or Kono at this time. He felt the talking to Steve would be enough. Once the Gov. had left Bill cleared his throat before speaking. "I call for my next witness Lieutenant Commander Stephen McGarrett the head of the Governor's task force and Detective Williams partner."
Steve stood up straightening his uniform before walking to the witness stand to be sworn in. Once he was sitting Bill walked to the witness stand. "Commander McGarrett would you please tell this court why you chose Detective Williams for your partner."
"I had agreed to head the Governor's task force in order to investigate my father's murder. Detective Williams had been the detective in charge of the case before I took it from him. Detective Williams’s notes and the information gathered was thorough and showed he was determined to solve the case. Therefore I looked into his record. I was suitably impressed by his solve rate and the glowing recommendation he received from his former captain. Since I'm not a police officer I felt it would be a good idea to have an outstanding detective as my partner, it also helped that he had been the detective working on my father's case so was familiar with it already. I learned that he moved to Hawaii so he could be near his daughter. I admired that kind of dedication to family. He didn’t back down the first time we met in my father's garage, something else I admired. I believed he was someone that would tell it like it is, and would not only stand with me but up to me if necessary. I’m not an officer who likes yes men or women in my unit who have no mind of their own." Steve could see the shock in Danny's eyes. He realized he never told Danny any of that, he was glad that Danny could hear it now, even if the circumstances sucked.
Bill nodded thoughtfully. "Did the two of you get along right from the start?"
Steve shook his head trying not to smile. "No we did not. For the most part Danny and I are two different men, with different views of how to handle an investigation or just about anything. As he likes to remind me, I’m not a detective. Danny was trained to handle investigations and suspects according to police policies and procedures. I on the other hand am a Navy SEAL, who is trained to do what it takes to get the job done. It doesn't mean I don't know the law, it just means I had more leeway as a SEAL. So Danny and I would butt heads over that in the beginning until I became more familiar with police procedure. We still butt heads over procedure, I need reminding sometimes. It didn’t help that I shanghaied him into being my partner which he resented, and told me so in great detail." He could see the smirks on Danny, Chin and Kono’s faces as he finished.
"Have things changed between the two of you?"
"Yes they have. Over time we learned that we both believed in the same things even if we approach them differently. Danny and I have become very good friends and I consider him part of my family, ohana. We still don't agree on everything, but we've learned to work around that in order to get the job done."
Bill took a couple steps away from the witness stand before turning back around to face Steve. "From what you're saying I gather that you have spent time together outside of work."
“Yes, we have spent a lot of time together.”
"So have you spent time with Detective Williams and his daughter Grace?"
Steve smiled slightly. "I have. Before Danny moved into my house, I would have both he and his daughter Grace spend the weekend at my place when he had her. Grace loves the beach and loves to swim. I have a private beach which allows her to enjoy swimming without the crowds. Other times I would have the team plus Grace over for a cookout after closing a tough case."
"Detective Williams lives at your place now?"
Steve nodded. "He does. Danny was living in a very small apartment; it was all he could afford. My house is large with enough room for Danny, my sister when she visits, and Grace. He pays rent for the room and sharing the house."
Bill pursed his lips in thought. "So how would you describe Detective Williams as a father?"
"Objection Your Honor." Mr. Blakely stood up to speak. "The witness and defendant are close friends. Commander McGarrett’s testimony will lack objectivity.”
Bill looked at judge. "Your Honor, Commander McGarrett is trained to be observant as a Navy SEAL. He has also spent time with both Detective Williams and his daughter. This has given him ample opportunity to watch the interaction between father and daughter."
The judge nodded and banged his gavel. "Objection overruled. You may continue Mr. Houseman."
"Thank you Your Honor. Would you please answer the question Commander McGarrett."
Steve gathered his thoughts before answering. “Danny is a terrific father. He treats Grace with love and respect. He shows her his love in actions and words. When he has to tell her something important he will get down to her level to talk with her. Danny lives to spend time with Grace and lights up when he talks about her or when he sees her. Grace always seemed to be a happy secure little girl. Just by watching her with Danny I can see how much she loves her father.”
Bill allowed Steve’s statement time to sink in a little before asking his next question. “Commander, would you please tell me about the incident at the high school football game.”
“Danny had taken Grace to get some Nachos. I received a call from Danny telling me that he was in the field in front of me following two men who were armed. I stood up looking for him. Once I spotted him I turned to Detective Kelly and Officer Kalakaua to let them know there was trouble and asked Detective Kalakaua to call for back up while Detective Kelly and I headed for the field. I made it onto the field just as Danny yelled gun and the shooting started. Chin, Detective Kelly, and I pulled our weapons and responded. I sent Chin after a runner while I ran to Danny’s position. It appeared that he had shot one of the suspects and there was another man down. I covered the suspect and told Danny to go get Grace. I knew he would be desperate to get back to her considering the semi-panicked crowd leaving the stadium. I caught up with Danny after back up and the EMTs had arrived. He had sent Grace back to her mother’s in a squad car. He told me his ex-wife was going to sue for sole custody because it was too dangerous for Grace to be around Danny as if the shooting was somehow his fault, his words at the time.”
“I see. Do you believe that being around Detective Williams is dangerous for his daughter because of his profession?”
“No more so than being the step-daughter of a rich man.”
“Objection Your Honor. Irrelevant, Stanley Edward’s line of work is not dangerous unlike Detective William’s position as a detective.” Blakely stated loudly.
Judge Keahi looked at Blakely shrewdly before turning to Steve. “Before I make a ruling, could you explain your remark Commander McGarret?”
Danny grimaced, knowing what was coming. He wished Steve didn’t have to get into this. He didn’t want his friend to have to relive his father’s death. Steve answered calmly. “Certainly Your Honor. As a SEAL, some of the missions I undertook were to rescue hostages. Due to the classified nature of the missions themselves I can't go into detail except to say that these people were held ransom to either demand release of prisoners or for money. My own father was held hostage by Victor Hesse to force me to release his brother whom I had captured and was in the process of transporting. My father was killed when I was unable to comply with Hesse’s demands.” There were shocked gasps in the courtroom from some of the spectators. “Recently Five-0 was asked to rescue some rich teenagers who had been kidnapped and held for millions in ransom money. We were successful in saving all but one of the teenagers. These teanagers were taken because their families had money. So children of rich families are in danger as well.” Steve concluded.
The judge considered Steve’s words in relation to the case. “Objection overruled Mr. Blakely. Commander McGarrett has a valid point about kidnappings for ransom money and he has the experience to back up his point. Please continue Mr. Houseman.”
Bill responded accordingly. “Thank you Your Honor. Moving on, you were recently called to Grace William’s school by the school counselor. Would you please tell the court what this incident was about?”
Steve glared at Rachel, who shrunk back remembering her encounter with Steve at the school, as he answered. “Danny was meeting with you regarding the custody suit so he had turned his phone off. He knew I could get a hold of him, if I really needed him. Since the school could not get in touch with Danny they called me regarding a problem with Grace wanting to talk to one of us right away.”
“Excuse me for interrupting Commander but why would the school call you?” Bill questioned.
“Danny had filled out paperwork giving me the authority to deal with any issues with Grace, at school or hospital since he doesn’t have immediate family here in Hawaii.”
“Thank you for that clarification Cmdr. Please proceed.”
“I proceeded to the school as quickly as I could and met with Julie Kahele the school’s counselor. I was informed that Grace had withdrawn into herself, wasn’t participating in class or playing with her friends. Having spent time with Grace, I knew this was not her normal behavior. She's normally a very outgoing and friendly child. The counselor discovered that her change in behavior was due to Mrs. Edwards telling Grace that Danny didn’t want to see her anymore. I had to calm down because I was furious with Mrs. Edwards for telling Grace such a lie. Once I was calm, I agreed to talk to Grace.”
“Were you able to reassure Grace?” Bill questioned.
“Yes. I assured her that Danny lived to see her and would see her every day if he could. I reminded her that he moved from his beloved New Jersey to Hawaii just to be with her. She was understandably confused because her Danno always told her that speaking the truth was the best way to go. So why would her mother lie to her. We talked about a possible reason her mother would tell her Danny didn’t want to see her anymore even though he did. It was an effort not to say some very nasty things about Rachel to Grace. However, I knew that would only serve to hurt Grace further and there was no way that I would intentionally hurt Grace.”
“Was Detective Williams able to see Grace that day?”
Steve smiled slightly. “He was waiting outside the office door when I opened it. I had had Detective Kelly inform Danny in person that I had been called to the school about Grace. I had no doubt that Danny would be outside the door waiting to see Grace. Once they had a chance to talk we left school and had shave ice together. Danny and Grace spent the remainder of the day together with the counselor’s blessing. Ms. Kahele felt that spending time with Danny would benefit Grace more than staying in school that day.”
“Did you run into Mrs. Edwards at the school that day?”
“I did. The school must have informed her about Grace’s troubles. We had a few words. I basically told her that she was out of line telling Grace that Danny didn’t want to see her anymore. Mrs. Edwards informed me that it was for the best since she believed that she would win this suit Grace would no longer be able to see Danny. So it would be better to break ties with him immediately. Her belief was that Danny couldn’t afford a good lawyer and therefore would lose. I let her know that Danny wasn’t alone on this island anymore and I had some good friends who would be willing to help Danny out. Like a very good lawyer by the name of William Houseman who is an old friend of mine.”
“Thank you Cmdr. McGarrett. No further questions at this time Your Honor.” As he finished he headed for his table.
“Thank you Mr. Houseman.” Judge Keahi finished some notes before continuing. “Your witness Mr. Blakely.”
“Thank you Your Honor.” Blakely stood up, buttoning his suit jacket. “Cmdr. McGarrett, you stated that Detective Williams lives with you now. This is a recent development, is it not?”
“It is.” Steve confirmed.
“It seems very convenient to me that Detective Williams moved in shortly after Mrs. Edwards filed for sole custody of their daughter. If you wanted Detective Williams to live with you, why did you wait until then?”
Steve’s eyebrow arched. “I didn’t ask Danny when we first became partners because I didn’t know if we would get along as partners, never mind living in the same house. However, it didn’t take long for us to become good friends.” Steve looked briefly at Danny. “Danny is a proud man and I didn’t want to trample on his pride, even if I did give him a hard time about the place he lived in. I had several conversations with Bill…Mr. Houseman before coming up with what I hoped would be an acceptable rental agreement between Danny and me. I had been planning to ask him to consider moving in with me before the custody suit came up. It merely accelerated my plans.”
Blakely sneered at Steve. “You say that now Commander, but can you prove it?”
Steve leaned forward scowling. “Are you accusing me of lying Mr. Blakely?”
Blakely stepped back at the look; he didn’t know someone could look so intimidating without being a behemoth. “No I don’t think you’re lying Commander, merely stretching the truth to fit what you choose to believe in order to help your friend.”
Uh oh. This otta be good. Danny, Chin and Kono unknowingly thought at the same time.
Steve’s glare intensified at Blakely causing him to take another step backwards. “Mr. Houseman has a copy of the rental agreement I had drawn up in anticipation of talking to Danny. We discussed the agreement and drew it up three to four weeks before the custody suit was filed. Five-0 had been so busy that I hadn't had time to ask Danny to move in. If that hadn't worked out I had spoken to a couple of my late father's old friends who have rental properties. They were willing to give Danny a break because he’s a cop and my friend."
Judge Keahi looked at Bill. "Mr. Houseman, do you have the paperwork that Cmdr. McGarrett mentioned?"
Bill pulled out some papers to hand to the bailiff. "Of course Your Honor. I also have signed statements from the two former officers that Commander McGarrett mentioned which give the dates of those conversations. They are both willing to testify if it becomes necessary." Bill looked at Blakely. "According to my notes, copies of these papers were sent to Mr. Blakely's office last week."
The bailiff took the papers to Judge Keahi who looked them over and nodded. "Thank you Mr. Houseman, everything appears to be in order and the dates correspond to the Commander’s testimony. Please move on Mr. Blakely."
"Of course Your Honor." Mr. Blakely scowled slightly as he turned back to Steve to continue. "So Commander McGarrett, you seem to think that it's responsible for a good father to place himself in danger on a regular basis. After all, wasn't your mother killed because of an investigation your father was running?"
"Objection Your Honor. Irrelevant." Bill stood up. "This is not about Cmdr. McGarrett's past. This is about the suitability of Detective Williams to be a good father."
The judge looked at Blakely for an explanation. "Your Honor, I'm trying to establish that as long as Detective Williams is a part of law enforcement and in particular Five-0, his daughter is in danger. Commander McGarrett’s past is an example of what can go wrong."
Judge Keahi thought about it for a moment. "All right I’ll allow the question Mr. Blakely. Be sure to get to your point quickly."
Blakely nodded at the judge in acknowledgment. "Thank you Your Honor. Commander please answer my question."
Steve's face was a blank mask as he spoke. "Yes, my mother was killed by a car bomb meant for my father. It shows that the criminals my father was after didn't care who they hurt to keep their secrets, not a lack of love or care for his family." Steve turned to look at Rachel who flinched at his piercing gaze. "Detective Williams is one of the most responsible, respectable people that I know. When entering a dangerous situation, Danny always does his best to remain safe, for Grace's sake, and still do his job."
"You make it sound so noble Commander, but he still puts his life at risk along with his daughter by remaining in law enforcement. Would you say that Detective Williams is a smart man?"
Steve's eyes narrowed. "Yes, Danny is an intelligent man."
"So he could easily do something else for work?"
"Perhaps. Danny is doing what he is good at, and what he likes to do."
Blakely smirked. "That's not really the point is it Commander? If he really loved his daughter, he'd find another line of work.”
“Why would he do that when being a police officer helps protect his daughter by making Hawaii a safer place for her to live?”
“Move to strike Your Honor. Irrelevant.”
Judge Keahi looked at Steve and asked for clarification. “Commander McGarrett, would you explain your reasoning for that statement?” Blakely was upset at this question.
“Of course Your Honor. Shortly after Danny and I became partners we talked. I was willing to allow him to transfer back to HPD if he wanted, though I hoped he'd stay. He told me that he would stay in the task force because he believed that we would do more to make Hawaii safe for Grace than he could do going back to HPD. He is a police officer because he likes the work, is good at it and allows him to keep Grace safe.”
“Thank you Cmdr. Motion to strike denied Mr. Blakely. Do you have any further questions for Cmdr. McGarrett?”
Blakely scowled. “One more Your Honor.” The judge motioned for him to continue.
“Is it true that you threatened Mrs. Edwards when you saw her at Grace’s school?”
“It was not a threat Mr. Blakely. It was merely a statement of fact that Danny’s new family, my task force, had contacts and resources to help him. Resources he may not have had in New Jersey, such as one of the top lawyers here in Hawaii.”
“So you didn’t say that you could make things uncomfortable for Mr. Edwards?”
“I suppose I did. I have a couple of friends in the IRS and in the FBI who investigate possible financial fraud. If Mr. Edwards is complexly above board he would have nothing to worry about if they dug around in his finances.” Steve watched Stan pale as he talked. Interesting, maybe there is a reason to call my friends. Steve made a mental note to himself.
Blakely smirked, thinking that he had something on the Commander now. “I would call that an abuse of power Commander McGarrett.”
“Not really Mr. Blakely. The IRS likes it when people come forward to give them a heads up to possible tax fraud. The only way it would be abuse is if the tipster knew for a fact that the person they fingered is clean, therefore deliberately wasting the government’s time. I don’t know anything about Mr. Edward’s financial business, so I would merely be making a suggestion to my friends, no demands, no abuse.”
Judge Keahi spoke before Blakely could continue. “I’m afraid that the Commander is right Mr. Blakely. It’s not considered abuse to make a suggestion. You need to move on or dismiss this witness.”
Blakely frowned. That had not gone as planned. “No further questions Your Honor."
Bill stood up. "Permission to redirect an earlier point Your Honor?"
"Permission granted Mr. Houseman."
Bill walked around the table until he was halfway between the table and the witness stand. "Commander McGarrett, knowing what you know about your mother's murder, would you want your father to have changed careers?"
Steve gave the question serious consideration. "No I wouldn't. My mother's death was a terrible tragedy, caused by the man who ordered the hit, not my father."
"Why wouldn’t you want your father to change careers? Your mother was murdered in his place."
Steve answered honestly. "I'm proud of my father, as a police officer he worked to protect people and put criminals like my mother’s killer in prison. It was not his fault that someone tried to kill him."
"Thank you, Cmdr. McGarrett. No further questions Your Honor."
"You may step down Commander McGarrett." Judge Keahi made a few notes as Steve returned to his seat. The judge looked at the time noting it was four o'clock in the afternoon and decided it was time to recess. "I call a recess until tomorrow at 9 AM court dismissed." The judge banged his gavel collected his papers and left the courtroom.
Danny laid his arms on the table and rested his head on them, he was ready for this the whole thing to be over. He watched as Rachel, Stan, and Blakely picked up their things and left the courtroom. He felt a warm hand on his shoulder and looked up without raising his head to see Steve looking at him with concern. "Thanks Steve. Thanks for what you said today."
Steve shrugged slightly keeping his hand on Danny's shoulder. "It was the truth." Steve tipped his head to the side. "Let's go home; I’ve got a steak and a beer with your name on it."
Danny nodded gratefully as he stood up.
Steve looked at the group of people that had gathered around Bill and Danny's table. "You're all invited to our house. I have enough burgers and steaks for everyone."
Danny's mother and father had come up to Danny, his mother giving him a hug and his father putting a reassuring hand on his son’s shoulder. "I think that sounds like a good idea son."
The rest of the group agreed quietly except for Amy. She looked at Steve regretfully. "I would like that Steve. Unfortunately Billy has a game this evening and I need to pick him up and to get him there on time."
"I understand Amy. I'll tell Danny for you. Give Billy my regards." Steve looked at Danny talking quietly with his parents and back at Amy. "Give him Danny's regards too." She touched Steve on the arm in a gesture of thanks and support before leaving the courtroom.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter. There’s more to come, don’t worry.
Chapter 6: Hihia Ho'omau Lua
Well, it's Danny's turn now.
Thank you to all who have read this story, left kudos and comments. I'm glad you're enjoying it.
Thoughts and emphasized words are in italics
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was a few minutes before 9 AM, and Danny was sitting with Bill preparing to testify on his own behalf. He just hoped he could remain coherent and calm since he didn’t get any sleep the night before. He was now glad that Steve kept an eye on him and wouldn’t let him have any more than a couple of beers or he might be hung over on top of a lack of sleep.
His train of thought was interrupted by the entrance of the bailiff requesting everybody stand up for the judge. Once seated and all of legalities were taken care of the judge gave the floor to Bill.
“Thank you Your Honor, I call Detective Daniel Williams as my first witness of the day.”
Danny stood straightening his suit and walked up to the witness stand to be sworn in. As he was sitting down he reminded himself that this was for Grace, for her he could do anything. He then looked at his entire family to see their support and caring for him. It gave him the added strength he needed to go through with his testimony.
“Detective Williams, would you please tell this court why you moved from New Jersey to Hawaii?” Bill asked.
“My ex-wife and her new husband moved here, taking my daughter with them. I have done my best to be an active part of my daughter’s life since she was born. I love spending time with her whether we just sit quietly watching a movie, go to the park or sit and listen to her tell me about her day at school. If I had remained in New Jersey I would have become a vacation father. It was difficult enough being a part-time dad, I couldn’t handle being a vacation dad. Fortunately I was able to find a job with the Honolulu Police Department and moved here soon after Grace arrived.”
Bill nodded. “I see. Would you have moved here for any other reason than to be with your daughter?”
Danny shook his head as he answered. “No. My parents and most of my siblings still live in New Jersey. I had no desire to move anywhere that would take me so far away from them if I could help it. We're a very close family.”
Bill paced a little as he continued. “Commander McGarrett told us how you became a part of Five-0, the Governor’s task force. Do you feel that this work best suites your abilities?”
“It does. The work is challenging but rewarding. It allows me to keep the island safe for Grace and the other residents of Hawaii. It has also given me a chance to work with a talented group of people who are as dedicated to law enforcement as they are to each other.”
“Did you want to join the task force?” Bill had urged Danny to be honest about this or Rachel’s lawyer could use it against him. It was the reason Steve had not skirted his part in steamrolling Danny onto the task force.
Danny glanced at Steve as he answered. “No, not at first. I hated Steve for not giving me a choice in becoming his partner. I also thought that he was an arrogant jerk who didn’t take anyone’s safety seriously.”
“How long did it take you to reconsider your assessment of Commander McGarrett and the task force?”
“Within a few weeks I realized that the task force had the means to track and capture the high profile criminals better than if I had stayed with HPD. As for Steve, once I looked past his tough, stoic demeanor I found a caring, and generous friend. He has become a wonderful honorary uncle to Grace. The task force that Steve put together has made a significant difference in making Hawaii safe, and they have become my second family. Commander McGarrett, Officers Kelly and Kalakaua have stood beside me on and off the job. They have accepted Grace and myself as part of their own family without hesitation. Any one of them would protect Grace with their life if they had to, and not just because it would be their duty as police officers, but because she is part of their family. I couldn’t ask for more in my second family.” Danny’s hands had moved around in an attempt to emphasize the significance of his answer.
“Isn’t it a bit unusual to view a task force as family Detective?”
“Yes and no. When I worked as a detective in New Jersey, I considered my fellow detectives as an extended family, like cousins. A partner can often become like a sibling, at the very least a best friend. Someone you can count on no matter what. Normally that kind of closeness can take months. The members of Five-0 developed that closeness in a matter of weeks. I credit Steve with facilitating the tight-knit feel of Five-0. He told us very early on that we care for each other like family.”
“Thank you. Now let’s talk about the reason we are here today. The idea of whether or not it is dangerous for your daughter to spend time with you. Do you think that Commander McGarrett described the incident at the High-School football game in an accurate manner?” Bill questioned.
Danny’s hands clenched as he answered. “Yes he did. I had made sure that Grace would be safe before heading out to the field to alert my fellow team members of the threat. Once the shooting was over, Steve sent me after Grace without hesitation.”
“Do you think that you could have done anything differently Detective?”
“No. Once I realized that the two young men were carrying, I had to act to protect the people playing and watching the game. I didn’t have time to call Steve so that he could handle the problem without me; I had no way to predict whether they were headed for the field or the stands. The only thing I could do was follow them after ensuring Grace’s safety. As it was, the two thugs were on the field by the time I had my phone out and called Steve to let him know what was going on. He reacted quickly and efficiently to get back up, clear the stands and have my back.”
“So it was not a matter of believing that Commander McGarrett couldn’t handle the situation without you?” Bill wanted to cover as many questions Blakely would likely ask before he could.
“I have no doubt that Steve could've handled the situation without me, his training as a SEAL has given him the ability to handle any number of dangerous situations. He's also an excellent leader and can and does act quickly in any given situation. The problem was that the young men could have gone into the stands or out into the field before I could describe them to Steve. There were enough people at the game that the two men would have been easily lost in the crowd. It was more expedient for me to follow them while I contacted Steve to alert him that there was trouble.” Danny answered truthfully.
“Once the situation was contained, Commander McGarrett sent you to retrieve your daughter. Would this be considered proper procedure?”
Danny saw Steve’s smirk, he suppressed a snort at the idea of Steve following proper procedure. “No. I should have stayed with Steve until HPD arrived. However, family is more important to Steve than following procedure to the letter. He knew that I would be frantic to get back to Grace and sent me on my way.”
“Were you concerned about leaving Commander McGarrett by himself?”
“No. Steve can take care of himself, especially when the suspect is lying on the ground after being shot.”
Bill nodded thoughtfully. “This was when your ex-wife first threatened to take away your rights to visit your daughter. Is that correct?”
Danny nodded scowling. “It was. She claimed it was dangerous for Grace to be around me, like it was my fault two gang bangers decided a football game would be the best place to send a message to their rival gang. It was my misfortune that I attended the same game with my daughter and my friends.”
“How was the original custody suit resolved, detective?”
“It's my understanding that the governor stepped in and persuaded Rachel to drop the suit. I don’t know how she did it. I was simply very grateful for her help. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t see my daughter anymore.” Danny concluded.
“Detective Williams, have you ever threatened your daughter with harm?”
“Absolutely not. She’s my life.” Danny remained calm on the outside, but was struggling on the inside. He hated these questions, though he knew they were necessary.
“Have you ever been drunk around your daughter?”
“No.” Danny answered.
“Do you drink in front of Grace?” Bill persisted.
“I will have a beer or two when Steve has a cookout while Grace is present. However, if I’m alone with Grace, I don’t indulge at all. Before I moved in with Steve; he would often invite Grace and I to spend the weekend, then I would have a couple more after Grace went to bed. However, I have never gotten drunk when I was responsible for another person, especially Grace.” Danny answered firmly.
“So you don’t try and hide the fact that you drink beer from your daughter?”
“No. That would be dishonest and doesn’t teach her anything. It’s okay to have alcohol as long as it’s in moderation. It’s all about being responsible.” Danny replied.
“Thank you Detective Williams. No further questions at this time Your Honor.” Bill said to the judge.
“Your witness Mr. Blakely.” Judge Keahi directed.
Blakely stood up, buttoning his suit jacket as he walked towards the witness box. “Thank you Your Honor. Detective Williams, is it safe to say that your line of work is dangerous?”
“It’s part of the job.” Danny answered shrugging.
“Is it part of the job to put your own daughter at risk?” Blakely asked.
“No.” Danny knew that Blakely wanted him to get defensive even angry; it would allow Blakely to pounce. So Danny forced himself to view this as testifying at a criminal trial. Something he had done many times and remained calm and collected no matter what the defense attorney threw at him. Steve had recommended that Danny imagine Steve putting Stan through some basic training SEAL style. It did help.
“So you didn’t put your daughter in harm’s way at the football game the two of you attended?” Blakely pressed.
“No. The two young men carrying guns did that. I acted to protect Grace and other innocent bystanders.” If Rachel thought that Danny would lose it on the stand, she was sorely mistaken.
“If you were so concerned with protecting your daughter, why didn’t you just take her and leave instead of hiding her and following the young men? You could have called your friends and let them take care of it.” Blakely thought by pushing Danny would mess up.
Danny’s eyebrows rose almost to his hairline. “Are you suggesting that I should have shirked my duty as a law enforcement officer in front of my daughter? I want my daughter to be proud of me, not think me a selfish coward who walks away from his responsibilities.” Danny could see the sparkle in Steve’s eyes as he finished.
Blakely hesitated. That was not how he anticipated Williams answering that question. Mrs. Edwards had assured him that her ex-husband was a hot head who would rant and rave when angry. The problem was that Rachel had never seen Danny testify in court before. Their custody battle in New Jersey was handled out of court. Neither of them took into consideration the support Danny had behind him or the fact that he was an experienced detective who had testified in court many times in the course of his duties.
Danny’s family, along with Steve, Chin and Kono desperately stifled laughter when they saw Blakely’s frustrated face. Even though their friend could rant and rave with the best of them, at the end of the day he was a professional and could keep calm and collected when necessary, especially when the stakes were so very high.
Finally Blakely recovered himself. “I'm not suggesting that you should have shirked your duties. Your duties would have been covered by calling Commander McGarrett, don’t you think?”
Danny leaned forward in his chair and calmly but forcefully responded. “Obviously, I have to repeat myself. There were two men walking towards the football field with guns poorly hidden in their pants. Experience told me they were there to kill someone in the audience or on the field. For all I knew, they could have been after Steve, he has enemies. As an officer of the law I could not walk away from that situation. If I had; I could have been suspended for dereliction of duty, and rightfully so. I did what was necessary to protect Grace, and then went after the two men hoping to stop them. If I couldn’t keep them from hitting their target, I could keep them from escaping.”
Blakely stared at Danny for a minute before speaking. “No further questions Your Honor.” He returned to his table knowing that the case was more than likely lost. He had warned the Edward’s that their case was a shaky one. His only hope had been to make Danny lose it on the stand. Houseman had thoroughly covered all of the things he would have tried to use against Danny.
Judge Keahi looked at Danny. “You may step down Detective Williams.”
Danny sighed quietly once he sat down. He did it. He stayed calm.
“You may call your next witness Mr. Housemen.” Judge Keahi ordered.
“Thank you Your Honor. I call Julie Kahele, Sacred Heart’s counselor to the stand.” Once Ms. Kahele was sworn in Bill asked his first question. “This court has heard Commander McGarrett’s explanation for why he was called to your school. Could you please tell this court what prompted you to call him?”
Ms. Kahele responded. “Mrs. Mahelona, Grace William’s teacher, requested a meeting regarding a troubling change in Grace’s behavior. Starting about a week before our meeting, Grace had become withdrawn, sullen, didn’t participate in class, or play with her friends. Mrs. Mahelona informed me that this was not like Grace at all. Normally she is outgoing, gregarious and loves school. The most troubling to her was that the change happened overnight. I met with Grace two times before I was able to get her to tell me what was wrong. She informed me that her mother told her that Danno, her nickname for her father, didn’t want to see her anymore. Grace said that she didn’t understand, he always tells her that ‘Danno loves you’. So why doesn’t he want to see me anymore she asked while crying. Did he stop loving me? Did I do something wrong? And she asked more questions along that line. I decided I should call her father first before calling her mother to try and find out what was going on. Unfortunately, I was unable to contact Detective Williams; I was put into his voice-mail.”
“What did you do when you couldn’t reach Detective Williams?”
Ms. Kahele shook look at Steve. “I looked through Grace’s file to see if there was some else from Detective William’s family that I could contact.”
“Why didn’t you wish to contact Mrs. Edwards first?” Bill questioned.
“I wanted to hear Detective William’s side first. In situations where the parents are divorced I like to speak with both parents. In this situation, I wanted to hear what Detective Williams said first, since the problem seemed to be with what Mrs. Edwards told Grace about her father, Detective Williams.” Reasoned Ms. Kahele.
“Did you find Cmdr. McGarrett in Grace’s file?”
“Yes. There was paperwork filled out by Detective Williams allowing the school to treat Commander McGarrett as next of kin, or immediate family, however you wish to look at it. I contacted him and he came to the school immediately. I understood that he sent someone to get Detective Williams while he was headed for the school. We discussed Grace’s behavior and the reasons behind her behavior. He was clearly incensed over the issue. I’ll be honest, I was glad he wasn't angry with me; he has the ability to be very intimidating even when he is sitting down. He quickly calmed though and wanted to speak with Grace and see if he could help. I retrieved Grace and left them to talk in private.
"Were you concerned with leaving Grace with Commander McGarrett after being intimidated by him?"
Ms. Kahele shook her head. "I admit that I was a little concerned, but it didn't last long. The look on his face and in his eyes when he saw how upset Grace was let me know that she was in safe hands. He also held a crying Grace like she was something precious. So, no I had no reservations with leaving Grace with Commander McGarrett."
“I see. Thank you for that insight. I understand that Detective Williams was able to make it to the school. What happened when he did?”
“Detective Williams arrived shortly after I left Commander McGarrett and Grace to talk. I had just spoken with Mrs. Edwards on the phone requesting that she come to the school so we could talk about Grace. I wanted to talk to Detective Williams before he spoke to Grace so I took him into another office to discuss what had happened. He is another man I would not want angry with me. He did calm down and sighed when I told him that Commander McGarrett was with Grace. He said that he was sure that the Commander would be able to help Grace. He then handed me a court document that stated that he was still allowed to see Grace despite what Mrs. Edwards may say to the contrary. I accepted it and told him it would be entered into Grace’s file and that I would personally inform Mrs. Mahelona and the office staff. I asked him if he wanted me to interrupt Commander McGarrett and Grace so that he could talk to her himself. He actually smiled and told me that Commander McGarrett would be checking the hall for him at any moment knowing that nothing would keep him away from Grace. So I showed him my office and he stood by the door to wait. He was right, the door opened to reveal Commander McGarrett who stepped out to speak with Detective Williams quietly.”
“Did Mrs. Edwards show up?”
“Mrs. Edwards showed up just as I arrived at the school office with the court order. She was very upset that I had called her ex-husband. She especially didn’t like that I had called Commander McGarrett since he wasn’t family. I told her that Detective Williams named Commander McGarrett family as was his right as Grace's father. She then tried to tell me that Detective Williams didn’t have the right to see her daughter anymore. I informed her that I had paperwork from the court that said otherwise. She huffed and left before we could talk about what prompted me to make the calls to her and Detective Williams. Once she was gone, I spoke with the principal suggesting that we allow Grace to leave school early with her father. I felt that she needed to be with him after being told that he didn’t want to see her anymore. The principal agreed. I came out of the office to see Mrs. Edwards stalking away from Commander McGarrett who appeared to be smirking. As I approached, Detective Williams exited my office. I suggested that he take Grace for the rest of the day. It would be good for both of them. After a short discussion he agreed. I took Grace to her class so that she could gather her things and I could let Mrs. Mahelona know that Grace would be out for the rest of the day. I returned a much happier Grace to her father and Commander McGarrett who suggested they go for shaved ice. Grace practically dragged the smiling men out of the school. Grace’s behavior improved greatly after that day, I’m happy to report.”
“Thank you Ms. Kahele. I have no more questions for this witness, Your Honor.”
“Your witness Mr. Blakely.”
Blakely stood up. “I have no questions Your Honor.”
“Very well, you may step down Ms. Kahele.” He continued to make some notes while she returned to her seat. Judge Keahi checked the time before continuing. “It is now 11:30. I am going to call a recess until 1:00. Mr. Blakely and Mr. Houseman, I want one of you to arrange to have Grace Williams brought to this courtroom so that I may speak to her in private.”
Rachel looked like she wanted to object, Blakely glared at her before she sat back in a huff.
Blakely addressed Judge Keahi. “What time would you like her to be here Your Honor?”
“Is she at school today, or was she kept at home?”
Blakely looked at Rachel pointedly. Rachel reluctantly answered. “Grace is in school today.”
Steve stood up and the judge acknowledged him. “Your Honor, either Officer Kelly, Officer Kalakaua or I can pick up Grace after school if you like? The three of us are listed as people allowed to pick up Grace from school and would be happy to do this.”
“Thank you Commander. Officer Kelly would you please retrieve Grace Williams and bring her to the courtroom door. Let us know you have returned by poking your head in the room and then wait on one of the benches. When I’m ready, I will send the bailiff for Ms. Williams.”
Chin stood up. “Of course Your Honor.”
“Very well, court dismissed until 1:00 PM.” He banged his gavel, gathered his papers and left the room.
Before Blakely or Stan could stop her, Rachel stormed over to Steve. “How dare you presume that I will allow you to bring my daughter here and questioned like a common criminal!” There were several shocked gasps from the spectators including her current husband.
Before Rachel knew what happened, Steve had moved around the barrier and was leaning over her. She forgot how intimidating he could be.
Steve growled at her. “You don’t have a choice in the matter Mrs. Edwards unless you want to drop this ridiculous suit. Didn’t you realize that the judge would want to talk to Grace? Mr. Blakely appears to be a good lawyer, so I’m sure that he informed you that any judge in a custody battle would speak with the child involved. If you had refused you would find yourself in contempt of court and put in lock up.”
Rachel interrupted. “Don’t be ridiculous. This is not a criminal case; this is simply a civil matter. I would never be sent to lock up, as you put it.”
Steve scoffed before speaking slowly, as if to a child. “Mrs. Edwards, whether the case before a judge is criminal or civil, he can hold you in contempt for refusing to comply with a court order. I could tell that you were going to refuse and Judge Keahi has a reputation for being a judge nobody wants to defy, or they regret it. He would have had you in lock up so fast your head would still be spinning. The only reason I interfered was that it would've hurt Grace. Otherwise I would have enjoyed seeing you taken away in handcuffs for what you are putting Danny and Grace through because of your selfishness.” By the time Steve was done, he had backed Rachel into the judge’s bench. She looked around for help, only to find Stan and Blakely staring wide-eyed at Steve, clearly intimidated.
Danny’s parents were still standing behind the barrier watching the show in awe. Chin and Kono were standing by Danny, to keep him from getting involved. They needn’t have worried; Danny knew Steve could handle Rachel. Just because Steve was a man of action and few words didn’t mean he didn’t know how to use them when needed.
The bailiff stood close but was staying out of it unless he had to interfere. He was not going to mess with a Navy SEAL if it wasn’t necessary. Besides, he was enjoying the show.
Despite being intimidated, she wasn’t going to back down. “How dare you! I’m trying to protect Grace from being hurt.”
Steve cut her off. “I really don’t believe that you are trying to protect Grace. I think that you’re trying to punish Danny because he was more dedicated to Grace, than to you. After all, he moved thousands of miles to be with Grace, not you. Claiming that you are trying to protect Grace is merely an excuse to you. You’re the one who lied to Grace, making her think that her Danno didn’t want to see her anymore. As a result of your actions and words, Grace has been hurt here.” Steve pointed to his heart. “Emotional pain often hurts more than physical pain any day. I held her while she cried her heart out. I’m the one that had to try and fix what you tried to break with your cruel words. I was not kidding when I said that I had friends who could make Stan’s life miserable. I forgot to mention that some of them could make life difficult for you. You see, I take it personally when someone tries to hurt someone I consider family, that group includes Danny and Grace.” Rachel looked like she had been slapped. Steve spun around and headed for Danny and the others. “Let’s go, I think I have some phone calls to make to immigration besides I’m hungry.”
Danny smiled at Steve. “Isn’t that my line?” Danny’s supporters walked out of the courtroom laughing for the first time since entering the courtroom the day before. Meanwhile Rachel was still standing where Steve left her, staring at the departing group. She knew McGarrett would stand up to her. She thought she was prepared to face him after he ripped into her at Grace’s school. She had truly underestimated Lieutenant Commander Stephen McGarrett.
I had to stop and split this chapter. It was getting way too long. This was a good stopping point.
Chapter 7: Hihia Hopena
What else does Bill Houseman have up his sleeve.
I'm glad people are enjoying this story. I hope you continue to do so.
Thoughts and emphasized words are italisized.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was one o’clock and court was back in session.
Judge Keahi began. “Call your next witnesses Mr. Houseman.”
"I call as my next witness Dr. Kalea Tam the court-appointed child psychologist."
A lovely Hawaiian woman of indeterminate age walked from the back of the courtroom to the witness stand to be sworn in. Bill had assured Danny that Dr. Tam was very good as well as very fair. Her only concern was the welfare of the child, not social standing or wealth of the parents.
Once she was seated Bill strode up to the witness stand ready for questioning. "Dr. Tam, you were asked to speak with Grace Williams recently. Could you tell us why you were asked to speak with Ms. Williams?"
"I was asked to speak with Grace Williams by this court to determine whether or not Detective William’s right to see his daughter should continue. The mother felt that Grace was in danger when she spent time with Detective Williams."
Bill stepped back a pace before posing his next question. "Would you please tell this court your findings Dr. Tam?"
Dr. Tam inclined her head as she spoke. "I found Grace to be a well-adjusted child considering her parent’s divorce and mother’s remarriage. Detective Williams dotes on his daughter. She displays no fear of her father, as a matter of fact she chatted quite animatedly about the time they spend together. Grace looks forward to the time she spends with just him or when they do things with his teammates. She is also very confident in the knowledge that her father loves her, and would do whatever he could to protect her. This is in spite of misleading information given to Grace by Mrs. Edwards. I found no evidence in her behavior or words that would indicate that Detective Williams has ever tried to harm his daughter. On the contrary, he seems to be a loving and devoted father. It is my professional opinion that it would be detrimental to Ms. William’s emotional well-being to keep father and daughter apart indefinitely." Bill asked for clarification. “So, Mrs. Edwards attempt to make Grace think Detective Williams no longer wanted to see her seems to have been negated. She still believes that her father loves her. I’m curious, did Mrs. Edwards effort have any impact on Grace?”
Dr. Tam nodded her head as she answered. “Yes. Mrs. Edwards attempt had the opposite effect of what I believed she intended. Grace does not trust her mother anymore. Her mother lied to her. Something both her mother and father have told her is wrong. Now Grace wonders what else her mother may have lied to her about. Grace told me about the conversation she had with Commander McGarrett who tried to explain why her mother lied to her. He did a remarkable job giving Grace an explanation, of a difficult concept, that made her mother seem human rather than cruel. As a result, Grace understands that her mother wasn’t deliberately trying to hurt her. Nevertheless, in the end Mrs. Edwards did hurt Grace deeply. As I said earlier, the result of the hurt has caused Grace to lose trust in her mother.” Rachel listened to the woman in shock. She did what was best for Grace, why would Grace not trust her anymore? Bill pursed his lips when she finished. "Thank you for that explanation. Moving on, I would like your opinion on something Dr. Tam. The reason behind this custody suit is that Mrs. Edwards believes that it is dangerous for Grace to be around Detective Williams. Not because he is personally a danger to Grace but because he is a police officer, an occupation which is dangerous for him and possibly his family. She also maintains that danger follows him around. Such as the situation at the football game discussed in this courtroom. Which would be more harmful to Grace, having her father taken out of her life while he is still alive, or the possible dangers that his work might present to her?"
Dr. Tam thought about Bill's question a moment or two before responding. "Police work can be dangerous; however, one could be hit by a car when crossing the street. My father died of Pancreatic Cancer. Life is unpredictable and taking Detective Williams, a devoted and loving father, away from his daughter because of what ifs would damage Ms. Williams emotionally. Damage from which she might not recover."
"Thank you Dr. Tam. No more questions Your Honor."
Judge Keahi looked up from his notes. "Thank you Mr. Houseman. Your witness Mr. Blakely."
Blakely stood up. “No questions Your Honor.” He sat back down knowing the case was lost. He knew Dr. Tam’s reputation was one of the best in her field. She had also destroyed Rachel’s argument by simply stating that Grace would be destroyed by losing time with Detective Williams, which outweighed the what ifs of Detective Williams work. It had also become apparent to him that Houseman’s witnesses were better than his and he had been unable to trip up their testimony. Unlike Houseman who had been able to turn Rachel’s testimony against her.
Rachel stared at Blakely in shock while Stan continued to look forward. She couldn’t believe that their lawyer was giving up. He was being paid good money to make sure that Danny would lose his visitation rights. Rachel had refused to believe Commander McGarrett’s and Blakely’s warnings that she had a very slim chance of winning. Couldn’t anyone understand she was trying to protect her daughter from being hurt?
“You may step down Dr. Tam.” Judge Keahi waited until Dr. Tam had returned to her seat. “Do you have any more witnesses Mr. Houseman before I have Grace Williams brought forward?”
Bill stood up before answering. “No Your Honor.”
Judge Keahi looked around the courtroom before he spoke to the bailiff. “Please bring Ms. Williams to my chambers so that I may talk to her in private. Ms. Kahele, would you please join me so that Ms. Williams will feel more comfortable speaking with me?” The bailiff moved to comply with the order.
Ms. Kahele stood up. “I would be glad to Your Honor.”
“Thank you, Ms. Kahele. Court will be in recess for 30 minutes.” He banged his gavel and headed to his chambers followed by Ms. Kahele. Danny looked over at Rachel’s table to see her having a quiet but heated argument with Blakely. Danny looked over his shoulder when he felt a familiar hand land on his shoulder.
Steve smirked and said quietly. “I bet she’s telling him off for not cross-examining Dr. Tam. I get the impression that she refuses to believe that she’s in the wrong and that she can still win full custody.”
Danny looked at his friend, he was still afraid. “You really think that I’ve won this case?”
Bill answered. “You have Danny. It could have gone either way until the judge learned about Mrs. Edward’s lies to Grace. He’s a tough judge to read, but I definitely saw a brief frown form on his face. He definitely did not approve of Mrs. Edward’s actions. I think speaking to Grace is a matter of formality. Personally, I think that the only thing that Judge Keahi will be thinking about tonight is at least an increase in your visitation rights. My opinion is that you will win joint custody, giving you more say over what happens to Grace and more time with her.”
Steve squeezed Danny’s shoulder. “Listen to the man Danny. He’s been doing this for several years now. Besides he would never lie to a client, especially a friend of mine. I’d knock him on his six if he did.” Danny laughed in spite of himself. “I’m going to get you a bottle of water. You try and relax Danny.” Steve headed out of the courtroom leaving room for Danny’s parents to speak with him quietly.
Thirty minutes later, Judge Keahi returned and court was back in session.
“Mr. Houseman, do you have anything further to add?” Judge Keahi asked.
Bill stood up. “I don’t have any witnesses, but I do have a letter that I was asked to give to you which is pertinent to this case.” The judge nodded at the bailiff who moved to take the letter from Bill and give it to the judge.
Judge Keahi read the letter. He looked faintly surprised as he did so. When he was finished he looked at Bill. “Do you have your copy of this letter Mr. Houseman?”
“I do Your Honor.”
“Please read it to the court.” Judge Keahi sat back in his seat so that he could watch the reactions of the plaintiff and defendant.
Bill pulled out his copy and stood up. The letter reads as follows:
To the Honorable Judge presiding over the custody of Grace Williams:
My name is Patricia Morgan. I am the mother of Rachel Edwards, nee Morgan. Unfortunately, due to illness I am unable to speak to you person. Therefore, I wrote this letter and had it notarized. I will be honest with you, Your Honor; I do not like my former son-in-law Daniel Williams. I did not think that he and my daughter were right for each other. Yes, Daniel, I said each other. Rachel was not cut out to be a police officer’s wife, and Daniel is too good at what he does to be forced to change careers. As it turns out I was right. But that is not the matter before this court today. Despite my dislike of Daniel Williams as a son-in-law, I have never been in doubt that he is an excellent father to my granddaughter Grace. I believe my daughter is making a mistake in trying to take Grace away from Daniel, and I told her so, more than once. Therefore, I urge this court to keep Daniel in Grace’s life. A child needs both parents, and Grace, who is definitely a daddy’s girl, needs her father. I hope that I did not shock you too much Daniel. You are a good father. Take good care of my granddaughter for me, please.
A cricket noise maker would have been loud in the shocked silence that greeted the end of the letter. Steve looked at Rachel and wanted to laugh at the ugly scowl on her face.
Judge Keahi spoke into the silence. “Thank you Mr. Housemen. Do either of you gentlemen have anything else to add?”
“No Your Honor.” Answered both lawyers.
“Very well. I would like to hear your closing argument Mr. Blakely.”
Blakely stood up as he addressed the judge. “Thank you Your Honor. The sole concern of my client is the safety and well-being of her daughter. Mrs. Edwards firmly believes because Detective William’s line of work is highly dangerous, it places their daughter in harm’s way. Therefore she maintains that her daughter would be safer if interactions between Grace and Detective Williams are severed, or subject to court approved supervision when father and daughter get together. Thank you Your Honor.” He returned to his seat ignoring the glare he was receiving from Rachel Edwards. She still did not seem to understand that the case was lost, and no amount of money would change that fact. Denial, even the smart ones can be victimized by it. Stan, a good businessman, on the other hand knew that it was over.
Judge Keahi made some notes before turning his attention to Bill. “Please present your closing statement Mr. Houseman.”
Bill stood, straightening his jacket. Thank you Your Honor. I cannot dispute the dangerous nature of Detective William’s work; nor have I tried to do that in this courtroom. The danger inherent to police officers can be directed at an officer’s family, it has happened. I have not contested this fact either. However, I believe I have shown that Grace can face danger from being the step-daughter of a rich man. Commander McGarrett’s testimony demonstrates that extortionists will kidnap family members in order to demand money for their safe return.” Bill paused for a moment to let that statement settle. “So the danger presented by Detective William’s profession is similar to that of people with money. Therefore, Mrs. Edwards’s argument against Detective Williams seems to be moot. I believe that the focus should be on Detective Williams ability as a father, and whether he should remain in his daughter’s life.” Bill paced a few steps before continuing. “I believe that the testimony provided during this case demonstrates that Detective Williams is a devoted and loving father. He will do what it takes to protect and love Grace. Most importantly, it would be detrimental to Grace Williams to take away her father’s visitation rights. In conclusion, I ask that this court rule in Detective William’s favor. Thank you Your Honor.” Bill returned to his seat.
Judge Keahi looked at Detective Williams and Mr. and Mrs. Edwards after completing his notes. “We will recess until tomorrow at 9 AM. I will render my decision then. Court dismissed.” He banged his gavel and left the courtroom as everyone rose.
Danny slumped into his seat with a groan once the judge left the room. He was utterly exhausted. He looked over at Rachel and could see that she and Blakely were having another argument. Stan was staying out of it. Smart man, he thought.
He looked up when Steve put a comforting hand on his back. “How are you holding up Danny?”
Danny’s hands moved in agitation as he spoke. “I think I’m still in shock over the letter from Rachel’s mother. She absolutely hated me when we met. She didn’t hide it either. Now she sends this letter urging the court to let me stay in Grace’s life. I don’t get it.”
Steve patted his back in understanding. “You weren’t the only one shocked. You should have seen Rachel’s face when Bill finished. Wish I’d had a camera.” He snickered.
“Was it that good?” Danny asked, a small smile forming.
Steve laughed. “I think it was a cross between shock and anger. It was ugly. I’ve seen animal butts that were pretty compared to her face.”
Danny choked on air before laughing with everyone else. Once Danny’s laughter subsided to chuckles he said. “Thanks partner. I needed that.”
“Anytime, kaikua’anna, anytime.” Steve replied, still snickering.
I had the judge meet Grace in a separate room. If I remember correctly, this is done to prevent either parent from applying pressure on the child. I wasn’t sure if the lawyers had to be present, but I felt that Grace should have someone there with her. That’s why I picked Julie Kahele, someone Grace knows and has demonstrated that she has Grace’s best interest at heart. If I’m wrong please let me know and if I can I’ll fix it. Thanks for reading.
Chapter 8: Luna Kanawai Ho’oholo
Here it is. The judges decision is upon us.
Thoughts and emphasized words are in italics
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Today was the day that would find out if he still had a future or not. Despite Steve’s and Bill’s assurances, he was still afraid that the judge would rule against him. Therefore, he hadn’t even bothered going to bed the night before knowing he wouldn’t get any sleep. Steve, his crazy best friend/brother, sat up with him while they watched repeats of Yankee games that Danny had taped.
Danny looked over at Rachel’s side of the courtroom and realized that no one was sitting behind her this morning. There had always been a few of Stan and Rachel’s friends sitting in the benches behind them before. Huh, looks like Rachel lost her support group. Maybe I’m going to win after all. He hoped.
At precisely 9:00 AM, Judge Keahi entered the courtroom. Once everyone was settled, he spoke. “Commander McGarrett, would you approach the bench please.”
Steve stood immediately. “Of course, Your Honor.” Once he reached the bench, he and the judge had a quiet conversation. Once it was finished, Steve returned to his seat, face impassive. He did allow a small half-smile to show briefly for Danny only.
Once Steve had resettled in his seat Judge Keahi began looking between Rachel and Danny. “I have presided over many custody hearings in my time on the bench, but I have never encountered one such as this. I have never had a parent sue because the line of work of the other parent is dangerous.” He shuffled some papers as he paused to consider his next words. “At the beginning of this case I had been prepared to give Mrs. Edwards the benefit of the doubt. It was possible that her fears were justified. However, listening to the testimony given in this courtroom, and doing some research into the governor’s task force; I find that this is not the case. While it is true that police work is dangerous, officers work hard to protect their families at all times. Detective Williams, I commend your handling of the incident at the football game. I highly doubt that it was an easy decision for you to leave your daughter in order to perform your duty.”
Danny was shocked but nodded at the judge acknowledging his sentiments.
Judge Keahi turned to Rachel. “You on the other hand, Mrs. Williams, are trying to punish your ex-husband for making a difficult choice, doing the right thing, and for being a cop, maybe all three. I think that Commander McGarrett was onto something when he claimed that you latched onto the danger to your daughter as an excuse to punish Detective Williams for his devotion to your daughter and not you, not because you truly believe he is a danger to your daughter. Your attempt to make your daughter believe that her father doesn’t want to see her anymore is a strong indication of that; it is something that is truly reprehensible in my eyes. It’s very rare that I am disgusted by someone who has been an excellent parent as I was when I heard what you tried to do to your own daughter.”
Rachel ducked her head. It was finally beginning to sink in that she was going to lose and it was all her doing. She had spoken to her mother the evening before and had been thoroughly dressed down by the woman. Nobody could give you a dressing down like her mother could. Rachel made the mistake of telling her mother about her attempt to make Grace think that Danny didn’t want her anymore. Her mother had gone silent and Rachel knew she was in for it. The only time that Patricia Morgan became silent was when she was positively livid it would make her speechless. Rachel remembered her exact words once her mother recovered.
“I don’t think that I have ever been more disappointed or disgusted with you Rachel Morgan-Edwards. How could you lie to your daughter like that? Daniel is a wonderful father and Grace is a very lucky girl to have him. I don’t know what happened to the wonderful young woman that I raised, because she would NEVER do something so despicable. I just can’t talk to you anymore. Don’t bother calling me, I will call you.” Her mother hung up without saying goodbye. Stan had barely spoken to her in the last couple of days except to say he was disappointed in her behavior and wouldn’t blame the judge if he took custody away from her altogether. He may love Grace, but he was not her father, and wouldn’t want to replace Danny. He had just wanted to share because he loved Grace. Even though, he had urged her not to go through with the custody suit, he stood by her until he found out about the lie. He had told her that he should not have supported her custody suit. He had been right; she should have stopped when Blakely had basically told her the case would be difficult to win against Bill Houseman. She had been too stubborn to listen to anyone else. She had been so sure she was right, and that the judge would see things her way. The judge in New Jersey had, that’s why Danny’s visitation rights were so limited. What was she going to lose because of her stubbornness? She refocused on the courtroom.
Judge Keahi continued. “I had a nice talk with Grace yesterday. She is a very bright child, and was a delight to speak with.” Danny perked up with pride hearing those words. “It is unfortunate that this case had to come so far that the only way to resolve it was in court. I had a very difficult decision to make last night. I believe that I have made the right one, one that will benefit Grace Williams the most. Now that I have said my peace, it’s time for me to render my decision.”
Danny and his friends/family crossed their fingers and prayed that Grace would stay in his life.
“Will the plaintiff and defendant please rise.” Danny and Rachel stood as instructed. “Detective Daniel Williams is to be granted sole custody of his daughter Grace Williams.” Danny nearly fell he was so shocked, he did have to lean on the table or his legs might have given out on him. He had not expected that at all. “Rachel Edwards will be allowed supervised visits with Grace Williams until such time that this court is satisfied that Grace Williams trusts her again and that there is no danger of Mrs. Edwards fleeing with her daughter.” Rachel gasped in outrage but was kept silent by Stan. “Before I rendered my decision I wished to be sure that Grace would be welcome in Commander McGarrett’s home on a more permanent basis. Based on his testimony, the testimony of Ms. Kahele, as well as speaking with Grace Williams, I was sure that he would agree.” Danny turned to see Steve smiling widely at him. Danny turned back to the judge as he continued. “Commander McGarrett also assured me that between the members of the task force’s numerous contacts, finding someone to watch Grace while her father is working would not be a problem. Normally the court would provide an escort to help you pick up your daughter‘s things from the Edwards’ home, but I think you have one readymade. Take good care of your daughter Detective Williams. Mrs. Edwards, I suggest you allow your lawyer to handle setting up supervised visits for you and that you get some professional help. You will not like the consequences if I have to step in and make the decision for you. Court dismissed.” Judge Keahi banged his gavel and left the courtroom.
It was over. Danny had won. Before his legs had a chance to give out, he was being hugged by Steve. He returned the hug just as they were joined by Kono and Chin in a group hug.
Danny’s parents smiled at the sight. As much as their son complained about Hawaii, he had found a family and a place where he belonged.
The group hug broke up at the sound of a familiar voice. “Ho’omaika’i to my favorite Haole. I’m glad your little wahine will be staying with you! Next time you come see me little Gracie’s shave ice is on me.” Kamakona said as he slapped Danny on the back, knocking him into Steve.
Chuckling as he righted himself, Danny answered. “Thanks big guy. I owe all of you a thank you. I can’t believe I was given custody of my baby.”
Bill spoke. “I must admit I was a little surprised by the verdict, but I really shouldn’t have been. A good judge wants what is best for the child. We all know that children need to feel secure in their home environment. Grace lost that with her mother, more than once. First, Mrs. Edwards brings Grace to Hawaii, away from you and everything she knows, mostly to get away from you. Second, this whole suit was another attempt to take Grace away from you, her beloved father. Lastly, she told Grace you didn’t want to see her anymore, a blatant lie. I believe it was the last thing that pushed Grace into losing trust in her mother, but I’m no child psychologist. I had expected that you would receive true joint custody of Grace. This will be good for both you and Grace, challenging, but good.”
Bill was interrupted by a puffy eyed Rachel. “I suppose your happy now Daniel? You have custody of our daughter now, at least until you get her hurt or killed.”
Danny finally lost it, hands chopping the air angrily. “I’m happy that I’ll get to see my daughter more than the few hours a month that I had been allowed. However, I’m not happy about having to go through this whole custody suit, again!” He pointed his finger at her nose. “You have absolutely no right to be bitter or angry about the judge’s decision. You brought it all on yourself. Steve was right, wasn’t he? You were angry that I was willing to leave Jersey for Grace but wouldn’t change careers for you?”
“You said you loved me, but when I begged you to find work that wasn’t dangerous, you refused.” Rachel fumed, her true motivation coming out.
Danny shook his head. “You didn’t beg Rachel, you demanded. If you really loved me, you would have accepted me for who I am, not what you thought I should be.” Danny sighed. “I really don’t want to talk to you anymore. I think it would be best if all communication is done through our lawyers in the future. I don’t want to hurt Grace anymore than she has been or will be by this change.”
Rachel opened her mouth to speak when Steve stepped in front of Danny, blocking her view with his back. “Ready to go get Gracie’s stuff? I think we have enough people here to pack and move her stuff, though we will need some boxes. We can then pick up Grace after school.”
Danny smirked at Steve knowing he was pissing Rachel off, she hated to be ignored. “Sounds like a plan partner. We should probably stop at home and changed. I don’t think any of us want to be packing and moving in our suits.”
Steve chuckled. “I don’t know, we might fit into that neighborhood better dressed like this.”
Danny looked at his parents. “See what I have to put up with? I told you, he’s crazy.” The group laughed.
Stan walked up to them. “Danny…Detective Williams. I’m truly sorry about putting you through this. I tried to talk her out of it, and when that didn’t work; I hoped that hearing the testimony would change her mind.” Stan’s shoulders slumped. “I should have just refused to help her. I never thought Rachel would go so far as to lie to Grace. I truly love Grace, but I know that I could never take your place. I’ll be waiting to let you into the house so that you can pack up Grace’s things.” He started to turn away before turning back. “I hope that you will allow me to see Grace from time to time. You set the conditions. Just think about it, please.” With that Stan took Rachel’s arm and steered her out of the courtroom as she protested the whole way.
Danny stared after Stan for a minute. “I never expected that!” Danny turned to Bill holding out his hand. “Thank you Bill. I don’t know if I could have won this without your help.”
Bill smiled shaking Danny’s hand. “It was my pleasure Danny. I told you when we first met, I like helping good people. I’ll let you know what I work out with Blakely, regarding Rachel’s supervised visits. Just to let you know, I’m going to recommend that we use a social worker, or a counselor. I’ll see if Judge Keahi has any recommendations in the finalized paperwork. In the meantime, I think you should go pack up Grace’s stuff at the Edward’s and pick her up from school. This will be a difficult conversation for her. You may want to consider having Ms. Kahele help you. At the very least you should set up some appointments for Grace with her. Ms. Kahele should be able to help Grace adjust to the new arrangement.”
“I will definitely set up some appointments with Ms. Kahele, I liked her and I believe that Grace trusts her. So I’m sure she can help. I’ll think about her being part of the conversation I’ll need to have with Grace today. Thanks again Bill.” Danny turned to his friends and family. “Let’s get this show on the road. I would like to get Grace settled as soon as we can.” The group headed out of the courtroom talking animatedly.
Should I be bad and say this is it? No, I won’t do that. If you see any mistakes please let me know politely since this is not betaed, I could very easily miss something.
Luna Kanawai: Judge
Chapter 9: Hopena A Loli
Grace is informed of the court's decision.
Thoughts, phone calls and emphasized words are in italics.
Thanks for the kudos, comments and reading. I'm happy you're all enjoying this. :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Danny and Steve were standing in Grace’s room at Steve’s house. The boxes of Grace’s stuff they had picked up at Stan’s house were stacked neatly along the wall. Mr. Hoppy and his indoor cage had been set up in the guest room for now. Looking around Danny realized that they wouldn’t be able to put all of her stuff in the room since she already had stuff that Steve had insisted on buying her. He wanted her to feel at home he said. Grace smiled brilliantly while hugging him when he told her that little tidbit. He smiled slightly thinking of his folks making supper in Steve’s kitchen. Cooking was his mother’s way of helping and coping at the same time.
Danny’s phone interrupted his train of thought. It was Bill, he put it on speaker. “Bill, what’s up? Is there a problem?”
Bill answered reassuringly. “No, no problems Danny. Just wanted to let you know that the custody paperwork is complete and copies have been sent to Grace’s school. This will keep Rachel from being able to pick Grace up today. I think that Judge Keahi was concerned that Rachel may grab Grace and either run or try and mislead Grace about the situation again.”
Danny closed his eyes and sighed. “I understand. Steve and I will be heading there shortly to pick Grace up and talk to her. I’ll give Ms. Kahele a call so she will be expecting us.”
“Very good idea Danny. Good luck Danny. I have to go, there’s some more paperwork that needs to be taken care of, but I thought you should know about what the court did.”
“Thank you Bill, for everything.”
“You don’t have to thank me again Danny. I wanted to help. Now go pick up your daughter.”
Danny hung up with Bill then slammed his fist onto Grace’s night stand. Damn Rachel and her schemes. Even though he had wanted to see more of his Grace, he hated the circumstances. This would hurt Grace, again. He hated seeing his little girl hurt.
Steve gently placed a hand on Danny’s shoulder in silent support. He just couldn’t imagine what his friend was going through. He knew what it was like to be the child who lost a parent, no in a way he lost both parents when his mother was killed. His father had shipped him and Mary off to family instead of trying to support them in their grief. He would do whatever he could to help both Grace and Danny.
Danny looked up at Steve. “Thanks Steve. I don’t know if I could have gotten through any of this if it weren’t for you.” “You don’t have to thank me Danny. You’re my friend, and the brother I never had. You know I would do just about anything for my ohana. Besides, I couldn’t sit back and let Grace lose her Danno. Not like I lost my mom and then my dad when he shipped Mary and me to the mainland.” Steve turned away.
Danny placed his hand over Steve’s on his shoulder keeping Steve from pulling away completely, but didn’t say anything. He didn’t know what to say. He had been so caught up in his fears of losing Grace that he didn’t think about how this whole thing might affect someone who had lost as much as Steve had.
“I think it’s time we picked up Grace, don’t you?” Danny changed the subject knowing Steve probably felt uncomfortable. The man did not talk about his feelings often, but when he did, it always blew Danny away.
Steve smiled squeezing Danny’s shoulder, recognizing what the other man just did. “I think that’s an excellent idea.” The two men headed down the stairs to be met by Danny’s parents.
Mrs. Williams spoke. “Danny, could we talk to you for a moment before you leave?”
“Sure Ma what do you need?”
She looked a little uncomfortably at Steve. He got the hint. “I’ll be out on the lanai when you’re done Danny.”
Danny watched Steve leave than turned to his mother with a frown. “What’s so important that you couldn’t talk in front of Steve?” Mrs. Williams looked down for a moment before returning her gaze to Danny. “I appreciate all that he’s done for you Danny but this is a family matter.”
Danny interrupted her. “Steve is family Ma. He may not be my blood but he’s my brother in all the ways that truly count.” Danny pinched the bridge of his nose reigning in his ire. The last week he’d been tied as tight as a drum. “Okay, just tell me what this is about so I can pick up Grace.”
“Well, your father and I are wondering when you and Grace will be moving back home?”
Danny dropped his hand to stare at his parents blankly. There was an instant where he wanted to say tomorrow. The thought was squashed when he saw Steve standing on the lanai staring at the ocean. Although he missed his parents, siblings and living in New Jersey, he had found a home and family here in Hawaii. He also had to think about Grace. Her life was going to be turned upside-down as it is, he couldn’t take her away from her friends and family here, not again. It wouldn’t be right; he wasn’t Rachel who only thought of her own needs.
Danny looked at his parents. “I’m not going to be moving to New Jersey Ma. For better or worse Hawaii is mine and Grace’s home now.”
His mother interrupted. “But Danny, your family is back in New Jersey. We can help you raise Grace. I’m sure that you could get a job at your old precinct. They still think very highly of you there.”
Danny sighed placing his hands on his mother’s shoulders. “I have a good job here that I like and am good at. I work with a great team, and have the best partner I have ever had. I have also found a second family with my teammates in the task force. Besides, Grace is going to have her life turned upside down again in less than a year, thanks to Rachel. I think that taking her away from the friends and family that she has finally made here would just hurt and confuse her more. She needs as much stability as I can give her, and moving back to New Jersey would not give that to her. It’s going to be difficult enough dealing with the custody change. She loves her mother, and I won’t take that away from Grace despite what Rachel has done.”
“But who will watch Grace while you are at work? You don’t know anyone outside of the task force.” His mother pressed.
“I know all the people I need to know. Steve, Chin and Kono were born and raised here. Chin and Kono belong to a huge family, bigger than ours Ma. I know that there is either someone in that group of people who could help or knows someone who can.”
“But Danny, those people are strangers!”
Danny cut his mother off. “Ma, stop. They are not strangers to me. Please accept that I’m not moving back to Jersey. Do I miss you and Dad? Do I miss Jersey? Yes to both. But I need to do what’s best for Grace, and staying here is what’s best. Besides, I trust Chin and Kono, they are family. Family is a big thing here in Hawaii, just like it is for us Italians. Someone amongst their numerous relatives can help no doubts.”
Danny pointed at Steve. “Do you realize that the main reason that I still have Grace in my life is that man standing out on his lanai? Steve put me in contact with my lawyer Bill, who is one of the best family lawyers on the island. They’re old friends. Bill turned down Rachel and Stan once he found out I would be the defendant, simply because Steve is my friend. So instead of making lots of money by working for Stan and Rachel, he took me as his client charging me at cost. He would have done it pro bono, but I won’t accept charity. What's more, I’m living in a nice home instead of the dump I was living in because Steve is a generous friend. To me and Grace, Steve is as much family as you two, my brother Mattie and my sisters.” He wiped the tears out of her eyes and smiled slightly. “Grace and I will visit this summer. I know Steve will give me the time off. I might ask him to come with us, show him a little Jersey hospitality.”
His mother sniffed and laughed. She hugged Danny. “I’m sorry, you’re right. It wouldn’t be right to uproot Grace again. I just miss the both of you.”
“I know Ma. I miss you too.” Danny pulled back to look at his parents. “I bet that Chin and Betty can help us to set something up so that we can see each other when we talk. I’ve heard about it but wouldn’t know the first thing about how to set it up, but Chin would, he’s our tech expert in Five-0. And you know what a wiz Betty is with a computer.”
Both parents smiled at that. “That sounds like a great idea Danny.” Mr. Williams said as his wife pulled out of her son’s arms. “You should probably go pick up Grace. You have a difficult conversation ahead of you. Your mother is making lasagna for supper. I think we will all need some comfort food.”
Danny smiled back. “I can’t wait to have some of your lasagna Ma. I’ve told Steve about it many times. Now he’ll get a chance to try it. Let me get my partner and we’ll go get Grace.” Danny headed for the lanai. He pulled the sliding door open.
Meanwhile Steve phoned the governor. Once he was connected he spoke. “Good afternoon Governor.”
“Good afternoon Steve. I take it that the judge has made his ruling?”
“He did. Danny was awarded full custody of Grace.”
She sucked in a breath. “Well, that was unexpected. I had thought that they might get joint custody.”
Steve chuckled. “It was a surprise for all of us. Both Bill and I thought like you, that Danny would be awarded joint custody. I’m glad for Danny, but this will be hard for Grace.”
“Well, it sounds like you will need some more time Steve. Take it. I think you’re right and that Grace will need some time to adjust to the change. In addition, Danny will need time to find suitable care for Grace while he’s working. I think that between you, and your other teammates you should find something that will work. If not, call me and I’ll see what I can do for you.”
Steve sighed gratefully. “Thank you Governor. We appreciate it. I’ll let you know when we are ready to get back to work.”
“I know you will Steve. Take care of Danny and Grace. Keep me posted.”
“Of course.” Steve hung up just as the sliding door opened up behind him. Steve turned around at the noise.
Danny asked. “Ready to go get Grace, partner?”
Steve headed towards Danny as he spoke. “Yeah, let’s go. Everything okay Danny?”
“Yeah. Everything’s fine. I’ll tell you about it on the way.” Steve nodded and followed Danny to the front door.
“Good luck boys.” Mr. Williams called after them.
“Thanks Dad.” Danny answered.
Once the two men were on the road, Steve asked. “So are you going to tell me what happened with your folks?”
Danny sighed. He knew this would upset Steve, but he refused to lie to him. “Ma wanted to know when Grace and I would be moving back to New Jersey so we would be closer to family.” Danny watched Steve stiffen and his face smooth out becoming expressionless. “I told her that we weren’t moving.”
Steve’s expression changed to shock. “Why not Danny? I thought you would jump at the chance to move back to New Jersey.”
Danny sighed. “I have several reasons. Like it or not, Hawaii is my home now.” Steve snorted causing Danny to mock glare at him. “More importantly to me is that this is Grace’s home. Grace and I do have family here. The most important reason though is that this is what’s best for Grace. She has already been uprooted once in the last year and has just really begun to settle down, making new friends and finding a second family. Thanks to you. It’s going to be hard enough dealing with the change in custody; I’m not going to add the trauma of moving on top of it.”
Steve patted Danny’s arm. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’re a good father Danny. I’m glad you’re staying, I’m just sorry the circumstances are lousy.”
Danny nodded as Steve pulled up in front of the school. “Me too, partner, me too. Let’s get this over with.” Danny got out of the car, Steve came around and the two headed into the school. Danny stopped and turned to Steve at the top of the steps. “Would you mind sitting with Grace and I while I tell her about the decision? I think we’ll need the support.”
“Of course I will Danny. Whatever you need Danny, you know that. By the way, the Governor has given us some more time off. This will allow us to get Grace settled and find someone to watch her.”
“Thanks.” Danny managed to choke out. They continued into the building. Before Danny had a chance to talk to Grace, he had to speak with the Assistant Principal about the change in custody and what it could mean for Grace. He was informed that Rachel and Stan are now barred from picking up Grace. They went over the approved list, making sure that none of Stan and Rachel’s friends were on it. Once that was done they were led to Ms. Kahele’s office where the partner’s waited for Grace.
The door opened a few minutes later to reveal Grace. “Danno!” She ran into her father’s waiting arms hugging him tight. “Uncle Steve!” She moved to Steve, giving him the same treatment. She moved back and looked closely at their faces. Though they were smiling, there was tension. “What’s wrong Daddy?”
Danny smiled in spite of himself, his daughter was so perceptive. He opened his arms and Grace hopped into his lap. “Grace, you know how we talked about your mom and me going to court?”
Grace nodded fearfully. “You said it was because you and Mom couldn’t agree on how much I get to see you. I had to talk to that Doctor and the judge, tell them what I thought about you and Mom.”
Danny nodded, stroking her head. “That’s right Monkey. Since your mom and I couldn’t agree, we had to have a judge make the decision for us.”
“How does he do that Daddy?” She had forgotten to ask when Danny originally told her about going to court.
Danny looked at Steve for help. He just couldn’t talk about being in court yet. Steve answered Grace. “Well, the judge has to figure out what will be best for you. First he needs to know why your parents can’t agree on who you live with and how much the other parent gets to see you. Then, the judge needs to know something about your parents and you. So your mom and dad brought people to court that knew them and the judge could ask questions. Usually the questions are asked by lawyers, but the judge can ask too.”
“People like you Uncle Steve?”
Steve smiled slightly gently tugging a pigtail before taking her hand in his and holding it. “That’s right Gracie. I talked to the judge. So did Miss Amy, your dad’s old partner and your old babysitter. They flew from New Jersey just to talk about your dad, just like you did, except we did it in the courtroom. I hope that talking to the judge wasn’t too scary for you?”
Grace shook her head. “No, he was really nice. He asked me what I did when I spent time with Danno and when I was with Mom. He asked me about you and Uncle Chin and Aunt Kono. Things like that. He wanted to know if I would like to spend more time with Danno.”
Steve smiled some more. “I bet the answer was yes.” Grace nodded vigorously. Danny smiled and Steve chuckled. “The judge takes notes on what people say. Both your Mom and Dad had to speak to the judge too. So after he hears everything we have to say he looks over the information he has and makes a decision that he feels is the best one for you.”
Grace looked at Danny. “Did the judge make a decision?”
Danny nodded. “He did. Judge Keahi decided that you should live with me full time.”
Grace’s face scrunched up. “What about Mommy?”
Danny answered solemnly. “You’ll get to see your mom. Your Mom’s lawyer and my lawyer will work out how often you get to see her. Seeing your mom will be different than it was when we got together. The judge decided that you and your mom should have someone with you when you get together until you learn to trust your mom again.” There was no way Danny was going to tell Grace that the judge was afraid that Rachel would take Grace and run.
It was too much for Grace. She leaned into her Danno and started crying, while she also squeezed Steve’s hand. He pulled her close and held her tight. Steve moved his chair closer and put his free hand on Grace’s back and rubbed in soothing circles. Eventually she calmed down. She wiped her face and blew her nose using the tissues that Steve handed her. Then she looked at Steve asking. “Will we be living with you, Uncle Steve?”
Steve smiled at her. “Yes. You already have a room. We picked up some of your stuff and you can decide where you want it to go. Though we’re going to need to get some shelves, I think. One set for your books, and big one for all of your DVDs.” He tickled her side lightly which brought out a weak smile.
“What about Mr. Hoppy? Step-Stan gave him to me. Will he keep him because I’m not living with him anymore?”
Danny answered that one. “We have Mr. Hoppy too. Step-Stan gave him to you; he would never take Mr. Hoppy away from you. Step-Stan loves you, Grace and would still like to see you. I think that we can arrange something. Meanwhile, Mr. Hoppy will have to stay in his smaller cage until we can build him something in Steve’s back yard.”
Grace looked at Steve. “Are you okay with having Mr. Hoppy, Uncle Steve?”
Steve allowed his smile to grow. “Of course I am Leia. I even know the perfect place to build him a home.”
“Where will you put his new home? What does Leia mean?” Asked Grace.
“We can build it under the lanai. There is room to make him a big home. He will have light, but be kept cool in its shade. It will also protect him from the weather. Leia can mean heavenly flowers or child of heaven. The name Leia reminds me of you and your name Grace. Is it alright if I call you that?”
Grace nodded shyly. “I like it. What is the Hawaiian word for uncle?”
“’Anakala is uncle. ‘Anake is aunt. You already have a name for Danno.”
Grace smiled a little. “Thank you ‘Anakala Steve. Can we go home now Danno?”
Danny stood up putting Grace down, taking her hand. “We sure can Monkey. Grandma and Grandpa are waiting for us.”
“Is Grandma making lasagna?” Grace asked walking between the two men holding their hands.
“She sure is. She knows it’s one of your favorites. And now Uncle Steve gets to taste some real Italian food.”
Grace smiled up at Steve. “Grandma’s lasagna is the best.”
Steve squeezed her hand smiling. “I’m looking forward to it Grace. I love lasagna. I wonder if it will be as good as what I had when I was in Italy.”
“You were in Italy ‘Anakala Steve?” Grace looked back up at Steve curiously.
“Yep. I was there for a few days before going on a new mission when I was still in the SEALs. My team and I stayed just outside of Florence. It was beautiful. One of the guys with us spoke Italian, better than I do. His grandparents had come to America from Italy when his father was a just a little bit older than you. So the whole family speaks Italian and English.” They reached the car and Steve paused his story until they were all settled and on the way home. “His name was Pete, he was a good man. Because he spoke the language he was able to get us some good rooms for a really good price and find out the best places to eat. We had lasagna at this little out of the way restaurant. It was small, cozy; we might call it a mom and pop place here. The food was amazing.”
“Wow. Where did you go after Italy?”
“I’m sorry but I can’t tell you where we went after Italy Grace. All I can tell you is that we were going after some very bad men.”
“That’s okay. I understand. I don’t want you to break a promise ‘Anakala Steve.” Danny and Steve had told her that Steve’s work in the SEALs was considered secret and he would be breaking a promise to talk about it.
Grace peppered Steve with questions about his stay in Italy for the remainder of the drive home.
In a real court case the judge would probably given joint custody, not sure. For my purposes I wanted Danny to gain full custody. It works well for the rest of this series.
Well, one more chapter and this story is finished.
Chapter 10: Hou Ho’omaka
Danny has custody, what changes does that bring to the Five-0 ohana?
Thoughts and emphasized words are in italics.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Danny sat out on the lanai thinking as he drank his morning coffee. The last few days had been hectic, emotional and tiring. He had been glad that his parents had been here to help. Grace’s room was now set up just the way she wanted it. She had been able to include some of the things that had been at Rachel’s. However, there wasn’t enough room for everything; Steve didn’t own a mansion, so she had to store some of her things. Danny would have liked to get rid of some of the stuff, but knew that the time wasn’t right. Grace was being forced to go through enough changes; she didn’t need to be asked to choose which things she could keep and which she should give away. Steve understood and helped make room in the garage for some of Grace’s things.
Stan had let Danny know that the tuition for Sacred Heart was paid for the year and he would not be looking for a refund. Grace was welcome to finish the school year with her class. Danny wanted to refuse, but swallowed his pride. It would be better for Grace to stay in the same school for the time being. Stan also offered to continue to pay for Grace’s schooling now, and Danny could save for college. Danny would have to seriously think about it. Danny had finally realized that Stan genuinely cared about Grace and wasn’t trying to show off. Rachel had been the one to hold Stan’s wealth over Danny’s head, not Stan.
Mr. Hoppy had a very nice two-level home under Steve’s lanai. Kamakona had procured the wood and rabbit friendly screens for the rabbit’s house. Steve, Chin and his dad had put it together. Kono had found a place to get carpet remnants for the ramps inside the home. Steve had fixed a small section of the cage to fit a litter box. Grace would be able to slide a door shut keeping Mr. Hoppy from getting out, and then open the side so that she could change the litter. Danny had laughed when Steve did this, thinking his friend had finally gone around the bend. Steve said that rabbits can learn to use a litter box when inside, than Mr. Hoppy can learn to use the litter box here too. And damn it, Steve had been right; Mr. Hoppy quickly learned to use the litter box.
So far Grace had been sleeping well. She had a couple of nightmares about losing Danny and Rachel. Danny was sure that she would have more. He was grateful for the support he had been getting from Steve, Chin, Kono and his folks. They had helped keep Grace busy when she wasn’t in school. His parents had returned to New Jersey the day before. His father had to get back to work. Danny laughed to himself. His mother had not been pleased when she found out that dad had become an inspector instead of just retiring. Danny figured his dad would work until he dropped. At least he wasn’t fighting fires anymore, which had been the only good thing as far as his mother was concerned.
He noticed Steve making his way back into shore from his morning swim. Here was the reason he was even up this early in the morning. He needed to talk to Steve about Grace, but didn’t want Grace to overhear the conversation. She was still asleep; it had been a rough night, she had been upset at her grandparents leaving.
“Hey partner. What are you doing up so early?” Steve asked as he grabbed his towel briskly rubbing on his chest and back.
Danny smiled wanly. “I need to talk to you before Grace gets up.”
Steve sat in the chair next to Danny’s looking concerned wrapping the towel around his neck. “Sure, what’s up? Is there something wrong?”
Danny sighed, running his free hand through his hair. “No, nothing’s wrong Steve. I just…I have something important to ask you.”
“What do you need Danny?”
“Bill suggested that I should pick a guardian for Grace if something should happen to me. At this time, I don’t want her to automatically go to Rachel. I was hoping you would be willing to raise Grace if something happened to me?” Danny watched Steve’s face as the talked. He would have laughed if the subject wasn’t so serious; he’d never seen Steve do an impression of a fish.
Steve sucked in a deep breath. He hadn’t been expecting that. “I would be honored Danny. What about one of your sisters? Won’t they be upset if you don’t ask one of them?”
Danny nodded, knowing that Steve would ask. “There is another reason for asking you. I can name you to stand In Loco Parentis in case I’m in the hospital. You’re already my emergency contact and listed as next of kin. This will allow you to make decisions for both Grace and me if the situation arises.” He raises his hand halting Steve. “Ah, we both know in our line of work it’s a possibility. My sisters live too far away to be readily available in an emergency. With you, I know that Grace will be cared for and protected if I’m gone or temporarily incapacitated. Besides, you can stand up to Rachel better than any of my sisters can. My sisters can be scary; you, my friend, are down-right terrifying when you want to be. You also have the contacts to make Rachel’s life misery if she tries anything else.”
Steve smirked. “As long as it’s what Grace wants, than I would be happy to be her guardian.”
Danny smiled relieved. “I’ll talk to her about it in a few days. I don’t want to overwhelm her. One last thing I want you to know. If the worst does happen, I will also have paperwork signed allowing you to adopt her if you choose. You would be a great second father for her.”
Steve ducked his head. “I don’t know about that Danny. My dad was a good man, but not the best father. I’m not that good with kids…”
“Stop, just stop.” Steve looked up at Danny in surprise watching him run a hand down his face. “I’m sorry I said you weren’t good with kids now. I didn’t know you well enough then to make such a harsh statement. You forget, I’ve seen you with Grace. You were there for her when the school called. She told me what you said, and it was the right thing to tell her. I know that you love my daughter, more importantly, so does Grace.”
“But how? I’ve never told her how I feel. I’m not good at saying what I feel, you know that.” Steve interrupted.
Danny smiled. “No, you’re not good at saying what you feel, what you think, absolutely no problem there. However, you don’t have to say the words; they would be nice but aren’t necessary. Grace can tell by the things you do and how you act. Let me tell you about a conversation I had with my brilliant daughter before this mess with Rachel happened. We had spent a great weekend here and I was taking her back to Rachel’s….”
Danny glanced at Grace. “What’s up Monkey?”
“Why does Uncle Steve have trouble telling people that he loves them?” She asked curiously.
Danny nearly choked on air. “What makes you say that Monkey?”
Grace tilted her head before answering. “Well, his actions tell me he loves me. I can see it in his eyes and his smile. He listens to me like you do. He sat on the floor and had tea with me and my dolls and acted like it was normal. My friend Lili’s father won’t play tea party with her and he’s her dad. He hugs me for no reason, ruffles my hair, and he’s kissed me on the head. I don’t think he knew that I felt it. That’s how I know that he loves me, even if he’s never said the words.”
Danny smiled proudly at his daughter. “You’re right, he does love you, and I’m proud that you figured it out for yourself. I’m not sure of the reasons Uncle Steve has a hard time saying what he feels. Although I do believe that Uncle Steve was hurt very badly when he was younger so he tries to hide his emotions, he’s afraid of getting hurt again.”
“But I would never hurt Uncle Steve.” Grace interrupted upset.
“I know that Grace. Believe it or not, so does Uncle Steve. By now, he’s kinda set in his ways and it’s hard to change. There’s one other thing that made Uncle Steve unable to say what he feels. You know that he joined the Navy, and became a SEAL. When a SEAL goes on a mission, they can’t let their emotions get in the way so they learn to tuck them away until it becomes a habit. Some have a hard time taking their emotions back out after they come home. When I first met Uncle Steve, I thought he was unable to relate to the human race. Do you remember me telling you that Grace?”
Grace thought about it and replied. “I think so. You said that your new partner was like a robot, cold and hard.”
Danny grinned wryly. “Well, even your dad can be wrong, sometimes. At that point I had only seen him at work. Once we started hanging out after work, I began to see the good, caring man who hides behind the walls he built around his heart. He became so used to not showing emotion, that he still has a hard time doing it now. Do you understand what I’m saying Grace?”
“I think so. It’s like you told me that actions can speak louder than words. Uncle Steve’s actions speak for him.”
Steve stared at Danny completely floored by Grace’s observations. He looked down overcome by emotion. He cleared his throat. “You’ve raised a remarkable girl Danno.”
Danny smiled hearing the emotion in Steve’s voice. Time to change the subject Danny thought. “Thank you. Speaking of Grace, she should be getting up soon. Why don’t you take your shower and I’ll get breakfast ready.”
“Sounds like a plan partner.” Steve stood up smiling at Danny. “We have to meet Kono’s cousin today about Grace staying with her while we’re working.” He put a hand on Danny’s shoulder. “I think that this will work out. I’ve done some discrete checking and Noelani’s day care has a very good reputation.”
Danny scoffed using his hands to emphasize his point. “You, be discrete? I just can’t see it. That means everybody knows that you’ve been asking about Noelani, including Kono.”
Steve chuckled as he headed into the house followed by Danny. “Danny, Kono expected me to check around, so did Noelani. All perspective parents do, and since you were spending time with your folks and Grace, I did it for you. Now, I’m getting hungry so why don’t you get started on breakfast?” He headed up to his bedroom before Danny could find his voice.
“Jerk.” Danny called after Steve shaking his head. He could hear Steve’s laughter fading away.
Steve had taken his shower and was headed downstairs. He met Grace who was walking out of her room. “Good morning, Leia. Howzit?”
Grace smiled taking the hand that he held out to her. “I’m good ‘Anakala Steve. What are we doing today?”
“Well, we are going to meet Noelani Kalakaua. Danno told you about the small day care she runs close to your school. She’s also one of ‘Anake Kono’s cousins.”
Grace looked up at Steve with sad eyes. “Will I like it there? I wish I could stay with you and Danno.”
Steve squatted so Grace wouldn’t have to look up at him. “One of the reasons we’re going today is so that you can see what it will be like. Danno and I wish you could stay with us too. Unfortunately, if we don’t work who will help ‘Anakala Chin and ‘Anake Kono put the bad guys away? Well, Danno would say that his job is to keep me from getting into trouble.” Grace smiled. Danny had told her that more than once. “I think you’ll like it with Mrs. Kalakaua. I talked with some other parents whose children go there, and their children like it.”
“Will there be a lot of children there?”
“Not too many. I was told that Mrs. Kalakaua watches no more than 8 children. According to ‘Anake Kono, Mrs. Kalakaua keeps her day care small so that it is more like a large family instead of a small school.” Steve reassured Grace.
Grace knew that Steve wouldn’t lie to her. “Okay ‘Anakala Steve. I would like to make some more friends.”
“That a girl. You’re just like your dad, koa. Koa means brave. Now, I think we should head downstairs because I’m certain Danny has breakfast ready for us.” As he stood up, he kissed Grace on the forehead and smiled at her surprised expression. He might not be ready to say the words, but he could show her more openly how he felt.
The duo found Danny making blueberry pancakes, Danny and Grace’s favorite. “Danno!” Grace let go of Steve run to Danny and hug him.
Danny returned the hug one handed, he was holding the spatula in his other hand. “Morning Monkey. I hope you’re hungry because I felt like making pancakes this morning.”
Grace nodded vigorously, making the two men laugh.
Steve headed for the fridge. “What would you like to drink Leia?”
“Pineapple juice please.”
“One pineapple juice coming up. I’ve got some fresh mangos. Would you like some?” Steve pulled out the juice and a mango.
“I’d love some mango. Can I help?” Grace asked Steve.
“Have you ever pealed, and then cut a mango before?” Grace shook her head. “I’ll show you. You’ll find the peeler in the drawer right behind you.” Steve pointed to the aforementioned drawer.
Grace looked for the peeler while Steve got a couple of bowls and the cutting board. He also pulled a small stool out of the pantry so Grace could reach the counter. Grace found the peeler after Danny pointed it out to her and joined Steve.
Steve pointed at the stool. “Up you get. This is how my mom taught me to prepare a mango.”
Danny smiled watching them together. Grace was listening and following Steve’s directions carefully. He didn’t worry about Grace handling a knife with Steve. The man knew how to handle a knife, and not just how to kill someone with it. So he went back to his pancakes.
The mangos were done and Grace asked. “’Anakala Steve, why did you have me put the peels in this bowl instead of the trash can with the seed?”
“Grab the bowl and I’ll show you.” Grace grabbed the bowl, hopped off the stool and took Steve’s hand. “We’ll be right back Danny.” Steve took Grace out to Mr. Hoppy’s home. “While I was researching designs for Mr. Hoppy’s home I printed out a list of foods that are safe to feed a rabbit. Rabbits can have some fruit, no more than a tablespoon a day. Mango is one of the allowed fruits. I wanted to see if Mr. Hoppy would eat the peels instead of throwing them away. What he doesn’t eat can be put out for the birds.”
Grace dragged a chuckling Steve to the food door. He bent down so he wouldn’t hit his head on the lanai. Grace let Steve go to open the door and put a few peels in the food dish before closing it. “I have a treat for you Mr. Hoppy. I hope you like it.” Mr. Hoppy came right over and started eating. “Cool, he likes it. Thank you ‘Anakala Steve.” Grace leaned into Steve while watching her bunny eat.
“You’re welcome Leia. We can go over the list later so that you know what things that Mr. Hoppy can and can’t eat. For now we should toss out the rest of the peels and go back in. I bet the pancakes are ready and waiting.” He pointed to a good spot for the peels. He ruffled her hair as she moved off to take care of the peels.
Once the peels were tossed, Grace ran back inside to tell Danny about Mr. Hoppy’s new treat.
Breakfast was quickly consumed and the kitchen cleaned up. Danny had Grace pack her backpack with a couple of toys and books so she would have something to do just in case.
Meanwhile Steve called Noelani to let her know they were on the way.
Steve parked in front of a very nice home. It had a spacious front yard. They could see some of the back yard and it had a small jungle gym, sand box and other assorted toys. Kono’s little red compact pulled in behind the Camaro as they were climbing out.
Grace hurried over to Kono hugging her. “Good morning Grace. I thought I would introduce you to my cousin personally.”
“What’s she like ‘Anake Kono?
Kono smiled as she led Grace to the house. “Lani is very nice. She loves taking care of children. I know you’ll like her. She watched me when I was your age.”
“Absolutely. I had lots of fun with the other children she was watching over.”
The front door was opened by a smiling older woman. “Kono! It’s good to see you.” She hugged Kono. Before smiling at Grace. “Now you must be Grace Williams. I am Noelani Kalakaua. You may call me Lani. All the children do.”
“It’s nice to meet you Lani. This is Danno and he is ‘Anakala Steve.” Grace remembered her manners.
Lani smiled at the men. “Welcome to my home Detective Williams, Commander McGarrett.” She shook their hands. “Please call me Lani.”
“Pleasure. Call me Danny.”
“Call me Steve please. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Come in, please.” Once they were inside, Lani lead them to the kitchen. “Let me show you around, as I tell you about how the children generally spend their day, then we can talk.”
Once the tour was over Lani spoke to Kono and Grace. “Kono, how about you and Grace go out back so she can play with the other children while I talk to her father?”
“Sure Lani. Come on Grace, I recognize two of my other cousins. I think you’ll like them.” Kono led Grace out the back door.
“Can I offer you gentlemen anything to drink?” Lani asked.
“No thank you Lani.” Both men answered.
Lani nodded in acknowledgement before speaking. “Kono let me know that you have recently gained full custody of your daughter and need to have someone watch her while you’re working. Normally, I only watch children from my family or people that I know personally. Kono speaks very highly of both of you, and considers you part of her family. For that reason, I would be happy to watch your daughter Danny.”
Danny liked this woman. “You’re very direct, I like that. Kono also speaks highly of you. Not to forget this one did some checking of his own, because he’s aware that this is hard for me.” Danny looked down at the table.
Smiling, Lani reassured Danny. “I know Steve did some checking. I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t. His father would have done the same thing.” She placed her hand on Danny’s arm. “Danny, this is a big decision for you, I don’t need an answer today.”
Danny looked up. “Thank you. Let’s talk about the cost.”
“Of course.” Lani laid out the costs depending on when school was in session and when the children were on vacation. She also discussed the costs of Grace staying in the evenings or on the weekend, explaining that most of the children’s parents were either police officers, firemen, or rescue. So she provides the extended services for them.
“Why do you charge less for a Saturday or Sunday than a weekday? I would think that the cost would be more since it’s the weekend.”
Lani smiled. “Simple. People like yourselves are providing protection for people like me and this is how I repay you. Since you are essentially a single father, I will also be available if Grace needs to spend the night in an emergency.”
Danny was overwhelmed. He had not expected this type of help. He cleared his throat. “Thank you. I didn’t know anyone who would offer to do that. I figured I would have to find a babysitter or two who could be on call.”
“I'm sure you learned from Kono and Chin that much of our family is in law enforcement. So I understand that someone like yourself has different needs than the average business person.” Lani explained to Danny.
Danny nodded before standing up. “If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to talk to Grace and see what she says.”
“Of course, Danny. Take your time.”
“Thank you. Steve, do you want to wait here or come with me?” Asked Danny.
“If you need me I’ll come with you, otherwise I can stay here Danny. What do you need?” Steve countered placing a hand on Danny’s arm.
“I think I’d like to talk to my daughter alone.”
Steve squeezed his arm before releasing it. He quietly watched Danny leave.
“The two of you must have a very good relationship Steve.” Remarked Lani.
Steve looked at her surprised. “Relationship? You mean like a romantic relationship?”
“Well, yes. The two of you live together. Kono called you partners. I thought that meant you were together.” Said a confused Lani.
Steve smiled. “No, Danny and I are work partners. He has become the brother I never had. Of course when I was young, the brother I imagined was nothing like Danny, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. We live together because it’s convenient. He lived in a closet when he first came here; it was all he could afford. I inherited dad’s house. I had plenty of room for Danny and Grace. So I asked him to move in. There’s nothing more to it.”
Lani looked embarrassed. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have assumed. You two just seem so close.”
Steve waved her apology away. “Don’t worry about it. You aren’t the first to think that, we've been asked how long we've been married before.”
The two talked quietly while waiting for Danny.
Meanwhile Danny found Grace playing with some of the children as Kono and another woman looked on.
“Hey Danny. This is Alana, Lani’s daughter. She helps her mother with the children.” Kono introduced the young woman.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Detective Williams. You have a beautiful daughter.” Alana held out her hand.
Danny smiled shaking her hand. “Thank you. Call me Danny please. Grace seems to be enjoying herself.”
Alana smiled. “She does. Two of the children are her age. The others are younger but no younger than 6.”
Danny smiled watching Grace for a moment before calling her. “Monkey, can you come here?”
Grace looked up at her name and came running over while Kono and Alana moved away giving them privacy. “Danno, where’s ‘Anakala Steve?”
Danny directed Grace to a nearby bench as he answered. “He’s in the house talking with Lani. I wanted to talk to you for a minute.” He paused while they sat down. “So, what do you think? Do you think you might like it here?”
Grace looked out to where the children were playing than up at Danny. “The children seem nice. So does Lani and Alana. If I can’t stay with you, than I think I would like it here.”
Danny hugged Grace to himself. “We’ll try it then. If you don’t like it, we’ll look for something else. How does that sound?”
Grace leaned into Danny. “Okay Danno. When will I have to start?”
“Well, today is Thursday, so how about you start on Monday. I think that Steve and I can take one more day before we have to get back to work. How does that sound?”
“Okay Daddy. Are we leaving now?” Grace wanted to know.
“Not quite yet. I’m sure that there is some paperwork to do so that you can come here. There’s always some paperwork to be done. Maybe I can get Uncle Steve to do it?”
Grace giggled. “You tell me that he always tries to get you to do his paperwork for him.”
“That’s because he’s better at it than I am Leia.” Steve spoke from behind father and daughter.
Danny snorted, and Grace giggled. “No I’m not. You just don’t want to do it.”
Grace laughed. “Oh, you think that’s funny do you?” Grace nodded at Steve before he plucked her off the bench squealing and laughing as he hung her over his shoulder. He winked at Danny as he walked over to Kono and Alana with his prize.
Danny laughed watching his partner cart his daughter around. Steve put Grace down and she ran off to join the other children.
“You are a very lucky man Danny to have such a family.” Lani observed from behind him.
Danny agreed as he stood up. “That I am, Lani. Grace would like to stay here with you while I’m working. So why don’t we get to work on the paperwork that my partner has effectively left me to fill out.” The two people heard several squeals, turning they saw Steve chasing the children, pretending to almost catch one, before going after a different one. Danny laughed. “Lani, may I present the man who thinks he isn’t good with children.”
She laughed. “Well, this group seems to like him.” The two entered the house to do the paperwork while the children played.
Once the paperwork was finished, Grace was offered the opportunity to stay for the rest of the afternoon so she could get to know her new friends better if she wanted. She decided to stay. She was having fun and knew that she would see Danny later.
That evening, Grace told Danny and Steve all about the children and what they did for the rest of the day. She was excited and happy.
Grace had a question as they were sitting on the beach after eating supper. “What if one of my other friends invites me over after school, will I be able to go?”
Danny considered the question. He would have to talk to the parents to be sure that Rachel was not allowed to pick up Grace, other than that, he didn’t see a problem. “I think that we can work something out. I’m sure that we can arrange for you to be picked up by one of us, or dropped off at Lani’s if we can’t get you. Now, it’s time for all little monkeys to get ready for bed.”
Grace got up and gave each man a hug. “Good night Danno, ‘Anakala Steve.”
“Good night Leia.”
“I’ll be up in a few minutes to tuck you in.” Danny watched Grace head into the house. He flopped back into his chair. “Thanks for all your help Steve.”
“Anytime Danny. I think Grace will like it at Lani’s place.” Steve answered smiling.
“Yeah. She did enjoy herself today. So did someone else I know. Did you manage to catch any of the children?”
Steve laughed. “Nah. Wasn’t really trying, though they caught me a couple of times.”
Danny laughed. “See, I told you that you’re good with kids. Just let yourself be in the moment and don’t worry about anything else. Now I’d better go tuck my daughter in. She had a long day.”
“But it was a good day.” Steve’s voice followed him into the house.
Yes, it had been a good day. Tomorrow, Steve and Danny would go into the office while Grace was in school to work on paperwork. Steve had called the governor to let her know that they would be back to work on Monday. Grace wanted to do something with the team on Saturday, so they were thinking about going to the zoo.
Danny hoped that he would be able to give Grace everything she needed. It was going to be difficult, Five-0s hours could be unpredictable. Well, he was going to do his best, and he knew that his ohana would help them any way they could. They already had. Thanks to Kono, he had someone to take care of Grace while he was working. Steve provided a great place to live for both he and his daughter. Steve hadn’t even blinked an eye when he knew Grace would be staying full-time. Danny knew that if he didn’t have the support of his ohana, he would have been forced to move back to New Jersey. He would have needed the support of his New Jersey family to help with Grace. He put those thoughts out of his head when he entered Grace’s room. Steve watched Danny go in the house. He knew that Danny worried about Grace and how he was going to handle being a single dad. He was glad that he could help even if he didn’t think it was all that much.
He decided that he was going to call a couple of friends tomorrow and point them in Rachel’s direction. He would make sure that Stan was left alone; the man was as much a victim as Danny and Grace. How could two good men get taken in by someone like Rachel? He thought about Rachel’s looks and her innocent act, never mind. He really shouldn’t criticize; he was fooled by his old buddy Nick after all.
Steve looked forward to getting back to work. He had enjoyed his time off, but he was a man who did not do leisure time. He knew that Danny was looking forward to it as well even if he would miss spending time with Grace. Danny was a man who liked to use his skills to help make Hawaii safe for Grace, something that Rachel just could never understand.
Danny joined him with a couple of beers. The men enjoyed the weather and the company before heading in for the night.
Pau: the end
I hope you enjoyed the ending for this story, or should I say beginning? I would like to thank everyone who has read this story. This story and several stories that are connected to it were previously posted on FF(dot)net. I go by pixiegold there if you're interested. I will try and post those stories here over time, I think it's easier to find them when they can be connected as part of a series.