Eyes wide open
Cruz MacKenzie took a deep breath, dived, spotted Jasmine's bikini top on the bottom of the pool. Two yellow postage stamps and dental floss. He retrieved it and returned to her with eyes wide open and emotions stirred, not shaken.
He kissed her as she re-tied her top. "I feel kinda light-headed."
"No wonder, you guys were drinking doubles. Let's get you some dinner." Cruz held her hand and helped her out of the pool.
"Oh, Cruz, I knew you'd take good care of me."
After her friend Holly left to meet the pilot, Jasmine and Cruz walked down to dinner. "It's not formal, is it?" she said.
"You look perfect." Indeed she did in bikini top and pastel floral lava-lava tied hip-hugger low. Heads turned as they followed the hostess to an open-air table on a rocky point. The sun had just set, the light was golden and magic.
She reached across, squeezed his hand. His heart leaped. A waiter arrived with menus and jolted Cruz back to reality, which was that Jasmine was still his buddy Biggie Kanaka's daughter.
He ordered Cajun-style blackened opakapaka, Jasmine scampi linguine, and they shared a big Caesar salad, Kona oysters and a bottle of Domaine Chandon. They talked a little about Daren Guy and sharks, her job flying for Hawaiian Airlines, and Jason.
Jasmine and Jason -- their friends all said their names were meant to go together -- had been living together for six months in the 30th floor penthouse Biggie gave her. They were even talking about getting engaged. And then she caught him indelicato with a tourist chick and chased them both out, grabbing clothes as they ran.
When Jason called from the lobby phone complaining she didn't give him time to pack, she told him to go outside, and started dumping his clothes off the lanai. The trades were up that day and some of his BVDs landed five blocks away.
Cruz chuckled. "So you have just a little temper."
"Don't you think he deserved it?"
"Total idiot. Didn't know what he had."
Her finger traced swirls on his arm. "Do you?"
"I'm finding out." His voice surprised him, lusty and low in the throat.
Cruz stretched the dinner conversation as long as possible, nervous about sleeping arrangements, even bringing up riveting subjects such as his golf game, the weather and the proposal for a new state constitutional convention. But when all of the other diners had gone and the waiter came by for the third time after dessert and port and asked if there was anything else he could get them and looked at his watch, they took the hint and left. Cruz had never been more nervous walking to a hotel room.
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Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek.
His serialized novel runs daily
in the Star-Bulletin. He can be e-mailed at