My Kind of Town
Back to the beach
>> North Shore
Shauny Nakamura, you could say, had been to the beach and back. In fact, hers was a well-worn path. So she wasn't just going to jump in this guy's car. They'd talk in the lobby of her condo, the Pearl Palms, for a few minutes. She needed to feel comfortable with him.
And when Victor arrived as promised at the stroke of 11, he'd been wonderful, just as he had been for the two months since they met on the Internet -- witty, intelligent, sensitive, not in a hurry or pushing anything. In a word, a gentleman.
And he'd been honest about his age, 54, exactly twice her's, and looked like the photo he'd e-mailed.
He was handsome in a Mediterranean way, and kept himself remarkably fit. That he happened to drive a Escalade, well, it didn't hurt. When he said "Well, shall we go?" she replied "Let's!"
On the drive out to Turtle Bay, he'd played a Boney James soft jazz CD and they'd talked (Shauny in exclamation points!) and laughed about this and that, growing serious only when she asked where he was when the Kailua Dump blew up. He'd been in traffic in Nuuanu, when some dark, greasy gunk hit the hood; he'd had it washed. It could have been worse, they agreed, and went back to more enjoyable subjects, like the upcoming Academy Awards and their favorite movies.
As they passed Haleiwa, where huge waves broke, Shauny giggled and reminded him of a promise he'd made. "You told me you'd tell me your last name today, Vincent, remember?!"
"Of course, and I will, after lunch, I promise. Honestly (was he ever), I'm pleased that you didn't happen to recognize me from ..."
"You're in the news?!"
"The business pages mostly."
"Ooh!" She liked that.
"After lunch, OK? And you know why? Because this is so nice right now, at this moment together, who we were before today doesn't matter as much as who we are now. And it's wonderful. It's like I told you before, I want you to like me for who I am, not my name."
That sounded so sweet and romantic, even philosophical, Shauny was getting hooked.
At Turtle Bay, Victor parked the Escalade in the self-park lot. "I don't trust those young valets," he explained as they walked to the hotel. "And a little exercise never hurts."
They lunched at the Palm Terrace, Shauny downing three white Zinfandels, Victor two martinis. They were having so much fun that she said yes, she would enjoy taking the scenic route home.
"Boy, that wine really hit me!" Shauny said as they returned to the car, sliding her hand inside his arm, leaning on him slightly.
"I'll take care of you," he said. Would he ever.
Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek.
His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin
with weekly summaries on Sunday.
He can be e-mailed at email@example.com