Early the next morning, Danny and Chin were up by the hotel poolside enjoying a glass of pinacolada after breakfast. They were enjoying their morning watching the lively atmosphere and chaotic surroundings as the candidates, the committee and photographers were preparing for a photo shoot.
"If all assignments were like this, I wouldn't mind doing some overtime," joked Danny.
Chin laughed. "If all our assignments were surrounded by beautiful women, I don't think we'd get a lot of things done."
"True," uttered Danny, as he sipped his Pinacolada.
Both were comfortably dressed in laid-back loafers, khakis and shirts in order to blend in into the crowd of vacationers.
"Look," managed Danny in between sips of Pinacolada, pointing a finger at the cemented bridge over the pool, "I believe I see someone who's absolutely your type—sun-bronzed tan, dark curly hair, silky legs…"
"Cut it out, Danny," laughed Chin, not looking where Danny was pointing.
"I'm serious," said Danny.
Chin followed Danny's gaze and furrowed his brows before sharing a look with Danny who shrugged his shoulders.
"Malia!" called Chin.
The woman in a halter multi-color printed chiffon dress suddenly turned to face in their direction. Chin waved for her to come join them.
"Are you joining the pageant without telling me," asked Chin.
Malia crossed her arms in mocked anger. "Flattery will get you nowhere, Chin. And just what are you doing here? Watching out for some babes in bikini?"
"Of course not, there's only one babe for me," said Chin as he pulled Malia into his arms and gave her a lingering kiss which he only ended after Danny cleared his throat.
"Uhm… what brings you here, Malia? Not keeping an eye on Chin I hope," joked Danny.
"I brought some of my Carolina Herrera and DKNY for Kono," she replied.
"Excuse me?" asked Danny.
"Clothes. I brought Kono some clothes for the pageant. Someone sabotaged her wardrobe yesterday. She didn't even have something to wear for dinner. She had no choice but to use the same outfit she wore for the interview," explained Malia.
Danny and Chin looked at each other.
"First day and your cousin already found an enemy," stated Danny.
"It was terrible. Anyway, I've got to go back to the hospital. I told Kono to ring me if there was anything else she needed. See you," said Malia before giving Chin a peck on the cheek.
Chin and Danny were kidding around and exchanging stories when Kono suddenly pulled out a chair beside Chin. She slumped her Burberry bikini clad body with a matching unbuttoned Burberry button-down cover-up, revealing her long legs and flat stomach.
She sighed, "I'm really not cut-out for this. This is just a special pictorial and already it's taking us hours just to prepare and shoot. The girls are nasty too. Whatever happened to friendly competition? It's a dog eat dog world out here. "
"Perhaps you should cut the frown and smile more so you don't get your designer clothes soaked in food color," said Danny.
"Very funny, Danny. And it's not food coloring, it's hair coloring. And these are not mine, they're Malia's. My designers are long gone. I better get back to the photo session. The pictures will be given to Cover Girl, which is a major sponsor in the pageant. They'll be giving one special award-Ms. Cover Girl who will win a modeling contract."
"Good luck, Cuz," smiled Chin.
Kono made a face and returned his smile.
"Oh by the way, what's your room number?" she asked.
Danny showed her the key 1125. "It's directly above yours. We can eye each other from the balcony," joked Danny.
"See us on your free time," said Chin.
The next night Kono waited until Karen was asleep before creeping out of bed and pulling on a pair of white sneakers and a shirtdress over her violet babydoll lingerie and making her way up to 1125. Kono was in a rush that she didn't bother to run a hairbrush in her long dark hair, nor did she bother with any make-up. She figured Chin would probably look worse as it was almost 2am, right in the middle of his sleep.
To her astonishment, the door was opened by Steve. She felt like kicking herself for not making any effort to look better. He looked like he'd been waiting for her all night, there wasn't a crease on his shirt, and both beds were still made up Kono noticed as she went inside to seat on the sofa facing the beds.
"I take the night shift. So what have you got for us," said Steve, pouring himself a cup of coffee.
"I would offer you a cup but then you would need your sleep for tomorrow's event," smiled Steve.
It was one of the rare times Kono caught him smiling in a casual conversation. He was often times straight and serious.
She felt even more self conscious that she kept tugging the end of her hair.
"Some of the people of interest in the Pageant Committee are Judge No 1 George Simmons. His company is one of the major sponsors of the pageant. He has a weakness for tall, beautiful women and some contestants know it and they use their uhm charm to their advantage. Last year's first runner up became his mistress, of course that was hearsay…"
Steve was savoring his strong Columbian coffee as he listened to Kono's report. He was standing facing her as she sat quite relaxed on the sofa, her long legs stretched out front as she read her notes. Steve's attention kept being distracted by Kono's short shirtdress and with the way she was seated he could almost get a glimpse of her underwear, his brow was sweating as he found himself staring… and wondering what the color may be…
"Isn't that shirtdress a trifle bit too short for you," commented Steve.
Kono was half way explaining her report and stopped short. "Oh…uh… it's Malia's. I'm quite taller than her and so some of her clothes fall a bit short."
Steve stared at Kono's unassuming countenance. He wondered how it would be like to kiss her and run his hands up and down her long legs…
He wondered would she still look so innocent…or would she taste like some exotic spicy chocolate so hot and melting in the mouth….
He choked on his coffee at the thought.
"Boss! Are you okay? I…I… could just give this to Chin and Danny tom…" asked Kono in concern.
"No, no. Go on as you were saying… oh by the way, I heard about what happened to your wardrobe. Since this is official business, we are ordering some clothes you can use for the pageant and you can have them tomorrow night," said Steve.
Probably something less stimulating…I don't think I can work like this.
"Thanks, boss. As I was saying, the chairman of the pageant committee Stella Araneta was a beauty queen herself, and so is another judge but so far I have not seen anything suspicious about them to have any grudge on the new generation of beauty queens."
"Regarding my fellow candidates…unfortunately, or fortunately, there would be a long list of interesting suspects if you will judge them from the hostility they have for a strong competitor," said Kono.
"I'm all ears. I have all night," said Steve.