I will venture to guess that some will not like the tone of this short story OR how I portrayed a certain person. I was lying in bed Tuesday night and a bar scene among three friends popped into my head. It wouldn't let go, so I had to try and write it down. For better or worse, this is the result.
With her carry-on over her shoulder, she exited the ramp, spilling into the hustle and bustle of the busy airport. She blended in with the group of people heading toward baggage claim and the exits, one lone, faceless person in a crowd.
She paused at the first bar she saw, Island Brews, knowing she needed something to calm her nerves in order to do what she came to Hawaii to do. It was all that had been on her mind for weeks. Her work was beginning to suffer and she knew she had to stop what she was doing and face this before she… or someone else was hurt. Or worse.
She sat down at the end of the bar and ordered a Longboard, wistfully smiling at how many of these they had consumed together. The beer had never been her favorite until she had shared a bottle with him. It is funny how your likes and dislikes change based on your memories and experiences. She can only associate Longboards with him now. Glancing up from her musing, she noticed three thirty-something women take the table closest to the bar.
"Now, with my bags gone, give me a proper hug," the brunette said to her two friends.
"I'm so glad you have a layover," another said. "We haven't seen you in ages."
"Yeah, and we have got to catch up on all the latest!"
The trio sat and ordered drinks, chatting and laughing as old friends do.
Had she ever had that type of relationship? Probably with friends in the Navy. But that life seemed so long ago and so far away. Everything she did now was secretive and on her own with the exception of the voices on the other end of the telephone. They call her kind "spooks" and at times she did feel somewhat like a ghost. A nameless, faceless person who blended in with society or just passed through other people's lives. But, she again reminded herself, she had made this decision.
She sighed and took another drink of her beer, trying to tune out the laughter and happy voices behind her.
Easier said than done.
"So, how are your love lives?" the visitor asked.
"Me and Jamie are still fighting, but what else is new," one replied. "But Lynn's got a new boyfriend. Tell Nat all about him, Lynnie. I gotta say, he's a keeper. NOT that I've met him; she's keeping him all to herself. But I've seen him all over… he's head of the governor's task force. Damn, he's gorgeous, too."
"Stop it, Kate," she heard the one named Lynn whisper loudly. "You don't have to announce it to everyone."
She didn't dare move, waiting to hear what Lynn was going to say. The beer was churning in her stomach and she hoped she didn't have to make a dash to the bathroom. But it didn't take long for the blonde to begin speaking.
"Kate's right," she told her friend. "He is drop-dead gorgeous. I mean, you should see how women look at him when we are out. I want to beat them off with a stick and I love being next to him, just so they know that I'm the one he's with. Hell, I could wear a banner saying, 'He's taken, Bitches'."
"Wow, how'd you meet?" Bess asked as all three girls laughed.
"Blind date," she replied. "And… honestly, he's got some issues and a whole lot of baggage, but I'm whipping him into shape."
"Ooh, spill the dirt. What's going on?"
Yes, do tell, Cath thought, pushing her beer away. Suddenly the beer was the last thing she wanted.
"OK, he has girlfriend issues. Apparently this idiot woman broke up with him and it really did a number on his head. He didn't tell me anything about it until I was getting a shirt out of his drawer—"
"Ah… and just why were you wearing his shirt? Huh?"
"If you must know, it was because I was nekkid," she giggled. "So there." The others joined in with her laughter.
"Anyway, I opened his drawer and I found a little black box, so I opened it. I was sick… we had only dated a handful of times, so I knew it wasn't for me, but it was a gorgeous diamond. So I confronted him. He was going to give it to the dumb ass but before he could, she broke up with him and left. But… her loss is my gain!"
"So, you two are serious?"
"Eh, jury's out on that one. I think we're getting there. I'm taking it slow with him but I have made some progress."
"Do tell, girlfriend."
"After seeing the ring, I laid a guilt trip on him about not being committed to us, so he deleted her from his phone contacts."
"How'd you find that out?"
"Easy, after we talked, I wanted to find out who she was, so I searched his phone and figured out who she was."
"You got the head of Five-0's telephone?" Kate said. "How'd that happen?"
"Well, that part was easy… he set the phone down and went to the bathroom. I picked it up when I saw he had left his contacts open. Scrolling through it, it was easy to figure out which one was her."
"You did that without him knowing?"
"I sure as hell won't let him see me do it," Lynn retorted. "Anyway, I found her and then a few days later, after he went upstairs to get changed after the office called, I checked again. But I could only see the open contacts, all his other stuff is protected. Guess it's classified or something
"Excuse me, Lynn, not to burst your bubble, but if he wanted to ask her to marry him don't you think he knows her contacts by heart?"
"Oh really? Is this the shrink in you talking? Telling me he only did it to help him cope? Gimme a break, Kate," Cath heard Lynn saying. "Now, if I can just work on some other issues."
"Like what? I thought he is gorgeous, what else matters?"
"He works way too much. And when he gets a call, he leaves at the drop of a hat. That's gonna stop. If we are out, he needs to focus on me. I figured he's got others on his team who can deal with the state of Hawaii and its problems."
"Well, sounds like he's dedicated to his job."
"I can change that," Lynn confidently replied. "Now, enough about me, what's going on with you and Peter?"
Catherine remained in her seat, numb and cold. This woman… Lynn… was certifiable. How dare she think Steve would shirk his job. For any reason. That woman didn't know him at all.
She paused. But did she know him? He had bought an engagement ring? Just hearing those words had made her heart hurt. How had she managed to make such a mess of things?
She had been adamant in telling him not to wait for her. Yet, when she had come back, he had waited. And he still loved her. Things could have been so good. Except she had royally messed that up. She had done all the wrong things… they had been for the right reasons, she knew that, but they were just wrong. And he had told her he couldn't wait for her again.
Had she believed him? No, deep down, she knew he loved her. And she had really hoped that love would have caused him to continue to wait. And she was counting on that fact even though she knew she didn't deserve it.
Only this time, he really had tried to move on, at least according to Lynn. Granted, she hoped and prayed it wouldn't be with that bitch, but it wasn't any of her business. She had burned her own bridges.
Catherine reached into her bag and pulled out a ten and laid it on the counter, then slowly got off the bar stool and headed toward the door. Hot tears pricked her eyes and she reached for her sunglasses. The sun was always brighter here, even while shining through the glass domed ceiling.
At least, that was her excuse. She stood in the lobby, looking around before slowly heading toward the ticket counter. She needed to exchange her ticket for an earlier flight.
So that she could leave this island as quickly as possible.
Several miles away, he sat in a chair facing the ocean, a Longboard in his hand. Beads of sweat were dripping down the bottle, making a wet circle on his khakis. How many of these had he shared with her?
He didn't know, but he would give anything to be able to hand her a beer, look into her eyes and talk to her. No interruptions, no phone calls, no anything except the two of them.
But that wouldn't happen. She was probably on the other side of the world. And even if she wasn't, he knew she didn't want to talk to him. She had made that clear the day she had left.
Steve knew he should be happy. He had met Lynn and she was fun. But really nothing more. Lately he felt manipulated by her, and she seemed to enjoy being with him a little too much
She wanted more, more than the casual sex he was giving her, but his heart wasn't ready for that. His heart was with Catherine. And always would be.