Posts tagged “Job

Chasing Truth: Chapter 11

Posted on 29/08/2014


            Mari and Keon fell into an easy rhythm even before they hit the trail. She drove while Keon filled them in on some of the history of the island and the sites they were passing. The men were quiet for the most part but the tallest one, Damon, had a few questions about the jungle that bordered almost every part of the town and then the caves off of the beach.

She took the lead on the trail with two of the men and Keon followed up with the other two. She hit her stride easily. Her concern faded, confidence boosting knowing Keonhad her back if she needed it.

She set a strong pace as they began the climb up.

“So Ms. Mari, how long have you lived on this island?”

Damon walked up beside her and easily kept pace as they hiked up the steep trail. He was never too far from her.

“Just Mari will do. And pretty much my whole life. I was raised here.”

“Makes sense. A lot of people assured us you were the best guide, that you knew this entire place like it was a personal playground. Apparently to tour with anyone else is only a shadow of what it is with you.”

She laughed. “That might be a little exaggerated, but I’ve explored a lot.”

“What about your parents? Do they still live here?”

The question was easy, casual. Small talk. In fact, Damon had done nothing to unnerve or bother her since they left the shop. Maybe she overreacted. Maybe her radar was a little off.

“My mother passed away, but my dad lives here.”

“That’s tough. You look like you made the best of it.”

She shrugged. “We tried. What about you? What drew you to our little island?”

He didn’t hesitate, his eyes falling to her. “The sights. I’ve been told they’re second to none and I’m beginning to believe it. Although, I should’ve guessed a beautiful woman like yourself would be taken.”

She smiled politely at that and recalled Tyler’s visit. There had been no doubt after that she was seeing someone. That was probably part of the reason he’d been so affectionate. Not that he wasn’t usually affectionate anyway.

“You’re too sweet.”

“Have you been with him long?”

“Long enough.”

“That’s a classic answer for not long.” Damon said it with an easy laugh and pushed a tree branch out of the way for her. “I’m sorry he beat me to you. He’s a very lucky man.”

“Thank you. I’ll make sure to remind him of that tonight.”

His laughter boomed then. “Yes, a very lucky man. You make sure he takes good care of you.”

“He already does,” she assured with a grin as she ducked under a tree limb and wound around the curving path.

By the time they finished the hike all Mari’s trepidation was gone. Damon was all laughter and charm until she was convinced she misread him earlier. His childhood wasn’t as pretty as hers. He was raised in a less than stellar neighborhood and she had the feeling there were a lot of fights in his past. He glossed over it all, but it gave her enough for a good picture. Maybe that explained the edge that put her guard up and she relaxed with that knowledge.

Allison was manning the desk when they returned to the shop. Mari and Keon handed out bottles of water while she assisted the customers browsing the selection.

Damon took a long drink and smiled at her. “We might stick around for a little while. If we do, we’ll definitely be interested in another tour.”

“We’ll be here,” she promised.

“Good. I’ll want you to be our guide.”

“I’d enjoy that, but even if I’m not available, any of our guides can give you more than your money’s worth.”

A quick look out the window showed Tyler pulling into the parking lot and she wasn’t surprised at all. She looked to Keon who waved her on.

“I’ve got another tour in an hour. I’ll close out with Allie.”

She nodded and Damon and his friends followed her out of the door. Tyler was already out of the truck. He strode toward her with purpose, slipping an arm around Mari’s waist and kissing her full on the mouth.

“Hey baby. Did you have a good time?”

“I did. They were an interesting group.”

Damon approached with a broad grin on his face.

“Tyler, this is Damon. Damon, meet Tyler.”

“Hey man, this woman here is amazing. You don’t know how lucky you are to have someone as sweet as this one.”

Tyler held her closer and his smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Oh I know exactly how lucky I am. She’s my good luck charm.”

Damon laughed at that and offered his hand. “Good man.”

Tyler hesitated and Mari frowned as the two men locked eyes. Tension coated the moment. Tyler slapped his hand into Damon’s and shook it without letting go of her.

“Glad you got your money’s worth. How long are you and your friends enjoying our island?”

“I certainly did and it’s made me give some thought to sticking around for a little bit. We’ve still got some vacation time. Thanks for the good time, sweetheart. I’ll see you around.”

She smiled and waved as Damon slipped a hand into his pocket and walked off whistling. Tyler stared after him for a long minute and what she called his “security face” fell into place. She gently tugged his arm.

“Come on. I’m starving. I had to save the plate you brought me for lunch tomorrow.”

He stared for a moment longer, but let her pull him to the truck. It was going to be an interesting night if the look in his eyes was any indication.

 << Chapter 10 || Chapter 12 >>

Chasing Truth: Chapter 4

Posted on 11/07/2014


The sun barely kissed the sky before Mari climbed out of bed to hit the dock. The first trip of the day wasn’t for several more hours but there was a lot of work to be done before then. Whether she wanted to admit it or not, she needed a refresher and time to get back in the swing of it all.

Grabbing the bag she packed up last night, Mari swung it onto her back and opened the fridge to grab a water bottle. She stopped in the middle of swinging around the counter and grinned when she saw the wrapped plates sitting there with a note from Allison.

Eat. And share with Keon. He’s picked up your bad habit of running off granola bars.

Laughing softly, she grabbed the food and took it out to Raoul’s truck before she loaded it up with equipment and drove down toward the beach. She didn’t bother with music. The sounds of the island slowly waking were music enough. She smiled at the sight of the shop that was much like a second home.

She threw the truck in park and hopped out, taking the plates with her. She unlocked the shop door and flipped the lights. It was almost exactly as she remembered from her last trip home. The walls had a fresh coat of turquoise paint highlighted with brown trim. Pictures of the Drake family, other guides, and different tours spotted the walls. Various water sporting equipments and clothing articles decorated the room. She opened the large windows overlooking the beach and entrance, breathing in the scent of the ocean. Everything in her began to relax as she just enjoyed the moment.

Minutes later, she turned back to walk around the counter. She shook her head when she turned on the music and country music began to play. Keon loved the stuff so it was an easy guess as to who’d changed the selection. She left it on as she went back outside to unload the scuba tanks, flippers, re-breathers, and bags of wet suits and other gear.

She was inspecting the second scuba tank’s valve action when footsteps sounded against the wood of the walkway.  She glanced to her right, expecting Keon. A smile tugged at her lips. The man walking toward her wasn’t Todd. It was the man from the party. Tyler. He still looked perfectly at home on the island only this time he’d lost the short-sleeved shirt and the black tank top revealed the weight muscle added to his arms. The sun lightened the brown hair that curled over his forehead and around his ears. The torch light hadn’t hid much. The man was attractive.

“You’re out early,” she said lowering her head back over the tank.

“I could say the same for you.”

She shrugged. “I’ve got a job to do.”

“There’s that, but something tells me you’d be up even if you didn’t. I’m Tyler.”

“Something tells you right. Mari, although you probably know that.”

“I might’ve heard your name a time or a million. It’s an honor to meet Sakina’s darling.”

She laughed. “That would be Leilani Cabral. Once everyone gets used to me being back I’ll be the island’s troublemaker again. Second to Jules of course.”

He chuckled and squatted down beside her. “Yeah, I can see that. I’ve heard a few of your high school stories. Snakes in the cafeteria? Brave woman.”

“I will never live that down.”

“From the way it was told? I don’t think so.”

Mari shook her head and set the tank off to the side.

“That wasn’t all I heard though.”

She arched a brow. “Oh I’m sure it wasn’t, especially if you were talking to Leo.”

He dropped his head back and laughed, giving her the opportunity to study him some more. His features were sharp but the laugh softened them. She really liked the look of him and so far, the sound of him too. He was easy, laid back, and with a good sense of humor to top it off.

“Leo definitely had some stories. The lizard you put in Kai’s pants?”

“Oh he deserved that. He was such a brat when he was a kid.”

“He wouldn’t say the same about you though, would he?”

That tore laughter from her. “Of course he would, but I was a reactive brat. You had to do something first.”

“Ah, the bully police?”

“You could call it that.”

“Leo told me aside from your life of trouble-making, you know all the best hiking trails too. The ones most people won’t hike.”

Her lips quirked up in a grin. “Those are the only trails worth hiking. I might know something about them.”

“Do you mind sharing some of that knowledge when you’ve got some free time?”

She hesitated and looked up at him when he grabbed the next tank to pass to her. His smile was still easy and elbows rested on his thighs as he waited for her response. Her smile came without her permission.

“Yeah, I think I might be willing to share a trail or two.”

“I’m glad to hear it. Does tomorrow work for you?”

“Let me double check the schedule and get back to you.” She reached into her back pocket for her phone and held it out to him.

His hand brushed hers as he took it from her and put his number in.

“I’ll be looking forward to that call.” He smiled and handed the phone back, pushing back to his feet. “Wait until I can join you to stir up some more trouble,” he added as he walked backward.

“I’ll see what I can do but I make no promises.”

He laughed and finally turned to walk away. She propped her arm up across her knee and watched him walk down the beach. Shaking her head and fighting the smile, she turned back to her equipment to finish prepping for the day’s first group.

 << Chapter 3 || Chapter 5 >>


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