Posts tagged “return

Chasing Truth: Chapter 4

Posted on 11/07/2014

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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 >>

Chasing Truth: Chapter 1

Posted on 21/06/2014

fishing

Water lapped gently at her chest as if embracing and welcoming her. She smiled, parting the waves with strong and sure strokes. Only an hour back on the island and she wasn’t able to resist the call of the ocean. Five years of college and a double major in recreation and finance later, she was here. Marielle Drake was finally home.

She changed course and struck out for the sandbar farther out, her mind on those years. Her uncle’s marriage was the spark she needed to get out of her comfort zone. Raoul was her guardian, the only father she knew and when he married Allison she realized just how much she structured her life around him. As much as he had raised her, she had taken care of her mother’s brother as well. Her life had been consumed with their tour guide business and looking after her uncle. The sudden desire for college, to get away was birthed.

She wasn’t even halfway finished when she realized school wasn’t a true desire for her. She yearned for the turbulent waves, wild jungles, and even the most obnoxious of clients. Still, she stuck to her commitments and returned to Sakina two degrees richer. Not that the degrees mattered. She’d been knee deep in tours and trips since she was old enough to walk. No professor could teach the art of guiding.

Her thoughts drifted from college as she flipped onto her back for a short rest, floating near the very spot she nearly drowned at ten years old. Her face burned at the memory. Carlos Paulson, island bully at the time, had teased all the girls about their inability to reach the sandbar and she’d been consumed with making him eat his words. Halfway to the bar her arms grew tired and breath burned in her chest. Keon Greco had seen her struggle and swam out to her rescue. The mortification was still as strong now as it was all those years ago even though most referred to her as a fish in the water these days.

She shaded her eyes from the sweltering sun when she heard a whistle and spotted a lone figuring coming down the beach. A slow smile curved her lips and she gave up on the sandbar, turning back toward the shore. In a few short minutes, she was nearing the sand again.

“I knew I’d find you here,” the tall brown skinned man greeted, holding a towel out as she rose from the water. His slenderness was deceptive, fine muscles hidden beneath the loose shirt. She could remember the weight of the packs they carried up through the trails for camping trips. The gray spotting his rich brown hair reminded her of just how much time had passed. The perpetual smile and wrinkles at corner of his eyes told her it had passed well for him.

“Everyone knows to find me here.” She laughed and let Raoul wrap her in the towel as he had when she was child. “The water feels great today. It’s been way too long.”

“There’s a party for you in less than an hour and you’re roaming the waters like a mermaid.”

“I haven’t forgotten the party. I’ll be ready in time. It is just a small casual thing, right?”

“The guest list may have grown since the last time you looked at it.”

She shook her head, but the smile never faded. “I’m sure it has.”

He dropped an arm around her as they started up the beach. “It is good to have you home, Mari. Very good.”

“It’s good to be home. I missed this. All of it.” Why she ever thought she would be happy away from the island was something she would never understand. Sometimes she thought she didn’t know who she was but she learned that whoever that person was, she was firmly tied to Sakina.

“Did you find what you were looking for? Away in town?” Raoul asked as if sensing her thoughts.

She sighed and rested her head against his shoulder. She’d imagined some grand experience away at school when she would realize exactly who she wanted to be and what she wanted to do in life. She’d had fun but ultimately the time away had only shown her just how much Sakina was home.

“No, but I remembered where home is.”

<<Cover Page || Chapter 2>>

 

  

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