Posts tagged “Work

Chasing Truth: Chapter 15

Posted on 26/09/2014


Mari waved goodbye to her last group of the day and walked into the back to put away the fishing poles and bait boxes. A few minutes later she returned and leaned against the counter beside Jeremy.

“Always a nice group to end the day with. Nothing too tiring.”

“You’re really good with…everyone, heck. I haven’t seen you get flustered with anybody,” Jeremy said.

She laughed it off. “I’ve been dealing with people like this my whole life. You learn stuff.”

The shop door swung open and Gage strode in with a wide grin on his face.

It was contagious and Mari immediately mimicked it.

“Hey Gage.”

“Hey Ellie Girl. Are you done for the day?”

“Yeah, just finished up with a fishing trip.”

“Then come have some fun with me.”

She rounded the counter with a smile. “You don’t have to tell me twice.”

“You still have a thing for those slushies around the corner?”

“You don’t forget a thing.”

“Not about my best girl.”

She leaned into him as they walked out of the store and up the sandy concrete.

“Raoul mentioned you were thinking about trying to find your father.”

She sighed. First Tyler and now Gage. Who knew how many people had heard about it by now?

“I told Papa it was a passing thought and that I decided against it. He’s still worried about it?”

“No, not worried. A couple of years ago he would’ve been. Now I think he just wants to know if he needs to be prepared for it.”

“I told him no. I don’t have anywhere to start and things are busy enough here as it is. Besides, he probably knows I exist and yet he hasn’t shown his face once. What’s the point?”

“Closure’s rarely a bad thing.”

“Well consider it closed. Tell him that, will you? And make him understand it this time.”

His lips twitched in a weak smile as he held the door open to the smoothie shop. Minutes later they strolled back down the street, Mari sipping at her grape and cherry slushy as they went. They turned for the beach when Mari broke into a wide grin. Tyler walked up the road toward them.

She looped her arms around his neck the second he reached them and he dipped his head to kiss her cheek.

“Hey sweetheart. Who’s this?”

She barely resisted nestling in, but managed to pull back enough to look between Gage and Tyler.

“Gage, this is my boyfriend, Tyler. Tyler, my uncle Gage.”

Gage extended his hand. “I’ve heard quite a bit about you.”

“All good things hopefully.” Tyler smiled as he returned the handshake. “I’m sure she’s glad to have you in town. Staying long?”

“I’d like to stick around for a while.”

“That’s good to hear. We can grab something to eat together sometime. Just don’t let her talk you into hiking Cocano.”

She laughed and elbowed him. He grinned as he dodged her, pulling his phone from his pocket as the screen lit up.

“Excuse me for a second. I need to take this.”

He stepped away from them with an apologetic smile to take the call. She cocked her head, wondering just who was on the line. He never spent too much time with anyone else on the island. She shook those thoughts from her head. Todd and now Raoul were making her paranoid. She scraped at the slushy with her straw and nudged Gage.

“So what do you think? Uncle senses tingling?”

He chuckled. “He worked security you said? You know Raoul and I just want you to be safe. Those private security guys can be…trouble. Look at how he carries himself. Trouble, Ellie. You don’t need trouble.”

“Come on, Gage. We’re in Sakina. Whatever he did with security wasn’t here. There’s no trouble.”

“Don’t ‘come on, Gage’ me. You know we’re going to look out for our number one girl and that means we’re never going to think some knucklehead is good enough for you.”

“As long as I think he’s good enough for me, shouldn’t that be all that matters?”

“Sorry, but no.”

She rolled her eyes, letting the subject drop when Tyler walked back toward them.

“Sorry about that. A friend from back home.”

“Where are you from?” Gage asked curiously.

“Texas. Austin.”

“That’s a change. Mari tells me you used to work security too. Must be hard to get used to a slower pace.”

Tyler smiled. “I needed the change. Then again, with Mari there’s not too much slow. We keep pretty active, busy.”

Gage’s smile was short lived. “She’s good, but that’s a whole different pace. Man like you changes the pace and it’s one of two things. You running from trouble or bringing it?”

“Gage!” Mari hissed.

“No, it’s okay sweetheart.” The two were staring each other down. “No trouble coming or going, Gage. I met a few guys who fit that mold. I’m not one of ‘em. I’ve had it hard all my life. I found a way of life that’s easier and I want to keep it.”

Gage dipped his head in a nod. “Fair enough. Just how long are you planning to hang around?”

Tyler softened and his eyes drifted to Mari. “The foreseeable future. I found something worth hanging around for.”

Gage watched Mari flush and sighed. Raoul was right. The girl was already half in love Tyler Ross.


<< Chapter 14 || Chapter 16 >> 

Chasing Truth: Chapter 10

Posted on 22/08/2014


Mari took her time going over the list of equipment all guides carried on hiking tours with their newest hire, Jeremy. He was a quick study and she was confident they’d get good use out of him. He was tagging along with her today and then with Keon the next. Three tours and she’d bet he was ready to lead one one of the shorter ones.

“Let’s go ahead and toss these in the truck,” she said once he loaded his pack.

He grabbed the bag and followed her out the door. The door shut behind them as a SUV pulled into the parking lot. Four men climbed out ranging from tall to shorter, but it was the driver that stole Mari’s attention. He was the tallest of all of them with a broader, solid build. He wore a hat but it didn’t cover all of his sandy brown hair and the Sakina shirt he wore almost made her laugh. He should have looked like the average tourist. He didn’t. There was something…off.

She led more tours than she could count over the years. That’s why when she got a check in her gut after seeing her scheduled hiking group for three o’clock she pulled Jeremy to the side. The younger new hire frowned at her but came willingly.

“I want you to look like you’re telling me you’re sick and you can’t do this tour.”

“Why?” He coughed into his arm as he asked.

“Go inside and call Keon. Tell him I need him to fill in on a hiking tour. Do not call Raoul. Got it?”

“Got it.” He frowned and held a hand to his stomach.

“You’re a solid hire.” She reached out to press a hand to his head before gesturing him away. “Go ahead. And tell Keon to make it fast. We’ll reschedule for tomorrow.”

She stepped toward the tour group with a smile on her face. “I’m sorry, gentlemen. Our tour is going to be delayed by just a few minutes. One of our guides isn’t feeling well. Another will be here shortly.”

“Are you Mari?”

“I am.”

“Then we don’t need two guides. I hear you know your way around this entire island with your eyes closed. We’re okay with just you,” the tallest one assured with a smile.

His smile did nothing to reassure her. He was the main one leaving her unsettled. His eyes were a little too hard, but she kept her own smile in place. “I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I think you’ll get the most out of the experience with two of us. Keon will only be a few minutes.”

“That him?”

One of the men gestured behind her and she spun around to see. Beaming, she set the pack down.

“No, excuse me for just a minute.” She wasted no time walking up to him. “Tyler.”

“Hey sweetheart.”

“What are you doing here?”

“You like to run on granola bars.” He lifted up the bag he carried and toyed with the strands of her hair. “I’ve got to take care of my girl.”

She smiled as warmth shot through her. “Thank you. You take very good care of me.”

His hand cupped her cheek and he leaned in for a kiss. He lifted his head and his eyes darted over her shoulder. A frown formed as he got a good look at her tour group. He brought his focus back to her.

“You’re not taking that tour alone.”

It hadn’t been a question, but a firm demand. She was reminded he once worked security when he looked like that. All gentleness faded and there was no give in him. She arched a brow.

“I’ve been touring since I was five. I’ve been leading my own tours since I was sixteen. I don’t need a babysitter. I don’t need anyone telling me how to run my tours either.”

He didn’t look away from the group. “That’s too many grown men we know nothing about. I want somebody with you.”

“I’m going to take this as sweet and protective rather than overbearing, sexist, and controlling. Don’t push it.”

He smiled then and the hard man of seconds ago disappeared. “Sweet and protective is the right way to take it. You and I both know you’d shoot ‘em if they try anything, but I don’t want them trying.”

“Much better.” The gun she always carried with her wasn’t for show.

“So you’ll take someone with you?” His hand moved from her cheek to comb through her hair.

“Todd was going anyway.”

“Brat.” He kissed her again, this time lingering over it. As always, she got a little lost in it. It took her a moment to open her eyes and process his next words. “Dinner after?”

“You like me that way and yes, dinner after.”

“I like you a lot of ways.” He kissed her once more and glanced over her shoulder again. “I’ll meet you back here.”

“You’re pushing,” she warned as Keon pulled up. She watched his gaze go from her to the tour group waiting. His jaw firmed as he got out of the car and approached.

“I’ll see you later,” she said to Tyler and went to meet Keon.

“Did they try anything?” he asked quietly.

“No, but I know when I’m in over my head.”

He looked pointedly at Tyler who had yet to leave. She elbowed him. “Those are two different things. And I’m not over my head with him.”

“That’s up for debate.”

“Whatever. They want to tour Pa Nali. Two hours.”

He nodded and together they joined the tour group. Keon extended his hand to the tallest man whose eyes were still on Mari.

“Sorry about the delay, gentlemen. I’m Keon, your second tour guide today.”

“Well let’s get moving then.”

She and Keon shared a look and led the men to their trucks.


<< Chapter 9 || Chapter 11 >>

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