I asked Sookie if she had everything as I carried her suitcase to the car.
She laughed. “I think so, but someone won’t tell me where we’re going.”
“Someone said they trusted me.”
“I do! But you have to admit this is a little strange.”
“Lover, what about our relationship isn’t strange?”
“True. Very true,” she said as she climbed in.
Traffic was surprisingly light on the way to the airport, and before I knew it we were standing in line to check in for our flight to Maui. Sookie’s face broke into a huge smile, and I was relieved because I wasn’t sure if she’d been expecting an exotic destination like Fiji or even something a little farther away from us like Jamaica or the Bahamas. I hadn’t wanted to spend our whole trip in an airplane though, and I knew from my family in the Midwest that trips to Hawaii weren’t nearly as common as they were here. It wasn’t that everyone in California had been to Hawaii, but you could get cheaper flights, and it made for a great place for long weekends if you were willing to deal with the elevated cost of living on the islands when you got there because practically everything had to be flown in.
“Oh my god! I’m so excited!” Sookie practically vibrated with enthusiasm.
We got checked in and headed for our gate. I smiled and nodded at a number of fans that pointed or waved, but thankfully no one stopped us. We made our way to the VIP lounge to wait for our flight.
“Okay,” Sookie said, still grinning. “We could tour a pineapple farm and go to a coffee plantation. Oh! And maybe we could see a volcano!”
I shook my head. “We need to squeeze a wedding in, too.”
“Oh yes. We’ll squeeze that in too!” Her hands came up to my face, and she kissed me soundly. “Are you going to tell me anything more about that?”
I smiled at her, not oblivious to the others in the VIP lounge, but not caring what they thought about the two of us snuggling and having this quiet conversation. “What more is there to tell you?” I teased.
“Um. A lot.”
“Actually, Lover, there isn’t.” I chuckled. “We have an appointment first thing in the morning with a wedding planner who will allow you to make the final decisions on just about everything; the location, the time of day, flowers, your dress. That’s all up to you.”
I nodded. “Yup. Pam found us a planner, Isabel. She and I talked with her last week. I had to order our dinner, but I just went with traditional Hawaiian, which I figured you would love. I ordered a small cake too, but if you really hate it we can work something else out. As far as everything else goes, she’ll have a few things for you to choose from, and then we’ll be all set.”
“Wow. You really are the greatest. You know that?”
“I do my best.” I waggled my eyebrows. “So, you want to see a pineapple farm and a coffee plantation?”
“I guess. I’ll check over some brochures when we get there. Anything you want to do?”
“We should go to Lahaina, it’s a historic town with lots of shops and touristy stuff, and I was thinking about a helicopter tour. But other than that, nothing. I’m just looking forward to rubbing sunscreen on you and getting married.”
“Really? You’re not looking forward to married sex?”
I grinned. “That’s a given.”
She laughed loudly and leaned forward to kiss me one more time before our flight was called.
We had a direct flight to Maui, during which Sookie fell asleep and I read over a script for a while. When we touched down, we grabbed our bags, and I led us toward the rental car area. Sookie looked at me strangely.
“There’s no shuttle to the resort?”
“Resort?” I laughed. “Now, that’s not very private.”
Her eyes were wide but definitely excited.
“We’re staying at the Wailea Sunset Estate on Makena Beach, which is really just a house. It has a smaller bungalow on its grounds that Pam, her friend, and the Dawson’s can stay in when they get here tomorrow.” I finished taking care of the car rental and glanced over at Sookie. “Quit looking at me like that, and close your mouth.” I laughed.
“I’m just amazed. How did you do all of this?”
“Truth? We were booked at a smaller place, and when I called about having the others join us we lucked into this place because someone had just cancelled.”
“The stars do seem to align for us, don’t they?”
We made our way to the car, which was actually a Jeep, and loaded in our luggage. I used the GPS app on my phone to give us directions to the house; it was about fifteen miles from the airport, and we headed out. Sookie was staring out the window taking everything in.
“It shouldn’t be that different from California. I mean, we’re not that far away. But it is. It’s so…tropical,” she giggled. “And some of the names of things. I need a lesson in speaking Hawaiian!”
“Well, you need to learn how to say Hau’oli Makahiki Hou, for sure.”
“Gesundheit,” she laughed. “I have no idea what you said.”
I glance at her quickly and grinned. “I said happy New Year.”
“Oh hell. I do need to learn that.”
I said it again slowly, sounding out each syllable. “How-oh-lee ma-ka-hee-key ho.”
“I’ll keep working on that. Now, exactly how is it that you know how to say it?”
I laughed. “We came for the holidays a couple of times when I was a kid. I learned it back then. It just stayed with me.”
“That’s pretty impressive, Northman.”
“Well, I do make my living remembering lines.”
“That you do.”
We pulled up to the house and Sookie looked around, taking everything in. “Ready?” I asked after she didn’t make a move to get out.
“Oh, yeah.” She giggled and opened the door.
We took our things in and while I found my way to the master suite to put our bags down, Sookie walked straight though the house and sat down on a lounge chair. I found her there a few minutes later, stretched out, eyes closed.
“Hi,” I said, squatting down beside her. She smiled but didn’t open her eyes. “Want to get into your swimsuit?”
“We have dinner reservations at seven.”
Her eyes opened and she gave me a tired smile. “So you’re saying that I should get moving?”
“I’m saying we have dinner reservations in three hours,” I winked. “I’m going to change. I’ll be right back out.”
When I came out of the bathroom she was in the bedroom changing into her bikini. I grinned at her and rifled in my bag for some sunscreen. We made our way back outside and relaxed, enjoying the peace and quiet. It was not unlike some afternoons we had spent together in Los Angeles, but being on vacation and not feeling like we needed to check our phones every time they chirped or vibrated was even better.
A little while later, I woke to Sookie’s hair tickling my chest as she leaned over me. I pulled her down on me, and her sun screen covered body slipped over mine. “I’m going to shower and get ready for dinner. What should I wear?”
I pulled at the strings on her bikini. “I prefer you in nothing, Lover.”
She giggled and tried to sit up, which moved her breasts closer to my mouth. I stretched my neck forward and kissed her chest as I tried to peel away her top.
“Stop!” She laughed, wiggling away, her top falling down in the process. She crossed her arms over her breasts to cover herself and gave me a dirty look. “Dinner attire?”
I sighed. “A sundress.”
I was regretting our reservations and wishing I could just sit with her on our lanai and eat a salad or something that we made together. However, this was our only night alone before our friends arrived, and I wanted to take her out to enjoy Maui together as well.
After I figured she was done in the shower, I went in and got ready to go. I was a little nervous at having chosen the restaurant for dinner, but I had done some research and thought she would like it. We drove just a few minutes to the Grand Wailea Resort and walked through the hotel to the Humu restaurant. It was thatch roofed and floated on a salt water lagoon full of tropical fish. The menu was heavily Hawaiian and Polynesian, and I had a feeling Sookie was going to be very excited about her first taste of their styles of food.
Sookie was taking everything in, grinning and totally oblivious to the tourists staring at us. I loved that about her, that she could get so distracted and excited about things that she could ignore the weirdness that surrounded me. Well, she could when it was quiet. I figured that now that we’d been spotted at the hotel someone would call in the paparazzi, and there would be at least one of them waiting for us when we left after dinner.
We checked in at the hostess stand and were quickly taken to a table for two out of the way, but still along the railing near the water. Sookie looked over her menu while I gazed at her. I had no idea what I wanted to order, but watching her face as she read over the menu was captivating. A couple of times I heard her say things like, “Oh, my,” and “That sounds wonderful!” After a few minutes she glanced up and caught me watching.
“What are you doing?”
I shrugged. “Just watching your reactions as you read through the menu.”
“Do you know what you’re going to order?’
“No,” I laughed. “I’m thinking I’ll let you choose two entrées, and we can share them.”
“You don’t have to do that!”
“Are you having a hard time deciding?”
The corner of her mouth lifted. “Maybe.”
“Then that’s what we’ll do. Do you want appetizers?”
“I do, but I don’t want to eat too much. How about the ceviche? I always enjoy that.”
I glanced at the menu and laughed when I read what it said about the ceviche. “Never met an avocado you didn’t like, did you?”
She ducked down, a little embarrassed that I knew the reason she chose that item. It was fresh caught fish marinated in coconut milk and lime juice, with mango, avocado and hearts of palm. Sookie had little resistance for all things avocado, and the mango just sweetened the deal for her.
“It sounds great, Sookie. What are you thinking about for dinner?”
She bit her lip, thinking. “How about the Tasmanian salmon and the braised Kobe short ribs?”
I smiled; they had both looked good to me as well. “Fine.”
We ordered and talked quietly as we waited. Sookie had looked through some tourist magazines she had grabbed at the airport, and we talked about the different things that we wanted to do. The ceviche arrived and we enjoyed it. The atmosphere was relaxing and romantic, and we found ourselves discussing the wedding. We seemed to be on the same page, wanting a low-key beach ceremony near sunset, and Sookie couldn’t wait to meet with Isabel in the morning to plan it out.
Our main courses arrived and they smelled, as well as looked, wonderful. The beef was melt in your mouth, and the seasoning on the salmon was delicious; according to Sookie, it was just the right blend of spices and pepper, cooked to perfection.
As we ate, we sipped wine and talked about her gift certificate for Calistoga Ranch and the wineries we should visit. We laughed, because we were on vacation and were already planning our next trip. There were restaurants that Sookie wanted to try and Chef’s she wanted to meet, and I wondered just how relaxing the weekend would be, but I was beginning to recognize that Sookie liked to plan, but also had no problem lying in the sun and doing nothing. In fact, there were times that she would consider her time in the sun a necessity.
By the time we finished our meals, the restaurant was almost entirely empty. There was only one other couple still talking over coffee, and when Sookie saw the woman blush and grin at the sight of me, she directed us towards them, calling out, “Happy holidays!” I noticed she didn’t even try the Hawaiian we’d been practicing and grinned.
They were a nice couple from Fresno, and the wife was a huge fan of Bloodlust. We took a couple of pictures with them, and Sookie cracked me up when she asked the woman to take a picture of the two of us on her cell phone.
As I predicted, there were photographers waiting for us, and they began to harass us as we waited for the car.
“How are the wedding plans?”
“Have you set a date?”
“What are your plans for New Years?”
“What did you give each other for Christmas?”
We ignored them, and I rubbed a hand over Sookie’s lower back. The Jeep arrived, and we headed back to the house. I realized that going to dinner had been a mistake, because as the cars fell into line behind us, I knew I would need Isabel to meet us at the house. There was no way we could show up at her office and keep our plans a secret.
By the time we made it home, we were both exhausted after the long day. I shot Isabel a quick text, knowing she was flexible and on board with keeping our secret. We fell into bed in the master suite with the windows open, listening to the rhythmic sounds of the ocean.
I felt like I had barely laid my head on the pillow when the alarm on Sookie’s phone went off. Sookie moved out of my arms and then suddenly, as I was wiping sleep from my face, I felt her bouncing on the bed. I looked at her in confusion. I knew she hadn’t had coffee yet, so her rapid movement this early in the day was akin to a miracle.
“Mmm. It is. What’s gotten into you?”
“We get to make our wedding plans this morning!”
I laughed at her excitement. “That we do, Lover.”
She grinned, radiating happiness. “I’m getting in the shower.”
Then she hopped off the bed, heading for the bathroom, stripping off her tank top as she went. I may have been half asleep, but with my crazy filming schedules our shared shower time had been severely lacking. I stretched and climbed out of bed, going to join Sookie in the already steamy bathroom to do my part for the environment by conserving water.
After a long shower that didn’t end up saving any water, we raided the stocked refrigerator and had yogurt and fruit while Sookie got high from the smell of Kona coffee brewing. Isabel arrived as we were putting the dishes in the dishwasher, and Sookie could hardly contain her excitement. I thanked her for coming to us for the meeting and she laughed, saying that she’d had a feeling that might happen.
“Maui is an island, you know? Not much is private here, but we try.”
We sat at a table on the lanai, and Isabel let Sookie and I tell her what we wanted our ceremony to be like. She smiled and nodded, agreeing that it was simple and elegant and she would have no problem pulling it off. We talked a little bit about the food she had ordered for us. We would have the basic dishes for a luau for our wedding feast with our friends, which she would personally drop off so no one was tipped off to the wedding until Pam released the news.
Isabel asked if I needed to leave so they could talk about Sookie’s dress and we nodded, saying ‘yes’ at the same time.
I made my way inside and headed to the bedroom. Sitting down on the bed, I took a deep breath, and called my dad. I’d talked to my mom before our flight the day before, and she told me she would be shopping all morning, so I knew it was safe to call.
Not having my parents at our wedding was going to be a big deal, and ideally, I would have loved to have the whole family there, but there had been too much going on and too many chances for things to get fucked up. I wanted to marry Sookie, and that was the most important thing in my life.
My dad answered the phone on the first ring.
“Hey! What’s going on, son?”
“You got a minute? I need to talk with you.”
“Sure, I’m just reading the business section.”
“So, I need to let you in on something mom’s not going to be happy about.”
He was quiet for a second. “If you broke up with Sookie, you’re going to have to tell her yourself.”
I laughed out loud at that. “No, dad. No. That’s not it. It’s just that, well we’re in Maui, you know? And we’re going to get married here. The only one’s here will be Amelia and Tray and Pam and her date.”
Dad was quiet for a minute. “Yeah, she’s not going to like that.”
“I know, but we want to get married and we don’t want to wait.”
He sighed. “I understand, but you know we could have joined you.”
“I do, but we didn’t really decide that this was what we wanted to do until just before Christmas.”
“Yeah. Anyway, listen, we talked about it and even though you won’t be here, we want you to be a part of it.”
“I’m not following.”
“I’m going to send you a link so you can watch it on a web cam.”
He didn’t say anything for a minute, then he said, “Son, I appreciate what you are doing, but you know it’s not going to be good enough for your mom. And what about your brothers?”
“I know, dad, but it’s this or she sees the pictures later. It’s what we want to do. And I’m setting something up with Chris and Sven so they’ll get to watch, too.”
My dad exhaled loudly. “You’re right. I guess I’m just being selfish.”
“It’s not selfish, dad.” I said quietly. “But it’s just how things have worked out.”
“I know, I know.” He laughed. “Listen, I’ll do everything I can to smooth things over with your mother on this end, but I’m telling you now, that woman is going to camp out at your house the entire last month Sookie is pregnant with your first child. There will be no reasoning with her.”
We talked a few minutes more, and I told him I’d send him the link as soon as Isabel had it all set up. He suggested that in order to get mom to watch online, he would tell her that we were going to Skype before Sookie and I went out for the night, and it was perfect.
I could hear Sookie and Isabel in the guest room down the hall, and I made my way back out to the kitchen and grabbed a banana for a snack. I sat down with my script and made some notes. After a few minutes, the girls met me in the dining room looking quite pleased with themselves.
“Do we have a winner?” I laughed.
Sookie giggled, and Isabel said, “Yes, and it’s perfect.”
I smiled. “That’s great.” Sookie came to stand next to me, her hand automatically moved to the back of my neck. “Thank you for all of your help, Isabel. We’ll be in touch the morning of the wedding to iron out the timeline.”
“That sounds great. I have a few phone calls to make, but I’m going to head home from here in case anyone tries to follow me. I have my sisters’ car today as well, she works at the Grand Wailea, so no one will know I was here.”
“Thank you.” Her thoughtfulness was commendable.
Sookie stepped towards her and gave her a hug. “Thanks so much.”
“You are so welcome, Sookie. It’s been a pleasure meeting both of you. I’ll send the dresses for the other girls over with Charlsie when she brings you more groceries.”
Seriously, I didn’t know how Pam found this woman, but she was amazing. She waved and let herself out. Sookie turned and crawled into my lap grinning.
“So, still excited?” I asked.
“Yes.” She nodded. “I think it’s going to be great. What did your dad say?”
“He said payback’s a bitch.”
I smiled. “He said you’d better prepare the guest room for an invasion when you get pregnant.”
She threw her head back laughing, her long hair tickling my arm as I held her. “Oh yeah. That sounds like your mom.”
About an hour later, we were out by the pool when my cell phone rang.
“Stop what you’re doing and pour me a drink.”
“Hello to you too, Pam.”
“The GPS says we’ll be there in three minutes.”
“Sounds good. Did you have a good flight?”
“We did. And mysteriously, my new girlfriend and Sookie’s girlfriend have seriously bonded. Tray and I need alcohol, stat.”
I laughed. “Well, at least they’re getting along.”
“They drank on the plane, and now they’re talking about my lingerie.”
“I’m sure you wear very nice lingerie,” I managed to say without laughing. Sookie was listening, dying to know what we were talking about.
I heard some background noise on the phone and Pam sighed. “Alright. We’re pulling in. See you in a few minutes.”
Sookie and I stood, heading inside and through the house to meet them. We waited at the door as we watched their Jeep finish coming up the drive. Sookie waved like crazy and Amelia jumped out and ran over to her, giving her a big hug. They were chattering nonstop before Tray, Pam, and her girlfriend made it over to us. She was a tall blonde, thinner than Pam, with a bright smile and deep brown eyes. I smiled, expecting Pam to introduce her friend, but Amelia beat her to it.
“Oh my god, you guys! This is Phoebe, Pam’s friend! She’s from Iowa, but Sookie, she went to Northwestern!”
Pam held back a growl. “And she’s an attorney in L.A.”
Phoebe smiled and laughed, clearly not minding Amelia’s excitement. “It’s okay, Pam.” She rolled her eyes and then turned to us. “Thanks so much for including me, and congratulations. I know this is a private affair.”
“You’re welcome,” I said, shaking the hand she reached out to me, and then she stepped over to Sookie, who gave her a hug. “Let me show you all the bungalow where you’re staying, and we can meet back here for some lunch. Sound good?” Pam raised an eyebrow at me, and I put an arm around her as we headed outside. “I’ll make you a Mai Tai when we get back. Promise.”
Pam, Tray, and I jumped into the Jeep while the Midwesterners walked over to the bungalow, talking like old friends. The wedding celebration had officially begun.
WOOT! Mai Tai’s and web cam’s! LOL I hope everyone feels a little better about Elsa, I didn’t realized how protective you all were. Next up, a little sight seeing and, what do you know? A wedding!
Thanks to everyone for reading and reviewing! Things are getting busy in my RL, so I’m gonna tell you right now I’m going to struggle to respond, but thank you in advance for dropping me a line. You guys are the greatest!
Links for this chapter!