Perhaps Love
Chapter 12

Copyright© 2016 by ShadowWriter

"What do you see?"

His daughter, who'd been standing between his knees and staring out at the ocean with him, looked down at her surf watch. "Wave sets of six, with the wave period about twelve seconds or so."

"What else?"

"It's a long lull between sets – almost nine minutes."

"Which means?"

"I'll probably only get two –maybe three – big waves out there before time's up. So, I'll need to attack a couple inside waves after each of those, just in case."

"You all ready?"

She turned toward him, a confident twinkle in her eye, and nodded. "Got my new spring suit on and my board's waxed and ready."

"Forgetting anything?" he asked, leaning forward a bit more in the beach chair.

A confused expression clouded her face. She shrugged and shook her head, not so much as a no but more of an 'I don't think so.'

Rance smiled and held up his smart phone.

The girl giggled, snatched it out of his hand and quickly had it making the necessary call.

Rachel answered on the first ring and the two were quickly immersed in their conversation, chattering back and forth in Spanish. Hailey was far better at it that he was but Rance was able to follow along. Truthfully, he was much better than he let on but with these two women in his life, he clung to any advantage.

Currently, Hailey was telling Rachel all about how there weren't enough girls under age ten, so she would be competing as an eight year old in the Under12 Girls class. Needless to say, Rachel was concerned so Hailey had to calm her down. They were the same waves, after all. What did it matter what age the girls in the line up were?

While they were talking, the announcement was made that Hailey's heat would be starting in ten minutes. Rance gave his daughter a nudge and pointed toward where a couple of the girls were gathering. Nodding her head she quickly wound the conversation down. After exchanging "te quieros" she ended the call and handed him back the phone.

"So, when's she coming?" he asked, as if he didn't know.

"Dad!"

"What, pumpkin?"

She rolled her eyes and let out a large sigh. "She said she should be able to get away by one."

"One ... one ... one..." Rance murmured to himself as he searched through the competition schedule. "Ah, here we go. She should be here in time for the Under12 Girls semifinals. Which means... ?"

"Which means I have to make it to the semifinals."

"Think that'll be a problem?"

Hailey didn't answer but gave him a rather transparent stare.

He laughed. "Okay! Okay! Just asking."

She smiled.

"Now, what's the plan when you get out there?"

"First, stay positive," she responded from memory. "Not everything will go my way and that's okay."

"And second?"

"Have fun!" she squealed as she gave her dad a hug and a kiss.

With a loving swat on the fanny, he sent her off to do the same with her grandparents and then head for her board. Minutes later, he said a prayer as he watched her paddle out.


Nina glanced at her watch. It had been about fifteen minutes since the flight landed. Soon, she thought, as she glanced around the baggage claim area. She actually had a pretty good vantage point. Strategically located between the baggage carousels and the exit doors, the petite woman was seated on a brick bench built into a huge round planter beneath an enormous circular skylight. There were a fair number of people milling about here but not too many. Of course, that would all change once the baggage and the people from Hannah and Zoe's flight would arrive – though that might still be a bit.

It would be good to see them again. With their careers taking off and Rachel's in a state of transition, it had been tough to get together. Zoe surprised them at New Year's back in Illinois, showing up with her new beau in tow, but it had been a while since they last saw Hannah. Well, that wasn't exactly true – they saw her quite frequently on TV, just not in person. As everyone's favorite barista on the new hit sitcom, The Daily Grind, she was kind of hard to miss. Plus they would touch base by phone every couple of weeks or so.

Thankfully, she'd been able to take some time off to come to Maui. Zoe had said Hannah was in desperate need of a vacation and she would know, since the two were sharing a townhouse there in Los Angeles. And what would be a better occasion for a vacation than this? The last time they were all together here was when Terrance was in the hospital, losing his foot. Now they were all coming back for a wedding.

Nina sensed a shadow fall over her. Glancing to her left, she watched as a very familiar figure took a seat on the brick bench next to her.

"Hey, babe," he murmured as he leaned over and kissed her cheek. "The rental van is now parked and waiting. Any sign of them yet?"

She shook her head no. "It shouldn't be too terribly much longer. The plane arrived on time and that was over twenty minutes ago." Nina scooted closer to him and laid her head against his shoulder. "Thanks for coming with me."

"Anything for you," he told her, kissing her on top of his head. "Besides, I probably should be thanking you. Chloe and Rachel's incessant chatter about the wedding plans should be classified as cruel and unusual punishment."

Nina chuckled and poked him in the ribs. "They're not that bad." She heard him let out a large snort. "Well, okay, they are that bad," she admitted, still snickering, "but you aren't supposed to say stuff like that out loud."

"My apologies, Miss, but I am but an uncouth simpleton, unskilled in the social graces."

"Uncouth simpleton is right," she replied with a laugh. "What am I going to do with you?"

"Anything you want, girl. Anything you want."

Nina couldn't help but roll her eyes at the intentionally cheesy line. She'd met Jason Frohm when she took an emergency medical responder course back in Illinois. With her workload for Rachel dropping, she thought she'd supplement it by volunteering for the county's Quick Response Unit (QRU) and signed up for the course she needed for certification. Jason – a lead EMT with the Ferris Fire Department – was her instructor. Sparks flew in the very first class and the rest, as they say, is history. They'd been dating now for just over four months and Nina was thrilled he'd been able to get time off to come with her to Hawaii.

The chime from her smart phone signaling a text message snapped her out of her reverie. Digging it out of her purse, she couldn't help but chuckle at the message.

< u r evil >

"Who's it from?" Jason asked, glancing over her shoulder.

"Zoe," she replied, showing him the message.

His eyebrows shot up and he gave her a curious but amused look. "What'd you do?"

"Who, me?"

"Nina."

"Well ... I may have let a few people know Hannah was coming."

"May have ... who?"

"A few people."

"A few?"

She shrugged, glancing around at the various people milling about. "A dozen ... or two, tops."

"Who told their friends, who told their friends..."

"Which is why we're waiting here at baggage claim and not general arrivals."

"You're very devious, you know that?"

"I try."

Suddenly, the baggage carousel in front of them began to turn. Nina glanced over at the flat screen display above it. It was the right flight. She tapped the phone's screen and called Zoe.

"Going to be awhile?"

She heard the woman laugh amid all the noise in the background. "You got her good. I have to say – the lady with the chauffeur's hat, holding the sign with her name on it, was a nice touch."

"Wasn't she, though?" Nina smirked. "Hey, the baggage from your flight just started showing up. What do yours and Hannah's look like? We can go ahead and grab them for you."

"Mine's still that dark green one with wheels I've had forever. Hannah, however, brought two new ones she just got. They're matching swanky leather ones – light brown I think – with one a bit bigger than the other."

As Nina called out the descriptions, Jason moved to retrieve them.

"So, how much longer, do you think?"

"Not too much longer," Zoe replied after a bit of a pause. "She's following your advice of only doing pictures with people at times like this, no autographs – so it's going pretty quick now. Ten minutes, maybe?"

"Good. We'll be waiting."

Ending the call, Nina glanced over at Jason who had the three suitcases neatly arranged nearby. "Would you be a dear... ?"

He rolled his eyes and laughed. "Now I know the real reason you brought me along."

"Pretty please?" she pleaded, batting her eyes dramatically.

"As you wish." With a comedic bow, Jason hoisted up the three pieces of luggage and set off for the previously parked vehicle.

Surprisingly, Hannah and Zoe managed to arrive before he returned. Nina watched as they said their goodbyes to folks around them and stepped onto the escalators to bring them down to her level. She had to admit, as much as the woman could be a pain in the butt, Vivian did good when she asked Rachel to take these two and Chloe under her wing.

Back then, the agency head couched it all in terms of providing something akin to mentorship to a trio of inexperienced, naïve eighteen year olds, but Nina saw right through that. The request came at the tail end of Rachel's hellish divorce and was a much needed life preserver for the supermodel. It gave her a new focus. In reality, it saved her. She'd been sinking ever deeper into a pit of self-doubt and depression and, thankfully, the interaction with and responsibility for the girls helped pull her out.

After watching two of those three step off the escalator and walk toward her, Nina had to admit – the girls definitely benefited from the relationship, too. Rachel became like an older sister to them and because of her, they'd managed to avoid most of the pitfalls in the business. In fact, the success these two were now enjoying could be traced to her, as well. A call to the voice director of a sci-fi video game Rachel had done voice acting for, put things in motion for Hannah's acting career. While a similar call to a personal friend led to Zoe's auditioning to be a Laker girl.

Zoe's latest boyfriend, though, wasn't a basketball player – turned out those were off limits to the cheerleaders. Instead, the girl somehow managed to snag one of the LA Galaxy soccer players. Nina had met him back at New Year's and he'd seemed pretty nice. Hannah, on the other hand, appeared to be steering clear of any romantic entanglements at the moment – which seemed wise given the caliber of men she talked about approaching her in Hollywood. She and Rachel had many a long talk on that front.

As the girls closed the distance, Nina had to chuckle when Hannah shook her finger at her. She just gave a mischievous shrug, to which the blonde gave an amused eye roll. The three then exchanged hugs and the usual pleasantries.

"So how's the bride-to-be?" Zoe asked, as they headed out the doors toward the parking garage.

Nina gave her a look but just kept walking. The other two laughed.

"That good, huh?"

There was a long pause before Nina responded. "Let's just say that your sister and my boss are doing their best to drive everyone crazy."

"What about Terrance and Hailey?"

"They're at a surfing competition here and most everyone else went with them ... the cowards," she responded, chuckling with the last part as they turned up the aisle where the minivan was parked.

"Think we could go there, too?"

"We could change in the van on the way," Hannah tossed in right after Zoe's request.

Nina was horrified. "Absolutely not! The last thing we need is you two flashing yourself at my boyfriend and him wrecking the rental."

Jason, meanwhile, saw their approach and was standing outside the minivan with both sliding doors open. "Ladies, your chariot awaits!"

"Ooh, this could be fun!"

"Only if you have a death wish," Nina muttered darkly to the tall blonde.

Hannah, for her part, just smiled.


"Thank you so much for agreeing to do this at such short notice, Lucille. This has been a lifesaver!"

"Well, a wedding reception saver, anyway," the large, rather cheerful woman said with a laugh, before shooing them out the door. "I'm glad to help but now I really need to get back to work!"

Rachel breathed a sigh of relief as she followed Chloe out of the cute little bakery. A major crisis had just been averted. The woman originally contracted to provide the wedding cake had to back out the day before. Her son, a college student in California, had come down with spinal meningitis and she understandably flew off to be with him. Terrance's father, Henry, had offered to do it but Lucille had come highly recommended and they wanted to try her first. Thankfully, she agreed – though at a significant uptick in cost, due to the 48 hour notice.

"Oh, for this wedding to be over!" Rachel silently wished to herself. Unfortunately, there were far too many things left to take wrap up.

Stepping out into the midmorning sun, she pushed the appropriate button on her key fob several times and heard the expected sound of the car doors unlocking. Walking around to the driver's side of the white Lexus crossover, Rachel opened the door and got in.

Two more days and it would just be her and Terrance, a little moonlight, soft music playing, his arms around her...

"Thank God she agreed to do it," Chloe let out with a weary sigh as she sank into the passenger seat. "So, what else is left?"

"Now, we head out to the Plantation," Rachel replied wistfully, pulling out into traffic.

"Oh, right! They need final approval of the layout and decorations. Are we going to meet Nigel out there for pictures, too?"

"Actually, the meeting with Nigel about pictures is tomorrow but, yes, this is the last chance to make any changes for the reception."

"Well, that's not too bad. Any changes now will probably be expensive, so no changes ... especially after hearing the price tag for the cake!"

Rachel let out a low chuckle. "Exactly."

"Thank goodness you're ... hey, what's that?"

"That's a text on my phone. Could you get it? It's in my purse."

"Sure," she murmured as she reached for it on the back seat.

"Who's it from?"

"Nina," came the reply followed by a happy sound. "My sister and Hannah are here! She says they're swinging by the B&B and then heading out to the beach to watch Hailey."

Rachel drew to a stop at the light and signaled for a left turn. "Of course they are," she replied matter-of-factly, wishing more than a little that she could do the same thing. To tell the truth, it was driving her a bit crazy that she wasn't there watching. "Speaking of which, could you text Rance for me and see how she's doing? She should be in the quarters about now."

"Okay, done," Chloe replied. "And I also let Nina know we'd be out there as soon as we're finished."

 
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