By Jericho Steele
“Ahhhh … now this is a vacation … ” The rest of whatever Deeks was about to say faded into nothing more than a soft moan as he nestled back into his reclined beach chair. A pair of dark Oakleys covered his eyes and he was wearing nothing but a pair of blue and gray board shorts as the sun over the Hawaiian island of Kauai beat down on both he and his partner-slash-girlfriend.
The striking brunette lying beside him rolled her head to her right and smiled softly at the blonde man beside her. “You’ve been saying that ever since we got here.”
“Doesn’t change the fact that it’s true.” Deeks turned to face her, his smile as bright as the sand beneath them and he shivered lightly when her hand slipped over to rest on his forearm. It still amazed him that even after all of their months of “All in”, he still got the tingles whenever he felt her fingertips skim over his skin.
“You’re a doofus.” Now her smile matched his.
He slid his hand up until he could interlace their fingers. “Yeah … but I’m your doofus.”
Kensi gave his hand a light squeeze. “And don’t you forget it.”
Deeks slipped from his chair to adjust the large green beach umbrella that was no longer protecting them from the rather warm sun rays and Kensi glanced over at one particular beach-mate that couldn’t seem to keep her eyes off the toned detective. She shot her a withering glare but her dark sunglasses prevented the other woman from feeling the patented Blye-Death-Ray. Kensi’s attention was drawn back to her lover when he spoke from where he was wrestling with the stubborn umbrella.
“And how in the world would I ever forget that?” When he glanced down at her, Kensi rolled her head toward the woman who just couldn’t seem to keep her eyes off Deeks. When he saw the location of her oh-so-subtle head tilt, Deeks couldn’t help but let out a rather frustrated sigh. “Come on Kens, really?”
She simply harrumphed. “That woman’s been watching you since we got here.”
Deeks stood rock still but his eyes had fallen back to the beauty at his feet. “Are you kidding me?”
“No! This entire time, Bambi the Land Nymph over there has been having eye sex with you.” Kensi folded her arms across her chest in an effort to stop herself from doing something violent with so many families and children playing on the same stretch of sand. After hearing nothing from her partner, she finally looked up at him and found that he had pulled his glasses up into his hair, a burning fire in his eyes.
“Babe, have you lost your mind?”
Sitting up quickly, Kensi ignored all propriety and pointed directly at the woman in question; who, when it was obvious her observations had been noticed, quickly turned away and feigned indifference. “She’s right over there! Blonde hair … long legs … boobs out to here …” she gestured with her hands several inches further from her own chest. ” … and a bikini smaller than a postage stamp!”
When it looked like she was about to jump up and actually do something ill-conceived, Deeks stepped up beside Kensi’s chair, using his body as a physical barrier. “Whoa there, Firecracker … “
“If she keeps it up, I’m going to go over there and rip off her top and strangle her with it!”
The detective let out a soft chuckle as he reached out to grab Kensi’s flailing arms, tugging on them gently until she looked up at him. “As exciting as that sounds and even though it would be completely scandalous for this particular beach … let’s keep the sexy wrestling matches just between us.”
“But she keeps looking at you!”
“And I can’t stop looking at you.”
His honest confession was like a bucket of cold water on her rising anger, cooling it down with a simple truth. Yes, the blonde bimbo filled out her nearly non-existent bathing suit very well and had turned the heads of several of the other men (and even a few women) on the beach that day, but Deeks had never even acknowledged the other woman at all. As her temper slowly returned to a more even level, Kensi let out a frustrated sigh as she slumped back into her seat. “Still irritates me that she won’t stop looking.”
“You don’t think it irritates me to see all the guys watching you?”
Her expression of shock brought another chuckle from Deeks. “Oh come on Kens! The only thing hotter than you out here is the sand.” When she ducked her head to hide her slight blush, he caught her chin with his fingers to turn her face up toward his. The kiss was short and sweet, but the effect was the same as the butterflies danced through her stomach, igniting a heat that burned through her core. She was trying to catch her breath when his lips slid across her cheek to feather across the shell of her ear. “That lady’s hair could catch on fire … I’d still only have eyes for you.”
He moved to sit beside her, their fingers interlocked once more and yet, Kensi couldn’t seem to find her voice. She felt the gentle squeeze of his fingers as her jealous streak seemed to evaporate like the morning dew and she relaxed into the little bubble that was ‘them’.
“You’re still a doofus.”
Deeks laughed, shaking his head at the antics of his smoking hot girlfriend who didn’t always realize the effect she had on the people around her. Especially the men when she was wearing the little black thing she had on at the moment. He was just about to say something that Kensi would normally call ‘inappropriate’ about what seeing her in that particular suit was doing for him when something out on the water caught his eye. Still holding her hand, he sat up in an attempt for a better view. “I don’t believe it!”
When she saw him rock forward, for a moment Kensi feared the woman’s hair had suddenly spontaneously combusted, then she noticed what Deeks was staring at. Out on the Pacific blue water, just inside the break line, there was a young woman sitting on a red and white surf board with a very young child nestled between her legs. The kid appeared to be close to a year in age and was totally enamored with the waves crashing nearby.
The scene shouldn’t have been all that striking; along the beach, there were several surfers on their boards. Most were alone, but a few had riders, possibly students or simply friends enjoying the waves. What had drawn her partner’s attention and now held hers, was the fact that the woman with the little one between her legs had only one arm.
“That’s Bethany.” Deeks’ voice was laced with a heavy layer of awe when he realized whom it was out on that board.
“Who?” The name sounded familiar, but Kensi couldn’t quite place the context.
He pointed toward the ocean. “Bethany Hamilton … world class surfer who lost her left arm in a shark attack when she was only thirteen years old.”
Kensi’s mind was suddenly flooded with recollections of the story that broke back in 2013 about a young girl attacked on Halloween while surfing with some friends. A tiger shark had bitten off the girl’s arm while she floated gently on the water and only through the courage of the people with her, the heroic efforts of a hospital staff and a miracle of God that she had survived. Not only had she lost an arm just below the shoulder, by the time she had finally made it to the hospital from the secluded beach, she had lost almost 60% of her blood volume and was in deep hypovolemic shock.
It was only a month later that the young woman had climbed back on her surf board and reentered the ocean that had tried to take so much from her. Over the next few months, she learned to surf with only one arm and eventually she began to compete again, winning a place as a surfing legend who would not yield even when the very thing that she loved so much seemed to turn against her.
Deeks’ voice from her side shook Kensi from her thoughts. “I never thought I would actually see her in person.” The adoration in his voice ignited a brief flare of jealousy in the brunette, but Kensi quickly realized that there was no desire attached to his words. He was simply admiring a woman who through her will and faith was able to be more than what she was. “I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to surf with only one arm, but she makes it look easy. And it looks like she’s teaching her son to love the ocean as much as she does.”
When Kensi remained silent and slightly brooding next to him, Deeks tugged on her hand. “Hey, don’t be jealous, Babe … I understand she’s happily married and far too young for me anyway.” When she made no response, he looked over and squeezed her hand gently. “Hey, you okay over there?”
She seemed lost in thought for a moment, but then realized that he had spoken to her, quickly shook it off. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
Deeks let out a slightly frustrated sigh but his words were light when he spoke. “You know, we’ve known each other for years and in all that time, do you think that response has ever been adequate?”
Glancing over, Kensi saw his eyes were alight with conflicting emotions. There was love, of course, and a healthy dose of affection, but behind all of that there was a simple need to know if there was something that was truly bothering her. In their time as partners, and now that they were a couple, she had learned that he would do anything to bring her peace. All she had to do was be honest with him.
“I just …” The thought seemed to die on her tongue but he gave her another look that begged to know what was going on inside her mind and she let concern out with a sigh. ” … just thinking about tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” For all of his keen insights into the beautiful woman at his side, this was one moment when her simple response flew right over his head. “Tomorrow we have para-sailing before lunch and the zip-lines in the afternoon … and don’t let me forget to pick up a little something for Sam, the last time I was here, he wouldn’t stop hounding me for …” It was then that he noticed that Kensi wasn’t really listening any more, her gaze continuing to follow Bethany and her little one as they bobbed one the blue water. “Kens?”
She turned to him, her mismatched eyes beautiful as ever but there was something serious behind them. “Not that tomorrow … you know, tomorrow.”
It took him a moment but then the real meaning behind that particular word became crystal clear and Deeks’ nodded in understanding, not the answer to her statement but with knowing where it came from. This had become a heavy topic for the couple over the course of their burgeoning relationship as they moved from dating to practically living together. Discussions about what they saw in their future together … a bigger house … marriage … kids … and it was that last little tidbit that seemed to tie his girlfriend into knots every time it came up.
A few of their talks had almost degenerated into verbal sparring matches which bordered on the verge of what would be called an argument before they were able to pull themselves back from the edge. It was a heavy subject and he feared pushing too hard too fast, but now seemed like another good time to visit the subject. He just hoped they could keep it amicable, there were still a lot of days left on this trip and souring it with a fight would be disastrous.
She cut him off before he could really get started. “In our line of work, what we do, the dangers we face … how do we even think about bringing a child into that?”
Deeks started to open his mouth but found that she wasn’t finished yet.
“And there’s the fact that I will probably be the worst mother on the planet … I can’t even keep my place clean or balance my checkbook or keep up with my W2s so I can do my taxes!”
Seeing that she was just getting herself all worked up again, Deeks rolled out of his chair and knelt beside her thigh, finally catching her attention by grabbing her left hand. The quick movement brought her eyes to his and he stroked the back of her hand with his thumb, relaxing her even more. “Shhh … babe … I know, it’s a little overwhelming when you think about it, and I’m the last man on earth who has any idea on how to raise a kid or be in a stable relationship …”
He felt the tension leaving her and saw a twinkle of remorse in her eye at the implications of his own upbringing at the disaster that was his example of a father. But there was love and encouragement there as well and it gave him the strength to continue.
” … but I look around us and see others that have made it work and if they can do it, then I have every confidence that you and I can do it too. Yes, you’re messy so I’m the one who cleans up … you can’t find your last check register but I have it all on your laptop … I love to get up early while you would sleep til noon … you mainline Twinkies and I count my calories … Yin and Yang … where I’m weak, you are strong and where you are weak, I’m strong. I know we will make mistakes and that there will be days when we question why on earth did we ever think this was a good idea …” He held her left hand and his thumb slid from the back to ghost back and forth over her unadorned ring finger and his warm smile was matched only by hers. ” … but I love you Kensi Marie Blye and I have it on good authority that you love me too … and that, makes everything possible.”
It took Kensi a moment to catch her breath, she thought for a moment he was about to propose when he had dropped down on one knee at her side, but there were too many people around and she knew that her romantic and extremely sensitive boyfriend would do it somewhere private and special. The confidence in his eyes and the tenderness in his touch propelled her forward to kiss him hard on the lips, stealing both their breaths. When she finally pulled back, she was tempted to lean in and kiss his adorable smile right off of his face, but she restrained herself to say something back.
“I love you, Martin Andrew Deeks … and yes, you’re right, that makes everything possible.”
On his way back into his seat, Deeks kissed her one more time, happy that this last hurdle hadn’t developed into a disagreement but seemed to have only strengthened their bond. He held onto her hand, his fingers tracing a small circle around the place where one day she would hopefully wear the ring he had hidden in his luggage back in their room.
This wasn’t the place to ask her the question, too many people and he sure didn’t want Bambi the Land Nymph to come over with her gravity defying chest and give them a congratulatory hug. No, there was a private beach near where she had lived with her mother and father when they had been stationed here during her dad’s time in the Corps. Kens had told him of taking walks along the shoreline and climbing the rocks with her family when they were still all together … the detective couldn’t think of a better place to get on one knee and open the little velvet box and ask her to make him the happiest man in the universe. He was going to surreptitiously guide her there right after their zip line excursion. Just the thought of surprising her brought another glowing smile to his face.
Kens caught his strange expression and caught his hand, tugging until her looked over at her. “So, what’s got you grinning like the cat who ate the canary?”
“Nothing, just thinking.”
Sighing, the brunette gave his hand a little squeeze, thinking about how dangerous his thinking could be at times. “About what?”
Deeks quickly cut his eyes down to her ringless finger and sent up a silent prayer that it wouldn’t be that way for very much longer.
“Just thinking about tomorrow, babe … just thinking about tomorrow.”