27: Chapter 16

Hanalei courtesy balihai.com

I saw something weird, but mostly disappointing when I walked back to the motel from Sway Hanalei. And that something helped me figure out where Gary’s been.

I walked back the mile or so to the motel on “cloud nine,” as Gary says. Not a care in the world. I think I was even humming a song under my breath. I remember having a distinct feeling that I wanted to twirl in the middle of the gravel street like Alaina asked me to do in her store. I managed to control that impulse since I already embarrassed myself enough today with the emotional breakdown and all.

As I got closer to the motel, I heard Gary’s voice. At first I thought it was him talking on his phone from our lanai. It was the only thing that made sense at the time. I should’ve known better.

When the lanai was in eye shot and there was no Gary, my ears told me his voice wasn’t coming from from the motel, but from a nearby house in the residential neighborhood we’re staying in.

I thought it a bit odd at first that Gary might be chatting with a neighbor, but then again, he will literally talk to anyone. That nagging feeling that he was mad at me made me want to investigate what he was up to. I wondered if the conversation was behind why he’d been ignoring me for hours. I discovered it was.

I walked past our motel about half a block and stopped dead in my tracks to see Gary fully embraced in a kiss with a woman in the driveway of a nearby home. It shocked me and I quickly jumped behind a tree so as not to be seen.

It’s not like I haven’t seen Gary smashing face with his girlfriends before, but this couldn’t be a girlfriend. This could only be someone he met today or yesterday. And he’s already publicly kissing her? It’s just annoying and embarrassing that he always has to be on someone.

I took a few deep breaths, peeked from behind the tree, and they were still kissing! The girl was grabbing his ass too – had both hands full of his butt and his board shorts. Gross!

That was enough for me. I turned and ran back to the motel and slumped on the lanai.

I’ve been sitting here ever since. Waiting for him to get back, I guess. My hands are shaking. I’m not sure why I’m so worked up about what I saw. I was just kissing Kala on the beach earlier today. Isn’t it the same thing?

No, it’s not cause Gary’s been dodging my calls all afternoon. He got me all worried about him being upset with me.

But didn’t I do the same to him when I was surfing with Kala? He called me five times and I didn’t respond.

That’s all true but what is this, him getting revenge? Some passive aggressive crap? My rational side is telling me he’s doing nothing different than I did, but it still feels weird. Kala is, I don’t know, special to me. I never date and don’t randomly hook up. There’s no way Gary’s “in love” as he accused me of; he’s just looking for a hook up.

Gross.

“Josie!” Gary exclaims from behind me on the lawn, making me jump.

“Where you been?” He says with a smile as he hops up the three steps of the lanai.

“Where have I been?” I say with barely hidden disgust.

Uh oh. I guess I’m not hiding that I’m upset with him.

“I texted and called you over and over,” I say. “I was worried about you. Where have you been?”

“Hey,” he says with a laugh. “You’re annoyed at me for disappearing? That’s rich coming from Houdini herself.”

I’m not finding his dad jokes funny at all. In fact, they’re making me more upset. Him acting like nothing’s wrong is a bit infuriating.

“You knew where I was, Gary,” I say tersely. “I told you where I’d be, and I was with Kala.”

“Ooohhh Kala,” he says teasingly.

“Hey,” I say defensively. “Don’t say his name like that!”

I’m feeling breathless and shaky. Panic is creeping into my body. I hate fighting with Gary, but my frustration with his attitude is off the charts.

“Don’t say his name like that?” He asks incredulously. “I’m joking, Josie. Sheesh, you’re testy.”

“Well, where were you, Gary?” I ask again, shakiness coming through in my voice. “I thought you were purposely avoiding me.”

“Is that a new dress?” He asks, ignoring my inquiries. “It’s really pretty, where’d you get it?”

“You’d know if you read my text,” I say annoyed.

I’m feeling on the verge of tears again. I refuse to cry. I can’t twice in an hour.

“I told you I was going shopping when I texted you hours ago. Where were you?” I ask him.

“Oh yeah,” he says nonchalantly, looking off at the green mountains. “I had some running around I needed to do – I wanted to visit some old spots from when I was a kid.”

“Really?” I ask.

My nervousness and panic at our potential argument is turning into full-blown anger. He’s obviously lying.

“Yeah, really,” he says, looking back at me.

“Did that visit include a blonde neighbor who was just clutching your ass for dear life?” I spit out.

The color drains from his face and the jovial smile disappears. I just nailed him and it feels good. Why did he have to lie? He can’t trick me anymore like when I was younger.

“Oh shit,” he says.

“Yeah, oh shit,” I say back too firmly. “I saw you, Gary. You wouldn’t respond to my texts cause you were hooking up with some rando?”

Gary stands silently for a moment. I caught him off guard. It seems like he’s weighing whether he should lie or tell the truth.

“She’s not a rando, Josie,” he says.

“Oh really?” I say. “How long have you known her? A day?”

“Yeah, I guess,” he says as he embarrassingly looks down at his big feet clad in brown leather flip flops. “I met her in China Village when I got lunch. We had a connection and she asked me back to her house.”

“Ewwww, gross, Gary!” I exclaim. “I hope you used a condom. So nasty.”

Gary stares at me, his mouth agape. I’m pretty sure I took it too far.

“Hey, Josie?” He asks.

“Yes?” I mockingly ask back.

I’m not ready to back down.

“Watch how you talk to me,” he says in a more serious tone than I’m used to. “What I do with my life is my business and I didn’t ask for your advice.”

Oh no. He’s mad at me now. Red alert in my brain. Can’t compute. I don’t like this. Wave of despair approaching.

“Gary, I,” I start to say but he cuts me off.

“Stay out of my business and I’ll stay out of yours with Kala,” he says, emphasizing “Kala.”

He opens the slider to our motel room, walks in, and slams it shut behind him.

“Gary,” I call after him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. You’re right…”

He disappears beyond my view without a word. That wasn’t the reaction I was hoping for. But what did I expect? I pushed him too far.

I take a deep breath and try to fight back the anxiety that’s pressing right behind my forehead and fluttering in my chest. I’m not angry anymore, I guess. I just feel guilty and panicky.

Oh, I hate when we fight! This is awful, I don’t want to feel this way.

But I can’t deny how grossed out I am by his behavior. I don’t know how to feel about any of this.

As I’ve gotten older and realized how much Gary gets around, it’s made it hard for me to respect him. I’ve tried to ignore it for a long time. When I was younger, I told myself he was having real relationships with “girlfriends.” That’s just not working anymore. When it’s right in my face, it’s not as easy to push away.

Should I go in and talk to him?

No, I better give him a minute. I don’t want us to argue anymore. But I want this feeling to go away. Why are Gary and I so off?

The last 48 hours have been unbelievably stressful. I’m sure this friction has something to do with that.

I look down at the yellow fabric of my sundress and remember I’m meeting Kala tonight. I got a beautiful new dress and I was feeling great until I saw Gary and that woman. I can get back to feeling great, right? It’s all about going back into that space and forgetting about what I saw.

“Blech,” I say aloud as I recall Gary kissing that lady.

This is just like getting pummeled by a big wave. It happens. I can let this feeling go and wait for the next wave.

I let out a huge sigh and check my phone. I see a Snapchat alert from Johanna and click it. Jo will take my mind off of this mess.

I check her Snap and see she sent me a picture of herself in a black corset with a full face of dramatic make-up. She’s either playing around doing make-up at home or going out somewhere.

“Hot,” I text to her in the chat.

Suddenly my phone starts to ring with a FaceTime from Johanna. I answer it immediately.

“Johanna!” I squeal into the phone when I see her face.

“Josie!” She squeals back, although shrieking with joy is definitely not her thing.

“I miss you so much!” I tell her. “I wish you were here! It’s so beautiful, you would love it and we’d have so much fun.”

“Aaahhhhh,” she says. “I’m so jealous. I’m just here wasting away at Kava Kava while you’re having some Hawaiian romance.”

I start laughing, even though I feel completely embarrassed. I look over at the slider door Gary just slammed shut, and lower my voice a few notches.

“So you’re not denying it?” She asks sarcastically.

“I guess not,” I tell her, even though I feel shy about the situation with Kala.

“I really like him, Jo,” I say. “We surfed today and we kissed, and we’re going out tonight.”

“What?” She yells, her face in total shock. “What is happening? How am I missing this? I’ve been waiting for you to date someone forever!”

“I know!” I say. “I can’t believe it either. It’s like a dream or something. He’s so cute, Jo, you wouldn’t even believe it.”

“Oh my god, Jo,” she says. “How am I ever going to meet this guy? You know my broke ass isn’t going to Kauai anytime soon.”

“I think you will meet him somehow,” I tell her, although I have no idea why I think that.

“Where are you guys going?” She asks.

“To a restaurant to see his friend’s band play,” I tell her.

“What does Gary think about all of this?” She asks.

Of course, she had to bring up Gary. I look towards the slider and see no movement inside.

“Oh he doesn’t care,” I tell her, a little quieter. “He’s got his own thing going on.”

“What?” She asks with some concern. “Already?”

“Oh you know him, Jo,” I say with a half whisper and a look of disgust. “He’ll probably be 10 women deep by the end of the week.”

I can see the disappointment in her face for a moment before she covers it with sarcasm. I feel bad. I wasn’t thinking about her feelings for him. Just my own feelings about what I saw a few minutes ago.

“Where would the women of the world be without Gary blessing them with his many gifts?” she says with a laugh.

“True, true,” I say, joining in on the sarcasm. “We really are lucky to have a guy like Gary to spread his love around the world.”

We bust out laughing hysterically. It feels so good to be with my best friend. It feels like we’ve been apart forever, even though it’s only been a few days.

“Where are you going, looking so beautiful?” I ask her coyly.

“Oh, I’m going up to LA with some friends to a club,” she says.

“Oooh la la,” I say. “Sounds fun.”

“Yeah, it should be if I can keep myself out of trouble,” she says with a laugh.

“Hey, you be careful,” I say in my best mom voice.

Johanna is more adventurous than me when it comes to going out. I usually decline her trips to clubs and EDM shows.

“Don’t worry, Jo,” she says more seriously. “You know I’m always on my best behavior.”

“I don’t know about that,” I say sarcastically.

“Let’s FaceTime tomorrow again,” she says enthusiastically. “I have to hear everything about your date!”

“OK, yes,” I tell her. “I’ll text you when I get up so we can coordinate times.”

“Love you, Jo,” she says.

“Love you, Jo,” I say back, in our little goodbye ritual.

I end the call and sit back in the chair on the deck with a sigh. I stand up and go to the slider door and cup my hands around my eyes to peer in. I don’t see Gary anywhere. He could be in the small kitchen area or bathroom but I don’t hear anything.

Did he leave out the front door?

He could’ve. Wow, Gary. Dramatic much?

I sit back down on the lanai and ponder our argument. I feel justified in my feelings but hate the sinking feeling in my chest. I forgot about it momentarily when I talked to Johanna, but now it’s all back.

“Aaaaahhhhhh,” I say out loud, but not too loud in case he’s still inside.

I look at the bag at my feet and remember the beautiful dress and shoes I’m wearing. And that I’m going on my first official date with Kala tonight. I need to finish getting ready.

Satisfied that Gary’s most likely gone, I open the slider door and go into our room.

Read Chapter 17

One thought on “27: Chapter 16

  1. Pingback: 27: Chapter 15 – Pop Culture University

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