The Perfect Fit
A Try Easy Bonus scene
This never happened to him. Keoni was known for his storytelling, his singing, and for generally being the life of the party. He always had something to say. But when he looked at Lou, he felt struck by lightning. He was at a loss for words.
How had he gotten so lucky? A few months ago, he would have said he hated tourists. Now, he was hopelessly in love with one.
No matter how long Lou lived in Hawaii, she wouldn’t stop being a tourist. She took her camera with her everywhere, constantly delighting in the new sights she discovered.
She had her camera in front of her face right now. Even as everyone else ate and danced and partied around her, Lou took pictures.
She crouched on the ground with her camera angled up at a group of women and little girls dancing the hula. When she stood up, she nearly tripped over a root. Keoni frowned. Lou never took that camera away from her face to watch where she was going. One of these days she was going to walk right off a cliff with her camera glued to her face.
She turned her camera in his direction, and Keoni wiggled his fingers in a wave. Lou lowered her camera, and smiled brightly, beaming her particular brand of sunshine at him before raising her camera again and clicking the shutter button.
After Eddie died, Keoni thought he would never feel happiness again, but Lou had changed everything.
She had shown him how to live again.
He would have given up his whole world for her, but it turned out he didn’t have to. Lou had come to Hawaii for him, and she was perfect here. She made sense in Hawaii, with him and his family.
Lou had given up her life in Seattle to come to Hawaii. She’d changed her entire world for him.
Keoni strode through the clusters of people to get to Lou just as she tripped over one of the puppies his Auntie Tita had brought to the party, hoping to rid herself of them. He caught her around the waist before she could fall.
“Oof.” Lou’s camera squished between them, the hard metal stabbing into Keoni’s chest.
She smiled up at him, and he felt that punch in his gut like it was the first time he’d laid eyes on her. “You have a knack for being in the right place at the right time.”
He brushed his lips over hers, unable to resist claiming a quick kiss. “I gotta find my mom. I’ll be right back, okay?”
“I’m gonna get a few more shots before I lose the light.”
Lou wandered off, already lost in her passion. Keoni felt a pinch in his chest when he saw the way his uncles waved Lou over and welcomed her as if she was already part of the family. Keoni swept his gaze over the lawn filled with friends and family. There was laughter and music, children chasing puppies, and old folks talking story. If Keoni had his way, it was about to get even better. He was going to give his family an occasion to celebrate.
His smile froze as he considered what he was about to do. Keoni could drop in on a twenty-foot wave at Waimea Bay without blinking an eye, but the thought of asking Lou to be his wife terrified him. If she said no, he didn’t think he could bear it.
Then he saw her, surrounded by his family and friends, and he knew it was worth the risk. He swung open the screen door on the porch and went inside where people lounged on every available surface.
One of his cousins had a guitar in his lap. He picked out a tune while a few others sang along.
“Heh! Keoni! Give us a song!”
“Nah, cuz. I’m busy.” Keoni threaded his way around the people sitting cross-legged on the floor. “You see Momi?” It was a pet name everyone called Keoni’s mom.
“In the kitchen.”
Keoni pushed through the swinging door into the kitchen where the air was moist with the smell of fresh-baked cakes. Momi was bent over the oven with mitts on both hands. A pan of hot kulolo cakes sat cooling on the counter. Keoni reached for one.
“Wow, Keoni!” His mom swatted him with an oven mitt. “No shame!”
Keoni dropped his hand. The sweet cakes made from taro were his favorites. His mother’s were hard to resist. But he hadn’t come to the kitchen to eat.
Keoni sat on a stool at the counter. “I gotta talk to you.”
Momi pulled a tray of cakes out of the oven and set them on the counter. “So, talk, eh?”
Keoni leaned his elbows on the counter and planted his chin in his hands. He watched his mother wipe a knife on her apron and cut the cooled kulolo cake into perfect two-inch squares. He watched her transfer them to a platter and sprinkle on powdered sugar and cinnamon. His tongue didn’t seem to be working.
She handed him the platter and made a shooing motion. “Take these outside, and maybe when you come back you can talk. Eh?”
Remembering his purpose, Keoni set the platter down on the counter and met his mother’s dark gaze. “I gotta ask you something.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Momi reached into the pocket of her apron and pulled out a small box. “This what you want?”
Keoni’s heart lodged in his throat as he stared down at the velvet box in his mother’s hand. “How’d you know?”
Momi reached up to cup her son’s cheek. “You never were one to lose your tongue.”
Keoni laughed and scooped his mom up in a hug. “Does that mean you like her?”
“Eh? Why you think I carry this ring around in my pocket for?” She beat Keoni’s chest until he put her down on solid ground. “Go ask that girl before she find somebody else to marry. And take the cakes.”
Keoni dutifully deposited the cakes on the crowded table of food and found Lou by the fire pit. It was the last place she should be considering her clumsiness.
“Let’s go on a walk.” He took her hand and tucked her against his side.
Lou set her camera down on the porch as they passed the house. “It’s too dark,” she said.
Keoni grinned down at her. “Is that the only reason you’re coming with me?” When Lou stiffened, Keoni realized he’d said the wrong thing. He tightened his arm around her waist. “I’d bring back the light if I could,” he said. “Anything for you.”
“You’re sweet.” Lou slipped an arm around Keoni’s waist. “This reminds me of the first day we met,” she said as they continued up the path.
He cinched her to his side, dropping a kiss on top of her head. That was exactly the reason he’d chosen the spot.
They climbed the hill past tombstones dating back at least fifty, maybe a hundred years. They’d looked like this for as long as Keoni could remember—leaning toward the ground like crooked teeth. Angels guarded some grave markers; others were barren. Keoni had been to the top of this lookout so many times he could have done it blindfolded.
His heart galloped as they climbed the final crest. He focused on his goal like he did when he was paddling into a giant wave. When the wave looked especially promising, Keoni would get a tingle up his spine. Right now, his body was one big tingle.
Lou gasped as they reached the destination. Her hand flew to her mouth, and she turned in a half circle, taking in the view. Below them, the city of Honolulu stretched toward the midnight sea. Thousands of lights twinkled in a reflection of the starry sky. It was truly the most beautiful view on the island. Keoni had spent many nights after Eddie had died, looking out over the sparkling city, wondering if the hole in his heart would ever mend.
“It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” Lou clutched Keoni’s hand.
He remembered how her eyes had filled with tears the first time she’d gazed upon his homeland from the top of this hill. That had been the moment he’d known she was more than the average tourist. Lou felt things that no one else did. She saw everything through fresh eyes, and she ripped the blinders off Keoni when he tried to not to see what was around him.
The sun was setting over the distant blue waters, and the lights of Honolulu sparkled like diamonds. The moment couldn’t get any better.
“Lou, I want you to know I never thought I’d fall in love with a tourist.”
She laughed. “I already know that.”
“And I never thought I’d ask one to marry me.” He dropped to one knee and pulled the ring from his pocket.
Lou’s hand flew to her mouth on a gasp. Her eyes went round and she let out a tiny squeak of surprise.
“Will you be my wife?”
For a long moment, Lou didn’t answer. She didn’t even move.
Keoni’s chest tightened painfully. Had he blown this? He knew it wasn’t the greatest proposal ever, but it was heartfelt, and it was all he had.
Finally, Lou dropped down on her knees facing him. Winding her arms around his neck, she kissed him fiercely, taking his breath away.
“Is that a yes?”
Lou kissed him again, pausing only long enough to say yes before kissing him again.
With a laugh, Keoni slipped the ring onto her finger.
It fit perfectly.