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Summary: Kai Williams thinks he’s a mutant. He’s got crazy-strange eyes that are a mash up of colors from green to blue to gold; crazy-strange red, brown and blonde hair and this Twilight Zone ability to know way more than he cares to know when he gazes into someone’s eyes. Not only that but all these voices whisper inside his head, rattling around like ball bearings in a metal pie pan, making him feel full-on schizo.
When he’s in the natural world, he can sense an animal’s electro-magnetic “vibrate, hum and buzz” soul essence long before he ever sees it. When he’s in or on the sea, he goes ga-ga over Thunder Pumpers – those great beasts we call whales - and not just the kind of “Oh, I’m in love with whales” nuts that tourists on the Whale Watch Boat experience. He gets loony-bin psycho when he’s around them.
His solution to this madness? Stop looking. Don’t feel. Keep to yourself. He stays contained, keeping his secrets locked inside, exploring the underwater world as a scuba diver. That’s the only time he’s at peace – at least when whales are nowhere to be found.
But when he meets Cassandra, his world starts to fracture. Fissures form in his heart and mind. His body starts to sizzle and fizz like overloaded household copper wiring with the circuit breaker reset nowhere to be found. A mighty war ensues between his desire to connect and his unwillingness to face his destiny. If he thought he was strange before, he becomes convinced that he’s a real nut-case, certain to be destined for the lock-down lunatic ward. Unable to stop all the changes that occur, he reaches out to a friend for assistance. Only thing is, this friend has a star dreamling inside his chest and a girlfriend who waltzes through the galaxy. That’s when the real fantasy-funfest begins.
Moving through the galaxy in exotic formation, the band of tireless travelers paused to check their starlit map.
One of the travelers sent a telepathic message to the group. “It’s this way.”
The explorers communicated with one another via thought and vibration. Hence, when one conveyed a missive to another, whoever was close to the intended audience might ripple with the message, too. This message was meant for the entire group, however, and was received as an exquisitely pleasurable shudder by all.
This assemblage was known as the Galaxy Dancers. Most of the time, their purpose was merely to co-exist in the All That Is, wandering here and there in ecstatic bliss; today, though, they had a task to do, and they did it in the same lovingly erotic-charged manner with which they did all their tasks. They streamed through the galaxy, coursing past fields of planets, sweeping vistas of star clusters, and streams of cosmic dust. To their right loped several gigantic wolf-like shapes, luminous with electric blues and grays. To their left, several enormous cat-like creatures slunk along; their thick, fur-covered paws whisper soft, and their coats glinting with translucent gold, yellow, brown, and black jewel-like sparkles of light. Following along behind were millions and millions of light seeds, awaiting assignment to true form.
Two high, exalted guardians led the pack. One, in the visage of a man whose golden eyes flashed and flickered with radiant gold and orange light and whose long silky midnight-black hair cascaded from his head, held the precious hand of his beloved. The other, a lucent turquoise and sea blue-eyed female beauty with streaming red hair that burst from her head like a fiery cosmic explosion, gazed at him with adoration. Her hair blew and radiated with the intensity of her essence, while his tresses vibrated with calm.
“Where are we going, my love?” said the female.
“To release the record keepers, mon amour,” he said. He uttered these words to his beloved with such tenderness that a wave of bliss rolled from their hearts, causing the other Dancers to shiver with sensation. “And we shall set free the keepers of the divine fire and the breath of life.”
She nodded her assent and the two of them continued to pulse in symmetry, harmony, love, and power as they made their way through the galaxy.
When they reached the place they had deemed suitable, they made a leap from the skies and dove deep into the oceans of the small planet known as Earth, leaving the rest of the group behind. Following behind them were the as yet unformed seeds of light. These seeds burst into form the minute they made contact with the water. The male and the female took delight as flickers of light assumed life as pods of dolphins and huge whales.
“Is it done?” the female asked.
“It is done,” the male replied.
The female frowned. “Will it be enough? Will our beloved friends here be enough to hold the records of deep wisdom and keep the remembering of knowledge and destiny alive?”
The male being shrugged. “Oh, they will do their job for certain. Will the future denizens of this planet remember? Some will, some won’t. That’s not up to us.”
The female dipped her head in affirmation, a look of serious regard and somber reflection painting her face. “I wish we could do more.”
The male appeared aghast as he communicated with her, mind to mind, heart to heart. “We have done everything…everything, mon amour. There is nothing more we could do except force-feed the future denizens, ramming the knowledge down their throats. And what would be the point of that? Unless a being is willing to assume responsibility for him or herself, what does it matter what jewels we lay before them?” Then, more tenderly, he conveyed, “You have a tender heart, ma chère. Your heart beats the rhythm of the universe. Let us console ourselves with the knowing that at least some will find their way to the truth. There will be keepers of this wisdom, rest assured. But there will be no easy paths or shortcuts, here. That’s not why we chose this place as suitable. We chose it because even though there will be chaos and destruction in abundance, there will also be a fire of perseverance here and a willingness to endure much hardship to recover the truth…to restore their souls.”
The female nodded again as she watched her newly formed mammalian friends, the dolphins cavorting and frolicking; the giants leviathans of the sea moving with elegant undulations through their watery environ. “Alright, my love, alright. We have done all that we can. Let’s just see what unfolds, shall we?”
We actually come into this world as gods. It’s just that we have forgotten who we really are as well as what this really means.
Hale Kealohalani Makua, native Hawaiian Elder the door.
Kai Williams eased the 38’ dive boat through the jewel-like turquoise waters into Harbour Point on the island of Grand Cayman. With skill and expertise, he powered the boat to and fro until it sat snugly next to the wooden dock. Immediately, the crew and the divers jumped into action. The dive masters, or DMs as they were commonly known, secured the Deep Sea Aluminum Catamaran to the moorings while the divers gathered their gear and handed it off the boat. Everyone was talking, laughing, and full of exuberance over their dives today and the amazing life they had seen encountered under the sea. Everyone but Kai, that is. Kai worked quietly, but efficiently, keeping to himself, getting the job done.
Kai was a respected boat captain and DM, but not particularly close with anyone. Standing at 6’5”, with a muscular build, people…okay, women…were always trying to get close to him, though. He didn’t get it. As far as he was concerned, he was a freak. Kai had this wild, unruly mixture of golden brown hair, streaked with red. In front, there was one strip of light blond hair that used to bother him to no end. His eyes were also strange – a smoky gray defined the edges of the iris, leading to a sliver of pale mint green. A darker band of translucent green, flecked with robin’s egg blue and gold completed the colors. Kai thought his eyes and hair just made him look weird. Occasionally, as a youth, he’d longed for contact lenses to normalize his eye color. And he used to try to dye the blond streak brown, but then just gave up and let it be. At this point in the game it was a big, fat whatever.
When it came to interacting, he rarely looked people in the eye, was friendly, polite, and reasonable and took care of business. If individuals thought he was standoffish, well, that was their problem. Truth was, Kai couldn’t let himself get close to anyone. He just couldn’t look anyone in the eyes…couldn’t as in ‘no can do.’ He had this strange ability to know way more than he cared to know about a person when he made eye contact. He might get a glimpse or sensation when he wasn’t looking at someone’s eyes, but the eyes were the key. He’d heard it said that the eyes were the ‘window to the soul.’ For him, that phrase was more than just the stuff of romance. He’d see more than he cared to when he locked eyes with another. Way more…he’d see snapshots of their life…vivid images of situations they were struggling with, relationships they were suffering or enduring, problems they were encountering, pain they were experiencing.
He’d been this way since he was a child. When he was younger, a couple of times he had blurted things out like, “Hey, your husband really loves you. He’ll stop flirting with his co-worker soon, and you’ll get through it.” Or, “The kid’s going to be fine. The symptoms look worse than the illness suggests.” When he did that, he’d be met with stares of fear, shock or anger and then people would move away from him like they might catch whatever the hell he had.
On another occasion, one of his former girlfriends – if you could call someone you only had booty calls with a girlfriend – had told him when he looked at her she thought his eyes “looked like emeralds in a bottomless sea.” She’d gone on to say that she felt like she was “drowning” in his eyes, but she didn’t care…she didn’t want to stop from drowning. His gift had allowed him, on the other hand, to see the boil of self-hatred and bitterness she held inside, as well as the way she longed for Kai to be her savior. It would no doubt take years of therapy to get that self-loathing out of the way, and he sure as hell didn’t want to save anyone. He’d ended that relationship right then and there.
It was too freaking much. People’s biz was their own. He had enough on his plate trying to maintain his own course in life; he sure didn’t need to know about anyone else’s inner garbage. As a result, he just kept to himself, tried to maintain good working relationships with the people around him, and that was that.
What he really loved was life on the sea…loved the water and the waves, the sun and the surf. There, he was at peace. Since he’d left home, he’d worked as a dive professional in some of the most exotic locations on the planet – Malta, Thailand, Fiji, Egypt, and Palau. Everywhere it was the same – do your job, get people/gear on the boat, off the boat, into the water, out of the water…boat onto the trailer, people back at the resort, check, check, check. But when Kai was in the water…when he was submerged in the liquid bliss of the sea…that’s when the magic happened. In the water he was free. The sharks, skates, rays, turtles, eels, and fish could care less if he could see inside their souls. And, here was one of the coolest things – the thing he never told anyone – he’d always sense an animal before he saw them. Each mammal – be it on land or in the water – had a signature…call it a vibration or an echo of their essence. He’d feel it like a thrumming sensation that started in his pelvis, spread down his legs, and pulsate up through his chest and out of his heart. The turtles had a low, slow vibration. The sharks had a sharp animated signature. Octopus had this unusual, quiet vibration. And once, in Australia, he’d been in the water with humpback whales, and they’d blown his mind. He’d felt wave after wave of sensation pulsing through him and that, coupled with the whale song, was the most beautiful experience he’d ever had. In fact, he was so taken with the experience, he’d nearly dropped his regulator out of his mouth like he was completely narced – something that happened when your body was overloaded with nitrogen and your judgment was impaired, almost like you were drunk or high. Had he done that, he could have drowned. But he’d recovered, ascended back to the surface with his heart split open wide and tears in his eyes, like a weeping babe. Luckily, he could pass them off as sea water and not appear all weak and stupid. Yeah, he felt an incredible ease in the water that was incomparable to anything he experienced topside. And today, as soon as he got the Catamaran parked at the resort, he intended to do just that – get in the water and be free for a few.
While he was waiting for divers to clear off so he could load the boat onto the trailer, his cell phone bleeped. He pulled the beat up P.O.S. phone out of his pocket and slid open the text messaging.
“Some guy just called 4 u. Said it was nothing urgent but wants u 2 call,” he read.
“Who was it?” he texted back.
Then he read, “Cam Tyson from Seattle.”
His old pal Cam! What a trip. He wondered what he wanted. Kai hadn’t heard from the guy in years. Although he was a couple years younger than Cam, they’d been best of friends in school, but went their separate ways when Cam split from home. Cam had endured a messed up childhood, that was for sure. His dad was pure asshole. He’d heard that Cam had beat up his abusive dad and ran off to live with his grandma Gwen. Then he’d gotten way messed up with the whole party scene and that was the end of their friendship. Kai couldn’t blame his friend for up and getting out of there, but he’d sure missed his buddy for a while there.
After Kai had graduated, he’d traveled the world, moving from job to job. He needed to get away and try to sort out his frigging “ability” and do something interesting. He missed his brothers and sisters sometimes, but they all stayed in touch as best they could. Mano was his oldest brother, a tattoo-sporting beast of a guy. He’d stayed close to Cam and kept Kai apprised of Cam’s goings-on from time to time.
Mano was a giant. He looked pure Maori chieftain with a scary ass face. He had taken over as the man of the house when their father had died – not Kai’s bio-father, but the rest of the kids’. Then there was him, his sister, Ahu, and then his other sister Epa, then his baby brother Pio. They’d all been given traditional Maori names at their father’s insistence while he was stuck with Kai. It figured.
He always felt like the odd man out in his family, even though they all got along. He’d been his mother’s little “mistake.” His mom and his dad – or rather the guy who had raised him like a dad – had separated at one point during their marriage. She’d gone out and had an affair with some guy named Chester Banks. Chester had apparently been a pro quarterback football player which was where Kai got his muscle and build. Chester had been no father by any stretch of the imagination. All he’d wanted was to get inside his mama’s britches, condom-free, and get her knocked up. Then he got out of town, on to the next game and no-doubt the next sexual conquest. He’d never contacted Kai. The guy probably had kids around the country that he didn’t know about.
His mother told him how she poured over baby books to find a good name for him. Finally, she’d decided on Kai. “In Burmese, it means ‘strong or unbreakable’,” she told him often. “In Hawaiian, it means ‘ocean water.’ And in Yoruba, it means ‘love’.” Then she’d grasp him to her and whisper into his hair, “But in my heart, it means you are my special boy.”
Special. He hated to be special. He just wanted to be like everybody else mucking around on this planet.
His dad had often mumbled to his mom, “In Maori, Kai means ‘food,’ which means we’re going to have to put more on the table thanks to your little transgression.”
Whatever. In Kai’s mind his name meant fucked up.
Kai’s sour reverie was interrupted by his boss, Nina Cary. “Hey, kiddo,” she called, striding up to him with purposeful steps.
Nina was 42, older than him by 10 years. She was lean and tan from endless hours at sea, diving and doing endless research. Since she was in the water so much, her sun-bleached hair was kept short and framed her head, giving her a pixie-like appearance. She had a cheerful face and, underwater, was one of the most expressive people that Kai had ever encountered. Looking at her, he found it hard to visualize the diligent researcher and writer she was when not out at sea.
“What’s up, Nina?” Kai said with a slight smile.
“How’s it going with the new research program volunteers?”
“Oh, it’s going,” said Kai. “No complaints so far. There’s one kid who’s having a few problems with buoyancy control, but I think he’ll sort that out soon enough.”
“Speaking of volunteers, the real reason I came out here was to see if you’d go diving with one of our newbies – she arrived yesterday, and I want to use her on a special project I’m working on. Her name is Cassandra.”
“Is she cute?” Kai asked with a wry smile.
“That’s for you to decide.”
“What’s the special project?”
“I’m not ready to talk about it.” Nina looked away from him and began fidgeting with the gear bag over her shoulders. Unzipping a side pocket, she pulled out a container of lip balm and dabbed it on her lips. “They’re so chapped,” she said, as if explanation was needed.
Kai narrowed his eyes. He’d worked here longer than any other DM. He was the head of the volunteer program. Plus, he had a great working relationship and friendship with Nina. Why wouldn’t she share the new project with him?
As if sensing his thoughts, Nina said, “It’s something close to my heart, Kai. And, to tell you the truth, I’m afraid I’ll jinx it if I spill the details too soon.” Her face reddened and she turned away. “I know that makes me sound like a superstitious ninny, doesn’t it?” She let out a short laugh. “I’ll let you in on it when I’m ready. But back to Cassandra - she’s a good diver or so she says. And, she’s the daughter of a dear friend of mine. I’d like you to take her out and get the feel of her abilities…see where her strengths and weaknesses are. Just take her off the dock back at Blue Horizons and do the wall there.”
“Sure, Nina,” Kai responded. “I’ll be happy to do that. When do you want me to do this?”
“After you get the boat back to the resort, Cassandra will meet you at the shop. She’s over there now filling out some paperwork.”
“Okay, will do.”
Back at the Blue Horizons gift shop and dive rental facility, he paused to look at some of the photos he had taken which were hanging in the window. “Nice shot,” he said quietly. “I love the way the light hits that shark.” When he reached for the handle of the glass door to the shop, the door burst open, causing him to hop backwards to avoid having his skin scraped free of his bare foot. A young woman, holding a scuba regulator in one hand, a wetsuit draped over her arm, and a scuba mask in the other hand stopped at seeing Kai. “Oh! Sorry!” she exclaimed.
“No problem,” Kai said. He looked at her, and his heart quickened. She was short – about 5’2” – and had a tangled mess of blond curls framing her tan face. Kai eyed her shorts and tank top. He moved his eyes up and down her body in a swift, practiced gesture. Nice, he thought approvingly. Realizing that he was gawking, he moved to the side of the doorway and swept his arm outward. “After you…”
“Maybe you can help me,” she said, looking up at him with a frown. “I’m looking for the shore dock.”
“It’s down there.” He indicated the long 100’ dock reaching out towards the beckoning water. “Are you going out diving?” Well, duh. What was all that gear for? Nice work, Sherlock, he chastised himself.
“Yeah. I’m supposed to go out with some guy named Kai…Kai Williams. Do you know him?”
His breath caught. “Sure do. At your service.” He extended his hand.
She moved the mask to her left hand and reached out with her right to take his. “I’m Cassandra.” She bit her lip before continuing. “I just got here. I’m from Seattle. I’m a Dive Master with advanced training in Search and Rescue and Search and Recovery – not just the usual courses. I’ve got over 300 logged dives.”
Kai’s eyebrows lifted, amused. “Is that what they told you to say? This isn’t an interview.”
She scrunched up her face. “No. I just wanted you to know you’re not going out with a beginner diver. You’ve got a reputation as some sort of dive god or something.”
Kai reached up and scratched his cheek, covered with a day’s stubble. “Don’t know about the god part…I’ve got a few dives under my belt.” Like over 2,000. “And you couldn’t volunteer here unless you were a good diver. We don’t let beginners into the program.” Kai stole another look at her breasts and gulped. He quickly brought his eyes up to meet hers and saw her giving him a studious look. Keep this professional, genius. She’s here to work with you, not bed with you. “Well, nice to meet you, Cassandra. I’m going to turn in my boat roster. You can either wait for me and we’ll head down together or just meet me at the dock.”
She made that little frown again. “I’ll meet you at the dock. I’d like to start organizing my equipment.”
“Of course. See you there.” He swept his arm out again and invited her to take her leave. Then he watched her saunter towards the dock, her hips swishing back and forth, her curls tossing in the breeze, her legs…Oh hell, stop this!
He hadn’t had what could be classified as a girlfriend in a long, long time. And really, he wasn’t looking for another girl to have sex with. His relationships were usually casual hookups that lasted as long as they lasted and then they ended. He’d had more than his fair share of those. Usually the girl would want more from him than he was willing to give. But since he had this freakazoid eye gaze thing, he sure didn’t want to invite closeness into his life. That aberration was no one’s business.
Right now, he was probably just horny. He had to keep this professional, as in P.R.O. This was his job, after all. But damn, she was cute. And there was something about her that both appealed to him and scared the bejeezus out of him. .
“Hey, Kai, anybody home?”
Kai looked up, startled. “Oh, hey, Will. I was just coming to find you. Here’s the boat roster from today.” He handed Will the small black book in which they recorded details from the day’s dives.
Will Cary was Nina’s husband. He was a stocky, affable guy with an easy manner, a great sense of humor, and an enduring commitment to the work that he and Nina did. Will lifted up his red ball cap with one hand and scratched his brown and gray-flecked hair with the other. “Didn’t look like that to me. I saw you watching our new volunteer stroll down the sidewalk.”
Kai glanced up at Will. “Yeah, well…” He bit the inside of his lip. “I have to take her out for a checkout dive.”
Will laughed. “I can see you’ve already begun checking her out.”
Kai glanced at Will, embarrassed. “Yeah, right…”
“I’m kidding. Have a good time. Go do your thing.”
Kai turned and trudged back down to the end of the dock feeling utterly foolish. He didn’t want people all up in his business any more than he wanted to be up in theirs. He saw Cassandra already busy setting up her gear. Her Buoyancy Compensator, or BC, was cinched onto the tank, and she was tightening her regulator onto what was called the first stage at the top of her tank of air. After she finished with that, she turned her air on and checked the air flow coming out of her regulator mouthpiece. Her movements were thorough, efficient and practiced. He liked that about her. “You doing okay? Have everything you need?” Without waiting for an answer, he continued. “We’re just going to go climb down the ladder and head for the wall there.” He pointed to the right. “It drops to about 70’. We can weave through the fingers – the outcroppings – and see what’s out there.”
“Okay, yeah. And yes, I have everything I need. Where’s your gear?”
“Back at the shop. I’ll go kit up and be right back. I just wanted to make sure you didn’t need anything else.”
She gave him that studious look again. “Nope, I’ve got everything I need.”
They both stood there for a moment without saying anything.
Kai felt awkward and uncomfortable. He looked down at her gear and scowled. “Put your weights in the pockets. Get suited up, and I’ll be right back.” He watched her eyebrows rise slightly, her cheeks redden, and she nodded her head. “Okay, then, I’ll be right back,” he said again. He turned swiftly and stalked back to the shop, muttering and chastising his behavior. After he’d donned all his gear, cinched his BC and tank onto his back, checked his air and pulled his mask atop his head, he headed back to where Cassandra was sitting. She’d pulled on her wetsuit and, seeing him, she hopped up and stood before him like she was in the Marines.
“Ready!” she declared.
“Okay,” he said. “I can see that.” He wanted to add an ‘at ease, solider,’but bit the phrase back as he took in her beauty. In the form-fitting black wetsuit, her figure was 100% vintage Coca-Cola bottle hourglass, and he was a thirsty man who wanted to take a long, deep drink. Swallowing hard, he again moved his eyes away from her figure and looked down at her tank and BC, lying prone on the wooden dock. “Usually we kit up back there at the shop.” He saw her cheeks redden again. “It’s no big deal. I should’ve mentioned it earlier. Here…I can hold your BC for you while you put it on. Unless you’re more comfortable putting it on in the water. Some people don’t like to climb down the ladder all geared up. Or, the tide’s high enough you could do a seated entry. It’s not deep enough to do a giant stride off the dock, though.”
“No, that’s fine,” she said quickly. “The ladder will be fine.” She turned her back towards him and waited for him to lift the tank. “Go ahead.”
Kai reached down, hoisted her heavy gear with ease and propped it on his knee so that he could pull the shoulder straps apart. He smiled at the pink pockets on the BC. She’s such a succulent woman. “Here…”
She looked back, put one arm through the opening, then the other, leaned forward to grab her crotch strap, tucked it into her waist strap and secured the buckle. Putting her regulator in her mouth again, she gave a small inhale, blew out, and then let it fall from her lips. Without looking at him, she again stated, “Ready to go.” She clipped her mask to her BC, put her pink fins at the edge of the dock, and started down the ladder. Once in the water, she put her fins on, pulled her mask over her eyes, and stood waiting for Kai.
Kai climbed down the ladder and stood next to her in the three foot water. He reached around and made sure her air was on.
“Didn’t you see me breathe into my regulator?” she asked.
“Yeah, this is just a habit. I should’ve done this up on the dock. I seem to be off my game,” he said in a low voice, as if to himself. He tugged at her straps and scrutinized her gear making sure that all was in order, consciously keeping his movements professional. “Here’s my pony bottle and regulator,” he stated, pointing to the redundant system at his side. “If you get into an emergency situation, just grab it and start breathing.”
“Got it,” she said.
“Here are the hand signals I use to indicate how much air I have. What does this mean?” He flashed three fingers sideways and then curled his fingers into fists two times.
“Um, let’s see. Three fingers sideways…that’s eight. Then the two fists are zeros…800 lbs. of air left.”
“Good. How about this?” He flashed one finger straight up, two fingers sideways, then one finger sideways, and then made a fist.
“Let’s see. One finger up indicates a hundred or a thousand. Two fingers sideways – seven. One finger sideways – six. Then a zero. 1,760 lbs. left.”
“That’s great. Not too many divers count that way. I just find it easier.”
Cassandra smiled slightly, pleased to have gotten it right. “My advanced dive instructor taught us that way.”
Kai gave a curt nod. “Okay. Good. We’ll drop down, and then the head out at about 160 degrees.” He tapped his compass. “We’ll come to the edge of the wall. Drop over the edge and descend to 70’. There’s another ledge a ways out from there that goes deeper but we’ll just stay at 70, got it?” Once again he glanced at her chest and then back to the compass.
“Just…only…” She shifted uncomfortably and stared at the water.
“Just say it, Cassandra. Once we’re down below, all we’ll have is hand signals.”
“Okay, well, I just wondered if you’re mad at me. Am I doing something wrong?”
Kai jerked his head back, perplexed. “No, why would you say that?”
“Because you won’t look at my face, and you keep scowling.” She reached down and anxiously tugged a strap on her BC. “I’m sorry, I’m just nervous, that’s all. I want you to know that I’m a good diver.”
Kai forced a smile. “That’s what we’re here for – for me to see for myself. And no, I’m not mad at you or anyone.” Except myself for acting like an idiot around you. What the hell was he thinking? He worked with women all the time. Women of every size, every shape, and nationality rolled through these parts. He took them out, helped them and guided them…worked with the volunteers…all with no problem whatsoever. This woman had the strangest effect on him. He shook his head to clear it. “Okay, let’s do this. Ready?”
When she nodded, he released the air in his BC, watched her do the same and they both descended into the deep blue sea.
As they swam towards their agreed upon depth, Kai could not help but be impressed. Cassandra was an outstanding scuba diver. He found a smile playing at the edges of his mouth as he watched her glide effortlessly through the water. She angled her body so that she was vertical with her head down to peer inside a small cave at a Parrotfish. She pivoted until her body was completely prone and gave him a small wave. Then, with sinuous grace, she turned and swam slightly ahead of him, turning around from time to time to make sure Kai was close. Kai knew that maneuvering your body in such an easy manner took practice, skill and total comfort with being underwater.
Kai floated up next to her and shone his flashlight into a vase sponge. Cassandra brought her face up close to his, to spy what he was looking at. He felt his heart skip at the nearness of her. She flashed him a shy smile upon seeing the colorful, orange nudibranch clinging to the inside of the sponge. He quickly moved away from her, pretending to look for something else to show her. When he felt the vibrating signature of a sea turtle, he jerked in alarm, took a couple deep, calming breaths and then pointed the creature out when it came into view. Same when he sensed a couple of eels. He did not want to freak Cassandra out and reveal himself. Goddamn it, get it together, Williams, he lectured. This is fucking ridiculous. You dive with people all the time.
When they turned around to start their ascent, Kai felt a mixed up jumble of thoughts and feelings. Thinking about the scary feelings that Cassandra stirred in him, he shook his head. This is going to be a long, messed up volunteer season, he thought. I have got to get my head back on straight. He gave her one more appraising glance before they both popped to the surface. Then, he assumed his “business as usual” attitude. He was not going to give way to these feelings. No how, no way.
This book was awesome. This is the 3rd book in the Wicked Series and they just kept getting better.
I enjoyed the unique characters in this story. I loved the idea of supernatural
beings deciding to become mortal to discover new things! Usually it's the other
way round! The story and the characters are engaging. Curious to know how it develops.
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