Sisterchicks do the hula, p.1
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       Sisterchicks Do the Hula, p.1

           Robin Jones Gunn
 
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Sisterchicks Do the Hula


  From one Sisterchick® to another …

  “Robin Jones Gunn is the perfect tour guide for this joy-filled Hawaiian adventure. You’ll feel the sand between your toes, taste sweet pineapple juice, see amazing rainbows—all without having to put on a bathing suit! Your travel partners, two turning-forty chicks, will feel like old friends the minute you hit the beach. Funny, touching, and true to life, Sisterchicks will have you doing the hula (and loving it!) by the last page. Grab your grass skirt, girlfriend—this is one trip you don’t want to miss!”

  —LIZ CURTIS HIGGS, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF BOOKENDS

  “In real-life, Robin Gunn is my very own special sisterchick! Her books capture the warmth and humor that mark our friendship—and that keep readers hooked until the last page. Sit back and enjoy!”

  —KAREN KINGSBURY, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF THE REDEMPTION SERIES

  “The beauty of Robin’s graceful writing many times brought laughter and tears. Sisterchicks on the Loose was so wonderful, I didn’t think she could top it, but Sisterchicks Do the Hula is Robin’s best work yet. I can’t wait for the next book!”

  —DOING THE HULA IN OREGON

  “What a vacation. Made me want to fly the coop with my sisterchick!”

  —KRISTINA

  “Sisterchicks Do the Hula is one more step in my spiritual journey of awakening. The depth of the book embraced me with lessons on living in the unforced rhythm of grace. The last time I visited Hawaii, I was a haole. The next time I visit, it will be with a whole new understanding of aloha.”

  —ELIZABETH

  “I picked up Sisterchicks Do the Hula and absolutely could not put it down! It made me feel like I was wiggling my toes in the warm sands of Waikiki Beach. It made me laugh out loud and cry a couple of times. But most of all it made me want to head out to North Dakota, grab my best girlfriend, Sherry, and hop a flight to Honolulu to see what kind of sisterchick adventure we could have together!”

  —KATHLEEN

  “I will never hear the word aloha the same. No longer a trendy island greeting, it’s the essence of welcome. So is the story of Hope and Laurie. As the island breeze blew its aloha, God’s breath was blessing me with each page. Robin welcomed me to enjoy another wonderful story of fun, friendship, and aloha!”

  —MARGARET

  SISTERCHICKS DO THE HULA

  PUBLISHED BY MULTNOMAH BOOKS

  12265 Oracle Boulevard, Suite 200

  Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921

  All Scripture quotations and paraphrases, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked (NKJV) are taken from The New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

  The characters and events in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons or events is coincidental.

  eISBN: 978-0-307-56417-7

  Copyright © 2003 by Robin’s Ink, LLC

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Published in the United States by WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of The Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc., New York.

  MULTNOMAH and its mountain colophon are register trademarks of Random House Inc.

  SISTERCHICKS is a registered trademark of Multnomah Books.

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Gunn, Robin Jones, 1955–

  p. cm

  1. Female friendship—Fiction. 2. Women—Hawaii—Fiction. 3. Women travelers—Fiction. 4. Hawaii—Fiction. I. Title

  PS3557.U4866S56 2004

  813′.54—dc22

  v3.1_r1

  OTHER BOOKS BY ROBIN JONES GUNN

  Sisterchicks Devotional: Take Flight!

  Gardenias for Breakfast

  Finding Father Christmas

  Engaging Father Christmas

  SISTERCHICK NOVELS

  Sisterchicks on the Loose!

  Sisterchicks in Sombreros!

  Sisterchicks Down Under!

  Sisterchicks Say Ooh La La!

  Sisterchicks in Gondolas!

  Sisterchicks Go Brit!

  THE GLENBROOKE SERIES

  Secrets

  Whispers

  Echoes

  Sunsets

  Clouds

  Waterfalls

  Woodlands

  Wildflowers

  TEEN NOVELS

  The Christy Miller Series

  The Sierra Jensen Series

  Christy & Todd: The College Years

  The Katie Weldon Series

  GIFT BOOKS

  Tea at Glenbrooke

  Mothering by Heart

  Gentle Passages

  For Cindy, who flapped the red hibiscus bedspread over the lanai, and for Carrie, who did all the driving around Honolulu and got only one ticket. You two are the best prayer pals a sisterchick could ever ask for.

  And for Janet, Julee, Kathleen, and Lisa,

  who gently made this a better story

  with their editorial expertise.

  For the Daughters of Hawaíi, Calabash Cousins, and staff at the Mission Houses Museum.

  You made me feel welcome with your gracious aloha. Mahalo.

  Contents

  Cover

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Other Books by This Author

  Dedication

  Prologue

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Epilogue

  “A friend loves at all times.”

  PROVERBS 17:17A, NIV

  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?

  Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.

  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.

  Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.

  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”

  MATTHEW 11:28-29

  “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

  —SAINT AUGUSTINE

  Laurie came up with the idea to go to Hawai’i. Both times.

  The first time she made the suggestion was in 1983, when we were sophomores at UC Santa Barbara. I was up to my eyebrows in shattered bits of my heart when I burst into our dorm room to blurt out the news: My engagement was off. While I had been busy trying on bridal gowns and ordering invitations for the June 19 wedding, my fiancé was leaving work early to smooch with some seventeen-year-old cinnamon twist who worked at Taco Bell.

  Laurie saw it coming, but to her everlasting credit, she didn’t try to collect my heart’s fragments and glue them bac
k together. Instead, she administered a steady supply of tissues for my big, globby tears and listened patiently until I had no more words to spit at her.

  “Hope, listen to me,” she said firmly. “You’re going be okay. Better, actually.”

  I said something about how the only thing that would make me better would be some serious chocolate. So we proceeded to the vending machine at the end of our hall and ceremoniously inserted our precious laundry quarters until all the Oreos and Reese’s Pieces were ours. Returning to the room, we ate every last dot and crumb while sitting cross-legged on Laurie’s sheepskin rug.

  “I think we should go somewhere on June 19,” Laurie said. “Someplace exotic.”

  “Why?”

  “Because you need a fresh start. A new dream. Something wonderful to look forward to. Where should we go?”

  The only place I wanted to go was a dark cave where I could hibernate for six months.

  “I have an idea.” Laurie rose to her feet. She fluttered her arms about to the right and then the left while awkwardly swishing her hips. “What do you think?”

  “I think you need hula lessons,” I said flatly.

  “Exactly! I do need hula lessons. And so do you. That’s why we should go to Hawai’i. On June 19. Just the two of us.”

  I let the word Hawai’i plant itself in my ravaged soul like a lone tiki torch flickering in the midst of all the smoke and ashes. Hawai’i.

  All we needed was some money.

  Laurie and I spent spring break in Napa Valley working at the restaurant Laurie’s parents owned. We hoped for many generous tippers, but it turned out there was only one. Gabriel Giordani.

  Before my eyes, Laurie fell in love with this struggling artist who came to the café every day with his two daughters. His wife had passed away a few years earlier, and all the locals loved to gossip about Gabe and his paint-splattered jeans. Laurie gave them something to really gossip about our last morning there, when she kissed Gabe on the mouth, right in front of the café window.

  She and I were about three miles down the road when Laurie said, “You know what, Hope? I’m going to marry that man.”

  I studied her profile and solemnly said, “I know.”

  I also knew that on June 19 Laurie and I would not be flying to Honolulu. Somehow, it was okay.

  Many years later, when my husband and I saw one of Gabriel’s paintings in a restaurant, I told Darren that, looking back on that season of my life, I realized I didn’t need the actual trip to Hawai’i as much as I had needed the possibility of such an adventure. That was what Laurie gave me—she dared me to dream when I wanted to die.

  Darren said I should get back in touch with her because true friends like that are hard to come by.

  “I know,” I said. “But Gabe is practically famous now. They’ve probably moved to an estate. She might not remember me.”

  “She’ll remember you.”

  “I don’t know if the phone number I have is right anymore.”

  “You won’t know until you dial it and see.”

  But what would I say? I miss you, Laurie. By any chance, do you still have the key to the back door of my heart? Because I have yet to make a duplicate and give it to another friend.

  No. I wouldn’t call Laurie or write her. The season of our friendship had passed.

  Then, as only God can, He surprised me. I think He prompted Laurie to call out of the blue just to prove that He knows me by heart. He knows what I need even when I’m too timid or belligerent to ask for it. Laurie and I had an unfinished dream. Neither of us had yet learned to do the hula.

  The day Laurie called me she was in New York.

  I was in the garage, mopping up psychedelic puddles of Rocket Pops. Our ancient freezer had coughed its last icy breath sometime during the night, and the entire summer supply of Little League frozen confections was forced to seek alternate accommodations. Unfortunately, the Popsicles tried this on their own and met with disaster.

  “Gabe has meetings all afternoon,” Laurie said, after I recovered from the shock of hearing her voice in the middle of my mess. “I know it’s last minute, but I’d love to drive up to see you.”

  “Are you sure?”

  “Yes, very sure. If it’s not too inconvenient.”

  I warned her about the Popsicle massacre. “And it’ll take you a couple of hours. Are you sure you want to drive?”

  “Yes, I love to drive. Remember?”

  I smiled. Yes, I remembered. Laurie had a passion for the open road. “Are you going to rent a convertible?”

  “You know it! Now don’t go to any trouble.”

  I hung up the phone, rinsed my permanently cherry-scented mop, and frantically began cleaning the rest of my humble abode like Tigger on steroids.

  When Laurie pulled into the driveway three hours later, she emerged from a black convertible sports car and smoothed her straight blond hair. Back in college her hair was as brown as mine.

  She looked taller than I remembered. Maybe because I was feeling rather small at the moment, hiding behind the living room curtains, spying on her and wishing I had done all the laundry last night so the dryer wasn’t making that thunking noise in the background.

  Laurie adjusted the collar on her crisp white sleeveless shirt and pulled off her sunglasses. For one paralyzing moment, I couldn’t imagine what we would talk about.

  I opened the front door, and miraculously all time and differences evaporated. We hugged and starting to talk over the top of each other’s sentences, as if we were back in our dorm room. All that was missing were the Oreos and Reese’s Pieces.

  We talked nonstop. I only remember one part of the marathon conversation, which was when Darren returned from the park with our three boys. They looked hot and frazzled and ready to be home. I couldn’t believe the afternoon was gone. The words that sprang from my mouth were, “But we’re not done yet.”

  Laurie started to cry sniffly little tears. An untrained ear might think Laurie was simply trying not to sneeze, but I knew she was crying. Laurie leaked and squeaked. I slushed and gushed. We knew this about each other.

  “You’re right,” Laurie said. “You and I are not done yet, and I have a feeling we never will be.” She blinked quickly and tried to smile for Darren’s benefit.

  Laurie stayed long enough for pizza. She promised to call me the next day from her hotel. We talked for two hours. I called her the next week. She called me the week after that. I called her the next and so on.

  “Think of it this way,” I told Darren, when I showed him the phone bill a few months after Laurie and I reconnected our coast-to-coast friendship. “It’s cheaper than therapy.”

  “What do you two talk about?” he asked.

  “Everything.”

  “Like what?”

  I shrugged and listed topics Laurie and I had covered during the past week. “Varicose veins. New ways to fix chicken. The ozone layer. Coffee prices. Fabric softener. You know, life stuff.”

  “But you don’t drink coffee.”

  I looked at him and thought, How come men don’t get this? It’s so basic.

  “Laurie and I need to stay connected. It keeps me sane when I talk to her every week.”

  “For eighty-seven minutes about chicken recipes and fabric softener?”

  “If that’s how long it takes, yes. Sometimes we talk longer if we discuss our hair or our hormones.”

  Darren left the room shaking his head.

  The next time Laurie called, Darren answered the phone. He talked to her for a few minutes before Laurie put Gabe on so that our husbands could meet. The two men talked for almost five minutes, which surprised me.

  That night, when Darren climbed into bed, I said, “What did you and Gabe talk about for so long?”

  Darren looked at me with that smirk of his. “Oh, you know, the usual. Fabric softener. Hormones.”

  I laughed so hard I got giggle tears all over my pillow. I was the happiest I’d been in a long time. I couldn’t ex
plain where all the joy came from. I already had a great life with a wonderful husband and three healthy sons. But now I had Laurie again, and she was filling up a place in my life that had been empty for a long time.

  Laurie and Gabe started coming to Connecticut every fall for a week to get away from the frazzled pace of their lives. They loved the New England autumn colors, and we loved seeing them. That became our annual get-together for six years in a row.

  Then last August, Laurie called. “Gabe can’t manage a free week this fall for our New England getaway. I’m so disappointed.”

  “Oh,” I moaned. “Are you sure? Not even for a quick weekend?”

  “It doesn’t look like it.”

  “I’m so sad, Laurie.”

  “I know. But I was thinking about taking a Roman Holiday instead.”

  “You want to go to Italy?”

  “No, Roman Holiday, the movie. You know, with Audrey Hepburn. Remember how she played a princess who ran away for a few days to escape the pressures of royalty?”

  “Are you saying you’re tired of being rich and famous?”

  “Gabe is the one who is rich and famous. I’m just the one who is tired. But not too tired to run away. Seriously, Hope, I need to get out of here. I’m going crazy. I’m busier than ever because I keep filling my calendar with stuff, but I’m not passionate about anything. I’m just trying to be productive. What I need is to get away and think things through. With all the girls out of the house now, I’m not sure who I am or what I’m supposed to be about.”

  “Getting away will help you figure that out?”

  “I think so. I hope so. I can’t focus on anything for very long here at home. I keep getting interrupted. That’s why I’m ready to declare a Roman Holiday around here and run away for a few days.”

  “So, if you don’t want to go to Italy and you both can’t come here, where do you want to go?”

  “Hawai’i.”

  In a carefully guarded corner of my heart, the original tiki torch that had flickered faithfully for almost two decades spiked into a flame. I didn’t let Laurie hear the blaze in my voice. “Hawai’i, huh?”

 
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