Krissie stirred as the small bed moved, and she rubbed her eyes, looking over at the young man she’d grown up with but befriended in college. He laid in the hospital bed, most of the time motionless, machines surrounding him, and sometimes, Krissie could tell he was dreaming because he would twitch. He was dreaming now, Krissie was sure of it, and she thought it must be a good one because Kiyoshi’s lips turned up at the left corner.
“The last time you smiled at me was last September, the twenty-second if I remember correctly, Ki-chan, and if I do remember correctly, it was the slightly larger crooked smile that you’re wearing right this very minute.” She took his hand, stopping at the feel of wetness on his fingers, and something cool and metal.
Blinking a little, Krissie lifted his hand to find it dripping wet, as though he’d just stuck it in water, and on his ring finger sat a shiny silver ring decorated with small swirls reminiscent of Da Vinci stars. She was positive that his hand had been bare (and dry) before she’d fallen asleep.
“What the hell…?” Krissie rasped, pushing her dark hair over her ears as she reached for a towel to dry his hand, but as she touched the band, his hand curled into a tight fist. Lifting her eyes to his face, she arched an eyebrow. “Where did you get this? You won’t let me see it, so tell me, Ki-chan… tell me where you got this!”
Krissie tried to get him to release his fist, but Kiyoshi didn’t budge, and frustrated, she pressed the nurse’s call button to ask if anyone had been seen entering or exiting the room while she’d slept. Security footage showed no-one entering or exiting, and the ring remained a complete mystery, though his dreaming intensified over the next week. Krissie regularly reported news to Jinichi, Kiyoshi’s older brother by three years, and exactly seven days later, a second ring appeared on his hand, this one plain but for three wavy lines that went all the way around the band. Again, his fist curled and he would not loosen it for anything or anyone.
Krissie sighed heavily, leaning her head in her hand as she watched Kiyoshi’s smile widen as he dreamt. “You look so happy, Kiyoshi… and I remember that smile, I remember you so bright and so vivid and so full of life and I have so many questions, but all you do is sleep, lazybones! When are you going to wake up, gorgeous? When are you going to tell me what it is you dream and who you dream of? When are you going to explain these pretty baubles?”
They pushed open the doors to the restaurant and Kiyoshi tugged the tie from his hair, shaking it out. “No joke, I’m supposed to have a conference call with them both tomorrow!”
“You lie! They want to appear in a documentary largely filmed by me? Emrys Marlowe and farking Rumi Salar? Are you for real?” Krissie shook her head, rolling lip gloss over her lips before offering it to Kiyoshi, who applied it thickly on his own lips, answering, “Have I ever lied to you? Why would I start now?”
“Uh… Rumi? Emrys? Those are A-list stars, Ki-chan! And they wanna be in a documentary about pirates!” She widened her eyes. “Not a movie, but a documentary about real pirates who lived and died hundreds of years ago. Usually the C-listers are the ones who make it into the documentaries is all I’m saying. How did you score those two?”
Kiyoshi stopped next to his car, grinning, “Oh, I don’t know… possibly a friend of a brother who knows a guy who dated this girl who lived across the street from the janitor at a vet’s office who takes care of the cat of the girl who works in the soup kitchens that are largely funded by the husband of an actress who is the daughter of a director who works a lot with Johnny Depp, and he liked the idea but said that his looks weren’t right for the role, but that his buddy Rumi had been following my work since the beginning and would love to accompany me to Isla de los Pinas.”
“You did that all in one breath. You amaze me. How the fark did JayJay set that up?” she asked as she leaned against the car, watching him unlock the doors and get into the back.
“I never know with him. My nii-san has a million connections, and I half-expected him to have Emrys Marlowe on speed dial, to be honest.” Kiyoshi dug into shopping bags in the backseat and finally emerged holding up a fluffy pink jacket and a tube of glittery pink lip gloss. “Is this not the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?”
“I dig that you like pink, Ki-chan, but that jacket is super-cute and would look way better on me.” Krissie grinned. “Especially for a pirate fanatic like yourself—”
“Pirates. Flamboyant. ’Nuff said. I would be—” He slipped into the jacket and put his hands on his hips, pulling one leg up to place the flat of his foot on his opposite knee. “—Flamingo the Cruel!”
They laughed hard for some time before he told her, “Seriously, I gotta have something to call my own until we can head back down to the shipwreck and resume cataloguing. I don’t know what the hold up is, but Shelly and Cameron are calling to me and I need to go back. Maybe there’s something there—”
Krissie took a deep breath as she recalled the screeching of tires and then she hit the ground hard, lifting up on her hands to see a cracked windshield and then Kiyoshi thrown to the pavement not ten feet from her as the large green 4×4 truck stopped suddenly, the driver stumbling out to puke before mumbling, “Sssorrry about that. Please—please don’ call the popo’s… my dad’ll kill me an’ take my truck away.”
Krissie brought his hand to her lips, pressing a kiss to his unresponsive fingers. “Because that’s what was important, right? Yeah… that’s it.” Tears that always seemed so close sparkled in her blue eyes as she murmured, “But at least that drunk jerk got what was coming to him. Dammit, Ki-chan… come back to us. Please!”