Rich showered. He planned on a having a meal at a restaurant a short walk from the marina. He stepped from the marina’s gate onto a road running alongside.
“Are you the man looking for Ramona Cantwell?”
Rich turned. A middle-aged Maori man with thick hair wearing brown slacks, a white shirt, and tie walked toward Rich.
“Yes,” Rich said.
“I am Tim, Ramona’s Uncle.”
They shook hands.
“I’m Rich Larsen. Have you located Ramona?”
“Yes,” Tim said.
“Can you tell me where she is or take me to her?” Rich said.
“Yes,” Tim said, “but there is a complication.”
“Before we get into the complications can you wait here and I’ll be right back,” Rich said and walked back to The Odyssey. He retrieved the bag of pearls and tucked them in his pant’s pocket.
Rich returned to where Tim waited. “I was about to walk to a restaurant and have dinner. If you have time, I’ll be happy to have you as my guest. We can go over the complication on the way.”
“Sure,” Tim said, “but I don’t wish to impose. I can purchase my own meal.”
“I insist,” Rich said. “Now, let’s go eat. I’ve had nothing but my cooking for the last two weeks.”
They walked toward the restaurant.
“Ramona is in a terrible situation,” Tim said. “I just found out about it this morning, although I’m not completely surprised.”
“Look, if this is some sort of shakedown,” Rich said. “because that’s what it is almost starting to sound like. I have a gift. I’m going to deliver it and that’s it.”
“I’m not familiar with what a shakedown is,” Tim said, “but I think I know what you mean. If you want, we can just say we never met and you can find Ramona on your own or just leave.”
“Let me hear you out,” Rich said.
“Perhaps I should have chosen other words,” Tim said, “but you see, Ramona is heading for the life of her mother. It is a life for which there is no good outcome.”
“If you don’t mind, can you start where Jean meets Ramona’s mother?” Rich said.
“I will go beyond that,” Tim said. “Ramona’s mother’s name is Tahupotiki, we called her Tiki. She is three years younger than me. She was the beautify child, first place in the eyes of my father and mother. My father was a doctor and so am I. We had a life of privilege. My parents were very status conscious.”
“I worked at a local hotel during semesters at college. That is how Jean and I met. We were friends, but he was an islander.”
“Not of your status,” Rich said.
“Exactly,” Tim said. “When you are young you pay less attention to things like that. I got Tiki a job at the hotel. She is beautiful and Jean strong, handsome, innocent, and unrefined.”
“She became pregnant by Jean. Looking back, he was more honorable than my family on this issue. He wanted to raise the child, my parents wanted to abort it. Tiki had the child, Ramona, and my family made things so hostile for Jean, that he left. Tiki found a way to make money quickly; she became a high classed…”
“Prostitute,” Rich finished the sentence that Tim could not.
“Yes,” Tim said.
“My parents’ shame was so great that they moved to Australia and I took over my father’s practice. I was not as encumbered as they were. Perhaps, I bore some of the blame. I introduced them.”
They entered the restaurant and seated themselves. During the meal Tim related the drama that filled the lives of his family during that time. He also told of the good friendship he had with Jean.
At the end of the meal, they sipped tea.
“So,” Rich said, “the complication.”