Those Binding Ties (A David Chan mystery, Part Four)

David Chan asked the officer to let Nina Goo into the parking lot.

“David, David,” she said, “what’s happened?”

Chan had known Nina since his high school days at Roosevelt.

Although she was a year younger, he’d watched her with great interest over the three years he knew her.  Knew her in the sense that they would talk to each other at lunch time or during the morning break.  But that was all.

Except of course that he’d watched her grow up from a much younger age whenever his family would eat at Mō‘ili‘ili Chop Suey Gardens.  All the Goo children worked at the restaurant.  If they weren’t cooking, they were serving, and if not serving, they were bussing tables or ushering customers to their tables.

Had David Chan not been so shy, who knows what would have happened.  Chan sometimes wondered, much to his surprise, about what might have transpired had he pursued a romantic relationship with Nina.  Having lost his wife Elaine two years earlier, this sudden reintroduction to Nina joined the emotional mix of he was working through a pretty grizzly homicide case.  Blood and romance, a strange combination.

Chan put his hand on Nina’s shoulder and led her off to the side.  Explaining the situation to her was awkward, and he tried to avoid any hint that Nina’s parents, her brother, and who knew about her other two brothers, Edwin and Robert, how they all might be involved in criminal activity.  And Nina?  He hated to think about that possibility because it disturbed him mightily.

Of course she cried, and it took every ounce of willpower on Chan’s part to keep from embracing her, hugging her tight.

When she’d calmed a bit, Nina grabbed Chan in a tighter hug than he’d imagined giving her.  This both shocked him, and, well, made him feel very good.

Chan’s mind was spinning.  What if she were involved?  How could he be so attracted to a potential criminal?  Visions of his wife joined the swirl.  What would his children, David Jr. and Sarah think if he started dating this woman?  Whoa!  He had to stop this, slow the whole thing down.

Nina had finished crying.  It seemed as though they were holding onto each other for an eternity.  And Chan was somehow relieved when she let go and they could stand apart.

Pulling tissues from her purse, Nina blew her nose and wiped her eyes.  Chan hated himself for finding this action contributing to the warming of his –

“So it sounds bad for them,” Nina said.  “I mean, the whole thing feels like my mom and dad and Alfred might be involved in some kind of criminal thing, doesn’t it?”

Chan managed, “I, well, that’s an interesting theory.  We’ll probably be looking at that possibility.”

That she herself had brought it up allowed Chan a mental sigh of relief.  If she were in on it, she wouldn’t suggest it, right?

Nina continued.  “I hope to God that Ed and Bobby aren’t a part of this, if it is bad.”

“I, well –”

“So they’re not here?” Nina asked.

“I, no, not that I know of.  They work here, too?

“No, they don’t, but they still hang out here a lot, I think.”

This all gave Chan pause.  “Nina, are you not close to Ed and Bob?”

Nina actually laughed.  “Those two?  I have absolutely no idea what they’re up to.  It wouldn’t surprise me if they were in on something shady. No, I haven’t seen those two deadbeats in years.  To tell you the truth, David, I rarely see any of them, my mom and dad either.”

Oddly, this made Chan’s heart leap a little higher.  “Oh, really, well, ah, I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Please don’t feel sorry, David.  We all had a falling out several years ago.  I left, went to cook at Chow Yoo Chu, and, well, cut myself off from all of them, really.”

“A falling out?” Chan asked.

“Yeah, it was because, well . . . actually, I don’t want to talk about it.”

That was fine with Chan.  He pictured Elaine in his mind and offered a silent apology for what he was thinking.  He looked at Nina, took a deep breath and said, “Hey, Nina, I’ll call you later to let you know about anything we find out here today.  Maybe we can get dinner tonight?”

Nina gave a genuine smile.  “Thank you, David, I’d appreciate that. Man, it’s been a long time, huh?”

The adrenaline rush nearly pushed Chan back into a hugging clench with this woman, but he refrained.   With an enormous exercise of will power he played it cool.  Always the professional, right?

Which was even so oddly harder because it bothered him personally that Nina was taking the killing of her mother, father, and eldest brother so, almost, casually.  Chan could never picture this happening.

How big was that falling out?  What could possibly have happened that would cause a daughter, a sister, to cut physical as well as emotional ties with her family like this?  When does blood become no longer blood?

* * * * *

Aloha #WriterMonday. Today’s #WritingPrompt is

the ties that bind

Use it to write a piece, short or long, a sentence, a haiku, or anything you like, and then post that piece on your site and link back to me, or simply leave it as a comment below. I would love to read it : )

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