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Heat Wave(11)
Author: Karina Halle

And Logan was her husband, the bastard who cheated on her.

We all knew. We could sense things were off before, about a year or two into the marriage, when Juliet would give a forced smile every time Logan's name was mentioned. My mother pulled me aside once when they celebrated Christmas with us and asked me, “Do you think Juliet's happy with Logan?”

At the time I thought it was my mother being a snob, because she always insisted her daughters do the best, marry the best, and Logan, for all his entrepreneurial spirit, wasn't considered to be one of the best. My mother would rather have the politician’s sons for either of us, but especially for Juliet, her shining light, the daughter she was the proudest of.

But instead Juliet settled for a rugged Australian with little money, who had dreams of opening a hotel in Hawaii (a pipe dream, as my father had initially called it) and when Moonwater Inn finally did open six years ago, it was done with the backing of his friend, Warren Jones, and almost all of my parent’s money. In fact, they're still part owners of this place, yet another reason why I think I was shipped off here.

Looking back now, I'm sure that's not what my mother meant, though. She must have sensed Juliet's unhappiness. Knew that Logan was having an affair behind her back. She’s a politician and they’re the first to sniff out the shady shit. Takes one to know one and all that.

When Juliet came to visit alone that one year, staying at my place, that's when the truth came out. Logan was a cheater. Had numerous affairs. Was an asshole of the highest regard.

I was livid on her behalf, knowing that I should have never trusted him, and I hated myself for initially being so attracted to the man. All before Juliet swept him off his feet, of course—and vice versa. Especially since my family had helped to fund his dream. This was how he repaid them?

But I never got to talk to Juliet about it again. She became more and more distant as the months went on and wouldn't talk about it. My emails, my texts, my phone calls—it was like it had never happened, that she had never admitted anything. Which, when I think about it, is totally a Juliet maneuver. It hurt her to admit that anything wasn’t perfect.

She wouldn't leave him either, which I never really understood. Was it that she had become so accustomed to the lifestyle that she was afraid to break it off? Was it that she still loved him somehow, despite all that he'd done? Either way, the Juliet I grew up with, my beautiful big sister, she never would have put up with anyone's shit. Her ego was strong, her pride was unbreakable. And yet she stayed married to Logan for reasons I'll never know.

But even still, I can't help but hold him partially responsible for her death. If anything, if she didn't fall in love with him, she would still be in Chicago. Maybe she'd show up at my restaurant and finally glimpse the career I was building for myself, see that I too was becoming something. Maybe we would have grown closer as we became adults. Instead I lost the last years of our relationship to long-distance. Kauai had become her new home and new life, and I was just the shadow left behind.

I was always the shadow left behind.

I sigh, trying to shake it all from my nerves. I refuse to be negative on my first day here. What I need is a shower.

I pry my phone out of my jeans pocket, the interior damp from my sweat in this tropical climate, and give it a glance. It's four p.m., October 2nd, and I think—I hope—I have just enough time to have a shower and wash the plane germs off me before Logan shows up. If he shows up.

I step into the bathroom, grateful that I have a private one, and get in the shower. The moment the hot water hits my skin, I sigh in relief. I literally stand there for five minutes, just letting it all soak into me, like I'm trying to wash every worry and fear away. I swear it works. By the times I lather up with shower oil, shampoo, and conditioner, I feel like a brand-new woman.

I step out and wrap the towel around me and lean over, wiping the steam away from the mirror. My reflection is a bit fuzzy, like I have the heaviest Snapchat filter on, which is probably why I look half decent. When Jin said I looked like Juliet, he wasn't exaggerating. We're not carbon copies of each other, but even so you can see the resemblance if you look for it, which is probably why Jin saw it (because he knew we were related) and Charlie didn't (because he didn't).

Juliet was tall and thin, with a giant rack which so wasn't fair, and light brown hair that was shiny like a Pantene commercial. In the summer she had Jennifer Aniston highlights from the sun, and that all came naturally. She was pale, but her skin was smooth and wrinkle-free, to the point that I started to suspect that our mother had given her the “treat” of Botox on more than one occasion. Her eyes were blue, just like our father's, and her lashes were long, looking positively fake when she loaded on the mascara.

As for me, my hair is medium brown and I have to pay for my highlights. I'm not very tall, about five-five, and while I'm somewhat thin, it's because I work hard at it. When you think of a chef or a cook, you think of a rather “rotund” person, and I do my best to buck the stereotype, and though I have a full ass and thighs that won't go away no matter how little I eat or many miles I walk, my upper body is tiny (which unfortunately means my boobs don't runneth over). My eyes are more narrow and dark brown, like my mother's (we give good resting bitch face) and my skin tans easily, which, for the first time ever, might be a good thing when it comes to living in Hawaii.

Overall I know I'm pretty. Not gorgeous like Juliet was, I mean, you couldn't find a person alive that would turn that woman down. She had everyone in the palm of her delicate hand. She was Blake Lively on beauty steroids. But I'm okay with myself, even if Veronica Locke is a person you usually end up forgetting in the end.

   
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