‘Fam’ Trip to Aloha                  

 

LS Summer Challenge, 2006   by  lucel

 

Aloha is a perfect word:  it means ‘Hello’ --  it means ‘Farewell’  --  it means love and caring……it suggests perfect beaches…… gentle winds…….orchids and gardenias….

 

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Alan James was tall and lanky with thick dark hair that tended to curl or fall rebelliously without much notice.   His eyes were blue, and he had a rather nice face, not really very remarkable except when he smiled, and that was lethal-- always bringing answering smiles, lighting up any space.  He leaned down to slip his feet back into his new boat shoes.  By contrast, his jeans were clinging and soft, worn almost gray with time.  His light silk jersey echoed the same blue gray. He thought it would be comfortable on the seven hour flight to Maui.

 

“You may proceed to your Gate, Sir.”  The last Security Agent gave him the go ahead as she finished checking through his carryon backpack.  She looked up, and her efficient demeanor broke into a broad answering smile, as an excited Alan bounded over to reclaim his bag.

 

“Thanks, ma’am.”  He couldn’t hold back his excitement as he turned towards the moving walkway that would take him to the Aloha Gate at the end of the United Airlines wing of the San Francisco Airport.  “Tonight I’ll be on the beach… I’ll be on Maui!” 

 

**********************

After hurrying down the concourse, he found himself waiting in line at the Aloha Gate Desk.  As a new United employee traveling on a ‘fam’ trip, he knew he would have to check with the gate agent for his seat assignment.  He still couldn’t believe his luck-- to think he almost hadn’t gone to the evening Orientation Party for new employees!  He had spent a week at the United Training Center in Denver before reporting to his new office in San Francisco.  The idea was to get agents and travel planners on board with all the new services and ways people could travel with United. 

 

Alan’s job was one of the new ones:  he was hired to be a specialized Vacation and Events Planner.  Since graduating from college, he had tried working in computers and in administration, but those jobs had been dull enough at entry level to make him willing to take something of a pay cut to sign on with United.  And here he was, all set to go on a dream trip, a ‘fam’ trip, to ‘familiarize’ himself with the new Special Resort Package linking United Airlines with the Hyatt Regency Maui.  It had been the ‘door prize’ his new business-card-in-the-wine-cooler had won for him at the Orientation Party.  He just could not believe it.  Yesterday in San Francisco he had processed as a new employee at the downtown United Office.  Today, he was on his way… he just couldn’t stop smiling….

 

Finally it was his turn at the desk, and he handed the agent his ticketing paperwork.  She looked up, and her ‘courtesy’ smile warmed considerably.  “Hey, Alan, you’re one of my specials,” she said as she quickly checked her computer, then leaned forward conspiratorially.  “I should be able to do something nice for you.” She winked.  “Just stay close and come back when I call your name… we should be boarding in about 20 minutes….” 

 

Alan settled into a seat nearby and amused himself by checking out the amazing posters of Hawaii and doing a bit of people watching. He enjoyed trying to guess what brought such a variety of passengers to the Aloha Gate.  There were couples of all ages who seemed to be traveling for love.  There were family groups with backpacks dripping snacks, snorkels, and toys; there were computer toting business men. 

 

There was one queenly Hawaiian lady of a certain age who seemed to be traveling with an entourage of young relatives, all calling her ‘Auntie.’  Several young men and women in United Service uniforms seemed to be traveling as trainees. 

 

And there were some younger types lounging along one banquette and the surrounding floor space who wore the scruffy jeans and backpack of the nomadic world traveler.  Alan had to grin.  Not that many years ago, he would have been one of them!

 

But this time… he was riding high!  Who cares if he was by himself?  Everyone who knew swore he would find like minded souls on Maui… if not at the Hyatt, then there were supposed to be some gay friendly bars down in Lahaina, the old 19th century port village nearby…

 

“Alan James? Passenger Alan James:  come to the Aloha Desk, please… Daniel Cooke?  Passenger Daniel Cooke:  to the Aloha Desk, please.”

 

Alan jumped when he heard his name called, then hurried to the desk.  “I’m Alan James, remember?” he said with excitement. 

 

The Desk Agent smiled at his enthusiasm.  “Yes, of course!  I have been able to seat you up front in seat 4a.  Here is your boarding pass.  We will call the First Class passengers in just a few minutes…”

 

“You mean I’m in First Class?” At her nod, he grabbed his boarding pass and said, “Thank you very much!  This trip is going to be amazing!” 

 

In his haste to return to his seat and backpack, Alan almost ran over one of the scruffy world travelers waiting behind him.  Alan registered endless brown eyes and sun bleached, almost white hair sticking out in all directions.  “Oh, sorry!  I didn’t step on you, did I?”  Alan stopped to ask. 

 

“Hey, no problem… I’m fine.”  The young traveler was a little shorter than Alan.  His somewhat baggy clothes could not disguise the lean tone of his muscles, and he was very tanned, as though he spent a great deal of time in the sun. 

 

“Mr. Cooke?” The agent’s voice drew the young man forward to the desk. 

 

“Well, see you around… have a great flight,” he said as he stepped past Alan.

 

“Yeah, you too…”

 

************************

Soon Alan was settled in his seat sipping a refreshing Champagne Mimosa, which had been delivered with a small bowl of macadamia nuts and a bright purple orchid.  As he watched passengers filing slowly into the back of the airplane, he stuck the orchid behind his ear and thought he might move to the window seat beside him if it stayed empty. 

 

Suddenly a steward carrying a well-used backpack and a rolling computer case stopped at Alan’s seat.  Behind him was the young man he had bumped into at the Aloha Desk, and following him was one of the stewardesses carrying a leather garment bag. 

 

“Let’s see,” said the steward.  “We can put the backpack up here, and the computer can go under the seat.  And Jane can hang your garment bag up front…  Will that be satisfactory, Mr. Cooke?”

 

“That will be fine, Charles.  Thank you,” the young man responded.  He first looked up at the seat number, then catching Alan’s eye, he grinned and asked, “And this must be my seat… 4b?”

 

“Yes, Sir!  A window seat… as requested.”  The steward waited while the young man stepped over Alan to his seat.  “Will there be anything else, sir?  Would you care for a Mimosa before take off?”

 

“Thanks, Charles.  And please call me ‘Daniel’-- my uncles are ‘Mr. Cooke,’” the young man chuckled.  “And see if you can find two pillows for me and for…..?”

 

“Alan!  The name is Alan James….”  Daniel nodded and enjoyed Alan’s ready smile….

 

“OK, Mr… I mean, Daniel!  I will.  I’ll be back directly with your Mimosa,” promised the steward as he headed for the First Class Galley.

 

Alan didn’t know what to think.  The guy looked like a tramp, but Alan was very appreciative of his lithe way of moving, his dark brown eyes, golden hair, and easy manner.  And the crew seemed to know him… 

 

“Well, hey, Alan!” Daniel said as he fastened his seat belt.  “Is this your first time to Hawaii?”  Daniel regarded Alan with interest.

 

“Hey, back to you,” Alan replied.  “Yes, this is my first time traveling outside of the continental United States.  And actually, I’m working!  I’m a new United employee on a familiarization or ‘fam’ trip to Maui.”

 

“That doesn’t sound much like work!   Do you have to keep a schedule?” Daniel’s eyes crinkled up as if he were going to laugh…

 

“You know, I’m not too sure myself how it’s supposed to work.  Both United and the Maui Hyatt Regency are putting this together for me.  I guess I’ll find out more when I get there….  What about you?  The crew seem to know you….”  Alan couldn’t help wondering…

 

Just then Daniel’s Mimosa and the pillows were delivered by a passing stewardess.  “The Mimosa is for you,” she said as she placed the drink, nuts, and orchid on the center console with a little Island print cocktail napkin. “And these are for both of you.” She passed over two pillows with soft linen cases.  “Is there anything else you need?”  When they both indicated “no,” she left them with a breezy “We will be starting our drinks service as soon as we are airborne.”

 

Clinking their Mimosa glasses, the two men shared an amused grin.  “So,” Alan continued, “is this your first time to Hawaii?”

 

Daniel shook his head no as he tried not to laugh mid-mimosa-sip.  “No, I’m going home to see my family.  I’ve been studying on the mainland for the last few years, and I finally finished my MBA last June.  I’ve spent most of the summer traveling around to visit relatives and friends and to do a few errands for my uncles, who take care of our family’s business interests.” 

 

“I guess that explains why the crew knows you…”

 

“Well, actually, they don’t really know me because I’ve been away at school, but people usually recognize our family name, especially when the reservation request comes from our headquarters in Honolulu.  But my family home is on Maui.  I expect a big contingent of cousins and brothers and sisters will be at Kahului Airport to pick me up, then we’ll all go to my Grandma’s place near Haleakala--“

 

“Halea-what-a?  What’s that?”  Alan was entranced by the melodic, incomprehensible name. 

 

“Ha- le-a-ka-la!  It’s our volcano.  It’s the largest dormant volcano in the world, rising 30,000 feet off the ocean floor.  Tourists hike and camp up there, ride some of our horses, visit our winery.  And we graze a few cattle on the slopes…” Daniel explained.

 

“Wow!  That must be something to see…” Alan was impressed.

 

“Yeah, it is.  I think you can see Haleakala from the Hyatt Regency.  Kaanapali, the stretch of shoreline where the all the new resorts are located, has both the mountain view and the ocean view towards the smaller island of Lanai…  Anyway, my family will for sure do an imu with all the trimmings for the homecoming… I have been dreaming of that!”  Daniel gave a suggestive rub to his flat belly, and rolled his eyes.

 

Alan laughed, but he had to ask, “What kind of animal is an imu?

 

Daniel’s giggle did something to Alan’s insides.  “Alan, it’s an underground rock oven that is used to slow cook or barbeque meat.  Sometimes we roast a whole pig or side of beef…and my aunts and cousins will fix all kinds of vegetables, salads, fruits, poi, everything, to go with it.  You should be sure to get to an imu feast while you are in Hawaii.”  Daniel took a long look at his new acquaintance.  “You know what, you need a guide book.  I know you can get Moon’s Maui in the Hyatt’s store…” 

 

Just then their lunch/dinner was served.  They tucked into appetizers of smoked Mahimahi, goat cheese, and avocado crostini, followed by a Kahlua pork spring roll with pineapple dip.  Then, after a watercress lobster salad, Alan took the sesame crusted lamb with Macadamia sauce, and Daniel chose tiger prawns with lilikoi sauce.  Molokai purple sweet potato mash and asparagus with macadamia nut vinaigrette garnished the plates.  They decided to share mango cheesecake and chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert. 

 

They both enjoyed the delectable fresh food, sharing bites of the entrees and desserts. 

 

“You know,” said Alan, “the food is wonderful, but I also really enjoy all the linen and silverware and crystal-- I could get used to this!”

 

“Yeah, I hate dealing with all the little plastic wrapped utensils back in coach.  The standard is kept very high at the Hyatt, too.  I think you’ll really enjoy it…” Daniel’s comment ended in a big yawn. 

 

The steward announced the video selections and requested window shades to be closed.  As the lights were dimmed, Daniel said through another enormous yawn, “That food made me sleepy.  I haven’t had much rest for the last few days.  I’ve been keeping appointments in San Francisco for my uncles during the day, and going out with friends in the Castro into the night…. I think I’m going to try to sleep.  My family for sure won’t let me rest when we get to Maui….  If anyone comes by to offer more drink or food, please tell them not to wake me…”

 

“OK, Daniel… but I think I’ll sleep for a bit, too…”  Alan had to chuckle because Daniel was already out!   His seat was pitched to a comfortable angle, and he had somehow been able to lean into the window wall and curl up with the boneless weight of a sleeping cat.   Alan found himself wishing he would have more time to get to know his seat mate…  He thought he would enjoy having Daniel curl up next to him.  Alan couldn’t help but notice the smooth tone of Daniel’s back since his tee shirt had pulled up and his jeans had dropped down a bit to accommodate the way Daniel was curled into his seat. 

 

Alan felt his own jeans getting a little tight, and he wished he was brave enough to cuddle Daniel as he slept.  But Daniel would be meeting family at the airport on Maui, and Alan would probably never see him again… Damn!  But he said he had business in San Francisco… And he knew people in the Castro…  Maybe they could stay in touch… 

 

Alan was not aware of having slept, but he came to be aware that Daniel was leaning over him with his hand on Alan’s cheek. 

 

“Alan, are you awake?” Daniel whispered.  The plane was dark with only a scattering of reading lights illuminating single seats.

 

“Geez, Daniel.  I guess I am now…” Alan was only slightly annoyed, but he was vastly amused!  Somehow it felt right to draw Daniel’s hand down to kiss. 

 

Daniel laughed and leaned down to brush his lips against Alan’s forehead. 

 

“What’s up?” asked Alan.  “Besides the obvious, that is…”  He watched Daniel reach into his jeans pocket and pull out a foil-wrapped condom, which he waved under Alan’s nose.

 

“Alan,” said Daniel with a seductive giggle.  “Have you ever wanted to join the Mile-High Club?”

 

Even in the dark, Alan could see the dancing lights of mischief in Daniel’s eyes.  “What?  Do you mean… here?!  Now?  How….”  Suddenly Daniel was stroking Alan through his jeans, and Alan was almost instantly rock hard.

 

“I knew you’d be interested!” Daniel’s whisper crowed.

 

“Oh, Daniel….”  Alan reached for Daniel’s well toned arms.  “We… we shouldn’t… not here… there are people all around us…” Alan felt as though each time they touched jolts of electricity increased the strength of the yearning between them.  Alan wanted, really wanted Daniel in his arms… to feel the fires between them… to keep him safe and close.  Alan knew it was madness to begin something like this among a plane load of passengers and crew.  He had to try to make Daniel see reason.

 

“Daniel!  We can’t do this here.  I’m a United employee.  I’m sure we….” First Daniel’s finger, then his lips stopped Alan’s protest, gentle at first, then hot and demanding as his tongue sought and gained entrance to explore every corner of Alan’s mouth and to stroke his suddenly eager tongue, before leaving him momentarily bereft and stunned. 

 

“I’ve wanted to do that ever since dinner… and don’t worry:  people join the Mile High Club all the time.  That’s why it’s a club…  And I didn’t think I’d have a chance to join before I got home until we had the good luck to sit together.  In fact, my cousins went to great lengths to make sure I knew how it is accomplished… Please, Alan… I know we’ll be good together…”  Alan was sure that Daniel went so far as to bat his thick eyelashes at him as he drew Alan up out of his seat to face him. 

 

They clung together for a minute, loving the feel of hard bodies touching shoulders, chests, bellies, cocks, and thighs.  Then Daniel reached up to whisper into Alan’s ear,  “I’ll go first back to the lavatories.  Give me five minutes, then you come back and knock softly on the center door, and I will open it for you…  Remember, no noise, no talking!  OK?”  With that Daniel jauntily took the condom in his teeth, and with one last hug, twisted past Alan and went down the aisle to the row of cubicles at the back of First Class. 

 

Looking carefully up and down the First Class cabin, Alan was sure that no one was paying them any attention.  The crew were curtained off in the First Class Galley, most passengers appeared to be asleep, and the one or two with reading lights on seemed engrossed in their reading. 

 

Taking a deep breath, Alan started down the aisle himself, slowly shaking his head, though his slightly bruised lips were quirked in a little smile of delight.  And he was known for his love of order, his steadiness!  He wished some of his friends could see him now:  they would never believe it!   But if that Daniel was a menace, Alan certainly thought he was a charming menace…

 

Very gently, Alan knocked on the middle door.  Slowly and quietly, it opened, and Daniel reached out to pull Alan in.  Daniel climbed up on the closed seat of the commode, after carefully latching the door causing the overhead light to light up the small cubicle. 

 

Looking up at Daniel, Alan’s breath seemed to stop-- then start again.  Daniel had used his five minutes to take off all of his clothes, and Alan thought he was absolutely beautiful.  Daniel was slightly smaller than Alan, but he was lithe, toned, and beautifully tanned all over.  His hair seemed golden in the mirrored light, and his long lashes perfectly framed his dark brown eyes.  His chest was well formed, and Alan’s bemused eyes were drawn to a small golden ring glinting on his right nipple.  An almost white Happy Trail led down his flat stomach to a soft golden bush that framed his impressive cock.  It was wide and well shaped, almost standing to attention, pink and dripping with need.

 

With a smile, he acknowledged Alan’s interest and approval.  Daniel’s well rounded bottom spread slightly as he sat and pulled Alan between his legs.  “I have a head start,” he purred, “and you are wearing too many clothes!” 

 

Obligingly, Alan pulled off his jersey while Daniel’s nimble fingers undid and dropped Alan’s jeans and slim boxers, allowing Alan’s confined cock to swing free.  “Wow!” was Daniel’s first comment.  Alan smirked and blushed slightly.  He knew he looked good.  “You have a beautiful cock, Alan!  And your body is so well defined.  You must work out… and now you will have a chance to get a good tan!” 

 

Reaching for Alan’s hips, Daniel pulled him closer.  With delight, he took Alan’s long and hard cock in his talented mouth.  He swirled his tongue up and down the large vein under the thick and slightly curving shaft and around and around the big head.  Then he took it in, swallowing until it touched the back of his throat.  Alan was in heaven, but he knew he would not last long if Daniel kept this up.

 

Gently, Alan pulled back and lifted Daniel up until he was wrapped in Alan’s arms, their cocks seeming to reach for each other.  “Daniel, I want to be inside of you… do you want that too?”  Blue eyes searched brown.  Alan was almost overcome with a wave of desire and tenderness.  Daniel’s answer was to nod and reach for the condom. 

 

“Why don’t you put that on me?” said Alan huskily, and Daniel was quick to do it.  Alan pushed him back onto the covered commode, reached for the small tube of lube next to the basin, and leaned down to kiss Daniel. 

 

Alan squeezed a generous amount of lube on his fingers.  “Lean back and pull your legs to your chest.  Don’t worry, I won’t let you fall, Daniel….  You are so beautiful…” Alan slowly circled Daniels pucker, finally tapping on the rosy flesh and pushing in. 

 

“Oh, Alan!  It’s cold…Ohhh….” Daniel squeezed to welcome Alan’s intrusion, then was almost incoherent as Alan added a second finger, scissoring to stretch Daniel’s taut channel, finally curving both fingers to stroke his prostate.  Daniel was almost immobilized with pleasure.  Finally, he panted out, “Now Alan, now… fuck me now!” 

 

Alan pulled the shorter Daniel forward, then put his well lubed cock at the entrance to Daniel’s pucker.  He lifted Daniel forward and up, pushing into his tight, muscular softness until Alan completely filled Daniel.  Daniel hooked his legs around Alan’s waist and held on to his arms and shoulders.  Daniel concentrated on breathing, and Alan tried to hold his throbbing cock still to give Daniel time to adjust.

 

Then turning to the wall opposite the basin, Alan used it to help him steady Daniel as he began to move slowly in and almost out, establishing a rhythm, varying the stroke, hitting and stroking Daniel’s sweet spot again and again, while the movement provided friction for Daniel’s cock, caressed between their moving bodies.

 

When Daniel started to moan with pleasure, Alan covered his mouth with a deep and passionate kiss.  Finally, Alan reached to pull Daniel’s cock, and he came with stream after pearly stream until they were both liberally coated.  Daniel’s powerful muscles clamped down on Alan until he too fell into white hot orgasm, shooting and throbbing deep inside Daniel until the condom was almost filled to overflowing.  Alan’s knees were weak.  He turned carefully, sitting down on the bench-like commode, still holding Daniel and still buried deep inside him.

 

Alan held onto Daniel and nuzzled and kissed his hair, his eyes, his ears, his neck.  He could feel himself softening and slipping free, and he turned Daniel to rest cuddled against his chest while Alan reached to remove the condom and throw it in the convenient trash bin near the basin.  Daniel appeared to be boneless, but stuck and attached to him.  Alan couldn’t help the smile of delight that seemed to have taken over his face!

 

“Daniel, are you alive?”  Alan smirked-- and was just a touch concerned.  “Are you OK?”  He gave Daniel an encouraging shake. 

 

“Shhh…  I’m in heaven.  Leave me be….” Daniel’s whisper made Alan chuckle. 

 

“Just don’t forget, we still have to get back to our seats.  And by the way, I think we both qualify now for the Mile High Club!”  Alan carefully wet and wrung out some paper towels and began to clean Daniel, then himself so they could think about getting dressed.

 

Though he hated to set Daniel down, Alan gently lifted him to his feet, then helped him find his clothes, steadying him in the small space as he drew on his shirt and jeans and slipped his feet back into his sandals.  Daniel used the last damp towel to wipe his face and try to straighten his fly away hair.  Then he turned back to Alan.

 

“Alan, that was absolutely wonderful… it was better than I had hoped it would be… Thanks for making it so special for us…”  Daniel leaned to kiss Alan again because there just wasn’t anything else he could do.  “I’ll go first back to our seats.  You come when you are ready.  Soon it will be time for ‘breakfast,’ and then we’ll be landing…”  With that Daniel unlatched the door and slipped out.

 

Alan finished cleaning up, put on his clothes, made a pass at hair management, and all the time couldn’t help grinning.  The Fam Trip was already great, and he hadn’t even landed on Maui yet.

 

When he slipped out of the cubicle, no one seemed to have moved on the plane.  Quietly, he walked back to his seat to find that Daniel had unlatched the console between their seats and lifted it up creating one larger banquette.  Daniel had left him the space next to the window, and Alan was glad to lower himself down next to his amazing companion.

 

Daniel waited until Alan was settled, then melted into his side resting his golden head on Alan’s shoulder.   Alan stroked the golden hair out of Daniel’s eyes, then planted a brief kiss on the top of his head.  Alan angled the seat back a bit, pulled Daniel into his arms, and encouraged him to rest his head on Alan’s chest.  Soon they were both asleep.

 

********************

The lights came on, and the steward announced their continental breakfast service.  Alan and Daniel reluctantly pulled away from each other, and Alan raised the shade of their window.  He loved watching Daniel’s sleepy look gradually come alive.  His eyes were sparkling and his knowing smile was full of mischief as he said, “Aloha, Alan!  That was some night…  I guess you’re not so much of a malihini today….”

 

Aloha yourself, Daniel….” replied Alan.  “And I even know that a malihini is a newcomer and that you are a kama’aina, a local resident!  And I think that was a wonderful night…very special…. Very ‘High’!”

 

Charles, the steward, had reached their seats with his tray of juice and coffee.  “Would you care for passion fruit juice or orange?” he asked offering both.  “And coffee?  It’s the special Kona Blend…” 

 

“That’s great, Charles,” said Daniel as he accepted the passion fruit juice and the coffee.  “You should try the passion fruit juice, Alan.  They make it fresh each day in Kahului, the large-ish town near the airport.” 

 

Alan was glad to follow Daniel’s advice.  He also asked Charles how far out they were. 

 

“Oh, we are only about 40 minutes out, so if you want to freshen up before landing, you should do so soon.  The pilot will announce the landing in about 15 minutes.”  Charles smiled at the very relaxed young men as he moved on to more of his passengers.

 

Alan felt a touch of sadness to be losing Daniel so soon.  But he was determined not to let his feelings interfere with the time they had left.  He noticed Daniel looking at him quizzically.

 

“So Daniel, what will you do when you are finished visiting with your family?  Do you have a job?  Will you be living on Maui?”  Alan was hoping there might be some way they could see each other again.

 

“Well, I haven’t really started yet, but the plan is that I will report to the family business headquarters in Honolulu on O’ahu.  I’ll probably be put to work ‘gaining experience’ in one of our facilities for a while.  I guess I’ll be looking for a condo in Honolulu eventually,” replied Daniel.  “Where do you live, Alan?  I thought you might be living in San Francisco from what you said last night….” 

 

Two stewardesses offered each young man a plate of exotic fruit and a small basket of croissants and muffins, sweet butter and Maui honey and jam.  They were glad to make short work of the delicious meal.  Then Alan pulled out his wallet and extracted one of his new business cards.  Pulling out his pen, he quickly wrote his personal cell phone and internet address, handing the card to Daniel. 

 

“I don’t have an address in San Francisco yet because I am just moving there.  In the meantime, you could reach me through my cell or on the internet.  I would like to see you again if you ever come back to San Francisco…”  Alan’s smile was a bit wistful.

 

Daniel turned the little napkin over to write his contact information for Alan.  “Here is my cell number and my best internet address.  You could also leave a message for me at my Grandmother’s house on Maui-- here’s her number-- or contact me by leaving me a message at Cooke Enterprises in Honolulu, at this number.  Even if I am not there, they will know how to get in touch with me.”  Daniel passed Alan the napkin, reaching to hold his hand.  “And Alan, I certainly want to keep in touch with you, too!” 

 

Just then the pilot announced their final approach and the seat belt signs lit up.  At first all Alan could see were streaming clouds, then the beautiful island of Maui came into view below them.  The purple green of the island was surrounded by sparkling seas gleaming as a colorful mosaic of every imaginable color of blue and green.  Crystal waves were breaking in beautiful contrast on white beaches and dramatic rock formations. 

 

“It takes your breath away, doesn’t it…” said Daniel as he leaned over Alan to look. 

 

“Yes,” said Alan as he felt golden hair gently brush against his cheek.

 

*************

It didn’t take long to gather up and join the stream of passengers leaving the plane for the terminal.  Exotic young men and women in colorful island prints made sure that each passenger was greeted with a flower lei and a kiss.  A small string band was playing sentimental Hawaiian music.  Alan tried to stay near Daniel as the passengers shifted and dispersed.  He was just able to catch up with him heading down towards baggage and the terminal exit.  Daniel was looking all around trying to spot some of his family.

 

Suddenly Daniel began to wave, shouting out “Aloha, everyone, aloha.  Here I am, over here!”

 

Alan was amazed to see a rather large group of tall Hawaiian men and women, along with several Asian looking and haole or white youngsters heading for his friend, shouting “Aloha, Kaniela, Aloha! 

 

Most were carrying leis, and they surrounded Daniel like a cheerful wave tossing flower leis, greetings, kisses, and hugs.  After everyone had greeted him, Daniel was almost buried to the ears in leis.  They were all talking a mile a minute when Daniel looked over and caught Alan’s eye. 

 

“Hey, everyone, hey, be quiet for a minute.  I want you to say hello to my new friend from the plane.  This is Alan, Alan James.” 

 

Alan wasn’t quite sure what to do, so he just smiled and said, “Hello, everyone… I’m glad to meet some of Daniel’s family!” 

 

A chorus of “Aloha, Alan” and “Hey, Alan” filled the air.  Daniel handed off a handful of the leis from around his neck, and Alan soon found himself receiving his share of flowers from the colorful group. 

 

Then one of the taller Polynesian looking young men turned to Daniel and said somewhat apologetically, “I’m sorry, little bro, but Grandma is waiting to greet her ‘Kaniela’ come home from foreign parts.  We have to go….” 

 

Daniel nodded and stepped over to say good-by to Alan.  “They’re a little overwhelming in a group, but they’re all wonderful!”

 

“Yeah!  They’re certainly colorful, and so friendly.  What were they saying when they said ‘Aloha’ to you?  What was that about ‘Connie’?”

 

Daniel looked adorably confused as he considered Alan’s question.  Then his brow cleared and he grinned.  “You mean ‘Kaniela’?”  Alan nodded.  “That’s how you say ‘Daniel’ in Hawaiian.  I get called ‘Kaniela’ a lot at Grandma’s!” 

 

“Kaniela,” repeated Alan.  “I like that…”  He reached out with one careful finger to trace Daniel’s features, as though committing them to memory.

 

“Yeah,” sighed Daniel.  “And we also say aloha when we leave people we care about-- I really hope you have a wonderful stay here, and that we meet again.”  Daniel slipped one more fragrant lei over Alan’s neck, and hurried after his family. 

 

Alan touched Daniel’s lei gently, appreciating the delicate fragrance…… and went to find his luggage.

 

**********************

After organizing his luggage to roll, Alan found his way through the doors leading to transportation.  The outside air felt fresh, but a little heavy with moisture.  Just as Alan was beginning to wonder what he should do to find his way to the resort halfway around the island, he spotted a man in a colorful Hawaiian shirt wearing a Hyatt Regency badge and holding up a sign lettered with “Alan James.” 

 

“Hi,” said Alan with a smile and holding out his hand.  “I’m Alan James.”

 

Aloha, Mr. James,” the man responded as he shook Alan’s hand enthusiastically.  “I’m Aleki, and I will be your driver to Kaanapali, where the Maui Hyatt is located.  Is this all of your luggage?”  Aleki reached to take the suitcase from Alan.  “Come this way, our car is just over here.”

 

Alan was pleased to see it was a rather large cream colored Lincoln Towncar Convertible with the Maui Hyatt Regency logo stenciled on the doors.  “Hey, a convertible!  All right!” he exclaimed. 

 

“Yes, it’s not too hot today, so I left the top down for you.  We can put it up again if the sun becomes unbearable or there’s too much wind…”  Aleki had no trouble fitting Alan’s luggage into the spacious trunk of the Towncar.  He hurried to open the back door for Alan, but Alan took the front seat instead, and they were soon on their way. 

 

Alan enjoyed the drive from the airport across the narrow neck of the island through thriving modern business areas, condos communities, and curiously exotic and tropical suburban neighborhoods.  Then at the junction with the Honoapiilani Highway (Highway 30), they turned to run due north towards the 19th century port town of Lahaina and the western most point of Maui at Kaanapali.   

 

The ‘highway’ was an interesting one lane road.  Although there was certainly plenty to see, Alan and Aleki weren’t exactly flying, but having the top down gave the feeling of speed, though it made talking impossible.  Alan loved riding so close to the long stretches of sandy beach, then winding up to the top of black cliffs with sheer drops to rocks and waves below.  Tropical plants sometimes sprang up between the road and sand, only to give way once again to perfect, almost deserted beaches.

 

After about a half an hour, just when Alan was beginning to wonder if the hotel was really on the highway, they passed the turn off for Lahaina with its modern traffic.  There was also a sense of bustle on the streets leading down to busy Front Street with its historical old buildings, wharfs, shops, and eateries.  Stopping for traffic lights, Aleki nodded towards the busy center and said, “This is a good place to shop, see sights, and eat seafood.  At night there is music and dancing at the bars…”  With a smile and a nod at Alan, Aleki promised, “All are welcome….” 

 

Soon a small sign directed them left towards the beach and the Hyatt Regency resort.  Following the curving drive, they suddenly seemed to have entered a beautiful tropical garden, and the resort’s outdoor reception blended right into the garden’s lushness. 

 

Aleki pulled up to a covered entry built with massive and fragrant tropical hardwoods and dripping with exotic plants and flowers.  Both Alan and Aleki got out, and Alan retrieved his backpack while Aleki directed a handsome young Hawaiian in Hyatt Maui flowered shirt and khaki shorts to bring Alan’s luggage on the bell captain’s trolley. 

 

Following Aleki, Alan was not sure exactly when outdoor reception became the site of the in-door reception desk.  More exotic woods, colors, and images were everywhere, and he could hear the cries of tropical birds further into the lobby.   A beautiful young Hawaiian woman in tasteful blue-green mumu and Hyatt badge stepped up to welcome him. 

 

Aloha,” she said with a smile..  “Welcome to the Hyatt Regency Maui.  We are very pleased to have you with us.”  She ushered him over to the Reception desk, where another young woman was waiting.

 

“Hello, Mr. James,” she said holding out her hand.  “My name is Poni.  We have had fun planning your stay with us.  We have had a cancellation, and we have decided to put you into one of our deluxe ocean view suites, which are often used for honeymoons or business meetings.” 

 

Alan was overwhelmed-- again!  “Wow!  That’s great-- I’m really looking forward to my next few days here.  Will I be following a schedule or meeting with any of the resort’s specialists?  I was hoping I could have some time with the Wedding Coordinator and the Children’s Activities Counselor-- I pretty sure I will probably be directing some of my clients to them….”   

 

Poni flashed him a special smile for his enthusiasm as she typed his name into the computer system that would release his card keys and open his account at all hotel facilities.  “Some appointments have been made for you so you can sample all of the resort’s services.  All fees for service will be covered by the resort, but you are responsible for anything you may buy at the shops.  Our Concierge has put your name down for several of the events he has scheduled for guests, but what you decide to do will be up to you and your Fam Coordinator.  You will meet to go over your schedule tomorrow over breakfast in the Swan Court…”

 

“How will we connect? Should I wait to be seated for breakfast?”  Alan was glad to hear all these arrangements, but he was beginning to feel as though he really needed some quiet time to process everything.  And he couldn’t wait to see his room….  No, his suite!

 

“When the hostess seats you tomorrow morning, give her your suite number, and she will make sure the meeting happens.”  Poni laughed.  “She’s very efficient and very good… Now, you are looking very tired, so let me give you your keys, and the list of tentative suggestions for your stay with us.  You will be in Suite 1024, your keys are in your folder.  Just follow Michael over there.  He will show you the way.” 

 

Dutifully, a slightly confused Alan followed Michael and the luggage into the lobby, a shocking and magical place with multi-tiered arches reaching to the open sky, rich with huge tropical trees and plants, and the color and fragrance of all manner of exotic flowers.  Brilliant birds flew freely among art treasures gathered from all over the Orient. 

 

A seemingly natural walkway meandered through the riches of nature and of men.  Looking straight on, Alan could see the other side of the great structure open to the ocean breezes and leading to beautifully laid out gardens, lagoons, and waterfalls.  And Alan could even see the shimmering blues of the Pacific just beyond the pristine white sand that cushioned the resort to the West.

 

They continued down an interesting breezeway marked “Elephant Walk” with specialty shops, boutiques, and regal wicker thrones inviting the weary to stop, rest, and always, to observe the wonders of this Island Xanadu.  Finally, they stopped in front of a bank of elevators with gleaming brass doors providing a gilded misty mirror to all before it.... 

 

“Here we are, sir,” encouraged Michael.  “Just an elevator ride and a short way down the 10th floor corridor to go…”  The doors opened dramatically in quiet invitation; the interior of the elevator sparkled with ceiling high mirrors set to contrast with woven jute walls and baskets of hanging flowers.  The 10th floor corridor was decorated with handmade textiles and quilts displayed in beautifully carved frames made of walnut and sandalwood. 

 

Finally, they reached #1024, and Michael ushered Alan into the suite.  Alan was stunned by the beautiful ocean views through the French doors to the three lanais-- all three balconies had views of the beautifully laid out swimming lagoons, gardens, and waterfalls of the Hyatt framed by the amazing white sand and the changing sapphire and turquoise shades of the ocean beyond. 

 

Alan could see that the luxurious suite was actually located on the corner of the resort’s southern tower, giving it a spacious feel and flooding it with light.   They had first come into the tranquil sitting room with comfortable sofa and a chaise longue wide enough for two.  There was also a table for six decorated with an overflowing fruit basket, a desk complete with work station, and a credenza for the television /VCR, minibar, and safe.  The décor followed a natural exotic island theme, and there were beautiful plants, a softly turning woven fan overhead, and artistic displays of antique artifacts, original art work, and traditional Hawaiian quilts. 

 

Michael had taken Alan’s luggage into the bedroom which continued the exotic natural island theme.  The king sized bed was made up with soft white linens and draped with sheer white silk which was repeated to move gently with the ocean breezes at the enticing French doors of the lanais. 

 

The marble bath was commodious enough to count as a third room with its many headed glass enclosed shower, double vanity, and sunken jacuzzi tub plenty big enough for two.

 

Finally, Alan was alone in the suite.  He thought he should go over the activities schedule; he wanted to lie down, maybe nap.  Instead he found himself drifting from one place to another in the beautiful rooms and out on each of the lanais.  The beautiful suite would not feel cramped for a family group, and it would seem palatial and romantic to newlyweds.  Slowly, Alan stretched out on the tempting chaise longue; there was plenty of room for two, but Alan was alone.  He drifted off among visions of golden hair and warm brown eyes…

 

After dozing through the heat of midday, Alan consulted his tentative activity schedule to find that no appointments had been planned for this day of arrival.  Looking out on his view of the ocean and beautiful gardens, Alan decided to go exploring, maybe take a dip in the pool, maybe get something to eat at the casual Pavillion poolside, maybe walk the beach a little if the waves seemed inviting…  He thought of checking out the night life at the nearby village of Lahaina, but for today, he just wanted to keep things simple: enjoy the ocean, spend time at the resort and his beautiful suite.  Tomorrow would be a ‘work’ day after all!

 

***************

Friday dawned bright, clear, and beautiful.  Despite swimming in the pool then walking the beach through an amazing Maui sunset, Alan was up soon after sunrise.  Since he was meeting his Fam Coordinator at breakfast, he put on linen trousers with a short-sleeved light blue shirt that he thought might bridge the gap between Island wear and work attire. 

 

When he was ready, it was still a little early, so he took his complimentary Herald-Tribune out on the lanai to read, but all he could do was look at the stunning view.  He had to laugh at himself.  He had thought he was fairly sophisticated, but he found himself totally in awe of the beauty of this place.  It reminded him of a quote he had heard once:  what was it?  Something like ‘Ho-hum… Another perfect day in paradise….”  Maybe Somerset Maugham had said it.  If he hadn’t, maybe he should have!  Alan had to grin as he gathered up his key card, schedule, and the Maui guide book he had picked up at the Elephant Walk sundries store during his stroll yesterday! 

 

Alan loved the casual adventure of finding his way to the Swan Court.  Traversing the gardens and the hidden corners of the pathways seemed to reveal piece after piece of antique or contemporary art work or a special corner of artful landscaping.  He was intrigued to discover that Swan Court dining was elegant in the open air on a cool terrace.  Every table was covered in white linen and had a tranquil and resplendent view of resident swans floating calmly by fresh waterfalls cascading over lava rocks.

 

The hostess wore another flowing Hawaiian dress.  “May I help you?” she asked. 

 

Alan smiled.  “I’m Alan James in Suite 1024, and I am supposed to meet a Hyatt Regency Fam Coordinator here for breakfast.  Has anyone been asking for me yet?” 

 

The hostess returned his smile warmly and replied, “Oh, yes, Mr. James.  I have already seated him at his request down near the water.  Please follow me.”   

 

Alan was happy to follow her past the lavish breakfast buffet and down to the row of tables near the waterfall pools.  She laughed and seemed not to mind when he ignored her departure.  All he could do was smile and laugh with surprise and delight into laughing brown eyes. 

 

Aloha, Alan,” said Daniel as he stepped into Alan’s arms.  “Surprise!  I convinced my uncles to let me start working in the family business as a Fam Coordinator at our Maui property instead of in Honolulu…” 

 

“But I thought your family were up-country ranchers…Oh, Daniel, I am so glad to see you!  I was in this beautiful place, and I could really only think of you… How are you here so fast?”  Alan did not want to let Daniel go… but realizing they were in a public place he glanced around quickly only to meet encouraging smiles for the happiness of the young men.

 

“Well, our family has always been large, and we have been tending to business since the arrival of the first missionaries from the mainland.  To survive and provide for everyone, we are very diversified with fingers in every pot of poi from ranching to real estate, tourism to art, and more.  We own the three Hyatts on the Islands… Any one of us could do practically anything and still be in the family business…. And my Grandma is full-blooded Hawaiian and rules us all… I hope to take you home to meet her sometime this weekend……” 

 

Daniel paused briefly to glance at the menu.  “Now!  I hope you want to eat breakfast because I’m starving!  I had to get up before dawn to get here by 7:00, change into working gear, and make it to the Swan Court by 7:30.  I really didn’t want to be late for my very first client appointment…. Sit down, Alan, let’s eat some of that scrumptious buffet, then we can go check out your suite and make our plans… There’s so much I want to show you…”  Daniel was brimming over with happiness and the success of his ‘surprise’!

 

For the first time, Alan noticed that Daniel was wearing classic khaki shorts and a beautiful cream and gold Hawaiian print shirt, complete with Hyatt Regency badge.  His unruly hair was tamed into a small ponytail, and with the morning light behind him he looked like a golden dream kissed with sunlight.  Alan’s own amazing smile was at full strength.  He already knew he was going to love this Fam Trip!