The Gifted Realm: Academy - Volume 1

Chapter 62 - Mano e Manó

~Dan Vindico~

By Tuesday evening, Dan was overjoyed with Fionna’s progress. She looked so much healthier. Her rhythms were steady and strong and so were Halia’s. She was relaxed and let Dan and her grandparents dote on her continuously. The exhaustive tension that had plagued Fionna’s features was melting away in the Hawaiian sunshine and in the love and adoration of her family. 

Dan had given Fionna baths each evening and her grandmother kept her in steady supply of homegrown herbal teas and oils to regulate her hormones and her rhythms. Halia felt stronger and more placid as Dan locked on to her and felt her glide through Fionna’s womb. 

Malani and Kai wanted to take Dan and Fionna for an evening out, and Papa and Tutu were only too happy to keep Aida. Malani’s parents were thrilled to have little Lanie for a few hours, as well.

Dan guided Fionna into the Oasis Oceanside restaurant to the table where Kai and Malani were already seated. The views were spectacular. 

They dug in to the delectable island meal they were served with discussion of Dan and Fionna’s moving back to Kauai. 

“Are you gonna let Papa build you a new house?” Malani asked around a hunk of mahi. 

“I don’t know.” Fionna scooped another bite of her truffle fried rice onto her fork. “I guess our little cottage might get cramped with both girls running around but they have the whole farm to play on.”

“Hey, I’m supposed to tell you something,” Kai elbowed Dan. 

“Is it that the Gifted police precinct in Lihue is looking for a sheriff?” Dan supplied. That sealed both Malani and Fionna’s lips.

“Papa already got to you I see. I told him to play it cool.” Kai laughed. “It wouldn’t be anything like running Iodex. This is Kauai after all. Sheriff Kapo is wanting to retire, but not a lot of people know that yet.”

“Yeah, I heard that right before I learned that the Gifted Police Force for the entire island chain is looking for a new chief. Just hadn’t brought it up to my wife yet.” Dan was extremely intrigued but Fionna had never handled his job in law enforcement well. 

“See, now, Papa didn’t tell me that. You said you hate your school job.” Kai shrugged. There was a great deal more to it than that but Dan had vowed to his wife that he was getting out of law enforcement. He had no intention of breaking his promises.

 Kai solidered on. “The most trouble we get around here is some idiot breaking into hotel rooms or cars. Tourist crap and the locals getting irritated with the tourists. Most of that is Non-Gifted so it wouldn’t involve you at all. It’s not like D.C.” 

Though he tried not to let the desperation to be involved in law enforcement seep into his energy, Fionna was too strong. Her receptors were too potent for Dan to hide any emotion from her. 

She turned and studied him. “Can we talk about this later?”

“Fi, baby, we don’t have to talk about it at all,” Dan vowed. As he focused on Fionna’s energy, he noted there wasn’t the normal flood of terrorizing fear he’d noticed whenever he’d had to go out with Iodex or even discussed the missions he’d been on in all his years as head of the Elite forces. She seemed excited that Dan was interested.  

“Do you want to build a new house on the farm?” She asked thoughtfully.

“We’ll do whatever you want. Your grandparents seem pretty certain that my Halea won’t be our youngest so we might need more than two bedrooms.” 

“I don’t want anything huge, though. If we build, we’re taking up prime gardening land.”

“Yeah but Papa just bought that farm behind them.” Kai reminded her. “And I’m pretty sure he did that because he knew you were moving back. It’s gonna double their operations. There’d be plenty of room for Dan to build you a new hale, Maylea.” 

“And we can plan it all out and decorate it. It will be like playing house when we were little only for real,” Malani gushed. 

Fionna giggled but Dan noted she seemed thrilled with the idea. As they were talking and laughing, suddenly, Malani’s mouth fell open as her eyes goggled. 

“What?” Fionna studied her best friend. Dan glanced back behind Fionna following the path of Malani’s eyes. 

“Oh, this is going to be awkward.” Malani’s expression was a mix of panic and embarrassment. 

“What?” Fionna demanded again. 

“Mano Forsyth just walked in. He saw me and Kai and now he’s coming over but I don’t think he’s seen you yet,” Malani managed through her teeth.

Fionna cringed. “I thought you said he moved to O’ahu.”

“Well, clearly he’s back,” Malani hissed. 

Before any other information could be shared, a well-built Hawaiian man that Dan had seen in a photograph in Fionna’s childhood bedroom made his way to their table. 

“Aloha. I haven’t seen you in a while,” he offered Malani and Kai. He turned to offer a kind smile to Kai and Malani’s guests but it bled instantly in to a look of utter panic as he took in Dan and Fionna.

“Uh… Maylea is that really you?” He quizzed. His voice shook slightly. 

Fionna offered him a simpering smile. “Mano, how are you?”

“I’m good. We’re in town visiting my parents,” he explained though Dan noted there was no one with him. 

“This is my husband, Dan,” Fionna introduced. 

Dan begrudgingly offered Mano his hand as he narrowed his eyes spitefully. Mano had been Fionna’s first love and her first time. They’d dated all summer long when Fionna had stayed with Tutu and Papa the summer between her pre-freshman and freshman years at the Academy. He’d been very attentive right up until the moment he’d taken Fionna to the airport to fly back home. Then he’d never called again.

Dan ground his teeth as Mano shot him the customary male look when you ran into a woman you’d had a relationship with in the past. Everything about the cocky glare he gave Dan as he shook his hand said, I was there before you.

Dan fought back the bile that flooded his throat as he leveled his own responsive glare. And you were replaced now weren’t you?’

“There you are,” Mano drawled as a woman joined him at the table. 

“Uh, Maylea, this is my wife Kelii. Sweetheart, these are some old friends of mine from school. Kai Coiner and Malani,” he paused unable to remember Malani’s last name. 

“We’re married,” Malani informed Mano.

“Oh, right,” Mano nodded not looking surprised by that information. He turned to Fionna. “And this is Maylea Styler. No wait what’s your last name now?”

“Vindico,” Fionna offered Kai’s wife her hand. As she slid to the side, Mano’s eyes landed on her bump. At nearly eight months pregnant it wasn’t exactly something she could hide. But she didn’t want to hide it Dan realized as he shot Mano a cocky grin. He wrapped his arm around Fionna making her beam.

“Wow, look at you,” Mano choked.

Keeping up their silently threatening conversation Dan rubbed his hand over Halia’s bump while narrowing his eyes at Mano.That’s right she’s all mine and so is this. So, you can stop thinking about my wife being in bed with you, you prick. Every feature of Dan’s entire body broadcast that message loud and clear.

“You’re kind of huge,” Kelii gasped. “When are you due?”

“In just a few weeks, actually,” Fionna ground out. 

“Well, congratulations,” Mano forced. 

“Thanks,” Dan offered coldly.

“Is this your first?” Mano wondered thoughtfully. 

He’d heard about the wedding. Dan knew instantly. His Visium predilection eased his shield aside.Mano wanted to know if they’d gotten married because they thought they had to.

“Oh no, we have a seven-year-old little girl, Aida,” Fionna informed him. 

“Oh,” Mano was now thoroughly confused making Dan chuckle. “Well, it was really good to see all of you. We’ll be visiting my folks for the next few weeks. Maybe we’ll run into you again,” he urged though no one believed that he hoped that would happen. 

“Why don’t we go out for dessert or coffee or something? I’d say drinks but that seems like it might not be a good idea,” Kelii offered Fionna with a slight laugh. “I went to school on the mainland. At McMillan so I never knew any of Mano’s friends. I’d love to hear about growing up here in Kauai and going to Magma and everything.” 

Looking extremely uncomfortable Mano shuddered slightly. “Honey, I’m sure they need to get back to Maylea’s family. Or they probably need to get home to their little girl… or something.” His expression said he was pleased that he’d come up with that so quickly. 

Fionna and Malani were having a silent conversation of their own. When you’d been best friends for thirty years and when you were created of the same energy patterns, whether your Predilects were the same or not, you could communicate fairly well without even speaking. 

Malani gave a furtive glance at Dan. Clearly feeling that Fionna had out married Mano and that she should show off a little. Fionna was worried Mano would upset Dan. She shook her head minutely. 

“Oh, well here, why don’t we just join your table? We ordered at the bar so we can just have our food brought here instead,” Kelii suggested. 

With that she swung a chair from an empty table nearby and situated one for Mano right beside Dan. 

The waiter supplied Mano and Kelii their drinks from the bar and agreed very kindly to bring their dinner out quickly so they could eat with their old friends. Dan kept his arm wrapped around Fionna possessively. 

Malani was delighted though she played it off well. 

“So, Mano what do you do now?” She began showing off on Fionna’s behalf.

“I’m a market researcher for a company in Pearl City. I try to figure out what would draw tourists to the islands,” he confessed, sounding like he’d just committed a brutal murder.

“Ah,” Malani no longer seemed pleased to be dining with Mano. Dan knew that many locals didn’t particularly care for Hawaii to be over-branded and didn’t want their lands filled with tourist traps and gimmicks. 

Kelii however gazed at Mano adoringly as she beamed. “Maylea, do you stay home with your little girl or do you work?” 

“I was the lead Receiver for the Arlington Angels until last spring. Now, I stay home with Aida and our new little one.” She rubbed her hands over her bump again and Dan pulled her close kissing her temple just to irk Mano.

“Wow,” Kelii seemed delighted. “I could never have left a career in professional summation. I told Mano that if he wanted kids we’d have to adopt or something ridiculous like that because I wasn’t getting fat. I just don’t see how you could ever get your body back after that,” she explained. She hadn’t meant to be rude but Fionna and Malani closed ranks quickly and if Kelii made another comment like that she was going down. Kai and Dan both shifted and glared at Mano and Kelii. No one was calling their wives fat and getting away with it.  

“Uh,” Mano panicked as he tried to cover his wife’s gaffe. “So… uh Dan,” he recalled, “What do you do?”

“I was the Chief of Elite Iodex in D.C. until last spring. Now I’m the head of Ioses order at Venton Academy.” He shot Mano a grin that said if he so much as looked at Fionna wrong it would be a very painful evening for him. 

Mano’s eyes goggled. “Elite Iodex, wow.” He slid his body away from Dan’s as much as he was able. 

“The Chief,” Fionna added spitefully. 

Kelii looked impressed. “Tell me what Mano was like when you were friends.” 

Dan wanted to vomit preferably on Mano. 

Fionna sighed. “I really didn’t know Mano that well.” Her glare dared Mano to tell his wife that she was lying. “I didn’t go to Magma. I went to Venton with Dan.” 

“Oh.” Kelii was now extremely confused. 

“Mama wanted me to be a farm hand on Maylea’s grandparents farm one summer back in school. She didn’t think I had enough ties to Kauai. Maylea lived with her grandparents that summer but after that I spent most summers in Honolulu. I went to Magma with Kai and Malani,” Mano explained.

Dan watched as several pieces of the puzzle seemed to cement in Kelii’s mind. She nodded and then reappraised Fionna. 

“Oh, well okay so you tell me about Mano in school,” she turned on Kai and Malani.

Malani offered a derisive chuckle. “We didn’t really speak.” 

Dan understood immediately. When Mano had shown himself to be nothing more than a douche bag that had used Fionna all summer and then sent her home without a second thought, Malani had refused to speak or acknowledge his existence for the rest of their school careers. She and Fionna most definitely functioned under the female policy that if my best friend hates you then so do I whether I know you or not. 

Kai stepped in. “Mano and I had a few classes together, didn’t we? But that was ages ago. We haven’t seen much of him since.” He laced his fingers through Malani’s trying to calm her down. 

Nodding, Kelii was clearly rethinking her choice of dining tables.

“How did you two meet?” She quizzed Dan and Fionna.

Dan slid his eyes discreetly to his wife. He didn’t want to out Fionna’s story. He’d go along with whatever tale she might want to spin. She’d already alluded to the idea that they’d been together in school even though they’d barely spoken the years they’d attended Venton together. 

“Dan came to a party the Angels were throwing. It was love at first sight,” she explained. 

“It definitely was,” Dan vowed. Though he wasn’t certain he would have phrased it quite like that at the time. 

“How about you two?” Fionna turned the questioning on Kelii as everyone began eating again. Dan winked at Fionna as he reheated her dinner for her making her beam.

“Mano was a contestant on this local reality show in L.A. a few years ago. Kind of a spin on The Bachelor. I was chosen as one of the girls competing for the guys and we fell head over heels,” she announced.

“How nice,” Malani offered with a slight eye roll.

“Did you take a season off when you had your little girl?” Mano leapt in. 

“Oh no,” Fionna smiled and laid her head on Dan’s shoulder. She wanted Mano to go away. He felt her energy drown in the desire to be protected. Her internal shield set firmly. Halia was squirming in irritation.

“We adopted Aida last April,” she explained. 

After his wife’s comment that adoption was ridiculous, Mano looked faint. 

“We’re actually the spokesmembers for the Auxiliary International Adoptions Within the Realm program,” Fionna added with a great deal of spite. 

“Wow, that’s great I mean getting sponsorships that’s probably a lot of money,” Kelii announced. Rolling his eyes Dan tried to think of some way to get Fionna out of the restaurant and back home in his arms.

“Malani and Kai had a little girl back in July,” Fionna continued.

“Yep,” Kai nodded. He pulled his cell phone from his pocket showing off his pictures of Lanie.

“My little Leilanie Maylea,” Malani continued to taunt Mano.

Tension flooded Fionna’s energy again and Dan instantly decided that he really didn’t care if he pissed off Mano and Kelli. He was taking Fionna home. 

“We should go, baby. We need to check on Aida before I take you to bed.” His tone said no one should argue.  

Malani couldn’t quite hide her delighted giggle. Kai shook his head. 

“You staying on the farm?” Mano quizzed. Dan’s body seized as he saw the wistful look in Mano’s eyes. Fionna saw it as well. She tucked even closer to Dan.

“Yeah. We’re just on vacation for a few weeks,” she explained hesitantly.

Mano nodded. “Yeah, us too. If I make it that long. I get crazy being away from the big city. You know how it is. I mean D.C. must be amazing,” he added hopefully.

“Actually Dan and I are moving back in a few months. We were just talking about building a house since Papa expanded the farm.” 

“Oh.” Mano nodded. “So your grandfather is expanding? I guess the business must still be doing well.”

“Ever since Dan started helping out, it’s exploded. He’s got a real knack with the lands, and Maylea and Malani have been running the store,” Kai got in a hit next. He loved Fionna almost as much as Dan and Malani and he’d picked up on her discomfort as well. 

Mano seemed to accept his defeat. “You still working over there?” he quizzed Kai.

“Yeah, but I also help my parents with the market. We’re thinking of putting Tutu’s products in the store next summer since we’ve doubled our farmland.” 

“That’s really great.” 

“Ready, baby?” Dan urged again.

“Yeah.” Fionna gave Dan his smile. “Thank you,” she whispered. 

“Anytime.” Dan kissed her cheek, allowing only her to hear him. He would step in and save his baby anytime, anywhere. It was what he’d been put here to do. Of that much he was absolutely certain. 

“Well, it was nice to see you again Mano. Nice to meet you Kelii,” Fionna stated politely.

“You too.” Mano nodded.

Dan threw down enough cash to cover their bill and then guided Fionna out of the restaurant. Malani and Kai followed suit as they offered Mano a quick good-bye.

“I’m sorry,” Fionna fussed as they headed towards Malani’s Jeep. 

“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Dan assured her. He may not have been her first but he sure as hell would be her last he vowed to himself.

Suddenly, Mano was upon them. He’d followed them out of the restaurant and rushed to Fionna’s side. That was several steps too far. Dan positioned himself between Fionna and Mano glaring hatefully.

“Look, I just wanted to apologize.” Mano held up his hands in defeat. 

Not having heard Mano’s declaration Kai and Malani stepped in. Malani tugged Fionna back as Kai moved beside Dan. 

“Mano, back off, man. She’s married and happy. You’re married. Let it go. He’s killed over her and I don’t think he’d hesitate to do it again,” Kai urged. 

Shaking his head, Mano took a step backwards. “Maylea, really, I just wanted to say how sorry I was for the way things ended between us. I was an idiot. I really am happy for you both,” he offered Dan and Fionna. “I’m certainly not looking to get something started. I just wanted to say that.”

“Good,” Dan growled but he felt Fionna’s hand grasp his own she calmed him. 

“It’s really fine, Mano. I hope you have a wonderful life. Because I certainly am,” she vowed adamantly. 

“Good. You deserve a great life,” he admitted. “I’ll see you around.” 

Dan helped Fionna up into the Jeep not certain what to make of Mano’s apology. 

“That was… weird,” Malani announced as Kai started the Jeep. 

“He does feel bad. I could tell.” Kai glanced back at Dan and Fionna. 

“How big of him,” Malani huffed.

Shaking her head, Fionna smirked. “Trust me, nothing about him was all that big.” She and Malani promptly cracked up. Dan and Kai tried not to join in. 

“That’s all it comes down to with you two,” Kai chided. “And you say men are shallow.” 

“Aww, honey, you should be honored. I did, after all, marry you,” Malani giggled hysterically as Kai turned the shade of an overly ripe tomato.

After another round of laughter, Fionna turned introspective. “He really doesn’t have to feel bad. I honestly hadn’t even thought about him in years.” 


An hour later, Dan pulled Fionna into their bedroom holding her close shielding her from the rest of the world. She was his and he didn’t like some other guy lamenting that their relationship had ended. 

He let his hands caress down her curves massaging and grabbing what he wanted with force. She moaned. Her breaths quickened. A slight shiver quaked through her body making him ache.

“What do you want, baby?” He edged his lips to her neck, brushing hot, open-mouthed kisses from her ear lobe to her collarbone slowly.

“I want to be yours,” she confessed in a choked whisper. She wanted to forget, wanted him to take it all away everything that had come before the two of them. He’d make certain it all fell away in light of their energy spinning as one of Dan making her his own. 

“You’re all mine, Maylea. All mine,” he growled in her ear. “Every inch of your gorgeous body inside and out. And I’m gonna lay you in that bed and take what belongs to only me.”

“Oh God. Yes,” she shook in her need as she writhed in his arms. 

“You want it hard, baby? You want me to fuck you so hard you know you’re mine? And then slow it down make you beg me for more? Then pound that sweet pussy until the only thing you remember is my name and the only thing you want is me to keep filling you full.” 

With that he stripped her bare, letting his hands work her quickly out of the dress she was wearing. She moaned as he located her fevered flesh in the humid evening. He groped and pulled her breasts and then traced his hands down until he was kneading her backside forcefully pulling her apart as he edged closer to the slick wet space that he wanted to permeate.

“Grab me, baby,” he ordered. She let her hand move over his strain and then quickly dispensed with his belt and the shorts he was wearing. 

Dan’s eyes rolled back in his head as she grasped him. His need leaked from his slit in preparation for her. She leaned her head down and swirled her tongue over him drinking the liquid form of his energy. 

“You like that, baby? ‘Cause I’m about to fill you full of it.”

Her eyes flashed in ardent desire as she panted for him. 

“Now. I want it now. Please,” she begged. 

“Be patient, Maylea. We have all night and I’m gonna bring you over and over until you just can’t stand it any longer. Then I’m gonna fill you so full the only thing you feel is me deep inside of you,” he ordered in a reverent command. 

She gasped and shuddered from his promises and Dan led her to their bed as he began to fulfill them.

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