Disclaimer: I don't own anything! Songs here are Are You Lonesome Tonight? and Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley.

Author's Note:


In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.
~Robert Ingersoll


The clock in the kitchen is really loud and Nani wonders why she hasn't noticed before now. Mom came home with that clock years ago and Dad had looked at her oddly, but had shrugged. His wife was a woman of whims.

The memory makes her eyes sting and burn and she shoves the memory down deep because she's been crying for a week—every small thing that she's walked past without a thought for years has memories attached. Mom rocking Lilo in the hammock, Mom sucking her teeth in thought as she tried to figure out the new blender; Dad in the garage, his records spinning and the music loud enough for her to hear in the yard, Dad laughing and kissing Mom lightly as they danced through the living room, almost tripping over the rug.

She's in the garage now, or, on the doorstep between the garage and the kitchen, flipping through his old records. There are a lot of Elvis ones.

"You should've seen me and your mom," He said, grinning at her. Nani was his mechanic-in-training, ready to carry on his business. "Lemme tell you, we could dance, girl."

She'd been maybe ten or eleven, still too short and still his girl. Her eyes had gone real big at those words. "Really, Daddy?"

He'd been Daddy until Nani turned fourteen and three quarters, and then he became Dad because she was a girl grown.

He grinned and his eyes wrinkled in the corners. "Absolutely."

Nani sets the record on the player and it scratches a bit before it starts to play. Nani turns it down hastily, not wanting to wake Lilo, especially after she'd finally gotten to sleep. The deep, masculine voice croons soft words through the air and Nani leans her head against the doorframe, letting the words and the music wash over her.

…chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare?

If she closes her eyes, Nani thinks that she can hear Dad coming in through the garage, two Coca-Colas that might have started out cold, but had warmed from the walk from the cornerstore to the house and asking why Nani was just sitting there by her lonesome.

Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?

She can see him, sunglasses hanging around his neck, his old, faded shirts and shorts, passing her a Coke and sitting beside her, long legs stretched out as he kicks off his flip-flops.

Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?

Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?

A paint can crashes to the ground and Nani's head jerks up. Nana always used to tell stories of burglars and how pretty girls had to be careful on the streets. She reaches for a wrench, one of the heavy ones that the boys in school that came to Dad with their fathers to get theirs fixed used to say was weird that a girl could pick up.

Someone curses low in a voice she recognizes.

"David?"

He looks up at her from where he's nursing a foot that would probably be handsomely bruised tomorrow. She can see his tan cheeks flush in the yellow light from the porchlight. "Howsit, Nani?"

"What're you doing breaking into our garage?" Nani stands, dropping the wrench and striding across the room to him. He's in her class, the one that's always grinning and joking and his family's been friends with her family for longer than she can remember.

He drops his eyes. "I-I heard. About your parents." She wonders what took him so long to hear about it; the story of the car accident and the two daughters left by themselves had been the gossip of the market since it happened. "Mom told my uncle yesterday and I got here soon as I could."

Nani remembers that David spent a lot of time with his uncle out across the island—"The waves are better there," they claimed.

The needle shifts and a new song plays.

Well, since my baby left me, I found a new place to dwell…

She doesn't know what to say to him.

David tucks a lock of his dark curls—if it was longer, it could be called wavy—behind one ear and he shuffles closer. The Johnny Cash T-shirt he's wearing is worn thin and faded and is a size too big; it makes a whispering sound as he comes to stand in front of her.

He's biting his lip and he doesn't seem to know what to do, so when he wraps his arms around her in an awkward hug, Nani stiffens in surprise. He's warm and familiar and smells like the ocean and Nani returns the embrace because while she's given Lilo a lot of hugs this week, no one's really though to give her one. It strikes Nani that David isn't as skinny as he used to be and that, for all his gangliness, there's actual curves of muscle on him.

"'M sorry." He mumbles into her hair—and when did he get taller than her?

It's the first platitude that sounds sincere.

She thinks of Lilo upstairs, of the loud emptiness of the house, of the way that she's tired of falling apart at little things. She has to be strong now, she knows. Has to step up to take care of the little sister that she's argued with and defended in the same breath. Has to be a mother when she's less than six months away from graduating high school.

So she leans her forehead against David's shoulder and says, "Me too."

Oh, although it's always crowded

You still can find some room

For broken hearted lovers

To cry there in their gloom...