It seemed inevitable that the first person Danny saw when he entered the hotel was Kekipi. For a horrible moment, he thought that Kekipi was the victim of the robbery, but as he drew closer to the desk where the Hawaiian was arguing with the desk clerk, he realised that the other man was arguing about the fact he was not allowed to leave until the police had spoken to him. Wryly, Danny reflected that he would be even less popular with Kekipi than he already was.
Initially ignoring the other man, Danny flashed his badge at the desk clerk. "Williams, Hawaii Five-O," he announced.
"Yes, Mr Williams, we have been expecting you. All the departing guests are in the ballroom waiting for you to talk with them and HPD is already up at the room." She smiled expectantly. "Where would you like to go first?"
"I'll take a look at the crime scene, then come back and speak to the guests," he decided. "I assume that HPD took a statement from the victim?"
"Yes, sir and she is in the manager's office at the moment. She is naturally very upset."
"Naturally," Danny agreed. He obtained the room number and turned around to find Kekipi had moved into his personal space and was now standing nose-to-nose with him. The belligerent expression on his face alerted Danny to potential trouble.
"I ain't stayin' here 'cos of you," he informed the detective bluntly.
"I think you'll find you are," Danny replied mildly, biting down on his temper. He saw the HPD officer across the lobby straightening and gestured to him to stay put. The last thing he wanted was for this confrontation to turn even nastier than it already was. "I'll be back shortly. If you'll excuse me?" He didn't wait for Kekipi's reply, but stepped around the man.
Fortunately, he was expecting trouble, because that was what he got. Kekipi grabbed Danny's arm and yanked him around, forcing the slighter detective off-balance. Kekipi shouted something too quickly for Danny to grasp, but he was pretty sure that it wasn't a declaration of undying love. Off-balance Danny might be, but he wasn't going to allow this man to push him around. With a quick, practiced movement, Danny caught Kekipi by the wrist and twisted, spinning him around, forcing his arm behind his back and shoving him face-first against the reception desk. "That wasn't polite," Danny breathed in his ear, his tone hard. "I'm going to let it go this time, but take heed, Kekipi; my eye is on you!" He let go and stepped back. "It's all right," he told the HPD officer who had come over. "It was just a misunderstanding." He gave the glowering Kekipi another hard look and headed for the elevator.
This was not going to be an easy task.
After a quick word with the lab team who were hard at work dusting for prints and collecting evidence, Danny went back down and spoke to the guests who were leaving. He divided the work with the HPD men who were there, getting one of them to speak to Kekipi so that he didn't have to. He made a mental note to check with Kono about a record. With that part done, he went to the manager's office to speak to the victim and was horrified to find it was the lady who had come third in the quilting competition.
Her name was Nancy Davidson and she lived on the Big Island. She had returned to her room after breakfast that morning to discover that someone had broken in and stolen not just the valuable cheque she had won, but also her prize-winning quilt. She appeared to be more upset about the quilt going missing than about the cheque, an attitude that would have confounded Danny before the weekend. Now, he felt he understood why; the money was nice and very welcome, but the quilt was her own design and irreplaceable. She had made it to commemorate her daughter's wedding and now she no longer had it to give to the happy couple. Danny promised they would do everything in their power to see that the precious object was returned to her as soon as possible.
Heading to the car, Danny decided his next move would be to go to the lab and see what they had found. Then he would settle down and look at the guest statements and see if he could see any more in them than the HPD officers had. The hotel staff had also been questioned, but they were so busy with their duties that they had seen nothing. The housekeeping staff had been working on a different floor.
"Have you got anything?" Danny asked hopefully, standing carefully just inside the door of the lab. He always felt slightly wary of stepping in and maybe messing something up.
"Not really," Che Fong, the head of the lab replied. "Just a section of the quilt that was stolen. It must have been torn off by accident." He proffered the material.
Stepping closer, Danny had a look. A frown crossed his face and he dug his notebook out of his pocket. He had asked Mrs Davidson to describe her quilt and had planned to ask Kamea to explain the different shapes the lady named. While he might think he knew what a curlicue was, he thought it would be better to get an expert to corroborate it. He glanced at his notes, just to confirm that he was remembering clearly, and then back at the sample. "This isn't from her quilt," he declared. "The colours are wrong."
"Lots of colours on a quilt, bruddah," Che mused.
"Not on this kind," Danny replied. "I don't have time to explain it to you, but trust me. This quilt was done in grey and white only." The piece in the bag was red and yellow. It was clearly a corner and the intricate quilting and binding were done in a contrasting blue. Danny was not sure he liked the colour combination; it unsettled him for some reason. "This must have been dropped by the thief." That was an unsettling conclusion. Almost all the departing guests they had interviewed that morning had been quilters.
"There are no prints on it," Che offered. "But fabric is difficult to get prints from."
"Can I take this?" Danny asked. "I might have a way of identifying who it belongs to."
"As long as you sign for it," Che agreed. Nodding, Danny scribbled his name and tucked the bag into his pocket and hurried back to the office.
"And you think Kamea can identify the maker of this quilt just by this scrap?" McGarrett asked sceptically. He looked up from the piece of fabric in his hand to eye his second meaningfully. He quite understood that Danny was enamoured of the girl, but this seemed to be taking the initial glow of a new relationship a bit far.
"I'm not certain," Danny replied, "but I know that she told me something about different patterns and styles and techniques. I didn't quite grasp it all, but if she might know, then we'd be a step further along the road. It's also possible that she saw the quilt that this fragment came from."
Frowning, Steve looked back at the fabric. He wondered if Danny was looking for excuses to spend time with his new girlfriend, but that wasn't really his style. While he would squeeze in dates at all sorts of extraordinary times, he was not in the habit of shirking his duties to run off and meet someone. He was too like Steve in that respect. "I think it's a long shot," he finally said, handing the bag back to the younger man. "But you're right; we have to take the chance."
"Thanks," Danny replied, heading to the door.
"Just don't be all day," Steve called after him. He got a wave in reply. It was only after Danny was long gone that Steve remembered about the file on Kekipi.