Now that Ahuahu was back. Ahu went to search for oca while he and Hi’ilei pulled their boat above the high tide mark and into the bushes. She knew they would be hours talking, arguing and dividing the fish.
Looking for the vines that were dying back, she dug with her ko at their roots to harvest the oca tubers. She placed them in her basket and thought she heard the two men in the distance, but that couldn’t be so. So she quietly gathered up her possessions and hid beneath the tangled vines and in the shadows.
Two other men appeared from the village, arguing. Unmarried men usually fought and argued with each other a lot in their normal life. It was part of showing off, of being the bravest man, a warrior. She was glad Ahuahu had all his teeth and had not lost them fighting or knocked them out when mourning a family member. The men were now quieting down and were walking away. Perhaps they had decided they were not fighting over the same woman, she thought.
Kneeling there in the undergrowth she reached down and felt her stomach. Was the baby really there? She felt no different. There was no bump and she still wanted Ahuahu. If she had her chin tattooed and lips too perhaps it would be a boy and he would be strong and kind like Ahuahu. Then she too would fit in more with the rest of the village. He was strong and good at fishing but he too suffered from not being from their village. She hated the sea although she never said so, that would be unlucky. It had robbed her of her parents and now she feared for Ahuahu. But she was glad he was careful and made sure they always returned safely from fishing. All was quiet now. So she got up and gathered leaves to wrap the fish in for the earth oven and placed them with the oca in her basket and walked carefully back to their hut.
There would be a hangi tonight to celebrate the good catch. It would be a good time with drinking and singing. Everyone would see how useful Ahuahu was and he would gain credit unless Hi’ilei boasted as usual how he had found the fish. Nobody would believe him but it sowed the seeds of doubt. It would be a long night and it would be late before she could be alone with Ahuahu and talk to him and touch him. She must be a good wife to him she didn’t want to share him with anyone else. Not that that was likely as both he and she were regarded as unimportant. How could she tell him not to be so useful otherwise other families might want their daughters to be married to him too? If he did that it would pierce her through the heart.
When she got back the women were already preparing the pit for the fire and the stones to bake the food on. Word had got around fast. She went up to the others and placed her fresh leaves and oca by the women. They nodded acceptance. One old woman, who had lost nearly all her teeth, cackled noisily and pointed to Ahu's belly and grinned a gummy smile. Ahu felt sad that Hi’ilei had been gossiping already. Next, they would be coming to see her to recommend a dose of herbs to make the baby strong or something worse. She just nodded, gave a weak smile and turned to walk back to her hut.
Ahuahu was already there. He grabbed hold of her and picked her up, hugged her to his chest and rubbed noses with her. Listening carefully for any noise outside her laid her down, put his ear to her tummy and stroked her gently. She breathed in the salty tang of his body.
“It will be a long night tonight at the feast Ahuahu,” she said “Lie down and let me rub you with coconut oil.”
“No Ahu, let us rub each other.” She saw the look in his eyes and nodded eagerly. No, he would not want another wife.