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“Puag koon nii man ngii ngao! Tamngaan ork ma dai yae arai yang nii!!” Jak yelled and swore in Thai loudly at his construction team.

They had put the bathroom doors on backward and upside down.

“Honestly, how could they be so stupid! The handles are on the wrong side of the doors,” Jak rolled his eyes and shook his head in frustration.

They were two months into construction on Koh Ma, and tensions were running high.

But, things were progressing on schedule, nonetheless. All the structural framework had been laid, the beach had been cleared, and the pathways had been dug out and laid with concrete. The pool was being tiled--a huge job for which Jak had brought in reinforcements from the main island, and the saunas had been ordered and were being shipped from Finland. They were due to start work on the bungalows in the following week, and the restaurant shortly thereafter.

Chara and Anna had started working with Vinny on planning the opening party. They were working with a sizeable budget and had already booked three of the hottest DJs in the world for the party. They were now working on sourcing more entertainment. Dancers, contortionists, fire spinners, flair bartenders, and even tightrope walkers.

“We need to throw a party that blows everyone away,” Vinny had commanded. “No expenses spared.”

Anna was working on contacting agencies to invite specially selected models and celebrities from Thailand and around the world.

Chara was preparing the content and social media presence for the event. She was also designing the invitations. Instead of the typical event brochures, they’d decided on a “message in a bottle” concept, to set them apart as a destination party that was truly an event not to be missed. Chara had ordered the vials already.

After much deliberation and debate, they’d also finally come to an agreement on the name for the island: Koh Exotica. It had been the only name they’d all agreed on, though there had been many, many suggestions.

Anna and Vinny had been working together particularly closely on the opening party. Their flirtations were obvious to everyone, even to Sunny, who often shook his head at the two of them fawning over one another.

But Anna denied there was anything going on. “Honestly, it’s just a bit of harmless flirting!” she’d insisted the other day when Jak had approached her about it.

“I’m not judging, Anna, but I do ask that you break things off with Lek if anything is going to happen between you and Vinny. It’s only right,” Jak had explained as delicately but directly as he could.

“Oh, what, because he shows me the same courtesy?” she’d snapped back, raising her eyebrows accusingly, as if it were Jak’s fault that his cousin was cheating on her.

“Please, Anna. Just talk to him?”

Anna had finally given in and called Lek. They’d spoken on the phone for an hour, and though Anna was tight-lipped about what had been said, her furrowed brow and downcast eyes had indicated the conversation had been less than pleasant.

“What did he say?” Chara had asked Anna in private.

Anna shook her head. “I couldn’t do it. Not yet. I need more time,” she’d explained. “Please don’t tell Jak.”

Chara and Jak’s romance, meanwhile, was progressing smoothly. They were still very much in the honeymoon stage and found any excuse to go off together for a quickie wherever they could find a private space. As such, they’d already christened a good portion of the island. Chara was pretty sure at least one or two construction workers had caught them in the act one time or another.

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