The two almost forgot completely that Katsu Kari was still there until he spoke from his spot on the sofa. “So do I get an answer?”
Their attention was drawn to him rather suddenly and it was clear on Sesiago’s face that he was not happy with his father. When he turned back to Tationy, she had already walked away. He moved toward the door she had exited and was about to follow when his father’s voice halted him. “Is it her that needs the support or you?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
His father had stood and made his way toward Sesiago, staring briefly out the slats of the door at the young girl now standing on the balcony. Sesiago could tell by the silence that his father was choosing his words carefully. “You seem dependent on her or perhaps it is love. Are you happy that this transpired?”
“What are you asking?” Sesiago’s voice raised as he turned to look at his father. His father offered no response and Sesiago stared angrily him. “Of course I am not happy that this transpired. She was raped by my cousin and it was my fault it happened. I antagonized Hiko and she was hurt.”
“I was not referring to what happened to her, rather the end result.”
Sesiago frowned, looking back toward Tationy. There was silence that lingered around father and son, but eventually Sesiago asked. “Can you fall in love with someone in a single moment?”
“Your mother once told me that a man was far more complicated than a woman when it came to love. She told me that a man needs to be overwhelmed and captivated by a woman’s scent, the way she moves, her personality, her brain, her body, and every little mystery that she holds. He has to feel that he absolutely cannot live without her and that only with her, does he have a future. Under normal circumstances I would tell you no, that you cannot fall in love so quickly. However, I believe there are circumstances far beyond your control or mine, in this matter. Kazuma knows his queen.”
“Why do you have to always take a perfect moment and spoil it by bringing up that nonsense?”
“The same reason you avoid answering my question about whether or not she is pregnant.”
Sesiago sighed, “We are waiting for the blood work to let us know if she is. The initial test came back positive.”
“I sense a but coming.”
“There is a chance the baby could be Hiko’s. At the doctor’s office she was adamant that she could not have his baby, but seemed to calm when I told her that the baby could be mine. We have not spoken about it since and have yet to hear from the doctor on the final word.”
Sesiago turned and moved toward the counter, picking up his phone and cycling through his messages looking for one from the doctor’s office. “Let me ask you a question. If the baby turns out to be Hiko’s, how would you feel?”
He paced glancing over his phone before finally stopping and regarding his father a moment. “It would not matter to me.”
“Not at all? Looking at the product of the assault every single day. Watching him or her grow up knowing that Hiko’s blood runs through the veins of that child.”
“Hiko and I have the same blood,” Sesiago responded before giving his father a hard stare, “What are you trying to do?”
“Your question will have to be a bit more specific.”
“I mean, why do you care suddenly? Is this all about Kazuma and Tearra or do you have an agenda?”
“Just concerned.” Sesiago made a sound of disbelief as he set his phone down. “You know this place is hardly fit to raise a child.”
“I am just…”
“She and I will figure this out together. Just drop it alright?”
“Alright, I will drop it, but under one condition.”
“I knew it, you do have an agenda.”
“No agenda, just a request and by request I mean, I expect you both to be there.”
“Your nephew wants to have a little family gathering for the holidays. I told him that it would not be possible, but he begged me to get his uncle Sesiago to come and visit. Considering you have been dumping work on Seiji and Yayoi, I suggest you be present.”
Sesiago sighed bowing his head. He was about to tell his father that it was not going to be possible, but her soft voice answered for him. “We will be there.”
“Then it is settled. I will see you in a couple of days.” Katsu had responded saying his goodbyes and rather quickly departing.
Sesiago understood why his father left so suddenly. There was much that he and Tationy needed to discuss. He had been just about to speak, when she sighed, “I am going to take a bath then rest for a bit.”
With a subtle, “Mmhmm,” Sesiago watched her disappear up the stairs.
While Tationy took a bath, Sesiago called the doctor’s office in hopes of getting some information on the blood work only to find out that the lab was backed up and they would call when the results were available. The waiting and uncertainty seemed to be weighing heavily on both of them them and for two days they spoke little to each other. Sesiago tried to think of this trip to his fathers as a vacation away from their troubles and worries, but he was concerned that this would have its own negative impact upon the situation. Two hours into the drive and not a word was spoken between the two. Tationy simply looked out the window or played with the radio. When she finally spoke, Sesiago was caught off-guard. “What is your father’s place like?”
He stumbled over his words until he finally just settled on one word, “Big.”
“Is it like your dad?”
“What do you mean?”
“He seems like he deals with every situation as though it is a business transaction.”
“You got that from meeting with him twice?” He paused a moment then added, “In some ways it is an extension of him. My mother’s influence on the place is long gone. It was their dream house and when he made his first million he had it built for them. She died a year after it was finished.”
“I am sorry. How old were you when she died?”
“I was six. What about you?”
“What about me?”
“Tell me about your parents.”
She seemed apprehensive about discussing them. “My mother only cares about appearances and my father is always drowning his sorrows into a bottle of whatever he can get his hands on. They are not worth talking about.”
“Are you not close to them?”
“I could not wait to get away from them and I have not seen them in a couple of years.”
“I am sorry to hear that.”
“Don’t be, I’m not. When my mother finds out that you and I are spending time together she will make an appearance, just like she did when Hiko and I first got involved. Her mother disowned when she was sixteen after she hooked up with my father and got herself pregnant. She has been chasing fortune ever since, anywhere she can get it. I despise women like her.”
“So you do not care about money?” He questioned.
“It only gets in the way. People who have it think they can do whatever they want and people that don’t will do anything to have it. The face of greed is an ugly one.”
“Do you think that I think that I can do whatever I want?”
“I did initially, after all when I asked you who you thought you were, your response to me was Sesiago Kari. Like that name alone could move mountains, but having spent time with you I do not believe you are what you appeared to be during our first encounter. However, that is not to say you could not be that person when you see something you want. Everyone has it in them to be that person.”
“Everyone? Even you?”
“Even me. It is what you do at that moment with that opportunity that defines whether you are or are not that type of person.”
He was grateful she was talking. “Are you okay with doing this?”
There was a silent moment and he glanced at her briefly, “This is what people do right? It is normal to visit family on the holidays. I need to be normal for a while, even if it is not my family and not my place. I just want a moment where I can pretend like this nightmare did not happen. So yes, I am okay with this. I don’t want you to worry, just have a good time with your family.” Sesiago felt some relief from her words as the silence overtook both of them and lingered there until they arrived at his fathers estate.
Pulling into his fathers drive he instantly noticed his father’s classic convertible along with his brother Seiji’s eidolon and his cousin Yayoi’s motorcycle. He was not expecting everyone to be there already. He had been hoping for them to have a chance to settle in before being confronted by his kin. He was concerned that Tationy was going to be overwhelmed as he turned off the ignition climbed out of the vehicle and moved around to the other side to open the door for Tationy. She was already out and standing by the side of the car when he reached the other-side. “You have a look on your face.”
“Is something wrong?”
“No, I just was not expecting everyone else to be here already. I was hoping we would arrive first and have a chance to settle in.”
“So you are telling me I have been tossed into the lion’s den?”
He sighed, “Yeah, sorry.”
“It is alright. I prepared myself for this already during our trip here.”
“We can leave the bags, I will get them later,” he stated as he reached for her hand giving it a squeeze before walking with her into the home of his father.
Sesiago could hear their voices as they made their way through the house toward the top of it where the grill, pool, and bar were located. They were talking casually among themselves about business. More importantly about the movement of Hiko against Shima interest. When they stepped out into the fresh open air, Osa his nephew was standing there staring at them. “What took you so long uncle Sesiago? Grandpa said that we could not eat until you got here.”
“I am sorry, we did not know everyone was waiting on us.”
“Is this your girlfriend?” His question gave him pause. Truthfully he wanted to say yes, but he did not really know how to answer the question and his father, cousin, and brother grew quiet when they realized the two of them had finally arrived.
“Something like that.”
“What does that mean?” Osa questioned then turned toward his father, “I thought you said that she was his girlfriend. What does something like that mean?”
“It is complicated Osa, I will explain it to you when you are older.”
“You always say that and each birthday I tell you I am older, but you never explain anything.”
Sesiago sighed shaking his head and then he heard it, the soft laugh of Tationy. “You finding this amusing?” He whispered as he kept his eyes fixed on his family.
“You have no idea.” She responded.
Sesiago wanted to quickly change the topic and say hello to everyone when Osa broke the awkward silence, “What happened to your face?”
Sesiago noticeably tensed his mouth opened to speak, but Seiji had gotten there first. “That is not polite Osa.”
“It is alright.” Tationy responded calmly. She took her sunglasses off and knelt down so she was eye level with the child. She took a moment to allow him to look at her, offering a brief smile as she spoke, “I made someone very angry at me.”
“That is a good question. I was feeling a bit sad and I did something that made me happy, but made him very upset.”
“So he hurt you?”
“Are the two of you still mad at each other?”
Sesiago noticed the heaviness had returned, not just around him, but his father, brother, and cousin as well. “We have not apologized.” She voiced, “It will take some time, before either of us can forgive the other.” Sesiago made note that Tationy was being very careful with her words. He could tell she did not want it to seem like a big deal, but she also did not want to ignore the questions of Osa.
“Was it uncle Sesiago that hurt you?”
“No, it was not.”
“Good, I would be very mad at him if it was. It is not nice to hurt people.” Osa had paused his nose scrunched up before he asked, “Does it hurt?”
Her words must have settled the questions in Osa, because he nodded his head and began walking away. “Osa, where are you going?” Seiji questioned.
“To make a picture for Sesiago’s girlfriend to cheer her up. She seems sad and it always cheered up mommy.”
When Tationy stood up, she turned and buried her face in Sesiago’s chest. It told him that it was harder for her to do that then it appeared to him and his family. With Osa out of earshot he whispered, “Are you alright?”
She had not responded instead his family moved in closer to the two, “Thank you for answering his questions. I know that must have been difficult for you.”
“Thank you for being there and finding me.” She responded.
“Well this tension is rather thick.” The voice of Yayoi caught his attention as he quickly introduced himself, “I wish we were meeting under different circumstances. I am Yayoi, Sesiago and Seiji’s cousin.”
“How are you doing?”
“I take it Sesiago told you what happened?” Sesiago removed his sunglasses tucking them into his pocket as he listened to the conversation.
“He did, though do not be too terribly mad at him, I did not give him much of a choice in the matter.”
“I am holding myself together.” She answered his question. It was the most honest answer that Sesiago had heard from her regarding how she was feeling.
“Let us not dwell on the negative that is not why we are all here.” Katsu spoke up. “Yayoi needs to be getting back to work, so let’s get some dinner made and try to enjoy the holiday. Shall we?” Sesiago’s father had offered his arm to Tationy and she nervously accepted. “You will be my assistant for this adventure, Miss Tationy.”
She stumbled over the word, “Alright.”
He felt nervous as he watched the two of them walk away. Yayoi’s hand rested to his shoulder as he spoke, “You are no good to her if you are hovering like an overprotective husband. She will never be able to stand on her own two feet if you are constantly there expecting her to fall.”
“I don’t expect that.”
“Don’t you?” Yayoi’s question brought him pause as he looked toward the door they had gone through and wondered if that was what he was doing. He had been expecting there to be a calm before the storm, wasn’t he right to think that? “Your father is not ill-equipped at dealing with situations like these. Just relax and try to enjoy your vacation.”
Sesiago remained silent as Yayoi began to walk away, but then his words hit him and Sesiago yelled out, “What do you mean situations like these?”
Yayoi stopped moving, his back still to Sesiago as he spoke, “You think that this is the first time this type of thing has transpired in this family? Do you have any idea how many Tylo women came before this one? You always tell yourself that it is just some fairy tale, but the truth of the matter is, to the Kari that story is everything. It lingers about and every single one of them will do whatever is needed to make that fairy tale a reality. Even sink to the lowest level possible to test themselves or their kin. You tell yourself it is nonsense and keep your distance from it, but it is still around you Sesiago. Maybe you should try listening to your father.”
Sesiago’s head tilted slightly as he watched his cousin leave through the same door that his father and Tationy had gone through. Seiji’s words broke through his thoughts, “Whatever happens, just understand that it is done for a reason.”
“You too?” Sesiago questioned as he turned toward Seiji.
“Your father groomed you to be the heir to Kazuma’s kingdom. You can keep fighting it or you can fight for it. If she is Kazuma’s queen, I would think your decision in this matter would be an easy one. It does not matter if the fairy tale is true or not, what matters is how you feel. The fairy tale is something these old Kari were groomed to uphold the traditions of, they need it, don’t deprive them of something that is so ingrained within them simply because you do not believe in it. I am going to check on Osa, why don’t you stay up here and think about things for a bit.”
His brothers words probably stung more than any other persons could have. Seiji was not born Kari. He was born of the Shima and raised as the son of Katsu. He had heard the stories as he grew just as Sesiago did and never once did Sesiago ever think that Seiji would support what he truly believed to be utter nonsense.
Katsu could tell that Tationy was feeling a bit uncomfortable standing near him in the kitchen. “Have you heard from the doctor?”
He noticed how she pursed her lips before speaking, “Not as of yet.”
“Have you decided what you intend to do if you are in fact pregnant?”
“Are you asking me for a reason?”
“My son is in love with you.”
“Your son does not know me.”
“Don’t be fooled into thinking that such a minor detail matters. You must be wondering to yourself if what you see from him is genuine or if it will fade with time.”
“Do you have a point?”
“Perhaps you should test him.”
“Did your wife test you?”
“My wife had no doubts that I was the one for her so there was no need for me to be tested. She never wavered in how she felt about me and I never even glanced at another.”
“All men look at other women.”
“Not Kari men. Even Hiko has only loved one woman. Sure a Kari man is no monk we may take another woman to our bed, but we never see anyone, but the woman we love and my son loves you. I am not entirely certain he even realizes it at this point, but I can see it clearly as can his brother and even Yayoi told me he could hear it in the voice of Sesiago when they spoke on the phone. So yes, I am asking you for a reason. If you abort that child, regardless of whose child it is he will be devastated.”
“You seem so certain.” She responded.
“He is my son. I have no doubts about his feelings.”
His words halted her actions as she placed the knife and apple she had been peeling upon the table. “I need some fresh air.” He knew it was heartless of him to take this course of action, but he had to be certain she was the queen of Kazuma and that there would be no lingering doubts among the Kari about her identity. If his sons feelings were true, he would move heaven and earth to be with her, no matter what it cost him.
To Be Continued