With his morning coffee in hand and the financial section of the newspaper, Hiko tried to block out the construction work going on around his home. The week had been rather eventful with Tationy investing her time in remodeling and him making business moves against the interest of the Shima. He was not even hiding the fact that he intended to take them out. In business the only reason to make a stealth attack was if you wanted to not be stopped from taking something. In this case, it was a strike against the Shima. He wanted it public and obvious. His first course of action that week had been to cut thirteen thousand jobs. He intended to dismantle the Shima Corporation, piece by piece and certainly was in the best position to do it, thanks to having Sesiago’s controlling interest.
“You wanted to see me?”
“The three of us are going out today. I laid something out for you to wear.”
“Where are we going?”
Hiko never looked up from the paper as he took a brief sip from his coffee before he finally responded, “Make certain your hair and jewelry matches the outfit. It is important you look the part.”
“I am playing a role then?”
“Consider this part of our strike against those that stood against Sesiago.”
“I understand. Kazuma and I shall get ready to go.”
Hiko took a seat at his desk, laying aside the paper as he finished his coffee. This strike was going to be the hardest for Tationy, but it was important. The Shima were not known for having many strong leaders. They generally had one each generation that the family looked to for guidance and strength. This generation belonged to Seiji. If a true strike against the Shima was to be made, one had to bring down their ‘king’. Hiko was well aware that Seiji prized family as the most important thing. He had no doubts that had Seiji been in the same position as Sesiago, he would have done the same thing that was the type of man Seiji was. The former soldier with a heart of gold had secrets and Hiko was about to exploit them.
There were no surprises when Hiko and Tationy finally arrived at their destination along with Kazuma. Hiko had overheard Seiji talking with Yayoi about taking the day off from work and going to the zoo. Something about having promised his son they would go this year, but with all of the things that had been transpiring they had not gotten an opportunity. As Hiko unbuckled Kazuma from his car seat, Tationy had gotten out of the car and stood facing Seiji. Hiko was not surprised when Seiji was the first to speak, “Such a small world we live in. How have you been?”
“I am doing well, thank you for asking. Yourself?”
Hiko could hear it in the voice of Seiji, he was putting on pretense as he closed his door and walked around toward the other side of the car to stand next to Tationy with Kazuma in is arms. He gave a hard stare to Seiji as he purposely rested is hand to the small of Tationy’s backside. He watched Seiji’s eyes as Tationy spoke, “Shouldn’t you be working?”
Seiji awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck, “Probably, though I promised Osa we would come to the zoo this year and things have been rather hectic so this is our first opportunity.”
He watched Tationy as she gave a brief nod of her head, acknowledging Seiji’s words as she bent down eye to eye with Osa, “How have you been, Osa?”
Osa had not responded right away and Hiko was certain there were tons of questions brewing within the small Shima child. “Alright, dad can we go inside now?”
“How about the three of you join us?” The question from Seiji was not surprising. Hiko knew that Seiji was considered to be one of those all around nice guys.
“We would not want to intrude.”
“You would not be intruding.”
Hiko noticed how Tationy seemed hesitant, but eventually she responded with, “Alright.”
Kazuma wanted down so Hiko allowed him to walk and the majority of the time he was holding Tationy’s hand. Hiko had to stop several times to answer phone calls, but he kept his attention on Tationy walking with Seiji and the children. According to the older people at the zoo they were a picture perfect family. Hiko had made note that Osa seemed far more excited, then he had been when they first arrived and his enthusiasm captured the attention of the rather reserved Kazuma, who was following Osa around and giggling any time Osa would point out an animal doing something particularly interesting. As his phone rang near the monkeys, he stepped to the side to answer it, but he stayed within earshot of Tationy and Seiji, “They seem to get along well.”
“Osa always wanted a little brother or cousin. He is the only one in his age range among the Kari and Shima at the moment.”
“I am surprised with two relatively large families that there are not more children his age.”
“Most Kari and Shima are too concerned with business to even consider settling down to have a family.”
“Don’t forget to take pictures dad.”
Hiko made note that Seiji had sighed, “I am.”
The soft chuckle of Tationy did not go unnoticed by either men, “I see who the boss is in your family.”
“His mother took care of everything when she was alive. Now Osa, seems to think it is his job to remind me.”
“Do you need reminding, Seiji?” She questioned and there was a little something in her tone that Hiko made note of. He was certain that Seiji was trying not to focus on it himself. It almost sounded like she was flirting with him, but Hiko knew Tationy would never be so bold. Seiji on the other hand had been without a woman at his side for several years now, so Hiko was certain that any man in his position would have a difficult time not reading into her tone especially, considering Seiji had originally intended on purchasing her.
Hiko finished his conversation and turned toward the group, “Seiji could you watch Kazuma for a moment, I need to speak with Tationy.”
Hiko purposely put his arm around her, his hand resting on her bottom as Tationy smiled and the two walked away. He made note how Seiji’s eyes followed the two as they passed. When they were finally out of earshot he spoke, “I am leaving you to deal with Seiji. I am certain you can handle him.” He paused a moment and very hesitantly added, “You have my permission to sleep with him.”
Her voice betrayed her as her smile faded and she exclaimed, “What?”
“You are exactly his type. Soft and gentle, the epitome of the girl next door. On the Island of Shimragata, he and his son had come all that way to find a wife. He intended to buy you. I am sure he failed to mention it. A guy like him probably felt ashamed of what lengths he would go to just so his son would have a mother. Spread your legs for him if you must. Make him want you enough that he is willing to make a big move. We are going to break the ‘lord’ of the Shima. A boring guy like him it shouldn’t take much.”
“You said you were willing to do anything, Tationy. If you can’t do this, then have him bring you home and you will share my bed.” He did not give her any time to protest as he left her standing there. When they discussed how to handle Seiji Shima, they had never discussed her using her body. Hiko knew that if something happened between them, he would be angry so he knew that he had to tell her it was alright. It was harder, then he thought it would be and he realized when he walked away, he wished he could take it back.
Just to make it through a day, Tationy was doping herself up on anti-depressants. Living with Hiko made her skin crawl, but the price of vengeance was selling her soul to the devil and she was prepared to do that regardless of where it took her. She figured at some point she would have to go to Hiko’s bed and mentally she had been preparing herself, but she had never even considered that she might have to use her body to satisfy her vengeance against another. When she finally found them near the big cats her face must have betrayed her, “Something is wrong.” Seiji’s hand reached out as he lifted her chin ever so slightly so he could look into her eyes.
“No it is nothing.” She tried to assure him, but she could tell by the look on his face that he did not believe her.
“Did Hiko do something?”
“Don’t be silly, Hiko would never hurt me.” The way he pursed his lips told Tationy that he would not be fooled like Tadayoshi, but he dropped it. Tationy assumed it was because of time and place as she watched him turn back to the boys who were pretending to be tigers.
Tationy tried to be enthusiastic, but her half-hearted attempt did not go unnoticed by Seiji and she realized that she was failing to deliver on her end. If she wanted vengeance, she should be able to do whatever was necessary. She made note that Seiji never asked her where Hiko went and how he often glanced at her. “Tationy, are you listening to me?” She heard him ask and she realized much to late that she had been lost in thought.
“I am sorry, I was distracted.” She took in her surroundings and realized it had begun to sprinkle.
“The sky has gotten pretty dark, we should probably cut our visit to the zoo short, before the rain gets worse.”
“You are probably right.”
“But…” Osa interjected, “We have not gotten to see all of the animals yet.”
“We will come back.”
“No we won’t.” Osa said as he kicked a pebble on the ground with his foot.
Seiji had sighed and was about to speak when Tationy spoke up, “How about Kazuma and I come over to your place. You and Kazuma can play and your dad and I will make some dinner and then we can watch some movies. Does that sound like fun?”
“Alright,” Osa said but Tationy made note he was still pouting.
“Hiko will be alright with you coming over?”
“It will be fine.”
The four of them left the zoo and as they made the journey to Seiji’s home, the rain began to pound to the ground. It was not unexpected considering it was Bridgeport in the fall. “Osa, take Kazuma to your room.” Seiji spoke and Tationy watched as the two left leaving Seiji and Tationy alone. Admittedly, her mind was elsewhere and she realized that it was worse, then she thought it was when he had asked her a question and she failed to answer again. When he closed the distance she jumped, “Alright, what is going on?” His voice was as gentle as his touch was as he lightly brushed aside her hair and rested his hand on her cheek.
“Did you have anything to do with Sesiago’s death?”
Her question noticeably took him by surprise, “He was my brother, why would you even think…” He paused a moment, “What did Hiko say to you?”
“He told me you were on Shimragata to buy me. Is it true?”
Seiji took a noticeable step back from her as he nervously rubbed the back of his neck, “It is true.”
“Oh my god,” She said not being able to hide the emotion on her face.
“Let me try to explain. I lost my wife six and a half years ago and as each day passed I have noticed that Osa, really needs a mother. My friends have been telling me it is time to remarry, but I am not good at relationships. Most women want my money and the ones that don’t think I am too boring to spend the rest of their lives with. I thought it was the stupidest thing I had ever done. I knew those women and men were not there because they wanted to be and I selfishly told myself I was doing it for Osa, but the truth of the matter was, it was for me. I am tired of being alone. None of the girls on Hiko’s auction interested me, I was actually going to leave Shimragata, but then I saw your picture. You were perfect. It had nothing to do with you being a virgin, I swear. That night I found you, I foolishly thought it was some sort of sign that we were meant to be. What are the chances I would be the one to find you? Then I found out you knew Sesiago and when I called him, I realized you already belonged to someone. I felt so ashamed of myself, but I would never have hurt my brother to have you and I would never have hurt you. Please believe me.”
“Is something wrong?” Osa questioned as he stood near the door holding Kazuma’s hand.
“No, nothing is wrong.” Seiji had responded and Tationy turned her back toward the lot of them, to keep her emotions from being noticed.
There was silence and then Osa finally asked, “Can we have hot dogs?”
There was a moment, when the room fell silent again. “Come on Kazuma.” Osa had said and Tationy could hear the two of them moving down the hallway toward what she could only assume was Osa’s room.
“You didn’t ask me if I had anything to do with the death of Sesiago.” Tationy finally spoke as she gazed out the window.
“I do not need to ask you.”
“I found you that night Tationy. I saw how broken you were. Your body was trembling, your eyes were hollow, and you were in shock. Even now, I see signs of PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety. Why are you staying with him and pretending?”
Tationy had refused to answer, keeping her back to him.
“Tationy, answer me.” She could hear the frustration in his voice as he closed the distance and forced her to turn and face him. She had not expected it, so her body moved with the pull and she found herself pressed into him. Her hands against his chest, his breath brushing lightly along her face. She noticed the way his body tensed and relaxed as his eyes closed and his freehand rubbed along her cheek while his other hand pulled her closer to him. Her fingers on her left-hand stretched and ran lightly along his chin and she allowed her body to give in to the moment as she closed her eyes and his lips finally met hers.
“We need to stop,” She whispered against his mouth.
“I don’t want to.”
“It can’t be like this.” She voiced.
There was a moment of silence before Seiji asked, “What does Hiko want you to do?”
His question forced her eyes to open wide and she realized he was staring at her. He had to be the most perceptive man she had ever met. She was not certain why she spoke so honestly to him, “He wants me to make you fall in love with me.”
“So he can destroy the ‘king’ of the Shima.”
He stepped back, relinquishing his hold as he turned away from her. “Why are you standing at his side?”
“I am not safe anyplace else.”
“You are not safe there either.” There was anger in his voice as she watched his body turn. There was something that flashed briefly in his eyes, “I want to know what is going on and you are going to tell me.”
He took a seat on the sofa and waited for her to join him. Tationy was hesitant, but she brought this upon herself, being unable to hide her emotions. She took a seat next to him, “How long have you and Hiko been plotting to take my business.”
“It is not like that.”
“Then explain it to me.”
“It is my fault that Sesiago was killed. If I was not Tylo, this never would have happened. My grandmother, Miso turned us over to the Kari. They showed up to take me and Sesiago was killed. He had called Hiko to come and get us shortly before it happened.”
“Sesiago said he owed us that much.”
“So you got in Hiko’s car and left Sesiago there bleeding to death?”
“It was not like that. I was not given a choice. Hiko dragged me to his car and took off. You have no idea what that was like for me seeing Sesiago lying there upon the ground dying with Kari scrambling to follow us.” The emotion in her voice was genuine. She realized that Seiji’s scrutinizing gaze was fixed on her. Tationy tried to read him, but he was far better at reading people, then she was when she could not deduce what he was thinking she sighed.
“Kazuma looks like his father.” Tationy noticed how Seiji’s voice softened. “Do you really think giving him a haircut like Hiko’s is going to change the fact that he has Sesiago’s face and big eyes?”
“It is better if people think he is Hiko’s.”
“How is it better? Either way he is a target. Are you going to tell me what Hiko is planning on doing?”
“I asked him if he would take revenge on those responsible.” She thought being so forthcoming would make him easier to read, but she realized quickly how wrong she was.
“What did you have to give up to get him to agree?”
“I have to remain at his side.”
Seiji sighed as he stood and paced, “That sure does explain a lot.”
Tationy was certain those words were not directed toward her.
Seiji had made several calls after his conversation with Tationy. He left her upstairs, cooking hot dogs while he went to deal with business or at least that was what he told her. “I have men surrounding your home, no one will get passed them.” Moromari spoke as he entered the room where Seiji and Yayoi stood.
“Good. I know we have discussed this a few times, but we need to move tonight. Are your men ready?”
“They are, but a strike like this when Hiko is making such drastic changes to the Shima Corporation…”
“Seiji understands the risk.” Yayoi spoke, “I am more concerned about the agenda of the Tylo woman. How can you be certain she speaks the truth. This all could be a well-played strike against the Shima.”
“She certainly has an agenda, but it is only to see those that stood against Sesiago punished. I am certain of that.”
“I hope you are right.” Yayoi responded. “Moromari, your men need to strike at the same time. There can be no room for mistakes on this operation.”
“I assure you, there will be none.”
“Seiji,” Yayoi paused a moment, “When you are ready to move, there is a car waiting for you.” Seiji gave a brief nod of his head. “I will remain here. If there are any complications, I will take responsibility for them. It is best for you to leave here as soon as possible, along with the children and that woman.”
“Within the hour we will depart. I do not wish for them to suspect something is going on.” Seiji paused, “I will leave the remainder of the details to the two of you. When the task is completed and any fallout is resolved, come to Garvator.”
“You are not going to Shimragata?”
“It is too dangerous there. The moment we land, Hiko will know about it. Garvator is the best location for us.”
“Understood.” Yayoi responded.
The door opened rather abruptly interrupting their conversation as the three men turned their attention upon Tationy, “Oh, I am sorry. I thought you were by yourself.”
“It is alright, is there something wrong?”
“No not at all. The hot dogs are done, I was just coming to tell you.” Her attention was drawn toward the men Seiji was with, “It is good to see you again Yayoi.”
“You as well.”
Seiji noticed how they settled on Moromari, “Moromari, that will be all.” Seiji spoke as he ushered him away. He made note that Moromari gave a curt nod to Tationy as he departed and her eyes followed him.
“He is Saitama?”
“You know of the Saitama?” Seiji questioned.
“Not a lot. My father is half Saitama.” Seiji considered it a moment and understood now, why her parents thought it would be alright to give birth to a female Tylo. They must have assumed that she would be protected by the Saitama themselves. “I am sorry, I did not mean to interrupt your business meeting.”
“It was no interruption, we just finished.” Seiji began walking and turned back toward Yayoi a moment, “Will you be joining us?”
“I will not, I have other matters to attend to.” He quickly excused himself leaving Tationy and Seiji alone.
“I thought after we have those hot dogs, the four of us might go and see the aurora in Garvator.”
“It is getting late, I probably should get back to Hiko’s house.”
“Won’t he just assume you and I are getting close if you stay with me a bit longer?”
She bowed her head, “He might, but that is not fair to you. I did not tell you all of that stuff so you…”
“I know, you do not need to explain. So how about it?”
Seiji noticed how she hesitated before responding, “Alright, but I should call Hiko and let him know.”
“I will do it.” He told her simply and she amazingly enough agreed.
They had taken the Shima jet, then a limo to a small boat house which left port shortly after their arrival. Seiji noticed how Tationy seemed apprehensive as she watched the sea pass them by as the house boat chugged along. He left her long enough to make certain his men understood that if anyone boarded the vessel by force they were to be handled. By the time Tationy found him it had already begun to snow. She shivered noticeably and his arms wrapped around her. At first she seemed reluctant to return his embrace, but she did eventually place her hand to his shoulder. “It is beautiful.” She whispered.
“Not to make this sound like a Disney movie song, but I could show you the world if you let me.”
“What are you doing Seiji? What is all of this really?”
“He gave you permission.” Seiji voiced shamelessly.
Her attention was drawn toward him and Seiji pulled her in closer when he realized she was still shivering, “What is it with you Kari and Shima men? There is nothing special about me. I am just some Tylo girl. I don’t understand why you all are making such a big fuss.”
“I cannot speak for the Kari, but for the Shima we tend to fall rather quickly and hard. When we want something we are willing to do anything to obtain it. When I found you, I wished I had been capable of protecting you. Sesiago rode in like some white knight and I thought how am I to compete with that…”
She pushed back from him, “You said you had nothing to do with his death.”
“I had nothing to do with it. I didn’t stop it either.” He responded. The look on her face and the way she tried to back away told him that he had said too much. “I won’t hurt you. I promise. Tonight it will all be over.”
“What do you mean?”
“Right now, my men are systematically bringing down the Kari. By morning that family will be non-existent.”
“You are killing them?”
“There is no family more deserving of execution then the Kari.”
She tried to pull away from him and he sighed, “Please don’t be mad.”
“Let me go.” Her voice was demanding.
Seiji reluctantly relinquished his hold on her as he watched her move below the deck leaving him alone up top.
Despite having her and keeping their distance from Bridgeport, Seiji had an unwelcome feeling. For the week that followed, he was on edge until that nagging dread that was lingering over him made its appearance. “Hiko.” The voice of Seiji spoke as the Kari man stood before him.
“Did you really think I was going to let you do whatever you wanted?”
“How did you know?” Seiji noticed how Hiko glanced over his shoulder at the man called Moromari Saitama, “I see. I wondered why Tationy and Moromari exchanged looks the way they did. I should have known that the Saitama…”
“Do not misunderstand.” Hiko spoke, “The Saitama do not work for me. They work for her.” Seiji frowned, but Hiko offered no further explanation.
“So this is the part where you kill me and my son?”
“Your son will live.” Hiko voiced coldly.
“Why are you allowing him to live?”
“Tationy begged me to spare his life. Told me she would do anything I wished. His life was the only one she begged for.”
“Do I get to say anything, before you kill me?”
“I do not care about your last words.”
“Just a question.”
Seiji could tell that Hiko was considering the request, “Ask.”
“What happened to the Kari?”
Moromari stepped forward, “Per your orders, the purge has begun. The Saitama have also taken care of the Shima.”
“I see.” Seiji voiced and in his final moments he showed no fear or regret.
To Be Continued