Hiko needed time with his own thoughts and as much as he hated saying it to her, he told Tationy he would be back later. She seemed disappointed when he left, but he doubted she was as disappointed as he was in himself. The only thing he was certain about as he walked around was that he wanted to make it up to her so he stopped at a convenience store to pick up a few things though he wasn’t certain what to get.
Wandering each of the aisles, with no real purpose. He stopped near the cigarette display which much to his dismay happened to be near the aisle that had plenty of products for an evening of excitement. He groaned as a recognizable voice spoke from behind him, “That was not cool at all you two taking off like that.” He stepped past him toward the display of condoms, “What kind do you want?”
Choking on his response, “I wasn’t….” Protesting seemed futile because if he said he wasn’t going to get any that made him seem as though he was either not having sex or planned on having sex without one. Anyone that knew him well would be able to tell he was uncomfortable as he said, “I am not sure.”
“Let’s see…” Sadamitsu responded as he looked through each row and then laughed, “What do they think, only tall people use magnums?” He reached to the top shelf grabbing a box and tossing it in the cart.
He was embarrassed as he asked, “Will that one be alright?”
“Yeah. There is not that much of a difference between regular and magnum, but with what you are sporting a regular one will probably be uncomfortable.”
Hiko felt the heat hit his cheeks, “What do you mean?”
Sadamitsu laughed, “What do you mean, what do I mean?” Turning he eyed Hiko which only made him feel even more nervous. Sadamitsu was not really the type of guy to get all deep and introspective so he turned back and reached for a tube of lubricant and began reading the back of it, “This one should work just in case she has a hard time getting wet. There is no oil in it so it should not break the condom and no silicone just in case she is allergic. For quick and dirty you can go oil-based like Vaseline or vitamin E oil, but they are not good with condoms. Great for a hand-job though.”
Hiko hardly heard a word of what Sadamitsu said after the words, hard time getting wet. Why wouldn’t she get turned on? “Say, Sadamitsu…”
“Have you slept with a lot of girls?”
Sadamitsu stared at Hiko as he shoved his hands in his pockets, “Is there a particular reason you are asking?”
Nervously Hiko rubbed his neck, “You said she might have a hard time getting wet. Does that mean she is not turned on? Not attracted to you? How do you know if…never mind.”
“It is nothing like that. Just like with us. Some days our bodies just take a bit of time to do what we want them to. Girls are no different and there are a lot of factors that can hinder performance. If she is on birth control pills for one. It actually lowers a girl’s natural lubrication. Other factors like body image and stress. I was with this big girl once that was so self-conscious that she had a difficult time getting wet. You just have to ease into it; relax her, remind her how you feel, what you think of her, and try to make the experience enjoyable for both of you. If you get all nervous and stressed out, it is just going to take the fun out of it.” He paused a moment, “Really I am curious how the experience will go for the two of you. Do the Kari even enjoy sex?”
Hiko looked away from him, “That is a ridiculous question.”
“Is it? When the Anami discuss other religions the question of sex is often addressed. The Kari are said to be the most repressed to the point of shaming. They are the only family that sees sex as strictly a means to procreate.”
“Let’s stop talking about this.”
Annoyed, Hiko began moving in the other direction away from Sadamitsu, but of course he kept following him. “Why don’t you want to discuss this?”
Hiko ignored his question, “Your Pocky is that way.”
“Don’t know why you are getting all freaked out about sex. It is really natural you know.”
“I am not freaked out,” Hiko snapped.
“I hope you do not intend to fuck your girlfriend with that tension. You might hurt yourself or her.”
Practically growling, Hiko turned to face Sadamitsu. “You are a piece of work you know that. You are standing here talking a lot of shit when you were the one that fucked Tsubaki without any protection.”
“How can you be so cavalier?”
“Do you really want there to be something between you and Tationy during your first time? It might seem cavalier, but I wanted to have sex with Tsubaki since I was thirteen. I wanted to feel her. I did not want the moment to be slowed while I put on some damned contraption, which is going to desensitize me and potentially irritate her. I did not want to hear her say it was pinching her or she was uncomfortable. I did not want to look at her face and realize she was not enjoying herself. I wanted to fuck her and when I was ready to get-off I came on her stomach like she told me to. Seriously Hiko, don’t judge a situation until you’ve been there.”
“So, Tsubaki was okay with you not using one?”
“Well she did ask me if I had one, but once I told her no it did not stop her from continuing to undo my pants. Even if I wanted to protest and say, we should wait, she had me in her faster than you can say hallelujah.”
Hiko wrinkled his nose, “Are girls always so aggressive?”
“Not all. Tsubaki sure as hell is. Honestly, I kind of liked it, but I think she uses sex to hide her insecurities. The head-games Abe must have played with her…he really pisses me off.”
There was no disagreement, Hiko felt the same way about Abe, “Are you and Tsubaki a couple?”
As irrational as it was, Hiko almost thought for certain that Sadamitsu was not going to respond as they moved through several aisles and stopped only when they got to the Pocky. Sadamitsu took his time picking out the one he wanted and when he turned to face Hiko he finally responded, “Tsubaki is not really looking for a relationship. She used to date this pitcher for Aslann High School. Honestly they were pretty serious about each other, but Tsubaki burns a torch at both ends for Abe. So, when the two of them started hooking up she thought it was the real thing. That he loved her the way she loved him. Now she is like thirty shades of fucked. You even mention a relationship she goes off on some rant about how relationships will just hold her back and she is only looking for a good time.”
“Are you okay with that?”
“Not really, but I can have all the sex I want so I am not really complaining.”
As much as Hiko wanted to say something he was not even sure what would be appropriate. Tationy was his first and last girlfriend as far as he was concerned and thankfully she seemed to be as committed as he was. He couldn’t really understand why Sadamitsu would tolerate that sort of relationship. Was sex really that enjoyable? More enjoyable then having someone devoted to you? He felt slightly irritated as he considered it. What if he was not any good at it? Would Tationy even want to be with him if he could not satisfy her? He knew that sex wasn’t all there was to a relationship. Unfortunately, that irrational fear overtook him and he wondered if his performance would even be worth her staying.
“Did you boys find everything alright?” The cashier asked as they arrived at the checkout and began placing things on the counter. Hiko was not even certain what he picked up because the last fifteen minutes he was wandering around in a slight daze as his mind mauled over plenty of stuff that was probably unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
“Yes, Ma’am,” Hiko managed to respond.
The lady behind the counter chitchatted as she rang up their purchases, “These flowers smell lovely are they for a special someone?”
“For his girlfriend,” Sadamitsu responded and then unfortunately added, “He intends to fuck her tonight.”
The older lady chuckled and blushed, “Oh my.”
It was not difficult to get Hiko to snap, “Sadamitsu, will you shut up. She doesn’t want to know that. I am so sorry…”
“Dude, why are you apologizing. It is natural. I told you. Isn’t that right mama?”
Hiko groaned, “Really I am sorry. He has no filter whatsoever.”
The cashier waved him off as she giggled nervously, “It is alright. He is a little cute.”
“See, she thinks I am cute.”
“Sadamitsu, stop. She is old enough to be your grandmot….” Hiko grimaced when he realized what he had said, “Apparently I don’t have a filter either.”
“Dude, that was completely uncalled for. Grandmothers are totally hot. They have experience and all that shit.”
Sighing, “I apologize for us both.”
Somehow the two of them managed to make it out of the store without further incident. Sadamitsu insisted on giving Hiko a ride and then invited himself over later. When he finally made it into the small hotel room he used his foot to close the door and sighed, “I was starting to think you weren’t coming back?” Hiko’s eyes sought hers out and even though she was trying her best to hide it he could tell she really was worried.
“There is no chance that would happen,” He responded.
“Are you still upset with me?”
Was he? He stared at her for a time, “Upset, no not really. More worried then anything else. I don’t want our relationship based on lies, secrets, or simply unspoken words. We are together and that means sharing everything. At least that is what it means to me. Can you do that Tationy? You trust so easily and move so fearlessly, I could not imagine you holding anything back from me. Now I cannot help wondering if you have been straight with me at all.”
“I was going to tell you Hiko.”
“You should have. Hearing it from the Ishi feels rather bitter.” Her head was bowed slightly and Hiko felt a little bad for all he said. It was not his intention to make her feel guilty. He only wanted her to understand how it made him feel and what he expected in their relationship, “I got some stuff from the store and these flowers are for you.”
“They are lovely,” She responded stepping toward him to take what seemed to him to be more a peace offering even though he really just wanted to do something nice for her.
While she disappeared from the room to find something to put them in Hiko talked as he put the small amount of groceries away, “I am sorry I took so long. I ran into Sadamitsu.”
“Oh, how is he?”
“A little upset that we took off on them, but really about as normal as he gets.”
With the groceries away he watched her a moment as she situated the flowers into a small bowl. He had to force himself to move toward the bedroom where he set the few items he had gotten for them on the nightstand. He was nervous about what she would think. When she stepped into the room she stood silently staring at him. Hiko was certain she noticed, “I hope it is alright. I know we talked about waiting and then at your moms we were going to have sex, but I just want you to know that I am serious. If you want me to wear one, I will.” Still nothing. That same silence that lingered the first time he said it, “Is something wrong?”
She walked slowly toward the bed taking a seat upon it. His arm snaked around her waist when she draped hers around him, “I am worried about you.”
“I like that you are thinking about us, but it worries me that you are going against the Kari. I know you say you are not religious. You also said you don’t want to be Kari. Yet, you understand that you are. You said to me that you are Kari. That means some things just are and there is no changing them. Are you really prepared to go against what your family believes?”
Hiko bowed his head, “I want to be in you. I told you that. If using a condom is how it has to be, then I will do it. Is there something I need to know? Does this affect our future?”
“It is nothing like that. It is about the man I care about.”
“Alright. So, if I told you I don’t want to wear one what would you say?”
“I would say, if you don’t take responsibility for what happens after I will make you regret it.”
Hiko nervously laughed, “Your Yamada is coming out.”
“I am serious Hiko Kari.”
“I know you are. That is something you don’t have to worry about. When we have sex it will be because we are both ready. To me that means, with or without protection we are committed to each other and if something happens we both take responsibility for our actions. I am not going to complain one bit if I get you pregnant. I hope you will not be too terribly upset with me if it happened before you were twenty-five. I don’t intend to rush it and I wanted to make certain you knew that. I will say it as many times as it needs to be said. If you ask me to wear a condom I will. For us, for our future. Alright?” She nodded her head agreeably as he leaned in and kissed her lightly on the cheek, “Sadamitsu and Tsubaki are going to come over later and watch some movies with us.”
“Oh, you invited them?”
“No. Sadamitsu invited himself. Normally he is with Kuro, but with all of this Sofore stuff and Kuro being busy I think he might be a bit lonely.”
When she pulled away from him he refused to allow her to get very far, “Are you mad?”
“No it is nothing like that.”
“I would understand if you are. Really. I mean Sadamitsu is a little ….”
“He is insecure,” She responded.
“Sadamitsu? Are we talking about the same guy?”
“Not everyone wears insecurity the same way.”
Hiko considered her words. Sadamitsu was rash and abrasive. Come to think of it, those words probably described him to varying degrees as well. He sighed, “Tationy, seeing we are on the topic of Sadamitsu. You don’t….you don’t find him attractive do you? Some girls really think he is good-looking, of course he usually opens his mouth and they change their minds, but he gets a lot of attention. You never told him to stop talking about your breast when we were camping. Do you like it when he talks about you like that?”
She laughed, “When we had dinner with your father I kept thinking that he was eye-fucking me. So, it is a little funny that you ask about Sadamitsu because really he was not looking at me. Everything he said was for Tsubaki’s benefit. When he stuck around after you and Kuro went to talk, I would look now and again and his eyes never left her. Sure, he probably looked at some point, but I think you are worried about Sadamitsu for no reason. Though, the answer is no I do not find him attractive and I did not tell him to stop because I did not need to. If, my Hiko was bothered by it he should have said something.”
“My father…” He was almost too annoyed to even finish his sentence, “Are you certain?”
“Pretty certain. I could be wrong, but I definitely got the impression he was taking in every detail. I did not get that from Sadamitsu. Maybe Sadamitsu is just better at it, I cannot say. Now do not get all crazy because I told you that. I only said it so you might observe the differences in how people look at me. If you go off half-cocked any time someone is seemingly flirting when there is nothing to it, you are going to make a lot of unnecessary enemies and miss the little details from the people that are truly dangerous.”
Hiko made an annoyed sound as he released his hold upon her, “I wish you would not have told me that.”
“I told you it so you understand.”
“I get it, my father wants…”
“No, I am not referring to that. It is simple Hiko. You either want me to tell you everything or you want me to keep it to myself. There is no sometimes one or sometimes the other. Knowing means accepting the good and the bad. It means you might look at someone completely different. Once you have what I have in my head, there is no going back to not knowing. You need to decide if knowing the truth about every little thing is going to help you or hinder you, help us or hinder us. I cannot make this decision for you.”
He stared at her face. Hiko was not entirely certain what to say. He knew himself well enough to know that not knowing would nag at him and make him angry, but knowing would probably just irritate him. Truthfully, he wanted no secrets between them. If he knew the stuff in her head, how much would it change him? “Promise me something.”
“You are going to ask me to stay with you regardless of the man you become.”
He was surprised she had read his thoughts so easily, but then he remembered what Jin said. She could see the future. He thought about the words of Kuro’s father, “Why did you pick me? Why someone like me when you have such a power? I am just Kari. Kuro’s father said the Tylo are a rare blood, selective with whom they breed with, and they have rules about the timing of such unions…why me and not someone else?”
Tationy silently stared at him. Hiko didn’t think she was going to respond until she finally said, “You picked me Hiko Kari.”
She was right in a way he had been the pursuer, but she had to have known what was going to happen. Nervously irritated he laughed, “That is it?”
“You need me. Isn’t that enough? Those three words are far more valuable than any I could utter. Imagine yourself a pen with no paper or a song with no one to sing it. These things need each other otherwise they have no purpose. You need me to guide you to the man you will become and I need you to see all of me.”
It was the first time he understood something she said. She was not saying that people could not see her or that she was invisible, though that might be the obvious assumption. The part of her that was invisible was her heart. He got it because he was the same. He grabbed a hold of her as he whispered sweetly, “Stay with me Tationy. I am your man and I would never forgive myself if I allowed you to carry our future alone. I am sure there is going to be plenty of things I don’t want to hear, but share them with me anyway and while you are at it don’t hide your heart from me. You are probably right. I am a foolish Kari man that needs you.”
“That is not what I said.”
“I know, but that is how I feel sometimes. Like I am some puppy nipping at your heels begging for your attention. I must seem like a child instead of a man with how I behave. I just, never felt like this before and I don’t ever want to lose it. So, please let me hold on tightly because you are right, I need you.”
Her lips were so close and yet her words were disappointing. “Hiko, Sadamitsu is at the door,” She whispered as the knock sounded. He pulled back from her quickly staring, “Alright, that is a little creepy.”
She chuckled softly, “Sorry.”
“No, no apologizing. I am a little frightened right now, but wow my girlfriend can see the future.”
The knock on the door was harder and Sadamitsu’s voice could be heard, “Don’t make me wake up your neighbors.”
“I guess we should….” His voice trailed off as he sighed and moved to open the door. Stepping in quickly with some beer in hand was Sadamitsu and Tsubaki not far behind him.
“Hello,” Tsubaki practically sang, “Thank you for inviting me.” Hiko thought that the two of them seemed in high-spirits. Despite Sadamitsu saying they were not a couple they appeared to Hiko that they were. He had to admit that he was pretty new to this relationship stuff and had not paid that much attention to the inter-working dynamics of dating.
He noticed that Sadamitsu was smiling upon Tsubaki’s words. Hiko inwardly wanted to groan as he responded, “Yeah, no problem.”
“We brought beer and movies,” Sadamitsu said.
“Don’t worry, it is not porn,” Tsubaki added.
Sadamitsu made a face, “She took all the fun out of this evening. I had the best one picked out.”
To say he was rather grateful to Tsubaki for intervening would have been an understatement, “We appreciate it Tsubaki. Please, come inside. We got distracted so we have not made any snacks…..”
There was a laugh from Sadamitsu, “We got distracted as well. Tsubaki let me play with her tits a bit in the parking lot…Owww. What was that for?”
“You are an ass,” Tsubaki said as she wrinkled her nose.
Tationy spoke up, “Sadamitsu why don’t you and Hiko get the living room situated a bit for the movies and Tsubaki and I can make up some snacks.”
“Sounds good,” He responded as he handed over the beer and moved to the sitting room with the movies.
Hiko and Sadamitsu shuffled the room around a bit before taking a seat on the sofa. They were not really talking, mostly listening to the girls. His attention was swiftly drawn toward the little ‘kitchen’ area of the hotel room. “Have you told Hiko what today is?” There was a silent pause, “I imagine not huh? I saw him earlier. He says he has something for you. I think it is about that promise the two of you made…”
Tationy’s voice cut off Tsubaki’s words, “Tsubaki, let’s not discuss Abe.”
“Sorry, I am not trying to upset you. He just seemed happy and disappointed at the same time. I think he expected you to be there for the big day and….” Hiko felt the pit of his stomach knot as Tsubaki stopped talking.
“You need to stop.”
“I know. Talking about him just makes me upset. I don’t know how you stay so composed.”
“Is that what it seems like?”
“Yeah. You are really strong Tationy.”
His body tensed when Sadamitsu spoke, “Does eavesdropping on their conversation make you feel better?”
“I thought I heard my name,” Hiko responded.
Sadamitsu laughed, “Right.” With a sigh he continued, “I cannot believe you two are staying in this piece of shit. You and your dad must be pretty pissed with each other. Have not seen you crash someplace else since you were thirteen or something when he realized you were smoking. I thought he was going to rip you a new one. Pretty ballsy of him lecturing you considering how much he smoked. So, how long are you two going to shack up here?”
“It is just temporary. We are waiting on more news regarding Sofore.”
“Is that it? Seems to me you two are putting your lives on hold,” Sadamitsu spoke as he stretched his long legs out. “The only two things that ever really get me going are basketball and music. So, I get why you are waiting. You want to know about the gymnasium and if you will still be able to play. What is the point though, it won’t be the same without Kuro and Semei. Fuck, even that piece of shit Agito who has been bailing out on us.”
“Agito…” Hiko said his name and then paused, “He is Tylo.”
“Huh…ahh yeah.” He could feel Sadamitsu’s eyes upon him, but did not elaborate. If what Jin said was true, even Agito could probably see the future. If that were the case, maybe he stopped coming to basketball practice because he realized there was no point. Was the gymnasium going to be closed? He glanced back toward the ‘kitchen’ wondering if Tationy had seen anything. Was the fate of the school decided? “Hiko, why are the two of you really waiting?”
Hiko’s gaze locked on Sadamitsu, “I told you already.”
“Really that is it?”
“I don’t know. I guess I just figured fucking her, getting her pregnant, and marrying her would have been more important than playing basketball to a Kari,” He shrugged casually, “Learn something new every day.”
“Tsubaki is right. You are an ass.”
Sadamitsu laughed, “I think people just do not like hearing the truth.”
Hiko was thankful for the arrival of Tationy and Tsubaki with snacks, but it led to plenty of questions about how they were going to situate themselves in such a small environment. Sadamitsu stood, stretching his long limbs before grabbing a hold of a nearby chair and pulling it closer. When he was settled into it, Hiko found himself surprised when Tsubaki sat on his lap and snuggled into him, “I swear if you scare me Sadamitsu I am going to be so mad at you.”
Sadamitsu’s eyes widened, “Would I do that?”
“Yes you would. You know I hate scary movies.”
He laughed, “I know. I wanted porn, but if we are being honest scary movies usually result in the same sort of touching.”
Tsubaki laughed, “You are so bad.”
Hiko sighed as he shook his head and then suddenly felt Tationy lean her body into him. Sadamitsu might have a point. Tationy snuggling into him seemed like a good thing and if scary movies did that he was not going to complain, besides he liked horror films, “What is your favorite scary movie, Hiko Kari?”
“I suppose that depends on your definition of horror. Most people think horror films and instantly go for the gore. I personally prefer sci-fi horror. Aliens is probably my favorite, but generally not accepted as an outright horror film. Event Horizon is pretty good. Monstrous violence without all the gore, but it is the atmosphere more than anything that truly makes it pulse-racing. The Shining, Texas Chainsaw Massacre…” He heard her laugh, “What is so funny?”
“We just have the same taste in movies. Abe….” She stopped talking suddenly.
“It is alright, say it.”
“He liked a lot of dark romance. I think the last movie he and I watched together was the Secretary and there was bondage in it.”
“So, is this your way of saying you do not like romance or do not want to be tied up?”
She laughed, “Flirting with me Hiko Kari?”
“Well you are leaning into me and your warmth is making me rather happy,” He responded as he kissed her shoulder. As much as he liked watching horror movies having her close was something he enjoyed even more.
“Is that so?”
He was so close to responding and he was certain it was going to lead to kissing. The movie was already started, the environment was cozy, and yet Tsubaki had to jump up suddenly and speak. “Oh I forgot,” All eyes shifted toward her as she reached into her pocket. “I got you something, Sadamitsu”
“A present?” Sadamitsu questioned.
Hiko eyed the two of them suspiciously as she pulled what looked like a flyer out of her pocket. “They are on their way back to Aslann. Taking a break from their American tour. I guess there was some really big falling out or something and Tequila Monsters is looking for a guitarist. They are having open auditions in a week.”
Sadamitsu snatched the flyer away from her quickly, “Fuck yeah.”
Tsubaki smiled as she continued speaking, “I know it is short notice. A friend of a friend said they have to fill the spot that day. If they do not, they have to cancel the rest of their tour.”
“Sounds pretty serious,” Hiko responded.
“Yeah. I guess they have been talking about it on the news, but today when I went to an audition I noticed the flyer and grabbed it up.”
Hiko had almost asked what sort of audition Tsubaki had gone to, but Sadamitsu’s excitement kept the conversation focused on the flyer. “Dude, I need to call Kuro. He can help out on vocals. Your brother Tsubaki do you think he could play drums?”
“Yeah probably. I can give him a call and ask.”
“Great, we just need to find us a bass player.”
“Why don’t you ask Tationy?”
Swiftly all eyes were on his girlfriend as he asked, “Tationy you can play?”
He got no response from her, so Tsubaki responded, “She plays something like twelve instruments if I recall right.”
“I play, but…”
Sadamitsu was practically bouncing off the walls, “Awesome. We just need to practice. I need two songs to show off my style.”
Admittedly, Hiko had never seen Sadamitsu this excited before. It was obvious that he was off in his own world as Hiko spoke to Tationy, “Is something wrong?”
“You do not realize do you?”
“My dad plays for Tequila Monsters.”
Tationy’s words had quieted the excitement so much so that not even Sadamitsu knew what to say. There was plenty of drinking to numb the minds of all of them that evening as they got lost in horror movies and snacks. Hiko was grateful when the night was over and it was time to climb into bed, even though they ended up with company. “If you need to use the bathroom just knock,” Hiko had told Tsubaki and Sadamitsu before he stepped into the bedroom and saw Tationy standing there. She seemed troubled.
“Are they settled in?” Tationy asked.
“Ahh. Guess I should not have allowed Sadamitsu to drink so much.”
“He is just excited.”
Hiko could tell she was not nearly as excited as Sadamitsu or even Tsubaki for that matter. “You know, I did not hear you tell Sadamitsu no.”
“I did not have the heart. He really wants this, but…”
“I am not sure it is going to go the way he wants it to. I feel conflicted.”
“Do you feel that way because of something you saw or because of your dad?”
“Both I guess. Even though I tell myself he knows nothing about me, he is Tylo just like I am. He … he has to know. I keep asking myself, why was I never important enough for him to come and find? It really makes me angry thinking about it.”
“So, why even consider helping Sadamitsu? He is a lot of things, but I think he would understand if you explained it to him.”
“I don’t know. Part of me thinks I just need to see him and have him see me. He cannot pretend I don’t exist if I am standing right there, but that is probably way to simplistic in thinking. Can we not discuss this? I just feel all of this unwanted emotion boiling to the surface and I would rather it just dissipate.”
His arms wrapped tightly around her, “Alright, how about instead of talking you let me hold you?”
Her head rested to his chest, “That sounds perfect.” There was emotion in her voice that he had only heard once before. With a mother like hers one would think that it would be her that would elicit such emotion, but surprisingly it was the man who had never even been there for her a day in her life. Hiko hated Miroku Tylo for the pain he caused. With the power the Tylo had why would he leave her in the care of that foul woman? What type of monster would do that?
To Be Continued