After they had arrived home, Hiko showered and changed. Tationy’s process took a bit longer due to her make-up, extensions, and peeling herself from the dress she was in. It gave him plenty of time to let his thought’s wander to the evening and other things that had been bothering him. It would not be until he felt the bed move and something hard press against his crotch that he realized she had finished getting ready for bed.
Glancing down at her in his lap, he thought how similar she looked to Abe’s picture. Finally, he had gotten to see that girl. Perhaps she sensed his thoughts as her hand came up and he instantly reached for it; interlacing his fingers with hers. A contented sigh left her lips while she wiggled in what he assumed was an attempt to get comfortable. He groaned because her head had put pressure on his cock in an oddly pleasurable and distracting way.
Reaching out with the fingers of his free hand he teased lightly along the skin of her clavicle and shoulder which elicited a soft moan from Tationy, “Do you like that?”
“Yes, it feels really nice.” There was a momentary pause as she said, “My Hiko is troubled.”
“Are you going to talk to me?” Hiko knew that he should discuss all of the things going on in his head, but he was uncertain where to even begin. Most of it, he thought was probably foolish nonsense that he was turning into things bigger than they were. Just as he opened his mouth to respond his cellphone rang, “Ignoring it, does not make it stop ringing.”
“I know. Anjou, my dad, and Zen have already left me twenty messages wanting to talk about what happened tonight. I am not in the mood for a lecture.”
“What are you in the mood for?”
Silence followed her question. Before their path had been blocked by Mikio, he had told her he was going to take her home and have sex with her. The stuff with both Mikio and Kuro, felt intense. He did not really understand, especially seeing they were so closely related to her. It was heavy and Hiko was certain that there were things Tationy was not saying about both Mikio and Kuro. Finally and much too awkwardly for his liking he asked, “Tationy what is the story between you and Mikio? The two of you just met a few weeks ago and yet it feels like you have known each other forever. How is that possible?”
He got the impression she did not intend to answer him as she remained oddly quiet. That only added to his frustration because it felt like she was keeping secrets again, but she calmed him considerably and then confused him when she said, “He saved my life once. Tylo children left without guidance have no control over their abilities. When I would get sucked into dreams, I sometimes could not find my way out of them. Mikio stumbled upon me one day and showed me a path. It was not long after that, the two of us would play bagola together.”
“In these dreams?”
“Did….” He paused a moment as he considered how he wanted to ask his next question, “Did anything happen between the two of you? I know you say you played bagola, but was that it?”
She had laughed softly, “I was just a little girl Hiko. This happened, just after you and I met.”
It comforted him only a bit knowing that it happened when she was young, but what he could not understand was why Mikio was so obsessed with her. “What future did you see with him?”
Her body tensed a moment before she rolled over and snuggled into him closer than he thought was imaginable in this position. Hiko considered she was trying to distract him with her head so close to his crotch, but he told himself he would not let this go until he understood.
In a hushed voice she responded, “Some people get multiply chances to be with the one they want. Those that like to romanticize call it destiny and soulmates, but it is nothing so novel. In this, there is only one opportunity and if the chance is missed the door closes; in that future I saw a short life. In the beginning, there was love, but as time passes there was distance. Some things are just outside our control and Mikio more than any other is acutely aware of this. Eventually, he will sink to the depths of insanity; a prisoner of his own mind. There is no path he takes where this reality does not hinder him.”
It was one of the few things she said to him that he understood right away. Tationy was telling him that Mikio had the ‘Ishi disease’. It explained a lot. Everything with him felt rushed and from what he knew of the man through his time as a friend to Kuro, he was anything but. Going after the Kari Foundation was probably the only thing he had left to force Tationys hand. Hiko bit the inside of his cheek before asking, “What about Kuro? What did you mean by foolishly throwing stones in the pond?”
“When you throw a rock it ripples; the future is no different. Kuro’s movements in time are very erratic. His heart has lingered upon one person for years, but he avoids speaking of that desire. In theory, if you think of the future as a pond, then his should be still. The truth is, the waters of his future are quite murky because he keeps purposely acting upon impulse.”
“Like pursuing you?”
“His heart is very confused and instead of doing the things he should to calm the waters of his future he just keeps tossing stones. If he was trying to avoid people following his movements, then this would be a wonderful technique, but the issue comes with the fact that he is not doing it to avoid being detected.” If she intended to speak on it further the opportunity was interrupted when his cell rang again and she giggled.
Ignoring it while groaning, “Sorry, I really fucked up tonight. My whole life people looked at me like I was some huge disappointment. Sometimes they would even say it to my face. I was no good and could never do anything right. Then, I met you and I did not feel like such a screw-up and you never talked down to me. Most of the time I have no idea what you are even saying, but I do listen to every single word. I remember when you talked about the wildfires in Garvator and how many people lost their homes; how that same week the Zenaku traveled to Japan to help with relief efforts after a tsunami. I never saw you so sad before as you said, no one rushed to the aide of Aslann. Back then, I did not know what to say.” He paused, “Tonight, I just did what I always do and rushed forward without thinking of the consequences.”
With how still her body was and the silence he was not even certain she was still awake until she responded, “I am proud of you, Hiko.”
“So, you are not mad?”
“No, what you did was very brave and remarkably foolish, but that just makes me love you more.”
Hiko knew that she was playfully teasing him when she called him foolish and he could hardly argue with her words. As she pulled away from him there was disappointment while she shuffled herself around on the bed and asked, “How does the comforter always end up on the floor?”
“I get hot and kick it there,” He responded as he laid himself down and pulled her into him. Silence engulfed the room for some time before he finally said, “I am sorry Tationy that we didn’t get to….” His words dangled there as her breasts rubbed against him; distracting his thoughts momentarily, “Are you disappointed that we aren’t having sex?”
Her fingers teased lightly along his abdomen as she answered, “No, but I do wish you would stop apologizing. We had this conversation before and I only want you to say you’re sorry if you hurt me.”
“Is that really alright? I will probably fuck up a lot.”
She propped herself up as she spoke, “Apologizing unnecessarily makes you appear weak and submissive, which is dangerous knowledge in the wrong hands. I understand that you do it because you are afraid of disappointing me, but I have seen the worst behavior you can display Hiko Kari and I still stood at your side; nothing is going to change that. There is no need for you to ever apologize unless you hurt me and if such a day comes, own it and fix it.”
Resting his arm behind his head he took a moment to consider her words before responding, “Saturday is generally not a great day for us with the random shit that always seems to happen, but I would like us to talk about some things.”
“What sort of things?”
“Us and our expectations.”
Her soft yawn caught his attention as he turned his head slightly to look at her, “I would like that.”
Hiko smiled, “Are you even awake?”
As she snuggled into him she teased with her words, “I might be dreaming of my Hiko.”
Was it selfish of him to like it so much when she called him her Hiko? Tightening his hold upon her, “We can talk more tomorrow. Try and get some sleep.”
That morning he woke up early, careful not to disturb Tationy, who was surprisingly still sleeping. It made him happy because normally she was always up before him and had everything done from coffee brewing to breakfast made. Today was his opportunity to do for her or at least that was his plan. Unfortunately, he only managed to get the coffee started when he heard the telling sign of Anjou’s arrival. “I really need to have the locks changed,” He said under his breath as he watched Anjou wander into his apartment like he owned the place. Hiko wanted to be surprised that he was there, but after what he did the night before he was more surprised the guy had not stopped by in the middle of the night to give him a piece of his mind.
Anjou had not said a single word, just turned on the television. Flipped through stations until he came to one and turned toward Hiko with a hard gaze he was certain meant that Hiko was in deep shit.
“I am Kei Fujiwara and that is your weather Aslann.”
“Look about what happened,” Hiko tried to explain.
“Sit,” Anjou responded.
With a sigh, Hiko moved toward the sofa thinking that this heaviness was far worse than any he had experienced with his father especially seeing even after he had taken a seat, Anjou had not said a word.
“Now that we have gotten all of that unimportant stuff out of the way. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Last night was the Soshisa Gala. One of the biggest events for Aslann’s upper-crust. Over the past five years I have been in attendance and I can tell you firsthand, I have not experienced anything quite like this one. There were plenty of shockers, but today at our round-table discussion we are going to focus in on the scion of the Kari, future of the Kari Foundation. It has been all over the media, the headlines all mention his name, and the internet is abuzz with the news that Hiko Kari spit on the elite of Aslann and gave them the proverbial finger.”
“Fuck,” Hiko said under his breath as he groaned noticeably.
“Wait, it gets better,” Anjou responded as he took a seat next to Hiko.
“Joining me today is Osa Shima, head of the Shima Corporation and Yuudai Waichia, head of the Waichia Financial Institution. Welcome gentlemen, let us not linger on the greetings and get right into this matter. I was probably five feet away from Hiko Kari when he said…let me quote, While I came here with the intent to share my money, this gala does not support Aslann. Tomorrow, I am going to write a check to the Anami Seminary and I suggest you do the same Kuro and if you can’t, then you and your clan really are a bunch of Ishi snakes who only think of themselves. I care about two things, this beautiful woman on my arm and my home; my money goes to Aslann. My sponsors are going to be irritated with me, but I am just going to put it out there. The size of the balls on this guy … seriously, what was he thinking? Osa, you were standing right next to me. We both got front row seats to the calling out of Kuro Ishi son of shipping magnet Jin Ishi. The Shima are one of the oldest clans of Aslann, you are a well-respected man of our nation, what did you think of this slight against the elite?
“I was disgusted. The lack of respect from this Kari upstart was obvious the moment he opened his mouth. With this generation we have a bunch of spoiled brats thinking they are entitled running around with no tact or decorum. Our time-honored traditions are looked upon with contempt and not one of these children has any comprehension of the intricately woven hierarchy that has held us together as a nation long before they were even seeds planted in the wombs of their mothers. If Hiko Kari is the ‘best’ this generation has to offer, then I predict we will see the collapse of our very way of life; forgotten will be our traditions and in its place will rise a nation of arrivistes.”
*Awkwardly Laughs* “I have to say it. Right now, I am not envious of you Hiko Kari. Not only have you managed to anger the elite of Aslann, but one of the men that can make-or-break you in this nation has just sided against you. That has to sting. Osa you are probably the most respected man in all of Aslann, but how about we hear from the most influential. The man that controls the money, Yuudai Waichia. Now Yuudai, I am not certain where you were in the crowd that evening. There were a lot of people at the gala and so much going on. Share with us your thoughts on last nights spectacle.”
“Earlier in the evening I was sitting with the new matriarch of the Yamada.”
“For those not in the know, Yuudai is speaking of Tationy Tylo. That is right a Tylo as the new matriarch of the Yamada; a scandalous decision on the part of the late Miso Yamada. For those curious about our panels thoughts on all of that tune in to our seven o’clock round-table discussion with special guest Jee Ishi and Guiren Takahashi. Forgive my interruption, Yuudai, please continue.”
“As I was saying, for many, myself included, the evening was less about the charity we were all there to give our support to, but the newly crowned queen of the Yamada. Our conversation for the most part was typical of what you would find at these sorts of events until she asked me a very pointed question.”
“What question was that?”
“What type of leader I thought would best benefit Aslann?”
“Very direct and bold, did you answer her?”
“I did not and she flashed that knowing Yamada smile that reminded me so much of the former matriarch. Had there been a moment to say anything, I might have tried, but she responded very simply, Audaces fortuna iuvat. Fortune favors the bold; as she walked away I asked her the same question. The little dove responded, the man that supports Aslann. At the time, I hardly understood her words because not since the Kari Commander has there been such a man. As the room settled in for food and wine, a voice audaciously rose up and proclaimed himself king of Aslann. *Amused Laugh* A little Kari pup threw down the gauntlet. While his words might have been directed toward Kuro Ishi, they were meant for every man and woman in that room. The uproar; How dare he? Who does he think he is? There was not a single person in that room that supported his reckless and foolish behavior or at least that was how it appeared.”
“Wait, so you are saying that Hiko Kari has people that stand with him?”
“Not just any people. The emotional outburst by the elite drowned out the few within that room that were not of prestigious upbringings. They went home, told their friends, their family, and by this morning his name was on the lips of every man, woman, and child of our nation. Hiko Kari reached out and touched the people of Aslann. Those that work hard for their money. Those that struggle every day. He was reckless to be certain, but sometimes you have to be. Good for you little Kari pup.”
“Normally at these round-table discussions when I have the two of you on, Osa is always for and Yuudai is always against. This is new territory for me and I am at a loss for words. We are going to head to commercial break here in a moment and then we will return with Osa Shima and Yuudai Waichia with our breakdown of last nights scandalous smack-down. If you want to join in the conversation, have questions for me, or just want to give your support for or against Hiko Kari send a tweet to #HikoKariGivesTheFinger.”
“I would like to add something quickly.”
“Certainly go right ahead, Yuudai.”
“Hiko Kari, you said last night you intend to write a check to the Anami Seminary; if that is true and you do in fact give them money, I will double it.”
*Surprised* “Wow, just wow. The bold move of Hiko Kari has gotten the nation talking and money flowing. When we get back we are going to discuss Hiko Kari and Tationy Tylo; who really wears the pants in that relationship. Is he her bad boy or is she is eye-candy? Are they the future of Aslann elite? A power couple in the making? Return here after some words from our sponsors and to them I say, very sorry for saying balls on the air.”
When Anjou muted the television his attention turned swiftly upon Hiko. It felt far worse than any look his father had given him, which told Hiko that he had screwed up big time. “When I told you to grow a pair, I did not mean over night.”
Hiko felt like a bad puppy that peed on the carpet and was about to have his nose rubbed in it, “How bad is it?”
“Do you really want to know?”
“Probably not,” Hiko responded with a noticeable sigh.
For the first time since they met there was annoyance in the tone of Anjou, “I do not care if you’re screwing your girl, if I call, you fucking answer. Don’t you dare let my calls go to voicemail. Had it not been for your father, I would have stopped by last night and kicked your ass.”
He growled in frustration as he snapped, “I screwed up, what the fuck do you want me to say?”
“Fuck you, I am not saying I am sorry. Those assholes looked down on me the whole night and most of them did not even take the time to say shit to me. Our nation has suffered its own natural disasters and economic setbacks and those fuckers have not done shit to help. Not to mention I am tired of those snakes trying to take what is mine.”
Anjou had stared intently at Hiko the entire time he was angrily ranting, “Are you done?”
“At the moment,” Hiko responded.
“Good. Let me be clear so there is no misunderstanding, I am pissed.”
“I got that from the angry look of disappointment,” Hiko stated glibly. “Just get the fucking lecture over already.”
Silence followed as Hiko waited for Anjou to lay into him and go over every little detail about the hundred things he did wrong last night, “I don’t think you were wrong.” Hiko’s surprised reaction was not lost on Anjou, “However, if you are going to do shit like that at least warn me. I hate surprises and don’t think I am not angry because I am. The two of you just took off and I was left to do damage control with your father and Zen.”
“They are probably pretty angry at me huh?”
“I don’t think either of them were all that surprised by your outburst to be honest.”
Hiko was irritated because it felt as though his father and Zen just assumed the worst of him. With a frustrated sigh he responded, “I am always just going to be the screw-up whose messes have to be cleaned up.”
Anjou responded rather bluntly, “The world is made up billions of people, many of which probably have been labeled the same. This was a blessing. Do not get me wrong, you really pissed off a lot of clans and the backing of Osa Shima would have gone a long way to bolster your status as the future of the Kari Foundation, but you managed to impress Yuudai Waichia, which is far harder to do; nearly impossible and this is the first time he has publicly given his approval to any young upstart.”
“So, what exactly does all of this mean?”
“Well if you believe Osa, the collapse of the infrastructure of Aslann hierarchy which I am not so certain would be such a bad thing. Truth is, at this point we cannot say how it will play out. There is press loitering outside your apartment and at the Kari Foundation just waiting to get a glimpse of you or Tationy. This is what is going to happen. I need you to get dressed; dress pants, dress shoes, dress shirt, keep the top few buttons unbuttoned. Do not wear a jacket or a tie. Whatever you normally do with your hair to style it, just do it. I don’t want to see that style from last night. Tell Tationy to stay in the apartment and not go anywhere until you get home. We need to get some sort of security in place. I do not like the two of you staying in this apartment, but at least it has a doorman…as reliable as he is.”
“Shouldn’t Tationy come with us?”
“No, your the one that tossed out that challenge and we need to try to keep her out of it as much as possible. This is your opportunity to shield her, but it requires you to stand on your own two feet.”
“What time will I be back so I can let her know. I don’t want her to worry.”
“Depends on how long it takes, probably around five.” A whole day, so much for a Saturday alone together. Hiko sighed as he stood up and moved toward the stairs stopping only when Anjou added, “If you need to give her a little tickle, make it quick.”
Knitting his brows as he looked over his shoulder with question as the two men locked eyes, “A tickle?” Hiko was not certain how long passed, but eventually Anjou tilted his head and a crooked smirk passed over his lips. It dawned on Hiko far to late that Anjou was talking about sex. With a sigh he responded while quickly escaping, “I am going upstairs now.”
Hiko showered and dressed, before finally taking a seat on the edge of the bed next to Tationy. Fingers lightly running along her face and hair, “Good morning.”
“This seems different.”
He smiled, “My girl was pretty tired last night. I am not complaining though, it was nice to be up before you for a change.” His expression softened as he leaned down and kissed her lips lightly before continuing to speak, “Anjou is here; I need to head to the Kari Foundation for a bit.”
There was disappointment in her eyes, “Let me get dressed and I ….”
Interrupting her, “No. Anjou wants you to stay here. There is a lot of press outside and he does not want you exposed to it. I don’t want that either.”
“Are you sure?”
“Ahh, it is just for today. Let me take care of some things and I will be home as soon as I can.”
“Alright. What time should I expect you?”
“About five.” Her hand reached up and ran lovingly along his jawline, “We can have dinner together when I get home and have that conversation we talked about last night.”
“It’s a date,” She whispered softly as he forced himself to pull away. His body stopped moving only for a moment when she added, “Play with me always Hiko.”
“Always and forever, Tationy.”
In the early morning hour they had made it to the Kari Foundation. Anjou had told him to just keep his head high, not say anything even if provoked, and just keep moving until he was inside. By the time he was in his father’s office he realized just how big of an impact what he said had on the nation. Quickly, Anjou and Zen left him alone with his father and there was plenty of silence as his father’s gaze washed over him. Hiko could not read that expression which was saying a lot because he thought he had seen every side to his father’s disappointment imaginable.
Hiko finally broke the silence, “On a scale from one to ten how pissed are you with me right now?”
“It is an incalculable number.”
Of course it would be. Defiantly, Hiko shoved his hands in his pockets as he leaned against his father’s desk. It took him a moment before he actually responded, “That is right because I am the big disappointment of Tadayoshi Kari. Go ahead, get the lecture out of your fucking system.”
There was an uneasy amount of tension-filled silence that followed. Hiko was getting irritated the longer it took for his father to get to the words of disapproval he had heard his entire life, “I’m proud of you.”
His eyes widened. Certainly, he had heard it the night before from Tationy, but he was ill-prepared to hear it from his father, “Wait, what did you just say?” Hiko imagined the bewildered expression upon his face was priceless and was almost certain he was probably on one of those prankster shows that Sadamitsu loved so much, “I don’t understand.” His entire life, those were the words he most wanted to hear from his father. It felt surreal, like there was a catch to them or something especially seeing his father was clearly upset with him.
Tadayoshi rubbed the back of his neck and Hiko realized suddenly that his father exhibited the same nervous habit he had. Why didn’t he notice before? Perhaps because his father was always posed and proper, standing like any Kari man would, and keeping emotion from adorning his features. Was his father struggling with the words? There was more silence and eventually, Tadayoshi leaned against the desk next to his son. His tone was softer then Hiko ever recalled hearing which contradicted his words, “I am beyond pissed with you right now.”
Sighing as his head bowed, “How bad is it really?”
“Thanks to Yuudai’s support this morning it is slightly more favorable than it was a couple of hours ago, but making an enemy out of Osa Shima was foolish.” There was a momentary pause that followed his words which gave Hiko time to consider how badly he had screwed up, “Zen and I discussed the matter at great lengths late last night with our Elder and while we do not approve of the way you went about it, none of us can disagree that it needed to be said. For the past twenty years the amount of Kari in attendance at those charity galas has diminished significantly. Even our Elder refuses to participate because they do not support our homeland.”
“So, you are saying it is not all that bad, I did something right?”
“No, you screwed up,” His father responded which resulted in a sigh from Hiko. After a moment of noticeable silence, Hiko realized his father was laughing under his breath. Not certain what to make of it he stared until Tadayoshi finally collected himself and said, “Zen and I figured you would do something a little more physical. Didn’t factor in you would call all of those in attendance out on the fact that they ignore Aslann and help other countries. I would ask you what you were thinking, but you probably just reacted like you always do. With that said, I cannot fault you for something I have thought about doing since I was your age.”
Hiko found himself asking, “Why didn’t you?” The long drawn out pause drew his attention toward his father. Eventually he realized why the silence lingered which elicited a snorted laugh as he responded smugly, “I see. It must fucking suck having to show restraint all the time.”
“Don’t get cocky,” His father said as he looked away. It slightly amused him as farther and son stood in quiet awkwardness. The two of them had never been very good at communication and despite their somewhat similar dispositions the only thing they seemed to have in common was they both cared for Tationy. So, it came as no surprise when his father asked, “How is she feeling after everything that has transpired?”
“I don’t really know. Last night she fell asleep early and slept through the night; she was still there when I left. Don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing at this point.”
“After our conversation this week about what the Sosa boy told you, I am more concerned than I was before about how pale she appears to me. Keep a close eye on her.”
“That goes without saying.” Hiko paused a moment, “So, are we going to keep dancing around what I did? Not that I mind, but I would rather just get the lecture out of the way.”
“No lecture,” Tadayoshi responded.
“Bullshit, there is always a lecture.”
His father composed himself as he spoke, “Zen and Anjou feel I am being too strict with you. That forcing you to fall into line will do more harm than good later on when you take control of the company. Normally I would simply take the words of that Yamada boy under advisement, but the fact that Zen feels the same way and I have heard similar lectures from your grandfather I have made the decision that in this matter I will defer to them.”
“I think I would rather have the lecture. Whatever this shit is does not feel normal.” Tadayoshi had pushed away from his desk and turned to face Hiko. There was an uneasy feeling as he frowned at his father. He could not explain it if he tried, but once you became accustom to certain behaviors anything less than that seemed out of the ordinary. His father’s hand reached out and patted Hiko lightly on the shoulder before he turned and began walking away, “What the fuck? Yell at me or something. This shit gives me the creeps.”
For a time, Hiko just stood there waiting for his father to come back, but the longer it took the more he realized that was not going to happen. A frustrated sigh left his lips as he moved toward the office of Zen and once he entered the scrutinizing gazes of the two men inside fell upon him. Somehow, it felt far more normal than what had just transpired with his father so it was with some relief that he stepped further into the room.
Zen was the first to speak, “Where is your father?” Hiko shrugged casually. If Zen was bothered one way or the other he could not tell as he responded, “No matter. Anjou and I have taken care of the necessary press releases regarding the incident last night. For now, do not respond to questions regarding what you said.”
“What do you want me to say, no comment or something?”
“If they ask you questions about your life, such as when you and Tationy will be getting married, then answer it. If they ask about what happened at the gala, say nothing at all,” Anjou responded. “The press has a tendency of twisting words or leaving portions of what you say out which turns it into something it is not. It is important that no matter how provoked you get that you keep your damn mouth shut.”
“It is better if we control the flow of information,” Zen added.
“Alright, what else?” Hiko questioned.
Anjou spoke up, “The check to the Anami Seminary, you will write one, and we will deliver it today to the head priest. Do not discuss how much you donated. The amount does not matter and is not for you to reveal. If the seminary wishes to share that information, they will. Yuudai Waichia is most likely monitoring your account transactions to see whether or not you will follow through on your word. It is important that you do; the guy is a real piece of work, but his support is invaluable for an upstart like you.”
“Hiko,” Zen said and continued quickly, “I am sure you are aware that the Kari do not approve of how you went about this. It was foolish and rash, among other things. The position it puts our clan in is perilous; however, we are in agreement that it needed to be said. The Elder of the Kari will issue a statement after our press releases have been circulated confirming that the Kari support you. This will no doubt cause further tension with the Shima and we cannot be certain how Osa and his clan will react.”
The words of his kin seemed ominous, but there was no opportunity to question what he meant because Anjou started speaking. “I believe that you and Tationy should stay someplace more secure until this situation settles down or the two of you head off to school. Ideally, Meratoia would be the best option due to it being policed by the Kari, but Zen tells me that you will most likely say no to that option. While your apartment has a doorman, it is not well protected and anyone can get past him with the right skill level.”
“That is an understatement,” Hiko said under his breath.
Whether Anjou heard him or not Hiko could not say because he continued on without missing a beat, “Tadayoshi has said that the two of you can stay with him if at any point you become worried for yours and Tationy’s safety. For now, we are looking into hiring security, but that will take a bit of time.”
The further into the conversation they got, Hiko began to realize it was not simply about a verbal pissing war. They were worried that Osa Shima might take physical action against Hiko and the people around him might be hurt. He felt tension throughout his entire body and remembered quickly that Tationy was alone, “I need to get home to Tationy.”
Zen spoke up halting Hiko’s movements, “Kazuki and some of the Kari arrived just after you left to keep an eye on her. The Elder of the Kari understands that your focus will be divided and offered to help until we find a more permanent solution, but we have real concerns about you staying in that apartment while all of this is going on.”
Hiko took an anxious breath as he sat himself down on the sofa. His legs felt unsteady and despite the knowledge that Kazuki did not get the positions of Shield and Osoma of the Kari by being some lightweight pushover, he was still worried. Anjou’s words did not bring him comfort, “We are working on it Hiko. Just trust us.”
His arms crossed a stern hard gaze washing over the two of them. He swore if anything happened to her while he was sitting around listening to them talk that death would be the least of their concerns. Hiko did not even bother to mask his mood when he responded, “I want to get home, so get on with it already.”
Zen spoke, “The reason we wanted you to come here is because you need to appear unconcerned. Saying what you did was bold and reckless, but you did it with confidence. If anyone in Aslann gets the hint that you are not sincere or backing down from your words it will have grave consequences for how you are perceived by the public. This is the moment where no weaknesses can be shown.”
“Aren’t they going to realize that is not the case when they see security all around?”
“Due to the attention your instant fame has garnered you most people will assume it is because of that,” Anjou responded. There was a momentary pause before he added, “It becomes very important for you and Tationy to resume your lives as though nothing is any different. There will be paparazzi around you constantly until this blows over….if it blows over.”
“What do you mean if?”
“From what we have managed to ascertain from internet buzz, the public supports what you did. We cannot be one hundred percent certain at this point, but it would appear that they have turned you into some sort of national hero.” Hiko stared at Anjou because he really did not quite understand what was being said as Anjou looked to his phone quickly and read something, “My grandfather said that no man would rise up against the tyranny of the elite and if someone did, he would never see it is his lifetime. Hiko Kari did just that and my grandfather cannot stop talking about it.”
“That is just one message and there are thousands more like it,” Zen spoke. “With the support of the people behind you there cannot be a moment of doubt. The public will turn on you so quickly and it will be difficult too impossible to recover from. Osa is going to do anything to discredit you.”
“How does this effect Tationy and her position as the matriarch of the Yamada?”
Zen and Anjou exchanged looks which Hiko could not readily decipher, “There is already plenty of unrest within the Yamada, but that is not for you to worry about.” Hiko made note how Anjou avoided talking about how the Yamada perceived his actions. That alone told him that they were not happy. He opened his mouth to tell Anjou to cut the bull, but was halted when Anjou said, “That weird shit you have been doing with your hair, stop it. Just wear it like you normally do from now on. Avoid ties and overly formal garments, we need to keep you low-key in appearance.”
“The people have to feel comfortable approaching you. That means we need you as casual as possible, but still in business attire,” Zen explained.
Hiko had spent the majority of the day with Zen and Anjou going over every little detail they could think of. Afterwards, it was off to the Anami Seminary to deliver a check. By the time he made it home he was exhausted and his head was swimming. He was grateful when he stepped inside and there was his girl. Relieved she was alright, he had not even considered the fact that the house did not smell like dinner at least not at first. He was too focused on taking that step toward her because he wanted nothing more than to have her in his arms, but she had an odd look upon her face.
“Is…something wrong?” He questioned.
Simply she said, “No.”
Squinting at her, he tried to decide what expression it was adorning her features. “Sorry I am late, things went longer then expected and I have so much to tell you.” He glanced toward the kitchen and took in the fact that there was no food laid out or on the stove, “Before we discuss all of that, how about we make some dinner?”
“I already ate,” She responded coolly.
“Oh,” He stared. “I thought we were going to eat together when I got home.”
“We were, but you said you were going to be home around five. So, I had dinner ready by five-thirty. I waited and by six the food was cold and you were still not home. Then, some more time passed and by six-thirty I ate my chilled food, alone.” There was a subtle and unwelcome pause before she added, “If you are hungry, you can find yours in the trash.”
“Fuck,” He said under his breath. Far too late he realized she was upset with him. Hiko did not give her a chance to say anything further as he closed the distance. She had tried to turn away from him, but he had grabbed her hand and forced her to stay close. “I am so sorry. Anjou said around five, so I just assumed we would be done by then. I should have called you the moment I realized I was going to be late. It won’t ever happen again. I promise.”
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”
He sighed as he lifted her chin lightly with his fingers, “Tationy, you are my girl and no matter what, I am going to do everything in my power to make sure you never doubt me. I might fuck up a lot, but I will never go back on my promises to you. So, as part of that conversation I wanted us to have today, tell me what your expectations are when it comes to dinner.”
There was uncertainty that followed as he waited for her to speak. As much as he wanted to take in how she looked in that cute little skirt and tank top he had to force himself to keep his attention upon her face and the troubled waters he had gotten himself into. Finally, she spoke in a soft whisper, “I expect you to be home when it is time to eat. Even if you have to do more work after, at dinnertime we need to be sitting at the table together.”
Smiling he responded, “Then we will be. So, tell me what time do you want us to have dinner and I will make certain that I am home on time every night.”
“Well, we should not eat too late because that is not healthy,” She said and Hiko could not help thinking that for someone that hated exercise as much as she did, she had to be the most health conscious person he had ever met. He chuckled, which forced a pout to grace her lips, “Why are you laughing?”
“Just remembering that time we went running together and you told me you were not built for it.”
“Are you making fun of me?”
“Never. I was thinking how strange it is to have such a healthy person hate exercise so much which made me think of that day and how cute you were. It is alright that you are not built for exercise because I am pretty happy that Kazuma built you just for me.” Tationy was not the type of girl that lacked confidence or got flattered easily, so the fact that her cheeks displayed a pink hue told him that his words made her happy and yet he could tell she was clearly embarrassed and surprised that he said them. Hiko leaned down slightly as he spoke, “Does my girl forgive me?”
“Don’t think you can just whisper sweetly to me Hiko Kari,” She responded, but he could tell she was not entirely putout.
“So, what does a guy have to do to get his girl to accept his apology?”
“Don’t let it happen again. Be home by six so you can set the table and we will have dinner at six fourteen.”
He laughed, “Why six fourteen?”
“Because that was what the clock said when you knocked on my door at Sofore Academy.” Of course she would remember something obscure like that. “Is my Hiko hungry?”
“Starving,” He responded.
“Your dinner is in the refrigerator.”
She hadn’t thrown it in the garbage? A smile traveled across his lips as he leaned in and kissed her lightly, “I will eat it tomorrow. Tonight, I am going to accept my punishment and go without because I upset my girl.”
Hiko had not given her a second to respond as he took her hand and tugged her toward the sofa. In moments, he had her pulled down on top of him without protest. When a contented sigh left his lips, his eyes closed, and he felt his entire body relax as she rested her head to his chest and snuggled into him. His girl; there was so much relief being home and seeing that she was alright because the entire time he was listening to Zen and Anjou he kept thinking about her. He didn’t know if he should tell her that Kazuki and some of the other Kari were around. They were doing what they could to remain out of sight as much as possible as not to frighten or worry her. A girl like her with the eyes of the Tylo, Hiko had to assume she was already aware of the potential dangers lurking.
Possessively he held on to her as he spoke, “Nothing and no one is going to keep us apart. I feel sometimes like I have been waiting my whole life for you and maybe that is because I have. You are the most important person in my life and even though I tend to fuck shit up, I will always do right by you. There is so much I want to say, but I am not very good at talking about my feelings. Kari unions are pretty straightforward, we do not over-complicate things. What we expect of each other is laid out before the union is even official with marriage, so there are less obstacles to overcome and both parties understand their roles. I want to take care of you. Let me be the provider; maybe that is what I need for my ego or perhaps it is something else entirely, I cannot say. I guess I am asking you to just let me be your man and trust that I will do everything in my power to make you happy.” Sighing he added, “I thought today would be different, but it seems Saturdays will never be our day.”
“So, let’s make our day Sunday.”
“Sunday huh? That could work,” He responded.
Her whisper caused a momentary tension, “Even a perfect relationship has its ups and downs. We will both make mistakes that is normal. You have a hard time expressing your feelings and I don’t always say the things I should, these traits will hinder us if we do not learn to move past them. Maybe there will come a point where we do not have to communicate with words; reading each other’s bodies or a look, but our relationship is young and these forms of non-verbal communications take years and patience.” Tationy’s fingers teased his shoulder, “Hold me tighter, Hiko Kari.”
Without even questioning he did as she asked, “Like this?”
A contented sigh left her lips which gave him the answer he was seeking, “You’re my man.” The room fell silent; Tationy always knew just what to say to make him feel like her king. Still, he had thought this day would be far different and there were plenty of things to discuss, but he sucked at finding the words. So, he was grateful when she said, “Tomorrow is our day, what would you like to do?”
“This, but in bed.”
“Hiko Kari, is it your intention to keep me on top of you all day?”
“That sounds fantastic.” Sighing he added, “I would like to keep you here until morning, but …”
She interrupted him, “Hiko, do not tell me we have something to do tonight.”
“Unfortunately, we do. Fuck, I have not even told you what happened. So, let me start with that,” He responded as he began to explain everything that had transpired since that morning when he left.
“Hiko,” She said his name in an almost scolding fashion as she pulled away from him, “You cannot just spring this stuff on me. It takes me time to get ready. I have to do my hair, my make-up, and find an appropriate outfit.” He sat up as he watched her walk toward the stairs, “Men are unbelievable sometimes. Don’t you understand the amount of layers a woman has to deal with.” She was grumbling under her breath as she walked up the stairs and Hiko stared after her, “If you intend to drink, eat something.”
“Sometimes you are really scary,” Hiko responded.
“Yeah, well sometimes you are oblivious,” She said as she disappeared from sight.
Leaning his head back he groaned, perhaps the first thing he should have said when he came into the apartment was that they had to go to some new club opening in a couple of hours. Was it wrong to just want a night with his girl without all of the unnecessary?
By the time they got to Club Sublime, Tationy had quickly left his side which more than a little annoyed him. He lost track of how many beers he had as he sat with Anjou. The music was loud, the room smokey, and his mood was foul. “Are you going to stare at her the whole night?” Anjou broke down and asked. Hiko did not even bother to dignify the question with an answer, “Talk about being a buzzkill, there is not enough alcohol in this place to make this evening with you even remotely enjoyable. Try to have fun, ask her to dance, hell fuck her in the bathroom, just do something other than stare at her like a lovesick puppy.”
“She is pissed at me.”
“Why, what did you do?”
“Well for starters I came home late and did not call. Don’t tell me five and then have it be seven; that shit pissed her off. I just wanted to spend some time with her before we had to go to this fucking shit and failed to tell her in an appropriate amount of time for her to get ready.”
“I was wondering why the two of you were late.”
Hiko sighed, “After I ate, I went upstairs to check to see if she was ready and she was sitting in a pile of clothing on the bed. She kept telling me she did not know what to wear. Never saw her so frustrated before.”
“From the looks of it, she managed to find something.”
“I picked it out,” Hiko responded.
Anjou laughed, “Maybe you should dress her. Tationy’s sense of style is terrible. She loves that old-fashioned vintage shit that the late matriarch used to wear.”
Offhandedly Hiko stated, “I just know what I like on her.”
He was only partially listening as Anjou spoke, “Yamada women are more than happy to allow their man to dress them up. Well, all I have to say to that is buy her something pretty every day after work and let her be your doll. A guy cannot complain when his woman lets him have control.”
“Do you even have a girl? With your job and working all the time, doesn’t it make it a bit difficult?”
“That is an understatement. Women don’t really get it when you are in the middle of sex and you tell them that you have to drop what you are doing to go and help the matriarch. Really, my job is my wife and any woman I get involved with is my mistress. The same could be said for you once you become the head of the Kari Foundation. A company like that does not run itself and long hours are going to become the norm for you someday. All you can really do is make sure you take care of your woman when you are home so she never doubts you. At the moment though, there is no girl in my life.” He paused a moment, “However, I love a woman with a permanent resting bitch face.”
“It is when a person with a neutral expression looks mean. They can be entirely happy, but appear as though they are going to go on a murderous rampage at any moment.”
“That is not weird at all,” Hiko responded sarcastically as he followed Anjou’s attention.
There were not many girls in the vicinity of where Anjou was blatantly looking. Certain that the Yamada man was not looking at Tationy he assumed he was focused in on the woman talking and walking with his girl toward them. He knew her from Sofore, but could not remember her name. Swiftly his attention drew back to his girl and he felt jealousy take hold wondering who she was texting. Hiko knew he had screwed up, but the least she could do was talk to him. This feeling of worry was tearing him up as he heard Anjou say, “I think the problem for you and Tationy is the fact that you are not having sex. That is a lot of pressure on the two of you because the temptation is right there.”
“We made the decision to wait,” Hiko responded.
“Why though? Not to belittle your choice, but what really is the point of waiting?”
“The two of us just rush forward quickly with every decision, we wanted to take our time with one important aspect of our lives together.”
“Seems like a mistake if the two of you are this tightly wound and arguing without a release. There are other things you could be doing such as oral, anal if you are into that sort of thing, mutual masturbation, groping, manual stimulation, breast play, sex toys, or dry humping. If you have the control the two of you could even try a game of just the tip, but seems unlikely a guy like you would be able to keep from pushing in all the way. Tationy’s breast are pretty big so there is always mammary intercourse.”
He was annoyed that Anjou even mentioned his girls breast, but instead of snapping he said, “I am sure I am going to regret asking, but what is that?”
“It is when you slide your cock between her breast and if your big enough you can even combine it with oral sex. Fucking amazing. I love big breasted women,” Anjou slurred as he drew his attention toward Tationy and the girl she was talking with, “Little breast are fine to, but not nearly as much fun to play with.” There was a momentary pause, “What sorts of things do the two of you do?”
Even though Hiko told himself that he was not going to answer that question the alcohol in him said otherwise, “Just stuff; kissing, touching, mostly she lets me stick my fingers in her while she strokes me.”
“So, have you not given each other oral?”
“Once, she sucked me and another time I … you know, licked her.”
“Didn’t you like it?”
“I loved it, just has not happened since.”
“Wow,” Anjou said under his breath. “Cannot believe I am going to ask this question, but are you just not into sex or something?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, why aren’t you trying to do more? Let’s say you two decide to wait a year to have sex, if that was me I would know every nook and cranny of my girl. Not to mention, we would have tried every possible thing two people can do without actually having sex. The fact that you have only went down on her once seems odd to me. I would have licked that cat a hundred times by now. Is this like a confidence thing for you or something?” Hiko did not respond which elicited a groan from Anjou, “Alright, first forget how your body looks. People tend to think women are more insecure about how they look, but men are just as likely to be uncomfortable with their bodies. Do not try to make yourself look better because it is taking away from the moment. Next, be aware of what turns you on. Self-pleasure is the best way for you to learn what you like and what you do not like when it comes to being touched. She is not going to know what gets you going unless you tell her. Ask her questions. Find out what gets her hot. Knowing is half the battle. If you do not take the time to understand her body, you are never going to be confident that you are satisfying her.”
A cleared throat drew their attention, “Satisfying her huh? Seriously, do I dare ask what you boys are talking about?” Tationy shook her head as she looked to the girl at her side, “Maybe we should have stayed on the other side of the room, I get the impression that this conversation is the kind that gets boys all worked up.”
Anjou boldly questioned, “Would that be a bad thing? Don’t tell me you don’t like it when your man loses control, I would lose the bet I have with Zen.”
Tationy set her phone down on the table as she maneuvered her way around it to sit next to Hiko, “I never said that. Anyway, let me introduce you to my friend. Mikaela Raita these troublemakers are Anjou Yamada and you probably know Hiko from school.”
“Not officially, it is nice to finally meet you Hiko and you as well Anjou.”
Hiko’s greeting sounded more like an annoyed grunt as he watched Anjou pat the spot next to him which caused Mikaela to smile briefly before accepting, “I know what Tationy wants, but how about you Mikaela? Can I get you something to drink?”
“A daiquiri would be lovely,” Mikaela responded.
Anjou summoned the waitress over, “We need another round of the same, plus a Pepsi and one virgin daiquiri, hold the virgin.”
Mikaela laughed, “Are you trying to get me drunk?”
“That is exactly what I am trying to do.” There was a noticeable pause before Anjou boldly asked, “Are you here by yourself?”
“I came with friends.”
“Any of those friends of the male persuasion?”
“Are you trying to find out if I have a boyfriend?”
“Just looking to see if I have any competition.”
Hiko noticed how she laughed softly, “It is a girl’s night out.”
“That is fantastic. So, tell me Mikaela, do you like a guy with a big….bank account?”
There was a blushing to her cheeks as she said, “Oh my god, you are terrible.”
Despite her words, Hiko was certain she did not mind Anjou’s blatant drunken flirting. Compared to the two of them, Hiko thought he and Tationy probably seemed boring. Not particularly exciting to be around. He felt his girl’s body press into him, which pulled his attention away from the conversation being had by Mikaela and Anjou, “Are you alright, Hiko?”
“No, I am not alright. I hate this fucking shit and expect you to be at my side not wandering off and making secret calls to people.”
“I was texting Sadamitsu.”
“Mikaela told me that the band just lost their drummer. Their style reminds me of Sadamitsu’s, so I thought he might be interested so I sent him a video. Really, I probably should stay out it. The last time I tried to help it worked out terribly.”
Their conversation was quickly interrupted by Anjou, “Tationy, sit on your man’s lap already and cheer him up. His mood is killing my game.”
Before Hiko could finish his irritated growl, Tationy was sitting upon his lap and teasing his lower lip, “A wing man is supposed to help his friend get the girl.”
His annoyance calmed slightly as he asked, “Is that so?”
“Mmmhmm,” She responded as she leaned into him, “Does my Hiko need some attention?”
“Ahh.” There was a momentary pause before he braved asking, “Are you mad at me still?”
“I was not mad, just disappointed. I know I should not have been, but I was really looking forward to having dinner with you and then you just did not show up; did not even call. At first, I told myself it was alright. Sometimes that will happen, but the minutes just kept ticking away and I didn’t feel like I was very important to you.”
“I never meant for you to feel that way.”
“I know, I was just feeling…” She stopped talking suddenly as she looked toward the dance floor.
Tationy returned her gaze to him again as she responded, “A little insecure.”
Her admission caught him off guard. Never had he even considered that the confident, beautiful woman he loved might ever have moments of self-doubt. The tension that had been building in his body the entire night felt like it dissipated all at once as he leaned in and claimed her mouth. As their kiss deepened, Tationy positioned herself more securely upon his lap. He had nearly forgotten where they were until Anjou cleared his throat which drew Hiko’s attention away from the kiss he was sharing with his girl. With just a single gesture of his head, Hiko got what Anjou was trying to say.
He did not give Tationy an opportunity to protest as he used his strength to get them standing, grabbing her hand, and with purpose he began walking. Weaving through the crowd, he could feel eyes on them, but he had enough alcohol in him that he did not much care. Stepping into the small alcove which housed the bathrooms, he glanced inside the men’s room quickly and when he did not spy anyone he pulled her inside. With the stall door closed and locked, this moment seemed oddly reminiscent of the first time he touched her.
“Hiko,” She whispered his name, “Someone might catch us.”
With his hands resting on her hips for a time he just stared at her. Hiko understood that his own insecurities held them back a lot. There were things he wanted to do to express himself physically with her, but far too often he found himself concerned with whether or not he was pleasing her especially considering he had only recently brought her to orgasm and he was not exactly experienced or knowledgeable. He allowed his eyes to linger over every inch of her before finally responding, “I don’t mind because they would get to see me with the most beautiful girl in this club.”
“Then the next day you are on the cover of the newspaper; Hiko Kari caught with his pants down in men’s room stall.”
Snorting he responded, “As long as they make sure to say it was with you, I would not mind.” He paused a moment before slurring his words slightly, “Tationy, you are really beautiful.”
“How much have you had to drink?”
“No idea.” There was silence that followed. Really he was confused about what he should do so he found himself talking instead, “It scares me that I am so attached and attracted to you. It feels stronger each day we are together and yet, lately we are struggling so much. Anjou seems to think it is because we are not having sex and I find myself wondering the same thing. I don’t want to wait. Can….can I have you Tationy?”
He pressed one of his hands against the wall as we waited for her to respond. Something, anything, even a no. His breathing was labored and he was anxious, but she had yet to say anything. Her silence made him nervous and he had nearly given up and said never mind until he noticed the way she nipped her bottom lip. That simple little action elicited a surge through his entire body and he could not stop himself from claiming her mouth.
With hands roaming along her body he had not hesitated to seek out that little patch of hair between her legs. The heat told him that she was as turned on as he was which forced his body to pull back just long enough to get her out of her underwear. Tucking them in his pocket he spoke in a breathy voice, “I want to play with your pussy.”
The surprised look upon her face told him that she had not expected him to use such a word. “Hiko Kari, did you just say … ”
He cut her words off as he leaned in and bit lightly along her neck, “Want me to call it something else?” There was silence that followed which he assumed was because of the footsteps upon the bathroom floor as a couple of people entered. Despite them no longer being alone, Hiko continued to tease her as he allowed a single digit to run along her mound which elicited a moan she had failed at suppressing.
“Did you hear that?”
“Nothing, must have been my imagination.”
Hiko wanted her and he could tell she wanted him. Stepping back he reached out long enough to pull her skirt up around her hips and unzip his pants. With his need freed from the confining fabric he coaxed her to touch him as he resumed his attention upon her neck. He was not being gentle, biting and sucking, gripping her wrist, pinning her hard, he did not understand why he felt so turned on considering they were in the bathroom, with other men coming and going. At any moment they could be spied upon. Did he really want some strange man to see his woman in such an indecent position?
He had been slightly ill-prepared for her to rub the tip of his cock against the little patch between her legs. Groaning he bite harder upon her neck as he moved his freehand down from her hip to his need. Hiko was ready, greedily rubbing himself against her though he was not entirely certain how they were going to do it in this position. With a strange and warm tingling sensation overtaking his body he thought this seemed different from every other time he had lost control and spilled his seed.
Suddenly there was a knock on the stall door which froze his body until he heard the voice of Anjou say, “Hiko, the driver will be here in a few minutes to take us all home. I suggest you two finish it up quickly.” There was a pause before he asked, “Did you hear me?”
“I fucking heard you. Shit, leave us be,” Hiko snapped. Tationy’s fingers teased his jawline drawing his attention toward her. There was a soft little pout adorning her lips which just made it harder for him not to continue their intimate moment. He was hard, ready, and he hated the thought of tucking himself away. Even though he was frustrated, he was slightly grateful for the interruption. He did not want their first time together to be like this. Not to mention, neither of them had sex before and he had promised her that in two years they would go wherever she wanted and make it a truly special moment. Despite his drunkenness it was clear to him that he lost sight of why they were waiting to begin with. It was not just about the intimacy or the passion. They decided to wait to strengthen their relationship and more importantly because they wanted to take one important moment in their life slowly.
“I want you, Hiko Kari.”
Kissing her lightly he responded, “I want you so much, but not like this. If …. we keep going I will definitely take you and a drunken frenzy in a bathroom is not how I picture our first time together. More importantly, my girl is pure and I want her first time to be perfect. When I am sober, you and I are going to have a really long talk about all of those things we need to discuss including how we are going to keep each other pleased over the next two years.” He could tell she was disappointed, but she acknowledged his words with a subtle nod of her head.
It was two days later and things were finally starting to feel normal again. Hiko thought that what happened at the club was probably a blessing in disguise. For weeks there had been plenty of lingering tension building that had not been released. While they did not have sex, the moment reminded both of them that they could not keep all of those emotions bottled up inside of them. They needed to talk, touch each other, or even just have a night where they cuddled and watched movies. A moment that was just for them and no one else.
Hiko tilted his head and smirked as they stepped off the elevator and stopped briefly, “Really, that is where you want to go?”
“What is that look for?”
Laughing as he responded, “Shimragata is not exactly the spot I would pick for the two of us to have our first time together.”
“Why not? It is a beautiful island paradise, with plenty of adventure….”
He interrupted her, “Not to mention Kari everywhere you look.”
She teased him, “That is just the bonus.”
“I am starting to become slightly concerned by your attraction to Kari men.”
Teasingly she nipped her lip, “Well consider it this way. They get me all worked up and you reap the rewards.”
Hiko was well aware she was teasing him, “I might need to buy you a chastity belt.”
“Probably not a good idea.”
“Why is that?”
“What would you do if you lost the key?”
He groaned, “Forget I brought it up.” The two started walking again and Hiko gave her hand a squeeze as he asked, “Wouldn’t you rather go someplace away from Aslann? We could visit America, Europe, or Asia. If you want an island there are places like Fiji, the Bahamas, or Hawaii.”
“No, it has to be Shimragata.”
“Well, that is because my Hiko will be most comfortable there.”
It should not have come as a surprise to him that she was thinking of his needs when choosing a location, “It is not just about me Tationy. This will be our first time together. Don’t you want to go someplace where you will be comfortable as well?”
She smiled sweetly, “I picked Shimragata because it has been an important part of our lives in many different futures. There have been good moments there and bad, but it was as much our home as Thacian City. When you told me we could go anywhere and make it special, I honestly thought of no other place.”
As they continued down the corridor toward their apartment, the two of them fell silent. It was partly due to Hiko not knowing how to respond to her words, but also because he could hear voices coming from the general direction of where they lived.
“So, you really did not like him?”
“He is a selfish jerk that only thinks of himself.”
“I read in a magazine that Miro-kun is really serious about his music, maybe he is just not good at relating to people on a personal level.”
“I am starting to think you have a crush on him Ameya.”
*Blushes* “Miro-kun is really talented. I just like his songs.”
*Laughing* “Then why are you so flustered?”
*Pouts* “Stop picking on me Sada-kun.”
*Teasing* “Now, now, what did I tell you about calling me that? People are going to start thinking you are my girl or something.”
Hiko recognized the voice almost instantly as they rounded the corner and he spied Sadamitsu sitting with a girl, far to young for him. He was laughing and she was blushing from ear to ear. Hiko spoke, “Fuck and here I thought we saw the last of you.”
“Don’t pretend like the two of you did not miss me,” Sadamitsu said and then directed his attention toward Tationy, “Hello, mama.”
Tationy laughed softly, “I was wondering if you were going to find your way back to Aslann.”
“How could I resist after you sent me that interesting video.” Standing quickly he offered his hand to Ameya which she quickly accepted, “This is Ameya Sou, she lives down the hall from you. These are my friends, Hiko and Tationy.”
“It is nice to meet you. Sada-kun has told me so much about you.”
Hiko snorted, “Mitsu, are you going to let her get away with calling you that?”
“I fucking hate you Hiko.”
Laughing Hiko moved to unlock the door to the apartment, “So, does you being here mean you are home for good?”
He ran his fingers through his hair as he responded, “Something like that. Honestly, I might need to take you up on that offer regarding the contract as well.”
“If you have a copy with you, I can fax it to the Kari Foundation and have someone take a look at it.” With the door opened he gestured for everyone to come inside, but Hiko noticed that Ameya just stood there.
Sadamitsu seemed to notice and explained quickly, “She forgot her keys and is locked out. Her father will not be home for a bit so she is waiting.”
“Why didn’t she ask the doorman?” Hiko questioned.
It was clear she was embarrassed as she responded, “He was really busy and I did not want to disturb him.”
Tationy spoke up, “Well, come inside with us and you can call your dad and let him know that you are at the neighbors apartment. That way if he gets home and you are not there, he will not worry too much. Alright?” Ameya nodded her head quickly as she followed them inside.
Dropping his gear Sadamitsu sat a small gift box on the counter as he spoke, “The doorman asked me to deliver this to you Tationy.”
Hiko recognized it instantly as being the one Abe had when he showed up at the hotel room they were staying in. It was clear Tationy did not want to accept it so Hiko responded, “Thanks.”
As they all settled in, there was a subtle amount of tension which Sadamitsu picked up on. “Who is it from?”
“Abe,” Hiko responded as he watched Tationy move around the kitchen gathering stuff for dinner.
“Fuck that guy again. What a dick,” Sadamitsu said as he quickly changed the topic not wanting to raise the tension level, “Glad to see the two of you finally did some decorating.”
“Might not matter. With all the crap going on right now, she and I might need to move in with my dad. Our doorman just lets anyone in, present company included.”
Sadamitsu laughed, “Fucking asshole. Probably not a bad idea. I got a chance to watch the news on the flight here and it looks like you really stuck your foot into it. Next time you decide to call out all of the elite of Aslann, at least let me be there to back you up. I am better at that shit.”
Hiko had been momentarily distracted by the conversation Tationy was having with Ameya.
“How long have you and Hiko-san been together?”
“A month and one week.”
“Really? I would have figured it had been a lot longer. Was it love at first sight?”
*Nervously Laughs* “You could say that. We first met a long time ago and he asked me to play with him always. It took us a while to find each other again.”
“That is so romantic.”
One month and a week, had it really only been that long? Hiko thought how crazy it was that it had been such a short time and so much had happened. It felt like months and years had passed, but maybe that was how it felt at this stage of life after all he was young, not even eighteen yet. Finally, he pulled his attention back to the conversation with Sadamitsu, “I really said it to Kuro, but plenty of other people heard it and it just escalated from there.”
“I am still pissed. Really I should not be after all they did tell me from the beginning they wanted him, but that shit just irritates the fuck out of me,” He growled in frustration, “Fucking Miroku.” Tationy laughed softly and both men instantly realized the girls were now staring at them, “Sorry. I was just having a moment.”
“Do not mind them Ameya, once the two of them get started talking the expletives that leave their mouths cannot be calmed or helped.”
“They seem really close. Have they been friends for a long time?”
“Not as long as you might think,” Hiko responded.
“Yeah, it is nothing overly exciting, we met during our freshmen year at Sofore. Hiko was the guy that no one wanted to partner with because he is dumb as fuck, slept during class, and looked like he wanted to kill everyone. As the smartest guy in the class everyone was always trying to partner up with me. It gets old quickly because you know they are only using you for your brain. Hiko never fucking bothered so when it was time to partner up, I sat down near him and smiled. Pretty much have been friends since.”
“If I recall right you slept as much as I did in class,” Hiko responded.
“Hey, at least I was not fucking oblivious.”
Hiko had gone to argue, but was quickly interrupted by Tationy, “Alright, that is enough you two. Hiko, can you get our guest drinks please?”
“Of course,” He responded as he moved to get beverages for Ameya and Sadamitsu, grabbing a beer for himself before making his way to the counter to help Tationy with dinner.
“Hey Tationy, Ameya was telling me she is crushing on your farther.”
Ameya protested a bit to vehemently, “Sada-kun, I did not say that. I only like his music.” Flustered she tried to contain the wayward emotions and Hiko noticed how her eyes fell upon Tationy, “Miro-kun is your father?”
Sadamitsu laughed in the background it was obvious he was slightly amused and it was not the first time Hiko had seen this sort of behavior from him. He loved teasing girls. He realized far to late that Tationy had not said anything and was simply staring at Ameya. What was this awkward silence? Was this the girl that Miroku was waiting for? Hiko shook the thought from his head, it was ridiculous to think that Miroku Tylo would be interested in a child.
Finally Tationy responded, “Unfortunately. Though a man like him can hardly be called such a thing. He has never been there for me, not a single moment of my life. Other desires were far more important to him. A word of advice, Ameya, if you cross the path of anyone with my eyes … run and never look back.”
“Tationy, come on now you are going to scare her with talk like that,” Sadamitsu responded.
Hiko spoke up, “Sadamitsu, you know it is true. With a guy like Miroku in the world, there are dangers and it is better she be made aware of them.”
“I know, but the two of you could be a bit more tactful besides it is just a crush. Come on Tationy, you are not that much older than Ameya. Didn’t you ever have a crush on a rock star?”
Hiko noticed how she quickly looked away, “I am not having this conversation.”
A boisterous laugh left the mouth of Sadamitsu, “Fuck me you did. Who was it?”
Tationy avoided responding as she quietly peeled an apple. The lightness of the moment was quickly broken up when Ameya asked, “Do you think that you and Miro-kun will ever mend your relationship?”
“If such a moment exist, it is far into the future and only after he has grown. As he is now, it will never happen.” Tationy paused, “Now, let us discuss things that are less haunting. Ameya, how long have you been in Aslann?”
“Oh, not very long. Just a couple of months. My dad just got a job at Ishi Shipping,” Hiko’s ears perked at the mention of Kuro’s family company. They had hired a foreigner; what did this mean?
“Perhaps now would be the time for you to finally settle in and unpack.”
It was clear that Ameya was surprised by Tationy’s words, “How did you…how did you know that I am still packed?”
“Just a lucky guess,” Tationy responded simply as she turned to Hiko, “What do we want for the sauce? A wine?”
“We could do a butterscotch,” Hiko responded.
In unison Sadamitsu and Ameya both said, “Mmm, that sounds good.”
With the fits of laughter that followed Hiko sighed as he leaned against the counter, “Fuck, one of you is bad enough with the sweets.”
“Hey, that just means she has good taste. We cannot all be freakishly health conscious like you are.”
“Now, you two behave. We have company. So, Ameya I assume you are starting school in the fall. What grade will you be in?”
“That is wonderful, so this will be your last year. Have you decided if you will continue for another three years or head off to a university?”
“I like the idea of attending a university. It really makes me feel like I am not a little girl any longer. That my future is so close and not far away. I do not know, I just find it exciting that such an opportunity is right around the corner for me.”
“During my freshmen year, I felt the same though ended up doing another year. Hiko and I are heading off to Aslann University in the fall. We are both really excited to take the next step toward our future. So, it is certainly a sentiment we can understand.”
Ameya smiled as her attention fell upon Sadamitsu, “What about you Sada-kun?”
“Not interested in school. There is nothing I can learn there and a degree is just a fancy piece of paper with my name on it. I got a little money saved, but I don’t know. I kind of like the idea of teaching kids how to play an instrument and if all goes well, maybe Zipper Mishap will let me rock with them every now and again. Cannot complain much being home in Aslann and hanging with my friends.” Hiko noticed how Sadamitsu’s attention fell completely on Ameya as he added, “At the moment though, I am searching for a new dream to hold on to.”
Ameya blushed noticeably as she looked away. “Sadamitsu,” Hiko scolded.
“Dial it down, she is a little too young for you to lay on the charm.”
“Awe, come on though she is cute when she blushes. Don’t you like it when Tationy makes that face?” Hiko had gone to argue, but then quickly shut his mouth. It was true, he did rather like it and to be honest he saw it so rarely. “Besides, girls like it when guys flirt with them.”
Tationy made a sound of annoyance, “Girls like it when guys are genuine.”
“Genuine is my middle name and hey, I seem to recall a certain girl blushing the other day on video chat with me.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Tationy responded.
“What? Are you seriously going to play this game with me?” Sadamitsu grumbled, “Come on Tationy, why do you always got to make me work for it?”
“That would be because if a girl just gives it to you, boredom takes hold and you lose interest.”
“Pfft, it is more fun when I am the one doing the teasing,” Sadamitsu pouted.
“Ameya,” Tationy softly said the young girls name.
“Uh, yes?” She stammered.
“Do not mind Sadamitsu too much, he is just a big kid at heart. Playful and uninhibited. If his teasing and flirting ever bothers you, just let him know and he will stop. He might be a big butt, but he is a good guy. Alright?” Ameya gave a subtle nod of her head and Hiko noticed how Tationy paused a moment before adding, “And you Sadamitsu Anami, get your butt upstairs and shower. I am tired of smelling airplane peanuts and body odor.”
Ameya giggled as Sadamitsu grumbled, “Not cool, Tationy.”
“Go,” She said as she pointed to the stairs.
“Fine, but you’re not my mom,” He said over dramatically as he grabbed his bag and disappeared.
Hiko was laughing as he stated, “Our big kid is home.”
A phone interrupted the moment as he saw the confused look upon Ameya’s face and then the realization that it was her phone. Tationy spoke in a hushed voice as not to disturb the call, “Do you think that contract will be able to be handled?”
“No idea,” Hiko responded as the two worked to finish getting dinner on the stove.
“After dinner, if he has it with him I can fax it to the office. If he doesn’t, then I will see if one of the lawyers in the merger and acquisitions department can get a copy of it. They are greedy to do something, it might keep them busy for a while.”
“Yes, I am alright. They are very nice.”
“Let me ask.”
“Sorry to interrupt,” Ameya said softly, “My father wants to make sure I am not imposing upon you. He just left work and it will take him a half an hour before he gets home.”
Tationy smiled, “No imposition at all.”
Happily she returned to her call and Hiko reached out his hand to touch Tationy’s cheek. He wanted to ask her if this was the girl Miroku was waiting for, but it was not something that could be asked while Ameya was there. He spoke, “What do we want to do tonight after dinner?”
“Goodness, I need to do the laundry because I do not want to smell Sadamitsu’s feet throughout the house.”
Hiko laughed as he removed his jacket and vest, “Probably a good idea. I guess I will get some bedding and situate the hideabed for him.”
“Don’t stay up all night talking.”
“He will pout a little, but he is understanding about that kind of stuff. I am worried though. Sadamitsu needs to be entertained a lot and with you and I gone the whole day there is no telling what sort of trouble he will get into.”
A meek voice interjected itself into the conversation, “I am not in school right now so I could keep him company.”
Tationy asked, “Are you certain you want to take on that sort of responsibility? Sadamitsu can be a bit exhausting.”
“I do not mind.”
Hiko snorted, “Looks like we found a babysitter for our big kid.”
“It would seem so,” Tationy responded. “Ameya you are either the nicest girl ever or a complete masochist.”
“Says the girl that spoils him,” Hiko responded.
“I do not.”
“No? If I recall right we did the audition for him, amusement park, ice-cream, karaoke, video chats, constant texting, movie night, and … “
She interrupted him, “Is my Hiko a little jealous?”
“Maybe.” Teasingly she looked over her shoulder and smiled which told Hiko there was something she could say, but with Ameya right there it would not be appropriate. He was certain her response would come later in the evening when the two of them settled in for the night, “We made extra, do we want to send some home with Ameya?”
“Huh,” Ameya responded with surprise and blinked several times.
“Probably a wise decision. It is late and it will save her and her father the trouble of cooking.”
“Oh, no the two of you do not need to go through all of that trouble,” Ameya protested.
“It is no trouble,” Tationy stated. “Hiko and I always make extra. One night off from cooking is not a bad thing right? Nice to have a break every once in a while.”
“Well that is true. It will be the first night I have not cooked since … ” Her words cut off abruptly. There was a moment of somber silence before she smiled, “Well it has been a while.”
Hiko could tell by the look upon Tationy’s face that she was well aware of what brought that pause from Ameya, “It is good that you take care of him, but don’t forget that you are his daughter and it is alright to let him take care of you.”
Ameya smiled brightly and nodded her head, but offered no response.
By the time Sadamitsu finished his shower, Ameya was already gone. Tationy had made certain there was enough food for father and daughter to have a nice evening without the fuss of cooking and cleaning up. Normally Tationy would have ate dinner and then did the necessary household chores, but today she started picking up first and then disappeared to the laundry room. Sadamitsu broke down and asked, “Am I fucking up yours and Tationy’s routine?”
“No, why do you ask?”
“I don’t know. She just seemed a little weird when Ameya was here.”
“Sad, I guess. Troubled, maybe. I don’t really know.”
Guys like Sadamitsu were far too perceptive and tended to pick up the little details fairly easy. It would be difficult keeping secrets from him. Hiko responded, “Tationy is just a bit tired.” With a momentary pause he changed the focus of the conversation, “Ameya said to tell you goodbye and that it was nice meeting you.”
“Did she? Isn’t she a sweetheart.”
Hiko lectured, “Don’t forget the age gap between the two of you.”
“What kind of guy do you think I am? Ameya is cute and all, but she has a lot of stuff going on. First, she just moved here not long ago and if you did not notice she is not that great with the language. Not to mention, I think something happened to her mom. I did not press her for details, but when I asked where her mom was I felt like I stepped in a minefield because she got extremely tense. Really our age gap is not that big. I just seem older because I am so tall.”
“Well that too, but it is not like I am going to try to get in her pants. I like to get to know a girl first. Aren’t you jumping the gun a bit anyway, I just met Ameya and if we are talking about age versus maturity, you and Tationy seem like old people. For fucks sake, Tationy treats me like I am three. I have never been so embarrassed in all my life. Telling me I stink, how rude.”
“Ameya was just too nice to tell you.”
Sadamitsu sighed, “That is probably true, but what do you expect I was trapped on a plane for nearly a day. Cramped in a tiny seat with no leg room and squeezed between two people. I am never flying coach again, but I wanted to get the fuck home as fast as I could, so I took the first flight that was available.”
“Have you told your dad you are home?”
“No and I don’t particularly want to. He will figure it out eventually.”
Hiko sighed as he shook his head, “Tationy and I work during the week. She is usually home no later than five and I am trying to be home by six. We leave pretty early in the morning, so you will be by yourself during the day. Ameya said she would keep you company. That does not mean have sex with the babysitter, I am well aware of your history, but you can stay with us as long as you need to.”
Choking on his food, “Asshole.” Sadamitsu paused a moment before adding, “Thank you, but fuck me. Were the two of you always like this?”
Hiko snorted as he moved to get the hideabed situated, “Maybe you are rubbing off on us.”
Sadamitsu had crashed after he ate seeing he did not get much sleep on the plane due to the rather cramped conditions, which gave Hiko plenty of time to pick up. He thought he might get a bit more time to talk with his friend, but by the time he was finished Sadamitsu was still snoring peacefully on the hideabed. Sighing he found his way up the stairs to his girl who was already in bed. She had a pensive expression; it was clear she was thinking about Ameya and her father. He hurried and changed, ready to settle in for the night.
Hiko wanted nothing more than to share some closeness with Tationy so he kissed lightly along her back as he asked, “How is my girl?”
“Exhausted, worried, freaking the fuck out.”
He could not recall a single time he had ever heard her curse so he could tell she was frustrated, “I was curious if she was the girl your father mentioned.”
“When I looked at her, the path she walks became rather clear. Such a shame that a sweet girl has become the object of Miroku’s attention. I am troubled and conflicted. Do I interfere? Block his path or do I let it be; both choices have consequences to the people around us. I am annoyed with myself.”
“Why?” Her silence was telling, but she refused to respond. What was it she was keeping from him? The kisses he laid upon her back halted suddenly, “Tationy we agreed no secrets.”
“I feel like I should have anticipated this. That I missed an important detail and then I came face-to-face with that girl that Miroku prizes so much. I find myself wondering, if it was I who put this path into motion.” She paused as a soft sigh left her lips, “My body aches, head hurts, and I have this nagging feeling at the back of my neck. What is coming, I wonder.”
He could tell she was worried, “How about I distract my girl?” Hiko laid light kisses along her back again, his hand gripping her thigh, “Tell me what you want me to do.”
Tationy teased him, “Anything you want.”
Hiko did not wait for her to change her mind as he used his strength to get her on her back. His pelvis pressed into her and there was no hiding the fact that he was ready to go, “I have been thinking I would like to rub against you. It makes me a little nervous though because with you naked and me naked, my cock ready, and you wet there is a chance I might forget we are trying to wait. So, maybe we could try other things.” She shifted her body which forced additional pressure upon his pelvis which elicited a groan that sounded as though it had been ripped from his throat.
Tationy looked up at him and he thought he might go pale, if she said anything about him staring at her generous breast. Did she even realize how tempting she looked with her body posed in such an indecent position. Thankfully, she had only given him a smile as she whispered, “Don’t tease me Hiko.”
“Fuck, you are amazing…” He muttered. If she had any doubt of his intentions, they were soon washed away as he kissed, licked, and bit the bare flesh of her legs.
He was grinding his pelvis against her, which selfishly he thought was only for his benefit until he heard her moan, “I can feel you throbbing. Stick your cock in me.”
Well, those words were exactly what a man trying to keep control should never hear and Hiko realized quickly that he was at a moment where if he crossed that line there would be no turning back. Licking his lips slightly, his fingers dipped into the waistband of her underwear. He felt dizzy with a combination of need and anticipation, but only managed to get her underwear up around her hips before his attention was pulled away by Sadamitsu, “Shit that is fucking hot.”
Instantly he felt his anger bubble over, “Get the fuck out of here.”
“But…” Sadamitsu managed to dodge the pillow Hiko threw, but he knew if he moved his girl would be slightly exposed. He reached for anything within his range and only moved from the bed once Tationy had herself covered with a blanket. His friend must have realized he was about to be pummeled because he began to back away as he said, “I had to take a piss, but the two of you were having fun and I did not want to interrupt you. So, I got to watching…”
“Not helping yourself,” Tationy responded.
“Really it was kind of fucking hot. Fuck, live action sex is so much better than porn. I was thinking, if the two of you actually took your clothes off it would be even hotter and then my mind flashed back to that guy in the porno; the Kari, the one I told you about and I realized something.” Backed against the dresser Sadamitsu added, “It was the guy from Zipper Mishap, he was the Kari in the porno.”
Hiko was gripping Sadamitsu’s shirt as his friend kept talking, “Then it dawned on me, my question had been answered. I told you several times I always wondered about how Kari did it, but apparently they do it like everyone else. So, the mystery kind of disappeared and I realized I was still watching the two of you. It was really kind of sexy and I wanted to watch a bit longer, but I really had to piss and my mouth got the better of me. Honestly, I probably could have walked right by the two of you because it really seemed you had no idea I was standing there. I might have even been able to get away with yanking it, but that would be weird now that I think about it.”
The more he talked the less irritated Hiko got until he finally relinquished his hold on Sadamitsu’s shirt and sighed, “Go to the bathroom and then fucking get to bed.” Sadamitsu did not argue as he disappeared through the master bedroom to the bathroom while Hiko found the warmth of his girl. He groaned as he snuggled into her, “When we have a son I am just going to say, Kazuma, I am going to fuck your mom now. Do not disturb us.“
Tationy laughed though it was clear she was frustrated, “I guess it is going to be a bit difficult to do stuff with him here.”
“It would seem so. Do I need to kick his ass?”
“Sadamitsu does not mean any harm. He is just a big curious kid, but maybe we should invest in a door with a lock and have a talk with him about making noise.”
Hiko kissed along her shoulder as he whispered, “Tationy, you are too understanding.”
The week that followed Sadamitsu’s arrival was filled with some minor and major bumps. His friend was exhausting and if managing him was any indication of what it was going to be like to have children, Hiko was in no hurry. As they made their way through the Kari Foundation the receptionist spoke, “Mr. Kari, your town car is waiting out front.”
“Thank you, Okoi,” Tadayoshi responded before pausing a moment and directing his words toward Hiko, “I wish the two of you would reconsider moving in with me. Even with the security we have put in place that apartment is not safe and that Anami boy is not going to be able to protect Tationy if there is trouble.”
“I know you want us to and believe me I understand your concern, but Tationy and I like having our privacy.” The laugh of his girl resulted in him giving her hand a squeeze, “Provided Sadamitsu is not walking in on us that is.”
“Didn’t you order a door?”
“There was a delay and it is expected to arrive sometime this week.”
“If that Anami boy is that problematic he could always come and stay with me until he finds suitable housing.”
Tationy softly cooed, “He appears to have a crush on the little neighbor girl, so it is unlikely he would take you up on the offer.”
“Well then, have the two of you thought about how long you are going to allow him to stay? Perhaps the reason he is crossing boundaries so much is because the two of you allow him to.”
Hiko grumbled, “I feel like I just got lectured on parenting.” With a sigh he added, “If Kazuma is as troublesome, we are shipping him off to boarding school.”
Tationy laughed softly as his father asked, “Kazuma?”
He was not certain how to respond and was thankful when Tationy explained, “The name we have chosen for our son. It is a bit of a ways off, but Hiko has gotten rather fond of it I think.”
The silence from his father was not entirely unexpected. It was one of those counting your chickens before they hatch moments Hiko was certain they would be lectured about. Surprisingly his father responded, “It is a good name for the grandson of Tadayoshi Kari. However, I have to ask. What if you have a girl?”
“Amarice,” Hiko stated.
“I see the two of you have put considerable thought into this. Does this mean I might be a grandfather before the two of you are done with school?”
“We are still trying to wait, but if it does happen we both would be really happy.”
“I think papa Yoshi is looking forward to be a grandfather,” Tationy teased.
Hiko snorted, “I am sure he will not be once he is called papa Yoshi.”
Despite all the craziness, things felt normal. Hiko liked the calm that had overtaken him and his family and despite the occasional ups and downs, as the days progressed he was starting to feel more confident that everything was going to work out. His beautiful girl was talking with his father and laughing softly and he liked the closeness between father and son. Certainly it was not as though his father had forgotten what he did. Tadayoshi Kari would never forget something like that, but it was almost as though it had brought them closer. They were even going to have lunch together and it was the first time since he brought Tationy home to meet his father that the three of them were going out together to a nice restaurant.
As they stepped outside the building Tationy had scolded his father, “We are not talking business, Mr. Kari.”
“Not even a little?”
Laughing Hiko explained, “When you sit down at the table to eat as a family you leave the work at the door.”
“I see, is this one of the decisions the two of you made to solidify the foundation of your Kari union?”
“That is right,” Hiko said and then realized that Tationy had stopped walking. If his father intended to respond, there was silence that followed as the two Kari men looked upon his girl. “Is something wrong, Tationy?”
“We need to get back inside,” She said and the panic was clear in her tone.
There was only a moment to react as a loud crack caught the attention of Hiko and his father. He only had seconds to pull Tationy down to the ground and cover her with his body. “Keep your head down,” He said as shot after shot could be heard. Was it in their area? He was not certain, but was unwilling to take the risk. Not daring to lift his head he could hear Tationy’s labored breathing and could tell she was frightened, “I won’t let anything happen to you.”
There was nothing nearby the Kari Foundation, so the person had to be using a long-distance rifle. Which meant he was most likely in one of the skyscrapers off in the distance. How many rounds did he hear? How far away? The longest recorded shot was over 2000 yards, which was beyond the rifles recommended range. Depending on the shooter’s skill, that would place the sniper to the east higher than the fourteenth floor. Hiko thought that the shot would be impossible for most normal men and that the person had to be highly skilled. Most likely a former soldier or a skilled assassin from the Maiba, Sweela, or Saitama. No Kari would ever dare strike against their own like this.
He counted ten shots, which was not an uncommon magazine size for most rifles, which meant that the sniper was either reloading or done with his assault. Should he move? That was the troublesome question as he heard his father’s driver calling the police. Was it just warning shots? Was the sniper trying to scare them? Hiko bravely lifted himself and realized that Tationy was lying in some blood. He felt like the words were ripped from his throat, “Tationy, talk to me are you hurt?”
“I don’t think so,” She managed to say as she tried to move.
“Keep your head down, we don’t know if the shooter is still around.” Hiko felt the pit of his stomach knot as his anger built and he lifted his head to take in the scene. Other Kari had taken cover and it looked like most everyone was unharmed, but it was about that point he felt a burning at his shoulder and realized he had been shot, “Fuck.”
There was no time to dwell on the pain as he sought out his father and that was when he noticed him lying motionless. He wanted to rush to him, but was halted by Tajima his fathers Kari driver, “Protect your woman, Hiko. The shooter could still be out there.”
The words were ripped from his mouth, “Is he alive?”
“He has a pulse, but it is faint,” Tajima responded as he put pressure on his father’s wound.
The day had started out so normal and in a moment everything changed. Hiko could hardly breath. Perhaps it was the situation or adrenaline rush wearing off, but he suddenly realized that he was no longer hovering over Tationy. His body had given out on him as he thought, ‘Please be alright.’
To Be Continued