It was bound to happen eventually, but he admittedly had not expected it so soon. The moment he saw them he felt the pit of his stomach knot and before he could even stop himself he was moving toward them rather quickly. There was a part of him that wished he had stayed after basketball practice, but with Agito being a no show the coach had cut practice early. The last thing he really wanted to be dealing with was Abe.
“Abe let’s go. We cannot have this conversation here.”
Those were the words she said to him as she grabbed Abe’s hand. It was as though she was trying to keep whatever it was between the two of them private on purpose. Hiko was not exactly known for his restraint and understanding. Truth was he was reckless, impatient, and more than a little short-tempered and seeing her grab onto Abe’s hand only ensured that his reaction would be rash. “Ahh, let’s talk about it,” Hiko said as he grabbed onto Abe’s wrist stopping the two of them from walking off.
The sneer that graced his lips would have told anyone not to mess with him, but Abe Sosa was not some punk easily intimidated, “Get your hand off me.”
“What are you going to do about it Sosa?”
“Stop you two,” Her protest made him angry he was not certain why.
“Are you protecting him?”
“I don’t need her to protect me,” Abe responded. “Who the hell do you think you are anyway? This is a private matter between me and Tat.”
Hiko’s eyes widened in surprise at the shortening of Tationy’s name. He tried to hide it, but the look upon Abe’s face said that he had failed to do so, “Yeah, is that so Sosa? I am making it my business. You are not going anywhere alone with my girl.”
Abe laughed, “Your girl?”
“Abe don’t,” Tationy spoke up trying to stop Abe from whatever he was about to say or do.
“Your girl as you call her pledged herself to me two years ago. This ring around my neck is a promise ring. She and I both have one. Pretend all you want Kari, but there is nothing separating me and her. Someone like you of low birth could never compete with me.”
He just reacted. Hiko had always been that way. When he was a kid getting into fights was second nature. His father was used to him coming home black and blue. There were times he fought because he felt he needed to. Other times because he wanted to. As he poured all of his anger into his fist he knew it was because Abe had gotten there first. Why? He didn’t know. Hiko had never been a deep thinker, but as he laid several hits to Abe and took several from him as well, he knew he was not about to let this piece of trash have her.
As a final act of defiance to Abe’s declaration that she promised herself to him. Hiko reached out grabbing the necklace around Abe’s neck and ripped it off.
As people rushed out of the “spirit dorms” to break up the fight, Hiko realized she was just standing there watching with Abe’s necklace at her feet. He wanted to know if she was mad. He couldn’t read her expression even after Kyo arrived officially breaking up the scuffle. She still just continued to stand there.
Kyo was talking at them. It was more lecturing than anything else and Hiko was hardly listening. His eyes were focused only on Tationy.
“I have to give the two of you demerits for this and seeing the two of you made such a scene in the courtyard I am sure the disciplinary committee is going to hear about it.”
“Hiko are you listening to me?”
“I am sure the moment your fathers are informed that all of this will go away, but the disciplinary committee is going to expect the two of you to make amends for your disruptive behavior. Some cafeteria duty might do the two of you some good.”
When she stepped in front of himself and Abe his attention was drawn back to the conversation.
“I am sorry Kyo, this is my fault. My relationship with Abe is complicated and I made matters worse by socializing with Hiko on a personal level. This situation is because of my actions. Please, let the disciplinary committee know that I take full responsibility for this incident and will bear the punishment.”
Hiko had wanted to protest, but Kyo had spoken up before he could. “Do you understand that this might mean expulsion from Sofore Academy?”
Rubbing the back of his neck, Hiko felt tension. Her actions only burdened his thoughts further. It nagged at him. It was clearly evident in her tone and acceptance of responsibility that she did not really care if she got kicked out. It led to even more questions he wanted to ask, but at that point he was simply too angry to address any of them. He was certain she was doing this to protect Abe. Right in the middle of their relationship he had seated himself and became the fool. He still didn’t even know why.
“I will let them know,” Kyo finally responded. “I suggest the two of you, Abe and Hiko go your separate ways immediately.”
As quickly as the words left Kyo’s mouth, Hiko was walking. He was done with this that was what he told himself as he moved toward his room. He wanted to hit something. Nothing made him angrier than feeling foolish. This was why he avoided women. They were not worth the time or the energy, “Hiko.”
His entire body stiffened as she called out his name. Much too late he realized she had followed him and not Abe. As he turned he told himself to hide whatever emotion was adorning his face, but he was too angry and had never been very good at being Kari when it came to locking away that part of him, “Why don’t you go tend to your boyfriend.”
“Hiko will you just listen to me.”
“I don’t want to hear anything you have to say. I …. ” He turned around slapping out his hand quickly which ultimately knocked things on the floor. It was better than lashing out at her. “I should have known that any woman involved with that piece of Sosa trash was in to head games. Promised to him. Are you fucking serious?” His voice was loud and one thing was certain in the ‘spirit dorms’ the walls were thin so most likely everyone was hearing their conversation. “Get the fuck out of my sight.”
He moved toward the small loveseat in his room. He couldn’t wrap his mind around it as he closed his eyes and sighed. Half expecting her to have left already when her fingers touched his face it took him by surprise, “You are like the hot sparks from fireworks. Big and bright. You make decisions quickly, for better or worse, perhaps because you feel time is fleeting. This is the type of man you are. I never met someone I wanted to run away from so much, but I can’t. You are the worse type of man for someone like me, Hiko Kari. If you want to know about Abe I will tell you, but it isn’t going to help that anger inside of you.”
He thought that if he was the hot spark from the fireworks, she had to be the slow burn just before it was set off. A beautifully steady and unwavering flicker of flame that is pleasing and reliable. Without it the spark from that polarizing display of lights and color could not exist. That was what he felt. Was she his other half? Was she what would make him feel whole? He had always been rash his entire life, but not where women were concern. Hiko had never even given them a passing look. His father had told him so many times as he grew into a man that he was Kari and eventually a woman would come along that would capture his heart so violently that he would be certain he might die without her. He never understood those words until this very moment. Finally, managing to speak he asked, “Do you love him?”
“There was a time I thought I did.”
“He scares me.”
“Abe’s idea of being close was not sharing a first kiss or making love, it was choking me until he got off. I thought I was going to die and honestly, I don’t think that would have mattered to him. Afterwards, he apologized when he realized I was upset. He said that had he known I had some weird boundary he would not have crossed it. Can you imagine? He was choking me while getting off and I am the one with a weird boundary.”
Her words troubled Hiko even though he did his best to keep it all hidden, “It is over, right?”
“Then why were you holding his hand?”
There was no hesitation with her replies which told him she was not thinking of what would be the best way to answer, “I did not want you to see him and I talking. Abe does not care if he makes a scene or if people hear, but I don’t want people to know what happened between him and me. I asked him if we could talk someplace else and he kept asking why. So, I grabbed his hand in a futile attempt to get him to speak privately.”
When she tried to pull her hand away from his face he stopped her, “Please.” Her features softened as he let go of her hand and she reached out to touch his face again. His eyes fixed completely on her, “I want to kill him.”
“I know. You are showing remarkable restraint, I was wondering if you had any.”
“Not a lot.” When she smiled Hiko squinted his eyes as he asked, “What are you smiling about?”
“Historical text often reference the strength of Kari men and how they disciplined themselves in such a way that they never lose control. They were considered the most restrained men of historical Aslann. I wondered if such a thing was still taught among the Kari, but knowing you lack restraint tells me it perhaps is no longer an important thing.”
“It is still taught. I have just never been very good at controlling myself. Still, that does not explain why you are smiling.”
“Well, I was smiling Hiko because making you lose control turns me on.”
His eyes widened, “Does it?”
“Yes.” He was staring. Never had he ever met someone like her. For the first time in his life; his path was clear. Wherever it led he just wanted to be at her side. “We should get you cleaned up, you are a frightful mess.”
“Ahh,” He responded.
The night passed by far too quickly and when he woke that morning he was reminded sharply that he had gotten into a fight with Abe. The pressure centralized around his nose felt like he was congested and bruised though he had seen little signs of either when he went to sleep that evening. When he felt the bed shift his eyes opened and he quickly pushed aside the pulsing pain. He had almost forgotten he begged her to stay. If he had not felt foolish before seeing her laying next to him did it. Hiko was still not certain how it all turned out like this, but what he recalled of the past two days were that he went from minding his own business to being in the center of her conflict.
Hesitantly he leaned forward his lips brushing against hers. Foolish that was what he was. “You’re hard,” She whispered.
Stuttering over his words he quickly apologized, “Sorry about that.” He had not even noticed. Hiko was so focused on the pain in his nose and the taste of her mouth everything else felt unreal to him.
“We are moving way too quickly, Hiko Kari.”
Her words forced him to pull away, “I know.” The silence that followed did nothing for his mood. He had never been in a relationship before. How fast was too fast? Hiko moved through the world at his own pace he never really thought about whether or not he was moving too quickly. Now, for better or worse, he had her and even though it went against who he was he told himself that he needed to slow things down. He did not want for them to burn hot and fast then crash and burn. As his mind mauled it over he realized he had just assumed that they were a couple and had not really asked her, “Tationy?”
“Are we…I mean…are you my girl?”
She laughed softly, “You are cute when you are nervous.”
“That did not answer my question at all.”
“Hiko, do I seem like the type of girl that sleeps at some random guys dorm room? I was your girl the moment we met, it just took you longer to realize it.”
“Is that so?”
“It is.” Grabbing up his cigarettes he forced himself to leave the bed. Eventually he did turn to look upon her again only to realize she was staring at him, “Trying to figure out if I planned this?”
“Something like that. My father always said that the Tylo have some weird thing with their eyes. Some sort of power. Bunch of bullshit if you ask me.”
“Yet, you are still wondering.”
Tationy had not answered him. Not entirely unexpected so Hiko sat himself on the floor and began to puff away on a cigarette considering how he might get her to open up to him. When she moved from the bed his eyes shifted to watch her. She was tall, easily as a tall as he was. Long legs, full figure, and not at all what society thought as beautiful, “Why do you dress like a guy?”
She laughed, “Mostly because Abe hates it, but my mother does as well.” She opened the door to the bathroom, stepping in, and much to his surprise she did not close it all the way even though it was obvious she was urinating, “My mother is Yamada so for them it is about beauty is power. How you look can open doors for you, get you anything you want, and it is your greatest weapon. How I looked was what attracted Abe to me. He loved my long hair, long legs, and how I filled out a party dress. After what happened, I wanted to be as far away from him as I could be. Changing everything about me that he liked seemed a good place to start and as an added bonus it really irritated my mother.”
“I take it that worked?”
Silence as the toilet flushed, the water from the sink started, and for several moments she did not respond. When she finally did it was when she took a seat next to him on the floor, “It really pissed him off. He made a big scene in school and he was kicked out. So, in a way it worked. Not as I intended it, but it certainly gave the two of us time apart. Of course my mother had this brilliant idea of enrolling me in this place which I am sure mostly had to do with Abe being here. Our parents are quite persistent.”
“What would your mother think of me?”
“You are rich. She would love you.”
“Is money important to you?”
“No. If I cared about money that means I am one step closer to becoming just like my mother. I never want to be her.”
It was a sentiment he understood. He didn’t want to be “Kari”. It was a burden he did not want on his shoulders. Hiko did not want to grow into one of those Kari men so restrained by discipline that they could no longer feel anything. His father always told him that part of his problem was that he gave himself over willingly to weak emotions. That he was undisciplined and a disappointment. Such a Kari man would be a disgrace to the entire family. Everything Hiko ever did was to piss him off.
He had been so lost in his own thoughts that he had not realized she closed the distance until she reached for his cigarette, which instantly made him want to protest. It took him a moment to realize what was happening. The heat from her body was making him almost dizzy so he rather quickly forgot about the fact that she had taken his smoke away from him. His body turned slightly as he leaned in, but was halted from kissing her when her hand rested to his chest and she whispered, “I should go and get dressed for class.”
Hiko groaned in obvious frustration, “Are you teasing me?”
“Believe me Hiko Kari, if I was teasing you there would be no need to ask that question.”
Her words frustrated him, “I seriously want to fuck you.”
“I know, but you need to learn restraint,” She teased.
“The entire Kari tried to teach me that what makes you think you are going to be able to do it?”
“We both want the same thing, but if we rush forward at every turn we are going to get bored with each other. A little teasing is good for both of us. You are not the only one that wants to….”
He cut her words off with his mouth upon hers, “Why does this feel so intense?”
“You and I are the type of people that do not express ourselves well. We keep it all bottled up inside of us. We have one emotion that tends to run hot and that is our temperament. We perceive the world differently then other people. So, when something takes a hold of us so unexpectedly, it feels almost overpowering.”
He laughed briefly, “I have no idea what you just said, but if you are talking about chemistry, then I get it.”
“That is exactly what I am talking about.”
Hiko smiled, “How do we make this feeling last?”
“We work at it.”
“I am going to start working at it right now,” He responded as his lips sought out hers. She had not stopped him. Even though they were moving way to quickly, she had given herself over to the kiss. His entire body felt so alive and he could not imagine where this unusual girl had been his entire life. Was this fate? Was it creating destiny? Hiko had never been the type to concern himself with the so-called predestined circumstances, but here he was kissing a girl he just met and wondering if this was always how his life was meant to turn out.
To Be Continued