TS3W 2015-03-30 20-51-09-99

They made one stop to freshen up, get a snack from a vending machine, and change their clothing and were back on the road again. When they finally did get to his father’s home, Hiko just wanted to crash.

“Zen, is that you?”

Hiko groaned, “Go upstairs and get some sleep. I will be up in a few.” He waited for Tationy to disappear from view before moving down the hallway. “No, it is not Zen.”

His father seemed surprised to see him, “I was not expecting you back until later this evening. Did something happen?”

“No, nothing like that. We just left last night.” Suspiciously his father gazed at him, “Zen is stopping by?”

“Yes.”

“Since when do you work so closely with him?” His father avoided answering as he lit up a cigarette taking several long drags from it. Hiko thought back on the question Tationy had posed that night, about why it was his father was in such a rush for him to take his place. “Are you dying or something?”

“To quote my son, is any answer I give you going to make a difference?”

“Don’t throw that in my face.”

“The other night at dinner you were so unwilling to answer my questions. I have to wonder why suddenly you want me to be so forthcoming?”

“You have no idea how much you piss me off. I just asked you if you were dying the least you could do is give me a straight answer or is that some sort of shit about Kari men not showing weakness again?”

“What would even make you ask to begin with?”

“Unbelievable, just fucking answer.”

“I have no need to answer your questions if you cannot answer mine.”

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Hiko was getting annoyed. Why did it always turn out like this? He turned his back to his father more than a little tempted to walk away. It was how things always ended between them. He kept seeing Tationy’s face and that somber expression of worry that would sometimes grace her features. He took a deep breath as he turned to face his father again. At first he did not say anything. Instead, he took several steps toward the sofa and sat himself on the back of it. When he was situated he looked toward his father. A sound of annoyance left his mouth as he quickly looked away, “We left because Sadamitsu was having sex with Tsubaki a few feet away from us.”

His words must have surprised his father because at first he had not responded, but eventually he said with a sigh, “I wish I could say that such behavior surprises me, but that Anami boy has always been like the rest of his family. A bunch of lecherous priestess and priest pretending to be morally right.”

“He is my friend.”

“I am aware. That does not mean you have to condone his behavior.”

Hiko sighed, “I wanted to kill him when he talked about Tationy’s breast. I know her body is ….  ” Hiko looked to his feet cutting his words off abruptly.

His father seemed to understand, “Yamada women are just built like that. Even if they are not considered attractive, most men will still find them alluring. Hiko, never allow another man to speak about her like that. A Kari man’s life feels as though it has no meaning without that one perfect woman that is made for just him. If you bite your tongue when a man is speaking about her, even a friend, it will fester and grow. Stop it before it gets out of hand. Do you understand me?”

“Ahh.” Hiko considered the conversation he was having with his father. They had never talked like this, not once in his entire life, “Why are you being so understanding suddenly?”

“Tationy told me I mishandled you. She is probably right.”

TS3W 2015-03-30 21-51-32-17

Hiko looked quickly toward his father. Was he really admitting he was wrong? “Are you dying?”

His father shook his head, “Not as far as I know.”

“Then why suddenly?”

“I simply am agreeing that I perhaps have gone about dealing with you in the wrong way. Truthfully, it is probably too late. Tationy said you needed a gentle hand and I fear she is probably right. That was my own failure. A Kari man must admit and accept his mistakes. I thought I could raise you Kari with an iron-fist as my father did with me, his father did with him, but not all Kari children are built the same.”

Hiko felt the confusion wash over him. Why was this happening? “What….what do you think of Tationy?”

“She is Yamada. Yamada women are bold. They are demure and yet they can talk so suggestively that you almost forget that there are other people in the room. Men are the envy of other men if they have a Yamada woman on their arm. I think she is dangerous because her body is a powerful weapon among the Yamada. She does not even have to try to entice men. You cannot possibly understand the position you are putting yourself in Hiko. Someone like you who has little restraint will be constantly in peril emotionally with someone like her.”

“My mother was Yamada. Was that what it was like for you?”

“We are not talking about your mother. Tationy is descended from the purest of all Yamada. Her grandmother was Miso. That line of Yamada is different. Your mothers Yamada blood was hardly even noticeable.” There was a pause and Hiko was surprised by the words that followed, “I like her, but I fear you are not capable of standing at her side.”

His fathers words stung deeper than any that he had ever spoken to him. He was used to being a disappointment, but the one thing that Hiko desired more than anything was the one thing his father was telling him he probably would never be able to handle. He was almost dazed as he turned a somberness in his voice, “After we get some rest, Tationy and I are heading back to Sofore.”

“Hiko….” His father said his name, but he had already wandered off.

TS3W 2015-03-30 23-23-55-57

Hiko felt far more relaxed when he was on the train with Tationy heading back to Sofore. His arms wrapped around her as he deepened the kiss he laid upon her the moment the train started moving. “Your body is feeling less tense,” She remarked which told him she had noticed. “Are you going to talk to me now?”

He leaned back against the cabin, “My father told me I might not be emotionally capable of handling you.”

She laughed, “Sorry.”

“Why is that funny?”

“Your father just does not understand at all. You have a strength that is buried deep within you and someday you are going to prove to him that you are Kari. He will see it, just as I do.”

She could not possibly understand what it meant to him when she said things like that, “I feel so lucky to have you.”

“Hiko Kari, keep talking like that and we might have to lock the cabin door.”

He laughed nervously, “We just might, but after my talk with my dad I laid their next to you thinking about us. Thinking about sex with you. How much I want to and my dad’s words about not having any restraint kept coming into my mind. The Kari generally wait until they are married. I am not saying we have to or anything. I definitely want to do things with you. I want to know every part of you, but what would you think if we waited to have sex? Not forever or anything, just a bit.”

“This is about your control and your lack of restraint?”

“Yeah. I want the moment to be perfect, but I know I am not physically there. Your touch drives me wild and I wonder if the fact that I never embraced disciplining my mind and body is going to hinder us. What if we go to have sex and I …. I lose control. I want to make you feel as amazing as you make me feel. I don’t want us to be like Sadamitsu and Tsubaki. Just seeking out the thrill of pleasure. I want each moment we have together to connect us. I hope you want that to.”

TS3W 2015-03-31 00-01-53-26

The kiss she laid upon his lips felt like it was begging him. The emotions and sensations encircled them and before he knew what was going on, they were in a passionate embrace. He was kissing her wildly. They seemed to have forgotten all about the conversation they were just having in their exuberance for each other. Breath escaped Hiko’s mouth as his hand slid up her shirt and to her breast. They stopped kissing for a moment, their lips all red from the passion they were showing each other. As he stared into her eyes his hand massaged her breast through the flimsy fabric of her bra. There was no way for him to hide how he was feeling about her at that very moment, his body speaking for him.

His lips brushed against her mouth as he spoke, “It is so hard to control myself around you. I feel like I am drowning.”

His words must have given her pause because he noticed she put some distance between them, “We can wait.”

“Yeah?”

She nodded her head, “Don’t think I am going to take it easy on you though.”

He chuckled, “I would not want you to.”

Tationy laid a tentative kiss upon his lips, “You should try and rest. I know you have not been getting much lately.”

“Alright. Are you going to rest as well?”

“I will probably read for a little bit,” She said as she pulled away from him so that he might have some space to lie down.

TS3W 2015-03-31 00-30-43-15

He was glad in a way that she had agreed. It took some of the pressure off of him, but at the same time he was disappointed. He wanted to experience her passion. He could hear her soft breathing and the flipping of pages. She was reading, awfully faster than what seemed normal. Why did it seem vaguely familiar to him? His eyes closed as he sighed. It felt so normal and comfortable just the two of them, but when others were around he found that the words were harder to say. Even though sometimes he felt it was an awkwardness in truth it was more expectation. He wished he understood all of the turbulent emotions inside of him.

TS3W 2015-03-31 01-27-35-70

Hiko was slowly moving into the various stages of sleep as he listened to the sounds around him, they were almost coaxing his memory. He was just a boy of only six in the garden of the Yamada matriarch, Miso. His father had brought him. Hiko remembered that Tadayoshi Kari was none to happy about it either, but the matriarch had insisted that the child of Ako Yamada be amongst his kin at least once a year at the annual gathering of the Yamada family. None of the other children would talk with him. He was Kari after all, despite his Yamada blood. He was an outcast even there.

Alone he wandered the garden, the breeze had been warm. It was spring and the flowers were in full bloom. A sound had caught his attention. Unidentifiable at first, but the closer he got to it he realized it was the sound of pages flipping. The wind must have been responsible. Further into the garden the small Kari boy stopped suddenly when he happened upon a girl reading. She was only slightly younger than he was. Dressed in a pretty pink dress she seemed content as she rather rapidly flipped through the pages of the book. Hiko remembered wondering if she was actually reading it.

TS3W 2015-03-31 01-55-23-04

Suddenly, she had closed the book with a solid thud. As she stood her eyes fell upon him. What was that look for? Why did she seem so sad? He couldn’t take his eyes off of her. Those eyes, how could he have forgotten them? His heart was pounding. He was afraid of her. She was dangerous. He could feel it, though he didn’t understand why.

TS3W 2015-03-31 02-05-09-42

Definition: Botahmo – Cursed one

“Hiko, we are leaving,” His fathers stern voice spoke though Hiko was unable to pull his eyes from the mystery girl. His father must have sensed something tangible between the two of them because he did not force him to leave. In fact, he simply waited until the girl wandered off before speaking, “They call her Botahmo. A Shima word meaning ‘cursed one’. Among the Yamada, not even her name is spoken.”

“Why?”

“She is Tylo. A powerful and dangerous family believed to be the embodiment of future itself. She can see it. What is, what was, what will be. She can make a man a king or even a god.”

“I don’t understand. If she is capable of doing that why is she alone?”

“They fear her. Just as easily as snapping her fingers she could make a king or break him. The wraith of the Tylo is fierce. It is better to keep them at arms-length. When next we visit the Yamada, keep your distance from that girl and pretend as though you do not know of her. It is better to forget someone like her exist.”

TS3W 2015-03-31 19-58-42-36

He was startled awake, his eyes widened, his lips pursed, and when he managed to collect himself momentarily he realized that Tationy was hovering over him with her fingers touching his face, “Did I wake you?”

“Yeah, it is alright though. Uhh….what are you doing?”

She chuckled, “You were mumbling in your sleep and your body got really tense.”

“And you decided to do what exactly?”

“I was just moving your hair off your face, trying to calm you.” There was a pause and Hiko closed his eyes taking several breaths, “What were you dreaming about?”

Hiko considered the question, “I don’t remember.”

“Should I be jealous?”

“No, why?”

“Your body got really tense. You were even trembling. Do I have to compete with your dreams?”

He laughed nervously, “No. I don’t remember what it was about, but I don’t think it was that kind of dream.”

“Does Hiko Kari have those types of dreams?”

“Ahh, since I met you almost every night.”

“Really now?”

TS3W 2015-03-31 21-25-07-68

He forced himself to sit up as he reached for her hand and tugged to let her know that he wanted her to sit with him, “Do you want the details?”

She turned to look at him, “Depends.”

“On?”

“Whether or not it was me or some other woman in those naughty dreams.”

“Are you going to get mad at me if I dream about other woman?”

“Let me ask you the same question, are you going to get mad at me if I dream about other men?”

Hiko’s lips pursed, “I know you cannot help what you dream, but yeah. If we are being honest, it would make me mad. Part of me would not want to know and another part of me would. I want to be the only man you think about, but I know we cannot control our dreams.”

“That is not entirely true. The first step to controlling your dreams is understanding that you are dreaming. Dreams are sort of like a hallucination. You do not know that the tap dancing elephant isn’t real. It seems normal, but being self-aware of your reality is the key to lucid dreaming. For example, if I am dreaming and suddenly I am the most beautiful woman and idolized by all while a delightful dream it might be, it is still a dream. However, I am aware that I do not perceive myself in such a fashion thus I am able to conclude that I am dreaming. Self-awareness is not something easily obtainable. It means understanding who you are even those things you hate about yourself. While I would not say most people are delusional, many of them are simply incapable of accepting the things about themselves that are ugly thus they will never be able to dream lucidly.”

“So, you can control your dreams.”

Tationy had fallen silent for a time, “I don’t really dream anymore.”

“Why?”

She didn’t seem to want to answer, “When I was little I dreamed all the time even when I was awake. The doctors never understood why so they did what doctors do and just threw drugs at me; Effexor XR, Clonazepam, and Prazosin. They don’t stop me from dreaming entirely, but I don’t really dream much. Don’t really sleep much either for that matter.”

Hiko stared at her, concern knitting across his features, “Are you alright? Do … ” He paused as he tried to consider how he wanted to ask his next question, “Do you have to take them for the rest of your life?”

She shook her head, “I don’t know. I would actually like to stop taking them, but I don’t know what would happen if I did.”

“These dreams were really bad?”

“Not bad, just frequent. Does it bother you?”

“No. Just worried about you now.”

“I am fine, really.”

Hiko brought his hand up to rub her cheek. He couldn’t find the words to say and even going back to their previous conversation seemed impossible so he simply pulled her close and held her tightly. His mind was trying to wrap itself around her words. Dreaming while awake, it seemed unbelievable and yet somehow he had no doubt that she was speaking the truth. Hiko hadn’t pressed the matter as much as he wanted to discuss it more. It seemed a topic of conversation she was uncomfortable with and the train ride was probably not the best place to discuss it. So, the remainder of the trip was spent holding her in his arms and watching the scenery as she catnapped.

TS3W 2015-03-31 23-02-44-52

When they finally arrived to their dorm, Hiko was overcome with frustration. “No, no, no,” Hiko said as he groaned. Standing in the courtyard of their dorm, was a sharp reminder of the state the school was in. He didn’t know what he expected. It was not as though the building was in the greatest of shape. He was annoyed and when Tationy laughed that only added to it, “It is not funny.”

“It is a little funny when you think about it.”

He sighed as he sat himself down on the ground, “Why is this happening?”

TS3W 2015-03-31 23-16-33-58

She sat herself in his lap, “You worry too much Hiko Kari.”

“Are you telling me that this is not something to worry over?”

“It could be worse.”

“I don’t see how.”

“We could be at your dad’s house.”

He nervously laughed, “I stand corrected.” He leaned in and laid a light kiss upon her lips, “Sleeping on the streets is not going to bother you?”

“Is that our only option?”

“I really do not want to go back to my dads. What about your moms?”

She laughed, “I think we both have had enough punishment for one week.”

“How about…” He began saying as he kissed her again, this time deepening it. She moaned against his mouth, “I like that sound.”

TS3W 2015-03-31 23-29-22-59

A cleared throat pulled Hiko’s attention away from her, “Agito said he saw you heading this way. Seems I did not make it in time. Sorry to interrupt.”

“Kyo, aren’t you suppose to be taking the entrance exam?”

“I am surprised your father did not mention it. I took it last year and decided after that I would finish up any remaining obligations I had here and train the next residential adviser.”

“Why isn’t my father rushing you to a university?”

“I imagine it is because when I do take my spot at the Kari Foundation it will be in the design department under Zen. There are plenty of people capable in that department at the moment, so there is no rush for me.”

Hiko’s lips pursed as he looked toward the buildings, “How many buildings did they condemn?”

“Including the “spirit dorms” there are ten so far. They say the cracks in the foundation are caused by expansive soil.”

“What is that?”

“Clay soil that expands and contracts significantly as it gets wet. Wet clay soil when it expands can put literally a thousand pounds of pressure on a foundation wall. It essentially forces the wall inward which can cause them to buckle or even crack. If left the wall can fail completely and become beyond repair,” Tationy spoke which drew the attention of both men to her.

“I am not even going to ask how you know that,” Hiko responded. “So, what does that mean for us?”

“The school has someone coming out this week to empty out the buildings. Our belongings will be placed in storage containers and we will be notified of their location and when we can claim them. Until then, anything in there is off limits. The school is placing people in one of the residential halls that was given a passing grade. It is pretty crowded though, doubling and even tripling up in rooms.”

“What about the gymnasium?”

“I have not heard anything regarding its status.”

“What are your plans?”

“I am trying to help out as much as I can here. This is a time of change for the school and many of the students are transitioning in their own ways. I have been spending more time listening to people talk out their options then anything else. I plan to continue to do that until there is a confirmed decision one way or the other.”

TS3W 2015-03-31 23-57-06-70

Hiko stood and helped Tationy up. When she took his arm his attention fell swiftly upon her, but he realized she was not looking at him. Her eyes were instead focused upon Kyo. He could not help wondering what that look was about. His attention was pulled away from her, “Can I assume that the two of you are … ” He paused and it was obvious he was considering his words. Hiko was certain he was trying to decide how to ask if they were officially a couple.

Interrupting him Tationy spoke, “Don’t lecture him.”

“Tationy,” Hiko said as he looked at her in surprise. Was that what the exchange of looks was about?

“I can see it on his face. He wants to tell you to slow down. He wants to tell you that you are moving too quickly. He wants to tell you the same things your father already said. Why is it your entire family is filled with people who simply do not understand?”

The realization she was protecting him was shocking for him. He never had anyone stand up for him before. The tension was tangible and Kyo’s eyes had remained focused upon her and hers on him. It was just like his father. A silent exchange as though they were having a battle of words without speaking. Kyo had backed down, “Forgive me, I am in no position to judge your relationship. I am only concerned for his well-being. He is my family after-all. I would not deprive him of happiness if it is genuine.”

Tationy had let Hiko’s arm go and gave a single nod of her head as she spoke to Hiko, “I am going to let the two of you speak privately.”

“You don’t have … “

“I need to walk away a moment Hiko. Please understand. I will be back.”

TS3W 2015-04-01 00-14-11-60

Hiko kept his eyes focused upon her until she was out of view. His attention was only drawn back to Kyo when he laughed, “I see why Tadayoshi is so worried. She is perceptive.”

“Were you going to lecture me?”

“I had considered it for a fraction of a second. In that briefest moment, she caught it. It is impressive.”

“So, lecture me and get it over with.”

Kyo shook his head as he chuckled, “I fear if I do, I might have a confrontation with your girlfriend again.” Hiko frowned as Kyo continued, “I was worried that the relationship might be one-sided, but the way she protected you was genuine. Seems my first instinct about the two of you was right. You are the same and yet different. So, what will the two of you do?”

“I really don’t know yet.”

“You will figure it out,” Kyo responded as he said his goodbyes as he wandered off.

TS3W 2015-04-01 00-42-37-53

Hiko was less concerned with what to do and more so about what had happened with Tationy. He paced as he waited for her to return and when she finally did there were a couple of sodas in hand. “Sorry, all they have is cola.” She took a seat on the bench and he moved swiftly to sit next to her.

“Are you alright?”

She offered him a soda as she spoke, “Yeah. Sorry about that. I know you are tired and seeing the building like this and all of the pressure of what to do is weighing heavily on you. I did not want him to add another lecture onto that.”

Hiko smiled, “Well, if it means anything Kyo is definitely not going to attempt to lecture me again. At least not with you around.” His smile faded, “What do we do Tationy? Every path we take there is a new obstacle. Is there even a path that is clear?”

“The future is very complex. Recent studies in quantum physics suggest that the future changes the past as much as the past influences the present, and the present affects the future.”

His mouth opened as if he were going to speak, but no sound was produced right away, “Exactly how high is your I.Q.”

She looked away, “Why does that matter?”

“It doesn’t. I just get the impression sometimes that you are considerably smarter than I am.”

“Is that an issue?”

“No, I just don’t know what you are talking about a lot more than I would like to admit.”

She laughed softly, “The testing done for my initial school entrance exam calculated it at 280, but I admit I was dreaming a lot then.”

“What does that mean?”

Hiko noticed how she seemed to be hesitant to discuss it. Even when she did respond it felt as though she was avoiding going into specific detail, “I might have dreamed it. I don’t really remember much from when I was little. It all seems like fantasy sometimes. Anyway, I suppose we could go to the residential hall for a new assignment.”

Shaking his head he said, “No. Residential halls are not co-ed. We would be separated and I am not letting that happen.”

“Okay, so are we just going to camp out here? Go back to your dads?”

“No. How much cash do you have on you?”

“Uhh…not much,” She said as she dug in her pockets, “Forty-six dollars. You?”

“Eighty-two and some odd change. We could probably get a room at a hotel at least for the night and some take-out.”

She teased him, “For a rich kid you sure do not have any money.”

He laughed, “My father controls it pretty tightly. He gives me some each week, cost of living he calls it. What about you?”

“I sell my paintings mostly. Kyo did tell me that the Disciplinary Committee had assigned me to the cafe to work. I was supposed to start this upcoming Friday. I wonder if the cafe even survived the structural inspection.” With a dismissive shrug she responded, “I probably should have asked him when he was here.”

Hiko chuckled at her words. Tationy was unusual. He had known people with easygoing attitudes, but none quite like her. In a way, her being how she was made the journey all that more exciting. Even if it was bad, he couldn’t wait for tomorrow.

To Be Continued

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