TS3W 2015-11-02 23-28-13-58

Meratoia was quiet. Kyo understood that at this time of day that many of its residents were tending the fields which provided for the Kari village. Everyone played their part. Today though, Kyo was not working hard though he was hardly playing either.

At the side of his father, he moved through the Kari village. If he was honest, he was only passively listening as he thought about the day before. It was not entirely unexpected, but when Eri brought up having an abortion he had lost his cool and stormed out. Part of him was acutely aware she probably asked it to get a reaction out of him, people were always like that in Aslann. To insight a Kari to react was practically a national pastime for clans like the Maiba.

“I have been contacted by the lawyer that handles the estate of the matriarch of the Yamada, Miso. She left a sizable donation to the Kari and a letter apologizing for the misbehavior of her daughter and her kin. I doubt it will lessen your brothers feelings on the matter, but she did try to do right by the Kari after what happened with Chilè and Ako. There are rumors that the Yamada intend to stand against Chilè if she tries to seize her mother’s position as matriarch of the Yamada. I find it difficult to believe that Miso would leave her clan in such a state of disarray.”

There was a moment where his father had stopped speaking and Kyo was certain he was expected to make some sort of response, but he was not even certain what his father said so he simply kept walking. “Are you unhappy being home?” He was practically in a daze as his father raised his voice, “Kyo, are you alright?”

“Yeah….” He paused, realizing what he had said and quickly corrected himself, “Yes, sir.”

“Which is it?”

“Forgive me, I am alright. I just have some things on my mind.”

“Regarding America and Harvard?”

Kyo did not dare look at his father, uncertain he wanted to see whether or not he believed him. Azu Kari was far too perceptive to just pull the wool over his eyes. As much as Kyo was acutely aware of this, it was hard to hide his unhappiness. There was no way he could tell his father that it had nothing to do with school, “Yes, sir.”

The silence that followed was worrisome to Kyo. It was never a good sign when his father was quiet, it meant he was analyzing the situation, the words spoken, his posture, every little detail. In a subtle voice his father finally responded, “School in America will be good for you. Perhaps what you need more than anything is to be away from Aslann for a time. The fact that you continue to wear modern clothing is rather telling. While other Kari have returned to Meratoia from Sofore Academy, welcoming tradition back into their lives, you continue wearing the clothes of the modern world. I do not like the idea of another of my sons walking such a path, it did not turn out well for Sesiago, but you are a man of the Kari. I cannot tell you how to live your life. However, your kin will not be as understanding as I, if you choose to remain in Meratoia as you are. Now, is there anything you need to tell me?”

If ever there was a moment, it was probably that one, but Kyo simply shoved his hands in his pocket and responded, “No sir.”

Monotonously his father spoke, “I need to take a trip into the city and will be gone for most of the day.” Kyo simply assumed his father was going to see his brother Tadayoshi so he remained silent until his father finished speaking, “Kazuki mentioned Semei might be looking into a dwelling today. Perhaps a different perspective will calm your troubled thoughts.”

Somehow he doubted that. In all reality, Semei was probably the last person to speak to on any matter relating to the modern world. Perhaps that was the point of his father’s suggestion. A voice his age, speaking about tradition and its importance. It was not that Kyo did not believe in the ways of the Kari. He was not faltering, but he was struggling due to what had happened with Eri.

A Kari, bedding a Maiba woman. Worse yet, she got pregnant. It was taboo among the Kari. Certainly, in the past it had happened a few times and those that had were regarded rather poorly by their kin. He would not suffer nearly as bad as the child or the woman, it was just how it was; some prejudices did not disappear with time. Kyo took a breath before responding, “I will speak with him.”

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Kyo hardly knew what to say, so even after he arrived to Semei’s and the two stepped out for a walk there was a great deal of silence around them. His kin eventually spoke, “I believe that you should inform your father. He can tell something is wrong and even stopped by last night to ask me if I knew what it was. Your father might not be the Elder of the Kari, but his hand is far-reaching. Certainly he will not be happy, but he will take care of it.”

“Would you tell yours?”

There was a silence that followed, “We are not the same, Kyo. I would not have slept with a Maiba nor would I have gotten myself so drunk to lose my senses. With that said, a Kari man must own his mistakes. Running away from them does not make them go away. Even if she decided to keep the baby and marry you, there would come a point you would have to present her to your family.”

“I am not running.”

“I disagree.” Semei paused, “The moment you found out, you should have told your father. Eri has all the control now. If she wants to keep the baby or get rid of it, there is nothing you can do about it because you refuse to take the power out of her hands. Telling your father ensures that Eri will no longer be able to hide her condition or hold it over you. The Maiba do not believe in abortion, her hand would be forced, the two of you married, and in the end it would all work out. If you do not want to really marry her, you should have kept it in your pants.”

Kyo was annoyed, but managed to respond without emotion, “You are an asshole.”

“Call me names if you must, but I am not going to pretend to sympathize or understand your plight. We both are Kari, but we are wired differently.”

As much as he wanted to argue, he couldn’t. Semei was to be the Osomo of the Kari, a position that required him to be above reproach. The entire clan would look to him someday to oversee the trials of their children, educate them in the ways of the Kari, and more importantly show them the importance of tradition. His child, if Eri did not have an abortion would be one of those guided by Semei.

“I don’t love her and if I am being honest, I don’t even like her. When I first met Eri, I thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen, but then she opened her mouth and I realized how ugly she was. I didn’t intend to sleep with her. I was just trying to do the right thing. I hate thinking it. It makes me angry every time it is even mentioned, but maybe it would be better for both of us if she did not have the baby.”

“I know you don’t really believe that, rationalizing this situation does not fix it.”

“Would you really tell your dad?”

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There was a long silence that followed his question and it was clear that his fellow Kari was considering how he wanted to answer as they wandered along the path. Eventually Semei stepped inside a building and Kyo followed suit, “I do not know.” That was it? Honestly, Kyo expected another lecture or some in-depth discussion about them being Kari and having to take responsibility for their actions and owning their mistakes, but all he got was, I do not know.

Glancing around, Kyo realized the two of them were standing in an empty dwelling. Not just any house though. This one, once belonged to the Elder of the Kari during the days of the Kari Commander. There were Kari that avoided this place and yet, there they were standing in the entryway. “They say, the Elder of the Kari was bitten by a snake and died here.”

“I know the story. It was said that it took him nearly a month to die from the poison and that he was in so much excruciating pain that most days he was not even coherent.” As he glanced around Semei added, “I felt compelled to buy it.”

“What?” Kyo questioned as he glanced toward Semei suddenly.

“We Kari have kept upkeep on it for centuries, but for the most part we avoid it. As if this place is cursed; my father and I discussed me moving out after I finished up at Sofore. I bought it, the day before Hiko and Tationy became a couple.”

There was a moment where Kyo grew quiet as he considered Semei’s words. Why did he phrase it that way? He could have said, on such and such date, but he didn’t. Kyo took a breath before asking, “Did you buy it….for her?”

He did not answer him, at least not directly. “The response you want from me, I cannot give you. Whether I would tell my father or not is mote. You are not in love with Eri. Perhaps if you were, things would be different or I would have some insight to offer you, truth is I cannot imagine myself in your position because I have never slept with anyone, let alone a woman I do not love.”

Kyo’s mind was blown with the revelation that Semei had feelings for Tationy that were strong enough for him to buy a house for the two of them. The Osoma of the Kari usually got a small place, but this one was probably one of the biggest dwellings in Meratoia which told Kyo that Semei had been preparing for a future and a family with her. Was she aware of his feelings? It dawned on him after a moment that Semei was heading off to school with Tationy and Hiko in the fall, “Semei, you have to tell your dad you cannot go to Aslann University with them. That…that is not a situation you should be put in the middle of. It is asking for trouble.”

Semei regarded Kyo a moment before responding, “I considered telling him, but he will simply say that as the Osoma of the Kari I have to be above such distractions. This is an opportunity for me to steal my emotions and better myself. Telling him, would not accomplish anything other than him encouraging me to go. Our fathers are different. I think in regard to your situation the best thing you could do is talk to him.”

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Talking to his father was hardly an option, but there was someone he felt he needed to speak with. Pensive for a moment Kyo asked, “Semei, would you drive me someplace?”

His thoughts were anticipated, “Traveling to Mount Celiabai to see Eri is not going to help this situation.”

“Maybe if I talk with her.”

“And say what exactly?”

“Please, just….give me a ride there.”

“Straight into the heart of Maiba and Ishi territory, you got to be out of your mind.”

Kyo snapped, “If Tationy was carrying your baby would you be so cavalier?” There was a silence that followed, “I didn’t think so. I have to try and get her to see reason. Even if she blows me off, I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know I did everything I could.”

He expected Semei to tell him that he wasn’t doing everything after all he could tell his father and hadn’t, “Fine, I will take you. Let it be known that I disagree with this course of action.”

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The entire trip, Semei barely spoke. Kyo was acutely aware that his kin did not agree with his decision even so he thought he might at least be slightly supportive. Perhaps it was simply too much to ask of another Kari as they pulled into the drive of Eri Maiba.

Sitting in the car, Kyo almost changed his mind until he noticed a vehicle in the Maiba driveway. He spoke aloud, “Is … that my dad’s car?”

Semei glanced out the window, “Looks like it.”

It brought up too many questions. Certainly it would be possible, yet rare for the Kari to do business with the Maiba. His father was probably the best equipped to handle them due to his prior business relationship with the Elder of the Maiba, but he had said he was going to Thacian City. It was unlike his father to lie. Perhaps it was a different car. As he quickly exited the vehicle he moved to examine the antique automobile. As he gazed upon it, he became certain that it was his fathers.

“Right now, you need to leave,” Eri yelled and when Kyo turned the anger upon her face was clear.

“I came to talk,” He tried to say, but she kept interrupting him. Finally, he snapped and got the words out.

“We have nothing to talk about. I don’t want to see your ugly face again, you ruined my life.”

Ruined her life? What was she talking about? “We did this together, don’t place the blame solely on my shoulders.”

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Without warning there was a sudden boom of authority coming from atop the balcony which Kyo recognized instantly, “That is enough, Kyo. A Kari man steals his emotions in times like these. I expect you to remember this and behave accordingly regardless of how you feel.” Even though his father spoke the words his eyes were not fixed on Kyo, but instead on the Maiba man leaning against the railing. “Erobus, we will be taking our leave. I expect this situation to be resolved quietly or there will be repercussions.”

“I will honor our agreement, but don’t threaten me on my own property Azu. Now, take your kin and this Tylo woman and leave.” There was a momentary pause, “Eri, get in the house you have caused enough trouble.”

Kyo noticed how Eri stormed away and glared at Tationy as she passed her by. If Tationy was moved, he could not tell. Descending the stairs his father did not say anything at first until his feet came to a stop not far from where Kyo was standing with Semei. He did not understand what was going on, “This is not the place to discuss private matters.”

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Opening his mouth to protest he was halted suddenly as his father’s eyes fell upon Tationy. Was she the one that told? The way Eri glared at her might suggest that was the case, but he didn’t think she was the type of person that would betray a confidence even one that was not spoken to her. Did he misjudge her? “Miss Tationy, I hate to impose upon you further.” His father spoke politely, “I would like for you to join us in Meratoia. I can leave word for Hiko if that is acceptable.”

“I am not certain what further assistance I can offer, Mr. Kari.”

“A gentle hand,” His father responded simply.

Kyo’s eyes kept fixed on her as he thought about shaking her and asking why she told. He was trying not to assume, but the further into the conversation his father got with her the more it seemed obvious to Kyo that she was the reason things were going from bad to worse. Oddly though as she responded there was concern adorning her features, “Alright, Mr. Kari.”

After that, he was not given any opportunity to protest or ask questions. Semei was directed to take Kyo back to Meratoia and to make certain that they were home before Azu arrived. If Kyo thought the ride there was quiet, the ride back was worse and add in it an awkwardness that brought tension to him and it made for an unpleasant couple of hours.

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Even after they arrived, Semei stuck around and part of Kyo was certain it had to do with Tationy. By the time Azu Kari stepped into his home, Kyo was fuming. He had been about to snap when his father turned suddenly and spoke, “Miss Tationy. If you will please head upstairs. You will find my bedroom…”

She interrupted him suddenly, “So forward Mr. Kari. We hardly know each other.”

There was a moment as Kyo watched the expression upon his father’s face. At first he thought that Azu Kari would not miss a step and continue, but suddenly he smiled. Not some simple little smirk, half grin, or even a closed mouth smile. No, his lips slightly parted, his posture instantly changed, and he chuckled under his breath. Never had Kyo ever witnessed such a reaction from his father, “Miss Tationy.”

“Yes, Azu,” She said in an almost teasing voice.

His father paused, tried not to laugh as he looked away from her a moment. It was clear to Kyo that he was trying to contain the slightly amused emotions that had suddenly overtaken him. When he finally managed to regain some composure he finished his words with a cleared throat, “In my closet you will find some clothing that should fit you that belonged to my wife. A woman of the Kari must always present herself modestly and while I find your modern clothing pleasing in other settings, here your attire should reflect your status among the Kari. Please, will you change?”

“As you wish,” She responded simply as she moved by Kyo and Semei toward the stairs that his father had directed her to.

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Azu would not speak again until he was certain that Tationy was upstairs. This was how it was. Conversations like these, generally did not involve women of the Kari so he did not understand why it was that his father wanted her there to begin with. Kyo was certain that she was the reason Eri reacted the way she did and the fact that his father was now aware that he had carnal relations with a Maiba.

“Semei, how long have you know?” Kyo glanced away, but could feel the eyes of his kin upon him briefly. There was a moment of pause so Azu added, “There is no reason to protect him. Considering your words makes it seem as though you have something to hide. I have known you since you were small and you have never been the type of Kari to shy away from speaking your mind or the truth, do not start now.”

“Not long. Kyo only informed me because of my future position as the Osoma.”

“What did you tell him to do in this situation?”

“Inform you, but he seemed insistent that doing so was not the course of action he wished to take.”

“Thank you for your honesty, if you will excuse us Semei. This matter no longer concerns you.”

“Yes sir,” Semei responded as he exited the dwelling.

Kyo could feel it, the hard stare of Azu Kari. Unforgiving were those eyes, “I need to go and speak with the Elder of the Kari. Please get diner started and be respectful to Tationy.”

“Right…”

“Excuse me?”

“Yes sir,” Kyo corrected himself as his father departed.

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Kyo had almost walked out, left Meratoia. That anger inside of him had not lessened for a single moment and his father was pushing him aside; addressing Tationy and Semei so respectfully and treating him like he was a child that had disrupted the flow of the Kari. Now he understood what it was like to be Hiko.

“Your father is quite worried about you,” He heard her voice as he prepared the food for dinner. “Azu sees you as different from your brothers; Tadayoshi is stern and hard and Sesiago was wild and disruptive. Even with the seriousness that surrounds the Kari, your actions have shown to him that you hold true to the ways of your people and yet remain positive and light a quality he attributes to your mother. While he understands that this is not about him, he feels as though he has failed you. Do not judge him too harshly.”

“Maybe you should be saying those words to him.”

“I assure you, I have.”

“Why….why did you tell him Tationy,” He asked as he tried to keep his composure and not lose his temper with her.

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At first she had not responded and he thought she might never. Glancing toward her, he made note how her head was tilted slightly and she was regarding him. Eventually she responded, “It is unlike you to make such wild assumptions about people, but if it makes you feel better to blame me, I will allow it.”

“If you didn’t tell him, then who? Why were you even at his side?”

Tationy wrinkled her nose as she stepped further into the kitchen, “I do not like playing god with another person’s future. With that being said, I was aware your father was in the city and his reasons. I asked Abe…”

Kyo stopped stirring and quickly interrupted her, “Abe? Why were you spending time with him? Does Hiko know?”

She waved her hand dismissively, “They say when something shattering happens that time feels as though it is standing still. For that person, perhaps, but in reality it does not. While you have dwelled into the darkest part of your emotions and became stuck in a vicious repeating cycle of anguish, the world and the people around you continued to move. There has been much going on, but in your current state you are simply incapable of looking past your own torn heart to notice.” She paused a moment, “Appreciating what has been transpiring is not something you are capable of doing at the moment, so the reasons Abe and I were together are unimportant.”

He cleared his throat, “Alright, then tell me what is important?”

“As I was saying, I asked Abe if he would take me to where your father would be. Trust in the fact that being in that location was not something I wished to do, but felt it necessary. As your father took notice of me outside the home of Soti Tylo, he realized that I understood the large obstacle that was standing before him. A heavy burden not one can carry alone and thus, I took this journey with him.”

Kyo could almost not believe her words, “My father asked the Elder of the Tylo?”

“It was not a decision he made lightly. The struggling heart of his son, which he has tried to reach has been inaccessible to him. Even as he asked you what was wrong you repeatedly told him it was nothing or placed blame on something like school. As if a simple preoccupation of attending a university was enough to weigh down a Kari man such as yourself. Azu is many things, but a fool is not one of them.” Pausing she sighed, “I had not wished to stand before the Elder of the Tylo and find it irritating to feel forced upon this path, but managing troublesome Kari seems to be my burden to bear.”

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Kyo considered her words as he prepared the table, cleaned up the cooking pot, and took a seat. At first, he had not noticed because he had been so tense, but as she seated herself it dawned on him that his anger had lessened and his troubled thoughts seemed less burdened. Was this her power? The power of the Yamada?

She chuckled softly, “How cute I find it when Kari men try to understand the gentle touch that eases their hearts and quiets their worries. That gaze, never quite gets old. They have this way about them; ingrained in every movement, a subtle look in their eyes, and with every fiber of my being I am overwhelmed by such a commanding presence that is the Kari.” She paused and closed her eyes in an obvious reflective moment of thought, “There are very few women that are capable of understanding Kari men. Many of the ones married to them will never comprehend the depths of their hearts. This is not because they do not love their Kari man, it is because of selfishness. They want to be taken care of, spoiled, and a Kari man will always do those things, but it is those Kari men that need a gentle hand far greater than the one they give.”

“So, you are telling me that you are not some selfish woman?”

Tationy smiled, “No, all humans are selfish. I desire. There are things I long for greatly, but he is more important than my selfish wants. I trust that anything I need he will anticipate and give, perhaps not perfectly, but he will try. In this modern world we live, it is about taking, having, and wanting. In the days of wars there was far less conquering; how sad I find it, that people have forgotten the importance of respecting and honoring their love. Truth be told, this situation with you and Eri is troublesome.”

“I was wondering how long it would take you before a lecture started.”

“Don’t misunderstand, this is not a lecture. If we are truthful, Abe would never have allowed Eri to leave with you if he had any idea that you were that intoxicated. It is not that he would assume the worst, but women and men do not make the best decisions when alcohol is involved. An experience he learned the hard way.”

“What do you mean, he learned the hard way?”

She bowed her head, “That is a story for him to tell.” With a moment of silent contemplation she added, “Eri is a sexually active woman and yet was not on any form of birth control. Even I, who had intended to wait to have sex until marriage went on the pill when Abe and I began to fool around. Her intention was to get pregnant, just not by you. According to Soti, once Agito realized Eri’s motives he broke up with her. Such an underhanded woman will do anything to get what she wants. This was the catalyst that set the two of you on the same path. Had Abe realized, had you decided to study instead of attending, had Agito not broken up with her, had Abe accepted her attention, the end result of that night would be very different.”

Kyo considered his words before asking, “My father met with Eri’s dad, they obviously reached a decision regarding our child. What is it?”

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The voice of his father near the entry of their home pulled his attention as it interrupted the conversation he was having with Tationy, “That child is no longer a concern for you.”

Kyo stood suddenly that anger instantly back, “How can you say that? Where do you get off making decisions for me? I am a man of the Kari…”

His father interrupted him, “A man of the Kari takes responsibility for his actions and does not disgrace himself, forsake his people or his traditions, and he certainly does not bed a Maiba.”

Shouting suddenly, “You are full of shit.” Kyo pushed back from the table as he moved toward the door, “Let’s step outside.”

His father, red in the face and obviously angry followed suit while responding, “If that is what you want.”

Outside, they stood eye to eye, toe to toe, and Kyo’s fist were ready. He could hear Tationy pleading softly, “Kyo, don’t be hotheaded.” He probably should have listened, but at that moment all he wanted to do was hurt something, someone, anything. The reason he had not wanted to tell his father was because he knew what he would do. Azu Kari would fix it for the sake of appearances and that smug attitude frustrated and infuriated him.

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Rather quickly it turned into a brawl, though it was clear that this day did not belong to Kyo. Once, twice, three times. Honestly, Kyo lost track of how many times he was hit and eventually his glasses flew off his face, he felt blood trickling down from his mouth and nose, and his father only stopped when Tationy’s pained voice called out, “Azu, please.”

Kyo quickly stumbled and lost his balance as he sat upon the ground he looked up at his father and realized, that despite him having taken the beating, it was his father that was suffering.

Azu Kari turned his back as he spoke, “Miss Tationy, I need to be alone with my thoughts. Please tend to my son.”

“I will,” She managed to whisper.

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His legs were like jello and his face hurt, worse yet was the fact that she was being oddly silently as she helped him into the house. Sitting in the living room he felt foolish as she returned from the kitchen with a wet cloth. This was the first time he had ever had a girl take care of him. It made him nervous as she dropped to her knees before him and began to tend to his wounds. When her hand reached out, he quickly caught it, “Hiko would not like this. So, please don’t fuss over me.”

Pulling her hand away she responded, “I think the person that cannot handle it is you, Kyo Kari. That is fine though, if you do not want my gentle hand I can be rough, though I never imagined you the type to like it that way.”

He laughed as painful as it was, “Ugh, don’t make laugh. My face hurts.”

With an exasperated sigh Tationy spoke, “Seriously, taking care of you Kari boys is a full-time job. I might have to hire some help.”

There it was again, he was laughing. “I did not think you were serious about being rough,” He joked.

A somber quality to her voice caught his attention when the mood changed suddenly, “It will be alright Kyo. Even though it is painful, things will work out as they are meant to. Someday, you are going to have children and get married. This is just a dark moment that will make you stronger, but you cannot blame your father for something you did. A man of the Kari, must have strength even in the most trying of circumstances. Hold your head high and know that this storm will pass and that someday that pain in your heart will fade away.”

Kyo felt emotion he did not want to feel as he reached out and grabbed her hand, “Just for today, please be gentle with me.”

She offered him a comforting smile as she took care of his wounds. This moment was not about intimacy or love. He never had a mother that worried over him. She died just after he was born and as silly as it sounded, Tationy was almost like a mother hen fussing over her chicks. It felt odd, like she had done this a hundred times before. Kyo was not certain he could explain it even if he analyzed it for days, but somehow this Tylo woman knew exactly what to say and do when it came to Kari men. His father had been right to call it a gentle hand.

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For a time, Kyo sat quietly by himself as Tationy took care of the dining room table. He had forgotten that they had been waiting for his father to arrive back so they could eat dinner. He groaned, how selfish he thought that she had not only been dragged into his mess, but she was taking care of him.

The smell of smoke drew his attention and he realized far to late that Hiko was leaning against a wall not far from where he was sitting on the sofa. “I was trying to decide whether or not I was going to kick the shit out of you for making me come to this place to get Tationy, but I see someone already got there first. What did you do, call the old man out?”

Groaning he responded, “Something like that.”

Hiko snorted, “That never ends well.”

“How long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough to know that you put your hands upon my girl.”

“Nothing happened it was not like that.”

“I know and nothing ever will. There are a lot of words to describe you, but piece of shit lowlife that fucks other guy’s girls is not among them.”

Kyo painfully laughed, “Not sure if that is a compliment or not.”

Tationy’s voice drew his attention, “Don’t mind him. Hiko has had a terrible week and is taking it out on everyone.” Watching her as she offered Hiko a drink then disappeared into the kitchen again he was slightly relieved for her interruption.

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It took a moment of awkward silence before Hiko took a seat next to him on the sofa, “Did you really think you were going to be able to keep this from your father?”

“I am getting lectured from you, wow my day has just hit a new low.”

“Look, I do not care who the hell you sleep with. If you want to bed some Maiba trash have at it. The moment I heard about this shit I could not believe it. Out of all of us, you were the one that always had your head on straight. Really Kyo, why? That is the question everyone wants to know. I get you were drunk. I have seen Sadamitsu do some pretty messed up shit while intoxicated, but for you it just seems out of character.”

“Maybe you wouldn’t get it because you are the bad boy all the time. Everyone expects you to screw up, but I don’t like having to be perfect and sometimes I just want to do what everyone else does. That night, Semei just wanted to study. He always studies. Never going out, never doing anything. I just wanted to do something different. Maybe if he had come along, I would not have drunk so much or would not have even gotten involved with her. There are a lot of things about that night I wish I could do over, but I can’t.”

There was too much emotion so he took several breaths trying to calm himself, as he watched Hiko take a long drag off his cigarette. Honestly he did not expect what Hiko would say next, “Cannot believe I am actually going to say these words. A Kari man, must know restraint. It is alright to indulge a little. Enjoy what the modern world has to offer, but we cannot allow ourselves to be seduced by it. Someone fucking shoot me now for saying this shit.” Hiko paused, “Every fucking conversation and lecture my dad ever gave me. Never got it before this moment. This was what he was trying to say. Lose control, lose it all. It changes you and there is a part of you right now that is dying because of it. That is some messed up scary shit.”

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Kyo felt stiff as tension overtook his body. He could not even look at his nephew. Hiko’s words were not wrong. In a moment where Kyo needed to display a considerable amount of restraint, he failed. There were no excuses not even that he was drunk.

Staring rather blankly toward the wall he thought the lingering silence would carry over for some time, “Tationy and I got a lot of shit going on, but you can come stay with us until things settle down with your dad. I am sure Zen could use some help in the design department seeing Tationy is taking the week off to deal with this Abe shit.” There it was again, Abe. What was transpiring? Kyo was almost tempted to ask because at least the focus would be taken off of him, but Hiko had continued talking so he did not get the opportunity. “I think she needs someone to take care of right now.”

He really did not understand what Hiko meant and it slightly concerned him that his nephew’s voice had become heavy as he spoke the words. As tempted as it was to leave Meratoia and put space between him and his father, it would not solve anything. “Thank you for the offer, but I think I probably should just take my lumps. Besides, sounds like you and Tationy got a lot going on without burdening you with the likes of me. In a couple of months I will be in America and this will all be like some bad dream, right?”

“Ahh,” Hiko responded.

The silence that followed was not entirely unexpected, though it was hardly awkward; heavy and contemplative. Kyo understood that, guys like Hiko and Semei that were aware of what transpired would use his pain as an example of how terribly a Kari could make a mistake. They would learn from it and hopefully grow. In the generation before that example was set by his brother, Sesiago Kari who did everything against the grain until it led to his death. Kyo could not help wondering if he would find a similar fate, despite Tationy’s positive words of a future with a wife and children.

To Be Continued

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