❯ Family Bonds – Family Bonds ch 2 ( Chapter 2 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Family Bonds
Chapter two
Aoi and Kaoru stepped onto the platform at Kichijoji station. They always felt a sweet pang of reminiscence when at a subway station, because that was where fate reunited them after their long years of separation. As they walked, holding hands, Kaoru scanned the crowds looking for Chika.
As Kaoru was looking to the right he heard a chipper voice behind him and to the left.
“BIG BROTHER!!!!” Chika called by way of greeting and warning. The warning was because she had already leapt into the air to come crashing down on Kaoru’s back.
“I’m so glad you came, Big Brother!” she chirped, happily. “And you brought Ms. Aoi, too!”
Aoi and Kaoru were so startled that they completely forgot to let go of each other’s hand. Unfortunately, Chika was a very observant girl.
“Big Brother, why are you holding Ms. Aoi’s hand?” she asked. “Are you two on a date?” she gasped.
“Oh my!” Was all Aoi could say while blushing furiously.
“No, Chika,” said Kaoru, “you got it all wrong.” He was thinking very, very fast. They could not let their secret out. “I was holding her hand to keep her from getting separated from me in the crowds.” He smiled, weakly. “Well, it’s partly true,” he thought to himself. “How was swimming practice?” he asked, trying to change the subject.
“It was really good! Natsuki swam a whole lap underwater!”
“Really? That is impressive, Ms. Chika,” Aoi said, having finally regained her voice.
“Hey, Big Brother,” Chika suddenly asked brightly, “Can I hold your hand, too?”
“Um, I don’t see why not, right Aoi?” Kaoru said, while looking down at their hands, which were still clasped.
“I think that would be safest for Ms. Chika and myself,” said Aoi, a little slyly.
“So, where are we going, Big Brother?”
“I think some ice cream would be really good,” said Kaoru.
“Ice cream?” squealed Chika. “I love ice cream!”
As they walked to the ice parlor outside the station, Aoi was struck, again, by how much she loved Kaoru. While watching him with Chika, she thought that he would make a really great father and hoped that their first child would be a girl.
–> [Author:PC] As they sat down with their ice cream, Chika was telling them all about her day at school. Kaoru, however, was only partly paying attention. Mostly, he was watching Aoi. He truly loved this dainty girl. Watching her with Chika made him think she would make a really good mother, and hoped that their first child was a girl.
After they finished their ice cream, they went walking. There were many shops open which both Aoi and Chika wanted visit. The bikini shop was a little tense for Kaoru, since Chika was tired of her school swimsuit and wanted to get a new –> [Author:PC] one for the summer. Both Aoi and Kaoru thought that it might be a good idea for her to ask Taeko to take her shopping.
They went into a bookstore that had various college textbooks at a bargain price, and Kaoru found most of the references he needed. The rest, he reasoned, Ms. Miyabi –> [Author:PC] would have, as they were all for his Economics class.
Then they came to one of the Sakuraba department stores, which were owned by Aoi’s family. Chika wanted to go and look around in the store, and Aoi agreed, though she did not want to let go of Kaoru’s hand. She knew she would have to, though and reluctantly released him, allowing him to hear her soft sigh.
Kaoru was not happy to let go of Aoi’s hand, but knew that if anyone recognized Aoi and saw them holding hands in the store, there would be a lot of questions. So, he reluctantly let her go. Chika, however, remained firmly clamped onto his hand.
They walked into the Sakuraba store and looked around. Kaoru, who had never gone into one, was thoroughly impressed. The entry was mirrored tiles, with a dark beige marble wall. A large directory was immediately in front of them showing where everything in the store was.
“Ms. Aoi, would you mind if we went to look at the kimonos,” Kaoru asked.
Aoi looked at him, until she realized why he had addressed her so formally. The secret. She wished with all her heart that they could just tell people they were engaged.
As they walked through the store, she could not help but be impressed at what her family was able to do. There were so many nice things in the store. At the jewelry counter was an older couple. The wife was trying on a new necklace her husband was going to buy for her. A group of teenage girls were looking around the shoes. Then in front of them, they saw the kimono section. The trio walked around the kimonos for a few moments, looking around. Kaoru stopped at one kimono. It was a pale blue, with cherry blossoms on the sash.
“That was designed by the daughter of Mr. Sakuraba, Ms. Aoi Sakuraba,” said an elderly female employee. “I must admit, though, it is strange to see a young girl like you wearing a kimono.”
“Oh, it is not that strange, ma’am,” said Aoi.
“Oh, I think it is, but I must say that I am happy to see it.” She looked more closely at Aoi’s kimono. “And, unless I am mistaken, that is a Sakuraba kimono. And one designed by Ms. Aoi, as well! That young lady is truly talented!” The elderly lady was so enthusiastic that she did not even notice that Aoi was the same “Ms. Aoi” she was talking about.
One of the manager’s however, did know to whom the elderly lady was speaking.
“Lady Aoi,” said the manager with a deep bow. “Our store is truly honored to have you within.”
“Oh, thank you, Mr. Namura,” said Aoi, feeling a little taken aback by the man’s unctuous manner. In truth, she had never felt comfortable with the managers of her father’s stores. They all seemed to feel that if they were servile enough to her, she would put in a good word with her father about them.
“Is there anything we can do for you, Lady Aoi?” asked Namura with an overnice smile. “A kimono for your young friend, perhaps?” He was fishing for introductions, Kaoru thought.
“My brother can’t afford a kimono,” said Chika, shyly.
“Ah, this is your brother?” asked Namura.
“Yes,” said Kaoru. “This is Chika, and I am Kaoru.”
“Mr. Namura,” said Aoi, a little flustered, “we really must be going now, but I will make sure to tell my father how nice your store is, when I next speak to him.”
As she said this, Mr. Namura seemed to melt with relief.
As all three left the store, Chika looked over at Aoi.
“Ms. Aoi, could I ask a favor of you?”
“Of course, Ms. Chika,” said Aoi, smiling.
“Ms. Aoi, could you make a kimono for me, for Tanabata Matsuri this summer?”
Aoi was very surprised, as Tanabata was Aoi’s birthday and held a special place in her heart. “Oh, Chika-Chan, I would love to make a kimono for you!” She was so thrilled; she even addressed Chika by her familiar title.
“Aoi, you kind of shocked me, back there,” said Kaoru.
“How so?” asked Aoi, a little bit nervous.
“You were rather confident with that man in the store.”
Aoi smiled with relief, “My father always told me to never seem to be nervous in front of the people that worked for him. They would perceive it as a sign of weakness in my father, and I would not want to cause him that kind of trouble. That’s why I try my best to not show them how nervous I am.”
“It must be difficult,” said Kaoru.
“Sometimes,” she said, “it can be. But then I think of…someone special, and I feel better” Chika was busy playing with a small dog on a leash, and didn’t notice Aoi’s pause.
“Well, let’s head back to the station, now,” said Kaoru.
As the three boarded the train back home, Kaoru thought they would have to do something extra special for Tanabata this year, since it was not only Aoi’s birthday, it was also the most romantic day of the year, much like the American Valentine’s Day. He decided to give it some serious thought.
They arrived at the train station just before sunset. Kaoru wasn’t quite ready to go back home yet, so he asked Chika and Aoi if they wanted to take a walk.
“I’m a little tired, Big Brother, so would you mind if I went on home?” Chika asked.
“No, it’s OK, Chika. Let everyone know that we’ll be home soon,” said Kaoru. In truth he was a little relieved. As much as he loved spending time with Chika, being with Aoi was the high point of any day.
Together, they walked hand in hand down the hill to a grassy knoll that over-looked the Kanda-Gawa River. This was Kaoru’s favorite spot for watching the sunset. Kaoru removed his jacket so they could sit on the grass without staining Aoi’s kimono. As he sat with Aoi, their arms linked as they watched the birds flying over the water, he felt such peace and contentment that he wanted time to stop. Aoi turned her head to look at Kaoru.
“Kaoru?” she asked hesitantly.
“Yes, Aoi,” he replied.
“Do you want to know something?”
“Sure,” he said, curiously.
“I really, really do love you, my Kaoru,” she said with a smile.
“Aoi-Chan, you are the best girl to ever come into my life, and I love you,” he said.
She looked at him for a few long moments, and then leaned very close to him. Both of them forgot to watch the sunset.
“Oh my!” exclaimed Aoi a several long minutes later. “We really ought to get home! I have to start making dinner, and Ms. Miyabi will be wondering where we are!”
“Uh-oh! Let’s go then, before Miyabi gets upset!”
As they walked up the slope to the house, both felt that all was right, and that everything was just as it should be.

Turning the corner from the road onto the driveway of the estate, the two young lovers were struck for a second with something odd. It took both a second to realize that what was odd was the large, red American SUV parked in front of the house.
He had only seen such vehicles in American movies; since they were so large it was difficult to drive them on Japan’s narrow streets. As they got closer, Kaoru noticed that there was a trailer on the back of the vehicle.
“Who do you think this belongs to, Aoi?” Kaoru asked, puzzled.
“I’m not sure,” said Aoi. “Maybe it is one of Ms. Miyabi’s associates?”
“Let’s go inside and see, OK,” said Kaoru.
“Yes,” said Aoi. “I wish I had known we would have guests. I could have made tea and snacks.”
They went up to the door, and with one last look at the Vehicle, went inside. They heard voices from the front sitting room, and went to see who their visitor was.
Kaoru entered the room ahead of Aoi. Everyone who lived in the house was there. –> [Author:PC] There was, also one extra person. He was somewhat non-descript, being medium height, with straight dark hair. He was dressed in a simple pair of tan slacks and a red oxford shirt. Kaoru also noticed a cardboard box sitting on the table.
“Hey, everyone. What’s going on?” Kaoru was perplexed because everyone appeared either shocked or grim. “Is everything OK?” he asked, worried.
“Please, what is wrong?” asked Aoi, equally worried.
Ms. Miyabi stood up. “Sir Kaoru, this is Reiichi Misukuni. He says he is your brother.”
Two paragraphs begin with the same phrase…”As they”
WHY is Kaoru tense being in the bikini shop?
WHY would Ms. Miyabi have Economics Text books?
How about: Kaoru entered the main room of the house a step ahead of Aoi. Everyone who lived there was present.

Family Bonds – Family Bonds ch. 1
Family Bonds – Family Bonds ch 3