1crazy4drama is a lady who signed up 11 months ago. She owns large sums of Jpops (22,545) and was last seen here about 9 hours ago
It had been over a month now since Kohei had told her he would have enough money for whatever he needed it for. He was even being more elusive. The past two days he rushed around here and there. He even asked Naoki if he could borrow his car. He had had it for more than three hours. When he gave it back to Naoki, Kohei said, “Thank you for letting me borrow your car. I didn’t mean to have it for so long. I just had an important errand to run. I filled it with gas for your inco...Read more (9154 words more)
It had been over a month now since Kohei had told her he would have enough money for whatever he needed it for. He was even being more elusive. The past two days he rushed around here and there. He even asked Naoki if he could borrow his car. He had had it for more than three hours. When he gave it back to Naoki, Kohei said, “Thank you for letting me borrow your car. I didn’t mean to have it for so long. I just had an important errand to run. I filled it with gas for your inconvenience.” Naoki said back, “Anytime, bro.”
Later on that same day Riko covered again for Kohei when Naoki and Tegoshi came by the class she had with him. Tegoshi asked, “Kohei’s not here. Where did he go?” “He left class early. He mentioned something about needing to do something for his mother,” she told them both looking at Naoki. “Oh, I thought we were going to get together for a game of B-ball. This is the second time he’s ditched us,” Naoki stated looking back at Riko, “How is your ankle?” “It is fine now,” she told him as she wiggled it around under her desk as he looked down at it. “Would you like to play basketball with us? We’ll go easy on you. We will spot you 18 points out of 21,” Naoki said in a jokingly manner. She laughed at what he said and told him, “I’m not that good even with those odds. But I do know some guys that are. Kato, Yuya and Toma play really good. I always watch them play.” “Come with us. On the way, call your brother and have him and his friends meet us at the court,” Naoki suggested. As they walked to the basketball court, Riko elected to text her brother…Naoki would like you guys to meet him at the basketball courts for a pick-up game. Are you interested? ...Soon after she received a text back from Kato…Sure. We’ll be there soon. See ya… Naoki also left a message for Kohei…If you can, meet us at the court, that is, if you’re done early enough with your errand to play.
They reached the court and Riko sat down on a bench to observe. Naoki and Tegoshi laid their things beside her on the bench. She watched Naoki and Tegoshi play a game of one on one while they waited for her brother and his friends to show. She observed them in awe. They were the best players she had ever seen. She couldn’t take her eyes off of Naoki for some reason. As his muscles ripped in his arms with each move he made and the gracefulness in his moves, he weaved in and out and around Tegoshi full of energy making basket after basket. At last her brother and his two friends arrived at the court. They watched the final points of the game being played. “They’re really great players. Look at them go at each other, very intense,” said Yuya. “Yes,” Kato agreed. When the game had finished, Naoki had beaten his friend by five points.
Naoki went over to the bench, sat the ball down and picked up two towels. He threw one over to Tegoshi. They both wiped themselves down from the sweat. “Hey Naoki, great game you two played. How long have you guys been playing together?” Kato asked. “Since we first met in grade school, we’ve been on a lot of champion teams and even played on our schools’ teams. We know each other like books, even Kohei,” Naoki told him. “Wow! We have only played basically against each other, no teams,” said Yuya. “Yeah, we might not be worthy of playing up against you,” Toma said. “From what Riko tells me, you guys aren’t bad. Maybe we can teach each other a thing or two,” expressed Naoki throwing his towel back down on the bench, Tegoshi following his lead, and picked up the basketball. “You got it,” Kato said as they went onto the court.
The boys paired up against each other, Tegoshi against Toma while Naoki faced Kato. Yuya played for both sides. Naoki stated, “The rules are whoever gets to twenty-one first wins.” They all agreed and Yuya took the ball from Naoki’s hands. He then bounced the ball as hard as he could in the center of the court so that the ball would go high into the air. Naoki tipped it first. It went to Tegoshi. He took the ball down the court. Toma blocked any shot he might have had. He passed the ball to Naoki, who shot the ball almost immediately outside the three point range. It hit the backboard and in the hoop. It was 3-0. Toma in-bounded the ball to Kato, he took it down the court. He passed it to Yuya who took a shot and scored three points. The game was tied. They went back and forth along the court, shooting baskets and blocking each other’s shots. Riko couldn’t figure out whom to root for. She screamed with jubilation and clapped with each play and basket scored. With two points here and three points there, the score was tied once again at nineteen all. Whichever team scored the next basket would win the game. It was Naoki’s team ball since Kato made the last basket. Their playing was extreme. Kato covered Naoki close, same did Toma over Tegoshi. Naoki in-bounded the basketball past Kato to Tegoshi as he dribbled it down to a little over half court, he passed it to Yuya. Meanwhile, Naoki got into a closer position to the basket. Yuya showed no favoritism to either side and passed the ball quickly. Kato ran over to cover Yuya and with doing so left Naoki open. Yuya passed the ball through Kato’s legs to Naoki. Kato pivoted quickly to cover Naoki instead. With his hands up, Kato jumped into the air at the same time that Naoki took a three point shot. The ball flew past Kato’s stretched out arms, hands, and fingers. Then ball hit the backboard. Then it went around the rim several times before it went into the basket. Riko jumped up from the bench with excitement. She screamed, “That was so awesome Naoki!” He looked over at her. “Good game guys. That was a very strong game you all played,” Naoki told Toma, Yuya, and Kato as he shook hands with each of them. Tegoshi did the same and said, “Next time 3 on 3. It would have been better if Kohei had shown up. We ran Yuya ragged out there.” “I was fine with it. I had a lot of fun,” Yuya stated. “No problem with a game 3 on 3. Anytime you guys want, we’d love to play against you again,” Kato expressed for his group. They all laughed and walked from the court to Naoki’s car. He asked, “Kato and Riko, do you want a ride home. I have plenty of room.” Kato graciously accepted for them both and they said their goodbyes to Toma and Yuya as they headed back to their dorm room. Kato and Riko got into the back seat as Naoki drove away with Tegoshi beside him as always.
That night Kohei had come home at 9:00pm very exhausted and went into the kitchen to find something quick to eat. Riko just happened to be getting a drink in the kitchen at the same time. “Where were you? Naoki came by looking for you. He was surprised that you weren’t there today,” Riko scolded him and kept on talking, “I told him that you had to leave early to do something for your mother.” “Thanks again for everything. Hey are you busy doing anything Saturday? I would like you to go somewhere with me,” he asked hesitantly. “Sure, okay, what time on Saturday,” she asked. “I’ll let you know tomorrow. I am so tired right now. I’m going to sleep. See ya in the morning,” Kohei expressed with his eyes partially shut, with a stuffed mouth full of sushi, and walking out of the kitchen into the hallway. Riko followed him until she got to her room where Kato was still up studying for a test for class the next morning. She entered her room and sat down on the couch. She pulled out her phone and called Maki. The phone rang several times before Riko heard the familiar voice of her best girlfriend saying, “Hello.” “Hi, Maki, it’s Riko. How are you? ” “I’m good. How about you?” she asked. “I’m doing fine. How’s mom doing and the store?” asked Riko. “She is doing well and the store is fine too. We work hard but we both like it,” Maki said. “I have so much to tell you about. I don’t know where to begin,” stated Riko. Kato interrupted their phone conversation and said, “I can’t concentrate. I can’t get any studying done with you talking on the phone. I am going to take a shower.” Riko replied to him, “Good. I wanted to talk over some personal stuff with Maki anyway.” Riko focused the conversation back over to Maki on the phone. “Girl, let me tell you, life is crazy. One minute you hate someone and then the next minute you find him kissing you.” “What? Did I hear you right?” Maki asked. “Yes!” Riko stated. They both giggled. “Tell me more Riko. Who was it?” Maki inquired. Riko told her, “Kohei, the boy I live with. He kissed me the other night.” “You go girl. Is he your boyfriend now?” asked Maki. “No, we are just friends. He told me that it didn’t mean anything and that he was just caught up in the moment but I think it was a bit more,” Riko said. “Oh, really,” said Maki. “I wish you were here today. Kato, Yuya, and Toma played basketball with Naoki and Tegoshi. They are both Kohei’s friends and have classes together. The game was so exciting. I was cheering for both teams. Naoki’s team won in the end. Did I mention that Yuya played for both sides,” Riko told her excitedly. “It sounds like you are having a lot of fun there,” Maki suggested. “Not really, I spend a lot of time in class and doing homework. That’s not so fun. I wish you were here; it would definitely be fun then. Well, Kato just came out of the bathroom. I guess I will call you again later when we can talk without interruptions. Bye, Maki,” Riko said regretfully. “Bye,” Maki retorted. Riko pushed the phone closed to end the call, laid it on the table, and went into the bathroom herself. She took a shower and got ready for bed. She came out and climbed to the top bunk and said, “Kato, good game today. I really enjoyed watching it. Good night.” “Goodnight, sis, sweet dreams,” he told her.
Friday came and went uneventful. There was nothing to cover-up for Kohei. He didn’t go anywhere except for school. He left school and was at the apartment later that afternoon when Riko and Kato came home. They were all finally together for one evening. They all ate dinner and then watched a bit of television before going off into their bedrooms to do more homework and to sleep. Mrs. Ito was the first one to go to her room exhausted.
The next morning Kohei got up early and went over to Naoki’s house. He walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell. Naoki answered the door and him in. “What brings you over here so early in the morning?” asked Naoki. “I have a favor to ask,” stated Kohei. “Okay, what is it?” asked Naoki wondering. “Would you let me borrow your car again today? I have some things I need to do and I just can’t do them walking or taking public transportation,” Kohei told him. Naoki left the room leaving Kohei standing there close to the front door. Naoki had gone to his room and came back with the keys to his car. “Keep it as long as you need it, bro,” he said as he pitched the keys over to Kohei. He caught them in his right hand. “Thanks, this means a lot to me. You letting me use your car will help me out a lot today. I will bring it back as soon as I’m finished,” he said and headed out the door towards the car. Kohei unlocked the door, opened it, got in, and started the engine. He drove away from Naoki’s home.
Kohei drove back to the apartment and parked the car across the street in the parking lot. He then went upstairs to his apartment where his mother was cooking breakfast for all of them. She served the breakfast in the dining room. When they were finished, Riko helped to clear the table and washed the dishes for Mrs. Ito. Kato left shortly after for the bus stop to visit Yuya and Toma. Kohei walked over to Riko in the kitchen and asked, “Riko, will you accompany me today? I have some things to do today and I wanted you to join me.” “I told you I would. You never told me a time,” she told him. “Now, go get ready. I’ll meet you downstairs,” he said as she started to walk away to get ready. Kohei went downstairs and pulled the car around to the front door and waited in the car for Riko. When she came out she was a little surprised to see that Kohei had Naoki’s car. She opened the door, got in, and closed the door. As she put on her seatbelt, he started to drive away down the street.
“I have a couple of stops that I need to make on the way before I take you to where I wanted to take you. Will this be okay with you?” he asked her. “I don’t see why not. I don’t know what you have planned so how could I object,” she said. He drove for some time before he pulled the car over in front of a store building. He turned the engine off, popped the truck hatch open, and got out. “I’ll just be a few minutes. Wait right here,” he said before closing his door. She waited in the car for only a couple of minutes before she heard him put something in the back and then closed the trunk of the car. He got in again, buckled up, and started on his way. He stopped one again and did the same exact thing while she waited in the car. He came back, got in again, and they were on their way. This time when they stopped they were in a residential neighborhood. Riko looked out the window of the car, on one side were homes and apartments and on the other side was an empty play area for small children. It had swings, slides, and monkey bars. Behind the teeter-totter was a basketball court with benches all around it. Kohei got out of the car first and popped the trunk open. Riko got out as Kohei joined her. She saw that a bunch of boys were playing on the court as they were walking closer towards the area. They watched the boys play for a while from a little distance away from them before one boy shouted, “Hey, look guys, the coach is here and it looks like he brought his girl with him.” Riko looked at Kohei dumbfounded and said, “Are you their coach?” “Yeah, I am, for six months now. They are a great group of boys,” he said as they started walking closer to the court. Riko looked around and could see the court had had repairs made to it recently. The lines and hoops too were freshly painted and new nets were hung from the rims.
As the boys started to gather around them, twelve in all, they said in unison, “Hello, coach.” Then the same boy from earlier, Sakurai Kenichi, asked Kohei slyly, “Who is the girl coach, your girlfriend?” All the boys hymned together, “Oooooo.” He replied, “No, she’s just a very close friend. Hey guys go to that car over there with the trunk open and get the boxes out of it and bring them over here.” As the boys ran over to the car, two older guys approached Kohei and Riko. Riko recognized them. They were the ones from school. One of them spoke, “The court looks a whole lot better now. What do you think?” “Yes, it does,” Kohei replied as the boys brought the packages over to where they were standing. “Maru, open that one up,” Kohei told him as he pointed to one of the packages. Maru opened the box and as he did his eyes got bigger and bigger. With great surprise he said, “Look! New shoes, a whole bunch of pairs,” as he pulled out a pair of red, white, and black colored tennis shoes and held them up in the air above him. “Sho, open the one in front of you now,” Kohei instructed. Sho tore into his box of goodies with excitement. When he saw what his box contained, he took a step backwards and said, “Coach, are you for real?” The boys all went to look at what was inside the box. They started pulling out red, white, and black jerseys and shorts. On the front of all the shirts were the word “SPARKS” and a number. On the back of the jersey were each child’s name and the same number as on the front. They each found the top with their name on it and took a pair of shorts. There was only one box left and it wasn’t that small. “Ninomiya, open that last one please,” instructed Kohei. Ninomiya ripped open the outer box to find several smaller boxes inside. It was twelve new basketballs. “You each have a ball to practice with now,” Kohei told them. All twelve boys said at once, “Arigato (thanks), coach.” “I couldn’t have done it without the help of these three. These two guys helped me with the repairs to your court and she kept me out of trouble and on my toes,” he told the kids. “Kohei, we got to go. Hey kids, good luck,” said one of the older guys as the both left. Kohei told the team, “Put all your new things over to the side for now. Let’s show big sister, Riko, what we are made of. Come on!” They all ran onto the court and started shooting baskets at both ends of the court.
Riko watched them for hours as Kohei taught them new skills and plays, played with them a bit, and even refereed two games of twenty-one. Riko could see that he made a great coach and the boys loved him. “Time, game over,” yelled Kohei. “Aww!” sighed Ninomiya. “Besides, I’m worn out and I need to get big sister, Riko back home,” he told them. The boys all looked at him a little disappointed. “I’ll see you guys later. Keep practicing,” he told them as he walked off the court over to Riko sitting on the bench. She jumped up and they walked to the car. They got in and Kohei drove off as the boys watched them leave waving to them.
Riko looked over at Kohei driving. He saw her look at him and asked, “What?” “So, that’s why you needed the money. You paid for the repairs to the court and for those guys to do it. You also bought all those uniforms and shoes. And don’t let me forget the twelve basketballs too. Why did you do it?” she asked. “Because, I also wanted to give something back, I’ve always relied on my parents for anything and everything I’ve ever wanted. They always gave to me. I saw some of those boys trying to play one day on that court with no baskets and wanted to help. I started with a couple of boys teaching them some drills. I would show up randomly to see their progress and one thing lead to another and I became their coach,” he told her. “I’m very impressed. Thanks for finally sharing what your secret was with me,” she said.
He pulled the car over once again to the side of the road. He opened his door and got out. Bewildered, Riko followed. He escorted her into a restaurant to eat some lunch since it was late in the afternoon. When they were done eating, he took her back to the apartment and dropped her off before taking the car back to Naoki’s. He returned the car and told Naoki as he handed him back his keys, “Thanks again, man. Everything went great today.”
Lying on the desk in her room were the postings she took from the bulletin board for help for the Health and Sports Day Festival, Taiiku no hi. Riko had decided she wanted to help. She thought she would help with making and painting the booths that were needed for the events and games. She also wanted to help with advertisement signs. The festival was designated to take place on the second Monday in October.
On Monday, after her classes were over, she went to the Art Department of Meiji University to volunteer. Naoki and Kohei had already volunteered and were there building some of the booths. They were hammering nails into boards when Kohei looked up and yelled across the room to her, “Hey, Riko, are you here to help?” She walked over to them and said, “Yes. What can I start helping with?” “You can start by holding this board for Naoki while I get some more wood and nails,” suggested Kohei. Naoki looked up as Riko took over holding the boards for a brief second. She held the boards together as Naoki hammered them together making on corner of a stall. He then hammered another corner piece to what he had just put together making one whole standing booth. Then he cut out an opening in the solid piece of wood with a jig-saw and then sanded off the rough edges. Next, he nailed on a shelf supported inside and out. It was finally ready for painting.
Once Kohei came back with the boards and nails he said to her, “There’s your job now, paint the booths a beautiful color while I finish up with Naoki.” “Okay,” she said going over to the cabinet and picking up a paintbrush and a can of paint. She painted the entire booth and was proud of herself. She looked around and saw at least ten other booths ready to be painted and got started. Naoki and Kohei had completed a lot of stalls. They had all worked hard not realizing the time they had spent on painting and constructing the booths, it was well into the evening. Naoki suggested, “Let’s call it a night. We still have a couple of weeks to finish everything, so let’s not try to do all of it in one night.” They both laughed at what he had said and Kohei acknowledged, “Yeah, you’re right. We’ve done enough for one day, I guess.” “Why don’t I give you two a ride home?” Naoki suggested. They both accepted his ride. The three of them left the building and walked across the campus to Naoki’s car. They got in, Kohei up front and Riko sat in the back. Naoki started their journey home. He could see Riko in his rear-view mirror. As he drove, he took quick glimpse back at her. At one point during the ride, he watched her as she drifted off to sleep. He watched as she closed her eyes to the smoothness of his driving and said whispering to Kohei, “Riko is asleep. She worked very hard today.” “Yeah, I know. Let her sleep until we reach the apartment,” Kohei suggested. When they got to the apartment complex, Kohei got out of the car first and closed his door as quietly as he could. Then, he opened the back door where Riko was asleep to help her out. Meanwhile, Naoki was watching his every move non-chalantly in the mirror. He watched as Kohei gently stroked Riko’s face with his finger along her cheek. For some reason he felt a little jealous and envious. Riko opened her eyes, startled somewhat. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to be a bother. I must really be tired to have fallen asleep in your car Naoki,” she stated apologetically and sleepily. “It’s alright. You’re home now. Go up and get some rest. You worked hard today,” Naoki told her looking back at her smiling as she scooted out of the car. When she got out of the car, Kohei closed the door and then put his arm around her waist to help steady her as she walked into the building. Naoki watched them go through the outer security door before he drove away.
The rest of that week Riko didn’t see either boy volunteering. There were two weeks left before the festival would take place. There would be several more booths that needed painting and signs made to say what event it would be. Riko had completed painting another eleven booths that Naoki and Kohei had built. She had written the signs for each one too. She had to wait for more booths to be made, so she started writing up advertisement flyers to promote the festival. When she left the school that day everything that could be completed was done. She was once again pleased with herself and what she had accomplished. She was ready for the weekend.
Saturday morning Kato and Riko got up early to go back to Tama to visit their mother. Kato used Yuya’s car. Their drive didn’t seem to take long. As they pulled up next to the store, it was like they had never left for college. Everything came back naturally to them as they entered the store and got straight to work. It felt good to the both of them. They had missed it. Even though the work was hard, it was still somewhat relaxing from the hectic schedule of school and homework of college. Their mother came down from upstairs and was elated to see them and ran over to them. She grabbed both of them in her arms and gave them a big hug and said, “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming home?” “If we had, you wouldn’t so excited to see us,” said Kato. Later on Maki and Riko got caught up with all the gossip going on, especially what had been going on between her and Kohei and the big secret.
Riko and her mother took the truck to the garden Sunday morning while Kato and Maki were left to get the store ready to open for the day’s business. Kato told Maki, “Thanks for working with Mom. It means a lot to me knowing that you are here with her. I am not as worried leaving for college as much with you here.” “I like working here. Your mother is great to work for,” Maki replied as they both ended up straightening the same basket of cucumbers together. They both grabbed for a cucumber as their hands met on it. Kato removed his hand fast and just looked at Maki. He felt awkward for some reason and backed away. At that same moment, Riko came into the store carrying a basket of freshly cut produce from the garden. Kato ran over to his mother standing at the trucks bed pulling out the basket to bring inside and grabbed it from her hands. He pulled it the rest of the way out and carried it into the store. “Why didn’t you call me to help do this Mom? You go and relax a few more hours while we are here,” Kato told his mother. Maki came out to help bring in the baskets. As she passed Kato coming in as she was going out, they stared at one another until they had passed each other. The three of them quickly put out the new produce to sell. They were having fun. A few customers had come into the store and asked both Kato and Riko how they liked university life while they shopped for their vegetables. They would both say back, “I like it, but I do miss home.”
Dusk had approached Kato and Riko left for Meguro once again. They had brought back with them vegetables from their garden for Mrs. Ito. She loved it and thanked them tremendously. They both went into their bedroom, each taking a shower and putting on their pajamas for the night ready for bed. Kohei had just gotten home when Riko had finished in the bathroom after Kato. She heard him go into his bedroom from their hallway. She went to his room and knocked at the door. “Come in,” he said. Riko walked in. She looked at him all exhausted sitting on the chair in his room and said, “It looks like you had a hard day with your team. You look worn out.” “Yeah, I think I over did it a bit? I’m not as young as I used to be,” said Kohei. A small laugh came from the both of them. “It’s nothing that a little sleep won’t cure. You and Kato went back to Tama this weekend, didn’t you? How was it?” he asked changing the subject. “It was great. My Mother and Maki are doing great.” She said and paused briefly and asked, “I had finished painting all the booths you and Naoki had made. I also completed some of the advertisement signs. Will you guys be there tomorrow?” “Yes, we will probably finish all the carpentry work tomorrow,” he stated.
Monday afternoon came, Riko found both boys hard at work building the booths. They had completed all but a few booths before she had arrived. She got started on painting them as the boys kept on building them. They worked until 8:00pm. Once again Naoki took them home. “I can’t believe in another week all of our hard work will be displayed,” Riko announced as they were exiting the car. “Time flies when you’re having fun,” Naoki stated. “See you tomorrow,” Kohei said to his friend as Naoki waved to the both of them and drove away.
The day had started off partially sunny when Riko left for the university. She did not pack an umbrella in her backpack. By 10:00am, it was overcast and had started to rain. Riko had gone to class with Toma and afterwards they went to the library to study. Riko stayed for only an hour before she packed up her stuff, put her backpack across her shoulders, and left leaving to work on painting the booths in the Art Department. When she left the library, the rain had gotten heavier and the winds had picked up a bit. She put her hoodie over her head and ran from the library to the Art building. When she got there her hoodie was wet so she took it off and hung it across a chair to dry and then sat her backpack down beside it on the floor. Kohei and Naoki were leaving for the day. “Don’t stay to long. The weather doesn’t look to good out there,” stated Kohei. “I don’t plan on staying very long,” she said back to him. “See you at home then,” said Kohei as he left the room in front of Naoki. Naoki just looked back at her as he walked out the door. There were a couple of other students in the room but they all left soon after she had arrived leaving her all alone in the Art Department.
It was now 5:00pm and Riko was still painting. The time had slipped away. A brief time later she heard the loud roar of thunder. The winds had gotten stronger. The windows in the room rattled with each gust of wind. The rain poured down pounding on the glass of the windows. Riko thought to herself…the rainstorm has intensified in such a short period of time… I should leave before it gets worse out there... I’ll just finish the booth I am painting and then leave… it’s just a heavy rain storm…I’ve seen the same kind many times in Tama… nothing to get overly worried about…The winds started to blow even harder. She stopped painting and walked over to a window and looked out. She saw how violent the storm had become. The clouds had darkened up and looked fierce moving around in the sky. She watched the storm for awhile. The nearby trees swayed back and forth as if they were doing a hula dance. There were loose objects flying through the air. She finally stopped watching the weather from the window and got back to work. She wanted to complete the painting of the booth she was working on before she left. The lights flickered, off and on, a few times but she didn’t think anything of it.
She kept painting wanting to finish what she had started before she left. She heard the sounds of emergency vehicle sirens off in the distance. The winds and rain kept hitting at the windows harder and harder. The thunder was getting louder and louder. Lightning bolts streaked through the sky. A large clap of thunder rolled through the sky as the building shook from a huge gust of wind. A few minutes later, a huge number of sirens raced through the air letting known that help was on the way to an emergency related to the storm. Riko started to get frightened. She looked around at the empty room and decided to pack up the supplies. She went to put the paint away in the storage cabinet. She opened the cabinet and put the paint back onto one of the shelves and closed to door. Then, she took the brush over to the sink to wash the paint out. She turned on the water and was in the mist of getting all of the paint out of it when the lights went out but immediately came back on. It was too good to last, a massive lightning bolt darted frantically across the sky with a tremendous amount of light as the lights went off for good in the building and across the entire campus.
Riko was all alone and now in the dark at the back of the classroom. Scared, she pulled out her cell phone from her pants pocket and called her brother. A recording came on stating that the service was temporarily disconnected. So she relied on the light from her phone to guide her through the pitch black darkness to the front of the room. She put her phone open on the desk as she put her dried hoodie back on and picked up her phone, closed it, and put it back into her pocket. She then picked up her backpack, swung it over her left shoulder and left the room. She walked slowly down the hallway and down to the main entrance.
She had no umbrella with her, but with the high intensity of the winds it would have upturned as soon as she stepped out the door. She only had her hoodie to cover herself from the rain and winds. She stood just inside the entrance doorway and watched the storm pulling the hood of her hoodie over her head and placed her backpack across both of her shoulders. The sky had darkened to an ominous purplish-black hue that she could only see with the lightning flashes. Looking out over the field in front of her in desperation, she darted out from the doorway into the downpour. Lightning streaked across the sky and the thunder rolled. The rain poured down heavily. The trees swayed violently bending over almost touching the ground. The clouds were low to the ground. The winds whipped around taking anything that wasn’t anchored down and flung it through the air. From the light during lightning strikes, she could see the rain coming down in sheets sweeping across the field. The thunder crackled and roared fiercely as she made her way across the campus to the bus stop. The rain hit her like sharp pins and needles. She ran as fast as she possibly could. By the time she reached the cover of the bus stop, she was drenched from head to toe. She pulled out her phone again to see the time. It was 7:30pm. She looked over at the schedule printed on a sign that danced around feverishly from the winds. The next bus due was to come at 8:15pm. Riko thought…would it be on time or even coming in this weather. She stood as close as she could to one of the back corners of the plexiglass enclosure trying to shield herself from the storms fury but the rain and winds still reached her. She stood shivering in her cold wet clothing waiting for a bus. Her clothes were so saturated from the rain that the water seemed to be flowing from her. There were puddles around her feet when she looked down.
She hadn’t waited long before a bus pulled up in front of her. The driver could barely open the door from the force of the winds. She hurried aboard as he quickly closed the doors behind her. She stood in the aisle and looked around inside the bus. There were only three passengers on the bus, a young mother with her toddler and a teenage boy. She took a seat a few rows back from the driver. She pulled off her backpack and sat it down beside her on the seat. She was so cold and very wet, sitting in a puddle of water coming from her clothing. She thought…I am on my way home… out of the pouring rain and blustery winds… at least until I get to my stop…all I want to do is take a warm bath. She sat back in her seat and watched the driver battle his way through the storm up and down streets.
As Riko sat in the bus, she watched the driver try to keep the bus on the left side of the road. She looked back at the mother holding her child close to her and smiled. There was no response back to her from them. The winds rocked the fame of the bus from side to side on its wheels. The rain had come down so fast that the windshield wipers were of little use. They were pumping at full speed trying to keep enough water off the glass to see through. The wind rumbled and moaned all around the bus. This storm wasn’t the usual heavy rain storm that she was used to in Tama; it was a storm unlike anything else she had ever witnessed before. Things flew through the air hitting the bus and then being blown away. The streets were filled with debris from the wrath of the storm.
The driver turned on the radio to see if there was an update on the storm. It was tuned into a 24-hour news station. The weatherman talked about the storm and called it a Typhoon. Nippon was under a major storm warning with torrential rains with violent and severe winds. Riko tried to listen to what was being said but the rain hitting the glass of the bus and the roar of thunder made it practically impossible to do so. The driver also gave up on the broadcast and turned the radio off to concentrate on his driving. There were four other lives that were depending on him to drive them to their destinations safely.
The rain never let up. It kept getting heavier and heavier. The raindrops seemed to have gotten bigger and came down with more force as time passed. The winds had gotten stronger with each gust. Finally, the winds were so forceful that they whipped up under the bus and lifted the tires from the road. The mother screamed in terror sitting in the back of the bus. It was like being on a rollercoaster ride going up and down and being thrown from side to side. Riko held onto her seat as tight as she could. The mother still screaming holding her young, terrified, crying, child in her arms securely with his face buried in her chest for even further comfort. The teen sat there almost oblivious to his surroundings. He had headphones on listening to his iPod. The bus landed back down on the road. Just as it did, an uprooted tree flew through the air and struck the drivers’ side of the bus breaking the windshield and hitting the driver. He was knocked unconscious as his upper body slouched over hitting the steering wheel causing the horn to blare. The mother panicked and cried out even louder than before. The bus instantaneously went out of control colliding with the vehicles sitting along the sides of the street. Sparks flew from the buses sides as the two metals scraped together. Riko instinctively jumped up, went forward and pulled the driver back into his seat and grabbed the steering wheel. She tried to get the bus under control. The mother and child were both screaming frantically and crying at the same time while the boy started to panic and was now fully aware of what was happening. She could barely see out of the shattered windshield with the downpour of rain coming through and part of the tree still attached to the front of the bus. The bus hydroplaned on the road. Riko had no control of the gas pedal because of the drivers’ body. She tried her best to keep the bus on the road and away from other vehicles but the gale force winds kept pushing the bus from side to side on the road. The bus skidded and collided into the parked cars once again. The metal crumbled and clashed with each hit. The screams of the three passengers were over powered by the sounds of screeching and scraping of metal. Sparks flew into the air. Windows shattered and cars buckled from the sheer force of the impact. The bus was completely out of control and barreling down the street. Riko tried very hard to keep her composure and not make matters worse by panicking herself. She couldn’t make out the road in front of her. The bus repeatedly hydroplaned from the heavy rains and gusting winds and slid further out of control, off the street, and into a river. The bus came to an abrupt halt, throwing the passengers forward in their seats, with its’ front submerged in the mud and water of the river. The icy water quickly filled the front end of the bus. They were trapped inside the flooding bus.
Riko tried by herself to move the injured driver from his seat, but she couldn’t; she didn’t have enough strength. She yelled at the boy for help, “You, come here! I need your help to move him. I can’t do it alone. If he is not dead already, he will die for sure where he sits then.” The teen came up beside her and asked apprehensively, “What do you want me to do?” “I want to move him from this seat and get him out of the water coming in. Help me pull him to the back of the bus where is it safer,” she instructed him. They both pulled and tugged at the large man until he was at the back of the bus lying in the aisle. The right side of his face had been slashed by the broken glass and tree. The gash ran from his hairline, across his eye, and stopped just above his upper lip. Riko didn’t know how badly he was injured but knew she had to do more for him. She pulled off her hoodie and wrung the water out of it as much as she possibly could. She then placed it under his head for support. “Now, I need something to stop the bleeding,” she cried out to the others. The little boy’s mother reached into one of her bags she had been carrying and pulled out a shirt of her sons and handed it to Riko and said, “Will this do?” Riko took it from her hand and placed it over the severe cut across his face. As she applied pressure to the wound, the man groaned letting her know that he was still alive but unconscious. The water was rising inside the bus as the rain and winds calmed down tremendously. She knew that they were in the eye of the storm and didn’t have long before the bus would be completely filled with water. The river rose rapidly around the bus and over its own banks. The bus rocked and swayed from the force of the raging waters fury.
Riko had the boy take over applying pressure to the drivers wound while she went back up to the front of the bus. She tried to open the doors with the handle but they wouldn’t budge. The water at her feet was very cold. She tried again to open the doors with her own strength but nothing happened. The doors were blocked shut by the earth. She didn’t know what else to do, so as not to panic the others she went back to take care of the driver and didn’t say anything.
Kato was caught at school during the Typhoon. He had decided to wait it out at the dorm with Yuya and Toma. He wondered about his sister. He tried to call her on her cell phone but the operator came on the line and said…all circuits are busy, please try your call at a later time. He thought…I can’t reach her by cell phone…what should I do…Call the apartment. He decided to call the Ito residence to check on Riko and to let her know that he was safe at the dorm. His phone started to ring. On the third ring he heard a deep voice say, “Hello.” Kohei answered. “Hey, Kohei, it’s Kato. Is Riko there with you? I can’t seem to reach her on her cell phone and I got this strange feeling that I just can’t shake. We’ve always been able to since when something is wrong with each other,” inquired Kato. “No, she’s not here. The last time I saw her today, she was going into the Art Department to paint some booths. But, that was earlier this afternoon around 3:00pm. It’s almost 9:30pm now. Maybe she’s waiting the storm out with Toma somewhere,” suggested Kohei to try to clam Kato down a bit. “No, he is here with me in the dorm,” he said disheartened wondering where she was now. “Well, maybe she stayed in the Art Department since the storm gotten so bad. Do you think she would have left the university on her own?” asked Kohei. “I sure hope she didn’t. It is so dangerous out there and it’s such an awful storm,” declared Kato. “Why don’t you check around there on campus? I will check from here to the bus stop. Don’t worry, Kato, we’ll find her,” Kohei said trying to reassure Kato along with himself.
After Kohei got off the phone with Kato, he called Naoki at his home. Naoki picked up the telephone and said, “Hello.” “Naoki, Kato is looking for Riko. It seems that she is missing. He is looking for her on campus and I have started to look for her around here. I am going to make my way to the bus stop,” he told his friend. Worried about Riko, Naoki said, “Tegoshi is here with me. We’ll search in my car from the bus stop to school and see if we can find her. It seems like we are in the eye of the storm so now would be the best time to search for her. We won’t have long, so we need to work fast to find her. Call me if you find her and I’ll do the same.”
Back at the campus, Kato and Toma searched the Meiji University campus, inside and out. They went looking for her in her classrooms, the library, the cafeteria, the gym, and all of the art rooms. Kato even searched places he knew she wouldn’t be. He ran all over the campus looking for her and all he got for his efforts were water logged tennis shoes and drenched pants up to the knees. Yuya had stayed behind in the dorm just in case she happened to show up there. Kato and Toma ended up back at the dorm with still no sign of Riko. There was no call from Kohei on her whereabouts either. They all three went out to comb the campus one more time for her.
Meanwhile, Kohei rummaged around the apartment looking for her. He checked both elevators and the lobby before going outside to look along the path to the bus stop. He ran into all the different shops and restaurants on both sides of the street to see if she just happened to go inside one of them to get away from the storm. He didn’t have any luck in finding her either from his home to the bus stop where she should’ve gotten off. At the same time, Naoki drove his car towards the school. Tegoshi looked all around from the cars side window in search of Riko. He didn’t see her anywhere along the way. They had reached the campus’ parking lot without any news from Kohei.
Kato, Toma, and Yuya had just come from inside the dorm to look again for her on campus when Naoki pulled up next to them in his car. “Have you found her yet?” asked Naoki. “No, not yet but I know something is seriously wrong. I got this feeling,” Kato said anxiously. “Keep in touch. We’ll go back and see if Kohei found her along the way to the bus stop and we’ll search as we drive back along the route too,” Naoki stated trying to be optimistic and not letting Kato know that he was worried also. Naoki and Tegoshi left, going back towards the apartment building leaving the three boys to go over the campus again.
As Naoki drove along the bus’ route, the rain began to fall again. Naoki kept his eyes on the wet pavement of the road driving carefully and somewhat slowly. Tegoshi kept a look-out for Riko. Naoki had to navigate his way around the debris of branches and other objects that had been tossed into the road by the winds. He hoped that someone would call and say that they had found her before they got back to the apartment building.
At one point in their journey back to the apartment, Naoki saw bits of shining glass shards reflecting from the beam of light of his headlights on the car. There was a big uprooted tree that he maneuvered around lying halfway in the street. Further down the street, a bunch of cars beside the roadside had been heavily damaged, by the looks of it by another vehicle. They both saw the devastation on both sides of the street from the cars headlights. The cars beside the road were struck by something enormous in size. Naoki drove down the street. They were amazed at the damage that had been done to the cars. Some cars had huge dents in them and others were almost folded in half while others had their whole side smashed and torn off. As he kept driving he turned at the curve in the road but something caught his eye. It was one small, dull, red light just at the edge of the horizon of the embankment to the river down below. Naoki got an eerie feeling that made him think he needed to check out what the light was.
After he had made the turn in his car, he stopped in the middle of the street and put his car into reverse. He pulled back to the middle of the curve and stopped at the side of the road and parked. He jumped out of his car quickly with Tegoshi close pursuit. There were rut marks in the wet soil going towards the river. As they got closer to the light, Naoki recognized the back taillight of a bus. They could see that it was submerged and twisted in the rivers’ frenzied waters. Naoki ran back up to his car and popped open the trunk. He pulled out of his emergency road kit flares and reflectors. He set up two smoking flares and three reflective triangles on the road behind his car in a row. Then he went back to his car and reached inside and pulled out a rope, a flashlight, a crowbar, and a blanket. He rushed back over to where Tegoshi was standing at the back of the bus with his equipment; the back of it was just barely in the water at this time while the front was under by about a meter (four feet) of water.
The rain was coming down at a heavy pace once again. The winds had established their forcefulness once again. It howled and lightning started to burst across the sky. When Naoki reached the bus he took the crowbar and tapped it on the back of the bus to get anyone’s attention inside. Riko heard the knocks at the back of the bus. She hopped up from the aisle and looked out the right side window. She could make out a figure standing just outside. She whacked with clinched fists on the buses window with excitement knowing that there was someone there to help rescue them. Naoki heard bangs coming from inside the bus and shown the beam of light from the flashlight in the direction of where the sound of the dull thuds were coming from. He was shocked at what he saw in the light. Riko was desperately pounding on a blood-stained window. His heart skipped a beat at the sight. Riko was in grave danger. · close
Yuya and Toma shared a room together in a dorm on the campus of Meiji University. However, Kato and Riko needed to look for a place close to the campus since they could not afford to live on campus. The four of them went to the Meiji campus for a day trip in Yuya’s car to check out the dorm. Toma and Yuya had brought some of their belongings to put into their new living quarters. While outside the dorm building, Kato was looking at one of the many bulletin boards covered in stuf...
Yuya and Toma shared a room together in a dorm on the campus of Meiji University. However, Kato and Riko needed to look for a place close to the campus since they could not afford to live on campus. The four of them went to the Meiji campus for a day trip in Yuya’s car to check out the dorm. Toma and Yuya had brought some of their belongings to put into their new living quarters. While outside the dorm building, Kato was looking at one of the many bulletin boards covered in stuff about signing up for different clubs, sports, festivals, and such when he came across an ad that read…
Room for rent. Meals provided. In nice neighborhood. Contact: Itok94@hotmail.com for more information.
He pulled the ad from the bulletin board and shoved it into the front pocket of his jeans.
They all went into the dorm building for undergraduates. They continued up two flights of stairs, walked down the hallway to room 310. Toma opened the door with a key. The room was rectangular in shape. On each side of the center window was a bed, desk and chair, and a closet. To the left of the door was a small bathroom and to the right was a line of shelves for books and things. The room seemed small but nice. The boys left to get the items that they had brought with them. It took them two trips to bring the little bit of things that they brought with them into the room. They brought a box of books, two computers, a printer, two lamps, bed linens, and their suitcases full of clothing. Kato set up the computers and printer while Yuya and Toma put away their clothes in the closet. Riko put the books on the shelves and made the two beds. “Now, it looks lived in,” she said with a smile on her face. They all left out of the room. Toma locked the room up. They went to get some food for lunch. They ate soba at a restaurant close to the school. “This place is good. We need to keep it in mind so that we can come again,” said Yuya. “It is very inexpensive, also,” Kato added. They all laughed. When they had all finished, Toma paid for the lunch. They went back to Yuya’s car and he drove them back to Tama. They arrived at the store and Riko and Kato got out of the car. Then Yuya took Toma on home. At the store, Maki was excited to hear all about their little trip. Riko took over for her mother while she told Maki what the campus looked like, the dorm room and about the restaurant they had went to. “I brought you back something,” Riko said giving Maki a bag, “It is soba, your favorite. I couldn't eat any knowing you didn’t have any, so I ordered you some and brought it back for you to eat.” “Thank you,” she said as she opened the bag, then the container, and ate happily.
Meanwhile, Kato went upstairs to his room to get on the internet. He logged in and went under his e-mail screen. He typed in the receiving column for the e-mail …Itok94@hotmail.com…then scrolled down to type his message…I saw your ad for a room for rent. If it is still available, I would like to come by and see the room, where it is located, and discuss things over with you. Sincerely, Kato Mori… He pushed the send button and a second later on the screen a message popped up…Mail Sent.
He waited for a reply. Almost instantly he got a reply from Itok94. He opened up the e-mail and read to himself…
Please come by tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. to see the room for rent. We will discuss other matters when you arrive.
Address: Windsor Choja-maru
9481 Kamiosaki, Shinagawa-Ku, Tokyo
Kato sent another message back…6:00p.m., tomorrow is fine.
The next morning Kato told Riko and his mother that he might have found a place to stay. “I have an appointment to see a room tonight in Shinagawa-Ku, Tokyo, at 6:00p.m. Let’s hope that it will work out. They wanted to talk about details when I went to look at the place. All I know is what is on this card. I got it from the bulletin board at Meiji University,” Kato told them and handed the card over to let them read it.
Riko dressed in a blue skirt and a white and blue striped shirt. She pulled her hair back to one side with a clip. Kato put on black slacks and a white dress shirt. He debated on whether to put on a black tie and then decided he would. When they were ready, they walked out of their rooms and looked at each other. “Wow! Is that you Kato? You look so nice,” Riko exclaimed. “You look pretty too, Riko. Let’s make a good impression,” he told her as she agreed nodding her head. They went downstairs and said goodbye to their mother and Maki before exiting.
They got into the truck and Kato drove towards Shinagawa. As they got closer to their destination, he asked, “Are you hungry, Riko?” She answered, “A little bit.” “Okay, what would you like to eat,” he inquired. “Ramen,” she suggested. “Alright, ramen it is,” he responded. He pulled into the parking lot of a small ramen shop. They went inside and sat at a table. A waitress came over to them and asked, “What would you like to order?” Kato responded, “Two bowls of ramen and water, please.” She went away for a few minutes, came back with their order, and placed it on the table in front of them. They ate and left the money for the meal on the table and departed. They reached their final target. The address was for an apartment building. Kato parked the truck across the street from the structure. While still in the parked truck, they looked around at the neighborhood. It looked like a very nice area to live in. They proceeded to the building and buzzed up to the Ito residence to unlock the master door. Someone pushed a button from upstairs to unlock the buildings’ door. They walked inside the lobby, over to an elevator. The door opened and they stepped inside the elevator and pushed the button with the nine on it to go up to the ninth floor. During the ride up Riko implied, “I don’t think we can afford this place. It looks too expensive.” “Since we are here, we should go ahead and look at the place. Besides, I am curious to see what it looks like inside the apartment now, especially if the outside looks this good,” divulged Kato. The ride came to a stop and they heard a dong. They got out and started down the hall and stopped in front of the door with the address of 9481. Kato pushed the doorbell button. A woman opened the door and greeted them. Kato said, “Hello, I, I mean we, are here to see the room for rent.” “Hello, come on in. I am Rei Ito and this is my son Kohei,” she told them. They both bowed slightly to greet the Ito’s with a respectful hello then Kato said, “I am Kato and this is my sister, Riko.” Mrs. Ito asked, “So who would like to rent the room, you or your sister?” Kato responded, “Well it would actually be for the both of us, if possible. We are both new students going to Meiji University and we need a place to stay, would there be a problem for both of us to rent the room?” “Oh, I see. No problem, no problem at all. Let me show you both around the apartment before I take you to see the room for rent which includes its’ own private bathroom. I was thinking of renting it for $30,000 yen a month. That would also include meals,” she told them. They entered, took off their shoes at the door, and she took them down the hallway and showed them the small bathroom to the right of the hall and then turned left down another hallway. “This is the kitchen. Next are the dining room and the living room areas. Over there in the corner is a balcony and this door here also leads into Kohei’s bedroom, he comes out here to play his game systems,” Mrs. Ito stated walking back towards the way they came in and said, “Now, let’s go back around to the hallway.” They all followed behind her. As she made her way to the back hallway and said, “To the right is the room I want to rent and down this small hallway is our bathroom to the left and on the right the first door is my bedroom and then Kohei’s bedroom again. Here is the room.” Mrs. Ito opened the door as Riko smiled at Kato and they entered to take a look at the room finally. Kato gave Riko a reassuring look. “Can we think it over for a couple of minutes Mrs. Ito,” asked Kato. “Why sure. We will leave you alone to discuss it a little between yourselves,” Mrs. Ito said as she and Kohei went back to the living room to wait for their decision.
Only a few minutes passed as Kato led his smiling sister back to the living room to where they were waiting for an answer. Mrs. Ito got up from the chair she was sitting in and with an anxious look on her face and asked, “How do you like it. If it is too much money, I will take off $5,000 yen. I like the both of you.” “We would love to rent your room and we will pay the original price as agreed upon,” Kato affirmed Riko’s expression on her face. “That’s great! Kohei give them the extra keys. You can move in anytime. Also, I’ll have another set made that way each of you have a set,” Mrs. Ito suggested. How much deposit would you like? I can go to the nearest ATM (automatic teller machine) and get whatever you would like,” asked Kato. “First and last month’s rent will be fine, she stated.
Kato left Riko with the Ito family while he went to make the withdrawal. As they waited for his return, Mrs. Ito started up a conversation with Riko while Kohei sat and listened to them quietly. She asked, “What will you be majoring in?” “Both Kato and I are Business majors,” Riko replied. “Really, so are Kohei and his friends. You’ll meet them soon. I’m sure. They’re over here a lot,” Mrs. Ito told her. “May I ask why you are renting out a room in your home,” Riko wondered. “It’s not that I need the money or anything like that. It’s just that Kohei’s father and I are divorced and have been for a couple of years now. I just thought since I have an extra room here maybe we could help a student, well two, out and it would give me some company when Kohei isn’t around,” she answered Riko back and then asked, “What about your family?” “Kato and I are twins. He’s older though. We have lived in Tama all our lives. My family owns a small produce store and farm there. My mother runs it with the help of my best-friend now…my fa…my father passed away not long ago,” she told her. “Oh, I am sorry to hear that,” Mrs. Ito said as their conversation ceased and Kohei looked over at Riko in a thoughtful puzzled way. Kato returned and handed Mrs. Ito the money and stated, “Thank you for letting us both rent the room. Can we move our things in this weekend? That way it gives us a week to get familiar with our new surroundings.” “Sure, that will be fine. If you need help moving in, Kohei and his friends can help you,” Mrs.Ito suggested. “That’s okay, we can manage. We don’t have much to bring,” Kato said.
Three days had passed and today was the day they would be moving into the Ito household. Yuya, Toma, and Kato put the large furniture in the trucks’ bed while Riko and Maki carried the lighter things and put them into the back end of the truck. Yuya and Toma got into Yuya’s car and waited for Riko and Kato to say their goodbyes. Kato and Riko went back into the store once the truck was all loaded. Kato gave his mother a hug and a kiss and then gave Maki a hug too, surprisingly to her. At the same time, Riko gave her best friend a hug and told her, “I’ll call you when I get a chance.” Then she walked over to her mother and gave her a hug and a kiss and said, “Don’t over work yourself, Mom. I love you.” She let go of her embrace with her mother. The twins walked towards the fully loaded truck and Riko told Kato, “I forgot something, I’ll be right back.” She ran through the store and up the stairs as her mother and Maki watched. She came back down the stairs just as fast as she had went up them carrying a box in her hands. She yells, “Bye, we’ll be back soon to visit and help out.” Out the door she went and got into the passenger side of the truck placing the box between her and Kato.
Kato started out and Yuya followed closely behind him in his car. After a little over an hour, they reached their destination. Kato pulled up in front of the building while Yuya went to park his car in the parking lot across the street. They started by carrying in the bunk bed frame. Riko held open the buildings’ door while they brought in the frame through it. She hurriedly ran past them again to the freight elevator and pressed the up button to go up. The doors swung open. The boys put the frame in and then went to get the mattresses for it as Riko stood in front of the doors so that they wouldn’t move. Kato and Yuya got the mattresses and brought them in while Toma held the front door open for them. As he was holding the door, he saw a large rock in the flower bed just outside the door. He stretched as far as he could reach while holding the door in one hand and picked it up and used it to prop open the door. Then he and Yuya got the small couch and carried it into the elevator and sat it down. Next, Kato brought in the table while Toma got the lamps and the bed linens and brought them to the elevator. Kato and Yuya carried in a bookshelf while Toma carried in the desk chair. Next, Toma and Yuya went for the desk from Kato’s room. The remaining things were little and not very heavy; two suitcases full of clothing and the box Riko had put in the front seat of the truck. Riko went out to get these items while the boys went on up to unload all the stuff from the elevator and into the Ito dwelling. She got to the truck and took out the two suitcases, one in each hand. She then went to the front cab of the truck and got the box out. She tucked the box under her arm with a suitcase underneath as she rolled it and carried the other one. She got up to the front door and a hand reached in front of her and opened the door with a key. She looked around. It was a young gentleman about her age. “Thank you,” she said to him. He asked, “Can I help you with those?” He reached for the suitcases and then took them from her hands without an answer only leaving her to carry her sacred possessions in the box. “Oh, thank you again. Do you live here too,” she inquired. “No, I am visiting a friend,” he told her. They got onto the elevator. Riko pushed the nine button on the panel but the guy didn‘t push any number. When it reached the ninth floor the doors opened, they both stepped off, and they began to walk the same way down the hall together. “Oh, I didn’t mean to bother you,” she stated as he still had the suitcases in his hands. “It’s no bother. I was coming to the ninth floor anyway,” he told her. They got in front of 9481 as she fumbled around to find her keys, he reached into his pocket and got a key out and put it into the door as Riko just looked at him in amazement. He asked “Are you living here?” “Yes, my brother and I are living here with Mrs. Ito and her son, Kohei,” she told him. He was astonished and said, “Wow, really. Kohei is one of my closest and best friends. My name is Naoki. What’s yours?” “My name, mine is Riko,” she stated. They smiled at each other with a hint of knowing each other already. They walked inside the apartment and to the bedroom to where Yuya, Toma, and Kato were working hard. They had almost had everything set up. Riko stated, “The room looks nice. Hey guys, this is Naoki. He is friends with Kohei. Naoki, this is Toma, Yuya, and my twin brother, Kato,” as they stopped working and she introduced them. They all nodded at each other and said, “Hello.” She put her box down on the small table and took the suitcases from Naoki’s hands. He asked politely, “Do you need any help?” Kato said, “We got it. We’re almost finished here, but thanks for the offer though.” “Well, it doesn’t look like Kohei is home. I guess I will see you all around. I’ll leave first,” he told them as he started to walk away. Riko followed and stopped him and said, “I’ll tell Kohei you came by to see him when he comes home.” “I’ll just give him a call later,” he told her as he walked out the front door. Since all the furniture was put where Riko had wanted it, Yuya and Toma were leaving for their dorm room when Yuya said, “I’ll come by tomorrow to help take the truck back to your mother Kato. Toma and Riko can spend the some time together exploring the area and the campus.” Yuya and Toma left them putting away their clothes into the closets. The last thing Riko put away in her closet was her special box. She sat it on the top shelf in the back right corner. They both heard a female voice coming from the entry way, “Hello, anyone home?”
It was Mrs. Ito. They left their room to greet her. She was setting the dining room table for dinner. She only put out three plates on the table. “I hope you don’t mind Hiyashi rice. I picked it up on my way home from the Ariake Dinner,” she told them as they sat down beside each other. “Shouldn’t we wait for Kohei to come and eat,” inquired Riko. “No, he called me and said he would be at Naoki’s house tonight and will eat there. They have been friends since they started school together. Tegoshi is another one of his close friends. You’ll meet them soon, I’m sure. They are both here all the time,” mentioned Mrs. Ito as the twins looked at each other perplexed since they knew that Naoki had just left the premises a short time ago. Riko thought...Maybe they just crossed paths… was he waiting for Naoki at his house.
The next day, Yuya and Toma came over just after Mrs. Ito had left for work and Kohei was nowhere to be found. Kato and Yuya went back to Tama to deliver the truck back to his mother as Riko and Toma walked around the neighborhood. They walked around Ebisu Station for the better half of the day. “Are you hungry? Let’s go in here,” he suggested to Riko. They went in and sat down at a table. A waiter came over to take their order and asked, “What would you like? Today’s special is Red Curry Rice.” The voice sounded familiar to Riko as she looked up from the menu. It was Kohei. He acted like he didn’t know her. He took their order and gave it to the chef. He came back a few minutes later with their order and sat it on the table in front of them. They ate and Toma paid the cashier after which they walked out. Riko said, “Toma, I am a little tired, let’s go back to the apartment building.” They headed back. When they got there, Kato and Yuya had already returned. Kato had brought some vegetables back for Mrs. Ito from his mother. “Maki said to tell you to call her,” Kato told his sister as she acknowledged him.
It was late afternoon, around 5:00pm when Kato went out with Yuya and Toma leaving her at the apartment alone. She was in the kitchen washing and cutting the vegetables that Kato had brought when she heard the front door open. She looked around behind her and saw Kohei walking past the kitchen entrance as he went through the living room into his room without saying a word. He lied down on his bed exhausted from his day at work. After she was done putting the vegetables away in the refrigerator, she went to her room to relax and saw Kohei’s door open. She knocked standing just outside the door. He didn’t say anything so she looked inside the room and could see Kohei on the bed fast asleep in the clothes he had been working in. She went into her room and got her throw blanket from the back of her couch and took it back to Kohei’s room and covered him with it. Now, he looked peaceful and not mean as earlier.
Riko was in her bedroom reading a Potato Magazine of her favorite singers/actors when a knock was rapped at her door. “Come in,” she said. It was Kohei returning the blanket. He put it on the bottom bed of the bunks. “Thank you, Riko. About today, I would appreciate it if you didn’t tell anyone that you saw me working there,” asked Kohei. “Okay, is that where you were when we moved in yesterday? Your mother thought you were at Naoki’s but he stopped by here to see you,” she replied. “Yes, I just don’t want anyone to know I am working, I just need some money really fast. So could you please not tell anyone,” he told her troubled about her knowing his secret as he walked out of her room and back into his. He closed the door hard making a loud noise. For the next couple of days, Riko had not seen Kohei enter or leave the apartment but she knew he had been there because there were dishes in the sink and his laundry had piled up.
Today was the first day Riko and Kato were actually college students. She received a phone call from Maki. She told her, “Have a great first day at Meiji University. Don’t worry about us here. Your mother is doing well and we are taking good care of the store and garden.” They had just begun their conversation when Kato yelled, “We need to get going or we’ll miss the bus. You wouldn’t want to be late on your first day would you?” The girls said their goodbyes to each other as Riko was walking hastily to the bus stop with Kato. They got on the bus, paid the fee, and sat beside each other. The bus pulled up close to the campus. Waiting for them at the bus stop were Yuya and Toma. “It’s about time you guys got here. Classes are going to start any minute,” stated Yuya. “I know, but you know how it is when Maki and Riko get on the phone,” said Kato. “That explains it,” said Toma. Yuya and Kato were off towards their first class of the day while Toma took Riko’s hand and started going in the opposite direction. They were hurrying to class when Riko spotted Kohei with two other guys walking across the campus grounds. She didn‘t know who they were. She knew that she would have recognized if Naoki were one of them. She yelled out to him but he didn’t hear her. Toma pulled Riko inside a building. Now, they walked down the hall to room 202 and entered. They sat beside each other close to the back of the room. The teacher walked in right behind them with a snarled look on his face. He handed the first student of each row a stack of papers. Each student took a copy and passed it back to the next student until all of them had a paper and the last student in each row took the reminder back up to the teacher. Riko looked at it. It was a test, a knowledge test of the course that they were about to take. When each student had finished their test, they would take their completed paper to the teacher to grade. He would grade it and give it back to them and stated, “Today’s lesson is over. You may leave.” Toma finished before Riko. He took his paper to the teacher. He graded it, 85%. He left from the classroom and waited by the door for Riko to come out. A half an hour passed before Riko walked out of the room. She had a perplexed look on her face. Her score was a 60%. She couldn’t believe it. It had been the lowest score she had ever received on a paper. She was in shock and very confused. They had walked out of the building and were walking across the campus with her not paying much attention to anything but her own paper when Toma finally asked, “How did you do? I did pretty well, see.” He held up his paper but she didn’t look at it. She still stared at the big red mark on her paper when she heard Toma yell out, “Watch out!” Too late, she had already fallen down the steps in front of her. All her things were scattered on the steps and ground. Riko, now lying at the bottom of the steps, pushed herself up to a sitting position as some boys walked past her with little notice and started their accent up the stairs. “What an idiot?” one boy said as he stepped on her graded paper. One boy snickered as he passed her, and then she saw the third guy. Her heart skipped a beat. It was Kohei. She started to say something but stopped as he looked down at her and kept on walking. Toma watched them as they passed by then went down to help Riko up. “You guys are the idiots for not helping her,” he yelled at them. He helped her to her feet and helped gathered her things. “Are you alright, Riko,” Toma asked. “I think so. My knee and ankle hurt a little,” she told him brushing herself off as Kohei sneaked a quick look back at her. Toma helped her to the bus stop and onto the bus. She took the only empty seat; it was at the back of the bus.
Meanwhile, Kato felt a dull ache in his left leg. He knew that something had happened to Riko but he had just started his class and couldn’t leave. He did the next best thing; he sent her a text message. She heard a beeping from inside her purse. She pulled out her cell phone and opened it to read a text message as she sat on the bus going home. She read the message…How is your left leg? What has happened to you...She texted her brother back…I am on my way home on the bus. I fell down some steps but I am fine. My knee is scratched a little and my ankle hurts a bit but it’s nothing really…Kato read the text and sent a new one. Her phone beeped again as she gingerly stood to get off the bus. She pulled it out of her purse once again and looked at the message…I’ll be home later tonight. Get some rest…She walked down the aisle and made her way down the stairs of the bus. She stepped totally off the bus with a big sigh. She then began her journey down the street, slowly and limping now. She made it to the apartment building and opened the door. She hobbled over to the elevator, got in, went to the ninth floor, and got out to walk the last fragment in a lot of pain. She unlocked and opened the door to the apartment and went inside. She took off her shoes and left them in disarray at the entrance. She made her way down the hall to her room now crying in pain. She pulled off her jeans and put on her pajama shorts and sat on the couch to relax for a minute.
During Riko’s jaunt down the street, Kohei had watched her from a distance stumble her way home. He followed her inside a short while later. He opened the door to the apartment and tripped over her shoes. He picked them up and put them neatly to one side. He took his shoes off and put them next to hers. He walked down the hall and opened the closet door. He got out a medical kit from off the shelf and walked to Riko’s room. He knocked at the open door and sorrowfully said, “It’s Kohei, may I come in?” “Whatever,” she said sarcastically. He walked in and over to where she was sitting on the couch. He saw her left leg up on the couch with her knee scraped and bleeding slightly while her ankle was bruised and swollen. He knelt down beside her and put the medical kit on the table in front of the couch. He opened it up and took out the antiseptic bottle. He opened a cotton swab and dipped it into the antiseptic. He then tenderly applied it to the torn skin on her knee. She flinched somewhat as he put it on as he looked up from her knee to her face and then into her eyes for a brief moment. He put the swab back down on its package and got a large bandage to cover her abrasion from the box. He ripped it open and put it across her knee. He closed the medical kit up and looked down at her ankle. “I’ll be back. I’m going to get some ice,” he told her. As he left the room, he picked up the swab and wrappings and took them with him to put in the trash. He hurried to the kitchen, threw away the trash in his hand. He then got a towel, put some ice cubes in it and went back through his room and grabbed the pillow from his bed and went back to her room. He soothingly picked up her leg slightly and put the pillow under it and then sat the bundle of ice on her ankle and asked, “How is that?” “It’s fine. Why did you act that way when you saw it was me that had fallen? And now you are being so nice to me,” she inquired. “I’m sorry. I was on my way to class with those guys, we were discussing stuff, and I was already late. I ended up not going to the class anyway and came home instead because I was worried about you. Can I get you anything else, some food,” he asked. “No, not anything right now, I’m not hungry. I am tired and I want to go to sleep. Can you just leave me alone,” she asked kind heartedly closing her eyes. In a regretting mood Kohei turned off the light and left her room and went through his room and sat down in the living room in the dark.
Kohei’s mother came home from work and saw all the lights off and thought that no one was home, walked into the living room, and turned on the light. She saw Kohei sitting there in the dark with his face in his hands. “I didn’t think anyone was home. Why didn‘t you say something when you heard me come through the door? Why are you sitting in the dark?” she asked her son. He responded, “Riko and I are here but Kato is still at school, I guess. Riko is in her room and doesn’t want to be disturbed.” “Really, what’s wrong with her,” she inquired looking at her son questioningly. In his defense he retorted, “I didn’t do anything to her. She fell down a flight of stairs at school today and she just wanted to get some sleep. She was tired when she got home.” “I should go and check in on her. She might need something,” Mrs. Ito stated concernedly as she walked around to Riko’s room. She knocked at the door and then went in when there was no answer. Riko was lying asleep on the couch. She closed the door to as she walked back out. She made her way to the kitchen and started to make dinner for them. She wanted to make a vegetable stir-fry from all the vegetables Kato had brought back from Tama. She put her apron on and tied it behind her back at her waist. She opened the rice cooker and put four cups of water in it, two cups of rice, one and a half teaspoons of salt, closed the lid, and turned it on. She then went to the refrigerator and got out the carrots, broccoli crowns and bell pepper that Riko had cut up. She got a handful of snow peas and a medium onion and cut it into bite size pieces. She put them aside on the counter. She put a wok on the stove and heated up two tablespoons of oil in it. As the oil heated up, she grated two garlic cloves and about a teaspoon of fresh ginger and put it into the hot oil. Next, she added all the vegetables and fried it on medium-high heat for about five minutes until the vegetables were somewhat tender. While they were cooking, she mixed up the sauce. She put a half a cup of each- oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sugar into a bowl and mixed it well together. She then added it to the vegetables and stirred it to season all the vegetables. She then mixed a half a cup of cold water and a heaping teaspoon of starch in a bowl and mixed it. She then poured it into the wok. She let the sauce thicken up slightly and removed the pan from the heat of the stove. She opened up a cabinet door and got out two large bowls. She poured the stir-fry vegetable mixture into the first bowl and then scooped the rice out into the other. She took both bowls and sat them on the dining room table. She then went back into the kitchen and got a set for four of plates, bowls, chopsticks, and glasses. Kohei spread the plates out on the table and poured green tea into the glasses. He then went into the kitchen and got a tray from the pantry out. He sat one place setting on the tray. He put the stir-fry on the plate and rice in the bowl. He also put a napkin on the tray under the chopsticks. He started down the small hallway with the tray to take it to Riko when Kato entered. He asked Kohei “Is that for Riko? I can take it to her.” Kohei gave the tray to Kato obligingly and walked back to the dining room and sat down at his plate beside his mother sulking and feeling a trifle bit guilty. “Kato took the tray to Riko,” he told his mother.
Kato entered their bedroom and turned on the light. He saw the bandage on her knee and the towel wrapped around her ankle as she slept. He sat the tray of food on the table and gently nudged her shoulder to wake her. She awoke and pushed herself up to a sitting position and tried to look past her brother sleepily to see if anyone else was with him. “Oh, how was your day,” she asked her brother. He replied, “Better than yours it looks like. How are you feeling?” “I’m a little bit hungry. It smells so good. My ankle is throbbing,” she told him. “Well, for your hunger, Mrs. Ito made a stir-fry for dinner,” he told her as he went into the bathroom and searched the cabinet for pain killer but could not find any. He went back and gave Riko the tray of food and said, “We don’t seem to have any pain medication. I’ll go and ask Mrs. Ito if she might have something for the pain.” Riko started eating the food as he left the room. He went back to the dining room where the Ito’s were sitting and asked Mrs. Ito, “Mrs. Ito, do you have any medication I can give Riko for pain?” She got up from the table and went into the kitchen, followed by Kato, opened up a cabinet, pulled out a big bottle of acetaminophen, and handed it to Kato and said, “I hope that this will help her.” He took the bottle back to Riko with a glass of water. She took two pills with the water and asked, “Kato can you help me get to my bed. I am really worn out.” He picked her up in his arms and carried her to the beds, with one hand he bent over a little and pulled down the blanket on the bottom bunk, and sat her down. Then he propped her foot up on a pillow, pulled the blanket back up over her, walked over and got the empty tray, turned off the light and left the room so she could sleep. He went once again to the dining room where Mrs. Ito had left dinner for him. He sat down behind the empty plate and filled it up with the stir-fry. He then filled his bowl with rice and picked up his chopsticks and said, “Let’s eat!”
He ate the food quickly. Meanwhile Mrs. Ito came back into the dining room. Kato told her, “Thank you for the food. It was delicious.” “Thank you,” she said, “How is Riko? Kohei told me she fell down some stairs at school today.” “Yes ma’am. She is in a little pain but is resting now,” he told her. He then excused himself from the table and took his dishes to the kitchen. He washed and dried them and then put them away into the cabinets He came back to the dining room and picked up the two bowls left- over food and put them into the refrigerator. After that he went back to their bedroom to check on Riko. She was fast asleep. He went into the bathroom. After taking a shower, he changed his clothing, came out, and climbed up the bunk bed ladder to go to sleep himself. They both slept the entire night while Kohei was bothered by his actions again. He did not sleep very much, all he thought about was how he was so disrespectful to Riko when she fell. He ran it through his brain over and over again but he couldn’t figure out why he acted the way he did.
The next day Kato, Riko, and Kohei got ready for school. They all walked out the apartment’s main door together. Waiting for Kohei were his friends, Naoki and Tegoshi in Naoki‘s car. Since Riko had worn a skirt, Naoki could see her bandaged knee and ankle. He yelled over to her, “Would you like a ride?” Kohei automatically walked over to Naoki’s car and got in leaving them standing at the door dumbfounded. “Can you believe him? He couldn’t even introduce us to his friends before he got into the car,” voiced Riko angrily to her brother. “No thanks,” Riko told him. “Are you sure? Is your foot okay to walk on?” Naoki asked. “I’m fine. We’ll catch the bus,” she shouted back to him over the roar of his car. “We need to hurry so we don’t miss the bus,” Kato instructed her. They started walking to the bus stop. When Naoki pulled away he could see in his rear-view mirror that Riko was hobbling a lot. They got on the next bus. Toma and Yuya were waiting for them again at the bus stop so that they could go the class together. Toma took Riko’s backpack for her because of her hurt ankle as they went towards their classes. Yuya and Kato always went the opposite way than Riko and Toma would go. Toma took Riko to her class before he went to his class down the hallway. Riko went in the class and looked around as she sat down off her sore foot in one of the seats closest to the door. She saw Kohei sitting there talking to a group of students that surrounded him. They were in the same Principles for Accounting class. She couldn’t believe that they shared a class now. It was bad enough living together with his attitude and now this. She looked over at him and gave a smirk. He acknowledged her with a slight nod of his head. When the bell rang at the end of the class, the students left from the class. She was one of the first students out of the class. She looked to see what Kohei was doing but there was no sign of him. It was like he vanished amongst the many students. She met Toma in the hallway. He was headed to another class, so she headed for the bus stop alone.
Riko arrived back home earlier than normal. She was in the kitchen getting a drink of water when she heard a group of boys talking as the front door slammed shut to the apartment. They were coming towards her. Tegoshi inquired, “Where are your borders? How do you cope with them being here all the time?” Kohei started to answer, “Well, they’re always…” he stopped, stunned when he saw Riko standing in front of him. “Hello,” she stated scornfully looking at Kohei with resentment. She tried to push past them at the door of the kitchen to go to her room but accidentally bumped into Naoki, grabbing her slightly as she did. “Sorry,” she mumbled as she looked up into his eyes finding a hint of relief just as she had a few months earlier in the arms of the boy that had tried to help her. “No problem”, he said as images of the girl he had held so securely flashed through his mind again as he watched her limp away from his sight. She went into her room, closed the door, went over to her desk, and sat down in the chair to do her homework. She opened one of her textbook and got started. “As I was saying, it’s not so bad. Her brother spends most of his time on campus and she stays mostly in her room. I am with you guys a lot too. The only time I see them is usually when we eat and go to school,” Kohei responded to Tegoshi as he pulled snacks out of one of the cabinets for them to eat. They went through the dining and living room areas to play video games. Naoki started to play against Kohei. He only played one game and couldn’t concentrate on it. His mind was somewhere else, so he decided to go home early leaving Tegoshi with Kohei to play. Mrs. Ito came home from work and Kohei walked over to greet her in the dining room. He told her, “Riko is in her room and Kato is still at school. Tegoshi and I are over there playing video games.”
While they played, Riko tried to do her homework but she couldn’t concentrate at all, so she walked slowly as not to put a lot of weight on her ankle over to the door and cracked it open a little. She heard the boys playing their games. Her focus was only on memories of her father now and of that unforgettable day that was etched in her mind. They kept flashing through her mind. She went over to her closet and got out her special box. She brought it over to her desk, sat it down, and opened it. She pulled out the picture of her and her father. She sat it on the desk and stared at it for hours. She took the black velvet bag out too and untied the string. She slid the cell phone out of the bag and placed it next to the photo. She put the box back in her closet and sat back down at the desk. She tried again to do her homework but after a short while got sleepy and laid her head down on the desk. She was asleep before she knew it.
About 11:30 pm, Tegoshi decided that he had had enough of playing video games and wanted to leave the Ito household. Kohei walked with him to the exit, and came back down the hallway past Riko’s door. He noticed that her door was ajar and the light was still on. He knocked on the door. There was no answer. He walked in cautiously, ready to be scorned again, but nothing. He saw Riko slouched at her desk, pencil in hand, sleeping. He took the pencil from her hand and laid it on the desk. As he did so, he noticed the picture on her desk that wasn’t there when he had helped her with her knee and ankle yesterday. He took a long look at it. The gentleman had looked very familiar but he couldn’t place where he had seen him before. He didn’t notice the cell phone on the desk because her book had covered it up. He walked over to the couch, pulled the blanket off and draped it over her shoulders. He left the room turning off the light and closing the door tight. He went to his bedroom and lied down on the bed and thought…I have made a very bad impression on Riko… I know she doesn’t like me… Why should she… I have never given her a reason to like me… I’m even having her keep a secret for me… I am always doing something to irritate her…He fell asleep deep in his thoughts once again.
Riko awoke stiff the next morning still sitting in the chair at her desk. She stretched out her arms and arched her back as the blanket fell from her shoulders to the floor. She turned in the chair and looked around the room and saw that her brother had not come home that night. She wondered who had put the blanket over her. She turned back around to her desk. She started cleaning up the desk from her papers and books when she saw the silver cell phone lying there. She picked it up in her left hand and opened it. She looked at it and then closed it back. She placed it back into its’ protective black cover and tied it up once again. She then walked over to the closet and pulled out the box from the shelf. She took off the lid and slipped the bag inside covering the box with its lid once again and placing it back on the shelf. She then got ready for school placing her books in her backpack. She picked up the blanket from the floor and threw it onto her couch messily. She then walked out of her bedroom closing the door behind her as she left. Kohei heard the click of her door closing and left his room immediately through the living room entrance meeting her at the front door putting her shoes on gently. “Good morning, Riko. I’m sorry about yesterday in the kitchen. It seems that I am always telling you that…I’m sorry,” he said apologetically to her as he put his shoes on also. “Let’s go to school together on the bus since Kato isn’t here to go with you. How did you sleep last night?” She told him stretching a tiny bit and rolling her shoulders, “Alright, I guess. I fell asleep doing homework at my desk. I am a little sore in the shoulders this morning Hey, do you know who… did you put the blanket over me?” “Yes, I did,” he said back to her in a nice tone of voice and a smile on his face, “I’m really not that bad once you get to know me.” They walked slowly as she still favored her ankle to the bus stop together. They got on the next bus that pulled up. Kohei let Riko go onto the bus first. She sat down and he sat beside her. “It will be late when I come home tonight, I have work. Can you tell my mother, if she asks, that I am at Naoki’s,” he asked her to tell his mother. “Oh, I will but how long are you going to lie to your friends and mother about working?” Riko asked in a scornful way. “Just for a bit longer, two or three weeks. I should have the money I need hopefully by then,” he answered.
Each night for the next two weeks, Kohei was either working or actually with his friends at their homes. Riko only saw him in class or on campus usually walking with those other two guys. Kato wasn’t around much either. He wanted Riko to have as much privacy as possible. He stayed with Yuya and Toma a lot at their dorm. Almost every night it was just Mrs. Ito and Riko together for dinner. Only one rare occasion the following week, they had the pleasure of having dinner with Kohei. Riko thought it was nice to have him finally at dinner but after they ate he went out once again.
Another week passed and everything seemed a lot better between Riko and Kohei. There had been no awkward moments between them lately. Riko was keeping his secrete for him. She would tell his mother when she asked her that he would either be at Naoki’s or Tegoshi’s homes or studying at school or doing something associated with school like sports. When Naoki or Tegoshi asked about him, she would come up with excuses for them too. She would then let Kohei know what she had told either his mother or his friends so if they asked their stories would collaborate. Day after day, excuse after excuse, his mother nor his friends ever questioned what she told them.
Riko and Kohei went to school several times on the bus together the following week. Naoki had come by one morning to take Kohei to school but he declined his offer and rode the bus with Riko. “Thanks again Riko. You have made it easier for me. Before you got here I had been working for two weeks and it was hard trying to keep everything straight with everyone,” he told her. “It’s no problem but, I would like to help in some way,” she asked. He responded, “But you are. You are helping me out in the best possible way. You haven’t said anything about my job to anyone. That helps out a great deal. By the way, can you make me a copy of your notes for class today? I have something I need to do at that time and can’t get out of it.” “Will you be home later tonight?” she inquired. “It’ll be late, around midnight or so,” Kohei stated. They got off the bus. As usual Toma was waiting for Riko at the bus stop to go to class with her. They all started walking in the same direction when Kohei’s acquaintances, the two boys that had laughed at her when she had fallen weeks ago, appeared and he walked off with them while Toma and Riko went on to their class. She saw from the corner of her eye Kohei getting into the backseat of a car with them. She thought…could they have something to do with what Kohei has to do today…as she continued to walk to class.
After class change, Riko and Toma went to the library and sat down at a table to study for a while when Naoki walked over to the table. He addressed Riko, “Have you seen Kohei? We were supposed to play a game of basketball today and I can’t locate him and you seem to always know what he is doing.” Toma spoke up before Riko had a chance to, “He went somewhere with a couple of guy’s hours ago.” Riko jumped in the conversation trying to cover up his whereabouts and said, “Oh, he went with some classmates to work on a project for class.” Toma looked over at her with a perplexed look on his face wondering why she would say what she said. “Okay, I’ll leave you two to study. Sorry for disturbing you,” Naoki expressed with some remorse in his words for ending the conversation with her.
Riko left Toma in the library as she went to her Principles for Accounting class. She looked to see if Kohei had returned but he wasn’t in the class. He had said that he would miss it and that he wanted her to make a copy of her notes. She speculated that he must still be with the same boys from earlier. The class seemed like it took forever to end. After the class was over, she went back to the bus stop to go home. Once she got there, she went to her room and sat down at her desk. She looked at the photo of her father before starting to study. She pulled out her books from her backpack and got started.
Mrs. Ito came home from work a few hours after Riko had arrived home. She asked Riko, “Where are the boys tonight? It seems like it’s only us girls that live here. Now, you see why I wanted to rent the room out.” Riko answered back, “Yes, I know. It does get a little lonely. Well Kato has his late class tonight and won’t be here until 9:30pm and Kohei said he would be at Naoki’s.” “I guess then it will be just going us girls again tonight,” Mrs. Ito responded and suggested, “Riko let’s go out for dinner.” “Okay, we deserve a treat. Let’s go,” she agreed. They walked out of the apartment and headed down the street. They passed a few shops along the way when Mrs. Ito said, “Let’s try this place. I hear their food is very good, especially the curry. Riko looked at the restaurant. She knew exactly where they were. They were standing in front of the place that Kohei worked at. She thought…How I can I tell her I don’t want to eat here… I need to get her to go elsewhere… I can’t expose Kohei… “Mrs. Ito can we go somewhere else? I don’t think I want spicy curry tonight. Let’s get something a little lighter like sushi and steamed vegetables,” Riko asked, “There’s a place just around the corner that is very good.” “Alright, I think I would rather have sushi too,” Mrs. Ito stated. They went around the corner to eat. They ate sushi until they were full and headed back home just before dusk.
Once back inside the apartment, they sat down in the living room to watch some television. They were watching the news, around 9:40pm, when Kato came from school very tired. The weather was about to be broadcasted when Riko left Mrs. Ito still watching the T.V. to greet her brother. He had gone into the bathroom to wash-up and put on his pajamas for the night. When he came out from the restroom Riko was sitting down at the desk and he asked, “Are you still up doing homework?” “Yeah, Mrs. Ito and I went out for dinner and then I sat with her and watched some television. I’ll be done soon. I’m just copying some notes,” she said as Kato lied down on the bottom bunk of the bed and fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. Shortly after Kato had fallen asleep, she heard Mrs. Ito come past her door to go to sleep in her bedroom.
Riko copied the notes that Kohei asked her for as she listened for him to come in the apartment. Finally, he came in at 12:30am; as not to wake anyone up he went to his room from the living room door entrance. Riko silently went into the hallway and tapped softly at Kohei’s door. He opened it and stepped to the side so that she could walk in. She handed him the papers that were in her hand and said, “Here are the notes from class today. The teacher said we’re going to have an exam next class. Also, we, your mother and I, went out to eat tonight. She wanted to go into your restaurant but I talked her out of it and into going to the sushi place around the corner.” “Thanks again. I appreciate what you are doing for me. Soon it will be all over,” he said sitting down on his bed starting to look over the notes. Riko started to turn to leave the room when Kohei pointed at one of the papers and asked, “What is this?” She came over and sat down beside him on the bed to see what he was pointing to and asked, “What? Where do you have a question?” As she looked up at him for an explanation, his eyes met hers and he leaned over slightly and gave her a kiss on the mouth. Apprehensive, she jumped up immediately and flustered out the words, “I…I got to go.” She left his room and went back to hers closing the door behind her. She stood against the door and put her fingertips up to her lips, gently touching them. A cocky little smile came across her face. She then got into her pajamas and climbed up the ladder and got into bad. She went to sleep with the kiss on her mind still with her fingertips on her lips.
After Riko had left his room so suddenly, Kohei sat on his bed with a fixed expression on his face staring down at the notes Riko had copied for him in his hand. He tried to justify his actions towards Riko through his thoughts…What just happened… What did I do… Am I crazy… Why did I kiss her… What’s wrong with me… I just looked at her… so closely, face to face… I couldn’t resist… Why… What am I going to do now… She was just starting to like me as a friend… I have ruined it all now…The papers dropped from his hand to the floor as he clutched his head in his hands. He stayed like this for what seemed like an eternity. He at last stretched out fully on the bed to get some rest.
The next morning, Kato and Kohei were both waiting for Riko at the apartment’s door. She was nervous to see Kohei after what had transpired the night before. As she got closer to them, she first looked at her brother and then at Kohei, blushing a bit. Kohei looked down when he saw her blush. Kato looked at both of them with a confused look. He felt something had happened between them but wasn’t sure about what. They walked out the door, got on the elevator and went downstairs. Just before they got to the lobby door, they could see Naoki and Tegoshi in the car waiting. They went through the door. He offered them a ride to school and they accepted it. They arrived at school and Naoki parked the car. Naoki, Tegoshi, Kato, and Kohei met up with Yuya and they all went one way as Toma met with Riko and they went the other way as usual.
Later on that same day Kohei went looking for Riko. He caught up with her standing just outside the dorm building where she had just left Toma. She was looking at all the postings on the bulletin boards. She had pulled off a few that interested her when Kohei startled her by coming up behind her and said, “Hello, Riko.” She turned and replied with a dainty smile. He asked, “Can we go over there and talk for a moment?” “Sure,” she said in wonderment. They walked over to a nearby bench and sat down. Kohei started to talk, “What happened last night was a mistake. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to kiss you. It’s just…I don’t know. I just got caught up in the moment. Bottom-line, I am really sorry that I took advantage of your kindness,” he tired to confess that his actions were totally wrong. “It was surprising and nice. You were also tired. But, I understand. We’re still friends. Nothing happened as far as I am concerned,” she told him giving him a reassuring hug. She got up and walked away leaving him sitting on the bench.
Chapter Twelve coming soon....
Chapter 2 through 7 ... not 2o...
As a child, Naoki Kameko loved being outdoors. He loved to go from his home in Meguro to Tama to visit his grandfather. Even though his grandfather was very old, Naoki loved to be around him. He thought his grandfather was cool. They would go fishing and hunting. He taught Naoki everything about how to do both, how to handle a fishing rod, to wait long periods of time quietly until he got a bite, the same went for hunting, how to be careful handling...
Chapter 2 through 7 ... not 2o...
As a child, Naoki Kameko loved being outdoors. He loved to go from his home in Meguro to Tama to visit his grandfather. Even though his grandfather was very old, Naoki loved to be around him. He thought his grandfather was cool. They would go fishing and hunting. He taught Naoki everything about how to do both, how to handle a fishing rod, to wait long periods of time quietly until he got a bite, the same went for hunting, how to be careful handling a weapon that if it were handled wrongly something bad could happen and to always hunt in an open field where there is a lot of room. They would run around in these open fields and fool around together. They also picked and ate wild berries that grew throughout the fields. On their way back from their excursions, Naoki’s grandfather would stop at a local store and pick up fresh produce for their dinner. Naoki liked going there too because the owner would always give him a sweet carrot to eat while he was waiting for his grandfather to finish. When he entered secondary school, his grandfather passed away suddenly. Naoki was heartbroken. He stopped fishing and hunting altogether. This incident brought him even closer to his two best friends.
Being an only child, Naoki was very shy when he entered elementary school and would not say anything to the other children in the class. He wouldn’t even play with them. But when the teacher changed his seat to where Tegoshi Rui and Kohei Ito were sitting, his shyness faded away. He started being interested in what they were doing and saying. They became friends very fast. They were always together like brothers. They never wanted to leave each other. They would do everything together. If one went to the dentist, so did the other two. They learned how to swim together. They took karate classes together and became black belts in no time. They joined little league sports teams where each one picked a sport they liked best and then the other two would follow. Naoki picked baseball, Tegoshi wanted to play soccer, and Kohei selected basketball. They would even accompany each other on vacations with each other’s families. They were the best of friends.
Academically, Naoki was the smartest of the three. He always held the highest position in each class and had been like this since he started school. Tegoshi was usually with-in the top ten students where as Kohei lagged behind, being an average student. They were all excellent sportsmen. They loved to play sports. Since they played on a lot of little league sports teams and also played on their schools’ basketball, soccer and baseball teams; they were known as the unbeatable threesome. They won many trophies for their numerous victories. At school, many of their trophies were displayed and kept in a row of glass bookshelves while at their homes their parents had displayed them throughout their homes; there were so many that they could not fit all of them into their child’s room.
Naoki was turning eighteen soon, so Tegoshi and Kohei wanted to throw him a surprise party. They talked over the details with Naoki’s parents secretly to work out some of the details for it. They talked over what kind of cake to have, how many guests to invite, and when they should have it. Naoki had been giving subtle little hints that his birthday was coming up but his friends and family ignored him or they changed the subject of their conversation quickly to another topic when he tried to mention it. After a while, he stopped talking about it. On the day of his birthday, around ten o’clock, Naoki was sitting by the swimming pool listening to songs on his iPod when he saw his mother coming towards him carrying a huge strawberry lined cake while a bunch of boys followed behind her. They were carrying different foods and sang along with her, “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to Naoki, Happy Birthday to you!” She sat the cake on the table as he got up from his chair and walked over to everyone amazed at the sight. He looked at all the varieties of foods and cake. On the cake the writing read, “Happy 18th Birthday Naoki!” For a few hours, he and his friends ate, had cake and fooled around in the pool. Slowly the boys departed, leaving only his two very best friends, Tegoshi and Kohei. Naoki asked, “How come you guys kept the party a secret from me? I never expected a thing. I thought that you guys had forgotten about my birthday.” “How could we forget? You only dropped little hints about it for weeks,” exclaimed Kohei. “Yeah, we are brothers, aren’t we? We don’t forget these things,” asked Tegoshi. They put their arms around each other and walked into the house. Once inside they saw Naoki’s parents sitting next to a large extravagantly decorated box. “This is for you son. Open it,” his mother stated. He untied the ribbons and tore through the wrapping paper to a white box. He continued to open the box to reveal a Remington Riffle. His parents thought this was a good gift to give him at this age because they felt that he was responsible and would not use it carelessly. After all, he had gone hunting for many years with his grandfather and knew how to handle a gun properly. He pulled it out from its container and looked at it up and down. He was so excited. He could not wait to use it. It had been many years since he held a gun in his hands and went hunting. He had missed it. Naoki decided, “Let’s go hunting for an hour or two this evening just to try it out.” His friends agreed and they all got into his car. He drove to Tama where he had gone to visit with his grandfather before. He pulled the car over at an open field in the country with tall grass and weeds. It was outlined by a bunch of trees like a small forest on one side. It was just over an hours’ drive from his home in Meguro.
First, Naoki, with the riffle in his hand, suggested aiming at a stationary object to get the feel of the firearm. He saw a tree stump in the middle of the field and took aim at it just to see if he could hit it since it had been a while since he had last went hunting. He hit it. They saw bits of bark fly from the stump. Tegoshi’s turn was next. He missed. He tried again and this time he hit it. Finally, Kohei took a go at the stump. He missed the stump twice before he hit it. Since all of them could hit the tree, they tried for moving objects. None of them could hit any of the birds that flew by. Naoki took his rifle back from Kohei as he saw a flock of duck coming towards him overhead once again. Bang, bang, bang, the shots were fired. Then, with a forth shot, a duck fell from the sky between them and the trees. They began to make their way across the field towards the spot of their kill when they suddenly heard a shrieking voice crying out, “Help! Someone, please help me!” They looked around to see where the cry was coming from and started walking towards the sound across the field instead of the duck that Naoki had shot.
In a large vegetable garden, Mr. Mori and his daughter were gathering some of their vegetables and putting them into baskets to bring back to their store. Their farm produced the best vegetables in the area. He started up a conversation between them as they picked the vegetables. They had already picked five baskets from the different rows when he asked “This is your last year in high school. Where have all the years gone? It seems like only yesterday I was bringing you and your brother home from the hospital. And now, look at you, all grown up and graduating soon.” “Oh Daddy, don’t get nostalgic on me. I will always be your little girl. I am going to be in high school for a few more months. I still want to go to Meiji University and so does Kato. He wants to study Business Law and I want to study Business Management. We both want to expand the store and sell our produce all over Japan,” Riko told her father. He chuckled and stated, “You are both amazing kids. I hope you both succeed that way your mother and I can take a rest from all our hard work and let you both take over everything.” “Dad, I am almost finished gathering the carrots in this basket, how’s the cabbage coming along,” Riko asked. He replied back, “I just need a few more and my basket will be full.” Just then, a big truck started to speed up on the gravel road just above the slope of their garden close to where her father was picking the cabbages. They both looked up at it as it started to pass. Riko glanced back down and immediately started to pull up the last bunch of carrots she needed to fill her basket. As she pulled it out of the ground, she raised her head up and looked back over at her father. At the same moment she saw him fall to the ground with a thud. She rushed over to him. He was on the ground with a cabbage in one hand and blood flowing from a wound on his forehead. She grabbed him up into her tiny arms and cried out to him, “Dad! Dad! Are you all right? Speak to me. Daddy, please.” He did not respond to her plea. She laid his body back down on the cold ground and ran up to the gravel road and started screaming repeatedly at the top of her lungs frantically, “Help! Someone, please help me!”
Three boys in a neighboring field heard a shrieking voice crying out, “Help! Someone, please help me!” They looked around to see where the cry was coming from and started jogging towards the sound. Kohei caught a glimpse of something moving through the trees on the far side of the field, “Look, over there,” he said as he pointed at an image. They ran as fast as they could towards the figure. Naoki threw down his riffle in the field as they got closer. They could tell it was a female. Still screaming hysterically for help, Naoki grabbed the girl with blood on her shirt and hands by her shoulders with his hands and asked, “What is wrong? Why are you screaming so frantically?” She looked directly into his worried but caring eyes and calmed herself down enough to answer his questions and cried out, “I think a rock flew from the tire of a passing truck and hit my father in the head,” as she raised her arm and pointed a finger towards the garden and continued, “He is laying in the field bleeding to death.” She jerked herself from his grip as her hand fell into his and led them to her father’s lifeless body. Tegoshi reached him first and noticed his breathing wasn’t normal. He told Kohei to call 119 as he started CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation). Kohei called and stated, “We are on a big vegetable farm here in Tama and a middle aged man is bleeding from his forehead and is not breathing properly. Ok. You’re sending an ambulance.” She watched Tegoshi do CPR on her father and tried to find comfort in Naoki’s arms. He wrapped his arms around her trembling body as she cried into his chest out of control. Off in the distance the siren of the ambulance could be heard. As it got closer, Kohei went up to the gravel road and waved his arms up and down to flag down the ambulance. As the ambulance approached, the sound of the siren was deafening. It stopped and the back door of the ambulance swung open and an EMT (emergency medical technician) jumped out pulling a stretcher with an oxygen tank lying on it. The legs sprang fully open as it exited the back of the vehicle and pushed it over to the injured man. At the same time as Tegoshi stopped giving CPR and stepped away from her father, he gasped for a breath of air. The EMT put the oxygen mask over his nose and mouth and opened the flow of air from the tank. He then took over the CPR compressions from the boy. Seeing her father gasp for air was too much and it caused her to faint in Naoki’s arms. He felt as if the life had just left her body as he clutched her closer to his body and picked her up in his arms. He carried her gently to another stretcher inside the ambulance and tenderly laid her limp body down pulling her long hair up and placing it beside her on the stretcher. Moving to one side, he exited the compartment of the ambulance backwards not taking his eyes off of her as the EMT pushed the stretcher with her father inside next to hers and then got in himself. Naoki closed the door as the ambulance started to pull away transporting them to the hospital. The boys were left alone in wonderment. They walked back through the trees, across the field. Along the way, Naoki picked up his riffle. They had reached his car. He popped open the truck and threw the riffle inside. They got back into his car. He drove back to Meguro in a stunned daze. No one spoke the entire trip home. He pulled in front of his house and turned the engine off and sat there behind the steering wheel just staring out into space. Tegoshi and Kohei got out and walked the rest of the way to their own homes.
Tegoshi reached his home. He paused a minute on his front steps and then walked inside. Not bothering to stop, he greeted his parents sitting in the living room and walked straight into his room. He closed the door after going inside. He lied down on the bed in his blood stained shirt exhausted. He put his right arm across his forehead to try and block out the day’s events, with doing so he fell asleep almost immediately. He didn’t sleep through the night. After sleeping for only three hours, he awoke in a sweat from his dreams. He pulled off the blood-stained shirt and lied back down on his bed for some time before falling back to asleep.
Kohei arrived at his apartment building, unlocked and opened the security door. He then got onto the elevator and rode up the nine stories. When the door opened to the floor of his apartment, it took him a few seconds to realize it had. He stepped off the elevator and walked down the hallway to his apartment, number 9481. He stopped in front of his door and put the key in the lock. He unlocked it and opened it up and walked on in, taking his shoes off at the door. He yelled, “Mom, are you home?” There was no answer. He reached for his cell phone in his pocket but it wasn’t there. He recalled…I had it to phone 119…I put it back into my jeans pocket...Maybe it fell out in Naoki’s car on the way home…Tomorrow and look for it…He took a shower then went into his room, got into bed, and went to sleep.
Naoki finally got out of his car and walked up to the door of his home. He took a deep breath and went inside knowing his parents were up waiting for him. They were watching television as he started to walk quickly past. His father questioned him, “How did you like your gift?” He replied, “It handles nicely, Dad.” Mr. Kameko inquired, “Did you shoot anything?” Naoki answered again, “Yes, but…I left the bird behind. I just forgot about it.” He hurriedly walked into his bedroom before he was asked another question and closed the door behind him leaving his parents looking at each other puzzled. He looked down at the stains of blood on his shirt from the girls’ body. He pulled it off over his head without unbuttoning it and threw it across the room angrily. He then went into the bathroom and took a shower. He came out with a towel wrapped around his muscular frame and went into his room. He put on his pajama pants only. He sat on the edge of his bed and recalled the day’s events…The terror in the girls screams… Her trembling body as he held her…The way she couldn’t stop crying, her body going limp...Putting her on the stretcher inside the ambulance, her long soft hair...He had all but had forgotten about his own birthday and how happy he had been ten hours earlier. He lied down on top of his blanket resting his head on the pillow thinking once again… I should have followed that ambulance …I should have made sure they were fine... Why didn’t I follow it… as he grabbed his head in his hands and pushed it back and forth as if to say “Why?” All night he tossed and turned. He hardly got any sleep at all. All he did was think about the girl and her father and if they were both doing well.
The next morning Naoki called ten different hospitals in the Tama area. None of them would give him any information. Just as he hung the phone up from the last hospital that he had dialed, there was a knock at his front door. He went to open it and found Kohei on the other side saying, “Hey, man? You don’t look so good. What happened to you? Did a truck run you over?” “Hey don’t joke like that. I have been up most of the night just thinking about that girl and her father,” he said. “Oh sorry, well, I think my cell phone dropped out of my pocket in your car? I couldn’t seem to find it when I got home last night. Can I check? ” Naoki went to get his keys and he Kohei went to his car. He unlocked the doors with his remote and they searched the front and back for it, but nothing. “It doesn’t seem to be here. When did you last remember having it,” asked Naoki. “The last time I can remember using it was when I called 119,” he stated back. “Maybe you lost it in the field when we were walking back to my car. Let’s go back and look for it, okay,” Naoki acknowledged giving him a chance to go back to Tama. He drove back to the field to where he had parked the car. They got out of the car and started searching for the cell phone. They even went through the trees to the gravel road and looked; still nothing. “Just forget about it. It is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I’ll just get a new one. Besides, if anyone finds it they can’t use it without my security code, 1994,” Kohei proclaimed. They walked back to the car and got in. Naoki started to drive back to Meguro when he saw a vegetable store. He stopped the car and they went in. There was a guy behind the counter that looked about the same age as he. “Welcome, what can I help you with today,” asked Yuya. Naoki looked around and something seemed very familiar about this place. The produce was arranged in baskets all neatly. He told Kohei, “I remember this place. My grandfather used to bring me here. If memory serves me correctly, they had the best produce I ever ate. The owner, he would always give me a carrot to eat while I waited for my grandfather to finish buying his vegetables. It was so sweet.” Naoki picked out two heads of cabbage, a bunch of carrots, and a few onions to take home to his mother. He gave the boy cash and told him to keep the change as they walked back to his car and drove away.
Without Tegoshi or Kohei knowing, Naoki returned several times to Tama. He would always go to the gravel road and looked down into the garden but never saw the long-haired girl he longed so much to see. It was like their paths were not meant to ever cross again. His thoughts of her finally drifted away over the weeks to his studies and final exams.
In the store, Kato was talking to Yuya while tending to customers and cleaning up. His mother was upstairs cleaning up after dinner and doing some general straightening while Riko and their father went to the farm to gather some vegetables. Yuya inquired, “How long does it take to gather up the vegetables.” Kato replied, “They should be done by now. They left over two and a half hours ago. I guess I should be going to pick them up.” “I’ll take over for you here,” said Yuya. Kato shouted up the stairs to his mother, “Mom, I am taking the truck to go get Dad and Riko and the baskets of vegetables. Yuya is going to look after the store while I am gone, okay?” “Alright, Kato,” she yelled back. He whimsically said to Yuya, “See ya later, alligator.” “After while, crocodile,” responded Yuya. As he was getting into the truck he felt an over whelming sadness come over him. He started the truck and pulled out onto the street. He hadn’t gone very far from his home when he heard the faint sound of a siren. He looked in his rearview mirror and saw an ambulance coming towards him with its lights flashing and siren blaring. He pulled over to the side of the road to let it pass. He got back on the road and started on his way again. He saw the edge of the gravel road lined with trees approaching. By the time he reached the gravel road, he saw the ambulance pulling away from him in the opposite direction. He looked into the field and saw five baskets filled and two that were almost filled lined up to take but his father and Riko were nowhere in sight. He thought for a split second…The feeling I had earlier… Riko… Could it be… For some strange reason he caught up with the ambulance. He followed it until they got to Tama Center Hospital. The driver stopped at the Emergency Entrance sign. Kato pulled into a parking space and parked his truck and got out. The back of the ambulance opened up. He saw an EMT get out first pulling at one of two stretchers inside. He saw that it was his father before the doctors and nurses surrounded it. They were assessing him as they took him inside the hospital entrance. Kato approached as the EMT pulled Riko’s stretcher out of the ambulance as medical personnel rushed her stretcher inside also. He followed them inside, pulled out his cell phone, and immediately called Yuya. The phone rang twice before Yuya said, “Hello.” “Listen, Yuya and don’t get excited but Dad and Riko are in the hospital. I don’t know what has happened to them. I just got this feeling or should I say a hunch to follow this ambulance when I didn’t see them in the field. Close up the store for the night and bring my mother to Tama Center Hospital. Don’t tell her where you’re taking her simply tell her that you are bringing her to meet me,” Kato instructed Yuya. While he got the store ready for closing, he called Toma and Maki and told them to meet him at the Tama Center Hospital too. Yuya told Mrs. Mori, “Kato wants you to come to where he is right now.” They got into Yuya’s car and he started driving.
“How are my father and sister? What happened to them,” he asked the nurse sitting behind a desk. She replied, “Your father is in critical condition. His heart stopped and the EMT had to do CPR in the field and again on the way here. He also has a severe injury to his head. They have taken him to X-ray. Your sister is under a lot of emotional distress and is under sedation right now.” All of a sudden an announcement came over the intercom system. Everyone stopped what they were doing and listened. “CODE BLUE, X-RAY! CODE BLUE, X-RAY!” Doctors and nurses rushed all around with equipment as Kato’s heart sank deep into his chest. He knew the call was for his father. When he got to the X-ray Department and looked into the room, he saw a doctor pulling a sheet over his fathers’ face. He turned from the gruesome sight and squatted in the hallway just outside the door holding his face in his hands so that no one could see his pain or tears. There he sat for what seemed like an eternity but in reality it was just a fleeting moment of time.
Yuya arrived at the hospital with Kato’s mother flustered as to why they were there. Toma and Maki had just arrived too and joined them as they walked into the Emergency Entrance of the Tama Center Hospital. Toma reached the front desk first and asked, “Can you tell me where Riko Mori and Junno Mori are?” The nurse replied, “Miss Mori is in room 105, that’s down the hall and to the left, second door on the right. The other name was Junno Mori…Junno Mori…I don’t seem to have any information on him at this time.” They all walked down the hall and then turned left. They stopped in front of room 105. Yuya opened the door and held it for Mrs. Mori, Maki, and Toma to walk through as he closed it behind himself. Riko was laying on the bed peacefully while Kato was sitting beside her on the edge of the mattress holding her hand in his. He turned around with bloodshot eyes and saw his mother. Tears started to stream down his face once again. He let go of his sisters’ hand and walked over to his mother, held her tightly, and told her the painful and heart breaking news, “Dad has passed away.” She swooned a bit in his arms, so he escorted her to a chair next to her daughter. Tears, now flowed down her face like rivers, she jumped up from the chair and rushed over to Riko’s side and seized her uncovered, blood-stained hand in hers and then buried her face into the blanket.
A few hours had passed and Riko hadn’t awakened. Yuya asked, “Can I get anything for anyone? Coffee, perhaps.” “That would be nice of you, Yuya,” Mrs. Mori spoke up. “I’ll help you,” Maki said solemnly. They left from the room. While they were out of the room, Riko began to open her eyes. She saw that she was in the hospital. In a flurry of emotions Riko asked, “Where is Dad, Where is he?” She looked over at her mother who started to cry and then over to her brother longingly wanting to know. He spook in a scratchy voice, “Dad is no longer of this Earth. He’s gone.” “No!” she screamed, “He can’t be. He just can’t be.” She struggled to get up and out of the bed as Toma hurried over to her to restrain and console her while Kato comforted his grieving mother. Toma heard crying whispers of No, No, No coming from Riko.
The nurse came into the room. She put a sedative in her patients Intravenous (IV) Fluid after Yuya and Maki witnessed her hysterics and told the nurse that the patient in room 105 was still very upset. After a while, the medication started to take effect. Toma felt her body going flaccid and laid her head back down on the pillow lightly. “She’s finally asleep again,” Toma whispered surprisingly and said, “What ever happened was very traumatic for her.” Maki suggested, “Why don’t you go home and get some rest Mrs. Mori. I will stay with Riko tonight. I’ll call you if anything happens.” “Thank you, Maki. I’m sorry to trouble you so much tonight. She looks so peaceful now,” stated Mrs. Mori realizing how vulnerable her daughter was. Looking over at Kato, Yuya told Toma, “We’ll leave first,” They said their goodbyes and left the room. After one last look at Riko lying in the hospital bed, her mother removed a long lock of hair from her face, kissed her cheek lightly, and took a step away from her bedside.
Kato took his mothers’ arm in his and led her from the hospital room. During their ride back home neither of them spoke. Once home, they went up the back stairs and straight into their home by passing the store’s entrance. Mao Mori went to her bedroom still silent and closed the door behind her. Kato went downstairs to the store below. He remembered about the full baskets of vegetables in the garden and went out to the truck, got inside, and started the engine to go and retrieve them. He drove to the farm. He paused before getting out of the truck and wondered just what had happened earlier that day…The only one that knows what happened is Riko…She is so overwhelmed and traumatized by it. He pulled on the handle of the door to push it open, got out, and walked over to the first basket and brought it back to the truck bed and pushed it back towards the cab. He did this for the rest of the baskets too. He returned home, went upstairs to look in on his mother first, whom was in her bed asleep, and then went back downstairs to put the vegetables in place for the following day. Drained after his long, emotional day, Kato went back upstairs and sat for a moment in a chair in the living room. He ended up falling asleep in it before he knew it.
The following morning, Kato left his mother still asleep and went to the hospital to retrieve his sister and Maki. Once inside the hospital, he was summoned by a nurse behind the counter at the nurses’ station to sign papers of release so that Riko could be discharged. He signed the papers and handed them back to the nurse. The nurse then folded the papers and put them into an envelope and handed them back to Kato. He folded the envelope in half and put it into his back pocket. He then left for Riko’s room. The door to room 105 was ajar. He pushed it open to see that Riko was already dressed and very anxious to leave. It didn’t seem that she had calmed down much. They walked out of the hospital and all got into the truck with Riko in the middle. Kato drove away. There was a deafening silence in the truck the whole way back to their homes. Kato pulled over in front of Maki’s home and let her out. He rolled the window down on the truck and said, “Thank you, Maki, for everything.” She nodded to him and walked on into her home. He proceeded down the road and had just parked the truck in front of the store when Riko looked over at him with a haunting expression and stated softly, “A truck…” He questioned, “A truck, what truck? Where? What are you talking about?” She started again to explain, “A truck passed on the road. A rock hit Dad on the forehead. Blood was everywhere. I went up on the road for help. Three boys came. The ambulance came. I can’t remember anything else until I woke up in the hospital.” Looking at her, he took her right hand in his and caressed it while telling her, “It’s going be okay. You did everything you could. I know you did. We are strong and will overcome this.” Both of them got out of the truck at the same time and walked inside the store arm in arm. Riko looked around as she walked through to go upstairs with Kato following behind her closely. She went into her room and lied on her bed trying to hold back her tears. Kato walked past to his room and took off the clothes he had had on for two days, put them across his chair, and went to take a shower.
Meanwhile, to keep her mind off her husbands’ death, Mao decided to do laundry. She went into Riko’s room with her laundry basket half full of dirty clothes. She dumped Riko’s pile of clothes into her basket being careful not to disturb her sleep. She then went into Kato’s room. She took his clothes from his basket and put them in her basket too. She then saw the clothes on his chair. She picked them up to put in the basket when she noticed an envelope sticking out of the back pocket of his pants. She removed it, not knowing what it was, and pulled open his front desk drawer and placed it inside and closed it back before leaving the room with her basket full of dirty laundry.
The store was being run by their three friends for the week as they tried to get their lives in some sort of order, Mao set up a photo and shrine in the living room to honor her late husband. Kato also hung the same photograph of his beloved father in the store behind the cash register on the wall. At the end of the week, the three of them went to the cemetery. After entering, Kato picked up a pail of water, walked over to the gravestone, and scooped up some water in the ladle and poured it over the stone that read…
Beloved Husband and Father
Rest in Peace
…He does this two more times, making it once for each of them. Riko handed them each a red rose. First, their mother placed the flower in the vase in front of the gravestone, then Riko did the same, and lastly Kato put his flower into the vase. They stared at the stone and flowers briefly before leaving.
On their way home, their mother talked to them about the farm and store. “We will work hard from now on and do our best,” she decided. They got back to the store and started a transition from their friends running the store full time back over to themselves again. Mrs. Mori stayed in the store with Maki and Yuya while Kato, Riko, and Toma took the truck to the farm to gather up fresh new produce. They reached the farm and Riko got out of the truck apprehensively but managed to push herself forward. The boys got the baskets to fill from the back of the truck. They started picking the vegetables and were going at a good pace when in the row Kato was in he saw a half rotten cabbage head that had been cut with dark stains on it. He looked at it puzzled for a second or two when Riko and Toma noticed he was looking at something. They both walked over to him and took a look at the strange sight. Riko knew immediately what she was seeing and began to weep. Riko told them, “Dad had just cut that cabbage when he was struck. He had it in his hand when he collapsed.” Toma, standing closest to her, pulled her close and held her for a moment in his arms to comfort her a little while her brother disposed of the cabbage. She stopped crying, wiped the tears from her face, and pushed away from Toma. With doing so, she noticed something glistening from under a leaf of a cabbage plant. Kato stated, “This is enough for today. Let’s load the vegetables onto the truck Toma.” The boys each took a basket and headed for the truck. Riko lagged behind. She bent over to pick up the object. It was a silver cell phone with a yin-yang sticker on it. She quickly put it into the front pocket of her pants without them noticing and picked up a basket and took it over to be put on the truck. She got in the cab of the truck holding on to her pocket tightly. The boys finished loading the rest of the baskets onto the truck bed and got in, one on each side of Riko. They traveled back to the store and all three boys unloaded the truck and started to stock up everything as Riko ran up to her room passing her mother and Maki without saying a word. Maki asked, “What’s wrong with Riko? Why did she run upstairs?” Toma told them about the cut cabbage head that they saw. It had brought back painful memories of that tragic day in the garden to Riko.
Upstairs in her room, Riko took the phone from her pocket and opened it up. It had no power to it…The battery is out… She found her phone charger and inserted it into the phone, to her surprise it was a match. She plugged it into the outlet to charge. She placed the phone on her desk and went back down to the store. All she could think about was…I can thank the boys that helped me and Dad…When she returned to her room later that night, she saw that the battery was fully charged. She opened the phone to dial a number but it had a four digit access code. She tried many combinations of numbers but nothing worked for her. She put the phone back down on her desk and went over to her jewelry box and emptied out a small, black, velveteen bag. She placed the phone inside and pulled the string tight to close it. She then took it over to her bed, knelt down on the floor and pulled out a box from under it. This box was very special and precious to Riko. She kept momentous of extreme importance to her inside of it. She opened it up and looked at some of the things inside. On top was a photograph of her and her father when she was a little girl. She stared at the photograph for a long time before moving on to the next item. Next, in the box was an exam report where she had made straight one hundreds in all of her subjects. Then, there was a Hello Kitty phone strap that Maki had gotten her for her thirteenth birthday. It was removed from the box. After that was a photo of Patches, the little kitten she had found. Finally, a love letter that Toma had written to her in Kindergarten was on the bottom of the box. She put everything back inside the box in the same order she had brought them out and placed the phone in the black bag on top of her father’s picture with her. She then put the lid back on top of the box and pushed it back under her bed until it hit the wall. She got up from sitting on the floor, changed into her pajamas, got into bed, pulled the blanket up to her shoulders, and closed her eyes for a good night’s rest. Early the next morning both Kato and Riko got dressed for school in their uniforms, ate the breakfast that their mother had prepared, and went down the stairs and out through the store where their friends were waiting for them.
Day after day, Mao and her children started to get use to the fact her husband and their father was no longer around to help with chores. They kept the farm and the store going with the help of their friends. They had a schedule that they now followed. They started their day at sunrise. Before school, Kato and Riko went to the farm and hoed out the weeds, picked the ripe vegetables, and watered the crops. They would bring baskets of fresh produce back to the store and their mother and friends would restock the goods with fresh, new vegetables at the same time as Riko and Kato would get ready in their uniforms for school. While the children were at school their mother, Mao, tended to the store until they got back. After Riko came home from school, she ran the store with Maki while Kato and Yuya studied and their mother made dinner for them. The Mori family ate while Maki went to her home for the rest of the evening and Toma and Yuya took over the store for the rest of the afternoon. Kato joined Yuya in the store while Toma and Riko studied while their mother did the household duties. After the store closed and everyone had left and her kids had gone to bed, Mao straightened and cleaned up the store for the following day. Even on weekends their friends would still come by to help out.
One Saturday morning, Kato had brought the mail in and gave it to his mother. Amongst the many letters, there was one addressed to Mrs. Junno Mori from the Midland Life Insurance Company. She opened the envelope to find a letter stating that her husband, Junno Mori, had taken out a life insurance policy on himself the day she had given birth to the twins. Also inside the envelope was a check for one hundred million yen (approximately $1,000,000.00 US). She immediately had Kato take her to the bank. He pulled into the parking lot and sat in the truck while she went in. She walked up to the teller and proceeded to create a savings account for Kato and Riko. She came out smiling and got into the truck and told Kato to drive back home. She didn’t tell him why they had gone to the bank.
Final exams were coming up soon and Naoki focused all of his attention on them. Kohei and Tegoshi would come over every night to study. They would quiz each other and stay up late reading and reviewing. They went over everything they had learned. The day of the exams, Naoki was nervous. “I can’t remember a thing,” he announced. His friends laughed at him and told him to stop joking around. They went inside the school building and sat at their desks as the teacher gave out the exam papers. As each student finished, the teacher would grade it right in front of the student so that they got instant results. First to finish was Tegoshi. He got a score of 93%. Next was Naoki. Sweat rolled down his face as the teacher graded his paper, he received 100% on it. Lastly was Kohei. He never did well in school but he tried his hardest today. He watched as the teacher kept circling answers. On and on, circle after circle. When the teacher had stopped to write the final grade and Kohei saw it, he yelled out, “Yatta!” To his amazement, he received a score of 78%. They all had passed their exams with of course Naoki at the head of the graduating class with perfect scores.
On the morning of their graduation, the boys were all at their homes getting ready. Each one had pressed their uniform and was ready for the ceremony. Naoki went to pick up Tegoshi and Kohei from their homes so that they could walk in together one last time to high school. They arrived at the school with plenty of time to spare before the festivities began. They were popular with all of the students since they played sports for the school. As they walked through the hall to their homeroom class, the other students wanted to take pictures with them and give their congratulations to them.
As the ceremony started, each student walked into the room and sat down in a chair. The principal said, “Here is our senior class. They are ready to take on new experiences in life. As they proceed with caution let them know that as parents and teachers, we just want them to succeed in what they do.” The principal started reading the names from the diplomas off. As the students names were said, they walked up to the principal, shook his hand and received their diploma. When he got to the name of Kameko Naoki, he paused for a moment and looked at the next two names on the diplomas, Ikuta Tegoshi and Ito Kohei. The principal stated, “Before I go any further, I have a few words to say about the next three graduates’ names I am calling. Kameko Naoki, Sakuri Tegoshi, and Ito Kohei, please come forward and stand beside me, our unbeatable threesome team.” They all three walked up and stood beside him silently. After they reached the principal he began again, “These three boys have won many awards for their extreme efforts in sports. They have played on our baseball, basketball, and soccer teams. They have won many trophies which are displayed in the front hallways’ glass showcases. They have also played on the little league teams and also neighborhood teams. They have contributed a lot to our community as well. They have earned scholarship awards for their efforts from many companies and sport affiliates. I would like to give each of you my ‘sincere thanks’ and give each of you a scholastic and sports monetary award.” As the crowd cheered and clapped, they received their award and then their diploma. When the principal got back to Naoki’s diploma, he added, “Naoki Kameko also has earned the highest academic honors in the school and is the classes’ ‘Summa Cum Laude’.” The crowd clapped and cheered again even louder. He then congratulated Naoki and finished giving out the rest of the diplomas. The principal stated, “I now give you the graduating class of 2011.” The students all jumped up from their seats and congratulated each other before finding their own families to celebrate on their own. The boys had one last look around the school stopping at the trophy case to reminisce a moment before their final departure.
Also, on the morning of their high school graduation, they all received letters from Meiji University. After their ceremony was over, they went back to Naoki’s home; they switched letters with one another. Naoki opened up the first letter. It was for Kohei. He had been accepted. Next was Kohei’s turn. His letter was for Tegoshi. He read the words accepted out loud. Next was Tegoshi’s turn to open up Naoki’s letter. He carefully unsealed the flap and pulled the letter out. He read it to himself first. He had a look of despair on his face as he said, “I am sorry to inform you…he paused and took a deep breath… that you have been accepted into Meiji University.” They hugged each other in a round robin kind of way congratulating one another. With all of them being accepted to Meiji University, their troubles were over for the summer. It was now filled with video games, watching and playing sports, singing karaoke, and just lounging by the poolside.
One lazy day just before their summer vacation was to come to a close, Kohei told his friends, “Mom wants to rent out the extra bedroom we have to a university student. It is her way of helping out one of my fellow classmates. She wants me to post a note up on the bulletin board by the dorms. I’ll put something up tomorrow, I guess.” “How are you going to cope with a stranger around all the time,” Tegoshi asked. “I don’t know. I guess the person will be at school during the day so I will only see them around dinner time and at night whenever I might be home,” he answered. Naoki told him, “You could always spend time here. Come, chill out, whenever you want. We’re brother’s you know.” “That offer also applies at my house too,” said Tegoshi.
Maki, Toma, and Riko were studying together for exams just as Kato and Yuya were. They had been studying hard for two weeks straight. “Are you ready for finals,” inquired their mother. “Yes, we’re ready. I think that we will do exceptionally well because we have studied really hard,” Kato answered for all of them. The following morning, they all got up and did what they usually did; soon they would be taking their final exams to finish high school. They knew to be at school in plenty of time before the test started; it would be started at exactly eight o’clock. They were all there with time to spare. At precisely eight o’clock, the teacher passed out the exams to the students. The time flew quickly. Except for Maki, the rest of them were finished and were going back over their answers when the teacher called time to end the test. “Times up, hand in your papers” stated the teacher. They handed in their exam sheets and left the school building for home. They walked the journey home together talking about the test and graduation. The following day, the grades were posted outside the schools’ front doors. Of course, first and second place on the list were the Mori twins, Riko just edging out her older brother for the top spot. A little further down on the list were Toma’s and Yuya’s names. But Maki’s name was a lot further down on the list at number ninety-nine. Maki joked saying, “At least I am in the top one hundred.” She laughed and they joined in laughing too all of them knowing that their graduating class only had 100 students. She still had passed the exam though. “Now the only thing left is graduation,” mentioned Yuya. They were all excited about graduating.
It was the day of graduation. That morning, Maki came by Riko’s house to get ready. The girls were getting ready in Riko’s room. They made sure that everything was done special. They both pressed their uniforms and had put them on early. Then they started to work on their hair. Riko had cut her waist-length long hair to just above her shoulders the night before. So today she wanted a new way to style her hair. She parted it to one side and pulled it back with a clip where as Maki wore hers in pigtails. They looked at each other and at the same time said, “You look terrific!” They both laughed. They went ahead of the boys to school ready for the graduation ceremony to begin. At the same time the girls were getting ready, the boys were getting ready in Kato’s room. They made sure that they looked sharp also. They dressed in neatly pressed uniforms, combed their hair, and then set off for school. Once at school, the students gathered in their homeroom classes until the ceremony started.
Toma, Maki, and Riko were in the same homeroom class. Riko and Maki were already in the room when Toma came in with his hands behind his back. The girls looked at him confused. He pulled his arms from behind his back with a yellow carnation in each hand and offered the girls each one as he bent over slightly still looking at them. They both took a flower from his hand and smiled back at him. Subsequently Yuya and Kato came over into their homeroom. Yuya also gave both girls a daisy. But Kato outshined them both with a small bouquet for each girl. He handed a bouquet to Maki. She took it from him and smelled them and said, “They smell so good.” He then turned to Riko and handed her the other bouquet he had in his hand. As he did, he stepped forward and placed a little kiss on her cheek and told her, “You look so pretty today. Dad would have been very proud of both of us.” The students were called back to their homerooms to get into position for the ceremony. The girls placed their flowers on their desk before leaving their homeroom towards the auditorium for the ceremony.
As the parents arrived to watch the ceremony, they filled in seats along the back and sides of the schools’ auditorium. The graduating students’ seats were in the center of the room with an aisle down the center of them. The principal walked into the auditorium and up to the microphone. He addressed the audience, “Everyone, please take a seat so that we may begin with the festivities of this joyous event. May I have the faculty come in first and proceed to sit in the chairs behind me here on the stage?” The teachers walked in a single file line, down the middle aisle between the students’ seats, and up onto the stage. They each stood in front of a chair until they were all on the stage. Altogether they took their seats. Next the principal called, “Students, please make your way to your seats,” They came into the auditorium through the doors in two rows. When they got to the end of the vertical row of chairs they proceeded horizontally to the end of the line of chairs and lined up in front of a chair as the faculty had done. They did this row after row until all the graduating students were in front of a seat. In one big swoop, they all took their seats. The principal began with a brief speech, “As you start this stage of your life, only you know where your path will lead you. You all are bright and intelligent young people ready to conquer the world with new ideas and inventions. Don’t compromise your goals. Set them high and then achieve them. As your principal, I know everyone here today will succeed in each and every goal that you set in your lives.” Then he called each class number in order. “Class 1-A, please stand as your representative comes up onto the stage to receive your classes set of diplomas. Please stand here to the side as I call the other classes and those students rise. Now, 1-B.,” he instructed as the girl stepped to the side holding the diplomas in her hands. Riko stood with her class and then moved forward to the stage to receive her classes set of diplomas. She then stood next to the first girl on the stage. “Next is 1-C,” stated the principal. They did the same; all rose as their representative went up onto the stage to receive their classes’ diplomas as he stood next to Riko. The principal called the last class, “1-D, please stand with your classmates. Will your representative please come forward? ” The class rose as a group and Kato walked up onto the stage and received his classes’ diplomas and stood with the other three representatives on stage. With all the graduating students on their feet, the principal proclaimed, “I give you the Class of 2011.” The representatives walked down the stairs, first the girl and the boy, then Riko and Kato together. Then, they walked down the center aisle as their fellow students fell in behind them and marched out of the auditorium just as they had entered. They all went back to their homerooms where their diplomas were given out to each individual student. They said their final goodbyes to each other and took photos of one another before they left with their families for their homes and other celebrations.
A week passed since graduation. Except for Maki, who asked Mrs. Mori, “Mrs. Mori, may I work at the store full time with you? I don’t have the desire to go to college. And besides, you will need someone to help out while Riko and Kato attend school,” Mrs. Mori was delighted that Maki wanted to work with her. She said, “Thank you, Maki. I will love for you to work with me.” Riko, Kato, Yuya, and Toma were busy taking entrance exams for all the different universities they wanted to attend. Every day they would come back to the shop exhausted from their exams and would still take time to work at the store. This routine lasted for two weeks. After a few days they started receiving either rejection letters or acceptance letters. All four of them were surprised when they received acceptance letters from the same university. They were all accepted by Meiji University.
Chapter 7 to be continued with...
Riko and Kato Mori are twins, Kato being the eldest by only a minute. Their parents are Junno and Mao Mori, who run and own a large produce farm and store in Tama, Tokyo, which he had inherited from his father. Both children loved living above the store but Kato found waiting on the customers more fascinating. He liked it best when his parents left him in charge of the store. He loved to haggle and barter prices with their customers. The patrons always left the store happy and w...
Riko and Kato Mori are twins, Kato being the eldest by only a minute. Their parents are Junno and Mao Mori, who run and own a large produce farm and store in Tama, Tokyo, which he had inherited from his father. Both children loved living above the store but Kato found waiting on the customers more fascinating. He liked it best when his parents left him in charge of the store. He loved to haggle and barter prices with their customers. The patrons always left the store happy and with lots of vegetables. As for Riko, she liked to help out in the garden to cultivate and harvest the produce with her father. She specially liked the alone time that it gave with him.
Riko and Kato are very close to each other. They had an awareness of the others emotions towards things and other sensations. Once when they were five years old, Riko felt a dull pain in her lower right arm. She told her mother about the pain. She held Riko’s arm in her hands and looked at it and saw no bruises that would cause the pain. So she then rubbed her muscle comfortingly and told Riko, “You may have over worked your muscle while helping Daddy pick the vegetables in the garden earlier today.” She didn’t think there was anything to worry about or seriously wrong with her daughters arm. After a while, Riko forgot about the pain and started to play with her two friends, Toma Yamada and Maki Ohno. They played together until it was almost dark outside when her mother called her in for dinner. Her friends went to their homes when she went inside to eat.
Just before dusk, Kato arrived from playing with Yuya Ikuta, his best friend. The Mori’s closed their store while they all ate dinner together. After dinner, their parents reopened the store for a few hours again before closing for the night as Riko and Kato got ready for bed. Kato was the first to take his bath and put on his pajamas. Next was Riko’s turn. She prepared her bath water with bubble soap. She hurried to clean herself and dried off to put on her night gown. She was ready for bed too. Immediately, they got into their beds as their parents came from closing the store to tuck them in for the night. Their mother gave each one a kiss on their chubby, little cheek and pulled their blanket up to their chins and said, “Good night. I love you both.” Their father also gave them a kiss on the forehead. Their parents started walking towards the door of their room with Mao in front of her husband; he turned off the light and closed the door behind them.
Only an hour had passed before Riko was awakened by Kato’s sobs. She asked him, “Why are you crying? What’s wrong Kato? ” “My right arm hurts and I can’t sleep.” He replied. “Your right arm hurts, so does mine. Mom said it was from where I was pulling vegetables today. Why does yours hurt?” Riko questioned her brother. “When I was playing with Yuya at his house, we were climbing up a tree and I reached for a higher branch and my hand slipped and I fell. My arm really hurts an awful lot,” he stated holding his arm gingerly with his left hand. Riko got out of her bed and went to get her parents from their room. She told them what Kato had told her about his arm. They rushed into the bedroom to see Kato. His parents looked at his arm and decided that he needed medical care. Mr. Mori wrapped his son in his blanket, carried him out and put him into his car. He drove to the hospital. The doctor examined his young patients’ right arm. He ordered x-rays of the arm taken. The results came back in just a few minutes. “There is a fracture to the Radius bone. I will need to put a cast on it for a couple of months,” the doctor told them. The doctor put a plaster cast around Kato’s right arm, gave him a prescription for pain medication, and sent him home for some well needed rest. They arrived back home and Riko exclaimed to Kato, “Your arm, and mine too, feels a lot better, right?” Kato shook his head in an up and down motion meaning yes.
Again, when they were just a bit older, Riko found a very small calico kitten one morning when she and her father went to pick vegetables from the garden. Her father told her, “It’s just a newborn. It must have wondered way from its mother.” She picked up the little thing in her hands and cuddled it close to her chest. “Daddy, I could be the kitten’s mother. I will take good care of Patches,” she proclaimed. Her father looked at her in a questioning way and spoke, “Patches, huh. I guess you can take care of it. Here, put it in this basket for now and we will take it back to the store. It can be our mascot.” “Thank you, Daddy,” she said excitedly and gave him a big hug. They went back to the store a little while later and Riko told Kato she had a surprise to show him. She went out to the truck to get the basket with the tiny kitten inside. She placed it in front of her brother. He looked into the basket and said, “A kitten! Do we get to keep it?” “Yes, you guys can as long as you both take good care of it and if mother says you can too,” their father stated. They both looked over at their mother with big pleading eyes. With a smile on her face, she shook head for yes. Riko went upstairs and got a bowl of milk and sat it in front of the kitten. “I’ve already named the kitten, ‘Patches’, Kato,” she proclaimed as the kitten started to lap up the milk. Kato went to get an old piece of cloth and put it in the basket so that the kitten would be warm. That night they took Patches and her basket to their bedroom. Riko was so excited to have the kitten in her room that she couldn’t go to sleep; unlike Kato that put his head on his pillow and fell right to sleep. She pulled her pillow and blanket from her bed and positioned herself on the floor putting the kitten next to her. They fell asleep huddled close to each other. Everything seemed to be going well with Patches and her new home. The kitten roamed around the store carefree. But as Patches did so, Mr. Mori quickly realized the kitten was having some problems. He noticed that it would walk around and then suddenly collapse for a few minutes and then return to normal. She wasn’t eating much either. He knew that something was seriously wrong with the little critter. Not telling his wife, he took Patches to the Veterinarian while the children were at school. The Veterinarian advised Mr. Mori to euthanize the kitten because it had a rare and fatal disease. Mr. Mori made the decision to put the kitten to sleep so that it would not suffer anymore. He reached the store just as the children were walking home from school. Kato stayed outside playing with Yuya while Riko, without any delay, ran round the store and looked for Patches. The kitten was nowhere to be found. Riko asked “Daddy, Mommy, I can’t find Patches anywhere. Have you seen her?” Both of them shook their heads “no” and she was off to look again. She searched under things, in things, on things, and anywhere else a kitten could hide. She stopped long enough to eat her dinner and began her hunt again. She looked and looked well into the night as her brother slept. Her father watched her grief-stricken knowing that she was searching in vain. Exhausted, she laid beside the basket on the floor hoping that Patches would return as her eyes closed.
The next morning she awoke to find an empty basket and ran from the room crying. She was heartbroken. When Kato woke from his sleep his chest was aching. He knew that it had to be Riko making his chest hurt so much. It was because she was so sad about Patches. He went to find her. She was leaning against the wall of the store, eyes fixed, looking out to nowhere. He walked up to her and said in a consoling way, “I think she heard her mother’s cries and finally went back to be with her. Patches didn’t know you would feel this badly, I’m sure, or she might not have left you.” “Maybe you are right. I sure hope she’s happy. She made me happy the little time she was here,” she replied smiling as the pain in Kato’s chest subsided. Over-hearing their conversation, Mr. Mori was proud of Kato telling his sister that everything would be fine with Patches. Later that day, Kato found a moment alone with his father. He asked him, “I know everything. Patches was sick wasn’t she? I saw our truck at the Veterinarian’s office across the street from the school yesterday during lunch.” “Yes, son, Patches was very sick and I asked the doctor to put her to sleep. She was in a lot of pain,” his father replied. Nothing else was ever mentioned about what had happened to Patches.
Another time in middle school, Kato was in his math class when he felt severe pain at his left ankle. He knew that something had happened to Riko. He immediately asked his teacher to be excused from class for a moment. The teacher agreed to let him go. He ran as fast as he could to Riko’s gym class. One of the other teachers told him that they were outside running on the track, so he ran to the field. As he got closer he saw Riko sitting on the ground clutching her left ankle with her friends Toma and Maki beside her. Riko’s teacher was oblivious to her situation so Kato took matters into his own hands. He picked her up in his arms and then onto his back and carried her from the field to the schools’ clinic. Once there, he placed her gently on the examining table and propped her foot up with a pillow. Nurse Matsumoto interrogated Riko about the incident. Riko explained, “I was running in a timed track heat when Yuki Sato cut in front of me and our legs got tangled. She kept going while I stepped down on my left foot wrongly, making me fall down. A few seconds later, Kato had me on his back bringing me here.” “I’m glad Riko has such a nice brother to take care of her in a time of need,” the nurse commented to both Riko and Kato as she put an ace bandage around Riko’s sore ankle. Kato just smiled back at the nurse. Riko remained in the clinic as Kato went back to his class. When he got back, Yuya had wrote him a note and passed it to him. Kato unfolded it. ~ You were gone for quite a while. Where did you go? Kato wrote back~ I’ll tell you after class, it’s a long story. He folded the note back up and gave it back to Yuya. After the class had ended he finally got to tell Yuya what happened to Riko. Yuya accompanied Kato back to the clinic to get Riko. Maki and Toma were already there waiting with Riko’s things. The five of them went home together. The boys took turns carrying Riko with Toma being the first to carry her on his back until he got close to his home. He then transferred her to Yuya until they reached his home. Yuya and Maki left together for their homes leaving Kato to carry his sister the rest of the way home. When they reached the store their mother just looked at them in confusion as Kato walked up the flight of stairs and softly sat Riko on the living room couch and place her foot on a pillow once again, just as he had in the clinic. Riko lovingly looked at her brother and pulled him down by his arm closer to her and whispered in his ear, “Thank you.” She pulled at him again to get him even closer to her level as she put her arms around him and gave him a hug, a tear trickled down her cheek. Kato, breaking the embrace, put his hand on the side of her face tenderly and gently wiped away the tear from her cheek with his thumb as he smiled at her. He then stood upright, turned away, and left for downstairs to the store to relieve his mother so that she could look after her injured daughter. · close
I am a forty-eight year old woman. I have been married now for twenty-nine years soon. I have two children in their twenties. I am a school teacher for grades sixth, seventh and eighth.I was searching something up on my computer when it put me to a site where I watched It Started With A Kiss, a Taiwanese drama I was interested in a few of the characters and looked up who played them, Jiro Wang, Danson Tang, and Aaron Yan. Jiro and Aaron were in Fahrenheit so I started listening to them. I watche...Read more (253 words more)
I am a forty-eight year old woman. I have been married now for twenty-nine years soon. I have two children in their twenties. I am a school teacher for grades sixth, seventh and eighth.I was searching something up on my computer when it put me to a site where I watched It Started With A Kiss, a Taiwanese drama I was interested in a few of the characters and looked up who played them, Jiro Wang, Danson Tang, and Aaron Yan. Jiro and Aaron were in Fahrenheit so I started listening to them. I watched KO One and so on. I listen to a lot of groups aging from sixteen to mid-thirties. I enjoy listening to them and watching dramas. Is this wrong to be doing at my age? I can't fan girl like most girls do. I usually talk to my daughter who is into a lot of JPop, i recently got her into KPop, about them but not that much. She has different tastes in groups than I do. We do have some in common but not that much. My student i like it because they like graphic novels and anime . They talk to me about what they are interested in and i do the same. Some have asked for me to write a book, which i have started.
It is hard to get to know people who are interested in the same things I am because of my age and when they hear how old I am, they are turned off. I have joined other forums and no friends. I only want to talk not stalk. Even though I am married, I know a good looking guy when I see one, I am not dead. If it is wrong to talk at my age then so be it. It was nice knowing you all.
Here I have met some people and they seem okay with it. I hope that we will stay friends and actually talk about celebraties, dramas, and other things.
With age comes wisdom and You are as young as you feel!! · close
Did you ever want to just escape all your responsibilities? I do. I hate having to be the one that says 'NO'. I always feel like the bad guy, even when I know it
Is for the persons own good. I hate when I don't get appreciated for all I do but rather get scolded when I have forgotten to do something. I don't want to be told something that I know should be done 'should be done' . I am taken for granted by my family and friends. I have even thought of leaving and no...
Did you ever want to just escape all your responsibilities? I do. I hate having to be the one that says 'NO'. I always feel like the bad guy, even when I know it
Is for the persons own good. I hate when I don't get appreciated for all I do but rather get scolded when I have forgotten to do something. I don't want to be told something that I know should be done 'should be done' . I am taken for granted by my family and friends. I have even thought of leaving and not saying where I am going . If only in a blue moon would someone just say... Thank you for what you do for me/us!...but I know deep down I am really cared about by all just mention it and I will be happy.
Last year a few of my students asked me to write a book. So in February I started writing one. The setting takes place in Japan. It started out as a love drama, but I wanted to add some type of drama and suspense to it. So I looked up natural disasters that could occur in Japan since I live in the US. I did my research and was contemplating over an earthquake, volcanic eruption, nuclear explosion, tsunami, or a typhoon. I went to sleep that night and was awakened by a special news report, Japan ...Read more (199 words more)
Last year a few of my students asked me to write a book. So in February I started writing one. The setting takes place in Japan. It started out as a love drama, but I wanted to add some type of drama and suspense to it. So I looked up natural disasters that could occur in Japan since I live in the US. I did my research and was contemplating over an earthquake, volcanic eruption, nuclear explosion, tsunami, or a typhoon. I went to sleep that night and was awakened by a special news report, Japan had had a 9.0 earthquake and a tsunami. I was devastated by it all. In some strange way I felt like I had something to with instead of nature.
I gave blood, money, and clothing. I had even stopped writing my book/story. From March to mid June I had done nothing with it. My students begged me to keep writing because they had gotten interested in it. I tried, it came back slowly. I decided on a typhoon. I couldn't do an earthquake.
Now, I am writing chapter 50 but have only typed up to chapter 38, a rough draft of my hand written copy ( I'm sure it has a lot of typos). My students have expressed that I should somehow make it into a series of books but I am not sure where I should end or begin for a series.
I have writers block because I am not sure if I want to end the story Or keep going. Maybe I could bounce off a few ideas and see what you all think here. If you would like to read what I have typed up so far let me know and I could e-mail you a copy.
I teach students in grades 6-8 that have some form of autism, difficulty in learning, emotionally disturbed and English as a second language. There are many times that my students get into fights, say things that are not good and rebel but I love them all. I love dramas that deal with school and troubles the kids go through, it is close to home for me.
I would love to learn Japanese, Korean, and Mandorin Chinese so that I can understand a little more.