Hachiko - A Hachishakusama Story
Maki and I were about to eat breakfast as we prepared for a day of shopping. My little sister Maki was going with me to help him pick out some clothes for Hachiko. I was really anxious to get this day started. Maki was in the kitchen making an omelette while I was at the table buttering toast for both of us.
“Hey Maki, where did you learn to make eggs anyway? ”
“I learned from our mother before she married that other jerk.”
I didn’t know how to respond to that so I put my head down and let out a defeated sounding grunt.
“Kazu, do you still blame yourself for that?”
Again, I had no clue what to say to her. I did blame myself. I blamed myself for that jerk our mother married. I blamed myself for the way he treated my sister. I blamed myself for everything that happened.
“It’s not your fault Kazu. She was happy and you just wanted to see mom happy right?”
Again, I just grunted in frustration. As much as I hate to admit it, Maki was like a ray of sunshine. My days are brighter with her around. I’d be lost without the shrimp. Lucky for me, that Maki took that grunt as me being in agreement because I had no words.
“I wanted to see her happy too, she’s our mother. It’s not your fault he turned out to be a jerk.”
“Kazu. All you did was say that you wanted to see her happy and if that meant a new father then it means a new father..”
“But look at the way he treated you Maki. He treated you like something he stepped in and couldn’t get off his shoe.”
“What would have happened if I didn’t move out and take you with me?”
Maki grunted in frustration, kind of like I did not too long ago. She was getting into my habits a little too much.
Maki walked to the table with the omelette and placed the plate on the table but didn't sit down right away.
“Maki, do you know how many nights I stayed awake to make sure he didn’t try to hurt you?”
Well that sounded way too familiar. Like a certain 8 foot tall vampire creature lady. Only it came from a 4 foot tall shrimp. Maki put her head down before taking a seat at the table, across from me. She looked so sad. That was a sight I hoped I never had to see again.
“Poor Maki. I swear I’ll protect you.”
Maki reached across the table and put her little hands on top of my left hand.
“Kazu. You saved me from that jerk. I’m glad you took me with you.”
“Don’t you miss mom?”
“I do. I’m sure someday we’ll see her again...I hope.”
“Anything can happen right?”
“Yeah. I’m sure my awesome brother will find her.”
“You have an awesome brother?”
“Yeah but it’s kind of lame that toast is the best thing he can cook.”
And with that, I bit into both pieces of toast I put on the table and stared at Maki as I chewed.
“I’m eating your toast shrimp. Ha ha.”
“You suck Kazu! I take back what I said about you being awesome.”
“Really?! Are you sure?”
“Yeah! I’m sure you suck!”
Maki crossed her arms and pouted. She thought she was going to sucker me into making more by sulking. I mean, I was going to anyway. She can really lay on the guilt pretty thick.
“You’re not awesome at all. Can’t believe you want your cute amazing sister to starve.”
“You know I’m not falling for that right?”
“What if I make sausages?”
“I’ll think about making more toast. Maybe...”
Maki got up and ran to the kitchen to make sausage while I put more bread in the fancy little toaster thing I bought. It was actually the first thing I purchased when we moved out. Who wouldn’t want the perfect toast maker. But I had a question that was nagging me since she seemed a bit too excited to go with me, shopping.
“Hey Maki. Why do you want to go shopping with me anyway?”
Maki turned to me and flashed a big cheesy smile and said “I just want to go shopping with my brother.”
I guess I didn’t realize it but I smiled when she said that. I guess I was happy that she wanted to come and I didn’t have to feel like I was dragging her along, like when we go food shopping.
“No. But it made you smile.”
“Just hurry up with the sausage before I eat your toast again.”
“You know I was kidding, right??? Kazu?!”
“Better hurry up with that sausage…”
“I’m coming, I’m coming!! Please don’t eat my toast again!”
Maki brought the plate of sausage to the table and I handed her a plate with two pieces of toast. I always make sure Maki isn’t at the table when I make her toast so she doesn’t see that I add a bit of honey. I’m guessing it’s that bit of honey that made her like my toast so much.
“Kazu, are you ever going to tell me how your toast is always better than mine?”
“No. You made fun of me one too many times, brat. Hurry up and eat so we can go shopping.”
She pouted for a little bit, after I said that but she ate her toast and cleared the table too.
We both headed upstairs to get ready to go shopping. Maki ran to the bathroom so she could shower first. That was fine, I wanted to hit my room first and jump on the forum to update my site visits. Now that I knew Hachiko was out there, I had to protect her any way I could. I posted a few pictures of the woods near the vault and made a post to try to discourage anyone from ever trying to go out there again.
“It’s me, Kazuhito, legend of the relic forum and greatest folklore hunter you losers will ever see! [insert evil laugh here] I’m here to report my findings on my last hunt. Remember the bank vault on the hill? The one that was supposed to have some monster in it? Well I went there and looked around. There’s nothing there. It’s just an empty vault covered by heavy brush, high grass and weeds. It was a true waste of time but I guess most of these are, right? They’re urban legends and folklore. It’s the thrill of the hunt that keeps us going. I wish there was a monster there because I would have fought it with my bare hands. On to the next on the list.”
So I checked the vault off the list and left my statement.
“That should protect her for a while. At least from the forum geeks.”
Soon after that I heard Maki scream down the hallway. “I’m done with the bathroom!”
I walked down the hall to get in the shower but as I passed Maki’s room, she was standing there at her doorway, wrapped in towels like a mummy. Her hair, obviously her body and she actually had another wrapped around her waist. So we didn’t have a towel shortage, we had Maki using all of them. Ugh. Anyway, she was just standing there grinning and I couldn’t figure out why. Then as soon as I was about to pass her, she said…
“Kazu, we’re out of towels.”
I knew she used a lot of towels but didn’t think she would use them all before washing more. I had to do what any self respecting person would do. I had to use the shirt I was wearing as a towel.
“Guess I know what I’m going to pick up when we’re out.”
I headed to the bathroom to shower but then realized I should pick up towels for Hachiko too. I was definitely curious on how she kept clean and all that. I should bring more of that kind of stuff with me next time.
I finished showering, used my shirt as a towel and got dressed.
By the time I was done in the bathroom, Maki had already headed downstairs, I could hear her putting her shoes on. So I headed downstairs to put my shoes on and we headed towards the shopping district.
On the way to the shopping district, we passed several cats and Maki stopped to pet each one. I forgot how much Maki loves cats but unfortunately I couldn’t have one in the house.
“That’s like the 5th cat you stopped to pet.”
Maki started giggling and said, “Actually it’s the 7th.”
“You really love cats don’t you?”
“I do but I know you’re allergic and we could never have one, so I play with all the neighborhood cats on the way to the shops or school or when they look lonely.”
“Sometimes you can be incredibly sweet. You’re still a brat but a sweet brat.”
“You jerk! I know today is important for you so I’ll stop petting the cats.”
“You’re really showing your mature side lately. What are you trying to get out of me?”
“Nothing Kazu! I swear! I just know that you always protect me and take care of me and sometimes I go too far when I make fun of you. I don’t want you to hate me like HE does…”
“I doubt that’ll happen so relax.”
Maki was walking about 2 steps behind me but she caught up and grabbed my hand as we continued on to the shopping district.
“You okay Maki?”
“You just want to hold my hand?”
“Our father really did a number on her. I hope she’s going to be able to put it all behind her one day. Until then I have to protect her.”
Maki noticed the hat shop across the street and she’s never been in there. I’ve never even noticed it in all the time we lived there but I was probably never looking for it. Before I knew it, she was pulling me towards the store.
“Let’s go there. You said she needs to be out of the sun right? And you did draw a hat on that sketch you did. So let’s get her one of those really big beautiful hats like mom used to wear.”
“Hold on Maki! You’re going to pull my arm off.”
“Kazu, if an 11 year old can pull your arm off then you need to work out a little more, you nerd. Come on nerd boy!”
Of course I gave in. The brat had me wrapped around her finger. I don’t know if it’s because my wanting to protect her or I was just a sucker. So we jogged across the street and started staring in the window.
“You know, these hats are kind of expensive…”
Maki turned to me and just gave me a stare. I wasn’t sure what she wanted.
Maki just continued to stare at me.
“What?! What Maki!?!?”
Maki kept staring at me and I was getting frazzled because I don’t like not knowing why someone is staring at me. It made me feel so awkward.
“Would you stop staring at me like that!?!”
“Sorry Kazu. I was hoping you would take the hint.”
I stared at her and I’m pretty sure my stare was blank since I had no clue what to think. I had to ask her, “Has that ever worked before?”
“No. I guess not. Anyway, I think one of these hats would be amazing. It’s stylish, it’s wide so it gives more coverage from the sun and...I guess it reminds me of mom a little bit too.”
“I see. Ok, let’s go in and get a better look.”
As we walked in the door, we saw this woman who kind of looked like our mother. She was wearing a hat that definitely caught our attention as we were both staring at her. Even if it wasn’t for the hat, before us stood a tall, statuesque woman with long jet black hair, wearing round sunglasses and a long sundress that actually looked like what I drew as something I want to get for Hachiko. The hat did obscure her face a bit so never really got a good look at her. But it seemed like we both had the same idea since we looked at each other and said, “That’s the one!”
The women jumped a little since we startled her.
“Sorry miss. Excuse us. It’s just that the hat you’re wearing reminds us of someone and we may buy one just like it.”
“It can’t be for the pretty, young lady here. This hat is almost as big as her.”
Before I could say anything, Maki jumped in and said, “No ma’am. It’s for his girlfriend.”
“Oh really? Well I hope she likes it, young man.”
“Thank you ma’am but she’s not really my girlfriend.”
“I see. Well young man, I’m sure whoever she is, that she’ll love the gift.”
“See Kazu! She thinks so too.”
The woman tried to hide her face a bit like she was trying to hide her identity. What I came to know later was that we actually ran into our mother and didn’t even know it. She never wore glasses and always had short hair. Before that moment, we hadn’t seen her in over 2 years. If we had a chance to do it over, I’m sure we could have figured it out. Kind of crazy right? You bump into your mother and don’t even realize it. It was almost as if she was watching over us from afar. She lived 2 towns over so there was no point in her being where we are. Funny how things happen, isn’t it?
“Maki, you don’t need to keep selling me on it. I’ll buy it, I'll buy it.”
While we picked up the hat and looked at it, the woman we were speaking to, slipped out the front door.
I could have sworn when she walked towards the door she whispered something. It sounded like, “I can’t believe I ran into them together. They grew up so much. Take good care of her Kazuhito.” Or maybe it’s what I was hoping for? At that point our mother was becoming a memory more than a reality.
We started walking to the counter and I looked around but the woman was gone. I guess when we went towards the door, she actually left.
“Kazu? That lady left? I wanted to thank her again.”
“Maki, you’re acting too mature today. Go back to being a brat.”
I went up to the counter to buy the hat while Maki wandered towards the door. After I paid for the hat, I followed her out of the store. Though I noticed Maki giving me this odd look, kind of like she was trying to get my attention.
"Hey. Young man."
“What has that lady started…”
“Young man. Young man. Hey, young man. Are you paying attention to me?!”
I guess I didn’t notice it before that but she was reaching her hand out to me. So I grabbed her hand.
“Thank you, young man.”
“Usually you don't want me holding your hand. You always say you're old enough and won't get lost.”
Maki turned her head and I’m sure she was pouting before she said, “I know. Just do it okay!”
“Alright, alright. So Maki, where do we go next?”
As we started walking, Maki started pulling on my hand to get my attention. She noticed something I didn’t. There was someone watching us and I just didn’t see it.
“Kazu. Kazu. That guy over there. Look at him! Behind the old lady looking in the window. I think he's watching us!”
“Are you kidding me? That’s Sato. That’s definitely Sato. What the hell is he doing...”
“Hey Kazuhito. I see you're on a date. She looks a little young though.”
“Don't be gross dude. That’s my little sister, Maki.”
“Oh right. Hideki did say you had a sister who came to the store all the time. I knew she looked familiar. You’re the girl who always buys ice cream and gummi bears.”
Maki pointed at him like she was out of one of those Ace Detective games.
“You’re the guy who’s always reading manga when I come to the store!”
Maki bowed to Sato and said, “Thank you for taking care of my nerdy brother.”
Maki bowed again and said, “I mean, thank you for taking care of my big brother.”
“Wow. What a well mannered young lady. Even if you did just tell my boss I read manga at work.”
“Come on Sato. Don’t make her head bigger than it already is.”
“Awwww. Don’t be mean, Kazuhito, she’s cute.”
Maki blushed and started acting like she’s shy. “Thank you mister Sato.”
“I’ll let you guys get back to your shopping. It was nice meeting you Maki.”
Sato walked off in the other direction. I was sure he only said hello because Maki spotted him. He definitely looked like he was trying to be sneaky or something. I wasn’t sure if he was spying on me or someone else though.
As Sato walked away, it looked like he was mumbling something to himself.
Sato mumbled to himself, “Hideki always tries to make Kazuhito seem like a bad guy but he seems alright. Wonder who the hat was for. That was a pretty big box so it can’t be for the shrimp. Maybe he really does have a girlfriend.”
After that little encounter I led Maki to the dress store that I noticed on my way to work the day before.
“Ummm...how do you know about the dress store Kazu? Are you secretly wearing dresses? You do hang out with those other forum weirdos. You might be into some weird stuff...”
I stared at her for a few seconds and she flinched once or twice before I flicked her on the forehead. Wasn’t too hard or anything, just enough that she got the message that she was out of line for that one.
“Who do you think buys your clothes?”
“I’m guessing it’s not the clothes fairy…”
“Smartass. Let’s go in.”
So we walked into the dress store and Maki got as excited as a kid at Christmas. She was smiling, giggling and basically bouncing from rack to rack, looking at everything that caught her eye and that was basically EVERYTHING.
“I want to try that one! And that one! That one too!”
“And you were just calling me a weirdo for knowing where it is...”
“Yeah...sorry Kazu. Let’s get what we came for.”
“Maki. I will get you something for helping me. But only if you’re helpful.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kazu. You’re the best brother ever.”
“Can we take care of what we came for first?”
Maki grabbed my hand again and she actually led me to the adult section. On the way to the adult section we passed a mannequin wearing what looked like an ordinary white sundress to me but it seemed to catch Maki’s attention and she pointed it out to me.
“Look at that one Kazu. It even looks like your drawing.”
“I guess it does look like my drawing though it’s all white. It’s nice but she has very pale skin. VERY pale. Do you think it would work? Maybe we should get something with color?”
Maki quickly looked around for things she could use to accent the dress. Seemed like my little sister knew exactly what she was doing. She may goof off and act like a slacker but Maki would always come through when I needed her to. Anyway, what was I talking about again… Right. Maki saw that ultra white dress like a blank easel for her to color. She was running around the store looking for things that would go with the dress. She ran up to items, brought them back and tried to match them up with the dress and this went on for about 10 minutes. I just stepped back and watched her try to figure this out. It’s easy buying clothes for an 11 year old but trying to outfit a woman, creature or whatever she is, was not.
“Hey Maki. You know I can’t buy the whole store right?”
Maki turned to me with this fake shocked look on her face and said, “We’re not rich!??”
I couldn’t help but laugh at her goofiness.
“Ok, Kazu, would you be alright with getting 2 outfits? Well it would be four because I have to sew them together to make something long enough for her.”
“That sounds expensive.”
...and with that, Maki looked up at me and gave me a thumbs up and a big smile, then she patted me on the shoulder and said, “No. Not at all bro. I got you.”
“That doesn’t sound reassuring from an 11 year old.”
“Just trust me and grab that white dress and the green one behind it.”
“Yes Kazu. Now see the black skirts behind you? Grab 2 of those too.”
“You really sound like you know what you’re doing.”
“Peasant, have you not learned that I know everything yet?”
“Oh great. She’s doing her princess thing. I’m just going to nod and agree.”
Maki started looking back and forth before saying, “We need fabric. A lot of fabric. Like a lot, lot.”
“Hey princess, we don’t have to be extra fancy you know.”
“Awwwwwwww...okay Kazu. One really nice, almost fancy outfit to go with the hat and one casual?”
“And you know how those basketball players are like realllllllllllllllly super tall? What about one of those track suits?”
“You realize that you made fun of me for wanting to get her clothes right?”
“I did? No, no. You’re imagining things Kazu. I would never make fun of my big brother, who’s trying to help out his girlfriend, who I haven’t met yet, and I hope he brings her home so I can see her in one of the outfits that I made for her. So I would never ever make fun of you.”
“Wow. I must be imagining a lot of things. But since that jerk Hideki made me take his hours a few times last week, I do have some extra cash so let’s do it.”
I wasn’t sure when she stopped listening but she definitely did. She was still looking around the store while I was talking, like she just assumed I was going to say yes.
“We need this and this, and that one too. Oh, oh! And material to make leggings and gloves.”
I just gave in and said, “Okay.”
Maki noticed how I just seemed to be going with the flow.
“Hey Kazu. You sure she’s not your girlfriend? You’re making this way too easy. I can’t even make fun of you.”
“That’s the barometer now? And didn’t you say you wouldn’t make fun of me?”
“Seriously Kazu. Do you like her? If you do then you should tell her.”
“Well you better make it uncomplicated, young man. Let’s get this stuff and then go get me some fabric. Your not girlfriend is going to look like a model when I’m done.”
“You talk a big game Maki. Are you sure?”
Maki grabbed a sparkly belt and handed it to me.
“We’re done here, young man. You have my permission to go pay for this stuff.”
“Wow, thanks princess Maki. Anything else?”
Maki handed me two dresses other dresses which were for her.
“These too, young man.”
“Yes, princess. Sure, sure.”
So I took the dresses from her and went to the counter to pay for them and the woman at the register smiled and said “You have good taste, sir. Your daughter will be happy.”
“I’m sorry. Isn’t the little girl behind you your daughter?”
Wasn’t sure if Maki was following me or not since she was interested in just about everything in the store. But there she was behind me, with her hands crossed behind her back, trying to look innocent. Well I guess she always looked innocent.
“No. No no no. That’s my little sister. Do I look old enough to have kids?”
“I’m so sorry sir. Forgive my impertinence.”
The woman started bowing to me which was kind of embarrassing since it was just a simple mistake.
“It’s okay ma’am. Please stop bowing.”
The lady at the counter started wrapping up everything and then I felt a tug on my shirt. Maki was trying to get my attention.
“Do I really look that young, Kazu?”
“Maki. You are 11. Of course you do.”
“I’m sorry for the confusion, sir. I wrapped everything for you.”
Maki jumped in front of me when she sees the smaller box, wondering if it’s for her.
“Is that one for me?”
The lady at the counter handed it to Maki and said, “Yes it is, young lady.”
“You wrapped it so pretty! Thank you!”
I grabbed the other bags and said, “Thank you ma’am.”
Then as we started on our way out the store. Maki noticed another dress she liked and before she could say anything, I stopped her.
“Let’s go shrimp. I already got you two dresses right?”
Then she ran in front of me and spun around so she was facing me. She flashed that big bright smile of hers and said, “You’re right. Thank you bro. Let’s go get some food.”
“You know. I guess it wouldn’t be too bad if I ended up with a daughter like her. She may be kind of spoiled and a little bratty but she’s a good kid.”
We left the store and I decided I wanted ramen at the stand I usually go to when I’m working. So I pointed it out to Maki and asked her if she wanted to try it.
“Hey Maki. There’s this ramen stand across the street. It’s really good. I go there for lunch a lot. Want to try it?”
“Are you going to make fun of me if I get the mild one?”
“Maybe. I won’t know until we get there.”
“You could always get it with less spice, you know. This cook will make it just how you want.”
“Really?!!?!? Then, young man, I want to try the spicy ramen. But not toooo spicy.”
“That lady at the hat store really left an impression on you didn’t she.”
“Why would you say that, young man?”
We walked across the street to the ramen stand and I let Maki sit in my usual spot. The end seat and I sat next to her, on her right. The ramen shop cook came over to take our orders. I went first since I knew Maki would take a while figuring it out.
“I’ll have a number 3, spicy with extra meat and…”
Maki pulled on my sleeve to get my attention. Usually I order for both of us but I guess she’s ready to start doing it herself.
“Let me order Kazu. Please! I can do it.”
“Ok, tell her what you want, Maki.”
“I want number 2, no 4, wait...number 5. Spicy but not too spicy. Half as spicy? And can I have extra meat too, please.”
The cook gave her a smile and replied, “Ok, little lady. You got it.”
The cook started making our food. But of course I took notice of little Maki trying to be more mature.
“You’re really trying to show off today, little miss mature.”
While waiting for our food, 2 of Maki’s friends from school showed up. I was about to be introduced to her 2 best friends in a very loud way.
“MAKI!”, Kimiko screamed at the top of her lungs.
“Kimiko!? Asuka?! What are you doing here?!”
“I wanted to go clothes shopping but Kimiko just had to tag along.”
“Hey! You know you would be lonely without me. You agree with me, right Maki!?”
”I don’t know Kimiko...Asuka looks pretty mad right now.”
“Oh come on. That’s her normal face. Right Sukisuki?”
Asuka looked at Kimiko with that look you would see a disappointed mother give her child, and just shook her head.
“You’re mean Sukisuki. Anyway, Maki what are you doing out here? Are you with someone?”
I was sitting there looking at my phone and Maki pointed at me before saying, “Yeah ,my nerdy brother Kazuhito.”
“Thanks shrimp. I'll remember that.”
Kimiko replied to Maki with, “Don’t be like that Maki. I think he’s cute.”
Asuka followed up with, “Maki, you didn’t tell us you had such a handsome brother.”
“Ewwwww. Don’t perv out on my lame, nerdy brother. Soooooo lame.”
While the little ones were talking, I noticed someone at the other end of the stand. It was the hat store woman from before. She didn’t have the hat on which is why I didn’t notice her there before. The hat was next to her on a stool. It looked like Maki was okay with her friends so I went over to talk to the hat store woman again.
“Uh oh. Kazuhito is coming my way. Did he notice me without the hat? Does he realize it’s me? Hopefully my glasses are enough to fool him.”
“Hi again, ma’am.”
“Oh hello, young man. How are you and your sister?”
“We’re good ma’am. We’re still shopping. I saw you over here and my sister is with her friends so I wanted to say hello, and thank you again for earlier.”
“That’s so sweet. And it’s nice that you and your sister seem to get along so well.”
“Well, she’s all I have. My mother married this jerk and he was tormenting her, so when I moved out I took my sister with me. I hope my mother doesn’t hate me for it but I couldn’t let him keep tormenting her. She still has some pretty bad flashbacks.”
“That’s why my babies left? Kazuhito you broke my heart when you left without telling me why.”
“I’m sure your mother would understand. You did tell her, right?”
“No ma’am. I feel so ashamed and I don’t even know if I can face her now. I never told her because I didn’t want her to feel guilty. I still blame myself for kind of pushing for them to be together. She seemed happy and that’s all I wanted. I just wanted her to be happy. Do you think I was wrong?”
“Young man, it looks like you’re taking good care of your sister. You seem like you're doing well for yourself too. I think your mother would be proud of you if she knew just how well you two are doing. She might be a little heartbroken though since you did leave without telling her. Maybe you should call her or write her a letter.”
“You’re probably right ma’am. I should. I know the shrimp misses her and I do too.”
The lady stood up to get ready to leave. She already ate and I happened to catch her before she left.
“I think you should. I’m sure your mother probably misses you and wants to know how you two are doing. Call her, young man.”
She puts her hat back on, grabbed her bag and started to walk away.
“If you’ll excuse me, I do have to go. Take care, young man, and take care of the little lady. Maybe we’ll bump into each other again.”
“Thank you ma’am. I will contact her. I promise.”
“I’m sure she’s probably been waiting to hear from you, young man.”
“You know, since we saw you in the store, my sister has been calling me, young man too.”
She started laughing as she walked away. But she turned back to say one last thing.
“Tell the little cutie I say goodbye and I’m glad I could leave a little piece of me with her.”
“I will ma’am. Thank you again. Take care.”
After our conversation, I walked back over to the girls and my food was waiting there for me. Of course Maki noticed that I disappeared.
“Where did you go, young man?”
“I was just talking to that lady from before. The one from the hat store.”
“REALLY!?!? Why didn’t you tell me??!?”
“You were here with your friends.”
“It was Kimiko and Asuka right? Don’t want to screw up their names and really look like a lame nerd. I’m pretty sure Asuka is the one with the hime haircut.”
“You’re Kimiko. And you were Asuka, right?”
They both looked at each other before answering.
Both replied, “Yes sir, Mr big brother.”
“Wow, they’re so polite.”
“Come on guys. Don’t make his head bigger than it already is.”
“Hey! My head is the appropriate size.”
“That’s what you say if you think your head is big. Big head! Big head!”
“Maki, I was about to invite your friends to join us and buy them ramen but I guess I don’t have…”
“Okay! I’ll be good! Sorry Kazu.”
Of course the talkative Kimiko jumped right in with, “You’re really going to buy us ramen mister big brother?!”
“Yeah. Take my seat. You guys can sit together.”
Asuka and Kimiko looked at each other like they were in a competition and getting ready to do battle and both of them exclaimed at the same time. “I want to sit next to mister big brother!”
“Hmmmmm...how do I solve this one.”
“That wouldn’t be fair. I’ll move down and sit on the end, and let Maki sit next to me. This way you guys can sit together.”
As usual, Kimiko jumped in first again, “Awwwwwwwwwww…you’re right mister big brother. We’ll sit over here on the other side of Maki.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
So I got the cook’s attention to order for Maki’s friends, “Excuse me, miss, can we have two more ramens for the girls? Thank you.”
I pointed at Maki’s bowl to tell her I wanted 2 more like that. Mine was spicy beef but Maki’s was chicken and a little less spicy so I figured that would be good for them.
“I got chicken for you two. Only a little spicy. Hope that’s okay.”
I was expecting Kimiko to be the first one to say something but Asuka put her hand over Kimiko’s mouth and spoke first. I guess she knew Kimiko would beat her to the punch too.
“Mister big brother is so nice. Thank you mister big brother!”
“Yeah Maki, we might have to take him from you. Thank you mister big brother.”
Maki grabbed onto my right arm like someone was really trying to take me away from her.
“He’s mine! No one can have him!”
“Maki, calm down. I’m sure they were joking. Right girls?”
“Yeah. We were joking Maki.”
Asuka pointed at Maki before saying, “You really love him, don’t you.”
“N-n-n-n-n-nooooo. I’m not saying I do but I’m not saying I don’t…”
“You girls seem like you get along well. Thank you for taking care of my bratty, spoiled, loud, obnoxious sister.”
Maki started pouting and the girls laughed. The cook also laughed and tried to hide it but she heard that too.
I put my arm around Maki and kissed her on the forehead. Maki started blushing and put both hands on her forehead like she’s trying to cover the spot where I kissed her.
Kimiko took this chance to tease Maki and Asuka followed right behind her.
“I would let mister big brother kiss me on the forehead.”
The cook joined in on teasing Maki too.
“I think I would too.”
Maki grabbed my arm again and meakly said, “he’s mine.”
“Alright, you guys heard the princess. I’m hers and no one else can have me.”
The two friends and the chef at the same time said, “Awwww...not fair,” and laughed.
The cook decided to try to calm Maki after that. She said to her, “I’m sorry, little one. I didn’t mean to tease you. Just so you know, your brother comes here for lunch and I tease him too but he didn’t tell me that the little sister he talks about all the time, was such a cutie.”
“You talk about me Kazu?”
“All the time?”
“I don’t know…maybe.”
Kimiko jumped in to say “Now I really might have to steal him. A handsome brother who cares about his little sister. He’s perfect.”
Asuka flicked Kimiko hard on the forehead. If I used that kind of force on Maki, she might go flying across the room or through the wall or something. That girl is ruthless.
“Hey! You know you were thinking it too. He’s so much better than your mean brother.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t say it out loud. Idiot.”
“Maki knows I would never steal her brother. Right Maki?”
Maki turned and flicked Kimiko on the forehead too.
“Come on! Stop doing that, I don’t want brain damage.”
“So that’s where Maki gets it from.”
Maki and I finished our ramen and got up to leave. We still had more shopping to do. So I pushed my bowl towards the cook. Maki noticed what I did and she pushed her bowl forward too.
The cook decided to use the girls’ name for me when she asked if I was leaving.
“You’re leaving mister big brother?”
“Yeah. Me and the shrimp still have more shopping to do. Thank you for the food.”
I bowed and Maki followed my lead. She bowed and said, “Thank you for the food.”
“She really is trying to be more grown up.”
Kimiko jumped up to say goodbye but she ended up knocking her food over.
“I’m sorry Miss cook.”
“Kimiko! This is why me and Maki always have to look out for you. Dummy.”
“Sorry Asuka. I didn’t mean to...”
I felt bad for Kimiko, she took that nuclear forehead flick and survived. So I rubbed her forehead trying to make her feel better.
“It’s okay Kimiko. I’m sure Miss Cook knows you didn’t mean to. Right?”
“Yes, don’t worry about it little darling.”
“See? It’s okay.”
Kimiko hugged me which agitated Maki.
“Thank you mister big brother. You really are awesome.”
“A-a-a-a-a-a-a-suka...she she she she...m-m-m-m-my Kazu.”
Asuka grabbed Kimiko and pulled her off me. Then she pushed her head down to bow.
“Sorry mister big brother. She’s so impulsive and uncontrollable. She’s like a wild animal”
“It’s okay. Really. But could you guys just call me Kazuhito? Mister big brother sounds too formal.”
“Seems like this Asuka is the one guiding their behavior. She seems so calm and collected. Good to know that Maki has friends who seem to care about her.”
“Ok Mr Kazuhito. I’ll make sure the idiot calls you that too.”
We grabbed our bags and Maki grabbed my hand as we left.
“I’ll see you guys at school tomorrow. Bye!”
“Bye Maki. Bye Mr big broth--”
Asuka smacked Kimiko in the back of the head.
“That poor girl. She’s going to have no brain cells left after these two are done with her.”
“Bye Mr Kazuhito!”
We started to walk away to continue our shopping trip. Kimiko and Asuka sat back down to finish eating. The cook gave Kimiko another bowl since she spilled the first one.
“I’m not an idiot Sukisuki.”
“Sorry Kimiko. That was a little harsh.”
The cook child in on their conversion, “You two seem like you’re good friends. You should try not to be so hard on each other. You don’t want to grow apart.”
“That’ll never happen. Asuka needs me.”
“Yeah! Or you would be a boring, knowitall with no friends.”
Kimiko was joking around but Asuka took it kind of seriously.
“Really? Look at the way you flirted with Mr Kazuhito. You need me to keep you in check or you’ll do something stupid. Stupid.”
“Girls. No fighting.”
They both looked at the cook and at the same time said “We’re not fighting!”
Kimiko grabbed Asuka and hugged her hard.
“See. We’re not fighting Ms. Cook. We’re best friends.”
“Let go of me you gorilla. How are you so strong!?”
The chef was holding a ladel and gave them the look of a mother who was about to smack them into next week.
“I know you girls aren’t fighting in my shop, right?”
“No ma’am! I’m sorry! Sukisuki is sorry too! Right?!?”
“Sorry Ms. Cook. No fighting. Got it.”
The girls put their heads down and kept eating.
“You always get me in trouble Kimiko.”
“Would you stop calling me those goofy names.”
“No. You’re my Suki.”