Chapter 12:

Chapter 11

Hachiko - A Hachishakusama Story

After all that, we headed down the street towards the fabric shop that Maki mentioned. I never noticed the store before so I almost ended up walking past it until Maki started pulling on my hand again.Bookmark here

“Young man, young man.”Bookmark here

“What’s up shrimp?”Bookmark here

“Stop Kazu! You almost walked past the fabric store.”Bookmark here

“Sorry Maki, I didn’t know this was it. I’ve never been here before.”Bookmark here

“Do I have to show you everything, young man?”Bookmark here

“How long is she going to keep this ‘young man’ stuff up?”Bookmark here

Before I knew it, Maki was dragging me into the fabric store but I had my eyes on something in the window.Bookmark here

“Hey wait. Maki! Wait!”Bookmark here

“They have the same stuff inside that they have outside. Let’s go!”Bookmark here

“Did I just get scolded by the shrimp?”Bookmark here

“Come on. Come on. Let’s go.”Bookmark here

“Alright Maki, stop rushing me.”Bookmark here

“Kazu! I always wanted to come here!! THIS! IS! AMAZING!”Bookmark here

If this was an anime, you’d be looking at a panning overhead shot circling overhead as Maki is looking at everything in the store and pointing at everything she wants. But it’s a book, so you know, imagine it.Bookmark here

“I want that one and that one and that blue one. Ooooh!! That red one would look nice too.”Bookmark here

“Maki.”Bookmark here

“I want that pink ribbon too. It would look nice on my new dress.”Bookmark here

“Maki.”Bookmark here

“This place is amazing, Kazu! You're going to have to work a lot of overtime!”Bookmark here

Almost forgot how forward the shrimp could be. My fault for spoiling her I guess. I grabbed her by the head. Not like some super strong grip or anything. It was kind of like putting my head on her head and bending my fingers in like I was going to grip her head, but of course I’d never hurt her. I don’t know what you’d call the look I gave her. Was kind of angry but awkward. Like an uneasy smile? Just believe me, it was awkward.Bookmark here

“I’m going to do what now, shrimp?”Bookmark here

“You’re going to pretend your cute little sister didn’t say that.”Bookmark here

“Sounds about right.”Bookmark here

“Sooooooo...we came here for material to make something for your not girlfriend right?” Bookmark here

Maki put her head down like she was just punished for getting out of line and started rifling through the materials. I wasn’t really mad, I just wanted to keep her in line. Maybe I did trample on her excitement. I always did this thing where I would run my hands through my hair rapidly, kind of like what you’d do if you saw a fluffy dog. Kind of like a nervous tick or something. Bookmark here

“Alright Maki, I’ll get you something but don't go crazy.”Bookmark here

“Kazu, do you see that black roll, WAY UP THERE, TO THE RIGHT!?”Bookmark here

Maki was pointing to a roll of lycra on the top shelf which to her probably looked like it's a mile away. I guess she didn’t hear what I said. That’ll be easy on my wallet.Bookmark here

“You mean this one?”Bookmark here

I just reached up and pulled it down like it was nothing, It wasn’t like I had to stretch or anything. I just raised my arm, grabbed it and pulled it down. But I guess Maki wasn’t expecting it to be that easy so she started pouting.Bookmark here

“Ummm... yeah… that one… I could have got it, you know...” Bookmark here

“I know you could.”Bookmark here

“Don't go thinking that because you're taller than me that you have an advantage.”Bookmark here

“I know Maki.”Bookmark here

“Are you patronizing me, peasant?”Bookmark here

“You really are spoiled. Maybe I should stop buying you ice cream.”Bookmark here

“No. No. No. No. No. I’m sorry.”Bookmark here

“I know she’s joking but sometimes she does take it too far. Just have to check her once in a while.”Bookmark here

“How much do I ask them to cut?”Bookmark here

“Nothing. We’re taking the whole thing.”Bookmark here

“WHAT?!”Bookmark here

Maki motioned for me to come down to her height so she can whisper something to me.Bookmark here

“Kazu. Your not girlfriend. Ummm… she’s kind of… not skinny. I’m going to need more material.”Bookmark here

Maki pulled out the measurements that I wrote down and pointed at the hip measurement.Bookmark here

“And this hip measurement and the thighs. She’s ummm… curvy. Then add in her height and it’s a lot of material.”Bookmark here

I looked her dead in the eyes like I was going to ask her the most serious question ever. Bookmark here

“Are you saying she has a big ass?”Bookmark here

Maki started laughing so loud that others in the store could hear her. Didn’t realize it would make her laugh that hard.Bookmark here

“Hahahahahahahaha. Yes Kazu.”Bookmark here

“Too loud. Ssshhhh!”Bookmark here

Maki was one of those people who makes you laugh when they start laughing. Kind of like a virus or something. Infectious, that’s it. She had an infectious laugh so I started laughing. I was trying not to but whatever it is about her laugh got me. I grabbed her hand and led her towards the ribbons but she was still giggling at that point. Bookmark here

“It wasn’t that funny. Anyway, grab the ribbons you wanted so we can get going.”Bookmark here

“Thank you Kazu! You’re the best!”Bookmark here

Maki started grabbing ribbons and I started adding up the cost in my head with each one she picked out.Bookmark here

“Hey shrimp. Why so many?”Bookmark here

“Well, you know that hat you got? I want to make a band for each outfit. Then I want to make a nice belt for her too. And these are for me and you’re not allowed to ask about those.”Bookmark here

“Ok Maki. I’ll get those for you. You earned it.”Bookmark here

“Yay! I can’t wait to show Kimiko and Asuka.”Bookmark here

“How long have you been friends with them?”Bookmark here

“I think it’s been about 6 years.”Bookmark here

“Hmmmm...maybe I should get them something to thank them for taking care of my sister.”Bookmark here

“So pretty much since you started going to school?”Bookmark here

“Yeah. I didn’t know the other kids and Kimiko came over and talked to me.”Bookmark here

“She does seem like the type who would do that. That girl would probably talk to a parked car.”Bookmark here

“Asuka was sitting in front of me reading some nerdy science book and Kimiko grabbed her chair and spun her around. They started calling each other names but you could tell they were friends. I started laughing and they both looked at me and said ‘That’s not funny!’ at the same time. They were so in sync I couldn’t stop laughing. Then we all started laughing together and they kept coming to say hello to me after that.”Bookmark here

“You guys do seem to get along well.”Bookmark here

“I love my friends Kazu. They’re the best.”Bookmark here

“I wish I could still be as innocent as them. I hope the world doesn’t change them.”Bookmark here

Since Maki was picking out ribbons, I got an idea. I wanted to do something for her, more than just buy her ribbons for her dress.Bookmark here

“Hey Maki. I want to get something for you and your friends. What about something like matching hair accessories?”Bookmark here

Maki looked up at me, looking like she’s about to cry.Bookmark here

“Really Kazu? You’re not joking right?”Bookmark here

“I’m serious Maki. I wish I had good friends like them when I was a kid. I want to thank them for being such good friends to my little sister.”Bookmark here

“Wow Kazu. You need to get more not girlfriends, you’re usually such a cheapskate.”Bookmark here

“What?!”Bookmark here

“Nothing. I didn’t say anything at all Kazu. You’re hearing things.”Bookmark here

“I know I can be strict with money sometimes Maki but I don’t have anyone helping me out. If something happens to me then I have no way to take care of you.”Bookmark here

“Stop it Kazu or I’m really going to cry.”Bookmark here

Maki grabbed 3 matching ribbons and accessories but they were different colors.Bookmark here

“3 different colors? Are you guys the Power Rangers?”Bookmark here

“Kazu. If some guy showed up somewhere with you and was wearing the same thing, wouldn’t you feel weird?”Bookmark here

“I guess so. Maybe?”Bookmark here

“3 different colors so we can stand out but since they’re the same, we still stand together.”Bookmark here

In my head I still pictured the Power Rangers but she was right. The only thing I could do was stare at her with a kind of shocked look. This was just a shocking day for me. My little sister was acting a lot more mature than she usually does. I really was shocked. The more the day went on, the prouder I was. Bookmark here

“When did my sister get so crafty and mature?”Bookmark here

Maki smiled and walked over to the register and put everything she was holding on the counter.Bookmark here

“Hurry up Kazu! Let’s go!”Bookmark here

Easier said than done, shrimp. She had ribbons and I had a giant roll of lycra. This thing was heavy, maybe 100 pounds. Even when I got it on the counter, the cashier did a double take. She was probably thinking I was crazy. Who brings a whole roll of this stuff to the counter. Bookmark here

The cashier was nice about it but I could feel her looking at me like I had a screw loose, “Do you want me to have this cut for you sir?”Bookmark here

“No. We’ll take the whole thing.”Bookmark here

“Are you sure, sir?”Bookmark here

“Yes ma’am”Bookmark here

“Ok sir, that will be 24900 yen.”Bookmark here

At that moment, I felt my soul leave my body.Bookmark here

“Wow. You sure Maki?”Bookmark here

Maki had her head down but a few seconds later, she looked up at me and frantically nodded.Bookmark here

“My poor wallet. I’ll miss you, friend.”Bookmark here

I proceeded to pull my wallet out and paid for it. But as we got ready to leave the store, Maki took some of the black ribbon she bought and started wrapping it around me. Then she motioned for me to give her the lycra roll and I had a feeling she was trying to be helpful but giving her the roll wouldn’t go well.Bookmark here

“Heaaaaaavy. Kazu I need you to hold this, like this please.”Bookmark here

“Okay.”Bookmark here

Maki continued wrapping me and the roll together. She was making it so the lycra was more like a lycra backpack instead of me carrying it. She bought extra ribbon just to do that. I thought it was part of her plan.Bookmark here

“Wow! Maki you’re kind of amazing! This is much easier to carry now!”Bookmark here

Maki ran in front of me and looked up at me with her hands on her hips and a very smug look on her face. I mean, reallllllllly smug. Then she pointed at me before saying...Bookmark here

“Amazing? That’s right, I’m amazing! Don’t you forget it!”Bookmark here

Maki turned around and started swinging her arms higher as she walked, she was holding her head up higher too. I tried not to laugh, I really did. But I couldn’t hold it in anymore and just burst out laughing.Bookmark here

“Kazu? You okay? Did you lose your mind?”Bookmark here

“Sorry Maki. I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. What’s with that walk!?”Bookmark here

“Ummmm… it’s the I’m so amazing and my brother finally realized it walk.”Bookmark here

“It’s kind of goofy.”Bookmark here

“That’s okay. I have to back up my amazingness with an amazingness walk.”Bookmark here

“I’m glad we had this day together Maki. We need to do this more often.”Bookmark here

“Yeah….”Bookmark here

I kept walking and didn’t notice that Maki stopped in her tracks. Her voice did trail off but I thought nothing of it at first. I turned around and she was standing there, a few steps behind me, with her head down, trying to hide the fact that she was blushing.Bookmark here

“Hey shrimp, what’s up?”Bookmark here

Maki picked her head up and pointed at me like she’s Phoenix Wright or something.Bookmark here

“Don’t say something so nice to me when I’m not expecting it.”Bookmark here

“Seriously?!?”Bookmark here

“Yes.”Bookmark here

“But I’m really enjoying our time together.”Bookmark here

“Stupid nerd boy. Shut up.”Bookmark here

“That’s not going to change my mind.”Bookmark here

I walked over to her and put my hand on her shoulder and gave her a gentle push.Bookmark here

“Come on Maki. You don’t need to be embarrassed. I’m your brother.”Bookmark here

“That’s why it’s so embarrassing!”Bookmark here

“But you’re okay holding my hand?”Bookmark here

“Shut up! D-d-d-d-don’t…..”Bookmark here

“Maki, one day you’re going to grow up and not want to hold my hand anymore.”Bookmark here

“That won’t happen Kazu!”Bookmark here

“Even when you’re 19 and I’m 28?”Bookmark here

“Okay. You might be right on that one. I wouldn’t want an old man holding my hand.”Bookmark here

Maki put her head down again because she was slightly embarrassed that she didn’t think of that. After a few seconds, she extended her hand to me.Bookmark here

“Just shut up and hold my hand. Okay?”Bookmark here

So we continued on our way, to this store Maki mentioned that sells clothes for basketball players, holding hands. But I couldn’t let this opportunity to keep teasing her, get away. What kind of big brother would I be if I did that? Bookmark here

“Tsundere.”Bookmark here

“Shut up!”Bookmark here

“It’s okay, Maki. I like you the way you are.”Bookmark here

“Shut up!”Bookmark here

Maki started walking faster as we got closer to the store she was talking about. Since she was still holding my hand, she was kind of dragging me along. Then she came to a dead stop.Bookmark here

“There. That’s the place. They make the stuff for the basketball players so they should have something we can get her.”Bookmark here

“How do you even know about this place Maki?”Bookmark here

“I saw it on TV and just happened to remember it. Some of them are close to 8 feet right?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, a few of them are.”Bookmark here

We walked into the store and Maki already had her eyes on something. I wish I was that lazer focused when it came to shopping for clothes. It was a black Adidas tracksuit. She started pulling me towards it and gave me the ‘this is it’ look.Bookmark here

“I think that’s the one, Kazu. But….. Ummm…. Do basketball players have hips like her?”Bookmark here

“Probably not Maki. Have to assume they have big sizes and if it’s not big enough it’ll just be tight right?”Bookmark here

“Yeah. I guess so. As long as she can get it over her hips we should be fine.”Bookmark here

“Her hips aren’t THAT big Maki.”Bookmark here

She pulled out the sheet on me. She reached up and put it in my face. Bookmark here

“You sure? Look at the number that YOU put on that sheet.”Bookmark here

“Okay, she’s just kind of thick.”Bookmark here

“Kind of?? And she must have a big... wait hold on.“Bookmark here

I’m pretty sure she was thinking something like, “I don’t think he’s going to let me say that word and live.”Bookmark here

“Rear end…….safe.”Bookmark here

“Alright, alright. Maybe you’re right. But I’m sure there’s something here that would work. I hope. Maybe...”Bookmark here

That started my search. I just started looking for the biggest thing they had. I didn’t know what to get her but even if they had something it may end up being short. I took the longest jacket and pants off the rack. Then I realized she had nothing to go under so I grabbed a bunch of sports bras. Again, I just went for the biggest they had. She does have some large breasts so...Bookmark here

“I wonder how all this will fit her. I think the jacket might work if she keeps it open. Not sure on the bras though, she is kind of well developed. Those hips though, that might be the killer, will the pants fit? Hmmmm…”Bookmark here

“Okay. I think these will work. I hope.”Bookmark here

“Are you sure Kazu? Because she has a big…...”Bookmark here

“Yeah, yeah. I’m pretty sure. I think.... It’s not like I’m buying a whole wardrobe or anything.”Bookmark here

“Do you think one of these suits would look good on me?”Bookmark here

“Are you saying you want one too, Maki?”Bookmark here

Maki put her head down, grabbed my and led me towards the counter.Bookmark here

“Let’s go. I don’t need anything else.”Bookmark here

While I went to make the purchase, Maki kept looking back at the Adidas track suits. I was such a push over when it came to her. Bookmark here

“Her birthday is coming soon, maybe I’ll have to get her one.”Bookmark here

“You ready to go, shrimp?”Bookmark here

“Yeah Kazu. I’m ready.”Bookmark here

After that, we walked out of the store. Maki wasn’t really paying attention to where she was going and walked right into the woman from before. She bumped her so hard that she fell back into me. I had to catch her before she fell. She regained her balance but was rubbing her head. I guess she did fall into me kind of hard.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry ma’am. I wasn’t paying attention.”Bookmark here

Maki looked up and realized it's the woman from before. She started pulling down on my hand like she does when she wants my attention.Bookmark here

“Kazu! Kazu! Kazu! It’s the lady from before!!”Bookmark here

“Maki. I can see that. Stop pulling.”Bookmark here

“Oh. Sorry Kazu.”Bookmark here

The woman had a concerned look on her face. I mean would too if some shorty just ran into me and almost knocked herself out.Bookmark here

“Are you sure you’re okay, little one?”Bookmark here

“Yes ma’am! I’m okay!”Bookmark here

“Looks like you and the young man have been doing a lot of shopping.”Bookmark here

“Yes ma’am. The young man has been shopping for his not girlfriend and he bought me a few things too.”Bookmark here

“Young man, you should be proud. Looks like the little lady loves being with her big brother.”Bookmark here

“He’s okay. I guess.”Bookmark here

Okay, I had to interject that time, “Maki, I’m standing right here.”Bookmark here

“By the way, little one, what is a not girlfriend?”Bookmark here

“Just ignore the shrimp. It’s her way of making fun of me for buying something for a friend who is a little less fortunate.”Bookmark here

“So you’re helping this person, young man?”Bookmark here

“Yes ma’am.”Bookmark here

“And she’s not your girlfriend?”Bookmark here

“No ma’am.”Bookmark here

“Young man, I hope your parents are proud. They raised a proper young man.”Bookmark here

“Thank you ma’am. I appreciate your kind words.”Bookmark here

“Well, young man, I will let you and the little lady get on your way.”Bookmark here

Maki jumped in front of me. I guess she thought she was being left out or wouldn’t get a chance to say anything.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry ma’am. I will make sure the young man gets home okay.”Bookmark here

The mystery woman tried not to laugh but could barely hold it back. Then I bowed to mini princess and said, “Thank you Princess Maki. Thank you for making sure I get home okay.” Bookmark here

Then the mystery woman couldn’t stop laughing. I probably would have laughed too if I was watching us.Bookmark here

“You two really do get along well. I hope nothing ever comes between you. Family means a lot.”Bookmark here

“You’re right ma’am. That’s why I’m going to take your advice from earlier.”Bookmark here

Since Maki wasn’t part of that conversation, she started pulling on my hand again and asked, “What’s that, Kazu?”Bookmark here

“I’m going to call mom. Maybe we can meet up one day. It’s been long enough.”Bookmark here

Maki started bouncing up and down. She was excited to possibly see our mother again.Bookmark here

“Really?! I miss her Kazu! Do you think she misses me!?”Bookmark here

“I'm sure she does little one. Anyone would miss their daughter.”Bookmark here

“We… had a problem at home...and my brother moved out, he took me with him. BUT he took me to protect me.”Bookmark here

“Awwww, that sounds very sad. I hope you guys can work it out.”Bookmark here

Maki started shaking her head frantically, I think it was because she stumbled on her words. I guess everyone in my weird family has some kind of nervous tick like thing. Bookmark here

“WAIT! It wasn’t our mother that was the problem! I hope I didn’t make you think that. It was this guy she was seeing. He….”Bookmark here

Maki grabbed onto me and I realized she wasn’t able to tell her. So I took over for her, even though I’m going to be rehashing something I already talked to her about but Maki doesn’t know tht. So we acted like the previous conversation didn’t happen.Bookmark here

“Yeah… you see… our mother was seeing a man who didn’t treat Maki right. So when I moved I took her with me to protect her. He seemed like an okay guy at first but I couldn’t let him treat Maki that way.”Bookmark here

“I see. Is that why the little one is so attached to you?”Bookmark here

The mystery woman bent down to Maki’s level.Bookmark here

“Hey. It’s okay. Isn’t the young man here, taking care of you.”Bookmark here

Maki nodded in agreement and loosened her grip on me.Bookmark here

“Was he really that bad?”Bookmark here

Maki nodded in agreement again.Bookmark here

“Poor baby. Can I give you a hug?”Bookmark here

Maki nodded again and the woman gave her a hug.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry little one. Your big brother will protect you.”Bookmark here

Maki looked up at me and then turned back to the lady. And said, “I don’t know. He’s kind of a nerd.”Bookmark here

“Hey!”Bookmark here

Maki and the lady both started laughing while I started to walk away. I wasn’t going to leave Maki but wanted her to think I was.Bookmark here

“Kazu! Don’t leave me, you jerk!”Bookmark here

I shouted back, “Well, it sounded like you guys didn’t need me anymore!”Bookmark here

“Young man, you get back here right now! Don’t go home without me!”Bookmark here

“Ok little miss, I think we might have teased him a little too much.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, you might be right. I better go or he’s going to take away my gummi bears.”Bookmark here

“Awwww… She’s so innocent. You’re doing a good job Kazuhito.”Bookmark here

Maki hugged the woman and said “Bye ma’am. I hope we see you again.”, and ran to catch up to me.Bookmark here

Maki ran to catch up to me and grabbed my hand. They both turn back to wave to the mystery woman.Bookmark here

“Bye! I hope we meet again.”Bookmark here

“Take care of that precious little one, young man.”Bookmark here

We started heading home and the mystery woman headed back to her place or so I assumed anyway.Bookmark here

“Can’t believe I bumped into them again. My babies have really grown up. I hope you keep your promise Kazuhito. Your mother misses her babies.”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.