Mob Child IX
Back to third-person for this chapter. It’s another “midquel”, like Chapter 6, but it does go into new events, too (I guess you could call this one a “revelation” chapter). Anyways, enjoy
Previous Chapter: The Difference
- Broken Promises -
Mahina’s home was no more than two miles from the Saimin Shop, but with no car or bike, the walk there still lasted over an hour – she normally rode with one of her friends, but she came alone today. It wasn’t the first time she had been stuck with this long walk, though, so she didn’t mind it. Plus, it gave her some time to reflect on her meeting with Aito. She had to admit, she was quite pleased with the turnout, though the smile on her face as she thought about it made that obvious to anyone watching, including her foster father – who was in the midst of washing the family vehicle.
“Welcome home, hun.” he greeted her as she walked across the lava rock driveway.
“Hey, Koi.” she replied as she passed him and made her way towards the front door, which was already being held open by her foster mother.
“So, how was lunch?” she asked as Mahina walked inside, followed shortly by Koi.
“How’d your blind date go?” he asked, taking a much more overt approach than his wife, which earned him a smack on the arm with the stain-covered rag in the latter’s hand. Mahina blushed a little before giving them an answer.
“It was good. …I really liked him.”
“Oh? So, are you gonna see him again?” her foster mother replied with obvious interest, causing her husband to roll his eyes – he wouldn’t dare hit her, even playfully.
“Umayma.” Mahina responded in a discomfited tone, meanwhile entering the kitchen in search of something to quench her thirst. Amused by her embarrassment, Koi chuckled softly.
“How about his name, then? Can you tell us that?” Umayma insisted, still bent on hearing about this new friend of hers. After some hesitation, Mahina succumbed to her pleading.
“I guess. …He said his name’s Aito.”
“Ah, so he’s Japanese, is he?” her foster mother inquired, her curiosity clearly still unsatisfied.
“Half. He said his mother was Hawaiian.” Mahina explained as she filled her glass with tap water.
“Was?” Umayma asked, intrigued by her choice of words. Mahina lowered her head, recalling her own mother as she responded to her.
Feeling guilty for spawning these sad memories, Umayma joined Mahina in her moment of heartache. Koi, on the other hand, was much more caught up in thought after getting a glimpse of this boy’s personal history. Pondering over it for no more than a few seconds, he placed his hand on his wife’s shoulder and looked at Mahina.
“Could you leave the kitchen for a second, sweetie?”
Confused, but nonetheless obedient, she walked out into the living room – glass still in hand – and perched herself on the far end of their brown, naugahyde sofa. She sat there for a full ten minutes, wondering what had prompted Koi to ask her to leave, before the two finally emerged from the kitchen, Umayma now wearing a rather worrisome expression.
“Mahina. Did this boy tell you his last name?” Koi questioned her.
“No? I didn’t ask him for it.” she replied, his sudden inquiry leaving her both confused and worried. The couple traded vexed looks for a brief moment before voicing their point of concern.
“Honey, we’re going to have to ask you to call off any plans you might have with him later.” Umayma requested regrettably, much to Mahina’s shock.
“Huh? …But, why?” she implored, a look of minor desperation on her face as she sought out an answer. It was Koi who eventually gave her one.
“…I think this ‘Aito’ you met today might be Aito Ryokudan, …Yatsumi Ryokudan’s son.”
Just the utterance of his first name was enough to cut the size of Mahina’s pupils in half. Yatsumi Ryokudan, the leader of the country’s most prominent yakuza and the single most ungodly human being in Honolulu, perhaps the entire state of Hawaii, …was Aito’s father?
“Yes, sweetie. …THAT Yatsumi Ryokudan.” Koi reaffirmed the man’s identity. At a loss for words, Mahina just sat there mystified, praying that there was some error in their judgment.
“B-but, why would that matter? It’s not like that makes Aito himself a bad person-”
“We know that, Mahina. But, you know our reasons for not wanting you to see him. …Please respect them.”
“We assure you, it’s for your own good.” Umayma added, making it clear that both of them were certain it was him. Seeing no point in continuing this losing battle, Mahina heaved a deep sigh and complied with their request.
“Okay. …I had plans to meet him at six tomorrow. But, could I at least stop by the Saimin Shop after my game tomorrow and confirm it with Susume?” she urged them.
“That’s just fine, honey. If he turns out to be someone else, then all the better. …We’re sorry, sweetie. We would’ve said something to Mister Moto sooner if we had known.” Koi replied before heading back outside to finish his labor. Meanwhile, his wife returned to the kitchen – where she was preparing the meal the trio would be eating in the next few hours – leaving Mahina alone in the living room, pondering this disappointing turnout. It was a shame, she thought. She was really looking forward to her date tomorrow.
At almost four o’clock the following day, Mahina – dressed in a roomy white shirt and tan shorts which covered her red two-piece – returned from the nearby beach on her bicycle and continued off towards the Saimin Shop, in a hurry to settle the dispute that had been coursing through her mind for the past twenty-four hours. Leaving her bike by the rack on the opposite end of the chain of shops, she walked in and immediately took a seat on one of the empty bar stools, setting her bag next to her feet.
“Ah, Mahina! How’re you doin’ today?” Susume greeted her. He was in the midst of preparing drinks, so he didn’t bother to make eye contact.
“I’m alright, Susume. How are you?” Mahina replied with a smile, though it was obviously devoid of any real emotion.
“Just fine, just fine.” he answered as he set two freshly made margaritas on the counter, which a waitress came by and took over to a nearby table. Those being his last orders for the time being, he set the rag in his hand down and walked over to speak to her, at which point he finally took notice of her pitiful expression.
“You okay, hun?” he questioned her, finding it odd to see Mahina in such a mood.
“Hm? Oh, …yeah, I just…Susume?” she asked, prompting the old man to lean in more.
It was the last question he wanted to answer, she was certain. This was the only thing keeping her from spewing it out then and there, cause her curiosity was boiling over by this point.
“Aito. …What’s his last name?”
If the old man’s dilated pupils weren’t enough to answer her question, his offhand remark certainly was. He was really hoping to keep that information hidden, it seemed.
The truth now in the open, all Mahina could do was lower her head in disappointment.
“So, it’s true then. …He’s-”
She stopped as Susume’s hand entered her line of sight, pressed against the counter as it motioned gradually towards her own. She looked up into his heavy, blue eyes, which were filled with both sadness and resolve.
“Mahina, as someone who cares deeply for Aito’s wellbeing…and his sanity, I’m asking you not to do this to him. He’s already had a bad life as it is…and you will break his spirit if you walk out on him now.” he pleaded with her. When she didn’t answer, he kept going.
“Hun, I ain’t askin’ you to marry the boy, but for the love of God, don’t walk out on him before your first date, …at least not for something like this.”
She didn’t want to walk out on him, though, at least not for the moment. If anything, this only brought her pity for the boy she had only known since yesterday, not hatred – and she made sure that Susume knew this before she gave him an answer to his plea.
“It’s not cause of who he is, Susume, I promise you. …It’s just I already promised my foster parents I wouldn’t see him if he ended up being who they thought he was.” she explained, regret present in her voice. The old man lowered his gaze as these words fell on his shriveled ears.
“I see. …Alright, well, don’t worry about it then. Do you have any way to contact him?”
Her look of sudden realization told him all he needed to know. It seemed Aito wasn’t the only one who was quick to forget about important information.
“Damn it. …Okay then, when were you supposed to meet up with him?” he asked hurriedly.
“Six o’ clock.” she answered.
“Shit, that’s just an hour and a half away. …Alright, uh, I’m gonna have to give him a call real quick. Hun, I wish you had come by during lunch hours.”
“I’m sorry, Susume, but I had a volleyball game earlier this afternoon. That’s why I told him to meet so late.” she tried to explain, but the old man was much too occupied at the moment, screaming into the back room for someone to fill his spot before reaching for the phone hanging on the wall beside the doorway.
“I could just go meet him and tell him why I can’t-”
No! Nonononono, that’ll just make it worse for him if he knows why your folks told you not to see him.” Susume entreated. His words only added to Mahina’s guilt, though – her eyes were proof enough of that – and he quickly regretted speaking them.
“I’m just gonna tell him you stopped by and told me to tell him something came up. That sound alright?” he assured her. By this point, he was gently bouncing up and down as he waited for Aito to answer his call.
“Yeah. …That sounds fine. Hey, I’ve gotta get back now, alright?” she intruded as she reached down and picked up her bag.
“That’s fine, hun. You have a good night now. …Damn it, pick up the phone, you little prick.”
These were the last words to emerge from Susume’s lips before he was out of Mahina’s range…and they didn’t leave her with much confidence in the old man’s promise.
She spent almost an hour following her departure from the restaurant wandering the immediate area – no real objective in mind – before making her way over to the store where she had asked Aito to meet her the day before. Once again setting her bike on the bike rack, she headed inside and waited for him to arrive – she considered meeting him outside, but decided against it at the last minute. If she was fortunate enough, he got Susume’s message and wouldn’t even be showing up in the next thirty minutes. Much to her dismay, though, he didn’t only arrive, but he was ten minutes early.
“Quite the gentleman.” she thought to herself. She wanted to go outside and greet him, but her unwavering integrity prevented her from breaking the promise she made to Koi and Umayma. So, she could only watch from behind the magazine stand as he stood there patiently awaiting her arrival, probably just as excited about their date as she was. Every passing second only made it that much harder for her to watch, and by the fifteen minute-mark – at which point she had already passed her original arrival time – she was desperately hoping for him to just give up the endeavor and go home. Right about that time, he pulled out his phone – probably to check the time – and she heaved a sigh of relief.
“Ah, good. Maybe he’ll return Susume’s calls now.”
To Mahina’s disappointment, though, he returned it to his pocket in the following moment – his confidence in her imminent arrival must’ve been strong. That thought tugged at her heart in a way she never thought possible, and now she was praying for an ending to this dilemma that didn’t involve heartbreak. Another fifteen minutes passed before he began showing some signs of wavering resolve – and the dark clouds above his head began showing signs of looming rainfall. It began shortly after, gradually growing heavier and heavier, and Mahina couldn’t take her eyes off of him the entire time. A few seconds passed and Aito suddenly fell to his knees, causing her to throw her hand over her mouth in shock. Susume told her that walking out on him would surely break him, but she never expected this. She was on the verge of tears when the motions he was making forced her to reexamine his actions.
“HehehahahahahHAHAHA!! You just couldn’t stop ****ing up my life, could you!? Even in death! You fat ****ing bastard!!”
Evidently so, it seemed. His words confused her, though, and she spent the next few seconds trying to decipher who he was referring to when he finally lowered his head again. His motions following that one were unmistakable, though – he was crying. The rainfall might’ve hid his tears, but she knew they were there. She couldn’t remember how long he remained there in the rain before he finally got up and began walking home, but only one thing was on her mind the entire time.
“Go home. …Please, just go home.”
By the time her prayers were finally answered, her eyes were already overcome with tears. She leaned against the magazine stand and gently allowed her body to descend towards the floor as one or two customers watched her in confusion. She didn’t care, though. In her mind, she deserved the ridicule after what she just put Aito through, and it was only with a great deal of effort and a few more passing seconds that she managed to pick herself back up, walk outside, get on her bike and ride home.
It was almost a quarter to seven when her bike finally skidded into the driveway of her foster parents’ house. The garage door was closed, so she leaned it against the wall next to it before slowly walking towards the front door, her tears having just recently dried. She couldn’t help herself, not after having just witnessed Aito’s breakdown. Three people told her not to meet him today – one who knew him well and two who didn’t – but now she wished that she never spoke a word to a single one of them. She had to make things right again, she thought. That was the only thing on her mind at this point, though she didn’t like the means by which that would have to be done.
“Oh, Mahina! You’re back.” Umayma greeted her as she walked inside, quickly running to grabbing her a towel after seeing how soaking wet she was.
“Hey, Umayma.” she replied feebly, though she did her best to smile.
“So? What’d you find out about your friend?” Koi asked as he got up from the sofa. Mahina waited until Umayma had wrapped the towel around her before answering him, nearly choking on her words as they escaped her lips. …It was the first time she ever lied to them in the two years she had been their daughter.
“His last name is…Moto. It turns out he’s actually Susume’s grandson, but he just didn’t want to tell me that until after we met up. He said he thought it’d be weird if he just asked me to come and meet up with his grandson, right?”
It was the most convincing lie she could come up with on her way home, and the tension she felt as she waited for their reply to this false news was almost visible on her face. Koi’s index finger tapped repeatedly against his thigh as his hand rested on his side. He must’ve gone over her answer several times in his head before finally giving her a reply.
“Aito Moto…sounds about right.” he said finally, causing Mahina’s face to light up with joy.
“So, why’d you come home so early? I figured you’d be out on your date still if it turned out we were wrong.” Umayma said suddenly, causing all that joy to quickly melt away.
“Oh, uh, …well, it-it’s raining pretty hard out now, so we thought it would be better to postpone it until another time, you know?” Mahina replied clumsily. She could only thank God that the question had such an easy answer to it.
“Alright. Well, we hope you have a good time. Now, let’s get ready for bed. We don’t wanna miss church in the morning.” Umayma announced before going off to bed, followed shortly by Koi. Mahina stood by the door a few more minutes after they left, pondering the day’s events. She was gonna make things right with him again, …no matter what.
“No. …No, we don’t.” she said before hurrying off to take a shower.
As midday approached the following morning, Susume pulled into the parking lot of his restaurant, having just returned from a very refreshing sermon, and proceeded towards the front door – key in hand. No sooner after his two-minute struggle to fit the small piece of metal into the lock ended did Aito appear alongside him, hands tucked in his pockets and hood draped over his head. He had a cigarette dangling from between his lips, so immediately, Susume knew that things didn’t go well for him last night – he never smoked this early in the day, though then again, he was rarely up this early in the day, either. Even so, the old man did his best to sound cheerful, despite knowing full well what direction their conversation would eventually take.
“Afternoon, Aito. Just comin’ back from service?” he asked. Aito had been looking at the ground this entire around, and he didn’t bother looking up after what he considered to be a stupid question.
“You know I don’t go to church anymore, old man.” he replied dolefully. Susume merely shook his head as he unlocked the door and threw the key back in his pocket.
“Yeah, whatever. So, you mind tellin’ me why you didn’t answer none of my calls yesterday?”
Aito didn’t answer, causing him to turn around and face him.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, even though he already knew the answer. Aito’s lip began trembling, leaving Susume amazed that his cigarette didn’t fall out as he spoke.
“She didn’t show, Susume. …She didn’t ****in’ show.”
He didn’t even bother taking it out of his mouth before speaking. What a pathetic lug, the old man thought to himself. He snatched the cigarette from him – causing Aito to look up in surprise – and took a quick puff on it before handing it back.
“So, what’re you gonna do about it? Go snort another bag of cocaine?” he replied harshly, earning him even more surprise from his younger counterpart. Aito quickly snatched the cigarette back and put in his mouth, and Susume could tell from the way he was holding it that he was gonna say something even harsher when he took it out again.
“It’s a joke. …Aito, before you go and do something stupid, you need to know what Mahina told me.” he said, hoping that his words wouldn’t fall on deaf ears.
“Told you?” Aito said gently as he took the cigarette out of his mouth.
“Yes. She came by here after her volleyball game yesterday. Told me to tell you something came up and she’d have to postpone your-”
“Oh, **** you, old man! Don’t take me for a damn fool! If she came to see you at all yesterday, it was to find out my last name cause she had suspicions about who I was!” Aito shouted, feeling almost insulted that Susume would even attempt to lie to him. He took another puff on his cigarette as he waited for the old man’s reply which, as he expected, didn’t come.
“Am I right or am I right?” he asked smoothly. Again, more hesitation on Susume’s part, but an answer eventually came this time around – in an distinctive matter-of-fact tone.
“Actually, it was her foster parents who suspected you were Yatsumi’s boy. …She didn’t give a damn either way.”
Whatever retort was sitting at the top of Aito’s tongue suddenly fell short. He honestly wasn’t expecting to hear this kind of answer from him. He reminisced on it for a brief moment as he leaned against the pillar directly in front of the window, taking his cigarette out of his mouth once he was finished.
“And I suppose they don’t want me seein’ her cause of that.” he said.
“Yes.” Susume replied. Aito nodded, expecting this to be his answer, and took another puff on his cigarette. His attitude about the entire ordeal was quickly getting on Susume’s nerves, and it wasn’t long before the old man reached his boiling point.
“Aito, for the love of God, quit your damn bellyaching! I don’t give a shit if you got turned down by a prostitute! Until every single person in this world denounces you, you have NO right to complain about this!”
Aito didn’t respond to his rant in any way, not even a slight change in his expression. He just stood there, puffing on his cigarette as if he knew everything the world had to offer. This only heightened Susume’s fury, but even so, the old man only had enough energy for one rant.
“You don’t feel comfortable giving your last name out to people, that’s fine. You just do a better job of hiding it next time. But, there’s too many people in this world for you to get pissy just cause you couldn’t connect with one.”
Aito slowly turned to face him as he spoke. He honestly didn’t catch a word of what Susume said after the first statement, specifically after the eighth word.
“Hiding last names. …Old man, you have no ****in’ right to-”
He stopped once he saw Susume’s outstretched palm, which quickly turned into a pointed finger once he realized that he had his attention. Following it, Aito set his sights upon a black-and-white vehicle – topped with an unmistakable red-and-blue light – as it pulled into the parking lot and slowly began driving towards them. He was almost frozen with fear, to the point where Susume had to pinch him in order to get his attention.
“Put the cigarette out and pull out your gun…slowly.” he whispered. Aito quickly complied, throwing the remaining butt down and stomping on it before reaching into the back of his pants and handing his pistol to the old man, who quickly hid it beneath his apron as the officer stepped out of his car.
“Afternoon, fellas.” he said as he walked up to the two of them. Judging from his accent, he was clearly from the mainland.
“Officer McGarrett.” Susume replied with a nod of his head. The man returned the gesture before turning his attention towards Aito, who had stuffed his hands back into his pockets.
“Hey, aren’t you kinda hot in that sweatshirt, boy?” he asked. He was clearly trying to be intimidating, though it was also clear that he was trying to hide that fact from them. Either way, it didn’t work on Aito, not in the least bit. …Not being armed anymore probably had something to do with that.
“I manage, sir.”
“Do ya? Good…that’s good.” the officer said. The two locked eyes briefly, each of them obviously waiting for the other to blink – no dice for either one. The man eventually grew tired of it and turned his attention back to Susume, who noticed from Aito’s expression that he was celebrating internally, prompting the old man to step on his shoe.
“Oh, I don’t mean to intrude on your business, Mister Moto. You can go on in.” the officer said, not catching wind of any this. Susume bowed his head before taking him up on his word.
“I’ll be doin’ that, then. Have a good day, Officer. …You too, Aito.” he bid farewell to the two of them before heading inside, at this point thankful that he didn’t leave the metal detectors on whenever he locked up for the day. Once he was gone, the officer looked back at Aito, his tone now much more serious than before.
“So, Aito. …I am correct in assuming that’s Aito Ryokudan, isn’t it?”
There was only one thing the police could’ve possibly wanted to see him for, Aito thought, one crime that he had committed during his entire life that he hadn’t already paid for. …And he quickly began wondering what – or who – could’ve tipped them off.
“Somethin’ I can help you with, Officer?” he asked casually, refusing to make his tension known.
“Jack’ll do, son. …I’d like a word with you down at the station, if you don’t mind.”
To Be Continued…