She played several chords on her guitar, the phone cradled between her shoulder and her left ear.
"Daddy you know I would never do that." A thought came to her as she listened to herself talk. At twenty-seven she was probably well beyond calling him daddy, but it had always felt right.
"No. no not at all. I would just really like to know." She frowned at her husband as he made a hand motion stating she was talking too much for to long, and more important he felt like he was being neglected.
"I promise daddy, I would never do that. I am quite certain that he has gone on and made a life of his own. Still I would like to know." Her pick was hurdled at her husband who was now doing everything in his power to make her laugh. Oh how she love this man. She was going to kill him when she got off the phone though.
"Shindo." The word rolled off her tongue as she looked up at her husband. A look of shock and surprise crossed his face and all his silliness left at once. He knew how important that one word was to his love.
Several minutes later she hung up the phone and laid back on her bed, her guitar resting across her stomach.
"He told you?" She felt the bed shift and looked up are her husband a small smile turning the corners of her lips as he sat down next to her.
"Yeah he did." She closed her eyes and took several deep breaths. So long she had waited for that one piece of information.
A finger ran up the inside of her arm, causing her to smile up at her husband. "So, what are you going to do?"
A huge smile crossed her face. "Call Peg."
"Peg? Wait? What?" He looked at her confused as she sat back up catching her guitar before it hit the floor and reaching for the phone again.
"Hey Peg, it me." She smiled and winked at the man she loved giving a fake frown when he rolled his eyes at her. "I finally got it…..Shindo."
The bells on the coffee shop door jingled behind him as he walked out the door. Pushing his long black locks out of his face he began trudging for home. If he was able to get to the noon bus he might get a few hours sleep before his shift at the club started.
He never thought he could be so tired, but as he looked at his reflection in the store front window while waiting on the bus, he could see how much life was taking its toll. It had been stupid of him not to have moved his funds before he left, but he was not about to let that psycho Seguchi know where he was. He was certain that the producer had enough power to watch over his account and would be able to tell where the money had been transferred to.
He heaved a sigh and stepped onto the grimy bus dropping into the first empty seat. With out paying much attention he watched the down town area fade to give way to the less savory portion of town. Who would have ever thought he would have sunk so low. He was a millionaire by right, a rock star loved by so many in Japan, but this wasn't Japan, and no one in California thankfully knew who he was. That was what he wanted.
He sighed again and exited the bus at his stop. With shoulders slumped he made his way to the dingy apartment complex where he lived. He looked up as he entered the parking lot to see three of the complexes punks smoking something at the far end of the parking lot. Of course most everyone that lived here were punks. He quickened his steps as he noticed one of the punks push himself off the car he had been sitting on. He was aware of the steps coming up behind him, and walked a little faster.
"Where you heading to in such a hurry gook?" came a sneer just before he was jerked off his feet. "Hey I'm talking to you."
He stared up into a pair of dark brown eyes that radiated hate. "Just going home," he stammered out quietly.
"Ahh the gooky is going home," mocked another one snarling mincingly. "I aint seen no docks around here for you to paddle your way back home."
He took a breath and tried to squirm free of the grip they had on him. "Ahh look boys, the gooky wants to get away." The man lowered his face so close to his own he could feel his breath. "This is our hood and if you're gonna be here you're gonna have to pay."
"I don't have any money," he replied honestly, albeit scared.
"Hear that boys, gooky aint got no money, guess he'll have to pay up another way."
Suddenly he found himself forced over the hood of a car his face pinned down against the rusted paint. There was a tug at his pants and he suddenly understood what they meant to do. He started struggling to get away when punch landed painfully against his ribs knocking the air out of him. As he gasped for breath against the pain, stars burst before his eyes as one of his assailants brought their knee up between his legs, knocking all the fight out of him. Tear started to well in his eyes as he felt a tug at his jeans again.
Oh god, please not again.
"What!" She looked down at the receiver in her hand. "Wait say that again." She still couldn't believe what she had just heard. "Here? In Cali? Are you sure?" She raced down the stairs to find her husband. She knew she should be happy but something just didn't feel right. "What do you mean it's not a good thing? If he is here then I can see him." As she rounded the corner to the 'music room' she waved her hand for her husband to come to her. Normally he would have ignored her, but the look of urgency plus the vigorous nodding to the other person on the phone had him worried. He abandon his place at the piano and walked over to her just as she hung up.
"I have a little brother." He could se the tears welling up in her Amherst eyes. "He lives here in LA"
"We don't exactly live in LA" he stated but was stopped from further comment by her dirty look.
"He is living in the ghettos," a single tear ran down her face. "We have to do something."
"Ok hunnie, ok" he said pulling her into his arms. "Did you get an address?"
"Yeah." She nodded to emphasize as she drew back to look up at his bright green eyes. "Peg emailed it." She took several deep breaths still staring at him, "I don't know how to explain it but I feel like something is really…wrong."
He cocked one of his fine arched black brows at this statement and took in the look on her face. A weight suddenly fell in his stomach. For some reason he knew she was right. He grabbed her chin and placed a quick kiss on her lips before hurrying to the den where the computer was. With in moments he had the address mapped out.
"If we leave now, we can be there about 12:30 if there isn't traffic."
"This is California, there is always traffic." She gave him a you're-being-dense look before heading to the garage.
"Then I guess we better go." He grabbed his keys off the kitchen counter and almost ran to the car. His wife's sense of urgency had leaked over to him, but no one could blame him. When ever she got these feelings they were almost always right.
"Looky here boys, the gook is wearing a button fly. What's the matter afraid of getting it caught?"
Tears fell from his eyes to the car hood where his head was still pinned. He felt the last button give way and the brush of cool air on his exposed skin.
"Ahh look it here boys the gook has boxers." The thug leaned over his body so his mouth was near his ear. "I would have figured you for a whitey-tighty." Vicious laughter
burst from all three as he felt hands at the waist of his boxer waiting to pull them down.
I have been through this before I can do it again, he thought to himself. But a nagging voice in the back of his head reminded him that then he had someone to protect, someone to love, now he had no one, he was alone.
A blur of black swept over the top of his head and he felt the grip on him loosen.
"What the hell, stupid bit…" the statement was never finished. There was a sudden impact next to him as one of the thugs went head first into the car next to him.
Arms wrapped around his waist picking him up slightly to pull him away from the car. A tug around his ankles pulled his jeans back around his waist as the arms wrapped around him again.
Unsure of what was going on he began to struggle to get away, when a soft female voice whispered in his ear. "It's ok Shuichi I have you." Something about the voice was comforting as he relaxed back into the woman's body finally taking in the scene before him.
One of the thugs, the one who met the car head first, was laying unconscious on the ground. The other two looked like they had been hit by a truck. Between Shuichi and the mystery woman was a man, he would guess about six foot three, with long black hair. He couldn't tell much more other than that since the man had his back to him.
"Man this is our hood," one of the thugs snarled, "Don't you know who you're messing with?"
"No, I don't nor do I much care," said the black haired man in a rather arrogant tone, reminding Shuichi of someone else.
"Man, who do you think you are," said the other punk making a threatening hand gesture.
"Toby Cyprus," Shuichi got the sudden impression the man was smiling. He then realized the look on the thugs faces as they gave him a look over. Both suddenly went pale, glanced at each other and took off running.
"You scared them away." Shuichi felt the woman's chuckle since she still held them. Those arms that were wrapped around Shuichi now turned him so he was looking at her. His jaw dropped as he stared at the woman in front of him. She was his height, which wasn't really that tall, with black hair that framed Amherst eyes, the same color as his.
"Who are you?" he asked yet some how already knowing the answer.
"Rio 'Shindo' Cyprus," she said with a smile.