Shuffle! Again: My Years With Kaede
Chapter 1: Introductions and Extremely Important News
Explanation: After having read a lot of the stories about Kaede Fuyou, post-Rin-Tsuchimi-leaving-her, a few ideas began to rattle around in my head for possible story ideas involving our beautiful, long-suffering heroine. However, in the other stories, she never was able to really escape her problems and their sources, as she remained living in her Father's house, after the big kerfuffle that led to her childhood friend, and subject of her un-requited love, to move out.
The one idea I have therefore settled on is about her moving here to the U. S. of A. as a foreign exchange student, along with Primula, her sister-in-all-but-blood, in order to not be reminded of how painful, to the greatest depths of her heart, his having left her for their senpai, Asa Shigure, had become. This will be recorded from the point of view of my alter-ego-character, who will introduce himself at the beginning of the story proper. I hope you'll enjoy this literary undertaking of mine as I submit new chapters over the next several months, if not years.
However, before I begin this saga, I must give you ALL fair warning that my OC has an at-times Severe-Sarcasm-and-Irony-Issue with how he relates to others. You all will find out why soon enough, if you're careful to watch for the hints I'll be dropping throughout this tale. Also, when he refers to his family members, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances with First-Letter-Capitalized-Titles, those are examples of his use of sarcasm and irony. You ALL have been Fore-warned…
1. All characters, locations, and objects original to the "Shuffle!" universe are the properties of Kadokawa Shoten, Navel, Manga Gamer, Asread, and Funimation. Any other anime, manga, or live action movie, or television show titles, characters, locations, or objects alluded to in this work of fan fiction, are the properties of their respective owners. They do NOT belong to me, as I do NOT own the rights to any of them.
2. Any and all of the other original characters, locations, and objects alluded to in this work of fan fiction, do NOT belong to me, but to their creators, and I will ask permission BEFORE using them in this work of fan fiction as such.
3. Any and all original characters, locations, and objects I may create for use in this work of fan fiction, are mine, and I would appreciate it if anyone wishing to use them in any of their own projects, would PLEASE ask me FIRST, with a brief description of what sort of characterization my alter-ego would be used for, thank you.
With these three points made here is Chapter One...
Salutations, interested readers, and welcome! My name is Lehman Howard Davidson, The Younger Son of Ed and Dory (short for Dorothea) Davidson, but you can call me Lee for short. I am 21 years of age, as I was born December 27, 1986, stand roughly 6'6&3/4"(200cm.) tall, weigh around 275lbs.(125kg.) dripping wet, give or take 5 lbs.(2.3kg.), most of it excessive muscle and heavier-than-average bone structure, built up from my involvement with full-contact sports and the like. I have relatively short, combed-back curly dark-reddish-brown hair, what some people I know would say are piercing Teal Blue-Green eyes, a square, firm-set jaw-line with a prominent, cleft chin, what my Mother and others call a "Regal Roman" hawk-like nose, a Full Goatee, or what I refer to as my "Blutosky Beard", and speak in a Deep, Rich Baritone, much like my Dad's voice was when he was my age.
I'm not overly obsessed with maintaining my appearance, like SOME Guys With My Looks may be with theirs, although many of my Parents' Friends, as well as Relatives, seem to think me as being Quite Handsome. However, I'm one of those guys who thinks that "Even If The Women Don't Find Me Handsome, They Should Still Find Me Handy", to quote Red Green in the First Person…lol.
I happen to live in a modest but comfortably spacious Middle-Class two-story older Colonial-Style house, built in 1961, on a 1/3 Acre, rectangular corner lot(133'x100'), located in an older Middle-Class neighborhood in the Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma-Triangle area. It originally had five bedrooms when my parents bought it in 1991, but they did a LOT of work on it, paring down the number of upstairs bedrooms down to four and building in a new bathroom in the process to make the guestroom a complete suite unto itself, as well as badly-needed repairs, and upgrades, to the original structure and subsystems, including a new Fifty-Year Slate-Gray Rolled-Steel Roof, as well as HVAC System with Sub-Grade Hydro-Thermal Heat Pump, new plumbing & electrical, as well as several skylights over the attic space on the roof's rear elevation, to provide natural lighting for that otherwise-unoccupied space, as well as improved roof access.
On top of that, a new Sunroom with an exterior Veranda was added along the rear of the house, from the Dining Room to the inner Family room bump-out wall, opening up more interior space in the process. The fact that Dad was involved the Construction Trades during his College Years was Definitely a BIG help in getting the work done quickly as well as Done Right The First Time…lol.
Its Fiber-Re-Enforced Cement clapboard siding is painted a Bone-White, with Gray Cultured Stone along the front and side walls, below the First Floor's Front Bay-Window Sills, and around the front roof overhang's support column bases(six in total), as well as the exterior faces of BOTH Chimneys for the Fireplaces It has a built-in two-car garage, decent sized downstairs living area, including living-and-dining room with a fireplace on the Living Room side, kitchen with "Breakfast Nook", family room with fireplace, Dad's study, and a toilet room with sink by the Staircase going up to the second floor.
Outside, we have a decently-large-sized back yard with a few modest Cherry, Plum, and Apple trees, a large unoccupied dog house, and a large steel outbuilding/spare garage near the back fence, that I use for working on cars, working out on my weights set, and jamming, or just chilling out, with my band-mates (we call ourselves The Extraordinary League of Djentlemen, due to our chosen Progressive/Math Metal playing style…lol). Our front yard is relatively ordinary-looking with its lawn and landscaping, even though the driveway and walkway to the front door are all made from Gray Paving Stones.
There are the four before-mentioned spacious bedrooms upstairs, including my parent's master suite with fireplace, above the Living and Dining Rooms, a pair of large bedrooms along the front, to the right of the stairwell lounge, with a large, sub-divided bathroom for added privacy opposite both bedroom doors, and a guest bedroom, with its own full bathroom, at the other end of the upstairs portion of our house. All bedrooms have walk-in or quasi-walk-in closets (OH, the LUXURY...lol).
One of the two middle bedrooms my older brother, Edward Junior, and I had shared until he moved out to start his own family several years before, the other both, Margaret, my older post-college-aged, as well as, Elizabeth, my younger high-school-aged, sisters used to share, until the older moved away to work and live in Tokyo, Japan. That's right, she's a Child Psychologist, who happens to have been working at one of the Private High School Academies over there in one of Tokyo's suburbs, since a year ago, last March.
Let's see, what was the name of that school again? Oh yes, now I remember: National Verbena Academy, located in the Kouyou-Chou District of Tokyo. She told me Verbena is a type of flowering plant that, in Japanese culture, symbolizes cooperation and camaraderie, and that the District's name means "Sunshine Town". Nice…sounds like she's Very Happy at her job…lol.
Anyways, I was quite surprised when I answered the phone early one Late-July Saturday morning, and heard my "Beloved Big Sister's" musical voice on the other end greet me cheerfully.
"Ohayou-Gozaimasu, Lee-Onii-chama", she playfully intoned in Japanese.
"Huh?" I grunted mumblingly, still groggy from being awakened from a sound sleep by her phone call a little after 4:00 in the morning. "Whawazzatchusaid?"
"I said 'good morning to you, Lee, Most Honorable Beloved Little Brother' in Japanese, ya Big Silly!" She chirped teasingly.
"Hey Meggers, do you know what time it is here in the Seattle-Tacoma area right now?" I growled a little petulantly, indignant over her having disturbed my relatively peaceful slumber.
"Sorry 'bout that", she laughed apologetically, "I know it only a little after 4:00AM there, but I was so busy today, what with making arrangements that won't be finished until tomorrow night at my end, that this was the only time I had available to call you guys with some 'Extremely Important News' that can't wait any longer."
"What news is that?" I asked, my rising concern over her well-being forcing me into a more awake and wary state, "You're not in any kind of trouble, are you?"
"Oh, Heavens, NO!" Came her reply, "Nothing like that! You should know me well enough to realize that I can take good care of myself and stay out of trouble! No this is what I believe to be good news and I want to share it with the rest of you, my beloved family!"
"Oh, okay," I sighed with relief at her reply, feeling my concern quickly deflate like a truck tire with its valve core removed. "Would you like me to get Mom or Dad on the line so you can talk to them about this 'Extremely Important News' you have to give us?"
"Actually, could you please wake them both up, as well as Lizzie, as I'd like to make this a conference call so that I can tell you all at the same time?" She asked a little plaintively.
"Lee-dear," a strikingly beautiful Red-haired, green-eyed, late-Middle-aged woman in a robe-over-nightgown asked from the just-opened door to his room, "who is it that's calling at this early hour of the morning?"
"It's Meggers, calling from Tokyo, Japan, with what she says is 'Extremely Important News' and she wants us all up to hear it together," I replied looking up at Mom with my hand on the receiver's mouthpiece, my expression of growing puzzlement and confusion reflecting her own.
"Could you please hand me your phone receiver so I may talk to her?" She held her hand out to me, expectantly.
"Just a sec, Mom," I replied, "Let me tell her you're up first, and want to talk to her, okay?"
"I'll wait," she sighed with a slightly resigned air.
"Hey Meggers, Mom's already up and wants to talk to you," I returned to my conversation with my Beloved Big Sister. "Is that alright with you?"
"Yes, by all means, put her on," came my Beloved Big Sister's eager reply.
"Here you go, Mom," I said as I handed it to her. "Want me to wake Dad and Lizzie up?"
"Your Dad's already awake and was getting up when I left our bedroom, so you only need to wake Lizzie up for whatever this 'Extremely Important News' is, that Meggie's calling us about," Mom replied with her hand now over the phone receiver's mouthpiece.
"Okay Mom, I'll go get her," I quipped as I threw my bathrobe and slippers on in preparation to get my younger female sibling, who I thought might still be sleeping, in spite of the chaos that my older sister's phone call had caused thus far.
"Dory-Love," my Father's groggy, slightly gravelly bass voice drifted in from just outside my bedroom door, "What's all the hubbub about?"
"Shhh, Ed-darling," Mom hissed at him in reply, "it's Meggie, calling us from Tokyo, Japan, about what she calls 'Extremely Important News'!
"Really?" Dad's manner suddenly changed to that of someone who was wide awake, as he called out to his older daughter. ."Hey Precious, how's my little Meggie-Noodle doing?"
"She's doing fine, Lee-darling!" Mom replied tersely, "now hush so I can hear what she has to say!"
"Scuze me, Dad," I said as I attempted to slip past him without upsetting what balance he had at the moment, as he was near the railing to the stairs leading down into the lower part of the house. "Gotta go wake Lizzie up so she can be in on this telephone conversation too."
"That won't be necessary, Big Bro-ski," a tired-voiced, teenaged, hip-length-Strawberry-Blonde-haired, Aquamarine-Blue-eyed beauty softly intoned. "You guys are making enough noise to wake up the dead, jeez!"
"Hey Lizzie," Dad interjected, "your Beloved Big Sister is on the line with what she calls 'Extremely Important News' to share with us!"
"Really? What IS it?!" My Beloved Little Sister demanded eagerly.
"First she wants your Father to turn on his computer so she can VOIP Video Conference with us, as she can't stay on the line for too many more minutes without running up too high a phone bill," Mom replied, looking over at the two of us. "It's costing her a lot for Long Distance from Tokyo Japan, after all."
"I'm on that right now," Dad said as he headed down the stairs to his study. "I'll let you all know when my computer is up and ready to go for our little VOIP Video Conference with our Precious Meggie-Noodle."
"Hey Daddy," Lizzie asked with a little mock pout, "what does that make me?"
"Our Lil' Princess Lizzie-Doodle," Dad stopped as he responded, looking back up at her with a teasing smirk. "You're not jealous, are you Princess?"
"Of course not, Daddy," she replied with a half-smile. "I know better than to really feel that way towards my Beloved Big Sister, especially since I know you and Mom love us both equally."
"Danged-Straight we do, Lil' Princess," he winked mischievously at her, turned, and continued down the flight of stairs in his quick jaunt to his study.
After a little less than a quarter hour of passing my phone receiver around between Mom, Lizzie, and myself, in a futile attempt to get more information from my Beloved Big Sister Meggers about the 'Extremely Important News, we heard Dad's voice booming up from below in the direction of where his study was located downstairs.
"Alright everybody, computer's ready to attempt the VOIP Video Conference with our Precious Meggie-Noodle!" He bellowed boisterously, "everybody get down here on the double!"
"On our way, Dad!" I replied as I started my headlong flight down the stairs towards his study, with Lizzie close on my heels.
"I'm going to hang up now, Meggie-dear, as I'll need to go downstairs as well," Mom said. "I'll see you again when the VOIP Video Conference is up and running. Too-de-loo 'til then."
Hanging up, she followed us downstairs to Dad's study, coming to a stop behind his computer desk's chair, with Lizzie and I on either side of her.
The VOIP Video Conferencing Client was already open, with the passwords already entered and access already authorized. Within a couple of minutes, a video screen window was opened and there was my Beloved Big Sister's face within it, in all her Earthly Glory.
She had the same hair and eye color as myself, but Mom's oval face (I've got my Dad's square jaw-line, as well as build), but her hair cut to just off the shoulders with bangs. She had on a White Business Woman's Blouse, Dark Green Business Woman's Neckerchief and Pleated Skirt.
"Hello again, my Beloved Family, how's life been treating you all since my last call?"
"Well I told you I was promoted to Assistant Manager in charge of the Swing Shift at the Auto Parts Dealer and Repair Shop where I work," I said with a little smugness. "What I didn't tell you was I was chosen by the store's ownership group to host a show for automotive fanatics called 'Car and Truck Guys Corner' on a local cable television channel once a week on Saturdays."
"Wow, that's news to me," my Beloved Big Sister replied. "I must say I'm really impressed with your recent achievements, Beloved Little Brother. What other surprises are you planning to spring on me before our time together is up?"
"Well, how's about the fact I just got back from my first Jeep Jamboree, up near Darrington, Washington this past weekend after finishing all the work on my new (for me) 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee's 4.0L Inline-six engine, drive-train, steering, suspension, bumpers, body, frame, electrical, lights, interior, and roll cage?"
"You mean the 'Black Beast is finally done?!" Meggers asked with rising excitement at the news.
"A-yep," I replied nonchalantly. "I did it with the help of a few good friends of mine. I even posted some videos on YouTube about it. That's how I got the job hosting the 'Car and Truck Guys Corner' gig through my boss, as his boss saw some of those videos and liked them well enough to hire me for this once-a-week show I'm now hosting. Ain't that a hoot? Best of all, it's a provisional five-year contract."
"That's AWESOME, my Beloved Little Brother!" My Beloved Big Sister exclaimed, "I knew you had it in you from the start!"
"Thanks Big Sis, that means a lot to me," I replied, touched by her enthusiasm over my successful achievements.
"We gotta go four-wheeling together the next time I'm in town," She gushed with even more enthusiasm. "What about girlfriends? I heard you broke up with your most recent one. Have you found a new one yet?"
"Phhhhht! I'm through with love for a long time to come because of what happened because of HER!" I sneered with a slight snarl to my voice. "What a Shipwreck-of-the-Titanic THAT relationship ended up being! I don't even WANT to think about, let alone involve myself, in another relationship right now! And I sure as HELL don't want to talk about it right now, got it?"
"Oh dear, I'm so sorry to hear that, Lee," She responded sympathetically to my unexpected tirade at the expense of my ex, as Mom patted me on my shoulder. "I won't bring it up again unless you tell me you want to talk about in the future, okay?"
"Yeah, sure, whatever," I replied grumblingly, feeling a little shameful for my recent outburst. "Sorry about losing my cool with you just now."
"That's alright, I understand. The less said, the better, right?"
"Yeah," I shrugged as though nothing had happened a minute before.
"How's about you my Itty-Bitty Lizzie?" My Beloved Big Sister teasingly asked my Beloved Little Sister, immediately causing her to blush a deep red, "have you gotten a nice boyfriend yet?"
"MEGGIE!" My Beloved Little Sister shrieked, wincing in extreme embarrassment, her hands flying to her cheeks as they turned even redder, as she turned her face away from the webcam, "PLEASE STOP IT! YOU'RE EMBARRASSING ME!"
"Lizzie, my dear, sweet, Little Sister, I'm only teasing you because I love you, Silly Goose!" Meggers cooed teasingly at Lizzie, making her wince with embarrassment all the more, while causing me to grit my teeth, shake my head, and roll my eyes in sympathy for my Beloved Little Sister, and our parents to chuckle.
"I'm not trying to hurt your feelings, Sweetie or put you into a Really Difficult Situation. I just want see my Itty-Bitty Lizzie bloom like the Beautiful Rose I know she can be, instead of being forever hidden under the rock of Extreme Shyness as a Wallflower for the rest of her young life. C'mon now Lizzie-Wizzie, you can tell your big sister about him, can't you?"
"Ummm...well...I...met a guy at school a few months ago who's really tall, like Lee, but really quiet like me, but I like him because he's very nice to me and he likes small animals. He's even got a pet Black-Tipped White Ferret he's named Fenton, but he hasn't asked me out yet. I sometimes wish he would, though. His name is Nicholas and he's in my art class."
Lizzie bit her lip when she finished describing him, hanging her head sheepishly.
"Yeah, I've seen him a couple of times, hanging out on the sidelines when his older brother and I are playing a game of Pick-Up Basket Ball with our friends," I added offhandedly. "He doesn't seem like a bad kid. He even calls me 'Sir', although I've told him 'Dude, not so formal with me, okay?' on several occasions."
"Seems to me one of my newer male coworkers has a son by the same name at your school and in the same grade as you, Lizzie-Doodle." Dad looked up at her thoughtfully, "I wonder if it's him, as my coworker said his son's been hanging out with a cute girl with Strawberry-Blonde hair & Aquamarine-Blue eyes lately. I wonder if that cute girl is you...hmmm."
He finished his musings by winking up at her mischievously, causing her to blush bright red again and to put her hands to her cheeks again, while turning away at this new round of embarrassment.
"Lizzie-Honey," Mom gently intoned to my Beloved Little Sister, while gently laying a hand on her shoulder. "Maybe you should bring him by one of these days so we can meet him. Would that be alright with you?"
"Okay Mommy," Lizzie replied sheepishly, nodding hesitantly, "I'll try to ask him over before Labor Day, okay?"
"I'd like that, Lizzie-Honey," Mom replied, smiling reassuringly.
"Now Papa, what about you? How's that Aerospace Parts and Subsystems Supplier Company you're working for doing these days?" Meggers turned her attention to Dad.
"Well, business is booming right now, in spite of a slight downturn in the economy," Dad replied, "and I also got a promotion, which was more a lateral transfer, than a step up, to the Customer Service and Relations Department as a Section Manager. At least the pay's a little better."
"That's wonderful news, Papa!" My Beloved Big Sister exclaimed happily.
Turning her attention to Mom, she asked, "Mama, how's about you?"
"Besides being on break from tutoring elementary school children who need help with their lessons until after Labor Day, I can't really think of anything off-handedly," Mom replied with a shrug.
"Wonderful, Mom, I'm glad you can relax for a few weeks," Meggers smiled at Mom's response. "But I've got news that may make things more hectic around there for all of you for the rest of this month, next month, and beyond." She finished with bit of a mysterious air about her.
"Oh yes, your Extremely Important News you were going to tell us about," Dad remembered. "What is it?"
"Yes, please tell us Meggie-dear," Mom added eagerly.
"I'm all ears, Big Sis," I added casually as well.
"You wouldn't be getting married, would you be?" Lizzie asked sheepishly, embarrassed by her own choice of words to ask Meggers.
"Oh, goodness NO!" She exclaimed, quite surprised by her Beloved Little Sister's sudden boldness of questioning, "I'm not even in a relationship myself right now, seeing how I've had so little time for such, what with work and all."
"It's almost as important, though," she said mysteriously, moving a little closer to her WebCam. "Remember the International Foreign Student Exchange Program?"
"Yes, I have heard of such," Dad replied, cocking an eyebrow. "Why do you ask, Meggie-Doodle?"
"Well, how would you like to participate as a Host Family for the Program?"
"WHAAAT!?" We all exclaimed questioningly, in utter astonishment at what we all thought we had just heard her say.
"How would you like to participate as a Host Family for the International Foreign Exchange Student Program?" She repeated her question with a little more detail. "After all, you guys have a reasonably big house, States-side, and my Beloved Bad-Ass Big Bro Eddy lives & works over in Spokane with his wife and kids, and Lizzie could use a couple of new friends. If you'd like, I can put them on right now, so you can meet them first before you guys decide anything."
"You mean to tell me, THIS was your Extremely Important News?!" Dad asked incredulously, still quite taken aback by my Beloved Big Sister's announcement. "Well now, I don't know what to say about that."
"Did you say you had them both with you, Meggie-dear?" Mom interjected graciously, causing Dad to heave a sigh of relief and visibly sink back into his computer desk's chair. "Could you please put them on in that case?"
"Sure Mama, just a sec." Meggie then got up off the sofa she'd been sitting on the whole time and moved off-Web-Cam to our left to retrieve the two in question.
"Come on over here to the couch, Kae-chan, Rimu-chan," we could hear her cheerful, yet soothing voice in the background as we could hear her opening a door. "It's time to meet your Host Family with whom you'll be staying for a long time, if I can get them to agree to hosting you, that is." Meggie finished her statement with a short, girlish giggle.
What we then heard made us look at each other more incredulously, as it was feminine, half-stifled, somehow musically high pitched sobbing that greeted our ears, making my blood run cold. What the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks could my Beloved Big Sister be possibly up to now?
"Don't be afraid, Kaede," another smallish female voice piped up in near-perfect English, "I don't think they're Monsterous Ogres who would try eat you, as soon as they saw you."
"Of course they wouldn't do that to EITHER of you," came my Beloved Big Sister's confident reply. "They ARE most of my immediate family, after all. The only one not there is my Beloved Elder Bro, as he's now living in Spokane, Washington with his wife, and three kids, with twins on the way."
Finally, my Beloved Big Sister brought her two companions in front of the Web-Cam, helping them both to sit down on the sofa in turn, starting with the source of the high-pitched sobbing and sniveling.
She was average-build-petite, with Orange-Blonde, shoulder-length hair, with a single large Red ribbon wrapped around her head behind her hair line and tied to one side, and larger, as well as deeper, Teal Blue-Green eyes, than mine. She had on a simple dark-gray-jumper-with-white-blouse-combination and a pair of light-Brown slip-on low-heeled shoes.
What really struck me, however, was the utterly tragic expression of hopelessness and loss on her tear-streaked face, as her tears continued to well up in and flow, streaking down her cheeks from her eyes. At this point she was unable to look directly at my Beloved Big Sister's Web-Cam, because of her emotional condition. I had to swallow hard on a big lump in my throat to keep my own tears of sympathy from welling up in my eyes, as I had already dealt with THAT kind of relationship before it went sour, just a few weeks before.
The second person, who came into view and sat down next to the first, opposite my Beloved Big Sister, was a little more petite and delicately built than the first but was far calmer and composed by comparison. She had long, Silvery-Blonde hair, which she wore in two charming top-knots on either side of her head, small pointed ears, and large, calm Grayish-Blue eyes. She was wearing a pair of feminine Light-Blue coveralls over a Pink t-shirt and a pair of Mauve flip-flops on her small, delicate feet.
"You poor, dear, Little Cutie!" Mom exclaimed, as sympathetic tears welled up in her eyes and began coursing down her cheeks when she saw the first girl's pathetic condition, "why are you crying so, Dearie?"
Unable to respond, the girl-in-question only sobbed and sniveled more intensely, her small voice wailing miserably.
"Her name is Kaede Fuyou," the other girl spoke calmly, "She lost her Mother in an automobile accident when she was about eight years old, in Western reckoning, and her Father about two weeks ago when our house burnt to the ground. The Fire Department's Arson Investigators determined that the fire had been accidentally started by her father's forgetfulness about not smoking in bed when sleepy."
"She and I were very lucky to have escaped with our lives from that place, as it was his dying screams that woke us up, since it seems, our smoke detectors were not working at the time. It was a total loss. We both have been living with your older sister in her apartment since then."
"Oh my, that's horrible!" Mom cried, mortified by what she had just heard.
"On top of that, her childhood friend, Rin Tsuchimi Onii-chan, had already moved out a few months before that, leaving a huge hole in her heart," Primula continued. "He had saved her life while in their second year of middle school, after she had discovered her Mother's postcard to her about returning to her to care for her during her sudden illness. When she ran off upon Rin's catching her with said postcard, he ran after her, pulling her clear of a speeding delivery truck a split second before it would have hit her, when she tried to cross the road on the bridge where he had caught up with her."
"She told me she had spent the rest of that evening begging his forgiveness for the way she had treated him since her Mother's death, as he had told her a little white lie by blaming himself for it. He had also lost both of his parents in the same accident that claimed her Mother's life, as they were in the same vehicle together."
"Since then she had waited on him hand and foot by cooking, cleaning, washing his clothes, waking him up in the morning, drawing his baths for him, those sort of things. Even though he had protested weakly from time to time about her being too attentive to his needs, she always was able to convince him it was all for his own good."
"Things changed, when Rin Onii-chan started dating Asa Shigure, a girl who was a year older than himself and Kaede and a mutual friend. After Kaede momentarily lost her grip on reality and turned on her friend Asa-Senpai, and then tried overcompensating for her mistake by trying to seduce him unsuccessfully, he moved out, leaving the two of us to fend for ourselves."
"He said it was more for her own good, than for his, as he feared she would go even further off the deep end if he didn't. Even though he admitted to having loved her all these years, it was no more than a brother-for-sister love, whereas his love for Asa-Senpai has ended up being strictly of a romantic nature by this time."
"Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Primula, but you may call me Rimu-chan. I'm an artificial life form created by a secret co-operative research program btween the Ma-dari, Shin-dari, and your world, called 'Project Yggdrassil'. It delved into whether or not science and magic arts could be used to bring the dead back to life, as in resurrected. The first two subjects supposedly died, with the second one giving up her life willingly so Nerine, the daughter of the Ma-dari King, could have a chance at living to a ripe old age. Since then, she's been like another Big sister to me."
Primula finished speaking, smiling serenely with her eyes closed, as if in a happy memory.
"IT'S ALL MY FAULT!" Kaede suddenly shrieked in woeful self-recrimination, "If only I had not been driven mad with jealousy over Asa-Senpai's growing relationship with him and lost it with her, in front of him, then he would have never moved out when he did! And now he's ALL but lost to me! How I wish I had NEVER said and done what I did to the two of them! Rin-kun! Asa-Senpai! Forgive me, PLEASE!"
"MISS KAEDE! THAT'S ENOUGH!" I heard my deep, slightly-gravelly Baritone voice suddenly bark with a mix of anger, indignation, and mounting concern for the sobbing little beauty's continued emotional well-being, shocking her into cowering, tearful silence by its forceful vehemence, as well as myself over the fact I normally didn't make these kinds of outbursts. "So what if your intended boyfriend chose your best friend over you; GET OVER IT! Find a new road in life and live it to IT'S FULLEST! So what if your Mom was killed in a car crash, and your Dad died when your house burned to the ground; Pick up the pieces and MOVE ON! You can do IT! It's not your DAMNED FAULT what happened!"
My parents and Little Sister stared at me in stunned silence, shocked at my sudden outburst.
"LEE-EE!" Meggers protested loudly, "Why are you yelling so ANGRILY at her?! Can't you see she's in no condition to be treated so HARSHLY?!"
"I had to do the same when I caught my ex-girlfriend two-timing on me with my former best friend; I dumped her like a red-hot fire poker and renounced my friendship with him, after puting some hurt on his sorry, TRAITOROUS ARSE!" I continued, ignoring my Beloved Big Sister's protests on Kaede's behalf, while gritting my teeth at the still-painful memories that I was dredging up from some of the darkest recesses of my mind, as I continued my tirade at what I saw was the Sobbing Girl's glaringly apparent weaknesses.
"You can bet I was pissed off at BOTH of them! But I've been moving on as best I can from that Craptastic time in my life, while trying my best to continue living it to IT'S FULLEST! One of these days I may even be able to forgive them both for their betrayal of my trust, but until then, I'll keep living my life to IT'S FULLEST in SPITE OF THEM!"
"LEE-EE!" Meggers interjected again in protest, "she's extremely fragile emotionally RIGHT NOW! Please consider what harm you could be doing to her already shattered psyche, I BEG OF YOU!"
"Sorry I blew my stack at you, Miss Kaede, but you needn't go through this alone." I continued, calming down quite considerably when I realized I may have punched a hole through her self-pity and self-loathing, as well as in a Slightly-Ashamed-Of-Myself-For-My-Tirade-At-Kaede response to my Beloved Big Sister's remonstrations. "Still upset as I am about my own Relationship Circumstances, I'm willing to do what little I can do to help you deal with your grieving, if you'll let me be there for you as your shoulder to cry on, punching bag for frustration, or whatever else you may need me to be. If my family consents to being your host family, promise me that you'll try to accept my company whenever you feel overwhelmed, since misery loves company, or so I've heard said."
"Too true, Son, too true," Dad added, nodding his approval of my choice of sage euphemisms.
"Do we have a deal, Miss Kaede?" I finally asked in a gently soothing manner. "Are you willing to allow me to be there for you as a Big Brother to you?"
Whimpering tearfully, she nodded while trying to smile.
"May I call you Lee Onii-sama?" She stammered timidly, her voice little more than a mousy squeak.
"Of course you may," I laughed at the sudden realization that she wanted me be her Most Honored Big Brother, as she was an only child. "But only if you allow me to call you Kaede Onee-chama, which to me means you'll be my Most Precious Little Sister, in All But Blood in your case, of course." I ended by winking mischievously at Lizzie, who rolled her eyes and sighed.
"Really? Can I be that to you?" A little more Excitedly Expectant Joy seemed to have crept into her voice.
"Of course you can be that to me!" I replied with renewed enthusiasm at the prospect of being a Beloved Big Brother to an otherwise broken Kindred-Spirit-By-Circumstances. "You can be ANYTHING you want to be while living here with us! The choice is up to YOU, and no one else, to make, okay?! OKAY!?"
"O-okay," Kaede's voice caught with a little remaining uncertainty, "I'll try. Thank you for caring for me, even though I feel I really don't deserve it."
"What do you mean you don't deserve to have me care about you?" I responded, a little indignant over her continued self-deprecation. "OF COURSE you do, especially after what you've been through already! And I'll try to always to be there for you as much as possible, no matter how undeserving you may feel of my company. Does that sound good to you?"
She responded with a tearful, closed-eyes smile that just seemed to light up the computer monitor's screen with its Adorable Cuteness.
"Awww, isn't she just the sweetest little thing you've ever seen?" Meggers cooed, giving her an affectionate hug. "So, what do you guys say? Do we have a deal?"
"Dory-Love?" Dad asked Mom expectantly, "How about it?"
"I'd just love to have the two of them live with us!" She exclaimed, enthusiastic over the prospect of being a Den-Mother to the pair of unfortunate little beauties. "I can HARDLY wait to look after those two Little Dears!"
"Hows about you, Son?" He asked me in turn.
"I think you already know what my answer is going to be," I replied matter-of-factly. "I'm looking forward to meeting her when she arrives here, since I feel NO Deceit or Ulterior motives in her, as I should've sensed in my Ex. Also, since I've already all-but-given my solemn promise to be her Most Honored Big Brother In All But Blood, I may as well do so now."
"Kaede Onee-chama?" I spoke again to her in a gentle tone. "Please listen to me, as what I'm about to say to you is of Paramount Importance, okay?"
"I'm listening, "she responded a little timidly.
"What about me, Lee-Onii-sama? Primula interjected quietly, "Don't you want me to be your Onee-chama too?"
'Well, yes," I replied, taken aback just a little by the Silvery-Blonde's innocent query, "you too, Rimu-chan".
"Dad, where's the Family Heirloom Bible?" I turned and asked.
"On its display stand over yonder" He replied, getting up from his desk chair and moving to the bookshelf where it sat on display, as if knowing my intent.
"Here it is, Son." He returned to his seat, holding the Family Heirloom Bible it up in front of the Web-Cam on its side.
Kneeling down on one knee, I raised my right hand, as I lay my left hand flat on the Family Heirloom Bible.
"I, Lehman Howard Davidson," I solemnly intoned, "do hereby solemnly swear an oath, without ANY Rehersal Beforehand, before these gathered witnesses, to you, Kaede Fuyou, and Primula, your Little Sister In all But Blood Lineage, on my honor as a Man of Integrity and Strong Moral Character, to be from this day of July XX, in this, the Year of Our Lord 2007, your Most Honored Big Brother In All But Blood Lineage, and to take on ALL responsibilities entailed within to you, my Precious Little Sisters In All But Blood Lineage. Further more, all those with whom you make friends, I shall consider my friends as well, and shall treat them accordingly. By the same token, those who are foolish enough to make themselves your enemies out of their own selfishness and spite, shall be treated by me as my own adversaries, even to punishing them in kind with Extreme Prejudice, dare they cause you ANY harm, physical or emotional. This I will apply to BOTH of you! So help me, By the Grace of God!"
Having finished giving her my oath of Most Honorable Big Brother In All But Blood Lineage, I then stood back up, taking the Family Heirloom Bible back to its display stand on one of the bookshelves, returning to stand by Dad's computer desk chair when done.
"Lizzie-Doodle, how about you," Dad then turned to her, awaiting her response.
"Well, I thought I would enjoy having the bedroom Meggie and I occupied all these past years, all to myself," she replied becoming a little wistful as she spoke a little hesitantly. "But it started to get boring after a few months went by, and I began to miss my Beloved Big Sister. So, I wouldn't mind if they were to come here and stay with me in my room until they're done with their part of the Exchange Program." "
"Besides, I like the idea of having a couple of sisters my age that I can identify with, and them with me, 'cause then we can tell each other our problems, dreams, joys, and pet peeves, and keep each others' secrets, just like Meggie and I did when she was living here." Lizzie's voice trailed off as she hung her head sheepishly, embarrassed anew over her last statement.
"Well then it's settled," Dad said with final certainty to us, as well as my Beloved Big Sister, and the two teenaged females sitting next to her on her couch. "I'll need you to FAX me the necessary documents for me to sign and FAX back to you. Now, how long are these arrangements supposed to last, Meggie-Noodle?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, I neglected to tell you!" My Beloved Big Sister exclaimed with the sudden realization of what she had forgotten to mention. "Kae-chan and Rimu-chan are supposed to be there on the long term, as in through graduation from college, instead of just one public high school year."
"WHAAAT!?" We all exclaimed again.
"Now see here, Meggan Christina Davidson!" Mom huffed indignantly, "That's downright irresponsible of you!"
"Sorry Mama, my bad for forgetting to tell you all sooner about this stipulation," my Beautiful Big Sister bopped herself on the side of her head while sticking out her tongue apologetically. "I'll try make it up to you all any way I can. Besides they've both been very willing to be helpful with me around the apartment since losing their previous place of residence, and, I'm sure they'd be happy to help around the house, once over there.
"Besides, even though I have responsibilities over here as the Chief Councilor of Students at Verbena Academy, I'll be visiting once every quarter to make sure everything is going smoothly on your end, plus I'll call you guys once a month for the same reason. Also, you guys can call me any time anything happens which you feel I should know about, to keep me informed and up-to-date. So are you still on for hosting these two adorable young ladies?" She finished a little wistfully.
Yes, we still are," Dad replied wryly. "Just be sure to give us a little more fair warning the next time you want to involve us in something like this, okay?"
"Okay Papa, I'll do that," she replied sheepishly.
"Oh my, look at the time!" She suddenly exclaimed. "It's almost 10:00PM over here! Time for me to log out and hit the hay! Well, good night, Papa, Mama, Lee, and Lizzie. I'll contact you again in about five days via VOIP Video Conferencing when I've made the necessary arrangements with Immigration for Passports and reservations with the Airlines for our tickets, with the flight number and estimated arrival times, okay?"
"Okay Meggie-Noodle," Dad replied, "I'll be waiting for you to contact me then. And I've also just sent you the necessary Host Family Consent documents with my signature, as well as your Mother's, to finalize the move's authorization."
"Good, it's printing up on my All-In-One Printer now," My Big Beautiful Sister observed with a satisfied smile. "Well, good night once again. I'll talk to you in less than a week."
"Good night, Meggie-Noodle," Dad responded, "and to you young ladies as well." He finished with a mischievous wink at my two new Long-Term Temporary Little Sisters
"Good night, you two Little Sweeties," Mom gushed enthusiastically, "I can hardly wait to meet you both in person so I can give each of you a big hug!" Of course this statement made both girls blush a bright Red, and caused Primula to giggle a little uncomfortably.
"Ummm, okay," Kaede replied with a timid smile. "May I call you Dory-Okaa-sama?"
"Of course you may, Dearheart," Mom replied comfortingly. "You'll be one of my daughters from now on until the end of your senior year in college. But I get to call you what Meggie-Dear calls you in return, okay?"
I'd like that," Kaede smiled blushingly in return.
"Excuse me Kae-chan, Rimu-chan," Lizzie asked her two new sisters rather shyly. "Would you like me to give you the login info for the online chat-room I sometimes hang out at, so we can chat with each other between now and when you finally come over here?"
"Let me get a pen and paper so I can write it down", Primula replied, reaching over to one side to get what she needed to do just that.
"Kaede-Onee-chama," I spoke gently to my recently grieving New Younger Sister, as My Beloved Little Sister gave the other New Younger Sister her online chatroom's login information. "May I say something I feel you need to hear from me, before we sign off?"
"Yes, Lee-Onii-sama, I'm listening." She replied to me a little shyly, flashing an adorably cute little smile.
"No matter what happens, from now on, I, as your New Onii-Sama, will be your strength when you are at your weakest, your courage when you are the most afraid, your endurance when you feel you can't go on, and the one who still loves you, as a Big Brother should, when you feel the whole world hates you. Remember these words I've spoken just now, and let them burn their way into the core of your very being, until your dying breath many long years from now, okay, Kaede Onee-chama?
She only nodded in acknowledgement, biting her lower lip in a futile attempt to prevent her tears from flowing again.
"I'm not going to say goodbye to you", I moved close to the WebCam in a confidential manner, "just 'so long for a while', until we see each other again, okay, Kaede Onee-chama?"
"Okay, you too, Lee-Onii-sama," she whimpered, but with a hopeful little half-smile.
"Alright, everybody," my Beautiful Big Sister's voice cut in, "but I've gotta shut 'er down now. See you all in a few days. Meggan1981 signing out."
With that the VOIP Video Teleconferencing screen window went blank.
"Wow that was really something else, wasn't it?" Dad said, still taken a little aback as the implications of what Meggers had gotten us involved in, was finally able to start sinking in. "Looks like our little family is about to get a little bigger, doesn't it, Dory-love?"
"Yes Ed-darling," Mom replied, "and all without our two daughters or myself getting pregnant too," she laughed, hugging him teasingly.
"God forbid that Meggie-Noodle or Lizzie-Doodle end up getting themselves Pregnant Out of Wedlock!" Dad exclaimed, throwing his hands up in mock exasperation.
"Don't worry, Daddy," my Beloved Little Sister replied, twisting her mouth up distastefully, "I'm not THAT stupid, unlike too many people I have the misfortune to be acquainted with, as they attend the same school as I do. I'm not going allow myself to fall into that trap that they have already, at least not without a knock-down drag-'em-out winner-take-all fight.
"That's the spirit, my Little Princess Lizzie-Doodle," Dad gave her the thumbs up as she turned to go back to her bed. "You're making the right decision, Young Lady."
"Thanks Daddy," she smiled blushingly back at him over her shoulder. "I'm going back upstairs to get some more sleep. See you when I get up in a couple of hours
"You'll always be our good little girl, Lizzie-Doodle," Mom added confidently.
Lizzie just giggled in response, as she continued out the door of Dad's study, the sounds of her then trudging up the stairs to her room could be heard.
"Hey Dad, Mom, I'm going to get myself ready for today's show I've got to do." I said as I made my way to the door of Dad's study, "It's almost 5:00AM. now and we're going to be shooting on location starting at 8:00AM., later this morning."
"Okay Son, have a good day at work today," Dad replied. "Drive carefully on your way there, okay?"
"Would you like me to make your favorite Breakfast for you before you leave?" Mom added.
"Yeah, Mom, go ahead," I replied, as I headed up the stairs to my own room to start on my preparations for going to work. "Anything you make me is good enough."
Little did I realize what a Roller-Coaster Ride life would be for all of us over the next several years...
Next chapter will cover preparations for my Beloved Big Sister, Meggan Davidson's return home to the Seattle area, with Kaede Fuyou and Primula in tow, their arrival at Sea-Tac International Airport, the journey to their new home near Renton/Issaquah/Newport Hills,Washington, and get a tour of my neighborhood, including some nearby unpaved roads, in my "Black Beast", before getting themselves settled into their new life in my family's home.
Will they be able to adjust to their new surroundings without becoming thoroughly lost like babes in the woods, or causing too many misunderstandings due to cultural differences? And when will I be willing to drive them to the beach for one last day of Summer Fun, before the dreary days of Fall, and starting the new year in high school, begins for my three little sisters? Tune in next time for, Chapter 2: Preparations, Arrival and Settling In. See you all then...