Shuffle! Again: My Years With Kaede
Chapter 2: Preparations, Arrival, And Settling In
In the intervening week, between last Saturday and today, my family's concern over how hectic the preparations could be were more than realized, as we had been rushing madly about, getting the house, and ourselves in order for the arrival of my Beloved Big Sister Meggers, along with my two new Beloved Little Sisters, Kaede Fuyou and Primula Shin-Ma, from Tokyo International Airport.
Dad and I had gotten the old Girlish Bunk-Bed, that both Meggers and Lizzie had occupied, before my Beloved Big Sister had moved to Japan, out of storage, and had stripped it of as much of the old finish as we could, only repainting it once we were thoroughly satisfied with our sanding efforts. As it was going back into Lizzie's room once the paint was dry, she was given the task of choosing the color pallet, as well as the decorative details, which she did with an air of proud responsibility.
Of course she took snapshots of her work-in-progress with her digital camera, and posted them on her chatroom's bulletin board for all her online friends to see, especially Kaede and Primula, who were by now virtual celebrities within her online community, because of their circumstances, and said community's outpouring of sympathy over her two New Sisters' plight. Not only that, but every night, she, and all her online friends would have a roundtable rap session over what Kae-chan and Rimu-chan could expect to encounter once States-side and settled in, with the two in virtual attendance every time.
I wouldn't fully realize, until much later, how much of a positive impact this would have on their young lives, during their struggles to adapt to living here, under our roof, in their new hometown.
Mom, on the other hand, had been helping my Beautiful Big Sister to do some online clothes shopping, spending an unusual amount of time in VOIP Video Conferences with her and the girls whenever possible, to help them choose in turn what ensembles they wanted to bring with them to wear once States-side. Whenever I was inside our house, I'd occasionally hear her squeal with delight.
"Oh, Kae-chama!" or "Oh, Rimu-chama!" she would joyously exclaim, gushing enthusiastically, "That sundress looks FABULOUS on you!" or "Those sandals make your feet look so GORGEOUS!", making me grit my teeth, shake my head, and roll my eyes with utter sympathy for what I was sure the two subjects of her effluviant behavior were most likely having to endure in utterly embarrassed silence.
Then, of course there was ALL the house-cleaning Mom and Lizzie did, as the living, dining, kitchen, breakfast nook, family, bed, and bath rooms got all carpeted floor-space THOROUGHLY vacuumed, all wood and tile floor-space wet-mopped washed and rinsed, and all kitchen and bathroom fixtures, sinks, bathtub, and shower-stalls got a thorough scrubbing with disinfectant. Meanwhile, Dad had spiffed up his study and the garage, during most of that week, in order to make both areas as presentable as possible.
Even my own bedroom had gotten a good going-through a couple of days before, with all my dirty clothes being put in the laundry and stuff that had otherwise been left strewn about got either put away if still usable, or thrown away if trash. Also, the large steel building in our back yard, or "Uber Man Cave", as my Bad-Ass Big Brother had called it, when we had first finished puting it up near the back fence-line, some ten years ago, got a good once-over, so our new female family members wouldn't think we men of the family were a bunch of filthy barbarians, when they saw it for the first time. Even my band-mates had helped tidy things up in our band practice room as best they could, whenever they had time.
"Duuude," one of them remarked off-handedly, "I never woulda guessed you'd be so willing to rescue a "Damsel In Distress", let alone two of them, so soon after what happened between you and your ex, regarding her two-timing on you with your former best friend, after you helped her with her ex. Gotta hand it to ya, you're bouncing back faster than any of us woulda."
I merely replied by sticking out my tongue and making a quick, Beaten-With-An-Ugly-Stick face at him, then turning away, rolling my eyes, and shaking my head, mouthing "I'm so over that BEEYAAATCH!"
"Yeah, heh, heh, heh," another band-mate grinned, chuckling at my exaggerated facial contortions, "he's DEFINITELY WELL on the rebound!"
Meanwhile, any last minute gardening, weed-pulling, or pruning that was needed, was also done, as well as the mowing of our back yard, and the rear patio deck was put in order, before the weekend was due to arrive. We had also washed the house's siding as needed, wherever we could safely reach without risk of injury.
Of course Dad, Mom, and I washed our cars, just in case, so they would look presentable when our new Family Members arrived at the airport at last. No matter which vehicle or vehicles we used to pick them up with, at least they wouldn't be riding in filthy, smelly Pig-Sties-On-Wheels on the long drive home.
I also put my large Turtle-Shell Roof-Rack-Mounted Cargo Carrier on top of my "Black Beast", securing it properly, just in case I was the one who had to do the honors of picking them up from the airport. Little did I know how well my preparations would pay off, or how important they would be in the long run…lol.
When Meggers had VOIP Video Conferenced with Dad this past Thursday, she informed him that she had made the Airlines reservations, and that she, and her two traveling companions, would be on JAL Flight XXX-X, which was due to arrive on Today at time, at gate XX-X.
When Today had finally arrived, I got up at my usual early time, showered, dressed, ate breakfast, brushed my teeth, and went off to work to tape my weekly show, starting at 8:00AM and finishing production work by Noon. On my way out from the studio building, my boss stopped me in the parking lot with a concerned look in his face.
"Lee, how're you doing these days?" He asked as if hesitant to say what was really on his mind.
"Pretty good, Mr. Rimirez, I replied, "why do you ask?"
"Well, taking into consideration that you have become one of the Major Public Faces of our Auto Parts Stores and Repair Shops Chain in the Puget Sound Region, and the fact that you're supposed be getting two new younger sisters from Japan a little later today, the Higher-Ups have asked me to recommend that you bring them on the show next week as special guests, as it may endear you to our Asian audience members, and may cause your two little house guests to feel a little more welcome to this area, especially since the audience already knows what you brought up about them earlier this morning."
"Besides, I'd like to meet them myself and introduce them to my wife, Camilleia, as she's been begging me to introduce her to them, ever since she found out this past Monday about their moving here this weekend.
"I'm sure I could convince the two of them to come along with me to the studio this next Saturday." I replied thoughtfully, "However, the person who may need to give the final okay would be my Older Sister, as she's currently their Legal Guardian. However I don't think Meggers would mind at all. Hell's-Bells, she'd likely want to be on the show herself, so I don't think that would be a problem."
"Good, let me know as soon as you've confirmed your older sister's reply to the Higher-Ups request, okay?
"Okay Chief, I'll let you know by Monday morning," I returned, turning to walk the remaining distance to my "Black Beast"
Suddenly my Cell phone rang with its obnoxiously raging ring-tone,
"Lee here, whatcha want?" I quipped.
"Son?" Dad spoke on the other end, "we just got a call from the Retirement Community were you grandparents live. Your Grandfather has been hospitalized, but they didn't say what his condition currently. So your Mom and I won't be able to make it to the airport to pick up Meggie and her two charges from there, since we'll be visiting the hospital he's been admitted to."
"You'll also need to drop by the house and get Lizzie on your way through, as she decided to go with you to see her older sister's arrival with our two new family members in tow. Could you please do that for us?"
"I've got to get the 'Black Beast' fueled up before I head home to pick Lizzie up." I replied a little hurriedly, "but it should only take around a quarter of an hour or so to get it done."
"Okay, do what you've gotta do, but call me on my cell phone as soon as you've picked Meggie and our two new Family Members, okay?"
"Okay , not a problem, Dad, gotta run," I concluded before hanging up.
Arriving at my "Black Beast" and, getting inside and seating myself in the Driver's Seat, I fastened the seat belt, started up the engine, which gave a reassuring "GRUUUNT" upon start-up, and drove the 5 miles from South Bellevue to our home in the Renton Highlands/Newport Hills area.
Upon my arrival at our family residence, I honked the horn a couple of times to let Lizzie know I was waiting for her.
"What kept you so long?" Were the first words out of her mouth, when she came out of the house after locking up, and getting into my vehicle.
When I explained my agreement with Mr. Rimirez, and the fact I had refueled right afterwards, she shrugged, "oh, okay, whatever," with total indifference, while getting in and taking her place in the front passenger seat, buckling her seatbelt as if it were second nature.
"Have you had lunch yet?" I asked her offhandedly.
"Yeah, I made you and me a couple of 4-Cheeze Sandwiches." She replied, handing me a neatly wrapped double-stacker, "Here, just the way you like it."
"Awesome, you're the best, Lizzie," I said through a mouthful of sandwich.
"Whatever," she shrugged, blushing a little in spite of her feigned indifference.
"Ready?" I asked her, as I started eating the sandwich she had handed me.
"Let's do this." she replied matter-of-factly, pointing forward as if towards an invisible goal.
I eased the "Black Beast" from in front of our house and made my way downhill to the nearby Newcastle Way, on which I headed towards the nearest I-405 interchange. Upon arrival at the interchange, I turned onto the Southbound onramp and cruised almost unimpeded, except at the Renton S-Curves, at speed to the State Highway 518 exit leading to the Southbound lanes of International Boulevard (US Highway 99).
Once having turned onto said arterial, I drove South, to the East entry to the Airport Passenger terminal, turning left to enter the main entrance to the SeaTac Airport Main Parking Garage Complex, in order to find a suitably close parking space to the Arrivals pick-up area of the Passenger Terminal.
After puting the Six-Hour Parking Permit Stub on the driver's side of the dashboard of my vehicle, Lizzie and I made our way into Terminal Central, and after going through the security checkpoints, which only took us a little more than an hour, we got on the Underground Tramway to the Terminal Satellite where Meggie's flight was supposed to arrive. Once there, we found a drink vending machine, bought our drinks, sat down and waited at the gate's waiting area lounge for my Beautiful Big Sister's flight to arrive.
Before too long, I dozed off in the lounge chair I had sat down in.
"LEEEEE!" Kaede screamed in terror as she clung to the branch overhanging the bottomless chasm below us, " Help me,PLEASE! I don't wanna DIE!"
"HANG ON KAEDE!" I bellowed, "I'll get you just as soon as I've secured this rope!"
"I can't hold on any LONGER!" she screamed, losing her grasp on the branch and falling from my view.
KAEDE! NOOOOO!" I cried in horror.
Cursing to myself, I undid the rope from around my waist, and, against ALL better judgement, DOVE into the bottomless chasm after her, using a Skydiver's Tuck to pick up speed in order to catch up with her.
Below me, she came into view, tumbling out of control, flailing her arms and legs as if completely panicked.
"KAEDE!" I shouted down to her, "stop flailing your arms and legs around like that and try to fall Spread-Eagle to slow and stabilize your descent!"
Almost as soon as I had spoken, she obeyed, managing to stabilize her descent as I had said she would, and turned to face me, her arms open as if ready to catch me in an embrace.
"THAT'S my good Kaede!" I shouted as I slowed my own rate of descent to that of her own, "I knew you could do it!"
"I somehow KNEW you would come after me!" she responded, the fear she had a moment before all but gone from her voice and manner, as I reached her, and we locked ourselves in an unbreakable embrace, "I feel so UNWORTHY of your care!"
"NONSENSE!" I responded indignantly, "you're worth EVERYTHING I've been through already with you! If I had to do it all over again, I'd STILL go through what I've already been through, just because you're worth it to me THAT much!"
"REALLY?!" she reacted as if in a state of shock, as though not expecting me to harbor such sentiments towards her, "You're not just saying that to make me feel better about myself, are you?"
"No, I mean it, EVERY word of it!" I replied unflinchingly, "and I ALWAYS will, no matter what happens from here on out!"
Tears of joy began to well up in her eyes, as she realized the truth behind my words, when suddenly, a huge pair of white wings sprouted and burst forth from her back. At the same time a small spot of light appeared and spread rapidly behind her, enveloping the two of us and all but blinding me with its brilliance.
At the last, before the light's brilliance fully blinded me, all I could see of her beautiful face were her tearfully joy-filled eyes, and serene, satisfied smile.
"JAL Flight XXX-X is now arriving at Gate XX-X," the female flight announcer's voice over the PA system startled me awake from my nap.
"Hey, Broski, wake up," Lizzie nudged me with her elbow. "Meggie's flight just landed and will be pulling up to the terminal in a few minutes.
"Uungh! Yeah." I grunted in response, as I twisted and turned my neck to get rid of the stiffness that had resulted in my having slept in a not-too-comfortable Passenger Arrivals & Departures Waiting Area Lounge Chair , "Was the flight on time?"
"Naaah, it was late by about 15 minutes or so," she responded, getting up from her seat. "I think it's time for us to make our way to the Passenger Offloading Door."
"Yeah," I said, standing up myself. "I hope it's not going to be too long a wait before we see them."
Moving the short distance to the rope-stanchioned-off area next to the doors, which lead to the Passenger Jet Bridge Corridor of Gate XX-X, we watched and waited as the 747 Stretch Jetliner taxied up to, and stopped in front of the gantry's receiving end. Slowly the receiving end rolled up to the jetliner's front passenger door and carefully conformed to its fuselage's shape. As such, we would not be able to see when Meggie and her two travel companions would have exited the jetliner, so we turned our attention to the doors leading to the Jet Bridge as two attendants opened them up, anchoring them to the walls behind on Hold-Open Electro-Magnetic disks.
We didn't have to wait any more than about ten or so minutes before hearing Megger's distinctly cheerful voice preceding her up the Jet Bridge to our expectantly waiting ears.
"Now remember, even though Lizzie is about your height and build, and is as sweet and gentle as can be," she spoke loudly, apparently oblivious to her fellow passengers incredulous stares in her direction, "my Beloved Little Brother is another matter all together."
"Hey Meggers," my voice barked down the corridor, startling a few of her fellow passengers in the process, as she, and her two travel companions came into view, "what kind of 'another matter' am I?"
"Baby BROTHER!" She exclaimed unabashedly, running up to me and glomping me with a Big She-Bear Hug, while giving me a sloppy, wet kiss on the cheek. "I've missed you SO MUCH!"
"Hey, MEGGERS!" I pushed her away to arms length, more than a little embarrassed by her overly affectionate behavior towards me, "easy DOES it, will ya?! Jeez, you're acting as BAD as Aunt Gertrude now! What's with that ANYWAYS?!"
"I'm just SO glad to see you, that's ALL!" She replied, getting past my at-arms-length defensive posture and She-Bear-Hugging me again, "can't I show my Baby Brother how happy I am to see him again?"
"Yeah, I suppose so," I grumbled in half-mock-indignation. Finally giving her a half-hug, I gave her a kiss on the forehead." I'm glad to see you too."
"Jeez, and you ALWAYS act as if my giving you a hug is only going to take away from your Big He-Man Tough-Guy Image!" She finished with a mischievous wink.
"Pffffft, What-EVER!" I replied with Feigned Indifference.
"And how's my Cute Little Lizzie-Wizzy?" She then turned to my Little Sister, who hid a little behind me in apparent reluctance to greet her Beloved Big Sister directly. "Why won't you let me give you a hug?"
""Because you're going to embarrass me to no end, if I let you act like Aunt Gertrude always does towards me when she pays her quarterly visits." Lizzie pouted a little indignantly in reply.
Before Meggers could object to the contrary, I, in a sudden fit of pranksterishness, grabbed my Beloved Little Sister and shoved her in front of me, well within reach of My Beloved Big Sister, while grinning with vicious glee.
"Lizzie-WIZZY!" My Beloved Big Sister, true to form, glomped my Beloved Little Sister with her patented Big She-Bear Hug, smothering Lizzie face-first between her ample cleavage. "At last, I get to give you your long-awaited HUG!"
"Traitor," was all Lizzie said as she scowled at me, finally able to push herself far enough from our Beloved Big Sister to breathe again without encumberrance.
"Serves you right," I quipped a little snidely as she glared at me from between Meggers's bosom. "Try to use me as a Human Shield, will ya?"
"But Lizzie, I'm your Big Sister!" Meggers interjected as if in agreement with my actions, "You know I wouldn't do anything to intentionally hurt you." Puting an arm around my Beloved Little Sister more tenderly, she added, "I just wanna show you how much I love you, that's all."
"If I have to go through it, taller than she as I am, then so do you." I added with a snicker.
"But I DON'T like it when you hug me like that!" Lizzie protested vehemently at Meggers's Public Display of Sisterly Affection, "it's TOO embarrassing for me and it also makes my neck hurt something awful!" She finished by rubbing her neck, and twisting and turning it to get rid of the discomfort.
"Sorry about that, Lizzie-Wizzy, I guess I forgot about how much you may have changed inside since I left to work in Tokyo Japan last year." My Beloved Big Sister spoke apologetically, biting her lip wistfully, as she gently rubbed my Beloved Little Sister's sore neck in a soothing manner. " I didn't mean to hurt you or make your life any harder than it needs to be. I was only showing you how much I really love you, my Sweet Little Lizzie-Wizzy. Could you find it in your heart to forgive me, please?"
"Yeah, Meggie, I forgive you," My Beloved Little Sister relented, laying her head back against my Beloved Big Sister's ample bosom and closing her eyes for a moment.
"Oh my, SILLY me!" Meggers suddenly exclaimed, "I ALMOST forgot to introduce the two of you to our two new family members!" Turning to the two girls, who had been her travel companions for the last twelve or so hours, she said, with mock-formality, holding a hand out towards the pair, while still absently caressing Lizzie's delicate, Strawberry-Blonde-haired head "Lehman Howard Davidson, Elizabeth Mary Davidson, may I present to you Kaede Fuyou, of Tokyo, Japan, and Primula Shin-Ma, daughter of the Shin-dari and Ma-dari Worlds. They will be living with you in our parents' house until they graduate from college, with the option of staying here for post-graduate studies if they so choose."
"Kaede Fuyou, Primula Shin-Ma," She continued holding her hand towards Lizzie and myself, "these two young people are my Beloved Not-So-Little Brother, Lehman Howard Davidson, and Little Sister, Elizabeth Mary Davidson. They will be your new Host Family Siblings from now on until you decide to move out on your own after college."
"Now that formal introductions are over and done with, I'll need to get in touch with a member of the U. S. Department of Immigration and Naturalization Service to have them verify our Passports, before we can go any further." Meggers finished, then, letting go of Lizzie, and, walking over to the nearest Information Desk, began talking with a customer service representative about meeting with an INS Officer.
Meanwhile, Primula, who was tiny in comparison to me, took a couple of tentative steps forward, while holding the other girl's hand, and timidly held out her free hand to me, a small, almost apologetic smile spreading across her delicate face.
"My goodness, Lee-Onii-chama, you're bigger in person than you were in that Video Conference, in which Kaede-Onee-chan and I first saw you." She piped in a cute little voice, looking me over in complete awe. "How tall are you anyway?"
"Do you want just my height, or all my vital statistics?" I asked, cocking an eyebrow at her, as I gently took her offered hand in a firm, Roman-Imperial-style grasp and shook it, surprising both her and the other girl.
"A-all your v-vital statistics?" Kaede asked in a timid little squeak, a little shocked at my questioning response, as well as distress over seeing an unfamiliar style of handshake, and the expression on my face. "W-well, yes, i-if you please...m-maybe?"
"Well, then, let's see," I replied, concentrating on an imaginary, far-away-point, remembering my Metric System, as Japan is a Metric-System-User Nation. I then went into a spiel about my height, weight with body-fat-content, chest, waist, arms, thighs, calves, neck, shoulders, and my four-day-a-week work-out regimen.
"Your shoulders are one WHOLE meter across?!" Primula asked in disbelief, her jaw dropping open in amazement. "What do you do with all that muscle, besides work out?"
"It's useful for lifting heavy car parts, tools, and supplies at work." I replied matter-of-factly, "as well as your heaviest luggage pieces. Also I'm planning to compete in the Northeastern Cascadian Triathlon this Labor Day Weekend. Would you like to come out to the course and root for me?"
"Wh-what is a-a 'Triathlon'?" Kaede struggled with the unfamiliar word's pronunciation.
"It means a three-sport competition," Meggers interjected knowingly, having returned from the Information Desk. "It consists of swimming a distance of 3.84km., then bicycling 179.2km. and finally running 41.92km. at the end of the day-long competition, over a carefully planned-out course that usually starts and finishes in either an urban or suburban setting."
"However, in the case of the one your new Beloved Big Brother is competing in, it's mostly going to be off-road for both the bicycling and the running portions of the race. Since he's a strong swimmer, mountain bicyclist and trail runner, I think he may place somewhere in the top half of the field of competitors."
While my Beloved Big Sister was describing my competition in said upcoming event, two INS Enforcement Agents walked up to us, one male, and one female, who happened to be carrying a zippered portfolio case with her. Opening it up, she cleared her throat.
"I'm looking for a Meggan Christina Davidson, a Kaede Fuyou, and a Primula Shin-Ma." She said matter-of-factly, "please have your Passports ready, as well as Certified Copies of your Birth Certificates. You'll also need your Student Visas if you're going to be attending school here, as well as Work Visas if you plan to work either part-time or full time during your stay in the U. S. of A."
"Here are my Documents to begin with," my Beloved Big Sister responded with a warm smile, handing her Passport, Birth Certificate and Social Security Card, to the male INS Agent, who, upon opening Meggers's Passport, commenced looking at the side and front view photos within, and at her face, as if trying to look at her from several angles.
"No discrepancies between your Passport Photos and your appearance in person," the male INS Agent observed matter-of-factly, handing my Beloved Big Sister's Passport back to her, "and all your personal information appears to be up-to-date, and matches your Birth Certificate."
"Thank you sir," Meggers smiled warmly in reply, taking her Passport, and other applicable documents, back and puting them in her handbag.
"Alright, Miss Kaede Fuyou, I need to see your Passport, and other documents, please," the male INS Agent intoned flatly, turning to the young lady in question, who blushed sheepishly, shakily handing her documentation over to him.
"Even though your name is Japanese, your appearance is more like that of one who is half-Asian, half-Northern European, what with your Orange-Blonde Hair and Dark Greenish-Blue eyes" he casually, but pointedly observed, cocking an eyebrow at her. "Your hair wouldn't happen to be a dye job and your eye color and shape from contact lenses, and eyelid surgery, would they?
"N-no sir," she timidly stammered in reply, blushing self-consciously all the more of his having scrutinized her not-so-Japanese appearance. "M-my Mother a-and Father w-were both h-half Japanese, o-on both o-of their F-fathers' side o-of their r-respective families. T-their Mothers w-were from N-north America a-and Australia r-respectively."
"I see it says both your parents are deceased," the male INS Agent continued without any apparent emotional involvement, as if reading a shopping list.
"M-my Mother d-died in a-an automobile a-accident when I-I was e-eight years o-old," she replied, struggling hard to keep from having an emotional breakdown from the painful memories, of which some were still relatively fresh in her mind. "M-my Father I-I lost when o-our house c-caught fire, a-after he f-fell asleep w-while smoking i-in bed."
She finished by biting her lip, as tears began to well up in her eyes at the still-recent painful memories, hanging her head down as if ashamed of letting anyone see her in such a state.
"You have my heart-felt sympathy, Miss Fuyou," the female INS Agent calmly intoned with just a hint of compassion in her voice. "I take it that you hope to make a fresh start here in the U. S. of A. as part of your recovery from this recent tragedy of yours?"
Kaede merely nodded in reply, her hands clutching at the hem of the same dark-gray jumper she had worn the day I had first been introduced to her a week ago, as tears continued to course their way down her cheeks.
"Duly noted," the female INS Agent intoned, as she jotted an entry in her opened notebook. "I wish you well, young lady."
"T-thank you, M-ma'am," Kaede's voice squeaked in a barely audible response.
"In any case, all your Passport and Visa Documents are in order, Miss Fuyou," the male INS Agent calmly intoned, handing her documents back to her, as a hint of a smile flashed across his face, "Welcome to the United States of America."
Kaede gave a timid little bow and blushed in return.
"Now, Primula Shin-Ma," the female INS Agent spoke to Rimu-chana little incredulously, "your documents say that you're an artificially created hybrid of Shin-dari and Ma-dari genetic materials as a result of a "Project Yggdrassil, if I'm reading this correctly?"
"Yes Ma'am, I am," Rimu-chan replied placidly. "As you can see, I have the Official Seals of the Shin, Ma, and Japanese governments set into my Passport and Visa, permitting me to travel to, as well as to stay within, other areas of this world, known as Terra, or Earth, as some members of the human race refer to it, as well as Shin-dar and Ma-dar," She concluded with a little half-bow. "I respectfully request your agency's permission to enter this nation at this port of call."
"Pardon me, Hastings," the male INS Agent drew his female counterpart to one side, "these Seals from the Shin-dar and Ma-dar Home World Governments are actually those two worlds' Royal House Seals, as in the Seals of both worlds' Kings."
"You're right, Griggsby" the female replied with the sudden realization of what importance the documents regarding Primula implied. "Isn't she their Peace Child Princess? The documents from both worlds say she's blood-related to both Royal Houses."
"Begging your pardons", Primula quietly interrupted the two Agents' conversation, "but yes I am related to the Bloodlines of both Royal Houses of Shin-dar and Ma-dar, making me their Peace Child Princess, as you have astutely ascertained. I'm not sure if my two fathers sent word ahead of time, like they were supposed to have, though."
"I see," said Agent Hastings, cocking an eyebrow. "I'll call my Supervisor and see if he got word from both consulates as to your intended time of arrival. In the mean time, please take a seat and wait a few minutes while we sort this out, alright?
"Yes Ma'am." Primula quietly found a nearby chair and sat down, to calmly wait out this latest inconvenient uncertainty.
Several minutes went by as both Agents conversed on their Cell Phones in an apparent conference call with their supervisor, who seemed to be castigating them both in a VERY loud and obnoxious manner over their not having gotten a copy of the memo HE had gotten that morning upon his having first checked his email that morning. From what I could glean from the snippets of over-the-secured-cell-phone conversation, he had neglected to pass the memo regarding Primula's impending arrival on to his field agents, as he was distracted by a stow-away on an earlier overseas flight arrival, who had given them quite the chase around the Airport Terminal, before he had given up and collapsed in a state of exhaustion.
"Wait right there, you two, I'm on my way!" I heard their Supervisor's voice bark from their Secured Cell Phones, "Henderson OUT!"
"Sorry about the inconvenience, Miss Shin-Ma, our Supervisor will be here shortly to make a final verification of your Identity and Immigration Status", Agent Hastings addressed Primula, a slightly shameful expression flashing across her face.
"That's quite alright, Ma'am," Primula calmly replied, with a slight smile. "You're only trying to make the absolute best of a difficult, if not impossible situation, while having to deal with a Less-Than-Stellar Supervisor, am I right in this statement?"
"That pretty much goes without saying, Miss Shin-Ma," Agent Hasting replied, an only slight twisting of her lip confirming Primula's responsive query.
"Agreed", Primula smiled knowingly back at Agent Hastings, "the less said about it, the better."
Just then a heavy-set, middle-aged, balding man in a sweat-soaked suit and tie came huffing and puffing over to our Arrivals Lounge area.
"HASTINGS, GRIGGSBY, WHERE THE HELL IS THE SHIN-MA HYBRID PEACE CHILD PRINCESS!?" he bellowed, not caring who else in the terminal satellite may have heard him. "Oh, there you are", he said more calmly upon seeing her sitting quietly a little off by herself from the rest of our group.
Breathing deeply a couple of breaths he continued much more calmly, "Sorry about the snarl-up, but we had an incident that required all our Agents' attention for all of this morning, plus I've had Paperwork out the Wazzu as a result. The memo about your arrival had reached my email Inbox, but somehow got sent to the Junkmail Folder before I could pass it along to my subordinates. You have my Most Sincere Apologies, Your Highness. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive any inconvenience my department may have caused you."
"There is nothing to forgive, as your Agents were most courteous and considerate of myself, as well as my two travelling companions," Primula gently replied, "even though I could hear your conversation, almost word for word, with your two Field agents during your conference call. Yes I have VERY sharp hearing, however I can assure you that I won't say a word to ANY news agencies about the North Korean Intelligence Officer-Turned-Dissident, who stowed away on a flight out of Seoul Korea to escape his former Masters, and gave your local office quite the chase around the airport, both inside AND outside the Main Terminal Building until almost noon today."
"Heh, heh, the less said about it the better, okay, Your Highness?" Agent Henderson laughed and smiled nervously.
"My lips are sealed, Sir." Primula replied deferentially, "and you needn't address me as Your Highness. Just Miss Primula will do."
'Alright then Miss Primula," Agent Henderson visibly relaxed a little, taking Primula's Paperwork from Agent Hastings ,"Could you please turn a little to the left, then the right?"
Primula quietly complied with the INS Team Supervisor, as he examined her facial features with a practiced eye.
"Well you certainly are whom you say you are, Miss Primula," Henderson finally said, after concluding his inspection of her facial features."And to be honest with you, what little I've seen of your abilities, and what I've already heard, watched, and read about you frankly gives me the 'Willies', But as long as you don't pose an Intentional Threat to National Security, I see no reason to delay your entry at this airport. Welcome to the United States of America, Miss Primula."
He then handed her papers back to her and, beckoning to his subordinates to follow him, left the immediate terminal area, as quickly as he, and his colleagues could without running.
"Whew!" I breathed a sigh of relief," That was a bit of Touch and Go for a little while there, wasn't it?"
"Yeah," my Beloved Big Sister replied wryly, "I never realized how difficult those INS Agents sometimes have it, what with the Budget and Staffing cuts I keep hearing about." They're lucky it wasn't an ITS (International Terrorism Suspect) trying to sneak in on that flight."
"Yeah, how fortunate," Lizzie muttered ironically under her breath.
"Hey Ladies," I interjected casually, as we made our way to the Arrivals Baggage Claim in Terminal Central, by way of the Underground Tramway, "how's about I treat yous to supper at my Favorite Japanese Restaurant, once we've left this mess of an Airport Terminal Complex, that is?"
"Which one is that again?" Meggers asked, a little confuzzledly, "I know you like several Asian restaurants in the area around where our family lives."
"Edokko Japanese Restaurant, in the Great Wall Mall, South of South 180th Street, of course," I replied, a little indignant at my Beloved Big Sister's forgetfulness. "You know the place I'm talking about, don't you, Meggers?"
"YUMMM!" My Beloved Big Sister exclaimed enthusiastically, "I ABSOLUTELY LOVE their food! I can HARDLY WAIT!"
"How about you, Lizzie?" I asked my Beloved Little Sister, "do you want to join us there?"
Well, you ARE the one driving us all home afterwards, and I'm open to anything beside 'American Family Style Restaurant' Food," she replied a little thoughtfully, "and we DO have two guests from Japan with us, who may not really be used to eating Western Style Restaurant Food as much as we are, so, YES, let's eat at YOUR Favorite Asian Cuisine Restaurant! That is, if Kae-chan and Rimu-chan don't mind."
She finished by eying our two New Houseguests a little shyly.
"I don't mind, if I'm being treated to Supper by Lee Onii-sama," Primula replied placidly, "as long as it's Properly Prepared by the Chef."
"I-I would l-like that t-too," Kaede timidly stammered, a small, apologetic smile playing across her delicate facial features.
"Okay, Edokko Japanese Restaurant it is," I finished the conversation with a confident, satisfied smile.
After disembarking from the Underground Tramway at the Central Terminal Stop closest to the International Flights Baggage Claim Conveyor Islands, and helping Meggers and her two Charges retrieve their Non-Carry-On Luggage from the JAL Arrivals Conveyor Island, we load it all onto a Rental Luggage Cart, with me handling the bulk of the heavier items.
"Good Freakin' Golly, Meggers!" I quipped facetiously at the amount of Suitcases and Large Shoulder Bags with her name on them, "did you pack ALL of your Earthly Belongings in ALL this luggage before leaving Japan?"
"No, Silly," She replied, playfully bopping me on my closest shoulder. "Half the Buggage belongs to both Kaede and Primula. As you can see, I've used different Marking Pens to differentiate who's stuff is in which Bag or Suit Case." Picking up a tag to show me, she continued, "see? All my Baggage is marked in Black ink, Kaede's in Blue, and Primula's in Red."
"Oh, okay," I responded, impressed by my Beloved Big Sister's Simple-Yet-Smart Solution to an otherwise potentially difficult situation in identifying whose Bag or Suit Case was whose. "Sounds like a plan."
Pushing the cart to the nearest elevator adjacent to the nearby Sky-Bridge, which led to the Main Parking Garage Complex, we got on for a short ride to the top. After exiting the elevator we made our way across the Sky-Bridge and through the Double-Doored Air Lock to the Parking Garage Proper.
"Alright Ladies, please wait here while I go to get the 'Black Beast' from its parking stall," I said upon arrival at the Passenger Pickup Zone on that level of the Main Parking Garage Complex, as I held up my Keychain Fob and pressed the "Find Vehicle" Button.
"Heh, HEH!" I exclaimed as I started to make my way to my "Black Beast's" location, where I had parked it a few hours before, "RIGHT where I parked ya! And with an hour and a half to spare on top of that! Awesome!"
Arriving at my vehicle, I turned off the vehicle alarm, unlocked and opened the Driver's Side Door, got in, started it up with a Reassuring "GRUUUNT", backed it out, and drove it the relatively short distance to where the rest of my party was waiting with their Luggages. Honking the Freeway Blaster Horns while pulling up to the Passenger Pickup Curbside, I stopped in front of my Family Members, cut the engine and got out to open the Roof-Rack-Mounted Turtle-Shell Cargo-Carrier-Lid, my Beloved Big Sister wheeled the cart up to the Passenger Side of my vehicle, and commenced to loading the Bags and Suit Cases into the Cargo Carrier.
"I-is that th-the 'Black B-beast' you s-spoke of?" Kaede asked timidly, as she stared at my vehicle as if transfixed, a Terrified Expression overspreading on her face, as she appeared to shrink back from it as if her life was in Eminent Danger, should the Monsterous Machine take Sudden Notice of her presence and decide to Devour Her Right On the Spot.
"A-yep, SHE'S my Baby!" I replied with Manly Pride, as I glanced over at her from loading up the Cargo Carrier, "built her up with my Own Two Hands, and the help of Some Very Important Friends."
Suddenly noticing her Extremely Distressed Expression, I added with Growing Concern For Her Emotional State, "you're scared of her, aren't you?"
She nodded in reply, glancing rapidly between me and my "Black Beast", as if not sure what my reply would be to her, or if I would move to prevent my vehicle from Pouncing On Her Fragile Frame With Its Full Weight, quickly enough to save her from a Horrifying Death.
"Well don't be," I continued Matter-Of-Factly, as if her apparent Terror Of My "Black Beast" was a Relatively Trivial Matter. "After all SHE, like the rest of us, has been EAGERLY looking forward to your arrival, as one of our new Family Members, and even has been on HER Best Behavior ALL this past week, with no electrical, or mechanical malfunctions, fluid leaks, or even a flat or low tire pressure issue to worry about. She even gladly took a bath yesterday evening, along with an interior vacuum out & wipe-down. Doesn't she look Purty?"
I finished with a Half-Proud, Half Teasing Smirk, making Kaede giggle a little less nervously, and replace her terrified expression with a small, apologetic smile.
"I-if you s-say so, L-lee Onii-s-sama," she managed to say with a little more self-confidence. "Sh-should I g-get in th-the back s-seat with L-lizzie and P-primula?"
"Yeah, go ahead and sit between them when you get in, if it'll make you feel better about riding in my "Black Beast," I replied as I put the last of the Luggage Pieces into the Cargo Carrier, closing the lid, and locking its padlocks in place. "I'll help you fasten the Lap Belt in place once you're seated, okay?"
"O-okay", She replied with even more self-confidence, getting help climbing in from Lizzie, who was already in her seated position, and Primula, who had decided to wait until Kaede was in her seat before climbing in.
"Iisha," Primula said as she, in turn, climbed into her seated position, using the Door-Frame-Mounted Roof-Line-Position Handle for just such a purpose. "How much taller-than-stock did you raise this Beast, Lee Onii-sama?" she looked at me quizzically.
"It's got a 6" (15cm.) suspension lift to accommodate the 34"x12.5"R15" Full Floatation Tires." I said proudly as I climbed into the driver's seat, "Took a lot of work to get everything to work right, though. I had to modify the entire driveline to prevent vibration and tracking problems. But you can look under the beast when we get home or at a later date if ya wanna, as time's a-wasting, and I'm sure you're all getting hungry by now, amiright?"
"YAAAY, EDOKKO JAPANESE RESTAURANT!" My Beloved Big Sister shouted gleefully, as I fastened my Seatbelt, "WOOHOO!"
"Well, I'm glad to see you're still enthusiastic about our Dinner-Out Destination, Meggers." I quipped sidelong at her, as I started the "Black Beast" with its Tell-Tale Reassuring "GRUUUNT" once again, noting Kaede's startled reaction to the sound. "Are you okay back there, Kae-chan?"
"M-hmm!" she replied with what appeared to be a mix of Sheer Terror and Immense Pleasure in her facial expression, while gripping the hand of my Beloved Little Sister on her Left, and Primula's hand on her Right, in an apparently Desperate Death Grip, as she blushed a Bright Red at seeing my eyes on her.
"Okay everyone, are your Safety Belts fastened and adjusted properly?" I asked, making sure mine was fastened as well.
"Seatbelt: CHECK!" Meggers exclaimed in a Falsely Official Sounding Voice.
"Same here", Lizzie added nonchalantly.
"I've got mine too. Lee Onii-sama" Primula chimed in placidly.
"I-I think I've g-got mine f-fastened," Kaede mewed.
"A-yep," I replied Matter-Of-Factly, after turning around to visually verify her having done so, "looks like you do, Kae-chan."
Okay, everyone, here we GO!" I exclaimed as I shifted the transmission into its OD range, and pulling away from the Passenger Loading Area, drove towards one of the Spiral Exit Ramps, which exited onto a Ramp Way to the Northern Access Express Way, which led, in turn, to State Highway 518 and the Interstate 5/405 Interchange. Continuing on to I-405, we continued our Merry Freeway Jaunt.
"E-excuse me, L-lee Onii-s-sama," Kaede suddenly asked, with a Note of Rising Concern in her voice, "wh-why are y-you driving s-so fast?"
"Fast? What do you mean by FAST?!"I replied questioningly while glancing at her through the Rear View Mirror, a little puzzled by her question, "I'm currently doing the speed limit."
"B-but the S-speed Limit s-sign says "S-speed Limit S-sixty", she persisted a little more urgently. "A-are you s-sure you're n-not exceeding th-the Speed L-limit."
"OH, you must be thinking in Kilometers per Hour, instead of Miles per Hour, as you likely come from a Metric System-Using Nation, am I right about that?! The sudden realization hit me about her possibly getting Japan's Metric System use confused with the USofA's use of Non-Metric Weights and Measures, including Street, Road, and Highway/Freeway Speed Limits.
"Y-yes, Lee O-onii-sama." She shrank back into her Seat-Cushions as if she had realized the same thing," I-I guess I-I forgot a-about that f-fact, d-didn't I?'
"Yeah, don't worry about it though," I replied reassuringly, "It's a common mistake First-Time-Visitors from Metric-System-Using Countries make, from what I've heard, so you're in good company with them, okay?"
"O-okay, Lee O-onii-sama," She replied, blushing a Deep Shade of Pink.
"Well, I don't know about yous, but I feel like cranking Some of My Favorite Tunes right now!" I suddenly exclaimed, turning on my Car Audio System's CD Player, as my vehicle crossed over the I-5/I-405 Interchange. "Here's 'Catch 33' By Meshuggah, for your listening enjoyment!"
"Isn't 'Catch 33' their latest release?" My Beloved Big Sister asked, looking at me with an Increasingly Intrigued Expression on her face.
"A-yep, it is," I replied, as I adjusted the Volume so it would not be too loud, but still Clearly Audible to Us Listeners. "It SEEMS to be their best release yet, further demonstrating their versatility as a Progressive/Math/Industrial/Experimental Metal Band. But that's my opinion, as well as the Unsolicited Opinions of My Fellow Band Members."
"Y-you're in a-a band, L-lee Onii s-sama?"Kaede seemed to perk up just a tad, while asking.
"A-yep," I replied casually, "we call ourselves "The League of Extraordinary Djentlemen", even though we started out as a Meshuggah-Inspired Cover Band called "Sublevels".
"W-wow!" Kaede shrank back into her Seat-Cushion, apparently in a State of Shock over This Latest Revelation about me. "I-I didn't kn-know you w-were a M-musician!"
"Keade-Sweetie," my Beloved Big Sister excitedly interjected, "your New Big Brother is a Guitar and Bass Guitar Virtuoso, when it comes to the "Djent" style of Playing! You've just GOT to SEE as well as HEAR him play his OWN compositions one of these days!'
"Well, I wouldn't go so far as to call me a "Djent Virtuoso," I responded with a little embarrassment over Meggers Glowing Description of my Guitar and Bass Guitar Playing Skills, "but I s'pose I can hold my own in the Musical Versatility and Technicality Departments, as far as my Playing Skills are concerned. Of course, Frederick Thordendahl blows me out of the water with his Versatility and Technical Excellence, but then he's probably been playing since before I was born, heh, heh, heh."
I finished with a little bit of a Nervous Chuckle.
"Well, I think you're a GREAT Guitarist and Bassist in your Chosen Genre/Style/Technique Combination," my Beloved Big Sister Firmly Stated with Mock-Indignation, "and I DON'T care WHO disagrees with me, so there! Pthpthpthpth!" She ended with sticking out her tongue and giving me a "Raspberry", eliciting some giggles from the girls in the back seat.
"Do you Two Little Ladies see what I, and Lizzie have to endure, whenever we and Our Beloved Big Sister Meggan are together for ANY length of time?!" I asked in a Mock-Complaining Voice, while comically twisting my face up into a Mock-Long-Suffering Expression, and glancing in the rear-view mirror to catch their reactions to my antics. "OH the AGONY, THE A-GO-NY!
Primula covered her face in a futile attempt to hide her incessant giggling.
Kaede, mouthed the words "You Poor, Pitiful Soul," and immediately became convulsed with Almost Silent Giggles when I responded with a Grossly Exaggerated Hang-Dog Whipping-Boy-Expression, to what I felt was a Half-Hearted Attempt at Mock-Sympathy on her part.
Lizzie just gave me a "Been There, Done That, Big Broski" look, shook her head, rolled her eyes, and looked away.
"Alrighty, here's our exit to East Valley Highway", I observed, as we had taken the Washington State Highway 167 Southbound Cutoff from I-405 during our Djent Musicianship Discussion.
Taking the exit, I turned left onto East Valley when the Stop-And-Go Light turned green, and headed South through the 180th Street Intersection's Southbound Green Light, pulling into the Left Turn Lane which would take us to our destination at the Great Wall Mall's Parking lot.
After finding a place to park the "Black Beast", we all piled out, and, after I had secured the vehicle and had set the alarm, proceeded to cover the moderate distance to the side of the Great Wall Mall Entrance closest to our Dining Destination. After passing through the Mall Entrance In Question, we walked the remaining short distance to the Restaurant's Front Entrance, and upon entering, were greeted warmly by the Hostess.
"Konbanwa to kangei (Good evening and welcome)." She greeted us in Japanese.
"Yushoku ni watashitachi o motte itadaki arigatogozaimasu (Thank you for having us to dinner)." My Beloved Big Sister replied in as Near-Perfect Japanese, as I had ever heard spoken by a an English-as-a-Primary-language Speaker converse in said language (I knew my Coworker, Asian Vehicle Specialist Kyoshi, Yoshimura-san would be impressed, as he had been born and raised in Japan, his home country, until he had immigrated here with his parents at age 16, back about the time Lizzie was born).
"Ho-oh, you speak VERY good Japanese!" Our Hostess exclaimed with Awe and Wonder over Meggers Command of the Restaurant's Thematic Language. "Where'd you learn to speak it so well?"
"Well, I took two years of Conversational Japanese with some Kata-kana Writing Techniques during my Junior and Senior years in High School," my Beloved Big Sister drew herself up to her full height of 5', 10" tall, and proudly thrust out her Ample Bosom, "plus four more years of Intermediate and Advanced Japanese Language Studies at the University of Washington, while also working towards my Bachelor's Degree in Child Psychology and Secondary Educational Teacher's Certification."
"Japanese is my Second Language, which I have to use to verbally, as well as in writing, during the performance of my job as Student Councellor/Advisor and Substitute Homeroom Teacher at the National Verbena Academy, located in the Kouyou-Chou District of Tokyo, Japan. So yes, I'd agree with your assertion that I Speak VERY Good Japanese, for a Non-Native Speaker."
Meggers finished her little speech with a Courteous Half-Bow to the Hostess.
"Ho-oh, I see," our Hostess observed respectfully, "very good. May I show you to your table now?"
"Since I'm the one paying for this Little Dinner Party," I spoke up, "I'd like for us to sit at the Sushi Bar, since it's currently empty of customers, if it has not been reserved for another party, that is."
"Alright, if you'll please come this way," our Hostess smilingly gestured towards the Five-Seat Sushi Bar.
Taking our seats, I sat on the Middle Bar Seat, while my Beloved Big Sister sat on my left, with Primula seating herself next to her, and Lizzie sat on the far right seat, causing Kaede to sit in the seat between us.
"Has everyone decided upon what they want to order?" Our Hostess inquired after a few minutes of our perusing our menu options.
"Yes, I'll have the Beef Teriyaki and Chicken Teriyaki Bento-Style Combo Dinner," I replied, "with a side of Tempura as an Appetizer, and a Pot of Hot Green Tea."
"I'll have the Salmon Shioyaki and Sashimi Bento-Style Dinner with a side of Fry Dumplings as an Appetizer, and a Cherry Cola. How about you, Rimu-chan?"
"I'll have the Mix Sushi Bento-Style Dinner, with a side of Tori Karaage as an Appetizer, and a Pot of Hot Green Tea, like what Lee-san is having to drink," Primula ended by deferentially inclining her head towards me.
"I'll have the Sukiyaki Japanese Casserole, with a side of Agedashi Tofu as an Appetizer," Lizzie ordered, concentrating intently on the Menu Items, " and a 'Shirley Temple'…sorry, Cherry Sprite to drink. What about you, Kae-chan?"
"Uuummmnnn, I-I don't r-really know wh-what I w-want," Kaede replied after looking indecisively at her menu for several more minutes, "I-it all l-looks so g-good to m-me."
"Why not have what one of us is having, if you can't decide on your own?" Meggie suggested, trying to be helpful.
"Yeah," I added, "pick a number between 1 and 100, and have each of us guess what it is. The one whose guess is the closest to the random number you choose, can be the one whose menu choices you end up going with, okay?"
"O-okay," Kaede shyly replied, blushing as she shrank back into her seat. "I'll t-try that."
"Do you have your Guessing Number thought of yet, Kae-chan?" Meggie asked after a minute or so.
"Y-yes, I th-think so," Kaede replied, squirming nervously in her seat.
"Okay, I guess twenty-eight," my Beloved Big Sister stated confidently.
"Seventy-nine," I said Matter-of-Factly.
"Forty-five," Primula intoned placidly.
"Sixty-one," Lizzie shrugged indifferently.
"F-fifty-nine w-was the n-number I h-had thought o-of," Kaede peered timidly over at Lizzie. "L-looks like I-I'll be h-having what y-you're having, b-but I th-think I'll h-have th-the Yosenabe, i-instead of th-the Sukiyaki, w-with a s-side of P-poki Salad a-as an A-appetizer, and a-a Pot o-of Hot G-green Tea t-too, like L-lee-san."
"Alright, I guess we're all set with placing our orders," I quipped as I handed our menus back to the Hostess.
During the fifteen-to-twenty minutes it took the Kitchen to prepare our meals, we bantered back and forth about mundane things, as well as our new House Guests' First Impressions of their new Region of Residence, including Kaede's awestruck comments about Mount Rainier, which she had first seen from the Stretch 747 JAL Jetliner on its Final Approach to SeaTac International Airport.
"J-just how t-tall is i-it?" She asked tremblingly.
"14,411 Feet at last survey, or about 4,392 Meters." I replied, then asked, "Do you want to hear the Native American Legend about Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and Mount Shuksan?"
"M-hmm," she nodded a little less timidly.
"Mount Rainier and Mount Baker are Volcanic Peaks, whereas Mount Shuksan is a Broken Crustal Upthrust Peak. The Native Americans have a legend where Baker, or Koma Kulshan in the Lummi Tribe's Language and Rainier, or Tacoma in the Puyallup Tribe's language, were Husband and Wife, until Shuksan came along one day and usurped Rainier's place as Baker's Wife. Rainier then moved South to her Current Location in a fit of Rage and Grief over her loss. Kinda reminiscent of some of the Soap Operas My Beloved Big Sister used to like watching before she moved to Japan, isn't it?" I finished my Little Story by nudging Meggers in the ribs with my elbow.
"OR maybe the Scriptwriters found inspiration FROM those legends to begin with, My Beloved Little Brother!" She replied, nudging me in the ribs in return.
"I'm glad you're back, Meggers." I put an arm around her, giving her an Affectionate Brotherly Half-Hug.
"I'm glad to be back, Lee-Bro-ski," she sniffled a little bit, as she returned my Half-Hug.
Just then the Hostess and one of the Wait Staff Members arrived at our places at the Sushi Bar Counter, carrying each of our meals, and placed the appropriate meal in front of each of us.
"Itadakimasu!" My Beloved Big Sister said, clapping her hands together in front of herself, with a slight nod forward while doing so.
"Is that how the Japanese say 'Grace' over their food before they eat?' I asked her, eying her Behavioral Exhibition with uncertainty, and noticing Primula, and even Kaede, doing the same.
"Brilliant Deduction, Lee-Bro-ski" Meggers quipped, before digging into her meal.
"Oh, okay," I shrugged. "ITADAKIMASU!" I then intoned, with all the Exuberant Intensity of a Dreadfully Overacted Akira-Kurasawa-esque Samurai Epic Movie, imitating my Beloved Big Sisters actions with the same level of Over-Exaggerated Exuberance as I had spoken with, eliciting stares from all the members of my little party, as well as most of the other customers and employees, along with a few chuckles and giggles, in the process.
Feigning Indifference to the reactions to my antics of those around me, I made a Big Production of removing my Break-Apart Wooden Chopsticks from their Paper Slipcover, and held them up in front of me.
"HUUUNNN-NUH!" I Hammishly Grunted as I broke them apart at the base with a quick, clean action, "well, how do ya like that? A PERFECT break!" I commented, as I first showed those on my left, then right, nudging Meggers once again, then winking mischievously at Kaede, who turned away, blushing and smiling behind her hand.
"Yeah, yeah," Meggers responded through a mouthful of , "now eat, eat."
"Ya don't have to tell ME twice, Big Sis!" I quipped as I turned my attention to my Bento-Style Dinner and began to tuck into it, "I'm practically starving here!"
For the next twenty-to-thirty minutes we ate our Dinners, with the occasional Share-age by my Beloved Big Sister with her two Charges, including a few items from my plate. In turn I took a few items from hers, just to Even-Steven things out.
"Hey Meggers, it's only fair, since you started by taking things from my plate," I quipped, when she protested.
"W-would you l-like a l-little of m-mine?" Kaede offered timidly, with an apologetic smile. "I-I mean to m-make up f-for what D-Davidson Sensei t-took from y-your plate?"
"Naaah, that's alright," I replied with a shrug, "I'm just punishing her for taking from my plate, that's all. Thanks for the offer, though, Kae-chan."
"I-I'm not r-really all th-that hungry, th-though it a-all tastes s-so good," she responded, insisting, in spite of her Extreme Shyness and Timidity, in putting a few pieces of her Yosenabe on my plate. "P-please eat th-these as m-my Gift o-of Thanks t-to you."
"Thanks?" I asked, a little puzzled over what she had just said, "For what?"
"F-for being s-so kind t-to me," She replied as earnestly as her timidity would allow, "a-and helping m-me to f-forget my h-heart-ache a-a little."
"Hey, Kae-cham, what're Big Bro-skis for, if not to cheer up their Broken-Hearted Little Sisters, when they need it?" I responded a little facetiously, giving her a gentle nudge in the process.
Eventually, when we were done with our Meals, the Hostess came by and, upon having cleared our empty plates from the table, asked us if we'd like Dessert.
"Who wants Green Tea Ice Cream?" I asked my party members.
"Green Tea Ice Cream?!" Primula asked incredulously. "Do they actually have that here?"
"H-how did y-you know I-I liked th-that Flavor?" Kaede added, mildly shocked at my Proposed Choice of Desserts.
"I didn't realize you liked Green Tea Ice Cream." I replied a little incredulously at her response, "I was just going to order a scoop of for myself, and wanted to know if you, or anyone else wanted a scoop as well. Would you like a scoop, Kae-chan?"
"Y-yes please," Kaede responded.
"One for me too, please," Primula chimed in.
"Sure, why not?" Lizzie shrugged. "You're paying for it, after all."
"Sounds YUMMY!" Meggers interjected, "I'll have one too!"
"Alrighty, that's five Green Tea Ice Creams for us, please," I said to the Hostess.
After about five minutes, the Hostess returned with our Green Tea Ice Creams.
"Enjoy," she said with a smile.
"MMMMMMMMM, this is Frozen Green Tea Delight HEAVEN!" My Beloved Big Sister Gushed with Culinary Enthusiasm, puting a hand to the side of her face, while savoring a mouth-full of the Frozen Treat.
"Are you sure that isn't just Brain Freeze you're experiencing there, Meggers?" I remarked with a Facetious Smirk.
"Oh HUSH you!" She shot back before taking another spoonful of the Frozen Green Tea Goodness.
"HMMMNNNGGG!" Kaede moaned in obvious agony, mimicking Meggers hand-to-side-of-face action.
"Brain Freeze?" I asked, arching an eyebrow at her.
"I-it hurts!" she replied, wincing from the Residual Pain.
"Yeah *ERGH*, tell me about it!" Lizzie added through her own Brain-Freeze Agony.
"Maybe if we took smaller mouthfuls, we might NOT *NNNG* be having these Brain-Freeze Bouts!" Primula observed through clenched teeth, in an effort to negate her own Brain Freeze Agony.
I merely laughed at the other members of my Dinner Party, until I took too big a mouthful myself.
"HRRRNNNGGGRRRGGGHHH!" I bestially growled in a paroxysm of My Own Brain Freeze Agony.
All four girls, including Kaede, laughed at my Turn to Suffer Brain Freeze Effects, from Eating A Little Too Much At Once of the Frozen Green Tea Delight.
"Oh-HO-ho!" My Beloved Big Sister chortled at my expense, "so NOW the Shoe IS ON the OTHER Foot, ISN'T it?!"
"Yeah, yeah, WHAT-ever!" I grumbled sullenly, as I continued to eat my Green Tea Ice Cream.
"L-lee-san?" Kaede tugged at my Shirt-Sleeve, "Maybe n-now you c-can sympathize w-with us wh-who've already b-been through wh-what you're n-now going th-through?"
I merely grunted in response, shrugging, as I finished off my Dessert Bowl of the Green Tea Frozen Treat.
"Could I please have the Guest Check?" I called out to our Hostess, who brought the Tallied List over to our table after a couple of minutes.
"Well," I observed, after reading the Guest Check's Items and Total with Washington Sales Tax, "it looks like I've blown just over a third of what I had budgeted for a new Master-Pull 'Superline' Winching Line for the 'Black Beast's' Portable Vehicle Recovery System."
"Why would you want to use a Wenching Line?" Meggers facetiously asked, pretending naivety, "don't you think the Wench would get tired from all that Hard Work?"
I looked at her askance over her questioning remark.
"YAAARRRGGGHHH!" I suddenly exclaimed, like a Pirate of the Caribbean Sea, at what I perceived to be lame joke on her part, at the expense of my plans to by a new Synthetic Winch Rope for my Vehicle's Portable Winch, "I be not buyin' a 'Wenching Line' for me 'Black Beast', me Hearty! Wenches be for servin' up Drinks, Vittles, and Companionship to Pirates, Privateers, and the King's Men in Public Houses and Inns! There be NO need for 'Wenching Lines' with me 'Black Beast, unless YE wants to be pushin' the buttons on me Vehicle Recovery System! YAAARRRGGGHHH!'
"Oh my!" My Beloved Big Sister exclaimed, still pretending naivety, "you mean you're going to make me your 'Wenching Line'?"
"I think you know what I'm REALLY talking about, doncha Meggers?" I replied, cocking an eyebrow knowingly at her.
"Yes, Silly, I know you've had issues with the Original Winch Cable that came with your Mile Marker 10,000 Pound Capacity Vehicle Recovery Winch, and were planning to replace said Cable with Synthetic Line. I was only having a little fun at the expense of the fact that 'Wench' sounds SO much like 'Winch', okay? Jeez, you're such an Old Sober-Sides/Wet-Blanket/Kill-Joy!" She responded with Mock-Seriousness, sticking her tongue out at me at the end.
"Love ya too, ya Trouble-Maker," I snorted in return, jabbing her with my elbow.
After paying the Restaurant Bill, with a sizable Cash Tip left on the Sushi Counter, we proceeded to the mall entrance, exiting into the parking lot. Weaving through parked cars, as well as dodging parking lot traffic, we made our way back to the 'Black Beast's' parking space, while I deactivated its alarm system.
After unlocking the doors, we all got into our respective seats we had previously occupied before our Arrival at our Recent Dining Destination, and, after I made sure all Passengers' Seat Belts were fastened, as well as my own, started the "Black Beast" up with it Reassuring "GRUUUNT". Pulling out of our parking space, I then turned the vehicle towards the Parking Lot's North Entrance, exited when East Valley Highway's North-bound lanes were clear enough to make my right turn.
Turning right at the first light, I drove over the State Route 167 Overpass to the Left Turn Lane for the Northbound Access Onramp, got onto SR-167, driving all the way up to the Eastbound I-405 Interchange, and headed North towards the Northeast 44th Street Exit. Upon exiting, at the Lincoln Avenue Cutoff, I drove the Winding Residential Access Road to Southeast 89th Place and Coal Creek Parkway Southeast.
"Why're you taking this route, rather than the normal route further North, to our home?" Meggers asked with a little concern.
"There's something I wanna do on the way home near here, just to show you what this 'Black Beast' can do in 4-Wheel-Drive Mode." I replied, grinning wickedly.
Around the first bend, and half-way around the second, to the right was a driveway to a large vacant lot, with nothing more than a Telephony/Telecommunications Pylon and a Mini-Development Proposal Sign. Turning up the Drive, I stopped the Jeep, shifted the transfer case into 4wd High, and proceeded to drive around in the lot in a Figure-Eight Pattern, using two large trees as the centers of each segment.
"WOOO-HOOO!" My Beloved Big Sister howled with sheer joy, "your 'Black Beast' REALLY ROCKS, Lee Bro-ski!"
"Yeah," I replied, taking a segment, 4WD-Drifting-Style, "This 'Beast's' a Real Blast to drive off-pavement. Best thing about it is, the 4.0L Inline-Six-Based Power Train is easier to Repair and Maintain than the V8 ones are."
"I wish I'd been here when you tested it out last weekend," Meggers shot back. "That would've been AWESOME!"
"Yeah, the Capitol State Forest Roads and the Mountain Loop Highway between Darrington and Silverton are excellent places to test a Modified Jeep's Off-Pavement Capabilities," I responded nonchalantly, while taking yet another segment loop.
"I went with him to the Mountain Loop Highway Jeep Jamboree Trip he did two Saturdays ago, after finishing the work on this Beast," Lizzie commented off-handedly. "It was awesome: he even treated me to Supper at the Teriyaki Wok in Granite Falls, on the way home."
"Was the food good?" Primula piped up.
"It wasn't bad, even though it wasn't the best I've tasted," My Beloved Little Sister replied, "It was quite filling, though."
Glancing back at Kaede, I noticed she was all-but-curled up into a Fetal Position, and appeared to be trembling violently. "Kae-chan, are you alright back there?"
All she did was whimper incoherently, her eyes screwed tightly shut.
"Okay, I think it may be time for us to get back on the road and finish heading home." I said, stopping the "Black Beast" and shifting the Transfer Case back into 2WD, upon having observed her behavior during her ordeal, "Kaede doesn't look like she's doing too well right now."
"Kae-chan, are you alright?" Meggers asked with rising concern in her voice.
"Hmmm…maybe I should've waited until a later date to take her Four-Wheeling, doyathink?" I observed with concern towards the Rear Middle Seat's Female passenger, glancing at My Beloved Big Sister.
"Th-that w-was th-the m-most T-TERRIFYING f-fun I-I've E-EVER h-had!" Kaede, Half-Laughing, Half-Sobbing, Stammered Twice as Much as what appeared to be normal for her. "P-PLEASE t-take m-me o-on y-your n-next o-off r-road t-trip, o-okay?!"
"Well, that was unexpected, coming from you, after what I've just put you through by doing this bit of 4-Wheeling," I observed thoughtfully. "Alright, I'll take you on the next Jeep Jamboree I go on, in a couple of weekends from now, okay?"
"O-okay," she replied, nodding quickly.
"Good," I said, as I turned back onto Coal Creek Parkway's Northbound Lanes. "I've got one in two weeks in the Mount-Si-Area of North Bend, if you're interested."
"I wanna go TOO!" Meggers interjected excitedly.
"Me three," Primula piped up, raising her hand as if to signify an "Aye" Vote.
"Count me in too", Lizzie shrugged in consensus.
"Well, that settles it then", I remarked. "One Group of Five Davidson Party Members for the Mount Si Jeep Jamboree, to be registered by the middle of this next week."
"By the way," I mentioned, as I turned Left onto Newcastle Way and drove the remaining mile or so to our street, "my boss' bosses have put him up to asking me to have Kaede and Primula on the show this Next Saturday, and his wife wants to meet them in the worst way. Do you mind if they appear on the show, or you being on the show with them, if you decide to give your consent?"
"I'd love to be on your show as a Special Guest," My Beloved Big Sister Gushed Enthusiastically. "I'm sure Kae-chan and Rimu-chan wouldn't mind being on their Big Bro-ski's show, wouldn't you two?"
I'm alright with being on it," Primula placidly smiled. "I'm curious about what sort of people Lee Onii-sama works with."
"I-I haven't a-a clue a-as to wh-what to s-say, Davidson-s-sensei." Kaede blushed bright pink, shrinking further into her seat-back's cushion.
"You could tell them what a fantastic cook you are." Meggers suggested helpfully, "you COULD even give them a little demonstration of your Vast Culinary Skills, if you wanted to."
"I-I'm not A-ALL that g-great a c-cook, but, I-I guess, m-maybe I'll t-try that, I-I think…"Kaede's musically sweet little voice trailed off, as she blushed again.
"Well Ladies," I announced proudly, as I pulled into our driveway, behind the Parents' 1997 Buick Roadmaster Station-Wagon, and next to Dad's 1999 Ford F-250 Pick-up Truck, "We HAVE arrived, and in one piece, I might add!"
"YAAAY!" Meggers exclaimed upon exiting my "Black Beast", "I FINALLY get to see Mom and Dad, after a WHOLE EIGHT months of being SO FAR away from them!"
"Ho-oh, Lee O-oni-sama," Kaede stared up at our house, taking it all in with Gaping Mouth and Eyes As Big As Saucers. "Your h-house is s-so HUGE!"
"It makes Kaede's parents' place look like a shack, by comparison," Primula added, equally awed, causing Kaede to start sniffling and shedding tears anew.
"Oh, my Precious New Daughters have ARRIVED!" I heard my Mother exclaim, as she burst out the front door, and made a Bee-Line towards our little group. "And my PRECIOUS Meggie is HOME TOO!"
"MOTHER!" Meggers run up to Mom, who gave her a Mutually Glompish Embrace.
"I'VE! MISSED! YOU! SOOO! MUUUUUCH!" they both cried in Melodramatic Unison (RoFLCopter on that one).
"Hey Sport," my dad said from the front porch, "d'you need help with the luggage?"
"Yeah Dad, thanks." I replied. Suddenly remembering the reason for my having the Honor of Picking Up My Beloved Big Sister, I added, "how's Gramps doing?"
"Surprisingly enough, he's doing quite well, as it was a case of serious indigestion, rather than a heart problem," He replied. "By the way, you didn't call me like you were supposed to after picking up Meggers and her two charges, from the airport today, did you?"
"Ugh, sorry about that Pops, "I responded a little sheepishly. "I got involved in so many conversations with Meggers and our two New Family Members, it completely slipped my mind."
'That's alright Son," he just shook his head, "you're just gonna need to try a little harder to remember the next time, okay?"
Meanwhile Mom was Gushing Motherly Love all over Primula and Kaede who, although quite embarrassed at first, seemed to warm up rather quickly to the fact that SHE was their New Mother now, and that All Would Be Well With the World as long as SHE was There for Them.
"Have you Two Precious Darlings eaten Supper yet?" She asked as if they were Starving Orphans From a Disaster-Ruined City/State/Nation.
"I treated them to Supper at Edokko Japanese Restaurant, at the Great Wall Mall about an hour or so ago." I spoke up.
"Lehman Howard Davidson!" She exclaimed in Matronly Melodramatic Fashion, saying my Full Name, "Why did you NOT call us BEFORE you left the Airport? Do you NOT know how much worry YOU'VE caused your Father and MYSELF!"
"Sorry Mom, I was having so much fun with Meggers and our Two New Family Members, I completely forgot about making the call." I said, feeling sheepish again.
Well!" She exclaimed in response, "Even though I appreciate the fact that you enjoyed your Beloved Big Sister's company, as well as that of our Two New Family Members, you STILL have NO excuse for not calling us BEFORE you left the Airport! NOW get their Luggage OUT of your Car-top Carrier and take it ALL up to Lizzie's room, as well as the Guest Bedroom, ON THE DOUBLE!"
"Yes Ma'am!" I barked, as I ran to get the Bags and Suit Cases still in the Cargo Carrier, just so I could try to make amends for my earlier screw-up, by helping my Beloved Big Sister, as well as Kaede and Primula, with their luggage, and get away from Mom's Looking-Daggers-At-Me Ire.
Once all the Luggage had been transferred upstairs to the Appropriate Bedrooms, I came downstairs and, after checking to make sure the "Black Beast" had been Properly Secured, went into the Family Room for an Impromptu Family Meeting.
"Lee-dear", my Mom pulled me aside, "although I DO forgive you for your Forgetfulness In Not Calling Us earlier today from the Airport, you REALLY need to work on remembering such details in the future, okay?"
"Yes Mama, understood and duly noted," I replied with a Sheepish Half-Smile.
"Good, now find a seat. We're starting our family meeting now."
After I found my seat on the long couch, next to Kaede, Dad walked over to stand in front of the Family Room's Big Screen Plasma TV.
Clearing his throat, he began.
"Good evening and welcome, Kaede Fuyou and Primula Shin-Ma to our Humble Family Dwelling. I feel it is a great Honor as well as Privilege to have you live with us as New Family Members, Daughters in fact, and hope you will accept our hospitality during your Long-Term Stay in our Great Nation. Dory-Love, do you have anything to add?"
"Yes I Do! I am SO OVERJOYED to be able to be the Mother Figure in your lives for the next several years! PLEASE, if you need ANY help OR advice, DON'T hesitate to come to ME, as I'm now YOUR Mother, even if not by Blood Lineage! Meggie, how about you? Have you ANYTHING to add?"
"Of course I do! You two KNOW you can trust ME, not just as your Teacher and Student Advisor/Counsellor, but also as your Beloved Big Sister, who'll do EVERYTHING she can to look out for your Well-Being. How's about you, Lee Bro-ski?"
"Yeah, what I've said when we first met last Saturday, still goes now. However, for future reference, could you try to not use Japanese Honorifics when addressing me? Just call me Bro-ski, not Onii-sama, okay? It's a little embarrassing for me, otherwise. Plus it kinda takes away from my Big Tough Brother Image I want to project when I'm around your peer Group, so they KNOW not to mess with either of you, okay?"
"Okay", both girls said in unison.
"Alrighty then, hows about you, Lizzie?" Dad asked.
"Well, I think this is going to be an interesting time for me, having a sister the same age as me and one a year younger than me, with whom I can share my dreams and ambitions with, with the two of you possibly being my Almost-Constant Companions and all. I hope we'll continue to get along like we have so far"
"I'd like that very much," Primula said, smiling at her.
"M-me too," Kaede added, Blushing a Bright Pink.
"Well then," my Father exclaimed, "it's settled! Now, it's time to watch the Family Photo and Video Clip Show!"
With that, he turned on the Big Screen Plasma TV, and, putting a DVD into the Player, went back to his Recliner Chair and sat down, Deploying the Recliner Function and relaxing.
For the next Half-Hour or so Photos and Video Clips of our Family's Beginnings and progression up until the most recent pics and vids of my Bad-ass Big Brother and his Family, my Beloved Big Sister's College Graduation, my High School Graduation (on crutches, no less), and Lizzie's Graduation from Middle School.
"Wh-why were y-you on c-crutches, Lee O-onii-, I-I mean B-bro-ski?" Kaede asked me with concern, correcting herself mid-sentence on what honorific she used with me.
"High School Football, American Style, Last game of my Senior Year, Fourth Quarter, Third down, and Goal. I was Playing Offensive Fullback Position, and was WIDE open for a potential Touch-Down Pass from the Quarter-Back, just within the End-zone. He threw a perfect pass, straight at me, right about the same time I saw an Opposing Teams Tackle coming up fast on my right. I caught the ball, he tackled me a split second later, just inside the Boundary Line for a Touchdown. I felt a massive amount of pain in my right Knee as I hit the Astroturf. Tore up my knee so bad, I had to get several surgeries to get back enough flexibility to walk and run with Some Semblance of Normalcy. If you've been observant enough, you would've noticed my walking with a slight limp. Every so often it likes to act up on me, just to remind me of what can happen on the Gridiron when you don't get out of the way fast enough."
"O-oh, you P-poor Soul," she intoned with Genuine Sympathy in her Delicate Musical Voice, reaching over to me and touching my injured knee, as if she were a Magic-Using Healer. "I-I never e-even noticed y-you walked w-with a l-limp."
That's alright. I was gonna go into the U. S. Army Rangers, but my Knee Injury forced me to take on another line of work, in the Automotive Parts and Repair Industry in this case, since I couldn't go in with a pre-existing condition caused by my injury. So far, I've been able to do really well for myself, and as you may know, I am both an Assistant Manager at the Car Parts Store and Repair Shop I work at, as well as their Ace Technician, and the Host of a hit Live CATV Public Access Show called 'Car and Truck Guys Corner' every Saturday Afternoon at 4:00PM. Of course it's Pre-Recorded at 8:00-11:00AM, Before a Live Audience, then it's sent to the editor to polish the production and cut out the Bloopers, before the 3:30PM. Deadline for Delivery, to the Local CATV Company office for Access Feed."
"O-oh, I s-see, "Kaede replied, a rather lost look on her Otherwise Exquisitely Adorable Face, likely due to her having no experience with Television Production Whatsoever. "I-I'm glad t-to see th-that you're d-doing well, i-in spite o-of what h-happened to y-you."
"Thanks," I responded, gently petting her on the head, "I needed that little bit of encouragement from you."
"I-I just w-want my B-big Bro-ski t-to be h-happy with m-my presence i-in his l-life, that's a-all." She finished by leaning her head against my shoulder, letting her eyes well up with tears, while she continued to rest her hand on my injured knee. "Y-you know h-how unworthy I-I feel t-to be w-with you r-right now, d-don't you?"
"Yeah, you've told me that when we first met last week by VOIP conference," I sighed, a little displeased with her Continual Expression of Self-Loathing, "as well as several times since then. But you know what? I'm not gonna let you hate yourself like that any longer. In fact, I'll do what I can to teach you how to like yourself again, even if I have to 'Die Trying', if that what it takes to make you a happier person."
"Y-you'd willingly d-die, just t-to get m-me to l-like myself?" she asked with sudden alarm.
"The Selfish, Uncaring Side of me, that's for sure," I replied bluntly. "I'm sure there'll be times when I'll make you cry, but it'll NEVER be out of Malicious Intent. And if you end up crying tears of Joy, Pleasure, and Comfort, far more often than tears of Sorrow, Pain and Suffering, then I'll have succeeded in my Big Bro-ski duties. Fair enough, Kae-chan?"
"Y-yes, Lee B-bro-ski," she sniffled, smiling up at me, in spite of her Continual Flow of Tears.
"Well, the Family Presentation is over and done," Dad stated, "and if any of you were Embarrassed or Offended by any or all of the pics and/or vids, TOO bad! This is OUR Family, crazy bunch that we may seem like at times, heh, heh, heh!"
"Whatever", Lizzie got up and yawned, "I'm tired, so I'm going to bed now."
"Had a long flight," Meggers stated drowsily. "I can hardly wait to hit the hay."
"I'm feeling the power of Morpheus, a.k.a. The Sandman, stealing over my eyes, and giving me the desire to sleep in his arms like a baby," Primula stated, with a yawn at the end.
"Same here" I stood up from the couch, and offered my hand to Kaede, who shyly took it, allowing me to help her to her feet.
Kaede yawned and stretched with all the Gracefulness of a Wood Nymph.
"Good night, everybody," Mom called after us from her chair, "Sweet Dreams."
"Sleep tight, don't let the Bed Bugs bite," Dad added.
"I helped paint your Bunk-Bed, by the way," I mentioned to Kaede off-handedly, as we made our way to the bottom of the Stairs to the Second Floor. "I even helped make the sign with your name on it, that'll hang from either the top bunk rail, or bottom bunk rail, depending on whether you choose upper or lower bunk. How do you like that?"
"Y-you're too k-kind, Lee B-bro-ski." She replied, with more blushing Bright Pink.
"Well, this is where I'll say good night to you, okay, Kae-chan?" I said when I reached the top of the staircase.
"Y-yes, good n-night, Lee B-bro-ski," Kaede smiled timidly, turned and headed to the door of the room she would share with Lizzie and Primula for a long time to come. Just before she entered, she looked back at me once more, just as I was about to enter my room, smiled timidly, but with a Hope-Filled Twinkle in her eyes, and finally entered the bedroom.
Yeesh, that girl's gonna be quite the handful-and-a-half to help deal with all her pain and feelings of loss and worthlessness. I'm really gonna have to not be the selfish Bastitch I've been all these years, and really try to make a difference in her life. At least she seems to like me, in spite of what she knows about me. Who knows, maybe we can both help each other out of our self-dug pits in the end.
Upon entering my bedroom, and closing the door, I got undressed, draping my Cargo Pants and Jeep Freak T-Shirt over my Computer Desk's Chair, put on my Camouflage Pajama Bottoms, turned out the light and fell onto my bed in a state of near exhaustion. I didn't care if I slept like a log and didn't wake up until late the next morning.
Little did I know what tomorrow, and the rest of the future, would bring me…
Next chapter will cover further settling in of my Beloved Big Sister and her two charges, my New Sisters-In-All-But-Blood-Lineage, Kaede Fuyou and Primula Shin-Ma, and their having to adjust to their new surroundings, including the Dreaded Guest Appearance on my weekly CATV Local Access show, "Car and Truck Guys' Corner".
Will they find the attention gained by the appearance on my show too much for either, or both girls to handle? Will my Beloved Big Sister steal the show with her Corny Sense of Humor? And will Kaede accept, or reject an Intriguing Offer from one of the producers of said show? And what about the trip to the beach, before the end of Summer? Tune in next time for, Chapter 3: Adjusting, Appearances, and An Intriguing Offer. See you all then…