Chapter 8 – Pacific Hopping
“Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you and help you get settled in?” Yuki asked.
“Dad’s coming with me. I’ll be fine. You need to tie up your loose ends here before you come to Japan,” I insisted.
“Yeah, but just remember to skype me when you pick out apartments. I want to have a say in which room I get.”
“Blah blah blah,” I said, mocking him with my hand. “You’ll get whatever room I give you and like it!”
Yuki sighed. “Would now be a good time to tell you that my parents are overjoyed that I am moving in with you… even if it is all the way in Japan?”
“Your mom does know we are living together as roommates, in separate rooms, right?”
“Separate rooms and separate beds,” my dad said sternly, pulling his suitcase from the trunk. “I am not paying for you two to have a sex cocoon in Tokyo!”
“Ewwww, Dad! That’s gross!” I stuck out my tongue in mock disgust.
“Yeah, Mr. Nakamura, the term you’re looking for is Love Nest.”
My father paled and I believe I did too. “Dad, he’s kidding,” I quickly insisted.
My father leaned close to me. “We’ll buy an extra lock for your bedroom door,” he whispered.
“We could just get a better lock for the front door,” I offered.
Yuki rolled his eyes. “Seriously, I will be doing work there. I promise to act like a guardian and not let anything happen to her. I will see you both in a week.”
“Repeat, I am thirty-one and have lived on my own since I was twenty-four. I can adult!” I hugged Yuki and didn’t resist as he slid an envelope into my pocket. We had already discussed making sure my father wasn’t footing our bill, but Yuki wanted to make double sure. “Thanks,” I whispered into his ear. “See you soon.”
Yuki smiled and finished closing all the doors on my father’s SUV. “I promise not a scratch, sir,” Yuki vowed before getting back into the driver’s seat and leaving us in front of our terminal.
I turned and looked at the huge pile of suitcases. “Do I really need to take all this stuff? Can’t I just have you ship me what I need?”
“Trust your father, you need all this.” The way he said it told me there would be no arguments.
I picked up the carrier that had Demetri in it and Dad and I made our way to the ticket counter to check in. Seventeen hours later we touched down in Narita Airport just outside of Tokyo. The apprehension I thought I would feel wasn’t there – instead I was filled with excitement. “This is real,” I whispered to myself as I chased after my father on his way to immigration.
The next few days passed quicker than I would have liked. We managed to set up a bank account with the post office. I got SIM cards for myself and Yuki. I narrowed down apartments to my top three based on location, price, and how much I liked the place. After a couple heated discussions over skype, Yuki and I made a decision. The real estate agent seemed highly amused and kept calling us “the newlyweds” and chuckling with my father.
Friday night came. My father had plans with some old friends, so I was finally on my own. I saw him off, waited a full ten minutes, then pulled on my shoes and rushed down to the convenience store. I had been itching to go crazy and buy snacks and ramen, but when your father is a chef, cheap processed food isn’t an option.
Little plastic bag in hand, I made my way back to our Airbnb to feed Demetri and indulge in cheesy ramen and green tea-flavored chocolate, and wash it all down with melon soda. About halfway back I got the feeling I was being watched. I looked around without slowing my pace, but reached my free hand into my pocket and curled my fingers around my phone. A few steps away from the place we were staying, a man in a hoodie rushed passed me. He bumped my shoulder.
I started to stumble but he reached out to steady me. Most of his face was covered and I could only just make out the outline of his jaw. “Sumimasen,” he whispered before rushing off. I turned and watched him leave. He walked in the direction I had come from and I had a sudden urge to rush after him and tell him to be careful.
I headed inside and made extra sure to lock the door behind me. I fed Demetri, who was sulking that I had sentenced him to silence while my father was still here. “You can talk when he isn’t here,” I pointed out.
“Oh, her majesty will allow such things?”
“Look, if you don’t want the tuna, I can put it away,” I said, reaching for the can.
A paw with exposed claws swatted at me, followed by an angry hiss. “Touch it and I will shred everything you own,” he threatened.
I backed away and flopped on the couch, reaching for my ramen which should be ready by now. “It was weird, I felt like I was being watched when I came home from the convenience store.”
“You probably were,” he responded between bites.
I looked at him with alarm. “What?”
Swallowing the bite in his mouth, the small furball shifted his gaze to me. “You are here. You may not be actively vanquishing evil, but you have a powerful aura. I’m sure everything in the neighborhood is watching you with bated breath trying to figure out if you are a threat or not.”
“Am I in danger? Is my father in danger?” I said, glancing at the door.
“As long as they don’t think you are a threat, you should be fine.”
“Calm down, I have already contacted the local gatekeepers. They are cleansing and putting up a barrier at your new place before we even move in.” I knew his words were meant to calm my nerves, but it just made me feel more vulnerable now.
After I finished eating and disposing of the evidence I decided to turn in. Yuki would arrive tomorrow and I wanted a good night’s sleep if I had to handle both he and my father together for two days.
I read for a bit and fell asleep with the light still on. Between dreams, I heard my light click off and felt the blankets on me shift to cover me up. “Thanks dad,” I mumbled. A hand tucked a few strands of hair behind my ear. Through cracked eyelids I saw my father’s form in the doorway as he silently left the room.
I tugged the covers up higher and sank back into sleep, sleeping better now that I knew he had made it home safely.
When I next awoke, Demetri lay beside me on the bed, purring happily. I reached out and stroked his soft fur. “Awww, who’s a sweet kitty?”
“I am if it means you’ll feed me?” he implored.
“Didn’t my father feed you already?” I asked him, still petting his soft belly.
“He couldn’t have. He isn’t here.”
“Did he leave early this morning to go somewhere?” I asked.
“No, he didn’t come home last night. He sent you a text message around four am.”
I reached for my phone, and sure enough, he had sent me a message. I sat up quickly. “Demetri, who else was here last night?”
“Just you and me. Yuki doesn’t arrive until this afternoon,” he said, stretching.
“No, someone was here last night. They turned off my light and tucked me in. I thought it was my dad,” I explained, bordering on panic.
“Jordan calm down. You probably dreamed it and turned it off yourself. I would have sensed if anyone or anything besides us was here. Nothing was here.”
I stared at the bedside lamp for a long moment before deciding it was time to get up and get the day started. I messaged Dad to ask to meet at the café down the street for brunch before we went out to the airport to meet Yuki.