Anna's aunt, Allison, and her best friend, Daisy, join the former photo club in their quest to find out what happened to her.
Chapter Fifteen: Search Party:
November 2nd, 1999. Allison Parkman found herself in over her head. Her sixteen-year-old niece, Kimoto Anna, had come to live with her because her father died. This was a huge change for the thirty-five-year old. She had been used to living all alone. Allison had been raised to be independent. Now, she had to take care of a non-English speaking teenager. Allison just couldn’t cope. The first day was just awkward. The girls couldn’t bond with each other. They sat at the kitchen table in silence all night.
“/What am I doing?/” Allison thought. “I haven’t the slightest clue how to raise a child!” Mind you, she did love her niece. She just didn’t know how to raise Anna. By day two, Allison had to surrender for help. She called her best friend, Daisy Kessler, for help.
“I can’t help her, Dais!” she wailed. “Anna doesn’t speak English and my Japanese is rusty. Plus, I am no good with kids! Help me!”
“Okay,” Daisy said. “Calm down, I’ll be right over.” Lucky for Allison, her best friend lived next door. They have been living next door since they retired from the army. Daisy came over to Allison’s house and helped both girls. Over time, Daisy became a part of the family. Anna even called her, “Aunt Daisy.”
May 2009. The plane landed in Japan at ten a.m. Becky and the girls waited in the airport. Becky called for back-up. The situation had gotten worse. Since Henry left without any explanation, the mission had come unglued. Time to put it back together again.
“See them yet?” Becky asked.
“No!” Pink Floyd shirt yelled. “You sure they are even coming? It’s been six days now.”
“Of course, Gillian!” Becky said. “They just had some set-backs. They’ll be here!”
“Right…” Gillian mumbled.
“Trust me!” the leader declared. “Ms. Parkman and Ms. Kessler care about Anna as much as we do. So, they’ll be here!” Gillian said nothing. They all kept looking. A strawberry blonde in their group looked up right away.
“I see them! I see them!” she yelped. The rest of the crew looked up. Two older women were looking around for them. Becky and the girls waved them down. The older women looked up and saw the former photo club. They hurried over to them. Once there, the groups looked at each other. Allison and Daisy looked the same since they met the college friends. Allison seemed to always have no emotion on her face. Her bright orange-hair was cut like a boy’s. She had heterochromia—her left eyes was a cool sapphire blue while her right was a milky caramel brown. Allison always looked scary alone. The bright colors she wore never helped. They just made her look worse, like today. Allison wasn’t really a warm person. She wasn’t social either. Many feared her, in fact. Hell, they still do! Yet, Allison did have a heart. Anna and Daisy helped prove that.
Speaking of Daisy, she was the opposite of her best friend. Gentle woman, she was. Great with kids. Daisy could be described as shy and sweet. She always looked up to Allison. Daisy wore darker colors with her deep dusty brown hair to her shoulders. She barely spoke at all. Allison did most of the talking. It was okay, though. Both women knew how to survive. Allison looked at the former photo club.
“Where’s what’s-his-face?” she asked. The younger girls looked nervous at first.
“Henry left… four days ago…” Becky forced out. Allison and Daisy looked at her confused.
“What?” Daisy asked. “Why?”
“Don’t know,” Gillian said. “He just up and left without any reason.”
“Strange…” Daisy said.
“I know,” the strawberry blonde girl said. Becky clapped her hands together.
“Let’s talk about that later!” she said out loud. “You must be tired, Ms. K and Ms. P. Let’s get you to our hotel and get you something to eat.” Daisy perked up.
“Thanks Becky!” she said. Allison rolled her mismatched eyes.
“Whatever, just get us out of this place!” she said.
“Gladly!” Becky chirped. The girls loaded up the luggage and left the airport. The former photo club took the older women to a local McDonalds. Everyone got their dinner and sat down to eat. Allison and Becky sat at a table together. The older woman looked at the former club president closely cold. The other woman couldn’t help, but to notice.
“What’s wrong?” Becky asked. Allison didn’t speak at first. She took a drink of her ginger tea soda.
“Why are you all here?”
“To find out what happened to Anna!”
“She’s dead, Becky! It was suicide.” Becky shook her head.
“I don’t believe that! She’s too strong for that!” Allison’s face didn’t change.
“There are times when I wish I didn’t agree with you so much. What do you think happened?” Becky looked around some and leaned in close.
“I think she was murdered or sold into the sex trade!” Allison snorted. Becky raised an eyebrow at her.
“Even if it true, what will you do after that?” Becky thought about that for a moment.
“If she’s alive, we will bring her home.”
“And if Anna’s dead?” The younger woman shrugged.
“We go home happy to have learned the truth. Come on, it’ll be worth finding out the truth! Stay and help us find Anna. Please, it’s all I ask.” Allison’s face still didn’t change.
“And why can’t you go to the police?”
“We did that already.”
“And what did they say?” Becky sighed.
“They brushed us off with something like, ‘We’ll look into it!’ But, I think they’re hiding something. It just seems so odd that Japan would tell the rest of the world that Anna committed suicide. Makes me want to find out what really happened and why. Come on, don’t you want to know that truth and give Anna some peace to rest with?” Allison thought about that for a moment. Becky waited. The older woman sighed and rolled her eyes. This twenty-six year old “Pomeranian” puppy before her made her think of Anna when she first came to San Diego back in ‘99—desperate for some guidance after an earth-shattering event. What could Allison say, really?
“Fine!” she hissed. “But this better not turn into a wild goose chase!” Becky’s eyes lit up in joy.
“Thanks, Ms. P!” she exclaimed. “You won’t regret this! We’ll get to the bottom of this, I promise!” Allison rolled her eyes again.
“Whatever, just eat!” she mumbled. Becky nodded quickly and did so. And the search for Anna continued.
Meanwhile miles away in the busy-beautiful city of Tokyo…