“Are you sure this is a good idea? Shouldn’t we call from the airport at the very least?” Hatori was nervous, and it was adorable.
“I’m telling you he’ll be thrilled. Now, we are just going to have to blow money on a cab… this is so weird, I haven’t been in here in so long. I think it’s this way,” I said picking my way through the crowd at the Portland airport with Hatori hovering right behind me. It took us forever to get through customs but we were finally out to the front area where I was able to recognize things again.
“You want to talk about weird? At least you can read the signs,” he muttered behind me. I pulled him off to the side, near where you check your luggage, so we could ‘regroup’. Ever since we stepped off the plane it’s just been pure insanity. While we were in the airport in Japan it went fairly smooth, I couldn’t help but think that that was because he was in control there and I was the one running the show here.
“You’re forgetting I couldn’t read or speak Japanese when I went there, and I didn’t have anyone to help me in the airport.” I was just teasing him; everyone knew that Hatori didn’t like not being in control. “Trust me, I know what I’m doing…now.”
“Yeah, your performance at customs had been so awe inspiring,” he laughed.
“You know, you didn’t used to be so sarcastic,” I gave him a fake glare.
“I learned from the master,” he said and bowed causing me to laugh.
“Come on and your ‘sensei’ will hail us a cab,” I grabbed his hand to pull him back into the crowd and outside. We stood on the sidewalk for a moment while I tried to spot a cab.
“How do you-”
“(TAXI!)” I yelled throwing my hand into the air, causing Hatori to jump slightly. The cab driver pulled over right in front of us and hopped out of the car quickly. I just shrugged it off thinking that he needed money today. “(Can you take us to Oregon City?)”
“(Sure thing,)” he said kindly and opened the trunk to throw our luggage in while Hatori and I climbed in the back seat. Once he got back in the car I gave him Dan’s address and we were off.
“See? No problems hailing a cab,” I said. “And he’s a good one, fast and polite.”
“That’s because he’s scared to death of you,” Hatori chuckled.
“What? Why would that be?”
“The look on your face and your voice when you hailed him, he was too scared not to stop.”
“Oh please, that’s how you hail a cab,” I rolled my eyes. But even so I made sure to be extra polite to him as he stopped at Dan’s house 20 minutes later and got out our luggage.
“This is nice,” Hatori said as he looked at the house then turned to look up and down the street.
“I know, it’s so peaceful. Until school gets out anyway- oh crap.” I said and slapped my hand to my forehead. School, Dan would still be teaching at this time, though he’s almost done.
“Let me guess he’s not even home right now,” he smiled knowingly.
“No, but come on. There’s a key to the back door, then we can head over to the school,” I led him down a path that went to the back of the house, quickly found the key in the potted plant next to the door and let us in.
“Should we just leave our stuff here?” he asked.
“No… oh man this will be awesome,” I laughed lightly and ran for the stairs with my bag. When I got to the top I threw open the door at the end of the mini hallway to find my room just as I had left it almost two years ago.
“So this was your room once you moved in with your uncle?” Hatori asked once he caught up with me.
“No, my parents left him the house when they died. So this has been my room for my whole life. Changed it around a few times of course,” I explained as I put my bag in a corner. I wandered over and jumped onto the bed immediately smelling the mustiness from being closed off for so long.
“That’s interesting to think about. This is the room you grew up in,” he said looking at my posters.
“I know! That’s what I was thinking. The last time I was here I never would have guessed that I would come back with a husband, much later than I was supposed to, and pregnant.”
“Plus I never had a normal childhood. It’s nice to think about yours in a way. You had sleepovers, studied, and played with dolls…”
“Ha, Dolls? Try action figures. And the studying… well let’s just say not as much as I should have. Sleepovers, yes, but more like parties.”
“And I am not surprised by any of that.”
“I feel like I should be insulted…” I said before laughing. “Anyway I think it will be fun… and funny to sneak up on Dan at the school.”
“I hope you’re right.” We headed back downstairs and I grabbed the keys to the car. Really it was my keys and my car but… it’s not like I can take them back to Japan with me. Dan got dad’s truck and I got mom’s car, so the car has just been sitting there since I left. I explained it all to Hatori as we went out to the garage.
“It’ll be nice to drive again. I miss it. Sooo much,” I said as I pet the car affectionately. He shook his head and chuckled as he got in the passenger’s side and I hopped into the driver’s side. I drove, much too fast, to the school and we made our way to the office for visitors passes since school was still in session. I lead him through the building without even having to think about it, which he seemed to notice.
“I’m guessing you’ve been here quite a lot,” he asked while weaving his fingers into mine.
“Of course, this was my High School. Not that long ago really… cuz you robbed the cradle,” I smirked at him and he rolled his eyes.
“Seven years difference is not robbing the cradle. Besides, you’re very mature for your age,” he sighed.
“I’m just teasing, you know that. I’m the last person on earth who would complain. And… here we are,” I said happily, stopping outside the door.
“Are you ready to be hugged within an inch of your life?” he asked with a grin. I stuck my tongue out at him and peeked into the window to make sure that he wasn’t in the middle of a lecture or something. The students were mostly talking, some reading, others sitting on desks so I figured I was safe. I grabbed the handle and threw open the door with a bang causing most of the class to jump.
“(OH DANNI BOY!)” I yelled. Dan jumped up from his desk where he was grading assignments so fast that his legs slammed into it causing several things to knock over. He swore loudly, causing his students to giggle, as he stared at me for a moment before running across the room to pick me up in one of his famous bear hugs.
“(Inora! I didn’t know you were coming home, this is so great! Man, I’ve missed you. You look amazing though,)” Dan chatted excitedly.
“(We wanted to surprise you,)” I said. “(Well actually Hatori was really worried about not telling you…)” His eyes snapped back to the doorway at the mention of Hatori’s name. He shot over and whipped a very surprised Hatori into a bone crushing hug. Hatori hugged him back after a second while Dan said many of the same things to him, forgetting again that Hatori doesn’t speak English. He wanted to learn, he could now introduce himself and knew a few other words, but he was so busy he really didn’t have time.
“(Who are they?)” a boy in the class asked. Dan pulled us further into the room so everyone could see us better.
“(This is my niece Inora, though she’s more like a sister, and her husband Hatori. They live in Japan,)” he said sounding…proud. Well it’s nice to know he’s proud of my choices…
“What’s going on?” Hatori asked me quietly.
“He’s just introducing us to his class,” I said back. “By the way, how do you like being one of the rare few to get one of Dan’s bear hugs?”
“My spine is screaming death threats at him. I’m surprised you can’t hear it,” he said causing me to laugh, which of course made him laugh. We sobered up quickly as we took in the 30 students staring at us.
“(Um… nice to meet you… I guess?)” I said awkwardly. “(When does class end?)” I asked Dan, he glanced at his watch.
“(Alright get out of here guys,)” he said to the class and they sprang to their feet instantly, ready for the weekend. We were standing next to the door still so the students were walking right past us to get to the hallway. I knew I was being silly but I couldn’t help but glare at a couple groups of girls that were staring openly at Hatori and giggling to each other.
“(Ok. I just have one more test to grade then I’ll be free all weekend,)” Dan said happily and went back to his desk.
“(Nice to know you don’t procrastinate as much,)” I said earning me a fake laugh before he bent over the paper.
“We’re gonna have to go to the store soon, tomorrow if not tonight. He probably doesn’t have much food around the house,” I told Hatori.
“And when do you plan on telling him the news?” Hatori asked, a grin spreading slowly across his face.
“Tonight I guess,” I couldn’t quite meet his eyes. Every time I stop and think about the fact that there is a baby on the way I get… weird. Jittery, shaky, sometimes nauseous and unfortunately I usually cry a little.
“We should take him out to dinner. It’s the least we could do after just showing up like this,” he said.
“Ok, but I’m telling you he doesn’t mind. He is lovin’ this. (Yo Dan Ha’ri wants to take you out for dinner,)” I called over to him.
“(Well you know me,)” Dan said while finishing his last comment on the paper with a flourish. “(I never turn down free food. You want to go to that Mexican place you like? El whatever-o?)”
“(That sounds great,)” I said with a chuckle. “You good with Mexican food?” I asked Hatori.
“Never had it, but sure.”
“Oh my god. You are missing out. You’ll love it,” I said and grabbed both of their arms to drag them out.
“(Inora it’s only three…)” Dan muttered.
“(Ugh but I’m starving!)” I whined.
“(Ok ok. Less of a crowd right now I guess,)” He shook his head slightly before glancing over at me again. He looked suspicious, and that made me giggle. It just now occurred to him that we must have some big news for us to come all the way over here.
“He’s getting suspicious,” I informed Hatori and he chuckled as well. We had to split up, because of the two cars, and of course I got there a few minutes ahead of Dan. By the time he got there Hatori and I were already looking over our menus.
“(Geez girl, one of these days you’re gonna get pulled over. Then I bet you’ll go the speed limit,)” Dan muttered as he sat down.
“(You mean once I get a ticket. Remember, I’ve already been pulled over a few times. I’m just too pretty for them to give me a ticket,)” I grinned at him.
“(Yeah, you can smooth talk your way out of anything,)” he glared at the unfairness of it.
“(Oh there are plenty of things I couldn’t get out of, or I got help getting out of them.)”
“(Like when?)” he asked. I couldn’t answer that. The only example I could think of was when I met Akito. If Shigure hadn’t stepped in to help me Hatori would have had to erase my memories. That thought made me grab Hatori’s hand under the table. Even though I didn’t know him then it still bothers me that I was scared of him, even for those few minutes. I hadn’t just been scared of him, I was terrified.
“(So how long will you be here for?)” Dan asked sensing that I didn’t want to answer his last question.
“(Just for the weekend. Ha’ri couldn’t get much time off on such short notice. We were thinking about having a bigger trip here next year, in June or July maybe.)” Hatori had sat down and figured it all out. He figured that we conceived at the lake house, which was not a huge surprise, so the baby would come around the end of April. Then I would just need time to heal before coming and showing off to my family. Knowing Dan as soon as he finds out he’ll make plans to be there for the actual birth.
“(Well that’s a shame. We’ll just have to make this weekend count then huh?)” he looked a little disappointed. The waitress came and took our orders, Hatori just told me to get him what I was getting. That made the waitress call us adorable and demand a ‘nut shell’ version of our story. We talked all through dinner, it was really weird having two different conversations at once, and more than once I continued a conversation with the wrong person. When we had finished eating Hatori gave me a little nudge and wink.
“(Ok. So Dan I know you’ve already figured out that we came with some news,)” I started.
“(Only an idiot wouldn’t realize that. Come on out with it,)” he said. He looked like he was preparing for some horrible news.
“(I’m pregnant,)” I said simply. There was silence for a full minute before Dan let out a cry of cheer.
“(Oh I’m so happy for you guys! Congratulations! What do you know so far?)” he was practically bouncing with excitement.
“(Well it was…I mean it’s gonna be here around the end of April and that’s all we know. When we get back to Japan we have an appointment set up so we’ll know more then,)” I had almost told him when we conceived because that’s how I’ve been looking at it the whole time, but he really doesn’t want that information. In his mind I’m sure he thinks it’s immaculate.
“(I always thought you said that you were gonna wait a few years after being married, if ever, though I knew you would.)”
“(It was an accident. Turns out the pills I was taking didn’t work. They left out an ingredient or some such,)” I explained.
“(You were taking bad pills?)” worry was creeping into his voice now.
“(Oh don’t worry, Hatori tore apart every article he could find on it. They are completely harmless, they just didn’t do their job,)” I said quickly before he could freak out more. He visibly relaxed, he knew better then to question Dr. Sohmas diagnoses of anything having to do with me. He knew Hatori would not rest until he knew for sure that I wasn’t in any danger.
“(That’s good. But anyway you are going to be a great mom, and I know Hatori is a great guy. You’ll be just fine,)” he said. He knew. He knew that I was still worried even though now I tried to hide it. Dan’s known me my whole life and if he also thinks I’ll be a good mom then…
“(I think so too,)” I said quietly and kissed Hatori on the cheek.
“(Well let’s go home. Oh and I should go by the store…)” he said getting up.
“(Ha’ri and I can go, you never could shop right,)” I laughed and we walked out to the cars.
“(Yeah, yeah. ‘Too much soda and not enough milk’ as you always told me.)”
“(I can’t put soda on my cereal. So we’ll see you in a bit,)” I said and started to get in my car.
“(Alright, and Inora,)” he called and I turned back to him. “(You have a baby on board now so… slow down a bit huh.)”
“(Oh shut up. I don’t drive all that fast.)”