Chapter seven: Tensions
By the time I wake up again, it’s morning.
Himowa is laying beside me being beautiful and lovely.
The sun is too bright but at least this time it both strokes her cheek and sparkles in her black hair.
I try to rest for a while, Elizabeth is right that I don’t need to do everything around here.
But I want to work.
I want to establish some kind of dynamic, something to call normal.
After about twenty minutes I start getting dressed
“Hui?” Himowa asks behind me.
“How did you sleep?”
I try to think back on it, but I can’t remember what I dreamt about at all “Good, I think.”
“Great, now get back here and I’ll tell you what you missed.” She reaches her hands out to me and makes adorable grabbing motions.
I smile, let her pull me back under the covers.
Her fingers play with my hair as she talks “Okay so it turns out Alice stole her father’s wallet before we left. Dana found out while we were shopping and isn’t happy about it.”
Well, that explains why the thing didn’t look familiar. “I guess I should have been able to guess it. We sold the hairpin because Alice had no ready money, to begin with”
Himowa nods “Alice claims she’ll send the wallet back once she sold some of her possessions to refund the money Dana is of the opinion she should have done so in Charalia if that was the plan and I don’t really know who’s correct so I try to stay on the sidelines for a bit.”
“Well stealing is bad.”
“Yes, but stealing in order to help us? and from a man who’s…well governor Chattoway.”
“I’m not sure it works like that.”
Himowa’s fingers stop for a bit “Well I am, I would have stolen the kashuya blind if I had the chance…I would have done way more actually.”
I look at her face, then kiss her cheek trying to douse the rage behind those beautiful eyes “It’s gonna be okay.” I tell her, not sure what else there is to say.
“Uhu.” She responds halfheartedly.
It’s silent for a bit. The hand that was playing with my hair trails down to my neck and stays there.
“I should go make breakfast.”
“Do you have to? The other can take care of it for once right?”
“I want to do it.”
Himowa sighs “All right, but before you leave.” She jumps up from the bed and rushes to her bag pulling out a small package wrapped in brown paper.
She sits down next to me again “I think I know what we should give Elizabeth for her birthday.”
She unwraps the package and shows…her shimou?
“I asked Alice to ask for the offcuts taken from the shimou to make them shorter. For repairs and all that but secretly I want to make them into a bag for her. That way she can still carry a bit of Jaobai with her without putting herself or us on the radar. And then you can figure out something to put inside the bag.”
“Oh that’s genius…sooooo what do girls like? “
Himowa rolls her eyes “I mean I can tell you what I like, but I’m not sure if that means Alice likes it too?”
“It can be a start?” and is useful for when your birthday comes around in spring.
“I like swords, and make-up and hair accessories”
“I don’t think Alice likes swords, she likes guns but I can’t afford a gun or a sword for that matter. I feel hesitant to give her accessories because I’ll probably give something that doesn’t suit her and I don’t know anything about make-up. I don’t even think she wears make-up.”
”Well then what about tea or sweets or flowers.”
”Aren’t sweets a bit…easy? I can make sweets any day of the week if she wants and the ingredients are there.
”I think sweets are a nice gift. Maybe hisho or lobo”
”Or a mix.”
”Yes, she can try different ones.”
”But I need guava paste for lobo, and I want to buy my own ingredients.”
”Hmm, maybe we can land before that?”
”I don’t want to land unnecessarily.”
”Oh…right, of course. We’re still on the run after all.” She sounds a bit dejected.
”Sorry, I didn’t mean to be that harsh.”
”It’s okay, I get it. I just hope that once we’re in Venusia you can start breathing easy again.” she puts a hand on Hui’s shoulder.
”I hope so too.”
I give her a kiss get out of bed and start work on breakfast.
I knock on the door of the cockpit.
“Come in?” Elizabeth sounds hesitant, I’m not sure who she expected on the other side.
I open the door “Hi.”
“Are you okay?”
“Yes…I’m fine I…” she sighs “Actually I feel pretty miserable”
“Because of the wallet?”
“Hamala told you about it already?”
“Shouldn’t she have?”
“I don’t know…I guess it’s fine I just…I feel very embarrassed. And stupid and now I don’t know what’s going to happen next which scares me. Dana is…angry with me and I get that but I also feel like what I did wrong wasn’t that bad. It’s not like father will care. He doesn’t need the money, he has plenty for himself, I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t even notice it’s gone. And I mean it’s stolen money anyway. So why should I feel bad about taking something that didn’t belong to him, to begin with?”
I ponder that point as she rambles on and on. I wonder if that’s a morality I can get behind. Stealing is bad but stealing from thieves is okay?
“-t if Dana were to leave now I didn’t even get the chance to tell her how I feel about her and I just know I’d regret it for the rest of my life and-”
“Why not tell her now then.”
“Well, you told me to wait until I have my pilot’s license and she stops being my teacher.”
“Wait you don’t have a license yet!? We’ve been flying for ten days!”
Elizabeth waves my concerns away. “Don’t worry I know how to fly. We’ll just pick up my license in Venusia. It’ll be fine.” She chuckles “I worry about a dozen things in my head but my license is not one of those things
”That’s good…I take it you want to have breakfast in the cockpit then, so you don’t run into Dana?”
”That’d be nice, thank you.”
“Just the two of us huh?” Himowa asks as she comes into the parlour.
She smiles ”It’s almost like old times…”
”Yeah…almost.” I can’t help but have my eyes drift to the empty spot that Yobu ought to be in.
She sees it too, clears her throat and says “I miss him too.”
I wince, pretending she didn’t say that “So uhm, I made sese curry but they didn’t have ginger at the market at least nowhere I could find, so I used a bit of grated wasabi root instead. It has about the same spice and fruitiness so it should work…I hope it works.”
Himowa smiles a watery smile for me “Sounds delightful.” and she picks up a piece of tofu with her chopsticks.
The dish is odd but good. It does make me hope Venusia has ginger. Oh and also more wasabi root, I’m almost out.
There isn’t much I miss from home. But the food is something special.
If the food in the West is as bland as Elizabeth says, we’d probably be miserable. No wonder she wanted a Jaobaian kitchen.
“I like it,” Himowa assures me.
“Can we talk…please?”
My heart pulls together in agony “We’re talking right now aren’t we?”
“You know that’s not what I mean.”
“Well, what do you mean?”
“Can we talk about what happened back there?”
“Choumuri! You’re making this difficult on purpose.”
She’s right. “I don’t see much sense in dwelling in the past, best to look forward.”
Himowa huffs “Really? So we’re just gonna pretend it’s all good like you didn’t have a brother and I didn’t have a Yaye?”
I shrug “There’s nothing we can do now anyway, the dead are dead, why dwell on it?” The words leave my mouth but I know I don’t mean them.
The sound of her chopsticks dropping onto her plate is deafening. “I see.” Her voice is level but her eyes are filled to the brim with anger. “Thanks for the food but I think I’ve had enough.”
She walks out.
I eat my meal in silence.