“You’re such a hypocrite, Kaito” Hana told her brother. “You object to my relationship with Danny because he’s not Japanese and yet you’re sleeping with Duana, my African American friend.”
Kaito looked up from his laptop, his expression darkening as he met his younger sister’s incensed gaze. “I don’t have to explain myself to you,” he retorted. “After our parents died, I became responsible for you. Danny may be a nice guy but he’s not the right one for you. You should be with someone like Riku.”
“Riku? You know very well that I’m not in love with him.”
“That could change.”
“It won’t,” she insisted. “I’m in love with Danny and he’s in love with me. I don’t care what you say. I’m not a child. I’m not going to marry Riku or anyone else for that matter.”
“Has Danny asked you to marry him?”
“Not yet but when he does, I will say yes.”
“Not if I have anything to say about it.”
“You’re my brother not my father. You being responsible for me doesn’t give you the right to dictate who I marry or who I love. Riku is a nice guy. We’ve known each other since we were children but I don’t love him. I’m not going to marry someone I don’t love just to please you and your love for tradition. I hope Duana does the smart thing and dumps you.”
His mouth tightened. “I don’t want to discuss my relationship with Duana with you.”
“You won’t have a relationship with her much longer. I will see to that.”
“What do you mean?”
“Tonight, we are going out on a date with Danny and his friend, Leshawn.”
“What?” Kaito rose to his feet. His eyes flashed and his fists clenched. “How could she be going out with someone else while she’s still in a relationship with me?”
Hana watched him. She never saw her brother act like this before. He was always so calm and reserved which sometimes annoyed her. Nothing seemed to faze him and here he was now, like a volcano about to erupt. “You made it clear that you didn’t want there to be anything serious between you. You were fine with the way things were–purely physical.”
He dragged his fingers through his hair. “This guy she’s seeing tonight, has she been out with him before?”
Hana shook her head. “No, this is the first time and I hope it won’t be the last–”
“Imaimashī!” He grabbed his keys off the desk and headed for the door.
“Where’re you going?”
“Where do you think I’m going and why do you care?” he retorted before he stormed out of the room.
As soon as he was gone, Hana picked up the phone and called Duana. “Kaito’s on his way over. He’s as mad as hell. I’ve never seen him like this. I think he’s jealous.”
“You told him about Deshawn?”
“Oh, Hana. I didn’t want him to think that I was interested in Deshawn or anyone else.”
“Well, maybe you ought to be. You can’t continue hoping that things will change, Duana–that Kaito will change. He’s set in his ways. He’s been a bachelor for so long that marriage isn’t a possibility right now and if he did get married, it would be to a Japanese woman. You’re better off moving on.”
“I wish I could but you know I love him.”
“Yes, I know. He’s my brother and I love him too but I think he’s a jerk. You deserve better, Duana.”
“Right now I can’t imagine being with anyone else but Kaito. Thanks for calling, Hana. I’ll see you later.”
“All right. Call me on my cell if you need me.”
Hana hung up the phone and left the study.
Duana was about to change out of the white dress she had worn to church when the doorbell rang. Her heart began to beat faster. It was probably Kaito. It was and Hana was right. He looked furious. As she slid the latch back, she asked herself why she had allowed her friend to talk her into to going on a double date tonight.
“Hello, Kaito,” she said when she opened the door.
“Don’t hello Kaito me,” he snapped as he brushed past her. He swung round and faced her as she closed and locked the door behind him. His eyes were blazing with anger and jealousy. “How could you go out on a date with another guy when you and I are in a relationship?”
“It–it was Hana’s idea and–”
“I know it was her idea but you didn’t have to agree to it.”
“She called me and told me that you were coming over. She warned me that you were very angry.”
“Don’t you think I have reason to be? How would you feel if I were going out for dinner with another woman?”
“I would be angry and jealous,” she admitted.
“That’s how I feel right now, Duana. The thought of you going out with another guy is making me crazy.” He reached for her hand. His expression was drawn and tormented. “Don’t do it, please. Don’t go out for dinner with this guy, please.”
She swallowed hard. “I won’t,” she promised huskily.
He released his breath in a shaky sigh. “Thank you,” he muttered.
“Why don’t you spend the night?” she asked. “I didn’t make any dinner because I was going to eat out tonight but we can order in.”
He nodded. “Yes, I’ll spend the night.”
She smiled. “Good. Let me call Hana and tell her that I won’t be joining her and the guys for dinner tonight or any other night.”
He nodded again and removed his jacket as she called his sister. As soon as she finished the call, he took her into his arms. “I’m sorry for the way I’ve been,” he said. “I grew up believing in family traditions and determined to honor them at the expense of Hana’s happiness and my own. I love you, Duana and tonight when I realized how close I came to losing you, it opened my eyes to what really matters. When you meet that special someone, making a commitment to him or her is more important than holding onto tradition. Tomorrow, I will let Hana know that I no longer object to her relationship with Danny.”
Duana put her arms around his neck. “She’ll be happy to hear that,” she told him.
“Yes, she will be,” he agreed.
“I love you, Kaito.”
Kaito lowered his head and kissed her.
“Just because something is traditional is no reason to do it, of course.” – The Blank Book