I Will Love You Forever Pt. 2 Ch. 18bykalamazoo707©
Hello all! Thank you for reading and commenting on my stories! It is much appreciated. Thanks to Donalde and Avare for beta reading and catching those pesky name changes. There are no historical facts at the end of this chapter, but there will be at the end of the next one. Oh and there also is very little sex in this chapter as well.
It was time to start getting ready for the holidays. Because she was carrying a full course load, Patricia began delegating. She had Niko and Marie begin making decorations for the house and Christmas tree. Abby and Hattie were in charge of the cookie baking, Sally, Dianne and Eli helped wherever they were needed and Nick and Hana were in charge of making sure that everyone had whatever supplies they needed. In one more week she would be able to help with the final preparations. Also Kenji would be home. Miraculously, he was going to be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas both.
Patricia forced herself back to her studies. She had two finals on one day and two on another. She wasn't particularly worried, but if she wanted to get into med school, she had to keep her grades up. She smiled when she heard Niko and Marie giggling. It seemed as though things were as they should be-normal.
Although there were still some problems at school, Niko was happy. He had finally made other friends in addition to Florrie who Patricia had yet to meet. Marie seemed to have settled down after the incident with the broken figurine and once Niko stopped taking the blame for things that she had done wrong. The only thing that blighted their otherwise happy life was an intern by the name of Mai Kabata.
Patricia had seen the intern at a distance whenever she had lunch with Kenji. The intern never approached them, but watched with an expression that contained curiosity, dislike and disgust. She had mentioned the intern to Penny during one of their weekly phone calls.
"Have you mentioned anything to Kenji?" Penny asked.
"No, I don't want to come across like a jealous wife who doesn't trust her husband," Patricia replied. "I told you about the first time I met the woman, Kenji sent her a clear message."
"It doesn't sound as if she's received it, but Patricia; know that you have nothing to worry about don't you? Remember when I told you that Kenji could be fully dressed in a roomful of naked men?"
"I remember," Patricia said chuckling.
"The same goes for Kenji regarding you. Mai or whatever her name is doesn't stand a chance against you. But, it you're really bothered about it, I would suggest that you talk to Kenji about it. I had to talk with a nurse the other day about Joel."
"Really? What happened?" Patricia asked.
"This particular nurse had taken a shine to Joel meaning that she's always putting her hand on his arm or standing so close that the man could hardly breathe. Well, I yanked her skinny butt into an empty room and told her that if she touches my husband one more time, I was going to break her fingers."
"You didn't!" Patricia exclaimed laughing.
"I most certainly did and then I told Joel about it. His reaction was pretty much like yours."
"Did she get the message?" Patricia asked.
"Loud and clear- every time she sees me, she puts her hands in her pockets."
"You know, I think I will say something to Kenji when he comes home this time. I wish that you guys were here."
"Believe you me, so do we! It's so damned cold! Which reminds me, we're planning to take the train out this summer- can we stay with you guys?"
"Of course you can! When are you coming?" Patricia asked excitedly.
"I'm not sure of the exact dates; it depends on when our rotation is over. We thought about doing a summer rotation, but we want to take the summer off."
"I can't wait to tell Kenji and the others! But you know Kenji will do the summer rotation."
"I suspected as much, but we're still coming."
Patricia smiled at the memory of the phone call. She hadn't told Kenji yet. She wanted to surprise him when he came home.
"Focus!" she chided herself.
She studied until it was time for dinner, the smell of meatloaf making her stomach growl. She closed her books, went to the kitchen and washed her hands and helped her mother finish dinner.
"Out back playing with the kids," Hattie replied. "Supper will be ready soon."
"I'll set the table," Patricia said as she headed for the cabinet.
"It's done, Niko and Marie did it," Hattie said as she mashed the potatoes. "Sit down and tell me about school."
"I love it!" Patricia said with a smile. "Some of the classes are challenging, but I'm learning so much."
"We're so proud of you," Hattie said. "You believed that it could happen when we didn't and look at you! You're going to be a doctor and you're married to one!"
They chatted until the kids came running in followed by John.
"Where's dinner?" he demanded with mock severity. "You've got hungry people here! Right kids!"
"Go wash your hands," Hattie said laughing, "It'll be ready by the time you get back."
Patricia watched as her father herded the kids to the sink so that they could wash their hands. It was hard to believe that for a short time, he had disowned her. Now he considered Kenji a son although he still hadn't forgiven Hiroshi for what he and Joben tried to do to her. She had stopped talking to him about it and had to be satisfied with the fact that he was at least civil to him. Dai and Hiro were another matter altogether. John doted on the little boy and was kind to Dai because he didn't hold them responsible for Hiroshi's wrong doings.
"Let's eat! He bellowed making Marie and Niko laugh.
Patricia laughed too, but then frowned. Something wasn't quite right with her father. He looked alright, he was acting alright, but something was off. She watched him throughout dinner taking note of how much he was eating and drinking... something wasn't right.
Later when they were washing the dishes, Patricia asked her mother about it.
"Mama, is daddy alright?"
"He's fine, why?"
"He ate so much and drank so much water at dinner. How long has he been doing that?"
"I don't know... a week or so," Hattie replied with a shrug.
Patricia looked toward the living room where John was reading to the kids and made a mental note to tell Kenji what she had seen when he called. Abby came by around eight to pick John and Hattie up to take them home.
"I'll be back around nine to take care of Marie so that you can study," Abby said.
Soon after they were gone the phone rang. It was Kenji calling to talk to the children. He talked to Marie first and then Niko. After talking to them, he spoke to Patricia.
"I will call you back around nine," he told her. "I love you."
Patricia got the kids ready for bed, read with them and tucked them in. She moved her books to the kitchen table so that she could hear the phone and the kids if they called for her. Just after nine, the phone rang.
"Hello Kirei, are you well?"
"I'm fine, I'm getting ready for finals; how about you?"
"I am well and I am looking forward to being home again. In case I have not mentioned it, the pictures of you and the children are very helpful. Perhaps when I come home we can take a picture of all of us for me to add to my notebook which by the way is full. I keep moving the picture from one notebook to another."
"Do you need more? I can get more for you."
"No Kirei, I have others. So what did your mother make for dinner tonight?"
"You really are a glutton for punishment aren't you?" Patricia teased, "but here it goes- meatloaf, mashed potatoes and cooked carrots oh and pound cake."
"That sounds delicious- I had something that was supposed to be meatloaf," Kenji replied with a chuckle.
"I saved you a piece," Patricia replied. "Kenji, I think that there's something wrong with my dad."
"Why do you say that?"
"I don't know. He's always been a big eater, but tonight he ate more double what he usually does. I watched him drink almost a whole pitcher of water by himself."
"How long has he been doing this?" Kenji asked.
"Mama says a week, what are you thinking?"
"Has he been urinating more frequently?"
"I don't know-Kenji what's wrong with him?" Patricia asked worried.
"It sounds as like sugar diabetes," Kenji replied. "It's an endocrine disorder where the body does not make enough insulin. It is early yet, call Nick and ask him if he will bring your father to the hospital. I will meet him in the emergency room."
"It sounds bad," Patricia said.
"It can be if it isn't controlled. Call Nick and I will call you back in ten minutes."
An hour later, John was at the hospital being tended to by Kenji and Paul Mynt and insisting that he was fine. Patricia and Hattie stood by listening.
"John have you been eating more lately?" Kenji asked ignoring John's insistence that he was fine.
"Yes he has," Hattie answered. He's been drinking more too."
"What about urination?" Kenji asked. "Have you been going more than usual?"
"That too," Hattie replied before John had a chance to say anything. "What's wrong with him?"
"He has diabetes," Paul said. "His pancreas isn't making enough insulin. That's what controls the sugar levels in our bodies. What we need to do is admit you and run a few tests. We also need to start you on insulin although there are now pills available."
"Do I have to stay?" John asked not liking what he was hearing.
"Yes," Paul replied. "We need to figure out the best dosage of insulin for you and I'm afraid that I have some more bad news for you. You'll have to give up sweets. That means no more of Hattie's pound cake. You're going to have to watch your diet in order to control your blood sugars."
"No more desserts?" John asked.
"I'm sorry but no," Paul replied. "There is an artificial sweetener called saccharine. It's been around for a while. You want to use it sparingly as it's much sweeter than sugar. Maybe Hattie can experiment with it and come up with some desserts for you, but even if she can't..."
"I'm not staying here and I'm not going to starve myself either!" John said interrupting Paul.
"John Middleton!" Hattie said, "You will stay here until Paul and Kenji say that you can go home and you will follow their instructions."
"John," Kenji gently, "if we do not get this under control you could die or lose a limb. It will require a change in the way that you eat, but we can help you with that."
"How are you going to do that?" John demanded. "Are you going to take this diabetes away?"
"No," Kenji replied, "but when we are together we will eat as you do."
"Daddy please," Patricia said softly. "I want you at my graduations."
Finally John relented agreeing to stay for only two days.
"After that, I'm gone."
After John was settled, Kenji pulled Patricia into an empty room and kissed her.
"He will be well cared for so try not to worry."
"I know," Patricia replied. "We should go so that you can get some sleep."
"I only have two more days, I will be fine," Kenji replied holding her against him. "You can have lunch with me and we can take your father home with us."
They talked for a few more minutes, kissed and then parted ways.
Mai was on her way to the phones to call her sister when she saw Kenji. His back was to her, and she couldn't hear what he was saying. She knew that he was talking to his wife by the intimate tone of his voice. She watched as his relaxed posture tensed and tone of his voice changed. He hung up and then waited.
"Kenjiro?" she called softly, "Is something wrong?"
Kenji turned to face her, gave her a polite bow and replied.
"It is my father in law, if you will excuse me," he said as he turned back to the phone and made a call.
"Kirei, have you spoken to Nick? Good... I will meet you there."
Mai watched as Kenji hurried off and went to make the phone call that she didn't want to make. She took a deep breath, picked up the phone that Kenji had just used and called her sister.
"Have they arrived yet?" she asked hoping that her father and Shotaro changed their minds about visiting.
"Not yet," Ani replied. "Jiro left for the train station a little while ago."
Mai's heart sank. She wasn't looking forward to the visit with her father and Shotaro. She had tried to get them to change their minds by telling them that she would be at the hospital for most of their two week visit.
"That is fine," both of them had responded. "I am most anxious to see the hospital where you are doing your internship," Shotaro said.
Mai noticed that there wasn't a trace of warmth in his voice as he spoke to her.
Now they would be waiting for her when she got to her sister's home in two days.
"Father and Shotaro have already said that they would like to come with me when I pick you up on Thursday," Ani said.
"That will be nice," Mai replied trying to sound sincere. "Have you told Jiro about the baby yet?" she asked changing the subject.
"Yes and he is so excited! We will wait until you are here to tell father. He will be so pleased," Ani replied. "Mai, are you alright?"
"I am fine, why do you ask?"
"You just seem distant-are you not pleased that Shotaro is coming to visit?"
Mai warned herself to tread carefully.
"Of course I am," she replied. "I'm just tired and wishing that I could spend more time with them."
Of that statement, only the part about being tired was true. They chatted about other things and lost track of the time.
"They're here!" Ani exclaimed, "Don't hang up, you can say hello to them."
Mai cursed under her breath while she waited for someone to come to the phone. It was her father that she spoke to first.
"Welcome father, how was your trip?"
"It was comfortable," he replied in a curt tone.
"I am pleased that you are here," Mai lied.
"Thank you, I am very anxious to see you. We have things to discuss."
Mai's stomach dropped. Whenever her father said something like that it never bode well for her.
"Shotaro would like to speak with you," her father said in that same curt tone.
While she waited for Shotaro to take the phone, Mai thought about Kenji and the way in which he spoke to his family. She couldn't remember her father ever speaking to any of them like that. In fact, she couldn't remember if he ever told them that he loved them and that included their mother. She thought that he loved them, but she had always wondered. Kenji's family, she realized; knew beyond doubt that he loved them even if he didn't say it. It was obvious in the way that he spoke to them.
"Mai, are you well?" Shotaro's deep voice asked. If she had cared for him, she would have thought it sexy.
"I am well; did you enjoy your trip?"
"Yes I did," he replied. "I am looking forward to seeing your hospital. Perhaps when we come for you on Thursday you can take us on a tour."
"Of course," Mai replied not missing the fact that he hadn't mentioned that he was looking forward to seeing her. "Ani will have to park the car, but I will meet you in the main lobby."
"Good, I will see you then," Shotaro replied.
A moment later, she was back on the phone with Ani. After she hung up, Mai leaned against the wall and wiped her eyes. She thought about Kenji again and how wrong it was that he was with the black woman. She admitted that jealousy was a part of what she was feeling. Not that Kenji was taken necessarily, but that if she married Shotaro; there would be no love involved. She was even jealous of Ani. It was clear that even though her marriage was an arranged one, Jiro loved her and Ani-she loved him too.
Why her father had picked Shotaro for her she didn't know, nor did she care. What she did care about was the fact that she was in for a lifetime of misery. She wondered how her mother had done it. Her mother loved her father no more than she loved Shotaro. Unfortunately, her mother was no longer alive to ask.
Mai went to her room and took out her notebook so that she could go over her notes for the day. She couldn't bring herself to concentrate because she kept thinking about Kenji. One day out of curiosity, she asked Kenji what he kept looking at in his notebook.
"It is private," he told her. His tone while polite was firm.
Miffed at the shutdown, Mai became even more determined to find out what was in the notebook and to find out more about Kenji himself. The burning questions were how he had broken tradition had and why with a black woman. She could have understood it better if the woman had been white even though she considered them inferior too.
Mai realized that her attitude toward different races was at odds with her chosen profession, but what she hoped to do was to open her own practice and cater only to her race. She had even planned to have an herbalist practice with her so that she could care for those who still believed in the old ways. She hadn't talked with Shotaro about her plans because she already knew that he wouldn't agree with them. He had become a strong advocate for western medicine. That was the only thing that he and her father disagreed on.
She closed the notebook and got ready for bed. As she changed clothes, she wondered what the emergency was with Kenji's father in law. Once again the way in which he seemed to care crossed her mind. But then, he always showed genuine care and concern to the patients that he rounded on and it didn't matter who or what they were. A small part of her wished that she could be like more like him.
When she was in bed, Mai began to examine her feelings for Kenji. It was much more than physical attraction. It was even more than the fact that he had broken convention... it had everything to do with his wife and what she had. Mai replayed the conversation with Shotaro in her head trying to see if there was any trace of affection. Then she replayed the conversations that Kenji had with Patricia. His voice oozed love, caring and respect. She thought about what she knew about Patricia and realized that it wasn't much.
She knew that she was a student working on her undergrad- Kenji had told her that, but she found out that the plan was for her to go to med school from another intern. The intern who happened to be female had become one of Mai's friends. Mai soon found out that the intern was every bit as astute as Ani was and had no problems with being blunt.
"Mai," Vera said one day while they were having dinner, "I've come to think of you as a friend so I hope that you'll take what I'm going to say in the spirit in which it's meant. Kenjiro Takeda is off limits. He is a married man with two children."
"I know that," Mai replied feigning confusion. "Why are you telling me this?"
"You already know the answer to that," Vera replied tersely. "I don't know if you're aware of it, but every institution has a rumor mill and you've got it running hot and heavy. There are bets as to whether you'll be able to take Kenjiro away from his wife."
"What?!" Mai exclaimed. Had she been that obvious about her feelings toward Kenji? "Where is this coming from?"
"People watch," Vera replied, "me included. I can understand the attraction. He's one of the few Japanese interns here. He's good looking and sweet, but Mai; I repeat-he's married. I don't profess to know a lot about your culture, but I imagine that wanting someone else's husband is as looked down upon in it as much as it is in mine."
"Yes you do," Vera broke in. "I see it in your face every time you see him and I see it now. I also know that you've been asking personal questions about him-"
"It doesn't matter how I know," Vera broke in, "and if I know, so do other people. It's only a matter of time before Kenjiro finds out. Whatever it is that you're thinking about doing, you need to forget it."
That conversation took place just a few nights ago and Mai thought about it all that night. She thought that she had decided that Vera was right, but after hearing Kenji talk to Patricia and then her own conversation with her father and Shotaro, she wasn't so sure that Vera was right about her forgetting about Kenjiro. He was still Japanese and at heart he couldn't really believe that he belonged with a black woman.