Desconocido Pt. 02byCatalingus2005©
"I wish you would stay."
"I know." He stretched, kicking the covers off himself and rolling towards her. "There's just no getting around it. Mike insisted that it be me."
Mariko scratched her forehead. "I suppose it's a good thing."
"Definitely." He ran one finger down her face, tracing her jaw line. It continued down her neck, and across her shoulder. "Mark says the word is I'm being felt out for something."
She turned to look at him. "And you'll be back before the baby is born?"
His face lit up at the mention of it, his hand moving to rest, open-palmed, on her "I promise. Missing the birth of our first child would destroy me. I'll be here."
"First child?" she giggled. "Who said there would be more?"
"I did." He kissed her. She responded warmly.
They made love, gently and patiently. His hands explored her body with a man's confidence and a boy's delight. His lips fell to her neck, her breasts, and belly. She sought, and found, his firmness, guiding it as he moved towards her.
Even with the slow, satisfying motions they forced upon themselves, it felt like a passionate and driven act. No words were spoken as they pushed with gentle, determined effort. In the end, she lay on her side and whimpered through a small orgasm as he cradled her from behind and pushed, ending his own journey with a gasp. They lay together, his hand searching out and reclaiming the zenith of her swollen belly, and breathed heavily into the morning.
"I can't wait," he said at last, "for us to be a family."
She smiled, and nuzzled against him.
More than twelve years later, Kazuo climbed out of a borrowed car. Having been attacked and nearly killed by his partner and friend, Mike Simpson, he had only just rediscovered his identity after a coincidental meeting with an old friend. In the time since, he and that friend, Mark Littell, had worked to rebuild his memories. The emotional journey of relearning who he was, after so much lost time, was difficult to bear. He had been thirty when he left his old life...he was forty-two, now. Even with his mind regained, so much was lost in the way that memories often are. The way that age disposes of them. And his body showed the wearying pull of his time in Mexico, of poor diet and near-poverty living. His face was riddled with his age and time in the sun.
Mark had decided to work with Kazuo on regaining as much as he could, in the hope that he may even be able to return to old business. They also had decided together that, for now, he must remain dead to the world he knew, tucked secretly away. It would become more difficult to find incriminating evidence on Simpson if he knew he was being investigated, if he knew to be scared...and he would surely know to be, when he learned that Kazuo lived.
It hadn't been easy. With his memory returned to him at last, all Kazuo could think about was Mariko. His lovely Mariko. How was she? Where was she? What about the baby?
Could they be together, again, after all these years? And what would he do if they could not?
Mark wouldn't say much. He insisted that, for now, the focus must be on proving Mike's guilt. "Without that," he reminded Kazuo, "neither you nor she can be considered safe."
But it took no time at all for curiosity to overwhelm. And so now, twelve years since he'd last seen it, Kazuo stood on the curb a block away from his old house, wondering if she still lived there. It looked the same, bizarrely so considering the time that had passed. The houses around it had changed, and the trees were taller, but that was about it. He hadn't been sure how he would go about trying to find his Mariko without revealing himself, but as it turned out he didn't even have to try.
She caught his eye immediately. There she was, out in the front yard, lounging on a chair wearing a yellow bikini and laughing. She looked exquisite...perfect. Her small frame graceful, legs flexing like a dancers as she rubbed one foot against the opposing calf. He remembered those legs well.
Still, even at this distance, he could see changes in her. More than a decade had passed, and she no longer held a casual grip on to her youth the way women in their twenties do. Forty, she would be now. Forty since March. It struck him that, whatever happened, that idyllic life with her that he had lost...the starting of a family and experiencing life's great challenges together...was already lost forever. He was the middle-aged version of a lover she'd once had.
Even as small as she still was, age had filled her out to some degree. Her narrow middle was softer, her breasts fuller and hanging like a woman's rather than a girl's. Her legs, still marvelous, were less toned. Lines showed on her face and neck, and she defiantly refused to hide the gray at each temple.
The source of her laughter looped endlessly around her. Three children were chasing each other around the chair. Kazuo thought that...
He closed his eyes for a moment, and reopened them. Three children still ran and laughed and played. The oldest was distinctly Asian, and looked to be about eleven or twelve. Was this his daughter? His heart swelled. He watched her playing with the younger children, and knew it must be. Long, dark hair bounced and swayed as she raced after her prey, purposefully letting them stay just a step ahead of her and giggling as a younger child might. His daughter. Who didn't know him.
The other children, also girls, were fairer skinned, more ambiguous. Kazuo wondered if hey might be playmates.
No. These girls were younger...one looking about six, and the other not yet three years old. Logic betrayed his heart, and panic licked at his insides. Any lingering doubt was murdered when the door to the house opened and all the children ran towards the man who exited.
"Daddy!" They shouted in unison. Kazuo gasped at the man's face.
Mike Simpson swaggered out of the house, shirtless and in swimming trunks, carrying two red-colored drinks. With him was yet another kid...a young boy of about 9 years. The child was animatedly telling Simpson about something, pausing occasionally to sip from a Mountain Dew.
Kazuo's knees gave out. He hit the curb hard, but barely noticed. "Daddy?" He said it to himself. Mike Simpson was the man who had tried to kill him. The man who, in many ways, had succeeded. Twelve years, lost. Was this why he had done it?
Was his daughter calling Mike Simpson "Daddy?"
Oh, Mariko. A sob escaped him. Had she known? Could she have? Was it possible that she had betrayed him as well? He couldn't make himself believe it. Still, his stomach threatened sickness as he watched his enemy swing over to Mariko and hand her a drink. If anything, his six foot two inch frame was more intimidating than it had been that night on the boat. At 47, he still had the torso of a swimmer, but his arms, legs, and shoulders revealed the large amount of time he spent keeping in shape. He looked a giant next to Mariko, who looked up at him adoringly as she sipped her drink. Her left hand gently trailed fingers up and down the hair on the back of his leg.
Kazuo watched as they spoke, the muscles in his face giving out and the connecting threads of his soul snapping in succession. He put his elbows to his knees, resting his head in his hands and trying not to scream. Mariko, his beautiful Mariko, had given her heart up to this murderer.
Through blurring tears he saw her head turn idly in his direction, look away, and then snap back in horrified recognition. Suddenly nervous, not ready to be seen, he started to jerk back up to his feet, stumbled, and ended up sitting on the sidewalk. Rising terror washed over as he saw Mariko jump out of the lawn chair, spilling her drink, moving backwards and away from him, her hand over her mouth and her eyes wide. Like he was hideous. No. Like he was a ghost.
Just as she screamed, Mike Simpson turned in his direction and gaped. Then he shouted something at the kids and herded the family inside. Panicked, unthinking, Kazuo rushed to his car. Tires squealed as he recklessly fled. The shattered pieces of his heart pulsed like a thousand hammers in his ribcage. He didn't feel safe again until he reached Mark's house.
"You shouldn't have done that," Mark sighed, handing Kazuo a whiskey.
"You knew." Kazuo said flatly, taking the drink.
Mark looked at him for a tired moment. Kazuo imagined he was looking for a way to justify it, but he was wrong. "Of course I fucking knew. What do you think we're doing here, my friend? Do you think I'm holding your hand as you try to reenter the life you left? Jesus," he rubbed his eyes, "that life is gone. Mike Simpson killed it. I mean, killed it. I'm trying to help you prove that, to find what's left. You and I are after a very, very bad guy, and you just let him know about it. You have put us both in a very dangerous place."
"Did she marry him?"
Mark swallowed his drink in one pull. "Yeah. About a year and a half after you died. He visited her a lot, bought baby stuff," he glanced at his friend, "took her to the hospital when it was time. He was always helping out after that. Used to tell people he felt like the whole thing, you dying I mean, was his fault. Bastard." He poured another drink, and looked at Kazuo for a long moment. "The other kids are his," he answered the unspoken question. "I'm sorry, Kazuo, I am. I didn't tell you because I think that this might be the very reason he tried to kill you. So he could have her. So he could have your life. I didn't want you doing anything stupid. You know," he shrugged and looked away, "exactly like you did."
"What does it matter, now?" Kazuo rested his head back in the chair. "After this, how can I ever have her back again? Would she even go back?" His head lifted back up, eyes burning red. "Would she want to bring his children with her?" He slammed his free hand down on the arm rest. "HIS children?!?" He sniffled, and knew he sounded pathetic. "Would I even take her back?"
Mark watched him emotionlessly. "What do you want, then, Kazuo? To let him have his victory? To move away, start a new life, leave the woman you love in the hands of a murderer? To lie in bed alone at night knowing that he-"
"Well? What do you want?" He leaned in, pointing his finger against Kazuo's chest. "What do YOU want?!?"
Kazuo met his eyes for a moment, then looked away. "Maybe I want to die."
Mark stood up, and finished his second drink. "Well," he shook his head, "I guess that is getting to be one of your parlor tricks. But that would certainly give Mike Simpson what he wanted."
Silence. "What do we do now?"
"Well," Mark frowned, "if they did only see you for a moment, then it's possible they've convinced themselves it didn't even happen. Ghosts, guilt visions, mistaken identity...who knows? I doubt if Mike will let it pass, but I'm sure he'll be doing his best to convince Mariko that she was just seeing things. And I'll wager he's good enough to succeed. So what we do now," he poured another drink, "is get as much as we can on the guy, as fast as we can. I initiated a security camera update today that will place cameras in sensitive areas. This includes the main office. During the day, you can monitor that and take notes on anything you find. It's patched into the screen in the dining room. Just switch to video four."
Kazuo nodded. "But I can't imagine that he'll do or say anything incriminating with a camera around."
"Ah, that's the thing. Apparently, the memo regarding the new installation never made it past his secretary's desk." He reached in his pocket, and pulled out a crumpled up piece of pink paper. "Sloppy woman, really. And since the cameras are a new, miniature model that we purchased on the basis of how effectively hidden they have been in public areas of London and China, I suppose it's possible that he simply won't be aware of it."
"But surely somebody will mention it."
"Memos were only distributed to the two people who were receiving the cameras: Mike Simpson, and me. Nobody else needed to know. Nobody else knows."
"I also have two private detectives the firm has used before looking into the boat and its crew. Anything worth finding, they will." He stood up, grabbing his coat. "From here it's likely to get messy."
Kazuo clicked his tongue. "What about you?"
"Me?" Mark smiled. "I've had a week long vacation scheduled for months. As far as our boy knows, I'll be taking it as planned...nothing suspicious, you understand."
"And in reality?"
"In reality, I'm meeting with a lawyer to start discussing our options. I've got enough billable hours scheduled next week to make my checking account look like I went on a massive vacation, anyway."
"I'm going to owe you a lot before this is over," Kazuo smiled.
"Don't be stupid," Mark winked, "you owe me a lot right now."
Kazuo lay in bed, alone, silent, staring.
His mind tortured the choices before him like a cat tortures a captured prey. The results were already decided, he knew. But still he felt hopeless.
He imagined Mariko, across town, cuddled up to Mike Simpson in the house that Kazuo had helped pick out. It brought out a fresh sob. He tried to imagine winning her back, having her for his own again...
...and was left feeling numbed. Could he lay with her, knowing whose arms she'd been in all this time? Could he sit at the table with her, and her children? Mike Simpson's children?
Did his daughter think Simpson to be her father? Did she know about him at all?
He rolled over in bed. No amount of fantasizing made him believe that life could ever return to what it once had been. But no amount of brutal awareness could remove his love for his wife, and his need to know his daughter. He had to fight.
He slept at last.
The morning hours brought renewed hope, along with a newly energetic desperation. Whatever the outcome, Kazuo now realized he owed it to Mariko to somehow protect her from this maniac's grip. He leapt out of bed, switched on the coffee pot, and was at the dining table with a legal pad before the coffee was even made. He wished there was more he could do, but since this was all he could manage then he wouldn't miss a moment.
An hour later, Mike Simpson arrived, wearing a crisp suit and a confident smile. So much for being rattled. He went right to work, spending dull hours at his computer and phone, not doing a single thing that would present itself as out of the ordinary. He took calls, wrote memos, checked the Drudge Report as much as anything. Even with the near-religious fervor of his quest, Kazuo found himself drifting into bored spaces where he paid no mind to the monitor. He was more interested in the technical manuals Mark had given him to catch up on his old career than the inactivity before him.
This was going nowhere.
Until lunch time.
Without an announcing buzz, the door to the office opened and Mariko walked in. She wore a blue tank top and white frilly knee-length skirt. Mike came around the desk as she entered, and they embraced and kissed, chilling Kazuo's heart. They held each other, Mike's hand stroking Mariko's hair, as they spoke.
"Honey," Mariko patted his broad chest, "I was in the area...."
He smiled. "It's a wonderful surprise," he said. "Tell me about it."
She shrugged. "I took the kids to Mary's. She said she'd watch them." Mary? The name meant nothing to Kazuo. New friends. "I had to run downtown, and I just had to see my big man."
Mike's eyebrows lifted. "And did you have any big ideas for this visit?" His meaty paw slipped down to her waist. She pulled back, and looked away apologetically.
He sighed. "Is this about this weekend?" She nodded, and he pulled her into a tight hug. "We've talked about this. It didn't even really look like him. It wasn't him."
A moment. "I know, it's just-"
He sighed. "It's okay. I get it." He looked away, stone-faced.
She looked up at him, concern on her brow. "Oh, Mike, it's not a big deal. I mean...you know what? I need some time, is all. It's a fresher wound than I realized. But I can still take care of you." Her hands slid down, gripping his belt.
He smiled, leaning back as she knelt before him, and began undoing his trousers.
"The door's locked?" She asked, looking up at him as her hands worked to expose him. Kazuo felt his stomach plummet into eternity.
Mike reached over and flipped a switch on his desk. "It is, now," his voice was husky.
Kazuo watched horrified as Mike allowed his pants to fall, and then stepped out of them. Gorgeous little Mariko, HIS little Mariko, the love of his life, was now kneeling before large, muscled thighs and heavy, swinging manhood.
She took hold of it gently, lovingly, even casually, and hefted it until she could slip it into her mouth without lowering her head. He looked away, nauseous, then looked back, and immediately away again. It was too much to take. He opened his mouth to scream. Nothing came out. Jealousy didn't begin to define what he felt...jealousy is what he would have felt if he'd seen Mike fucking her, the way people fuck in pornography. But this...this was a loving and tender act. One that revealed her familiarity with his body, his likes and weaknesses. It was too horrible to avoid...it was no less agonizingly painful to look away and still know it continued...but tears stung at his eyes and dropped down his cheeks as he willed the scene before him away.
On the screen, Mariko moved from a teasingly soft exploration with her tongue to slow, head-bobbing pulls at the shaft with her mouth. Her hands rested on his thighs, and his right one stroked her hair. She teased and moaned, until finally her movements grew frenzied and both hands became actors in the scene...one stroking at the flesh she couldn't find room for in her mouth, the other cradling his testicles. He grunted, gasped, and her movements slowed suddenly, taking little more than just the head into her mouth.
Kazuo let out a groan of agony. Mike Simpson was coming in his lover's mouth. She looked up into his eyes as it happened, emitting a very real moan. Kazuo put his head to his hands, and wept.
The girl Mariko had found performing oral sex unpleasant...she did it out of love, but her unenthusiastic approach resulted in a significant lack of skill. The woman Mariko was willing, well-practiced, and excited by it. Yet another way this woman was not the girl he'd lost. Yet another reason he was now forced to ask himself if he chased at ghosts.
On the screen, he could see Mike Simpson talking as Mariko dabbed a Kleenex at her lips, but he couldn't hear anything. The world seemed a thousand miles away. He turned off the screen, sunk to the floor, and let it get a little further away still.