I Will Love You Forever Pt. 2 Ch. 03bykalamazoo707©
The house was abuzz on Saturday with the preparation of the evening meal. The activity brought back sweet but painful memories for Joel, he missed his family many of whom had died in the concentration camps. He watched the ease in which Kenji and Patricia interacted with each other, their children and family. It occurred to him that it was quite a mixture, Japanese, white and black and some of the whites were from the south but yet, here in this house, none of that mattered. It didn't take him long to realize that they weren't pretending, these people really loved each other and would die protecting each other. A tear slipped down his thin, pale white face, in that moment, he had never felt so alone.
A tugging on his baggy pants distracted him. He looked down to see Marie tugging on his pant leg with one hand and holding a book in the other.
"Read?" she asked with a smile that lit up her plump little face.
Joel stooped down, picked the little girl up and carried her outside. A few minutes later, he was reading to her changing his voice for the different characters and making her laugh. It wasn't long before Niko was sitting with them with a stack of books and the three of them were lost in their own make believe world.
Patricia stood at the window and watched with a smile on her face. She was glad that they convinced Joel to come for the weekend; he needed a respite from whatever it was that was hurting him on the inside. Kenji came up behind her, put his arms around her and watched with her. Before the weekend was out, he was going to have a talk with Joel; he wanted to find out what happened to make him so timid and fearful.
By ten, everyone was gone and the children in bed sound asleep leaving Kenji, Patricia and Joel alone.
"I want to thank you for everything." Joel said softly.
"You're welcome here anytime." Patricia said, "You're our friend."
Joel swallowed a lump in his throat and coughed to clear it. The thought that he had only one more day of heaven before returning to his own private hell weighed heavily on his mind.
"I'm going to make some tea," Patricia announced, "anyone care for any?"
"Yes, thank you kirei." Kenji replied, "Joel?"
"If it isn't any trouble...."
"No trouble." Patricia replied as she kissed Kenji on the cheek and headed for the kitchen.
"Do you realize how lucky you are?" Joel asked as he watched Patricia head to the kitchen.
"I have been blessed." Kenji replied softly, "Joel, where is your family?"
"Many of them are dead at the hands of the Nazis."
"Your parents?" Kenji asked.
"We had been here in the states for about fifteen years when the war broke out. My mother died four years ago and my father died shortly afterwards."
"I am sorry for your loss." Kenji said softly, "It is difficult to lose loved ones no matter the manner of their death."
Patricia came in with the tea and served each man beginning with Joel.
"Where's yours?" Joel asked alarmed thinking that he had taken the last of the tea.
"I changed my mind." Patricia said with a smile, "I think I'm going to take the opportunity to read something other than my school books and leave you two to talk about whatever it is guys your age talk about."
Kenji gave her an appreciative smile, her intuition to the needs of others never ceased to amaze him. Paul set his cup of tea down and stood when Kenji did, "You don't have to leave." He said.
"I know but I have this book that I've been dying to get started on so I'll see you in the morning." Patricia replied, "Sleep well Joel."
"Thank you Patricia and I mean for everything." Joel replied.
"Joel, "Kenji replied, "Will you excuse me for a moment?"
When they were alone in their room Kenji hugged Patricia tight, he wanted nothing more than to be going to bed with her but he and Joel needed to talk.
"Thank you kirei." he breathed as he kissed her.
"You're welcome and if I'm asleep when you come to bed wake me up."
"I promise. I will see you later." Kenji said kissing her again before he went back down the stairs.
Joel was staring off into space when Kenji got to the living room. Joel jerked to attention and gave Kenji a weak smile. When Kenji was sitting and sipping on his now comfortably warm tea Joel hesitated and then asked a question.
"How do a Japanese man and a black woman find each other and make a life together?"
He listened as Kenji gave him the condensed version of his and Patricia's time together leaving out the escape from the camp.
"You survived all of that and yet you still love each other? Didn't you ever want to leave her because of the difficulty?"
"I will admit that there was a time or two that I thought about it but not for my benefit but for hers," Kenji said, "the thoughts didn't last but a few seconds and it is because of her that I survived."
"But your lives would have been so much easier had you not gotten married." Joel said.
"Perhaps in some ways but not in others." Kenji replied, "Both of us had very difficult choices to make and what it came down to was what was right for us. In the end we decided that we were going to fight for what was our right and that was for us to be together as husband and wife."
"If you had to do it again knowing what you do, would you?" Joel asked.
"I would." Kenji replied without hesitation "as would Patricia. Joel, sometimes you have to fight for what you want and I wanted Patricia. What is it that you want?"
Joel sat down his teacup and looked away, "what do I want?" he asked himself.
"I... I want to be strong and confident like you and Patricia are, I want to know what its like to not to be afraid of my own shadow, I want a wife who loves me the way that Patricia loves you and I want children." Joel stopped himself realizing that this was the first time that he had verbalized any of his wants.
"Who made you so unsure of yourself?" Kenji asked, "Where did all of this fear come from?"
Kenji listened as Joel talked about his life, his childhood and the loss of his parents.
"You have always been persecuted." Kenji stated.
"Yes but I was encouraged to turn the other cheek." Joel replied, "And of course being the smallest kid in school didn't help any."
"Your father, he didn't teach you how to defend yourself?"
"No, he said that the teasing was the way of children and that it would get better as I grew but it didn't, if anything it was even worse."
"Did you not get angry?" Kenji asked. Niko as small as he was could defend himself against those much bigger than he if he had to but he also knew that violence was a last resort. Kenji looked at Joel, a grown man who in many ways was more defenseless than Marie whose training would start soon.
"Of course I did!" Joel snapped and then became contrite, "I'm sorry...."
"Don't be." Kenji said, "Anger is not always a negative emotion. Joel, would you like me to teach you some basic defensive moves? I can also teach you meditation exercises that will help promote relaxation and build confidence."
"You would do that?" Joel asked interested and surprised.
"Of course." Kenji replied, "We can start in the morning if you like."
That night when Joel went to bed, he felt something that he hadn't felt in years.... Hope that his life could be better.
Andrew sat staring off into space thinking about Kenji and Patricia Takeda, he still had no plans to hurt Patricia but he wasn't opposed to using her to get to "the Jap". Joel no longer interested him for the time being as he presented no challenge to him but Kenji on the other hand.... That cool demeanor both intrigued and angered him, how he could be with a black woman also intrigued him but not necessarily angered him.
"What are you thinking about?" Mark one of Andrews closest friends asked.
"Nothing." Andrew replied lying, he wanted "the Jap" all to himself and would only include someone else if he had to. For the moment, "the Jap's" wife was off limits therefore eliminating the need for any one else to know his thoughts. For that matter, "the Jap" and "the Jew" were off limits too, he would watch them but wouldn't bother them. None of his friends would bother them either; they would take their cues from him.
Not for the first time, Andrew wondered why his hatred centered on Kenji. After all, he wasn't the only Japanese on campus but he was the only one that got under his skin without even trying. "Why is that?" he wondered as he tuned out the conversation around him, "What is it about him that makes me see red?"
Andrew didn't fool himself, he hated all things Japanese, they attacked this country, and almost killed his father and now they were taking over the classroom. That his father harbored no ill will toward them didn't matter, that it was war didn't matter, that he could have continued to leave Kenji alone wasn't taken into consideration.
There was one thing that Andrew could admit to himself, he was jealous of Kenji, jealous of the self-control and cool demeanor that he displayed, jealous that Kenji would make a far better doctor than he could ever dream of being. He was jealous of....
"Hey baby!" Becca Cartwright said as she slid into the booth and sidled up to him.
Andrew looked over at her and gave her a small smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. Becca was beautiful, a tall blonde-haired woman with sparkling blue eyes and full luscious lips that Andrew's anatomy knew intimately.
"Hey yourself." he greeted with false cheerfulness. He wasn't in the mood for her tonight, in fact, he wasn't in the mood for anything.
"Are we going for a drive later?" she asked. The question was her code for, "am I going to get to suck your cock?"
Surprisingly, he wasn't even in the mood for that. When she slid her hand under the table and rested it on a cock that would have been hard as soon as she asked the question, Andrew stopped her.
"Not tonight, I want to spend the evening with my dad." he lied smoothly.
"We don't have to be gone long." she insisted.
"Tomorrow, how's that?" he asked saying anything to get her to forget about the ride tonight.
"I'll pack a lunch, what time?"
"One, I'll see you then." Andrew said and gave her a peck on the cheek.
As he left, he heard someone mention Kenji's name and suddenly he wasn't so sure that he could trust his friends to leave Kenji alone. He doubled back to the table and waited until they were all looking at him.
"Leave the Jap and his woman alone, if any of you do anything to either of them without my say so, I will kick your ass so hard you won't be able to sit for a week."
"What about Jew boy?" someone asked.
"Leave him alone." Andrew replied.
"What's with you?" Mark asked, "You changing your mind about them?" His voice held a note of challenge that set Andrew on edge.
"You don't get to ask me what I'm thinking or feeling is that clear?" Andrew hissed, "I want them left alone until I say otherwise, got it?"
"I got it," Mark said backing down, "just calm down will ya?"
Andrew stared at each face at the booth for several seconds before leaving the diner, he was confident that he had made his point.
William hung up the phone and sighed, he had just spoken with his contact at the federal prison where Lawrence was still an inmate.
"We found an inmate dead." the contact said, "from what we can tell, the man was a part of Goodman's group and had somehow been labeled as a traitor."
"Let me guess," William said, "You don't have any proof that Goodman or any of his group was involved."
"You got it.," the contact said.
"I'm confused though, how did you find out about the traitor thing?" William asked.
"A note? From who?" William asked.
"We don't know, it didn't say much except that the man was supposedly a traitor and to look at Goodman."
"How was he killed?" William asked.
"The poor bastard was found hanging in the showers."
"Does this poor bastard have a name?" William asked.
"Yeah... Dwayne something or another. Why?"
"Just curious." William replied letting out a sigh of relief that it wasn't their undercover agent. "Do me a favor, keep me posted and if you hear anything about Goodman being released, call me and I don't care if it's the middle of the night and if you can't reach me, call Nick Alexander."
"I can do that but the word is that Goodman will be here for the next two years, nine months."
William hung up after making sure that the man had Nick's telephone number. An uneasy feeling settled in the pit of his stomach.
Lawrence Goodman was coming back to California and more than likely, there would be a trail of bodies behind him.
He looked at the time and decided that it wasn't too late to give Nick a call. They would have just gotten home from the party at Kenji and Patricia's house and would still be up.
Nick answered on the first ring and listened carefully as William told him about the death of the inmate.
"Will, you've got to get your man out of there before Goodman realizes that he's the real informant."
"You're right." Will said, "I'll call the FBI office on Monday and let them know."
Lawrence looked around the prison yard; his group was growing to the point where he could afford to be more selective about who he let in. He had begun interviewing anyone who showed an interest choosing those who were educated and had skills that he thought would be useful and of course he chose a fair number of those that he called foot soldiers. They were necessary to any war and they had to be willing to obey any order without question, for that reason, he chose those whom he considered to be inferior.
He stole a look at the man that he was grooming to replace him and felt unease. Something about Carl had been nagging him for weeks but he hadn't been able to pinpoint it. He was as attentive to detail as he always was, made sure that anyone joining the group understood the rules and their roles but still, something wasn't right.
Carl looked up, saw Lawrence looking at him and nodded in greeting. Lawrence returned the greeting and turned toward the inmate sitting next to him.
"Watch him and don't get caught doing it." Lawrence said as he stole another glance at his second in command.
Carl knew that his time was getting short, he had known it for weeks but he wanted just a little more time. He knew his time was up when he caught Lawrence watching him. He only had to make it until Monday, one more day and he could leave this hellhole. He knew that he had to watch his back and wondered which inmate Lawrence had assigned to watch him.
He mentally ran over his options to get what information that he had to the outside. Up until now, he hadn't written anything down deeming it too dangerous but now it looked as if he might not have a choice in the matter. After he finished interviewing the latest recruit before sending him over to Lawrence, he excused himself to his cell watching to see if he was being followed.
As soon as he reached his cell, he looked behind him and pulled a notebook from a slit in the mattress and as quickly as he could began to write the names of Lawrence's known targets, the addresses to the safe houses as well as any other pertinent information while keeping an eye out on prying eyes. When he was finished, he slipped the notebook back into its hiding place and left the cell.
On the way back to the yards, he stopped by the warden's office which in and of itself wasn't unusual. He often stopped in to smooze with the man to help keep things easy for Lawrence. This time however, he gave the warden a small piece of paper.
"If anything happens to me, call that number," was all he said.
"What is this about?" the warden asked.
"I have a notebook that I want my family to have if something happens to me." Carl said, "That number will reach my attorney, make sure that he checks for all of my belongings."
Having done all that he could do, Carl left the warden's office and headed back to the yards fully aware that he was being followed.
Sunday morning Joel was up bright and early. The glimmer of hope that he had fallen asleep with had grown into a bright light. Part of it was the sense of well being that he felt at having friends and part of it was the resolve that he was going to start standing up for himself. He had no doubts that he would get his ass kicked but it wouldn't matter, the only thing that would matter was that he stood up for himself.
His stomach rumbled as he smelled breakfast cooking. He had eaten more in the last three days than he had in a month and he felt better. As he dressed, he thought about the store and his attachment to it, maybe it was time to let that go as well. The money that he would get from selling it would allow him to rent a room somewhere and would allow him to eat better. He couldn't deny the correlation between a full stomach and his mood, decision made. He would sell the store.
After breakfast, Kenji took the children and Joel out into the back yard. He paired Niko with Marie and he partnered with Joel.
"We will start with meditation." he said and began to teach Joel basic meditation, "Do not worry if your mind wanders, it takes time and practice."
While not very successful with the first lesson, Joel thoroughly enjoyed himself and couldn't wait to try it on is own.
While Patricia and Kenji played with the children, Joel made a phone call. By the end of it, he had sold the store. After class on Monday, he was meeting the buyer of the store and would find a cheap hotel close to school.
For the first time in years, he felt good and more importantly, he felt as if he was in control.
Monday morning came quickly; Abby and Ralph were on baby sitting duty.
"Watch your back's." Ralph admonished as they kissed the children goodbye and headed out of the door.
Kenji walked Patricia to her first class and then went to his own. He was pleased to see that Joel wasn't sitting in the back of the class but had occupied a seat next to where he usually sat. When Andrew and his friends came in, Joel tensed and then forced himself to relax. His left hand still hadn't completely healed and throbbed at the sound of Andrew's voice. He resisted the urge to look over at Kenji and kept his eyes facing forward, for just a moment, he thought that they were going to be accosted and experienced a strange mixture of relief and trepidation when they weren't.
Kenji didn't react at all; he sat in his seat completely at ease although he knew that they were being watched. Kenji was as surprised as Joel was when Andrew and his friends didn't so much as speak to them. When the class ended, Andrew and his friends left, they didn't even spare Kenji or Joel a second glance.
"What do you suppose is happening?" Joel asked.
"Trouble." Kenji replied softly, "this is the calm before the storm."
"Maybe not," Joel said his voice filled with hope, "Maybe they're done with us."
"I do not think so." Kenji replied as he gathered his books and stood up. "I must go meet Patricia; you are welcome to join me."
"Thank you but I have a couple of things to do before next class, I'll meet you there." Joel replied as he lifted his bag with his right hand.
Kenji watched as Joel walked away. He had the thought to ask if he needed someone to go with him and thought better of it, he had to learn to rely on himself and coddling him wasn't going to do that.
Professor Hathaway looked at Patricia with disdain as he checked the answers to yet another pop quiz. It galled him that she passed every single quiz and with flying colors. He couldn't accuse her of cheating because she was one of fifteen or so that passed the quiz and then there was the fact that he didn't make up the quiz until the day of class.