Chapter Seventeen: The Truth about Sakura-hime:
After breakfast, Akemi took hold of my shoulder and took me to the backyard.
“Akemi?” I asked. “Where are you taking me?” My sister didn’t answer me until we went out the door. The gray clouds in the sky indicated that it might rain later. I looked around puzzled.
“Why are we out here?” I asked.
“Close the door,” she told me. I slid the glass door open.
“Come over here,” Akemi ordered me. I tilted my head at her.
“What is this?” I asked.
“Come over here,” my sister repeated. I lowered my shoulders and walked over beside her.
“Now what’s this about?” I asked.
“What do you think of Sakura-hime?” Akemi asked without looking at me. A puzzled look came over my face.
“What?” I asked.
“Answer the question,” she said in a sharp tone. I dug in my mind for the right answer.
“Well…” I began. “She’s kind of like Hitomi in a way.” I tried to see where this was going. “Why?” I asked.
“She’s a sick woman,” my sister answered abruptly. I still didn’t seem to get it.
“Sick? What do you mean? Is she dying?” I asked. Akemi shook her head.
“Not sick in that way,” she said. “Kind of not right in the head, do you know what I mean?”
“I guess…” I said. “Where is this going?” She rested her hand on my shoulder.
“Do you really like her?” she asked. I shook my head, still confused.
“Not really,” I answered. “Why are you asking me this?”
“This is going to take a little bit,” Akemi said. “Can you handle it?”
“Where are you going with this?” I asked.
“Can you handle it?!” my sister demanded. I put up my hands at the sound of her tone.
“Okay, okay, yes,” I answered. Akemi took in a deep breath.
“Good,” she said. She pulled me in closer. “Sakura-hime is… rather fragile.”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you know why she’s here?”
“She ran away from home.”
I gave her a strange look. “What?”
“Her father… he was such a lowlife creep. He didn’t see Sakura-hime so much as a daughter as he did with any other whore he paraded through the house.”
“Yeah. She couldn’t take it anymore so she ran away here.”
I made a face at my sister. “I don’t get it. Why are you telling me this?”
“Because she’s fragile,” Akemi answered.
“Okay, so?” I asked.
“You… how do I put this? You’re…” she began to say. I raised an eyebrow at her.
“What?” I asked.
“You’re kind of a damaged chick magnet,” she said.
“Damaged chick magnet?” I asked. Akemi gave me a small shrug.
“Face it,” she said. “Hitomi was a perfect example of damaged. When I saw her, I thought, ‘Yeah, she’s going to be suicidal in a few years.’” I frowned at her. Akemi waved me off when she noticed my face.
“Hey, that’s just what I thought,” she said. “Anyway, Sakura-hime just wants someone stable to latch onto. You are the type to be a shoulder to cry on.” I blinked at my sister.
“What are you saying?” I asked. Akemi turned around to face me with a serious look on her face.
“I’m saying, be careful around Sakura-hime,” she said. I watched as my sister turned and walked back into the house. I came away more confused than when we first came outside.
Okay then… I followed after Akemi back into the house.