The Kabuki Dancer

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 5 (v.1) - Part One: The Miko - Chapter 4

Submitted: October 19, 2016

Reads: 184

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Submitted: October 19, 2016

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Okuni escorted me into the warm inner rooms of her home and gestured for me to sit.  She placed some bowls on the table and gestured for me to remain as she exited the room and returned with her parents behind her.

Nakamura Sanemon had the typical look of a blacksmith.  He was big, well built, and muscles rippled beneath his earthy brown kimono.  His face was smudged with coal marks from the bellows, and his eyes glinted brightly, like the embers of a fire.  A wide jovial smile spread across his face.  His wife, Minami, on the other hand, carried a more solemn air about herself, gliding into the room with little sound and little effort in her dark blue kimono.  She also possessed a small smile, and nodded courteously as she entered the room. 

I hastily rose to my feet and bowed politely to the two adults in front of me.  “Forgive me for imposing upon you,” I murmured, keeping my eyes downcast to the tatami mat and focusing on it like it was the most interesting thing in the world.  I risked a glance upward and saw that Okuni was holding the sleeve of her aqua kimono to her face, her eyes twinkling with laughter.

I flushed red with embarrassment, but was caught off guard when Okuni’s father began to laugh loudly from deep within his belly. “Well, aren’t you the polite young lady?” he gasped out between breaths.  “There is no need to stand on airs on my account, my dear.  Come,” he said, gesturing to the table where Okuni’s mother was kneeling and serving into the small black porcelain bowls a healthy quantity of noodles.The smell wafted towards me and tickled my nostrils, my stomach growling hungrily in response.  “I am sure you are hungry,” Nakamura-san continued, “So please help yourself and tell us what brings you to my home.  Or more accurately,” glancing at his daughter now kneeling at the table as well, “What it is you are running away from.”

I don’t know what inspired me to then tell my tale to the Nakamura family, but I told my tale from start to finish, leaving nothing out save for the most gruesome details to spare the ladies.  Every once in awhile, Okuni would smile and nod to me continue in my tale, when I stopped even for a moment.  I took a moment between statements to continue eating the noodle soup, which to me was heaven compared to anything I had tasted in my young life.  Her father puffed on his pipe, nodding in acknowledgment in places, while his wife would raise her arm in shock and place a pale hand against an equally pale face when I revealed a dark detail.

When my tale of woe was finished and my stomach satisfactorily full from the delicious soup, Nakamura-sama took a deep breath on his pipe and breathed the smoke out slowly.  “So, a girl from the eta community arrives on my doorstep and my daughter sweeps her in and protects her for charity’s sake,” he murmured to himself.Okuni looked at her father and stated, “It was the proper thing to do, Father.  If not the charitable thing to do at least.”  She looked back at me with an expression that was full of pity, and the way she was looking at me made me cringe a little.

It was then that her mother spoke. “But an eta girl, Okuni?” she inquired, her voice rising a little.  Okuni stood to clear the bowls as her mother reprimanded her. “What will the neighbors think?” she asked, glancing from Okuni and to her husband with tears starting to well up in the bottom of her eyes. Okuni let out a loud sign, signaling to me that this was her mother’s favorite tactic to try to get her way with things, and rolled her eyes behind her back, making me snort with laughter.

Nakamura-sama reached out and patted his wife’s leg, smiling reassuredly.  “There, there, my dear, nothing has been decided yet.  However…” He laid back and took another gulp from his pipe, then looked me in the eyes.  “I cannot in good conscience send you back to the eta settlement knowing what is waiting for you there.  Especially with this Kurosami seeking you out.” I shuddered at the thought and Nakamura-sama took notice. “Oh, I have dealt with his kind before, my dear.  Entitled samurai are almost worse than the ronin that roam our streets, and will take whatever they want, whether that is riches or women.  But as to what to do with you …” he paused, tapping his pipe against his chiseled chin, “I am not sure.”

Okuni turned back and kneeled next to her mother.  “Mother, maybe Sachiko could remain with me as a lady’s maid and companion.  And maybe when the time comes, she may even join the Shrine with me.”  I was startled and asked, “The Shrine?” Okuni turned to face me and said, “Yes.  I am promised to the Izumo Shrine when I come of age.  Although you will are a little young, I may be able to get you in the Shrine to serve alongside me.  And if so, we would get to spend much time together as well.”

I don’t know why, but my heart skipped a beat at hearing this.  Something about being able to be alongside this beautiful young maiden at all hours of the daytime, it made my spirit being to soar.  I looked to both of her parents and I knelt with my head pressed against the floor, saying, “It would be my honor to stay with you, Nakamura-sama and Nakamura-San.”

Nakamura-san looked expectantly at her husband, and he sighed.  “You will have to share sleeping arrangements with Okuni.”  I glanced once again at Okuni, who smiled.  I looked back to Nakamura-sama, saying, “Thank you, Nakamura-sama.” 

He looked please, and then glanced at his wife. “What say you, Minami?” he asked casually.  The woman looked between her husband and daughter, and sighed. “I don’t have much of a choice in this do I? Also” and she glanced at me with compassion in her eyes, “I don’t know if I could bear sending you back out into the world knowing the situation you would be returning to.  So yes, I will allow this.”  Okuni squealed and hugged her mother and a grin split my face.  “However,” Nakamura-San said, “We must come up with a new name for you and back story.  Not only to protect you, but also our reputation.  You will be a distant relation of ours that has come to us to stay with us.  Um,” she glanced from her husband to her daughter to me, before exclaiming, “Yes! Our cousin from the northern reaches of Aomori.  As for a new name,” she paused at this.

Okuni spoke up at this.  “How about Umi?” she asked.  I looked at her.  “Why Umi?” I blurted.  She glanced at me and ticked her head at me in an unusual way. “Because your eyes are the color of the sea,” she said softly.  Nakamura-san thought for a few moments, while I prayed she could not see me blush in the low light of the fire.  “Umi-chan,” she sounded it out.  “Alright daughter, Umi-chan it shall be.  Umi, you are Sachiko no more,” she commanded.  I smiled and dipped my head, my heart pounding a million miles a minute. “Yes ma’am,” I said.

Okuni clapped her hands in delight and stood up, and grabbed me by my shoddy kimono, pulling me towards the back.  “Come, Umi-chan, we must get ready for bed,” she teased.  I looked back at her parents, and they waved me on encouragingly to the back. 

Upon entering the room that Okuni had in the house, I was entranced.True, it was nothing compared to the tales I had heard told of gold and exotic woods that adorned the palace of the Emperor in Kyoto, but it was still amazing.  The room contained a futon with cotton sheets and blankets for covering.  I knelt on the tatami floor while Okuni went and pulled open a chest in the corner of the room.  I stretched out a hand and stroked one of the soft blankets, my fingers caressing it lightly.  I had never felt something so soft, not in my own home or anywhere else.  Unbidden tears started to fall from my cheeks.

Okuni spun around, clutching a tan kimono with autumn leaves decorating the hem and sleeves.  “Yes I think this will do … why Umi-chan,” she said, kneeling next me and draping the kimono across the soft futon, “Why are you crying?” She stretched out a hand and stroked my wet cheek.  I slid back, saying, “Nothing, Mistress.” She humphed and crossed her arms, saying; “Now Umi-chan, you must call me Okuni-chan as well.  As much as we said you are my maidservant, we are more like … sisters!”  I looked at her, and I said, “I once had a sister.” Okuni lit up, clapping her hands in delight.  “Well, what things did you do as sisters?  Did you play with dolls, do each other’s hair, play dress up?” she practically squealed.

In that moment, I looked at her and said, “No, she was taken from me just recently.  One of the Samurai here in Izumo attempted to …” I struggled with the word “… have his way with her, and she fought back.  As punishment, she was expelled from Izumo and sent away to a brothel in Kyoto.  Chances are I will never see her again.”  I dissolved into heaving sobs.  Okuni’s face grew sad, and she pulled me to her and stroked my hair.  I never had been held by another person besides Miyuri, and she whispered, “It’s okay Umi-chan.  Maybe someday, if the kami are good and you pray hard enough, you will see her again.”  She used the sleeve of her kimono to wipe my face and nose.  I sniffled.  “You think it may be possible” I asked.  Okuni looked me in the eyes and said, “I know so.” 

We sat for a few moments, before Okuni leapt to her feet and said cheerfully, “Well we won’t get any better just sitting here doing nothing.  Come on.” She tugged me to my feet and started to unwrap the old worn shit brown obi I wore over my drab kimono.  “Mis … uh Okuni-chan, what are you doing?” I asked, blushing on my cheeks.  “Oh, you look so pretty when you blush!” Okuni exclaimed.  I deepened even more as she took the obi from my waist and whipped the old kimono from my body, leaving me in my linen shift.  “Well, if you are going to be my cousin, we can’t have you dressing up in these old things anymore!  Wait here while I go and start a bath.”  She rushed out of the room before I had time to protest. 

A gentle breeze blew through the room as I stood there in my shift, shivering a little. I sat on the futon and ran my hands over the embroidery of the kimono she had taken from her chest.  To think of me, wearing such finery … it was unheard of in the eta community.  If Mother could see me now …

I jerked my hand back.  My family was in the past, and I had a future to think about. A future that if I played my hand right could lead to wealth and more.  Maybe even … love?  My body quivered with the thought.  But who I was thinking about was not a man.  No, my thoughts were on the beautiful young girl who was my savior. 

As if she heard my thoughts Okuni walked back into the room, startling me from my thoughts.  She now wore only a linen shift like myself and had two drying cloths draped over her arms.  “Well, the bath is nice and hot!  Come on!” she exclaimed, grabbing my hand and pulling me from the room.

She led me to a room near the back, where there was a large wooden tub and a stool in the room.  The steam was thick, forming a veil of perspiration on my cool skin.  Before I could blink, Okuni had whipped off her linen shift and plunged into the tub, naked as the day she was born.  I stood gaping as she appeared red faced from the water, gasping, “Come on in silly, it’s just water, it won’t bite!”  I gingerly removed my shift and slid nude into the water, clutching my arms around my budding breasts. 

Okuni leaned back, exposing her body to my gaze.  Small breasts budded with rose pink nipples, a smooth stomach glistened wet in the dim light, and the beginnings of a black thatch of hair appeared around the sacred place between her legs.  I found myself staring and blushed.  Okuni smiled at me, saying, “What are you hiding, Umi-chan?Do you have a misshapen breast or a mark you don’t want me to see?  Come on, show me!”  She stalked over to my side of the tub and pulled my arms aside, revealing my ample breasts.  She reached out a finger teasingly and poked one.  “Wow,” she said, “Mine aren’t nearly as big yet.”  She cupped her hands under both of hers and made a face.I couldn’t help myself but to laugh at her antics. 

After bathing we washed each other’s hair and back.  I took time running my fingers through her thick ebony black hair, savoring the touch and smell.  She seemed to think nothing of it, humming as I cleaned her back.  Once I finished with her, she sat me on the stool and did the same for me.  I found myself wishing she would slide her fingers down my stomach to the sacred place between my thighs.  I squirmed with the desire, but it was only thoughts that were going through my head.  I could not think this of my savior.Okuni stood after washing me and tossed me one of the drying cloths, none the wiser for what I was wishing. 

After drying off and settling into her room, Okuni shook her hair out and lay back on the futon, peeling the blanket back and flopping on it ungracefully.  I chortled a little, until she patted the other side of the futon.  “Well,” she said, “Come join me!”  I looked at her with wide eyes, saying, “What do you mean?” “Well you were never going to sleep in the hall, you silly thing!” she tittered.  I clutched my arms together and crawled into bed with her, and she blew the lantern out.  She snuggled into the blanket, and said dreamily, “Tomorrow, we will go the shrine and speak to the head Priestess there.  And you can meet the other apprentices!  Oh it will be such fun.” A few minutes later she was snoring softly into her pillow.

I looked up at the ceiling, thinking of how blessed I had been that day to find Okuni and to have her aid.  What would have happened to me had my parents taken me, or hers banished me from their home I do not know.  I let my arms fall to the side and turned to look at Okuni’s back.  Sleeping gently, she did not notice when I leaned over and brushed her hair with my fingertips.  I curled back up on my side of the futon and went back to sleep, wondering what the next day would bring. 


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