Welcome back! I'm sharing more of my current WIP, The Plum Blossom Covenant, which takes place in Japan at the turn of the twentieth century. We've met the hero and his parents, and this week we meet the heroine, Yumiko:
Hiro and Hanako both turned toward the voice. Several other heads turned as well, since Tanaka was a very common name in this area. But the person waving to them was a familiar face, and Hanako held out her arms in greeting.
“Yumiko-chan! What are you doing here?”
Yumiko Sasaki, the daughter of Furano’s mayor, bounded toward them. She and Yasa had grown up together. Now, Hanako noticed, Yasa’s former playmate had grown into a beautiful young woman.
“I am working for a conference of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Two of the speakers are to arrive on this ship, so I have come to meet them. But why are you here?”
“Yasa is returning from America. We decided to surprise him by meeting his ship, rather than waiting for him to make his way to Sapporo.”
“I am sure he will be overjoyed to see you.” Her eyes clouded and she looked away. “I’m sure he wouldn’t be so glad to see me, though.” She took a deep breath, blew it out, and pasted her smile back on her face. “But until the ship disembarks, I can chat with you. How have you been?”
Hanako wondered about the girl’s reaction and a glance at her husband told her that he was curious too. But they put their questions aside and made conversation until the ship pulled up to the dock. The whistle blew, and they all turned eager eyes toward the lowering gangplank. By the time people began to disembark, Yumiko had disappeared into the crowds.
Hanako frowned. Why did Yumi believe Yasa would not be happy to see her? They had been childhood friends - sometimes enemies - but surely he would welcome the sight of another familiar face. Had there been some sort of argument between them?
The answers would have to wait. She turned toward the dock and watched eagerly for her son.
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