Chapter Thirty-Four

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I didn't see Trace for the next few days as he, his mom and his sister prepared for their performance at the Japanese festival that was taking place at a local convention centre. It was the reason why his parents had travelled to Canada to begin with, and his mom took her career very seriously. When I asked, Trace explained his mom had started out in traditional Japanese drama theatre then moved into the Japanese music theatre world and finally became something of a pop star. At some point early on in her career she'd lived for two years in France at a prestigious ballet school which explained her French.

All that to say Trace's mother was obsessive with maintaining her voice, and since Trace and Nalini were performing with her she wanted them on vocal rest and living healthy lifestyles, too, if only for the few days before their performance.

Over those few days, me and Trace texted but didn't talk on the phone and I was so busy apartment hunting, and figuring out a plan for my YouTube channel with Manny that it was okay to be away from Trace.

Then, it was the day of the festival, and Trace's dad, Nasim, came to pick me up and drive me to the convention centre. He was easygoing and I was glad to have company.  He even  admitted he'd seen my baking channel.

"Oh," I said as I squirmed in my seat, "did Trace tell you about it?"

The rental car was big and spacious but it still took me some time to adjust the height and positioning of the passenger side seat. Cars were never especially comfortable for me but this one wasn't too bad.

Nasim frowned as he watched me fidget for a moment. "My son really introduced himself to you with that name?"

"He did," I said as I unbuckled and rebuckled my seat belt, trying to introduce some more slack to the belt so I could breathe.

"We went to the trouble of giving him two wonderful names and he insists on that childish nickname," Nasim said more like he was talking to himself.

"Is it Noor Ryuunosuke? And he goes by his mother's last name?"

Nasim smiled. "Yes, we knew that it wouldn't be a good idea to give the children my last name since we were raising them in Japan, but we all have the letter N."

I realized he was right, Nasim, Noor, and Nalini. "Was it hard," I said softly, "as an immigrant in Japan?"

It took a moment for Nasim to reply, "Japan is a wonderful country where I met my wife and where we raised our children but I am not high on the list of tolerable gaijins. Though, I come from wealth, and money always opens doors. In that respect, I had it a lot easier than others. But I understand why Noor wants to stay here." Nasim gave me a significant look, but I felt a bit confused by it.

"So, he's not ever going back to Japan?" I figured it was because of his company but Nasim's responses were making me think it was more complicated than that.

"Perhaps to visit but never to live, no. I did the same when I met Toru, so it isn't uncommon in our family." He gave me another of those significant looks and it started to bother me.

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