“+American English talking+”
“/British English talking/”
“#Australian English talking#”
Emma sat in the headmistress’ office early in the morning. Something told her that she was in trouble again. The headmistress looked at the on her desk. Her beads clanked loudly as they swung back and forth on the desk.
“Let’s see,” she said. “Emma… Emma Miles… Ah, just right! Ah, good!” The assistant headmistress turned to the Aussie.
“Emma,” she said. “In life we’ll all walking down a path and when that path lacks direction, people get lost. And we don’t like lost people, because no one should get left behind. You following me?” Emma kept playing with the beads. She looked up like she was stoned.
“#I’m a bit lost…#” she mumbled. The assistant nodded a bit.
“So glad we agree,” she said. Emma kept playing with the beads. The assistant couldn’t take it anymore. She quickly put her hand over the beads.
“I’m afraid you can’t take your exams here!” she said. Emma looked at her oddly.
“#Are you saying I’m being expelled?#” she questioned.
“I prefer the term no longer, permanently affiliated,” the assistant tried to sugarcoat.
“#Why?#” the Aussie asked.
“It’s less discouraging,” the assistant said.
“#No, no, why am I being kicked out?#” The assistant sighed aloud in distress.
“Let’s take a look, shall we?” She turned to her laptop and played the video. Emma watched on with her.
“The nurse’s office three days ago,” the assistant said. Emma was stuffing pills in her little black backpack and running away as fast as she could.
“#I had a headache!#” the Aussie reasoned. The assistant looked at her. Emma stared back at her out in a high daze before they turned back to the video. The next clip was of Emma peeing in the school garden.
“Are you peeing on our prized flowers?”
“#Nope!#” They watched on. Emma chuckled as school security came to stop her and she peed on him as well. The assistant looked at her sternly. Emma went quiet as she shook her head and mumbled something under her breath. The next image was of the Aussie having a naughty with one of the chemistry teachers.
“That’s my desk!” the assistant hissed.
“#Well, that’s not even me!#” Emma denied. But then, Emma on video looked up at the camera.
“#Aw, that’s an invasion of privacy!#” Emma in person protested.
“I’ll cut to the case,” the assistant said as she took off her glasses. “We have no coursework from you and the exams are about to start! You’re a shit student and your inevitably shit results will affect my averages and then I’ll be swimming in a river of shit and I didn’t pack a snorkel! We’ll send you a letter saying when you’ll leave your student dorm.” Emma looked on in disappointed shock.
“#Look, this isn’t right!#” she cried. “#Just…#” The assistant mocked her with the fake crying.
“Welcome to the real world!” she finished.
Emma lied on the bench near the dock and sighed. The keyboardist stared on at her.
“Emma?” he asked. No response.
“Emma!” the keyboardist tried again. Still nothing. Fujisaki adjust his seat.
“Come on, Emma,” he said. “Wanna hear a joke? What do you call nacho cheese?” Emma didn’t answer; she just rolled off of the side.
“Oh shit, I got it wrong,” the keyboardist said. Then, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed up for help. Emma climbed back up on the bench.
“Cas?” Fujisaki asked. “How does that nacho cheese joke go?” The Aussie just flopped over onto her stomach.
“Right…” her pal said. Then, he laughed for a bit. “Right. Okay, bye.” Fujisaki hung up and turned back to Emma.
“What do you call cheese that doesn’t belong to you?” he asked.
“#Nacho cheese,#” Emma mumbled, face down.
“Have you heard it before?” her pal asked.
“#Now I’ve got nothing,#” Emma complained. “#Absolutely nothing.#” Fujisaki patted her on the head.
“It’s not all that bad.”
“#No, I’ve been kicked out of Cram School, I’m homeless and I’m never going to see Ken-san ever again!#”
“Oh, dry your eyes princess!”
“#Huh?#” Emma asked as she sat up.
“Maybe you should stop being such a pussy and get off your ass and go do something about it,” Fujisaki told her. A nice moment of silence passed. Emma sighed aloud.
“#Ah, f**k it!#” she complained. The Aussie opened up her candy box and began to make herself a blunt. Fujisaki blinked at her.
“Right. Saying ‘f**k it’ works for you, then?” Emma looked up at him with a blunt in her mouth.
“Then maybe you should, you know, try,” Fujisaki suggested. The girl stared at him.
“#I do try!#” Fujisaki sighed. Emma looked around a bit.
“#Well, that’s all you ever say- no.#”
“No way!” Emma pointed at him.
“#Ah-ha! See? There you go! Always saying no! No to pills, to parties… to me putting my hand down your pants!#” Her pal laughed.
“Okay. Okay. So let’s make a deal. I’ll start saying ‘yes’ and you stop saying ‘f**k it’.” Emma blinked at him for a moment.
“#I’m gonna have to have that in writing, I’m afraid. Use your pen!#”
“Who says I’ve got a pen?” She looked up at him in shock Fujisaki chuckled as he reached into his pocket for a pen. He handed it to Emma and she wrote out the agreements on her weed paper. The pair licked it and stuck it on each other’s forehead. Fujisaki had “yes” written on his and Emma had “f**k it” crossed out on hers. Emma smiled for a moment.
“#Saki, will you buy me a fruity ice?#” she asked. The keyboardist looked up at him agreement for a moment.
“Yes…” he mumbled out. Emma looked at him in joy. They both got up to the fruity ice stand. But when Emma tried to get up, she fell over on her back.
“#Damn it!#” she yelled as she fell. Then, Emma got up and ran after her keyboardist pal.
After her Fruity Ice, Emma decided to start on her end of the promise. Best place to do that? The career’s advisor office. The Aussie walked over to the door and knocked on it.
“Enter,” a voice croaked on the other side. Emma slowly pushed open the door and walked into the small office. Bonnie sat at her desk with a student from Tokyo Cram College. Emma looked around for a moment.
“#Uh… is this a bad time?#” she asked. Bonnie looked at the student. He was a pudgy soul who was eating glue. The adviser looked over at Emma, desperately.
“/Actually, no!/” she said. “Oi-chan was just finished here.” Bonnie turned back to the boy.
“/You may go now…/” she whispered. The boy didn’t seem to get that at first. Bonnie waved him off.
“/Go,/” she said. The boy slowly got up and left. Emma watched him do so. Once he was gone, Bonnie turned back to the Aussie.
“/Take a seat,/” she said.
“#Thanks,#” Emma said. The Aussie slowly did so. Bonnie began to smile at her.
“/So, how can I help you today?/” she asked. Emma slowly took in a deep breath.
“#I am in some deep shi…#” she said.
“/Sugar cookie?/” Bonnie offered as she handed the Aussie a plate full of freshly baked cookies. Emma took one confused.
“#Anyway, I fu--#”
“/Fudge?/” Bonnie quickly handed her the plate. Emma blinked at her.
“#Okay, what are you doing?#”
“/Look at number six on the sign,/” Bonnie said softly. Emma did so. “6. Be kind, don’t swear,” it read. The Aussie nodded.
“#Oh…#” she said. Emma took a moment to gather up her thoughts in a cleaner way. That took about… ten minutes. Finally, the Aussie spoke again.
“#I’m in big trouble,#” she began once again. “#I got thrown out of school and I lost my dorm. I came here because I heard that you can help me.#” Bonnie looked at her confused.
“/I don’t understand what you mean…/” she said. Emma gave her a sly look.
“#You know…#” she said. Bonnie shock her head lost.
“/No…/” she said.
“#A job.#” Emma replied. Bonnie relaxed right away.
“/Oh! Yeah, a job!/” she said quickly. “/Sure, I can help you./” Emma grinned at her.
“#Sweet!#” she said. “#So what do I need to do?#”
“/Just fill out these forms here,/” Bonnie said as she handed the Aussie the forms.
“#Okay,#” Emma said as she grabbed a pen and started filling out. Here began Emma’s quest to be a better person. Unfortunately, getting the jobs was the easy part.
*Emma as a waitress at Anna Miller’s*
“#So I have been working like close to three hours at this one table. These guys were total jerks. They kept harassing this one girl that I was working with. Well now, I couldn’t stand back and do nothing. I just had to help that poor girl. So, I walked over to those perverts and asked them nicely to leave her alone. When they refused, I just poured hot tea and soy sauce in the big boss’ lap and on his suit.#” Bonnie looked at her in worry.
*Emma as store clerk at Yoko’s Crafts*
“#This couple wanted to buy some paper to my cranes with. I told them fine, but I suggested that they go to another store out of the city because they had better quality and prices. I don’t see why the manager got angry at me for.#” She shrugged for a bit.
“#Hey, I was trying to keep them from getting ripped off.#” Bonnie looked at her in worry again. Something was failing to get through.
*Emma at the contestation stand in the movie theater*
“#I had to sell popcorn to the people there. This one lady wanted extra butter on her popcorn. She was a big as a cow. I only suggested that she get out of the house more often and not sit around on her as-- behind so often.#” Bonnie sighed and shook her head.
*Emma at the day care*
“#I suspected this little kid was being abused. However, he wasn’t talking to me. So, I used the porn to lure him over so that I could try and talk him so that I could figure out what was going on.#” Bonnie lowered her head on the desk.
*Emma at the newspaper desk*
“#I hated the boss there. He was jerk. I think he hates foreigner girls like me. Anyway, I got into a fight with him about giving the girls there a better pay and more breaks off. That didn’t good so well and I said nasty things to him and got fired. Probably good for me because now I don’t have to work for that Fother mucking prick!#”
“/You let one slip,/” Bonnie said in stress. Emma paused for a moment and thought about what she said.
“#Brick,#” she corrected herself. The adviser put her head down on the desk again. Emma seemed like a lost cause to her. Every job that she got, she ended up butchering it up some way or another. She just wasn’t taking it seriously enough.
The day swirled into night. Everyone was partying it up in the club. Emma sat with some Goth-emo guys around a glass table with drinks. The lead boy set down his drink.
“People are shit,” he complained. “Originality is dead. Nobody wants to be themselves anymore. They just want to be sheep to the man. The human spirit is dead. People just suck.” He looked over at Emma.
“You’re cool because you have drugs,” he said. Emma nodded at him, uncomfortable.
“Anyway,” their leader went on. “It’s these foreign mutts that are killing everyone in this country.” He looked over at Simon near the bar.
“I mean, look at that guy,” the leader said. “He’s such a sheep and a tool. It just makes me want to slit my wrists.” Emma nodded again.
“#Yeah…#” she mumbled as she looked at her feet. Meanwhile, Fujisaki came over to the bar with Simon, Ando, Jack, and Shawn. The keyboardist noticed something odd about Ando.
“Ando, what is with your hair?” he asked. The younger boy had it cut just like Shuichi’s. Ando blinked at him, confused.
“Why, is something wrong with it?” he asked. Fujisaki quickly shook his head.
“It looks… great! Great!” he lied. “Really good.” Jack and Shawn tried to keep their laughter to themselves. They knew the truth too well. Simon still looked lost in a daze. Casper was looking at him on the other side of the club. She looked deeply hurt inside. The boy just wished that he could reach out to her somehow. Ando, Shawn, and Jack got their beers.
“Sweet time!” Jack said. The three boys shook the beers up. Jack turned to Shawn.
“You’s got da knives?”
“/What kind of question is that?/” Shawn asked. He pulled out his pocket knife and stabbed a hole near the bottom of the cans. Fujisaki watched them as they did so.
“What are you doing?” he asked. The boys glanced over at him.
“Shot guns!” Ando answered.
“You gotta try this!” Jack asked the keyboardist. Shawn shook his head at him.
“/Are you mental, mate?/” the artist asked. “/You’re going to Perfect-san here. He doesn’t drink or do drugs!/”
“Oh right…” Fujisaki looked at them, trying not let it get to him.
“Actually,” he spoke up. “I will have a beer, thanks!” The two stable boys looked at him in shock.
“Well,” Jack said. “Cool wit da!” The keyboardist turned to the bar and ordered his own beer. When he got it, Fujisaki handed it to Shawn. The Goth artist poked a hole near the bottom of his can. They all stood in a circle with cans in their hands.
“Ready, set, go!” Ando said. They all tilted their beers up and drank them down fast. Fujisaki shuddered at the taste of it. Who knew beer tasted so bitter? But, he played it off like it wasn’t.
“Good!” he lied “Very good!” The boys didn’t seem to believe him at all. They turned back to the DJ up ahead.
“/The music is crap here tonight!/” Shawn complained.
“Maybe we should get his hat,” Ando offered.
“How?” Jack asked. The boys turned to the keyboardist.
“/Hey Saki,/” Shawn said. “/Dare ya to get the DJ’s hat!/” The keyboardist shook his head.
“No!” he said, quickly.
“#Aint! Am I hearing you say no?#” Emma asked behind him. “#Remember our bargain!#” The keyboardist turned and looked at a smiling Aussie. He sighed aloud in defeat.
“Fine!” he said boldly. “I’ll show you!” He marched up to the stage. The crew watched as he did so. Fujisaki made it over to the DJ and kissed him on the lips. To everyone’s surprise, he kissed the boy right back. The crew and Emma watched on in surprise. While they were kissing, Fujisaki took the hat off of the DJ’s head and put it on his own. After they broke off, the party fired up again. Emma suddenly found herself enraptured with the keyboardist leaving the stage. Who knew he was so smart, so charming, so… talented…
“It’s beautiful here,” Fujisaki said as they sat on the bench outside, looking at the sky. Emma looked at him for a moment and then they looked back at the sky.
“#That was mental, what you did tonight,#” Emma spoke up. “#Brilliant mental.#”
“Yeses are good.”
“#Yeah, yeses are good! Yes!#”
“Yes!” Both laughed for a bit. Fujisaki looked at Emma.
“Don’t forget your side.” Emma looked over at him.
“#Oh, I haven’t I made 50,000 yen off that powder tonight. So, er, life’s looking up.” Fujisaki looked at her sternly. That’s not what he wanted to hear. He got up and walked away. Emma looked at him confused.
“#Where are you going?#” She got up and followed after him. She grabbed him by the arm to stop him and turn him around.
“That’s cheating!” he protested. “I hate cheats, Emma. Shuichi nearly quit Bad Luck because of a cheat!” The keyboardist tried to leave again, but Emma pulled him back to her and turned him around.
“What are you doing?” he asked. Emma didn’t answer. Instead, she pulled him in close and kissed him on the lips. He stood there in shock. She quickly pulled away. Fujisaki stared at her for a moment and kissed her this time. Emma kissed back. They didn’t seem to stop for a few seconds. Fujisaki finally pulled away. They stared at each for a long moment.
“Play the game, Emma,” Fujisaki pleaded. “I am.” Then, he began walking home. Emma stared at him in surprise. Fujisaki took one more look at her before leaving. He held out his hand to her. She walked over and took it. They before began going home.
Emma awoke the next morning in her dorm. Most of the crew was passed out asleep on the floor. The Aussie awoke next to Ando. She got up and walked out of the room. After using the bathroom, the Aussie walked out to the doorway. To her surprise, she found Arisu sitting in the hallway with a letter in her hand. Emma blinked at her once.
“Arisu?” she asked. “What are you doing here? What is that in your hand?” The messed-up girl smiled at her.
“There was a note on your door,” she said.
“#What’d it say?#” Emma asked. Arisu turned it around to her.
“You’ve got to leave today.” The other girl sighed.
“#Shit. I better pack my stuff up, then.#” Emma went into her room and got right to work. She came back out into the hall. The Aussie only had a trash bag of things in her hand. Arisu stared at it for a moment.
“Is that it?” she asked in disbelief. Emma gave her a little smile.
“#Why are you here?#” Arisu stared at her.
“Jin smothers me,” she said. “I just had to get out of that house. I don’t want to go back there.”
“#Where are you staying?” Arisu shrugged.
“Oh you, you know. Nowhere. It’s fine.” Emma nodded a bit.
“#See you around, Cass.#” Then, she quietly walked out the door. Emma took another go with Bonnie. The adviser looked at her, uneasily.
“/Well, Emma,/” she said. “/What career do you think is ideal for you?/” The Aussie took a moment to think about that one.
“#You know what Barbie is, right?#”
“#I hated them! Who decided that Barbie was the perfect toy for girls because of her pretty? I prefer my own standard of beauty, thank you! Plus, I don’t like being told what to do, see? I would like to be my own boss!#” Bonnie lessoned for a moment and an idea came into her head.
“/I think I have just the thing…/” she said. Emma found herself in the office of Dragon Kite Hostess club. The owner looked at her resume. The Aussie waited with her breath held. The owner looked up at the hopeful.
“Hm,” he said. “This is rather interesting. Not very often that we get resumes written on the back of pocky boxes.” Emma stared at him intently.
“#So, do I get the job?#” The owner looked up at her.
“That would depend.”
“Well Emma, a hostess is like a modern geisha in a sense. She has to be charming and entertaining. She has to make her customers comfortable and bring out their inner free person.”
“#I can do all of those things!#” The owner didn’t really look that convinced.
“It’s not that easy.” He looked around for a moment. The man spotted a cup of tea on desk and handed it to her.
“Here, serve me this tea.” Emma blinked for a moment.
“#Okay… would like this tea, sir?#”
“No.” Emma came up with a quick idea. She reached into her jeans pocket and pulled out a lighter. The Aussie quickly set the owner’s tie on fire with it. Her soon-to-be boss panicked. Emma gave him a little smile.
“#Now would you like that tea?#”
“Yes, yes!” Emma handed him the cup and the owner dipped his tie inside. The Aussie grinned at him.
“#So, do I get the job now?#” The boss looked up at her, panting.
“Yes, but let me advise you. Setting your guests on fire will not always work.” Emma gave him a happy smile. Victory for her! So began the tour of the Dragon Kite. Emma stayed by her new manager the whole time. The Aussie felt as if she had walked into the Floating World. This place looked just like a geisha parlor. “Wow!” Emma mouthed to herself. Then, a loud chatter distracted her. She looked up and saw a group of hostesses gathered around a single one. She looked to be in her early twenties and a pure bred Japanese beauty. Emma stopped for a better. The manager paused and noticed.
“Something interesting to you?”
“#Who’s that?#” Her manager just rolled her eyes.
“That’s just Yuri. She’s our top hostess, but she’s an annoying snob.” At that moment Yuri happened to look up and see Emma.
“You’re dead!” she mouthed at her. The Aussie bit her lip, slightly.
“Say cheese!” Emma looked on in confusion.
“#Hu-?#” The bright flash of the camera nearly blinded her. The manager smiled at her.
“There. We just needed a picture of you. We count up how many clients out girls draw in every week. As you can say, Yuri is in the lead.” Emma blinked again.
“#Okay…#” The manager gave her a huge smile.
“Welcome to the Dragon’s Kite!” That evening, Emma and the manager did a field observation in the building. The Aussie had on her new uniform. Both girls waited by the door. The manager turned to her new student.
“Okay, now you just watch and learn.” Emma nodded once. The manager smiled at her.
“Good!” She walked over to the front door as three business men walked inside. The manager put on her best smile.
“Welcome gentlemen! How was your day?” she greeted them. The men all smiled at her.
“Great! We made a killing in business today!”
“Oooo! Tell me all about it!” Emma watched as the manager helped them get signed in and lead them down the hall. The four of them seemed to be having a good time. Looks easy enough. Maybe Emma could do this after all. Ha, that turned out to be a laugh. The Aussie looked up and saw the door opening. Two middle-aged men came through the door. Emma swallowed a bit. “Show time!” she thought. Emma straightened herself up some and walked over to the men. They looked up and saw her. The new girl gave them her best smile. (Which looked rather creepy and cheesy at the moment.)
“#Welcome gentlemen! How was your day?#” The men looked at her oddly do to her heavy Australian accent with her Japanese.
“Fine…” the first man replied in discomfort.
“#Oooo! Tell me all about it!#” Emma chirped. The men didn’t seem to want to do that. *Sweat drop on Emma’s head* “Oh shit, I’m f******g this big time, aren’t I?” she thought. The sound of laughter behind her confirmed her thoughts. Emma didn’t have to turn around to know that the other hostesses were laughing at her. Then, Yuri walked over to her.
“Move it, shrimp,” she said. “Let me show you how it’s down.” Emma hung her head in sour defeat. This day was turning for the worse already.
That evening, Emma left the Dragon Kite in frustration. She proved to be doing badly on the first day. The Aussie seemed to have failed Fujisaki once again. If there was only some way to make things much better for herself.
Then, something caught her eye. A house for rent stood in the just down the street from the Dragon Kite among the small stores in the neighborhood. Emma felt herself smiling inside at last. Maybe life won’t suck after all. In four hours, the Aussie invited Fujisaki over for a little tour of her new place.
“#It’s not much and I haven’t got all of my stuff in it yet,#” Emma said. “#But, I’m still working on at my new job as a hostess at the Dragon Kite. I’ve got running water, electric lights, a nice view, and blinds. Plus some furniture already put in.#” The keyboardist looked around, impressed.
“Very good,” he said. Then, the keyboardist turned around to the Aussie.
“This calls for a little reward…” he said in a flirtatious way. Emma’s eyes lit up in surprise.
“#No…#” she said in a happy gasp.
“That word’s forbidden…” he said. Emma began to really smile.
“#Reward me!#” she replied. Suguru playfully pushed Emma onto the futon and took off his shirt. He leaned forward and kissed his new girlfriend on the lips. Emma kissed back in happy excitement. She slowly took him into her arms. Fujisaki reached down and pulled her brown obi apart and threw it to the floor. Her tan kimono fell open as they kept kissing. Finally, this day didn’t suck after all.
By morning, however, Arisu slid the front door open and walked inside with a big backpack of her junk. She flipped on the lights and looked around.
“Hello? Anybody home?” the crazy girl asked.
“#Oh shit!#” she heard someone mumble. Arisu followed the sound to the bedroom. She looked inside.
“Oh wow…” she mumbled in stoic-surprise. Emma and Fujisaki lied on the futon trying to cover themselves up from the new “roommate.” A few moments later, all three of them sat at the kitchen table in awkward silence. Arisu slightly bit her lip.
“Thanks for letting me stay here for a while, Em…” she said.
“#Yeah…#” she mumbled under her breath. They all said not much else after that. Only the clock ticking in the background could be heard. Not how Emma wanted to spend her morning with her new boyfriend. It wasn’t over from there. The Aussie tried to cheer up the situation.
“#I haven’t shown you the backyard,#” she said. Emma stood up and took Fujisaki outside. She slid open the back door. The keyboardist looked around in silent awe. The backyard was small, but green as far as the eye could see. Emma walked over to the swing and sat down.
“#Great, huh?#” she asked. “#It’s all fenced in and peaceful. Privacy for us both on mornings like this before I have to go off to work at noon.#” Emma slowly lied back on the cushions and let their softness carry her off to sleep.
“#Yes…#” she mumbled. “#It’s going to be good, right?#” Suguru nodded.
“Yes,” he agreed. “It will.” A slow smile spread across Emma’s face as she was sinking deeper into sleep.
“#I can see us having summer days like this…#” she mumbled on. “#Nice summer days…#” Then, she said no more and went to sleep. The keyboardist smiled as he lightly stroked her on the cheek. However, his mood changed once he went inside the house. That left Fujisaki alone with Arisu. The crazy girl was peeling an apple. The keyboardist couldn’t hold back anymore.
“Arisu,” he addressed her. The girl didn’t look up.
“Why exactly are you here?”
“He smothers me. I can’t breathe.”
“Who? Jin?” Arisu didn’t answer at first as she kept peeling her apple.
“He’s too controlling and he hates Sid.” Something about her tone deeply disturbed Fujisaki.
“When was the last time you took your meds?” Arisu paused, but didn’t look up.
“They are his leash on me. I am not a dog. I am a human being. If anyone tries to put me back on the leash, I will kill some people to get free again.” Fujisaki frowned as he slowly pushed a spare knife away from the dark time bomb.
Weeks into the job, the manager walked over to Emma in the parlor. She tapped her on the shoulder as Yuri threw Botan Rice candies at her. The Aussie quickly looked up in both directions.
“#Yes?#” The manager leaned into her ear.
“The boss would like to see you in his office.” Emma got up and followed the manager to the office. Yuri gave off an annoying laugh as she scored another man for her job this evening over the phone. Emma sat before the boss in his office. He looked rather disappointed with her.
“You’ve been with us for a while now and you don’t seem to be keeping any clients,” he pointed out.
“#No, no, I understand,#” Emma replied.
“If there’s anything I can do to help , just let me know.” Yuri laughed aloud again outside in the parlor.
“#A muzzle, maybe?#” Emma suggested. The boss sighed aloud.
“She is our best hostess here…” he reasoned. They both sighed as they endured more of Yuri irritating laugher. Later that evening, Emma and Fujisaki sat together on the futon in the dark. They were listening to the neighbors around them in the stores and other houses. Someone was brushing their teeth while a little barked outside.
“Shut that damn mutt up!” a man yelled through the walls. The pair couldn’t help but to giggle. Emma turned to her boyfriend, smiling.
“#Thanks for the duvet cover,#” she whispered. Fujisaki smiled back at her.
#You know when you were little, did you ever use to unbutton the covers and get inside?#” Fujisaki shook his head. They both smiled and crawled under their “tent.”
“#When you were young, did you ever read The Bad-Tempered Ladybird?#” Emma asked Suguru under the duvet. The boy shook his head.
“#It’s classic,#” Emma went on. “#This ladybird didn’t want to share his aphids with another ladybug, so he challenges him to a fight. However, he decides that the other ladybird isn’t big enough to fight. So, he flies away. The ladybird keeps flying around, looking for someone to fight with. Along the way, he runs into different animals of different sizes, none of which he wants to fight. Then one day, the ladybird challenges a whale to fight. The whale slaps the ladybird with its tail right back to where he started in the story. In the end, the ladybird decides to be nice and share his aphids with the other ladybird.#” Then, she became serious.
“#And after my sister died, whenever my parents were just… you know, I’d get inside my duvet and I’d just read it over and over. And it made me think of that. When I came out, I didn’t want to change; I just wanted what was outside to change.#”
“Was it ever?”
“#No.#” Emma sighed and shook her head.
“#I’m gonna get sacked, Sugo-kun. The boss knows I’m a f**k-up.#”
“Do you remember what you thought beauty looked like when you came out of the duvet?” Emma thought about that for a brief moment and nodded.
“Maybe you can sell them that,” Fujisaki suggested. Emma looked at him for a moment. Her beau pressed on.
“You’re not a f**k-up, Emma-chan.” She smiled at him for a moment and they shared a kiss. It would have been sweeter from there, but Arisu popped up inside of the “tent.”
“Hello!” she cheered. “Anyone got any E?” They really need to fix her.
The next evening, Emma found herself entertaining a young twenty-year-old college student. He didn’t seem comfortable about the whole thing. Emma slowly put her hands on his.
“#Shhh, it’s okay,#” she whispered. The man quickly pulled away.
“Don’t touch me!” Emma quickly drew away.
“#May I ask, what is on your mind?#” The man wouldn’t even look at her.
“I didn’t want to come out here in the first place!” The Aussie looked at him, confused.
“#What do you mean?#” The man looked over at him. He swallowed for a moment.
“I’m still a virgin and I’ve never had a girlfriend. All of my friends pick on me about.” He clinched his fists tightly. “So, I lied and saw that my date worked at the Dragon Kite and she was a foreigner. God, I’m so stupid!” Emma lightly patted him on the shoulder.
“#Shhh, it’s okay. I understand how that feels. You just don’t want to feel like a loser to your friends. I’ll play your girlfriend just for tonight, alright?#” The man looked at Emma in surprise.
“We won’t have to… you know…” Emma shook her head.
“#That’s only if you want to. But you have to promise one thing.#”
“What’s that?” Emma kissed him on the cheek.
“#Just relax and enjoy tonight.#” The young man smiled and nodded.
“Sure! I will do that!” Emma smiled back at him.
“#See? You’re feeling better already!#” The young man ended up enjoying the rest of the night. Over the weeks, Emma’s client list rose higher and higher. Pretty soon, she out sold Yuri. Life finally started to look up for the Aussie gal. Yuri stared on at her in the parlor in quiet envy. She hated being dethroned. And to a foreigner no less. But, what goes up must come down, right?
“#No, I’m good,#” Emma said over the phone one evening in the parlor. “#The job’s great, Sugo-kun, is hot, and I’ve got a rental house! Did you get my present?#” Bonnie smiled at her colorful hat in the mirror.
“/I’ll never take it off!/” she said.
“#I just wanted to say thank you for everything you’ve done for me,#”
“/Oh, Emma. I just gave you the crayons. You drew the princess./” And then, trouble came. Outside the club stood Emma’s ex, Ken-san, talking to one of the hostess girls. The Aussie began to get worried.
“#I’ll call you back…#” she mumbled. Then, she quickly hung up her phone. Ken-san and the hostess walked into the building. The girl turned to the former teacher.
“Just make yourself at home while I get the paperwork,” she said. The hostess walked to the back. Ken-san looked around and noticed a certain hostess buried deep into her magazines.
“That must be an interesting article,” he said. Emma quickly looked up. Ken-san stared deep into her eyes.
“I just want someone to get to know me a little bit for the night,” he said. Emma looked at him, lost in her worry.
“#Good’day, mate…#” she said.
The former lovers just spent the night talking to each other. Ken-san smiled.
“This is nice,” he said.
“#Yeah…#” Emma replied. “#Dragon Kite are the top hostess club in the city. They do their best to just do more than please…#”
“No, I mean it’s nice to see you again.” Emma looked nervous again. Ken-san smiled at her still.
“You look so good in a kimono.” Emma tried to laugh it off. Her former teacher perked up.
“I’ll be back!”
“#Okay…#” She started to untie her obi.
“Back here.” That took a moment for it to sink into the Aussie’s brain.
“#Oh, right!#” she said aloud as she tied her obi back up again, laughing and feeling like an idiot. “#Right, good. Good!#” Then, she walked over to the bar to get a drink. It was just going to keep crashing from there.
“#He just kept on staring at me just like he always did,#” Emma complained to Bonnie over the phone. “#It’s not like anything happened, it’s just…#”
“/Emma…/” Bonnie spoke up.
“#Seeing him, it’s confusing.#”
“/Right now’s not a very good time./”
“#Ken makes my knickers tighten, you know? After all this time, I wanna…#”
“/Emma, I’ve gotta go. Sorry! Bye-bye./” Bonnie quickly hung up and turned back to her client.
“/I’m sorry you had to hear all of that,/” she apologized. Arisu sat on the other side, nodding.
“Oh , don’t worry. It’s totally cool,” she said.
“/Okay. So, how can we help you down your careers path?/”
“I’m thinking of leaving school, moving to Russia, and selling my organs.” Bonnie just looked at her oddly.
That evening, Fujisaki made it to Emma’s house. Arisu sat on the floor mixing up different drinks.
“Eye of a fish, paw of a panda, wing of a moth, and the tongue of a cat,” she mumbled to herself as she was pouring the booze into bowl sitting before her. Fujisaki looked at her oddly.
“Arisu, what is this?” She looked up at him with a demented smile.
“Punch for the housewarming party.”
“Housewarming party.” Fujisaki looked at her deeply in concern.
“When was the last time you took your meds?”
“I’m fine. I’m throwing myself to the wind.”
“Do you mind not throwing Emma in with you too?” Arisu blinked for a moment.
“Oh… wow. But, f**k you.” Fujisaki looked at her offended. Arisu looked back at him.
“Why can’t I be free? After all, you and your girlfriend are free. So is she to her ex who she’s going to f**k because he makes her panties tight.” The keyboardist looked confused.
“What?” Arisu grinned at him like a wild animal.
“Ken-san’s back. She’s seen him.” Fujisaki began to look worried. Arisu laughed aloud.
“I’ve been cage in by reality. Yours is in the post!” Fujisaki looked really hurt and walked away. Arisu watched him, smiling. Who knew misery was so much fun? That evening, the party began. Mostly shady types invaded the house. Arisu sat in the corner doing coke with some British dope heads. Emma had to fight her way through the crowd in order to get over to her crazy friend. He found her making out with some Goth punk girl.
“#What are you doing?!?#” Emma cried. The crazy Goth girl broke off the kiss and looked up.
“Emma! You’re missing all of the fun!”
“#Yeah, what’s going on? Who are all these people?#”
“We’re having a housewarming party!”
“He’s gone, Emma!”
“#Where?#” Arisu laughed aloud.
“No. She’s gone, Emma! That’s people. We arrive, consume what we can and then we leave. Like Lotus.” The Aussie stared at her, hurt. She too noticed that Arisu had been off of her meds for a long time now. Meanwhile, Shuichi broke through the crowd looking for Ando. He had to save him from Ghost before it was too late. Speaking of which, he found the little parasite near the back wall. The vocalist happened to turn around and look up. Ghost looked at him in creepy way.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“/I came with Ando,/” she said. “/He’s getting me punch./”
“When are you going to stop screwing around with me, Ghost?”
“/Green doesn’t suit you, Shuichi./” At that moment, Ando came back with the punch. His vocalist pal looked on in shock. Ando now had his hair cut and dyed bright pink—just like Shuichi’s.
“Sorry it took so long,” Ando said. “Tastes a bit funky.” He looked up and noticed his friend’s face.
“What?” he asked. “What is it, dude?” Shuichi shook his eyes and quickly shook his head. Ghost stood by Shuichi, smiling.
“Have you seen yourself?” the vocalist asked.
“/I think he looks proper lush!/” Ghost replied. Shuichi whipped around to his stalker.
“Shut up, you!” he snapped. He turned back to Ando.
“Look at yourself!” Shuichi turned around and pulled the sheet down from the mirror. Ando looked in the mirror and saw the truth for himself for the first time in weeks. He looked on in shock as he realized—he looked just like Shuichi. Ando looked at his pal and then at his girlfriend.
“You are f*****g dumped!” he yelled. Then, the boy hurried away to change back to himself.
Emma sat in the corner drinking sake and trying to call Fujisaki. She kept getting no answer. What if it was true? What if he just got up and left her just like Arisu said? No, that can’t be true! Could it? Suddenly, she noticed a shadow standing over her. Emma slowly looked up and noticed Ken-san looking down at her.
“I was just passing by,” he said. Emma looked at him with big eyes.
“#Ken!#” she said in surprise as she rose up to her feet.
“Having a party? Where’s your girlfriend?” he asked. Emma paused and thought about that for a moment.
“#He’s eating locusts. Or something…#” she replied. Ken-san stared at her blankly for a moment.
“Right,” he replied. “Want to explore?” They ended up in the bathroom, shagging. Or at least trying to. Emma held up her hand right in the middle of it.
“#No,#” she said.
“Emma?” he asked. “I don’t mind about him.” Emma looked down at her feet in guilt. The former teacher realized the problem.
“It’s not the same, is it?” Emma didn’t answer; she looked up at the ceiling. Ken-san looked down at his feet. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
“Emma-chan, are you in there?” Fujisaki asked on the other side. “I know you wouldn’t do it, okay? Emma-chan…” She looked at the door.
“Emma!” he called again. The Aussie quickly got dressed and headed out to her boyfriend. He took her into his arms and they shared a kiss.
“#Sugo-kun!#” she cheered. “#Where have you been?#” They slowly let go of each other. The keyboardist noticed something right away.
“Your kimono’s inside out!” he said, laughing. Suddenly, he became serious and hurt. They looked over and saw Ken-san looking at them. Emma looked over at her boyfriend.
“#Sugo-kun!#” she began to say. It was too late; Fujisaki looked betrayed and walked away from her. Emma watched as her man left her. It was going to get worse from there.
The next morning, Yuri and the police unlocked the rental house and looked around. The police were called due to the neighbors complaining about noise and vandalism the partiers committed. Yuri went with them to dig up some dirt to get rid of her competition once and for all. She smirked at all of the damage in the house. Oh, Emma was really going down now. The main cop found Emma asleep in the corner. He tapped her on the shoulder. The Aussie slowly awoke.
“#Sugo-kun?#” she asked.
“Are you the tenant in this house?” the cop asked. Emma blinked for a moment.
“#Yes, why?#” she asked. Emma ended up being thrown out of her house and getting sacked in the same day. Yuri laughed aloud as she flicked Emma’s stars in the trash. She was now queen bee of Dragon Kite once again. The other hostesses looked at her, ashamed. The Aussie slowly walked out the door. She passed by the boss.
“#I’m so sorry…#” she mumbled.
“Not as sorry as I am,” the boss said.
“Good luck.” Emma and Arisu sat outside the house, waiting around for anything. Emma was smoking a blunt.
“I’m sorry you got fired today,” Arisu said.
“#Oh, it would have happened sooner or later,#” Emma replied.
“#I dunno, Arisu.#” Arisu looked over at her.
“That was my fault too.” Emma shook her head.
“#No, it’s not. That was mine.#” The Aussie handed the Goth the blunt. Arisu took a smoke.
“Do you know what hurts the most about a broken heart? Not being able to remember how you felt before. Because if it goes, you’ll never go back.”
“#What happens then?#”
“Then you lay waste to this world and everything in it.” Arisu flicked out the blunt. Emma took the blunt and smoke it again.
Meanwhile at the YMCA, Simon was learning how to swim again with the little kids. Emma wandered in for a look.
“Well done!” the teacher cheered. “Okay, okay, okay…” Emma looked surprised as she spotted Simon trying to swim with his dad.
“/Well done, well done,/” Bill said. “/You were last, but well done. Keep going. Come on. Good boy! Good boy!/” Emma watched on in silence. Afterwards, Emma and Simon sat together in the lobby. Simon handed her some anpan.
“/Want some?/” he asked.
“#No thanks,#” Emma said.
“#Simon, I’ve f****d it all up! Again.#”
“/Shite, dude. Try getting hit by a bus. That’ll really put a dampener on your day./” Emma nodded a little bit. Simon handed her the anpan again.
“/Honestly, have some! It’ll make you feel better./” This time, the Aussie took some and ate it. A wet woman walked by, drying her hair. Simon looked over at her.
“/See you next week, Juri!/” he called to her. As the woman walked away, Simon turn back to his gal pal.
“#Do you ever get depresses about your accident?#” Emma asked.
“/Used to,/” Simon replied. “/I had everything I wanted. And lost it all. Hurts like f**k. But Emma…/” The Aussie looked at him closely.
“/I’m going to get it all back!/” her pal declared. “/Piece by piece. What else is there?/” Suddenly, Emma felt moved once more. The Aussie later sat on the bench, thinking with her clacking beads at her feet in motion. She looked up when she heard mumbling next to her. A homeless bum was sleeping on the bench, covered in newspapers. Emma turned away as fast as she could.
“F**k it!” the bum mumbled in his sleep. That was all it took to get Emma off her ass and changing her current situation for the better. Somebody tried to call her at that moment.
“#Hi, it’s me! Leave a message!#” her answer phone said.
“Hi, it’s Ken. Look, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come. I’m going, but there’s something I want you to have,” her ex’s message said. Shortly after that, Emma invited Fujisaki to her new home. She unlocked the door and let him in.
“Whose house is this?” Fujisaki asked.
“#A mate of mine left town,#” Emma said. “#I’ll tell you later.#” Fujisaki walked forward and held out his end of the agreement to her. He sat down on the couch as Emma walked over to her board of first grade drawings. She turned to him nervously.
“#Okay, so I’ve been thinking about why I always f****d everything up for myself,#” she reasoned. “#And this is the best way to explain it.#” She turned to her chart and turned the first page. There was a drawing of her mum, dad, Chelsea, and her with a house in the background and the people all labeled.
“#This is how it all started for me,#” she said. “#And it was good.#” Then, Emma flipped the page. Same drawing, only minus Chelsea.
“#Then, things started to go wrong,#” she explained. Next page minus the dad.
“#Then, someone else escaped. The gravity holding us together was falling about.#” Next page was only Emma and the house. The final page just had Emma and nothing else. The Aussie turned back to Fujisaki.
“#It’s kinda easy when you’ve got nothing, because nothing can be taken away from you,#” she summed up. “#But I don’t want nothing any more.#” Suguru looked hurt and angry now.
“Is that it? Are you the only person in the world that’s been let down?” he asked. “The only one that’s been hurt, abandoned. Are you?” Emma looked at him for a moment. She blinked at confused. The boy glared on at her.
“What gives you the right to act like you are?” he questioned.
“#Sugo-kun, can’t you forgive me?#” Emma asked. Fujisaki stood up and leaned in close.
“No,” he mumbled. The keyboardist started to leave. Emma looked at him in her own.
“#Sugo-kun! Don’t you understand? I wanna…#” she cried. Fujisaki stopped and turned around.
“Make a new f*****g pact that means nothing to you?” he asked. He began to tear up the “yes” paper.
“Yeah, let’s do that! Let’s build something and tear it down!” He pushed her out of the way to the chart and began tearing at that.
“F**k it!” he yelled. “Come on! Come on! Say it! Build something and tear it down!” Fujisaki shoved the pages into Emma’s chest as he began to cry in anger.
“You’re not who I thought you were!” he yelled. “You’re an empty, soulless, poisonous smile!” Emma because stressed as well.
“#Sugo-kun! What do you want me to say?!?#” she yelled. “#I don’t know what I meant to say!#” She grabbed him by the hands.
“#Sugo-kun, look at me! Look, I was perfectly happy killing myself! Right, but then you asked me to try! And for the first time in my life, it like someone actually gave a shite! And that person was worth trying for! And now I’d… I’d f*****g make the world record biggest sandwich if you asked me to! I’d kick grannies in the tits! I’d fell the Sea of Japan with soy sauce!#”
“Stop!” Emma sank down on her knees before him.
“#I f****d big time! I’m more than sorry! I love you, Sugo-kun! Now you’ve got snort on your face.#” Emma reached inside her kimono, pulled out a tissue and wiped it away for him. Once it was clean, they both shared a kiss. They slowly pulled away. The Aussie looked him straight in the eye. She took him by the hands.
“#I’m going to the Job Centre now. Wait for me?#” Fujisaki nodded. Then, Emma got up and left. Okay then, it was all fixed.
Outside, Emma walked past the Dragon Kite. She paused and looked at her former boss in the window, looking miserable at her. The Aussie just smiled and walked on as Yuri laughed once more inside.
Back at the house, Fujisaki had drawn himself standing next to Emma, holding her hand. That was his way of saying, “You have me now.”
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