It wasn't long until they were standing at a corner on the Shibuya Crossing. Toshio hated crowds, but he held onto Emma's hand nevertheless. He grabbed after her as she let go, walking out into the crossing. His eyes flicked from her to the sign behind her as it turned red – and she was still in the middle.
Cars honked and twisted their way past Emma as she stood in the middle of the crosswalk. She crossed her arms and looked at Toshio on the sidewalk. Waiting.
“You don't like the risk, do you?” she shouted at him.
She wasn't even looking at the oncoming traffic to her right. It's as if she knew, though she could have been inebriated too, he thought.
Toshio looked down at his hand, clenching it in a fist and extending it, looking at the back of his gloved hand as he looked up at her, fearless, waiting. Stupid girl.. She held her hand out towards him expectantly.
His legs still carried him out into traffic, along the crosswalk, drivers, taxis slamming on their brakes to avoid hitting him before swerving around to continue driving.
Inwardly, he was disgusted at all of this. That this woman is making him do all of this, but it wasn't that. She wasn't making him do anything. It was what Toshio hadn't done before that was the draw.
From the day he was born, he felt his path was set. Follow father, take over the company, earn wealth, retire and die.
He took Emma's hand and slid his fingers between hers as her smile widens, cars streaming past them over the crosswalk. "Letting go is pretty nice, isn't it?” she asked.
Toshio looked to his left, as each car twisted left and right once they saw the two of them, it felt like a power they shared, a bubble of invulnerability.
Letting go is pretty nice, he thought.
“I'm a cheap date. Very easy to impress,” she stated as they both exited the ramen shop. The total for the both of them was less than 1500 yen. The drinks they had had earlier were probably much more than that. His father's advice rang true, even for Emma. When no one expects anything of you, you can do anything. Emma's parents expected nothing but her happiness, and Toshio would be able to confirm that by her constant demeanor.
He had overcome his shyness after the Shibuya crossing stunt. The alcohol didn't hurt, either. He let her take his arm again as they wandered down the thin back streets. It was late, and in the back of his mind he thought I need to get her home.
“Miss Matsuri,” he started – and still refused to call her by her first name, “do you mind if I ask a personal question or two?”
Emma tilted her head back and looked up at the black sky, the light pollution around them. She had fielded this question before. “How.. does a white girl become the daughter of two of the most successful Japanese people in the country?” She looked over at Toshio, who was dumbfounded again, but he nodded.
“Yes, if it's not imposing or uncomfortable to talk about.”
She hummed to herself, thinking of where to start. “I.. do not remember my biological parents. Nor have I ever felt the need to seek them out. They said I was.. not abandoned, but.. given up.” She glanced out of the corner of her eye at his expression – and there it was.
“Pff. I've told this story so many times, and there is always one emotion people show me, despite it making no difference.” She spun in front of him and walked backwards for a moment, tilting her head. “Can you guess--”
“Sympathy,” he interrupted. “And you hate it, don't you?”
Emma turned around and continued walking for a bit. “Every time. The pitiable white girl, out of her element, how unfortunate. Even if they know my parents.” She stopped to let him catch up, her hands linked behind her back as they kept on.
“I already told you that Mom and Dad couldn't have their own child,” Mom and Dad, he thought, had he ever used those terms with his family? “And they.. knew the..” She paused, trying to find the word. “Okay, put it this way. Before I opened my mouth, before we talked, what did you think of me?”
“That's a trap and you know it,” he responded, raising a brow at her. She only laughed and shook her head.
“No trap, promise. Be honest, I have been with you so far.”
Toshio crossed his arms and looked at her briefly as he did before, head to toe, thinking.
“Naive. Out of place. Very pretty, I might add.” He peppered in his compliments, though she wasn't falling for it. “But.. what's the word.. when a girl.. is only a face?”
“Ahh. Arm candy. Trophy wife.” she said in English, but it seemed he understood, nodding. But quickly shaking his head and holding his hands up.
“I certainly don't think that now, I promise.”
Emma laughed and shrugged a bit. “You're not wrong. That's everyone's first guess. And you'd be surprised at how much you hear when people think you don't know the language.” She leans over and whispered to him. “Telling people to go fuck themselves in Japanese is much more exciting when they least expect it.
Toshio tilted his head back sharply as she leaned close, clapping a gloved hand over his mouth as he tried very, very hard to repress the blush in his cheeks at her closeness.
And she just grinned at him.
- a recovering disaster? / twitter: @rgdrac
apologies for everything about me, it might get better.
updates will be once a day for the next seventy days since i am migrating from another platform and have those chapters - and more - ready to go. (from 8/9)
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