Fuji's tempura fondue was delicious, especially after all the microwave food Hank had been eating in Milton's lunchroom. He supposed he could have whipped up something this good in the master kitchen downstairs, but its design made it difficult to use. Here, sitting on zabutons with Anna and her friends was more his style.
As Anna had suggested, Hank told stories about Asok's. Sometimes Sue Marie talked about her bikini wearing teammates, but more often than not, Anna and Fuji discussed their work at the PEP Center. Every once in a while, Fuji called a halt to the dipping of food and asked Sue Marie to strain tenkasu from the fondue pot. The bits of fried batter from the oil were placed in a bowl, to be used for a future meal.
During one of these pauses, as Sue Marie strained the oil, Hank brought something up he'd been meaning to ask. "If I may," he began, breathing deep as he got lost for a moment in Anna's nearly all black eyes, "I've heard Fuji and Sue Marie call you Peaches from time to time. Now, I know Sue Marie's nickname is Squirrel for, well, obvious—and very cute!—reasons, and Fuji likes being called Momma-san, but why do they call you Peaches?"
"Because that's her name!" Sue Marie said into the fondue pot as she searched for bits of batter.
Fuji admonished her. "Don't tease. You've already had your fun at Anna's expense."
"My name is actually Anzu," Anna said as she threaded a piece of squid onto a fondue fork. "But when my parents brought me here as a baby, they wanted me to have an American name, so people have called me Anna ever since I can remember. In Japan, they're basically the same, like saying Rick for Richard."
"Okay," Hank said slowly as he chose a broccoli floret to dip next, still not sure how this was going to lead to Peaches. "Well, Anna is a lovely name."
"You think so?" she asked, as if his compliment impressed her greatly.
"People all over the world name their children Anna. It's biblical in nature, and a very pretty name."
"Thank you. But in Japan, ā na is a simple little word like so or yeah. People say ā na when they can't think of anything else to say, like when you say um or oh or duh."
Anna made faces to go with her examples.
"Oh. Um… then why don't they call you Anzu?"
"Ā na. It always ends up being Anna. Plus, I didn't even know my name was Anzu until I started going to school. I mean, everybody calls me Anna."
As the group dipped their choices in batter and put them in the pot, Sue Marie noticed Hank acting unusual. "What's the matter?" she asked sincerely. "You look troubled."
He mumbled to the table. "Well, I still don't know why you call her Peaches."
Sue Marie just smiled. She was standing over the pot, trying to put a second fork in for herself without disturbing the others. As Hank reached past her for some seafood to prepare a second fork for himself, she gently touched his hand.
"Anzu," she said, "is Japanese for apricot."
"But peaches aren't apricots."
"They are to me!" Sue Marie chirped, relishing her role as a card. She carried on as she poked her fork in the pot and sat down. "Peaches has so many orange and yellow clothes! And swimsuits, too, including a real peachy bikini!"
Fuji scolded. "Squirrel, if you do not behave, I will make you sit on that zabuton for the remainder of the day. Stop embarrassing Hank and Anna."
"Oh," Sue Marie said in a not so chirpy way. "I'm sorry."
Anna agreed with Hank. "No, peaches aren't apricots, but that's okay. In America, no one calls a person Apricot. But Peaches is a great American nickname."
Anna's eyes grew wide as she watched Hank rise on his knees to search the fondue pot for his broccoli, as Sue Marie had knocked it off his fork. "And in Kanji," she said, "I can use one character to write Anzu, but for Anna it takes two. Using one Kanji makes me special, I think, and Anzu is an easy one to understand. So if I wrote my name in Japanese, you would read it as Anzu."
She moved her fork out of the way and helped him search for his broccoli. "Can you read Japanese?" she asked.
"Um, no. I can say stuff, you know, but I have to spell in Rōmaji if I write it down. I do like knowing, though, what your name really means."
He motioned for Fuji to hand him the ami jakushi to search for his food. Anna pulled her fried squid from the pot and sat down, picking at the batter while it cooled.
"Plus Peaches has connotations that I like," Anna said in a sultry voice as she sucked on a strip of batter. "As in, 'I think I have great peaches.'"
Hank stopped moving and stared at her, his broccoli dripping in the strainer.
"Don't you agree?" she asked his alabaster face.
Fuji intervened. "I've just talked to Sue Marie about teasing. You ought not do it either."
Hank turned his attention to Fuji as he sat down with his vegetable. "You've had your fun with me, too," he said politely to Fuji. "Anna has teased me the least of all of you." He turned to the smirk on Anna's face and bantered back with her. "And I don't think the name Peaches does you justice."
Anna looked upset. "You don't?"
He gave her a grin. "I'm sure there are no apricots that are bigger than yours, but any peaches I might find would have to be amazing to be so magnificent."
"Maybe we should call you Mangoes!" Sue Marie chimed in, sounding truly idiotic. Fearing another scolding as everyone did nothing but stare, she quietly explained. "Because, you know, mangoes are a pretty color, too. And, um… they're really big. And they taste good. Too."
"I like Peaches, Squirrel Girl," Anna said politely.
"Me too," Sue Marie said back with equal politeness.
Anna smiled for a long time after that.
When dinner was over, Hank wondered when Sue Marie's Tropical Beach Bikini Team meeting was. He didn't want to overstay his welcome, so he went into the kitchen to ask Fuji her thoughts on the matter.
"I think I should go soon," he said as he helped put away the dishes. "You've been really nice and all, and I've had a lot of fun."
"Well, Hank-sama," Fuji said, "Sue-san will horn-dog after you no matter when you leave. If you don't want her chasing you down the street, you need to go before she does." Hank smiled at Fuji's description of Sue Marie's behavior, made more humorous by her perfect Queen's English. "She'll probably be going soon," she added, "so I'd make my break if I were you."
Hank was about to agree when Fuji suddenly got close. "Don't rush out on Anna, though." she said in a quiet voice. "She's very proud of you being here today. Sue Marie goes through a dozen men each summer, and you really are Anna's first." She pressed her body to him, looking with maturity up at his butterfly eyelashes. "You've brought every boy Sue Marie has ever had to shame. You're bright and sweet and handsome, and polite and well-behaved."
Fuji closed her eyes and inhaled, as if the mere act of talking had exerted her. "I must admit, I haven't had much fun with men myself this summer, and the ones Sue Marie brings home haven't satisfied my appetite. But you…" Fuji opened her eyes and sighed. "You are gorgeous."
Hank returned her praise, bowing his head low. "I've never had so much fun with such wonderful people in all my life. Thank you very much. Momma-san, you are the one who is gorgeous."
Fuji blinked to get the stars out of her eyes, as she looked ready to ravish Hank at any moment. "Iie iie, Ijōfu. Show nothing but kindness to Anna-chan if you want to prove yourself to me. She moved out on her own this summer and she's very happy here. She has a good job—and now she has you."
Hank cast his eyes down. "I'm just a guy. I stock groceries. That's all."
She tapped him with the ami jakushi, which mercifully was clean, even though it smelled of fish. "Don't be modest. Your heart is big. Anna is the oldest child by far in her family, and has spent most of her life in a house full of adults where she was the only person who knew anything at all about the American way of life."
"She is amazing," Hank agreed, as he swooned a bit.
"And so are you. But she also is a big girl, especially for being Japanese. I know how hard that can be sometimes, as I'm pretty big myself. She has been the tallest member of her family since she was thirteen, and that, along with being so much older than her brothers and sister, makes her feel left out."
Fuji struggled to control her urges. "But now, with you… you are also big and tall, and very different. Your skin is fine, like marble. You have such beautiful eyes and hands and… Hank-sama! Oh my goodness! Like my Sue-san says, you are just to die for!" Fuji practically panted. "I mean, I don't think you know what a man like you can do to a woman like me!"
Fuji had to turn away, as her kitchen suddenly became smaller. And a lot hotter, too.
"Well," Hank said, recalling his experiences over the last three days, "I've been getting useful advice on these sorts of things."
"That is good then," Fuji said to her busywork, keeping her back turned so her cheeks could flush in private. "Remember it when you say good-bye to Anna tonight."
"I will, Fuji. Dōmo. There's one more thing, if I may ask."
"Yes, Dear?" Fuji asked over her shoulder as she pretended to clean the countertop. She turned her body just enough to be able to see him, hoping he wouldn't notice desire raging in her eyes.
It was the exact wrong way for her to stand. Or perhaps it was perfect. Her cute bum protruded as she sucked in her tummy so she could twist at the waist and look up at his face. He could see the strength it took for her to raise her head towards him, with the weight of her braless cannonball boobs swinging free in front. She pressed them onto the countertop for balance, slowly flattening them into soft warm meaty puddles.
Hank forgot what he was going to say. He sputtered as his brain took its time returning from its trip to his loins.
"Uh… Fuji. Um, I've kinda had, ah… a lot of things happen to me. You know, these last few days. And I guess what I want to say is I really like talking to you. Thank you for talking with me."
Fuji beamed as she turned to face Hank fully, with much less embarrassment over the color of her cheeks. "Why, what a sweet thing to say!"
Hank's libido thanked her, as she no longer stood before him like a calendar pin-up girl. "Yes, well, you're welcome. But could I maybe call you sometime, to make sure things are okay? I mean like, with me?"
"My goodness, dear! Of course!" She dug up a business card from nearby. "It's what a PEP Counselor does!" She held onto her card for a moment while instructing him. "Now, you call me for whatever kind of help you need. Don't hesitate for a second, even if it's just to say 'Hi!' Or…"
Fuji sashayed sweet and sexy, closing the distance between them. She didn't stop moving until she made him take a step back from having been struck ever so gently in the tummy by her body. He again marveled over how much of this woman was made of giant breasts.
She unfurled her silken voice and pressed her business card to his chest, using him as a writing surface. "…you call this number if you want to say 'Hi' to me in private."
She wrote her personal phone number on the back of the card. She then clipped the pen into the keyhole opening of her choli and maneuvered around her crazy big boobs until she found his left front pants pocket. She slid her card in slowly, all the way to the bottom, until she felt something hard.
Bottle rockets shot off inside Hank's brushed black denim jeans from where Fuji touched him. He realized he'd overlooked something that now seemed quite important. He had kissed Sue Marie twice, or more accurately, she kissed him. He also had kissed Anna many times, but had yet to kiss Fuji once.
He intended fully to correct that oversight right now. Bending low, he lifted Fuji to her toes by her elbows, to plant long kisses on her dark cherry lips. Her eyes bugged out with sweet surprise. As she tried to remove her hand from his pocket, he grabbed her by the wrist and forced her to keep it in. He then used both his hands to bunch up yards of fabric from her unstrapped choli until he found her torso. After scooping up her amber scented knockers and squishing them together to get them out of the way, he held her up by her sides.
It was a much better way of keeping Fuji on her toes while they continued kissing. She closed her eyes as her pulsed raced, until he relinquished control over her submissive lips. She leaned back and gasped in sated repose before attacking him with fervent desire. She wrapped her arms around his neck to heave down hard upon his head, kissing him while forcing him to place her feet back on the floor. As he did, his hands slid off her torso and back onto her breasts. He kneaded and massaged them, making her nipples harden.
Hank lifted Fuji's boobs up high before suddenly releasing them. They sloshed from his hands and slapped against her body, propelling her backwards. She didn't stop backing up until she was safe with her back against the kitchen countertop. She sucked in hot air, resisting further desire by bowing deep and low.
"Hank-sama wa ōji boku," she said. "Meshitsukaida yo. Let me serve you, my prince."
"Iie iie! That's ridiculous," Hank blurted, not knowing exactly what Fuji said, but knowing she had praised him. "Tondemonai desu!"
After Fuji rose from her bow, Hank bowed with reverence himself. Fuji leaned back on her countertop as far as she could go, to admire his bow while keeping his almond butter eyes in her line of sight. She puffed her chest up big for him, so he could admire her from his low vantage point.
She spoke in prose as they locked eyes. "I submitted myself to protecting you from the ravages of Sue Marie, for she will surely eat you up if left alone with you. But now I hunger more than she. Who protects you from me, Ijōfu?"
"Buzoku Jōu, I fear nothing from you," Hank responded, imitating her prose. "What you choose to do to me only serves to strengthen me."
Fuji laughed loud. "Oh dear! You certainly don't know me! Now you had better go right now, before I sic Sue Marie on you and have her hold you down for both of us!"
Before Hank could decide whether or not he'd like to take Fuji up on her offer, she straightened from her countertop and spun him by his hips. Shoving him with both hands on his butt, she forced him to leave her kitchen. She didn't stop shoving until he was standing next to Anna, who was sitting on the loveseat where Fuji had spent her time with him before dinner. Sue Marie sat across from Anna on her side of the sofa, as the two women chatted about clothes and makeup and such.
With a final good-bye shove, Fuji got him to sit beside Anna.
"Hank-sama will go home soon," she announced as she left.
- Upright. In the Den.
- Sci-Fi Action Adventure, propelled by a little Romance.
"Arise!" The star-studded empress of night
Gave me the keys to her city.
Bathed me in breath, told me of plight,
Force-fed my conscious with pity.
Pointed toward East, down past the yard
Through revolving doors of her courthouse.
Megaphones cry. "A guinea a head!
"Everything's fun at the Circus!"