“This is fun,” I shout to Natsuki-tan over the commotion that is Dalton’s drunken singing. She smiles and nods and continues to look at me for no other reason than to look at me. The song book is between us, open in the Japanese section for Natsuki to make a selection but she doesn’t even glance at it. She says something to me that I can’t hear but probably wouldn’t have been able to understand regardless so I nod and she gets up to leave. Her friend stops clapping time with Dalton’s showstopping showtune so that she can shuffle across the red seat towards me, taking Natsuki’s place. I’m watching the latter leave – probably on her way to the bar, or the bathroom maybe – so I don’t notice as her friend leans in, dangerously close, to talk into my ear.
  “So you like Natsuki-chan, huh?” she ask in startlingly competent English. I pull back, a surprised look on my face as I study hers, before leaning back in and avoiding the question and replying.
  “Your English is incredible.”
  “Thank you” she says, entirely unfooled, “So?”
  “So what?” I ask, and just like that Dalton’s song comes to an abrupt halt, unexpected by everyone. 
  “Phew,” he says, collapsing back onto the seat. No one’s tapped in digits for the next song so the machine waits patiently, the muffled wails of other singers bleeding through the supposedly sound-proofed walls. At this volume, though, I’m not surprised their effectiveness is diminished somewhat.
  I flick absently through the pages in front of me, glad I was able to sidestep that particular conversation, as Dalton strikes up one of his own with the interrogator supreme. It’s a fit I don’t see surviving the booth, but Dalton’s surprised me before in this department and doubtless he’ll do it again. Natsuki re-enters the room with fresh drinks for the four of us and sets them down on the table before, disappointingly, sitting down and sandwiching her friend between us.  
  “No, no Natsuki-chan,” the girl says, again in English, as she stands up and motions for her friend to retake her original place beside me. The dim lights in the room make it hard to tell in the glare of the monitor I’m sure I can see Natsuki blush as she scoots back over towards me.
  “Just look after her, you hear?” the friend says, sitting down next to Dalton, “I don’t wanna hear any stories tomorrow about how you tried to stick it in her pooper.”
  Me and Dalton simultaneously choke on our drinks, amazed by this girl’s… we don’t know what. Moxxy? It’s something alright, and – thank God – something Natsuki-tan seems completely oblivious to. She smiles sweetly at me, slightly confused, and begins scouring the book for her next solo.

~ by Joseph Blame on January 16, 2011.

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