Juggling a couple of paper bags in his arms, Yoshi entered in the security code that would let him into the genkan at Ken’s apartment. A beep sounded as the code was accepted and the doors swished open to accommodate him. As he headed towards the elevators, he took a swig of hot coffee, and hoped that Ken was in a good enough mood to talk to him.
Based on the state of Hide when he had managed to crawl back to the party, Ken had been furious last night. And when Ken was in that state, anything could happen. Kaye and Jon assured him that Ana could hold her own in any shouting match, but Yoshi was worried that Ken might have said something to permanently damage the relationship. And more than anything, Yoshi wanted their relationship to continue. Ana was good for his friend; Ken needed happiness in his life, and Ana made him smile.
He just hoped that Ken and Ana, with their mercurial tempers, hadn’t broken up already when Ken had taken her back to her apartment last night.
Yoshi sighed. If Ken were smart, he would soon make this stupid pretend relationship a real thing, he thought. And who else to push him towards the right direction but his best friend? Yoshi was grinning as he contemplated his tactics. When he reached Ken’s place, he inserted the spare electronic card key that Ken had entrusted to him and sauntered into the apartment.
Yoshi deposited the paper bags on the dining table and rummaged in one for a doughnut. With the doughnut in his mouth, he turned the coffee percolator on. He glanced at the sun streaming in through the open windows of the living room. The weather looked enticing. Maybe he’d ask Ken to go cycling with him. Yes indeed, fresh air was exactly what Ken needed to relax him and open his mind to the possibilities. Maybe a two-hour trip to Gunma to cycle in the Ashikaga area would revive Ken’s spirits.
As he turned to the sink to wash his hands, he noticed two plates, two teacups, and a kettle of now-cold tea at the bottom of the sink. He dried his hands and walked over to the living room, as he stooped to pick up the TV remote, he noticed a bottle of water and two glasses on the coffee table. Yoshi stopped cold as the realization hit him.
There was two of everything.
His friend was not alone.
Yoshi raked his hair off his head and bit his lip. His first thought was to get the hell out of here and leave Ken to wallow in this mess of his making, but the more stubborn instincts of a friend kicked in and he decided to give Ken a piece of his mind. He knew that Ken wanted Ana, perhaps even loved her, and if he did, he ought to have done something about it instead of screwing around on her, pretend girlfriend or not.
He headed straight to Ken’s bedroom and opened the door gingerly. Sure enough, the lump in the middle of the bed was too big to be made by one person. Practically steaming at the ears, he decided to give them a morning greeting they’d both remember. He went to the foot of the bed, grabbed hold of the futon, and yanked. Hard. He managed to get the futon half off the bed and shouted, “Ne, minna! Okinasai! Get up and face the music!”
Ken, who was still clad in jeans and a t-shirt rubbed his eyes sleepily. Surprisingly, the woman he was with was clad in over-large pajamas, not exactly the sexiest nightwear in Yoshi’s opinion. Her face was buried in the crook of Ken’s embrace.
Ken sat up, rubbed his eyes, and stared at this friend incredulously, “Yoshi, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Yoshi looked at his best friend and scowled, “Me? What do you think you’re doing? For once you get together with a decent girl and now…” he broke off as the figure beside Ken stirred. Ken bent down and murmured soothingly to her. Suddenly, as if she sensed something was amiss, she stiffened and slowly looked up into Ken’s face and then guiltily into Yoshi’s.
Yoshi wished the floor would open up and swallow him whole. He was looking into the wide, brown, and highly embarrassed eyes of Ana. Over the years, he had seen Ken in situations far more compromising than this, but somehow, the intimacy of the moment had Yoshi blushing like a schoolboy.
She closed her eyes for a split second and then she snatched up the futon that lay at their feet and struggled to sit up, “It’s … it’s not as it seems, we … nothing happened … we just slept …” she stammered out as she cast around for the robe she had discarded last night. “I was sleeping … and Ken …”
“Yoshi,” Ken said ever so politely, “would you mind giving us a moment of privacy?”
Yoshi turned towards the door at once, mumbling about getting breakfast ready as he stumbled out the door.
Ken turned towards Ana who was now standing by the bed, shrugging into the robe she had found on the floor. “Ana,” Ken began, but she rushed past him, murmuring something about the bathroom only seconds before she shut herself in.
Ken knocked at the door, “Ana are you alright?”
Inside, Ana leaned her head against the cool mirrored surface of the door and answered, “No I am most definitely not.”
“Let me in,” he cajoled.
“No. That has to be the most embarrassing this that has ever happened to me,” she wailed. “I wish I could stay in this bathroom forever and forget anything ever happened.”
“Open this door sweetheart or I’ll break it down.”
Ana reluctantly turned the lock and opened the door a fraction. Ken stepped in. To Ana’s surprise, he swept her into his arms for a hug. “Ana, look at me,” he said after a while and she slowly raised her eyes to his. He took her chin in his hand and gave her a tender kiss, “Nothing actually happened, you know.”
“Yes, but Yoshi thinks …”
“Does it really matter what Yoshi thinks?”
She let out a sigh, this was definitely getting complicated. “It’s not that, its just that I’m not … I don’t usually do this…”
He raised a brow, “You think I do this all the time?”
“No, no,” she said, obviously rattled, “I mean I’m just not used to … I haven’t really …”
He smiled down at her. For some reason it gave him a perverse sort of satisfaction knowing that he could do this to her. That he could reduce a confident, self-assured, sassy, and intelligent woman to someone who couldn’t even finish her sentences.
“Ana, we are both adults and we are in a relationship,” he told her firmly.
“We are in a pretend relationship,” she corrected, stressing the word pretend.
He leaned back and looked down at her again, a smile playing around his mouth, “So we were pretending to sleep together. Unless of course…”
“Well, unless you want to sleep with me for real?” he teasingly asked.
Ken shrugged nonchalantly, “We could make an experiment of it.”
“A-a-an experiment?!” Ana parroted. Hazy, sensual images of her and Ken naked and entwined flashed in her mind and she felt a blush creep up her face.
Quelling a grin, Ken nodded solemnly at her, “I thought you’d like the idea, being an academic and all that.” Ana stood there, her mouth opening and closing, like a fish out of water, albeit a bute fish, Ken thought as he took advantage of her distracted state. He put his hands on the counter on either side of her and leaned in closer, effectively trapping her. “Think about it,” he said as he turned to leave, “Oh and Ana?”
“Since we’re on the subject of learning …” Ana’s mind went blank as Ken’s mouth swooped down on hers for a passionate kiss. Her legs felt like jelly by the time he released her.
He smiled at her bemused look. “There, I’ve just shown you how I wanted to be greeted in the morning. Good morning sweetheart.” With a wicked smile he closed the door behind him.
Ana sank down to the floor. The tiles were very cold against her over-heated flesh. “Omigod, I’m in big trouble.”
Read Chapter 26!