“Damn, damn, damn!” Kaye cursed, “Why did I have to go to the grocery just then?”
“Sou, sou!” Yoshi seconded. “Chikusho! I was only downstairs having a smoke, why didn’t I come up earlier?”
Tessa giggled. “Too bad, it was really something to see! Don’t worry,” she tried to console them, “Jon doesn’t even know about it yet.”
They stopped and turned when Ken and I walked back into the apartment. We had just seen my parents off in a cab. I nodded curtly to them, grabbed Ken’s hand and dragged him to my room.
Tessa, Kaye, and Yoshi looked at each other and smiled when I closed the door after us.
“C’mon guys,” I heard Tessa say, “Let’s give the newly engaged couple some privacy.”
“Why?” At Ken’s raised brow, I said impatiently, “You know what I mean. Why did you go along with it?”
“Why did you say we were engaged in the first place?” He countered.
“I don’t know. It seemed the right thing to say at the moment.” I rounded on him, “But why did you go along with it?”
“It seemed the right thing to say,” Ken echoed, smiling maddeningly. “I thought you’d want me to back you up.”
“Well, I did but … but … but did you have to go so far as to arrange a wedding date?”
“We didn’t exactly decide on a date …”
“That’s beside the point!” I shrieked, “My mom is practically planning the wedding already.”
“Efficient woman, your mom.” Ken chuckled, “I like her already.”
“Oooh! We’ve got to do something,” I cried, “Have you got any ideas?” I buried my face in my hands. “Maybe we can just pretend to get married at the local city hall…”
“Baka. Your parents would see through that in a minute.”
“If we broke up …”
“It’s out of the question.”
I fell silent. He was right, if we broke up he’d be left in the same position he’d been in when we first met. Plus, it’d been my fault and I did promise to see it through. But damn, I had never envisioned things to get so tangled.
“Would being married to me be all that bad?” He asked.
Hmm, it actually wouldn’t be bad at all.
No, no, no! It would be a disaster! Gaga. Why am I even considering this?! I looked at Ken. “It just wouldn’t seem right. Marriage is sacred, but … you don’t … we’re not even …” I took a deep breath. “Well, it’s not as if we’ve suddenly fallen madly in love with each other.”
Or have we? The unspoken question seemed to float in the air between us.
“Do you still love Sato?”
I looked at Ken blankly, for a minute I had trouble remembering who Dan was. Ken patiently repeated his question.
“I-I don’t know.” I finally said.
“Then what’s stopping us from getting married?”
“A hundred things!” I cried. “And anyway, why would you want to marry me?”
Ken smiled mysteriously, “I have my reasons.”
After a few seconds, I prodded, “Well? What are they?”
He shook his head. “You’ll have to figure it out for yourself.” At my exasperated expression, he chuckled. “Don’t you want to get married sometime?”
“Of course I do!”
“Then why not to me?”
Yeah, why not? No, no, I had to be the adult here. “No Ken, we can’t do this.”
“Fine,” he said, “Call your parents and tell them that dinner tomorrow is cancelled and that you lied.”
I glared at him. Catch 22. That was something I wasn’t willing to do. I know that this is the 21st century and that I’d just told my parents I was an adult with a life of my own, but if they found out, they’d drag me on a plane back home and chain me to the house until I turned 90.
“But Ken, you wouldn’t want to marry me!” I whined, sitting down on the bed.
“Well… you’re you… and I’m … me.” I grimaced. Lordy, that line was trite, even to my ears.
“That seems to have worked out for us so far.” Ken sat down beside me and surprised me by pulling me onto his lap. “If we got married, it’d get your parents off your back and you could stay in Japan for as long as you wanted. And we do get along quite well…”
“What? We argue all the time!”
“Yeah, isn’t it great?” He grinned. I actually had to bite my lip to keep myself from grinning back. “Plus…”
“Plus?” I asked; distracted by the way he was looking at me.
“Plus, we seem to turn each other on.”
“Oh.” There was that.
“So is it on?” He asked huskily.
Tao lang po. Lordy, I was not immune to the soulful stare that had snared many a heart onscreen. The logical part of my brain was screaming no, but the hormone-driven sex-starved part won and I nodded.
Ken smiled. Then he stood up so fast I thought I’d land on the floor. He gave me a quick kiss and checked his watch. “I’ve got to go Ana. I’ve got some shopping to do.”
And then he was gone. I must’ve stood where he left me for a good 10 minutes before I crumpled to the floor.
Lordy, what just happened?