No Game For Old Men
Book 1.2 – Ch 2 Meeting
Saturday, December 14th, 2019
Gregory stepped out of his favorite donut shop with a warm box of glazed delicious awesome in one hand and a steaming cup of coffee in the other. Tea was the traditional drink in Japan but there were many coffee shops. There were hundreds of Starbucks in Shin Tokyo alone, a fact that always surprised Gregory's friends from the States.
"Tea is fine, but for donuts on a cold morning, it's got to be coffee!"
Even if it meant possibly running late for his Saturday morning "English as a Second Language" class.
"Well, they won't start without me. I'm the teacher," Gregory muttered to himself as he maneuvered the box of donuts into the passenger seat of his Jeep. Walking around to the driver's side he opened the door and glanced across the canvas roof of his tall four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Gregory paused with one foot up on the flat black step-rail that ran along the bottom of his Jeep's doorway; his eyes caught on the scene in an alley across the street.
A young woman with shoulder-length blonde hair huddled under wet cardboard and newspapers. She was sitting on the cold ground and leaning against the brick wall of a closed retail store, her breath making small puffs of vapor as she slept. A large sheet of wet cardboard lay nearby that had apparently just been blown away from her by the same stiff breeze that was chilling Gregory's hands.
Homeless people were not common in Shin Tokyo, and homeless, blonde, Anglo girls were a complete anomaly as far as Gregory was concerned. Without looking away from the sleeping girl, Gregory grabbed his Nikon v10 from where he kept it hanging by its strap inside the Jeep. Taking the lens cap off and focusing the camera with the unthinking automation of long practice, Gregory snapped three shots of the sleeping girl in the alley.
"How in the hell did she find an alleyway that had cardboard and newspaper debris to cover up with? That alley is one of maybe five in the entire Shin Tokyo metro area with trash in it."
Just one of the many ways Shin Tokyo was different from big cities in the States.
Lowering the camera and absently putting the lens cap back on, Gregory looked at his cell phone watch, then at the donuts, then at the girl. He muttered, "It's freezing, dammit, and I'm going to be late to class. Gah, damnit!"
Gregory put the camera back into its sling inside the Jeep then jogged across the street with the box of warm donuts in hand.
"Hey, Miss? Miss? Hi, no, hey, don't worry. I'm not here to cause you any trouble. It just looked like you'd maybe had a rough night and could use a donut."
Gregory easily spoke flawless Japanese, and he offered the box of rapidly cooling donuts as he knelt down to make himself a less threatening sight to the just-now-waking and obviously confused girl.
She looked to be about 18 and incredibly pretty though her lips were a bit blue and her teeth were chattering from sleeping outside in this bitter cold. Gregory kept sitting on his heels, holding out the donut box, watching as the girl pushed the wet cardboard covering away from her.
Gregory noticed her sky-blue eyes darted about in a bit of a panic.
"Probably trying to figure out where she is and how she got here. She doesn't look hung-over though, eyes are puffy but not bloodshot. Did she understand the question? Maybe she doesn't speak Japanese. Damn it's cold! Did she sleep here all night? No way is she homeless, not with those perfect fingernails, the well-kept hair, and those brand-new, if stylishly worn, clothes."
Being a high school teacher of seventeen and eighteen year-old students for many years, as well as having a teenaged daughter of his own, had trained Gregory's eye to more details of feminine accoutrement than was common for most men his age.
The girl's eyes settled on Gregory as she slowly stood, her muscles must have been a bit cramped and stiff from the cold. Gregory waited until she had finished standing before getting to his feet himself. He backed up a little as he stood, having learned long ago that looming over people tended to put them off, especially here in Japan.
Not that this girl was Japanese. She had natural blonde hair, you could spot bleach jobs no matter how much money was spent on the process. And there had never been a Japanese person born with sky-blue eyes like that.
And damn, she was pretty. Even after a night in the freezing cold and rain as well as sleeping in an alley, she looked like a work of art; something crafted on one of God's more inspired days.
"Donut?" Gregory kept holding out the donut box with what he hoped was a friendly smile on his face.
The girl hesitantly smiled at him, and Gregory was lost for the rest of his life.
Oh and she really was gorgeous. Incredible, beautiful… the most beautiful girl Gregory had ever seen. He stood there holding out the donut box with a befuddled look on his face instead of the intended friendly smile.
She answered in a voice that was a little scratchy from being out in the weather all night, but was nevertheless amazing to Gregory's ears; pure in tone and a clear pitch, mezzo-soprano. There was an alluring timbre to it that Gregory couldn't quite identify. She sounded a bit like a teenaged Sarah McLaughlan. If the very Canadian Sarah McLaughlan ever spoke perfect Tokyo-standard Japanese, that is.
"Thank you, yes, a donut would be very welcome."
Madoka tried to keep from sighing since the old guy with the donuts had not responded. He was just standing there, staring at her.
She was used to men staring at her. They'd been doing so for years in the MBI Sekirei Labs. Since the round of 'adjustments' that matured her body past puberty she'd had to get used to the male scientists and administrators staring, especially at her breasts. They were generously proportioned, even compared to the Sekirei norm, which was much larger than the Japanese population average. Larger than the German population average, for that matter, where fifty-two percent of the women sported D-cup accessories. Compared to Japan, where fifty-one percent of the women needed only A-cup support. So she was used to… standing out.
Madoka paused for a moment to recall why she knew all that, but failed. The trivia of global breast sizes: life in the MBI Sekirei Labs was extremely competitive between the Sekirei and not just in the fighting arts.
At MBI it had been disconcerting to wake up from a round of adjustments, one of many in her and every Sekirei's life in the labs, and suddenly be the target of male leering. The worst of it were the male scientists since they could, and often did, insist that nudity on the part of their subjects was essential for accurate observation, measurements, and tests.
This blatant excuse for ogling naked nubile females who averaged DD-cup boobs was endorsed and encouraged by the President of MBI, the 'Professor', Hiroto Minaka, so there wasn't anything the uncomfortable Sekirei girls could do about it. Even the female administrators and scientists who were employed by MBI just shrugged and ignored the embarrassment of their Sekirei subjects, for the most part.
No, Madoka was used to being stared at, even leered at. What was making her uncomfortable about this American with the donuts was that his gaze hadn't slid south of her face even after she unzipped her jacket for comfort and took one of his donuts. He kept looking at her face instead of her breasts. Was there something wrong with him?
She chewed the warm pastry, very happy to have something to eat, and stepped out from the alley onto the sidewalk, hoping that the morning sunlight would warm her somewhat. So very cold! All night she had shivered and shaken and then the rain had made it even worse.
Losing her MBI card had turned into the worst disaster she could have imagined. Well, other than a disaster like she'd witnessed befall 86 Katsuragi five days ago in that downtown alley. Freezing in the rain was preferable to being forced into a lifetime of psychic enslavement to a monster like that man Higa, or his slimy sidekick Kakizaki for that matter.
Madoka looked sideways and up through her dark eye-lashes at the tall American who continued to stare at her with his mouth open like a dead fish. Just her luck; another old pervert, at least 40, with a receding hairline, wrinkles around his eyes and lines on either side of his mouth. Blond hair and green eyes, so she had assumed he was American, though his question to her about the donuts was asked in very good Japanese. He was irritatingly tall as well, probably 190 cm, and looked to be skinny under that silly brown wool jacket.
The wind was cold, and the sun wasn't helping much. The donut was gone all too quickly, and Madoka was forced to admit to herself that she would end up seeking out Higa on her own if she had to spend many more nights outside in this weather and without food.
She felt like crying though it seemed cold enough to freeze her tears on her cheeks if she did.
"My name is O'Donnell Gregory. Please call me Gregory, thank you. How are you? Here, please do have another donut. I've more than I need, really."
Suppressing another sigh, Madoka turned to face the now-identified Gregory O'Donnell, and then turned her very best smile on him while tilting her head cutely. Any port in a storm, and this whole Sekirei Plan of MBI's had turned into more than a mere storm; it was a typhoon.
"My name is Madoka." The blonde girl paused for a moment, trying to remember the family name MBI had given her on her fake ID. "Sanjunana Madoka. And, well, I am so-so, I guess. Thank you for the donut, yes please, I will have another."
She took a second donut and, licking the frosting from her finger, proceeded to devour the donut somewhat rudely. She really was extremely hungry.
His eyes watched her tongue as it wrapped around her index finger to remove the gooey glaze left there by the donut. Madoka smirked, which caught his attention since his gaze was riveted on the action of her lips and tongue.
"At least he has the grace to blush a bit. Maybe this will not be so terrible."
For the first time since she stood up from the mess of cardboard and newspapers, the man's eyes turned away from Madoka's face, somewhat to her relief. He murmured an apology for his staring as he gestured across the street to a large orange vehicle with a canvas top.
Gregory asked her if she might need a ride somewhere, perhaps home or to a friend's house. "I'd be glad to drop you off somewhere if you need a ride. It's no trouble."
"I did have a place to be," Madoka replied, hanging her head slightly. "A friend who was supposed to meet with me when I arrived in the city, but that has not happened and I do not know why. Then last night some thugs stole my bags and my purse, so I am now without identification or resources." She paused and looked up through sooty black lashes at the now-concerned-looking Gregory O'Donnell before continuing, "I confess I am in something of a bad situation now. I can get new identification and replacements for my cards and clothes but it will take several days I am sure. I do not know what to do until then, I know no one in the city at all other than my friend who has not shown up to meet me."
Madoka congratulated herself on such a clever story. Now if she could just get the old guy to offer her a place to stay for a while until she found her Ashikabi then everything would get a lot better. She looked up at Gregory O'Donnell, willing him to want to help her, to do whatever he could to offer her aid without trying to take advantage of her needy state. That part was essential. No taking advantage!
Gregory blinked then tucked the box of donuts under an arm and gestured again towards the vehicle parked in front of the bakery across the street. He said, "I'll certainly do whatever I can to help, Sanjunana-san. I have a class I need to teach for the next few hours. After that, we'll see what sort of plan we can come up with, okay? If you'll come with me, at least you'll be out of the weather and the cold." He smiled a bit crookedly at her as he started off across the street. "And I promise that I won't take advantage of you, Sanjunana-san. I'm a school teacher, not a pervert. Promise."
Madoka smiled brightly at Gregory to help nail down his decision to help her and followed him quickly. "Thank you very much, Gregory-san," she replied as she climbed into the passenger side of his vehicle, having to use the step rail to reach the interior. "I would be glad to accompany you to your school for the morning, especially if there are more of those delicious donuts available? And please call me Madoka."
Gregory grabbed a donut for himself then handed her the box. "Sure, Madoka-san. Here, have all the donuts you want, please!" He buckled his seat belt and started the Jeep's six-cylinder gasoline engine, letting it warm up a bit before putting it in reverse and easing backwards into the street.
Madoka examined the dashboard of the vehicle with interest; it was cluttered with LED screens showing the speed of the vehicle, how much fuel it had, and all sorts of other, more esoteric, information that she assumed was essential for the driver to know. There was also a 20cm display in the center of the dash which was currently showing a street map. Madoka watched Gregory operate the metal stick that protruded up out of the floor of the vehicle between the seats while pressing and releasing pedals further up on the floor.
"Manual transmission," Gregory explained in an offhand manner after noticing her expression of puzzled interest. "It's a pain in the city, but it's the only way to go off-road. Not that I get to take it off-road much."
Madoka nodded, pretending she understood what he was talking about. It looked a lot more complicated to operate a vehicle than she had thought it would be. Then again, her entire experience with vehicles was limited to the driverless MBI mini-bus that had delivered her from MBI's headquarters just over a week ago and the dozen or so cars that had almost run her over as she tried crossing the streets in this huge city.
She helped herself to another donut and watched out the window as they made speed towards wherever it was that Gregory O'Donnell taught school on a Saturday morning. At least it was warm in the Jeep, and not raining on her. Already a vast improvement over her prospects from just a few hours ago.
The low music playing through the overhead speakers lulled her into a doze as they drove. The warmth and security relaxed her more than she expected while being alone with a strange man. But she was just so tired.
"Like a picture she was laying there, moonlight dancing off her hair…"
The waitress sat the check down on the table next to Gregory then turned to Madoka who was sitting opposite from Gregory in the comfortable diner booth. "Are you sure I can't bring you anything else?"
Gregory watched as Madoka turned her 10,000 watt smile onto the waitress. He was amazed at how the buxom blonde girl had turned the waitress into her willing and eager slave without even trying.
"Life really is different when you look like an idol. A really good-looking idol. Whose smile turns waitresses into puddles."
"Thank you. We do not need anything else. The food was wonderful and the service excellent, thank you so much." Madoka's light mezzo-soprano voice seemed to send the same shivers down the servers' spine that it did for Gregory.
Gregory suppressed an amused chuckle and handed the waitress his bank card to pay the bill. He expected that Madoka truly didn't want any more food. If not for the prompt service of the wait-staff her side of the table would be stacked with bowls, plates, and saucers after the incredible lunch they'd just had.
After the Saturday morning English class had been completed he'd offered to take Madoka to lunch at his favorite western-style diner. For filling up with hot food you just couldn't beat burgers and fries, coffee, and maybe a slice of pie for desert. Madoka was agreeable; she claimed to love western food, though the way she spoke of it confirmed to Gregory that she was likely a native of Japan, appearances notwithstanding.
There were certainly Europeans who had immigrated to Japan at various times in the past. Native-born Japanese citizens of Anglo decent were unusual, very unusual, but not unheard of. Gregory was dying to quiz the girl about her parents and find out what her story was. Her name was certainly Japanese, both her given name and her family name.
But she looked so Nordic, other than her diminutive height, that Gregory would have been willing to bet a month's salary that there was a lot more 'Eriksdotter' in her genes than 'Sanjunana'.
What sort of family name was 'Sanjunana' anyhow? Who names their daughter 'Thirty-Seven Madoka'?
With the waitress gone to process the payment for the bill, Madoka's smile faded. A brooding, worried, look took its place; her eyes half-lidded, and her face pensive. She absently sipped at the cup of hot coffee that she had ordered after she had gone through half of the diner's menu. She'd had a cheeseburger, fries, onion rings, a grilled-cheese sandwich on toast, a club sandwich, a dozen battered and fried mozzarella sticks, another cheeseburger, and then slices of two different kinds of pie.
Gregory was still amazed at the feat of feasting he had just witnessed. He was a fairly accomplished trencher himself, able to pack away enough food for his wife to joke about his 'tapeworm and hollow leg'. Back when his wife still made playful jokes about him.
But what he had just seen this tiny blonde girl put away was astounding.
He wisely kept his thoughts on the subject of her voracity to himself. Never mention a woman's apparent age or how much she eats. This rule had stood Gregory in good stead for many years and he did not intend to break it now. Regardless of the temptation to gape at the food that disappeared into the full-lipped mouth gracing the face of the girl across the table from him.
She was worried, he could tell. Probably about where to stay for the next few days while she tried to get her bank card and ID replaced. Gregory set his own coffee cup down on its saucer and spoke up, "I've got an idea for where you could stay until you get your feet under you again or find your friend. You could stay at our place, with my family. It's a two bedroom apartment, but we've got plenty of room."
Madoka turned her blue eyes up to look at Gregory through her sooty lashes. It was almost as adorable as when she cocked her head to the side quizzically. "You said you have a wife and a daughter. You would know best, I am sure, Gregory-san, but what would your wife say if you brought home a female house guest who she does not know?"
"Oh, you can bet that she'd have a thing or two to say about it, especially given your amazing good looks." Gregory grinned crookedly in reply. He paused to pick up his coffee cup, not noticing Madoka's surprised blink at the casual compliment. He took a sip before continuing, "But I'll bet we can talk my daughter Michelle into helping. She's close to your age, so maybe a story about how you are a friend of hers from school, your parents left you here to finish your last year but you've run into problems with a boyfriend who's turned into a stalker type pest so you need a place to stay for a little while. Long enough for the authorities to convince the young man to leave you alone and then you can return to your own home."
Gregory looked away from Madoka as he finished the proposed cover story. She had taken off her jacket when they arrived at the diner, and the way her very tight, blue, cheongsam-style shirt hugged her large firm breasts was incredibly distracting, especially when she moved like she was now, nodding her head up and down enthusiastically.
I'm a dead man; I'm a dead man walking. There's no way Karen is going to believe this story and she's going to kill me. The minute Karen sees those tits, I am a dead man.
Madoka was still nodding her head enthusiastically, "That would be wonderful, Gregory-san! Do you think your wife will believe the story? While I truly do appreciate the offer and will not deny I am in a bind, I also do not want to cause any disharmony in your home."
The earnest look on her pretty face had Gregory waving his hands to dismiss her concerns. "No, no, it'll be fine, I'm sure. Michelle will be glad to help with the cover story, and Karen will be fine with it. Besides, it's nearing Christmas; no one turns away someone in need around the Christmas holidays. That would just be wrong."
Madoka pursed her pink lips and furrowed her brows before nodding agreement. "If you are sure, Gregory-san. I only hope that Michelle-san likes me. I will make an extra effort to get on well with her so that we seem close friends."
"Good, I'm sure you'll manage just fine." Gregory smiled then tapped his cell-phone watch; the dial tone hummed immediately in his ear through the wireless earpiece he always wore when he was out of the house. He spoke to Madoka as he dialed his daughter's number, "Call her Mishi. It's a lot easier for most Japanese to pronounce than 'Michelle', like I rarely go by 'O'Donnell'. Everyone calls her Mishi."
He heard his teenaged daughter pick up the other end of the line and answer in her own excellent Japanese, "Tousan! Hi, what's up?"
"Hello Mishi-chan. I have a favor I need. Are you busy?"
Madoka smiled at Gregory from across the booth; apparently happy that she would not be sleeping in the rain and cold again. Her smile distracted Gregory so badly that he had to ask his daughter to repeat herself. This set Madoka into an even more distracting, chest-jiggling, giggle fit.
"Mom, it'll only be for a while! Mado-chan doesn't have anywhere else to go, and her jerk boyfriend won't leave her alone! Dad said it was okay if it was okay with you, please?"
Gregory finished hanging his coat in the hall closet, trying to ignore the daggers his wife was staring at him for that last bit. He usually avoided getting into that particular problem, having learned that "Dad said it was okay" was a quick trip to the doghouse for him with Karen, but in this case, it was a necessary evil.
Having Mishi asking while Madoka stood right there was extra leverage, insuring Karen would agree to the request, but also guaranteeing she would be in a piss-poor mood about it. And she would take that out on Gregory more than Mishi, as Gregory well knew. But, what else could he do? There was no way in hell Karen would normally go along with some eighteen-year-old female stranger staying with them. Especially one that looked like Madoka.
Thankfully, Mishi had taken right to the plot and agreed immediately to help Madoka. She had thrown herself entirely into the plan to convince Mom to okay Madoka moving in for a short while.
Karen cast a baleful eye at the short, blonde-haired, girl who was huddling in the entryway behind Mishi. Madoka had her hands in her jacket pockets and had her shoulders hunched up, trying to look small and harmless. Gregory was glad she hadn't taken off the jacket; one look at the form fitting silk cheongsam and the large breasts the silk outlined, and there was no force on earth that would get an agreement from Karen.
With a glare at Gregory, who brushed by the gathering in the entryway on his way to the bedroom to change out of his work clothes, Karen grumbled her assent. "Okay, fine, Michelle. Hello, Madoka, I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time with things. Why on earth did your parents leave you alone while they traveled?"
Madoka kept her eyes down as she answered, "Thank you Karen-san. My parents have made a habit of leaving me to care for myself since I was thirteen. It has never been a problem before but, well…"
Karen grimaced at the answer. "Well, I hate second guessing people but it doesn't seem right to leave a teenage girl all alone like that. How is your English? We have a rule to keep to English inside the apartment, though we are all fluent in Japanese. I don't want Michelle to forget our language by the time we go home."
Gregory smirked at that, glad his wife could not see it. The reason for the English in the home rule was Karen, not Mishi. When they first moved to Japan it was stressful for Karen, trying to speak Japanese all the time at her job with the Headquarters of the Japanese Red Cross. She needed some place to relax and not have the stress of speaking a foreign language. Moreover, she was not as fluent as Mishi or Gregory, a point that rubbed her wrong even after five years in Japan.
As Gregory walked into the kitchen to check and see if there was any hot coffee ready, he overheard Madoka's reply in perfect American English.
"I understand, Miss Karen. I do speak English and look forward to the opportunity to practice it. Thank you so very much for letting me stay in your home."
Gregory wondered at the blonde girl's fluency with English. She spoke American English so perfectly that he now wondered if she had learned Japanese as a second language. But her Japanese was as perfect as her English!
He had to find out what this girl's story was.
"Mishi, that was a delicious dinner. Do you often help cook?"
Madoka lay on her stomach, propped up on her elbows on the comfortable queen sized bed in Mishi's bedroom. It was late, clean up after dinner was finished, showers were taken, and pajamas found and put on. Mishi had shown Madoka the small fish tank in her bedroom with her two goldfish, proudly boasting that she'd had them for over two years and weren't they awesome?
Madoka was tired. She knew she would have little trouble sleeping, even if she was sharing a bed with a girl she just met today. Compared to sleeping in an alleyway in the rain in freezing temperatures this was heavenly. The bed was western style instead of a futon and was large and very comfortable.
Mishi, sitting cross-legged nearby on the bed and flipping through a fashion magazine, nodded absently, "Yeah, I help most nights. Once I realized how big a deal Japanese boys, and their mothers, make about girls knowing how to cook I got motivated. It's so odd. You know, in America no one really cares if someone knows how to cook food from scratch. Some girls, some boys, enjoy doing it so they learn how, most don't. It's just not a big thing in the west. Here you can lose a boyfriend in a second if his mother thinks you can't cook. It's crazy. And since I'm American I had to be able to cook traditional Japanese better than any other girl in my class, just to keep someone's okasan from running me off right away."
Madoka did not reply to that, instead she considered what Mishi had said, and wondered about cultural biases and the blind spots they cause. Even though Madoka had never been allowed into the world outside the MBI laboratories and dorms she had been raised by people who had certain cultural biases so she had no doubt she herself was affected by them. Perhaps even more so than if she had been raised in the 'real world', since all of the Sekirei had such limited access to social instruction what little they were exposed to likely had an outsized influence on their worldview.
Mishi watched the pretty blonde out of the corner of her eye as she pretended to read the fashion magazine. Madoka was the prettiest girl Mishi had ever seen, in person or in movies or in a magazine or on TV. The mystery of how her Dad came to know the girl was driving Mishi crazy. There was no way the story he gave about her being homeless was straight.
Madoka was way too pretty to be anything except an idol. She should be on the cover of every magazine, staring in movies, and selling make-up to teenage Japanese girls who would kill for the perfect creamy skin, sky-blue eyes, and pouty pink lips the other girl was blessed with.
Not to mention the narrow waist, flat stomach, perky round butt, and incredible bounty of breasts she had.
Mishi pulled her pajama shirt closer around her own slender body and sighed. In a country where western looks were coveted, she had to be cursed with a short, slim, A-cup, body, just like most of her Japanese class-mates. She knew she had a great ass, but… glancing again at the tight tank top Madoka wore as pajamas and how the blonde was all but spilling out of the terminally stretched fabric, Mishi just shook her head in self-disgust. It just wasn't fair! And she was tired of being hit on by all the lolicons, too!
Mishi shook her head sharply; she had been ogling Madoka's breasts for some minutes without realizing it. And not just in an "academic interest" sort of way, either!
Mishi had "come out" to her parents last year just after she turned fifteen, bravely revealing to them her dark sexual secret: she was bi-sexual and attracted to girls almost as much as she was attracted to boys. It had taken weeks to build up the courage to tell her very socially liberal yet still Catholic parents this deep, dark, secret about herself. But honesty and being true to herself impelled her to tell them that sometimes she thought kissing a pretty girl would be fun.
It was a difficult confession to make, and her parents' reaction to it was horrifying to the then-fifteen-year-old.
She had braced herself for condemnation and for being judged harshly, for reminders of how their Catholic faith considered such things to be a moral sin and she would burn in hell forever if she ever kissed a pretty girl. She was ready to face such harsh judgments from her parents.
What she wasn't ready for was both of them shrugging their shoulders and saying, "That's nice sweetie. We'd like to meet your girlfriend".
She didn't have a girlfriend! She hadn't ever had one, not like that! She'd never kissed a girl like that either! It was just something she thought might be fun, so she had to confess her dark sexual secret to her parents, to 'come out of the closet' as a possibly mildly bi-sexual teenage girl and face all of the parental and social approbation that came with such deviancy!
It was just really unfair that her parents reacted in such a way. There was no drama, no recriminations, no threats of hellfire or damnation, no being grounded for her personal life choices, nothing! The entire thing was such a horrible disappointment to Mishi that she pretty much tried to forget it ever happened.
Yet here she found herself ogling Mado's really impressive boobs, which were straining the cotton teal-colored tank top she had borrowed from Mishi's sleep-shirt drawer. And not just looking, but wondering what they'd feel like if she squeezed them!
Before she could work up a good blush in response to this self-realization, Mishi noticed that Madoka's face was pale, with a rather horrified expression upon it. Mishi looked up to meet Madoka's eyes questioningly. Oh no, had Madoka noticed her staring?
"Mado? What is it?" Ohmygodshesawmestaringatherboobs!
Madoka covered her mouth with a hand and stared at Mishi for a moment then gestured vaguely towards the closed door of the bedroom. "Can you not hear that, Mishi?"
Mishi stopped and listened, quickly enough realizing what it was that Madoka was overhearing through the closed door. Her parents were arguing in their bedroom and Mom's voice was loud enough to make out some of what was being said.
Mishi almost sighed in relief, glad that Madoka was not about to call her out for being a peeping pervert. She then sat up and took one of Madoka's hands, gently holding the blonde's slender fingers.
"Mado-chan, you really must be Japanese. Yes, my parents are arguing, in their bedroom. Yes, Mom doesn't think much about how her voice carries when she is mad and gets a good head of steam going. It's also just not that big a deal, Mado, though I know if this were a Japanese household such a thing would be a sign of a coming apocalypse. I promise, in an American household it might be a little embarrassing to have your parents' argument overheard by a friend but it's not the kind of shameful terrible thing it would be in a Japanese home. Just tune them out, that's what I do. Everything will be fine by morning. It's just not a big deal."
Mishi smiled at Madoka, trying to show the pretty blonde that she herself was not worried about the fact that her Mom was verbally thrashing Dad for giving permission without asking her first. And for putting her in a difficult position and no doubt a laundry list of other sins which Dad hadn't had a chance to properly beg forgiveness for lately. Her Dad was enough of a jerk, occasionally, to have a backlog of sins he'd not been called to account for. Mom made sure he didn't go too long in such a state.
Madoka nodded reluctantly then replied, "If you say so Mishi. But still I am terribly sorry for bringing such discord into your home! I should get my clothes and leave!"
"No, Mado, that isn't necessary!" Mishi tried again, this time with a wide grin. "Believe me. Dad knew Mom would be pissed about the way we worked her for permission for you to stay over the holidays. He knew she'd be pissed and did it anyway, so really, if you left he'd be getting raked over the coals for nothing. Can't have that, right?"
The blonde girl nodded reluctantly again, this time squeezing Mishi's fingers gently and smiling a little in response to Mishi's wide grin. "I am sure you know best, Mishi."
"Yes, exactly! See, I know best! So you're just staying right here in bed with me tonight!" Mishi blushed then continued quickly, "And tomorrow we'll do like Dad said. We've got his credit card and we're going to go do some shopping for you some clothes! Since there is absolutely no way you're going to fit into one of my bras. Oh, it will be fun! Now, turn up the volume on the music so we can't hear them arguing and let's get some sleep, hm?"
Sunday proved to be sunny though the temperature still required jackets and sweaters. The snow of the last few days was sticking to the shaded parts of the Shibuya Ward shopping district and the sky was startlingly blue as Madoka and Mishi stepped off the commuter train after a short ride from the station near the O'Donnell's apartment.
Madoka's blonde hair shined in the noontime sun, bouncy and full, spreading around her pink-jacket-clad shoulders. Even though Madoka was no taller than Mishi, the American girl was not worried about losing track of Madoka, given her hair was like a beacon amid the sea of blue-black-haired Japanese that filled the squares and walkways of the very modern shopping district she had chosen for their mission today.
The two girls quickly made their way from the commuter train depot towards the first shop on Mishi's list, 'Bare Necessities'.
"Tousan okayed us to spend fifty-thousand yen on the credit card, which should be enough to get the basics for you, Mado-chan. Since I doubt you are comfortable borrowing my panties and there's just no way you can use my bras, we'll take care of those first. Besides, we've got about an hour before my boyfriend, Tomo, said he will be joining us and I'll be damned if he's going underwear shopping with you as the model. No offense, but come on, I could never let Tomo see me naked again if he saw you trying on sexy underclothes."
Mishi laughed self-deprecatingly at that then laughed even louder at the look of shock on Madoka's face. Quickly covering her mouth with her hand, Mishi tried to reign in her American tendency to laugh loudly in public though Madoka's continuing embarrassment was not making it easy.
Madoka leaned in close and whispered, "Again? You mean you and your boyfriend have… done it? Really?"
Mishi put an arm around Madoka's shoulders and pulled her close as they walked towards 'Bare Necessities'. She grinned conspiratorially and answered, "Well, yeah, Mado-chan. Tomo and I have been together for six months and he's my boyfriend. Of course we 'do it' as often as he can get me alone! The only guys at my school who'd stay with a girl who didn't put out after that long are hopeless otaku's with acne and body odor. What was it like where you went to school? Are you saying you've never had sex?"
Madoka looked down at the pavement as they walked, the blush on her cheeks answering the question for her.
"Oh my god, seriously?" Mishi giggled and pulled Madoka into a one armed hug and said, "Hey, don't be embarrassed! I'm just kind of amazed given how gorgeous you are. You must have had every guy in your school chasing after you, plus all the teachers, the administrators, the bus driver, movie stars, royalty…"
The blonde Sekirei walked with Mishi's arm around her shoulders for a moment then asked, quietly, "You only have sex with your boyfriend because he would leave you if you did not?"
Mishi blinked in shock. Slowing their pace, she leaned close to Madoka's ear and said, "No, I wouldn't put it that way, not really. I mean, sure, Tomo is a great guy and good looking and I like him a whole lot… and he wants to have sex so after we saw each other for a while I agreed to do it with him. Honestly, if he'd never pushed for it we'd probably not be having sex but that's the way it is with all guys, right? I mean, they want what we've got and we're the ones who decide when and if they can have it. It's not like we're the ones chasing after what they've got between their legs, right? I mean, I guess some girls do, but they're the sluts, right?"
Madoka's cheeks were blazing red with embarrassment, bringing Mishi's good humor back to the fore.
With her new friend's obvious embarrassment with the subject Mishi dropped it, though she mentally marked this down as another oddity about the beautiful blonde.
"I am very sorry for all of this trouble, Mishi-san. Truly, you and Gregory-san do not need to do all this for me. It is more than enough that you are giving me shelter until I can find my friend who was supposed to meet me here in Shin Tokyo, spending money on me is too…"
Madoka did not get to finish her speech, as Mishi was waving her off while dragging the buxom girl by the hand towards the 'Bare Necessities' storefront.
"No, no, Mado-chan! Tousan said it was no trouble, and I'm saying it's no trouble too, so you'll just have to accept that your fate is to model sexy underwear for me for the next hour! Come on!"
Letting the American girl drag her along, Madoka accepted the inevitable and resigned herself to cooperating. "We cannot spend all of Gregory-san's money on underwear, Mishi-san! Some shirts and pants and maybe some shoes would be a good idea too, would it not?"
Mishi stopped right outside of the 'Bare Necessities' door, eyes gleaming in anticipation. "Yes! Genius! Shoes! We'll save that for last so that Tomo can be here for it! That'll show him, inviting himself along for our girls' day out shopping! Hah! Great thinking, Mado-chan!"
Visions of her boyfriend suffering through endless shoe shopping cheering her even more, Mishi took Madoka's hand again and pulled her through the doors for an hour of exploring undergarments that Mishi had always coveted but did not have the body to wear, herself.
But Madoka did! And judging by how the store's sales staff was already queuing up to serve the blonde beauty, Mishi could tell this was going to be great!
"I am really very sorry, Mishi-san. Please forgive me."
Madoka bowed her head humbly and waited for Mishi's response. The day had gone so well. Shopping with Mishi had been great fun until Mishi's boyfriend Tomo had joined them at the shoe store, and then everything had gone out of control. Madoka could not figure out what she could have done to change the outcome of the afternoon, but Mishi was mad at her so Madoka concluded that apologizing was the best plan, even if she didn't really understand what she could have done wrong.
Mishi was sitting at the head of her bed with her tablet in hand, pounding out letters on the pad with harder-than-necessary finger taps. She tried to ignore Madoka's apology and bowed head but after a few moments sighed and tossed the tablet onto the bedcover. Madoka waited, head still bowed in apology.
"We're in the apartment, so use English, Mado. And… it wasn't your fault. You didn't really do anything wrong; If anyone should apologize it's me. I shouldn't have gotten mad at you just because my boyfriend is a jerk and a pervert."
Madoka looked up through the hair that had fallen forward over her face to see if the angry expression Mishi had worn for the last several hours had changed. To her relief the slender American girl did not look mad anymore, just resigned and a bit tired.
Switching to English, Madoka tried again to apologize. "Still, Mishi, I caused such problems with you and your boyfriend. If I had not been there you would have had a much more pleasant day with Tomo."
Mishi just shook her head, her short, light brown hair swaying about. "No, Mado. I know I've been acting like it was your fault, but it wasn't. I should have figured what would happen if my boyfriend spent any time around you. Of course he was going to look and flirt and pay attention to you instead of me. You're like an idol; you're just too pretty to be resisted. But it'll be a cold day in hell before he gets another blowjob from me, I can tell you that."
Madoka replied in a tiny voice, sounding like she might faint at any moment at her American friend's bluntness, "I am very sorry…"
"Nyeh, let's just forget it, Mado." Mishi waved her hand dismissively then continued, "Guys are like that. I'm sorry I was cross with you about it, so let's just forget it and move on, okay?"
The blonde girl nodded agreement. "If you say so, Mishi. What do you want to do this evening?"
"Well… you can try on all the underwear we bought for you! Come on, try this one on first!"
Madoka shook her head and bowed to the inevitable, stripping off her jeans and shirt to entertain Mishi's underwear fetish. Posing in almost nothing for Mishi's fun was a lot better than her American friend sullenly ignoring her.
Late the next night Gregory looked up from his computer screen at the sound of the patio door sliding open. He probably should already have gone to bed, but Madoka had been out all evening and he was waiting up for her, though he'd not admit it. He was just up late playing 'World of GuildWars III', that's all.
Madoka slipped into the living room of the O'Donnell's apartment from the patio and pulled the sliding glass door shut behind her. She gave a little start when she noticed Gregory at his computer desk. Gregory smiled in response to the guilty-jump.
"Hey, Madoka. There's dinner in the microwave. Mishi put a plate together for you. If you're hungry you might want to warm it up first."
Peeling off her jacket, Madoka crossed the room to hang the covering in the hall closet. Her cheeks were pink from the cold night air and she wouldn't meet Gregory's eyes. As she hung up her coat she quietly said, in her perfect American English, "I am sorry to be so late, Gregory. I was out looking for my friend and time got away from me. I did not realize how late it was until it was already 10pm."
Gregory shook his head and turned to the computer screen to log out of his game, "It's okay, Mado; you're a grown woman. You don't answer to me. If you needed to be out late you needed to be out late. If it's going to happen much I might need to give you a key to the front door though. Wouldn't want you to have to sneak in through a window if it was late enough that I was already asleep and the patio door locked for the night, eh?"
Madoka smiled at this then went into the kitchen.
Gregory finished logging out of 'World of GuildWars III' and turned off the monitor of his desktop computer. The big matte-black computer was something of an anachronism, what with most people using tablets or wrist-phones or, in the other direction, large 3-d tanks, to play games or browse around the web. Gregory couldn't completely let go of his old-school desktop system, even if it had been upgraded in so many ways that it barely bore any resemblance to the computers he grew up using. He used it for gaming and as a storage server for his photography hobby, with automatic backup to a half dozen cloud server services running at all times.
Turning away from his desk, Gregory noticed Madoka was standing in the kitchen, staring at the microwave. He stood and walked into the kitchen, leaning past her to push the 'Reheat Sensor' button, then he smiled down at his pretty blonde houseguest, struggling mightily to meet her eyes instead of looking down the amazing cleavage of her v-cut shirt. "It'll beep when it's warm now."
Madoka turned her face up towards the much taller Gregory and smiled, saying "Thank you Gregory. For everything, truly." Her cheeks were still pink from the cold night air, giving her an innocent and charming blush. Madoka's physical closeness and the obvious gratitude shining from her face made Gregory's heart skip a beat.
Gregory retreated (and he did not for a second lie to himself that it wasn't a retreat) to the living room where he grabbed his cigarettes and stepped out onto the patio to enjoy the freezing cold night air. Watching the empty blue-lit street from behind the chest-high patio fence, he lit a cigarette and took a deep, satisfying, draw of the tobacco smoke.
Madoka had only been staying with them for two days and already Gregory found it difficult to keep his eyes off her when she was in the same room. It was a lot easier when Karen was around; Gregory didn't want his wife catching him ogling their houseguest. Karen was already prickly and touchy about the subject of Madoka as it was. It wouldn't be worth Gregory's life to get caught leering at Madoka's incredibly shapely body, her perfect, tight ass, her gorgeous…
"Gah!" Gregory lightly knocked his forehead into the top rail of the patio fence repeatedly. "Just… gah!"
Later in the week found Mishi and Madoka lying on Mishi's bed finishing a movie on the wall monitor Mishi had in her room. They were both comfortably attired in their sleeping clothes; Mishi in her usual tight cotton tank and low-slung loose-fitting sweatpants and Madoka in an even tighter teal-colored tank top and loose-fitting short-shorts.
As Mishi used her tablet to turn off the big wall-mounted monitor and disconnect from the media server in the living room she said, "Mado, I can't believe you'd never seen 'Lost and Delirious', it's a classic!"
Madoka remained leaning against the headboard of Mishi's bed, her blue eyes wide and watery from unshed tears over the tragic movie. "No, I had not seen that movie before. It was very… good, Mishi. I have never seen a movie like that."
Mishi tapped her tablet and queued up her sleeping music list for the room's speakers, the sounds of J-pop filled the bedroom. She was blushing a bit after watching the movie with Madoka. The affair between the two female leads was really lovely, and she wanted to share the movie with Madoka, but now she felt a little uncomfortable. She wasn't sure how Madoka would react to the subject matter or to the erotic scenes in the movie. Being so forward, even in such a limited way, was rather outside of Mishi's comfort zone. While still fiddling with the tablet's controls for the room's speakers, she asked, "What did you think?"
"I thought it was beautiful," Madoka said softly. "I do not understand why Tori and Paulie could not be together though. They loved each other, but Tori told her they could never be, and then Paulie died. Why did Tori tell her that? Why did Paulie kill herself?"
Mishi set her tablet on the bedside table and moved up next to Madoka, pulling the sheets back for the two of them. With the lights off and only the dim illumination of Mishi's tablet to show anything, Mishi and Madoka laid down and faced each other.
Mishi quietly answered Madoka's question, "Well, Tori broke up with Paulie because Tori's family would never accept her loving a girl. Lots of people used to think that two people of the same gender loving each other was wrong. They still do, really, but it's not as bad now as it used to be, I don't think. Sometimes love isn't enough, I guess." Mishi watched Madoka's face for any sign that the blonde girl was averse to same-gender relationships. "And Paulie died because she couldn't imagine living her life without Tori. Which is really kind of extreme, you know, most people wouldn't go that far, really. But I guess it makes for a better story if she kills herself instead of just going on and meeting another girlfriend years later or something."
Madoka lay on her side, looking at Mishi's face in the dim light, enjoying the tingling sensation in her belly as she looked into her American friend's eyes. She murmured, "Well, I think that is just wrong. They loved each other they should have been free to live as they wanted. It was very sad, at the end."
Mishi nodded in agreement, "I agree. But, Mado, is your family okay with same sex relationships? They would be okay if you had a girlfriend instead of marrying a guy?"
Madoka replied, hesitantly, "Some of the older… aunt's might have said something about not keeping the relationships girls had, because when we grew up we had to find… husbands and they would be angry if they thought their… wife also liked girls?"
Mishi nodded that she understood, to Madoka's obvious relief. Mishi said, "Well, old aunties are too conservative to know how the world really works nowadays. You can't pay too much attention to what they might think. Really, everyone should be able to follow the road that leads to their own happiness. Paulie and Tori would have lived happily all their lives if Tori hadn't spent so much time worrying about what her family thought."
Madoka said, "Yes, that is exactly so. If you find the person you are destined to be with, nothing else should really matter. I did like the movie, Mishi. Thank you for sharing it with me."
Mishi felt her cheeks get hot; Madoka's appreciation and the way the dim light illuminated the blonde's perfectly beautiful face made the young American girl almost breathless. She was both incredibly attracted to Madoka and scared of how intense that attraction was. It was on a completely different level than how she felt about her boyfriend and she'd had sex with him so she considered her relationship with Tomo to be pretty serious. But the way she felt when she looked at Madoka was something else entirely.
"I'm glad you liked it, Mado. It really is one of my favorite movies." Mishi snuggled down into the blankets then looked back at Madoka, making up her mind to ask the question that had been bothering her all week. "Hey, Mado, you have to answer me a question. And you have to promise to tell me the truth, okay?"
Nodding reluctantly, Madoka said "Okay, I will tell you the truth. What is it?"
"What is it with you and my Dad? You can tell me, I won't tell anyone, I swear! No way he just found you at a donut shop needing a place to stay. Are you two… are you lovers?" Mishi barely stumbled over asking the question, difficult as it was to even think of her Dad and sex in the same sentence. Much less the way-long odds of her Dad scoring with a girl like Madoka, there just wasn't any way. Right? And cheating on Mom? Though Mishi could imagine any guy cheating if it was Madoka they had the chance with, even her Dad.
Madoka laughed, shaking her head. "No! No, he really did tell the truth. I met him outside the donut shop he stops at on Saturday mornings. No, he is very nice, and I am very glad he has offered me a place to stay with your family while I get things straightened out but no, we are not, um, involved, like that. He is way too old, do you not think? He is nice, and I have caught him looking a few times, but no, that would be just too gross really. With a guy that old?"
Mishi giggled and nodded, relieved that Madoka wasn't having an affair with her Dad. Not only did that make her feel better about her Dad not cheating on her Mom, but it meant that Madoka was unattached and available for Mishi to convince her to give her a chance!
Gregory, ear to the slightly open door of his daughter's bedroom, guiltily listened to Madoka's heartfelt denial of any interest in Mishi's old man. Significant emphasis on "old".
"See? That's what you deserve, Greg, listening in because you thought you heard someone say 'Dad'. See, you feel a hundred times worse now, don't ya. Idiot."
Shaking his head ruefully and wearing a self-deprecating smirk, he returned to bed, having already gone to the kitchen for a late night snack. Long experience in being around teenage girls as a high school teacher had taught him that forty-year-old guys are not what eighteen-year-old girls are looking for, no matter how deluded the forty-year-old man may be. He had seen a few of his peers in teaching fool themselves into thinking the occasional seventeen- or eighteen-year-old Senior who amused herself by practiced flirting skills on their teacher really meant what they were hinting at. It never ended well for the teacher and self-delusion of that sort was definitely an occupational hazard for anyone teaching senior level classes in any high school.
It was such a common risk that Administrators had to consider it when hiring teachers for Junior and Senior level classes. Gregory, at only thirty-five when he was hired, was certainly in the high-risk profile, but his being married for 15 years (at that time), and with children, put him into the "worth taking a chance on" pile of applications, instead of the "no way in hell" pile.
Moreover, beyond his dedication to his twenty years of married life and his family, Gregory knew better than to fool himself like that. Forty-year-old guys like himself were not what beautiful young women are looking for. Moreover, a young woman like Madoka, so obviously smart as well as incredibly gorgeous, deserved the very best and she would likely get it. She would not end up with some old and "gross" schoolteacher!
Refusing to pay any attention to the pang deep in his heart, stifling the useless wish that he could be twenty again so that he wouldn't be "gross", Gregory pulled the blanket up around his shoulders, his wife's back to him as usual, and tried to get to sleep.
Started Sep 9 2013
Completed Sep 27 2014
Posted May 7 2015