Nekonomicon series continuation?


User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) ON HIATUS

Post by NekoDude »


My brain hurts.

“You seriously expect me to remember all of this? You really think I’ll have to do all of this?” I can see why she drinks.

“No, not at all,” Sally says rather matter-of-factly. “In fact I figure you’ll have to do less than half of it. I just don’t know which half, so you have to be prepared for everything. For now, let’s stick to things I know you’ll be dealing with. When our folks down at Kowloon Trading call and they want the Silver Special…”

I nod. “Yeah, yeah, I remember that. A bottle of the blue for a standard package, and sometimes they want double. Who usually makes that run?”

“I had Galahad on it but he’s… unavailable. You make that call, but remember what’s in that backhaul. You probably don’t want Nori on that run.”

“How would she know what she’s hauling? She’s never opened a package before, has she?” Nicknaming agents by the color of their hair is probably not the most secure way to operate, but we have a few more days to come up with something better.

“She’s also never been addicted to crystal before. You should have thought about that one before you brought that little problem to our doorstep. Anyhow, I’d much rather have her handling cash we can count, or something she isn’t likely to skim.”

I hold up my hand, palm toward me, with the pinky curled inward.

“I have never had to resort to that, and I don’t intend to start now. It makes things very messy, and I don’t mean the blood. I would think someone who has paid a price as high as yours would understand that.” She glances at my other arm.

“It could have been my head.” I grab my throat for emphasis. “Every time it hurts, or I find myself unable to do something as simple as tie a bow, I remind myself of that. If I’d been just a little quicker over that counter, or that shopkeep had been just a little bit slower with his blade…” Even so, my stump throbs at the memory.

“Most people don’t think that way. You take a chunk off of them, they want an even bigger piece of you. Forever. You have to learn to keep your charges in line without cutting them into pieces in the process. I know you can, you’re perfectly capable of turning on the charm when you need to. When it’s your operation, you can make your own bad decisions. Until then, we do it my way.”

I nod, she’s right. It’s her operation. She might even be right about the other part. Phantom pains are a hell of a reminder that I fucked up.

“C’mon, let’s see what they’re making. I can smell it from here.” She puts her arm around my shoulders. “Keep your wits about you, we have a little more to cover after dinner. If you want to imbibe a little after that, I’ll probably join you. Ever had a martini?”

“Does drinking vodka straight from the bottle count?”

“You barbarian. You’ll like the real thing a lot better.” She opens the office door and closes it behind us as we leave, pausing to make sure it locked. “Don’t get too comfortable behind that desk, either. If you’re not a little nervous at all times in this job, you probably forgot something.”

I smell… ham, slightly scorched. As we walk into the kitchen, I get a momentary glance from Hisao, but no particular reaction. I get not even a look from Neko, and Hanako is busy helping Ben.

“What in the world are these?” Sally gestures at a platter that is being filled with what look like pieces of sushi, but sure don’t smell like sushi.

Ben holds up a Spam can. “It was time to rotate out the emergency supplies before they passed their use-by dates. I let her figure out what to do with them.” He tips his head toward Hanako, who is still busy with a sizzling pan.

She flips over a spatula full of pink meat. “It’s m-mini Spam m-musubi. I’ll be d-done with the rest s-soon, but you can s-start now.”

Ben is turning each little strip of Spam into a completed piece, pressing a roll of rice mixed with furikake into a small brick, placing a strip of Spam on it, and wrapping the whole thing with a ribbon of nori. To seal the ends of the nori, he dips his finger into a clear liquid so it will stick to itself.

“Wait, you’ll want dip.” He elbows open the refrigerator and grabs a squeeze bottle of wasabi mayonnaise before carrying over another plate full of mini-musubis.

Sally can really turn it up to eleven when she wants to, shouting “«I don’t like Spam!»” loud enough to make my ears bleed.

“«Sshh, dear, don't cause a fuss,»” Ben responds in a fake British accent. “«I'll have your Spam. I love it. I'm having Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam!»”

Apparently Neko has done this drill before. “«Shut up! Baked beans are off.»”

Damn Pythonheads.

The mini-musubi isn’t bad though. It solves the problem of normal-size musubi, namely, falling apart before it can be eaten. The thin slices of Spam, once grilled, have a bit of a crispy bacon texture to them that they wouldn’t if they were thicker, but hey, bacon musubi would probably work just fine too.

I’d really like a glass of wine or three, but I’ll settle for the sangria. Who knew running an evil empire was so much work?


Dinner is, as usual for large gatherings, elaborate. That’s nothing new around here, but the particular choice of cuisine startled me.

Cuban. Dammit Ben, you (and Hanako’s sudden flair for Hawaiian food) might actually make me miss California. Black bean soup, avocado salad, fried yuca with a garlic sauce, black beans and rice with lots of garlic, lemon chicken (also with lots of garlic), ropa vieja, and fried bananas. Dessert consists of espresso. I’m going to reek of garlic for days, but it’s not like anyone else will notice because they will too. I fear the effects this much garlic at one sitting will have on my digestive tract though. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to be sleeping alone tonight.
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) ON HIATUS

Post by NekoDude »


“I really do appreciate the help with this, but you don’t have to.” I hand her another scrubbed dish to rinse and rack. One of the problems with our fancy dinners is that the plates have lots of time to set up, making the dishwasher useless.

“I know I don’t, but I’d rather spend the time with you than with them, and the sooner we get this done, the sooner I get you back.” She smiles, then suddenly burps and looks terribly embarrassed. “I’m sorry, that was pretty nasty.”

“Hey, I ate it too. Don’t get the idea that I’m immune, that was a lot of garlic. Did they really say you could sleep in my room, or are you just pulling my leg?”

“I guess we’ll find out. I’d rather not sleep on Neko’s couch again, I always wake up stuck to it. It’s soft, but it’s hot, and Miki talks in her sleep.”

Talks? Try walks. I would have appreciated it if I’d been warned she has a habit of sleepwalking into other people’s beds. Boss told me it’s because she’s chasing the ghost of her sister or something sad like that.” That was some freaky shit.

The stack of plates grows shorter over a couple minutes of silence, and soon enough we’re on to the salad bowls. These could just go in the dishwasher, but we’ve already done everything else. “You know, I kind of understand how that might happen,” she offers, seemingly out of nowhere.

“How what might happen?”

“Chasing someone in her sleep, someone she’s lost. I think it has happened to me too.” She stands there, waiting for the next bowl to rinse, but we’re done.

I hand her a towel. “She’s wandered into your bed too?”

“Actually, yes… but that’s not what I meant. I’ve been known to wander in my sleep as well. It comes with my condition, and I’ve done it my whole life. But lately, when I wake up in a strange place, my first concern is no longer where I am or why. It’s who.” She draws the towel through one of the pull rings on the drawers. “I wake up looking for someone too, and he’s never there. He never will be again.” Suddenly she turns on her heel and walks away without an explanation.

I toss my towel on the center island and follow. They can bitch at me later if they want. I keep a distance, but always keep her in sight. She stops for rain boots, so I do too.

Neko spots me heading out the door. “Hey, what’s the…”

I put up a hand to stop her. “Not now.” I grab an umbrella, just in case, and follow into the semi-darkness. Once we get to a distance from the house where I won’t be heard inside, I call out to her.

“Suzu… Suzu dear, I’m right here, at least wait for me.”

She stops to let me catch up, but does not turn to face me. The moment I pull up beside her, she’s moving again. The last of the daylight is fading quickly, and it wasn’t terribly bright to start with.

I steer her away from the path leading down to the highway, and she lets me lead her, so I circle us around toward the back and hopefully to the stable. Whatever or whoever she’s running from, it shouldn’t be there. We’re within sight of it before she speaks.

“I…” She pauses in both speech and stride, with a look of terror on her face. “I don’t think I can do this much longer.” She takes off running, and I’m just a couple steps behind. I don’t even want to let her get that far away, but I also don’t want to run her over if she stops again. She pulls open the stable doors just far enough to fit through, and leaves them that way for me to follow. By the time I have them closed again, she’s most of the way up the ladder to the loft.

Once I get to the top, I see her sitting against the wall on a bundle of straw, knees under her chin, arms wrapped around them. She’s rocking forward and back and staring off into the distance. I take a seat behind her and put my arms around her shoulders as best I can.

Her voice is barely a whisper. “You shouldn’t have to see me like this. You didn’t sign on to be my guardian angel. I couldn’t do it for him, and you can’t do it for me, no matter how you may wish you could.”

“I don’t care. I’ll be here when and how you need me.”

“What I need…” She lets out a huge yawn and stretches her legs. “ to never sleep again. To never have to look him in his cold, dead eyes again. To no longer hear his siren’s song. «Love of two is one, here but now they're gone.»” And her lights go out.
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) ON HIATUS

Post by NekoDude »


That’s odd. Why would Suzu call me? I’m right here! I pick up.

“I need you in the stable. Now. And be quiet about it.” That’s not Suzu.

“Abe… is everything okay?”

“Not really, but it’s under control for the moment. Just get here, right?” He hangs up without waiting for a reply.

Rudeness is not in his playbook. Something has to have gone completely off the rails. I grab Hisao by the collar and rescue him from the rant he’s receiving from my drunken mother. I don’t see Hanako, so I have to hope she’s got her phone if I need her.

“Get on some rain boots, we’re going for a walk.” I whisper in his ear, “Just do it,” without moving my lips. He almost knocks over the high chair in his haste.

The rain boots are by the front door, and dragging them through the house to go out the back would be almost as roundabout as just going out the front. Once outside, we can talk a bit. He asks, “What was that all about?”

“No fucking clue. I got a call from Abe saying he needed me in the stable, and I figured that more than likely, I would need you, so I cut out a middle step. Any idea what Hanako is up to?”

“Looking up recipes with Ben, I’m pretty sure.”

Glad to see she’s making friends. At least she won’t have to listen to Mum. I move as fast as I can without risking leaving a leg stuck in mud. At the stable, I give the right door a shove and the left one a push with my foot.

Abe’s voice drifts down from above. “We’re up here.”

I gesture toward the rungs in the wall. “You go up first. I’m slow as molasses in winter at climbing.” And twice as slow coming back down.

I watch him disappear through the trapdoor at the top, and start up myself. These things really were designed for people with at least three limbs, if not four. He’s there at the top to grab both arms, which helps a great deal.

I turn to Abe. “So what’s the story, morning glory?”

He just tips his head to a snoozing Suzu.

“Okay, this is a mighty inconvenient place for her to pass out, but it’s hardly a crisis. You made it sound…”

“Yeah, I know. You should have heard what she was talking about. Then maybe you’d understand. Do you have any idea what she might have been quoting from when she said «love of two is one, here but now they’re gone»? That’s the last thing she said before she passed out.”

“Wait, give me a second.” I can almost hear it, then I’m humming. “«More cowbell!» It’s that song. What’s it called though…”

Both of them shake their heads at me. I knew I should have picked me a metalhead boyfriend. (Just kidding!) Let’s run it in my head then…

«All our times have come
Here, but now they're gone
Seasons don't fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain»

“Aha. «Don’t Fear the Reaper». Wait, that’s not a very good sign. What else did she say?”

“She said she wanted to never sleep again, to never see his dead eyes again.” That’s even worse.

“Did she say who she meant?” As he shakes his head, I dig my phone out of my pocket. I hope Hanako can forgive the intrusion. “Hello, love, I hope I’m not interrupting anything important, because I could really use your help right about now.”

“N-no, just swapping i-ideas.”

“Good, that’s what I’d like to do as well. Do you know anything about Suzu’s past? I only know her because of Miki, so, not all that long.” And I desperately want to avoid calling her for help since this is her goddamn fault.

“I m-might. Why?”

“Would you mind coming out to the stable? There are rain boots by the door. Try not to alarm Mum or Ben.”

“I d-don’t know w-where that is.”

“‘Sokay, just get the rain boots and go out the front. I’ll talk you through it.” It’s not that difficult, we’re the only light in the distance once someone walks around to the back, if you could even call it a distance.

“O-okay, I s-see it.”

“Good, we’ll see you in just a minute then.” I hang up and turn back to Abe. “Now don’t get mad at me for not telling you sooner, but it took me a while to figure it out myself and I’ve been trying to solve the problem or at least keep it from snowballing.” I take his hand. “Abe, for the last week and a half, as best I can tell… let’s just say she got her hands on some amphetamines, and has been a little bit… excessive in the usage. Let’s wait to hear what Hanako has to say before deciding whether or not to tell her what’s going on as far as that goes.” I can see shock, horror, understanding, and a little bit of relief all cross his face in succession before the worry comes back.

“H-hello?” Hanako’s timid voice drifts up from below.

“You’re in the right place.” I hobble carefully to the edge and wave down at her. “We’re up here. There’s a ladder set in the wall right there.”

She climbs up without incident, but it takes a moment for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. Once she does, she gasps. “Oh! I-is she ok-kay?”

“Physically, she’s unharmed. Mentally, we won’t know until she wakes up, and there’s no telling when that will be.” I’m guessing some time tomorrow afternoon. “What we’re trying to figure out is why she bolted in the first place. She was saying… you tell it, Abe, you were there.”

“She said ‘I need to never sleep again. I need to never see his dead eyes again.’ Or something very close to that. Then she quoted a song, which Neko recognizes, and then she passed out.”

“The song was «Blue Öyster Cult, Don’t Fear the Reaper». Do you know if this has any special significance to her, or if it’s as ominous as it sounds? Because it scares the shit outta me.” A shiver goes down my spine, and not because it’s cold in here.

“W-what’s it ab-bout?”

I hesitate, but there’s no way to sugarcoat this. “It’s about Death convincing a woman to kill herself.” One heartbeat goes by, then a second, and it’s as if nobody even wants to breathe, let alone speak.

“I d-don’t th… I don’t think it’s Death she’s r-running from.” Hanako folds her hands in her lap, looks down, swallows, and looks back up at me. “I th-think it’s her br-brother.”

You could knock me over with a feather. Am I just lucky, or is fifty percent a normal rate for people our age to experience death in the immediate family? I check my figures. Me, Hisao, Abe on one side, with Miki, Hanako, and now I find Suzu on the other? And that’s just counting the ones that are here tonight. It may not be a coincidence that that half is the side exhibiting more crazy, more of the time.

Abe seems to be watching the proceedings from a distance. He’s not quite off in his own little world, but he’s not quite here either. “How are we going to get her down from here?”

“That’s what I meant by inconvenient. I don’t think we are going to get her down from here. I think we just have to wait until she wakes up and let her get herself down. As long as at least one of us is here for her when she wakes up, it should be fine. I’m sure she’s found herself in stranger places than this, and she may well remember how she got here and not be alarmed at all.” Then again, given how hopped up she was, she may not. “The roof doesn’t leak, it’s not going to get that cold tonight, and we were going to give her a bedroll anyhow. We’ll just send it up here instead – two, if we have them, and I think we do.”

“How?” Hisao asks the obvious question, for a city person.

I just point at the winch attached to the center beam. “How do you think we got all this straw up here in the first place?” I turn on the fluorescent ballast overhead. “Light isn’t going to be an issue either, if we just want to stick together and hang out up here.” I look at Hanako and Hisao. “Can I trust you two to take care of the bedding, and maybe some beverages? Just ask Ben for the electric cart, it’ll be easier than carrying the bedroll over the mud. Abe and I both know how to work the winch from up here.”

They’re up to the task. I expected a bedroll, blankets, and some wine. A bottle of Grey Goose in an ice bucket, a boom box, and a handheld 2 meter / 70 centimeter dual-bander, I did not.
Last edited by NekoDude on Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) ON HIATUS

Post by NekoDude »


“We’ll be locking up later, so I brought keys.” Ben tosses them up to me. “You can run the winch now.” Abe thumbs the switch to raise the second bedroll to the top, then another to move it to our side on its track since it’s designed to move bales to either side of the loft. We get the bedroll off the hook and set it aside. It has blankets and pillows wound up inside it, too.

“Send it back down and we’ll give you your care package for the night.” That would be Sally. Centering and lowering takes only one lever, it won’t go up or down unless it’s in the center first. Up comes a large cardboard box. “Go ahead and strike the box for a tabletop once you clear it out.”

“You’re awesome as always, Mum, Ben,” says Neko, peering over the edge. “We’ll take good care of her.”

Sally silently mouths “Take care of him,” while pointing to wherever she thinks Abe must be, and Neko gives her a thumbs up to let her know we got the message.

Once they’ve driven off and closed the doors, I ask, “I thought you wished she’d be awesome more of the time.”

“I do. But the more I tell her when she’s being awesome, hopefully the more she’ll be awesome. I was telling the truth about Ben. Let’s see what’s in the box!”

It truly is a large box. It’s a chest-high cube of mystery. I open the top flaps, and at first it looks like it’s just more pillows and such – not that these are unwelcome. Apparently they were there to keep the other contents from shifting around though, and after clearing them out of the way, we realize this box had to have been loaded from the inside. Someone had to be standing in it to have arranged all of this. Probably Ben. I secretly hope they made Miki stand in the box though.

There’s a small television set, a game console, a DVD player, the nice set of poker chips, a stack of paper cups with handles, a cocktail shaker, a cooler (this one’s a pain to get out with the ice and drinks that are inside it), a case of CDs or DVDs, a coffeemaker, a can of coffee, a can of sugar, a jug of water, a backgammon set, and a set of mah jongg tiles. Oh, there’s also a can of air freshener. Well hey, it is a stable. Yeah, it looks like they planned on us being up here a while. There’s running water, a hose, and a drain on the ground level, so we don’t have to go inside for more water – or even for most ‘calls of nature’.

“They forgot something, if we’re actually going to use all of this.” Neko starts for the ladder.

“I can get it,” I interject, remembering the difficulty she has getting up and down ladders.

“Yeah, but you wouldn’t know where these things are.”

“No, but I would.” I guess Abe is offering to go.

Neko shrugs. “We need an extension cord and a power strip if we’re going to use all of these toys. A couple extension cords, actually, unless we want to put everything in one place.”

Once at the bottom, Abe rummages around. “Here’s some of it. Catch!” He throws a neatly coiled, thick extension cord, and I catch it easily as it seems to hover in front of me. “Drop the end back down the trap door so I can plug it in, then I’ll go in and get the rest.” I do, and he does. The cord is coiled such that as he pulls, it unwinds effortlessly without tangling. I’ll have to get him to show me that trick, if he’s the one that did it.

Neko is figuring out where she wants to put the gadgets. She has placed the entertainment items as far from Suzu’s crash pad as is reasonable, though it’s not like we’re going to wake her up. She uses the keys Ben sent up to break the tape on the bottom of the box and folds it, laying it across two bundles of straw. After testing the strength of the center, she rotates the box so the fold runs across the bales rather than between them. This seems to pass her tests. “Mum’s right, it’ll do for a table. Needs a little weight in the center though.” She puts the stereo there for now.

“I kind of feel like we’re camping or something.” As soon as I say it, Neko looks at me like I’ve grown a third arm.

“Have you ever been camping?”

“Uh… no, I suppose I haven’t.” I can hear Hanako trying not to laugh at my expense, and the doors open and close again. Abe comes through the trap door with extension cords – the thin, indoor kind – and a power strip. He drops them on the makeshift table. The heavy orange cord reaches that far, so Neko’s setup looks like it will probably work. I figure she wants the power strip first, so I go ahead and set that up, running the two thin brown cords off of it.

“Alright, this’ll mostly work,” Neko says with a nod. “I’ll have to move the coffeemaker, since I don’t want to run a heating element off one of these dinky cords. Hey…” She looks around the loft. “Hanako, would you hang these up near the trap door? Last thing we need is for them to disappear if someone needs a bathroom break.” She tosses the keys to Hanako’s feet, rather than making her catch them.

“Hey Hisao, if you’re not busy…” Abe beckons me over. He has laid out one of the bedrolls on top of some straw supports, and wants my help lifting Suzu onto it. He’s smaller than me, but also accustomed to lifting, so I’m relieved when he hooks her under the arms and leaves me to take her feet. She doesn’t weigh a lot, but definitely has that ‘dead weight’ sort of feel that makes her seem heavier than she is. He unfolds a sheet over her and gives her a kiss on the cheek.

Neko has apparently raided the cooler already, as she opens a jar of olives, spears one with a plastic spike, and pops it in her mouth, then pours half-cups of what looks like orange juice, topping each one off with Grey Goose. “We should play Asshole. For drinks, of course.” That would explain why she isn’t just pouring martinis – a game of Asshole for martinis would last maybe two hands.

“What do you mean ‘for drinks?’” Abe wants to know.

“It means that as various things happen in the game, people have to take a drink. Like if someone plays a two, they get to make someone drink. Every time you end up the Omega in a hand, you have to take a drink. If you tell someone to drink, and they don’t actually have to, then you drink. That’s usually how the game starts, and each time we appoint a new Chief Asshole, they make up a new rule – which could be to cancel an old rule, if they want.”

Hanako is already on her feet, and takes a seat beside the table. Neko takes the stereo away and puts down the bottles of Grey Goose and juice instead to keep the box lying flat, then pushes one cup to each side of the table.

Abe has the case of discs, and is flipping through it. “What do we want to listen to?”

“Doesn’t really matter, as long as it keeps us awake rather than putting us to sleep,” Neko opines, “unless someone else has a request?”

“I don’t think dad or I own anything that will produce sleep, and this is our CD case.” He selects something, and slides it into the tray. Whatever it is, it’s fast, aggressive, and extremely metal, but it’s not comprehensible – oh wait, I think I understood three words. «Skin her alive.» Lovely.

“Rock on, dude.” Neko gives him a fist-bump as Hanako shuffles cards, sets them for the player on her right (Neko) to cut, and deals.

“Who h-has the three of c-clubs?” Abe holds it up. “Y-you lead.”

Abe leads a four-card run, all in spades. Yeah, he’s played this game before.

Neko plays the first two, and makes Abe take a drink. Hanako plays the second two, and makes me drink. With his two twos, Abe makes Neko drink twice, and also wins the hand. He sits back thinking of his new rule while the rest of us finish the hand. Hanako goes out next, and I manage to finish up while Neko has one card left. Neko drinks, then we rearrange ourselves in the order we went out, with Abe staying where he is.

“So what’s your new drinking rule?” Neko asks, pen in hand.

“Anyone who swears has to drink, with the exception of the name of the game.”

“You’re an asshole,” she replies, but writes this on the ‘table.’

“No, I’m Chief Asshole.” They both stick their tongues out at one another.

She spreads the cards out all over the table, and we all help push them around since this is how she shuffles, and the Omega always deals. Although she can’t perform a conventional shuffle with one hand, she can deal cards just fine, and thumbs them off the top of the pack one at a time as quickly as anyone.

As Hanako is Vice-Asshole, and I finished next to last, she gets my best card. I pass her my only two, and she passes me a four. Neko gives her two best cards to Abe, and receives his two worst, then leads three threes, presumably hoping nobody plays to it and she gets to lead again, but I drop three fours on it.

“You son of a bitch.”

Abe looks at her. “You swore.”

“No I didn’t, ‘bitch’ isn’t a swear word,” she answers. “Now drink.”

Hanako takes a turn at rules-lawyering. “H-he didn’t t-tell you to d-drink, so you can’t m-make him. Now you h-have to.”

“Son of a bitch.”

It becomes apparent that Abe and Neko are targeting each other with their drinking calls, and Hanako is targeting me, so I target her back. She wins the hand though, and becomes the new Chief Asshole, Abe finishing second and falling to Vice-Asshole.

Neko’s waiting with pen in hand again. “What’s your new rule?”

“Every hand, b-before we get any c-cards, w-we all d-drink.”

“Yeah! Good rule!” Abe offers.

“And the Omega…”

“Drinks t-twice, once under the old r-rule and once under m-mine.”

“Son of a bitch.”


Nobody really wins or loses at Asshole, but Hanako played the game best and made the bulk of the rules. One of them was clearly aimed at Neko and me – you must address everyone by name, no ‘dear’ or ‘sweetie’ or ‘honey’ or ‘hey you’. Otherwise, drink. Still, all four of us took our turns as Omega, writing the Asshole’s new rule on the table.

During one hand (which we then decide will be the last), Abe stumbles to the edge of the loft and pukes over the side.

“Was that really necessary?” Neko asks. “We’ve got buckets.”

“Yeah? Down there, I’ve got a hose and a drain.” I guess even drunk, he knows better than to make extra work for himself.

Neko pours him a cup of ginger ale. “Here, swish and spit, then drink the rest. You’ll feel better.”

“Thanks.” He takes it, and does as instructed before heading down the ladder to clean up after himself.

Neko smacks me on the arm. “You were supposed to help me make him drink.”

I smack her exactly the same way. “You might have shared that little tidbit with Hanako, she kept making me drink. I was just defending myself. B’sides, I think he got plenny.” And so did I.

Hanako is giggling and trying to hide it with her hand. “You two are l-like an old m-married couple already.”

“Jes’ wait’ll we move in together. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” Neko waves the Grey Goose around before pouring herself what little remains in the bottle.

“And I take umbrage to the word old.” I try my best to look offended, but it just causes more giggles. “I mean, we still fuck.”

Hanako gasps, but Neko takes the ball and runs. “Nah she’s right. Sometimes we have to stop halfway so you can take a heart pill.”

That’s only half funny, and reminds me that I still need to take tonight’s dose, which is in the house. “I’ll be back.” I stumble toward the trapdoor and grab the keys on the way out.

I overhear, “D-do you think you just p-pissed him off?”

“Nah,” Neko replies, making no effort whatsoever to keep her voice down. “I bet his ol’ man prostate is swellin’ up and he gotta pee.”

I flip her the bird just before vanishing down the ladder. It turns out I didn’t need the keys, since Sally and Miki are still up. I can see Miki watching me fail to walk in a straight line, with a martini in her own hand. “Oh yeah, we just finished the bottle. We’ve been playing Asshole. I need my pills.” And I might as well pee while I’m in here, Neko’s joke aside.

When I get done taking care of both of those needs, I stumble back out of Neko’s bathroom to find Sally waiting for me in the kitchen. She puts an arm around me. “Did you take good care of Abe?”

“Yeah, such good care, he «chundered».” She laughs – whether at the event or my Australian description or both, I don’t know.

“You’ve still got mixers up there, right?” She hands me a large bottle of whiskey, and a bag full of something not very heavy, and swats me on the backside as I head out.
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) ON HIATUS

Post by NekoDude »


Neko slides up silently behind my shoulder and whispers to me. “I’ve seen the way you look at him, and I know what it means.”

I take a jump step sideways, without meaning to. Fuck fuckity fuck. I am so busted. “I’m s-s-s…”

“Oh relax.” She’s not whispering any more, but she’s not yelling either. “I’m not mad at you. But you should know, there’s someone who looks at you that way.” She wanders off.

What. I replay the night in my mind. Hisao himself? Yeah he looks at me like… like a normal girl, but I don’t think that’s what she means. Abe? He seems totally devoted to Suzu, and if I understood Neko’s hints correctly, they’re lovers as well. Who else could she be talking about? Oh. The one I’ve been trying to avoid. I knew that already, thanks. If I’d known she would be here, or seen her behind the wheel, I wouldn’t have gotten in that car, but so far it has worked out alright. I could definitely use another drink though.

I hear the stable doors open and close, then the squeak of the hinges of the trapdoor. Oh fuck no, he isn’t carrying what I think he’s carrying, is he? As he gets closer, I see my fears are confirmed.

Neko plucks the large bottle of Suntory Red out of Hisao’s hand. “Please tell me you didn’t pick this.”

“I didn’t, yer Mum gave it to me on the way out.”

Neko sighs. “I guess she figures we can’t taste the difference anymore.” She opens the bottle and pours herself a shot, then fills the rest of the cup with ginger ale. She tastes it and starts nodding. “She may be right.” She downs the rest of the contents.

Abe is sitting on the edge of the bedroll where Suzu has slept through our entire party. “I think I’ve had enough. I’m ready to crash.”

“Oh no, you don’t want to do that.” Neko thrusts another cup into his hand. “It’s just ginger ale. You need to stay awake a while, and keep drinking water and other fluids, otherwise you are going to hate life in the morning. Trust me.”

I second this. “Trust her, b-but if you ask m-me, salt helps too.” I hold up an open bag of shrimp chips and rattle it.

“It couldn’t hurt.” He slowly gets to his feet and retrieves the munchies before returning to his place at bedside.

I pour myself a double and top it off with Coke. I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one with a hangover, and it doesn’t seem like anyone will mind. I have to make up for lost time anyhow, since I was ‘winning’ at cards.

“Salt, you say?” Hisao is holding up a bag full of something, and reaches into it and pulls out… cup noodles!

“Sometimes Mum’s more awesome than I give her credit for.” Neko starts putting water in the coffeemaker to make the noodles with. “Did she give you…”

Hisao holds up a fistful of disposable chopsticks.

“...never mind. I should have realized she’s no stranger to hangovers or their prevention.”

“She may have her own to deal with. She smelled like a giant martini olive.” Hisao smiles at the realization that tonight, we and the ‘grownups’ are playing the same game. He sets down the bag and approaches, cup in hand, and I hand him the bottle. I’d rather let him decide how much to drink now, since I was deciding for him earlier. He pours himself about what I poured myself, but uses ginger ale as his mixer.

Neko takes the partially filled coffeepot and uses it to start one serving of cup noodles. Once she has it back on the base, the machine burbles and belches back into life. She hands the cup to Abe, followed by a pair of chopsticks. “You’re ready to crash out, and we can wait a few more minutes.”

“Umm…” That would be Hisao, who is still nearby. “This shit’s pretty nasty. Not at all like the Grey Goose.”

I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks so.

“Yeah, well… the Goose costs about four times as much, and cheap booze is cheap for a reason. That’s why I wanted to know who chose it. I didn’t know we even kept this paint thinner in the house.” Neko turns to Abe again. “Were there any movies in that disc case?”

“No, just mine and dad’s music, and some games stuck in the back.”

“Shit, looks like I have to go in the house. ‘Sokay, gotta pee anyhow. Gimme that, I’m trading it in.” She grabs the bottle and heads down the ladder, then I hear the doors slam a bit.

There’s enough water in the coffeepot to start a second cup noodle, so Hisao does just that. I follow him over that way while Abe slurps at his to see if it’s cool enough yet.

“H-Hisao…” As soon as he has the coffeepot back on the base, he turns and looks at me. His eyes seem to be inviting me to continue speaking, but I don’t get the feeling he’s looking at me in that way. “N-Neko said something kinda f-funny to me a little while ago.” I leave out the part about her catching me checking him out. “She s-said there’s someone l-looking at me… ‘that way.’”

“Yeah?” At first he looks a bit puzzled, then he smiles a bit, then he looks almost angry. “I suppose you want my opinion on who that might be.”

“Y-yes.” I can’t maintain eye contact any longer.

“The most obvious would be Miki of course, but she knows what happened last year – not from me, mind you.” Oh… that changes things. “And why would she bother telling you if her ex-girlfriend was checking you out? It’s not like it would come as any kind of surprise to you. I only see two possibilities, really. One, I suppose, is her Mum.” What. “I don’t think you’re her type though.” He must read the look on my face. “You know she’s banging Junpei, right? Friend of Miki’s, the stoner in 3-4 with epilepsy? So no, I don’t think it’d be her. That leaves one other option.”

Neko’s mother is… involved with a Yamaku student? Openly? It takes me a moment to come up with something to say in response, and even when I do, it’s incredibly lame. “Oh?” I feel a breeze, and hear the doors close again.

“And here she comes now.”

“Hey, someone come help me,” Neko calls out. “I can’t climb and carry three bottles of wine at the same time.”

He raises his eyebrows and gives me a grin, then heads for the ladder.


Two of those three bottles of wine later, Neko pauses whatever it is we were watching. “Are either of you actually watching this?”

“Not me.”

I shake my head. “The sc-screen is too small and my v-vision too blurry.”

“Good, it’s not just me then. It’s been a hell of a day. I dunno about you, but I could really use a shower. You?” She looked at both of us!

“Actually, yeah. I could use a change of clothes too.”

“I’ll j-just go when you c-come back.”

“Nah, there’s enough hot water to run two at once, and it won’t wake anyone up if you take the upstairs bathroom… unless you want to share.” She winked at me! “Come on, we’ll grab some of the big beach towels on the way in.”

Never in a million years could I accept the offer being dangled in front of me, no matter how appealing… but a shower all to myself? I can do that. I wonder if they have the handheld shower heads here.

We enter through the laundry room and grab large, fluffy towels as promised. As we walk down the hall, Neko holds her finger to her lips for silence. She slowly opens a door and peers inside, then suddenly relaxes. “Would you look at that,” she whispers. “Miki must have already gone wandering. There are only two people sleeping in the house tonight other than her so… that’ll be interesting.”

Hisao nudges Neko. “Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?”

“I think so, Brain, but we really do need that shower first. At least we know we won’t wake her up.” Neko turns to me. “Take the keys, we’ll be the last ones out.”

Gee, I wonder why. At least I won’t have to listen to them. Why am I mildly disappointed at this realization? The showers are probably the best idea since we started drinking, and I don’t stop until I feel the water starting to cool off.

On the way back out, I put an ear to the door for just a moment.

Heh, she squeaks.


I’m being shaken awake some time before dawn. I crack open one eye to see Abe peering down at me. “Hey, I need you to take watch, I have to umm… clean up after the horses.”

Yeah, I can tell. At least we have air freshener.


“I d-do need to get b-back to the school to meet L-Lilly.” And Akira.

“When is she coming back?”

I show Neko the text message from Akira, with all of the flight information. She reads it, then takes a few seconds to think about all of it. “So, somewhere around three, three-thirty tomorrow?” I nod. “Well it’s up to you, you could check with Ben to see if he’s going out there soonish, or in the morning. I don’t think Mum’s fit to drive, and, well, neither is the other driver, even if you were on better terms. If nothing else, you can borrow one of the new bikes, Mum bought two more. I think Junpei may have one, but that would still leave one available, and we could figure out how to get it back here later. So, don’t panic. It shouldn’t rain any more – but then, we didn’t think it would rain yesterday either.”

“D-do you think we can f-find out if the p-power is back on?” I’d hate to be stuck in the conditions that made us flee in the first place.

“Hmm.” She pulls out her phone and makes a call, then taps in a long sequence – one like Kenji did when he took control of the system. “I can hear people in the library, so I’d say it’s a pretty good bet the power is on.”

“WAH!” A voice cries out from a few meters away. I jump, Neko hops, and we both swivel to look at Suzu, sitting upright and rubbing her eyes.

“Speaking of the power being back on, welcome back to the land of the living. Let me get you something to drink.” Neko walks off to the cooler on the other end of the loft, leaving me to keep watch until she returns with a bottle of orange juice and a paper cup. She hands me the cup and pours, and I hand the filled cup to Suzu. “You’re in the same place you fell asleep, we just brought the party to you.”


“ tending the horses. He’s probably right below us.” She walks to the edge of the loft and whistles. “Abe, are you down there?”

We see him walk in the back doors with a push broom. “I hear you, what’s going on?”

“Someone wants to see you.”

It takes a second for this to register, but once it does, he drops the broom and runs to the ladder. He pops his head up through the trapdoor, and Suzu waves weakly at him, half covered by a blanket and cup still in hand. He hurries across to sit by her.

“How are you feeling?”

“Like I got hit by a truck.” She sorta looks like it too.

“Welcome to the club,” retorts Neko, miming a drinking motion. “We’ve all been up here, watching over you and keeping ourselves amused, for… oh, about twenty-one hours now.”

“So it’s…”

“Sunday afternoon, and tomorrow is a holiday. I’m sure you have several things on your mind right now, where would you like to start? Food? More fluids? A shower? Your prescription?”

Suzu’s eyes shift back and forth, as if trying to hack a path through mental cobwebs. “Umm… actually, I have to pee.”

“That was my next guess,” Neko mumbles.

“Are you good to get yourself down from here?” Abe asks.

She gets to her feet, hands the empty cup back to me with a small smile, and takes a few tentative steps. “Uh, yeah, I think I can get down from here.” Abe descends first, presumably to be in a position to catch her if she stumbles.

Once she’s gone, I turn to Neko. “She d-didn’t look very g-good.”

“No, but I don’t suppose we would either if we were prone to crashing in unlikely places for twenty hours at a stretch. It should wash off. I’m more worried about what’s eating her on the inside.

You don’t have to ask twice.
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) ON HIATUS

Post by NekoDude »


“Yes, Kat, you can have a minute of my time, even this week, but do try to stay on point. I’ve already had a little sit-down with Suzu, and her ‘prescription’ regimen has already started. Hold out your hand.” I pour some innocuous herbal supplements from an orange bottle. “They look just like this. They’re easy to take apart, add a little something to, and put back together. I’ll give you the plan before I go, I’ll probably be adjusting it right up to the end. I’ve given this a lot of consideration, and I don’t think Hisao is a good choice to be helping you out on this. Not that I don’t trust him or his capabilities, it’s just that… well, amphetamines and heart conditions don’t play real nicely together. I don’t want him ingesting any, even just by breathing in airborne powders.” I may need him someday. “You’re probably going to be on your own for this, a tiny bit won’t kill you.”

“Umm… well, Abe kinda knows what’s going on with her. He doesn’t know the source. We could probably get him to help with the rationing, if I make her pills and explain that she can’t just stop.”

“Do you even have to explain that much? I mean they are going to look and smell like the ephedra pills you start with.” I signal that she should just throw away the capsules in her hand rather than trying to put them back in the bottle. “Once they’ve been in your hand, they get sticky, and can even melt. Don’t handle them until you’re ready to use them.”

“So you don’t mind if I experiment a little on these, to see how I’m going to get them open? I mean, what seems dead simple for you takes a bit of advance planning for me. And yes, I think it’s necessary, if only to make sure he doesn’t eat them himself, thinking they’re just herbals.”

“Oh, by all means, do what you want with those. If you feel you need practice with the tools, that’s fine too.” I place a small plastic balance scale on the edge of the desk. “It looks simple, and it is, but it’s sensitive to within a quarter of a milligram. You won’t need to be anywhere near that precise though. Give or take two is just fine for what we’re doing. Alright, if you think he needs to know, and can handle it… you know him better than I do.” And he trusts you a lot more.

“That’s only half why I wanted to talk to you though. Mum, we need to be watching her very carefully. It sounds like she’s having nightmares bad enough that she refuses to sleep until it reaches up and grabs her, wherever she may be. I fear yesterday’s incident may be the rule, and not the exception.”

“That’s a problem. Trying to taper her off may aggravate this. Then again, it may not. You have my permission to make those decisions in my absence. Don’t ever increase her ration, but you have the power to stop decreasing the strength of the pills if you think the situation calls for it. Worst case scenario, she’s about the same when I come back as she is now. That’s not good, I’d really like to get her close to cleaned up before classes resume, but it’s workable.I don’t think I need to explain why we can’t just send her to rehab. The questions would be extremely inconvenient. “Watch her coffee intake. If it spikes, we may be trying to taper her off too fast.”

“Are you kidding, Mum? She practically chews coffee beans for breakfast even now. How would I know the difference? When she starts snorting the grounds directly?”

“Point taken, I guess. You can also give her some of the ephedra pills without doctoring them. They’ll still do something. If we ship her back to school addicted to ephedra, well, we can let their medical staff deal with that.” You drink a lot of coffee for a teenager, and so do your friends. I’m sure they’re used to dealing with addictions to legal stimulants.
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) ON HIATUS

Post by NekoDude »


“When you finish this frame, could I get your help with something?” I know Hanako has money riding on it, however little it might be. The frames between these two have been notable for their low stakes. I guess Suzu isn’t too confident about her dominance. She doesn’t usually play for coins.

“S-sure.” She keeps her eye on me only long enough to confirm that I heard her before returning her attention to her opponent’s shot, which barely grazes the cluster of reds, bounces off the top rail, and comes to rest against the back side of the cluster. Suzu leans in for a closer look and announces ‘touching’ before conceding the table.

Well if it’s gonna be a Safety Dance, I’m not going to hang around. They bore me to tears. I head back down the stairs. She follows surprisingly quickly, catching me sneaking half a cookie out of the back of the fridge.

“Th-that looks good, could I t-try?”

“It isn’t, and you probably don’t want one. Here.” I break off a less-than-bite-size piece for her. The look on her face confirms that she too thinks they taste funny. “I told you so. I’ll explain later, but right now, I need your help selecting a wine for tonight’s dinner.”

I lead her down through the concealed door to the wine cellar, and snap on the display. Turning up the volume, I select camera sixteen and back up a few minutes. I hit play, and my own voice emerges from the speaker (funny how I don’t sound anything like that).

“When you finish this frame, could I get your help with something?”


There is a slight click, then Suzu’s voice. “Touching.”

I wipe the cookie crumbs from my hand, then hit stop and shut off the monitor.

“There are only two places in this house that aren’t bugged. You’re standing in one of them, and Mum’s room is the other. There is no camera in the loft, at least not yet, but there are microphones in the stable. Catch my drift?”

“I-I… yes.” Whatever she started to say, she obviously thought better of it.

“If you’re worried about the bathrooms, don’t be. The cameras cut out when all doors are closed, though the audio still runs. I guess even the people who lived here before we bought it didn’t want to see that. If you want to have a private talk, go for a walk. Once you’re more than oh, twenty meters or so from the house or any buildings, there’s nothing that can hear you. See you, yes, but not hear you. Now…” I gesture at the wine rack. “...pick a white that you think will go with grilled salmon and asparagus.”

“Y-you want something d-dry, to bring out the bittersweet in the a-asparagus, which can m-make some wines taste… green.” She pulls out bottles, reads them, and puts them back. Finally she finds something she finds appropriate and holds it out for me, as if seeking my approval.

“I have no idea what green tastes like. That sounds like something Rin might say. Anyhow, I trust your choice, that’s why you’re down here. Just make sure we have two of it, or it’s back to the drawing board. We have to serve six – Suzu and Abe will almost undoubtedly drink sangria no matter what we eat.”

She places the first bottle on the floor and resumes the search, soon selecting a second bottle. “N-not exactly the same, but I c-couldn’t tell you the difference without tasting b-both.”

“I doubt I could tell you the difference even if I did taste both. We’ll take ‘em.” We head back up the stairs. “How did you finish that frame so quickly, anyhow? It looked to be a stalemate.”

“It w-was. We decided to r-re-rack, so I came down.”

“How are you doing against her, anyhow?” I open the door again, making sure to keep us back far enough to let it pass. The hydraulics will literally eat someone and not even notice, if given the opportunity.

She holds up a single 500 yen coin.

“That good, huh. I can see why she doesn’t want to go a thousand or two a frame against you like she usually charges for lessons. You know, she was starting to lose interest until you came along. She can only stay focused on making lunch money for so long. Maybe next time we can see if you’re a match for her at the poker table as well.” I wave her through the opening before telling it to close again.

“Y-you play poker here?” I can see the spark of interest.

“And mah jongg for money, and sometimes backgammon. Suzu doesn’t always win… but she almost never loses. About the only thing we haven’t bet on yet is our horses, and that’s only because we don’t have a track.”

She places the bottles in the top rack of the fridge.

“Thanks for the help. I know just enough to serve white wine cold, so we needed to choose it early enough to let it chill. Shall we go for a walk?”

“We… uhh, y-yeah.” You’re learning already. We head out through the laundry room. Rain boots are no longer necessary as long as we watch our step.

I wait until we’re a safe distance from the house. “I said I’d explain the cookies, and maybe a few other things could use some clearing up as well. I didn’t want to linger in the cellar, since we could only explain so much time as looking for wine. The cookie tasted odd, and I gave you such a tiny piece, because they’re made with some… herbal ingredients, ones I’ve been informed you are not fond of.”

“That… is what g-green tastes like.”

I just nod. That description makes as much sense as any. “Second thing, don’t trust my Mum. If anything she says sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Third, you must have noticed we didn’t involve Miki in the watch over Suzu in any way. That would be because this entire mess is her fault. She’s the one who thought it would be a good idea to give amphetamines to a narcoleptic.” This stops her dead in her tracks, but I figured it might. “This has been going on for about a week and a half, and we’re trying to slowly get her back off of them. Now you can see why we thought it best to deal with the matter quietly. It still doesn’t explain why she’s so eager to avoid sleeping at any cost.”

“Yeah. I c-can’t help you with that… y-yet.”

I tip my head and take a step, and she resumes walking alongside me. “I have so much to explain, and not nearly enough time to do it right now – but as you have probably guessed from the cookie that tasted like green, one of the reasons Miki and I got along for as long as we did is that we share some of the same tastes in um, fun stuff. Not everything though, we never got up to the shenanigans she’s pulled with Suzu. You may catch me misbehaving again. Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to get involved. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. It isn’t for everyone, but where I grew up, it’s No Big Deal.”

She seems to be inspecting the ground directly in front of her as she walks, so I can see that I shouldn’t push too much further on this point right now.

“I mean, you know where I’m from, don’t you? «I reckon my accent was a dead giveaway, right?» Made in Japan, but programmed in Australia.”

“«I knew it wasn’t B-British or Am-American or… lots of p-places. I was kind of thinking New Zealand though.»” Interesting, she seems to have a vaguely Gaelic accent.

“«Oi! I’m not a bloody Kiwi!» Don’t think you can use English as a secret code though. Everybody here right now is fluent, or well on their way to it. Hisao’s brain overheats when he tries for too long, but even he will get most of what is said. And if you speak Spanish, don’t try that either, because I don’t speak it and several of them do, including Mum and our mutual ex-girlfriend.” We have walked about as far as we can in this direction without risking attack by Rodents of Unusual Size, so I turn us back toward the house. “Will you need the bicycle?”

She shakes her head. “N-no, Ben said he has to sh-shop for some food items in the m-morning and can take me.”

“Good, at least I can cross that off my worry list. Expect to be up early though, like it was a school day. He likes to get to the markets before they’re picked over and the fish start to smell funny.” We walk in silence for a bit as the sky blazes pink, then crimson.

“Neko… h-how can you say you l-look at me that way when you s-seem so happy with Hisao?” So she’s sure I meant me.

“Do you mean… how can I be attracted to both boys and girls? I don’t know how these things…” I stop when I see her shaking her head.

“N-no, not that.” Good, I don’t have to explain bisexuality… to a fellow bisexual. Even Miki has a hard time wrapping her head around it. “I m-mean, how can you be l-looking if you are al-already in love?”

Oh. This could be even more awkward… or not. “Just like a lot of people seem to think I should either be into boys or girls… what people have grown up believing, it ain’t necessarily so. Have you ever heard of ‘polyamory?’ In a nutshell, it’s the idea that as long as everyone is on board, love doesn’t divide… it multiplies.”
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) ON HIATUS

Post by NekoDude »


«In a world of lovers
We don't love each other much
Fact is, we're too busy
To love each other much»

“And who is this?” Emi points at the photo in front of her.

“That would be Julia’s sister, Linda. I only ever met her once, at the wedding. She really doesn’t care much for Japan.” Or for me.

“And she’s still alive?”

“Last I heard, yes… but it’s not like I’ve kept up with that family, not after the way they burned the bridge.” Would you turn down the jealousy a little bit? I swear, if I were divorced and not widowed, you’d be putting out a contract on my ex. Let’s change the subject. “Hey… speaking of weddings and photographs, has your mother chosen a photographer yet?”

“Why, are you volunteering?”

I shake my head, but she kinda has a point. We’re both up to the task. “I thought you should volunteer. Any equipment we lack can be rented. I can back you up, but frankly, you’re better at it than I am. You’ll probably have an easier time getting access too.”

“Mmm, it’s an appealing idea, but I probably can’t. I’m pretty sure I’ll be one of the bridesmaids.”

Oh yeah, I should have thought of that. “Hmm, maybe we go with your plan then. I’d shoot the actual wedding, and you’d be free outside of that to take the more interesting pictures, behind the scenes. I just think she’s wasting an opportunity, a literal once-in-a-lifetime chance, if she doesn’t put a camera in your hands.”

“Are you going to be mad at me if I tell you I’d rather shoot with something other than your Leica? It was the right tool for the job at the club, but there are better choices for a wedding.”

“Not mad at all. I mean… I’ve gotta shoot with something, right?” And she’s right, there are better options for weddings, especially in the digital realm. “Film or digital?”

“That’s not really my call. Chances are it’ll be film though, knowing my mom. She likes physical things like negatives over bits in a machine.”

“I suppose it doesn’t really matter, they’ve pretty much figured out how to do near-perfect transfers in both directions. She can have her negatives, or in the case of transfers, probably slides.” Most of the time, when people transfer to film, it’s so they can project it.

“We can pitch the idea when we visit. I doubt she’s going to pick someone between now and then.” She gets up for more coffee, and I follow.

“This visit… I’m not going to be able to stay the whole time. Unless I get a distress call, we should be able to head out there that Friday afternoon, and I can stay for Tanabata, but stupid as it sounds, they’re going to want me back in the office on Thursday and Friday. Since our next show got bumped out another week, I’d come back out for the weekend, then bring you back. That really just means you’d have to do without me a day and a half.”

“What if I still need last-minute practice on my song?”

If it comes down to that, you’re already screwed. “I have already recorded a backing track for you to practice with. Since it calls for a capo, it is also easy for me to slide it up or down, or get rid of it entirely. So, if your vocal coach thinks it would be good, you can sing it a little higher or lower and I won’t have to do much adjusting at all.” I’ll let her propose it, I’m not really sure what would be best for you. A little lower would probably help keep you from coming up flat at the top end of the range, but a little higher would be better suited to the tone of your voice. If you could sing, I’d go with the latter option.

“Sliding up and down sounds like an awesome idea.” She starts to unbutton my pants.

«All you ever think about is sex
All you ever think about exclusively
All you ever think about is sex
Alright with me»
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) ON HIATUS

Post by NekoDude »


She spots us before I spot her. I suppose the Evo is pretty easy to pick out, especially when traffic to and from the school is damn near zero. I say nothing to Lilly as I fetch the bags from the trunk. Why spoil the surprise? I give Hanako the signal to be quiet to maintain the suspense just a little longer.

“Hmm, they don’t seem to have bellhop service here. What kind of top-tier facility doesn’t have bellhops? It looks like we’re stuck carrying our own bags, Lils.”

“I’m going to need to keep one hand free, or you’re going to have to guide me, and I have two bags in addition to whatever you’re carrying at the moment.”

“I-I can carry a bag.”

“Hanako! I’ve missed you!” My sister aims an embrace in the direction of the voice, and Hanako steps just enough to be in the right place – noticeably to Lilly’s left side.

“And I’ve missed y-you…”

I just stand and watch for a bit. They would have been so damn cute together, if only my sister swung that way… but she doesn’t, and I do, so… “Fine, don’t even say hello to me.” I give her a wink just in case she missed the joke, before embracing both of them. “Let’s get these bags inside, then we can go for something better than airline food.” Actually, the airline food wasn’t bad, just boring – and they served both of us booze on the flights. Before the trip started, I hadn’t even thought about the fact that Lils is old enough to drink legally on international flights now… and on the distillery tours we took. Those were fun days.

We make small talk along the way, each of us carrying one bag and guiding. At Lilly’s room, she feels through the keys on her chain – all two of them – before both of them remember Hanako has the one she needs. There was no sense in flying with it. I go with Hanako next door to fetch the key, and notice that the fridge we snuck out has been returned. Good, at least I don’t have to worry about that. I also notice cup noodle containers in her trash.

“Hey, now that we’re back, maybe you’ll start eating real food again, instead of that instant crap.”

“Oh dear,” Lilly chimes in as she gets the door open, “I hope you didn’t blow the entire budget on instant noodles.”

“N-no. I really d-didn’t buy much while you were g-gone.”

“Well I didn’t intend for you to starve, either. Has the cafeteria magically gotten better in my absence?”

“N-no… well, maybe. The c-curry was actually n-not bad.”

“Hmm, maybe there is hope for them yet. Shall we go for the usual?”

Ugh, no. I said I wanted something better than airline food. “I was kind of hoping now that we’re home, we could do something fun, like maybe karaoke?”

Hanako heads for the door. “I’ll n-need something warmer.”

“So will I,” Lilly replies before putting her suitcase on the bed and unlocking it. “This will probably take me a minute or two. I packed for efficiency, not convenience.”

I don’t really need to watch her go through her clothing, even if we did make a point of flying with clean laundry, so I decide to follow Hanako back to her room. As I expected, her idea of ‘something warmer’ is a denim jacket and a beret. I wasn’t expecting another kiss, although I suppose I should have been. I whisper, “Have you already had a bit to drink? Because we have, although I had to sober up to drive.” I’d dare say Lilly’s opinion of flying is considerably better than it was before we left.

“N-no... not today.” Hmm, that’s a rather specific denial. It’s also a good sign. I no longer have to wonder if the first kiss was just alcohol doing the talking.

“We’ll do a bit of celebrating when we get back here, then.”


“Curry? Didn’t you get enough of that in the UK?” For all the mock complaining, I notice she’s still eating it.

“It’s better here, don’t you think? It’s funny, considering it’s made by people who grew up with it either way, but maybe they’re afraid to spice it properly for the Poms.” If the curry is too spicy for her, just wait till she gets to the vindaloo. Indian food may look scary, and their beer is scary, but nobody could ever say they make either one boring.

“I r-rather like it,” Hanako tosses out between bites. “It’s fearless. No c-compromises. For a nation of people c-constantly in a h-hurry, we spend a lot of time making our food l-look good.”

“I hope you aren’t getting ideas again. Or if you are, remind me to have milk ready.” If my sister was capable of giving meaningful glances, that’s probably what she would be doing right now.

“Hey, s-some people like my e-experiments,” Hanako mutters.

Some people? “So you’ve been making friends while we were gone, huh? I noticed the fridge was gone, and I figure you had help returning it.”

“Y-yeah… I’ve actually d-done some cooking for o-other p-people in the last week. I kept Hisao from burning his p-pot stickers, my musubi was r-rather popular, and I helped Ben make C-Cuban food…”

Lilly freezes. “Who’s Ben?”

“Oh… he may become the n-new head chef at the Shanghai.”

“Wait, I haven’t heard anything about the Shanghai looking for a new head chef. I certainly haven’t heard about them serving Cuban food.” Lilly still hasn’t moved anything but her mouth since she froze in place.

“Well… I h-heard the investors are t-tired of losing m-money every m-month…”

Huh. We are those investors, and I haven’t heard anything about this either. If someone has a plan to make the place profitable though… “They are. Or rather, we are. If you’re so connected to the place, then I’m sure you know who I mean by we. If someone has a viable plan for getting the place to turn a profit, then we are all ears.”

“H-his proposal is being s-sponsored by the Rogers’...”

“Huh, that’s a name I hadn’t heard in a while.” And never before in a positive light. “I’d be willing to hear it on the behalf of our company though. I mean, if it makes money for them, then it makes money for us too, so I suppose that makes us allies for once.”

“Hanako…” Oh shit, I know that tone of voice. “You haven’t by chance been hanging out with Hisao and that crazy girlfriend of his, have you?”

“Sh-she’s not… okay, I suppose she is a l-little bit crazy.”

That’s it. I’m never leaving Japan again. I go away for two weeks, and now Hanako is hanging out with possibly the one person at Yamaku that bothers Lilly more than Shizune does. I don’t get it exactly – I mean certainly there’s a rivalry here, but I can’t think of anything personal that has happened between Lilly and the Rogers family. I wonder if she can be any more polite about her misgivings when talking to Hanako than she is when talking to me.

“You know she cheated on Miki to get Hisao, don’t you? That’s… not very nice.” ‘Not very nice’ is Lilly-speak for ‘fucked up,’ so now maybe I have some idea what the problem between them is.

“And Miki ch-cheated on Neko. M-more than once.”

“Oh… and I suppose you know all about this because…” She lets her voice trail off.

“...Because she c-came after m-me.

I didn’t think it was possible to dumbfound my sister. She always has a response, even if it’s something absurdly polite. Instead we get this.

“Muh… muh… that evil little bitch.

Whoa. “Why don’t you try the shrimp vindaloo? It’s really good.” I’d like to get the food consumed so we can get to the karaoke bar before this scene goes completely into the shitter. Hanako spears one shrimp and places it on Lilly’s plate, then spears another for herself. Lilly, to her credit, finishes that one, but it takes a large pull off of my glass of Old Monk 10000 to stop the tears rolling down her face. Meanwhile, Hanako has the serving plate and is scraping half the contents onto her own plate.

No wonder Lilly is afraid of Hanako’s experiments.


«You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Any place is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we’ll make something
Me myself I got nothing to prove»

Sure I don’t have the greatest voice, and I don’t need to be told, but who else is going to kick off this party? Either I lead or they’ll spend the rest of the afternoon studying their song list. Lilly does have the disadvantage of having to pick something she has committed to memory, but at the same time, you’d think she’d know what that list is. It seems like once she hears something, it reminds her of something else, and she can finally make a decision – like now. Hanako helps with the machinery, and soon enough I hear the swirling of a harp.

«Amado Mio, love me forever
And let forever begin tonight
Amado Mio
When we’re together
I’m in a dream world
Of sweet delight»

When did she learn that one? It has to be what, fifty or sixty years old? It’s a cute song though, and it suits her voice well. I’m prepared to jump in with another song if Hanako needs more time to make up her mind, but it looks like she’s ready to go the instant we’re done applauding Lilly’s rather impressive effort.

Wait, I know this one from the guitar intro alone. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this was not it. Hanako stands on the little riser that passes for a stage, eyes closed, microphone at her side, looking very emo. At the last second, she brings the microphone up and sings very quietly, eyes still closed.

«When you were here before, couldn’t look you in the eye
You’re just like an angel, your skin makes me cry
You float like a feather in a beautiful world
I wish I was special
You’re so very special
But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here»

She continues with the eyes-closed emo posture, and I don’t think it’s for show. I think it’s actually hard for her to sing this song. She turns and fixes her gaze on me for a brief moment…

«I want you to notice when I'm not around
You’re so very special
I wish I was special»

My suspicions are confirmed. She’s trying valiantly not to cry, and losing the battle. This doesn’t seem to find its way into her voice though, and she belts out the climax of the song.

«She’s running out again
She’s running out
She run, run, run, run, run»

She drops to her knees with the final, sustained ‘run’. Dammit, now I’m crying too.

From this point on, the song gets increasingly quiet again, and she seems to become smaller with each line. By the time she breathes the final ‘I don’t belong here,’ she’s curled up with her knees under her chin.

It would be absolutely appropriate to burst into applause if this had been a show of some sort, but that was no act. Lilly sits bolt upright and unmoving with her hands folded in her lap, leaving it to me to make a move. I slowly get to my feet and take a seat on the edge of the riser. I take the microphone from Hanako’s hand and switch it off, then set it aside.

“I do notice, believe me. I spent a great deal of the past two weeks noticing that you weren’t around.” She’s still crying. “You are special. So fucking special.” That just gets her crying harder, and I put my arms around her and hold on until she stops. “Maybe we should call it a day and head back. I have something to show you just how special you are.”
Last edited by NekoDude on Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
Posts: 1353
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:20 pm
Location: Newark, OH

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) ON HIATUS

Post by bhtooefr »

I would just like to note that when I first saw this latest chapter, I got all of the feels.

To the point that now when I hear the song, I think of this chapter and tear up a little.
bhtooefr's one-shot and drabble thread
Enjoy The Silence - Sequel to All I Have (complete)
Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking zombies on this motherfucking forum!
User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) still posting.

Post by NekoDude »

I made some 3D Custom Girl pictures of Neko.

On to the next chapter.

«Missed the Saturday dance
Heard they crowded the floor
Couldn't bear it without you
Don't get around much anymore»

I don’t always like Akira’s musical tastes, but this works for me. I lean up between the seats so they can both hear me easily. “Who are we listening to? This is much less… noisy than some of your picks.”

“Mose Allison,” Akira tells us. “It’s the oldest thing I had in the disc changer, and I kinda wanted to set a mood of ‘old.’ You’ll see why soon enough.”

When we get back, Akira takes a moment to retrieve something out of the trunk, and we begin the walk from parking to the dorm.

Oh. I think I have a problem. “I just realized… I have my laundry all over my bed. It may take me a little while to tidy up.”

“Th-that’s alright, Lilly. M-my room is… presentable, I guess.” That does sidestep the other problem that had occurred to me as well.

“All I need from your room, Lils, is the bag I brought in earlier, and maybe your stereo, to play some of these discs.”

“I-I have a CD p-player.”

“Oh, problem solved then. I’ll just need the bag.”

Once I have my door open, I let Akira step in to retrieve the bag. I follow as soon as I feel her go past, and flip the lock lever on the inside so I won’t have to use the key again. I whisper to her, “Watch your step.”

She doesn’t say anything in response, but does give me a squeeze on the shoulder on her way out. I follow and close the door behind me. I can hear the clinking of glass as Akira unpacks the bag, and the solid clunk of bottles being placed on Hanako’s desk – four of them, to be exact. “I should probably rinse these out before we use them,” she announces. “I’ll be right back.”

“Would you be so kind as to tell me what is in those four bottles, Hanako?”

“«G-Glenmorangie, eighteen years old. Ar-Ardbeg P-Provenance 1974, t-twenty-four years old. The M-Macallan 1937, thirty-six years old. Johnnie Walker Blue Label.»” She didn’t trip over the last one at all, so she must be unfamiliar with some of these names. I understand. Up until about a week ago, so was I. Then again, she pronounced Glenmorangie correctly, with the stress on ‘more’ and rhyming it with ‘orangey.’

The door opens and closes again. “Did you miss me?”

I have to know. “Akira… where did you come up with these?

“The distillery tours, of course. You were there.”

“That’s not what I meant. None of these are cheap, and two of them are…”

“...Extravagant? Yes. That’s why we only get a tiny taste. They’re company property. That’s also why we’ll be doing this right. There’s a high degree of probability none of us will ever taste them again. We’ll start with a known quantity. I don’t usually favour blended whisky, but for this one, I’ll make an exception.” I can hear her break the seal and pour. She hands me a small snifter. “Smell it first, and try to identify what you pick up that way. Don’t tell us though, I don’t want us to influence each other. Then take a sip and pass it back.”

The first thing I notice is what isn’t there. Many of the whiskies we tasted on the tours, particularly the Islay tour, were heavy on the smoke – some on the nose, others on the tongue, and a few on both. This is quite light. It’s there, but it’s not dominant. I also smell spice, but not any specific one I can name. I take my sip, and feel the warmth. It’s not a burn, and the smoothness is almost buttery. The spice is there as well, and it seems to get sweeter the longer it lingers. I pass the snifter back and wait. I can hear first Hanako, then my sister going through the same routine.

“Next, I’ll add a little bit of water, and we’ll do it again.” I can hear her break the seal on a bottle of water, then she’s passing the snifter back to me. It doesn’t smell all that much different, but the taste is quite a bit sweeter, and what little smoke it had is now completely masked by the spice. It’s still quite good, but I think I liked it better before. Then it’s time to wait my turn again.

“Now it is time for music.” I can hear a disc being placed in the player, followed by a tinkling piano and a gravely but warm voice.

«Under a blanket of blue
Just you and I beneath the stars
Wrapped in the arms of sweet romance
The night is ours»

“Keep your impressions in your mind as we try the others. This was a blend – one of the finest, but still a blend. Expect a bit more… complexity from the others.” I can hear her cracking the seal on a second bottle. “This is why I went for the old music, to get you in the right frame of mind. I know the saying ‘they don’t make them like they used to’ is a cliché, but in this case it’s literally true.” Another snifter is pressed into my hand, and I lift it for a sniff.

Aha, there’s the smoke I was expecting. The spice scent is more easily identified as well, resembling a mixture of cinnamon and black pepper. I take a sip, and the smoke is somewhat less dominant. This one is distinctly fruity – sweet apples, or maybe pears – and finishes with the smoky taste returning. I almost don’t want to give this one up, but I do. At least I know I’ll get a second chance at it once the water is added.

The addition of the water does not change the character as much as the last one, but the sweetness is somewhat less syrupy and there is a vague hint of… roasted almonds. I’m not actually sure which way I liked it better, both were quite incredible.

The third one is also noticeably sweet, but it’s not as prominent. I get the impression of mint, hazelnut and chocolate. Water doesn’t change it much, except to mute the minty aspect. This one is definitely better neat, and it doesn’t seem as refined as either of the others. It’s still quite pleasant though.

“And now for the big finish.” I hear the fourth seal breaking, and the snifter is soon in my hand again. It smells like the sea. I am reminded of our recent trip to the shore, where it was chilly, loud, and salty, yet also immensely refreshing. The taste brings to mind toffee… if it was stored at the seashore for a couple decades. I can practically taste the memories of the people who made this.

“Uh, Lils…”

“Oh, yes, sorry.” I release my white-knuckle grip on the snifter. When it comes back to me, it’s clearly the same whisky, but has somehow lost something, as if I were waiting for something to wash back to shore but it never does. It makes me want to mourn the loss of… memories, I guess.

Now we can share our thoughts without fear of influencing each other. Lils, which one caught your fancy, and why?”

“The last one, without a doubt. It was exceptionally captivating and interesting. It was like I could somehow feel what the makers must have been feeling when they were putting it into the cask. It was… a mouthful of memories. Adding the water seemed to mellow it in a way that made me sad, as if I’d forgotten something I once loved.”

Hanako must have gotten some signal, and starts her review. “It’s r-really hard to s-say. I could s-see the merits in all of th-them. I think I liked the s-second one best though. I do agree with Lilly, the l-last one tasted like someone else’s m-memories.”

“And that’s exactly what I loved about it. I’m not saying you’re wrong for choosing the second one as your favorite. In fact, if the price tag is anything to go by, most people would agree with you. I just liked the taste of history. Ironically, your choice was the oldest by far, the 1937 Macallan. Lilly and I preferred the 1974 Ardbeg. Now you can brag to that ‘online friend’ of yours that you’ve tasted whisky that was casked before World War Two. I’m glad you liked it, I’m sure whoever gets ‘entertained’ with it will also be thrilled. Now for the other question. We all agree that the two we will never be able to afford on our own are the best, but which of the other two would you like to continue with?”

That’s not a hard call for me. “The single malt. It’s less refined, but it’s also more interesting.”

“I a-agree. The Blue Label is a-almost… girl whisky.

This draws a guffaw out of my sister. “That’s good! I’ll have to remember that. Girl whisky. Well I have good news then – I can get two bottles of the Glenmorangie for the cost of one bottle of the Blue Label. You have good taste, but you also have affordable taste.” That’s a relative term. “We’ll still have to drink the Blue Label at some point, since that’s not hard to get in Japan and the company won’t let me expense that.” I can hear more pouring. “With or without water?”

Hanako and I reply in unison. “Without.
Last edited by NekoDude on Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) still posting.

Post by NekoDude »


«Oh how wrong can you be?
Oh to fall in love was my very first mistake»

Would you please stop pacing? You’re not making this any easier… on either of us. “Ryu… please. Could I get you to hold still for just a little while?”

He comes to a stop and puts his hands on the back of a chair, letting his upper body weight rest on extended arms. “Fine, fine. What difference does it really make?”

“It’s somewhat less difficult to talk to you when you aren’t turning your back on me every ten seconds. I like being able to look at someone’s face when we’re talking, even if you don’t agree. It’s just another of the myriad of small differences between us that add up to one large communication block.”

“I hear you, but I don’t know what you’re trying to say. I mean, aren’t we talking now? Isn’t that what you wanted?”

«You gave me no warning, took me by surprise
Jealousy you led me on
You couldn't lose, you couldn't fail
You had suspicion on my trail»

“No. What I wanted is irrelevant now. What matters now is… that I don’t feel like I know you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did.”

He looks at the ceiling and lets out a long sigh. “So we’re on that again. How many times do I have to repeat that sometimes sex is just sex? It’s one of the few good things about being gay – guys are easy.”

«Oh how strong can you be
With matters of the heart?
Life is much too short to while away with tears
If only you could see just what you do to me»

“I used to believe that. Isn’t it funny that I had to abuse your trust before I could see just how badly you do it to me? These things may not matter to you, or you may just be good at convincing yourself they don’t matter. They still hurt me.”

“Look, would it make you feel any better if I met this Mickey dude? Maybe he can convince you that I’m not mad at either of you.”

“Ryu, if only you’d take the time to listen before trying to respond, you’d know that Miki is no dude.” Sure she acts like it a lot of the time, but I know for a fact that she’s not. I’ve looked. “Also, she actually agrees with you on the whole casual sex thing. She didn’t take it seriously either.”

He glares at me. “You mean to tell me… that you… you fucked a bitch?

“Not exactly. More like she fucked me.You’re right about the bitch part… but I’d still do it again.

“How… I mean… what is this? I don’t even…”

“Think ‘fisting,’ only without the fist… because she’s kinda missing one.” Hey, you asked.

“This just keeps getting better. Not just any bitch, but a crippled bitch. You really know how to pick ‘em, don’t you.”

«I wasn't man enough to let you hurt my pride
Now I'm only left with my own jealousy»

“Yeah, I sure do. You know what? You can start pacing again. Only when you get to the end, and it’s time to turn around… don’t bother. You might as well just keep on going. And don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.”

Five seconds of stunned silence pass before he turns on his heel and walks away, slowing down only to flip me off as he opens the door and slams it behind him.

«But now it matters not if I should live or die
‘Cause I'm only left with my own jealousy»

WARNING: H-scene to follow. Viewer discretion advised.
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) still posting.

Post by NekoDude »


«I used to visit all the very gay places
those come what may places
where one relaxes on the axis of the wheel of life
to get the feel of life from jazz and cocktails»

The dark velvet voice emerging from the CD player wraps all of us in an atmosphere of melancholy reflection, yet when Akira gives me that look again, I can’t help giggling. I also can’t help feeling a little bit guilty. I’m so sorry, Lilly. You know I love you, and I know you love me, but not like that. You’ve made that clear. Even now, I can feel her inner tension, as she’s pulled in multiple directions at once. She’s not alright with this. She wants to be, but she’s not. I’m sorry, but it’s time I made my own decisions.

“So how many places had we already been to… Lils, perhaps you remember? I lost track after three or four.” Akira counts and re-counts on her fingers, but doesn’t seem to come up with the same number twice.

“I’m not sure either. I fear I missed most of the commotion.”

“In any case, this guy tries offering a drink from his flask to a wandering sheep, then takes offense when the sheep will neither decline nor accept his invitation, and ends up pouring the contents of his flask over the head of what must have been a very confused sheep, while the tour guides tried to separate them.” Akira mimes the action in miniature with her fingers as she talks. “They dragged him, kicking and screaming all the way, back to the bus… and the sheep tried to follow them! I don’t think I ever got the man’s real name, but we called him «Haggis» for the rest of the tour. If you ever find yourself with a new sweater that makes you want a drink, it just might be his fault for dousing that sheep in the finest perfume Speyside has to offer.”

“I’d rather be drenched in Speyside perfume than what we had to deal with on the trip back from Islay. That… was not one of your brightest ideas.” Lilly tries to sound stern, but can’t resist chuckling at her own thoughts.

“Oh yeah, that was a pretty shite moment. Whoever decided a commercial tour should have us back on choppy seas less than half an hour after leaving the last distillery should be given a bucket and a mop and have to swab the deck. He’d still be cleaning up all the sick from one tour when the next day’s departed. You made it through unsullied though.”

“I just went to the bow and tried to stay upwind of everyone else. I have never seen the color green and probably never will, but I know what it feels like.”

“I was too busy protecting that precious bottle of Ardbeg. Dropping five hundred quid will do that, and I knew I’d never get to file my expense report for it if it went over the rail.”

«Romance is mush, stifling those who strive
I’ll live a lush life in some small dive
And there I’ll be while I rot with the rest
Of those whose lives are lonely too»

I don’t want to be lonely any more. I smile at Akira, and I see the flicker in her eyes. It sounds like tracking down and obtaining rare and valuable spirits on behalf of Satou Corp. was among the best adventures she has had in a long time – quite possibly her entire career there – and I envy Lilly for having been able to share in the experience.

“We missed you, you know.” Akira’s half-whispered voice snaps me out of my reverie.


“Of course, you. Everything felt incomplete without you there. We’ll have to go back some time… together.”

«A restless eye across a weary room
A glazed look and I was on the road to ruin
The music played and played as we whirled without end
No hint, no word, her honour to defend»

From my seat on the floor at the side of my bed, I start to crawl toward Akira by the desk, standing guard over the precious bottles. Or sitting guard, more like. She holds up a hand to stop me, points to herself, then waves toward my position. After tucking the two truly worrisome bottles into safety under my desk, she joins me and puts her arm around my shoulders. Her attempt at stealth has failed, however. Lilly has already rotated to face us, instead of facing roughly between us as she did before.

I rest my head on her shoulder, and she leans on me as well. She starts to brush the hair out of my face, and I flinch momentarily, enough to be noticed. “Hey… it’s alright, it’s just me. You have nothing to hide.”

Yes, I do. But it’s not my face, or even my body, it’s between my ears.

She takes hold of the burned side of my face, and I want to cry. It’s not her reaction, because she doesn’t seem to have one. It’s that I can barely tell she’s doing it, except where her fingers brush against my ear. She gently turns my face toward her, and kisses me gently. “You are just… so damn cute,” she whispers.

«I will, I will she sighed to my request
And then she tossed her mane
While my resolve was put to the test»

“Hanako…” Lilly’s voice breaks into our private bubble. “Don’t you have midterms in the morning? I know I do.”

“N-no…” I say, trying to hang onto the moment. “Not until after l-lunch.”

“Well, lucky you. I need some sleep between now and then.” She gets to her feet and wobbles a little as she heads for the door. “Don’t keep her awake all night, dear sister.” And with that, she’s gone.

“I d-don’t think she a-approves.”

Akira gives me a small smile. “I know. I think she is aware that no matter what happens, things will never be quite the same again. Like most people, she has a fear of change, even when it might be for the better.”

If that’s really all she’s worried about, I can deal with that. Akira is right: things change, and people have to adjust. I still don’t think that’s all there is to it, though, and I am willing to say so. “I d-don’t think that’s her only p-problem with it.”

“Me neither.” She gives me a shrug. “You can take the girl out of Catholic school, but you can’t take the Catholic school out of the girl. Don’t worry, she’ll recover. I did. She’d be shocked to find just how much this goes on… especially at that school.”

“R-really?” I know it’s considered acceptable behavior in some places, but I would never have imagined a Catholic school to be one of them.

“She got her share of confessions, so she’s aware. I don’t think she’s quite aware how often her classmates accepted such confessions. Or maybe she does know, and given how many young loves go wrong, she got the impression that two girls together just can’t work out in the long run. If this extrapolation was correct, there’d be no stable couples, because it’s not the least bit different for a boy and a girl. Probably two boys either, though I wouldn’t actually know. Either way… it’s a lack of data leading to wrong conclusions.”

She brushes my hair out of my face again and moves in to kiss me. This time I don’t flinch. I feel a surge of panic, swallow it back, and let it turn into a rush of excitement. My hands… what are they doing? I don’t remember ordering them to do that! But it’s too late, she’s tossing her neat button-down blouse aside already.

«Then drowned in desire, our souls on fire
I led the way to the funeral pyre
And without a thought of consequence
I gave in to my decadence»

She plants nibbles on the left side of my neck as she releases my own buttons. Complete removal is not as easy for me though, with long sleeves and cuffs that also need to be unbuttoned, and I hesitate pulling the blouse off my right arm and side, but she tugs at the cuff while still keeping her head to my left. I think she actually knows what’s bothering me. My blouse joins hers where she missed trying to throw it over the back of the chair.

“Let’s move somewhere… softer, shall we?” she whispers, taking my hand and starting to rise to her feet. I follow, and feel another rush of anxiety coming on. This time my hands claim my own jeans as their victim, and they slide toward the floor before I take a seat on the bed. This is not a choice, I am spinning so bad that I can either sit down or fall over.

«One slip, and down the hole we fall
It seems to take no time at all
A momentary lapse of reason that binds a life for life
A small regret, you won't forget,
There'll be no sleep in here tonight»

Then I am falling over, backward. I’ve been bumped, and based on what I feel going on above me, my pants are not the only ones on the floor. I am still spinning a bit from a combination of scotch and adrenaline when Akira lands to my left – between me and the wall. I can hear the bed frame thump the wall, hard. Stealth check: EPIC FAIL.

“Hey cutie.” I can feel her legs intertwine around my left leg, one knee going underneath mine and the other leg crossing over the top. As I turn to face her, I can feel our legs fully interlock, and she slips her arm under mine to pull me in tight. I can tell her hand rests on my scarred shoulder, but she pays it no mind, kissing me with a feverish passion. Our tongues dart about, seeking each other out, and I can hear her moan softly as I become aware of the way she is grinding against my thigh. As above, so below. No magicians or quantum tunneling. It takes her just one hand to unclasp my bra, but I still have to wriggle free of it. I can’t get away with a strapless like she can.

She starts back to nibbling at my neck, finding her way to my ear. The sound and feeling of her warm breath makes my heart race, as chills spread in all directions from the back of my neck. I’m trying to locate the clasp of her bra as casually as she did with mine, but it’s just not happening. Where is it? She takes hold of my forearm and guides my hand around to the front. Does she not want me to do that? Is that her private anxiety? Oh… it clasps in the front. I don’t think I could get away with one like that, any more than I could wear a strapless. I rotate enough to reach over the side of the bed, and it joins everything else on the floor.

When I turn back around, I’m staring straight into those astonishing red eyes, and I can hear her whispering again – more to herself than to me, I think. “So damn cute.” I can feel her hand flat on my midriff, oh so casually being worked lower. I know where you’re going with this. I’m not that naive. I close my eyes and surrender to the moment, and her hand slips under my waistband. She works a spiral around that spot, teasing closer with each pass, and at the exact moment of contact, I can’t help but thrust against her hand. She returns my affections with firm pressure, yet a light touch, and I can also feel her lips finding a sensitive spot of their own up above, her tongue dancing in its own small circles.

The feelings wash over me, much like the taste of memories in the Ardbeg, except that this time the memories are my own. I have nowhere left to run, for the enemy is within. I have to trust myself, trust that what feels so right, is.

Oh! What is this. It seems to come from within and without at the same time… because it is. She has slipped gently inside without even drawing my attention to it, much less hurting me, and wow. I don’t even…

With a gentle nudge, I’m rolled onto my back. These have to go. My last line of resistance falls to the floor alongside everything else, and she repositions herself without ever letting up on the exquisite pressure. When her lips and tongue take over for her thumb, I am gone.

You’re so fucking special.
Last edited by NekoDude on Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) still posting.

Post by NekoDude »


The marks left behind from her tragic past are fully on display, and I wonder… what does she sense there? Does it hurt to be touched? Does she even pick up anything at all? It all depends how deep the damage goes, which I can’t determine from appearances alone. It is probably best to just avoid the issue for the moment, until I am more fully aware of what is best from her perspective.

I do know she’d probably be more comfortable with me on her left, and that means I have to somehow get over her, but I haven’t even landed on the bed before I realize I’ve made a terrible miscalculation. Instead of coming across as smooth, I have now announced to the entire building, ‘Hey! We’re fucking!’ I can only hope it’s misinterpreted, as it could not possibly go unnoticed. That probably registered on the seismograph at Tohoku. The only saving grace is that it hit the wall shared with the one person who already knows what’s going on.

“Hey cutie.” I hope I can distract from my epic fail, and that there isn’t a knock at the door any time soon. I lock her up in a full embrace and go for those absolutely adorable lips, and she makes no move to resist as I claim another piece of armor. She even helps shrug free. God damn, I’d kill to have those. Having them this way will have to do, but I don’t want to stampede and possibly lock her up or scare her off. Must… not… motorboat.

«I can learn to resist anything but temptation
I can learn to coexist with anything but pain
I can learn to compromise anything but my desires
I can learn to get along with all the things I can't explain»

Instead, I go sideways, moving on to the base of her neck just behind the collarbone, and move up from there. I know this has the desired effect when a gentle breath on her ear causes her to shiver. Her arms close around me, and it takes me a moment to realize she’s trying to undress me the way I did to her. Sorry babe, it’s in front. There, she’s got it. Much of the time, I can go without, but not on a bumpy ride in a cold airplane cabin for sixteen hours. I suppose I could have ditched it after the shower during the Tokyo layover though.

«She fell in love with me, man. Eye contact, man.» “So damn cute.” Oops, did I just say that out loud? Oh well, it drew a smile. Eyes high, hands low. Let’s get it on. She’s fully into the moment now, and it’s time to make her earn it, just a little. I wait until she starts to push back, then move into place. A fingertip there, a nibble here, and I can finally enjoy what my eyes had been feasting on for a while now.

I can feel her chills as if they were my own, the electric tingle making its way into my body through every point of contact between us, her gasps falling in time to the waves. I slip inside her slowly, oh so slowly, timing each advance to match the peak of intensity, and then maneuver to find the elusive – and mobile – spot of legend. Once located, I assist my fingers inside with my thumb outside, and use my free hand to get the one remaining barrier out of the way. I’m quite thankful when she assists, and press my shoulder to hers to swing her onto her back.

Good God, even that’s adorable. I can’t help but have a tiny taste, then another. I’m sure not the only one enjoying it, either. I wonder if she has any idea how much noise she makes. Probably not, or she’d be a lot more self-conscious about it. She lets out a particularly sharp yelp as I feel her spasming around my fingers and arching her back, but I don’t let up. I’m a damn G-Spot Tornado.

Inside of a minute, she’s ready for another one, for which I envy her. The yelps are slightly less intense, but only slightly, and the arch of her back and the way she grabs onto the bed for dear life are both stronger. This time, when she relaxes, she starts to babble something I can’t discern. I relent and reverse my position to be side by side with her once more, and I can just make out what she’s muttering.

“So fucking special.”

No, I’m the one who doesn’t belong here. I’m also afraid I have to shut down where that hand is going… “You need to know… it’s… that time.”

“O-oh…” I can see the disappointment, but she rolls away momentarily and reaches under the bed, coming up with a small plastic tub. I wonder exactly what she thinks could solve this problem, and watch with interest as she removes the lid to reveal that it’s her ‘toy box.’ I should have guessed she’d have one of those. It’s not what I’d call ‘well-stocked,’ but I suppose a small selection of quality tools is better than a bunch that never get used. She selects a small, transparent pink ‘bullet,’ and rolls a bumpy, rubber finger cot onto it. She hands me this combination along with the towel that had been folded at the bottom of the tub… a small, red towel. Oh yeah. It’s not like she never has this problem herself. At least I have a pretty good idea when to expect it, thanks to The Pill. She may not even have that.

“I-is it charged?” I flip the switch on the remote and it lights three of the four LEDs, which seems to satisfy her. Let’s hope it can do the same for me. A buzz and a make-out session is going to have to do for now.

«Buzz! Buzz! I’ve been sitting here and dialing all day»

It takes a fair amount of buzzing, and more than a few kisses, before I get something other than a busy signal… but at last, I do get through. And for the first time in a very long time, I am falling asleep next to someone I actually want to wake up next to.
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
User avatar
Posts: 499
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:54 am

Re: "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (Neko, Book 2) H: Hanako x Aki

Post by NekoDude »


I awake with the first pale light of dawn, unable to sleep any longer. I switch on the bedside lamp and glance around to see the fine accumulation of dust that settles on everything in an undisturbed room. There was no point in staying in the other dorm overnight – Hisao is at the ranch, Kenji has a master key to that building, and the only person who might have a key to this room is also at the ranch. I’d be right back here to shower and change anyhow.

Shower. Yes, that’s what I should do. I might as well get in while the water is good and hot. I grab my towel, toothbrush, toiletries, and a change of clothes, and hop on down the hall. I can hear from the noise of water rushing through pipes that I’m not the only one with this idea, but hopefully there’s still plenty to go around.

That’s better. If I’m going to be up early, I might as well make the most of it. I set the water to full-blast hot, and wait for it to get there. This doesn’t take long, since someone else has already primed much of the pipe. This will work for a wake-up. After doing the necessary, I hop back to the room, clad only in a towel, with my clothes (clean and dirty alike) tucked under my arm.

I have plenty of time for breakfast. The cafeteria still doesn’t open for another hour-plus, so it looks like I’m going to be into my stash of instant udon – aww, fuck a duck. I moved that stash to the other room already. Now what do I have left? Ramen and half a bag of stale wasabi peas, it looks like. I wait until I’m somewhat dry before dressing and putting on a leg, and head to the common room.

“Morning, Lilly.” She’s here ahead of me. “You’re not using the microwave, are you?” I’d rather cook them the conventional way, but between nuking and waiting, I’ll take nuking.

“Dear me, no. Call me old-fashioned if you like, but things taste better when they’re cooked on a burner.”

I put water and the noodles in a bowl and set the timer for five minutes. “Most of the time, I’d agree with you, but all I have is ramen. No matter how I boil the water for it, it’s still going to taste like ramen. Were you kept awake by that… disturbance last night?” I see Lilly’s mask slip oh so briefly before she paints the smile back on.

“It was a bit of a distraction, wasn’t it?” It amazes me how she knows when to turn over eggs she can’t see. “I didn’t let it cheat me out of a night’s rest though. The jet lag did that perfectly well by itself.”

“So I can imagine. Hanako said she had to get back to meet you. I presume she did, Ben dropped her off coming back from the markets. I was surprised to hear that she wanted to go with him, but then I suppose she’d never been to the Sendai fish market before. That still would mean she was back here long before your flight got in, though.”

“Yes, she was waiting for us at the gate. We made… quite an evening of it, I’d say.” She sprinkles cheese over the eggs, followed by pepper and a pinch of diced onions, and turns off the heat. “Now if you would excuse me, I have two hungry mouths to feed.” She divides the eggs neatly onto three paper plates, drops a piece of toast on top of each, and carries them all separated only by her fingers with her cane in the other hand.

Two hungry mouths? Three plates? So if it wasn’t Lilly and Hanako making all the commotion… who was? I still have two and a half minutes left on the ramen, and it is better when it sits a minute afterward anyhow, so I follow at a distance. From my vantage point of peeking around a corner, all I can see when she knocks on Hanako’s door is a disheveled mane of short hair the exact same color as Lilly’s. Alright, I’m outta here.


“Undercooked asparagus. That’s what green tastes like.” I decide that for once, I can try to out-random Rin.

“No,” she unsurprisingly opposes, “it’s like when you can’t decide what to wear, and when you finally do, it’s too cold to wear that any more.” Judging by the styles I see around here in winter, it’s never too cold to wear a short skirt. Even when the girls are in parkas and boots, they still insist on showing a good amount of leg.

“Oh yes,” Emi chides. “Your pants with paint on them are so much warmer than the ones without – if you have any of those left.”

“But they are green, you have to admit. Mostly, anyways.” I had come up to the roof in hopes of finding Emi, with a backup plan of going to the radio room. “But you know that isn’t why I’m up here. I’m here to ask for some advice, maybe even a favor.”

Emi looks up at me from her ‘protein style’ burger, which has lettuce in place of a bun. “Alright, shoot. Like, whatcha need help with?”

“On the record, I’d like to know if I could possibly book an appointment with your prosthetist. I’m becoming quite aware of the shortcomings of what I wear every day, and could use, at the least, one better suited for exercise, if not all purposes.”

“Oh!” She looks pleasantly surprised. “Well, that is certainly his strong suit…” She covers a yawn before continuing. “...but there’s a waiting list months long.”

“I figured there might be. That’s where the favor part comes in. Don’t worry if he wants more money to bump me up in the order, it’s the way of the world. Just see if there’s some way, any way, to get me in before the end of summer break and I’ll be most grateful.” You said you feel indebted, here’s a chance to even the score some. “Also… off the record… were you kept awake by that little… seismic disturbance last night?”

I can see her suppressing a giggle. “You too, huh? What do you know of it?”

“I think I know who was making all the noise, and maybe who was causing it. How many blondes can you think of around here, excluding Lilly?”

“Umm… Naomi perhaps?”

I don’t actually remember what she looks like. Maybe that is who it was. “Well, I spotted someone who was definitely not Hanako opening her door to accept breakfast… which Lilly cooked.”

“A blonde, you say?” There’s a gleam in Emi’s eye. “I think I know who it was, but I wouldn’t want to go starting any rumors… at least not baseless ones. Give me some time, I will let you know what I find.”

“You have all day. The queen of the rumor mill is away, so this cat shall play!” I give her a wink.


“So, she survived?” I belt myself into the left rear seat, where it’s easiest to carry on a conversation with a normal, right-hand-seated driver.

“Yeah. As soon as she dropped us back at the ranch house, she was off to… I don’t know where. She sure seemed to be in a hurry though.” Hisao reaches between the seats to give my hand a clasp briefly, then we’re off. Everything seems to be going smoothly, even if he’s a little bit hesitant with his clutching, until we get to the first sizable hill.

Ben senses his apprehension. “Use the parking brake to hold your position. Once you learn where the clutch grabs, you’ll stop needing it, but there’s no shame in using it right now.”

He stalls the engine, and re-starts. On the second try, he gets us rolling up the hill, but has a bit of trouble finding second gear.

“Relax,” offers Ben, “you don’t need to shift extra fast just because we’re going uphill. Just stay in gear a little bit longer, it’s not like we’re trying to hyper-mile here.” The next shift goes more smoothly, and we’re headed up the hill into Numahara, where things rapidly turn to farmland. This stretches on for a while, then after just a single row of houses, we find ourselves at the junior high school – Abe’s school.

I soon have company in the back seat, and we’re headed back toward Yamaku, this time by the normal residential route. “I figured we could celebrate a little,” Hisao says, barely sparing me a glance in the rear view mirror, “and maybe Ben could see what he’s up against if he wants to run a successful business.”

Once we get back and parked and inside, our arrival doubles the number of customers, and the full weight of the task ahead seems to settle on Ben’s shoulders. “Oh well,” he says, “at least I don’t have to worry about scaring off the current clientele.” He chooses a long table in the center, with chairs, rather than a booth along the edge. From here, he can easily watch the front counter and the front door, and have a sight line into the kitchen.

Yuuko is her usual clumsy self, and I let her do her usual introductions. I figure it can only make things worse if she knows she’s being evaluated right this moment.

“My friends here are familiar enough with the place,” Ben starts, “but I’m not. I was hoping maybe to see a menu?”

Yuuko bows apologetically and begins to recite said menu from memory. At her first pause, Ben puts up a hand to stop her. “I understand. It’s not your fault, but this will have to be corrected.” He turns to me. “Are you taking notes?”

I guess I am now. I pull a small notepad and pen out of my minimal purse, but I also try to salvage the situation as best I can. “Hey, you wouldn’t happen to have any of those meat pies ready like you did on Saturday, would you? I didn’t even know you did those.”

“N-no… those are a weekend thing. They would have been for the dinner crowd, had we stayed open that long.” This comes with yet another bow.

“Hey, shit happens, right? What about those piroulines you brought out right before it all went dark?”

“Oh! Yes, we do have those. I will bring a basket with your coffees.”

We hadn’t even asked for coffee yet, but it’s only fair to assume we’d have ordered it. “So what do you have today that’s in the ‘more filling’ category? We could do with more than just some sandwiches.” It looks like all four of us missed lunch.

The bell on the door rings, and I turn around to see who might have just entered. Lilly, with Hanako on her arm guiding her, and… the blonde I saw early this morning. They’ve spotted us too, if Hanako’s whispering and gesturing are any indication, and the suited blonde leads the way toward us.

“Afternoon, Hanako, Lilly, and umm…” I feel like I should know who she is, though I can’t pin a name on her.

“Akira,” she volunteers in a dark brown voice. “Of the clan Satou, as well as the corporation. And you would be?”

I’m pretty sure she has already been told who I am, but introducing everyone is only polite. “Kat Rogers, but everyone calls me Neko.” I stand and offer my hand in greeting, while continuing with waves and nods for the remaining introductions. “Hisao Nakai, Ben Guzmán, and his son Abe.” She accepts my handshake, and starts to move an additional small table over to join to ours as Yuuko looks on helplessly. I guess she’s not used to the clientele rearranging the furniture right in front of her. It doesn’t escape my notice that Akira takes the seat at the end, directly opposite Ben’s strategic location where he can watch everything.

“Coffee. Just bring us the whole pot. And one tea,” Akira says, nodding toward Lilly.

“It looks like we’re going to be here awhile. Could we special order some sandwiches, beyond just a sample platter? Like maybe ham or turkey as you mentioned?” I wanted the lack of menus to be evident to Ben, but now I just want some food.

“Y-yes, we can do that.” Yuuko bows yet again.

“Excellent. If you bring trays of bread, cheese, meat, vegetables, and condiments, we can probably figure things out from there.”

She skitters away like a roach when the lights come on, and I do feel sorry for her. She’s doing the best she can with the rather limited resources at hand.

“So I hear you have a plan for getting this place to run in the black,” Akira begins. “Well, I want you to know that if your plan is sound, you have us as allies. It shouldn’t take long to complete the Hakamichi sandwich.”

“Actually, we only started thinking seriously about this a few days ago. It’s not like we have anything written down. We’re still sort of in brainstorming mode.” I gesture toward Ben to indicate more clearly who I mean by we.

“So what do you have so far?”

Ben eyes his counterpart at the other end of the table, I suppose trying to gauge whether to view her as friendly, or still needing to be won over. “First step, we get some bloody menus.”

This gets a snort and a chuckle from the red-eyed blonde. “I hear you. I don’t know who dropped that ball, but you’d think someone would have picked it back up by now.”

Yuuko comes back with our coffee, tea, piroulines, and a stack of small plates that she sets down with quite a clatter. I suppose that means the sandwich fixings are soon to follow.

Ben waits until she’s gone before continuing. “Second, once there’s enough traffic to justify it, we put her up front and not on serving tables. She’s a friendly enough face and could be an asset, but right now, she’s a liability. Third, we expand the menu, a lot. Until we can nail down what’s going to be popular and what isn’t, I propose we rotate through a variety of styles on a weekly basis. I can think of some niches that are significantly underserved and might prove popular. At the same time, we’re looking to expand the client base outside just the local area. When is the last time you heard of someone driving down from Sendai proper to eat here? I want to be that good. Fourth, and possibly the most difficult… we should get a liquor license.”

I scribble all of this down as fast as my fingers can go, then make a more legible copy for Akira. She tucks it into her coat without a glance. “There are details within details of course, but this sounds much better to me than the ‘do nothing’ course we’re currently on. Write up a formal proposal. I’ll make sure it gets read.”
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
White Mice music!
Post Reply