Hello everyone! Welcome back to Free Fiction Friday! I’m sorry I’ve been MIA. I’ve had SO MUCH I’ve been trying to get done. But I’m back!
This story originally appeared over the course of a month during my blog tour for the release of Turning His Life Around. I thought my FFF followers might like to read it too!
The events in this story take place some two years before the beginning of Turning. Hope you enjoy!
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“Come on, let me take this off,” Kane grumbled again and reached up to pull at his blindfold.
Ian laughed and swatted his hand away. “No. You couldn’t decide where to go to celebrate the new job, so I get to surprise you. And if I’m going to surprise you, I’m going to go all the way with it. So, you’re just going to have to deal.”
“Ian…” Kane whined.
Reaching over from the driver’s seat, Ian gave Kane a light pinch to his leg. “Stop. We’ll be there soon.”
Kane sighed and mumbled something Ian didn’t catch, but he stopped complaining. Ian turned his attention to driving and was grateful when, a few turns later, he pulled into the restaurant’s parking lot. “Okay, stay put. I’ll be around to get you.”
“Okay,” Kane said, gripping the side of the seat, obviously working to keep from moving the blindfold.
He hurried around the car and opened Kane’s door then guided his friend out. “Okay, ready?”
Kane bit his lip, undoubtedly holding back a retort that would piss Ian off, then said, “Yes. Please.”
Ian grinned and pulled his mom’s silk scarf from around Kane’s eyes. “HOLY SHIT!” Kane nearly shouted then spun around, huge grin on his face. “Really?”
Smile spreading even wider, Ian nodded. “Yeah, really. I take it you’re okay with it?”
“Oh hell yeah! I’ve been wanting to go here forever. Holy shit, thank you,” Kane said and grabbed Ian in a hug, followed immediately by a hard kiss that briefly left Ian stunned.
When Kane turned back around, Ian had to shake his head hard to get his sanity back. He tossed the scarf into his car and shut the door. “Well, then, shall we?” Ian asked and they started around the building.
Kaishoku was one of the few truly authentic Japanese restaurants in the city. One of the Japanese gentlemen Ian worked with had recommended it some time ago. He’d said the food was very much like he’d had at home even if some of the sushi choices were still western. But the rest of it reminded him of home and that had been good enough for Ian.
The understated building certainly looked like a transplant from Tokyo, or, at least, from suburban Japan. One long, wide level rose up from the ground slightly with a long porch stretched across the front of the painted white exterior. Cherry wood trim ran around the windows and doors and along the bottom of the black, pointed roof. The doors were also done in a cherry wood with slatted windows inset and they slid open like traditional shoji doors.
When they stepped into the interior, Ian’s breath caught. It was gorgeous. A small stream ran behind the hostess station with a variety of koi swimming in the water, all of them almost as large as Ian’s forearm, some in bright red, a few with orange spots and some black and white. One looked almost translucent. Ian had to fight the urge to kneel down next to the stream to look closer.
Instead, he took in the rest of the relatively small room. The stream ran under walls on either side of the entry way, disappearing into the rest of the building. A lighter wood here in the interior, made up most of the walls and floor. The rest of the walls were white and looked like traditional rice paper, as were the shoji doors leading off to the left and right. Across from them and over a tiny footbridge, an archway led to a hallway filled with more shoji doors.
Soft music that sounded like it was some sort of lute and flute combination floated from invisible speakers to accompany the burble of the stream. The hostess’s voice added to the sound as she talked to someone on a cordless phone. Ian couldn’t tell if she was speaking English, Japanese, or some other language because she was talking too fast for him to make it out.
As they approached the stand, she looked up and smiled at them. “Yes, thank you. We will see you then,” she finished in a heavy Asian accent. “Very good. Good bye!” She pushed the button on the phone and set it down, looking up at them. “Good evening!” she greeted them, bowing slightly. “Welcome to Kaishoku! How may I help you?”
“Hello,” Ian said, returning her smile and putting his hand on Kane’s back. “Reservations for Kelly.”
“Oh yes! Very good. Very good,” she said, pulling out menus. She consulted a map of the restaurant as she pulled out a long piece of paper, then glanced up at them again. Her eyes widened a little when she spotted Ian’s hand on Kane’s back and Ian tensed, not sure what to expect for a reaction.
“Oh! How wonderful!” she nearly shouted, her smile widening, then continued speaking really fast in Japanese. Ian couldn’t catch all of it; his Japanese education had been very limited. He thought he heard something about love and caught the word ‘yaoi’ and something else, but he couldn’t be sure. He and Kane exchanged looks.
“Uh, what does ‘yaoi’ mean?” Kane asked and Ian shook his head.
“Well, as far as I know, ‘yaoi’ is a type of manga or anime in Japan that involves, uh, two men.” He paused, blinked and stared at Kane for a few seconds, his lips twitching, then he leaned in. “I do believe she’s trying to figure out which one of us tops the other.”
Kane burst out laughing. “So she thinks we’re…”
“A couple, yes,” Ian said, smirking.
Kane chuckled. “Let’s let her have her fantasy,” he murmured, putting his arm around Ian’s waist.
Ian laughed and turned back to her, bowing his head. “Our table?” he asked when she paused for breath.
“Oh! I’m sorry!” She blushed and turned to wave a hand across the bridge before leading them over it.
Ian and Kane followed her and as they turned into the hallway, Kane leaned in. “Should we really give her something to fantasize about?”
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Make sure to check out the rest of the stories from Free Fiction Friday!