There was plenty of disappointment when Togore woke up the next morning and she was not lying in bed next to him. Scanning the room quickly, he caught sight of her standing by an open door looking out. She seemed pensive, but he had little opportunity to consider her mood when she sighed deeply.
Something inside of him willed his body to leave the comfort of the bed, “Oh.” The drawn out utterance lingered there for a moment before he added, “I guess I win the bet.”
“Enzo seemed to think that we might not get snow until the end of December. I told him he was wrong and we put a couple of grand on it.”
“On the weather?” Her tone sounded disbelieving.
As he leaned against the door, he stood behind her with his gaze falling less on the snow and more upon the way she held her body. When they first met he thought he had sensed a heaviness to her aura, but it had disappeared just as quickly. A figment of his imagination, but now it was far more obvious.
Overtaken by the darkness, he nearly forgot to answer her, “We make random wagers all the time. Keeps us entertained.”
“Is that so?” She questioned as she glanced over her shoulder and settled her gaze upon him, “Did you wager about getting into my pants?”
“Nah, I only make winning bets.”
At first he was not certain how she would react to the comment as she stepped away from the door and he quickly closed it. When his attention returned upon her, she was smiling; not the tempting one she had given him that first night when she sat upon his pool table. This one was cute and bright, though her eyes didn’t match.
Togore was not certain why he had not noticed before, but now that he could see it there was no denying that Mikaela was sad. “Think you’re a funny guy, huh?” Her words were light as she quickly rested her hand to her hip, “What am I going to do with you tiger?”
The question was figurative and yet conjured up all sorts of imagery in his head. It was a tease and he was starting to love it a bit too much, “Do you want to go and do something?”
Her head tilted, “Don’t get attached tiger.”
A warning from her simply made him want to disobey. He didn’t know why. “I’m not. I just figured we could get some breakfast or lunch before you let me fuck you the rest of the day,” He responded.
“Is that what I am letting you do?”
Togore smiled as he quickly stated, “Yeah, you agreed to it last night when you had your legs wrapped around my neck.”
Tapping her lip thoughtfully she teased, “I think you are confusing me with someone else tiger. A good girl keeps her feet on the floor.”
“Oh,” He responded in an amused tone as he eyed her appreciatively. The night before was swirling around in his head. A mess of arms and legs, intimate moments coming to life. There wasn’t much they didn’t do. “So, that one was the good girl.”
He could see it on her face; a subtle pink hue adorned her cheeks. Good girl, bad girl, none of that mattered to Togore. At the end of the day they were just two different sides of the same little mouse, but he loved pressing her against the window and taking her right there for all of the world to see; if anyone dared pass by that is. The defiled good girl who kept her feet on the floor got him off faster than the bad girl that rode him all night.
“I don’t like that look,” She stated though it was obvious by the expression upon her face that she was not as putout as she pretended to be.
“The one that turns me into supper.”
Togore laughed, “Well I am a little hungry, but I was thinking we could get something unless you would rather I have my dessert first.”
Mikaela had agreed to food, though seemed less than enthusiastic about it when she found out that he wanted to go someplace. It took a bit of convincing and the two drove for a good hour in silence before she finally asked, “Where are we going to eat Kilimanjaro?”
He laughed, “No. There is this place I like back where I grew up. I thought it would be nice.”
It took a moment for her to respond and the surliness of her tone was not lost on him, “I thought we agreed to not get attached.”
“I’m not, but I also don’t need you passing out on me from hunger.” He paused a moment before adding, “Besides your apartment smells like sex and the fresh air could do us both some good….”
His words were quickly cut off, “The smell bothers you?”
“Not exactly. My nose is just sensitive.”
“Does that have anything to do with you being Ishi?”
Togore didn’t initially respond to her question as they made their way along back roads toward his favorite restaurant, “A lot of Ishi have shitty hearing and eyesight. I guess you could say that our sense of smell makes up for that. Normally, it doesn’t bother me, but …” There was no way to be tactful, “You are getting close to your period starting and the increase in odor is agitating me.”
He knew that was not going to go over well. It was probably a good thing they were in a moving vehicle otherwise she most likely would have slapped him and walked away. With a sigh he added, “It is not a bad thing. Really, the smell just makes it harder to control myself.”
“Well, that killed the conversation,” Togore said to himself.
Women were sensitive about that particular area of their bodies. There was no delicate way to say your vagina smells even if that produced odor was pleasing and making a guy aroused. He was not some flowery man that could articulate it in any way that would not get him slapped. He sighed deeply, “I’m sorry.”
He took his eyes off the road only for a moment, “You’re not mad?”
“No, but … it is not a bad smell right? The fact that you wanted to get out of the apartment kind of suggests…”
Togore did not give her a moment to finish her sentence, “No, it is nothing like that. Really it is just agitating my senses. My body feels hyped just from being close to you because the smell is lingering in my nose. So, if I pull this car over and fuck you in the backseat, you know why.”
There was a long pause where neither said anything. Togore thought it was going to linger for some time until the little mouse finally responded, “Pull the car over tiger.”
Never once did Togore hesitate. The car sat idle as the two coupled in the cramped backseat. The road was deserted, no chance that anyone would happen by as a song playing on the radio drowned out the world around them.
♪ She loves a small town boy like me ♪
♪ She’s my ride or die baby ♪
♪ She’s my cool, she’s my crazy ♪
♪ She’s my laid back in the front seat ♪
♪ She’s my with me to the end girl ♪
♪ I’m turning it up to ten girl ♪
♪ She can have anybody that she wants ♪
♪ Or be anywhere she wants to be ♪
♪ She loves a small town boy like me ♪
Happily he was still humming it to himself as they arrived at their destination and climbed out of his vehicle. She laughed, “Cannot picture you liking that song.”
“It’s my new favorite,” He stated and then quickly added, “Every time I hear it I am going to think of you.”
Smiling she asked, “In what position?”
Togore couldn’t stop himself from laughing and had been moments away from offering up a comeback of his own, but was halted when the voice of a man said, “Hey.”
Unexpectedly, Mikaela had stopped moving and Togore was forced to come to a halt as her hand raised and she offered a cheery greeting, “Hello.”
With a scrutinizing gaze his eyes shifted from her and settled upon two men one of whom greeted her. There was a moment of stilled silence as the party of four, stared at each other. It was in those few seconds that Togore realized that one of these guys was probably her ex. Which one though? The question swirled around in his mind as he closely regarded the two.
“How have you been?” The Zenaku questioned.
Togore made note that the man that spoke was slightly taller than the Yamada at his side, but neither matched his height of six feet, eight inches. Both were neatly groomed, decently dressed, and clearly shared a love of piercings and tattoos which peeked out from underneath sleeves and collars.
“Amazingly well, thank you for asking,” Mikaela had responded and had he not already known her life was falling apart he might have believed her. It was clear she was capable of masking the pain when she needed two. “I am surprised to see the two of you together so far away from Thacian City,” She quickly added.
“Well you know, I like to eat and Anjou agreed to pay.”
She laughed, “I do recall.” Togore had half-expected her not to introduce him after all they were just having sex with each other. So, it came as a bit of a surprise when she finally responded, “Forgive me for being rude. Togore Ishi this is Sune Zenaku and Anjou Yamada.” Despite the introduction she didn’t offer up how they knew each other.
“Hey,” He stated though only because there was a chance that these two guys might just be some dudes she knew and not anyone she had sex with. Togore doubted it though. There was no denying the way either man looked at her. Clearly a sign there was history and it was killing him a bit not knowing what it was.
The men greeted him in kind and from there it became amazing how quickly the cordial conversation ended. This was exactly why Togore hated pleasantries as Mikaela spirited the two of them away with her final departing words, “It was good seeing both of you. Hate to rush off, but it was a long drive and were completely starving.”
It was clear as they entered the restaurant that the two men were heading in the same direction, which seemed to cause her a bit of tension. If he had been any other man, he might not have noticed, but the way her body changed from stress was obvious in her scent and there was nothing she could do to hide that from him the more time they spent together.
They didn’t say anything to each other even after being seated, but now and again Togore would look upon her. She seemed rather pensive, much as she had been earlier when he spied her standing near the open door. Admittedly, he was frustrated by the silence. He liked her better when she talked to him even if it was her saying excuse me.
Placing his menu to the side he let his eyes settle completely on her, “So, which one of those guys did you fuck?”
Rather quickly she locked her eyes on him, “Excuse me?”
“Don’t be like that. I am just curious. We run into those two shits and suddenly you are moody….”
She cut him off, “We are not having this discussion.”
As quickly as she said it his voice raised in response and sadly did not go unnoticed by the rest of the restaurant, “Just tell me which one you fucked.”
Mikaela waved off the waiter who had been moments away from asking if he could take their drink orders. How she managed to remain composed when he clearly made a scene, Togore didn’t know. Still, she would not respond to his question until the eyes of the other patrons drifted away from them.
“It is not your business, tiger.”
“Oh, when you say it like that it makes me want to make it my business,” He paused and then quickly added, “I will kick the shit out of both of them for ruining our day.”
He didn’t know what he said, but there was a brief moment where the corner of her mouth twitched and a smile passed over her lips briefly. However, it took nothing for that resting bitch face of hers to return as she finally answered, “Both of them.”
One of them he certainly expected, but both took him by surprise. He gathered himself as he asked, “Which one does the bag and boots belong to?”
“Sune,” She stated.
“How long were you together? You were a couple right?”
“We started dating in high school, so I guess we were together for about twelve years.”
“Where does the other guy fit in?”
Her head tilted to the side and Togore considered for a moment that she might well tell him that there was a cheating or a breakup incident during the time she was with the Zenaku. However, that was not at all what she would come to say. “Anjou was that brilliant and perfect boy that hung the moon and stars. Then, tore them from the sky,” She stated coldly.
Togore didn’t need to know anymore than that. The Yamada was her first love. He hated prying at this point, but he did anyway. Braving the question, “What happened with them?”
The little mouse didn’t say anything as the waiter made his return. It gave Togore plenty of time to think of questions and conjure up all sorts of scenarios. He doubted any of them would be as interesting as what she would eventually say after their meals where served, “I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world when Anjou Yamada showed interest in me. Honestly, maybe I was just stupid, but I really thought he liked me. He asked me to be his girlfriend and a few months later we had sex. Then, he just stopped talking to me.”
“The other guy?”
“I suck at math and needed a tutor. Sune Zenaku was recommended. I knew him from around because he and Anjou played on the basketball team together. He got me through my course and we learned we had a lot in common. After he was done tutoring me, he asked me out. We broke up in the spring. Well, he did anyway. Told me that the Matriarch of the Zenaku had a vision that his future was not with me. That it would never work out, no matter how he felt. So, it was just over like that after all of those years together and plans for the future wasted.”
Togore stared at her for some time as he tried to process everything she said, but could only manage to say, “Wow, they really are fucking douche-bags.”
“It is what it is,” She stated, “Maybe I am just one of those girls built just fucking.”
The words that he had spoken to hear early on, slapped him in the face. That wasn’t what he meant, but now he could see how it could be taken that way. “I didn’t….I just meant….” Nothing, that was all he had as he looked down at his plate and sighed, “I never meant to make you feel like that. Really, I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate that you let me have sex with you.”
“I have seen your place, tiger. From the looks of it you get plenty of ass.”
That was right. He nearly forgot she had seen the undergarments the night he brought her back to his place, “Not nearly as much as you might think. Those that do not recoil from my presence, never stick around for anything more than a one night.”
“So, you are telling me that I am the longest relationship you have had.”
“Now who is getting attached,” He teased.
She rolled her eyes as she looked to her food, “Let’s change the topic before I toss my plate at you.”
“Okay, but one more question.” The way Mikaela sighed told him she probably expected what was coming, “Am I at least better in bed? Is my dick bigger?”
“Completely the worst sex I ever had,” She responded.
Togore snorted, “Hey, but at least my dick is bigger.”
The little mouse laughed as she stated, “I like you.”
It caught him off guard because he had never been told that before. Mikaela was not saying she was in love with him or had some sort of weird fluttering in her heart. It was just that simple. I like you. For whom you are and everything that goes along with it.
“Oh, enough to take me to Thanksgiving dinner?”
She smiled, “You would probably like tormenting my mother too much.”
There was no denying that was probably true. Quickly he asked, “Did you take that Zenaku?”
The question didn’t seem to surprise her any as she responded, “When I finally told my mom about Sune, she invited him to Easter dinner.”
She noticeably sighed, “I don’t know. One minute we were preparing for the holidays and the next he was telling me that it was not the right time or there was too much going on. So, we cancelled and my mother invited him to the next one. It just became an endless cycle where meeting my mom got pushed off until one day, we were over.”
Togore took a bite of his food as he considered what to say. It seemed pretty obvious to him that the Zenaku was told early on in their relationship to end things, but he hadn’t. A testament to his feelings one could say. Canceling plans was probably the first of many huge signs. He doubted Mikaela was foolish or dumb, but clearly she had missed some neon’s flashing. “Love is blind,” He thought to himself.
In a serious tone he finally responded, “The queen bee of the Zenaku most likely had him by the balls. Men in those types of clans cannot take a shit without permission. It was probably the same for the Yamada. Not that I am defending either of them. His backpedaling was more than likely some third party bullshit. I mean…you are a half-blood after all. No purest is going to want you tainting their bloodline and let’s be honest here, the Zenaku and the Yamada are fucking purest.”
She didn’t say anything which forced him to pull his attention away from his food. It was clear by the expression on her face that her parentage had caused her grief. They were not that different. The only thing worse in Aslann than someone with impure blood was a member of the Ishi clan.
With a sigh he stated, “I’m sorry. What I am trying to say is….” There was no easy way to phrase that the entire nation was built on hatred and people were shitty, so he simply said, “Want me to come with you to Christmas dinner? We can get your mom drunk and make bets on how many heathens she can offend in one night.”
“Micha and I already do that,” She stated.
Togore laughed briefly as he tried to offer her what comfort he could, “If it means anything, no one is lining up to meet my family either. Of course, my father is a Son of Rin. Might as well have a tattoo on him that says, I am fucking better than all you pieces of shit.”
“What happened during your visit?”
This time it would be Togore’s turn to fall silent. At first he didn’t know how to respond as he awkwardly tried to keep the mood light, “You don’t want to hear about all of that.”
“Don’t tell me then.”
He sighed, “Don’t be that way. It is not as though it was any big deal really. He told Enzo and I to stay away from someone and we didn’t listen.”
“Yeah, how did you…”
She interrupted him, “Well I can read. Even though the angle was bad the paparazzi did capture a pretty good shot of the guy that picked me up in the club. Not to mention Hiko and Tationy showing up at your place. Couldn’t help overhearing part of what you discussed.”
“Oh, you could have pried any time you wanted is what you are telling me,” He said lightly.
“I felt no need to,” She stated.
Togore closed his eyes a moment as he considered how he wanted to continue the conversation, “Do you believe in reincarnation?”
“I would like to think that is a possibility.”
“Well, it is. Some people do get the opportunity to have a second chance at life. They were chosen back when the gods created the universe. I don’t know the whys and all of that. Maybe my father does. I don’t think it really matters, but Hiko Kari and Tationy Tylo are incarnates of my step-father and mother. Enzo is extra sensitive and when they finally found their way together he just couldn’t stop himself. He had to see them.”
“You didn’t have the heart to keep that from happening.”
“I guess I wanted it as much as he did. It was stupid. Some part of us probably thought they were going to look at us like they had not seen us in years. It got out of hand…”
“Everything with you seems to,” She teased.
“Yeah well the famed Son of Rin found out and showed up at my place. Enzo is dumb sometimes and just wants to keep trying to defend his reasons. He just does not get that Kuro doesn’t fucking care. So, I took the blame for it all.”
“What does that mean for you and your brother?”
Togore shrugged his shoulders, “It means that I fucked up bad enough that my entire clan is going to look at me as though I will eat them. I don’t really fucking care about that as long as Enzo is safe. I will have to keep my distance and watch my back. Hearing it aloud, I guess I am putting you in harm’s way…” He absently rubbed a spot on his cheek, “Sorry mouse.”
“Nah, it is alright. It tops off my week.”
“You are taking this way too well,” Togore stated.
She sighed, “What can I say. Lost my job, heading off to America…”
He cut her off, “The hell you are. Why would you even consider going. I get it your mom is one of those tyrannical matriarchs like the Yamada and the Zenaku. She probably has oppressed you and your brother since the day you were born. Turning you into some perfect little soldiers that jump on command, but….”
The pause was sudden and sharp. He didn’t know where he was going with what he was saying so he had to stop and think about it a moment. As he was trying to gather his words she suddenly responded, “It is not easy for me to get a job. I have enough savings to pay for rent and food for a few months. Nothing else. It is expensive living here without an income and there is no guarantee I will be able to get employment again.”
Togore knew that. She was mixed blood. There were a lot of companies in Aslann that still suffered from backwards thinking. Clanism and old prejudices ran rampant. Quickly he blurted, “I need a place to stay and you need help until you can get a new job.”
“Tiger that is a terrible idea…”
It probably was, but Togore couldn’t understand her willingly walking away from her homeland. Sure, her blood was not pure. The only connection she had to Aslann came in the form of the Raita clan which probably had nothing at all to do with her. That did not mean she should just take off to a country just because her mom willed it.
With a sigh he spoke, “Look, I need a place to crash and I already dragged you into my mess. I would be a pretty shitty person if I let the girl I am fucking get hurt by my clan. Call it, payment for keeping you safe or whatever you need to. I don’t really care, but I am not taking no for an answer.”
She scoffed, “Do you think I need you to take care of me tiger? Trust me, your clan does not want to cross this girl.”
Something in her words told him that was probably true, though he was not certain what it was. Still, he refused to backdown, “Say yes and I will give you a hundred orgasms a day.”
The little mouse laughed as she shook her head. Togore could tell she was not entirely annoyed. She placed her fork down and fixed her eyes completely upon him as she spoke, “We will discuss it.”
It was not a yes, but it bought him a bit of time to convince Mikaela why she should do what she wanted to instead of following the will of her mother.
Muse: Ex-Boyfriends allows you a glimpse into the conversation shared between Anjou Yamada and Sune Zenaku