SALTY COFFEE Chapter 1 – They met…

" Jirou! Why didn't you call me that day?" Yumi pouted, casting a flirtatious glance at Soujirou. " Hmmm…you are?" Soujirou blinked. " You are so bad!" Yumi frowned. " All right, all right. Why don't you give me your name and number and I will call you tomorrow?" Soujirou cajoled, flashing Yumi his killer smile, which never fails to enthrall the ladies. Yumi retrieved a name card from her Chanel wallet and passed it to Soujirou. " Okay, make sure you do call eh?"

" Sure. Oh, my friend is calling me over." Soujirou gave Yumi a wait-for-my-call wink before joining Akira. " I didn't know you are interested in that type," Akira said, " She looks like a Christmas tree." Akira commented in disgust. Soujirou just gave a shrug as he took a glass of champagne from the tray of a passing servant.

This is like a circus. Soujirou thought as he stared blankly into the crowd of well/over-dressed guests that the Toudou had invited for Shizuka's birthday party. A weird circus but isn't circus all the same. Soujirou let out a sigh of boredom. " Ah, see who's here?" Akira's probing managed to bring back Soujirou's wandered thoughts.

" Makino Tsukushi?" Soujirou almost spat out the champagne, which he had just sip from his glass when he noticed Tsukushi's outfit. "Why is she all dressed up like a …hooker?" Soujirou tried to find an appropriate description for what he had just seen.  " Commoner." Akira quipped, rolling his eyes. " I bet Tsukasa would be interested in seeing how his little lover has dressed." Akira said, trying to muffle his laughter.

" By the way, where's Tsukasa?" Akira asked while his eyes busily in search of his friend. " Who is the girl standing next to Makino?" Soujirou asked when he spotted an unfamiliar face, and he was sure she was not from Eitoku. " Huh?" Akira shifted his glance to the unfamiliar looking girl standing beside Makino. "Perhaps another one of Makino's commoner friends." Akira replied, disinterestedly.


" Tsukushi-chan, do you think we are able to blend in looking like this?" Yuuki meekly asked, looking down at the over-fancy clothes that her neechan had practically forced them to put on for the event. " Arrhhh…" Tsukushi was well aware of the answer, " If there happens to be a next time, we will get dressed in my house and away from your neechan." Tsukushi continued. " You are probably right." Yuuki went along. " In the meantime, why not just enjoy ourselves since this is our first time attending such a grand event." Tsukushi bubbly remarked.

 " Tsukushi-chan! Look! I've gotten the autograph of one of my favourite actresses!" Kazuya came running towards the girls with a notepad in his hand. " Wow, you manage to get Nanako's autograph? Where is she?" Yuuki asked, her eyes ablaze. No doubt, at times, Kazuya's presence might prove to be a little useful because Yuuki was getting a little relaxed than before. " She should be over there. Let's go explore." Kazuya suggested. " You two go ahead." Tsukushi said, " I am a little hungry."

" We will join you at the snack bar after we are done." Yuuki said before allowing herself to be dragged away by Kazuya. "Enjoy yourself, no need to rush." Tsukushi said and smile, happy to see that Yuuki was enjoying herself in this out-of-the-world event. " Hey Makino, you are here!" Tsukushi turned around and saw Soujirou standing behind. " If you are planning to laugh, I suggest you better think twice." Tsukushi warned, cracking her knuckles. " Come on, cool down. This is not Eitoku, you don't have to be that tense up! And I think this costume is pretty much…original?" Soujirou came so close to Tsukushi that he could almost touch her.

" Don't you dare to…" Tsukushi suddenly sprang back a little in order to maintain a safe distance from Soujirou. " Don't worry, you are not my type." Soujirou said, as he beckoned Tsukushi with a finger, " Is she a friend of yours?" Soujirou asked, pointing his other finger to the direction where Yuuki was standing. " Yes, she is and in fact, she's my best friend and you better stay away from her." Tsukushi warned as she took Soujirou down by his collar. " Let go of me, this isn't a suitable place to pick up a fight." Soujirou softly protested, trying hard not to create a din at the snack bar.

" That is if you promised never to lay your demonic fingers on Yuuki." Tsukushi growled. " Yuuki." Soujirou softly repeated the name after Tsukushi. " Shit!" Tsukushi gasped and released her grip. " Am I giving you such a bad impression? I can be a good lover like Tsukasa and Rui too, you know?" Soujirou teased. " Anyway, that's all I wanted to know. Arigatou." Soujirou said, after readjusting his bow tie back to its original position.

Baka! Tsukushi cursed herself when she noticed the smirk on Soujirou's face as he walked away. " By the way," Soujirou turned his head. " If you are looking for Tsukasa, he is in the backyard." Tsukushi stamped her feet in frustration, " Who cares a damn about that baka?"


No one had expected the party to end so early because no one, not even the Toudous, were being informed in advance that Toudou Shizuka, the only heir of the Toudou Empire, had decided to give up her family name on this special day. That lady was really something. Yuuki thought, admiring Shizuka's gut for making such a daring move.  Now, where are the both of them? Yuuki looked around to see where Tsukushi and Kazuya were, but they were nowhere to be seen. The trios were being separated when reporters from different media struggled their way to the front in order to get a close-up picture of Shizuka for their cover page during the next morning.  

" Hi, are you alone?" Yuuki turned around and saw the most handsome and charming guy she ever seen in her entire life. " Do…I…know…you?" Yuuki stammered out, her cheeks turned rosy with shyness, which Soujirou found it amusing. " You must be Tsukushi's friend, Yuuki." Soujirou said. Yuuki's face turned redder. "You…are…a…friend…of…Tsukushi? "

…promised never to lay your demonic fingers on Yuuki. "Ehh…." For no reason, Tsukushi's warning flashes across Soujirou's mind and this kind of made him nervous. Soujirou's fingers carelessly ran through his gelled hair as his mind was urgently in search for the appropriate sentence to fit into the conversation.

" Oh! My name is Nishikado Soujirou. Nice to meet you." Okay, that is the lame. Soujirou thought. "Nishikado Soujirou?" Yuuki's eyes widened as she recalled the conversation she had with Tsukushi during hours ago.


"Yuuki-chan!" Tsukushi called out when she finally found Yuuki at the other end of the garden, she almost getting out of breath. " Dai jo bu?" Yuuki asked when she noticed Tsukushi's unreadable expression. " You see I have gotten so many autographs. This is Kimura's, that is…" "Yuuki-chan!" Tsukushi interrupted. " There is something I need to tell you." Tsukushi's serious expression kind of frightened Yuuki and it made her wonder why.

" We have to leave this party because of our inappropriate dressing?" Yuuki asked. " No! No! No! How I wish that would be the case. But it is not!" Tsukushi shook her head vigorously. What could be worse than this? Yuuki thought. " Remember the F4?" Tsukushi said, " Remember?" Yuuki nodded. " Well, they are here tonight, and you got to stay away from them, wait…not them, should be one of them." Tsukushi explained.

" Doushite? I am not a student of Eitoku." Yuuki looked confused. " Anyway, just listen to me, stay away from Nishikado Soujirou if he comes near you." Tsukushi warned. " Nishikado Soujirou? Who is this person?" Yuuki asked, still trying to figure out what made Tsukushi so edgy. " He is one of the F4 and let me tell you, Yuuki-chan, you must never believe a single word coming out from him. He is a playboy, not those ordinary ones, but an expert one. I really don't want to see you to get hurt."


" So, would you like to have coffee with me, since the night is still young." Soujirou asked, but he was given no reply.  " Yuuki-chan?" Soujirou called out when he noticed Yuuki's blank expression. " Huh?" Yuuki stuttered. " I was saying, would you like to have coffee with me?" Soujirou repeated, desperately wanted to know Yuuki's reply.

" Sorry, perhaps next time." Yuuki politely rejected after some hesitation. " Oh…" Soujirou was speechless for a moment. " If you don't mind, I will take my leave." Yuuki said. " Let me send you home." Soujirou offered. " No thanks, I just spotted Kazuya-kun standing over there, I am going home in his car but I do appreciate your kindness. Sayonara." Yuuki finally bade goodbye before rejoining Kazuya at the other main gate. Soujirou stood rooted to the ground, looking disorientated.  

" Got rejected by a commoner eh?" Akira joined him from behind. Soujirou quickly regained his composure, " Nah, she is just playing hard to get, you know, like how Makino is treating Tsukasa? But too bad, I am not Tsukasa, she won't be getting a second chance from me." Soujirou said coolly, however deep within, he felt a tinkle of bitterness and he did not know why, all he knew was he had to see Yuuki again. Perhaps, it was just some mischievous trick from the playful Cupid…

…to be continued.