Chapter Two: A Table for Two


He was looking up and down the street—ignoring the gaggle of friends behind him—and nodding to himself. At this time of day it was crowed with people, coming home from school or work, doing last minute shopping and god knows what else. No one was bothering to spare them a look.

"Yusuke?" She asked again.

He still wasn't listening to her…

"Yusuke!" Keiko yelled in his ear.

"What?" he spat. She could hear snickering behind them.

"I just wanted to know how we're getting to the restaurant." She said in a dangerously sweet voice.

Yusuke gulped and braced himself for a slap.

"Are we going on the subway? Or taking a taxi?"

"I can do better that!"

"A limo?" she asked disbelievingly.

"Nah, Much faster than that."

"A bullet train? The restaurant's not that far away, is it?"

Yusuke grinned broadly. Keiko caught the mischievous gleam in his eyes and jerked away, but not fast enough. Yusuke had scooped her up into his arms, as easily as a child, before she could blink.


Her voice was lost in the wind as he took off, fast as a rocket, down the street. She didn't fear falling. His strong arms held her tight and the gravity from his sheer speed pushed her into his chest, where she could felt his heart beating against her. The people and buildings became an endless colorful blur; her hair was whipping back behind her like a flag in a windstorm.

She looked up at Yusuke, who was smiling at her like a madman, and laughed in delight. All too soon, it seemed, he slowed and came to a stop. He placed her down gently and held her until she was steady.

"How was your ride on the Yusuke express?"

He was still cheerful, but Keiko could hear the hint of worry in his voice. Her face was red, eyes teary from the wind, and her nicely done hair was windswept and ruined. She ran fingers through her hair and sighed fondly. She could read him like a book and he still couldn't tell when she was happy. Boys.

"That was better than any rollercoaster I've ever been on." she assured him.

"Really? So you'd do it again?

"Yes, I'd love to."

"That's great, 'cause I really didn't have a way for us to get back home if you didn't."

She shook her head, torn between laughing and reprimanding him. She settled for grabbing his shirt by the lapels and pulling him down to kiss him hard. She released him, enjoying the confused look on his face, hooked her arm around his and strode into the restaurant.

Yusuke groaned softly and flattened his fringe. Though he had stopped slicking it back with copious amounts of gel for a few years now, his bangs still had a tendency to stick up at awkward angles. The run over here hadn't been bad. He had been surprised at how much Keiko had enjoyed it, and wondered why he never offered to try that before now.

He had been worried that part, honestly, because this place cost him three months wages just for dinner and he didn't have money for the subway or a taxi. He was lucky he could run or else he'd really be in trouble.

He had just been thinking that this might not be so bad after all when they entered the restaurant. It was… big. Large paintings and woodcuts adorned the walls along with beautifully illustrated wall scrolls and elegantly carved jade statues.

It was the sort of place rich businessmen would take their clients to. There was a huge pond complete with waterfall in the middle of the place, for goodness sake! It's the kinda place I'd get thrown out of, Yusuke thought, glancing around nervously.

Why, oh, why, had he let Kurama chose the location for the date!

He didn't have long to consider his trepidation, for a smiling waiter escorted to their seats almost immediately as Keiko mentioned 'reservation for two'. It was a small table in a dim corner, set for two and lit entirely by candles, next to the pond. He shot the large multicolored koi swimming in it a dirty look, before he sat down.

He almost gagged when he saw that the ivory chopsticks were engraved with gold kanji for 'love', 'honor' and 'beauty'. He squirmed in the seat. Damn these clothes were tight! He forced himself to smile as Keiko ordered an appetizer of raw Ahi tuna. At least he was getting some good food out of this.

Keiko chatted to him about collage and he tried to pay attention, he really did, but the intricacies of higher education where a mystery to him and Keiko's talk only confused him even more. He was glad he'd dropped out—junior high was bad enough!

Kuwabara went to Keiko's college too. He was on their baseball team and actually really good at it, at least, when he didn't have to catch anything. Yusuke guessed all that training with his spirit sword had to payoff somehow. It was pretty funny how it got on the team; he'd lauded his ass off when Kuwabara told him.

On his second day of school some hot-shot baseball player started hitting on Yukina and tried to grope her. Kuwabara was so pissed he punched the guy half-way through a wall. The guy was still in the hospital and the baseball team was going to lose this season without him. Kuwabara felt bad that he'd ruined the team's chances and offered to play. Now he was their best batter.

"Yusuke?' he started.


"You haven't been listening to anything I've said, have you?"

"Uhh… "

"Why do I even bother!" she threw up her hands and huffed.

"Look I was…"

Yusuke he trailed off and clenched his fists, as two tables away he saw ten people noisily sitting down at a huge round table. His friends had arrived.

Just when he'd thought the night couldn't get any worse.