So I kind of started another story last weekend...and here it is. If any of you have read my other stories, you will know that I take some of the characters to Japan. So I got to thinking, I bet Eric and Sookie would love to go to Japan. Partly because I love Japan (I used to live there). And it would be more fun if they were humans, and met under unusual circumstances, which kept getting more and more unusual, so here you have it. I already have quite a bit of this written, so I will be posting pretty frequently, probably every day for a while. I, like most of the authors on here, love getting any sort of feedback, so feel free to leave me some love!
As always, I don't own the characters, just the setting and situations.
I sat on the straw tatami mats of our apartment, watching as the man I had moved across the pacific with, try to justify the compromising position I had caught him in, a mere thirty minute earlier.
"Sookie, it was a mistake, a minor indiscretion. We've come too far for this to break us." By come too far, he meant my forgiving him two years ago when we had first started dating and I found him in bed with his calculus tutor. The only reason I didn't break it off then was because I was fragile over my grandmother's terminal cancer diagnosis. In hindsight, cheating on your girlfriend when you know her gran is dying is a pretty nasty thing to do. Bill had always taken advantage of any situation that he could, including getting me to come to Japan to teach English a few months after I lost gran. We had just graduated university and I had no plan. I couldn't face returning to her house in Bon Temps, which had been signed over to my brother and I, so when the opportunity to get away from everything for a while came up, I took it, despite the knot I'd had in my stomach the entire time I'd been dating Bill.
I loved my job, teaching adorable Japanese children to speak English through games and cutesy conversation. I was glad that Bill had convinced me to come, even though this was the end of the road for us. I decided that as soon as I came home early from my flower arranging course and found him in bed with Yuki, a most adorable Japanese girl who worked at his school, the opposite of me in every way.
"Sookie, are you even listening to me? I'm trying to save our relationship here. You haven't said anything." I sighed.
"Bill, there's really nothing left to say. I'd like you out by the end of the week. I will contact the company about getting a new roommate." Luckily for me, we had been given a two bedroom apartment, so being assigned a new roommate wouldn't compromise my privacy.
"Sookie, you are really just going to give up on us? It was a mistake. We've been through so much together, the death of your gran, university, moving here, and you are just going to quit on us?"
"I am. And don't bring up my gran. Ever." I snapped at him. My gran was the only family I had left, after my parents were killed in a flash flood. I had a brother, but we weren't terribly close. I picked up my phone and dialed my company, informing them that our living arrangement had changed. They had a new group of teachers coming in next week, so it would be no problem for them to stick me with someone.
"Someone new is moving in next week, so you have two days to find a place to live." I stood up, placing my hands on my hips in my 'I mean business' stance. Bill backed down and went to pack up his things. I didn't care where he was going. The knot in my stomach dissipated for the first time in a very difficult two years. I popped out the door and headed for a temple that was my favourite, and since I lived in Kyoto, it was quite hard to pick a favourite. I sat on a lovely park bench and looked up to see the first signs of the cherry blossoms beginning to spring from their rough branches. This would be my first spring in Japan and I was so looking forward to the festivities that surrounded the cherry blossoms. Bill and I had made plans to go to Osaka together, to see them at the castle there, but I guess I would be going on my own now. I had already booked a few days off of work, and had booked a hotel, so I wasn't going to let him ruin this for me.
When I came back to the apartment, Bill and most of his stuff was gone. He left me a note, again begging my forgiveness and I crumpled it up and threw it in the garbage.
The next week was a bit of a blur. I had picked up a few extra classes to allow for some extra spending money on my vacation, so when I came home on Thursday to my new roommate, a vivacious brunette with a pixie cut and a Georgian accent, I had completely forgotten that today was the day she would be arriving.
"You must be Sookie. I'm Amelia." She came up and gave me a hug. "I'm so excited to be here, and to be sharing a room with another southern gal? And a great apartment? I really hit the jackpot! What happened to your other roommate?"
She really cut right to the chase. "I was living with my boyfriend, but we recently ended our relationship."
"Ah, well I'm sorry to hear that. How are you holding up?"
"Wonderfully. He was cheating on me with one of the staff at his school."
"Ah, what an asshole." I liked her already.
We spent the next few days getting acquainted and showing Amelia the sights, including the local foreigner bar, and the 100 yen store. Her and I were kindred spirits and hit it off from the beginning.
About a week after she arrived, it was time for my trip to Osaka. As much fun as I was having with Amelia, it would be nice to have a little bit of a break and spend a bit of time on my own. It was one of the things I enjoyed most about Japan. No one really bothered you if you didn't want to be bothered.
I packed my backpack full of cute sundresses and flip flops, thrilled to be breaking free of the chilly winter season. The temperature was about on par with Louisiana, but our apartment was much cooler than gran's house or the dorm at LSU. I arrived at Kyoto station about 30 minutes before my train was scheduled to leave and spent a few minutes browsing at the convenience/souvenir stands that lined the station. I picked out a few delicious snacks for the train ride and went to wait on the platform. I headed down the escalator, around the stairs and headed smack into Bill. Of course he would be here. We booked the tickets and time off together. I mentally smacked myself in the head.
"Sookie, I was hoping I'd see you here." Bill embraced me, while I kept my arms by my sides. I hated that his embrace felt so familiar.
"I forgot that you would be here or I would have rebooked." I gave him my best death stare.
"This will be a good opportunity for us to talk Sookie." The train pulled up and I quickly took a seat, with him shoving a little old man to get into the seat beside me."You have to understand. You misinterpreted what you saw."
"I don't think there would be any way to misinterpret what I saw Bill."
"I was, ah, merely showing her the difference in endowment between myself and the men she has seen. She has spent months trying to convince me that her husband is as well endowed as I am."
I sat there, disgusted, but oddly fascinated with his ridiculous rationalization. There were a couple of problems with this story that I didn't have the heart or the interest in pointing out to Bill. Firstly, having been intimate with Bill, I was certain that Yuki was probably right. Bill had nothing to brag about in the endowment area. Secondly, he was completely delusional to think that that severed as a valid excuse for being in bed with someone. Third, I knew he was doing much more than showing her his girth. I had walked in on full out penetration, not a simple, childish game of I'll show you mine if you show me yours. Fourthly, she was married? Could this situation get any more absurd?
"Bill, I'm going to sit over there. Please don't follow me." I pulled my bag out from the overhead compartment and climbed over a sleeping business man, so there was no place for Bill to follow me to.
I put my Ipod, blaring The Shins for a bit of mellow listening. About three stops later, the business man got up and Bill slid in beside me once again, plucking the earbud from my ear.
"Sookie, please, I'll do whatever it takes, we can go back to the US, just please give me another chance. We can make this work."
I removed the other earbud. "Bill, we're so over, we need a new word for over." I loved when I got to quote Carrie Bradshaw in everyday life. It happened so rarely. "I'm not interested in going anywhere with you, including Osaka. Please just leave me alone." I replaced my headphones. Bill sat beside me, the rest of the trip in silence. I was thankful that I'd changed the hotel reservation to a single, and it was in my name. I didn't really care what he did when we got there, as long as it wasn't with me.
We pulled into Osaka station around 2pm. I shot Bill my best death stare, grabbed my bag and headed to the hotel. It was about a five minute walk from the station and I could feel Bill behind me the entire time. I smiled, knowing that I had got the last single room and he would have to find elsewhere to stay. As predicted, there were no rooms at the inn. I snickered to myself as a dejected Bill turned around and headed out the door. Hopefully that would be the last of him. I checked in, using my most polite broken Japanese and headed up the elevator to the 10th floor and opened the door to the closet that was going to be my home for the next four days. I hopped in, took a quick shower and headed down to use the hotel onsen, to soak some of my troubles away.
I got off the plane in Tokyo and was immediately hit by a rush of humidity. We certainly didn't have that in Norway this time of year. I was sorry that I had worn such a heavy suit, but it was often cold on the plane. I spent a lot of time on planes, managing my company's interests in Asia. I was here about one week a month, dealing with angsty buyers and sellers. My business was international seafood trading, Atlantic to Pacific, which was quite lucrative. My father had started the business as a young man and turned it into quite the empire. He was nearing retirement, so in the past few years, my role had increased dramatically, and required extensive travel. Pam often jokingly referred to me as a fish monger in a suit, but it was far more than that. I prided myself on being involved in every stage of the process, from spending time on the boats, ensuring things were done correctly, to making sure our product was properly prepared in Asian stores.
Pam, the last person who I wanted to think of this week. I should have seen it, all the signs were there long before I made my discovery a few days ago.
I had known Pam since we were both 5 or 6. Our parents travelled in a close social circle, so we were always together, for as long as I could remember. We went to the same elementary school, but then split into our own respective private boys and girls schools. When we were about 15, we started getting bored during the endless dinners and functions we were both forced to attend by our society climbing parents and started sneaking off together. Going to same sex schools had impacted on our ability to meet other teenagers of the opposite sex, so our mutual attraction started growing about the same time we hit puberty. At first we would sneak off with a bottle of wine and just talk, then that graduated to heavy petting and making out, and before I knew it, we were having sex in a coatroom at a christmas party. Pam and I were quite compatible and had always been friends, so we were of course very comfortable with each other. When our parents found out, instead of being disappointed, they were thrilled. We would be a perfect match on the society page. We went off to university together, living in a co-ed dorm, breaking up from time to time, but always finding our way back to each other, and have phenomenal make-up sex. I guess that's when I should have started to get the idea that something was amiss.
During our third year of university, Pam started to make passing suggestions about experimenting sexually. I thought I had the coolest girlfriend in the world, when she started suggesting girls that would could have threesomes with. I always had a very healthy sex drive, and that was one of the reasons that Pam and I were able to sustain our relationship for as long as we had. We fucked over all the problems. Our first threesome was a huge hit, Pam wasn't jealous like I thought most girlfriends would be and the girl she picked out was smoking hot. We started including a third more and more regularly, until one day, when I realized that the two of us hadn't had sex alone in about a month. As tempting as it was to fuck this problem away, it was something I wanted to discuss. She agreed that we should try and get back to just us, and for a couple of years, everything was fine. We had always been very close, so we were able to move by any weirdness.
When we graduated and I started travelling with work, we continued to maintain our relationship and sex life, although it was reduced, since I was away. Last spring, under immense pressure from my parents, I proposed, with the engagement ring my father had given my mother years before. She accepted and we moved into a lovely townhouse in downtown Oslo, that she immediately decorated with her impeccable taste. We made every society page for months, as everyone guessed when we would marry and where, and who would design her dress. I was away more and more, and Pam started travelling with a girl friend, to South America and other far off destinations. I was happy that she wasn't sitting around missing me, since she had decided to do her Masters part-time and was working at home a lot.
Last week, I returned home a day early, from a short trip to Taiwan. I opened the door and immediately heard noises that could not be mistaken for anything but sex. Pam was quite into pornography, so I snickered to myself, thinking I'd caught her rubbing one out on her own, waiting for me to return. I quietly put my bag down and slowly climbed the stairs to our second floor bedroom. I opened the door to find Pam face down in Mara, one of her socialite travel companions. Neither of them paid any attention to me, until I cleared my throat and leaned on the doorframe.
Pam quickly gathered herself. "Eric, I, uh, wasn't expecting you home until tomorrow." She blushed a bright shade of red, which was compounded by her flushed state from her earlier activity.
"Well here I am. Mara, would you give me a few minute alone with my fiancee?" I shot the short haired blond a look that could have been described as hostile.
"Uh, sure Eric." She quickly pulled on her clothes and was out the door. I was left alone with Pam, clad only in a bedsheet.
"Pam, I believe I'm owed a bit of an explanation here." I was surprised how calm I was. I think this was the moment I realized that I had played a major part in a lie that Pam had been telling herself for many years. This was most certainly not about me, although I felt my heart break a little when I looked at her.
"Eric, I wanted to tell you, I wanted to tell you years ago." Pam looked at me, tears streaming down her face. "But then you proposed, and we moved in here, and everyone was so happy. And you, why wouldn't you be enough? You are gorgeous, amazing in bed, and my best friend. But it's not you, its never been about you. Its about me."
"Pam, I am leaving for Japan in two days and I will be gone for two weeks. Please have your things out of my house when I return. If it makes you feel better, you can blame this on me to your parents." I knew her parent's reaction was a huge reason for her living her lie for so long. They were very conservative. "We will talk when I return, I just need some time to think."
I didn't actually have a trip to Japan booked, but I made the arrangements quickly. Japan was the one place where I could count on not having any interruptions. I had visited many times, but never just for pleasure, it was always about business. No one knew me there, no one would bother me. I needed some time to process everything. I had been with Pam, on and off, for over ten years. I had planned to marry her. She was like an extension of me, one that it turned out, I hadn't known as well as I thought I had.
I quickly shuffled through customs, no one giving me a second look, although my 6'5 frame and blond hair caused me to stick out like a sore thumb. I caught an airport shuttle into the city center and checked into my usual hotel. I unpacked and took a shower, but instead of my usual packed schedule full of meetings, I had nothing planned. I went downstairs and headed to the concierge desk.
"Hello, do you have any suggestions for activities to do this time of year?" Japan was big on seasons. It was April, there must be some festival or something that would be worth taking in.
"The cherry blossoms have started to bloom in Osaka. They are very beautiful. If you take the bullet train, you can be there in two hours."
"If I went, I'd have to stay the night. Can you make me a hotel booking? I will keep my booking here as well and store my things in the room."
"Of course, Mr. Northman. I will make you a booking at the Hilton in Osaka. Since you are such a good customer, I will have you upgraded to a suite with a private onsen."
"Thank you." I headed back upstairs, packing an overnight bag and a change of clothes for the next day. I was always impressed by Japan's transit system, you could get to any of the major cities within a couple of hours in relative comfort. I hailed a cab and headed for the station.
Three hours later, after I had checked into the hotel, I caught the local train to Osaka castle, where the concierge recommended I view them. I wasn't a big fan of flower viewing, but from my past experience in Japan, it would be the perfect place to get caught up in a crowd and disappear for a while. I stopped at the station and grabbed a bento box for dinner and went to sit under the trees for a bit, hoping for a bit of peace.
I was through my rice and soup and digging into the chicken teriyaki when I was disrupted from the peaceful white noise of a language that I didn't really understand enough to have to listen to, by a couple yelling at each other. Feeling a bit relieved that I wasn't the only one having relationship issues, I listened in discreetly. At least I was fairly certain that the problems I was having had very little to do with me. Whatever this fight was about, it was certainly about the brown-haired man with the bitter face.