"Alright, so if you bring x over to the right hand side, how many 'x's would you have altogether?" Ling-chan asked, as she pointed to the paper which Eiji working on. "Hm… 2'x's, which means I can divide 'y' by 2."
"Why?" Ling-chan asked.
"The question wanted x to be the subject right?" Eiji replied, looking up uncertainly.
"Excellent. This is what it meant by making x the subject. Do you understand this concept now, Eiji-kun?" Ling chan smiled.
"Hai! Ling-chan is an excellent sensei! My own sensei would never ask me why to do something this way." Eiji chirped, as he finished off the rest of his sums with astonishing speed. Pushing them across to Ling-chan, he asked "Can you check for me, Ling-chan?"
Before Ling-chan had the chance to take the papers to check, Atobe plucked the papers out of Eiji's hands and drawled "Ore-sama will do so since Ling-chan is busy. The faster she is done, the sooner we can be off for our coffee date. Be honored, Kikumaru-san." He scanned the paper silently, before handling the paper back to a nervous Eiji, proclaiming "All is correct, except for the last sum. It should be negative instead of positive."
"Eh?" Ling-chan questioned, as she looked up from her own work, which was on Japanese history. "Let me see, how can that be?" She plucked the paper from Eiji who looked utterly crestfallen. "Daijoubu, Eiji-kun. You had improved at least, ne?" Ling chan said absent-mindedly as she checked the sums. Coming to the last question, she smirked a little as she turned to Eiji and said "Omedeto, Eiji-kun, everything is correct. Atobe-san is wrong. Don't worry!" At this, Atobe was shocked, how could he calculate the sum wrongly? He is the top student of his school, maintaining a perfect score throughout his study years! Leaning close to Ling-chan who knew what was going through his head, he challenged her "Prove it."
"Let's get others to prove it for you to see. Taka onii-san, can you do it please? Your best subject is mathematics after all." Ling-chan said, as she pushed the paper towards her cousin. "Oh…Hai!" Takashi stammered, as Atobe growled at him. Looking at the last sum, he worked through it quickly before confirming "Ano… it's correct, Atobe-san. This is how you do it…" He showed the workings to Atobe who frowned over it. While Atobe was looking over the workings, Momoshiro sneaked a racket to Takashi, who grabbed it and shouted "YEAH, BABY! THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT! CAN YOU DO IT MAN?" At Tezuka's glare, Momo hid behind his text while Kaido reached over to take the racket away from his sempai, not before smacking Momo on the head with it. As expected, these two tennis players get into an argument yet again.
"Sa sa, enough, Momo, Kaido." Fuji said, as he tried to calm the situation down. "He started it, sempai! He hit me!" Momo whined to Fuji, who looked amused. "Sheeeesh, peach butt, you are the one who gave Kawamura sempai the racket!" Kaido hissed in return. "Enough." Tezuka said. That one single word caused both players to stop immediately and look at their captain, who looked stern. "Have you finished the work that Ling-chan assigned to you for practice? She is here to help you study and yet you did not finish what she had helped you with. Do it." Hearing this, both players bowed and went back to their work while throwing each other death glares.
At this moment, Atobe sat back and nodded. "So des ne! Ore-sama understands now. It was a careless mistake on my part." "Cheeeeee, monkey king cannot tell the difference between a plus or minus? What an ignorant monkey king." Ryoma remarked from the other side of the long table bench where the whole team gathered together for revision. At this, Atobe growled and would have snapped at the young boy if not for the hand that Ling-chan laid upon his arm. Without looking up from her own work, she said clearly, in English "I took Atobe-san to task a few days ago about manners and yet you are as bad, if not worse, Ryoma. He is your senior and deserves the respect. Remember, this is Japan, not America. Do keep a civil tongue in your mouth or I will embarrass you by checking your chemistry work, which I bet is a nightmare as compared to your physics. Plus, Atobe-san did help you with a chemical formula earlier, which you haven't thank him for."
At this threat and reminder, the young boy sulked and went back to his work, which was chemistry, the subject which he detests with passion. Atobe smirked and went back to his reading of his company reports while silence reign again for a few more moments, with the sound of flipping papers breaking in occasionally. Eventually, Ling-chan looked up from her work and glanced at her watch.
"Let's pack up and go. It's close to 6pm already. Shall we have sushi at ojisan's? I heard there is unagi today." Ling-chan smiled as cheers broke out from the gluttons in the team. Looking over at Atobe who was penning something in his papers, she asked "Atobe-san? Would you like to have dinner with us? Unless you have dinner appointments already planned." "No, ore-sama expects to bring you for both coffee and dinner today. How about going now?" Atobe replied, as he packed his papers away into a branded Louis Vitton document bag, looking expectantly at her. "Let's walk and talk." Ling-chan said, as she turned away.
***WALKING TOWARDS THE SUSHI PLACE***
As Takashi lead the way to his house, Ling-chan, Atobe and Tezuka walked behind the team, with the 2 boys flanking her. Up at the front, Inui was busy scribbling into his notebook while murmuring "data, new data…" all the time. Oishi, who was walking beside him, sweatdropped and asked "Ano…Inui, do you think Atobe-san will succeed in asking Ling-chan out?" "Fu… 58%." Inui replied as his glasses glinted.
"58% what? He would succeed? He would not?" Oishi continued to ask while Eiji looked on expectantly next to him.
"58% that we will find out the answer in 4 hours time." Inui replied as he pushed his spectacles higher up on the bridge of his nose.
"4 hours? Why 4 hours?" Eiji wondered out loud as the trio continued hopping to the sushi place.
"That is because, we will finish our dinner in 4 hours time" Inui smirked as he looked at his friends who laughed at his answer. Takashi, who was at the front of the pack, turned around, smiled and said "Ano….Welcome to my place! Oto-san, my friends are here for dinner and Ling-chan wants unagi!"
"Ling-chan wants unagi? Then she will have the best then!" Takashi's mother chimed as she bustled from the kitchen, heading towards the girl who just entered and was taking off her shoes. "Welcome home, my dear!"
"Arigato, oba-san. Tadaimas!" Ling-chan replied as she smiled at her aunt who then noticed Atobe behind her. "Ano…this is Atobe Keigo." Ling-chan said, as she waved to the boy who bowed respectfully. "He will be having dinner with the team as well." "So des ne. Welcome, Atobe-kun! Come, take a seat."
The whole team occupied one long wooden table, facing each other as plates of food were passed around. Ling-chan sat between the two captains and talked to both of them as the meal progressed. As the meal came to an end, it was close to 10 p.m. at night. Inui was right – dinner was spanned over 4 hours, for a buffet. By the end of it, the whole team gathered at the counter, paying for the food which they consumed with relish. Bowing to Takashi's parents, they thanked the couple and glanced over at Atobe, who continued to stand next to Ling-chan. As the last guest to leave for the day, Ling-chan walked with him to the front of the restaurant where she stopped at the entrance and turned around to face him.
"Very well, Atobe-san. I accept your invitation for tea. Only tea. In truth, I really didn't want to go out with you at all. However, you showed me that you can be nice if you want to. Since you really put in effort to convince me today, I will meet you after school tomorrow. Would you be free then?"
"For you, I would be." Atobe drawled, as he looked at the girl in front of him. This is really the first time where he had to work so hard to get a girl to go out with him! "I will pick you up at the front of the school gates then, around 3.30 p.m.? I know of a place that serves excellent coffee." He paused, as Ling-chan shook her head. "No, there's no need to pick me up. I can make my way there myself. Where is it?"
As Atobe listed the location of the dessert place, Ling-chan wrote it down on a slip of paper that she had in her pocket. Nearing the end of the paper, she wrote her own mobile number and tore the portion of the paper off and handed it to Atobe, who took it with a smile.
"Drop me a SMS later with your name on it please, so that I will know it's you. Should I be late, at least I can contact you and not leave you waiting for me. Goodnight, Atobe-san." Ling-chan said. With a bow and smile, she turned and stepped into the house, closing the doors behind her softly.
Looking in the direction which Ling-chan had gone, all was silent for a while before Atobe broke the silence by saying "Get out of those bushes, mina-san. I know you guys are hiding there." At his words, the whole of Seishun tennis team, with the sole exception of Tezuka, fell out of the bushes and looked up at him, surprised to be found out so easily. Eiji was certainly looking at Atobe in awe "Do you have super powers, Atobe-san? X-ray eyes or something? How did you know we are there?"
"Ore-sama knew that you did not go off earlier. The reason why you paid up so quickly and left was because you wanted to stake out your positions in front of the house and see if Ling-chan would accept going on a date with me tomorrow. As you can see, Ryoma, your dear Ling-chan sempai is going out with me tomorrow. Admit defeat, brat!" Atobe smirked, as he looked at the boy who glared back at him.
"Humph. As if Ling-chan sempai would be easily charmed by the likes of you, Monkey King." Ryoma retorted, as he pulled on the brim of cap. "She certainly made you work hard in asking her out! Inui sempai was right, you would get the answers only 4 hours later, after dinner! How's the experience, for someone who proclaim that he will always get the girls he want within 4 minutes? Heh."
"Regardless of which, ore-sama got her to come to a coffee date with me tomorrow. The end is all it matters, is it not?" Atobe replied with a haughty lift of his chin. "Ah, here comes ore-sama's car to pick me up. Trust me, by the end of tomorrow, I will have Ling-chan saying how great it was an experience being with me. Sayorana, brat." With that catty remark, Atobe stepped into the waiting limo which drove off silently into the night.
***THE NEXT DAY, AT THE DESSERT PLACE***
"Welcome, Hitachiin-sama. Atobe-sama had been waiting for you." A pretty waitress at the door of the café smiled as she opened the door wide for Ling-chan who was just walking up the steps. Sighing silently to herself, Ling-chan smiled and thanked the waitress who showed the way to the table where Atobe was waiting.
As the duo walked into the room, the décor turned distinctly French in terms of design. The faint smell of cakes and pies filled the air with an overlaying aroma of freshly brewed coffee. It is, as if a Parisian café was transported to the heart of Tokyo. Seated near the windows, overlooking the streets of Tokyo was Atobe, with various papers on the table. Seeing the arrival of Ling-chan, he stood up immediately and walked to her seat, pulling out the chair for her. Taking her seat with a smile, Ling-chan said"Konnichiwa, Atobe-san. You are early"
"Konnichiwa, Ling-chan. You are the one who is truly early. I thought we agreed to meet at 3.30 p.m. Yet here you are, arriving at 3.00 p.m. As a gentleman, I must never keep a lady waiting; hence, I arrived earlier than you. Though I confess, my chauffeur just dropped me off moments ago." Atobe replied as he noticed the look of surprise fletching across her face. "I told you, I will prove to you that I have the best manners around."
"What's the purpose of it showing only to me and no one else? That does not help you in any way in improving your image with the rest, Atobe-san." Ling-chan smiled as she picked up the menu to open it. "Enough, we are here to have coffee and desserts, not to debate. What do you suggest, Atobe-san?"
"Your favourite vanilla latte is very famous here as they extracted the vanilla from vanilla beans. The millie-fille is quite good as well. Since these two are your favourites, I am sure you will order them?" "Hai. You have done your homework, Atobe-san. Likewise, cheesecake and espresso for you." Ling-chan grinned at Atobe's expression of surprise. "Don't be so surprised, Atobe-san. After all, I must return the favor of you finding out about my eating habits! Your eating preference is easier to find out as compared to mine. I wonder who did you ask?"
At this statement, Atobe only smiled and kept silent. As time passed, both of them chattered idly while enjoying their coffees. Since he knew that Ling-chan was not one girl to be impressed by his looks or wealth, Atobe stopped using those means to impress her. Instead, he tried to create a good impression by the thoughtfulness and effort that he showed so far. Once the cakes arrived, both of them took a sampling bite each and Ling-chan was certainly all smiles with her selection. "Oishi-desu! Arigato, Atobe-san, for such a good recommendation! I will definitely bring others to this store in the future." So saying, she took another bite as her thoughts wandered towards people such as Ryoma and Akaya, the ones who seem to like cakes and pastries.
Suddenly, a loud shocking bang resonated against the glass which Ling-chan and Atobe sat next to. Both of them looked up from their cakes; first at each other and then together, towards the glass window. What they found plastered against the glass was certainly an amusing sight –Kirihara Akaya, face all but flattened against the glass, mouth agape as he tried to shout something and his fist, banging uselessly. It's certainly easy to make out the words that he was shrieking "Ling-chan sempai~~~! Atobe, you bastard! What are you doing with her?!"
Turning around to face Atobe, who raised an eyebrow at her, Ling-chan shook her head in apology. Rising from her seat, she gestured towards the cakes, "Please continue, I will be back in a while. I will speak to Akaya." As she turned to go, Atobe grabbed her hand to hold her still. Outside, one could see Akaya yell in anger and foaming at the mouth as he saw the sight. "Let her go, Atobe! You have no right to touch Ling-chan sempai in any way!"
Nodding towards the waitress who served them earlier, Atobe simply ordered "Bring the boy from outside in here." The waitress bowed in response and stepped away to comply. Holding onto Ling-chan's hand, Atobe tugged gently as he said "Come, Ling-chan, sit down and drink your latte. There is no need for you to go personally when one can get the waitress to bring that boy in. Trust me, he would be stomping in within seconds." At this, Ling-chan sighed softly and sat.
True enough, one could certainly hear Akaya as he literally STOMPED his way to the table where both of them were seated. His eyes were red and steam was practically pouring out from his ears. Taking in the sight in front of her, Ling-chan sat back and said "Akaya, where are your manners?" Said boy ignored her presence and growled at Atobe who looked unfazed at the threatening aura that was emitting from the junior. "You playboy! How dare you target Ling-chan sempai?! Wait till I report this to our Buchou! He would definitely roast you over the fire for this!"
"That's enough, Akaya!" Ling-chan snapped, as she glared at the baby of Rikkai, who looked sullen but kept his mouth closed at last. "I can take care of myself, thank you very much. There is no need to run to Yukimura-sempai for everything. He is still recovering! I would not have you running to him for such a trival matter!"
At this rebuke, Akaya burst out "But he is a well-known playboy, Ling-chan sempai! You have to be careful with him! Where are the rest of Seishun's players? They knew of this wolf and his evil ways as well! In fact, you should keep away from him as far as possible!"
Hearing this, Ling-chan looked over at Atobe who took a sip of his espresso. He remarked candidly "Seems like I got a bad reputation as the ladies' man after all." "Damn right you –oof!" Whatever words that Akaya wanted to say was stuffed back into his mouth by a piece of pastry that Ling-chan stuffed into his mouth. "I said before, that's enough. Eat that pastry and be quiet." She added in a glare for good measure. Akaya pouted but kept quiet.
Turning back to Atobe, she shook her head at him and said "See what I mean about manners and that attitude of yours, Atobe-san? Alright, I think I will go and bring this little troublemaker with me. Otherwise, he will definitely continue to make a ruckus here. Thank you very much for today. I will contact you some other day." So saying, she rose gracefully and collected her bag. Pulling on Akaya's left ear, she left the room, with the little demon protesting and chewing on the pastry that Ling-chan had stuffed in earlier. Just before the duo disappeared from the room, Akaya stuck out his tongue at Atobe and grinned.
Mina-san, my apologies! It had been a LOOOOOOOOONG while since I last updated. My muse abandoned me ever since I graduated and started working. Now that I have some time, I tried my best to update.
What do you think of this chapter so far? Another date up in flames, with interference all around him! Poor Atobe. LOL. Stay tuned for the next chapter.
Till the next time, ja ne!