Roommates

On the sofa, Nami made herself comfortable and opened her book she found at the public library. It was Monday and she took out the trash. She even separated it, making sure the recyclables went into the blue bin, the compost in the green and the waste in the black. She had plenty of free time.

Two weeks had gone by with no news from the FBI or the news media. Nami surfed the internet daily for any kind of information, but the media outlet had deemed the scandal insignificant and humdrum. What was one corrupt CEO to them when the recent years had produced dozens if not hundreds of them? The media had quickly moved on and were now focused on the birth of a baby boy by celebrity couple so-and-so.

As for Arlong, he was possibly in Venezuela or Columbia, but that was only wild rumors. Hatchan had delivered the official news that Arlong Park Inc. was no more. No one was going to step in to save it, which came as no surprise to Nami. But what was most upsetting was they weren't getting paid for their final week of work. All assets were frozen, pending litigation.

Trying to stay busy and positive, Nami worked on her resume. She updated her experience and spruced up her skill sets. When it came to her work history, she balked. There was no way she could exclude it. Arlong Park was her only place of employment unless she included her part-time jobs she held during school. And they weren't impressive at all, mostly low-paying seasonal jobs.

In the end, she made up her mind and put it in with all its glorious details. It was no use hiding it. Might as well flaunt it. She saved her resume on her computer with the intention of uploading it later to job search sites. She can't give up without trying first.

With that out of the way, Nami had started on her book. The author was a best-seller, but was trying a different theme from her previous novels. The book was boring and slow. Filled was many different characters, most of whom were uninspiring and swallow, she was having a hard time getting into it. Nami got to the eighth chapter when she heard the front door open and close.

Rubbernecking down the hallway, she was surprised to see Sanji. He walked in, hefting a couple of bags of grocery. He had left the apartment earlier than his usual routine. She assumed he had errands to run before work and didn't expect him back until much later in the night.

"Good. You're here," he greeted her. He was decked out in a summer attire, a pink short-sleeved shirt, a dark vest and beige baggy trousers. He vanished into the kitchen.

Nami set down her book on the coffee table and pursued him through the second entrance. "What's going on? Shouldn't you be at work?" She watched him as he pulled out bread and packages of slice meat from the brown bags. He grabbed condiments from the cabinets and started making sandwiches on the counter.

"Let's go out. Change clothes. Bring a swimsuit," Sanji instructed her without any explanation. He ducked down and brought out a small ice chest and filled it with ice from the freezer.

"What do you mean? Where are we going? What are we doing?"

He grinned excitedly. "I got a boat."

Like that answer was enough for Nami. "A boat? The kind that floats in the water? Where did you get a boat?"

He stopped and sighed. "My friend has a boat. He's in town on a business trip and says I could use it. Let's go sailing. It'll be fun. Go around the bay. Catch some sunshine. So get already. It's not like you have anything else to do."

"Who? Which friend?" People who owned boats were exceedingly rare. A boat was not something regular people owned. Even owning a car was considered luxurious by her standard. Gas was expensive, parking was elusive and traffic was prevalent in this city.

"Shit, why so many questions?" Sanji's shoulders slumped. He was in the middle of packing the sandwiches he made. "He's not exactly a friend of mine. More like a friend of a friend."

A friend of a friend? That seemed vaguely suspicious. "And he was nice enough to loan you his boat? Do you even know how to sail a boat?" Immediately she regretted her words. Her queries came out harsher and more critical than she intended.

"Yes!" Sanji said flatly, sounding slightly annoyed. "I called Robin and Usopp. They're coming. And Kaya too. Do you want to come or not?"

Nami paused and adjusted her attitude when she heard that. Well, that changed everything. If they were all going, it had to be okay. She nodded her head.

Finding something to wear on short notice wasn't something Nami wasn't use to. Given her clothes collection, it didn't take long after scrounging in her closet. She found a floral bandeau sundress she didn't know she had. She wore it over her bikini and then added a long knit cardigan as a cover. Getting a few more things, she jammed everything into a tote bag. Her appearance was satisfactory for a beach outing.

Struggling with the straps of her high-heeled sandals, Nami hopped out of her room into the living room, where Sanji was waiting. He had on a gigantic backpack that was easily twice his size.

"This is for one day, right?" She felt underprepared with her small tote bag.

"I brought lunch and snacks for everyone," he said simply.

"Oh, that's right. How could I forget?" Nami made a funny face when Sanji wasn't looking.

The journey through public transit system was an adventure in itself. Rush hour was over on the subway lines, but there were still a lot of commuters. Nami had to guide him onto the train, otherwise he would have knocked down the other passengers with his backpack. They rode on the subway train for an hour before transferring to another train and finally jumping on a bus.

After the long transit ride, they made it and not a moment too soon. Nami was getting carsick. It was a relief to be walking. Bright and hot, Nami put on her sunglasses and checked out the area.

Their destination was a small picturesque town, filled with a variety of retail, hotel, and dining. It had enough people to be considered lively but not too many to make it feel crowded. The sky was clear, the air was clean and the water was incredibly blue. It was definitely worth the trouble. It was amazing little tourist spot.

Deep in thought, Sanji was scrutinizing a map while chewing on his cigarette.

"Do you know where to go?" Nami asked as she tied back her hair into a ponytail. Next she looked at her cell phone. No messages.

He didn't reply and started moving in no particular direction. She chased after him.

"When is Robin, Usopp, and Kaya getting here?"

Nothing but an incoherent mumble. He stopped and stared up at a street sign and then back down to his map.

Frowning, Nami tiptoed and peeked over to look at the map in his hand. It didn't take Nami long to figure out the problem. She took it from him and flipped it upside down for him. "I think we need to head over there." She giggled and steered him in the correct direction.

Sanji exhaled and became relax. "Thanks."

They moved down the hot street until they came upon the water. The harbor was almost deserted. It didn't look like many people owned boats here, despite how lively the town was. The boats that existed here were mostly fishing boats and dinghies. Nami wondered which of these boats belonged to Sanji's friend's friend. They walked and searched until Sanji spotted the one he was looking for.

"That one." He pointed to a boat with a sail mast. It was docked at the end of the pier.

Nami was little surprised when she got a closer look at it. It was a very small boat, painted with green stripes. Now she was no expert on boats, but it was a weird-looking boat. It had a strange shape, kind of like a frying pan with saucepan stacked on top. Then again, maybe it was just her imagination.

"Behold, the Shimashima," Sanji introduced with his arms held wide apart. He hopped on board and entered the cabin, where he dropped his backpack. "What do you think?"

"It's definitely one of a kind." She got on and walked around the entire parameter of it. It seemed sturdy. There was even a chimney for the kitchen.

Of course Sanji couldn't stay away from cooking for very long. He set up a small grill and started to prepare lunch. He expected their friends would arrive at any moment. Nami took the opportunity to relax on a lounge chair. Since it was fairly secluded, she felt comfortable enough to slip out of her sundress to work on her tan. She dug into her tote bag for suntan lotion and then groaned. She forgot to bring any.

"Sanji, do you bring any sunscreen?" she shouted over to the opposite end of the boat to where he was cooking.

"Check my backpack," Sanji answered back.

Getting up, she crawled into the cabin and located his backpack. Her hand felt inside and found a bottle, which turned out to be an ordinary water bottle. She tried another compartment and she uncovered a pack of cigarettes. Of course, he couldn't survive a day without these. He bought a lot of things. She started pulling things out and laid them out on the floor. Her fingers brushed against something flat and square. Confused, she pulled it out and stared at it. She couldn't quite breath for a second when she recognized what the square packet was. Her cheeks felt warm. Why would he bring that?

"Did you find it?"

Nami jumped at the sound of his voice and she dropped the scandalous paraphernalia. "Uh, no..." her voice wavered. She patted the floor, frantically looking for it. "Where did you say it was?"

"Try the front pocket."

"Okay," she replied curtly while trying to keep her voice steady.

A dam of panic was released and relief gushed through her body upon finding it again. She was about to jam it back in the backpack and escape outside when she discovered her mistake. Nami opened the packet and peeked inside: needle and thread. It was a sewing kit.

Nami almost collapsed from her own stupidity. Thinking rationally again, she berated herself. Dummy. Condoms came in aluminum foil, not cardboard. Of course Sanji wouldn't bring one. Why should he?

Embarrassed, she located the sunscreen and crept back to her lounge chair. At least no one saw her.

Even with nice weather and radio playing in the background, it was a restless afternoon for Sanji. He paced impatiently back and forth along the dock. Finished with his preparation, he had laid out the food in a nice layout, a fancy buffet. Only problem was no one was around to eat it. Still no sign of their friends. Nami had eaten what she could, which wasn't much and the rest remained sadly untouched.

"What's taking them so long?" Sanji complained. "The food is going to go bad under this heat." He craned his neck for a better view.

Nami sat up and stretched her arms. She grabbed a fruity drink Sanji made for her and took a sip. "Maybe they hit traffic."

Her answer didn't put him at ease. "They could at least call if they are going to be late."

"No point fretting about it." She

"I just want to get going soon." His cell phone rang, indicating an incoming message. He checked his cell phone and was met with disappointment. "Usopp and Kaya aren't coming. Tamanegi got stung by a bee."

"Ouch. Is he okay?"

"Yeah. Kaya is looking after him." He turned and stared glumly at the food wasting away.

"There's still Robin," Nami said hopefully. "She should be here soon."

Unexpectedly, Sanji reached down and untied the dock lines to the boat. He pushed the bow from the dock with his leg and jumped aboard.

"Wait, are we leaving?" Startled, Nami stood up and wrapped her cardigan around her shoulder. "What about Robin?"

"Let's sail around for a bit. She can call us if she does show up."

With great ease, the boat moved away from the dock and they sailed out of the harbor.