A/N: Way back in Chapter 13, I made reference to the fact that Charles had met Rise the week before... Which was the day before he came to Inaba with Yu. I've been waiting for the right moment and since Rise will be showing up soon... Here's my interpretation of her.
April 10, 2011
Narita International Airport, Tokyo
Kujikawa Rise was not in a good mood.
She had just deplaned from a flight that had begun in Los Angeles, California and had taken 11 hours and 15 minutes to reach Tokyo.
She was tired. Tired of Being "Risette"
I hate putting on a fake bubblegum smile and hate presenting my body to people who leer.
I don't have a problem with showing people my body. I dislike it when guys look at me like they wanted to do things with me that I would prefer their eyes and smirks be kept to themselves.
All those autographs… All those questions…
And just when I wanted to relax… The passengers were just as bad… except for one or two.
And why do I keep going…? Why continue with this?
No one cares about me for me… They all act like they care about me because I'm popular and beautiful and talented.
They don't care about the real me.
So she slipped into a restroom, while her Manager Inoue-san was trying to have some new even in a couple of days worked out.
She had loosened her hair from their pigtails and put on sunglasses.
She walked out.
Inoue-san is still distracted. Good.
I can't believe I'm doing this… She giggled, but I'm making a break for it…
Only problem is…
I don't really have anywhere to go.
So instead I'll just go to one of the restaurants and sit… maybe order something…
Maybe getting a break wouldn't be so bad….
No one recognized her while she entered. While her Auburn-orange hair was rare, she had noticed a few women who had those, so as long as she didn't have the "100% Official Risette Pigtails…All Rights Reserved!" She would be okay.
"NO! I was told that I would have a room at the embassy this evening!"
Rise was startled at the voice, she thought at first it was directed at her.
"Look, I know it's important to have the Australian Ambassador over to meet with the American and Japanese Ambassadors, but their summit isn't for another two days and…"
It was an American. He had brown curly hair and wore glasses. He was dressed in a grey and black Jacket and wore a grey t-shirt she could tell.
But she couldn't understand much what he was saying. She learned a little English, but not much… She didn't really like it. It sounded guttural to her
"Look… I don't care if it was moved up because… Fine! If I'm going to be put up in a hotel room then it should be at the Consulate's expense… No you listen. I was PROMISED…! Fine, if you cable Secretary Clinton, tell her that I'm going file a complaint… Good Day!"
Then he closed his cell and said, "SHIT!"
But then he noticed her. And he looked sad and said, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you."
"My Apologies… I don't know much English."
He looked appalled but she could tell in his eyes it was directed towards himself.
"I'm sorry. I should really learn that not everybody in Japan speaks English."
She blinked. "You… You speak Japanese?"
"Yes, but you speak it much better." He was giving her a warm smile. "Do you want to sit here? I promise I'm not a bad guy."
She thought about it… she decided that if this guy spoke Japanese then at least he'd know when she called for security.
But she could sense he was a good guy. So she sat down next to him. "Domo Arigato," she said.
"You're welcome…" Then he took a sip from his bottle of TaP. "Still needs a little sugar."
"So, that looked like news you didn't want to get," Rise said at an attempt at conversation.
"You noticed. Yeah, the short version was I was supposed to sleep in the American Embassy tonight and then they just called and said, 'OOPS, SORRY! We've got two visiting Ambassadors in Tokyo early and we need to give up your room and your ride. Have luck finding a hotel room you can pay for, kid.'"
"That's terrible," Rise said.
"Not really, par for the course in my world."
The waitress showed up, she seemed to be 16 and had a blank stare that seemed to be polite.
"What is your order, please?" She asked Rise.
"Ummm… Just a ginseng tea, please?" Rise asked
"Very well." The waitress walked off after writing down the order.
"I'm sorry, my manners. Warudo Chaaruzu," He said, offering his hand.
"Kujikawa Rise, and it's all right to use your name as it's pronounced in America, because otherwise you're going to keep having to breath between your surname and your given name."
"All right, Charles Waldo." He offered his hand again.
She took it. "And try to use your last name first as much as possible. I don't mind… but some others might."
"You don't have to be… I assume you're not here as a tourist?"
"No, I'm a Foreign Exchange student, second-year at Yasogami High in 'EE-nah-bah.'"
"'EE-nuh-buh'… it's pronounced 'EE-nuh-buh.'"
"Really, because they guy I was sitting next to…"
"He was probably from Osaka or Kobe, where they think it's how it's pronounced. I'm from Inaba, so I know."
"Really? Then are you going home, because I'm taking the train tomorrow."
"No, I'm going to be here for a few days, then off to Europe."
"Europe, why would you want to be in Europe?"
The waitress returned with the tea. "Please drink it before it gets cold."
"It's… well, it's my job…"
"You would think that, but no. My job's one that's been around a long time."
"Well, I don't see what the problem is." He said smiling.
"Because it's a job that takes me a lot of places but I can never get a break."
"Ohhh, Teenage Magazine Model!" Charles said smiling again.
"Modeling is… one of the things I do."
"One? I don't understand…"
What is with him? The poster's nearby.
"Don't you even know who I am?!" She said curtly.
He looked at her with complete honesty. "No, I don't, should I?"
She gestured towards the poster.
He looked, it was the one where she was wearing her pigtails and an orange and yellow bikini with her website printed ion it. The bikini top was secured by the choker she wore around her neck.
He looked at her. He looked at the poster. He looked at her again.
"She's you?!" He said in surprise.
"Yes," She said in resignation. "That's me…Risette!"
"Umm… I don't know what to say… I heard your professional name on the plane… but the odds…"
"Oh, please… You're 'squeeing' inside like a little girl. You can't believe you're face to face with Risette. You're just like all the others." All the people who fawn over and pay attention to me only because they want to be Risette. I thought he was a nice guy but he's like all the rest... I can even predict what he's going to say next…
"I can see why you would want a break," he said after sipping his TaP again.
OOOOKKKKAAAAYYYY! Anything but that.
"Wait, how did you..?"
"It's obvious to anyone who has a heart… your hair is down, plus you're all depressed… Rise, are you that unhappy?"
She was stunned. No one asked her that since she became Risette.
"Yes, Yes I am… I mean, not totally. I kind of like the idea of being an Idol… But there's so much stuff and so much time occupied, I don't even get to breathe!"
"A lot of entertainers your age have that pressure… That's why I feel bad for most of them."
He paused looking at her.
"Have you asked your management for a sabbatical?"
"They would never hear of it. Risette is a bookable, bankable name right now. If I took even a DAY off, I'd lose momentum."
"Rise, Momentum isn't going to mean much if you collapse. I can see lines underneath the bottoms of your sunglasses frames. How much sleep have you gotten?"
"5, maybe 6 hours…" She said.
"That's not bad…" He said.
"What's today, Saturday?"
"Sunday, we crossed the date line, remember?"
"Two days ago." Charles looked shocked. "Since then I've just had little power naps that weren't really naps."
"Rise, I'm sorry, but please… ask for a sabbatical."
"Look, Charles. I know you care, but the last week wasn't so bad… I got to see America. I got to shoot a commercial for Quelorie magic before that… well, forget that. The only thing I liked was the bikini because the water was freezing even though I was in a heated set. I got to record 3 songs for my new Album… I should be happy."
"But you're not. I can tell. You want a break so badly, that you're enjoying this one."
"What makes you think you know so much about me?"
"Because that's what you want… is for someone to talk to the real you… Not engage in 'Idol Chitchat.'"
She gasped. How could he know so much?
As if reading her mind, he said, "It's not hard. Any one of these people…" He said, gesturing to everyone inside and outside the restaurant. "…could take the time if they wanted to. But the problem is… With any celebrity… That takes too long. They just want to know the celebrity for their fame, rather than as a person. Because it makes them feel better and forget their troubles for a time."
Charles and Rise just looked at each other, but didn't say anything. However, the moment was short-lived.
"There you are, Rise! I've been looking all over for you!"
"Do you know what trouble you've caused? I thought you were kidnapped!" Inoue-san said.
"I'm sorry, Inoue-san… I just wanted a break."
"A break? Look, we'll discuss this in the limo."
"Rise, who's the stiff?"
Inoue turned around and looked at Charles, "I beg your pardon?"
"Well, I assume you're either a professional hardass or her manager or both."
"And what may I ask is your business with my client?" Inoue said, glowering at Charles.
"So, 'both' wins the tiebreaker… Pity. My name is Waldo Charles, and I'm just minding my own business when she came along wanting some ginseng tea."
"Is this true?" Inoue asked Rise, to which she nodded. "Well, be that as it may, I must ask you to please leave."
"I'm still waiting for my ramen that I ordered, but since the food orders are backed up, I'm still waiting. No complaints to the staff… Aika was it?"
The waitress just sighed. "It'll be another five minutes."
"Domo… You people do good work." Then he turned to Inoue-san, "Now, I'm not leaving until I have my snack."
"You will leave immediately…" Inoue said coldly.
"And yet, your tone is not enough ti intimidate me. Look…Inoue-san, was it? I was here first. The young lady looked lonely and wanted a break. We started talking, to my surprise I find out that she's one of the top rising J-pop teen idols. I talk to her… as Rise… not Risette."
"If you're not going to leave I'll have you removed."
"By all means, but I suggest if you want me gone badly, you do it yourself… not those two security guys you have over there… and IF you do it then I'll tack on a complaint against you on top of my complaint with the American Embassy that I have to sleep in a damn hotel room that I have to pay for without any chance of reimbursement…so if you'd like to fight then as I said by all means. Because I would LOVE IT!"
Inoue just looked at Charles. "So all you did was talk to her? Not harass her for an autograph or asked if you could show her a tattoo of her…"
"No. I mentioned that if she is so tired and needs a break to ask you for a sabbatical."
"That won't happen"
"She needs REST!"
"And she'll get some."
"Longer than in between a 2-day waking stretch? If you can pull that off, I'd believe anything you say."
Inoue glared at Charles. "Don't presume to tell me my business."
And then Charles said in the coldest fury imaginable, "And don't presume you can maintain status quo, because if that girl collapses and dies… I will NEVER forgive myself. Or. You."
Inoue nodded to one of the security men… The man said something into his cell that was inaudible. Another man showed up. The first man stood by Charles.
"So, you gonna dump me in the Pacific with cement shoes?" Charles said acidly.
Inoue was looking at his phone, but he smiled at Charles as if he was amused by that. Then he looked back down.
"Well, Mr. Waldo, your timing is actually good. Rise's trip to Europe had met with an issue due to a scheduling conflict that one of the sites had. Since our company promises that all sites of a trip must be available BEFORE Risette's flight goes wheels up... We've postponed it for two weeks. All the other sites have agreed as two others were ready to cancel, reluctantly. As far as Mr. Omato's concerned. He's to drive you personally to the Conrad Tokyo Hotel, compliments of Risette's Management."
"Uhh... Thank you?" Charles was confused.
"I'm not doing it entirely for you… I'm doing it because she would have brought this up eventually and unless I miss my guess you have a train to catch to Inaba tomorrow, do you not?"
"You seem well connected."
"In my world, I have to make sure for my client that I know who they're talking to. What they're eating and drinking, where they go, et cetera. If I can't do that, then I'm not doing my job. If I have to check things out I will."
"Well, even though a break for her would be nice… please take into consideration a sabbatical for her."
Inoue looked at Charles "Are you in love with her?"
"Then why the concern?" Inoue didn't seem to be angry at Charles any more, now that the danger's past. He seemed to regard him with curiosity.
Charles thought about it… "Because…. And if you checked up on me, you'd know… There was a time when I didn't care about people… And someone… paid the price. So you'll understand if I say I don't want that to happen again."
"Very well, Omato-san will take you now. Any complaints, please call me at my number." He handed Charles his business card.
"Domo… Despite the earlier rancor… It was a pleasure to meet you."
Inoue smirked ruefully, "You would say that… though I would say this has not been entirely unpleasant. It is rare to see a young man such as yourself wanting to stand up for what he believes in for a friend. Rise, we should be on our way."
Rise looked at Charles and said, "Well, thank you…though I was worried you bit off more than you could chew…"
"Nah, I'm fine. Besides. I think your manager cares for you… He just doesn't know how to show it."
"Well, I'll be seeing you."
"Only if you happen to stop by Inaba for the next year."
"Well, my grandmother there runs the local Tofu shop. You should at least tell her hi for me."
"I will. Sayonara."
"No…No… If you want to say 'see you later' say 'Mata' or 'Mata ne'"
Charles's ramen arrived. "Please eat it before it gets cold,"
"Domo, Aika. Say, have you been to Inaba?"
"Yes… I'm from there." Then Aika left.
Wouldn't mind seeing her around again.
I hope I can see Rise again someday… Maybe she'll come to Inaba and visit during her sabbatical… if he gives her one. Charles thought
"I don't suppose you're from there, Omato-san."
"I'm from the Bronx, sir"
"Well, Then I guess I won't be discussing the Mets, will I?"
"Not unless you want to ride on the luggage rack on the roof, sir."
"So, do you think the Yankees will win it this year?"
"Can't say, sir"
"Well, you'll be fun conversation." Charles ate his ramen.
As he did, an English speaking TV New program was on, though Charles was too focused on his meal.
"…sources believe that Nametame Taro may have been involved in an extramarital affair, but currently no comment from his wife Hiiragi Misuzu's publicist at this time… In other entertainment news... A stunning development. It has just been announced that the popular Teen Idol Risette has postponed her European tour for two weeks. When reached for comment, her manager was quoted as saying… Risette needs time off. When asked for rumors that Risette was found in the company of a young American, the reply was. 'Just a coincidence. He just wanted to eat his ramen.' Some anonymous internal sources have verified the comments.