I froze at the sound of my name, and turned very, very slowly to face the man who had called out to me.
“Flynn,” I said, with what I thought was an admirable veneer of calm. “It’s been a while.”
“Yeah, it sure feels like that, huh? You only went to what…one class since—”
“Yes, well,” I interrupted, before he could finish. “Very busy. Don’t really have time for kendo.”
“Uh…yeah. I can imagine.” He fell silent.
I shifted on my feet, unable to look at him.
He had been helpful with the skins, both before the attack and after, of that there was no doubt. And that kiss…but I still wasn’t sure how I felt about him.
I shouldn’t be having this many problems. This was not supposed to be complicated. Derek—
I needed to stop bringing Derek into this. He was irrelevant. He had absolutely nothing to do with my love life. Never had.
“If you want to…” he trailed off.
I tried to finish for him. “…come to class more?”
He blinked. “What? No, I was going to ask if you wanted to go get coffee or something, but that’s a stupid idea…”
I shifted more. “Yeah, I don’t drink coffee…”
“Well, I know, that’s why I said it’s stupid.”
“Oh, I forgot I told you.”
“No, that’s understandable. I mean—”
“I can’t remember everything I say.”
An awkward silence fell. It was debatable whether it was better or worse.
Oh, thank Musashi himself. I turned to see Ling and Lizzy walking towards us, shopping bags under their shoulders.
The little blonde delinquent smiled. “I thought that was you. What’s up?”
I waved my hand in what I hoped was an offhand manner. “Oh…nothing. You?”
She rolled her eyes. “Well, I was at soccer practice, but Laura apparently ran out on Lizzy before they finished shopping, so I had to step in to get the job done.”
“We got some stuff for you too,” Lizzy said in her usual flawless Japanese. “Another sharpening kit—don’t look at me like that, this one is specifically for knives. We also found some coupons you might be interested in. But mostly, we got you lingerie.”
I nearly choked. “Lingerie?”
Ling brightened. “I understood that! Yeah, we got you lots of lingerie.” To my horror, she started rooting around in her bag. “Here’s some black lace, a see-through set, white lace—”
I rushed forward to try and stop her. At the very least, she shouldn’t be pulling these out in the middle of the sidewalk. It wasn’t particularly busy, but still.
Flynn tried to step in. “Uh…maybe we should do this somewhere else…”
Before Ling could react, I activated my speed, grabbed the bag, and ran towards the nearest alley. It was a stupid thing to do, with everyone around, but no one noticed. At least, no one started screaming in panic, so good enough.
“What the hell are you doing?” Ling hissed, glancing around as she followed me. “Are you crazy?”
“Me?” I demanded. “You two…” I shook my head, unable to find the words.
“Don’t be mad, Ken-chan,” Lizzy said soothingly. “It’s all right if you’re not at that stage yet. Everyone’s relationships advance differently.”
I sputtered. “What are you—no. No, no, no!”
Ling rolled her eyes, catching my tone well enough. “Here,” she declared, handing me another bag. “All yours.” She nodded at Flynn. “I’m sure you two will be very happy.” Then she grabbed Lizzy by the arm, turned on her heel, and walked away.
Flynn blinked at me. “Uh…”
I looked in the second bag with some trepidation.
Ah. Right. ‘Relationships.’
Behind the Scenes (90)
As you might expect, Japanese doesn’t really have a word for lingerie, other than “lingerie” with a Japanese accent (in all fairness, English did the same thing). That’s why Ling understood that part.
And yes, extra update Wednesday. This one just wasn’t going quite the way I intended.