The Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 Continuation Fanfic Series

by P. Kristen Enos

Most of these stories take place AFTER the TV Series! So DON’T blame me if I ruin the ending for you because you read these stories first!
Lesbian/Yuri/Shoujo Ai Warning! (Non-explicit — at least in the “PG13″/”R” sort of way.) Just not written for children because they probably wouldn’t get half of it. All rights belong to JVC/AIC, ADV Films and the other creative powers that be. I just want credit for writing the story.

Chapter 7: Chemistry Lesson

‘Wow, she’s gorgeous!’

That was the first and only thought that hit Linna when she saw Reika for the first time, which was in the middle of introductions for Irene’s party.

Unfortunately, Linna’s stunned reaction was so obvious when they greeted each other that Reika’s startled expression showed she noticed. The two women blushed and averted their eyes in embarrassment.

No one seemed to notice or care because there were quite a few women who came from different sections of Irene’s life, everything from her gym life to her school days.

Totally intimidated and flustered, Linna made a point to avoid Reika at all costs because she didn’t think she could say anything remotely intelligent. It also didn’t help that she couldn’t stop staring, which was aggravated even more by the several times Reika caught her, repeating the mutual reaction they had the first time.

She had seen the pictures of the sisters on display throughout Irene’s apartment, but it was nothing like seeing this woman in person. What amazed Linna was the fact that the sisters looked relatively similar, especially in the photos, but while Irene was cute and easily approachable, Reika had an elegant and detached gracefulness to her beauty. The only thing that made her seem even remotely down to earth was the fact that she was dressed in a simple brown shirt and beige slacks, in contrast to the bright yellow summer dress her sister wore.

In being friends with Irene, Linna had always been aware of the older sister who was an expatriate in the U.S. and lived the life of a marginally successful theater and commercial actress. The only other thing she knew was that Reika had attended Tokyo University and majored in English, which she apparently spoke fluently.

Knowing that this woman would make her feel very much the awkward country hick from four years ago, Linna maintained her distance and had fun chatting with the other gym staff and regulars. Yet she couldn’t shake an ever constant awareness of where Reika was at any moment when she was in the same room.

Linna took an opportunity to privately relax in the kitchen, knowing that Reika was out on the balcony with a couple of other women from the gym. She was embarrassed by her reaction to the other woman, and wondered if she could make it through the rest of the party without having to directly talk to her.

The only other person who ever made her feel this flustered was Sylia. Reika was definitely just as beautiful yet she didn’t seem to have that provoking personality… nor the edgy raw energy of Priss. Then again, that comparison didn’t quite apply since Priss never intimidated Linna. Pissed her off maybe, but never intimidated.

“Are you looking for something?” Irene asked as she came into the kitchen.

“Um, no, just getting another drink. That’s all,” Linna said, trying to act and appear casual as she anxiously put her half full beer bottle on the counter.

“Well, there’s plenty,” the other woman said as she popped open the fridge and started to rummage inside.


Feeling like she had to say something, Linna blurted, “Wow, Reika is really beautiful. It’s no wonder she’s an actress!”

“I’m glad you think that because she asked about you,” Irene commented from within the fridge. “She told me you’re the sexiest woman she’s seen in a long time. But the problem is that she’s extremely shy when it comes to approaching someone she’s seriously attracted to.”

Linna froze, not quite sure that she had heard what she just heard. Her heart started to speed up as she dared to accept a positive conclusion. She had been so intimidated by the woman that she didn’t even check for signs of being available or taken, like a wedding or engagement ring.

With a blatantly pleased grin, Irene reappeared with a bottle of chilled wine and pulled out an opener from the drawer next to her guest. “And I think it’s extremely fortunate that you’re both single right now. Unless of course there’s something you haven’t told me….”

“N-No, I’m not seeing anyone,” Linna stuttered as she watched her pour three glasses of wine. All mental functions were crashing together at that moment.

Irene then picked up two glasses and held them out to her.

“What’s this?” Linna asked, finally able to focus clearly on something.

“You said you were thirsty,” she answered. “And she’s waiting for the other one.”

“Oh…. Thanks,” Linna answered numbly as she took the glasses.

Linna felt like she was on autopilot as she carried the glasses through the crowded apartment and out to the balcony.

Reika was still there, chatting in English with Cynthia, a tall British girl who was also a physical trainer at the gym. Reika immediately glanced over at Linna and then noticed the glasses of wine. She looked a little confused and glanced beyond her for some reason.

“Yes, one of them is for you,” Irene said, holding her own glass in one hand and the bottle in the other.

Linna was so out of it that she hadn’t noticed that other woman had followed her from the kitchen.

“Cynthia, can I have your assistance for a moment?” Irene asked as she corralled the other woman away, leaving two women behind who resembled frozen deer in headlights as they stared after her.

An awkward silence fell upon the two of them as the moon glowed brightly above, in contrast with the merry noises and lights coming from the apartment.

Feeling that her nerves were starting to get the better of her, Linna took a healthy gulp from the wine glass.

“Um, the other one is mine, right?”

“Yes! Yes, it is!” Linna declared in horror, quickly realizing she had never actually handed the glass to her.

“Thank you very much,” Reika said softly as she accepted her drink with a polite but clearly amused smile.

Linna felt like she was going to die of embarrassment. At this moment, she wished there was an army of boomers nearby that she could jump into, even if she didn’t have a hardsuit.

In an effort to salvage some dignity, Linna stiffly bowed and said, “If you’ll excuse me – “

“Wait!” Reika blurted as she instinctively reached out and snagged her arm.

Linna froze at the contact. She was startled by the gesture but was more distracted by the bolt of electricity created by the hand on the bare skin below her short sleeve shirt. If the sudden widening of Reika’s eyes was a sign, the other woman clearly felt the energy too.

Realizing what she had done, Reika immediately removed her hand in embarrassment. She was clearly struggling to think of something to say as she kept her gaze lowered, which was odd given that she was almost a head taller.

While patience was not normally her strong point, Linna happily waited, indulging in the other woman’s nearness as well as in a couple of glances to take in more of her beauty from this close.

“Um, Irene mentioned that you just moved back to Tokyo after being away for three years and that you were only here a year before that,” Reika said, trying to increase the eye-contact even more despite the fact she was now clearly nervous. “And well, since I haven’t been back for an extended visit since I graduated college, uh, I wonder if you want to go and explore some of the sights together?”

Feeling completely at ease now, Linna smiled gently and answered, “I’d like that.”

As if the positive answer was what she needed to finally relax, Reika returned the smile and asked, “So what would you like to see?…”

“Linna, thank you so much for staying and helping to clean up. You didn’t have to do that,” Irene said as the three remaining women gathered by the front door.

“Nonsense,” she answered as she put on her jacket. “I like feeling useful.”

“Then we definitely should have had you here to help set up,” Reika commented wryly.

Just then the phone rang, causing Irene to jump in excitement. “That has to be Sho! It was great that you came, and I’ll see you in the gym next week!” She gave Linna a quick parting hug before racing to beat the answering machine in the next room.

Linna and Reika looked at each other and smiled after being abandoned by their hostess for the second time that evening.

“I’ll definitely give you a call so we can schedule getting together this week. I’m just hanging out right now without any regularly scheduled appointments. And since Irene works most nights, I’m usually free at that time.”

“I look forward to it,” Linna answered genuinely. She turned to reach for the door and paused. “I’m glad Irene ‘coaxed’ me into talking to you.”

“I’m glad she did too.”

Another moment passed before they bowed to each other and said good-bye. After Linna departed for the night, Reika closed and bolted the door, finally collapsing against the wood as she felt all of the built up tension from the night release.

“Well?!” Irene demanded, peeking her head out from the kitchen.

“I thought you were on the phone!” her sister retorted in mild annoyance.

Unintimidated, she answered, “I told him I’d call him back as soon as I heard the door close. That was the shortest goodbye I’ve ever heard!”

“Well, we only just met tonight,” Reika commented with an evasive shrug. “And we’re only going to hang out for a bit. It’s not like we can pursue anything since we live an ocean apart.”

“You can always move back, you know.”

“I won’t over a potential romance, thank you. I’m not that much of a lesbian,” Reika remarked as they walked into the kitchen. “And I don’t know how much of one she is either since we really didn’t talk about that specifically… I have to admit I’m surprised by all of this because I didn’t think you approved of me dating women.”

“I didn’t approve of you dating Sylia,” she clarified. “Your other girlfriends were okay.”

Reika narrowed her eyes and asked, “Are you certain it’s not because she was the first?”

Irene made a face. “Give me some credit. You know I have good instincts with people. Mom and Dad may have thought she was a slacker. I just felt there was something creepy about her that I could never put my finger on.”

“Then what is about Linna that has your seal of approval?” Reika said, deciding it was time to change the subject before they got into a fight over a woman who hadn’t been in her life for over eight years.

“I think she’s sweet. And there’s a genuineness about her that you don’t find in most people.”

“Okay, that I can see,” she admitted. “How much does she know about our family?”

“Not a thing. So your concern about ‘bought affection’ is a non-issue. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she thinks your last name is ‘Chen’.”

“Oh.” Reika responded, obviously not having considered that before. “So, did she tell you she was gay?”

“Not officially,” she admitted. “I always tried to fix her up with the guys at the gym but she always found a reason not to date each one. But I always caught her checking out the women in the club, although I don’t think she ever thought I noticed. And I never heard her talk about men but she always had this friend Priss that she hung out with. I saw her once, extremely butch, dresses in leather and rides a motorcycle. At the very least, I thought if Linna wasn’t actively gay that maybe she was but just didn’t know it.”

“Well, I still consider that piece to be inconclusive,” Reika insisted. “Like I said, we really didn’t talk about that tonight. I’m taking the stance that I may have met a really good friend tonight. But I do admit she’s eye candy.”

Irene rolled her eyes and muttered, “I honestly don’t know how you lesbians date to begin with. I only pushed her because it was so obvious that neither one of you was going to make the first move. And I was not about to suffer through one more hour of watching you two moon over each other from across the room!”

Her sister’s response to that remark was a well-aimed plastic party cup to the head.

— End Chapter 7 —

Chapter 8: Scientific Discovery

“– Dr. Yuri and the rest of the team are still going through the documentation,” Dr. Yamada reported as he stood in the center of the luxurious office that was bigger than the giant lab he spent most of his time in. “At this point, however, I can guarantee we will be able to make 95% of the requirements by the demonstration date.”

Clearly impressed, Quincy leaned back in his chair and stroked his beard. “The information is that valuable?”

“Yes,” the scientist confirmed, his excitement clearly evident even though he tried to maintain his formal stance. “The design information is revolutionary. The fact that it predates all existing documentation on boomer technology is what makes it all the more remarkable that it was kept completely classified. We’ve theorized that had this design been fully deployed, we probably would not have suffered the Boomer Revolution in 2040.”

“So then are you suggesting that would mean we would finally negate the rogue risk if we fully incorporated the designed into our all of new gen models?” Madigan questioned as she stood by the window. Her skeptical tone was subtly evident, but then she almost always sounded skeptical.

“It’s a theory,” Dr. Yamada responded earnestly, realizing he was clearly on point to justify his statement. “As we are all aware, not all of the associated documents were recovered, which may have included the reasons behind the final decision of why the design information was never fully deployed, as well as what actually happened to the prototype created. None of the documents mention any rogue element in the prototype; in fact it gives the impression that the model was by far the most reliable and trustworthy design ever. It stands to reason that the rogue element was introduced because not all of the sophisticated core functions were incorporated in mass deployed models, which could have been due to a variety of reasons from excessive expense to unnecessary capabilities.”

“If that theory is true, then we have to consider the fact that our latest generation of boomers are even less sophisticated than the Revolution models,” Madigan pointed out. “Which in turns means an even greater risk of going rogue.”

“Yes, but,” answered the scientist firmly, showing he was more occupied with the point of the debate rather than focused on the intimidation factor of who he was actually debating with, “We are also aware of the fact that the Revolution was confined to Tokyo since the exact same models deployed elsewhere in Japan and internationally were unaffected.”

“I think the outstanding issue is that we still don’t know what exactly caused the Revolution,” Quincy interjected smoothly when he saw that Madigan was going to fire off another point. “Which is why we have the Data Recovery project to begin with. Are we agreed on that?”

Both employees curtly nodded.

“Now then, back to these recovered files. You’ve stated that meeting 95% of the requirements should not be an issue. What is the outstanding 5%?”

“The remaining 5% is the requirement around full environment interaction. Because my team is still sifting through the documents, we may actually uncover something to bridge this gap. What is additionally noteworthy is that the original requirements for Sylvie may prove to be too easily met by the information we’ve gleaned.”

“Meaning?” Now both executives appeared intrigued in their own way.

“For example, the person recognition file that we’ve envisioned is extremely primitive compared to what the document has outlined as achievable. The maximum number of persons may be significantly higher, like in the thousands or greater, since it seems as if we can build a cleaner and more advanced interactive module. The documentation also details how we can combine that module with easily assessible retention, creating reference information as a base for approaching new and unfamiliar interactions.”

“You mean create Boomers with the capability to learn?” Madigan questioned, clearly startled by the statement.

“Yes, Ma’am,” Dr. Yamada answered, his original enthusiasm returning. “Not just with people, but anything which is part of their environment, based on whatever parameters we define.”

“It almost sounds like we can achieve a sort of sentience with our models,” Quincy commented as he mulled over the implications of the statement.

“In theory, yes. At least, as much sentience a machine can accomplish, which even at the most advanced levels detailed in these files is still below the natural abilities of a human child. These files are clearly missing some sections so we have an opportunity to conduct our own research to see if these information gaps are easily recoverable data. That is just one option of many that we’ve found so far. There are other benefits, such as much more efficient internal designs which will allow us to create body frames comparable to the size of a child,” he stated, clearly being swept up by the excitement of possibilities. Catching himself, he cleared his throat and adopted the formal demeanor before stating, “Obviously we wouldn’t be able to incorporate everything we’ve learned from the documentations by the demonstration date. However, Sir, for the next version of Sylvie, I am requesting a total reevaluation of the requirements as they currently stand because I have high confidence that we can upgrade her to standards far superior than what we originally thought was possible.”

Quincy looked at Madigan questioningly.

She gave a nod though her expression was unreadable.

“Dr. Yamada, you have my full permission,” Quincy declared. “In fact, I would request that you and Dr. Yuri allow your team to proceed with the original requirements while the two of you do a reevaluation and proposal as soon as possible. You are dismissed.”

Once the clearly pleased scientist left, the CEO leaned back in his chair thoughtfully. “Well, that was certainly interesting. In the course of fifteen minutes we find out Boomer Technology is far more advanced than we ever thought, and that our doctor has a backbone to him after all. It seems we have to reevaluate our plans for him. With what he knows now, we definitely cannot lose him to any competitors, either accidentally or intentionally. However, I am curious to hear what he and Dr. Yuri will come up with in the requirements reevaluation.”

“So do we change our plans for him, or merely delay them?” she asked as she looked out the window at the view of Tokyo Bay. On the horizon, she could see the construction tower that marked the site of the Skyhook Rebuilding Project.

“I’m thinking he may be so blinded by his scientific interest in these documents that we can use that to our benefit. However — “ His comment was interrupted by a vibrating sound coming from within his vest pocket, which was Madigan’s cue to occupy herself with reading her datapad.

He pulled out his cellular phone with a noticeably concerned look on his face. “Hello?… Oh, hello, Sweetheart… Yes, I’ll be at the recital tonight. Tell your mother I’ll meet you at the school…. Well, tell your brother that I will check to make certain your pontytail is intact. If it’s not, then I’ll order Mr. Hino to lock up his video games for a week…. Yes, explain it as seven days… Okay, Sweetheart, I’ll talk to you later. Love you. Bye.”

Quincy let out a weary sigh as he turned off the phone, at which Madigan allowed herself a wry grin as she continued to scan her pad.

“I just need to hear that every once in a while to confirm that it’s a good thing I don’t have more than one,” she commented dryly as she put her pad down.

“Yes, but yours is also in college. I have at least four more years of this. Of course, it would end sooner if Junior actually acted his age,” the father grumbled as he massaged his temples. “I’m sorry. Where were we?”

“Dr. Yamada,” she prompted, back in business mode. “What should we do about him now that he knows what he knows.”

Quincy mulled it over a moment and then asked, “So are we certain that we’ve recovered all of the files that we can for that project?”

“Given the volume that is still yet to be processed through the final level of recovery analysis, it’s hard to say. But it seems all of the files were together so I think we may have the majority of the information. And I know the way Mason worked, and how he would mislabel files for coverage. I’ve instructed my team to give priority to analyzing all of his files and they are 99% complete.”

“Dr. Yamada is getting married on June 30th, hmm?” Quincy said as he checked his own data pad. “And the announcement of the Perry Electronics buy out has been already made public. But deals can always fall through, of any sort… Suggestions?”

“Unless something is done, he will become part of Chang Enterprises sooner or later. And if it’s not Perry Electronics, it could be another company which could become his personal lab and factory. Mr. Chang seems to be a man who knows how valuable his people are and how to best use their skills. And given Dr. Yamada’s personality profile, I do think we will be spared a risk of him leaking any technology information as long as he’s still employed with us. However, once he’s no longer loyal to Genom, there is nothing to guarantee he will keep this information completely proprietary. He’s too much of a scientist not to use all of the information he knows. It is also possible he might not plan to leave so soon now that he has a new challenge with Project Sylvie and may want to see it through to the end.”

“True.” Quincy stared out the window from his seat and finally said, “Tell him and Dr. Yuri they have until the end of the week to turn in a new proposal for Sylvie. During the weekend, execute the first part of Plan C, and let’s see what happens. I am hoping it will stall the wedding, but it could also backfire and cause us to lose him sooner. And if that happens, execute the second part of the plan without delay. Also set up a meeting with Dr. Yuri. I think it’s high time we had a chat with this man to find out what his career plans are…. And reward the programmers who recovered those files with a 10% bonus.”

“Yes, Sir,” Madigan responded promptly as she exited while making notes on her pad.

— End Chapter 8 —

Chapter 9: Matters of the Heart

Reika narrowed her eyes at the displayed pictures on the bookshelf.

It was a two-picture frame holding two images of a young, brunette woman a frilly pink dress with matching ribbons. The two shots were obviously from the same photo shoot. The first one was the woman sitting by herself with her arms crossed, and her scowl showing that she definitely did not want to be there. The second photo was the same woman now accompanied by a younger, pixie-looking blonde girl with a huge grin who was clearly enjoying herself as she tried to stretch the first woman’s face into a smile.

Reika scanned the rest of the living room of the apartment and noticed that there were no other pictures on display. She looked back at the picture and realized that the woman was definitely pretty despite herself and her predicament.

“Here’s your drink,” Linna said as she appeared from behind her. She handed over the glass with a wide grin and a little bit of a bow as a joking reference to their first real meeting.

“Thank you.” Reika took the offered glass with a gentle smile and then pointed to the picture. “She doesn’t look too happy.”

Linna broke out into a chuckle and said, “That’s Priss. She actually hates those pictures. She had to do it because she lost a bet with a mutual friend of ours. I just keep them out here to piss her off when she visits. I keep the nice ones of her in the bedroom.”

Reika’s face fell slightly. “Oh.”

“I-I meant, I keep ALL of my nice ones in the bedroom, friends and family,” Linna corrected quickly. The blush was back with full redness. She reached over and pulled out a CD from her collection and handed it over. “This is what she really looks like.”

Reika looked at the cover of the same woman performing at a concert dressed in leather and exuding a raw, sexually charged charisma the crowd was obviously responding to. She grit her teeth at the unwelcome feelings of jealousy that started to surface, something she hadn’t experienced since Sylia.

“She’s been on a ‘world tour’ with her band for the past three years,” Linna explained. Then she studied Reika for a moment and added, “I miss her but I know she’s happy with her boyfriend.”

Reika was obviously a little relieved. Then she took a sip and pointed to the second picture. “Who’s the blonde?”

“Our friend Nene. She works for the police doing computer stuff.”

“I can’t picture you naturally crossing paths with either of them. How did you meet?”

Linna was quiet for a moment and then explained, “Well, Priss almost drove over me on her motorcycle, causing me to spill my lunch. So I chased her to demand that she replace it. It was either that or yank her off the bike to kick her ass, which was really my first impulse. We eventually reached a truce of sorts. And she and Nene were already friends before I came into the picture… Now that I’ve answered some of your questions, let’s go sit on the couch and you can answer some of mine.”

Reika smiled and said, “All right. What do you want to know?”

Even though the two women had actually gotten together once before on Wednesday, their conversation then had been very polite and pleasant as they spent their time exploring the shopping district. Now that it was Saturday and they were finally alone, there was a certain acknowledgement that the added privacy would allow them to get to know each other better than in their earlier conversations.

“Like how you ended up becoming an actress in America after studying English at Tokyo University.”

She studied Linna for a moment, as if evaluating what she should actually say. Then she smiled softly and said, “It started off as me taking an opportunity to enjoy my youth. My family has a very large business that my father runs and since I’m the oldest and there are no sons, there was always a certain expectation that I would succeed my father. Since I definitely had no passion or interest in it, Dad encouraged me to go ‘enjoy my life’ while I could before I had to come back home and be responsible. Acting and theater was as far from corporate life as possible, and it turned out I actually had some talent. And to sound completely conceited, my looks didn’t hurt. In fact, my hair used to be as short as yours but I grew it out when it was apparent that looking as close to American expectations of Asian girls would get me more jobs.”

Linna looked noticeably intrigued. “So when are you expected to move back to Tokyo?”

“Originally, I was supposed to come back when I reached the age of thirty-five so there would be enough time to groom me for successorship before my dad retired. However, Dad is the worst when it comes to forcing me or my sister to do anything. If he had his way completely, I would never become part of the business, and he always acted like I wouldn’t be affected. But we really know that’s not realistic. Plus, Grandpa still holds the real strings and he’s a strong believer in family loyalty and obligation. As far as Grandpa is concerned, it was just a matter of me coming back to the fold eventually.”

“Then it sounds like you have seven more years of freedom.”

“Actually, it may be permanent now,” Reika stated with a pleased smile. “With Irene marrying Sho, Dad is strongly considering grooming him for successorship instead, which is definitely fine with me… So why did you move to Tokyo the first time?”

“I felt stifled being raised in the country, and I didn’t really belong,” Linna admitted as she studied her drink for a moment. “I guess moving was my own form of enjoying my youth. At least I figured I’d try to make a life for myself in Tokyo and see how successful I am. And if it didn’t work out, I’d return home and marry some farm boy and pump out grandchildren like my parents want.”

“Well, that certainly sounds like something to postpone for as long as possible,” Reika gently teased. “Then why did you transfer to Osaka?”

“An opportunity with my company,” Linna answered with the half truth. “It turned out that it wasn’t something I wanted to do permanently, and I missed my friends like Priss and Nene. So I came back as soon as it felt right.”

“Are you happy to be back?”

Linna shrugged and answered, “I’m feeling a little lost right now. Like I don’t have any real motivation for the moment. But I’ll find something eventually.”

“Good. — Excuse me, but can I use your bathroom?”

“Of course. It’s over there,” Linna pointed.

As soon as Reika had closed the door, Linna jumped off the couch and quickly went out to her balcony. It was late afternoon so the sun was still up and the view from her fifth floor apartment was still decent. However, she wasn’t there to enjoy the Tokyo scenery.

Linna carefully peered over the railing and spotted her target sitting at an outside the table at the coffee place across the street. He was a man in nondescript, casual clothes with sunglasses and a cap, who seemed to be absorbed in reading a paper, but he was definitely in easy viewing access of the entrance to her building.

When she first noticed him on their Wednesday shopping trip, she thought it was her imagination or extreme coincidence that he would appear every once in a while, apparently out of the way but he always in the background. Linna wouldn’t have noticed him at all if it wasn’t for the fact of how tall and solid looking he was. He could look down to Leon. When she and Reika parted at the subway station for the evening, Linna didn’t see him anymore so she thought it was just wild coincidence.

So when she noticed him again that morning, and once more showing up every once in a while at the same places she and Reika were at, her alarms were triggered. Was this guy a stalker? If so, the biggest issue now was that he apparently knew where she lived.

This was one moment where Linna wished her judo classes started last week rather than next month. She also wondered if it wasn’t too late to get some shooting lessons from Sylia as well as “borrow” a pistol or two.

“See something interesting?” Reika asked in her ear.

Linna let out a shriek as her reflexes kicked in and she jumped up and almost over the railing. Luckily, those same reflexes kept her from completely leaping over as she froze on mid-motion, but she gripped the metal bar like a vice.

At the same time, however, a horrified Reika reacted with reflexes of her own, grabbing Linna by the waist and pulling her back down.

Both women’s hearts were practically pounding out of their chests as they stood there. Linna was not letting go of the rail and Reika was not letting go of her. Neither one spoke for a minute as they tried to calm down.

Linna was aware of the strong possibility that had Sylia or Priss seen this, they would have been respectively disappointed and embarrassed. She didn’t even want to contemplate what Nene’s reaction would have been.

“Sorry about that,” Reika finally murmured into her ear. Then she paused and added, “Actually, that’s not completely true. I’m glad the result is you in my arms.”

Linna felt her pulse rate pick back up. She was now focused on the fact that she could feel Reika’s slender frame completely pressed up against her back. It definitely wasn’t a bad feeling. She gulped and decided it was now or never. She moved to turn, and Reika loosened her embrace but not by much, so they could face each other. It took just one look directly into those brown eyes for Linna to realize and accept the fact that there was no other choice but to kiss her.

At first Linna couldn’t help but compare the experience with the only other person she ever kissed — Sylia. However, the level of intensity, circumstances and sheer emotion involved was so incredibly different that she allowed her brain to just shut off and be swept up in the moment. It was as if they couldn’t get enough of each other but at the same time, they were both content to take their time with becoming comfortable with each other physically.

She didn’t know exactly how long they kissed, but when they finally parted the sun was definitely lower in the sky.

Once again, they stood on the balcony, facing the Tokyo view with Linna nestled with her back against Reika, but the serenity of the mood was drastically different from before. They were both quiet as they indulged in the feeling of having their arms entwined as they shared the embrace.

Linna noted casually that the Stalker seem to be gone.

“I am honestly scared about what we should do next,” Linna confessed softly. “I’ve never had a successful date with someone before, much less gone to bed with them.”

Reika kissed her ear and said, “You kiss very well for someone of such limited experience.”

Linna blushed but allowed herself a pleased smile. “I had some spontaneous kissing practice with a friend once a couple of years ago. We were having an evening of true confessions over a bottle of scotch and one thing led to another. But we stopped it from going too far because we realized it was just an physical release for both of us, and our friendship just wasn’t meant to be like that.” She paused and added, “Personally, I think it got that far because she was dressed in only a short bathrobe. And she’s definitely a flirt when she’s sober so the alcohol just added to it. But I also can’t claim I was an innocent party in any of it.”

Reika chuckled. “I used to have a girlfriend who was like that so I completely understand. Never got anything done when she was in one of those moods, sober or drunk. Not that I’m complaining mind you… But enough of past experiences, what do you want to do now?”

Linna was quiet for a long time and Reika patiently waited for a response as both women continued to enjoy their physical nearness.

Linna finally asked, “Are you committed to going back to the U.S. after the wedding?”

“I think,” the other woman answered carefully, “That this is the first time in a long time I would be willing to seriously reconsider my plans around that, such as exploring a compromise of sorts to see if things would work out. And the timing seems to be right in general for reevaluating my life options.”

Linna took a deep breath and said, “I think we should see what I can do to change your mind before you have to leave. And I will tell you right now I will give it my best shot… But because I’m terrified of being hurt too much, I don’t think we should go further until you’ve made a final decision to compromise.”

“I agree that’s fair…” Reika then frowned a bit as a thought occurred to her. “Does this mean we can’t kiss anymore?”

“I never said that,” Linna stated quickly as she turned in the woman’s arm to face her once again. “I just think we should have something to look forward to. A sort of present to celebrate you returning to Tokyo.”

“I like that idea.” Reika then lowered her head to resume their kiss when a faint beeping noise suddenly came from within the apartment.

Linna was bewildered by the sound. “I don’t know what that is.”

“It’s my cell phone. It’ll go to voicemail,” Reika answered as she refocused the women on the task at hand by planting her mouth on Linna’s.

A couple of minutes of silence went by before the phone rang again.

The women parted with a sigh.

“I’d better answer it just in case,” Reika explained as she quickly walked back in but kept her fingers firmly locked with Linna’s. She fished the phone out of her purse and answered in English, “Hello?”

Linna tried to be unobtrusive even though she was thoroughly thrilled with the feeling and naturalness of Reika’s hand in hers.

Suddenly, Reika’s fingers clenched abruptly.

“Wh-What?!” the other woman exclaimed in Japanese, her tone and expression was dazed with shock. She swallowed and took a deep breath before she continued to speak in Japanese, “– No, I’m at a–a friend’s place right now. I’ll call Kou to come back and fetch me. Expect us in an hour, at the most… No, Grandpa, I’ll call Irene! She needs to hear this from me! And we’ll pick her up since she’s on the way…. Good-bye.”

Reika hung up the phone but she remained frozen, her fingers still tightly entwined around Linna’s. Tears were starting to form in her eyes. “What’s wrong?” Linna asked, her heart racing with concern.

“My parents. Th-They were killed in a car accident.”

— End Chapter 9 —