BGC Post 2040 File 6 – 1: The Real Me
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.
“So, Sylia, have you ever thought about making hardsuits for men?” Daley asked as he scanned the list of lunch specials the restaurant had to offer.
“Is that your hint that you want to volunteer?” she teased without looking up from her menu.
“Um, no,” he answered, glad that she couldn’t see the blush that suddenly appeared on his cheeks. “I just thought that maybe it would help you to increase the odds for finding candidates to join – that is if you were to ever look for new people.”
“The thought comes and goes about once a year,” she admitted. She put down her menu and took a sip of wine from her glass. “Partially for the reason you just mentioned. These days it’s mostly due to the itch of scientific curiosity and achievement, just to be able to say that I did it. However, the last time the thought came, I realized I would be creating a situation where naked men would be running around my home. Needless to say, I won’t be contemplating the option anymore.”
Daley grinned and said, “Is having naked men run around such a bad thing?”
She returned his grin wryly. “I am more than satisfied with the current amount of male exposure.”
Their conversation paused as the waiter came and took their orders.
Once he left, Sylia looked at Daley and commented, “Speaking of men and hardsuits, isn’t Leon supposed to be coming back from his K-suit training camp any day now?”
“Next Monday,” he answered. “We’re just bracing ourselves for the fireworks for when he and Jeena have to really start working together.”
“You met Sergeant Malso when you were stationed in Osaka, right?”
“Yes. In fact, she’s a high school friend of Yuuji and introduced us, and the rest is history.”
“I wondered if you had a personal stake in this, “Sylia said with a smile. “So between her and Leon, do you think they would really have a chance to turn the Combat Unit into a competent force?”
“The way I look at it, they can’t do any worse. And Jeena knew that this assignment was going to be a tough one, if not downright impossible, when she first took it.”
Sylia frowned and tilted her head curiously. “From what I’ve seen of her, and heard through you and Nene, she doesn’t strike me as someone who would set herself up for failure like that.”
Daley half shrugged to show that he knew a lot about Jeena’s reasons but was limited in what he could divulge. “Let’s just say that she needed some space from Osaka right now for personal reasons.”
“Ah,” Sylia conceded. “Well, either way, I’m certain the Combat Unit will be very interesting to watch in the next few months. Not to say that they weren’t entertaining before.”
Daley chuckled. “Luckily it’s been very quiet lately… What if they do become competent? Will you finally retire, even if your team wants to continue? I notice you never go out for the non-boomer assignments.”
Sylia gave him a half shrug and said with a wink, “That thought also comes and goes.”
* * * * *
Under the clear autumn sky, Linna hobbled about on her crutches as she took her regular “stroll” through grounds of the Chang Compound as her form of exercise and getting out of her room. Her limbs had all recovered with the exception of her right hip and leg, which had the most breaks because that part of her body had hit the ground the first and the hardest. Since she had barely survived the first month of being completely immobile, Linna didn’t waste time rehabilitating and exercising the parts of her as they finally healed.
She was also freed of any urgent need to return back to work due to having submitted her resignation letter to Hugh-Geit so that she was now officially unemployed. However, it was quite satisfying to know she had something better waiting for her whenever she was ready to begin.
A part of her also had to admit she was trying to make the most of her stay at the Chang Compound. She had become used to the extended family atmosphere of the other inhabitants, and they seemed to have accepted her as one of their own while she was there. It wasn’t until she was able to be wheeled out of her room on occasion that she found out that there were quite a few people who lived at the compound, some of them the staff’s children.
And it certainly didn’t hurt that she and Reika had developed a sort of friendship, enjoying occasional moments conversing together when the latter woman was home between trips. Still, there was a certain amount of awkwardness between them, especially since they steered clear of any subject remotely related to their acknowledged attraction to each other. They also went out of their way to avoid touching each other, as if afraid of causing more discomfort.
Linna followed the path through the garden that opened to the front courtyard and saw the waiting limousine in the front of the mansion. Both the driver and Kou spotted her immediately and bowed as she approached.
“You look like a movie-star, Kou,” Linna teased, noting that he never looked less than polished, especially now that he was dressed in a tuxedo.
“Thank you, Miss Linna. Your sweats, however, look far more comfortable right now,” he said with a joking tug at his tight collar.
“I do miss regular clothes but I’m not going to bother until I finally get this thing off,” she remarked, making a pointed look at her leg in metal braces. “I can’t imagine trying to maneuver in an O.L. outfit with this thing,”
“If you ever want to experiment, let me know and I’ll have a Chang Enterprises’ O.L. outfit delivered right away,” Reika commented, having come up from behind.
Linna turned and felt her breath almost leave her as she took in the sight of the other woman in a form-fitting dark blue evening gown with a black wrap around her shoulders. Reika also had her hair stylishly pinned up and had the extra elegant touches of make-up and jewelry.
The two women locked gazes for a moment and then looked away as blushes crept up both of their cheeks.
“Um, you look great – as always,” Linna commented.
Reika gave her a shy but pleased smile as she said, “Thank you. Another one of Sylia’s dresses… I guess I’ll see you next Thursday?”
Linna winced at the reminder that Reika had to leave directly from the charity ball to the airport for a flight to New York. “Yeah. Have a good time tonight. And a safe trip.”
Reika gave her a full smile and then a nod before finally stepping into the limousine with her staff following her lead.
Linna stood on the driveway and watched the car pull away, down the road bordered by oak trees that lead to the front gate.
It had taken her a while to realize that they usually left for “social” events early because they needed to drive into downtown to pick up Densuke so they would appear as the proper couple. The envy Linna felt for that guy made her concerned at the thought of what she’d do if she ever met him, the probability of which would increase the longer she stayed there.
As the front gate finally closed, Linna let out a painful sigh and made her way towards the front door of the mansion.
* * * * *
Priss sat on the floor of Linna’s apartment, with her back against the wall.
She hugged her guitar to her chest and stared off into space. A blank pad of paper and pen was on the floor before her.
The only noise came through the walls of the neighboring apartments or through the window that faced the busy street in front of the building.
Still, she continued to stare straight ahead, not caring how many hours she had been in this position that day or the days before.
* * * * *
“Are you sure you’re not upset that I’m going without you?” Nene asked Mackey from across the restaurant booth.
He waved away her concern and said, “Hey, don’t worry about it. I’m just glad you’ve got a chance to go visit your family. With Nigel having me be busy with… stuff, I’m just glad you’re not feeling like I’m ignoring you or something.”
She grinned and reached across to clasp his hand. “Have I told you lately how much I think you’re absolutely fabulous?!”
“Only every time you talk about leaving me behind because of this trip,” he joked. “Just keep your promise to say ‘hi’ to everyone for me.”
“Of course I -“
The sound of a throat clearing pulled their attention to the fact that their waitress now stood by the booth with their plates of food. The arch of her eyebrow was the older woman’s subtle hint that she needed them to clear the space on the table, which meant their handholding.
Nene immediately blushed and pulled her hand back to allow the waitress to do her job.
Mackey only reacted with the joy of having his meal arrive.
After asking if there was anything else required, the waitress turned to leave, but not before shooting Nene another raised eyebrow, connected with a smirk and a pointed glance at her teenage dinner companion.
Nene was now completely red and opened her mouth to say something but nothing came out as the other woman walked away. She glanced over at Mackey who was happily digging into his meal. She let out a sigh and started to eat herself.
— End Prologue —
* * *
Part 1: Loose Ends
Resisting the maddening urge to call and find out where her ride was, Nene Romanova stood on the curb in front of the airport, which was the gateway for travelers to Nagasaki. With her luggage at her side, she stood with her hands on her hips, glancing at any potentially familiar face in the flow of pedestrians around her. She was determined not to be caught off-guard as she usually was, even taking the precaution to wear pants this time.
Then she saw a blur out of the corner of her eye only in time to let out a squeal of surprise as a large pair of arms snagged her from behind and easily hoisted her into the air.
“DADDY!” she cried out, even though she couldn’t really see her father, since he had tossed her over his shoulder Tarzan-style.
“Quick, Mama!” the familiar, rich voice of Rudy Romanova declared in his native Japanese, “Grab her luggage! We’ll abduct this tiny Tokyo girl before anyone notices she’s missing!”
Nene’s face was completely red since almost everyone around them was trying their best to pretend they weren’t watching the spectacle. She let herself go limp since she knew it was useless to struggle. It never ceased to amaze her how a man who was bear-sized even by Caucasian standards could always make himself invisible in a crowd of Japanese when he wanted to, probably a skill acquired by being a second generation Russian immigrant.
“Hi, Ne-Chan! How was your trip?” asked her mother, Nana Romanova. The woman was the image of her daughter with only the gray in her hair, some wrinkles and a touch of plumpness to show the twenty-five years of age between them.
“It was fine, Mom!” Nene said, thankful that her father crouched a bit to let her greet her equally petite mom with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
“So, no Mackey after all, hmm?” her father said as he spun around as if he was looking for the young man in question, but really to tease his daughter further. Despite his merry demeanor, there was a distinct edge of disapproval in his tone.
“There was just too much work for him to be able to get away,” Nene answered immediately, not bringing up the fact that she had never invited her boyfriend along to begin with. “He and Nigel are in the middle of a really crucial project so the timing was bad.”
Nene’s Mom merely ducked the flying feet to pick up the luggage.
“Bah!” her father snarled at her explanation, his displeasure quite evident now. He proceeded to walk towards the parking lot as if he didn’t have the weight of the petite woman on his shoulder. “He’s a mechanic, not a doctor! That’s not a profession that should come before family! You should take that as a clue of why he hasn’t made an honest woman of you yet, Ne-Chan!”
“Yeah, well, we’ve both been busy!” she blustered out an explanation, ever aware that her mom purposefully walked behind them so they could maintain eye contact. Nene hoped that her blush would be connected to her embarrassing situation rather than the little white lies she was telling. “I just haven’t had time to think about such things, you know!”
“Oh, well then it’s both of your faults that I don’t have more grandchildren!” her father snorted, his joking gruffness returning. “Don’t make me plan a trip to Tokyo just so I can smack both of your heads together!”
Nene winced at the thought and decided that silence was the best response for that one. She noticed how her mother tilted her head curiously at her response, which made Nene blush even more despite herself.
* * * * *
“I just can’t get over how cute she is!” Nene gushed as she bounced her one-year-old niece on her lap. The baby girl was an adorable blend of her ethnically Russian mother and Japanese father. “You have to have more, Naru!”
“GAWD! You sound just like Haruto and Daddy!” her older sister wearily declared as she sat in the nearby chair. The sisters were taking advantage of the lull in the wedding festivities to enjoy a snack and some sit down time since they were both bridesmaids for the ceremony. “I’m already excited about my sabbatical ending so I can return to the university!”
“You don’t want more children?” Nene asked in surprise. “You’ve always said you wanted at least three, just like us.”
“It’s one thing to want it; it’s another to live through it. Na-chan is more than a handful, even at that age,” she commented, pointing to her innocent looking daughter, who munched on a cracker and stared in fascination at this new woman who looked so much like her mother but with short hair. “If she turns out to be like you as a kid, then I know I made the right choice in having just one.”
Nene stuck her tongue out at her and remarked, “Hey, at least I wasn’t the one who boiled frogs for fun!”
“Excuse me but I considered that to be my preparation for a medical career!” their middle sister Nina pointed out as she plopped down in the nearby chair, not caring that she was dressed in a wedding gown and still holding her bouquet.
“Oh, well, if that’s the case, then I’d hate to see what you consider preparation for having children!” Nene said, with a show of tongue at her as well.
“I hear smacking around a baby sister works quite well!”
“I’m going to smack all of you around if we don’t get on with the bouquet toss!” their mother announced, instantly commanding attention despite her petite nature. “Ne-chan, go join the girls over there!”
“Yes, Mom!” she said, handing over her niece.
Nene had expected this and already had her plan worked out. She would stand in the very middle of the crowd so she would be sure to be outreached by everyone. Plus, she would turn to speak to whoever was next to her at the time of the toss, giving her an excuse to not pay attention.
Surrounded by other single wedding guests, Nene took her spot and watched her sister Nina get into position with her back towards them. At the moment of the toss, Nene turned to speak to a cousin when she saw out of the corner of her eye how the women in front of her suddenly stepped out of the way. In the next instant, Nene received a bouquet of cherry blossoms right in her face before it unceremoniously hit the ground.
There was a moment of tense silence as everyone looked at her in amazement.
“You were suppose to catch that, Ne-chan!” her oldest sister yelled from the sideline.
“So were they!” Nene retorted, pointing to the women around her, who merely shook their heads in their failed conspiracy.
* * * * *
“-I should be coming home Sunday,” Nene said to Mackey’s picture on her cell phone. It was a couple of days later and she was using the peace and quiet to sneak a call to him as she sat in the family study.
“Wow, only a week?” he answered with a scratch of his head. “I thought you were going to think about staying for two.”
“I assure you, I’m barely surviving one week as it is,” Nene muttered.
“Um – it’s nothing big!” she answered hastily. “It’s just been so tiring with the wedding and all. Seeing all of my relatives that I haven’t seen in years as well as old school friends who are still around. I’ve barely had a moment to breathe as it is. – Plus, I miss you!”
Clearly touched, Mackey smiled back and said, “I missed you, too! Working long hours in the shop isn’t half as fun if you’re not around during my free time.”
Nene grinned back. “Just a couple more days. Promise! Bye!”
After they hung up, Nene wearily sat back on the chair and stared out the window for a view of the city under the night sky. Her trip had turned out even more complicated than she feared, compounded by spending most of the wedding trying to justify Mackey’s absence to her relatives who had thought they would be meeting him at this important family occasion.
Deep down she felt horrible at this double charade she had created, but she honestly couldn’t see anyway around it. Not with the way things were.
“Would you like a drink?” her mother asked, suddenly appearing with two cups of cocoa.
Surprised and alarmed, Nene sat bolt upright and said, “Did you overhear my conversation?!”
Her mother smiled and nodded as she handed her daughter the drink and sat down on the couch. “Enough to be assured that Mackey really is in your life and that you weren’t pretending he’s around just so we’d wouldn’t bother you about being completely single. Sorry if we seem to come on a little strong, Ne-chan. You know we love you and just want to see you happy. But you should feel free to talk to me if there’s anything… wrong with your relationship with Mackey.”
“Well, it does seem odd that you’ve been together for over three years and you two don’t seem to be any further along in your relationship,” her mother admitted. “Are you certain he’s not using you or something?”
Nene shook her head adamantly. “It’s nothing like that, Mom! We’re just not ready to talk about stuff like that yet. Like I said, we’re both really busy.”
“But do you see a future with him?” she asked her seriously.
Nene had to look down at her cup, knowing she couldn’t chance looking her mother in the eye as she responded, “Yeah, I really do. But it may not be the type of future that’s… normal.”
Nana Romanova narrowed her eyes at her daughter but chose not to comment as they shared a quiet moment over their drinks.
— End Chapter 1 —
* * *
“Well, Ms. Asagiri, I think it’s a miracle that you managed to walk away from that wreck with so little damage,” the handsome young doctor commented, looking up from his data pad to flash her his most charming smile only to find her focused on assessing the scrapes and rips to her leather jacket. “Yet, I’m sure there’s a happy cat somewhere who’s grateful that you missed him.”
The young woman then looked up at him and said flatly, “So am I free to leave?”
The doctor blushed under her direct stare and mumbled, “Well, um, yes. Th-There’s no reason for us to keep you here.”
“Would you like a ride, Priss?” a new female voice suddenly asked from the doorway of the hospital room.
The doctor turned at the voice to find a gorgeous woman in a stylish dress with long light gray hair. Then he looked back at his patient and saw the way she tilted her head at her.
“Since my bike’s totaled, I wouldn’t mind a lift,” Priss remarked as she picked up her scraped and dented helmet.
“Doctor, is everything in order?” the new woman asked him.
He nodded dumbly.
“Thanks,” Priss said to him as she walked by and left the room with her escort.
The doctor felt his heart drop as he thought ‘Why are the good ones gay?’
“So are we married?” Priss muttered as they walked through the hospital corridor. She remembered Linna’s amusing story about her own hospital stay.
Sylia smiled and commented, “Only if it’s a medical emergency.”
* * * * *
“So, was it a cat you were trying to avoid?” Sylia asked as she backed her car out of the parking space.
“Drove by a construction site and was hit by white noise,” she answered simply as she stared blankly ahead, cradling her helmet in her lap. “Luckily I recovered in time to avoid killing myself as well as any body else. I passed out after taking a dive along the asphalt. The next thing I know, I’m in the hospital and my doctor’s trying to flirt with me.”
“Perhaps he wanted an autograph?”
Priss gave her a narrowed eye look before refocusing ahead.
Sylia cleared her throat as she continued to drive. “Well, Nigel and Mackey are trying to see how much they can salvage. I’ll naturally pay for all of the damage since it ultimately was my fault.”
The other woman was quiet for a long time before she finally said, “Thanks.”
“I’d also like to do a thorough scan of you if you don’t mind.”
“It’s my fault for not seriously tackling this white noise problem, especially from an angle of conquering it rather than just reacting to it. I’ve already been scanned and I think having the readouts for another Knight Saber would help to narrow down the problem.”
Priss thought it over and finally said, “Sounds reasonable. When do you want to schedule it?”
“Do you have any plans now?”
She answered, “I was just planning to back to Linna’s and write some songs. I suppose I can do this instead.”
* * * * *
“Are you noticing anything different?” Sylia asked into the microphone that transformed her speech to text on her computer screen. “I know it’s been a while since we’ve scanned her, and this is the most thorough session yet.”
Through the command booth window, Sylia could see Priss dressed in her softsuit outfit and standing on the small scanning platform. The other woman had her eyes closed as she waited for the circle of light to slowly rise up along her frame as it scanned in her biological readings.
Sylvie’s text response showed up on the screen: ‘Her mind and heart are much more closed off than before. I don’t know if that’s progress or not. Especially since I don’t have a snap shot of when she was emotionally healthy.’
Sylia bit her lip to keep from commenting on that one. “I suppose I should only be concerned if she exhibits signs of her anxiety attacks.”
‘I’m not getting any readings that indicate any emotional or intellectual hyperactivity,’ Sylvie reported. ‘However, something does not feel quite right. Especially when I compare the readings I’ve had of you and Nene when you’ve been in your suits.’
Sylia frowned as she stared at the other woman, who seemed oblivious to the world around her.
“I think, Sylvie, you’ve just confirmed my suspicion that something is still wrong but I don’t think there’s anything we can do until Priss asks for help, if she ever does.”
‘True, she can be quite stubborn… Perhaps smacking her would help?’
Realizing that was a joke, Sylia smiled and said, “I’ll pretend you didn’t suggest that. Any other ideas?”
‘I’m accessing my psychological databases and trying to make a matching theory. So far nothing seems to fit, even given that she’s giving me little current data to work with. I can only give you haphazard guesses right now.’
“Wasn’t Priss’s guarded nature one of the reasons why you were attracted to her?” Sylia asked.
‘Her behavior intrigued me on a scientific level. The attraction came later.’
“What would you do if she found someone else by the time we’re able to transport you into a new body?”
There was a pause before the text appeared on the screen, ‘I suppose I would have no choice but to wish her the best.’
“It seems you’re understanding the concept of being a ‘good sport.’”
‘Now I understand why people don’t like it when they have to experience it themselves.’
Sylia took a sip of coffee and sat back in her chair. “Would you still want to come back if she’s no longer available?”
‘I admit that’s a variable I had not thought of before. Ask me again if she should find someone else before I can come back.’
“Will do,” the woman said, actually sensing the discomfort from the other being even though the only pieces of physical evidence were the words that showed up on her computer screen.
— End Chapter 2 —
* * *
“ — So are you excited about it?” Irene Chang asked through her tiny image on the handheld phone.
“Of course!” Linna responded good-naturedly as she sat on the bench in the middle of the Chang Compound main garden. “I know I’ll still have to use a cane for a bit, plus I have some more physical therapy appointments, but at least the braces will be gone once and for all!”
Irene hesitated for a moment and then said, “Well, I’ll admit there was an ulterior motive to my call.”
“Oh?” her friend responded, her skin prickling at the dramatic pause.
“Sho and I have decided to hold the wedding on November 15th. The invitations were all sent out today but I wanted to call you personally and ask you to come. I know things would be a little awkward because of Reika, but I’d really like you to be there.”
“Of course I’ll come!” Linna insisted, relieved it wasn’t a more serious matter. “Reika wouldn’t have been a factor in my attending anyway. And besides, she and I are doing okay. So no worries. Consider my invitation accepted!”
Irene broke out into a genuine smile of relief. “I’m honestly glad to hear that. But promise me that you’ll bring a guest. If you show up alone, I will worry about you.”
Linna frowned as she tried to think of whom she would invite. “I’ll promise you that I’ll work on it.”
“Well, what about Priss?”
“Priss and a dress is not a good combination,” she answered with a giggle. “But let me worry about it, okay? I assure you that I don’t want to attend alone either. – Um, do you know if Densuke is going to be there?”
“Yes,” the woman answered with an immense frown of displeasure. “He’s Reika’s fiancé, after all – Wait, have you ever met him?”
“No. Reika won’t let him come here, even for a visit.”
“Glad my sister still has some sense about him,” Irene muttered to herself.
“Is he that bad?” Linna asked carefully. In the back of her mind, she felt the stirrings of jealousy, which unnerved her.
Irene opened her mouth to make another acidic comment but then froze. She took a breath and said, “If he has any undeniable talent, it’s to make an unforgettable first impression. I’ll let you decide when the moment comes.”
“Oh great,” Linna muttered without enthusiasm.
The other woman decided to change the subject and asked, “So with the braces coming off tomorrow, how much longer are you going to be staying there? Until you don’t need the cane anymore?”
“Um, I’m not sure yet. I think I’m already pushing the limits of guest protocol right now. I’m far from being helpless.”
“Don’t worry about it, Linna,” Irene reassured her. “You’re in a mansion, for heaven’s sake. And it’s definitely not like my family fortune can’t handle a guest like you. You could stay there indefinitely and no one would be put out by it.”
The words didn’t make Linna feel any more comfortable. “It’s more than that, Irene. The longer I stay here, the more I feel like I’m stalling in living my life again. I’ve got other things to do, and other obligations that I want to get back to. I can’t for as long as I’m here.”
“I see… So when you do move out, will you ever try to see Reika again, even as just friends?”
Linna winced and answered, “I’d like to, but more and more I think it’s not realistic. She and I live extremely different lives. And that’ll probably hold true when I start working at Chang Enterprises. We don’t have a reason to see each other, and I have to admit it’s kind of awkward when we do. I think there’s a part of me that realizes that once I move out, it’s going to bring closure on… a lot of things.”
Irene sighed and said, “That’s what I was afraid of. But I suppose it can’t be helped.”
“So are you enjoying London?” Linna asked, deciding to change the subject.
* * * * *
“Do you need me to help you move back?” Priss asked as she stood in Linna’s room in the Chang Mansion and looked around.
Putting her crutches against the nightstand, Linna sat on the bed and glanced around at her belongings, which filled only a fraction of the closet and dresser space she had been given.
“I only have a couple of boxes of things at the most. Sylia’s already offered to drive me back, as well as my belongings, so it’ll be done in one trip.”
“What are all these?” Priss asked, looking at the stack of textbooks and datapads neatly piled on the nightstand. She recognized from the covers that they were technical computer books.
“Homework for my new job,” Linna said as she sat up against the headboard with some strategically placed pillows as padding. “I realized I couldn’t walk into work the first day completely cold, even if the understanding is that I’m getting on-the-job training. I’m actually finding some of the reading interesting, especially since Nene went through a couple of the books and highlighted the important stuff before she went back to her parents. — By the way, have you started looking for a place to live yet?”
Priss blushed, knowing that that was her part of the agreement for the free living space. “I haven’t started looking yet. I figured at worse I’d move back in with Sylia temporarily.”
“Well, if you’re comfortable with sleeping on the couch, you can continue to stay at my place while you’re looking. I’d actually like the company. I’ve been surrounded by people for so along that the idea of going back to an empty apartment is not something I’m looking forward to. And if it works out, maybe we can think about becoming roommates… It’s an offer to think about, that’s all.”
Priss gave her a gentle smile and said, “I’d like that. And thank you… Just no slumber parties.”
Grinning, Linna held up her hand in oath and said, “I promise!”
* * * * *
“Thank you very much for everything, Mrs. Takeuchi,” Linna said as she managed a bow despite her cane.
The two women stood in the driveway while Sylia and her Porsche were behind them.
“It’s going to feel so empty not having you around. And I really wish you had waited for Reika to return so that you could say good bye to her in person,” the older woman said as she carefully hugged her.
“I’m sure I’ll be running into her soon enough,” Linna said in a tone that tried to sound cheerful but fell a bit short.
The older woman studied her face for a moment and then said, “Please take care of yourself. And always feel free to visit.” She then bowed to Sylia, who returned the gesture.
“Ready?” Sylia asked her friend.
Linna nodded, afraid to speak because she knew she would cry.
As the two women drove down the driveway towards the main gate, Linna watched the mansion through the rearview mirror. She had only been there for a few months but it already felt like a second home to her.
“If you ever want to come back for a visit, I can always give you a lift,” Sylia said as she drove. “I don’t think your scooter would make it outside of the city limits.”
Linna broke out into a small smile and said, “Thanks… Boy, things are going to be different, but in a good way, I think.”
Sylia smirked and remarked, “You’re going from a mansion full of semi-yakuza to an apartment with Priss. It sounds pretty comparable to me. — Isn’t your apartment one bedroom?”
“Yes, but Priss is sleeping on the couch,” Linna answered quickly, hoping to cut off any devious train of thought going through Sylia’s mind.
There was a pause and then Sylia commented, “Aren’t you supposed to ask her on a date before you ask her to move in? Then again, it’s not as if you haven’t seen her naked before. So I guess a date first would be anti-climatic.”
“It’s not like that!” Linna finally managed to blurt. Her face was now flushed with red. “We’re just friends!”
“I remember saying the exact same thing fifteen years ago.” Sylia drove with only the mildest smirk on her lips.
Linna decided it was time to change the subject before she took the option of jumping out of the moving car to hobble her way back to the city. “By the way, are you doing anything on November 15th?”
— End Chapter 3 —