Despite my suggestion to the contrary, Shizune and I take a moment to get dressed before we head downstairs. [I don't care how annoyed we are right now, I am not meeting your parents for the first time in my nightgown,] she insists. My further suggestion that we forgo the nightgown entirely is met with an angry glare that could kill a walrus at a hundred paces.
Her prior outfit being somewhat the worse for wear due to our extracurricular activities, Shizune decides to change into a pale blue blouse and black skirt and stockings, while I change into a button-down shirt and slacks. After a quick look in the mirror and a minute adjustment of her hair and earrings, we head downstairs to meet my parents.
My father, at least, has the good grace to look a little embarassed, as he reads his newspaper intently, trying to ignore the fact that it's taken me and my girlfriend about fifteen minutes just to come downstairs and we've obviously both had showers quite recently, what with the damp hair and all. My mother, on the other hand, disgustingly cheerful woman that she is, seems not to take notice of this at all. "My my, this must be Shizune," she says. "We've heard so much about you from Hisao. It's so nice to meet you at last."
[My mother says "Hi,"] I sign to my girlfriend.
Shizune nods back then, to my surprise, takes a rather expensive-looking smartphone from her skirt pocket. She taps the screen a few times, and a synthesized voice says, "Hello. It's very good to meet you both. Please take good care of me while I am here." She bows deeply and respectfully to my parents.
"My, what good manners! And so beautiful as well. You're even prettier than in the photos Hisao emailed to us. Come, sit down." She pats the couch next to her. I take a seat in the armchair across from them as my girlfriend sits down.
The conversation that follows isn't all that interesting: the usual probing questions any mother would ask her son's new girlfriend (family, plans for the future, things like that,) but it's a little awkward nonetheless: not only because my mother doesn't know sign language and I have to translate for her, but because of my father constantly looking back and forth between me and my girlfriend with a thoughtful expression. Eventually, he interrupts by clearing his throat and folding up his newspaper. "Dear," he says, firmly. "I'm sure these two are hungry. Perhaps we should start getting dinner ready?"
"Oh my, of course," my mother says, "where are my manners? I hope you like sukiyaki, dear. It's our special family recipe."
"Let me give you a hand, dear," my father says, getting to his feet. "Meanwhile, Hisao can show Shizune around the house."
I give my father a grateful look as he nods and walks with my mother into the kitchen. Shizune sighs and stretches out, the tension seeming to leave her body. [Your parents are nice,] she signs to me.
[They're not bad,] I admit. [The thing with the phone. Where did you find it?]
[It's an app originally meant for translating things into another language,] Shizune explains. [It's a pain to use for long conversations, but. . . meeting your parents for the first time demanded something special. I wouldn't feel right making my greetings to them using your voice. . . or just a piece of paper.]
Technically, it's not her voice either, but I can kind of see her point. [My mom seems to like you, at least. I haven't seen her talk this much in years.]
[Maybe it's because she likes me more than you?] Shizune says, grinning mischievously.
[I think she's just happy that I finally brought home a girlfriend. They were starting to worry about me.] I hesitate. [I wasn't. . . a very sociable kid.]
Shizune smiles sympathetically. [Show me your house, Hisao?] She puts her arm in mine, and I give her the grand tour.
It doesn't take too long. There isn't much to show that she hasn't already seen. However, something catches her eye as we walk back into the living room: something that had been hidden behind the big armchair from where she was sitting while talking with my mother. I know what it is even before she kneels down and takes it off the bottom shelf.
[Oh. . . that,] I say. [It belonged to my grandfather. My father tried to get me into it, but it never really appealed. I guess it felt like an old man game to me.]
Shizune nods. She runs a hand over the dust-covered goban, tracing the black grid pattern on the surface. A contemplative look crosses her face, and she adjusts her glasses.
That's about when my mother calls us into the dining room for dinner.
Shizune puts down her chopsticks and clasps her hands together, mouthing the words, "Thanks for the meal." My mother smiles happily in response as she picks up the plates and busses them to the sink.
Dinner, as usual, was wonderful. My family doesn't eat together often, but when we do, my mother always tries to make it a special occasion. Sukiyaki is one of her best dishes, and she's justifiably proud of her family recipe.
"Delicious, as always, dear," my father says, getting to his feet.
[Hisao,] my girlfriend signs to me. [You should help your mother with the dishes.]
[Don't be ungrateful. Just do it.]
I shrug and pick up the dishes to carry to my mother in the kitchen. She's got That Look again, and I know better than to try to get in the way of my girlfriend when she's on a mission.
As I get the last of the plates, Shizune is in the living room writing something down on her notepad and handing it to my father. When I come back to get the wok, the two of them already have the board set up and are taking their first moves, Shizune playing black.
When I come back out to wipe down the table, the game is in full swing. My father scratches his chin as he considers the board position, then places his stone slowly, deliberately, with a solid clicking sound. Shizune's hand moves in a sudden slashing motion, as she places her piece with confidence and flair. My father nods silently, picks up his next stone, considers his options, then places it with a carefully precise motion.
I take out the burnable trash, and when I return, Shizune's face has lost its confidence, and she's frowning in intense concentration. I take a look at the board and realize that black is in trouble: white has an extremely strong board position, and is quickly starting to edge black into the center. If Shizune's not careful, she's going to end up losing a lot of territory.
It's like a moment from a samurai movie, with two swordsmen standing across from each other in a grassy field, each waiting for the other to make a mistake. My father is watching my girlfriend with the intensity of a hawk. My girlfriend's lips are pursed in thought, her piece perched between her fingertips, hovering over her bowl of stones, her eyes darting across the board from place to place, considering her options carefully.
Suddenly, Shizune's eyes widen, and she grins. She snaps her stone down onto the board with a loud, sharp sound. It sounds almost exactly like her trademark finger-snap: a bold, brassy declaration of herself.
My father looks down at the board, and his eyes widen as well. His intense facade breaks, and he smiles at my girlfriend. Shizune smiles back boldly. He gives her a respectful nod, then snaps his next piece down with a precise click.
The game goes for another hour or so, the sound of the pieces clicking against the polished oak wood forming a counterpoint to the evening news on the television. It's nearly 10 pm by the time my father and my girlfriend tally up the points and bow to each other over the board. Shizune writes something down in her notebook, and my father smiles as he reads it. He writes something back to her, and the two of them exchange a pleased, knowing grin.
"Did you enjoy your game?" my mother asks, looking up from her magazine.
"It was. . . fun," my father says thoughtfully. He scratches his chin and gives me another one of his contemplative looks. "Dear?" he says to my mother. "I'm running low on cigarettes. Let's go for a walk."
"I think I saw another pack in your dresser drawer," my mother says.
"It's not the brand I want. Come on," my father says. He takes my mother by the hand and leads her out of the room.
Shizune stretches out her back, sighing and rubbing her knees: not too surprising, as she's been kneeling in front of the go board for over an hour. [Your father is a wily man,] she signs to me. [That was one of the toughest games I've ever played.]
[He did, but only by a few points.] She holds her hand out to me, and I help her to her feet. She doesn't let go of my hand, though, and instead plants a gentle kiss on the inside of my wrist. She presses the hand to her face, just enjoying the feel of my warm skin against her soft flesh. She places another kiss on the palm of my hand, then falls into my arms, snuggling into my chest.
I'm suddenly very aware that we're in the house alone.
Was this her plan?
Did she actually make a bet with my father to give us some time alone tonight?
She reaches up to her throat and begins to slowly unbutton her blouse.
I decide it doesn't particularly matter.
She shrugs out of her blouse and unclasps her skirt, lets it fall to the ground. She stands before me wearing her favorite black bra and panties, her eyes smouldering with passion, mixed with. . . something else.
I'm pushed down onto the couch, and she crawls over to me like a lioness claiming her kill. She straddles my stomach, pulls me in close, kisses me hard and strong. She tastes like salt and meat, soy sauce and cabbage. I guess that doesn't sound like the most romantic thing in the world.
I honestly couldn't give a crap. I'm madly in love with this girl. In this place, at this time, nothing else really matters.
Author's note: Originally this led up into a porn scene, but honestly, it ended up feeling gratuitous and tacked-on, so I'll just end it here.
EDIT: The removed scene is here: http://ks.renai.us/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=5560