Till then... Chapter One - III

“So, do you like our new single?” Even when Gotou hadn’t responded, Yasuda continued, “I heard the TV station has chosen it to be the theme song for the Sydney Olympics.” It wasn't awhile before Yasuda realized Gotou wasn’t really listening, she waved a hand in front of Gotou’s face. “Gocchan?”


“What’s wrong? Is something bothering you?” Yasuda asked as she popped a piece of lettuce in her mouth and chewed.


Yasuda placed down her fork. “Oh you’re such a lousy liar. Come on, tell me what’s wrong.”

“No, I’m ok, really.” Now, if Gotou could see herself, she would understand why Yasuda hadn’t believed her.

“Then why aren’t you eating? I thought you like Caesar salad?”

Gotou smiled. When she began to show signs of hesitation, Yasuda urged on. “Come on~”

And finally, Gotou succumbed. “Well, I’m just curious, but… have you ever been in love?”

“I knew it!” Yasuda said as she slammed her hand on the tabletop, and her action quickly sent Gotou back to her reticent self.

“No, it’s not what you think it is.”

“Aha. In a nutshell, you’re having love problems.” Yasuda resumed her eating and the glint in her eyes told Gotou that she believed nothing else. Gotou straightened her back and leaned forward, and then she began to whisper as if the people around them were all listening.

“No, you don’t understand. I don’t think you really do. I just asked what I asked because, you know, I was curious.” Emphasis was placed on the last word.

Was. So you aren’t now.”

“Yah…” Gotou drawled.

“All right, all right. I won’t tease you anymore.” Yasuda stopped her laughing and turned serious. “Well, the answer is ‘no’, but when I was in high school, there was this guy that I liked—” She stopped when the ringing in Gotou’s duffle bag became louder and louder. Looking apologetic, Gotou took out her cellphone, and after a quick look on the display screen, she muted the device and placed it back where it came from. “You are not answering it?” Yasuda asked.

“I don’t know the caller. Could be wrong number. Anyway, where are we?”

Yasuda thought she had seen Gotou smiling when she was looking at the caller’s name just now; Gotou must have known the caller, but why was she lying? Before Yasuda could continue, there was another ringing and this time, the ringing came from her bag. She dug out her phone and answered the call. “Hello? Yes. Yes.” A smile formed on her face. “Right, I’m with her. Wanna join us? Yep. The restaurant just around the corner. Wait for you.” Cutting the call, Yasuda turned to Gotou and said: “Yossi’s coming.”

The words seemed to have perked Gotou up as she looked in the direction where the restaurant’s entrance was. Silly me, she thought. She knew Yocchan couldn’t be this quick, however, she couldn’t help but look again.

Oblivious to the sudden change in Gotou’s behaviour, Yasuda continued, “ok, where were we? Oh yah. Actually, I feel it’s better if we concentrate on our career now as—”

“She’s here!” Gotou smiled and raised her hand.

Yasuda turned over her shoulder to see Yoshizawa hurrying to their table, and before she could acknowledge her junior, she received a hard slap on her shoulder.

“Yo! Check it out! CHO!” Yoshizawa said cheerfully, and perhaps a tad too loud, as some of the diners had turned to look in her direction.

“Cut it out, cho! You’re not recording now.” Yasuda rubbed her painful shoulder while Yoshizawa settled into the seat vacated by Gotou, who had shifted herself inwards, and when Yasuda saw Yoshizawa behaving nonchalantly despite the little hoo-ha she just caused with her grand entrance, she felt more pissed. “I thought you’re supposed to be with Rika-chan?” she hissed.

“Well, she dumped me.” Yoshizawa said and smiled without any tinge of sadness.

“What?” Gotou asked. “I mean why?”

“Yeah, isn’t it funny? You know, her mum called up and suddenly, she was rushing home,” Yoshizawa explained. “Oh, nevermind.”

Well, the truth was no one actually minded. Not Yasuda, although she would have preferred if Yoshizawa hadn’t slapped her. And definitely not Gotou, who felt rejuvenated. And so, the three girls made themselves really comfortable settling into their seats and they began to chat and chat. They talked and talked even when their plates were cleared and glasses were emptied and they never seemed to run out of topics: Pucchimoni, their coming trip to Sydney and their favourite, which was to gossip about Mayumi, their dance teacher and choreographer.

But when the sky had turned really dark and time had gotten really late, they knew they had to leave. Outside the restaurant, they bode each other goodbye and took a cab home respectively.

Now, the evening turned out to be great afterall, at least two of the girls felt.

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