Ryeh was asleep in Kiko’s bed when Takashi, her boyfriend whom she had met at Rochester Institute of Technology woke her up. Her eyes were still closed when she heard, “Ryeh! Ryeh! Are you okay?” She opened her eyes and replied, “Yeah Takashi, I’m fine.” He said, “Oh good. I was really worried about you. You were puking all night at the club.” She replied, “Yeah, I know. I remember.”
Takashi said, “Ryeh, sorry about last night. I shouldn’t have gotten you all of those martinis to drink.” She replied, “It’s okay. I asked for the martinis remember.” He said, “But I said I would only drink if you were going to drink so technically I peer pressured you into it.” Ugh, Takashi could be so annoying sometimes Ryeh thought. She replied, “Look Takashi, stop apologizing. It was my choice to drink all of those martinis. It’s over now. We’ve learned our lesson. We won’t drink too much again.”
Takashi then hugged her and said, “I know I said I loved you last night, but I was drunk and I think you might have thought I didn’t mean it, but today I’m not drunk and I still love you. I just wanted to let you know.” She then remembered Takashi saying I love you last night. It was the first time he had said it to her. She replied, “I remember you saying that. I said I loved you back and I meant it then and I still love you today. Sorry for puking all over you.” “That’s fine,” he said.
She was still somewhat drunk, but nevertheless, she got out of bed with Takashi’s help. They both went to the kitchen and Takashi made them breakfast. Takashi didn’t know how to cook so he prepared cereal for them. He got out two bowls and poured in Special K cereal and some milk and voila breakfast for the two of them. While eating Takashi’s phone rung. He answered it, chatted to whomever it was on the other end for what felt like forever to Ryeh. After Takashi got off the phone he explained to her that his best friend growing up, Yoshi from Fort Lauderdale just called. It turned out Yoshi was staying at a friend’s apartment for the summer in the Upper Eastside. Yoshi’s friend was out of town so Yoshi was apartment sitting and wanted them over to have lunch with him.
So they took a taxi to the Upper Eastside to a high rise apartment building. It was a really fancy apartment building. There was a concierge on the first floor who asked them to verify who they were. They told him they were Yoshi’s friend and they were going to the 7th-floor apartment 73209. The concierge staff called Yoshi and told him there was a Ryeh and a Takashi to see him and asked if that was correct. Yoshi must have told him yes so the concierge led them to the elevator and pressed the 7th-floor button. They got out of the elevator onto a nice, plush, maroon carpet and headed to apartment number 737. They knocked three times on the door and Yoshi opened the door.
Goodness gracious Yoshi was the most handsome boy Ryeh had ever seen. He had light brown eyes, dark hair, and was muscular. He was wearing a t-shirt and shorts covered in acrylic paint. It turned out he was an artist just like Takashi and Ryeh. Takashi hugged Yoshi and said, “Hey Yoshi! Long time no see. This is my girlfriend Ryeh.” Yoshi reached out his hand for her to shake and said, “Hi, nice to meet you, Ryeh.” She replied, “Likewise.” Yoshi eager to have lunch said, “Cool. You guys want to come sit out on the balcony with me and have lunch?” Both Takashi and Ryeh replied in tandem, “Sure.” Yoshi replied, “Uh oh you two must be double trouble. You must hang out all of the time to be replying at the same time.” Again, Takashi and Ryeh spoke at the same time, “We do.”
So they went out to the balcony and had lunch. Yoshi had prepared turkey sandwiches with Caesar salad for them. It was delicious. Ryeh had a marvelous time getting to know Yoshi. He was a lot of fun to be around. Very carefree. He gave off a surfer vibe. It turned out Takashi and Yoshi were very close and had known each other since they were in kindergarten because Yoshi used to also live in Soho where Takashi’s family still lives. The two of them went to the same school up until high school when Yoshi and his family moved to Tokyo. Both Takashi’s family and Yoshi’s family were of Japanese descent. Both Takashi’s and Yoshi’s parents immigrated to America before Takashi and Yoshi were born so neither had ever been to Japan, but both spoke Japanese fluently.
Once they finished lunch they chatted some more and watched a movie on Netflix and drank some wine. After a few glasses, they all got tipsy and Yoshi started flirting with Ryeh. He told her, “You have very beautiful eyes. They are a beautiful fiery brown. I love them.” She replied shyly, “Thanks.” She wasn’t sure what Takashi thought of all of this, but why not accept Yoshi’s compliment graciously. He was just making a comment about her eyes. Everyone notices her eyes and compliments her. Then Yoshi adds, “And I love your lips.” Then oh my word, Yoshi touched her chin, tilted it up and touched her lips so she looked at Takashi to see what his reaction was and he just laughed. So, of course, Yoshi thinks it’s okay to flirt with her because Takashi is so amused that he continues by telling her, “Get up. I want to see your figure. Turn slowly.” And then she thought oh my God, what is going on? She didn’t know what to do. She looked at Takashi with a look like what on earth is going on, but Takashi just smiled and said, “Get up and show him your figure.”
She got up and stood in front of Yoshi who was laughing. Then he touched her hips and turned her around slowly. Then he said, “You’re perfect. Will you pose for me? I want to paint you.” She replied, “Sure if it’s okay with Takashi.” Takashi laughed some more and said, “Yes, of course, that’s fine.” Yoshi then looked at his schedule and said to her, “Great I’m free Saturday afternoon. Can you come by then? Come by yourself and wear a dress?” She replied, “Sure, I would be honored.”
Once Takashi and Ryeh left Yoshi’s Ryeh punched Takashi on the arm. He said, “Ouch. What was that for?” She replied, “You don’t care if he flirts with me like that?” He said, “Look, Yoshi and I have been friends forever. I trust the both of you. Plus he’s a really great painter and you’ll make an awesome model for him.” She replied, “Fine as long as you’re okay with it”
On Saturday afternoon she went to the apartment on the Upper Eastside where Yoshi was currently residing. She knocked on the door and Yoshi answered the door in clothes covered with paint. Ryeh said, “Hey Yoshi, long time no see.” He replied, “No kidding, it’s been days since we’ve seen each other. I miss you already.” She giggled thinking here we go the flirting has started already.
She didn’t have a dress so she borrowed one of Takashi’s sister, Kiko’s dresses. Kiko had died suddenly in her sleep a few years ago, but Takashi’s family had kept Kiko’s room just the way she had left it. All of her clothes were still in her closet and Takashi helped Ryeh pick out the dress she was wearing. It was a long red, rosy dress with a low neckline. It was beautiful.
Worried that her dress wasn’t what Yoshi wanted for his painting she asked Yoshi, “Is this dress alright?” He replied with a sly grin, “Yes, I love your dress. You look stunning in it. Is that Kiko’s dress?” Surprised by the fact that he knew it was Kiko’s she said, “Yeah, it is. How did you know?” With a look of despair, he replied, “We dated a little bit before she died. She wore that exact same dress when she and I went to a formal dinner once at the Japanese Tea Room.”
I didn’t know exactly what to say so I just said, “Oh that’s cool. So you guys were close?” He replied, “Yes, we were. We grew up together. We were close friends before we started dating. I used to always visit Takashi at his apartment in Soho and Kiko was always there. Kiko was only two years younger than Takashi and I so we used to let her play with us when we were little and then as we grew older she used to go to parties with us.” She said, “I see so you must really miss her.” He replied, “Yeah, when she died I had a hard time getting over it, but I am getting there.”
Yoshi then led her into the room where his easel, canvas, paints, and paint brushes were. It was the apartment’s library and he had transformed it into his studio. He had arranged a place for her to sit and had set up the room with a white sheet draping the background, a potted plant was situated in the back, and there were white roses next to the stool where she was going to sit. Yoshi draped the stool with white sheets and asked her to sit. Then he put his hand on her chin and turned her head, moved her hair to the side, and pulled down the strap of her dress so her shoulders were exposed. He then caressed her neck. She didn’t know how to react. His touch made her quiver and she wanted to take his hand and kiss it, but she decided to just ignore him.
He then started to paint with hurried strokes at first covering the background in mauve and white and then later more detailed slower strokes when he started to form her figure. For a moment all that could be heard in the room was his brush making beautiful marks on the canvas because both of them were silent. Yoshi was concentrating on the painting and she was daydreaming of someday perhaps having Yoshi visit her in Rochester where she lived. She knew they had just met, but there was something about him. They just instantly clicked. She had a feeling they would become best friends.
After his painting was almost finished Yoshi started asking her questions about her and Takashi’s relationship. He said, “How did you meet Takashi?” I replied, “At Rochester Institute of Technology. We are both Fine Art undergrads and we were in the same drawing class. The teacher had taken us outside to draw the koi pond by the art building and Takashi was hung over that day after a long night of drinking so he laid down on one of the benches and fell asleep. I woke him up and told him the teacher was staring at him. After class ended he thanked me for waking him up and he gave me his number. I called him and we went to dinner. We’ve been dating ever since.” He said, “Is he technically your boyfriend?” I replied, “You could say that. We were just friends, but we’ve gotten very close lately.”
After interrogating her about Takashi, Yoshi came up to her and moved some strands of her hair that had gotten out of place. Curious about what his chances were with Ryeh, he asked her, “So if I were to kiss you, you would be mad and Takashi might be upset with me?” Unsure of what to tell him, she just said, “Yeah, us kissing would be a bad idea. Yes, I would get mad and Takashi might be a little jealous.” Yoshi was very handsome and it was tempting to just reach over and kiss him, but Ryeh resisted. She could feel the friction in the air between them. She could sense this was not going to go well at all. Yoshi stopped painting and waited for her to change her mind about kissing him. When Ryeh didn’t change her mind, he just got up and walked over towards her, bent down and kissed her cheek. She ignored him and said, “What are we in middle school?”
With a tinge of despair in his voice, he said, “You know you remind me of Kiko.” She replied, cautiously making sure not to upset him. “Yeah, I hear that a lot. Takashi often tells me I look like her and that I act just like her. We apparently both have the same dark hair and light brown eyes and tempestuouss temper.” He said, “Yeah you’re a lot like how she used to be. I miss her a lot and having you here makes me feel like she’s here with me.” She replied, “That’s cool. She seems like she was a nice girl. I’m flattered that I remind you of her.” Yoshi then started to talk about his memories with Kiko and he told Ryeh childhood anecdotes of him and Takashi. Both Takashi’s and Yoshi’s parents were often busy so the two got into some mischief in Central Park.
A few hours had passed and Yoshi finally finished his painting. Ryeh got up to take a look at it. It was a masterpiece. Takashi was right Yoshi was an awesome painter and she was glad she had posed for him. The painting turned out beautifully. Yoshi was a gifted artist. Yoshi then said nervously, “Umm… can I paint you again?” Excited about getting a chance to hang out with Yoshi alone again she replied, “Sure, I would love that.” He then said, “Awesome can you come back tomorrow afternoon?” She replied, “Yeah, that would be cool.”
After Yoshi finished his painting she didn’t know if she should hang out for a bit or go home. She did love his company so she decided to stay for a bit. Unsure of what to do, she paced around the room nervously. She walked over to his easel and she noticed his guitar. She picked it up and strummed the strings and asked him, “Do you play the guitar?” He replied, “Yeah I do. Do you want me to play something for you?” She sat back down on the stool and said, “Yes, I would love that.” He then grabbed another stool and sat next to her and played the song Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls. He sang the song as he played the tune. What a beautiful voice he had. She was impressed.
Afterward, he said with a naughty grin, “Now that I’ve played the song can I kiss you?” She replied, “No, Takashi will seriously be mad at the both of us if he ever finds out.” But Yoshi kissed her anyway on her lips, a deep, long sensuous kiss. She felt really guilty, but the kiss was so soft and tender and he was so handsome so she kissed him back. After they kissed she got up in a hurry. She became nervous about the situation and I didn’t want it to get out of control so she told him, “I have to go home. Takashi is waiting for me.” He replied with a disappointed tone, “That’s fine. I’ll see you tomorrow then.”