When Cherry Blossoms Bloom

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Getting To Know Each Other

Beginning to feel like a third wheel, he waited for an opening. “Hirozaki, I’m going to return home.” His friend looked at him shocked. Would his friend leave him here? “May I speak with my friend a moment,” He asks Ruth. Ruth smiled and nodded. He led his friend to a safe distance. “My friend, you and Ms. Ruth are enjoying yourselves, as the American’s say, I feel like a third wheel.” Hirozaki blushed some. Iruko smiled at his friend. “Stay, enjoy yourself, she certainly is enjoying your stories. Its nice to see you able to relax and have fun.” He handed his friend some money. “You can take her home in a taxi and return when you are ready.” Hirozaki glared at him then. “Are you assuming I would be so disrespectful as to...” “Relax,” Ikuro tells him. “This time you need to relax and just see where things go from here.” He saw his friend blush again. Personally, Iruko thought to himself, his best friend needed a good lay. He was too uptight as it was. He smiled. And waved as he left his friend standing there. Ruth waited patiently and he returned to the table a moment later. “Is everything alright?” She asked. “Yes,” Hirozaki tells her simply. She wanted to take his hand then, but from what she knew of their culture a woman being forward was frowned upon. So she settled for clasping her hands in front of her. Her nervousness was forgotten after a moment as they continued the conversation. He explained to her how he had come to love history. And had become a professor at a university back home. When he described the rules he had in place for the students because of some of the similar behaviors of the students he had seen here, she laughed. “That must have been a wake up call.” She says then. “Did you lose many students?” “Surprisingly no.” “I told you I was old fashioned earlier.” Ruth says then. Hirozaki nodded. “I remember, so now you’re going to answer my question from earlier as well.” It wasn’t a question, and somehow his sudden seriousness made her cheeks flush. He misinterpreted her redness and started to apologize. “Please, no more apologies. I’ve filled my quota for today.” He smiled instead and waited for her to answer at her own pace. Ruth began then. “I have always been an old soul. Always feeling like I don’t belong in this time.” She stopped for a moment. “I know that must sound so stupid.” Hirozaki nodded. “Not at all. Please continue.” “I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, dreaming of being rescued and carried away. That’s why enjoy writing so much. The men here are so childish. I’ve always felt like somewhere there was someone who was mature enough to handle me.” The words that slipped from Hirozaki’s mouth surprised not only her but himself as well. “Maybe, you were looking in the wrong place.” He found that in that moment, he had taken her hand in his. They both pulled away then. Hirozaki chided himself. Here he was complaining about the forwardness of Americans and he was being forward himself. Well, Iruko had told him to go with the flow. “May I hold your hand, Ruth?” He asks. Ruth smiled and returned her hand so that he could hold it. His touch was so warm. In her nervousness, she began to feel cold. She may be old fashioned in nearly every aspect, except one. Her libido was twenty years old. His holding her hand was already having an effect on her. Hirozaki decided that calling a taxi would be a good idea. When it arrived. He gave the driver Ruth’s address and paid the fare. He opened the door for her, but before she sat down, he kissed her hand gently. She nearly fell into her seat then. “May I call on you again?” He asks. Ruth nodded. “You may.” With that he shut the door. As she rode away. Hirozaki groaned. He called another taxi and returned home. Iruko was actually surprised to see him back so early. “Well, how did it go?” He asked smiling. His friend glared at him only a moment and sighed. “If I didn’t know any better, Id think you were trying to get me into trouble.” “You’re a grown man, my friend. And she is a beautiful woman.” “You’ll hear no argument from me, however it is still inappropriate to simply have sex with someone you’ve met only once.” Iruko rolled his eyes. “Hiro,” He responds using his friends childhood nickname. “I know for a fact that you have been with women in your youth.” “A woman.” He corrected with a growl. “And that was only after we were engaged at her insistence.” Ikuro nodded. That had been nearly thirty years ago. They had dated for two years and at first she had been content with Hiro, but soon, she began to act out. Began drinking, and finally Hiro had caught her in bed with another man. This was the trigger that really turned him into such a stout traditionalist. He convinced himself that there was no woman that was worthy of being with him. Iruko believed however, that the opposite was true. Hiro had blamed himself for what had happened in the relationship. Rather than blame the woman who had chosen to disrespect him in the worst way possible. “I’m going to bed.” He says simply. Iruko nodded. After closing the door, Hirozaki undressed and lay down. Going to bed was the easy part, sleeping proved much more complicated. Meeting Ruth had awakened him. His groin ached. For all his insistence that tradition was necessary. Something he had been spouting for decades. He found that his insistence in that belief had come at a high price. He was without a doubt a very lonely man. And he had nothing to show for it, save a degree, a coveted position, respect. But truth be told, none of that had made him happy. Bitter, demanding, unbending, Yes. But not happy. Not content. Most of the men in his village had married as young men, had children and were now happily watching their grandchildren play. His thoughts turned to Ruth then. She had such an innocence about her. But he sensed that she hid her true nature. Nothing negative. He sensed that deep down she carried a flame. He could see it in her eyes. She challenged him. He smiled then. She was as lost as he was, but for different reasons. Unlike him, she took solace in bearing herself to him. It calmed her. Almost as though holding in feelings was so much harder for her.

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