Mesmerized by the colourful koi fish I had been staring into the pond for a while. My sweaty t-shirt had almost entirely dried on the late morning sun. I liked this place, nobody ever seemed to come here - a perfect hideout for a rest after my training.
The pond was part of a garden, which extended behind a small temple. Located at the edge of the compound, in the vicinity of K’s sleeping quarters, the temple was obscured by trees and was hardly an obvious site. I stumbled upon it by chance, while looking for K. My so-called proxy had vanished and left me to myself for days. I hadn’t seen her since she ordered me to rest. Of course, I did the exact opposite.
Experiencing a sudden increase in energy, I began to train, mornings and afternoons. And since I couldn’t do it in a gym, well, I did it in the park and on other empty spots within the compound. My body was recovering fast and I felt no pain despite pushing myself hard. Had it hurt me, I still wouldn’t have rested. Just to prove her wrong.
The past few days became hot and humid. I took off my t-shirt and lay on the soft grass at the edge of the pond. With my hands tucked under my head I followed the few puffy, white clouds, pushed around on the bright blue sky by the wind, and enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my skin. The sound of cicadas filled my ears.
Fighting. I missed it. I wanted it. The environment I was in was all about fighting and it prompted in me an insatiable desire to return to the ring. To face an opponent. It was torture being at the Yamato Damashi compound and not being able to train properly. If only I had a proxy that --
Water splattered all over my body and face. I jerked forward from the sudden assault of cold droplets on my warm skin and looked at the pound. Was it a huge koi fish that caused this?
Muffled sounds behind my back made me think there might have been another culprit. I turned my head and saw K standing about two meters behind me, her hand covering her mouth. Quite unsuccessfully she tried to suppress her giggling. Seeing my dazzled face she couldn’t hold back anymore and laughed out loud. For a moment I just stared at her, squinting my eyes against the sun glare. Her laugh seemed so sincere and playful, her eyes sparkling so vivaciously, it put me in a certain mood too.
I pushed myself up and darted toward her as if going for a takedown in a fight. Wrapping my arms around her waist I snatched her from the ground, ran to the edge of the pond, and threw her in.
It all happened so fast she didn’t have time to react or scream. Once in the pond, she briskly picked herself up. She was up to her waist in the water, gasping with her eyes wide open, water pouring from the top of her head. I did throw her quite far.
As I watched her from the edge of the pond, I wondered what on earth possessed me to do that. Her eyes blinked at me with the same amazement.
“I can’t….” she panted, wiping the water from her face. “I can’t believe you just did that!”
Fuck! Neither could I.
“Look at my clothes...they are all wet….” She pulled the edges of her t-shirt, stretching them sideways. The soaked, white t-shirt she wore turned rather transparent, revealing a dark coloured bra beneath it. I did look, focusing my eyes on that particular area, until her hands hit the water hard and redirected my stare at her face.
Another emotion replaced the initial shock in her eyes, one that was compatible with her clenched fists and decisive strides toward me. That emotion intensified each time her legs got stuck in the muddy ground, and when she finally made it out of the pond, she looked furious.
A head shorter, she stopped in front of me with her face at the level of my chest. Her rapid breath felt warm on my skin.
“You…” she pushed her finger at my chest but then discontinued her sentence. For a moment, her decisive composure was gone and a slight confusion reflected in her eyes.
I pressed my lips tightly not to start laughing. Water dripping from her clothing and her hair, she looked like a wet puppy. Slowly she raised her head and met my stare. Seeing my amusement she growled: “Are you insane? Nobody ever did something like this to me!”
The best thing to do would have been to keep my mouth shut and just take any punishment coming my way. But, I simply couldn’t resist.
“You started it…” I said calmly and bit my tongue in regret.
“I’m your fucking proxy, your senior…you--” Her small hand formed a fist. “How dare you!”
I thought her punching me would be the least of all evils; a petite person like her could hardly do any damage. Then the punch came. I smirked, just as I thought --
“Shit!” I yelped and hunched forward in a delayed reaction. Pressing my hand on my chest I dropped on my knee and gasped for air. She hit me right in the solar plexus.
What the fuck! How was she that strong? Or… have I become this weak?
Her face relaxed a bit seeing me all scrunched down and her lips formed a small smile.
“This is for talking back to me…” she said, biting her lower lip in satisfaction. “I bet you thought I couldn’t punch… “
“That was low….” I uttered between breaths and sat back on the grass.
A prolonged moment of silence followed, during which my breathing slowly normalized.
“Where were you? I called you,” she said.
A phone and a TV were sent to my room three days ago. “Don’t have the phone on me. I went for a jog and did some training. Alone.”
“I see. I thought I told you to rest.”
I tilted my head in her direction, giving her a defiant look. “And I told you I’m good to start training. And where were you? You’ve disappeared for several days. What was I supposed to do…watch TV?”
The conversation went quiet again as we both gazed at the pond. I picked up a small stone and threw it in the water.
She cleared her throat. “So, what did you do…for training?
“I jogged in the park, did some sets, lots of shadow boxing…whatever one can do outside the gym and on his own.”
“Huh…” she said thoughtfully. “How do you feel?”
“Great,” I replied with vigour and confirmed with a nod.
For a while we stayed like that, I sitting on the grass, she standing next to me, her arms crossed in front, and both of us looking at the pond.
“Well…” She passed her hand through her hair, squeezing more water out of it. “I’m going to change clothes. Meet me in one hour at the dining house for lunch. We have things to discuss.”
I sat up straight and turned to her. “Okay, sure.”
She gave me a small nod and started to walk away, only to stop after a few steps. I thought she forget to tell me something, but all she did was picked up my t-shirt, which still lay on the grass, crumpled it up into a small ball, and threw it as far as she could into the pond.
My eyes followed the shirt, now floating in the middle of the pond. “Very mature...” I remarked, shaking my head.
She gave me a smug look and smiled. “Make sure you get it out of the pond…it’s not allowed to throw things inside. Harms the fish.”
I watched her, smiling to myself, until her thin, soaked body disappeared behind the temple.