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Old 10-10-2006, 12:08 AM   #1
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House of Falling Blossoms (Closed for Armphid)

The House of Falling Blossoms


Chapter One: Tea and meetings.

The hanamachi was small, for towns without the draw and appeal of larger cities there was no need for a large flower town. The hanamachi sat near the center of the city, cobbled streets wound around the tall ramshackle buildings, each with it's central courtyard and small well manicured garden. There was not an excessive number of okyia, small but well appointed, the training houses ran the gamut of the latest in the fashion and trends of the 1920's to the more traditional and elegant establishments. The House of Falling Blossoms was the latter, as steeped in the age old tradition of Geisha as the walls were in lacquer.


Only two true Geisha resided in the house, four younger girls still aspired to the status one day. One of the Miako was a small girl, coltish legs still maturing with the shape of womanly curve. She had matured slowly but not unkindly, her face held the roundness of innocence while her form had begun to bloom as her Geisha and Miako sisters around her.

The young girl was Sakura, the cheery blossom, ever as delicate and fleeting as her namesake. She had been renamed once she became Miako, a symbol of her old life, her family and all she knew being left behind in the study of the Geisha arts. Sakura was a quick study, often peering through the slatted walls of the okyia to watch the others train or entertain for tea. Most social settings were done outside the okyia but for simple tea and to introduce the patrons to the new Geisha and Miako monthly teas were held at the House.

Sakura studied diligently, from gesture to gesture to learn the intricate dances and fan motions expected in the show that was Geisha. Truly they were artists, trained and groomed to be the finest social company any man could wish at his side. For the right price a lovely skilled artisan would be your attentive companion for as long as the incense burned.

This was the life she aspired to, Sakura, the Cherry Blossom. Akane swatted her hand lightly and snapped Sakura's wandering attention back to the table set before her. The House Mistress was not tolerant of the younger girls day dreams, she had only a head for teaching and promoting her girls. Her anger was the same brilliant red as her lips, as so her name which meant the same shade.

"Pay attention, this is to be your day to serve tea and I will not have the House disgraced by mistakes."

Once more Akane displayed the proper technique for picking up the pot and pouring the tea, each step, each motion a carefully crafted play. Every move of wrist and tilt of head a choreographed show for those attending the tea. Geisha were to move as grace incarnate, there was no such thing as a graceful error. Sakura nodded with a repeated dip of her head to Akane and mimicked her motions, slowly, porcelain fingers reached for and lifted the kettle. Fingers of her free hand pinned her sleeve to her wrist while she stretched to pour. Only hints and suggestions of skin were to be shown, more then that was not allowed. Cup to cup with a bowed head for each she poured the tea around the table and back. Dainty fingers set the pot down and she returned to rest her backside on her heels.

Akane watched the progress with an eagles eye, the girl was learning, rarely having to be corrected more then once before she grasped things. She might never be the most skilled Geisha, but she was bright and witty and hard working, she would do well over time. Akane hoped she would do well soon, as she would surely need to start making social rounds very shortly. Then her true training would begin, it would not be long before the little cherry blossom was Geisha.
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Old 10-10-2006, 12:51 AM   #2
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The streets of the small town were still busltingwith activity, as the stores and vendors hoped to get a last little bit of trading done before the sun set. Voices called out to passers-by, yelling about the quality of rice or the freshness of fish caught just this morning. Then, almost as though an invisible signal passed through the marketplace, conversation ceased as customer and merchant alike craned their head to see the strangest of things walking by.

The strangest of things was a man, but unlike any they had ever seen. He was a giant, the head of the tallest man at the market coming only to his shoulder. His skin was pale and pink, and the hair that could be seen under the brown fedora he wore was a startling reddish brown. His face was angular, his eyes round and a most outlandish color of pale green. He wore a bizarre outfit, it was called a suit one woman whispered to another, a style of the West. Over it was a long coat, worn to ward off the faint chill of the coming evening. As he walked through the market, nodding to those nearby, the silence was broken only by the click of his polished black shoes on the cobblestones, and the whispers of the watchers.

For his part, Richard Cross was painfully aware how exotic he was to these people. He could feel the eyes boring into him, and wished, not for the first or last time, that one of his Japanese partners had been able to come with him. Richard was in the country to set up an agreement with the Aramaki silk group, getting the material from them to turn into all matter of silk garments and house linens in great demand throughout the U.S. and Britain. He had been sent here, to the small town headquarters of the Japanese company because of his proficiency with the language. He had a flair for languages, and Japanese was one of many he could speak with near fluency. Though reading was sometimes a little tricky, all those characters.

He was in the town with two other Westerners; Mr. Albert Bruener and his wife. As Aramaki was still courting the American company, they were going to attend many social events in the upcoming months. However, it was improper to go to such things by oneself, or so he'd been told. One of the Japanese gentlemen, Mr. Nakamura, had told him to go to the House of Falling Blossoms on that day, to see about hiring a companion worthy of his station.

Truth be told, he was somewhat nervous. Richard wasn't at all sure what he was walking into. However, this was a very important deal. If it meant him escorting a high class...lady of the evening, then so be it. He stood before the gate of the place now. It was a very traditional building, so much so that a smile came to his face. He knew many Americans found such places quaint at best, but he was struck by the beauty of them, and their surprising complexity. He'd come to learn that a great many things in Japan were complex, and that beauty lay in many such complexities.

A bell hung by the gate, and he rang it once. Almost immediately, a young girl appeared, bowing low. "Werucome, honored guest." "Pu-Please be following ne now."

Richard bowed, though only slightly, and spoke back. "Doozo yoroshiku onegai shimasu." "Watashi wa, nihongo sukoshi dekimasu kara, nihongo o tsukau no wa daizyoobu desu yo."

The girl looked stunned for a moment, then flinched as another woman's woice rang out, "Do not stare like a cow!" An elegant woman, whose walk flowed like a river, came out, bowing as well. "Forgive me, sir, but it is so unusual for a foreigner to speak such excellent Japanese."

Richard shook his head, "I realize, but this will make things easier, I think."

She bowed again, "Yes, sir." "I am sure of that." She stood and beckoned for him to follow her. "This way, sir, please." "The tea will begin shortly."
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Old 10-12-2006, 11:00 PM   #3
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The pale mans Japanese was not flawless but it was very clearly educated and very well spoken. Akane stepped back and bade the man enter, bowing her head as she did so. Akane was pure elegance, too long in the training of Geisha for her to suffer any gracelessness. Vibrant red of her gown matched her lips, everything about her spoke of placid emotional control but under that surface...

"We have been told you will grace us for tea this afternoon, we thank you and hope you enjoy the hospitality of the House of Falling Blossoms. Please come this way and let us seat you."

Small steps, mincing but with the effect of a float over the mats laid across the floor, Akane directed him to a small well appointed room. Scrolls adorned the walls, though this was not to be a full and formal sado, it was still a ritual of sorts. An introduction of this man to the Geisha, every bit more important then for Sakura to make no mistakes.

Akane made a small simple gesture and one of the younger maiko stepped forward to take his long coat and hat from him. The girl waited with her head bowed and arms raised to politely and dutifully accept his things, she whisked out of the room with them once he had handed them across. Akane nodded, pleased thus far and gestured for him to sit on one of the cushions that surrounded the small round table in the center of the room.

"You will be attended by Sakura today, she will be here in a moment."

Less then that actually, as the thin girl swaned in at just that moment. Soft blue silk flowed around her like a river, the kimono whispering softly with her gliding steps until she neared enough to dip her head low in a bow of greeting, eyes averted until he introduced himself. The layers of the Kimono were richly detailed with painted scenes of fisherman and ladies walking. Solid deep purple of the obi contrasted the pale color of the kimono to stunning effect. Akane was a gifted woman when working toward a visual impression. Though she already knew who he was this was still one of the many arts of geisha, strength in silence and demure speech.

"Cross-sama, I am pleased to introduce the maiko, Sakura."

Sakura again dipped her head and remained motionless.
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Old 10-12-2006, 11:43 PM   #4
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The decor and atmosphere of the house was immaculate, as was the easy practiced grace of the woman leading him. Though he knew nothing of the terms she as using, he was already getting the sense that this was not what he had been expecting. Which was a decided relief, as well as piquing his curiosity. What exactly did they do here?

He examined the scrolls on the wall, pushing his glasses back up his nose to notice the intricate work there. What a feast this place was, visually! He smiled, a great respect for his hostess taking root. She knew how to dazzle.

That respect only grew when the girl entered the room. She was small and slight, with pale porcelein skin, even under her make-up. Her every move had an air of grace and elegance painstakingly practiced, that almost seemed otherwordly. He thought of Arthur, and thought that this must have be not unlike the appearance of the Lady of the Lake.

He gawked for a moment as she entered and bowed, having seen nothing like her in all his years. He recovered his wits a moment later, as the older woman introduced her. "Ah, I'm pleased to meet you." He bowed as well, though not so low. "I am Richard Cross of the San Francisco Textiles Company." "I am honored to meet you." He hesitated, adding as he straightened. "Your grace and beauty are remarkable, I have never seen the like."
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Old 10-13-2006, 01:13 AM   #5
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He gawked for a moment as she entered and bowed, having seen nothing like her in all his years. He recovered his wits a moment later, as the older woman introduced her. "Ah, I'm pleased to meet you." He bowed as well, though not so low. "I am Richard Cross of the San Francisco Textiles Company." "I am honored to meet you." He hesitated, adding as he straightened. "Your grace and beauty are remarkable, I have never seen the like."
Akane, allowed a hint of smile, she'd known the cherry blossom had potential, and this confirmed her future marketability. The house mother was very pleased and canted her head to the two.

"I shall leave you to tea then."

Akane bowed her way out of the room and off to see about the affairs of the house, so it would seem at any rate. To be more truthful she was only in the next room observing quietly through the slats between rice paper walls. Even if things went well there was always room for improvement, and this was an excellent test of the skills gained so far for the young geisha in training.

"It is my humble honor Cross-Sama, and your words do me too much praise. Thank you."

She stepped forward, finally raising her gaze to his and slipping with a half smile, he was so different. His skin looked soft and pink, so pale, his hair was lush and thick and the color of cherry wood. She was tempted to reach out and touch it, savor the texture of something so wildly different. Such was not allowed though and she curtailed her more errant thoughts. Once more she demurred and rolled a hand gracefully to the table.

"Please, have a seat. I am told you are here for the silk trade?"

Now the art of conversation, geisha meant artist, and this was but one of the many reasons they were in such demand. A geisha could go anywhere and be a most elegant and worthy conversationalist even on topics they knew little about. It was not so much what one said, as how they chose to say it. Though his country's custom might have been to let the female be seated first here it was his prerogative to have the floor and she would join after. Once he was seated she knelt down, a slow fluid motion that had her more melting to the floor then dropping down.
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Old 10-13-2006, 01:40 AM   #6
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Interesting. Perhaps it was the same skill that gave Sakura her uncanny grace, but she did not balk or look at him like he was a zoo animal. Richard was getting quite tired of that. She just looked at him like a man, a more interesting man that her usual customers perhaps, but still just a man.

He did not see a chair to sit in, and remembered a moment later than traditionally, Japanese kneeled at the table. How did it...ah, yes. He nodded to her and knelt at the table, his knees far apart, resting on his thighs.

She knew what he was here for. Hmmm. What else did she know about him? Other than how to make herself intruiging. "Yes, that's why I have come." "In truth, I have wanted to see this country for several years now." "I was very pleased that this opportunity arose."

She moved like quicksilver, and again the unearthy elegance of it stunned him a moment. My God...how on earth did she do it? "...Ah, well, the silk produced ehre is very fine, and very much in demand in the West." "I am hoping to stay here after the deal is settled, for a time at least, so I can learn more about your homeland."

"I heard of the fame of the silk from this area, but I think this place should be as equally renowed." "It is a marvel, unlike anything I've seen."
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Old 10-13-2006, 01:58 AM   #7
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"I heard of the fame of the silk from this area, but I think this place should be as equally renowed." "It is a marvel, unlike anything I've seen."
Yes, training to learn all about one's company was a priority. Sakura had been groomed in that, to learn and listen, garnering what cues she could from her companion. This Richard Cross...such an odd name, the hard consonants refused to make any sense in her mind at all, he was a man who was as intrigued by her as by the country. To him she and this place were a novelty. Such would work in her favor so long as she could keep the novelty from wearing off. She tilted her head as he spoke, the perfect round curls of her piled high hair catching the light with an ebony sheen. A comb of pewter and jade glinting in the light of the candles about the room.

"Then Japan is honored to have you, and the House of Falling Blossoms is pleased to host you. Your kindness toward my country is most generous, and very much appreciated. Japan has many wonders and it is my sincere hope that you will leave us one day as an even more enlightened man then you are now."

Ever generous with praise, and a growing smile, something in it hinting beyond practiced expression to true and genuine greeting. As much a novelty for him as she might be he was doubly so for her.

"You will forgive my boldness, but I have never met an American before. Is it so different from here, your home?"

Even as she spoke she reached for the kettle, easing her hand out to scoop it up, her dainty fingers moving with a fluid grace to pour two cups of tea, preparing them without even needing to look at her hands. The motions were practiced and careful, quick but without hesitation or jerking movements. She was a child of grace, such as her kind were trained to be.
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Old 10-13-2006, 02:56 AM   #8
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Even the tilt of her head was artful, just enough to catch the light inthe lusterous curls of her hair, to sparkle off the comb that held it in place. He marvelled what someone could be so aware of their movements, so precise. At the same time, he fought down a sudden urge to reach out pull the comb free, let her hair come spilling down. It was a fleeting mental image, gone almost as soon as it came to mind. And her smile...

He smiled, a little linering homesickness finding it's way to his face. "Very different." "Here...you're so close to the sea and the mountains all at once." "In my home, the two tend to be far away from each other." He smiled, "There's more room there, things aren't so crowded together." "In some places, the next house is more than a day's walk away." "It's cold there now...and the leaves of the trees are changing color, from green to red and orange and yellow, making each forest a brilliant show of beauty."

"I've been living in San Fransisco...a city, huge and modern." "With a great bridge that goes over the entire bay." He sighed, shaking his head. "I'm sorry, I must be boring you." "I suppose as wonderful as your country is, I still remember my home fondly."

The scent of the bitter tea the Japanese drank reached his nose, and he breathed in the smell of it. Invigorating, strange, but comforting. Richard looked at the cups. "I'm sorry, but...how does one drink this properly?" "I know it's a foolish questions, but I do not wish to make a mistake or offend you, or your house."
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Old 10-14-2006, 02:08 AM   #9
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The scent of the bitter tea the Japanese drank reached his nose, and he breathed in the smell of it. Invigorating, strange, but comforting. Richard looked at the cups. "I'm sorry, but...how does one drink this properly?" "I know it's a foolish questions, but I do not wish to make a mistake or offend you, or your house."
"I think noble Cross-sama is having fun with me. Can your country really be so large? What do you do with such space?"

He painted a picture of a foreign concept to her, a place where there could be more room between houses and buildings then the eye could see. Surely he was jesting with her, though he seemed serious enough. She quieted as he went on speaking of his home, she noted the soft wistful tone in his voice and countered it with something which made even Akane smile.

"It is my desire that you remember my home fondly, to make you speak of Japan in the same way as your San Fran-sis-co."

She was so careful, pronouncing the odd name which she knew to be a city for all it's strange sound. What could such a name mean? It meant nothing to her but it seemed to mean a great deal to him so she would use it only rarely and carefully with respect.

Sakura smiled, not at his ignorance of the custom of tea, but indulgently to put him at ease. She placed a small ceramic dish before him and to it added pickled vegetables, rice and small bits of cooked fish. She arranged the cups and brought the sake forward.

"First, a drink to welcome you."

She held the cup high and only to her lips after he had. Potent rice wine served slightly warmer then room temperature. It had a pleasant warming burn down the throat and sat easily on the stomach. She took his cup then and smiled again.

"You drink well, you have had sake before?"
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:03 AM   #10
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It was funny, none of the Japanese believed him about the way things were back home. Even when he'd shown them the photos he brought back, and the man on their staff who'd visited Ameria backed the story up. It was to be expected. He'd heard stories of Japan as well, but nothing had prepared him for actually being there.

"I have." "One of the company men visited our office in San Francisco and brought some with him." An odd spirit, and served hot at that, but he found it enjoyable. "When I arrived here, we did some drinking as well." "It's strange for me, in my country, we drink such things cold, with ice even."

Richard felt more relaxed now than he had since arriving in the island nation. Part of it was time, and part of it was the liqour, but more than anything else, it was the presence and elegence of this mysterious woman. Her every move, the deference in her eyes, the cultured courtesy of her speaking, set him at ease. He was almost disturbed at being manipulated so easily, but then she smiled and the thought passed.

"I am also of a people, on both sides of my family who have a...reputation for being able to drink." German from his father's line, Irish from his mother's. two cultures for whom drinking was a national pastime. "So perhaps I should thank my ancestors for that."
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Old 10-16-2006, 11:19 PM   #11
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"I am also of a people, on both sides of my family who have a...reputation for being able to drink." German from his father's line, Irish from his mother's. two cultures for whom drinking was a national pastime. "So perhaps I should thank my ancestors for that."
Perhaps when one had only lived in one place and never been exposed to more it made other realities a bit hard to imagine. Sakura still managed to take it in stride and nod her head politely as he spoke. Her hands never stilling in the preparations, picked vegetables and rice carefully portioned out onto a plate for him. Informal as it was there were still a few ritualistic aspects of it.

The plate was set before him, chop sticks held out to him and then sat across a bowl, bathed in sake and given a moment to dry. Not done for cleaning, not it was a blessing on the sticks before they were given to such an esteemed guest. Sakura explained the ritual as she worked, handing the finely lacquered utensils to him across the silk of a napkin, her head dipped until he took them from her.

She joined him once he began eating, bright eyes following his movements. How odd that he could be so fluid with their customs, especially with his claim of ancestry, but spirit knows not what body it inhabits. Perhaps he had the soul of a Japanese man in him somewhere. It would explain much, and the thought brought a smile to her red painted lips.

"Will you be staying in Japan long Cross-sama? It would be a shame to be here and miss the wonders of my home. There is so much to see, but of course you are consumed by your work."

The wording was a bit strong, but such was the culture. Japanese men devoted themselves heart and soul to their work and she would naturally assume all others would be the same. Part of the shame for them, part of the need for women like herself. Rich men could easily surround themselves with beauty and intelligence without having to seek it out and thus take time from the rest of their lives. In effect, their lack of social lives was what had given her this chance in life. Oddly symbiotic relationship.
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:55 PM   #12
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Her hands never stilling in the preparations, picked vegetables and rice carefully portioned out onto a plate for him. Informal as it was there were still a few ritualistic aspects of it.

The plate was set before him, chop sticks held out to him and then sat across a bowl, bathed in sake and given a moment to dry. Not done for cleaning, not it was a blessing on the sticks before they were given to such an esteemed guest. Sakura explained the ritual as she worked, handing the finely lacquered utensils to him across the silk of a napkin, her head dipped until he took them from her.
She joined him once he began eating, bright eyes following his movements.

"Will you be staying in Japan long Cross-sama? It would be a shame to be here and miss the wonders of my home. There is so much to see, but of course you are consumed by your work."
He noted that she watched him eat, the ever so slight widening of the eyes that showed her surprise at his skill with chopsticks. His visits to Chinatown had pain off now that he was in Japan, though he had not told any of the Japanese where his ability came from. It seemed to surprise everyone he interacted with here. Which was very good, from his perspective. At the least, it had earned him a smile from this radiant woman, and there was high value in that.

"I'm not sure "consumed" is the right word," he responded with a slight smile. "I put in a lot of hours each day, but I also take time to enjoy life." "We have a saying...I'm not sure if it'll translate, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."" He ate another pickled vegetable, delighting in the foreign taste. What had it been originally, he wondered. "We work hard, but it's important to balence work with more pleasant pasttimes, or your work will suffer." "A person can get burned out."

He wondered if it worked like that here. He hadn't been here very long, but it did seem as though the Japanese he was working with spent an awful lot of time at work. It was a wonder any of them had families. "Ah, forgive me, I haven't answered your question yet." "I am here for six months on this trip." "I am hoping I may stay even longer." "If the deal goes through, my company will want a man stationed here." "I think I'd like that job very much."

He ate a morsel or two more, unsure of his ground here. Richard didn't know the social rules for interacting with women in Japanese society. Well, say it anyway, and see what happens. That's the only way to learn. "More so after having come here." "The longer I am in your country, the more reasons I see to wish to stay longer."
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Old 11-16-2006, 02:10 AM   #13
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His hands made no mistakes nor were the confused with the sticks. She had been warned to be observant in any way she could help him feel more comfortable with the ways of her country but he seemed well adjusted already. He ate as if born to the custom and after her first wide eyed moment she smiled and nibbled at her own food, listening to him as he spoke of his work and how an over abundance of work made someone named Jack boring. She blinked with a cant of her head to him, not fully understanding until he went on.

"Ahhh I understand now. One must stop to admire the garden or all the work tending it is for nothing."

Old proverbs were deeply woven in the tradition of her people and almost from birth they were impressed upon one as life lessons. Though most Japanese men were driven when it came to work, by necessity and habit. This American was a wonder, and not at all what she'd expected. Sakura found her curiosity piqued more with each new thing she discovered about him. Once again her dark eyes caught the color of his hair and the pale tone of his skin.

They both looked soft, fine and flawless. She peered back knowing full well Akane was listening in on them, she moved silently, two fingers pressing over his lips to silence him before she took the bold move of one simple stroke of his hair. Courser then it looked, and thick, unlike her own entirely. The texture was unknown, different, the color the feel...far too intriguing to a girl who'd rarely even seen outside her own village. She'd almost missed what he'd said with her brashness, but her head bowed in silent apology and she poured more tea.

"Japan would be very please to have you I think. You would do well here, already you know so much as if born to it. I fear I am not at all necessary but for the company. Which I am happy to give Cross-sama."
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Old 11-16-2006, 02:40 AM   #14
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"Ahhh I understand now. One must stop to admire the garden or all the work tending it is for nothing."

She peered back knowing full well Akane was listening in on them, she moved silently, two fingers pressing over his lips to silence him before she took the bold move of one simple stroke of his hair. Courser then it looked, and thick, unlike her own entirely. The texture was unknown, different, the color the feel...far too intriguing to a girl who'd rarely even seen outside her own village. She'd almost missed what he'd said with her brashness, but her head bowed in silent apology and she poured more tea.

"Japan would be very please to have you I think. You would do well here, already you know so much as if born to it. I fear I am not at all necessary but for the company. Which I am happy to give Cross-sama."
At her answering proverb, he smiled. "Yes, exactly." "Work isn't done for the sake of work, but to live." "Why not live then, and enjoy it?"

He raised an eyebrow as she looked back at the wall, and was about to speak when her fingers silenced him. His eyes followed the motion of her arm as she ran a delicate hand once through his hair. It was a simple touch, light and exploring, but it also felt very nice. There something to having a lady's hands in one's hair in his opinion, though he hadn't expected this at all.

Even in that, she retained that perfect grace of movement. He was silent as she poured the tea again, and spoke, a faint blush on his cheeks. What a remarkably strange woman. How fascinating she was! "Ah, yes, well." "I do not think I am that accustomed to things here, a simple walk down the street shows me wonders undreamt of at home." "As well as reminding me that I am a stranger in your beautiful land."

He took a drink of the hot, bitter tea before continuing. "I feel you underestimate the value of your company." "I have not had so pleasant an evening in a very long time." "Nor have I ever met a woman of such elegance and courtesy, or so lovely, if I may be so bold." "I think that I will seek out your company many times in the months ahead, if that would please you."
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Old 12-04-2006, 11:31 PM   #15
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He took a drink of the hot, bitter tea before continuing. "I feel you underestimate the value of your company." "I have not had so pleasant an evening in a very long time." "Nor have I ever met a woman of such elegance and courtesy, or so lovely, if I may be so bold." "I think that I will seek out your company many times in the months ahead, if that would please you."
"You are not a stranger any longer Cross-sama, you are a friend."

That smile, so slight as to be only hinted at by her lips and yet there it was, without question or reservation she was willing to call him friend. Of course such was the nature of her trade, to be the companion, the friend to the ma who paid the right price. There was more with this man though, a certain unique and special quality she'd never before encountered. He had the spirit of her land but with the eyes of another, like his heart belonged here before he'd ever come.

Traditions spoke of such things, saying one might have a soul well beyond ones years by the grace of your ancestors. Or knowledge and wisdom granted by Buddha to a young person, even the spirit of a wise man might seek refuge in the body of an infant to further complete his good works. She was familiar with such sayings but never before found them to hold so much validity. Richard Cross was certainly a singular man and for more reasons than just his coloring and speech.

The tea had been served and Sakura bowed her head to clear his plate, ready for the meat and rice course which was to follow. Steam wafted from a basket in the center of the table which had, till now, seemed ornamental. She fished out a doughy dumpling and some juicy seasoned meat. Both were heaped to his plate and followed with rice, enough to fill his appetite.

"This I made myself, I hope you like it. Perhaps if you do then it will give you more reason to come again."

Another side long glance to the wall where the knowing Akane listened in.

"I would very much enjoy that."
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Old 12-12-2006, 12:02 AM   #16
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Richard breathed in the aromas coming from the plate, wonderful, tantalizing, and delightfully new. Not unlike the young woman before him. "If your skill at cooking is as high as your grace and charm, I am in for the meal of a lifetime."

Again there was that sidelong look from the enigmatic girl. What was back there that so interested her? Were they being watched? It made a certain amount of sense. A man alone with a girl like this, so young and gentle, it did call for a chaperone, even an unseen one. Add in that he was a foreigner (and a giant among these people) and he was surprised that there was no one else directly in the room.

Rice was still a little tricky for him with chopsticks, but he liked to think he did well enough. It was just the right constrast of sticky and fluffy, warm and tender. It was odd, but he liked eating it plain. It was so different than the sauce and spice soaked rice one got back in San Francisco. "It's very good," he commented between mouthfuls. Then he got to the meat, and he closed his eyes in rapture. Lord, what had she done to it? He'd never had meat this tender, or this juicy. It practically melted in the mouth. "Now this...this is a meal far too good for the likes of me." "Men of state, lords and princes should eat like this." "You are too kind to give me such fare."

He did his best to eat the remainder with dignity, though it took some effort not to completely tuck in to the exotic meal. After finishing, he smiled broadly and took a deep breath. "My dear lady, after spending such enjoyable time in your company and such a meal, I know I will think of you and this palce after I've left and count the days until I return."
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Old 02-04-2007, 05:39 PM   #17
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He'd caught her glances to Akane's hiding place, she blushed but the pale white of her makeup hid that and the false rouge of her cheeks made her appear maidenly at all times anyway. He praised her continuously and it was difficult to not be moved by such words. She was after all still a woman and he was a man. Demure down turn of those deeply dark eyes, kohl lashes fluttering softly before they raised to look upon him again.

The meal was a success and she smiled, trying hard to keep it a small gesture but some of the natural spirit of her broke through into it. Wide white of teeth showed before she composed herself to the small thin turn of lips more acceptable to a geisha in training. Sakura bowed her head with the continued complements and cleared the plates as he finished. Soon there was naught but the tea left and even that had begun to grow cool. Such was it that their time came to an end, and now she proffered herself to him once more for perhaps another visit.

Sakura helped him gather his things and walked with him to the front door, hands folded neatly before her and head dipped in a respectful bow.

"Cross-Sama, if it pleased you I would be honored to be engaged again as your companion. If you chose for a more social setting I am well versed in theater and art as well as music. I would be at your disposal."

Head remained bowed, dainty tendrils of ribbon from the comb in her hair looking like snow against the ebony block of her locks. She could only wait now, if he chose he could se eher again, and if not, well than this had been an experience she would forever recall, just like the texture of his hair as it slipped through her fingers in their only brief contact.




(This thread has been canceled, thank you to the readers.)
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:37 PM   #18
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Richard smiled as she bowed, inclining his head in return. The magnificent grace of her every movement was still breathtaking. What a woman she was! That odd smile after his words in regards to the meal floating in his mind's eye. It was spontaneous and genuine, only to disappear behind her artful lips. "Ms. Sakura, you have been an exquisite hostess." "I have not the words to express how happy I have been in these walls." "I would like very much to call on you again." He felt a bit nervous about it, to be honest. That sweet anxiety that came from time spent and anticipated with a beautiful woman. "Before the end of the week, if it would please you."

He wanted to tell her to call him Richard. He knew it would be improper from a Western standard, let alone a Japanese one, but it was there. He wanted the approval, and to be...close to this enigmatic marvel of a girl. "There is a play being performed two days hence that I have been asked to attend." "I would be proud and pleased if you would accompany me."
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