Night, Sunday the 30th
Midori pulled into her parking space and turned off her 2011 Toyota Prius. She sat there for several minutes, quietly meditating. For the past hour she hadn’t really allowed herself to fully absorb what she had done tonight.
Being Japanese provided her with a social shield of etiquette and politeness, courtesy and custom. She had used every resource in her arsenal with Conor-san… even now, she couldn’t think of him as just Conor, that was Erica’s privilege. She was his supernatural equal and companion of so many battles, she’d earned the right to be familiar.
Maybe she could just call him “Conor” when she was in full “American mode;” speaking English, using slang, and being informal. Sure, maybe then. But, she’d been in his home and saw all of his Fae attendants and his palace. He would never be “just Conor” to her ever again.
She pondered language. Was he Hakushaku or Daimyo? He had said his title within the Summer Court… now her pulse raced a little bit… a Lord of the Fae. Was she insane?! His title was Earl, which was Hakushaku, but those titles had just been made up during the Meiji Era, borrowing from China. The term just didn’t have the same gravitas as Daimyo. Did the Fae even have Courts in Japan Anciently? Surely they did – the Tengu, Kitsune, and whatnot. No, it had to be Daimyo. At least to her anyway.
Claret and Erica would not understand. Well maybe Erica. Claret would not understand. Even thinking of him as “just Conor” seemed odd…
Conor-no-Kimi would work.
She spoke out loud to herself “No Claret, Conor-no-Kimi is not like that.” Hmm. That might work. Of course, she said it fast and the ‘r’ at the end of his name basically vanished. So it sounded more like “konono-kimi.”
“Erica-chan, Conor-no-Kimi on the phone for you.” She giggled again.
Maybe she’d watched too many animes. No-Kimi had a double entendre. Strictly speaking, it was archaic speech for “one who behaves princely.” However, when lovers wrote to each other, sometimes it was used as English speakers might write “my beloved.” It wasn’t “love” that she felt for him, she was certain of that. Awe maybe, a tablespoon of hero worship, four cups of lust… mixed liberally…
She took a moment to savor those warm feelings. No, not beloved per se, but “no-Kimi” would work perfectly. Well, maybe in public she’d stick with “san” and “sama” but…
Yeah, thinking about Conor had completely ruined her meditation. Her flights of fancy were in full rampage mode. Only an hour ago, she’d been alone with him in his house and…
That really hadn’t sunk in. He accepted to be her patron.
What did that mean? Did he know? Nevermind that, did she have any idea what she was getting into? Lord of the Fae. Lord of the ####### Fae, Midori, what have you done? What does it mean? Buddha in a bucket, Midori, are you insane? Wait, no! it’s Conor! It’s Conor, idiot! Arrggh…
Panic gave way to serenity, back to panic, then serenity again. Flashes of lust provided a steady backbeat to her emotional glissando.
It’ll be a date, he had said. Wait, so did she ask him out or did he? She had kinda started the whole conversation so, that made her the asker and not the askee, right?
She was nodding with a smug look on her face. Oh yeah, she was certain she was definitely the asker. Want something bad enough, Midori? Go get it.
Emotional glissando with backbeat was back. She’d been nursing this particular flame for over a year now. It started as a spark when Conor picked her up and leapt her out of danger at the Dart Rail station over near Love Field. and somewhere along the way, and she was pretty sure Girls Nights Out (GNOs) with Ren and Marisa had played a major role, it had gone from crush to bright flame… tonight she did something about it.
Would he even accept her in that way? Would the date end with… Surely. She was a pretty good reader of people, Conor was certainly interested. There was no doubt in her mind about that. But there were complications now, and she’d just made things weird for him with the whole “patron” and mizuage thing. What about Erica? What about Marisa? What about Roxie? She was pretty sure things were all clear there but…
Wait, no, this is what she wanted. It’s Midori time. Nothing for it now; she’d just have to make sure the date went the way she wanted it to. She was going to have to bring out the big guns in her arsenal and every trick at her disposal.
What am I going to wear?
She got out of her car, locked it, and headed up to the apartment.
Midori walked quietly into the dark apartment, attempting to channel some smidgeon of Ninjutsu talent that she hoped she had in an attempt to get to her room unobserved. Midori heard a faint cla-clink, and a light sprang into life, washing away the pitch into creepy shadows. Claret sat comfortably in a high-backed leather seat, her hand coming to rest on the arm rest from the shade of the ornate skull and crossbones lamp that sat beside her on an end table. Claret’s smile was wide and shark-like, with a feral intensity illuminating her eyes independent of the warm glow of the nearby lamp.
“Well… Well… Well…” Claret sneered. “What have we here? A certain someone, who stayed late at a certain other rakishly handsome someone’s pimpin’ estate to ‘cook’,” Claret air quoted, “comes in smelling of sandalwood with a ‘freshly showered’ look about her. If I didn’t know better, I would say that a certain someone made a play for bed-buddies while some certain other someones were absent. Hmm? What do you think?” Claret placed both hands on her up-crossed knee playfully, countering her traditional super-goth look with one of seemingly innocent curiosity.
“I do not believe this matter to be any of your business, Claret. I’m tired and exhausted from my work, and I wish to go to bed now.” Midori briskly paced to her room as she spoke.
“True enough,” Claret commented casually, “I guess I should ask Erica what-”
“No!” Midori spun around faster than she thought looked innocent. Claret leered at her, and Midori shoulders slumped in emotional exhaustion. “Nothing happened. We… um… we have a date, at some point.”
“A date?!” The incredulousness of Claret’s voice was palpable. “What the #### you mean, a date? Like, ‘hey let’s have coffee and talk about our feelings over pastries” date or a mind-blowing ####-a-thon that puts Marisa’s and Ren’s stories to shame’ date?"
“I… am uncertain.” Midori walked slowly to the couch and sat on the edge of the cushion, head down and hands clasped tightly in her lap.
Claret leaned forward in her leather seat. “Uncertain with Conor? ‘Your next favorite mistake’ Conor? I’m surprised he didn’t do you right there in the kitchen!” Claret thought for a moment. “Wait, did he do you in the kitchen? Cause I’m not gonna lie, that’d be pretty hot-”
“He did nothing of the sort!” Midori stood up swiftly. “He was a gentleman, and behaved with honor despite my…” Midori slowly sat back down, her head returning to stare at her reclenched hands.
“Despite your what?”
Midori sighed. “Despite my best efforts to seduce him. And, wait, are you not jealous in any way?”
Claret scoffed. “Please! I’m not even remotely his type, and he’s not exactly mine, either. Not unless he puts in that dungeon like I wanted him to, anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I would do him anyway he asked for, on top of other people if that was his kink, but he ain’t ever gonna ask me, so there’s that. Which sucks, cause I would show him a blissful side of pain few have ever even imagined…”
Midori rolled her eyes as Claret lingered visually on that image.
“…But it ain’t gonna happen. Soooo I gotta live vicariously thru you ####s. Now tell me, how’d it go down?”
Midori slowly began to speak of the previous few hours, and as she spoke more, more came out. Soon she began to spill her ‘emotional guts’, as Erica may have referred to them, and Claret, despite her penchant for pissiness and mellow-drama, listened intently and did not interrupt.
“…so we have a date, and I am unsure as what to wear, and and…”
“Hold up,” Claret held up a hand, “What’s a mizu-a-gethingy?” Midori explained the term with all due reverence and decorum but without hiding any particular details.
“So… wait… hold on a sec… are you telling me, that you, Midori ‘Japanese schoolgirls wished they looked as ####able as me’ Geisha snob… is a virgin?!”
Midori, rolling her eyes again, replied frustratingly, “Yes, Claret. I am a virgin.”
Claret slumped back into her leather seat, mouth agape and eyes wide in shock, and he voice quiet and perplexed. “I had no idea. Does Erica know?”
“Yes, Erica knows. Erica-san has known since we became friends. It is of no real importance-”
“-Oh Bull#### it’s not important!” Claret interrupted. Claret practically sprang out of her chair and plopped down on the couch next to Midori. “Ok, ignoring the fact that I could name about a dozen different critters that specifically like to eat virgins and could easily pluck you off the street, why are youuuu…” Claret gestured emphatically to Midori’s entire body, “not having like… All the sex?!”
“It is not that easy-”
“Like hell it isn’t! You find a guy who looks like he’s vaguely in shape and probably won’t annoy you, you look like,” Claret gestured to Midori again, “ya know, You, and then you get your groove on! It’s a cakewalk! Really! I cannot believe I am having this conversation with Miss Japanese Sex Appeal herself! What the F-”
“-I find it perplexing that out of everything I have expounded upon this evening that my… status… in that regard is what you have fixated on.”
Claret scoffed again, and leaned back into the couch. “Ya know, this explains a lot of stuff about our time together as roommates. I’m just sayin’.”
Midori sputtered in bewilderment. “Explains what, may I ask?”
Claret made little circle motions with her hands off towards the kitchen. “Ya know, stuff. Up at all hours, your anime collection, how you never really go out out like on dates, how you giggle almost exactly like Erica when you two talk about boys and you think no one can hear you…”
“Fine, well…” Midori smoothed out her skirt self-consciously, “Now you know.”
Claret sat up a little bit and stared eerily at Midori. “Do you want some, ya know, advice on sex?”
Midori stood up immediately and turned to go back towards her room. “We are not having this conversation-”
Claret grabbed Midori’s hand and pulled her reluctantly back towards the couch. “Oh calm down, ya prude. Seriously, though, you got the guns, on multiple levels, to get up to bat on this, why don’t I give you a heads-up or two on how to run the bases?”
Midori glared at Claret for a long second. “And if I were to accept this weird and hugely inappropriate proposal, what would you expect to receive in return?”
Claret sat up fully next to Midori, face to face and her hands clasped excitedly to Midori’s leg. Midori looked down for a moment but since the gesture seemed to be more excitement based than seductive, she said nothing. “Other than me knowing you’re not a tasty snack for a virgin eating monster?… Full disclosure. Just me. Nobody else gets to hear about it. Even Erica.”
“I had not planned on it, initially, but at some point she will find out, you must realize this,” Midori said calmly.
“Yeah yeah, I know, she’s nosy and she’ll find out at some point, but until then, I give you pointers and you give me the dirty play-by-play, deal?” Claret held out her hand.
Midori took another long second to look at the hand and at Claret’s face, and shook hands. “This is supposing I am able to consummate with Conor at all, you understand.”
Claret laughed acidly. “Trust me, sweetness, with your looks and my … ahem … experience, he will be completely Midori soluble.”
“Yeah, soluble. And, ya know, if you should happen to forget a trick or two along the way and want a wingman uh woman to ya know, help, I could definitely come over and lend a ha-”
“-Good night, Claret.” Midori stood and walked towards her room as Claret called after her.
“What?! A girl can dream, right? We could do a good cop bad cop thing that ends all sexy! Four hands are better than two! Two heads are better than one! Hell, two tongues work better on one-”
Midori slammed the door to her room.
“Well fine then!” Claret slumped back into the couch and rubbed her hands together maniacally, muttering to herself. “Eeeexcellent…”
Midori closed the door and leaned against it. It was all starting to feel real now. It was sinking in. This was all happening.
Morning, Friday the 5th
She pulled into the parking spot at the office building. Google Maps indicated this was the place and the really sleek black BMW with Roxie in a gray skirt suit standing next to it pretty much confirmed she was in the right place. Or was Roxie looking sleek and the car was pretty? Hmm.
She got out and bowed, “Roxie-san, good morning!”
The beautiful Summer Fae with the perfect skin gave her a white smile, “Good morning Ms. Satou! Shall we?” She motioned with her hand towards the building door.
“I’m not late am I?” Midori panicked.
“No, not at all, I’m just here to help you find the office.”
They walked through the building and took an elevator up.
Midori gathered up her courage. “Roxie?”
“Yes Ms. Satou?”
“Please, call me Midori.” She smiled.
“Of course Ms. Satou, thank you.”
Midori paused, nevermind, onward! “Um. Roxie, are you and Conor-no-kimi? Um. Are you…?” Her courage fled. She was talking to an immortal Fae of the Summer Court like they were gossiping in High School.
Roxie smiled again. Her radiant blue eyes were very disarming. “I understand the question Ms. Satou. I am my Lordship’s valet and personal assistant.”
Personal assistant that gets into adventures with him, Midori thought to herself. Erica had mentioned that just before 4th of July, two days before, they’d thwarted a demonic ritual and battled a powerful Spectre.
She had just time to think Wait that’s a non-answer when the elevator arrived and Roxie stepped out. Midori took a few quick steps the catch up and said nothing further until they arrived at the law firm’s office suite – "Summers, Frost, and Hammersmith – Attorneys at Law."
She was shown to a conference room with Conor, Roxie, and another gentleman. Everything in the room was oak, burgundy leather, gilded gold, and just gave off the aura of power and wealth. On the conference table was a stack of documents.
Introductions were made, the lawyer was “Devlin Summers,” and Midori was fairly certain he was involved with the Summer Court in some way, just wasn’t sure about full Fae or Changeling or what.
After pleasantries and beverages, they got into the nitty gritty of the paperwork. It took a few explanations before she understood what was going on. Midori was the sole beneficiary of a trust fund, this law firm would be the trustee, and Conor’s corporation – CnG – the grantor.
Midori blinked, taking it all in. She could withdraw from it weekly for the six months, until it reached its maximum value, then after that it was hers to use as she wished. She was being given very broad abilities to spend the money however she saw fit, however, one clause was so jarring as to give her pause. After 100 years any remaining money reverted back to the corporation. Conor was functionally immortal, that only made sense… still disconcerting to think about.
There were also other pamphlets and sheets of paper for her to take home and study, giving her other options for how to invest and to incorporate to protect her assets. These things were beyond the scope of today’s meeting, but as far as the law firm was concerned, she was a client now and was welcome to come back at any time.
When it was all said and done, the attorney handed her an envelope. In it was her first disbursement. Her heart nearly stopped she she saw all the zeroes – five of them.
“Thank you Devlin, this was all perfectly done. Could you excuse us a moment?”
“Of course your Lordship, I’ll be in my office should you require me again, otherwise good day.” Yep, Midori thought, Summer Court.
After he closed the door Midori stood up and bowed deeply, “Doumo arigatou gozaimasu, Conor-sama!”
“You’re very welcome Midori; very welcome. However, please sit down, there’s a few additional things I’d like to discuss.”
She sat, adjusting her skirt as she did so.
“Now that this is taken care of, I’d like to talk about a few things you can do for me, if you’re of a mind.”
Her heart started racing. “Of course, Conor-sama.”
“If it’s convenient for you, every night I’d like you to come over…”
Her mind took off like a greyhound. Her face flushed red and she was fairly certain that everyone in the room could hear her heart trying to exit her rib cage. Blood was rushing to her ears so she almost missed the rest of what Conor said.
“… me Japanese.”
Wait, what? “I’m sorry Conor-sama, say again?”
He was looking at her very pink cheeks, “You alright?”
“Hai, Conor-sama I just wasn’t quite sure I heard you correctly.” Her face went downward to the papers on the desk in front of her as she bowed her head. Before she did so she stole a glance at Roxie, who was smiling.
“I said, if your evenin’s are free an’ it’s convenient; I’d like you to come over an’ teach me Japanese.”
“Of course Conor-sama, it would be my honor!” Get control of yourself Midori!
“Grand. That’d be grand.”
“May I ask why you wish to learn my language?” Stall for time, cheeks not back to normal yet.
"Several reasons, I’ve recently expanded my interests into Asian manufacturin’ an’ electronics. I have meetin’s from time to time where I’m at a disadvantage because I don’t know everythin’ that’s bein’ said. Plus, of course, you, Ren, Erica, you speak it, as do individuals I keep an eye on… like Wani."
Wow. “Hai, wakarimasu. I understand Conor-sama. Again, it would be an honor.”
“There’s a second matter, related to that.”
She nodded, listening.
“Roxie is more than capable to providing me with insights an’ help when I’m in Germany…”
She glanced up at Roxie, who nodded.
“…but I have very little insight into Japan an’ Japanese culture. Our last conversation made it clear that nuance is a possible pitfall. I have to be very careful with clarity before I enter into agreements as you can imagine.”
“So when I have trips or meetings with Japanese contacts, if your schedule permits, would you come with me an’ be my girl Friday?”
Trips, girl friday, what? “I’m sorry Conor-sama… Girl Friday?”
He chuckled, “I guess that phrase isn’t used much anymore. My assistant. I shouldn’t have to travel to Japan often, maybe once a quarter for investors meetin’s, galas, an’ other such nonsense.”
She sat there blinking for a moment, quarterly trips to Japan?! Galas?!?! “Hai Conor-sama, I would love to.”
“Excellent! Last item…”
She clamped down on her emotions.
“You an’ Erica share a love for a certain wonderful lady, your dear Mother.”
Midori looked up at totally unexpected conversation twist.
“Part of the reason I’ve agreed to be your patron is so that some of these funds should be used to make their home whole again, or help them move if that’s their desire. I’m not askin’ you to use it all, or even most. But the Yakuza became involved with their lives because of a decision you made, I feel it would be appropriate if you decided to share some of your newfound wealth to make it right. Fair play?”
What could she say to that? She bowed her head, “Hai Conor-sama, hai. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.”
“Well, then I guess that’s that. Have you anythin’?”
She flushed slightly, remembering her ongoing … educational talks … from Claret. “Our date?”
Conor smiled, “Like I said before, let’s keep that separate from all this. No need for complications, right?”
Was he serious? Does he not even see how impossible that is? “Right, Conor-san. I agree.”