Author's Note: (This story is about another of the kagaijin, a doctor named Kentama. This story takes place quite some time after Tsuyoken's, and is for the most part, unrelated. Be warned; there is a lot of buildup before we actually get to the sex, so if that's all you're after, you'll want to overlook this tale, I'm afraid. I hope your efforts are well rewarded, if you stick it out, however. Enjoy!)
Hatoko let slip a curse as she hung up the pay phone. A young couple sipping cocoa out of Styrofoam cups muffled some snickering laughter as they passed, but Hatoko was too pissed to take notice. Her loan application from the local branch of Mizuho bank had been denied, and as she had just discovered, so had her tab with Katsuhito's hiking supply store. Until she paid what she already owed him - which was nothing less than a small fortune compared to the meager sum she had to her name at the moment - there would be no new equipment for her upcoming field expedition to Mount Usu. Three banks and now one store owned by a friend of her family were all telling her the same thing - give up on writing the thesis for now, and take some time off to get a job and build up some funds.
Hatoko didn't have that kind of time, and she knew it. Mount Usu was becoming volcanically agitated, and without the data she could capture out in the field at the volcano's peak, her thesis on the Toya caldera would never be the fantastic breakthrough she knew it could be.
Shuffling dejectedly out of the phone booth, Hatoko Shiratori folded her arms and jutted out her lower lip in a petulant scowl. As she stormed her way through the busy streets of downtown Sapporo toward her tiny apartment, she muttered every foul diatribe she could summon about bankers and tubby, red-faced, balding men whose names happened to be Katsuhito.
That night, she took stock of what she did have, and was surprised to find that although some of her equipment was so old and battered that it looked questionable, she did technically own what she would need to climb up the side of Usuzan (another name for Mount Usu). Her ropes and cords had seen better days, and were even frayed in places, but they held firm when she tested them with her hands. Her clips and hooks were still fairly new, and although she didn't have enough emergency supplies, she didn't think it would be a problem. She was an experienced climber, and Usuzan was a relatively gentle slope in most places. It wasn't until you hit the lava dome that things got particularly steep and dangerous, and she didn't intend to take any chances. As long as she ate like a bird for the next week and saved the weekly allowance her parents could afford to send her, she might be able to just make it.
She sighed as the familiar guilt came back to her. She hated having to sponge off of her folks like this. She was twenty-two, for goodness' sake! If it had been up to her, she would have divided time between schooling and work to help make ends meet, but her parents had been adamant that she focus on schooling first, and work second. Unfortunately for her, their ethic hadn't changed even into her master's studies, and although they were able to afford to keep her housed in this apartment and stocked with a decent amount of food - not to mention a little spending money besides - she wasn't happy about having to accept it. Like most people her age, she wanted to be completely independent and reliable. Having to tell people she still lived under her parents' thumbs was embarrassing, so it was a topic she avoided fiercely.
Shaking her head to ward off the unpleasant, yet customary evening brooding, she went to the pantry and glanced hopelessly through the empty containers and crumpled wrappers. She hadn't saved enough money to buy groceries this week, and the pickings were very slim. She whooped for joy when she made the miraculous discovery of an unopened cup of microwave ramen, and as she skipped to the small appliance with her cup of instant ambrosia, she began to whistle merrily. Although she often felt burdened and angry about her situation, she was easily distracted by the minor successes she made in her day-to-day life. This sort of happy-go-lucky state of mind could get annoying to people in a hurry, but most of her friends had gotten used to it by now, and she only dated men who were upbeat like her, so they didn't often mind it either.
As she hovered near the humming microwave, Hatoko noticed her reflection in the smudged glass, and she repressed a chuckle. Her shoulder-length, very darkly brown-colored hair was sticking out in odd places, as her angry march home had been plagued by a blustery tail-wind, causing her hair to fly out in front of her as she traveled. She made a face at the reflective glass and laughed at the wild-looking monster that grimaced back at her. Smoothing out her hair with her hands, she sat down in a folding chair and let her mind wander, invariably turning her thoughts back to Connor.
Connor Fulbright was an American she had met at school last term. They had immediately hit it off when they met, ordering the same meal in the cafeteria in adjacent lines. After striking up a conversation, they soon found that they enjoyed each other's company quite a bit. One thing led to another, and before long they had entered into a full-blown, intimate relationship. Connor had told her so many sweet things, like how he loved the way her face changed when you looked at it from different angles, or that her dark brown eyes were like bottomless chasms of water on a moonless night. He would tap her blunt nose and call her his little "oni-chan," to which she would always punch him in the arm, as his playful term of endearment translated to "ogre-girl." This was coupled with the (intentional, or so she thought) fact that the name also sounded like a pun on the word for "big brother." Upon receiving her admonishment, he would then laugh and make her chase him, and much enjoyable roughhousing would follow after. She had been so sure that she loved him. He had been a big brother, a best friend, and a lover all rolled into one, and she never thought she'd find another man like him.
Unfortunately, she discovered one day that he was also an asshole. Apparently, she hadn't been the only one he'd been "roughhousing" with, and when she learned that no less than three other women shared her man with her, she summarily belted him in the nose, called him a gaijin dickhead, and stormed out of his life forever.
That had been a couple weeks ago, but the pain still felt fresh. Although she had buried herself in her studies, she couldn't help thinking about him constantly. They'd had such wild, passionate nights together, and he would always swear afterward that he was going to marry her someday, if he could ever figure out how to be an ogre like her. When she had discovered how much he had really lied to her, she knew she'd never forgive him again, and she was sure she'd never forgive herself for believing his lies and subsequently going all the way with him.
He had made her feel beautiful, and that had been quite a task, considering the fact that she was remarkably tall (grotesquely so in her own mind). In high school, while other girls had gone on dates and to parties, she had been out in her back yard, digging up rocks and geological samples, because there weren't any boys at her school much taller than she was, and she didn't like the way they stared at her as though she was some sort of freak.
Although she didn't think she looked the least bit attractive, the truth was that she wasn't at all homely. At five feet and nine inches, her lithe, tall frame was unusual for a woman of her nationality and race, but it gave her a rather exotic quality that didn't exist in most other girls around her. Her face was roundish and dimpled, and when she laughed it appeared to shine with a beauty that couldn't be summoned in any other way. Her dark eyes were bright and nearly always smiling; as was her wide, full-lipped mouth. Her figure was athletic and well-toned, as the work she did for her passion in volcanology and geology often thrust her out into the harshest environments with rigorous demands of her stamina and strength. Her slender, shapely legs were more of an asset than she gave them credit for, and their length made them seem to go on forever when she wore short skirts or bathing suits. Her breasts were admittedly small, but they were pert and surprisingly appealing when taken as part of the whole of her body.
She had the potential to be devastatingly sexy if she really set her mind to it, but she was usually too wrapped up in her studies to worry about her sex appeal. She preferred to wear knee-length shorts, tank tops, and hiking shoes as her regular ensemble, and the effect of these outfits was decidedly comical on a woman of her stature, but they were comfortable and practical, and her comfort made her more bouncy and outgoing. Thanks to her likable personality and outgoing demeanor, she managed to attract the attention of a fair number of men, despite her odd choice in clothing and her unusual height.
It wasn't until she went to college that she finally began dating and having fun with boys. However, as her experience had been with Connor, all her other relationships had been busts. She was beginning to think that most men were just horn-dog primates, and that maybe her friend Mitzi had had the right idea when she'd revealed to everyone last New Year's that she was a lesbian. Giggling at the silly idea of how completely clueless she'd be in bed with a lesbian lover, she was jerked away from her train of thought with a jump when the microwave beeped at her, alerting her that her dinner was now edible.
.... There is more of this story ...