I: Social Drinker:

When was the first drink? For Kei it started when she was twelve. She remembered that day so precisely. It was New Year�s Day. Her uncle came over to have dinner with the family. Kei sat in the living room, watching the parade on TV. Her uncle poked his head in the doorway. He spotted his niece on the floor and smiled. The man stepped into the room. He cleared his throat loudly.

�Hello there, Kei-chan!� he greeted her. The girl kept her eyes glued to the screen.

�Hey,� she mumbled. The uncle walked over to her. He looked at the TV.

�What are you watching?� he asked.

�The parade,� she said.

�Ah,� he replied. They watched on in silence for a long moment. The uncle pulled out a small bottle of Yebisu Black and opened it. The sound drew Kei�s eyes towards him. He looked up just as he was about to take a drink.

�Hm?� he asked.

�What�s that?� his niece asked. He gave her a little smile.

�Just a little something to pass the time,� the man said. Kei blinked at this new wonder swirling in the bottle in his hand.

�Can I have some?� she asked. The uncle looked at her, a little surprised.

�Really? Are you sure?� he asked.

�Please?� the young girl asked. The uncle looked behind him for a moment with the bottle in his hand. He turned back to his waiting niece. She kept her eyes on him the whole time. The man sighed at her at last.

�Fine,� he replied. �But only a little bit.� Kei nodded quickly as she tried to keep down her excitement. Her uncle picked up her empty cup that was lying on the floor and poured some of his Yebisu Black in it. The liquid completely covered up the bottom of the cup. Kei took a sip. She wrinkled up her face in distaste.

�This is bitter!� the girl exclaimed. �How can you drink something so bad?� The uncle gave her a little smile as he shook his head at her.

�You�re not old enough to like it yet,� he said. Kei looked at him like a strange, new creature.

�What do you mean?� she asked. �When will I get used to it?� He lightly patted her on the head.

�You�ll know when,� he said. �Trust me.� Kei only nodded in silence. Since then, the girl gradually became a social drinker at a young age. Could lead to more�

II: Pass the Courvoisier:

Everyone at the Factory drank. Alcohol was Mother�s milk in Andy�s posse. Pandora didn�t seem to understand it. Sure, she had one or two drinks once in awhile now that she was in college. But, there had to be a limit, right? Come on now, people can�t drink alcohol more than water. That�s just not� human.

Pandora sat with Violet in the her room as they were designing fashion and art, respectively, when the question finally exploded in her head.

�Everyone drinks a lot,� the young woman spoke up.

�Yes,� Violet replied.

�Why?� Pandora asked. The artist chuckled at her. The girl raised an eyebrow at her.

�What?� she asked. Violet smiled with mischief.

�Still clinging onto your innocence, aren�t you?� she asked. The English girl looked at her funny.

�Is that a bad thing?� she asked.

�It�s rare, nowadays,� Violet told her. �All I can tell you is to hang onto it while you still can. Because innocence never lasts in today�s world. Hell, look at Adam and Eve. They ate from the tree and that was all she wrote.� Pandora nodded a bit.

�That is true�� she agreed. She looked at the artist. �What about you?� Pandora asked. Violet didn�t look up from her painting.

�What about me?� she asked.

�Were you ever innocent?� the English girl asked. Violet did her best to repress her laughter.

�Dearest, everyone is born innocent,� she said.

�Well, yeah,� the younger woman said. �But, you know what I mean. Did you fight to keep it?�

�I did once upon a time,� Violet said.

�What happened?� Pandora asked.

�Who can say?� the older woman asked. �I just stopped fighting for it and here I am.� She began to mix up more paints. �But what is the purpose of fighting for something we�re going to lose in the end, anyway?� she asked. Pandora thought about that as she began to cut up some fabric. Why do some fight for innocence away? Is it just a waste of time?

III: Wine Cooler:

Pandora pondered her own innocence after that conversation. Violet was right: she was still pretty much innocent despite everything that she had seen in the Stardust Factory. She never drank, smoked, did drugs, and she was still a virgin before she came to Japan. Yep, Violet hit it all right on the hard. Not much had changed since she first met Andy. Pandora still didn�t do drugs or smoke. She was still a virgin. But, she did start drinking a little bit. However, nothing really heavy. Pandora only drank alcopops and wine coolers when she was stressed. Evan and Hunter did their best to protect her for themselves. Though they didn�t come out and say it, she knew that they had ulterior motives for keeping her as white as the snow. The boys wanted to crushed her innocence first. (That quest wasn�t getting off the ground fast enough. But, that�s not the point right now. Back to the train of thought at hand.)

Andy�s Factory changed everyone here. Even Jemima was starting to develop a taste for the party life. She had eyes for Liam Ross. Her old mate refused to admit it, but Pandora saw it in her eyes. Everyone and their brother knew it.

�Why can�t they just fuck already?� Toshiko bluntly asked one day.

�She�s not like that!� Pandora cried. �She never was like that!� But, the English girl had to pause and think about what she was staying here. Jemima had changed since she joined the Stardust Factory. She was starting to live freer now. Even though she protected Pandora closely, that woman still was tasting, no, eating freedom by the handfuls. Jemima nearly became a different person. Her friend barely recognized her anymore.

So, why hasn�t Pandora changed at all?

IV: Red, Red Wine:

Kei has really been taking up drinking lately. Not like an alcoholic, mind you. Just drinking at social occasions. Plus, she only had alcopops and maybe a wine cooler here and there. She could obtain alcohol pretty easily for her age. The girl was rich after all and she was just now figuring out how to use her background to her advantage. Couple that with her quest to lose her virginity by flirting with some guys that looked slightly cute, drinks flooded her way easily. Kei wasn�t alone in the �young drinking club� as she called it.

Conrad drank a little more than Kei did. He could be best summed up as a night drinker. He would drink in his room in secret when Helena and Krystal were sleeping. His drink of choice? The good old beer. Kobe beer was his particular favorite. Like Kei, Conrad had his own way of obtaining alcohol. He would sucker his �clients� into seeking beer for him as a bonus for the weed he sold them. One kid just gave him the whole case of Kobe beer at his house because he couldn�t pay for the glorious green that he had to have. Conrad took it with a smile.

�I will let you slide with this, only once,� he said. �But after that, you have to get me money for the pot. Got me?�

�Yeah!� the kid said quickly. Kei and Conrad would occasionally drink together while they talked. But, Simon had never had a drop of alcohol in his life! Kei and Conrad addressed the issue one night while having a couple of drinks at her place.

�Simon�s never had booze,� Conrad spoke up over his beer.

�I know,� Kei said with her wine cooler. �We must fix that.� Conrad looked at her with his bottle to his lips.

�How?� he asked. A naughty grin came onto his gal pal�s face.

�Leave it to me!� she cheered. �I�ve got it all figured out.� Conrad kept his eyes down at the table and his beer. He hated when she said those words.

V: Martini Kiss:

Evan knocked on Pandora�s dorm room door. He held some with umeshu in his hand. The Scottish director student hadn�t seen that British designer student in a while. Maybe it was time for a visit.

�Coming!� a female voice called from inside. Evan waited patiently. The door finally opened. A slender Japanese girl looked him up and down. The director student stood up and cleared his throat.

�Is Pandora in?� he asked. The girl didn�t say anything at first. She just turned her head and looked into the dorm.

�Pandora!� she called. �It�s Evan!�

�I�ll be right down!� the English girl called back. The roommate turned to Evan.

�Come in,� she mumbled.

�Is it okay?� he asked.

�Look,� the girl said. �The officials do not care this time of night. So get it!� Evan just shrugged.

�Okay,� he said. Then, the boy walked inside. The roommate rolled her eyes as she closed the door behind them. Evan waited on the living room couch until Pandora came out to see him. She looked genuinely surprised.

�Evan!� the girl exclaimed. �What brings you by?� The boy shrugged at her.

�Just thought I would visit,� he replied. Then, the film student patted the seat next to him. Pandora quickly sat down next to him. Evan reached down at his feet and pulled out the umeshu.

�I brought you a present,� he said. �I thought that we could share it.� Pandora shook her head at him.

�But Evan, I don�t drink,� she said.

�It�s okay,� he whispered. �I won�t try to get you drunk.�

�You promise?� his crush asked.

�Yes,� he replied. Pandora thought about that for a moment.

�Okay,� she said. �I�ll go get the glasses.� Then, Pandora got up and went into the kitchen. She came back with two cups. Evan opened the booze and poured them. They held up their cups.

�Ready?� he asked. Pandora nodded a little bit.

�Okay,� she said. Then, they both took a drink. Pandora shuddered all over.

�Wow!� she cried. �This is strong.� Her crush chuckled at her.

�Don�t worry,� he said. �You�ll get used to it. Just drink up slowly.� Pandora nodded at him again.

�Okay,� she replied. Then, she took another sip. Her first real taste of alcohol. �Does this mean I will lose my innocence?� the girl thought. Pandora only took another sip of her umeshu.

VI: BEER!!!:

Liam, Ryan, and Hunter all sat on the Stardust Factory roof with their beer. They were talking about, what else? The women. Always about the women with these guys. Hunter turned to Liam.

�Mona or Jemima?� he asked. The actor smirked at the Irish man.

�Jemima,� he said. The other two smirked at him.

�What?� Liam asked.

�Nothing,� Ryan said. �We just thought you would have made a move on her by now.�

�I will,� the stud said.

�When?� Hunter asked.

�Soon,� Liam replied. The boys all made faces at him.

�Look,� the stud countered. �I don�t have to pull them in right away. Some of them need a little persuasion. This one will definitely need it.�

�Right�� Hunter said as he took a sip of his beer.

�Oh, what about you?� Liam challenged. �How far have you gotten with Pandora?�

�I�m working on it!� he protested.

�Yeah, if Evan doesn�t get there first!� Ryan boomed.

�Shut up!� the Irish man said. �You�ve got your mental wife to deal with. If I can recall, you and Allison had to stop a gig to pull Jenny off of a fan that kept hitting on you.� The singer shrugged at him.

�Hey, she love me. What can I say?� he asked. The other guys tried to keep from snickering at that comment.

�What?!?� Ryan shouted. �It�s true!�

�Right�� Hunter said with a grin.

�Shut up, little Irish man!� the singer yelled. Hunter only laughed at him as he took another sip of his beer. Good old conversation between men over beer. Good stuff really.

VII: Last Call:

On the same night, the boys in the last section were talking, Evan and Pandora spent the whole night drinking and talking. The English girl had become a little bit tipsy by now. She turned to an equally tipsy Evan.

�Evan,� she spoke up. �Do you think I�m still innocent?� He smiled as he lightly stroked her plump, red cheeks.

�You will always be pure to me,� he whispered.

�Do you mean that?� she asked. He didn�t say anymore. The sophomore just leaned in and gave her a light kiss on the lips. Pandora slowly kissed him back. The umeshu gave them a little nudge forward. He lightly pushed her back onto the couch and felt up her C-cup breasts. The girl was off her in own liquored up world to care. Let him do as he pleased tonight. She secretly wanted this after all. Maybe now�

This could have gone so much further. But, they ended up passed out in each other�s arms from the booze and making out. Oh well, maybe next time kiddies. Next time�

VIII: Blame it on the Alcohol:

Booze always brings out so much in people. Lust, rage, stupidity, embarrassing truths, deepest desires, and wild moments. But when everyone turns sober, that when the real mess and drama unfolds. All I can see is, look out!

Black Bottles