Chapter Thirty: Tiger Blush:

December 24th, 2009.

Himura Aki felt out of place. He thought Hong Kong would give him a fresh start. Aki grew tired of life in Japan. He wasn’t doing much in his twenties. He had no job or girlfriend. His mother still smothered him. For him, nothing had changed since high school.

Aki sighed at the bar. His friend was the one who suggested the job offer.

“Come on man,” he said. “It’ll be good for you. You need the money.”

“I’m not sure,” Aki told him on the street.

“Man, what’s here for you in Osaka? You had no chance with Sayaka from day one. You’re twenty-one and still living with your mom. Plus, you’re broke.”


“Hong Kong would be good for you.”

“But it’s so far away…”

“Hey, better than wasting away in Osaka doing nothing.”

Aki pondered his options. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have a change in pace. I’ll do it.” His friend patted him on the back.

“You won’t regret it, man,” he said.

Six months later, Aki sat in a nightclub called Keiko Taste, isolated and feeling sick. This medical trial was supposed to last for five weeks in May to June. Even his friend started to ask questions in October. Now in December, Aki felt trapped.

He stared at his cell phone. Ma and Michiro would be too busy this evening. Aki looked at everyone partying in the club. Why did I come here again? He sighed over his drink.

Suddenly, a pair of elegant hands rested on the bar next to him. Aki turned his head with big eyes. She looked like an angel. The brightly colored lights skipped around on her face. Aki felt his cheeks turn light pink. Crystal flowers held her long black hair back in a ponytail. He wanted to kiss those bright red lips of hers. Aki put up his hand to wave. The woman next to him didn’t look up.

“Bar tender, I would like the usual,” she spoke up.

“Coming up,” the bar tender said. Aki tried again to get the stunning Hong Kong beauty’s attention. She didn’t even look at him as he waved at her. The woman picked up her glass and took a drink.

“I’m sorry, did you want something?” she asked. Aki about fell off his bar stool.

“Whoa, there,” the woman said. “Usually, I get that reaction after I make my move.”

“Can I buy you a drink?” Aki asked when he recovered his nerve.

“I already have a drink.”

“Well, can I buy you another one?”

The women giggled. “Sure.”

Aki felt like flying away. “Wow…”

“Though, I am curious about something,” she said.


“Why’s a cute guy like you spending Christmas alone in a nightclub instead of with family?”

Aki shrugged his shoulders. “Just unlucky, I suppose.” He swished his glass around in small circles. “I could ask you the same thing. What’s a beautiful lady like you doing alone on Christmas Eve?”

The woman in red giggled over her drink. “I’m like you, I suppose.”

“You? Unlucky? I find that hard to believe.”

“You’d be surprised.” The bar tender returned to fill their glasses.

“Well, why don’t you spend Christmas with me?” Aki offered. The woman in red raised an eyebrow at her new acquaintance.

“Me? Spend Christmas with you?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he said, nodding. “I mean if you want to.” The stunning woman in red picked up her sugared cherry and put it in her mouth.

“And then do what?” she asked. Aki shrugged his shoulders.

“Do whatever, I suppose,” he said. She chewed on her cherry before swallowing.

“Why should I say yes?”

“I mean what do you have to lose?” To him, that was the worst argument that he could come up with to woo a girl. He expected her to turn him down. To his surprise, the lady in red smiled.

“Sure, why not?” she asked. “I don’t have anything better to do.” Aki could’ve flown to the sky. Instead, he gave her a goofy, boyish smile.

“My place?” he asked. The woman finished her drink. She tried to pay her tab, but Aki stopped her.

“A lady shouldn’t have to pay on the first date,” he said. The woman tilted her head, raising an eyebrow.

“So this is a date now?” she asked.

“Is that okay with you?” he asked.

“Whatever,” his “date” brushed off. They left the nightclub after Aki paid their tab.


-Present Day-

Back in the office of the nightclub called Blue Girl, the boss receive good news over the phone.

“Hello?” he asked. “You found it? Where? I will be there to pick up the key for testing.” He hung up, grinning. There is hope for Asia yet, he thought. We might all be saved.