LCTM Chapter 6

    I put the car into park, admiring the now nighttime boarding house. It was alive with the usual evening activities. Two old men playing shogi on the porch, two children running with Zoe's cats in the front yard; quaint little place.

    As I strolled up to the door in my sleek black pants, and partly buttoned white shirt, one of the old men stated as I was about to knock: "Go one in. She's been waiting for you." All without looking up from his game to give the other man the satisfaction of cheating.

    They were right. Inside the door, to the left was the kitchen, where ZoŽ and Ms. Nemui sat watching the news; a cat curled up happily in each lap.

    I stood there for a moment, just watching. There she was, shoulder length blond hair in a ponytail, gray eyes intent on the television screen. Small, somewhat masculine hands stroking the purring cat. I could have watched her forever, but Ms. Nemui caught me first (darn).

    "Ah, Mr. Liu," She smiled at me and motioned to the empty chair next to ZoŽ.

    "I couldn't," I replied politely. "ZoŽ and I need to hurry back. I left my cousins in charge, and knowing them, the place will be a total mess if I don't get back soon" I grinned," Perhaps another time."

    She smiled, and nodded at me, then went back to the glowing box.

    ZoŽ stood up, and deposited the cat on the floor, much to its distaste. She was wearing a blue skirt with some, most likely Indian, designs on it. Her shirt was a matching, low-cut, three-fourths style. I gulped. The low-cut part caught my eye (of course...).

    She smiled, and we shared our mutual greetings, then headed out the door while saying good-bye to Ms. Nemui. Along the way, we heard quick snickering from the two men, but ZoŽ shut 'em up with one of those hangover glares she's so fond of. ZoŽ waved to Reika and Saku; then we were gone.

    I opened the door and brought her in with a gentle push I gave from my hand that was positioned on the small of her back. I heard her give a small surprised sound at my apartment. A large room greeted us with an enclosed are of the kitchen in the upper left area of the room. Also to the left was the shut doors of my room, and the guest bathroom to the left of that. My living room was decorated with Japanese and Chinese scrolls and vases to highlight the low-lying gray couches and black couches.

    "So Shang, this is the one you won't shut-up about- though it's nice to hear about something other than your work every once in a while," my cousin, Mui, said as she approached with her twin brother, Kin. She winked at ZoŽ and held out her hand.

    "Hi, I'm Mui, and this is my twin brother, Kin. We're Shang's cousins, though I bet he wishes otherwise." She smiled radiantly at her.

    ZoŽ accepted the outstretched hand and smiled back. "Nice to meet you. I'm ZoŽ."

    "Yes," Kin said, speaking for the first time, "Shang's mentioned you more than once." He smiled and directed his eyes toward my hand, still on her back; which at that moment I hastily removed.

    "Was that the door? I think I'll go check." I quickly changed the subject and headed for the entrance. Kin's really gonna get it... I thought, grumbling.

    

    The party progressed well enough. I think ZoŽ was a bit surprised, considering a fact I told her it wasn't a party in the first place, but maybe she knew all along, she's smart enough. But whatever, she didn't seem mad. Her and Mui were sitting on one of my three couches, parallel to the sliding doors that led out to the balcony. She both held drinks in their hands, and was smiling in their conversation. They had been inseparable since they had been introduced when the party had just begun.

    Gradually since then, more people had arrived, filling my large living room. A few couples were eager to slip off to my room, but were disappointed to find it locked. Nuh uh, not on my expensive, white, silk sheets. Most were having a good time. Well, except me. I would be if every chance I got to be with ZoŽ, somehow were sabotaged. I think Mui and Kin devised it all up...But, when I finally had a chance, I was walking over to sit down with my favorite two girls (well, one girl, but shuuuuuuush), the phone rang. Damn...

    "Hello. Yeah, hi Dad." I said in my smooth Mandarin. "Just a few friends Dad. Yeah, sure. Kin and I will take care of it on Saturday. Okay, love you Dad. Tell Mom I love her too. Okay, Bye." And I hung up. Sigh, okay, back to ZoŽ.

    But when I turned around, I was surprised o find her right there. But the reason she was, was a little disappointing.

    "If you don't mind, I'd like to go now. Or else I'll end up acting like I have a hang-over, and trust me, that's not a good thing when you work with me." She grinned and tilted her head slightly to the left.

    I chuckled. "Oh no, don't want that. Here just let me get my keys."

    "Sure."

    I quickly darted off to my room, and collected my keys off the nightstand next to my un-made, western-style bed. I had placed them there shortly after I had brought ZoŽ to the party. The television sat on a stand in the corner. My closet, parallel to the side of my bed, my smaller bathroom secluded to the left of my closet. I turned off the light, and left.

    "...there's my e-mail, and the number of the boarding house." She walked to stand beside me while explaining the things on the paper in Mui's hand. "I'll see you later Okay?" She smiled.

    "Yeah, I'll make sure to call you. That is, is Shang doesn't keep you out all night, all the time." She winked at me, and they said their good-byes. Then we left.