A Day Of Lessons! Haruka Tenoh’s Guide For Picking Up Girls
I dragged myself up our front steps, headed into the house, and slumped into a chair. "Ahh…" I sighed. "There’s nothing like coming home to a wonderful family after a long day at work."
"You worked for three hours," Michiru noted, coming out of the kitchen. "And it’s only eleven o’clock in the morning."
I ignored this. "Hello, wonderful lover."
She gave me a kiss. "Welcome home, sweetie."
"Hello, wonderful family pet." I leaned over and patted the top of Nepu-Nepu’s bowl like she was a puppy.
Michiru raised an eyebrow.
I looked around. "Where is wonderful child?"
"If you mean Setsuna, I think she’s in her room."
"Well, what’s she doing in there?"
"Setsuna stuff, I’d imagine."
I sighed again and leaned back in my chair. "Ah yes…wonderful family…"
Michiru snorted (although elegantly). "Who are you? Ward Cleaver?" *
I took on one of those dark looks.
My mood only continued to plummet as we approached lunch. Michiru knocked on Setsuna’s door to tell her to come to the table, and Setsuna, pushing her rapidly growing hair behind her ears, came out of her bedroom - followed by Seiya Kou.
Michiru froze. "Not good…"
All the blood drained from my face.
Seiya hesitated. "Oh crud…"
"OUT! OUT OUT OUT!" My voice rattled the window glass and my girls covered their ears.
Seiya held up her hands. "Geeze, okay! I’ll go. I’ll give you a chance to calm down." She ducked out the back door.
I turned on Setsuna. "SETSUNA MEIOH! How can you bring yourself to mess around with that thing!"
"Honestly!" exclaimed Michiru. "She’s just a girl, not the devil!"
Setsuna shrugged. "I take it where I can get it, I guess."
"Since when?" I wailed. "Besides, you have us!"
Michiru elbowed me.
Setsuna sighed and sunk into a chair. "It’s not like I asked for this. I’m the lonely girl’s best friend, remember?"
I also took a seat. "I really shouldn’t be surprised. I always figured you were batting for our team."
"And what team is that?" Michiru demanded.
"But still," I continued, "You could do better than Seiya Kou. She’ll have a new girlfriend every week." I suddenly pounded my fist into my hand. "I’ve got it! Since you’re embarking on this new lifestyle, I figure you need some help. Someone with experience who can show you the right way to get the right girls. We’ll start now!"
Setsuna raised a finger. "But-"
"Get your purse, and I’ll get the car keys. We’re going out!"
As I happily skipped (yes, skipped) from the room, I heard Michiru say to Setsuna: "You may as well go with her. It’s the only way she’ll be quiet."
We took a quick pit stop in my room before we left. "What do you identify as most, Setsuna? Butch or femme?"
There was a patented elegant snort from the doorway. "That’s a hard call."
I stuck my tongue out at Michiru. "Ignore her."
Setsuna shrugged. "I never thought about it."
"Well, it doesn’t matter. I still think you’ll look cool in my clothes. Besides, it’s fun to dress you up."
Setsuna raised an eyebrow. "Apparently." **
I pulled over into the driveway of a business in downtown Tokyo and observed Setsuna who sat in the passenger seat. She wore a pair of light gray corduroy pants and a button-down white dress shirt. I nodded. "You look very cute. Nice and butch. But…maybe we should cut your hair again."
She just looked at me.
I sweatdropped. "Anyway, think it over." I then cleared my throat. "Welcome, Student, to Haruka Tenoh’s Guide For Picking Up Girls, a special course designed just for you."
"Do I have to raise my hand to ask a question?"
"Behave or you’ll have to stand in the corner! Anyway, we start with Lesson One: Drive A Cool Car."
"Uhh…" Setsuna began.
I cut her off. "I know you can’t drive. That’s why I’m going to teach you."
She looked at me sharply. "Are you losing it?"
"Come on, you can drive. You’re not giving yourself enough credit. Just give it a shot. The girls will be all over you." I hopped out and headed around to the passenger side.
Setsuna hesitantly slid over into the driver’s seat. "You must be really excited if you’re allowing me to drive your car."
I froze for a moment. "Oh. Yeah. Well, I’m here, so I don’t think anything will go wrong. Pull your hair back, slide on your sunglasses, and start up the engine. We’ll be reeling in the babes in no time."
"Are you sure it’s not you who wants to attract the ‘babes’?" she asked, cautiously turning the key. The engine sprang to life and she jumped a little.
I swiped my hand through the air. "Nonsense! Now, put your foot on the gas, push down, and-AHHH!"
We went flying out into the street. Setsuna screamed and closed her eyes, at the same time letting go of the wheel. With my heart in my throat, I made a grab for it. "TAKE YOUR FOOT OFF THE GAS!" I hollered. "OFF! OFF!"
Setsuna pulled her foot off and the car started to slow down. I guided the car over to the side of the road.
I tried to breathe, ignoring the cars that screamed by us, honking. "Okay…that was a good first try."
Setsuna was shaking. I reached over to pat her on the back. "They must have loved you in driver’s education, huh?" Regrouping, I took her hands and put them back on the steering wheel. "What I meant to say was, put your foot on the gas, push down, and slowly head into traffic. Yes?"
Setsuna nodded miserably.
"Good! So do proceed, Suna-chan. We’ll try again."
A raise of the eyebrow. "Suna-chan? Need I remind you that I’m no longer twelve years old?" She carefully pushed down on the gas and we crawled back out onto the road.
It took a couple of moments for the cars around us to realize how slow we were going, and the honking promptly started after that.
"Haruka, make them stop!" the teary Setsuna demanded.
"Ignore them. You’re doing fine. But you can go a little bit faster…"
"I’m going as fast as I can!"
We were going at a brisk ten miles an hour.
I stood up in the seat and waved my fist at the other drivers furiously. "Hold your horses! She’s a beginner, damn-it!"
Setsuna wasn’t looking quite as teary, but she still clutched the wheel for dear life and we weren’t going any faster. Now the insults had started to fly from other cars. Someone shot us the finger. Setsuna glared and promptly shot the finger back, along with a string of Plutonian Profanity that could make your hair curl. I was starting to realize that although we were certainly driving a cool car, we weren’t, in fact, looking very cool.
I instructed Setsuna to pull on over. "I think maybe we’ve had enough of this for one day. Lesson One complete."
Setsuna slid back over to the passenger side so fast, she ended up in my lap. "Did I attract any girls yet?" she asked.
"Uhh…a few, I’m sure. Anyway, on to the park!"
Once we were both standing in the park I started in on the next lesson. "Lesson Two: Walk Like A Bad-Ass."
"That’s a truly awful title for a lesson," Setsuna noted.
"But the girls love it, trust me. Now you sit there on that bench and watch me." I started to strut down the sidewalk, my hair blowing in the wind, my shirt slightly unbuttoned, my hands stuck impishly in my pockets. About ten girls who were standing nearby all swooned. I turned to look at Setsuna. "Now for the final touch. Watch this." I snapped my fingers and those notorious cherry blossoms swelled in the air and blew angelically around my head.
Setsuna narrowed her eyes. "I’m not going into how odd that is."
I examined my nails. "Both roguish and beautiful – that’s me," I said pompously.
"Anyway, come over here and give me your best sexy walk."
With a sigh and much grumbling, the cranky time god headed over. After giving me a look that could kill, she started to slink down the path. Sexy wasn’t exactly the word, but she did look intriguing – if you had depression. "Look alive there, Puu! Think lust!"
I had to hand it to her; she started to do this really interesting walk, complete with butt swaying. As people started to watch her, I almost felt jealous. "I should just take her home… At any rate, people are looking at her now! HEY!" I used my hip to knock some puny guy with his tongue hanging out off the path. "Girls only, buster!" Then to Setsuna: "Hey, jump up onto the side of that fountain and strut around that! You’ll be more visible to people."
Setsuna stopped and shook her head. "No way! This is good enough!"
I strode towards her. "No, really. This will be good. Just hop on up there…" I made a grab for her arm.
"Haruka, no!" she cried.
"…And walk around…" I hoisted her into my arms.
"…Up there!" I stepped up onto the fountain ledge and prepared to set her down in front of me.
She kicked me.
"Awk!" I lost my balance and toppled into the fountain, still clutching Setsuna.
When I finally (and reluctantly) resurfaced, I winced against the laughter of the fountain watchers. "See this, Suna? This is bad attention."
She pushed her sopping bangs out of her eyes. "I hate the park."
After a quick pit stop at home to dry off, change, and be bitched out by Michiru – "You what? You let her drive? Are you trying to find her a girlfriend, or kill her?!" – we were on the road again, dry and with lunch finally inside us. I had decided to go get us an after-lunch drink, and figured what better place to go but a bar for women? The reluctant Setsuna was once again with me, still dressed in my clothes. She wasn’t thrilled about our outing, but after such a turbulent early afternoon, she figured she could go for a stiff drink.
I pulled up in front of the bar frighteningly named The Iron Bra. "Have you actually ever been here?" asked Setsuna.
"Not exactly," I admitted, "but I’ve been to these places before. They’re pretty fun. At night there’s dancing, and usually some cute femme will buy you a drink. I’m sure there will be some cute girls here. Meeting people is the whole point of this place. By the way…this is Lesson Three: Have Savvy Knowledge Of Chick Bars."
I hopped out of the car and headed towards the building. Setsuna started to follow me, but as soon as my back was turned, she tried to bolt. "Oh, no you don’t!" I grabbed her around the waist and physically dragged her into the bar.
I deposited Setsuna on the floor and looked around. She promptly scrambled to her feet and gripped my shoulders, peering around me cautiously. A frightening tableau lay in front of us. Every head turned to look at us, and what a set of heads they were. A woman with orange spiked hair, wearing leather, manned the bar. Those sitting at said bar all gawked at us with glittering eyes. They had an amazing assortment of hair colors and styles, tattoos, leather outfits in various states of there and not there, but each of them was terrifying. These girls would have frightened even the most seasoned of dominatrix. And they weren’t exactly exciting and intriguing, like the kind of bondage women you saw in the magazines and books. They were more like back-alley material. But the worst part of it was the silence. It was so quiet you could hear water dripping somewhere.
I started to back up, pushing Setsuna towards the door with my body, never taking my eyes off the clientele. "Eh heh…we…were…just…leaving…yeah." With a smooth motion of my behind, I knocked Setsuna backwards out the door and scurried out after her. Once the door was shut safely behind me, I leaned against it and wiped sweat from my forehead. "Wow, they were a motley crew, weren’t they? I always wondered what mid-afternoon was like in those places."
Setsuna, sitting on her bum in the dust, leaned against my legs in defeat. "I’m swearing off bars permanently."
On our way home, I was feeling bleak. I had the feeling that Seiya Kou was going to be a regular presence for the rest of our lives. But then I spotted a sign for a car wash. "Setsuna! I have one more lesson to teach you before we call it a day. And you even get to be a femme this time!"
Setsuna gave a slight snore. She had dropped off to sleep and I hadn’t noticed because her sunglasses covered her eyes. "Hey!" I jabbed her. "Pay attention when your teacher is teaching!"
She jolted awake and whipped out a hand, which caught me solidly upside the head.
"Oww!" I decided to stop being so bossy.
Later, after another change of clothes and lecture from Michiru - "Haruka! How could you take her to an S&M bar? Honestly!" - we were back on the road. The car wash turned out to be run by a group of middle school girls, so I figured they could use a little help with advertising.
Soon enough, I was standing out by the road, a sign that read "Cheap Car Wash" in my hands. "Come one, come all to the car wash! And don’t forget to say hi to Miss Ferrari 2003! She’s available!" I gestured to my car, which was parked behind me. Setsuna, wearing a sash that said "Miss Ferrari 2003" was likewise parked on the hood. In a bikini. And pigtails. This was Lesson Four: Everybody Likes A Girl In A Bikini. And my God was she attracting attention!
Setsuna seemed a bit shy, but she sure was cute. We soon had a steady stream of cars pulling into the parking lot behind us where the little middleschoolers were eager to please. I secretly hoped they were making a note of this brilliant sales tactic for the future.
I was delighted to see a group of girls gathering in front of me. My lessons were finally working! There were a thousand cute girls to choose from. "Look at all the girls, Setsuna! Wave at them!" I turned to look at Setsuna, but she was turned the other way. "What on earth…" I excused myself from the girls who swooned at me, and headed over to the car.
Setsuna was sitting there, staring at a pack of drooling guys who were staring right back at her. Half of them were eagerly writing down their phone numbers and waving them at her. I made a run at them. "Hey you little punks! Get out of here!" I waved my arms like a mad-woman.
"Ahem." Someone tapped me on the shoulder.
"What is it, Suna-chan?" I asked impatiently.
"Haruka…" Setsuna was now being helped off the car by one of the guys. "Look behind you."
I turned around. A tall muscular man, obviously in charge of the middleschoolers was glaring down at me, tapping one foot, wanting to know the meaning of this hoopla at his car wash. I smiled guiltily. "Heh, heh." I then put my fingers in my mouth and gave a loud whistle. "LESSON OVER! SCATTER!"
It was pandemonium. Boys and girls were running all around, tripping over schoolgirls and banging into the shocked Mr. Authority. Setsuna, barely grabbing her kimono, was dragged one way and I made for the car. I sped towards our designated emergency meeting spot, hoping she would forgive me for this.
Now that I was safe, I was cheerful. I made for the pavilion in the park, waving a piece of paper in my hand. "Setsuna! I have the phone number of a really cute girl who wants to take us both out to dinn-" My jaw dropped open.
Setsuna was sitting in the pavilion, kissing the guy who had helped her away from the mob. I jumped from one foot to the other a couple of times, pointing in disbelief. "And who is THAT?"
Setsuna shrugged. "Old friend."
"But that’s a boy!"
Setsuna shrugged again, but her eyes betrayed laughter. "Who ever said I was a lesbian?"
"But you…kissing…bedroom…Seiya…ARG! You drive me crazy!"
I then stomped off into the sunset, hoping that maybe, just maybe, Michiru could explain it to me.
* Just another happy sitcom reference.
** Setsuna seems to be the chosen victim when it comes to dress-up time as seen in Chapters 12 and 16.
I’d really like to do a Halloweenish adventure, but I don’t know if I can get one done in a week. Please forgive me if it’s a little late. Join us next time for Michiru-antics, some unfortunate Cardcaptor Sakura, and possibly even an exorcism! See you then!
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