Chapter 14: Just Like Old Times
Fan Fiction inspired by Pokemon
Rating: Young Adult
I arrived at the gym just in time for the tea ceremony class. Things have certainly changed over the years. The class expanded to sixteen junior members. Erika no longer looks over classes directly either, so that she can focus on training and administrative tasks as an experienced gym leader. Today there were five senior members, including myself, who oversaw the class activities. The head instructor was very familiar and surprised to see me.
“Oh my, Shuichi, you’re here!” stuttered Rika.
“Yes it’s me,” I said, “but I go by Prof. Ginkgo now. You know that.”
The other girls made side conversations amongst each other. Some of them knew who I was, particularly the senior members, but many of the junior members had just entered the gym since I had left for my expedition for research.
“Hey Professor, is it true you are the only man to go through the tea ceremony class here?”
“How did you join this gym in the first place?”
“Rika-sensei talks an awful lot about you. Are you her husband or boyfriend?”
“What’s your relationship with Rika-sensei anyway?”
The girls continued to ask me questions. I tried to calm down from such embarrassing comments. Rika smiled uneasily and tried to answer many of their questions as they continued to bicker.
“The Professor here joined us when I was still a junior member at this gym. He was quite a stupid lecherous pervert back when he was a boy. He got lucky becoming a senior member because we wanted to get rid of him right away. And girls, you know I don’t have a husband and I can assure you I would never even think of going out with him!”
“That’s harsh, Rika,” I said. “You girls haven’t even heard my side of the story.”
“Professor Ginkgo, what was Rika-sensei like back then?” asked another student. The other girls agreed.
“While it probably goes without saying,” I started, “she wasn’t nearly as attractive as she is now and she made the lightest tea in our class. Hers always tasted like water.”
Rika’s face turned bright red as she pounded my head just like old times, only much harder now. Again, I held my head in pain. The girls all gasped in surprise of their instructor’s actions.
“As you can see girls, your ‘Professor’ here is just another terrible man who never grew up. So let’s start our lesson today!”
The girls started clapping for their instructor. I was totally embarrassed by the class, but it felt nice to be there, just like old times.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
After the tea ceremony class, I picked up Brian from my place and took him to visit my parents back at my childhood home. I felt bad neglecting him all day, so I thought it would be nice for him to get a home-cooked meal from my family.
“Oh look, Shuichi’s home!” cried my mother when she answered the door. “Quick, honey! Get the table ready for four! Dinner will be ready in a few minutes, son.”
“How’d you know I was bringing a guest?” I asked.
“That doesn’t matter. Come on in! What’s his name anyway?”
“This is Brian. He’s staying with me for awhile as my personal assistant.”
Brian nudged me.
“I didn’t agree to doing that,” he whispered.
“I’d rather not tell them the real reason you’re here, or they’d get worried,” I whispered back. “Besides, you wouldn’t turn down free food, would you?”
“Of course not,” said Brian as his eyes lit up. “Time to eat!”
That was probably the first time I’ve seen him so cheerful ever since I met him.
I let Vileplume play outside in the backyard. Brian released Emolga and let him do the same.
We all sat down together at the eating table, just like it used to be.
“So Shuichi, have you gotten married yet?” asked my father.
I nearly choked on the food that was in my mouth.
“Why would you ask something like that out of the blue and so bluntly?”
“It’s only natural for us as parents to worry,” said my mother. “We’re concerned we’ll probably never get a chance to see grandchildren.”
“And you’re twenty-eight years old now,” said my father. “That’s how old I was when you were born.”
“Times have changed, dad,” I said. “People are getting married and having children much older now. Even Erika doesn’t have children and she’s almost thirty-four!”
“Well that’s because she married that spineless man who leaves her by going on business trips for his multinational company all the time!” said my mother. “Must be hard for her to stay married to that fool.”
It’s true. Now that I’ve gotten much older, it’s been a lot harder to find single women. I’ve found much pride in my work, so I never bothered to look either. It would have been easier to ask some of the girls from my childhood, but they are quite unreachable now.
Irene got married and moved to Petalburg City in the Hoenn region and opened a tea house. Yuki had gotten married to someone in Fuchsia City and moved there to raise two kids of her own. Claire now works under my mother, the manager of the cafe, serving the popular sweet tea my mother once made all the time. She is also married.
Amy and Rika remain unmarried, but Amy has been working closely with the Pokémon League Trainers Association administrative branch, so she’s traveling all the time; and I already made a fool of myself to Rika, so that’s out of the question.
“Say, son, how about we go in the backyard and play a few rounds of tennis?” said my father. “Your mother and I haven’t played with you in a long time.”
“That’s because you always beat me,” I said.
“We’re getting old, so we have to keep up in order to stay healthy,” said my father. “You should too, or before you know it, your body will feel older than ours!”
Father laughed as I got up from the dining table and went to look for my old racket. I invited Brian to play with us, but he refused.
“Well it’s too bad there’s only three of us,” said mother. “If we had four like we used to, we could play doubles.”
“That brings me back, sweety,” said father. “Who did we have back then to play with Shuichi again? She was from the university with him. What was her name?”
I remember now. My parents not only knew her, but they grew very fond of her, too.
“Her name was Kanon,” I said.
“Ah yes, Kanon,” repeated mother. “How is she doing now?”
“She’s continuing on some of her experiments,” I said, omitting all the details.
I could not let my parents know the truth about such a chummy assistant I used to have. If I told them that she has become a threat to the Board of Professors and has kept a watchful eye on me and Brian, they would not believe me. And if they did, it would give them cause to worry more about me and lock me up in my old room.
“Is she married now?” asked father.
“How should I know?” I lied.
“Well it’s still a shame that my boy, who practically grew up surrounded by girls still hasn’t made a decision on who he would take to be his wife,” said father.
“Will you please stop going on about that and play the game?” I said frustratingly.
The net was already set up and I crouched on my side of the court, ready to play my dad.
“Tell you what, Shuichi,” said my father. “Your mother and I will each play a singles match with you tonight. If you manage to beat either one of us, we won’t speak of this matter again. But if we both win, you will agree to having a series of marriage meetings with our help until you get married!”
I half-heartily agreed. Even if I lost to both of them, which was probably very likely, I could attend the marriage meetings without much thought. They never said I had to choose a wife right away, so I’ll wait during that time.
Dad served first and began our match.
The truth is, I never really cared for looking for a wife; not because I was dawdling to get married. I actually had already chosen in my heart to who I would devote myself. I guess I’ll have to visit her some time soon.