The Last Emperors.
Chapter Twelve : Lau-ve the way you lie.
By Jolie Adam
“You know what I’ve noticed?” Lorra coaxed her concern into a question.
“What?” Lau laid on his back, eyes on the sterile white ceiling of his condo, eyes slanted in the anesthesia of post-coital bliss.
“We don’t talk much. Not that I’m big on pointless talking. It’s not like I enjoy hearing the sound of my own voice or anything…” she paused, unsure of the direction her rant was following. She’d simply been trying to express an observation she’d noticed recently. Over the last month and half, she and Laurent had seen most of what needed to be seen in Tokyo, sated their appetites at some of the best eateries in the city, gone to Japanese movies – with no subtitles, giggling like nerds whenever they understood a word throughout the film –, went on walks, tours, ferries. And of course, had sex every given occasion. Unless Laurent had the stamina of a supernatural, sexually deviant animal, she was pretty certain that he exhausted himself thoroughly and solely with her when it came to physical needs. However the conversation had been few and far in between. Larry and Dawn would prattle endlessly whenever the group hung out and if Julia wasn’t there to balance out the conversation, she and Lau would hardly be the conversationalists. Their personalities were too similar. She liked peace and quiet and felt more in tune with the world when she was living life with two earphones stuck in her ear, blasting away the blasphemy of the real world and embracing her with sounds of what life should always be like. Her moods were her songs. Her sounds were her motivations. Music was so intrinsically weaved into every part of her day that she often thought and dreamt in lyrics. The only time the sounds in her head deserted her were during intimate moments with Lau. She blushed at that realization too.
“What do you want to talk about?” he tried to stay awake to direct his attention to her.
“Nothing,” she replied honestly. There was no specific topic she was dying to breach with him. Their relationship was undetermined but with the frequency they saw each other and the effort they both made to spend time together despite busy scheduling on both ends was all the declaration she needed. She couldn’t even accept the way she felt whenever he was around let alone discuss the terms of their companionship. Thinking of him gave her a stomach ache. Some called it butterflies. She’d never admit that to the girls as they were already mocking her enough as it was for spending so much time with him. In moments like these, girlfriend advice would’ve come in handy. Was placid conversation acceptable in the event where every other aspect was perfect? Lau was a formidable friend and an intrepid lover but if she ever found herself in a predicament, could she trust him to listen or care?
Lau turned his head towards her on his sturdy foam queen size bed. She was doing one of those things women were champions at. Dropping hints, insinuating, planting a topic and then pretending to chase it away because of its sheer unimportance, which was a trap. It was always important. At least to them. As much as he wanted to close his eyes with the smell of bamboo and cucumber extract shower gel lingering on her skin intoxicating his sheets and his senses, he’d pry his eyes open if he had to. Years of fucking and dating thought him that when a woman needed to talk, it was best to feign interest for the sake of everyone. Not that he didn’t care about what Lorra had to say but he was really sleepy. If he could muster the energy, he’d even explain that she should be flattered because his lust for her had resulted in his physical exertion. But then again, it was one of those things men weren’t so good at. Translating their thoughts out loud in the worse possible manner so he simply asked, “What’s up, Lorra? Something on your mind?”
“Not really. I was just wondering if it was weird that we don’t really converse that much. We spend a lot of time together…but very little of it is occupied with chatter and conversation.”
“…And you’re wondering if that means that you’ll never get to know me besides little things like how I sleep with my mouth open?” Lau finished her thought, proud of himself for knowing women enough to evoke the direction of the conversation.
“Not that I watch you when you sleep but yeah…”
“Okay. The way I see it, you see other couples or Dawn and my brother and they’re always talking, talking, talking. And you wonder why we’re not like that. Right?”
“Right,” she exhaled, embarrassed at how transparent she felt next to him. Could he read her thoughts?
“Well, everyone is different. Dawn and Larry talk so much when they’re together. But if you listen to what they’re saying, it’s nothing important. They sound like two adolescent girls gossiping. I can’t do that. When I have something to say, I will say it and that’s it. And I think that’s how you are too.”
She nodded in complete comprehension. He made a lot of sense. Dawn and Larry did engage in a lot of mindless banter. It was only amusing when they were all together but she’d rather have peace with Lau than to occupy their time together with irrelevant gossip that didn’t pertain to either of them. He continued,
“But if there’s something you want to talk about then you can bring it up and we’ll talk about it.”
“But not now. When I wake up,” he gave her a dreamy smile that whisked her insides and expanded her heart so widely that it crushed the other organs. She nudged him wishing that his dreams would be all about her just like hers were of him. In a fragment of a second, she allowed herself to let her feelings run as deeply as they could manage, absconding all common sense and all things not coming straight from the heart. Some girls muster up enough power to resist getting charmed outside of the bedroom. Girls like her friend Dawn could smash and dash without so much as a Goodbye. So what the hell was she doing watching him fall asleep and wishing she could save this moment in her emotional software? Inadvertently, he turned on his side facing her and reached out to pull her into him when his knees accidentally knocked her naked thighs.
Dawn was laying on the couch watching a Japanese game show. The medium sized furniture seemed tiny in comparison to Dawn’s elongated figure. Part of her legs dangled off the couch as she adjusted herself to follow the show. Larry was in her bathroom taking a bath after a lengthy fuck session. What was it with French men and baths? She wanted to keep him in the living room and seduce him into staying dirty, with traces of her left indissoluble yet he’d been eager to go freshen up. Sometimes she wished he’d take his time and woo her sensibly, sensually and sexually, stretching foreplay until it hurt, until she lost sense of pride and begged for it. Just like Jaiden used to do. She shook her head. Now was not the time for toxic remembrance. The crowd was in hysterics now, she hadn’t even noticed their sudden appearance on the screen. That’s what Jaiden did to her. A single thought of him was all it took to transport her to another corner of her mind she had tucked away and forgotten about. A chamber of memories of love, lust and secrecy. And every time she wandered off to that chamber, a bone was added to a closet full of skeletons. But there they were. Les Twins. The announcer had welcomed them and they were standing at opposite sides of the stage, trying effortlessly to entertain the crowd with their cute laughs and comebacks to the questions. They were taking over Japan by storm. Every dance, music or entertainment show, game or news bore their name in the headlines. And this in itself was monumental for a couple of dancers who didn’t sing or do much else outside of dancing. The Japanese culture had established them as celebrities.
Larry sneaked up on her as she watched him on TV. She was laying on her stomach like a lean couch potato in her satin sleeping gown. His eyes fixated on the screen watching himself but his hands were smooth in the removal of her panties.
“You look good,” she opined, her attention drifting to his intention. His damp breath loitered on her neck as he lifted her hips to insert himself. Her back was wet from the residual shower mist on his torso as he stuck himself on her back, only gyrating his hips in a circular back and forth motion. Her moans were muffled by the sofa’s cushions and his weight was crushing her but that was the last thing on her mind. The sounds of his voice on the TV couldn’t muffle the sounds escaping his mouth now but camouflaged the thumping noise of flesh on flesh as his pelvis spanked her butt. She arched her back creating a crack of space between her back and his chest. He slipped his hands beneath her chest, fondling her breasts as he sped up, ramming all of him deeply between her. Rapid gasps flew as her body’s orgasm alarm rang loudly, consuming and milking him along the way to reach his own climax. He squeezed her breasts a little too tightly when he came and she groaned in a mixture of pain and pleasure with the climatic waves still traveling throughout her sensitive regions.
“There’s this underground club Larry and I discovered last week. They’re having a freestyle battle tomorrow night. You should come watch,” Lau was making more of an effort to involve Lorra in the conversations he usually kept confined in his head. She’d never watched him slay his opponents on the dance floor and if she wanted him now, she wouldn’t be able to resist him after watching his double-bend-pick-up. Bringing her to one of his battle as his guest was definitely out of the norm. There would be girls there – fans and exes and one-night-stands. As long as no one had changed haircuts or colors, he’d recognize the ones he’d already slept with and be cordial with them right off the bat to prevent a huge scene later. For a dancer, bringing a girl with you to a battle was the equivalent of a normal couple’s introductory meeting with the parents. Scanning eyes would fix on them for so long, Lorra would undoubtedly feel like she was a human x-ray by the time they left. But this was his chance to show her what he did when he wasn’t doing her and also to show her that it was more than just sex between them – with or without conversation.
“Oh, yeah? What’s it called?” Lorra could barely get her heart out of her mouth to speak. If she stepped foot into a dancing arena, professional, amateur or underground, she wouldn’t be able to keep the façade on for long. Anytime someone got cheered on, she’d feel a pang of jealousy and think “Think that’s special? Wait ‘til you see me up there!”. Everytime someone won a battle, her competitive streak would kick in and want to propel her right on the stage and battle that person to show everyone who the real winner was. It was hard enough shoving her guilt to the pit of her gut every time he mentioned dancing and thought he had to explain certain industry terms to her. A few times, she’d caught herself about to correct him, the words right at the edge of her tongue, pushing against her teeth, begging to be let out. Luckily, she caught them and sent them on temporary exile by swallowing hard and plastering a fictitious smile on her face.
“Club Dragon. It’s actually under a club called Shinjuku that’s under a club called Ageha that offers dance classes.”
“They are taking the term underground club too literally.”
“We were so confused because our manager said go to Club Shinjuku. We arrive at the address, look up and look around but there’s nothing but this big dance studio. We ask for Shinjuku, people say we’re here. We call the manager, he says it’s not Agoha, it’s Shinjuku. Finally, we walk in and see a few people dressed up but the lights are on and it doesn’t look like a club but music is coming from beneath our feet like we’re standing on top of an underworld. The few people are smiling at us. They don’t realize that we’re lost and confused. They think maybe we’re here to text or to take a call like they are. Then we go downstairs through a flight of stairs and it doesn’t even look like we’re downstairs. A big sign that says Shinjuku. My brother and I look at each other like ‘WHAT THE FUCK?’ we just walked into a different universe. This club is crazy. Never seen anything like it.”
“Wow. Now I can’t wait to go.”
“That’s not it. So we are having a good time. Everyone’s coming to us for pictures and autographs. DJ is playing every song we ask. Then he says ‘You guys want to dance?’, we look at each other then at him like ‘Does he not know who we are? Dance is what we do.’ We say yes thinking he’s going to put on some sick remix and we’re going to go crazy on the dance floor. He lifts his scratch table and under it, there is a bunch of small cards, like memory cards for cameras and he gives us one each. In his booth, there’s a door behind him. He opens it, we go in and he closes the door right away.”
“I feel like I’m in a movie. Please tell me there were no mafia-karate-masters-slash-assassins in the stairway leading to the underground club or I’m never going clubbing in Tokyo again.” Lau laughed at the serious expression on her face and continued with his story,
“We go down the stairs. I feel like I’m in a Michael Jackson video. What’s going to happen now? Who’s going to pop out of the wall or drop down from the ceiling? I’m walking down like the stairs are going to combust. And then we hear some noise, screaming, laughter so we’re like ‘Ok, we’re not going to die!’ We get there and open the door and it’s another club. A dance club. All the best dancers in Tokyo but they don’t have agents or fans. They just dance because they love it. And they’re good. Really good.”
“And you’re going again tomorrow?”
“Yeah. It’s a lot of people down there so don’t worry about the club,” he said hoping to assuage her concern about the seemingly action-packed descent into the actual dance club.
“Cool. I’ll see if I can make it out.” She was planning to go but not as Lorra Bernal.