Miho didn't like being watched.
Even thought she knew that it probably wasn't her and Ping that the Juki.net surveillance net was watching it still bothered her. She had first noticed the big cameras on the traffic signals tracking Sonoda Yuki shortly after school was out.
<Ping-chan, have you noticed the cameras acting strangely today? >
<They have been watching Sonoda-san, if that is what you mean. >
Miho nodded, <Yes, that's what I was talking about. >
Now they were approaching Megagamers, Miho smiled briefly when she saw the three girls go in. This should prove to be entertaining!
Ping strutted into the store and fairly shouted; <Hi Piro-kun! Hi Hayasaka-san! > Miho was surprised by her sudden change of gait. She was mimicking Hayasaka! Miho was impressed, though Ping wasn't nearly as developed as Erika she was definitely making an impression on a c ouple of boys in the game section. Miho smiled as the three girls turned almost in unison to gape and then glare at Ping. Miho kept a straight face as she watched Piro turn red.
<Hi Ping, how was school today? >
<It was fine Piro-kun! >
Ping looked over at Erika, <I forgot to thank you for taking care of him last night. Was he good for you? >
Erika smiled, <Oh, he was just wonderful! Thank you for sharing him. >
Miho was shocked, she had never suspected that Ping could tease like this. Piro was turning redder and redder; he looked like he wanted to find a rock to crawl under.
<Would you two stop it? My student is here! >
Yuki wanted to crawl under a rock herself. She could hear Asako and Mami whispering but she couldn't hear what they were saying and she didn't want too. It was horrible! Those two were obviously abusing poor Piro-san! They were behaving even worse than Mami an d Asako did yesterday.
Piro came around the counter, <I'm sorry Sonoda-san, and I've set up a table in the upstairs apartment so that you will be able to study in peace. >
<Thank you, Piro-sensei. I'm ready when you are. >
Without another word Piro and Yuki headed to the front door, as the left to go around to the stairway Yuki looked back at Erika and Ping but they paid her no mind.
<I'm going to sweep in the cosplay area if you don't mind, Hayasaka-san. >
<I don't mind at all, Ping. >
Miho waited until Ping had gone to approach Erika, <How is your arm, Hayasaka-san? >
Erika pushed her sleeve up to show Miho her arm, <All well it seems, I'd like to thank you for attending to it for me. >
Miho nodded; <It seems to have healed surprisingly well. >
<I've always been a fast healer. >
Miho thought about this for a few moments then looked around. When she s aw that no one was near she asked <Is that common in your family? >
Erika shook her head, <No, just me. I'm much taller than anyone else in the family is as well, > Erika fell silent and Miho suddenly felt uncomfortable. Was it some sort of Idol thing that caused her to feel this way? Was Erika somehow discouraging any further questions? Miho sometimes wondered if Idols weren't the result of some different sort of genetic engineering. That they were created to inspire and awe other humans.
Miho's cell phone rang.
<It's very nice to hear from you, Dom. >
Erika stiffened at the sound of Dom's name, was that the same Dom that Ed had talked about last night? Miho turned away and walked toward a bookcase as she continued her conversation, Erika had to resist the urge to follow her. It just might be him; after all he was Piro's friend. She shook her head, how could she possibly ask? She'd just have a talk with Ping later on. Erika smiled; Ping was getting to be a lot of fun to have around. They'd have to stop tormenting Piro so much; they didn't want to hurt his feeling did they?
Inspector Sonoda entered the shop and headed straight to the counter.
<Hello, Hayasaka-san. >
<Hello Masamichi, what brings you out to Megagamers? >
<I just thought that I'd drop by and see if Largo had attempted to contact you. >
Erika's eyes narrowed; <I told you that I would call you if he did. >
Sonoda nodded, <Very well, I'll be on my way. I think I'll look around the apartment a bit before I leave. >
<No you won't! >
Sonoda turned back toward Erika, his eyes were wide, <What did you say? >
<This isn't really about Largo is it, Masamichi? >
<I don't know what…. >
<It's about your daughter. >
Sonoda blinked, <Why no, I..>
<Yes it is and you know it, she's taking art lessons from Piro right now and you have no business disturbing them. >
Miho wanted to laugh but she controlled the urge, this was too much!
<I've spoken with Piro about her, he says that she has talent. I've also found the cameras that your people planted. I've left them for now but I won't tolerate TPCD spying on my friends or me. >
Inspector Sonoda stood stock still then bowed deeply from the waist. <My apologies Hayasaka-san. I beg your forgiveness. >
Erika stepped around the counter, <I forgive you Masamichi, and I understand your concern for your daughter and for me as well. > She bit her lower lip, <I know that I have not always been too easy to get along with myself. >
She took his hands in hers, <I would ask you to forgive me as well, and I took your efforts for granted so often when I was in the public light and I've often felt badly for it. >
Miho was ama zed, Erika had completely torn the man down then had brought him right back up again. She could only admire and envy her natural ability to handle a powerful man like Sonoda so smoothly.
<It was my pleasure to serve you, Hayasaka-san. There are no apologies necessary. >
Erika smiled, <Thank you Masamichi, Yuki is as safe with Piro as if he were her brother. >
Sonoda nodded; <I'll be off then. Please stay in touch Hayasaka-san. >
Upstairs the lesson was going well, Yuki was excited by the progress she was making. Piro-sensei was so sweet! She turned to look at him and he looked over at her and smiled. Her heart beat faster, this was it!
Yuki leaned closer and tilted her head. Piro blinked rapidly, she couldn't be doing what it looked like she was going to do could she? She scooted off he r seat and move toward Piro; she reached for him then slipped in her seat. Her mouth smacked against his and her forehead hit his glasses knocking them sideways on his face. He jerked back and fell out of his chair.
<Piro-san! Are you all right! >
Piro looked up at Yuki and repressed the urge to smile. <I'm fine Sonoda-san. > He stood slowly and then sat back down beside her. She looked ready to burst into tears. <It's okay, now where were we? >
Out in the patrol unit Inspector Sonoda repressed the urge to laugh. He felt guilty for having watched the brief exchange rather than switching the camera off when he'd gotten back to the cruiser. Kurasawa did laugh though, <Looks like the guy is about as harmless as they come doesn't it? >
Sonoda nodded; <I don't know why I was so worried. > He switched to a camera by the harbor, baby 'zilla's had been destroying equipment and it was up to him to deal with them. <Let's go Lieut enant. >
The lesson went on after Miho had gone home and Ping had finished sweeping the entire cosplay section. Yuki and Piro finally put their sketchpads and pencils away. As they approached the door Piro spoke, <Sonoda-san, can I ask a question? >
Her insides felt like that they had turned to water, the embarrassment of her bungled attempt to kiss Piro still burned deep. <Yes, Piro-sensei. >
Now Piro looked nervous, <You've never kissed a boy before, have you? >
She looked at the floor; she wanted to run, to scream, would he tell her that he wouldn't teach her? That he never wanted to see her again? She softly whispered, <No, I've never been kissed. >
Piro smile and lifted her chin, he leaned forward and lightly kissed her then brushed away her tears. <It's all right. A girl's first kiss should be special. >
Yuki's hear sang and she hugged him. He gently pushed her away and opened the door. <Time to go, if we don't get down soon then Ping will come hunting me. >
Yuki nodded and smiled, she knew that she would remember Piro's kiss for the rest of her life and that was enough for now.