The Mists of World’s End: The Date

It just wasn’t going to work.

Tugging his hair back into a small blue hairtie, Kiyoshi threw his pencil down and growled. He couldn’t focus on his work because he couldn’t stop thinking about Shelly Gwynne, name purposely misspelled because—well, I don’t have a good reason. I just know I misspelled it on purpose. Getting to his feet, he crossed the cabana to the refrigerator and tugged out a cold bottle of water. Cracking it open, he tapped the power button on the speaker plugged into his iPod. Seconds later, he smiled as his favorite song began to play, “Be Still My Beating Heart” by Sting.

As he sang along with the Englishman, he muttered to himself, “A fool indeed, Kiyoshi, if you don’t get this done because of a man who doesn’t exist.”

But he does exist. He does, and I feel it in my bones that when we dive, I will find something that proves it.

A knock came at the door and he glanced over at the clock, cursing under his breath when he saw that it was 5.37. “Shit!”  Grabbing his white sparkle lip gloss, he lifted his eyes to his reflection in the mirror as he quickly applied it before grabbing the bottle of water and pouring some in his hands to rake them through his hair in attempt to give it shape.

Looking down at his clothes, Kiyoshi shrugged. “It’s not like he’s going to decide he wants forever tonight, right?”

Opening the door, he lifted his eyes to the man on the other side, sporting long sun-streaked brown hair and a thin beard. He held out a white daisy. “For you, beautiful.” Kiyoshi noted that his date also wore shorts and a tee-shirt with an open short-sleeved Hawaiian snap button shirt over it. On his feet were flip-flops and over his shoulder was a beach towel.

Taking the flower, Kiyoshi smiled shyly and motioned to his clothes, “I hope that you’re okay with me wearing this.”

The man, whose name for the life of him Kiyoshi couldn’t remember, reached out to tug Kiyoshi against him as he rasped, “I think you’re cute. I want to get to know you. I want to kiss you. I want to hear you laugh. I want to watch you peel your clothes off by the light of the moon—”

Jared. His name was Jared, he remembered suddenly; he’d met him at the new tiki bar close to the site. “Uhm… I think that I should tell you now that I don’t get naked on the first date. Sorry.”

“Oh, come on… you’re a gay man—”

Kiyoshi nodded, extracting himself. “Yeah. I am. And not for all of us is fucking how we say hello.” He handed the flower back to the man. “Think I’ll stay in, order takeout, and work on my book instead, Jared. Good night.”

Shutting the door, he locked it and turned to lean against it as he sighed. “Well… guess there’s a reason I lost track of the time and didn’t dress to impress.” Turning his eyes back to the drawing half-finished on the table, he shook his head. “I am never going to get you out of my head, am I, Shelly?”

Kiyoshi gazed down at the high cheekbones and slender nose, the dark brows and the full lips that had spread into a wide smile, framed by a thin dark beard and moustache, eyes wide and expressive and if he could give them color, they’d be a rich chocolate that had golden flecks that sparkled in the sunlight. “Wish that you were real, and not an invented person with the face of lovely Emrys Marlowe, though…” He looked hard at the drawing, the startling realization coming to him that he’d taken certain liberties with his favorite actor’s visage, that Shelly was Shelly, not Emrys as Shelly.

Sitting down, he got back to work, a smile touching his lips as he tapped the face of his phone to call Krissie. “Hey, can you call and order my usual? I sent Jared packing and I’m staying in with Shelly tonight.”

The Mists of World’s End: I’ll Remember (A Behind the Scenes Look)

Krissie stirred as the small bed moved, and she rubbed her eyes, looking over at the young man she’d grown up with but befriended in college. He laid in the hospital bed, most of the time motionless, machines surrounding him, and sometimes, Krissie could tell he was dreaming because he would twitch. He was dreaming now, Krissie was sure of it, and she thought it must be a good one because Kiyoshi’s lips turned up at the left corner.

“The last time you smiled at me was last September, the twenty-second if I remember correctly, Ki-chan, and if I do remember correctly, it was the slightly larger crooked smile that you’re wearing right this very minute.” She took his hand, stopping at the feel of wetness on his fingers, and something cool and metal.

Blinking a little, Krissie lifted his hand to find it dripping wet, as though he’d just stuck it in water, and on his ring finger sat a shiny silver ring decorated with small swirls reminiscent of Da Vinci stars. She was positive that his hand had been bare (and dry) before she’d fallen asleep.

“What the hell…?” Krissie rasped, pushing her dark hair over her ears as she reached for a towel to dry his hand, but as she touched the band, his hand curled into a tight fist. Lifting her eyes to his face, she arched an eyebrow. “Where did you get this? You won’t let me see it, so tell me, Ki-chan… tell me where you got this!”

Krissie tried to get him to release his fist, but Kiyoshi didn’t budge, and frustrated, she pressed the nurse’s call button to ask if anyone had been seen entering or exiting the room while she’d slept. Security footage showed no-one entering or exiting, and the ring remained a complete mystery, though his dreaming intensified over the next week. Krissie regularly reported news to Jinichi, Kiyoshi’s older brother by three years, and exactly seven days later, a second ring appeared on his hand, this one plain but for three wavy lines that went all the way around the band. Again, his fist curled and he would not loosen it for anything or anyone.

Krissie sighed heavily, leaning her head in her hand as she watched Kiyoshi’s smile widen as he dreamt. “You look so happy, Kiyoshi… and I remember that smile, I remember you so bright and so vivid and so full of life and I have so many questions, but all you do is sleep, lazybones! When are you going to wake up, gorgeous? When are you going to tell me what it is you dream and who you dream of? When are you going to explain these pretty baubles?”

They pushed open the doors to the restaurant and Kiyoshi tugged the tie from his hair, shaking it out. “No joke, I’m supposed to have a conference call with them both tomorrow!”

“You lie! They want to appear in a documentary largely filmed by me? Emrys Marlowe and farking Rumi Salar? Are you for real?” Krissie shook her head, rolling lip gloss over her lips before offering it to Kiyoshi, who applied it thickly on his own lips, answering, “Have I ever lied to you? Why would I start now?”

“Uh… Rumi? Emrys? Those are A-list stars, Ki-chan! And they wanna be in a documentary about pirates!” She widened her eyes. “Not a movie, but a documentary about real pirates who lived and died hundreds of years ago. Usually the C-listers are the ones who make it into the documentaries is all I’m saying. How did you score those two?”

Kiyoshi stopped next to his car, grinning, “Oh, I don’t know… possibly a friend of a brother who knows a guy who dated this girl who lived across the street from the janitor at a vet’s office who takes care of the cat of the girl who works in the soup kitchens that are largely funded by the husband of an actress who is the daughter of a director who works a lot with Johnny Depp, and he liked the idea but said that his looks weren’t right for the role, but that his buddy Rumi had been following my work since the beginning and would love to accompany me to Isla de los Pinas.”

“You did that all in one breath. You amaze me. How the fark did JayJay set that up?” she asked as she leaned against the car, watching him unlock the doors and get into the back.

“I never know with him. My nii-san has a million connections, and I half-expected him to have Emrys Marlowe on speed dial, to be honest.” Kiyoshi dug into shopping bags in the backseat and finally emerged holding up a fluffy pink jacket and a tube of glittery pink lip gloss. “Is this not the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?”

“I dig that you like pink, Ki-chan, but that jacket is super-cute and would look way better on me.” Krissie grinned. “Especially for a pirate fanatic like yourself—”

“Pirates. Flamboyant. ’Nuff said. I would be—” He slipped into the jacket and put his hands on his hips, pulling one leg up to place the flat of his foot on his opposite knee. “—Flamingo the Cruel!”

They laughed hard for some time before he told her, “Seriously, I gotta have something to call my own until we can head back down to the shipwreck and resume cataloguing. I don’t know what the hold up is, but Shelly and Cameron are calling to me and I need to go back. Maybe there’s something there—”

Krissie took a deep breath as she recalled the screeching of tires and then she hit the ground hard, lifting up on her hands to see a cracked windshield and then Kiyoshi thrown to the pavement not ten feet from her as the large green 4×4 truck stopped suddenly, the driver stumbling out to puke before mumbling, “Sssorrry about that. Please—please don’ call the popo’s… my dad’ll kill me an’ take my truck away.”

Krissie brought his hand to her lips, pressing a kiss to his unresponsive fingers. “Because that’s what was important, right? Yeah… that’s it.” Tears that always seemed so close sparkled in her blue eyes as she murmured, “But at least that drunk jerk got what was coming to him. Dammit, Ki-chan… come back to us. Please!”