“I think I might die waiting for season two Karen, I mean it. It’s funny I only gave it a try because my favorite voice actor dubbing for Akihito but it’s seriously one of the best I’ve ever seen” Her friend Karen laughed, that familiar amused look on her face when she’d talk about her favorite anime voice actor when they translated anime to english. She guessed it was because she gushed so much about his voice. “well I need to go to bed since my half brothers flight comes in so early tomorrow. Why don’t you spend the night and come with me. I mean it’s already almost midnight so I’d like you to stay anyway so I don’t have to stress about you falling asleep at the wheel but I think you’d be glad you met him as soon as he got here”
“sure, any sibling of yours must be awesome. Does he like anime too? There’s another one I want to watch with you but I’ll wait until he goes home if he’ll hate us watching stuff like that”
“Oh, he likes anime” Karen laughed again and Adlai gave her a puzzled look “Why do I feel like I’m the butt of some joke with you since you told me your brothers coming to visit? Is he like deliriously hot and you think I’ll swoon or something? Is this a set up?”
“Lets just get some rest. Just trust me, you’ll really like my brother”
“Why haven’t you told me anything about him then?”
“Just trust your bestie okay? I want him to be a surprise. Before, you know me, I am not a big sharey person of personal details in general but something you ended up telling me made me want to save everything about him for when you meet him”
“Does he know anything about me?”
“He’s on my Facebook and you tag me all the time so you’ve come up”
“what’s his name?”
“so you can stalk his feed? Nope, besides, he doesn’t have his real name on there anyway”
“Karen, the suspense is going to kill me. I’m already dieing waiting for season two of this anime” Karen laughed again “goodnight bestie” she repeated then went to her bedroom, knowing Adlai would make herself at home in the guest room. She had spent the night many nights before.
Adlai couldn’t help but think of what might make Karen act like her brother was so mysterious? Was he a recluse or overly eccentric? Was he shy maybe? She racked her brain until she knew she needed to go to sleep then switched on the TV and put on one of her favorite shows, turning the volume down low before curling up and falling asleep. “Rise and shine Sleeping Beauty.” Karen said the next morning, rousing Adlai from her sleep.
“Morning.” Adlai replied with a yawn as she sat up and rubbed her eyes then swept her hair away from her face. She grabbed her phone and checked the time. “You weren’t kidding, it’s way too early.”
“Borrow some of my clothes and get a shower while I make us something to eat real quick.”
“Okay.” She yawned again as he headed into Karen’s room and went through her clothes.
Once she found something to wear she took a quick shower, not wanting her friends brother stuck at the airport too long. They ate together then rinsed off the dish’s before leaving them in the sink so they could hurry off. “are we making good time?”
“yeah, he’s laid back like us so even if he’s sat there a bit he wont be mad”
“oh wow, actual information about him” Karen laughed “well you’re about to meet him so I don’t have to be quite so mysterious now”
“You’re killing me”
“and it’s so much fun” Adlai may have nudged her friend if she wasn’t driving. They pulled up to the airport and found a spot to wait for him inside “will you tell me anything else?”
“he’ll be here any moment” Zephyr wore a big smile as he collected his luggage to go meet his sister and Adlai. He didn’t often like attention for his work voice acting but Adlai was incredible cute and his sister didn’t let people close easily so he knew she was a good person. He was actually excited and happy for the fact he’d have a good opening with her. He hadn’t dated in forever and while he wouldnt actually admit it forming something with Adlai had certainly crossed his mind a time or two when he’d see her in pictures or when his sister would talk about her.
He just still wasn’t sure how he’d speak to her at first, what he should say but he was running out of time as he walked to where his sister said they’d be. “come on, you can think of something good” he said to himself but his own nerves from the fact he’d actually be meeting Adlai today were getting to him.
“There he is.” Karen said, causing Adlai’s heart to skip in her chest. Her friend was on her feet and waving and yelling. “Zeph.”
The voice hit Adlai long before the face and she froze behind her friend, mouth hanging part way open. “Shorty? Better shut up before I beat you up.”
“I’m terrified.” They both laughed and then Karen turned, her smile widening at Adlai’s expression. “Zephyr this is Adlai and Adlai this is my brother, Zephyr.”
Zephyr smiled, holding out his hand. “It’s nice to finally meet you.” He was proud of himself for at least accomplishing a greeting.
Adlai blinked, blushed and snapped her mouth shut. “Uh…” she looked at his hand, her brain finally catching up, and quickly took it. “Nice to meet you, you’re…but…” she looked at Karen. “He’s…he’s…”
Karen laughed “He’s your favorite voice actor and he’s excited to get to know you” It made Adlai blush even more that Karen had said that out loud in front of him. She looked back at Zephyr “I…I promise normally I can hold real conversations” He smiled and it was practically heart stopping “I knew she wasn’t going to tell you who I was ahead of time. I know how surprising it must be. I meet a lot of fans and you’re handling yourself well. I’ve been tackled a few times to be honest”
“Lets get him back to my place” Karen suggested and the two followed her as she began to walk, each taking a side. Adlais heart was racing, wondering if she was going to wake up to find this had all been a dream. Her best friends brother was her favorite voice actor? Did that stuff really happen?
“So, working on anything new?” Karen asked as she drove, trying to start a conversation between her friend and her brother.
“That’s a secret.” He answered with a smile.
“Come on, you won’t even tell me for Adlai?”
“That’s hardly fair.” He turned in his seat to look at Adlai. “Would you like to know?”
Adlai blushed. “Well, I mean if you want to tell me. I won’t make you, but um maybe a little?”
He chuckled. “Well, the character I’m playing is a bit of a jerk with bright red hair and a reputation for being a delinquent, but he meets his match pretty quickly. It’ll be a first for me, playing someone who’s more or less a bad boy.”
“I’m sure you’ll be able to pull it off, you’re already really good. I can’t wait to see it.”
“I can always send you a play by play or if you’re up to it, you could come and watch me work.”
“Yeah, I’d like for you to” Zephyr saw his sister grin and tried to ignore her silent teasing “so who are you on Karens Facebook then?”
“I’ll go ahead and add you, I’m Reph Retsod. It’s a mix of my name, kind of stupid I know but I like to have one that’s not over run with fans. I appreciate them all but you know”
“I get it” He pulled out his cellphone and suddenly hers vibrated. She quickly accepted, her heart fluttering that she was actually Facebook friends with him. There was so much to be excited and nervous about that she barely knew what to do with herself as she waited for them to finally arrive back at Karens. “so if you end up staying the night again Adlai you can just sleep with me since my brother will now have the guest room”
“I’m sure you two want to catch up.” Adlai said, plus she didn’t want to look like some crazy fan girl.
“Stay, I’d feel rude otherwise.” Zephyr said, surprised at how fast the words came out. “If you want to I mean.”
“Really, you wouldn’t mind?”
“Not at all. We can all hang out, watch anime. I’m curious about which ones outside of my work are your favorites. Maybe I could find something similar to act in.”
“And you can tell him which of his performances was the worst.” Karen teased.
“He hasn’t had any bad ones though.” Adlai blushed. “I mean, at least I don’t think so.”
Zephyr smiled which only made her embarrassment worse. “so what do you do besides voice acting…what do you like doing?” Adlai asked, wanting to keep the conversation rolling. Karen almost irresistibly wanted to tease, saying ” Possibly you soon” but she kept it to herself. “well, my friends and I get together to play board games from time to time”
“He writes poetry to” Karen added and Zephyr sighed “don’t say that”
“I used to write poetry, forever ago, it’s never been good enough to share”
“I bet mom still has some”
“Karen” she pulled out her phone with a grin and he said “would you like to watch something Adlai?”
“sure” As they moved to the couch she could tell he was blushing too. It actually made her a little more comfortable that he was just as embarrassed as her.
She watched as Zephyr sat there writing in a notebook until he noticed he was being recorded and looked embarrassed. “What are you writing?” Karen’s voice came from behind the camera.
Zephyr sighed. “Nothing really.”
“Awe come on, share.”
“Do you have to record me?”
“Of course, I need blackmail.”
“Come on Karen.”
He ran his fingers through his hair, nodding. “Don’t blame me if it sounds terrible.”
He began to read off the poem he had been working on and Adlai smiled as Zephyr just looked more and more uncomfortable. “That sounded good” Adlai told him and he said “you don’t have to be so nice”
“No, it was, you shouldn’t have quit”
“do you favor any certain poets?”
“I really like Sara Teasdale, especially her poem I Am Not Yours. I’m not sure why, beyond that no real favorites. I just have a lot of certain poems I like. What started you writing poetry?”
“A cousin of ours needed help with one and I ended up doing a lot on my own”
“for a girl”
“did he end up winning her over?”
“what girl doesn’t like poetry? Especially when a guy puts special effort into one for you” Karen interjected. They awkwardly talked for a while longer, still trying to break the ice of meeting someone new then switched on some anime. Zephyr was glad for it, he could learn more about Adlai without feeling so awkward.
“What’s your favorite genre?” He asked as they watched.
“Adventure, romance type stuff, magic’s a plus. You?”
“Fighting, you know man stuff.” He joked.
She smiled and he felt his heart skip a beat. “I can see that. You seem to have a lot of fun during action sequences. I’m sometimes surprised you don’t blow out your voice.”
“I have before. I kept having to do this one scream over and over again and afterwards my throat was so raw and my voice was so raspy that I was ordered to take a break so I wouldn’t hurt myself. I wanted to keep going, but they wouldn’t let me.”
“It’s good they stop you”
“damage that voice too much and you’ll break her heart” Karen teased. Adlai looked back at the tv, feeling a little embarrassed again. After dinner that night Zephyr went to the guest room and Adlai joined Karen in her room “so, how was today”
“you were killing me with all that teasing”
“Hey, I was teasing him too at times. I can tell he likes being around you” Karen laughed as her friend turned pink again “I wish you would have warn me who he was”
“It was so much fun surprising you though. Besides, you would have over worried and he’s not much to fuss about” Karen winked at her friend as she finished the sentence. They changed into pajamas and settled into bed. Adlai couldn’t sleep, over thinking the entire day until she finally decided that truly, this was just Karens brother and he seemed really nice. Chances were he wasn’t being as over critical of her as she was being of herself.
The next morning Adlai woke a little groggy. She was surprised she had managed to fall asleep at all. Karen wasn’t there so she got up and headed out of the room. She could hear Karen and Zephyr talking. The smell of food hit her nose and when she finally stepped out into the living room, she could see Karen sipping coffee from the kitchen table while Zephyr cooked. She stood there staring at him until Karen noticed her. “Good morning sleeping beauty.”
Zephyr half turned, smiling at her, causing a blush to tint her cheeks. “Good morning, want some breakfast or coffee?”
“Sugar and cream?”
“I’ll get it for her silly, you just focus on not burning breakfast.” Karen teased. “Come sit down Adlai, unless you want to eat from there.”
Adlai crossed over to the table and took a seat, surprised that Zephyr was still watching her. “Did you sleep well?” She asked.
“I did, you?”
“Yeah…well kind of. I must look rough.” She pushed some hair away from her face.
“Not at all.”
“Says the man who always wakes up looking like a supermodel.” Karen said as she sat a cup of coffee in front of Adlai. “Seriously brother, did you get turned into a vampire or make a deal with the Devil?”
He chuckled nervously and went back to cooking. Adlai took a small sip of her coffee and had to admit Karen was right. Zephyr looked perfect despite it being so early and already making an amazing smelling breakfast. “where did you learn to cook?” Adlai asked and he answered “I live alone so I took some classes. It’s nice not having to go out to eat as much as some of my friends. I only really order out or grab something if I’m working a lot and can’t find the time to cook” Adlai took a longer sip of her coffee, allowing the warmth and caffeine to wake her up a little more. She was grateful there had already been some waiting after her struggle to sleep.
The smell of cinnamon filled the kitchen and she didn’t realize he had been baking something as well. His timer went off and he pulled a bundt cake pan. He flipped it over onto a plate then quickly put it in the middle of the table. “Monkey bread.” He said as he went back dished food onto their plates, grabbed some silverware then moved everything to the table. “I hope you don’t have any allergies or anything.”
“Nope, none and this all looks amazing.” Adlai replied.
“Try some of the bread, it goes great with coffee.” He reached over and pulled some off and took a bite, nodding. “I call that a win, it came out perfect.”
“Wow bro, going all out.”
“I could have just stuck with regular old pancakes, but Adlai’s here and I think she deserves something for having to deal with being surprised.”
After breakfast Karen said “we should go out and really have some fun. Adlai is a pretty good bowler, used to play competitively as a child. Why don’t we all go bowling Zephyr?”
“That sounds fun”
“don’t let her hype me up too much…it was just a kids league. My mom needed some place for me after school until she got off work and one of the local bowling alleys had an after school program”
“it must have been a lot of fun”
“Yeah, I loved it” They readied themselves to go out then headed over to the bowling alley, happy to find not many other people were there. Zephyr insisted on paying for everything, surprising Adlai again. “you’ll have to let me buy lunch or something” Adlai said as she put on her bowling shoes. Karen spoke before her brother could “you and I can split the cost of getting pizza and drinks here, if we stay that long. If not we’ll figure out splitting the lunch bill elsewhere” They picked their balls and they were finally ready. Adlai went first, proving how she spent her days after school by making a strike.
They bowled a few games, laughing and cheering eachother on the entire time. When they were tired of it they played in the arcade. This particular bowling alley had a fairly big one so they didn’t realize how much time they had been there until hunger pains made them check the time. Since they were still there they decided to go with the pizza plan, the two girls splitting it since Zephyr had paid for their shoe rentals and the lane.
Adlais phone rang, playing the melody that told her it was one of the coffee shop employees so she took it “hello?” both Zephyr and Karen were worried she’d have to go in as they heard her say “Oh no it’s fine, you just take care of Emma. I’ll call Carly” she hung up “I’m so sorry Zephyr, I’m a manager at a coffee shop. Just one more second. Would you two like me to walk outside?”
“You’re fine Adlai” Karen insisted. Adlai called Carly, relieved she picked up “can you cover Marni’s shift today? Even if you can just work until four I would greatly appreciate it. I need someone to cover her or Cory will be working by himself and he’s still too new for that” Adlai looked relieved as she said “just go in as soon as you can, her shift already started” there was a small pause before Adlai said “her full shift would have been until nine. You are such a blessing, thank you” Adlai had deeply not wanted to go into work.
“did we dodge a bullet?” Karen asked and Adlai said “yeah, thankfully she’ll even cover Marnis full shift”
“her kid has been sick a lot lately”
“Yeah but the flu has been going around hard so I don’t think she’s making it up to get out of work. I’ve never had problems with her until this flu season”
Do you like working there?” Zephyr asked.
“Yeah, it’s pretty nice.”
“Well if that ever changes, I could always use a new PA.”
Karen laughed. “Geez Zeph.”
“I said if, I’m not asking her to just uproot her life and move. Just if she ever wants or needs a change.”
“I’ll keep it in mind.” Adlai replied with a blush.
“And even if you don’t, I’ll still fly you out to watch me work.” He stood. “Alright, let’s see if I can redeem myself. I don’t think I’ve ever lost so hard in my life.”
Adlai couldn’t help but smile. “I could always go easy on you.”
“You better not.” He said with a chuckle.
They played a few more rounds then returned to Karens to binge on more anime. The next morning when Adlai did have to work Zephyr felt a sad tug at his heart when she left and soon felt his sisters hand slam into the back of his head once she had driven off “I’m still here you beaten little puppy”
“what…you were trying to set us up anyway right?”
“Yeah, I’m glad you two are actually hitting it off. She’s my best friend though, if things get serious don’t make me strangle you. Can’t believe you’re already trying to drag her to where you live. I’ll miss her you know”
“you could always move too”
“true, could I mooch off you awhile if I did?”
“Of course…I’d owe you anyway for setting me up with he”
“thats right, now start paying me back by making that amazing hot chocolate” Zephyr chuckled and walked over to the kitchen, hoping time would move quickly so he could hangout with Adlai again.After her shift Adlai called Karen ‘hey, you coming back?” Karen asked and Adlai said “I’m going to go home for a shower, some clothes and more make up. Should I eat dinner or can I eat with you guys?” suddenly Zephyr called out “I’ll cook, just come over after” she blushed, surprised he had such amazing hearing. “Okay, I’ll see you two in maybe an hour. I’ll text you when I’m on the way over”
Adlai went straight home, taking a long shower then changing into something she felt particularly pretty in. Next she packed a bag then ran around, tidying up a little bit incase they all ended up over here for some reason.Last she double checked to make sure all her make up supplies were in her purse then texted Karen to let her know it wouldn’t be long before she was back at her place. “she’s on her way” Karen said as an answer to the hopeful look her brother wore. He got up to begin his work preparing dinner for the three of them, they had decided on something spicy.
Adlai was nervous as she headed back to Karen’s. She couldn’t help but wonder if she had dressed up too much. When she got there, she took a deep breath before exiting her car and heading up to the front door. Since she didn’t have to knock, she just walked right in and could smell something delicious. “There she is.” Karen said with a big smile. “Well look at you.”
“Got a hot date?” Karen teased and Adlai blushed.
“No, just felt like looking nice.”
“Well come on then, let’s show you off.”
“Come on silly.” She took her arm and pulled her toward the kitchen.
Zephyr was floored when he turned to greet Adlai. It was of course Karen again who began teasing “Pick your jaw up off the floor. You two should just kiss already”
“Karen” Adlai exclaimed, holding her face. Karen just laughed, thoroughly enjoying watching all this unfold. “we…we’ve just met Karen” Zephyr practically stuttered. “what are we having for dinner?” Adlai said, looking at the floor due to embarrassment “a recipe I made up myself, I hope you like spicy”
“yeah…I do” Karen decided to lay off a little, just enjoying the evening with her best friend and brother. They grew closer in the passing days, to the point Zephyr dreaded having to go back home soon since he didn’t know if Adlai would go with him or how often he could come here to see her if she didn’t come. Since time was growing near he nervously asked her again “so…do you think you’d like to come be my PA? You’ve thought about it a little right?”
“well…I talked to the owner of the coffee shop yesterday actually”
“Yeah…I recommended Carly for my position since I do want to go and he wish’s me all the best and shes getting a much deserved promotion…” He smiled and it touched her how relieved he looked but what meant more was that he hugged her tightly. She hugged back, just enjoying being so close until he pulled back nervously “is hugging you okay?”
“we’re good friends now aren’t we?” he smiled again “yeah” He couldn’t believe it, she was actually coming home with him and were one step closer in the way he wanted things to go. He wanted everything with her but at the same time Adlai was a woman worth waiting for and winning over. He wanted to be with her forever and that meant even as friends. Karen was over the moon and started getting her own life in order to move with them “can’t believe I’m going to have roomates again” Karen said happily and Zephyr just thought again that he couldn’t believe things were going so right in his life.
~ The End