“Hey, Jotaro, listen to this,” grins Kakyoin suddenly, holding up the newspaper.
Kakyoin clears his throat. “’Sultry Egyptian beauty with excellent legs, 33 years old, size 34 double D, seeks older gentleman with firm hands and a magnetic personality. Sparks must fly within first meeting.’” He snorts. “As if she’d ever actually be able to find someone like that.”
Jotaro frowns at him. “You actually read that garbage?”
“Someone has to,” explains Kakyoin. “I like to imagine the stories behind all the ads, try to guess what the person writing it looks like. For example… this woman probably isn’t a 34 double D. I bet she just stuffs her bra to make it look that way.”
Jotaro turns away and shrugs. “All right, whatever. Weirdo.”
“You love me really, asshole,” Kakyoin smirks.
It turns out he’s right. But it’s much too late.
Marine Biology student, 6’5”, 20 yo, seeks artistic redhead with a good sense of humour (NO PUNS). Must enjoy long (non-sexual) walks on the beach, visiting aquaria, watching sumo, and occasional long-distance. Serious offers only.
It’s not like he actually expects any sort of response: after all, Kakyoin is dead and gone now, and he probably wouldn’t have answered it even if he were alive. But it’s something to do, whenever he has a spare few dollars left over from his student loan. A way to fool himself, even ever so briefly, that Kakyoin is still out there somewhere, picking up the newspaper and scoffing to himself about how lame Jotaro’s description of him sounds.
It’s not like Jotaro actually wants anyone to call.
The voice is female, a little timid. “…Hello?”
“Who is this?”
“Um… you put an ad in the paper, and… well, I think I fit most of the criteria, erm…”
He blinks and sits down. “Uh. Yeah. I did.”
“So, um…” She clears her throat. “Do you want to, uh, meet up? Or something?”
“I…” He stares at the wall for a while and swallows. “I suppose. Where do you –” no, that sounds creepy, he can’t just ask where she lives – “I mean, where do you want to go?”
“There’s a restaurant in Miami that I like… er, assuming you can get there, of course…”
He nods, then realizes she can’t see him. “Sure. I live in Miami.” Stupid, stupid, stupid. Now she can probably stalk him, or something. Not that he probably couldn’t punch her into the next century without breaking a sweat, but still. She has his phone number, and everything.
“Great!” Her voice perks up a bit. “It’s the Japanese place on 16th. Oh, er, you do like Japanese food, right?”
“Yeah,” he manages, his tone a little strained. “I like it.”
He shows up very early, both to garner a table and to try and calm himself down before he meets the mystery woman. It’s not like he’s expecting this to turn into anything serious. They’ll probably meet up and, if nothing else, depart as friends. He just… hasn’t really done this before. He’s not sure what the rules are – what’s he’s expected to do in this situation. Is a kiss required? Is he meant to ask for her number, or something? And – well, at least the restaurant isn’t too expensive.
He’s so wrapped up in his own thoughts that he barely notices when someone else comes up to his table. And then –
“Excuse me, but are you the marine biology student?”
He blinks and looks up. The woman is… not unattractive. Red hair, as promised, slightly more muted than his, and without those distinctive violet eyes. But perfectly adequate, as far as human beings go.
“Sure,” he mutters. “You must be the artistic redhead.”
“That’s me!” Her face splits into a smile, and the evening begins.
It’s not a bad dinner, as such. They have a pleasant, totally ordinary conversation about their majors (she’s an art student, as promised, although her strengths are in sculpting rather than painting), about where they’re from (“I didn’t realise you were actually Japanese! Your English is so good!”), and about their hobbies (he doesn’t say ‘beating people up’, even though that’s more or less his hobby; instead, he mutters something vague about keeping fish). It’s perfectly satisfactory.
“Listen,” he says, when it looks like they’re wrapping up. “This was… good.”
“Yes,” she nods, her smile seeming a little more forced. “Good.”
“But…” He leans forward. “Look, to be perfectly honest with you, the ad I sent in… wasn’t really…”
“Wasn’t really for me?” She leans her chin on her hand and sighs. “I thought as much.”
He frowns. “There’s… nothing wrong with you.”
“I know,” she replies. “I’m just not the person whose eye you were hoping to catch. That’s all right. You weren’t the person I was hoping to respond to, either.”
“Right,” he agrees. “It’s not that you don’t seem like a nice person or anything.”
She snorts. “That almost sounded halfway to a complement, Kujo.”
“You know what I mean,” he mutters.
“Yes, I know. It’s just not the same,” she murmurs. “The biology student I was hoping to meet was about a foot shorter than you are.”
He nods and gestures towards her. “Mine wasn’t… well…”
“Mine wasn’t a man.” She folds her hands in front of her on the table. “I suppose I shouldn’t be looking for that sort of thing, really. Everyone says that if I find the right man, all that’ll feel like a silly childhood crush. But…”
“It’s not the same,” he echoes. “And you can’t get back what’s lost.”
“No, you can’t.” They stare at the table for a while, considering the empty spaces that will never fill while they’re alive.
He clears his throat. “My mom’s always bugging me about when I’ll bring a nice girl home. But last time I brought someone home, it was because they… uh… got beat up and needed care.”
“Mm.” She taps her fingers on the table. “My dad always says I’ll find the perfect person to love. But… well, last time I loved the wrong person.”
“Mm.” Another melancholy silence. He looks up at her and sighs. “The truth is… I think we’re better as friends.”
“Agreed.” She gets up and brushes her dress off. “It was… It was nice to meet you, anyway.”
“Mm.” He stands as well and sticks out his hand for her to shake. “Likewise. Feel free to call anytime. I’ll probably still… you know. Send out ads.”
“That’s fine,” she nods, grasping his hand briefly. “Perhaps I’ll call you some time. If I need a… boyfriend.”
“Here,” she adds, fishing in her purse for a pen and a piece of paper. “I’ll even return the favour, if you like.”
“Okay.” He pulls on his hat. “See you round, I guess.”
“Yeah,” she replies, looking rather wistful. “See you round.”
There was never really any love there. Mostly it’s a matter of keeping parents happy – hers want grandchildren, and his do too. His parents – his mother in particular – want a grand wedding and a cake, and her dad wants to walk her down the aisle (as long as there’s a man waiting on the other end, of course). It’s not enough for her to be his excuse anymore; nor for him to be hers. People want answers, real shit, and he just… goes with it. He can’t really think of any reason why not. He’s so… tired.
It was never going to last anyway. All they do, really, is disappoint each other; he knows she’s seeing other women on the side and doesn’t even find it in himself to care.
“I’m moving out,” she says.
“Alright,” he mutters.
She clears her throat. “I’m taking Jolyne.”
It was never going to work out. They were better as friends.
Marine biologist, 6’5”, 28yo, Asian, seeks artistic redhead with a good sense of humour (NO PUNS). Must enjoy long (non-sexual) walks on the beach, visiting aquaria, watching sumo, and occasional long-distance. Serious offers only.
One day, perhaps, he’ll answer.