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A Pandora Party

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“Are you sure he’s coming? Taki did mention that he was supposed to be meeting with Mr. Ashiba this afternoon,” MC questioned to the smug looking investor casually sipping away at a martini.

MC had been in the kitchen of her and Taki’s home about to prepare a special homecooked meal to celebrate the day of his birth, when Yosuke texted her that there was an emergency up at Pandora. Assuming the worst, MC raced out the door and even chose to skip the elevator as she ran towards the staircase fearing as to what could be this urgent for Yosuke to call upon her out of the blue. Imagine her shock (and aggravation) when she found Yosuke alongside Shun and Kiyohito lounging around. Yosuke insisted on throwing a surprise party for Taki. Relived it was nothing serious, but reluctant to disturb Taki at work, MC would have been lying if she didn’t admit how much she missed him. Nodding her consent, Shun pulled up a chair and she joined the guys while they waited for Yosuke’s Operation Get Taki to Leave Work commence.

“You don’t have to worry about a thing, MC,” Yosuke chirped, the cheerfulness in his voice suspiciously exaggerated. “Good ole’, Taki should be here any second now!”

Kiyohito rolled his eyes, and Shun’s eyebrows arched while Yosuke tossed back the rest of his drink, oblivious to the confused glances the two men had been exchanging with MC. Kiyohito and Shun were having a silent conversation among themselves, each encouraging the other to ask the question Yosuke was obviously baiting them to ask, until eventually Kiyohito sighed in exasperation and turned to face their rowdy friend.

“Um, Yosuke? What exactly did you say to Taki that makes you so assured he’s going to leave work in the middle of the da-”

“MC!”

Taki’s voice suddenly boomed across Pandora as he burst through the entryway. Sweat trickled from his brow and his suit jacket was disheveled. Clearly, he was out of breath since his pants were sharp and heavy, but nonetheless, that didn’t stop him from darting over to MC. Grasping the sides of her arms, Taki quickly scanned her up and down, almost as if he needed to assure that everything was fine.

“MC, are you alright? Are you feeling okay? You’re not hurt, are you?” Taki questioned, the evident of his concern coating his eyes as he caught her gaze. “Should I take you to the doctor? Forget that-we’ll have the doctor come to you!”

“Taki! Taki, calm down!” MC shouted, grabbing ahold of the sides of his face. “Relax. Relax, everything is fine. I’m fine, but you don’t seem to be. Do you care to explain what’s going on?”

Yosuke who had been sitting quietly up until this point, jumped from his chair and obnoxiously clapped his hands together.

“Allow me to explain, MC! I may have told a teeny tiny smidge of a fib to ensure Taki’s presence tonight for this humble little gathering,” Yosuke admitted, without the tiniest hint of remorse in his tone. “I told him you fell into the pool.”

“You did what now?” she yelped. “Yosuke, that’s not something you lightly joke about!”

“Yosuke, that’s shameless, even by your standards,” Shun sighed, while Kiyohito shook his head in disbelief.

“Yosuke!” Taki yelled, glaring at the man he was contemplating on looking into hiring a hitman for hire for. “What on earth would possess you to do something like that?”

“But Taki, I only wanted all of us to be able to celebrate your birthday together,” Yosuke pouted. He blinked his eyelashes, playing up the infamous puppy dog pout he was known for using to worm his way back into the good graces of those close to him.

“Taki, I think Yosuke realizes he was in the wrong,” MC coaxed, reaching out to give his hand a squeeze. “But his intentions seemed to be selfless. Why don’t we celebrate with the guys for a bit, and then I can whip you up something to eat later at home?”

“If that would make you happy, then sure,” Taki responded. “As long as I’m with you, it doesn’t matter what we’re doing.”

“Since the couple approves, I’ll run and go grab the cake then,” Shun volunteered. “Kiyohito, would you mind coming with to help me carry up the utensils?”

“Sure, not a problem,” Kiyohito replied.

Setting his drink down onto the holder of the chair, Kiyohito stood up and trailed after Shun until Yosuke, Taki, and MC were left alone in Pandora. Yosuke intentionally began to cause a scene by clicking his tongue, rapping his knuckles down onto the surface of the table. Taki’s fingers instinctively drew to their temples of his head, knowing that the jabbering about to pour out of Yosuke’s mouth was likely to cause him a headache.

“So, Taki?” Yosuke slurred, propping his elbows down onto the table next to the pool and resting his chin on the palms of his hands. “What are you going to wish for? Money? No, not money. You already have plenty of that? A boytoy for Sydney? No, no, that can’t be it either. Sydney’s not old enough to date….she’ll actually probably never be old enough by your standards. What could you possibly want that you don’t already have…..think, think, think. Hmmmm…….Wait……..Wait……..OH I GOT IT!! A BABY!! You could wish for MC and you to have a baby! I’ll even offer my babysitting services for free when the two of you have a baby!”

“Um, Yosuke?” MC attempted to interject, but instead was drowned out by Yosuke breaking into song.

“Taki and MC sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carri-AH!”

SPLASH!
Taki and MC hurried back away from the pool, shielding themselves as best as they could from the water. Everything happened within the blink of an eye, it took a few moments for Taki to realize that Yosuke was bobbing in the pool. Sydney crept out from behind the table, crawling over to appear by MC’s side.

“Good girl, Sydney,” MC praised, gently stroking the back of the crocodile’s neck.

“Sydney! How could you betray me like that?” Yosuke complained, splashing water out onto the deck in frustration.

Turning to Taki, the couple both burst into a fit of laughter as they watched Yosuke flailing around the pool, grumbling under his breath while climbing out of the pool in search for a towel.

“I’m sure this is a birthday unlike any other you’ve ever experienced,” MC giggled.

Giving Sydney one final pat on the head, MC climbed into Taki’s lap to snuggle up into his chest. “Happy birthday, Taki.”

Taki wrapped her up into a tight hug, tracing small relaxing circles onto her back. “Thank you, MC. I could only ever be this happy since you’re in my life,” he assured.

Glancing around, Taki noticed that Shun and Kiyohito had just returned, not wasting a second to make fun of the drenched Yosuke. Great friends, a wonderful crocodile companion, and most importantly a loving woman that would never turn her back on him, and always accept the good and the bad.

Life is truly a paradise, Taki thought, before helping MC to her feet to go join the others around the cake.

Happy birthday to him, indeed.