Description: Rock's having some woman trouble-- namely, they won't leave him alone! Benimaru has been around the block a time or two, and offers some advice. He DOES offer something useful... inamongst trying Rock's patience and embarrassing the hell out of him.
The early evening crowd of the Duck Pond plays host to an interesting crowd. Fighters, men in expensive black suits, the dregs of Southtown drowning in the only drink they can afford for the week, even schoolkids who have just enough of their allowance left to spend on a meal that involves sitting down at an actual table. Rock Howard isn't some social pariah, despite often rejecting offers to accompany his few friends on their outings, but he isn't exactly the most affable person.
He's broody and a bit sullen, very serious for a boy of seventeen.
No, he's not mean or anything, he's just Buzz Killington.
Seated with a group of at least four other boys, the Howard scion stands out because of his shock of sunshine yellow hair, which his hand constantly runs through in a gesture of nervousness, and because in comparison to the others, he's quite good-looking. It draws the eyes of the servers who whisper to one another and giggle behind hands, and it earns the attention of businessmen who consider the teen's attractive features, comparing it to their own average faces as they stare and sulk into glasses of bourbon and irish whiskey. He doesn't notice either of these.
The conversation happens to be all about girls, always an uncomfortable topic for Rock, whose crimson eyes dart away and wonder if perhaps he should seek solitude in the men's washroom and wait for the storm to pass, but suddenly four heads turn in his direction. Their expressions hold the deepest envy as they ask in unison, "So, Rock, who do you like?"
Rock freezes, tongue rolling up and catching in his throat. He dissolves into a coughing jag and waves them off, but one boy leans in further with a leering grin, "That means there IS someone," he says with a dark chuckle.
That's it, the blonde heartthrob of Taiyo High excuses himself with a mumble, still attempting to keep his lungs in his chest, leaving behind a slight indentation in the cushion where he had sat. Rock heads straight for the fluorescent sign that shines like a beacon, indicating that the restrooms and salvation are just down the hall, but his path is barred by a shorter waitress with a tray who looks very determined to speak to him. Her coworkers put her up to asking for his number.
He swerves to the right and darts away, taking the stairs two at a time up to the second level where the lounge is located, bursting in. Rock is one of the few minors allowed, owing to his dislike of alcohol and how he is frequently in the company of the Legendary Wolf, Terry Bogard. The American boy looks pretty frazzled and entirely confused. Duck glances up from behind the bar and salutes the kid with a wave, "Hey!"
Well. Now what?
There's someone else seated at the bar, too. Owing to Southtown's being in Japan (and thus a lower age for alcohol consumption than the United States), Benimaru squeaks in JUST over the legal age to drink. Thus, that other seated at the bar? Totally is Benimaru Nikaido. Though he might not be recognizable instantly since his hair's down, and gathered in a ponytail.
The salute draws Benimaru's attention; he looks up, and then in the direction that the salute was sent to. A smile is sent in the direction of the young man. Though the expression freezes when he sees the flustered look. "Hey." His voice is friendly, not as loud and boisterous as Duck's voice. "You okay?"
He has two choices, standing stock-still at the entrance of the lounge, wooden door banging off his elbow: Rock can dare to venture back downstairs, to his friends and to the server who would be adamant about receiving his number, or he can...
He's going to wait it out.
While massaging the bruising bone in his arm, the teen's legs carry him across the threshold into the room proper and to a stool next to the blonde who had also greeted him in tandem. Rock throws one leg over the seat and plants himself gruffly, frowning so deeply that perhaps he looks far older than his winter uniform and the obvious juvenescence of him suggests. Already there is a glass of orange juice prepared, and from it the Howard scion takes a sip. When he lowers the cup, his pinky touches down on the surface of the bar first, making nary a sound.
To those capable of recognizing such, this suggests his upbringing was rather... posh. He's certainly got manners.
"I'm fine, it's just..." He doesn't exactly feel comfortable in discussing such personal topics with a stranger. Duck is only a little more familiar to him than Benimaru, but Duck strolls away and into the back probably to text some sweet honey of his or something. I don't even know, man. "I'm fine." Rock repeats, scrubbing a hand back through his silken locks of blonde, sending them into a state of further disarray. His hair isn't long enough to gather into a ponytail, not that he would. The American heartthrob would most assuredly look dumb.
Although the only son of Geese Howard may not be that forthcoming with the information, or willing to divulge just what his problem happens to be, he eventually doesn't need to, because a face appears in the small window of the door that leads to the lounge, a girl standing on tip-toes at the top of the stairs. It's the waitress from before and she STARES at Rock in a way that sends chills up and down his spine. He glances back over his shoulder, meeting her intimidating gaze by accident. "Seriously?" The breathed word of exasperation is likely to draw the attention of Benimaru Nikaido, professional cad and flirt, to the little porthole.
It's girl trouble. Girl trouble that can be very easily misunderstood because he doesn't elaborate. The server seems like a wounded girlfriend, who caught Rock cheating (he would NEVER!) Something. Anything.
Benimaru looks to the waitress. Looks to Rock.
And immediately gets the wrong idea. Or possibly the right idea, who knows? Nonetheless, he smirks, and reaches over to pat Rock on the shoulder. "I'll take care of this," he offers. "Be right back."
Sliding off of his seat with a practiced ease-- and taking his drink too; nobody's gonna ruffie Benimaru! Not without his permission, at least-- he approaches the door. From the side, so he can't be seen until he's already there. Now, he took note of her expression-- she looks sad and upset, so he's not going to be TOO heavy on the flirting. Despite his reputation, he's not REALLY that much of a cad. He just likes to flirt. It's fun, even if it leads nowhere.
Upon reaching the door, he'll peek around it. "Ne... are we playing hide-and-seek?" he asks. Not too heavy on THAT tone. Right now he's keeping it playful and harmless.
Rock balks at the suggestion that the other blonde will 'take care of this'. He highly doubts there will be any taking care of the situation at all!
"Don't worry about it. W..wait!" He protests, swiveling on the stool, a hand with slender digits reaching for the crook of Benimaru's arm as he slides from his seat gracefully and sashays off to approach the waitress at the door to the lounge. His attempt to ensnare the model is unsuccessful, and Rock's fingers close around naught but air in spite of his quick reaction. Crap.
Should've just left her alone, she would've given up eventually.
He is torn between panic, and perhaps finding a way to dive into the depths of his glass, which is impossible, because Rock doesn't own a shrinking ray of sorts. If only he had one stashed away in his jacket. The Howard scion's face reddens, his neck and ears flush with a crimson to match his eyes. Pursed lips form a tight line that develops into a frown.
Because he must, because he can't look at what is likely going to be the biggest disaster that leads to him being cornered, the teen heartthrob turns back to the bar and drains his glass of orange juice. He reaches into his pocket and fishes around for a few yen to pay for the drink including tip while vermilion eyes wildly search for an escape route. Rock could just leap out the window, but to do so would be ridiculous, far too extreme for what the situation warrants. There's no other staircase he can use to return to his mates who have hopefully graduated onto another topic. No, the boy is thoroughly trapped.
Meanwhile, the server peers back at the half-Japanese Benimaru as he peeks at her. "N.." she stutters into a response, "no..." Her brown eyes flick upwards to stare over his head and search for Rock, but the model fills her vision and she has to sigh, "You're really handsome, too." Oh god.
Benimaru gives a grin with a boyish slant to it. If she was after that blond fellow in the bar, then she's looking for a younger one, not a worldly man-about-town. "I wouldn't mind the chase~," he teases, still keeping his tone light and playful.
He steps past the door proper so he can speak to her without leaning weirdly around the doorframe. Not that he couldn't, it just looks weird. Then he asks, "Something I can help you with, beautiful?" Leaving off his usual 'hani' this time. Lighthearted flirting is lighthearted!
'I wouldn't mind the chase~'
Who is that oversexed idiot teasing, Rock or the waitress dancing from one foot to the next, tray clutched to the slight swell of her chest. She blushes when Benimaru sneaks around the door, putting him within very intimate distance from her. "Well..." The girl dallies with the model, and launches into an embarrassed explanation about how she was to ask for the phone number of the teen at the bar. The Howard scion has folded his arms across the countertop and now appears to be asleep, or having a moment of reprieve before he walks to the gallows. He has accepted his fate.
"Not even a smile, though. Didn't stop, ran up here. I wonder if he's shy? Ohmigosh, that's just so adorable, isn't it? I think he attends Taiyo High, I've seen a few--" It goes on and on for at least five minutes, gushing about the blonde heartthrob until crashing to a halt, "Still..." she clutches the tray tighter to her body and positively beams in a radiant way at Benimaru, "If I tell them how much better looking you are and if you give me your e-mail, I'm sure the other girls wouldn't consider this a loss /at all/." How shallow. Women are so fickle!
But hey, he called her beautiful and at least the server is willing to admit she isn't picky. Having one form of contact to return to her coworkers with is just as good as the other, even if it's not Rock, who now stands and begins to approach the entrance to the lounge. He won't let anyone else fight his battles for him, especially when they're ones such as these. The American teen decides to inform the girl that he's just not interested, apologize... Just not make her cry, because Howard hates that.
"Aww... that's sad!" Benimaru replies as the waitress tells him about her chase of the young man who sat down next to him. "I'm sure he's just shy... I can't imagine any guy trying to get away from you on purpose. Maybe he's just afraid he's going to say something to drive you off."
Though as she mentions getting HIS number instead... he smiles. "I'd definitely give you that, beautiful~." If she seems interested, he will indeed give her his number-- along with his name. Which she might or might not recognize. More to his credit, he didn't immediately bring out the 'I'm a famous model/fighter' instantly.
How humble of you, Benimaru!
The model deserves an award.
--Okay, I'm just throwing around sarcasm like crazy here and this pose has barely begun. Ha ha, whoops.
She bounces gleefully at his consent, her long waves of black hair tumbling over her shoulders, the rest cascading down her back like a waterfall. The short waitress tucks the more obnoxious strands that cling to her flushed face behind small ears. "Ooooooooooooooh, would you?" she coos, dipping a hand into the folds of her apron to retrieve a cute, BRIGHT pink cellphone.
At this point, it is assumed that numbers are exchanged. Her eyes do widen at the name, suggesting recognition. She utters a nervous giggle, knuckles whiten as now she is trying to meld with the clutched tray. It's hard to tell why exactly the little server holds it with a death grip. "Maybe you can talk to him..." she breathes, love-struck, "I'm sure that he could really use your advice, since he's so shy. Thank you, Nikaido-san!" Dipping her head in a polite nod, her ruffly skirt flares as the waitress twirls on her heels and trots away down the stairs, phone still open.
Her thumb sweeps across the numberpad, quickly changing Benimaru's name to 'THAT HOT GUY FROM _______ MAGAZINE OMG OMG OMG HE'S SO PERF!'
Mid-trade, Rock reached the door. Crimson eyes darted to look through the porthole, but didn't know what to make of the sight. His strong resolve from before was crumbling, because... It would seem that the situation with the girl turned out a lot better than expected? It's not like Beni could've passed along /his/ number, so he must've used his own as a deterrent. A noble sacrifice, or it would be, if the cad weren't the biggest flirt to flirt while flirting and fli--
Easing the obstruction open, the blonde heartthrob pokes his head around the side before slipping through the crack. He doesn't want to just hit the half-Japanese man while on his way back to his mates. Scrubbing a hand through his hair and ruffling it thoroughly, Rock says, "Er, I appreciate it, whatever you did." In no way does the Howard scion suspect he might be hauled off, waiting for the coast to be clear and the sounds of the descending girl to fade into the hubbub rising from below.
"I'll see what I can do," Benimaru agrees to the girl. "Though if he's not interested in girls AT ALL, there's not a lot I can do."
Granted, he didn't say Rock WASN'T interested in girls... he just left it as a POSSIBILITY. He really doesn't know Rock from Adam, so he has no idea where the teen's tastes may lie. And as Benimaru puts his phone away, Rock speaks. "Not a problem at all, man." Here he seeks to loop an arm around Rock's shoulders. "Much like me, it seems like you inherited good looks from someone in your family. So you can expect a lot of that throughout your life. Fortunately I've learned how to deal with it, so I can give you some tips." Smirk.
It is to the model's benefit that Rock only hears the conversation as a muffled buzzing, because if he knew that implications were made regarding his sexual preferences...
There would be hell to pay.
And by hell, I mean the Howard scion would be as embarrassed as all get out. He might have shouted at Benimaru that he's not interested in men. Or punched him.
The waitress, as titillated as she is now that there's some famous person's number in her cellphone, doesn't understand her attractive pickup until the words finally register once she's returned to her duties of clearing glasses and plates from the tables of the restaurant. "It all makes sense now..." To her, the idea of Rock and another handsome guy has strange appeal. She would definitely support their forbidden love! Squeal!
Arm looped around his shoulders, the fair-haired teen starts in alarm. "?!" His head turns, wide crimson eyes traveling to their limits to stare. "Wha...?" Rock intones slowly, confusion evident as brows draw toward the centre. The Howard scion's good looks certainly weren't inherited from the paternal side of his family -- Marie Heinlein is the culprit. It's a curse that the American boy knows full well; pointing it out is entirely unnecessary... But when Benimaru has the gall to say that he has learned precisely how to manage female attention in a capacity that doesn't involve a fight, his thoughts drift to the events that had just occured.
That flirty, womanizing behaviour, denoting Benimaru as an out-and-out profligate. He's a philanderer.
Rock bristles, his back straightening. They're the same height, so this does little to dislodge the gesture of fatherly... stuff, or camaraderie. Everything about him in an instant suggests something cold and unwelcoming. Even threatening, depending on how atuned the half-Japanese model happens to be to the emotions of others. The heartthrob of Taiyo High scowls and reaches up to brush the hand off, "How about no? I don't need tips from--"
"A womanizer, a playboy, a cad, a roué, a Lothario, a Casanova," Benimaru interrupts, with a nonchalant wave of his other hand. "I've been called all of those and more. Doesn't make it true. Besides, I did you a favor. That girl was about to go back to her friends and tell them what a HORRIBLE person you were for brushing her off. Now I know you didn't want to hurt her feelings. But that's exactly what you did."
Oh, Benimaru is not unaware of Rock's very sudden 'get the hell away from me' attitude. Not at all. He wasn't unaware in the slightest. He just pretended not to care! Because Rock obviously needs some help in dealing with girls! Which he helpfully provides. "See, a girl tries to be pretty for you, and starts doing like she was doing? Pretending not to notice her is the absolute WORST THING you can do, even if you're not into her. When a girl's doing that, she WANTS to be noticed."
ARE YOU READING HIS MIND?!
GET OUT OF HIS MIND, BENIMARU!
The interruption happens like a car careening around the corner and into the window of a storefront; it is so sudden and jarring that he is taken aback with even a step to hear the list of everything Benimaru claims he isn't. Punctuating his statement is the nonchalant wave of his hand. Not for an instant does Rock Howard believe that he is anything but a paler Don Juan...
But the model DID do him a favour.
However, Rock didn't ask him to! It's a mulligan or something!
Guilt blankets him as it is pointed out that he had brushed the little waitress off and her feelings were hurt. The Howard scion has the good grace to look appropriately ashamed, turning away and directing a hard gaze to the hardwood floor... Or maybe Rock can't believe what's happening and plots to drive his elbow straight into the model's solar plexus.
Nah, he's not a bad guy.
"Look," he exhales a sigh of infinite suffering, crimson irises vanishing behind lids, "I didn't want to upset her or anything, but I'm not gonna play games, either. They don't listen when I say I'm not interested. If I ignore them, they're eventually going to give up." Some don't - Rock's fanclub at Taiyo, for instance - but any woman with a modicum of common sense is likely to get the picture.
He... doesn't like the fact that Benimaru is either apathetic or oblivious to his very obvious body language. Rock doesn't push the arm draped around his shoulders away unkindly, but it is brusque like his speech, "You're trying to help, yeah, I can see that," his regulation jacket shifts as fingers wrap around the protruding bone of his pelvis on one side, "I don't--"
Another moment to intervene. Hm. He doesn't... what? Need help? Think she was pretty? Care if she wanted to be noticed? Let us see how Nikaido handles the heartthrob this time, ho ho ho.
"So you'd think." Benimaru yet again cuts in. He doesn't seem all that put off about his arm being shrugged off, but neither does he attempt to place it back where it was. "But no, they won't give up. Women are persistent creatures! They don't 'take the hint'. Which is kind of ironic if you think about it. All the complaints about guys 'just don't get it', you know?"
The shootfighter reaches over and taps Rock on the chest. "That's just it. Common sense would make you think they'd just give up. But they don't. Women have to have a reason for EVERYTHING. So if you just keep brushing them off, they'll try to come up with their own reasons. BUT! You can't ever be honest about not being interested, either. Because if you say you're just not interested, they take it personally."
Seizing the opportunity to interject with his two cents and launching into an explanation about the similarities of men and women, Rock reels a bit, his confusion such that the continued lecture blurs together. It's all one massive dump of words. He really wonders what basis Benimaru has to so vehemently deny that he is a womanizer...
Shaking his head to clear the confuzzled fog, the motion disrupts the careful disorganization of his fair hair. It settles in a state of further disarray. The lean teenager attempts to speak, "Better than leading them-- wuh?" The model taps Rock on the sternum; he blinks, having lost his place in his sentence and his entire train of thought soon thereafter. "So, what am I supposed to do?" N..no, don't believe Ondore's lies!
--Er, Nikaido's. DON'T BE A GULLIBLE TWIT, ROCK!
"I'm not trying to make everyone happy, I can't, but if being honest doesn't work and if they won't get the point when I ignore them, I have no idea how to deal with this." For one brief and shining moment, the attractive American boy glances to Benimaru as though he may have some worthwhile wisdom to impart (this is probably a first.) If the phrase 'Bag it before you tag it.' is uttered, Rock will sock the shootfighter in the mush, storming away to rejoin his fellows.
His lips work themselves into yet another frown, the broody son of Geese Howard grinding molar against molar. "I'm no good at this stuff," Rock admits honestly, as if that weren't the most obvious thing on the planet right now. I mean, how could anyone not see that girls make him nervous, or that he's just an awkward but pretty kid?
MEANWHILE, AT THE TABLE OF ROCK'S FRIENDS
"Hey, Rock's been gone a long time, should we check the toilet?"
A snicker, "Maybe he's constipated."
"That's terrible, I was constipated for like a month straight and..."
"Gonna be perfectly honest," Benimaru begins. "And feel free to let me know if I'm wrong." In what is probably a surprisingly empathetic tone, he notes, "The kind of girl who doesn't understand that batting her eyelashes and wiggling her butt at you isn't what you want, probably isn't the kind of girl you want anyway. You don't really strike me as the type to want to... flit from flower to flower, so to speak."
So that's what he calls it, eh?
"It's not everybody's thing, I know. Everybody's different. So... if you really want to shut it down immediately, you can always just say you're not looking. Just say, 'Thanks, I'm flattered, but I'm not looking for a girlfriend right now'. Just be confident, smile, and don't make it seem like it's forced. Which is harder than it sounds, I know."
But because Benimaru's spells of humanity rarely last longer than a few moments, he just HAS to add, "But if you want to get some confidence first, you can always play the field for a while. Experience is the best teacher, after all. Besides, you seem a little high-strung. Might do you some good to 'let off some steam', ne?"
When empathy and wisdom comes packaged with such colourful descriptions, it does little to sway his initial assessment that the shootfighter is a pig. Really, the model casts himself in an even worse light. The teen's lip curls in distaste, the bridge of his straight nose wrinkles. He most certainly doesn't care to 'flit from flower to flower', if that means exactly what Rock thinks it does, his ears reddening just a touch at the very idea of doing so.
Somehow, Benimaru manages to surprise the fair-haired young man as he carries on, showing no signs of losing steam. He says something genuine.
Actual real counsel that Rock finds himself admitting inwardly, he's never thought to try it.
He hasn't ever exactly rejected a girl with confidence, especially not those of his unofficial fanclub who dog his every step, day in and day out.
But, the cad ruins it all in the eyes of Rock, any consideration that he might have misjudged Benimaru and done so harshly. The suggestion that he plays the field gets his hackles raised. The young wolf bares white rows of teeth in a grimace, but he exercises a small measure of restraint. Talk about disrespectful, he would have a reputation comparable to this idiot and it's the last thing the Howard scion would want!
Unfortunately Nikaido the dirtbag wasn't finished.
High-strung? 'Let off a little--' !!! Rock nearly chokes on his own tongue, making a gurgling noise torn between a growl and nasty rebuke that doesn't make it to words. His face dyes red. He slaps his palm against his forehead, probably hard enough to leave a hilarious imprint behind. "No /THANK/ you." The heartthrob of Taiyo snaps icily, and before he flips his lid at the model and puts his head through the door behind them for endorsing flagrant promiscuity and treating women like objects, the student of the Legendary Wolf STOMPS off without preamble. He tromps back into the restaurant the way the waitress went, practically throwing his svelte frame into the first available seat at the table where he was, sending a hand through silken locks of sunshine yellow hair.
"Have a good shit?" one of the boys asks him.
"What did you say?" Howard stares at his friend. Did his ears deceive him?
That particular person is elbowed in the ribs by another of his mates, "Wow, dude. You don't just go asking people if they've had a nice shit over dinner."
"Right, right. Rock, I hope your constipation cleared up and the delivery went smoothly."
"Eeh?" Benimaru blinks as he notes Rock suddenly storming off. He'd seen the blushing. Maybe the subject is just more then Rock can handle? Heh... that makes sense. "Good luck, tiger!" he calls after Rock, complete with toothy grin and thumbsup. Hopefully he did the kid some good, and there's something he can take away from it.
Other than 'Benimaru is a pig'. Because like... he totally is.
But Benimaru had something there, suggesting that Rock should tell them CONFIDENTLY that he's not looking. Nervousness could mean lying, after all! "...I hope the kid can manage." He strokes his chin thoughtfully. "I don't get it. He's too cute to not have women all over him." Benimaru just doesn't understand a guy to whom that isn't a good thing...
Ah well. Benimaru still has some time to kill. A drink sounds like a good idea. And hey! Maybe he can make it a two-for-one with phone numbers!
Log created on 17:53:43 01/12/2015 by Benimaru, and last modified on 02:39:37 01/23/2015.