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Too Much Information

Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Too Much Information




     "That Inuyasha Takashi is such a jerk!" Kagome slammed her soda down so hard on the table that it sloshed over the edges of the glass.


     Sango sighed and handed her friend a fresh handful of napkins. "I know that, Kagome. You've been ranting about him for the past week."


     "I'm sorry, Sango." She dabbed at the spilled soda. "I won't talk about him anymore."


     Kagome leaned back into the padded seat of the booth. Her eyes sought out a young boy of about eleven playing one of the video games nearby.


     "How's Kohaku?" she asked.


     Sango's eyes lit up. "He's so much better. He complained when I told him that if he was well enough to play, then he was well enough to go to school." She rubbed a hand over her eyes.


     Kagome leaned forward. "Are you getting enough sleep? You won't do yourself or Kohaku any favors if you fall ill." She didn't like the dark circles under her friend's eyes. Sango stretched herself too thin trying to do everything on her own.


     "I'm fine." The older girl smiled brightly. Kagome dropped the subject, though the worry didn't leave her eyes. Instead, she turned to stare out the window. Brightly colored leaves clung to the trees. Only a few decorated the sidewalks, crunching merrily under the feet of passersby. It looked like fall, but the weather had decided to make one last stab at summer. Kagome watched people parade by wearing tee shirts and shorts. 'Well, I said I missed summer,' she thought.


     "Hey, ladies." A cheerful voice broke into her thoughts. She looked up into violet eyes, crinkled at the edges with laughter.


     "Hi, Miroku," Kagome said as he slid onto the seat beside Sango. He kissed Sango's cheek in greeting, flashing a friendly grin at Kagome. 'His eyes are the same color as Inuyasha's.' Kagome mentally shook her head. 'Ugh. Why am I thinking about him?'


     Her gaze fell to Sango's left hand, resting on the table. She blinked. Was that a ring on her finger?


     "Are you engaged?" she asked, her voice rising.


     Sango nodded and linked her fingers with Miroku's. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.” She winced at the slight hurt in her friend’s eyes. “Miroku proposed rather suddenly two nights ago. I wanted to tell you, but you were so busy studying for your math test.  Can you forgive me?”


     Kagome reached across the table and patted her hand reassuringly. “It’s okay, Sango.  I can get rather focused when I’m trying to understand math.  I probably wouldn’t have listened even if you did try to tell me.”  Sango’s anxious look relaxed into a smile.


     "My lovely Sango finally agreed to bear my child," Miroku said. His hand slipped from around Sango's shoulders to someplace lower.


     "Pervert!" Sango shrieked, slapping Miroku with her free hand.


     "But, Sango, we're going to be married soon!"


     "That doesn't give you the right to grope me in public!"


     Miroku smiled a lecherous smile. "Does that mean I can grope you in private?"


     Kagome sighed as she watched the two bicker. Miroku had pursued Sango for over a year, earning many slaps and concussions. Three months ago Sango turned twenty. Miroku was four years older. Before they met, he was quite a favorite with the ladies. She was the first female to resist him.


     "What's wrong, Kagome?" Sango's voice startled her. She realized that she was staring out the window again. She smiled and shook her head. "Are you still thinking about that jerk, Inuyasha?"


     Miroku stole a fry from Sango's plate. "Haven't seen Inuyasha in a while," he mumbled around a mouthful of food. "What's he been up to?"


     Kagome stared at Miroku. "You know Inuyasha?"


     "Yeah, we went to school together." Miroku helped himself to a few more fries and a drink of soda.


     "I babysat his son last week." Kagome's look turned speculative. "Do you know who his mother is and why they aren't living together anymore?"


     Miroku choked on a fry. He drained the rest of Sango's soda and coughed to clear his airways. "Now, there's a touchy subject."


     "But you do know?" Sango prodded. Her face was filled with as much curiosity as Kagome's.


     Miroku looked around as if checking to make sure no one was listening in. All of the other diners were happily engaged in conversation. They showed no interest in what any of the three in the booth had to say.


     Miroku straightened and his voice dropped to a solemn chant. "It is a sad but true tale. Listen well, that you may avoid the mistakes of the past and the horrors of - Ouch!" Sango slapped him on the back of the head.


     "Tell it right," she threatened. "Without the dramatics." He glared at her reproachfully. She raised her fist. He held up his hands in a placating gesture.


     "Let's see," he mused. "Where was I?" He snapped his fingers. "That's right! Well, Inuyasha and I went to school together. He was popular, but didn't have many close friends. Most students were afraid of his temper. We had been best friends since grade school. Everything was going great, and then she showed up.


     "She was a new transfer student and a little shy. Inuyasha took pity on her. They started going out a few months later. Dated clear up to graduation. I thought they would be quits right after school. She was always showing off that she was the great Inuyasha's girlfriend. Well, he proposed to her. In front of the whole graduating class, no less. She soaked up the attention, playing shy, but said yes. Inuyasha was so happy I didn't have the heart to question his choice of mate.


     "Inuyasha got a job at his father's company. He was really going places. They were invited to a lot of fancy parties. The bosses took to him and within a year he had been made a vice president. His darling wife preened and strutted like a Las Vegas showgirl. But then, Shiro was born.


     "I don't think I had ever seen Inuyasha so proud. He had a son. Right away he gave up his vice presidency for a job with fewer hours, not to mention less pay. That's when the trouble started. She loved the parties, the important guests--all the things Inuyasha gave up. She started disappearing for hours at a time, leaving Shiro with anybody who would watch him. The two of them fought all the time. About a year ago she demanded a divorce. Said all manner of things, even admitted to having an affair. By that time Inuyasha was glad to see her go."


     Miroku stopped to take a drink of Kagome's soda. She was too caught up in the story to notice. "What was her name, Miroku?" she pressed.


     "Her name was… " He paused for dramatic effect. "Kikyo. You actually look a lot like her, Kagome."


     Kagome shook her head sympathetically. "No wonder he was so hostile. Poor Inuyasha. And poor Shiro."


     "He doesn't want pity." Miroku looked for more fries to steal, but they were all gone. "I wouldn't say anything, unless you want your head bitten off."


     The dark-haired boy who had been playing video games earlier ran over to their table. "Hey, big sister, can I have more money?"


     "Haven't you played enough video games, Kohaku?" Sango scolded. He just grinned and shrugged his thin shoulders.


     Kagome remembered an idea she'd had earlier. "How would you like to spend the weekend with Souta, Kohaku? If it's all right with your sister."


     "Can I?" Kohaku turned to Sango, his eyes shining.


     Sango shot a glance at Kagome, but nodded. Kohaku whooped, grabbed the money she held out, and left to find another game.


     "What are you up to?" Sango hissed when Kohaku was out of hearing.


     "You're exhausted, Sango. This will give you a break. Besides, Souta will love having him over. They can stay up all night playing video games."


     Sango opened her mouth to argue, but must have decided it wasn't worth it, judging from the mulish expression on Kagome's face. Miroku raised his hand to snag the attention of one of the waitresses. The girls were out of food for him to steal. Kagome finally noticed that her soda was gone. She shot a peeved look at Miroku. He just grinned and ordered her another one from the pretty young waitress. His eyes roamed over the girl's form appreciatively. Sango smacked him.


     Kagome couldn't help but laugh. Homework was done; she was hanging out with her friends. Life was perfect. Though, like her grandpa always said, be careful when things are going too well.


     "'Gome!" A small figure came shooting across the room. Shiro climbed onto her lap, throwing his arms around her neck. Kagome squeezed him happily, before trying to pry his arms loose.


     "Not so tight, Shiro," she said. "'Gome can't breathe." She heard a snort and looked up to see Inuyasha approaching their table.


     "Hey there, Inuyasha," Miroku said. "Long time, no see."


     "Hello, Mr. Takashi," Kagome said in a cool tone. She heard another snort and looked over to see Miroku trying to smother his laughter.


     "Mr. Takashi." He got out between gasps. "When did you become so formal? This from a man who thinks a balanced meal is a package of ramen in each hand." Inuyasha crossed his arms and glowered at his best friend.


     Shiro slipped down from Kagome's lap to tug on his father's shirt. "Ask her now, Daddy."


     Inuyasha's expression softened when he looked at his small son. He reached into his pocket and pulled out an envelope. "Here," he said, thrusting it at Kagome.


     Kagome took it gingerly. "What's this?"


     "You left before I could pay you." He looked everywhere but at her. "But don't think I'll track you down every time."


     "Every time?" Kagome echoed.


     "Ask her now!" Shiro insisted, bouncing a little. Kagome raised a questioning eyebrow. Inuyasha rubbed the back of his neck. He suddenly found the ceiling very interesting. When he looked down, he didn't quite meet her eyes.


     "Would you like to baby-sit Shiro tomorrow?"




Food for thought:


If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them?


copyright: The Literary Dragon 2004