11. Blame it on the Fugu (5)

Unlike me, Ryu did not drink deeply. He merely dipped his lips in the broth. His mouth was glistening, and I wanted to lean toward him and kiss him. Then the noise in the restaurant began to sound like water, like water running, like a brook or a stream. Musical. Hypnotic. And my heart was suddenly racing. It was beating very fast. How warm it was in the restaurant, and all of the lights were twinkling like stars: starry, starry night all around me as I floated on a river of sound.

“Oh, I think I’ve had too much sake,” I whispered, hand to my brow as the first little inkling of danger began to tie down my limbs. What was going on? Not the fugu? Surely, not that.

Ryu still watched me intently. His dark eyes never straying from mine. I tried to say his name, “Ryu,” but though my lips puckered slightly, no sound came forth. I felt the room slide sideways. Ryu stood swiftly and caught me before I crumpled forward. I felt my chin come to rest on his shoulder.

The owner’s wife noticed, looked worried. Ryu apologized, tried to simplify matters. “Too much to drink, neh?” I heard him say.

Mrs. Yamada’s smile was strained. She nodded and glanced toward the kitchen.

Ryu gathered me up in his arms. He is very strong. He carried me to the street. A cab was waiting at the curb. The door opened automatically, as cab doors do in Japan. Ryu deposited me in the cab, muttered something to the driver and the cab whisked me away. Ryu stood there, at the curb, and watched the cab disappear. Then he turned and walked back into the restaurant to finish his dinner so that Yamadasan would not worry, so that he’d know everything was ok.

—DEAD LOVE/Chapter 11.5/Blame it on the Fugu


  • Anonymous

    This is one of the most sinister scenes in Dead Love. Compelling to read but worrisome at the same time. Wonderful chapter … wonderful writing. Thanks for posting another excerpt!