Lisa and Brash stood in front of the Sakura Japanese restaurant. Brash was wearing a casual, pale green A-line dress. She was trying hard not to be noticed. Brash, as a rule, hated wearing dresses.
"I don't have to eat any of that raw fish stuff, do I, Aunt Lisa?" grumbled Brash.
Lisa looked down at her niece. Quite an achievement considering they were almost the same height. Still, Brash definitely felt looked down upon.
"You should be glad that I decided to bring you along after giving me the run around today," scolded Lisa. "Since Trisha's adopted sister is coming along, I figured you'd want someone your own age to talk to. Just remember what I said. When you see Sara, try not to stare, and don't ask her embarrassing questions. She's very sensitive about the way she looks."
Brash couldn't let on to her aunt that she had already met Sara without getting herself into further trouble. Still, she saw this as an opportunity to show up her aunt for once.
* * *
"Remember, Trisha, you can't let on that Brash and I have met before. I don't want to get her into any trouble," said Sara.
She was sitting in the passenger side seat of Trisha's car. Sara wore a sleeveless, black halter top and a medium length skirt with a split up the left side. Most responsible adults would disapprove of such revealing attire, however in Sara's case, it was necessary. She needed to expose as much of herself as possible to light while still remaining publicly decent so that her chloroplast cells wouldn't become dormant.
Trisha sat behind the wheel navigating the busy nighttime traffic of downtown Monument City. She reached out with one hand and tapped on a keyboard as she drove. A computerized voice spoke the words as Trisha typed.
"I'm not sure I approve of this, but I'll respect your wishes. This time."
* * *
The sleek, black sports car pulled in front of the restaurant. Brash let out a low whistle.
"Now, that's what I call a car," she said. "A lot nicer than that old, beat up Impala you're driving, eh, Aunt Lisa?"
Lisa elbowed Brash. "Hey, it's paid for."
The passenger door opened and out stepped Sara. She wore black leather sandals to complement her outfit. Brash's eyes went wide. Lisa elbowed Brash even harder.
"I told you not to stare," she hissed.
"But look what she's wearing," said Brash in shock. "You'd never let me wear anything like that."
Lisa snorted. "You got that right. If your father ever found out, he'd kill me."
The black sports car pulled off and Sara headed to where Lisa and Brash were waiting. As Sara stepped up to the two diminutive redheads, Lisa cleared her throat. "Hello, Sara. I'd like you to meet Kelly, my niece."
"Kelly?" inquired Sara.
"Watch it," muttered Brash under her breath.
"Pleased to meet you, Kelly," said Sara offering her hand.
Bash took it and they shook. "Sara," returned Brash.
"Trish will be back after she parks the car," said Sara to Lisa. "She said to go on in, and she would catch up."
"Alright then," said Lisa.
She herded the two teens toward the entrance of the restaurant. Immediately upon entering, Sara felt more than saw the rude stares coming from patrons and resaurant staff alike. Much to her surprise, she found that it didn't bother her as much as it usually did. Lisa cleared her throat to get the waiter's attention.
"Harrigan, party of four," said Lisa in a commanding tone.
The waiter seemed to snap out of a trance and looked down at the reservation list. "Yes, right this way."
"The fourth member of our party will be along shortly," added Lisa. "She doesn't speak, so be sure to direct her to us."
"Of course," said the waiter.
As they were led to their table, Sara watched as several pairs of eyes followed them through the restaurant.
"How do you stand it?" ask Brash in a whispered aside.
"Usually, I don't," said Sara impressed with her own self control. "But for some reason, it just doesn't seem such a big deal anymore."
Shortly after being seated, Trisha made her appearance.
"Boy, it's nigh impossible to find parking around here," she signed to Lisa.
"Tell me about it," laughed Lisa.
As the two adults conversed, Sara and Brash hid behind their menus, effectively forming a blind between them and the adults.
"So, your real name's Kelly, huh?" said Sara.
"Alright, Sara, don't rub it in," growled Brash.
"What's wrong?" asked Sara. "Don't you like that name?"
"In a word, no," said Brash. "It was my grandfather's name. It only serves to remind me that my da wanted a boy instead of a girl."
"Ouch," winced Sara. "That's harsh."
"That's life," said Brash philosophically.
"So," said Sara wanting to change the subject. "What are you going to order?"
Brash shrugged. "I dunno. I don't know anything about Japanese food."
"You could start with some miso soup," suggested Sara.
"Uh-huh, and what exactly is that," asked Brash.
"Uhm, fried tofu in soup stock made with miso paste," said Sara.
"And miso is...?" prompted Brash.
"I'm not sure," said Sara, "but it's very good."
"I think I'll pass," said Brash. "I'm not the tofu type."
"Hmm," pondered Sara. "I know! You'd definitely like tempura."
"Would I, now?" said Brash.
"Trust me," said Sara. "You like fried food, don't you?"
"Sure," said Brash. "What teenager doesn't?"
"Well, there you are," said Sara. "Tempura is deep fried."
"Deep fried what?" asked Brash.
"Whatever they serve," said Sara. "Look here, they've got shrimp, squid, green pepper, eggplant, sweet potato, cabocha..."
"It's a sort of Japanese pumpkin," said Sara. "They've also got carrot, shiitake mushrooms, and renkon." At Brash's blank look, Sara added, "Renkon are lotus roots."
"I think I'll stick with the shrimp," said Brash.
"You need to eat a vegetable, Kelly," warned Lisa.
"Better get the mixed tempura," suggested Sara.
"Oh alright," sighed Brash.