As predicted by Maile and Etsuko, Akemi is invited to Yutaka’s and Ranger’s bachelor party. Unable to come up with an acceptable excuse not to, he reluctantly agrees to attend. Yutaka has lived in TEKville long enough to have made a few acquaintances among the locals, but truth be told, most of the attendees are friends of Ranger’s. Akemi, of course, knows no one except Yutaka, whom he dislikes intensely. He keeps to the background during the party, which is held at the NY Bar, quietly observing.
Some of Ranger’s construction crew has taken it upon themselves to hire strippers for the occasion, to Yutaka’s intense embarrassment.
When that part of the party gets into full swing, he quietly distances himself from it and reluctantly joins Akemi at the back of the room.
“Thank you for coming, Akemi,” he says, in an attempt to break the ice between them. “Maile would have been very upset if you had refused to give her away.”
“Trust me, I am here only for Maile. She is my only sister, and I would never do anything to make her unhappy, even if it means giving her to the son of the man who nearly ruined her life.”
“Look at it this way: At least she is marrying someone from her own ethnic group. I can’t imagine how upset Etsuko’s parents must be.”
“There is that.” Akemi answers reluctantly, "although her mother is less upset than you might think. Maile has told me a little about their situation, and having known Etsuko since childhood, I am quite impressed with the way she managed to get around her parents’ insistence that she marry the man to whom she was betrothed since she was an infant.”
Yutaka looks at him curiously, not having been privy to the story of Etsuko’s and Ranger’s engagement. Just as he is about to speak, however, one of the strippers who has been alerted to the fact that there are two grooms grabs him by the hand and drags him away to join the festivities.
Akemi’s smile at Yutaka’s discomfiture fades as another stripper slides into the seat vacated by the groom.
“So, what’s your story?” she queries, flaunting her obvious charms in an attempt to catch his attention.
Akemi smiles to himself. The difference between this lush, bold woman and his “fair flower”, Piper, is night and day. In spite of this half-naked woman’s obvious attempt to throw herself at him, he finds that he is completely uninterested.
This is not good, he thinks to himself. Had this happened a few days ago, before I met Piper, I would already have my hands inside what little clothing this woman is wearing. She would be straddling my lap and my pants would be growing uncomfortably tight. But now . . .
He shakes his head slightly, amused at his lack of reaction to the woman across from him.
“Not interested in women, then?” she prods.
“Oh, I am very much interested in one particular woman,” he replies. “You, however, are not her, nor are you remotely like her.”
The woman flushes angrily. Glancing quickly at the rest of the crowd to ensure that no one is looking their way, she jumps up and slaps Akemi across the face, her other hand yanking her bra askew. “HELP!” she shouts, loudly, attracting the attention of the rest of the crowd, all of whom are completely focused on the activity on the stage in the other section of the bar. “HE TRIED TO . . . OH MY GOD, HE TRIED TO ASSAULT ME!”, she continues, clutching her bra to her breasts.
The hilarity on stage comes to a screeching halt as all eyes turn toward the pair.
Yutaka, not quite as oblivious as the accuser believes him to be, has been watching the scene unfold out of the corner of his eye, curious as to how Akemi would react to the woman’s blatant advances. He rises, excusing himself from the attentions of the stripper who has been concentrating on him. He glances at the rest of the men and shakes his head slightly. “Carry on. I’ll handle this.”
The men are filled with curiosity about what is happening between Akemi and the woman, but – encouraged by the strippers who remain on stage – they eagerly return their attention to the baiting of a willing Ranger.
Accustomed to authority and to taking control of a situation, Yutaka crosses to the new section of the bar and confronts the woman. “Get out,” he says, simply.
“But he . . .” she begins.
“He did nothing of the sort. I don’t know what provoked you to do such a thing, but this man made no move whatsoever toward you. You manufactured the whole scenario for some motive of your own, but you have failed. Now . . . get out.” Yutaka remains calm, but the undeniable authority in his voice and manner allow for no protest.
Furious, the woman stalks toward the door, pulling on her coat on the way. All eyes follow her as she crosses the room. (Well, all eyes but Ranger's . . .)
As she opens the door to leave, she shoots a dark look at the two Hawaiians – a look that promises that they have not seen the last of her.
As the door swings shut behind her, Yutaka turns his attention to Akemi. “Are you all right?”
Akemi grins lopsidedly as he rubs his cheek. “Other than the fact that it’s going to take my eyes a few minutes to uncross from that blow, I’m fine.”
He looks appraisingly at Yutaka. “Thank you. Why . . . ?”
“Why did I come to your rescue?” Yutaka rubs the back of his head uncertainly. “I guess I just don’t like predators. Of either gender. My father was such a person, and I have lived in the shadow of that ugliness for my entire life, doing what I could behind the scenes to prevent him from taking advantage of innocent young women. I don’t have to stay behind the scenes any longer. You’re going to be my brother-in-law in a couple of days and I couldn’t just sit by and watch that woman play you like that.”