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Sonseearae
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Chapter 4
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Chapter 3

Permanent Linkby Sonseearae on Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:15 pm

I looked up from Sensei Li's class and checked my cell phone; it was 4:12pm.  I thought time was dragging during school today but it had nothing on how slow time was dragging by waiting on my mom to show up at the dojo.  Daniel was missing in action too, which only added to my nervousness.  I had stopped watching the class about four o'clock and just kept watch out the window.  I checked the phone again.  Seriously?  It was still 4:12pm.  I tapped the phone under the guise of making sure it was working and just then it changed to 4:13pm.  So, I tapped it again.  Nothing.  Argh!
I looked up and suddenly mom and Daniel both came into view.  They were walking together toward the dojo.  I flew outside to meet them; the door to the dojo slamming shut louder than I would have thought possible.  I grimaced apologetically as I saw Sensei Li look up and towards me, but he just gave me a knowing smile and turned back to his class.  
Mom saw me and interrupted a laugh to wave to me.  Daniel had her laughing.  “What a fantastic sign,” I thought and waved back.  “Hi honey,” she said a few seconds later as we came into hearing range.  
“Hi mom!  Hi Daniel!” I called.
Mom raised her eyebrows a bit at me referring to Daniel by his first name but he was right on it, “First name basis is at my request,” Daniel said, “as long as it's okay with you, Bobbi.”  Apparently, she had already introduced herself.  Mom's name was actually Alberta but not too many people knew that; everyone just called her Bobbi.
“Um, you guys know each other?” I asked, suddenly feeling a bit uncomfortable.
I had to park a couple of blocks away,” she said.  “Daniel was walking by as I parked and guessed it was me.”  
“You look like your mom,” Daniel offered, taking the mystery out of it.  Mom beamed.  She always said that I took after dad, but loved it when someone said that she and I looked alike.  This was a good start.  “How about we grab something to drink across the street and then, if you like, I can give you a tour of the dojo,” Daniel asked her.  
Mom glanced across the street toward Starbucks and grinned.  I already knew her answer and that Starbucks would soon be down one venti Caramel Frappuccino.  “Try to keep up boys,” she said and started to cross the street by way of her answer.  I shot Daniel a look but he ignored it and simply smiled innocently as we tagged along behind her.  
A couple of minutes later we're all sitting at a table with our drinks and mom is just chatting away like she's known Daniel forever.  Finally, the topic got around to the job.  “Josh told me that you've offered him a job cleaning up around the dojo in return for lessons.  Is that correct?” mom asked, suddenly all business like.
“Well, it was a provisional offer, on the condition that it's alright with you,” Daniel said.  
You'd have to know my mother to know what a great choice of words that was.  I figured that if Sensei Li, who was fantastic, was Daniel's student then Daniel must be truly great.  On the other hand, if for some reason the martial arts lessons didn't work out, I could always take 'how to talk to my mother effectively' lessons from him.  
Then he continued, “There’s one more thing.  Josh tells me that his grade point average is a 3.6.  I'll be insisting on a 3.8 by the end of the school year if I'm going to continue working with him.”  My mouth dropped.
“What?” I began, but Daniel cut me off, “That's the deal, Jo...” he started to say firmly and then it was his turn to be cut off.
“Deal!” said mom with a self-satisfied grin.  “Let's go see the dojo.”  
I grinned back in spite of myself.  I can't say that I was pleased with the whole 3.8 thing, but the truth of the matter was that I was pretty much just skating by.  Mom knew that I could do better and wanted me to, but it's hard to complain about A's and B's, so she let it go.  Now she was going to get what she wanted, and I was going to get what I wanted.  I probably would have agreed to getting a 4.0 if that's what it took.  I have no idea how, but I think Daniel knew that somehow.
Daniel gave us the grand tour of the dojo, which took all of about thirty seconds.  There was seating for guests and parents by the window and then two main workout areas, one up front and one in the back.  To the right, as you walked in and sort of hidden from view from the front window unless you got real close and peered around the corner, there was the office.  Back a bit from the office and to the far right of the front workout area was the men's and women's locker rooms with showers and bathrooms.  Further back beyond that to the back wall was an area that was cordoned off by a couple of those Japanese room dividers.  
I was hoping that Daniel would ask me to start that evening, but I didn't expect it.  Besides, it was after 5pm by the time Starbucks and the tour was over and mom would have killed the idea in favor of dinner anyway.  School was from 7am – 2pm and so we made plans for me to show up about 6:15am, which I did every day anyway.  Just before we left Daniel excused himself for a moment, asking us to wait and disappeared into the men's locker room.  He returned with a gi.
“You can leave it here in a locker during the week if you like,” he said, “but why don't you take it home tonight and make sure it fits.”  I was really starting to like this guy.  We both knew it would fit; the gi's are sized small, medium and large so there's room for error but I could tell by the look in his eyes that he knew I'd want to try it on immediately and was making up the whole, “make sure it fits” thing for my benefit.  Mom and I said our goodbyes and I gave him what was probably the most sincere thank you of my life with a promise to be there bright and early the next morning.  
My first job and my first martial arts lesson would begin in less than fourteen hours.  What I didn't know was the extent to which my life was about to change.

People confuse passionate with crazy all the time. Just to be clear, I am bat-$#%^ passionate.
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