Never Trust a Big Butt and a Smile
Imari Jade

an excerpt



Prologue

Tsuji Masamoto looked down at the young girl seated in the chair in the principal's office. His grandfather must have lost his damn mind taking on the responsibility of raising a teenager at his age. This was the third time he'd been called down to the school in less than a month since she'd come to live with them. It was getting so bad, he knew the school's phone number by heart just by seeing it on his cell phone, and the staff in the office were starting to call him by his first name. If it were up to him, he'd pack this hot little mess up and ship her ass off to America or to some reform school where she'd surely end up if she didn't stop acting up.

"What has she done this time?" he asked Mr. Nakaidou, the disciplinarian.

"She was smoking in the girl's restroom," the portly Japanese man answered.

Tsuji scowled down at her. "Have you lost your mind, girl? Where did you get cigarettes from?"

Yumi Jackson looked up coolly and then smiled at him. "Does it matter?"

Tsuji counted to ten silently. How could someone with such a beautiful face be such a pain in the behind? "Yes, it does matter. You're fifteen years old. I don't know where you come from, but in Japan, the legal age to smoke is twenty."

"I got it from a friend," Yumi said. "I just wanted to try it."

Tsuji shook his head. "So stupid. Do you have any idea what those things can do to your lungs? Do you want to follow your grandfather to an early grave?"

Yumi stood up angrily. "Leave my grandfather out of it. The man was a saint." She stomped out of the office, leaving him alone with Mr. Nakaidou.

"How long is she suspended for this time?"

"I'm not going to suspend her," Mr. Nakaidou said. "Both you and I know that's not going to do Yumi any good. She is just looking for attention. Maybe your grandfather should check out a boarding school for her… you know, a place that can instill some good values in her. She's going to end up on the streets or dead if we don't get her on the right track."

"Is there such a school here in Osaka?" Tsuji asked. He was willing to do all of the research and handle everything if he got to ship her out of his life and his grandfather's home.

"No, I'm afraid not," Mr. Nakaidou said. "But there is a good one in Paris."

"France?" Tsuji asked.

Mr. Nakaidou nodded. "A change of venue will do her some good. Maybe if she was around her own kind she will calm down. Being the only black student in school must be very hard on her. Kids these days can be very cruel and I'm sure she gets a good bit of teasing insults from her fellow classmates."

"She's being bullied?" Tsuji asked loudly. Yumi wasn't his favorite person on the planet, but he wouldn't stand for anyone bullying her.

"I'm not sure," Mr. Nakaidou said. "She denies it every time I question her about it. She tells me everything is fine, but I'm sure it's not. I've even heard some of the teachers say some very unkind things about her."

Tsuji sighed. Yumi was born and raised in Osaka, and had attended this school for the last two years, so naturally he assumed that everything was okay. "I'll speak with my grandfather about having a talk with her. Maybe he can make some sense of all of this."

"Wouldn't it be better if you talked to her since you're closer to her age?" Mr. Nakaidou asked.

"She hates my guts," Tsuji said. "She was just being nice earlier. Normally she calls me a not-so-nice name."

Mr. Nakaidou frowned. "I won't ask you to tell me what it is. If I know Yumi, it's probably something she needs her mouth washed out with soap for."

That was true. For a young lady, she had a very broad gutter vocabulary. "I'll try to talk to her too. Maybe she would like to go away to another country?.I heard Paris is nice in the springtime." He shook Mr. Nakaidou's hand. "Thanks for the help and the advice. I hope this is the last time we have to meet under these circumstances."

"I hope so too," Mr. Nakaidou said. "Miss Jackson is a very smart young lady. Her test scores are off the charts compared to some of the other students, but her behavior is beyond horrible. A nice boarding school could turn her into a perfect young woman whom the Masamoto family would be proud to have as mistress of the manor."

Tsuji frowned. "That is never going to happen. Hopefully my grandfather can marry her off to some poor, unsuspecting fellow as soon as she graduates from high school. She stands to inherit a lot of money on her twenty-fifth birthday, should she live that long. I'm sure money will buy her someone who can put up with her."

Mr. Nakaidou smiled. "Don't be ready to write Miss Jackson off yet. I have faith that she will eventually calm down and be a respectable member of society. She's quite lovely, I'm sure there's someone out there to tame that wildcat."

Tsuji left the disciplinarian's office thinking about what Mr. Nakaidou had suggested. The first thing he would do after he took Yumi home was head for his laptop to look up that boarding school. Then he would try to gently ease the suggestion into conversation the very next time he and his grandfather were alone.

The queen of all evil was waiting for him in the lobby. Other students were looking at her and shaking their head as they walked past her. Yumi was gazing off at something, ignoring them. Even though everyone in the school probably hated her, Yumi still held her head up high. His grandfather still called her his little Nubian princess. She did have a certain cuteness about her. There was no denying that she was going to be quite beautiful when she got older. Even, at fifteen, she had breasts and hips bigger than any female in the school, to include most of the teachers. And she was tall for her age. Tsuji didn't remember Yumi's parents. He was only eight the last time she had visited the compound with her grandfather. But he assumed she took her height after her grandfather, who was nearly six feet tall when he died. The hem of her navy uniform barely reached her thighs. She would need new skirts if she didn't stop growing. Tsuji finally reached her. "Come on, let's go."

Yumi didn't say a word. She just followed him docilely, probably trying to think of a way to eradicate him from the face of the earth. She would have made a good member of the Yakuza if they accepted females as members. He'd never met a young lady so hell-bent on causing destruction.

Tadayuki Nakijima, the chauffeur, waited at the curb next to the limousine. He opened the back door and Yumi slid inside, not bothering to smooth down the hem of her uniform like a proper young lady.

Tadayuki just smirked at him. Tsuji ignored him and climbed into the backseat. The driver closed the door and got into the front seat. "What did she do this time?"

"She was smoking in the girl's room," Tsuji answered.

"Someone gave her a lighter? Are they crazy? She could have burned the place down."

Tsuji agreed with him. "Apparently they don't know the depths of her evilness like we do."

"Bite me, Tsuji," Yumi said.

"That's Mr. Masamoto," Tsuji said. "Don't be so familiar with me."

She rolled his eyes at him. "Masamoto-sama."

"That's much better," Tsuji said.

"Baka," Yumi said sarcastically.

"You're the idiot, my dear. No sane person would do the things that you do. If you don't watch yourself, you're going to wind up in jail."

"Ooh, I'm frightened. Let them put me in jail. I don't care."

Tsuji reached over and grabbed her by the chin. "You better learn to care you little twit. Do you have any idea what can happen to someone like you in a cell? Do you want to be some butch's girlfriend?"

Yumi pulled away from him. "Don't touch me ever again or I'll slit your throat when you go to sleep."

Tsuji snatched his hand away from her. "Don't threaten me, honey. You don't know what I can do to you."

"Ooh, I'm so afraid of the big bad Yakuza brat."

Tadayuki stifled a snicker from the front seat. He drove through the gates of the compound and they closed and shut after they were safely through. The argument continued.

"Don't encourage her," Tsuji said. "That's the problem with the situation now. My grandfather treats her like some damn angel. She has his bodyguards wrapped around her finger and my uncles both think she's cute. Well, she's not. She's an undisciplined little badass who is going to not only get herself in trouble one of these days, but us too." He got out of the car once Tadayuki stopped, parked, and walked up the sidewalk and into the house, fussing. He took off his shoes and put on his slippers.

"Good afternoon," his grandfather said from the receiving room. "What has you all up in arms?"

Tsuji spun around at the sound of his grandfather's voice. Hisao Masamoto, the ex-yakuza boss sat in his favorite chair surrounded by his financial advisor, Sabota Hamasaki, and his attorney, Akae Fujioka. Tsuji bowed deeply. "Good evening, grandfather, Sabota and Akae. Pardon my interruption."

The front door slammed shut, followed by the sound of angry feet on the steps.

"It sounds like Yumi is home," his grandfather said. "Did the two of you have another argument?"

"Yes," Tsuji said angrily. "I had to go to see the disciplinarian again this afternoon."

"What did she do this time?" Akae asked.

Akae was not hoodwinked by Yumi's supposed goodness. He knew a demon when he saw one.

"She got caught smoking in the girl's restroom," Tsuji said.

His grandfather laughed. "Is that all?"

Tsuji frowned at him. "This is not funny. Do you know how embarrassing it is to be called to the principal's office for your naughty godchild? Instead of taking up for her, you need to turn her over your knee and spank her."

"Would you like to do the honors?" his grandfather asked.

Tsuji nodded. "If I thought you were serious, I would do it."

Sabota laughed this time. "My money is on Yumi. She's a pretty tough little cookie."

Big brave yakuza did not refer to girls as "cookie" or "Nubian princesses." Were he and Akae the only two who saw Yumi for what she really was?

"Did they suspend her again?" his grandfather asked.

"No, but they should have. She's too young to be smoking or fighting or heavens knows what else she's done and hasn't been reported yet."

"She's just a young girl," his grandfather said. "Yumi used to be such a sweet child. You need to find out what's happening to her."

"Why me?" Tsuji asked.

"Because you're just three years older than she is and maybe she'll open up and talk to you."

"She just threatened to slit my throat if I ever lay a finger on her."

The three older guys laughed.

"She's just a girl, not an assassin," Sabota said.

"Says you," Tsuji said. "I wouldn't give her a gun if you know what's good for you."

"Turn on the old Masamoto charm," his grandfather said. "No woman can resist it."

Sabota agreed with his grandfather. "Treat her like a sister."

Tsuji scowled. "I'd rather bathe with rattlesnakes." He marched out of the receiving room.

The three men laughed at him.

Tsuji ignored them. The only talking he would do with Yumi was at her trial through the prosecutor. He marched up the stairs to his room to look up that boarding school.

Two days later, his grandfather was called to the school to talk to the disciplinarian. Apparently Yumi had been caught trying to teach some students how to rig up a homemade bomb. This time she was not only expelled, but forbidden to come within a hundred meters of any school in Osaka.

His grandfather sat in his receiving room looking like someone had pulled the rug out from under him. He had his two best friends at his side again. "What are we going to do with her?" he asked Sabota.

"I think I might have the answer," Tsuji said as he entered the room.

"What?" his grandfather asked.

"Madame Bouvier's School for Young Women," Tsuji said, handing his grandfather the brochure he had downloaded from the Internet.

His grandfather looked down at it. "It's in Paris, France!"

That still wasn't far enough as far as Tsuji was concerned. "I think it's just what she needs. There are etiquette classes and cooking classes, and they even offer dancing lessons. What young lady doesn't want to know how to waltz?"

Akae looked at him oddly.

Tsuji averted his gaze. The young lawyer wasn't a fool. He knew what he was up to.

"I don't know," his grandfather said. "I promised Anthony I would look after her."

"What good is the promise if she ends up dead?" Tsuji asked.

"Who taught her how to rig a bomb?" Sabota asked.

Tsuji shrugged. "She probably learned it on the Internet."

"Or from her grandfather," Akae said.

Tsuji was glad that Akae had said it and not him. Had his grandfather and Sabota forgotten that's how Anthony Jackson earned a living before he joined their organization? He was in the United States Marine Corps when he was younger and worked in Ordinance. His job was to put heavy artillery on ships and planes.

"Do you really think she'd like to move to France?" his grandfather asked.

Both Akae and Tsuji nodded.

"She's going to love it," Tsuji said. "How soon can we pack her things?"