Clemont was stiff as a board while I was more or less lying down in the booth. We ended up in the trainer’s lounge in the Pokemon Center. I still couldn’t believe a former champion knew who I was more or less wanted my help with a contest. I couldn’t really help him if he didn’t talk, though.
“So, what do you want with someone like me again,” I asked, trying to strike up a conversation.
“Um, uh, tell me everything you know about Pokemon Contests,” he said, bowing so hard he hit his head on the table.
“Have you ever seen a Pokemon Contest before?”
“I have been trying to study them via internet, but I’m still a little lost. I’ve yet to study an actual Coordinator’s moves.”
“Is that where I come in?”
“Yes. Can you show me what you have as a routine?”
“Absolutely not. A Coordinator never gives away what he’s up to before a show.”
Clemont still seemed a little lost.
“I don’t even have a routine planned out yet, actually.”
“But the contest is in three days! What have you been doing up until now?”
I slammed my hands on the table.
“Some serious shit went down in my life and it hasn’t calmed down up until right now. I really don’t want to talk about it so please, don’t ask.”
“O-Okay,” Clemont said, sinking into his seat.
“In any case, why I don’t I see what you have instead.”
“Hmm-hmm-hmmm, I’m glad you asked,” Clemont said, pushing up his glasses. “It’s time for science to open up to the future-“
“What the hell is that,” I said, pointing at a small grey box with electrodes sticking out of it.
“This is a-“
“Get arid of it.”
“A routine is dependent on the skill of your Pokemon alone. Now tell me, would a bunch of prissy Kalosians want to see something as ugly as that?”
“People seem pretty impressed by what I’ve made so far.
I sighed and pressed my hand against my forehead.
“I have a long way to go,” I said. “Well, for starters, you’re going to have to scrap whatever you have so far and start over again.”
“It took me a month to build that,” Clemont cried, picking up the machine. “And another month to come up with the routine…”
Thunder walked up to me and jumped on my leg.
“What is it,” I asked, scratching his head.
“Eon, eon,” he said.
“Are you hungry?”
“I do have an electric type Pokemon food on hand,” Clemont said, digging in his backpack. “It’s the least I can do to repay you.”
I scratched my chin, thinking about what else I exploit him for in the name of kindness. I let out Eletrabuzz as Clemont game Thunder some food.
“Electrabuzz must be hungry too. Do you have some food for him too?”
“Sure. Why don’t I cook something for the two of us as well?”
I couldn’t say no to that. The only things I’ve been eating lately were out of a box. As we ate, it was my turn to ask him questions. I asked him how he knew me and he said no one didn’t.
“I’m really that popular, huh,” I said seeing CG stroll down the hall.
CG came over and picked up Thunder while he was still scarfing down his meal.
“Thunder,” he said, rubbing his face on Thunder’s head.
“CG, you’re back already,” I said.
“Who the hell is this loser,” CG said, pushing his glasses up with his middle finger.
“Clemont Jeager,” Clemont said, standing up and adjusting his glasses with two fingers. “Former Kalos League Champion. And you?”
“A son of the CEOs of Cummings Tea.”
“That’s somewhat impressive,” Clemont said, adjusting his glasses again.
“You think so? You don’t stand a chance against Jhon, you know.”
Electrabuzz and I got up and started to sneak out the back door. I motioned Thunder to come with us and he jumped out of CG’s arms and trotted over to us.
“Okay, now we have time to work by ourselves, finally,” I said. “Electrabuzz, you need to work on electroball and Thunder, you need to learn how to dodge beautifully. So, why don’t we combine the two? Electrabuzz, shoot Thunder with electroballs and Thunder, you dodge them.”
I had Thunder dodge many different ways for a number of times in a row. When I was satisfied with one style of dodging, I had him practice the next. As we practiced, I thought of different ways to dodge electroball myself. When we were in the middle of running and twirling, CG found us.
“There you are, you little shit,” CG said.
“So, how was your cock measuring contest with Clemont,” I asked.
“Meh,” he shrugged. “I’m not going to let you use Thunder if you keep stealing him from me.”
“Okay. If you won’t let me borrow him then I’m sure Clemont has plenty of electric type Pokemon for me to borrow. We’re becoming buddies, y’know.”
“You wouldn’t dare!”
I cackled at him and headed inside. He hit me in the back as hard as he could. It was getting late so we went upstairs and went to bed. CG hasn’t been having problems sleeping, but I’ve been having the hardest time getting to sleep. It wasn’t because of the normal depression that comes with the uncertainty of a beloved friend, but something that still scared me.
I found myself back at the Warehouse Mansion staring out at the sea from the pier. The clouds and sea were painted red and pink as the sun was setting. Jamie was sitting on the fence, swinging his legs and singing a song. Unlike Jack, he had a natural singing ability. I couldn’t understand what he was saying, but the melody was breath taking.
“Hey, weren’t you injured,” I asked when he was done.
“Yeah, I was. But I’m better now,” Jamie said, turning to me and smiling.
I grinned and looked out towards the sea.
“The sunset is beautiful, isn’t it?”
“It’s almost like a dream.”
I climbed up the fence and almost fell. Jamie grabbed my arm and pulled me back up.
I nodded and blushed. My heart started to pound.
“James, there’s something I need to tell you,” I said, leaning forward.
“What is it?”
I pressed my lips against his. He grabbed my shoulders, pulling me closer.
I woke up staring at the back of CG’s head.
“I was. But I’m better now.”
I buried my face in my pillow, trying to stifle my sobbing. CG moaned and I froze, unable to control myself. He crawled in bed and wrapped his arms around me.
“I know, I want Jamie to be all better too,” he said.
I clung to him, burying my face in his chest. Why do my dreams mock me like this? I’ve always had nice and warm dreams, but none of them had felt as natural as the ones I’ve had ever since Jamie was injured. And I always wake up like this.
I must have cried myself back to sleep because the next thing I knew the alarm was going off. CG shrieked and fell off the bed. I grabbed the alarm and turned it off.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’ll fiddle with the alarm later and turn it to the radio instead of that loud beeping. I didn’t know.”
“That would be nice,” CG said, covering his ears.
“I still hear it in my brain.”
“Okay, Thunder, it’s time for you to wake up too,” I said, gently shaking him.
Thunder rolled over onto his back, begging for a belly rub. I shoved him off the bed.
“Get up; we’re going for a jog!”
I used the bathroom to change into my jogging outfit. I found my old contest uniform and held it up to my body. As I feared, it was way too small for me. I sighed and put it back.
“It’s only 29 out there,” CG said, watching the morning news. “You sure you want to wear that?”
“You’d be surprised,” I said, grabbing the phone. “You should try jogging too.”
“Phah! As if my lungs would let me.”
“Suit yourself. Come on, Thunder.”
Thunder seemed content having CG rub his stomach. I grabbed him and carried him out of the Pokemon Center before setting him down. He grunted at me. I let out Electrabuzz and we began to stretch. Electrabuzz took the pace while Thunder was off peeing in bushes again. Once Electrabuzz and I warmed up I had to chase down Thunder and brought him back.
“You have to be in shape in order to give a good performance,” I said. “I’m not letting you slack off just because Wally’s over protective of you. Now come on, let’s jog!”
I wasn’t entirely sure where to go, so I took a left and continued down that boulevard. I glanced around at all the shops as I jogged. There were plenty of clothing stores and cafes. Most of me wanted to look in the windows while they were still closed. I shook my head and focused more on the music I was listening to. I paused for a moment to let a car cross the street. It took me a while to realize it was a dark blue Ferrari that pulled into an alleyway. I looked around at the shops where it had pulled in. One of the stores had big swirling cursive letters that read. “Apollinare’s.” I grinned. That was the perfect kind of shop to look for a new costume.
“Bl-bl-bl-bl,” Electrabuzz said, shoving me.
We passed by one of the five plazas of Lumoise. There were a few other people there jogging with their own Pokemon. I looked around for other Coordinators, but I passed through without seeing any. Before I knew it I had reached the center of Lumoise marked by a tower. I had always wanted to see it. When I was planning to come here, I wanted to get Jamie alone and take him there.
The sun started to glow over the white tower. I paused there to catch my breath Thunder had trailed behind and just now caught up. I wiped my brow, panting. Clemont and a younger girl were walking towards the tower. Clemont was holding onto his backpack, head down. I couldn’t just run up to him, Lord knows how much I hate it when people do that to me, so I called out and waved.
“You can come by the Pokemon Center today too,” I shouted when I got his attention.
He grinned, sulked back and continued on his way. The girl asked him who I was as I started to head back. Maybe it would be nice to make a friend on my own who wasn’t CG.
I may have bitten off more than I could chew with jogging all the way to the tower and back. I went inside to get something to drink. When I came back, Thunder had collapsed on the ground with his legs spread out.
“What are you lying down for,” I said. “We still have work to do!”
“Jolteon,” Thunder groaned.
“Okay, we’re going to continue from where we were last night. We’ll start dodging practice from the top. We’ll be starting with front flips.”
Electrabuzz cheered while Thunder groaned. I went inside to change into something a bit warmer. Thunder seemed to be getting it better than he was the night before.
“If you wait a little longer before jumping, it would look more impressive,” I said.
“Eon,” Thunder said, nodding.
Electrabuzz threw an electroball at him. Thunder jumped, doing a backflip and was hit.
“It’s alright; it doesn’t matter in the end. We’d still get a point,” I said. “Whatever you want to do. Just remember we’re entertainers, okay?”
“Okay, then let’s start spinning to the side.”
After we had perfected dodging, we had breakfast. A burrito from the corner store paled in comparison to pecha berry pancakes with a homemade sauce like the things Jamie could make. I sighed, thinking about the dream last night. More specifically, that kiss. I love him dearly, but I don’t think I’d ever actually do that.
“Eon,” Thunder said, jumping on my leg, wiggling his butt.
“What, you’re done already,” I said.
“Jolteon,” Thunder said, heading towards the door.
“Yeah, yeah, wait for me.”
“Now we’re going to be serious about coming up with a routine,” I said. “Thunder, you can take a break for a while. Electrabuzz, why don’t we start the routine with you using thunderbolt then me coming in and jumping over your back.”
“Bl-bl-bl,” Electrabuzz said.
I started practicing doing front flips on the ground going into a roll with Electrabuzz making sure I was doing it right. Then I did the same only with going off of Elecrtrabuzz who was kneeling on the ground. When Electrabuzz stood up, I had to jump to get the height I need to push myself up on his back.
“Okay, now onto the next part,” I said. “I like the idea of throwing electroballs at me, but we need a little more, don’t you think?”
“Bl-bl,” Electrabuzz nodded.
“Do you have any ideas?”
“Bl-bl,” Electrabuzz shook his head.
“Hmm..Oh, I know. How about combining thunderpunch and electroball. Do you think you can pull that off?”
Electrabuzz jumped up and started waving its arms around. It formed a thunderpunch and electroball at the same time and it flew a lot faster than a regular electroball would.
“Nice,” I said. “I’ll practice just dodging it first before we work on making it flashy. Okay, ready?”
It threw an electroball at me and I screamed, barely dodging it.
“No, I’m fine,” I said. “Keep it coming!”
It threw another electroball at me and I jumped out of the way. I got up and brushed myself off, making sure I didn’t scrape my hands. I took off my shirt and nodded at Electrobuzz to keep going on. The next two were ones that I was able to jump over and the next few were ones that I pivoted to dodge.
Before I knew it, it was noon. I sat down on the bench and drowsed an entire bottle of water. Electrabuzz sat down next to me, motioning for the water. I gave him the water bottle and waited for it to realize it was empty.
“Bl-bl-bl-bl,” it said, throwing it at me.
“Hey,” I said, laughing.
James and Tranquil came strolling around the corner.
“Ah, right, I need to get a new costume,” I said. “You can stay here and practice with Thunder if you want.”
It took James two seconds to get to where I was.
“I want to come too,” I said.
“You’re an adult, aren’t you? You’re free to do as you please. I need to shower first. Can’t try on clothes baked in sweat.”
I decided to try the first shop I saw when I was jogging.
“Apollinare,” James said to himself.
“Do you not know who Apollinare is,” I said, flipping my hair.
“No, no, you’re doing it all wrong,” James said. “You have to perfectly time your hair flip. Flip it to the max. You’re a good looking man, so you have to use it to your advantage.”
“I don’t understand what you’re going on about,” I said, flipping my hair again.
“Perfect! That’s perfect! That would totally strike envy in any man’s heart!”
“Geez, what a weird old man,” I said, going into the shop.
“I’m not that old!”
Slightly uncomfortably loud dance music played in the store. Everyone in there had expensive taste judging by their clothes. There was a thick air of cologne that hung in the air. I couldn’t help but to smile. Five years ago, coming in here would have been a faraway dream.
I started looking at light blue jackets, but nothing seemed to pop out at me. I got about through a rack of jackets when a saleswoman noticed my plight.
“You’re Jhon The Torterra, aren’t you? What brings you here,” She asked. “Uh, I mean, I know you’re here for clothes, but-“
“I need a new costume for the upcoming contest and this is the first stop I’ve been to. So far, I’m not having any luck.”
“Perhaps I can help? I think I have an idea of what your style is.”
“Someone who works for Apollinare must have a great sense of style. It would be an honor, ma’am.”
As we both searched, James had a hard time getting Tranquil to stay outside. He browsed around, finding something he liked, but quickly put it back down when he saw the price tag.
“I’ve found a few things, Mr. Torterra,” the saleswoman said. “Ah, but looking at this one it’s an automatic no. How about these two?”
“That one is too dark and that one doesn’t seem quite right.”
“Hm? You think? Here, let me put it up to you-Ew! No,” She said, dropping the jacket like it was hot.
“Ah, we can keep trying, there’s still the entire store.”
“You’re right. I’ll try to see what I can find.”
After a while, James came to my side, following me around.
“Are you going to help or are you going to follow me around like a lost child,” I said.
“Nothing in here interested me.”
“I see. Perhaps a thrift store is more suited to your price range.”
The saleswoman busted out laughing, falling into a pile of clothes.
“There’s nothing wrong with thrift shops,” James said. “Sometimes you can find great things in there!”
“Oh, is that where you found that coat and scarf? It certainly suits you well,” The saleswoman said.
James growled. “Whatever. Screw you guys. You wouldn’t know fashion if it hit you upside your heads!”
“Aw, it looks like we hurt his ego,” I said as James stormed out the door.
“Speaking of bruised egos,” the saleswoman said, “I couldn’t find anything, did you?”
“No, I haven’t. I guess this place isn’t the place I was looking for.”
“Wait, I know what to do,” the saleswoman said, grabbing my arm.
She dragged me to an elevator in the middle of the store. We went up to the second floor and there was a lady with vibrant red hair sitting behind a desk.
“Agata, dearie, can you please make an appointment for this young man,” the saleswoman said.
“Fine,” Agata said, rolling her eyes. “Hold on a second.”
She leaned over and started talking to someone else. “Mr. Estella, you have someone here who wants to make an appointment.”
“Oh, yes, send them in,” a voice said. “I’m not doing much right now anyway.”
“APOLLINARE REGINAL ESTELLA YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO BE BUSY ALL DAY,” The lady bellowed.
“Did I say that? Hmmm, I don’t remember. Anyway, I can see this person right away.”
“I’m terribly sorry about that,” Agata said. “I always have to ask because you never know what that guy is up to. Please, right this way.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
Agata opened the door for me. I froze in the doorway. There were pieces of clothes hanging all over mannequins. A man sitting at a desk was in the middle of clutter writing something down. He had long tightly curled blue hair and piercing green eyes. He placed his pen down and threw his glasses. He walked over to the front of the desk and crossed his legs. He had a flowery top and the tightest shorts I’ve ever seen.
“Are you going in or am I going to hold open the door all day,” Agata said.
“Please, come sit,” the man said, motioning towards a couch. “It isn’t everyday a Coordinator of your stature comes into my office.”
“Well, it isn’t every day that I get to meet Apollinare,” I said, taking a seat trying not to piss myself.
“Now, what can old Pollie do for you,” Apollinare said.
“Um, I need an outfit for the contest. I only have two days to-“
“I’m afraid I can’t help you. Please leave,” Apollinare said, pointing at the door.
“I-I beg your pardon?”
“I run a business, you see. I have a long list of clients right now and it takes me at least a week to do a commission. I can’t let you jump to the top of this list. There are far more important people that need my service than you.”
“Oh, I understand how it is,” I said, standing up. “But if I may, I greatly admire your work. I design clothes on my spare time because it interests me. In any case, I could have had all the time in the world to ask you, but my life has gone to shit during these past two weeks. I was just looking for a small glimmer of hope or something. I can’t expect empathy from a rich and famous guy like you, but I’ve tried. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to be on my way to find someone who would take such a ridicules request. Perhaps Dummerich would be of more use.”
“Adorable,” Apollinare said, scratching his chin. “I love it when a guy tries to intimidate me. You certainly do have guts and I like that. Humor me. Show me your silly drawings you ‘spend time’ on.”
I gulped. I wasn’t expecting Apollinare to show interest in an amateur’s work. Perhaps it was his own way of intimidation? I pulled my sketchbook out of my bag and nearly dropped it. With a racing heart and shaking hand, I gave the sketchbook to him.
“Um, well, I suppose I have something in mind,” I said. “I don’t know if you get any drawing requests, but I’d like something like this.”
Apollinare grabbed his glasses from his desk and put them on. He placed his hand on his chin and hummed to himself. I held my breath as he shook his head.
“Normally I hate it when people show me their drawings. People just don’t have a clue,” He said. “Do you mind if I look at some of your other drawings?”
“Uh, sure,” I said.
He held his place with a finger and began to turn pages. He gasped and smiled.
“This one, I love this one,” he said, shoving the sketchbook in my face.
“Oh, these,” I said pushing him back so I can see what it was. “They’re just some stupid design I made for my team.”
“I want to do this one,” he said. “For all your team mates. It takes a lot of talent to coordinate the same design for people of various body types and still look good.”
“Can you focus for three seconds? You can do those ones later, what about the one that I want?”
“Well, you do have something going for you at least,” Apollinare said, “I’m going to have to make adjustments to this, if you don’t mind. Why not become a fashion designer like me?”
“What? No way. I don’t want to waste my life doing something like that. As I already told you, it’s just a hobby.”
“Hmm, a pity. You do have a lot of talent. I shall accept this challenge of doing your design in two days was it? I haven’t done something actually challenging in a long time. It’s time for a change of pace, anyway. It’s just going to be just a tiny more pricey given the time limit and design.”
“Sure. I don’t mind.”
“Now, please hold on while dear Agata yells at me for doing something so ridicules.”
After poor Agata yelled at him for five minutes, Apollinare began taking my measurements. He said he was an awesome multi-tasker thanks to Agata’s support and really wanted to do the uniforms at the same time. He kept going on about how black and yellow really went well together and that if he could pull it off, everyone would look tough.
“That’s nice, Apollinare,” I said, “It’s entirely the point. But do you really want to do that? Agata did have a point when she was yelling at you. You do have to consider everyone else.”
“Or I can not do your stupid costume and steal this design for myself,” Apollinare said. “You’re a nobody and I have all the money so no one’s going to trust you.”
“My god, you’re so childish,” I said. “Maybe one day I can be as careless as you.”
“If you work hard you can,” Apollinare said tapping me in the head with the measuring tape. “You certainly have the right attitude to make it wherever you please.”
I came back to the Pokemon Center to find Si in my room instead of CG.
“Where’s CG at,” I asked.
“Seeing Jamie,” Si said, eating a bag of chips and changing the channel.
“I went to Apollinare’s to get a new costume. I got him to do one of my stupid designs.”
“Ah. Lucky,” Si said, uninterested. “What about your contest? You haven’t forgotten that have you?”
I threw a pillow at him. “Looking good is about half of what I need to do. I ended up picking such an airhead to do it, though. I know he has a really good reputation, but he had no backbone. He had the gall to mock me too. ‘I like a guy like that,’ he says. What a thing to say to someone who’s old enough to be your son?”
“You were expecting something different from a gay,” Si said, throwing the pillow back.
“Oh, and he wants to meet a cute little kid like you too,” I said. “I’m sure he’d like a younger boy than me.”
“I’m older than you,” Si snarled.
“Well then look like it.”
We beat each other up with pillows until CG came back. He complained that he was tired and kicked Si out. I tried talking to CG about the same thing, but fashion really doesn’t interest CG all that much, so I mind as well have been trying to talk to a wall.
I couldn’t believe it. The guy who inspirers me has been inspired by my work. Things were starting to look up after all.