Damn real: chapter 23

The music started playing, and all Namie was focused on was the beat. The thing about waack dancing that she appreciated was that it was a controlled frenzy of movements. She knew how she wanted to move to the beat, and it was just a matter of conveying the energy of the music with every motion. Smiling to herself, she appreciated Melissa’s suggestion. This remix of Damn Real, it was faster paced, more energetic, and she was feeding off of the song more naturally. The original mix was very slow and intense compared to the song she wound up choosing. “Ah, Damn Real!” The song ended on that note, with Namie holding a final pose. The lights dimmed slightly as everyone in the crowd started applauding her performance. Taking a quick bow, she made her way off the stage. It was incredible. She was surprised by how un-nervous she was on-stage. The accountant was mostly expecting to panic, fumble, or possibly pass out, but nothing like that happened. She was so focused on the performance, specifically the music, that she did not even think about the audience until their applause at the end. “You did an incredible job, Namie.” Melissa clapped her hands as Namie sat down, relieved. “Thanks.” She beamed at her instructor. “Seriously, you did a really good job. Also, I have somebody I would love for you to meet. He’s a friend of mine.” She stepped aside as a young Asian man approached her. “Hey, my name’s Taiki Yukimori. I’m actually the lead dancer of a J POP Hip Hop crew in Baltimore called Yukickz. Melissa mentioned you to me, and after seeing your performance, I was wondering if you’d like to join us?” “Yes. 100% yes!” She smiled. Melissa was not lying. There were people in the audience, waiting to scout and recruit the showcase performers. “You better not forget about me when you become a star, okay?” The Chinese girl laughed.

“Well, I’d like to give a cheers to our performer of the year, Namie Merrimen!” Wei announced as they all raised their glasses. Namie, Wei, Claire, Emiri, Niall, and Kimmy were all sitting at a table in Claire’s apartment, celebrating Namie’s performance as well as budding career as a dancer. “You were incredible! Like totally amazing!” Kimmy beamed. It was amusing to Namie how after she stopped dating her brother, the teen started to warm up to her more. “Thanks!-” “But Wei is always going to be better.” “Hey, it’s not about me. And besides, I don’t dance. I just sing.” Wei shook her head in disagreement. “Whatever, I’ll take the compliment.” She shrugged as they all laughed. “But this is not about me. This is about friends and family too.” She pointed out. Both Niall and herself had their younger sisters here. “Emiri, I’m so happy that you flew all the way from Fremont just to see me dance.” “It was totally worth it.” Her own younger sister insisted, though the sight of her enthusiastically happy did surprise everyone else besides Namie. “At first, I was not sure what to expect. I never saw you dance, and you never really did it when we were kids, but you totally just blew me away, Namie. Now I get why you took that hobby so seriously. You’re actually really good at it.” “Aw, thanks!” She grinned. “Hey, I should be getting some credit here! I took her to dance classes back when we first were becoming friends! I demand credit for her success… even though I totally bailed on the lessons.” Claire laughed as everyone joined in. Tonight is a genuine night of celebration. Good company, great triumphs, and unforgettable memories, especially in the case of Namie. She could not be more excited about being recruited into Yukickz, and being told repeatedly how incredible of a dancer she really is. All of her hard work, and continuous hours of practice, it was finally paying off.

“So what have you been up to?” Namie and Emiri were finally back in Namie’s apartment, where the younger sister was going to stay for the night before flying back home. “Well, I’m living a pretty happy life in Fremont. I’m like one of two female engineers in the company, and I might be getting promoted soon, so there’s that.” She started. It was impressive to Namie how Emiri was able to say that almost so nonchalantly, as if it was not any huge accomplishment to the engineer. “Also, I won custody of Yuzu and Makoto from Kenta and my parents, and I’m really happy because I wanted to raise them with my boyfriend, and we plan to raise them without any Mormon influences. I don’t want them to be corrupted in the same way were almost were.” She smiled. It was great to hear that Emiri was doing well for herself, but at the same time, it was almost expected. Emiri was always the type of person who could make something out of nothing. She was resilient, hardworking, and goal-driven. It was just a sigh of relief to Namie, knowing that her little sister was living up to her potential, and also embracing her past; even though she had Yuzu and Makoto at such a young age, she was not shying away from being a responsible adult and raising them, all while still pursuing her own goals and dreams. It was a very admirable thing of her to do. “I’m really proud of you, Emiri. You’re honestly a role model to me, and I’m the older one!” Namie laughed. “Nah, you’re doing alright yourself. And I’m envious of you too. Trust me, not having kids, it’s better in that you have more time to focus on yourself. If I didn’t have Josh there to help raise them, I would be so stretched thin. And even then, he’s a doctor, so it gets complicated.” She sighed. “But you’ve accomplished a lot as a 23 year old.” Namie smiled at her. “It’s because you helped push me in the right direction.”

“So… I know it’s wine Wednesday and all, and we’re supposed to be complaining, but I actually have some really huge news!” Claire announced. “What’s up?” Wei looked at her. “So I just got an offer to be Director of Front Office.” She looked at the two. “Wait, what?!” Namie gasped. “On our property?” “No… It’s at The W.” She sighed. “I’m going to be leaving the Ritz Carlton soon for the new role.” “But you were just telling me the other day about how your blogging career was also getting a ton of endorsements!” Namie and Wei frowned. “Yeah, but I want to keep pushing myself. If I can have it all, then why not?” She shrugged. “Well, while we’re on that topic, I wanted to talk about my own career as well.” Wei looked at the two. “So I’m going to be on tour in Japan soon. I don’t know when I’m going to come back to D.C., but I’ll be heading out next week. And I’m going to be performing with a really popular Asian-American pop group, FT. Hana.” “Oh geez, those kids? I’ve heard about how they’re always traveling the world. Wasn’t there a Buzzfeed article on how they’ve been on tour for so long that they forgot what their parents looked like?” Namie laughed. FT. Hana was always touring, so hearing that Wei was performing with them, it sounded concerning to both of them. “I just wanted to do a tour in Asia, but my agency decided to pair me with them because we’re all Asian youth. Either way, it’ll be a huge career booster, so that’s why I signed on. I’m sure I’ll quit the tour in a year, but we’ll see how long it lasts.” She sighed, already feeling a tinge of regret with her decision. They were all going their separate ways at this point, and it was just settling in for Namie that this was the case. “Well, cheers to wine Wednesdays, and hopefully, this won’t be the last one we have as a trio.” Namie raised her glass as both girls joined, despite them all knowing very well that this might not be the case anymore.


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