Synopsis: When May and her father wind up broke and stranded on foreign territory, an untimely wardrobe malfunction questions the boundaries they’re willing to push to get back home.
DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fan fiction borrowing characters from the Pokémon universe, which is trademarked by The Pokémon Company. I do not claim ownership over any of the characters or settings and make no money from publishing this story.
WARNING: This work of fiction is Rated MA and only suitable for mature audiences. It may contain explicit language, adult themes and graphic descriptions of a violent and/or sexual nature.
Ho’ing For Hoenn
Chapter 5 – Secrets Over Steak
“I’m sorry, sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“Leave?” The indignation boiling in Norman’s veins simmered before the hostess like a volcano on the brink of eruption. “I already told you, ma’am,” he wrang every last drop of politeness from the word, “I have a reservation. If you just look up –”
“And I already told you, sir, there’re no reservations this evening under that name.” Now she was suggesting he didn’t know his own surname? Either that, or his own daughter duped him into making the trip just so he could be embarrassed and bounced at the door. The incorrigible hostess, in her fancy-pants uniform, evaded eye contact as though merely looking at him might get dirt on her spectacles. She showed him no more amiability than a cockroach that had wandered into the wrong part of the kitchen scavenging for food and, if he hadn’t stood six feet tall, she would’ve already flattened and smeared him under her callous heels. “Are you going to find your way out or will we need to get security involved?”
Norman had been beaten and trampled on all day; how much more could a few stern blows from some boneheaded security guards hurt? Hell, a growing part of him had been itching to lash out at something, anything, anyone who’d give him half a reason to. He rolled up his sleeves and declared, “I’m not going anywhere. Except inside this damn restaurant. My daughter’s waiting for me and if anyone wants to try to stop me, Arceus help them.”
Her scandalised eyebrows nearly touched her hairline. “Okay, that’s it.” She glanced over her shoulder and shouted, “Securi–”
The hostess swivelled round as a sophisticated brunette popped up beside her. “You… you know this man?” she asked, her tone a lot more patient and surprise-riddled.
“Yeah,” May confirmed. “He’s my dad.”
The hostess scanned through her guest list frantically. “Table 15. Says here, your reservation for two is under Maple.”
“Maple?” Norman repeated, confused.
“That’s right.” May laughed sheepishly. “Sorry, Dad, forgot to mention that part.”
“Right… Well, that’s okay.” He rolled his sleeves back down, a little relieved, a little disappointed. “Just glad I finally found you.”
“Thank you, Miss,” May said to the hostess. “I’ll take it from here.”
The snooty woman relented with a forced smile and stepped out of their way, then aimed a side-glare at Norman, annoyed at losing the chance to abuse her authority. He didn’t bother concealing his smirk as he limped past her, disrupting the culture of opulence and suavity with his hand-me-downs and unpolished shoes. The small win injected a little swagger in his step, despite the lasting soreness in his limbs.
May Maple, eh? He supposed that made him Norman Maple? Her reason for inventing names eluded him but it was probably a wise decision. As she walked him to their table, he couldn’t help notice how much his little girl had matured, not only in mind, but in fashion, too.
She sashayed across the restaurant in an elegant, taupe dress that hugged her snatched waist as layered brown locks grazed her notable derriere. The last time he’d seen her this dressed up was… well, never. His image of May centred around activewear and outdoorsy fittings suitable for trekking across a wide range of terrains. He’d have sooner mistaken her for a tomboy before a young woman. Sure, she’d dolled herself up for Contests on occasion, but all the dazzling pokémon performances often overshadowed the Coordinators directing traffic from the sidelines.
Well, here, tonight, all the lights appeared to shine on her, and her form-fitting attire, on her womanly curves, on a waist-to-hip ratio dangerously close to Caroline’s in her prime. Watching how the dress crinkled around her globular rear forced Norman to confront the reality his little girl wasn’t so little anymore.
He slid his legs under the table cloth to great relief. Although he’d fully anticipated appearing underdressed, he hadn’t felt it until he laid eyes on his glamorous daughter. Her eyes sparkled like sapphires across the table, eyeliner and bronzer transforming her visage into a glitzy beauty he wouldn’t have recognised in a line up.
Hello, May Maple.
“Uh, Dad… you’re staring.”
He knew that. And he continued to stare for another seven seconds. “Who are you and what have you done with my teenage daughter?”
She laughed. It helped relieve some tension. “May… Maple?”
“Honey, you’re freaking gorgeous.”
She smiled. “So you don’t think it’s too much?”
“Too much? Are you kidding me? It’s way too much. I mean, look at this place.” He gazed all around them in awe at the diamond chandeliers and the shimmery décor and pristine cutlery. Back home, he’d attended many a Pokémon League Conference at places like this, but he never felt the way he did now, like he didn’t belong. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic that you can afford that dress, and whatever we’re about to scoff down now, and – wow – even the fact you can bring us out here is amazing enough. But how, May? How are you doing all this?”
Her smile withered at the edges. “Actually, Dad, that’s partly the reason I wanted us to meet here tonight. I have something to tell you.”
“Oh.” Norman’s face went blank. “Something like…? Good or bad?”
“Hmmm.” She tipped her head left then right. “Bit of both, I guess. It’s a ‘good news, bad news’ situation.”
Ah, well, that would be a welcome deviation from the ‘bad news, bad news’ situation he’d soon be reporting. “Okay. Lay it on me.”
May sucked in a huge breath and steadied her nerves, but all she could string together was, “Well, you see…” A server came to her rescue handing them a couple of menus. May was happy to suggest, “Maybe we should eat first?”
Norman’s hunger for the 411 was trumped only by his hunger for actual food. “Good idea.” He reached for his menu and grimaced as he overextended his arm. His daughter seemed to notice but made no acknowledgement besides an inquisitive micro expression.
“I’ll have a Lavaridge Fire Whiskey on the rocks.” Norman went straight for the hard stuff. The instant his daughter opened her mouth, he overrode her, “And she’ll have an extra virgin Littleroot Cocktail.”
She gave him a look of disbelief. “Really, Dad?”
“What? Sounds exactly like the kind of thing you’d love.” As fancy-pants as the Skrumpton Steaks dressed itself up to be, it still inhabited Dytopiah, and he wouldn’t put it past these fuckers to serve a girl her age alcohol. Granted, she could pass for an adult woman without a second glance in her current get-up.
“I’m surprised you didn’t order me a small fruit juice,” May said.
“Oh, should we do that instead?”
She gave an ironic smile. “I wasn’t going to order wine you know.”
“Just making sure.” He smiled back.
The server stood by patiently, mild amusement on his face.
May thanked him after he completed taking their orders. She handed him her menu while Norman leaned back and allowed him to collect his off the table. The injured man smiled and nodded gratefully. A precarious silence sat between father and daughter once the distraction of making orders was off the table.
“So,” May started, twiddling with her tassel earing, “You don’t look so bad yourself tonight, Mr Suave.”
“Ha. Ha. Ha, ha! That was a joke, right?”
“I’m serious. I like the whole salt and pepper thing you got going on.” She stroked the imaginary beard on her chin. “Makes you look distinguished.”
“Distinguished, right.” Distinguished criminal maybe. Nah, he hadn’t even been able to do that right. “Trust this region to give me my first grey hairs, huh?” At least he still had a full set on his head and sideburns to boot, all rich and raven.
“You should keep it,” May said. “Bet you Mom’s gonna love it, too.”
“This hobo beard?” He pointed at it to ensure they were speaking of the same atrocity.
“A thousand Pokédollars says she’ll love it.” May dropped an elbow on the table and offered her hand to legitimise the wager.
He scoffed. “You’re nuts if you think you know your mom better than I do. I’ve known her since she was round about your age.”
May shrugged one shoulder, undeterred. “Are we on?”
“Oh, we’re on.” He sealed the handshake. They both beamed, imagining themselves winning the wager. Wow, 1,000 Pokédollars though? She must’ve been doing more than decent if she could afford to throw around amounts like that in their current climate. “So, I take it the pokémon battles are still going well?”
She retreated into her seat. “Well, they’re going.”
The server returned with their drinks and May sipped on her colourful cocktail immediately, desperate to acquire some form of liquid courage.
Norman shut his eyes and floated to heaven when the ice-cold whiskey burned the back of his throat. “That’s it. Right there.” He commended the liquor like it was an exceptional lover caressing him on the insides. “Oh yeah, baby. You always hit the spot.”
May trashed his theatrics with a cross between a laugh and a snort. “You’re literally so cringe, Dad.”
“One day, you’ll understand.” He gazed deep into the smooth, loving, golden-brown soul inhabiting his whiskey glass. “When you’re old enough, of course.”
“Of course. I am old enough to enjoy this though.” She took another sip of her cocktail but, this time, she mocked his exaggerated reaction with one of her own, moaning deep through her throat and dropping her voice a couple of octaves. “Mmm… yeah… so, so good… right there…”
Norman forgot where he was and who he was talking to. Unintended as it may have been, his daughter just gave him a terrifying glimpse at how seductive she could be, at what some undeserving runt would be privy to in the bedroom. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat and swallowed a harsh swig of liquor. “Okay, you’re never doing that again.”
“Sorry.” May scratched the back of her head awkwardly. “Anyway,” she quickly moved on, “how have you been? How’s Toxi City treating you? Did you finally pull off that ‘something big’ you had in the pipelines?”
“Heh.” If he didn’t laugh, he’d cry. “You know what they say about life.”
“When it throws you lemons –”
“It can be a bitch.” He downed the last of his whiskey then slammed the glass a little harder on the table than he’d intended. “Waiter!” He snapped his fingers in the air, ignoring all the judgemental scowls from ‘civilised’ diners. “Another, please!”
May sighed a desolate sigh. “I can tell you’re a little beat up. I’m sorry things have been rough for you.”
“Rough? Rough is buffalo wings when you ordered rump steak. This shit…” He shook his head, fed up. “This shit we’re in – and have to deal with on a daily basis – is complete and unadulterated torture.”
May looked down in her glass and agreed with a subtle, “Yeah…”
The server brought Norman his second glass and he took another swig before it touched the table. “Anyway. We may be down but we’re never out. We never give up. That’s not the… Maple way.” He winked.
She gave a weak, if not hopeful, smile.
The food finally arrived. While May dallied about with a knife and fork, Norman grabbed his massive, gourmet burger in both hands and chomped a Snorlax-sized chunk out the middle, barbeque sauce and pickles drooping onto his beard. “Oh, God, yes!” he growled with a mouthful, eyes glazed over as his taste buds experienced orgasm. May quietly enjoyed her shrimp parmesan while he mowed through his and let the whole restaurant know with loud, obscene grunts and groans of pleasure.
May became so used to his noisy feasting when she hadn’t heard a peep from him in over a minute, she needed to check he was still alive. “You done?” she asked, fighting down giggles as he lounged back on his chair like a bloated Munchlax.
“Done?” He belched. “Honey, I’m only getting started. Waiter!” He ordered their famous rump steak and a third whiskey.
“Have as much as you like, Dad.” May smiled, happy to see him happy.
With the crippling hunger out of his way, Norman asked himself the same questions he’d asked when they first sat down. “You still haven’t told me how you can afford all this.”
She paused chewing whatever was in her mouth when the sombreness of his statement hit her. It dawned on May, she couldn’t run away from the question forever. She gulped down the ball in her cheek and laid her knife and fork to rest. “Dad, I… I lied to you.”
“You what?” He sat up abruptly.
“I haven’t been doing great at pokémon battles. Actually, I’ve kind of sucked at them lately.” She couldn’t look him in the eye when she admitted it. “It’s just not the same in this region. All the Trainers here are ruthless, don’t give a crap about your pokémon – they barely give a crap about their own. It’s all about getting the ‘win, win, win’ at any cost, no matter how much damage gets dealt. Skitty is all I have left and…” Pain flashed across her features in remembrance her other pokémon. “It isn’t fair for me to put her through all that. It’s not her fault we’re stuck on this island and she shouldn’t have to carry the hopes of our survival square on her little shoulders.”
Norman listened patiently as a rabble of questions congregated in his head. “You’ve always been compassionate, May. I don’t think that’s a weakness but you’re probably underestimating how tough your Skitty can be.”
“No, Dad,” she cut him off sternly, “You haven’t been there. You don’t know how hard it’s been on her. On both of us.”
“Well…” That was true. And hearing the hurt in her passionate retort made him feel guilty about it all over again. In all his fatherly wisdom, he had thought he’d be more useful toiling away in Toxi City, neglecting his little girl when she’d needed him most. And for what? A fraction of the Pokédollars she’d made on her own and a stolen watch he couldn’t hang on to? “I’m sorry, honey. I should’ve been there to –”
“No. It’s okay. You can’t hold my hand forever. And anyway, your plan to split up to better raise the funds for Skarmory’s surgery was a good one. I agreed with it then, and still do now.”
“You do?” That made one of them.
“It hasn’t been perfect, obviously,” May said, “but I’ve… stumbled upon a method to make the kind of money we’ll need to fix up Skarmory and get out of here for good. And I almost have all of it.”
Norman couldn’t trust his ears, but couldn’t deny all the evidence laid bare before his eyes either. “You have all of it? All 42,000?” he whispered.
“Almost.” She took a smug sip of her cocktail. “That’s the good news.”
“And the bad?”
“Well…” Her demeanour shifted from upright and boastful to uncertain and bashful. She traced the rim of her cocktail glass with a finger and spoke softly. “To get the money… I’ve sort of had to… to…”
God no… “You’re not turning tricks, are you?” he blurted.
May recoiled, perplexed. “What?”
“I mean, Jake, he just says the darndest things sometimes.” Norman gave an uneasy laugh. “He thinks you might be turning tricks – can you believe that guy?”
May was not amused despite Norman attempting to lighten his accusation. “Does Jake think that?” she asked, point-blank. “Or do you think that, Dad?”
“Me? What?” He hid behind a huge swig of whiskey. “Well… I mean… if we’re being honest… I don’t know what to think.” He shrugged. “You’ve been coy about where all this money is coming from and –”
“And so you think I’m sleeping around with random strangers for money? You think your own teenage daughter’s a whore?”
“Me? Nooo!” he squealed. Another swig. “It’s that damn Jake, he –”
“Yeah whatever, Dad. I can’t believe you think I’d swoop that low.”
He sighed. Of course he didn’t really think that. It was this damn whiskey, and yeah, maybe Jake had gotten in his head a little. This was May, the girl he’d reared and raised himself since diapers. Of course she wasn’t up to any tomfoolery. “Let’s just forget I said that, all right? It was a really bad joke. You know I’ve only ever thought the world of you, May, since the day you were born.”
Her cold and rigid expression repelled his would-be apology, but somewhere deep down beneath the stubbornness, she knew him to be sincere. “Fine.”
Norman was thankful for her reply, even if she’d pushed it through gritted teeth. He took the olive branch. His curiosity concerning her recent fundraising activities would have to wait, lest he ruffled her feathers even more. Truth was he wasn’t any more eager to divulge all the criminal antics he’d engaged in to make a buck either. She still believed he made most his profit off buying boxes of cigarettes and selling them loose at a premium. But half the stuff he sold he’d stolen from bodegas or pickpocketed off the streets. She didn’t need to know that. Not yet.
He lightened the mood by recanting a recent incident in which he’d witnessed a vagrant chasing down a stray Poochyena that had stolen a sub sandwich he’d stolen minutes prior. She conceded a small snicker, not quite the rambunctious laugh signing off on her forgiveness, but a little crack in the way to her good books.
On the topic of amusing stories, he took them back to a time they were both lighter, both happy, both laughing amongst family and friends, like the time Max’s hair stood on end for nearly twelve hours after he willingly took a Lighting Bolt attack head-on. Reliving the moment inspired other hallmark memories, like the time Caroline chased Skitty all around the house after discovering she’d been the culprit stealing all her freshly baked muffins, or the time May prematurely blew up a volcano for a science project reconstructing Cinnabar Island, or the time Norman lost a Gym Battle because his Slakoth emerged fast asleep from its Poké Ball and refused to wake up the entire fight. One story spiralled into another till they lost track of time in a whirlwind of mirth and reminiscence.
This was what their trip should’ve been, Norman thought, when they got on that plane. Good old-fashioned father-daughter bonding time. It took them getting blown off course and stranded on a remote region to realise they hadn’t needed an extravagant getaway to do all this; just a little time away from their own lives, and a little effort to remember family was everything.
“Why don’t we do this anymore?” May stole the words right out of his mouth.
“I don’t know,” Norman said, regret heavy in his tone of voice. “But once we get back home, Daddy’s going to be laying down a whole new set of rules!”
“Calling yourself ‘Daddy’ when you get all hyped isn’t as cool as you think it is, you know?” She stuck her tongue out at him.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about, young lady. I’m totally hip.” He hiccupped.
“And totally tipsy.”
“And you’ll be totally grounded in a second if you don’t stop.”
May laughed and threw her hands up. “Okay, okay. Er, you were saying something about new rules?”
“Ah, yes.” He raised his whiskey glass as if to thank her for reminding him. “When we get back home, there’ll be no more eating dinner in front of those life-sucking gadgets for you and your brother.”
“Oh, come on! You know dinner’s the one time I get to catch up on –”
“Bleh!” He swept aside her rebuttal with a wave of his hand. “I don’t want to hear it. This family –” He hiccupped. “Is going to learn to be a family again.”
“Oh, all riiiight…” She pretended to roll her eyes.
“I think that’s deserving of a toast.” He raised his glass. When May clinked hers against his, neither of them expected to see a third touch theirs both.
“My apologies,” said a tall, strapping gentleman clad in a scarf and long coat. It looked like he’d spent hours in the mirror ensuring not a single hair lay out of place. “I’ll only be a minute. I don’t mean to interrupt your lovely dining experience but I just had to come over and say: your daughter is the most beautiful specimen I’ve ever had the pleasure of laying eyes on – not only tonight, but on every occasion I’ve frequented this restaurant.”
May was taken aback, her face frozen save for her stunned eyes shifting left and right between the two men, awaiting Norman’s inevitable explosion.
“If I may,” said the handsome stranger, “I’d like to put everything you order tonight on my tab.”
“What? No,” May said. “You really don’t have to –”
“I insist. Consider it a token of my appreciation. My way of saying thanks for sharing your beauty, for lighting up this restaurant tonight.”
Norman grunted, unimpressed. “You know she’s only a teenager, right?” He looked to be at least in his mid-twenties.
The man did a double-take, as if her age might suddenly appear across her chest if he studied her long enough. Uncertain, he took Norman’s assertion at face value. “Even so, my contribution to your dining experience remains inta-”
“Oh, get out of here, ya nonce,” Norman chirped out the side of his mouth. “Before I really give you something to lay eyes on.” He waved around a clenched fist.
“Daddy!” May hissed. She apologised for Norman’s apparent ‘rudeness’ while he rolled his eyes, then sent the gentleman away with genuine thanks. “Was that really necessary? He was only trying to be nice.”
“Nice.” Norman chuckled and emptied his fourth glass. “No such thing as ‘nice’ when it comes to men.”
“That’s just not true. You’re so paranoid.”
He laughed. “Oh, sweet innocent daughter of mine, you have a lot to learn about our species. Good thing dating isn’t on the cards for you for another couple of years.”
May cleared her throat and suddenly hid her face behind the dessert menu. “Uh, so how does white chocolate and raspberry pudding sound?”
Norman shrugged. “I still haven’t developed a sweet tooth but since that jerkoff is paying for everything, would be a waste not to. Oh, remind me to order something to go for Jake and Skarmory, too.”
Norman lost count of how many spoons of pudding he’d had before the world around him slowed down. Chatter and clinking cutlery faded in the distance. A cloud of liquor filled his nostrils and every sudden move of his head smeared bright colours into blurs. He couldn’t even taste the pudding anymore, and yet his slothful hand kept scooping up more like a mechanical arm malfunctioning in an infinite loop. His eyes must’ve been malfunctioning, too, because May transformed right before him, from his pretty teenage daughter to a full-fledged woman bearing luscious lips and large, appetising breasts. Suddenly, in his drunken clarity, he noticed just how low cut her low-cut dress was, squeezing her mounds together and jutting her massive cleavage over the table. His dick must’ve been malfunctioning, too, because… well, at least no one could see it under the table. He envisioned turning a heaped spoon away from his lips and towards her cleavage… pouring warm pudding down her big, exposed bosom and then –
“Dad?” Her voice snapped him back to reality. “You’re getting it all over your shirt.”
“I’m wha…?” he said dumbly, before looking down and seeing streaks of dessert muddying his formal shirt. “Ugh, shit!” He grabbed a bunch of napkins and patted the mess drunkenly.
“Okay, I think you’ve officially had enough.” May hopped out of her seat to help.
“I… think you’re officially right.” Norman laughed absent-mindedly. Had he really just been fantasising about…? As May wiped the pudding off his shirt, his drunken eyes leered down his daughter’s dress, mesmerised by the big, doughy masses jiggling in their confines. She smelt incredible, too, a sweet exotic fragrance oozing from her neckline. He felt his boozy face leaning towards the scent like a cat lured in by catnip, but abruptly snapped his head back. What the fuck am I doing? “Uh, thank you, May.” He ripped his gaze from temptation and shooed her away. “I’m all good now.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m good. Maybe, just order me a glass of water.” And something strong enough to erase the last thirty seconds of his memory.
Norman regretted knocking back those whiskeys as quickly as he had. He did start feeling a little more like himself after a few glasses of water and a self-imposed timeout. It only just occurred to him this was the first time he’d consumed alcohol in front of one of his children, and almost certainly the last.
“Feeling better now?” May asked sweetly.
He huffed. “I’m a terrible father, aren’t I?”
“Don’t say silly stuff like that. It doesn’t help anyone.”
“That’s the thing – I don’t feel like I’ve helped you at all, May. The only reason we’re here is all you. I mean, jeez, you’ve nearly hit our target all on your own.” She tried to interject but he bulldozed over her niceties. “I’m serious. I want to do better. I want to start helping, start chipping in more. We tried my way but now I’m leaving it up to you. Whatever I can do to help, you just let me know, and it’s done. Whatever it is. I promise I won’t let you down. I owe you that much at the very least.”
She looked as though she wanted to argue, but settled with a gentle sigh. “Okay, Dad. I’ll let you know.”
“Promise.” She stroked his hand reassuringly over the table. “For now, all you have to do is sit tight, not get into any trouble and let me work my magic. If all goes to plan, we could be out of here in two weeks!”
He nodded earnestly. Although, sitting tight had never been his strong suit. And lately, he wasn’t all that great at staying out of trouble either. “I don’t suppose you’re prepared to tell me what this ‘magic’ entails?”
May frowned and shook her head. “Sorry. Coming into this, I thought I was. But it’ll be less complicated and easier to explain once everything is said and done.”
Why couldn’t she just tell him? Norman knew what it wasn’t, but he really wanted to know what it was. Unfortunately, his stupid mouth had ruined whatever goodwill he might’ve had in pressing for details. All he could do now was play by her rules.
They shared a warm hug outside the restaurant. He kissed her forehead. “I love you, May.”
“Love you, too, Daddy. And hey, I want you to have this.” She fished a wad of banknotes from her purse and shoved them at his chest. “I was going to use this to cover dinner tonight but since that wasn’t necessary, I want you to have it.”
He shook his head, no. “I can’t take that. What kind of pathetic father would I be? I should be taking care of you. It’s bad enough I –”
“Dad, please. Just take it. We’ve been through this already.”
Norman reluctantly pocketed the cash. “Thank you.”
“Welcome.” She beamed. “Want me to call a cab for you?”
“Now that I can definitely do for myself. I ain’t that tipsy, alright?” He ruffled her hair. “Get out of here, kiddo.” May ordered a ride and a sleek, midnight-blue sedan soon arrived at the front of the restaurant to pick her up. She hopped into the back and they took off.
Seconds later, Norman waved down a taxi and bustled into the backseat. The driver looked back and asked, “Where to, buddy?”
“See that dark blue car up ahead that just took a right turn?”
Author’s Notes: Thanks for reading! Please rate and drop a review to let me know what you thought of this fic!
Special credit goes to gez1313 for the artwork that inspired this fan fic cover! As of the time of this writing, you can find more of the artist’s work here:
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