Isumi took a deep breath before he opened the door of the Institute to leave; much to his dismay, they were lying in ambush--no, that was rude--waiting for him outside the exit.
"Isumi-kun!" exclaimed Sawada 2-dan. "I won my game this afternoon. Come have a drink with us!" As he had feared, she had several female pros with her for "moral support". They giggled loudly and chorused in agreement.
"It won't be as fun if Isumi-kun doesn't come!"
"Sawada-san will be so disappointed if you don't personally congratulate her."
He tried to extricate himself politely. "I'm very sorry, senpai, but I have a prior engagement--"
"Oh surely nothing that you couldn't cancel!"
Behind him, a throat cleared. The women fell silent. Ogata, with a sardonic smile, lit his cigarette. After exhaling smoke into their faces, he said, "I'm afraid I have the prior claim on Isumi's time. He's already promised to have dinner with me."
Crestfallen, Sawada gave Isumi a plaintive glance. Ogata, noting the look, said sharply, "And if you would all please stop obstructing the exit?"
The women apologized and left in a flurry. Isumi didn't know what to say.
"So it's not just rumor that Sawada-san has a hopeless tendre for you."
He nodded helplessly.
Ogata scrutinized him from head-to-toe in silence. "Well, she has good taste. One can say that much at least," he said finally, turning to leave.
Unaccountably, Isumi blushed. He watched the other man walk halfway down the steps before pausing and calling back irritably, "Well, are you coming or not?"
He had no choice but to follow.