Absent mindedly Jazz stirred in her drink, staring off into space. It was strange how close happiness and heartbreak could be, how small the distance, how easy to fall from one in the other. A few days ago she had been convinced that she would never do this again, never again sit in Long Island and sip one of Kunihiko’s cocktails.
On the other hand she had thought that Miho’s and Goto’s only problem was Subaru and how he tried to take over control of the wedding planning. But then this thing with the photos happened and all the scary stuff with this creepy stalker.
Sometimes she wondered if MJS was a bad idea after all. So much drama, for what? They only provided a service to their clients, although she had to admit that they had their fun while doing so. Was that so bad?
Jazz’s head shot up, she stared around the bar, checking if anyone had heard.
“Kunihiko,” she chided in mock anger after seeing they were alone. “Do you really want to give us away?” With a slight pout she stared at him but he only chuckled.
“Well, you didn’t react when I called you by your first name so I thought maybe you listen to your last name.” He leaned in and kissed her gently. “And would it be that bad if anyone found out?”
Jazz exhaled and cupped his face. “You know that’s not it. I just don’t want to steal Miho’s and Goto’s spotlight. Once they tied the knot we can tell everyone.”
They hadn’t talked about their own wedding yet, but Jazz didn’t want a huge ceremony. She felt a bit guilty, this was Kunihiko’s first – and hopefully last – wedding, but not hers. The first one had burst all limits, 500 guests and she had known only a handful. This time she wanted something smaller, more intimate. Something that was actually about her and Kunihiko, not only a huge display of wealth for business partners like the last one.
“It’s okay, I understand. But as soon as they are married…” He gave her a pointed look and Jazz nodded.
“Go and shout it from the rooftops afterwards,” she said with a laughter, smiling brightly at him. “I love you. I‘m proud to be your wife and I don’t want to hide it. But for now… I want it to be something between you and me.”
“And Miho,” he reminded her and she laughed again.
“And Miho, yes.”
Of course Miho knew. When Jazz and Kunihiko decided to elope – basically just fill out a marriage registration and make it official – they needed two witnesses after all. They wanted to ask Takao because as a lawyer he was more than qualified, being able to keep it a secret, and Jazz knew that Miho would rip her a new one if she really got married behind Miho’s back. There wasn’t even much thought about the choice of a witness after all. Jazz called Miho, asked if she had a moment later that day and said she would drop by the office after lunch.
Fortunately Jazz had already some experience with filling out a marriage registration, because she had been married before and even more since she saw a lot of them lately in her function as a wedding planner.
So after breakfast – and another round of sweet lovemaking – Jazz and Kunihiko got dressed nicely and headed out to ask Miho for her signature.
“You are doing what?!” Jazz wasn’t surprised that Miho reacted a bit – hotheaded.
“Mr. Aikawa, would you please leave the office for a moment,” she said with barely masked impatience and turned back towards Jazz who calmly waited for Kunihiko to leave them alone.
Once the door was closed behind him Miho sighed. “You just made up, isn’t this a bit rushed?”
Jazz shrugged. “We talked all night – well, not exactly TALKED all night, but there was also a lot of talking, even of the G-rated kind – and we figured that this was a good idea.”
“Yeah, but you also thought it was a good idea to marry someone you never even slept with,” Miho coolly reminded her.
Jazz made a face. “Yes, I did. At least I know he isn’t gay this time.”
Both looked at each other.
“Okay, I don’t expect you to be all giddy and excited, but I’m asking you for being part of this. Now that Selina’s god knows where you are all I have here. I don’t want your blessing, I just want my best friend in this with me, okay? I don’t want to have to sneak around behind your back.”
Ever since the whole thing with Kunihiko had started Jazz felt bad for having to keep secrets. At first only her growing crush on him, but having to keep quiet about being married? That was just too much.
“Are you really sure? If you only do this because he wants it-“ Miho began but Jazz cut her off.
“I am sure. It’s not only his wish, it’s ours. I have to admit, the fact that it’s really important to him made me change my point of view, but not my opinion. I want to marry him, but this time for the right reasons. And it’s not just about business, not like with Ai. He talked me into marrying him, using my crush on him for this. But Kuni? He’s okay with keeping it a secret for now, he just wants to marry me. And I want that, too.” Yes, it was happening faster than she had planned but after having fought for their love so much already she was sure that she and Kunihiko could make it. Hell, they even had so much support from others! Miho for example.
“Gimme that,” Miho grumbled and pulled the marriage registration closer, quickly filled out the witness column and signed.
“Congrats, you are Mrs. Stupid now.”
Jazz laughed happily and hugged Miho. “Thanks. And now get your stuff, we take this to the registry office and after that we get some champagne and lobster.”
When they came out if the office, arms linked and smiles on their faces, Kunihiko already knew that Miho had given in. He smiled at them, opened his arms for Jazz who skipped over to him.
“Doesn’t mean we are good again, Aikawa,” Miho grumbled and narrowed her eyes at him.
“Only fair. But thank you nonetheless.”
“If you ever hurt her again-“ Miho menacingly said and Jazz giggled.
“She was an assassin in a past life, just so you know.”
Kunihiko blinked once, twice. “Okay… well, I better treat you right then, huh?” He kissed the top of Jazz’s head softly and she hummed in agreement.
“Get a room, this is disgusting.” Although Miho frowned Jazz knew that she was actually happy for them. Kinda.
“You think Goto can join us for some champagne later? Maybe for dinner?” Kunihiko asked, making Jazz chuckle.
“What? You afraid to be alone with us?” she teasingly asked. Kunihiko shook his head and laughed briefly.
“No. Just of Miho.”
“Do you regret it?” Kunihiko whispered close to her ear, dragging Jazz from her daydream/memories.
“No. Not for a single second so far. Do you?” The only thing she regretted was the timing; she would have preferred to get married without the whole Miho/stalker thing lurking in the back of their minds.
“I just regret that we didn’t do it sooner.” He shrugged and kissed her softly, making her sigh in contentment. This was it, this was happiness. Marital bliss.
When the door opened and the usual gang came in they quickly separated and smiled at their guests. Only Takao gave them a tiny nod, acknowledging the secret they shared, the rest filed in and greeted Jazz as if she was the old friend and Kunihiko just the barkeeper.
After some chatter Jazz noticed a book on the counter.
“Kunihiko? What’s that?”
He looked towards the book and shrugged. “Some guest left it here. Can’t be that good if she doesn’t want it back after all.”
Saeki grabbed it and studied the cover. “Oh, it’s Kana’s new book. You are mistaken, Kuni, as far as I know it’s actually a bestseller.”
“Really? What is it about?” Jazz asked. Being an avid reader she was always looking for good books.
“It’s a forbidden love story, very naughty, at least as far as I heard. I haven’t read it myself yet.” Saeki handed her the book and she flipped it open on a random page, her eyes browsing the passage. She froze for a split second, blinked and read again.
“What? Is it that raunchy?” Saeki teased her, drawing the attention of the others.
“N-no… that’s not it…” She let the book sink, a helpless look on her face. What she really wanted to say was: “I think this is about me,” but since Ren, Yuta and Yamato had no idea about the services that MJS actually offered she couldn’t just say that. But it was true. The book was about a woman who worked as a marriage matchmaker and had a secret affair with a client. Her name was Jess Bann.
“This – this is… I think this is a job for Takao.”
Jess Bann, attractive, successful, confident, was the number one of marriage matchmakers for high-class clients. She was discreet, efficient and had an eye for the right match. People she brought together usually stayed together – in her career she had only one couple that broke up eventually, and there was no way to blame Jess for that.
But her own love life lay dormant, no relationship she ever had was happy or lasting. Maybe she wasn’t easy to love, too demanding, too fickle for any man to stay longer than some weeks, a couple of months at the most. For now she was fine with it, her job and her friends keeping her occupied and when the nights got too lonely Jess found someone to share her bed with, someone to take her mind off her loneliness.
Kaneda Aki was a successful advertising agent. After having spent several years with meaningless flirts and flings he wanted something real and followed the recommendation of a friend who sent him to Miss Bann, saying she would certainly find the perfect wife for him. For a considerable sum of money of course. But love didn’t come with a price tag and he had enough money, but not enough time to search for the right woman on his own.
It was only logical for them to work together. And it was completely stupid of him to actually fall for her.
Jazz put the book down, her hands trembling. How much of it was fiction and how much the way he had actually seen her? Did she really seem like that woman in the book? Her appearance, her job, parts of her personality, hell, even her name – the similarities were too many to be coincidental. After a quick research Takao had to admit that he couldn’t find out who that ‘Kana’ was, not even if it was a man or a woman. But Jazz already knew. After reading the book it was more than clear and she could actually remember the author that once was her client. He had married the woman she had introduced to him after two months and even sent a picture of their wedding. Why did he do this now? Why did he write this – this hurtful, embarrassing version of their liason? The woman in the book was cold, calculating, didn’t care much for her clients, only for their money. In the end she tosses the client away, mocks him even. He finds the love of his life on his own later, working in a café as a pastry chef. What irony that the woman Jazz had set the author up with had the same job.
“Stop torturing yourself with this crap,” Kuni gently said and took the book out of her hands, rady to go to bed.
“I can’t,” she admitted weakly. “It’s like scratching an itch, knowing you will only make it worse, but being unable to stop.” She closed her eyes, the words still fresh in her mind.
Pursuing whatever she wanted she breezed through life, guided by her whims and instincts. Her beauty opened her many doors, and for now she ignored the fact that one day her looks would have wilted, and all that would be left was her selfish heart that held no beauty.
“He’s an author, it’s his job to form characters that can easily be put into a category,” Kunihiko reminded her.
“I know, it’s just – ugh, this is not how I want to be pictured. And please, promise me never to read this book. Please.” It wasn’t only that the description of the character that obviously based on her wasn’t flattering, although Jazz hadn’t read that passage yet she knew that there would be a sex scene in it, a probably rather detailed one considering the style so far. Now that they had made up she didn’t want Kunihiko to get all jealous and insecure again.
Kanata Tachibana. Jazz remembered him. He had been flirty and witty, friendly and over all a really pleasant client. Good looking. And he had told her that he was an author. Heck, she even had joked that he better not make their arrangement into a story!
She took the book back from Kunihiko and sighed.
“I just want to sleep now.”
He nodded, kissed her softly and turned off the lights.
“So, strawberry shortcake?” Jazz motioned towards the cake on front of him and Kanata laughed.
“It’s my favorite. I’m looking all over town for the perfect strawberry shortcake and this is the best so far.”
“So you are really persistent, huh? That’s a good quality – for a husband,” she teased and he chuckled again. “What else can you tell me about you?”
“I think I’m actually pretty boring. No drama, no fancy hobbies. I write a lot, that’s not only my job but my passion. I can get lost in my work and tend to forget about everything else – including eating, sleeping and cleaning. Especially when a deadline is coming up.”
She nodded. “I will note that in your report. Not every woman is willing to deal with that.”
Kanata sighed and nodded back. “Yes, I know. But I really love my work so it’s important for me that she has patience and understands what writing means to me.”
“What else should a woman have? Should she be sexy or shy? Caring or daring? Bubbly or calm?” Jazz took a bite of the shortcake. This was definitely good.
“I don’t know. She should have a passion. A dream. I don’t think I could love a cold woman.”
This answer surprised her a bit but she could understand what he was trying to say. Who wanted someone who hadn’t any fire, any passion after all?
After eating the cake and having some coffee Jazz accompanied him to his place. It was packed with books and she curiously browsed through his book shelves.
“You like to read?” he asked and offered her a smile that she returned immediately.
“I love it. Ever since I was a kid. I even tried to write myself, but I had to accept that I have no talent for that.” She chuckled and pulled a book out after waiting for his approving nod. It was in Japanese of course but she read the summary on the cover and put it back.
“Do I see a spark of passion there?” His voice was closer now, hands rested on her hips and pulled her against him. Jazz smiled smugly and let her hand rest on the front of his pants.
“Do I feel a spark of passion here?” she purred back.
With a small chuckle Kanata leaned in, brushed his lips against hers before kissing her again, deeper this time. Jazz wrapped her arms around him and let him walk her towards his couch where they sat down, exchanging kiss after kiss.
“Are you okay with a little challenge?” he asked, pressing kisses down her neck.
“You know my profile… everything within my boundaries is okay… even a little challenge.” She was curious what he was thinking off and a bit confused when he got up and fetched a book.
“Here. Read this to me.”
Jazz blinked. Read? What did he plan? But she shrugged, cleared her throat and opened the book at a random page.
“The tension between them was almost unbearable, longing and reason battling a long drawn war, ever since they first met.” Jazz frowned a bit, there were some vocabularies she didn’t use often. And she jumped when she suddenly felt his hands creeping up her legs.
“’I can’t do this any longer,’ Rui finally admitted. ‘I can’t keep pretending that she is the one I love when it really is you. It has always been you.’ He wanted to hold her, kiss her, to make her finally his after all these years.” Her breath hitched in her throat when his fingertips pressed against the fabric of her panties, when he curled his fingers under the waistband and pulled them off her without even bothering to take off her skirt first.
“Keep reading,” he prompted and Jazz took a deep breath and continued.
“Tentatively, hesitantly he raised a slightly trembling hand, reached for her face, his fingertips grazing her soft skin until he cupped her cheek. She didn’t flinch, she didn’t pull back, instead she leaned into the touch with a soft sigh, breaking his remaining control, crumbled it between his palm and her cheek.”
Kanata was still crouching in front of her, kissing up her legs until his head was hidden under her skirt, his nose gently running over her mound.
Jazz closed her eyes briefly and took a slightly shuddering breath. “You – you said this was a challenge. What do I… what do I get if I win?”
He hummed lowly before his tongue darted out, gently nudging at her folds. “I keep on doing this for as long as you are reading.”
“And if I lose?”
He chuckled, his face still hidden from her view. “Then you won’t get to come at all – unless I think you earned it.”
This was too close on dob/sub-dynamics for her liking but then again, his tongue wasn’t close enough to her pussy so she simply shifted a bit, opened her legs some more so he could pull one over his shoulder and continued to read.
“Their first kiss tasted like honey and wine, like coming home after a long journey, like finding the other half of your soul.” She gasped briefly when his tongue flicked her clit but kept reading.
“She parted her lips to invite him in, met his tongue with her own – holy… – let him devour her…” It got harder to stay focused when he licked, kissed and sucked at her folds and her clit like a man starving, groaning while doing so. She was in an awkward position, slumped down somewhere between sitting and lying on the couch, hips close to the edge. She couldn’t rock or tilt her hips much, there was nothing to do but to take what he offered and that was slightly frustrating.
“Are you stopping?” he asked, slightly panting.
“There was no trace of doubt in her mind anymore, she loved him and she wanted him, he was the only one who could – oh my god – who could make her feel like that…” Jazz’s legs were trembling now and Kanata pressed a hand on her lower belly to keep her in place. Her mouth was dry and her voice cracked every now and then.
“So when his hand started roaming her body she didn’t resist, didn’t object, instead she let her own hands… let her own – oohhhh – own hands – fuck!”
He chuckled again and Jazz wanted to yell at him, wanted to laugh and scream at the same time. The pressure in her lower belly was almost too much to take already, but she still needed more.
“… let her own hands wander ooover his body…” She started to draw the vowels, almost moaned them, but kept reading. She was stubborn after all. Kanata chuckled bit kept up his ministrations.
“…took his shirt off without hesitation. His chest was –“ Jazz gasped and took a few shuddering breaths, “was firm… and warm… his heart – oh – his heartbeat racing under… under her palm… OH!”
Maybe Kanata took pity on her or his need for teasing her was sated – or he was simply so horny that he couldn’t wait much longer neither. He plunged two fingers into her core, making her cry out and curse lowly before she tried to read on, muttering another ‘holy’ before she found the line where she had left off.
“She let her hand wander downwards, over his –“ Jazz gasped again, followed by a moan. “… over his stomach towards his happy trail… what – what kind of book is this?”
His only answer was another chuckle but he stopped licking and sucking until Jazz took another deep breath and continued.
“… towards his happy trail. Biting her bottom lip she watched him from under her lashes, placed her hand on the – oh my god, yes, don’t – don’t stop now… – her hand on the impressive – really? Oh! – impressive bulge in his pants…” Her words were a mixed with moans and gasps, barely understandable at all, rushed and slightly slurred and cut off completely when she finally came, that tension inside of her culminating into a breathtaking orgasm – literally. With eyes closed and her mouth open she let the pleasure wash over her, let Kanata prolong the sensation, wave after wave, with his skillful tongue and fingers. Only when she whimpered and tried to pull back he stopped, reappeared from under her skirt with a wide grin.
“A few pages further and it would have been like a live commentary,” he chuckled, making Jazz huff a short laugh.
“I need… a glass of water…” she almost croaked and sat up again, the wetness between her thighs slightly uncomfortable. She only noticed now that he had taken his glasses off, his hair was disheveled but he grinned as if he was the one who just had gotten off. After a sip of water she felt better but before she could finish the glass Kanata took it from her and set it on the coffee table.
“You think you can keep on reading while I fuck you?”
Jazz couldn’t stop staring at the report. It had been an interesting date scenario, and she had found a playful and teasing side to him that she hadn’t expected at the first glance. Finding a match for him had been pretty easy and Kanata had married not even half a year later. Tiff. Jazz remembered Tiff. With a sigh she got up from her desk and walked to their front desk.
“Izumi, if Kanata Tachibana calls – and he will call – tell him I’m not available. But he can have an appointment with me later this afternoon. Tell him groveling is a visual experience after all.”
Izumi frowned briefly but seeing Jazz’s very serious face he simply nodded. “Will do.”
Jazz knew he would call. After all Takao had sent Kanata a very stern letter, announcing that MJS was considering suing him for breach of contract and that Jazz personally considered filing a suit for libel.
After informing Takao about the similarities between the book and the actual events he had been shocked, flustered and very certain that they would win in court. Although there were slight differences, for example did Jess and Kaneda have sex in her office while she read him adult literature to turn him on, it was still too similar to be coincidental.
Throughout the book the Jess character got a bit more likeable but in the end she still broke Kaneda’s heart and they ended their business relationship just for Jess to take another lover.
Jazz had lunch at her desk and worked furiously, used her anger to fuel her zeal. When Izumi called and told her Kanata was there to see her she needed a moment to gather her thoughts, but her anger was still burning hot.
“Hello, Jazz.” He opened the door and peeked into the office just for Jazz to wave him in.
“It’s ‘Miss Mann’ to you, Tachibana-san.” She set the mood from the get go, making this a purely business related conversation, no room for feelings or nostalgia. He had betrayed her trust and that was something that Jazz simply couldn’t let slide. Plus he did ruin her reputation – there was no way this could stay under wraps. Not with the sales that book already had.
“Oh, well, Miss Mann, thank you for having me on such short notice.” He took a seat and Jazz simply stared at him until he squirmed.
She sighed. “You asked for this appointment, didn’t you? What can I do for you? Deliver some new ideas for your next book?”
He was visibly uncomfortable but that was the least he could be under these circumstances.
“I’m really sorry, but I didn’t plan for this to happen.” Bowing his head slightly Kanata waited for her say anything. She didn’t.
“It was an accident! My lector found the draft and basically forced me to write this story!”
“Don’t,” she hissed and clenched her fists. “Don’t you dare to put the blame on anyone else but yourself! And if a hundred editors and publishers and whatever were breathing down your neck, you had NO right to write this book! You have signed a damned NDA! Do you really think that changing the names a bit will be enough?”
Kanata sighed and hung his head. “I know. I know, I fucked up. I had the worst case of writers’ block and I just started drabbling a bit – and suddenly I had a whole book. It seemed a waste to just – delete it.”
“Are you kidding me?! This is much more than just ‘a book’,” Jazz imitated his tone. “This is my life, my business! You could have at least put some effort in changing the names!”
“Yeah, that was – unfortunate,” he admitted sheepishly.
“Un- UNFORTUNATE?! This is the lowest of low! You are an author, and as far as I know a pretty decent one! You should know better! People will connect the dots and figure out that ‘Jess Bann’ and Jazz Mann are the same person! Or they will think that at least.”
She sighed and rubbed her temples. Maybe she should change her name. Take Aikawa as her own last name.
“Imagine how my husband feels about this. Imagine how YOU would feel if I published the adventures of your wife with a slightly different name. I got her report here, that’s a very interesting read after all.” Of course this was a bluff. She would never do that to another woman, client or not. But Tiff had been on her date scenario with Kyobashi – and he was a proved recipe for some very dirty stuff. Jazz knew from personal experience.
Kanata paled a bit but Jazz immediately waved off. “Don’t worry, Tiff hasn’t done anything to deserve this. And neither did I.”
He nodded. “I know that I can’t undo this. The book is out and even if we stopped it now, too many copies have already been sold.”
“Oh, but I don’t want to stop the sale,” Jazz interjected.
She shook her head, a small, vicious smile on her lips. “Of course not. Like you said, the damage is done. I want this book to be a bestseller because you will give me 50 percent of the profits.”
“50 percent?! That – that is a lot!” He seemed shocked but Jazz only shrugged.
“I could also go for a hundred if you prefer that. The words might be yours, but the story isn’t. It’s mine and you twisted it into something cheap and detestable.” She was back to hissing now and he exhaled deeply. “You gave me your trust, and I have honored that flawlessly – but you? You have committed an atrocious violation, a reprehensible, base and filthy crime against my true character that actually makes me feel dirty. And now I will have to live with this knowledge all my life and nothing I do can change that. Nothing ANYONE does can change that. So I could sue your sorry ass for everything you have, drag your face and name into every dirty little muckraking newspaper so you will never be able to go out again without being recognized –“ she paused for the dramatic effect, “or we settle that between us.”
Leaning back in her chair Jazz stared at him. “The only reason I’m even willing to negotiate is that you married a good woman and I wouldn’t want to destroy her life along with yours. I like her. She’s got spunk.”
“So 50 percent, okay. What else?” Kanata slumped down a bit, obviously giving up.
“I get all the rights that your publisher doesn’t hold already. I want to prevent that anyone can use this story, whether for movies or series or an audio book. Nothing like that.”
He nodded again.
“And you will never write anything that remotely resembles MJS or me or any of my partners in this business again.”
Another nod, this time firmer. Jazz exhaled.
“Good. At least that limits the damage a bit.” But it wouldn’t help her feeling better about the way her character had been portrayed in the book.
“One last question: Jess… I know she’s basically me, but do you really see me like that? Cold? Calculating? Heartless?”
Kanata shook his head softly.
“No. But I had to make her the antagonist in this. I couldn’t have him fall for her, could I? I –“ He hesitated but continued nonetheless. “I didn’t want my wife to think that I actually fell for you.”
“But you didn’t,” she stated, not asked.
“No. Don’t worry. But I can imagine it’s easy for your clients to fall for you.”
She let out a dry chuckle. “Not anymore. I’m a wedding planner now. My clients shouldn’t have eyes for anyone else than their future spouse.”
“It – it really hurt you how I wrote her character, didn’t it?” He frowned slightly, as if this thought hadn’t even crossed his mind so far.
“It did.” She clenched her teeth, the last thing she needed was his sympathy. She would gladly take his money, but not his pity.
“Hm… maybe I could – I don’t know, write a last book with Jess Bann. To show the softer side of her.” And when Jazz glared at him he added: “Purely fictional this time. Just to – redeem her. So the lasting impression wouldn’t be a negative one – and a wrong one.”
Jazz’s thoughts raced for a moment. Was that a good idea? She wanted less attention for this book, not more. But then again…
“You will let me read it before you publish it,” she demanded and he nodded. “Okay. I think that could appease me a bit. Well, that and 50 percent of the profits of that book, too.”
He let out a defeated sigh and weakly nodded again. “Where do I sign?”
“Head to Miho’s office,” Jazz told him coldly. “She’s going to want you to sign this one in blood.”
After everything was made official Jazz gathered her things and headed home.
“How did it go?” Kunihiko asked the moment she set a foot into their place.
“We’re going to get a nice sum of money,” she sighed and kicked off her shoes. “And a sequel to make Jess a better person.”
He wrapped his arms around her and Jazz inhaled his familiar and comforting scent. And frowned.
“Did you smoke again?”
He chuckled, she could feel the rumbling in his chest. “I did. Sorry.”
She simply waved it off and snuggled closer against his chest.
“I want to have your name.” She had pondered this for a while now and while there hadn’t been the time to get all the necessary paperwork before the wedding she now figured it would be a good idea. So far she had been clinging to her maiden name mostly because she felt it was an important part of her. But now?
“I want us to have the same name,” she quietly explained. He tightened his embrace.
“I have hoped you would say that eventually. I got everything ready for this. We can go and have your name changed tomorrow if you like.”
“And then we can be a real family?” she asked back, knowing how stupid that sounded. “A real married couple?”
“You and me. Mr. and Mrs. Aikawa.” He kissed her softly and Jazz nodded slowly, still wrapped up in his arms and his love.
“Sounds good. Sound really, really good.”