MJS Wedding: Ishigami x Liana (with some past Jazz x Katsuragi smut)

Jazz checked the last details to make sure that everything was taken care of. The flowers, the caterer, the band. Check, check, check. The guests were already waiting and the priest had just arrived. Showtime.

She quickly made her way over to the groom’s room and knocked. Goto opened the door.

“It’s time,” she said with a smile and nodded towards the door. “Get into position already.” He smiled slightly and left.

“Ishigami-san? Are you ready?”

She approached the groom, waited for his unspoken approval to fix his tie and the boutonniere.

“Congratulation, Ishigami-san. Your bride is a wonderful woman and I’m sure you will be very happy together.”

“Thank you,” he earnestly replied.

“But you better get going now, I’m going to get Liana next. Only five more minutes and you will be wed.”

She waited until he took a deep breath and nodded firmly.

“I am ready.”

It was good that there was no awkwardness between them, they both knew that whatever had happened between them had been part of a business, although it had been fun after all. Well, the act itself had been fun, the way leading there not that much. Ishigami-san had been the most difficult client in Jazz’s career but now he was happy and would marry the woman Jazz had found for him. All’s well that ends well, right?

After making sure that the groom was on his way Jazz hurried over to the bride’s room. She knocked again and when the door was opened she slipped inside, handed the bridesmaid a bouquet, and shooed Kurosawa out who was busy taking pictures of the bride in the last moments before the wedding.

“Liana? Your groom is waiting,” Jazz finally announced and the bride beamed at her.

“It’s really happening, isn’t it?” Jazz was slightly touched by how nervous the bride seemed. She had gotten to know her as a reasonable, not overly emotional woman so seeing her like this gave Jazz the good feeling that she really had matched up the right people.

“It is. He is looking very handsome and you are stunningly beautiful. I really hope that you will always be looking forward to seeing each other like you are in this moment. Congratulations and all the luck in the world to the both of you.”

Liana swallowed once and suddenly chuckled, a bit teary-eyed.

“Don’t ruin my makeup now, I can’t cry before he has seen me at least.”

Jazz smiled and handed the bride a tissue. Liana took a deep breath, grabbed her bouquet and nodded.

“I am ready.”

Yes, they were really a good match.


The ceremony went on without a hitch. The guests ‘ahh’ed and ‘ohh’ed at the bride’s entrance, the groom was visibly moved by her appearance and the bride was glowing, smiling all the time. It was perfect.

Their vows were simple but heartfelt, assuring each other of eternal support and trust. Ishigami was a bit nervous when it came to sliding the wedding band on Liana’s finger but he managed and for a moment it looked as if he would kiss her finger, but he held back. Probably because of their audience. But he was looking very relieved when the priest announced them husband and wife and this time, there was a kiss. Chaste but sweet and both blushed lightly. Very cute.

This was definitely the most emotional Jazz had seen Ishigami and considering what she heard from Goto and Subaru, she wasn’t the only one surprised at how visible touched the usually stony-faced detective was. Liana did have a softening effect on him.

When the first glasses of champagne were passed around Jazz slowly relaxed. The most important part was over, they were actually married. Whatever could go wrong now would be unpleasant but couldn’t change the fact anymore that Liana and Ishigami-san were newlyweds.

Jazz quickly checked on the serving staff and the caterer but they told her everything was fine. Of course Jazz wouldn’t drink at a day like this, she was on a job after all. But she got a glass of ginger ale that at least looked a bit like champagne and watched the guests and the bridal couple. She also watched Miho and Goto who were standing together, chatting and drinking with as much of physical contact they could get away with in this setting. Jazz knew that Miho was practically shameless but also that Ishigami was Goto’s boss and she was proud that Miho seemed to hold back. At least for now. What would happen when she had some more drinks was unpredictable.

“They are next, huh?”

Jazz slightly flinched, she hadn’t expected for anyone to talk to her.

“They are. What about you?” She turned to face Subaru who simply shrugged.

“MJS couldn’t match me up with someone suitable after all,” he casually said and took a sip of champagne.

“You mean you didn’t really give anyone else a chance,” Jazz shot back and he shrugged.

“Maybe I’m not the kind of guy that can be set up with someone easily.”

“Maybe we wouldn’t want our clients to have to deal with you all their life,” she said with a sweet smile.

“You are one to talk,” he grumbled but Jazz laughed happily.

“I am. After all I already am married.” He raised both eyebrows, surprised at her announcement.

“I mean I was. I already was married,” she quickly corrected herself. Dammit! Being Kunihiko’s wife felt so natural and right that she sometimes forgot to keep it a secret for now.

“You were. Well, well, the fact that you aren’t anymore doesn’t surprise me. I bet he got fed up with your talking back to him all the time.” His smug grin made her roll her eyes.

“No. He simply got fed up with lying to me about not being gay.” She shot him a challenging glare but he seemed to understand that this wasn’t something to joke about.

“Oh. Well… by the way, the flowers are great.” Subaru motioned towards a flower arrangement, a wordless olive branch of peace.

“Thank you. Haruka Utsunomiya made them.” She could tell by his expression that he actually was impressed, at least for second.

“What? Did you sleep with him, too? Isn’t he a bit young for you?” A very short second indeed.

“With whom I sleep or not shouldn’t concern you, but no. He’s an old friend of Kunihiko.” Jazz looked back at Miho and Goto who looked happy and relaxed, something that had been rare lately, while they chatted with Ishigami and Liana.

“Thank you. For taking care of her,” Jazz quietly said. It wasn’t easy for her to say something nice to Subaru but she was really grateful that he had made sure that Miho was safe. He tilted his head slightly and accepted her thanks graciously.

“Couldn’t let him lose another one,” he muttered and downed his champagne.

“Hello, everyone! Welcome here today! Who would have thought that we would ever celebrate the wedding of Ishigami one day?” a cheerful voice suddenly boomed through the speakers.

“Oh god, who gave that fool a mic?” Subaru muttered and Jazz jumped into action, ready to give the sound guy a sign to cut Kurosawa off if necessary.

“But I hardly know anyone who deserves this as much as Ishigami-san. He is a very dedicated boss and seeing him happy like this since he met Liana gave me hope that I, too, will one day find the love of my life.”

That earned some giggles and “awww”s alike. For now Jazz simply let Kurosawa talk, it was rather cute after all.

“But I guess I’m talking for everyone here today when I wish the bridal couple all the luck and love in the world. And demand a repeat performance of the wedding kiss!”

The crowd cheered, the call for a kiss quickly wandering from mouth to mouth. “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!”

Jazz rolled her eyes and gave the soundman a sign to take the mic back.

Ishigami frowned slightly but when he looked at his bride – no, his wife – a small smile played on his lips. He leaned in a bit and placed a soft kiss on her forehead just for Liana to pull him down again when he pulled back, pressing her lips against his. The guests cheered loudly and Jazz laughed with them. It was cute to see Ishigami blush lightly and Liana grin happily.

She excused herself to Subaru and made another round through the venue, making sure that everything was alright. The cake should be next and after that, the first dance. Later dinner and the party. Her job would be done when bride and groom left for the honeymoon.

She was deep in thought when she thought she saw a familiar face. For a second she froze but then relaxed. No, that couldn’t be. One of the caterer’s staff demanded her attention and Jazz forgot what she had been thinking about.

The cake was a huge success. Of course there was no childish smearing of cake into each other’s faces with Ishigami but Jazz noticed the way his eyes lit up when he got a first taste of it. Obviously Liana had picked the right flavor.

It was strange, although there wasn’t the usual exuberant display of love at a wedding there was a very touching, deep, almost serene connection between bride and groom that made not only Jazz a bit jealous, but only for a moment. After all she was happy in love, too.

When it was time for the speeches Jazz looked for Goto. Hadn’t he been here a minute or five ago? With Miho? A strange sense of foreboding washed over her. Miho wouldn’t actually do that, would she? Drag him off at the wedding of his superior to make out somewhere? Maybe even more? Hell yeah, she would.

She needed help to track them down and she knew it. Jazz looked for Subaru, hoping he had seen them sneak out or at least would help her, maybe check the men’s restroom.

She found him chatting with a group of men and politely cleared her throat to get his attention. Subaru turned to face her and she just wanted to ask him to help her search for Miho and Goto when she noticed one of the men standing there with Subaru.

“Jazz?”

“Daichi?”

Suddenly Jazz had the attention of all of those men, the short blonde one, the one that looked slightly familiar, a dark haired one. And of course of Subaru and Daichi.

“’Daichi’?” the smaller one asked but Jazz didn’t even react.

“Uhm, sorry, I am… I can’t find Goto, his speech is next,” she stammered, slightly taken aback by this sudden reunion with an old flame. This was awkward.

“We can help you look for them,” Subaru offered but Jazz quickly shook her head.

“Knowing Miho it would be better if not ALL of us went, if you catch my drift.” She made a face and Subaru snorted a laugh.

“Yeah, I get it. Okay. I check the groom’s room and the men’s restroom.” Subaru nodded and Jazz smiled slightly at him. At least he was getting what she wanted from him without her having to actually ask. She would check the women’s restroom and the whole staff area. With a quick smile she apologized to the other men and shot Katsuragi an apologetic look before she rushed off, hoping she wouldn’t find Miho and Goto in a situation that would scar her for life. Again.

After Goto finally had held his speech – still a bit flushed and slightly disheveled – Jazz wanted to yell at Miho and laugh at the same time. She had to admit, it had been funny. At least a bit. And she liked seeing Miho happy and as long as no one else had noticed she didn’t care that her best friend had a quickie with her fiancé at the wedding of his superior.

Jazz sighed. She could use a drink but she was still on the clock. And somewhere in the crowd was a man that had broken her heart once.

Jazz was relieved when the band started playing the song for the first dance of the bridal couple. After a long discussion they had agreed on “The look of love” by Diana Krall. It was a very good song, slow and with wonderful lyrics.

Liana beamed at Ishigami when he led her to the dance floor; they just couldn’t take their eyes off each other. They swayed in each other’s arms, completely enthralled and in their own world.

“Jazz?” She knew who it was before she even raised her gaze.

“Daichi.” She simply acknowledged him with a small nod.

“Can we – talk?”

She took a deep breath.

“I am working, Daichi. I’m sure you know what that means.” She knew she was being childish but she couldn’t help it. He had hurt her back then, had cancelled their dates too often, had left whenever a call came. She had spent too many nights alone although he had promised her he would be there. All for his work.

“Then maybe when you’re finished?” There was hope in his voice but she wanted to shoot him down on the spot.

“No. When I’m finished here I will go home – to my husband.” She directly looked at him. “I wanted to talk after your trip to Moscow. I waited for you for almost eight hours. And when you finally came? What did you say?”

The guilt in his face wrenched her heart but she couldn’t back down now. “What did you say, Daichi?”

“Not now, I’m too tired to talk,” he repeated his words from back then.

“I have waited eight hours in a fucking coffee shop!” she hissed at him. “And instead of calling me and sending me home you kept sending me texts that you would be there soon. Eight fucking hours, Daichi.” With a last glare she turned back around to watch the last few seconds of the dance.

The guests clapped politely and so did Jazz, a strained smile on her face. The band started the next song and Jazz weaved through the forming couples that crowded the dance floor now that the bridal couple had their moment in the spotlight. She knew he was following her but she didn’t care, she was too angry. Still. She was still too angry and that angered her even more. She had thought she was over him, hell, she had thought she was over him when she met Ai some time later. Funny, but without Daichi treating her like a backup plan of sorts she would never have fallen for Ai. Now she could see that, of course, but back then she thought that Ai was really the perfect match for her. Just because he actually called when he promised. She had pretty low standards back then. Pathetic.

Jazz quickly gave some orders to the barkeepers and the waiting staff, rushed off towards the kitchen to check everything there and when she came back to the party 15 minutes later Daichi was nowhere to be seen. Good. She had no time for that now.

Dinner went well and afterwards there was more music, more drinking. The bride and groom left for their honeymoon but the guests stayed and celebrated on without them. Who needed a bridal couple at a wedding anyway?

But Jazz didn’t care, she was happy that the wedding has been a success. That Ishigami and Liana enjoyed this day and would remember it fondly their whole life.

And now was the time she actually considered getting a drink. But of course Subaru had to come between her and her hard earned champagne; he actually asked her for a dance. Reluctantly Jazz agreed, mostly because she loved to dance and Subaru actually looked as if he knew what he was doing.

“So, you and Katsuragi, huh?” he asked after the first few steps.

“Just. Stop. Okay? I really don’t want to talk about it.” It had been a long day, lots of little catastrophes she had to take care of without anyone noticing, plus meeting her former lover – that was just too much.

“Hey, I’m just curious. I mean, he’s my boss and I didn’t even know he was dating someone.” Subaru twirled her once and pulled her back close. He was really a good dancer.

“And that’s part of the problem,” she admitted, so tired of all this that she actually considered resting her forehead against his shoulder. But this was Subaru and she wouldn’t show any weakness in front of him.

“What do you mean?” She could hear the frown more than she could actually see it from her angle.

“Well, we were dating back then, but we – he wasn’t really committed. Only called when it crossed his mind. Always put work first. I know that his job – your job – is important and dangerous, that you have to be dedicated and ready to do whatever is necessary to protect your client. It’s a hard job and not everyone could do it. I understand that.” She exhaled and bit her lip briefly.

“But I am not the kind of woman who is happy on the backseat,” she muttered.

“No? I would have bet you enjoy a backseat every now and then,” Subaru quipped just for Jazz to slap his arm once.

“You know what I mean. I’m not a stopgap, I’m not only second best. And that’s exactly what he made me feel.”

“Huh. Wouldn’t have guessed he’s like that,” Subaru muttered and Jazz shrugged.

“Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. If he meets the right one I’m sure he would make it work somehow.” But she could still be sad that she hadn’t been the one after all.

“Mind if I cut in?” Katsuragi suddenly ask, standing next to them.

“No,” Subaru answered the same moment Jazz said: “Yes.” There was a brief moment of confusion but in the end Katsuragi gave Subaru a stern look that weighed more than Jazz’s glare. He was Subaru’s boss after all.

“You are looking stunning,” he awkwardly said and took Jazz hand. She only tensed for a split second before she gave in and let him pull her closer, one hand in the small of her back.

“I know.” She couldn’t help being miffed, there was nothing he could say to make things right again.

“You never took my calls.”

“There was nothing left to say after all. I thought I’d save us both the time and the embarrassment.”  She couldn’t look at him. She still remembered how she had rushed out of that stupid coffee shop, how she had gone home and packed the few things he had left at her place and sent them back to him, adding a note with a list of her stuff and the instructions how to send them back to her. She didn’t even want to talk to him again.

“I tried to explain,” he defended his actions but Jazz only snorted once.

“You did, but that didn’t change anything. You stood me up too many times, you ditched me too many times. Just saying there was a problem at work doesn’t change that.”

They had never really fit together, it was mostly a physical attraction. Jazz had to admit, the spark was still there. He really was a hunk after all, tall and with broad shoulders. That had attracted Jazz back then. She had felt safe in his arms.

And now? Her body betrayed her, molded perfectly against his, remembered every touch.

“We have danced to this song before,” he suddenly muttered and Jazz felt like crying.

“I remember.” She really did.


Daichi had taken her out to dinner. It was some kind of celebration, Jazz had successfully finished a very important event and he wanted to spoil her a bit for it. And apologize because he had to cancel the last two or three dates they had planned. But this night they had dressed up a bit and he took her to a wonderful, very intimate restaurant. Champagne, dinner, dancing.

It was a perfect date, a perfect night. Jazz had just the right level of tipsiness to feel both bold and relaxed with him. They were dating for a couple of weeks already and the sex was – unf, it was just incredible. Although he was so strong, with these big hands, and Jazz was rather small he always treated her gently, carefully, until she ordered him to be rougher. Sometimes she was afraid they would break the bed.

But he held her as if she was made of glass when they danced.

They were already kissing and touching on the way back to her place, building the passion and desire, and Jazz just knew this was one of those nights when they wouldn’t even make it back to the bedroom. When the door was closed behind them Daichi pushed her against it, dress hiked up so he could grab her thigh and wrap it around his waist, pinning her against the wooden surface with his body.

“I missed you so much while I was in Singapore,” he muttered and Jazz was already fumbling with the buttons of his shirt. She loved his chest, loved to run her fingers over the firm planes of it, the bit of chest hair and old scars. So manly. So sexy.

“Missed you, too,” she breathed against his skin, moaning when he pushed his hips against hers, letting her feel his state of arousal.

“Dammit, Daichi! Stop talking, get naked already!”

They both knew they wouldn’t even manage to undress completely, just tugging and pushing at clothes until they were bare enough. Lips and fingertips greedily explored every bit of naked skin in reach, Jazz’s hands quickly opened his belt and pants. She pushed one hand under the waistband of his boxer briefs, curled her fingers around his cock, reveling in its hardness and girth. Good thing everything was proportional to his huge build.

When he impatiently pushed two fingers into her core she yelped and tightened her grip only for him to groan and buck his hips. With her free hand she managed to reach into the inside pocket of his jacket and grabbed the condom she knew he had there. He always had one when they met.

She ripped the foil open with her teeth and he only stopped circling her clit with his thumb for long enough so she could get the condom in place before he hoisted her up a bit – showing off his strength, knowing it turned her on like hell – and held her place with one hand under her ass, the other guiding his cock into her.

With a low hiss Jazz welcomed the slight burn, the stretch, urged him on to move with an impatient roll of her hips. Daichi needed a moment to shift, to find foothold before he could grab both her hips and slowly pull back just to slam back into her, making her cry out. Jazz clung to him, arms wrapped around his shoulders, face buried in the crook of his neck, biting down to muffle her moans.

It was rough, it was quick, it was loud and oh so satisfying. Her back hurt, her head spun, she had lost her shoes and was fairly certain that her dress was ripped, but she didn’t care. Jazz loved it when he was like this, demanding, taking, using his height and strength to keep her in place while he fucked her mercilessly. Later there would be cuddles and kisses, he would examine every mark, every little bruise he had caused on her body and kiss them all better, but now all she wanted was this. Raw desire.

He growled against her neck and sucked a mark into her skin and Jazz gasped, grabbed the hair at the back of his head and yanked him back, just enough so she could kiss him. She lightly bit down on his bottom lip and giggled when he hissed but her laughter turned into moans when he slammed into her harder, punishing her for her teasing.

“You’re… a little… minx…” he grunted between thrusts and Jazz only laughed, spurred him on to be even rougher. Her legs around his waist were already trembling, the tension in her body almost too much to take but she just wasn’t quite there yet. So she carefully slid one hand from his back between their bodies, making him groan when he realized what she was doing. It took only a bit of pressure, one, two circles of her fingertips around her clit to send her over the edge, to make her cry out and cling to him, shuddering in his arms. When she came down from her high he kissed her gently, still panting, and with a short start he hoisted her up, holding her whole weight now to carry her over to her bed. This time they undressed properly and he took his time, lots of kisses and touches and whispered words of affection while he made love to her now.

And in the end Jazz fell asleep in his arm, really hoping this could work out.

It didn’t. The next morning Jazz woke up to a note on the pillow next to her, simply saying: “Work emergency.”

Lust and physical attraction simply weren’t enough to build a relationship on it and Jazz had to accept that Daichi would always pick his work over her. She had to put an end to whatever they were having before she fell even further for him. And after that coffee shop disaster it was surprisingly easy.


“You are divorced.” Daichi’s words pulled her from her thoughts. “I asked Subaru about it.”

“I am.” There was no use in denying or hiding the truth.

“You said you were married,” he pointed out.

“Again, I am. I got divorced and now I’m married to someone else. Subaru doesn’t know everything about me.” Jazz started feeling uncomfortable in his arms, a place she used to love. She looked around, feeling a bit guilty that her mind had flashed back to this particular memory.

“I thought you had left the country by now.”

Was that it? The reason he had held back? Had he been hesitating because he knew she would leave eventually? They had never talked about it, but they had never talked much at all.

“As you can see I’m still here.”

“Working as a wedding planner?” He readjusted his grip on her hand a bit, his big hand enveloping hers.

“It’s not that far from event planning and actually I enjoy it very much.” Just not this moment.

“And you’re doing a great job. Ishigami was full of praise.”

It was so much harder not to cry when he was sweet like this. Jazz shouldn’t feel like this, she shouldn’t be sorry for this lost chance when she was happy with Kunihiko. She shouldn’t wonder how things could have been when her life now was so wonderful.

“Mind if I cut in?”

Daichi was a bit puzzled when Miho suddenly stood next to them.

“You want to dance with me?” The crease between his brows showed his confusion and Jazz had to laugh.

“No, I want to dance with her. If you excuse us,” Miho boldly said and grabbed Jazz’s hand, pulled her closer and started to dance.

“Lemme guess, you want to lead?” Jazz asked, somewhere between laughing and crying.

“Shut up, I have to focus here,” Miho snapped back, but Jazz knew that Miho came to rescue her.

“But don’t even think you can drag me off somewhere like Goto. You have to get me a drink first.” Jazz was really grateful for having friends, especially in situations like these. She rested her forehead against Miho’s shoulder and giggled.

“You sound as if you’re already drunk,” Miho grumbled. “So, you’re going to tell me the story about you and that hunk?”

“Later maybe. Now I just want to enjoy this dance.” She earned herself a slap on the ass from Miho but kept giggling.

“Huh. Now that’s quite a sight,” Subaru muttered and grabbed his phone, trying to take a picture of Miho and Jazz on the dance floor. Goto’s simply reached out and took the phone, shook his head and sighed.

“I think we’ve had quiet enough photos, don’t you?”

“Come on, don’t tell me this isn’t hot. Hey, you think they ever…?” Subaru raised an eyebrow and motioned towards the dancing women.

“No.” Goto’s face gave nothing away until the corners of his mouth twitched lightly. He didn’t have to think. He knew.


It was way after midnight when Jazz silently sneaked into the bedroom, tired but over all pretty satisfied with her work that day. She carefully slid under the covers only to feel an arm wrapping around her.

“Hey,” Kunihiko greeted her sleepily.

“Hey. Go back to sleep.” She snuggled closer and sighed in contentment. These were the arms she belonged in.

“How was the wedding?” He nuzzled her neck and a wave of love for him washed over her.

“Chaotic. Hectic. Beautiful. The bridal couple was very happy in the end and that’s all that matters.”

“Good… I knew you would make it a success…” He was already drifting off but Jazz wouldn’t want it any other way. He needed his sleep, after all he had a busy and tiring job, too. And she was more than ready to close her eyes, too.

“Good night. I love you.”

“Love you, too…” he mumbled and was asleep again.

Yes, this was where she belonged. This was home.

MJS In office drama and client report rewind: Jazz x Kanata Tachibana

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.

“Jazz?”

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.

“Jazz!”

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?

“Mrs. Aikawa!”

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.

She sighed.

“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.

“No?”

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.”

MJS Romance: Jazz x Kunihiko Fixing things

There was no denying the fact that Jazz needed her own clothes. No matter how long she stared into Miho’s closet, there wasn’t much that could fit her smaller frame. And no matter what Miho said, Jazz actually liked wearing panties, preferably her own. So she already knew she would have to go to Kunihiko’s place and get some clothes. Sooner or later she would have to get all her stuff anyway, but she didn’t want to sneak in like a thief in the night nor did she want to run into Kunihiko. And that was the problem.

He hadn’t called. He hadn’t texted or send a pigeon or anything. She had left and he had done nothing at all to contact her and that was hurt her the most. So she was afraid to face him because as long as she didn’t it wasn’t really true. Their relationship was in a strange limbo between intact and broken up and she was afraid to tip the scale into the wrong direction. It was Schroedinger’s relationship. Scratch the cat, every girl in the world would understand this parable.

But she knew she couldn’t avoid it much longer and so she called Osanai to ask him for Kunihiko’s schedule. It was an innocent question but when she knew that he was in a meeting she also knew that he wasn’t at home. Simple, clever, perfect. And obviously Kunihiko’s day was packed so Jazz had all the time in the world to gather some clothes and leave her key on the table. Not the classiest move but it would work.

But first she had some appointments and was really grateful that her emergency dress was still in the office. She couldn’t wear the same outfit three days in a row. It was late in the afternoon before Jazz had the time and the gathered courage to head towards Kunihiko’s apartment. Her heart pounded furiously and her hands were sweaty and trembling, but she managed to unlock the door like the countless times she did before. Only this time would be the last.

With a feeling as if she had swallowed a rock that now settled in her stomach Jazz walked into the familiar rooms, quickly grabbed the most important stuff. Documents, some memorabilia, and of course some clothes. She was glad that there were still boxes around from when she moved in with Kunihiko. She felt as if that was in another lifetime and it wasn’t even a month. Usually even Jazz managed to get a relationship going longer than that. With a glance at the boxes she realized that she would have to call a cab. Or someone with a car. But it was a workday and the only one coming to mind was Takao. She wouldn’t call Takao. He was a friend of Kuni and might tell him, it was too risky. No, she would quietly keep packing stuff and call a cab. Tokyo taxi drivers had seen worse than a crying woman with moving boxes.

She quickly sorted through her clothes, only took what she really needed now. Panties and bras, a few dresses and blouses, skirts and pants. Pajamas. Shoes. Everything stuffed into a box and a bag. She looked around the bedroom, considering bringing some of her jewelry but that didn’t seem that important now. Her gaze stopped at a picture that sat on Kunihiko’s nightstand. It was the black and white photo Jinpachi had taken, the lines and curves of her body from her hips down to her legs. Hesitantly she took the picture and following her whim she pushed it into her bag. Her picture, her body, her memories.

Jazz would have preferred to wipe out every trace of her in this place but she didn’t have the time for that. Still, she could take all the private things, everything that meant something to her. All the other stuff would follow as soon as she had figured out where she would stay.

She checked the clock and was surprised about how long she had taken so far. She better left soon, there was no use in pushing her luck. Jazz had just stacked two boxes on top of each other when she heard the key in the lock. She froze.

Now she really felt like an intruder, a thief, although she only came to get her own things. She wouldn’t take anything from him; she didn’t want anything from him. Only what belonged to her.

“Jazz? Jazz, are you still here?” He sounded breathless, hurried. Oh god. OH GOD! What should she do? Hide? Run? No, she wasn’t that childish and although she dreaded the encounter that was inevitable now, she was enough of an adult to simply get over with it and walk out with her head held high. No need for panic. Okay, maybe a little panic.

“I am here.” She stood up and smoothed down her dress, waiting for him to arrive in the bedroom.

“Thank god, you’re still here…” He was panting, his hair a bit disheveled. He must have been running. She snorted a dry laugh. Yeah, figure. He couldn’t wait to give her the finishing blow, could he?

His gaze fell on the boxes and the bag next to her and he straightened up, took a few steps towards her.

“What are you doing?”

Jazz couldn’t look at him. She knew his face, knew every expression and loved them all, but now she couldn’t watch him. Maybe she better just got over with it, like ripping off a bandage.

“I’m packing.” She was proud that her voice didn’t waver, that she sounded calm and matter-of-factly. Because inside she was a whirlwind of emotions, fear and pain and defiance swirling around in her head and her heart, making it hard for her to focus.

“You want to leave?” Kunihiko sounded as if he couldn’t belief it, as if that thought hadn’t even crossed his mind once. Maybe because he couldn’t imagine that she would take charge instead of waiting for him to send her stuff to her.

“I already left, did you forget? Or didn’t you even notice?” She couldn’t hold back the slightly bitter, sharp tone, that poison that was eating at her from the inside.

His shoulders slumped a bit and Jazz had to bite her lip to stop it from trembling.

“I – the office was like crazy today. All the projects that got cancelled – they all wanted to apologize and resume business relations. We were swamped with work.”

That was his answer? That was all?! Jazz took a deep breath, let it escape again through her nose. Tried to stay calm.

Kunihiko looked directly at her.

“Was that you?”

She chuckled dryly. “Sure. I went to all those companies and slept with everyone there so they would give you another chance.” The frown on his face was quickly replaced with a sad look.

“I deserve that, huh?”

Carefully he took a step closer and Jazz backed off, trying to keep the distance between them. She couldn’t be near him, here in this room where they had been so much closer, so many times. And now? Now she was here, watching their love wither before her own eyes. It was just too much to take. If he touched her now she feared that her heart would just shrivel, a tiny lump of tissue and muscle, no room for any kind of feelings left.

“What you deserve,” Jazz began, voice thick with her suppressed tears, “is someone who is good for you. But right now? I can’t find it in me to wish you that.” She knew she was petty, that this wouldn’t help her at all. But she was a stickler for honesty and she wouldn’t start lying now.

“I think I already have someone like that.”

Again he stepped closer and Jazz had nowhere left to run. Another step back and she would fall backwards on the bed. With every step he came closer her panic grew. If he touched her now she would just break. There wouldn’t even be enough left of her to ever put her together again. She would shrivel and wrinkle and when he turned his back on her she would simply cease to exist. Poof, just like that.

“Jazz… why did you even do that?” His violet eyes were trained on her, he was so close that she could feel his breath on her face. “After our argument… why did you even try to help me?”

She was trembling now, afraid of saying something stupid, really stupid when she opened her mouth.   She wanted to snap at him, tell him that she didn’t ‘try’ anything but actually managed to resolve the mess with his company, managed to put Akane Kujuro in her place, all in a day’s work, but she couldn’t.

“Because I love you…” she breathed, followed by a sob. It was so pathetic, she was so pathetic, how could she ever think she deserved love? If she had learned one thing in her life it was that she only picked the wrong men and now that she had thought she had found the right one, the wrong men interfered again, albeit only their shadows. She tried to calm her breathing and wiped her eyes. She could do this. She could be a freakin’ adult and get over with this.

“Because the thought of you losing everything because of me drove me crazy. Consider it my farewell gift.” Jazz almost choked on these words but now that they were out she felt better. Closure. Yes, maybe that had been the thing she needed. By avoiding this conversation she had robbed herself of the chance to make her peace with this.

Of course that was complete bullshit. Even if they managed to talk this through, to find some mature and calm way of doing this, a break up was a break up. It would hurt either way.

“I don’t want that.” Kunihiko’s voice sounded hoarse and the crease between his brows deepened further. “I am grateful that you did whatever you did, but I don’t want it to be a farewell gift. I don’t want you to go.”

His hands cupped her face and as predicted Jazz broke. The tiny cracks in her façade widened and deepened, giving way for her tears.

“The last few days… without you here – it just didn’t feel right. I know that there’s no apology that can fix this, and believe me, I never wanted to hurt you or make you feel bad about yourself. That is actually something I admire about you. That you don’t seem to have regrets.” He offered her a small smile and Jazz snorted a laugh.

“Ha! I have so many regrets. The guy that pilfered my savings? Marrying head over heels and finding out my husband’s gay? Only yesterday I-“ She choked, sobbed and needed to take a deep breath. “I – I did something horrible,” she finally admitted in a small voice, unable to look at him.

His hands tensed slightly before he exhaled audibly, but he didn’t pull back.

“It’s okay, whatever it is, you can tell me. We can get through this,” he assured her only to meet her accusing gaze.

“You think I slept with someone else,” she finally said, a bitter statement, not a question. He only winced for a split second but it was enough for Jazz to drop her head again.

“Okay, I get it. Will it always be like this? Will you always doubt me? Make me feel guilty?” She stepped back and plopped down on the bed into a sitting position. “I can’t change my past, you know? And honestly, I wouldn’t even if I could. I made mistakes but that is life. Everyone makes mistakes.” And she didn’t even consider most of them actual mistakes.

The bed dipped next to her when he sat down, too, not touching her yet but close enough that she could feel the usual pull, the need for physical contact in his presence. But she didn’t give in, not when she wasn’t sure where this would end.

“I’m sorry… you are right. Everyone makes mistakes and I just made another stupid one. I do trust you, really, it’s just – my biggest fear is losing you. Ever since I finally found you I’m afraid that something, maybe someone, will you take you away from me.”

Jazz sighed. “Jealousy is often a sight of insecurity,” she mused loudly. “The thing is, whenever you get jealous I feel guilty, although I know I didn’t do anything wrong. You can’t blame me for having a past.” She shrugged. “I don’t blame you for yours, either.”

He nodded slowly. “I know. I really do.” For a moment neither of them spoke, they just didn’t know what to say, afraid to break this fragile peace.

“Do you want to talk about it? The horrible thing you did?” he suddenly offered.

She sighed, wrung her hands in her lap. “I blackmailed Ai and Akane to take care of their mess by threatening to make some details of my marriage public. I betrayed his trust and – shit, I just sank down on her level.”

“I don’t think he’s mad at you,” Kunihiko slowly said.

“Yeah? How come?”

“He paid me a visit today. Apologized for his mother’s actions. Honestly, between him and Miho – it’s a miracle that I’m still alive,” he jokingly said, but Jazz didn’t laugh. “Anyway, I had a long talk with him and if it wasn’t for the call from the concierge, telling me you came here I would probably still sit with him and talk.”

She still stayed silent and he filled the silence with words.

“I don’t like him, not after everything he did to you, but I have to admit – I’m not better. I hurt you, too, and I’m not sure if you can forgive me. If I can forgive me.” He hesitated but continued talking. “You are right, I have been jealous. But not of the men who – who slept with you. After talking to your ex husband I realized that I’m most jealous that he got something from you that you now won’t give anyone else. You married him. Even without ever having slept with him… because you loved him so much. I think that’s what’s really bothering me. Not that you had sex with other, in this day and age that’s pretty normal, but that you have loved so much before.”

Again silence stretched between them, wrapped them in a blanket that was hard to shake off. But she managed.

“You are an idiot.” But there was no rage in her words, she was too tired for anger by now. “I never said I wouldn’t marry ever again, I just said I don’t want to get married right now. That I want to be sure this time. I always thought I would only get married once and if I was Catholic I think I would have gone for an annulment rather than a divorce, basically erasing this marriage from my record.” She laughed briefly. “Sounds strange, I know. But in the end it wouldn’t change the fact that I said ‘I do’ and believed in it. So can you understand that I’m scared of making the same mistake twice? Of being too eager, too blinded?”

He nodded slowly, weakly. In his mind he could understand, even approve of her caution, her strength of will. But his heart – well, his heart had a mind of its own.

Jazz took another deep breath. The hardest part was yet to come.

“So the question is simple. Do you think you can live with that? Knowing about my past, but not about the future? At least not the next months, maybe years? I don’t know when I will be ready to marry again, but I do know that I can’t imagine it to be anyone else than you.”

She bit her bottom lip, dragged it through her teeth, unable to look at him. If he said ‘no’… well, if he really said no she would pack her things and leave. So far she had no idea what to do afterwards, but she wouldn’t beg him to stay, to love her. She would quietly leave his life and move on with her own. Somehow.

She prayed he wouldn’t say no.

“I – I think there’s something wrong here,” he finally said and she closed her eyes, bracing herself for whatever he would say.

“I’m not the one making a decision. You have always been honest with me-“

Jazz flinched imperceptibly. She was honest whenever he asked her something, but she only answered his questions. She still held some things back sometimes.

“- and still I have made you feel bad about yourself, about your honesty. I know you said some things just so I wouldn’t say them and I understand. It would have hurt more and there would be no way to take them back.”

Jazz nodded. Some words couldn’t be taken back, they would always stay, lingering between them, piling up until they suffocated any feelings. That was why she chose her words carefully in a fight. Things said in anger or frustration were often crueler than intended, but once said they couldn’t be unheard.

Kunihiko kept on talking. “But I want you to know that I was wrong, that I feel deeply sorry for hurting you, for saying what I said and most of all, for making you think I would actually believe those words. I don’t. I never did. And even if, it shouldn’t matter. You are a strong and independent woman, brave and smart. I was a fool not to tell you about Kujuro-san and her actions against me and my company, I was a fool to think you wouldn’t do everything you can to help me. But I was also too proud to ask for your help.” He smiled wryly and Jazz inhaled sharply. Where was he heading?

“Pride shouldn’t be an issue between us. Jealousy shouldn’t be. I love you. I want to spend my life with you, with or without wedding, I don’t care. If you can forgive me I will never let you go again. And if you can’t – the please let me do whatever it takes so you can eventually. Let me earn your trust again, let me-“

She cut him off with a kiss, slid into his lap and wrapped her arms around him.

“Sometimes the only one that can make you feel better is the one who hurt you in first place,” she whispered against his lips. “And I really, really want you to make me feel better now. I’m fed up with feeling miserable.”

She didn’t need tell him twice. His arms wrapped around her, pulling her even closer against him he kissed her, the fear, the insecurity, the guilt – everything that had kept them apart melted away under their kisses, the urgency and longing that spurred them on. They didn’t even separate long enough to undress properly, their clothes ripped from them, discarded carelessly on the floor.

Without giving him much of a choice Jazz pushed Kunihiko down on the bed, pulled his pants and boxers just so far down that she could reveal his hard cock, her own panties just pushed to the side so she could sink down on him, her dress hiked up, his shirt half unbuttoned. There would be time for tender lovemaking later, now she needed to feel him, to reconnect in the most primal way she could think of. Her nails dragged down his half exposed chest, left red marks until she reached a button, ripped it off while yanking his shirt further off him. Her hands on his chest Jazz started moving, spurred on by his gaze, eyes dark and full of desire.

He had been right, not everything could be fixed with sex. But this? This worked. She hissed and groaned, head thrown back, eyes closed, focused on the physical sensations rather the emotions. There was still a lingering pain at the edges of her conscience and she knew it would take some time for it to fade, leaving only a slightly more sensitive spot behind. But she was willing to take the risk, praying that this time she wasn’t mistaken. He was worth it. Their love was worth it.

Kunihiko startled her by suddenly sitting up, hands cupping her face again, his thumbs wiping away tears she hadn’t realized shedding.

“I will never hurt you again,” he promised hoarsely, making her sob. An empty promise; he couldn’t possibly keep it, but his intention was true. So she wrapped her arms around him while he did the same, slowly rocked in his lap, bodies pressed tightly against each other, countless kisses filling the little space between them. He came first, encouraged by both sweet and dirty words from her lips. Only when Kunihiko stilled the movements of her hips she stopped, still embracing him. They panted and were sweaty, but she grinned widely at him.

“You are … incredible…” he chuckled, dropping a kiss on the tip of her nose. “I really don’t deserve you.”

“Don’t you ever forget that,” Jazz reminded him before she got off his lap with a sigh, heading for the bathroom to clean up. When she came back Kunihiko was lying on the bed, completely naked now and with a small smile on his lips.

“Hey you,” he greeted her and Jazz smiled back.

“Hey.” She crawled onto the bed, right into his open arms. There was still a lot for them to talk about, but when he started undressing her, without the rush from earlier, they both wordlessly decided to do the talking later. And after he had coaxed the second orgasm from her, growing hard in the process again, they had the tender lovemaking that soothed both their hearts until they could fall asleep, entangled in each other.


Breakfast the next day was spent in a relaxed, happy atmosphere.

“Have you called Miho and said you won’t come to work today?” he asked and handed her a bowl with fresh sliced fruit.

“I sent her a text last night so she doesn’t worry. It was a bit short but I guess she got what I tried to say, she sent me a ‘Show him who’s the boss’ back, followed by a couple of emojis and some lewd comments.” Jazz giggled and Kunihiko rolled his eyes, but smiled.

“She’s really-“

He started but Jazz raised an eyebrow.

“A bad influence?” she asked teasingly.

“A great friend,” he finished his sentence. Jazz hummed in agreement and took a sip of tea.

“You know you will have to beg to get back into her good graces, right?”

He sighed. “Yeah, figured so much. Maybe whiskey on the house for – hm, forever?”

Jazz chuckled. “That’s at least a good start. Just to ease your mind, she’s at least not the type who slaps you the ‘I told you so’ into your face. She gloats, and very much so, but only because she’s happy that everything worked out in the end.” She smiled fondly, thinking about Miho. “But I’m glad that I don’t have to stay at her place anymore. She’s got wandering hands when she’s half asleep, thinking I’m Goto…”

Kunihiko blinked a few times but didn’t say anything. They continued eating, thoughts wandering but only to happy places.

“So, are you sure?” he asked, for the umpteenth time that morning after putting his dish into the sink.

“I am,” she confirmed and smiled reassuringly. “I know I will get into real trouble, especially with Miho, but I think it’s the right thing to do.”

He grinned happily, violet eyes shining. “We are really going to do it?”

Jazz nodded and beamed back at him. “We are. Let’s elope.”

MJS Past, present and future: Jazz x Kunihiko (past Jazz x Jinpachi)

“I still need your guest list to get the menu with the caterer done. Flowers are taken care of and we get the cake at Larme,” Jazz said and grinned at the way Miho and Goto examined the proposal she had given them. They and Subaru, who was constantly nagging, much to Jazz’s annoyance.

“What kind of location is that?” he frowned.

“Actually it belongs to an old classmate of Kunihiko. It’s perfect, a small garden for the ceremony and a hall for the reception afterwards. I think it fits the bridal couple very well.” Jazz winked at Goto; she had read the report after all and knew about their little adventure in the park. The garden was the tribute to that and when she had told Miho her idea Jazz was met with loud laughter. She loved it.

“You know we want to keep it simple and rather small. Family and close friends, that’s all. I don’t want to feed every Tom, Dick and Harry who gets us a potted plant as wedding gift,” Miho reminded Jazz.

“I know, that’s why the location is rather small. 80, maybe 100 people at the most. The less the better,” Jazz said with a nod.

“But you will invite the team, right?” Subaru asked and Goto sighed. The groom had been rather quiet so far, not even the glass of beer had loosened his tongue so far.

“Kuni, can we get another round?” Jazz asked her boyfriend behind the bar and he nodded, prepared a whiskey for Miho, a fruity cocktail for Jazz, a glass of red wine for Subaru and water for Goto. They were comfortably sitting in Long Island, discussing the wedding of Miho and Goto.

“And guess what? I got Jinpachi Yushima as your wedding photographer.” Proudly Jazz beamed at the bridal couple and Miho looked adequately impressed, but Goto didn’t even bat an eye.

“How did you get him for this? He’s a top photographer, one of the best we have in Japan,” Subaru wondered and Jazz grinned smugly.

“It was a personal favor.”

“Really? Well, anyway, I guess Kurosawa will be heartbroken that someone else is taking the pictures,” Subaru quickly changed the topic, robbing Jazz of her short moment of accomplishment.

“Even better,” Goto said. “No matter what that photographer costs, we take him.” Miho chuckled and Jazz joined in.

“So, about the bridesmaid’s dresses… don’t you dare putting us into some butt-ugly rag. We accept silver, blue or grey, matching the color theme of the wedding.” Jazz knew that in the end she would chose the dress but she wanted at least pretend to ask Miho for her opinion.

“Silver, blue and grey?” Subaru scoffed. “I thought it was a wedding and not a policemen’s ball.”

Jazz rolled her eyes. “Who are you to nag all my suggestions?” she snapped at him, only calmed down by Kuni who just brought them their drinks.

“I am the best man!” Subaru declared, almost challenging Jazz.

“Yeah? For what? Lame ideas? Honestly, ikebana and napkin folding are not the ‘pillars of a wedding’,” Jazz mockingly repeated Subaru’s earlier words, earning a chuckle from Miho.

“I told you it would be fun when they get at each other’s throat,” she just whispered towards Goto whose lips curled up into a tiny smile.

“And who are you that you come with ideas like ‘butterscotch cake’?” Subaru was angry, the crease between his eyebrows deepening with every new topic Jazz brought up so far.

“I am the wedding planner. AND the bridesmaid, so please let me do my work and stop complaining about everything. The bride and the groom are the only ones who may complain,” Jazz hissed and shot a glance at Miho. “Although I would advise them to be kind in their choice of words.”

Miho winked at her and Jazz stuck out her tongue, giggling softly.

“Honestly, what am I doing here in the first place if the wannabe wedding planner is making all the decisions in the end,” Subaru pouted and suddenly cried out in pain.

“Oh sorry, was that your shin?” Jazz smiled sweetly and batted her eyelashes at Subaru. Kunihiko chuckled lowly behind the bar and even Goto grinned.

“Just so you know, I am a really good wedding planner,” she said and took a sip of her drink. “Not everyone would get OMI to sing on a private wedding after all.”

“You got what?!” Miho actually seemed excited about this piece of information.

“Who’s that?” Goto asked, looking back and forth between his fiancée and their wedding planner.

“See? He has no idea. You don’t even know what kind of music he likes. I know him better than you,” Subaru said triumphantly.

Jazz snorted a short laughter. She had read Goto’s client profile after all, she knew more about him than Subaru could imagine.

“That’s cute, why don’t you marry him, then? And don’t forget, I know the bride better than you.”

Subaru smirked. “Are you so sure about that?” He raised an eyebrow at Jazz who knew how crude that was, especially in presence of the groom.

“Oh, I am.” Jazz had also read Subaru’s report after all. “Believe me, I know her better. In every aspect.” Jazz saw the realization dawning in his face and leaned back, now she was the one smirking.

Miho cleared her throat and sighed. “So, are you done comparing your dicks, metaphorical and real ones? Good. Subaru, Jazz is the wedding planner, she takes care of the location, the food and drinks, the whole party. You are the best man, you take care of the speeches, the rings and if necessary, the bachelor party before the wedding.”

Goto frowned and clicked his tongue, obviously not wanting that party at all.

“Everything else will get figured out between all of us somehow and until then, try not to strangle each other, okay?”

Jazz nodded reluctantly and so did Subaru, but they kept glaring at each other for the rest of the night.

“So, would you tell me how you know people like Jinpachi Yushima and OMI?” Kunihiko asked when he and Jazz were back at home, getting ready for bed.

“Funny story, I was actually living with them in the same apartment house when I first came to Tokyo,” she explained and smiled at the memory. “It was strange but they were nice, everyone in that apartment house was. Well, maybe the landlord was a bit creepy, but we always had those parties on the roof and that somehow bound is together.”

“So… you never worked with them?” Kunihiko kept asking, trying to sound casual.

“Oh, I did. At least with Jin. Not with Masa, though…” When she saw how his eyes narrowed a bit and his jaw tensed she chuckled.

“Kuni~” she cooed and wrapped her arms around him. “We have talked about this. You have promised not to pry and not to get jealous of my past.”

He sighed and rubbed his forehead. “I know, but I didn’t think it would be this hard.”

“You should make sure to ask the right questions, then,” she chided him gently. “I worked with Jin, but he never was my client. It was more the other way around.”

“What do you mean?” Kunihiko frowned lightly, obviously unable to follow her train of thought. Of course, he couldn’t read her mind after all. Which was a good thing most of the times.

“He wasn’t a client of MJS if that was what you wanted to know. You are aware that I had another job before that, right? And not even that job was it what I was referring to. He’s a photographer and one day one of his models cancelled on him, five minutes before the shooting. He had asked me to take her place and said he owed me a favor for it. Well, I called in this favor now.” She shrugged and nuzzled her nose against his neck. “Are you feeling better now?”

“Mhm… actually I am. Sorry, I know I said I could handle it…” He scratched the back of his neck sheepishly and Jazz laughed.

“Honestly, if I would meet someone you had sex with I wouldn’t be exactly elated, either. And it’s nice that you are a bit possessive when it comes to me. But of course you still have to apologize properly.” She let her fingertips trail down his chest and stopped at his belt.

“Do I have to beg you on my knees?” His lips brushed over hers and she closed her eyes and sighed.

“That actually sounds very tempting. Try that for a start.”


Jazz found herself staring at the picture that used to hang in her bedroom and now was stored away in a box with some of the other stuff she had brought to Kunihiko’s apartment but hadn’t found a place for yet. This picture was special, though. It was a black and white photo of a naked female body, just the curve of the hip and a part of the stomach, a bit of the leg but nothing else. It was completely safe, no private areas showing and yet it was a very intimate picture, although more for the story behind it than the actual scene.

She still could remember the way he smelled, like cigarettes and developer and something else she couldn’t name but that would always be tied to him in her mind. She could remember how he made her laugh, how serious he was about taking her picture. He had made some breathtaking close-ups of her face, au naturel, with disheveled hair but still glowing from the night they had spent together. And in the warm morning sun that was shining into his bedroom he had taken more pictures, the focus of his camera wandering from her face down her body and up again, capturing her from every angle she was still comfortable with.


“You are really beautiful, you know that?” Jinpachi smiles and looks at her over his camera and Jazz stretches lazily, winks at him and purrs: “You’re pretty handsome, too.”

Letting the camera sink he stares at her, following the lines and curves of her body with his gaze, already planning on doing the same with his fingers and lips again later. This isn’t the first time he sees her like this, naked and relaxed after one or even a few rounds of sex with him, but somehow this is special and he wants to memorize as much of this as possible.

“Say, Jazz, would you turn around for me?”

She is currently lying on her back, unashamedly presenting her breasts and the small curve of her belly, this little bit of flesh he wants to sink his teeth into, and pretends to actually think about his request.

“You won’t do anything naughty, will you?” she coos and he grins wolfishly. Of course he will and she knows it, but still she rolls over on her stomach, looks over her shoulder and wiggles her hips, lets her ass shake a bit. She knows how much he loves her ass, this firm and round butt that tempts him every time she walks in front of him, every time she bends over a bit, aware of his eyes on her.

She hears the shutter of the camera and chuckles.

“You’re really taking a photo because it lasts longer?” she teasingly asks. “I have thought you had enough photos by now.”

“Never enough,” he growls but eventually puts the camera down, his urge to capture the moment, her sensual beauty, losing against the other urge, the need to have her again and again. He hasn’t told her yet about this job that will take him to Africa for half a year, probably more, there hasn’t been the right time yet.

Jazz sighs contentedly when he gets on top of her, his weight already a familiar one that she enjoys more than she likes to admit. She can feel his hardness pressed against her ass, his lips leaving wet trails on her skin from her shoulder up her neck. His goatee tickles her a bit but she moans at the feeling of his teeth grazing her skin. He playfully bites her earlobe and she chuckles again just for him to change his approach and trail kisses down her back until he reaches her ass.

“You’re really looking good enough to eat,” he mutters and nips at her skin, the flesh soft and warm under his touch. Jazz squeals a bit and buries her face in the pillow, her body shaking with laughter, sending vibrations into the cheek he’s just nibbling at.

“Shh, hold still. I’m working here,” he grumbles teasingly and Jazz tries to hold her laughter in.

“Sorry, sorry. I didn’t know it’s work for you. But in your age it as well might be considered work, huh?” Her sass earns her a harsher bite and she yelps a bit, chides him with a laugh.

“Ouch, Jin! Not so hard!”

“Hm, that’s pretty much the opposite of what you usually say.” He grins against her skin and licks the bite to soothe the pain a bit and Jazz giggles again.

“You are terrible.” It’s said with the sweetest smile he can imagine and he simply shrugs.

“That’s what you like about me. I’m terrible – terribly handsome. And talented. And I can make you scream my name terribly loud.”

She giggles again but sighs when he pushes a hand under her and raises her hips a bit, pushing her ass up in a way so he can push his tongue into her pussy, making her gasp.

“J-Jin!” she half chides, half moans, feeling a bit too much on display in this position. But he keeps her in place, tongue exploring her pussy and folds.

He groans against her skin, greedily tasting her wetness, until he finally pulls back.

“Get that ass up higher,” he demands and grabs a condom from the bedside table while Jazz sighs and gets on her knees, face still buried in the pillows.

“You know I’m still a bit sore, right?” she pouts and he grins, almost proud at her complaint.

“I know, but I also know that you like it when you feel where I’ve been for days.” He quickly rips the foiled square open and rolls the condom over his cock, his mouth watering at the sight in front of him.

“Should have never told you that,” she mutters but wiggles her hips slightly to urge him on. When he lines up, the head of his cock nudging at her core, she takes a deep breath. Despite his rough tone and sometimes seemingly thoughtless greed he’s gentle when he pushes into her but Jazz hisses and grabs the sheets tightly. There’s a faint burn alongside the pleasant friction, an unfamiliar edge. She will feel this for several days to come but she doesn’t care.

“Come on, old man, show me what you still can do,” she taunts him, grinning at him over her shoulder. Jinpachi growls and pulls back just to slam back into her, eliciting gasps, curses and moans from her.

“Holy-! Ugh… come on… harder…”

They are capable of having sweet and gentle sex, vanilla and still satisfying, but most of the times they enjoy a slightly rougher, faster pace. His hands grab her hips tightly, probably leaving bruises again. Wouldn’t be the first time.

Jinpachi is busy soaking up every last impression and sensation of this moment, he wishes he could take a picture of this right now, just to capture the way her body is bending and moving, how her back is arched, the line of her neck is exposed. He wouldn’t dare telling her that of course, fully aware of her limits. But dammit, she’s so lost in this moment like he is, savoring every touch, every thrust.

He stops, a bit panting. “Lie down.”

Again she looks at him over her shoulder before she sighs and glides forwards, smoothing down the crumbled sheets in the process until she’s lying flat on her stomach again. There is something about the way she just follows his instructions, completely trusting him and eager for him to continue, that makes him want to stay. Maybe if he doesn’t leave this could become something serious between them, something with a future. But then again, she will leave Japan soon, too. Better to live in the moment, to enjoy what they are having for as long as it lasts.

He follows her movement, covers her with his own body, his chest against her back, propped up on his elbows.

Jazz turns her head and angles it so they can kiss, messy and sloppy but sweet nonetheless. When one of his hands snake under her body, grabbing her breasts, she already knows what will happen next and tilts her hips slightly to allow his other hand to slip between her thighs. She moans when his fingers find her clit, circling the already swollen bud. To her surprise he moves slowly now, not slamming into her like usual. Not that she wants to complain, it feels amazing after all.

Jinpachi peppers her neck and shoulders with kisses, nibbles at her skin from time to time and Jazz reached behind her, wraps an arm around his neck and draws him closer while titling her hips again, changing the angle of his thrusts slightly.

“So… oh… so close… “ she whimpers and tugs lightly at his hair, urging him on so that he picks up the pace again, pushing her over the edge into her climax.

Once she calms down a bit he stops, only slowly grinding against her now.

“You okay?” He’s panting and so is she but she nods.

“Uh-huh… but I think that’s enough for today… I can’t take another one…”

With a soft smile he kisses the nape of her neck. “That’s okay, as long as you enjoyed it.”

“Oh, I did, don’t worry. What about you?” There’s no doubt that he is still hard and he chuckles.

“I might need some help with that.” He pulls out and plops down on the bed just for Jazz to straddle him immediately.

“Easy now,” he reminds her and she smiles, slowly sinks down on his cock and leans close to kiss him. She rolls her hips against his, unhurried and relaxed, rides him almost lazily. He grabs her hands and intertwines their fingers, kisses her greedily and she is a bit startled by this display of affection, usually he’s not that clingy. She doesn’t mind, though. Jazz speeds up when he starts panting against her lips, angles her hips a bit until he gasps just to keep rocking against him like this. He throws his head back into the pillows, digs his heels into the mattress, his legs trembling slightly, and Jazz sits up a bit, one hand on his chest, the other reaching behind her back, cupping his balls.

“Oh my… fu… ohhh…” With a growl he tenses, upper body rising from the bed and Jazz wraps her arms around him, holds him close while still moving her hips until he stills her movements with a hand on her hips. They share some kisses before she finally gets off him, lying down next to him, waiting until he is cleaned up a bit. She snuggles close to him, sore but satisfied, a bit drowsy.

“I’ve got a job offer,” he says into the silence in the bedroom, his hand gently trailing up and down her arm.

“Uh-huh…”

“In Africa.”

Jazz sits up a bit. “That’s good, isn’t it? Didn’t you want to go there?”

“I did. I do. It’s just –“ He sighs and sits up, too.

“When?” She doesn’t even ask for how long.

“Next week.”

“Hm…” They have talked about this, the whole thing between them is only temporary and both know that, agreed to that.

“Guess I will have to make sure you’ll miss me then, huh?” She pushes him back on the bed and rolls on top of him.

“What are you doing? I thought you were sore.” There’s laughter in his voice but also confusion.

“I will have enough time to recover after next week,” she explains and leans in to kiss him. He doesn’t object at all.

At the end of that week he gives her the pictures he has made that morning and she has to bite back the tears.

“I’ve destroyed the negatives, don’t worry. You’re the only one who has these photos,” he assures her and Jazz quickly browses through the stack of pictures, smiling at the memory of that morning. She pulls one of the pictures out and hands it over to him.

“Here. I know how much you love my ass,” she says cheekily and waits until he takes the picture of said body part.

“You sure?” He raises an eyebrow at her but she only nods.

“Something to cheer you up when you get lonely,” she teasingly replies. It’s only a butt, no one would be able to tell it’s hers after all.

“Okay. Thanks. Take care, babydoll.” He smiles at her and Jazz smiles back, gets on her tiptoes and kisses him.

“Take care yourself,” she whispers, turns around and goes back into her apartment without looking back. It’s better that way.


“What are you looking at?” Kunihiko’s voice pulled her back from her trip down memory lane and she smiled at him. It wasn’t fair that she hadn’t told him the truth earlier, although he definitely didn’t ask the right question. But she knew what he wanted to ask and she owed him an honest answer.

“Just a picture,” she casually said and showed him what she had been staring at.

“It’s pretty.” Kunihiko wrapped his arms around her and Jazz rested her head on his shoulder.

“That’s me,” she admitted and he made a non-committal sound, but craned his neck to look at the picture again.

“Hm, yeah… I can see that. That little mole there… and the tiny scar here.” He pointed at said spots and Jazz smiled.

“You have spent quite some time to get familiar with my body, huh?” she teased and turned to kiss him.

“I have. And I plan on spending even more time on that.” Kunihiko nuzzled her neck and she sighed. “Do you want to tell me who took the photo?”

“Don’t you already know?” she asked back.

“Was it for that job you have mentioned?” He created some space between them to look at her and Jazz shook her head.

“When you asked if I had worked with them I told you the truth. I have worked with Jin but only once, and only as his model. But this picture? It’s a private one. We had – something, I don’t even know how to call it. It was more than a fling and less than a relationship. I had a crush on him but I wasn’t in love. He left for a job and I thought I would leave the country, too. And then I met Ai and things changed a lot and honestly, if it wasn’t for Miho’s wedding I wouldn’t have talked to Jin ever again, I think.” She bit her bottom lip, unsure how he would take it.

“How long ago was that?”

Jazz sighed. “Feels like a lifetime ago, but it was about four years ago?” It really felt like an eternity.

“The picture is really good. Do you want to display it somewhere?”

She knew it was his way of saying he wasn’t mad, it was fine.

“No. I will keep it, but I don’t think we should put it on a wall here at home.” It was strange how easy the word ‘home’ came from her lips now. She grinned mischievously. “But we can hang it in your office. So you could always look at it when you get lonely.”

“And always have to sit there with a hard-on? No, thanks.” He chuckled and Jazz cupped his face in her hand.

“You know that I love you, do you?” she seriously asked.

“I know,” he confirmed and kissed her. And then he confirmed it again.


MJS Out of Office Drama: Miho and Goto ‘Flowers’

It was strange.

Even though Jazz had only been at Miho’s a couple of nights, not having Goto in her bed, or not being in his bed, felt wrong.

And this made Miho happy. Not that she enjoyed the wrong feeling, but that Goto was there, in her thoughts and emotions, even when he wasn’t.

After sending Rose off on her mission to Shiki Publishing – about which Miho smirked – she headed out of the building to meet with her next client during his lunch break. He was the kind of man she didn’t think needed any help attracting women, but at the same time she knew full well that often it was those types exactly, who had difficulty finding the one.

So many women looking to marry into an easy life, easy money.

He was charming, good looking and courteous, and even after just one meeting, Miho already had a list of women he thought would match.

Returning to the office, she smiled at MJS’s relative new receptionist Izumi Takasaki, and he looked up and smiled.

“Flowers arrived for you, Miss Fujiwara,” he grinned. “I put them in your office, I hope that’s okay.”

“You know, somehow I feel like your mother when you call me Miss Fujiwara,” she huffed sitting herself on the edge of his desk, and he looked a little bit stricken.

“No no! I don’t mean… you’re not old enough to be my mother by a long shot,” he rushed.

“Right, so call me Miho, ugh Miho-san if you absolutely must,” Miho grumbled, but it was clear she wasn’t even close to being mad.

When Selina decided to take some vacation leave it had been someone Jazz knew they brought in to fill the administrative gap. Though hardly his dream job, his mind set on being a vet, Izumi was able to pull enough hours with MJS to keep himself alive, and still leave time enough to study.

And, of course, he was such a little puppy, he was simply fun to tease.

“Who’re the flowers from?” Miho questioned, though her thoughts had gone straight to Goto… of course.

The fact was, however, they did on occasion receive gifts from clients, even though it was procedure to tell them they wouldn’t be accepted.

“Card was sealed so, it could be any of your… um…” Izumi began, then thought better of finishing his sentence the way it had played out in his head. “Eh, but given you’re not doing dating simulations anymore, I think it’s a pretty safe bet to assume a certain, um, hunky fiancé is responsible?”

“He is hunky, isn’t he?” Miho giggled – yeah she giggled, like a friggin’ school girl. “Well I’m not going to complain,” she added, and wandered into her office to investigate.

The flowers were nothing short of spectacular, perhaps a couple of hundred dollars worth of beautiful blooms, and humming happily to herself like a lovesick moron, Miho plucked the envelope free and tore it open.

See you tonight.

That’s all it said, but it was enough to put butterflies in her stomach. Flopping into her chair, Miho dug her phone from her bag and tapped out a message to Goto.

The flowers are gorgeous, thanks. Looking forward to some us time as well.

Jazz hadn’t stayed long, and thankfully she and Kuni had gotten their shit together quickly, but it not being a given she would have Goto beside her at some point every night, had been surprisingly taxing.

Allowing her good mood to carry her quickly through typing up her new client notes, Miho lost herself in the work zone until the shrill call of her ringing phone broke her free.

Seeing it was Goto made her feel stupidly giddy all over again.

“You’re clearly not working hard enough, Lieutenant, if you have time to make social calls,” she teased, but Goto’s reply was brisk.

“Miho, I didn’t send you flowers,” he stated flatly, and Miho’s stomach clenched.

“Oh,” she dropped. “The card wasn’t signed so, naturally I figured it was you.”

“Client?” he offered and though the word wasn’t cold, Miho felt guilty.

“Won’t lie, it happens from time to time, even though we tell clients not to,” she revealed.

“Card?” he prompted.

“Yeah,” she murmured – wanted to lie about what it said, but didn’t want to lie.

“Um… it said, see you tonight.”

Silence.

“I’ll pick you up from the office,” he declared. “I will be seeing you tonight.”

“Please try not to catastrophise,” she chided lightly.

“collecting my fiancée from work isn’t catastrophizing,” he argued. “It’s prudent when she’s receiving flowers and promises from someone other than me.”

“You know I was an assassin in a past life, right?” she offered, but he remained serious.

“This is the only life I care about,” he growled. “Will you be ready by 7:30?”

“Sure, that’s fine,” she conceded, trying not to sigh. “But don’t complain later when I demonstrate my kungfu on you.”

“Kungfu all you like when we’re home,” he told her, his tone only now tempering toward affection. “And in the meantime…”

“I have no more appointments today,” she interrupted. “So I’ll be here at the office, so don’t stress.”

He didn’t deny he was stressing, but didn’t admit to it either.

“Send me a picture,” he said instead – an odd request.

Miho fell straight into the gutter.

“Mr. Goto!” she exclaimed, her voice dripping with honey. “What kind of picture are you asking for exactly?”

Coughing noises answered, and Miho laughed, the image of his flushed face filling her mind’s eye.

“The flowers,” he said eventually, and she imagined him looking at the ground bashfully.

“God you’re cute,” she chuckled. “You want to run forensics on the flowers do you?”

“Just do it, Miho,” he grumbled. “I’ll see you at 7:30.”

It wasn’t often he flat out told her to do something, but she was too amused to notice, and with an I love you she hung up and sent him the picture he was after.

He replied with a simple thanks, leaving Miho to get on with her work – but now she knew the flowers weren’t from Goto, and that he was bothered by her having them, there was no help for it but to throw them out.

Izumi looked surprised when Miho appeared with the huge arrangement in her arms.

“Um… Miho? Do you need me to help you with that?”

“Nope, I got this. Just taking it out to the dumpster,” Miho clarified, awkwardly making her way toward the back of their ground floor rooms, unlocking the door, and stepping out into the alley where their dumpster was located. “What a waste,” she sighed, wondering if maybe she could get away with salvaging the lovely vase the flowers came in, or whether that would still irritate Goto.

“A waste,” came a voice suddenly behind her, and startled, Miho reflexively dropped the flowers.

The ceramic vase smashed against the wet asphalt, red roses scattering around Miho’s feet, and her guards came up.

He was as tall as her, a he by his build and voice –  but his face and his hair was obscured by a balaclava, and his dark clothing covered most of his skin.

“You didn’t like them?” he asked, taking one step closer to her, a testing step, and Miho’s reaction was to move diagonally around the edge of the dumpster toward MJS’s back door.

“They’re from you?” she questioned, her voice not shaking, but breathy.

In response, the masked man inclined his head. She could see his eyes, dark eyes, Japanese eyes, and they were studying her closely, coolly.

“Well… thank you but, I have a fiancé,” she forced out, shuffling again and reaching with one hand for the door handle.

“Wait,” he snapped, and though Miho wanted nothing more than inside she froze.

“Don’t,” Miho hissed, gritting her teeth, lips peeled back and her fingers flexing in and out of fists. “Leave, and don’t come back,” she blurted, and then made her move.

Reach.

Grab.

Turn.

Fling.

Rush.

Slam.

Lock.

By the time her back pressed against the inside of the door, she was panting.

The ambiguous message with the flowers hadn’t thrown her, not even finding out Goto hadn’t sent them had caused her much concern – but a man in a disguise creeping up on her in an alley outside her place of work?

Yeah that got her.

“Holy shit,” she shuddered out, not quite sure what to do with herself.

“Hey Miho,” Rose greeted, coming down the hallway. “I’m going to make tea, do you want some?”

But Miho just kind of stared like she hadn’t heard her, hadn’t seen her, and this caused Rose to pause and make a more serious study of the other woman’s face.

“Miho?” she prompted, drawing closer, and only then did Miho’s eyes narrow and seem to focus.

“Ahh, Rose,” she exhaled, shaking her head. “Sorry, what did you say?”

“Your hands are shaking,” Rose observed, scowling. “What’s wrong?”

Miho bit her lip, fiercely, and it remained that way for some time until she managed to answer in a low and quiet voice.

“There was a man, in the alley,” she explained. “Balaclava, I was…”

“Did he hurt you?” Rose hissed, snatching Miho’s right hand and giving it a squeeze.

“No,” Miho assured, dragging in a deep breath and straightening. “Just surprised me.”

“Izumi!” Rose barked, and Miho cringed.

Like he’d fallen out of his chair in fright, Izumi appeared with a startled look on his face.

“Call the cops,” Rose instructed. “Miho was just approached by creeper.”

“What? Here?” Izumi blinked. “Miss Fujiwara, did he…”

“No, no I’m okay,” Miho muttered, shaking her head again. “Go ahead and call the police,” she then continued, but as she clawed out of the moments of threat outside, she knew what calling the police would also mean. “Rose…”

But she didn’t get to finish.

“I’ll make some tea,” the other woman asserted with a definitive nod.

Regaining her faculties, Miho went back to her office and picked up her mobile phone.

“Oh this is going to hurt,” she murmured, then dialled Goto.

He didn’t answer, which was perhaps a small blessing, and so Miho left a voice message.

“You know, this is a real pain in the ass,” she began with another sigh, “but… there was a guy, the one who sent the flowers, in the alley out the back of our building. He didn’t touch me, and I’ve already called MPD, so there’s no need to rush over here – I’m fine, just… you know…”

There she floundered a little.

Truthfully, logically, this guy hadn’t harmed her in any physical way, though the balaclava said loud and clear he didn’t want his identity known and that was the biggest red flag of them all. Still, the what ifs and the could haves played on her mind, made her shift uneasily in her chair and really wish Goto was there.

“Unless MPD need me to go somewhere,” she continued finally. “I’ll be staying here, indoors, until 7:30 so don’t feel like you need to come early…”

It was difficult for her to admit weakness – she was just an in-charge kind of person.

“… but, I am looking forward to seeing you.”

Hanging up was surprisingly difficult considering he wasn’t actually listening to her talk in real time.

“Miss Fujiwara,” Izumi said quietly from the doorway, and Miho’s head snapped up.

“Miho,” she corrected, forcing a smile to her lips.

“MPD is sending someone over now,” he informed her, his young face so stiff and serious. “I’m going to take a look outside, make sure he’s not still hanging around.”

“No,” Miho countered, leaning back in her chair just as Rose brushed passed Izumi, a steaming cup in her hand. “Who knows what ideas this person has. You don’t need to be provoking him.”

“I’m surprised you didn’t kick his ass into next week,” Rose snorted, putting the tea on Miho’s desk.

“Yeah well, he caught me off guard,” Miho grumbled, blushing a little. “And he didn’t try to grab me or anything so an ass kicking might have been premature.”

At this, Rose sniffed.

“And I’m fine, thank you both,” Miho added. “Izumi just let me know when the police arrive. I’m going to text Jazz and H so they know to be careful.”

They left Miho alone until the police arrived, though Miho knew both Izumi and Rose weren’t far away – not hovering, but on edge and ready to run in should she call. It was sweet, especially since she hadn’t known them that long – but that was how MJS was.

Family.

The police came and went, taking her statement, checking the premises and making a few security suggestions here and there, before moving to the Tax Accountant and Dentist offices that also shared the building.

Miho returned to Mr. Tachibana’s profile, tapping away on her keyboard intermittently, but her mind kept returning to something that now seemed to bother her more than anything else.

Familiarity.

There was no placing it, but something about her mysterious fan was not so foreign to her. The most obvious answer was he had been a client, which is what she had suggested to the police, but she had frustrated even them when she refused to give them a list of said clients.

Even the ones they had decided against taking on were protected by the same confidentiality clause as existing and past clients, so it made for a difficult situation.

“I should call Takao,” she told herself, reaching for her phone until…

“Is she in her office?” Goto questioned, but his voice got louder as the short sentence progressed, telling her he was moving at speed and not waiting for an answer.

“It’s not even seven yet,” she huffed, getting to her feet.

Covering up how much of a relief it was.

“I didn’t run any red lights,” he scowled, taking her face between his hands and looking her up and down. “And I happened to finish my paperwork early.”

Those eyes of his were a ferocious squall of protectiveness and tightly wound rage; normally so calm, often seen as impassive, anger for him was a battle, one he fought for her in that moment.

“I’d say don’t fuss, but you’re going to no matter what I do,” she chuckled, leaning in to kiss him lightly before laying her head on his shoulder.

“I’m just going to have to convince Ishigami to assign me as your bodyguard,” he sighed into her hair, arms folded around her, muscles tensed against her back.

“All he did was talk,” Miho said, muffled against his jacket.

“Gifts, suggestive messages and a personal visit isn’t nothing, Miho,” he responded sternly.

“I didn’t say it wasn’t nothing,” she grumbled. “I’ll be careful.”

“I know you’re not not careful,” he stated, pulling her away a little so he could look into her face. “And I know how hard it must be for people to not fall in love with you.”

“For the ones that don’t know me very well anyway,” she snickered, and finally she got a smile.

“You ready to head home?” he asked, and Miho separated from him to grab her bag and laptop.

“Yeah.”

“My place,” he determined, his hand in the small of her back as she passed through the door.

“Jazz and Mr. Aikawa made up you know, so my apartment is good to go again,” she informed him.

“Hm, you downgraded him to Mr. Aikawa?” Goto noted, nodding a serious thankyou nod to Izumi

“He’s going to have to earn back friendly privileges by treating Jazz with a whole lot more respect, consistently,” she sniffed, obviously still irritated by some or all of Jazz and Kuni’s whole situation.

“Hope you never get that mad at me,” Goto frowned, and Miho nudged his shoulder with her head.

“No promises,” she grinned, then latched onto his arm, while looking at Izumi. “Make sure Rose doesn’t take a train home,” she instructed. “Cabs on the expense account, you too.”

“No worries, Miss Fujiw…” he began, but stopped when Miho sent him a warning look.

Being as new as he was, he put up with a lot from the girls and did so without much backlash – this time, however, a somewhat impish smile tweaked his lips.

“Mrs Goto?”

And Goto stumbled just a little bit, Miho with him – but he was definitely the one to blush.

“I like the sound of that,” she smirked, then childishly poked her tongue out at Izumi before she urged Goto to head outside.

Typically, Goto’s place was a mess, though it seemed he had been trying to be more tidy since she began visiting on a regular basis.

“Sorry,” he apologised sheepishly when she was forced to step around several stacks of folders and papers on the floor next to the coffee table.

“So you finished your paperwork at work early, because most of it’s here,” she snickered, grabbing a hoodie and a stray sock from the back of the couch and beginning a collection of laundry.

“Hardly,” he groused, but he didn’t sound all that burdened, in fact, he hadn’t really gone that far into the apartment.

He stood, just watching Miho wandering around, getting busy with ‘wife stuff’.

“Seriously Goto Seiji,” Miho said out of nowhere, stopping and looking at him sharply, “if you make some comment about wife stuff, you’re sleeping on the couch, if you can find any space.”

“The narrator would never depict me as being so misogynistic,” he replied, running a hand through his hair. “And I don’t think I am – I just… like having you here.”

“Now you’re trying to seduce me?” she questioned pointedly, dropping the bundle of clothes and planting her hands on her hips.

“Umm, I wasn’t,” he said slowly, his brows twitching as he gauged her mood, “but it might be a nice side product… if it’s working.”

“Like you even need to try,” she smirked, blowing him a kiss, but his step toward her faltered when her next move was not toward him, but to gather up the clothes again. “But I guess you should have done your laundry first,” she called out in a teasing voice from the bathroom.

After cleaning and tidying was complete, Goto and Miho ate a simple dinner and then turned in for the night.

Despite their earlier talk, beneath the blankets their bodies lay mostly still – entwined, but simply enjoying being close to one another.

“Tomorrow I’ll see what I can do about a couple of days off,” Goto said, breaking the comfortable silence, idly curling a strand of Miho’s hair around his finger. “I’d like you to meet my parents… and my brother I guess.”

“He’s pretty young hmm? Considering you’re an old man and all,” she goaded, but he returned fire with ease.

“I suppose that makes you ancient then?”

“Oh ho, I’ll have you know I look relatively young for my age,” she sniffed, poking against his chest until he took her hand and pressed it to his lips. “Think that’ll fix everything huh? Smooth bastard.”

“Is it working?” he grinned, before kissing the flat of her palm.

“I’m going to work you,” she growled, rolling on top of him and sitting up, straddling him and triumphantly staring down.

“And I am not going to argue,” he smiled.

MPD were unable to catch Miho’s disguised visitor on any nearby cctv, despite there being a number of cameras in the area. The flowers had been delivered by the florist, and the courier was confirmed as being elsewhere at the time of Miho’s encounter in the alley.

Ultimately, the office was a bit tense, and Jazz and Miho had to go over the expenses to increase security in the building, and a proposal to get the other two businesses to pay their share.

Though the other girls met their clients out of the office, Izumi called Miho’s appointments and arranged times they could come to her, much to her irritation, and Goto’s satisfaction. Jazz ‘escorted her’ to the café and the store when required during the day, rotating with H and Rose where schedules clashed.

She didn’t put up a fight, though it was clear in her sullen expression she was not enjoying ‘being taken care of’. It was sweet Goto wanted to protect her and wasn’t super overbearing about it, and, not that she needed it, there was proof of her friendships in the way they too went above and beyond to make sure there were no nasties lurking around corners or under her desk.

Yes, Jazz even checked under Miho’s desk.

Sadly, Goto was not there.

It seemed all quiet – no more gifts, no more surprise appearances, and after a few days MPD told Miho there wasn’t anything more they could do without a potential suspect or clues that might lead them to one. She knew Goto was itching to get involved, or at least lean on someone else who could, but Miho warned him against caving in to that impulse. After all, it wasn’t like MJS didn’t have police connections and friends, clients, employees even – but MPD was right. It wasn’t their job to act like a bodyguard, no crime had been committed, and there was no hard evidence suggesting one might be.

So removing Miho from Tokyo for a while was Goto’s best option, and of course it served to kill two birds with one stone.

On the bullet train to his hometown, where his parents and brother still lived, he stuck to her like glue. When Miho pointed out how people were looking at them, how sick in love they must have looked because of the way he always had at least one hand on her, his reaction was as one might predict.

“I don’t care,” he asserted flatly, his tone contrasting the shade of his cheeks. “If someone snatched you out from under my nose, I’d never forgive myself.”

“As if you wouldn’t notice,” she grinned, their arms looped as they sat next to each other, Miho on the window side. “I’d be screaming so loud they’d hear me back in Tokyo.”

“You do have quite the set of lungs,” he noted with a cheeky nod.

“Like that is it?” she sniffed, slithering her hand into his lap and stroking downward slowly.

“Wah… what are you doing!” he exclaimed in an urgent hiss, snatching her wrist.

“Now who’s being loud?” she grinned broadly, reaching for him with her other hand, which he also caught and held firmly.

“Really? Right here, on the train?” he muttered, hoping no one could see the blaring red beacon that was his flustered face.

“It’s not my fault I can’t keep my hands to myself,” she pouted, but didn’t struggle. “I need to make up for lost time.”

“I think we did plenty of that last night,” he pointed out, relaxing his hold.

“So you don’t want to join me in the lavatory?” she offered suggestively.

“Damnit Miho,” he muttered, and she laughed.

“Fiiiiine,” she sighed. “But if your parents hear us going at it, you’ll regret letting me get all pent up.”

For a second it looked like he was going to comment on that, and Miho could almost hear him ask, ‘when are you ever not pent up?’ He did, however, keep it to himself, because he had a fair idea how she’d have responded, and he wasn’t sure if he could survive her grinding in his lap on the train.

Even if he actually really wanted her to.

Poor Goto.

Miho tried to keep her teasing to a minimum for the rest of the trip, but it was a way to curb some of the nerves tying knots inside her. Forget creepy stalker dude, meeting the in-laws… and it wasn’t just meeting the in-laws, because that in and of itself should have been a breeze – it was explaining, without lying, the circumstances of their meeting, the development of their relationship and well, Miho’s occupation, even though she felt absolutely no shame.

We already knew that, huh?

Outside the station they caught a taxi.

“You’re fidgeting,” Miho noticed, putting a hand on Goto’s thigh, this time not because she wanted into his pants – well, not specifically anyway. “You know, if you’re nervous, I’m going to be nervous.”

“I know I shouldn’t be,” he told her, clearly embarrassed. “But I just… want them to love you like I do.”

“I might want to screw you sideways every chance I get, Seiji, but I can be loveable and totally daughter-in-law material.”

Goto glanced to see if the cab driver heard what Miho had said before responding.

“You don’t have to be anything other than yourself,” he told her gently, putting his hand over hers.

“Daaw,” she grinned, dropping her head onto her shoulder. “Still, I do want them to like me.”

“They will,” he assured her, and his leg stopped twitching.

There was no time to hesitate outside of the Goto residence. The moment the taxi came to a stop outside the house a beaming woman exited and all but bounced to greet them.

“Seiji it’s been too long!” she grinned, leaping up to throw her arms around Goto’s shoulders. “But under the circumstances…”

“You’re making a scene,” Goto grumbled bashfully, prying his mother free, only to find Miho smiling.

“Cute,” she commented, shouldering her handbag and watching the pair.

“What do I have to do to get you to stop calling me that?” he groaned, his shoulders slumping a little, but Miho looked unrepentant.

“Oh you two are both so cute,” Goto’s mother chirped, clutching her hands to her chest, peering between them.

“But rude, Mrs. Goto,” Miho put in, bowing to the woman. “I’m Fujiwara Miho, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Oh no don’t be silly!” Goto’s mother was quick to dispel any formality. “Call me Haruka, or…”

“Haruka will be fine for now,” Goto interjected, knowing perhaps it would take a little more for Miho to be ready to call her mother.

“Oh Seiji, she’s stunning,” Haruka gushed, taking Miho’s hand as Goto paid the taxi driver. “Where on Earth did you find someone so lovely?”

“I’ll have to ask the same thing of your husband, Haruka,” Miho chuckled. “I’d say you look far too young to have adult children, but I don’t want to just repeat Voltage verbatim.”

Haruka opened her mouth to comment, no doubt, upon the plot limitations of the Voltage franchise, when the growl of a motorbike drew close.

All eyes turned to the figure that approached, then came to a stop as the taxi pulled away. He was dressed in full motorcycle protective gear, his identity concealed, and for a moment, Miho tensed – but when he removed his helmet the resemblance to Goto was far too similar for the young man to be anything other than a relative.

“Issei!” Haruka exclaimed, latching onto his arm and just about dragging him from his bike. “Perfect timing. This is Fujiwara Miho, Seiji’s fiancée.”

Issei seemed to take his mother’s exuberance in his stride, but looked a little surprised at the news. Apparently Goto hadn’t gotten around to personally telling his brother.

“That’s why you wanted me to come home this weekend?” he frowned a little.

“I see good looks run strong in this family,” Miho mused, and that actually drew Issei’s attention to her. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

He blinked as she bowed, but managed to smooth away some of the irritation in his face when she rose and smiled at him.

“I didn’t realise my brother had such good taste,” he noted – meant both as a compliment to her and a swipe at Goto. “You’re here for the weekend?”

“If you’ll have me,” Miho nodded.

“So polite,” Haruka sighed. “Come on, your father is inside waiting. Issei, help Seiji with their bags.”

With Haruka clinging to her arm, Miho was guided to the Goto family home, and introduced to Goto’s father – grief they’re all Goto’s so I’m going to have to use their first names now sheesh.

Over tea, Miho and Seiji laid out the story of their eventual engagement.

“You didn’t tell me you were enlisting help to find a wife,” Haruka chided. “Oh my, I have a list as long as my arm – but then again, of course you’d not have met Miho if I’d done that so I suppose it’s well enough.”

“I’m glad I didn’t,” Seiji declared.

He had been struggling throughout not to blush. Miho was plain and forward in her explanations, and while she didn’t mention the sexual nature of the date simulation – indicating there were simply some things she couldn’t say for legal and privacy reasons – she was clear about her resistance to him until he’d pushed and pushed for her to let go of her baggage and accept her true feelings.

“Why him?” Issei asked.

He’d sat, a little sullen, though it didn’t seem to fitting for a young man to do so, and had said nothing until that point. Miho knew he and Seiji weren’t close, and so she was not entirely caught off guard by the question.

“Dedication, kindness, skill, persistence, intelligence, professionalism, drive… I could go on,” she replied, casting a sideways glance at Seiji beside her, and this time he could not hold the heat back from his face. “I wasn’t looking for love, still carrying around the burden of the love I’d lost, but there he was, knowing it well before I did, that he and I just… work.”

“There are much better men around than him,” Issei shrugged, and Seiji scowled.

“Don’t even,” he warned. “Especially since I’ve asked Subaru to be best man.”

It hadn’t occurred to Miho that Seiji hadn’t asked his brother to fill that role, but thought considering they didn’t really get along that well, it wasn’t especially surprising. What she did note, was how Issei’s expression changed when Subaru was mentioned.

“Actually we’re going to need at least one more groomsman, since there are two bridesmaids,” Miho put in, studying Issei the way she did her clients. “Selina will need a partner.”

“Subaru will be there?” Issei queried, but that had already been answered – when he sought in the asking was reassurance it was true.

“Am I missing something here?” Miho questioned, looking between Issei and Seiji, then to Haruka.

“Oh Subaru is simply wonderful,” the latter clarified cheerily. “He and I can talk for hours.”

Seiji’s father, Shinichi, just sighed a small sigh. He hadn’t said much, but his expression was very much like Seiji’s resting face – it looked severe, but beneath it Miho thought the same gentleness was present.

“I see,” Miho chuckled, looking to Seiji again, this time with a teasing, knowing smirk. “Subaru is a family favourite? Perhaps I have made a terrible mistake.”

“Hey!” he exclaimed, and thought she’d meant her poking as a joke, Miho regretted that he actually looked a little hurt.

And he wasn’t the only one who looked alarmed.

“Relax,” she grinned, patting his leg. “It seems Subaru is already spoken for anyway.”

Her eyes flickered to Issei, who looked relieved.

And when he caught her gaze, he smothered that expression with a frown.

“Well Subaru has a Harvard education anyway,” he declared, proud it seemed of Subaru’s achievements as if they were his own. “It’s not like someone like him would be interested in…”

“Issei, don’t finish that sentence,” Seiji cautioned seriously, and the air in the room suddenly chilled as brothers faced off.

Miho might have been offended, she could plainly see where Issei’s statement had been going, but she was much more interested in why the young man was so defensive about Subaru.

“What is it exactly you and he talk about, Haruka?” Miho asked pleasantly.

“Oh he’s good at so many things,” she replied cheerfully. “Cooking mostly, though, he is wonderful in the kitchen.”

Must not… must not smirk… must not smirk.

“Oh?” Miho verbalised instead. “I must admit, while I can follow a recipe, I’m not especially creative with my food.”

“Oh, perhaps you can help me with lunch?” Haruka offered, getting to her feet, and Miho joined her.

“I would love to.”

While the men of the Goto household did whatever it was the men of the Goto household did when they weren’t glaring at each other… or maybe that’s what they were doing the whole time… Miho enjoyed Haruka’s merry personality. She was so welcoming, perhaps because she had two sons, no daughters, Miho felt completely welcomed and very much already like a member of the family.

At the same time, however, it reminded her of a time when she had been that close to her own mother: the family who eventually decided her crusade for justice following the death of her husband was more trouble than it was worth.

The family who thought she took it too far.

The family who…

“Miho?” Haruka queried, looking up into Miho’s face with concern.

“Oh, sorry,” she laughed, trying to shake off the sads. “It’s just, being here, received so warmly like this, reminds me how far from my own family I am. Will always be.”

“Is it really that hopeless?” Haruka asked. “Whatever you did, or, whatever they did, there’s no way to fix that damage?”

Sighing, Miho smiled, but she could see in Haruka’s eyes the other woman knew it was just a bandaid.

“Too much water,” Miho concluded with the shake of her head, and before she knew it, Haruka had thrown her arms around her and was squeezing her far more tightly than a woman of her small stature should have been able to.

“You don’t have to call me Mum,” Haruka sniffled into Miho’s shoulder. “But, I’ll be your mum anyway!”

With a shaky exhale, Miho closed her eyes against the sting.

And when she opened them again, Goto was leaning against the kitchen door jamb watching, smiling placidly.

“You’re safe with Seiji,” Haruka told Miho, unaware of her son’s gaze.

“I know,” Miho smiled, blinking away a few tears and hugging Haruka back.

It was Shinichi who cleared his throat and broke the moment.

“Issei is about to chew through the furniture,” he stated flatly. “Heh, the metabolism of young men.”

“Sorry,” Miho laughed, and lunch was served.

Miho had family – MJS – but being in the Goto family home, actually feeling a part of it, was so nostalgic that Miho continued to wander in and out of enjoyment and loss. Practiced, however, she maintained a mask now that perhaps only Seiji could see through, but in the presence of everyone else he made no enquires.

Later that evening, on the way to prepare for bed, Miho passed by the open door of Issei’s old room. The light was on, but Seiji’s brother wasn’t there. She nearly continued on her way, when something of interest caught her eye and caused her to pause.

There on the nightstand was a framed photograph signed Work Hard ~ Subaru, the man himself making a determined face, truly cutting a heroic image. Miho smiled.

Seiji was every bit what Subaru was, in Miho’s eyes more, and though she knew the brothers had never truly bonded as many brothers do, it did seem a little strange Issei had formed such a tight connection with someone so alike.

Or not strange at all.

“Hey,” came a voice behind her, and Miho actually started.

“Oh, sorry,” she apologised, stepping out of the way. “I just noticed that picture of Subaru as I was walking by; you really look up to him hmm?”

“What’s not to like?” Issei scowled oversensitively, and his following expression told Miho he knew his tone was telling.

“No, I completely agree,” she smiled, nodding. “Well educated, incredibly smart, exceptionally… handsome. You’ve got good taste.”

Issei’s eyes widened, and though the brothers did not get along, it seemed they shared blushing in common.

“Good night Issei, sweet dreams,” Miho offered with a wink, then shuffled down the corridor to Seiji’s room.

And as she entered the dim room where a futon of all things had been laid out in the centre of the room, arms closed around her from behind.

“Wah!” she exclaimed, her reflex to struggle, despite what was the unlikely event of someone other than Seiji being in there.

“Hey, hey,” he quickly soothed, swift words into her ear that stilled her body, but not the racing of her heart. “I’m sorry, I… I shouldn’t have… I didn’t even think.”

“No,” she breathed, but drooped her head back against him and took a few slow lungfuls of air before speaking again. “I’m way too jumpy.”

“Understandable,” he murmured, somehow closing the door over with his foot while maintaining his hold on her. “And I’m not helping.”

“You do, you are,” she reassured him. “Haruka is right; I’m safe with you… or maybe I’m not. You’re awfully bold grabbing hold of me like this in your parents’ house.”

“You think you’re the only one who pines?” he hissed against her neck before kissing it gently.

“Next time you think to chastise me for wanting to touch you, Seiji, I want you to remember this moment,” she smirked, turning slowly in his arms and wrapping herself around him.

There is no safer place.

In slumber, however, it seemed Seiji wasn’t all powerful. Inside her sleeping mind, Miho drifted blissfully through the warmth of her welcome into the Goto household, her brush with Issei’s briskness aside – but her dreams didn’t stay there. They roamed beyond the boundary of happiness and slipped into a quagmire of unpleasant memories that caused her heart to ache. They weighed her down in a swamp, a marshy bog that threatened to swallow her – and no matter how loudly she screamed for Seiji to come to her rescue, there was only one figure on the shore.

Dark clothing.

Face masked.

Bouquet of red roses in one hand.

And this persisted until she somehow forced herself awake.

Night was still thick, and Seiji remained asleep beside her with just his arm draped over her.

For a few minutes she just laid here, trying to relax, but each time she closed her eyes uneasiness returned: until finally she couldn’t be still.

Careful not to wake Seiji, Miho shimmied from under the covers, wrapped herself in her long robe, and exited the bedroom. On silent, bare feet – she was an assassin in a past life remember (yeah wait for me to write THAT fic… it WILL happen) – she padded down the hall, past the closed door of Seiji’s parents’ room, and the slightly ajar door of his brother. Quietly she let herself out onto the back veranda, even though the shadow mottle yard held some apprehension.

“Stop being such a god damned pussy,” she reproached herself bitterly, closing the door behind her and sitting herself down in the pale moonlight. “What are you even afraid of?” she asked herself. “Some weirdo that sends you flowers this one time? Like that hasn’t happened before.”

There was that one time her panties kept going missing, and she’d blamed Jazz – not that Miho’s undies would even fit Jazz. Then there was that time with the guy that delivered their water-cooler bottles and strangely erotic sticky-notes all over the office.

“So what makes this so fucking terrifying?” she hissed, then just about jumped out of her skin when a blanket dropped around her shoulders. “Holy fu…!”

Launching from the veranda onto the grass, Miho flew from beneath the fabric and spun, feet planet just far enough apart for a solid stance, her brain ready to fight off her attacker – but Issei just stare at her in shock, until he frowned and pressed his lips together and looked unimpressed.

“You guys have a fight or something?” he asked flatly, but for him to have been close enough to wrap the blanket around her, he must have heard her utterances, at least some of them.

“Jesu…” Miho gasped, ordering her muscles to unclench, but they defied her and remained tense. “Issei… you scared the life out of me. Were you an assassin in a pa…”

“What are you so terrified of?” he questioned, his tone unchanged, and Miho shook her head, perhaps to dispel the panic, maybe to shake off how odd it was to be looking up at what she imaged was Seiji’s younger self.

“Being snuck up on, obviously,” she hissed, swallowing the lump in her throat and carefully adjusting her robe, shivering at a gust of wind that murmured a harsh song through nearby branches. “What are you doing up at this hour?”

“Saw you sneak past,” he shrugged, picking up the fallen blanket and spreading it between his hands. “You’re going to get sick sitting out here in the cold.”

This was Miho’s lifeline, and she even managed to chortle.

“You’re more like your brother than you’d ever admit I think,” she said wryly, stepping back up onto the veranda and toward him, then stopped just shy of his reach. “And more different than you’d ever say aloud.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” he grumbled, glowering, even as he fluttered the blanket around her shoulders and tucked snuggly to her front, careful not to be indecent.

“That you’ve an amazing, talented, highly skilled brother you could have worshiped,” she smiled. “But, it’s not like you could fall in love with him. Subaru is good man.”

Issei’s scowl deepened and he stepped back, but he didn’t storm away. He turned his back on her and glared at something invisible in the middle of the yard.

“I’m sorry,” Miho exhaled. “It’s not my place to make wild assumpti…”

“How did you even know?” he whispered, and unlike all the other times she’d heard him speak, in the very short time she’d known him, this time he sounded so very small.

“I may not have a Harvard degree,” Miho began quietly, gently – she was not the only fragile one in the world, “but it’s a large part of my job to read people, see the things they’re afraid to articulate because they fear being judged, because only in revealing those things to me can I properly find the person who is right for them.”

Again she sat herself down, clutching the blanket.

“I take it no one else knows?”

“Ha, like that’s so easy,” he snorted, pressing his balled fist to the nearest support post.

An admission, and as if suddenly realising as much, he spun around and stared daggers so sharp Miho was actually impressed.

“Don’t you dare say anything, especially not to Seiji,” he snarled, but Miho was now calm.

“It’s not my secret to tell,” she told him softly. “But I bet it’s hard, keeping it all to yourself – does no one know?”

“Just you,” he huffed. “Leave it to Seiji to ruin my life.”

“Really? Someone knowing a part of your true self is ruination?” she snorted. “Give it a rest kid, life gets much harder from here on out.”

“What the hell would you know about it?” he snapped, stepping closer again, but Miho simply couldn’t feel threatened.

Too much a Goto.

“Sure, I don’t know your specific struggle, but everyone has them,” she replied honestly. “And I happen to know from personal experience, that sharing those things with people you trust, can help alleviate some of the pressure.”

“And I’m supposed to trust you?” he volleyed, but even in the dun she could see much of the heat had fled from his eyes – eyes that told her of torture.

“I’m as good a person as any,” she shrugged.

Issei ground his teeth, and Miho simply sat and peered around the yard, until the young man flopped down beside her.

“You know Subaru,” he began, voice even smaller than before, fearful of his sentence’s continuation, but he pressed on. “I… I don’t have a chance in hell, do I?”

For a few seconds Miho thought about how best to tactfully respond.

“I do know Subaru,” she conceded. “And, unfortunately for you, all signs point to no, simply because he’s not wired that way.”

Hanging his head, Issei let out a long breath of painful resignation.

“I already knew it,” he murmured forlornly. “Have known it, forever, just… didn’t want to… I don’t want to…”

“Yeah, I know,” Miho responded gently.

“It’s not fair!” he growled, the exclamation cutting its way between his teeth. “How come…”

“… everyone else gets to be happy except me?” Miho finished for him, and the quick jerk of his face in her direction shook angry, hurt tears from his eyes. “Yeah, I’ve been there too,” Miho smiled sadly. “When you love something so much, and it’s taken from you, it’s like the whole world is mocking you with smiles, patronising you with false words of comfort, rubbing salt into the wound with everything will get better, when everything is in flames.”

“Ha, you’ve got all the answers, don’t you?” he sniffed, refusing to acknowledge the moist on his cheeks.

“Nah, I only like to think I do,” Miho smirked, giving his shoulder a nudge with her own. “But don’t tell Seiji I said that; as far as he’s concerned, I’m always right.”

“You really won’t say anything?” he ventured cautiously.

“Nope,” she responded, looking at him plainly. “I’ll just be around, on the other end of the phone, if you need a big sister to bitch to about how stupid men can be.”

Finally, Issei huffed a short laugh.

“I am happy for you and him, even if it doesn’t look like it,” he told her very quietly, embarrassed despite the rest of their conversation. “Jealous I guess.”

“Hey,” came another voice behind them, and both turned their heads to find Seiji standing in the doorway behind them. “What’s this?”

“Decided I couldn’t choose between the Goto brothers,” Miho announced in total calm. “And my conclusion is, we’re just going to have a threesome.”

The brothers both spluttered, but Miho grinned.

“That’s a yes right?” she added, really pushing the envelope, and Seiji swept forward and snatched her wrist, pulling her to her feet and against him.

“That’s a no,” he rumbled definitively.

“Jeez Seiji,” Issei muttered also getting to his feet. “Marrying a succubus?”

“What did you just say?” Seiji blinked, his body instantly taut with anger, but Miho just laughed and put a hand on his chest.

“He’s just jealous of his big brother’s success,” she explained.

“Issei,” Seiji barked, motioning to Miho’s face. “Her eyes are up here.”

“It is a bit chilly out here, huh Miho?” Issei added for good measure, and though Miho wanted to continue laughing, she could feel Seiji getting totally worked up – and not in a good way.

“Okay okay, that’s enough,” she snickered. “But it is cold and I can’t feel my toes, so we should go back to bed, Seiji.”

It took a considerable nudge to get him to move, but when Miho got Seiji moving he continued through the door with her close behind him.

Back in his room, Miho snuggled back against the curve of his body, happy to be little spoon – this time – and to warm her frozen tootsies on his warm legs.

“You going to tell me what that was all about?” he prompted, breath in her hair.

“Brother-sister bonding,” Miho told him, gently stroking his forearm. “You know, he acts all tough, and like he doesn’t think much of you, but I don’t think that’s the case.”

“You got all that from just one day?”

“It’s my job to profile people, remember?” she smirked, closing her eyes. “And this family… I really did luck out with you didn’t I?”

“Mhm,” he huffed. “No more midnight rendezvous with Issei, okay?”

“No problem,” she chuckled softly. “We’ll do brunch instead.”

 

Breakfast was another extravagant indication that Haruka did nothing by halves, but more than that, Issei actually smiled.

“You’re in a good mood,” Seiji noted suspiciously, and Miho elbowed him in the ribs.

“Can’t a guy smile without getting the third degree?” she poked, and Seiji grunted a little.

“So, what is your plan for today, Miho-san?” Shinichi asked reservedly, and Miho bit her lip at the absolute cuteness.

And she couldn’t help herself.

“I was hoping Seiji would show me around his old hometown, Father.”

And Shinichi actually started choking on his mouthful, Seiji, sitting to Miho’s left, very nearly mimicked him.

“Aww, look what you did,” Haruka chuckled, patting her husband’s back but beaming over him at Miho.

“I’m sorry,” Miho apologised, inclining her head. “It’s just, I feel so comfortable here with you all already, his formality…”

“She’s out daughter now, pretty much,” Haruka told Shinichi, who was still trying to recover his composure. “No need to be so stuff.”

“Could you pass the salad please, Miho?” Issei asked politely, and Miho could see he was doing it to illustrate Haruka’s point to his father.

“Sure thing, Issei,” she replied, leaning over Seiji to convey the bowl to her new brother’s awaiting hands. “You alright there, Seiji?” she grinned, and he nodded, clearing his throat.

“I’m fine,” he muttered, taking a sip from his glass of water, and it only made Miho’s smile widen.

After helping with the dishes, Seiji and Miho left the house. Together they meandered through streets where he grew up, and happily she listened to his childhood anecdotes, probing to pick apart his reluctances to give too many embarrassing details at times. The weather smiled on them, their lunch was simple, but Miho couldn’t help but reflect upon how luck she was to have such wonderful company.

“If you keep smiling like that, you’ll get wrinkles,” he teased, pulling Miho against him and wrapping his arm around her shoulders.

“I hope I age as gracefully as your mother has,” she laughed. “She has so much energy, hmm, just think…”

She looked into his face, sliding her hand beneath the back of his jacket and looping her thumbs over the top of his pants, right into the crease of his butt-cheeks.

“… what I could do with so much energy.”

Naturally, his eyes widened and his body tensed, but she loved that about him too.

“You’re going to kill me as it is,” he told her, but his voice was filled with the kind of affection that…

Swallowing, Miho fell silent and looked ahead.

“I feel like I need to pinch myself,” she exhaled after half half a minute of just their feet shuffling against the footpath. “You, your family, it’s all just too perfect.”

“It’s real,” he told her seriously, stopping her, turning her, and touching the underside of her chin with the flat of one index finger. “But,” he added, then kissed her ever so lightly, “if you want me to pinch you…”

Distracted, she hadn’t noticed his other hand until he’d already sharply pinched her bum, and she let out a yelp.

“You sneaky bastard!” she exclaimed, giving him a playful whack before linking arms with him.

“I guess you’re a bad influence on me,” he explained with a wry smile.

“Oh don’t you start that shit too,” she complained, but really, she took it as a compliment.

“Hmph,” he huffed contentedly. “You’re not the only one who feels fortunate,” he continued. “And I really can’t wait for this to be official.”

“Well, I guess we now know it’s not especially difficult,” she pointed out, shaking her head. “We can always just get everything registered as soon as we’re back in Tokyo.”

He seemed to be mulling this over.

“There is something to the anticipation though too, isn’t there?” she said, knowing it wasn’t hesitation that made him pause.

“There is,” he agreed. “And there are so many things we haven’t figured out, like where we’re going to live.”

“That’s a good point,” she nodded. “I like my apartment, and yours, but it would be nice if we could…”

“… get a place that’s ours?” he finished, and Miho narrowed her eyes at him.

“Mind reading now?”

As they walked back to his parents’ home in the late afternoon, they threw out all kinds of suggestions for their future, and arrived at the house in great spirits.

“We’re back,” Seiji announced, having scooped up three padded postage envelopes from the doorstep. “You didn’t hear the mailman?”

“Oh hmm?” Haruka murmured, taking the envelopes from her eldest son, passing them to her husband. “Could you give this to Issei, Miho? He’s in his room.”

“Sure,” Miho nodded, and off she went, to find him at his desk, a couple of textbooks open and headphones on.

She did clear her throat, but he didn’t hear her, and so she stepped inside, and put it down beside him just in his peripheral vision.

His head turned to her slowly, and she smiled.

“Don’t mind me, just making a special delivery,” she told him, then headed to the toilet.

She couldn’t have known.

But she heard Haruka’s startled exclamation from the other end of the house, followed by Shinichi’s deep voice.

“What the hell… is this?”

When Miho returned to the living area, it was like time had frozen.

Haruka sat at the dining table, glossy photographs scattered in front of her – Shinichi sat on the couch, glossy photographs scattered on the coffee table before him – and Seiji stood half way between them both, true horror in his eyes, chiselled into his face.

“What’s wrong?” Miho scowled, and her sudden intrusion in the silence caused time to catch up.

“Miho it’s…” Seiji began, but Miho had already zoned her vision on Haruka’s collection.

“That’s…” she shuddered out, a gasp of shock so powerful it scrambled her thoughts.

Slowly, Haruka’s hands moved to cover her mouth, but she was unable to look away from the images.

Miho and another man, lean and blond, naked and connected.

In some pictures Miho was restrained, her wrists bound by scarves, her legs held apart and tied to bedposts; in some, her skin was peppered with wax dripping from a candle held over her breasts; in some, her arms were wrenched behind her so far it looked like her shoulders might pop, and her body, the man’s body, shimmered with the product of their labours.

“Wha…” Miho managed, turning her head to Shinichi.

He too continued to peer at the prints he’d been gifted.

Miho and a stunning woman, slender and pale-skinned, naked, entwined.

In some pictures Miho was lying sprawled back on a bright pink shag-pile rug, the long copper waves of her partner’s hair brushing against her abdomen; in one they were clearly grinding together, their lips locked, their arms locked around one another; in another, Miho’s head was tilted back into the pillow, the other woman’s head just visible between her legs.

“How…” Miho blinked, and then she darted with ninja-assassin like speed for Issei’s room. “Issei!” she barked. “Don’t…!”

But it was too late, and Miho felt the floor fall away.

Issei was sitting on the carpet, the entire contents of his envelope placed side by side. His jaw moved as if he was trying to form words, but there was no sound, just the trembling of incomprehensible disbelief and the chaotic gatherings of a shattered heart.

Miho lounging back on Subaru’s counter.

Subaru pressing her back up against the wall, her legs wrapped around him.

Subaru poised behind her, about to press in…

She had no idea how such photos had been taken, such angles, such clarity and detail – it was like someone had been in each room with them, a twisted record keeper holding the private moments of what were in truth professional transaction hostage until that moment.

That moment when they were placed into the hands of her fiance’s family.

 

And Miho didn’t know what to do.

 

MJS Romance: Jazz x Kunihiko – New challenges

Jazz was typing furiously, trying to get this proposal done before her client would arrive. This was the first wedding she was planning and she wanted it to be perfect for the happy couple. She still was amazed that it was Ishigami of all people who would use the new service MJS offered. It was a logical step from marriage matchmaking to wedding planning after all.

She sighed. This was a lot of work, especially since she hadn’t recourse to former plans. Of course she could use some of her old connections and experience from her event planner days, but a wedding was really something different. Especially since she had to convince Ishigami first to actually contract her.

She quickly hit the ‘print’ button and walked over to the tea kitchen to get another tea when she ran into Miho.

“Hey, how’s your new intern doing?” she greeted Miho with a huge grin. H had proven to be blessing and Jazz had made the transition from matchmaker to wedding planner smoothly.

“She’s doing one of my clients just now,” Miho smirked and Jazz laughed. Ever since their little conflict had been resolved they were back to being friends again.

“Kunihiko is opening Long Island tonight, how about a drink after work? You can bring your fiancé,” Jazz suggested, stressing the word ‘fiancé’ by saying it with French pronunciation.

“Let me call him and I tell you later, okay?”

Jazz knew that Goto was working odd hours, the problem when being a cop obviously. Well, Kunihiko was working a lot, too, and he and Jazz couldn’t meet up that often either. But still she was on cloud number nine with him.

She nodded and waved briefly, already on the way back to her office. Ishigami would arrive soon.

“Ishigami-san, let me congratulate you to your engagement.” She smiled warmly and bowed her head.

“Thank you, Miss Mann. As you know my time is short. Please let us get on with the topic. Why should I let you plan my wedding?”

Right to the point, like always. Jazz was still smiling and motioned for him to take a seat.

“As I already told you this will save you time and money after all. I already know all your preferences, your favorite food, music, colors. Yours and of course those of your bride. Any other wedding planner would need time to get to know you; I already do. I know things about you and your bride that no other wedding planner could know so I can make sure your wedding will be simply perfect for you. I know how important perfection is for you after all.”

She slid him the folder with her concept over the desk.

“Please have a look at this, Ishigami-san. And tell me if that is at least close to your idea of a perfect wedding.”

The venue, the menu, the band – everything was chosen basing on the profiles of both Ishigami and Liana. Jazz hoped she would work more with the bride after convincing Ishigami; the woman was definitely easier to get along with. Blue as dominating color theme since both liked blue best. Some classical music for the ceremony and a jazz band, live music for the venue of course. Bouquets of freesia since the bride loved those – and Jazz, too. The scent would be heavenly.

Jazz still knew some caterers that would provide great food, both sweet and hearty dishes. She had called the famous photographer Jinpachi Yushima and asked him about good wedding photographers. They could order the cakes from Larme. A lot of possibilities and choices, yet she was sure that her first proposal was already close to perfect.

“What is a pudding pyramid?” he asked curiously.

“You know champagne towers? All the glasses stacked up and someone pours a bottle of champagne into the topmost one so that it flows in all glasses in the end? Imagine a tower made of glasses full of pudding. We can play with the colors and flavors so it will be really impressing, both visually and in taste, of course.”

He nodded once.

“A pudding cake?”

“Just an idea. You can also have a traditional cake, I just wanted to show you the possibilities.”

Another nod.

“Can I keep this?” He raised the folder questioningly and Jazz nodded.

“Of course. Take it home, sleep over it, show it your future wife. When you have decided you can call me.” He was hard to read but Jazz had a good feeling.

“Was that all?” he sternly asked and again Jazz nodded.

“If you don’t have any questions left we are done,” she confirmed.

“Good. My fiancée will call you about this. I think she will be the one to make the most decisions concerning this wedding. And… please focus more on her preferences than mine while making your proposals. I want it to be the perfect wedding for her after all.” There was a faint smile playing on his lips and Jazz mentally patted her own shoulder for obviously finding the perfect match.

“My goal is it to plan the perfect wedding for both of you, Ishigami-san. But I will keep your words in mind.” She bowed slightly and so did he before he left.

Jazz grinned. Okay, her first wedding planning assignment. This day was going to be great!


This day turned to be complete trash. After a really successful and satisfying day at work Jazz walked into Long Island in the evening, happy to be able to see Kunihiko again after a few days with only calls and texts. Although she really wanted to take things slow she noticed how much she enjoyed being around him and that she actually wanted more time with him. Greedy little Jazz.

“Hello, guys!” she loudly called into the bar as soon as she saw the usual guests. Saeki, Takao, Yamato and Yuta. Ren, from whom she just learned he was a prince of a neighboring kingdom of her homeland, wasn’t there. But Kunihiko was. Jazz ignored the stares of the others when she walked towards the bar and leaned over it to drop a light kiss on Kunihiko’s lips. She loved the way he blushed slightly when she did this in front of his friends. Usually he was fine with a bit PDA, but when his gang was around he was adorably shy. Thank god only then.

“Hello darling,” she purred and slid on a bar stool.

“Hello love,” he answered just for Yamato to groan and roll his eyes. Takao had averted his gaze and Jazz assumed it was because this display of affection wasn’t within his comfort zone. Saeki only grinned and Yuta pouted a bit.

“No one ever greets me like this and calls me ‘love’ or ‘darling’.”

Jazz chuckled but when Kuni suddenly leaned over the counter a bit and handed Yuta a glass of beer with a wink and a low: “Here you are, darling,” she burst out in a full laughter. She wasn’t the only one.

The usual banter soon was resumed and Jazz got a cocktail and some gossip, but Takao was unusually quiet, even for his means. He couldn’t look at Jazz and for a moment she was afraid he had seen or heard her having sex with Kuni in the storeroom the other day… but no, that wasn’t likely. They had met after that and Taka had acted just fine. No, there was something off but she couldn’t put her finger on it.

Half an hour later Miho came in, without Goto but with a huge smile when she saw the tumbler of whiskey already waiting for her. Like always she made herself right at home. Jazz was always impressed how easily Miho found a place in a group, no matter if she knew the people or not. Well, she already knew Takao and Kunihiko and ever since Jazz had suggested Saeki as a tester for their female clients Miho of course knew the scriptwriter. But Yamato and Yuta were new faces for her, still she treated them as if she knew them their whole lives.

They were just talking about some event Miho had to attend with Goto when she looked at Takao.

“What’s wrong with you today?” She sipped from her glass and Jazz chimes in.

“Yes, you are a bit quiet. Is everything okay?”

“If you have troubles in matters of the heart you can always ask us,” Miho said, but the devilish glint in her eyes made clear that she wouldn’t make it easy for Takao.

“Uhm… no, it’s something else…” he said, scratched the back of his neck and stared at his feet.

“Something serious?” Jazz asked. Takao nodded.

“Something you can’t tell us?” She was suddenly aware that everyone was now staring at them. This wouldn’t make it easier for him to tell.

“Actually…” Takao hesitated. “It’s something work related.”

“Oh.” Jazz nodded, she understood the importance of confidentiality after all.

“Boooooring,” Miho said in a singsang voice. “Hey, Kuni, can I get another one?” She raised her empty glass and the conversation around them continued, Takao breathed deeply and gave Jazz an apologizing smile.

“Actually… I really have to talk to you.”

“Am I in trouble?” Jazz jokingly asked. Takao didn’t answer, but his serious face made her smile drop.

“Shit. Am I really in trouble?”

“We should talk. Somewhere private.” Takao got up and waited for her to do the same.

With growing unease Jazz followed Takao upstairs, not even aware of Kunihiko’s worried gaze.

“As your lawyer and the one who was in charge of your divorce they sent this letter to me instead of you,” he explained while Jazz was still staring at the piece of paper in her hand. Her trembling hand.

This was impossible. Outrageous.

“When did you get it?” Her voice sounded strangely distant in her ears.

“Today. I tried to call you but couldn’t get you on the phone. Sorry, I didn’t want to ruin your evening with this.” He was sitting next to her, unsure if he should pat her shoulder comfortingly or not.

“No, it’s okay… I will need some time to take care of my living arrangements from now on.” She still stared at the words in front of her eyes, they suddenly lost their meaning.

“We can still go against this,” he said reassuringly.

“Takao, they want to take my apartment from me. And I know exactly that it’s not Ai who’s behind this.” She sighed. There was it, black on white. Obviously Ai hadn’t even been in the position to transfer the property rights for the apartment in the first place. Which meant that the contract in which he did exactly that wasn’t valid. And now Kujuro enterprises wanted the apartment back.

Or better, Ai’s mother wanted it back. This was her last friendly kick in the ass for her former daughter in law.

“But you have a divorce settlement. And he had been the owner of that apartment at that time,” Takao pointed out.

“Let’s be honest. The Kujuros have more money than I can imagine and I can’t afford to pay for a long legal war. I just can’t. So far most of my own money went directly into MJS and what I get out of the business is enough to feed me and make sure that I can afford clothes so I don’t have to go naked. But I’m not exactly wealthy, by no means. I had only some money because I didn’t have to pay rent.” She let the letter sink and sighed. “I need a drink. If I can even afford that now.“

“I’m sure Kuni won’t charge you,” Takao muttered, making her smile faintly.

When they came back down into the bar the chatter was a welcome distraction for Jazz. She walked behind the counter, grabbed a bottle of Tequila and a shot glass, poured herself a drink and downed it without batting an eyelash.

“Whoa, easy there. What’s wrong?” Yamato asked but Jazz only refilled her glass and downed it again.

“Jazz? If you’re in the mood for shots you can always ask me to join,” Miho said, but there was a slight crease between her eyebrows. She was a bit worried at the sudden change of mood of her friend.

Without a word Jazz grabbed a second glass, filled it and slid it over to Miho. And refilled her glass a third time.

“Last time we had Tequila was real fun,” Miho mused and Jazz only snorted a dry laugh.

“Yeah, I remember. Hey, Miho, you do like me, don’t you?”

“Depends. When you give me alcohol I like you. When you nag me about glitter in your panties, I don’t.” Miho shrugged and took the glass. “Cheers.”

“Say, if I suddenly was homeless, could I crash on your couch?” Jazz came back from behind the counter and took a seat. She didn’t dare to meet Kunihiko’s eyes.

“My couch?” Miho frowned.

Jazz was aware that she was petty and selfish and wallowing in self pity, but she couldn’t help it. The apartment was the only good thing she had left after her trainwreck of a marriage. Due to the prenup she didn’t get much else. Not that she wanted money. Maybe she should call Ai and ask him if he knew about this. If he could prevent his mother from going on with this bullshit.  But knowing Ai she immediately dismissed this thought. He wasn’t even bale to tell her that he and Jazz were divorced, or that Ai was gay. Or anything that would make his mother mad.

“That old bitch wants the apartment back. She’s suing me for it.” Another shot.

“Well, my couch is still free, but you know… you might not want to sleep on it after – anyway. Can I help you somehow?”

Jazz shook her head. She knew she couldn’t impose on Miho. Hell, she just got engaged! Of course Jazz couldn’t stay at Miho’s place. What was she thinking?

“Does anyone know a good realtor? And cheap. Scratch good. Only cheap.” Jazz felt like crying. Alcohol wasn’t helping any so she stopped refilling her glass. Now that part of the matchmaking fee would go to H Jazz had even less money than before. And the wedding planner service was still in the early stages, there was no money in sight yet. She knew how expensive living in Tokyo could be. Maybe she had to move into a cheaper part of town.

“Doesn’t Selina have a guest room?” Miho asked.

“She’s thinking about moving herself. Something closer to the office,” Jazz mumbled. And closer to the office meant also more expensive and that meant probably less space.

“I have a guest room,” Takao said but Jazz only smiled sadly.

“That’s sweet, but I can’t take you up on that offer.”

“Why not?” he asked and Jazz chuckled.

“I couldn’t guarantee for your virtue,” she answered with a wink before she sighed. “No, we are working together, that’s not a good idea. Plus, you are a man and I am a woman – I don’t want to give you the wrong impression about how living with a woman can be. No, keep you illusions until you move in with someone you really like so you won’t want to kick her out immediately.”

And Jazz needed some privacy after all.

“Can they just do that? Go against a valid divorce settlement?” Yamato asked.

“The problem is, the apartment hadn’t really been part of the divorce settlement. He transferred the property rights before the divorce, thinking it would be clever. But that was also before he was CEO of Kujuro enterprises and therefore before he actually held the property rights. The apartment obviously belongs to the company, not him.” Jazz sighed. Ai was working with real estate all the time, that was what his company did after all! Okay, mostly it was about commercial property, but that couldn’t be that different, could it? How could he fuck that up so badly?

“Wow. What are you doing now?” Yuta asked.

“Drinking, obviously,” Jazz answered.

“You can still sleep in the office,” Miho pointed out. Jazz laughed. The thought alone was hilarious, greeting clients in her pj in case she overslept.

“Or you could move into the room upstairs,” Saeki suggested. Now that was a good idea – no, wait, she would have to ask Kunihiko for permission.

Shyly she peeked over to her lover. He seemed a bit angry, definitely unhappy. Okay, so not the room upstairs.

“Sorry, I feel bad for ruining the mood. I better go home now – as long as I still have a home,” she lamely joked and grabbed her purse, shoved the letter in and slid from the chair. It was hard enough not to cry and the smile she wore was already crumbling.

She could hear them talk while she hurried outside.

“Do you think she’ll be okay?” That sounded like Takao.

“She needs a moment to herself, to let it sink in. I’ll talk to her tomorrow. We’ll find a way,” Miho assured him.

A few steps out of the door Jazz took a deep breath. The tears were already gathering. That was a punishment. She had been too happy lately and now the universe reminded her that everything had a price. Without a bit of suffering life just wasn’t the same.

Fuck it! Jazz had always prided herself in being independent and strong. She was used to not having much money and willing to work hard. She would make it. Blinking her tears away she straightened up and exhaled deeply. Okay, no new shoes for now, no fancy restaurants and shopping trips. That was okay, not even a serious cutback of her quality of living.

“Jazz?”

She turned around, only hoping that she didn’t look as if she had cried. “Kunihiko. What are you doing out here? You’re having guests.”

He stepped closer and cupped her face in his hands, intently looking at her.

“Why didn’t you ask me for help?” There was disappointment in his voice and only now she realized that he might have gotten the impression that she didn’t trust him enough, trust their relationship enough to share this burden with him.

“Sorry, I – it just didn’t come to mind. I’m so used to fixing things myself…” She shrugged lightly.

“If anything comes up, any problem at all, I want you to talk to me about it. I want you to know that you can rely on me.” His thumbs gently wiped the traces of some treacherous tears away that had managed to escape before she could hold them back.

“I know.” She sighed, but this time it seemed that together with a lungful of air also some of the anxiety and the anger left her.

With a small smile she looked at him. “So, do you happen to know a good realtor?”

He shook his head. “Jazz…” he softly chided her. “That’s not the first thing you should ask.”

With her brow slightly knitted she pondered his words. Did he really want her to say ‘Help me’?

“There’s an easy solution to your problem, isn’t it?”

“I need more money?” she asked back. That would be a solution, but she wouldn’t ask him for money. Never.

He let go of her face and sighed. “No, not that. I was thinking of something else.”

Oh. OH. Her eyes went wider when she realized what he was talking about.

“Jazz. Do you want to move in with me?”

Her heart stopped beating for a second. This was not what she wanted. It was sweet and she knew that he really meant it, and she would lie if she said she wasn’t happy to hear this. But not like this. Not just because she might lose her own place.

“Kunihiko…” she started but he cut her off.

“I’m not finished yet.” He reached into his pocket. “I’ve been thinking about this for some time now. I know we aren’t together for that long yet, but every time I come home and you are not with me it feels wrong.” When he pulled his hand back from his pocket he was holding a key.

“I want you to come and go as you please. Although I’d rather have you there every night and every day. And not just as my guest. I want you to live with me.”

She was speechless. In her effort to make sure they didn’t rush things she had completely forgotten that they still should be moving forwards.

“I love you,” she muttered, fighting with her tears again. It was the first time she actually said that to him. ‘I like you’, ‘I love the way you kiss me’, ‘I love it when you fuck me like that’ – she had said all that already, but never ‘I love you’.

It felt better than anything before. She had guarded those words so carefully, always afraid to break whatever spell was binding them if she said them out loud. Always afraid of jinxing everything.

“Is that a yes? Will you move in with me? Even if Takao manages to win your apartment back for you?” He was smiling, so happy, so gentle, so sweet.

“Yes, I’ll move in with you. But don’t complain about my hair everywhere and that my 60 pairs of shoes take up to much space or-“

He cut her off again, this time with a kiss. And another one. And another one. Until she finally pulled back, snatched the key from him and grinned.

“Now it’s too late to change your mind, you know that, right?”

“I wouldn’t even dream about that,” he replied, still smiling.

“Okay, we better get back inside or Miho drinks all your whiskey and everyone else under the table,” Jazz said with a chuckle.

“Say, one quick question… glitter in your panties?” He arched an eyebrow and Jazz giggled.

“Maybe I will tell you about that one day. Or you give me more Tequila and Miho and I reenact it for you.” She leaned in and quickly licked over his lips once before she turned around and walked back into the bar as if nothing at all had happened.

Maybe this day wasn’t complete trash after all.

MJS A Bit of Everything: Goto Goes to the Gala

“There’s only one thing I like you in better than this uniform,” Miho mused as she straightened Goto’s tie and smoothed her hands down his chest.

“What’s that?” he asked, offering her one arm, before holding the keys out to the valet with the other.

“Me,” she replied in so flippant a tone, it actually took a few seconds for it to register.

As a blush, as per usual when she said inappropriate things, especially in public.

“Is there any point in me asking you to behave tonight?” he exhaled, nodding to another officer and his date as they entered through the doors of the hotel.

“None at all,” she admitted with a grin, squeezing his arm. “But considering this is the first time I’ll get to meet your colleagues, I’ll do my utmost to avoid embarrassing you.”

“How very considerate,” he muttered, but he didn’t sound at all upset.

He, she, and the other couple stepped into the elevator, clearly on their way to the same event, and the doors had begun to close when a yell from the foyer caused Goto to groan.

“Hold the lift!” came a shout, and then pounding of hurried feet.

“Uh no,” Goto muttered under his breath, and leaned to press against the ‘close doors’ button.

Unfortunately for him, the energetic individual sprinting for the elevator managed to slide in at the very last second, his uniform indicating he was also an officer of the same rank as Goto.

Miho did not miss the way her fiancé’s face suddenly soured, and this only increased her interest in the man.

“Are you a colleague of Lieutenant Goto?” she enquired of the man, who smiled at her broadly like she’d asked about his favourite subject in the entire universe.

“That’s…” Goto began, actually putting himself between Miho and the other man, earning the three of them an interesting look from the other pair riding upward in the lift.

“Yes, it is my privilege,” the officer asserted, leaning around Goto a little to grin. “Though he acts a little cold, he’s really a very good friend. Lieutenant Kurusawa Toru,” he added, thrusting his hand toward her.

Miho met it before Goto could intercept, and before Miho had the chance to introduce herself, Kurosawa had turned her left hand over and stared from it, to Goto.

“Oops,” Miho chuckled quietly.

“Is your date already spoken for?” Kurosawa blinked, admonishment on the tip of his tongue – but then, with the widening of his eyes, he reached the more logical conclusion. “Goto? Is she…?”

“You’re far too noisy,” Goto grumbled, prying Kurosawa’s fingers away from Miho’s and providing a more satisfactory buffer, just as the elevator reached its destination.

Tucking Miho’s arm under his, Goto guided her out of the elevator, pretending – it seemed – that Kurosawa did not exist.

“Fujiwara Miho,” Miho chirped, looking back over her shoulder, her head swivelling as Kurosawa came up on her other side.

“Remember what you said earlier?” Goto sighed.

“I’m sure this isn’t how you imagined it, Seiji,” she replied softly, “but it’s a little hurtful to hear you think having your friends know about us is embarrassing.”

“He’s not my fr…”

“So it’s true?” Kurosawa blurted, nearly falling over himself to get in front of them. “You’re really, engaged? You’re getting married?”

“So noisy,” Goto complained, then stopped walking so Kurosawa didn’t trip and take out other couples walking toward the ballroom. “Yes. It’s true, Miss Fujiwara and I are engaged to be married, but just keep a lid on it unt…”

“That’s wonderful!” Kurosawa exclaimed, his face filled with genuine joy.

When he tried to clasp Miho’s hand again, however, Goto’s face darkened.

“What’s wonderful?” another voice joined them, and a slightly older man running a finger around the inside of his collar uncomfortably, joined them in the corridor.

“Chief!” Kurosawa bounced, and Miho thought he looked very much like a Jack Russell puppy.  “Did you kn…!”

At that point, Goto released Miho in order to slap his hand over Kurosawa’s mouth, and Miho had to laugh.

“And here I was thinking this whole law enforcement gala thing was going to be stuffy and boring,” she beamed, and Goto sent her a pleading look. “Okay, fine.”

“Just keep your mouth shut for a little longer?” Goto entreated of the man in his grasp.

“Getting on as well as ever,” Namba smirked, digging his hands into his pants pockets and strolling past them.

When he’d entered the ballroom, Goto released his counterpart, who honestly looked none the less enthused.

“Congratulations Miss Fujiwara,” he grinned broadly. “Goto’s an exemplary officer and an even better man.”

“I can believe that,” Miho smiled, as Goto placed her hand on his arm again.

“Come on Miho,” Goto encouraged, and they began walking again… with Kurosawa in step.

“So cute!” he gushed. “I didn’t even know you had a girlfriend; how mean to keep such a beautiful creature from us, and with such a lovely name, Miho.”

“Miss Fujiwara to you,” Goto corrected, and Miho patted his arm.

“And where is your date, Kurosawa?” Goto questioned, striding through the open double doors to pause at the seating plan.

“Umm….” Kurosawa stalled, rubbing the back of his neck.

“I heard,” a new voice chimed in from behind them, and Miho glanced beyond Kurosawa to a tall man with somewhat shaggy brown hair, and a much shorter one with what Miho would definitely call a blond bowl-cut, “she got a better offer.”

“I heard he, got a better offer,” the blond man put in, and Miho actually felt bad for poor Kurosawa.

“Now now, be nice,” she chided, despite knowing neither man.

Instantly Kurosawa perked up attempted to put his arm around Miho’s shoulder in a chummy fashion, but Goto was quick to pull her away from his grasp. The impact of this, was to draw the stares of the two knew figures.

“This is definitely the first time I’ve been told off by a woman whose name I don’t even know,” the brunette frowned, studying Miho intensely.

“This is Fujiwara Miho,” Kurosawa declared, and opened his mouth to continue when Miho interrupted with as much of a bow as she could manage with Goto’s arm around her still.

“Pleased to meet you,” she smiled and straightened.

“This is Captain Kaga Hyogo, and Lieutenant Shinonome Ayumu,” Goto introduced, before Kurosawa could open his mouth again.

“And where are your dates gentlemen?” Miho queried lightly, looking between the two, and Kaga leaned just a fraction closer, before looking at Goto. “I’m sorry,” Miho apologised, but she was still smiling flawlessly, “no doubt they’re having a lovely time with whomever it was Lieutenant Kurosawa intended to bring.”

“I’m in love!” Kurosawa exclaimed.

“No you’re not,” Goto snapped, and Kaga frowned.

“When did Goto get a girlfriend?”

“She’s not hi…” Kurosawa began, but Miho looked to him.

“Lieutenant Kurosawa, I would absolutely love some champagne,” she interrupted.

“Of course, of course,” he nodded furiously. “It’s not as if Goto could leave you side, some opportunistic underling might whisk you away.”

“Not if they wanted to live out the night,” she grinned, and offered him a wink.

Shinonome and Kaga remained just watching in silence.

“Oh I never would have guessed Goto the jealous type,” Kurosawa nodded thoughtfully.

“I don’t need to be,” Goto responded, finally managing a small smile of his own. “She’s the one you’d really have to worry about.”

For that, Goto was granted Miho’s elbow in his ribs, and Kurosawa made googley-eyes at them.

“So cute!”

“Shut up Kurosawa,” Goto growled, giving him a glare, and Kurosawa scuttled away, only to be replaced by another officer: tall and lean, and wearing glasses, with a pretty blue-eyed woman on his arm.

Miho recognised them both and smiled broadly.

“Good evening Captain Ishigami, Miss Starling,” she greeted cheerfully.

And both Goto and Ishigami straightened when they made eye contact.

Poised to reciprocate, Ishigami opened his mouth, but what sounded around the ballroom what the shrill cry of sound system feedback, and then Kurosawa.

The men around Miho let out a sigh in unison.

“We all know why we’re here tonight,” Kurosawa announced.

“Who let that idiot get to the mic?” Kaga scowled.

“But before we get to that, I just need to congratulate…” Kurosawa continued, and Miho felt Goto tense.

“Dear god…” he muttered.

“… because my good friend, Lieutenant Goto is getting married to the loveliest…”

Whatever he said after that, Goto didn’t hear. The burning of his cheeks caused temporary deafness. Meanwhile, Ishigami was staring at his subordinate, then slowly, adjusting his glasses as he did, slid his gaze to Miho.

“To you, Miss Fujiwara?” he asked, barely audible amid the roar of applause.

“That’s the rumour,” Miho chuckled, then Goto focused back in.

“Wait, Captain – you know Miss Fujiwara?” he blinked, and when Ishigami’s cheeks coloured a little, Goto looked absolutely horrified. “No… did you…?”

It was then the woman on Ishigami’s arm spoke a similar thought.

“Hideki, did you and… Miss Fujiwara…?” she questioned.

“How very incestuous,” Miho laughed just under her breath, and luckily only Goto heard her.

“You… you…?”

Meanwhile, Kaga and Shinonome had absolutely no idea what is going on.

“Relax,” Miho smiled, giving Goto’s arm a squeeze. “In answer to all questions, no, though you know confidentiality prevents me from disclosing further details.”

This was enough, however, to get both Goto, and Ishigami’s partner to relax, though the Captain himself still seemed uptight.

“Congratulations on your own engagement, Captain, Miss Starling,” Miho then smiled. “I do love a happy ending.”

“Liana, please,” the so named Miss Liana Starling responded. “And well, we owe, and continue to owe, you a lot.”

“I hate being out of the loop,” Kaga grated, glaring at Ishigami. “What have you gotten yourself into this time you four-eyed gimp?”

“That is, of course, none of your business,” Ishigami told him calmly, just as Kurosawa returned with a tray of champagne.

“Everyone take a glass!” he instructed, and Goto looked at him flatly.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Kurosawa cowered dramatically. “Two of my favourite people are getting married, so we have to celebrate.”

“What, the actual hell?” came a voice familiar to both Miho and Goto.

This time, Miho cringed inwardly a little.

“When were you going to tell me you were getting married, Pajamas?” Subaru growled. “Jesus, they don’t mess around – who’d they…?”

Then Miho turned slowly to smile at him brightly.

“Good evening Lieutenant Ichiyanagi,” she greeted with a cheeky wink. “Not working this evening?

You, Miss Fujiwara?” he blurted, and this caused the other officers, Ishigami most of all, to scrutinise the trio.

“Would you believe I’ve never had this happen before?” she chuckled, but Subaru now had eyes only for Goto.

“Don’t you dare say anything Rosemary,” Goto glowered, his voice warning.

“I don’t know where this train wreck originated,” Kaga smirked, nudging Shinonome lightly before pointing at Ishigami, “but look at the expression on this moron.”

“Pardon me?” Ishigami frowned ever so slightly.

“Don’t think I can,” Kaga snickered, then rolled his eyes when Kurosawa shoved the tray toward him. “As if anyone would want to marry that anally retentive twit.”

At this, Liana ruffled.

“That’s rich coming from a man going stag,” she snapped sharply, taking a step toward him and drawing Miho’s attention away from where Subaru and Goto were bickering.

“Perhaps Captain Kaga could use a referral?” Miho put in, and Liana sniffed – an indignant sound.

“I wouldn’t want to inflict him on you,” she declared, and before Kaga could retaliate, Ishigami had lightly taken up Liana’s hand and placed in on his arm.

“It seems I have inflicted him upon you,” he said apologetically. “Perhaps we should find our table?”

“Definitely,” Liana nodded, allowing herself to be led away, leaving Miho in Kaga and Kurosawa’s company.

“Could it be, Miss Fujiwara, that Goto and Ichiyanagi were love rivals for your affections?” Kurosawa asked, and Miho really had to bite her tongue.

Legalities aside, it wasn’t like she could just out and say she’d fucked them both, in all sorts of places.

“How romantic!” he exclaimed, his expression swoony. “Oh but what will happen now?”

“I imagine they’ll draw swords and fight to the death for my hand,” Miho responded seriously.

“That would be terribly exciting,” Kurosawa agreed enthusiastically, when Subaru turned to them and pointed at Subaru.

“Miho, tell him I proposed to you first,” he demanded.

“What a circus,” Kaga said, shaking his head and wandering off with Shinonome in tow.

“If you want to get technical,” Miho began, well aware it was now just she, Subaru, Goto and… Kurosawa in their conversation, “I proposed to Seiji first.”

Kurosawa gasped.

“But it’s a moot point,” Miho continued, “since you don’t love me, and he does.”

“Daaaw,” Kurosawa gushed, attaching himself to Miho’s arm and hugging it tightly.

“Get off my wife,” Goto growled, making such a scary face, Kurosawa scurried in behind Miho like she’d protect him. “And you,” he went on, turning his gaze to Subaru. “She’s mine, so all you can do now is be my best man.”

“What about me?” Kurosawa pouted from around Miho’s shoulder.

“Flower girl?” Subaru offered, and Kurosawa slumped a little. “You do realise the best man gets to make speech right?” he added.

“Well that could be interesting,” Miho chortled, but Goto frowned at him seriously.

“Don’t encourage him,” he grumbled. “I don’t want to regret this.”

Kurosawa sighed.

“I suppose I should just revel in the happiness you have found,” he sighed.

“You don’t want to be flower girl?” Subaru huffed. “I’m going to need to know, Kurosawa, because as best man it’s my job to…”

Stifling a giggle, Miho looked to Goto, and found him shaking his head.

“I now imagine Subaru fighting Jazz for control over wedding planning,” Miho whispered, reattaching herself to Goto’s arm.

“Maybe asking him to be best man was a bad idea,” he murmured as she gave him a squeeze.

“Of course not,” she smiled. “You fight like cats and dogs, but you’re best friends – sort of like Jazz and Selina and I, I suppose; but you’ve known him much longer.”

“I have,” Goto agreed, hedging them away from where Subaru and Kurosawa continued their animated discussion about how the wedding should play out, “but…”

“But it bothers you I slept with him,” Miho filled in, smiling at the people they passed on their way to their table.

“Yes,” he admitted, looking down like it was something to be ashamed of.

“I didn’t choose you over him, Seiji,” Miho told him, close, for her ears only. “That would suggest Ichiyanagi was ever a contender, and he wasn’t. Work was work, and now, both Jazz and I have interns to do the parts we no longer have a taste for.”

She stopped him before they reached their table and turned to him, gently taking hold of his lapels.

“I love you, Lieutenant,” she told him clearly, but stopped short of kissing him – even though she really really wanted to.

In addition to her earnest words, there were a lot of people now looking at them – she didn’t care, but she wondered if Goto’s cheeks would ever recover.

“Okay okay,” she chuckled. “Let’s just sit down.”

 

The table provided very little refuge, as both Kaga and Ishigami’s teams were seated together. With Soma and his date also in the mix, it was an amusing jig – for Miho anyway – explaining their relationship without breeching any of the terms of confidentiality agreements. Goto might not have agreed.

Moments of respite were provided by lengthy speeches and food, but Kurosawa, Miho learned, was like a dog with a bone. He wanted to know everything, in vivid detail, including some things that made even Miho blush.

Eventually, when all the formalities were done, partners took to the dance floor and the lights dimmed – Goto took Miho in his arms, and Miho winked over at Liana as Ishigami did the same with her.

“I thought we’d never escape him,” Goto muttered against the side of Miho’s face.

“Oh come on, I think he’s just somewhat besotted with you,” Miho chuckled quietly, her fingers lightly stroking against his shoulder where her hand was resting. “Perhaps I should be jealous.”

“Of that idiot?” Goto huffed grumpily, and Miho squeezed his hand with her other as they slowly meandered around the dancefloor.

“Of anyone who gets to spend more time with you than I do,” she told him matter-of-factly.

“Believe me, if I could be infiltrating drug dens with you, I…” he said, then changed what he was about to say. “Actually, I wouldn’t want you there either.”

“And I don’t really want you there,” she sighed, looking into his face before resting her forehead against his. “But, I’m told you’re very good at what you do.”

“Which,” he murmured, the world around them blurred out, leaving just the two of them in focus, “somehow reminds me of the conversation we had the other day.”

“Was it a dirty one?” Miho grinned, eyes wandering from his eyes down to his lips.

“Funnily enough, no,” he laughed, watching her debate just how far she could go in public. “The baby talk.”

“Ah, well it could have been dirty,” she smirked, the hand on his shoulder sliding across to rest against his neck. “I mean, we’re getting in a whole lot of practice.”

“Miho, I would love to have children with you,” he stated, and Miho’s mirth tangled around her ankles.

Luckily, Goto’s reflexes were on point, and he kept them both upright until she found her feet again.

“Let me finish before you go into panic mode,” he smiled gently. “I would love to have children with you, but, I need you, and if that means no kids, then I will be absolutely, regret free and content, just to be by your side for the rest of my life.”

And Miho stopped dancing, frowning as she inhaled, but Goto continued to smile because he knew this was just her attempting to cope with happiness.

Then she kissed him, unabashed, full force, hands gripping the back of his head and refusing to let him go until they were both breathless.

“Sorry,” she murmured, her peripheral vision revealing they had become somewhat of a spectacle.

“Young people these days,” Namba smirked, as he and his dance partner swirled nearby.

“You don’t know how old I am, Chief,” Miho responded with a wink. “I might even be older than you.”

“You’re not that old,” Goto disagreed, finally fighting free of his stupor.

“Jeez, I thought women were supposed to have a softening effect on a man?” Namba dropped with exaggerated hurt.

“Not that woman,” Subaru put in, having walked out onto the dancefloor to intercept Miho and Goto. “Mind if I cut in?”

“Yes,” Goto replied instantly.

“Oh come on, you won,” Subaru argued, then pointed through the sea of people. “Ishigami seems happy enough for his fiancée to dance with another man.”

Sure enough, through the bodies they caught glimpses of Liana laughing and dancing with Kurosawa.

“Hmm,” Goto grumbled. “If Ishigami…”

“Right,” Subaru grinned, and jerked Miho out of Goto’s arms.

“Hey, if you’re going to be rough…” Goto protested.

“I’ll always come back to you,” Miho smiled, a smile that then became a whole lot cheekier. “Do I need to kiss you again to convince you?”

“I don’t think his face can get any redder,” Subaru teased, and in response, Goto took the initiative.

And kissed her first, just lightly – no aggression or possessiveness, though obviously it was a statement of the latter.

“Well… uhh,” Miho exhaled when he let her go.

“Behave yourself, Rosemary,” Goto instructed curtly, giving him a stern look before letting Miho go.

“You know, I distinctly recall you telling me getting cosy with a client was not allowed,” Subaru pointed out, watching Goto cross the floor to sit with Ishigami.

“And I remember, you getting on my case for sleeping with random men for their happiness,” she countered, as they began to move to the music.

“But Goto? Are you sure?” he questioned. “You’re pretty adventurous from what I’ve seen and felt, and Mr. Pinstripes is so straight laced.”

“It’s funny how things work out,” Miho smiled, a dreamy smile covering some particularly wicked thoughts.

“I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised,” he sighed. “After all, you did call his name while I was fu…”

“Mmhm,” Miho interrupted by clearing her throat. “Sorry about that.”

“Yeah, losing to him is pretty galling,” he sniffed, clearly feigning the depth of his hurt. “Honestly, you were thinking about him the whole time?”

“Honestly?” she mused. “Not all the time.”

For a moment, Miho closed her eyes, and Subaru’s grip on her tightened a little when she shuddered at the vividness of the memory.

“Jeez, you’re thinking about it now?” Subaru chided.

“You brought it up!” she protested. “Best you just forget what we did, and focus on the matches I’ve already given you.”

“What if you’re as stuck in my head as you are in his?” he asked, and they both looked over at Goto, who frowned, no doubt wondering what they were talking about.

“Then you’re shit out of luck,” Miho answered with a grin. “But as a consolation prize, I will find you the perfect woman, someone who likes… whipped cream.”

The song stopped, and Goto was on his feet and heading to them toward them.

“Here to overwrite all the places I’ve touched her?” Subaru goaded as he released Miho and drifting back into Goto’s arms.

“Oh, I already did that,” Goto assured, but this only spurred Subaru on.

All the places?” he challenged, but Goto refused to back down.

“Don’t be such a sore loser, Rosemary,” he lobbed.

“I’m not the sore one,” Subaru chuckled, “so you should stop worrying and just be happy.”

“I am happy,” Goto grumbled, and Miho gave his arm a squeeze.

 

Kurosawa would not relent until Miho had danced with him, and after that, Miho and Goto made their escape.

In the car, he was quiet, and Miho left him to it considering all that had happened – and maybe she shouldn’t have worn the ring that ultimately gave them away.

He hovered closely behind her as she unlocked her apartment door, but the moment it clicked closed behind them, Miho found herself pushed up against the foyer wall.

“I’ve watched other men hold you all night,” he declared in a deep rumble.

“Three, Seiji,” Miho responded, wrapping her arms around his neck. “And one of them was your boss.”

“Still a man,” he pointed out, throwing his jacket off and dragging his tie away. “And you look… in that dress… it’s been torture all night.”

“How can I make you feel better?” she asked, but she had already pulled away his belt and dropped it to the tiles.

His answer was to kiss her with such need, with such incredible vehemence, Miho’s mind nearly blanked like a Voltage MC.

When his pants joined his belt, Miho attempted to reach the zipper of her dress, but he caught her wrist.

“Leave it on,” he told her huskily, tickling her ear with his desire.

“Kinky,” Miho grinned, slinky material gathering in Goto’s other hand, pulling it up over her thigh. “After the park, I think we may just have found your thing.”

“If you don’t know where my thing is by now, Miho,” he huffed, guiding the hand of the wrist he held to the front of his pants, “there is something very wrong with you.”

“Smartass,” she laughed, slithering her fingers into his underwear. “You want me to torture you some more?”

“Tonight I won’t let you,” he growled, pressing her back solidly, trapping her hand around his cock and their bodies. “You going to fight me?”

“No Sir,” she grinned against his lips. “Take me anyway you want me.”

Anyway?” he sought in clarification, and Miho raised an eyebrow.

“My limits are pretty few, and you know what they are,” she told him, struggling to squirm her fingers against him. “So, don’t ask, just do.”

Even in the darkness she could see his eyes shining with both affection at her trust in him, and the prickling of his lustful appetite for her.

With a jerk he dragged her out of the foyer and into the living room, where Miho found herself folded over the back of her couch.

“Oooh I like this,” Miho grinned, bracing herself as best she could, while Goto slid his hands from her ankles all the way up to her panties, pulling up the skirt of her evening gown as he went. “A little passive, but… ohh, I’m not going to complain if you’re going to do thaaa…”

That, was Goto’s thumbs parting her cheeks and his tongue making a slow upward slither through her folds, all the way to her asshole.

“And to think,” Miho whimpered, her legs already trembling, “Jazz wanted to sleep on this couch. Fuu…”

Leaning forward, Miho bit down on the nearest thing within her reach, tucking the large Domo plushie beneath her chin and sinking her teeth into the top of its head when Goto thrust several fingers into her moist opening. It muffled her moaning a little, but when the curl of his reach within her was joined by the rub of his other hand against her clit, and the foreshadowing swirl of his tongue around her sphincter, her approval was all sorts of evident.

“Why didn’t you lead with this?” she panted, her whole body moving back and forth against the couch that scraped a little against the floorboards. “Awhh… yesss, teeth,” she added as he scraped his teeth down her right cheek.

“You’re making a mess of the floor,” he noted, and though she was the one on the receiving end of pleasure, his voice was gravelly and his breathing short.

“Aww, it’s only going to get worse, if you keep tha… tha…” she coughed out before burying her face in Domo again, screaming her orgasm into the top of its head without any other mitigation.

Goto held his mouth over her as she shuddered and gushed, until her shaking subsided into breathy sobs.

“I love you, so, much,” she gasped, her body awash with dreamy heat.

Gently, Goto slipped his arm around her middle and drew her back against him, kissing the salt from her neck and rubbing between her cheeks with the full extreme of his yearning for her.

“You planning to put that somewhere dirty?” Miho hissed, rotating her hips, pushing them back against him as he took one still covered breast and squeezed it firmly.

“No part of you is dirty,” he whispered, biting down on her earlobe until she craned her neck so far he could kiss her mouth.

“Mhmm only you’d say that,” she chuckled, sucking his lower lip into his mouth and dragging it away as he bent her forward a little once more.

“I’m the only one who matters,” he rasped against her shoulder, slicking his erection over her clit, all the way between her legs until he’s settled his head against her rear entrance.

“Yes, yes you are,” she grinned, closing her eyes and relaxing as he pushed slowly forward.

The sound Goto made, a reverberating gratification as he inched into her, surprised even him, and for a second he paused.

Biting her lip, Miho tensed, squeezing tightly around the sensation of being filled by him in a new way, stretched to a fine edge of pain – for though perhaps bit quite as lengthy as Subaru, Goto was by far superior in girth.

“Please,” she begged, pushing back against him more firmly, “don’t stop.”

“I just…” he muttered, ragged as he leaned forward and pressed his chest to her back, hooking one arm diagonally between her breasts and gripping her shoulder, his other hand, strong digits, settling over the throbbing desperation of her inflamed nub. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You won’t,” she whispered thickly.

Miho drew her pelvis toward the couch, sliding him out of her, deliberately, deliciously, and his response was probably more of a reflex than a conscious decision – but this time, his forward motion was unreserved, swift, and the slap of him buried completely sounded in tandem with Miho’s appreciative exclamation.

“Yes! Oh god, yes, Seiji,” she encouraged, but the energy she’d implored from him stole much of the volume from her voice, trapping it within the burning of her lungs, and heavily mitigated by the will required to keep her legs from buckling under Goto’s vigorous penetrations.

“Ghnn…” he growled against the back of her neck, flicking over her clit sporadically as he ploughed into her with greater ferocity.

“Don’t hold back,” she panted, desperately clinging to the couch. “I want to hear… I want to… growl into me…”

With eyes clenched shut, Miho pictured the two of them, peering down at their interconnected bodies like a perverse voyeur. Their flushed skin was sheathed in a bright sheen of sweat, even in the low light illuminating the taut of Goto’s back muscles, and the strain of his arms and shoulders as he brought their bodies together again and again. Each time they met, she was forced to the very tips of her toes, and though in her mind’s eye her face was an ugly crush of eye-watering, jaw tensing, and breathless exertion, the heightening song in her flesh told her she was well and truly prisoner to the libidinous ministrations of her future husband.

“Sei…”

Before she could bark out the second syllable, Goto roared a snarling, animalistic assertion of warning, just before he came so hard he crushed all remaining air from Miho’s body. As he filled her, successive thrusts that scorched a fire hotter still, Miho released the couch and clung to Goto’s arm, digging in her nails.

“Please don’t…” she squeaked, but she needn’t have even sparked the thought, for the Goto did not cease the fervent kneading of her clit or his rolling plunge, until Miho wept out her own quivering ecstasy.

Heaving in great breaths, twitching and still interlocked, Goto eased them back onto the floor, curling himself around Miho and burying his face in her neck. There he whispered her name like Miho had never heard it before – not even with her first husband.

“Is there anything you’re not good at?” Miho questioned quietly, tangling their legs together.

“Letting you go?” he offered hoarsely, smoothing moist hair from her face and kissing behind her ear.

“Such a, terrible flaw,” she chuckled, smoothing her palms up his arm. “Still, you have to work tomorrow and…”

“You’re going to use work as an excuse to escape?” he murmured.

“I’m using work as an excuse to take this to the bathroom, Mr. Goto,” she replied, smirking though he couldn’t see, “in the hopes also, of saving this very expensive gown.”

“Right,” he chuffed, rolling her up and across his lap, before rising to his feet with her cradled in his arms.

“So glad I have floorboards,” Miho snickered as he carried her to the bathroom.

“We’ll clean up later,” Goto told her, placing her down on the tiles and turning on the shower for them.

The room flooded with steam as Miho shimmied from her gown, but for what she’d said before, she was quick to just cast it aside haphazardly and shove Goto back under the water stream. Soaking them both.

“I could do this with you all night,” she breathed against his lips, pecking softly.

“Just the night?” he smiled, following her curves with broad palms.

“What’d they feed you Public Safety guys?” she grinned when he pressed her back against the cold tiles, and she let out a yelp.

By the time they had finished there, towelled off and crawled into bed, the both of them were exhausted. Lying against Goto’s chest, Miho felt such a profound sense of contentment that actually made her feel a little weepy.

“Hey, what’s up?” Goto asked softly.

“I’m happy,” she whispered, interlacing their fingers. “And despite the unorthodox way your colleague announced our engagement, it feels… more real now. All we need now is…”

“… to introduce you to my family,” he finished, giving her a squeeze.

“You nervous about that?” she asked.

“No. You?”

“Yeah,” she laughed, her cheek against his peck. “So, how’d you meet my son? Oh, I was trying to find him a wife, and part of my business was to screw him to evaluate his sexual prowess and well, after fucking Seiji, there was just no way I could ever touch anyone else.”

This caused Goto to start coughing, and Miho to laugh.

“That might kill Dad, but Mum would probably want details,” he muttered.

He didn’t ask about her family again – they’d already talked about it briefly and he understood she was no longer in contact with her parents. She felt they had abandoned her when she needed them most, and they’d thought she had put them in unnecessary danger – it was ugly, and Goto didn’t want to stir a hornets’ nest.

“If I can convince Ishigami to give me a couple of days soon, we can go,” he told her, kissing her cheek. “I’m sure they’ll love you.”

“I hope so,” she mused, then let out a yawn before snuggling even closer.

“They will,” he assured her lovingly.

MJS Romance: Jazz x Kunihiko – Mile High

Jazz smiled at the airport security guard and walked through the metal detector. There was a short beeping and she sighed, took off her shoes and walked back through. Beep beep.

“Are you wearing metal jewelry?”

Jazz shook her head. “But my underwear contains some more wires than most bras,” she admitted. The corsage made of lace and satin sounded like a very bad idea at first, but after the flight from Japan back home when she had already worn something similar she was actually convinced of this piece of garment. It somehow made her feel better.

It took some time and convincing before she was finally allowed to pass. At the check in counter another surprise waited for her.

“Miss Mann, your ticket has been upgraded. Please go the check in for business class travelers. You can also wait in our lounge after checking in. Have a nice day and a pleasant flight.”

The woman smiled at Jazz who hesitantly took her ticket and walked over to the other counter. After check in and another affirmation that yes, her ticket had been upgraded but no, sadly the nice lady behind the counter couldn’t tell Jazz who exactly had upgraded her ticket, she went into the lounge for some refreshments. Much to her surprise she found a familiar face there.

“Kunihiko?! What are you doing here?”

He beamed at her and jumped up from his seat only to hug her tightly.

“You asked me to pick you up from the airport.” He sounded a bit smug but most of all happy. Jazz returned his embrace but was still puzzled.

“I did, but I was thinking you would pick me up in Tokyo, not here!”

“I wanted to surprise you,” he admitted and brought some distance between them, just enough for her to see his face.

“Well, I AM surprised. And happy. Thank you.” She hugged him again and giggled. Obviously she wasn’t the only one in this relationship who was good for a surprise every now and then.

“How was the wedding?” Kunihiko led her to a table and they both sat down, holding hands all the time.

“Nice. My cousin was a lovely bride, I was wearing a dress that I had chosen so it wasn’t hideous, the ceremony was a tearjerker. The food was great, there was enough alcohol and the music was fantastic. All in all it was a great party. Except for the fact that my mom had to tell everyone that I’m divorced now. What better occasion is there to announce the end of a marriage than a wedding?” She rolled her eyes and Kunihiko chuckled.

“They made me line up to catch the bouquet.”

He laughed even more. “And? Did you catch it?”

“Catch it? It came directly my way so I stepped to the side. No thanks, I’m done with marriages for some time now. No wedding for me.” She shook her head until she noticed his expression. Oh.

“Wait, you – you are not disappointed, are you? I mean, you are aware that I just got divorced, right?”

He looked away and sighed. “And you are aware that we met when I was looking for a potential wife, are you?”

“Oh.” The sudden silence extinguished the earlier happiness Jazz had felt. This was awkward. Well, they never had the time to actually talk about their relationship. Since she had left Japan a week ago they had talked over the phone, but most of those calls had ended rather steamy. Kunihiko definitely had a way with words.

“We – we should really talk about some things, huh?” She gave him an apologetic smile and he sighed again.

“Yes, we should. We have a long flight, we could talk a bit in the plane.”

Business class definitely was something else. The seats were comfortable, there was more space and less persons. It was like heaven above the clouds.

After settling into their seats and getting some refreshments from the flight attendant Jazz still felt a bit guilty. She actually had completely ignored the fact that Kunihiko had been looking for a wife, not just a girlfriend.

“Is your company okay with you just taking off a day or two to pick me up from my vacation?” she suddenly wondered.

“Well, Osanai wasn’t that happy when I told him but he made me visit a business partner in France yesterday, so I can consider this as extended business trip.” He shrugged and took off his jacket. Jazz wanted to reach over and undo his tie, followed by his shirt, but held back. Dammit, a week with phone sex was better than nothing, but now that she could see him, actually touch him it wasn’t easy not to just climb him.

Jazz busied herself with taking off her own jacket and getting comfortable.

“So, can we talk now?” Kunihiko looked at her expectantly and Jazz nodded.

“You don’t want to get married again? Ever?” There was a crease between his brows that she had never noticed before.

“That’s not it. I just don’t want to rush into the next marriage. Being rash hasn’t worked out for me so I want to take it a bit slower this time. I mean, we hardly know each other yet.” It was all rational and sensible, but she felt like a huge jerk saying it like this.

“You already know pretty much everything about me that there is to know. I admit I still have to learn a lot about you. This included.” He flashed her a small smile.

“So, uhm… are we okay?” Jazz still wasn’t sure how important the whole marriage part was for him but she hoped that he would rather be with her without getting married than marry someone else.

“Yes, we are okay. You didn’t say you would never marry me after all, only that it won’t be soon. I think I can live with that.”

Jazz sighed in relief and grabbed his hand, interlaced their fingers and smiled when he raised their links hands to his lips and kissed her knuckles.

The touch was light and still sent shivers down her spine. This was almost torture! Jazz snuggled closer to him, craving the feeling of his body next to hers, and rested her head on his shoulder. This was better than nothing after all.

They chatted a bit, kissed a few times. Almost chaste kisses, they were both aware of their surroundings and even if not all seats were actually taken they were still in public. After dinner and a movie Jazz got a bit tired, snuggled closer to Kunihiko – or at least as close as their seats allowed – and under a blanket, honestly trying to go to sleep.

“Are you tired?” Kunihiko whispered into her ear, making her squirm a bit.

“I am. Aren’t you?”

“A bit. But I just remembered some of the text messages you have sent me. I hope you know that some of them were torture for me. You can’t send things like that when I’m in the office.”

Jazz chuckled a bit. She might have gone a bit too far with one or two of them. The picture of her in the bathtub was still safe for work, but the text she had sent him wasn’t.

“You like that, don’t you? Knowing how much that affected me?” He was still whispering, so low that it was barely audible, but she nodded. That was a huge turn on for her after all, otherwise she wouldn’t do that.

“Can you imagine how uncomfortable it is to sit in a meeting with a huge hard on because your girlfriend sent you some very naughty texts?” He nibbled at her earlobe and Jazz shuddered a bit.

“No,” she breathed, “tell me about it.”

His hand rested on her thigh, hidden by the blanket, and for the first time in ages she cursed herself for wearing pants instead of a skirt. Well, naked skin and airline seats were not really a good combination after all but right now she would even endure that if she could only feel his hand on her naked skin.

“Well, I think I have developed a Pavlovian response to the sound of incoming texts on my phone,” he whispered on, the smile audible in his voice and Jazz grinned.

“Good to know… I will just send you text next time I want you to get hard then,” she cheekily whispered back. The next second his hand suddenly slid between her legs, pressing the seam of her pants against her core, making her gasp.

“Should I show you how uncomfortable it can be, getting aroused in public without the chance to take care of things?”

There was something in his voice, something that had her blood rush into her nether regions. Oh. Really? Here? That wasn’t part of his profile. But she liked a bit of thrill every now and then, not too much of course. Controlled danger.

So she simply bit her bottom lip and tried to stay quiet, her head on his shoulder. From time to time she grazed his neck with her lips and when he cupped her sex through her pants she had to stifle a gasp, making him chuckle lowly.

Jazz squirmed in her seat, hands clutching the armrests. After making sure that no one had noticed anything he slipped his hand under her waistband – thank god for stretchy fabrics – and Jazz shifted in her seat, giving him better access. It wasn’t ideal but she soon found herself rocking her hips against his hand, small, hardly noticeable movements. She was panting, still holding her voice in, so when he turned his head slightly and kissed her she was grateful for the distraction that provided some additional stimulation at the same time. But just when she started feeling the tingling, the tightening, when the pressure increased with every brush of his fingertips against her clit, he just stopped, making her whine quietly.

“See? Very frustrating, isn’t it?” His breath washed over her cheek and her neck since she had her face half buried in the crook of his neck.

When he didn’t make a move to continue she straightened up a bit and growled: “Restroom. Now.” Jazz quickly fixed her clothes and stood up, looked around and nodded once to show him it was okay. She noticed that he had to readjust parts of himself in his pants and grinned. At least she wasn’t the only one horny as hell right now.

The restroom was like she had expected. Small. Tiny even. But at least a hint bigger than the usual ones. As soon as he locked the door behind them Jazz grabbed him and pulled him closer, her lips on his, her hands already unbuckling his belt. Kunihiko mirrored her, pushed her pants and panties down. There wasn’t enough space to actually take them off so he turned her around and Jazz grabbed the edges of the sink, watched him in the mirror as he lined up but hesitated.

“Do you… are we going… do I need…?”

“Just do it already,” she snapped, half laughing half grumping. They had this talk before and yet he still asked. Too cute.

There was nothing cute about the way he suddenly pushed into her, though. She arched her back, hand gripping the sink tightly. Not making a sound was the hardest part, Jazz was rather vocal and actually enjoyed it. But there was only the sound of them panting, low moans and groans, the clinking of his belt buckle against the plastic of the vanity every now and then.

They both knew this was just a quickie but it was exactly what Jazz needed right now, hard and fast. And when he slipped a hand between her legs to find her clit again she came almost instantly, biting back her cries of pleasure, clenching her eyes shut and holding her breath until her high subsides slowly.

Kunihiko came shortly after her, biting into her shoulder to keep his own voice in. They needed a moment to catch their breath and when he pulled out and cleaned up with a paper towel a bit Jazz looked at him in the mirror. The way his cheeks were flushed, hair disheveled, his shirt and tie askew – and a wave of emotion almost swept her away. She couldn’t believe that he actually was here, with her, because of her.

“Are you okay?” He had noticed her staring, the wet shimmer in her eyes.

“Yeah, I’m – I’m just happy.” She grinned at him. “And now get out of here so I can freshen up a bit.” With a last kiss he slipped out of the restroom and Jazz couldn’t stop grinning. Not while she cleaned up, not when she was back in her seat, not when she woke up the next morning, almost back in Japan.

They walked through the airport hand in hand, the luggage already taken care of, when her smile suddenly vanished. Unsure whether she should let go of his hand or grab it tighter for support she stopped walking, frozen to the spot at the face she suddenly saw in front of her. An angry face.

“What’s-?” Kunihiko couldn’t even finish his question when an older woman came straight towards them, her eyes lingering on their linked hands for a moment before she stared at Jazz.

“What is the meaning of this?” she demanded to know and Jazz swallowed.

“Hello, Mama Kujoro,” she greeted the other woman in a small voice.

“A married woman, whoring around in broad daylight? Do you have no shame?! I knew Ai made a mistake by marrying you!”

Jazz was aware of the stares of the surrounding crowd but other than most Japanese women she had no problems with being stared at. It was something she had gotten used to ever since coming to Japan.

“Madam, would you please stop shouting and calling her names,” Kunihiko tried to calm her down but Jazz squeezed his hand slightly and took a deep breath.

“I take Ai hasn’t talked with you yet. A foolish coward, that’s what he is. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but we are divorced since – two weeks ago. Now, Kujuro-san,” she said, emphasizing the honorific suffix to point out that there was no connection, no familiar bond between them anymore, “I would like to bid you farewell and keep ‘whoring around’ in broad daylight.” She gave her former mother in law a short bow and tugged Kunihiko with her when she stormed off.

“Hey, slow down,” he suddenly said and pulled her back a bit, into his arms. “Are you okay?”

Was she? Jazz wasn’t sure. It was not the fact that she had been yelled at, Ai’s mother has never been very fond of Jazz. A foreigner, probably not even a virgin anymore when she married her son. As if that had been important for Ai.

“Yeah, I’m – I’m fine. Just angry at Ai that he still hasn’t grown some balls and told his parents.” She gave Kunihiko a wry smile and he hugged her briefly.

“Sorry you had to go through that.”

“It’s okay, I got used to it. Now, let’s get home, can we? I’m tired and want a shower – and some nice, slow, intense sex with you. How does that sound?”

Kunihiko smiled at her and nodded. “Sounds good. Your place or mine?”

“Yours. My fridge is empty and I definitely need something to eat.”

They would be at her place often enough. At least that was what she thought at that moment. Her smile was a bit dimmed but still in place when they hailed a cab and headed towards his apartment, towards an afternoon and a night full of kisses, passion, and food. What a way to come home.

MJS Romance: Miho and Goto on Ice

Yawning against Goto’s bare chest, Miho was reflected on her good fortune… their activities prior to the bone deep tiredness that made her body feel so heavy was also a good reminder. Idly she scrawled little patterns against his skin with her fingertip, and after a few moments Goto turned his face into her hair and kissed her tenderly.

“What’re you thinking?” he asked.

“You want the clean or the dirty answer?” she replied cheekily, craning her neck to look at ar his face, and Goto chuckled quietly.

“I’m learning getting a clean answer out of you is a rare thing,” he noted teasingly, shifting her off his shoulder to the pillow, and turned onto his side so he could look down into her face properly. “But you fidget when you’re deep in thought,” he noted. “So you’re deliberating something.”

“Look at you being all observant,” she grinned. “Anyone would think you’re a detective or something.”

“You’re a tough case to crack,” he admitted, brushing her cheek and sliding his fingers into her hair. “If I don’t have my wits about me, you might disappear.”

Miho’s smile tempered a little.

“You’re not actually worried about that are you?” she enquired.

“Maybe just a little,” he admitted honestly, his brows twitching. “As determined as I was, a part of me can’t quite believe you’re here.”

“Do I need to remind you… again?” she asked softly, sliding her leg in between his, bending it all the way up until she could press no further.

“I won’t say no,” he smiled wryly, “but, you know you haven’t answered my question.”

“Mmm, can’t get anything past you, Lieutenant,” she snickered. “I was thinking how lucky I am. Lucky that you’re persistent, lucky that this persistent man is everything a woman could want in a partner.”

Even in the dimness of Goto’s bedroom, Miho could see him blushing – but she didn’t call him cute this time, though she was certainly thinking it.

“That all?” he prompted, watching her closely as she inhaled a deep breath then released it.

“Mmm, Jazz went back home to Europe for a ‘vacation’, but I don’t know,” she explained. “She’s been doing everything she can to thwart my efforts to get her to accept the affections of a client, so I have to wonder if maybe she’s planning a more permanent change of scenery.”

“You really think she’d move to the other side of the world for that reason?” he asked.

Of course he didn’t know the ins and outs of Jazz’s very broken marriage, but even to Miho who did, though it truly extreme if Jazz did plan to stay out of Japan.

“Well, I know she was hurt, a lot,” she thought aloud, eyes fluttering closed as Goto gently rolled her earlobe between his fingers, caressing it softly. “And despite protests she might make to the contrary, she is easily more stubborn than me.”

“That’s pretty stubborn,” Goto mused, and Miho opened her eyes and glared at him. “You can glare all you like, you know it’s true.”

With a huff she rolled her face into his hand and nipped at it.

For her troubles, she ended up trapped beneath him, not that she put up that might of a fight.

“So what are you going to do?” he breathed into her face.

“Right now?” she hissed, wrapping her legs around him. “I’m thinking about how I’m still hungry for you.”

“About Miss Mann,” he chuckled, though he did move slightly, purposefully, teasingly.

“Mmm, I’m going to… save her from herself,” she said after a little squirming failed to provoke Goto into moving any further. “I did promise her I’d find him a nice wife, after all, and I wouldn’t be doing my job for MJS if I didn’t set him up with the best possible candidate, nor as a friend if I let her believe all men can’t be trusted.”

“It sounds to me like you two have a fair amount in common,” he noted, rubbing against her ever so slightly, and how maddening Miho found this was blatantly apparent in her frustrated expression.

“She is pretty hot,” Miho agreed with smug nod. “This one time…”

She began that sentence, but cut it off suddenly when Goto raised an eyebrow.

“This one time?” he encouraged, giving her a calculated nudge.

“You sure you want to know what we got up to with edible glitter after a few drinks?” she smirked, wriggling beneath him again. “Damnit Seiji, you’re being mean.”

“That’s hurtful,” he frowned, and she was surprised at how serious his tone was, when his eyes were laughing – she didn’t think that was very like him.

“I’ll kiss it better then,” she declared, lifting her head from the pillow, but he inched his face away. “Oh, like that is it?”

“Edible glitter?” he prompted.

“And people think I’m evil,” she muttered, narrowing her eyes at him. “We were single, horny, getting ourselves suitably drunk, and had access to all sorts of interesting implements,” she revealed. “One thing led to another and another and another – she makes the most incredible noises and…”

She’d had every intention of getting into the nitty gritty details, but it seemed Goto had had enough, shutting her up finally with his lips. And finally he pressed forward, slowly, inching inside her, no barrier between them at all now.

“Wait, wait,” Miho gasped, holding him tightly against him, and he looked into her face concerned.

“Are you all right?” he scowled, completely falling still. “Or, should I not… oh I didn’t even…”

“No, no it’s fine,” she smiled, sliding her fingers up his back, neck, and into his hair. “I just want to take a moment to…”

Miho closed her eyes and contracted the internal muscles that held him deep within, and the result was Goto growling low groan against her throat.

“Don’t tell me to stop and then do that,” he growled, nipping at her neck and then smoothing his tongue over the marks he’d made. “This… Miho, I want this forever, this close to you.”

At this, Miho blinked, relaxed her body and made eye contact.

“How can you just, say things like that?” she wondered.

“You don’t feel the same?” he responded, his brow creasing a little, and it only intensified when Miho squeezed once more around his cock.

“I feel the same,” she smiled. “It’s just hearing you say something like that is… so romantic, and I love you.”

“No more holding back,” Goto announced, and no more was spoken but for lascivious moans and the desperate whisper of each other’s name.

 

Goto woke up in his apartment, certainly as he expected to do. This morning was different to most, however. Miho was not beside him where he had left when they’d finally drifted to sleep, and there was a delicious scent permeating the air.

After pulling on a pair of boxers and raking his hair into some semblance of presentable, he wandered from the bedroom to find Miho pottering about the kitchen.

“Morning,” she smiled as she turned, blowing on a mug of coffee until there was barely any steam rising from it, before holding it out to him.

“This has to be a dream,” he murmured, taking the mug, and a peck from Miho on the cheek.

For her to remember and act upon his inability to cope with hot food and drink was just one more sign she was right for him.

“Yeah well, don’t get too used to it,” she chuckled. “I’m not exactly the world’s best house wife, but, your days off are pretty rare, so I thought I’d let you sleep in a little at least.”

“I thought we could go out,” he said after sitting down, watching as Miho covered the table with various breakfast foods, Japanese and international.

“Are you asking me on a date Mr. Goto?” she smirked over her shoulder as she flipped an omelette onto a plate and added it to the collection.

“Only if you want to,” he replied – still a little unsure of how best to handle her perhaps.

“What shall it be then? Amusement park? Shrine? Oh, aquarium?”

“Am I really that unoriginal?” he frowned mildly, and Miho laughed.

“I’m sorry. You have ideas?” she grinned, sitting down with him at the table.

“Well I remember you said something about ice skating,” he began cautiously, watching carefully for her reaction. “It’s not really the season to do it outdoors, but there is an indoor rink not too far from here.”

“Ice skating?” Miho repeated, appearing to be turning this over in her mind. “Were we born to make history?”

At this Goto looked a little confused.

“Oh oh, I foresee a Yuri on Ice marathon in your near future,” she grinned maniacally, and Goto’s confusion turned toward concern. “Oh don’t look so worried, you’ll love it. It’s adorable, like you.”

“Damnit Miho,” he grumbled, blushing as he always did when she called him something cute – which is entirely while she did it.

“Okay, I’m a little bit sorry,” she giggled. “Ice skating sounds fun.”

 

It sounded fun.

And really, Goto did it because he thought it would make Miho happy, and it did – though her hysterical laughter at his complete inability to ice skate was not exactly what he had in mind.

Miho skated graceful circles around him for a little while, until even trying to help him ended up with them both sliding across the ice.

With wet bums, they decided to take a breather, and sat down in the rink’s café for a drink.

“Why did you suggest skating if you’re not so hot at it?” she asked him, her tone fond, and Goto went back to looking embarrassed over grumpy.

“Like I said, you mentioned it,” he grumbled over the top of his iced coffee. “And all the suggestions from my colleagues were…”

“Amusement park, shrine, aquarium?” Miho filled in, and Goto nodded.

“Wandering aimlessly around a mall, and the city, were also on the list,” he went on. “But that doesn’t sound any different to what people do every other day. I didn’t expect you to be so good at this though; you’ve been skating before?”

“Roller hockey back home, if you’d believe it,” she explained. “Almost the same as ice skating. Less wet though.”

“And less painful I imagine,” he muttered, shifting in his seat.

“Do you need me to kiss it better?” Miho grinned cheekily.

“Let’s save that until a little later,” he replied, then looked thoughtful. “Actually, I was thinking about last night.”

“What did you think I was just talking about?” she snickered, but toned it down when he took her hand. “Uhh, which part about last night?”

“Well, ahh,” he began, and only now seemed a bit uncomfortable about the subject he’d been the one to broach. “You know we, used protect the first, and second time, but then…”

It dawned on Miho.

That, huh. Yeah we got a bit caught up hmm?” she acknowledged.

She knew he wasn’t worried about some STD; MJS screenings were good for that – pregnancy on the other hand was an unknown for him at least. Her profile on him told her everything she needed to know about his desires for the future, and that he’d ‘like children sometime in the not too distant future’ rang clearly in her recollection.

“Kids are a deal-breaker in many pairings,” she declared slowly, quietly, meeting his attentive gaze, “which… is why I guess I’ve been avoiding it, even though I know it’s pointless.”

“You don’t want any,” he surmised, and Miho nodded slowly.

“Never have,” she admitted on a sigh. “Daisetsu was the same, so it was never a necessary discussion, but you… you do.”

Silence fell between them, and even the noise from the rink couldn’t penetrate the bubble. The longer it stretched, the louder Miho’s internal screaming became.

Idiot.

“You think I want out because you don’t want children?” he asked finally.

“I think I know men who’ve regretted not following their instincts, and women who’ve been left by husbands who decided it wasn’t too late to try somewhere else,” she answered, no bitterness in her tone at all, no judgement, just a bit of fear. “And I don’t want either, not for you or me. It’s not that I don’t love you enough, it’s just not something I’ll ever be changing my mind about. You’re a bit younger than me, could still happily have an atomic family, so, you should take some time to think about it, seriously.”

“I don’t want to think about not being with you,” he frowned, voice low.

“No, me either,” Miho nodded soberly. “But I also don’t want to make you unhappy by not being willing to give you all of what your heart truly wants.”

Goto sighed and gave her hand a squeeze before letting it go and getting to his feet.

“Let’s go get some lunch,” he suggested, though Miho didn’t feel all that hungry.

“You sure your body’s up for that?” she smirked, trying to lighten the mood. “I’m betting you have all sorts of bruises.”

“You’re the old one, remember?” he responded, taking her under the elbow like she needed help to walk.

“You are sooo lucky I’m not sensitive about my age,” she muttered, but allowed his touch to linger as they headed toward the exit.

But Goto suddenly paused, his expression becoming extremely focused and alert.

“What’s up?” Miho questioned, studying his face as Goto pulled her closer and encouraged them to move out onto the street more quickly.

“Just a feeling,” he told her seriously.

“Feeling like what?” she scowled. “That we’re about to be attacked by ninjas?”

“Something like th…” he began, but as they stepped out of the building, wind blew rain sideways against them and they were forced back up against the wall.

“Weather controlling ninjas?” Miho offered, her body shielded for the most part by Goto’s.

“Okay, I’ll grab us a taxi,” he decided, still not seeming all that happy, and Miho could see it wasn’t the rain’s fault. “Do not move from here,” he instructed firmly, turning to look at her so she could see he meant it.

“Yes Sir,” she nodded, stopping short of a salute given how grave he sounded.

While he moved to the curb and looked up and down for an unoccupied cab, Miho searched the street, and glanced back into the ice-skating rink for what might have spooked Goto – but there was no one in particular that stood out as being suspicious or threatening.

“Miho,” Goto prompted, the back door of a taxi already open and waiting for her, and she scuttled to it and all but dived in.

When both were seated, the taxi pulled out into traffic in the direction of its passengers’ destination – and whether Miho saw something or not, the vehicle was observed until it disappeared around its first corner.

 

 

MJS Out of Office Drama: Miho x Goto

Under normal circumstances, all meetings aside from the date scenario were conducted at MJS headquarters – so this one should have been no different.

However, Miho, in her infinite wisdom, made an exception.

Shouldn’t have for a great many reasons – some her own, some not – but did just the same.

The hotel bar was not of her choosing, but it was familiar enough for her to feel comfortable waiting on her own. In the early evening, she could take small sips from her shiraz and not seem like a complete lush; she definitely looked like a woman there to meet someone, though her attire and the presence of a laptop and manila folder peeking from the top of the handbag beside her, suggested at least it was not a social rendezvous.

This is a really, REALLY bad idea.

“Sorry if I kept you waiting.”

She’d seen him enter of course, watched him glance around before spying her. His stride was purposeful but unhurried, and though he’d attempted to maintain eye contact as he approached, Miho had glanced down into her drink in a rather uncharacteristic display of cowardice? Bashfulness? Awkwardness?

Something like that.

“Just long enough for the wine to warm to the perfect temperature,” she responded lightly, finally lifting her eyes to his.

Inhale before the perfect storm – silver lined clouds threatening to break but not yet broken, gentle and controlled, power and potential evident but held in check.

“Are you all right?” he frowned, ducking his head a little to peer more closely at her expression, and Miho flinched.

“Distracted, sorry,” she apologised, shaking her head, and hopefully the stupidity from it. “Shall we grab a table?”

“Yes,” he nodded, motioning with a gentlemanly sweep of his hand that she lead him.

Just not on.

“Is this a usual haunt of yours?” she enquired, selecting a booth over a table.

“No, I rarely get time to enjoy places like this,” he admitted, waiting for her to be seated before doing the same, settling opposite, “and as you already know, I’m not much of a drinker.”

“I take it, then, I’ll be drinking alone?” she smirked, finally finding mirth, even if it was wry.

“Would you feel more comfortable if I ordered something?” he queried, but before she could answer he’d waved for a waitress who came over with a smile. “May I get a glass of…”

Goto looked to Miho’s glass, and she filled in the blanks.

“House shiraz,” she declared.

“Of course,” the waitress smiled, scribbling a couple of words down, before departing.

“You didn’t need to do that,” Miho told him.

“If we only ever did the things we needed to do, life wouldn’t be all that interesting,” he philosophised.

He seemed completely comfortable.

It was not uncommon for clients to act different following a test drive, but Goto showed no signs of awkwardness; in fact, he was, Miho thought, unusually cool considering what she knew of his rather bashful nature.

This did not escape her notice, and she eyed him suspiciously for a few seconds, before she retrieved the folder from her bag and handed it to him.

“Here’s my final profile,” she explained, and he flicked it over. “Please read it carefully to ensure you’re happy with my evaluation, and the wording; semantics can sway, so it’s important to be particular.”

The document was not a short one, and while Goto read in silence, Miho sat doing her best to show no interest in his reaction to any of what she’d written. Though he did seem a little different today than their last meeting, and in all those before that, she could tell when he reached where she’d detailed his romantic style and sexual performance – colour dappled his cheeks faintly, and Miho trapped a sigh in her chest until it dissipated.

Still, she remembered writing that section intensely, and the urge to cross her legs made her weight shift.

When the waitress arrived and put down Goto’s glass, he had still yet to look up from the paper; but he hadn’t turned the page in some time either.

“Problem?” Miho enquired, leaning forward a little.

Goto cleared his throat.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t both confronting and embarrassing to read about myself like this,” he admitted, glancing at her but not making eye contact this time. “Flattering too,” he added. “You have quite a vivid way with words.”

“It’s crucial clients are able to get a clear idea of all aspects of their potential partner,” she expounded, falling back into practiced professionalism. “It’s how we’ve been able to enjoy the success rate we have.”

“And this is all your thoughts on me?” he prompted, closing the folder over.

“Actually I was so inspired, and sure you’d agree with my assessment, that,” she began, leaning down grab a thicker folio from her bag, “I’ve already selected three clients who are compatible.”

He looked at it, the black folio hovering across the table between them.

“That eager to get rid of me?” he questioned, eyes wandering up her arm, across her shoulder, but he stopped short of reaching her face.

His brows twitched, and he seemed transfixed by her throat. Neither of them had mentioned meeting in the supermarket day before last, and sure as hell had not uttered Subaru’s name – but Goto’s stare lingering there reminded them both.

Finally, he managed to refocus his gaze back into her face.

Then there was his tone. It lacked all humour, it lacked everything; and an emotionless mural painted over what Miho had seen happen several times before in this very situation.

Jazz’s voice rang in her ears – how sometimes clients, having enjoyed their time with them after long spells of loneliness or romantic disconnect, thought they felt more than they truly did.

“At MJS we pride ourselves on being both thorough, and efficient,” she responded – the line from their glossy brochure.

“Ahh, yes,” he nodded, still looking right over the folio Miho refused to lower. “You satisfy your clients, 100% guaranteed.”

“Mr. Goto,” Miho levelled, “if you are in any way dissatisfied with my service up until this point, then please say so. Only then can I do my utmost to correct the problem, and meet your expectations. Before that, however, all I ask, is that you at least glance these profiles.”

At this he frowned, his gaze diverted, and she saw him inhale a breath of strengthening resolve before he asked his next question.

“Which one is yours?”

“Excuse me?” she blinked once, the weight of the folder she held now causing her extended arm to tremble.

“Profile,” he clarified, and though she could see he wanted to avert his eyes, he did not. “Which one is yours?”

The sigh from earlier was suddenly resurrected, and had escaped from between Miho’s lips before she could clamp down. She couldn’t reward the courage it had taken him to ask that question, to convey to her in not so many words he wanted her among those prospective brides.

“Look,” she exhaled, finally placing the folio to the side and returning her hand to the base of her glass. “Sometimes during this process, that does involve the exposure of deeply personal…”

“Is that the MJS handbook speaking?” he interrupted, and Miho’s response was quick.

“Yes,” she said sharply, and a little louder than she had intended, “but also me, from experience. And every single client who thought they’d fallen in love with his or her representative, is now in a very happy relationship of our design.”

“You’re that good a profiler, you know exactly how I feel then?” he pressed, body completely still.

“You were bonded with someone with whom you had an absolute trust,” she articulated clearly. “Shared interests and lifestyle and occupation, by all accounts what should have been perfect, but it was taken from you. By your own admission, you blamed yourself and became convinced you were therefore not worthy of being loved again. You isolated yourself, and then here I am, sifting through all the dirty and unpleasant secrets you knew you’d need to face if you ever wanted to be happy again, and of course I accepted them.

“It’s my job to know you well enough to accurately find you a match so heartbreak, external factors aside, doesn’t visit you again – but asking me that, suggesting that…”

Shaking her head, Miho took a sip of her wine, but it was tasteless now.

“… It may seem harsh to say it so bluntly, but any affection I showed, was necessary to coax out how best you respond to intimacy; like our one-day marriage, it wasn’t real, merely a facilitator.”

Ice formed in her alcohol.

In her head the words were clear and definitive, to her ears, sure, stalwart.

“Your hands are shaking,” he pointed out.

“No they’re…” she began, but again he cut her off.

“You may be some manner of relationship profiler, Miss Fujiwara,” he said evenly, firmly, “but I’m a detective, and a highly trained one at that. I know lies when I hear them. I know lies when I see them. And I know dirty and unpleasant secrets that haven’t yet been faced, when I see them. For a woman who said she would own every word she speaks, I think you’ve strayed a little.”

A sardonic chortle sounded, and Miho shook her head again.

“We’re going to start parroting one another again?”

“I’ll look at your profiles,” he declared, “if you tell me why you’re so desperate to convince me I’m not truly attracted to you.”

Forget crossing her legs, Miho really wanted to get up and run, but that was not how one did business, and above all else, she was stubborn.

“This… isn’t about me,” she managed, but her voice was far thinner than she’d have liked.

“Correct,” he agreed. “It’s about a customer, and unless I’m mistaken, they are always right.”

There was a corner, and though Goto not once raised his voice, not once moved a muscle toward her, Miho felt herself backed more and more into it – not a feeling she enjoyed one bit.

“What I hear,” he continued, gesturing now with his hand as he spoke, “is a lot about me. Wouldn’t it just be simpler to say, I’m sorry Mr. Goto, but I’m not interested in you? Why not just say that, if it’s true?”

How the hell was she supposed to answer that?

“I…”

… am really glad neither Jazz or Selina are here to see this?

“You will look at the profiles?” she said finally, changing direction.

What does it even matter if he knows?

“Yes,” he agreed, watching her indeed like a cop just waiting for a suspect to crack.

“I was married to a police officer who spent much of his career undercover,” she revealed in more of a rush than she’d meant. “He was betrayed by his comrades and murdered, leaving behind a wife who couldn’t identify his body, and a family who didn’t care for justice, just wanted to forget.”

“That doesn’t answer my question,” he pointed out, a little more gently.

“Of course it does,” she chuckled, but it was an empty sound. “You told me yourself you’d often taken reckless chances in your work; should I encourage you to believe your feelings for me are real? Should I set myself up to…”

Miho bit her tongue – she’d said enough.

“That, answers your question, I believe.”

Nodding slowly, Goto took up the black folder and opened it, and Miho inhaled very, very slowly, counting in her mind to find some semblance of calm.

Then Goto closed the folder, and pushed it over to her.

Swapping upset for exasperation, she scowled from it to him.

“You said…”

“I said I would look at them, and I have,” he responded, “but what I want isn’t there.”

“I, will… take this under advisement and provide you with more suitable ma…”

“Actually, I think I have decided this marriage set up thing isn’t for me,” he announced. “Of course you’ll be paid everything you’re owed, but this process has helped me see love can’t be subcontracted.”

While Miho just stared at him with her mouth slightly open – a dumb expression no doubt – Goto glanced at his watch.

“We should get going,” he prompted. “The restaurant is only down the corridor, but we’re already five minutes late.”

Pursing her lips, and fighting down the heat of frustration that he wouldn’t just let it go for both their sake, Miho stuffed both folders back into her handbag and slid out of the booth.

“We’re not having dinner together, Mr. Goto,” she told him stiffly. “I have other work besides…”

“Another client?” he asked, standing also, though never getting in her way, never blocking.

He could see she was fixing to bolt, see how she struggled to keep it beneath the thin veil of her job, and knew his question was a mean one; so very not like him to be spiteful, to find himself submitting to his own frustration.

“You really shouldn’t ask questions to which you already know the answer,” she told him thinly. “Since we’re in the game of quoting past me, I’m sure you’ll recall I said I wouldn’t lie about what my work entails, you know perfectly well, and in fact you agreed no man in his right mind would dedicate himself to a woman who does what I do.”

Before he could respond, she held up her hand.

“And don’t say you, because we both know how much seeing me with Mr. Ichiyanagi pissed you off.”

By this time, a number of other patrons’ curiosity had been piqued – the standing pair seemed unhappy with one another, shrouded in thick tension: she like she might like to slap him, he like he would let her do it and go back for seconds.

“It did,” he admitted quietly, reaching for her collar that only partially hid the little red welt.

The sound of Miho snatching Goto’s wrist before he could reach his target was quiet, but their audience was attentive. They saw it came as no surprise to him, but to her…

Even after several meetings of deep discussion about the most intimate parts of a client, even after test driving, Miho had managed thus far to see them as words on a page, one part of a product requiring her to find the other in order to be successful in her work. This disassociation allowed her to enjoy the time she spent with them, but to cleanly let go at the end of the day – no baggage, no emotional attachment, because her job was to make them happy with someone else.

She’d been pushing so hard to see him as ‘client’ and not ‘man’, that the warmth of his skin actually surprised her, but before she could recoil, he deftly slid his hand through her hold and laced their fingers together.

A woman across the room audibly gasped.

Despite his audacity, Goto blushed; this was so far outside his comfort zone he barely knew himself; but at the same time, he knew he’d regret letting her just walk away before he was absolutely certain what he saw in her eyes was just his own wishful thinking.

“You’re going to make someone very happy one day,” she told him, a whisper so slight Goto had to strain to hear it.

“Give me a…” he began, but Miho was already pulling her fingers free and making good her escape.

She shouldered her bag and he watched her weave through the tables and exit before another female voice actually startled him, the woman who had gasped, a foreigner by appearance.

“Shouldn’t you go after her?” she half questioned, half suggested.

With a decisive nod, Goto left the bar, calling a room number out to the bartender as he left in order to cover his untouched drink.

“Miho!” he barked, seeing her enter the elevator at the end of the hall.

She turned to the sound of her name, scowled and shook her head, and even as Goto jogged toward her she pressed furiously against the ‘close doors’ button.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Goto, can you just let it the hell alone?” she growled, but closed her eyes, closed them, closed them tightly so she didn’t need to see his face that split second before the doors came summarily between them.

Despite appearances, Miho was relatively rational. She had come to a foreign country alone and now was part owner in a successful, lucrative business. Educated and worldly, financially secure and not at all bad on the eyes, she was ‘a catch’ – though we all know her attitude could use a little adjustment. The point is, it wasn’t as if she thought herself unworthy of a man like Goto.

Fear, is perhaps the most difficult thing to rationalise.

And so if Goto, being all other things the same, was not a police officer, this narrator can safely say you’d be thigh deep in smut again by now… or more likely still thigh deep in smut.

Miho knew he was being the honest one, watched him hedge his way out onto an ever narrowing limb in an attempt to get her to do the same; and she shook it furiously trying to dislodge him – not because she didn’t feel the same, but because the acuteness of burying a casket of ‘remains’, nothing even remotely resembling her husband, made her want to curl up into a ball and sob like a frightened child.

“It’s easier to be a bitch,” she shuddered out, trying to catch elusive breath and even more elusive calm.

No one would argue she wasn’t good at it.

It provided armour, and though she hadn’t truly ever had to use it against a client before, it had saved her many times when she’d felt her strength wane; but all she could see when she looked at her reflection in the elevator’s ear glass wall, was Goto’s face, and the expression he wore after her sucker-punch.

Ding.

The doors rattled open behind her, and the face she saw in the glass changed.

His hair was dishevelled, his posture slumped, his suit jacket askew, but he looked up from where he’d skidded before the doors to catch his breath, to see her turn: bewildered.

“Did you just… run, thirteen flights of stairs?” she murmured in shock, several hotel patrons and a couple of staff wondering something similar.

“You’re so… stubborn,” he panted, swallowing as he straightened and wiping the back of his hand over his forehead.

“Says Mr. Won’t Take No For An Answer!” she exclaimed, vexation emerging out the other side of shock.

“You haven’t said no,” he pointed out.

The doors began to close, but Goto pushed them back again, filled the space between them with his determination for one, last, attempt.

“Tell me plain, say no,” he told her, dark eyes serious and impossibly frank, “and you get your cheque in the mail and that’s the last of it.”

Just one syllable.

Almost as if searching for help, Miho peered beyond him at the various and sundry trying to look like they weren’t looking at the curious and dramatic scene. Her lips moved, they opened but seemed to lose their sense of language.

Goto stepped into the elevator and turned to the foyer.

“Sorry for the inconvenience,” he apologised, bowed, then allowed the doors to finally shut.

Miho turn back to the rear of the elevator and glared at the ground floor garden through the glass.

“Drama isn’t in your profile,” she said, her voice small – far too small for the likes of her.

“It’s certainly not my preference,” he responded, hitting the button for the top floor, perhaps to buy them some time, “but when necessity calls.”

“Ha, well,” she chortled thickly, “I’d make some revision, but you said you’re done.”

“I can’t and won’t force anything on you,” he scowled over her shoulder, there mere thought of that terrible thing.

He remained at what little distance the confined space allowed, despite his pursuit not wanting her to feel boxed in.

“But,” he continued, combing fingers through his messy hair, “I also don’t want you to refuse yourself the possibility of… love… out of fear I might be hurt, that I might leave you.”

“So you’re on a crusade to save me from myself, huh?” she snorted self-deprecatingly.

“You’re not the only idealist here,” he stated. “I don’t like to let go of the things that are important to me.”

“I’m not an ideal… anything,” she choked out, shaking her head, perhaps to hide the red creeping into her eyes.

Finally, Goto stepped up to her, and when she didn’t move he placed his hands lightly on her shoulders.

“Fine,” she inhaled sharply, dropping her chin. “You’re in my head, you’re under my god damned skin, hell I even…”

Before she could say something in breach of contract, she chewed off the end of her sentence and started fresh, digging out the strength she knew she had to turn and face him.

“But none of that changes why I have to finish this job and forget you.”

Ding.

The doors opened at the top most level, revealing the entrance to the dimly lit rooftop bar. Once more, Goto slipped his fingers in between Miho’s, and with gentle encouragement she followed him out.

He waved away the waitress that drew close when they approached a table, pulling out one chair for Miho before settling himself, their woven grip remaining throughout.

“When Natsuki was killed,” he said, his voice low causing the small candle between them to flicker, “the world I knew, cared for, ended.”

Miho didn’t want to hear this – it just made fighting the burn of ugly tears that much more difficult; but it wasn’t like she could tell him to shut up right there when he was sharing arguably his most painful memory.

Well, she could, but even for Miho it seemed there was a limit to how horrid she could be.

“I’ve already told you how I took stupid risks, not caring if I lived or died because, what was life without her? The one person I could trust without any doubt.”

He didn’t move to wipe the tears away as Miho finally blinked them free, just squeezed her hand and continued.

“I took my frustrations out on the criminal world, and it didn’t matter if I was hurt because, there was no pain more acute, than losing her,” he elaborated. “And I had even convinced myself it would have been better if I’d never met her, or been partnered with her at all. It took a long time, but I finally realised that was a terrible thing to think about someone who’d meant so much, and who had had such a positive impact on my life.”

That was quite the monologue, and Miho just stared at their hands entwined on the tabletop, trying not to sob.

“I know your pain,” he told her more softly, thumb grazing over the back of her hand, “and I would never wish that on you again, but I would gladly accept all that hurt myself… for just one day with you.”

“I hate you,” she muttered under her breath, words tangled in her throat. “You make it sound so god damned simple, but you can’t… promise you won’t…”

“No, I can’t,” he agreed, weathering her defensive abuse. “Some things are beyond my control. But give me a chance to make you some promises I can keep.”

“And if I do?” she murmured, and when she looked up, Goto was struck by the open vulnerability in her swimming eyes.

But he smiled a warming, penetrating smile.

“I’ll make you happy, for as long as I’m able to,” he replied, “and you’ll make me happy by allowing me to.”

“You know what I do,” she pointed out thickly, her fingers twitching in his.

“And I love that your job is about making people happy,” he nodded, then tilted his head a little to one side, hair sliding across his forehead. “Though… when I saw you with Ichiyanagi, knowing why you were with him…”

He paused, his scowl drawing his eyebrows right down over his eyes.

“I could barely stop myself from pulling you away.”

Miho’s lips pursed and her eyes drifted back down to their hands.

“Work is work… but… I wanted you to,” she admitted, drawing in a deep breath and exhaling a slow, calming sigh. “So, you’d ask I give up my career, my business?”

“Mm, no,” he answered, finally leaning across the table to gently wipe the watery drip of tears and mascara from the point of her chin. “Like I said, I like that your work is about helping others find love; but the whole sexual test drive part…”

He winced – was he asking too much already? It was clear in his expression he wasn’t sure, but at the same time, he had to think that client, ex-client of man she met in the street, ultimately to be with him completely she would surely have to give up sleeping with other men, even if it was part of her job.

“But,” he went on, obviously steeling himself, “until you’re sure, about me – us – I know I don’t have a right to ask you to give up anything, other than some time for us.”

“Really?” she sniffed a little incredulously, taking up a napkin from the table and dabbing under her eyes. “Hm, that’s generous and all Mr. Goto…”

“Seiji,” he corrected with a somewhat diffident smile.

“Seiji,” she managed, though even she felt a little self-conscious saying it now, even though she had moaned it during his date scenario. “But if I was going to try my luck with a man, seriously, there’s no way I could even think about intimacy on any level, with another.”

“Um, so?” he frowned, not quite sure what that meant exactly, whether it was a she would stop because she was going to try her luck with him or if she was just posing a hypothetical.

“I don’t know, what Jazz is doing and Selina…” she began, lolling her head back to look up at the clouded Tokyo sky, “but I guess, if I can get her to finally realise she and Aikwara need to get it together then we’ll have to employ some new staff for test driving.”

She had stopped crying, and seemed to be in serious thought.

“I should get onto Kyobashi about that,” she mused, chewing her lower lip.

“Kyobashi?” Goto questioned, trying to draw her back to the table.

“Oh jeez, forget I said that name, that’s, that is not supposed to be common knowledge,” she rushed, blinking back to the moment at hand.

Finally Got felt like he could relax a little – she wasn’t crying, she wasn’t fighting or defensive, and he thought she was already thinking of a strategy that meant she wouldn’t have to do client test driving anymore?

“So, you want to try for dinner?” he offered tentatively, giving her hand another squeeze to ground her further. “Or maybe just… room service?”

“Room service?” she repeated slowly, narrowing her eyes at him, and instantly he was rubbing the back of his neck in that embarrassed gesture becoming more and more familiar to her.

“I wasn’t going to give up,” he told her after a few seconds of squirming. “So, I banked on success, but… we don’t have to of course, we have a reservation at the restaurant and you’ve no obligation at all to…”

“Courage,” she sighed, really looking at him properly, her shoulders slumped as if really exhausted. “I’d add a note to your profile about how it’s one of among many of your admirable qualities, but I guess that’s a bit redundant.”

“It is,” he agreed with a smile, and stood from his seat. “So… which is it?”

“Room service,” she declared, also getting to her feet, but she remained where she was, with their hands still joined but a little stretched. “But, before that could you show me, that courage, just one more time… so I can, borrow, some of it.”

Kindly he smiled at her and in the faint candle lit night he stepped against her and cupped one side of her face.

“I will show you as many time as you need me to,” he whispered, before lightly touching his lips to hers, no matter who or how many were watching.

And when they parted, he was heartened by the soft, relaxed expression on Miho’s face, and the gentle pressure of her free hand against his chest.

“Come on,” he urged with a slight tug on her hand. “No one else needs to see that face.”

“Possessive?” she smirked, bumping into his side.

“Maybe, just a little bit,” he admitted, touching her collar to the side, and this time she didn’t stop him. “It’s hard not to be, when I know he’s marked you like that.”

“Mhmm,” she murmured, cringing a little when she thought her throat was only the tip of the iceberg. “Yeah well, I’m not with him now, am I?” she tried to reason.

“No, you’re not,” Goto agreed, and urged her back in the direction of the elevator.

Miho remained quietly at his side as they rode down to the seventh floor, following along to his suite without protest, but deep in thought.

“I feel like we’ve done this kind of backwards,” Goto chuckled nervously, looking back at her as he swiped the hotel card to open the door.

“You mean, we got married first?” she sought in clarification, her voice a little sheepish.

“Perhaps I need to carry you backwards over the threshold to undo it,” he suggested. “Though, if I’m honest, I don’t really want to.”

“I always thought I’d only get married once,” Miho admitted with a reserved shrug of her shoulders, following him into the suite. “Life, doesn’t always give us what we expect.”

“Nope,” he agreed, tugging her hand sharply and drawing her into his arms, “but it sometimes gives us second chances.”

Miho’s brows twitched, even if she hadn’t meant them to.

“And every single time you get that frightened look in your eye,” he said, brushing her hair back and holding her face, “I’ll kiss you, so you remember it’s worth being brave.”

“Please kiss me,” she begged in a whisper, and there was nothing in Goto’s expression that suggested he had any intention of non-compliance.

The slide of his hands into her clothing was slow and unhurried, like the gentle trace of his tongue between her lips and breath that sighed her name. Piece by piece their attire was cast aside, until Goto pushed Miho back to arm’s length and looked her up and down.

“Would you hate me, if I was to replace all these marks with my own?” he asked with a scowl, glossing his fingertips over each mark Subaru had left on Miho’s body.

“No,” she answered simply, turning her head to expose the first he’d spied on her throat.

With painstaking dedication, leaving no part of her unsearched, Goto applied adequate pressure with his mouth to renew the vitality of each palling welt, signing purposeful ownership over her flesh in a way Subaru could not have. And when he’d laid her down and suckled over the last against her right breast, he returned to her lips as if for reward.

“Feel better now?” she smiled dreamily, looking up at him, carding her fingers through his hair with one hand, stroking him lazily from base to tip with the other, until he had readied the condom to protect them both.

“It’s going to take a little more than that,” he told her honestly, walking fingers down her abdomen, and Miho closed her eyes.

This time she didn’t need to imagine it was him touching her, parting the slick warmth between her legs and working her clit so desperate for his ministrations alone. And she remembered every ridge, each standing vein that caused Goto’s shaft to pulse with the racing of his heart.

She believed it raced for her – but while hers pounded against the confines of her chest as she rolled, straddled him and looked down into his face her fears bubbled… bubbled… bubbled.

“No,” he hissed, rocking up, crushing is already ridged cock between them and bringing their lips together once more. “Right now it’s just you and me and how I feel about you.”

“You hardly know anything about me at all,” she frowned, arms wrapped around his neck loosely. “I could be an axe murderer for all you know; shit have one conversation with Jazz and she’ll tel…”

He cut her off with the surprisingly fierce thrust of his tongue into her mouth, and the clamp of his arms, hands that slid down her back and lifted her ass up from his lap, just enough to position the standing call of his length against the dripping welcome of her core.

On her knees, she hovered with him just resting there, looking into his eyes with growing determination – she didn’t want him to have to keep telling her to stop being pathetic, even though he’d never say it like that.

So she pushed him back until he flopped down on the pillow.

“I, on the other hand, know more about you than anyone else in the whole world,” she told him, her eyes rolling upward as she slid herself slowly down onto him. “Including how, perfectly you stretch me.”

When she focused again, it was to find Goto gritting his teeth a little, lying still, but the tensing in his thighs told her he badly wanted to move.

“If anyone else knew that,” he groaned as she leaned just a fraction and dug onto him even more firmly by digging down with her hips, “I’d be… upset.”

“You’re normally so composed… Lieutenant,” she grinned, rolling forward, undulating her body and squeezing tightly each time she drove against him, “I can’t quite imagine you, upset.”

“You nearly didn’t have to,” he hissed, digging his fingers into her thighs, aching to make her move more swiftly. “If you’d turned me away, I… I don’t know…”

Miho smiled, falling forward against his chest to speak against his hungry lips.

“You don’t need to know, Seiji,” she exhaled, nibbling, pecking, teasing until his grip tightened and he bought his body up to meet hers.

Amid gasping breaths, the slap of bodies meeting in the middle, and the heightening frequency of deep throated moans and passionate utterances comprehendible only by them, Miho and Goto found equal ground.

In the physically intense union of flesh and sweat, and the surrender of fear and baggage, both let go what tomorrow might bring – even if only for that night.

“You cum first tonight,” she declared, leaning back and supporting her body with her arms, bucking vigorously, bringing them as close as unreserved penetration could – and it had the desired result.

“Gah… Miho that’s…” he growled, strong hands clasping her knees urgently, until he forced the fingers of one hand to relax and release her, then applied them where they’d bring her the most pleasure.

“Think I’m… going… to let you get the… best of… me twice in one night?” she snarled, slapping one hand over his where he’d begun rubbing it against her clit.

“Hey!” he barked as she tried to pull his hand away.

The fight became so spirited in fact, Goto sat up again, and together they toppled right off the bed onto the floor – where he pinned her down.

“Best you know I’m trouble now,” she laughed, fighting the good fight, actually struggling with all her skill, but Goto’s strength and ability at subduing felons won out until both Miho’s hands were pinned either side of her head.

“Trouble I can handle,” he breathed against her throat, wetting it with his saliva, speaking cool against her flaming skin.

“You sure?” she scowled, snapping her teeth, then sinking them into his shoulder when she couldn’t capture his lips.

This did not deter his zealous efforts to thwart her plan, the depth of his plunge far and beyond their mere bodies. Legs clinching and trembling, fingernails digging and scraping, toes curling, and short, desirous breaths, intermingled with the profound longing for a peace both had told themselves was beyond their reach for too long.

It crashed together in a furious crescendo, the twist and grasp and ardent, uninhibited exploration of bodies holding nothing back, until both laid draped, content and spent in an embrace finally made tranquil by two hearts slowly resuming their normal rhythm – as one.

“You hoped that I’d remember,” he whispered against her brow, her head resting on his shoulder, “then told me to forget – that was never going to happen.”

“I’m sorry I said that,” she murmured, one finger outlining his nipple lightly. “It was selfish, and unfair.”

“I know why you did,” he smiled, kissing her lightly, enjoying the ache in his legs and the warm dampness of their interwoven limbs. “It actually gave me hope, that you felt more for me than just as a client.”

“Need to work on my poker face I guess,” she chuckled wryly, kissing his chest to the point where he let out a little noise of surprise at the sting.

“Did you?” he blinked, tilting his head to look down.

“Think you’re the only one who gets to leave marks?” she smirked, thumbing across his lips but refusing to kiss them.

“I suppose you haven’t looked at my back and shoulders?” he snorted, shrugging a little for emphasis. “I’m not going to be able to take my shirt off at work for weeks.”

“I don’t have issue with that,” Miho laughed, kissing against the various red impressions of her teeth across his broad shoulders. “This body is…. perfect,” she added with a sigh, and Goto looked away, actually embarrassed. “Really?” she chuckled, wrapping her arm over him and squeezing him tightly. “You’re getting all embarrassed about how insanely sexy you are after what we’ve gotten up to?”

“For all you have difficulty saying, what comes to you easiest is what affects me most,” he grumbled, but it was an affectionate sound that lingered lovingly in Miho’s ears.

“And this is why women secretly rule the world,” she grinned, scratching her teeth down his right pectoral.

“Hungry?” he questioned.

“Well, this is the second time you’ve made me miss dinner,” she pointed out cheekily, sitting up and stretching her arms over her head.

Goto’s hand flat against her spine, ghosting slowly down its length, caused her to shiver and look back at him.

“I’m hungry too,” he told her frankly, index finger gliding slightly into her rear crevice before falling away, and Miho’s eyebrows raised. “What?”

“Nothing, I ahh, just didn’t really peg you for an ass man,” she snickered, purposefully shimmying back and sitting right on his hand, much to Goto’s surprise.

“Peg… ass…” he repeated, turning this over in his mind, and as he did, he looked a little more panicked. “Wait, you don’t think I was suggesting that I, that we…”

“So that’s a no?” she questioned airily, wriggling against his trapped hand.

“It’s not a… no,” he frowned in consternation, a little confused perhaps and a whole lot unsure. “It’s just not something I’ve really, ever thought about or – would ask a woman to… you know.”

“God you’re precious,” she gushed, rolling on top of him just long enough to kiss him firmly, before continuing on her way off the bed.

“I’m going to end up with a complex,” he muttered, rubbing his forehead, but Miho only laughed and strode over to snatch up the room service menu.

“Okay, my ass aside, what else are you in the mood for?” she teased, flopping back down on the end of the bed.

 

They ate, drank, and watched half of Madagascar before a tickle war devolved into another round of passionate exchanges that stretched well on into the morning.

Goto couldn’t remember the last time he woke up with a woman in his arms, let alone one like Miho.

Beautiful.

Successful.

Opinionated.

Fearless, and yet… fractured.

Forthright and formidable, but… fragile.

“I want to protect you,” he whispered into her hair, kissing against her temple lightly.

“Mmm,” Miho murmured sleepily, turning her face against Goto’s skin. “I will bite you again.”

“Please do,” he challenged, lips moving to her ear.

“Calling my bluff?” she grumbled, words muffled against his chest, dragging her leg up over him until her knee was bent against his stomach.

“I wouldn’t dare,” he chortled, tracing up her shin, then along her thigh. “Breakfast?”

“I don’t swallow, no matter how hot you are,” she snorted, giving his cheek a solid pinch.

“Vulgar,” he quipped, turning his face into her hand snatching a couple of her fingers between his lips.

“You don’t know the half of it,” she smirked, allowing him to suckle for a few seconds before she drew her fingertips down his stubbled chin.

“I’ll learn,” he smiled, genuine and determined. “No regrets?”

“No,” she smiled back, her expression serene, her heart calm. “None.”

“Okay, then go have a shower and I’ll order us some coffee,” he prompted, throwing the blanket off their naked bodies.

“Ughh, you know, the last time you told me to take a shower, I got out and you were nowhere to be seen?” she pointed out with a pout as he lifted her up, and actually set her on her feet.

“But you remember what happened after that right?” he pointed out, tucking wild wisps of her hair back over her ears. “And, you trust me?”

Miho turned her head against his palm – warm and wide, skin firm and manly, not too rough, not too soft.

“I will start calling you Aladdin,” she warned, kissing his hand before backing away.

“I could see you as a princess,” he mused, then suddenly looked a little abashed, perhaps realising he stood there totally naked before Miho’s open and obvious appraisal.

“Cuuute,” she grinned impishly, then ducked into the bathroom.

 

Miho didn’t loiter in the shower very long, and was actually a little disappointed Goto didn’t join her. Still, it gave her some space to process what she’d done and mull over her feelings.

The death of her husband had ruined her – this was a truth she had spoken to herself over and over like a mantra meant to save her life – but with Goto on her mind somehow those words didn’t have as much power.

If she was so defeated, then how did she have the close friends she did? How had she built a successful business with them? How had she not shoved out of that elevator, and stomped the hell away with that mantra ringing infallibly in her ears?

“Back to being spoiled instead of ruined?” she asked her reflection, smiling though her body was dotted with little marks… some not so little.

To her surprise, that question’s first answer was not to run the fuck away and hide, even though she’d had her fears, fears that could not be erased completely in one night, but had been at the very least weakened.

“Of all the men you’ve come to know,” she exhaled. “A lot of men, you never felt like this about any of them since…”

There was no way for her to pinpoint when she’d crossed the line between seeing him as a client and fighting against seeing him as more. All she had was where she stood now, with a pleasant fatigue still lingering in her muscles, pleasant memories of the night just passed, and a tentative hope those were not the last they’d make together.

Eventually, fighting a sense of déjà vu, Miho exited the bathroom.

There were no candles this time, but a spread of delicious breakfast goodies on the table.

What was familiar, was the lack of Goto.

“Seriously, if he went to shower somewhere else this time, I’m going to be really pissed,” she muttered, drawn by the small of strong coffee to the table, where her gaze perused what was on offer.

Fruit, muffins, cereal, miso, salad, various warm dishes hidden beneath silver lids, and a curious white box with a blue ribbon tied around it, accompanied by a little card instructing her to open it.

Suspicious, Miho looked around, expecting Goto to jump out and scare her – not that she thought he was really the prankster type. Apprehension still twisted in her stomach; she wasn’t a huge fan of surprises, but she picked up the box and tucked away the bow, inhaling and holding her breath as she lifted the lid.

Within was a tiny piece of folded paper – certainly not what she had been expecting – not that she had been expecting anything!

“What are you up to?” she whispered, smoothing out the paper to find a short note written inside. “I hope you’re at least a little bit disappointed,” she read aloud, “because that will make this a whole lot easier on me. Huh,” she frowned, staring down at it like there was more to glean from just those words alone. “The hell is that supposed to me…”

“Miho,” Goto said to her left, and Miho’s head snapped in that direction.

He was perfectly groomed.

Expression unflinchingly attentive.

Dressed in a tuxedo and positioned beside her chair on bended knee.

“No… way,” Miho exhaled, staring.

“Despite coming to MJS without expectation,” he told her, serious beyond measure, “I did so with every intention of finding that woman with whom I could share the rest of my life.”

“You’re really-” she began again, eyes wide, but got no further when Goto placed a finger against her lips.

“I had my doubts about the inorganic nature of the process, but every time we met I realised more clearly, something very natural was developing despite us. And when you left the other night, when I saw you with… at the grocery store, it hurt so much, I had to face the fact I’d fallen in love with the one person you wouldn’t offer in your meticulous profiles.”

The little diversionary note fluttered forgotten from between Miho’s fingers to the carpet, settling in the small space between them.

“And I’m amazed that you’re here with me now,” he pressed on, gaze undaunted despite the weight of each word, “grateful, blessed… and hopeful.”

The cry of tiny, old hinges called Miho’s attention to the scuffed wooden ring box that was pinched between Goto’s thumb and forefinger, and the very obvious symbol nestled in the black cushioning within.

Miho’s next breath entered her lungs as a gasp, a half-sob, and was imprisoned there as the world ground to a vivid halt. There was no sharper focus than that moment, nothing else around them but the hum of sincere emotions limited only by the frustrating constraint of verbal language.

“Please,” he entreated, and yet it didn’t sound like he was begging, just expressing not desire, but need, “let me be a support to your triumphs,” he went on a little breathlessly, but his offering did not waver in the slightest. “Please, let me stand beside you and face your challenges, as our challenges. And when this indomitable woman – who has dominated my affections so completely – finds her strength failing, please let me be the one to hold her safe until she finds herself again.”

There was no thought.

Amazement wasn’t thought.

Bewildering, unrestrained, unbalanced, shuddering, rocking, wonder wasn’t thought.

“There isn’t a single woman,” she managed shakily, hands twitching unconsciously where they rested across her knees, “in the world,” she continued, “straight, gay, undetermined, who could say no to that.”

“But I only need one, to say yes,” he pointed out solemnly, but his lips finally upturned, just slightly in an optimistic expression that shattered whatever reserve of resistance Miho had reflexively been clinging to.

“Let me be your husband,” he whispered, gently taking up her left hand and kissing the place where he’d already placed a ring once.

Not be my wife let me be your husband.

“Yes,” Miho uttered, the last of the air she’d been holding in her lungs, but the purest response possible.

With audible relief, Goto plucked the ring from its moorings and put the box aside, before settling the antique polish of the ring just over her fingernail.

“You… you’re sure?” he asked again, and Miho slid off her chair to bring herself to his eye level.

“You really want me to change my mind?” she chortled thickly.

“I don’t think I could survive that,” he admitted sheepishly, pushing the ring onto her finger, before entangling their fingers.

It was a little big, would need to be resized, but that was hardly a consideration for that moment.

“When my grandmother died,” he said quietly, resting his forehead against hers lightly. “He gave me my grandmother’s engagement ring, pretty uncommon for their era, and told me I wasn’t to part with it for anything less than the love he’d felt for her.”

“How long were they married?” Miho asked, tilting her head up, desperate to kiss him.

“Over seventy years,” he replied softly, sliding his hand into her robe to pull her against him. “A pretty impressive record.”

“We got this,” she smiled, claiming what was of him, hers, allowing him to claim what was of her, his.

And thankfully, reverently, together they once more indulged in what was theirs.