Hideki Ishigami. He was the scourge of her existence right now. It had been hard enough to actually make a profile for him and now Jazz was stuck, trying to find a potential match for the secretive, scary-looking detective. She sighed, having dismissed almost every profile she had checked so far. Sarah Jane? Autumn? Ayame? They were all lovely, but just not completely fitting.
Jazz stared at her computer screen, trying to work. It had been a week since she ran into Miho and Goto in the hotel after cancelling the contract with Yu. She still could see Miho’s face, the wide eyes, how she had paled a bit, but not because Jazz had caught her in the act or better, on the way to it. No, she had been completely focused on the man in front of her, hadn’t even noticed Jazz standing in the crowd. She had had only eyes for Goto. And when Miho went out with Jazz and Selina for drinks to celebrate her very sudden engagement she had been beaming the whole time. Very annoying.
But after all the shit Miho had given her Jazz suddenly understood why she had done it. They were both in the same position, with just one difference: Jazz had admitted her problem, at least in parts. Miho had tried to keep it a secret. And yet it had worked out for her but not for Jazz. So much for asking for help.
Jazz sighed and rubbed her temples. Thinking wasn’t easy when her mind and heart were fighting each other constantly. But she had made a decision and now she would have to go through with it. Back to work. This wasn’t exactly an easy case, but then again, which was? There were always things to keep in mind but so far Jazz and showed a real talent to match up the right clients to create happy couples.
Her gaze wandered to the postcard on her desk, showing the palace of Oriens. She knew the writing on it by heart, having read it countless time ever since it had arrived two days ago.
Thank you for your advice, it was the push I needed. I told her and she said she loved me, too. I am eternally grateful, without you I wouldn’t have found the courage. Sincerely, Yu Kujo
She was happy for him, it must have been hard to confess his feelings, but in the end his courage got rewarded. He deserved it.
Jazz glanced around her office before she opened another client profile on her screen. With a sigh she stared at the picture; those violet eyes and the dark curls. She had really messed that up. She chided herself for being weak like that, for not being able to let this go already. With a quick click that file was closed again and Jazz opened a female client profile.
For Ishigami it had to be someone smart, who could actually understand not only his thoughts but also his dedication for his job. Wasn’t there this one client? Smart, athletic, a bit of a sharp tongue? Jazz opened the profile. Hm… at the first glance she wouldn’t really think that worked, but somehow she had a good feeling with it.
Liana. She browsed through the notes and the answers to some of their psychological questions. Impatient when it came to foolery – Jazz remembered Ishigami complaining about the easy-going attitude of some coworkers – but not as tight-lipped as the detective she could be the right candidate. She was pretty and polite. Perfect.
Yes, she would send him that profile and maybe two others.
Jazz was just printing out Liana’s profile when her phone rang. Ai.
“Jazz, darling, I just thought that it would be only right to drag you out of your office and into a nice little bar tonight. Our divorce is finally through so let’s have a drink on that.”
Jazz rolled her eyes.
“Ai, I still have so much work to do, I can’t just-“ she tried to reason with him but if their marriage had taught her one thing then that Ai wasn’t exactly reasonable.
“Oh, come on! You can’t bury your cute little ass in work all the time. Kou wants to go out and you are coming with us. I’m paying.”
Kou. Oh god, Kou and Ai together were just unbearable. All sickly sweet couple blah. No, thanks.
“Ai, I’m happy for you and Kou, really, especially since he’s now the one to endure your moods, but honestly I don’t have time.” She browsed through another profile.
“If you don’t come I tell cousin Sato that you are available again. You remember him?”
That got her attention. During their wedding said cousin had made some very crude remarks about what he would have done if he had found Jazz first.
“You wouldn’t!” she practically yelled into the phone, her voice echoing in the otherwise empty office.
“You know I would. And you know you need to get out of your office every now and then. So turn off your computer, change into the emergency dress I know you’re having there and meet me and Kou in two hours. I’ll send you the address.” She could practically see his smug grin, the way his self-satisfaction made his features just a bit softer. Jerk!
“There’s better a cocktail waiting for me when I arrive,” Jazz grudgingly accepted and wondered – not for the first time – how she could have ever thought that Ai was straight. That guy deserved a fucking Oscar already. Deep down inside she enjoyed the bickering and the bitching, he was the only one who did that with her and the only one she could take her own moods out on like that. It was almost therapeutic after their sugar coated storybook marriage – even if that was only faked.
Two hours. She still had time to wrap things up here. She knew she couldn’t leave without tying up the loose ends, didn’t want to leave behind more work for Miho and Selina. With renewed energy she started searching for two other bridal candidates for Hideki Ishigami.
In her emergency dress – a burgundy red shift dress – she walked into the bar/restaurant where she was supposed to meet Ai. She was a bit early after coming by cab, something she usually wouldn’t do, but running to the train in heels wasn’t also something she usually wouldn’t do. Tripping and spraining her ankle was definitely not on her agenda that day.
When she came into the bar and looked around she couldn’t find Ai and Kou so she asked at the reception.
“Mr. Kujuro said he would arrive a bit later. Can I show you to your table already?” the polite receptionist offered and Jazz nodded. Hopefully there would be alcohol.
After a good sip of her cocktail – fruity, fresh, with a hint of rum and amaretto – she relaxed a bit. This might be a good opportunity to clear up some last issues concerning the divorce, although she already suspected that Ai and Kou would only flirt all evening and Jazz would simply get wasted. She just checked her phone for a message from Ai when the receptionist led another person towards her table – but it was neither Jazz’s ex-husband nor his new lover. It was still a familiar face and Jazz only hoped that the shock and confusion she felt didn’t show on her face.
“Mr. Aikawa… I didn’t expect to see you here.”
He seemed just as surprised as she was. “Miss Mann? Is there a problem with – with my date?”
Jazz got up, the receptionist smiled at them.
“I am sorry, but why did you bring him to my table?” This must have been some kind of mistake, right?
“Mr. Kujuro called and said that Mr. Aikawa would take his place. Is there a problem?” The receptionist was smiling politely, without a care in the world. Didn’t she know what she was doing to Jazz? Now of all times?
Jazz was confused and so was Kunihiko, and this was the moment to make a decision.
“No, thank you. Will Mr. Kujuro come and join us or did he say anything else?” Jazz was suspicious now. Ai just loved to play with her.
“Oh, he wants you to know that he is sorry but he won’t be able to join you tonight. But he wants you to enjoy your time here and will gladly take care of the bill.” With a smile and a nod she left the table again. Jazz and Kunihiko stood in front of each other, unsure what to say and do. When she smiled weakly and moved to sit down again he quickly rushed forwards to help her with the chair. A gentleman, huh?
The awkward silence loomed over them, even after they sat down and the waiter brought a bottle of champagne.
“So, what did you say earlier? About a date?” She tried to keep her voice even, the smile in place.
“Oh, Miss Fujiwara had told me that I would meet a marriage candidate here.” Kunihiko rubbed the back of his neck, right under his ponytail. It was a very sweet gesture, especially since he blushed a bit. He was embarrassed.
“Did she now? Would you excuse me for a second, I have to make a quick call.” She raised a finger briefly to indicate it wouldn’t take long.
Voicemail. Of course. Coward.
“Ai,” she purred in a sweet voice, “I’m sitting here, waiting for you and Kou to show up. I guess I have to order something to help me pass the time. Lobster maybe. Or steak. Or both. Yeah, both sounds good.”
Her tone got harsher now. “And a nice old wine to help me wash that down. So if you talk to Miho, please tell her that I will keep that purse she lent me the other day. And she better apologizes to Mr. Aikawa. He wasn’t pleased that she put him into an awkward situation like this a second time. He left as soon as he saw me and honestly, if it wasn’t for the champagne I would be gone by now, too. So, I hope your hair falls out – more than it did already.” She ended the call and sighed.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Aikawa. I know this is strange and awkward and unpleasant, but it looks as if we got set up.” Now she sounded seriously upset.
He smiled wryly. “’Mr. Aikawa’, huh? What happened to ‘Kunihiko’?” His violet eyes searched her face.
“I thought – I thought you wouldn’t want that anymore. After the last time we met.” She was still a bit ashamed of what she had said, what she had done. She had left him in the dark. Completely enthralled in that crush she had on him she had tried to show him only her good sides. As if she had something like that.
“I would be lying if I said it was nothing. I was – shocked, but I figured you had your reasons. I would have loved to hear them, though.” Again that wry smile.
“Yeah… me, too…” Jazz muttered and grabbed her glass to down the champagne in one go. Kunihiko raised an eyebrow but Jazz simply reached over the table, took his glass and drank that, too. After that she felt a bit better.
“Sorry. I think I really owe you an explanation… it’s just – god, it’s so damn embarrassing.” The clatter of cutlery on plates and clinking of glasses filled the silence that loomed between them.
“I can’t do that on an empty stomach. How about we order something and just talk? You can ask me whatever you want to know – after I get some starters. I’m a bit moody when I’m hungry. Or tired. And right now I’m both so we better order soon.”
She refilled her glass, ignored his slight frown – yes, in Japan it was custom to pour each other’s drinks but Jazz needed more alcohol to get through this dinner and she needed it now – and motioned for a waiter to come over. She quickly ordered a few starters, told Kunihiko to get whatever he wanted and asked the waiter to come back for their main course order in a few minutes.
“I feel bad, having dinner here with you when your husband is paying.” It was meant as a joke, but she could hear the edge in his voice.
“Ex.” She took another sip, his questioning gaze prompted her to quickly swallow the bubbly liquid.
“My EX husband. The divorce is valid since Tuesday,” she explained.
Kunihiko smiled and took his glass – still empty, but Jazz quickly poured him some champagne – and raised it. “Well, that’s something we should drink to.”
They clinked glasses but this time Jazz only sipped a bit, she better slowed down for now. Kunihiko put his glass down, too, almost untouched.
Jazz sighed in relief when the waiter came and put a basket with bread down. Better than nothing.
“I’m so sorry, but I haven’t eaten all day, I have been busy like crazy. Do you mind…?” She motioned towards the bread and he smiled and pushed the basket a bit into her direction.
“Don’t worry, go ahead.”
Gratefully Jazz grabbed a piece of bread and spread some butter on it, took a bite and sighed again. Much better already. When the starters came she had finished that piece of bread and could focus on the food in front of her. It was a wild spread, a colorful selection of the menu.
After a few more bites Jazz relaxed a bit and when the waiter came to get their order for the main course she was already smiling. Once he was gone again Kunihiko cleared his throat lightly.
“So, are you in the shape to answer some of my questions now?”
Jazz put her cutlery down and took another sip of champagne. She nodded. Actually she was a bit nervous, not sure where this was heading now. At least he hadn’t really turned on his heel when he saw her how she made Ai – and indirectly also Miho – believe. But he had come to meet with a potential bride after all. The whole scenario was weird.
“I’m just wondering why you are so interested in me.” She couldn’t believe that he still wanted to talk to her, by now every sex induced illusion of affection should have died down.
“You know so much about me but I hardly know anything about you,” he simply answered.
“You didn’t even know I was married, so yes, you don’t know me at all.” It was hard and cruel, but true. Everything he thought to know was just the image she had showed him. Well, maybe not everything. Her cheerful and flirty personality had been real.
“Hence the questions. You are not married anymore, right?” He had also put his cutlery down and watched her intently.
“No, not anymore,” Jazz confirmed.
“And are you in any other relationship? Engaged? In love?”
Wow. Right to the point. She hesitated. “I’m not in a relationship now.” It was a cautious answer, not giving away too much just yet.
“Actually I haven’t been in a real relationship for some time now. Ai was – it was never real. It’s complicated.” Maybe it would be less complicated with some more champagne? She nervously sipped again.
“Do you still love him?”
Jazz nearly choked on her champagne and decided to stop drinking for now. “I – I will always feel something for him, but it’s not love. I just needed some time to realize that. We are – like siblings now. Yes, I think that describes it perfectly. We bicker and bitch, but we will always be there for each other.”
The gaze he watched her with was intense and searching. He wasn’t sure if he should believe her and she wasn’t sure how much she should tell him. Jazz sighed and started to explain in more detail.
“I had studied Japanese and worked for a company back home and they had sent me here after some time. I only was meant to stay for a year, but you know how life can be. A few weeks before I wanted to go back I met Ai and – well, he was funny and sweet and I had to confirm my mother’s conviction that I had no clue how to pick a man. So when I caught him in the act with his lover we had a long and constructive talk – after the ugly crying and throwing things of course – and somehow managed to find an agreement.” She sipped at her glass again.
“He cheated on you?” Kunihiko’s eyes went wide.
“Not exactly. He and his lover had been in a relationship even BEFORE I met him, so technically he cheated on Kou with me.” His confused expression made her shrug. “I know, I needed a moment to get that concept, too. But it’s the truth. Kou had been there first and I was the ‘other woman’. Or in our case, the only woman. And believe me, that was a position I never imagined myself in.” Her dry chuckle stuck in her throat when she realized what she had just said.
“The only woman? Wait, what does that mean?” With furrowed brow he waited for an answer.
Jazz closed her eyes briefly. Stupid champagne, stupid tipsiness, stupid, stupid crush.
“Uhm… Kou is a man. And so is Ai. They are obviously gay. Well, not obviously enough because I only realized when I came home one day and found my husband deep throating his supposedly best friend. I mean, I like my friends, too, but not THAT much.” She made a ‘what can I say?’ gesture, grabbed her glass again and braced herself for the inevitable laughter and teasing that would follow.
“You were married with a gay man and had no idea?”
She was sure that he was only holding back his laughter for now. “Yes, I know, I must have been pretty desperate,” she wryly answered. Nothing she hadn’t heard before after all.
“I would say you must have been pretty shocked when you found out. Weren’t there any signs?”
Wow. He was actually not reacting like a jerk. Jazz was impressed.
“To be honest, in retrospective there actually were some signs, but I had always troubles understanding Japanese men.” She rolled her eyes and still wondered herself how she could have NOT seen that.
“I mean, until then I had only met two kinds of Japanese men. Those who offered me money or material compensation for sex and those who wouldn’t even shake my hand after meeting me for several times. So I figured Ai was only shy when he said he wanted to wait until we were married, but at least he hadn’t tried to make me his secret affair after seeing me for the first time.”
It was so ridiculous but unfortunately it was the truth. Jazz had believed him, she had no reason to doubt Ai after all. He had been funny and considerate, they had kissed, even if it had lacked some passion. She had thought he was holding back, not that he had to bring himself to kiss her. So she had waited patiently until they were married and when he instantly fell asleep in their wedding night she figured he was only tired. When he still didn’t try anything in the next night she was sure he only didn’t want to rush her. There was an excuse for every night they hadn’t slept with each other and at some point she had guessed something, but she had never had an idea of the extent of the truth. The worst thing about it was that she actually had been in love with him. Maybe it wasn’t the one, deep and true love, but Jazz had loved him nonetheless and the betrayal did hurt.
Kunihiko nodded slowly. “Love is blind after all. You didn’t want to see it so it was easy for him to deceive you. But that doesn’t change the fact that he knew what he was doing to you. And you still consider him a friend?”
Jazz shrugged and took a deep breath. “In the end he still treated me better than most men before. And isn’t that sad?” More champagne kept the sadness in check.
“What do you mean?” Now Kunihiko was curious and Jazz was so tipsy already that she didn’t care anymore. She would have told him everything if the waiter wouldn’t have come and served their dinner. Jazz immediately tucked in. That gave her an excuse to gather her thoughts for now. How much should she tell him? Should she really take the risk?
Halfway through her incredibly delicious salmon she came to a decision. There was nothing to lose after all, not at this point anymore. She could as well be honest with him.
“I have the unbelievable ability to fall for the worst men. One of my former boyfriends stole money from me. Almost everything I had. Another one became my stalker after I broke up with him. One of the reasons for me to come to Japan after all.” She shrugged and drank some more. Her head started to feel fuzzy and her mouth just kept talking.
“So I always pick out the wrong guys and then I met you and you were so dark, tall and handsome, exactly my type, and funny and relaxed – and the sex, oh my god! That was so incredibly good! – I mean, there has to be something wrong with you, right? That’s just my luck. You know, finding the perfect guy and then it turns out he’s a marriage imposter or my secret stalker or actually gay.” She laughed wryly and drank more champagne, something Kunihiko watched with growing worries.
“The point is,” she was already slurring her words a bit, “I like you, so there has to be a catch. lt’s like a rule.” She nodded once as if to reaffirm her conclusion.
“You like me?” He couldn’t hide his smile and Jazz’s laughter bubbled out of her.
“That’s all you take from my rushed confession?” Well, it might be the most important part so it was fine.
“What else should I take from it? That’s all I need to know.” He reached over the table and took her hand but Jazz pulled her hand back.
“You – you know what my job includes. Maybe not you are the one with the catch, it’s probably me. I know how many sexual partners you had in your life and let me tell you, I had a lot more. Doesn’t that bother you? Tell me you won’t get suspicious or jealous when a stranger greets me, when other men you don’t know talk to me. We might run into former clients and you wouldn’t even know because as you know there’s the confidential agreement.”
That had been on her mind for so long already, she couldn’t just expect him to be fine with that. Men had called her a whore for knowing even less about her past. (It was interesting that she got called ‘slut or ‘whore’ more often by men she rejected than anyone else, especially if they had invited her for a drink or even dinner and she had turned them down afterwards. Weird.)
“Are you ashamed of that part of your life?” he asked, not judging, just curious.
“No.” Her answer was short but firm. There wasn’t anything she was ashamed of after all. She regretted some things, but who didn’t? And not when it came to her job. Everything had always been consensual and actually more pleasant than some of her encounters before.
“Then I don’t care. Everything you did before doesn’t matter. You can’t change the past.” He furrowed his brow. “Did you ever cheat in a relationship?”
The sudden change of topic confused her, the alcohol making her thoughts slow. “No. I actually am completely faithful when I am in a relationship. Except in my marriage with Ai at the end, when I already knew the truth. But I wouldn’t want to hurt my partner like that. I’m not a liar and I’m not a cheater.”
She ran her hands through her hair, her fingers getting caught in it so she had to pull a bit. There was a brief ache in her earlobe but she didn’t care much.
“So you say you would never cheat? Under no circumstances?” This seemed to be an important point for him but it also was for her. Honesty and faithfulness were the basis of a relationship for Jazz.
So she shook her head. “If – and that’s highly unlikely – if I should ever have the sudden urge to have sex with someone else while being in a relationship I would at least have the decency to call him and break up. I mean, that’s what phones are for, right?” She beamed at him, her logic impeccable in her drunken mind.
“That’s a joke, right?” He seemed taken aback until Jazz laughed.
“Of course it is! At least the part with the phone. You should see your face!” She giggled. “No, honestly, I’ve never felt the urge to cheat. Never.”
Kunihiko leaned back in his chair. “Then there’s no reason to get jealous. Even if you had sex with someone else before, as long as you are faithful in your relationship it’s fine.”
Now that made her laugh. “Ahhh… I wish my stalker ex could hear that,” she said, wiping an imaginary tear away.
With a raised eyebrow Kunihiko asked: “That bad?”
“Even worse. But its fine now, there’s half of the world lying between us now. I’m fine.” She continued to eat, feeling better now that she had told him the most important things. Now he could decide if it was worth it to take the risk. If she was worth it.
“You are more than fine,” he dryly answered, making her stop everything for a moment before she laughed again.
“Mr. Aikawa, are you flirting with me?” Teasingly she raised her glass again, drank the remaining champagne while watching him over the rim the whole time.
“Damn right, I am.” His hand covered hers again and this time she just let him. “And I told you to call me Kunihiko.”
“Kunihiiikoooo~” Jazz cooed with a huge grin, more than obviously tipsy by now.
“I think it’s time for you to go to bed.” He didn’t know if he should laugh or scoff at her. Getting drunk like that.
“Exactly what I was plannin’ to do…” she answered with a wink. “You gonna take me home?” Batting her eyelashes and biting her bottom lip she watching him blush lightly.
“I can at least give you a ride. You can’t take the train like this.” He sighed and motioned for the waiter just to remember that the bill was already taken care of.
“Come on, let’s get you home.” He got up from his chair only to notice her earring on the floor, so he bent down to pick it up and handed it over to her.
Jazz cheered loudly, drawing the attention of other guests towards their table.
“Yes! Yes, a thousand times yes!”
Guests started clapping, assuming he had just proposed to her. His confused expression made Jazz giggle, she grabbed his hand and pulled him close just to seal their “engagement” with a kiss.
Under the applause of the guests Kunihiko finally managed to get Jazz on her feet and out of the bar.
“You are really a handful,” he chuckled on their way to his car. Jazz grabbed his arm and snuggled close.
“I know. But you wanted to know more about me… are you regretting it already? Are you fed with me?” She looked at him with that adorable little pout, while she in fact was afraid of his answer.
Kunihiko laughed and pulled her closer, his arm around her shoulder.
“No, definitely not. Although I have the feeling that my life will be much less boring now.”
He opened the passenger’s door and helped her into the car before he got in and started the engine.
“Now, where to?” He looked at Jazz expectantly and she giggled.
“Is this a trick to find out where I’m living? You know that I never take clients home?”
His eyes narrowed just a bit.
“I would like you to stop thinking of me as a client.”
Jazz hesitated. She really wanted to ask but what if he said something she didn’t want to hear? The champagne won over her insecurity.
“What would you want me to think of you instead?”
Kunihiko glanced over at her, the light of the street lamps washing over them in the moving car.
“Miss Fujiwara told me that you want to change careers,” he casually said and suddenly Jazz understood why Kunihiko was so relaxed about her job. He knew she wasn’t doing the date simulations anymore.
“Miho is an old chatterbox,” she stated and grinned, for the first time not even annoyed by Miho’s meddling. There was still a lot they had to talk about but right now she was too tipsy, too excited to do that. She reached over and took his hand, happy when he squeezed back.
“Next time I would like to take you out on a real date,” he suddenly said and Jazz’s heart jumped in her chest.
“I think I would like that.” They spent the rest of the way in comfortable silence.
When they arrived at her place Kunihiko helped Jazz out of the car and she stumbled only a little bit, fumbling with her key, giggling until he took the key from her and opened her door. Definitely too much champagne.
“Coming in?” She motioned towards her hallway when he stayed outside, still hesitating.
“I really shouldn’t. You are drunk and better go to bed now.”
“Hmmm…” Jazz swayed just a little bit in her heels, placed a hand on his chest – god, how she had missed touching him – and looked up at him, the perfect mixture of innocence and temptation. “Maybe you should make sure I get to bed safely. You know that most accidents happen at home…”
He huffed a dry chuckle. “You’re not making this easy for me, you know that, right?”
Jazz leaned up a bit, leaving only a tiny gap between their lips.
“I want to make it as hard as possible – for you.” She pulled back a bit and smiled. “Come on, one coffee. And I mean the beverage, not the euphe-, euphi-“ She frowned a bit, this word just didn’t want to come out right. “-… the code for sex.”
“I think coffee is a good idea for you,” Kunihiko agreed but still didn’t move. Jazz let her hand drop until she could take his and pulled him inside.
“Gimme a second, I know I got coffee somewhere,” she said and let go of him once they reached the living room. “Take a seat, I’ll be right back.” With uncertain steps she made it into the kitchen, kicking her heels off on the way.
Kunihiko looked around her living room. It was spacious but somehow empty. Very clean and neat.
“Sugar or milk?” Jazz yelled from the kitchen, just interrupting the song the she hummed lowly to hear his response.
“Black is fine.”
“Gotcha!” Rummaging for two matching cups she accidentally knocked a can with tea over, spilling the loose tealeaves on the counter.
“Is everything okay?” The worried voice of Kunihiko made her laugh.
“I’m fine, don’t worry. Nothing serious!” She could hear his footsteps until he suddenly was behind her.
“I think it’s better if I carry the coffee into the living room.” His voice, low and with a hint of mirth, washed over her and she closed her eyes and grabbed the edge of the kitchen counter to steady herself. He shouldn’t be able to shake her like this, to make her want him like this. She should be stronger, resisting. But she wasn’t.
“Yes?” His hands found her waist.
“Dance with me.”
He chuckled. “There’s no music,” he pointed out, but it wasn’t a ‘no’.
“Easily fixed.” Jazz turned around and found herself trapped between Kunihiko and the counter. Her breath hitched in her throat for a moment and she had to look away or else she wouldn’t have been able to resist. Her fingers itched to feel his skin but even in her drunken state she wanted to respect his limits. She’d rather bend them than break them.
“Come with me,” she breathed and slowly walked him to the living room, his hands remaining on her waist the whole time. She grabbed the remote and turned the music one, quickly selecting the title. Nina Simone, ‘Feeling good’.
Kunihiko raised an eyebrow and titled his head slightly.
“You’re into jazz?”
“Sure. So could you…” She wrapped her arms around his neck, pressed herself against him, made him feel the warmth and the softness of her body. His only answer was a low growl, deep in his throat, a rumbling in his chest she could feel even through the layers of clothes that still separated them.
They moved slowly, swaying to the music, Jazz on her tiptoes, her temple resting against his shoulder. One of his hands slid down to the curve of her ass, the other arm wrapped around her back, pressing their bodies even closer together. She felt like in a dream, everything so unreal, floating, a haziness that had nothing to do with the bottle of champagne that she had almost emptied on her own. Yes, she was tipsy, but she was even drunker on this feeling, the excitement, the closeness. She wanted more.
So when she slowly tilted her head a bit, lips grazing his jaw, she held her breath, unsure how he would react. Would he stay strong and controlled, make sure they didn’t do anything stupid? Or would he give in, kiss her, touch her, throw caution to the wind and spent this night with her? Just like she wanted? Just like he wanted, too, judging from the growing hardness against her belly?
Kunihiko took a sharp breath, feeling her lips against his skin, and his self control wavered. Jazz could feel his jaws tensing and she sighed against him, half disappointed and half hoping.
“We-“ he began but she interrupted him.
“I know.” Pulling her head back slightly she tried to look at him, offering a small smile. It was okay.
No, it wasn’t. Not for him apparently. With an almost desperate sigh he pressed his lips on hers, making her moan lightly. Jazz clung to him, pressed her body impossibly closer to him. She wanted to feel him, taste him, undress him, taste even more of him, kiss him – everything at once and especially now.
He didn’t protest when her hands slid up and into his hair, pulling the tie out and messing up the curls. He didn’t protest when she started pushing his jacket off his shoulders. And she didn’t protest when he slid his hands down her thighs, prompting her to jump so he could carry her into the bedroom.
With her legs wrapped around him and her lips peppering his neck with kisses she distracted him but they managed to reach the bed without incidents. When he set her down Jazz swayed a bit, had to cling to him for support.
“You okay?” His voice was hoarse, low and incredible sexy.
“Perfect,” she reassured him with a dazzling smile before she pulled him close again, one hand against his chest and one using his tie to reel him in. More kisses, with growing hunger and urgency, while he slowly opened the zipper of her dress, eliciting moans and giggles from her. Jazz already had undone his tie and was clumsily working on the buttons of his shirt.
“This is… are you sure… this is a good idea?” Although still hesitating Kunihiko pulled her dress up and off her.
“This is… a fantastic idea…” Jazz confirmed, stripping him finally off his shirt before she plopped down on the bed, scooted into the middle and reached a hand out towards him. “Best idea I ever had.”
Kunihiko crawled on the bed, right into her arms, covered her with his body, hips flush with hers. Jazz pulled him in for another heated kiss, wrapped her legs around his waist so she could feel his hardness through his pants and her panties. She rolled her hips against him, urging him on to grind against her. Kunihiko moaned against her lips, making her giggle, a sound that turned into a moan of her own when he cupped one of her breasts and squeezed lightly. She could feel her nipples harden and strain against the fabric of her bra.
His kiss was dizzying, her head spun and she needed to breathe. She pushed lightly against his chest.
He hummed against her skin, his lips already traveling down her neck.
“Kunihiko!” There was more urgency in her voice now and he looked up. “I’m… dizzy…” she groaned. It wasn’t the nice kind of dizzy, the butterflies in the belly kind of dizzy, the dizziness that came from happiness and arousal. No. This was the champagne.
“Do you need a glass of water?” He was panting, his hair disheveled, his lips swollen from the kisses. He was incredibly sexy.
“That would… that would be great…” Jazz closed her eyes, screwed them up as tightly as she could, hoping to get the world to stop spinning. She could feel him leave, his weight lifting off her, his warmth fading, the dipping of the mattress. Jazz took some deep breaths and cursed herself for drinking at all.
Kunihiko came back not even a minute later, a bottle of water and a glass in his hands. When he noticed that she had fallen asleep he sighed and took of his pants, adjusted himself in his boxers and covered Jazz with a blanket before he joined her on the bed again, holding her close.
The next morning came much too soon and with too bright light. Jazz groaned and tried to bury her face in the pillow when she noticed that she wasn’t alone. A careful peek showed her a still sleeping Kunihiko.
Oh. She quickly checked her state of undress – still in bra and panties. Okay, that wasn’t too bad. Who was she kidding? This was awful!
She slipped out of bed, careful not to wake him, and hurried into her bathroom. After a quick shower and a very thorough teethbrushing to get rid of the taste and the fuzzy feeling in her mouth she sneaked back into the bedroom to get dressed.
“Good morning.” His voice startled her while she was just trying to close her bra. She turned around and smiled sheepishly.
“Did you just wake up from the sound of my dropping towel?” she teasingly asked him.
He chuckled. “No, it was more the sound of your nakedness. I think I will always wake up for that.”
She smiled but grabbed a dress and put it on quickly. “Sorry, I just wanted to go and get us something for breakfast.”
“I could think of something.” The way his eyes raked up and down her body made clear what he was thinking of.
“Hmm, that sounds tempting, but I’m actually hungry and that makes me a bit – cranky. So let me get us some breakfast and coffee first, okay? Sorry, I wasn’t expecting overnight guests. My fridge is empty.”
She leaned down and kissed him quickly. “Stay in bed, doze off for a bit. Or take a shower. I put a towel and a toothbrush out for you. I’m back in ten minutes.”
Before he could pull her back into bed she was already on the way out.
Kunihiko padded into the bathroom, taking a shower like she had suggested. When he stood in front of the mirror, a towel wrapped around his waist and the toothbrush in his hand, he suddenly realized why the bathroom seemed to be off. There were no bottles. No lotions, shampoo, no makeup or other products, nothing but some toothpaste on the sink and her toothbrush. He walked back into the hallway and he was still standing there when Jazz came back, coffee in her hands and breakfast in a bag.
“Now that’s a nice welcome. I could get used to this sight when I get home,” she teasingly said and eyed his naked chest. She only hesitated when she saw his serious expression.
“When did you want to tell me?” His voice only barely masked his anger.
“Tell you what exactly?” She knew what he meant but she wanted him to say it.
“You are leaving?” Kunihiko pointed towards the suitcase that stood in her hallway. Jazz made a face, she cursed herself for preparing everything in advance.
“Yes, I am. Quite obvious, isn’t it?” She walked past him towards the kitchen to set their breakfast down.
“When?” He seemed so vulnerable, only dressed in a towel in her hall, it was almost surreal.
“Around noon,” she admitted. There was no use in lying anyway.
“And it didn’t occur to you to tell me?”
Jazz sighed. That was why she had wanted to talk. But no, she had to get wasted and now he was angry and hurt.
“I am sorry, I didn’t plan to hide it from you. It just – there was no good opportunity last night.” She looked at him, open and honest.
“There was no good opportunity? What about: ‘Come in and stay here tonight, but you have to leave in the morning because I’m going to leave the country tomorrow?’!”
It was the first time she saw him angry. She was aware that he was capable of this emotion, but seeing him like this was strange. She had made him angry. Because the thought of her leaving Japan hurt him. Without thinking she rushed towards him and kissed him. He struggled a bit but when she pulled back and smiled at him he only frowned, but didn’t push her away.
“I’m visiting my family. My cousin is getting married and I will be her maid of honor. I will be back at the end of next week.”
It was funny to see his face fall for a second. He blushed slightly and scratched his neck awkwardly.
Jazz chuckled a bit.
“Sorry, I had planned everything a bit differently. I wanted to get my life back on track before I call you. Probably right after coming back.” Her fingers played with his hair and she kissed him again, tasting the minty toothpaste.
“You are so clean…” she noticed. “Makes me want to get you dirty again. When is your first appointment today?”
“I still have some time,” he answered, getting bolder himself so he pulled her close.
“I still have to make it up to you for last night.”
Her hands dropped to the towel and she slowly untied it, pulled it off him so he was completely naked now. He was already getting hard but she stepped back a bit, quickly pulled of her dress and turned round, threw him a wink over her shoulder and went back towards the bedroom, hips swaying. She laughed silently when she heard him following her, almost tripping over his own feet.
He reached her before she could make it to the bed, his arms holding her back, wrapped around her waist so he could pull her back against his chest.
“So just to make that clear,” he breathed against her neck. “I’m not a client anymore.”
“No,” she confirmed, almost moaning the word.
“And you are not doing those – date simulations anymore, right?” He nibbled at the sensitive skin of her neck now.
“So that means we can negotiate about some of your rules?” His fingers dipped under the waistband of her panties, causing her to gasp for air when his fingertips tickled over the sensitive skin of her lower belly, just above her sex.
“We have already… broken some of the rules, remember? Back in the… shower? Or the… third round? That was definitely… against the rules…” she panted, pressing her ass against him, trapping his hard cock between their bodies. Kunihiko groaned, either because he did remember – and Jazz liked to remember that particular breach of rules – or because of the way she wriggled her hips a bit against him.
“Hm, yeah… I remember.” His voice was low and promising, and his hand had found the way between her thighs, lightly dancing over her sex without any pressure yet. “But I was thinking of something else.”
Jazz blinked a few times. “And what were you thinking of?”
“If you are leaving for a week I would like to give you a little reminder of me.” He nibbled at her skin again and Jazz suddenly understood.
“Hm, I might like that.” But before he could actually use more strength she added: “But keep in mind that I will be wearing a dress and I don’t want to explain my conservative grandma why I’m having a hickey. Especially since I will attend the wedding alone.”
Kunihiko sighed in disappointment. “But somewhere else? More hidden?”
Jazz turned around in his embrace and cupped his face in both her hands.
“God, yes, please. From the knee upwards to my neckline – just go for it.”
The dark lust that flashed in his eyes only fueled her desire more. Yes, she wanted him to mark her up, after all the time of being careful not to have any traces left on her body she really wanted something to remind her of him. After another scorching kiss and a surprisingly skillful disposal of her bra and panties Kunihiko slowly walked her to the bed, his hands and lips on her the whole time.
“I missed you,” he mumbled against the skin of her thigh once they were on the bed again, nipping and kissing his way up her body.
“I missed you, too,” she honestly answered. Jazz was missing him right now, all the confusion and the revelations so far had boiled up to something she couldn’t ignore any longer.
“I need you.” She didn’t mean only now but she could only hope that he understood. She was still too afraid to burst the bubble.
“I need you, too. Couldn’t stop thinking about you,” he confessed and kissed her again. With every kiss her heart clenched a bit, but she knew she was doing the right thing.
“Yeah? Because the sex was so good, huh?” she teased and bucked her hips a bit.
“No. Ever since I walked into your office for the first time.” A finger gently brushed over her forehead, smoothing out the creases when she frowned. “You had greeted me with this smile and it was as if the sun was coming out. I just couldn’t forget you.”
How should she respond to that? Without starting to cry? Jazz pulled him closer, kissed him almost frantically.
“Need you now, Kunihiko… please…”
He groaned and tried to bring some space between them, planned on looking for a condom, but Jazz gently pulled him back.
“It’s okay… I mean, we are both tested and I’m on the pill… we could – you know, if you want to…” It was strange, Jazz was able to verbalize her needs pretty easily when it came to sex, but this just felt really weird. Like her first time. She was shy. A feeling she hadn’t experienced in quite some time now but there were so many feelings that he had somehow managed to resurrect that she wasn’t even surprised anymore.
“Are you sure?” His furrowed brow and uncertain expression was one thing, but the way his cock twitched against her belly told her that she was on the right track with this.
“Completely. If there was any risk I wouldn’t even offer. It’s just – I want to be as close to you as possible.”
Kunihiko closed his eyes and exhaled deeply. “You are killing me here, you know that?” But when he opened his eyes there was so much love in his gaze that Jazz couldn’t even get a single word out. She simply nodded and he dropped a light kiss on her lips, settled between her legs and wiped some strands of hair from her face.
With another deep breath he positioned himself and started pushing into her, slowly, to let her feel every inch of him, taking her breath away and making her grab the sheets tightly. Once he was fully inside of her he rested his forehead against hers, grabbed her hand and laced their fingers together before he started to move.
Every thrust was aimed at her heart and every thrust found its aim. Jazz clung to him, legs wrapped around his waist, one arm around his neck she let him rock their bodies together. This wasn’t the passionate and ecstatic sex she usually had, not adventurous and experimental. It was making love, lots of kisses and touches, stuttering breath and a slow, slow burn.
Kunihiko reached his peak before Jazz could, but she didn’t even care. She still tried not to cry after all, the sweetness of that act made her wish it could have been their first time together. It was just perfect. So when he flooded her with his warmth it was strange and unfamiliar, but also deeply satisfying.
She excused herself and hurried to the bathroom before the mess between her legs could get uncomfortable and when she came back Kunihiko was sitting in the bed, just ending a phone call.
“Work?” she asked and slipped back into bed to him. “Do you have to go?”
“No, I just called my secretary and told him that I won’t come into office before noon. I thought I could take you to the airport.” He pulled her against his chest. “You – uhm, you didn’t come, did you?”
She chuckled at his tone, almost hesitantly and a bit apologizing.
“No. But that’s okay. I enjoyed it very much.” Jazz snuggled closer. “And I just admired the hickeys you left on my breasts. Very skillful I have to admit.”
He stroked her back and hummed in agreement. “It was my pleasure.”
“Sure was,” she teased him, earning a quick poke into her ribs with his index finger.
“You know, if you had told me earlier I could have accompanied you to that wedding.” His tone was serious and Jazz smiled.
“And then I would have to explain my family why the Japanese guy with me doesn’t look like on our wedding pictures,” she pointed out. “But since we are still having some time you could add some more reminders of you on my body.”
She straddled him and kissed him deeply, raked her nails over his chest to give him a reminder of her, too. This time she did reach her peak. Twice.
And when she finally arrived at the airport her legs were still wobbly, she was tired and a bit sore but felt better than in ages, knowing he would wait for her to come back.