A virgin is introduced to the sensual bondage art of Shibari and Kinbaku-bi.
“Are you gonna eat that?” With her fork aimed at the last egg roll on his plate, Nyesha waited for an answer. Takeshi pushed his plate in her direction while she loudly slurped on a Ramen noodle until it disappeared between her lips. Like most places in Tokyo the restaurant was full. Excited chatter from the other patrons bombarded their table, though neither Nyesha or Takeshi had said much once their meals arrived. He leaned back in his chair, content to watch Nyesha get her fill. Even under the harsh florescent light her brown skin was pure silk in its hue and smoothness. Whenever she’d stare back at him, Takeshi realized he could get lost in the depths of her luminous dark eyes. She gave him a grimace, guessing how she must look, like she was vacuuming food down. “Sorry. Guess I was hungrier than I thought.”
“It’s fine. Better to not let good food go to waste.”
She could agree with that. After a very unladylike burp, Nyesha went on a laughing fit. “Oh shit. You must think I’m a pig, and I don’t blame you.”
His brow went up at her use of profanity, but Nyesha’s smile was endearing enough to put Takeshi at ease. “Would you like to order anything else, in case you get hungry later?”
Some take away would be nice, she thought. But right now she had bigger problems. Her hag of a landlord wanted her out, especially now that Ayumi was gone. Mrs. Shimamura kept asking when Ayumi would be back from her ‘business trip’, and after a number of weeks it was clear that Nyesha’s stall tactic wasn’t working. As a foreigner, Nyesha wasn’t able to sign a lease on her own, so Ayumi had been instrumental in securing a place for them to live. Their tiny flat was cozy and clean, and it was in a quiet part of town. The sad truth was that Japan was a very conservative country. People of color were looked at with suspicion by some of the older natives, and there were times Nyesha had faced outright hostility. She’d been called “gaijin” because she wasn’t native born, and the derogatory “kuronbo” because of her skin color. Not wanting to appear desperate, Nyesha eyed the tip Takeshi left on their table. Two hundred yen could buy enough boiled eggs for the rest of the week. She turned him down about the extra food, deciding to find out more about her quiet dinner partner. “So, tell me again how you learned to speak English so well.”
“English was heavily promoted in school. We were encouraged to learn it, for success in the world. I know some French and Italian, but I am not fluent in either.”
“Really? That’s kind of unusual.” Especially since her experience had been just the opposite. Some nationalistic Japanese would shout at her to go back to her our country, or refuse to converse with her, assuming that she didn’t know their language. “What do you do, what’s your profession?”
“I work in finance.”
Her interest perked up at that. “Ooh, high finance.”
“No, I’m just an accountant.”
“Oh.” She’d met more than enough accountants over here. Most were overworked and underpaid, shackled to their jobs by long hours if they truly wanted to get ahead. Kabukichō was a heavy hangout for office workers looking to escape their dreary existence.
Twirling the straw in her glass of iced tea, she coyly asked, “Do you know what a Nawashi is?”
His eyes flared, then narrowed. “I’ve heard the term, but no, I don’t recall what it is.”
“It’s what I do. I’m a rope artist. I work part-time at an adult club in Shinjuku, so you could say I’m an adult entertainer.” She shrugged, as if what she’d told him could either make or break their budding friendship, but either way she could handle it. “You should come by and see my show if you’re into stuff like that.”
He hesitated before answering, so she figured he was too nice to tell her no outright. Instead he said, “I will go pay the bill so we can leave.”
As he got up from the table she noticed how compact his body was. Takeshi wasn’t a small man. He towered over the other men in the restaurant, almost like a footballer. No, that wasn’t right. She could picture him in a blue policeman’s uniform, one that was loose on his broad chest, but fit his ass nicely. He looked to be between five ten and six two. Like many Japanese men he was shyly courteous, weaving through the crowd with enough “excuse me’s” to last a lifetime. Finishing off her tea, Nyesha was a little surprised that he hadn’t insisted they stop by a love hotel. But then, all through their meal he’d spoken in a soft, low voice. So respectful and frankly, dignified, she wondered what part of Japan he’d been raised in. He didn’t strike her as a Naichi, or a mainlander, something her landlady liked to brag that she was. The only time he seemed to get flustered was when another man bumped into her as they were leaving. Takeshi quickly stepped in to block the man’s way, staring hard at him until the guy squeaked out an apology. Once that tense moment was over he held the door open for her, a pleasant expression now coloring his face.
“Will you return as our art model?” he asked, his voice sounding hopeful.
“I don’t think so. It’s just that I’ve got a lot of things going on now that Ayumi’s bailed on me. The truth is I need to find another place to live ASAP.”
“You have no place to stay?”
“I’ll be fine. But you know how it is, or maybe you don’t really know.” Giving a long sigh to amp up her hopelessness, she continued on. “It’s really tough for someone who isn’t a native to rent an apartment here.”
As they walked he seemed to be mulling over her words. “May I be of some assistance?”
Bingo. She was hoping he’d offer help. Accountants were good for a few thousand yen at least. Taking his arm, she played the coquette. “I hope you’re not suggesting a love hotel, like your friend did.”
Takeshi pulled back in horror, jerking her along with him. He couldn’t apologize fast enough. “I-I will see you safely to the train station.”
Shit, what just happened? The only thing Nyesha could think of was that her ‘love hotel’ crack had offended him. This potential mark was super uptight. “Takeshi, I was kidding about the love hotel. You know that, don’t you?”
“I only know what you tell me.”
Yeah, that much was true. He wasn’t a mind reader. “Takeshi, I’m so sorry.”
“I’m nothing like Kento.”
“I realize that. It was just a bad joke. Come on, don’t be mad at me.”
He seemed to accept her apology. “I would still like to help. I-I have a small family property you could rent until you find another place.”
In her mind she envisioned an old, dilapidated family home full of dead vines covering the windows. “You’ve already been so kind to me. Let me think on it, and I’ll let you know.” That seemed to placate him, so Nyesha suggested that they trade phone numbers. “I’m starting a new show next Friday night at The Pink Cabal. There’s no S&M if you’re worried about how risqué it gets. I can leave a ticket for you at the door, if you wanna stop by, ‘cause I’d really like to see you again.” Her nervous smile was just the right touch to seal the deal.
“I will come by to see you, and only you,” he promised.
~~~~~End of Excerpt~~~~~
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