“Would Dobashi-san like to see my record collection?"
There, that seemed an innocuous enough phrase.
Ametani Kantaro spoke it aloud as they were sitting next to each other on the train. Dobashi-san lived further down the line, an inconvenient transfer away, and as he brought up the map in his mind he realized it would be less of a hardship to take a direct cross street and walk her home afterward.
They had reached a detente in their war. (Though the famous Western writer John Steinbeck did say ‘All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal’) And now, like two pragmatic opposing generals they found themselves carving out their equal shares of the menu at any number of conveniently reachable sweets shops. And though she remained an avid commenter on Ameblo as ‘Sweet Princess,’ Dobashi-san had recently started her own blog with a focus on innovative modern sweets.
Theirs was a simmering rivalry that sometimes bubbled and sometimes smoldered in the medium heat of friendly competition. In essence they were now holding caramelized-shard daggers at each other’s throats. Neither could move against the other lest both be exposed.
And yet, there were days when it was easy to forget that.
Aside from the initial and rather dizzying fear of being seen (not to mention, fired) there was now an unexpected benefit: being known.
Now firmly in his orbit was another practitioner, another privileged entrant, privy to the mysteries of the extra-dimensional World of Sweets.
When they daringly attended the same shops during joint sales escapades she would not often deign to sit next to him, but he could see her out of the corner of his eye, somewhat more subtly and gracefully, but nevertheless clearly experiencing her own trance-like states.
As for himself, in the minutes before exiting nirvana and sheepishly remembering to pay his bill Ametani Kantaro had begun to wonder about things beyond the texture and flavor of the dish at hand. For instance, he had come to wonder how often he appeared during Dobashi-san’s communion with the Hidden World of Sweets.
Was it as often as she had appeared in his? And she had continued to. She, or perhaps more accurately a metaphorical construct of her, did appear with more regularity than when they had been un-formalized enemies. And now, in a rather more comforting fashion.
Just a few days ago he had strolled through a field of soft boiled strawberries only to learn that it had also been the plane of her sweater-clad stomach.
And then, in the spirit of honesty: it was not just the decadent flavor of the ichigo daifuku that had made him blush.
It was not an altogether unexpected reaction.
He was after all, a red-blooded man of reasonably modern sensibility. And although no longer in the first dewy blossom of youth, then surely in the full ripening of his maturity.
Yes, Ametani Kantaro was not so naive as to be unaware of what it meant to have the same woman appear in his dreams and to be forced into urgent self-appeasement at the precise moment of awakening.
And his work life was not exactly helping the situation.
Especially since every now and then they maintained the original game - where she would bring him delicacies, audaciously badly disguised as 'just a souvenir' or 'some home cooking I threw together last night.’ What a daring woman! To lie so blatantly in front of all their colleagues with downcast false eyelashes and a cocky little smirk angled only for him by the fall of her hair.
There was a wickedness to her, like the darkest, freshest cocoa powder. As if she was a dangerous liquid mixed by Aztec priests and he, the hapless armor-clad explorer, captured easily in the jungle and led up the stone steps to be sacrificed on her sacred altar-
Ahem, yes. Rather.
His eyes refocused on the train wall in front of him, the bland advertisement for kitchen countertops, whose dark surface reflected Dobashi-san’s enigmatic silhouette as she read something on her phone.
The scenarios were growing more elaborate.
It was clearly high time to heed the suggestions of his psyche and proceed to offer his physical self to Dobashi-san so as to bring mind and body into a more perfect alignment.
Besides, his fresh and rather poignant lust was soon due to create an unseemly work environment. To play hooky in the pursuit of one’s passion was one thing, but to pollute the office with a furious, crackling, unresolved sexual tension was rude to their other colleagues. Also the situation, as it stood, was interfering with his concentration and review capacity in a way that was surely disrespectful to The Sweets.
For example recently he had attempted to describe a honey-drizzle sponge cake topped with a clear black sesame seed glaze and somehow it had transmuted itself into a secretive glimpse of Dobashi-san's armpit, presented to him as she was reaching up to adjust the office blinds, the soft golden curve of it, with the unexpected erotic dotting of hairs missed by her exacting razor…
He was pulled abruptly back to the present, like kneaded mochi dough springing back into shape.
“I beg your pardon, Dobashi-san. I was… contemplating.”
"You don't even know what kind of music I like, Kantaro-san."
Dobashi-san had put down her phone. Her dark eyes were pinning him to the side of the train like a greedy prehistoric insect trapped in a slow pour of ancient nectar-
But no, he was a mighty hunter of rare amezaiku, he would not yield!
"I am sure Dobashi-san will be able to find something to her liking."
"We'll see about that." She said archly.
But then at the next station she got up with the flow of the outgoing crowd and took a seat directly across from him and reapplied her carmine lipstick in a way that was terribly forthright. When his stop, now their stop, came up she followed behind him quite closely through the fee-processing turntable.
Even though at this time of night it was not crowded at all.
"This is a front, isn’t it." was the first thing she said as she swept past his deferential bow and into the apartment.
"You are mistaken, Dobashi-san, this is my living room. I simply enjoy keeping things tidy here to aid in my contemplation of the flavors.”
She turned on her heel, slowly.
"Honestly.” she huffed “Don’t promise a girl a good time and show me something boring. That untidy, unrestrained part of Kantaro-san... That's the part that I would like to see the most."
"Then, Dobashi-san. Would you like to see my bedroom?"
In deference to his sweets-and-travel budget Ametani Kantaro kept a one bedroom apartment with a modest square footage. He gestured ceremonially at the closed door, perhaps with the faintest trace of irony. There was simply nowhere else for them to go.
Ever since he was a little boy, Ametani Kantaro’s bedroom was a hidden sanctuary carefully closed to the world (and more importantly, his mother). In its current incarnation, it did not look like a thirtysomething professional man’s bedroom. There was, perhaps, an argument to be made by the regressive and un-metropolitan that it did not look like a man’s bedroom at all.
Under Dobashi-san’s enquiring gaze the curtains were, as ever, a soft flan-esque yellow. The futon with it's matcha-colored green sheets, lay splayed under the watchful eyes of hundreds of framed photographs of sampled desserts, and covered in a profusion of handcrafted donut and macaron pillows.
Here was his private paradise.
He stood at the gates of it, with his double breasted suit buttoned to the neck and his sock garters pinching into the skin of his calves, and felt more naked than if he had flayed himself open for this woman atom by atom.
It was as if he was making a sweet reduction of his own marrow and presenting it for her dark and disapproving lipsticked mouth.
"These are very soft aren't they Kantaro-san." Dobashi-san said after an infinite pause, after which she sank her hand into one of the pillows and lifted it up to her face. "You like soft, sweet things, don’t you?"
Still, there was hope. She was holding the yuzu macaron pillow very tenderly, stroking it along the grain of the plush.
"I do, yes." he said breathlessly.
"I don't think I’m either of those."
Slowly he stepped over to her side, and overlaid his hand atop hers. Despite the inscrutable cast of her face her pulse had a rapid quality.
At such an intimate distance, it was also evident that Dobashi-san had an admirable amount of muscle tone. She could probably strangle him with the pillow she was holding. How thrilling.
His limbic system agreed because he was suddenly possessed of a terribly urgent erection. Dobashi-san's perfume was like the smell of fresh fruit drowned at the bottom of a perfect parfait. Her hairspray-
“What’s this now, Kantaro-san?”
“Ah-” he stammered, caught “It’s just-”
But evidently she did not mean his impatient manhood. Though she did grind her outer hip coyly against it as she stepped toward the western-style nightstand by the bed.
On it was a bowl of adzuki beans that he’d bought at a whim at the farmer’s market in Koshinzuka street. He was rarely so bold as to attempt creating Sweets himself but he had been plotting a secret future strategy where he would bring his own truly homemade dorayaki to Dobashi-san’s desk and insist that she sample them immediately.
Since yesterday he had kept them on the nightstand so as to perceive the fragrance as they soaked and reconstituted. Alas, with her clever mind the jig was surely up. He really should have hidden-
Dobashi-san took both their hands and plunged them into the bowl. And yet this bold strategy seemed to have backfired somewhat as she shivered and sagged back into him, overcome, no doubt, by the sensation
"Ah, ah,” she moaned “Kantaro-san, the adzuki.. it feels-"
Given the opening, he kissed her neck. Their joined hands tangled in the bowl around the sensuous roundness of the beans, fingertips intertwining, palms sliding against each other...
Forthrightly, as if traversing up the side of an extra-tall kakigori, he licked his way up to the shell of her ear. She trembled.
"You have to push me down now.” she muttered under her breath ”In my daydreams you always push me down-”
"In due time, Dobashi-san. I promise."
It seemed perhaps a trifle juvenile to grab at her half-clothed breasts even though they were heaving quite cinematically in his field of view. Instead he stroked her inner thighs, hand bulging obscenely under her pencil skirt as he reached higher, rubbing her through her hose and panties. Or rather her conveniently ripped hose, and her downright diaphanous lacy thong. His fingers came away wet.
The erection was incandescent now.
Still even as his greedy fingers moved in deeper, unimpeded, the way a tongue might move through the choux pastry of an eclair in pursuit of sweet cream it was marvelously real and unreal to him that soon their bodies would collide like freshly skinned peaches in a poaching bowl. Sweat was pouring down the back of his neck. He was entirely too dressed for such a sweet occasion.
Dobashi-san seemed to agree. Because after watching him lick his fingertips, she correctly gauged the opening as his eyes were rolling back in his head from the taste of her and attacked his suit jacket with such a fervor that he wondered if he would see it ripped to ribbons in the morning. Then again, to die in an act of passion at the manicured claws of a beautiful woman was probably the erotic death-dream of any department store suit.
Having dealt decisive blows to blazer and shirt she stopped and blushed as she hadn’t when he had fingered her. Really, Dobashi-san had such charming hang-ups.
"Ah… the suit, I’m sorry Kantaro-san."
"No, t-that's fine." he said roughly.
Given permission she pulled off his tie, half-choking him, and stuffed it into her purse like a preliminary hunting trophy.
As she fell backward against the sheets, pushed(though perhaps from her pout, not quite firmly enough), he leaned over her and took off her sweater top, gently un-clasped her very conveniently forward hooking bra.
"Now, Dobashi-san, before you are given a full course sample of the menu tonight, I have one question for you."
"What is it, Kantaro-san?"
Deftly, he pulled two familiar containers out of the nightstand and flicked open both nozzles with his thumb.
"Would you like to start with the light syrup? Or the dark?"
Her eyes shone like a chocolate mirror glaze in the candlelight, her nipples puckered and rose to his tongue like minute maraschino cherries, and what transpired between them on the matcha-green sheets until the early hours of the morning, well…
Only Sweet Heaven Knows✧