Aya loved watching the way his fingers moved as he fed a pod into the coffee machine and started pushing buttons. Grace and efficiency contained in every movement – it was mesmerizing. Sexy. Really, really sexy, and even sexier was the refined strength he displayed when –
Wait a minute, Aya.
The guy was just holding a mug in his hands.
What did strength and refinement have to do that?
Nothing, Aya answered herself, which meant only one thing.
She was absolutely, shamefully –
“Obsessed with what?” Minato asked as he returned to the tall table and handed Aya her coffee before taking the stool next to her.
“You said something about being obsessed.”
Aya almost sputtered over her coffee. Oh God, she had unconsciously blurted her thought out loud! Seeing that Minato’s curious gaze was still on her, she stammered, “Coffee. I’m o-obsessed with c-coffee.”
“Ah. I thought it was something else…” Like me.
Aya nearly choked. Oh. My. Gosh. Minato hadn’t actually said the last two words out loud, but he might as well have had, with the way his jade green eyes were gleaming so devilishly.
“Umm.” She looked around her desperately. The A/C was on, so why did it feel so hot all of a sudden? She cleared her throat. “So…” She stopped speaking when Minato suddenly started leaning towards her.
But he still kept leaning closer, and the closer he got, the harder it was to breathe.
This close, it was impossible not to notice the things she had tried her best to ignore every time he tutored her. This close, the mere scent of his aftershave was a force of seduction. This close, his muscled strength was a sensually potent source of heat in itself –
Oh my gosh, he was so close now!
So close it seemed like he was going to kiss her!
Aya’s eyes closed involuntarily at the thought, but just as her lips started to part, she heard Minato murmur politely, “Sorry. I was reaching for your book.”
That was it?
“Is anything the matter?” His tone was perfectly innocent, but just as she could feel her cheeks start to burn, she noticed the way his eyes were gleaming with even more devilry.
Minato threw his head back with a laugh. “Sorry.” But his tone was more amused than apologetic. “I couldn’t help it. You were too cute.”
“H-h-h-ha!” It was supposed to be an exclamation of exasperation, but unfortunately her embarrassment made it sound like she was about to sneeze, and Minato started laughing again.
“It’s not funny,” Aya half-wailed.
“But it is.”
“It’s only because I’m not used---” Her voice faltered. What if he thought her unattractively childish if he found out she wasn’t used to flirting?
“Not used to what?”
“Flirting with guys?”
Aya winced. Bull’s eye.
“What about that guy you were with at the movies?” Minato’s tone was casual and pleasant.
Definitely not what a jealous guy would sound like, Aya thought. Telling herself she had no right to feel disappointed, she said cheerfully, “Luc’s just like my brother.”
“Is he, really?”
“Raven---” She paused. “Oh, right. You left before I could introduce you to our other friend. Raven was with us that day, too. The three of us have known each other since way back.”
Minato was frowning. “So it wasn’t just the two of you watching a movie?”
“Uh no. That would be totally weird.”
“Because he might find out you like him?”
Aya couldn’t help rolling her eyes. “Because I’m not the one---” Oh, drat. She might’ve unintentionally let something slip. Praying that she was wrong, she stole a look at Minato’s face –
He was grinning.
Minato laughed at her moan of heartfelt dismay.
“Luc’s going to kill me if he found out I accidentally told you about…”
“His feelings for Raven?”
She groaned again, and Minato laughed once more as well.
“Please, please, please don’t let him know you know?”
“I’ll keep it a secret, I promise.” Minato’s tone was gentle, his smile angelic. “I would never want you to get into trouble.”
It was like seeing a knight in shining armor in real life, and she was mesmerized.
“Unless it was with me, that is.”
Err – what?
It took a few seconds before the roguish implication of Minato’s words sank in, and her gasp only made Minato smirk. Oh my Gosh! She was so confused! It was like he was an angel one moment, a devil the next. Who was the real Minato, really?
Minato turned brotherly and business-like after that, making sure that the next two hours, albeit grueling, were thoroughly effective in ensuring Aya understood every lesson. She was thankful for his help – it was priceless, really – but even so, it only had her even more confused.
Hot guys were just like science, Aya thought absently as she waved goodbye at Minato before getting inside. Minato always insisted on seeing her safe inside her home before leaving. It was very sweet, but it was just one of the many things that simply added to her confusion.
Had it all been her imagination then?
Maybe he hadn’t really been flirting with her? Maybe that was Minato being friendly?
First quarter periodical tests were coming up soon, and Aya was nervous about it – a lot was riding on her grades. She wanted her new gaming console – and she wanted Minato to be proud of her.
They were getting home later and later, the pressure was getting to her, and one night it became more than Aya could bear and she found herself fighting back tears at her inability to solve a particular problem.
“You’re panicking, and that’s not going to help.”
“I can’t help it. Periodicals are next week---”
“Which is all the more reason to relax and clear your mind.” He closed her book and handed it back to her. “Pack your stuff.”
A heart-stopping smile touched his lips. “We’re going out.”
On their way out, they bumped into Luc, who stopped dead in his tracks and raised a brow at seeing them together.
As if taking pity on her, Luc simply said, “See ya.” He gave a friendly nod to Minato, and surprisingly Minato reciprocated in a similar manner. A part of her was glad that the two might just get along after all, but another part of her was disappointed. Just give it up, Aya. Minato wasn’t ever jealous over you!
Ten minutes later, and Minato was helping her out of his sports car, and she tried not to be so obvious as she dragged fresh air into her lungs. She should be used to riding the car with Minato by now, but she just wasn’t. Being too close to Minato always ended up giving her lungs a good workout.
“Ever been here?” Minato asked as he lifted the curtains and gestured for her to precede him. The place was a hole-in-the-wall izakaya, located just a few blocks from their school, and its Japanese vibes were pretty much authentic. The place was dimly lit but noisy, and shelves filled with an assortment of toys and figurines as well as all sorts of candies and chips imported from Japan.
“I didn’t even know this place existed,” Aya confessed in awe. “The whole place looks amazing.”
A server welcomed them then, a woman in her late twenties, and she appeared visibly intrigued when she saw Aya. “Welcome back, Minato.” Her gaze turned sly. “You finally got yourself a girlfriend?”
“Not at all,” Aya blurted out before Minato could even answer, and she could’ve died when she saw the way the server started grinning. She stole a look at Minato, who was glaring daggers at the older woman, and felt even more embarrassed.
“Hey, don’t feel bad. It’s cool that you’re not all over this guy like most girls are.”
But she was, Aya thought guiltily. She just couldn’t be obvious about it since Minato had Ms. Grant.
“I’m Spencer, by the way. Karin’s my---” Too late she noticed the glint of warning in the young man’s eyes, and Spencer could’ve bitten her tongue. Shit. She had gotten the whole thing wrong, after all. This girl had no idea about Karin.
“Anyway---” She pointed to the furthest room at the back. “Your usual table’s vacant so just go ahead.”
Aya watched the older woman hurry away like she was worried Minato would murder her anytime soon. Karin, of course, had to be Ms. Grant, and Aya wondered somewhat numbly if it was just best to get things out in the open. I know about you and the librarian, and I can keep a secret, too.
Aya mentally nodded to herself as a still-scowling Minato led the way to the room Spencer had pointed at. Yes, maybe that was for the better. It could be cathartic even. With the cat out of the bag, maybe Minato and Ms. Grant would allow themselves to be just a little be more affectionate with each other –
Her heart squeezed in protest, but she ignored this.
A shock like that, Aya thought doggedly, might be the only thing that could put an end to her hopeless, one-sided, unrequited –
Aya let out a little shriek when Minato suddenly bent down on one knee. “W-What are you doing?”
He pointed at something behind her, and when she turned to look over her shoulder, she saw a wall of open cubbyholes with footwear in them.
“You need to take your shoes off before going inside.” Minato was already unlacing her black oxfords as he spoke, and Aya’s knees knocked against each other under her skirt.
Oh gosh, this was bad.
All thoughts of opening up to Minato about the librarian were forgotten, and all she could focus on was not melting as she felt his fingers occasionally brush against her skin. She knew the whole thing must have only taken seconds to complete, but it honestly felt like an eternity.
When he had both shoes unlaced, she had to momentarily hold on to his shoulder as she stepped out of her oxfords. A jolt of sensation struck her body as her fingers tentatively curled over the broad, muscular slope of his shoulder, and Aya had to bite back a cry.
She yanked her hand off him as soon as he had both shoes in his hand, but unfortunately, her desire to get away only backfired, causing her to slowly…lose…her…balance.
No, no, no, no!
This only happened in anime and manga!
And of course, Minato’s reflexes were perfect as the rest of him, and a pair of strong arms immediately caught hold of Aya before she could fall. The next moment, she felt herself pressed completely against his lithe, hard body.
She felt her breasts swell.
She felt her nipples prickle in awareness.
Her shocked, embarrassed gaze flew up to his.
Minato’s clenched jaw was all she needed to see.
Squeeeeeeee. Things are getting a lot hotter and exciting between the two! And like I said before, I'm rewriting this one chapter at a time, and so how things are shaping up are as much a surprise to me as it is to you guys!