The two box trucks arrived around noon the next day, a saturday. Ju had been up most of the night working on the scaffolding. He had forgotten to take into account the fact that he was taller, in some cases by a lot, then some of the guys he had working for him so the scaffolding had to be made in such a way that it could be lowered or raised as needed instead of the one stationary row they currently had. It wasn’t difficult just time consuming. Aya had chastised him for not eating again since he’d skipped dinner also and they’d had a small argument about how much he hadn’t eaten for breakfast. He had downed a bowl of soup, some tea, grabbed an apple and was out the door before she could really get going. He just didn’t have the time nor was he in the mood to be babied. He let her know that and she’d countered with a “fine” that didn’t bode well for his sleeping arrangements later that night.

He munched on his apple and went over the measurements for each panel and compared them to those of the trucks. The panels would be applied in sections. He would handle the difficult part…the front end. The bumpers, headlights, grill, side view mirrors, windshield all had to be taken into account when doing the front of the truck. Every inch of it would be covered with something. The very front would be a light blue with the name of the shop on it. The light blue would bleed into a darker blue with the name of the shop on the doors. The body of the truck would be a light blue with Ayumi-chan’s Yummies and pictures of her shop and her best selling and most eye catching creations along with the address, phone number and web address. All of this had to be lined up a certain way and put together seamlessly.

He looked up at a honk from the front to find the truck and his customer out front. He had Ryu guide the truck into the bay thankful that it wasn’t too big to fit and went to find out why Ayumi was there. Turns out she was there to see Aya. The two ladies were going out for lunch and to catch up. Ju nodded and showed her how to get in from the shop then went back to working. Ayumi watched him go shaking her head. She turned and headed into the flat, knocking on the door and calling Aya’s name before entering. Aya came out of her bedroom dressed in a navy blue suit with a white silk blouse and sensible pumps. Her hair was swept up into a french twist and she was wearing her diamond necklace and studs. Ayumi gave her a hug and both women left out. Aya didn’t bother trying to find Ju to tell him not to forget lunch. If he wanted to run himself down then who was she to stop him? She stopped. She was his wife and he was the man she loved so she told Ayumi to wait a second while she went in search of the brain damaged man she’d married. Ayumi giggled at that and got in the car, the driver starting the engine and waiting patiently for Aya to get back. A voice from beside her startled her. “She’s cute. Hopefully she is as intelligent as you claim. I’m in the mood for some thought provoking dialogue.” With that the voice quieted once again and Ayumi turned back to the front, a small frown marring her features.

Aya found Ju in the bay overseeing the cleaning of one of the trucks. She called to him and he came over wiping his hands which were wet from the cleaning going on. “You look nice. You and Ayumi going out?” Aya nodded. “I just came to let you know we were going out for lunch and will you please eat something? He promised. Kissed her quickly and went back to supervising the men. Aya sighed knowing he’d probably barely drink anything much less eat when he was focused on a project like this unless she forced him too. She turned and headed out of the shop to the waiting limo. She expected the driver to open the door for her instead a tall stately man exited the rear of the limo.

He was dressed in a black pinstriped suit that was tailored to fit him perfectly. He was close to six feet she judged, lean but not thin, with his hair cut close to his head. It was black with gray at the temples. His eyes were where his Asian ancestry showed in the slight tilt. Aya guessed him as at least second generation Japanese. He smiled at her, bowed, then introduced himself.

“I am Izanagi Dubois, Ayumi’s husband. Most people call me Nagi. You must be Aya. I’ve heard much about you over the past few weeks. It is a pleasure to finally meet you.” Aya smiled and bowed back telling him she was pleased to meet him also. She noted that his Japanese was excellent with a bare hint of an accent. “Ah, I guess you must be wondering. My father is French. My mother was Japanese. They made sure I was fluent in both languages. To honor them I greet you in the traditional way of the French now. If I may?” Aya nodded as Izanagi kissed her on both cheeks. He then held out his hand and ushered her to the car. “We decided to put you in the center so that we may both enjoy your company equally.”

Aya blushed at that and not knowing what else to do, got into the car. She didn’t see Izanagi turn and give Ju, who had been watching since he’d gotten out of the limo, a smile and a slight nod before getting in himself. He continued watching Ju until the limo pulled off, his expression one of smug condescension. Ju walked out of the shop and watched as the limo went up the street to vanish around the next corner. Ju had the feeling that he was going to dislike that man intensely and his feelings were never wrong when it came to that. He walked back into the shop trying, without success, to shake the feeling of a bullseye in the middle of his back.


~ by jujuken on December 10, 2012.

6 Responses to “Ayumi”

  1. Lunch turned out to be at the ritziest restaurant in town. Aya had heard of the place but had never been. She chewed on her lower lip and pulled Ayumi aside. “Yumi…I don’t think I can afford lunch here. I’m not poor but this is a little above my budget.” Ayumi just hugged her. “Lunch is on us dear so don’t you worry about it. Nagi and I have been very fortunate with our business and this is a small celebration of sorts. I found my good friend again.”

    Aya nodded, relieved. She started as she felt a hand on her shoulder. She looked up to find Nagi smiling at her. He’d apparently overheard the conversation. “Now what kind of man would I be if I didn’t pick up the tab for my dear wife and her dear friend? Order anything you like my dear. This is about old times and I hope in my case a new friend.” He ushered both women through the doors as the doorman opened them for the group.

    Lunch was amazing. Aya finally got to have a Kobe steak. She marveled at how tender it was. She almost didn’t have to chew it. It was cooked to perfection as was everything else. They had champagne and a fresh fruit parfait for dessert. Aya had two glasses of the champagne. She relaxed after a while and began to really enjoy herself. She and Ayumi caught up and Nagi engaged her in a lively conversation about the pros and cons of private ownerships of hospitals and the political scene in Japan. By the time they had decided to leave it was closer to dinner then lunch.

    When the limo arrived back at the shop, the three exited all smiles and laughter. Nagi had been entertaining both women with stories about growing up “Japanese” in France. He had his hand on the small of Aya’s back as they walked. The gesture oddly possessive. Ayumi had his other arm and was smiling up at him very obviously amused. Aya invited them in for tea but they both declined. She told them that they should at least stop into the shop so she could introduce Nagi to Ju.

    “I think I have time to meet the wonder kid that I’ve heard so much about. I will admit he does good work. I’ve very happy with the vans. Let’s hope things turn out as well with the trucks. They will take more skill then simple vans.” Aya was about to say that her husband was the best when he opened the door and stepped out. The look on his face hardened at the sight of Nagi’s hand on Aya’s back. “Aya. Thought you’d be back a couple of hours ago. Had a nice time I see. I take it this is Mr. Ayumi?” He walked past a somewhat confused Aya and into Nagi’s personal space. For his part Izanagi didn’t seem to care one bit. He looked Ju up and down like he was expecting something different and was disappointed in what he found.

    He gave Ju the barest, barest of bows. “Yes I am Ayumi’s husband. Dubois Izanagi. I take it that you are the man our Aya married that has been doing acceptable work on the company vans.” Ju glared at him for a moment. He barely inclined his head. “No. I’m the guy that’s been doing great work on your vans. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got work to do. Aya, I’ll see you a little later.” With that, he turned and went back inside leaving a fuming Aya on the door step.

    “I’m sorry. He’s usually not so rude but in his defense he has been working long hours to get this project done. He’ll be in a better frame of mind when it’s over. Maybe we could all get together then. Ayumi, Nagi. Thank you. I had a very nice time. We should do it again one day.” With that she turned and headed into the shop to talk to her husband. She didn’t see the smile that Nagi had on his face as she left.

  2. Aya had started dinner by the time Ju came upstairs. He surprised her. She didn’t think he’d be up until well after she’d gone to bed. He came up behind her quietly, startling her. She was about to say something when she saw the look on his face. Why was he angry? “Ju? What’s the matter? He looked at her for a moment. He just pulled her to him and hugged her. “I…I’m not upset at you Aya but there is something about that Izanagi guy I don’t like. I don’t like how he looks at you when you aren’t watching. Just be careful okay?”

    “Ju. That’s silly. He’s married and to my friend. I’d never look at him as anything else. He’s just very friendly. Besides, even if he thought I’d be interested he’d be so wrong. I love my man and he couldn’t make me blink in his direction with you in my life.” She gave him a kiss that showed him just how much she meant that which put a smile on Ju’s face but didn’t ease his trepidation much. He released her and sat down, asking how lunch had gone. He listened intently as Aya went on about the conversations, the restaurant and “Nagi’s” interest in them. That got his attention. Why was the man so interested in them as a couple? He tended to trust his instincts and they were screaming that the man was a snake in a well tailored suit. He decided that he might need to look into the man and his background.

    They enjoyed a dinner together for the first time in weeks. They were in the process of getting intimate when the phone rang. Ju was all for ignoring it but the caller was insistent. When the answering machine kicked in, a voice he didn’t recognize announced that the delivery of the second truck was imminent and that someone should be available to sign the invoice. Ju swore in every language he knew and smiled apologetically to his very put out wife. Promising he’d be back in a flash, he pulled his jeans back on…carefully, and a tee then headed downstairs to the shop.

    A honking outside startled Ju awake. He looked up at the clock and scowled. He’d been waiting for close to two hours for that “imminent” delivery. He hurried to sign the delivery papers and park the truck in the back lot. He talked to the driver for a bit and asked why he was so late getting there. The driver informed him that the truck was going to be delivered on Monday but the owner called and demanded that it be that night. Ju thanked him then went back upstairs fuming. He stormed into the bedroom pulling off clothing as he walked only to find his wife curled up around his pillow sound asleep. He scrubbed at his face in frustration and anger. He was set up by that bastard and he had no way to prove it. There wasn’t much he could do at the moment so he finished undressing and climbed into bed hoping to get another try at some lovin with Aya in the morning.

  3. Unfortunately it didn’t happen. Ju overslept and the guys were ringing his phone off the hook. He promised a sleepy Aya that he’d find time for them later, maybe at lunch, then he dressed hurriedly and ran down to the shop. He drove the guys hard to get the first truck completed and he had to admit they did a great job on it. Everything laid perfectly, was aligned perfectly and there were no blisters, rips or tears. They were done a little after 2 so he bounded upstairs hoping to catch his wife for lunch. She was just finishing but she sat with him and made him eat something. She chatted while he ate.

    “I got a call from Ayumi. Don’t glare like that Ju. No I didn’t tell her to keep her husband on a shorter leash. The things you say. She called to invite us to their grand opening. It’s going to be a semi-formal affair downtown. They want to wait until the last truck is done. You are on schedule right?” When he nodded yes, she continued.

    “I’ve got the perfect dress for it. I guess you can wear the black suit I got you for your birthday a couple of years ago. You look absolutely divine in it.” She stopped talking when he started shaking his head no. “We aren’t going. I don’t trust that man. I don’t like him. I damn sure don’t want to party with him. I don’t care what they offer me, I won’t be doing any more work for them.”

    Aya just stared at him in shock. She knew he didn’t like Izanagi though she couldn’t figure out why. “But it’s a chance for you to show off your work. It could lead to more contracts. Nagi said that if the trucks turned out as good as the vans he would give you the contract for his whole fleet. Think of it Ju! You could open up shops in more cities! Think of the money you could make!”

    Ju waited for her to finish before he spoke. “Yep, I would make more money. I’d also have even less time to spend with you, Michiko and Ichi but especially with you. There ain’t enough money in the world for me to give up time with you that I can never get back. No Aya. I didn’t get into this for the fame or the money or any glory. None of that crap. I got into this because it’s what I love to do. Mass marketing would change that, change me, change us. I’ll be damn if I’ll run that risk for anything. We aren’t going and I’m not taking any more money from that man. That’s final!”

    Aya frowned at him. “You know Nagi said you’d tell me not to come. Well I’m going. I want to dress up and go to a swanky party. I want you to be with me but if you don’t want to go that badly, stay here with your cars and your beer. I’ll be at the party.” She got up and left the room without so much as a glance back. Ju sat there wondering how things went from decent to all hell breaking out.

  4. Aya sat on the side of the bed trying to decide whether to be angry, cry or both. She just couldn’t understand why Ju was so convinced that Nagi was up to something. He’d been nothing but kind to her and spoke well of Ju most of the time. He had picked up on Ju’s animosity towards him and had stated that he thought it might be a touch of jealousy. He was a very rich man and sometimes that grated on other men. Aya had thought long about it. He could be right. This was probably the first time they’d had a client that was as wealthy as Nagi and Aya had to admit the man was handsome enough if you liked that kind of thing. Ju didn’t have anything to really be jealous about. If she’d liked that type of man she would never have started dating him. She sighed. She really wanted to go to that party but it wasn’t worth Ju being angry with her. She got up and went back into the kitchen.

    Ju was still sitting at the table wondering what the hell had happened when Aya came back in. She told him that as much as she wanted to go to the party, she didn’t want him to be mad at her so she would tell Ayumi that she wouldn’t be attending. She looked so disappointed that Ju felt like a first class heel. The heel feeling degenerated into a piece of crap feeling when he saw the tears in her eyes. He lifted her chin but she turned her head from his hand, wiping at her eyes as she hurried out of the room. He cursed, put his dishes in the sink and went back to the shop. He took his frustration out on his work if not his workers, and prepped the second truck for paneling. After he’d screwed up two panels, he gave up, told the guys to go and stormed out of the shop. He climbed into the mustang and headed toward the club. Maybe if he had a couple of brews and a talk with Acchan or Toshi he’d feel better.

    Acchan had taken the night off and though the band wasn’t playing Toshi was at the bar. He waved Ju over and the two had a couple before Toshi told him to spill. He had known Ju long enough to know when something was bothering the man. Ju told him about Izanagi and his gut instincts which were screaming at him to break the guy’s nose, about Aya and the party and how heartbroken she seemed to be about not going. Toshi waited until Ju had finished before smacking him across the back of the head.

    “Ow! What the fuck was that for? Some friend you are. I come here looking for a sympathetic ear and I get abused.” He glared at Toshi until the man started laughing. “What the hell is so funny?”

    “You are. You have never in your life let some dandy get the best of you in anything. Why are you letting this man get up under your skin? You know damn well that Aya loves you more then the sun loves heat. You damn sure can’t be thinking that she’d do anything with him so what is it?” He waited patiently for Ju to think things out.

    “It’s the money,” he mumbled. “I see how Aya’s eyes shine when she sees the things that Ayumi wears and the places that they can go and have been. I can’t compete with that without running the risk of losing her. She was raised with more then I can give her or have given her. I just don’t want her to start regretting what could have been. He reminds me of that besides the fact I think he wants something from her and he gives me the impression he’s a man that will not take no willingly.”

    Toshi felt for his friend even if he thought he was being an ass. No one said love was easy and being in love with a woman was like being in love with an alien. You just weren’t sure that the language you were speaking was being understood properly. “Ju…why the hell are you here? You should be home telling your wife all of this in the same words you just told it to me. I think you’re being an ass but I’m not the one who is hurting because of you right now. She needs to know just how stupid you are being. Hey. Don’t glare at me. You know if it comes down to a fight between you and stuff, then stuff will lose every time. The woman loves you asshole, not the things you can or could give her. Now go home, kiss her senseless and screw her into next week…after you beg her to forgive you for being a horse’s ass. Oh. Ju…go to the party. Dress your best, have the most beautiful woman in your world on your arm and make that bastard jealous as hell.”

    Ju looked at his friend like he’d grown another head. “When in the hell did you get so smart? I feel like a damn idiot. Not a word. You’ve called me enough things tonight to last a life time. You’re right. I’m going to talk to Aya. It’s still early maybe we can have some cuddle time after I beg her to forgive me for even thinking about making her unhappy.” He clapped Toshi on the back. “Later man. I owe you.” Toshi waved him off. “Of course you do. I’ll talk to you later. Much later I hope.”

    Ju nodded, finished his beer and headed home. When he got there he found a note on the table by the door. “Dear Ju, Ayumi called right after you left. She and I have gone down to the coffee shop, just the two of us. Nagi…Izanagi is in a business meeting out of town. I’ll be home soon. Aya” No love Aya. Yeah she was upset with him. He couldn’t really blame her. He sat down on the sofa and composed what he’d say when she got in. He was still there, sleeping, when she finally got home. She left him there and went to bed.

  5. Ju woke with a start and looked around. It was late. He groaned as his back protested his sleeping position. He stretched as he stood up and looked at his watch. It was 3 am. He went to the bedroom door and looked in. Aya was asleep in the bed hugging his pillow. He sighed went back into the other room and grabbed some paper and a pen. He sat down and poured out his heart and his thoughts on paper. He got up, taking the letter with him and placed it on her nightstand under her glasses. He didn’t want to take any chances that she wouldn’t see it. After that he carefully kissed her forehead then went to lay down on the sofa. He didn’t fall right back to sleep. He just laid there in the dark thinking. At some point he must have dozed off because the next thing he remembered was the warmth of a body next to his and the heady scent of his wife’s shampoo.

    He wrapped his arms around her as she kissed him. “I love you woman and I’m a big idiot sometimes. Forgive me?” “Always,” she whispered and kissed him again. She straddled his hips as his hands moved up and down her body, the night shirt she was wearing sliding up to expose her legs and a cheek before he slid it back down. Their kisses became more heated as Ju’s hands caressed her. She whimpered and worked at the zipper on his jeans wanting to free him from the confines of the garment. He had the sense to stop her. “Not here. Bedroom.”

    They managed to make it there somehow. Ju was pulling off his clothing as soon as they hit the door. It had been a couple of weeks since he’d had sex and he really needed Aya, wanted her right then, so when the alarm clock sounded off he hit the snooze and attacked his wife in a frenzy of hands, lips and teeth. She didn’t need much foreplay and he entered her with a long sigh. The sex was a little frantic. They hadn’t been together in a while and that pesky alarm would be sounding off again soon. He rode her hard and fast. She stayed with him, legs wrapped around him as if she could attach herself to him permanently. They came together in a rush of moans and sighs with that pesky alarm clock sounding off.

  6. As tired as he was, Ju had a bounce in his step when he walked into the shop. Life was good. He’d had some fun time with Aya, the job was almost done, he had some money in the bank and Christmas was out of the way as far as gifts were concerned. All he had to do was get through that party and he could be rid of the annoying husband of Aya’s friend. To that end, the sooner he finished with the last truck and got that delivered, the better.

    He’d left Aya sleeping peacefully and well sated he hoped. Since it was Sunday she didn’t have to work and he saw no reason to wake her. He had reheated the dinner he hadn’t eaten the night before for breakfast and made sure he left the unwashed plate in the sink so she would know he’d eaten. He was trying to behave. He yawned and stretched while he waited for some of the other guys to show up. He heard a noise from the back and turned to find Toshi heading his way. The man had an insufferable grin on his face.

    “Someone got lucky this morning from the noise coming from above my head. You really should think about moving your bed from the wall.” Ju would have glared at him but he just couldn’t be mad at the man. His advice had been a big reason why he and Aya were back on good terms. He changed the subject instead. “I’m surprised you’re up. You usually sleep like the dead and don’t even try to blame all of this on me. What gives?”

    “I’m packing. I’ve got a couple of gigs to play with Gargoyle and you’re done here for the most part. The band isn’t playing until next Saturday and if you need me, I can come back for that one gig. It’s time for me to go home.” Ju grinned at him. “Nice story but we both know that you just want to get into Kiba’s pants more and since he’s bound to be around….” Toshi nodded. “Guilty as charged. I’m a little homesick too.” Ju nodded and patted Toshi on the back. “You saved my life dude. I guess we’re even.”

    Toshi looked scandalized. “Even! Even! Don’t even try that! You owe me big time you piker!” He huffed and blustered with Ju laughing at him as the other guys started in. He gave him the “I’ll talk to you later” sign and went into the shop proper to get everyone in place. He gave them a pep talk, let them know how proud he was of the work they’d done and told them if they got the last truck done by that evening they could have the next two days off. That got a cheer from everyone. They hurriedly split up into groups and got started. Ju had his own motives for wanting the last truck done quickly and set about doing the front with all the skill he had at his disposal.

    Aya surprised him at lunchtime with a platter full of sandwiches, a cooler full of sodas and plenty of fruit for everyone. She was positively glowing and gave Ju a lot of meaningful looks. He wondered idly if she could take the next two days off but decided against asking. He needed some sleep and he was going to catch up on it. He’d just make sure that she didn’t have to do anything when she got in but allow him to kiss her senseless and maybe get some snuggle time with her. The more he thought about it, the wider his smile got. Whatever was on his face got everyone who saw him snickering.

    They got back to work and had the truck finished, delivered and signed for by a little after six that evening. He was so tired he couldn’t see straight but he was glad to be done. All he wanted was some dinner, a nap, and a willing wife. He got two out of three and the one he didn’t get had him grumpy. He stepped into the flat just as Aya was opening the door to head down into the shop. She was wearing her coat and seemed worried. “I’m sorry baby but Ayumi called. Something is wrong. She sounded like she’d been crying and she wanted to meet me somewhere. Now don’t be like that. Wouldn’t you go if it was one of your friends? Thought so. Dinner should still be warm so eat, take a nap and I’ll be back shortly. I have no intention of being out late. I’ve got plans for you mister.” She gave him a kiss that let him know exactly what part of those plans were and it took the edge off of his anger a bit. He couldn’t do anything but tell her to be careful and watch her leave.

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