Bait and Switch

Aya closed her cellphone and bit her lip. Turning, she rummaged around in the chest of drawers, pulled out two sleeveless tee shirts and one regular tee shirt, and some socks. She found a pair of jeans, some sweat pants and a pair of tennis that while a little large on her feet would do. The fact that there were clothes that fit her in the room was freaking her out more and more. She donned the clothing in layers, making sure that everything hung properly as to not give away the fact that she was wearing more then a tee shirt and some sweat pants, put on an extra pair of socks to help with the fit of the shoes and pulled her hair back. She looked like she was going for a run and that’s what she hoped to do. She put her cellphone on airplane silent and stuck it down in the first pair of socks in case she was patted down. If it came to that it would already be too late.

She took a deep breath to calm herself, put on a fake smile and left the room, making sure she’d taken a few dollars. She left her purse visible on the nightstand. It had turned cold out so she grabbed her jacket and proceeded down the hall. She walked into Nagi as she was heading toward the front door. He stopped her but before he could say anything she asked about Ayumi. “I was looking for Ayumi to see if she was up to a little run with me. Running helps to calm me. Do you know where she is?”

Nagi pursed his lips. “No I don’t off hand but don’t you think it’s a little dangerous to be out so late?” Aya nodded. “That’s why I’m only running around the grounds of the house. I don’t know the streets here and I wouldn’t want to get lost. Well if you see her, let her know I’d enjoy the company.” She pulled her jacket on and headed toward the door. She almost had a coronary when Nagi called out for her to stop. She schooled her face and turned. He handed her a cap from the nearby closet. “Here. Wear this. It’s chilly out.”

Aya smiled, thanked him and donned the cap with a nod. She went out the door, turned left and began a quick walk around the side of the house. When she was out of sight, Nagi called one of the servants and told her to let him know if their “guest” strayed off the grounds. The woman nodded and left. Aya was many things but stupid wasn’t on the list. She circled the house a few times alternating between a brisk walk and a more sedate one. She knew she would need to warm up if it became a long run and she was pretty sure it would turn into one. While she ran, she took in the lay of the land. Her memory served her well as she knew where every opening around the property after her first circuit. She stopped in front of a window, making sure she could be seen, and did some cooling off exercises and stretches. She had taken her jacket off and had lain it on a bench. All perfectly normal behavior. She wondered around the flowers planted near where she was, examining the blooms or lack of them and the variety. Still perfectly normal. The servant had long since become bored with her task of watching and turned her back to complete another task. When she looked back up the jacket was still on the bench but she couldn’t see Aya. Alarmed she went to the window and spotted the woman bending down to examine more of the flowers. She breathed a sigh of relief and went back to what she’d been doing. From time to time she’d peek out and Aya would be at the flowers or exercising. Perfectly normal.

Aya knew the woman was watching her after she made sure to be out of sight of the window. She watched from the corner of her eyes as the servant looked out the window for her. She continued her routine, boring as it was, to lull the woman into making a mistake. She did after a while turning from the window. Aya was through the hedges and down the street before the woman had turned around good. The servant, thinking that Aya was looking at more flowers since her jacket was still on the bench, didn’t think anything was amiss for a whole ten precious minutes. When she did notice something was wrong and alerted Nagi, Aya had a good fifteen minute start on them. She kept to the shadows, making sure she had a hiding place behind a well trimmed hedge or tree, whenever she saw the headlights of cars.

She had put about ten streets between her and the house when she realized she knew the area she was in. She didn’t relax her guard and made sure she wasn’t seen from the street. A few scary moments, when she thought that she’d been discovered, later, she found herself standing in front of Tomoka’s house. She punched at the buzzer like a crazy woman while watching the street. When Tomoka answered, Aya blurted out who she was and for her to start the gate open then close it quickly. Tomoka did as she was told and Aya darted in ahead of a pair of headlights that came around the corner and slowly came down the street. She hid behind the stone pillar the gate was attached to until the car was out of sight. Tomoka was standing in the doorway wondering what the hell was going on. Aya sprinted to the door, pushed the young girl inside and closed it quickly. She leaned against the door, face flushed, panting heavily.

Tomoka knew something was wrong and went to get Aya some water which the older woman drank greedily. She slid down to the floor, putting her arms on her knees and then her head down on her arms. She was shaking but she hadn’t started crying which was a good thing. She figured if she did she might not stop for a while. In the mean time, Tomoka was on the phone talking to Ichihara. Ichi called Ju and soon afterwards, Ju, Ichi and Toshi were all standing at the front gate.

As much as Ju wanted too, Toshi had talked him into letting him drive his van. Ayumi and Nagi didn’t know it so they could come to the house and not be worried about being identified. Besides, Ju was a wreck. On the way there, Toshi filled Ichi in on what was going on. The young man was quiet but you could tell he was seething inside. They found Aya, Tomoka and Momo-san, sitting in the small dining room. They had managed to get Aya to drink some tea and change out of some of the extra clothing she was wearing. She had said she’d tell them what was going on once the others got there.

Once Ju got into the house, he called Aya’s name and when the woman came out of the room, he swept her into his arms and hugged her till she protested then he kissed her until she swayed on her feet. He hugged her again. “Are you alright? I’ve never been so scared in my life! Aya! Say something!” Toshi touched him on the arm. “She might be able to say something if you release that death grip you have on her dude.” Ju had the good sense to look embarrassed and let his wife go but not for long. He sat down and pulled her into his lap, resting his head on her shoulder.

She told them what happened after they’d called and they told her what they had found out about her “friend” and her husband. Aya was floored. How could the woman have changed so much over the years. Toshi gave her a hint of what might be behind her and Aya.

“You know that guy you knew in college? The one you uhm…well anyway, it seems the two of them had some history before and after you guys broke up. Apparently she told some people that she blamed you for not only breaking them up but for him having to leave the university.” Aya shook her head. “But she was the one who introduced us.” She thought back to those days and slowly but surely things began to fall into place. How she didn’t see it then amazed her. “They did hang out a lot and she left school right after he did. I thought it was just a coincidence. I guess maybe it wasn’t. How’d she get hooked up with Izanagi?”

Toshi shrugged. “Birds of a feather I guess. Aya…she’s a nasty piece of work. Her and that jerk you fell in love with were hoping you’d fall apart and they could use you to get at your parents wealth. You didn’t and he got cold feet and fled. She wasn’t looking for you but when the info was available she grabbed at the chance for some revenge. Oh and Ju? That play for you wasn’t a play. She likes her men rough and you look the part. Both of them are some sick puppies.”

Aya wanted to cry but she didn’t. She leaned her head on her husband’s and thanked the Gods that he was who he was…a kind gentle soul who wouldn’t hurt a flea if he could avoid it. “We have to stop them somehow. We have too Ju. If not me, then they’ll grab some other poor innocent woman.” She jumped as her cellphone vibrated. Pulling it out of her sock, she noticed the number and put her finger to her lips to signal everyone to be quiet. “Ayumi? No! No! I’m fine! I’m at home. Ichi called and he and Ju got into it and I was worried Ju would do something to him so I got the house number from the gps and had Ichi come get me. I’m sorry I didn’t come back to the house first but I’d decided that I needed to run and since I was so far from the house it made no sense to go back. No. No. Ichi and his mom are here. Ju isn’t. I’ll be fine. I’ll get my purse in the morning. Thank you and thank Nagi for me okay? I’ll call you later today.” She hung up the phone.

Ju looked at her. “Do you think they believed you?” Aya shrugged. “I could careless if they did or didn’t. We still have that invitation right? Maybe I should go. Now hear me out. I’m planning on taking a couple of guests. Toshi, I think Kiba would be perfect for this. He’s got the look.” Toshi leaned his head to the side in question. Aya grinned at him. “If anyone can look like a rich deviant then I’m sure Kiba with his make up can pull it off.” Toshi snickered. “I’m sure he’ll take that as a compliment. If he’s the rich deviant then who am I going to be?” Ju and Aya looked at each other and laughed. “I’ll tell you when the children are gone.”

Toshi’s eyebrows went up at that. Ju took the silence to jump in. “Aya, please don’t tell me that you are going back to that house for that party.” She gave him a kiss on the top of his head. “You know I have to Ju. I couldn’t live with myself if I let them continue. Don’t worry baby. I’ve got a plan and you’ll be with me every step of the way. Plus we’ll have Toshi and hopefully Kiba with us. What could possibly go wrong?” Everyone in the room went “plenty” before laughing. A short time later they all piled into Toshi’s van and headed back to the flat. Time to make some plans and catch some bad people.

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~ by jujuken on December 27, 2012.

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