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The prices on cigarettes were increased in an effort to deter others from smoking in restaurants or other establishments. Nowadays, smokers had very little places to go. Few people smoked in the company, the designated area was usually empty. Truthfully, I think it's nicer this way. I stepped into the glass box which was the designated smoking area, there was only one other person there, he was opening a new pack of cigarettes. This is good. It was just the two of us today.
As usual, he kept it short. I leaned against the wall while facing him, in between us was a large smoke suction unit and an ashtray.
"Long time no see, Shimabara. How was America?"
"Ah. Nothing much, I got to be the executive director's fucking baggage holder."
"That's nice. I want to go to America, too."
"Whether it's good or not. I like it here better… Hey, Asama. How was the business trip to Nagano last month?"
"Ah, it was fun. I had free time to go to Ueda."
Hitting a lull in conversation, Shimabara taps the bottom of his pack and pulls out a cigarette. He takes hold of it with his long fingers. Then carries it to his mouth and held it in his thin lips. Shimabara's normally stoic face held a bit of danger, it was enhanced by the cigarette. He looked like a gangster.
"Right, Asama. I'm thinking about getting married."
My brain froze at his words. My eyes twitched, and my breath seemed to stop. I was finally able to squeeze out a "He~h" in a flat voice.
"You had a girlfriend. I didn't know. When is it?"
"There isn't a time yet. It's stupid… Well, I haven't proposed yet. I'm doing it after this."
"He~, I see. What are you going to say? Have you decided yet?"
Truthfully, I didn't want to hear it. But, I had to ask. It's sad, this sort of thing: I didn't want these wicked feelings of mine to be known. I have always… liked Shimabara. It's been three years already. Ever since Shimabara changed jobs and took over as the head of the sales department. Originally, I didn't smoke, I just wanted an excuse to speak with Shimabara, I had learned how to smoke at the age of 30. I would visit the smoking area everyday to see Shimabara, and it eventually became a habit. I liked them now.
"I don't know how to explain."
"What, is it a surprise? Like a flash mob or something."
"Don't be stupid. I was going to do something… simpler."
He held a lighter to the end of his cigarette, the end of it lit up, the smell of smoke came from Shimabara's cigarette. Shimabara lifts the cigarette from the corner of his mouth.
"A single cigarette, I'll finish telling you as I'm smoking."
My expression was obviously suspicious, my heart was pounding. I envied the person who would receive his proposal. But, I intentionally put on a dissatisfied face.
"Don't smoke during an important story."
"That person likes it when I smoke."
I also liked the look of Shimabara when he smoked. The gesture when he takes the cigarette between his fingers and towards his mouth, his relaxed expression when he sucks in the smoke, and the shape of his lips when he puffs it out. I love them all. But… there seems to be someone who likes it more than me.
"He~… that girl. Do I know her?"
"Now, don't be like that. It's childish, tell me."
"…there's not much to tell you, other than that they're a fool."
"Fo… saying something like that about her… seriously? It's not fashionable to insult your future wife like that."
"Be quiet. How else can you describe stupid."
Displeased at my retaliation, Shimabara blows a cloud of smoke in my face. Though I was coughing, it made me a little happy. We stay like this for a few minutes, puffing at our cigarettes and engaging in idle chatter, sometimes Shimabara would mock me. This sort of relationship was comfortable. But, if he were to get married… I would not come here anymore. It would kill me.
"Anyways. They kept silent about being in love with me for a long time."
The cigarette was already halfway done, the burning red light nearing Shimabara's lips. For the first time ever, I wished that the fire would quickly burn up. I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to hear about the woman who took Shimabara away from me.
"That person would look at me with burning eyes everyday. I thought they would confess eventually, but they didn't say anything."
"Eh? Aren't you guys dating?"
"Hah? But you're going to get married."
"Ah, well. We don't need to date to get married."
Shi-Shimabara, what are you saying? He has absolute confidence that the other party won't reject him. To get rid of the much longed for, sweet and sour period of a blossoming relationship, I felt a little pity for her.
"What will you do if you're rejected?"
"…Ha, that's funny."
Full of confidence, Shimabara reaches into his suit pocket. He pulls out a manila envelope. What… if it's Shimabara, could those be the results of an investigation done on her. Ha, there's no way.
"I don't see why they would refuse. Let's get married? I want to spend a lifetime together with you by my side. You should make the necessary preparations."
"… No, normally wouldn't you date first…"
"I was willing to date them, but they didn't confess. It's not my way of doing things, either."
"Hey! First of all, Shimabara, do you actually like them?!"
"It's obvious that I like them."
No, I don't feel the love at all. I was really starting to pity the girl. I wonder why… Shimabara threw down the envelope. Several sheets of paper fell out on to the floor. I looked down… and froze.
It was a photo.
And on it was.
"Pick it up already. What if others come in."
I couldn't comprehend the situation. Staring down at the photo near my feet, I couldn't look away, or bend down and pick them up. Shimabara chuckled at my stunned look.
"You're very photogenic. That one's from Nagano."
Yes, that was a picture of me. I wasn't wearing a single piece of clothing. It was taken near my feet, my face flushed red with tears at the corners of my eyes, drool was leaking out of my mouth. Between my legs… was that. I know what it is, but I had never seen a real anal vibrator before. My hole was flushed red and my mouth was open. The meaty colour of my intestinal wall was visible. My penis was erect, and my lower abdomen was wet from saliva and pre-ejaculation, it was like I was being punished.
"Ah, it was about two years ago. Every time I went on a business trip with you, I would mix sleeping pills with your sake. It took me a while to develop you, but it probably won't hurt if I put it in now."
"In the beginning, it was hard to insert even a single finger… now it's loose enough to take in a vibe. Recently, you were able to have a dry orgasm. I wasn't aware that you could be so feminine. Even calling out my name in your sleep like a woman. I have a video that I can show you later. Truthfully, I didn't have to do it this way right? However, you were too stubborn and wouldn't have ever confessed. It was punishing. But, I reached my limit. In the end, I unconsciously followed what my heart wanted. And well, I wanted to hold you."
This isn't real. In my confused state, I picked up the envelope. There were a lot of photos inside of it. All of me. Shimabara wasn't in a single one of them. As he says, he seems to not have entered my body himself. Only I was exposed, being played with by toys, my penis leaking from the head down to the bed. I collected the photos on the floor and put them back in the envelope.
"Wh-why, like this."
"Well… you see."
For some reason, Shimabara blushed and looked a bit nervous. Then he took out his nub of a cigarette. Shaking it lightly, left and right, as if showing off.
"Ah, I'm done. Asama, this is my proposal. You only have to answer yes."
Shimabara threw it into the ashtray and the fire was extinguished by the water inside. With the lingering scent of tobacco, I stare at Shimabara's fingertips. This hand, without my knowing, it…
"Hey, Asama… did you notice. You forgot to smoke."
I raise my head at his ridiculing voice. Shimabara was leaning against the wall with his arms folded, a grin on his face.
"I'll wait for your reply as you finish one."
To postpone the obvious answer, I take out a cigarette with a trembling hand. I was scared, angry, surprised… and happy, I breathed in the sweet smoke. Everything went as Shimabara planned. My married life with this devilish man, was likely to be a not so sweet one.
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