by Meruhen (メルヘン)
The envelope was sitting in the center of his desk when he came in to work Monday morning. He instantly recognized the bold, precise handwriting on the cream-colored surface, and had to sit down for a while before he could bring himself to touch it.
He opened the letter very, very carefully, sliding his thumbnail slowly under the seal to avoid tearing the paper. His heart pounded painfully in his throat the entire time, hopes and doubts circling inside his head.
This was not what he thought it was. Ordinary, uninteresting office workers like Sachio Hida did not get personal letters from charming, well-off, businessmen like Hiromasa Orita. He would, at best, be privileged enough to receive a note of thanks for his assistance, or a holiday card. That was all this was. He shouldn’t get ahead of himself.
The envelope finally came open. Sachio took a deep breath and pulled out the card inside, with equal care. He read it through once without pause and then again to make sure he fully understood what he was seeing.
It was an invitation to Hiromasa Orita’s thirty-second birthday party, to be held at 8 o’clock tonight. Sachio recognized the restaurant where the party was being held; a meal there cost nearly as much as his weekly paycheck.
His fingers trembled a little on the card.
Clearly this was a mistake. He’d obviously gotten the invitation by accident – he glanced down at the envelope, with his name clearly printed across its face, and his stomach flipped – and it was his duty to inform Orita of the error. He returned the card to the envelope, put it face down on his desk, and reached for his phone.
Orita worked two blocks down the street as a Customer Relations Supervisor for one of their vendors. While he didn’t deal with clients on a daily basis, he did visit them in person no less than three times a year to make sure they were happy with his employees’ performances. When he found that Sachio was in charge of ordering supplies for their company, he made certain to greet him personally and give his card in case Sachio needed anything. At first, Sachio had been moved by Orita’s kindness and impressed with his professional manner, but later, as he began to see the older man around more and more often, that admiration turned into longing.
He had to dial the phone number twice because his nerves gave out the first time.
It rang four times before picking up, and he had a heartbeat’s worth of terrified hope that it had gone straight to voicemail when Orita’s smooth, cultured voice came down the line. “This is Orita of A4 Supplies.”
Sachio’s first words were something of a gasp. “Orita-san, this is–” He stopped long enough to swallow the tightness in his throat – he suspected it was his heart still beating there – and continued with more control. “This is Hida with B Electronics. How are you today?”
“Hida-san!” Orita said, his voice going warm, “I am glad to hear from you. Did you get my invitation?”
A wave of ice water started at the top of Sachio’s head and traveled all the way down to his fingertips. “Y-yes, I did. Orita-san, the invitation–”
“You will be able to attend, yes?” Orita said, not giving Sachio the chance to finish, “I am sorry for such short notice, but I have been on a business trip since yesterday.” Orita’s tone became deeper, like a cat’s purr. “It would mean a great deal to me to have you there for my birthday.”
There were many things Sachio should have said to that. He should have explained that the restaurant was too expensive, that he couldn’t afford it, that he didn’t have any clothes nice enough, that he was boring, unattractive, and uncultured, and would embarrass Orita in front of his friends and other party guests.
What he said instead was, “Yes, I’ll be there.”
He accepted Orita’s gratitude and made his goodbyes. Then, he put the phone back on its cradle and tried not to panic.
Sachio had been working for the same company for the last three years. His yearly reviews usually went something like this: “An earnest and hard worker, who is sometimes forgetful.”
If Sachio remembered anything that Monday besides the fact that he was attending Hiromasa Orita’s birthday party, it was a miracle. He left important documents in the copier, didn’t reply to any of his emails, misplaced paperwork that people needed, and once or twice even forgot what had been said to him moments before.
At the end of the day, he apologized profusely to his section manager, but she only patted his shoulder and told him to go home and get plenty of rest.
He didn’t, of course.
He went out to get his shoulder-length hair cut, but ended up just getting his bangs trimmed when the stylist said long hair was “cool”. At home he took a shower, put on cologne for the first time since high school, and exchanged the navy suit he’d worn that day to work for the navy suit he hadn’t. Both were of serviceable, inexpensive tweed, and they were the only two he owned.
Even after all that, he still arrived at the restaurant twenty minutes early.
“Um, I’m here with Hiromasa Orita-san’s group,” he said to the host at the door. The man’s faintly disapproving scowl melted into a welcoming smile, much to Sachio’s relief.
“Yes, please, come right this way,” The host said with a bow. Sachio followed him into the gold gilded interior of the restaurant.
It was the fanciest place Sachio had ever been in. Crystal chandeliers hung from the vaulted ceiling, spilling warm, rainbow-speckled light down on the rich red tableclothes and fine white china. Everyone was laughing and beautiful. The men were elegant in their tailored suits, while the women glittered like the city at night in silks and jewels. Sachio felt horribly cheap and ugly in the middle of it all.
He expected to be taken to a large table to either wait miserably by himself until everyone else showed up, or to sit with the few other newcomers and wait miserably to go home while they were bright and shiny and rich and talked about things above his head. Where he found himself instead was standing in a secluded nook at a tiny table set for two. He stared down at the beautiful linen and silverware in confusion, while the host pulled out one of the chairs for him.
“Please excuse me. I think there has been a mistake.”
The host’s forehead creased slightly in a frown. “You aren’t Sachio Hida-san?”
Sachio flushed. “No, I am.” The host was smiling again and Sachio sat down in the chair, seeing no other options.
“Orita-san called ahead with the order. He should be along shortly,” the host said, “Would you like me to bring you wine and the appetizer while you wait?”
“J-just water please,” Saicho said. He desperately hoped he would not be expected to pay for any of this or that, at least, he would make it out of here with enough money to continue eating for the rest of the week. The host bowed once more and took his leave. Moments later a waiter appeared with Sachio’s water and then he was left alone for the next ten minutes.
They were the most wretched ten minutes of Sachio’s life. Each one seemed to stretch on for an hour or better and he had nothing to do in that time but fret. He found himself suspended between the unbelievable idea that Orita had indeed invited him to a private dinner with just the two of them and the all-too-believable possibility that this was all an elaborate prank.
He was seriously contemplating the manner in which he was going to kill himself tomorrow, when Hiromasa Orita walked into the restaurant.
The same ice-water feeling of before passed through Sachio’s body and settled, low and tight, in his stomach. In the three weeks since he’d last saw the other man, it seemed that Orita had gotten even taller, fairer-skinned, and finer-featured than before. He smiled when he saw Sachio waiting for him. His slim eyes were dark and inviting above elegant cheekbones.
Sachio wanted to crawl under the table and vanish.
“Prompt as always, Hida-san,” Orita said, sitting down in the opposite chair. He was dressed in a sleek, dove gray suit that accented every line of his slender frame. “It appears in the future I will have to arrive even earlier to outdo you.”
Sachio went hot at the implication that this wasn’t the last invitation he’d receive from Orita. “I d-didn’t– I’m sorry, Orita-san, I didn’t bring you a gift.”
Orita paused with one hand raised to summon the waiter. “You are very cute, Hida-san,” he said, smiling, “You sent me a card and a lucky bamboo last week. They were the first presents I received from anyone. I still have them on my desk.”
That’s right, he had done that. He’d asked Orita’s secretary for the date and made sure to send the gifts off as soon as possible before he forgot. “Oh,” Sachio said, flustered, “I’m glad you liked them.”
This only served to amuse Orita further. “I hope you don’t mind, I ordered some of my favorites for you to try. Please tell me honestly what you think.”
Saicho nodded helplessly. “Orita-san,” he said, mortified at how plaintive he sounded, “There aren’t going to be any other guests, are there?”
Orita’s gaze softened and deepened. “No, there aren’t.”
By the second cup of wine, most of Sachio’s frantic, fluttery nervousness had faded away and he truly began to enjoy himself. He was finally able to respond to Orita’s wise observations and catchy stories with more than mumbled agreement. Soon, he was relaxed enough to impart some of his own opinions. Even though he knew it was only politeness on Orita’s part, he couldn’t help but feel warm pleasure that Orita expressed such interest in what he had to say.
As for Sachio, he became all the more impressed and infatuated with Orita as the night wore on. He was obviously so high above Sachio’s level, but he never spoke over his head or made him feel small. Every accentuating flick of Orita’s fingers caught his attention, and invited his eyes to linger. Every bite of perfectly prepared food passing between perfectly sculpted lips made his stomach flop like a landed fish. Every second that passed made him wish he had countless more to spend just like this.
When Orita’s hand covered the back of Sachio’s, he lost the ability to breathe entirely.
“Come with me,” he said in a voice like warm velvet, “I have a room in the hotel next door.”
Sachio stared at their joined hands, feeling lightheaded. His lungs ached and he remembered, quite suddenly, to breathe before he passed out. He gasped and nodded, mouth dry. If Orita had asked him to walk over a cliff with him then, Sachio would have agreed.
Orita paid for the entire meal and Sachio was too preoccupied to be relieved.
The hotel room turned out to be a suite, but Sachio didn’t have much time to appreciate its spaciousness or fine furniture. As soon as the door was closed, Orita’s arms were around his waist and those finely sculpted lips were pressed against his.
Sachio gripped both of Orita’s shoulders for balance as they kissed. Orita approached the act as he did everything else, with boldness and precision. He moved against Sachio’s lips until the younger man opened up before the assault and then kissed even deeper, his tongue sliding hot and wet into Sachio’s mouth.
Sachio arched against him, hot shivers chasing up and down his spine. He could feel Orita’s erection pressed into his hip and this impossibly real evidence that he desired him forced him to jerk his mouth away and pant shakily before he lost control of himself.
Orita kissed softly behind Sachio’s ear. “I have wanted to get you like this for months, Hida-san,” he said, his big hands sliding down Sachio’s back to cup his ass, “It’s been very distracting, you know.”
Sachio shook his head in baffled denial and clung tighter. “You can’t have.” Such a thing went against the very fabric of existence.
Orita laughed richly and backed them up to the door. “You truly have no idea how appealing you are,” he said, “All the ladies in my office talk about cute Hida-san, how polite he is, how friendly, how happy they are to get a call from him.”
He went to his knees in front of Sachio and began undoing his fly. Sachio curled his fingers around the doorjamb to keep from falling over, his own knees shaking and his breath coming short and fast in his chest. He’d never gotten head before. The few women he approached had been as shy and timid in the bedroom as they were in daily life.
There was nothing timid about the way Orita pulled down Sachio’s pants and wrapped his long, cool fingers around the hard cock that was revealed. Sachio cried out, his hips jerking forward. Orita looked up the length of Sachio’s body, his eyes were heavy-lidded and flashing darkly in the lamp light.
“It made me very jealous,” he said.
He bent his head and took Sachio’s cock in his mouth.
“Ah!” Sachio lost his hold on the doorjamb and grabbed onto the trim edge of Orita’s jacket collar instead. Fire raced up his nerves at the slick, pulling heat that surrounded him to the base. Orita pulled back only to plunge down again and again, relentless, giving him no chance to collect himself.
“Orita-sa– Ah! Please, please-”
He scrambled for purchase, thighs trembling and hips bucking desperately. It was more than he could take, but not enough, not nearly enough. Orita’s sculpted lips were stretched thin around his erection and a lock of black hair had escaped from its gelled hold to curve against the side of Orita’s nose.
Somehow it was the sight of that, a single stray hair in Orita’s normally immaculate style that undid Sachio. Every muscle in his body locked tight as he came, eyes squeezed shut and cries trapped silent in his throat. Orita didn’t release him until it was over and caught him around the waist when he sagged forward. Sachio hunched over Orita, panting, the once neatly ironed jacket collar mangled in his fists.
“Very appealing, indeed,” Orita said with decided smugness, “I do not know how I will continue to work with you, Sachio, remembering the passionate look on your face.”
Sachio let out a soft moan, to hear his given name in Orita’s voice for the first time. Orita chuckled and stood up slowly, pressing Sachio back against the door as he rose. They kissed, gentler than before, tasting each other slowly.
Sachio’s eyes opened suddenly and he yanked his head back, unintentionally bashing it on the door. “Your birthday is next week!” he cried out, the memory finally clicking into place.
Orita snapped his fingers. “That’s right. You are invited to that party too, of course.”
“But– ” Sachio started to push Orita away, to have the chance to compose himself, but Orita held him firmly in place.
“I couldn’t wait any longer to ask you out. It was the one gift I wanted the most,” he said, and pressed one long finger against Sachio’s lips to keep him from protesting or questioning further. “Besides, I have learned that with Hida-san, it always pays to be prompt.”