Tokyo Ghosts Cherry Bomb (17+): To Give and Receive
When Sachi finds out Ayase went to a love hotel with Nick, he drinks himself into a stupor. Now it’s time to address what happened between Ayase, Sachi, and Kadoyuki in the three years after Tokyo Demons.
(Illustration by Angeline Mauri.)
The Tokyo Ghosts side story, To Give and Receive, takes place after the side story X-Mas but before Tokyo Ghosts: Book 1. It contains adult content and is sold as a download in our Cherry Bomb line. It is not necessary for an understanding of the novel, but provides further insight.
This short story is recommended for ages 17+.
“I’m home,” Ayase whispered.
The dark, chilly entryway didn’t reply. The nightlight in the kitchen glowed deeper in the house, the only obvious light on either floor. She glanced down to see a row of neat slippers in front of her feet.
Everyone’s still out, she thought, breathing a sigh of relief. The rumbling of Nick’s motorcycle had been especially loud after he’d dropped her off–like he’d sped up to race home without her clinging to his back. The thought of that waking anyone up was mortifying.
I don’t want them asking questions. She felt a new rush of heat when her mind fell back to the love hotel, but she forcefully brushed it off. Deliberating now would only make it worse. Admittedly, she was a little surprised at how easy it was for her to dismiss the thought–like nothing was worth stressing over in the new, satiated calm her body seemed to float in. Not even the damp, sink-washed underwear cooling between her legs.
She hated that an orgasm had disrupted her usual thought process, but she was also too tired to care.
She slid off her shoes but didn’t bother with slippers; she went straight to the bath. As she scrubbed the sweat and smells of the bakery out of her hair, she wondered where Adam was. He was the only one in her house who probably wasn’t on a romantic overnight, after what Nick had said.
He’s Christian, so maybe he’s doing something religious. As she sprayed warm water over her thick, soapy hair, she wondered if he was with Shouri. She was starting to realize how much Daniel’s departure from Japan had thrown off her social group; he’d been a nexus for the adults who’d come with the Church, and with him gone, she didn’t know who was meeting up with who. Or who might leave, transferred by the Vatican or otherwise.
“Japan’s my home now.”
Another tendril of relief snaked through Ayase’s chest as Nick’s voice echoed in her head. She lowered herself into the hot bath and sighed.
With no one else in the house, she soaked for longer than usual, resting her wet head on that weird, inflatable bath pillow thing Jo had stuck to the bath wall. Her thoughts were a haze, weirdly detached from the strange reality of that night and floating in her head like a fog.
When she found herself nodding off, she forced herself to climb out of the water. The comforting heat of the damp room wrapped around her like her towel and lingered as she dragged her heavy feet to her room. By the time she pulled her pajama top over her head, she was only barely thirsty enough to lurch to the kitchen. She filled a glass with water and drained it without stopping to breathe. She sighed as she rested the glass on the counter with a soft clank.
The faint, muted drawl of a voice pricked her ears. She turned toward the front of the house.
It almost sounded like…singing.
She shuffled into the hallway just as keys scraped in the door. When she recognized the muffled voice as Sachi’s, the door swung outward with an awkward yank.
Adam lurched through the doorway, an extremely drunk Sachi draped over his back. Adam winced as Sachi laughed right in his ear and continued to sing something in terrible English.
Ayase’s mouth fell open–but before she could say anything, a new, pale hand snaked out from behind them and gripped the edge of the door Adam had partially shoved open. Thin fingers dragged it back so Adam could stumble into the genkan.
Ayase’s stomach dropped. Oh, crap.
Adam glanced up and caught eyes with her; he smiled awkwardly as he twisted to lower Sachi to sit on the genkan step. “We’re home,” he said in his thick accent as Sachi flopped against the wall.
“I-is he okay?” Ayase asked, suddenly too nervous to form a more detailed question.
Kadoyuki stepped in behind Adam, pulling the door shut behind him with a delicate ka-chak. He lowered himself to his knees and untied Sachi’s sneakers.
“Hopefully,” Kadoyuki murmured as he pulled off Sachi’s shoes, his eyes hidden under the rim of his cap. “He’s clearly had a lot to drink.”
Sachi started blearily singing again, louder–the song was vaguely familiar, although Sachi’s English was so garbled that Ayase had trouble making out the words. Adam let out a breath and stretched his shoulders.
“I teach him one Christmas song last year,” Adam explained. He flicked up a finger. “One. He sings it for last hour. The train is angry with us.”
“H-he said he had a date tonight.”
“He showed up to Midnight Mass like this, just as we were getting out.” Kadoyuki dodged Sachi’s drunkenly wiggling fingers and stood. “He was alone,” he added as he nudged off his own shoes. “Sprawled on the sidewalk outside. I’m glad he remembered where our new church is, at least.”
The ghost of a realization floated up in the back of Ayase’s mind–Adam and Kadoyuki were both Catholic and Daniel had been their priest, so it made sense that they’d found a new church together. Adam kicked off his shoes and reached down to drape Sachi’s arm around his shoulder.
“He is not…wearing crucifix,” Adam grunted as he hauled Sachi to his unsteady feet and twisted them toward the hallway. “I do not think he came for church. Maybe he came for being lonely.”
Ayase’s eyes dropped to the peek of skin under Sachi’s coat collar. It was true–he wasn’t wearing that gold cross necklace he put on or took off for unknown reasons. Sachi seemed to notice her staring at him; he finally stopped singing, instead grinning broadly through the flush on his face.
“Ayaseee,” he drawled. “I missed you.”
She grimaced. “Sachi, you’re lucky they saw you on that sidewalk,” she admonished, pressing against the wall of the hallway as Adam dragged him forward. Sachi pouted at her as he passed; to Ayase’s surprise, he reached out and touched her face.
“I didn’t have sex,” he mumbled. “Did you?”
She jerked out of his touch, but not fast enough; his glassy eyes widened at her. He moaned and dropped his face into Adam’s shoulder.
“Nick-saaaaaan!” he growled. “I knew it, you dirty…!”
“I did not have sex with Nick!” Ayase blurted, hating the way her voice wavered on the words. “You’re just drunk–go to bed!”
“I saw you,” Sachi groaned as Adam dragged him up the stairs. “I saw you, and I… Hnnngh, I think I’m gonna barf!”
“Good night,” Adam called down the stairs. “I make sure he does not die.”
Ayase’s heart pounded, audible in her ears over the scrapes on the floor above her. She swallowed.
You “saw” me?
Ayase stiffened. She tried to wipe her mind of incriminating thoughts as she slowly turned back to Kadoyuki.
He looked strangely awake for two in the morning–in that weird, wired way he got when he was processing something. His eyes kept darting in tiny increments, like he was reading a book just behind her head.
“Y-yeah?” she asked.
He opened his mouth, then closed it again. His eyes darted for a few more seconds before he blinked and looked away.
“Um…do you mind?” he asked as he slid a hand inside his coat.
“Of course not. Jo smokes like a chimney in this house.”
Kadoyuki murmured a thank you and pulled out the delicate silver box Mitsuko had bought him for his birthday. He clicked it open, pulled out a cigarette, and slid it between his lips. He snapped the enclosed lighter to ignite the stick.
For a long moment, he dragged on the cigarette, dropping his head to hide his eyes under the brim of his cap. He took a few slow, careful puffs as he slid the box back into his coat pocket.
The smell of burning tobacco, and the swirl of smoke in front of that lowered cap, brought back the miserable rush of memories she’d been avoiding all night. She gritted her teeth.
Not now. Not now not now not now.
Kadoyuki slowly looked up, his dark eyes no longer twitching in their sockets. That silent, loaded gaze locked with hers.
“…I can put it out.”
Ayase swallowed. “N-no,” she murmured. “I was just…talking to myself.”
“I can leave.”
Ayase sighed in frustration. She rubbed her temples and twisted away.
“Thank you for bringing Sachi home,” she murmured at last. “I’m sorry I didn’t check up on him, but I assumed he was at a hotel for the night.”
She heard him take another slow drag. “He tried to be,” he said quietly. “If he can be believed when he’s this drunk.”
“What do you mean?”
“He was with someone. Headed for a hotel.” Drag. Pause. “And then he saw you in the same district with Nick-san.”
Ayase’s blood went cold. As if time had slowed around her, she dragged her wide eyes back to Kadoyuki.
He stared back at her, his gaze unreadable through the swirl of smoke.
“Wh-what? I was just… Nick and I drank a little too much, and we had to sleep it off–”
Kadoyuki’s shrug cut her off, and the coldness of the action froze her to her core. “Regardless.”
Ayase tried to suppress the nausea that pushed bile up her throat. She shook her head, more frantically than she meant to.
“Are you saying Sachi saw me and got upset? And called off his date?”
“But that’s ridiculous! I invited him to come with me, and he turned me down! A-and I didn’t sleep with Nick!” she added, louder. “I would never sleep with Nick!”
Kadoyuki didn’t reply, which only tightened the knots in her stomach. He released a stream of smoke from between his lips.
“You don’t have to explain yourself to me.” His eyes flicked away. “Or to Sachi. He was being irrational.”
“Kadoyuki, you sound like you don’t care that he drank himself into a stupor over this!”
“Of course I care. That doesn’t make it rational.” He took another drag. “I’ll talk to Hikaru–maybe he can help.”
Ayase clenched her fists as her frustration bubbled into anger. “Maybe you should talk to Sachi,” she snapped. “And deal with this directly for once!”
The minute she said the words, she regretted them. Kadoyuki’s head slowly turned, away from her…and the line of his shoulders softened into a slump.
He stood there in silence, the answer she dreaded most of all.
“S-sorry,” she mumbled through the searing squeeze in her stomach. “Forget I said that.”
His hand slid back into his jacket pocket to retrieve his portable ashtray. He ground out the cigarette inside it in delicate, precise twists.
“You’re justified,” he murmured.
The toilet flushed upstairs, which broke the silence between them. Ayase finally sighed.
“I guess…Sachi’s been acting weird with me all week,” she offered. “I should probably talk to him first, anyway.”
Kadoyuki slowly nodded.
“I’ll see how he’s doing in the morning. All of this might just be booze and the pressure of a holiday talking.”
Kadoyuki nodded again. “I’ll…text you.”
He shuffled back toward the shoes and sat down on the genkan step. As he carefully pulled his sneakers back on, she stared at the back of his head and felt her stomach sink.
Would you care if I had slept with Nick?
She couldn’t control the thought, so she let it slide through her mind as her heart picked up speed. Kadoyuki didn’t react as he rose to his feet. It was only when he put a hand on the doorknob that he finally glanced over his shoulder at her.
“I didn’t earn the right to care.” The ache in his eyes flicked back to the door as he turned the knob. He walked back out into the night, shutting the door quietly behind him.
Discuss this story below!