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Don't Ask

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Mai

The hours passed slowly, with Naru making few requests (not demands) for tea. That was odd.
He was almost acting like a decent human being.

The first time he’d asked for tea, please, Mai’d nearly fainted from shock. And then he’d thanked her as if it was something he did all the time.

At first, she’d thought he was sick, or stressed about something. Then, maybe an attempt to show gratitude for her saving his life in their last case. But that was too far-fetched. She’d even asked Lin, although he didn’t have any insight to offer. And she hadn’t seen Gene since the case, so it was impossible to ask him.

But Naru hadn’t even smirked at her in weeks.

Whatever. She was trying to give up on that stupid narcissist, so what he did was none of her business.

During the last few minutes before Shinji was supposed to arrive, she remained quiet, listening to the chatter/flirting going between Monk and Ayako, peppered by Yasu’s comments. She couldn’t bring herself to join in.

Her insides were still twisting with guilt over Shinji. When he’d confessed and she’d told him about Naru, he’d just smiled and said, “That’s okay. I can wait.” She liked him, but it was a far cry from her stupid obsession with her boss. But he’d been patient. He was a saint. And that just made her feel even worse.

The door opening signaled Shinji’s arrival, and Mai finally looked up from her work to smile at him. He barely had time to smile back before he was swarmed by the other three.

“So this is the boyfriend, huh?” Monk said.

“A new victim,” Yasu pulled Shinji onto one of the couches, sitting closely beside him, with an arm draped over Shinji’s shoulder. Making sure to make him as uncomfortable as possible. “Shinji Tokiwa, yes? It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Yasu beamed, but the expression looked far from friendly.

Shinji tried to back away, only to find himself flanked on the other side by Monk. “So, how did you meet our Mai?”

“W-we’re in the same class,” Shinji said. To his credit, he barely stuttered.

Ayako, sitting on the opposite couch, leaned in closer, smirking. “I do hope you have honorable intentions toward her, Tokiwa-kun. We’d hate for something bad to happen to you.” Her tone suggested many awful things.

“Guys! That’s enough!” Mai pushed Yasu aside, pulling a nervous Shinji out of the way of the three. “You don’t need to threaten him!”

Shinji chuckled, albeit nervously. “Don’t worry about it, Mai. I understand how they feel. They just want to protect you.”

“Good man,” Monk nodded in obvious approval.

Mai moved to grab her things, but froze when she heard Naru’s office door open, turning to look at his unreadable face. “Naru! I didn’t expect you to come out!”

He merely quirked one perfect eyebrow at her before saying, “I wanted to remind you all that this is a place of business. Acting otherwise, and dragging in people who aren’t even associates, is taking it a little far, even for you.”

“Oh, come on, boss,” Yasu grinned, glasses glinting, “don’t you want to also make sure Tokiwa-kun is good enough for our precious Mai?”

“Yasu!” Mai could feel herself blushing.

“Actually, I would like to speak to Tokiwa-san for a minute, if you don’t mind.” The words were spoken quietly, but everyone stared at Naru after he’d said them.

Great, what was he going to do? Tell Shinji how incompetent she was? She could do without that. She grabbed his arm, turning to leave, but Shinji stopped her. “It’s alright, Mai. It will only take a moment, right?” he looked to Naru for confirmation. Naru nodded.

And thus, Shinji followed Naru back into his office. Mai couldn’t help but feeling like he’d gone straight into the lion’s den. She flopped back onto the couch.

“Do you think Naru’s going to rip him a new one?” Monk asked.

“Maybe we should go,” Ayako said with a smirk. “That way, we’re not involved.”

“You guys!” Mai groaned.

“Relax, Mai,” Yasu said. “I’m sure everything will be fine.” she was about to thank him when he added, “The boss knows better than to leave any evidence.”

This was ridiculous. Turning away from the three of them, Mai watched the door. Hopefully Naru wouldn’t be too rude, whatever they were talking about.