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The Price of Love

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Natsuki wandered down the sunny street, humming away. It had been almost a month since she had started dating Takumi, and she found her thoughts dominated more and more by him.

Her phone beeped. A new client – standard meetup at the local love hotel the day after next. She texted a quick ‘yes’ and continued on, trying to ignore the unsettling feeling that she was damaging the one relationship in her life that meant the most to her.

But it was only a business transaction, right? Not quite – if that were the case, then she wouldn’t be trying to imagine Takumi whenever she was performing all these deviant acts.

But she needed the money. She didn’t have anyone in her life she could ask to support her, nor any other skills that she could rely upon.

Despite this, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was sitting on a ticking time-bomb.

~~

Taking a deep breath, she knocked on the door of the hotel, hoping that it would be easy to imagine Takumi in the guy’s place.

Putting on her best carefree smile, she stepped inside and whirled around, then stopped short.

It was Takumi.

Lost and undone, she fell on the floor as Takumi slammed the door shut. He was furious.

“When were you going to tell me?” he said in a low voice.

She started to whimper. “I wasn’t.”

“Here you are, acting all coy and refusing to sleep with me, when in fact you’re just a 30k yen whore.”

“They didn’t mean anything to me, I swear!”

Takumi took out a wad of photos and threw it at her. “Looks like you were enjoying it.”

With horror, she saw that the previous client had put a hidden camera in the room. “My eyes were closed – I was imagining you!” she pleaded.

“Really.” He looked unconvinced.

“What are you going to do?” she whimpered.

“Firstly, I’m going to fuck you. Make it obvious that you were playing me, making me out to be a fool by believing you were someone special. And I will be paying you, Natsuki. Beyond that, I don’t know.”

She started to cry as he picked her up.

“Don’t cry!” he screamed as he pushed her up against the wall. “I’m just a trick, remember?”

“No, you’re not!” she said sobbing.

She had just enough time to flinch as she saw his fist flying towards her. After her scream died down, she realised he’d punched a hole in the wall, next to her head.

“Don’t lie to me,” he spat. “Don’t you dare fucking lie to me.”

She froze, trembling, not daring to say a word after seeing his strength and temper.

She allowed herself to be thrown on the bed, and lay still as he climbed on her.

“Look, I’m not going to hurt you,” he said, a bit calmer. “I’m not going to punch you. I’m not that much like my Dad, and besides, you’re female. But, dammit, Natsuki – you’re giving it away to everyone except me – how do you think that makes me feel? Was this all just a fucking joke?”

“It should make you feel special,” she said in a small voice. “I’m not proud of what I do. And… I would have given it up if I had enough to live on. I didn’t want it to be like this.”

“You know what… you’re not even worth it,” he said, getting off her. “I should just accept the fact I’ve been played and move on.”

“No!” she screamed.

“It’s over, Natsuki.”

“Wait!” she shouted as she grabbed his arm. “Please don’t go!”

“What do you want from me now,” he asked softly, dangerously.

“I wanted you to respect me,” she said, wiping her tears. “That’s why I didn’t sleep with you. It’s because you mean more to me than anyone. My feelings have always been loyal to you.”

“Why the hell should I trust you?” Takumi responded. “You’ve given away the most precious, intimate thing a woman could give.”

“Let me make it up to you,” she said. “Before you leave. I’ve never slept with anyone for free. You can have that.”

“I want someone I can trust,” he replied, tears finally flowing. “It’s not the sex.”

“It breaks my heart to see you cry, because it means you really did care for me,” she said, embracing him in a gentle hug. “Why don’t you hit me if it will make you feel better, because it can’t be worse than you saying you never want to see me again.”

“I don’t want you seeing anyone else again. And I don’t like the way I have to control you to stop seeing other guys.”

“None of them mean anything to me!” she protested. “I swear, I was doing it just for the money!”

He breathed out, finally convinced that she did feel something for him. “Let’s just leave – I wanted our first time to be something special. I’m too confused at the moment.”

She hugged him tightly, placing a kiss on his neck. “Thank you, Takumi. It means so much to me that you’ll give me another chance. And if you want to do it on the hood of your car, I’m OK with that.”

He chuckled. “I didn’t mean special like that! Besides, Dad would know.”

She laughed, and they both kissed each other deeply.