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Kaiji: Ultimate Seductor

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-author here! this chapter is kinda just to establish the reader! smut will be soon to follow!-

1.

 

Itou Kaiji was a… strange man.

At least that’s what you could tell through the wall you started sharing with him about 2 months ago. You had moved into the small apartment building in order to be close to your part time job while you were also hunting for something a bit better paying. Tokyo was expensive after all, and even an apartment as small as yours costed a bit more than was feasible with your wage working at a bookstore. Still, you were able to get by, if only by the skin of your teeth.

Which is more than can be said for your next door neighbor, apparently.

You hadn’t talked to Kaiji much in the short time you had lived in the building; you had briefly introduced yourself to him when you moved in and said hello from time to time when you ran into each other. Other than that, though, neither of you were really very keen for conversation. You worked odd, inconsistent hours and were usually too tired to engage in a lengthy talk, and Kaiji always seemed to be in a bad mood. To top that off, the landlord had warned you ‘stay away’ from the young man, saying he was, ‘a trouble-making delinquent’. You believe you remember the landlord mumbled to you once about how late Kaiji was on rent.

You kept your nose out of it. It didn’t concern you. He didn’t concern you.

Or at least, it didn’t until said ‘delinquent’ was knocking on your front door.

It was late evening, bordering on too late for a random visit. You thought maybe it was your coworker and friend, Sachiko, who sometimes came by in a drunken haze to sleep over. You assumed as much as you grumbled to yourself and made your way to the front door. You threw it open with a bit more force than you intended to.

“Sa-chan, I told you not to-“

You brought your gaze up to glare into the eyes of…your neighbor. Kaiji looked uncomfortable and startled, staring back at you with a look that almost seemed to mimic your glare. Your face softened a bit as you met his eyes. You found yourself subconsciously fixing your posture and trying to force a polite smile. This was a bit of a surprise.

“Ah, Itou-san! Sorry, I thought you were someone else,” you said in a sugar-coated tone you had mastered while working customer service jobs.

“O-oh, uhm, my bad,” Kaiji answered in a stammer, “I didn’t mean to bother you. I just, uh…”

His eyes averted yours, looking away towards the direction of his own door. You had been at work for nearly nine hours today and there was a cup of tea growing cold on your kitchen counter. Customers had pestered you and your boss was as unforgiving as ever. You’d been drawn thin today; still, Kaiji never made an effort to talk to you, nor you to him. Something inside you was intrigued. You tilted your head, as if to ask, ‘what is it?’.

“Your, uhm… your mail keeps getting delivered to me.”

…Huh.
That’s … much more trivial that what you were expecting. Not that you were expecting much; or anything at all.

“Ah, really? I’m sorry about that! I thought I had less junk mail than usual,” you quipped half heartedly. He didn’t really respond. A bad joke, you guess.

Kaiji reached his hand into his jacket’s inner pocket, pulling out a small stack of envelopes and some loose leaf coupons and held them out to you. You shrugged and reached out to take them. As you take them from his hand, you felt your fingers ever so gingerly touch his. A split second of contact. His eyes snapped down to the paper stack at the touch and his arm jerked back. He quickly shoved his hand back in his pocket after you fully took the mail.

What was that? You thought. I barely touched him, and it was an accident…

“I, uh, I’ll talk to the landlord and the post office and make sure this stops happening,” You said, looking back up at his face. It was dark, and the only real light came from the shitty florescent lights on the stairway to the ground floor but, his slightly tanned skin seemed…flushed? Pink? Maybe?

Was he blushing from that microscopic amount of contact? Or were you just exhausted? Could he be a bit drunk?

“Y-yeah. It’s not a big problem.” His voice was quiet. He wasn’t looking at you again, his eyes staring in the direction of his apartment again.

Then there was silence. It seemed like a natural enough end to the conversation, but the tall man didn’t move. He continued to stand in your doorway, avoiding your gaze but keeping his sneaker-clad feet planted. You stared into his face, then down at the mail briefly, then back at him. This was…odd. What is one meant to do here? It was almost 9:30, your tea was continuing to get colder, and for whatever reason, you felt your face ever so slightly warming up. Did he need something? Did he want to talk more? You were starting to feel awkward.

“U-uhm, Itou-san?”

You cringed inwardly. Your voice cracked and came out a lot quieter than you had meant to. His eyes returned to you, but his head stayed at an angled that faced away. He seemed so…on edge. Did you do something wrong?

“Did you, uhm…” You searched your tired brain. You didn’t know if you wanted him to go away or keep talking, but you wanted this situation to stop. “Did you need something else?”

Did that seem too harsh? You weren’t friends with Kaiji by any stretch, not even close, but you also didn’t have any reason to be rude. Still, he was just…standing there. You weren’t sure if you should go on the offense. You didn’t know him, he could be a creep.

“Ah,” he nervously responded. A look of realization crossed his face, like ‘oh shit I’m being weird’. “N-no. Sorry, my bad. I’m, uh, I’m gonna get going.”

He offered something almost akin to a smile, and gestured towards his door with a single thumb. You found yourself smiling back, even though you still felt a bit awkward. You guess your customer service mode is still on. Politeness first, or whatever they teach you.

With that, he briefly bowed his goodbye and you returned the gesture, stepped back inside your apartment, and closed the door. You stared at the door for a second, tracing back the conversation in your brain. Somehow, you found yourself stifling a laugh.

He has to be at least 22 , you thought to yourself, and he’s still nervous about little touches like that? Is he that awkward around women?

Well, maybe it wasn’t just women. Maybe Kaiji was just awkward in general. After all, he did seem to actively avoid conversation, both with you and most other people from what you had seen. Through the wall you shared, you almost never heard anyone visit him, usually just him playing music. The one or two times you did hear other voices, it was other men, usually cheering to themselves or decrying the others. It sounded like they were playing some game. You weren’t entirely sure.

You exhaled, turned around and headed back into your kitchen. You went for your mug of tea and took a sip. It was luke-warm.

“Goddamn it,” you muttered to yourself.

You put your kettle back on the stovetop, and dumped the cold tea in the sink. You made a mental note to save up for a microwave. While you waited for the kettle to whistle, you leaned against the kitchen counter and started to shuffle through the mail that had been so graciously returned to you. A few bills, some political advertisements for a local upcoming election, coupons for your favorite supermarket down the road (those were set aside for later), another bill and-

An envelope.

A handwritten, addressed to you envelope with no return address.

You felt your brows furrow and you flipped it around in your hands a few times for some type of clue. You didn’t really receive letters; not from your parents, not from high school friends, not anyone. And the fact that there was no return address made it all the stranger. A strange feeling fluttered in your stomach.

Nevertheless, you overly cautiously opened it.

'If you ever want to get a beer or something, call me here. Or knock on the door. Whatever.
-Kaiji'

His handwriting was sloppy, and the letter took up maybe 1/18th of the paper. There was a landline number attached. You reread if a few times. The tea kettle was whistling.

“…eh?”