The third time she met Koyama Keiichiro she found herself floundering as she looked at the man behind the messy desk, looking aggravated as he tried to make sure everything that needed to be cleared was.
They had told her this would be Haruma’s new office, she had never imagined this was Koyama Keiichiro’s old office. “Hi,” He smiled as he looked up to see her, and again…he spoke in English. Talia knew she was being paranoid, but it felt like he spoke in English to allow their conversation a certain degree of privacy, like a screen over the meaning of the few innocent words they had exchanged so far.
It was an absurd thought for her to have given that this man didn’t even really know her and so why on earth would he want to have a private conversation with her? “This isn’t Haruma’s office.” She replied back carefully in English.
“No, I don’t think it is yet. It will be when I move up to the 25th floor in about 10 minutes.” His grin was playful as he examined her expression towards him. “Why do you look like you’re dissecting everything I say?”
Talia chose to ignore that statement. She’d be damned if she told him she was, and she’d be damned if she lied and said she wasn’t. “So you’ve been promoted as well.”
“Junior Vice-President…yes, Miura will report directly to me.” Talia gulped as she nodded. Right. This guy was now Haruma’s direct boss. “Don’t worry.” He joked, his teeth poking out of his mouth teasingly. For someone who was supposed to be the man taking care of Haruma’s entire team, Talia found him entirely too playful. “I’ll take good care of your boyfriend.”
“Thanks, if that’s all I guess I’ll-“
“Why don’t you stay?” He pointed to the desk chairs in front of him. “These aren’t going anywhere…and they’ll be Miura’s property in 10 minutes. He’ll be here. It’s practically your office now.” Talia shrugged. Okay, that was true. She was supposed to be here to help Haruma celebrate his promotion in his new office and set up the room, why shouldn’t she stay? “So you’re from the US?”
“Yes.” She replied back tightly. Something about this guy made her nervous. He came down to sit beside her and she raised an eyebrow.
“It’s not like it’s my office anymore…feels wrong to sit on that chair when it’s Miura’s now.” He explained pointing towards the lush leather seat in front of the two of them. Talia imagined for a second that Haruma was there, watching the two of them have this conversation and immediately tried to clear the image from her mind. It had made her heart jump in her throat for absolutely no reason.
All she really wanted to do was look at the guy beside her, it was a peculiar feeling. It was one she didn’t understand. She barely knew this guy and she felt like all she wanted to do right now was stare until she felt her eyes burn with tears at the sight of this man beside her. “Aren’t you going to ask?”
“Ask what?” She replied back. She had a number of things she wanted to ask him.
She wanted to ask him if she was being delusional, if she was being ridiculous to imagine that he was- looking at her and she wanted to ask him if any of what she’d asked him made any sense whatsoever?
“Why I’m so good at English?” Oh…that. She hadn’t been wondering about that but it gave her an excuse to stare at him at least for another 30 seconds, so why not when he had so readily provided them with an excuse to talk to each other and there would be nothing wrong with it?
“Okay…why are you so good at English?”
“I studied in the U.S., nothing fancy or traumatic about that story. I stayed there for four years until I was 16. My parents wanted to move me over there at an age where I was old enough that I never forgot my culture, and young enough to absorb the new culture I was thrown into. Of course I haven’t gone back there since though.” Talia tilted her head to the right. He was being rather open with her right now…and it felt strange to say the least. She’d learned in her time here that for most people it was hard for them to trust a foreigner so easily with information about themselves. Why was Koyama Keiichiro so open?
“Why haven’t you been back?”
“All my family is here.” The way he steered the conversation was so easy, like he was trying to make her comfortable with all this talk about family and education and migration. “Do you miss it? Your home?”
“I go back every two years or so. It’s not that bad.” She’d been back just last spring, with Haruma. “I moved here with the intention of never returning…so I’m glad things have turned out the way they have.”
“Miura and you are in a pretty serious relationship huh?” He asked softly. There it was again, the look that was searching for an answer. An answer to a question he hadn’t asked. Not really. But she’d heard it nevertheless.
“Yes we are.” Her reply came out breathy and soft despite her best efforts to control the sound and tone of her voice around him.
“That’s good.” It must have been her imagination but Koyama’s face appeared to be the slightest bit closer to hers. “I’m happy for you two.” And then he moved back. “The man of the hour is here.” He stood up and grinned back towards the door as Talia looked away from him and down at herself to collect her thoughts and expressions before she turned around to see Haruma.
Then she got up and smiled happily at her boyfriend, enveloping his suit-dressed figure in the tightest of hugs, breathing in the familiar scent of the mint soap he used. Then she dug her head into his chest so she could hide her expression for just one more second.
She was not sure what she looked like right now but she was sure it didn’t look happy.
She was pretty sure it looked confused.