Friday, December 28, 2012

"MITSUSHIN." (Ren'Ai Rensai Shorts)



Translation: "Three Hearts."
Japanese Title: 「三心。」 *
Published: December 14th, 2012
Price: $1.99
Era: Past
Time Period: February, 1993
Editor: Lindsay York
Cover Photo: Mikhail Laptev
Paperback: Not Available

* "Foreigner" Japanese


For their first Valentine's Day together, Aiko hopes her girlfriend Reina will finally woo her with a little romance. Instead their big date veers off in a strange direction when Reina decides it's time to initiate Aiko into the wondrous world of "Mitsushin," or "three hearts" as their foreign friend calls it. Will this inclusion of a third woman obliterate all the romance left, or will Aiko discover a new way to celebrate the love she has for Reina? A relationship legacy that will ripple throughout all of Shinjuku is about to be born.


“Do you think I’m attractive?” Aiko dropped her cards, her eyes searching for anything to look at besides Michiko’s startled face. “I mean, would you even… do that… with me… mou, hazukashii!” She buried her head in her hands from the embarrassment.

Inside the bathroom Reina turned the sink on and off, rattling the levers when water refused to come out hot enough. Amidst her curses on behalf of her sexual frustration, Michiko took one of Aiko’s hands and caressed it.

“You’re a lovely young woman, Ai-chan.” That voice…Aiko had heard it before, somewhere else. The first date she had with a woman was with Michiko, not Reina, but all that amounted to was an initiation into flirtation and oral fixation. Now the seductive tone returned, and it was almost as if Aiko could feel herself back in that karaoke booth, Michiko’s finger pushing into her mouth.

“But…” Aiko’s lips were dry. “But I’m not that…"

“Not that what? Pretty?” Soft fingers cupped Aiko’s chin; Michiko glanced over the face in front of her. “Let’s just say I was never surprised Reina ended up giving all her time to you.”

Another guttural curse at the sink erupted from the bathroom. What is she doing in there? Aiko closed her eyes as Michiko’s hand pressed against her cheek.

Once, she had mentally begged for Michiko to kiss her. That was then, in the karaoke booth, and this was now, in a love hotel. Where I thought she was going to take me in the first place. Michiko even wore a similar ensemble to what she wore then: a black turtleneck decorated with a golden butterfly pendant on top of her breasts; a mini-skirt showcasing her smooth legs; hair recently dyed a stark brown and styled into a fashionable bob; make-up as natural as it was audacious, with dark pink lipstick and curled lashes. Since embracing her identity as a lesbian, Aiko found allowing herself to be captivated by another woman’s looks liberating…but now all she felt was confusion as their lips touched.

Michiko indulged Aiko’s shyness more than Reina usually did. She pushed forward, but didn’t jump to inhale her face like certain people. Instead, Michiko was the gentlest lover, massaging Aiko with one palm while squeezing her hand with the other. Their lips never went beyond innocent puckering. It’s like I’ve never kissed a woman before.

Kora!” Reina’s voice blasted into Aiko’s ears like a fist. She flung herself back from Michiko and gazed into her girlfriend’s overbearing visage, whether angry or disillusioned, she could not tell. “I go to the bathroom for three minutes and you two decide to start making out? Without me!” She flung her arms to the side with a huff.

“Calm down.” Michiko kept one hand in Aiko’s and used the other to take Reina’s. “I was just trying to demonstrate to your girlfriend the power of mitsushin.”

“Eh?” Reina froze in bewilderment. 

“Eh?” Aiko cocked her head to the side.

Michiko attempted to remain nonplussed between them, but her eyes closed and her mouth became taut. “I said that wrong, didn’t I?”

“I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”

Aiko giggled, a gesture pleasing enough to pull Michiko out of her little pillar of self-pity. “I think you mean ‘three hearts?’” She said the correct word as delicately as possible.

“Oh, yes, of course. Thank you, Ai-chan.” 

Rolling her eyes, Reina attempted to wrench her hand free. Aiko muttered “mistushin” beneath her breath and tried not to laugh at Michiko’s juvenile mistake. Sometimes she forgot their friend had only learned Japanese a few years before, since she was originally from America. Every once in a while she let out a little gaffe like that, but usually Michiko spoke much more eloquently in Japanese than some people…like Reina, who often sounded like a high-school boy trying to impress all his friends.

“What I was trying to convey,” Michiko continued, “was that sometimes three hearts are more passionate than two. And everybody needs some passion in their lives, nee, Ai-chan?

She shrunk into her own embrace. “I guess so.”  



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