"NANPAKAI."Translation: "Pick-Up Cluib."
Japanese Title: 「軟派会。」
Published: December 28th, 2012
Time Period: September, 2012
Editor: Lindsay York
Cover Photo: Ben Heys
Paperback: Not Available
As a belated birthday present, Aiko's girlfriend Reina takes her to the largest lesbian nightclub in town. Rowdy, drunk women aren't exactly on Aiko's list of "great birthday gifts" however, until she discovers the club's dirty little secret - it's actually a "nanpakai," or a place for picking up women for some quick, casual fun centered around exhibitionism. With the mission to become a seductress for one night, Aiko sets her sights on an out-of-towner. Will their encounter be the envy of every other woman watching, or will Aiko discover she's not cut out for the life of a nanpa?
After stopping halfway across the room to smooth out blouse, skirt, and voluminous hair, Aiko straightened her back and reclaimed the confident image of a reba on the prowl. There were empty spots in the back rooms after all, and she needed to fill them both for her girlfriend’s and her own rising needs.
The closer she came to her unknowing target, the more those needs increased. Coming off such a lovely kiss from Reina, Aiko realized the slow stimulation of the night had created a tingle in her stomach and a numbness in her breasts. One look from this woman would be enough to make Aiko go for a hat-trick between her legs.
Unlike Mina, this woman noticed her a few seconds before she arrived. Their eyes met in the darkness of the nightclub. A tiny smirk grew on her high cheekbones; she pocketed her cell phone in her blazer.
“Can I help you?” she asked with a rich tenor. “You look a little lost.”
Aiko had to steel herself against this woman’s charms. I’m the one doing the seducing, not her. Although the thought of letting this gorgeous woman with reddish-brown hair and sparkling eyes do whatever she wanted was appealing. Instead, Aiko reminded herself of her promise to Reina, and maintained a coy countenance. “I was going to ask you the same thing.”
Bemusement clouded the woman’s once eager expression, but she didn’t flinch, nor did she look like she wanted go somewhere else. “Is is that obvious I’m not from around here?” she asked. “Please, have a seat.”
The tiny two-person table forced Aiko to sit opposite the woman, her shoulder bumping into the wall. She put Reina’s beer on the table and attempted to mimic the woman’s casual stance by crossing her legs and leaning into the chair. “Let’s just say you seem the type I would have seen around here before.” Aiko didn’t interact with many butches because of Reina’s tendencies for femmes, but she would have definitely recalled a looker like this one. There’s something mischievous about her smile. When Reina smirked like that it was because she knew something Aiko didn’t – this was genuine pleasure for the situation.
“It’s not my first time to this neighborhood, no.” The woman flicked her empty glass. “But I don’t live around here, so maybe that’s why our paths have unfortunately not crossed before.”
“Where are you from?”
The woman reached an alluring hand for Aiko. She stiffened, prepared to be groped from across the table, and decided she was okay with that thought. Here’s your show, Reina.
But the woman’s hand diverted for the beer bottle and scraped the label. Aiko laughed. “Ah, Sapporo?” She turned the bottle towards herself. “That far away?” How could this amiable woman be from Japan’s northernmost city? I bet she’s the queen tachi of the Sapporo lesbian scene.
“My job brings me here sometimes. I’m only here through the weekend.”
Aiko imagined that whatever business this woman had included a suite in a grand Tokyo hotel overlooking the bay, where room service was outrageous but the walls were soundproof. Tingles scurried across her skin as she further imagined being in that room with this woman, because clearly that was the oncoming invitation. “Oh, I’ve lived here my whole life. I’ve been coming to this neighborhood for over twenty years now.” She hoped she didn’t age herself.
“Twenty years, eh?” Her thin, brown eyebrows danced in calculations. “That’s how long I’ve been wearing clothes like these.”
Beer entered Aiko’s mouth as she tipped the Sapporo blend past her lips. She set it down with a gentle ting, her eyes never once leaving the woman’s large hands. “My name is Aiko. Pleasure to welcome you to my city.”
Teeth as white as the one light in the room accepted Aiko’s welcome. “You can call me Jun. Nice to see you drinking my beer.”
It’s Reina’s favorite brand. Aiko had been buying her cases of it for fifteen years. “Jun, huh? My mother’s name is Junko.” The irony could give an anemic a headache.
Jun pulled a cigarette from her other pocket – Aiko saw her chance. She whipped Reina’s lighter from her purse and produced a spark with a flick of the nimble wrist. Jun wavered between staring at Aiko’s chivalry and pulling out her own lighter. The cigarette balanced upon her lips. Eventually she leaned forward and accepted a light.
“So tell me,” Jun said behind a smoke ring, “what’s a lovely lady like you doing by herself in a place like this? I mean, I’m from out of town, so I don’t know many people. But if you’ve been here for twenty years, then you’re either a pariah or up to something.”
Aiko laughed. “I assure you, I have no bad reputation you should fear. I’m just…” she struggled for an appropriate word, one that would neither offend nor give away her history as one-half of Ni-chome’s most notorious couple. “I’m picky.”
A fleeting look told Aiko that her girlfriend was still in place, watching them with continued interest. Yes, picky. She had gone through a dozen boyfriends before meeting Reina and discovering her Sapphic destiny. Since then not a single person could compare to her Reina…although many, like maybe Jun, tried.
“Since you’re from out of town,” Aiko said, bouncing a foot beneath the table, “I’d like to know how you found out about this place. It’s quite special, you know.”
“Oh? I’d always heard of it. It’s the biggest club for… certain women, is it not?”
“Last I heard. But the bars are so much more popular.” Or at least Aiko preferred them and their familiarity.
Jun shrugged. “I know this place has been around forever.”
“Yes, that’s true. It also has a certain reputation, you know.”
“So I’ve heard.” Jun’s mouth parted into a devilish smile.
Aiko eased her foot forward and discovered the tip of Jun’s knee; she was met with a deeper look and one careful smoke ring. The way Jun’s lips turned into a perfect O taunted Aiko for a kiss. “Have you heard what people call this kind of club?”
A brilliant pause.
“I’ve heard it called a nanpakai.”
Jun tilted forward into the table, into Aiko’s foot. “Are you a nanpa, Aiko-san?”
I will be soon. “Are you, Jun-san?”
She picked up her glass and coaxed out the last drop; the tip of her boot grazed Aiko’s foot. “I may have been called that once or twice.”
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