Sunday, June 9, 2013

"KOIBUMI." (Ren'Ai Rensai, #5)

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Translation: "Love Letter."
Japanese Title: 恋文。」
Published: May 31st, 2013
Price: $4.99
Era: Present
Time Period: July - Sept., 2013
Editor: Lindsay York
Cover Photo: Wisky
Paperback: Currently Not Available


When Aiko declared her love for Reina twenty years ago, she knew it came with a price. Dreams of motherhood she once set aside, however, come rushing back when she assists her pregnant niece with a shocking secret. Other dreams left dormant surge when an intelligent, attractive man offers her a chance at a "normal" life, complete with a reassessment of her sexuality. If only she could have it all - especially the child!

No one could be less maternal than Reina, and her wife's conversations about adoption, sperm donors, and other matters do nothing to improve that. Reina is more concerned with the American looking to chronicle her sordid history in the name of academia.

Aiko and Reina have survived a gamut of obstacles determined to keep them apart. Yet nothing scares Reina more than losing her wife to the very things she can't give her, and nothing torments Aiko more than the emptiness in her life. If these two can't resolve their separate desires, then not even a heartfelt "koibumi," or love letter, may keep them together.


            “Would you ever sleep with a man?”
            Aiko dropped one of her chopsticks. “Excuse me?”
            “I asked you if you would sleep with a man.”
            Both chopsticks were laid atop Aiko’s rice bowl. “You mean like…have sex?”
            “That’s generally what that means, yes.”
            “No. Why in the world would I? I’m a lesbian.” Aiko snorted and resumed eating. Her newfound silence was telling.
            “Someone today told me that everyone has a price, specifically with sex.” Although the living area was air conditioned, humidity still choked Reina’s body. She rolled up the sleeves of her shirt. “They implied that one would fuck their unchosen sex for a price.”
            “Why in the world are you talking about that at work?” Aiko shook her head. “That’s ridiculous. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘price.’”
            Reina shrugged. “Anything. Money, I guess.”
            A single grain of rice fell from Aiko’s mouth. “Mou. That’s still ridiculous. Would you have sex with a man for one-hundred-million yen?
            I wouldn’t do it to clear my name at work. “No. I’d rather die than have sex with a man.” The thought made Reina’s throat close and her whole body violently shudder. If she thought beyond that, she would vomit.
            “How about five-hundred-million?”
            “No! Why, would you?”
            Aiko pursed her lips as if in deep thought. This shouldn’t take more than a second to realize! “That’s a lot of money. If we had that much, we would be set for the rest of our lives.”
            Frowning, Reina pushed the image of her wife in the arms of a man away. “There isn’t enough money in the world for me to do that. You seriously would?”
            “You’re forgetting I used to date men under the assumption I would marry one and have sex with him. If I could kiss them without dying, I suppose I could have sex for the right reason. I may be a lesbian, but I’m not as averse to the male body as you are.”
            The last thing Reina wanted to be reminded of was of young Aiko with her boyfriends. She was a virgin the first time they had sex, but Reina knew her wife had fooled around a little with boys before they met. “Would you be mad at me if I turned down that much money?”
          “What? No! That’s your own decision. You’d better go over it with me first, though.”
            “It’s not a real situation!”
            Aiko dropped a piece of chicken into her vegetables. “But is there any situation in which you would have sex with a man, outside of money?”
            “What if it would save my life?”
            “Huh? How is that possible?”
            “It’s hypothetical, dear.”
            “Then what’s the point? No matter what I say, I feel sick to my stomach.”
            “Good thing it’s not a real situation then.”
            Aiko continued to eat her dinner in silence; Reina continued to stare at her untouched food. “Are there other situations in which you would have sex with a man?”
            A resounding sigh broke out in the room as Aiko slammed her chopsticks down. “I don’t know. Maybe. I guess. I don’t know.”
            “You guess? Why in the world then?”
            “Well…” Aiko bit the inside of her cheek. The fact she wouldn’t look Reina in the eye…it’s not something I would like. “Say we decided to have a baby. The odds of finding somebody to donate sperm would be slim to none. So I might have to get pregnant…the old fashioned way.”
            Reina’ s eyes practically fell out of her face. Not this shit again! “You would have sex with a man for a baby?
            “Why not? Women all over the world do it every day!”
            “Yeah, straight women!”
            Aiko stood up from the table, leaving her half-eaten food behind. “I need to use the toilet. Let’s change the subject when I come back.”
            Reina was more than happy to at that point. Once her wife was out of the room she stared at her cold food. “Everyone has their price.” There was no situation in which Reina could imagine herself consenting to sex with a man. None. She’d give up her own limbs, her own life first. Nakamura spoke bullshit, as usual. She doubted he would actually sleep with a man himself.
            But apparently her wife would.
            For both of their sakes, Reina had her mouth full of food when Aiko returned.



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