The elevator let David off at the 19th floor, dimly-lit hallway beckoning to a door guarded by twin jar vases, orchids quivering. A small placard identified the club as Peach. Ringing a bell, the door opened noiselessly and he entered a small, elegantly-appointed room. A man in a black suit greeted him and stood aside, gesturing toward a middle-aged woman with black-rimmed glasses, poised behind a brushed-metal counter.
“Good evening,” she said in what seemed British-accented English, though her appearance was Japanese. “This is a private club. You were looking for another, perhaps?” She let the question hang, as if prepared to let him in or send him on his way.
“Please excuse me,” he said, following the script Eve had given him. “I’m in Japan for a few months and one of my clients recommended your establishment as a place to experience the best of what Tokyo has to offer.”
The woman raised an eyebrow and smiled, “In that case, you are a most welcome guest. Our system is simple. A 20,000 yen table and drink charge for the first hour and 7,000 yen for each hour following. Ladies’ drinks’ start at 3,000 yen each, exclusive of gratuity. Is this suitable?”
David nodded, willing his nerves to settle. The prices seemed stratospheric, though he supposed they were standard at this type of place. One thing was certain––he would be spending more for a few hours here than he earned in a week. He took out his wallet as casually as possible, reminding himself that it wasn’t his money. The woman pursed her lips and shook her head. “Later.” He felt that she could see through him, knew that he was not the type who frequented this type of establishment. That didn’t matter––he was in.
The man in the suit pushed a button and the wood-grained far wall of the lobby slid noiselessly open. David took a deep breath and walked into an interior of round glass tables and metallic lamps emitting a subdued blue light, framed by a nighttime panorama of Tokyo. As he settled back in his seat, David admired the city lights amid a buzz of skyscrapers and traffic. At the center stood Tokyo Tower, warm lit and serene. With effort he pulled his head away and looked around the room. Scattered dissipation took the form of expensive dresses, hands draped casually over shirts with loosened ties––lighting cigarettes, pouring whiskey, picking out ice cubes with slender tongs from silver buckets and clinking them into glasses.
“Yes,” he said, his throat suddenly very dry. As Lise draped herself on the seat beside him, he struggled to avoid and yet was drawn to thighs framed by painfully short skirt. This felt strangely intimate, and not in a false way. Whoever had designed this experience was working on a higher level––sex had gone from the last thing on his mind to the only thing that really mattered.
David turned his shoulder slightly to create space between himself and hostess. Over the next minute conversation adhered to the script Eve had laid out, the basics of what he was doing in Japan. “I’m here on a consulting contract with Panko Investments. I’ve been recommended by Sato and Hata, who are sadly working overtime tonight…” When Lise gave him a questioning look, he cast around for recollection of a financial news article he had read on the plane to Manila. “Even on Sunday there are a few markets open. Action is heating up in southern Chile and Uganda, believe it or not––and don’t get me started on volatility in rare metals. Ah… I don’t mind a little whiskey… on the rocks.”
Why not bend a little––he needed his questions, when they came, to appear artless, indirect. He had paid, he was in and––if he was not mistaken––Lise found him one of the more intriguing men she had spent time with this week. If she would lead him on her leash, he would be the putty.
Lise, to her credit, took the lead in a conversation that required him to dredge up meaningful responses. Her English ability, while a distant third behind her native Portuguese and acquired Japanese, was well above your local Tokyo-ite. Nodding, sipping, as warmth emanated, he took in descriptions of body surfing in Brazil, how much she missed the food, the samba inflected sway of hips. He was transported by her description to a remote tropical locale far removed from urban sprawl and, increasingly relaxed, forgot his reason for being there at all.