The signs had been there but Mai stupidly didn’t pay it much mind.
So what if Maki’s been more active in terms of her social media use, it’s the only way Mai can discreetly
stalk keep track of her runaway twin so she took that as a positive thing anyway. So what if Maki suddenly began asking for recommendations on beauty vlogs, her lackey Kugisaki bombarding her with links in the replies. It’s perfectly normal for girls their age to be interested in that stuff, her tomboy-leaning twin included.
What’s not normal is this conversation she serendipitously overhears on the campus walkway one morning.
“Does this look okay?” Maki asks, frazzled as a livewire. “Do I look weird?”
Mai can’t see them from where she’s sitting, her back turned to them, but she can recognize that voice anywhere.
“That dress looks stunning on you, Maki-san!” that Kugisaki brat says, cheery and supportive, but it seems to fail in calming Maki down.
Because instead of a lighthearted reproach or a scoff, her twin mutters, “I mean… will he find it okay?
“If he says something unpleasant, tell me and I’d be sure to kick his balls for you.”
“Touch a hair of Yuuta and it’s your ass that will take a beating, Nobara,” her sister bites out, and that show of vitriol shots a pang of jealousy straight to her heart.
Mai doesn’t hear the rest of the conversation as the two walks past hearing distance– leaving her with a single word, a single name, circling in her mind.
A quick message at Momo and a few minutes of cross checking with Kokichi, and she learns his last name is Okkotsu. He’s apparently a second year student in the Computer Science department, and that depressive and emo are the words usually attached to him by the supposed general consensus. Momo, in her social butterfly persona (must be that loli-like charm), is also well connected enough to send her the scarcely used socials of Okkotsu Yuuta.
Huh, never thought men with no personality are your type, Mai thinks as she bitterly scrolls through Okkotsu’s mostly bare LINE profile that Momo had sent her. The guy doesn’t even have the guts to use his own likeness as his LINE icon, a solid square of black being used instead.
She clicks her tongue as she heads to his gallery, wanting to take a peek at what exactly this guy looks like. To fuel her ire, the only image with actual humans included is a group picture—one in which her twin has her arm wrapped around the shoulder of a guy hunched forward, eyes upturned in a smile.
That must be the guy, her instincts scream at her.
She squints as she zooms in on their matching grinning faces. Emo and depressive, my ass.
It looks as if they were on an outing, the greenery around them and their light workout clothes point to them going on a hike on a mountain somewhere. She feels bitterness crawl up her throat as she fails to think back on the last time Maki included her in her plans.
She scoffs, amused at herself. Maki didn't even let her in on her grand getaway plan when she left the family, why even bother on that line of thought when that only prods at the sharpest pain she ever felt in her life.
Mai herself had wanted individuation between the two of them, for both of them to be seen as an individual in their own right. Had at one point wanted their paths to diverge as she finds herself incapable of keeping pace with her twin, her incredibly driven twin who could excel at anything. Although she never thought her wish would be realized sooner rather than later—to her utter despair. Their paths did diverge, at the cost of her being casted aside and abandoned. Left to fend for herself in this cage made of blood relations.
And it hurts to know that this path Maki casted her and her family aside for is being used, being wasted, on him.
He looks sickly pale and with heavy bags under his eyes. As if that outing had been the first time in months he got a decent amount of sunshine and fresh air. Nevermind his wiry delicate frame.
What does Maki see in him, she seethes and wrestles with herself.
It’s undeniable that Maki looks… happy in the picture. From how relaxed her posture is, to the glimmer in her eyes, and to her wide toothy grin she hadn’t seen in years. Not since Maki ran away from home, leaving her alone.
It’s only through sheer luck… maybe even fate… that they unknowingly applied and got into the same university. Albeit in different departments and surrounded by different sets of friends.
She remembers the first time they saw each other on campus. Particularly on how shell-shocked Maki looked, how blood got drained out of her, how she’s rendered stiff and unmoving as the crowd moves around them–uncaring for the weight, the ache, in their sudden reunion.
She took that as cue to send her a sliver of her ire, peering at her in the composed closed-offf elegance their mother always dons when she seethes, making her twin flinch before she walked past her sister’s frozen stature–not a single word uttered between them.
She unconsciously crushes the can of coffee in her tight grip as she remembers that day. In her cloud of anger, her mind veers on the thought that maybe it’s also fate that she overheard this particular conversation.
It’s an opportunity, she thinks to herself.
An opportunity for reparations, that is.
With renewed vigor, she rights herself up from the park bench she’s been sitting on long before her twin and her lackey’s illuminating conversation reached her ears.
Guess it’s time to make full use of my acting lessons, she says to herself as she lays out her plans.
Spite can really be such a powerful tool, Mai has come to know.
A few intel gathering here and there with the help of Momo and Kokichi completes her plan that hinges on how trusting (read: gullible) this Okkotsu guy is.
She may not be privy to her twin's thoughts and preferences about romantic partners, but she does know she detests scummy men like that of their kin. Hence she wagers her plan has a great chance of succeeding.
Even if she’s at attempt number 3 as it is.
Still, that doesn’t dull her resolve at all.
So for the third time this week, she dons an unassuming ‘studious’ type of outfit instead of her flashy norm that she pairs with thick-rimmed glasses because she can't for the life of her be seen and acknowledged as Mai Zenin by her coursemates while wearing something as drab as this. Either way, they serve as her costume while her mountain of (fake) readings serves as her prop.
She’d learned from Kokichi, someone in the same course and year as Okkotsu, that Okkotsu frequents this particular manga cafe during his breaks. She did indeed see Okkotsu during her first two attempts but the Japanese nature of having your own space, your own nook, even in a public space such as a manga cafe leads to an added difficulty to having a seemingly natural introduction to this blasted emo kid.
He always enters a few minutes earlier than her, which makes sense because his department is nearer, but it still irks her to an infuriating degree. So, this time, she chose to shed a bit more of her pride as she hurried to the nerdy cafe–running as though she’s off to haul ass to grab the latest Versace line from Donatella Versace’s hands herself.
Oh how low she’s fallen, comes the passing thought in her mind. But maybe it was a good call to work her legs today, because there in her line of sight is the depressing mop of his hair and his deplorable slouch.
Fueled by ire, she chooses to go all out by screaming “Look out!” even when she has the capacity to slow down.
Just as she calculated, Okkotsu turns to her, the neutral expression of his face quickly transforming into abject surprise, right before they collide.
To his credit, it seems his lanky frame is not indicative of lack of strength. He manages to catch her by the hips, taking the brunt of the fall while softening her landing. Well, it does make sense for Maki to expect some measure of strength in someone before she could ever pay them the time of the day.
“Are you alright?” Okkotsu asks beneath her, brows furrowed and voice worried even though it’s clear she’s the one at fault.
“I- I’m fine,” she intentionally stutters out, playing the innocent route. She even acted out being flustered at their close contact, scurrying to get back on her feet.
“I’m sorry for running into you,” she says, bowing down even when that leaves a bad taste in her mouth. All for the endgame, the endgame, she reminds herself.
Okkotsu only laughs it off, quick to reassure her that it’s fine, and that she should take more care the next time.
God he’s such a goody two shoes that it infuriates her to no end. Still, that plays right into her plan as he helps her out with picking out the absolute mess of her “readings”.
"You… look like someone I know," he comments as he hands back a stack of papers, his gaze lingering on her face.
"Are you perhaps…flirting with me?" she asks, still in character as she tests the waters.
Unsurprisingly, that made Okkotsu flounder for a second time. He’s shaking his head like a man gone mad, panicking at that single insinuation of a line.
"N-no no no! I actually have a g-girlfriend."
She already has her suspicions but hearing it straight up from the boy has her blood boiling. Still, she forces herself to smile, eyes crinkling into crescents to hide the ire simmering in them.
“Oh! Then you should treasure her well!”
“I will! I mean- I am! No it's- I'll continue to do so!” Okkotsu fumbles with his words while eagerly nodding, a goofy smile on his lips.
"That's good!" she says as she unconsciously tightens her hold on the stack of paper, her temperament getting the best of her.
But she's quick to get back into character, dusting off non-existent dirt on top of her readings to smooth out the crinkles she just made. She turns to him, smile still painted on her lips.
“Again, thank you for your help…” she tapers off, voice lilting in a questioning tone.
“Yuuta. Okkotsu Yuuta.”
“Nice to meet you Okkotsu-san.” She stretches out her smile as she offers out her hand. All while hoping her darling of a sister hasn’t yet divulged the mess of her family to her boyfriend for that would bring ruin to her plans. “I’m Zenin Mai.”
Thankfully, her sister has enough shame in her to not parade around their dirty laundry to the world. Although she has to admit being the daughter of an almost-yakuza-boss, wherein the reason it was an almost is because he had two daughters instead of a ‘valid’ heir, is not really an easy topic to broach especially when you want the other party to remain by your side.
Maki had only apparently opened up that she’s not on the best of terms with her family. Not that she ran away.
Although it seems that her existence had at least been mentioned, based on a mere extrapolation from Okkotsu’s “Oh, so you’re the twin.”
She hates it, but her heart furiously leaped at that.
She mentally shakes her head as she returns to listening in on Okkotsu’s impassioned rambling about fate and luck. Instead of hanging on to such a small crumb of ‘attention’ from her twin, she should focus more on how she could proceed with her plan.
“Does Maki know you’re also attending Tokyo University? Do you want to meet her? I can give you her number!” Yuuta exclaims back to back, his eyes glittering with joy.
He looks so lively and puppy-like, so far removed from the emo garb he wears on the daily, that for a second she feels the beginnings of guilt crawl up the back her throat. But it’s simply fleeting, especially when she remembers she’s been abandoned and her rightful place has been taken by this very guy right in front of her nose.
“About that…” She folds her palms into her lap, making sure to let the silence lull into something tinged with a somber warmth. “I want to reconnect with her but I don’t think I’m personally ready.”
She looks up at Okkotsu through her lashes, meek as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. “Do you think you could help me with that, Okkotsu-san?”
As expected, the simpleton of a guy says, “Yes! Of course! Anything for Maki-san.”
Formally getting his LINE address and setting another meeting is a breeze after that.
She regularly converses with him thru LINE, asking about Maki’s whereabouts and going ons as though she’s frightfully concerned with her twin’s well-being (she actually is, her brain wisps at her in betrayal).
In turn, Okkotsu assures her that her sister is eating enough, getting enough sleep, and doing well in her studies.
Aside from that, he’s quite encouraging, actually. Annoyingly so.
Phrases such as I’m sure she misses you as well and She can’t possibly resent you are sent to her every now and then. The words and their sentiments carving a deeper gash in her wound. Because she already knows what her sister really feels, had seen the shock across her face, how horrified she looked, and how she didn’t lift a single metaphorical finger to reconnect with her–their world no longer having space for the other.
But she has space for him, a part of her screams out everytime Okkotsu so easily offers her such words of delusion.
It must really be so nice to be so idiotic and innocent. To live in a world still filled with the illusions of ‘goodness’, trust, and the ‘importance’ of familial ties.
Must be tremendously majestic… to be able to claim Maki’s love as unequivocally yours.
After a week of what may seem as ‘gathering courage’ in Okkotsu’s eyes but is actually her garnering his trust, Mai elects to proceed with the meat of her plan.
Okkotsu-kun, you know how our birthday is close by?
January 20, right? :)
Yep! Have you bought a gift for Maki already?
Was wondering if you could accompany me this Saturday to buy her a present
I really don’t know what would my sister like to receive, you see
Sure thing! I’d assist you to the best of my abilities 👍🏻
Ok! I’d be counting on you then!
She shuts her phone off as she’s called by the pharmacist. She smiles as she pays for her purchase, cradling the bag in her arm. Treating it with care, for they contain the real star of her little show.
Getting Okkotsu to drink coffee laced with sleeping pills is easy, all she has to do is to simper and whine about needing to thank him for his time by at least treating him to an afternoon snack. She also asked him for a walk near the red light district as she waits for the drug to take effect, spouting a nonsensical “I heard there’s a cool katana vendor here, I kinda wanna get her a second gift just to be sure,” that Okkotsu readily ate up.
In these parts of town, no one raises a brow at seeing a woman enter a motel with a clearly-out-of-it man even in broad daylight.
She deposits him on the bed face up. Making sure his likeness is discernible is a crucial point here.
She wipes the sweat from her forehead, lugging Okkotsu around is not the easiest when it comes to physical exertion. The man surprisingly weighs heavier than she had initially thought.
Sitting beside his supine form, she looks at the paper bags from their shopping trip. She takes out the brand new polaroid she intends to gift to her twin, opening the package and loading it up with strips.
She points the lens at the slumbering Okkotsu, reaching out a hand to lay flat on top of his fly. She presses down on the shutter, the whirring of the polaroid accompanying the flurry of emotions stirring at the pit of her gut.
Her palm glides up underneath his shirt, feeling a thrill run up her spine.
Maki would still get her gift. One way or another. Albeit already used by her dear sister.
“Wakey wakey.” She fastens his zip-tied wrist to the headboard with another zip tie. They’re pretty nifty tools she must say. Cheap, but very effective. Just like Okkotsu!!
He mutters something beneath her, words slurred and blocked by the tape she just placed over his mouth a minute ago. She can’t have him interrupting her grand spiel now, can she?
She straightens her back the moment the ties are secured, seeing the moment Okkotsu’s eyes flutter open. The flash of panic in his eyes as he sees her naked form on top of him is a surge of incomparable satisfaction no money could ever buy.
“Finally our little princeling is awake.” She smiles, blissful and serene as she playfully boops his nose. “Did you have fun last night, Yuuta-kun?”
Mai laughs as Okkotsu’s eyes widen at her words and the familiar address, his face paling the moment he unsuccessfully tugs at his restraints.
“Who am I kidding? Of course you did have fun.” She glides a palm down his sides to his hips, making him aware he’s as bare as she is.
“Look,” she dangles her phone in front of him. “I have proof.”
She plays the video for him, the sounds of sex blaring through the phone’s speaker. She watches as Okkotsu turns green as her moans and the slap of skin against skin fill up the room.
“It’ll only take two press of buttons and I could send this lil video to my sister.”
That utterance startles him to attention, eyes darting away from her phone screen to seemingly plead as garbled sounds close to “No no no please no,” slips through his taped up mouth.
“She’ll probably be waking up right about now.” She thinks out loud. “That’ll be a good way to start the day, right?”
She leans forward, leering over his frightened mug.
“Nothing like seeing your boyfriend fuck your twin first thing in the morning,” she spits out, painting a picture in both of their minds. “Bet that beats any shot of espresso, don’t you think so Yuuta-kun?”
He frantically shakes his head, as if in denial of the things unfolding in front of him. Which only serves to put a bigger smile on her lips.
“Ahhhh I would really want to see the despair on her face,” she sighs out as she drinks in the hair rising look of betrayal spewing from Okkotsu.
His eyebrows are all scrunched up, fury starting to unfurl amongst the desolation in those black eyes. He glares at her, and her breath catches in her throat. It’s exhilarating, absolutely mouth-watering, to know she had pushed someone as
kind-hearted dense as him to this point.
Their sex video is still playing, a drawled out moan–one of hers that she knows isn’t fake–cuts through her thoughts and reminds her that she still has things in stock to play with little Okkotsu’s fragile fragile heart.
“I hate to admit that despite your severe lack of active participation last night, you do have a decent dick.” She draws a line from his throat to his chest, her finger awakening goosebumps beneath his skin. The flesh is weak to pleasure and, in some cases, so much better at recalling memories. Case in point being the way Okkotsu’s breathing has quickened and the way her own cunt starts to burn with the remembrance of his cock sheathed inside her heat.
“Well, I did do most of the work, so of course I’d have some fun.” She reminds herself, rolling her eyes at the passing urge of going another round with Okkotsu. A part of her wonders if she’ll feel even more pleasure–physical, and psychological–as she rides his dick for the nth time but this time with him completely lucid and aware of every glide of their skin together, of the sinful symphony their bodies made together. Wondering what it would feel to have Okkotsu be perfectly aware of the control he took away from her.
“Oh, and about that, I didn’t use a condom.” Mai caresses her navel, loving the way he looks at that spot with trepidation. “If your seed ever sprouts… Do you think Maki would be able to look at you the same way huh Yuuta-kun?”
Tears are welling in his eyes as garbled nonsense she couldn’t care to piece out seeps from the tape over his mouth.
“Can you imagine the fucked up quandary that would be.” She drapes himself over him, chests flushed against each other and their faces inches away.
“My parents would want us to get married.” She traces the outline of his lips against the tape. “Well, force is the word closer to the truth.”
“They could be quite encouraging. They’re yakuza, you see.”
He freezes beneath her as another wave of dread, from the talk of marriage, and betrayal, at the fact Maki never divulged that to him, hits him.
She pats his cheek, seemingly placating. When in fact her heart is currently singing.
“If it comes to that, I’d even give dear Maki the honor of giving us a wedding speech,” she says to drive the point home. “Aren’t I just the best sister around?”
“If you don’t want that to become reality…” She leans closer, their breaths mingling, forehead pressing against each other. “I give you half a day to break up with her.”
She spots the moment his pupils widen in shock, a part of her glee soured at the thought he still clings to her sister’s heart.
“The sooner the better. Day After pills work like that, don’t you know?”
“The clock’s ticking…” She strips off the tape from his mouth. “What would you do?”
She watches him grapple with her words, her ultimatum.
He takes a big gulp of air as though gearing himself up before he moves to open his mouth.