I hated to do this.
I didn't want to do this.
Yet here I was knocking on the door of her apartment, bouquet and chocolates in hand.
This is going to be awkward. No way around it. I tell myself as I knock on the door.
"Who is it?" a muffled female voice on the other side of the door asks after a moment.
I struggle to find my voice for a moment, but I do speak up.
"M-McSorley's Florist." I call out. "I have some flowers here for you."
"I'll be right there!" she said almost as soon as the door sprang open.
Sure enough I was standing face to face with a beautiful but slightly disheveled Blue Oni. Gone were the tiger pelt coverings- instead she was wearing an oversized sweater with most of her right shoulder peeking out from the oversized hole for the neck. I didn't want to stare, but at first glance it appeared she wasn't wearing any pants, but I was eventually able to catch a glimpse of some short-shorts peeking out from beneath the bottom of her sweater.
"Oh hey there...it's you." she says to me, recognizing me from earlier this weekend. I had to have been over there at least eight times in past two days. Behind her, I could see at least a half dozen more bouquets kept in vases lined up on her counter and on the kitchen table of her apartment. Attached to some of them were stuffed animals or mylar balloons.
"Hi there." I say sheepishly. "These are for you...."
"Oh gosh! I wonder who they're from..." she muses out loud as I hand them off to her. "I mean it's not even Valentine's Day anymore."
"I know....I guess we couldn't get these off to you in time." I tell the Oni apologetically.
"That's all right. I mean, you were so busy dropping these off earlier this week, there probably was something of a backlog." she gushes before sitting down at her kitchen table and reading aloud the card attached to the floral arrangement.
I'm so sorry I couldn't make it out to you in time for Valentine's Day this year, but I wanted you to know that I'm still thinking of you and that you'll always be in my heart.
I grimaced. She certainly wasn't going to make what I had to say next any easier.
"That's so sweet of him- Sven is a stunt man and he's been on location for a movie they're filming up in Canada for the past couple of weeks."
"That's nice." I say absently, reminding myself not to ask any follow up questions, otherwise she's going to talk my ear off and I could end up losing my nerve on speaking to her about what I had come here to discuss.
"You don't have to stand out there all morning- come in!" the bespectacled Oni beckoned.
"Thanks....I just need you to sign right here...." I said, taking a few steps into the apartment as I held up the clipboard.
She adjusted her glasses and took the pen attached to the clipboard before signing her name.
"So how was your Valentine's Day?" she asked me sweetly.
"Oh...you know. Most of it was doing this." I point to the other bouquets in her apartment in a sweeping gesture.
"I bet you're glad Valentine's Day is over- now you can relax a little bit, right? Did you get to spend any time with your girlfriend?"
"That......was not an issue." I say pensively.
"Oh- I'm sorry."
"Yeah....hey, listen...Sora?" I ask.
Her ears perk up at my mention of her name and I can see those ruby eyes peering at me from over her glasses.
"I just wanted to tell you that...." I begin to say.
"Yes?" The Oni looked as though she was starting to fidget, even though I had to have been much more nervous than her.
"I....I just wanted to let you know that...um....old man McSorely said your credit card was declined on this one, but....but since you've been such a good customer and have already bought so many arrangements from us this week, he says that you can just square things up with us at the end of the month."
"I see..." the Oni said quietly as she looked away. "I...I'll be sure to clear that matter up by next week."
"I'm sorry!" I blurt out to Sora. "I...I didn't want to be the one to have to tell you that!"
"No no- it's all right." she said in a tone that made me think it wasn't. "I..it's my own fault for maxing out my credit card."
I couldn't argue with that.
"Th-they look really nice for what it's worth." I timidly inform the Blue Oni. "It's almost like your apartment is...is this sweet-smelling arboretum now..."
For whatever reason, Sora had wanted to put on this big show of getting flowers, candies and balloons from numerous potential- but imaginary- suitors, only to have her carefully crafted illusion come crashing down after her most recent credit card purchase from the florist was declined.
"They'll be wilted and dead in a week. I...it's not...." Sora pouts before trailing off.
"A-are you OK?" I ask.
It was a stupid question. Of course she wasn't okay.
"It's just that..." tears were beginning to stream from her eyes. "M....my stupid sister! Sh-she has all of these suitors and is the heiress to our distillery and can fly anywhere with the learjet and...and I'm here by myself in this tiny apartment for Valentine's Day!"
She buried her hands into her face as she continued.
"I...I just.....I wanted to know what it was like to get so many flowers f...for Valentine's Day. Just like my sister."
"It's all right...." I try reassuring her, putting a hand on her shoulder.
"You probably think I'm some sort of loser or deadbeat...but I'm not....I swear! I work really hard! I'm a CPA, but I don't have the learjet or the vineyards or the rich boyfriends like my big sister does!"
Clearly this had been building up for awhile and it looked as though I was better off having her let it all out. I noticed that my hand was still clasped on her shoulder.
"I....I didn't mean to waste your time like that." Sora said apologetically. "I probably took you away from houses that would've tipped you better."
"Actually- you were the only one who tipped me this weekend." I point out.
"Yeah- none of the other places I went to tipped me at all." That wasn't a white lie on my part to make her feel better, either.
"That's terrible!" she says. "Do you use your own car or a company vehicle?"
"So you're putting all this wear and tear on your car and nobody else has bothered tipping you?" Sora seemed much more indignant on my behalf that I was. "How much are theying pay you? I hope it's not minimum wage"
"Old Man McSorely is paying me $6 for each bouquet I deliver-"
"That doesn't sound like much..." Sora interjects.
"Nah....but he also has me taking a batch of five or six at a time, which I can usually take care of in an hour or less....so that averages out to no less $30 an hour."
"Oh...well then....that doesn't sound so bad then." she smiled, somewhat satified at my compensation from old man McSorely for working over the weekend.
I removed my hand from her shoulder, but as I turned to walk towards the door I felt something grab my wrist. Turning, I saw that Sora was now gently clasping my wrist.
"Hey....I was wondering.....do you really have to be going now?" Sora asked. Even though she was nearly a foot taller than me, she just looked so vulnerable as she looked up at me.
I suppose I could've fabricated some tale about feeding my nonexistent cat or having an urgent hair washing appointment, but instead I shrug.
"I've got some time to kill, I guess...I mean the big Valentine's Day rush is over now."
"Oh? Good...I was thinking we could maybe drown our sorrows together." she smiled, her features soft and welcoming as she carressed my hand while getting up from the table.
"I'm sorry about burdening you with my troubles....but thank you for listening." Sora was now standing nearly a full head taller than me, and I'm right around the six foot mark.
I got a good view of Sora's toned azure legs as she made her way to the fridge and pulled out a green glass bottle and two little ceramic cups from the nearby cupboard.
"Chilled sake." she said as she quickly filled both dimunitive sakazukis, handing one of them off to me.
"Well then- kampai!" Sora said, raising her glass in a toast.
I had my reservations about imbibing with an Oni- even if she was supposedly the more level headed one. But after a moment's pause, I tilted the little ceramic cup and swallowed the chilled and slightly bitter contents.
"I feel a little better already!" She exhaled, a slight grin painted on the corner of her lips as she poured herself another shot of the cool clear rice wine. Sora then beckoned for me to hold out my glass.
"What's the harm in one more shot?" I pondered as the blue oni poured.
"Kampai!" I toasted as I knocked the glass back.
~*~*THE NEXT MORNING*~*~
It seemed like it required more effort than usual to open my eyes, but when I managed to accomplish that feat I wasn't quite prepared for what I saw.
I could feel a weight next to me and something....several smaller things that seemed to be sticking to my body. The scent of some sort of vanilla wafted through my nostrils.
As my vision came into focus, I could see that I was in an unfamiliar bedroom. The room looked like it was partially decorated in a Japanese motif while a scented candle burned on the nightstand.
Beneath me and sticking to my body were dozens and dozens of rose petals.
Roses. That's right...the last thing I remeber was delivering a bouquet to the Blue Oni's apartment and I was offered some sake......and....and....
There's probably a reason my pelvis is aching right now.
I heard a soft moan and felt the weight next to me shift and found myself face-to-face with Sora, who was equally naked. Not even her eyeglasses had remained on.
"Morning...looks like we were able to put some of those roses to good use." she giggled.
"Oh...hey there." I said, doing little to conceal my confusion.
"Looks like we got a little carried away." she sighed as she pulled me in closer with her arms. "But I hope you don't mind." Sora continued as she kissed my forehead before mashing my face into her ample azure chest.
I had nothing witty or reassuring to say as my face was pressed into her breasts. Although I was caught off guard, it was a quite pleasant and warm sensation as I absently began to gently kiss and suckle.
"I don't need a learjet, or majority ownership of our family's distillery, or those vineyards out in California, or phony boyfriends showering me with jewelry and gifts...." Sora sighed contentedly. "None of that matters now that I have a sympathetic shoulder to lean on..."
I fully intended to say "Glad I could be of some help", but I couldn't be bothered with removing my lips from the busty but insecure blue oni's chest. My reply likely came out as incoherent murmuring.
The next thing I know, Sora rolled over on top of me. I really didn't mind- I mean she really did have the 'insecure hot nerd' look down.
"Glasses....I should ask her to put her glasses back on sometime..." I muse as my lips find their way back to Sora's breasts as I hear her purr sensually.
"So....ready for round two, Flower Boy?"
"Oh jeez..." I say, catching my breath as I wrap my arms around the amorous Blue Oni. "Whatever would Sven say?"