Why was Akira looking at him like that? That intense gaze made Sora’s stomach churn. When Akira’s eyes swept over his body, Sora shifted in his seat. Akira was a handsome man, and Sora wasn’t used to this type of attention. The silence was unsettling, suffocating, and Sora was drowning in it.
“I have nothing,” Sora said, his voice broken.
“So…you don’t have any personal belongings worth enough to sell, no job or income. And…based on your file, you live in an internet café, correct?”
Sora nodded, his head down. He felt shame, sharp and searing like razor blades in his veins. What would his mother say if she saw him now? He was an embarrassment.
“Why an internet café?”
Sora shrugged. “Rent is cheap.”
“What did you spend all that money on?” Akira asked.
Sora didn’t speak. He stared down at his shaking hands, his eyes burning with impending tears. He sniffled, cheeks hot and breathing laboured.
“How will you pay off your debt?” Akira asked.
“I don’t know,” Sora whispered. Tears spilled onto his cheeks, but he didn’t bother to wipe them away.
“At this rate, your debt will triple by the end of the month. And with no sure way to pay it back, it’ll be far worse than what it already is.”
Sora started to sob. He kept his head down, tears dropping in big globs onto his jeans, staining the fabric a darker shade of blue.
He couldn’t pay back a thing. What good was he, then?
Would Akira have him killed? Sora wondered where the authorities would find his body once they were done with him.
Akira stood from his chair and rounded the desk. His cologne was intense as he stood next to Sora and wiped the tears off his cheek with the pad of his thumb.
Sora stifled a gasp and looked up at Akira, his eyes wide and bloodshot with tears.
“Crying will not change a thing.”
“Then what do I do?” Sora asked, his voice shaking. He felt like chum in the water.
Akira chuckled, his voice low. “You pay me back.”
“But I already told you I can’t pay you back. I have nothing.”
“Yes, you do. You have yourself.”
“What do you mean?”
He saw it then, the smirk twisting up at the corner of Akira’s lips. Sora’s cheeks burned, and his stomach squirmed.
“You know what I mean,” Akira said. He walked back to his chair behind the desk and sat down.
Sora frowned. “You can’t expect me to—”
“I expect you to pay me back one way or another, Sora. And since you have nothing else to give me, you can pay back your incurred debt with your body.”
That squirming sensation in the pit of Sora’s stomach worsened. His head spun. Sora wanted to block out Akira’s words, he wanted to get up and run out of the room, but all he could do was sit there, staring.
“Ten thousand yen will be deducted from your account after each service. That is a sure way to settle your debt.”
This didn’t feel real. Akira couldn’t be serious.
“But I can’t do that!” Sora exclaimed.
Akira’s gaze darkened, his voice firm. “You can, and you will. You owe me, Sora. And I’m going to make sure you pay me back.”
“There has to be another way.”
“Like what, Sora? The bank won’t give you a loan, so you can’t give me their money. The government won’t help you. Many people in your position commit suicide, but that would be such a terrible waste. And if you went to the wrong people asking for money and couldn’t pay them back…well…that’s a sure way to get yourself killed.”
Sora stared at Akira. What choice did he have? There was no way Sora could get out of this. If he didn’t want to end up dead on the street, he’d have to go through with it.
Akira watched him, waiting. “So what will it be?”
It all felt surreal, like it wasn’t even happening in the first place.
Sora sniffled and wiped his eyes. He took in a few breaths, trying to calm down. “When…when will we start?”
“Our business arrangement will take effect tomorrow evening if you agree,” Akira said.
Sora hesitated. “Does that mean you’ll sell my body off to anyone and everyone?”
Akira narrowed his eyes. “I am not a pimp, and besides, I don’t like sharing.”
Sora’s cheeks flushed. He let out a shaky breath. What was he getting himself into?
“You’ll be servicing me only,” Akira said.
Sora couldn’t nod. He couldn’t even swallow the damn spit in his mouth, let alone speak. He was stuck, staring into that rapturing gaze. This was it. No turning back.