Geisha for Hire
By Shawn Bailey
Jayce Ito thought there was nothing he wouldn’t do for his childhood best friend, Marley Bonds, until she asked him to help her out posing as a geisha for a client’s birthday party. He’d done a lot of foolish things for Marley, but this just bordered on insanity--especially when the recipient of the gift turned out to be none other than his new boss, Reuben Danza.
Reuben Danza had received some outlandish birthday gifts in his thirty-two years on earth, but when his best friend Payton Roberts hires a beautiful geisha to perform at his birthday party to impress some important clients, the drunken Reuben decided to let loose a little and show the Japanese men that he really knows how to have fun. But the plot backfires when Reuben gets interested in the geisha and wants to date her.
“You have got to be out of your mind,” twenty-five year old Jayce Ito said to his best friend, Marley Bonds. “I’ve done a lot of things for you, but this time I have to put my foot down and say no.”
Marley batted her eyelashes. “Aw, come on. For me.”
He didn’t even know why she bothered trying to use her feminine wiles on him. It never worked before. “No. What if someone recognizes me? I’d be the laughingstock of New York.”
Marley pouted at him. “You’ve played dress up for me before and you didn’t have a problem then, and besides, you stand to make a lot of tip money. I heard Japanese businessmen are very generous.”
He’d never heard that before. “So, you’re only asking me because I’m Japanese?”
Marley chuckled. “I’m more Japanese than you are. Can you even speak your native language?”
Jayce rolled his light brown eyes and flipped his hair indignantly. “Kimchi,” he told her. His parents had migrated to the United States before he was born and put down roots in Chinatown. Marley’s mother had married a Japanese fisherman after Marley’s biological father died in a boating accident and they’d moved into the apartment across from Jayce when Marley turned three years old.
Marley giggled, rolled from her seated position on the floor and landed flat on her back. Her stomach jiggled with each chuckle. “You’re so stupid.”
“You’re going to hurt the baby if you don’t stop that.” He reached over and put his hand on her big round belly. The baby inside responded to his touch with a healthy kick.
“No, I won’t,” Marley said. “Now help me up.”
Jayce took her hand and gently pulled her back into a seated position. “You’re getting as big as a moo cow,” he told her playfully.
“And you wonder why you don’t have a girlfriend” Marley said straightening her maternity top around her huge breasts and abdomen. “You are not supposed to call attention to a woman’s weight. So rude.”
Jayce smirked at her. “I cannot help it if you eat everything in sight or the fact that women do not find me desirable.” His one and only date occurred in highschool and that turned out horribly with his date’s brother mistaking him for a girl and trying to put the moves on him.
“Oh, please,” Marley said. “A woman would have to be blind not to find you desirable. You’re cute, have the longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen on a man, and you have such delicate features, and....”
“Don’t say it,” Jayce warned.
“Sexy full lips,” Marley continued. She broke out in giggles again. “You’re a dreamboat.”
Jayce pouted and folded his arms indignantly in front of him.
“Oh, please don’t pout,” Marley said. “It just turns me on.”
“Sure. My amazing good looks have never had any effect on you.”
Marley stopped laughing. “That’s because we’re best friends. Why do you want to ruin it having sex? And besides, you’re not my type.”
Well, technically she’s wasn’t his type either. Pregnant girls didn’t do a thing for him. Marley was into Neanderthals...big muscular guys, no brainers. The baby’s father was some jock she’d met at a club a couple of years ago. Their relationship lasted until he impregnated Marley and he found someone else.
“How do you know I’m not your type,” Jayce teased moving his hand over and touching her stomach. The baby moved for him. “The kid likes me.”
“The kid probably thinks you’re food,” Marley replied, brushing his hand away. “So are you going to do this for me?”
“No,” Jayce said. “Get someone else. And besides, I have work to do.” He’d just landed his dream job as a junior editor for Danza Publishing Company. He’d only been there two weeks and he’d already been bombarded with work. True, most of it was making copies and proof-reading, but sooner or later they’d let him work with an author.
“But none of my other employees can pull this off.” Marley ran a company that specialized in sending performers and impersonators out to entertain at parties and social functions. He’d helped her out on several occasions when she needed a clown or an anime character for a child’s party, but what she asked now was out of the question.
“Don’t have me go over your head on this one,” Marley threatened.
Jayce narrowed his eyes at her. “You wouldn’t dare.”
“Oh, I’d dare,” Marley said reaching for her cell phone and dialing a number. “Hello, Mrs. Ito, this is Marley. How are you doing? Yes, I’m fine. Yes, the baby is growing and getting bigger. Yes, I’m eating properly.”
Jayce shook his head at the lie. He’d seen her put away a whole pizza earlier.
“Yes, I’ve seen Jayce. He’s here visiting me at the moment. That’s what I’ve called about. I need him to help me out with a gig but I can’t get him to agree.” Marley handed the phone to him and Jayce rolled his eyes at her. Honestly, stooping so low as calling his mother to get him to agree. How rude.
“Hello, Okaasan,” Jayce said, using the Japanese term of endearment. “No Okaasan, but you don’t understand what she wants me to do.” He pressed the speaker button so Marley could listen in on the conversations. Why should he suffer alone?
“It does not matter,” Akane Ito told her son. “She is your best friend. If she wants you to jump off a bridge, you jump.”
Jayce gasped. “Sometimes I think you like her better than you like me.”
“I do,” his mother replied. “At least I can get her to eat. You’re too skinny.”
Jayce smirked. If he ate everything his mother tried to get him to eat he’d be as big as a house.
“Put Marley back on the phone,” his mother ordered.
Jayce handed the phone back to Marley. He would have punched Marley on the arm for subjecting him to such torture had she not been pregnant.
“What does he have to dress up as this time?” Akane asked Marley. “He was always so cute when I dressed him up for Halloween.”
“A geisha,” Marley answered.
His mother’s loud laughter made the phone’s speaker crackle. “Are you kidding? Why is he complaining? I’ve dressed him like a geisha plenty of times.”
Back in Japan his mother had been a famous geisha in Kyoto. Then she married his father and retired. He continued to listen to the conversation, dreading the outcome.
“He would make a perfect impersonator with all that long brown hair and pretty girl looks.”
Jayce groaned and cringed. Was there no law protecting him from this sort of parental punishment?
“I’ll even help with his makeup and hair. Do you have a costume yet?”
“No,” Marley answered.
“Good, I have the perfect one. It will put some color in his cheeks and with his build he could easily pass for a professional. I taught him how to play the shamisen, flute and drum, which he mastered before the age of seven,” Akane said proudly.
The more his mother spoke the more his masculinity died away.
“When do you need him?”
“Sunday night,” Marley answered.
“Ooh, that doesn’t give us much time,” Akane exclaimed. “I have to give him a refresher course on how to serve tea. He used to be so good at that, but he hasn’t practiced in years.”
The smirk on Marley’s face was the ultimate embarrassment. “You could have at least defended my manhood,” Jayce said to Marley after she finally ended the call.
“Sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do to get cooperation. And I think it’s sweet that your mother spent so much time with you as a child.”
There wasn’t anything sweet or pleasant about the experience of being treated like a maiko, a geisha in training, when he was a kid. No wonder he had issues. He loved his mother dearly but if she’d wanted a girl she should have had another child. “I do so hate the two of you,” he said.
Marley smiled showing two dimples. “I knew you’d do it. And you never know, you might meet someone cute.”
“At a birthday party for some old Japanese businessman?”
“The birthday boy could have a daughter your age.”
Jayce thought about it. True and it could be possible that one of the man’s daughters could be cute. “Hey, how would that work if I’m dressed like a girl?” He almost fell for it.
“Then maybe you’ll meet some cute young guy?”
What the hell is that supposed to mean? “Do you have any idea how long it takes to get into full makeup?”
“No, but I’m sure with your mother’s help it won’t take so long. And you might get lucky.”
Jayce snarled at her. Marley was the only one in the world, besides his mother, who knew that he was still a virgin. “Geisha’s are not prostitutes,” Jayce informed her. “They are entertainers...artists. They dance, entertain, and titillate, but they do not screw.”
“See, only you would know this. That’s why you’re perfect for the job.”
“I’ll do it,” Jayce finally said. “But don’t get any ideas. And no photos.”
Marley clapped her hands excitedly. “I’ll call the client back and let him know we can do it.”
“What we?” Jayce asked indignantly. He would be the one doing all of the work.
Marley placed the call. “My client is delighted.” She rubbed her stomach. “I’m hungry. Let’s go out and get Thai food.”
“That’s too spicy for you,” Jayce warned. Marley had no self-control now that she was expecting.
“I’ll just get the mild chicken fried rice and I’ll treat since you’re going to do this for me.”
“And I’ll expect a steak dinner after this is over,” Jayce told her. He rose and helped Marley to her feet. “This better go off without a hitch,” he told her.
“Oh, it will,” Marley assured him. “What could possibly happen?”