Mai walked into the SPR office, expecting the oh-so-famous, 'Mai, Tea' remark but instead found her boss sitting on one of the couches. Opposite him was Lin, with his laptop at the ready and beside Lin was what Mai supposed to be a potential client. On the one-sitter chair, Masako Hara was looking wistfully at the one space left beside Naru and was obviously thinking of how to sit there without looking too desperate.
Naru looked up to acknowledge her presence and made a brief tilt of his head towards the kitchen, suggesting tea. Mai nodded and smiled slightly before making her way to the kitchen. She found the silence in the office tense and did not want to be the one to break it. In the kitchen, she prepared a variety of biscuits and buns on different plates and placed enough cups, spoons and saucers for everyone on to a tray. Once the water was boiled, she made one pot of coffee and one pot of green tea. To finish it, she placed small jugs of milk, cream and honey, so everyone could decide what they would like, and a small container of sugar.
While Mai was preparing the refreshments, she could hear Masako trying to strike up a conversation with Naru, completely ignoring the client and Lin. Naru answered politely but soon Masako was out of things to say. Mai rolled her eyes at the famous medium's attempts; she picked up the tray and opened the door to the main office with her foot. She walked over, placing the tray on the table and smiled reassuringly at the potential client. He smiled back with a thankful look on his face and suddenly the tension seemed to lift a little. Naru broke the silence by saying,
Mai made a face, to try and make the man laugh and maybe relax a little more. She sat beside Naru, trying to ignore Masako glaring at her and smiled a little to her self when the client physically relaxed and his eyes were sparkling in amusement. The client held out his hand to Mai across the table and said,
"My name is Kobayashi Kaoru. (Surname comes first) It's nice to meet you."
Mai took Kobayashi-san's hand but instead of them shaking hands, he kissed her hand and held it in his hands. Neither noticed the silent growing rage of the black-clad teenager, who was thinking of ways to commit murder without getting caught. Masako and Lin did though. Lin smirked watching the fury dance in his colleague's eyes and Masako increased the glare directed at Mai. Mai, although surprised at the gesture, regained her composure and replied while trying to tug her hand out of his grasp,
"Nice to meet you, Kobayashi-san. My name's Taniyama Mai but please call me Mai."
Mai succeeded in getting her hand away and asked everyone what he or she would like to drink and to help themselves to the snacks. Once the tea was poured and everyone was settled with what they wanted, Mai looked at the appearance of the hand kissing man, as she started to call him, in front of her.
Kobayashi-san had slightly tanned skin and obviously worked out although he was slim. He looked as though he was around Naru's height but maybe an inch or two shorter. His eyes were pale blue with black specks dotting the surface and contrasted with his tanned skin. His hair was what Mai liked the most. It was light brown and curly and came down to the top of his ears. It was well groomed although a few strands went across his eyes and it suited him a lot. He was extremely good-looking but seemed to the opposite of Naru in terms of looks and his choice of clothes. He was wearing a red and white, stripy polo shirt with light blue, tight, boot cut jeans and white trainers. She was broken out of her thoughts by Kobayashi-san saying,
"This tea is great, Mai-chan."
Mai blushed from the unexpected praise, and smiled a little before replying meekly,
Naru watched the exchange as the jealousy and anger kept building up inside of him. This man with a bird's nest for hair was flirting shamelessly with HIS Mai. This Kobayashi- san kissed HIS Mai's hand and the urge to grab Mai away from the infuriating man was almost over whelming. He wanted nothing more than keep Mai beside him at all times and tell any man, excluding John, Lin and Bou-san, looking for Mai where to put it.
John couldn't do anything to Mai because he pledged an oath to priesthood and it was obvious Bou-san looked at Mai as a little sister. Lin had a thing for Madoka, actually it was bordering on the line of obsession and he knew he wouldn't try anything.
Yasuhara was a different matter. Naru had no idea what his intentions were towards Mai and whenever they would smile and laugh together, Naru would imagine Yasuhara without a head and he was able to control the need to punch the boy's lights out. But, of course, Naru had no feelings towards Mai, other than boss to assistant feelings and the jealousy he felt whenever Mai was with other guys was normal for any boss, right?
He wanted Kobayashi-san out of the office as soon as possible so he could stop giving those little smiles to Mai. So he took a sip of tea, making it seem as though he was calm although his inner self was imagining different things to do with an electric saw, and said,
"Kobayashi-san, begin when you are ready."
Kobayashi-san nodded with a grim smile, and began why he wanted SPR to take his case. He flirted quite a lot with Mai while talking and when it came to the sad parts, he played upon Mai's sympathy. By the time he was finished, Naru was seeing red but his mind wasn't so clouded that he couldn't tell that this could be a very interesting case.
"We'll take it. Mai, ring up the others and ask for their assistance on this case. Tell them, if they are coming, to pack enough clothes for two weeks and to be here at 7 sharp tomorrow morning. Lin, take down Kobayashi-san's details."
A few minutes later, all of Kobayashi-san's details were stored on Lin's laptop and Mai said that everyone was able to come.
"We will need one room for a base and enough rooms to accommodate 3 women and 5 men. (Everyone including Yasuhara) We will share if need be."
"There should be enough room for everyone but the room I am thinking of that the women should share is too small for three people plus luggage. Mai-chan can share my bedroom."
Naru almost strangled the man in front of him but managed to say through gritted teeth,
"That won't be necessary. Mai can sleep in the base or share the room where the men are sleeping."
Hearing Kobayashi's startled gasp at the suggestion that Mai share a room with the men (which is worse? Sleeping in a room with Kobayashi or men you have come to trust your life with?), Mai added in,
"I don't mind, Kobayashi-san…"
Kobayashi saying interrupted her,
"Call me Kaoru, Mai-chan."
"Kaoru-san, I don't mind. I've shared a room with the men on previous cases, as well."
Inner Naru danced a little victory dance when Mai called Kobayashi, Kaoru with '–San' attached instead of '–Kun' or no honorific and smirked a little when Kobayashi's face flooded with disappointment. He watched Kobayashi and he knew he was up to something.
"Shibuya-san. There wouldn't be enough room for Mai-chan to share a room with 5 men and the base has drafts. She would catch a cold."
Naru stood up and made his way to his office while saying,
"Someone else can share your bedroom with you then."
Kobayashi's face fell again and he timidly said,
"That's what Lin is here for."
With that said, Naru went into his office, slamming the door behind him but couldn't resist peeking out to see Kobayashi's face. It was drained off all colour and he was looking at Lin in fear. Lin was glaring at Naru and he smirked although he knew he would pay for it later. Mai and Masako were trying to contain their laughter but were failing considerably, at least Mai was. Kobayashi stood shakily to his feet, knowing he was defeated and before going out said,
"I'll see you tomorrow but tell Shibuya-san, I think there should be enough room for all the women after all."