A romance suspense novel, Mind Games is a gripping expose into the butterfly effect and how one person’s actions can profoundly effect everyone around them.
Set against the backdrop of one of the most mysterious secret organizations in the world, this story focuses on how one person’s actions can deeply affect everyone remotely connected to them. In Mind Games, no character is completely good or evil, and nothing is as it appears.
Somewhere over the International Date Line, Michelle woke up in the darkened airplane feeling disoriented. For a moment she was confused about where she was until she felt the plane bob softly up and down. Slowly, she remembered that she was on vacation, heading towards Japan. Pulling off her sleeping mask, she looked at the flight progress monitor, happy to see that they were only six hours away from Tokyo. She needed to get up and walk around to shake off the fog in her head.
Michelle shuffled past Brad, trying not to disturb him since he was still sleeping. Once in the aisle, she looked for a flight attendant; feeling very thirsty. As she made her way towards the galley, Michelle was suddenly pushed into the wall as one of the bathroom doors opened as she was passing by.
“Oh!” Michelle was startled from being bumped by the door, but at the exact same time, turbulence shifted the plane, causing her to lose her balance completely.
“I’m so sorry! Are you hurt?” a man asked with an accent. He began to kneel to help Michelle to her feet.
“Oh, I’m okay, I think it was more the turbulence than the door that made me fall!” Michelle tossed her hair to get it out of her eyes and get a good look at the other passenger, suddenly at a loss for words. Thankful that it was dark in the plane’s cabin, Michelle had a hard time finding something intelligent to say to cover her “man-daze” as she would say to her girlfriends. The man standing in front of her was Asian with an oval face and the soft beginnings of a mustache. He was tall with a very athletic build, and thick black hair that grazed his shoulders. But his eyes captivated Michelle, they were so warm and expressive, that even in the semi darkness, she was drawn to them.
“Please, let me help you.” The man said softly, giving her his hand. Michelle took hold of it and his arm with her free hand, feeling the muscles under his perfectly tailored jacket. He directed her towards the galley.
“Thank you,” Michelle said softly. “My name’s Michelle.” Even as the words came out of her mouth, a small voice in her head was chiding her for mooning over this random man.
“That’s a beautiful name. My name is Kenji, I hope you weren’t hurt at all.”
Michelle forced herself to pull her eyes away from his mouth, noting that he had full lips – perfect for kissing. Just then she realized he was expecting a response. “Oh no, I’m okay. Kenji, that’s an interesting name…”
“It’s a family name. So, are you visiting Japan or do you live here?”
“I’m visiting. Tokyo actually! I’m so excited, I can’t wait to see and do so many things there.” Michelle could feel butterflies rising in her stomach. And again, a voice in her head reminded her that her boyfriend was nearby so she shouldn’t be getting giddy over anyone but Brad. But, in the light of the galley, Kenji looked even more delicious. Just then, Michelle realized that he was still holding her hand. Feeling the heat from him gave her a rush that she hadn’t experienced in a very long time. Absentmindedly, she realized that she forgot to mention that she was traveling with her boyfriend.
“Tokyo is my hometown. No matter where I go around the world, there’s no place like Tokyo. You’ll have a lot of fun. How long are you going to be staying in my beautiful city?” Kenji smiled warmly at Michelle.
Michelle smiled back, imagining what it would be like to kiss him. Every time he spoke her eyes were drawn to his mouth, where she noticed their perfect shape and fullness, making it impossible for her to ignore. Belatedly, she realized that he had again stopped speaking and was waiting for her to reply.
“Gosh, I’m so sorry. I’m still a little foggy!” Michelle felt so corny saying “gosh” but she couldn’t think of anything else to explain her delayed responses. In reality, getting hit by the door and the turbulence cleared any fog that was left in her head. But, for some reason, she felt completely disoriented by and drawn to this exotic man. “I’m going to be in Tokyo for a little over two weeks. I’m going to try and see as much as possible outside of Tokyo as well though.” Again, she realized too late that she failed to mention that she would be doing this with her boyfriend.
“Well, I hope you get to enjoy all the splendor that makes my country so unique. I don’t want to keep you though.” Kenji was still holding Michelle’s hand; he covered it with his other hand.
“Oh, I hope so too. And thank you so much for helping me up earlier.” Michelle looked at him from under her eyelashes. A small voice in her head screamed at her for the shameless flirty move, but she silenced that voice, enjoying the feeling of an innocent flirtatious moment. She almost didn’t want to pull her hand away from his, but she knew that Brad could walk by at any moment and she would be hard pressed for an excuse. With one last look, Michelle pulled away from Kenji, reluctant to let go of him. She couldn’t explain why she felt so drawn to him, but as soon as she left the galley with her juice and granola bar, she chided herself for being swayed so easily. Shuffling past Brad, she sat down and turned her iPod on, willing herself not to look around in the hopes of seeing Kenji nearby.
At his seat further back in first class, Kenji Sakura looked up towards where the beautiful young lady he met earlier was sitting. Kenji was coming back from a business trip in New York and things had gone wonderfully. Whenever anyone asked him what he did, he gave the bland response of being an imports and exports dealer for antiquities. Wise individuals did an internal eyebrow raise but kept silent and naïve ones just accepted it as a statement of fact.
Kenji found Michelle to be captivating, gorgeous and adorable. Although she had seemed slightly tongue-tied. He hoped he hadn’t seemed over eager, realizing too late into their conversation that he had monopolized her hand. If he had his way, he would have invited her to the bar upstairs on the second floor of the plane for a drink. He really wanted to know everything about her but she seemed hesitant to reveal more than that she was the typical American tourist, visiting Tokyo.
He sighed as he put his headphones back on and got back to his business paperwork. He absolutely had to find a way to see Michelle again. If she was going to be in town for two and a half weeks, he had ample opportunity to get to know her better. Reflecting on his motto, “what Kenji wants, Kenji takes”, he was more than confident that he would be seeing more of Michelle before her vacation was over.