Yasuda Shota is one of the top marine biologists in Japan. On a research dive off the Persian Gulf, Yasu discovers a bottle. His life changes, however, when he brings the bottle home with him to Japan and discovers a genie inside. Concept 'borrowed' from the old tv show I Dream of Jeannie)
Yasuda Shota loved his job more than anything in the world. As a teenager, he’d taken up scuba diving for fun and had fallen in love with it almost immediately. In the years that followed, he studied hard to obtain his master license and had chosen a career where he could use it. Of course, Yasu wasn’t the smartest person in the world. It had been difficult to get into college and even more difficult to get a degree in marine biology. But in the end, those years of hard work had paid off and now he was getting paid to look at the beautiful plants and animals of the sea. And as far as Yasu was concerned, there was nothing more important than spending your entire life doing what you love.
He was quickly becoming one of the top marine biologists in the country, and now he was getting offered more jobs outside of Japan. For the past few months, he’d been working out of the Persian Gulf, studying the effects of pearl harvesting on the oyster population. His time in the Bahrain area was coming to a close, and he would be on the next flight home in the morning. Yasu loved the sea, and it was in his nature to grow attached to things. He’d finished his work already, but he wanted to spend the rest of his free time in the sea, saying goodbye to all the underwater friends he’d made.
He had no idea when he woke up and caught a taxi to the boat launch, that the events of that day would change his life forever.
When Yasu was diving, one hour easily passed into two into three and before he knew it, he’d spent all day in the water. If it weren’t for his waterproof watch, he’d have no idea what time of day it was. With a heavy heart, Yasu glanced down at his watch. It would be dusk soon, and although he had his night diving license, he did have to finish packing and get sleep before his flight in the morning.
He was getting ready to go back to the surface world, when something glittered in the corner of his eye. Turning quickly in the direction, on impulse that a sea predator might be about to attack, Yasu found himself face to face with a a cave. His heart started beating quickly. In all the times he’d gone diving around this area, he’d never seen this cave! And though it was against his better judgement, he felt that he just had to explore it. He couldn’t resist a cave!
He’d be quick, he promised himself. He could always change his plane ticket or come back here another time. He didn’t have to go far into the cave to realize it wasn’t deep. About 50 feet in, the cave became completely dark and even the light from his flashlight wasn’t enough to illuminate much. He swam forward, giving oomph when he hit the rocky cave wall and realized that it was really no deeper than a hundred or so feet. He sighed, a little disappointed that there was no exploring to be done inside of the cave. And then he remembered that there had been something that had caught his eye, and on instinct he shone the light in every direction. The endeavor proved fruitful when his flashlight beam landed on a dark iridescent bottle lying on the sandy ground. He was about to pass it off as a wine bottle when a jewel on the side caught in the light.
He swam towards it, positive that it was just a piece of junk. Some kind of souvenir that someone had dropped on a boat ride. But the closer he got, the more he found his heart beating. Wouldn’t it be like something from a movie if it turned out to be some kind of lost treasure? Yasu could feel his excitement growing.
He’d felt drawn to the cave, that much he was sure of now! It couldn’t have been the bottle that attracted his attention, no… it was far to deep in the cave to have glinted from where he had been. It must have been fate that he found it. Finally reaching it, he picked it up and examined it as well as he could through his goggles. It looked old -- far too old to be a souvenir – and the thick glass was covered in large gems, red and blue and green. Yasu’s eyes widened. They couldn’t be real, right? If so, this would be worth a fortune.
Yasu glanced down at his watch once more, and gripping the bottle tightly, he swam from the cave to return to the surface. He made his way to the boat, keeping the bottle carefully concealed and as soon as he climbed aboard, he shoved it deep within his backpack. If anyone found out he was carrying such a potentially precious object, he knew he would be in trouble. He thought that maybe the right thing to do would be to give it some museum or to the government. He wasn’t stupid. He knew that if anyone found out he was bringing the jewel encrusted bottle out of the country, he’s spend quite a few years in jail. And if the jewels were real, he might even find his life in danger over it.
But he had nothing to feel bad about, he reasoned. He’d found it in the ocean, and really, the sea belonged to no one! Finders, keepers! Yasu thought, keeping an eye on the bag the entire way back to shore. Who knows how many years the bottle had been hidden down there. It called to him and that was reason enough for Yasu to keep it secret and not feel guilty.
When Yasu got back to his hotel room, he placed the bottle on his night stand an drew the curtains shut. For the rest of the night, he barely let the bottle leave his sight. When he finally had to pack it away the next morning, he spent the rest of the day, and indeed the entire flight back to Japan worrying about the bottle’s safety. What if it broke? What if the Bahrain government found out he had it and was holding his luggage? What if it got confiscated at customs?
It wasn’t until Yasu arrived back at his beach house in Miyazaki that he finally let himself relax. When he opened his suitcase, the bottle was exactly where he’d placed it, wrapped within four pairs of dirty underwear. He took it out and set it on a table overlooking the ocean in his living room. His stomach gave a growl then and he went off to the kitchen to find something to eat. As he prepared dinner, his eyes kept flickering to the bottle, and as he waited for the water to boil so he could make his curry, he found himself walking to the living room and lifting the bottle from its place on the table.
“What’s your story?” Yasu asked the bottle, turning it over in his hands. He returned to the kitchen where he grabbed a sponge and carefully rubbed at the bottle, trying to remove some of the built up salt and sand. He almost dropped the bottle on the floor when it started shaking violently in his hands and slowly, a red smoke started filling the living room. “What the…?”
The bottle kept shaking and fearing for his life, Yasu set it on the floor and quickly backed away, hiding himself behind the kitchen counter. A loud pop sounded and Yasu froze in fear. What in the world was going on? he wondered. Was this some kind of bomb? He peaked around the corner, nearly screaming when he saw a person standing there in his living room. A person wearing some kind of strange costume.
The stranger began speaking, and if Yasu hadn’t spent so much time in the Persian Gulf, he wouldn’t have recognized it. As if the stranger sensed his presence, he turned and looked at Yasu, a smile covering his face.
Yasu scooted back around the corner, his heart pounding in his chest. How did that person know he was here!? Yasu didn’t know if it was safe. He was scared out of his mind, but he’d already been outed and continuing to hide would do him no good. Yasu stood slowly and came around the corner into the living room. “Who are you?” he asked, trying to sound calm but his voice betrayed him.
The man turned and stared at Yasu for a moment, his mouth falling open into a little o as he took in Yasu’s appearance. He closed the distance between them and when he was close enough to Yasu, he kissed him softly on the lips, wrapping his arms around Yasu’s neck.
Yasu was too shocked to respond at first , and as if he had no control over himself, he let himself melt into the kiss. And then he seemed to realize that he was sitting on his kitchen floor kissing a strange man. He pushed the man away and asked again, “Who are you!?”
The man began speaking in Persian again, and Yasu gave a frustrated sigh, “I wish you would just speak Japanese! I can’t understand you!”
The man smiled then and said in Japanese, “I’m your genie.”
Yasu stared at Subaru dumbly for a moment. A genie? Finally it made a little sense. That’s where he’d seen the costume before! On some old western tv show. The cute little hat, and the little red silk vest and those poofy pants! Yasu almost grinned at how cute it was, but then he realized he was being made a fool of and frowned… “Get out of my house…”
“You don’t believe me?” The man asked, the grin still on his face. “You rubbed my bottle and made me appear so I’m yours now…”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Yasu mumbled. Was this some kind of elaborate joke someone was playing on him?
“It’s not a joke. Look,” The man crossed his arms over his chest and nodded at Yasu.
Suddenly, Yasu felt a chill and when he looked down he was wearing an outfit almost identical to the man’s, only sky blue in color.
“You liked my outfit, right? It looks cute on you!” The ‘genie’ smiled approvingly.
Yasu’s eyes widened and he scrambled away from Subaru. “How’d you do that?”
Subaru rolled his eyes, and scooted closer to Yasu, wrapping his arms around his neck and blinking up at him with his large brown eyes, “I’m your genie. I’ll give you anything you want…”
“Are you serious?” Yasu asked, his body going rigid.
“Yes, I’m serious. Ask for anything...” the man said sweetly and in Yasu’s opinion, a little seductively.
The doorbell rang then and Yasu stood up quickly, “Then I wish you’d give me back my clothes! And hide!”
The genie pouted disapprovingly but did as he was told. Yasu looked around quickly, making sure that the genie was gone. He knew in the back of his mind that this all had to be some kind of bad dream. Genies weren’t real and neither was magic. There was no need to hide the man because whoever was on the other side of the door was also part of the dream.
But it felt real, and for that reason alone, he was going to treat it like it was real. At least until he woke up. He crossed the living room, glancing over his shoulder one last time for any sign of the ‘genie’ and when he was satisfied that he wasn’t there, he pulled the door open.
“Shota!” A girl shot into the apartment, wrapping her arms tightly around Yasu.
Yasu returned the hug, burying his face in the girl’s hair. “I missed you, Ryoko.”
She sighed and smiled happily, pulling away from the embrace. “I missed you, too.” She kissed Yasu on the lips then and a loud crash sounded from the other side of the living room.
When Yasu turned around, the bottle was on the floor, shaking violently. His eyes widened and he let go of Ryoko to run across the room and pick up the bottle, quickly hiding it behind his back.
“What’s that?” Ryoko smiled, trying to get a look at what Yasu was holding behind his back. “A present for me?”
Yasu shook his head. He couldn’t give Ryoko the bottle! Especially not on the slim, unlikely chance that there was a strange man living inside!
“Let me see!” Ryoko smiled, reaching behind Yasu to grab the bottle. She successfully pulled it out of Yasu’s grasp and examined it closely. “Wow… this is beautiful, Shota.”
Yasu grinned nervously. What was he supposed to do if she wanted it? He didn’t have a good reason to tell her no.
“Its really not for me?” she asked with a pout.
“Sorry… it was um a gift… I wouldn’t feel right giving it away,” Yasu lied.
“Well that’s okay,” Ryoko smiled, kissing Yasu again. “It’ll be mine in a few months after we get married anyway…”
Yasu was about to say something but Ryoko gave a sudden screech and dropped the bottle on the floor. “Ouch!”
“What’s wrong?” Yasu asked, concern leaking into his voice.
“The bottle!” Ryoko cried, looking down at her hands, “It got hot suddenly.”
Yasu looked down at her hands, frowning at the angry red color. He glared down at the bottle, kicking it under the table with his foot. “Let’s go run them under cool water.” He grabbed Ryoko’s hands and led her backwards toward the kitchen. He turned on the water and pushed her hands underneath the faucet.
“How was the trip?” She asked, watching Yasu’s face as he looked at her hands.
“It was great. It’s beautiful there. I’d love to take you some day,” He commented, turning off the water and grabbing a wash cloth and drying her hands.
“Yeah, but you know diving isn’t really my thing…” She said, smiling as he dried her hands.
“But maybe if you tried it, you’d really like it. I mean, we’re living here on the beach so you should take advantage of it!” Yasu said excitedly.
She frowned a little, “I actually wanted to talk to you about that. I was thinking after we get married we could move back to Osaka.”
Yasu froze a little, “But I can’t really dive there…”
“But that’s okay. I mean, won’t it be nice to be close to our families as we start our own?” She wrapped her arms around Yasu.
Yasu looked away. He wasn’t sure if he was ready to start a family so soon. Not when he was travelling. And he especially didn’t want to move away from the ocean. “But this is my job, Ryoko…”
“You’re a marine biologist,” she rolled her eyes and pulled away. “You can get a job doing lab research or teaching or something.”
Yasu frowned at her, “But that’s not what I want. I love what I’m doing now.”
“Well what do you expect, Shota? You can’t play around in the ocean with fishes forever. And you can’t go running off all the time and leave me to take care of the house and kids. That’s not fair!”
Yasu knew she was right. It wouldn’t be fair to run off and leave her alone while he spends months in who knows where. But he couldn’t imagine giving up what he loved either. As much as he wanted a family someday, he didn’t see why that should mean giving up diving completely. “But we can raise our kids here. I can teach them how to dive and we can have barbecues on the beach during the summer,” he enveloped her in his arms. “Doesn’t that sound nice?”
She sighed, annoyed. “You’re not listening to me, Shota. I’ve been bored here for the past three months while you’ve been gone. I want to be by my family and friends.”
Yasu felt a little bad. He didn’t know Ryoko had been so unhappy. “But you can make friends here! What about your coworkers? And we can get a bigger house and your parents can come visit whenever you want!”
“That’s not the point! I want to go back to Osaka. This isn’t home to me, Shota.”
Yasu shook his head. “I don’t see why this can’t become your home. I’m here. Isn’t that part of what marriage is? Making your own home and family?”
Ryoko looked up at him then and smiled, “That’s true.” She planted a kiss on Yasu’s lips. “I did really miss you while you were gone. I thought about you all the time.”
Yasu smiled, hugging her tightly. “I missed you too.” He thought for a moment to return her full sentiment, but he couldn’t lie. He hadn’t thought of her the whole time. He loved her and cared about her and planned on spending the rest of his life with her, but while he’d been in the Persian Gulf, all he could think about was how amazing it felt to be in the water, how fulfilled he was. And maybe he’d only really missed her because it was sometimes lonely being somewhere he didn’t speak the language.
“We should make up for lost time,” she grinned mischievously as her hand snaked up the front of Yasu’s tshirt.
Yasu’s stomach did a flip. After nearly three months of no sex, there was no way Yasu was going to turn down such an enticing invitation. He grabbed Ryoko’s hand and dragged her off to the bedroom. Once inside, he pulled her into a kiss and kicked the door shut, forgetting all about the genie and the bottle as he guided Ryoko towards the bed.
She sighed into the kiss and wrapped her arms around his neck. She laid back on the bed, pulling Yasu down with her, but as soon as he landed on top of her, the bed collapsed under them and Yasu let out an oomph.
“Ouch,” Ryoko winced, “You’re heavy.”
Yasu’s, recovering from the shock, pulled himself off of Ryoko and stood to survey the damage of his broken bed. “What happened?” he asked himself, wondering if the wood had somehow rotted.
“Never mind,” Ryoko grabbed his hand and pulled him back onto the bed. “This is fine… we can fix it later,” She smiled seductively and pulled Yasu into a kiss, spreading her legs to let Yasu crawl between them.
Yasu returned the kiss, pressing his thigh to Ryoko’s crotch as his hand slid up her shirt to cup her breast. The kiss deepened, until Ryoko pushed Yasu away. “I’m getting eaten alive!” She exclaimed, slapping a mosquito which had been sucking her blood. “Aren’t they bothering you?”
Yasu shook his head, realizing he hadn’t been bitten at all, and then it started to make sense. That genie! He was purposely trying to ruin their evening. Well, Yasu wasn’t going to have it. Without a word, he stomped into the living room, grabbed the bottle, and locked it outside on the desk.
“What are you doing?” Ryoko cried, itching at her arms and legs as she watched Yasu lock the door and pull the blinds closed.
“Nothing,” Yasu smiled, turning back to her. “Where were we?” He went back to her side, his hand cupping her breast through her blouse as he nuzzled her neck. And just as she was starting to get into it, the smoke detectors started going off and the ceiling sprinklers covered them in water.
Ryoko screamed, standing up from the bed. “Shota, your apartment is falling apart!”
“No, it’s fine!” Yasu insisted, trying to pull Ryoko back to the bed. He was all worked up now.
“I’m all wet! I’m going home to change!” She whined. “This place is a dump. Maybe this is a sign that we should really just move back to Osaka.”
“You’re being silly. It’s probably just needs some maintenance because I’ve been gone so long,” he reasoned, although he knew the real reason that everything was going wrong.
“I’m going home,” She pouted, stomping into the living room and grabbing her purse.
“Ryoko, wait! It’s my first day back. Are you really leaving?”
“I’m sure as hell not staying here. Maybe I’ll just go back to Osaka. You’ll know where to find me!” With that she left, slamming the door shut behind her.
Yasu sighed and ran a hand through his hair. And then as if remembering that it was the stupid bottle that had put him in this situation, he stormed back onto the deck and grabbed the bottle and shook it. “Come out of there!”
There was no response and for a moment, Yasu thought he had been dreaming the entire thing with the genie, but he knew that was impossible. They’d touched… kissed. He shook the bottle again, “I said come out! If you’re my genie, you have to do what I say!”
The bottle started shaking then, and Yasu set it down on the ground just in case something dangerous happened. After the same cloud of smoke as last time, the genie reappeared, avoiding eye contact with Yasu. And Yasu would have thought he was ashamed if it weren’t for the pleased smile on his face. “What the hell do you think you were doing?” Yasu questioned, letting his anger get the best of him.
“What?” The genie smiled. “What did I do?”
Yasu glared. “You know what you did. What is your problem?”
Subaru looked Yasu in the eye and answered, “You’re my master. It’s my job to protect you.”
“Protect me from what?” Yasu asked, exasperated. “That’s my girlfriend. Soon to be wife. I’ve known her for seven years! I don’t need to be protected from her!”
“But she’s not right for you,” Subaru pouted cutely. “She doesn’t make you happy.”
“She’d be making me very happy right now if it weren’t for you,” Yasu pointed out.
“That’s not what I meant. You don’t want to move back to Osaka, do you?” the genie asked seriously.
“It’s none of your business!” Yasu almost shouted. “Why don’t you just get lost? Go back to your bottle!”
The genie reluctantly obeyed, turning into a cloud of red smoke and slithering into the bottle. When he was inside, Yasu grabbed the bottle and threw it as hard as he could into the ocean. The stupid genie was someone else’s problem now!
End Chapter 1