Author: Ijin PM
AU.OneShot. Valentine's Day special Sequel to Kagome's Night Out. What do you do with expensive pralines you do not dare send to your lover because you've screwed up big time? Eat them?Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance - Words: 2,684 - Reviews: 36 - Favs: 90 - Follows: 12 - Published: 02-13-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2263246
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Although I wish Inuyasha were mine, he and his little pals belong to Rumiko Takahashi et al.
1.) This is a sequel to Kagome's Night Out. It's not funny! Most of it, anyway. Everyone is OOC.
2.) Many thanks to RosieB, who acted as a stand-in beta reader for this one so I could publish it on Valentine's Day.. Thanks a bunch, love! Go and read her stuff, especially The Broken Miko!
3.) In Japan, girls give boys chocolate on 14th February. The White Day in Japan is, as far as I know, the 14th March where boys return the girls' favours by giving them white chocolate and/or other gifts.
4.) Xocolat is the Aztec name for cocoa/chocolate. Right now I'm not eating choco because I decided I'd not eat any until Easter, so I'm obsessed with chocolate and all things chocolatey.
5.) I'd like to thank all the people who have read and reviewed Kagome's Night out, or, for that matter, any of my stories. You are wonderful and I love you! I hope you'll enjoy this one as well.
Kagome Higurashi was heading back to work after having spent her lunch break in the most expensive chocolate shop in Tokyo. In her hand she was holding a little pink paper bag, in which there was a tiny box with a single, heart-shaped praline she'd had especially designed and handcrafted by a specialist for today.
For today, it was the 14th of February.
She sighed heavily and brushed the dark tresses from her face when she waved to the foyer security and proceeded through a heavy door that led to the lab where she worked. Once there, she carefully deposited the expensively wrapped chocolate on her office desk and sat on her chair to look at it, like she did every year.
There was no denying that Kagome Higurashi was a fool. Everyone thought so; and she did not deny it. Every year since she had started working there, the phone did not ring and the office door stayed closed on 14th February. Everyone knew it was better to leave her alone with her pretty little chocolate on the table, while she was looking at it as if mesmerised by the pattern on the gift wrap.
Eventually, like every year, she would sit silently until five or six in the afternoon, and when the daylight outside had faded and turned into night, she would look outside at the street, see nothing but the streetlights in the fog and eat the chocolate herself, with a sigh so heavy that Atlas would bend under its weight.
On the outside, her face looked calm and serene, her eyes half closed. On the inside, she was remembering and wishing she could somehow bring the chocolate to the one that it was meant for in the first place. Until now, she had never mustered the courage to actually do it.
It had been a crazy time indeed that followed that night. Kagome found herself somehow dating a huge star. Even now she had didn't know what he found so special about her. In-between her studies and dodging the curiosity of the press, they had had a special, wonderful time together. She never knew which one of his personalities she would turn up being with every day – the boring, posh businessman, the eccentric star or the mischievous boy. Still, she was in love then and she looked forward to each and every of their meetings, no matter how much energy this life cost her.
Eventually, she graduated and started working for a company as a researcher, soon to be promoted and starts on her doctor thesis. Life got even busier for them. Eventually she found out that the company she was working for belonged to her boyfriend's father, a distinguished man with white hair and a fierce brow, who sincerely assured her that he did not employ her because she was seeing his son. She went back and forth between the office and lab in the downtown building of her company and the research facility in Yokohama, and her significant other was getting more and more popular. At some point of their relationship, he went on a tour of America, and after that, everything went stale.
The tabloids were never happy with his relationship with a scientist who refused to be drawn into the glitzy world of stars, so they frequently outfitted him with some or other female as supposed "new" girlfriend. They forever predicted the tragic end of the relationship that was "doomed to fail", and put him on top of "Single man of the year"-lists, always saying that hooked up wasn't the same as married and that girls still had the chance to pull this fish on land. Kagome had never thought much of it, feeling sure of his affections at all times. When he came back from his tour, they celebrated by taking a short vacation and then throwing themselves back into their busy lives.
Love needs time. When time is a luxury, and you are not careful, then love goes away. At a certain point soon after their vacation, Kagome started to feel a freezing cold around her heart. She felt it when she woke up in her bed alone and felt it when she looked at her lover's bare back in the moonlight, caressing his long white hair and frosting him with ice. She felt it with every new photo in the tabloids, and every new supermodel clinging to his arm at some party she did not attend because she felt she did not belong to his world. Did she have the right to keep this beautiful being all to herself? When she turned thirty, the research department threw a party for her, and he showed up, of course, only to make every and each one of the crew feel awkward and plain around him… and one day, while she still felt like she was tearing up at the simple thought of parting from him, she called him on his private line and said that she needed time, that she hoped that they would stay friends and that she would send his things to his apartment as soon as possible.
If she had ever hoped that he would call her back more than once and beg her to reconsider, she was disappointed, for he only called once and showed up at her house for a coffee and a chat. Then she did not hear anything for him for six months. His father approached her almost shyly and said that he hoped that she would still remain with the company, although he had lost hope she would provide him with grandchildren. After six months, her former lover called her and asked if she would go for lunch with him. She agreed, and so they became friends.
At the age of thirty-five, Kagome asked herself why she still was buying chocolate for him on Valentine's Day. The time of their separation now was almost as long as the time of their relationship and she should have gotten used to it. Sango always said that it would help getting another boyfriend, but Kagome still did not feel ready. Perhaps she would never feel ready.
She looked out of the window and saw pale blotches of light in the nightly fog and car lights flashing on and off as they passed by the building. She sighed heavily, chewed her bottom lip and reached for the phone on her desk. She lifted the receiver and pushed three buttons that connected her to the in-house delivery. If she asked them, they would deliver a parcel to the company owner's son. When a friendly voice answered her call, she lost her courage and said:
"This is Higurashi from development… no… it's all right, sorry, I… no, wrong number… yeah… bye…" She replaced the receiver and took the carefully wrapped praline from the little pink bag. Sighing again, she touched the gift wrap, when her mobile phone started ringing. She stood up and fished it from her coat pocket.
Startled, she did not look at the display but pushed the button and said "Hello" in her most impatient tone. After all, most people knew better than bother her on this particular day. Unconsciously, she continued to finger the small package, until a voice she knew all too well said:
She was numb, incapable of saying anything at all to him. Why was he calling? Did he want to reschedule their meeting next week?
"I know what you are about to do and I order you not to do it," he said.
Kagome still said nothing.
"You will do what you are told, is that clear?" he ordered, and she nodded dumbly, not realising that he could not see her. "You will send this gift to the one it was meant for, Kagome."
"Yes," she heard herself saying, and put the praline back into the pink bag.
"Good," he said. "I'll see you next week, then." Kagome nodded again. She could hear the smirk in his voice when he said "bye, then" and disconnected. For a moment she was standing there, and then she called the delivery.
"This is Higurashi from development… yes… I have work for you…"
Kagome had no idea why they both persisted in keeping in touch this way, although it was obvious that they were both tortured by this politeness that had replaced their once sparkly relationship. Worse than anything else before was the anticipation she felt, the feeling that he might try to thank her for the chocolate. She did not want him to thank her. What she really wanted him to do, though, she realised with a blush, did rhyme with thank, but it started with sp-…
They parted amiably, and to her relief, he said nothing about the chocolate, and life could go on as usual. Perhaps now this was done, she could resume her life as usual, perhaps even let Sango match her up with one of her "eligible bachelors".
Then she found herself waiting. Waiting for his calls, waiting for mail, waiting even for tabloid reports. He had another gorgeous supermodel girlfriend, so it seemed. She would have loved to kick his butt, but of course, there was no going back to old habits.
At the end of February, she tried dating again. She went out with a charming colleague she had once met at a science congress in Kyoto, but soon gave it up, because it made no sense. The company's owner came around her office more often, just for a chat, as he said. His son called her from time to time, simply to talk, and somehow, the old feeling of genuine friendship started to sneak into their conversations. When March came, Kagome bought a little black number for a party she was forced to attend by Sango. First week of March, she bought a newly released CD of her old boyfriend and listened to his music while reading the texts from the booklet, since she did not understand the words only by listening. She kept the CD in her car and listened to it for the rest of the first two weeks on her way to work.
On 14th of March, she woke up early and still managed to be late for work, where she was nervous and irritable and only managed to upset her secretary so much that she did not receive a single call during the day, and all her papers were in a mess. After managing to sweet-talk the old girl into a better mood and send her on her way, she sat in the office after hours and looked out of the window seeing nothing.
When she finally had gathered her things to leave the office, she found a tiny packet on the carpet in front of her door. She picked it up and stuffed it in her pocket, totally convinced that it was meant for her, although she did not read the card that was attached to it.
On her way home, she listened to his new CD.
At home, she unwrapped the small box and then read the card. Then she opened the box, and inside, she found a single praline in white chocolate. The card read: "I don't want to be friends anymore."
Kagome's rational side thought that she should be upset, but in fact she was almost delirious with joy. She dialled a certain number, and soon heard the voice that she had been listening to for the whole week.
"Happy White Day Kagome," he said, and she laughed.
"How about tea?" she asked, and her doorbell rang. She put the phone down and ran to the door, where she was caught in the arms of the number one of the single male celebrity top list.
"I am moving in tonight," he said into her hair, "and then we will do just the thing your friend and her husband have done ten years ago."
"Have wild sex on the backseat of your limo?" Kagome asked, amazed at how fast the sparkle was returning to their conversation.
He regarded her teary eyes for a moment. "That, too," he said. "After we've gotten married. Put on some shoes. I have got your wedding dress in my car."
"What? What makes you think I'll say yes?"
"Be quiet, woman," he said in his best imperative. "We will have no discussions about this anymore. You have proven to be unreliable and moody, so henceforth, I shall decide what we do."
"Hrmph," she said. "What took you so long to decide?"
"A wedding dress is not made in a day, you know."
"And that's why you waited until today?"
"Yes," he said with a serious face. "And also for the sake of drama, of course."
"Then I will refrain from telling you all about how you refuse to miss your favorite slippers until you are reminded of them and then you realise you cannot live without them."
"Are you comparing me to a pair of slippers?"
"No," he said.
This is an ending especially for my stand-in beta, RosieB, who kindly agreed to read through the story while Raijin is getting her behind tanned in California while her sister is freezing hers at -10°C
And then they had a glitzy bollywood wedding…