Ch. 1 Reflection
"You should go! Typically, I'm the anti-social one, and I'm going. You have no valid excuse." Sango preached to her co-worker and good friend, Kagome. Said girl only rolled her eyes and sighed. "For the seven trillionth time, I am not going!" This argument had been going on for their entire lunch break. Actually, it had been going on for two weeks now, and Kagome never gave in, unfortunately Sango never gave up. However, Kagome was getting tired of using her breath to argue, her decision was not going to change.
"But if you don't go then…" before Sango could deliver the final part to that sentence, Kagome did. "She will think she won and you will look weak. Shit Sango, you've only recited that line more times than I've seen a hurting patient. Oh, and that's everyday!" She had had her fill of lecturing from her best girlfriend. She loved her no doubt, but this was grating on her nerves. Then Sango finally said something that Kagome had been silently hoping for. She threw in the towel. A pregnant pause followed Kagome's last statement, and Sango threw her napkin down on her tray and raised both hands to the air like she had been caught stealing. "You know what, fine! I'm done! You don't want to go then don't! You win Higurashi!" She let her hands fall back to her lap with a slap, gaining more attention from other employees that were also on their lunch break. Sango was as sick as arguing as Kagome was, but she was just hoping she could change her stubborn mind.
"Don't look at me like that." Kagome pleaded slowly. She didn't want her best friend upset with her, which she already was. She was just beyond agitated these days. She hadn't meant to curse at her, but agitation had a way of sending her happy mood down a public toilet. "Sango, you know why I can't go, and I don't care what Kikyo will think of me. I don't care if I look weak, I don't care if she's still talking crap, I just don't care anymore." Kagome's fire had died out, and now she just sounded broken. 'That's because you are broken' she thought to herself. Lunch break time was winding down and the two needed to get back to their jobs. Sango politely grabbed Kagome's trash and her own to throw away. After that, the two left the indoor SubWay in the hospital and walked down the long hallway to their destinations. The girls did this routine almost every day that they worked together, and Monday was subway day. They'd go eat, and walk back to their posts of duty. Normally, the entire trek would consist of chattering and giggling, but today neither one of them was feeling it.
They came to an end of the hallway where they would have to part ways. Before Kagome could reel around the corner to journey back towards the emergency room, Sango softly grabbed her arm. Kagome turned to see a sad looking friend gazing back at her. She looked like she was on the verge of tears. No words were spoken, but the two exchanged a tight hug before parting ways. Today, they would both get off work at 3:15 pm, and meet back at the same spot they were in. Sango let go and spoke in a low voice "Kags, I never mean to meddle, but you're my best friend and I've seen how this entire situation had been eating away at you. I was only trying to help." Kagome sniffled a tiny bit and fought back tears, not from what Sango said, but from just being reminded about 'the situation' that she had been trying so hard, too hard to overcome. "Oh girl, don't apologize. You and Miroku go. Have a good time, tell me all about it, but I just can't be there." Sango forced a smile and nodded her head in dismissal. Kagome turned back to head down the hallways that would lead her to the emergency room, while Sango headed towards her small office. 'Another life in the day of me' Kagome thought.
Emergency room drama on Mondays tended to be kept to a minimum. All the interesting stuff like the car accidents, drunken accidents, and that one guy who can't stop throwing up for whatever reason didn't really start until the weekend, and Higurashi was glad she didn't always work weekends. Mondays were days that sick kids would come in, running high fevers. Kagome loved working with the children; it was just something she was good at. Sometimes she would work in the back where all the hectic activity took place, and sometimes she would work at the front desk, taking in the information of the patient and telling them to take a number and wait, which was also hectic. Some parents were just insane when it came to their children, and the fact that they had to take a number and wait like some seafood line made them angry. Fortunately, Kagome knew how to handle these kinds of parents. Calming words and a calming tone normally eased the problem.
As her shift ended, another girl came in to take her place at the desk. "Hey Ayame!" Kagome chimed. The red head smiled back and then assumed a military stance, back straight and hands straight at her sides. "I will now relieve this Higurashi from her post of duty, for my name is Ayame, and I too, am a desk worker." She bowed and Kagome burst with laughter. "You never cease to amaze, and confuse, me honey." Ayame's high pitched voice and not so serious demeanor made everything she said and did funny. She chatted with the girl quickly and headed to the back to clock out. 'Three fifteen on the dot' she stated to herself. She grabbed her purse and checked her phone for any messages or notifications. 'None, of course, nobody likes me' she stated mater-of-factly. She headed back to the hallway where she and Sango would typically meet, but she was not there. All of a sudden she saw a charming, troublesome man walk down the hall with a crisp white coat on and a sly smirk. "Oh gosh, where is Sango and what have you done with her?" Kagome asked fearfully.
"Why do you assume that I have done anything to her?" the man stated, pretending to be a little hurt. "Because you always do, Miroku!" Kagome laughed out. When Miroku got to her, he took her hand and shook it, as if they don't hang out outside of work like best friends, with Sango in company of course. "We have an emergency meeting so she won't be leaving till around 4 pm" he said professionally. With a sigh and an understanding nod, Kagome then said "I guess being a part of the best heart surgery team in Tokyo comes with demands" she said dreamily. "But if you guys have a meeting, why are you not in there?" She asked suspiciously. "I actually have to go retrieve some paperwork, thank you very much" Miroku bit out, but only in a joking manner. "And yes, it is beyond demanding, it's like we live in this hospital, but anyway, are you going to the wedding?" He asked innocently. She damn near cringed when she heard the word 'wedding'. "Uh.. no I'm not." Quickly said, she hoped no more questions about her decision would come her way. She already got enough from Sango, Ayame kept complaining that she didn't know what to wear. Other various co-workers were talking about what they heard was going to be at the wedding and reception, and it never failed to hit Kagome's ears like a tuning fork.
"Oh, well why not?"
'Damn' "I just don't want to." She said childishly. She knew perfectly well why Miroku was asking.
He gave a nod and simply said "You can't run from it forever babe, and going would probably give you some closure." He saw the fire in her eyes blaze up from his statement, and before she could chew his head off, he dismissed himself. "Well, I really have to go get that paperwork now. See ya, Kago!" He quickly went off leaving a fuming 'Kago' still standing where she was. She wanted to scream. Why did everyone think they knew what she needed to do to feel better? 'They don't know me, and they don't know my life' she thought stubbornly.
'Oh, but they do.' Her conscious delivered.
'Shut up! I don't want to talk to you right now' she bit back. Sometimes, your worst enemy can be yourself.
Making it out to the parking garage, she slipped in her black Camry, and immediately turned on the radio. Commercials were on, and she drove out to the interstate. It was tempting for her to think about her life's problems white driving. Music and a smooth ride made her contemplate her day, which is not the best thing to do while driving. 'Don't think, just drive' she chanted. She was actually doing a good job until a song came on that reminded her of…him. Adele's voice floated through her car, and that did not help her focus.
"I heard, that you're settled down, that you found a girl and you're married now…"
*click* "Well, I guess I'm not listening to music today." She stated boldly. "Someone Like You" was not going to help her mood at all. Actually, it had already sunk at the first line. 'Settled down, found a girl, and married.' The words drifted through her head like neon signs on a dark night. 'I will not cry, I will not, I won't' she thought. She didn't know what was worse, the song or the silence. The song sang the truth and the silence screamed it as well. While Adele kept reminding Kagome that she was lonely and heartbroken, so did the chilling silence in her car. When she pulled up to her nice apartment complex, she veered the car to a halt and zipped out up to her apartment. She needed to break down, and she wasn't going to do it where anybody could possibly see her. Opening the door to her shoebox home, she ran to her room. Dropping her purse, she collapsed on her bed face down, and cried into the pillow.
"What did I ever do to deserve this?" she sobbed out. She hated crying because it made her feel helpless. She also did not have anyone to come over and wipe her tears. 'Not anymore' she thought. That perk had left with the jerk that also took her happiness. 'Damn him!" she bit out. It was only Monday and she was dealing with this 'situation' poorly. Soon before long, she stopped the tears, and went to take a shower. The hot water helped her think things out. Afterwards, she went and changed into some sweat pants and a tank top to lounge around in. Hopping into the kitchen, she ate the pasta that Sango had brought over yesterday. She grabbed a bottle of water and plopped down on the couch, hoping the TV would clear her mind.
TV talking: "Tonight, "My Tattered Heart" will be playing. Sara Idle is young and in love, but what happens when she finds out the so called man of her dreams is cheating on her. Will she ever love again? Can a certain someone pick up the pieces of her tattered heart? Will she ever forgive? All tonight, on Lifetime"
*flick* Kagome kept surfing channels. 'Damn Lifetime and their dramatic ass love stories' she thought bitterly. Not even television could calm her bothered mind, and soon she just stopped surfing channels and hit the off button. She tidied up her apartment a little bit and went to her room to continue reading this mystery novel she had recently bought. So far, it was pretty good. The main character is a heroine who is trying to save the hero. It sounded corny to her, but it became a best seller. So Kagome gave it a shot, and she was glad she did. Lying on her stomach on her bed, she flipped page after page. Reading always provided a means of escape to her. She would become trapped in someone else's world and reading helped her escape her own.
When she looked at her phone, it was going on 10 pm. "Time to hit the sheets, I guess." She marked her spot and closed the book. Climbing under the covers, she prayed to any god that might be listening that she would fall asleep quickly. Silence and darkness were not her allies, and she felt more vulnerable than ever before with them. She'd end up staring up at the darkness above her eyes, and thinking herself to sleep. 'Inuyasha and Kikyo are getting married in three weeks, and everyone thinks I need to go.' Miroku's words echoed in her mind, "you can't run from it forever babe, and going would probably give you some closure."
'Would it really' she continued to contemplate.
'The only way to find out is to go' her conscious rang back.
'Ugh, but I can't' she responded.
'The only thing stopping you is you girlfriend'
She gave a heavy sigh and turned to lie on her side. She knew this all too well. How could she watch the man she loves, NO, loved marry the woman she hates, NO, dislikes. It was all too confusing. For another night, she had to think herself to sleep, and the only thing she could think about was Inuyasha. She had been working in the hospital for two years now, and Inuyasha was the one in charge of keeping the emergency room running smoothly. She had started the same day that Kikyo started. When Inuyasha was talking to the newbies, his eyes kept drifting back and forth between her and Kikyo.
"Are you ladies sisters?" He asked with curiosity. This gained looks from the other newbies, who also began to wonder if the two were related. Kagome turned her head to look at Kikyo and then gave a small laugh. "No, we're not sisters, but I do see why you guys would ask" she said cheerfully. Kikyo and she had some facial similarities, but other than that Kagome couldn't see any major similarities. "We look nothing alike" Kikyo stated coldly. Some people in the meeting room turned back around to look at Inuyasha, and some people snickered at her response.
'Okayyyy' Kagome thought. 'Definitely no similarity in personality, she seems sassy.'
Inuyasha continued on with the meeting, his eyes occasionally meeting Kagome's. She couldn't help but think he was handsome. His long black hair put hers to shame in terms of length, and his dark eyes were certainly captivating. When the teams work day started, they started with the small things. Making sure every room had proper items there for any emergency. Inuyasha would walk around occasionally, evaluating the newbies. When he saw Kagome putting some cotton balls in a room, he stopped and gave her a sexy smirk. She couldn't help but blush. Little did she know, he was doing the same thing to Kikyo, who was winking back at his advances.
Weeks passed and soon before long, the newbies didn't need any more evaluation. They learned that Edo hospital was considered to be the finest in Tokyo, which always meant a busy emergency room. Kagome handled every situation with care and precision. She never felt queasy at the sight of blood, which proved affective for her work flow. The drama in the emergency room could never compare to the one going on behind closed doors.
She was getting ready to clock out one day, when she heard her name called.
"Higurashi" it was Inuyasha.
"Yes Mr. Taisho?" she responded respectfully.
"May I see you in my office?" he said so in a way that wasn't exactly a question, more like he was ordering it.
"Yes sir" she said.
She proceeded to follow his quickly paced footsteps back to his office. 'Did I do something wrong?' she asked herself. When they arrived he ushered her in to take a seat. Closing the door behind him, he got straight to the point. "Okay Higurashi, I must say that I am impressed with your work in the ER, and I'm thinking of promoting you."
Her heart leapt for joy. A promotion so early, wow!
"Mr. Taisho, I would be honored to accept this promotion." She said happily with a glimmer to her brown eyes.
"Please, when we're alone, you can just call me Inuyasha." He said with a slight rasp to his voice that made her heart pound harder.
"Well then, Inuyasha, I accept."
"Wonderful. That's not all I wanted to say though."
Kagome nodded quickly so he could proceed to his next statement.
"What are you doing Friday night?"
Her mouth went dry; he couldn't possibly be asking her on a date? Could he? Was he? Is he allowed to do that? I guess when your older brother is CEO of the most prestigious hospital in all of Tokyo; you could get away with that kind of stuff.
"I currently have nothing on my schedule." She said quietly.
"Well, allow me to be the one to fill it then. He reached over his desk and handed her his cell phone. It was already on contacts, so she knew to put her number in there. Her pulse was quickening; should she be doing this with her boss?
"I was thinking about just going out to eat, I'll pick you up."
"Oh well, let me write down my address then."
"I already have it." He responded quickly. "I am your boss, ya know?" He had a smile that made her stomach brew butterflies.
After exchanging a few more words, Kagome stepped out of his office with pep in her step. 'I got myself a date' she said. A slight blush rose to her cheeks. 'Oh my goodness, what am I going to wear?' she inwardly panicked. As she was rounding a corner, she almost bumped into Ayame.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Excuse me." Kagome stated quickly. The two girls had hit it off immediately during their training and evaluation.
"Oh hey Kags, it's alright. I'm just on my way to clock out." The girls picked up a conversation, and then a certain Kikyo walked around the corner. Kagome had come to the conclusion that she did not like her, for whatever reason. Her eyes always looked cold.
"Hey Kikyo, where you headed?" Ayame asked.
"Inuya- I mean Mr. Taisho's office." She corrected herself quickly and went about her way.
Kagome paid no mind to the slight slip up, and left work thinking about her date. When she got to her new apartment, she immediately went to her closet to find something to wear Friday night. Sure she had three days until then, but she wanted to make sure she had something now. It was the summer time, so something loose would suit her. She could not believe she was going to go on a date with her boss. Her extremely handsome boss. His body was well built, not that she was scoping or anything, and his voice was hot. 'Look at me, I'm acting like I was back in high school over Hojo' she thought. That fling had started in junior high and ended in high school.
"This Friday is going to be good." She declared aloud, trying to kill any ounce of doubt she had about the situation.
And she was right. That Friday was good, and so was the next one, then the following one, and then the following Saturday. Dates became a regular thing for the two. They'd either go out to eat, or go see a movie, or even walk around the mall and engage in conversation. She felt completely comfortable with him, and eventually she felt comfortable with falling for him. He first kissed her on their third date. They were coming back from the coffee shop across from the movie theatre, and he was walking her to her car. Laughing about something, she opened the door, and before she could get in, he grabbed her arm and spun her around for a soft kiss. When he pulled back, he held a smug look on his face, and she knew that she must have looked like a tomato, as much as she was blushing. Instead of ending it there, she leaned back in and kissed him harder. Where this newfound confidence came from, she had no clue, but she was enjoying the feeling of him on her, his hand on her waist while the other held his coffee. That night at home, she turned her TV to a music channel and just danced around her apartment. Life was good. Good job, good place, good car, and she was falling for a good guy.
They continued on with their dating until one day Sango asked her during their lunch break, "Why are you guys not in a relationship?" Kagome just smiled back across the table sweetly and sipped her iced tea. "Maybe he's not ready, or he's too nervous to ask!" She said it like she discovered something new. Sango looked at her skeptically. Kagome was not actually sure why she and Sango became friends so quickly. They had the same lunch break every day that they worked and just hit it off. "It sounds fishy." Sango stated. Kagome laughed and rolled her eyes. "Always have to bring down the cloud nine, don't you Sango?" Sango just responded with a laugh and turned the conversation to something else.
Four months had passed since Kagome and Inuyasha started going on dates, and he still hadn't made a move towards a relationship. Kagome knew one thing for sure, she loved him. Maybe she was crazy for doing so, but she felt so confident. Sango chided her for it, saying that it was too soon to fall for him. Truthfully, Sango had heard some things about Inuyasha Taisho on her side of the hospital, from none other than his best friend Miroku. Apparently, Inuyasha got around. Sango couldn't relay this information to Kagome though; she never wanted to ruin that happiness.
One more month went by and Kagome's overconfidence lead her to make the decision of asking him out first. "That is a horrible idea!" Sango yelled. They were at their favorite sushi place for a girl's night out, and Kagome had told her friend her decision. "We text like a couple, go out like a couple. We might as well make it official." She said optimistically. Sango continued to lecture her on how bad of an idea that was, and it was not going to end well. Nothing could stop the Higurashi fire once it was fueled. It was only eight that Wednesday night, and Kagome knew Inuyasha stayed late on Wednesdays to do paperwork. So, she decided she was going to the hospital to ask that night.
"Do what you do girl. I can't stop you." Sango stated.
"You sure can't! Love you hun, bye!" Kagome hugged her friend before leaving the restaurant.
He didn't know she was coming, and she loved the fact that she was going to surprise him. Pulling up to Edo, she parked in a space outside of the ER. She was surprised she could find one so close. Walking into the ER, she recognized one of her co-workers sitting behind the desk.
"Good evening, Kagura!" Kagome chirped.
Kagura didn't speak, only inclined her head in recognition and continued examining her perfect nails. Kagome walked in the back, nodding to a few workers she recognized on the way to Inuyasha's office. She was a little nervous, but beyond excited. Not only was she going to ask him out, she was going to finally tell him that she loved him. When she arrived outside his office, she heard noises coming from the inside. She stopped and leaned an ear to the door, and what she heard doused her fire, killed her confidence, and shattered her smile.
"Mmmmm, Kikyo, don't stop what you're doing." She heard a raspy voice groan. Inuyasha's to be exact.
She couldn't hear any sounds from Kikyo, but soon before long she heard some movement and then Kikyo asked seductively "will you take me on your desk?" "Oh, yes ma'am." was the response. Following those words were moans from Kikyo and curses from Inuyasha. Kagome's feet were glued to the ground, her knees locked, and her breathing became shallow and shaky.
She knew she was about to regret what she was going to do, but she needed to catch him in the act. She grabbed the handle and flung open the door. There Inuyasha was, standing between Kikyo's legs, his pants down to his ankles and her scrub pants off, sitting on an edge of his desk. Both snapped their heads to the doorway, to find an incredulous looking Kagome standing in its arch.
"This is why you can never hand out on Wednesdays?" she sobbed out. She was on the brink of waterworks, but she refused to cry in front of them. Inuyasha immediately began to pull up his pants, but Kagome had no strength to continue standing, nor did she have the heart to listen to whatever bullshit that was going to pour out of his mouth. She immediately ran from the room, out the back, through the ER and to her car. She got in and grabbed the steering wheel with hands and began to cry uncontrollably. Did that really just happen? Did her eyes show her the truth? She understood why he never pursued a relationship, and why he never spoke to her at all during work, but spoke to other employees. She understood why Wednesdays were never good days to go out. She understood why sometimes he wouldn't text back. She understood why Kikyo would always look at her with a threatening gaze. She understood why Sango warned her. She understood why he was always asking her about sex, but never pushing her into it. She understood why love was considered to be so damn cruel, because it left you blinded. She peeled out of the parking lot to go home. She needed to text Sango and cry like a baby.
-End of Flashback-
Kagome went through the typical break up phase. The tears, the I don't cares, the excess eating, and the sour moods. She when through it all. Maybe it would have been easier to get over the betrayal if she didn't have to WORK WITH THESE PEOPLE! These were the thoughts that drifted through her mind all too often when she would try to sleep. Apparently, whatever gods she was asking for help weren't granting her any, because she ended up crying again.
Now they're getting married in three weeks, and the assholes had the nerve to send her an invitation. She found that beyond disrespectful, that was just evil. So now, Sango and her boyfriend Miroku were trying to convince her to go, for her image and pride, and it was the talk in break room. Inuyasha had not tried to speak to her after that hellish Wednesday, but if he came through the ER room at work, he would glance at her as if he had something to say, but he never said a thing. Kikyo would brag to the other employees how lucky she felt, and how excited she is. She never spoke a work to Kagome after that night either, and she was glad. She didn't know if she could hold off on slapping her senseless if she did.
'Closure' she thought. Seeing him marry her was not going to provide closure. It was going to reopen the wound that she tried so desperately to keep closed. Tears found their way out of her ducts from time to time and would spill when she thought of their kisses, and how she had fallen for him. Then it would drift to him and Kikyo humping each other and she would get angry. It had been a little over a year since that fateful night, and while Kagome wasn't torn up inside anymore, it still pained her to hear everyone talk about it.
Sleep was finally taking her over as she thought some last thoughts. Sango had suggested she should find a date to escort her to the wedding. Kagome simply replied with a 'hell no' and 'forget that'. She was not dating anyone else for a long time; that had been her final decision after Inuyasha. Her lids eased closed, and her body relaxed while she breathed out her answer to it all.
"I am not going to the goddamn wedding."
And then sleep relieved her.