Chapter 46 : Final Approval
"In other news, the game Steel Spirit, the first video game released by the Kaiba brothers, continues selling well two weeks after its initial release," the newscaster, a woman dressed in a red business suit, read from the teleprompter. Seto loosened the black tie around his neck and tossed it onto the nearby sofa, where Anzu was sitting watching television. He leaned down and lightly kissed her cheek before taking a seat next to her. "The game has just dropped to second place on the list of highest-selling games, falling behind Nintendo's newest Pokemon release. Reviews for the game are still running strong, and it's rumored that the Kaiba brothers will continue working in the video game industry, dropping the former Duel Monsters card craze for good."
Leaning forward, Seto picked up the remote controller and turned the television off. He heard Anzu pout slightly and smirked over at her. "You don't have to watch the news to know what's going on at the company," he remarked.
She chuckled and rolled her eyes at him. "Maybe I wanted to watch something other than your company. The news isn't only your video game, Seto." She stuck her tongue out at him, and he smirked wickedly before hastily pulling her into an embrace. She leaned forward and brought his lips to hers. They tasted slightly of strawberry, Seto noted, and he began devouring them, running his hands up and down her sides. To his surprise, she swiftly backed away and playfully poked his nose. "You ready for tonight?"
He sighed and rolled his eyes. "Ready as I'll ever be..." Secretly, he was more than a little uncomfortable at the prospect. Tonight, Anzu's father was coming to visit. It had been his idea, he reflected, but actually meeting his girlfriend's father was entirely different than contemplating it. He had little, if any, idea as to what to expect. And not having a father to look up to made it all the worse.
"You'll be fine," she stated, pushing herself off the sofa and taking his hands into hers. He smiled and stood up next to her, releasing a heavy breath as she wrapped her arms around him. "Just be yourself, m'kay?"
He smirked but shuddered when the doorbell rang. "That should be him..."
Both turned and walked into the main foyer of the manor as Irika swiftly approached and opened the front door. Standing in the doorway was an older man, perhaps in his late forties or early fifties, Seto gauged. He was surprisingly bald and wore thick-rimmed glasses in front of familiar blue eyes. Dressed in a business suit, he smiled at the two, who bowed at his arrival. He bowed slightly in return before holding his hand out. "Mr. Kaiba, I presume?"
Seto nodded and firmly grasped the man's hand, shaking it cordially. "Mr. Mazaki."
"It is a pleasure to finally meet you," Anzu's father greeted. He had a warm smile, and he carefully took off his coat and handed it to Irika before embracing his daughter, who returned the hug warmly. "Anzu, how have you been doing?"
"I'm doing well," she answered, smiling up at her dad. He was only an inch or two taller than her. Seto noted that her bone structure was quite different from her father's and determined it must have been her mother's. His eyes were the same color as hers, however, and he wondered if his hair would be the same color if he had any hair. His eyebrows were too dark to note.
"Please follow me," Irika instructed, gaining their attention. "Dinner shall be served in the dining room."
Seto watched as Anzu led her father through the main foyer and down the hallway to the dining room. His eyes were wide with wonder at the spacious rooms around him, and Seto answered his questions concerning the layout of the manor on their way. Upon entering the dining hall, Seto graciously allowed him to sit at the head of the table, sitting directly across from Anzu. Irika swiftly brought out their cups of tea as well as a large platter of sashimi and sushi. There was also a large plate containing warmed vegetables and a bowl of white rice per person. "This is...you really didn't have to put this together for me, Mr. Kaiba," her father instructed. It was clear he was quite taken aback by the hospitality.
"I-It's nothing," he answered, doing his best to remain calm. He had absolutely no idea what to do. To him, this was just an average dinner. He hadn't thought of Mr. Mazaki's position. Fortunately, Anzu spoke up.
"Seto's a little embarrassed when it comes to guests," Anzu explained. "He just wants to prove that I'm eating well, is all."
"Oh really?" he asked, looking curiously at him. "I'd have thought the CEO of KaibaCorp was good with dealing with other people."
Seto smirked. "I'm good at dealing with competition. This is admittedly the first time I'm meeting with a girlfriend's father, and I'm not quite sure what to expect, to be perfectly frank."
Mr. Mazaki smiled and nodded in understanding. "It is quite understandable. I was told you are an orphan, Mr. Kaiba?"
Seto slowly nodded. "Yes, it's only my brother and myself now."
"Then you have courage for going through this. Although I do greatly appreciate this opportunity. Anzu has told me so much about how you and her have been getting along and living together. It's very kind of you, everything you're doing for her."
Seto smiled. "Compared to all she's done for me, I'd say it's very little."
Her father smiled warmly before glancing around the dining room. "Where is your brother?"
"At a friend's house." He again smiled and nodded. By now, Anzu was beginning to fill her plate with pieces of sushi and sashimi. Seto motioned towards the food and said, "Please, help yourself."
"Thank you, Mr. Kaiba." Seto frowned. He didn't like the formality of it all. Again, Anzu came to his rescue.
"Dad, you can call him 'Seto,'" she instructed before passing the plate of sushi over to him.
"Is that all right with you?" Mr. Mazaki asked, glancing over at him. Seto nodded.
"O-Of course." Taking the platter, he took several pieces and placed them on his plate before handing it over to Mr. Mazaki.
"Then please, call me Takaishi. I'm happy to know someone else doesn't like formalities." Seto immediately released a breath he didn't know he had been holding. The air around the table instantly felt lighter as everyone served themselves food, setting the platters back down in the middle of the table.
"How has work been lately, Dad?" Anzu inquired.
"Oh, it's been the usual. It's soon going to be summer break, so I'm having to prepare their summer assignments. I just completed grading their midterms as well. I'm looking forward to my break."
"How did the students do?"
"Fairly well. I made my test a bit more challenging this year to see what would happen, and a surprising number got Bs and As. Proof that the kids can do the work when asked." He smiled and glanced over at Seto. "Where does your brother go to school?"
"Here in Downtown Domino City," Seto answered.
"And what kind of grades does he get, if I might ask?"
"He gets straight As. He's an excellent student." Smirking, he added, "In fact, he often finds the material to be boring. He's always asking me if he can skip a grade, but I tell him no. I think he'd miss his friends a lot more than he lets on if he moves up a grade. Plus, while I don't discredit the kid, I know a lot of people would see it as me abusing my power. It's just easier this way."
Mr. Mazaki nodded in understanding. "A very thoughtful man, you seem to be. I'm happy my daughter chose wisely."
Seto smiled, realizing what had just been spoken: her father approved of him. He didn't know until now that that was really what this dinner had been about, and hearing her father say such a thing made his heart skip a beat. "It means I won't have any awkwardness with the family in the future, at least with him."
"I hear, Seto, that you just recently released a video game with your brother. How is that faring?"
Seto took a bite of sushi before saying, "Quite well, actually. We've already made a profit, and sales are expected to continue through the rest of the month. After the first month, we'll make a projection of where we feel the game will be and move from there."
"Very good. I'm happy to hear it. You were, after all, part of the Duel Monsters world, were you not?"
"I was second to the reigning champion."
Takaishi's eyes widened at this. "Wow... That is quite impressive, Mr. Kaiba." He took a sip of his drink and smiled. "I've learned to appreciate the card and video game craze through my daughter, here. After all, with how many tournaments she participated in and followed, I had to know what it was my daughter was spending her time doing."
"Dad, I never participated in any of the card games," she corrected. "I just kinda tagged along."
He smirked and nodded. "I know. I'm just making fun of your mother's predictions."
Anzu sighed and rolled her eyes. "How has Mom been lately?"
"Oh, her usual self." He glanced over at Seto and asked, "Has she told you the situation with her mother?"
Seto nodded. "At least enough for me to know that it's a touchy subject."
"Yes...touchy might be the best word for it." He took a large bite of sashimi before returning his attention to Anzu. "Anyways, she's about the same. She learned about your recital, unfortunately, as it made the papers. She kept asking if I had known about it. Of course, I pretended I didn't know. She went into a rampage but eventually calmed down."
"No need to worry yourself about her. You told me you're already working on next year's dance routine, and that's all you should be focused on right now." Glancing over at Seto, he smiled and asked, "You don't have a problem with her dancing career, do you, Seto?"
"Of course not!" he exclaimed, causing the father to burst out laughing.
"I was only kidding, Seto. I know you were at her recital, at any rate. I saw you waiting in the front lobby and was rather surprised. I'm happy she has someone else supporting her in her endeavors." Still smiling, he reached forward, patting Seto's hand in a comforting manner. "You make her happy and keep her safe. That's all I ask."
Seto returned the smile and slowly nodded. It was the first time in his life he felt so humble.
Wiping the last drops of water from his chest, Seto grabbed the nearby silk pajama shirt and pulled it down over his body, covering his torso. He then took the towel and tugged at bits of his hair, pulling out the remaining bits of water. The dinner had gone exceptionally well, all things considered. He felt Takaishi was a good man, and Takaishi admitted to being happy with the relationship. Their talk had covered many subjects, and it seemed Takaishi was pleased by all his answers. "Kind of strange that I, a CEO, was panicking about my girlfriend's father, after everything I've been through. But I guess between my reputation and my lack of experience, I got caught up in the moment."
Combing his hair, he looked at himself in the mirror and smiled before hanging the towel up on the nearby rack. He then exited the bathroom, and his smile turned to a smirk at the sight before him. Anzu was lying in the center of the bed on her belly, wearing a pair of black yoga pants and loose, dark blue t-shirt. Her eyes were closed.
He cautiously approached the bed and crawled up alongside her. Brushing a few strands of hair away, he chuckled when she playfully growled and opened her eyes. "You interrupted my thinking," she scolded.
He laughed as he lied down next to her. "What were you thinking about?"
"Ideas for the dance next year," she answered. He felt her cuddle up next to him and carefully wrapped his arm around her, bringing her closer.
"What ideas do you have in mind?"
"I got a couple..."
He smirked. "Like...?"
"Well, I have a traditional idea where a woman's lover goes off to war, and in order to express her sorrow, she dances at night. But then her dancing attracts a malicious spirit who attempts to seduce her away from her lover."
Seto's eyes widened. "That seems rather complex for a dance."
She shrugged. "It's not the only one I have. I have a much more modern one, too, and one that would be more humorous than depressing. Two girls are setting up for tea when their family comes in. Their aunt catches wind of their party and tries to interrupt it through all these different fiascos. Each girl would be another member of the family who tried interrupting their tea time."
He smirked. "I could see that being amusing, though I get the feeling your mother inspired that one."
"I don't know, though. I'm still thinking it through."
"Why don't you tell both of them to your group and see which one they prefer?"
"I will, but I have a few others rolling around in my head, as well. I need to write them all down at some point."
He smiled and nodded in understanding. "Your dad...seemed rather pleased by tonight."
She smiled widely and nodded energetically. "Yeah, he was really happy with meeting you. I know he can be a little strange, but he means well. I could tell he was very impressed and grateful for your hospitality."
"I hope so..."
"Seto..." He glanced down to see her smiling up at him. "Thank you so much for today. I mean it. I know it was hard for you, but I'm really happy we did this. It...makes me feel like you really are family, ya know? That this will last..."
His eyes widened, and a soft smile tugged at his lips. "It better last... How else am I going to get free beta testers?"
"Oh, you jerk!" He burst out laughing as she rolled on top of him, playfully punching his arm and shaking his shoulders. He, in response, ran his arms along her sides and began tickling her, causing her to shudder and laugh. She fell back down to the bed as she tried getting away from him, but he was persistent, following her and tickling her sides as he did so. He couldn't help but chuckle at her facial expression. "S-S-Stop!" she panted between laughs. "Stop it! S-Stop!"
"What do you say?" he taunted, smirking deviously down at her.
"Get off, you jerk!"
"Nope, that doesn't sound right." She was gasping for air.
"S-S-Stop it! Stop! It!" Grabbing his hair, she pulled him down into a passionate kiss, causing him to stop his tickling. He felt her warm tongue against his lips and immediately gave in, opening his mouth and lapping her tongue with his own. Her giggles soon became moans, and the warmth and passion of their kiss sent shocks of pleasure throughout his body. He swiftly embraced her and rolled her over, letting her lie on top of him. She leaned forward and continued kissing him, bringing her hands up into his hair, before backing away to inhale a large breath of air.
He smiled at the sight of her flushed face and lifted a hand up to her cheek. "No one can predict the future, Anzu. However... I have a strong feeling that this is going to last."
Her eyes widened at his statement, and her smile widened. Looking into his eyes, she whispered, "I do too, Seto." Giggling, she added, "And yes, I'll definitely help you with your next video game."
Seto chuckled and shook his head. "You know I'm only teasing you..."
He smiled and brought her down to kiss her on the lips. Their kiss quickly deepened once more, and this time, neither one wanted to interrupt the passion by speaking. A staple of their relationship. Instead of words, they let actions speak for themselves.
And Seto was damned determined that night to show that he truly loved her.
OH MY GOD….WE'RE DONE! This is it! The end! Holy cow!
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