A/N: Ok, folks! Here it is; the last chapter! There will probably be characters from both the manga and the series. I'm not going to reference them all, so just deal. Sorry it took so long to update. I had some writer's block on how to write the wedding scene, but it's done now. But I hope you enjoy!
Final chapter: I do
"This is Ishida Nomura reporting for Channel 3 news. We're currently covering what may be considered the scoop of the century: the wedding of Sana Kurata. For those of you who are just joining us today, here's the rundown of the events that have occurred prior to this grand occasion. In mid-December of last year, Sana Kurata and Naozumi Kamura were finishing up a romance drama, which I'm sure many of our viewers have seen. Shortly after the last shoot of the drama, her manager Rei Sagami, who's famous for marrying the great actress Asako Kurumi, announced at a press conference that Miss Kurata has decided to retire from acting. This announcement caused a huge uproar in the acting community. Here's a clip of that shocking press conference back in December."
[Start of December 20th press conference clip.]
A single chair was laid out in front of a large table as reporters and their camera crew were working diligently to put their microphones on the table to get the best coverage of what was going to be said. Rei courageously walked out into the view of the cameras and silently sat down as he waited for the buzz of the crowd to die down before he spoke.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sure you all are aware of why I'm here today. I'm here to announce what I'm sure many of her fans feared, but Miss Sana Kurata has decided to retire from acting," he said as he readjusted his sunglasses.
"Mr. Sagami! Why is Miss Kurata quitting her acting job?"
"Her reasons are very personal and I'd rather not disclosure that information at this time."
"Mr. Sagami! Is it true that Mr. Kamura proposed to Miss Kurata?"
"I'm sorry, but I cannot answer anymore questions," as Rei sat-up from his chair and walked out of the room ignoring the barrage of questions still being asked.
[End of December 20th press conference clip.]
"As you can see from that clip, Mr. Sagami was very uncooperative in answering any of our questions about the reasons why Miss Kurata decided to retire. Since that press conference, there has been no word about the whereabouts of Miss Kurata. Whenever we asked Mr. Sagami about her, he just declined to comment. Her 'disappearance' comes as a strange mystery to our viewers.
"Another strange occurrence happened shortly after Mr. Sagami's press conference involving Mr. Kamura. On December 23rd, Mr. Kamura's manager issued an official written statement by Mr. Kamura himself. This is what the statement says:
To my beloved fans:
I know this announcement may upset many of you, but I have decided to take a long vacation. I will no longer be in the spotlight or filming any projects for at least a year. I know that this will be very hard for many of you to accept and you will want an explanation for my actions. Unfortunately, I cannot because of a promise I made to a very special someone. I hope that you will all wait patiently until I can fulfill my promise and then finally return to work. Until then, I remain
Very truly yours,
"This written statement by Mr. Kamura is also very enigmatic and quite suspicious to be publicly released only three days after the press conference announcing Miss Kurata's retirement. There have been many theories behind these strange occurrences. The most popular one is that Miss Kurata and Mr. Kamura are actually engaged and living their lives in solitude until after they are married. The most compelling piece of evidence to support this theory is a picture taken shortly before the press conference of Miss Kurata grabbing onto Mr. Kamura's arm while walking in the streets of Tokyo. We took to the streets with Yoko Mikage to get some of your opinions on the matter."
"Thank you Ishida! I've been asking random people off the streets their opinions about the wedding of Miss Kurata and who they think she's marrying," walking over to a group of school girls who were all waving to the camera. "So who do you all think Sana's marrying?"
"It has to be Naozumi! He's so gorgeous!" shouted one of the girls as she blushed.
"Yes, it has to be! Hey, Emi-chan! Can you see me on TV!" waving frantically.
"Well, some of the younger fans seem to think that it's definitely Mr. Kamura, but lets see what some of those around Miss Kurata's age think," as Yoko made her way over to a few college-aged kids sitting at a table.
"So whom do you think Miss Kurata's going to marry?"
"I really don't know. From the press conference and the letter that Naozumi wrote, it really sounds like Naozumi's the one, but one of my friends told me a long time ago that she saw Sana with a blond-haired boy over in L.A. I know I've heard rumors that Sana had some mysterious blond-haired man who was always with her. I wonder if that's the same person my friends saw in L.A. a long time ago," the young man sat pensively drinking his coffee.
"Thanks for your insight," Yoko bowed politely and started to make her way to the next stranger.
"Yoko, sorry to interrupt, but it looks like there's some new events unfolding at the church where the wedding is taking place," Ishida quickly interjected as he heard all the information being relayed through his earpiece. "Let's go to Miho Kanzaki, who's reporting on location from the church, Miho?"
"Thank you Ishida! Right now I have a man who was recently inside the church where the wedding is taking place. Sir, please tell us what you saw?" holding the microphone up to a very confused Onda.
"Well, I saw Sensei dressed in a fancy kimono and riding her little red car. I was trying to get a manuscript from her cause the deadline's today and . . ."
Interrupting him, Miho put her finger to her earpiece and quickly shouted over Onda's words, "Ladies and gentlemen, I've just received word that the ceremony has just begun. It appears that one of our reporters can hear the faint playing of the Wedding March. Please stay tuned as updates to the ceremony continue."
Sana took a deep breath as the wedding director motioned for Sakura and her mother with Maro-chan to make their way down the aisle. She bit her lip even more as she watched as all her bridesmaids and their prospective bridegrooms taking their turns walking through the double doors. Closing her eyes, she patiently listened for her cue to finally take her first step toward her future. As the soft melody of the Wedding March slowly started to fill the church, Sana bravely let Rei lead her down the aisle. She saw so many faces of her friends and family all standing and gasping as they finally saw her in her wedding dress. The aisle seemed to feel like a mile long as they slowly made their way to the altar. Almost breaking down in tears of pure joy, she tried to hold them back as she finally found the face of her one true love, the one she was going to marry.
He had waited for this day just as anxiously as she had. The anxiety was almost unbearable as he watched the procession of bridesmaids and grooms making their way down the aisle. His best man took his side and smiled a quick smile as the light off his glasses shone just a bit when he finally turned his head back down the aisle. It was comforting having his childhood friend here with him for his big day, his wedding. He heard the organist starting the first few notes to the Wedding March and he quickly affixed his gaze to his loving Sana. She looked so beautiful, almost like an angel that had fallen from the heavens. But that's what she was to him. Her eyes finally found his and he smiled one of those rare smiles as he stared lovingly back. Her eyes were the same color as his, but hers always seemed to shine so brightly. Akito remembered the brightness in those eyes when he finally proposed to her, when he finally told her that he loved her.
* * * * *
"Sana . . . I love you," Akito said to her softly as he pulled out the small velvet box from his pocket and opened it to reveal his mother's engagement ring.
"I . . .," Sana managed to say as tears started to slowly stream down her face.
Akito felt the tension build deep inside his heart. He wasn't sure what he was going to do when she answered. All he hoped for was that the one good thing in his life, the one person who has showed him how to open his eyes and love would stay with him until their dying days.
Sana's ears burned as she heard him say those three words. She almost felt her heart burst out of her body and was surprised that it hadn't already. She didn't know how it happened, but somehow she suddenly had her arms around Akito's neck and was crying on his shoulder. At first, she wasn't sure what to do, but after her eyes met his when he stormed into the room, her heart already made it's choice. "Yes," she whispered into his ear. "I love you too, Akito. You don't know how long I've waited to hear you say those words," Sana sat there wiping her tears away on his shoulder.
Akito pulled her closer to his body and lightly stroked her hair. "I'm sorry it took me so long. I'm sorry for being so selfish."
Naozumi looked at the pair as they confessed their eternal love for each other. He knew that he was finally defeated and he would never be able to fulfill his life-long dream. "Akito, Sana," Naozumi said as he tried to choke back some tears.
Sana and Akito rose to their feet, almost forgetting that Naozumi was also in the room with them. "Naozumi! I'm sorry . . . I . ." Sana tried to speak, but was interrupted by Naozumi's hand as he raised it up to stop her from finishing her sentence.
"Don't worry. I understand your feelings for him. I knew I never had a chance, but somewhere deep inside I always had some hope that I could be with you. Akito," Naozumi said with a very serious tone in his voice as he started straight into Akito's even more severe light brown eyes. "Promise me that you will love her, cherish her, and never hurt her. Promise me!"
"I will," as Akito extended his hand out unexpectedly, almost like an offering of truce to break their life-long bickering over Sana.
Naozumi started at the hand that was offered to him, not really sure if it was a trick. This was the last thing he pictured the stoic Akito doing, but he accepted it and they finally made their peace with each other. Naozumi's eyes meet with Sana's, which were filled with a painful expression. "Sana, don't worry about me. I shouldn't have put you in this position. I shouldn't have asked you to marry me when you had Akito all this time. I was desperate: selfish. Please forgive me."
"I forgive you. I'm sorry that it ended like this, but I forgive you," as she put her hand on his shoulder and smiled to try and reassure him.
Naozumi smiled after hearing Sana's warm and caring voice. "Thank you. But if there is anything that you need me to do for you, please don't hesitate to ask. The same goes for you Akito," looking in Akito's direction. He wanted to try and make amends with him now that he knew he could never get Sana back.
"Naozumi . . . there is one thing that I want you to do for me." Taking a deep breath, Sana finished her thoughts. "I'm going to quit acting and I want you to make sure that neither the public nor the media find out my relationship with Akito! I don't want them to find out about our wedding plans, I know it would hurt him too much."
"Sana, you don't have to do that!" Akito was the first to speak. "I know that I've been a real jerk lately about your job, but I can live with that. If you have to deal with the paparazzi, so will I. We can get through this ordeal together," holding her hands in a comforting, yet desperate manner.
"Yes, please don't quit. You have so much natural talent, you really shouldn't give it up!" Naozumi pleaded.
"No, it's something I have to do. I don't want our relationship to suffer because of my occupation. I know you want to see things through with me, but this isn't just for you Akito. I think I also need to find something else in life rather than just acting. I've never really explored what else I can do. It's always been acting for as long as I can remember. I want something more and if I can't find it, maybe I'll return to my old roots," trying to reassure both Akito and Naozumi.
"I don't agree with your decision, but if that's what you want, I promise that I will do my part to make sure that the media never find out about you and Akito," bowing his head slightly. "I'll think of a way, I'm not exactly sure how, but I'll think of something."
* * * * *
Akito held his hand out for Sana as Rei finished his last duty to her by giving her away to the trustful arm's of Akito. As he lifted the veil over her head, people could almost see a slight smile grow across his lips, one that he would adamantly deny to this day. The guests were in awe of the love shared between Akito and Sana. Akito's father, sister, and brother-in-law all smiled brightly to encourage him. It was a moment everyone had been waiting for as they watched Akito take one of the wedding bands from Maro-chan and slip it onto Sana's ring finger joining his mother's engagement ring.
Sana could only hear the beating of her heart as she carefully put Akito's ring on for him while never losing sight of his eyes. She didn't even hear what the minister was saying, but instinctively said 'I do' as if she knew the exactly moment she was supposed to utter those words. She didn't even hear Akito say those two words, but only saw his lips move in the motion that a person's lips are supposed to when they are trying to say 'I do.' Her heart was racing even faster as she felt Akito tighten his grip on her hands. Though she didn't hear it, she knew when the minister finally told them to seal their love with a kiss as Akito quickly put his hand behind the small of Sana's back. Sana put her left hand to Akito's cheek in response, letting her ring shine in the light of a camera's flash that captured their first kiss as husband and wife.
A tear slowly started to trickle down Sana's face and Akito quickly brushed it off with his thumb as he whispered into her ear, "Are you happy?"
"Yes," Sana sighed as she quickly kissed him again, ignoring all the guests and family members around her. This was her time and she didn't want to waste a single moment.
Akito offered her arm and she took it and proudly looked out at all her friends and family who witnessed one of the happiest moments of her life. They slowly started to make there way back down the aisle, when Akito suddenly paused for a moment.
"What's wrong?" Sana asked as she squeezed his hand.
"Oh, nothing," as he continued to escort Sana down the aisle. It would be something that he wouldn't get around to telling Sana until much later. But when he glanced over to where his family was, he thought he saw the spirit of his mother smiling in approval at her son's big day. Deep down inside, he had always wished he could have had the chance to meet his mother and have her meet Sana. From the little that he had heard about her, he knew that she would have loved meeting Sana. Seeing her apparition today gave him a sense of completion, like his mother had come down from heaven just to give them her blessings.
His eye stopped after he noticed the purple-haired man standing in the back of the room. He had been there when he proposed to Sana and he was here for them when they finally locked their love in holy matrimony. Naozumi. You kept your promise and now I'm going to keep mine. Akito nodded his head acknowledging his former nemesis. Naozumi just gave him a thumbs-up in approval of what they were about to do. He had stayed in close contact with them to ensure them that he was satisfied with his decision to take a break from acting. He knew it would upset Sana the most, but it was also the best way to distract the media from discovering the truth. Even with all this effort, the truth would eventually come out, and Naozumi was there to help them when they would finally take that final step.
Taking a deep breath, Akito looked over to Sana to see if she was ready. She just nodded back to her husband letting him know that she was prepared for their next step. They had talked about their wedding for a few months now, but they also discussed finally revealing their relationship to the public right after they were finally married. Sana was worried about Akito, but he reassured her that he would be fine. She had already done so many wonderful things for him, this act of bravery was what he wanted to do for Sana: to show the world how he would swallow his pride and sacrifice anything for the woman he loved.
Akito was about to open the door blocking them from all the television cameras when a little red car drove up right up to the door, preventing Akito from opening it.
"And just what do you think you're doing?" Sana's mother inquired, gazing seriously into the couple's eyes.
"Mama! What are you doing?" Sana questioned.
"Just stopping you from getting yourselves into something you're not ready for," she stated as if Sana was still a young child. Akito was about to speak and object, but Sana's mother lifted her hand up and said with a smile, "besides, I want you two to enjoy your wedding reception without having to answer ridiculous questions from the media. Go follow Asako-chan to the back of the church. I'll handle the news junkies."
Both Sana and Akito breathed a slight sigh of relief and nodded to Mrs. Kurata that they understood what they were supposed to do. "Thanks mom!" Sana sighed as she gave her mother her first hug as a married woman.
"Anything for my daughter and son-in-law!" Smiling as she shooed them away.
Sana and Akito started heading for the back of the church following Asako who was holding her daughter Sakura in her arms. Aya and Tsuyoshi were confused as to what was going and started to follow the married couple to the back of the church when Sana's mother quickly grabbed Tsuyoshi's coat-tail.
"Not so fast you two! I have something else in mind for you," she said with a laugh. "I heard from Hisae-chan that you both eloped some time ago."
"Yes, ma'am," Tsuyoshi stuttered, uncertain what fate Mrs. Kurata had in store for them.
"Well, its time for everyone to know that you both are happily married," quickly opening the door, she pushed the couple outside among the flashing cameras and reporters.
Aya and Tsuyoshi stood there in shock as thousands of questions were shot at them from every angle. Confused and scared, the couple just stood there like a pair of deer standing the middle of the road at a car's oncoming headlights. Mrs. Kurata quickly followed sway behind them and spoke to the band of reporters loitering outside the church.
"Ladies and gentlemen! I'm sure you're all anxious to know whom my daughter is going to marry, but unfortunately that question will not be answered today! Today we are celebrating the wedding of Tsuyoshi Sasaki to Aya Sugita, two of Sana's close friends."
Shortly after Mrs. Kurata's announcement, the poor couple was bombarded with an onslaught of questions. Everything was going according to Mrs. Kurata's plan. She hoped that this distraction would give her daughter and son-in-law enough time to get to the hotel for the reception before anyone suspected. Looking at Aya and Tsuyoshi, she did feel bit sorry for them as they still had a frightened expression plastered to their faces. Chuckling she thought, at least they're getting some recognition of their marriage. That's the least I can do for them.
Akito and Sana finally made their way to the back of the church where Rei was waiting for them all in his car.
"Rei!" Sana screamed with joy.
"Hurry, we've got to get you out of here before any of those reporters or cameramen catch us," urging his wife and the happy couple to quickly get into their car.
"What about everyone else?" concerned that all her bridesmaids and grooms would be left at the church with no one to tell them what was going on.
"Don't worry about that, your mother has everything taken care of," Asako flashed a reassuring smile.
Akito just squeezed Sana's hand as they drove off from the church to their reception. Sana looked up at Akito's eyes and smiled as she closed the distance between them and planted a soft kiss on his lips. Their kiss was interrupted by the muffled giggling of a young Sakura watching them from her mother's lap.
"I guess this will have to wait until later," smirking slightly as Akito gave Sana a quick peck on the cheek.
"Yes, but I can't help to wonder what everyone else is going through right now," with a slight bit of concern. She knew her mother the best and there was no telling what she was putting her poor friends through. A few days after the ceremony her mother would finally tell her what happened to her close friends after she and Akito left, which would cause Sana to fall on the floor laughing beyond all reason.
Rei's car finally made it to the hotel where the reception was taking place. They had done their best to keep the location a secret and so far, there were no signs of a camera crew around, indicating that their efforts were fruitful. The group walked out and made their way to the empty banquet room. The wait-staff were sitting around and after noticing the small group enter the room, they immediately shot up and quickly took their places.
The tables and dance floor were devoid of any life. All the white and silver decorations made the room seem like it was taken right out of heaven. Calmly holding Sana's hand, Akito walked over to the dance floor and put his hand on her lower back as he asked, "May I have this dance Mrs. Hayama?"
"Why certainly Mr. Hayama!" Sana smiled with affection.
Even though there was no music, the couple danced slowly in the almost empty room. Rei lovingly put his arm around Asako's shoulder and smiled as he watched his grown-up Sana dance with her husband. Little Sakura just hopped around excited at the spectacle she was witnessing. Akito carefully lead his beloved wife around the dance floor never letting his eyes drop from her gaze once. Enchanted by his mesmerizing gaze, Sana just let him sweep her body around the dance floor. She couldn't have cared less if there was no one around or no music to accompany them. All she ever needed in this world was here and there was nothing else that could shatter this blissful moment.
A sudden flash from a camera caused the pair to return back to reality. They remembered that they had their wedding reception to host and turned to their wedding photographer who had arrived just in time to catch another sweet moment between the pair.
"Yo, snake man! Make sure you take pictures of the guests as well!" Sana teased the photographer who remained a close friend even after he had threatened to post pictures of her and Akito in the newspaper back when she was in 6th grade.
"Why can't you ever call me by my real name! It's Tozhizou Kurosaki!" the man in the white suit yelled in frustration.
"You are like a snake you know! But you are also the best photographer we know, so keep up the good work Mr. Kurosaki!" Sana giggled.
"I think all the guests are starting to arrive, you better take Sana and get back to the changing room until it's time," Rei interrupted.
Akito quietly took Sana's hand and cleared his throat to stop her from teasing their photographer. After waiting for a few minutes, Sana still persisted in her taunting. Realizing that Sana didn't hear him, he quickly bent down and swept her legs off the ground while he heard her yelp in surprise.
"Akito! What are you doing?" shocked to see her husband carrying her in his arms.
"We need to get out of the banquet room so the guests can take their seats," letting his wife quickly wrap an arm around his neck to support herself.
Blushing, Sana just nodded her head in approval and let her husband carry her away to the changing room. Mr. Kurosaki took this opportune time to snap another lovely picture of the happy couple. He always had a knack for taking pictures of the two without their knowledge. He already had several notable pictures that only the lens of his camera was able to capture. Later when the pictures finally developed, Sana and Akito would both agree that some of the best pictures from the wedding were the ones they didn't even know were taken.
Shortly after Sana and Akito made their way to the changing room to wait until it was time for the reception to start, the first few guests started to arrive. Guests were slowly trickling in at first, but the banquet room would soon be flooded with family and friends. Many friends were reuniting and revisiting the past that Sana and Akito shared, even their teachers and principals were invited. Both Naru-narus where chatting away gleefully in the corner and Tanaka-sensei and his wife were reminiscing about how they had the two as students in elementary school. So much had changed since then, but all for the better.
Thankfully, all the bridesmaids and grooms were able to leave the chaos of the church after the wedding was over and make it to the reception in time. Mrs. Kurata's distraction was convincing enough for the media to lose their attention in the story and let all the limousines head on to the reception without following them like originally planned. When Aya and Tsuyoshi stepped into the banquet room, they let out a sigh of relief that they had survived that earlier incident. They both realized the hardships that Sana had to endure as a child-actress and finally understood their decision to keep their wedding a secret from the media.
All the guests started to take their seats and shift around to look at the doors where Akito and Sana were supposed to enter any minute. Tsuyoshi was watching Rei as he was talking on his cell phone. A thumbs-up from Rei gave Tsuyoshi the cue to walk up to the podium and finally announce the entrance of the newlyweds. "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mr. and Mrs. Akito Hayama!"
The crowd gasped in awe of the elated couple as they walked through the doors hand in hand. They finally made their way to the main table and took their seats beside all their close friends and family. Every moment they shared that evening was like magic. Now and then the clinking of forks on wine glasses would resonate through the banquet hall, taunting the couple into kissing each other for their guests.
Aya and Tsuyoshi took this time to present their good friends their wedding gift that they had decided on the day they took their wedding vows.
"Sana, Akito? Aya and I want to go ahead and give you our wedding present," as Tsuyoshi handed them a box wrapped in white gift-wrap.
"Aya, Tsuyoshi, you shouldn't have!" Sana smiled hugging her two friends while Akito took the box and started to shake it around, trying to figure out the contents.
"What is it?" Akito asked stoically.
"Akito, that's rude!" pulling out a white and silver squeaky-hammer.
"Just open it," Aya urged the couple excitedly.
Before Sana could object, Akito ripped off the gift-wrap and opened the box to reveal a beautifully decorated photo album with a picture of Sana and Akito together when they were kids.
"Oh, how cute!" Sana said as she took the present out of her husband's hands to flip through them. She paused when she saw a certain picture of Akito forcing a kiss on her. "Where did you get these?" Sana asked as a sweatdrop started to roll down her cheek.
"Hey, thanks for the gift guys!" Akito said once he saw the picture of his first kiss with Sana.
"Well, Mr. Kurosaki gave us all the pictures," Tsuyoshi laughed. "But the present was Aya's idea."
"Snake-man! I thought he got rid of all these pictures! Wait until I get my hands on him," Sana started to sit-up to track down their photographer.
Akito knew that she was going to start a ruckus so he just simply caught her hand and dipped her down in a breath-taking kiss that shocked the guests. Sana was completely caught off-guard by Akito's sudden actions, but she didn't complain as she deepened the kiss and let him support her with his strong arms while she wrapped her arms around his neck. They were so enraptured with their kiss that they didn't notice the very photographer Sana was about to strangle snap yet another picture of them.
Tsuyoshi and Aya just smiled as they watched their close friends engross themselves in the moment. The DJ finally came up to Tsuyoshi to let him know that it was time for the couple to have their first dance. Tsuyoshi just nodded to the DJ and stared at Sana and Akito, who were still kissing. He was afraid to interrupt their romantic moment and just slowly walked over to the podium and hoped that they finished before he turned the microphone on. Luckily for him they finally stopped and Tsuyoshi sighed in relief before he finally made the announcement. "Ladies and gentlemen, please turn your attention to the main floor as Mr. and Mrs. Hayama are going to have their first dance!"
Sana giggled as she heard her friend announce that they were to have their first dance. She had already had a nice dance with her husband earlier when no one else was in the room. Akito just shrugged and took her hand in his while they gracefully made their way to the center of the dance floor.
"You know what?" Akito gently asked his wife.
"Hmmm?" Sana sighed as she let her husband take her hand in his.
"I'm glad that your mother stopped us from announcing our marriage to the press," he said calmly.
Sana just looked perplexed as she asked, "I thought that you wanted to publicly announce our marriage?"
"I do and we will eventually, but if we did do it right after we took our vows, we would have never been able to enjoy this moment together like this. At least we wouldn't have been able to enjoy it as much."
Sana just smiled and kissed her husband realizing what his words meant. "I never thought you'd be so romantic."
"Only to you, Sana, only to you," he whispered back. "I love you."
"I love you too, Akito," Sana said sweetly before the DJ finally started the music.
They didn't even remember at the time what song they finally chose for their first dance. Their love for each other made their own music and harmony. It seemed like the whole world didn't even exist. All that mattered to them was that they were here for each other and always would be as long as they both lived.
End of Final Chapter: I do.
A/N: Yay! Finally done! *throws confetti in the air* Thanks for everyone who has supported me in this fic. Thanks for all my reviewers for giving me input. Harmony McKellen: big kudos for guessing right! Last, but not least huge hugs, kisses and lots of love to my boyfriend Mike for supporting me while I was writing this and reminding me to finish.