She was seated outdoor on a tatami floor of an elegant old-fashioned teahouse. She was obviously in expensive territory. The outdoor garden was blooming from the fresh rain and the inviting fragrance of delicate flowers calmed her nervous senses. Her eyes roamed the courtyard from the royal purple orchid to the mass of her favorite pale pink chrysanthemums. What did I get myself into? Kagome wondered.
Sesshoumaru snaked his fingers around her arm and tugged her gently out of the elevator back to his cold leather sofa. He returned to the elevator, stared at the lump for a split second before kicking the yelping ball of coat to sprawl before her. She immediately remembered the slimy grope and squirmed a few inches away.
What am I going to do?! He found his boss! Oh shiiiiiiiit.
Jaken emerged from the mess, dazed.
"Sesshoumaru- sama! Oh my goodness, have you forgiven this poor little Jaken?!" He prostrated himself and quivered at his feet.
She narrowed her eyes, "Excuse me?" Jaken? Sesshoumaru? What the hell is going on?
Jaken whirled around and gulped. "Oh! What is this ugly girl doing here? Let this unworthy servant toss-"
"Jaken, explain." Sesshoumaru frostily cut through his speech. One thing he did not appreciate was lies. He was notorious for his cold, cruel, and calculating ways, yet admired for his blunt honesty.
The green mess swallowed audibly. "Sesshoumaru-sama! This girl is useless. I have seen her work and it is pure trash. But this loyal servant believes that we can use it and change it to suit our needs! "
Kagome shot up, incensed. "Hey! You broccoli faced liar! It's not trash! Its four years of hard work and love. I'm just here to pick it up. I'll be ever-so-gracious if you would hand it over so I can leave!" She stuck out her hand towards Sesshoumaru, a defiant look on her face.
Instead, Sesshoumaru made his way over to his desk and pulled her drawings out of the file. He stuck it into his slick leather briefcase and reached for his trench coat. Without a word, he placed a cold hand on her elbow and steered a frozen Kagome to the elevator. A long finger tapped the down button.
This tripled her anger.
"I. would. Like. My. Drawings. Back… please." She managed to choke out the last word.
"What?!" she shrieked. That's my property and I want it back! She whipped her hand arm away from him.
"Jaken, lock yourself in this office and consider your future options: janitor or chauffeur."
The elevator dinged cheerfully, in heavy contrast to the mood. The golden doors glided open. It was either she enter first or be mowed down into the elevator by his sheer size andpresence. She unceremoniously stomped in. She refused to give him the satisfaction that she was uncomfortable. He slid in beside to the right of her and pressed a button. She glared up at him, trying to ignore his long white mane that lit up silver in the light. She began picking the pill balls at the base of her sweater. She tried to ignore the intoxicating smell of sandalwood oozing from him. Feeling nosy, she peeked at him. She stared at his long neck and the delicate necklace adorning it. The beautiful intricate pieces of silver suited him well.
Sesshoumaru felt her roving eyes on him. Inside, he smiled.
"It is forged of platinum."
She blushed, embarrassed she was caught staring.
"It's very…uh, nice. They match you very well. Like your nice clothes, nice hair, nice case, and it'd be super nice of you to return my drawings since everything about you is so nice."
He did not miss the emphasis. She was obviously a spitfire, relentless in her stance. She would be a hard girl to crack, but he would savor this chance for a somewhat worthy opponent.
Maybe he'll return it now. Maybe he just wants to walk me out and apologize. Yea! Wait, what if he somehow contacted the police and they're waiting to arrest me down there? No! Oh God.
He watched the splay of emotions from his peripheral vision. She was hopeful, eager, worried, and then anxious. She would capture magnificently on film. Every emotion played out beautifully in her face. His current models were stiff, unable to feel anything but self-pleasure and arrogance. They were excellent for haute couture but would not reach out to majority of people. She was a fresh change. He was in a much better mood.
The elevator chimed once again. Second floor?
Kagome could only gape in awe as the doors opened to a bustling crowd of designers and interns. The high walls were shelved full of expensive bags, accessories, and twinkling trinkets. Clothes were stuffed onto every hanger on every rack. Designers draped with tape measures and pencils were sketching and cutting through cloths. Interns were running around with coffee in one hand and a cell phone in the other. It was mayhem in here.
But the moment Sesshoumaru planted one foot onto the open floor, the babble immediately ceased.
He lifted a hand and gestured for her. She followed him out. He turned and began to dodge through a horde of half-pinned mannequins and gawking employees to a rack of clothes. He graciously stuck a hand in and drew out a sweater. Without breaking stride, he then picked out a coat and pair of jeans from a shelf. He ignored his minions and strolled back to a wide-eyed Kagome.
He was amused at the mannequin mimicking girl. With a sigh, he steered her once gain to a deserted area clustered with racks. He dumped two pieces into her open hands.
"Change," he ordered as he turned his back.
"What's going on?" she murmured.
"I wish to speak in depth about creating a contract with you. However, you are dressed exceedingly inappropriate to dine with me."
Kagome didn't know whether to be offended or delighted.
"A contract with Sakura! Oh my God!"
She whirled between the racks, ecstatic. Her face bloomed with bliss and hope. Any signs of confusion or anger disappeared as she laughed aloud in joy.
"You better not peek while I change," she sang out.
Sesshoumaru shrugged and made his way back to the designer's racks. He peered up at the top of the shelf. There. He glanced at an intern and motioned for him to come closer.
Kagome emerged from the racks, flushed with excitement.
"Thank you for letting me borrow these clothes Takahashi-san," she gratefully bowed.
He analyzed her critically. The low rise dark-washed jeans emphasized her long legs. The light pink cheetah print v-neck sweater brought out her youth and glowing cheeks, yet the cashmere balanced the cheapness of the print into young fashion. I like it.
Forget borrow. "Keep it."
Her sapphire eyes rounded into circles.
"Here's a coat, heels, and a bag with it."
***** End Flashback *****
She ran a fingertip across the base of her navy quilted coat. Burberry.
She twitched her toes in her black suede heels. Jimmy Choo.
She stared down at the glossy leather bag on her left. Balenciaga.
This was everything she admired in the magazines, everything she drooled over. These were the toys her peers had and she longed for. But Souta came first.
She peered up at his face.
Absolutely no expression.
Sesshoumaru didn't know whether to be relived or irritated that she wasn't listening. He went into great length explaining the contract and what he expected from her. But from her dumbfounded expression she hadn't heard a word. Her loss.
"Sesshoumaru! I mean Takahashi-san, I can't be calling you that now that you're my boss," she giggled nervously. "Thank you so much for this opportunity! I will be the best employee ever. I am dedicated, hard working, skil-"
"Enough. Just sign these couple of pages."
Without a glance she scribbled away.
"How much will I make?" she hesitantly asked.
"When do I start?"
He rustled the papers together, "effective Monday."
"YAY! I'm a true designer now!" she chirped.
"…Whoever said anything about designing?"
She nearly missed that if it wasn't the inquisitive expression at the end of his deep baritone voice.
"Wha?" she choked on her lychee tea.
An amused Sesshoumaru answered, "You have officially signed over the next 8 years of your life as a model for Sakura."