Author's Note: Happy Chinese New Year everybody! And Happy Belated Valentine! Sorry that I didn't post on Valentine's Day, cause it's been days that my eyes are itching and red, so I was forced to rest for awhile. That means no IT connections, my mother said. In conclusion, I've gotten a dry eye condition and getting a cold. Hurray for me from getting sick in the New years! It was troublesome that my eyes can't co-operate along with my body, that's why I won't be posting for awhile until I'm one hundred percent fine. Sorry, but I'll make sure to recover faster to write more. I appreciate for all the support and thank you as always. Please R&R and hope you like it!
A little warning, I didn't proof read this story so there might be many word errors and grammar mistakes. Sorry for that. I'm really sorry.
Disclaimer: I don't own BLEACH!
Momo was happy. Her days in this particular festive season was nothing but pure joy. Enjoying the days with friends and family, it was truly fun. She always love it. The sounds of the children and parents laughter spending their time together. The carols flying around the ears of people, enlightened the spirit of Christmas. The ground was covered by pure white snow, ice formed on lakes and rivers to serve as a skating rink. Christmas decorations were hanging out everywhere, to the tallest buildings to the cozy small houses. It was truly magnificent.
Momo was on her way to the Sereitei Mall, shopping for Christmas gifts. Rangiku was planning a Christmas party at her penthouse and proposed an idea of Secret Santa before the party day. Everyone who was invited must have one present prepared for the event, or else no entry. Well, except for giving her sake as a present she'll reconsider. Momo walked by the stores, thinking what present she should buy. She wanted to find the perfect present for the Secret Santa event. Just then she stopped in front of a clothing store when a specific thing catches her eyes. She saw a handmade red woollen scarf. Perfect for a Christmas present, she mused. Momo made her decision, she went into to the store to buy it and was wrapped it with a blue wrapper and green ribbon. Soon, she have a handful of presents in her hands, it's all for her friends and family Christmas presents. Each decorated with beautiful wrappers she chose along with a small card attached to it, wishing Merry Christmas.
Happy with the presents she bought for the day, Momo decided to go to a cafe to relax her sore feet after a couple hours on shopping Christmas presents. The cafe was packed with people when she arrived. It seems like the festive winter season was boosting the sales of the cafe. Luckily, Momo found a window seat for herself. Her table was near the entrance door. She settled the presents in an unoccupied chair in front of her and ordered herself a cup of Earl Grey Tea and a piece of the Cafe's famous Chocolate cake. Eating her cake happily while surfing phone to check on her social media.
One moment the people inside the cafe were minding their own business, then one moment they heard gunshots and the people inside panicked. Momo saw a frantic looking man holding a gun shooting towards the cafe filled with people. Running around for a place to escape or hide as soon as they witnesses the glass shattered and people fallen onto the ground. Screams and shouts was heard throughout the mall. Momo face immediately pale when the man ran into the cafe she was in. The man barked loudly at the customers in the cafe and threatened to shoot if they made any sound. Fearing for their life, the people inside the cafe made no sound including Momo. The man had blocked the entrance door with his body as he talk to himself about a religion. His body twitched weirdly as he spoke loudly, laughing maniacally when he shot the lights to scare the customers. Terrified and scared, no one dared to make a sound.
Momo felt herself panicked and sobbed, with her mouth muffled by her hands. Her tears uncontrollably poured down her face. Abruptly, he pointed his gun at Momo saying that one's sacrifice must be done for his God. The point of the gun close to her face had her paralysed. Before the insane man could pulled the trigger, he was roughly wrestled to the floor by a white haired man. He fought bravely with an amount of strength, struggling to get hold of the gun. The white haired man succeeds to get hold on the gun and managed to restrain the insane man to the floor. The man howled angrily, struggling against the grip of the white haired man but no avail. His eyes reddened in rage and threatened to bomb the mall with a bomb strapped to his chest. The white haired man narrowed his eyes and knocked the back of the man's head as he fell unconscious. With the man knocked out cold, the white haired man immediately set to work on defusing the bomb alone. Victims waiting anxiously inside the cafe, afraid of moving will cause the bomb to go off. In a minute or two, the white haired man gave instructions to customers inside the cafe in a professional manner after he successfully defused the bomb.
Policemen and special ops arrived at the scene, ushering the victims out the mall for immediate medical attention. Momo felt her legs grown weak as she slumped to the floor, her fear and shock haven't left her body. She was tone deaf. A hand touched her shoulder gently, breaking out of her trance. She met with a worried face of the white haired man. Momo couldn't understand his words he spoke but she could feel the warmth of his fingertips as he brushed away her tears. Instinctively, she throw herself at him and started sobbing loudly in his arms. He didn't pushed her away, instead he hugged her tightly and patted her head. Murmuring soothing words to her ear to calm her nerves.
For a minute or two, Momo didn't notice that she was being carried out of the mall in his arms until they were at the parking lot filled with police cars and ambulances. She heard the sirens, screaming, shouting and the panic around the area.
He placed her at the back of an ambulance with a medic check for injuries. He didn't left her side and Momo was grateful for that. She clutched onto the sleeve of his shirt, he was acting as her rock to feel safe as the medic asked her some medical questions. The medic gave her some water to drink and gave her some sweets to raise her sugar level from the shock. A policeman came to take her testimony before she was left in the care of the white haired man.
The white haired man crouched to her eye level, staring at her. His unique turquoise eyes would've amaze her if she wasn't in much shock.
Not minding Momo still hold onto his shirt, he asked in concern, "Are you alright?"
Momo nodded mutely.
He removed his scarf and placed around her neck when he saw her shiver by the cold. She didn't notice her scarf had gone missing when his dark blue scarf warmly wrapped around her.
She gazed into his eyes and muttered a small thank you to him.
"Can you give me one of your family members number or your friend so that someone could pick you up?"
Momo reached for her bag to grab her phone and noticed it missing. She realised her bag and the presents she bought was left at the cafe. At the place where the crazy man who tried to kill her.
She choked, her eyes threaten to spill the tears, "My... phone it's in my bag... at the cafe..."
"Oh," He saw she was starting to hyperventilate, he hold her hands grounding her, "Hey, hey. It's alright... Nobody's going to hurt you,"
"Focus on your breathing slowly, in and out, in and out," He took slow and deep breaths, urging her to do the same. She stared at his eyes while she calm down her nerves. His voice calming and soothing to help her return to her senses. Her breathing finally back to normal.
"Yes, I'm sorry," She muttered in a timid voice, ashamed.
He squeezed her hands and assured, "Don't apologise, every normal person would freak out after the incident I don't blame you,"
Momo nodded in agreement.
"Do you remember any of their phone numbers?"
She nodded again. He pulled out his own phone and dial the number she gave him. He talked on the phone for a minute before he informed her about her friend's arrival.
"What is your bag like? I'll fetch it for you," He volunteered, waiting for her answer patiently.
"It's a pink leather bag... with a single strap, it's got a Chappy keychain on the zip," She described slowly.
"Okay. Any belongings that you left?" He inquired.
"My Christmas presents I've bought were at the table near the entrance door,"
He noted. "Alright. You wait here while I go get it. If you need something call a nearby officer to assist you,"
She nodded numbly before he left to get her belongings. Her hands fisted onto his scarf as she waited for him. Just as she wait, rushed and heavy footsteps were heard to her right. She turned her head and saw her friend, Rukia being escorted by a police officer. Leaving the police officer side, Rukia immediately bolted towards her friend when she saw Momo sitting at the ambulance back. Rukia enveloped her in a bear hug.
"I'm so glad you're safe! Are you okay?! Did you get hurt?!"
"I'm not injured, Rukia-Chan..."
Rukia sighed in relief, her shoulder slumped down after she checked her friend was free from injuries.
"God... Do you know how much you scared me when I got the call from a police saying that you were involved in a terrorist attack? I freaked out!"
"I'm sorry to make you worry, Rukia-Chan,"
"Don't be, you should worry about yourself. It must be traumatising to be involved in this," Rukia eyes softened and worried about her well being.
"I guess so,"
"You're going to stay with me tonight, I don't want you alone after you just have a horrid day," Rukia instructed.
"Thank you," Momo forced a smile.
"You're welcome. Come on, let's go,"
Momo halted Rukia from leaving while she searched for the man. "Wait. I'm waiting for someone,"
"There's this man who saved me, he brought me here. He volunteered to went back inside the mall to retrieve my belongings," She explained.
"Won't it be dangerous for him to go back to the crime scene?"
"I don't know, but he seems capable, " Her eyes cast down, her fingers playing the thread of the scarf. Seconds past, the man came back with her belongings. He handed over her belongings to Rukia.
"Thank you so much for retrieving her things," Rukia said politely.
"You're welcome. You must be her friend, Rukia I assume?" He asked,
"Yes, that's me. Thank you for taking care of Momo, I'm grateful for the help," Rukia thanked and bowed slightly.
"It's nothing," He smiled.
"Are you a police?"
Before Rukia could question further a policeman came up to him.
His face turned serious and turned to the policeman. "What is it?"
"Officer Hayate need you to go through some information regarding the current crime scene, they need you to confirm the info before writing a report,"
"Alright. But first, please help me escort the witness and her friend out safely. And have a medical personnel write a medical review for her, in case she is in need to go to the hospital for a checkup," He instructed.
"Yes sir." The policeman obeyed.
The white haired man turned to them again and suggested, "Your friend will have to rest up for a week. Do know that she is in an unstable condition and please don't pressurise her about the current events. I would recommend you take her to the hospital if she is feeling unwell afterwards. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go."
He made a move to excuse himself before Momo pulled the end of his shirt in reflex. Surprise by her action, he chose to wait for her to talk. He turned to her, his eyes never leaving hers.
She gulped and fidget her fingers nervously under the scrutiny of his turquoise orbs, "I... Um... Thank you for saving me,"
He flashed a handsome smile that made Momo heart flutter. "No big deal, you take care now and stay safe,"
Momo nodded with a blush rising to her cheek. He misunderstood her blush as he went to tighten the scarf around her to keep her warm from the low temperature.
"The weather is getting colder, be sure to make yourself a cup of warm drink once you go home." Her breath hitched at the close proximity.
"I will, thank you." Momo averted her eyes and looked down at the scarf, "Oh! Your scarf..."
"It's alright, I don't mind the cold,"
Momo won't want the man get sick because of her, so she rummage through the shopping bags from Rukia's hands and pulled out the Secret Santa gift she bought. She handed the box to the man. Her arms forward pushing the box to his hands.
He tilted his head in confusion and looked at her curiously.
"A thank you present for saving my life,"
"I can't accept this, it's feels like I'm taking someone else's present,"
"No no no, it's okay. This is for a Secret Santa event at my friend's party, it doesn't belong to anyone," She explained as he accepted the gift with warm smile.
"No. I should be thanking you, if it wasn't for you I'll be dead by now." She shivered upon the incident.
He patted her head, "You're safe now, it's not going to happen again,"
She nodded but her frown was still on.
"You look better with a smile," He commented abruptly that caught her off guard.
She smiled shyly to him.
"That's better." He grinned cheekily, "I'll need to get going, thanks for the gift."
Her blush intensified, she covered her face with the scarf.
The policeman cleared his throat, "Sir."
"Yes, I know." He acknowledged, nodded firmly to the policeman, then he smiled to them, "I wish you two a Merry Christmas."
"Thank you again!" Rukia said to the man as he waved off and jogged away. After thanking the policeman, Rukia drove Momo to her place to rest. The two friends went back to Rukia's penthouse as Momo clean herself and rest her tired body. Rukia has informed the others about the situation and reassure them that Momo is safe.
Momo lay in bed, her hands holding onto the dark blue scarf he gave her. Inhaling his smokey and musky scent lingered on the scarf. Momo held the scarf to her chest, feeling safe with it.
Two weeks have past since the incident, Rukia had brought her to the hospital for a checkup the next day. She wouldn't want Momo to suffer PTSD or other sickness so she dragged her to the hospital to confirm she was indeed fine. Momo rolled her eyes at her friends overacting concerns after two weeks since the incident. The incident was made to the headline of the news, internet and newspaper. The police had a investigation regarding the attacker and was confirm the incident as a terrorist attack. Fourteen people were heavily wounded in the attack but was out of danger when received immediate medical attention at the local hospital. Luckily in the attack no death was occurred. The terrorist was apprehend by the police and was being interrogate for further information. Sereitei Shopping Mall had tighten it's security with the police to prevent future attacks. Same actions have been made in other public areas. The whole country made a stand against terrorism and urging the people to be wary of one's surrounding.
Momo was out at the local supermarket to buy some ingredients to prepare for the Christmas party. Momo told Rangiku about giving away the Secret Santa present to the man who saved her, and since she was presentless she decided to help out with the food. Rangiku insisted that she should stay put and rest, but she refused. Much to Rangiku's dismay.
Momo walked down the aisle with a shopping basket on her arm, scanning the racks to find the spices she need. Scanning the list in her hands, she make her way to grab some eggs. As she walked while staring at the list, she accidentally bump into a hard chest. Momo stumbled a bit and was about to fall when an arm came up her back to steady her balance.
"I'm sorry, I-" She glanced up to apologise and saw a familiar face staring down to her. He blinked at her, eyes widened in surprise as he recognise her from a week ago.
"Oh, it's you," His voice sound surprise to see her and retract his arm back once she stabilise herself, "Never thought I would bump into you here,"
"Neither do I," She smiled back.
"How are you? It's been a week since, I hope you're doing well,"
"I am, thanks for asking,"
"I'm glad you you still keep the scarf," He pointed at the scarf hanging around her neck.
"Ah... Yes, it's a simple reminder for me to not forget my saviour," She eyed the scarf with gratitude and saw the red wool scarf around his neck, it was the one she bought, "Do you like the scarf?"
"Oh, yes. I like the scarf, it's pretty comfortable and warm," He said truthfully, trying hard not to stare at her too much. .
"I'm glad you like it," She giggled, "Guess we exchange our scarf for a good purpose,"
He joked, "For the greater good,"
She laughed along with him and he felt himself grin at her melodic voice.
"So what's with all the ingredients?" He peeked at the shopping basket on her arm.
"Oh, this," She showed him the basket full of packets for cake and cookies decorations, and other food ingredients. "I'm helping a friend on preparing the food for a Christmas party at her place,"
He whistled. "It's a lot, do you have friends to help cooking all of it?"
"Yes, my friends would help me with it. Some of them might've mess the kitchen up if I don't take care of the cooking for the party, they can''t cook one hundred percent. It's been proven, disaster would occur if nobody volunteer," She stated.
He chuckled, "Thank God you can cook then. Do you cook often at home?"
"Pretty much, yes. It's healthier to eat at home than eating out. Sometimes I cook curry to spice up my taste bud, and sometimes some mac and cheese recipes, "
"It is. I'll invite you over for some if you want, or I can show you how to make it," She smiled brightly.
"I would like that. Unfortunately I'm not a great cook,"
"You can't cook?"
He scratch the back of his head, "I can, but I'm not the best or worse. I'm stuck in the middle,"
"Well... You can improve your cooking if you take time to learn it. I'm sure you can do better,"
"Thanks for the encouragement, but I might just stick to take outs. Better than the food I made myself," He politely declined.
She shook her head. "So what did you got here?" Momo peered over to his basket.
He shrugged casually, "Just basic food," He showed her his basket. A carton of milk, instant noodles, a loaf of bread, few bag of chips and butter.
"Judging by this I can tell you really don't cook often, huh?" She guessed as he looked at her sheepishly.
"You caught me," He lifted his hands up playfully, "I only cook when I need to. Plus, I'm a workaholic,"
She shook her head with a smile,"Try not to overwork yourself too much, it's already Christmas,"
"I'll try to loosen up, but no promises," He smiled back.
"That would be good for your health though, keep it in mind that a healthy body will be much more better than a great career,"
They fall into an awkward silence before he cleared his throat and spoke, "Hey... Um.. if you don't mind would like to grab a coffee with me later?"
Momo heart hammered inside her chest. "I would love to,"
"Really? Cool!" He coughed and blushed, "I mean. Great. My name is Toshiro Hitsugaya by the way,"
He offered a handshake which she took with a giggle.
"I'm Momo Hinamori, nice to meet you, Hitsugaya-kun."
They started to walk to the cashier and paid for their things as they chatted along the way. Seriously, this man was a mystery to her. He was fun to talk to and they were getting along very well. Even though it's their first time talking to each other, except the fact he saved her that time. The both of them stop by a coffee shop for a short moment before he offered a ride back to her friend's house. Momo knew a few of his likes and dislikes in this short meeting. He likes his coffee black because he need the caffeine to focus on his work. He likes eat watermelons and he was never a fan for sweets. He dislikes slackers and he was a renowned workaholic. He doesn't mention his work often, he told her that his occupation was a complicated one to explain but she knew he work for the government. Oddly enough they clicked together very well, despite they only met each other the second time. Momo found herself under an enchantment in his ways of words and his husky voice, it made her fall for him in first sight. He gave her a mysterious and secretive vibe yet she could felt his honest and sincere in his tone as he talk to her. She was sure he was the one. Even without a proper reason. They exchange phone number for future plans to grab a coffee together or grab a bite if they have free time. With special circumstances.
"Is it like a bet?" She looked at him with interest.
He shrugged, "Something like that, but with our own conditions. We'll decide how it goes by our own rules,"
"Ooh... Like who will be the first to fall for each other?"
"Depends on how we set it, what do you say?"
"Sure, I'm up for it. I bet it'll be better than normal relationships that I've been in," She said excitedly, she haven't had anything interesting going on for years. Might as well entertain herself.
He chuckled. "That's a good way to put it,"
"So how do we start it? What's the topic we're going for?"
"I think it's fair that you get to choose the topic since I suggest this 'bet',"
"Hmm..." She rubbed her chin and think. "How about let's see how long we can last without mentioning about visiting or meeting or seeing each other?"
"That's an odd one. What gives you the idea of it?"
"Your job for one. It's kind of a long distance relationship and I know we won't see each other much. In addition, it'll pretty easy for us since we aren't actually 'dating' or know each other before, so I want to take advantage of it. Like a small game of testing patience, sort of," She explained.
He let out an easy laugh, "You're pretty smart to notice our disadvantage and work it out to a leverage,"
"Thank you very much," She grinned proudly of the praise. "Now you can think of the consequences if either one of us lost,"
"We'll collect points from each slip out we made and exchange it into a prize once it's enough. For example, a hundred points for a kiss, " He winked, she laughed.
"It sounds more like those shopping malls events than a bet," She snickered.
"Agreed, but this makes it more fun than boring old relationships with boyfriend and girlfriend saying cheesy lines all day,"
"I couldn't argue with that."
She was told that sometimes he would be unreachable because of his work and couldn't promise that he would have the leisure to meet up with her all the time. He explained to her clearly when they were in the coffee shop, he wasn't an ideal man to be with but he would make the most of it, if she chose him. He doesn't make unrealistic promises to her, instead he gave her his words that he would always bring his attention and time for her, only her. He had his own difficulties and restrictions he couldn't tell so she decided not to pressure him. If this doesn't work out the way they want, they would break it off with no regrets and ill feelings for each other. That was their agreement. Although, Momo was afraid that they couldn't make it, she had hope they could.
Staring at the starry night sky, her hands holding her phone in hope that Toshiro would call her in this Christmas night after their encounter at the supermarket in the afternoon. The party inside the house was still going on, the laughter and voices could be heard even with the glass sliding door close behind her. Her phone rang. It's him.
"Hey, I just want to hear your voice," His voice husky silk and it made her fantasize his charming face.
"Oh, really? Or was it you called because you miss me?" She teased while shrugging off her thoughts of his face.
His chuckle was heard on the line. "If it is, you don't mind, do you?"
She blushed at thought. Thankfully, he isn't here to see her blush. "No, of course I don't mind, in fact I want to hear from you too,"
"I'm glad. What are you doing right now? It's boring doing paperwork,"
"Am I your entertainer?" She mused.
"You can be. Plus, I hate hearing my colleagues sing Christmas songs all night,"
Momo heard a couple of voices singing very high pitch with wrong tunes, and sound like a broken glass, she winced.
"Sorry, Momo. Give me a sec," and she heard him yell "God... Hisagi! Pipe down your girlish screams, I can't feel my eardrums with your unladylike yelling!"
Then she heard a scuffle.
"I'm singing!" "You sounded like a cow in labor." Crash! Clink! "I'm Mariah Carey tonight, and nobody is going to stop me!" Thump! Thump! Thump! "Get him down from there!" "Hey!" "Watch it!" 'Thud!' Silence. "I'm going to get a shovel." Sounds of people mingled. "I'm not cleaning this shit afterwards!" "Lughten up, Cap! We'rr just having fun!" Hiccup. "Get off of me, your breath stinks."
She muffled her laughter at the voices and sounds of his misery.
Then for a moment she heard him sigh, like he was out of the chaos. "Sorry about that. It's an office Christmas party,"
"Why don't you join them? It sounds fun," She jeered.
He scoffed. "Fun, my ass. They're going to have me cleaning after they all pass out from drinking. They're messing up the office,"
"Ah... I'm guessing you're the party pooper,"
"No. I'm a hardworker," He refuted, "I can't work without those idiots interrupting,"
She giggled. "And what did you do to escape the chaos?"
"I locked my office door to prevent them from entering and went up the rooftop. Peace and quiet here,"
"Should I leave you to your peace then?"
"No. I want to hear about your night."
She told her how her friends planned the party, inventing games for entertainment and drink their hearts out. They talked throughout the night on the phone, feeling as if they were sitting side by side talking about the party underneath the sky full of stars. Same goes to the time when it was a new year, he took the chance to call her and accidentally slipped out the fact that he wanted to visit her. She gotten her first point in the new year. It was the start where they were getting more points, the couple inwardly delighted with the fact they wanted to see each other eagerly. True to her words she didn't see Toshiro much due to his work. He did try to arrange his time for Momo and his colleagues noticed his slight change. But they no comment, not wanting to face his wrath. They went to dates, watch movies and spent the day like any other average couple. Except it was fewer than average, but Momo didn't complain. The two of them together was enough for her.
She could remember the first time they went on a proper date was on Valentine's Day, Toshiro was very sweet to her. He bought chocolates, flowers and gifts for her. He took her to a famous expensive Italian restaurant (that requires reservation or a person who is a regular VIP customer) for dinner. To her surprise, he had made plans for Valentine before he asked her out that day. He admitted to her when he took her home, that he was scared that they can't celebrate it if he was to be call for work. That's why, he made backup plans for it if it doesn't work out. From Plan A to Plan Z. She couldn't be anymore happier at his thoughtfulness, she practically pounced on him and they shared their first kiss. The best thing was he made no promise to celebrate it with her before, and yet he fulfilled her romantic fantasy on Valentine's Day.
Momo was sitting by her desk typing away her report, fingers never ceased to stop typing when her colleague came to her cubicle with a wide spilt grin. Her arm rested on top of the cubicle and leaned beside her table. Momo stopped her work and looked at the woman, who won't stop grinning. It really creeps her out if she didn't stop.
"Momo, my dear friend. We have know each other for a long time, isn't it?"
She sighed heavily, knowing that her colleague would want a favour. "What is it do you want my help this time, Moegi?"
This woman, Moegi Kawasaki, had been a problematic person when Moegi was transfer to the marketing department. A flirt, slacker and a whiner, the whole department groaned in annoyance when she made a terrible mistake as she tried to flirt with a big client. The client was displeased of her unprofessional behaviour and immediately declined the offer of collaborating with their company. It was a huge loss and their superior reprimanded the whole department for her mistake. Every time, they tried to tolerate her as she is the niece of the director, and the superiors couldn't do much. They were also ordered by the director to teach his niece the ways of their company. In addition, they are to overlook her behaviour due to the news of a superior from other department had scold Moegi of her incompetence and was fired the next day.
Moegi twirled her blonde dyed hair with her fingers, acting innocently. "So... There's a project with a client and I was having a hard time doing it, can you help me with it?"
Momo glanced at her piling work around her table, "I'm sorry, Moegi. I already have so much to do right now and I can't help you. Why don't you ask somebody else?"
"Aww... But you're the last one I can ask help. Please, please, please,"
"Can't you try doing by yourself? If you need any tips I can help you, because I am in a tight schedule since it's nearly the end of the month,"
She pouted, "Just one? Please, it's almost the deadline of the project,"
Momo tried to zone out her whining but she kept pleading until she finally concede to her request.
"Fine, fine. Place it there and I'll see what I can do," She pointed at the pile of paperwork on her desk.
Moegi eyes shined brightly with delight, happy that her work was solved. "Oh, thank you, thank you! Thanks again, Momo!" She proceed to place the file and happily skip away, humming to herself.
Momo let out a tired sigh when Moegi left.
"Glad the spoiled princess was gone," Momo's colleague, Yui said while she looked at Momo with sympathy, "You sure you can handle so much, Momo?"
"Just need to work late to finish all this, then I'll be fine... I think," Momo scratched her head nervously, looking at the pile on her desk. Yui was a few years older than Momo and had worked in the company more than five years.
"Here let me help you a little," Yui picked up a stack of paperwork from her desk, wanting to decrease half of her heavy workload.
"Thanks Yui, but it's okay though I can handle it," She tried to declined, but Yui stopped her.
"You'll be working yourself to death before the end of the month if you keep being stubborn. Just remember to treat me lunch next time, okay?" She winked playfully while Momo laughed lightly and nodded in reply.
"I'll be sure to treat you next time." She promised, inwardly grateful of her helping hand.
Hours of working had her temporarily forgotten the time when her phone rang. It broken her out of her focus, she noticed it was already late at night and she was still in the company. The sound of her phone kept going on and she saw the caller was Toshiro, quickly she answered the call.
"Hey, it's been a week since you last call," She pointed out.
She heard him let out a tired sigh. "Yeah, I know. Sorry, did I bother you?"
She shook her head as if he was here with her. "No, I'm working late. But thanks for calling, I might work until midnight if you didn't,"
He grunted, "And you told me not to work myself too hard, while you're doing the opposite,"
"It's the end of the month, the company is always this busy. It's normal," She defended.
"You alone in an empty company this late without a single person by your side?" His question was more like a statement, she noted.
"Yeah, I might need to finish up some of it before I go home,"
"Are you going to take a cab?"
"No, I'm gonna take the bus,"
"This late? Alone? You sure?" His tone desperate and worried.
"Don't worry, Toshiro. I do this often than you think, so it's fine,"
"It's not fine, I'm worried about your safety," He said seriously, worrying about her well-being, "What a boyfriend am I, if I can't even send my girlfriend home?"
She joked, "It's not like you can magically appear here just to send me home,"
"I can try,"
She smiled at his gesture and was glad he care for her very much.
"Toshiro, it's fine. You're also busy and I wouldn't want you to throw away whatever your working just to send me home,"
He groaned, "I can't help it that I want to see you, "
"Another point for me, Toshiro," She said in a sing song voice, and he cursed inwardly. This woman was making it easier for him to think of her from time to time, it's not fair. Here he thought he was the charmer in the relationship, but thought otherwise.
He grumbled, "I'm losing this game very fast, aren't I? How much points we each have now? I lose count,"
She hummed, "I think mine is thirty-five, and your sixty-six,"
"Thirty one points more? I suck at this, can we switch points? Please,"
She giggled at his bargain, "Nope, you can't. Be prepare to lose and face the consequences of being a slave for a week,"
She laughed evilly. "I'm thinking of some cosplay for you to try on,"
He gasped. "You're a despicable woman,"
"I tend to when I have an upper hand on games,"
"Ugh, I shouldn't put such high stakes. To think I'm losing a game for the first time," He complained childishly.
"There's a first in everything as they say, Toshiro," She cajoled.
Jokes aside, he wasn't keen on the idea of her going back home alone. "Are you really fine on going back home on your own in this late at night?"
His tone laced with concern, and it warmed her heart in this late cold night inside the empty office.
"I'll be fine, Toshiro, I promise,"
She heard him sigh in defeat, "Promise me you won't stay longer than eleven, and call me if anything happen,"
"Put me on speed dial, I'll find a way to you if you need me," He continued on before she could speak, "Remember to check your surroundings and don't talk to strangers, kick the man in the balls or poke their eyeballs if they ever try touching you. No shortcuts into dark alleys, don't stay in a place without light alone, don-"
She laughed, "Alright, alright. If you talk much longer, I am really going to stay here until eleven, Toshiro. I need to work these few things and then I'm done for today, okay?"
"Okay. Be safe, Momo." Then he hung up.
She shook her head at his attitude, a smile grace on her face as she work until she finished. Her promise to him kept inside her mind and follow his instructions, she went back home safely. After cleaning herself up, she sat in her bed comfortably and picked up her phone to see the messages he sent, asking if she went home safe with one missed call. She rolled her eyes at his exaggerating messages of being kidnapped and dialed his number. He answered it immediately after the second ring.
"You're safe back home?"
"Yes, Toshiro. I am safe in the security of my cozy apartment. I was in the shower when you call, not kidnapped,"
He breathed a relief sigh, like he was holding onto for awhile. "Good,"
"Seriously, I am in doubt of you being a creepy boyfriend that over exaggerating every single thing. Like the ones who looked alright at first and then in a second turn into a psychopath with a obsession of stalking people,"
He snorted, "Now you're the one who is over imagining things. I'm too good looking to be psychopath,"
"Who says that psychopath can't be good looking," She countered.
"You're acknowledging I am good looking, right?"
She tried not to roll her eyes, "Toshiro, that's not my point. The point is a psychopath can be ugly or good looking,"
"You watch way too many K-drama,"
She rolled her eyes, changing the subject. She asked sheepishly, "So... you're waiting for me to call back to you?"
He didn't denied nor refute, so she took it as a 'yes'. Her heart skipped a beat. She clutched her pillow in her arms giddily, like a girl talking to her crush.
"What are you doing right now?"
"Nothing much, just bored. Why do you need to work late anyway?"
"Normally I don't work this late, but a colleague of mine threw her pile of work on me and 'tadaa' I'm working late,"
"Why didn't you refuse?"
"I did. But she didn't budge. Plus she is the company director's niece so she have a free pass on work every single time, it's infuriating,"
"A spoiled chick with loads of money and a rotten attitude," He concluded.
"Exactly. Last time, she got two of the people fired just because they told her to pull her weight. The director was being unreasonable, but we can't do anything,"
"That sucks, get another job,"
"Easy for you to say, I love my job and I don't want to leave it just because princess is there," She huffed.
"What kind of company are you in?"
"A publishing company, The Enchanted Forest. I worked here for years, before that spoiled rich girl came in and the new director,"
"Harsh reality coming from an office lady. Pity, I can't be there for you to teach the chick and your director a lesson,"
"It's okay. I'm already glad that you know what I'm feeling in this situation," She smiled, "But you can't go teach them a lesson, if you do that I'll lose my job,"
"Sure. But no promise if they go out the line,"
"Fine, now let's stop talking about work. It's stressing me out. What about your day?"
She loves the phone calls they always had. It was like a stress relive session whenever she heard his voice. He will listened to her ramblings and never judge her over her complaints. Sometimes he would give some useful advice to solve her problems. In exchange, she would listened to his problems too. A regular routine they made over the phone, if one was having a bad day the other will listen. Even if the phone call was a minute short.
It was almost time to go home when Momo was called into the head department's office. She finished all of her work and why would her superior wanted to see her. Sighing, she got up from her seat and entered the medium size office, surprise to see Moegi was in there as well. Momo stood in front of her superior desk, with a wave of bad feeling surrounded her.
"Momo, you always are a diligent, hardworker and I admire that," He started. "But the turn of event of this very project had been delayed and I was to take action on this course,"
Momo was confused. "What are you trying to say, Ibiki-San?"
"The project file Moegi entrusted to you. Moegi told me that you had lost it and chose to hide the incident from her,"
Her eyes turned wide in shock and quickly defended, "I did not do such things, Ibiki-San. I had finished it and handed to project file back to her, she was to pass it up herself not me,"
"But then you had promised me that you'll help pass it up together with the other paperwork," Moegi lied.
"I promised you to pass the paperwork files with mine, not the project," She hissed.
"The project was with the paperwork files at the time, you should've notice it and give it back to me,"
"I didn't saw the project file when I passed on the paperwork files. And I'm mostly sure that I didn't have it in the first place,"
"How about your desk? Do you leave it there?" Ibiki insisted.
"I do not have it,"
"Can we see your desk?"
"By all means, feel free to check," She fumed.
The three of them exited the office and went to her desk. Ibiki checked her desk by himself, flipping through the files and papers on her desk and nodded. "It seems like you're speaking the truth,"
"I am," Momo stood her ground, not wanting a false accusation from Moegi to bend her will.
"However, you will be in charge of redoing the project and the rest of the following paperwork," Ibiki said abruptly.
"Moegi is still inexperience for this. Since you have been helping her on the project, I trust that you can finish it in three days,"
"Three days?! That's not enough time, I have other files to do and the deadlines were the same," She exclaimed.
"Then I suggest you start now,"
"Ibiki-San, please be reasonable. This isn't my project to begin with, what would Moegi do with the project she lost?"
"I didn't lost it, I misplaced it," Moegi retorted, her arms crossed against her chest.
"Same thing. It's your responsibility for the project and I refuse to handle your work that you misplaced it," She seethed.
"Momo, be mindful where you work," Ibiki warned.
"No, you should be mindful what you work. Ibiki-San, I did not do nothing wrong and she blamed her mistakes on me!"
"I do not,"
"Momo, you will start to do the project whether you like it or not, it's your job,"
"I will not be treated so disrespectfully because of a spoiled rotten brat," She hissed.
"I'm the director's niece, Momo. You don't want to make me angry,"
"Then stop being such a pushover and do your job!" Momo growled.
"Momo, enough. You're fired,"
"What?" She gaped, distraught of the unfairness to her.
"Your behaviour is unacceptable, you may leave." Ibiki finalised with his finger pointing the door and Moegi smirked in triumph. Momo's colleagues gasped in disbelief and sympathy glances were thrown her way. Momo bit her lip, her head down in shame and collected her things on her desk. Once she was finished, she bolted out the company with her eyes close to tears. Just when she was out the entrance, she accidentally bumped into someone, making her box fall to the ground. She apologise repeatedly, her eyes not looking up and crouched down to collect her things when the person spoke.
She looked up to see a pair of familiar turquoise eyes filled with surprise and concern. Momo couldn't held back her tears, her body acted on impulse as she buried her head to his chest and sob. He was startled and raged of who had make her cry. He would've went into her company and beat up who was responsible if Momo wasn't sobbing loudly in his arms, hugging him tightly. He chose not to ask at the moment. He collected her things and escorted her to his car, driving them to her apartment. He let her cleaned herself while made a hot chocolate for her when she was out the shower. He settled her on the couch, ordering pizza take out as dinner and ate in silence. Afterwards, she told him everything and he listened without interupting her explanation. He pulled her into his arms after she finished. Patting her head, consoled her with soothing words and encouragement to ease her depression.
He came over everyday, for three weeks. Early in the morning he came with breakfast, ringing her doorbell and waited for her at the door. She was surprised when he came, at seven in the morning, she was sound asleep before he called telling her to open the door. She let him in, wondering why he came. He shrugged and replied with a reason of keeping her company. He left in the afternoon after they had lunch together, he was needed at work and she urged him not to strain himself on rushing from her place to his work. He waved off the her advice and told her he would be fine. He take her out for dinner or bought take outs on his way to her apartment, then left before midnight. She tried to reason with him when he kept this pattern for days. But he kept insisted on coming, saying that he like her company than his annoying colleagues.
Not wanting to forsake his commitment, she started to accommodate his timeline and cooked their meals together when he comes by. Oftentimes they eat take outs, and the other she made a well balance meal for the two of them. One day when Momo was cleaning the dishes after lunch, he told her that he loves her cooking more than take outs now. Saying that his taste buds had change to tolerate her food, in a good way. She was elated and gave him a kiss on the lips before he left for work. Unknown to Momo, he was on cloud nine as he was on the way to work, feeling more energised than usual.
One day, he brought his laptop to her apartment as per usual. He sat on the couch typing away for his work after having dinner together, while she sat beside him watching television. Once the show was on commercial break, she saw her boyfriend focus on the laptop on his lap, curious on what he was working.
"What are you doing, Toshiro?"
"Working on a report," He replied, eyes not leaving the screen and continued typing. She peered over the screen and saw his report with densely packed words that made her eyesight dazzled.
"How can you see this without hurting your eyes? Ugh," She rubbed her eyes, and marvelled at his immunity, "I think my eyesight was damaged by your report, I'm going blind if I look longer,"
He answered, "I've gotten used to it,"
"Do you need it to be so long? I'm impressed on how you can type without stopping to think. The last time I typed something that long was in college, it was a thesis about the achievements of computers, artificial satellites and rockets," She exaggerated.
"Good for you," He droned. She pouted at his cold reply but chose not to bother his work. Within a minute or two, he shut his laptop and was done for the time being.
"You're done with your work?" Momo asked while he stretched his tired limbs.
"Hn," He leaned his head back, eyes closed, shoulder slumped down wearily and his arms on the back of the couch. He looked worn out, she noticed the bags under his eyelids. She stood up from the couch and headed to the kitchen to prepare a tea for him. He thanked her when she handed the tea for him. It was refreshing to drink tea over coffee for a change, he mused.
"It's nice," He uttered while sipping the tea.
"I'm glad you like it," She beamed. Just then her doorbell rang, Momo went to open it and saw her friends were at the door. Her friends decided to pay a visit. They knew about her disemployment and wanted to cheer her up, bringing drinks and snacks. She was happy for it, letting them in as Toshiro just finished his tea. They greeted him and Momo settled back to her spot beside Toshiro while he sat at end of the couch. His hand propped on the edge of the couch lifting his chin, struggled to listen their conversation as he grew drowsy. Trying not to be rude in front of Momo's friends while he fought back his urge to sleep and wanting to stay beside Momo. Momo saw his dilemma and nudged him to place his head on her lap. He silently complied. Without a minute, Toshiro falls asleep in Momo's lap. Her friends didn't mind after Momo explained about him overworking himself. She continued her conversation with her friends while stroking his hair as if he was a sleeping cat. Her friends left by the time it was getting late, Toshiro was awake to bid them farewell and they advise him to get some more rest than working overtime. He nodded in reply.
Looking at the clock, he was ready to head out too. However, Momo suggested he stay overnight, concerned of his drowsy self to drive back home would be dangerous. He conceded to her reasoning. They shared a bed as Momo wouldn't want him to wake up with a sore back by sleeping on the couch. He didn't argue, his mind wanting to rest and followed Momo to her bedroom. Once he plopped down to bed and his head on the pillow, not bothering to pull the cover, she heard his soft snoring already. She shook her head while she pulled the cover for him and went to prepare for bed. Afterwards, she settled herself on the other side of the bed. Examining his face up close, arch nose, high cheekbones, taut lips that parted slightly, strong jaw, slight tanned skin, he was truly perfect. A handsome man for sure. She watched him sleep peacefully, his usual tension on his body when he was awake were now relaxed. It made him looked more younger. She had hoped he exert himself too much in the won't be good for his health and she wouldn't want him to get sick. No use worrying now, she tuned out her thoughts and close her eyes. Soon she drifted into peaceful slumber.
When Momo woke up, Toshiro was nowhere to be seen. She walked into the kitchen after going through her morning routines. A note on her kitchen table was attached to her favourite breakfast meal. She smiled knowingly and read the note. It wrote 'I got a phone call from work in the morning, won't be able to come over for awhile. Eat the breakfast I bought, don't skip meals. P.S. You drool when you sleep. I got evidence on my phone. P.P.S. You hogged the blankets too much. I was freezing.' Here she thought it would be a heartwarming note. That man! She promised she will let him hear a handful when the next time they meet.
She huffed, "Way to start the morning by making me mad, Toshiro."
Brandish the thought of revenge, she ate her breakfast and went on her daily routine. Unknowingly, her smile never wavered for the whole day.
It was when Momo's ex-colleague slash friend set a time to meet that she knew the news. The news of Enchanted Forest Director Kusanagi was caught money laundering along a few members of board directors and employees. His niece, Moegi was in a scandal with a company's client and was found out that she scammed him for a million dollar project that held no implement from the start. The company stock price was instantly stumbled into a pit. It was in chaos, until the previous director before Kusanagi recommended a new director. He took the reign and reschedule the whole company from top to bottom. The new director, Soujiro Kusaka was from the famous clothing company, Blue Phoenix and decided a merged to expand his family corporation. While extending more directions for Enchanted Forest Publishers as well as adding variety to their fashion magazine.
"I didn't think so much would happen after I left in two months," Momo voiced out to her friend, Yui. They were at a cafe and talked about the company changes.
"Me neither. It was like when you left, the whole company crumbled down in a blink," Yui phrased, wailing her hands dramatically, "Like seriously, after you were fired the other day, the events spread like wildfire. Police authorities came to the company and start investigating then, boom, it was all over the news,"
"Did someone plan it?"
"Don't know who is it, but thanks to that those horrible people was thrown out of the company for good. Seriously, it's hell if they continued. You should see the face on Ibiki and Moegi when the police came to cuff them, it was hilarious,"
She snickered, "Karma got them good,"
"You said it. The new board director is a good man, he gave each of the employee a raise when the stock price was back on track. He gave a motivation speech few days ago and I swear he is a good boss,"
"Thank goodness then. Who's in charge of the department now after Ibiki was caught?"
"That would be me," Yui lifted her chin and smirked, "A promotion was given week ago and now I am the new head department, I could never be happier,"
"That's great! Congratulations, Yui!" Momo congratulated.
"Thank you, Momo," Yui smiled. "So did you find a job yet?"
She shook head. "Not yet, I'm still looking. But it's fine, it feels like I'm taking a break from all the work, a good thing though,"
"Why don't you come back? You can work under me and I can make an exception of accepting you back. I know you love this job,"
"It feels like I'm taking advantage of your position, Yui," She pondered sadly, fiddling with her fingers. "People will bad mouth you and I couldn't handle that. Nobody who gotten fired will be wanted back into the company,"
Yui frowned, "I don't think so. You're a great employee and I see no point of not wanting you back. Besides, I don't care people talk,"
"I don't know, Yui," She frowned. "It might be bad,"
"Think about it, will you? There's always a place for you, don't forget it,"
"Thank you, Yui. I'll try to think about it,"
"Good. Let's talk about something else," She sipped her latte before she spoke,"How's your relationship with your boyfriend? Did he know about your job?"
She nodded, "I bumped into him when I was fired, turns out he wanted to fetch me home that day and saw me crying. If I wasn't holding him back, I was sure he would go to the company and start a fight,"
"Awww... How macho of him," She gushed, drawing love in the air, "Then what did he do to make you feel better? Kiss you or... you know what?" She winked suggestively, Momo blushed bright red.
"We didn't do that! He just came over everyday, bring me food and keeping me company, even though he need to get to work after lunch. But he came back for dinner and left after ten,"
She gasped, "Oh my god, Momo! He is much more better than a boyfriend material! You've just gotten yourself a husband material!"
"I can hear wedding bells in the future! Ooh, I can't wait!" She chimed.
The two friends chatted away at the cafe, catching up with the things they missed. Then Yui's phone rang. She answered the phone and talked in her work tone, then she ended the call. Yui informed her that the new board director wanted to meet her. Taken back of the sudden information, Momo could only followed her friend into the familiar company building and went up on the escalator to meet the director. The director was young to lead but his demeanour was calm and steady says so otherwise. He was experience, she could feel it when he spoke. Soujiro was polite and friendly as he offered Momo back into the company and appointed her as the new leader in Yui's team. Ecstatic, she accepted his offer and thanked his kindness. Yui was delighted when Momo told her after she exited the office, and took her to celebrate along with their colleagues who also thrilled by the news. Momo can't wait to tell Toshiro.
With the door shut, Soujiro was pleased at the outcome when Momo accepted his offer easily. He was amused by the fact that his long time friend would do so much for this woman. Momo was a great partner for him, he concluded. He phone his number and waited for him to answer while he twirled his pen with his finger. After a few more calls, he finally answered.
"What?" His voice gruff, clearly at his edge of rage by his continuously calls.
"She accepted the promotion and got her job back," Soujirou quipped, his grin spread on his face,
"Good," He sounded relief and Soujiro couldn't help but tease the man.
"Momo is a dazzling and exquisite woman if I may say so myself, is she single?" He teased.
He snarled, "She's mine, hand's off, " His anger could felt through the line and Soujiro swear he could feel his cold glare.
"Woah there... I know she's yours, I'm only joking. Calm down, will you? You don't have to be threatening," He shuddered, not wanting to anger his friend. "What's gotten into you? Bad day? You're not so snappy when I tease you last time,"
He sighed tiredly, "Sorry, just having the worst day ever,"
"Classified." He stated and his tone change into stoic, "I need to go, make sure she isn't being treated badly or I'll find you."
"Somebody need to shut up,"
"...Right, I won't let that happen to her so rest assure." He assured him. Satisfied with his reply, he hung up before he could say more.
Soujiro looked at his phone and sighed, his friend was more stress out than normal. He hoped he will be fine.
Momo and Toshiro had been dating for half a year. Yet she doesn't know much about his profession. She don't like sticking her nose to where he is uncomfortable when they talked about his work and she didn't pry. He was grateful for her patience and promised he would tell her once the time is right. She tried to be understanding for his difficult situation and learned to be patient, but it worried her more.
The last phone call they shared was in the end of summer. It had been an unusual conversation when he called her in the wee hours.
"Toshiro, why do you have to call this early? I've got work in a few hours and I want my sleep," She whined, her eyes were close and she laid in bed within the comforts of her covers.
He was silent for a moment before he spoke abruptly. "It's nice that your voice was the first thing I heard today,"
She would slapped herself if she wasn't in the verge of sleep, "Are you sober, right now Toshiro?"
"I'm moderately functional," His voice sounded strain but she was too sleepy to notice.
"I'll take that as a no,"
"Why do you think I'm drunk, Momo?"
"Because you're not talking normal,"
"The female of the species is more deadly than the male, do you want try to face a sleep deprived woman?"
"I was being affectionate, Momo. I said your voice is nice. You should take that as a compliment, "
"You're weird, Toshiro," Momo was flabbergasted, her heart pound inside her rib cage. "You can't just randomly said things like that, it makes me uncomfortable," She stuttered.
He chuckled hoarsely, "How uncomfortable? Is it like the time I kiss you randomly and you like it but you didn't want to admit it,"
She shrieked. "Toshiro! You are so-"
"Handsome, good looking, immensely talented-"
"Annoying," She groaned and placed her arm on her eyes, her blush haven't left her face, "Stop waking me up in the middle of the night,"
"It's morning and this is the first,"
"Whatever, I need my beauty sleep and you're not helping,"
"How about a goodnight kiss?"
"Right now, I don't know if I want to kiss you or shove you off a bridge,"
"Can I pick?"
"No!" She exclaimed, her hand rubbing her face in frustration, "Toshiro, this conversation is getting nowhere and I want to sleep badly, please,"
"I think I love you," He blurted out and it rendered Momo was speechless. Her mouth hand open and she only had one word in mind. What?!
He took her silence to continue, "I don't know when it started, but you're always in mind and I couldn't stop thinking... your smile, your face, your kiss, everything about you,"
Momo gripped her phone tightly. Her heart race and she could feel his eyes on her as he breathed through the line, "God... I want to see you right now..."
She swallowed and found her voice to speak, although it was a squeak, "You're going to lose the game if you keep saying that,"
"I rather lose the game than to lose you," He quoted.
Her heart swell. Her stomach was doing thousands of flips and her mind was giddy. Goodness! This man is a charmer to the core, he was even romantic with few words spoken. Even her exes was no match for him, he was undefeated. Argh! He was so undeniably attractive in his own way.
He noticed her unresponsive silence and decided to tease her, "Are you blushing right now?"
"N-No! I am not! Absolutely not," She was totally blushing right now. Her voice crack a little and gave away the embarrassment in her tone.
"I can imagine your face is like, tomato red," He sniggered
"Ugh... I hate you," She muffled her voice into her pillow.
"I love you too," He heard it and said simply.
She was about respond when she heard his breathing was shallow. Like he was having difficulty to breathe. Her brows furrowed with concern and tighten the hold on her phone.
Unexpectedly, He let out a fistful of coughs that made Momo immediately tensed up, "Tosshiro, are you alright?! Are you sick?"
"I'm fine," He had muffled his cough throughout the line, he assured, "A sore throat that's all,"
"I've told you many times not to overwork yourself and this is what you let it happen," She scolded.
Holding back his cough, he wheezed. "Don't worry, I'm fine,"
She sighed in defeat, helpless in the situation she was in and couldn't be beside him. "Drink plenty of water and take some medicine with it. And get more rest, that means no more working during your rest,"
"Rest, huh?" He wondered out loud in a hushed tone.
"Yes, rest. Got it?" She said firmly.
He was silent, as if he was searching the right words to say. Momo was feeling unsure of his silence and was having an ominous feeling growing inside her.
She was anxious. Then she bit her lip, confessed her feelings. "I love you too, you know. I want you to be well, to be safe and mostly be beside me. I know it's selfish because of your job, I... just want you to know what I'm feeling too,"
He broke out of his trance. "Everything will be fine..."
"Can you promise me that you will be fine?"
"...I can't..." He inhaled a sharp intake. "No promises, remember?"
His solid principal of making no promises, of course she remember that yet she requested selfishly. "Oh...I'm sorry,"
He picked up her defeat tone and murmured. "I... promise you, I will be back to you,"
Astonished by his words, she was wordless. He had just broken his strict principle for her. She gasped. "Toshiro, wha-"
Knowing what her question will be, he declared, "I'll make an exception,"
"You don't have to do it for me,"
"I want to. No use taking it back, Momo," He stubbornly decided and sighed. "I kept you awake long enough, go back to sleep," He urged.
"After all this talk it's going to be difficult to sleep," She joked.
He let out a pain chuckle. "Then try counting sheep,"
"Okay, I'll do that,"
"I'm going to miss you, Toshiro," She said longingly.
"Me too..." He hesitated before he went on, "Go to sleep, I'll wait for you in your dream,"
She giggled. "Make sure you come, Toshiro. I don't like to wait."
"I love you, Momo." He said softly.
"I love you too, Toshiro." She replied warmly.
He whispered a 'Thank you' before he ended the call. Momo was left staring at the screen of her phone. How she wished he would be here with her holding her as she sleep.
Then at the next week after his phone call, three of his colleagues appeared on her front door. With the grim look on their faces, Momo knew they came by for Toshiro. They introduced themselves as Shuuhei Hisagi, Ikkaku Madarame and Yumichika Ayasegawa. They are in the special agency task force that worked for the government in secrecy and Toshiro is their Team Captain. He was assigned a solo mission weeks ago, he was supposed to report on the current terrorist movements but they lost contact on him. They tried to track his last coordinates yet failed. They came by because they were hoping Momo will know his last whereabouts. Momo shook her head, apologised of not having the information they hoped. However, she told them his last phone call. It spark their hope as they found a signal after tracking the last phone call was made. They thanked her and quickly went to their feet, eager to search for him.
Before they left, they told her about how he spoke often of her name and described her as an angel who had saved him from his loneliness. They would teased him of having a girlfriend who tolerate his sour attitude and was eager to meet her when they saw how their captain speak gently when he was on phone with her. He trust her enough to bring his confidential paperworks to her apartment, working in her presence. He was a rough edged person at work, so it was difficult to see express his emotions to them. It was either, irritation, annoyance or anger that they can see. When she called him to announce that she got her job back, they swear that Toshiro did smile ever so warmly. Momo sobbed on her pillow in her bed that night when she thought about his disappearance and the fear of him leaving. She hoped he would come back with the promise he kept.
M.I.A. was his current status. It had been months since he lost contact. Shuuhei was kind enough to keep her posted of their findings and will let her know if they found him. She clutched her phone to her chest every night when she sleeps. Waiting for his call. She had dreamt of him calling her, telling her he was alright and was heading to her apartment to see her. When she was awake, she cried.
Momo wrapped the scarf around her when she walked down the cold streets. It filled with pink balloons, heart shapes decorations and many more. This had Momo reminiscing last year Valentine's Day with Toshiro. Anxiousness stirred inside her when she remember him. Shaking out of her thoughts, she went back home after she finished her grocery shopping. Just when she shut her door and placed her groceries at the kitchen counter, an incoming call of Shuuhei was received.
"We found him, Momo."
Before she knew it, she hailed a taxi and speed to the address that Shuuhei told her. It was a private hospital for agents like them and Momo was afraid, her hands sweating, her body trembled in fear of losing him as she hastily walked into the hospital. Taking the elevator to the floor that was located at the rear. Sprinting through the hallway, she finally arrived at his private ward. She was greeted by Shuuhei outside the ward, a wide grin on his face that was indicating good news.
"He's inside waiting for you, I'll need to get going to report of his situation," He pointed his thumb at the door.
"Thank you, Hisagi-San." She thanked and bowed gratefully.
"You're welcome, Momo." He then bid her farewell and Momo was left standing in front of the door. Glumly, she inhaled a breath before she slid open the door and entered it.
Momo went into the ward with heavy steps and saw him on the hospital bed with an apologetic smile in a sitting position. His body were pierced with tubes and wires, white medical dressings concealed his injuries, his right eye was covered with a white cotton eyepatch along with his bandaged forehead. All in all, he was safe.
Soon, her whole body slumped down, relief washed over her like tidal waves and her water dam was bursting once she saw him in font of her.
"You idiot! I was so worried! I thought you were dead!" She cried, her eyes flashed with pain and hurt. It wrecked Toshiro in guilt.
"I thought I'll never see you again. I waited everyday for you to call and hoping that you'll be okay, I was afraid that you'll leave me..." She wailed, her sobs echoed around the ward. "I... thought you would disappear from my life..."
Toshiro eyes were gentle as he spread out his arms to her, "Come here, Momo," Beckoning her to come.
Without a word, she went to her feet and into his arms. His arms tighten around her, his hand stroking her hair, murmuring words of comfort. Her tears flow freely, her head on the crook of his neck, her arms around his waist, sobbing loudly to reflect her heavy burden of waiting for him. Sad that he was hurt. Angry that he wasn't in contact much. Relieved that he was safe. He was here now. That's all that matters to her. Her shoulder was lifted from the burden.
He tipped her chin up to fcae her, wiped her tears with his thumb, his sole eye stared into her misty eyes. Ever so calm and warm. "I kept my promise." He declared.
His words let her broken out to a smile, her warm tears spilling down, "Yes you did, you came back to me." She sniffed.
Pressing her forehead to his, she could feel his smile against her lips, she smiled back and hold him tightly, not letting him go.
Once again Happy Chinese New Year to all my fellow friends across the world! 恭喜发财！新年快乐！