Once again Penguin Brothers doesn't belong to me and just enjoy.
Chapter 15: Finding Your Inner Strength
Juri slowly slid the door to the side. She looked at her fellow Grays as they continued discussing about the current situation they were in now. She stepped into the room as she quietly slid the door back into a closed position. She took a seat next to Ruki, who had her arms and legs crossed, looking like she was ready to jump up and oppose everything being said.
Sora sighed, "Once again, does anyone else have a better idea on how to bring TRIjet down?"
Almost automatically, at least ten people raised their hands and six voices shouted their opinions. Juri wrinkled her brow at such a spectacle. She always knew that the members of the Gray group were very opinionated, but this was taking things to the extreme. Every idea tossed in was immediately rejected by someone else.
'This is it, Juri!' she felt herself cheer on, 'You can do it!' Juri gulped, 'I hope…' Juri raised her hand which at the moment felt like a ton of cement blocks. Her wobbly hand slowly rose up. "Aa-ano…" She tried to chime in with a hint of shakiness in her voice.
As she expected, no one took heed. Juri looked down and brought her hand down to her lap, admitting defeat. Ruki peered at the soft spoken girl with the corner of her eye. Poor kid. Ruki took it upon herself to change the drift.
She stood up, erect and proud, and yelled to catch everyone's attention, "Oi!"
The former underground queen caused every member to silence and gaze at her. Ruki straightened her voice, "Ahem, I believe Katou-san wants to say something."
"She does?" A random voice came out from the silence.
"I do?" Juri questioned herself looking at orange-highlighted girl. Ruki looked down at Juri with motioned com'on-now-is-the-time eye signals. Juri stood up, once again in a wobbly state. "Ano…" She gulped. Come on, Courage! "I-I think we should humiliate the leader of TRIjet, Ryuuga. Once he falls in embarrassment and decides to leave, then the group or the 'wall' of supporters he has will crumble and fall. Thus, it would be easy for us to win."
The one brief shining moment of glory suddenly became dim against the light of the others. The other members disregarded the idea just like the other ideas were tossed around. Juri sat back down on her seat with hands folded and squeezed together.
Sora scratched the nape of her neck and brought out a sigh. "Okay, since no one else has any smart ideas, we can safely assume that we should have another meeting at another time. I guess, for now, we could be dismissed.
Juri walked out with the rest of the members with her head facing the ground. 'So much for proving myself useful.'
"Katou-san!" Juri turned to see Ruki get a grip of Juri's shoulder. "Good job back there."
"I don't think so." Juri laughed it off with a small glint of self-failure in her expression. Juri took hold of her dog puppet and faced it towards herself.
"You failed ne?" Juri spoke through the puppet with a slightly higher pitch.
Juri nodded, "Yes, I did."
"I don't think so," Ruki commented assuring the puppeteer by putting the puppet down. "I think you were on to something. I think your plan might actually work."
"Hontou ni (1)?" Juri's face gleamed.
Ruki nodded, "Allow me to assist you." Juri smiled. She took her dog puppet and brought it near to Ruki's face and made it bark. Ruki laughed in an I-can't-believe-she-just-did-that expression. "First of all, I don't think the plan may require this puppet." Ruki sweatdropped as she brought the hand with the puppet down.
Takato entered Mimi's homeroom during break. When he saw the familiar strawberry blonde, he approached her with a serious stern expression on his face. She was reading a textbook on her desk. One hand twirled the pen while the other held the page slightly up for better reading light. Next to her was Taichi. With folded arms as a nest, his head was cradled in between as if he was taking a small afternoon nap. "Tachikawa-senpai," Takato started, earning a Mimi's turned head. "May I have a word with you?"
Taichi's attention instantly sprung up when he heard the underclassmen's immediate audience with Mimi. Taichi stood and glared at the young boy, "Listen, buddy, you have to get in line. I was here first."
"Excuse me?" Takato questioned with a raised brow.
Mimi sighed in an aggravated tone, "Don't mind him. Come with me out into the hallway." With that said Mimi stood up then took the younger lad's hand and directed him toward the hallway already buzzing with random conversions of the other students.
Once outside, she released his hand and leaned her back toward the wall next to her classroom. "You need to talk to me?" Mimi asked with her hands resting on the wall behind her.
"Tachikawa-senpai," he started, "you are good friends with Juri, ne?"
Mimi nodded. "Is there a problem with Juri?"
"As-as far as I know, none!" Takato stuttered, hoping not to cause any harm towards the Gray leader. Takato avoided Mimi's curious gaze and twirled his fingers. "I'm…I'm just concerned."
"Concerned?" Mimi repeated cocking her head to the side.
"Un." He nodded. "You see, she's been acting very strange lately." Takato took a moment to think about what he should say next. "She has been pretty secretive lately."
Mimi blinked a couple of times. "Secretive?"
Takato nodded. He looked up at the senior. "She's been avoiding me lately too. Is everything okay?"
Mimi made a small smile and a quick burst of air escape from her nostrils. She shook her head, "I'm sure that everything is okay. She probably needs some time to herself."
"I suppose you are right." Takato nodded to himself. He bowed to Mimi out of respect, "Arigatou, Tachikawa-senpai."
"Ahh. No worries. Just call me Mimi, okay?" Mimi laughed it off as Takato nodded. Mimi eyed the goggle boy run his way back to homeroom. She shook her head and made a small laugh to herself.
Taichi stuck his head out the door. He looked at Mimi and asked, "So, what was that all about?"
Mimi ignored Taichi and past by him. Taichi, as curious as she is, scratched his scalp. He sighed as his arms nested the back of his head. Mimi sat on her seat and folded her hands on the desk. She laughed a little again. Taichi, now really curious, sat on his seat and raised a brow. "Palmon?"
She turned to Taichi with a small smile on her lips, "I believe Juri has herself a little admirer."
Taichi looked at Mimi with blank eyes for a moment. After that moment passed, he banged his head against his desk, stretched his arms forward, and exclaimed with a loud voice, "Oh, thank, God!"
"Taichi?" Mimi called out of concern. "Taichi!"
He felt his body shake with relief. 'I don't need another rival now. The war is hard enough with Yamato around.'
Final bell had rung. School was out. Juri ran down the hallways with exaggerated puffs of air. She had fashion magazines clutched in the tight embrace of one arm and a shopping bag clutched on the other hand.
She turned the steep corner only to be momentarily stopped the one of the influential leaders of the school. Due to her shocked and surprised expression, she released one of the magazines from her clutches and landed on Yamato's grip.
Yamato cocked his head to the side and eyed the fashion magazine. He raised his brow. "Are you doing Mimi's shopping?"
"I-Iie." Juri flatly said, "I wanted to see what they suggest what was in this season."
Yamato stood expressionless as his fingers flipped through the pages. He shrugged to himself and handed the magazine back.
"Arigatou." Juri bowed and continued to run.
Yamato turned as his eyes followed the girl disappearing from his sight. He shook his head and turned back to continue his way. The first sight he saw after he turned was the famous Gray leader with a small smirk on her face.
With a furrowed brow, Yamato sighed, "You know I can get you punished for sneaking up on me, don't you?"
"You know what's goin' on, ne?" Mimi said in a teasing voice.
Yamato quickly shook his head and continued to walk in the direction he originally wanted to go.
Mimi turned her body to allow her eyes to follow him. She exclaimed, "Tell me!"
"It's nothing." He retorted without even looking at her.
Mimi bunched most of her lip to the left side as if she was trying to figure out the answer to a hard math problem. She peered back to Juri's direction. 'What are you up to, Juri?'
Juri closed the door of the girls' restroom behind her. She leaned on the door as she took a moment to catch up with her breath. She breathed in and out. Her chest rose up then down.
"You tried it on at home I assume?"
Juri turned to Ruki who had a small smirk on her face. Ruki wore a turquoise long halter neckline dress. It was a long v-neck that tried to bring a sexual appearance to her area between her breasts. There were spots of gold embroidery of the lace and beads. It fitted her waist line and hips so well that it flowed nicely to her ankles. The slit reached from the bottom to her upper thigh. The rim of the dress was bordered with the same embroidery. Juri saw the mirror behind Juri. She could tell that Ruki was also comfortable with showing her back since her dress was actually backless. With her hair down and makeup done, Juri was surprised that she could even recognize the former underground queen. Juri's brow wrinkled seeing that Ruki was wearing beige heels to match the whole assemble.
Juri saw the dress once she got home. She almost cringed at the idea that she had to wear it. Juri walked up to her friend and took out the dress from the bag. Juri sent a worried look to Ruki.
"I guess not." Ruki sighed as she shoved the soft spoken girl into a stall. "Change!"
Juri wrinkled her brow more as she tried on the dress Ruki had provided for her. "Makino-san? How were you able to get these dresses? Free no less." Juri grunted trying to bring the dress up from her ankles.
"I told you before, my mom is a model. She gets free things from different people. She always gives me all these dresses. I finally put them to good use."
Ruki looked at her watch wrapped around her wrist. It had been at least 15 minutes since Ruki had pushed her friend in. Something simple like the dress that Ruki provided should not take that long. Ruki knocked on the door. "Katou-san, you have to come out."
Ruki could hear the girl gulp as she unlocked the door. The door slowly opened and out came Juri with the dress Ruki had given her to use. It was dominantly black and red. The dress was a red satin strapless one that came a little higher than her knees. The black lace emphasized the creamy skin of Juri's as her innocent appearance has turned to a sex kitten. The dress added a seductive touch to her curves. It was obvious to Ruki that Juri tried to hide her features that the dress clearly emphasized.
Juri looked up at her friend, "Makino-san, please don't look at me like that." Juri said with a small pout.
Ruki laughed a bit, "You look really hot!" Juri groaned inwardly as Ruki forced a pair of black stilettos onto her hands. Juri looked at Ruki with pleading eyes that said, please don't make me wear this. Ruki simply glared back. Juri groaned as she tried to put the shoes on her feet. "Just think positive and breathe." Ruki commented moving her hands a fluid relaxing movement.
Ruki stopped for a moment for Juri to do so. Juri forcibly inhaled and exhaled, hoping the simple exercise would ease the nerves. Juri stood up straight as she dug her feet into the shoes, which she felt really unstable in.
"Ready?" Ruki asked.
"Good." Ruki responded grabbing the paler girl's hand. She dragged her out of the restroom and onto the floor where their plan was supposed to be executed.
Juri gulped. 'There's no turning back…' Juri stepped a wobbly step onto the marble floor. She held the banister next to her as support. She eyed and envied that despite Ruki's attitude towards anything glamorous; she was able to pull off acting like everyone else in this club, like a hostess.
Juri watched Ruki greet the other hostess with such ease and poise. Something in which she felt she entirely lacked.
"Here's the plan, Juri." Ruki started as she walked with Juri into her grandmother's home. "I know that Ryuuga visits this hostess club one of my mother's friends own. If we play our cards right, he won't be able to control his hormones and give into temptation. By that time, we can get him so drunk that he'll do anything we want. Then we make him do embarrassing shit in which he'll be so embarrassed that he just has to leave Odaiba."
"It seems simple enough." Juri nodded. Her smile quickly faded when Juri looked at the website clearly open on Ruki's computer.
"Doushtano (2)?" Ruki asked with a hint of curiosity. Ruki followed the direction of Juri's eyes and read.
"A-are we going to be where I think we are going to be?" Juri asked looking at Ruki.
Ruki looked at the screen then back to Juri. Ruki simply nodded, almost like she had no problem as to where they are. "We are going to do this at a hostess club. You agreed to it."
"I just didn't think we'd be at an actual—"
"Listen to me." Ruki said with a stern stare. "You said you wanted everyone to take you seriously. The only way to do that is to do serious things."
Juri looked down.
"Are you coming?" Ruki extended her hand to Juri who took it almost immediately.
'I should have resisted.' Juri sighed sitting herself down on one of the empty loveseats.
Ruki sat on the seat next to Juri with a small force that the littler girl jumped up a bit due to the force. Ruki turned to Juri's frowning face and narrowed her eyes. "Daijoubu?"
Juri immediately shook her head. "I-I'm not too sure about this, Makino-san. I-I don't know how to be seductive. I-I never had a boyfriend!"
Ruki sighed. She placed her hands onto Juri's shoulders and made loud inhales and exhales. In attempt to calm down, Juri followed Ruki's direction. Her chest lifted, and then descended. "I want you to relax. Like I said, keep the others occupied. Leave Ryuuga to me."
Juri nodded robotically. "Just relax." She repeated.
"That's the spirit."
"Just relax," Juri repeated, each time quieter than the first. For a moment in time, Juri's nerved ceased. That is until the bell on the door rung. Juri recognized the face: Ryuuga.
Ruki felt Juri tense up. She took the nervous girl by the hand and squeezed it. Juri looked over to Ruki and saw what she was doing: breathing hard. Juri closed her eyes and inhaled and exhaled. She felt Ruki's hand leave hers. Juri dared to open and see one of the hostesses leading Ryuuga and five other gang members to their direction. Juri closed her eyes and breathed again. She opened them to see Ryuuga approaching them now, with a small smug look in his face. She closed once more and breathed.
'Come on, courage.' She breathed out one last time before the TRIjet sat in their area.
"Konbawa (3), minna-san," Ruki greeted with a small nod of her head.
Juri, after realizing what Ruki had just said, quickly bowed her upper body down, "Konbawa." Juri felt her body tense up when she noticed she was sitting next to the leader, Ryuuga. She knew this was the man that was responsible for a lot of trouble at the school. Juri could not help but feel little against him.
Ruki felt the younger girl's tension and decided to take things on her own accord. "This is my friend, Ririn, and I am, Rika. We will be your hostesses for tonight. Would you gentleman like something to drink?"
The men's rugged 'yeah' was a typical answer. Juri reached out her hand. "Let me help you…Rika-san." Juri improvised wrapping her hand around the bottle. As much as a surprise to Ruki, Juri gripped the bottle in a ginger fashion. With a sweet and gentle expression, she poured the drink into the men's cups. It was obvious that her unintentional charm was casting its spell. Each man she poured for had a swayed into her charm.
"Ririn-chan," They cooed.
Juri felt confident when she poured their glasses. The feeling abruptly stopped when she faced Ryuuga. With his smug look and cocky smirk, Juri's nerve started to shake. Before Ruki could react, Ryuuga took the bottle from Juri's hand, slightly touching her soft fingers.
"Allow me, Ririn-san," Ryuuga smiled as he poured a little bit of liquor onto Juri's cup.
'Breathe.' Juri told herself. She forced herself to smile. "Arigatou…"
"Ryuuga…" He introduced himself.
Juri blushed slightly. She quickly glanced at Ruki who scolded Juri with her eyes. Sip it, her eyes said as she took her glass and sipped the alcohol through her lips. Juri obliged and did the same. Though the taste was not to liking, she had to fault like she had been drinking for years. She took a look-see around the table. For some strange and odd reason, her eyes stopped at the infamous Ryuuga. He looked so cool and suave. He definitely knew how to play the field. As much as Juri wanted to disbelieve, so far, the great Ryuuga seemed like a very pleasing character.
There has been many times where Ruki would try to get Ryuuga's attention. However, most of them were failed attempts thanks to the other five members of the TRIjet.
"Riiikkkaaaa-saaaannn," they would say her false name in a singing tone. They seemed content on anything Ruki did. Once, by accident, she crossed her leg, revealing a silky smooth leg. That sent them overboard. One almost fainted while the others practically passed out.
Juri noticed that Ruki gave smiles and expressions filled with soft giggles and flirty eyes. Yet, Juri knew that the former rebel queen wanted to knock the living daylights out of the perverts.
"How old are you?" Ryuuga chimed in. Juri turned to the gang leader and quickly retreated by looking down. Ryuuga leaned in a little closer, showing Juri his interest. "Did you say something?"
"I-I'm twenty," Juri lied trying to make some distance between them.
"Really?" Ryuuga asked as he moved back to his original place with a small smirk on his lips. He leaned an arm on the top of the seat. His fingers curled towards his palm which allowed his temple to rest on his knuckles.
"Is there a problem, Ryuuga-san?"
His smirk became a little broader. "It's nothing." He sighed with a little laugh, "You do not look at day older than sixteen."
Juri laughed a bit. Damn he was good. "I do thank you for compliment." She giggled softly, just like what the magazine told her to do.
"You are a very interesting hostess, Ririn-san." He smiled pouring Juri another glass. "I'd like to get to know you more."
Juri smiled a bit. She took the glass and sipped it slowly.
Mimi walked out of the building with Taichi and Sora by her side. She looked up at the stars as it glimmered. For some strange odd reason, the sky that night expressed a sense of sadness to her. Unable to answer the mystery, Mimi turned to those around her. "Do you know Juri's classmate, Takato?"
"Takato?" Taichi asked gripping the strap of his messenger bag. "You mean that underclassmen that came to our homeroom?"
Mimi nodded, "He said something about Juri. You don't think he's right when he sad that something is wrong, do you?"
In response, Sora shrugged. "To be honest, only time can tell." Taichi placed his hand on Mimi's shoulder, "Don't worry, Palmon. I'm sure Juri is okay."
Mimi turned around to see Ryo and Takato run out the building. They stopped in front of the Gray leader. Ryo rested his hands on his knees as his upper body bend down to allow his weight to rest on his knees.
"Ryo, what's wrong?"
Ryo took a deep breath, "I tried," –exhale- "to call," –inhale- "Ruki, and," –exhale- "she's not," –inhale- "answering me." He continued to catch his breath.
Taichi turned to Mimi, "Now that I think about it, Palmon, I haven't seen Juri or Ruki after the meeting we had early this morning."
Takato spoke, "I've tried contacting Juri. Her parents told me that she is with Ruki-san."
Sora bit her bottom lip as she cupped her own chin with the fingers of her left hand. Then some epiphany came into her mind, "Chotto…" she called, causing the remaining four to look at the White Queen. "Juri did say something about having a plan to stop TRIjet this morning."
Mimi's eyes widened. "We've gotta find them. They can't do that alone." The other three Grays nodded their head in approval. "Sora-chan, you should check all the local parks. Ryo, check all the marinas and local docks. Taichi, check the east part of the neighborhoods. I'll go to the west part. Agreed?"
"Hai!" The three nodded as they dispersed in their own separate ways.
"Chotto matte yo!" Takato called stopping Mimi. "I have to help too! It must be my fault Juri is not safe."
"Daijoubu. (4)" Mimi patted the boy's shoulders. She stuck her index finger up and winked, "as long as Mimi-neechan is on the case. Everything will be okay."
Before Takato could get another word spoken, Mimi ran off leaving Takato on his own.
Takato looked around to see that the other three had already disappeared in search for the two missing Grays. Takato turned his gaze down to see the ground. He gripped his fingers. As much as he hated to admit it, he was practically useless. He knew that he was the reason why Juri was asking in this fashion. And the only way for him to fix it, was to get involved. Unfortunately, no one was giving him a chance.
"Do you want to be the knight and shining armor to your damsel in distress?"
Takato turned at his heel. He stared at the stranger with a lowered expression. "Hai."
"Rika-chaaaannn," The boys said in a singing tone. "You are so gosh darn pretty."
"Arigatou," Ruki giggled, covering a fake flustered face.
"And I bet you're real pretty without that dress on too." One dared to comment while the other agreed and made wolf calls.
Ruki laughed in faked manner. Although the boys often mistaken it for flattery, Ruki tried so hard to resist punching them. She glanced to the side and saw how close Ryuuga was getting to Juri. Although she was happy that the plan was going well, Ruki worried about leaving the inexperienced girl on her own.
Right after she kicks these perverts on the crotch.
"So where are you originally from, Ririn-san?" Ryuuga asked placing his glass down. Juri, not realizing that Ryuuga had asked her a question, continued to look around. "Ririn-san?"
"Hmm…?" Juri turned immediately, "Gomen nasai. I was not paying attention."
"Well, I had originally asked where you were from. Now, I'm curious about something else," Ryuuga commented putting more liquor into Juri's glass.
"Maaaannn, Rika-chan, you're so fuckin' hot."
Ryuuga laughed. "Would you like to come with me? Go somewhere quiet?" He pulled the bottle back and placed on the table with care.
Juri felt her body tighten. Juri, a poor and inexperienced (in any level) girl, is going to be left alone with Ryuuga, a leader of one of the strongest gangs in Odaiba?! What was she to do?
Juri quickly snapped her head towards Ruki and gave pleading eyes, please-tell-me-what-to-do eyes. Ruki felt the girl's stare and moved her head at a small angle. The way Ruki's brows motioned, Juri read 'go with him, I'll catch up with you.'
Juri nodded in approval to Ruki then turned back to Ryuuga with a small smile. "Hai," She breathed with a small nod. Ryuuga returned her warm gesture by smiling back. He grabbed his glass and extended his hand towards Juri. Juri nervously accepted it. She stood with her hand behind her hind leg, fixing the short skirt from rising any higher.
Once she was standing comfortably, Ryuuga softly tightened his grip on Juri's hand. His smile was so warm and captivating. He knew how to charm a girl, that's for sure. She now understood what girls meant when they said "I felt like putty in his hands." She was helpless. She was compelled by him, his charm. She did not even realize where he was leading her.
Ryuuga opened a door and led her in. Juri looked around. It was mostly bare. White walls, one love seat couch and coffee stand, at least three bean bag chairs, a small fridge, and a naked mattress.
"Homey." Juri commented, stepping into the room.
Ryuuga closed the door gingerly. Juri heard a click after the door was shut. Her eyes widened slightly. Though she was inexperienced, she knew where things would lead to. And honestly, she was not looking forward to it.
Juri was about to make her way to the door when she heard Ryuuga plopped himself onto the loveseat. Juri turned towards his direction after hearing the ploof sound. He sat there with his arm swung over the back rest. Juri titled her head slightly. She was not trying to acting in any flirtatious manner. After hearing the door lock, she did not trust this boy at all.
"Come here. Sit with me." He smiled, patting the furniture.
Juri gulped. She had to manipulate the situation, "Sit?"
"Un, sit." Ryuuga laughed quietly, "as in your bottom touches the cushion."
Juri laughed a bit. 'This plan is not working that well.' Juri commented inwardly as she sat on the couch. Juri realized she still had the glass in her hand. To avoid him as much as she could, she decided to take constant sips.
Ryuuga caught what she was doing. He decided to do the same. "Do you have someone special in mind?" He sipped.
"Special?" Juri choked a bit.
Ryuuga chuckled. "Un, special. As in a special guy in mind?" He paused when Juri had not responded immediately, "or woman perhaps?"
Juri looked down. After a moment past, Juri looked up to see Ryuuga close to her face. She blocked his gaze with her glass once more. She brought it up, put it to her lips and sipped. Once she put the glass down from her lips, she smiled to herself. "I do have someone in mind. He's sweet and understanding. He is everything to me. However," she turned to the gang leader, "I think he's interested in someone else." She sighed while taking the glass again to her lips.
"Well," Ryuuga groan stretching, "I'm sure I'm interested in you."
Juri choked on the last few drops of her drink. "Come again?"
"I'm interested in you."
"It's okay… I was not talking about…" Juri's voice trailed off. For some reason, her vision was starting to become dazed. She held her head, hoping that the growing pain may soothe, but alas no improvement. "Is it just me, or is the room spinning?"
"You see, Ririn-chan," Ryuuga crossed his legs, finishing his drink, "I must admit, I did not expect to see Makino Ruki here, in a dress for that manner."
"Ruki…?" Juri swayed. She held on the back of the couch.
"Ririn, if that's your real name, I know little Makino Ruki too well." He laughed placing his glass on the table. He sighed with his hand resting on his leg, "She doesn't do these things without a partner, which I can only assume is you."
Juri tried to move. She felt her body become lifeless. Ryuuga grunted as one arm gripped around her neck while the other braced around her legs. He lifted her from the loveseat like a hero rescuing a damsel, with the exception that the damsel did not want the hero to touch her.
"Wha…what are you—" Juri tried to breathe out.
"Doing?" He asked with a small chuckle in his voice. He laid her on the uncovered mattress. Juri felt the cushion on her back. As much although she felt tired, she tried as much as she could to stay awake and alert. "Well, first off, I'm surprised by the insane amount of alcohol you drank. But none the less, you drank it. You just kept on drinking it. The GHB (5) I mean."
"You…drugged me…?" Juri felt her eyes becoming droopy. She tried to close her legs, but her muscles were not responding. She tried to bring her hands forward, but they weren't beckoning her call. Ryuuga placed his knees on both sides of her waist and his hands on Juri's wrists, pressing them down.
"Trust me, I didn't intend to. But you guys tried to play dirty. It's a shame. When you got your hands dirty," He smiled. He moved his lips next to the poor girl's ear. He whispered, "I wanna get dirty with them." He lifted his head to peer at her.
Juri's eyes began to become droopy. They were slowly closing.
"I am very interested in you, Ririn-san."
Mimi stopped and rested her arm on a nearby railing. She placed the free hand on her upper thigh. She hunched her chest forward as her lungs took deep breaths. She looked up at the flowing traffic. Cars driving past her symbolized the late hour. She glanced at her clock: 22:27. She looked up at the incoming traffic, then to the walking pedestrians. Mimi straightened her back.
She looked to the left side of the sidewalk, then the right. "Come on, girls. Where are you?" Just on cue, a familiar jingle rang. Mimi looked through her bag for the familiar rectangular object. Mimi looked at the screen.
Mimi flipped the phone open. She placed the receiver to her ear. "Moshi moshi?"
"Mimi! Katou-san and I tried to get Ryuuga on our own, but we got separated. I don't know where she went! We need to find her! She's alone with Ryuuga."
Mimi's brows furrowed. "You left her alone?!" Mimi gripped the phone. "Shit!" She yelled. Ruki kept silent. "Alright, alright. I want you to call Sora-chan, Ryo, Taichi, and Daisuke. I meet everyone where you are."
Juri breathed heavily as she felt Ryuuga's hand roam down her back. She tried to shake him off, but last time she checked, the drugged one is usually lifeless.
Juri knew that by this time, he already had discarded his shirt. She felt his sweat as he rubbed his body on hers. This meant that his scent was all over her. It disgusted her.
He found her zipper. He slowly pulled the metal tag down, further and further. Juri felt the bounds around her breasts loosening, becoming more and more exposed. He kept tugging gingerly till it stopped. Juri heard him smile by the sudden change in his breathing.
He started to pull the dress down almost like a teasing fashion. He pulled the piece off till he viewed Juri in her strapless white bra and panties.
Ryuuga laughed slightly, "You're a virgin, aren't you?"
Juri tried to let a "no" escape, but it stayed in her throat. Ryuuga felt up Juri's leg slowly. He noted the softness and the small twinge of her skin. He dared to try it himself. He placed his lips on her neck. He was chaste by giving butterfly kisses. After becoming impatient, he started going harder and bolder. He sucked and licked her skin. Harder and bolder.
His mouth traveled down to the valley between her breasts. He licked it, enjoying every taste. He kissed one mound, trying to give it its own attention. Juri breathed harder when she felt of his hands snaking down to her stomach.
Juri, feeling helpless, prayed to God for a miracle when she felt his other hand reaching for the clasp of her bra.
All actions were put to a halt. Juri felt Ryuuga's touch lighten. The sudden noise must have caught Ryuuga's attention.
Ryuuga groaned. He only moved his head up towards the door to amplify his voice. "Who the hell are you?"
"Mi-chan!" Juri breathed.
Ryuuga looked down at Juri who seemed like she was in relief. He cursed to himself. "Fuck."
"Mi-chan?" Juri paused midway to exhale deeply.
Ryuuga rolled over Juri and got up. He grunted bringing himself to walk towards the door. Once his grip got hold of the door, he heard something he had thought the girl, Mimi, would never say.
"I'm hoping I got this right."
'Easy target,' Ryuuga thought to himself. He turned the knob and opened it wide. His image of an easy target quickly vanished when he saw a revolver pointed right at his face.
Mimi walked into the lounge with wide eyes. Women scantily were clad. Booze was everywhere. Lots of perverted men were drooling over everything. Juri would be in this place?! Her eyes searched for Ruki. Once her eyes touched a turquoise dressed red head, she did not expect that girl to be Ruki. Mimi took a double take to check.
Mimi with a crooked brow walked up the red head. With a curious voice, she asked, "Makino Ruki?"
Ruki turned to the Gray leader with a glare. "This is the only time I will be wearing this dress."
Mimi nodded with a small pouted look that said okay-okay-won't-argue-there.
After a moment, the rest of the group came in through the door. Upon seeing their strawberry blonde leader, they approached her with questions.
"Did you find…them?" Daisuke dared to speak. He stopped to see the seductively clothed Ruki next to their leader. "Makino-san? Is that you?" Daisuke asked with a small gapping mouth. "You look—!"
"—Oi!" Ryo smacked the young kid in the back of the head. "Watch it, buddy! You're talking about my woman!"
"Makino-san, where is Katou-san?" Sora asked looking around.
"I've lost track of her." Ruki looked down.
"How the hell could you loose her?!" Mimi's voice rose. "She—"
"Palmon, calm down." Taichi cooed placing his hands on her shoulders. "You're a little too on edge."
"I couldn't help it! I was a little…busy." Ruki spat, cocking her head to the side. The group followed Ruki's direction. They saw five other men behind her beaten to a pulp. "If those guys weren't so fuckin' persistent, I would have been able to follow her. It's my fault." Ruki looked down. "She just wanted to prove that she was capable to doing something. Dammit! I was supposed to be her support! Shit, shit, shit!"
Mimi's vision looked away too. As much as she hated to admit it, Ruki was right in a way. If we had taken Juri serious just like she had done for the others, she wouldn't have acted on her own.
Taichi glanced at Mimi. He knew what she was thinking about. "Now is not the time to think about those things," Taichi snorted. "The objective now is to look for Juri."
"Are you talking about a red head with the black and red dress?" The group turned to one of the hostesses passing by.
"Mami-san," Ruki called, "Did you see where she went?"
"I don't know. She disappeared with Ryuuga."
Ryo groaned in aggravation. "Where could they have gone?"
"The only spaces we have available are the rooms upstairs."
The grays froze. Rooms?! The group looked at each other before the assignments were distributed. "Daisuke, go with Ryo and get his car. We might need to bring her to the hospital!" Taichi commanded as the two rand their way out to the car. "Come on, you three are with me." He added talking to Ruki, Mimi, and Sora.
"Makino-san!" Mami called.
"We have to save my friend!" Ruki retorted.
Taichi led the girls to the back where he would assume the stairs were located.
"There are rooms, Makino-san," Sora commented with emphasis on rooms. "You made a really smart decision."
"I don't go here! How was I supposed to know?"
"Urusei (6)!" Taichi answered back as he ran into the utmost back of the building. He looked around the space and began to question where the stairs were.
"They're here!" Ruki yelled, running up the steps. The three remaining followed the red head up the stairs.
Once up the flight, the quartet faced a long hallway of at least ten doors. The walls were white and each door was exactly the same as the next.
"Start kicking them down!" Sora commanded. Each member took one door, kicking it down.
Ruki turned to a door and tried to open the door with a turn of the knob. She cursed to herself when she finally realized that the object was locked. Ruki walked several steps back and, despite the tall heels she was wearing, held her skirt as she moved her body to the side to kick down one of the doors. She raised her feet with force and kicked the door, forcing the object to open. She took a quick look around the room and found nothing. "Not here."
Sora used her body to force the door to open. After three unsuccessful tries, the door finally pushed open. Sora fell inside the room and looked around. It was dark and empty. Shit! Sora stood up and dusted herself off before turning back to her group mates. "She's not here either!"
Taichi tried another door. He turned the knob and was surprised that it opened easily. He peered in the room. "Juri?" His eyes widened when he heard female moaning sounds. "Juri?!" He repeated in shock. He reached for the light switch. Once the click came the light turned on, his widened further when he realized that it was not Juri.
"Ahh! Get out you little hentai!"
Taichi quickly shut the door behind him. "Gomen," he whispered to the couple through the door. He turned back to see Sora and Ruki. Both girls looked at the remaining male group mate with a disappointed look. He stuttered, "She-she's not in there."
Sora shook her head as she advanced down the hall as Ruki just glared at the boy.
"It was an accident!" Taichi shouted back.
Mimi turned to one door and was surprised to see it opened. From the outside, she saw the good-for-nothing Ryuuga on the floor with hands on the ground behind his back as if he was trying to back away. She was about to come in and beat him to a pulp when she saw what he was backing up from: a gun. Mimi ran in the room and was surprised to see the beholder of the weapon.
"Look!" Sora pointed, causing Taichi and Ruki to following Sora's finger. "Mimi-san, ran in there!"
The three remaining members ran into the room and halted behind Mimi. They looked forward and saw the owner of the gun.
"Takato?!" Taichi questioned seeing the boy holding the weapon.
The group could tell that he just came from school by the black uniform he was wearing under his green jacket. Takato was obviously scarred for his life. Despite holding the gun with both of his hands, the weapon was shaking uncontrollably. With his wobbly hands, Mimi was nervous for not only their safety, but also Takato's.
"I've got the up-upper hand." Takato said sternly with small stutters. "Let Juri g-go!"
Ruki raised her hands to calm Takato down. "Now, hold on—"
"I-I said, let her go!" Takato said with gritting teeth. "I-I've got the gun. So help me God if I pull the trigger."
Taichi walked closer. "Takato, be careful."
"All I have to do is aim and shoot! It's not that complicated." Takato yelled back.
"Takato, you don't have to do this." Mimi voiced in.
"L-look at Juri!" Takato narrowed his eyes. "He was about to rape her. She doesn't deserve that! I-I'm responsible for her! I have to protect her! Scum like him does not deserve to live!"
"But Juri is okay." Sora added. "By killing Ryuuga, you have accomplished nothing but guaranteed ticket to jail for murder. You wouldn't be able to protect her then! You would loose!"
"Listen to us, Goggle Boy!" Ruki commanded.
Takato stood silent. His hands were still shaking with the gun. Mimi saw his finger curl around the trigger. He was going to do it!
"Takato!" Mimi yelled.
The white smoke cleared. Takato was breathing heavily. Taichi braced Mimi as Mimi gripped on Taichi's shirt. Ruki and Sora took cover. The five widened their eyes. Ryuuga was alive.
"A dummy(7)?" Ruki blinked.
Ryuuga's heavy breathing echoed the room as the dust cleared. Taichi took this as a moment of vulnerability. He jumped on Ryuuga and rolled him over. With Ryuuga's chest touching the floor, Taichi placed both of knees on the opposite sides of Ryuuga's waist and his hands holding Ryuuga's wrists. Taichi pressed the writs deeper onto Ryuuga's back. "Got him." Taichi called.
Daisuke ran into the room. "Ryo is outside with the car!"
Takato quickly released the gun and allowed the metal weapon to bang on the floor. With deep breaths, he moved to Juri who was still intoxicated on the bed. Takato knelt over her.
"Juri? Juri?!" He called.
She inhaled and exhaled, trying to open her eyes. "Takato?"
He smiled and laughed a bit out of relief. His palms held both sides of her cheeks. The pads of his thumbs wiped the wet stains of the tears off her cheeks. He repeated this action numerous times. "Are you okay? He didn't go far, did he?"
"Where…where is he?" She breathed, trying to move. "How did you…you find me?"
"That doesn't matter," He said with a grunt as he tore his jacket to cover her with. "We're gonna get you to the hospital, okay? Just hang on, Juri. You'll be okay." He wrapped his arms around her to carry her. He carried in a bridal style with his green jacket and school jacket covering most of her body and garments.
Takato walked past the girls, Taichi and Daisuke, ignored their glances at him. He walked down the hall to the stairs. He took small steps down the stairs as he moved toward the lounge. All this time, he ignored the glances of others. All that mattered was the safety of the girl in his arms.
"Why…" Juri paused, "are you here?"
Takato made a small smile. "Because I was worried about you."
Juri, despite the numb feeling throughout her body, was able to make a small smile. She had prayed to God for a miracle and it came.
"I've…always thought…you were the prince, Takato." Juri sighed, feeling comfort in Takato's arms. The boy was shocked. He stayed silent. "You are the prince to rescue the princess within me." Her smile became broader. "Arigatou."
The next morning, Mimi walked out of the hospital elevator with flowers in hand. She turned towards Juri's room. Mimi smiled to herself as she continued to walk down the hall occasionally taking a whiff of the orange lilies she picked out for Juri.
Last night, Ryuuga was arrested for an attempt of rape. Before leaving for the hospital, Ryo took the dog tags from Ryuuga symbolizing that Ryuuga was no longer the leader of TRIjet and thus breaking up TRIjet for the reason that the gang no longer has a leader.
Ruki's family friend, Mami, promised not press charges against Takato as long Ruki kept quiet about Mami's employees not being able to keep an eye on their customers.
Surprisingly enough, in the end, it turned out okay.
Mimi slid the door open and stuck her head in. She looked around, hoping no one would have noticed that she was late.
"You're late." Ruki said plainly.
Mimi pouted as the group had already noticed her late presence. Mimi slid the door fully open and walked in. She closed the door behind her then walked forward to the red head in bed.
"Hey, you." Mimi smiled. She extended the flowers to her friend. "These are for you. How are you feeling?"
"Better." Juri smiled, placing the flowers on the table next to her bed. "Guys, I did not mean for all of you to get into trouble thanks to me. I just wanted to help."
"You did well, Juri-chan!" Daisuke chimed. "We did put an end to TRIjet like we wanted!"
Juri turned to the group who nodded in agreement. Juri felt tears swelling up in her eyes.
"Aww, don't cry, little Juri!!" Mimi cooed, grabbing the little girl to her chest. "Mommy says don't cry!" Mimi cried as she embraced the girl tightly to her bosoms.
The group laughed at the little scene. Juri laughed a long as the tears came out of joy. The laughter slowly faded when a knock came at the door. Once the attention was focused on the door sliding open. A goggle boy walked into the door with a rectangular gift.
"Ohayou, minna-san." Takato said respectively with a small bow.
Everyone took the hint. One by one, the members wished their get-wells to Juri as they exited out of the room. Juri greeted the last one farewell as she wiped the tears that came from her face. The last out of the room was Taichi. Before closing the door, he turned to Takato and cheered, "Tell her, lover boy!"
"Taichi!" Mimi yelled through the door. After a moment past, Mimi pulled the chocolate haired boy way from the door and shut it.
From that moment, everything was silent in the room. Takato turned back to Juri who had a small smile in her face. "Ohayou," she greeted with a small bow.
"Ohayou." Takato smiled walking up to her. He did not make eye contact with her. He was merely swaying back and forth, trying to pick a sentence in his head to make a conversation starter. "So…how are you?"
"I'm good." Juri smiled. "Doctors said I'll be able to go home in an hour or so."
"That's good." Takato quickly retorted looking around. Another topic… come on! "Umm…does your father or your stepmother know you are here?"
"Honestly, no." Juri sighed, twirling her fingers around each other.
"Then who's taking care of the hospital bill?" Takato's eyes widened.
"Mi-chan said she can take care of it." Juri smiled. She found Takato's antics amusing. First he didn't know what to talk about, now he's worried about paying the hospital bills. "You're silly, Takato."
Takato tried to hide behind the tint coming from his cheeks. "Oh," He gasped bring the rectangular gift up, "This is for you. Sorry about the gift wrap. I never gift wrapped before and my mom got mad at me for using most of the gift wrapping paper we had at home."
Juri giggled as she took hold of the gift. She examined the object. By the dimensions of the gift, she knew it was a board. She noticed that the gift wrapped was wrapped around it like a black electrical tape over exposed live wires. She giggled nodded saying thanks. "May I open it?"
Juri ripped the paper off. Once all of the covering paper was gone, Juri's suspicion was confirmed. It was indeed a board, but what was on it was unexpected.
A familiar painting of an girl in a yellow summer dress came into play. She was full in color and radiant. Takato expertly made real details and life in the piece. Juri looked at the painting then to Takato. "Why are you giving me a painting of Mi-chan?"
"It's not Tachikawa-senpai." Takato gulped. He was obviously trying to speak with courage as he started to pull his collar. "It's…it's—gulp—a painting of you, Juri."
"Me?" Juri repeated with raised brows. "But you said this was a painting inspired you. And—!" Takato's tint became a darker red. Juri's eyes widened a bit. It then went back to its normal size when she finally placed all the pieces together. "You…like me, Takato?"
Takato took hold of the girl's hand. "You have always been my muse, Katou Juri. And…" He gulped once more, "I would be honored if you would be my muse." Takato said in a serious tone, trying not to sound so cheesy. "That is if you want to. I mean, if you like someone else, I understand. I would choose any other guy over me because I practically ramble on and on and I'm not that strong either—"
"Takato," Juri laughed as she pulled the boy's collar close to her. She gazed at his eyes lovingly. She brought her lips close to his and closed her eyes. "Arigatou," she whispered and gently touched her lips with his.
"Aww…" Mimi cooed while taking a peep at the action through the door. "They're so cute together."
"Come on, we should give them some privacy." Sora commented leading the Grays down the hall.
Mimi took a deep breath and sighed. "Doesn't this inspire you to change?" Mimi asked no one in particular. She looked to her right and saw Ryo intertwined with Ruki's. "Ne, Ryo? You should try to quit smoking."
"Smoking makes me a man, Mimi." Ryo scoffed.
"But dying before 40 doesn't." Mimi laughed taking a small plastic bag out of her bag. She pulled the thin cardboard box from the bag and exposed in front of Ryo who stopped immediately. "Jan!"
Ryo looked at the box carefully with Ruki at his side. "You bought nicotine patches? Is that why you were late?"
"Well, not really. I had a hard time looking for the flowers, but when I saw this I instantly thought of you and your nasty smoking habits."
"Oh, give me a break." Ryo sighed, pushing Mimi to the side and continued to follow Sora toward the elevator.
"Aww, com'on, Ryo! It can't be that bad." Taichi added grabbing the box from Mimi. "Palmon, just had your health in mind, that's all." Daisuke chuckled offside as Sora pressed the down elevator button. "See? There are just small warnings you don't have to worry. Uh… like—oh!—are you pregnant?"
Ryo looked at the chocolate haired boy with disbelief, "no, I don't think so."
The elevator bell rang as the group laughed at the mere thought of a pregnant Ryo. Mimi laughed along, but faded when she saw someone familiar in the corner. Distracted by the person, Mimi did not realize that the doors opened. Everyone stepped in except for Mimi.
"Palmon?" Taichi asked seeing that the leader was not coming with.
"Hmmm…you guys go ahead." Mimi waved her hand that says go-on. "I'll catch up with you guys."
Taichi nodded as the door closed on cue. Mimi stared at the closed door for a few profound moments She swayed forward then back then finally clasped her hands together behind her back. She walked to the left where she saw someone familiar.
"Now, why would you, of all people, be at this hospital?" Mimi laughed to herself.
"Just like you, I came to give her get well wishes." Yamato said simply waving his get-well card at Mimi's face.
"She's only been in this hospital over night. How would you know that she'd be here?" Mimi cocked her head to the side. "You told Takato, didn't you?"
"Come again?" He asked with a raised brow.
Mimi nodded, reassuring what she had just discovered. "You told Takato where Juri went. I'm willing to bet you even provided the gun with a dummy bullet."
Yamato smiled at the strawberry blonde, "I think you're trying to read me too hard."
"Maybe." Mimi shrugged. 'He's probably looking out for all of us.' Mimi thought to herself watching Yamato looking to the side. 'Maybe he's not a jerk after all.'
"What are you staring at?" Yamato glared with a hint of annoyance.
"Nothing." Mimi shook her head. "I'll see at school." Mimi flashed her signature smile before departing.
(2) What's wrong?
(3) Good evening.
(4) It's okay.
(5) gamma-Hydroxybutyricacid: commonly used a rape drug
(6) Shut up!
(7) A military dummy. When fired, only a loud sound and a puff of smoke comes out. No real bullet is fired.