Title: Aishiteru, Malik-sama
Author: Shoujo's Revenge
IMPORTANT AUTHOR'S NOTE: Amaya begins to remember all the memories in this chapter. I'm also sorry for taking five years to update. Well, this is for the readers/reviewers who are still reading. If you're a new or an old reader, please review so I'll be inspired to write more. There's two more chapters left to go.
Chapter 23: You Were (The Girl at the Christmas Party)
The husky put his nose down on the ground trying to sniff out Mokuba's scent. He padded down hallway after hallway yelping for help. He would find the caring boy so he could stop his owner's loved one from hurting her. He wasn't successful in locating his scent though he picked up the scent of food. He followed the sweet scent until he located the source behind a closed door. The door opened to reveal Yugi staring at the puppy. Tsuki bounded at the feet of Jounouchi who was about to eat a piece of cake. He barked, pawing at his legs.
"Whose dog is that?" Anzu asked.
"It looks like it belongs to Kaiba," Honda said, noting the KC logo on his collar. "How are you doing, little fella?" He scratched his head. Tsuki groaned. Amaya used to stroke him like that. It remembered the fearful sounds coming from the closed door after it was thrown out of Amaya's room by Kaiba. His owner needs help! It bit Honda's pantleg. Everybody laughed except for Honda.
"Like owner, like dog, I suppose." Anzu picked up the desperate puppy. "Come here, little puppy. Why you biting Honda for? Are you hungry? It says here his name is Tsuki."
"What's wrong, Shizuka-chan?" Otogi asked, noticing her expression.
A knock came at the door. Yugi, the closest one to the door, opened it to see two suited men standing there. Jounouchi came up behind Yugi.
"What's up? Did we finally arrive to the last sight of the finals?" He asked.
"Not exactly. We were wondering if any of you've seen Amaya-sama? She's been missing since this morning." The first man asked, showing them a picture. It was one of the flyers that Honda had seen around Domino City. Anzu came up to them, snatching the picture from the surprised man. Malik in spirit form stared down at the picture. "Have you seen her, young lady?"
Anzu shook her head, wondering why she was holding a flyer. The second man saw the puppy in her arms.
"What's Amaya-sama's dog doing here? You kids, you better not be lying! Do you know what'll happen to us if we don't find his precious-oof!" The first man elbowed the second man.
"Calm down, you idiot." He turned back to Yugi and Jounouchi. "I'll ask you again: have you seen Amaya-sama at all today?"
They answered in the negative. In the back of the room, Shizuka looked even more distraught, wringing her hands. As if it wasn't enough that three people were rendered unconscious now her new friend was missing.
"Well, if you do see her, please bring her to us. Mokuba-sama is worried. I will take the dog." He took the whimpering animal from Anzu's arms. Tsuki looked back at the group, barking. His sky blue eyes reminded Malik of Amaya's eyes. Like hers, his were filled with turmoil.
"Amaya-san...missing." Shizuka whispered, her knuckles turning white. This tournament was like the setting of a horror movie. Jounouchi noticed his sister's sadness, oblivious of a figure careening into the door as it was being closed.
"Ow..." A voice whined behind the door. Yugi abruptly opened the door to see a dark-haired girl clutching her nose.
"Amaya-san?" They cried simultaneously, breaking the tension. Amaya quickly shushed them up. Their shouts could've been heard by the suits.
"Geez, I'm sorry. I didn't see you." Yugi said, closing the door.
Amaya brushed it off with a wave of her hand. "I'll be fine. Do any of you know which room Rishid is staying in? I don't know where he disappeared to. Ah! Shizuka-chan?" She was knocked over by Shizuka's crushing hug. "Ow...again." Amaya rubbed her head, having bumped it on the floor.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Amaya-san! Are you okay?" She helped Amaya up.
"Truthfully, no." She saw double of everyone in the room.
"What are you doing here? Kaiba's men were just looking for you." Otogi said as she was helped to a chair by Shizuka.
"Oh, please don't tell them that you saw me!" She clutched Shizuka's hand. "I know I'm not exactly in a position to ask favors. I don't want to see Kaiba right now." She lowered her gaze. Shizuka squeezed her hand.
"It'll be okay. We'll help you," she said, smiling sweetly.
"Shizuka-chan. That's so sweet of you." Amaya looked into the eyes of her friend. Thanks, Shizuka-chan. Amaya grabbed her in a hug.
Mokuba turned around to see their maids and bodyguards report on their searches for the elusive girl. Needless to say, Kaiba wasn't happy with their nil findings except for when a restless Tsuki showed up, barking at him. He picked it up by the back of his neck, causing him to yelp in pain. Mokuba rescued him from his grip.
"I think he's hungry, Seto. I'll bring him to the kitchen to feed him." Tsuki settled comfortably in his arms.
"Later. We can use this mutt to find Amaya. It's finally of some use to me." Kaiba brought out Amaya's handkerchief to allow the puppy to sniff it. Traces of her lilac scent alerted his senses. His owner! Where was she? Mokuba set him down on the floor. The puppy immediately sprang into action.
"It worked, nii-sama! Good boy, Tsuki! You'll get a reward pretty soon."
Tsuki wasn't listening. He only wanted his owner back.
Shizuka pulled Amaya away at arm's length. "What's wrong, Amaya-san? Did you and Kaiba-san have a fight?" Amaya nodded. Technically, it wasn't much of an argument, it was more like blatant abuse. Luckily, she was wearing a long-sleeved clothes or they'd see all the bruises. Anzu offered her a tissue box. Amaya thanked her. Malik couldn't do anything to help; he just watched Anzu pat her arm. He was just glad that she was safe and sound.
"I'm sure things will blow over soon. Don't worry. Arguments are normal in relationships." Anzu said. Amaya just continued to wipe her eyes.
"I'm sorry, you guys. I scared off your friends with my crying."
"It's fine. They needed to get ready for the next duels anyway. Maybe Kaiba will be in a better mood once the duels start again."
"What were you guys fighting about anyway?" Shizuka asked, pouring her a cup of tea. A momentary look of pain crossed Amaya's face so she dropped the subject. "Here you go: a cup of tea. It's already cold but I hope it makes you feel better." Anzu went to the next room to get the snacks that Jounouchi took to his room.
"Thanks." Amaya made to take it from Shizuka when a sudden jerk of the airship caused the tea to splatter on her shirt.
"Oh, oops! I'm sorry!" Amaya pulled the wet fabric from her chest, smiling. It actually cheered her up to have cold tea spilled on her. In fact, she started to crack up; Shizuka's clumsiness really suited her personality.
"That's okay, Shi-chan. It's nothing to be stressed about." She helped Shizuka pick up the broken shards.
"I'll call room service to bring you a new shirt. It's okay. I'll just tell them it's for me." Shizuka said after throwing away the teacup. "Um. Do you think Kaiba-san will be mad that I broke his tea cup?" She added sheepishly. Amaya giggled again.
"I doubt he'll notice. He probably has a thousand cups. Wow, I feel pretty good right about now." She stretched her arms. Shizuka gaped, noticing contusions peeking out from Amaya's sleeves. A voice from the other end of the line told her that she contacted room service. She slammed the phone down before it could ask her what she wanted. "Shizuka? What's wrong?"
She went to the cheerful Amaya and grabbed her arm, pulling the sleeve up. She gasped. For a moment, she hoped that it was just her imagination. The proof was right in front of her very eyes: an arm full of scratches and black and blue blotches. The fear was back in Amaya's eyes. Her heart jumped. Someone found out. Amaya dropped to her knees, pleading.
"Please don't tell," she whispered.
"Kaiba-san did that to you, didn't he?" Amaya pulled down her sleeve.
"Actually, I'm a bit of a masochist."
The sound of the door opening caused the two girls to jump out of their skin. Anzu cheerfully announced that she obtained the baked goods back from Jounouchi.
"What are you doing down there, Amaya-san?"
"Oh, I-" Shizuka interrupted her.
"She was wiping up the tea I accidentally spilled. Sorry, I can be such a klutz sometimes."
"Thanks." She mouthed behind Anzu's back. Shizuka felt ashamed. Of all the secrets in the world, this was one she didn't want to keep. She pulled Amaya to a corner, not knowing how to begin.
"Amaya-san, why is he hitting you?" She whispered then regretted it. The reason didn't matter. It was never right for a person to hit another person. "Does it hurt?"
"I told you, didn't I? He didn't have anything with this. I like hurting myself when I'm alone. " She avoided her eyes. "I don't want to talk about this. Just forget about it." Oblivious to the topic of their conversation, Anzu munched on a cookie, thinking how cute the younger girls were. It was like watching two junior high girls whispering about a cute boy.
I'm starving. Amaya took a seat across from Anzu. Breakfast was not an option when she had decided to run away this morning. There was no place to run a thousand feet up in the air. Still, she'd rather be with some friendly faces than cower alone in her room. She was thankful that they didn't view her as a nuisance.
Tsuki was exhausted in his quest for Amaya's warm arms. He came to a stop outside the same room that he smelled the delectable smell of cake from earlier. Mokuba picked the puppy as he pressed his paw on the door. Kaiba brought his fist down on the door. He couldn't believe that he had to deal with Yugi's little friends again. He'd have to set Amaya straight on avoiding certain types of people later.
On the other side of the door, the three girls could hear barking in response to the knocking. The third cookie she was about to eat dropped from her frozen fingers. Shizuka watched her jolt up from her seat. Anzu instructed her to hide in the bathroom. Amaya did so, locking the door as a precaution.
Anzu made sure that the bathroom door was closed before opening the door. Kaiba glowered at her. He never seemed to be pleasant, she noted.
"Hi, Anzu. We were wondering if Amaya is here," Mokuba said, trying to control the squirming Tsuki.
"I'm sorry, Mokuba. We haven't seen her. Shizuka and I were just talking about where she could be." Kaiba shoved her aside.
"Your performance needs a little work, Mazaki. Amaya, I know you're here! Your little mutt sniffed you out." He abruptly went to the bathroom door. Amaya backed away in horror as the doorknob jiggled.
"She doesn't want to talk to you! I don't know what you were arguing about but she was crying earlier." Anzu piped up. Kaiba pounded on the door, ignoring the brunette.
Amaya debated whether she should give herself up. Maybe he would be lenient on her now that the finals were almost coming to an end. On the other hand, she could escape out the window. Shizuka and her friends would be fine, right? Kaiba wouldn't do anything to them, would he? No, of course not. They'll be fine.
"Amaya, I'll give you to the count of three. You better come out-" Tsuki managed to jump out of Mokuba's arms. Arf! Arf! Arf! "Quiet down, you stupid mutt!"
"Shh, don't anger Seto, Tsuki. You'll see Amaya soon enough." Mokuba coaxed. Seto grabbed the puppy by the back of his collar, cutting off his air supply. Amaya heard his strangled cry and Mokuba's protests, her fingers digging into her palm.
"Tsuki...No, please, please stop hurting him." She fumbled with the lock, stumbling in her steps. She snatched the puppy from his grip, huddled on the floor. "Don't hurt him anymore. Please just stop." Tsuki, I'm sorry. Because of me, you keep suffering. Tsuki's body trembled in her embrace. She stroked his back gently. She didn't want to look up at him. He who looked down to everybody, even an innocent puppy. Shizuka ran forward past Kaiba to help the downtrodden girl. Tsuki reached up to lick Amaya's face, trying to drink her tears. Shizuka and Tsuki were both a barrier, a very thin one, between her and her oppressor. Amaya placed her canine companion in Shizuka's arms. She broke through the barrier to get to him.
She extended her hands to claim his and Mokuba's hand. She gave up trying to run away from him. It was time for them to have a talk.
Kaiba couldn't believe his ears. Everything was starting to make sense. What she was doing with Malik in the first place, why she didn't recognize him or Mokuba when they saw her for the first time in months, why she was running away from him now. Her past memories of their relationship, of everything were gone.
"You forgot everything even the time you gave me those ridiculous looking cookies shaped like the Blue Eyes White Dragon?" A hint of a smile played on his lips of that memory. Amaya concentrated on her clasped hands resting on her lap.
"I remember some things little things like when we had our first date, about my dad, my mom, about Hoshi-san-" Kaiba slammed his fists on the table. His little brother and Amaya winced.
"Don't ever mention him in front of me again!" The window reflected his furious expression. That bastard tried to touch Amaya at one time. Nobody was allowed to touch her except for him. She was his sole property.
She had spent the time in Kaiba's room explaining to the Kaiba brothers what had occurred when she woke up in Egypt, leaving out the part about Ai, her secret feelings for Malik and her unfortunate encounters with Hoshi. Her account filled up the gaps of what happened to her in those torturous months of wondering whether she was safe. Mokuba sat beside her linking their arms together. He said encouraging words, squeezed her hand. His presence was reassuring. Kaiba wouldn't have the courage to put his hands on her with him there.
Kaiba watched the Alcatraz tower looming ahead.
He couldn't possibly describe how important Amaya was to him.
His fixation with her started six years ago at a Christmas party when he was ten years old. It was during a company Christmas party held by his stepfather, the CEO of KaibaCorp. Surprising as it may be, Gozaburo Kaiba actually cared for his employees enough to put together a festive gathering. The guests even felt comfortable enough to bring their children. Seto and Mokuba was avoiding the attention of all the adults and stayed away from the kids. Why did they need to socialize with the other kids? They were hanging around the main office of Gozaburo Kaiba. As Seto was about to move his chess piece forward, the door started to open, surprising the brothers. What if that was their adopted dad coming to yell at them? To their relief, a little girl with pigtails tied by red bows peeked at them.
"Excuse me. Do you know where the bathroom is?" Her eyes were puffy and red.
"Are you lost?" Mokuba asked, getting up from his seat. They were the same age. The little girl nodded, inching closer into the office. Seto noticed that she was clutching two brightly wrapped gifts. "We can find the bathroom together if you want. What's your name?"
"Thanks! My name is Amaya Akimoto. My daddy works here." She said, smiling. "Does your daddy work here, too?"
"Our father is the president of this company," Seto said coldly. "The bathroom's down the hall to the left. You can go by yourself. We're kind of busy here." He turned back to the chess game. His rudeness didn't faze her one bit. Mokuba seemed worried that his brother brushed her off.
"Oh! You're Mokuba and Seto Kaiba. My daddy told me his boss adopted two kids. My daddy bought you guys presents. Here." Mokuba was stunned as she passed him two of the colorful packages. "You want some cookies, too? I have enough for all of us."
"No, that's okay. Thanks for the presents." The little boy shook the contents of the box. Seto wasn't mildly interested. It was just a sad attempt on her father's part to kiss up to his boss. Amaya noticed the unhappy boy. She never met a child who was so nonchalant about Christmas gifts.
"Mokuba-kun?" She guessed.
"Yes?" Mokuba said.
"Is your brother sad?"
"No, I would like you to go away so we can resume our game," Seto snapped. Amaya looked at the chessboard then moved to Mokuba's seat. There was a pause in which Mokuba wondered if she was going to ask to play. Then with a swipe of her hand, the chess pieces and board tumbled to the floor.
"There, your game is finished. Now you can talk to me." Seto wasn't exactly amused. He stood up, slamming his hands down on the table. He gritted his teeth, glaring at the girl.
"What do you think you're doing, you stupid girl!" Seto roared.
"You're supposed to thank people who give you presents! You're not very smart if you don't know that." She countered back, her hands on her hips.
"I don't care about your stupid present! Your father only got us them so he can kiss my father's ass." He stomped on one of the gift boxes he snatched from Mokuba as the two younger kids watched in horror. Amaya whimpered. An astonishing thing happened next. She jumped on Seto, who was so unprepared that he toppled to the floor.
"Say sorry!" The stubborn boy would never comply to a little girl's demand. She was sitting on top of his stomach, glaring down at him.
"Amaya-chan..." Mokuba never thought any kid would have guts enough to force Seto to do anything. The door started to open. Amaya's dad was horrified at the sight of his daughter causing trouble again.
He was accompanied by Gozaburo who seemed amused by their predicament. Her father was rather embarrassed. Here she was wearing a fancy Christmas dress and her hair up in neat pigtails roughhousing with his boss' son.
"Amaya! What are you doing? I thought I told you to stay out of trouble. I'm so sorry, Mr. Kaiba, sir. I can't believe she would go this far," he said, picking his daughter off the boy.
"He started it first!"
"Quiet, Amaya!" The little girl was abashed by her father's loud voice.
"That's quite all right, Akimoto. Let's hear what Seto did first to garner her displeasure." He knelt down to Amaya's height. "What did he do to make you so angry, little girl?"
"It's what he didn't do. He didn't say thank you for the presents I gave him and he ignored me when I was talking to him."
Seto couldn't believe his ears. She was actually snitching on him to Gozaburo. "This is ridiculous." He began though his adopted father put up a hand to silence him.
"I'm sorry, Amaya-chan." Mokuba said for him.
"Mokuba, don't say sorry. There's nothing to apologize for. This girl was bothering us first."
"Hmph, all I did was ask for the way to the bathroom." Amaya puffed out her cheeks. "Mr. Kaiba, you should teach him some manners." The suggestion made Seto flush with anger and embarrassment on her own father's part.
"A-Amaya, how could you be so rude! I am so sorry, Mr. Kaiba. I'm sure your sons are fine boys. My daughter can be a loudmouth sometimes." Akimoto had to cover her mouth before she could counter. Gozaburo burst out laughing. It was a good indication that he was drunk.
"I just wish I could have a daughter with such a strong will. She's something special if she'll stand up to a Kaiba. Now I think you owe her an apology, Seto."
"I refuse to! She was the rude one interrupting our game. She should apologize to us."
"It's okay. Let's just forget about it. It's just a minor incident. Come along Amaya." Akimoto tried to fix the situation.
Amaya looked up at her dad. "Wait! He's right, daddy. I did interrupt their game. I'm sorry." She bowed slightly and ran up to Seto, who backed away instinctively. She smiled sincerely, looking up at the tall boy. Now that they were close, he noticed her eyes were clear sky blue in contrast to his deep ocean blue eyes. "Today is Christmas but you're not smiling. Maybe this will make you feel better." She stood on her tiptoes and planted a kiss on his cheek. "Merry Christmas, Seto, Mokuba!" Without batting an eye, Amaya ran out of the office.
"Ah, wait, Amaya!" Her father started to run after the jovial girl. Mokuba cradled his face in his hands, shocked. He wasn't the only one.
Seto's first kiss was by a boisterous little girl. Seto touched the spot as if to confirm whether it actually happened. Could it be that he was defeated by a little girl?
This girl stayed in his mind afterwards.
Six years after the incident, Amaya Akimoto forgot all about her first meeting with the Kaiba brothers. The original CEO of KaibaCorp died under mysterious circumstances so the eldest son had to take over the reins. The company that originally built machines for war was changed to a gaming company. Nonetheless, her dad was still able to keep his job. She was currently in her last year of junior high school about to enter high school. The only problem is that she still had to pass an entrance exam for her selected high school. She was under terrible stress though the cause wasn't because of the exam, it was because of peer pressure.
"Seto Kaiba. That's all they talk about nowadays." Miiko sighed, annoyed. Amaya looked behind her at the group of girls giggling at the back of the classroom. An English textbook was sitting open in front of her.
"Just ignore them." Her eyes were glued to her textbook again. English were one of the subjects that she had trouble with. Miiko smiled at how Amaya was glaring at the book. She slammed the book closed. Amaya looked annoyed at her.
"So Amaya, your dad works for him, right? What's he like up close?" Miiko asked slyly.
"Not this again. I told you I've never met him before. Now what does this say?" Amaya tried to distract her with the textbook. Miiko pushed it away.
"You must've seen him once or twice when you visit your dad at work. Doesn't he hold office parties?"
"Not really. He's not exactly sociable. When are you going to stop with this?"
"When you get a boyfriend," she said seriously.
"I'll get one when I'm good and ready." Amaya returned to studying. "Besides you should worry about getting a boyfriend. I'm not in a hurry." She sighed. "Why do we need to learn this crap?"
"You're no fun, Amaya. And for your information, boys are more interested in you than me. I could be your matchmaker. Hey Amaya?" Silence. "You're such a nerd." Defeated, Miiko went back to studying. Behind the textbook, Amaya rolled her eyes at the thought of boys chasing after her. That'll be the day.
Amaya came home immediately after school just in time to find some disappointing news. She entered the kitchen to find her mom talking on the phone. From the tone of her voice, she was disappointed about something.
"Yes, of course I understand. You don't have to be sorry, dear." Amaya set down her school bag on the floor. Her mom turned around to see her standing there. "Oh, Amaya, you're home. How was school today?"
"Fine. Miiko was annoying me about something though. Were you just talking to dad?"
"Yes. He won't be able to make it for dinner. Looks like it'll be just the two of us."
"But it's your birthday! We're supposed to celebrate it together. Can't he take a break?"
"Amaya, what is he supposed to do? His boss wants him to work overtime for a proposal. You can't just expect him to drop work just like that."
"We planned this for a while now. Can't he just- I know, I'll just talk to Mr. Kaiba. He'll understand. " Mrs. Akimoto spat out her tea. Amaya put on the uniform jacket back on.
While Amaya had changed considerably from when she was a little girl as she was more calmer and much more reasonable now. Mrs. Akimoto was informed six years ago of what Amaya did to Seto Kaiba when they met. It was typical behavior for the little girl but to have such an encounter with the boss' son! Thankfully, Gozabaru had been too drunk to remember the incident.
"Amaya, you will not do such a thing! You'll only end up getting your father fired. As if what you did six years ago wasn't enough." Amaya was confused. What was she talking about?
"I only want to make your day special. I'll be back soon!" Amaya ran out of the house before her mom could stop her. Mrs. Akimoto quickly picked up the phone and started to dial a number.
"Such a big dragon..." Amaya commented an hour later, looking up at the towering Blue Eyes White Dragon statue acting as protector of the KaibaCorp building. She seldom went into this building though she vaguely remembered a few times of when her dad used to bring her as a child. For a wild second, she wondered if she was making a wise decision. She firmly reprimanded herself. Her mom had done a lot for her in the past; she might as well swallow her fear and go through it. So she entered the building, hoping that no one would try to stop her. The security guard didn't say anything to her though he did nod.
"G-good afternoon." She said awkwardly. He smiled. Amaya thought that maybe she'd ask him if his boss was even in as a way to stall. The thought was brushed aside. This was crazy! Seto Kaiba was a human being like her. If she'd ask him nicely, perhaps he'd let her father off for the day. With that hope, she procceeded to the elevators hoping that at least one person would inform her on the floor he resided.
"Are you lost?" The secretary asked Amaya as she approached the desk. She opened her mouth.
"What is this little girl doing here?" Asked a voice from behind her.
Instinctively, Amaya snapped at the person addressing her so rudely. "I am not a little girl!" She gasped, taking a good look at the rude person. Seto Kaiba stared down at her. This tall intimidating person...He was actually Seto Kaiba, the person whose pictures her friends swooned over! What was a intimidated little girl like her to do in this situation? Gape like a fish out of water.
He's actually pretty scary upclose! She made a note to tell Miiko that to finally put an end to her incessant questions.
"I can't believe that insolent fool let a fangirl in here. This is a place of business. Nancy, call security to escort her out. " Seto dismissed her. It took a while for her comprehend what had happened. A fangirl? Her? How dare he insult her! Suddenly, her dad got off the elevator and headed towards them. He held a disk in his hand. He noticed that a girl was fuming beside Nancy glaring at his boss' back.
"Amaya, go home now. Your mother is all alone in the house on her birthday," her father started. His wife had telephoned about this twenty minutes ago. Seto Kaiba paused in the entryway of his office as he was on his way to the next room. One hand clutched the doorframe and his body stiffened. Nobody noticed this. Amaya desperately argued with her dad.
"Akimoto, is this your daughter?" Kaiba's eyes roved over her.
"Yes but she was just about to leave now, aren't you, Amaya? I can handle this on my own, Amaya..." He muttered.
"Dad, you're supposed to be home with us now. Mom wants you home," she said, trying to resist him pulling her to the exit. He whispered something to his daughter which evidently disagreed with her.
"Should I follow through with calling security, Mr. Kaiba?" The astonished young man couldn't comprehend the simple question. "Mr. Kaiba?" If this girl's hair was pulled back into pigtails, she would look like the older version of the girl from the Christmas party. He still remembered the feel of her warm lips pressing against his cheek. He resisted the urge to touch his face. He detached himself from the doorframe and faced the pair.
"Why are you here, Amaya? This is a place of business." Kaiba addressed her. Amaya pulled herself from her dad's grasp, fearlessly facing Kaiba.
"Mr. Kaiba, I'll get straight to the point since you're so busy. Please can you grant my dad a day off today so he can come home to celebrate my mom's birthday?"
Kaiba was on the verge of amusement and disbelief. He laughed mockingly at her childish request. "Akimoto, your daughter is priceless. You must be kidding me. There is no chance of me letting your father off just for your mother's birthday celebration. You see, your father did poorly on a proposal that I expect to be revised before the day is over."
"Mr. Kaiba please forgive my daughter. She will be leaving now."
She glared at Kaiba then found her dad's desperately pleading eyes. "Fine. I'm sorry that I barged in here, Mr. Kaiba." Her dad sighed in relief. He didn't want a repeat of what had happened at their previous meeting. His daughter's sense of justice was overwhelming sometimes to the point that she had gotten trouble in the past. Whether it was defending one of her classmates from a bully or even standing up to a teacher when the teacher wasn't being fair. It was an admirable trait that he lacked. Nonetheless, this was hardly anything to make a big fuss about as it was typical of an employee in a company as successful as KaibaCorp.
She gave him a quick hug. He affectionately patted her head. Being a thirteen year old, she made a distasteful expression at the pat though didn't say anything. She bowed to Kaiba who for one wild moment thought she would get on her tippy toes and give him a kiss on the cheek.
"I'm sorry for disturbing you at work." She made her way to the elevator.
"Akimoto, I think that once you're done with your proposal, you should go home and give your daughter a spanking. She's in junior high school and she doesn't know how to act around her superiors. She should know not to barge in wherever she pleases. You should teach her some manners."
"Uh, Mr. Kaiba, that's too much. Amaya! No!" Amaya's father caught her before she was able to deliver a well deserved kick. She resorted to shouting insults at him. She was the only girl that hurled so many strings of cursewords at him. Eventually she stomped out of the building, huffing and red faced. Akimoto chased after her. His secretary just stared at his livid expression. She jumped back to work pretending that nothing had happened as he glared daggers at her.
In the office, he sat down at the comfortable leather chair glaring at the computer monitor.
Amaya Akimoto. There's no question. She is definitely the same girl from the Christmas party. His fingertips brushed the spot that her soft lips had grazed. She had hoped that her kiss would make him feel better on that Christmas day. It didn't; it had only made the day more miserable. Had he been defeated by her or had she been the one who was defeated? He didn't want to admit it. She was still on his mind all these years. She had grown to be quite a lovely girl.
"He had no right to do that! He pisses me off!" Amaya pouted and crossed her arms in an annoyed manner. Her mom just put a hand on her shoulder to calm her daughter down. It was a rarity to see Amaya this angry and it was caused by one person. "You're lucky if he doesn't fire your dad, Amaya-chan. You shouldn't have yelled at him like that. He's probably going to give your dad a hard time about it," Mrs. Akimoto said seriously. The Akimoto family was a middle-class family but only because of Mr. Akimoto's hard work at KaibaCorp.
"Dad should just quit then. He should work for someone a little nicer. I mean, today was your birthday and he didn't let dad go to lunch with us! That's not fair of him!" Amaya said angrily. Mrs. Akimoto just shook her head and clucked her tongue. "Amaya, you can't expect to meet nice people all your life. There will always be someone like Kaiba but you can't let him or her get to you. As for my birthday celebration, it's fine, we'll just wait until he gets home and have a birthday dinner. So you should stop being mad and think about what you'll say when you apologize to him."
"What? I'm not apologizing to that jerk! He deserved it!" Amaya said stubbornly. She was still annoyed at his rude response. What kind of person says that stuff?
It was already ten o'clock at night. Since it was a Saturday night, Amaya wouldn't have to go to school tomorrow so she waited up for her dad with her mom. An hour later, Amaya's dad entered the living room with a weary look on his face. Amaya was sitting the couch, mentally debating whether or not she should apologize to him right now. What if he was mad at her? Mrs. Akimoto rose up from the couch and greeted him. He smiled and hugged her. Amaya sat on the couch with a guilty look on her face. Maybe I should apologize to Kaiba. Even if I don't want to.
"Happy Birthday, dear," Mr. Akimoto said to his wife. He gave her a kiss before pulling a small wrapped present. Judging by the size of it, it was a jewelry box. Mrs. Akimoto unwrapped and opened the small box to discover its wonderful contents; a pair of pearl earrings. While she hugged her husband for the gift, Amaya made the decision to start writing an apology letter after dinner.
"Thank you, koishii! They're beautiful," Mrs. Akimoto said. "Now come into the dining room, Amaya and the maids prepared a dinner for us."
"Amaya," Mr. Akimoto said sternly when Amaya tried to sneak away from them. She turned around and giggled nervously.
"Yes, daddy?" She said sweetly.
"Come here," he said. She complied with his request and let out a sigh while she walked closer to him.
"Amaya, how could you yell at my boss?" He asked wearily. Amaya looked down in shame. She nervously jabbed her toe into the carpet. "You're lucky that he didn't decide to fire me on the spot. Do you know who he is?"
"It's common knowledge who he is," Amaya muttered. "I'm sorry, dad. I just thought that he was being unfair."
"Even if he was, so what? He's always been like that. Don't challenge him. All the toughest businessmen have trifled with him and they've all lost important things. What makes you think that you're any different? You're just one of his employee's daughter," he said.
"I know, I know," she muttered again.
"Amaya, I know that you cared enough for your mom to try to right a wrong but next time, control yourself. Okay?" He said before going to the dining room. Mrs. Akimoto followed after him leaving Amaya to stand alone. She looked at the spot where her dad was just standing. He wasn't mad but he sounded so tired. Dad's getting old and I'm not making it any easier for him. I should be grateful for Kaiba, I guess, he is the one who gives dad a paycheck.
The next day, it was Mr. Akimoto's rare day off so he decided to spend it with his family. "Where are you going, Amaya?" Mr. Akimoto asked Amaya, who was getting ready to head out the door. It was only nine o'clock in the morning. Amaya was wearing a navy blue sweatshirt with light pink flowers across her chest and a black skirt. Her black hair was pulled into a single braid draped over her shoulder. Loose hair strands framed her innocent but nervous face. "Don't worry, dad. I'll be back soon. I just have to do something at Miiko's. It's an important project for school." Amaya was lying through her teeth. She was really going to KaibaCorp to give Kaiba an apology letter. It was true that Amaya was still mad at him but she had to swallow her pride for the sake of her family. Her dad had been working at that company for a couple of years. If Kaiba did decide to fire her dad, he would be so crushed. He had always dreamed of moving up in the company. Amaya couldn't bear the thought if she was the reason for having him fired.
"All right. Go ahead but come home by twelve, I'm taking you and your mom out to lunch," Mr. Akimoto said, peering at her over the top of the newspaper.
"No problem!" Amaya said, bolting out of the front door. Then when she thought of seeing Kaiba again, she began to dread the visit and walked slower. Ugh! I don't want to do this but I have to! I should've asked Miiko to come with me so I wouldn't have to be so nervous. Her dislike for Kaiba made the walk to KaibaCorp an unbearable trip. He's just so mean. I envy dad for having put up with him all these years. If it were me, I'd probably quit in an instant. She entered the huge building clutching the letter tightly in her hands. Yesterday was the first time that she ever been to the company but she had only gone to her dad's office. She didn't have a clue where Kaiba's office was. Maybe I should just ask one of these people. There were plenty of people clicking away at computers and walking around with stacks of papers in their arms. She tried to look for the one that wasn't so busy but the whole place was just bustling.
A familiar 'ding!' sound caught her attention. The elevator. She could just go to the level where her dad's office and ask the people, who works near her dad. Surely, they would know the location of their boss' office. Before she pressed a button, the up bottom glowed white before the elevator opened. Amaya waited until the most of the people got out before going in and pressing the tenth button. Ding. The elevator stopped at the second floor and opened its doors, two people got off and more people got in. When it stopped at the sixth floor, almost all of the people got off except for six men in dark or gray suits. Amaya was closest to the back wall of the elevator and behind the tallest of the six men. She was so bored that she was listening in the men's conversation about going out for drinks that she didn't notice when a brown-haired sixteen-year-old got on.
It wasn't until the six men greeted the young man in unison that she noticed. Kaiba muttered back the greeting. None of the seven even noticed Amaya, who was trying to shift her body so that she could hide herself fully. She had to give him the letter but her lack of courage was keeping her from the goal. Her heart was pounding out of fear. What if he ripped the letter in her face and told her that he would fire her dad? They say that Seto Kaiba is a ruthless person so would a simple letter fix anything? After all, Amaya did say some things that probably did hurt his pride. She peered from behind the tall man to look at the back of Kaiba's head. One of the men in suits finally noticed the strange girl.
"Excuse me, young lady," the man said, tapping Amaya on the shoulder. His acquaintances turned around to see whom he was referring to. Kaiba also turned around to look. He was surprised at the presence of the girl. He never thought that she would come back after what she did.
"Oh, I remember you. You're Akimoto's little girl, Amaya. What are you doing in a big place like this?" One of the men said with a friendly smile on his face. It was Ogasa, one of Mr. Akimoto's good friends. He was an old balding man with a few grey hairs on the sides of his head. When she was a little girl, Amaya used to refer to him as "Bald Santa Claus". He used to play Old Saint Nick for Amaya when she suspected that Santa Claus was nothing but her dad in a false beard and a velvet red suit. Her dad called Ogasa for a favor, which was to dress up as Santa and appear before Amaya while her parents was with her.
"..." Amaya couldn't say anything. Come on! Do this for dad or he'll get fired! "Uh-um. I need to talk to Mr. Kaiba. It's important and it can't wait!" There she said it.
Ogasa grabbed Amaya by her shoulders and shoved her in front of Kaiba. "There you go, little girl. Now what would you like to say to Mr. Kaiba?" He said to her as if she was a child. She mentally sighed. Ogasa has always treated her like a spoiled five-year-old granddaughter. He still couldn't see that she was already thirteen.
"Uh...Could I just talk to Kaiba-san alone?" Amaya asked. The elevator opened for the twentieth floor and Kaiba stepped off. "Wait! Kaiba-san!" She followed the young CEO, who seemed to be ignoring her. Ogasa was smiling at the girl before the elevator doors closed. He was walking faster as they came to a large corridor. "Wait!" Amaya cried desperately. He still wouldn't listen and kept walking to his office. She had to run just to keep up with him. Finally, she clutched onto the fabric of his navy blue jacket.
"What the hell are you doing back here!" He snapped. "Did you come back to insult me some more? Not satisfied that you called me those names yesterday? Have you come to tell me more about my cruel self? "
"No, no! I just wanted to give you something." Amaya extended both of her hands to show him the letter. I should've bought him a gift instead of just giving him the letter alone. I'm so stupid! He took the letter from her and she watched him, afraid that he really was going to rip it up. Surprisingly, he took the letter gingerly from the envelope and unfolded it. She was nervous as his blue eyes scanned the letter. She had spent the whole night trying to write a letter that was suitable for someone like him. She had leafed through various dictionaries, trying to find the appropriate words that sounded businesslike. She had crumpled more than ten pages of paper. She tried to hand write it then resorted to typing the letter. She remembered that her dad said that Kaiba was obsessed with computers. Maybe if she typed the letter, he would think that she loved computers as much as he did. Then she discovered that if she typed the letter, it didn't seem like she meant the apology. So she handwrote it again in blue ink but more neatly than she had done in previous drafts. She was desperate to undo what she did.
"Did you really think that this letter would get me to forget about everything? To forgive you?" He said mockingly. Amaya blushed out of embarrassment and anger. She looked down at the ground before saying no. "Your father is an intelligent man yet you," Kaiba said, lifting her chin with his finger. "are an unwise girl. He knows how to act around important people but you think that people will find you cute so they'll let you slide by with whatever childish thing you do." That was the last straw. She pushed him away and glared at him.
"If you don't forgive me, then fine! You don't have to say something rude!" Amaya snatched the letter from him and ripped it up. The shredded pieces of the letter littered the marble floor. "There! Are you happy now? It took me four hours to write a perfect letter for you! Now my dad's going to hate me!" Kaiba could see tears glittering in the corners of her eyes. Amaya ran to the elevator, wiping her eyes roughly with her sleeve. She didn't want her dad to see that she had been crying. He would be suspicious and figure out that she wasn't working on a project.
"Cute girl," Kaiba said, smirking. He pocketed the envelope and proceeded to walk to his office. His young secretary handed him important documents and his mail.
"Was there anything else you needed, Kaiba-sama?" The secretary asked.
"Yes. Order some flowers: one bouquet of different flowers and another bouquet of red roses. Have the first one addressed to Akimoto's wife and the bouquet of roses to Amaya Akimoto. Have the flowers delivered here before the Akimoto house," he said, looking through his mail. "Then make a reservation for two at that new French restaurant."
"Yes, Kaiba-sama. I'll take care of it right away," she said, picking up the phone.
When Amaya entered the front door of her three-story house, shouting out that she was home and replacing her black shoes with slippers. It was already one o'clock, later than the time she intended to go home. After she ran out of the company, Amaya felt too ashamed to face her dad so she skipped going home; opting for Miiko's house instead to complain about "the arrogant asshole." Her puffy eyes also indicated that tears were also shed over the incident.
She sighed, solemnly walking to the living room to take a nap. She might as well be rested before her dad finds out. As she entered the living room, she was in for a big surprise. For one thing, her parents were sitting on the sofa when they were supposed to be out. Although, the things that caught her attention were all the flowers and brightly wrapped presents. She, as well as her parents, were looking confused at all the gifts and flowers. This confused Amaya greatly. Surely, they were the ones that got the presents?
"Hey, mom, dad. Sorry I'm late. Miiko and I was having trou-" She walked around a pile of presents. "Whose presents are those?" She dropped all pretenses and forgot about her late excuse. Her dad stuck out a bouquet of red roses in her face which she thanked him for; gingerly taking the flowers from him with a smile. The strange thing was that he didn't smile back. He just pointed to the attached note. Confused, she put the flowers on the glass coffee table and opened the mini-card. Her eyes scanned the bottom of the note; a neat signature caught her attention: Seto Kaiba. Are you kidding me! Amaya thought, quickly scanning every sentence.
"Amaya, what is it? What did he say?" Her dad piped into her thoughts. She forgot they were still here.
"You know it's from him?" Amaya countered his question with hers. She looked around at the various gifts and the two different bouquets; the bouquet of multi-colored flowers clutched in her mom's hand and her own. "All this stuff is from him?" She yelled, indicating all the gifts.
"Yes..." Her mom answered meekly. She seemed almost hesitant to answer that. The look on her face clearly read 'I was surprised, too!' Amaya looked down at the note again. Her face flushed.
"What did it say?" Her dad asked nervously.
"Um...He said that he's sorry for yesterday and this morning..." she said absentmindedly.
"This morning? Amaya!" Mr. Akimoto said sternly. "Don't tell me you went down to the company?"
"No, of course not!" Amaya said quickly. Her eyes shot down to the note. "He also said that he's sorry for making me mad." She intentionally left out the part where he asked her out on a date, the part where he said that she was pretty when she got mad, the part where he said she looked cute in her outfit.
Amaya had thrown away the flowers despite her dad's protests. She refused to accept any flowers from the, as she put it, arrogant bastard. She did refrain from saying that in front of her dad though. She also conveniently forgot to mention the date part to her dad. Amaya had ripped the note into a million pieces so Mr. Akimoto couldn't read it.
"You're kidding me with this, right?" Amaya asked with Kaiba's frightened secretary standing behind her. She brandished the note attached to the red roses that he had sent her.
"I'm sorry, Kaiba-sama. Ms. Akimoto said she wanted to see you. I know you're busy and I tried to stop her-," she said, stuttering.
"It's all right, Nancy. I'll make time for Amaya," he said, taking his eyes off the laptop and looking at the livid Amaya. She had a look of pure venom. How dare he call her by her first name like they were close? He signaled for Nancy to leave them alone. When she had exited his office, Amaya looked back at him with great dislike.
"Tell me you're playing some kind of cruel joke with me. You want to date me? You're joking, right?" The word 'date' was like poison on her tongue. Silence hung over the both of them. Amaya waited anxiously for his answer (which hopefully was 'yes') while he took in the sight of her.
In his opinion, she had good taste in clothes. It was sexy but modest at the same time. Her face had a soft sort of beauty. Her light blue eyes contrasted her ebony hair very well. Amaya was getting impatient. "Well? Why don't you answer me?"
She jumped slightly when he got up. His towering height was overwhelming but she stood her ground. He leaned forward on his desk, closer to her. "The note wasn't a joke. I want to take you out on a date. Tonight would be good if you're not busy." She scowled.
"No way," she whispered. "I would never date someone like you. NEVER!" She was shaking with anger now. Who did he think he is? He acted like she'll go out with him after the way he insulted her. She never dated a guy and wasn't interested in dating one. She just wasn't ready yet. She certainly wasn't going to go on a first date with this guy. Amaya turned towards the door to leave but his words stopped her.
"I always get what I want, Amaya. You will come around soon," he said confidently. She gritted her teeth and stomped out of his office. He just smirked after her. "Amaya just hates my guts, doesn't she?"
When Amaya's dad came home that night, she discovered that his boss had a talk with him. More like threatening my dad, Amaya thought. She sat on the couch while her dad pleaded with her. She crossed her arms while her dad wearily begged her.
"Please, Amaya, just one date. If you don't, I'll be fired. And I can't quit either, we need the money!" He added after she suggested that he stop working there permanently.
"Dad," she whined. "He is a complete...ugh!" She couldn't say the word since Mr. Akimoto didn't approve of foul language. "The point is I hate him! Like with you, he threatens you with your job if I don't date him. What kind of person is that? I want to date someone nice, not someone who's a complete asshole." The word accidentally escaped her lips.
"Amaya, please..." She looked up at the ceiling than at him. He sighed. "Look, I didn't want to tell you this but my mother, your grandma, she's sick." This caught Amaya's attention.
"Grandma's sick? How come you didn't tell me sooner?"
"She didn't want you to worry about her. Her hospital bills are expensive and I've been helping her pay them. That's why I've been working later nights. I don't want to lose her, Amaya," he said. He broke down in tears. She looked away with guilt.
"Maybe just one date..." She said weakly.
"You look pretty tonight," Seto complimented Amaya. The latter, sitting across from him, looked away and muttered a 'thank you.' This was their first date. Amaya, not wanting to give him the wrong impression, hadn't spend much time in choosing her outfit. She just chose to wear her school uniform, a cream sweater with the school emblem on the left side and a plaid skirt. He didn't choose to wear anything too fancy either. He was wearing a close-fitting black sweater and beige pants.
The maître d' came around and handed them the menus. Amaya thanked him with a smile. He asked her if they wanted anything to drink. She ordered just a glass of water and he ordered a cup of coffee. He went to get their drinks. There was an awkward silence in which Amaya sought solace behind the menu. There were plenty of appetizing entrees but since she wanted to get this over with as quickly as possible. A salad will do. I can just eat fast and get out A.S.A.P. I just promised dad one date. She lowered the menu to find that he had decided what he wants, too. She looked like she would like to murder him.
Evidently, he thought this was funny for he smirked. "If you look cute when you're angry, then your smiling face must be beautiful."
She blushed. That comment caught her off-guard. She shook it off. Amaya Akimoto wasn't one to be easily taken in by sweet talk.
"Cut it out!" She snapped at him. "I just want to get this over with." She admitted bluntly. Amaya avoided his gaze, paying attention to the rose in a glass vase. It sat in the middle of the table. She didn't want to admit it but he looked kind of handsome tonight. Don't think of something like that! She mentally scolded herself. I'll never end up liking this bastard. She absentmindedly fingered the rose's petals. Oblivious to her sad aura, she began to think if her grandma was okay. I wonder if grandma is in any pain now? I wish I had known about her illness.
"Is everything okay, mademoiselle?" The waiter asked her as he put their drinks on the table. Amaya snapped back to reality. She looked at the concerned waiter and lowered her head, nodding. She didn't know that while she was thinking, a tear had slid down her cheek.
"I'm okay," she said, smiling. She thanked him for the drink. He took their orders, collected the two menus and went away again. Her eyes strayed to the next table where a violinist played a soft tune for the occupants. It looked like the man was proposing to his girlfriend. A soft smile played on her lips, bringing out her full beauty. Her date was watching her. He was right after all. She did look beautiful with a smile. He was distracted by somebody.
"Would you like to buy a rose for your lady friend, sir?" She asked him, smiling. She was carrying a basket full of roses.
"How many roses do you have?" He asked. Meanwhile, Amaya focused her attention to another table. A different maître d' put on a birthday cake on their table. Amaya's smile widened. The cake was in the shape of a heart with a rose design on the sides. The man, who was her husband, kissed the woman's cheek. She looked away as they started to sing 'Happy Birthday.' She let out a sigh. She wished her food would get there already.
"I hope you enjoy the flowers," the flower lady said to Amaya. The latter was confused. "Huh?" Before she questioned Kaiba, he presented her with a bouquet of roses.
"Beautiful flowers for the beautiful lady," he said, still holding onto them. Amaya made no move to accept them. His comment caused her face to flush. She was almost as red as the roses. She completely forgot that sweet words weren't supposed to affect her.
"Why me?" She asked bluntly. "You're popular with girls, you know. Almost every girl in my school is in your fanclub. I could at least introduce you to ten girls from my school much more beautiful than me. Do you find pleasure in this?"
"Yes, I do find pleasure in being here with you."
"You know what I mean!" She snapped at him again, slamming her hands on the table. Amaya was furious at him. Her dad worked at Kaiba Corporation since before she was even born. His old boss, Gozaburo had never interfered in her life at all. But now with his new boss, Seto Kaiba, Amaya found her world had been turned upside down. Her dad could lose his job any time now just because Amaya wasn't attracted to Kaiba. How dare he think that he could control her dad's life like that, not just his, but hers as well. What was so special about her anyway? What was it about her that made him want to date her? "I'm no one special. You can just have any pretty girl. Why me?" She whispered the last sentence, playing nervously with her red napkin.
"Because you don't care who I am." He said calmly. She raised her eyes to look at him. "The most you know about me probably is that I'm the CEO of Kaiba Corporation and that I used to be the Duel Monsters Champion. When you see me, you don't squeal and jump up and down like an idiot. You don't try to get my attention at all. You don't care about the fact that I'm rich and could destroy you in any moment. When I didn't allow your father to go to your mother's lunchdate, you screamed at me and stood up to me. Your father doesn't have that much guts."
"Don't talk about dad like that! He has enough courage if he has to work for someone like you."
"I couldn't stop thinking about you after you came back to my office to give me that letter." Kaiba continued as if she hadn't interrupted him.
"Try harder not to think about me." She whispered. Her eyes met his for a brief second before looking down again. "I won't fall for someone like you." He was watching her mouth as she uttered those words.
"What makes you think so?" He asked her. Amaya's eyelashes cast a shadow across her cheeks when she closed her eyes.
"A lot of girls especially in my school have romantic hearts. They think that if you meet someone who tries to understand you (and they're usually referring to themselves), then the ice around your heart will melt. Because of the fact that you're rich and good-looking, they think that that's enough. They would consider it lucky if you were to chase after them but to me, none of that is enough. Not that I'm really that interested in dating right now but if you-" She opened her eyes again. "or just anybody wants to be with me, I need to know that that person would be willing to hold me when I need it and say 'I love you' when I say it to him. I'm not content with dating someone because of their looks or their status or their money. So you're right; I really don't care about who you are." She looked away from him. Kaiba didn't say anything. The bouquet was still in his hands. He touched her hand. She pulled it back quickly but he gently pushed the roses in her hands.
"When the time comes, I'll tell you 'I love you' with your favorite flowers. Your father inadvertently mentioned that you don't like roses much. Say what you want but I'll make you mine. You're the only one I want; not those girls from your school." Kaiba said quietly, getting up and putting the money down for the drinks. He walked out of the restaurant.
Amaya just sat there with the roses in her hand. Her black hair covered the half of her face as she exhaled deeply. A tear landed on one of the rose petals. He was right; she always hated roses. He actually cared enough to learn something as insignificant as that. She left the restaurant, too. His limo was waiting outside. That night she found herself thinking about him instead of the other way around.
"Amaya?" Her dad nudged her shoulder to wake her up. She just rolled over with a pillow over her head. "Amaya, Amaya, wake up!"
"Hmm...wha? What?" Amaya asked sleepily. She looked at her dad with half-opened eyes. "Is it time for school already?" He sat on the edge of the bed.
"No, it isn't."
"Then good night," Amaya said abruptly, rolling over again.
"How was the date with Kaiba?" He asked quietly. She was wide awake now. Her fingers clenched onto the blanket.
"It was okay..." She murmured, her back to him. She didn't want him to see her expression. The two was silent for a few seconds.
"That's good. I was worried that something had happened. You were quiet when you came home tonight." Mr. Akimoto said.
"It's okay, dad. Nothing bad happened," she said, turning around to face him with a smile. He returned the smile gratefully.
"Thank you, Amaya."
"You're welcome. Now good night. I have to get my sleep! I have to take the mock entrance exam tomorrow. " She said cheerfully.
"Good night, Amaya. Make your mother and me proud," he said, getting up. He took one last look at her before closing the bedroom door. Amaya laid back down on the bed hugging a small pillow. The things that he said stayed in her mind. To him, she was a special girl. He only wanted her.
"Seto Kaiba..." The name never used to send tingles down her spine. Her friends threw that name around when they talked about potential boyfriends. Amaya used to just roll her eyes which prompted one of her friends to throw something at her. "We can always dream, can we?" They used to say to her. Then they start to giggle after Amaya threw an eraser back at them.
"I think I'm beginning to-" Amaya let out a yawn instead of finishing her sentence. She drifted off to sleep.
The next day, Amaya was walking with Miiko and Hoshi to the local library. Miiko and Amaya was still reeling from the mock entrance exam that morning. They couldn't believe how many difficult questions were on it. They didn't even study for half the stuff that was on the exam! Now the two girls were going to study at the library with Hoshi. They were grateful that he took time off his busy schedule to help them.
Hoshi Maeno wasn't just Amaya's tutor for three years. He was one of the most popular guys in his high school. Girls wanted him and guys wanted to be him. Not to mention he was handsome and intelligent. Amaya loved to be around him; he was like an older brother to the only child. Miiko, on the other hand, loved to taunt the so-called Mr. Perfect.
"Can you believe I busted my butt trying to study for that stupid test to get most of the questions wrong?" Miiko whined.
"I know. If we don't try harder, we'll never get into that school." Amaya said.
"Mom's going to start nagging me again. 'Miiko, if you can't even get into a high school, how will you ever get to college? You'll need to marry a rich man who can put up with you.'" Miiko said, imitating her mom. Amaya started to laugh when someone tapped her on the shoulder.
"Excuse me. Are you Akimoto Amaya-san?" Amaya and her friends did a double take at the person behind them. He was wearing a teddy bear costume.
"Um...Yes, I'm Amaya. Do I know you?" She said, bewildered.
"I was hired by someone to give you these." He said simply. He reached into a pouch around the stomach area and pulled out a bouquet of white lilies.
"Thanks," she said breathlessly. White lilies were her favorite flowers.
"Someone's got a crush on Amaya!" Miiko teased. "Who are they from? Don't tell me that Maeno-san send them?" She slapped Hoshi on the back with a laugh. He didn't find it funny at all. No one noticed that he blushed furiously.
"Wait. There's more," the teddy bear said. He reached into the pouch with both hands. He had a box of chocolates in one hand and a small giftbox in the other. Amaya was still stunned so he had to give the remaining stuff to her friend. He took out something else from his pants pocket this time.
There's more? Hoshi thought.
"Here's the last of it." He gave three pieces of paper to Hoshi now. "Now you have to sign here." He handed Amaya a clipboard and a pen. While she was doing that, Miiko peered at the pieces of paper in Hoshi's hand.
"NO WAY!" She shrieked right into the older boy's ears. "These are the tickets to the sold-out rock concert this week! They're front row, too! You love this band, Amaya."
"The tickets I've been trying to get for months?" Amaya gulped. Both Miiko and Hoshi nodded. They knew how much she wanted to see band live. The teddy bear guy left them without their noticing. He couldn't wait to get out of that ridiculous costume.
"These are your favorite chocolates; the ones imported all the way from Belgium." Her friend continued to sort through her many gifts. "Amaya, open to see what's inside." She passed the gift box to Amaya. The latter slid the bow off the box and opened it. Her heart leaped at the sight. A flower-shaped necklace with a diamond in the center was lying in the box.
"Wow," Miiko said in awe. Hoshi was boiling on the inside. Who sent her all these gifts?
Amaya was thinking exactly the same thing. She already had a strong inkling. She snatched all the gifts from them and shoved them into her messenger bag. A feeling of annoyance coursed through her veins. She started off in the opposite direction.
"I'll meet you guys at the library later!" She shouted, running to her destination.
Meanwhile, Mokuba was waiting in his brother's empty office. He had just arrived to KaibaCorp, hoping to see his brother. He figured that he'd just wait for Seto to come back. Now what could he do to kill time? He walked around his brother's desk. He noticed that the computer was turned on as usual.
"What's nii-sama working on now?" Mokuba asked himself. He moved the mouse then dropped it. He bent down to retrieve it quickly. Mokuba slowly rose up to look at the screen again. A picture of a girl smiled at him from the monitor. Her black hair was tied up in a high ponytail. Her arms were playfully locked in a threatening pose. The sparkling in her pale blue eyes conveyed she was having fun when this was taken. "This girl looks familiar."
"Mokuba?" A familiar voice made the young boy jump in surprise. Seto came back from wherever he was. "What are you doing here?"
Mokuba crawled awkwardly from behind the desk. He felt like he had just done something very wrong.
"What were you doing behind the desk?" Seto asked.
"I just wanted to see what you were working on," Mokuba said meekly. It was like he just discovered a secret he wasn't supposed to know. He thought he knew everything about his big brother. Seto never mentioned anything about a girl before. Who was that girl on the monitor? The older of the two turned his computer around. Mokuba grinned sheepishly at his brother.
"She's pretty," he said. He was looking for a reaction but Seto kept staring at the picture.
"Miss, you have to have an appointment! You can't just barge in there!" Nancy, Kaiba's secretary cried.
The Kaiba brothers quickly turned to the door. Two loud voices could be heard from outside; a panicked voice belonging to Nancy and an annoyed voice belonging to Amaya.
"Who is that?" Mokuba asked. Seto already knew the answer to that question. He raised an eyebrow. What did he do now?
"I don't care if he's busy! What I have to say won't take more than a few minutes." Amaya's voice carried all the way to the office.
"Miss, I'm only doing my job. You're supposed to make an appointment with him." Nancy pleaded. "Mr. Kaiba!" She exclaimed as Kaiba emerged from the double doors behind Amaya. Mokuba peeked out from behind Kaiba. It was that girl from the picture!
"So you finally decided to show your face." Amaya twirled around to glare at him. She looked defiantly into his eyes. "Listen, you were right. I really don't care if you are the notorious Seto Kaiba. If you think you can worm your way into my heart by buying me expensive gifts then you're wrong! Could you just do me a favor and stay out of my life? Here." She took out his gifts. "Take your gifts back."
"Nancy, get back to work," Seto said. Nancy bowed and ran back to her workstation. "Mokuba, could you wait outside while Amaya and I discussed something?"
Chapter 24 Preview
"Promise me not to do something like that again and I'll forgive you. You don't have to buy me stuff for my forgiveness. I hate it when people do that. I only want you to treat me with respect. Don't be like Hoshi-san." she said. "Can you promise me this?"
"I promise. Anything in exchange for one of your smiles." Nonetheless, she didn't smile.
"There's one more thing I want you to do. Wait." Amaya lifted the rambunctious puppy into his arms again. She whipped out her cellphone and quickly took a picture of the unlikely pair. Kaiba frowned at the strange event unfolding as she laughed at the picture in her cellphone. "Wow, this is really rare. Seto Kaiba holding a puppy. How cute! Won't your fangirls love to see this? " She swerved to the side when Kaiba tried to swipe the cell phone from her. "No, Seto! This will be my new wallpaper!"
Edited on 9/29/13: If I am able to find the time to write (as in if there are no distractions in my life), this story might be finished by 11/16/13 which corresponds on the day that it was first uploaded online.