Kagome pulled herself out of the store, many bags hanging from her arms. She smiled as the sun hit her and she was met with the cold air of early spring. Licking her lips she looked around for a cab. Sighing when she didn't see one she began to walk down the street, their house wasn't too far away she could walk.
"Come on Moriko, we need to hurry," Kagome said to the little girl who held her hand. When her name was called the child looked up and beamed at Kagome and tried to move her legs in time to hers. A small bag from the toy store hung at her hand and she had dubbed herself the super shopper. She failed to compare herself to Kagome, who held at least ten bags in her arms.
"I'm coming mommy!" Moriko said happily and began to run to keep up with Kagome. "We're leaving for California in the morning, right Mommy?" Moriko said happily as Kagome turned the corner and they began walking down a less crowded street.
"Yup, and Daddy told us to buy all these new clothes for you and me since it will be hotter there!" Kagome said happily. Though Kouga and her had yet to get married, they still ended up having Moriko six years ago and Kagome was more than happy to have the little girl. She could brighten anyone's day and she was mostly well behaved. Only once had she really misbehaved…but that had been an incident that Kagome didn't wish to recall on this happy spring day.
As they approached their apartment, Moriko began to skip ahead of her mother, her dark black hair bouncing free of the braids her mother had put them in. She turned to smile at Kagome, her blue eyes, Kouga's eyes, shinning brightly as she jumped up and down with excitement. "I want to learn how to surf, mommy!" she said happily and clapped her little hands together.
Kagome laughed and walked up to her daughter, patting her head and grabbing her hand again. "Maybe when your older, sweetie," she said with a fond smile and she opened the door to the apartment. She glanced behind her and absorbed as much of the cool sun as she could before heading to the stairs.
The apartment Kagome and Moriko lived in (as well as Kouga) was very old and resembled something someone would have lived in long ago. The building had no elevator so instead you had to climb a rickety, narrow staircase. The building barely had any windows, but the ones that were there were tiny and crusted over with years of grime and dirt. Kagome stepped on the familiar fiftieth step and listened as the large squeak echoed through the empty building. The other residents of the apartment had left for vacations, business trips, the works. The only residents left were on the bottom floor whereas Kagome was on the top floor of the five-story home.
Moriko huffed loudly as she pumped her small arms to keep up with her mother. She grinned childishly at her mother and began to try and climb the stairs two at a time. "Look, Mommy, I'm faster than you!" she giggled, excited at the fact that she could be better at something then her own mother.
Kagome watched her daughter continue to 'stun' her with her skills at climbing staircases. "Alright, Moriko, stop before you hurt yourself."
Moriko looked up at her mother with her bright sapphire eyes and she grinned, the smile reaching almost to her ears. "Ok, Mommy!" she stopped and began to walk in time with Kagome, humming a song from the Teletubbies.
Kagome dug through her pocket and pulled out the small golden key. Walking up to the big white door that would lead Kagome and Moriko to their home, Kagome happily placed the key into the lock and twisted it. The familiar click of the door unlocking met Kagome's ears and she opened the door. Moriko giggled and rushed from behind her mother to her room where she could play with her new toy she'd gotten. Kagome sighed and slipped off her shoes. Placing their shopping bags near the front door, Kagome closed it and locked it with the golden chain not even Moriko could reach while standing on a chair. She grabbed Moriko's small shoes and placed them next to her large ones. She sighed softly as she leaned down and picked up her daughter's coat and hung it up.
"Moriko, remember to hang your coat up next time," Kagome called down the hallway.
"Ok, Mommy!" Moriko's small childish voice giggled as she began to play with her new Barbie doll.
Kagome sighed and shook her head as she stretched. "Kouga, honey, are you home?" No answer was given and Kagome sighed softly, walking into the living room, "He must still be at work."
Kagome settled herself in a chair and began to unpack the many bags of summer clothes she'd bought for herself and Moriko. After all, it was bound to be warm in Palm Springs, it was always hot there, she'd heard. With a small smile she began to fold her daughter's new jean shorts and the T-shirt with a little puppy dog on it. Then, to her horror, she began to hum the Teletubbies theme song, the same song Moriko had been humming and had successfully locked it into her mother's head.
She stood up and moved to Moriko's room. The little six-year-old girl was in the midst of Barbie and Ken's wedding, Barbie wearing a bathing suit and Ken wearing nothing but the underwear the plastic doll was equipped with. "Look Mommy, Barbie and Ken are getting married!"
"Where are their clothes?" Kagome asked sweetly, though she was slightly disturbed to see her daughter marrying two people off while they were half naked, even if they were only plastic figurines…it was her daughter after all…
"Well, its Las Vegas, and that's what you do in Las Vegas," she picked up a doll Kagome hadn't noticed before. It was her stuffed husky dog that she'd given to her when she was a baby. "See, Koinu is the Elvis who's marrying them off! Elvis lives in Las Vegas, Mommy!" Moriko looked very pleased with herself and Kagome couldn't help but smile at her daughter's slightly disturbing innocence.
"That's nice sweetie," She said and placed the pile of clothes in an open box. "Just remember to put them in a box or we'll leave them behind. We don't want to leave Barbie and Ken alone for their honeymoon!"
"Yup," Moriko chirped and Kagome chuckled as she exited her daughter's room.
"If you need anything, baby, just call me, ok?" Kagome said and Moriko nodded vigorously as she returned her attention to marrying off Barbie and Ken.
It was getting late when Kagome began to worry. Kouga hadn't come home yet and she was beginning to grow anxious. She stood in the kitchen, packing away a few of the extra necessities. She was to leave the furniture in the apartment; Kouga had said they'd buy new things when they got to Palm Springs. They were to only pack as little as possible. Kagome sighed as she wrapped up the last of the plates and placed it in a box marked fragile. With a huff she searched around for the tape and shut the small box shut. Dusting off her hands of nonexistent dust, Kagome yawned softly and glanced at the clock. Nine. Shouldn't Kouga be home by now?
"Mommy," whimpered a small voice and Kagome looked down to see Moriko rubbing her eyes and yawning. Her long black hair dragged on the floor and the bangs nearly covered her blue eyes from site. Her pajamas were the kind that covered your feet in a body suit kind of design. Koinu was attached tightly to her chest as her small hand wrapped around the stuffed creature. She looked up at her mommy. "Where's Daddy?"
"I don't know, sweetie, come on, I'll put you to bed," Kagome held her hand out to her daughter and Moriko whimpered. Kneeling down she faced her daughter. "What's wrong Moriko?"
"Daddy's supposed to tuck me in…where's daddy?" Moriko sniffed and a small tear escaped her eye. Kagome sighed softly and gathered her daughter into her arms, holding her close.
"He'll be home soon," Kagome said as she stroked her daughter's hair and cooed in her ear, trying to calm the sobbing child down. "Its ok, baby, just relax, when Daddy comes home I'll send him straight to your room. You need to let Mommy tuck you in tonight, though, is that ok?"
The girl nodded meekly and sniffed, her tears collecting in her eyes again as she sniffled.
"Its ok, Moriko, its ok baby," she comforted her daughter and rocked her in her arms. "Here, we'll watch some TV until your tired, ok, is that ok?"
Moriko seemed to brighten slightly and she nodded, her long black hair falling in front of her face. Small tears were still in her eyes and Kagome set her down on the chair positioned in front of the TV. Standing she walked towards the TV to turn it on. On the way, she passed by the coffee table and the fireplace. She glanced at the coffee table. 'Shoot,' she thought numbly, 'I forgot to pack all my magazines…oh well free reading for whoever owns this apartment next.' She happily leaned down and clicked on the TV, changing it to a show that showed a cartoon. Moriko cheered happily and smiled at her Kagome, "Look, Mommy, it's the Power Puff Girls!"
Kagome raised and eyebrow and turned her attention to the TV show. She nodded, "It sure is, Moriko."
As she walked back to snuggle with her daughter, something caught her eye. With a raised eyebrow she backed up a step and looked at the mantle of the fireplace. The pictures of her daughter, her self and Kouga as well as pictures of all three of them together had been packed away and she'd been sure that everything was off the mantle.
Yet, there was a small white envelope addressed to her.
"Mommy! You're in the way!" Moriko complained and Kagome quickly moved out of the way, making sure her daughter wasn't still being blocked from her comfort. "Thanks Mommy," Moriko then returned to her watching of Cartoon Network.
Kagome reached up and grabbed the envelope and moved to the couch. Clicking on a lamp, the small golden light shown on the envelope. Kagome felt herself intake a breath of startled air and her hands began to tremble. Her name was written in Kouga's hand. Why would he leave her a note in a place that she would have to look to find it? Why didn't he just post it on the refrigerator or their bed or the door?
With a heavy heart Kagome flipped over the letter and began to open it. Her fingers trembled as she slipped out the white paper. She unfolded it, the creases old, as if they'd been folded and unfolded multiple times…like the writer had checked it over and over to make sure what it was saying was what it was supposed to say. Kagome found herself gulping and her heart beginning to pound, though she hated to admit it, something was wrong.
Finally with a deep, reassuring breath that everything was ok, Kagome slipped out the note and began to read. After a moment, tears began to pool into her eyes and she dropped the letter, unable to finish it. Moriko looked up as her mother's sobs filled the room and she watched as her once strong and powerful mother ran to her mom like a defeated hero.
Kicking her little legs off the chair she tried to run after her mom only to discover that her mother had slammed her room's door shut. Moriko felt her tears return and she retreated back to the living room and looked at the letter her mother had been reading. Reaching out her little hand she picked up the note. Moriko had always been smart, but never the greatest at reading, and she began to read it as best she could. It said in what she assumed was her daddy's handwriting was:
My dearest Kagome, I regret to inform you that I have been called away to Italy. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I was volunteered to be one of the main actors. I can't tell you much for I don't know much myself. You remember Ayame, of course? She was also recruited and we leave for Italy today. By the time you read this, I'll already be gone…don't bother looking for me, you won't find me…I'm sorry, Kagome… I need you to do this, Kagome! Don't you understand? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and by the time we get this to Hollywood, it will be many years from now. The director plans to make it a trilogy, and I can't decline! This could put me on the map, Kagome. I know this is upsetting, especially since we were to leave to California together. But…a life without fame isn't something I can live without. I may sound selfish, and I won't blame you for despising me with all of your being, but please try and move on. Forget about me! It's for the best, Kagome…its best that we forget about each other. We weren't married or engaged, so this is to be expected. How could you believe that I could stay tied to New York? Sure, Broadway was great, but Italy…I heard its to die for. And when I'm rich and famous, I may look back and think of all the times we had together. Please tell Moriko I'm sorry, but I won't be able to tuck her in anymore. I know that was rude of me, bringing in a joke at a time like this, but please, darling Kagome, remember that I love Moriko with all my heart. I love you too, of course, but it can never be. It was a fleeting fantasy. I'll send child support, of course, but don't try and contact me through the address. Bye Bye, Baby, Kouga!
I regret to inform you that I have been called away to Italy. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I was volunteered to be one of the main actors. I can't tell you much for I don't know much myself. You remember Ayame, of course? She was also recruited and we leave for Italy today. By the time you read this, I'll already be gone…don't bother looking for me, you won't find me…I'm sorry, Kagome…
I need you to do this, Kagome! Don't you understand? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and by the time we get this to Hollywood, it will be many years from now. The director plans to make it a trilogy, and I can't decline! This could put me on the map, Kagome. I know this is upsetting, especially since we were to leave to California together. But…a life without fame isn't something I can live without.
I may sound selfish, and I won't blame you for despising me with all of your being, but please try and move on. Forget about me! It's for the best, Kagome…its best that we forget about each other. We weren't married or engaged, so this is to be expected. How could you believe that I could stay tied to New York? Sure, Broadway was great, but Italy…I heard its to die for. And when I'm rich and famous, I may look back and think of all the times we had together.
Please tell Moriko I'm sorry, but I won't be able to tuck her in anymore. I know that was rude of me, bringing in a joke at a time like this, but please, darling Kagome, remember that I love Moriko with all my heart. I love you too, of course, but it can never be. It was a fleeting fantasy. I'll send child support, of course, but don't try and contact me through the address.
Bye Bye, Baby,