Author's Note: LAST CHAPTER!.
Chapter 7: Assistant No More
"HE WHAT!" Sanosuke exclaimed, his mouth wide open as Megumi sat next to him blinking in surprise.
"Yeah, it's true. Aoshi-sama proposed to me. I don't understand it though! Why would he...he's gone mental!" Misao said, clutching her head dramatically.
"Ah...Misao-chan, could it just be he loves you."
"But he's never shown that he has!"
"Um, correct me if I'm wrong but didn't you and him get down and..."
Misao glared at him and Sanosuke realized it best to stop talking.
"Well, seeing as he hasn't fired you in all this time and that he did something so impulsive...what else do you have to lose Misao-chan? He's rich, good looking, and seems to love you. You're quite lucky!"
"You almost sound envious, Megitsune." Sanosuke said glaring at her.
She just laughed foxishly.
"Well I'm just saying Misao-chan shouldn't waste a good thing."
"Oh my God my brain is going to explode..." Misao mumbled, resting the side of her head on the table.
"Oh come on, you're acting like you're dying or something! Stop being a baby and say yes." Megumi said.
"I'm going home." Misao decided standing up and walking our of the diner.
Megumi and Sanosuke sighed.
"That girl...What will we ever do with her?" Megumi asked.
"Make sure she pays her end of the bill next time?"
"Yes, that would be..WHAT?"
Megumi realized as she looked where Misao had sat that indeed, there was no money left behind.
"She's as bad as you sometimes." Megumi sighed.
"Hey, I will pay my tab at Akabeko one day..."
Aoshi tapped his pen on his desk, his paperwork forgotten as all he could think of was Misao, Misao, Misao...
So this is what had become of the great Shinomori Aoshi?
A cold, domineering businessman turned lovesick fool.
It was strange to think of himself as one being in love, and to realize all the things wrong in his life before she came into it.
Now if she would only accept his marriage proposal, things would be better.
He supposed he could understand her hesitation, it was probably alarming for her, but it was the best decision, he was sure of it!
He was, much to his chagrin, utterly useless for work at the moment.
He reached for his intercom.
"Hannya, a moment please?"
Moments later Hannya stepped into the office, shutting the door behind him.
"Hannya, I have...a dilemma." Aoshi said, his fingers pressing together as he bridged his hands on the desk.
"Yes. I find myself utterly incapable of concentrating on work. This situation with Misao is quite distracting."
"Well, perhaps a personal day?"
"This is an important deal Hannya, I have no time to be sitting her like a lovesick schoolboy."
"Well, I am your second in command for a reason. Go home and sort things out, Okashira."
Aoshi rubbed the bridge of his nose.
"I suppose you are right, Hannya."
"I usually like to think I am. Besides, love suits you. You seem happier than I've ever seen you, so I hope she will marry you."
"As do I. Maybe I just need to make a grand gesture. Something romantic that women like. Hannya, before I leave, please procure me some...women's magazines. Popular ones."
Hannya nodded, fighting the urge to chuckle.
And so shortly later, Hannya returned with a stack of magazines.
"Excellent. I will be leaving in an hour. I'll drop the papers on your desk."
"Okay. Enjoy the reading."
Aoshi arched an eyebrow as Hannya left.
He grabbed a magazine and opened.
Colorful ads, models, manga, etc. assaulted him, and Aoshi would soon learn many things such as accesorizing for the season, make-up ticks, embarassing stories, PMS advice, the more colorful articles of sex and sex tips (which Aoshi made a point to mentally note for future reference), and other various things.
As the hour passed, he set the last magazine down feeling drained.
The world of women was...complicated.
With an idea or two in his head, he grabbed his belongings and stopping at Hannya's office on the way, Aoshi had left the building.
He had a few stops to make, and it would be too much walking, but he couldn't call Misao...
There was no choice.
This called for something drastic.
Pulling his phone from his pocket, Aoshi practically grimaced as he dialed.
"It's me. I need a favor...I know it'll cost me. A whole carton. Aa."
And a bit later, a black car pulled up to the curb.
As the window rolled down, a cloud of cigarette smoke billowed out.
"Well Shinomori, what's got you so desperate to call?"
Aoshi opened the door and sat, shutting the door behind him.
Saitoh Hajime sneered, putting the car in drive.
"How the mighty have fallen."
"And how is your wife?" Aoshi countered flatly.
Saitoh's sneer disappeared.
"Just tell me where to go already."
"A florist for starters."
"Starters? I am no chauffeur."
"I'm paying you in cigarettes, just drive."
As much as Aoshi disliked Saitoh, the detective had his uses. Aside from the fact that Saitoh's wife was Aoshi's cousin who was really like a sister to him. Aoshi kept mum about Saitoh's smoking, Tokio told Aoshi stories about Saitoh...
They were an insane pair really, and he didn't hate Saitoh per se, just wasn't fond of spending time in his acquaintance.
And so the two made their way to a florist.
Misao lay sprawled on her stomach on the sofa, absent-mindedly flicking through channels. Nothing really grabbed her attention, her mind stuck on Aoshi, stupid, stubborn, suddenly in love with Aoshi.
She thought it was really strange that he would love her.
But then she had to sit back and think...did she love him.
When she thought of perhaps just leaving, the idea of never seeing him again stopped her. She was so used to his face, his voice, so used to being around him, he was everywhere she went.
Even though he worked too much, was more stubborn that her, was cold and distant, didn't talk much, was a handful when it came to cooperating with the physical therapists...
She couldn't imagine her life now without being at his side.
And so she realized all this after he proposed and she freaked out and had a minor nervous breakdown, and still wasn't sure what to do.
Maybe she should just say yes but then what?
The ringing of the phone interrupted her thoughts.
She reached for the cordless phone and answered.
"Misao, it's me. I need you run some errands."
"Can you please go to the store and buy some more computer paper, pens, legal pads, ink and toner, and some more green tea."
"Is that all?"
"Yes. I will getting a ride home, so please go now."
"You were watching TV, Misao?"
She glared at the phone.
"Fine, I'll be right on it."
"Thank you, Misao."
She hung up the phone and grumbled as she got up and went to get her shoes and the car keys.
"Aoshi-sama your timing is impeccably bad."
A now disgruntled Misao left to run her errand, not knowing what Aoshi really had in mind for her.
After an hour and a half, Misao was done at the office supplies store, and was walking in the grocery store with a box of tea in her hand.
"I wonder what I could make for dinner...hrmmmm."
"Did you need help finding something miss?"
She turned to see a young girl, maybe sixteen, standing next to her.
"Just trying to think of something to cook for dinner, I was thinking about some other stuff so I guess I looked like I was a bit lost."
"Oh it's okay. Have a nice day."
Misao looked back at the shelves thinking.
"I wonder what Aoshi-sama wants for dinner..."
She paused, eyes widening, going still...
The way she acted was...like she was shopping for a husband not a boss.
Dashing to the check-out, Misao needed to get home. She needed to talk to Aoshi.
As she walked through the door, she noted the lights were off but candles were lit.
Walking into the living room, Aoshi stood holding a bouquet of red roses. He wore black pants and a matching jacket with a violet dress shirt and black tie.
"Wha...What is this?" Misao asked, the bags falling from her hand.
"I know my proposal was sudden, and you deserve more. Better. Come here."
"I..." she shut her mouth and walked to him, and he handed her the flowers.
"Misao...if a year ago someone asked me if there was something irreplaceable in my life, I'd probably say nothing is as such, but...I've been living half-dead all this time and you made me see there's more than work. Please Misao, I'm not a man who likes begging, but please. Be my wife. Be by my side in a manner that does not require a paycheck."
"Aoshi-sama...turn the lights back on. This is really sweet but this isn't your style. I don't want you to completely change for me."
"Misao...I went through a bit of trouble for this. Just enjoy it."
He held his hand to her lips.
"Misao...yes or no?"
She moved his hand away.
Aoshi began to smile.
"On a few conditions."
"One- you need to cut back on work, two- you need to cooperate with therapy, three- there WILL be the concept of vacation, four- I get to finish school, five..."
"I agree. I agree to it all. Whatever you want Misao. Just please marry me."
Misao made a "hmmmm" noise, pursing her lips.
She leaned forward and kissed him.
"Oh and Aoshi-sama? I get two weeks severance pay right?"
He paused, his lips still against hers.
"We may have to negotiate that, and don't even try taking back marrying me. I'm not letting you go."
"Oh? So can we say I quit? It looks better on record."
Aoshi sighed, resting his head in the crook of her neck.
The end. I shall now venture forward for ice cream.