AN: Yes! Another chapter…finally! Seems like my imagination's running wild lately since this is the fourth (or is it fifth?) update of my stories in less than two weeks! Yehey! My fingers are burning hot baby! As hot as the summer sun here in the tropics.
Daemon: Pardon my mistress, the heat's getting to her and it's making her…how shall I say this? Nuts?
Sapphire: (mouth gapes open) (closed mouth) You can talk! Why didn't you tell me before!
Daemon: (smirks wolfishly (ah, actually, he is a wolf…)) You never asked.
Special Thanks to everyone who reviewed:
Don't fear the dark, welcome it; WhiteRabbit5; GranolaBar; sc gurl; Hiei's.punk.rocker.girl; Himura Kamiya Kaoru; Falke-ness; Babo; Jen; inuwolf04; Aya45; abubi-chan; ravergal; Triste1; ShadowElite; Crystal Winds.
Note: I'm thinking of building my own RK C2 community, one featuring the works of my fellow Filipino writers or anyone who has Philippine blood. I had noticed that amongst the great RK authors here at some are of Filipino descendent (at least that's what I observed). I don't want to seem racist because I'm not. I just want to make a community that honors great works from such beloved writers of RK, sort of like giving credit to what is due.
What do you guys think? Should I go ahead with it or not?
The Choices That We Make
Chapter two: Emotional Thoughts
I slammed my locker door shut, the lock snapping in place. I could feel my cheeks flushing red from a mixture of anger and embarrassment.
"Mou! I have never been so embarrassed in my life." I grumbled underneath my breath.
I heard a chuckle emitting from behind me and so I turned around sharply to meet the gaze of a pair of familiar violet eyes.
"What?" I muttered none-too-happily, hands on my hips.
Kenshin raised both of his hands in defense. "Well, someone's sure excited for tonight." He said.
I narrowed my eyes at him. If Kenshin was trying to cheer me up from the incident with Hatsumo-sensei earlier, he's doing a bad job.
"If you're trying to get back into my good side Kenshin, let me be the first to tell you that it's not working." I said.
Kenshin's lips twitched into a grin and I felt my heart suddenly beating wildly, like it was doing flip-flops and cart-wheeling like a crazed gymnast.
I admit that Kenshin's cute and, quoting a fellow female classmate, "An incredibly handsome and delightfully delicious sample of how the human male should look like."
But Kenshin's my friend and nothing more. I mean, he's the first guy friend I've met at the start of college and I had come to think of him as a brother.
Shaking my head to push out the confusing thoughts that ran through my mind, I was able to catch a few bits of what Kenshin had just said.
"….so, is it a yes or a no?"
Huh? I cocked my head slightly to the side, I seemed to have missed something while I was lost in my thoughts.
Straightening my head, I let out a cough before I could finally reply.
"Sorry I didn't hear you clearly. What was it that you just said?" I asked him.
Kenshin looked at me with those lovely violet eyes…Lovely? Since when did I think that his eyes are lovely?
Damn it! I better get a hold of myself before I start to become another one of those gooey-gushy, wide-eyed, saliva-dripping, boy-crazed girl maniacs society deemed as 'fans'.
I shuddered at the thought. I could just imagine myself mooning over a guy with the mysterious and undeniably dashing looks of Keanu Reeves but has the brain of an ostrich's. (AN: Hohoho! (winks))
Oh the horror!
A sharp snapping sound thankfully brought me out of my musings. My vision cleared and I saw that Kenshin was snapping his fingers, trying to get my attention.
"Are you okay Kaoru?" He asked, a worried tone in his voice.
"Yeah, I'm okay." I muttered at him in reply, shooing away his hand with my own.
"I have too much to think of right now." I added.
Kenshin shrugged his shoulders. "It's alright. I was just wondering if you want me to pick you up later. So?"
"It's fine with me." I replied.
And really I didn't mind. Kenshin and I hitched a ride in each other's cars so many times that it has become almost like a routine.
A smile etched in Kenshin's lips. "So I'll pick you up at around…seven?"
I readjusted the books in my arms. "Better make it eight, I'm expecting a phone call at six and it might take long."
Both of Kenshin's eyebrows creased as he heard my answer. "Really? Is it Shinomori?" he asked.
I nod my head in reply. Kenshin and the rest of my college friends know about Aoshi as they saw his picture once when they went over to my house and asked me about him.
"Hey Kao, who's this?" asked Miaka, a pretty, petite girl with auburn hair and dark emerald eyes.
Kaoru entered from the kitchen, the tray of snacks held securely in her hands. She raised an eyebrow as she saw the auburn-haired girl picking up one of the picture frames displayed in the living room
"Who's who?" Kaoru asked.
The raven-haired girl made her way to the group and placed the snacks on the glass coffee table.
Fuuko, who was glancing from behind Miaka's shoulder at the picture, whistled. "Damn girl, he's hot! Is he your boyfriend or something?" she asked, a wicked gleam in her dark brown eyes.
Miaka smiled devilishly as she handed over the picture frame to Kaoru. "If he isn't, I wouldn't mind getting to know him better."
Both Fuuko and Miaka giggled. However, their boyfriends, Tokiya and Tasuki, had sour looks etched on their faces.
Which is quite funny, especially coming from the usually stoic and cold Tokiya.
Tasuki humphed and crossed his arms stubbornly, almost in a childish manner. He grumbled incoherent words underneath his breath.
Miaka simply laughed and hugged her flame-haired boyfriend.
"Oh come' on Tasuki, you know that I was just kidding around." She said softly, her emerald eyes shining bright.
Tasuki pouted childishly but soon gave a fanged smile, surprising Miaka by pulling her gently in his lap.
He kissed the top of her dark brown-red hair and hugged her closer, earning another giggle from his girlfriend.
Meanwhile, Tokiya still had that crossed look in his face but it vanished when Fuuko grabbed the collar of his sweater and pulled him in for a kiss.
The silver-haired male smiled against Fuuko's soft lips and wrapped his arms around the violet-haired girl's waist.
Both couples' interaction went unnoticed by Kaoru as she had stared at the photo frame she held, trailing a hand gently across the glass pane as if outlining and rememorizing every line and curve of whoever was photographed.
There was a soft, almost sad, smile on her lips that only Kenshin took noticed of. The redhead coughed, drawing the rest of the group's attention towards him, even Kaoru's.
"So who is he Kaoru? Assuming from Miaka's and Fuuko's claims, he is a 'he' right?" He asked.
Kaoru nod her head. "Yes, Kenshin. His name's Aoshi Shinomori."
"Oh Shit! You're not talking about THE Aoshi Shinomori? Sole heir to the Shinomori Inc? The one the tabloids have been talking about? That Aoshi Shinomori?" asked a wide-eyed Fuuko.
Kaoru let out a sigh and placed Aoshi's picture on the table so that everyone could see. The rest leaned closer to peer down at the picture of a tall, handsome ebony-haired guy who looked to be about seventeen. He had his arm wrapped around a younger and slightly less matured-looking version of Kaoru. The young Kaoru had a brilliant smile that made her face glow with youthful beauty and even her companion cracked a small smile at her antics.
"I had wondered why he seemed familiar." Miaka said to herself, yet her voice remained audible to the others.
Kaoru sat next to Kenshin on the couch, as the others had already occupied the available loveseats.
"That is expected," Kaoru replied. "That photo was taken when I was fourteen and Aoshi's graduating high school."
"So he's older than you?" asked Miaka.
Kaoru nod her head. "He's older than me by three years." She added.
Tokiya rubbed his chin in deep thought. "How did you two know each other?" He asked.
If anyone was surprised by Tokiya's show of genuine interest, they didn't show it.
"We met at the park near his old house..."
Fuuko cut her off. "You mean 'mansion'." She corrected. Her sister-in-law was a gossip columnist and therefore knows the lives of the wealthy and the famous.
Kaoru almost rolled her eyes. "Fine then, anyway we met there when I was six and he was nine. I had wandered off from my parents while Aoshi had escaped to the park to get away from his caretakers since his parents are always off on some business trip. At the time, I absolutely love the swings and would often go there if I could."
"Aoshi was already sitting in one of the swings. I remembered that he looked sad so I walked up to him with the intention to introduce myself when…"
A sheepish smile traced on her lips as Kaoru continued. "I suddenly tripped and fell into the sandbox, luckily I wasn't hurt. It was then that Aoshi had gotten off from the swing and helped me up. Of course, I thanked him and introduced myself."
Kaoru raised her hands in the air; then let them go limp and fall at her sides. "And the rest, as they say, is history."
She finished the last sentence with a secretive smile on her lips.
Comfortable silence reigned as everyone absorbed Kaoru's story. Then it was broken as Tasuki spoke.
"Are you and Shinomori ever…"
Tasuki let his voice trailed off yet the others understood what he was trying to ask nevertheless.
Kaoru's face turned a pretty shade of red. "No! Well…we were once, when I was in high school." She said shyly.
Now this caught the group's attention. "What about now?" Fuuko asked curiously.
Kaoru sighed. She really didn't want to talk about this. It was bad enough with the memories burning in her mind like fresh vivid images.
"No," Kaoru's voice was steady as she said so. "We both decided that a long distance relationship couldn't work out as Aoshi's parents wanted him to study college abroad."
Tasuki smirked knowingly at his blood red-haired cousin; Kenshin. The latter tossed the young man a glare but Tasuki merely shrugged it off with a fanged-smile.
"Yes, Aoshi promised me that he would call later."
A certain gleam flashed in Kenshin's violet eyes, turning them a darker shade of amethyst with a hint of amber in them. However, I couldn't comprehend what it was or even if his eyes had changed color since they soon returned to violet in the blink of an eye, so I just waved it off as a figment of my imagination.
Kenshin opened his mouth, as if he had something to say to me, but then seemed to change his mind and closed his lips tight, forming a grim line.
Then he let out what sounded like an exhausted sigh to me and shook his head.
His violet eyes gazed into mine for a moment, surprising me when I saw the almost helpless look embed in their depths.
Suddenly his whole face seemed to brighten up as he offered me a wide smile. I felt my shoulders relaxed as the carefree attitude of my dearest friend finally returned.
"I should get going then," said Kenshin, his hands gripping the straps of his backpack.
"See you later Kao, say 'hi' to Shinomori for me." He said, giving me a wink before he turned and walked off.
My eyes traveled and stayed on the redhead's back until he was out of sight, lost amidst the crowd of students and teachers.
As I turned my back as well towards the university's gates, a thought crossed my mind and made me wonder.
If ever Aoshi and Kenshin meet each other, would they become fast friends? Or would they be hostile towards one another?
I really don't know.
I shoved my hands into the pockets of my jacket and sighed.
'Aoshi this, Aoshi that…Why is it always about Shinomori?' I thought bitterly as I continued walking down the hall.
Since I've known her, Kaoru is always happy whenever Shinomori calls or emails her. In fact, she's so eager that she'll cancel off all of her previous engagements just to wait patiently by the phone, hoping that it was Shinomori whenever it rings.
I frowned as I brushed past other students hurrying to whatever they're going to.
The worst part is that Shinomori doesn't always call as he promised but would instead send a quick IM, making up an excuse that he's busy and the like. Kaoru usually IMs him back saying that it's alright but afterwards she would have that sad, disappointed look in her eyes.
And I couldn't stand it. I couldn't stand seeing the woman I love getting hurt, whether it is by emotional or physical standards.
Yes, I love Kaoru.
The first time I saw her, I became instantly attracted to her. However, I was wary that I was only physically attracted to her by appearance and that she could be a cold, manipulative bitch in real life so I just stood from a distance, observing her silently.
But as days passed, I saw that Kaoru wasn't as I thought her to be. Instead, I found out that she is a sweet, kind, outspoken girl who has a tendency to beat people up.
And she isn't half-bad too since she became to be the vice-president of the kendo club.
I smiled. While it is true that her quick temper sometimes gets the best of her, Kaoru also has a big heart to match with her fiery side.
I should know this. Kaoru helped me to heal my heart from my own break-up with Tomoe.
It was years ago when Tomoe and I parted ways but I still couldn't forget the memory of when she told me that she and Akira Kiyosato (sp?), a guy from our class batch, are in love.
"I'm so sorry Kenshin," Tomoe cried in a painful voice, tears falling freely from her red-rimmed eyes.
"I thought that what I felt for you was love but now I know that it was only infatuation. Akira is the one I truly love. Please forgive me Kenshin. I didn't mean to hurt you this way."
I sighed. Of course, I loved Tomoe so much that I relented and told her to be happy with Akira. However, I never again talked to the both of them even during our high school graduation.
After Tomoe and I broke up, I admit now that I had become a bitter, resentful person full of hatred and angst.
But that all changed when Kaoru and I first met. Little by little, the hard-stone barriers that I put around myself started to crumble. My smiles soon began to turn real and my laughs genuine and not hallow. I started to look forward to each morning with such renewed vigor that even my high school friends were shocked the first few times they visited me.
Yet, despite all of these changes, I had never managed to get rid of the betrayal I felt by Tomoe's confessions.
But I soon learned to let go and forgive when Kaoru noticed me sitting outside in the rain one day and went over to talk to me.
-flashback (Kenshin's POV)-
"Kenshin! What are you doing sitting in the rain? You want to catch a cold?" Kaoru scolded as she saw me sitting at the steps of the school's driveway.
The sky was a dark grey, rain clouds shadowing the afternoon sun's rays. Rain water began to drip and fall from their clouds, drenching me. Clothes stuck to my body like a second skin and my damp blood red hair changed into a dark crimson shade.
I shifted my eyes to Kaoru and gave her a wary smile before I turned my attention back to the view in front of me.
I glanced at the sky, an almost sad smile etched in my lips. It was on a gloomy day like this that Tomoe had confessed her true feelings to me. So I can't help but feel an attachment to the rain. It seemed to cry out for me, shedding tears as I could not.
I turned my gaze to the ground below me; my eyes blank, gazing out at nothing in particular.
Soft, squishy footsteps emitted from behind me and soon I no longer felt the drops of the rain prickling my body. At first I thought that the rain had stopped but the sound of the pitter-pattering of splashing water proved me wrong.
I lifted my chin up and saw Kaoru standing before me. In her hand was an umbrella, opened and hovering above us, shielding the both of us from the rain.
"Are you okay?" She asked me, her sapphire eyes gazing down at me.
My lips twitched into a half-smile at the worried tone in her voice. "Of course I'm alright. Why would you think differently?"
Kaoru furrowed her eyebrows together. "Well it's because you always seem to be sad whenever the weather turns dreary." She commented.
My eyes widened in surprise. I had never expected Kaoru to be sharp enough as to notice my 'mood swings' as I always take great pain in covering up my sorrow towards the rain.
"It's a long story." I told her when my vocal cords' functions finally returned.
Kaoru smiled and, without any compliant, sat next to me, making sure that the umbrella still prevents us from getting wet (in my case, even more wet). Sitting made her drenched her jeans but Kaoru didn't seemed to notice as she turned towards me.
"I've got plenty of time." She said.
I smiled and before long, I found myself telling her the whole story about Tomoe and our breakup.
Since then, I had never been grateful enough at Kaoru. She made me realize the truth and let me see now what I was blinded to before.
After the rain had stopped, I took Kaoru home as I found out that her own car was at the shop and I didn't want her to have to catch a taxi. With her words printed in my mind, I grabbed the phone and dialed the number that I still remembered by heart.
Fortunately, it was Tomoe who picked up the phone. Mentally thanking the gods above that she still used her old number, I greeted her and told her that it was me.
I chuckled at the memory. Boy was Tomoe ever surprised! But I guess that's normal since after all, I haven't talked to her for such a long time.
She was quick to get over the initial shock whoever and asked me why I called. I proceed to tell Tomoe everything. The painful emotions I had felt; the suffering that I had gone through and the sorrow of losing one of my closest friends (meaning Tomoe) because of my own jealousy and selfishness. The grudges I held against both her and Akira that are now replaced with new-found happiness for them.
Both of us cried as we apologized to each other. After we had regained full control of our emotions, we began to swap stories. It was then that Tomoe told me her own good news. She and Akira are officially engaged now and living happily in their own apartment in Kyoto. I told her that I'm happy for them.
At some point in our conversation, I had thanked Tomoe for everything that she'd done.
When she asked me why; I replied that if she hadn't confessed to me her true feelings, both of us would've been miserable had we continued to be together and that I wouldn't have moved to Tokyo after graduation to study college. Therefore, I would never have met Kaoru and my friends.
Hearing me mention Kaoru, Tomoe's normal voice suddenly turned mischievous as she slyly asked me just how close I am to 'this Kaoru?'
I laughed and told her about Kaoru, including my growing feelings for her. Tomoe laughed when she heard me and wished for me to get together with Kaoru so that I could finally have the blissful life that I deserved.
It was late evening when both of us soon began to get tired from all the chatting. Just before I hung up, I invited the both of them to Tokyo for a gathering. Tomoe replied with a 'maybe' and that she'll call me if she and Akira can go. I gave her my number and both of us hanged up, me feeling very light and content, the burden that carried my negative feelings and doubts finally lifted from my shoulders.
And it is all thanks to Kaoru that I finally have complete peace in mind, body and spirit.
Ah. Beautiful, proud, temperamental, forgiving, selfless, wonderful Kaoru. You are truly one of a kind.
If only I could call you mine.
My lips turned into a frown once again. But, deep in my heart, I know that Kaoru still holds on to Aoshi. Though Kaoru may not be aware of it herself, I know that a part of her never wants to forget her past relationship with Aoshi.
And it hurts. It hurts me knowing that the woman I love more than anything else in the world is still in love with her high school sweetheart.
My shoulders squared as I arched my posture a bit to lengthen my height and lifted my chin proudly, walking with such confidence and poise that seemed as if I owned the whole world.
Spying my car parked by the shadow of the university's sakura (cherry blossoms) tree, I dug into my pocket for the car keys.
A shadow of a smile crept up on my lips as I made my way towards my car.
I would make Kaoru see the possibility that Aoshi's not coming back, to both Tokyo and to their relationship.
Whatever it takes.
I glanced at my watch and frowned. The analog clock's hands read 5:45 PM.
I let out a frustrated sigh as I sat in my armchair. I had absolutely nothing to do.
My clothes were already unpacked and tucked into my bedroom closet, their bags put into storage. All of my work papers were done and placed neatly in my briefcase.
My stomach's full from the meal that Yumiko had prepared and I didn't felt like driving through my old neighborhood for now.
Eyeing the black cordless phone perched at one corner of my desk, I reached out a hand as if to grasp it but I pulled back.
Kaoru's phone would surely have a Caller ID system and I didn't want to give myself away just yet.
I had never told Kaoru about my trip back to Tokyo because I wanted it to be a surprise, and also because I did not want the celebrity-hungry media to know of it and thus, tracking me down and destroying my peaceful evening with Kaoru.
Stealing another glance at my watch, my lips curled with impatience.
Oh what the hell! I couldn't take it anymore.
Digging my cellphone from the pockets of my slacks; I dialed her home number, having memorized it by heart.
It rang for a few couple of times before it was picked up and a feminine voice answered.
The beginnings of a smile twitched at the corner of my mouth as I recognized the familiar voice.
"Hello, Kaoru? It's me Aoshi." I said.
A dull crash sounded at the other end followed by a slight buzzing noise.
to be continued.
Sapphire: Well? How was it guys? Really sorry if it seemed to be so 'chessy and clustered', my mom's looking over my shoulder and trying to read the chapter. Argh! She can be so nosy sometimes…but I can't help but love her just the same…Just don't tell her that or I'll never hear the end of it… Hohoho! (smiles)
Well, things seemed to be progressing along quite well. If my estimations are correct, there should be about two chapters left before this fic's finally complete.
Now, be a good reader and leave me some reviews! (grins)