Chapter 9: Logic and Reason
Something seemed awfully wrong. Utterly and seriously wrong.
Everything just happened like bam and in a blink of an eye now she found herself getting married not to her fiancé but to a man she hadn't seen for a long time, almost a virtual stranger if not for the fact that she had known him years before.
Why did she accept his proposal just like that? Was he even serious? Wasn't Fate just playing a trick on her? And why her of all people? Wasn't she just plain ridiculous and made a total fool of herself?
All these questions were bombarding her mind every passing minute, she hadn't had a decent meal the entire day. She hadn't even move from the bed for that matter!
She thought she wasn't the type of person who just went with the flow and didn't think things thoroughly before making a decision. She even prided herself for being a logical and reasonable person but how did she end up like this? Where was the logic and reason in her actions for the past twenty four hours?
So fast…she was caught in a freaking whirlwind and now she had no idea how to get back everything in its proper order. She couldn't believe her carefully planned life just turned up side down.
True, Echizen Ryoma was the boy of her dreams when she was a mere twelve-year-old girl. She thought then she'd never meet anyone like him. For her, he was like the sky that she could only gaze at and long for but could never reach no matter how much she tried.
A fantasy. A dream.
She was the girl who wanted nothing but for him to look at her…to smile at her…to love her.
But she thought then those were next to impossible.
Tennis was her biggest rival. A hurdle she could never surpass. Besides, for him, she was no more than a fan…just an ordinary girl not even worthy of a single glance.
And then suddenly, after so many years, there he was appearing in front of her, unprecedentedly sweeping her off her feet and asking her to marry him like it was the most natural thing in the world.
Could she really trust him? Would he not disappear and break her heart the second time?
Maybe some fantasies are only supposed to live in our dreams.
She heard somewhere that there's a fine line between dreams and realities. A line that is just way too dangerous to cross.
But at some point, you just have to make a decision. Either you take the plunge or just forever regret that the moment already passed you by.
Emotions are messy. Life is a pain.
No matter how hard you fight it, you fall. And it's scary as hell.
However, against all logic, against all reason, against all experience, she just wanted to hope that everything would turn out for the better.
Because if you have the chance of a lifetime to fulfill your dream staring right before you, wouldn't you take it?
She just had.
The doorbell rang for the nth time, willing her to finally pull herself up from the confines of her bed after hours (or was it a day already, who knows or rather who cares?) of sleeping or just plain staring into the ceiling. For the first time in her entire existence, she felt she didn't have any energy whatsoever to do anything. She was just so tired. Her life just came crashing down yesterday and who would blame her if she just wanted to die right there and then. But suicide wasn't her thing. No matter what, she wouldn't go that low and try to inflict pain on herself.
Sluggishly, she walked toward the door and pulled it open without even looking at the door viewer to know who it was that had the nerve to disturb her during this self-imposed solitary confinement. She was not ready yet to face the outside world. Give me another day or two, no make that a decade then maybe I can, she thought miserably. Sometimes doing something is worse than doing nothing.
Before she had time to even look at the person's face, whoever it was almost knocked her off and nearly smacked her head on the door panel.
Her head sprang up in anger. "Who –" she looked at him and instantly felt like a frozen chicken with goose bumps all over.
"You look like hell."
The guy, curse him, was Echizen Ryoma nonetheless.
He was eyeing her with obvious concern and she guessed whatever he was about to say about his coming here at her apartment got muddled up with one look at her. She knew, with dark circles under her eyes and reddish worn out nose, she was a cross between Kung Fu Panda and Rudolf, the red-nosed reindeer. Maybe he was having a hard time deciding between the two, he just shook his head making her feel even more miserable.
"Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your concern for my appearance," she retorted with perfect passion of irritation and marched back toward the bedroom.
Undeterred by her obvious sarcasm, he followed and made himself comfortable on the lounge chair at the foot of the bed (the nerve of him). Ayumi, her cat familiarly found her way on his lap and settled nicely between his arms. Not only was he a womanizer, he was also a lady cat killer! How obnoxious could he get?
Feeling betrayed (whether because of the man or the cat, she didn't know), she sent a murderous glare toward their direction before unceremoniously flopping down the bed and burying her face on the pillows. Why did he have to come and see her now?
She heard him ask and felt the bed sink down with his weight. When she didn't answer, his warm hand touched her hair and with surprising gentleness stroked the back of her head.
With tears prickling the back of her eyes, Sakuno just lay there and contented herself with his presence.
Maybe she didn't make a mistake, after all?
Maybe Echizen Ryoma could make her happy.
Maybe they could be happy.
Looking up at him, she stared directly into his eyes. "I broke someone's heart… And mine as well in the process." Tried as she might to hide it, her voice gave away the feeling of hurt, guilt and pain that were crushing her down.
Sakuno saw icy indifference there and then mask his handsome face upon hearing her words. His golden eyes were like shards of glass piercing her face; she had the strangest notion that he was ready to strike her down. Good, maybe this was how it was supposed to be. Echizen Ryoma would be the end of her.
With voice that was equally detached and calculating, he asked the one thing she could never lie about, not even to herself.
"Tell me, did you love him?"
For a moment, deafening silence hung in the air between them. When she reached for his hand, it was terribly cold, still she held it tight. This was something they both needed to hear whatever the end result might be.
"I did. And I still do." Anger flashed in his eyes but she was determined to make him understand. "Kojirou had been a vital part of my life. No one could ever change that." A tear finally found its way down her cheek. She thought she had already cried her eyes out but her tears seemed to spring a life of their own.
"But, you have my heart. You always have…Then and now, it belongs to you." She smiled dryly despite herself. "You can very well grind it to a hamburger and enjoy."
Echizen Ryoma couldn't find his voice for fear that he wouldn't recognize himself when he did.
Really, sometimes reality has a way of sneaking up and biting you in the ass. There are some things you can't escape. And other things you just don't want to know.
But, he could only lie to himself for so long. And denying it wouldn't change the truth.
He, Echizen Ryoma, had already fallen in love with Ryuuzaki Sakuno…hard and with a loud thud.
He loved her. Every part of her.
And when he kissed her the first time, that's when things started to get out of control.
All that perfection, all that beautiful control he thought he had, just fell to crap.
There was only one thing in his mind.
He didn't want to let her go.
Let all things be damned, but he needed her to be with him from then on.
No, he wasn't romantic. He wasn't wired that way. And chasing after a woman when clearly she was already off-limits was just a waste of his precious time. For him, women were merely dispensable things he could have and play with any hour of the day and he could easily discard when he was bored and done with after.
However, this woman just went and, whether or not it was her own making, left him wanting for more. More time with her, more kisses with her, more of her. His greed was overwhelming it was driving him mad by the second.
All his strange aversion to relationships, let alone marriage was not the issue anymore.
It was just her.
Even if it would cost him everything that he had, he would gladly exchange them all just for her.
And whether she loved him or not, didn't matter. She loved him then. She could love him now. That's what he thought.
But he didn't think jealousy would eat him alive. It was an entirely different thing altogether.
With her declaring her undying love for that other man just made him want to shake her senseless. And it required him an enormous amount of will power not to. Still, the nagging feeling that other than him, there was another who was with her when he was not just wouldn't die.
Now, here she was, telling him he always had her heart for the taking.
The insanely good feeling right after he heard it was just…beyond him.
Maybe it was pride or maybe plain self-preservation or maybe it was just about being tough, Echizen Ryoma would never admit to her (well unless absolutely necessary) how she outrageously affected every fiber of his being.
He was born to be tough and his own brand of arrogance was a facet of his personality he just couldn't live without. He was rough around the edges, hard core… at least that's what he used to think.
…Yet, she was just absolutely wonderful. Even with her long hair in a jumbled mess flying in every direction and her lovely face currently littered with tear stains and eye bags, she was breathtaking.
And he must have done something good in his past life or whatever, to have her for himself.
Well, he was just lucky. That must be it.
He smiled at the thought and just looked at her, marveling at how such in a short amount of time (too short actually it blew his mind off) she was able to turn his world into a dysfunctional one, himself included.
Reaching inside his pocket, his hand took hold of the velvet box that was originally his main reason in coming to see her. He just couldn't wait to get rid of that damn ring on her finger and replace it with the most exquisite diamond ring one could ever find (that's according to the staff at Tiffany's though).
"Can you give me your hand?" He asked without averting his eyes from her face.
With inquiring eyes, she hesitantly moved and placed her hand above his palm. Brashly, he removed the forsaken thing (which was making his eyes hurt every time he glanced at it) on her finger and slipped his ring right after. The round brilliant cut diamond with sapphire side stones sparkled and made a dazzling dance of light from almost every angle, complementing more her silky skin.
Perfect. He thought and curved the side of his lips into a smile.
Satisfied with his choice and with himself, Ryoma searched her face and waited for her reaction. He surmised she would be delighted, if not overjoyed now that he already made it official.
They were engaged.
He, Echizen Ryoma, was now officially hers. And she was his.
Proper branding should be done first before everything else.
The woman though didn't move an inch; her face remained expressionless without even a hint of whatsoever that he was starting to doubt she suddenly lost her senses. Was she too astonished to even blink her eyes? Surely, she saw this coming, right?
When finally she lifted her eyes to look at him, her voice was too shallow he almost didn't hear her. But her next words instantly made him want to marry her straight away (and start making lots of babies).
Smiling and crying at the same time, she said the sweetest thing he had ever heard. "Thank you Ryoma. I would be happy to be with you."
A/n: Don't we all love a happy ending? But wait, is this really how it's going to end (beats me)? Next chap will be the last. I know, I'm guilty of almost abandoning this story but my heart fortunately just wouldn't want to let it go. To all who liked and reviewed the past chapters and were waiting patiently for this chapter, thanks so much. Hope this didn't disappoint. ^^