My wrist was starting to throb. But this damn project will not complete itself. Almost done. Just a little more tweaking...
The front door swung open and I heard Miroku's voice boom into my loft.
There were various sounds of plastic bags and things being thumped down on my kitchen island.
"We got some movies and snacks."
"Cool! You rock, 'Roku!" I replied. I didn't even bother to turn around. I suppose it was a nearly every day occurrence that Miroku just lets himself into my place. No biggie. We were roommates eons ago.
"This is Yash and Nobunaga. You guys, that's Kagome. Or at least the back of her head."
Briefly glancing over my shoulder, I gave a slight nod to acknowledge the two guys that Miroku dragged over to my place for Sunday night movies, my latest brilliant idea.
"Hiya, I'll be right there. Lemme complete this. Make yourselves at home," I returned my attention to my computer. "Mi casa es su casa."
Cut and paste, lift and copy, new layer, fill new layer. Eeww, hot pink was so 2002. What the Hells was Eri thinking? Rich chocolate and pale pink. That's what this needs. I love Eri to death, but I think she's a little behind with the trends.
A few minutes later, I was satisfied with the logo color scheme and sent a copy to my client for her approval. Task completed, I turned up my iTunes and reached for the remote to pump it into my stereo. I stretched and looked over at the boys in the kitchen. They were laughing and drinking beer.
"Hi," I smiled brightly. I looked at the strangers in my house. Oh. My. Gods. That's InuYasha Takahashi! The actor, the hotty, the delicious eye candy and fantasy of women and some men worldwide!
"Well, you're Yash," I said in way of a greeting, "that makes you Nobunaga." Gods. I hoped I sounded casual and nonchalant. This is Los Angeles after all, I didn't want to come off all star struck. Damn, InuYasha's so hot! I've been 'in love' with him since I was in high school.
"Hey," Nobunaga said, hand out stretched. I shook his hand firmly and quickly.
Yash just raised his beer bottle and smiled. I nearly died. What an amazing smile!
"Where's Nazuna?" Miroku asked as he handed me a beer.
"Thanks," I grabbed the beer and took a healthy sip. Anything to calm my nerves. "She's running late. She'll be here in a few." My eyes fell to the stack of movie rentals on the counter next to Miroku. "What movies did you get?"
"Shoot 'em up action flicks," Yash answered. "Miroku said you were into those."
I snuck a glance at him while I took another sip of beer. "Mm."
Miroku handed me the dvds. I started flipping through them and reading the synopsis on the backs. A couple of them I never even heard of, I was engrossed in one particular dvd. Ok, not really. I just didn't know how to act around a gorgeous A-list movie star. And he's now single! Rumors had it that he broke up with his wife because she didn't want to start a family. She wanted to focus on her career. There was also talk that he was seeing his co-star in an upcoming movie, Kagura Izumi. She had an adopted daughter, Kanna. I'm a mom. Maybe he'd think I'm date worthy. Shit, what the Hells am I thinking?
"Yo!" Nazuna announced her arrival, dropping a bag of groceries on the island in front of me. I greeted her with a hug. Miroku began rifling through the bag she brought.
"Right on, my favorite!" he exclaimed. A bag of stone ground corn tortilla chips in his hands. He pulled out some avocados and tomatoes. "Kaggs, will you make your nearly famous guacamole?"
"Of course, I would never fail you," I said in a mock serious tone. I placed the movies down on a counter behind me. I pulled out a cutting board and knife. Miroku quickly introduced the guys to Nazuna since I couldn't seem to find my voice.
"Wow, InuYasha, I've been a fan since I was in high school!" Nazuna gushedShe shook his hand and was beaming
Mm, my thoughts exactly, I laughed silently.
"I'm glad to meet you," he responded warmly. "This is Nobunaga." He gestured towards the other fellow and Nazuna turned her attention to him, smiling enthusiastically.
"Where's Shippo?" Nazuna asked, pausing to take a sip from the beer Miroku handed her. "I thought he'd be here. I haven't seen him in next to forever."
"He's on vacation with his father. He'll be back on Friday," I answered as I was scooping out an avocado with a spoon.
"Shippo?" InuYasha asked. "Your boyfriend?"
I looked over at him. Mm. He's curious, that's a good sign.
I softly chuckled and began to relax. I loved talking about Shippo. "No, Shippo is my son." I saw his eyes flicker with... something.
"Son?" Nobunaga questioned, an incredulous look washed over his face.
I nodded and gestured to the fridge, "That's a photo of him."
InuYasha lifted the magnetic frame off the freezer door for a closer inspection, "Nice looking kid. How old is he?"
"Four and a half," I replied without looking up from prepping the ingredients for the guacamole.
"Wow, you must've been really young when you had him," Nobunaga said as he looked at the photo.
Instantaneously, I stiffened. Miroku and Nazuna stopped their side conversation. Damn it. I hate this shit. I shot a look between the two strangers. InuYasha at least had the grace to maintain a neutral expression where Nobunaga just looked like an idiot.
"I realize that it's human nature to make assumptions based on how someone looks," I said in a tone that I hoped wasn't bitchy, pushing a lock of hair behind my ear. "And I know I look young. No matter how old you think I am, if you add five years you might be in the ball park."
He visibly cringed. "Kagome, I didn't mean it like that..." his voice trailed off and a blush reddened his cheeks. "I'm sorry," he muttered
Point one, Higurashi.
"No worries," I shrugged it off. Too bad he backed down so quickly. I like a good debate.
"Dude, she's right about adding five years," Miroku piped in, "she looks way younger than she is."
Nobunaga took another sip of his beer and ventured with, "Well, you look like you're 23 or 24. So am I in the ball park for guessing 28 or 29?"
Nazuna snickered. I just shook my head and rolled my eyes.
"I'm thirty-five. I'll be thirty-six next month," I said.
I heard InuYasha sputter. I raised an eyebrow at him. He wiped the beer off his chin with the back of his hand and gave me a heart stopping smile.
"Holy shit," he said. "You're right. You look really young for your age."
I flipped my hair. What the Hells was I supposed to say to that? At least now, he knows I'm only five and a half years younger than him. And if I remember correctly, I'm the same age as his recent ex-wife. Ex-wife. InuYasha Takahashi, 41, voted the Sexiest Man Alive more times than I had toes. Shit. Single. Hot. And in my kitchen.
The phone rang and brought me out of my reverie. Nazuna held out the phone for me.
"Mm," I said lifting my hands that were covered with little bits of chopped cilantro. "Can you hit the orange button for me? And put the phone there?" I indicated a place in front of my cutting board.
"Hello?" I greeted the caller.
"Hey, Kaggs," it was Sango. Her voice was hoarse. She didn't sound good.
"You're on speaker phone. I'm in the middle of making some guacamole," I explained.
"Oh, ok," she sighed. "I just wanted to let you know that I won't be coming tonight. I'm not up for being social."
"Sweetie, what's up?"
"Takeda flaked on me for lunch today... again," she sighed, again.
"Why don't you just let that one go? He's not the only fish in the sea," I suggested. This Takeda guy talked big, but never delivered.
"Look, Kaggs, for some of us meeting guys is not a walk in the park."
"Oh, please, don't give me that song and dance," I lightly reprimanded.
Another sigh, "Look, I know I'm not gorgeous. I'm not like you. I don't have guys hitting on me while I pump gas. Or follow me around Trader Joe's until he accidentally bumps into me and then asks me out. I don't know how you do it. I bet you'd even have InuYasha Takahashi begging to bed you!"
"SANGO!" I shrieked, I stole a glance at InuYasha and he had an amused look on his handsome face. Shit. I felt my blush sweep over my face. Hells, it felt like it went to the roots of my hair.
"Look, this is not about me or InuYasha Takahashi," I said severely. I was pointing the knife at the phone, like she could see it. "It's about you and what you want. Get off your duff and come over. There are three very good looking men in my house." I looked up at the guys and asked, "Hey are all of you single and available?"
Murmurs of agreement from the guys.
"See? Come over and take your pick. We'll wait to start the movie until you get here," I said, my tone left no room for debate.
"Ok, ok, geez..." she trailed off and then said, "Oh, hey, did you get that InuYasha Takahashi Greek tragedy movie? The one they just released on dvd? I could use some eye candy. Nothing like InuYasha Takahashi in a short black leather skirt."
I snickered when I saw the gleam in InuYasha's eyes. "Well, actually InuYasha Takahashi is in jeans and a t-shirt tonight. So you'll have to deal. Just hurry up and come over already."
She laughed. Her mood sounded much lighter. "Ok, I'll be there in twenty."
"Cool," I said as a closing. Then dial tone. Miroku grabbed the phone and disconnected it for me.
"So what's your friend Sango like?" he asked.
"Ah, laying a claim already, 'Roku?" I teased.
"You'll love Sango," Nazuna added. "She's just your type."
"What exactly is his type?" Nobunaga threw in, he looked like he wanted to be part of the bachelor game too.
"Female," Nazuna and I said in stereo, laughing at Miroku's expense. The guys all joined
Tonight is going to be fun.
The guacamole was done and Miroku was the first to dive right in, "Mm... hrumpf, this is so damn good."
I smiled. And everyone was grabbing some chips. I paid particular attention to InuYasha's reaction. His eyes closed as he took a bite. I heard a soft sigh escape his luscious lips.
"Mm, this is great," he said, our eyes meeting briefly.
"Thanks," I said, a small smile floated on my face.
"So, what's up with you working, Kaggs? On a Sunday no less?" Miroku asked.
"Mm? Oh, Eri wanted to swap out the colors on her logo for a magazine ad," I answered.
"You crack me up, Kaggs," Nazuna interjected. For the benefit of the other guys, she said, "It's not like you have to work or anything."
"I designed the logo. So I have a say in how it looks. I don't want some hack screwing up my design. Plus Eri is my friend," I protested.
"You don't have to work?" Nobunaga asked.
"Nah, she owns like tons of buildings, including this warehouse she likes to call home," Nazuna answered for me. "She just has to breathe and she nets several grand a month."
I shrank. I hated people knowing my business. But Nazuna had no clue what she was doing to me. She began wandering to my desk.
"Whoa! Kaggs, how many you got so far?" She asked. There was a small stack of papers that she flipped through.
I smiled, the agitation flitted away. I said excitedly, "I'm up to ten!"
Miroku laughed and joined her at my desk, "Kaggs, only you would get excited over rejection letters."
"Rejection letters?" InuYasha asked, opening the fridge. "Anyone ready for another beer?"
"I am," Nobunaga said.
"I could use another one as well, my friend," Miroku said.
InuYasha handed them opened beers and looked at me, "What are you collecting rejection letters for?"
"I wrote a novel that I'm working to get published," I answered.
"Really? What's it about?" he asked, his warm amber gaze melting me to mush.
"A fairy tale that takes place in the feudal era of Japan. It's a romance slash action adventure slash martial arts thing," I said. Vague. Vague is good. He's really making me nervous. What the Hells? You'd think I was a blushing high schooler not a thirty-five year-old divorcee, single mom, business owner.
Nazuna interrupted... nothing, "So, Yash, how do you know Kagome?"
He turned away from me to answer her, "Actually, we just met. I know Miroku. His reputation as an architect led me to contact him to design a restaurant I'm investing in. We met a few times and now we hang out."
"Oh, is this the new tea house project you were talking about, 'Roku?" I asked.
"Yeah," he answered, not bothering to look up from a letter he was reading. "Yash, I want Kagome to design the logo, do the menu layout and all other graphic design work."
"Mm..." InuYasha took a sip of his beer and cast his amber eyes on my gray blue babies. "And what do I get out of it?" the tone of his voice was like hot chocolate on a cold winter night. Delicious.
Momentarily melting into another pile of goo... I shook my head. What kind of girl does he think I am? Oh, please. I'm no slut, not even for you, InuYasha Takahashi.
"Mm," I replied, taking a sip of my beer. "How about a great looking logo, menu layout and all other graphic design work?"
He laughed, threw his head back and exposed the gorgeous column of his throat. "This is gonna be fun." He smiled a million dollar gem
Oh, yeah. I smirked. This was going to be a wild ride.
To be continued...
Thank you for reading my story!