Author's Notes: From the depths of the WCSU Library where you lord and master, Silver Miko, has locked and fortressed herself within a study room, I present a oneshot of mass proportions for the February Challenge so brilliantly and skillfully made by...me!
None the less, this is a modern AU fic. An attempt at humor, a dash of drama, etc. etc.
Miai- Arranged marriage meeting, typically the parents pick a suitor or a are requested their child attend an omiai to negotiate a possible marriage match.
Well That's Convenient
By Silver Miko
(Accepting donations for the Miko Moving Fund)
"You know what, I think I should get married too."
Kaoru looked up from her rice ball and started laughing.
"You kind of need a groom, let alone a boyfriend, Misao-chan!"
Makimachi Misao sighed, and nibbled half-heartedly on her cookie as she looked out the coffee house window on the cold February afternoon. She had met Kaoru there to hear the news she so ecstatically announced to having over the phone the day before.
She should of known from the telltale glowing on Kaoru's face, or the blatant sparkle on her ring finger.
Kamiya Kaoru was engaged.
Misao was genuinely happy that her friend finally got the proposal she dreamed of from her long time boyfriend Himura Kenshin, but Misao couldn't help feel a pang of envy. Everyone around her was either married or getting married.
Her best guy friend Sagara Sanosuke had married their friend Takani Megumi a year earlier, Misao's cousin Takagi Tokio had been married to a cop named Saitoh Hajime for over five years, her other cousin Okon had married some pottery swordsman guy, and now her best friend Kaoru was engaged.
And here at twenty-one, Misao barely had even had a serious boyfriend.
It hadn't bothered her in the past, but now that she reflected upon it...everyone was moving on with their lives, starting new things, finding someone that was theirs for life...
And Misao envied that security and realized what she herself had been denying: she wanted to find that- marriage. A secure bond. Someone to be by her side.
And thus absently mindedly she had made that statement the moment before, that she should get married. She was growing weary of throwing herself into her martial arts and hobbies to try to fill the void growing ever present in her heart. Some kind of independent girl she was, suddenly longing to get wed.
"I realize that, but I mean, I can always just ask Jiya to arrange a mi-ai. I don't think he'd pick some random jerk for his precious grand-daughter. And anyways, I'm getting old and I suppose it'd be nice to have someone to rely on."
"So you'd sacrifice the chance at finding love, like real, passionate, 'I can't help but want to bang you against a wall' love?"
Misao's cheeks reddened as she shook her head in shame of her long-time friend.
"I pray fervently for Himura. He's got balls marrying someone like you."
"What was that, little Misao-chan!" Kaoru asked, setting her rice ball down.
Misao's head shot up with a vengeance, teeth gritting.
"What's the matter? Jealous that I'm thinner, Tanuki-CHAN?"
"He! More like a teenage boy looking, Itachi-CHAN!"
The two glared at each other and then sweatdropped when they noticed the stares they were receiving.
"Ah...truce." Misao siad, waving her napkin.
Kaoru agreed, nodding quickly.
"So Misao-chan, what color dress would you like?"
"Huh? For what?"
"Oh right! Blue or violet looks good on me. If you do yellow I'll kill you seven times over though."
"Aww, but you look cute in yellow."
Kaoru laughed softly.
"Don't worry Misao-chan, you'll find someone for you."
"Che, I'm sick of waiting. I'll take my chances with an arrangement."
"I still think it's a bad idea."
"Yea, but Kaoru-chan, you thought Day Glo clothing was a good idea."
"Let's never speak of that again."
Misao grinned, knowing she had one-upped Kaoru this time. She finished off her cookie and rested her chin in her hand thinking.
What else was she waiting for? Her prince charming wasn't coming anytime soon, no dark knight in her corner.
She was determined then, she was getting married.
"You know Shinomori, maybe you should try getting a girlfriend or something. You're twenty seven and ain't getting any younger."
Aoshi looked up from his notes, icy blue eyes glaring at the large form of his editor from behind expensive reading glasses.
"And why do you say that, Hiko-san?" he asked, his tone icy.
"Because while your writing is good, you lack a grasp of the feminine perspective. Your female characters and their interactions with the main character are just all wrong. When was the last you even had a girlfriend or even got any?"
"That's really none of your damn business. Unless you have other suggestions on how I should live my life, I suggest you let me get back to work so I can make deadline."
Hiko sighed, and shrugged his shoulders as she turned around in the dimly lit apartment full of books and notes, ready to take his leave.
"I'm just saying Aoshi, it wouldn't kill you to interact more with the female species. Think of it as field research."
"Good bye, Hiko." Aoshi said curtly as Hiko merely grumbled and left Aoshi alone.
Glancing at the white screen of his laptop, he rubbed the bridge of his nose and leaned back, his mind processing the words of his editor.
It was a foolish idea. What would said girl do? Demand he stop working to go out with her?
Stare at him in confusion when he talked about the Bakumatsu and Meiji Era? Pout when he shut everything and everyone out to work?
He had been through that already. He didn't need a girlfriend, just a girl to give her perspective. An assistant.
But did that really solve the problem Hiko was getting at? His characters were domestic, and if Hiko's idea was to really work he would have to go a step beyond dating and understand married life.
Marriage...he never thought of it, but he wasn't getting any younger...and he did need someone to look after his place when he was working or away for book tours...and even if he didn't want to admit it, he was starting to feel the weight of his solitude, and perhaps a wife was more convenient.
There was no need for dates. He could work and she could do whatever. He would make it clear that his work was his first priority.
Was he really giving this serious thoughts? Forgo dating and go straight to marriage?
Not that arranged marriages or things of such were uncommon. It happened all the time. In this day and age sometimes a marriage of convenience was just easier.
Perhaps...it was not so foolish a notion.
Now all he needed was a willing girl.
'Right, excuse me miss, I'm a popular author of samurai novels and I want to get married, without dating and all that. Are you interested? Oh, and my work comes first. Face it, it's a stupid idea stemming from a stupid lush who plays with clay bowls.'
Aoshi shook his head and went back to work.
Misao rubbed the back of her neck, easing the slight ache that was forming, and patted the pink obi of her waitress uniform as she looked around the restaurant. Her grandfather Okina owned the restaurant, the Aoiya, and Misao had been working for him since she was sixteen. Her uniform, which was a violet gi top that was sleeveless and matching violet shorts were lined with blue and paired with a pink obi, long black socks, and sandals.
Her blue-black hair was in its usual braid and she was poised with a notepad in one hand and a pen in the other. She noticed the tall man with black hair seated at the corner table and smiled.
Her favorite customer, one Shinomori Aoshi. He had been getting tea and lunch at the Aoiya almost every day he was in Kyoto for the past six years, and Misao couldn't help but the find the mysterious, stoic writer intriguing.
It also didn't help that he was the most gorgeous man she'd ever seen. Tall with nice golden tan skin, black hair that fell sexily into his icy blue eyes...
Even with glasses, he looked good.
Fixing her bangs, she walked over to him with a bright smile on her face.
"Hi Aoshi-sama! Green tea and yakitori as usual?" she asked, noticing he was scribbling down notes in a notebook.
"Yes, as usual, Misao." he said, not looking up.
It was an understanding at the Aoiya that Misao was the only waitress Aoshi could tolerate, simply that he wasn't much of a people person and something about the smiling girl didn't irk him so much.
Also it was apparent to everyone but Aoshi that Misao had a thing for the quiet writer. Okon and Omasu had teased her many times, suggesting she leave her number on a napkin or something.
Misao would always just blush and refuse.
She walked over to the kitchen and put down his order, and walked to the hostess podium where Okon stood in her gold and green kimono that was across from Aoshi's table.
"I see your favorite customer is here." Okon said with a teasing smile.
"Oh lay off. Anyways, what do you think about what I told you?"
"About you wanting Okina to arrange a mi-ai? I think it's kinda silly. You're young, you've still got time before you need to worry about getting married."
"But Okon, everyone around me is getting married and I feel like I'm never going to find someone, so I may as well secure a husband now."
"I still think you should forget it."
"No way, Okon! I want to get married!" Misao said, a bit loudly, which caught Aoshi's attention as he looked up from his notes at her outburst.
Misao walked briskly to the kitchen and waited for Aoshi's order, preparing his tea, and grumbling under her breath about Okon.
"Misao-chan, the yakitori order's almost ready!" Okina called out as Misao lifted her head from preparing the tea.
"It's for Aoshi-san, right?"
Misao's cheeks colored a bit and she nodded.
"He's a find young lad that one! Some lucky girl should snag him, don't you think?" Okina asked slyly, scritching at his beard.
"I wouldn't know." Misao mumbled, looking away and waiting as she tapped her fingers for the yakitori.
When it was done, she quickly grabbed the plate and headed to his table, setting the plate and tea down.
"Anything else you need?" she asked.
"Misao, did I hear you say you wanted to get married?"
Misao blushed, laughing nervously.
"Yes, I was telling my cousin I was thinking about having a mi-ai."
"I see." he murmured, unable to stop the wheels turning in his head.
Misao wanted to get married. She was a sensible girl, one of the few he tolerated. She was...pretty and levelheaded. Good natured.
"Um, if you don't need anything else, I'll just get back to work and check on you a little bit." she said, wanting to get away.
Why had she told him she wanted to get married? Not that it mattered. He'd never go for a hyper pipsqueak like her.
"Misao, it happens that I find myself looking for a wife. Someone to take care of my apartment when I'm gone and to help me understand the feminine perspective more. My editor suggested I find a girlfriend, but dating is rather time-consuming."
Misao blinked. Her mind was racing.
"What a...romantic sentiment."
"The point is, you want to get married and I need a wife. We've known each other for the past six years. It seems a logical solution."
Her eyes went wide and her mouth opened.
"You...you'll marry me?"
"As long as you understand work is my first priority and that is a marriage of convenience, yes, I'll marry you."
He couldn't believe what he was saying.
"Aoshi-sama...I...thank you! You have no idea how much this means to me that you'll marry me!"
Misao, too in shock and joy, didn't notice Okina walking past her and stop as he heard her statement.
"Misao-chan! My little Misao-chan is getting married! Oh happy day!" he said, clapping his hands together and running to the middle of the restaurant.
"Jiya, wait!" Misao called out, looking over to Aoshi who looked displeased.
'Damn you old man! You better not do anything to make him take it back!' her mind screamed.
"Attention everyone! Please! I'm so happy to announce my precious grand-daughter, my pretty Misao-chan is getting married!"
There was applause in the restaurant and Misao felt a pat on the back, knowing it was Okon and could hear her chuckling under her breath.
Misao wanted to crawl in a hole and hide, and looking down at Aoshi again, knew he pretty much felt the same.
He looked up at her slowly, clearly unamused and she mouthed an 'I'm so sorry' to him.
"This news is so joyous so to celebrate, a round of sake on the house!" Okina called out, which caused even more cheering.
Okon pushed Misao to sit down next to Aoshi, telling her to take a break from work to have a dish of sake or two.
Misao complied, sitting awkwardly with her hands in her laps and looking down, cheeks as red as a tomato.
"I'm sorry." she voiced out weakly, turning her head to glance slightly at Aoshi, and saw the exasperation on his face.
"It's not your fault. Okina...is just like this." he said, trying to reassure her. He knew he had the ability to come off sounding very cold, since he preferred to be blunt in most cases, but something about Misao made him want to tread carefully and not offend her.
She was most likely more embarrassed that he was at the moment.
Tentatively, he reached out and place a hand over hers.
She turned her face more to him, eyes wide.
"Here we go! A toast!" Okina said, setting down sake dishes and a bottle.
"Jiiiyaaaa..." Misao growled out menacingly, while the old man blinked.
"What? It's good news! Come now, Misao-chan!"
She sat back and crossed her arms, and Aoshi took his hand back.
"Come now my boy, have a drink with me."
"Okina, you know I don't drink." Aoshi voiced quietly.
"But this is a special occasion! You've agreed to marry my little Misao-chan! Oh! It's so assuring knowing she's found a good man to take care of her!"
"Jiya..." Misao said, pleadingly in embarrassment.
"Come on Aoshi-san! Be a man!"
Aoshi narrowed his eyes and accepted a dish, the 'be a man' comment irking him. Misao politely refused, and watched as Okina and Aoshi each downed a dish.
It wasn't long before Okina indulged in more sake, and Aoshi was feeling the effects of the one dish.
His tea and yakitori forgotten, Aoshi swayed lightly left and right in his spot before falling to slump against Misao.
"Bahh! Can't hold his liquor at all!" Okina said, cheeks and nose bright red.
Misao sighed in annoyance and helped a semi-conscious Aoshi out of the booth and out the back to the living quarters of the house and up the stairs to her room.
Setting him down on her bed she grumbled to herself, thinking this was, so far, not going very smoothly.
But then she smiled down at Aoshi's sleeping form, and sat next to him on her bed.
"It didn't matter to me at this point who I married, I guess...but really...I'm glad I'm going to marry you, Aoshi-sama."
Brushing his bangs off his forehead, Misao brushed her lips against it and pressed a light kiss there before standing up and going back to scold Okina and keep an eye on the Aoiya.
Hours later, Aoshi awoke to the sensation of warmth against his side and blinked as he opened his eyes, noting that from the light in the room in was almost dark.
"Welcome back to the living, Aoshi-sama."
He turned his head to the left to see Misao sitting next to him in jeans and a long-sleeved blue shirt, knees bent up as she read.
"What...why does my head hurt?" he groaned.
"Sake. You weakly caved into Okina's mind games and got drunk." she explained.
He groaned, throwing an arm over his eyes. He sat up suddenly, wincing at the throbbing in his temples, and looked over at her.
"Did I...do anything...bad?"
Misao looked at him, fighting the urge to giggle at how sexily disheveled he looked.
"Yes, you started stripping and singing disco songs."
He looked at her with such a serious face that she couldn't but laugh as slight mortification creeped into his eyes.
"I'm kidding, Aoshi-sama! You just passed out so I dragged you up here to sleep it off, and then I beat the crap out of Okina for embarrassing us."
"I see. I suppose thanks are in order."
"I suppose you're welcome." she replied, setting her book down and yawning.
"I suppose we should discuss our impending nuptials." he murmured.
"I guess. When do you want to get married?"
"As soon as possible. A week from today."
"Mou, that's cutting it close! I think...I can manage something. My cousin owns a boutique."
"Hm. Just to make this clear, Misao, this won't be a normal marriage. You'll most likely be more of my assistant."
She furrowed her brows.
"Do I get paid?"
"Well not in money, but maybe in other ways?" she asked, arching an eyebrow. She was only half teasing though.
"Misao...that aspect...will be determined when the time comes."
"Oh, no sex. Not very fun at all." she mock pouted, while her mind yelled at her to just shut up.
"I'm a busy man, Misao. My work is my life. You may, if you wish, discreetly see others."
Her eyes widened and she was towering, or rather, leaning over him in an heartbeat.
"I don't think so! I'm not having that kind of marriage!"
"I see. So you want to be monogamous?"
"The question is: do you want to personally know how sharp my kunai are?"
"I see. Then fidelity it is, but...don't expect much from me. You might reconsider over time." he said wistfully.
It wouldn't have been the first time a woman left him for another man. He just didn't hold intimacy as important as work.
And it was what ultimately led him to be single and so he decided to forgo relationships altogether. He hadn't had a girlfriend or sex in almost four years. And it didn't bother him.
"Aoshi-sama, I will be a loyal wife to you. I swear it. I could never cheat on you." Misao said, her voice so earnest and sincere that it made something stir in Aoshi. Something he wasn't familiar with.
He wasn't even aware that his hand had slid into her hair to move her face closer when he brushed his lips against the corner of her mouth and murmured a 'thank you'.
Surprised by his actions, he backed away slightly.
Misao stood up and paced around her room.
"Well, you should probably get going before Jiya does something even dumber and I've got planning to do. Um, I'm free tomorrow. Do you want to meet and talk more about the wedding then?"
Aoshi nodded as he stood up.
"Meet me at the Shirobeko at noon."
"Okay. See you tomorrow, Aoshi-sama."
He nodded goodbye and let himself out.
As the door shut Misao continued pacing and then stopped, a big grin on her face as she jumped and flopped onto her bed.
"I'M GETTING MARRIED!"
"Wow Misao-chan, that's just...wow..."
"Tokio-chan, please don't give me a lecture. I've already heard it from everyone else. I need dresses."
Tokio put a finger to her chin in thought.
"Hmm...I dunno Misao-chan...you're pretty poor. What's in it for me?"
"Done! Well then, let's see what gowns we have!"
Tokio, a tall woman with long black hair and gold eyes, was an interesting contrast to the petite blue eyed Misao.
"Now, you need something special my little cousin, I'm thinking something really elegant. No matter the circumstances of marriage, you're going to look like a damn princess! OOH! I know JUST the dress!"
Misao stood and waited as Tokio pulled a dress off the rack and showed it to Misao who looked at it wide eyed.
"I knew you'd like it!"
Misao took the dress to the fitting room and tried it on, stepping out to show Tokio who beamed over it. As Misao looked with excitement, she had to smirk in an almost bittersweet manor.
It was almost like she was preparing for a dream wedding.
In a way she was. She really liked Aoshi, and did have a crush on him but...could love ever be a possibility.
She thought of his silent demeanor, solitary ways...
Was he capable of it? Love?
To ponder those thoughts gave her a nervous feeling and that was the last thing she wanted.
This was a simple and convenient arrangement.
The wedding came and went, and Misao had the slight satisfaction at the stunned look on Aoshi's face when she walked down the aisle in her dress. It was a shimmering white gown with a lacy bodice embroidered with silver and had off the shoulder puffy sleeves.
She looked like a princess.
They had said their vows and shared a chaste but mind scattering kiss and were soon whisked away to the reception where after a number of toasts, Sanosuke drunkenly declaring he was a secret soldier of the old Meiji group Sekihoutai, and Kaoru prodding Misao about implications of the wedding night, the newly bride and groom returned to Aoshi's apartment.
Misao nervously wrung her hands as she sat on the couch, waiting for Aoshi to come out of the kitchen.
He mumbled he was going to make tea and she sat and wondered what was going to happen.
It was their wedding night, and wedding night's meant...
Could she have sex with Aoshi?
Her mind screamed at her 'of freaking course you can bang the hot stud!'
Her heart wasn't sure. Could she have sex with someone she didn't love? Not that she was a virgin, but she wasn't some kind of cheap slut.
He returned and startled her a bit when a glass hit the surface of the coffee table. She looked up at him and smiled nervously and took the glass and quickly drank down the iced tea.
Aoshi merely quirked a brow and went to his desk and turned his computer on. Misao tilted her head, and watched as he began typing.
"I have work to catch up on, if you're tired you may sleep in the bed. I suppose we'll be sharing it at some point."
"I...I would imagine since we're married." she mumbled, standing up.
She was married.
It didn't feel like she would thought it would.
Walking into the bedroom where her bags were, she walked into the bathroom and washed her face. After that was done she rifled through her bags for pajamas and put on a pair, only to find a note in her pajama bag.
'Misao-chan, we're holding your pjs hostage for the night. Wear this. T & K'
She lifted out a blue satin nightgown that had a low cut V neckline and stopped at her knees.
"Kaoru-chan...Tokio-chan...you're so dead." she muttered to herself as she slipped off her clothes and changed into the night gown. It showed a lot of skin, but she had to admit, the material felt nice against her skin.
She grabbed her brush and undid her long braid, brushing her hair out. She hummed as she brushed, and could hear the clicking of keys as Aoshi typed in the other room.
She sighed, setting the brush down.
"Guess sex is out." she mumbled to herself and yawned as she padded to the bed and laid down, pulling the covers over her as she sighed.
She was starting to think consummated her marriage wouldn't have been bad. And she had to admit she always wondered if Aoshi looked as good without clothes as he did in them.
'Ah, you're a shameless perv, Makimachi. Er, Shinomori.'
Sighing, she turned on her side and closed her eyes, the events of the day finally catching up with her soon she was lightly snoring.
It was sometime around 3 am when Aoshi ceased his typing and shut the computer off, stifling a yawn. Padding quietly into the bedroom, he took off his shirt and headed to the bed. He paused as he saw Misao sleeping, and wondered briefly if he should sleep on the couch.
'No, we're married. This is how it's supposed to be. And I don't want to sleep on the couch.'
With those thoughts in mind, Aoshi slipped into the bed and sighed as he felt his eyes droop. Wake up, get married, reception, work...tiring things. He wondered if this had been a good idea, but those thoughts faded as Misao's soft snoring lulled him into sleep.
Hours later, as sunlight streamed through the windows, Aoshi awoke to a strange sensation. Warmth, softness...pressing against him, rubbing almost. Silky hair against his chest. Softness like flower petals against his shoulder.
He opened his eyes slowly and blinked, looking down to see Misao sprawled half atop of him with the bed covers cast aside, probably kicked away by her. She was wearing a satin blue nightgown that was now riding high on her thighs as one of her legs was draped over his waist as she was more or less glomping him in her sleep.
The silky black of her hair tickled against his chest as he nuzzled her face against the crook of his neck, her lips brushing against the tanned skin of his shoulder which combined with the silk of her hair and the warm softness of her was stirring something in him. The combination felt so erotic and pleasing to him.
And that disturbed him, for he had no real intentions of ever having carnal relations with his wife. Sex was a distraction, and he had learned to suppress his desires long ago. And yet now Misao was...
He could feel it, almost painfully, how aroused she was making him.
As she shifted again, Aoshi could take it no longer and quickly pried her off of him and walked swiftly into the bathroom, stripping out of his pants and boxer-briefs and stepping into the large shower stall, turning the cold water on full blast.
His skin shivered.
He had never expected that.
Misao blinked and opened her eyes, sitting up and rubbing them sleepily. Looking at the cast aside covers, she heard the shower running and deduced her new husband was up and getting ready for the day.
Surprisingly she had slept quite well, feeling warm and comfortable. Getting up, she padded into the kitchen and began looking around for things to make breakfast for them. Finding the tea kettle and the green tea, she began a pot as she looked through the fridge for eggs and vegetables and through the pantry for rice.
Fifteen minutes later, Aoshi emerged into the kitchen and smelled something delicious in the air.
She look over her shoulder from the stove and smiled.
"Morning, Aoshi-sama! Have a seat. Breakfast will be ready in a moment." she said.
He noted her hair was once more in a braid, which made sense since she was cooking. Yet he couldn't help but want to see her hair down once more.
As she served their breakfast, he sipped his tea and watched as she ate.
But oddly, comforting to eat with company he thought.
"So Aoshi-sama, what's the agenda for today?"
He set his cup and down.
"We should collect your things from the Aoiya first and foremost."
"Yea, I really miss my pajamas."
"My cousin and Kaoru stole my pajamas, hence the nightie. Trust me, this was not my choice." she murmured, blushing.
"Hmmm...you know, you really need groceries. Maybe while you work I'll go to the store. I assume you'll be working?"
"You always work." she said with a sigh, remember how he would have a small notebook with him often.
They finished their breakfast in comfortable silence and thus began what would be their routine for week to come.
Breakfast, they would do what they needed to do be it work or errands, have dinner, sleep. Though for some reason she never woke up with Aoshi next to her, and soon enough he was sleeping on the couch more than the bed.
Almost two months after their wedding, Misao was once more sitting in a café with Kaoru, sighing.
"What's up, Misao? You look...glum."
"I just...I don't know. I mean, being married to Aoshi-sama isn't as hard as I thought, it's really easy. Routine almost. But still...I..."
"You guys get down and dirty yet or what?"
Misao groaned and slumped her head against the table.
"Want to rock his socks off?"
"...You aren't helping."
"Ah sorry. Poor Misao. Keep it up and you'll be a born again virgin."
"Stupid Aoshi-sama! Why does he have to be so stubborn...and sexy?"
Kaoru pondered in thought, and then snapped her fingers.
"Because God hates you, Misao. He wants you eternally sexually frustrated."
Misao made an almost annoyed scream and sat up, exhaling.
"You know, this isn't helping. I'm going home. Oh, and I hope Himura one day goes impotent and you know my pain you stupid bastard."
"Oh that's mean! My Kenny Ken is way to verile for that."
"Oh...that's a horrible thought. I'm scarred. Damn you, bitch."
"Oh you love me and you know it. Later." Kaoru said with a wave as Misao left.
It was then Kaoru realized an important fact.
Misao had left Kaoru to pay their bill.
Aoshi sat typing at his computer, the words flowing much easier than usual. The scene he was working on was between his hero and a female: who would be the hero's lover. She was not the usual reserved, meek woman he usually wrote. She was strong-willed, bright, intelligent...
He pictured large blue eyes.
His fingers slowed, as he sat back at sighed.
Lately, he couldn't get her out of his mind. Her smiles, her perfume all throughout the apartment, her eyes, her voice, she was influencing his work...
But actually for the better. Hiko had commented that his work had improved, saying Aoshi had found his perfect muse.
It wasn't just that. It wasn't just that she was smart and pretty, and cheerful...she was so many things and he was more attracted to her than he'd ever been towards anyone.
And it was driving him insane. He hadn't wanted an intimate relationship, he wanted to work, work was his life.
Maybe...maybe that was the problem. Maybe making work his life...was making his work rather lifeless. Hiko used to comment more that his writing seemed dull sometimes.
Maybe what he really needed...was to live his life...to be able to write about other lives.
The worst thing you can do in a marriage of convenience, he had done.
He had fallen in love with his wife.
It hadn't been a sudden thing, like a light bulb turning on in his head. It had happened over the past six years. From the first moment he met her, smiling at him with a waitress pad in her hand ready to take his order, while he looked up at her will icy eyes...
The way he'd seen her every year at several matsuri perusing books with a goldfish in hand that she always caught for the Aoiya fish tank...
The way she smiled for him every morning as she made him breakfast, the way she laughed at something on the TV while he worked, how she would occasionally doze off in the afternoon curled up on the couch...
So many little things, all added to this emotion that made Aoshi feel like an invisible punch in the stomach. It could only be love...the one thing he avoided.
He used to see love as a complication, it always messed with his head...but with Misao...
He wanted that. Wanted to love her. Wanted her love.
From her shy glances in the beginning, the smiles, the way she kissed the top of his head as he typed before leaving...
He was sure she felt something of the same.
The door opened and he looked over to see Misao walk in, shrugging off her denim jacket and sighing.
"I'm home." she called out.
"Welcome back." Aoshi murmured, turning off his computer and standing up.
He walked towards her and she stood still, surprised.
Aoshi seldom got up from his computer this early, and there was something in his eyes...
He was close, maybe two inches from her.
"Aoshi-sama...what are you doing?" she asked, her voice lowered to almost a whisper.
"Trying something." he murmured, placing a hand to the back of her head and drawing her face to his.
Lips against lips, soft and undulated at first, then building into more demanding and passionate. Her arms had gone around his neck, their bodies pressed close as Misao felt the door against her back.
It was a blur at how they moved through the living room and into the bed room, but they would always remember each others' sighs and moans and the feel of skin.
He stripped her naked as she with less patience removed his clothes, and indeed she was pleased to know he did look quite good without clothes. He trailed kisses down the side of her neck, her perfume intoxicating him.
Lilies. She always smelled like sweet, clean lilies.
Her lips...tasted like cherries. She kissed him with her cherry lipstick on, and he never wanted to wash her off his face.
Misao felt like she was on fire. She never imagined this would happen when she came home. What had changed in Aoshi? Granted he'd been looking at her differently lately...
Not that this was something to complain about.
Her husband, whom she was indeed truly in love with, was about to make love to her.
Sure he was quiet, brooding, a workaholic...but she loved him for it. His dedication to his work...
She loved everything about him.
Wasn't there some rule about not falling in love in a marriage of convenience? Did she really care!
She lost count of how many times they made love throughout the night, taking the time to explore each other and make each other groan in pleasure over and over.
As the sun began to rise, Aoshi and Misao were spent, laying together with the covers covering him up to his hips whereas Misao had the covers tucked neatly over her chest.
She smiled languidly, her fingers tracing light patters across his chest and shoulder.
"Aoshi-sama...I suppose this is a bit late to ask but...what brought this on?"
He sighed, stifling a yawn.
"I realized...a marriage of convenience won't work between us."
Misao's eyes widened, and she felt her breath hitch.
"Oh...then why did you...we..."
"Misao, I wasn't finished. As I said, a marriage of convenience won't work between us...it was a bad idea to begin with because you love me."
"I...well yes I do. But when we got married I only liked you."
"Liar." he murmured.
"Okay, maybe it was more than just 'like'. So what? I love my husband. At least now I know you like me too. Enough to screw me silly anyways."
"Misao...I don't like you."
"What? So...you just randomly got horny and wanted to have lots of sex with me? What the hell...Aoshi-sama!"
Aoshi knew she was getting the wrong idea, and yet...he couldn't help but tease her a bit.
"I don't like you. I love you, Misao."
She sat up, groaning as she did. She might be energetic, but Aoshi had utterly worn her out.
"Yes. I don't spend all night making love to woman I just like. Too much effort wasted."
"Wow...you're so romantic." she murmured sarcastically, laying back down and slumping against him.
"Misao, I still regard my work highly."
"I know." she said, yawning.
"But...I can live my life too."
"Yep." she murmured, eyes closing.
"And...I very much enjoyed last night."
"I would hope..." she mumbled.
"I guess...I'm saying...from now on...you're the most important thing in my life, Misao."
There was no reply.
He looked over to see his beautiful, young wife...completely asleep.
He smiled softly, and laid his head back, eyes drifting shut.
He couldn't remember ever feeling more content.
"Shinomori-san, you're latest novel has been critically appraised and has been on the top ten best-sellers list for weeks. What's your secret?"
The corner of Aoshi's mouth lifted, as he looked at the reporter from behind his glasses. The bookstore was filled with people waiting for him to autograph copies of his book.
"My editor suggested I try finding a girlfriend. So I got married instead."
The reporter blinked, taken aback.
"You...got married? Just like that?"
"And your wife? Is she a writer too?"
"I see...how...interesting. Has married life changed your style of writing? In this novel, your female character is different."
"I think my life has changed in general since I married my wife. The female character is in a lot of ways like my wife."
"So perhaps other authors should try convenient marriages for inspiration?"
Aoshi shot the woman a glare.
"Perhaps...but mine was rather unorthodox."
"Aside from the obvious, how so?"
Aoshi smiled, glancing over to Misao who was drinking a coffee in the small café in the bookstore and flipping through a manga.
"I fell in love."
The reporter blinked again.
"Sounds like that could be your next story, Shinomori-san. Thank you for your time."
Taking a break, he got and walked over to Misao, sitting across from her as he noticed she was reading a pink colored cover manga.
"What are you reading?"
"An interesting novel of the Satsuma Rebellion." she said, smirking.
"It looks like a shoujo manga."
She set the book down, sighing dramatically.
"Oh damn. You caught me. I guess I need to be scolded."
"Later when we get home."
Misao smiled and sipped her coffee.
Aside from Aoshi being quiet, smart, brooding, and a workaholic...he was also apparently a raging sex addict.
And when she had once commented on it, he merely had kissed her on the forehead and said he was simply addicted to his energetic wife.
"The reporter suggested I write about getting married."
"She thought our story sounded like a good one, especially when I mentioned that I fell in love."
"Damn straight you fell in love." she remarked.
"Misao, I don't think there was any way I could not. I should have known when you were the only person at the Aoiya I could ever truly tolerate."
"Hm, I guess it could be a good story."
"Aa, lonely writer, spunky waitress, both wanting to get married, get married, fall in love. Author gets free tea for life from Aoiya."
"Well that's convenient!"
LE EFFIN FIN!
God damn, this the most time I've spent on a oneshot in a short period of time. Mouuuuuuuuu...
There's a line in here: 'she kissed him with her cherry lipstick, he never wanted to wash her off his face.'
That's from a Jimmy Eat World song off the new album. The song is called 'Night Drive'. It's very good.
The part I got it from in the chorus.
'Kiss me with your cherry lipstick, never wash you off my face'So yea. One Feb challenge down. March one up.
Mou...it never ends.