Courting Cherries

When You're Evil

A/N: Wow. Hit me now. I'm sorry it's been so long. Big thanks to Lunawolf709!

This chapter has swearing in it (more so then usual, or maybe not). If this bothers you, turn back now. Go ahead and read. More rambles at the bottom.

She had been leaning against the door for hours. To the point of numb limbs, incoherent thoughts, and utter exhaustion. It had been a long night, and not the happy one that she'd imagined. There were no parties or friends, no fun was to be found. Only a small little apartment, filled with some of the most completely confused people on the face of the earth. Or at least that's the extreme she brought it to.

Her eyes were locked on the solid figure that mimicked her position across the apartment. His eyelids were drawn down, but she didn't think he was sleeping. Maybe just sulking in his thoughts. He had been known to do just that; sulk. His body was straighter against the door, his posture still perfect. Even when he had days off, he still worked. He'd been molded.

Akane honestly felt like she was drugged. Lethargic, sluggish movements that resembled that of a sloth were even far beyond her ability. Still, she stayed.

She was waiting.

Akane wanted to watch him go. She wanted to watch him leave. Open up the door with his own two hands, and close it behind him with a swift movement. That would be the end, and she knew it was coming. Akane felt it.

She didn't know if he could see her, and frankly she didn't care. The corner of the hallway wall seemed to block his view of the door to her room. But she could see him just fine. And around 4 a.m. she saw him get up, pinch the bridge of his nose, and exit their home.

At first she kept starring, not really sure if the image was a product of the extreme drowsiness that had over taken her. Opening her eyes wide, she focused on the spot he'd vacated.

Yep, he was gone.

Crawling back inside her room, shutting the door, her mind couldn't help but scream; what's going on?

It was the horrible, inconceivable feeling the happened to millions of people every morning. The unavoidable start of the day. Forced to get out a warm bed, and leave the comfort that had existed there behind.

Hatsumi and Ryoki both hated mornings. Lucky for her, Hatsumi was still asleep. And Ryoki grumbled in jealousy.

"Damn wench," he muttered. Angrily eyeing the covers that were wrapped around Hatsumi, and also noticing the sheets that were not wrapped around him. "What a little hog!" He said under his breath. Any other time he would have yelled, but having anyone walk in on his sheet-rolled girlfriend would not have made for an enjoyable morning.

Mornings were never good.

More grumbling ensued as he got out of bed himself, leaving her to slumber. He'd let her sleep for a while, she did look… Well cute. Hair spayed out in every which way, and an odd, amused smile graced her lips. She looked content, as if forty winks had done her some good. And Ryoki just stared. He could only have these moments when she wasn't aware of them.

She was attractive, in a plain sort of way, he ruminated. Her breasts were small, her hair was a run of the mill color, and her eyes followed in suite. She was a twit who always argued with what he said, but… She was his.

Yeah, that was her word. It summed her up in a stupid little nutshell. Cute.

"Good Morning!" Mariko called, her cherry voice filling the kitchen as Ryoki, less then gracefully, sauntered in. Well he looks as happy as ever, she thought. "What are you doing up so--"

"Do me a favor and shove a fork in that happy-ass attitude." Ryoki spat out in monotone before he crashed down onto a stool and grabbed a banana. Peeling it slowly he looked up to see her face.

She rose and eyebrow, he trademark look. "And where exactly would I shove this fork?" She bemused, waving the utensil she picked up off the counter. "I don't suppose you care to tell me?"

Rolling his eyes he put on a fake smile and shook his head. "Figure it out yourself!" Lowering his head, he went into take a bite-- "Hey! Give that back!"

Mariko laughed out loud, before taking a chunk out of the fruit for herself. "Yummy," she cooed. Glancing back to him she saw him stare her down. "What, you don't know how to share?" Walking over to the counter she dropped it back down in front of him. "Here you go."

"Gah," he blew out in a huff. He didn't want to deal with her today. Well, he never really wanted to deal with her any day. "Why do you feel the constant need to annoy me all the time?" He drawled, picking up the food and taking a bite for himself.

"I'm not annoying you. I'm simply teaching you how to live a little," she waved her hand about to emphasize her point.

"Why don't you act this way around everyone else? Give them the same great treatment I receive?" He looked at her pointedly, telling her that he wanted a straight answer.

Mariko turned around, her back to him, making herself look busy with some thing or another on the counter. It looked like Ryoki wasn't going to get his answer. Because your special, she wanted to say. Your like a little brother to me. But she wouldn't. Mariko just smiled to herself when he couldn't see. Any sappiness would surely make him run form the room.

…And she heard him grumble seconds later. They just stayed like that in the kitchen until enough time had passed between their words. Shortly after Mariko wanted to bring up her next subject, as if running down and mentally checking off things on her list.

"So the benefit event is tomorrow," she spoke. Looking over her shoulder to see if it caught any attention from him. "We should have a little chat about it."

"Oh really?" He questioned absentmindedly, before biting down on an apple, his newest fruit victim.

"Ah-huh," she turned from the dishes she'd been cleaning, her hands still soapy. "Lets see…" She put a finger to her lips in thought, "I have to pick up your suit, your father's and mother's clothes, the limo needs to be washed, Ruri need to be called to set up a pick-up time--"

"Wait! What! Ruri!"

Bingo. That caught his attention!

"You know how I told you about what your mother said?" She watched as he shook his head. Of course! Why would I even think he'd been listening… It's not like I haven't mentioned it five-hundred times. "I informed you that your mother thought it proper for you to bring a date, a companion for the event this year. There was a whole speech she gave during dinner. It was very amusing," she said, rolling her eyes.

His eyes turned to slits.

"You said nothing about it so naturally she called Ruri-san last night. I was told to call her this afternoon to finalize--"

"Don't you dare."

"It's not my--"

"Where's my mother?" He stood up, already heading for her bedroom.

Watching him leave in a fuss, Mariko turned back to her dishes with a glint in her eyes. I should get paid more, she thought.

He was charging down the hall with the force and speed that would challenge even a grown, angered male bull. To put it simply, he was pissed.

Ruri was not someone he wanted to spend an already horrifying evening with. Her perky, willing attitude wasn't attractive. She threw herself at him to say the least. Ruri was just too… Easy. And she got along with his mother. Anyone who could be put into that category wasn't sane. And they certainly were not going to associate with him.

Halfway to her room, he stopped short.

He didn't have to go through her and listen to all her fickle nonsense. No, he thought, rubbing his temples. She'd just give me a headache.

Ryoki decided it'd be better to start at the top of the chain. And much less irritating. Turing around he walked back to the last door he'd passed, listening for noises from the inside. He heard opera. His father was in his office.

Knocking he waited for a signal, an almost inaudible 'come in.' The music came to a halt and Ryoki didn't wait. He moved his hands to open the cherry-paneled double doors that were the portal to his father's office. They were covered with biblical images; his father was a Christian.

When Ryoki had been younger, he laughed at the irony. But know it was old. And conversing with his father was just as stale as rotting bread.

"Well this is a surprise. I hardly ever see you come to me."

His father was a docile man, that much he knew. He had been around him enough at parties and 'family' events to put that together. When he spoke it was in an even, quiet voice. He wasn't sure if he'd always been like that, or if it had just become an acquired trait over time. Ryoki would probably never know. They weren't close. They never would be. And Ryoki was only here to avoid going to his mother.

"Mother is being ridiculous," Ryoki simply stated to his father. A plain statement like that, that they both had to agree with, would open the conversation. Hopefully making it look less like a car wreck.

"I see nothing changes in my absences," his father said, moving some of his paper work over to the side of his desk. He placed his hands together and looked forward, "what can I do?"

It was the one thing that his father felt guilty for. Leaving his 'son' in this situation. Ryoki knew that his father, the esteemed Tachibana-san, did not love him. He'd known that from a very young age. But the one thing his father did try to do for him, in small doses, was lessen the blow of the life he imposed upon him.

"I want to bring Hatsumi to the benefit event," Ryoki said. He didn't need to go into explanations about Ruri and his mother, that wasn't necessary. All he needed to do was say that and the message would get to his mother. Who in turn would shut up and take it.

Even though they didn't get along, or even sleep in the same room, they were still married. And when his father told her to do something, in his small dominating voice, his pernickety mother usually listened. Sometimes he did feel bad for her. Ryoki supposed being stuck in this situation couldn't be all that too pleasant for her either. The rich had their problems too.

"Fine," Tachibana-San spoke, as if indicating the end of their conversation. "I'll see you then."

Ryoki nodded, mumbled a small respectful gesture and headed for the door. Easier then he thought. Coming up to the doors, he stopped and listened as his father made a small side note before his departure.

"Just make sure she's…appropriate for the situation," he added.

Oh yeah, Ryoki thought, closing the doors to his father's sanctuary behind him. He'd have to make sure she 'fit' in. If he didn't, he'd never hear the end of it, from who Mariko had nicknamed the dragon. And that was something his father could not help him with.

"Ryoki," she called as he dragged her along, rather unpleasantly. "I still don't understand what's going on!"

Poor Hatsumi had been woken up rather abruptly when Ryoki had returned, completely out of the loop of what had occurred. She been shoved into the bathroom with her clothing, and secretively dragged out of the apartment. Any talking Ryoki had actually done in that time frame had gone over her head, out the 15th story window.

Not to mention the little upraising Ryoki had been put through as they'd been 'sneaking out' this morning. Mariko had met them both in the hall, looking exasperated from running.

"Hey you two," she said, catching up to them, "don't forget the lunch I packed you. Shopping can be bringing about one's appetite!" She pointed out, almost not missing the blow Ryoki had thrown her way.

Mean while, as the two fought, Hatsumi had simply stood there thinking, shopping?

Ryoki had not been too pleased that his maid was aware Hatsumi had spent the night, and then, had not let on about it. Hatsumi couldn't help but sense she was now feeling the brunt of his anger. Nothing out of the ordinary here, she pondered.

"What's so hard to understand?" He questioned. "Me, You, Shopping, Now. There, short and concise phrases." Ryoki looked over, towering above her head.

"Look," he started in a much less vivid tone, "just pretend like you're a center for knowledge right now and then we'll go get some lunch." The blonde boy searched her face, watching for a sign of anything. He threw the lunch Mariko had made into a nearby trashcan. He didn't even want to risk opening it.

"Okay," he heard her say, before she smiled up at him. "Let's try to make today fun!" If possible, she smiled more, and grabbed his arm back.

He wanted to laugh at her corniness, and her ability to change her mood so quickly. Instead he choose to dramatically roll his eyes and forget about his ease dropping, dim, brainless, maid.

Minutes later, he turned to Hatsumi and asked if she had any aspirin. He groaned at the pain-relievers she handed him, and the headache that he was supposed to have avoided.

Damn Mariko.

Hatsumi's mouth hung open, gawking at the price tag of the apparel she held. Even the price tag itself was made of some gaudy material. She'd never even been to such a store in her life, let alone even thought of owning something that cost a small fortune. If Ryoki was going to spend this much on a dress for her, for the charity event he'd informed her she was being hauled to tomorrow night at lunch, he might have just as well bought her a small country.

And he probably would have, if she'd asked.

Looking over to him, she caught him talking on his cell phone, yelling at someone she didn't know. They'd been in the small boutique, strategically placed in the more expensive part of the city, for more then an hour. And in more then half that time, he'd been doing just what he was doing right now.

"Listen," she heard him almost scream into the phone, "She's not that ugly. I don't need a team of specialists. Why is that so hard for you to understand? All I want is…"

She stopped listening, as a haughty voice called her over. "Umm… Hatsuki, over here please."

"It's Hatsumi," she corrected, walking over. This wasn't the funfest she'd imagined.

"I think we need to steer away from the lighter colors, you're much too pale."

Hatsumi gave a miserable smile, hoping Ryoki would get off the phone soon and come look at the dresses. If he could just pick one out they could get out of here…

"Dear, are you listening? I said come here. I think we'll put you in a shade of navy." The woman was waving a hand in her face, starring at her with an aura of inferiority.

"Okay, sure," Hatsumi complied. You know, she thought, I think I just may be capable of picking out my own dress. She finished off the though with at sigh. Why bother?

Hatsumi stood there realizing that as things progressed with Ryoki further, there would be more 'control freaks' she would have to deal with. Better get used to it now.

"Here, we'll try this one," the woman said, handing her a dress. "Why don't you go try this on, and oh, try not to rip it." The attendant pushed on her lower back a little, showing her the way to the dressing room.

Hatsumi have another hesitant smile. Why does everyone think I'm going to break things!

Ryoki didn't understand why it took women so long to do these things. It was simple. You took your clothes off, and then put some new ones back on. It wasn't rocket science. It wasn't even elementary school!

"How much longer is this going to take?" He muttered to himself.

"Um, Ryoki," he heard a familiar voice speak from above him. "Do you want to see the dress? The woman, Mizuki-san, she says this is the only one that makes me look remotely human." Hatsumi spoke in complete seriousness, waiting for his reaction.

"Oh did she?" He questioned, watching her nod. "Well then I guess we're done." He stood up, a triumphant expression on his face. Thank god, it's over.

Hatsumi frowned, a befuddled overcame her features, "don't you want to see it?" She questioned. More importantly, aren't you mad she insulted me!

"Not necessary."

Ryoki whipped out his credit card, faster then the speed of light, and they were off.

Hatsumi was still baffled. She'd bring up his non-defensive nature later. She was learning how to play the cards. The 'cards' being Ryoki.

"Well that was…umm," she started searching for the right word as they left the shop.

"It was boring! Could you have been any slower? It's a fucking dress, not the decision of your life!" Ryoki turned on her on the sidewalk as he spoke, hands waving in the air.

"Well I wasn't…" Inwardly she grimaced. He'd calm down in a bit, after he let out his frustrations. Hatsumi guessed waiting may have been just as bad as having to deal with the sales attendant she'd had. But then again, Ryoki hadn't been thrown in and out of a dressing room, and then had been constantly poked and prodded. Hatsumi giggled, ignoring whatever Ryoki was currently saying.

The image of a chibi Ryoki came to mind, wearing a dress. Simultaneously being preened on by hoards of fat servants.

"What is wrong with you now?" He questioned, noticing her giggling. More so noticing the fact that she wasn't paying attention to his lecture!

"Sorry," she peeped out, giggling and laughing so much that her sides shook. "I was just thinking about something funny." After that she just chuckled harder, furthering his advancing temper.

Ryoki started to glare; as he watched her smile and squeak like a mouse. Ignoring her for a minute, he dug into his pockets. He wanted to see if he had any of that aspirin left.

"I can't believe this!" Ruri practically cried out, completely puzzled. "Why would he change his mind? He's still going isn't he?"

"I don't know. Their maid just asked me to give you this message when she called." Ruri's housekeeper said, trying to comfort the obviously distraught girl.

The poor thing was upset.

Ruri had sat herself down by the phone, and hadn't moved since. She'd stayed put in that spot, reading over the message again and again.

Ruri had returned from a study session, looking forward to the bragging rights she'd definitely have when she saw Ryoki the following evening. She was excited. An actual date. An actual date with Ryoki Tachibana. And now it was ruined, and she didn't have a single explanation as to why.

If she had to guess though, her mind could dwell on an idea. That girl. The one she'd seen at his apartment.

A hint of jealousy swam through her. Ruri herself, was a nice girl, she thought. I'm pretty, I'm smart, and I'm rich. We surely have more in common… But Ryoki just isn't seeing it.

I'll make him. And then that other woman can just go be with someone more her taste.

Yes, Ruri would fix this! She'd just give Mrs. Tachibana a call and the two of them could have a talk. They always got along so well.

She was going to that charity dinner. And she was going to dance with Ryoki. And they were going to live happily ever after.

"Rina, will you do me the pleasure of coming with me?" Azusa gushed out. He'd always been a fan of the dramatics. And Rina guessed that he and his friends may have been more then slightly intoxicated.

"I will come with you, Azusa. I thought we already planned that out. How else will I keep the lot of you out of trouble?" She asked, grabbing a beer Jin was holding.

"Oh come on, Rina. We've had a hard day," Jin said, trying to grab his drink back.

"I know," she said. "And you'll have an even harder day tomorrow when you all have hangovers." Rina walked over to Yoshi and Shinya before snatching up their drinks as well. "You three should go home now and get some rest. Have fun tomorrow, if for some reason we don't see you there." She had a feeling that if the even showed up, they wouldn't stick around long.

"Okay, Rina. But can I have a kiss before I go?" Yoshi glided over, before being pushed back by Azusa.

"Go home buddy," Azusa stopped in front of him. He pushed his three friends to the door; he'd admit he was tired.

"Fine, but why aren't you going home?" Jin questioned picking up his coat, a little clumsy in his steps.

"You know why. I'll see you tomorrow." He started to close the door, and ignore his friend's comments. They were his buddies, and Azusa just had to laugh.

"O-okay," Shinya sauntered out last. "You and Rina have fun!"

Azusa chucked back, giving his friend a goofy, little wave. "Alright, I'll make sure to tell her that--" Bop. "Hey, Rina! What'd you do that for?"

Rina closed the door after them, holding the newspaper she'd hit him over the head with. She gave him a pointed glance and put it delicately back down on the table. "Why do the four of you always drink so much? Getting drunk--"

"Hey," Azusa pointed a finger at her, "I'm not drunk. I'm pleasantly intoxicated!"

"Sure," she said with a smile on her face. Azusa was a funny one. "I have to organize some things and then I'll go. But you be sure to be ready tomorrow when I come. It won't look very good if we're late."

"You could stay?" Azusa said slyly from the position he'd taken up on the couch. "That way you could make sure!"

Rina rolled her eyes, and kept her real thoughts to herself. He meant it. She could stay. And they could sleep together, but that would be it. He didn't care about her like that. She was envious. Rina wished he were different. But then, if he did change, she guessed he wouldn't have that amazing charismatic charm anymore.

Rina turned and looked back over at him a few minutes later, done with her work. His bruise had almost completely faded. He'd healed fast. And she remembered when he'd come to her after it happened, ready with a story to tell her. That hadn't helped her jealous twitch either. Needless to say, it was her unspoken job to take care of him. She couldn't let things like attraction and 'love' get in the way of that.

"By the way," she spoke, getting his attention back form a television program he'd flipped on. "I just thought I should warn you about a name I saw on the guest list for this little shindig."

"Oh," he looked over, coming up to lean over the back of her chair. "And why do you have a copy of the guest list?" He smirked. Rina could be a snoop.

"I just stumbled upon it."

He nodded, shaking his head at her a bit afterwards. "And who's name would I find so amusing?"

"Tachibana," she said, with a twinge of interest.

Ryoki walked idly down the hallway, hands comfortably placed in his pockets. He didn't know why, but for some reason he was now in a surprisingly pleasant mood. His headache was gone, and he started to put things into perspective as he waited for Hatsumi. She was currently hauling trash out of her apartment, and despite the odd smell, it was quite amusing.

I guess I do have reasons to be mildly amused. Especially compared to yesterday. Hatsumi slept in my bed last night. She was willing, small brawls aside. And now he was getting ready to drop her off, and pick up again tomorrow. She was going to be his date and the world would know she was his.

And if they don't like it, they can just go fuck themselves. Because I don't care.

"You didn't have to wait while I took the trash," Hatsumi said, interrupting him from thinking. "Walking me home usually suffices." She smiled coming back toward him, rubbing her hands.

"I just wanted to make sure you didn't fall in the chute. If that happened, I'd be in a bind," he finished; cringing.

She went to go scold him, and then saw the angered look on his face. "Bind? Why?"

"Forget it. It Doesn't matter. We just have to make sure everything goes okay tomorrow."

"I know--"

"I think when we get there you should just refrain from speaking," he started saying, leaning against the wall. "Don't leave my side. You'd probably wonder off and embarrass me--"

"What if I have to go to the bathroom!"

He continued, ignoring her. "You shouldn't eat either. I can just see you spilling something on yourself and then saying 'opps.' Like that's going to make it better…"

Hatsumi watched him as he continued to list off his demands, his ideas of what she should and shouldn't do. Normally she'd be defiant towards this, maybe even angry, but instead she zoned out his words and concentrated on just watching him.

He was leaning against the wall, moving his hands to accompany his thoughts. His lips moved fast, silent words spinning out in high numbers. Every so often, as she pretended to listen dutifully, he'd push up the brim of his glasses. And on the chance a piece if hair got in his way, he'd blow it up. Annoyed.

She slowly moved to the wall opposite him, the hallway was small, and he was distracted. He went on for minutes, continuing in his lecture. Hatsumi just stood there, and tried to enjoy it. She'd never really wondered about him like this before, or even thought too.

Right now, Hatsumi pondered, he looks cute.

Caught off guard, Ryoki suddenly felt the weight of Hatsumi as she lunged at him in a hug. Catching him in the middle of his speech he looked down, contemplating what had gotten into her. "Hatsumi--"

"You looked so cute!" She smiled into his chest as she held onto him.

"What?" Ryoki gawked. Did the smell of the trash infect her?

"Just now, when your were talking to me. I wasn't really listening, but--"

"You weren't listening," he pushed her back to an arms length, holding onto her shoulders. "I was saying important things that you need to--"

"I really wanted to hug you," she spoke softy, finishing. She'd knew he'd heard her. She confessed looking downwards, but his lack of vocal cord emanation told her so.

"Idiot," he whispered, suddenly crushing her against him. "You could have just said so."

Hatsumi was startled by his gesture, and then pleased. She held him close, arms moving upwards to join around his neck.

"Oh, I never thanked you for the dress!" She squeaked looking at this face.

Why to spoil the moment, he wanted to bitch at her. But he didn't. He could fix the situation, he thought. "Well why don't you thank me now?" He said, looking down at her. An odd tone graced his voice.

Hatsumi opened her lips, ready to speak, and then understood. She smiled up at him before moving her head back up past his face, towards the back of his neck. Standing up on her tip-toes she went to kiss his ear, blowing on it by accident with laughter.

"Ryoki I--" She stopped short, and took in a rushed breath. Someone was calling her. Or yelling?

"Hatsumi Narita!"

Hatsumi stopped, turning her head simultaneously with Ryoki, to see her mother standing about five feet away from them. Shingou was behind her, and unlike her mother's upset disposition, he just looked sad.

A/N: Apparently we're not supposed to respond to reviews here anymore, which is rather annoying. It's a lot more work to individually write and send people their responses via the FFdotnet message system, but they exist to make my life harder… So I'll get to those over the next couple of days. Because I appreciate them. I love you guys.

But on another note (a.k.a. my own little public service announcement), I would just like to say that I really don't like flames, unless they are completely deserved. I'm lucky, because everyone who reviews my story is very nice and helpful. I've only gotten one flame, and I would just like to say that I really work hard on this story. One or two spelling mistakes per chapter is expected and okay. This is not a published piece of work, it's fanfiction. I'm not sure if this person meant to sound that rude or not, but it was not a polite criticism. When you critique a story, which is a good thing by the way wink, you need to make sure your respectful while doing it. I've seen a lot of this lately on other's stories (part of the reason it's bothering me so much), and it's depressing. If someone TyPEs LiKE thiS iN THieR StoRY… go ahead and flame them. But otherwise, try to be nice. Also, if your going to "flame" me. Make sure you've actually read my story first. One would think this is obvious, but apparently it's not. XDXD

Thanks guys, I'll try to update soon! R and R, please. x