First Love – the Creation of Ranmaru Morii

This is written in response to the "Ladies Man" challenge of the Makin' Lemonaide group. It also covers the week 15 challenge.

DISC: I don't own anything regarding Perfect Girl Evolution aka Wallflower. I wish I did. That story rocks. Please don't sue me. I am not making any profit off this story at all. In fact, it depressed me a bit when I wrote it.

Neither do I own any of Yoko Kano's wonderful music. And I agree with the comment Morii makes in regard to her as a composer.

"Sometimes I think, Oh yes I'll go to where all the shooting stars are going with all of our wishes. How can they bear, oh no, to carry around the stupid human hopes, so I'm gonna help. I will. Give me a key to lock the door to their secret paradise. There are so many queuing up and I won't let them in. Look at them. They are cheeky. They are never worthy to be saved. Sometimes I feel, oh yes, I could do almost anything I wanted, and it makes me cry. Lay your heart, lay your soul, upon my magic carpet. Now we are flying to Venus just kill some time for tea, okay. Remember. Surrender. There's nothing you can do, 'cause love's such a joke – like a little jack in the box. You know? A little jack in the box." -- "Flying Teapot" by Yoko Kano

Oda and Naie are watching Cowboy Bebop again. Naie doesn't like to admit it, but she kind of likes to picture herself as Julia and Oda as Spike. Only without all the yakuza wars and without Oda ever leaving her behind. Just the part where he never quite gets over her, and she never quite gets over him. She loves to watch this show with him. Which normally, I don't mind. But then this song comes on. And this song just pisses me off.

If I had only heard it on the show, I wouldn't have learned all the lyrics. But there was this one woman I dated who had the soundtrack and liked to play it during sex – and let's face it, Yoko Kano is a fuckin' genius at music, so who was I to complain? Only that meant I heard this song in its entirety. In an otherwise quiet room. It played after we had finished, and before it was time for me to leave. So it sunk in. Deep.

'Yeah. That's for damn sure,' I remember thinking. And then I couldn't take it anymore. I got so angry, I threw my clothes on and stormed out of her house. I slammed the door so hard, I heard the doorframe crack, but I didn't look back. And I never saw that woman again.

Usually, I'm not… angry about it. Life is still fun even if love is just a sick joke. Something we keep looking for, but it's never there. I know that all there really is, is the brief pleasure that we get from our bodies – the thrill of the chase, the rush from the lust. And most of the time, that's okay. In fact, usually, it's better than okay. I can give and receive pleasure that most people only dream of. And because of that I'm never alone.

Why should I be upset if there's nothing magical or enduring about love? I know it's a fairy tale. And no matter how hard we keep looking – how many women we search for a real connection, something that means what we want it to mean, how good we get to be in bed, how many women we bring to multiple orgasms like they've never dreamed of – we'll never find it. No matter how badly we want to be proven wrong. Because love's not real. It's not real, so how can we be?

I've already left the living room and gone back up to my own room. I can't stand to watch Oda and Naie right now. God, she thinks that she loves him. And he thinks he loves her. It makes me really sad. I feel so sorry for them both. Fuck! Sunako and Kyohei's relationship is more real than theirs. They've got the same fight or die attitude, and they keep pretending they don't turn each other on. Now THAT's a couple that's amusing. Not sad like Oda and Naie.

It really bugs me, too. Because I don't want to be around to see it fall apart. I like them both. They're really nice people. I don't want to be here to see them wake up to the reality of what love really is. I don't want the two of them to… stop looking like the world would cease to have meaning without the other. I wish for them that they never wake up.

Never know…

Shit.

God damn you, Kotori.

XXX Flashback XXX

A thirteen year old boy sat on the sidelines, watching the others in his kendo class square off in practice rounds. Arms were folded across his chest, mouth in a scowl, brow scrunched together – he was the perfect picture of a pouting teenaged bratling. He was being made to sit out the practice and just watch. And this because his ego was just a TAD bit too large. Okay, sure – his parents were rich. He was privileged and got whatever he wanted. He'd been studying kendo for 8 years already. And yes, he was the best in the class.

But the teacher loudly declared that his advantage in studying was no excuse for belittling his classmates, making fun of them for being not as good as he was. His kendo instructor told him that if he was that good, then he should be able to develop himself as a person – by watching all the students, finding the flaws in their techniques, and instructing each of them in how to correct it.

His eyes roved around the class, trying to take in everything. He'd show that stupid teacher. Who the hell did he think he was, anyway? FEH! He'd find every student's weakness, and show 'em all how to improve. Then everyone would see that he really was the best.

Halfway through the class, the instructor made everyone stop practicing, and Morii was called front and center. One by one, Ranmaru called each pair up and critiqued each person's abilities. He pointed out flaws, and showed each of the 9 other students the proper way to correct their moves. His assistance was actually very good. He encouraged each of the students until they performed as he instructed. Each student left the floor feeling better about their own abilities, and better about having Morii in class with them. The teacher was impressed.

That is, until Morii turned to the instructor and began critiquing what HE'd done wrong in his practice with the student. The class had an even number of students so that they could pair off, and with Morii on the sidelines, the teacher had needed to step in and partner with a student for the practice. And even the critiquing wouldn't have bothered the instructor if Morii hadn't had a sarcastic smirk on his face the whole time – and if he hadn't been so dead-on accurate in his comments.

Ignoring the smart-alec brat, the teacher bowed to the class and then dismissed them all for the day. As the students were showering, he began talking to his assistant – a teenage girl of 15, who was working for him part-time doing filing, typing, organizing class schedules, and cleaning up the dojo after classes.

"It's a shame, but I'm going to have to kick him out of class. He still has a lot to learn, but his attitude makes it impossible to teach the other students. I know his parents make regular donations to our school, but I have to think of the welfare of the others… so… I might not be able to keep you on, Kotori."

The girl turned to the instructor and smiled up at him. "Maybe I can help with Ranmaru. Sometimes boys listen better to girls than they do to adults." She shifted her hips and pushed her shoulders back. She was attractive, and the instructor coughed and looked away as she moved.

"I couldn't possibly ask you to do that, Kotori. Besides, I really don't think it would help. He's a spoiled brat."

Smiling, she twirled a piece of hair around her finger. "What could it hurt to try? I mean… I don't want to have to try to find another job if I don't have to."

"Okay. You're on."

Her grin reached from ear to ear and lit up the room. The teacher couldn't help but smile back.

X

"Ranmaru-kun." He turned toward where the silky voice had purred his name.

"Kazumi-san." His voice betrayed how surprised that she was waiting for him, had called to him. She was two years older than him – and although he was tall for his age, that made him only an inch taller than her.

"You were really something in there tonight." Her smile was shy, her head slightly bowed, and he was drawn in to her. "You really are better than anyone I've ever seen at Kendo."

He smiled at her broadly. "Thanks," he replied, and continued to walk toward her. He knew he was better than them all. And part of him was still pissed off that the teacher was punishing him for it. It wasn't his fault that he'd been studying longer than everyone else. And when he'd been talking to the other students before class, talking about how far above the rest of them he was, he really didn't even realize he was hurting their feelings. That had not been his intention at all. He was just griping about wanting more of a challenge, and it didn't make sense why everyone got so upset at that.

And once he'd had the chance to cool down – while he was showering – he'd realized that helping out the other classmates had been pretty darn fun. But he still didn't understand why the teacher got all pissed off at him after he was done. Did he feel threatened by Morii? How could he? The teacher was an adult, and he was just barely a teenager.

Just barely a teenager. And now, this girl two years older than he was talking to him. And he noticed her eyes running up and down his physique. Why was she looking at him like that? He began to feel really embarrassed, and he could feel his cheeks start to pink.

"Would you… would you be willing to walk me home, Ranmaru-kun?"

Unable to find words, he hesitantly nodded. This girl was FIFTEEN! And she wanted him to walk him home. He kept his eyes averted from her, and started walking beside her toward her home.

They walked in silence, and if he'd bothered to look at her, he would have seen her face grow more and more troubled. Finally, they walked past a small park, and she said, "Oh! Come with me!" and began running toward a swingset.

He followed after her without thought. She sat on a swing, and he sat beside her, still not looking at her.

"Ranmaru-kun? You know what? You're really very good looking."

Startled, he looked up at her. A fifteen year old girl found him good looking?

"And you're smart – in most ways. And you're talented at some things… But…" His cheeks were pink again, and he stared at this beautiful older girl dumbfounded. "You need to be a little more aware of what others around you are feeling."

His brow knit and he said belligerently, "What do you mean?"

"Well… in class tonight, you really hurt your classmates feelings." She saw him start – he hadn't even considered that, she could tell. "That's why the teacher called you out – made you sit on the sidelines. He wanted you to know how badly all your fellow classmates felt – so that you'd be less likely to do it again. And then, you critiqued the teacher – that was a bit much."

"But… He told me he wanted me to help everyone…"

"Yeah, but what people say and what they mean aren't necessarily the same thing. He was pretty upset at you. He was even talking about kicking you out of the class." Ranmaru sat bolt straight, shock on his face.

"He did?"

"Yeah. But I told him I'd talk to you. I knew you didn't mean to hurt the student's feelings – or the teacher's for that matter. But you have to learn what to say and what not to say. Because you know, everyone has some things they're really good at and some things they're not so good at. And no one wants to hear from someone who is good at what they're not good at about how bad they are at it. Sometimes it's better not to say anything at all."

The teenaged boy considered this for a minute. Then nodded. "I didn't even think about that."

"That's because you're so good at so many things, Ranmaru-kun." The boy blushed again. "But I know something that you're not good at – because you've never had ANY practice at it." She stood up and walked over to him. He looked up at her.

"What's that?" his curiosity shone out of his eyes as they met hers. Then she leaned in and kissed him.

He froze as her lips touched his – unable to think, move, breathe. She broke from him. "See? You're awful at it. You didn't even kiss me back." Her tone was light and playful.

"What?" was all he was able to mutter.

She looked at him thoughtfully and tapped her forefinger on her bottom lip, emphasizing the softness of it. "I suppose you'd like me to give you some instruction. Then we can see if you improve?" She nodded. "I think I can handle that.

"Okay. First thing is you have to relax." She placed her hands on his shoulders, and he tensed further. "No. I said relax." Her hands began massaging his shoulders, and involuntarily, his body released some of its tension.

"Now get your mouth ready for the kiss. No. Not like that. You don't pucker like they show in manga – that's not real. Just let your mouth relax a bit. Like you just swallowed a bite of vanilla ice cream. That's right. Now, when I bring my mouth to yours, make sure you keep your mouth relaxed." As she finished what she was saying, she leaned in, and put her lips against his. He'd followed her instructions exactly, so she let her own lips open a hair and began to run her tongue against his lips.

He jumped a bit, but her hands rubbing his back, and the action of her mouth was mesmerizing, and leaning up and into her, he began to stand as his own tongue mimicked her actions. Soon, their tongues were eagerly exploring each other's mouths, and his hands were wrapped around her, pulling her into a full embrace.

When they broke, they both looked a bit dazed.

"You… are a quick learner," she said and smiled at him. Then she ran a hand along his cheek. "Would you…" now it was her turn to blush, "would you like to learn more?"

"There's more?"

"Morii," her voice saying his name was like a gentle caress, "I like you."

He didn't know what to say. This woman was like a beautiful angel in front of him.

"I'd like to… Would you consider… dating me?" She flushed almost purple at her own boldness.

He nodded and then pulled her in for another kiss.

After, as he walked her the rest of the way home, holding her hand, he heard her mutter, "Such a quick learner."

X END SCENE X

Every Saturday night they met. His parents were glad that he had a girlfriend – his dad had puffed up with pride that his "boy is getting an early start – he's a lady killer just like his old man!" His mother had rolled her eyes, but she too was happy that he was keeping himself occupied. They gave him an additional allowance just for taking his girlfriend out and buying her presents. But as his parents were very busy socialites, they never took the time to actually meet the girl their son was now dating.

At first, it was dinners at nice restaurants, visits to the movie theatres, going to a carnival – things like that. And this was always followed by a trip to a secluded area of the park, where she continued to teach him about physical love.

She spent a month on teaching the basics of kissing – just what to do with the mouth. Another two months were occupied by where he should place his hands during the kiss to heighten the experience for both parties. While it didn't feel like going to school – after all, he was just making out with his girlfriend - she made him repeat himself over and over again. Only when he'd mastered a technique perfectly did she advance to the next step.

Throughout all of this, they never once met each other's parents. Never once did they hang out with friends. They were in different schools – he in middle school, she was in high school – so apart from their dates and kendo they were in two different worlds. And she didn't work every time he had class.

He had to admit it – she was really fun. He was having such a great time. Okay, sure she was beautiful. AMAZINGLY beautiful. So much so that when they went out, people stared at the couple and whispered about how lovely they both were – how perfect they were for each other. But more than that – she was smart. Their conversation only waned when… well, when they chose to set it aside for other pursuits.

And she seemed to be genuinely interested in him – his thoughts – who he was. Instead of their dates being just him trying to entertain her, they always tried to find something fun for them both. A few times, she snuck him into the dojo after hours, and they faced off against each other. She actually knew what she was doing. He won the matches, but she was the first real challenge he'd had in quite some time.

He'd been surprised that a girl would practice kendo. But then again, she had three brothers. "Mom and dad wouldn't let me take kendo. But Taro – my oldest brother – thought it was fun that I wanted to practice with him, so he taught me. Only when my parents weren't around, of course. They still don't know how much I love kendo – only that I'm always with the boys when they practice." She'd smiled so sweetly as she remembered her fighting with her brother, he thought his heart would burst watching her.

She not only knew all about kendo, and the strategies of winning in single battle and in war, but she was also well versed in classical music and she read all kinds of manga – as well as classic literature. No matter how he swayed the topic at dinner, she always was able to keep up her end of the conversation – and spur him on to deeper thoughts.

He felt like a better person when he was with her. He found his thoughts drifting to her and only her. It was like the rest of the week was payment for the joy that Saturday night brought. And it wasn't even about the "lessons". Not that they weren't incredibly enjoyable. It was that… he got to be with her. Talk to her. See her. Be by her side.

His classmates could tell something was up, even if he never talked about it. After their first kiss, Morii'd started strutting around like he'd… won the lottery or something. Then, the strutting started calming down to be replaced by a dreaminess and lack of attention – like his mind was never on the moment, but stuck on something else. And judging from the bemused smile on his face…

"Who is she?" Hoshi asked. Roko and Taji blocked him in so he couldn't evade their bodies as they knew he'd try to evade the question.

Still, his face clearly showed he was picturing the girl before he forced it straight and answered, "What do you mean? Who is who?"

"Who is the babe?" Roko responded.

"The chick that's got you so befuddled." Taji interjected.

He blinked his eyes at them. "I- I don't' know what you're talking about."

"First you were all acting like the cat that got the canary for last two months. And lately, you're getting all dreamy-eyed like a girl in love," Hoshi put both hands together and rested them against his cheek, fluttering his eyelids rapidly. In a sighing-voice he continued, "Morii's in luuuuuuuuuuuuuuv."

"Who is she?" Roko reiterated.

"I… It's none of your business." He put on an angered face. He knew that kissing and telling would be wrong. His 13 year-old mind was BURNING to tell them. To brag. But she'd praised him on his self-restraint just the past weekend, recalling that week's kendo match where after he'd beat his opponent soundly, he'd shook the boy's hand and thanked him for the match. Smiling at him, she'd said, "Men who brag always seem like they're compensating for something. But humble men are," her voice purred, and her hand stroked his thigh, "incredibly attractive."

And that was a lesson he'd take with him for the rest of his life.

"So there IS a girl!" Taji exclaimed triumphantly.

Ranmaru pushed his way through the three and said again, "It's none of your business."

"Aw, come on. Tell us what she looks like!" Hoshi called. "How far have you gone? Have you kissed her?"

Morii blushed. "That's a yes," Roko laughed.

"And she's really ugly, I bet – someone who you're embarrassed of – that's why you never talk about her," Hoshi was purposely pushing his buttons to try to get the guy to talk.

"I'm not telling you perverts anything. Not whether I have a girlfriend, not what this supposed girlfriend looks like, not anything. It's none of your business, and I am not that lame of a guy."

"You're no fun," Hoshi called after him as he walked away.

That night would be six months since she'd first kissed him. He'd wanted to get her a gift, and had special ordered something, but later he was struck by the thought it might not be romantic enough. So after school, he went to pick up the gift and then go shopping to get her something pretty. He was so excited, he didn't notice his friends following him.

They hid around the corner as he entered the kendo shop, so they were surprised when he came out 15 minutes later with a large box that was elegantly wrapped. He couldn't be gay could he? Because what girl would want a gift from a kendo shop?

They watched him as he quickly made his way down the street – and entered a flower shop. When he came out, the same box now had six long-stemmed roses tied on top. Okay, so maybe it was a girl after all – they couldn't imagine any man wanting roses tied to the top of a gift.

As he exited the store, the three boys were waiting out front and he stopped short, quickly and ineffectively trying to hide the box and flowers behind his back.

"Whatcha got there, loverboy?" Hoshi reached around Morii and grabbed the box out of his hand. "Long-stem red roses! Isn't that a bit MUCH for a gift for your MOM?"

Reaching out, he snatched the box back. "It isn't for my mom, and what the hell are you guys doing? Following me? Don't you have anything better to do? Or are you guys just all gay for me?"

"Dude, you lied to us about having a girlfriend, what did you expect?" Taji said, crossing his arms.

"Telling you it was none of your business wasn't a lie," Morii responded coldly.

Roko recoiled as if slapped, but Hoshi maintained his equanimity. "We're your friends. It's our job to check up on you when you're acting weird."

"Well, now you've checked up on me. And I'm late for my date with my girlfriend. And before you ask, I'm not telling you anything – and if you try to follow me on my date, I swear to god, you will never be able to date a girl without me ruining it for you. Do you understand me?" He glared at each of them until they, in turn, looked down at the ground, abashed. "A gentleman doesn't brag and he doesn't kiss and tell. So…" his voice softened, "just leave it alone, guys, okay?"

They shrugged and nodded, and then Roko said, "Will we get to meet this lady some day?"

Morii grinned at his friends. "Maybe someday. Okay? Now I really gotta go."

They nodded and grinned, and as they left him, they muttered to each other about how some guys have all the luck. Hearing them, he knew that everything would be okay with them. He had good friends.

X

That night, they met at a fabulous sushi restaurant. He had the table set up so that the box was hidden – so that he could wait until the moment was right to give it to her.

She arrived right on time in a sleeveless blood red sheath dress with lace trim at the neckline and hem. Her hair was held back with red and black feathers, and she wore a black bead necklace that hung between her breasts in a way that emphasized their softness without seeming like she was trying to. On one arm, she wore a matching bead bracelet. Her feet were clad in strappy black sandals with 3 inch heels – making her two inches taller than Morii.

He gaped at her as she came in – his mouth hanging wide. When she smiled at him, he was able to get himself more under control. "You look beautiful – as always."

"Flattery will get you… somewhere," she purred, and he laughed as they sat down to dinner.

Once they were almost done, he smiled at her and said, "Do you realize it's been six months since you first stopped me outside of class?"

She blinked her eyes in surprise. "I… actually, I hadn't. Six months already?"

Nodding, he blushed and said, "I… wanted to get you something…" Then he reached under the table and pulled out the gift. The roses were still fresh and beautiful – each with its own test-tube of water keeping it fresh.

"Oh! Morii! They're beautiful!" He blushed and she untied the ribbon to open the boxed gift.

She lifted the gift out of the large box. It was a beautiful Shinai, decorated in kanji that read, "The true strength of a warrior lies in strength of spirit, not strength of body." The word "warrior" was actually the word for a warrior priestess – a woman who fights.

She blushed and her eyes grew wide. "Oh, Morii!" she breathed.

"I… I had it specially made. It's no ordinary shinai. Here." He held his hand out for her to hand over the shinai for a moment. "Let me show you." She handed over the bamboo practice sword, and he pressed a button on the end of the handle while twisting the body. She heard a click, and then he slid the bamboo cover off, revealing a beautiful katana with black lacquer and the same kanji – but in red. He handed the katana over to her, and she opened it revealing a beautifully made sword of the finest steel.

She said nothing. Just gasped. Tears were running down her cheeks.

"Isn't it okay? I thought your parents would freak out if they knew you had a sword – but a shinai they'd just laugh off. And then you could keep practicing in secret."

The tears continued to stream as she looked down at the katana in her hands, slid the steel back into its sheath.

"Did… Did I do something wrong?" he asked, completely put out by her tears.

"It's… It's the best gift I've ever gotten in my whole life!" she exclaimed and hugged it to her chest. "I LOVE it! Oh, Morii!"

He grinned at her like an idiot. "Happy anniversary, Kotori-chan!"

X

They walked hand in hand down the street – Kotori carrying the "shinai", Morii holding her roses. He started to turn toward the park that they'd spent so much time at over the last six months, but she pulled his hand and he looked at her questioningly. "Let's go somewhere else tonight, Morii."

He was a bit disappointed, thinking that meant no make-out session, but said, "Okay, Kotori. Where would you like to go?"

She just pulled him along and after a couple minutes said, "I want to… take you someplace else. It'll be like… my anniversary present to you. Okay?" She blushed and looked into his eyes.

He gently squeezed her hand and said, "Okay, Kotori." His smile made her blush deepen, and he could feel his heartbeat speed up. It was at that moment that he realized what they were walking toward, and he swallowed hard.

Blazing neon announced their destination, and she walked through the door with him in tow. Her face was determined as she placed coins into the machine on the wall. But he was still staring at the sign that read, "Love Hotel".

The key dropped into her hand and she said, "Let's go." Without a word, he followed her to the room. She opened it up to reveal a basic room – nothing fancy. They walked in and then looked at each other. Then, they quickly looked away, blushing.

"Uh, Kotori…"

"Morii, I told you I wanted to teach you, and… No. That's not it." She held the sword tightly to her chest and turned to him. "Morii, I… I want to… I want to feel…" She walked to the table in the room and reverently placed the shinai down there. Then she walked back to the bed and sat on it. He walked over and sat next to her, not really knowing what he should do in this situation, but knowing he should stay near her.

"Morii…" She looked away from him, then looked up into his face, tears still in her eyes and said, "You may not feel the same about me, but… No one has ever… You… Morii, I love you!" She threw herself at him, and his arms instinctively went around her, her head on his chest, she sobbed. Holding her in his arms, it came to him. He knew right then and there. She was… his.

"I love you, too, Kotori," he replied earnestly.

She looked up at him in shock. Her eyes were still wet with tears, but even so, she was beautiful. "You… You do?"

"Forever," he murmured while nodding.

X

This was the section of memory that he struggled so hard to forget. Or make false. Was he just a stupid kid who didn't know what he was saying? Or was he just lying, exaggerating because he thought it's what she'd wanted to hear?

He wanted either of those to be true.

That's why he hated the song. Because part of him remembered the truth, the pure eternal truth of that one spoken word.

X

He leaned in and kissed her, and she moaned into his mouth. She'd trained him so well. He knew everything that set her off, got her blood burning. His hands worked wonders. One was tracing the back of her neck, causing her to shiver delicately. The other was lightly massaging her breast, her thumb making circles. She responded by rubbing her hands up and down his back, one working its way to grasp desperately at his ass. He broke the kiss and began nibbling down her neck. She bit gently into his shoulder and then turned and breathed into his ear, "I want to be yours, Morii. Forever."

He moaned in response.

She pulled away from him, stood, and reached behind her to unzip her dress. It puddled at her feet, leaving her in a black thong and lace bra. He'd thought he was hard before, but now, the pressure against his pants' zipper made him moan in pain.

She smiled at him. Then she knelt in front of where he sat on the bed. Her delicate hands began working at the closure of his pants. Gently she opened them, and she could see his excitement straining now at his underwear. He lifted his hips as she guided his pants down. He didn't know if he should be doing anything or waiting for her, but he wanted so badly to please her. Thinking fiercely, he struggled to come up with a plan for what to do next. So he was utterly unprepared for the warm heat of her mouth. Her mouth licked at the fabric there, and his head fell back. He'd become incapable of thought.

She grabbed at his boxers and began to push them down, and without conscious thought, his hips came off the bed so that she could remove them completely. As soon as the fabric was out of the way, her mouth began to work again. He thought he was out of his mind. She was driving him into a crazed frenzy. He could feel his tension building and with an effort, he reached down and put his hands on her shoulders, pushing her backward.

"You now," he growled at her, and she was amazed at how deep his voice was – how feral. His hands slipped under her arms, and he picked her up easily and laid her on her back on the bed. Pushing her bra out of the way, he focused on her breast, and she moaned. 'I must be doing something right,' he briefly thought. His hands threaded through her underwear, and she lifted her hips as he slid them off her. He noted a tulip-shaped birthmark right above where the edge of her panties had been.

Story edited for posting on – full story available on the Adult Yahoo Group makinlemonaide.

After, as they rested on the bed, she cuddled up against him, and he wrapped his arms around her. "I love you, Kotori," he whispered, and kissed her forehead.

X

After that first time, she was a bit more demanding in bed – and more verbal. She let him know exactly what worked and what didn't for turning her on. And he did the same. After two months, words weren't needed any more – other than "Oh, God!" and "Yes, Yes, YES!" He really was a quick learner.

And every time they were together – which was now every Saturday & Sunday night, as well as an additional weekday night as well – two if they could manage it – they could tell that they were more in love with each other than the last.

X

But that was all a lie. She never loved me. And I never knew her – so I couldn't really love her.

X

Ten months after their first kiss, he was even thinking long term – like how they'd date through high school and then she'd go off to college, and how he'd follow her there and then, after they both graduated college, he'd marry her.

But then it ended.

He'd even introduced her to his parents. He'd introduced her to his friends. But she never introduced him to hers. She said her friends weren't really good friends and that she'd rather he not be subjected to their stupidity. And she said she didn't want to subject him to the insanity of her parents either.

So when a boy her age pulled him aside and introduced himself as Kotori's real boyfriend, he was taken aback.

"Listen, I know it probably doesn't seem this way, but I'm really telling you this to help you. Kotori… well, she's just using you. Her family's pretty poor. Mine is too. But your family is rich. You know? I mean the whole reason she started going out with you was so that the kendo instructor wouldn't kick you out of class – if he did, he'd not be making enough money to keep her on, and she'd have to find another job."

Morii just stared at him in shock. Dumbfounded.

"She doesn't love you. She never did. Did she make you smell her flower? Her little tulip? That's what I did the first time I made love to her. She thought it was incredibly cute." Morii pictured her birthmark and a part of him died inside.

"I'm really sorry, kid, but you're just a joke – something she makes fun of when we're together. She tells me how difficult it's been teaching you to even be tolerable as a lover – she needs more. But she's determined to stay with you until you've given her enough presents that she can sell so that she can pay for her college tuition."

It made a sick sense. She was a whore. And she'd played him. He was too dead inside to even cry.

"Sorry kid. But I thought you'd be better off if you knew now. So you can stop seeing her before she completely ruins you."

'Too late.' He thought. 'I'm 14 years old. But I swear – with God as my witness – I'll become the best lover ever, and then I'll rub it in her face.'

He didn't notice that the 16 year old boy was smirking happily as he left Morii still standing with a look of shock on his face.

X

She'd tried to get in contact with him. But he'd quit the Kendo class, which as the boy had said, resulted in the teacher having to let Kotori go. And he instructed the family's servants not to put through any calls from her.

He told his friends that she'd broken up with him – broken his heart – and they let it drop, never brought it up.

But she'd never called. Never tried to reach him through his friends. So it must be true – she'd just been using him.

X

He stared at the ceiling in his room, hugging his pillow, wishing that all the women, all the hundreds and hundreds of women that he'd slept with since her had been able to erase his memory of her – his pain that still kept surfacing when he didn't expect it.

He knew tomorrow he'd be back to normal, finding a hottie to indulge in passions with. But the part of his heart that allowed him to love would remain as locked as it was ever since that day.

X

Back in his home town, a girl removed her bougu (the outfit they wear in kendo) after she won another match against her older brother. He congratulated her, and once she'd showered, she went back to her room. Kendo was the only thing she really enjoyed, and now her parents even allowed her to try out for the college team.

She'd been depressed since about 3 months after her 16th birthday – after her boyfriend stopped seeing her for no reason. Her whole family had rallied around her, but it didn't help. She knew she'd never love anyone the way she'd loved him. Sure, she'd dated before him, had sex before him - but no one had meant to her what he did. She had no more tears left to cry. Her heart was beginning to lock up, and she knew that only he would ever have the key.

Before she laid down to sleep, she stroked the sword he'd given her and said a silent prayer to god that someday, someday she'd see him again. Or finally be able to forget. If only she could forget.