Title: The Mistake of Caring
Author: Shoujo's Revenge
Disclaimer: Kazuki Takahashi owns the Yu-Gi-Oh series.
A/N: It's so hard to write a love story with an indifferent girl as the main character. I cannot see Ritsuko fall for anybody…at all!
Chapter 3: So Close Yet So Cold
Seto Kaiba slowly opened his eyes to the dimly lit hospital room. His head was throbbing painfully. With one hand, he clutched the side of his head to jerk back in surprise. Ritsuko was standing beside his bed with an affectionate smile plastered on her face. It was a bit eerie and unsettling to see her like that. Kaiba never saw her like this. Then he realized something else; she was wearing a nurse's uniform, her blonde hair tied back with a white ribbon.
"Ah ah ah, Mr. Kaiba, no looking down there," she said cheerfully when Kaiba's eyes wandered to her bare legs. He had never really noticed that her legs looked so perfect; not too skinny nor too plumb. He blushed at the fact that he was caught. What's more, her skirt was pretty high so that her thighs were exposed.
"What's going on here? Where am I?" He suddenly demanded. He couldn't stand that she had just scolded him when he was her boss.
"Well, you had just swallowed a whole bottle of sleeping pills about two hours ago. Do you know how worried Mokuba and I was?" She asked with hands on her hips.
This was absurd. She was acting like she was his mother now.
"Mokuba? Where's Mokuba?" Kaiba started to get up from the bed but Ritsuko pushed him back on the sheets.
"No! You are to stay in bed until you feel better!" She argued, taking out a syringe out of a side pocket. "Don't make me use this."
"How dare you? Are you aware that I can fire you for this?" Kaiba threatened but couldn't help shrinking behind his covers.
"I only care for your health, Seto," Ritsuko said sadly. "I don't care at all if I lose my job. Don't you get it, you idiot?" The young man was flabbergasted. Seto? Idiot? Since when did she address him by his first name or dared to insult him?
"I am so desperately in love with you. It is not even funny. You never did notice me, did you?" She said quietly. "All I was your secretary, nothing more. You're the same to other girls. Do you ever plan to kiss someone, to hold someone in your arms and tell that someone you love her?" She hid her hands behind her back, smiling sadly.
He didn't say anything; wasn't sure how he was supposed to respond. Ritsuko never seemed to be the type to be interested in anyone at all. In truth, she was right; she was just a secretary to him. Kaiba jumped back in surprise again when he realized she was just a few inches from him. She placed a soft hand on his cheek.
"Sleep tight," she said, kissing the top of his forehead. Now that they were so close; Kaiba could smell the scent of her ….cheap cologne?
"He's waking up!" A male voice said with relief. The doctor was so close to him that his cologne smell wafted near his nose. Kaiba pushed him away abruptly. He looked around the bright room. There were two nurses standing nearby but neither of them was Ritsuko. He rubbed his forehead; the kiss felt so real. It was obviously just a dream though he didn't sigh in relief.
"Ritsuko, you better go out with me this Sunday or else," A tall boy whispered to her as she looked away with a bored expression. His arms were on the either side of the wall preventing her from escape. Despite the fact that he had slammed her on the wall, she wasn't fazed by his roughness.
"Don't you think you're being terribly rude? We're not friends or anything but you insist on calling me by my first name. And another thing, if you want to go out on a date with me, don't you think you should ask me nicely? Unlike the other girls in this school, I am not aroused by a boy's violent behavior. Haven't your parents taught you manners?" She pushed him off, surprising the boy with her strength.
He made her face him, his finger lifting her chin up but her eyes were gazing far away.
"I am desperately in love with you, Amano," he whispered again. Ritsuko slowly faced him, shocking him with her dead-looking eyes and touched his hand with hers. She moved his hand away from her face.
"You've just wasted your time. As you stand here trying to be tough one second then gentle the next, I don't feel a thing for you. Do you expect my heart to flutter with excitement and agree to be your girlfriend? All I feel is slight annoyance for your wasting both our time. I apologize for my rejecting you. Good-bye." Ritsuko turned away to walk away. The boy just stood there and watched her with a gaping expression. He couldn't believe how empty her eyes were.
Ritsuko gasped as she had almost fallen out of her chair. She looked blearily around the waiting room. A dream, it was just a dream. Now she remembered, that was the first time a boy had confessed his love to her. Why of all times did she have to have that dream? Back then, she had shorter hair, the length stopped just below her ears. Her eyes, she had been told, always portrayed nothingness. However, whenever she looked in the mirror now, the emptiness in her eyes were replaced with something else; a determination to be happy.
Ritsuko felt a weight settle on her shoulder and looked down. Mokuba just fell asleep on her. Anybody else would've thought it was cute but Ritsuko was cursing her luck. She could've taken this opportunity to look for an adequate motel to rent a room instead she had to baby-sit Mokuba. It wasn't part of her job but when he came in with tears streaming down his face, she felt sorry for him. Was it mentioned that he also begged her to stay with him?
"Ah, since when did I become someone's babysitter?" She asked herself loudly.
"Wha-what?" Mokuba stirred while rubbing his sleepy eyes.
"Nothing," she said more gently. A nurse passed by them holding a clipboard. The impatient sixteen-year-old reached out to grasp the hem of the nurse's skirt. Mokuba had a mixture of confusion and shock on his face. "Hey, obaa-san, how much more do we have to wait? Did the doctor save my boss' life or what? It shouldn't take this long."
The harassed looking nurse just snatched her skirt back.
"Young lady! Who do you think you are? Our doctors are doing all they can for Mr. Kaiba! I should think that it wouldn't matter how long you have to wait; just if Mr. Kaiba is okay." The nurse said irritably.
"Some people have better things to do, you know!" Ritsuko snapped back. The nurse stalked away angrily. She settled back into her seat. "Err…Sorry." She added sheepishly when she caught Mokuba looking at her.
"I wonder if nii-sama is going to be okay?" She heard the desperation in his voice. For the first time in her life she genuinely felt sorry for someone else.
She stood up easily towering over the young boy. "Mokuba-kun, any idiot can tell you that Mr. Kaiba is going to be all right. That guy is just the kind of guy who's too stubborn to die. Even if the Grim Reaper himself were to come for his soul, Mr. Kaiba would probably punch him out and walk back to his body. You should know this, you've lived with him for what thirteen years?" Ritsuko was angry in her words but the black-haired boy smiled at her.
"You're right, Amano-san." He wiped his tears away.
"Ritsuko Amano is never wrong," she said confidently. She was putting on this stupid act just for his sake. Although, she wondered deep down, 'what if I'm wrong?' "I'll be right back, Mokuba-kun."
"But Amano-san-" Mokuba said hesitantly. Ritsuko just waved her hand casually.
"It'll be okay. Your bodyguard will watch you until I come back." She turned to walk away then stopped and turned around. "Ah, I almost forgot. Do you want something to eat or drink? It'll be my treat."
"You don't have to-" She had to interrupt him.
"Ah, ah, ah. Yes, I do. If my boss finds out I haven't at least fed you, I'd have to suffer the consequences." As if on cue, Mokuba's stomach growled loudly. "Do you want some Indian food, Chinese food, Thai food or just regular Japanese food?"
"Just a burger, some fries and a small soda." He said. Ritsuko cringed at the mention of fast food. She never approved of that kind of food. The kinds of food she liked didn't include dropping it into a deep fryer and having it ready in just five minutes.
"Why would you want to feed yourself that garbage? I'll order something that tastes good and is healthy. Don't worry, I won't bring back a salad. I'll be right back." With that, she went to the elevator.
The black-haired boy watched her run to catch the elevator. He started to contemplate everything about her; how she acts, how she talks, how she thinks, just everything about her. In his opinion, she seemed like a good person. He could tell that she was competent in everything that she does. Once in a while his older brother did complain of her. Although, he didn't complain about her that often like he did with his former secretaries.
In truth, Mokuba liked Ritsuko more than his older brother's past secretaries. For one thing, she didn't fawn over Kaiba (or in older women's cases, tried to fix their daughters with the rich young man). Ritsuko didn't mix her personal life with work which was another good thing. Other secretaries had always spent their free time by chatting away on the phone with their friends. Her competence was proven in how she worked. She had her own little system of organizing everything. This system was easily understood by others. Best of all, she was easy to talk to whenever they got a chance to.
But he did notice that she always looked so lonely. Sometimes he heard the employees whisper rumors of Ritsuko and Kaiba being a couple.
"They're almost the same age. Their personalities are basically the same." One man had whispered to his female co-worker.
"When you think about it, you have to admit that they make a cute couple." The female worker said. Then they spotted Mokuba who was just passing by.
"Mokuba-sama! Please don't tell Mr. Kaiba that we're talking about him!" The now pale man who had pleaded.
Mokuba disagreed immensely. His brother's personality and Ritsuko's mysterious personality were different. Some aspects of their personalities were pretty much the same but there were still noticeable differences. He knew his brother so well that he can almost predict his every move but Ritsuko, that girl was unpredictable. It was evident from when she just grabbed the nurse's skirt. Mokuba had always thought that she was a self-controlling person. Sometimes she acted as old as her co-workers though there were times, she acted like a rebellious teen. If his brother were impatient, he'd just stare down the nurse and demanded to see the person in charge.
"Are you Mr. Kaiba's brother?" A doctor came up to Mokuba who looked up in surprise. He straightened up with a quick "Yes!"
Ritsuko looked at her watch and saw that twenty minutes had passed. She was carrying a plastic bag with take out food. She knew that she promised Mokuba to come back as soon as possible but she needed some air. The hospital air was so stuffy. The bacteria and viruses crawling on every inch of the hospital doesn't help either.
She was walking by the riverside when she spotted someone familiar sitting on top of the railing. It was Ayu who swung her legs carelessly while gazing out into the horizon. Jennifer was probably still looking for her. Ritsuko casually leaned next to her on the railing.
"So what's so interesting to look at?" She surprised Ayu who jumped up and almost fell into the deep river. Ritsuko grabbed hold of her arms before she plummeted into the dark waters.
"You!" Ayu said rudely instead of thanking her. She had tears sliding down her face. Ritsuko was indifferent to the angry tone of voice.
"By the tone of your voice, I suppose you're going to blame me for your sadness?" Ayu didn't answer. She just resumed her position on the railing. "By the way, you know your mother is looking for you? I really don't care about you. You remind me of so many selfish teenage girls but I do care for Jenny-chan. I know that she's probably worried about you right now though I wouldn't know why. You seem to be a real brat to me."
Ayu swung around, jumping down from the railing. "I'm the brat? You're the same age as me and you're calling my mom 'an old fart'! How am I selfish? How am I like other typical teenage girls? You don't even know me!" She shrieked.
"Oh, no? What you said just now is just what a typical teenage girl would say, 'You don't even know me!' Do you know how many teenagers across the globe say that? For one, you just ran off with complete disregard to your mother's feelings. You were upset when you found out that Kaiba don't care about his fan girls, correct? Well, you don't even know the guy. You just liked him because you think he's attractive."
"You-" Ayu began but her mother had come up behind her.
"There you are! Ayu, I was so worried about you! Ritsuko, what are you-?" Ritsuko didn't answer her but waved slightly to signify that she was going.
Both mother and daughter watched Ritsuko run the opposite way with the swinging plastic bag in hand.
"Mom, why are you friends with such a bitch?" Ayu glared after the blonde girl. Jennifer frowned at her daughter's comment. No matter what Ritsuko said or did; Jennifer couldn't help but love the fragile girl as if she was her own daughter.
"Ayu…" She squeezed Ayu's shoulder and pulled her closer. She wondered how Ritsuko's own mother felt about her distant daughter. What if Ayu acted exactly like Ritsuko? How would she handle it? Ayu was confused at her mom's behavior. She was holding her like she never wanted to let to. She returned the hug while Jennifer wondered if Ritsuko's mom held her, did she return the hug, too?
"Nii-sama!" Mokuba cried, launching himself into his brother's arms. The latter smiled, patting the younger boy on the head. "I was so worried. Ritsuko and me waited for-"
"'Ritsuko'? Amano sat with you in the waiting room?" Kaiba interrupted. Mokuba nodded.
"Yeah. She was really nice. Amano-san is out buying me lunch right now."
"Mokuba, you could've had Isono do that."
"She insisted," Mokuba said, shrugging his shoulders. He was quiet for a few seconds as Kaiba took a sip of water. "I'm really starting to like her." He choked.
"Nii-sama, are you okay? Your face is turning red. Are you getting a fever?" Mokuba asked.
"No, I'm perfectly fine," Seto responded all too quickly. So she stayed with Mokuba and offered to buy him lunch. Something was definitely fishy here, Seto thought. The door was slammed open by a panting Ritsuko. Blotches of red formed on her cheeks.
"Sorry, I'm a little late. I took a little walk. Here's your lunch, Mokuba-kun. And Mr. Kaiba, I see that you seem to be all right." She walked into the room and handed Mokuba the bag. He accepted with a 'thanks'.
Mr. Kaiba, I see that you seem to be all right? Seto thought. This definitely wasn't the same Ritsuko in his dream.
Her fingers brushed against the gift that she had gotten for Kaiba. She tightened her fist in her pocket. Should she even bother to give him the gift? Her face didn't portray any emotion but she was so nervous. It was like the job interview all over again. That day…That day was the day that would make or break her future. All she had to do was give him a simple gift…
"Mr. Kaiba, I was wondering if I could speak to you…alone?" She added after a glance at Mokuba. The younger boy took the hint and left the two alone before Kaiba even assented.
"What did you want to speak about, Amano?" He felt naked in front of her in this position, him in the hospital bed wearing a hospital gown instead of his usual businesslike attire. Nevertheless, he spoke to her as if they were back at the office.
She cleared her throat nervously, her hands behind her back.