Disclaimer: I do not own Ouran.

Looking for the Perfect Nanny

-- Thirteen --

Kyouya Ootori coughed louder than what he had actually intended. It was surely not because he was sick or so - although the autumn wind was blowing quite colder than usual; giving away the unspoken sign that winter would come soon. It must have been his way to conceal his current embarrassment. He just had no time at the moment to give it a second thought. One thing as clear as crystal for him now was that he should have at least predicted beforehand that Haruhi's idea of dating would never be the same with what he would have thought of. Or at least what he thought he wanted before he half-heartedly agreed with Haruhi that since the dating idea was coming from her, he would have to let it done her way.

At the moment Kyouya was standing in front of an unfamiliar bus driver, giving a sour smile at him as he attempted to scan his credit card onto the automatic card reader for the umpteenth time. He was pretty sure that Haruhi had done the exact same thing when she entered the bus. He could only curse his luck as he forgot to ask Haruhi the right procedure to take the bus when they were still at the bus stop. He just never imagined that riding a bus could be that complicated. But who on earth would ever think that the girl would be so irresponsible and leave him behind just like that?

As the bus was quite full, Kyouya did not even have the chance to stop Haruhi from leaving the bus entrance as soon as she tapped her card onto the card reader. He could only see the top of her brunette hair bob in and out of the crowd before she was completely out of sight.

It was not long after Kyouya finished rummaging all cards he had inside his wallet that he was quite certain that the bus driver was mad at him. That guy must have been thinking that he was a teenager with suspected ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder - syndrome. He could not really blame him for thinking that way, he would have thought the same way if he was him. Or else why would a normal person stall a bus for so long? But it was not like he had other options. He had tried tapping almost all credit cards he had onto the machine, but it seemed like the machine had failed to recognise any of them.

At first, the driver only glanced at him disinterestedly when he tried to tap his second card onto the machine. Then his expression quickly changed into half-amused, half-annoyed as he tried his fifth or sixth card. And now, judging from the way the guy was frowning coldly at him, which he did not need to be a genius to deduce, the driver was pissed as hell at him and obviously, his odd behaviour.

It was hard to decide who was angrier at that point of time, Kyouya or the bus driver. That was the first time ever anybody aside from his own family dared to frown at him that blatantly. And if Kyouya did not recall that somewhere inside the bus there was Haruhi Fujioka, probably he would have already called Tachibana to prepare a hostile buyout of the bus company. With that he would fire this pathetic looking driver immediately and made certain that this guy would never be able to get any other job in the country. Before he could really make use of any of his ideas, Kyouya's train of thoughts were disrupted when the hoarse voice of the driver could be heard booming inside the bus.

"Hey, Kid, don't try acting funny with me because you can be sure that I am not laughing at all here. You want to take a ride on this bus or should I wait for another hour or two to wait for you until you can find the right card?"

By then, all the nonsensical chatters had gone only to be replaced with a deafening silence. To add on Kyouya's annoyance further, he noticed that apparently every pair of eyes inside the bus was boring at his direction with shameless curiousity – thanks to that unnecessary announcement made by the grumpy driver.

Kyouya scowled. For a fraction of second he looked pained before grunting in a low voice, "I will not be bothered taking all my cards if I don't intend to take the bus, will I? I just need to know which card this machine accepts. It seems like it rejects all mine."

The bus driver snorted loudly.

"Don't joke around, Kid. If you don't have the card then you can just pay it in cash. Don't waste our time waiting for you and your nonexistent card."

Kyouya felt extremely dense after listening to what the driver had just said. How could he possibly forget that he could always pay the stupid fare in cash? He disregarded completely the fact that it might have been simply due to the fact that he never took any kinds of public transports in his entire life before that day. He pulled out a bank note from his wallet and gave it to the driver without further ado. Sadly, he failed to notice that the driver's eyes were almost popped out of their sockets as soon as Kyouya passed him the money.

As a result, Kyouya did not even have the chance to take more than two steps away to escape from the scene before the driver's booming voice could be heard once again.

"What are you trying to pull off now, huh? Why are you giving me this?"

There was nothing more annoying for Kyouya than to realise that by then, some older people inside the bus were starting to shake their heads in apparent disagreement with his action, while the younger ones were smirking as if they found what he had just done at the moment to be particularly funny.

"That's for my fare. You said it yourself just now that I could pay it in cash." Kyouya said while still using the same low voice, as though he did not want anyone else beside the driver to hear what he just said.

"For cash payment, we only accept the exact amount of the fare. This is a 10,000 Yen bank note, Kid." The driver snapped as he fanned Kyouya's new 10,000 Yen bank note right in front of his nose.

"So? You can keep the change for your tips I suppose," Kyouya raised his eyebrows, obviously looking more impatient than ever.

Before either Kyouya or the bus driver could exchange even more dangerous remarks, a girl's voice could be heard amidst the soft whispers emitted from the people witnessing the scene.

"Is everything okay, Kyouya-Senpai?" Kyouya turned his head in the direction of the voice with an apparent relief washed over his handsome face. He had never felt that lightened up to see Haruhi in his entire life before.

"Miss, you have to teach your boyfriend some basic manners. He surely can use them good."

Haruhi looked at the bus driver with an apparent astonishment shown on her face before glancing at Kyouya questioningly. Yet before Kyouya could give any sorts of explanations, the bus driver had taken over his role by adding his previous sentences with, "He tried to pay me with this 10,000 Yen bank note after trying to tap all sorts of cards he has inside his wallet onto the card reader. He must have thought it might make a good joke or something."

Haruhi gaped upon listening to what the bus driver had said. She had completely forgotten that for Kyouya, taking a public transport might be a totally new experience for him.

Before Kyouya could say anything to defend himself, Haruhi grabbed his arm and forced him to bow low at the bus driver and the rest of the passengers to show sincere apologies.

"I am so sorry. He's not used to take bus before, that's why he does not know how to make the payment," told Haruhi to the bus driver while inserting the right amount of coins onto the machine's coin slot.

The bus driver shook his head reproachfully and passed back the bank note to Haruhi without even took another glance at Kyouya.

However, much to Kyouya's displeasure, he still could hear the bus driver mutter loudly to himself, "To think that there is still a person who does not know how to pay a bus fare. She must have been kidding with me. That kid does not even look like a tourist. I really feel pity for his girlfriend. There was nothing more unlucky than to have that kind of guy as a boyfriend."

--

"Stop laughing. It is not funny, Haruhi. Besides, it's happened all because of your fault. How could you leave me behind just like that? You should have known that it's bound to happen since I never took any bus before," whispered Kyouya in Haruhi's ear. He did not need additional audiences to listen to their conversation. Both of them had to stand all the way since there were no more seats available inside the bus together with many other passengers.

Although the rest of the passengers were no longer paying much attention to him, Kyouya disliked the fact that some girls were giggling at him. It was too horrifying for him to notice that 2 of them even belonged to the same class as him. He could have painfully imagined what kind of wild rumours would be floating around his faculty around the same time tomorrow. And to know that Haruhi was also laughing at him – probably for the very same reason why those girls were giggling while glancing at him - did not help much, if not made it worse.

"I am so sorry, Senpai. It's just that it's so funny to see you losing your cool side once in a while. I just can't stop myself from laughing at you. Sorry," said Haruhi in between her laughs. It was one of those times when Kyouya wondered why he could never stay angry at Haruhi for long. He was pretty sure with himself that he could never be that forgiving if it was for any other girls.

Kyouya muttered darkly some undecipherable words to himself. Without Haruhi even aware of, there was a strange glint appeared in Kyouya's onyx eyes even it was only for less than a faction of second before he seemed to gain his aloof self back.

Devoid of showing any kinds of emotions, Kyouya simply replied, "I'll kiss you then. I bet it will help you to stop laughing."

It went just like what Kyouya had expected beforehand. Haruhi went silent almost immediately. Her amber eyes widened in surprise and looked completely thunderstruck upon listening to what Kyouya had just said.

"No, you would never dare to do that. Besides, it is against the law," denied Haruhi winningly as she emphasised her latter sentence – feeling somewhat secured, at least for a second. Yet when she looked at Kyouya's onyx eyes, she noticed that they were somewhat darker than usual, which had somewhat managed to make her feel uncomfortable almost instantly. There were too much of unspoken words and unapproachable aura existed in those pair of eyes.

All along Haruhi could never differentiate the occasions where Kyouya was only pulling her legs or when he was serious – thanks to his lack of humorous traits. It was probably the reason why she could not help but to find Kyouya a tad too intimidating every now and then.

Haruhi tried her best to look calm although her mind was anything but. There was no way Kyouya Ootori would risk himself for another session of public embarrassment. Or would he dare to do that? She could not help but to have a lingering doubt. He could not have possibly want to do that kind of lovey-dovey kind of action in front of the public – not when he clearly knew that public affection was supposed to be forbidden in the country.

As Haruhi was too busy entertaining her own thoughts, she was completely unaware that Kyouya was looking at her intently – completely disregarded the fact that they were not the only people existed inside the bus. There was a smirk materialized from Kyouya's handsome face by the time he saw Haruhi bit her lower lip unknowingly.

"Oh, don't tell me that you are trying to challenge me on what I dare or dare not do to you, Haruhi?" As Kyouya spoke, his lips were hovering and threateningly close to come in contact with Haruhi's lips. Caught by surprise, Haruhi tilted her head sideways which made Kyouya's lips to land on her cheek instead. However that action was more than enough for Haruhi to feel her face was burning hot with embarrassment all of a sudden. She could catch glimpses of the other passengers smiling or shaking their heads disapprovingly upon witnessing the entire scene shown openly in front of them.

"This is our stop. Let's go, Senpai," hurried Haruhi while clutching Kyouya's arm. She did not even dare to take a good look at her surrounding before stepping out of the bus. And much to her annoyance, by then it was Kyouya's turn to laugh upon looking at her reaction.

--

"Hey, don't walk too fast, Haruhi. I might end up losing you again," chided Kyouya impatiently as he tried to walk faster to catch up with Haruhi. The girl was almost literally running away from him as soon as both of them left the bus stop. He did not realise till then that Haruhi was always so shy when it came to accepting his affections. It was not because she disliked what he did. At least that part he could be sure of. The thought of that was enough to bring back the smile on his handsome face.

Haruhi stopped her steps almost instantly which made Kyouya almost knocked her back if he did not stop at the right moment.

"Don't just stop anywhere you feel like, Haruhi. It's so dangerous. Do you know that I might have bumped into you because of that?" said Kyouya, almost sounded like a father reproaching his naughty little daughter.

Haruhi turned around to face Kyouya. Her cheeks were still blushing – probably they were due to the earlier embarrassment or simply because of the cold weather – Kyouya could not make up his mind to decide.

"Don't ever do that kind of childish action again, Kyouya. I will show you the real meaning of dangerous if you dare to do it one more time. I really mean it this time," said Haruhi threateningly. She even jabbed her forefinger onto Kyouya's chest to try getting her point across. Therefore Haruhi looked even more flabbergasted to know that not only Kyouya did not get her message right, the guy was even laughing unabashedly as soon as he heard whatever she had just said.

Realising that Haruhi was frowning at him, Kyouya's smile was even more evident when he merely replied, "No, I have to do it more often I guess. I am quite satisfied with the result it has shown so far."

"What are you..." Haruhi's sentence was cut off short as Kyouya decided to interject her at that point.

"Because of what I did to you earlier apparently has made you angry enough to call me by my name. No Senpai, no Ootori. It's just Kyouya. I have to say that I am simply pleased with myself when I heard that. Is that so wrong, Haruhi?"

For once that day Haruhi was left speechless. How could she stay mad at him when he had to tell her that unashamedly? That was so un-Kyoya like. If she had to say it, it was kind of sweet not to mention... cute.

Haruhi was no longer frowning when she opened her mouth again to say, "Stupid. All you have to do is ask if you want me to call you by your name, Kyou-ya..."

There were smiles on their both equally gorgeous faces as Haruhi intertwined her fingers with Kyouya before they went inside the mall.

--

"Enlighten me again on why we are here today of all places, Haruhi?" Kyouya did not even bother to conceal his impatience as he spoke. There were far too many people inside the mall for his taste which successfully made him felt somewhat lightheaded. It must have been the most crowded mall he had ever been in his entire life. The only time he had ever visited a so-called peasant mall was when Tamaki had his one too many whimsical action that brought him there as he was still half-asleep. Even then he painfully recalled that the place had not been as crowded as this.

"Ah. I heard from some of my classmates that this mall has the biggest Bussanten for the year-end festival. There are supposed to be some unique stalls and look, they even have gypsy booths. I thought you might be interested," answered Haruhi with a sincere smile plastered on her beautiful face. She tapped the brochure on her hand with her forefinger, pointing at some pictures of the booths shown on the catalogue she took from the mall's main entrance.

Kyouya tried to hide his snort as hard as he could when he spoke curtly, "What on earth exactly that makes you think I would feel excited to visit a bunch of fake gypsies, if I may know, Haruhi?"

"Ah... that... I am quite unsure on what type of things you would actually like to see or do during dates like this. It's surely uncommon for us to see gypsy booths so I reckon we can just go and take a look," said Haruhi while she was busily tiptoeing on her feet to take a good look on what was in front of them.

As she noticed the obvious tart look on Kyouya's face, she quickly added, "But if you don't feel like going there, we can always enjoy different types of food here. I mean even the Shadow King has to eat lunch, right?"

Kyouya sighed in defeat at last. It was a waste of time to argue with Haruhi especially when it came to food. Therefore before Kyouya knew it, he had let himself being dragged to the nearest convenient store for Haruhi to buy them some soft drinks.

"We can just buy the drink in the bazaar itself, Haruhi. Why do we have to bother buying them from the convenient store?" asked Kyouya as they came to a stop in front of a convenient store. Haruhi did not reply him straight, instead she went in and leaving Kyouya standing all alone in front of the store.

Before long, Haruhi came back bringing a small plastic bag containing their drinks. "It is always cheaper to buy them in..." Haruhi did not have the chance to finish her sentence as her eyes were stumbled upon what Kyouya was busily staring at the moment.

On almost every major newspaper and magazine, there were pictures of Yoshio Ootori all seemingly taken from the same exact occasion. It looked like he was in an opening ceremony of some sorts. Only by taking a quick look, Haruhi could read from one of the newspapers on the topmost rack the headline of the main article on the first page:

Ootori Empire Donates a New Hospital for Tokyo University

Before Haruhi could see the rest of the article, she realised that Kyouya was walking away from her looking completely distracted upon reading the news.

"Hey, earth to Kyouya, aren't you forgetting something?" said Haruhi once she caught up with Kyouya. She was almost breathless from running to chase the guy while carrying their drinks not to mention her backpack that was not exactly light in weight. Blame it to Kyouya and his long strides.

Kyouya looked surprise for a moment when he heard what Haruhi just said before he replied her with a mere, "Huh?"

At that exact time, Haruhi noticed that there was a slight crease appeared on Kyouya's forehead as though he was busily thinking and not really listening to whatever she had just said.

"Go figure," Haruhi sighed bitterly before she continued with her sentence, "You were walking all by yourself and leaving me behind at the convenient store just now, remember?"

As though Kyouya had just found his attention back, he spoke apologetically, "Ah... sorry. You have got the drinks already? Let's go then."

Haruhi bit her lips as though contemplating whatever she wanted to say before she opened her mouth once again, "Is everything all right? I saw you reading the article about your dad and suddenly you act all weird like this."

As soon as she finished her sentence, Haruhi winced involuntarily- all prepared to be scolded by Kyouya like last time she talked about Yoshio in front of him. However Kyouya was not answering her and merely looking at nothing in particular as he continued walking away.

Haruhi hesitated for a moment before she walked side by side with Kyouya. She spoke quietly as though she was not sure whether she should say what was on her mind or not.

"I just noticed that you have never talked to me about becoming the heir of Ootori Empire anymore, Kyouya. It is still your greatest ambition in life, right?"

Kyouya ceased his steps almost instantly when he heard what Haruhi just said. His face looked impassive as he replied brusquely, "Probably. I am not very sure about that."

Haruhi frowned upon listening to Kyouya's curt not to mention ambiguous reply. Something felt amiss although she could not pinpoint the exact reason why. However, before she could interrogate the guy further, somebody had lightly tapped on her shoulder.

--

Much to Haruhi's surprise, standing behind her an old lady that could easily pass her late grandmother's age.

Haruhi bowed down a bit to be on the same height as the lady when she spoke politely, "How may I help you, Obaachan? Are you looking for somebody?"

The old lady was completely ignoring her questions and merely said, "Do you want me to read your fate for you, My Dear?"

Kyouya who had just witnessed the whole thing beside Haruhi let out a sarcastic snort. He grabbed Haruhi's arm while he growled, "Let's go, Haruhi. It is obvious that she wants to cheat on you."

It was Kyouya's turn to feel bewildered as he listened to what the old lady said a second later.

"You can never force your will against fate, My Boy. Both of you are just not meant for each other. It does not matter how hard and persistent you try to defeat your fate. You have to be able to accept that fact or she may end up having a miserable life because of you."

"What does that supposed to mean, Obaasan?" Kyouya almost failed to keep his temper in check upon listening to what the old lady had just said.

Before Kyouya could do something harmful towards the old lady, Haruhi grabbed his arm to try to stop his apparent hostility and shook her head quietly. Although she could not help but to feel more than a bit shock at what the old lady had just told Kyouya, it was inappropriate for him to verbally abuse an elderly like her.

However, much to Kyouya's annoyance, the old lady did not seem to feel intimidated by him or any of his words even for the slightest and merely carried on talking to Haruhi as though there was no interruption coming from him a moment before that.

"What has been done can never be undone. He'll never be yours as he has already tied his fate with another person long before he even met you, My Dear. Your destiny supposes to be the one who has given up on you for your sake. Find him and you will discover your true happiness."

The old lady tapped Haruhi's shoulder gently before she turned her attention to Kyouya. There was something much like a sincere sympathy lingered in her dark coloured eyes as though they were trying to tell him the unspoken words of empty consolation.

At that point of time, Kyouya could feel that his heart had just missed a beat.


1 year 4 months 5 days before...

Ootori Mansion – Kyouya Ootori's Study Room

"Are these all the information we got so far, Tachibana?" asked Kyouya as he pushed back his glasses to the brink of his nose.

Tachibana bowed before he answered, "Yes. Those were the results from our investigation on Nakashima Corp and Yutaka Nakashima-San, Ootori-Sama. We are waiting for further instruction from you before we can carry on with our next plan."

"Who is this woman with him? Why were there so many pictures of her together with him? I remember she's not Reina's mother."

"No, you are mistaken for that, Ootori-Sama. I am afraid she is Nakashima-Sama's real mother - her biological mother, to be exact."

--

One week later...

Nakashima Corp – CEO's Office

"So what are you trying to say now, Ootori-Kun? You did not even bother to show up on your engagement day with my daughter. Why do you think I will listen to whatever you are going to say today?"

"Ah. I will try to make sure that whatever I am going to say today is worth your time, Nakashima-San," answered Kyouya politely. There was no sarcasm hinted on his tone and his expression was unreadable.

Kyouya did not trouble himself to wait for an answer he knew might never come. He merely added lightly, "It is about Reiko. Reiko Yamashita – Reina's biological mother. In other word: your lover."

There was no mistake that Kyouya got all the attentions he wanted from Yutaka as soon as he finished his sentence. From the corner of his eyes he could see that the older guy was scanning right through him. It was as though Yutaka was trying to decipher how much and how far he had found out about Reiko Yamashita and her relationship with him.

"I would like to offer you a proposal," said Kyouya again, completely unperturbed with the lack of responses he got from the older guy.

There was no hesitation in Kyouya's voice when he continued, "I would like to make a request to cancel my engagement with your daughter. It should be done without affecting our previous plan to establish a partnership between Ootori Empire and Nakashima Corp. On the other hand, I will let you have my words that your daughter will never find out any of this."

There was a menacing silence when both of them were only staring at each other without saying anything. "I will take care of the unborn child, Nakashima-San. That child is an Ootori, I will make sure that he or she will only get the best that the world can offer to him or her," added Kyouya without breaking his eye contact with Yutaka.

Yutaka seemed more than just agitated by the time he finally opened his mouth to say, "Just like your dad, you are an arrogant bastard, Kyouya Ootori. How can you be so sure that I will agree on your terms? It is my daughter's happiness that you are talking about here. How can you be so irresponsible and heartless towards her?"

Kyouya did not provide any reply to what Yutaka had just said to him. He merely looked at Yutaka who brought every inch of resemblances with his daughter whom he had grown to loathe so much.

Kyouya stood up from his seat and bowed low. As he reached the door, he turned around and spoke to Yutaka for the last time that day, "I will wait for your answer, Nakashima-San. I hope you will not let me wait for too long."

--

Five days later...

Inside the Moonbucks Cafe – Tokyo Main Branch

"I have heard from Yutaka-San that you met him a couple days back, Ootori-San, and that you were using me to threaten him. Don't you think what you are trying to do is ruthless? My daughter is pregnant with your child, Ootori-Kun. Can't you at least spare a thought for her?"

It was surprising for Kyouya to know that there was a stranger who could tell the truths so openly without feeling the need to at least conceal anything –even only for politeness sake. Not that he felt bothered by it at all. If truth be told, he was quite relieved that he did not need to repeat the same thing he had told Yutaka to Reiko. Probably it was because somewhere, deep down he felt guilty and remorseful for what he was trying to do; towards his unborn child and even Reina. He had been feeling that way since he came in terms with his own heart no matter how hard he tried to deny it.

"I am afraid you are not going to like my answer no matter how hard I try to polish it, Yamashita-San. Therefore, you can tell me straight the purpose of you inviting me here in the first place. If what you want is for me to change my mind, I am afraid I am going to disappoint you even further," said Kyouya softly.

Kyouya was staring at Reiko's eyes with sincere expression. There was a harsh sadness somewhat clouding his handsome face. It was one of the rarest times where Kyouya could deliberately exhibit his true emotions. It might have been because she was a complete stranger to him. At least till now. Or probably because he was hoping that of all people in the world, the woman in front of him might understand the reason why he decided to follow his heart.

--

Reiko could see the plain determination that was apparent in Kyouya's onyx eyes. They seemingly had answered her questions silently. That whatever she said, might not be useful at all to change his mind. It was probably the reason why Reiko hesitated for a second before she spoke quietly.

"Yutaka-San and I have known each other long before we became lovers. I came from a poor family while he's the only descendant of the infamous Nakashima Clan. It might have sounded like a cliché to you. There was a time when I was planning to leave him for good since I knew he was going to marry Sayuri-San in the end. But it was before I knew I was pregnant," Reiko's voice was slightly quivery as though she was trying hard not to cry in front of Kyouya.

Kyouya kept quiet while he felt his heart was squirming with bitter guilt as he was staring and listening to Reiko's explanation. He could not help but to realise that she was nothing like Reina except for her black wavy hair.

There was a painful pause as though Reiko was trying to accumulate all her strengths before she continued, "I had no choice but to leave my daughter to Sayuri-San, hoping against all odds that she would take care of her as if she's hers. There was no way Nakashima-San's family would let me raise her myself. Sayuri-San did not know that I existed in Yutaka's life. All she knew was that Yutaka decided to adopt his long lost niece after both of her parents died because of a terrible car accident."

It did not help Kyouya to feel better once he heard Reiko's last sentence on that day.

"I believe you know that Sayuri loves Reina so much. But that may change once she realises Reina's real identity. I do not want my daughter to suffer because of me again. I beg your mercy, Ootori-Kun. Please, don't let both of them to find out anything about me. Ever."

--

Couple of hours later...

Ootori Mansion – Kyouya Ootori's Study Room

"Are you saying that we will not continue to pursue the matter further, Ootori-Sama? But that means all our efforts so far will go down the drain. This is the perfect chance for you to secure the deal with Nakashima Corp. We are running out of time as they may sign the contract with our competitors."

"We have to find another way, Tachibana. There must be something that I can use to convince Nakashima-San to sign on the agreement beside that piece of information," said Kyouya with tiredness illustrated on his face.

Kyouya tousled his jet black hair in apparent frustration while trying to rack his brain to no avail. He knew that Tachibana was pointing at all the right facts. He might lose his only chance if he did not use his knowledge on Reiko to pressurise Yutaka on signing the contract. However, something in Reiko's expressions earlier that day had made him felt even more ashamed with himself – to think that he had even stooped that low to use that woman as his last weapon to escape from her daughter.

"I am sorry to say this to you now, Ootori-Sama. But you must have known it by now that there is nothing better for us than to use the fact that we know the real mother of Nakashima-Sama is not Sayuri Nakashima but Reiko Yamashita," answered Tachibana blatantly.

Kyouya did not even bother to give Tachibana any replies. He was merely staring at the window which illuminated the dim moonlight outside.

Without Kyouya even aware of, Tachibana's eyes quietly darted to the big cabinet on the other end of the room and returned back to Kyouya by the time his young master looked back at him. Both of them spent some moments in total silence before Kyouya sent Tachibana back to his quarter while he left his study room – looking completely defeated. He was too distracted with his own thoughts to even realise that faint sobs could be heard coming out from the big cabinet located at one the corner of the room.

--

There were more than few occasions when Tachibana felt intimidated by Kyouya. Those were probably the main reason why he always refrained himself from speaking his mind out whenever his young master was asking for his opinions. However, at that point of time, it was surely not the right moment for him to let his fear against his young master to take charge of him. He could never let his young master to suffer in the future, not when he could help it – even when it came with small consequences like losing his job, for example. He was ready even for situations much worse than that.

Tachibana had worked for Kyouya since he was barely able to walk. He knew that judging from Kyouya's personality; he might have changed his mind once he met with Reina's biological mother. It would be impossible to change his mind back if that was the case - even when that very same decision might cost him to lose both Haruhi Fujioka and his only chance to become the successor of Ootori Empire.

Thus, Tachibana had arranged everything earlier that afternoon without Kyouya's acknowledgement. He knew that hiding inside the big cabinet on the other end of the room was Nakashima Reina. He was the one who suggested to the girl that she should hide herself inside there before Kyouya returned home. She had been asking him countless of times on what Kyouya had been doing while he was locking himself up inside his study room for the whole day almost every day since she moved in with him. It was far too easy for him to persuade Reina to stay there quietly while he was going to discuss the current pressing matter with Kyouya.

Tachibana knew that he was not supposed to do what he had done. Yet he had left with not much choice. Reina still persisted to have things her way no matter how cruel Kyouya had been towards her. Therefore he was left with no other options. Between Kyouya Ootori's happiness and his guilty conscience, he had chosen the first.

--

Less than an hour later...

Nakashima Residence – Main Living Room

"Are you okay, Reina Dear? You look terribly pallid; I'll call our doctor to have him check up on you, okay? You should take care of your health better than this especially now that you are pregnant." said Sayuri reproachfully while she touched Reina's cold cheek with her bare fingers gently.

Reina merely shook her head weakly. She had been staring at her father for quite some time now as though looking for some untold reassurances from him that what she had heard from the conversation between Kyouya and Tachibana back in the Ootori Mansion was a big mistake.

"Mother, can you get me a slice of chocolate cake, please? Suddenly I have a weird craving for it," asked Reina, finally broke her eye contact with his father. She needed to know the truth no matter how painful it might be for her.

Sayuri raised her eyebrows questioningly upon listening to Reina's request but did not ask anything further.

After a couple of seconds later when Reina felt certain that Sayuri was no longer around, she finally asked her main intention why she came home that evening, "Father, I want to know who Reiko Yamashita is. I've heard that she's my mother. However, I will never believe that unless it is coming from your mouth. Even when the whole world tells me that she's my mother, I won't believe them as long as you said she's not."

For a second Yutaka looked surprised and almost lost his composure upon listening to what Reina just asked him. Yutaka looked pained but merely said, "I am sorry, Reina. I should have told you earlier. I am sorry."

Before Reina could say anything, she felt like she was thrown into a bottomless pit once she could hear Sayuri's voice from behind the living room's partition, "What do you mean by Reiko Yamashita? Don't tell me that you still meet up with that woman until now, Yutaka-San? Don't tell me that you have the heart to do so even when you clearly know that I have raised her daughter like my own."

Sayuri walked a couple steps further until she was facing Yutaka. There was an obvious desperation in Sayuri's shivering voice as she continued, "Both of you must have thought that I did not know anything about her - or the fact that I raise your daughter with her? How stupid does that suppose to make me feel - to continue on hoping that you will only look at me one day? Please tell me, when can I finally be the only one for you, Yutaka-San?"

Yutaka was looking at anywhere but his wife. There was nothing he could say now that could make up for the whole mess. He never thought that Kyouya would be merciless to the extent of telling the truth to Reina about her biological mother only because he disregarded his proposal and told Reiko to persuade him to change his mind instead.

--

One week later...

Ootori Mansion – Reina Nakashima's Bedroom

Reina could not recall when the last time she had felt that heartbroken like the one she felt that day was. She had been crying a lot since the day she had met with Kyouya once again in Ouran High School. There was no saying on that.

In her entire life, Reina had always used to people sucking up on her and all of her whims and how tired they had made her feel. Kyouya was different – he never felt the need to make her happy or to pay attention to her existence even for the slightest. There were no pretexts on his attitudes towards her. And just like those people who sincerely adored her, she began adoring him ever since she had laid her eyes on him during his seventh birthday party.

Yet the more she felt in love with him, the more frequent she found herself crying because of him. She should have tried harder not to fall in love with him. If that was impossible for her to do, then she should have tried harder to make him fall in love with her instead. But none of those things have happened in reality. Instead she had to lose those precious to her because of him. They had been taken away from her forcefully and there was no way she could get them back to the way they were used to be.

--

Reina did not know how long she had been staring at the same piece of crumpled paper lying sadly on her lap or how much tears she had spent these past few days. The days passed by like big blurry visions for her ever since she left her house one week ago.

There was something amiss in her mother's attitude during the time when she sent her to the limousine that day. She should have realised it sooner that it might have been the last time for her to see her mother. Yet she only shook off her bad premonitions with some consoling thoughts that Sayuri might have just felt as or even more shocked than her to learn about the existence of Reiko Yamashita in her father's life.

She still could not believe that the words written on that piece of paper in front of her had brought the last thought of her mother – the mother that she loved. The only mother she knew – Sayuri Nakashima.

I am sorry, Reina. I could never let her have him. Not then. Not now.

--

At the same time...

Ootori Mansion – Kyouya Ootori's Study Room

Kyouya did not know how many times he had already watched the same news over and over again. It seemed like all TV stations in the country had decided that that particular news was worth every second of their airing time. Never in his life had he predicted that things could end up that way. There were tears coming unknowingly from his eyes as he closed them shut – trying to get away from looking at the same news that went on and on explaining the same thing - as though they were pointing at his mistake. With or without him intending to do it, he had sent both Yutaka and Sayuri to their deaths.

--

"At the moment, the Regional Police had come out with the preliminary result of the accident that had caused the deaths of Yutaka Nakashima, the CEO of Nakashima Corp and his wife, Sayuri Nakashima. Based on the result indicated so far, many experts had believed that the Mercedes Benz's brake was faulty, which caused Sayuri Nakashima-San to lose control while she was driving her car at top speed on their way for a weekend break to their villa in Karuizawa. The vehicle had hit a truck driving towards the opposite direction instead. The couple died instantly while the truck driver is currently still in coma. The Regional Police are still investigating other possible causes of the accident that had resulted in such a major tragedy in Japan's business world. At the moment, the board of directors of Nakashima Corp are still undergoing a closed internal meeting to discuss the future of the company. An unnamed informant from Nakashima Corp's board of directors suggested that there's a possibility of a buyout to be done by Ootori Empire. The company has indicated a great deal of interest to build up a partnership with Nakashima Corp for some time before the CEO passed away. The couple had left one daughter, Reina Nakashima-San. We hope that she is given the strength to pass this difficult test of her life. And next on the news...."

-- to be continued --

A/N: I just got back my laptop yesterday which I have sent for servicing as my colleague spilled water on it. Sadly, there's still something wrong with it so I need to send it back by tomorrow to the service centre. However, I have made a promise two months ago that once I got my laptop back I will update this story. Thus, I must say this is the fastest chapter I have written so far. Normally it took me days to finish a chapter. I hope it can compensate the long waiting time. Please do not forget to review. It is my source of motivation. Hehehe.....

See you next time around.....

Special thanks to: kon, ranranran and wiwionly for your continuous supports all this time.

Thanks for your reviews: chiimurasaki, dark and bittersweet, cantarola, berrieatrice., Sedona, Chayanne, Jiru-senpai, fire dragonheart, Rayne Hunter, Mel's Merleawe, emorocks91, Ann, anelyna, chinpunkanpun, rakefet, Kisa101, i love blaise, -=kThy=-, Regin, Kaiyt, Focky-Pocky, AmicableAlien, waizzz, eidette112, PickachuHater, Xan, SnowCharms, kon, Sango The Lecher Slayer, Kalachuchi, Sakura-Sama, wiwionly, Ranranran, sleepingbeauty, Tranguillezza, iruka92, fantine89, sadness & sober, DevilHeart13, sonata hirano, Melodramatic Writer, Alya Mira, and Rangerette. Thanks guys for your reviews. They really made my day even brighter!!

Side Note:

Bussanten: some sorts of food bazaars that are normally hold by big malls where we can buy lots of delicious food from different provinces in Japan. They normally are hold during festive seasons, celebrations, etc.

Obaachan / Obaasan: this is how Japanese call an old grandma.

PASMO / SUICA Prepaid Fare Card: In Japan, just like some other countries passengers can pay public transports such as buses, trains, or metros by using prepaid fare cards called PASMO / SUICA that can be topped up by refilling the credits at the nearest vending machine each time you have finished all the credits inside the cards. For those who do not have the cards, they can always pay in cash. But please do remember to always pay the bus fare using the exact amount because the bus drivers tend to get grumpy whenever you ask for your change. Believe me things can get ugly because of that not to mention embarrassing to the fullest. Ahem.

Lastly, just in case you are wondering, I have never been to Japan in all my entire life – although if God's willing, I may win a lottery ticket and I'll go there without hesitation. Therefore, all seemingly convincing things or information that I used in this story are solely using either my wild imaginations or researches I have done before writing the chapters. Thus, don't hold me responsible for any misinformation, okay? Peace out.