Means to an End
I do not own Sailor Moon-just the story ideas!
Raye signed again as she sat listlessly while her father droned on to the press. She absolutely hated being here but she would never show it. This was her life now and she had to accept it.
No more freedom, no more doing what she wanted when she wanted. No more satisfying exhaustion with temple grounds work or nights contemplating the flames, lost in thought. Her future was being arranged for her.
"And now someone who needs no introduction, my right hand man Jed Houston. As you know he's been the hardest working member of my team since he joined my organization a year and a half ago." Her father sounded so damn pompous, she thought dispiritedly.
Raye watched the tall figure of Jed Houston stand and approach the podium towering over her father's 5'9 frame by several inches. It was painful to watch Ren Hino, the man who had never been interested in his daughter put his arm on Jed's shoulder as though he were a proud parent.
"I'd hoped to find a way to keep Jed on my team for years to come, but it seems my daughter discovered a way that I hadn't thought to try." This was met with chuckles from the reports. "And let me introduce the blushing bride to be, my daughter Raye Hino."
There was light applause and Raye gathered her spirits and stood, moving to stand next to the stranger that was her fiancé. He looped an arm around her shoulder and flashes suddenly blinded them as everyone surged forward to get a shot of the 'happy couple.'
"Thank you for doing this." Jed murmured, his breath warm on her ear. He was unfailingly polite, she had discovered quickly. And impersonal. He hadn't made an attempt to get to know her outside any of the functions her father had arranged for them to attend together. It suited her just fine.
She nodded, smiling till it hurt, hating the hypocrisy that was her life now. But she held onto hope. Once she married Jed, they would be provided their own house courtesy of her father and she would have freedom once again. The familiar ache of loneness filled her, and the laughing face of her grandfather filled her mind.
What would he think of what she was doing now? He wouldn't judge, that had never been his way, but would he have been disappointed? She couldn't bear the thought and realized she had to get off stage quickly before the tears began to fall.
"I'm sorry, i…need to go." She said lamely, pulling away from under Jed's arm and turning to rush offstage. The reports frantically took pictures of what appeared to be her fleeing the scene, while her father worked to control his anger. Jed just watched her go with a mystified look on his face. Then he turned and smiling charmingly at the crowd. He leaned down slightly and spoke into the microphone in his staid voice. "When you gotta go, you gotta go." He deadpanned.
The crowd laughed as they were meant to, and Ren Hino quickly commanded the attention of he media once again, answering questions about his upcoming campaign and business ventures.
Off stage, Raye struggled to control her rioting emotions before her father found her.
Finally twenty minutes later Ren strode off the stage, his entourage behind him and Jed at his side. Raye was composed once again, and she silently awaited her father's wrath.
She didn't have to wait long.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" He hissed furiously, still mindful of the press packing up and some lingering, hoping to catch any juicy media tidbits.
Raye shrugged, determined not to mention her grandfather whom she was still grieving for who was a bone of contention between them. Her father had no sympathy for her in that regard.
When he realized that was the only answer he was going to get, he stalked off, but turned at the last minute to address Jed who had not moved from his spot before her. "I know I promised you those shares upon marrying my daughter, as well as that townhouse in the city, but you're still getting a raw deal marrying this ungrateful bitch!"
Raye's face revealed nothing, not even a flinch at his cruel words. The rest of his group followed and soon just Jed and Raye remained in the empty antechamber room, standing silently.
She glanced up at him, waiting for his condemnation as well.
Instead he asked solicitously; "Are you alright?" It wasn't said with any real concern though, but she guessed he thought it was the right thing to ask.
She studied his face. He was handsome enough, she supposed. Blond hair combed neatly, stylish wire framed glasses sat on a roman nose, his cheekbones sharp and his mouth a thin line that showed no emotion. His eyes were a lovely blue color, but they seemed cold at times. The suit he wore loosely fitted his tall lean frame, the button up white shirt and dark tie was as bland as his personality.
"Fine, thank you Jed." She replied emotionlessly. Raye started to say more but pulled herself back. She owed this man no explanation. "If you'll excuse me, I think I'll return to the mansion and go to bed early tonight." As an excuse, lack of sleep was a poor one but it was all she could think of.
"Of course." He nodded and gestured towards the hallway. "I'll walk you out."
"There's no need." She refuted quickly, not wanting to attempt polite conversation. "But thank you. I'm looking forward to the Worsham's dinner party tomorrow night."
"Till tomorrow then." He said with a nod, appearing unconcerned at her rebuff.
She turned and walked gracefully away, every inch a lady.
Jed waited until she was out of the room to vent his anger. "Bitch!" He growled heatedly. His beautiful fiancé, he thought with a snarl. She was difficult, and he hated this part of the bargain he had struck with her father, though he knew it was necessary.
Unwittingly, she would be the key to his revenge and he had come too far, planned and schemed for so long-too long to let it all come crashing down over one spoiled little snot.
She had left him standing there at the podium while she took off, for who knew what reason this time. Looking like an ass, feeling like an idiot. "Better enjoy it while you can you poisonous viper. Once we're married things are going to change." He muttered, reining in his temper.
Jed wanted nothing more than to escape to his apartment just outside the city. To shed the cloying suit and forget his impending nuptials through an aged scotch straight from the bottle. It had been that kind of day. But he knew his boss was waiting for him, and Mr. Hino hated to be kept waiting. So he pulled himself upright, straightened his tie and went to join the rest of the group. He firmly pulled his thoughts away from his unwanted fiancé. He had business to take care of for now.
The chauffeur pulled up to the mansion where Raye now lived. She despised the place, it was large and ostentatious. She may sleep and eat here, but it didn't feel like home, and never would.
She allowed herself to be helped out of the limo and she walked quickly up the stairs, anxious to get inside and lock herself in her room in case her father returned home and decided to berate her further.
"Welcome home Ms. Hino." The maid greeted with a slight bow. When she had first arrived, Raye had insisted the bow and the formality were not necessary. The maid had feared loss of her job and had not complied. There was no one in the house who didn't treat her like the master's daughter. No one she could talk to.
"Myra, can you please have dinner sent to my room this evening, I'm not feeling well." She asked, unbuttoning her jacket and handing it to the silent butler waiting to take her coat.
Myra flushed red but replied with a blank expression. "I'm sorry miss, but the master called home and said that he'll be dining out and there is to be no dinner prepared."
Raye was embarrassed but tried to bluster through it. If her father was going out to dine this evening she should have at least been given a meal. No doubt this was punishment for what he perceived as her humiliating him this afternoon. "Well that's fine. Can I just have some fruit, and perhaps a sandwich sent up?" She asked, hating to beg for a meal from her father's kitchen.
Myra couldn't look her in the eye. "I'm sorry miss, but he said the kitchen is to be closed for the night."
Raye nodded and said nothing more, sweeping past them to the grand spiraling staircase that ascended to her private chambers.
She passed the expensive paintings on the walls, the priceless vases her father had purchased not for their beauty but to show off his wealth and importance. That was the kind of man he was.
Raye finally arrived at her room, though it would be more appropriate to say it was a suite. It was situated on the far end of the mansion, as far away from her father's room as possible, and he was the one who had chosen it for her. It was one more reminder that she wasn't wanted or welcome. Merely a pawn to be used to further his political career and financial empire.
She peeled off the expensive dress as soon as she closed her bedroom door behind her and slipped off the painful heels she had worn. Raye wandered to the view out her window for a moment absently fingering the tiny charm on her necklace that had been a gift from her grandfather, taking in the lush green lawn that resembled a golf course before she flung herself on her back onto her bed, clad only in a white slip.
How she hated her gilded prison.
Her stomach rumbled but she resolutely ignored it. To be denied dinner as though she were a disobedient child, instead of a woman of nineteen was degrading and precisely how he wanted her to feel.
"Oh Grandpa, if only I could have held onto the temple." She sighed dejectedly, having developed a habit of talking to her deceased grandfather. He was the only one who ever cared for her, loved her unconditionally. He was hardly perfect, with his lecherous tendencies towards pretty women and his comical parenting skills. But his stubbornness and temper had matched her own, and they had had many wonderful shouting matches. It made her ache with sadness just to think of it. "I should have been nicer to you." She lamented.
But Raye knew her grandfather wouldn't see it that way. They had an open honest relationship where they could say anything to each other. And he had preferred it that way. She had loved that about him.
"If only you hadn't died Grandpa." She whispered, shutting her eyes against the useless tears.
She had arrived at his temple, a wide eyed seven year old year with no where else to go, her brusque father impatient to be rid of her. But she had grown into a woman, tall, graceful and elegant. And fiery, she remembered with a quick grin.
But when her seemingly invincible grandfather has suffered a massive stroke, she had been devastated. Her friends had helped her deal with the grief but when she had realized she couldn't keep the temple, it was like loosing him all over again. She had struggled, and poured every cent she owned into it. In the end it hadn't been enough.
Broke and broken hearted, she had gone to her father to ask for help. It had been her last option, and he had agreed to stop the bank for foreclosing on the property, if she agreed to come and live with him.
So against her better judgment she had moved far from her friends and the only real home she had ever known. Only to discover that she had been deceived. Her father had complained at the exorbitant fee's that would be needed to fix up the temple and keep it running and had refused to sink another dime into it, instead putting the property up for sale. And Raye who had no money to go anywhere and had been stranded, completely dependant on her father for food and shelter and forced to 'fall in line'.
"If only I had real work experience instead of working at the shrine all those years." She sighed again. But of course, Grandpa had planned on her taking over the temple, so there had been no need for any other work experience.
But the most unexpected twist had been her recent engagement. "Grandpa, can you believe I'm getting married?" She said derisively. Raye closed her eyes, willing sleep to come. It was all too much to think about at the moment.
Across town, Jed said his goodbyes to his dinner guest and his host Mr. Hino. "Thank you again sir for including me in this dinner invitation." He said almost meekly, shaking hands with his boss.
"I think it was a productive dinner." Was all Mr. Hino said. "I'll see you tomorrow night when you pick up my daughter for that dinner party." He concluded, effectively dismissing him.
"Yes sir, good night." Jed answered and turned to leave.
As soon as his car was far enough from the restaurant not to be seen by anyone he had dined with, he viciously tugged loose his tie and tossed it in the passenger seat along with the glasses he wore, since they were only for show. They were just part of the image of a repressed businessman's role he portrayed.
Running a hand through his hair, he mussed it into disheveled disarray and turned the radio on to a hard rock tune, turning the volume up to ear bursting levels. Lastly he leaned over while still driving one handed and opened the glove compartment with the other. He pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.
Once he had one lit and his window rolled down to allow the night air to rush in, he felt himself begin to relax.
"Hell yeah." He muttered to himself quietly as exhaled a stream of white smoke. "This is more like it.
TBD-I know I have other stories I should be working on, but I'm bored with em at the moment!