Title: Tears Under My Pillow
Rating: T, but I drop the "F" bomb a lot in this one
Full Description: Typical story about cheating. Chiba Mamoru and Usagi are envied by every one of their friends for what looks like a match made in heaven. Little do they know that behind their blissful marriage is a disloyal husband and a bitter wife, one who's decided she's had enough.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the story.
Author's Notes: In the Japanese culture, you add suffixes to a person's name that recognizes said person as a highly respected person (-sama), your elder/someone of a higher level (-san) or a friend (-chan). Other suffixes exist, but -san and -chan will be used most frequently to show how Mamoru and Usagi's relationship has dwindled over the year.
Part One. Good Night.
Usagi tried not to stiffen when Mamoru turned the light on. 'Inconsiderate bastard!' she screamed in her mind. 'The least you could do is pretend like you weren't out cheating on me..' The rest of her thoughts were a colorful array of insults bitterly directed at her husband. Chiba Mamoru, chief neurosurgeon at the Tokyo International Hospital, light of hope for little children with brain or spinal cord tumors, generous benefactor for charities, altruistic friend.. 'Unfaithful, double-crossing snake of a husband.'
She heard him stumble over his own shoe to get to their closet and bit down on her tongue. 'Calm down, Usagi. If you lash out now, he'll know that you're awake. He'll know that you know.' And that was the only reason she was able to contain herself. Mamoru had been out, she knew he had been out, but she didn't know if he knew that she knew he was out, and she wanted to make sure it stayed that way. Why? She had no idea. All she knew was that if Mamoru found out she was on to him, her life would be nothing but shattered glass.
Taking deep, calming breaths, she kept her eyes closed and listened. A zip and the rustling of clothes indicated that he was taking off his pants, but when they dropped she heard the distinct thud of metal hitting the carpet. She gritted her teeth as her skin burned. 'He didn't even buckle his belt back in his pants! Asshole!' The pent up rage was starting boil from within her. Any second now she felt like she was going to erupt.
'Usagi, calm down. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven--'
She stopped mentally counting when she felt it. A warm feeling inside that had nothing to do with anger and everything to do with her raven-haired husband. 'He's staring at me..' A slight sense of panic settled in. Instinctively she slid her leg and rolled to one side, pretending to have tossed in her sleep. With her back to him there was no way he could tell if she was awake or not. At least that was her logic. But after a full twenty seconds of silence and stillness she began to wonder if he left.
The sudden click and the darkness against the one behind her eyelids made her jump, until she realized it was Mamoru turning off the lights. He went back to changing clothes in the dark. Usagi almost bit her lip. 'Why did he do that? Does he know? Oh God, I--'
Her thoughts were cut short when she felt him slip into bed next to her. The warm feeling she had returned, spreading all the way to her toes when he aligned himself against her back and placed a protective arm and leg under and between hers. Silently she cursed how he made her feel. How she could love him, want him, even when he didn't. How he could stroke her stomach and bury his head in her hair and not feel the way she did.
But it was when he leaned in closer that she smelled him. 'You fucking bastard! I can smell her all over you!' A light hint of perfume, some nag champa incense, and that something else. Tears seared her closed lids, but she made no move to wipe them lest she give her state of consciousness away. She didn't even know who the "her" was, all she cared to know was that it definitely wasn't her. Her heart lurched at the thought. 'How could he be so cruel? What did I do? Where the hell did I go wrong?'
His hand drifted to her hair, sweeping it out of her face and tucking it behind her ear. Suddenly, he said, "Usako, are you all right?"
She didn't want to respond, but she knew better than to push her luck. "Of course, Mamoru-san. Why wouldn't I be?"
His hand froze in her hair, but it jerked back to life an instant later. "Your skin is warmer than usual and your tear ducts are a little hyperactive."
'Hyperactive tear ducts? Yeah. Sure.' She did something akin to her usual snort of nonchalance and answered, "It must be allergies." 'To your whore's perfume.'
The anger only intensified when she noticed he was acting like he cared. 'I don't want your fucking sympathy, dear.' Only it came out like, "Don't worry. I'll be fine. Go to sleep." 'While I try to find rest from what you've done, the second time this week..'
She wished she didn't sound so bitter, but since the charity fundraiser they attended six months ago she hadn't been able to think of anything but her husband's infidelity. They had been married for four years, Mamoru had just been promoted to chief neurosurgeon and Usagi's new restaurant turned around and started making some profit. They had a lot to celebrate that night, and being around mutual friends and Mamoru's colleagues in a dinner event for a good cause made perfect sense. And then..
Usagi could still see it like it was yesterday, a movie reel in her head. Mamoru brushing his best friend's wife's thigh with the pads of his fingertips when he thought no one saw. The look of muted desire toward the violinist played a moving performance that night. The blank pair of midnight blue eyes he gave her until someone was looking.
It dawned on her then. Motoki's wife Reika and the musician known as Kaiou Michiru were Mamoru's first notches on his proverbial belt. She knew it had to be true, as horrible as it was. She had no proof and yet, it made sense. Mamoru was never home, and not even he was that dedicated to work. The worst was when she spotted him later dancing with the musician like they were familiar lovers. It absolutely crushed her.
She had felt so much anger and, in a strange way, desparation to hold on her husband that when they got home, she became aggressive and made love to him with more passion than on their wedding night. It eased the ache within her and she told herself that it was okay, that it was just Reika and Michiru she'd have to compete with.
That is, until she took the next day off to surprise him at work and stopped right outside his office to the sound of hushed voices.
"Mamo-chan," a female voice that didn't belong to Reika or Michiru whispered, "I have to check on a patient soon."
"Come on," the deep, rich voice answered, "One more time. Please. You know I'll make it worth your while."
Usagi's heart had stopped in that moment. She didn't know what to do. His colleagues and a few nurses she'd befriended had already seen her come in, and she didn't want them to see her run right back out. She was frozen, listening to the soft giggles and thick moans that followed. Her world was crashing behind a closed door, right in front of her. But she couldn't force herself to open it. Instead, she flipped her cell phone open and faked a conversation all the way out of the hospital until she reached her car, where the pain was easier to settle.
Since that day Usagi stopped calling her husband "Mamo-chan" and was replaced quite abruptly with "Mamoru-san". Even--especially--in public. Their friends noticed almost immediately, including Motoki. He joked, "I guess it's the more respectful way to call your significant other. Maybe I should get Reika to do that."
Usagi blinked furiously and watched her memories fade into the alarm clock on her nightstand. Three-seventeen in the morning. The typical time these past months he'd returned to their bed. She wished he would just go, say, "Usagi, I'm sorry but it's over. I can't love you like you want me to." Just pack up and leave--or, since this was his house, kick her out. Of course, he didn't. He didn't force her to leave and he didn't come clean.
Instead, he continued to stroke her hair and finally did what she told him to do and fell asleep. She waited in the dark, thinking, 'Someday, Mamoru-san, I will be strong enough to leave you.'
He didn't care what she would think as he crossed the hallway and walked into their room. 'Tonight's the night,' he figured. 'She'll wake up and find me, fully dressed, and leave me after she's castrated me. Go ahead, Usako, I'm ready.' As if to prove his point, he brought a hand to the light switch and turned it on. He waited and nothing. She was asleep. The light seemed to have no affect on her.
He scowled. Why didn't she roll over, open her eyes and see what he'd done? How could she lay there, asleep, and let him take his spot in their bed? 'She knows. She must know,' he steamed to himself, 'but why won't she say anything?'
Truly, it was only a hunch that his wife suspected anything about his personal affairs. She put in a lot of hours taking care of business at her restaurant, the only thing of hers he hadn't bought for her. She took so much pride in the place that it almost hurt him to think that providing for her wasn't good enough. It was like she wanted to show him she didn't need him, especially when she made it a point to dedicate ten hours of the day to working in her office.
He didn't have a beaming wife waiting for him when he got home from a stressful day of work, no one who understood his small needs without him having to ask. No longer would she be there to rub his feet, give him an encouraging smile and ask, "So how many lives did we save today, Mamo-chan?"
It wasn't obnoxious of her to say "we" when she talked about his work. Back then, they had been a team. If it weren't for her he would've dropped out in the middle of his residency at the hospital. He was drowning in all the work and stress, but Usagi came along and motivated him, drove him to stick to it. That's how he knew he had to marry her. She believed in him a hundred times more than he believed in himself, and he loved her, he really did. Then he became chief neurosurgeon.
At the same time Usagi's father died and left her a hefty trust fund to do whatever she wanted with it. So she bought a cozy place downtown and turned it into a restaurant called The Black Rose. He was sincerely happy for her, but he needed her, too. This time, however, she couldn't understand that he was starting to feel like a failure without her. She made time to attend his dinner functions and played the whole doctor's-wife part well, but she should have known that he didn't need her superficial support.
Was it any wonder that the day he came home to an empty house after an eight-year-old patient died on his operating table that he found comfort in his best friend's wife's arms? Reika actually picked up when he called and drove over to talk. Just talk. Of course it turned into more, and he regretted ever betraying his wife.
He spent two months worrying if she would find out, if his face would say it all. That never happened. She didn't have a clue. She was more concerned with work than with anything he had to say.. or hide. In a twisted way he was hurt. She used to know what he felt and needed before he did. So he came to the conclusion that in order to save his sanity he could not go to Usagi anymore. 'And now I'm the bad guy who's supposed to sneak out until she finally catches me and all hell breaks loose.'
Mamoru grunted and walked over to his closet, kicking a shoe that got in his way. 'Wake up.' Nothing happened. He undid his pants and let them fall to the ground. 'Wake up!' He looked over his shoulder.
Usagi was sleeping like a baby, one arm stretched over her head, laying on her back. Her soft blonde tendrils spilled forth like a blanket tucking her cherub-like face in. And even though she had gained fifteen pounds within the last half year, he still craved for her like a thirsty man craved a cup of water. As if she had read his thoughts, she shifted and turned onto her side, hiding her face from view.
He cursed that even after a night with Michiru he still only wanted the blonde woman in his blue boxer shorts and white t-shirt. His Usako. His wife. He felt cheaper than dirt, being with three other women when he had someone who promised her life to him. But that's just it. She'd changed from a loving person he couldn't get enough of to an insensitive stranger.
It didn't matter. She didn't deserve this. If only she could see what was happening, what he was doing, so that she could end it for the both of them. God knows he didn't want to let her go. With those scary thoughts, he strode over to the light switch and turned it off. In the dark, he stripped the rest of his clothes off, slipped into a pair of green boxers and slowly climbed into bed.
He bit his lip as he tangled his body into hers. Her curves were soft, the familiar, sweet scent of her shampoo invading his nostrils as her hair caressed his face. She tensed for a fraction of a second, and her neck suddenly felt warm under his chin. He moved to feel her forehead when something wet touched his hand. 'What the--' "Usako, are you all right?"
She didn't say anything for a moment, and he thought that maybe she was too deep in sleep to answer. A muffled voice finally said, "Of course, Mamoru-san. Why shouldn't I be?"
'Mamoru-san.. Mamoru-san.. Whatever happened to Mamo-chan?' He almost balled his hand into a fist when he realized he stopped moving.. period. He continued to stroke her hair by sheer will. "Your skin is warmer than usual and your tear ducts are a little hyperactive."
She snorted like she did when something he said sounded like an exaggeration. "It must be allergies."
'Good, then you won't be able to smell Michiru's perfume.' Mamoru hated having to think like that, but he was a little relieved by his wife's reponse. He was about to offer to get her some anti-histamine pills when she added, "Don't worry. I'll be fine. Go to sleep." It was so mechanically said, like she was irritated that he was concerned. He almost thought she was being snappy with him.
'Baka, she was sleeping and you woke her up for nothing. You're reading too much into things.' He shook his head. No, where Usagi was concerned, he could never be too concerned. If anything happened to her he would go insane. 'You hate me, and I may hate you,' he thought as he stroked her hair and started to fall asleep, 'but you're mine, Usako. I won't let you go.'
End Part One.
( Dare I say this one's a keeper? Leave reviews and we shall see.. )