Kurosaki Rukia.. Kurosaki Rukia.. Kurosaki Rukia..
The raven haired former Kuchiki repeatedly chanted her new name to herself over and over again, as if trying to memorize every single syllable of it to her core. Staring at the white wedding band which is now proudly gleaming under the mid noon sun, she cannot help but smile at the events that have happened overnight – needless to say, that had changed her life forever.
Glancing every now and then at the orange haired man who is driving peacefully beside her, she just cannot help but wish to have this moment saved to last a lifetime. Just a few hours ago, they have exchanged their vows in front of a Supreme Court Judge (yeah, Ichigo just have those kinds of connections) their friends (mostly hers actually. The only people present from Ichigo's side was Uruyuu – yeah, she didn't know they were actually 'related' and that Shinji guy who have assisted Ichigo with the helicopter a while ago (She later found out that he was Ichigo's right hand on his other businesses))
The ceremony itself was so short and simple that it was over even before she can actually realize what was going on. Dressed in her lacy night gown under the pink Gotei Hotel complimentary hotel robe, and Ichigo, in his dress pants and black (disheveled and crumpled) long sleeve polo, they were proclaimed Mr. and Mrs. Kurosaki by Supreme Court Judge Genryussai.
Rangiku, Orihime and Hinamori were all wiping their tears of happiness as they congratulated the two of them. Ichigo on the other hand received several taps at his back from the men in the group. A sumptuous pizza and maki courtesy of a neighborhood food delivery service followed, with the couple laughing at the hilarity of it. Besides, who would have thought that the famous restaurant empire heiress, owner of Tokyo's top of the class five star fine dining restaurant and her equally affluent business partner would have pizza and maki for their wedding?
Yes, Rukia's ancestors would probably go ballistic once they realized what had just happened. Write ups on her engagement party last night are just in the society column on today's papers, and today – just before sun down, she got married to a man who is barely known to her family.
"Do you realize that my engagement party is featured at ALL the newspapers today?" The raven haired Mrs. Kurosaki finally spoke, watching her companion's reaction to her 'news'.
"Really huh? I bet they would also love to hear what happened AFTER the engagement party." The carrot top replied smiling sheepishly at his wife.
Rukia let out a small giggle as she rolled her eyes to his comment. Its funny how marrying Ichigo can feel this right. She was about to say something when she heard her phone ring, only to freeze after seeing the name of that caller. As if feeling her uneasiness, Ichigo glanced at her now paling wife beside. "Hey, everything alright?" he worriedly asked.
"Its.. nii-sama.." Rukia muttered tensely.
""I can answer the phone if you want.." Ichigo said, as he reaches for his wife's small hands to assure her.
"N-no.. I-.. I can handle this." The petite woman said, trying to smile at him. "Besides, he has to know, right?" she added looking at her husband reassuringly.
Ichigo smiled. Oh yes, even the all powerful Kuchiki Byakuya can do nothing to separate him and Rukia. He didn't let go of Rukia's hand as she answered the phone.
Born from an old traditional rich clan, Kuchiki Byakuya is hailed as one of Japan's most powerful men of all time. Although he never have considered entering the politics or serving under the royal family, his status as one of the most influential person in the society cannot be ignored.
The Royal Family of Japan would only do business with him especially when it comes to food and leisure – it being his clan's specialty through the years. Now, even the royalties of Monaco and just lately, the Middle East have been seeking for him to do business. By all standards, he is also one of Japan's busiest men.
So how is it that he is idly sitting at his office, on a weekday looking blankly at a piece of paper on his desk is in fact a big surprise to his staff.
"He's probably changing his mind about Rukia-sama's wedding to Shiba-san.." One of them would say. "That's like his sixth tea for the whole day! He's probably sick or something.. oh my.." another one speculated. "Aw come on, give him a break. That's probably his way of relaxing.. Come on guys, you wouldn't want to get caught looking and talking about or boss in the middle of a workday, right?" another one said, finally hushing the 'crowd'. But when Kuchiki Rukia entered Byakuya's office with an orange haired good looking man in tow, whispers were once again ignited. Oh yes, anything the thing that the Kuchiki siblings do spark interest to everyone around them.
"Nii-sama.." Kuchiki Rukia slightly bowed her head as she greeted her older brother. Ichigo did the same as he stands by his wife's back.
Kuchiki Byakuya silently raised an eyebrow upon seeing their orange haired business partner. "I am grateful that you were able to accompany my sister Kurosaki-san. You must have had a lot of spare time these days." He exclaimed rather fluidly, without even a single expression on his face.
Kurosaki Ichigo knew that the older Kuchiki would say something along those lines when he decided to come with Rukia inside her brother's office and yet he cannot help but feel a slight tremor especially looking at Kuchiki Byakuya's cool exterior. "We.. we were together when Rukia got your call. I thought it would just be proper to offer her a ride here." He answered, staring at the raven haired man across him without blinking an eye.
"You wanted to talk to me Nii-sama?" feeling the uneasiness piling up the atmosphere, Rukia blurted out, trying to catch her brother's attention.
"Ah.. yes. About that, I would like to speak to you in pri-.." Byakuya halted, eyes widening as if realizing what he was actually seeing. Letting out a rare deep sigh, he took his time before finally saying something that had both startled the couple standing in front of him. "I see." He continued knowingly. "In that case, I believe it is just proper for us to talk about .." he paused before saying his last words "… – certain matters."
The moment her brother's eyes went wide, Rukia knew that her all knowing brother had understood her situation. She knew Ichigo was trying to catch her eyes but she decided not to look at him, instead, she absentmindedly toyed with the white wedding band now placed on the finger Kaien's engagement ring used to occupy.
Here goes nothing. Ichigo thought as he took the seat across his 'brother-in-law'. He had been trying to catch Rukia's eyes just to assure her that everything will be alright at that he is ready to fight for her should things go worst but her petite wife seemed to have found playing with her ring more interesting than looking to him. He inwardly sighed as he tries to focus to the intimidating man now looking intently at him. Mentally preparing for the possible questions he is going to fire at him.
"So.. Rukia, Kurosaki..-san, when can I expect your formal wedding to take place? I don't think the rest of the clan will be thrilled with the civil wedding – and I don't think your father, Pharmaceutical magnate Kurosaki Isshin will be pleased should he - …"
"Nii-sama..! Y-you're..? Y..y-you approve of it?" Dumbfolded with what her brother is saying, Rukia's eyes went wide with tears brimming on its sides. "B..but.. W-why..? How..??"
Ichigo's shock was much, much worse than his wife. He was rooted at his seat, unable to say something as if everything wasn't registering to his mind. He stared at Byakuya, with his eyes as wide as Rukia's – his expression is of pure bewilderment at shock.
Kuchiki Byakuya would have laughed out loud with the current expression her sister and her new found husband has in front of him. He would have wanted to pull out a camera to snap a picture of the horror/unbelieving expression the both has written all over their faces – but no, being Kuchiki Byakuya, he'd just have those expression etched on his mind for future blackmailing purposes – he thought. He knew Rukia and Ichigo were not expecting this kind of talk when they first came to his office. Although he had to admit that he is not pleased with his sister getting married civilly at God-knows-where – obviously a few hours after her engagement party – he will have to say that bizarre things happen at bizarre moments like this. Infact, Kurosaki's interference wouldn't have been better.
While he wanted to straight things out, the older Kuchiki have decided to play a little longer. "And why wouldn't I approve of your decision .. Rukia?" He then asked his petite sister who is still looking at him quizzically.
"She's supposed to marry Shiba.. err, Kaien-san, right?" Ichigo exclaimed – finally 'waken' from his shock.
"Since my sister married you after the engagement party, maybe it is safe to assume that she doesn't wish to marry the man I thought would be good for her." The other man replied coolly still observing how the two are taking his words.
"B-but.. nii-sama.. I.." Rukia stammered, Oh God, I am not getting ANY of these! She frustratedly thought. What on Earth is her brother planning? She felt Ichigo's hands reach for her as she confusedly think about the recent happenings.
Seeing his sister's struggle, Byakuya held up a piece of paper previously lying on his table. "This was left on your hotel suite this morning. I want you to read this and tell me what you think"
Rukia took the letter and looked at her brother questioningly, after realizing that her brother wouldn't still tell anything to her, she carefully ripped the enveloped off, and upon reading the first few sentences, she realized that it was from Kaien.
Kaien was apparently inlove with another girl, she was his childhood sweetheart who was separated from him when he studied college and has to leave Japan. They lost communication and just reconnected a few weeks before Byakuya and Kaien's parents decided to have him and Rukia get married. By the time Kaien and Rukia have announced their engagement, Miyako – Kaien's childhood sweetheart is already pregnant with their first child. Miyako came to Kaien right after the engagement party – with Kaien deciding to talk to Byakuya to call off the wedding just this morning.
Rukia folded the letter and smiled. She had never felt so relieved in her entire life.
Ichigo on the otherhand just shook his head, he cannot believe his luck.
"So.. Kaien.. he is.. he is with his real love?" Rukia inquired at her brother who is still observing them knowingly.
"He would have been dead before sun set had you not come here to clarify things out." Her brother replied seriously that have made Ichigo's sweat drop.
Rukia smiled, reaching for Ichigo's hand, she tenderly looked at her brother and said "the wedding will be two months from now – and this time, we are going to do it properly. Arigatou Gosaimas Nii-sama.."
A rare smile appeared on the older Kuchiki's face.
I hope the ending didn't disappoint. This is my first series that I actually finished. Thank you so much for reading – I really hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
(I am pleading all of you have liked or disliked "Kissing a Stranger" to leave a review, come on guys.. just let me know what you think of the series. I'm planning to go back to on track with "Back Again" so I would need a little morale boost. –wink- )
And oh, If you leave a review.. I might make an extra chapter for the epilogue. (beams)
Again, thanks a lot!
With all my love,