Disclaimer: Paradise Kiss does not belong to me. This work is entirely fictional.
Author's Note: I finished the ParaKiss manga today. It sent me into a flurry of tears! I was so touched by Ai Yazawa's masterpiece that I couldn't help but write a fanfiction on the ending. Needless to say, there are spoilers for anyone who hasn't finished reading (or watching, for that matter) Paradise Kiss. A short one-shot with some improvement, I hope. There are a lot of italics with different symbolisms, as well. See if you can catch them all.
I missed you. Those were the first words I said to him. I had his dress on, pink and frilly and oh-so-confectioned with sugary baubles and white lace. The gloves were coral and soft against my hands. We looked like a living contradiction to anyone who passed by- a pink sugar fairy and a blue, blue man with eyes of an ice god. For me, none of that mattered. Somehow, in that moment, the world had been abruptly cropped to fit only him and I, and from there on to frame his beautiful eyes in a stenciled square of boundary. Paris had softened those eyes. He had been seeing golden towers, dress patterns and feathered hats while I stayed behind to model naked poses and be criticized for any minuscule wrinkle in clothing. It was only when he gazed at me wistfully, a sad, old man's smile on his face I realized that, maybe, he had left some things behind, too.
Seiji had done my hair for me. It wasn't what it was like before- there was no stage, no blinding camera flashes. It was just me and him in that drab and dusty 'studio' that was anything but, and his careful humming filling my ears. He sang to me as he styled, winking at my reflection in the cracked mirror.
"This is for George, right?" he asked, looking me in the eye.
"Yeah." I grinned, locking up all the turbulent turmoil frothing inside of me.
For George, for George.
George was no longer as handsome as he used to be. I still had the photo of us, together, at the photo shoot. Every time I looked at it I suppressed the torrent of bitter tears, but only barely. I kept that beautiful model's mask on for as long as I could, and every time replaced the photo in my student planner. Though I wasn't a student anymore, I wished I was. Back then, when the steps into that grayish darkness seemed inviting, when Miwako would text me two times in rapid succession: Hi, Carrie! George just got here, phone him! And The dress sold!!!!!! Come celebrate! But, like the dry pavement tread on by millions of people, water and feelings would always dry after the rain. Like time, they will, eventually, just disappear and be forgotten.
If only I could've forgotten.
His memories never left me, after that. The shade of his hair, his eyes, the smell of that cologne. The way his hands grabbed at me like an infant's- that's when I knew that our genius designer that transcended any deadline, our egotistical hero was still an innocent child. He looked at me with need in his eyes, an amorous glance, an aphrodisiac; I couldn't help but save him. The way his kisses tasted never left my tongue. Somehow, whenever anyone else kissed me like that, it was never enough, never just perfect like his soft, sweet lips on mine. George was never gentle anywhere else. But when he kissed me, every time he would stroke my hair lovingly with one hand and have the other hand holding mine. His lips would move like windswept honeysuckle, blowing in the breeze; I'm your goddess I'm your goddess I'm your goddess. It never occurred to me that he knew exactly how fragile I was, even before I had realized it.
The café wasn't anything special or boisterous, like a place would have taken me to just a few years ago. It was a quaint, elegant restaurant with candles floating in curvaceous vases, unlit but somehow still radiant compared to the dying, rosette hue painted on the sky. Without a warning, he leaned back into a cradle of tapered and bony fingers and sighed and long, sad sigh, closing his eyes lightly.
"I wish things had come out different," he drawled, leaning into the plush of the chair.
"But life is too short." he finished, opening his eyes to look into mine. I saw the ocean in those beautiful irises, rising, falling froth, immaculate- beautiful.
"A modeling career is even shorter," I supply, hands clasped tightly in my lap.
"If only we had forever, if only we could just… live." he muses aloud, leaning into the table and looking for the world as if he is about to kiss me.
So I close the gap.
He tasted just like he used to, like cheap corner store mints and red distilled wine. His hand snakes into my hair and I can smell thatcologne on him, but it doesn't feel right, almost as if he put it on for the first time in years- just for me. It had been a long time since I last had kissed someone so passionately, with the feeling that fire was burning in my body, with such an unbreakable intensity. I think it had been a long time for him, too.
But time never stopped passing- why?
By the time my tea, in its beautiful and ornate cup, had simmered down, George was already gathering his brand name bag and shades, his gloves hands looking so untouchable. He looked into my eyes, and that was it. He hesitated before standing up, producing the bills from his pocket and touching his lips inconspicuously. I knew we were thinking the same thing, and I almost grabbed his hand for old time's sake, but he stood up to fast, rickety, but still decisive. He shot me a glance so glazed over and unfeeling that I felt traces of bottled up tears welling up in my eyes. He took off his glove and reached out to me, smiling lovingly and cradling my face. I love you, he mouthed silently, and I felt the connection between us stronger than ever, like it was a living thing.
And then he left.
I watched his back retreat into the night and his convertible, looking empty without someone in the passenger seat, without someone he could lean in to kiss after a drive.
So I ran after him.
I ran- slamming open the door, my heart pounding so fast, the door of the car closing faster than I had ever remembered it to.
"George! I love you too, I-" I was screaming now, the tears from lives long past, and even lives before that pouring down my face and into the collar of his dress.
That's when he turned to look at me, and I realized that he was crying, too, and his gloves were soaked and his scarf wasn't wrapped around his neck quite right and he just looked so, so fragile.
Before doubt set in, I clambered into the passenger seat to the right of him, where I always sat as he drove me home. He set his lips firmly and looked like he was about to say something, but instead tilted his head towards the sky and laughed, his deep, throaty laugh that filled my heart to the brim. Through our tears, we laughed together, leaning on each other with sadness dripping down our faces.
Sometime around midnight, he leaned over to kiss me again and gunned the engine in that graceful way of his, smirking to himself.
As blackness closed in, we were still laughing, just not so sad anymore.
I realized that, maybe, it was okay to run away, sometimes.
And that being together was enough, after all.
Because, he said, because life is too short and love, it doesn't last forever.
Well, I told him, feeling more beautiful than I had ever felt before. Well.
Maybe it does.