"Is he in?" Sachiko looked at Saotho, her father's loyal servant sitting out side his study. He seemed to be in his usual blank state. Sachiko felt certain that it would take a rather large nuclear bomb under his chair to get the man to blink, let alone shake his world.
"Yes, Miss Sachiko." He stood immediately and bowed slightly.
"Fine. Hold this for me, Saotho" She handed him her little briefcase, and noticed with some relief that he took it gently and put it by his chair. He quickly sat and with an "Excuse me." Slid the door to the study open.
"Miss Sachiko for to see you."
"Ah, good, show her in Saotho" Sachiko heard the words from inside in a tone, revealing the inopportune of her visit. Nothing new in that, time with her father was something planned or scheduled. It was not a rule, just understood. That said, Sachiko knew he would always make a little time for her if she came to him, like now.
"Miss." Saotho slid back a bit and thereby making room in the door. Sachiko closed her eyes a second and drew a deep breath, steeling her resolve.
"Father." She said courteously as she stopped e few meters from his desk. She bowed respectfully. Even though she now had every intention of going against her fathers wishes, she still had respect for him, as her father but, mostly for his position and power.
"Sachiko! What a wonderful surprise." The words held a semblance of truth, for he did in fact enjoy his moments with Sachiko. He put his papers down and stood to get a refreshment.
"Would you like some tea, Sachiko?" He walked to the little silver cart with refreshments.
Osagawara Tooru was an imposing force in a normal size frame. He could be all smiles when it suited him, and he could be ruthless in a board meeting. At home he felt at ease and unguarded though, his casual walk revealed as much.
"Well I… Yes, please." Sachiko closed her eyes a second, but was quickly brought back to reality by Tooru.
"So, what can I do for you tonight Sachiko." It almost sounded as if he was suspecting her of asking for a pony or a pet turtle. Tooru sometimes forgot that his girl was now a young woman with her own credit cards.
"I'm not going to marry Kashiwagi."
The words hang in the air. Like grapes you could pick one by one. Sachiko blinked in surprise. Did those words come from her? She had a sudden urge to turn around to see if there was another standing behind her, someone intimate with her thoughts.
Tooru stood perfectly still by the cart. The cup in his hand seemed to have frozen in midair. It was but a moment, then he turned around with an amiable smile.
"Are we having a little anxiety attack about the marriage?" He came over and handed her an elegant cup with matching saucer. The tea smelled as exquisite as it was sure to taste. It was of cause made from the finest Chinese shortleaf, only the best suited the Osagawaras'. "You know, it's not as if the wedding is just around the corner, Sachiko. You still have University after Lillian to finish."
Tooru looked at her with a fond smile, that did absolutely nothing to disperse the ice in his eyes.
Sachiko felt chills and she quickly looked at her tea.
"I'm not getting nervous about the wedding father. I stopped being nervous about the wedding when I found out I wasn't going to go through with it." As if the heat of the tea had infused her spirit with a measure of renewed strength by mere touch of warmth alone, she looked Tooru in the eyes. "All I fear is how you are going to react to my decision."
Sachiko was in a state of panic. She had never, ever, gone against anything her father wanted or wished, therefore she had no way of knowing how he would react. Certainly he had never hit her or been violent in her presence, but once or twice she had seen him mad. She knew the beast in him, the beast stood mere feet away and she felt her core willing her to take cover.
Tooru seemed to size up his daughter, as if gauging how hard he would have to be to get his will through. A normal occurrence in a world where you only got anything done, by being the stronger opponent.
Sachiko blinked at the simplicity of the question. She looked at him a little confused.
"Why?" She repeated. Instantly giving herself a scolding. This was the kind of surprised exclamations that she had lovingly tried to remove from Yumi's mannerism. Even though she found it adorable, it was not really very ladylike.
"Yes, it's a simple enough question wouldn't you agree, Sachiko?" A hint of Tooru's ruthless intellect and imposing willpower shone through. "Or maybe it never even occurred to you to have a reason? Maybe you just wanted to call it off for the hell of it, is that it?"
"No!" She glared at him angrily for having taken advantage of her previous surprise. It was a typical attack in any debate, but this was a debate she couldn't loose. She tried to steal herself with a deep breath but found little comfort in the futile act.
"No, I have reasons. Suffice to say that he doesn't love me, but someone else, and… "She had to swallow quickly. "… and so do I."
If Tooru ever in his life had shown surprise, this was certainly one of these times. The fact that his girl was in love, felt so far removed from the world he pictured her living, that it was equaling nil. Sachiko was simply not the kind of girl that fell in love, period.
This time Sachiko was prepared, and his question met with a calm exterior.
"Does it matter, father? And honestly, I don't know the boy he is in love with either."
Tooru blinked a few times in rapid succession.
"Oh, you didn't know. Yes, he is gay." Sachiko tried to weigh the emotions of her father as he went to his desk and sat. His steps were a bit stiff but other than that, nothing but the act of finding support in a chair revealed his state of mind.
"Has he called of the wedding?" He asked quietly as he sat.
"Does it really matter?"
"Of cause it matters!" Tooru glared at her as his voice went up a few notches.
"Why? When I just told you, that I won't be marrying him." Satchiko was trying to win the argument as weak as it was. She knew she had no way of swaying Tooru just by asking nicely.
"Trust me Sachiko, you will marry him." The merciless undercurrent in Tooru's voice left little doubt that he had no intention of letting her off the hook.
"No father I will not. I too have a love, so unless you want the four of us to marry all together, I really don't see that happening."
You will marry him, or so help me I will rip your entire boyfriends family to shreds."
The silence in the room was only punctuated by the small tics and tacs of an old clock on the bookshelf. Several seconds seemed to pass by on it's own accord while emotions gathered.
"What do you mean?" Sachiko felt cold and her words came out by battling the vocal cords. It was hardly more than a whisper.
"Is it that hard to understand Sachiko?"
"I will squeeze every company everybody in his family work for, until every last one of them is financially incapable of supporting anyone." Tooru stood, the look in his eyes would have made a devil burn. To hell with this, he was moving in for the kill. This was his turf now, if she wanted to play ruff and tuff, she better be able to stand the heat.
"Listen to me Sachiko, and listen carefully, be cause this will be the last, and only, time, we ever have this conversation. You will marry the boy. You will marry the boy and be a good little wife, who knows, you might even be happy."
"Be happy with a man that will never look at me as anything but a obstacle whenever he yearns for his male friend. I doubt that very much father." Sachiko was pale but she was not backing down. She couldn't. Yumi!
"But you do have it wrong. I will not marry him. I will be happy in life and you will help me."
Sachiko went to her father's laptop. "Allow me?" and she pulled out a piece of paper from her pocket, and with a prayer to Maria-sama that this better work. She opened a browser and tapped the few keys to a YouTube address. There on the screen a little piece of the beginning of the conversation that began just a few short minutes ago started showing.
"I think you will see that the quality is more than adequate to show us in fine detail having this conversation, father?" Sachiko stepped back to let Tooru see the screen. The sound carried through just fine to let even the finer notes in their voices shine in the small speakers.
"What is this!?" Tooru blinked, not fully understanding the complications.
Sachiko looked at her paper and read the words Yuuki had written down, so she could convey them with no mistakes.
"It's a webcam transmitting via Bluetooth to a laptop that then connects to a WiFi hotspot to the Internet." Sachiko looked at her father's pale face. The single pulsating vein that could be seen on his forehead spoke of emotions ready to explode.
"I think that's the right words anyway. Now; I would think it rather embarrassing for the world to know how the Osgawara family is forcing their daughter into marriage by threatening to destroy her true love's family on their livelihood."
"Where is this camera?" Tooru was trying to locate it by way of the direction it was shown on the screen. His voice was rough and shaky.
"Oh, over there somewhere." Sachiko was pointing to the bookshelves on the left. She actually knew exactly where Yuuki had put it, but there was no possible way, that Sachiko wanted to be close to Tooru when he got his hands on it.
"Don't worry father. It's just a few minutes of the beginning of this conversation that is available on the Internet. The rest will of cause be in my safekeeping. I wouldn't want any embarrassment to fall upon the family unless absolutely necessary."
Tooru had found the small webcam and yanked it of the shelf sending a few books flying haphazardly in the process. He threw it on the ground and smashed it with his foot, trampling it until hardly a single piece was attached to another.
Sachiko looked on with growing concern. Maybe she had taken this a tad bit too far.
"What do you want?" Tooru stood perfectly still, but the look in his eyes was one of a volcano ready to erupt.
"Want?" Sachiko looked at her father and suddenly saw the flesh and bone of the man. What was it in the end that made up this man? Sachiko went to him, keeping her eyes on his. This was the breaking point of this deal. This is where he had asked for her terms as opposed to his. This was where she had to stand her ground, for her, and for Yumi.
She stopped so close to him, that it almost felt uncomfortable, as if the personal boundary was pushed like a water filled balloon squeezed to the point of bursting.
"Do I look like I'm negotiating with you, father? I don't want anything. I just wish for our lives to continue as always. What I don't want is to marry that imbecile Kashiwagi. And I do think I have made I perfectly clear just how far I'm willing to go to make that point crystal clear?" She kept her eyes locked with his even though it was almost painful under those imposing eyes.
Tooru seemed to measure up the resolve of Sachiko. This was certainly another woman than the little acquiescent girl he was used to. The smoldering embers burning for her beliefs he saw in her eyes, could definitely be the beginning of a woman that would demand more than her fair share of trouble in the future.
This fight though, this one he was unwilling to let go, but under the circumstances he saw no way out. It would be a scandal that could ruin far more business than what stood to be gained in the merger. It was a loss he would have to sweep under that rug called hindsight. Never let down your guard, ever.
"Fine." And without preamble he turned for his desk.
Sachiko's heart skipped a beat. What...? Was it over? Was she off the hook? Was a simple word such as that really enough to change her life so? She looked at his back. What gives you the right? The thought thundered her being forcing all the fear and anxiety to leave her.
"Oh, I almost forgot, father." The words left her in some sort of defiance to his arrogance. "When I start Lillian Uni, I will probably ask my girlfriend to move into the mansion. I want to see as much as possible of her outside school, since we obviously won't be going to Lillian together anymore. That won't be a problem will it?"
Tooru stopped dead cold.
Sachiko was already gone when he finally turned. She was squeezing the heart around on her necklace in one hand as she was walking with the briefcase in the other, the briefcase with Yuuki's computer. Only one thought was on her mind;
Mama Mia!! What you don't do for love... Thank you all for reading. As always I'm grateful you made it this far and. Please let me know what you thought, and maybe what you felt as Sachiko broke his knee and twisted his ankle ;)