"It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue;
But it is no more unhandsome than to see the lord the prologue.
If it be true that good wine needs no bush, 'tis true that a good play needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes;
And good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues. What a case am I in, then, that am neither a good epilogue nor cannot insinuate with you in the behalf of a good play!"
As You Like It: Act V, scene vi
(A/N: Teehee! I love Shakespeare)!
(A/N: Ren's real name would be on the marriage certificate. But, I imagine that with a celebrity wedding being more of a publicized affair, they would probably use his stage name).
In the backyard of a Las Angeles villa, Ren's boyhood home . . .
"I am proud to present Mr. and Mrs. Ren Tsuruga!"
Cheers shook the reception tent as Ren and Kyoko stepped in. It had been a lovely, albeit, large wedding, thanks to Kuu and President Takarada. Both Ren and Kyoko had really wanted something small and quiet. But for the sake of the father and the boss they allowed a fuss to be made.
The owner of the Daruma-ya had walked Kyoko down the aisle, in place of her father, who was dead. Saena, her mother did show up and she could not have been happier. Her daughter was now, after all, the wife of the most popular and rich celebrity in Japan. Although the reasons were more material than maternal, Kyoko accepted that much with thanksgiving. Hizuri Kuu was, of course, the complete opposite. He finally saw his son wed and gained the daughter he always wanted. Kyoko could officially call him "father" now, which was second happiest moment of her life. Kyoko also had more of a mother in Julia then she ever found in her actual mother.
"Welcome to the family, Mrs. Hizuri," she said to her new daughter, quietly in her ear.
"Arigatou . . . Mom."
Soon the time had come for the bouquet toss.
"Iich . . . nii . . . SAN!"
A frenzy commenced among the single women as the flowers sailed over their heads. Kanae just stood a foot away. She came to the dance floor to let any prospective gentlemen know that she was indeed single, but she was not going to make a spectacle of herself over a spray of flora. Nevertheless, the cursed thing somehow managed to land itself in the crook of her folded arms.
"YOU GOT IT, MOKO!" Kanae looked up to see Kyoko launching herself at her, stars practically spilling from her eyes. "You'll be a bride next!"
Kanae snorted "It's just a stupid superstition." She was about to throw the bouquet away from her when she spotted the losers glaring at her over Kyoko's shoulder. She smirked and waved it at them. "Losers," she mouthed.
"Now, hang on to that, Moko," Kyoko continued. "You'll meet your true love," She then blushed. "Once Ren tosses the garter belt."
Kyoko thought she would explode as she felt Ren's hand slide up her leg to her thigh and then slowly drag the garter back over her foot. He had kept eye contact with her the whole time. She was glad her did not shove his head under her dress like she had seen some men do at other weddings, to their brides. At the same time, it was his intense eye contact that made her heart and other places catch fire. She could read him like a book and what he was saying made her dizzy.
"I can't wait 'til we're alone."
Ren took her hand and raised her up from the chair. He planted a warm kiss on it and gave her one more fervent look before facing the guests. He raised his hand with the garter and the single men's eyes gleamed. Some of them did indeed howl. They slowly began to crowd behind Ren like a pack of hungry hyenas.
Kanae gulped and could have sworn she saw someone drooling.
Kyoko, I'm going to get you for this!
Yashiro stood with the single men, but in contrast, he was cool as a cucumber- on the outside, anyway. On the inside he was chomping on the bit with the rest of them.
"One . . . two . . . THREE!" The garter went flying from Ren's fingers and with the skill of a basketball star, Yashiro jumped for it. He caught it in mid-air.
"I got it . . ." He stared disbelievingly at the silk and elastic frippery in his fist. Then a shadow darkened his head and other the men were about to sail into him
Yashiro had plenty of training from his grade-school days. His lithe figure and glasses had awarded him plenty of bullies. He deftly dodged the wall of testosterone at the last minute and watched them slide across the dance floor and into the wall, as one.
Ren cleared his throat. "Now, if you please, will the man who caught the garter place it on the woman who caught the bouquet?"
Yashiro blushed hotly and Kanae avoided his glance.
"Oh, good grief. Do I have to?" Kanae muttered to Kyoko who came to coax her to the chair ready on the dance floor.
"Come on, Moko!" Kyoko hissed excitedly.
"No. I'm not going to make a spectacle of myself."
"Pleeeaaasseee?" She pulled the puppy eyes.
Kyoko pulled out her secret weapon. "Come on! For meeee, . . . On my wedding day."
"Damn." Kanae slowly rose from her seat.
"Yay!" cried Kyoko. The rest of the guests followed her cheer.
Kanae whipped around. "But, one condition: don't play that stupid "Dirty Dancing" music or whatever it is, okay?"
Kyoko gave her a thumbs-up. "Gotcha!"
So, the tradition went on-without the provocative music- but, with the provocative wolf calls and whistles. Those could not be stopped.
Yashiro knelt before her, his cool demeanor dropping fast.
"I a-apologize in advance for touching you in . . . places . . ."
"Mo! Just get it over with!" In her haste and embarrassment, Kanae thrust her leg out, almost kicking Yashiro in the face—missing his teeth by mere inches.
The poor manager gulped. Then ran a shaking hand through his fair hair. He glasses were beginning to steam up. Kanae held back a barely repressed chuckle. Yashiro whipped the offending spectacles off and tucked them into his tux collar.
Kanae's heart leapt into her throat. What a difference an absence of glasses made. It was a good thing he was not in the limelight of show business or Tsuruga Ren might have had a rival in the looks department.
Kanae's voice squeaked in her suddenly dry throat. "Won't you need your glasses?"
"No. I'm fine—" Yashiro's voice dropped a pitch at his next words. "I'll feel my way."
Oh . . .
His eyes brightened with concentration as he slid the garter past her ankle and up her calf.
. . . dear.
Chills raced up and down her spine as the pads of his fingers brushed the back of her knee. She tried to look somewhere else, to fix her eyes on something to take her mind away from how thrilling it felt. The crowd? No. The ceiling? No, it would make her look enraptured. Kanae decided to stare at her hands, in her lap. She could see Yashiro's head out of the corner of her eye. She squeezed fistfuls of her skirt when Yashiro's fingers fumbled, sending the garter back to her calf.
"Hurry up!" she hissed.
"I'm trying." Yashiro's voice sounded hoarse. Good. It satisfied her to see that he was at least squirming, too.
Finally, the garter reached its destination at mid-thigh. Kanae was about to give a sigh of relief when she sucked in that breath. When Yashiro let go he let his fingers trail down the length of her leg before exiting her dress. Kanae gave him a startled glance. There was a mischievous tilt to his mouth.
Well, well . . . I found another new side to Mr. Yashiro . . . I wouldn't mind exploring it further . . .
"Aaaand now . . . Mr. and Mrs. Ren Tsuruga's first dance as a married couple!"
Ren gracefully spun Kyoko around on the dance floor. She nestled in his warm embrace. Ren would have opted to stop and just cuddle her if he could. But, he knew Kyoko felt like Cinderella at the moment, in her beautiful wedding gown, in the arms of her prince. Ren bent down and stole a kiss. Kyoko gave a happy little sigh and rested her head on his chest as they waltzed.
"Now, the winners of the garter and the bouquet will join the bride and groom on the dance floor."
"What?" Kanae seethed. "These stupid Western traditions are way to personal," she said to Yashiro who had, by now, approached her.
"I agree. Shall we dance?"
Kanae let him take her to the dance floor. After a few minutes, she concluded that he was quite the dancer.
Too bad she was not.
Yashiro smiled through the pain. "You're doing fine, Kotonami-san."
Kanae smiled at his sweet effort to make her feel comfortable. Yashiro's heart skipped a beat.
"Um . . . Kotonami-san . . . after work tomorrow . . . would you like to—?"
Yashiro blinked. "How did you . . .?"
Kanae flashed him an almost seductive smile. "And don't be late."
(A/N: Whew! Man, it's hard to write an, as yet hopefully, non-existent pairing)!