A/N: Put a sexy, talented Sheryl Nome with a graceful beautiful Fujino Shizuru and you're going to get to see what the hell is going on within my brain. The epilogue is up and running. Just a word of caution that this extremely long chapter is one hell of a roller coaster ride, so expect confusion everywhere. Just read it carefully and you'll get everything; there's alot of thinking to be done since everything is written to such a deep depth. The romance is still there; subtle, but there in every little aspect I had never done before. Just another note: The Shizuru and Natsuki in this story is not the normal Shiz and Nat we all know from the manga/anime so expect a lose bridge; it's set in an alternate universe. As I have stated previously that the Interlude is important as it is connected to the epilogue. Macross Frontier fans and everyone, try to picture Shizuru as Sheryl and you have a hot singer waiting for you. I had a joy writing it and I hope that everyone reading will enjoy too. Pardon me for all the mistakes, my eyes were narrowing as time passed.
Then again, I will not hinder you, till the end of the chapter,
More like a jerk in my chair. I heard a phone ring tone start to ring throughout the still atmosphere of my study. I looked around to find that it was my phone that was ringing.
Shizuru changed it for me again.
I growled before I picked it up, I still preferred the solid howl of the wolf than to some cheery happy up-beat tune. Yet it reminds me of her…Never mind that. I looked at the flashing screen of my phone. It was Reito.
I picked it up and placed it over my ear. He sounded more worried than in the afternoon. I heard him question me more than I could answer him. I saved all my files before I closed all my programs, he was still rambling on with so many questions that my mind drifted off. I shut down my computer before I pushed myself up from my chair and exited my study. I turned back to off the lights, and realised the storm cloud that hung low over the neighbourhood. I grimaced.
Reito continued on the phone, I gave him a few yes and no's' here and there, I wasn't really listening; he was repeating whatever he had said to me earlier this afternoon. I felt tired. I shuffled across the polished wooden boards of the house to our bedroom. I really wanted to sleep. He asked me something about a compilation; I assured him that I was almost done with the pictures. The bedroom door wasn't locked so I pushed the door opened quietly.
I almost tripped over Duran; I felt his long fur beneath my feet, Duran propped his ears up, stole a glance at me through the darkness and went back to a soft slumber. I padded softly across to my wardrobe and found my shirt and pants folded neatly on top of my working clothes. Reito told me something about a photo shoot tomorrow…he said that Mai was taking over. I shrugged my shoulder in response though he couldn't see me over the phone, I placed the phone over my other ear; it was getting quite difficult for me to wear on my sleep shirt. Then he asked me a question that brought me out of my ignorance to answer him properly, he was wracked with concern,
'Is she feeling better?'
I looked across the room to the bed, and walked slowly towards it. I watched her slow breathing from underneath the rumpled sheets, her brown hair was splayed out in a mess, and nonetheless it was still an oddly beautiful sight for me to see. I told him the truth when I gently settled myself onto the bed. His tone went into a lighter and smoother state,
'Ah. Thank you.'
Then we said our goodbyes and I flopped myself onto the bed.
I forgot that she was asleep, heck it, she's a heavy sleeper. I chucked my phone on the side desk and pulled the covers over my body. It didn't take long before I felt her rest against my tired form; it was just how she manages to feel my presence, I guess. Her forehead touched my neck lightly and I felt the surge of hotness from her body to mine. I pulled her closer to me and watched the dark clouds gather outside. My eyes closed with her deathly quiet breathing, and I succumbed to my tiredness.
I hope the rain will somehow wash the heat away for her.
I flinched actually. I heard the loud thunder that tore through the early morning sky, the rain was thundering down on the roof. I felt something tickle my feet and my mind functioned a second later to realise that it was Duran, his fur was getting long. I kept my eyes shut, but I could still see the bright flash that stretched across my darkness to signal the coming of the next clap of thunder. I huddled closer to the form that slept beside me, perfectly undisturbed by the storm. I gripped tightly on her smooth shirt and I felt her hand tighten around me. I eased my head to rest on her chest when I heard the next thunder clap. Her frosty scent tickled my nose, but I inhaled as much as I could. It was something that made me feel lighter than usual…something like being in a winter wonderland. She shifted her chin on my head; I secretly wondered was she awake.
I heard a low rumble in her chest and I suddenly felt my body become hot.
My fever was warming up, again.
Her arms held me in a protective embrace and I felt at peace though there was turmoil brewing inside me. My eyes opened slowly and took in her calm face, her dark hair draped over messily and I tucked it behind her ear. She murmured something incoherently and leaned in further to me. I welcomed it. Playing with a few strands of her smooth hair, I realised that my hands were getting heavy and tired. My fingers started to ache. When the next flash of lighting came and before the thunder roared, I was reeled back to a place of endless days that could be replayed.
I hope that she was able to take my fever away.
"You amuse me."
I looked up from my half eaten mayonnaise stuffed sandwich and cocked an eye brow at Mai. She fingered something at my face, and I brushed it off with my sleeve, Shizuru would have wiped it away for me if she was here. Yet Mai wasn't Shizuru…I'm sure she'll do it for Yuuichi though. I was going to bite back into the bread when Mai's previous statement stopped me. I looked up from my lunch and stared at her cheery face. She gave me a playful look and I slapped it away with my question,
She closed her eyes and nodded, a mischievous smile crept onto her face; sometimes she acts just like Shizuru…just that she doesn't tease me so openly. I bit back into my bread and suffered quite a bit when I asked Mai again with all that food in my mouth,
"How do I amuse you?"
She pointed at her the side of her mouth and said that I had a smear of mayonnaise around there; I quickly wiped it and stuffed my face with the remaining bread that was in my hands, I didn't really care. I raised my eyes to her again, she gave me rueful look this time, and I stopped chewing,
"You amuse me…by the way you didn't chase after Netoru."
I forced my half chewed bread down my throat…
Netoru? Who's that?
Mai continued, as I chucked the paper wrap off my sandwich and threw it back into my paper bag.
"I thought that you will have his head copped off by now…but I realised that you didn't do a thing"
Who the hell is Netoru?
I frowned at the amount of mayonnaise in my sandwich after I bit into it. I realised that Shizuru does it much better than I; it's really an odd fact since I'm the one that likes the sauce so much.
"That really amuses me, since he had seen the first of Shizuru."
I choked on my next sandwich…Someone had seen the first of Shizuru? Then it smacked me on the head…now that Mai had brought that up.
That ugly bastard.
I lazed in bed the whole day, Duran kept me company. I allowed him on the bed just this once, she'll snap if she found out yet I'm sure she'll forgive the both of us in a second's time. I looked at the pale beige coloured ceiling; I felt the cold towel I placed on my head drop out of place. I was too lazy to bring my hands to move it, so I didn't. It eventually dropped off. Duran licked my feet and I shivered under the covers, I breathed out a hot breath and sighed.
I hate falling sick.
I pulled myself from under the covers and readjusted the huge blue shirt that I randomly picked up from the wardrobe, I was sweating quite a bit. I realised that it was Natsuki's, it was baggy and large compared to my normal sleep attire. I could smell her frosty scent on it; it intoxicated me in no time and I flopped back onto the bed, stretching my arms out to lie on the empty spot beside me. I moved my body to her side of the bed, bringing the covers too; I curled up and breathed in once again. I grabbed the cold towel that fell off my head and placed it on the side desk, I felt unusually lazy today.
I traced small patterns on the bed spread, luring my mind to fantasies I had when I lay asleep. I felt my cheeks flush when I thought of something indecent…I was getting lonely for that to even come about. I sighed once again and looked at the digital clock that stood on the side desk. The sky was getting orange… I breathed out noisily, pushed my body up to rest against the wall and reached out to take the thermometer that rested on the wooden side desk.
I pushed it into my mouth and waited.
My mind drifted off quite fast when I looked off to the partly opened windows, Natsuki must have opened it this morning when it stopped raining. I'm sure it was cooling then; she must have wanted it to cool me down. I looked down at Duran who had realised that I had gotten up; he has grown quite a lot when I had first bought him. He was only a small puppy that Natsuki much adored. I can still remember how I teased her about how she was more attracted to him than to me. She instantly threw herself into a defence mode when she heard me. She then blushed furiously when I kissed her on the cheek and sauntered away. It was joke after all, but when night came, I realised that she didn't treat it like that at all.
I heard the beeping of the thermometer and I took it out of my mouth.
I still had a slight fever.
I placed my hand on my head and sighed. Duran got over to the side of the bed and rested his snout on the bed; his brown eyes shot me a sad look. I'm sure he misses Natsuki too. I smoothed out his fur and smiled, I was sure that she'll be back from work soon. Her Ducati was something I couldn't miss, even if I was thirteen stories above ground. The way the engine roared and how she made it even louder when she revved the engine, that was what made her so difficult not to notice. She told to me wear on my helmet when she got on the Ducati. I didn't question so I obediently placed the helmet she gave me on, luckily I did, or else I'll be a bit deaf now. I swore that she grinned when she revved the engine, I just smiled that she was enjoying herself. I seldom see her do so.
Duran leaned into my hand when I scratched the back of his ear, he gave out pant and his tail wagged. I took my hand off his fur and he whined and looked sadly at me. It was more like a pout, I presume. It was adorably cute then, so I brought my hand back down and stroked his head. I felt my cheek burn at bit when I realised Duran's whine sounded a tad bit like Natsuki. I think the fever had gotten to my head.
A drop of sweat trickled down my chest and it made her night shirt stick to my skin. It felt a bit uncomfortable, but I had to go with it, I felt really lazy to even move. The sun was setting, and I could see the darkness looming just at the edge of the dying sunlight. I looked at the clock and sighed. Duran moved away to lie on the floor beside the bed, and I leaned lazily back onto the bed.
I miss her already.
I felt her kiss my forehead and smooth out my hair before she left. I woke up to an empty spot beside me, it was still warm then, so if I had gotten up a bit earlier I would have seen her off. I hope she had brought lunch along with her, she's just as lazy as I am now; she always wants me to prepare her lunch for her. However I have the feeling that she isn't being lazy, it's the exterior that says so, but I'm sure the interior say that she loves my cooking. I'll ask her when I'm doing so.
Duran got up swiftly and his ears perked up in alarm and suddenly he bolted out of the room. I wanted to call him back but I realised that he could do what he wanted to. I didn't hear the roar of the Ducati though the atmosphere was still and humid, I shrugged it off that it was Natsuki. Then it came to me that it was probably a burglar…God…I'm not in the mood to entertain anyone.
I was too tired to even move.
I didn't hear Duran bark, so I looked intently at my bedroom door. I felt disturbingly afraid that someone like Jason the killer would pop up with an axe and kill me; it could be for he could have already lobbed off Duran's head into half when he opened the door to find our dog. Everything was so quiet that it made my mind run down so many insane possibilities… This is when solitude starts to take over…I started to shiver.
I wanted to hide underneath the cover when I heard soft footfalls approaching the bedroom. I was screaming her name in my mind; I had no voice to do so…my throat felt so empty. Then I heard the foot steps stop and the deathly tension in the air made me scream.
I screamed her name so loudly that…
That I had her running into the bedroom looking all panicked and scared. I threw my mouth open, when I realised that it was actually her that was walking towards our bedroom. She ran to the edge of the bed, her face was pale and her eyes widened in fear, she was sweating more than I was. I looked at her blankly when she held me softly and asked me questions more than I could count. She was spewing out more than I could get the message. I looked at her flushed form, her camera bag was still around her body and her dark jacket on, and she was here come to check on me first… I knew I had turned into a shade of pink.
She loved me so much.
When I reached out to stroke her face, her eyes brows knitted and she looked awfully cute when she seemed so confused. I traced her lips with my thumb and it silenced her. I grabbed onto her arms that were holding me and guided her onto the bed. Then I embraced her…
I never so loved in my life.
I knew she was more than fine.
She had so much strength to tickle and tease me when I was steering my Ducati down the lane. I almost crashed because of that. Her hands around my waist traced an unusual pattern on my stomach. I thought it was just for the fun of disturbing me, I let out a growl of warning and it seemed that she didn't hear it over the roar of my engine. However, I soon realised she was writing the characters of love on me. She tensed a bit when I call out to her. She stopped instantly when I pulled up to a stop at the traffic light but she continued soon after when I set off. I didn't want to ask her, I knew something was bothering her; it wasn't just the right time to ask her about it.
In the distance, Tokyo Dome at Suidobashi was brightly lit even though evening was still yet to fall. I have been sending her there for almost a week after she had recovered, a month ago. She didn't tell me what she was doing in the concert hall in the Tokyo Dome, I didn't bother to ask…I knew she'll tell me sooner or later. Reito didn't bother to tell me, Mai was out of the question; she wasn't in Japan, she had gone to the States for a joint project.
Before we left she told me that it will be the last time she needed to be sent there, she didn't say anything else after she hopped onto my Ducati. She held me tighter than usual. The spotlights threw columns of light into the darkening sky, the traffic became more dense and congested when we near Tokyo Dome. Then at this moment she called out to me over the noise, she told me that I could cut through at the small street up ahead. I did as what she suggested and it led us to a small back alley. I looked up and realised that we had arrived at the back of Tokyo Dome. I was surprised as how she came to know this place. She tugged at my riding jacket and pointed over to a small remote door.
I brought my Ducati to a halt and she gracefully slipped off. She took off her helmet and ran a hand through her hair, and then she passed me her helmet which I gave after we moved in together. I took hold of it and placed into the compartment under the backseat. Looking back at her, I saw a glimmer of loneliness hang in her eyes; she looked terribly lost and confused at that moment. She suddenly grabbed my hand and told me to go back to the front and wait at the entrance of the concert hall. I sent her confused look and asked her,
'Can't I just wait for you here?'
She gave me a weak smile and tightened her grip on my hand. Shaking her head and she told to me wait at the entrance again, adding that I would not be waiting for her. I was shocked for a second, but the look on her face sent me into compliance. I gave a quick smile when she let go of me. She turned and floated off to the remote door that looked particularly suspicious. I was reluctant to start my Ducati so I watched her, unexpectedly, as if still knowing I was still there, she turned back and blew me a kiss. In addition, she winked at me and I quickly slapped my head away. I felt my face heat up and when I slowly looked back, I caught the last glimpse of her smooth brown hair.
I turned round to head back to the main road. I was met with heavy traffic again; it seemed that everyone wanted to be here today, tonight especially. I gently edged my way through the traffic and finally after a long tiring time, I arrived at the car park. There were a lot of vehicles, even motorbikes; I had a hard time finding a parking slot. When I surfaced out of the underground car park, I was greeted with a huge, massive crowd. There were booths set up at the side and people flooding around them.
I should have brought my camera along. I've never seen such a huge crowd like this before. It was really…really…! I was speechless. I squeezed my way through the crowd and caught sight onto the different items that they bought from the booths. Some of them had paper fans with someone's face on it, banners with a name I couldn't read well due to the constant waving. There were posters on sale, light sticks, shirts, caps…and even the minor things like stamps! I was awed to find out who this person was. Sometimes my eyes set sight onto green and sometimes light brown, I gave up soon enough. I wanted to ask at first but the exuberance all around prevented me from doing so.
I lost my way when I realised I didn't know where I was heading and where the entrance she had told me to go to. Out of the blue, a hand reached out for me and dragged me out of the high-spirited crowd.
My chest was burning.
She had just sung the opening song and the crowd was made more lively than ever. My heart was thumping like a wild drum and I could feel cold sweat build on my face. I wasn't sure whether I could face such a huge crowd. During the rehearsals, I didn't feel this nervous, or maybe it was just that I never had seen and heard the crowd. I never had my own concert. Now that I partly have, I'm terrified. The loose shirt that I was wearing was already partly drenched with my perspiration; it was the heat and the nervousness. I was really frightened, my legs were shivering, my hands around the thin microphone trembling, my breathing irregular.
I wanted to collapse.
My eyes looked out onto the large stage through the small transparent box. She stood with confidence out there on the floor. She was only a year or two younger than me, and here I am desperately telling myself to stay calm. Would my voice stay as calm when I did during recording? This was insane. I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath, I shuddered; I heard the crowd roar again. One of the backstage crew came out to me and asked with concern,
'Are you ready?'
I jumped and quickly settled back to my nervous state. He looked at me curiously as I heard Megumi say a few more lines to the audience; at least she was stalling for me, I have to remember to thank her later. I took in another deep breath and exhaled slowly, and I nodded with energy. I was ready… somewhat. He acknowledged my response and motioned me to follow him. This was what I had rehearsed; I just had to stay calm. As I followed him across the dimly lit backstage to my entry area, I heard my name get announced by Megumi and the audience went wild. I knew that that would happen and it made me even more nervous. I saw Megumi whirl one round to steal a glance backstage and I knew my cue to enter on stage would be soon. I brought my hand to ghost over my chest and my fingers felt the necklace…she's here. The backstage crew pressed onto his head phones and held a hand in front of me and counted down with his fingers. I heard Megumi mention my name again and the audience response was even louder than the first… I could barely hear him say,
The stage went dark and I pushed myself out onto the stage. The light sticks from all corners of the hall made the darkness in front of me bearable. The audience was clapping and chanting my name. It sounded scary in a way but I quickly grew to like it. As I quickly arrived to my required spot on stage, I felt Megumi slip behind me and in her cheery voice she whispered quietly to me,
'Change of plan.'
I wanted to turn and question her about this sudden change but she silenced me faster with her words,
'Just sing the solo.'
I stammered… The solo…what!? I wanted to follow her when I heard her run off backstage; however I was stopped as she waved a finger at me and threw me a mischievous smile. I was left in utter shock. What about the duet?! It's supposed to be! Then I heard the start of the fast bass tempo; the drummer was having such a good time, and the audience clapped along with it. I realised it matched my heartbeat. I really wanted to scream. The chanting and cheering increased in volume and I shuddered. Gripping hard onto my microphone, I trembled and I tried in vain to smooth out my voice…,
'What 'bout my star?'
The lights above me flashed and flooded the stage with life, the tempo died abruptly and the synch beat came along and the crowd jumped in vigorous exhilaration.
'What 'bout my star?'
I could hear whistles of adoration, squeal, screams, cheers and claps of excitement, the whole concert hall went crazy! The bass tempo and drums came back with the synch beats and I stretched the last line. I could hear my own voice echo like it was in the rehearsal, I could still hear the tremble, but I ignored it. I was singing now, gaining back the confidence I knew I had in front of a camera when I modelled. This was not for them… This was for… this was… I almost tripped on my own lines due to fact that I felt empty, in a confused way. The video cameras were moving along the stage below me and I faked a lively wink or two at a few. The audience's enthusiasm had yet to die, and I had started to sing along with everything,
'Baby, how do you want to pilot?
I'm already holding the handle, waiting on stand by.
Want my heart and want my love?
No!? Geez, just swing me and kiss!'
By the time I had finished the first, the hall had gone silent to listen to my voice, and the light sticks in their hands were rocking to my beat. My body had picked up the beat and began stepping to it. I raised my up to motion to the crowd; I was swinging on every step. This was going smoothly, exactly like how I was going about during the rehearsal, it was just that I had to remember that Megumi was no longer going to take the back part of this song and I needed to add back my echoing words. Nonetheless, I realised that something was still missing.
'I say 'no' in a half-hearted style…'
The guitarist had added a extra strum that it sounded exactly like it was in the recording studio… she wasn't there with me, was she?
'Point, I don't care. Dollars, how much fake?
Point, two in one,
But if it's love, then let's do it!'
I realised I didn't tell her anything.
'What 'bout my star?'
I could see most of the people standing up and waving their light sticks, some waving the towels that were made just for this concert, while I rocked my body to the beat. I blew them a quick kiss as the lights around the concert hall slowly lit up one by one. I continued on with the repeated chorus, and as my eyes scanned the huge concert hall I started on the next verse. Then everything around me stopped when I spotted her at the far entrance of the hall; her face masked in a feeling I couldn't pinpoint. Reito was waiting for her at the side and in vain of trying to find his seat; he noticed my glance and waved a polite hand at me. Apparently she had been standing like that when I had first started, I could see a weird gleam in her eyes though her body was yet to fully enter the hall. Needless to say, she looked extremely…
'Darlin', come close, will you be obedient?
No you, no life, or so I say, absolutely!
Need your heart and need your love.
Oh, your sweet kiss.'
I felt something warm grip onto me and I saw the very same spark I had seen on that day, reflect in her eyes.
I quickly looked away as I felt a blush rush across my face; she was staring like that again. That had better not be on video! This time I almost lost my tune…luckily I was stretching on the last character.
It was not like she had never seen me in a short skirt or a loose shirt that hung onto my curves and showed my abdomen, but she indeed looked like she hadn't. The pale brown high boots I was wearing was a gift from her during white day, I had expected her to give me sweets but she surprised me instead. Something warm at that moment flooded my chest. I went onto my next line and brought my gaze to her, this time I raised my fingers to my lips and blew a killer kiss to her direction.
'I all give it to you.'
The fans in front of me went into frenzy and they screamed my name in utter delight. I quickly pulled back from falling over the front stage; I could literally feel the presence of hands of fans wanting to drag me down. I danced across the stage to the other side with the beat and waved to get the crowd pushed up into another level of pleasure. I could feel her eyes trail after me and I felt she was here on stage with me. I had thought that if I turned around, I would be greeted with her presence that longed only for me. I felt a surge of passion rock throughout my body. I, myself, was getting lively,
'Three. Hey, I count down.'
I numbered three with my fingers,
'Two. Are you ready?'
I came to a standstill under the spotlight, tilted my hips and tapped two fingers at near my lips,
'One. I can't wait anymore! Let my love be heard!'
I had brought my free arm up above me and waved it down as I sung my next line; the audience roared in excitement.
'What 'bout my star?'
It was totally different as what I had felt during rehearsal. There was an addition of another element that made me sing with so much raw emotion that the crowd cheered and screamed in bliss when I joined into the second chorus followed by the ending verse. The people in front of me where hopping to the beat, waving and reaching their hands out towards me. As I got back to the centre front of the stage, I looked for her. Sadly everyone had gotten up at my presence that it blocked every inch of her.
'Let me know what you want, I would give you!
How fantastic to be with you. My love!'
I continued with that line until the music slowly died down, and the chanting of my name had increased in stead. I could hear the cheers and the continuous round of claps surround me. I looked into the bright lively audience and gave them a genuine smile; this was something that I had never before. She had seen me and heard me before, listened to my unsung song and its hidden message.
And I thought it wasn't all for her…
Now I knew…
'How fantastic to be with you…'
I felt a shiver run up my spine as I heard her last line echo throughout the hall followed soon after by a loud roar of delight from all around me. I couldn't get a glimpse of her at first as everyone around stood up to cheer. I wanted to just stand there to wait for everyone to settle, so after that I would be able to sight my eyes on her without any obstruction; however Reito pulled me away to get me to my seat.
He spoiled that moment.
Nonetheless, he gave me the whole night to enjoy something I never felt before.
I scratched my chin and laughed quietly,
And she said it wasn't for me to hear.
The whole concert had lasted for almost three an a half hours had ended about hour ago, Megumi and I sang the 'suppose to be first' duet for the last encore and the audience went all out. I remembered how fast I had to change from one set of clothing to the next, I couldn't complain, Megumi had more clothes to change in and out. The audience wanted an encore and we gladly gave them what they wanted, they gave us a standing ovation in return. I had never been so happy in my life.
The concert hall had cleared when I reappeared back on stage to get my water bottle I accidentally kicked it on stage when I fumbled backstage. I walked to the spot I had last seen it only to realise that it wasn't there. I frowned while I searched for…it was something I treasured, since it was something that my late grandfather had given me when I entered university. I exhaled in frustration and ungracefully stomped backstage to find it again. The crew had already packed most of the things on stage when I came back out, I couldn't find it in the dressing room.
I asked the crew whether they had seen the bluish purple water bottle on stage; none saw what I had described. Megumi didn't see one either, with the exception that she exclaimed that she had seen it during performance…that I knew better. I placed my tired hand onto my hips and scanned the seats in front of the stage, with much hope that a fan hadn't taken it and left it alone. I had hoped too much that I realised that the seats before where clean to the bottom. This time I grimaced.
By the time the whole crew had said their goodbyes to me, which included Megumi who wished me luck, I was still yet to change out of my sticky shirt. They told they had left the dressing rooms open for me to use, and that the key was with the guard. I laid down on stage and looked up to the high ceiling; the digital clock at the side made me close my eyes, it was already one in the morning and I was yet to wash up. I realised that I was being stubborn to accept that my bottle was long gone… and it was scary when I heard my own thoughts echo out in the hall.
'You're being stubborn.'
I shot up in fright when I heard a deep voice echo in the hall. It was clear and I knew that the person wasn't using the microphone. With widened eyes, I scanned my surroundings to finally find the owner of the voice at the bottom of the front stage. My fright instantly turned into pure annoyance…
Of all times now.
He looked from below to meet my eyes. I realised the same arrogance and pride was still lodged in his handsome face, I had always questioned why I even choose him in the first place. I threw him a look and he shrugged his shoulders. I wanted to turn but he quickly waved his hand at me and I caught the sight of my bottle firmly in his grasp. I jumped,
He looked at the bottle in his hand and back at me. He saw the same sick smile crossed his features,
I wanted to literally spit at him but I controlled myself not to…A Fujino was always with grace. I pull my tired self up in dissatisfaction and forced myself to turn away from him; if his hands on his bottle, he could be my guest to keep…I didn't want my ghost to come back to haunt me. His voice called out to me, unwavering; he knew my feelings too well,
'What?! You're not going to even argue?'
I headed for steps of stage; the fastest my legs could carry me, I wanted to leave him as soon as possible for I knew that all he brought, with or without his camera, was trouble. When I reached to bottom of the steps, he had come round from the front to greet me again. I really wanted to hit him, even it didn't hold the grace I was to uphold; he had been haunting me like a devil in contract. He chucked my water bottle into my hands, and then he threw the charming smile that everyone fell for. I back away slightly when he reached out to touch me,
'You were spectacular!'
Aww, that's just great.
I flinched when his hands touched my shoulders, he continued nevertheless,
'Everyone loved you!'
More like Megumi and I.
I pulled back and shot a fierce look at him, I held firmly onto my bottle,
'What do you want?'
It seemed that I had caught him in the unexpected turn of events, I was sure he thought I had never gone to point of being so bold with him. He was silent for quite some time that I quickly gave up on waiting for a foolish answer that I forced my way pass him, however he stopped me when he reached out to grab my arm,
'Come on Shizuru. Why have you been avoiding me?'
Oh, avoiding? Great! This is just great!
I yanked my arm out of his grasp and shot a finger at him; I hissed in anger,
'Avoid!? What in the world made you even come to think of that?!'
I could see through the façade he was putting up for me, if I was previously able to put up a mask that only she could see through, I could easily see the difference on his. He was 'playing dumb' as he would always phrase in the studio. He hadn't realised that I have stayed clear of his game, and he continued with his sweet nonsensical talk,
'Shizuru baby, Come on, I'm serious.'
'So am I!'
It was fast that he could not keep up his façade as I saw his mask shatter at the sides, his faked sadness was breaking. I jabbed a finger into his chest,
'You're wasting my time! Now leave me alone!'
I was immediately pulled back by his firm grip that had suddenly reached out to lock onto me like a vice; I struggled against him as he breathed onto my face,
'No! Don't try!'
My eyes widened in fear and realisation struck me; what have I done to get me in this mess? While I have thought all along that it wouldn't come back to find me…
God, this was happening all over again.
I didn't care about grace now… I slapped him with my free hand and grabbed my bottle from the other to throw it at his face, I breathed out in warning,
'Let go of me!'
I hated this…if this was to repeat all over again, I was sure to fall further this time. I tried pulling back arm but he held me down. I looked in growing fear as I watched his face come close to mine; I shuddered as he blew a hot breath into my face. I…
'Let go of me!'
'Let go of her.'
I tapped my mechanical pencil on against my cheek while I endured Duran's wagging tail against my leg. I looked back down onto the photo and finally placed a tick by the side, I realised I needed more photos for my upcoming compilation. I leaned back against my chair and looked out of the door; she had yet to pass the study.
The ride home was terrible quiet and unexciting. All I heard was the usual roar of my Ducati engine and the wind that warped around our bodies; she didn't bother me one bit, which was unusual. It was thirty minutes pass one when the guard came out with her. I had brought my bike to the front so that I would be able to catch sight onto them when they walked down the front steps. The sky was dark and the lights around didn't really help in lighting up the path, I thought she would be happy to see me, but all her face held was distress… a flicker of happiness was the only thing that briefly appeared in her eyes, her face was white. I thanked the guard as she walked towards me; he seemed to want to tell me something but stopped as she clung desperately onto me. He gave me a curt nod and walked back up the stairs.
She held onto me so tightly that I wondered if she realised that she could really squeeze life out of me.
She went straight to the bathroom once we arrived back. I wanted to say something but held it. Maybe she was just tired and just needed a shower before heading to bed. I had thought of going to the bathroom to talk to her, but I pulled back when I heard the stream of water run. I was sure she was very tired after last night's concert; I'll talk to her about some other time. I headed back to my study where I plopped down to finish my check list. Duran came to find me a while later.
I played with my pencil when I realised that she had been in the bathroom for quite a long time. I could still hear the faint sound of the shower…she was still in there. It was unlike her, she never took so long in the bathroom, especially when she is the one that pokes at me that if I stay in under the water for too long, I'll shrivel up like a prune. She knew her teases, and I was sure she knew her limit. I gently pushed up from my chair and I caused Duran to get up too. He gave me a long look and I ran a hand through his fur; I told him to stay.
I casually walked out of my study and glanced back to check whether Duran had listened to me, and apparently he did. He's a good boy. I walked down the corridor to the bathroom, I could see the hot steam rise from the bottom of the closed door…how long had she been in there; the hot water was still running. I touched the sides of the door and realised that it was wet…
Hell, how long has it been.
I kicked off my slippers and softly knocked on the door,
I called her name twice, but there was no answer. I panicked…this was not funny. I quickly opened the door to allow the hot steam embrace my figure. I shut my eyes quickly as the hotness shook me, I took me quite a while to get use to the heat. When my eyes opened slowly, I heaved a breath of relief. Behind the frosted glass, I could see her form under the under water. She didn't look like my presence had made a difference. I walked up to the frosted glass and narrowed my eyes,
'Shizuru, you should get out soon.'
She didn't respond at all, she was dead still. I swallowed and hesitantly slid the frosted glass door aside; I took a cautious step in the bathing area and spoke to her again. The atmosphere was deadly,
'Shizuru? You should get out from under the water.'
Her bare back was turned towards me, her arms where by her side, her head hung low and her soaked hair clinging to her body. I watched the water run down her smooth skin and I held back a rising blush. This was not the time. I chewed on my lower lip when she didn't respond, what was wrong? I tried to kill the deathly atmosphere with what she use to tease me with, but nothing changed in the end, I was the only one laughing. I raised an eye brow, was she playing hard to get again?
God, not at such an early hour in the morning.
I gave out a heavy sigh and reached out to her. Under the hot stream of water, my hand touched her skin to pull her around to face me. I had my grin on for her to see, but I was blown back when she turned to hit me.
She hit me.
She slapped my hand away and turned to hit my other approaching hand.
Her hit stung on my hands and I winced as I pulled back from the shower. I looked back up at her in disbelief, what had gotten into her? My eyes met with her eyes and I saw her sadness washed all over. I had never seen such emotion since that last time I had thought of giving up on her. I struck me like a knife and I quickly pulled back, I realised I had no where else to go as my back slammed against the wet walls.
She started to cry; I didn't know whether it was true or not.
The water was running down all over her face, I couldn't tell between the tears and the water. I was lost too; I felt my heart drop down and my jaw turn slack. Her shoulder shook as she wrapped her hands around her body.
I could her soft cries…of agony, pain, sadness, or anger…I didn't know which one had truly existed now.
The thrumming pain ran up my hand to my fingers and I felt my legs falter. This was reality and I thought everything was what I had expected so. I slid down against the wet wall and my body shivered as the water soaked through my clothes to my skin. I watched her helplessly…blankly…
I didn't know what to do.
I was brought back to reality.
Uneasiness struck hard onto me.
Mai laughed at me.
My senior stared at me for a second or two and carried on laughing at me. I was confused. She carried on teasing me; I didn't know what she was using to tease me. I glanced at her from opposite me and my gaze travelled pass her to the calm ocean that lay before me. I gave out a soft sigh and leaned back onto my seat. I tugged at the edge of the thin summer towel around my waist and pulled the flimsy light jacket over my chest…I didn't know why we had to be in our two piece attire when our shoot was not going to start anytime soon.
Mai poked at me and I focussed back onto her, I've been drifting of lately. She looked at me again for a while and she went back laughing…I had no clue what was going on. My hands played with the zipper and my gaze floated off to the white sand at my feet. I curled my toes and uncurled…I was getting uneasy again, something from the back of my mind was bothering me. My ears picked up the small movement of the ice in my tea; it was oddly quiet aside from Mai cheery laughter that rang continuously. The crew was on stand by and I saw Reito with his shades standing next to Haruka in the cabin. They were talking about something again…they should really take a break. I ran my hand over my bare thigh and exhaled noisily, this was boring…and uneasy. Something was bothering me.
The sun was out, there were no clouds in sight and the beach was scorching hot. I was under shade and I could feel the heat radiating from the beach before me. I played with my zipper again and titled my head to the side to see the sudden commotion that Haruka had struck up. Mai had stopped her laughter and had too focussed on the small argument between Reito and my charge. I lowered my shades with my finger and narrowed my eyes in their direction…there was someone else there. Someone very familiar.
I was given a magazine to read. A Fuuka-Otome magazine to be precise. I was quite intrigue that the one of the assistants came up to offer something when I was left alone at the table. Mai had run off when she heard that Mikoto had arrived at the beach…and I'm jealous. I looked at the cover to realise that it was the third issue from the year before, I gave out a chuckle…it was really intriguing. I flipped the pages quickly and my eyes somehow caught a familiar colour that I adore. I stopped and flipped a few pages back. Pushing my body higher up on the beach chair looked intently at the page… It couldn't be.
'I hope that you are enjoying Maehama.'
I pulled the magazine towards my body and turned to find Reito standing behind me. I eased back onto the chair and kept a finger on the page as I closed the magazine. Running a hand through my hand I looked out to the clear ocean…a breeze was yet to come. I gave out a sigh and Reito gave out an amusing puff of breath,
'It's a once in a life time experience.'
I nodded my head and propped my head up with my free hand; I just wanted this shoot to be over and done with. It was getting too uneasy.
'Come on, this is Okinawa.'
I looked back at him and wanted to add something to his sentence but I held my tongue. I didn't like giving excuses for being so lifeless, even though it was the truth. He gave me one of his charming smiles and placed a hand on my shoulder,
'The shoot is going to start soon, please get ready.'
I gave an affirmation as he walked off with hands in his pockets. I smoothed out the summer towel and flipped back open the magazine. I could feel my cheeks flush and my chest swell in happiness as I traced the outline of her face. I knew it was a habit of hers to scratch her head absentmindedly, and I laughed it off. I gave out a smile as I looked at her. However as the seconds passed, the same uneasiness struck me like a painful needle jab that my chest cringed in utmost pain. I felt my hand tremble and I felt a familiar surge of soreness run throughout. I grimaced.
That day wasn't a good day. Today wasn't either. I frowned as I touched the necklace around my neck.
I was still crying when I reached out for her from under the shower, my mind had gained back some sense. I didn't know I had hit her repeatedly until I had felt a tinge of pain wrap my body, my eyes had cleared and I saw her in front of me on the slippery floor. Her face was pulled into confusion; her emerald eyes were blank and lifeless. Her breathing was heavy and she looked scared in a way.
What have I done…again?
I had fallen to my knees painfully on the wet tiles of the bathroom when I realised she didn't move to grasp me back. I was crying into my hands and the hot water that rained on my head numbed every sensation…painful, happy, sad…I couldn't feel a thing except for fear which lurked at the start of my existence. Air was getting low and I found it hard to breathe, my chest heaved in pain and I fell forward onto the floor. I was trembling and my head clogged in dread. My hair was messed over my face and now I felt the stream of hot water over my body. I felt heavy. The flow of water could be heard under me and I heard in a distance her voice that called out in total concern.
My eyes were hazed over and my form throbbed in pain.
I wanted all of this to start over again. I didn't want this fear growing within me. This fear of…
Suddenly I felt her arms around me and my body pressed up softly against her form. She looked like she had lost half of her confidence in me; her eyes no longer held the gleam and she looked as bad as a wreck. She brushed her lips of my forehead and held me a little tighter. My eyes closed and I lost conscious…yet I was sure I heard her whisper words of a blurred question; it had escaped my mind too soon.
She didn't bring the incident up after that, she apparently left it alone. However I knew whatever I had shown to her that early morning had left her miserable and lifeless. She daren't looked me in the eye and she barely made eye contact with me. I was sure she didn't know that I had left of Okinawa for a photo shoot; she wasn't there beside me when I awoke last morning. Now I feel worried. I made sure I left a note on the counter top to inform her when she came back, I would be sure it will only make her more miserable.
So this was my uneasiness?
I heard footsteps approaching from behind me and I reeled myself out from my reverie. Taking one last glance at her before I closed the book, I felt a pang of guilt cross my chest.
'Miss Fujino, you are required to be at the set.'
My eyes looked at the blue sky and drifted off for a second…
I placed the magazine next to my unfinished tea on the table and gracefully pushed myself up from the beach chair. Running my hand through my hair again, I gave a smile at the assistant. Pulling my shades over my eyes, I motioned the assistant to lead to way and I forced myself not to look back.
Under this blue summer sky…
I was told to take off my necklace and I frowned at wardrobe master…again. I was already in a bad mood, Mai knew it all too well, so did Haruka and especially Reito. Especially Reito. I unwillingly took of my necklace and passed it over to Haruka. I knew it was ungraceful of me to curse but I did so quietly under my breath…I couldn't take it, why my necklace. I placed a hand over my chest and breathed in slowly as I walked on the set to join Mai. My senior gave me an awkward smile and I breathed out calmly… I couldn't just let him have his way with me, not with all this fear growing within me.
'Why the sour-look Shizuru?'
I placed a hand on my hip and started off to Reito who stood next to Haruka at the side,
'Is he here to irritate me or…'
'Irritate? Come on baby, don't be so mean.'
I could hear a growl escape from Mai and I threw a critical stare at him. Why is he always a nuisance!? My body was washed with sudden dread and I quickly glanced at Reito and he seemed to have caught what I had meant. The uneasiness was creeping back onto me. Stepping behind Ren, I watched Reito passed a hand on the photographer's shoulder,
'Mister Netoru, I hope that you do not delay this shoot.'
Reito is too polite and collected at times that it makes me feel even more uncomfortable. I watched Ren give him a smile and I caught a mischievous glint appear as he raised the camera to his face.
I am disgusted more than I fear.
'Alright baby, lets see some action.'
Mai snorted again as she came close to me as I got into my pose, I was sure she knew how I feeling at the moment.
This terrible uneasiness.
I was told to tilt my hip and give a cheekier smile. I rolled my eyes and I heard Mai chuckle, I heard the shutter snap and I felt my perspiration start to trickle down my chest. Finally…reason to break. However before I could called out for a timeout, I heard a loud crash of equipment, followed by a few more. It came from behind were the crew was stationed and everyone turned to look at who had caused such a thing to happen. Even Ren was forced to lower his camera and focus more on what was happening and not 'always me'. Mai looked over my shoulder while I tried my best to catch sight on the guilty.
I caught sight of a familiar dark coloured hair and I chirped in sudden happiness. I couldn't expect so much.
'Why didn't anyone call to inform me that the shoot has started!? Furthermore, to leave me with this crazy in-human girl!'
Her low smooth voice was something I couldn't miss and I had the urge to run towards the mess she had created with the charcoaled hair girl. Mikoto jumped out from behind her and from behind me followed the same chirp of happiness. I was excited to see her…and the anxiety towered silently over me.
Wait… What was she doing in Okinawa?
She rubbed her head and looked up to find the whole crew staring at her; Mikoto had apparently run away to her brother to escape a scolding. I chuckled behind a hand as she looked guilty at the mess she had caused; she was desperately trying to clear her name. Her eyes scanned the area in front of her and amidst the fuss her eyes caught onto mine. Trepidation was building. She looked as shock as me,
I glanced quickly at Reito and I found his jaw under strain…the commotion before the shoot, that familiar person. I snapped out of my thought when her voice caught hold onto me,
'What are you doing here? I thought Reito…'
She was walking hurriedly towards me but I realised her eyes narrowed as she neared and knew this wasn't right.
As she stopped in front of me, I had realised that she had grown. Her figure loomed over me and I somehow felt secure once again even though the situation now was tensed. The uneasiness within me was brewing like a hot pot. I cringed a little. She had her camera bag slung across her body, her hair tied up into a slim tail, her body donning the usual white shirt and baggy pants, she never looking more dashing than this, or what only I perceived as. I wanted to embrace her at the moment, but as I saw her back away slightly from me, I felt a pang of guilt wash over me. I watched her hands and my own hands felt the surge of discomfort, I bit my lip, I shouldn't have…
I felt her gaze fall onto me for a while before it moved to somewhere I knew she would let out a growl of anger. I searched her face of reason and saw anger scared all over. I trembled as her aura grew more frightening. She barked,
'What are you doing here!?'
I daren't look back. I was caught in a cross fire of words and I felt trapped like a mouse…things for me was getting from bad to worse, especially since after the concert. I heard the arrogant voice sound behind me,
'Kuga? What are you doing here?'
I watched in disbelief as she backed further away from me, her anger shook me,
'I was called here for a photo shoot! I have the right to be here.'
That's why I awoke to an empty bed…she took the flight in the morning, when I took the late afternoon flight to here. But…
If she was called here for the shoot…I would have…
I stole a quick look at Reito; his head was shaking from side to side while Haruka was fuming at him. I wasn't informed about this; no one told me about the sudden change of photographer…no one ever said she was to be here with me! My eyes turned back to see sudden puzzlement pass her face, I heard Ren's voice ring out,
'Really? Didn't you get the memo?'
I looked back and stretched my view over to where Reito stood and I watched him turn his face away in shame…So the commotion was really about…her. She had confusion written all over her face and she looked over to where I was staring at. She seemed to have caught Reito's gaze and her face was pulled in further frustration. She looked defeated in a way and I felt broken all of a sudden.
No, she couldn't just give up.
This dread is unbearable!
She backed further away from me, now she was at least a clear one arm's length away from me…I felt insanely lost, confused and perhaps brainless that I was the one that created this mess. I wanted to scream as she looked accusingly at me, to just go on my knees and beg for her forgiveness…her dark eyes now held something which I saw previously… blank eyes that held no more love for me. I trembled violently and I bit my onto my lower lip as she clenched her fist and hissed through her teeth, she shot a deathly glare pass me to Ren but it still made its impact on me. I looked into her eyes for amnesty but all I could read was…
'Did you know too?'
I was speechless.
She tore her eyes away from me and my heart broke that instant. I felt my chest tighten and my legs go weak, I could just collapse at the moment. The uneasiness and dread that had built inside of me cried out like the rain. My eyes watched her body turn and she ran off. I heard the crew suddenly break from cleaning up the mess as she ran pass them. From the side Reito retreated to the shade while Mai and Haruka slowly approached a lost me. I could a hear snigger came from behind me…
I felt my eyes close as arms embrace my form…I stood at the edge of my growing fear.
I always didn't know what to do.
Welcome to my gates…
That was what made things worse.
'Ah, I see you have a dog…'
I can tell he doesn't like you at all.
'So… what else do you have in your house?'
I steadied my breathing and I tried to clam my nerves, but with his voice…it made it even worse. I looked at my riding jacket and I realised I've been gripping tightly onto it, the ends were creased badly. I gave out a low growl that matched the one that Duran was giving now, except that he could be seen while I wasn't. I tensed against the wall of the corridor and my ears picked up his voice again. I was wondering why I was hiding from him…wasn't he suppose to be the one to be terrified of me. I clenched my teeth together, I heard her hesitate.
Her breath hitched and I heard a falter in her voice,
Duran increased his growl and I knew that his fangs were bared. I furrowed my brows; this bastard wasn't going to spoil a day I had perfectly planned for her. Not again was I ever going to back down from a challenge…especially if it was him. I would throw him into hell if God wasn't willingly to do so; I hadn't had much anger built within me. This newfound confidence of mine wasn't going to break under the pressure…I had taken so long and gone through so much just to get her. Hell, I wasn't going to give her up so easily. My mind cracked a little and I remember Okinawa. Then I knew that my brash behaviour was something I knew I was to have control on…it affected everyone around me. However I wasn't going to let it be my downfall, I just have to control it wisely. My hands tingled and I clenched it forcefully. Don't run head-on…don't run head-on.
Don't run head-on.
I let of a long breath and inhaled sharply.
Let this be his downfall.
I came out from behind the corner and I walked confidently up to behind her. I saw her tense up…I had just gotten her to relax after so long since she came back from Okinawa. I tried in vain to clear the misunderstanding I had caused there…as my brash behaviour had so called for. She told me forget about it like I had with her previously…but I was sure we both couldn't forget any. She still had trepidation and dread in her eyes, it was painful for me to see that I have caused such a thing…or so I have thought.
In vain to make things a bit brighter for the both of us, I had secretly planned tonight to take her out for dinner, I didn't tell her until just when she came round to my study to ask what I wanted for dinner. I surprised her I pulled her into the bedroom and commanded playfully that she was to change into something, and I knew she had gotten the message when she leaned to kiss my nose lightly and walked to the wardrobe. I took my time to change after her, until I heard the door bell ring and her quick footsteps to the door. Then her cheery voice dropped and I immediately rushed out with my riding jacket, not until I heard his voice,
'Oh, I happen to be around the corner. So I thought I might as well drop by to see you.'
That was what they always said.
I noticed she had already worn on her boots that I had gotten for her and she stepped back towards me when she turned to find me already donning my riding jacket. Ren apparently did seem to notice that we were ready to get going, thick his is to say that he was on his way and happened to stop by. Hell, how did even get to know where we lived. He looked surprised for a second and then a smile smeared across his face,
'Oh, so you keep her too?'
Was that just an insult?
Goddammit! Hell, it was.
She stuttered and faltered in front of me and I almost reached out to grab her as she looked like she was to fall. I cleared Duran from the front and walked in front of her to get to the door. I somehow could feel the fear emit for behind me…this uneasiness. I looked angrily at him; if he had his feet in the house, I would have gladly stepped hard on them. Lucky he hadn't taken such a daring step. Duran had continued his growl and I followed,
'What do you want?'
He seemed unfazed from my anger and looked at me and flicked his hand over to my riding jacket, his eyes shone in arrogance…or should I say ignorance. His cool and collected voice steered him away from my question,
'Who are you to barge in someone house.'
I shot a reproachful glare at him…Don't run head-on…don't run head-on. He looked passed me and smiled at her, I heard her hitched another breath and I felt her hands tighten on my jacket. This was supposed to be a night for only her and me, and this ugly bastard… With a sick grin on his face, he sneered at me,
'Kuga, Its simple manners!'
I let a growl out through my clenched teeth and I felt her head rest against my back, her hands were gripping onto me so tightly…
'You can't just go into her house without telling.'
To hell of trying to stay calm! I snapped like I had a year ago in the studio, this time I had no camera to throw, but I threw my voice,
His grin that held so much pride was yet to be erased from his face. Had I have a pistol with me, I would have blown hit head off in a fraction of a second.
That would be a 'The End'.
She held onto me and I felt lonely somewhat…It fuelled my anger and I roared as my hands reached out to grip his collar and hauled him up,
'This is our house!'
She ignored me as she chucked her riding jacket onto the couch and headed for the kitchen. I reluctantly stepped out of my boots as my fear slowly faded, following her into the kitchen, Duran tagged along beside me. I pulled around the corner to find her opening the fridge; she stooped low and rummaged with the contents inside. I could somehow feel the cold air run up to me; I shivered involuntarily. I heard her grumble about something and I peered over the counter.
'Natsuki? What are you doing?'
She ignored me again. My eyes settled onto her board back and Duran who came up beside her… I gave out a soft sigh. Turning my head slowly towards the door, I felt dread rise slowly again within me and I jerked back quickly towards her. I, one way or another, knew that he was still standing in front of our door. I took in a deep breath to clear my thoughts. God, it could never be cleared. She had finally stopped her rummage and stopped all actions; Duran had gotten over to me and curled at me feet. I had expected to have her eyes settle on mine when she spoke, but I expected too much. She called out to me and I looked at her unturned head, there was still a tinge of unanticipated anger in her voice,
'You can whip up something with this right?'
I raised an eyebrow at the object that she had raised over her head.
Oh, a negi.
I thought I had used up the last of it from the last meal I had prepared. She continued to hold up a small packet of frozen chicken and a bottle of mayonnaise…I chuckled behind my hand. I almost had said a yes to her question but stopped when I realised that I still had my jacket on. I looked at her back and the ingredients within her grasp, wasn't she…?
'Aren't we going out to eat?'
She slammed the fridge door loud and hard that I jumped and Duran scampered away from my feet. I heard the contents inside the fridge rock and I tensed, looking back at her I noticed that she had finally faced me. Her clouded eyes locked with mine and with her hands she chucked the food on the counter and in front of me. She stared blankly at me and cocked her head to the side,
I was quite lost when she asked me, then I had realised it was nothing related to what I had asked her previously. My hands trembled and I placed them slowly onto the counter, she was staring at them and suddenly her eyes snapped back at me. I flinched and I backed a step away from the counter; her anger was making me feel extremely uncomfortable. Her listless eyes dragged away from my face and she tapped her fingers on the counter, she asked me again, and my mind whirled…what had gotten into her?
'Can you Shizuru?'
She sounded demanding, forceful and ironically weak in a way. Her jaw tightened when I pulled my hands to my chest and looked at her in…uneasiness? She took on last glance at me and walked out from behind the counter to the hallway, my eyes trained her and I noticed she was walking away from me. I was at a lost. Weren't we to be going out for dinner? My eyes flew back to door when I heard a creak from its direction… I tensed up further as I uncertainly pulled my eyes away from the door. My heart dropped when I watched her walk into her study. I looked at the door again and then it struck me as hard as it did when I opened the door.
I trembled violently again and my legs went weak. My stomach churned and a nasty haze crept over my skin, I felt it again. Duran had walked up to me when he took notice of my shivering; he circled around me and gave out a whimper of sympathy. I forced a weak smile at him and my hands clutched my body tighter as I felt uneasiness tower in front of me. I heard a creak from the door again and my eyes widened in fear.
It wasn't going vanish as I had thought it will…
It will keep coming back.
This unbearable feeling of me being so apprehensive.
I shook my head vigorously and I forced myself to stand proper. My body still trembled, my hand sore and my vision blurred in paranoia; I bravely held my breath for a while and tried in vain to clear my head. I looked at the counter with the ingredients she had placed out…my jacket was still on…
I closed my eyes and exhaled. My ears picked up her rock music from her speakers in her study, and I knew who still stood at our door.
My creation of discomfort.
She looked at my hand when I placed a stalk of vegetable into her bowl; she did that throughout the whole dinner. I had wanted to ask what she was looking at but I held my question when I realised the red burns weren't that invisible. The tint of pain still surged from the fingers to my hands, I held back from whimpering whenever I held my bowl up with my hand. Her eyes narrowed at me when I almost dropped my chopsticks while reaching for food, I bit my lip and I daren't look back at her. She slowly took in her food and to me…it looked like she savoured every silent second we were both resonating. It was ironic; it didn't use to be this quiet.
I had wanted to rinse my hands under water but I stopped when she came out asking me whether dinner was done. I had given her a weak smile and nodded over to the food that I had placed at the table. She gave a curt nod and headed over to the table while I looked back at my hands.
I had thought I always made sure I wouldn't burn my hands while cooking.
I frowned at the incident and I gave out a small sigh that was caught by her ears. My eyes met her when I looked back up at her; she didn't say anything but her eyes, that now had a bit more life in them, questioned my sudden sigh. I gave her another meek smile and I did a quick wash under the water before settling myself at the table to join her.
I should have just somehow left my hands under the water.
Time flew faster than usual and by the time it had gotten to my head, I was at the edge of the bed ready to sleep, however she stooped me from doing so. Again, I watched her silently as she grabbed a spare blanket from the closet and her pillow and headed to the couch. I looked on in puzzlement as she exited our bedroom. Discomfort had built up so fast that I sprinted of the bed and ran after her down the corridor and to the couch. She threw her pillow onto the couch as I neared her and in the dark I almost tripped over her riding jacket that had slipped off the couch. I was breathing hard from just a short run and I asked in utmost worry, I become aware of how my voice lacked its usual confidence and now it was soaking with the fear I had created upon for myself foolish-self. I trembled with the cold and the worry,
'Natsuki? Why…are you…?'
I didn't finish the sentence when she pulled my into a kiss and hug me fiercely, she whispered against my lips a quick good night and turned to flop down onto the couch. She had her back turned towards me…again. I stood there in shock and I could still feel her lips on mine. I looked back at her and I walked with heavy feet back to our bedroom, alone.
I stood at next to the couch and soon I crouched down and settled quietly on the cold wooden floor of our apartment. My body slummed tiredly against the edge of the couch and my eyes drifted open and close. I knew, myself, my body was physically tired but my mind filled with unrest. Our bed had gone cold without both of our presence, without her…I just couldn't sleep, I was very well aware of that unless she had personally told me that she will be joining me soon. I gave out a yawn and in the back of my head, my discomfort just disappeared. If only I could sleep forever… but I realised that that life didn't have her at all. I gave out another long yawn and I gradually turned my head to the side to eye her sleeping form. A soft snore could be heard from her figure and I smiled…it was more like a growl actually.
Duran approached me slowly as he noticed that I had appeared to sit next to the couch. It was dark but I could feel his gaze on me like she had on me when I had my back turned to her, I always wondered if she had the same feeling too. I hugged my knees and my eyes soon closed…I was yet to fall asleep as my ears still picked up the almost inaudible ticks of the clock in the kitchen. I gave out a soft sigh in the darkness
A U-turn had apparently formed in my life.
My own created discomfort was something I secretly knew would come back. Well, I was blinded by the thought of getting her only that I had totally forgotten that our sunshine wouldn't last long with something hideous that I myself had created with my desire. I gave out another long sigh in the dark and hugged my legs tighter. The uneasiness had lessened when I found the core of my trepidation. I heard her give out a gruff breath…
I want you to look only at me…
I grimaced… I realised I should had only saved that line for her to hear.
My body relaxed after a while and I felt my mind succumb to rest and my body gently fell to the ground. Then after that, all I felt was something warm press against my body…
Under this blue summer sky…
Who did I sing for?
'Good morning, Miss Fujino.'
I gave the all of them a small bow as they did with me. Haruka followed with the formalities behind me and as usual, her voice couldn't be controlled. I reserved a smile and scooted over to the chair next to the panel as they took out the scores…I smiled as one who was apparently the arranger pulled out a pencil…it was going to be long day.
I gave the staff a nod of affirmation and he bowed and gestured me to follow him. I was eventually led to the DVD section of HMV and down pass the J-pop section he stopped and he reached out for one of the DVD cases and politely handed it over to me. He passed me a pleasant smile as he spoke,
'We only have the DVD of her previous tour held last year. The DVD of her most recent tour hasn't come out yet.'
I looked at the cover of the case and I raised an eyebrow at the year and let out a soft 'oh'. He clasped his hand together and continued,
'We have yet to confirm when it will be released.' he pointed over to the shelves opposite us which held the CDs, 'However, we do have her singles and albums.' I followed his hand and I jumped a little as I found out that she had a whole row to herself. He passed yet another pleasant smile and gave me a bow as I said a word of thanks. He walked off professionally and I looked at the casing again…I huffed out a breath.
A special guest eh?
I placed back the DVD back onto the shelf and shoved my hands into my pockets. I guessed it was no use trying to find her. I had called up Reito recently to find out the recent concert Shizuru had attended. He said nothing about her being a singer, but only brought on as a special guest. I kept quiet when he ended the conversation, hell, he was always hiding things from me. I couldn't object, he had helped me so much in the past…I couldn't just allow myself to drop him away. He was after all my boss and my guardian in a way…despite the fact of giving me so many problems…that included that ugly bastard.
I took one last glance at the shelf and I made my way back to the entrance of HMV. I gave a small bow as I walked pass the staff that had helped me, he did the same formalities and gave me one last kind smile. I pushed my sling bag into a more comfortable position and I slowly made my exit, my eyes swivelled to the right when a light brown colour caught my eye…It has been my favourite colour recently…
I turned to the display window as I realised the colour was part of a poster displayed behind the glass pane. I crossed over to the front and I took in air to much for my own comfort.
I didn't expect to see her.
I narrowed my eyes at the sight and pulled up closer to the display window. I eyed the poster and I looked at the picture that held her. I almost roared in unknown sudden ecstasy when I found out that it was the exact same picture that I had taken lately for a special request by Reito. He didn't tell me why I was to take it…except that I would be notified shortly after it was used, and I didn't expect much of it since I believed it would be used in the Fuuka-Otome Magazine. I coughed a few times to stabilise myself and placed my hand onto the glass and leaned in.
Hell, she was still drop dead gorgeous.
I exhaled a hot breath onto the glass, it fogged up in front of my face and I pressed in…I was acting like a little child again. I rubbed away my vapour with my hand and looked at the poster again. Wait, wait… Why did she have a poster here…at a music store? I looked at the huge poster again and forced myself to take a step back. I eyed the date that was printed on top… Ah, she had a nice signature. Her new single…
I wiped the stupid grin off my face.
Her new single!?
'Miss Fujino, are you alright?'
I felt it.
I quickly looked at the words and then back through the glass to the opposite room, Haruka gave me a confused look while the man and woman behind the control panel asked me the same question. Luckily not everyone of the crew was staring at me. I heard the arranger's words ring through the earphone covering my ears…and I felt it again, I almost missed her instruction. I was stunned for a while and my eyes moved back to the lyric sheet and then and there I felt a familiar gaze rest upon me and I sneezed…
Don't tell me I'm getting a cold again.
I placed a quick cross next to the previous line and I underlined the following characters with my pencil, I passed a hand to the people opposite me, they nodded in acknowledgement and waited for me. I looked at the next line and ran the tune in my head…it almost escaped my mind again. My body had somehow quelled the discomfort and I flicked my wrist and ran a hand through my hair. I tapped the pencil against my chin and frowned as it ran in across my mind…This dread disrupts everything! How was it supposed to be sung again? I hummed a quick tune and I quickly placed a tick above a character. Then I sneezed twice.
Haruka glanced at me, the arranger chuckled and the controller gave me a weird look , he was wracked when concern,
'Miss Fujino, is it too cold?'
My eyes quickly glanced at my attire and I gave out a soft polite no for him. Then I sneezed twice again, this time my nose itched badly. They looked at me and I gave second thoughts to my attire… I had my vest on top of my shirt and my legs…
Alright…about my legs…
I forced a smile towards them as I rubbed my thighs and assure them I was fine. I looked back at the lyric sheet and underlined the last character I was to focus on. I gave the opposite room a thumbs' up and the controller gave me a grin,
'Right. We'll start from line four that is just before the chorus.'
I nodded and shifted the earphones once more into a comfortable position. Placing a small star at the line I looked down at the rest. I rubbed the tip of my nose with my free hand and I looked back down to the score. I caught her face and I swear to heaven that I saw the star sparkle… I cleared my throat and my eyes caught an illusion of a small yellow butterfly… Suddenly my vision hazed before the music could sound and around my body, all I felt was her arms…
I won't sleep just yet…
'A story closes in from afar
And gnaws on you, deep into your bones.
I want to survive;
I want to survive;
I feel like I still want to live.
By the guidance of the constellations, we gazed at each other just now.
I want to survive;
I become at lost at what to do
And wither away in a sparkle.
Until I show off my serious self
I won't sleep.
What was I born to do?
What am I to do here?
I want to survive;
My unburied wounds
Feared the light.
Our lives, which want to be allowed, attracted each other just now.
My wandering is over
I'm next to you and I want to quell my blushing.
Until I show off my serious self
I won't sleep.'
I looked into the space before me and wrapped my hands around none…
'I want to survive;
I'm fine with being on the edge of a cliff,
I love you.
Our lives, which want to awaken, enticed each other just now.
Instead of madness,
I offer a prayer;
I love you.
By the guidance of the constellations…
I want to survive,
I still want to live;
I love you.
Until I show off my serious heart;
I won't sleep.'
Her arms left me.
I let the rest of my breath run as I took my eyes of the score and stepped a foot away from the microphone. My head titled to the side and I looked uncertainly to the room opposite me. Slowly flipping my score to the front, my eyes watched the serious faces through the glass panel, they were listening to the record playback. I chewed onto my lower lip while my hands absentmindedly played with the pencil. I saw an exchange of words between all of them and I saw Haruka laugh.
That. That was bad sign for me.
I gave one last tug at my vest and heaved a sigh as I waited for instruction to sound through my earphones. As I readied for the instructions with the pencil, the arranger gazed at me and all of them followed; halting my actions with their happy voices, it resonated through the earphones into my ears,
'Thanks for the hard work!'
Beaming with happiness, I immediately pulled down into a bow and thanked them too, as I pulled up with a genuine smile,
I thought I saw her standing back there.
I looked at the cover and I then flipped the magazine open. I braced myself…
'Natsuki, can you… Oh.'
I turned back to find her standing next to me and I caught a haze of fear wipe over her eyes as she stared at the magazine within my grasp; and I predicted her next move. I reached out to her before she could leave and I pulled her to me. She gave me small struggles but I kept her flushed firm against my body, she elicited a small grunt and she finally gave in to my hold. Her body was tensed against mine and I gently wrapped an arm around her form. Her legs were apparently weak as I felt her weight lean into my front, she kept silent. With my other hand, I flipped the magazine up so I had a firm grip onto the page I had wanted to face again after a year. I raised it above her head and I braced myself again when I looked at the content.
'Natsuki. Please. Stop.'
I quickly blew a column of air into her ear and she tensed up further against my figure, her hands reached to my arm and she tugged weakly at it. My eyes snapped away from the page as I had before and lowered the magazine in front of her to see. Her body became stiff in an instant and she shunned away from what was in front of her. I realised that both of us daren't look at the page before us. Suddenly her breathing became erratic and her hands really trying to peel my arm from around her. I looked down at her quietly and her words that I had heard repeatedly rang through my mind. Her eyes were closed and the colour from her faced drained, I tightened my hold around her and she stopped her resistance. Her hands dropped to the side and clutched onto my loose shirt. Humming a familiar tune to the both of us, she flinched within my arms,
'When did you…?'
Chucking the magazine back onto my table I reached back to hold her now with both. She stood quietly and I felt a slight change in her mood…it was light and somewhat… I placed a kiss on her head and she leaned into my touch. I closed my eyes as I caught a butterfly fluttering in the room…an illusion?
It could be.
I detached a hand from around her to hold onto her hand with grasped tight onto my shirt.
'Why did you do it?'
I knew she knew what I was talking about…Her apprehension was securely built around it, it was transparent.
It took me long to realise it; her created discomfort.
She turned in my embrace to look at me guilty and I lifted my hand trace her face with my finger with a smile. I still had to assure her, a simple song wasn't enough to keep her away from falling down again. I didn't want the dread she was suffering alone to come back, since I knew, myself, that she created something to haunt just to get me. I prayed slightly and I hoped that this new earned confidence and understanding would solve something around the both of us. My brash behaviour had toned down somewhat, even though I still admit that I still rush into things head-on. Yet her song, which I had stood listening to for moreover an hour at HMV, struck me so hard that I realised that our life wasn't always to be built among the clouds. I gave her loving squeeze, and then she tightened her grip onto my shirt and leaned in to rest her head onto my shoulder. Her honey saturated voice filled my ears and I wondered silently,
Was that line really the first for only me to hear?
I screamed into her mouth as I shuddered and writhed beneath her in rapture. Her fingers came out me agonisingly slow that when I was lowered back from heaven, I had already longed for her presence inside me again. My arms locked around her neck were sore and my fingers that raked through her hair were pain from holding onto her tightly. Our bodies glistened in perspiration and both of out breathing fast and irregular, the sheets were crumpled again and dirtied; I have to remember to change them. Her body hovered over mine and her lips kissed the tears that had gathered at the edge of my eyes. Her eyes shone more brightly than I had remembered when she gave me this much pleasure. I softly cooed her name as she lowered her frame to rest protectively above me, in response she let out a low growl and rubbed my sides. I shivered in her touch and pressed her closer to me.
She nuzzled into my hair and brought the sheets over our bodies with her free hand. I ran a hand through her dark hair and smoothed my fingers on her skin and my mind felt lighter than usual. I relaxed as my legs around her and fell limp back onto the bed…I've been straining too much. She brushed her lips over my forehead and I tucked a lone stand behind her ear. All of sudden she reached to kiss my fingers; I jumped at when her tongue flicked over the tips of my sore fingers. Her heavy voice reeled my mind to rest,
'Does it still hurt?'
I was lost for an instance until I realised that I knew what she was referring to. She continued to kiss the edge as I gave out a smile and shook my head. Her eyes glanced down at me and I felt a surge of security wrap around my mind, yet it didn't linger long as I felt it rise within me. I shuddered violently and she tightened her hold around me.
'Do you still worry?'
I stared at her and I shuddered again…and I knew she, from this moment on, knew me inside out. Her lips were pursed together and her eye brows narrowed in somewhat concern. I felt my necklace shift around my neck and I heard her voice carry on despite my lack of response,
'Are you fighting?'
Gripped by my created consternation.
I looked back at her face in shock and she passed a grin to me. My arm tightened around her neck and I breathed out heavily in content, which was my affirmation. I hoped she had understood that and it seemed she did as she gave out a breath of happiness. She stroked my hair and she continued to break the silence,
'Then you are still surviving…'
I gave out a smile for her and she playfully thumbed my nose. I silently knew she had assured me in her special way that she would be always there beside me. I had known it since I had finished pouring almost all my dread out for her to hear…and that she cradled me with comfort and ensured my fear something that it didn't expect. She made my stronger in someway or another. I felt lighter…much lighter.
I took notice when she kissed me lightly on the lips that she wasn't as outright as she used to be. She was now deeper in a sense that she had all of her emotions cocktailed together. I felt changed under her influencing notions and I realised that it was something that was clearing this apprehension from my mind. I was sure she felt and went through the same thing. After all we did go through the same turmoil that had each other and included a specific person that we both despised. I wanted to frown at the thought that I had created my own foreboding but her words and my song echoed through my mind and somehow…I just couldn't feel it anymore.
There was no more…
Then it is goodbye.
I snapped in her arms and she jerked in surprise. I looked at her and strained hard on thoughts of my created discomfort, I brought images of his face into my mind and I felt none. Realisation struck me and I left my mouth agape.
Long, long, goodbye.
I heard her cry softly and I realised that I hadn't gotten over my confusion. Without fear and dread, now longs her everlasting love and adoration. Then I felt a wave of warmth as my soul still existed in a half and I grinned,
Under that blue summer sky…
I knew who it was sung for.
I felt her hand run down above my heart and I saw the same yellow butterfly flutter in the darkness. Hell, it was another illusion, yet I believed in it.
'Now I can sleep…'
I gave out a yawn, a huge one indeed. It was not that I couldn't control, I was dead to the fact that I am really very tired. I had to show it, especially to him who was currently picking on the wrong set of nerves. I wasn't facing him but I could tell that he had captured my yawn that stretched across my face and it disappointed him. I held back a chuckle and swallowed in forced pity. From the side of my view I saw him lower his camera and he gave me a frown,
'Shizuru baby, are you tired?'
I gave out another yawn and cast him a look that explained my tiredness. I was too tired to try talking to him, but it seemed he wanted an answer from me…in the form of sound. I sighed as his continued,
'What did you do yesterday?'
I threw him a look that said: you really want to know? He seemed to have caught its meaning and motioned me to continue. I adjusted my ponytail and ran a hand through it; looking straight at him, I yawned tiredly,
'I had sex.'
I was lucky that Haruka didn't hear what I had just said, or I would have been blown of the set by her extremely bellowing shocked voice. I yawned again and a tear escaped my eyes. I looked blankly at him as he waited for my words to sink in hard. I had enough of running, enough of his games and I had enough of fearing about something I could dispel so easily. Yuuichi seemed to have heard what I had said to Ren and could barely control a laugh that had wanted to come out from the beginning. I passed the lighting man a smile and turned back to watch a stunned photographer. I placed my hands on my hips and gave out a soft cough; he stuttered back to life,
'That's very funny Shizuru. I was not joking.'
Hey, that wasn't a joke. I almost let out a growl that Natsuki had thought me but I gave out a huff of breath. It looked like I had to personally run a lecture through his thick skull to get the message through. He gave off a forced laugh as he lifted his camera back to his face, he couldn't admit to the fact that I had sex…I laughed silently inside and threw a playful look over to him. I was mocking him and he caught it as fast as I could remember, it seemed to have taken an effect on him. He snapped,
'Shizuru baby, I'm not joking.'
I threw my arms up in exasperation,
'I really had sex!'
This time Haruka caught it and I laughed heartily with Yuuichi. Everyone was confused. He didn't find it amusing…apparently I did, since it was the truth. I felt a tremor run up my spine and I ignored it; I wasn't going to allowed myself to fall back down.
It was goodbye.
I tapped my chin as he stared at me with an emotion I really couldn't put a word to. It was mixed with a few, but I could see the sudden anger and shock clearly. I smiled again as I felt no apprehension.
It was long, long goodbye.
I gave him one last playful look and walked off the set to Haruka who was fuming nearby, I should really do some damage control. As I walked pass him, I said out loudly and clearly for him to hear like how he had ridiculed Natsuki before,
'Kuga wasn't bad as you described.'
He jerked his head back at me in horror and I waved a lone hand for him to see,
My camera almost dropped onto the floor as I saw her come up to me in only her shirt.
Hell, she could at least wait for me to finish cleaning my camera!
She leaned over the table towards me and I uncertainly placed my camera back to its safety back. She traced a line at my jaw and I avoided looking down her shirt, I swallowed hard and I pushed my body back away from the table. Duran was no where to be found in my study so I presume she had him in the kitchen with something. I gulped once more and on her face, a seductive smile crossed her features. God, she wasn't as innocent as she was when she was in front of everyone. I tried to quickly get up from my chair but she had propped herself up onto my table and grabbed hard onto my collar, she tugged me with playfulness,
'Where are you going?'
Once again, I tried to not look down her shirt. However I realised I shouldn't have averted my gaze, my cheeks burned and my chest cringed in pleasure…Her smooth thighs are something I shouldn't have when she didn't have anything covering them. Hell again, my nose could bleed any second. I gave out a fake cough as she pulled me to her body. I stopped in front of her figure and I inhaled her intoxicating scent, my mind reeled with happiness. Her hand moved down to my shoulder and pulled me even closer, I breathed out in excitement,
'I'm going…to bed?'
I thought that would have spared me the chance to let go off me and get her into bed but it apparently failed. I knitted my brows in confusion as she threw me a questioning look. She breathed out slowly and it seared my face and rose the temperature to a new level; I hadn't felt like this in ages. She traced my lips and I wanted to take them, God, she was playing hard to get this time. Her melodious voice rang throughout my study and I shivered in pleasure…even when I heard her voice through a record, it could have the same effect on me. This was fantastically enriching,
'To bed? Don't you have work to do?'
I was lost at that second and she took the advantage to claim my lips and lock me in a fierce embrace. My arms prevented my body to crash her form onto my table; I forced my mouth closed the moment I felt her tongue reaching over. She pulled back instantly and hit my playfully in the chest, I leaned into her and she poked me again,
'You're definitely not the hardworking type!'
I chuckled as I realised what she had meant. Her hands ran through my hair and she pulled me closer till our noses kissed each other. I looked into her eyes and I took notice of the shine. I realised that it no longer held that dread that she had so feelingly described to me that day when I confronted her. The change…
There were even more butterflies.
She placed a chaste kiss onto my lips and held strongly onto me…she had shown me her serious side. She had survived and now she lives…I wouldn't have known if I didn't receive the phone call from 'Reito' that afternoon. I quite shocked to find him ringing up onto me when I had specifically told him not to as I was busying trying to capture a shot I knew I had only once in my life to do so. Damn, that was the end of the race!
I picked my phone up angrily as the cheers of victory rang around me; I could have taken that finishing shot! That taught me a lesson that my boss doesn't listen to his employees all the time! Furthermore, during such events…I have to off my phone! I placed the phone to my ear and I thought I turned deaf that moment. I was expecting a calm collected Reito…but sadly I was graced by Haruka's deathly blow, she yelled at me over the phone,
'What did you do to Fujino!?'
I walked across the field to where my Ducati that was parked outside the race course. I held the phone at a good distance and I cautiously placed the phone back to my ears…I could feel the sting. I opened the compartment of my Ducati and carefully placed my camera bag in as I to answer to her question, very carefully,
'What did I do to Shizuru?'
'Yes! What did you do!?'
I swore I heard Shizuru's laughter in the background and I was even more confused. I reached over for my helmet and I leaned gently against my bike,
'I didn't do anything to…'
'DON"T TELL ME YOU DIDN"T DO ANYTHING!'
I held the phone an arms length away from me and my ears cried out in pain, I whimpered as I held my phone to my ear again,
'What did I do?'
Puzzlement arrayed before me like lights and I sighed in defeat, I didn't know what had she done to get me stuck with her manager yelling at me over the phone. I played with my keys and I heard Shizuru's voice again in the background, she sounded very much animated, yet Haruka's voice cut above everything,
'You had sex with her!'
I stammered like a fish without water, embarrassment flushed my face and my body shook, I was sure my face was red at the moment. I didn't know how that information reached Haruka but apparently it did. I knocked my head against my helmet and I cursed silently under my breath.
Damn that girl, first she takes away half of my soul and now…this.
I rubbed my neck and I stammered back into the phone, I heard Haruka snort in anger,
'Yeah… I kind of have…had sex with her.'
'What!? There is no 'kind of havesic had sex with her'! Yes or no!?'
'Yes Ma'am! I did…'
I didn't dare finish my sentence as I realised the embarrassment had reached my mouth. I heard sudden laughter in the background and I could pick up Yuuichi's distinct laugh…Hell, was I on speaker!? I cringed in further embarrassment as I heard Akane confirm that fact to everyone that I had…sex with Shizuru. I am so going to put hell onto Studio 9 and the supporting crew when I return to do studio shoots. Shaking the thought out, I gulped nosily as I heard Haruka bellow through the phone over to me,
'I swear that you just almost killed one of photographers!'
I wanted to asked who but she answered me faster than I could question,
'Netoru Ren is not happy at all.'
I heard Shizuru's sweet laughter again in the background…
She placed another kiss on my nose and she nuzzled into the crook of my neck. I trembled as she bit onto a sensitive spot at the base and she snickered like a little girl. Hell, she was going to be even more tired if she makes me get into the mood…and dammit, I was getting there. She pushed me back down onto my chair and she came to rest her legs against my shoulder, I hurriedly looked away…this was not good. She motioned me to turn my head back but I resisted to her temptation. I bit onto my lower lip when she groaned in frustration, and I didn't expect to hear,
'Look at me.'
I snapped my head to face her eyes and I saw the adoration and love she had for me. I breathed out in content as she slowly pulled herself down onto my lap, it was agonisingly slow, but it was worth her love. She held my face and she leaned into me, she breathed,
'Look at only me.'
I kissed her fingers as she teased my lips, she smiled and I felt her legs tighten around my waist,
'I only look at you and I want you to look at only me.'
It didn't sound demanding at all, and my mind was reeled out to please her. These lines she repeated to me brought back the sweetest days I had and I knew it was only to get better with our change. My heart was racing as she started to undo the top few buttons of my shirt,
'I only love the one I see and I see…'
I silenced her off with a deep kiss and I broke the kiss with a heavy breath,
For I only had photos of only you.
She had repeated the exact same words she did the night she gave me all her love, and I in return made it the effort to repeat the same loving words,
'As I love you.'
The old glow of pink washed over her cheeks, and I thought I was so long ago since I last set sight onto it. A spark ran through my body and I set fuel to my fire. My eyes gazed at her body and I sniggered. Since she had so much confidence to tell out the truth to kill her fear, I was going to take my time to kill my head-on behaviour…my way. Kuga style.
Take it nice and slow Kuga. Real slow.
My eyes gleamed; motioning her to move back, I cupped her face, her breathing became erratic and I felt power run through my veins,
'It seems, my dear Shizuru…'
She shivered and her mouth released an uncontrollable moan, I grinned as I moved in slowly,
'…that I still have some work to do.'
Then I flushed her body to mine and attacked her in a passionate kiss that fuelled love.
It may not be the first for me to hear, but it was meant to for me.
Number three in the Oricon charts; I'm impressed. Then I looked back at Natsuki, who played with Duran on the floor, and I amused myself,
'How do I sound like?'
She jerked her head back to meet my eyes and her hands stopped her play with Duran. Her emerald gazed scanned my face and she raised an eyebrow,
I chuckled behind the music magazine,
'How do I sound like when I sing? You're heard me before, don't come and tell me you haven't!'
I caught her running into Tower Records when we were out buying groceries, she told me she had something to get, I had expected her to have gotten her latest rock music, but instead she back to me with a familiar looking CD and a poster. I looked at her in amusement when I probed her about the CD she had brought, she daren't look at me in the eye and she blushed into a darker shade of red from her first. When we arrived home, I found my latest single on her desk with the poster of me she had gotten free when she purchased the CD. I felt a wave of happiness run through my body and I chirped in joy… I knew she still loved me to eternity.
I remembered she told me no picture could hold the eternity she described…I asked back in curiosity of what then could hold the eternity that she wanted. She held a smug smile and she pointed to me,
I looked back at her when she gave me a guilty look to the fact I had found out long ago that she had bought my new single album. She passed me a lopsided grin and replied in earnest,
'You sound…refreshing, enriching, melodious and somewhat seductive. I mean…in a good way.'
Out of habit, she rubbed the back of her head and grinned. I stared blankly at her and I realised…was that really true or just to flatter me. She continued to play with Duran when she noticed I wouldn't be answering. I quickly looked back at the magazine,
I'm sure that's the truth.
Her words rang in my head when I remembered hands smoothing out my hair,
'You are my eternity.'
His fist grazed my cheek and I immediately leaped back. His eyes stared at me with detestation and anger and I threw back equal anger. I quickly placed my camera back into my bag and moved it to the side, he came at me again and this time I almost couldn't avoid his punch. I yelled out in confusion,
'What are you doing!? Are you attempting murder!?'
I knew I was exaggerating but his eyes carried the message of murder that I had to expel out. His hands where curled into tight fist and his eyes narrowing in more anger, he lashed out at me again and this time I was distracted by his words that I was knocked slightly onto arm. His voice carried disbelief that teetered with madness, sadness and utmost rage,
My ears cringed as his hollered profanities at me. I ducked another punch that was aimed at my head and I ran backwards. I looked around for anyone that was from the crew, sadly they were yet to arrive…I grunted as I realised I shouldn't had made it an effort to come early. I walked into the studio earlier than the time I was suppose to report, I had sent Shizuru off to the recording studio and had a wanted to drop by Mos Burger to grab a bite but I insisted that I needed to change my sluggish attitude. Therefore I arrived at the Kanzaki building earlier than expected.
When I walked into Studio 9, I gave out a call of excuse as I pulled the door open. I was expecting the staff and crew to be setting up the equipment but I saw none but a certain photographer that looked blankly at my presence. I didn't notice him until I had taken a few steps into the Studio and had felt his penetrating glare. I gave him a curt nod and walked to my seat to place my bag down onto the floor. I looked back up to face him as I wondered why he had come, I wasn't expecting him as I had not agreed in doing a joint project with anyone for the winter shoot. As I took of my jacket, I started off at him,
'What are you doing here?'
His blue eyes darkened and his head jerked at my direction, he snapped,
'What are you doing here!?'
I placed my jacket onto the chair and proceed to take out my camera; I gave him a confused stare and grinned while I turned to attend to my camera,
'Me? I have a shoot to complete by today. What about you?'
I screwed in my lens onto my camera model and I slipped the strap over my neck and glanced back at him. His lips were pursed and his eyes narrowing with an emotion I couldn't really put a word too. A cocktail of emotions perhaps…I couldn't really tell. I gave out a mocking laugh when I realised he couldn't answer,
'You didn't receive a memo?'
He spat at me and I backed back cautiously,
'Shut up you bastard!'
I gave into a frown and I trained my eyes on him; wasn't he the bastard. I sat down onto the chair and checked the ISO of my camera and his choked voice echoed in the quiet studio,
'A person like you shouldn't be a photographer!'
I looked in amazement at him when I heard his statement on me. He couldn't he just say a thing like that!? I clicked my camera off and crossed my arms over my chest as I scrutinised him with my gaze. He ignored it and pointed a daring finger at me and stated as if I was the only of suspect his error,
'You think you can have your way with her. You think you can make her listen to you!'
My ears twitched when he brought in Shizuru to his error,
'You manipulated her! Made her believe that you actually loved her and then you force sex onto her!'
I… Forced!? I dropped my mouth and my mind ran into the direction that he went insane. In his mind I was sure it was full of disbelief that Shizuru had fallen for me and only me. His lack of being able to accept the fact made him come up with so many assumptions that I was now the one that caused everything to topple. His image of the both of us was now blurred, his orientation with what was happening was gone…he didn't want to loss his pure and thought for innocence for the truth. I withdrew from my reverie and caught him approaching me, he garbled with words and it came out incoherently. His hands tightened at his side and then he launched at me with animating anger.
That led me to flinch in surprise and his fist grazed my cheek.
Point blank fights…Great, I should have agreed on going to Akido lessons when my mother wanted me to do. He continued shouting at me in rage and was swinging his fist with no proper direction that I was terrified that it would give me a very bad bruise if it landed on me. He caught my eyes and yelled in fury,
'You changed her!'
I was taken aback and I tripped over my own leg and he threw a punch onto my face. I blanked out for a second and my head throbbed in pain when I regained my vision. The next thing was that I had a few kicks landing onto my body that I was forced onto the ground, his fist went to my back and I doubled over in pain. I could barely make up what was happening in front of me and my attention to his action where cut short by his words,
'You raped her of her innocence.'
My face met with an awful kick and my head was thrown back; I sprawled to the ground in agony, groaning. He placed a few more whacked onto my body and I could hear his haggard breaths…his anger was getting tired…then what was his drive?
'You cheat! You toy her, take her away from me and…'
He placed a powerful kick into my chest and I cringed in pain as I felt my chest swell and pain split down,
'And… and remember Kuga! She's mine!'
I lifted my face to retort that assumption of his but I was met by his shoe and I bit my lips. Copper taste swirled in my mouth and I knew my mouth was bleeding. I felt a trickle follow down my nose and I doubled over and groaned to him as he tired to regain his breath. It seems that his self-created fury had nothing left to feed on; I could somehow put up a grin as my lips had stung,
'In the first place, she was never yours.'
My mind blanked out for another second as his fist landed onto my face and my body shoved roughly with his foot. I curled up in pain but my mind was clear as I allowed myself to see the truth. In comparison to his, my haze was long gone but his just became a lot more blur as he refuse to face the reality he always escaped. I chuckled with pain,
'She was never…'
My lips had finally split and I let out a scream of pain, his fury suddenly had fuel and he started all over again. My body felt heavy and I was barely was able to push myself up from the ground. A foot landed on my stomach I spurted out my saliva, he sounded like a broken record as he cried out to me,
He ravaged on a defenceless me and I smirked…He was worth some pity. Then luck dropped by and I was saved as the doors of the studio swung open and my blurred vision was graced by the crew. I could hear Akane and the other female staff scream out in terror as I heard strong shouts for Ren to stop his assault on me. Nevertheless, I still felt his punches and kicks onto my form and then I heard Yuuichi's voice tear the attack into a halt, and I felt no more.
I had someone run up to me and with a few other helping hands I was supported and cared for. My hazed vision caught onto a still furious Ren as he struggled to advance onto me against Kazuya and Yuuichi's hold. I forced out a grin at him despite the pain that was coursing throughout my whole body and did a gun with my fingers. Pointing it at him, I fired,
'She was never yours.'
I wondered how I was going to kiss her.
She looked at me innocently and I was compelled to touch her. I carefully ran a hand down her cheek, she flinched with my hand came into contact with her skin but she didn't pull away. Haruka was pacing up and down the meeting room where Reito on the other hand was in outside on the phone. I didn't bother to who he was talking to, or what was going through my manager's mind. Natsuki finally pulled away from my hand and leaned back into the office chair. She looked awfully dead, her eyes closed and her breathing still. I slowly reached out to take her hand and she grasped tight onto it. She didn't open her eyes to look at me, but she was kept her voice up for me to feel assured,
'Did I interrupt your recording?'
'No. Not at all.'
She released a breath of content through her bruised lips that were still partially stained with blood, and squeezed my hand and eased even more onto the chair. Haruka stopped her pacing and exited the room when she realised that Reito was done with the phone call. The room became quiet after Haruka's grumbling had gone outside, all I could hear now was my own breathing; Natsuki's breath had gone silent for quiet a long time. I played with her finger with my hands and then suddenly her hands gripped tight and she lifted her head to eye me,
'Can you sing?'
I was shocked and a little upset when she asked me that question, however I chucked the thought aside and squeezed her hands,
'Yes I can sing.'
She let of a small laugh and I saw her cringe in pain as I knew her chest ached from the blows she had received previously. She slowly pushed her body up on the chair and leaned over to me carefully and on her bruised face she gave me one of her lopsided grins,
'Can you sing for me?'
I looked at her in the silence and she looked back me with a warm smile that brought back the same glow of pink onto my cheeks. Some things just don't change. I felt her hold tighten over my fingers and pulled myself closer to her. Her red face was scared with bruises and painful bumps…and I realised she still fought on silently for me. I dethatched my hand from her hold and wrapped them around her neck. Pulling her into my embrace, I blew a warm breath into her ear and she completely gave into me.
Parting my lips, I sang.
A song for only her to hear.
Now no longer underneath the blue summer sky.
MY knuckles hurt quiet a bit as I pulled my fist back from his face. He toppled onto the ground and I turned to exit the door. He seethed in hatred and I waved a lingering hand to him,
'That was The End.'
There was no more: to be continued.
It snowed in Tokyo again.
It was such a long time ago when it snowed in the capital. I blew a long hot breath into my gloved hands and I trained my eyes onto the crystals that fluttered down gracefully. I waited patiently at the steps of the building for my ride to come along. Takumi had called earlier to inform me that he was going to be little late as he had to finish with some paper work at office. I adjusted my scarf and I blew another long breath into my hands. The guard glanced at me and gave me curt nod as I passed him a smile. Smoothing out my jacket, my ears picked up a familiar groan that I knew I couldn't miss to easily. I turned my head to find Natsuki mumbling into her phone, and she gave a nod of acknowledgement to me when she found me looking at her. By the time she had reached me, she had placed her phone back into her pocket and had thrown her coat over her shoulders. She scanned my form and slapped my on the back as she walked pass me, I stumbled inelegantly,
'What was that for!?'
She spared a glance to my direction as she headed to the vending machine nearby, she slotted in coins and punched onto the can drink she wanted. She bent down onto to retrieve her can and I saw the slight bruising she still had on her face. I cringe as I remembered what had been told to me by Yuuichi and Reito, the photographer seriously had a problem. She walked back up to me, grinning, and nudged me in the arm,
'Oh nothing really. It was out of happiness.'
Out of happiness, my feet can laugh. She didn't really look happy, or was it that I couldn't simply pick out the tiniest amount of happiness she radiated. I gave out a weak strangled laugh as she stood by me and waited. I wondered who she was waiting for until I heard a clear melodious Kyoto accent ring behind me and I saw Shizuru running out towards us. I stared at the dark haired female, who was currently warming up her hands with the can of coffee; I had remembered before that they always waited for each other, but now?
'You don't wait for her?'
She threw me a amused look and she finally plucked the can open,
The Kyoto beauty arrived in front of us with her jacket on, she grasp tight onto her slim bag while her other hand went securely into Natsuki's grasp. She acknowledged me gracefully and she asked me with her enriching voice,
'Are you waiting for someone?'
I passed her a smile looked at my watch,
'Yes, my brother is coming soon to take me home.'
Natsuki continued with her drink as Shizuru took in my answer. Awkwardly, Natsuki's low voice called out to no one in particular, until I realised it was for Shizuru,
'Are you ready?'
I had wanted to ask why Natsuki wasn't on her Ducati to send them both back. Then it struck me that I had almost forgotten that Natsuki had sent her Ducati for repair and that they had to taken the train back to their house. I watched the brown haired individual nod her head at the photographer and I accepted her small bow to me as Natsuki on the other hand gave me a nod. I looked in awe as I watched the two walk off in the distance. The snow had gotten a little bit heavier; however it was still light snowfall. My eyes caught onto the beauty nuzzling into the photographer as they continued down. My mind wandered off as I watched the winter wonderland form in front of me; I breathed another long breath into my hands. Before they rounded the corner, in the distance I saw my brother's car drive through the entrance and I had Natsuki's words ringing through my head and I smiled and spoke to no one in particular.
Under that blue summer sky…
A/N: This is not the end yet, or is it? This epilogue is titled 'Epilogue of change' for the simple fact that not every relationship can always stay linear. Everything has its ups' and downs and so does their relationship. Shizuru in this story fights the fear she had created when she used Ren as an excuse to get Natsuki to desire her even more and how she realises from the inside what she is truly fighting for. Natsuki, on the other hand as I have portrayed with her undying love for Shizuru, realises that she has to face the fact that things are not always going to stay at what she thought it will always be. I feel terrible that everyone is full of confusion at the current moment...since it was quite a roller coaster ride, I do express my deepest apologies for any misunderstanding caused here or there. If one would like to further question as I have not explained myself, is most welcome to drop a message or two.
For the info: The two songs in the fic is from Macross Frontier and sung by Sheryl Nome starring May'n. Their both great songs, the first titled: What 'bout my star, the second: Lion. The song 'Lion' made its single's debut and topped the Oricon charts of Japan at number three. I had wanted to type the lyrics out in Romanji Japanese but I realised that I would still need to translate it. I had based Shizuru's voice on Sheryl's singing voice, so pradon me if it didn't carry the Kyoto accent. I realised that some models, like Crystal Kay, a Japanese model, can do both singing and modelling. So I used that line as my original foundation for Shizuru. Tokyo Dome in Suidobashi is spectacular! Megumi in the concert is the nickname of one of the singer's in Macross Frontier, who is also known as Nakajima Ai. HMV and Tower Records are famous music stores in Japan, I went to both, but the impression of the HMV staff hepling me to find a CD remained imprinted into my mind when I went there previously. In the interlude, I forgot to state that the song I used, it is from Do as Infinity, titled: BE FREE.
There's an illustation at j-crusader. deviantart. com/art/A-song-sung-for-97461290 if anyone wants to see Shizuru's single cover.
Then again, when everyone has gotten the change,