Title: Buy Me With Your Love
Once I heard a story about a young boy who built his father's enterprise in blood. Five years ago, when Japan experienced a state financial crisis, there was a sole individual that battled against all odds. He immediately restored order in the business sector, but his affiliations with the underworld have not gone unnoticed. This young boy is called Kuonji and Hyuuga told me not to attract his attention.
Unfortunately, I have a strange knack of attracting weirdoes.
His intimidating, slightly slanted raven eyes watch mine as I watch him. I could feel my bones melting at his frightening stare, but no matter what I do I couldn't take my eyes off him. His aura commands attention and he clearly got hold of mine very easily.
"Ah, Natsume," he greets the man beside me. "Pleasant to see you here. Glad you could make it."
Hyuuga smiles, but I know it's just a forced one. "I wouldn't miss it."
He eyes me again and I feel my cheeks burning up. "What a lovely lady," he says as he pulls my hand from my side and gives it a soft peck. "What family did you come from?"
Before I could give him a proper answer, Hyuuga already spoke for my behalf. "Kuonji, you shouldn't try to steal my date's attention. She's mine." Hyuuga's voice suddenly changed. It seems that he somehow grown darker. Hyuuga's acting is so believable that it caught me off guard and made Kuonji believe his lie.
Kuonji laughs. There is something mesmerizing about his expression but also at the same time it's menacing. "Oh, Natsume, you never change. You always act like I'll always steal something from you."
"Don't you always?" Hyuuga counters and this time Kuonji's face turns serious.
"You better watch your tongue, Natsume. You're going to lose it one of these days." Kuonji whispers softly for the three of us to hear before he leaves and greets his other guests.
I let out a breath. "Well, that was pretty intense." I watch Natsume's eyes, burning in anger, calm down in a matter of seconds. His clenched jaw seems to have softened as well.
"Let's leave." Natsume says as he paces out of the room while I follow him from behind.
"We're not going to stay until the end of the party?" I ask.
"We already did both of our parts," he grunted. "We're leaving."
Before we both finally exit the room, I catch a fleeting glance at Kuonji who's watching us leave. He raises his champagne glass my way before turning back to another guest he's previously talking with.
Beneath the misty night with the moon and stars as our witness, I find myself in an awkward situation with Natsume Hyuuga. As of the moment, we're both in Tokyo Park with our butts glued to the swings. In his fit of anger, Hyuuga stormed away from the valet station while I chase after him. Now, both of us are silently sitting in a children's playground.
I try to recap the scenes that played in the event. I regret not getting the chance to taste the scrumptious buffer that the Umenomiya family has catered. A part of me wants to blame Hyuuga, but I know it's partially my fault for not seizing the opportunity to grab a bite to eat.
"I'm sorry." Hyuuga says, breaking the silence between the two of us.
"What for?" I ask, surprised that Hyuuga even bothered apologizing. It never occurred to me that this 24 year old man is capable of asking for forgiveness.
"You must be hungry, but you followed me all the way here." He says.
"It's no big deal." I assure him.
"I said, it's no big d—"
"—and I thank you." He adds and his words completely shut me off. I couldn't believe what I just heard. Hyuuga did not only apologized, but also showed gratitude. Is the end of the world finally occurring?
"Hey," I put my hand on his shoulder as a sign of comfort. "W-What's wrong?"
"You must have been incredibly hungry," before I could debunk his statement, my stomach betrays me by growling really loud. "And since you trailed me, you didn't even get the chance to eat. I just couldn't stand staying any longer in that party."
"What's getting into you?" I ask in a calm manner.
He gives out a long sigh before giving me a proper reply. "I couldn't stand him."
"Him? Who? Kuonji?" I confirm.
He nods. "He's actually… family," he looks hesitant on whether he'll push through with his story or not. "To be exact, he's my stepbrother. Only a few really know about it. I'm simply a child out of wedlock. A child that is not supposed to exist, but what can I do?" he shrugs and laughs. The sound of his laughter brings an icy feeling into my bones. "My father is really a man who loves women a little bit too much."
"Wow," I gasp. "Now that's something I won't read daily in the news."
"I bet if you sell that news, you might be able to pay three-fourths of your debt already." He says as if he's challenging me to do what he just said.
I kick off the sand and look at him, "I'm not going to do that. It's not my secret to tell. Sometimes, you need to learn to trust."
"So are you saying that I should trust you?" he asks.
I clear my throat before giving him a reply. "Yes."
"I trusted someone once," he opens up. "But that person failed me. How can you assure me that you won't fail me like what that person did?"
I sigh and I feel like I'm talking to a kid who's so defenseless and innocent, and for some reason it's making me want to protect him from all the evil he has to face, but I know that I can't be like that. Especially to him. For God's sake, he's my employer!
"You know," I respond. "That's the thing about trust. You absolutely have no idea whether someone you know would fail you or not, it's a matter of trusting them not to. It's a matter of believing in them."
He looks up and stares at a while at the glistening stars in the black skies.
After spending an hour and a half in the park, we finally decide to commute home. As we're about to enter his home, the entrance's door burst open, revealing a furious Tsubasa Andou with both of his arms placed on his hips while Yuu Tobita is shooting daggers at my direction. Hyuuga and I freeze on our spots, as we are unable to avert our eyes from his menacing glare.
"Sir, you have been missing." He says.
"Andou, I forgot to call." Hyuuga says sheepishly.
"If it weren't for the GPS we placed in Miss Sakura's dress, we wouldn't know where you would be." Andou then stares at me and I feel that he's already playing torture scenarios in his head.
"Why would you place a GPS on me?" I ask.
"Just in case you decide to run off and steal that dress." This time it's Tobita who replies.
"Andou," Hyuuga snaps. His voice suddenly turns dark and serious, making Andou's expression soften a bit. "Remove the GPS on her. She'll have that dress permanently."
"Excuse me?" both Tobita and Andou gasp.
Hyuuga loosens his tie and clears his throat. He walks past by Andou and whispers softly but enough for me to hear, "You heard me. She gets the dress."
He glances at me, and for a moment I thought I saw his cheeks blush but it might have been the lights playing with my eyes, and then he nods in my direction before turning away to go up to the staircase.
And for some reason I feel my heartbeat running madly.