Chapter Seven: Another Surprise
Despite all that had occurred a few nights ago, the Wolf Pack were surprised that Tsukasa's mother left for New York without so much as a blink of an eye. Yukito had not told them anything about his meeting with her and suspected that she had something already underway. Things seemed to get back to normal. Tsukasa returned to his house after a long stay at Sanosuke's and he and Suzuna were eager to start their relationship afresh. It was a cool, crisp spring afternoon when Suzuna walked once more to the music room to meet Yukito for practice. She had a recital coming up and he had promised her that he would help in any way he could. As she arrived on the third floor, heading towards the staircase she barely noticed as she bumped into someone unfamiliar.
"I'm terribly sorry" she replied with a bow of her head, "I wasn't looking where I was going."
"No it was all my fault" the teenage boy with short blond hair said back with a smile, "I wasn't looking either. Actually I'm kind of looking for my next class."
"I thought you looked like you were new" she smiled as she nodded her head and noticed his twinkling brown eyes, "Which class are you looking for?"
"Um" he began a bit shyly, "I'm looking for the biology lab right now."
"Oh. Well that's on the second floor. You just take that staircase over there and it's the first door on the right."
"Thank you miss uh" he nodded as he turned to walk in the direction he was pointing."
"Naoki" she replied.
"Naoki?" he repeated, "Not Suzuna Naoki?"
"Yes as a matter of fact."
"Are you really?"
"Yes. Why do you ask?"
"No reason" he said smiling secretly to himself, "Well I mean of course there's a reason but I am not allowed to say at this time."
"Um. I really have to go. I'm sure we'll be seeing each other soon" he added walking away practically tripping on his feet.
"I don't understand. I don't even know your name."
"It's Mikado. Mikado Inoue. Until we meet again, Suzuna" he finished with a smile and a look in his eyes that indicated to her that he had known her all his life.
"That was" she said aloud to herself as she walked to the fourth floor staircase, "Weird."
Since things were going so well with Tsukasa as of late, Suzuna decided against the idea of telling him about her strange encounter that morning. She even kept the information from Yukito since she figured in time she would find out the reason why the boy had acted so familiar with her, even though in her mind's eyes she had never met him before. Instead she had a leisurely lunch with him and the Wolf Pack and towards the end of the day she followed him to the parking lot, where like always he was prepared to drive her home.
"So do you want to do something tomorrow night? I mean we haven't really had our first real date yet?" he asked as he drove towards her home away from the city.
"Unfortunately" she shook her head, "I'm afraid I can't."
"Why not?" he asked curiously.
"My mother told me this morning that she and my father expect me to be home for dinner tomorrow. They are having company. Old friends of theirs are coming for a visit."
"Oh" he nodded, "One of those things. And so it begins" he said with a sigh.
"What do you mean?"
"When you live in families like we do, gatherings like these are common. I can't tell you how many times I have had to sit down with colleagues and friends of my parents. Even if they're not there. You get used to it after awhile."
"I'm sorry. I would much rather go to dinner with you."
"It's no big deal" he shrugged, "We'll get another chance. Besides these might be people you knew when you were younger. Maybe your parents are trying to help you remember your past a little."
"Mmm. I didn't think of it that way. Maybe that is it. Oh we're already here" she replied as she saw her house outside the window, "I'll see you tomorrow" she added as he stopped the car and she began to take off her seat belt.
"Yea" he nodded, "I'll be here first thing in the morning."
"Okay" she nodded again as she allowed him to kiss her cheek and then exited the car, grabbing her bag in the process.
He watched as she walked up to her door, go inside, and then he pulled away from the driveway heading home, a little disappointed that they wouldn't be able to go on their first date just yet. When he arrived home he picked up his cell phone and dialed a number.
"Hey Sano, it's Tsukasa. It turns out I am free tomorrow. Make your plans" he finished with a click of his phone.
The staff of the Naoki house were bustling about the next day. Mr. Harada seemed more busy then usual and several maids had been sent to Suzuna's room to prepare her for that evening. She really wondered what the fuss was all about. Perhaps these people were really good friends or important clients to her father. In any event she was a little uncertain on how to really act and was lucky that the Wolf Pack along with Tsukasa had coached her on the ettiquette when it came to this type of thing during lunch that afternoon. Finally it was six o'clock and she descended the staircase. Mr. Harada was waiting for her with a huge grin on his face and he at once escorted her to the main living room, the room in fact where she had met her mother for the first time in ten years. Emico Naoki, her mother was seated on one of the fancy couches that faced the doorway. She was dressed very tastefully in gold and her long brown hair was pulled back with a beautiful butterfly ornament. Sitting next to her was another stylish looking lady with short black curly hair and dimples on her cheeks. She was dressed however in blue and in her hand she had a wine glass barely touched. Off to the side her father, Hideki stood with a another gentlemen and they were both splendidly dressed in stunning suits and ties. Mrs. Naoki raised her head, and her blue grey eyes shone brightly as she spotted her daughter.
"Suzuna" she pronounced as she stood and the young girl walked over, ""You look lovely" she finished as she nodded her approval of the pure white dress with the skirt coming just above the knees that she was wearing.
Suzuna nodded back with a smile as he mother turned to the other woman and the two gentlemen came over.
"Suzuna" she began, "These are some of our oldest friends. The Inoue's. I'm sure you both remember our daughter."
"Of course" nodded Mrs. Inoue, "Look how much you've grown."
"Quite lovely" Mr. Inoue nodded as well in approval, "You're daughter is beautiful Hideki."
"Thank you" Mr. Naoki smiled patting Suzuna's arm lightly.
"Yes. Thank you very much" Suzuna added bowing her head.
"I daresay" Mrs. Inoue began as they all sat down, Suzuna in between her mother and the other woman while the gentlemen settled on the other sofa, "You probably don't remember us. But we have known you since you were a little girl."
"Oh. I'm sorry" she replied with a shake of her head, "I really don't."
"Well that's not surprising knowing the ordeal you went through" Mr. Inoue said with a nod, "But I can see that despite that you have grown up into a fine young woman. I understand you are still playing the piano?"
"Yes sir" she nodded a second time.
"Our Suzuna has never given that up no matter what has happened" Mrs. Naoki replied.
"Well would think that when she has such natural talent" Mrs. Inoue beamed, " I believe you got into the Academy because of the piano right Suzuna."
"Of course. He always knew you would never give it up."
"Yes. My son. He's actually on the balcony outside waiting for you. It's been so long since the two of you have seen each other I think he was a little afraid of facing you."
"Yes" Mr. Inoue nodded, "Our only child. Why don't you go out and see him Suzuna" he added, "After all it's been so long since you have seen one another. Maybe it will stir up a memory or two."
"Uh" she said a little hesitatingly as she stood, "Is he on the balcony right now?" she pointed to a pair of double doors that led out to the large spacious balcony off of the house.
"Yes dear" Mrs. Inoue smiled as he mother gave her an encouraging nudge and Mr. Harada opened the doors for her.
She cautiously walked out onto the balcony as the doors closed behind her and saw another teen staring down at the expansive grounds. His short blond hair was tousled in the front but there was no mistaking that when he finally noticed her presence and turned around that it was the same teenage boy she had met only a day ago on the third floor of the Academy.
"It's you" she replied stunned as he smiled.
"It's me" he nodded back.
"You're the one from the other day."
"Mhm. Mikado Inoue."
"Inoue. I don't know why I didn't realize earlier that I already heard that name. I thought it sounded familiar. Why didn't you tell me that day that we were going to meet here?"
"Well I said we'd meet again" he bowed his head bashfully.
"Yes but you weren't specific."
"I know. I was just so surprised to see you at school the other day, I didn't know what to say. It's been so long."
"Huh? So long? What do you mean?"
"Um I have already been informed that you don't really remember much of your past."
"No" she shook her head, "I really don't."
"I see" he nodded back the disappointment clearly on his face.
"I'm sorry" she replied, "I really am."
"It's okay" he nodded, "I know I shouldn't expect much after ten years of you being away but I guess I was hoping that you would at least remember me as much as I remember you."
"Remember you? Are you someone important from my past?"
"Well I would hope so" he nodded as she took in the appearance of his attire. He was dressed in a black suit with teal tie and his hair was much neater then she had seen previously at school, "Because ten years ago we were best friends."
"Best friends?" she raised an eyebrow surprised.
"Yea. We grew up together. We've know each other practically since we were two" he added with a smile as she lowered her head slightly, "We used to play all sorts of games down in that yard of yours for hours. And when we were done that you would often play the piano for me when you started."
"Yea"" he nodded a third time, "You started playing the piano when you were three years old and then eventually you got so good that you'd let me listen to you as your special audience."
"How often were you over here?" she asked softly as she moved towards the edge of the balcony and looked down into the yard.
"All the time. My parents have been friends with your parents a long time. That's why we practically grew up together."
"I'm sorry" she whispered, "I feel so terrible that I could forget all that."
"Don't worry about it. I'm not holding it against you. I am so happy to see you again that I could just about cry though. I mean like I did back then."
She looked at him a little as the breeze blew lightly though her hair.
" I was only six after all. Still young and I didn't quite understand. But I always knew you were still alive. I hoped and prayed that one day I would see you again. When I lost you, my best friend I felt like my world crumbled to pieces" he sighed as she continued to stare at him, "Eventually my father decided to move us all out of the country for awhile. But I never stopped believing, not for a second" he looked at her directly in her eyes, "That you were okay somewhere."
"I was" she said slowly, "I was fortunate enough to end up with a family that really loved me. That cherished me as their own. Even now, though I'm back here where I belong, I still miss them a great deal."
"That's only to be expected" he nodded but then smiled, "But you were able to get into the Academy on your own. And for the piano too. That's not so surprising."
"I also heard around school that you're even going out with the most popular guy. Tsukasa Sakamoto."
"Seems like you have done really well for yourself. I'm glad."
"Thank you. But what about you Mikado?"
"Me. I'm all right. Can't complain. I am happy to be back in Tokyo. To be back home where I grew up."
"You're not going back to , where was it you guys were?" she asked.
"United States. California. No I think we're going to stay here for awhile. Probably what this whole reunion is about. I was a little nervous to see you again, but now that I have not so much anymore."
"Why is that?"
"You really haven't changed at all."
"I haven't?" she said surprised.
"No. Maybe taller" she chuckled.
"I wish I could remember you."
"Maybe overtime I can help you to remember some things."
"I'd like that" she nodded as Mr. Harada appeared at the doorway.
"Excuse me Miss Suzuna, Master Mikado. Dinner is being served in the dining hall.
"Thank you" Mikado nodded as Mr. Harada bowed his head, "Well shall we?" he held out his arm which she carefully took with a smile.
"Sure" she nodded as he led her back inside with the sun beginning to set behind them.
It was the first formal dinner Suzuna had ever attended. The two couples sat on the opposite sides of each other while Suzuna and Mikado against usual protocol sat on the ends of the table. The dinner conversation was lively and was mostly talk about work and parties that the couple were interested in. From time to time Suzuna saw Mikado roll his eyes slightly with a smile and she tried not to laugh. Finally when dessert had been served another topic of conversation was brought up and this time it actually involved the two teens.
"Well" Mrs. Inoue began, "How are the two of you getting along?"
"Fine, mother" Mikado replied as Suzuna nodded.
"Fine" Suzuna agreed.
"I am so glad. It does my heart well to know that the two of you can pick up right where you left off. You used to be so close. Such good friends. Maybe even seeing Mikado again Suzuna, might help you to regain some of your memory."
"Maybe" she nodded.
"Wouldn't that be nice" she smiled, "Then all is well again. We can proceed finally with the future for you two."
"Future?" Suzuna said mid bite of her cheesecake.
"Really do you think we should discuss this now?" Mrs. Naoki replied, "I mean Suzuna hasn't been here for very long."
"Oh Emico. Why shouldn't we talk about it. After all that's what we are here for aren't we?"
"Well yes" Mr. Naoki nodded, "That is one of the reasons."
"Dear" Mrs. Naoki shook her head.
"Excuse me" Suzuna interrupted, "I don't mean to be rude, but what are we talking about."
"Mom" Mikado replied fidgeting a little, "I don't think this is the time and place for this."
"Well if not now then when? Now is the time we must discuss this sort of thing."
"Mother" he hissed in a warning tone.
"We've all had this planned for years Mikado. There is no shame in it. And I think Suzuna ought to be aware of it as well."
"Aware of what?" Suzuna asked dreading to hear the answer.
"That you and my son have a future together, Suzuna. Mikado is your future."
"The two of you have been engaged since you were small children."
"What?" Suzuna exclaimed.
"Mom!" Mikado replied clearly outraged, "This is too soon for something like this."
"Darling" Mr. Inoue nodded, "Under the circumstances I do not think that this is such a good time. Please refrain from saying anymore."
"Mom. Please enough" he looked imploringly into Suzuna's eyes, "I'm sorry Suzuna."
"I don't understand" she shook her head as she got to her feet, the napkin falling from her lap, "Are they telling the truth?"
"Suzuna" her father began, "We didn't mean to spring it on you like this."
"Yes dear" her mother continued, "You have been engaged to Mikado since you were five years old. It was arranged between the Inoue's an us" she added staring furiously at Mrs. Inoue who averted her eyes.
"I see" she replied slowly. "Um. If you all don't mind, I don't think I want anymore dessert. I need some time to think about this. I'm sorry" she bowed her head and then ran out of the room as Mikado stood to his feet in anguish.
"Well now you've done it" Mikado shook his head as he threw down his napkin, "What you were thinking?" he added angrily looking at his mother directly.
"Well I" she began in a low voice.
"Why don't you go after her Mikado" his father suggested, " Maybe you can calm her down."
"Okay. I think I saw her head back to the balcony" he finished as he dashed out of the room and so began a long lengthy argument between the couples.
When Mikado reached the balcony he could see that the night sky was clouded now and the girl he was pursuing was once more on the edge looking sadly up at the clouds rolling by.
"Suzuna" he said making her look back at him with a sad expression, "I'm sorry. I didn't know what my mother was thinking. I didn't know she would actually bring this up tonight."
"Did you already know about this?" she said softly.
"Of course I knew. But I wasn't going to mention it. I mean you just got back and you don't remember much so how could you possibly remember that. Man I could kill her for what she did."
"It's okay. It's not like I wasn't expecting it. I mean I have been warned about this before by someone. But look Mikado I am sure you are a very nice guy but my life is so complicated right now. Besides I'm in high school. I'm not even thinking about marriage."
"I know. It's ridiculous."
"And we really don't know each other. We may have once but that was years ago."
"Then you understand how I feel?" she asked tentively.
"Completely. You have every right to feel the way you feel. I would feel the way you feel too if I was in your place."
"I'm glad" she smiled finally, "That you understand."
"Of course I do. I know what a big shock this must be for you. I don't blame you. Not at all."
"Thank you Mikado" she smiled again,
"I'll speak to my parents about this. I'll take care of everything. Don't worry about it."
"Thanks" she smiled again as he moved up next to her.
"This won't hinder us becoming friends again now will it?"
"I know it sounds strange but in my heart you've always been my best friend. I hate to lose you again."
"I'm not one who gives up on my friends. Even if I can't remember them. So no. But I should warn you" she continued after he smiled, "My boyfriend is rather touchy about guy friends of mine. He usually wants them to keep their distance. And I am going to have to tell him about this whole fiancée thing and he is not going to like that very much. But I will tell him that you're on my side and that he has nothing to worry about."
"Not from me. I just want to be friends again."
"I'd like that too" she nodded smiling back.
"Fiancee?" Tsukasa spat the next day at lunch as Suzuna told him and the Wolf Pack her latest news, "You have a fiancée?"
"Mhm" she nodded.
"Who is this guy Suzuna?" Sanosuke asked.
"Mikado Inoue. He started the Academy a couple days ago. He didn't tell me when I met him the first time. His mother blurted it out over dinner last night. But it's all right."
"How is it all right?" Tsukasa shouted.
"Tsukasa calm down" Akihito replied.
"Because he understands how I feel about the matter."
"He knows I have a boyfriend and he's supportive of it. Tsukasa apparently years ago before I was abducted he and I were best friends."
"Best friends?" Yukito said.
"Yes. We grew up together. He knew about my piano playing. He said he was one of the first people to hear me play. He talked about what we used to do when were younger. Apparently his parents have been friends with my parents for years. Mikado was over our house a lot. In fact until I was kidnapped at six we were very close."
"Imagine that" Kenji replied, "A best friend you didn't even know you had."
"I know. He's really nice too" she added as Tsukasa rolled his eyes, "Don't give me that look he is. He knows all about our relationship. And last night when I found out the news I wasn't very happy. He comforted me after and said he understood how I felt. He also said he would talk to his parents about it. So there is nothing to worry about."
"So you say" Tsuskasa scoffed as he crossed his arms and leaned against a tree.
"Tsukasa" Sanosuke said, "Although I have to admit, I am a little suspicious. We don't even know this guy. I'm with Tsukasa on the fact that since we don't know him and only you do that maybe it might be prudent for us to meet him before we give our decision."
"Your decision?" she asked a little confused and agitated.
"What Sanosuke is trying to say" Yukito began as he stood up and moved over next to her, "And is failing miserably" he added to which the other teen frowned, "Is that as the Wolf Pack we are your protectors. Because Tsukasa and you are together and he's our leader it is necessary for us to see for ourselves just how trustworthy Mr. Inoue really is. It's not that we don't trust your opinion or your judgment, but since you are Tsukasa's mate it's only natural for us to be concerned."
"I see" she nodded, "Then do you want me to introduce him to you all?"
"That's not essential" Sanosuke shook his head as he also got to his feet, "The four of us without Tsukasa can confront him ourselves."
"Why without me?" Tsukasa demanded pulling away from the tree with a frown.
"Because you're completely biased" Akihito grinned.
"Not to mention" Kenji added as he walked over, "You lose your temper a lot faster than the rest of us do."
"Whatever" he scoffed a second time.
"Trust as Tsukasa, it's better this way" Sanosuke said walking over and putting a hand to his shoulder, "Let us feel him out first. When you have our approval and opinion then you can meet with the guy."
"If he's nice" Suzuna added making them all look at her, "I want to try to remember at least a little of my past and Mikado may be the only way I can start doing that. Tsukasa" she finished wrapping her arms around him, "This is something I really need for you to do. Please."
He sighed as the others looked at him with matching grins.
"Fine. Go feel him out. If you find he's a nice guy then I guess" he hesitated and then cleared his throat, "I can accept that the two of you are friends" she embraced him tightly when he was done while his friends continued to smile.
(To be continued)
Next Chapter: Hawaii Trip/Ultimatum