Chapter 2

"Hatsumi, you're going to be late! Akane come on! You two, don't give me trouble this year!" Mom yelled as she tried to get us up for school.

It would be different this year, so very different. The Tachibanas no longer lived in the company building, and now Mrs. Honda was the top dog.

At least this time, I didn't worry so much walking out of the building, but who knows, Mrs. Honda's niceness could be all an act.

We hurried off to school, and I couldn't wait to be home, with him.

After school I hurried home to the building and to my surprise Ryoki was waiting for me.

I was completely shocked.

"Hello" He said as he leaned in close to me.

"Hi" I spoke softly.

"I need to speak with you, and that's an order."

"We broke up don't you remember that Ryoki?"

"I do, but I miss you numbskull. Just follow me."

I followed him, up to our spot. I didn't want to, but I was curious as to what he was going to say. He still scared me, but not as much as when we were younger.

He grabbed me by the shoulders and looked me in the eyes.

"Marry me, please?"

"I can't… I don't love you anymore…. I'm over you"

"What don't tell me you fell in love with that brother of yours."

I looked away.

"You did!" He laughed.

"He treats me better than you ever did."

Then he slapped me across my face. He hit me so hard my eyes started to water, and a welt began to form.

I ran down the stairs and back to the apartment. Luckily no one was home, or so I thought. I ran in, slammed the door, crying and ran into my room. Shinogu was sitting on the couch; his rehabilitation had been cancelled for the day.

He followed me into my room.

"Hatsumi?"

I leaped out of the darkness and hugged him so tightly crying my eyes out.

"What's wrong?" he said, he almost sounded like he was going to start crying, from the pain of hearing me cry.

"What happened to your face?!" He said it so loud it startled me.

"Ry…ok…i… hi..hiiit me." I said bawling my eyes out.

"Where is he?" he said firmly.

He held me close and kissed the top of my head.

"Where is he Hatsumi?"

"Upstairs… he's upstairs." I sniffled.

"Don't do anything I don't want you to hurt yourself more than you already are."

"No, No, No, no one, I mean NO ONE hits the woman I love. I love you Hatsumi."

It then hit me why he got angrier than he should have, he was physically abused as a child, he went through so much pain… It's like 19 years of suppressed anger all about ready to be released on Ryoki – if he finds him that is.

"I'll be back." He gave me a kiss on the lips and went out in search of Ryoki.

I followed him, to make sure he didn't do anything too crazy to Ryoki.

By the time I had caught up to Shinogu, he had found Ryoki for some time. By the looks of Ryoki's face, it hadn't been too long. Shinogu had pinned him to the wall, punching him in the stomach, the face, and even the balls.

"Don't… you dare… hit… her… again…" Shinogu said out of breath in between punches.

"It's not my fault. She's the idiot, I asked her to be with me, and whom does she pick? Her brother, a little orphan, a good for nothing gutter trash." Ryoki said panting.

Ryoki kicked Shinogu. He fell down, and I screamed, I rushed to Shinogu's side and helped him up.

Shinogu then punched Ryoki so hard in the face that he fell down. Shinogu proceeded to kick him in the stomach.

"Stop!" I screamed.

"He's learned his lesson Shinogu!!"

Shinogu glared down at Ryoki like he would have killed him if I hadn't stopped him. I admired the protection he gave me, further proving he was the right one for me.

"Stay away from her, and don't even think about touching her again" Shinogu snarled at Ryoki.

Ryoki just laid there as I Shinogu walked back to the apartment.

I kissed him on the lips softly and looked him over once or twice for any major injuries.

"Thank you for protecting me." I said as I dabbed a wet towel on his face.

"I'd do anything to protect you, and make sure you're never hurt Hatsumi" He spoke staring into my eyes.

The next thing I knew the doorbell rang, it was a bouquet of 24 roses and a letter from Ryoki, it read:

Dear Hatsumi,

I apologize for striking you earlier. But my offer still stands about making you my wife. I won't come near you again if that is your wish. I just wanted to tell you I was sorry…

Remember Me,

Ryoki Tachibana

"What's it say?" Shinogu asked.

"It's a note from Ryoki saying he is sorry." I quickly crumbled the note, I didn't want Shinogu knowing about the proposal, not like I would have ever said yes.

Surprisingly Shinogu wasn't as angry about the note as I thought he would be. But he protected me, that was all that mattered.

I kissed his forehead and held his hand. Words were not needed, he knew my appreciation and love for him.

We laid on the couch relaxing, I had fallen asleep in his lap, and he proceeded by play with my hair and watched me sleep.

I woke up to Akane coming through the door; I snuck in a kiss before she could see.

"Hey anyone home?"

"Yeah we're over here." I announced.

"Jesus! What happened to you Shinogu?!" Akane proclaimed.

"Oh, I accidently slipped and smacked my face on the edge of the couch."

"It looks like it hurts, has Hatsumi been taking care of you?" she smiled like she knew I no longer thought of him as a brother.

"She was trying but she fell asleep on me." He laughed trying to play it off.

Well it's not my fault you're so comfy.

"I think I need to lay down, my head is killing me. Hatsumi would you help me to my room please?" Shinogu asked.

"Of course I will." I said standing up getting ready to help him.

I walked him into his room as he closed the door. He pushed me up against the closed door and kissed me passionately. I needed a moment to catch my breath, but I couldn't stop smiling. I kept kissing him wrapping my arms around him and hugging him tightly.

"Hatsumi I love you."

"I love you too Shinogu."

Then there was a knock on the door. We jumped out of our embrace.

"Yes?" Shinogu asked.

"Dear I wanted to know how you were feeling."

It was Mom. She had just came home and wanted to check on Shinogu.

She opened the door.

"Oh Hatsumi, I didn't know you were in here."

"Yeah, we were just talking." I said.

"It's getting late anyways." He said.

"True." I said disappointedly.

"Night Shinogu." I smiled and blew him a kiss behind Mom's back. I closed the door and went to my room. Crept into bed, and dreamed about the day's events.