Yay! It's Azuma-sama's birthday! Let's celebrate! *throw confetti in the air* I'll always love you, Azuma-sama! I hope all of you readers would too! ^_^ Let's get on to the present!
*bows* Thank you, respected and beloved readers and reviewers!
Because of You, For You and Only You
Patting the side of his bed, he motioned wordlessly for her to sit beside him. Flushed, she hesitated for a moment before standing up from her knelt down position and sat facing him. However, her eyes were fixed on her hands folded neatly across her lap. Clicking his tongue in annoyance, he reached for her chin and lifted her head up, forcing her to look straight into his golden orbs. A small smile donned his face when he saw her expression. It was a total mess up mixture of determination, fear, worry and affection. Her eyes contained that pure seriousness yet slightly wavering feel she always had when she faced this senior.
"Why the scary face, Kahoko?" He questioned the girl who immediately turned red again.
"Aside from that, why don't you start?" She countered, fighting off her embarrassment by replacing it with bravery and curiosity.
"In a rush, aren't we?" The purple haired flutist continued to tease, ignoring her silent pressing for the main subject they were supposed to discuss. She bit her lips, her gaze dropping back to her hands though her head remained held up as if it was still supported by the pale slender fingers.
"Who am I really to you, Azuma?" She asked quietly. The older man blinked twice, the previous smile on his face was erased. There was a moment of silence between them, both submerged deep in their own thoughts. The first one to be able to recover was obviously the male. A mischievous smirk was formed by the thin lips of his.
"Why, of course, my best time-killer!" He answered in a matter-of-fact tone. Kahoko felt a stab in her heart. She did not notice the different glint in the man's eyes. When she did not reply, he knew that he had gone a little too far playing.
"My grandfather, Yunoki Miyoji, was the first to establish the Yunoki Corporate. He was young during that time and was confident in everything he did. He was also well brought up, as usual for a Yunoki, yes, we were famous for our ikebana even then. A perfect gentleman. Many men wanted to work with him and many ladies wanted him as their lifetime partner. But my grandfather had his eyes set on one magnificent woman, Shiroji Kotoki. Her father was one of my grandfather's important allies in his business. Shiroji was overjoyed that such a capable man had fallen for his daughter and engaged them without his daughter's consent. Thus, they were married. That's right. Kotoki-obaasama. The one you had met on few occasions." He paused, a small sad smile playing on his expression.
"Then… She was against it?" Kahoko asked when the stop became a minute long. The flutist looked at her again with amazement.
"I guess it takes a girl to understand it, huh? Hmmm…" He pondered in amusement.
"Anyway, let's continue with the story, shall we?" Azuma stated. The girl nodded a little.
"She was indeed against it but at that time, arranged marriage was still a practice, so, she had no choice but to accept it." The storyteller stopped to catch his breath. Trying to remember the sequences and putting it properly was slowly taking a toll on his already worn out body although he thought he had rested more than enough. The violinist noticed it immediately, leaning forward anxiously.
"Are you alright, senpai?" She inquired, panicked. One soft caress on her cheek calmed her down almost instantly but her eyes were still troubled. He weakly pulled her nearer. Kahoko understood the gentle tug and went closer to him but she could not help blushing.
"I'm fine. If you would sit nearer, then I would not need to speak so loudly and use up all my energy." He told her. His gold eyes were still shining cheekily. The girl took it as a sign that he was still capable of staying awake for awhile, creeping even nearer to the man.
"If she was forced into an arranged marriage and understands the pain of it, why did she still make you go through that?" The red head asked after she had moved to the nearest she dared. They were so near, if they whisper, they would not miss a single word. A shiver ran down her spine when he whispered into her ears.
"Why are you concerned about that?" He questioned curiously. His eyes narrowed when she remained soundless, only reddening further. He knew he would not be able to gain an answer from her finally released from his insistence.
"It's not her doing, all these. Well, maybe she has her part but…" He thought for a moment before brushing it aside.
"I think we should continue from the story. Obaasama accepted the marriage reluctantly but a person did not. It was a man she was previously seeing to. Great grandfather Shiroji did not accept that man because his status was not comparable with the Shirojis. They were a highly ranked family then, even greater than the Yunokis but because Miyoji-ojiisama was growing fast in fame for his success, he caught great grandfather Shiroji's eyes. That man, Suzuki, was not satisfied and was upset that his lover was taken from him. He worked very, extremely hard to build his way upwards." He paused again for a minute of break.
"But then, your grandmother had already married your grandfather by then, right?" The violinist asked, confused. He wordlessly replied with a dip of his head. She looked around the room once, spotting a small table with a jug of water and a glass. She poured a cup and brought it to the injured man who accepted it. He sipped on it while she continued to ponder on what he had said so far.
"Everything was going well for my grandfather. He was over the moon. His business was booming and he got the woman he wanted. But as they say, the sea is calm before a storm. He faced a huge betrayal within his company and was set against a huge debt. This was an opportunity to Suzuki. During that time, he was also an equally successful man by then. He offered to settle the debt and buy Yunoki Corporate. Grandfather knew his intention but in order to save the many staffs from losing their job, he agreed. My extreme troubled grandfather was blinded by the offer and signed a contract without properly analyzing it. Thanks to that, Suzuki had controlled over our Yunoki family completely." Kahoko's eye went wide. Realization slowly fell into place.
"Then, the person doing all these is Suzuki-san?" She blurted out, her voice and body shivering badly.
"He's the main person behind this." He explained simply, taking another sip from the glass nonchalantly. Sensing the great fear emitting from the girl, he reached up and pulled her head onto his bandaged shoulder. Stroking her head softly, he slowly unraveled her anxiety.
"It's ok. What had happened was in the past. It's alright now." The purple haired man soothed her.
"B-But you won't know if it would happen again! What has it to do with you anyway? Why?" She muttered into his shoulder with anguish. Two clear drops of liquid fell from her eyes.
"Suzuki-san wanted revenge on both the Yunoki family and Shiroji family for taking away his love, and of course, for that time when great grandfather Shiroji looked down on him as well. But Suzuki-san is a smart person. He does not reveal himself in the outer. He is like the puppeteer who pulls strings behind the shadow and we are his puppets."
"Then, why is he doing this to you? Isn't it illegal?" She cried, hugging him. He winced a little before she realized and sprang away from him, both shy and worried shown clearly on her looks.
"I'm sorry! Are you alright?" She exclaimed in panic. Looking at her shock plus horror face, he could not help but laughing.
"I'm fine. You are just too cute, Kahoko. Cute and annoying at the same time." He resumed chuckling. The end of her lips dropped and her brow creased together.
"Well, sorry for being annoying!" The violinist was irritated by his playful attitude. Yet, she did not like his overly serious dark side either when he teased her. Somehow, that side always gave her creeps.
"I said earlier, he controlled the Yunoki family. If we do not do as he wishes, Yunoki Corporate would fall and many people will be in trouble. This," he gestured to all the bandages on himself, "is the results for defying him."
"For canceling the transfer to England. For refusing to be engaged to the woman he chose for me. For… everything else." He whispered the last sentence so softly, if Kahoko wasn't so near and listening intently, she would not hear.
"Everything else?" She murmured quietly in return. The man did not reply but was deep in his own thoughts.
"You see, my elder brothers and sister were forced into marriage and to study something they did not want. I did not want the same way for myself so I rebelled." His face showed that fake smile he had often used in school, the smile that did not reach his eyes as if they were sarcastically laughing at someone for their idiocy. But to her who had seen both his personalities, she knew that this was his way of hiding his pain.
"And your family just let that person do as he likes?"
"Grandfather tried to oppose once but he was stopped immediately when Suzuki-san fired a number of top officers from the company. My father's marriage was also arranged. Suzuki-san made the Yunoki marry those with good pedigree backgrounds of his choice. That is why we don't have the freedom to love. My mother is from the famous Kobayashi family, Kobayashi Nadeshiko. Fortunately for my parents, they fell in love at first sight therefore they did not suffer. But for my brothers and sister, it was. Soon, Miyabi and I might also join them in the suffering."
"What about your grandmother? If she would just try to ask that Suzuki-san to stop, then…" Kahoko blinked a moment before the last sentence he said registered properly in his mind.
"She was more than glad to co-operate with her former lover. She was determined to make every life in the Yunoki family miserable in return for her misery. But, I didn't really understand her intention now…" He trailed off. Azuma stared in confusion when he looked at the girl with eyes round and wide.
"Might join them… Does that mean you are engaged now?" Kahoko breathed. Her chest was pounding hard, painfully as she waited for the answer though she knew clearly what it would be. The man remained soundless, confirming her guess.
"Then, why do you still ask for me?" She asked quietly. The male raised his brow.
"Wasn't it you that was extreme worry over me and wanted to see me so badly?" He countered. The older man was clearly making fun of her again but she was too much in distress to think properly. She got up stiffly.
"Well, I've seen you and you're fine, so I'm going. Excuse me." The violinist sped out of the room, tears blurring her eyes already, leaving the man staring at her back.
'Maybe it's the best thing to do now… But have faith in me, Kahoko… Please believe in me…'
Dashing out with unclear vision due to the forming of salt water, I had no idea where I was heading. I only knew I had to get out of this place, away from here and away from the Yunokis forever, especially that one with long purple hair and plays the flute.
'He was just too cruel. Why? Why did he have to tell me all these now?' Those thought ran angrily in my mind, frustrated at my own stupidity for falling for such an insensitive, emotionless man. And just when I thought he might also harbor slight feelings for me! Why did he have to give me false hopes? What 'I'm his special someone'?
"Ah!" I could not stop the yell out when I crashed blindly into someone. The person staggered a little before catching hold on me tightly on the shoulder.
"Well, well, what have we got here?" I looked up to see a man dressed in black suit with dark sunglasses. There were another few of them surrounding a rather elderly man, the person who had spoken.
"Hmmm…" Even without any self introductory, I could clearly guess his identity. But I did not have the time to think. I had to get away. The last thing I saw was that man with silver gray hair tilting his head to the left and my vision went blank.
Wee! Cliffy! Ah, it's super obvious now who that person is, right? Anyhow, I won't be able to tell you when the next update is because I have to start studying for my exams already. Hmmm… Should be somewhere in July or latest by August I think. I'm so SORRY! Once again, happy birthday, Azuma-sama! I wonder what he's up to this time… ^_^
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