AN: hello! This is the first story to be publish of Hadashi de Bara wo Fume! I'm so excited! When I read chapter fifteen I just KNEW I HAD to write this! I hope you like it!
Disclaimer: I DO NOT own Hadashi de Bara wo Fume or Beauty and the Beast. I am just a fan and just a writer.
At that time I didn't even know what the name of that flower was. I thought that I want to get closer to it, but that flower seemed like it didn't want me to get any closer…
A Rose By Any Other Name
Sumi Kitamura was an orphan. She lived in a small cottage house outside the village with her elder brother, Eisuke Kitamura. Living with them were four children, all of them of no blood relation to them: Atari, Tomi, Fuku, and the baby Yuu.
Sumi was indeed the most beautiful girl in town. With her unique blonde hair and blue eyes, she was like a yellow flower on a cloud day. Her sweet nature and kind-hearted spirit had the whole town love her.
Now, the Kitamuras weren't the wealthiest of people and when Eisuke used the money that he earned to gamble, they sometimes couldn't even afford to buy bread. With Sumi's low fortune, it was almost impossible for her to be married, even when she had come into marrying age.
A rooster crowed as the sun rose into the sky. Sumi woke up to hear the rooster and the whines of the children around her. "Sister Sumi!" They cried. "We're hungry!"
Sumi's stomach agreed with them by grumbling loudly. "I know, I know." She told them as she climbed out of bed. "Just go see if Ichirou will lay an egg." She walked over to the kitchen to look into the cupboard. When she opened it, the cupboard was bare.
"But, Sister Sumi, Ichirou does look like she'll lay one today." Fuku (the second eldest boy) explained as he picked up the hen.
Sumi turned around to see what Fuku was doing. "Fuku, if you carry Ichirou like that…"
It was too late. Ichirou had pecked Fuku in the cheek. Fuku dropped the hen and ran crying over to Sumi. "That hurt!!" He cried as Sumi tenderly hugged him.
"Now, now. It's all right." She comforted. "Look, I'll go into town to buy some bread, all right? That way, we can all eat a little something."
"But what about the money, Sister Sumi?" The only girl––Tomi––asked.
"I have a little bit of money for times like these." Sumi explained as she let go of Fuku and went back into her room. She lifted up the mattress of her bed and removed a small sack of coins.
Once she was dress, she exited her room and met the children at the landing of the stairs. "Now, children, where did Eisuke go to?"
"He left early this morning for work." Atari explained coolly.
"I see. Well I'll be back soon. Stay here and don't go running off." Sumi ordered them as she exited the door and closed the door behind her.
"We will!" She heard the children shout as the door closed.
Sumi smiled as she walked down the path toward the village. The village was small, but busy as you could hear the villagers working. When Sumi entered the village, she bought a bottle of milk for Yuu; then she searched for the baker. When she had found his shop, she entered it greeting them, "Good morning."
"Ah, good morning, Sumi." The baker returned the greeting. "What can I do for you?"
"I would like a loaf of bread and a raspberry muffin for the children." She told him.
"One loaf of bread and raspberry muffin coming up!" He told her as he removed a loaf off one of the trays and a muffin off of the shelf behind him. He handed them to her. "That will be 3 centimes."
Sumi opened the sack and removed the three coins out of the sack and exchanged them for the bread and muffin. She placed the bread and muffin into her basket and thanked the baker. She turned and exited the store. She walked onto the busy road bustling with people and animals.
"Excuse me, excuse me," she said as she made her way through the crowd until she ran into someone. She looked up into the eyes of Nozumo Ijuuin, the son of a wealthy banker. "Pardon me, Mr. Ijuuin." She told him.
"Not at all, Miss Sumi. Please, call me Nozumo. If you call me Mr. Ijuuin, I'll feel like my father." He chuckled.
"Oh, well, then, I'm sorry, Nozumo. If you would excuse me, I'll be on my way." Sumi said, and tried to walk around him. However, he reached out and grabbed her arm.
"Please, Sumi, join me for a cup of tea. Will you?" He asked, hope in his eyes.
"I'm terribly sorry, Nozumo, but I need to get back to my house. The children are hungry. I have to bring this bread to them."
"It's just a cup of tea. The children can wait."
"No, I have to go back. My brother will be home soon anyway,"
"Your brother? He probably won't be back until this afternoon. It won't take very long. I promise."
"I'm sorry, Nozumo. But I can't. Please, let me go."
Nozumo sighed. "All right, but take this." He handed her a handkerchief. "As an invitation, for next time." He smiled; then he disappeared into the crowd.
Sumi held the handkerchief in her hand, surprised. She rolled her eyes with an annoyed sigh and stuffed the handkerchief in the pocket of her dress. Everyone knew the Nozumo wanted to marry Sumi, only because of her beauty. He claimed that he could only have the best, and that was Sumi. However, his father just wouldn't grant his wish quite yet because she was poor.
Sumi on the other hand, didn't really like Nozumo. More than on occasion did he talk nothing about other than himself. He didn't care what Sumi thought and her opinion on life. He explained that women should be silent and look beautiful.
There was no way that Sumi could marry such a man.
Soon enough, Sumi was back home. She swung open the door to the cottage. "I'm back!" She called.
"Welcome back!" The children greeted as they ran up to her and hugged her legs. Sumi returned their hug.
"Did you bring it back?" Atari asked, eager for food.
"Yes, yes. Come into the kitchen." She instructed them as she came into the house and closed the door behind her.
All five of them went into the kitchen. Sumi placed the small basket on the table and removed the loaf of bread. She divided it up into five pieces, saving a piece for Eisuke when he returns. The children took the bread eagerly and ate it quickly. Sumi then divided the muffin into five pieces, one for Eisuke of course, and gave it to the children. They ate the muffin quickly and with great pleasure. When Sumi was finished, she fed Yuu the milk.
Suddenly, the door opened up and a man's voice entered the cottage, "I'm home!"
Sumi placed the bottle of milk on the table, stood up from her seat, and walked out of the kitchen. "Eisuke, welcome back. Did you earn any money?"
"Yes," Eisuke replied, a little hesitate.
"That much!" Sumi gasped. "We can buy some more clothes now! I was so worried that the children wouldn't have any warmer clothes before winter set in."
"Well, actually," Eisuke began nervously.
Sumi glared at him. "Actually?"
"I lost it in a bet."
"You what?" Sumi exclaimed. "Oh, Eisuke! How could you? We really needed that money!"
"I know, I know!" Eisuke shouted back. "I was doing so well too! I swear that man cheated!"
Suddenly, I knock was cast upon the door. The house grew silently as everyone looked at the door. Eisuke walked up to the door with Sumi following him. He opened the door to reveal a tall, muscular man.
"Eisuke Kitamura," the man spoke.
"Yes, that's me." Eisuke replied.
"Mr. Ijuuin has a job for you. He wants you to travel north to deliver a special item for him. When you return, he'll give you 10,000 francs."
"10,000!!" Eisuke and Sumi replied, surprised.
"That much?" Sumi asked.
"I accept!" Eisuke told him.
"Good," the man said, "you leave at noon."