A/N: It's been a long while since I updated anything. But since yesterday was the first snowfall of the year (at least here where I am)--I felt extremely motivated. That and I'm feeling a little giddy--like it's the first time I saw snow. =)
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Repeat a few more times and the annoying butterflies would be exterminated—well, at least that's what she believed.
Desperately trying to swallow the lump of nervousness, Kaoru clutched onto her portfolio as she tried not to stare at the intimidating man sitting right across from her. He was a beautiful man, with hair that could have been washed in blood and eyes brighter than the sun. Thank heavens for the table—albeit small—that separated them.
Why did they have to do this in such an upscale traditional Japanese restaurant anyway? The man himself intimidated her enough, was there a need to further unsettle her in such a high class setting? Well, at least they had a private room.
She was dreading the moment he would speak up and dismiss her without further questions. Suppressing a sigh, she decided to do the honours by politely leaving before he dismissed her.
Just her luck, her first professional job interview to end before it even began.
"To be honest, you're not exactly what I was expecting."
There it was. The most hateful line an interviewer could ever say to an interviewee.
Kaoru almost cringed by the way he said it—as if it was a natural thing to say; as if he never gave it much thought. She almost felt insulted.
"It's a shame; I was hoping to see you in a kimono."
Kaoru laughed stiffly, surprised by the unexpected comment. "Is that so? I never knew there was a specific dress code." She looked at him weirdly, thinking he must be crazy.
No sane woman would wear a kimono to a job interview. What the hell was he thinking? She lifted the tea cup to her lips and surreptitiously scrutinized the man before her, wondering if he had a kimono fetish. Judging from his traditional wear she would say he was stuck in the Meiji era.
Well, this was Himura Kenshin after all—known to everyone as a heretic businessman, no one could predict what he would do next, he was simply too unique. How she managed to get an interview with him, she didn't know. The Heavens must be crazy.
"So, is this your first time?" he asked innocently.
"No, but I'm currently waiting."
He seemed interested, "For the right one?"
She thought for a moment, and replied, "You could say that. I've been here and there but I'm waiting for a few replies."
Kenshin nodded in understanding and she breathed in a sigh of relief. Things were going pretty well but they need to get to the point.
"So you're keeping your options open?"
The way he asked it seemed strange but nevertheless she answered confidently. "It's a new era, to succeed in life, options are a must. So if one fails, you could depend on the other."
"I see, you're that type of women," he murmured to himself.
"Excuse me?" She clearly heard what he said and wasn't sure if she should take offense to that or not. And what did he mean by 'that type'? Was he trying to insinuate something?
He smiled a comforting smile and said, "Nothing."
Though she only met him for a few minutes, that smile unnerved her. It wasn't innocent, nor was it genuine. Then and there, Kaoru decided she hated that particular smile.
"Nothing always means something," she retorted, losing a bit of patience with the rude man. "I don't know what you mean by 'that type' but I'll have you know that I do not appreciate your condescending way of speaking. And before you 'categorize' me like some specimen, know me a little more. Ten minutes are not enough to know a person."
His amber eyes searched her face for a moment before softening, "I apologize; that was quite rude of me." He poured more tea into her cup as a sign of apology, which she begrudgingly accepted. "Well then, let's continue. What are your likes and dislikes?"
Kaoru looked at him strangely, wondering what nonsense he was thinking. "Is that important?"
"You did say for me to know you better. Why? Is there something wrong for wanting to know what kind of person you are?"
"Well, I did say that but…"
For some strange reason, Kenshin looked hopeful and that menacing and intimidating aura no longer surrounded his being. Kaoru sighed inwardly and took the plunge. What harm could it do to know one another? Maybe if he liked her enough, she would be accepted.
The waitress came in and quickly placed their meal—which was pre-ordered by him—on the table and left silently. When the waitress left, the 'question and answer' continued. Everything was starting to click into place. This was how a job interview was supposed to be like: straight and to the point, despite how strange it was that he did not ask a thing with regards to his company or the job position she applied for.
Yet, things took a sudden turn off the road and threw Kaoru completely off track.
Kenshin put down his chopsticks and asked, "What do you look for in a marriage?
Blinking at him blankly and wondering if that was what he really asked she wondered, "Is that a trick question?"
Noticing how uncomfortable she was, Kenshin decided to drop it. "It's alright; you don't need to answer it. I was being a bit too forward."
If only he had stopped at that. The questions following were no better and each made her squirm.
What is your ideal man?
What kind of lover are you?
In a relationship, if I am a tree, then what are you?
Kaoru earnestly wanted to answer that she would be a great big axe that would chop him down to make firewood but figured that it wouldn't do her any good—that and she was afraid he might twist it into something naughty. So she opted with something safe: a bird.
What is your sexual fantasy?
Intense heat slowly crept up her neck and stained her cheeks. What kind of questions were these? Like hell she was going to answer that. They were much too personal. Was he even allowed to ask them? It's practically an invasion of privacy!
Did she apply at the wrong place? H.M.R Corporation was supposed to be a children's toy company, not an adult's toy company. Kami, what if she unknowingly signed herself up to design new dildos? Her hands flew to her flaming cheeks just thinking about it.
From across the table, Kenshin sat there watching her face, enraptured by how fast it changed from disgust to shock to horror all in a span of five seconds. He wondered what it was that caused her cheeks to colour like so, it was tempting him.
When she thought things couldn't get any worse, he just had to ask the forbidden question.
Did he not know what happened to the last idiot who opened Pandora's Box?
"Are you a virgin?"
Kaoru's face was completely red—whether it was due to extreme embarrassment or anger, it was hard to tell.
"Wh…what's with th…the weird question?" she was stuttering and she hated it.
"Really? This is common protocol," he replied—it seems like nothing could faze him.
Here she was, sweating from nervousness and stress but he was as cool as a cucumber. Cursed the man!
Kaoru straightened her shoulders and despite her red cheeks she lectured, "I reserve the right to not answer that; even if I am a virgin! From where I come from, people call this sexual harassment. What kind of gentleman are you, asking an innocent, young woman like me such an obscene question?"
He raised a brow before laughing heartily, "You're cute."
Tittering on the edge of throwing random objects at his face, Kaoru downed her cup of tea, hoping it would douse the raging fire in her chest. Her mind was all jumbled up and words just flew out of her mouth without being screened because of her overheating thoughts.
"Pardon my rudeness, Himura-san," she hissed, "but are you drunk or high on drugs?"
Choking on his drink, Kenshin coughed into his hand, eyes wide with surprised. How could she ask him something so absurd? The bottle of sake he drank could never make him tipsy and he knew for sure that the cold medicine he took the day before did not warrant him as what she so politely questioned.
"I assure you that I am perfectly sober," he spoke with much seriousness.
Kaoru didn't look at all convinced. "Then what is this, an omiai?" The words left her before the thought could finish processing in her mind.
Kenshin leaned forward, both hands perfectly relaxed on the table and his head tilted to the side. Something akin to amusement twinkled in his eyes. "You say the funniest things," he chuckled softly. "If not an omiai, then what do you think this is?"
Her face blanched. What the hell was going on? She absolutely did not sign up to become this man's wife—despite how lovely and tempting the thought was. Steadying her voice, she said seriously, "A job interview."
His lips twitched, trying to hold in the laughter that tickled his throat, finally comprehending their early conversation. "I guess being a wife is somewhat like a job," he noted with laughing eyes. "You are, Kamiya Kaoru, are you not?"
She glared at him and sarcastically asked, "Would you like to see an I.D?"
Kenshin shook his head, that aggravating smile still had not left his face. "Well, then you must have been misinformed."
Frowning, Kaoru thought back on how she came here in the first place. A certain nosey uncle and cousin came to her thought. "That idiot rooster-head," she grumbled. Turning to face the red-head who was smiling at her, she could not but help yell, "What?!"
"I think I like you."
For what could have been the hundredth time that evening, Kenshin left Kaoru speechless. What was she supposed to say to that oh-so blunt statement? And why the hell was her heart beating so rapidly? She must be crazy and the man before her was no better.
At that moment, Kaoru was too bashful and so decided to do what she did best.
She smacked him over the head with her chopsticks and ran out the door.
Soothing his head, Kenshin looked at the broken chopsticks and chuckled. She was precisely what he was looking for; and more. Taking out his cell phone, he dialed a number, and spoke candidly to the receiver on the other end.
"I want her. I want Kamiya Kaoru."
o w a r i
Omiai - marriage interview
A/N: Lately I've been reading too many fics that makes me hate Kenshin with a passion, making me want to write a fic to counter those feelings. The RK fandom needs a shot of love. =D