Ceyrai Says: I decided to write this after watching the movie The Nanny Diaries (starring Scarlett Johansson, one of my favorite actresses) and seeing the idiosyncracies of the fabulously rich of the Upper East Side. Therefore some references to this movie are made.
I just adore KyouyaRenge! I always have some kind of preference to minor pairings in fandom, so despite all the TamakiHaruhi that abound in the anime and manga, I'm really more of a KyouyaRenge fan. There are very few of us who like this, but as I always say, contributing to the fandom will make it bigger!
Pair: KyouyaRenge, mention of TamakiHaruhi
Universe: Canon. Future-fic.
Warnings: Severe brand name-dropping. A subtle mention of adult situations. OOCness.
Rip-offs: I wouldn't say rip-off, but The Nanny Diaries, I guess.
Disclaimer: KyouyaRenge would be undoubtedly canon if I owned Ouran.
The children's names – Himawari means "sunflower". It's one of my favorite flowers, and since Renge's name is sort of a flower name ("Ren" means "lotus"), I decided on that. Kyuu and Kyou (from "Kyouya") are both readings for "nine".
Mon Dieu – My God in French.
The Elite Life
we're going to have wicked fun tonight
It is a typical visit to New York for a typical big-name businessman's wife like Ootori Renge.
She opens her eyes as soon as she realizes she is alone in the master bedroom of their hotel suite, and ponders over what she is going to do for that particular day, settling the jumbled details in her mind in the quiet moments before the hustle-and-bustle of her everyday life starts.
Her day would start at seven-oh-five, when the maid (who may or may not be decisively late) puts on an air of cheeriness despite her own sleepiness and jostles her into the bathroom to make herself presentable. She would take about fifteen minutes to make herself look less like what the cat dragged in (or what the private jet had brought from one side of the International Date Line to another), and another hour to become the perfectly coifed mother of the two children of a successful corporate executive.
The red Dior blouse with the Grecian neckline and a matching pencil-line skirt, or the blue-grey Valentino suit coupled with those new Loubotins from last week? Renge thinks abruptly. Oh, no, I haven't broken them in enough yet – maybe my trusty old cream Manolos would do.
She makes a face, turns to her side and sighs – there was no point in thinking of that now. She would have probably settled her mind to something entirely away from those choices by the time eight-twenty am arrived.
Then it would be making sure that her children, cheerful but mischievous Himawari and witty but shy Kyuu, knew sufficient English and French to be able to present themselves to the jury – oh, pardon – the business associates and their wives. Her husband would expect no less from them, and no less from her teaching, either. She dared not disappoint him.
Her husband was no dictator, but he had extremely high standards by which his family abided to.
A leisurely eight-thirty breakfast (during which said inspection of her children's language skills would be done) would be followed by a drop-in at the Houshakuji-Ootori Group's New York headquarters to present themselves informally to whoever was there at the time, which would probably include her husband and the senior associates he would be having that early morning meeting with. She would obligatorily chat business with some of her acquaintances, and whoever adored children in crisp business suits would ask Kyuu some questions regarding his stand on whatever issue the company was dealing with. No one would think of asking Himawari, because a little girl should not have any say on grown-up matters, but merely stand still and look pretty.
(It would never cross their mind that Himawari's intellect, just like her brother's, was born out of her father's business sense and her mother's sharp eye for reading people. And that she was perfectly capable of stating the opinions that her older brother might have forgotten to mention.)
At about nine-forty-five they would leave, and possibly spend a bit of time browsing through the high-class stores in the Upper East Side. Some purchases and a lot of parading about later (for the benefit of the socialite gossip-mongers who would like people to believe that Ootori Renge, along with her husband's company, is feeling the nosedive of the international economy, which of course is not true, as would be evidenced by the several bags of designer goods she would be sporting around), they would take their limousine to their next destination.
Luncheon with the wives of her husband's partners would come at twelve-thirty, at the Four Seasons Restaurant – arguably one of the best, if not the best, that New York fine dining had to offer. She would drop Himawari and Kyuu at the grade school version of the luncheon for some mingling with their future business partners. Renge reminds herself to inform her specially hired bilingual nanny, Yoshiko, of the details on the luncheon, in which her presence would leave Renge free to do some rubbing of shoulders herself.
The topics of the luncheon would probably revolve around the wifely duties of all present. Renge would be forced to recount all the charity benefits she has hosted, the weekly seminars on how to be a good little Stepford wife she has attended, the weekly spa treatments she ought to have (because, "Honey, you can never get enough of that – men like their women looking and feeling young, after all", which is to Renge just another way of saying that her husband was likely to leave her if she didn't remain physically perfect).
And oh, heaven help her, the childrearing sermons. She would be asked to compare notes on how to handle the nanny just so she could listen to them harping on her and telling her where she went wrong (as if she has done anything wrong with how her children have been raised), and on the flipside, listen to the woes of many a socialite mother who has left her children too long with an overtly religious nanny who teaches them religious songs that are clearly against said mother's agnostic beliefs.
Renge thinks this is ridiculous, but will probably hold her tongue, if only for the sake of maintaining her image as a properly schooled wife of a powerful man.
She pauses in her reflection to note that her nails might need a bit of retouching before leaving the suite. She decides that the red Dior blouse is too much for a day out, and the blue-grey Valentino too dull. Ah. Perhaps the purple Saint Laurent halter? That's pretty toned down. Or… no… the cream Armani suit! Perfect!
The luncheon would have to end by three-o-clock sharp, after having been quizzed incessantly on the facts and her opinions of the Tokyo Fashion Week, and the difference between Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc (which, after all those years, she has down to a science and could probably give a graduate lecture on). Most of the women would leave, with forcibly nonchalant excuses of yoga classes or meeting so-and-so organizer for so-and-so event, after the standard air-kissing ritual.
But some often remain, and the honey-haired woman heavily suspects that it would be exactly the case later. These select few would be those who a) have a bone to pick with her because their husbands had a bone to pick with hers, or b) think that they could reach her taciturn husband's much-debated heart by getting through hers, and plead whatever case they have.
She has two choices of how to go about this. She could either sit them down at a smaller room at the Four Seasons, let them unload their troubles, and order them round upon round of cocktails (and charge them to the company account rather than on her own credit cards), or she could ask them to show her around the city – even if she has been around multiple times – just to see what the women were willing to do to gain her favor, or as in case A, what they would be willing to do to embarrass her for the way her husband has probably embarrassed theirs.
She remembers that she has gone with the second choice a few times, with mixed results – however, varying only in their degrees of success. Her husband considers her ability to turn the tide an asset to his own success, and much to her own relief.
Renge wiggles her toes and remembers that she may have to get a pedicure as well, if she wants to be able to wear her trusty old Manolos – then reminds herself there's no time. Oh dear – are my closed-toe Steve Maddens chic enough for the luncheon? Not to mention – does it pair well with the Armani dress? Oh, no, it doesn't. Do I have another dress in my suitcase?
A sudden thought occurs to her – while she is handling the leftovers of the Stepford Harpies, what would her children be doing?
She decides she could send them back to the hotel to prepare for the evening party. Or she could let Yoshiko take them to an art gallery for some educational enjoyment. She settles for the art gallery – the Gagosian Art Gallery, she has heard, is going to have a special preview of some such exhibit for the New York elite, and she can probably cajole someone from the company to find tickets for her children and the nanny.
Her extended meeting should only last about two hours, at the most, because she would have to prepare for the evening party the company is hosting, and it always seems to take her two hours and thirty minutes to prepare. Her prep time has already been cut to one hour and fifteen just because she has chosen a dress beforehand – a lovely Vivienne Westwood creation that would complement her husband's attire, naturally – but hair, makeup and accessories take a long time and the extra waiting would just infuriate her husband.
High blood pressure and a "pleasant" evening with his scheming associates and their wives were not a good combination for him, as she has been witness of a few times.
Goal for tonight – get ready for the party in forty-five minutes and no more, Renge vowed.
She sifts through her pink suitcase (the one with all her evening party clothes and accessories) in her mind's eye. I brought all my pearls, fortunately. That Westwood dress is rather loud for an evening affair so subtle jewelry is in order. But which set? The white drop pearls? The golden semirounds? Or- oh, whatever. Let's go for the classic white round pearls. The small ones. Yeah.
She realizes she has not chosen things for Himawari and Kyuu yet, and hopes that they have something in mind already. The first droplets of panic sink into her when she realizes that the nanny Yoshiko probably does not have a dress for the evening, either. That's what we'll have to look for when we go shopping later, then. I hope she doesn't mind.
She does not think she needs to do anything for her husband, though. Knowing him, his appearance would be impeccable as always, if only because he has planned for it way before, and much quicker, too.
Her mind is all in a flurry as she thinks of the all-important impression her family must make at the evening party. It is fundamental not only that the senior and junior associates recognize her husband as a man worthy of working under, but that he has a family that is whole, intact, and generally a picture of domestic perfection. A well-behaved brood and an intelligent but submissive wife could gain the highest praise alongside his many accomplishments in his field. It would only show that he could retain domination and quality control in his family, and that would translate into his leadership ethic.
A frown mars her face. Sometimes, even having gone through that ritual countless times before – a long time ago as a daughter of an influential man, and more recently as the wife of an even more influential man – she just cannot believe that she has to go through the utter ridiculousness of corporate politics yet again. She almost envies Tamaki and Haruhi, who have chosen to avoid these stiff events as much as they can, and who are nearly powerful enough to avoid them entirely.
It is also something that she does not want her children to go through at such an early age. The general lack of camaraderie and trust, the scheming and the plotting, the utter coldness of these formal events could very well make even her vibrant Himawari and her warm Kyuu cynical of the world.
(Just as her husband was. Has been? Is?)
But it is their duty as the future owners of The Group – to learn as much as they can about the world they would soon enough be ruling. And it is her duty as their mother to usher them into that world as quickly as possible, so that their status as worthy heirs to the Ootori name would be secured.
And as the wife of the heir of the entire Ootori Conglomerate, it is her duty to be demure, intelligent, polite, and quiet – the ideal accessory to be hanging from the arm of one of the most powerful corporate executives in the world.
She groans, turns on her back, and shuts her eyes tight, willing herself out of her miserable thoughts. She would never get used to this circus act of a world, where she would have to juggle the personas of a perfect mother, a perfect wife, and a perfect person who is perfectly not the imperfect her.
And people think she is to be envied.
It is all just so tiringly excessive and excessively tiring, and all she wants is a reprieve.
Crossing her arms across her face in a gesture of childish frustration, she mumbles, "Mon Dieu. Give me a break."
Renge sighs. The room is silent.
She feels a short, fleeting peck on her exposed forehead. The peck is shaped into a smirk. (Or at least, she knows it is.)
She can't help but smile sheepishly. How typical.
She removes her crossed arms from her face and looks up at the amused face of one Ootori Kyouya, her husband. Who is dripping wet from the shower. And isn't wearing his glasses. Or anything for that matter, except for that white towel, and… mmmmm. I liiiiiike.
"You always have breaks," Kyouya informs her, a chuckle just bubbling underneath his statement. "You practically live in a break."
Renge giggles, tracing the lines on his subtly aging but still remarkably handsome face. "I'm tired," she answers with a practiced pout.
"Oh?" This time, Kyouya grins outright. "Last night's activities too much for you, then?"
The amber-eyed woman's face erupts into a fierce blush as she recalls "last night's activities," as he most carefully puts it. Those activities had become a habit in the years of their marriage - to combat the jetlag that often comes with these trips and force themselves into the day-night patterns of the country they are in. They are of opinion, after all, that it is singularly the best way of tiring out.
"Of course it's not that, Kyouya," Renge replies (though honestly, three times of that should have tired her out enough to let her sleep through the day). "It's just that…" She sighs. "It's too much of a spectacle out there." She gives him her best puppy-eyed expression. "Can't we stay in today, please? Tell your associates that they'll have to move all the events of today to tomorrow? You're tired, too, I know."
Kyouya merely rolls his eyes, and she ignores the droplets of water dripping from his hair onto her nose as she gazes upward pleadingly. "You know we can't do that. They've been planning this visit for months, and reservations at this and that restaurant aren't exactly easy to arrange. You're an excellent events organizer. You should understand that."
(Renge does not fail to notice that he did not negate her opinion on his tiredness.)
She does understand, and she does not really need her husband to tell her all that, but it isn't any less troublesome. "Should, should, should," she mumbles disappointedly. "We're always going to have to live by expectations, aren't we? The need to follow this and that protocol… playing mind games with plotting old geezers who are supposed to be our allies…"
Kyouya sighs and eases her anxiety by planting another kiss into her bedraggled honey hair. "Does it really matter?" he asks. "We're the heads of the Houshakuji-Ootori Group – we have no one to answer to, except perhaps Father. But even he allows us to do as we please. We only do things to be considerate to the people who work for us."
Kyouya snorts at her profound statement.
Then he smirks again. "Besides – whatever you have been thinking of doing, and whatever little schedules and protocols you've been outlining in your pretty head, you do know that you're not going to follow them at all, right?"
Renge blinks her great amber eyes at him, and slowly realizes that he is right.
The visit to the NY Headquarters would probably mean endless berating of the interior design and the quarterly reports from her. Himawari and Kyuu would most likely pass the time critiquing the dessert tray while grilling the senior associates on their knowledge of the said quarterly reports, wherein Kyouya would likely spot which of his associates are not worthy of their positions by coming unprepared for the meeting.
While Kyouya kicks some executive board ass, Renge and their children would likely forego the shopping trip, because they have too much things anyway, but explore Central Park and sample street delicacies instead. Renge reminds herself that perhaps Yoshiko is not needed for the day, after all – she could handle her children herself, as she has whenever she has free time. They are fun and smart companions whom Renge considers her closest friends and playmates.
The luncheon at the Four Seasons would likely be chaos because her radical ideas of wifely duties and mothering may be too much for the conservative upper crust of New York ladies. She wonders if she should reveal that her otaku tendencies has somewhat been passed on to her children, but reminds herself that causing an aneurysm or two would not make a good report to her husband, especially since they are in the hospital and health care industry.
And as for the women who would be doubly apt to disgrace her, she would still apply the See If You Can Suck Up To Me routine. If there is one politicking game she enjoys playing, it is this – if only because this allows her to clear her path of the bad seeds, that they would be meeker and less prone to causing trouble the next time they visit.
The evening would be another version of the chaos, and Kyouya, Himawari, and Kyuu will only be too happy to join into her favorite activity of breaking stereotypes and gaining respect in the most unorthodox ways. In the ferocity of the world they live in, if one is going to tilt the axis, one might as well tilt it to one's favor.
(The enjoyment of the activity would also lower Kyouya's blood pressure enough, that she could most likely take her time in preparing for the evening, after all. Heh. Let him wait for his adorable wife.)
Renge begins to smile fully as all this sinks in, and Kyouya mirrors her smirk. "So you see, Renge?" he asks smoothly as he presses his nose against her cheek. "You have absolutely nothing to worry about, since you don't care about social standards at all."
"Mmm. How delightful. We're going to have wicked fun tonight. Ohohohoho~"
In her delight she wraps her arms around his neck, pulling him closer, mimicking what started their activities last night – and he does not resist even though they know if this continues, both of them would be terribly late. But had they not been talking about not having to answer to anyone?
It isn't that she does not care about social standards. It is more of that Kyouya lets her be who she is, and lets her raise their children according to no one's standards but hers. Kyouya loves her and their children just as they are, without mind of what they should be adhering to (that they don't mind adhering to his high standards just because they can).
And it is that fact that gives her the courage to keep (harmlessly) breaking the rules.
As Kyouya peppers kisses and tiny bites on her bare skin, she grins contentedly.
This is the life.
(She settles on her favorite turtleneck sleeveless Chanel dress. No low necklines for today.)
Ceyrai Says: Kyouya's rather OOC, but I think that's how he would be if he were alone with his beloved wife. Ohohoho. Theckthay timez.
Much thanks to Miriae25 for getting me interested in KyouyaRenge fics. :) This one's for you, hun.