A/N: I knooow, I'm sooorry! I've been hogging the chapters for like a year. Heh. Also, I know I'm just so absolutely perfect and everything, so any grammar mistakes or inconsistencies witnessed below are apart of some dumb, faulty formatting that has occured between transistioning this document from my computer to this website. So...I didn't do it!
I've done my best to clean it up, but my absolutely perfect eye occassionally overlooks stuff... If you do see one, please feel free to notify me.
Tango In Tokyo
Chapter 7: Something borrowed, something blue
Kagome fell back in her chair and stretched, happy to have at least finished the rough draft portion of her article's process. The next few steps would be a breeze: sourcing images to accompany her article and getting Henry's approval on the rough draft. Sounded daunting, but Kagome usually managed to hit the nail on the head one way or another.
She looked around the dark office. Most of everyone had gone home for the day. It was already the beginnings of twilight outside.
As she walked into Henry's office to place her rough draft on his desk, she noticed the light coming from Inuyasha's office. She glanced at her watch.
Funny. He didn't seem like the type of guy to work late.
Despite her better judgment, she walked to his office and lightly knocked on his door.
"Yes? Come in."
She opened the door but hovered in the doorway.
He was sitting at his desk, typing something up on his computer. He wore glasses.
Kagome laughed. "And here I thought glasses would be too beneath you to wear."
He looked up at her; his desk lamp cast a glare in the corner of his lenses. "I only wear them at night. Contacts make my eyes dry when I wear them all day." He gave a pause and sized her. "Why are you still here?"
"Making up lost time on Kouga's interview article. I was sort of interrupted today."
Inuyasha gave her a look and held up his bandaged hand, waving it as if to say: me too. He returned to typing.
Kagome watched him for a moment longer. It was rare that she got to see him without his biting remarks and lewd jokes. He looked focused and intelligent; the way he sat straight in his chair, shoulders pulled taut with self-discipline, head held evenly. It reminded Kagome of the open and regal manner Sesshoumaru exhibited. This, she thought, was probably the side of him she had met at the bar.
Secretly, she knew she was and probably always would be attracted to him. As ungodly as he made himself out to be most of the time, this image of him would be plastered to the back walls of her mind: a man with the potential to command a media empire. Even as he spewed lewd and biting comments, she knew she would never completely hate him.
And maybe it would be in her best interest to do so, or at least make every attempt to. It would serve her absolutely no good to start thinking of Inuyasha Taisho as anything other than her boss. They seemed to stay on opposite ends of the magnetic pole. Any sort of collision was bound for catastrophe.
"Is there a reason you're still standing in my doorway?"
Instinctively, Kagome moved back. It felt like ripples, as though he had thrown a pebble into a pond and disturbed something quiet and secretive.
She was about to retort a smart remark when he gave a big lion yawn followed by a rather inhumanly sound.
Were humans even supposed to make that kind of noise?
"I need a drink," Inuyasha sighed and ran a hand over his face. He turned in his chair and began rummaging around in the file cabinet. He produced a rum bottle and two glasses. "Care to join me?"
"I think I remember the last time we had a few drinks. A little too clearly I might add."
"Too clearly, huh? I'm pretty sure the 'we' part was actually two isolated incidents. It's not like we were having drinks together." He poured the rum into both glasses.
"Together, separate, big freaking difference. Case in point: alcohol plus both of us equals disaster." But despite the warning signals in her head, she was already walking over to his desk.
Inuyasha chuckled. "So what exactly is it that you're remembering too clearly?"
He gave her a devilish smile as she took the glass from his offered hand. He took a swig and made a face as if the burning in his throat was actually woman stroking him. Kagome took a sip and felt it burn all the way down to hell.
"The hotel I suppose," she said, nonchalant.
"That's the only thing? As opposed to the sweaty, hot, naked – "
"Yes...no! I mean...not a lot of guys I have slept with have been well-endowed – "
"Financially," she finished sharply, giving him a pointed look. "It was just...different. That's all."
"Let me ask you something." He shot the last drop of rum down his throat. "How many men have you slept with?"
Kagome raised a brow at him. "Isn't that against some kind of company policy to ask?"
"Well since it's after hours right now and technically outside of work..."
She rolled her eyes and drained her glass. If she was going to spill her business to him, she might as well be trashed afterwards.
"Honestly, I don't really know," she said. "But if I had to guess, I'd say around six so far this year."
"Fuck me!" Inuyasha laughed, bugged eyed and all. "Are you serious?"
Kagome tried not to look offended and held her glass out to him. He immediately poured more rum in it. "Yes, I'm serious. Most of them I've met at seminars, conferences, social events and whatnot. Why are you so grossly shocked? I'm fairly certain you're not so virginal yourself."
"No it's not that, it's just..." He laughed to himself. "Most people calling that whoring. You've got some balls on you, woman. Not many girls around here are bold like that and still have class."
"How crude. But thank you for the compliment."
Inuyasha downed the last drop from the bottle. He got up and rummaged around in the bookcase opposite from his desk. He produced another rum bottle. "So, how do you chose them?"
"Jesus...how many bottles do you have in here?"
He popped the new bottle open. "Five more and you'll never find them. Answer my question."
He sauntered over to her and poured her another glass. She downed at least half of it without a word. The burning wasn't as bad as the first glass, but it still made her gurgle a little.
"It's hard to say," she said after the burning was gone. "It's subtle; there's an air about some men that seem almost primal. Like testosterone overload. My cavewoman instincts sorta kick in after recognizing it, I guess."
Kagome laughed to herself and paused for a minute, staring into space. Inuyasha waved for her to finish. She looked at him and fluttered her eyes, as if surprised to see him there, sitting against the edge of his desk.
"Well?" he prompted.
Inuyasha chuckled and took a swig from the bottle. For some outrageous reason, she couldn't help but feel irritated from his chuckle.
"Well, how do you pick them?" she asked him, stealing the bottle from his hand and taking a rather brazen gulp.
He gave a big pensive sigh and looked up at the ceiling, squinting his eyes as if the answer lay hidden between the cracks. "They usually pick me," he said. "And they're usually sexy enough that I don't mind."
"Please don't tell me big boobs and tiny waist is your definition of sexy."
"What makes you think that's the type of woman I attract?" He gave her a sidelong look.
She made a wry face at him. "It's pretty obvious that you're wealthy. And wealth is a magnet for leaching bimbos who think big boobs and a tiny waist are sexy."
"Trust me," Inuyasha said, shaking his head, "I'm not that guy who goes for all body and no brains. Now don't get me wrong. A nice, round ass, plump boobs, and a tiny waist are positives but not necessary. An easy woman is boring." He shrugged, a very subtle and simultaneous movement involving a slight tilt of the head and a brief lift of the shoulder. "I like a challenge."
Kagome starting laughing.
"Oh you think that's funny do you?"
"Is that...is that why you can't stop pestering me?" she asked. It made her laugh harder. She wiped the tears from the corners of her eyes.
Inuyasha stared at her for a moment, surprised, then shook his head in dark amusement.
"Unbelievable," he chuckled.
Kagome was still laughing, clutching her stomach. She had to sit on the desk or would have otherwise ended up on the floor.
When she sobered up, she leaned back on her hands and sighed heartily. "And here I was thinking you did it in spite of me, because I wouldn't sleep with you again."
"Well...if we're both being honest here, I'm not going to say I don't want to sleep with you again." He put his hand up to his chest as if to say: There. It's out on the table now; take it or leave it. "But is it really true that you don't sleep with the same guy twice?"
"Yes," she said slowly, "and I'm usually decently sober."
Inuyasha swallowed some rum and passed the bottle to her. She took it obligingly.
"Even in your relationships?" he asked.
She hesitated and knew he saw it. "I haven't been in a relationship since college. But obviously, if I were in a relationship, it would be different."
"And is that voluntary?"
"Is what voluntary?"
"You know..." He waved his hand in the air. "Your lack of relationships."
He was treading in private territory. But if she showed her discomfort, Inuyasha would undoubtedly catch on and there was no telling what he would do with that information.
"Absolutely. I get to be a free woman. No commitment, no obligations, no drama."
She took a quick swig before handing the bottle to him.
"So what would you say to the idea of two people maintaining a purely physical relationship without commitment and obligation?" he asked.
"Like having a one night stand more than one night and with the same person?"
"If that's how you want to see it, sure."
Kagome rubbed her chin and thought as hard as the alcohol would let her. "If they're shallow enough, it's quite possible. I dunno how long it would last though."
"Would that matter?"
"I suppose not."
"Would you do it then?"
Kagome looked at him and found it uncomfortable at how openly he was looking at her. The alcohol was making her hot and dizzy and feverishly giddy. She started peeling her sweater off.
"Maybe," she said, fanning herself. "Out of curiosity."
She thought about the night they slept together. Like a child sticking a toe in a pool, she acknowledged the fact that if the chance to sleep with him again rose in her favor, she would want to do it. But the more important question bugging her was if she would actually do it. She'd spent years sticking by her self-acclaimed practice of never going further than night number one. And yet, man after man, there was always a deep, lingering desire for just one more night with the same one, one more opportunity to touch that which was untouchable to her, to know that it was not just circumstance and chance; that it was solid and true.
But in the name of a fear that pointed to the reality of what seconds could mean, she would not bring herself to break her streak. That wouldn't stop her from occasionally pulling one of those nights from memory and admiring it in all its shining glory.
Or rather...sweaty glory.
She noted Inuyasha in her peripheral vision. He was unbuttoning his shirt.
"Wha- uhm, what do you think you're doing?"
Inuyasha stared at her for a minute. Then Kagome saw the white tank top beneath his shirt and the sweat at the base of his neck.
"It's hot in here, no?" he said evenly, and proceeded to roll his sleeves up to his elbows.
"Oh," she tittered and then gave him a once-over.
Sweaty skin, exposed pecks, square jaw, muscled forearms... God he was so close... It was like the first night all over again.
He looked at her so intently and direct that she felt a sudden panic rise. Had she said it out loud? Had he seen it written all over her face?
It was the alcohol. It was making the room smaller and hotter. It was a very, very bad idea, indeed.
Kagome swallowed and it felt like lumps of rocks that wouldn't go down. Her face felt flushed from the alcohol or from something else entirely.
She took off her blouse and sat in her thin tank top to let the air cool her off in more ways than one. In the corner of her eye, she saw Inuyasha looking at her.
She knew what it was like to play with fire and knew that her next actions would be just that. It was simply irresistable. Testing, she tilted her head back and breathed in deeply.
The feeling of being wild and dangerous was not new to her, but the source of the situation was.
Inuyasha moved towards her and the look in his eyes was very, very sober. He leaned into her.
Then suddenly, it just a little too dangerous. "We shouldn't," Kagome blurted before she knew what she had been planning to say.
Inuyasha was inches from her face, his arm reaching over her shoulder, when he paused. "We shouldn't what?" he asked, and if Kagome's heart wasn't thundering in her ears she would've been certain of the smirk in his voice.
Inuyasha retracted his arm, and in his hand was another rum bottle.
Kagome wanted to beat the blush from her face. But that smirk he wore...
"We shouldn't what, Kagome?" he asked again, straightening his torso.
She remained silent and continued to stare at him. Either she was a lightweight or he was a heavyweight because he seemed twice as sober as she felt, and she could swear up and down he drank as much, if not more, as she did.
Kagome sighed. "I should be going home. It's late. My mind is doing funny things."
Inuyasha teetered on the verge of objecting but then backtracked. "You sure you should be going home like that?" he asked, and gestured to the general area of her person.
She folded her arms and batted her eyelashes. "I am a responsible adult perfectly capable of making it to my apartment on my own, thanks very much."
"No, I mean tipsy and half-naked."
"I am not tip...Ok, I am not half-naked." She looked down at herself and realized her bra was peeking over her tank-top and her skirt had somehow shimmied further up her waist. "Whatever. I'll manage."
But when she stood, the whole world was suddenly a Ferris wheel and when she looked at Inuyasha...
"Oh my god, stop moving..."
Her foot landed somewhere in front of her but her other foot fell somewhere behind her and suddenly the world was tipping over.
Inuyasha caught her around the shoulders. "Yep, knew that was coming. Here, throw your arm – "
She shoved him away. "Don't be so touchy. I'm not a – "
She stumbled backwards on her heals and this time it was she who grabbed for him.
Well actually the closest thing on him, which, in a blind grope, happened to be the hem of his pants. Everything thus forward was like a predictably bad romance movie in slow motion.
She toppled onto the floor and Inuyasha followed suit, landing with a breathless oof right smack on top of her.
In the movies, the position would've probably lead to crazy, drunken office sex. However, any semblance of a sexual appetite was crushed somewhere between the floor and two-hundred-something pounds of muscle and bone that was probably going to suffocate her to death.
"Can'tbreathecan'tbreathecantbreathe..." she wheezed as his massive torso crushed her lungs. "Get...off..."
"Don't you know the word please?" He placed his forearms on the marble floor, flanking her head, as he lifted himself far enough that she could breathe, but not far enough that she could wriggle herself out from beneath him.
She glared up at him. "Don't you give me shit about the word 'please', because honey I will rip you a new one. Now remove your body from my person so I can check to see which of my limbs you've broken."
He looked down at her with his eyebrows raised to his hairline. "Excuse me, I believe you were the one who was stumbling around, valiantly claiming to be capable enough to make it to your apartment when two steps didn't even get you past my door. And no, I like this position. It's amusing to see you squirm."
That's when she bumped her knee against his groin. Hard enough to get her message across but not hard enough for him to come after her with a pitchfork for emasculating him.
Startled, he yelped and spun away from her. "That was a low blow!"
Kagome rolled onto her knees and gave him a tight smile. "What goes around, comes around."
He chuckled to himself and shook his head. "You know..." he said with a tone that stressed feigned indifference when the pending comment was anything but. He rolled onto his side and propped his hand under his head. "...This don't-wanna-have-sex-with-you thing is getting old. We should just sleep together. Get it over and done with. I can only withstand so much foreplay."
Kagome had taken off her heels and was reaching for her purse when she stopped to look at him. That's when she noticed the unusual shine to his eyeballs.
So he was a bit tipsy after all. Though, he wasn't trashed either so he was fair game. But it would undoubtedly come to bite her in the ass come morning.
Kagome gave out a low chuckle and stood, saying to him, "You better sober up by the morning. Goodnight, Mr. Taisho."
"Yeah, sure," he said and watched as she sashayed barefooted out of his office and down the hall, heals in hand, hips swaying and all.
He shook his head and wondered if she knew how desirable she was or if she was truly oblivious. The slight tent in his pants didn't care either way. Half way back to his hotel, he realized she hadn't told him no.
. . .
Kikyo Lee sat in her Audi, drumming her fingers against the steering wheel. She glanced at her watch with a quick snap of her wrist.
Leave it to that good-for-nothing man to make me wait on him.
She sighed irritably, staring blankly at the property in front of her: a five bed, four and a half bath nestled in a hillside crook with a heavy touch of Mediterranean architecture. Inuyasha didn't favor culture-influenced architecture, but she figured the near three-sixty view of sprawling lakes and rolling greenery would be enough to make him think twice. The layout of the interior drifted away from traditional Japanese layout and favored the broad, open grandeur of western culture.
Right up his alley, she thought with biting amusement.
Unlike his brother, Inuyasha's mother had been an Japanese-american woman born in the state of Illinois, and had spent a significant amount of his life in the western hemisphere, namely the States. His "westernized attitude" wasn't a popular one among the bigwigs in Japan, although no one would publicly express it. The little shitheads didn't want any of the American boys getting wind of the distaste and breaking the "trusting bond" between Japanese and American business. That never stopped Inuyasha from taking full advantage of that knowledge. His name usually ended up on most hate-lists.
Unable to sit still her car, she got out, leaned against the side of the car, and lit up a cigarette.
Inuyasha's past always seemed to put her on edge. There was little she didn't know about the Taisho's dark history. The business relationship between the Taishos and her date back to her great-grandfather, a fisherman whose biggest customer was a farmer, Korimitsu Taisho.
Korimitsu had been the beginning of the wealthy lineage, simply from the philosophy he carried: Never give nor take what is not earned. His predecessors had honored the name and philosophy well until Ken Taisho came along and drove the name into the ground, along with his business, by allowing the face of of the Taisho family to be smeared all over the tabloids with his indiscretions. It was Sesshomaru who, fresh out of college, had picked up the pieces and carried Taisho Com back to its former glory.
Inuyasha, on the other hand, had dealt with the drama in a whole different ball field. His playboy attitude couldn't fool her. But she enjoyed rubbing the salt in his wounds to see him break, just a little.
She tossed her cigarette butt to the ground as a black, shining sports car roared around the corner, nearly taking out a mailbox.
No use now, she thought irritatingly, you're already late. She ground the cigarette out with the heel of her stiletto.
The car rolled to a stop in front of her car, the tires almost grazing her toes. The tinted window rolled down and bright golden eyes peered from the darkness.
"You looked annoyed. Should I be worried?" Inuyasha grinned.
She leaned forward, placing her arm against the curve of the roof, dropping her shoulder, giving her body the feigned posture of relaxation, like a cat crouched on its stomach, muscles tight and ready to uncoil. Only the dangerous smile she flashed betrayed her intentions.
"Don't underestimate me," she answered slowly, almost gailey. "I'll make you pay."
The grin left his lips but the laughing mischief remained in his eyes. They flickered to the structure in front of him, then the grimace set in.
"Can't judge a book by its cover."
"Don't give me that bullshit."
She rolled her eyes and started walking in the direction of the front door. "Just come inside and take a look. It's not like you have more important things to do."
By the time he thought of a good insult to hurl at her, she was already inside and out of shouting range. How was she always able to do that? He sighed and unbuckled himself.
"So the torture commences," he said to no one in particular.
. . .
Kagome was frowning, staring at her rough draft in her hands.
"There's not enough personal stuff. Secrets, history, whatever," Henry was saying. "People want the juice on him, not something you can already find off Wikipedia."
That made her want to fling the paper in his face and shout: You gave the topic to me to write!
Instead, she said, "The deadline is too close for me to redo the article. That would be like asking a mechanic to disassemble an entire car and put it back together in two days."
Which was true, but she knew it could be done and that she could do it. The real reason was that she didn't want to elaborate on whatever strain or heartache Kouga might have endured to reach the point he was at now. In the wake of achievement, moments of hardship became futile and inconsequential. She wanted to honor his achievements, not a dark past.
"Schedule another meeting with him, get inside his head, his past, his childhood," Henry said. "There is no fame without a cost. Find out what it cost him. Don't come back until you've rewritten it."
Kagome went back to her desk and fought the desire to beat her head against the solid surface. She didn't want to rethink the content of the article. Period. That was what gave media conglomerates a bad reputation, produced to cater to the savage lust for human imperfection.
She flung the papers across her desk, not caring where they landed. Next to her, the phone rang.
"Kagome speaking," she sighed, not bothering to look at the ID number.
"Kagome, it's Inuyasha. I need a favor."
She glanced to the phone number. He was using his cellphone. Favors and cell phones usually meant nothing good. In her respect, at least.
"What can I help you with," she said in a tone that suggested her otherwise reluctance to help him.
"I need you to pick some documents up and give them to Taka Yoshida. He will be waiting for them in my office. I have a meeting at three o'clock in Osaka so I won't be able to do it myself."
Kagome placed her hand over the mouthpiece and proceeded to bang it against her head. Then she stopped and, for a prolonged moment, stared at her computer screen and her strewn rough draft.
Inuyasha's impatient voice filtered up from the phone.
"Ok," she said, "where at?"
She jotted down the address he gave her and hightailed it with a single-minded purpose.
Henry be damned. Her article, her work, her decision... She was the one who was going to call the shots, one way or another.