Authors note: So it turns out I wrapped up this story up in this final chapter! Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE REVIEW and go check out my new story if you like my writing.
Ch.18 Mr. Announcer
My mother laughs lightly, "Wow, I wasn't expecting that."
I sigh, "I'm sorry."
She caresses my cheek, "That is nothing to be sorry about Kunimitsu. Love is still love, be it straight or gay and you are still my son no matter what your sexuality is."
"Thank you mother."
"But I'm concerned, why did you say you were lovers? You aren't any longer?"
"…we had a big argument and he broke up with me."
"What was the argument about?"
"He wanted me to announce our relationship in an attempt to stop them from signing the contract tomorrow. But I told him I couldn't do it."
"And that made him think you don't love him enough to keep him from being snatched away."
I run my hand through my hair, "Yeah."
"And is he right?"
"No. I really do love him; I was just worried about telling you and father. I thought you two have been through enough after grandfather's death."
My mother gently holds my hand, "Kunimitsu, we are stronger than that. You should never put us before your own happiness."
"…I wonder how father is going to take it."
My mother sighs, "It'll take him some time to accept it but he will eventually."
I nod, "Well if you tell father tonight, everything will be set."
"Are you announcing your relationship tomorrow?"
I sigh, "Yes, I hope it all goes well."
She laughs, "You look like you are awaiting death."
"I'm worried about Ryoma's mother's reaction. I feel like Ryoma's father will be fine with our relationship but his mother won't."
She stands up, "It'll all work out, you'll see."
"What will work out?" My father's voice makes my mother jump a bit. He walks over to her and puts his arm around her waist.
My mother shakes her head, "Nothing." She grabs his hand and leads him towards his study, "I need to talk to you, Kuniharu."
I hear the door to my father's study close. I stand up, slowly making my way out of the living room and towards the garden. As I pass my father's study I hear my father's raised voice, he must know by now. I quicken my pace, sliding though the beautifully engraved door and taking in a big breath of the pristine night air. The garden is like herbal medicine; it calms and heals me, even if it's only for a short while. I walk along the worn out path; the last time I was here Ryoma and I were still going out. His warm hand was intertwined with mine and there were bright golden sparks in his eyes. Recently I haven't been able to steal a glance at his eyes; he's extremely good at avoiding me. But I know that the eyes that were so full of life before are now dull and tinted with sadness; all because of me.
I pull a chrysanthemum out of the flowerbed and walk towards the stone bench. I lay on it like I used to when I was a kid, the coldness of the surface seeping through the back of my shirt. I stare up at the night sky while twirling the chrysanthemum in my hand.
I sigh, "…grandfather, give me strength and luck."
I am not particularly religious but I do believe grandfather is in heaven looking down at us. He has always been, in a way, a source of strength for me and even after death I believe he can help me face tomorrow.
"Kunimitsu, dinner is ready!"
My mother's voice echoes though the garden. I take a deep breath to clear my head and gather my courage; I have to compose myself to face my father. I leave the chrysanthemum on the stone bench; the moonlight makes the petals look like shimmering pearls. I walk to the dining room and take my seat, across my father.
My mother pours me cold green tea, "Where were you? I checked your room and you weren't there."
"I was in the garden."
"Why?" My father takes a sip of his drink.
I look straight at him; my father dislikes it when someone looks away while talking to him, "No particular reason."
"It's a beautiful night isn't it?"
I nod, "Yes, it is."
We all say "itadakimasu" and eat our dinner in silence. The tension is palpable and my mother occasionally clears her throat to break the silence. After we finish eating, I help my mother bring the plates to the kitchen. She pushes me out, mumbling something about my father under her breath. I take the hint and look for my father. I see his study light on so I gently knock and wait for an "enter". As I walk in he puts down Kokoro, his favorite book written by Soseki.
He clears his throat and takes off his glasses to pinch the bridge of his nose, "Sit down."
I sit down and look up at him, I'll probably look just like him when I'm older, "…"
"Your mother told me about your relationship with Echizen-kun."
"I asked her to."
He puts on his glasses, "I would have rather heard it from you."
"I thought that you would take it better if you heard it from mother."
He nods, "Well that's true."
"I'm sorry father."
My father sighs, "Kunimitsu don't apologize. Sure this is difficult for me but it's even more difficult for you."
"Look, you are my son and I'll always be proud of you. It'll take some time for me to adjust but I will eventually."
I run my hand through my hair, "Thank you."
My father walks to my side and pats my back, "Good luck tomorrow, your mother and I will be there to support you."
"I'll need it."
Fuji smirks sinisterly, "Are you nervous?"
"I can't wait to see your announcement."
"Why did Ryoma invite you? I don't need your laughter while my life is in danger."
Fuji rolls his eyes, "Trust me, Ryoma's mother is intimidating but she won't kill you."
"Somehow, I'm not so sure about that."
"Well, just as long as Ryoma intervenes you'll be fine. She won't do anything that will make her little boy hate her."
I sigh, "That's if Ryoma intervenes."
"He still loves you Tezuka, so stop worrying."
"Yeah, well I need to go home to change."
Fuji and I split ways at the school gate and I walk to the train station.
The hall in which the ceremony is in is only a twenty minute drive away from my house. It's inside a tall glass building I never thought I'd get the chance to enter. An attendant guides us to the fifth floor, room B. The first thing I notice about the hall is that it's excessively big for a ceremony with only eleven people. My family and I are the last guests to arrive. I spot Fuji and Saeki by the food table and Ayumi and her parents taking to Ryoma and his parents.
My family and I walk to the two families and greet them. As expected, Ryoma stares at the marble floor the whole time. After greeting the families, I leave my parents talking to Ryoma's parents and slip towards the drink table. I decide to stay away from food since my stomach is churning enough as it is. I ask the waiter for sparking water which I receive in a champagne glass. I slowly sip it as I try to figure out how I'm going to make my announcement.
"You sure are thinking hard."
I look to my left and see the golden brown eyes I've missed. Although they are still dull, the tint of sadness is gentle and almost hidden. "Yeah, I am."
He smiles, "I'm sorry for my outburst yesterday, it was childish of me."
"No, I deserved it."
He sighs, "I need you to pick one of the options, please. Whichever you prefer but I need you to tell me now."
"It's because you don't want to sign the contract with false hopes, isn't it?"
His smile stiffens, "…exactly."
I gently pet his head, "Well you don't have to worry about false hopes." I give the waiter the glass and look into Ryoma's eyes, "And I don't pick either of those options."
I leave the confused Ryoma by himself and walk to the seat with my name plate on it. The seats were all facing a small podium and the table in which the contract was placed. They were clustered by families and other, Fuji and Saeki. After everyone settles down, Rinko walks to the podium. She was styling a beautiful kimono, as she supposedly does every day while in japan. This one was a mixture of red and gold with koi patterns.
She smiles, "Thank you everyone for coming to this small ceremony. I hope you enjoyed the food, drinks and small talk. But on to the purpose of this ceremony, we are here today to sign a contract between my family and the Suzuki family which promises that when Ryoma and Ayumi are old enough, they will get married."
She signals for the Suzuki family to come up to the table on which the contact is placed. We will now start the signing of the contact and then we can go back to enjoying ourselves." She steps down and joins the rest of her family and Ayumi's family by the table. First the Suzuki family signs; the father starts and Ayumi signs last. I can feel my palms sweat and my heartbeat quicken. If I didn't act now it would be too late.
I clear my throat and stand up, "Excuse me, I have something to say."
Fuji snickers, my mother gives me a gentle smile, Ryoma looks at me in curiosity, and the rest of the reactions I couldn't catch because the nerves seem to be making my vision fail.
Rinko glares at me, "Tezuka-kun, I thought that your parents taught you better."
Nanjiro winks at me and sports a wide smile, "Just let him talk, honey."
I clear my throat again, "This is difficult to talk about so I'll just get to the point. Ryoma can't ever get married to Ayumi because we are going out."
The only people's faces that dropped were Rinko's and Ayumi's parents. It seems that everyone else knows about our relationship. I wonder when Nanjiro found out.
Rinko rushes towards me, "Are you claiming my son is gay? You uneducated child, how dare you lie like that!"
My mother stands in front of me, "Do not call my son uneducated or a liar!"
My father holds my mother's arm, "Honey…"
Nanjiro laughs and walks towards his fuming wife, "Let's all calm down. Ryoma, why don't you speak?"
Ryoma walks to my side and slips his hand in mine. I gently squeeze his hand; it's been so long since I've touched him. His brown eyes are full of life and their golden sparks are directed at Rinko, "It's true, mother. I love Kunimitsu and I'm not signing that contract."
Ryoma puts his hand behind my head and our lips meet for a brief yet sweet moment that sends tingling bolts through my body. He breaks the kiss and gives everyone a big smile, "We'll see you all later." He winks at Ayumi, "I'll give you the pleasure of ripping up the contract."
Ryoma pulls my hand and we run out of the room. We continue running a few blocks, for no real reason but the adrenaline rush, and stop by a park gate when we can no longer breathe. He smirks and backs me up against the gate. His lips ghost over mine and I close the distance, wrapping my arms around his waist. I slip my tongue into his mouth and we start the battle for dominance that I've been yearning for. We break the kiss after running out of air and continue walking hand in hand, ignoring people's strange looks.
Ryoma laughs, "We are so cheesy; running away from everything and walking into the sunset."
"This is all your idea."
"Says Mr. Worst announcer in the world."
I smirk, "Yeah, I'm sure I could have executed that more gracefully."
"…but thank you."
"I couldn't let you be snatched away, now could I?"
"I'll be in your care; after all I'm sure my mother will disinherit me."
"I doubt that."
"You have a lot of work cut out for you. You're the only reason I can never be forced into an arranged marriage by my mother."
"So all I have to do is be your lover until she leaves you alone?"
Ryoma nods, his eyes glistening in the setting sun, "Pretty much."
I bring him closer and give him a gentle kiss on the forehead, "My pleasure."