A Lovely Mess
Chapter 1: The Perfect Family
So, because I'm suffering from a little writer's block in my other story, I decided to just post this since its a shorter fic and almost done. I'm just giving you a preview, but the next chapter won't be updated until like next month when I actually start this project up. Well, here goes nothing! I hope you enjoy this!
"So I'm telling you, he's a decent guy. Perfectly harmless," my friend, Diana was explaining to me. She was setting me up with another one of her husband's friends. This was totally not how I wanted to spend my Friday evening. I've been on enough dates with Charlie's obnoxious, irritating friends. I sat on a nice leather couch in the living room of Diana and Charlie's two-story house. I took another sip of my wine and set in on the coffee table just near my feet. "I promise you he is far better than all the other guys Charlie recommended. He was just unavailable for a time because he was conducting some program in the Philippines…he's some type of painter or artist…" Diana was biting on her lip as she tried to recall any more information she could muster about this man.
"Have you even met him? Last time you set me up with some guy you hadn't even met and do you know what he did for a living? He ran a phone sex company, Diana! A phone sex company!" I sigh and brush a strand of my gold hair behind my ear.
"Yeah…Charlie does have interesting friends…but, Izumi, think about it; a painter. He is so nice, but my husband and I…well, as soon as we met him we thought of you! He's been Charlie's friend for years! I don't know what it is, but something about him…something about him seems so right for you! Please, this is the last one," Diana grabs my hands and stares into my eyes earnestly with a wide smile sprawled across her lips.
I glance at the floor and begin to laugh at her excitement. Diana's always wanted me to find someone I'd be happy with. She found Charlie when we went to Law School together. They married three years ago, two years after we graduated. Anyone who knows them can honestly say that their marriage is a success. They are so madly in love with each other. Now, Diana will not stop bugging me to get married before she grows old and dies, so I still have a while. She's my cousin, but has also been my best friend since high school, and I know that her annoying pleas are only because she cares. I look back up to meet my friend's eager gaze and respond, "Fine, but this is the last one! If he is some kind of perv, I will come back to your house and possibly kill you."
Suddenly there is the start of crying from upstairs; a baby's cry. Diana sighs and stands up to take both our glasses to the kitchen and then heads to the stairs. "Luke has been whining all day," she groans as she climbs up to her child's room and I follow. I walk in to the light blue, painted room with a white crib against the wall in the back next to a window. The hardwood floor gave everything a nice glow. Stuffed animals lined the shelves on the walls and toys, diapers, and little wipes were kept in a nearby table. Diana picks up her small baby with clear green eyes and soft, brown hair. "Look, Luke, your godmother came for a little visit. Say 'hi'," she laughs as she picks up one of his small arms and waves it in my direction.
I smile and watch as she rests Luke on her shoulder and pats his back as his whines begin to settle. "I can't believe he's already a year old," I smile and wave back as those big eyes land on me. True, he was already growing. Luke wasn't exactly that small, puny baby anymore, but still a baby he was.
Diana lifts him off his shoulder and gives him a big kiss on the cheek. She cradles him in her arms and says, "He has your gorgeous green eyes…" My cousin smiles down at him then at me, "You are so beautiful, and you will have fun tonight. Trust me, Izumi."
I smile back smally, but then we hear the front door open downstairs. "Charlie's home," I state and the three of us travel back down the stairs to see the black-haired man set his keys on a nearby table next to a pot of flowers and unloosen his tie. Diana goes up to her husband and kisses him on the cheek…they looked like such a family…I always liked the fact that Diana's hair matched Charlie's. It made them look like the ideal couple. Luke's hair was coming in a lighter color than his parents, but it was still pretty dark brown.
"Oh, hey, Izumi!" Charlie greeted, "Excited for tonight! Takuya is such a great guy, you guys are going to work so well together."
"Oh," I say caught off guard by his excitement, "I bet!" I give out a small fake laugh.
"She says if this one doesn't work, then we have to stop," Diana smiles and hands her son to his father.
"Oh, so you heard about Jim being the manager of a-,"
"Yes," I cut Charlie off not wishing to discuss it, "that was a bit uncalled for." Suddenly, my phone vibrates in my purse and I take it out to glance at the screen. "Well, that's David, he needs me at the office in ten," I say not really wanting to leave.
"I can't believe you still work for your dumb ex-boyfriend," Diana scoffs, "that jerk needs to dig a hole and throw himself in it. Men like him, the kind who cheat, make the world a nasty place."
"What goes around, comes around, honey, no need to dig any graves," Charlie smiles, "he will never know true love and family."
"Yea, well, I'm gonna go," I motion to the front door and begin to leave this slightly awkward situation, "I'll call you tomorrow and tell you both how it went with, um, what's-his-name."
"Takuya," Diana answers.
"Yea, whatever," I laugh as I leave through the wooden door. I travel over to my black Range Rover and climb in. Quickly, I start the engine and blast the air conditioning to cool the interior down. Its mid-summer in North Carolina and pretty hot. I'm not complaining, though. This has been one of the only sunny days this week. Its been raining like crazy this entire month. Tomorrow the rains are supposed to be crawling in again, but for today I couldn't have asked for better weather for a date. Though I wasn't too optimistic about tonight, I was still excited. It's been only a couple of month since David cheated on me and I'm still trying to repair the damage that had been done. I didn't want to think about it. I shook my head free of all thoughts concerning him and drove downtown to my work building. It kinda sucked that David was the boss at my law firm though…but it was the only law firm in this small, puny town!
I pulled into the parking garage, found my spot, and took the elevator up to the fouth floor of the building, which was like the last floor. The door rings open and I walk down a long hallway until I see a sign for "Solomon Trip Law Group". I enter the glass doors and behind the counter is another one of my good friends Kristen pointing out something to the office secretary. "No, the files were supposed to go to Trip, not Kouichi. All Kouichi will do with them is lose them!" my brunette friend sighed, but perked up when she saw me walking into the office, "Thank God! You took your sweet time! Your clients will be here any minute."
"Sorry, traffic." I mutter and walk past her and down another hall to get to my office. She follows.
"Sure." Kristen smirks and takes a seat across from my desk, where I place my Marc Jacobs purse and a binder full of papers about an upcoming trial. "So how's you precious little godchild, Luke? Diana's been on maternal leave for a while now, but I'm sure she still has her hands full."
"Yeah, she's pretty busy," I exhale with relief as I take a seat at my desk. The leather feel nice and cool against my skin, "but she doesn't do it alone. Charlie's there every step of the way."
Kristen glances about my plain office. There's nothing in here except for a plant on one side of the room, a couch on the other, and two chairs in front of my desk and she is sitting in one of them. "So do you want to do something to night? Kouichi is currently being nailed with work, so he won't have time to take me anywhere and I'm going to be devastatingly bored."
"Actually…" I bite my lip somewhat uncertainly, "I have…a date…"
"Please tell me it's not Mr. Phone Sex again," Kristen laughed and crossed her legs.
"No-no! Of course not!" I gasp, but composed myself and quickly respond, "I don't really know him…Diana and Charlie set me up again, but I told them this was the last time. His name is…um…I forget, but I know he's some sort of painter."
"Ooo, a painter," her soft, brown eye glimmer with interest, "he sounds cute already. I'll come by your apartment to help you decide what to wear, get you ready, and blah blah blah. I have nothing else to do anyway. I don't understand why Diana keeps setting you up with all these guys, though."
I sigh and respond, "I think she's worried about me. Diana still thinks I'm still not fully recovered from my last serious relationship…She's just trying to help and I wouldn't be a good friend if I didn't at least let her try…" Diana does know me better than anyone and she knows I'm still hurting over David, but I left this part out of the conversation.
Just then, my boss himself walks into my office and Kristen immediately stands up and pretends to be talking about something work related. "Hey, Izumi do you have my paper work," David asks. His cool blue eyes seemed somewhat distant as if he were preoccupied, "Kristen, did your files ever make it to Trip?"
Kristen merely shrugged and sighed, "Ask Kouichi if he hasn't lost them…" She begins to walk out of the room, but stops to say, "So I'll be at your house at six, Izumi, to get you all ready."
"Ready for what?" David asks, but she's already gone. "Ready for what?" he repeats.
"Oh, this thing…" I say distantly as I gather up some files and hand him the large stack I assembled, "This should be most of the Stone vs. Stone case. Trip should have the rest if in fact they made it to him. Anyway, are my clients here?"
"Did you do all this research yourself?" David asks, ignoring my question, as he peers through some of the data. I nod and he looks impressed, "Nice! This is our biggest case of the year. We need all the help we can get. You know, I might let you be on our defense team, if that would interest you at all."
My eye go wide and I gasp with surprise, "That would be-that would be great!" Being on David's defense team is a pretty big deal. This trial is indeed our biggest. So big it's going on TV.
"Alright…" David smiled, he was so handsome when he did, and glanced at the floor. "I'll talk to Trip and see if I can get you on the team…So what are you getting ready for?"
I smile smally, but turn to face my computer, "That is really not your concern, David, so…I'll talk to you later. Thanks again."
"Izumi, your clients are here," Kristen comes in the office again to inform me, "and David, Trip needs to talk to you,"
"Uh," David mutters, glances at me, then back at Kristen, and leaves.
When he does, my friend gives me a suspicious look and mutters, "I don't like the way he still looks at you…Very creepy…"
I laugh and shake my head, "Please, just let it go…I have."
"Yea, okay, besides, this date you're going on is going to be ten times better then that David Solomon jerk!" she giggled.
"Shhhh!" I whisper harshly, "Someone will hear you!"
"Whatever, I gotta go see if Kouichi ever came up with those stupid files," and in a huff she leaves and my clients come in.
I scrambled around my one bedroom apartment searching for that sleeveless, black dress of mine. Damn. I could have sworn it was on my bed. While I continued my search in a frenzy, the doorbell interrupted me for a moment. Opening my flimsy wooden door, I see Kristen walk in with my black dress, wrapped in plastic, in her arm. "It was dirty," she said and shoved the thing into my hands, "so I took the liberty in getting it clean."
"How? When?" I ask quite impressed as to how she even got a hold of it.
"Never mind that, just put it on!" she smiled and waved me off to the bedroom. Once I did as told, I stumbled through my cluttered floor to make my way over to the mirror where I can admire the soft fabric on my evenly pale skin. My blonde wave locks cascaded down my shoulders and stop midway on my chest. Now for the make-up…I scrambled to my tiny, white-tiled bathroom and make a grab for my cosmetic bag. I decided to go with a light blue eye shadow, black mascara and eyeliner, and a soft pink lip-gloss. It was pretty casual. Next all I needed to find were my black shoes.
"Kristen, have you seen my shoes?" I call to her from my room.
"No," her voice answered from the living room over the TV, "you should really get this apartment of yours cleaned. You are usually the tidy one, but this is just weird."
"I haven't had time," I groan and begin digging through the massive mess on my floor. "Ah," I smile with accomplishment as I locate the small Chanel heels, which I got at a killer sale, "found them!" I quickly put them on my feet and glance at the clock. It's already seven! He'll be here any minute! I rush into the kitchen to grab my purse off the counter and meet Kristen in the living room. All she's doing is kicking back, relaxing in front of the TV, which was playing America's Next Top Model, eating popcorn, and stroking my new, black kitten Bubbles. "Thanks for helping me get ready," I arch an eyebrow and watch as she continues to dismiss me.
"Yeah, anytime. I think I'll stay and take care of your kitty." Kristen picks up the small creature and cradles the spoiled thing in her arms; "This is probably the most adorable thing I've seen. Yes you are! Yes you are!" She tickles the kitten's stomach and it gives back a little purr.
I roll my eyes, but jump as I hear the doorbell ring once again. "It's him!" I start to freak out, but quickly try and compose myself. When I open the door, I see my younger friend and neighbor Tommy…urgh…"Tommy? What are you doing here?" I asked a little more harshly than intended.
He blushed and looked down guiltily, making me feel bad for snapping at him already, "You told me I could come and visit Bubbles…"
I sigh and let him in. His face lights up tenfold and jumps on the couch next to Kristen. "You know Kristen and you obviously know Bubbles," I point out.
"Hi, Tommy!" Kristen greets cheerfully and gently gives the kitty to the brunette young man with clear blue eyes and a cute smile. I consider that kid to be a brother to me.
"Hey!" he smiles and starts to play with Bubbles.
The doorbell then rings again. "Okay! Act somewhat normal you two! This is definitely him," I whisper and begin to straighten myself up again.
"Is this another date Diana set you up with again?" Tommy asks somewhat dismissive, for his attention was more on Bubbles than on me.
"Yep," Kristen answers for me also preoccupied with popcorn and Tyra Banks.
I hesitate slightly before opening the door, but finally drew up the nerve. When I do, a man, probably a year older than me, with tousled, auburn hair, olive tone skin, and bright hazel eyes is standing before me wearing nice pants and a white Ralph Lauren polo. I hear something drop in the back round and realize its Kristen losing her grip on the bowl of popcorn in utter surprise. "Damn…" I hear her mutter. My thoughts exactly. He was most definitely the cutest guy Diana's set me up with.
The young man is also gazing at me somewhat intently as well, which causes my cheeks to flush slightly. "Izumi Orimoto?" he asks in a deep voice and when I nod, he responds, "Takuya Kanbara."
The two of us travel down and out of my apartment complex and he leads me to a forest green Jeep Wrangler. We climb in; he starts the engine, and begins to head downtown. The ride begins awkwardly silent and I desperately wish for the skills to begin a decent conversation. "So…" great way to begin..."You're really good friends with Charlie?"
Takuya nods casually, "Yep, the two of us have none each other since high school."
"Same with Diana and I," I respond.
Another awkward silence…this was already a catastrophe. I might as well stayed home and play with Bubbles.
"I hear you were in the Philippines," I begin again, "for what exactly?"
"Some art internship. I've been away from the states a couple of months. First I went to Italy, then France, and finally ended up in the Philippines. They are really something beautiful," he explains with a detached tone.
We arrive at a Greek restaurant called Papa's, and are immediately seated. Yea…I'm bored…I can see he is too, for it's in his expression. Now that I'm studying him a bit more closely, I can also see that he seems a bit arrogant. All of my suspicions are confirmed when shockingly says curtly, "Look, Charlie set me up to this and I'm assuming Diana set you up, but honestly, I think this is stupid. Blind dates have always been just as boring as hell."
I gasp by his awful bluntness, "Well at least I've been trying to make some sort of conversation. You're the one staying as silent as a mime! It's not stupid if you at least try." I take a much-needed sip on my red wine and lean back in my chair.
Takuya smirks and begins again, "You seem like a really nice girl, and you're also pretty hot-not gonna lie-and since I'm hot too, we would make a really good-looking couple, but I'm just not ready for a relationship right now."
I stare at this man completely appalled. I shake my head in disbelief, "You are unbelievable. Why did you accept Charlie's offer in the first place? It could have saved a lot of my time instead of coming to this stupid date."
Again Takuya smirks, "I hadn't seen my buddy in a while and it was the first thing he asked of me. I didn't want to say 'no'. And how is meeting a really handsome guy a waste of time? What were you gonna do anyway? Play with you little kitten?" He laughs and I find the sound infuriating.
"You are so full of it," I sneer, "as far as I'm concerned, I don't think you're that cute. Now, if you excuse me, I think I'll grab a cab and stop wasting my time." I stand up to leave, but Takuya also stands with a completely amused look on his face.
"Whatever," he shrugs, "nice to meet you, Izumi, keep in touch."
"Yeah, right," I scoff and stomp out of Papa's. Well, that was the most awful date I had ever been on. I really need to kill Diana and Charlie. How on earth did they think of me when seeing this guy! This was ridiculous. Calling a cab, I finally made it back to my apartment. Tommy and Kristen are still watching TV and playing with the kitty when I enter. They seem surprised to see me come in so early.
My angry countenance has Kristen arch an eyebrow, "That bad, huh? I knew he was too cute to be true."
"Oh, please, he wasn't even that good-looking," I huff and sit on the sofa with them and cradle Bubbles in my arms. "At least you won't upset me," I say to my kitten, but the creature leaps out of my arms and makes a run for it. "Unbelievable," I mutter and Tommy and Kristen just laugh. Suddenly, there is the crackle of thunder sounding in the night.
"Well, at least we got one nice day of sunshine," Tommy sighed and glanced out my window to see the rain starting to lightly hit the window pane, "tomorrow is supposed to be a really bad weather day; worst of the month."
"Good thing I don't have to work tomorrow," I replied while taking off my shoes, "I can just chill out here, like I do practically every weekend."
"True that," Kristen agreed with a smile before stuffing her face with more popcorn.
Yea, Takuya's a jerk. Anyway, rest of the story is coming Next Month. Stay tuned.