Gomen, Ling-chan, about the incident at the competition that day. Keigo can be too carried away at times. After all, he is the only son of the Atobe family.
Daijoubu, Oshitari. Guys like him don't faze me at all. Should he cross the line, I will just simply put him back in his place. Has your Mayu nee-san seen the photos you took yet?
Hai. She is very happy about it and was thinking of asking you to model for her shop. After all, a new season is coming and she needs to change the designs and layouts.
LOL! Come on, I am no professional model. Thank nee-san for me but no. Plus, I need a partner for such things right?
Ling-chan! Who says you are not professional? You should have seen the photos that Oshitari took of you during the compeititon! You are gorgeous, my dear!
Gomen ne, Mayu-nee san stole my laptop. That was her earlier.
Hahahahaha! *sets up video call*
Ling-chan will like to have a video call with you. Accept or Decline
Smiling at the screen and web cam, Ling-chan smiled at Oshitari and Mayu-san, who smiled back. "Konichiwa, Mayu nee-chan." "Konichiwa, Ling-chan! Now, what is this about not being a professional? You are one! Have you seen the photos that my little brother took? It really brought out the kimono very well!" So saying, she held up several photos for Ling-chan to see.
"That's because Oshitari-kun is good. Not because I am a professional." Ling-chan replied, after glancing at the photos. "Anyway, I didn't realize you took so many shots, Oshitari-kun" She gave a sly grin at the teenager who looked straight back at her, nothing giving away on his poker face. Seeing this, Mayu giggled. "That's right!"
"Nee-san!" Oshitari admonished. "That's rude. I am acting on your orders after all!" At this, Mayu laughed outright "Hai, but I said a few shots will do. You took over 100 of them and Ling-chan occupied more than 30 shots!" "Nee-san!" Oshitari tried again. "Hohohoho!" Mayu laughed in glee, seeing her little brother in acute embarrassment. "Oh dear, oh dear, I won't tease you anymore." She sniffed, as she wiped a tear away from the corner of her eye. Turning back to the webcam where Ling-chan was grinning at the discomfort of Oshitari, Mayu said "Come over to our house for tea this Sunday, Ling-chan. I want to thank you properly for modeling the kimono so well! Thanks to you, my orders increased drastically after the Tea Arena as girls from other schools saw how a kimono can make one look really elegant."
Continuing, Mayu gave the smiling Ling-chan an impish smile as she asked "Or is it because you were surrounded by guys from 3 different schools? I heard Keigo was there and you took his ego down a notch or two. Some of the girls who came to my shop were telling me about it!"
"They did? What did they say?" Ling-chan asked. "They were telling my shop attendants how rude you were to reject Keigo's invitation and that it must be the kimono that attracted Keigo in the first place. Hence, they want an identical kimono so as to attract Keigo's attention. Silly girls." Mayu snorted in a very ladylike manner in disdain. "As if Keigo would be attracted by those girls! In fact, he would flee in the other direction! Is that right, Yuushi?"
"You can't blame them, nee-san. After all, Keigo does have over 23 fan clubs in Japan. Other than being a fan, some of them hope to be the next Lady Atobe." Oshitari said as he leaned back in his chair. "23?! What does he do? Is he a star or something? However, despite his popularity, his diva-ish attitudes just puts me off! Mayu nee-chan, he was just plain downright rude that day!" Ling-chan complained. "That's Keigo for you. We can badmouth about him when you come over on Sunday for tea, Ling-chan. Do say yes!" Mayu said.
"Hai, arigato, Mayu nee-chan." Ling-chan agreed. "Excellent! You can model more kimonos for me on Sunday!" Mayu said, as she clapped her hands happily. At this, both Oshitari and Ling-chan sweat dropped at this. "Hohoho! Well, but I did design some kimonos with Ling-chan in mind! No one will be able to carry it off except her!" Mayu defended herself. Laughing at the glare that Oshitari sent his sister, Ling-chan chimed "Daijoubu, Oshitari. I would be pleased to model for her on Sunday. After all, who has the chance to get the best kimono designer in the whole of Japan to sketch and make so many gorgeous kimonos for her? I am honored, Mayu nee-chan, I would be there on Sunday, 1pm."
As promised, Ling-chan turned up at the Oshitari's mansion promptly at 1pm on Sunday, courtesy of Mayu and Oshitari, who sent a BMW to pick her up despite her initial protests. However, looking at the stretch of driveway from the gates to the mansion now, Ling-chan was thankful as she would be spared from walking such a distance! She then return musing with amusement on the online conversation that she had with Oshitari the night before, as he reported that Mayu was wondering which car that she should send to pick Ling-chan up – the limo, Mercedes, Jaguar or the BMW? Ling-chan was horrified at first, at the mere thought of anyone sending a luxury car just to pick her up and stated that she could get there by herself. However, her loud protests were overruled as Mayu told her that the mansion is quite far away and that it is not safe for a girl to be travelling alone and so far at that! At first, Mayu had demanded for the limo to be sent but Ling-chan threw Oshitari a pleading look which he acknowledged by suggesting that they send the BMW instead, as a limo would have difficulty handing the corners near Ling-chan's house. At this, his sister agreed unwillingly.
As the car reached the steps leading to the doors of the mansion, Ling-chan was yanked from her thoughts as she saw Mayu and Oshitari waiting, dressed formally. Looking down at her smart but casual clothes, as the car pulled to a stop, Ling-chan wondered out loud "Oh dear, perhaps I should have dressed up a tad more?" "No need for that, Ling-chan, since you would be changing your clothes anyway. Welcome to my home, Ling-chan." Oshitari said, as he opened the door for Ling-chan and extended a hand out to her, to help her out of the car. "Hai hai! Welcome, Ling-chan! Come come, let's go get you changed. The party is going to start in an hour! Shoo, Yushi, leave us girls alone. I will return with your gorgeous date in an hour's time." Mayu said, as she grabbed hold of Ling-chan, pulling her in one direction in the mansion.
"Eh? Matte, Mayu nee-chan! What party?" Ling-chan asked, in shock, as she looked over at Oshitari who, unlike himself for once, was grinning away at her. "Oshitari, you traitor! How come you never gave me warning for this?! Chottomatte, nee-chaaaaaaaaaaan!" Ling-chan yelped as she was pulled into a room with maids and designers waiting for the pair of them. As they dressed Ling-chan in record time, Mayu explained to her that there is a sakura party in an hour's time and that the Oshitaris are the hosts. Family, business partners and close friends would be invited to the mansion and both Mayu and Oshitari decided to invite Ling-chan along for it. However, both of them did not mention about the nature of the party as they knew that Ling-chan would refuse should she know about it. Hence, Mayu came up with the scheme of inviting Ling-chan to tea, while getting her to model the kimonos that she designed for her, which was true as yards and yards of fabulous clothes were draped around Ling-chan, creating a modern yet gorgeous kimono. Once done, the beauticians and hair stylists stepped in as they worked their magic with makeup and scissors. With barely a minute more to spare, the whole work force finished their work in an hour as Mayu exclaimed over Ling-chan, who was pretty resigned at this point to the whole idea of a Sakura party.
"Some friend you are, Oshitari! To leave me to Mayu nee-chan like that earlier! I didn't know she would set things up this way!" Ling-chan hissed at Oshitari later, as he escorted her around, introducing her to his family and friends as his overseas friend and the one who won the Tea Arena recently. She added an elbow to his stomach discretely as Oshitari grunted in response.
"Gomen ne, Ling-chan…" Oshitari replied after recovering from the painful jab that Ling-chan gave him. "But if I didn't set things up this way, you would refuse to come right?" "Humph! You could have given warning at least!" Ling-chan huffed.
"Oh dear, a beauty is displeased with Oshitari? Come to my arms, dear one, as ore-sama would make a better escort than Oshitari!" a new but familiar voice rose from Ling-chan's back. Stiffening in response, Ling chan turned around and faced Atobe as he smirked down at her. Looking straight into his eyes, Ling chan retorted "Better escort than Oshitari-kun? I can see that your manners have not improved, Atobe-san. Or should I address you as Monkey-King, as Ryoma told me to? If so, how can a monkey king be a better escort than Oshitari-kun, who is a gentleman to his bones?"
At this saucy retort, Atobe stopped short and looked down at Ling chan who looked back at him in the eye. Highly amused and interested by this girl who dares to challenge him and speak to him face to face without breaking into simpering fits or giggles, Atobe raised an eyebrow in challenge as he replied "But my dear, you must not take into account what a brat says, would you? A lady like you should never get her ears sullied by the crude words of a brat; abet a good tennis playing brat. In addition, you should trust me, Atobe Keigo, the ultimate gentleman amongst gentlemen. At your service, Ling-chan."
"Ah, so you do have some manners at least, Atobe-san. In that case, I shall not address you as Monkey King, the title which you so richly deserve. As for the brat that you just mentioned, mind you, he is still your kohai. It does not make a good impression on others that you speak ill of your junior this way, Atobe-san. After all, I am of the same age as this brat that you mentioned. Does that makes me a brat by association too, Atobe-san?" Ling-chan replied, a faint smile tugging at the corner of her lips as she saw how the Atobe heir tried to regain his composure and digest this piece of news at the same time. Oshitari, who was at her side, hid his smirk in Ling-chan's hair as he turned away from his friend to whisper into Ling-chan's ear "Bravo, Ling-chan. It's not every day that one can take down Keigo. From a girl, no less!"
Turning back to his friend who is still at a loss for words, Oshitari cut in smoothly "Excuse us, Keigo, I see that my mother is signaling for me and Ling-chan. There are many guests here today who wish to know Ling-chan as she modeled the kimonos that nee-san designed so beautifully. The most beautiful hana amongst the sakuras, won't you say? Sumimasen." With that, he led Ling-chan away, in the direction of his mother. Just as she bypassed Atobe, Ling-chan said sympathetically "Ja ne, Atobe-san".
**NEXT DAY, AFTER THE FINAL BELL AT SCHOOL**
"Yosh! We are done at last!" Ling-chan said, as she stretched her arms above her head. Turning to Tezuka who was packing his things away, she continued "Let's go for lunch at the canteen before we meet up with the rest of the team for -" Her words were cut off and lost amongst the screams that rose suddenly from the corridor. Without a second word for Tezuka, Ling-chan sprinted for the door, so to see what the commotion was about and if any need assistance. Tezuka followed her closely. Both of them stopped at the frame of the door as they saw who was the cause of the ruckus.
"Kaya! It's Atobe-sama! What is he doing here?" A girl from F class shrieked.
"He's walking towards the top few classes! Could he be looking for Tezuka-sama?" Her friend asked excitedly, clutching her friend's arm tightly. "Moe!" Both of them yelped. The boys around this pair of girls sweat dropped in anime fashion.
"Don't be silly, Atobe-sama is here to see me." Ayame said, as she walked towards Atobe, smiling at the heir all the way. "Is that not so, Atobe-sama? The most popular and hottest cheerleader of Seishun – Ayame-chan, at your service." Placing a fingertip against Atobe's chest, she leaned close and took a deep breath as she closed her eyes. The next thing she knew, she nearly fell straight to the ground as Atobe brushed her off as he would brush lint of dirt off his school's jacket. "Fortunately, ore-sama is not looking for you and will never look for you. Ore-sama is looking for someone with more class and elegance as compared to you." Atobe gave his trademark smirk as he walked on, causing more fan-girls screams in his wake. Coming to a stop in front of Class 3A's door, he replaced his smirk with a smile as he looked down at Ling-chan and exchanged a nod with Tezuka who stood behind Ling-chan.
"Konichiwa, Ling-chan. Ore-sama is here to escort you to lunch at one of the high class dining places in the whole of Tokyo today." Atobe smiled, as he extended a hand towards the girl, who rolled her eyes at him. In the background, gasps of shock and surprise rose in volume, with a clear shriek of outrage from Ayame. "When did I agree to a lunch invitation, Atobe-san?" Ling-chan asked, as she crossed her arms and tilted her head to one side. "I have plans already for the afternoon."
"Ah, but ore-sama is treating you to lunch as apology for my poor manners yesterday at the sakura party. You cannot turn down a meal of apology, can you, hime? This will give ore-sama a chance to know you better and thus, show you that ore-sama have the best manners." Cue more shrieks from the fan girls.
"No. I am not going with you for lunch and yes, I can turn down a meal of apology since you did not inform me in the first place." Ling-chan stated bluntly as Atobe looked fairly scandalized at her answer. His fan girls continued to whisper "How dare her, to turn down Atobe-sama's invitation! I would kill to be in her shoes!" Ling-chan continues to ignore the feverish whispers that rolled over the trio of them as she explained her reason for her refusal. "I promised a group of friends before the sakura party that I will be studying with them today for their upcoming tests and will be helping with the first and second years with their studies too. I cannot go with you for lunch, Atobe-san. Gomen."
"Then let ore-sama come along with you. You will definitely have breaks in between the study slots. We can go for coffee then. Ore-sama knew that your favourite drink is coffee." Atobe said, pleased with himself at the idea. Hearing this, Ling-chan swore softly under her breath at Oshitari, as she guessed that it must be he who spilled her drink's preferences to the heir.
"Chee, so monkey king is here to steal Ling-chan sempai away?" Ryoma spoke up as he popped up next to Ling-chan, who smiled at him. "Are you sure, monkey king? She will be guarded by the whole of the tennis team, who will be studying with her. You won't get your chance in stealing her away from us, especially with bochou and Fuji-sempai around. Go back and eat your bananas. Heh."
"Oh? Let's see about that, brat. I will show you how ore-sama secures a date with Ling-chan before the end of today! Watch and learn, little boy!" Atobe tossed the challenge straight at Ryoma, who lifted his chin at the diva in return. Caught between the both of them, Ling-chan groaned.
Atobe has made his declaration! How will things turn out between the whole of Seishun tennis team and the diva? Will he succeed in getting his way with Ling-chan? Do tell me your views!
Review please! =D Till the next time.