Disclaimer: I do not own Mai HiME in any way, shape, or form.
This took me about three weeks to complete. The idea first came to me while I was listening to Taylor Swift's "Love Story". And then as I developed it more and more, I liked the Romeo and Juliet theme, so I added that bit in. ^-^;
I submitted this as my entry to the Mai Multiverse Valentine's Contest. If it was up for public voting, I would so ask you guys to vote for me, but as it is only up for the judges, your only job here would to be to enjoy! XD
I'll Be Your Romeo
"She speaks! Oh, speak again, bright angel! For though - throw - gahh! Why do they speak so damn weird?" a charcoal-haired girl yelled in annoyance. She removed her glasses and rubbed her temples before calming down. Then, she looked around the park and noticed that she attracted a lot of attention. Sheepishly, she smiled and apologized for causing a fuss before turning back to the script in her hand. "Okay, let's try this again. For th-thou art as glorious to this night, being o-wer? O-her? Argh! This is stupid."
An angelic giggle interrupted the frustrated girl from her grumbling. "It's pronounced 'o-er'. What are you reading Shakespeare for?"
Chocolate-colored eyes stayed transfixed on the beauty standing before her. Brown hair, blue eyes, and the most gentle smile she has ever seen greeted her. Seconds passed by before she was able to register the question that was asked, causing her to reply with the first thing that entered her mind.
"Whoa! You're beautiful!" she blurted. Then she realized what escaped her lips and added, "I mean, my group has to act out Act two of this stupid play. I get to be the all-romantic Romeo."
"I see. How about this? If you can manage to finish your line, I'll play Juliet's part to help you practice, if you like," she smiled, making her look like heaven itself.
"Deal. My name is Chie, by the way. Chie Harada," the charcoal-haired girl said as she extended her hand.
"Aoi Senoh. Pleased to meet you, Harada-san," the girl with blue eyes replied, grasping her hand. "Now, about that line..."
"Right, right," Chie replied before clearing her throat. "She speaks! Oh, speak again, bright angel! For th-thou art as glorious to this night, being o-o'er my head as is a winged messenger of heaven un...unto the white-upturned wondering eyes of mortals that fall back to gaze on him when he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds and sails upon the bosom of the air."
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"O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I'll no longer be a Capulet."
Jumping down from the tree she was resting on, Chie appeared before her blue-eyed friend with a grin. "Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?"
"Harada-kun, how are you?" Aoi smiled.
"Aoi, I get that you were brought up a certain way, so I've let this slip for years. But seriously, you've known me for so long, you should call me Chie, you know. Stop being so formal, it gives me goosebumps," Chie replied, faking a shiver much to Aoi's amusement.
"Just Chie. I mean, I just call you Aoi, right?"
"Chie... it feels so weird," the blue-eyed girl giggled. "But it rolls off the tongue quite smoothly."
"But of course," Chie winked. "I am a smooth person, after all."
"Of course you are... dear Romeo," the brunette replied with playful sarcasm. "Let's get going then."
"Oh? Where to?"
"A surprise," Aoi answered, a playful twinkle in her eyes.
Chie found herself standing in front of a double door, with an exaggerated brightly lit sign above their heads. She blinked once. Then twice. Then she turned her head to face the smiling brunette. "Um, Aoi? What are we doing at the arcade?"
"I've always wanted to come here, but father never let me. Something about this being a hub for lowlifes and that a Senoh should never play such grotesque games to begin with." Aoi walked through the double doors and approached the first machine that caught her eye. She grabbed the two toy guns from their holster and handed one to Chie before inserting coins into the slot. "Come on, it'll be fun," the girl beamed.
Smiling despite herself, Chie took the offered object and began shooting at the zombies that appeared on the screen. She took great pleasure in hearing the excited screams from the other girl whenever she was close to dying, for some unknown reason.
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"Chie-kun. What do you want to do today?"
The tomboy shrugged, "Whatever you wanna do. Is there a place you want to go to?"
"No, not today," the brunette replied. "I have to go home early. Father wants me to meet someone."
Although she said this with a smile on her lips, Chie wasn't fooled. "It's another suitor, isn't it? Another prissy boy who treats women like property. Who is it this time?"
"It doesn't matter who it is, does it? Life isn't a fairy tale, and I've accepted that a long time ago."
"Life doesn't have to be a fairy tale for you to do what you want to do. Aoi, why won't you just -"
"I have to go home now. I don't want to be late. Take care, Chie."
And with that, the brunette turned her heels and began making quick strides away from the tomboy. Sighing, Chie mentally chided herself for upsetting Aoi again. She knew she shouldn't press the subject, but she couldn't help it. Aoi wasn't just some property to be showcased. She had feelings and dreams and desires. She was a person who just wanted some form of control over her own life. Why couldn't her father see that?
"Because he's an asshole," Chie answered herself under her breath.
"Who's an asshole?" a curious voice asked behind her.
Whipping around, the tomboy's fist nearly collided with a redhead's face. "Mai! Don't startle me like that."
"What happened to your girlfriend?" she asked as she scanned the area. "Don't you usually wait for her here around this time?"
"She's not my girlfriend. And she left early," grumbled the taller girl.
"But you want her to be," the redhead replied with a knowing grin.
Sighing as she leaned back against the tree she was resting on earlier, Chie stuffed her hands into her pockets and looked to the side. "What does that matter? She's meeting another one of those pansies today. Socially, I don't stand a chance."
Mai stared at her best friend dumbly. She met Chie when they were in kindergarten, and in all her life, she has never seen Chie not make a move on someone she liked. Not only that, but Chie was giving up before even trying? Something was completely off here.
"Who are you and what did you do to Chie?" Mai replied, pretending to hold a gun to the tomboy's head.
Chie swatted the redhead's hand away and chuckled at her antics. "I just... think we're great friends. Friends, that's it, you know?"
"You're giving up before trying. At least you could tell her you like her."
"What?" the charcoal-haired girl yelled as if it was the most ridiculous idea of the century, then composed herself. "No. Absolutely not. What if she freaks out?"
"Now, is Aoi really the kind of person that would stop being your friend because of that?"
Chie paused for a moment before answering. "I don't think so..."
"Then tell her. The worse that's going to happen is she doesn't feel the same way. Then you know, and then you can give up."
"Right, like I'm going to -"
"If you don't, I will," Mai interrupted, knowing how stubborn her friend can be.
"I hate you, Mai. You know that, right?"
"I love you too, Chie. Now come on, let's get something to eat. I am starving!"
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"Why can't you just tell those idiots to fuck off?" screamed a red-faced Chie.
"You think I don't want to? You think I actually enjoy these meetings? You think I like being treated like an inanimate object?" yelled a sobbing Aoi. "You know I can't, Chie! You know that!"
"Tell you father to fuck off too! He shouldn't be controlling you like a fucking puppet! You're a human being, Aoi. You have rights!"
"You don't understand a thing, Chie! I can't defy my father! I can't just say 'no' to him whenever something he does displeases me! My life isn't that simple!"
"Why not? Your old man's a fucking assho-"
A sharp slap was delivered across Chie's right cheek, which promptly shut her up. The surprise of Aoi hitting her threw her into a state of shock. When she recovered her senses, she found herself looking up at her friend, blue orbs looking down apologetically at her. She steered her vision to the ground to try to recompose herself, and only then, did she realize she was on her knees.
"You don't understand a damn thing..." Aoi whispered, more sad than angry this time. "I'm sorry. I have to go now. Father is waiting..."
Chie watched her friend slowly turn away from her as she thought silently to herself.
'Don't you see, Aoi? You are a caged bird who wants to be set free, but you're unwilling to break the lock. I know the cage is closed right now, but at this rate, will you even want to leave when you can?'
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"I'm sorry I slapped you," an angel's voice said, startling the charcoal-haired girl who was laying on the grassy grounds of a park. "I know you only said what you did because you cared about me... but still, it grates me whenever someone speaks ill of my family."
Sitting up, Chie smiled at her friend, patting a patch of green next to her. "It's alright, I understand. I was the one who crossed the line to begin with. And for that, I apologize. But I still think that you need to take control of your own life."
"I understand that you care for me, but... I just... I don't think you really know what life is really like for me... even after all these years," replied Aoi as she wrung her fingers together.
"All I know is... you're not being treated the way you should. I know that... you are human, you have rights. You have the right to feel, to want, to need," Chie replied in a small voice. She tilted her head slightly to stare into Aoi's eyes before continuing. "And yet, you pretend you have none of that. You play the role of a perfectly good puppet, when all you really want is freedom. You want to marry for love, not for money or power. You want someone who would take the time to listen to your problems, to soothe away your insecurities, to make you feel like you are complete."
"Life isn't a fairy tale. I've come to terms with this a long time ago. There's no prince. No such person as Romeo..."
"I'll be your Romeo," the charcoal-haired woman replied after a little while, her voice shaky.
Aoi opened her mouth to speak, but no sound came out. She must have lost all her sanity, because she could have sworn that she just heard her longtime best friend tell her that she'd be her Romeo.
The tomboy watched the flabbergasted expression on the other girl's face before repeating herself, more firmly this time. "I'll be your Romeo."
After a long pause, Aoi finally spoke. "This isn't funny, Chie."
"I'm not joking," Chie replied as she slowly turned to fully face Aoi. "I'm in love with you," she confessed, her eyes staring straight into blue orbs. She flicked her wrist and a blue rose mysteriously appeared, which she held out for the brunette. "If you accept my feelings, please take this."
"I... I..." Aoi was speechless. In all the time that she's spent with the charcoal-haired girl, she never realized how her friend had really looked at her. She glanced at the blue rose in the other girl's hand to the scared expression on her face.
"Aoi?" Chie asked, feeling her worst nightmare is about to realize.
The brunette slowly started backing away from her friend, too shocked to actually say anything. When she finally found her words, she was only able to mumble them before leaving in haste.
'I have to go now. I'm sorry...'
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"I'm in love with you," Chie confessed, her eyes staring straight into blue orbs. She flicked her wrist and a blue rose mysteriously appeared, which she held out for the brunette. "If you accept my feelings, please take this."
Aoi smiled despite herself as she slowly reached for the rose. But as soon as her fingers touched the flower, it dissolved in her fingertips. When she turned to look at Chie, she found that the girl no longer existed. Instead, a shadow took her place.
The shadow echoed, "Save me, Juliet... save me... please. It hurts. It hurts too much..."
"Romeo! Come back, Romeo!" She heard herself crying after the shadow.
Bolting from her bed, Aoi tried to steady her breaths as she clutched a hand over her heart. It has been a week since that incident occurred. And every night since that day, the same dream haunted her over and over again. Reaching over to the nightstand, she took large gulps from the glass of water she placed there the night before.
"Stop... haunting... me..." she whispered to herself breathily. "Stop it."
"Stop what, ojou-sama?" her maid asked as she peeked through the door.
At first, the voice caused Aoi to freeze, but when she recognized who was talking, she relaxed visibly and turned to smile at her maid. "Ah, it's nothing, Sei. I had a nightmare, that's all."
Letting herself into the room, Sei moved to the window and opened the curtain, allowing the sun's rays to shine in. Then, hesitantly, the maid spoke. "Ojou-sama?"
"Yes, Sei?" Aoi asked as she slowly slipped out of bed.
"Who is Romeo?"
For the second time that morning, Aoi froze. Chie's words echoed through her mind again. I'll be your Romeo.
"Ojou-sama?" the maid asked, catching her young mistress's attention again.
"Ah, I'm sorry Sei. I must still be half-asleep. Romeo is... a character from one of Shakespeare's play. Why do you ask?"
Sei frowned, causing the wrinkles on her skin to become more apparent. "You've been whispering that name in your sleep for the past week, ojou-sama."
"I see... I've been reading the play lately. I apologize for worrying you, Sei," the brunette replied with a smile before disappearing into the bathroom.
"Again...?" the maid asked in a whispered voice to the empty room.
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"Rise and shine!" Mai shouted as she forced the curtains away, causing bright light to enter Chie's small apartment.
Chie groaned slightly as she rolled over in her bed, throwing the blanket over her head. "Go away, Mai."
"Come on, Chie! It's been a week. Usually it only takes you about 24 hours to get over something like this!"
"Go away. I don't want to talk or hear about it," she shouted, curling up under the blanket.
"Hey, do you wanna hear something juicy? It has to do with a certain student council president and a certain delinquent," Mai said, trying to appeal to Chie's love for gossip.
"I don't care. Go away before I kick you out!"
Mai sighed to herself as a frown made its way across her lips. She knew Aoi was different from the other girls that Chie had a crush on, but now she was seeing just how serious it really was. Holing herself up in her apartment for a whole week to wallow in despair was one thing. But to completely not care about gossip as juicy as the one she just fished out, this was a whole new level of serious.
"Chie," Mai sighed as her voice finally matched the atmosphere of the room. "You have to at least try to take care of yourself a little. I know you miss Aoi but -"
"Out!" Chie shouted as she threw the blankets off of herself, glaring at her redheaded friend as she pointed towards the door.
Mai almost gasped at what she saw. Chie's eyes were red and puffy, as if she had been crying this entire time. When everything became still again, the violet-eyed girl realized that Chie's body was shaking. Not horribly so, but enough for the redhead to see.
"She won't stop haunting me, dammit! She won't... her voice... her beautiful voice," Chie ranted shakily. "I can't stop dreaming of her. I can't stop hearing her sweet, sweet voice. She's saying, 'Romeo, save me. I've been feeling so alone. Romeo, save me. They're trying to tell me how to feel. Romeo, save me...' Grah! It's killing me, Mai! It's killing me..."
Tears continued to stream down the tomboy's face and Mai could do nothing more than hold the charcoal-haired girl as she quivered in her arms.
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It was official. Chie was haunting her. And not just in her dreams.
Everywhere she went, everything she did, she was reminded of her best friend. Or ex-best friend. She wasn't really sure what happened to their relationship after she walked away from her confession. She felt bad for walking away the way she did. She really did. She honestly regretted the way she handled the situation.
Though, it didn't matter how many times she replayed the scenario in her head, she could never figure out what to say or how to respond.
"Fancy meeting you here, Aoi," a voice broke through her contemplation.
The brunette turned her head upwards to see a familiar redhead staring down at her. "Mai-san?"
Taking a seat next to Aoi, Mai nodded her head. "I hope I'm not interrupting."
"No, not at all," the blue-eyed girl said as she closed the book that she was pretending to read.
"Romeo and Juliet?" Mai asked when she finally saw the cover.
"Mm... it's my favorite Shakespeare play. How is... how is she doing?" Aoi asked in a small voice.
"Chie? She holed herself up in her apartment for about two weeks now. Last time I checked up on her, she looked like a ghost," Mai replied sadly.
"I see..." the brunette said, feeling guilty that it was her fault that Chie hasn't left her apartment.
"You know, Chie knows that book by heart now. Line by line too. I'm actually kind of amazed. When I asked her why she was so diligently trying to memorize the book... you want to know what she said?"
Aoi turned her head away from Mai before nodding.
"She said, 'Because Aoi always randomly recites lines from it. I don't want to disappoint her by forgetting what goes next.' Because of you, Chie actually picked up a book, a Shakespearean play at that, and memorized the entire thing. Without you asking, without you even knowing that she was doing it for you. I've never known Chie to do such a thing for anyone. And I've known her since kindergarten."
Both of Aoi's hands clenched her pants tightly, holding back tears that would fall if she didn't control her emotions soon.
"You're special to her, Aoi. At first, I thought it was just another schoolgirl crush that she had for you. I thought, it'll go away after you reject her, if you rejected her," Mai turned her violet orbs to the girl sitting next to her. "You didn't give her a real answer. Neither a 'yes' nor a 'no'. You just left. Do you know how cruel that is, Aoi? For someone who loves you that much, and you just walk away without dignifying their confession with just one freaking word?"
A teardrop escaped and cascaded down the brunette's cheek. Then another fell. And soon, Aoi couldn't stop herself as the tears continued sliding down.
"My heart hurts, Mai, and I don't know what it means. My heart hurts knowing that I hurt Chie. It hurts when I can't see her. Or hear her voice. And I don't know what this means. I always thought... I always thought that I felt this way because she's my best friend; the only person that I really let into my life. But... I can't stop... I don't think... I don't know. I'm so confused right now, Mai. I don't know."
"I think... you should just do what you think is right. Throw away all those concepts about what is wrong and what is right. Throw away what you think other people's opinions about it would be. Throw away everything and anything that has nothing to do with you and Chie. And then think about your feelings for her. Think about how she makes you feel, what she makes you want to do, and how you see her," Mai replied before standing up. "After you've figured things out on your end, come find me, and I'll take you to her."
"Thank you, Mai-san... thank you," the brunette said, only loud enough for Mai to barely hear.
Aoi didn't need to look to know that Mai had left her; she could tell from the fading footsteps. But Mai was right. It was time she sorted out her feelings. And it was time she stopped running.
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Chie doesn't remember how it happened exactly. One minute she was sitting under her window, reading that Shakespearean play. The next, she's standing in front of the woman who ran away from her after her confession. Her mind was reeling. She had no idea what she wanted to say; what she was supposed to feel. She couldn't tell if her heart was beating faster because she was happy to see Aoi. Or because it was hurting anew since she wasn't ready to face the brunette yet.
Then she heard it. Her angel's voice.
"If I profane with my unworthiest hand, this holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: my lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand, to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss," Aoi said with a small, hopeful smile.
Chie stayed still. She was in shock, but the one thing that did register in the back of her mind was that Aoi just spoke Romeo's lines. Not Juliet's. She opened her mouth to speak, but found that her voice has left her. Not that she knew what she wanted to say anyway. She was speechless. And she didn't understand what was going on. Was Aoi... confessing to her?
The brunette's smile began to waver as time passed by, and the girl before her has yet uttered a sound.
After a few more minutes of excruciating silence, the charcoal-haired girl finally regained control of her larynx, though her voice was rough. "Those were my lines..."
Aoi couldn't help but giggle at the response she was given. "Then speak Romeo's lines, and I shall reply with Juliet's."
"If I profane with my unworthiest hand, this holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: my lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand, to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss," Chie said, as her hand shakily moved to hover slightly over Aoi's cheek.
"Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, which mannerly devotion shows in this; for saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, and palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss," Aoi replied, capturing Chie's hovering hand into hers, and then turned her head slightly to kiss Chie's palm.
Chie smiled at the feel of Aoi's lips on her palm. "Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?"
"Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer," the brunette said as she turned to face Chie again, pressing the other girl's palm against her cheek.
"O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do; they pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair," the charcoal-haired girl whispered as she inched closer.
"Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake," the blue-eyed girl replied as she, too, inched towards the other.
Chocolate orbs searched azure-blue for any sign that she should back off. When she found none, she continued. "Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take. Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged."
"Then have my lips the sin that they have took," Aoi moved her hand to caress Chie's cheek as their lips touched. "Do you still have that blue rose?"
"That depends, may I purge my sins through your lips once more?"
"I'd like that, Romeo. I'd like that a lot."
Chie smiled and produced the requested blue rose. "I take it, this means you'll be my girlfriend then?"
"Yes, Chie. This means... I'm yours now," Aoi smiled as she took the rose handed to her. "And you're mine."
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"Ahh! Brain freeze," Aoi said as one of her hands flew to her temple, trying to assuage the icy prickling sensation from her brain.
Chie chuckled at her girlfriend's antics. "I told you not to eat it so fast."
"But it's so good," Aoi protested once the feeling has subsided. "I've never had shaved ice before. It's so strange."
"It's a commoner's delicacy. It doesn't surprise me one bit that you've never had it. Just like it wouldn't surprise me if you never had a crepe before," the charcoal-haired girl said when she spotted a crepe cart.
"Mou," the girl replied. "Now, I want to try a crepe too."
"Hai hai, ojou-sama. That cart there sells them. Let's share one," the tomboy said, pointing to a cart across the street.
Smiling, the excited brunette clasped her hand into her Romeo's and began jogging towards the crepe cart. When they rounded to the front to see what flavors the shop offered, Aoi could barely contain herself at all the combinations that sounded delicious to her. In the end, Chie ordered her favorite instead: chocolate cream with assorted berries.
"Hai, choco-berries!" the shop-owner said as he handed the crepe over to Chie.
The tomboy placed the crepe by Aoi's lips, signaling for her to take the first bite. When the blue-eyed girl did, she made a sound that told Chie she really liked it.
"Told you it was good," Chie said. "Hold on a second. You have some chocolate cream on your face."
Chie reached her hand out and was about to wipe the cream away until someone grabbed onto her wrist. The next thing she knew, she was laying on the ground a few feet away from Aoi, her crepe haphazardly discarded onto the asphalt floor near her.
"Hey! What the hell was that for?" Chie yelled at a man who mysteriously appeared in front of her girlfriend.
"So you're the reason why Aoi has been coming home later than usual?" a voice said behind her.
Chie quickly turned around to see a grey-haired man with blue eyes looking back at her; the same shade of blue that Aoi has.
"Daddy?" Aoi squeaked as she wiped away the cream that was on her face. "W-What are you doing here?"
"Aoi, go wait for me in the car. Kaito will show you the way," Aoi's father said.
Nodding dumbly, the brunette followed the man in front of her out of Chie's sight. Then, Aoi's father turned to Chie, who quickly stood up when she realized that this man intends to talk to her.
"Nice to meet you. My name is Satoshi Senoh. I am Aoi's father. Who might you be?" he asked.
"I-I'm Chie Harada. Aoi's friend," Chie replied.
"And what does your father do, Harada-san? What about your mother? What is your family background? How much income does your family make in a year?"
"What school do you go to? What are your test scores like? What clubs do you belong to? How many leadership positions are you in?" he continued.
"I-I don't see why I have to..."
"What I'm trying to say, Harada-san, is that I do not approve of you. I do not approve of you taking up Aoi's time and I don't approve of your presence around my daughter. Please take this as a warning. Stay away from her. Likewise, she will be grounded and will not be able to continue these meetings with you."
"What?" Chie replied, outraged. "You can't do that! What's wrong with me?"
"What's wrong with you?" he replied, amused that she even had to ask him. "Your family name is worth less than a dime. And you're in a public school, where your test scores are merely average. You have no social standing, Harada-san. You do not stand a chance with Aoi. She is someone of high calibre. You, by comparison, are a street rat. So let me make it clear to you once more. This is not a request. It's a command. Stay away from my daughter."
And with that, Satoshi left the charcoal-haired girl to seethe, with her choco-berries crepe forgotten on the ground.
'Like hell I'll listen to you, asshole.'
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"I can't believe I'm doing this," Chie mumbled to herself as she ducked low to avoid the security camera from noticing her.
Taking advantage of the camera's blindspot, she sprinted across the garden and pressed herself flat against the nearest wall. She scaled the building until she was at the side where Aoi's bedroom was. Scanning her surroundings, the tomboy found a tree that conveniently had a sturdy branch close to the girl's bedroom window. Smirking to herself, she made quick work of climbing it and steadied herself on the branch that led her to her Juliet. She knocked on the window softly at first, but when she received no answer, she knocked a little louder.
"Ch-Chie?" the blue-eyed girl asked, surprised. After she recovered, her lips curved downwards into a frown as she chided whisperingly at the other girl. "Chie! What are you doing here?"
"With love's light wing did I o'er-perch these walls; for stony limits cannot hold love out, and what love can do that dares love attempt; therefore thy kinsmen are no let to me," the tomboy replied.
"Ch-Ch-Chie!" Aoi sputtered in a whispered tone. "If my father finds you here, he'll kill you."
"I missed you, Juliet." Chie replied. "I haven't seen you in a week."
"I missed you too, Romeo. But you don't understand. My father will kill you if he finds you here."
"If it means being able to spend time with you, I'm willing to take that risk," she deadpanned.
Aoi sighed, but a smile escaped her lips nonetheless. "Oh Romeo... what do I do with you?"
"Be with me. I am your Romeo, after all," the charcoal-haired girl said, shifting uncomfortably on the tree branch. "Hey, can we relocate to a place where insects won't try to eat through my clothes?"
"I can't leave the house, though," Aoi replied with a frown.
"Just climb through the window. C'mon, I'll help you," Chie replied as she slowly backed up to make room. The tomboy extended her hand to her girlfriend and slowly helped her reach ground level. When Aoi was finally safe on the ground, Chie grinned before wrapping her arms around the other's waist. "Much better. I missed you."
Reciprocating the hug, Aoi smiled as she rested her head at the crook of her Romeo's neck. "Mm... I missed you too. How did you know the layout of my house anyway? You've never been here before..."
"Juliet, I'm the Chie Harada. There's nothing I don't know if I want to know it," Chie said, winking at her lover.
A hand reached out and grabbed Chie's shoulder, yanking her away from her love. When Chie tried to re-establish contact with her girlfriend, she was violently pulled back. Her captor took the liberty of restraining her flailing limbs and forced her onto her knees.
"Hey! Let go!" Chie demanded as she struggled to free herself from his hold.
Aoi's father emerged from the shadows to approach the charcoal-haired girl, a deep frown causing wrinkles to crease his forehead. When he spoke, his rough voice was cold. "Go to your room, Aoi."
"I said," he injected, voice increasing in volume, "go to your room. You're still grounded!"
Aoi stood her ground, glaring up at her father. When he saw that she had no intentions of doing as he said, he narrowed his eyes and moved to stand in front of her.
"If you don't find yourself back to your room this instant, I can guarantee your little friend here won't see daylight for decades," he seethed.
The brunette faltered in her stance, glancing worriedly over at her girlfriend, who shook her head with a determined look. Forcing her fear to hide within the crevices of her mind, she spoke coldly, "Chie is my girlfriend, father. Please let her go."
Satoshi raised his hand as if he was going to strike his daughter, but gained control of his body and moved his hand back to his side in a frustrated manner. "If you don't disappear back to your room this second, your girlfriend here will not see daylight for decades, in more ways than one. You know I can do it, Aoi. Don't push me more than you already have."
Dejected, the brunette turned to give her Romeo a sad look before heading back towards the house. When she was far enough from hearing range, he turned to the delinquent who dared corrupt his daughter.
"You'd do well to stay away from my daughter. The next time I catch you on my property, you will be arrested for trespassing. Do you understand me?" he hissed.
The restrained girl clenched her teeth to prevent herself from cursing at the old man. After successfully holding back a growl, she replied through gritted teeth, "With all due respect, sir, I don't understand why I cannot see your daughter. I love her and she loves me."
Enraged, he delivered a sharp slap to silence the foul words from escaping her lips. "You live in a deluded world if you think it's appropriate for two women to be together. And what's even more laughable is that you think Aoi loves you back. She has many more suitors that can care for her better than you ever will."
"Care for her?" Chie scoffed, barely able to hold the hostile edge from her voice. "You mean, they have enough money for her to bathe in as she waits at home while they're out shagging some whore in a hotel. None of those prissy boys give a shit about what Aoi wants... what Aoi feels!"
Another slap was delivered, this time on the other cheek. "That's enough out of you. You need to learn some respect."
Spitting out the blood that has filled her mouth, she glared up at the grey-haired man. "Respect, sir, is earned. Not given."
"Stay away from my daughter if you know what's best for you," he hissed in her face before turning to leave. "Show her the way out," he said to a group of men who, until now, only stood to the side.
Chuckling to herself as she watched the men circle her menacingly, she whispered, "I don't know what's best for me. That's Juliet's job."
And then, a powerful punch connected with her jaw. And another punch connected with her ribs. And then kicks began to accompany the punches. Until her consciousness left her.
'Money. Status. Face. That's all that man cares about. He doesn't give a shit about what Aoi wants. Or feels. Or thinks. All he wants is some snobby rich kid for Aoi to marry so that he can expand his wealth. It all boils down to money, doesn't it? It all boils down to having a sound name and a shit-ton of money. If that's his game, I'll play it. And I'll beat it.'
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
"Mikoto! How many times do I have to tell you not to put the empty cartons of milk back into the fridge?" the older girl chided.
"Mm!" the younger one replied, smiling at her mother-like friend.
"Mou..." Mai sighed. "At least apologize."
"Gomen, Mai," the black-haired girl replied with a grin.
Mai's response was cut off by a loud knock on her door. She swerved around the kitchen island and opened the door to her apartment to find her best friend leaning against the doorway. "Chie! What happened? You're hurt!"
"It's nothing," the charcoal-haired girl replied as she slowly limped into the apartment, making herself at home. "I come to you today with a proposal, Mai."
"Oh no! First, you tell me what happened to you," the redhead replied, glaring at her friend who has now sat down comfortably on her couch.
"I went to see Aoi. Her father wasn't pleased with that," Chie replied, opting for the short version. " Now, onto the proposal. How would you like to take over the media in all of Japan?"
Mai opened her mouth to question her friend's sanity, but promptly stopped sound from leaving her lips when she spotted a familiar glint in those chocolate orbs. The same glint that Mai recognized as undying determination that clearly spelled out, 'What Chie wants, Chie gets.'
A small smile made it's way across Mai's lips as her eyes held the same determination as Chie's. "Where do we start?"
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
"Hey Aoi. Someone told me to give this to you," a blonde-haired girl said as she handed a piece of paper to her friend. "At first, I thought she was kind of creepy, but she was actually really friendly. She mentioned she wasn't allowed to approach you, so I guess that's why I'm playing messenger girl."
"It can't be Chie," Aoi thought to herself. "Father made sure that we wouldn't be able to communicate with each other." The brunette glanced around the school to find a few men standing awkwardly within her proximity. "What did she look like?" she asked.
"Hm," her friend replied, placing a thoughtful finger on her chin. "Red hair, violet eyes, and a pretty noticeable bust."
Realizing that the person who send the letter was Mai, the brunette quickly unfolded the paper to read it.
Chie and I will be going away for some time. She'll be back for you, for sure. And when that time comes, she'll set you free. That's what she told me to tell you. She said you'd understand. By the time you get this, we're already gone. Take care, Mai.
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
"Did you get through to her, Mai?" Chie asked when Mai showed up to the train station.
"There were guards everywhere. I didn't want to risk it, so I handed a letter to her friend to pass it to her. Let's hope she got it," the redhead replied as she began to board the train.
"Let's hope," Chie mumbled, following her friend.
After taking their respective seats on the train, Chie noticed Mai's downcast look as the redhead stared out the window.
"You don't have to come along if you don't want to, Mai," Chie offered. "Maybe you should stay... for Miko-"
"I know," the redhead replied. "But in the end, this is for the best. She couldn't stay with me forever, could she? She needed to go home at some point."
Remembering how the black-haired child refused to let go of Mai when she learned that the redhead was leaving on a trip for an unknown period of time, Chie couldn't help but chuckle sadly. "She's really attached to you though. Maybe you should have spoiled her a little more and -"
"That's enough, Chie," Mai said warningly. "I planned to send her back to her guardians to begin with. This trip just sped that schedule up. That's all. And that's the end of this discussion."
"Hai, hai," the charcoal-haired girl sighed as she, too, stared out the window.
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Aoi took out her copy of Romeo & Juliet and began re-reading the book even though she knew it by heart already. When she came across a particular page in act one, scene five, she found the blue rose that was given to her. Taking the blue rose out, she smiled as she remembered receiving it.
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
"Harada-san, was it? Tell me, why should I hire you instead of the other two-hundred applicants that applied for this job, who, might I add, have the same qualifications you do?" a woman asked through her spectacles.
Chie smiled charmingly at her interviewer. "I'm not going to pretend that I'm more hard-working than the others. I'm also not going to pretend that I'm brighter and sharper than the others. After all, how would I know? I've never met them. But I can tell you this. I have a purpose for being here. I have a purpose for wanting this. And for this purpose, I will achieve. I will climb to the top, and there's not a force out there that can stop me unless I'm dead."
"That's... quite an answer, Harada-san."
"Thank you. It's not in my nature to pretend to be something I'm not, so you'll have to excuse my blunt personality."
The interviewer smiled and extended her hand for the charcoal-haired girl. "Not at all. It's rather refreshing. We'll call you about our decision within the next week. It was a pleasure meeting you."
Returning the smile and grasping the woman's hand, Chie replied, "Thank you. It was a pleasure meeting you as well. Take care, Iveru-san."
Walking out of the building, Chie waited a few minutes until a black car pulled up in front of her.
"Hey there, sexy. Want a ride?" Mai asked through a small fit of laughter as she gave her friend a wink.
"Sure thing, beautiful," Chie replied with a smirk as she climbed into the passenger's seat.
"So how was the interview?" the redhead asked as she started to make her way home.
Loosening the buttons of her shirt, Chie held a smug smile. "Nailed it."
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Aoi sat by the window of a high-class dining restaurant. Her violet dress clung to her uncomfortably as she slowly ate her food. Her date was ranting on and on about an old friend of his, but she couldn't care less. She noticed that he only talked about other people, and usually did not have very nice things to say about them, always making himself out to be the superior being. Every once in a while, she nodded her head or let loose a sound to pretend that she was actually listening.
"Say, do you like to read?"
"Well, not particularly. So anyway, I was..."
The brunette tuned out his ranting once again. 'I wish I could at least talk to you, Chie...'
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
"Congratulations on your promotion, Harada-kun," a woman with violet tresses said, her amber orbs piercing through the woman sitting before her.
"Thank you, Director Suzuka," Chie replied with a smile. "To what do I owe the pleasure of this meeting?"
The charcoal-haired girl studied her surroundings discreetly. It was an odd last minute meeting that the director suddenly decided to have. What makes it even more suspicious was the fact that she was the only one informed of said meeting, judging by the fact that she was the only one in attendance, other than the director herself. And the fact that the director was sitting on her table instead of the chair behind her table tipped Chie that this was no regular meeting.
"Call me Euphie. I just figured we could celebrate your promotion to vice director. Is there something wrong with that?" she asked.
"Well, there's nothing wrong with that, but I was promoted about four months ago," the charcoal-haired girl replied as she crossed her legs. "I don't really think there is a need to anymore."
"Nonsense. I was always so busy with work that I was never able to attend any of those celebrations, so I really should make up for it, shouldn't I? After all, you'll be working alongside me the most now."
Giving a nervous chuckle, the tomboy fidgeted in her seat a little before replying. "While that is true, I've gotten quite used to the position now. There really is no..."
The vice director stopped her sentence when the purple-haired woman reached her hand out and started to twirled the girl's skinny tie between her fingers. She gave the younger woman a predatory glance before gently gripping the tie in her fist, yanking slightly.
"D-Director?" Chie choked as she was forced forward. "P-Please tell me you aren't doing what I think you're doing?"
"Hm?" she smirked. "That depends on what you think I'm doing, doesn't it?"
'Damn this sexy woman,' Chie chided in her head. 'Why am I so nervous now? C'mon! I'm the cool Chie Harada. And how in the hell am I supposed to get out of this without getting fired?'
"Well?" Euphie asked impatiently. "What do you think I'm doing?"
"Uh..." the tomboy replied as she suddenly found the ground to be infinitely interesting.
"Let me give you a hint then," the purple-haired woman said with a smirk.
She yanked at Chie's tie roughly before crashing her lips on top of the other girl's. The charcoal-haired girl froze, not really registering what was happening to her at the moment. She did, however, begin to register her situation when a moist tongue tried to enter her mouth, causing her to push the director away before standing abruptly.
Which was a bad move.
Because Euphie still had a grip on her tie.
Which caused her to lose her balance.
The next thing that Chie registered was that she was hovering above Euphie, who laid flat down on her desk. Chie's elbows rested on either side of her boss, propping her up so that their faces were only inches apart. When Chie tried to move away, she found that she couldn't because the director was using her tie as a leash.
"My, aren't you eager?" she said coquettishly.
"I-I'm sorry, Director Suzuka. I didn't mean to- um, please let go- I can't-" Chie rambled, not being able to form a coherent sentence.
"You can't what?"
Taking a deep breath to calm herself, the charcoal-haired girl stopped her rambling. She closed her eyes for a few seconds, trying to decide how she should handle this situation. When her mind came to a conclusion, she opened her eyes again and smiled down at the woman before her. Then, she un-looped her tie from it's knot and stepped out of her boss's captivity.
"I know I'll probably lose my job for doing this, but I can't cheat on my girlfriend. You're really sexy, director, but I'm not the kind of person to jump into bed with any sexy woman that shows an interest me," Chie said as she made her way towards the door.
"Girlfriend? You mean, that busty redhead who comes to bring you lunch from time to time?" Euphie asked as she sat up from her position.
"You can keep the tie. Think of it as a parting gift, should you decide that I am suddenly unfit to be your vice director. Good day, director," Chie said before leaving the room.
"That's quite a shame, Harada-kun. You would have gone straight to the top with my help," Euphie mused. "And a really good fuck, from the looks of it."
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
"Can we get some crepes?" Aoi asked her date as they passed by a familiar-looking cart.
"Are you really that hungry, Senoh-san, that you would resort to eating such grotesque commoner's food?" he asked.
"I just..." the brunette started saying, but was unable to finish her sentence.
"I'll get my driver and we'll dine somewhere more suitable," he said as he pulled out his cellphone.
'I just... wanted a crepe. I miss you, Chie. How much longer will you make me wait?'
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
"Rejected again?" Mai asked when she saw her friend enter with a dejected look on her face.
"Yeah. Again, for the same reason," Chie replied as she gracefully fell onto the couch. "You know, I knew there were going to be repercussions for refusing to sleep with that woman, but I didn't think it'd be this bad. It's like I'm black-listed on the market or something."
"Yeah. It's too bad you can't hire yourself. At least, you're not on that list with yourself," Mai joked.
"Yeah..." the tomboy half-heartedly agreed.
And then it struck her.
Bolting up from her position, she exclaimed excitedly, "Yeah! That's it, Mai. You're a genius!"
"What's... it?" the redhead asked cautiously, knowing that sometimes her friend has really crazy schemes.
"We'll build our own company, from the ground up. Great idea, isn't it? You and I can be partners. And we'll have our own staff and everything!"
"You are... forgetting one small detail," Mai injected. "We don't have the resources. No money, no name, no nothing.
"Not to worry, Mai. I think it's time we visit some old... acquaintances."
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
"Good afternoon, Fujino-san," Chie greeted as she and Mai took seats across the ex-student council president. "I see you are doing well, taking over Fujino Industries already."
"Ara, thank you, Harada-san. You as well," smiled Shizuru.
"Ah, I wouldn't be so sure about that. It's difficult times right now, Fujino-san. Difficult times for my friend and I," the charcoal-haired girl replied. "Shall I cut to the chase? Or would you prefer more idle chatter?"
"Ara, you certainly have changed. So very straightforward now," the crimson-eyed girl remarked.
"Not at all. I simply recognize that you have much better things to do with your time than catching up on fond high school memories with an old acquaintance."
"So what can I do for you?" the brunette asked.
"Mai and I were thinking of starting our own little company, doing information media related sort of things. The problem is that we need someone to fund our little project," Chie informed.
"Media? But we have so many in Japan already. There's a lot of competition out there. How will I benefit from this, considering you have a high probability of failing?"
"Tsk tsk, Shizuru-san. You underestimate me and how well I can gather information. And how fast I can get the information delivered," the charcoal-haired girl replied. "For instance, you will be surprised in approximately... six... five... four... three... two... one..."
The doors to Shizuru's office bursted open to reveal a dressed-up Natsuki as she scanned the room quickly before laying eyes on the the red-eyed executive.
"Zero..." Chie smirked.
"Ara..." Shizuru whispered, looking from Chie to the blue-haired girl who just busted into her office, uninvited. "Natsuki?"
"Oh! I'm so sorry. Was I interrupting something important? I thought you were free," Natsuki sheepishly apologized. "I-I'll, uhh, I'll wait outside."
Just as the blue-haired girl was about to leave, Mai turned in her seat and called after her. "Hey Natsuki, it's us. Mai and Chie."
"Mai?" the girl asked, surprised. "Is that really you?"
Standing from her seat, she motioned for the emerald-eyed girl to give her a hug. When she did, the redhead whispered into her ear, "Glad to see you and kaicho-sama are still together."
"Mm..." Natsuki replied before pulling out of the hug and positioning herself by Shizuru. "Hey Chie. Good to see you doing well."
"Actually, Natsuki-san, how well I'll be doing would depend on whether or not your wife agrees to my proposal," the tomboy replied, as she continued to stare into Shizuru's red orbs. "So, how do you rate my information gathering and delivering skills, Fujino-san?"
"Ara... you are... how did you know that Natsuki was going to come?" the brunette asked.
"Now, if I told you my secret, I wouldn't have a basis to start my business anymore, would I?" Chie replied. "Did I pass the test, then?"
"If I told you I was intrigued by your skills, that would be an understatement," Shizuru replied, holding her hand out to Chie. "I accept your proposal. Just write me up a formal proposal, and I'll get my staff on the job as soon as you are ready."
Whipping out a binder, Chie slid it such that it stopped in front of the crimson-eyed girl and smiled. "Done. The current conditions line out that you will own 33% of the company, while the other 64% will be divided between Mai and I. Monthly reports will be sent to you, until you request for it to stop, detailing the status of all departments of the business. There are other tiny details that you can read through if you like, but I think that's the most important part for you."
"Ara, you sure are prepared. I'll accept whatever terms you have lined out. One of my staffs will be contacting you within a week's time to discuss the details with you. Do you have a name picked out yet, or are you still thinking?"
"Well, we haven't really thoug-" Mai started, but was interrupted by her business partner and longtime friend.
"I'm sorry to throw this at you like this, Mai. But I've been thinking... and I think we should name it R&J Corporation... or something with R&J."
"Why-" the redhead began to ask, but when she turned her head to look at her friend, it dawned onto her. "Oh, I see. That's fine with me."
"Ara, that's wonderful."
"I'm sorry to break up this interesting talk about business making and naming and all, but I was thinking, why don't we all get together some time? Maybe, we could do dinner?" Natsuki interrupted.
"That sounds great, Natsuki! We have so much to catch up on!" Mai replied excitedly. "For instance, I have no idea what you do for a living."
"I... gather information where it's due," Natsuki replied sheepishly.
Shizuru sighed, "Natsuki runs a private investigation agency. Though, I really wish she would have chosen a career in something less life-threatening."
"Like engineering, Shizuru?" Natsuki replied with a slight frown. "I don't really want to talk about this right now. We will at home if you want, but not now."
Chie cleared her throat to capture the attention of the couple in front of her. "I'm sorry to interrupt. I do agree with Natsuki-san. We should do dinner sometime."
Then Chie stood, followed by Mai, and held her hand out for one final handshake. "It's a pleasure doing business with you, Fujino-san."
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
"And, we are expanding southwards much faster than my planned timeline. At the current rate of expansion, I'm thinking we'll have all of Japan in two years time. That was much, much quicker than I anticipated. And because things are moving much smoother and faster than I originally thought, I was thinking maybe we should try to take over TV media. I mean, newspapers and magazines are great, but stats show that more people tune into their television than they buy newspapers and magazi-"
"You know," Natsuki interrupted the charcoal-haired girl's rant. "I thought I said that dinner time is for eating and talking about fun things. Why do you always have to talk about work when we get together?"
"Um, because... taking over Japan is fun?" Chie replied sheepishly.
"So Mai, what have you been up to lately?" Natsuki asked the redhead, trying to change the subject.
"I would answer your question, but then I'd start talking about work too, Natsuki," smiled Mai. "Instead, why don't you tell us how things are going with you and Shizuru. You got a new puppy, right? How's she? Or is it a he?"
"She, actually. We figured Duran would appreciate not having to fight for the dominant male position in the house," the blue-haired girl informed.
Shizuru giggled, causing attention to shift to her. "But Kiyo still dominates Duran whenever they have a play-fight. It's cute, really. Duran always pouts to Natsuki afterwards."
"You know, you never did tell us why it's so important to you that you control most of Japan's media by a certain timeline," the blue-haired girl said, trying to change the subject.
Chie stopped eating after hearing this. Mai turned her head to see that Chie's mood was dampened slightly, but tried to cheer up the atmosphere by replying, "There's a certain Juliet that our Romeo is trying to get."
"Oh? A girl? Who is it?"
Chie sighed. "Aoi Senoh. Her father separated us because I had no status, no money, no power. So, I decided to win him at his own game."
"I see," the emerald-eyed girl replied, not knowing what else to say.
"I'm going to be gone for some time starting next week. I have a bunch of meetings to go to, for the expansion, you see. We'll do dinner again when I get back . Sounds good, right?"
"Yeah, it does," Natsuki replied as she poked at vegetables. "As long as there is an absence of business-babble."
Chie half-smirked at her friend, "No guarantees."
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
"I don't want to marry that man, father," Aoi said to Satoshi as calmly as she could.
"And why not? He comes from a good family. He'll take care of-"
Aoi slapped a picture down in front of her father, who scrutinized it without actually touching it. "Take care of me? Take care of me when? When he's done flinging his money around in whorehouses? Is that the kind of man you want to marry me off to?"
Satoshi stayed quiet, shocked at the information just given to him. He gave a deep sigh before answering his daughter. "Where did you get this?"
"When you mentioned marriage with him the first time, I had him investigated. Because, apparently, you don't give a- you don't care enough to delve deeper than a sound name and finances."
With nothing left to say, Aoi stormed out of her father's library and into her room. She made sure her door was locked before opening her drawer to take out her copy of Romeo & Juliet.
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Stepping out of her black ferrari, Chie glanced up at the mansion that loomed over her lean figure. She smiled as the memories flooded her mind and took a deep breath. "I'm back, Aoi."
A butler came rushing out of the front door and glanced at the tomboy who stood at the front steps. She donned on a figure fitting suit, the first three buttons of her white shirt undone. Her hands were stuffed into her pants' pockets as she surveyed her surroundings before noticing him.
"How may I help you?" the butler asked.
"I'm here to meet with Satoshi Senoh-san. My name is Harada," Chie announced, her voice strong.
"Ah, yes. Of course, Harada-san. We have been expecting you. Please come in," the old man said as he ushered the young lady into the house.
She was brought to the library to wait for master of the house. As she waited, she browsed through the selection of books that this man kept, silently thinking to herself that he didn't read half of these.
"Pft. All for show," she thought as she glanced at some titles on a bookshelf, causing her back to face the entrance of the library.
"Ah, Harada-kun, welcome to my humble home," a familiar voice greeted amiably.
But Chie knew better.
She turned to face the man, with a business smile fixed onto her lips. "Good afternoon, Senoh-san."
As soon as the grey-haired man recognized who was standing in front of him, his friendly demeanor changed dramatically to a hostile one. "You... I thought your name sounded familiar..."
"Quite a library you have here, Senoh-san. How much did all this cost you?" Chie asked idly, unfazed by the man's glare.
"What are you doing here?" Satoshi asked, his voice strained.
"Well, the answer to that is obvious, don't you think?" the charcoal-haired girl asked as she feigned interest in his books again.
"There is no way I'm letting you see Ao- "
"I don't plan to just see her, sir. I plan to date and to marry her, should she consent. I think you'll find my achievements have been recognized all over Japan," replied Chie. She paused and gave him a side-glance before continuing, watching for his reaction carefully. "After all, I own... R&J Corporation."
"R-R and J C-Corporation? That new company that has dominated Japan's TV media?" he asked, baffled.
"Tsk tsk. Don't underestimate my achievements, Senoh-san. Not just TV media. I control newspapers, magazines, and even select popular information sites," Chie chuckled as she turned to fully face him. "I've done quite well for myself these past few years, if I do say so myself. Well enough to be able to care for Aoi adequately."
Satoshi scoffed before he displayed a smirk himself. "That doesn't change my opinion about you. You're still a girl... still unworthy of my daughter's time."
"And who gave you the right to dictate who Aoi spends her time with and who she neglects?" Chie asked.
"I am her father. That alone gives me that right," he replied.
"I disagree. I'll ask again. Please let me see Aoi," Chie said, her voice holding a steely edge to it.
"I refuse. She will marry someone who can care for her. A male suitor -"
"What a crappy father you are. You can't even tell that she hates all these dates that you set her up with. Don't you know your own daughter? Don't you know that the only thing she desires is to be able to choose who to date, and who to reject?"
"That's enough out of you. Get out!" Satoshi shouted.
"This feels kind of like deja vu," Chie mused, ignoring the man's angry aura.
"Kaito! Kaito!" the old man shouted.
The butler from before rushed into the library, bowing deeply to the grey-haired man. "Yes, master?"
"Show Harada-san the way out. She's leaving," he said through clenched teeth as he glared at the charcoal-haired girl.
"Yes, sir. This way, miss," the butler replied, standing aside to let Chie walk through first.
Chie smirked at Satoshi as she watched his seething form. "Are you sure, Senoh-san?"
The tomboy's features grew smug as she replied, "Very well, then. I'll be back. Don't miss me too much. Take care, Senoh-san."
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
"Welcome home, Chie," a redhead greeted as Chie walked into the living room of their own mansion-like home. "How did it go?"
A maid rushed forward to take Chie's coat while another provided refreshments for her.
"He refused, as expected," the charcoal-haired girl replied as she plopped down onto the couch next to Mai. "Looks like step one of Operation Proposal didn't work. Guess I'll be moving on to step two. Seems I'll be giving Natsuki that call after all."
"Mm... well, it's not like we can't force them into bankruptcy using R&J resources," Mai replied. Seeing that Chie was about to retort, Mai held up a hand. "I know, I know. No reputation destroying. It affects Aoi as well. I know. Damn, you fell hard."
"Gee, you think?" Chie replied, sarcasm dripping from her voice. "I'm going to my library to give that tsundere woman a call."
Chie's library was much less sophisticated-looking compared to that of Satoshi's. For one, the only items in there that denoted it was a library was a mahogany desk with a duo-screen computer. There were no bookshelves or books. Though, it housed a small server rack with several terabytes of information.
Closer to the entrance of the library was a L-shaped leather sofa, a mounted large plasma TV screen that was also visible from the desk, and a DVD stand with various DVDs sorted by alphabetical order (courtesy of the maids).
Chie picked up her phone and clicked the speed-dial button, calling up number two. The line rung thrice before a gruff-sounding voice answered, "Kuga."
"Hey Natsuki, it's Chie. Listen, I'm cashing in that favor you owe me," the chocolate-eyed girl said. "I have something I want you to look into for me. Do you have time to chat?"
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Taking the flower out of it's spot from her book, she twirled the dried up blue rose in front of her eyes.
"Chie," Aoi whispered as tears started to well up. "I'm sorry... but it seems I cannot wait for you anymore."
Squeezing the flower in her hand, she felt it crunch and break into a million pieces. Just like her heart at the moment; breaking into a million shards as yesterday's events ran through her mind.
"You'll marry Reito Kanzaki. He's a good man, and he'll treat you right."
"But father! Why so sudden? I've only been on one date with him!" Aoi asked.
"It's not sudden. Aoi, you aren't getting any younger and the days are passing by quickly. You need to marry and you need to marry soon."
"But father -"
"Don't 'but father' me. I have already arranged for a meeting with the Kanzaki's tomorrow. It will be finalized then."
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Chie sat in the backseat of her silver sedan as she was driven to the Senoh mansion by her chauffeur. Next to her was her blue-haired friend who would act as her bodyguard for the duration of her upcoming impromptu meeting, as a precautionary measure.
"You okay?" Natsuki asked the other girl.
"Y-Yeah. It's just kind of crazy, now that I'm thinking about it. I haven't seen Aoi in years. Will she even recognize me?" Chie asked worriedly as she fiddled with the buttons of her shirt.
Smirking, Natsuki placed a comforting hand on Chie's shoulder and said, "You start getting all jittery, I'll call you a chicken and never let you live it down."
"Thanks. You're a real friend, Natsuki," Chie replied, smiling. "Maybe I'll tell Shizuru what really happen th-"
"O-Oi! Don't you dare!" the emerald-eyed girl glared.
"Chicken," Chie said with a devilish smirk. "Or should I say 'whipped'?"
"We've arrived, Harada-sama," the chauffeur said, looking at the two girls from his rear-view mirror.
"Thanks," they replied as they simultaneously stepped out of the car.
Without waiting for anyone to greet them, they walked up to the front door and rang the bell. When Kaito the butler answered the door, instead of introducing themselves like any other polite person would, the two uninvited guests barged into the house and walked straight into the living room. Maids were bustling about, cleaning and preparing the space for some visitors.
"Senoh-san," Chie said, catching the attention of the man standing idly by the window, looking contemplative. "How thoughtful of you to go through all this trouble for me. How did you know I was coming?"
"T-This isn't for you. I have an important meeting with the Kanzaki's soon. I don't have time to deal with you now, so kindly leave and come back another day," Satoshi replied harshly.
"Ah, an important meeting with the Kanzaki's, you say? Could this perhaps, be a meeting to wed off your daughter to their son, Reito Kanzaki?"
"H-How did you -?" he started, flabbergasted. "Well, no matter. There's nothing you can do about it at this point."
"Ah, it is true that there is nothing I can do about this matter. But, you could very well cancel the engagement yourself," Chie said, her eyes twinkling.
He gave an amused chuckle, "And why would I do that?"
"Because, you don't want to file for bankruptcy," the young woman answered, a knowing grin appearing across her lips. "Or are you that eager to lose everything you own? This nice house... that expensive-looking library... all these loyal people working for you..."
"W-What nonsense are you babbling about?" he asked, trying to cover up fear with anger.
Chie held her hand out to the blue-haired girl behind her, who produced a file binder and placed it into the outstretched hand. "Well, according to my sources, you have taken quite a few gamble investments in the past couple of years. Most notably, your stocks in L&M and KnZ have been costing you millions, causing you to fall into a 840 million dollar debt. Along with your more recent gambles with PSY, NEG, and BNE, I believe your total deficit is 1.7 billion dollars. Am I right, Senoh-san?"
"L-Lies!" he yelled. "Kaito!"
"Lies, you say? But I have all the documents proving so," Chie replied as she stepped in front of Satoshi and held out the open binder for him to see, flipping the page every so often to show him that she was not bluffing. "So, you see, Senoh-san, it would be within your best interest to cancel the engagement with the Kanzaki's as soon as possible."
"Cancel the engagement?" a haughty female voice interjected. "Why kind of ridiculous notion is that?"
A young man trailed behind her, a charming smile set perfectly in place. "Yes, I was under the impression we were here to finalize our plans."
"Ah, you must be Shiori Kanzaki and Reito Kanzaki," Chie smiled. "My name is Harada, Chie Harada. It's a pleasure to meet you. And this here is Natsuki Kuga. She's already taken, so don't let it cross your mind, Reito-san."
Shiori merely looked at the girls briefly before greeting them dryly. "Hm, pleasure."
"The pleasure is all mine, Harada-san, Kuga-san," Reito replied, nodding his head at the girls.
"Let's get straight to business then, shall we?" Chie said, gathering the attention of the entire room. She held out her hand for Natsuki once more, who gave her the second file binder while she retrieved the first. "I hope you don't mind, but I did a little research on your family as well, Kanzaki-san. Specifically, on Reito-san. And from what I can see, Reito-san isn't exactly the nice princely type that many think he is. Drinking, drugs, gambling, one-night-stands... he's done it all. And it seems your family is barely managing because of this."
Chie flipped through page after page in the folder, sometimes finding photos, other times finding receipts of transactions that he's made. She turned her head to face Satoshi and said, "He doesn't exactly sound like the kind of guy that's husband material, if you ask me. And since you were planning to marry off Aoi to them to help assuage your debt, I guess that backfired too, considering their financial situation isn't much better than yours."
"W-What insolence! What proof do you have for your accusations against my son?" Shiori asked, enraged.
Picking some of the photos from the binder, Chie flicked them into Reito's direction and watched as he flinched when they hit him. "Try telling me that's not you. I have pictorial proof, as well as some documentation. You're fighting a losing battle, Kanzaki-san."
The entire room grew silent, and Chie knew this meant it was her victory. She gave a wolfish grin before continuing. "If you don't want this information to be circulating through all of Japan by tomorrow morning, I suggest breaking the engagement here and now."
"T-That's impossible, you don't have that kind of power!" Reito yelled.
"Oh, but I do. You see, unlike you, Reito-san, I actually made something of myself. My fortune does not come from riding along daddy's name. And as I am currently the CEO of R&J Corporation, I control all media," the charcoal-haired girl replied before turning her attention to the master of the house. "Senoh-san, I have a proposition for you. You let Aoi marry me, and you'll miraculously become debt-free."
"Don't be so full of yourself. A sum as large as- "
"You underestimate me again, Senoh-san. And that is very disappointing. A sum of that nature is hardly a dent in my wallet. So, what is your decision?"
After a long pause, Satoshi spoke in a small voice, "The engagement... the engagement with the Kanzaki's are off."
Chocolate eyes twinkled as a smirk grew. "I'm sorry, what was that? Can you say that louder?"
"The engagement with the Kanzaki's are off," he repeated, louder this time, before clenching his teeth in shame.
"Ch-Chie?" a small voice squeaked out from behind the tomboy, causing everyone in the room to stop their discussion.
The familiar frequency of an angel's voice reached Chie's ears, causing her smirk to fade completely as she froze in her spot. 'Aoi?'
"Chie, is that really you?" Aoi asked, as she started walking towards a familiar back.
Turning around slowly, Chie's chocolate orbs gazed into azure-blue for the first time in god-knows-how-many years. She spent years laboring for this moment; this moment where she will be reunited with her love again. And now that the time has come, her mind went blank.
"Hey Juliet... I'm back. And I've come to set you free..." she heard herself say.
"Romeo...?" the blue-eyed girl whispered, shock evident in her features.
Chie knelt down on one knee and extricated a diamond ring from her coat pocket, holding the jewelry up for her brunette love. "Marry me?"
A sharp slap was delivered against Chie's right cheek before she was tackled onto the ground by the girl she just proposed to.
"Baka! Baka baka baka baka baka! What took you so long?" Aoi yelled as she sobbed into the other girl's neck. "Of course I'll marry you, Romeo. But father -"
"Shh... that's all taken care of now."
Smiling, Chie moved herself and Aoi into a sitting position before slipping the ring onto the girl's finger.
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
"By the way, why did you name your company R&J Corporation?"
"Romeo & Juliet Corporation, my love. The thing that will keep us together."
And you wondered why it took me three weeks to complete this. XP
Word count? 12000+ words.
Yup. Some number more than 12000.
Anyway, please review and tell me what you thought. XD