After the twins and Haruhi had graduated, the host club found half its members scattered across the world. Hikaru was studying design in France, Kyouya was at Harvard, and Kaoru had taken up residence in San Francisco to study business, while our four remaining members stayed in noble Japan to study at Ouran University.
This particular story revolves around Kaoru's time in the city by the bay and how he came to meet Kana.
Kaoru lived in a two bedroom condo. A professional decorator had come in before he even moved in a month ago, so the place looked like an effortless masterpiece with its modern furniture, dark woods, and simple color choices.
The condo was on the outer edges of the famous bay area city, and on a sunny day, like today, he has an unobstructed view of the ocean and the famous red arches of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was widely agreed that several people would kill for that kind of view.
Classes would start in a weeks' time at UC Berkeley where he was on a straightforward trajectory into their business school, and Kaoru had already found himself bored. Without his brother around, he found that going to the tourist death traps to be lonely and ultimately uneventful. He spent most of his days at home designing more outfits for his mother's Hitachiin brand name.
His mother was determined to make her sons suffer. At least that was how Kaoru saw it. She paid for the condo, but didn't hire a maid, personal chef, or chauffer. Kaoru was reduced to the perils of public transportation, cookbooks, and the otherwise normal essentials a middle class citizen had mastered by the age of ten. It took him a couple weeks to get used to taking a BART train.
It was at this very moment that Kaoru found his freezer void of frozen dinners. He came to the unfortunate conclusion that he would once again have to make his way to the store to get more food. The allowance his mother gave him allowed for one expensive meal a week. Budgeting was something that he wasn't used to and as much as this was a learning experience, he almost wished that he didn't have to worry about it at all.
Kaoru left the condo complex in search of a local supermarket, as it was called. Once inside he observed the rushed, tired, overworked mothers of small children quickly move through the store with a precision that made him think about professional sports. Everyone was unaware that they were in the presence of Fashion royalty, so no one came to help the college student with his shopping.
Being close friends with Haruhi, he had seen the commoner life before, but somehow this was very, very different. For one, American's were rude and impatient. Always putting themselves before others. As he stood in the entrance, he realized how little he knew about the commoner life. And now he was being forced to live it because he needed a 'reality check'. He could kill his mother if he didn't love her so much.
He grabbed a basket and headed for the frozen dinner section, trying his best to ignore the stares he received from the flirtatious teenage girls who were walking with their equally interested mothers. Yes, he was good looking, why was it worthy of a stop and shop.
As he loaded the portion controlled meals into the small basket, he felt a pair of eyes on him. His amber eyes locked onto a pair of lavender ones.
The eyes belonged to a girl his age. She had long black hair that fell around her shoulders. She stood in a knit grey dress and black high heeled studded boots. If Kaoru had to guess, he'd say half Japanese and half Italian. She was holding a basket of fresh produce, bread, and her other hand held a basket of milk and desserts. Looking at her, he knew she could cook. At least she had that under her belt.
"Might I suggest reading a cookbook?" she spoke. Her voice was light and gentle. It took Kaoru a moment to realize that she was speaking Japanese. "After all, the world would hate to see a famous Hitachiin get fat."
Just as soon as she spoke, she was gone. Walking towards the checkout, she was swallowed up by the mass of people and her small five-foot frame was lost. Kaoru stood in the middle of the frozen section mouth open. She knew who he was. If she knew than why hadn't she helped him? She obviously had life figured out.
Kaoru was flipping through the American TV channels as he contemplated a move to France when his doorbell rang. He got up off of the black couch and walked over to the door. Looking through the peephole, he couldn't see anything so he stepped back and thought for a minute about opening the door. The building security wasn't state of the art, but it did have a gate. He opened the door and found a tray of food resting on the floor. The meal was chicken with mash potatoes, and broccoli. Next to the plate sat a note.
Kaoru picked the tray up and brought it inside, closing the door with his foot. After locking his front door, he picked up the card and looked at it. He looked at the neat Japanese characters.
So you don't get fat. Leave the dishes outside the door and I'll pick them up later. Enjoy. ^_^
Kaoru entered his kitchen and picked up a fork out of one of the dark wood drawers. He tried to figure out who the mystery girl was while happily eating a meal that hadn't come in a package and didn't require a microwave.
What the young Hitachiin didn't know was that his mystery cook lived across the hall. She lived there with her brother who was a graphic designer. Their condo was neat and tidy, but a part of the living room had been sectioned off into a work station. A large wooden table was covered in bottles of book glue, old leather, and a book press. Sitting at the table carefully removing mold from an old book was Kaoru's mysterious cook.
She wore a pair of black rimmed glasses and her black hair had been pulled into a messy bun. She held a small balled up piece of white bread in a tight pinch and carefully rubbed it over a dark spot of a yellowed page. She smirked as the spot lessoned.
"Kana, have you seen my advertising poster for the back to school auction?" an older man asked. He was in his mid-twenties and had shaggy black hair.
Kana looked up from her work and looked around pushing her glasses up her nose. She pointed to a tall rolled up poster resting in the corner by the door. "It's right there. Don't forget to bring your back up drive with you tomorrow. I know how you tend to forget."
"Yeah, I know. You went to the store today?" the man asked.
"Yes, I didn't do any major shopping, just stuff we needed. I took a bit of our left over dinner to the boy across the hall."
"Why?" her brother asked.
"Because Riku," Kana sighed dropping the crumbling ball of bread into the trash by her feet as she turned on her stool to look at him. "I found him loading a basket full of frozen dinners. That's just screaming 'help me' right there. I couldn't help but take pity on the poor soul. He's here all alone while his twin is in France."
"How do you know so much about the Hitachiin twins?" Riku asked as he plopped down onto their red plush couch. He turned on the TV and Kana turned back to her book.
"Because I actually try to keep notified of things going on in Japan," she answered as she rolled her eyes.
"Why? We don't live there. Hell, we aren't welcome there. We never will be," Riku grunted. He looked at the recording they had stacked up. "Our grandparents made that perfectly clear when you were still a baby."
"Just because they don't want us, doesn't mean I can't be away from the place I was born. You as well, remember? We also have a perfectly great set of grandparents on dad's side. They're the ones that matter." Kana pushed the white cloth that the old book rested on away from her before she slipped off her stool. "Still, if we plan to be active in wealthy circles, we should know who the power players are."
"All right. I see your point. So what do you know about the Japanese fashion royalty?" Riku asked.
"Well it would appear that our fair city has been graced with the presence of the youngest twin Kaoru." Kana explained taking a seat next to Riku. She rolled her shoulders and yawned. "He's older than me by a week. Our mom grew up with their mom, but they never spoke again after the situation all those years ago. Kaoru and his brother, Hikaru, were part of a high school host club until they graduated last year. That's about as much as I know. Though I could find out more."
"A host club? I don't like the sounds of that," Riku stated slowly as he gave his sister a beady eyed stare.
"Relax, the whole brotherly love act was all a ruse," Kana smirked as she poked fun at her brother. "I think."
Kana giggled taking the remote from Riku. "I wish I could say I was lying."
"Do you want to see gram and granddad this weekend?" Riku asked, abruptly changing the subject.
Kana leaned into her brother's shoulder. "Can we stop by mom and dad's grave too?"
Riku sighed and rested his head on Kana's. "Yeah."
Later that night Kana picked up the empty food tray. Kaoru wrote something on the card. Kana took the dishes to the kitchen and slipped them in the dish washer. She picked up the note with a small smile.
Thank you. That was good. What's your name?
Kana grabbed a piece of origami paper from her worktable and made a tiger. She grabbed the card and wrote carefully.
Kaoru opened his door and looked down. He picked up the tiger and note. He turned the note over to find the mystery girls response.
I'm glad you liked it. You can find the recipe in any cookbook. Enjoy your new pet. –Kana
"Who are you?" Kaoru asked. He looked at the small tiger and smiled.