A/N: So I told some of my readers that this chapter would be released two or three weeks earlier. I failed my promise and I'm really sorry. I just want to give you a quick heads up that I still am trying to finish this one story. Aside from how there are some quite numbers of readers who enjoyed this story and keeps encouraging me to continue, I find myself to actually think about how to finish this one. It's a bit weird maybe that I am actually interested in the story I made myself, lol. I enjoyed writing this one, I really do.
So for everyone who has been wondering, "Did it stop here?" or "Is this story discontinued?" or maybe "Did the writer hid under a rock? Or did the writer drown in a ton of blocks?" - I'd say that the story won't stop midway. I know how it feels to wait for your favourite story stop midway when you know it could get real good later on. I may have writer's block all in the process, but I just want you guys know that I'm trying to break those blocks and finish my on-going stories. Trust me. I kept having the idea of how to end the story so good, but with no details of how it should be in the process.
I really appreciate those who keep waiting for this story and actually try to re-read it! You guys are really awesome, really!
nognognorinori, maye-chan, SebXOX, and everyone! Thanks a bunch for the support through PMs and reviews! It helps me a lot!
BETA-less | Corrected with Office Word - So before you read this story, I am terribly sorry for all the errors, here and there. I hope I didn't confuse you with my story since I lack of English writing skill.
"There is no such thing as a 'perfect plan'." - Unknown
Chapter 21: Change of Plan!
"It will be held next week on March 9th. You will exchange engagement rings in front of us and the media. It's necessary. I will hold a press conference just for this matter. It will be held the day after tomorrow. None of us, parents, will be there. You two need to take care of this alone." Said Ritsu's father with his serious tone.
"Ritsu, Mio, you two will tell them the details about your engagement. There'll be people asking about when and where you two are going to hold the engagement ceremony and of course, the wedding. They will also ask things like since when you two have been dating." Mr. Akiyama took a small glance at everyone around the table. He sighed, "Have you thought about it this far?"
There was a small pause before Ritsu gave him a firm nod. There's determination written all over Ritsu's face. She's dead serious about this indeed.
"Yes." She went and took the black-haired girl's hand once again. Smiled and gave the girl a smile as she said, "We've thought about everything."
Ritsu slightly clenched her other fist on the table. She was going to come out to public about her engagement with Mio… Although, in all honesty, the one who will attend the big announcement won't be the Mio she actually proposed to on Christmas Eve. It's the risk she should take. It's part of the whole plan too.
The brown-haired girl held back a soft sigh as she said, "Mio and I…have also decided when exactly we should get married."
It took everyone's attention at the table, even Mio.
Akiyama Resident | 01:00AM
In a bedroom where the lights were off except for the small little bedside table lamp, a doctor was sitting nearby the side of the bed. Patiently waiting for his patient if she is going to gain consciousness anytime soon. She should wake up around an hour later. The doctor knew that of course, but he decided to just sit there and wait.
He let out a tired sigh, "How much you knew already, Mia...?"
He nearly chuckle to himself when he heard how easily he calls this girl in front of her as 'Mia'. He'd be the only one calling her with that name.
Is it though? Is he really the only one calling her that? He remembered how his meeting with Kotobuki Tsumugi went out yesterday. She mentioned about knowing things about Isshi and Mia, their tragic romance in the past. Tsumugi knows so much about them that it kind of terrifies Isshi. He could only trust Tsumugi for it, he would need to think of something if things got out of hand.
"...Should I really run away with you this time...?"
If only things be that easy, he would have done it way before the motorcycle accident.
He chuckles to himself.
There is one more thing he started to feel concerned about…
"…I feel kind of jealous of Tainaka-san now."
A smile appeared across his face as he whispers, "You look beautiful tonight."
Ritsu's Apartment | 07:26AM
Ritsu let out a long sigh as she leaned on the balcony fences. She doesn't care anymore about those people who tries to take pictures and captures whatever thing Ritsu did at the balcony. The girl clearly need some space to be all by herself…without all the problems here and there.
Ah, that's the voice Ritsu loved to hear every morning. She secretly took back what she said about being all by herself. All she needs was just herself and the beautiful creature that is now walking up her way. Ritsu put up a smile, watching her fiancé taking her steps, but it turns into a frown right after when the beautiful lady decided to stop midway.
Ritsu shot her a curious look. "I'm scared of height."
She chuckles softly when she spotted those slight blushes on Mio's cheeks as she averted her eyes. Before deciding to walk towards Mio, Ritsu gave her that loving soft smile. She was enjoying the sight. She was enjoying how the morning sunshine illuminating the beauty standing right in front of her.
You should be in jail for this.
She didn't say it out loud; she only let that smile plastered on her face as she walks up to Mio. When she's close enough, she wasted not a single second to lean in for a kiss. A habit they both secretly agreed on. A chaste morning kiss.
"Good morning." Ritsu said with a smile.
Mio felt like she stopped breathing for one second every time Ritsu did something like this to her. It was simple. It was normal. It wasn't a big thing at all, yet somehow this girl managed to make Mio feel like she really is what matters the most in Ritsu's life.
And it's true. Akiyama Mio matters the most in Ritsu's life.
Mio gave her the smile she never gave anyone in her entire life. "Morning." She replied softly.
It came out soft like a whisper and she can clearly spot those slightly pink cheeks across Ritsu's face. It somehow feels a little unfair for Ritsu to be able to be cute and handsome and cool and beautiful at certain moments. If not too much, all at the same time. Oh well, as long as she's mine. I think it's fair enough.
"What did I do to deserve such an angel like you?"
Oh, flirty Tainaka Ritsu and her way of smooth talking Mio. She would be lying if she says that Ritsu's smooth talk didn't get her at all. Every girl would be so happy hearing sweet things like that. Even though calling Mio an angel sounded a little bit exaggerating. Mio doesn't mind it for now. It's been quite a while too.
Mio raised an eyebrow at her, looking a little amused than what Ritsu had expected from the usual Mio.
"What makes you being so flirty in the morning?" She asked, and then tilted her head a little bit to her right side.
Ritsu only chuckles softly. "It's your fault for being so beautiful, Mio."
That hits the spot pretty well when Mio even felt her own face grew hotter than usual. And knowing Ritsu up until now, Mio knew it well that if this goes on, she'll tease her to no end. Time for a diversion, she thought.
"You have work today?"
Ritsu smirked, "You have no classes and you clearly trying to get away from the topic."
"I have so many classes, but I can't go to the university yet, remember?" Mio turned away from Ritsu, intending to leave the girl since she feel a little annoyed. The whole 'Tainaka Ritsu & Akiyama Mio Engagement' rumors are the reasons she can't attend her classes for a few days later. And she hates how easily Ritsu read her intention.
Ah, maybe Ritsu should spare Mio less teasing until they got things done.
The brunette smiles and was fast enough to grab Mio by the waist, pulling her from walking away, then into a hug from behind. Ritsu loves how Mio's long black-hair brushes across her face. It still smells really good despite the fact that she hasn't taken a bath. How come her hair always looks so perfect at all time, Ritsu wonders. She never got the answer though.
"I promise I'll make it up to you." Ritsu whispered in her ear, planting a soft kiss right on Mio's redden ear.
Another promise. Came a sudden thought along with a respond that sounded more like a purr. "Nnh..."
God, how Ritsu love hearing Mio's voice.
It was one of Mio's weaknesses, a spot that could easily make the girl feel weak. It was really tempting for both Ritsu and Mio to get going at it, but somehow Mio finds it not very suitable to do it at the moment. Besides, they did it last night even though it was only lasted for an hour…or was it two hours?
"Ritsu…" Mio started, trying her best to sound calm and not stutter. "Why don't you start telling me about yesterday's dinner?"
"Ah… Here I was thinking of doing something that gives us benefits."
Mio put up an unnoticeable smirk. She then stands on tiptoes to cup Ritsu's cheek. Her hands keeping Ritsu's arms circling around her middle softly. She always loves it when Ritsu hold her close like this.
"I thought just being with me is more than enough."
"True." Ritsu said almost immediately, as if she knew Mio was going to use that line at her.
The black-haired girl didn't say further more as she felt herself being pushed forward gently while still having her companion's arms securing herself. Mio got the message. Ritsu was trying to drag the two of them to sit on the couch, which isn't that far from the balcony door. Mio couldn't put off her smile all in the process; she even wished something like this could last forever.
Once they're nearing the edge of the couch, Ritsu made a swift move—specifically a stunt—by letting herself fell on the couch with her back and while doing it, she still has Mio locked in her arms. She trusted her ability to be able to pull off this stunt though.
Too bad, Mio didn't quite ready for this.
The stunt ended with a soft 'ouff-!' then a loud 'BUMP!'.
"Stupid Ritsu!" Mio yelled.
Ritsu groaned in pain, it hurts but the brunette only smiles and pulls Mio back into her arms. Mio didn't protest, but she also didn't seem like she's enjoying it. It was until then Mio let out a soft sigh that Ritsu starting to feel her fiancé finally giving in to her affection again.
"Don't do that again." She warned.
Ritsu made a soft sound like, "Mmhm." while burying her face in Mio's smooth locks.
"So…" Mio started again, she seems to hesitate for a few seconds but Ritsu waited patiently. "So, how's my mom?"
The brunette took Mio's hands by instinct, intertwining their fingers. "From the look of it, she seemed like she recovered already. She said she only need to do a few check-ups and take meds. It's nothing major, she said…" Ritsu stopped for a moment and Mio waited for her to continue.
She remembered the time when the receptionist told her about a woman who came and looked for her.
"A woman came yesterday and wished to talk to you. She said her name is Akiyama Minoru."
"What's wrong? You seemed like you were going to tell me more."
"Uh… It's your mom, Mio."
The black-haired girl frowned; Ritsu knew she would be having that expression.
"What's with her? Did something happen yesterday?"
"Uh, no… Not that. Um…"
"I think she knew about you."
Cafe | 09:07AM
"Hm." Mugi hummed softly as she pulled up a photograph from her purse. It's one of the evidence she collected. A photograph of Himeko Mia and Minamoto Isshi. How did she get it? Obviously, social media. Mugi has her ways of getting information and digging into something that someone else's probably doesn't look into is one of her ways to do it.
"To think that no one even knows she had her own social media account. One that explicitly showed that she and Isshi were actually in a serious relationship." She commented. She took a good look at it; it was one of those famous ways of taking pictures. Mugi believed they call this kind of shot as a 'selfie'. She unconsciously forming a smile across her lips as she says, "...How cute."
"I agree." The sudden presence made Mugi nearly jumped from her seat. It took two seconds for her to finally get a grip of herself again, noticing the familiar woman standing right behind her for god-knows how long. She shouldn't be looking into that evidence in a public place. She took a note to herself.
Mugi stutters when she is finally able to respond. "S, Sawa-chan?"
"Hm? What's with that? Did you expect someone else but me?"
The blonde quickly put the photograph back into her purse. A bit too late since the so-called 'Sawa-chan' already saw it in her hands.
"H, how long have you—"
"Depends on how long you want me to stand here."
When Sawako didn't get her reply, she took the initiative herself and sits across the table.
"You haven't had breakfast, right?"
Mugi shook her head. She felt bad for hiding things from this woman. They've gone out already, sure it wasn't a long run yet and Mugi have yet to shorten all the feelings she once had for her friend. It was also the reason of why she did all this—putting aside about Akiyama Minoru's request—Mugi did this for Tainaka Ritsu. She may not realize it so blatantly about it; she keeps telling herself that she does this for the sake of her friends. But was it really the truth? Does Mugi really do all of that for the sake of her friends? Or it was simply because Mugi still hadn't moved on from Tainaka Ritsu?
If it was because Ritsu, does this means Mugi was only using Sawako as a getaway? She hides these things from Sawako even though they're dating. She and Sawako never really talked about how they should take this relationship. She thought maybe they would take it as where the flow takes them. It was what she thought and she realized, she never even knew what Sawako had in her mind.
"I'll order for you. My treat."
Mugi only gave her a nod. She refused to make eye contact with Sawako.
"If it'll make you feel better... I didn't see nor hear anything."
It was then Mugi finally raised her head to look at Sawako, secretly hoping that the woman would have her eyes on her. She was wrong. The time she brings her eyes to seek for Sawako's ones, the woman only has her eyes on the menu she's holding. This is the first time she saw the woman talk without even looking at the blonde. Sawako was always like this. Despite the short time since they gone out as a couple, Mugi knew that Sawako always give her this attitude. Letting Mugi keeps everything she wants to keep from Sawako. Mugi never even thinks that it will bother Sawako. Mugi always thinks Sawako would understand.
How naive... She expects her to blindly understand.
Yamanaka Sawako has always tried to make Mugi feel better. Physically and emotionally. She always met Mugi's expectation to understand things that she clearly would never know. But not at this very moment. It almost feels like Sawako almost had enough of all this and it terrifies Mugi so much that she feels her hands trembles, her eyes were on the edge of crying.
It was the very first time she felt this horrible feeling called 'guilty'.
She feels guilty for lying. She feels guilty for using Sawako as a runaway route. She feels guilty for everything.
"...I'm sorry..." Hoarse, it sounded like a crack, the sob comes right after it.
She froze for a split second, not knowing what to do to deal with Mugi who suddenly cry right in front of her. She didn't get it at first, but eventually she noticed that Mugi knows exactly why she apologizes at her. It wasn't the best time and place for them to deal with emotional things right now, Sawako could only manage to bring her hands to cup Mugi's wet cheeks. Wiping the tears softly as she gives Mugi her caring smile. Just like that night when Sawako comforted Mugi at the park.
"I never expected the Ojou-sama to be crying in a public place."
Mugi feels like she wants to cry her eyes out right at this moment. She hates how this woman won't stop being nice to her when she actually feeling hurt.
"We'll go to my place after this and talk it out, okay?"
"W, what do you mean by that?"
Mio was sure enough that she didn't spill out anything about her real name; she stopped attending classes because people will definitely be questioning her last name. Azusa informed her not to show up anywhere near the university yet. So how come her mother found anything about her? Did someone finds out? Those reporters? No, if those people knew, the news must already be out there.
Did she hire someone to—?
"Mio!" Ritsu's voice forcefully took her back to the reality. "Listen to me, I'm not done yet."
Mio gave her a nod, waiting for Ritsu to finish.
"It's my assumption, I could be wrong but if Minoru-san really knew about you… That means she knew that the one in your place now isn't her daughter. It makes sense now…" Ritsu massaged temple softly and sighed, "Why she wanted to come and see me at my place… Then the almost awkward behavior between her and Mio last night."
"…But why won't she come see me if she knew?"
Ritsu gave her soft chuckle as she plants a kiss on Mio's cheek. "Who says she won't? You forgot she once came and look for me? I think she actually came to see you."
"You're not saying that just to make me feel better, are you?"
"I can come up with something better than that to make you feel better."
Mio raised an eyebrow before replying to her. "What? You're going to give me another promises?"
"You made it sounds as if I never kept them." She murmured, slightly feeling hurt.
It's not like Ritsu always fail her promises for Mio, sometimes things just don't go as planned. Like when Ritsu proposed to her. Even though she had to fail her promise, Tainaka Ritsu would do anything to fix it. That's just how she is. Unless right now... Ritsu actually planned to keep this one promise. She'll make it happen.
The said girl made a soft hum as a reply.
"I'll bring them to you." For a moment there, Mio seemed to not notice it yet what Ritsu meant by 'them' but it didn't took long for her to get it. She was going to confirm if what she thought was right or not, but Ritsu was faster than her. "Your parents… I will bring them to you." She continued with her soft yet firm tone.
Mio didn't get to respond with words, it almost feels like Ritsu didn't let her talk back yet.
"Not just them… I'll even bring you to stand by my side in front of everyone." Mio could feel Ritsu tightened her hold on her.
Even so, the black-haired girl couldn't help but feeling a little insecure and concerned about the idea Ritsu just came up with. Bringing Mio to Ritsu's side in front of everyone? Isn't that reckless? Ritsu didn't even bother to ask if Mio was okay with that idea. She may not be as ready as she thought. Facing everyone… How would they take it? How about the Mio in her place now? How about Ritsu's parents? All Mio ever think about was just letting Ritsu arranging that whole announcement with that other Mio, for the mean time at least.
Mio knew that sooner or later they will need to know the fact about her, and when the time comes, she believes that Ritsu surely have thought of a plan.
"I'll take care of everything, Mio."
The only thing crossed Mio's mind was pinching Ritsu's nose. It wasn't a violent one, a soft pinch, and Mio was smiling too.
"We will." She corrected.
It draws a genuine smile across the brunette's face, thinking that Mio was right.
Ritsu couldn't do it alone, she needs support and people that would be willing to lend her a hand, she needs people who she can trust about this whole plan of coming out in the open. Nonetheless, she needs Mio as well.
An Hour Before "Press Conference" | 02:00PM
"You— What?" He brought up his palm across his face. He just couldn't really believe that his daughter would take such decision so early like this. He almost thought that his daughter was actually rushing it too fast. But Tainaka Ryuuji knows his daughter. He admired his daughter when it comes to taking critical decision. She took it from his wife indeed.
Unfortunately, as easy as it sound, Ryuuji still have concerns here and there. "You do realize that this is going to be another headline news, right?"
"Yes." Ritsu said. "This is why I need a day before doing a press conference. I need…to have a meeting with the Akiyama family."
"I know what you're planning to do, Ritsu."
"But are you really sure with this?"
The question seemed to take an effect on Ritsu.
"Think carefully, Ritsu. It's not going to be just about you."
He watched her sigh and say, "I know, Dad."
Ritsu have recently told her father about her so-called plan to introduce the real Akiyama Mio to the rest of the world as her fiancé, this concerns her father about the upcoming rumor that may possibly cause another ruckus. They need to be extra careful to pull this one off and a well-written cover up story to back up all of the idea. "So let's say you have a cover-up story for her—"
"I do have one." Ritsu cut shortly.
There was a short pause as he looked at his daughter and said, "Then what are you waiting for? Spill now."
"Well... Since the two Mio(s) are very similar based on appearance, the only way to make it believable is to reveal the fact that they're…" Ritsu made a small exhale before continuing her short explanation. "…actually twins."
The man raised his eyebrow, he didn't expect that idea indeed. "Twins?"
"Yes, twins. This way, we can keep the two of them—"
"Ritsu, they know the one you're engage with is Akiyama Mio—your business partner and not her twin or the girl who's a student of Tokyo University. This is already seemed like a political marriage between you and Haruka's daughter. They'd think that this is also a part of an arranged marriage." He sighed, pinching his nose bridge lightly. "It's not about keeping the two of them… You know exactly if you come up with this story, they will question the one you're actually having relationship with. Don't tell me you actually plan to confuse them with this matter."
"They will still question about so many things even if we take another way or tell them a different story and actually… It's not like I want to confuse them; I will just have to tell them some of the truth."
It made him frown but he's now getting a little more curious for this cover-up story.
Ritsu took it as a sign for her to continue her explanation. "Mio originally don't want to work at the office. She prefers to finish her college first and then apply for a job she actually able to do…or maybe try to help her father in some way at the office. While the other Mio, agreed to help out her father with business. She will need to tell everyone that she doesn't want to use her own name while at work because of the fact that she was only replacing the real Mio until she graduates from University."
"So the two of them will sort of have a deal with each other?"
Ritsu nodded and smiled, "Yes."
"This other Mio… It means that she has to change her identity, right?"
With a proud smile, she replied. "You don't have to worry about that. I got it covered."
It didn't take long for Tainaka Ryuuji to make his decision on Ritsu's cover-up story proposal, and then give this plan a go. He stood up from his chair, reached out for the phone and dialed a number. As he waited for the other line to answer the call, he looked at Ritsu. His other hand is pressed on the table, supporting his weight.
Locking gaze with her, he spoke up short and firm. "Tonight at seven. Bring her. Don't screw up."
Ritsu was more than pleased to hear that from her father. She gave him a determined nod and stood up, ready to leave the room.
"I trust you on this."
Ritsu have come up with a plan. Insanely perfect plan for this situation, as what Ritsu have thought for nearly a week now. There are risks, there's no doubt to that. She was going to reveal that her Mio was the real Akiyama Mio. The plan and the cover-up story sounded so right for Ritsu, she couldn't help but feel a little proud of herself. She would have celebrated it if this goes well, but that needs to wait. Ritsu still need to inform the Akiyama family about the whole thing. Eventually, she would have to introduce Mio properly to them. When she finally did, she will have to reveal the whole cover-up story.
Coming up with the whole twins cover-up story. Basically, it was just a story that tells about Mio and the other Mio who are actually twins. Ritsu already came up with a story where the other Mio's name was actually Akiyama Mei . Ritsu could come up with using that girl's real name, Mia, but for the sake of her safety, she threw away the idea. Mio need to have a new identity as a part of the Akiyama family and it will start with a new name. This Mei would be the one who took Mio's place in the company. Why would she take Mio's place? Because Mio refused to work at such a young age, at least not until she graduates from college. That part was actually true. Mio did tell Ritsu that she would rather finish college first above anything else, and quite unfortunate that she never planned on getting married so soon either. Oh well, things changed. Shit happens. Ritsu came up with Mei being an understanding older twin-sister who'd be willingly takes Mio's place for the time being until the younger twin-sister graduate from college.
Ritsu even pays attention to details like how Mio is so shy and doesn't really like much attention so she would rather not have everyone recognize her as the Akiyama Mio. She also goes with the idea of Mei not wanting the attention to her real identity as the twin-sister, as she hates dramas and/or dealing with paparazzi. So they made a deal between sisters. Ritsu will come up with "sisterly thing" later. Something about Mio let Mei uses her name while helping her father's business until she graduate. This way, it would make sense how their parents not revealing anything about Mio actually having a twin-sister, named Akiyama Mei. It was easy too since the two looked almost identical. That was a bonus point.
With that, it wouldn't be hard to reveal that the one Ritsu was going to marry was Akiyama Mio. The Akiyama Mio. Ritsu could add more to the story about how she met Mio. She chuckled to herself. Ritsu didn't need to lie about how they met, really. She just need to tell them how Ritsu found Mio being harassed by perverts in an alley when she came in the scene like a knight in shining armor. The thought made Ritsu grinned. Oh yes, Ritsu was going to add more to their story.
See? It was a great cover-up story! Ritsu said mentally. Maybe I should try to be a writer.
Once she got all of her courage back, Ritsu took a deep breath and exhaled calmly as she stood up and pulled up her cellphone, she searched for Akiyama Haruka's contact and wasted no time to press on the call button. She knew it would be a little inappropriate to give the man—the father of the woman she was going to marry or specifically her soon-to-be-father-in-law—a heads up for a slight change of plan, and a very sudden short notice as well, on that matter.
Ritsu could care less about it seeing as little time she got.
"Ritsu-kun? Why's the sudden call? I thought you're suppose to have a press conference?"
She closed her eyes and exhaled shortly. Ritsu need to be ready.
"Haruka-san, there's actually a change of schedule. The press conference won't be held until tomorrow."
"Oh? Did something happen?"
"N, nothing... It was my request. In fact, Haruka-san, I called you because... I have a request." She didn't wait for the other line to reply, with all the determination and courage, Ritsu continued. "I need to see your family tonight."
Ritsu could sense how Haruka must be frowning in confusion of her sudden request. "Is something happened between you and Mio-chan?"
"No, well... There's something I need to confess to you and Minoru-san-"
"Ritsu-kun, are you going to break—"
"What? No!" Ritsu nearly slapped her own mouth for shouting. She couldn't help it since the term 'breaking up' and such never seemed to exist in her relationship with Mio. She wouldn't even dream it. "Uh... Could you guys please just come see me? Bring Minoru-san and Mio as well. This is very, very important. I'll explain everything in perfect detail." The other line seemed to take his time it made Ritsu grew anxious. "...Please, Haruka-san." She pleaded.
"Alright. When and where?"
A/N: Whoops! There you go! A new chapter after my long long long hibernation! And dang... I nailed another chapter with 5K+ words. Again, I'm really sorry for not keeping my promise of releasing this like two or three weeks earlier. I got pretty busy all of a sudden and it's kinda hard to concentrate while I have so much to think about, lol.
So yeah, here it is! I did say that it will only be 25 chapters, but if I drift above 25, please bear with me. I now think that 25 chapters won't be enough until the wedding- oh wait, the wedding will be in another story. A sequel, probably. Still a plan though. Now, I'm going to go and update "Letter"~
No story infos? Nope. Not in this one.
 Oh, but did you noticed a familiar name? Yup. The name's "Mei" I purposely took from a yuri manga called, "Citrus" (if you're a fan of yuri, you must know it). So I guess later on, I will address this other Mio as Mei instead. It's also less confusing when I put the two Mio in the same paragraph, haha.
BETA-less | Corrected with Office Word.
CielRz-Jr - iDachii - iDutchman | Signing Off