Hi everyone! So, to be honest, I had no plans to write a sequel to Immune. I sincerely thought I was going to leave the story as it was. But just a little after finishing it, I kept coming up with new ideas on how I would continue the story if I did. Finally, after playing around with my thoughts a little bit, I decided to go further. Although, I should warn you all that this is still in the works, but I hope I can keep the personalities of the characters the same. So thank you so much for clicking on the link and I hope you enjoy this story as much as the first! PLEASE READ AND REVIEW!
Disclaimer: I do not own Skip Beat or any of its characters.
With her back bent and gasping lungs, the young actress lugged the large box down the carpeted hall. She looked like she was desperately trying to move a thousand pound bolder. And after every three tugs, she would stop and pant, feeling as if her arms were going to fall straight off. But once she saw the pale door in sight, she narrowed her eyes determinedly and continued on her strenuous trek. The box weighed at least half of her weight so holding it within her arms was definitely not an option. Pulling was the only way to get the job done.
As soon as she reached the front door, she gratefully straightened her tired posture and reached for the silver key in the pocket of her white shorts. Turning the familiar door knob, she swung the door open and was greeted with a wave of nostalgia as she stared at the scene before her. Nothing had changed. The black couch, the wooden coffee table, the flat screen television set, they were all there.
Smiling, she continued to pull the heavy box through the front entry way and stopped right behind the sofa. She wiped her forehead with the back of her hand and pulled back the clear masking tape. She reached her hand within the box and retrieved some of the contents inside: a case of cosmetics, a couple of books on acting, a miniature piggy bank, and finally a Darumaya doll.
She laughed reminiscently as she held the large, rounded figure with both hands. Nimbly running her fingers over the black eye, she couldn't believe that it was nearly five years ago since she drew it in. Although many people have told her it was time to draw in the other eye, she truly believed that she hadn't accomplished her goal just yet. To a motivated actress like her, there was still a long way to go.
But as she stared at the red doll, she couldn't help but have this longing feeling to be back at the restaurant with the landlord and his wife. Without their help, she would have never gotten close to her dream, let alone achieve it. They supported her through every trial that life threw at her and it was because of their generosity that made her miss them even more. She really felt as if she had left them behind.
And just as her eyes began to water, she suddenly heard quiet footsteps thudding from down the hall. She raised her head to the doorway and saw a giant box emerge with long legs, gingerly trying to make its way through the tiny door. She giggled at the sight of it and quickly got to her feet.
"I thought we were going to leave that one for the very end," she said as she ran towards the door and gripped the box from the bottom.
"Well, I figured since I was already down there, I might as well give it a try," a male voice answered with a tiny chuckle. "Besides, it's not too heavy."
Carefully walking backwards into the room, she teased with a raised eyebrow, "Oh really? Then why are your arms trembling?"
"That's the sign of my muscles hard at work, darling," he said as he twisted his head around the edge and flashed a brilliant smile in her direction.
Her heart jumped at the sight of his face. Even after all this time, she still wasn't used to it. If anything, she reacted even more to his charming antics.
As soon as the box hit the floor and she was able to look at him more closely, her body naturally began to heat up as she drowned into his deep, warm eyes. He was just too irresistible. And right on cue, she instinctively jumped over the large box in eagerness and leapt into his already outstretched arms, linking her hands behind his back. She snuggled her face into his shoulder as she felt him press a kiss at the nape of her neck, her heartbeat quickly increasing in speed.
"I love you," she murmured naturally against his skin.
He smiled and whispered in a tender voice, "I love you too."
She giggled in response, holding onto him even tighter.
"And just to prove how much I love you," he casually added as he leaned back to look at her flushed face, "I got you a little something."
"And what would that be?"
His smile lit up like stars as he knelt down upon his knees. Pulling the box flaps open, he reached down and brought out another white package. It was about the size of a small book. She took the gift with curious eyes and looked up at him with confusion.
"When did you get this?" she asked in a soft voice.
"A little while ago," he said with twinkling eyes. "I thought it would be a good surprise."
Really curious by now, she swiftly opened the gift and pulled out what felt to be a picture frame. She turned the silver casing over and gasped. It was their wedding picture!
The silver-crystallized frame held a photo of a happy groom and bride, whose faces were angled towards each other with a smile that shone with love and warmth. But while the bride directly looked at the camera, the blue-eyed groom kept his eyes on her glowing face, smiling as if he was the luckiest man in the world.
And neatly scrawled underneath in silver cursive were the words:
Hizuri Kuon and Kyoko
Our Fairytale Come True
Kyoko could feel the tears at the corner of her eyes. They were threatening to spill over, but she didn't care. This was one of the best gifts she had ever received. It just proved to her all over again that this wasn't a dream. That everything that had happened to her these past couple of years was indeed true. Her happiness, her excitement, and her positive change were all real.
"Do you like it?" Ren whispered as he reached for her again.
"I love it. I absolutely love it," she murmured tearfully. "Thank you, Ren."
"You're welcome. I think it'll be a great addition to our home, don't you think?"
Kyoko laughed. "It sure is. And I know just where to put it."
Bouncing her way around the couch, she made her way towards mantle above the fireplace and propped the silver frame upon the wooden shelf. Kyoko took a step back and glanced over her shoulder. "What do you think?"
"Perfect," he said with a bright smile. "But I think you should put this too."
Then bending down, Ren grasped the large Darumaya doll and gave it a little shake. "It deserves a special place as well."
Kyoko smiled. This was why she loved Ren so much. Not only was he considerate, but he always made sure that she was comfortable. Ever since they decided to move in together into his condo, Ren was careful to take everything slow. Giving her as much time as she needed, he patiently let her move in at her pace and never once complained. And the fact that he understood her feelings of being slightly home-sick only showed just how much Ren paid careful attention to exactly what she wanted.
Taking the large, round doll from his hands, Kyoko happily placed it besides the frame and realized to her delight how much she loved the mantle. It was now her favorite part of the apartment.
"Good?" Kyoko asked.
Ren smiled widely, replying, "It's great."
"So now that we're all done decorating," she said with a giggle, "we should finishing unpacking the rest, right?"
Ren chuckled and nodded. "Whatever you say, Kyoko dear."
Then with one playful kiss upon her lips, he gracefully walked out of the room to grab more boxes from the moving truck downstairs. Kyoko swiftly got to work opening the few cartons that were already in the living room and saw to her great surprise that from within the large box Ren had carried up, it contained one of her most prized possessions.
Carefully taking off the plastic wrapping, Kyoko unfolded her white bridal gown. It was a trumpet style dress that accentuated her every curve, but flared like a blossom at her hips. Embroidered and beaded with crystals, the wedding dress was probably the most extravagant gift she had ever received. But the one thing that made this gown so wonderfully special was the fact that this was a personal present from her mother-in-law.
Remembering the look on Julie's face when she first tried it on, Kyoko could feel this new surge of joy swell within her heart. Hizuri Julie was exactly what she pictured when it came to a fairy tale Queen. She was undeniably beautiful with long golden locks and shimmering green eyes. Her skin was as fair as snow and her smile was absolutely magical.
Yet not only was she beautiful, but her personality was also truly amazing. The minute Julie laid eyes on Kyoko, she kindly embraced her as a daughter—as if they had both known each other from the very beginning. In fact, it didn't take much effort at all for Julie to recognize her not as an in-law, but rather as a true, blood relative. When Kyoko had stepped off the airplane, walking arm in arm with her long-awaited son Kuon, Julie cried like no other. But from the looks of her genuine smile, it was clear that they were tears of joy.
The next three weeks after that heart-wrenching reunion were amazing. Shopping, grabbing lunch, preparing dinner, Julie was the kind of mother Kyoko could only ever dream of having. She had never felt more like part of a family.
It was obvious that Julie loved Kyoko from the start. And it wasn't long before she started reminding Kyoko to call her Mom instead of Hizuri-san which had always elicited a disapproving frown from her lips. And just after a few, embarrassed tries, calling her Mom suddenly became as natural as breathing and Kyoko couldn't have been happier.
Ren surprisingly fell back into his role as Hizuri Kuon almost effortlessly. It was an understatement to say that his parents were overjoyed to see him. In fact, Kyoko couldn't recall a single moment when they weren't smiling or showering him with affection at every chance they got. Of course, no one could match the antics of Kuu who beamed like an insanely proud father, as if he just watched his son win the Nobel Prize.
Kuu and Ren were definitely great together, but sometimes Kyoko couldn't help and wonder if the roles were somehow switched. While Ren portrayed his usual sense of maturity around his parents, Kuu was as comical as ever, cracking jokes and playing mini-pranks upon his dutiful son. It was more than clear that he was grateful to have his family back together once more.
Of course, Kyoko's intense happiness of seeing Kuu again could never be explained in words. She never realized just how much she missed him until he warmly embraced her at the airport. He hadn't changed in the slightest. In fact, when Ren and Kuu stood alongside each other, Kyoko realized that Ren truly did get most of his looks from his father, but his personality was very much like his mother—determined, strong, and very adamant.
So adamant that Julie refused to allow any second-rate band, catering, dresses, music, or just about anything for Kyoko and Ren's special wedding. From the ballroom down to the quilted napkins, she took care of every little detail and made sure that they were of the highest quality. And to Kyoko's utmost horror, Julie didn't let her pay a penny for the wedding.
Whenever the bride would bring up the matter of money, she would just give her daughter a quick pinch on the cheek and say, "Leave it to Mom."
Thus, Kyoko appreciatively ran errands with Julie as they booked caterers and bands, picked out a glorious wedding cake, and decorated the massive hall Kuu had rented out for the reception. And to Kyoko's surprise, she never knew just how much planning it took for a wedding and was more than grateful that she had Julie's help. Without her, nothing would have gone as smoothly as it did.
The day of the wedding was absolutely perfect. There wasn't a single cloud in the bright blue sky and the slight breeze from off the coast kept the temperature just right. The ceremony was held near a wine vineyard with no more than 100 guests. Of course, they were all very close families and friends who knew about the very special circumstance of Ren in order to minimize any outright confusion when it came to how he looked.
Kuu even hired ultra-tight security to make sure nothing was leaked to the tabloids. A fly couldn't even get past through the doors thanks to his intense willpower to make this the best day of his son's and daughter's life, without all the paparazzi drama. The hotel was even closed down for the entire day, to keep out any possible crashers or suspicious guests during the reception. The wedding was as exclusive as it could possibly be.
And to keep up with the exclusive theme, even the people who participated in the wedding itself were either friends or close associates of the family. President Lory gladly took up the role as Officiant for the ceremony, Director Ogata and his crew filmed the entire day, Jelly did all the make-up for the ladies, and Taisho helped out with the food. Kotonami Kanae and Takarada Maria were Kyoko's bridesmaids, all dressed in tea-green strapless dresses, and Yashiro Yukihito was Ren's best man.
Everything was planned to the T and when the special day arrived, all that was left was for everyone to have fun. The morning ceremony was truly mesmerizing. Standing beneath a shimmering canopy, Ren, who was dressed in white, watched in absolute awe as Kyoko elegantly made her way down the rose-petal aisle, with her bridesmaids in front and Taisho and the landlady on either side.
President Lory, who took the liberty to order his own lavish, Minister-like robes, couldn't stop the tears from streaming down his face as he emotionally recited the special words that bonded Ren and Kyoko in holy matrimony. And after a sweet and loving kiss, the guests applauded loudly in sincere joy for the new couple. Once the formal ceremony was over, they all made their way towards the grand reception hall, filled with crystals, flowers, and candles that lit up the spacious room.
The food was incredible, the music was lively, and the atmosphere was contagious. Kyoko and Ren smiled non-stop as they greeted every guest, making sure to express their heartfelt gratitude that they all came. During the reception, there were countless of memorable moments. The first father-daughter dance between Kyoko and Kuu was definitely a crowd favorite since the beat switched from a slow, traditional ballad to a perky song mid-way that had the whole room cheering with laughter as the two comically tore up the dance floor.
Then of course, there were the unforgettable toasts from Director Ogata, President Lory (who brought along his own circus of performers), and Sawara Takenori as they all voiced their best wishes for the new love-birds. Kanae, to everyone's pleasant alarm, caught Kyoko's bouquet that was littered with glistening gems while a very red-faced Yashiro was able to snatch her silk garter that soared through the air.
Maria performed her own self-composed song that had everyone singing along with her and President Lory's assistant, Sebastian, had even prepared a VERY detailed slide-show of the romance between Ren and Kyoko, who both hadn't a clue as to how he came to get such intimate pictures in the first place.
But just like every day, the joyous occasion eventually came to an end as the guests made their way home, warmly bidding farewell to the happily married couple and making earnest wishes that their futures will be as bright as their love. So after a whole month of non-stop planning (and sometimes stress), Kyoko and Ren tiredly returned home and prepared for their three-week long honeymoon in Cancun.
Following another tearful good-bye and a promise to visit soon, Kyoko and Ren, who was no longer a blond, boarded a plane to fly off to a secret vacation with absolutely no distractions. Cancun was utterly breathtaking. Their hotel was beautiful, the food was great, and the night-life was crazy. And with three weeks all to themselves, Kyoko and Ren took their time enjoying each other's company as they went off on exciting dates and explored new levels of their relationship. It was certainly a honeymoon to remember.
But now evenly tanned and eagerly ready to get back to work, Kyoko reminscently draped her beautiful gown over the couch and made her way downstairs to help her husband with the boxes. Of course, moving into his condo was taking a lot longer than they thought. It really felt as if they were changing houses.
Once everything was placed inside the apartment, the task of unpacking wasn't any easier. They tried to find a place for everything, but the condo was too small to house both of their belongings, so eventually it was decided that there were some things that just had to go up in the attic.
And after six more hours of opening boxes and dusting down the place, Kyoko was now officially moved in.
"Done," she huffed warily as she fell back against the couch seats. "We're finally done."
Ren leaned over the headrest and smiled down at his tired wife, whose arm was stretched above her head. She smiled up at him and said, "Thank you for the help."
She laughed. "And now there's just one last thing to take care of," Kyoko said as she brushed fingertips against her silky wedding gown. "We definitely can't forget about this."
"Well, I prepared a special place for it in the closet and everything," Ren answered. "I promised Mother I wouldn't get a single speck of dust on the dress."
Kyoko giggled and sat up. "I'll go hang it up then."
But just as she was about to get to her feet, Ren suddenly grasped her hand and said, "Not yet. I have another surprise for you."
"Another one?" Kyoko asked incredulously. "How many more of these should I be expecting?"
"Well, considering I love the look on your face each time, I would say much, much more."
And before she could say another word, Ren walked around the sofa and scooped her into his arms, cradling her body to his chest. "Now close your eyes," he ordered playfully. "And don't open them until I say so."
Kyoko sighed warily. "This never gets old for you, does it?"
Ren laughed and answered, "Not a bit," as he pressed a kiss upon each of her eyelids.
Then carrying her down the hall, Ren swiftly walked toward his bedroom and gently pushed the door open with his foot. Kyoko, whose eyes were still tightly shut, instantly smelled the aroma of fresh flowers all around and a heat emanating from the room.
"Ren, what's going on?" she asked curiously.
"Not yet," he said in a sing-song tone as he walked into the bedroom and towards the massive bed. Gently laying her down, Ren placed her slender body upon the covers and stood beside her. Kyoko instinctively propped herself onto her arms, noticing that the texture of his bed was different from what she last remembered. The covers were silk this time.
"Okay Kyoko, you can look now," he said.
Swiftly, she opened her eyes and to her surprise saw the most astonishing room. Bathed in warm candlelight, his bedroom was practically unrecognizable. The dresser, carpet, and bed were covered with fresh, rose petals. The windows had sheer, red curtains hanging from the top and the bed itself was covered with thick red blankets and crimson, silk pillow cases.
Kyoko couldn't believe how much the room had transformed. But the one thing that really caught her eye was how throughout the room, there were miniature sparkling frames that had pictures of them from their honeymoon, wedding, romantic dates, and even trips from around the world. And right above the dresser was a large, framed newspaper clipping of their famous kiss in front of the JTUV station with the sweet headline: JAPAN'S FAVORITE COUPLE.
This room was no longer just his, but now hers as well.
Kyoko looked up at her devoted husband and reached for his hand, pulling her beside him. He lay down next to her as she moved her head to the crook of his shoulder. Inhaling deeply, she murmured, "You did all this just for me?"
"Of course," Ren whispered, "this is our home now and I want it to be as comfortable for you as possible."
"Well, I'm very comfortable," Kyoko assured with a gentle hug around his torso, "and I love how you chose red. It sure brings back a lot of memories."
He nodded as he kissed her forehead. "It's my new favorite color."
Kyoko looked up at him and felt her breath catch as she realized he was staring down at her with such a loving gaze. No matter how many times she told herself that this was all real, Kyoko couldn't help but wonder if this was all a part of her imagination. Everything about Ren was just too good to be true. And the fact that he was her husband was a miracle all on its own.
"You're amazing," she said against his lips.
"That's my line," Ren murmured as he kissed her even deeper.
Before long, Ren turned over until his body loomed over hers, careful not to apply too much of his weight on her slender body. Kyoko's hands trailed to his smooth face as she opened her mouth and tasted the familiar texture of his lips. Even though they have been together for years now, Ren and Kyoko's love for one another never once wavered, both mentally and physically.
If anything, their affection for each other blazed with even more intensity as each day passed. And now that they understood each other like no one else possibly could, there weren't any walls that kept them apart. Ren slowly leaned back and felt his heart lurch at the sight of her face. She looked so beautiful at times like these, her cheeks a light red and her lips slightly pursed.
He let out a tiny groan as he pressed his forehead against hers.
"What's wrong?" Kyoko asked amusedly.
"Would I be a terrible husband if I told you I don't want to clean up anymore?"
She laughed and answered, "If that's true, then I guess I'm a horrible wife for thinking the same thing."
Ren smiled widely. Then in a huskier voice, murmur, "Are you still tired from the honeymoon?"
In an instant, Kyoko's innocent gaze changed to one that mirrored very much Natsu's, one of the most famous character she had ever played in her entire career. Suave and undeniably sexy, it was unbelievable to think that Kyoko and Natsu were in fact the same person. The look in her eyes was so intense and almost lustful that Ren could barely catch his breath. He could never get used to her like this.
"I'm never tired," she said silkily, running her hands through his brown hair.
As soon as the words left her lips, Ren's aura completely changed to what Kyoko playfully named as the Emperor of the Night. He was waiting for this moment just as much as she was. And with one last smoldering gaze into her fiery eyes, Ren placed a leg in between her thighs and leaned down to capture her lips once more, smoothly unbuttoning his shirt along the way.
Naturally reaching for one another, the couple lay tangled among the soft blankets and red rose petals, entering a fantasy world that solely belonged to them.