disclaimer: anything you recognize is not mine.
Rin felt nauseous as she sat in the room, the smell of medical grade cleaner causing her stomach to knot. Her palms were sweaty as she clenched the leather seat, her brown eyes darting from the clock to the door.
She jumped as the door opened. "Ah Mrs. Takahashi," Dr. Jinenji bowed as he entered the room, "How have you been faring?"
"Well," she replied timidly, "Thank you."
He pulled his chair so he sat in front of the young woman, "Good." His voice was gentle and soothing, "So let's get straight to it then, shall we?" He opened her file and put on his glasses, his large eyes moving over the yellow page. "And can you tell me again, why you took the blood test Wednesday?"
"Um," she chewed her lip, "Yes, of course. I haven't had my period since... since the miscarriage so I'm wondering if... is it, am I..."
"Pregnant?" He offered, removing his spectacles. He let out a deep sigh, "Well, Mrs. Takahashi, from these results, I'm sorry to inform you that you are not pregnant."
Rin felt like she had been kicked in the chest, "Not pregnant?" She echoed, her eyes glassy with tears.
"I'm sorry." He placed his hand over hers and squeezed them gently, "I understand your desire to conceive but you have to understand that your body is still healing. In fact, according to your blood test, your hormone levels are still unbalanced."
She closed her eyes, "But... when will it get better?" She asked, "When will I be normal?"
Dr. Jinenji bowed his head, "It depends on the person. It could take anywhere from a few months to even a year for your hormone levels to normalize."
Rin whimpered, "A year?"
He nodded his head sympathetically, "All I can urge you to do is stay healthy. Sleep, eat, exercise. You're still young Mrs. Takahashi, your time will come."
"What if I can't?" She asked, "What if it doesn't go back to normal?"
"It will, I assure you." He glanced down as his phone beeped, quickly checking his message. "I'm so sorry but an emergency client has arrived. Please feel free to call if you have any more questions." He stood up and bowed deep, "I wish you all the best."
Rin gave him a half-hearted smile, "Thank you." She crossed her arms in front of her belly, her mood considerably dampened by the news. For the past few weeks she had been toying with the idea that she could be pregnant. Her cravings for salty foods and pickled items, just like she had been when she was carrying Takehiko. And the pregnancy test she had taken at home earlier that week only confirmed her suspicions. But this news was absolutely devastating. Her hormones were still unbalanced.
Her gaze fell to the ring on her finger, "I'm sorry," she whispered, a single tear falling from her brown eyes.
Sesshomaru tapped his fingers on the black table as his eyes scanned the restaurant for any sign of his wife. Twenty minutes late, he thought absently, instantly moving to his feet as he spotted her. She was a whirlwind of color, her dress a vibrant rose that ended mid thigh, her heels a bright yellow. Her hands clutched a bouquet of purple tulips as she danced towards him. Her eyes were bright and jubilant, that healthy glow to her skin returned after months of recovery.
"I'm so sorry that I'm late," she murmured, out of breath as she pressed her lips to his chin. "I stopped by the flower market on my way over and I just couldn't help but get these," she lifted the bouquet to his nose, "Aren't they beautiful?" She cooed, beaming as he took an obligatory sniff.
"Hn," he returned, taking her hand as he led her to her seat.
"Aww, you're mad at me, aren't you?" She teased, stroking his arm as she leant up onto her toes and kissed him slowly, seducing him with her soft lips. "There," she smiled, "Feeling better now, grumps?"
He couldn't help but roll his eyes, the sides of his lips lifting as they parted, "I sometimes think I married a child," he retorted, stealing one more kiss before he pulled out her seat for her.
Rin took the napkin from the table and set it on her lap, "And I sometimes think I married a robot." She stuck out her tongue, giggling as he shook his head in exasperation. "Truce?" She asked, her hand reaching over to his. Her fingers danced on his palm, "I really am sorry that I'm late Maru," she babbled, speaking without a thought, "My doctor's appointment was changed this morning to ten thirty and it just set everything back."
He frowned, their fingers entangled, "Your appointment? You didn't mention anything about an appointment."
She stiffened, her gaze diverting from his face to the table. She hadn't told him on purpose. "I um..." she swallowed, unknowing whether or not to let him know where she had been. "I..." but he's your husband Rin, she reminded herself, chiding her insecurities. "I went to see Dr. Jinenji."
His eyes widened, his breath taken away. "You did?" His thoughts ran, "Are you-?"
"No." Rin's hold on his hand tightened, "I'm not." Her voice broke, "I thought I might be. I haven't had my... you know, for a while and I thought, maybe I was. But I'm not..." She felt her eyes water, "I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I just... I didn't want to disappoint you."
His gaze softened, "Rin," he murmured, stroking her rings with his thumb, "I could never be disappointed in you."
"I know, I was just being stupid." She closed her eyes as his hand pulled away, jumping as she felt his hands on her shoulders.
"Come," he spoke softly, pulling out her chair and took her hand as they walked out of the restaurant.
"But," she glanced back at the confused waiter who had two glasses of wine in his hands, "But how about lunch?"
"We'll eat in a minute." He led her to the quiet street behind the restaurant, away from prying eyes as he guided her so she rested her back against the stone building. He held her face with one hand as he looked into her brown eyes, "Rin, have I told you today that I love you?"
She could not help but laugh softly, wiping the tears that dripped down her cheeks, "Not since you left for work."
"Hm," he kissed her nose, "Very well then my wife," he told her sincerely, pouring his heart into his words. "I love you."
"I love you too," she whispered as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders, "I'm sorry. I just... I wanted to know first." She sniffed as she looked up into his amber gaze, "I thought I was. I really did. I even started to crave things again, like I did when..." when she was pregnant.
Sesshomaru pulled her closer into his embrace, "Rin, it's ok." His tone was patient and calm.
She whimpered, her chocolate orbs focusing on his black tie, "But what if there's something wrong with me? What if... what if I can't?"
"Where is this coming from?" He asked, looking intently into her chocolate gaze.
Her fingers trembled as they stroked his cheek, "It's been months since we've been trying and I just... I know, I'm just being silly." She sniffed, "And I'm crying again." She laughed bitterly as she wiped her tears. "The doctor said my hormones are unbalanced. That's why I haven't ovulated since the miscarriage." She tore her gaze from his, "I'm sorry," she whispered in anguish.
"Rin," he lifted her chin, "It's not something you can control." He frowned at the look of pain in her eyes, "You need not apologize. We'll be pregnant soon, I promise."
"You can't promise that," she murmured, nuzzling her nose against the soft black cashmere sweater.
"Can't I?" He smirked as he pulled her hips to meet his, "We'll just have to try harder then," he purred, pressing his lips along her smooth, porcelain neck. "Perhaps here?"
She giggled, swatting his bum playfully, "In the alley?" She asked him, feeling so thankful to have him in her life. He always knows how to make me smile.
"If that's what it takes," he chuckled at Rin's expression, "Very well." He pulled back and took her hand, "Perhaps not here." Together they walked back to the restaurant and to their private room.
"Tonight." He promised as he pulled out her chair, whispering in her ear.
Her brown eyes shone with laughter, "You're insatiable." She murmured as she turned and cupped his cheeks, "But I'm so crazy about you, Sesshomaru Takahashi."
He smiled as he placed a kiss to the palms of her hands, "And I you Rin."
After lunch they took their separate ways, Sesshomaru heading back to his office and Rin returning to work. Around four Rin left the flower shop, greeting her driver as she stepped into the car Sesshomaru had hired. She stifled a yawn as she quickly checked her phone for any messages, her mind distracted by the upcoming wedding bouquets she had to design for the week.
Rin blinked blearily, jumping as she spotted Miroku sitting across from her. "Miroku? What are you doing here?"
Miroku hesitated, "I… how was work?" He quickly steered the conversation, "I hear that your services have been hired by the Shingawa Hotel for their upcoming conference series, congratulations."
Rin frowned, "Thank you. It went well…" She suddenly felt cold, her stomach queasy as she spoke. "But Miroku, I have a feeling you don't want to talk about flowers."
"Right," Miroku rubbed the back of his neck, dreading this talk. "Look… Rin, there's no better way to tell you this." He pulled out a file from his briefcase and handed it to Rin. "This is a magazine story that was sent to our office this morning. We've verified every piece of information and while I can't confirm personally all of the details... I have to be honest and tell you that the dates all match up."
"What is it?" Rin opened the file and pulled out the magazine, her heart stopping as she read the title. "The shocking scandal inside Tokyo's Cinderella story." She flipped through and found the article, her heart pounding, her chest tight as she read it.
"We've made contact with the alleged mistress, she's an intern in HR."
"The red-head," Rin whispered, her mind instantly flashing back to that moment. Her fingers curled into her palm as she read about their torrid affair. Late nights in the office, secret meetings in the condo, and business trips... like Hong Kong.
Natsumi was right, she thought, they were all right. Rin felt the overwhelming urge to weep, "And you're... saying it's true?" Her body suddenly felt cold, her fingers shaking as she stroked her wedding ring.
Not again, she pleaded, not again.
Miroku licked his lips, his throat dry, "I'm saying that details have been confirmed. She could be lying Rin, but everything's adding up. She's been with the company for over a year, when most interns come and go every 4 months. There's no reason why she would have gone to Hong Kong in May, but we've confirmed with the hotel that she stayed in the room across from his."
"I..." Rin felt at a lost for words, "I don't know what to think." She whispered, her vision blurred by her tears.
He cleared his throat, averting his gaze from Rin's as he looked out of the limo's window, "We've payed off the magazine, they won't print the article."
She looked down at the image of the woman in the magazine. She could still see that moment. It was like it was just yesterday. The way she was touching him, her Sesshomaru, her husband. Just the thought made her heart ache, "And her?"
Miroku sighed, "It's not my position to terminate employees."
Rin wanted to laugh, "Especially since she's sleeping with the boss?" She brought her hands to cover her face, her body numb. Her mind was muddled with confusion. Everything had been going to well. So perfectly. "This -," her voice was shaking as she threw the magazine off her lap, "I don't, I don't... know what to do." She looked to him, "Do you think it's true? Do you think he did this?"
Miroku cursed, "Rin… Kami, I've known Sesshomaru for a long time. And I just, I wish I could tell you no but…"
"You can't." She finished for him, tears streaming down her cheeks, "Does he know about the article?"
"No, he doesn't. I thought it was best for you to know first. I scheduled a meeting with him this evening to go over it."
"Wait," Rin's voice shook, her body trembling. "Can you reschedule? Please, just… just give me a day."
He nodded, "Of course, a day." He glanced at his phone, "I'm sorry Rin." He squeezed her hand as he stepped out of the limo, "But I need to get back to the office."
Rin bowed her head, "Thank you," she whispered, her gaze reverting back to the magazine. She felt like she was falling, her heart crumbling. Not again….
Later that night Rin laid silently in their bed, wrapped in the comforter as she awaited her husband. She was numb, the shock from Miroku's revelation dulling her senses. He had an affair, she thought, remembering the article's harsh words.
'Bored by his naive young wife, their marriage nothing but a farce…'
She whimpered at the memory, her eyes clenching together. Not again, she begged, I can't do this again. She wiped her eyes, willing herself not to cry. Willing herself to maintain her composure.
Her breath hitched as she heard the door to their home open, those familiar footsteps soon walking up the stairs. Her chocolate gaze darted to the clock, dread filling her every pore, nine thirty. She thought, when he promised that he'd be back by six.
She felt a sharp pain shoot through her as she buried herself further in the bed. Her eyes were moist, he was late, again. She fisted the white bedsheets, her thoughts running wild.
Were you with her? She wondered, all this time when I was waiting for you at home, were you with her?
She clenched her eyes as she heard the door to their bedroom open, her body tense. She could feel his gaze on her, hear his soft breaths and then finally the door closed. The tension escaped her, her emotions suddenly overwhelming her senses. She wanted to weep, to curl up into a ball and cry. The pain building in her was unimaginable, the thought of their crumbling marriage, of his torrid affair, of his lies.
Rin turned onto her side, shifting over until she was on his side of the bed. Small arms reached forward and grabbed his pillow, holding it close to her small form. She clutched it tightly as she buried her face into it and began to weep. If this was all a lie, how foolish would she look? To fall for his charm again? To fall more deeply in love than she was before? To lose herself in him, to believe his words, his touch.
Despite the pain in her heart, her eyelids felt heavy, falling in and out of consciousness as she lost herself in her thoughts.
Hours later Rin awoke, her eyes crusted as they opened. She whimpered, the cold air harsh against her skin. She grabbed the blanket and wrapped it around her as she tiptoed out of the bedroom, spotting the light from the office down the hall. Maybe it was just a bad dream, she thought fleetingly as she moved towards the room. Maybe it was just my imagination running wild.
"Sesshomaru?" Her voice was scratchy as she called his name, gently rapping her hand against the door.
"Rin?" Sesshomaru looked up from his desk, setting the files onto his desk, "I thought you were asleep."
She was silent, looking at him with her dark eyes that were clouded with emotion. She struggled to answer, but all she could see was that red haired intern wrapped around him. The image taunted her, mocked her. Was it true? She wondered, was she a fool once again?
Her lips quivered as she spoke, "It's late," she whispered, her voice wavering.
His brows knitted together, "Indeed." He stood up from behind his desk and moved towards her, his hand reaching forward to toy with the end of her long, ebony tresses. "You look lost." He brushed his lips against hers, "Is your mind still with your doctor's appointment?"
"Y-yeah," she was shivering, the thin blanket barely warming her body, "I guess... I just... can't sleep."
"What can I do?" He asked, pressing a soft kiss to her forehead.
What can he do? Her fingers curled into his shirt, bunching the cotton in her small fist. What can he do? It all came rushing back, her heart aching. It wasn't a dream. That magazine was still in her bag, her heart on the edge of breaking. She wanted to fall into his arms and cry. She wanted to beg him for an answer, to tell her it never happened. She whimpered as her eyes filled with tears, her vision blurred white.
"Take me to the beach house," she requested, her gaze meeting his, pleading with those brown orbs. "Where you proposed to me."
Sesshomaru's brows raised, "The beach house?" He echoed as he looked at his watch, "It's nearly midnight."
Her shoulders lowered, "Right…" She blinked back the moisture as she forced a laugh, shaking her head, "I wasn't thinking." She hiked the small blanket around her shoulders, "I don't know why I even-" She stopped as he took her hand and pulled her back into his embrace.
"I didn't say no." He interrupted as he brushed his lips to her temple, "Get your things, I'll meet you by the car in ten."
Her body trembled at his words, the fist curled around her heart tightening. The thoughts in her mind were so conflicting, "Sesshomaru," she whispered, "We don't have to." We don't have to pretend if this is all a lie.
He smiled, "But you forget," he murmured, his hand lifting to wipe those tears falling down her rose-tainted cheeks, "I'm wrapped around your finger."
She wanted to believe him, she wanted their marriage to be true. That when he told her that he loved her, he meant it. Her hands shook as she nodded her head, "Ok." She leant up onto her tiptoes to kiss his cheek, "I'll see you soon."
She walked to their bedroom, quickly packing her things, ignoring the tears that threatened to fall. It felt like she was marching to her doom, the heavy thoughts looming over her head. What if this was the last time? She wondered, her fingers trailing over their bed as she sat upon it, her breaths heavy and unmatched. She struggled to calm herself, her mind running to the worst of thoughts. What if this was our last night? She thought, the last night she would kiss him goodnight. The last night she would lay next to him as they slept. The last time she would wake up to the man who held her heart. Would he tell her that he loved her? Would he tell her that she was his heart?
And would that all be a lie?
Sesshomaru knocked on the door to their bedroom, her head whipping forward. "It's been fifteen minutes, are you ready?"
"Y-yes, sorry." She quickly moved onto her feet, her hands grabbing the leather handles of her keep-all.
"Daydreaming?" He asked as he took the bag, his other hand finding hers.
Rin glanced down at their interlocked fingers, her thumb running over his wedding band. "Aren't I always?" She jested, forcing a smile onto her face.
"It's as beautiful as I remember," Rin murmured as they walked along the beach. Her deep brown eyes looked over the dark, blue water, the waves crashing against one another and then gently sweeping their toes.
"Dance with me," he murmured as he bent down to whisper in her ears, his arms wrapping around her small waist.
Her arms moved up, one hand wrapped around his neck, the other firmly holding his. They moved, swaying to nature's song. The waves, the night insects, the crunching of the sand beneath their bare feet.
This is so romantic, Rin thought as she laid her head against his chest, inhaling his scent. She chose to ignore that ache in her chest, that one thought that wondered if this was all an act. Her fingers splayed against his as she intertwined their fingers.
"I'm in love with you," she whispered, her eyes closing as she felt his lips press firmly on the top of her head. A tear escaped, the rest held back only by her will. The thought of losing him hurt her so much, her chest tight at the mere thought. What would she do without him? Her rock? Her heart?
"Shall we swim in the ocean?" He asked, his hand running over her soft curves.
She shook her head, both of her arms wrapped around his shoulders. She leaned up onto her tiptoes and pressed her chapped lips against his, kissing him as if it were their last. Because what if it was. She poured her heart into her touch, her fingers curling into his skin. He groaned, his hand cupping the back of her head as he embraced her touch.
"Make love to me," she requested as they parted, her lips red, her hair tousled. She looked deep into his amber gaze, "Please." Her voice broke, and she wondered if he could tell. She wondered if he knew how her heart was breaking.
His steps faltered at her words, his brows raising, "On the beach?" He asked, his fingers moving to the heavy sweater she wore.
She could not help but giggle, "As romantic as that sounds, I'd much prefer the bed."
"As the lady requests," he returned, sweeping her into his strong arms. She laughed, one arm wrapped around his strong shoulders as they walked into the beach house. Just lose yourself Rin, she told herself, lose yourself in this moment.
"I adore you," she whispered to him as he laid her on the bed. She moved up onto her knees as he sat beside her.
His hand stroked her long, midnight hair, "Do you?"
She nodded, "I don't think I could ever stop." She spoke, her voice soft, breaking with emotion.
He smiled, "You're so beautiful my Rin," he told her, as he tugged off her sweater, tossing it onto the floor.
"Am I?" She asked him, her fingers unbuttoning his shirt.
"Incredibly," he murmured as he took off her skirt, "You take my breath away." He told her as he stole a quick kiss, "Everyday."
She smiled, her eyes filling with tears as she moved up onto her knees and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. "Make love to me," she requested, soon losing herself in his touch.
Their lovemaking was passionate, hungry, and desperate as she clung to him. From that moment, her thoughts, those heart-aching images were cast from her mind, her ability to think erased as they peaked.
I love you, I love you, I love you…
Sesshomaru groaned as he lazily moved off of her, pressing a kiss to her shoulder. "I love you," he told her as he laid his head next to hers, their legs still intertwined, his hand moulded against her skin.
She closed her eyes, ingraining this moment to her memory. The way his warmth felt against her, the way he looked, his amber eyes pure with lazy lust, his lips curled up as his fingers caressed her back. Her voice shook, "Why?" Why me? She wondered, when you could have anyone. Why me?
"Hm?" He looked into her brown eyes, "It's impossible not to. You're…" he toyed with her rings, considering his thoughts. "My everything. My first thought, my dream, my heart." The corners of his mouth lifted, "You're so beautiful Rin, and you have no idea how much it affects me when you smile. When you laugh, how easily you make me happy. You make me want to be a better person, to... kami, what would I ever do without you?" He shifted forward and kissed her tenderly, his lips softly pressed against hers, "How did I ever forget you?"
Rin closed her eyes as she felt her tears slide down her cheeks. She wanted so badly to believe his words, to trust that he loved her so implicitly.
"Do you remember the day we went skinny dipping on our honeymoon?" She asked as she giggled softly at the memory, "And we had that insanely romantic idea to make love under that waterfall but it didn't work because the water pressure from the fall was incredibly high?"
He chuckled, his thumb wiping away her tears, "But I still made love to you in that lake."
"You did," she conceded, he remembers, she thought fleetingly. Her fingers wrapped around his hand, feel the moment Rin. She told herself, pleaded with herself to lose herself in the moment.
He leant his head on her shoulder, his hand resting on her flat stomach. He hummed lightly, "Do you think we made a baby tonight?"
Her heart tightened at his words, looking into his hopeful, amber gaze. "Maybe," she replied finally, finding her words. "If we did, we should name her Miyu."
"Beautiful moon," he laughed, "But what if it's a boy?"
"Kaimu," she whispered, her eyes filling with tears, "Ocean dream."
"Perfect." He moved up and pulled her closer, her head resting on his chest as they embraced. "Are you feeling better?" He asked, brushing her hair with his fingers.
"Yes," she smiled, "I guess I was just feeling down tonight." She shifted over and kissed his cheek, "Thank you for bringing me here."
"Of course," he yawned, resting his head against the pillows.
Rin giggled, mesmerized by him. Who would have thought, she thought, that the Sesshomaru Takahashi yawns when he is tired. "Tired?" She asked, her voice soft.
"Very. Dream of me," his lips pressed against hers before he closed his eyes, soon drifting to sleep.
Rin's eyes felt heavy but she could not sleep. Instead, her brown orbs watched him, weary, glimmering with tears that fought to be shed. Her fingers inched towards his, slowly moving to stroke his ring.
He had been her first, she thought. Her first everything. Her first real date. Her first kiss. Her first love... and her first heartbreak.
And as much as she told herself not to dwell on those images of that woman and Sesshomaru, she could not help but imagine it. Wonder what they did together. Naked, in the dark of the night.
She tensed, pulling her hand back from his. Did he hold her close and whisper sweet nothings into her ear? Did he tell her that he loved her too? And when he was with other women, did he ever think of her? Knowing how much she loved him? Knowing how much it would have hurt her if she knew?
A sob escaped her lips as she turned her head, burying her face into the pillows.
She wanted to stop imaging it, to turn off her mind, but she could not. All she could see was him and those other women. Those other beautiful, tall, and elegant women. Women who would look so perfect by his side.
Her tears subsided and she dared to look at him once more, her hand shaking as it touched his chest. Would this be it? She asked herself, the last time he held her close? The last time he told her that he loved her, the last time she would allow herself to believe him?
Her resolve was firmer, get out of bed, she told herself. Despite the urge to stay with him. Cloaked in his cocoon of warmth. Her naked body slipped out of the cotton sheets, her bare feet curling against the cold, wood floor.
He moaned as he felt her shift, the lack of her body against his, "Rin?" His voice was bleary, edged in sleep.
"I just need to use the washroom," she whispered quickly, reaching down for her forgotten clothes. She dressed silently, making her way to her bag. Her breath escaped her as she pulled out the letter she had written, then the magazine print-out. She set them next to him, quickly taking a step back as her hands shook. Please don't let it be true, she thought as she bowed her head, wiping her tears. Please don't let out marriage be a lie.
Rin bent down to kiss him, tears streaming down her cheeks as her lips touched his. For the last time? She wondered, sniffling as she watched him sleep. His lashes were long, his nose perfectly arched and his cheekbones angled. He was so handsome, so heartbreakingly handsome. He looked so unattainable, it was unimaginable why someone like him would want someone as damaged as her.
"I love you," she told him, her voice breaking. "I want to believe in you." She squeezed her eyes shut, "I want to believe, so much, that when you tell me that you love me, you actually do. That when you come home and tell me that you missed me, you actually do. But it hurts so much," she whimpered, "It hurts... because I can't." Her heart broke into pieces, "I can't fight for you any more, not if this is still a lie." Her hand covered her mouth as she wept, struggling not to make a noise.
Her tears eventually stopped, her breaths shaky as she stood.
She had to leave, she thought finally, gathering her things. She glanced back at his sleeping form, her fingers curled around her bag as she stood by the bedroom door.
I love you.
Do you remember the first day I told you that I loved you? I was so happy, so in love with you. A charming, funny, handsome man who hardly smiled. A man who's hand fit perfectly with mine, a man who knew my every thought. You mesmerized me, captured my heart like no one has ever before. And I've never told you, but I've loved you since the moment you asked me to dance.
My heart is eternally yours, even if this was a lie.
I know that I'm a coward for writing this, for running away from you. For not being able to ask you in person the truth. But I'm scared. I'm so terrified to know the truth. So I'll ask you here, when I'm not there to see you read it. When I'm not there to face the truth.
Is it true? Her?
Sesshomaru, all this time I tried, hoping, praying that you'd remember our love. But maybe it was for nothing. Maybe our love never truly existed. Maybe you never truly loved me, and I was nothing more than your naive puppet.
If it's true, don't you think I've suffered long enough? How foolish of me, don't you think, to have been so naive, so blind to everything. Falling further in love with a man who could never return my feelings. And I can't fight for you anymore, not if it was all a lie.
In two months you'll be free of your burden. I promise to go away quietly, and I beg of you, don't hold onto me. If any of this is true, please, just let me go.
Sesshomaru felt cold as he read the letter, his hand shaking as he set it on his lap. "Is what true?" He looked around the room, every trace of Rin erased. She was gone… "What's going on?" He asked himself, dread filling him as he pulled the accompanying magazine into his lap.
"The Tokyo Society Magazine," he murmured, his eyebrows bunched together as he read the title story, "The shocking scandal inside the Cinderella story."
His insides twisted at the image of their wedding photo slashed in half, a photo of a familiar woman circled in red.
His eyes closed immediatly as his mind pulled a memory forward, cringing as he saw a hand on his knee, long red nails caressing him. The image faded into another, red lips purring into his ears, "Please sir, let me help you." That woman, the one in his office when Rin came in. His heart stopped, as another time came forward…
Sesshomaru leaned against the iron rails of his penthouse suite as he looked over the Hong Kong skyline, taking in the foggy night that masked the bright city lights. He glanced down at his phone, awaiting her call. She had told him that morning to await her evening call for nine, and here it was, fifteen past. He chuckled, his mind no longer swamped with thoughts of contracts and meetings. It was fascinating how the mere thought of her could calm his mind.
His phone vibrated, her image popping up on the screen. A smile donned his lips as he swiped his finger across, "Rin," he greeted, "I missed you."
She giggled, "Missed you too. Sorry I'm late calling, I took a nap after I had supper."
"It's fine," he moved to sit in the recliner, "How's the baby?"
He swore he could hear her smile, "Absolutely perfect, but he's missing his daddy." She stroked her belly, "Aren't you my little peanut?"
"Ah, we've moved on from marshmallow to peanut? What's next? Chip? Mango?"
She snorted, "You're such a smart aleck Maru, and if you have to know, I'm thinking jellybean… My dad used to call me that," she added softly, tears brimming at the memory.
"Hm, was it because you jumped around all day?" He question, trying to lift her mood.
She laughed, "You know me so well, don't you?"
"Hn… how was your day?"
"Good," she hummed to herself as she shimmied under the comforter, "Ayame and I did that baby shower today, it was so pretty. The theme was garden party with a hint of Alice in Wonderland…"
As she spoke Sesshomaru closed his eyes, listening to the melody of her voice. How her voice went up when she was excited, how her speech quickened at the ends of her sentences, how her laugh sounded like bells.
"Sesshomaru? Ne? Are you still there?"
"Yes," he stifled a yawn, "Sorry, I had a long day."
"Oh, of course." She glanced at the clock, "It's getting late I guess." She sighed, "Two more days, huh?"
"Two more," he repeated, "Do you think you'll survive?"
She laughed, "Of course I can, but will you?" She moved onto her side, picturing him next to her, "I mean, who's going to give you good morning kisses and knot your ties?"
He chuckled, "I have to admit, my ties have looked sloppier since you're not around."
"Mm," she yawned herself, "Honestly, just talking to you for this long has me out of breath."
"Rest then," he murmured, "Sleep well Rin."
"I will. Love you," she smiled, "See you in two days."
"Two days." He moved the phone from his ear and ended the conversation, his gaze set on her image. He had yet to change it since the first time he had added her photo to her number. With a soft sigh he pocketed the device and walked back into his hotel room, tugging off his tie as he set it on the nearby chair. His blazer came off next, resting on the back of the chair. Then his gold woven knot cufflinks, a one-month wedding gift from Rin were placed on the coffee table.
He walked to the bedroom, opening the sliding doors with one hand as the other rubbed his aching neck. He stopped as his gaze fell to the bed, the room lit with tea candles.
There on the bed was her. She wore a black silk corset that bared her full cleavage, her red hair voluminous and curled. She rested seductively on the white cotton sheets, her long, lean legs highlighted by a lace garter. Red stilettos donned her feet, her perfect red lips parting as she greeted him.
"You looked stressed tonight, darling." She rose from the bed and moved towards him with a cat-like grace. She pouted as her elegant hands rested on his broad shoulders, her fingers toying with the mother of pearl buttons on his white shirt. "Why don't I help you relax?"
Sesshomaru froze at the memory, the intern. When she had asked, "You don't remember me?" Was she telling the truth? Their affair?
It couldn't be true, he thought, reading through the article. 'Late nights at the office soon led to a torrid affair between the CEO of YK Takahashi and the former lingerie model… secret midnight rendezvous… a condo where he had his affairs… business trips that he took his mistress instead of his pregnant wife…'
He did not want to believe it, but he saw her. That intern. In his hotel, touching him.
But he loved Rin, didn't he? He had been devoted, faithful, in love… hadn't he?
He grimaced as another image flashed forward, a thin hand with long red nails resting on his thigh, ruby red lips whispering into his ears…
"No," he cursed as he stumbled off the bed and walked towards the bathroom, splashing himself with cold water from the sink. More images came forward, a different woman, with large breasts and long, blonde hair rubbing his arm, whispering to him.
His chest felt heavy, his breathing uneven. "No, no… fuck!" His hands curled into fists as he pictured Rin, standing there in his office, that look on her face as she walked in on them.
He had hurt her. If this article was true, had what he had with Rin been a lie? "Fuck, fuck!" He had hurt her, again.
He looked at himself in the mirror, despising the man he saw. Who was he? He wondered, tracing the scar on his face. If he wasn't the happy, doting husband, who was he? A man that cheated on his wife? His pregnant wife?
"Fuck," he cursed, his fingers clenching the marble countertop, "Fuck!" He threw the bar of soap at the shower door, the glass breaking at the impact. He didn't flinch as the glass shattered, falling onto the white floor. The sole thought he had was her.
"Rin," he murmured, his eyes hollow. He had hurt her, when he had sworn, promised that he never would.
Who was he?
Sesshomaru stared at the stone building, his hands clenched around the steering wheel of his BMW. She was there, he thought, his body numb. He had rushed back to Tokyo after reading the letter, his mind tortured the entire drive over.
How could he have cheated on her? He cursed, resting his head against the lester seat. She was so perfect, so goddamn perfect. He was torn, his mind split in half. Was it a lie? He wondered, had he lied to himself this entire time, fooling himself into thinking he could play the part of the perfect husband?
He didn't know how he reached the front door but there he was, ringing the doorbell. Sesshomaru was tense as the door opened, Kouga's face hard as their gaze met.
"It is true?" Kouga demanded, "Because I swear to fucking god Sesshomaru, if it is, I'm done with you."
Sesshomaru felt like he was underwater, his mind not focused on Kouga's words, "Rin," he repeated, his eyes searching the hallway for his wife. "Let me see Rin."
Kouga nearly laughed, "Rin. You think I'm going to let you fucking see her? After everything you put her through, you piece of shit-"
"Kouga," her voice called from the hallway, her head peaking out from behind the wall. "It's ok. I want to talk to him."
"Rin," Kouga turned his head, swearing, "Are you sure?"
She nodded her head, "Yes." She had tried to prepare herself for this, for facing him. Kouga moved back from the door, revealing Sesshomaru. He was disheveled, his sweater thrown sloppily over his shirt, his tie wrinkled, half undone.
"Rin," he whispered, his mind blank as he looked at her.
Rin blinked back tears as she began, stepping forward, "Sesshomaru," she pleaded softly, her fingers clutching the wedding band he had given her months before, "Is it true?"
Sesshomaru felt his body shiver, his hand gripping the edge of the door. He wanted to say no, tell her that he had been faithful, utterly devoted, but he couldn't. Because he had seen that intern, in his bed, dressed in that black bustier and garter. "Rin," he whispered, his chest tight, "I-"
A sharp gasp escaped her peach lips, "It's true?" Her eyes were clouded with pain, "Isn't it?"
"I-I don't know," he admitted, "Rin," he looked at her and suddenly he felt the urge to kneel over. Kami, she was so perfect, so beautiful. Her long hair was curled today, dressed in that yellow skirt she had worn on their first date as a married couple. He swallowed, his breathing heavy as his mind was tormented with the image of another woman.
Had he cheated on her? Had an affair? On Rin? His Rin?
Rin sniffed, wiping her eyes, "I need to know Sesshomaru," her soft voice echoed in the long hallway as she moved towards the door, "Is it true? Did you..." her breath hitched, she could not continue.
He was silent, turning his head to look into those captivating brown eyes. All this time, had he simply fooled himself into thinking he was a changed man? One truly capable of love? These feelings he had for her, were they false? Did he hold back all this time because somewhere deep down he knew that it was just a lie?
He moved towards her and brought her small body into his. She looked up at him, tears dripping down her cheek. He struggled to rationalize his feelings. The situation.
Was it all a lie?
Was it because she had intrigued him? She was a change from his typical type. Was that why he married her? Because she would be the perfect wife? Loving, caring, infinitely devoted to him. Someone like Rin had no ulterior motives, she wasn't driven by money or status. He had known how easily she would be his. So had he used that to his advantage? Manipulated her with soft words and promises, bestowing her with gifts almost unimaginable to a simple girl like her?
Was it all a lie? Their marriage? When he whispered I love you, did he mean it with his whole heart?
"Rin," he said finally, his fingers curled into her waist. His thoughts were full of despair, for what other explanation was there? He had never been faithful to a woman, not even Kagura. How had he managed to delude himself for so long that he was a changed man?
Rin whimpered in his hold, his eyes closing as he inhaled her floral scent. She was better off without him. He had known how selfish it was not to let her go. He had fooled himself into thinking that keeping her by his side would benefit her. How utterly wrong he was. For it only caused her more pain.
He thought back to the letter she had written, 'let me go'. He exhaled sharply, his heart clenched, "Yes." His baritone was heavy, his amber gaze clouded.
She was crestfallen at his response, the light in her eyes dimmed. Because of him. Her lips parted, words not escaping as she struggled to speak. "W-why?" She asked, her voice pain-stricken.
His hand lifted to stroke her pale cheeks, struggling to put on a mask of indifference. His love had been a lie. He had performed so well the part of the doting, faithful husband that he had begun to believe it himself. He braced himself for her reaction, "You weren't enough."
Rin pushed herself out of his embrace, stumbling to catch herself on her feet as she clutched the table by the door. "I wasn't enough," she repeated, cursing her tears, cursing herself for falling for his lies once more. "I trusted you," she accused, "I believed you when you told me that you loved me. I fell for you again, I believed in you." She sniffed, "I trusted you!" She cried again, wiping her eyes as she looked to him.
"How many times?" She whispered, her heart ache evident in her words, "How many times am I going to give you my everything and have you break me before I learn my lesson?" She wept, crumpling to the floor. Her thin shoulders shook as she cried, wrapping her arms around her knees.
Sesshomaru exhaled sharply, resisting his urge to hold her, to soothe her tears. It was a lie, he reminded himself, it had all been a lie. He struggled to find reason for his conflicting emotions. But if it had been a lie, why was he mourning her loss?
The rational side of his mind broke through. The love he had for her was nothing more than misidentified feelings of affection. He cared for her, for she had been his perfect little wife. The almost mother to his son. He averted his eyes, struggling to maintain his restraint. He cared for her, which is why he was willing to let her go.
His self-control snapped as she whispered his name, begging, pleading. "Maru."
He knelt down in front of her, thinking back to all those moments he had told her that he loved her. Those mornings when he held her close, listening to her soft melodious voice as she sung to him. Those moments when she smiled bright, when she brought him flowers, laughed, and surprised him.
A foolish thought, his rational side argued. He didn't love. He had never loved. But that didn't stop him from gathering her in his arms, holding her as she shed tears. Time passed slowly for them, Rin clutching his shoulders as she cried. "I loved you," she sobbed, "I gave you everything I had. My heart, my, my everything…" She lifted her head from his shoulder, her eyes red, her cheeks puffy.
"I'm sorry," her voice cracked, her brown orbs tainted red with sorrow. "I'm sorry that I wasn't enough." She memorized those brilliant amber eyes, the ones she dreamt of when she slept, the ones she would always dream of. She wished to forever be in his embrace, but it seemed she was fated to never have her happy ending.
She sniffed, wiping the tears that continued to fall. "Does she make you happy? Does… does she make your heart beat faster than I ever could?" She asked, her hands finding his navy small fingers stroked the silk, thinking back to how all those mornings when she had been infinitely happy knotting his ties. Foolishly delusional to think that everything was perfect. That she was living her dream.
"Rin," his hands covered hers, "I-"
She shook her head, "I don't... I don't want to know." She slipped her fingers from his, "I've always known," she murmured, "That this...us, wouldn't last. That one day you'd break my heart." She wiped her eyes as her voice cracked, "But the second time isn't any easier." She struggled to continue, her hands shaking by her sides, "But at least this time, this time you don't hate me." She gave a bitter laugh, looking down at the hardwood floor.
She bowed her head, struggling for composure. "We'll go back to the old arrangement then, you in the condo." She glanced back at him, adding softly, "I always did wonder why you kept it." She moved to her feet, Sesshomaru mimicking her movements.
They stood in front of one another, immobile. One more kiss, she thought as she leaned up and brought her lips gently against his. "I'll always love you," she told him, her heart breaking as she spoke, "Even if it was all a lie." She moved down from her tiptoes and bowed, her footsteps silent on the hardwood as she left.
Sesshomaru's gaze trailed her delicate form, his chest tight as he closed his eyes. A lie, he reminded himself, it was all a lie.
Kouga stepped back in the hallway once Rin ran past him, cursing as he walked to the door. He looked at his friend, shaking his head, "How many times are you going to fucking hurt her?"
Sesshomaru remained silent, fingering the gold band on his hand. "I thought I loved her," he murmured sincerely, "But it wasn't enough." He pulled the ring from his finger and handed it to Kouga, "Give this to her." He caught the puzzled expression on his face, "Write up a divorce petition, I'm ending this farce now."
Kouga was in shock as took the ring from Sesshomaru, "And Murasaki?"
Sesshomaru's heart felt heavy, it's over. "I'll deal with it." His shoulders tensed as he heard Rin's sobs echoing in the hallway, suppressing the urge to sooth her, to hold her in his arms. Because that's not who he was. "Take… take care of her," he closed his eyes, his heart twisting as he walked back to his car.
He felt numb as he leant back against the leather seat of his car, his amber orbs watering. So this was it, he thought. It was really all just a lie. He had truly fooled himself into thinking he loved her. Thinking he was a faithful, devoted husband. Now, there would be no more waking up next to her, no more calling her in the middle of the day, no more surprise dates and presents. No more Rin. Because this is who he was. The man who manipulated and used people to his own advantage. The man who lied, who cheated on his wife.
The man who was a monster.
Rin felt heavy as she walked into their bedroom, dropping her bag as she stepped in front of the painting that hung above the fireplace. A perfect moment, she thought, thinking back to their first dance as a married couple. How happy she had been, how foolishly in love she was with a man who would never fully return that love.
She closed her eyes as she turned away, her heart pained by the memory. She slipped off her dress as she neared the bed, tossing the garment onto the white settee before slipping onto his side of the bed. She hugged his pillow, surrounded by his scent. The smell was so masculine, so intoxicating.
He was too good to be true.
Her mind wandered as she struggled to sleep. All those nights when he came home late, had he been with other women? When he smelt like perfume, she had assumed guilelessly that it was from sitting next to business associates or clients.
How utterly pathetic, she thought, she could almost hear Natsumi's voice mocking her naivety. He wasn't faithful. Not even when she was pregnant with his child.
And then, she thought bitterly, about what her life would be like if they never met. Would she have fallen for a simple man? A nice accountant or shop keeper who would be entirely faithful and utterly in love with his wife? Would they have raised a family? Would she have been as deliriously happy as she was when she was with him?
Yet as much as she wanted to hate him, she couldn't bring herself to. Despite the fact that he had ruined her heart, destroyed it to pieces. Despite how empty she felt, for her soul was missing a part. She would always yearn for him.
And so she mourned, her fairytale so easily broken by one man. And as crazy as it was, as stupid as she was, she was still so madly, so irrevocably in love with the man who had broken her heart.