A/N: I present to you, a new series..Tadah! My apologies for the followers of my other series (A Scarf, A Lace Garter and a Gueesing Game). I promise to upload chapter 4 soon, please give me time to proof-read it as I would be out of the country for the next 2 weeks.
In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy this new series that I uploaded. Chapter one is veeeerrry loooonng, I know.
Chapter 1-Stray Kitten
Ren stared down at the massive lobby of Hotel Ritz Paris, waiting impatiently for his publicist and manager. He knew he was an hour early at the appointed time, but he was too restless to sleep in his Coco Chanel suite. Besides the décor was too lavish for his taste. He would have preferred to stay in one of the hotel's normal prestige suites. Or even the cheapest hotel room would do. He only wanted a place to sleep comfortably, but no, his manager insisted the Chanel suite for the Jinguuji heir.
So much for trying to stay incognito, he thought wryly, letting himself get distracted with the hotel's opulent decoration.
Indeed, the Hotel Ritz lives up to its reputation of being the most exclusive hotel in Europe. The lobby is as breathtaking as what travel magazines gush about: museum-worthy antiques, gilded, framed mirrors everywhere, delicate crystal chandeliers and priceless Aubusson carpets. Large, burnished vases hold fresh, exotic flowers and orchids flown in from South-East Asia perched on Louis XIV tables, filling the air with their perfume.
Everything about the hotel screams money and power from its personalized service staff down to its lemon-scented polish used to clean the wood furniture. He had to admit, given his Spartan taste in living; he had the best sleep in a long time, inside his Chanel suite, thanks to the fine linen bed sheets of his king-sized bed. He had never felt so carefree and relax since leaving his family home a week ago prior to his departure to Paris.
He took a sip of his vodka-martini, suddenly aware of a certain pair of eyes watching him closely. Carefully draining his poison, he surveyed his surroundings like a predator out to catch his prey. He spied a woman in her late thirties, dressed for a dinner out in her classic little black dress and killer heels. She was literally dripping in diamonds, baubles sparkling on her ears and neck.
When she saw him looking at her, she flashed him a coy smile.
He gave her a cold look, a half smile hovering on his lips. Then he carefully placed his drinking glass on the empty tray beside him and stood up to his full height.
He watched as the woman assessed him with her calculating eyes roaming up and down his lithe form. He knew she liked what she see in him. Standing 6 feet 3 inches tall, he was among the tallest in his graduating class back in his private high school. His toned, lean muscles was the result of practicing judo and kendo after school hours, while his intense concentration was thanks to his private archery lessons he took under the best coaches his family could buy. Of course, one cannot forget that the Jinguuji men are blessed with movie-star features, a product of one of their ancestors who was of mixed European descent.
Having been born handsome is both a blessing and a curse. He first realized that his looks was an asset he could utilize when he supposedly "fell in love" with a senior in his high school and he, a freshman. He got the girl, unfortunately, after a few months of dating, he found out that she was just using him as an accessory to further implement her status symbol in the school. So he dumped her during their prom night. After that, he started to learn how to use his looks to get what he wants, be it sex, money, or favors. He is a Jinguuji, and an heir to be precise, the earlier he learns on how to manipulate people with whatever weapons he has, the better. After all, he is set to inherit the vast majority of his family business and fortune when his father dies.
He lost his virginity at the tender age of 14. His father had arranged to hire a paid companion to tutor him to the fine art of lovemaking when he turned 15. He learned how to incorporate subtle body language in everything he do, how to read female movements, how to seduce, how to make love and pleased a woman. He could not forget Anri, the companion his father hired, a sweet 24-year old woman with a face of a child and a body of a porn star. She was a highly educated woman who works as a banking manager, moonlighting as a dominatrix in one of Tokyo's expensive themed-brothels. During one of their meetings, he had sneaked out early to see what she looks like without wearing her titillating lingerie she often wears when she meets him. She looked like a fresh graduate with her squeaky-clean, preppy look. When she came that night in their private love nest, wearing her usual seduction uniform, he had pounced on her hungrily. He had wanted to marry her right then and there. But she made it clear that she was doing it all for the money, and because his father had promised a choice position for her in one of their privately-owned banks after her contract with him expires. He was hurt by her frank admission, but he let it go eventually.
She had stayed with him for a year before she bid farewell. Their last night was spent making tender, slow love under the stars, in the middle of nowhere. When he woke up, she was gone, leaving behind bittersweet memories, and his father's bodyguards nudging him to get dressed and present himself to his father's office that afternoon. That was when he found out that Anri did not accept the position she was aspiring to get. She opted to change her citizenship and disappeared quietly from Japan, all with the help of his father's influence. It was a blow to him to find out that Anri did love him. But given the circumstances and his age, his father will not allow a relationship to take place.
A Jinguuji heir should marry a woman of impeccable status, he intoned, shuffling papers he needed to sign, while his secretary arranged the courses he would take when his school term starts in fall. This is how he spent the first 22 years of his life: being manipulated by an overbearing father.
Ren snapped out of his reverie and stood up, checking the time on his Philip Patek watch: forty minutes more before they arrive. He still has time to play.
He strode across the lounge area, the heels of his leather boots clicking against the highly polished marble. He walked passed the woman in black, slowing a bit to let her slip something on one of the pockets of his calfskin coat. He continued walking towards the private steel and glass lift, smiling flirtatiously at one of the receptionists assigned that evening in the front desk before entering the cubicle and punching random buttons on the pad. He fingered the card on his pocket and pulled it out, reading the room numbers engraved in gold color. He punched the right floor level on the pad and gave a salute in one of the CCTV cameras installed inside the lift car.
Forty-five minutes later he emerged again on the same lift car, heading straight to the hotel's main entrance. He changed his clothes after a quick shower, opting for a black cashmere turtleneck sweater and tailored black pants. He had worn his light brown leather coat, anticipating the early autumn chill of the fickle Parisian weather, his hair still glistening wet from the hot shower he had taken just minutes before.
"You're late." His manager, Aki Tsukino said, as he waited outside the sidewalk. He was a tall man in his early thirties, older than him by 7 years or so. His silver-grey hair is a startling contrast against his youthful-looking face. Had he been ambitious enough, he could have been a matinee screen idol because of his sharp good looks, perfect for villainous roles. But he was more comfortable handling talented people, and right now, Ren Jinguuji is his latest acquisition of bright talents. He made intense negotiations with Japan's number one recording company to offer him a five-year contract to produce albums for him and his band. Already, their breakthrough single has been climbing up the hit charts steadily for the past few weeks. Critics predict a number one position is inevitable in the next few days, which is very good news indeed.
Aki gestured to the black-tinted Rolls Royce waiting in the kerb for them, and the car slowly glided up in front of them, ready to take them wherever they wish to go.
They slid in the posh interior, Aki murmured to the driver to take them to L'Angle du Faubourg, and the old man nodded. Then he turned again to him. "Natsume will meet us there in a few minutes. She was calling you in your cellphone 10 minutes ago. Where were you?"
" I was taking a shower." He said, absentmindedly looking through the car's windows and watching the lights blur as they sped by.
He had met the woman in her private suite, sitting on her bed, waiting for her to come with her spare access card. By the time she got inside her bedroom, she was only wearing her diamonds and silk stockings, a wicked smile plastered on her face. Getting down to business, she quickly went down on all fours, opening his pants and taking him in her mouth. She knew how to play and he groaned his release, her mouth milking him dry. After that, he pulled her up from her kneeling position and tossed her roughly on the bed. Pinning her with his weight, he swiftly took her from behind, her screams muffled by the pillows.
She was a woman who enjoyed her orgasm, taking her sweet time to prolong the pleasure and the agony. And when she came, she was gasping for breath, before settling down like a content lioness that had just finished her dinner.
He quickly got up, gathered his clothes and left. He took a quick shower to erase the heavy perfume that clung to him, concentrating on the lipstick marks she left on his inner thighs and hard stomach. When he finally emerged from his suite again, he saw the woman dressed differently this time, hugging her pudgy-looking husband and displaying to the world on what a gold-digging bitch she is. He did not even bother asking for her name. To him, they were all just baby, honey or sweetheart. It didn't matter one bit. They were all the same to him.
The driver expertly maneuvered his way through the light traffic before stopping in one of the sidestreets. He and Aki got out of the car and entered the restaurant establishment.
L'Angle du Faubourg is located at 8th Arrondissement Champs-Elysées, Madeleine. M. Vrinat who also owned the famous Taillevent, an upscale restaurant sought after by diplomats and billionaires, owned it. The L'Angle du Faubourg is a cost-conscious bistro that serves the same menu as Taillevent, only simpler. The restaurant has an ultramodern dining room, popular to the locals. The chic, vibrant colors compliment the dark stained wooden furniture and crisp white tablecloths. A bar was set up to serve drinks for patrons who wanted to stay longer. At the end is a small stage for occasional live entertainment and a small baby grand piano is tucked into the corner. No one is playing on it for the moment.
Once inside, the maître d' ushered them to a cozy corner, where a woman in her early thirties was already waiting at their designated table. She was wearing her hair in a careless chignon, her face devoid of heavy makeup. She was busy typing in her portable notebook when she looked up and saw them making their way towards her. She gave a small wave, finished typing the last few texts and quickly closed her notebook with a sharp snap.
"You look stunning, Natsume" Ren murmured and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. Natsume Seki was responsible for arranging his entire photo shoot and magazine interviews, all the trimmings he needed to expose him to the mass media. She is one of the best in her field, having successfully handled the publicity on two of Japan's most popular soap opera stars.
"Such a charmer, Ren." she demurred, "I know I look like a mess." She gave a laughed and gestured for the two men to sit. "I took the liberty of ordering for you, dinner will be served in a few moments."
Aki nodded, "Good, I'm famished." He settled on his own sit a bit more comfortably and loosened his tie. "So, how is the photo shoot? Are we still on schedule?"
Ren sat down next to Natsume and ordered some red wine from the waiting wine steward.
Natsume nodded, grabbed her Hermes notebook and flipped through the pages. " Ren, darling, our photographer won't be able to make it til next week. He has to tie up some loose ends before he comes." She turned from Ren to Aki, flipping again on the next few pages. "I will talk to the cover cd designer three days from now, so I will have to fly back to Tokyo tomorrow evening."
Aki turned to Ren, "you still have time to polish up your schedule for the coming magazine interviews before your photo shoot."
He nodded. "I thought President Taka mentioned something about adding some bonus songs with the cd?"
"We are currently looking into it now, we have a few musical compositions lined up to be chosen by our team after your photoshoot." Aki said.
Their conversation was interrupted when the waiters began serving them their entrees. They got down to eating, and for a few minutes their table was silent as each savored their food. After finishing their entrees, their main course soon followed, and conversation started again after their second and third bites of the meal.
Aki was in his element, expertly advising Ren which magazine interviews he should prioritize. Natsume gave advices on what Ren should say when interviewers ask about his personal life.
By the time their dessert came, their topic turned to Natsume's vacation plans and Aki's upcoming wedding. Ren leaned back on his chair, relaxed and content. His career is blossoming. It's even better than what he had hoped for. For once, there is no one fussing over his decisions. There is no one to tell him what he needs to about his life.
But then, he felt a little guilty for leaving his mother to pacify his father. He was too furious to speak to his old man after finally telling him his decision to pursue a career in music.
Takumi Jinguuji lost his temper that night when he was finally allowed to come in his study room to speak to him.
"A Jinguuji heir as a singer? Nonsense, I say! Unacceptable!" he shouted himself hoarse. "How dare you defy the plans I have laid out for you!"
"I do not wish to live life the same as yours father" he said, clenching his teeth in anger. "I followed what you wanted all these years. Now I want to do something for myself. I want to create music that will inspire people."
" You will do what I say or heaven forbid, I will cut you of your inheritance!" he threatened, wagging his finger at him, eyes bulging angrily.
"Fine!" he raised his voice. "That way, I won't need to dance to your tune!" and with that, he strode put of the room and slammed the door to his father's office as loud as he could. He was sick of it. Sick of all his manipulation.
His mother, the virtuous Sakura, was patiently waiting outside. When she saw her oldest son angrily slamming the door, she stood up from her seat, her face solemn and sad.
"Mother," he said, when he saw her, "forgive me. I need time to breathe." He was struggling with his raging emotions, hands trembling with anger.
Sakura Jinguuji still looking radiant even after giving birth to five children held out her hand. "Ren, I understand what you are trying to do. Please give your father a chance to calm down."
He could not answer his mother. He was too sad and angry to speak. "I'm leaving to Paris for a few weeks. If you need to see me, I'll be staying at the penthouse for a while". And with that he left his mother standing there.
"Are you game for a couple of drinks, Ren?" Natsume asked.
Ren was interrupted out of his reveries. He blinked, trying to cover his embarrassment for being absent-minded, and answered "sure."
It was the poignant music that caught his ears. At first, he did not notice the intro, the humming of a soft voice; it was very, very light. He closed his eyes, as he took a sip of his vintage wine, the fruity flavors enhancing as it settled on his tongue. He could almost imagine himself staring at a blue sky above him as he lie on a grassy bank, the musical notes soothing his mind. The image felt so real, he could almost smell the scent of honeysuckle.
He opened his eyes and scanned the crowd of patrons. His eyes instantly went to the location of the baby grand piano, where obviously, the piano player is making his statement about his interpretation of music.
Due to his location, he could only make out the top of the players head. Reddish-gold hair, the color of rich autumn leaves.
"Amazing player, eh?" Aki said, then he turned to the bartender. "What's the name of your piano player?"
The middle-aged man who was wiping the counter at the Ren's left side answered, "Regular player. Been playing twice a week for the past three years now, works part time, you know? A half-Japanese teenage girl, Haruka Nanami"
"Really now?" Natsume's eyes widened. "She's really good."
A group of 6 people directly in front of them left, leaving their view unblocked. Ren can now see the player unobstructed. Head swaying to the music she was creating, the girl, had her eyes close. Long, sooty eyelashes rested against her flushed cheeks. Her long hair framed her face. Her pink moist lips, opened slightly, apparently humming along with her playing.
There was something distinctive about the way she played. He could not put his finger on it, but the girl has her own style of playing, unique to her. It is similar to other musical players in the industry. He watched intently as she raised her wrist, bringing them down again to click through the music's climax. When the last notes came to an abrupt end, she opened her eyes, somewhat surprise to find herself in the middle of a crowd.
The polite crowd clapped for a few moments, and she stood up to give a bow. She was wearing a plain white cotton dress that made her look younger. No more than 17 years old at most. Maybe 18. And then she left the platform, going thru the small hallway towards the staff lounge area.
"Beautiful music, beautiful player" Aki murmured. "She has star quality, this girl is. Give her a couple more years, and maybe I can represent her."
Natsume laughed. "I could almost hear a ka-ching, Aki" she teased. She grabbed her bag and leather case. "I don't know about you guys, but I'm ready to crash. Lot's of things to do before my flight."
They all finished their drinks and paid for their bill, Aki, leaving a generous tip to the bartender.
Once outside, it had gotten considerably colder, their breath coming out in puffs of smoke. The Rolls Royce pulled up in front of them. Natsume opened the door, ready to get in.
"You guys go ahead," Ren pulled the collar of his jacket up, "I wanna go to another bar. It's too early for me to sleep."
"Are you sure?" Aki said, "Don't be out too late. I need you fresh in the afternoon"
He nodded. He had some thinking to do. He was suddenly in a brainstorming mood tonight, and when he was in this mood, bits and pieces of lyrics and melody come to him with ease.
He waited until Aki and Natsume were inside and the car started its engine before he gave a wave and walked in the opposite direction.
Am I really doing the right thing? He suddenly thought as he walked briskly, heading to the direction of his favorite hang out when he used to visit his uncle here during his sojourn back in high school.
The Red Butterfly is one of Paris' most popular bars, frequented by locals. It was located in one of the old industrial buildings recently being converted into chic restaurants and clubs. Crossing the street, he found his old shortcut in one of the back alleys. As soon as he spotted the red butterfly neon sign, super-imposed on a black background, he felt a bit happy. For a split second, it feels like he was coming home.
He nodded at the large, muscled bouncer, waiting at the front door. The middle-aged man step aside to let him, without much fuss.
Inside, the Red Butterfly is the same as ever with its sophisticated pink and red neon lights, velvet-lined walls and floors with black, grey and silver tinted mirrors. The bar has been divided into three sections: the dance hall where club goers can groove while taking in the amazing view of Paris' skyline at night; the retro bar, where patrons can drink without being disturbed by too much loud music, and couples can go for intimate conversations without shouting with each other just to hear themselves; and finally the private lounges, where the rich can afford to have their own private parties, serve by their very own waiters and has its own exclusive drinks and menu.
Heading straight to the bartender, he whispered a few words to the man who nodded and flicked a hand. A waiter suddenly appeared and led him to one of the hallways at the end of the bar, where a set of doors were lined up neatly along one side of the wall.
The waiter opened the third door and gestured for him to enter. Ren stood at the threshold, surveying the familiar, soundproofed room with its white, crisp, thick wallpapers, fire-engine red lounge chairs and lacquered table. At the center is a large flat screen TV, where a series of music videos are being played in silent mode. He nodded his satisfaction, handed a tip to the waiter and asked for cold, sparkling water. The waiter nodded and disappeared, closing the door with a quiet click. He kicked off his shoes and flicked through some channels on the remote control, settling for some soothing new age music. Ren heaved a sigh and plopped down to the nearest chair, took out a very thin notebook he kept in his inside pocket and began scribbling away his lyrics. Amidst the scratching of pen against paper and the background music, he felt like he was home at last.
Ren heard the soft chink first followed closely by a dull thump. He stopped scribbling, his Montblanc pen poised above a fresh page, ears straining at the sound. The private lounge he had rented for the rest of the evening was still and quiet, save for the soft clinking of the ice on his glass of sparkling water, and the toned down voice of Enya singing about time and love.
He stood up, strode across the room barefooted, and opened the heavy door before peering outside.
It was quiet in the hallway. The muffled sounds of club music can still be heard, but overall, it was relatively quiet.
Maybe I was imagining things, he shrugged, a bit annoyed for losing concentration. He was in the middle of creating a melody for the song he was furiously writing for the past half hour.
As he turned away to close the door, he heard another door open and closed with a slam, a thudding of hurried footsteps coming his way and then he felt himself push roughly inside the room.
It all happened so fast that he barely has time to react. He turned to look, his eyes barely registering the heavy, reddish-gold hair and silver jewelry. He took a few steps back as the small person in front of him pushed him with surprising strength, until he sprawled on his back on one of the red chairs, the overhead lights blinding him momentarily.
What the.. He blinked, feeling the slight weight on top of him.
"Sssh.." she whispered. "Help me please." She took off her black leather jacket, and tossed it on one corner, before straddling him on both sides of his hips. She tentatively sat down on top of his hard stomach and leaned in, her face inches from his. He steeled himself, instantly aroused at the bizarre suddenness of it all.
Her lips were soft. She smelled like peppermint toothpaste. Under normal circumstances, it was a smell he never really can call seductive, but just smelling her clean breath, devoid of any lingering smell of alcohol and cocktail that he normally associate with the women he encountered had illicited such a strange reaction from him.
He could tell she was inexperienced in the kissing department. Her lips clumsily moved from one corner of his mouth to the other. She was trembling from fright, and yet, he could feel the heat from her face.
Outside, he could hear a thudding of several footsteps, doors slamming and swearing. He heard another voice swore. "Where are you, you bitch? This ain't over yet!"
And the door to his private lounge opened and he heard the waiter called out to him "Everything all right there, sir?"
The girl on top of him stiffened, and she gripped his shoulder hard. "Please, please" she mumbled against his lips.
"I would appreciate it, if you can give me my private time with my girlfriend here." He called out with as much arrogance as he could muster.
"My apologies sir. We beg your forgiveness for the commotion outside and the intrusion." And with that the door closed again.
For a few seconds they both went still as they heard the security men hauling the troublesome man out of the premises. He kept on swearing and protesting loudly, about how influential he is and that he has the power to shut down the club if he wants too. The swearing faded afterwards. And then silence.
The woman slumped on top of him, apparently drained of energy, tucking her head at the side of his neck. She did not make a move and Ren was placed in an awkward position, feeling all the soft curves on his chest and stomach. Any more movement from her and she would surely discover how hard he had become.
"Uh. Do you mind?" he said, after counting one to ten and the woman still did not move. He was half-afraid she might have fainted. In all honesty, he doesn't know what to do if a woman faints.
"I'm really sorry!" she finally looked up, liquid gold eyes meeting his arctic blue ones.
It was like being jerked by electricity. He suddenly sat up, gripping her tight with both of his long-fingered hands, marveling at the smallness of her waist. He stared down at her made-up faced, the beautiful innocent face he had glimpsed earlier, marred by heavy make-up. Her long, straight hair piled up in a sleek ponytail. The white tank top carelessly exposing her shoulders and leather skirt rested against his tailored pants. He was painfully aware that she was sitting on top of his aroused manhood, but she acted like she doesn't know what she was sitting on.
She looked utterly delicious and seductive in her torn black stockings and red-smudged lips, liquid-gold eyes pleading for understanding.
Damn it! Does she know how arousing she looks? He could feel a throbbing of his vein at the temple. How did she manage to sneak into the club's premises? She looked underage, for chrissake! Someone who stills has curfews. Her parents ought to be informed about her dangerous nighttime habits.
He suddenly grabbed her wrist roughly, and for a second, her eyes were dark with fright, and he loosened his hold on her. Her wrist was so delicate and thin; he could have snapped it had he wanted to!
"How old are you?" he demanded angrily, "Aren't you supposed to go home after your part-time at the L'Angle du Faubourg?"
A/N: Soo.. What do you think? How's that for a first chapter? I have so many ideas for this anime that all I've been thinking about is going home and firing up my newly-repaired mac. (sadly, my files are all lost..T_T)
Should I continue? Tell me what you guys think? I'm open to all suggestions ( I meant stories). How about rewarding my effort with a sweet review? LOL.