Disclaimer: I don't own Gakuen Alice.
Beta'ed by: Ridley Silverlake
Close Enough to Touch
By: Alicia Adams
I'm fine. That's what I always say whenever my friends ask me if I'm happy with my life. Well, I'm not happy, I'm just fine. I have my own townhouse that I can call my home; a restaurant that not only serves as my money factory, but gives satisfaction to my rather boring life; and friends that I can call family. I have my twin sister, though we went our separate ways after our parents died.
"Have you seen the Toque? Our specialty's featured and I heard some praises for it," Koko informed me with that silly smile on his face. He dropped the magazine on my table and I gazed upon it.
"Really? Sounds fun," I muttered. Not really, I'm not fond of those magazines. Their last issue published not-so-pretty things about restaurants in the country. Fortunately, mine was not included. That was a huge relief, I must say.
I opened the magazine and managed to find the page. I raised an eyebrow.
"Seems like they like it," Koko smirked. The whole page featured the food.
"Who was informed?" I asked.
"Our advertising manager, Nonoko. She asked for my permission since you were away last week. I thought it was an opportunity since everyone knows the editor there is, you know, dragon-like?" he plopped on one of the sofa and stared at me. "So, how are you? How was your vacation?"
I sighed. I went on a vacation last week and just got back yesterday. It seemed like a whole week wasn't even enough. "Just fine. Nothing's changed," I said as I checked the files on my table.
"I thought that was a vacation. Don't you think it's absurd that after it, you're going to give me this handful of work?" I glared at him and all he did was smile sheepishly.
"Out! I need to finish these today. So out you go," I gestured to the door and asked him to lock it.
Right, my life is fine. I am fine.
"Where are you going?" I asked while looking around Sumire's room. The first thing I noticed was the clothes scattered on her bed. Everywhere I looked was a complete mess. "I just got here and you won't even spare some time for your sister?"
"Mikan! Don't start on me. I really need to go now. I forgot to tell you about our shoot in London, right? I'll be out of the country for two months," I watched my sister paced around the room packing things she needed. Ever since our parents died, Sumire did everything she wanted. As an actress, she's been going here and there shooting and making her name famous. I was happy for my sister because she got what she wanted. Sumire was happy with her life.
"Have you eaten breakfast? I'll cook for you," I woke up early just to drive here to her apartment, hoping to spend time with her. Unfortunately, Sumire had some more important things to do.
"Nope and don't bother. I'm really late for the flight. Hotaru's going to kill me," she said in a hurry. "Oh no, I forgot about the rental!" She turned to me with a pleading stare. I gave a yielding sigh and shrugged.
"You are the best sister in the world, Mikan! Please stay here for a while and wait for the landlady to arrive, okay? Tell her I'll be able to pay the next contract next week. I really have to go now. Thanks!" I blinked and she was gone.
I massaged my temples. The Saturday I hoped was going to be fruitful was now on its way to the trash. Looking around the room, I started picking up the clothes and arranged them in the closet. I marched out of her room and started putting things in order. I sighed once more.
Though we're a fleeting image of each other, our personalities clash. You can easily tell who's who and who's not. We both have brunette locks and hazel eyes, yet the difference can always be seen. Her hair is darker and longer while I cut mine up to my shoulders. Being an actress, she's a fashion freak and always reminding me how plain I look. I'm usually in my business attire, which is why I don't really care about her fashion reminders.
Tired enough after cleaning the place up, I ordered some pizza and chose to wait in the living room. While switching between channels, the doorbell rang. The pizza couldn't have been here already, so I figured that the landlady may have arrived.
My eyebrows scrunched up when an extremely good looking guy was at the gate. It obviously wasn't the landlady. 'Do delivery guys should look that hot?' I thought, then realized he didn't have any pizza with him.
I walked down to the gate and asked, "What can I do for you?" He glared at me and I gulped.
"Natsume Hyuuga. Stay away from my nephew and I'll give you what you want. So tell me how much?" he grabbed something out of his pocket and waited for me to say something. "How much?" he clicked his tongue.
"How much?" I repeated. "What are you talking about?" I opened the gate widely.
"Stop trying to act innocent, Ms. Sakura! Just tell me how much you want for you to stay away from Youchi!" he yelled. I bit my lip thinking about Youchi. 'Youchi?' I thought, and then it hit me. Youichi was Sumire's boyfriend.
"And what if I tell you that I won't? I love him," I gulped. 'What are you talking about Mikan?' I mentally scolded myself. I saw him redden with anger.
"One million, Ms. Sakura. Take it or leave it?" he crossed his arms.
"No, Mr. Hyuuga. You can leave now," I took a breath deeply and waited for him to leave. "Now, leave!" I yelled when he didn't budge.
"We're not yet finished, Ms. Sakura," he eyed me from eye to toe.
"You're a waste, Sumire Sakura," he leaned forward and whispered to my ear. "It's just that I don't like your kind," he said and walked to his car. My knees turned to jellies.
"Whatever!" I managed to yell before running all the way to the front door, in rushed breaths.
"What did you do, Mikan?" I smacked my forehead.
"Mr. Hyuuga? Did you accept the money?" Sumire asked over the phone. My eyebrows curled.
"Of course not," I replied. After I went home, I immediately dialed her number and explained what happened. "Why would I?"
"That's one million, Mikan. And they're Hyuugas!" she screamed.
"Wait. Don't you love Youchi? Don't tell me you love money more than him."
"He's okay, but I don't love him. He's charming and hot but he's just not my type. He knows that," she said.
"I won't accept the money, Sumire. If you want it, face him yourself," I frowned.
"Okay. Do what you want. Just be careful of him, sis. They can play with you with their money," she said warily.
"It's alright. I'm sure I'll be fine. Believe me," I ended the call and closed my eyes. I decided to stay and do my work in her apartment for the week.
I know how stubborn Sumire is. She knows what she wants and gets it no matter what. I don't know how she did it but she wanted to be an actress, and she became one.
I was deep in thought when the doorbell rang. My eyes widened when Hyuuga turned up at the gate again. "What does he want now?"
I reluctantly went to the gate and opened it. I raised my eyebrow at him. "What now?"
He passed me an envelope and I opened it. "That contract provides the proof that I bought this house from the owner. Fully paid," he smirked.
"That also requires you to pack all your belongings within 3 days. Now, Sakura, what can you say?" he smiled menacingly. My hand trembled in anger.
I know how much my sister loves this house. It was her dream house and she's been saving all her money to pay for it. I can't just give it up to this jerk in front of me.
"What do you want just for me to keep this house?" I gritted my teeth and balled my fist, detaining myself from slapping him hard.
"You'll stay away from my nephew until he flies to the US. You get to keep your house and my nephew will be safe from your clutches," he leaned on his car and waited for me.
"Alright, I'll stay away from him. Anything else?" I massaged my head. I think my migraine is on its way again.
"You'll stay with me for three weeks until I'm assured that you'll stay away from him, and he'll leave without your interference," he said.
"What? I assure you, Mr. Hyuuga, that I won't even contact him. Just tell him that we're through," I gripped the files in my hand. 'Stay with him? No way!'
"Now, now, we don't want your house out of your grasp. Isn't that right, Ms. Sakura?" he smirked. "Pack your things now. If I need to wait the whole day, I will," he pushed me inside and sat on the couch. "Make it quick. We still need to drive all the way to my house," he closed his eyes.
"What am I going to do?" I said exasperated. I need to inform my workers at the restaurant. "Looks like my vacation is extended!" Blowing up my dangling hairs, I began to pack the things I will surely need.
I clamped a hand over my mouth. We've been riding for hours and I feel like puking. When it comes to traveling, I prefer to be the driver since I tend to get headaches. I don't like the feeling of being cramped inside a car with the air conditioner on.
"Are you ill?" I heard him ask. Before I managed to answer, he stopped the car.
"Is it alright to open the windows? I easily get motion sickness, I'm sorry," I said, still holding a hand over my mouth.
He sneered. "Your kind travels a lot, Ms. Sakura. You can't fool me," though he said that, he turned off the air conditioner and pushed a button. I inhaled deeply when all the windows went down.
"Thanks," I murmured.
I decided that asking where in the world he was taking me is out of the question. I just felt relieved that my headache subsided.
"Wake up, Sakura. We're here," I heard him and I sat up immediately.
"Where are we?" I asked.
"In one of our vacation houses. It's on the seaside far away from the city," he went out of the car and grabbed all of the bags. Rolling my eyes, I said, "You don't have to bring me all the way down here. You have my assurance."
"I know better to believe the likes of you, lady," he walked away to the house leaving me gaping at him.
"Can I ask if there are any maids in here?" I really wished there was. I didn't want to be alone with him in this rather big house. Who knew what could happen in here.
He snorted. "We don't have a maid here but on Saturdays, a caretaker comes to clean the house. So you and I are going to stay here and we take care of ourselves." I was surprised. Rich people like him don't bother with household chores.
"As far as I know, people like you don't even stay in your house, always in bars and clubs. Am I right, Ms. Sakura?" he pointed at a room and dropped my bags. "That will be your room and here is mine," I gulped when he walked to me.
"Don't bother knocking on my door. I don't entertain people like you," he said then continued to his room. I gritted my teeth.
"Bastard!" I yelled and stormed into my room. I was fuming when I sat down on my bed. "Who the hell does he think he is? I know my sister. She isn't what that jerk is pertaining to," I stopped my thoughts. "Or do I even really know Sumire?" I asked myself doubtingly.
I heard him knock on my door. I kept myself from grabbing the vase on the bedside table. "What do you want?" I asked.
"Cook lunch. I'm hungry," he said loudly, then there were footsteps walking away. "Don't try to poison me, now," he yelled.
"Oh but I will!" I hollered. He doesn't even know how great I am in the kitchen. Let's see what he can say.
After rummaging through the refrigerator, I decided on a simple dish, Oden with a side dish of Tempura. "These will do. If I hear him complaining, I might sprinkle some poison in," I concluded.
When I opened the window of the kitchen, I was surprised when I saw him in the garden. I furrowed my eyebrows further and discovered the garden is a vegetable one. "Is he the one planting them?" I asked mentally.
I gulped when he stood up and tossed his t-shirt on a patch of grass. He had a body every girl would want. Though it was glistening with sweat, I could tell how hot it would feel against my skin. I reddened when he suddenly turned and caught me staring. Acting like nothing happened, I looked away and continued cooking. I could feel him smirking at me, though he said nothing.
I waited for his reaction. He put his spoon down and swallowed. I stared at him.
"Not bad," he said then continued eating.
"Yeah, right, Hyuuga," I turned to my plate and started eating. The food was great, I knew that. All I concluded for now is that he can't even give a little praise for anything.
We ate in silence and I was okay with that. I don't want to hear anything from his luscious mouth. I smacked my head mentally. Those are bad thoughts.
When we finished, he grabbed our plates. I was about to complain when he cut me off. "You cook and I clean. That's the deal," he then put the dishes on the dishwasher and I watched him clean everything else up. My mouth was ajar.
"Close that mouth of yours, Sakura. I am tempted to shut it with my lips," my mouth shut close. "You can leave now. Do whatever you want. Just don't go missing," he said.
I walked to the living room, blushing. I didn't know what to feel. This was just the first day of our first week here. The first week of hell.
To be continued
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