"Well now, I say you've changed Professor Nemuro,"said his assistant as she handed him a hot cup of black

coffee. Unaware of her compliment, the professor mechanically grabbed the cup and resumed typing onto

his computer's worn keyboard. Seeing that he was in no mood to converse, as usual, the assistant sighed,

tossed her head back and said, "You should take a break once in a while Professor. It won't destroy your

work , you know." An awkward silence ensued until his violet eyes shot up, glaring. It was odd for her boss

to make eye contact all of a sudden, she may have said too much. "You shouldn't be so concerned about

anyone but yourself," said Nemuro monotonously. Sighing, the woman bowed and left, without saying a

word. After she closed the door, a heavy sigh came from the man. He quickly took off his glasses and slowly

wiped the lenses with a handkerchief that he always had on him at all times. He noticed that his

handkerchief was looking careworn, evoking another sigh from his slightly parted lips. It was just another

reminder of time slipping through, something he could not afford. A sudden ring shot through the still air,

the man coolly glanced at the receiver, and it was she. He calmly picked up the phone and answered with a

gentle "Hello". Minutes flew by as he wrapped his fingers with the coils of the cord of the phone. As the

other voice spoke in smooth tones, he laid back his head comfortably on the headrest, allowing his mind to

reel visuals of the woman. No matter how hard he tried to keep up with the topic on hand, he could not

stop thinking about the curious shapes her perfectly formed lips made as she spoke to him. Or how her

eyes lit up when she spoke enthusiastically about the research, their research. Somehow, as if she could feel

his detachment to the conversation, she invited him over to speak about the issue. He felt ashamed for

being somehow discourteous during the conversation, but felt enthralled to finally see her again.

Once he arrived at the front of her door his heart beat quickened, a feeling that was not comprehensible to

his calculating mind. Seconds that felt like hours passed as he listened with earnest ears to her light steps

drawing oh so close to the troublesome door. *click* A heavenly scent tickled the nostrils of the man once

she had appeared, leaning delicately on the edge of the door. Whether out of personal anxiety or shyness,

he could not sum up the courage to greet her eye to eye, something about her gaze sent delightful shivers

through his spine. "It's a pleasure to see you Professor," she said in an unctuous tone. Stiff, the man made a

slight bow and proceeded inside into the modestly decorated living room. Accustomed to his cool greetings,

the woman couldn't help but chuckle, as the professor waited in the middle of the living room, looking like

he was awaiting instruction. "Professor, you can take a seat anywhere you'd like, while you're at it, which do

you prefer to drink, coffee or tea?" "Anything is fine," he automatically responded once he took a seat to

the nearest chair. A slight pout appeared on her face, she didn't want to risk displeasing him, but she knew

that anything was fine for him. "Okay, then I'll brew tea," she murmured as she turned her back to walk

into the kitchen. Shamefully, the professor's eyes wandered over her legs once she showed her back. The

slight movements of her hand as she prepared the tea echoed through the room. In spite of her body being

just yards away, the professor couldn't help but feel a torturous hole somewhere, but he didn't know exactly

where, which made him even more troubled. During his period of solitude, his eyes began to take in his

surroundings, looking past vases of roses and trinkets of all kinds. However, what really grabbed his

attention was a framed photograph of Tokiko and her younger brother, both smiling with rosebushes lying

in the background. How envious he was to see someone else show apparent affection towards Tokiko.

During his contemplations of his reason for such envy, she appeared before him, a bit puzzled towards his

concentration at the photo. "Does the photograph seem that intriguing to you, Professor?" she boldly asked

with a pleasant smile. A bit flustered, the professor snapped out of his meditative state and said, "I was just

curious at the resemblance between Mamiya and you, that's all." A small sigh came from her, it seemed

insignificant but Nemuro couldn't shake off the uneasiness. Curious to her speechless response, he calmly

asked, "Was there something wrong with my statement?" She peered down at his feet for a few seconds

then stared at the photo. "It's been a while since I've heard that." "From whom?" Silence dominated for a

short while. He was thinking that he may have pried for too much information and should probably dismiss

himself. Then, a warm hand laid gently over his own; she stooped down, gazing at his shying eyes. "Mom

always had a strange way of looking at things; she was one of those people who saw things that others

couldn't. To her, my brother and I have a very uncanny resemblance to the point it frightened her. I never

understood why she troubled herself over such a trivial thing. Then again, no one could understand her,

especially father. But, please, just don't leave yet. I can feel your uneasiness, there's no reason for that.

Because, I really appreciate your decision to be in partnership with me, and I really do enjoy your

company. Don't feel ashamed to have someone close to you." Her quick whispers caressed the soft lobes of

his ears, soothing his nerves in the process. Discerning through his pink bangs, he stared at her

dumbfounded. He couldn't help but murmur "Tokiko..." But he didn't have much time to say any more

for she silenced him with a press of her lips. Excited by the warmth of her tongue, he parted his lips,

allowing entrance. From then on was a fierce battle between their lashing tongues. The professor felt a

whirlpool of sensations he had never felt before, and it suffocated him. "Nemuro. . ." she gasped as if she

began to feel herself suffocating as well. Astonishingly, to his own disbelief, he pulled her even closer ,

stealing back her precious lips, resuming his self-suffocation. Nothing came to mind as he held her, only

thoughts of her coursed through his brain. Then, a shadow appeared before his closed lids, a small gasp

could be heard from a strange direction. And yet, he didn't stop himself from taking every bit of her that he

could.

But why did his body freeze? Wait, why is she removing herself? His eyes slowly opened, adjusting

to the light when he caught sight of her running out crying out , "Wait Mamiya!" Did the boy see them?

Most likely. The man felt incredibly cold now without her embrace. Ashamed, he chased after her until he

reached her within the rose garden. Her eyes were red, and her make up became smeared by streaks of

tears. She kneeled pathetically before the pale boy, clasping both his hands. Unlike his sister, he seemed

calm and quiet, almost untroubled. But that all changed once the boy caught sight of the professor. An eerie

smile appeared over his sickly face, as he innocently glared at the seemingly apathetic professor. Feeling the

change in her brother's emotions, she quickly rose up from her feet and stared at Nemuro with apologetic

eyes. With a raspy voice, she shakily said, "Professor, I'm sorry. But it would be best if you leave now"

Bedazzled at what had just happened, the man gave a slow nod and without question, made his way out. He

maintained an upright posture but felt two pairs of eyes blazing his back. One pair blazed with desperation,

whereas the other unmercifully blistered him in jealousy. Once he reached the streets, his hands expertly

reached for a cigarette and match. He took long draws, glancing at the sides of his shoes. While feeling his

lungs burn with every inhale of smoke, he became more determined to gain the approval of his rival. He

will not lose her to him like he did today.