" I have a new Love-Me assignment for you Mogami san.", said the president , lounging on his chair. Kyoko waited patiently. She was beginning to look forward to her Love Me assignments. The president's assignments had never been very dull. Looking after Kuu, Cain Heel, being Ren's manager….
"This time I need you to look after my country house.", he informed her.
"Your country house?", asked Kyoko, surprised.
The president nodded. "I plan to go on a short vacation next week with Maria. I haven't been there for two years, so the place will need to be spruced up quite a bit. If you could just pop in for a bit and clean up the place , it would be quite helpful."
Kyoko nodded eagerly. "I will certainly do my best sir!",she said. "When can I start?"
"Good.", said the president with an approving smile. "Today will be best. It's a big house , so I believe you will need a week. Sawara informed me you were free this week, which was why I approached you for this particular task. Sebastian will drive you there. You can stay in one of the guestrooms. "
"Thank you Mr. President.", said Kyoko. "Do I need to buy any house cleaning materials too?"
"I'm afraid yes as there isn't anything there except an old broom . Here is the money. Buy whatever you need-mops, soap, whatever. I'll send Sebastian with you when you go shopping and he can keep the packages ready in the car."
"I'll go shopping right away then!", said Kyoko. "Oh! And can I invite a friend over to help?"
"Of course Mogami san. Feel free to call whoever you wish.", the President replied smiling.
Kyoko left the office and found Sebastian already waiting down for her with the car. Once she had finished her shopping, she left the packages in the car and Sebastian drove her to the Darumya. "I'll come back here at noon miss. I need to pick up your food packages."
Kyoko nodded her thanks and went in to pack. Once she was done, she rang up Kanae.
"MOKOOO!", she squealed. "How would you like to go on a one week vacation to the President's country house?"
"The President's WHAT?",asked Kanae , surprised. Kyoko then explained her latest Love Me assignment.
"It sounds pretty tempting.", Kanae admitted. "But I have to warn you! I am a terrible housekeeper. The last time I tried house cleaning, I could have sworn it looked cleaner before I was done with it! Hey, wait a minute! I've got another call on the line.."
Kyoko waited for a minute or two and Kanae finally came back on the line. " Mo! I'm sorry! I'll be a little busy this week. And the President's got a Love Me assignment for me too. Why don't you ask Chiorin?"
"Yes,I was going to ask her anyway.", Kyoko said feeling a little disappointed. "Bye Kanae! I'll call you later."
Unfortunately Chiorin too was busy with a new drama. Kyoko sighed dejectedly. Somehow she wasn't looking forward to this holiday anymore. She was going to be all alone. You can always call Tsuruga san!, her inner voice told her. Kyoko turned bright red at the very thought.
Err..Tsuruga san…I have this Love Me assignment..and I was wondering…Would you mind coming with me to the President's country house and help me with a bit of house cleaning? Kyoko slapped herself mentally for even thinking of handing her sempai a broom! Moreover, She wasn't very comfortable with the idea of living with Him again all alone in a country were already doing that for their Cain and Setsu act and it was giving her sleepless nights. Finally, she decided against telling him about the assignment at all. Why do I think he should know about it anyway? , she thought.
In a few hours, she was zooming away to the countryside. It was one hour drive from Tokyo. Soon they had arrived at the mansion.
Kyoko gasped at the size and beauty of the place. The mansion had a simple architecture, which suited it to perfection in the beautiful green surroundings. The garden was exactly her picture of fairyland. Trees, Flowers of different colours filled it. Except for one thing.
"Isn't that tree dead?", she asked Sebastian who was taking out her things.
Sebastian looked at where she was pointing- a tall tree with lots and lots of branches looking like a tangled mess without any leaves.
"Ah!", he said with a sad smile. "The master told me the story behind that many times.
This was his house when he had just married. Marriage changed the president. Believe it or not, he was a rather strict and serious young man back then. But his wife was a beautiful young woman, full of life. She loved music and had a beautiful singing voice. Every evening, the house would be filled with the sounds of her voice and their laughter. She changed him to what he is now."
Kyoko was listening to the story starry-eyed. "But she had cancer. They discovered it too late. Though she never lost her spirit, her health and beauty gradually detiorated. She spent her last month in bed, often singing. She had planted and tended to that tree with her own hands. It was just like her back then. Green, beautiful and full of life…But when she was dying, the tree seemed to be losing its life too. The leaves began to turn brown and finally fell. The president kept the tree in her memory. He was devastated by her death, but was determined to live his life like how his wife had. She taught him to love life and live each day to the fullest extent."
Kyoko felt pity and admiration for the president. The whole story was like a fairy tale-beautiful, though a little sad. However the tree still looked a little creepy. Like a devil standing in paradise. Out of place. She helped Sebastian carry her things into the house.
"Here is your food.", he handed her a large package. "And here are the keys. I'll be back next week. If you finish earlier, just give the president a call and he'll send me."
"You mean you're not going to be here?",asked Kyoko in dismay.
"I'm afraid not miss. Goodbye!". Sebastian got into the car and drove away . After Kyoko watched the car disappear she finally took a good look at her surroundings. What she saw made her frown. She had been so caught up in the beauty of the surroundings, she hadn't noticed that there wasn't a single house nearby. It looked as though she was the only human being for miles around.
She slowly made her way back to the house. The weather was great. A little cloudy and windy. It would probably rain soon. She poked around the house a bit. The drawing room, kitchen, a bathroom were all downstairs. Upstairs was a master bedroom, a guest bedroom and Maria's room.
Kyoko's room was huuuuge! The furniture too was grand. There was a soft Queen-sized bed with a pretty pink blanket and pillows. Just her idea of a princess bedroom. The room even had an attached bathroom. She had a wonderful view of the garden. A little distance from the window, she could see the creepy looking tree.
Kyoko decided to start her work immediately. The house didn't look or feel so inviting now that she was alone. The sooner she finished her job, the sooner she would be out of here!
She cleaned up her bedroom first and then went to work downstairs on the kitchen and drawing room. By the time she had finished, she was exhausted and hungry. I think I'll watch a movie while I eat., she decided. Sitting all by myself with no one to talk to is pointless. She looked through the CDs in a rack near the TV set. Most of them were of different languages-spanish,French,English…but not a single Japanese movie! Finally she chose 'Grudge'. The cover didn't look very nice, but the movie seemed to be based in Japan according to the story behind.
It looks like a horror movie though..,she thought doubtfully. Oh well. Can't be picky now. She put in the CD and began to watch.
She began to regret her choice as the movie progressed. "URRGH!", she said out loud in disgust as she watched a few grotesque murders while eating. However her eyes remained glued to the screen. As the movie began to get a little creepier, she stopped eating altogether, gazing at the screen transfixed in horror. To make matter worse, it began to rain. The sounds of raindrops pelting against the window in a large, silent house in the middle of nowhere was a little unnerving. It didn't help that it was a thunder storm. Kyoko hated the unexpected claps of thunder that made her jump in fright.
By the time the movie was finished, she was thoroughly spooked. Sebastian's story was now beginning to form some rather disturbing ideas in Kyoko's mind. A dead family haunting their house made her think of Lory's dead wife whooshing past her invisible, locking her in a bathroom, drowning her in a bathtub….
"Don't think of that!", she scolded herself. "It was only a movie!"
She took her plates and began to march confidently toward the kitchen , and stopped dead.
The passage leading to the kitchen looked like a long, dark tunnel to her after the movie. "Why did I watch that movie?", she groaned. She took a deep breath and sprinted across the dim passage to the kitchen. She heaved a sigh of relief once she was in the brightly lit kitchen. "Mmmm…I'm glad I left the light on. I could stay here forever!", she said happily.
She began to leisurely wash the dishes. The sounds of the raindrops didn't sound so creepy anymore. Now that she had relaxed, her thoughts wandered to Ren . It had been happening quite often ever since shooting for his new movie as BJ. She had recently thought of a new possibility.
Maybe someone died because of Tsuruga san? Or he probably just thinks he is responsible…he is no murderer..yet Murasame's remark made him lose it….I wish I could find out if I'm problem is how am I going to help him when I don't know his problem for sure? As Setsu, I can't even ask him! Not that he'll be likely to tell me anyway. Still..His behavior worries me. Setsu can bring Cain back to normal, but that won't be of much help to him later on..
Kyoko sighed puzzling over the riddle that was Ren Tsuruga. "I'll figure it out one day.", she told herself. "I'm going to make sure he trusts me enough to tell his little sister the reason behin his darkness."
Kyoko jumped in fright. She turned around and found the kitchen door had shut itself. She walked over to it cautiously and turned the door handle. To her relief the door opened. Thank goodness! It didn't lock itself too!
"Must have been the wind.", she muttered to herself.
But you closed all the windows!
"I must have left one open.", she told herself stubbornly.
Brilliant! And the wind magically carried itself here into a corner of the house?
"Calm down!", she told herself sternly. "Don't think about it too much. The wind is strong and shut the door. That's logical."
Kyoko sighed as she realized she had to venture into the passage again. She sprinted across the passage and came back to the drawing room. I'm safe!
She took out her pyjamas and 'Corn' and went upstairs to her room. However she made sure the lights of all the rooms were left on.
"There! Now that the house looks inhabited, I don't have to worry about intruders! The President should have arranged for security in this place."
While she changed, Kyoko had a nagging feeling that something was different about the room. She looked around the room carefully. Everything was exactly as she remembered leaving it.
"Just my mind playing tricks because of that stupid movie.", she assured herself before getting into bed and falling asleep with the light on.
BANG! CRACK! TAP!TAP! CRACK!
Kyoko woke up when she heard all the racket. To her surprise and horror the room was dark! She jumped out of bed and groped her way towards the switch. But the light didn't come on! Damn! A power failure!
And she would have thought no more about it if she hadn't felt that the door was closed. And the tapping sound still continued.
Kyoko turned and what she saw made her blood freeze. A long shriveled hand was knocking at her window!
She went towards the window trembling and breathed a sigh of relief when she saw what it was.
"It's only a branch of that dead ?"
Now it hit Kyoko exactly what she had found different about the room. The dead tree which had been a few feet away from the house was now just beside her bedroom window!
Kyoko noticed a sudden movement in the garden. She looked down and saw a figure in a white wedding dress walking towards the house. Kyoko stood rooted to the spot. The mysterious figure stopped and looked up slowly. There was a bouquet of dead roses in one hand. The face was hidden behind a veil. It slowly raised its arm. To kyoko's horror, the hand began to stretch and stretch till it reached her window.
Kyoko took one look at the hairy, shriveled hand carrying the dead flowers and screamed her lungs out. She still had 'corn' in her hand. She grabbed her cell phone, flung open the door and ran out of the room.
The entire house was in darkness. She ran down the stairs holding corn tightly. She wasn't staying upstairs a minute longer!
"Thank goodness! The keys are still in the door!", she cried in relief. She was about to open the door when she remembered the white figure that was supposed to be outside. She went to the window and peered out. The figure was gone!
Kyoko jumped when the white clad 'spirit's' face suddenly appeared before her. It was still hidden behind a veil. Kyoko screamed in terror and drew the curtains close. She ran to the sofa and flung herself on it. Now a weird cackling sound began to come from outside. Kyoko shut her ears and stayed put.
Finally she had had enough. She took her phone and dialed the first number that came to her mind.
"Please pick up… Please pick up…", she whispered desperately. She was relieved when she heard the familiar voice on the other side.
"Mogami san?", asked Ren in a surprised voice.
That's it for now^^. Ren will show up more in the next chapters! I don't plan to make this a long story though. Spooks are done for now…mostly it's gonna be about how ghosts bring them 2 gether! Whether they are real or not I'll decide soon!