"And this is my condo. Feel free to-"
The man dropped his luggage with a loud thump. In a blur, he ran across the room, checking every corner of the place without missing a bit. He made sure to touch every piece of furniture and enjoy the view from the balcony before this 'dream' ended. He was positive that all of this was an illusion. "This is unbelievable!" He skydived onto the couch, smothering his face into the expensive cushions.
"Make yourself at home..." She finished her previous sentence. Waiting for him to take a moment to breathe in the situation, she drank a warm glass of herbal tea, watching him flopping and rolling across the wooden floor. "You should take a shower later and-"
Before she could finish her sentence again, he rushed to do what she asked. He couldn't wait to test the water.
One Shower Later
Ichigo Kurosaki, as that was his name, ate quite comfortably while ignoring the woman who had taken him under her wing. "This really isn't my imagination," he ran his finger across his steak, feeling it hot and greasy beneath his touch. Finally noticing the presence of the girl, he looked at her with little care. "Ah, you're still here?"
"Of course I am. We are sharing this place together. Have you forgotten the terms you agreed on earlier?" She definitely wasn't going to put up with some dirt bag. She pushed her glasses up as they rested on the bridge of her nose, "If you don't meet my expectations, I will have you thrown out immediately." Ichigo couldn't deny it; she was an intense person. Her strict demeanor and hulk-like behavior was really something else.
He laughed at her as she glared. "Of course I haven't forgotten, Ms. Kuchiki."
Three Hours Earlier
Rukia Kuchiki discovered a man outside the building where she worked at. Her first impression of him wasn't so great; he looked like a stray dog under the wet rain. However, she remembered seeing him a few times around the city. Of course, the reason why she couldn't forget a person like him was because 1) He was always arm-in-arm with a woman and 2) He was amazingly beautiful.
Ichigo had abnormal orange hair and a look that always seemed to be scowling. Everything about him was handsome; it was no doubt he had a prince-like quality to him. Despite his intimidating features, he was quite the immature person.
Anyway, Rukia's intuition was almost never wrong. "You're a male prostitute, aren't you?" That was the first thing she asked him as she held the umbrella over his head. With a smirk and smart-ass attitude, he nodded, giving her a smooch from below. In her business attire and with the way she presented herself, he knew she was rich. What made him more surprised was why a woman like her would pick up trash like him off the street. "Don't get me wrong. I'm not here to ask for sex."
"Then what is it you want from me? Or do you pity me?" His hands curled from being looked down. He hated it most when people of her kind looked at him with disapproval.
She shook her head no. She could care less about his state. "Advice... I want advice from you to get the man I like to return my feelings." Surely, she was asking the wrong person. How would a man know how to get into the heart of another man? "You're experienced, right? I expect you know what men like and what they love most."
"Darling, that would be breasts, ass, and sex." His eyes looked up and down at her with pervertedness; he couldn't take her seriously. It was hilarious to see someone so civilized and obedient ask for such obvious things. She had no experience in men, he concluded.
Taking in a deep breath to stay composed, she finally said, "In return for your help, I'll share with you a nice home. You won't have to worry about any payments for food, shelter, necessities, luxuries-"
"Really? Sharing a home together? You've got guts to do this with a stranger. Fine with me. But I must say, I'll be bringing home lots of women. You won't mind?"
He expected her to turn red and run off in embarrassment. Yes, no one could stand his barbaric self. "It won't be a problem."
She wasn't bothered by him at all. Although he was completely blunt and rude, it seemed like a mosquito or a fly would be a bigger pest than he. Snatching the umbrella from her, he stood up. There was a huge height difference between them; she barely reached his chest. "A bad boy living with a good girl? This'll be interesting."
"So what's the poor man's name?" Ichigo asked, pretending to care about her affairs as most of his attention was focused on the television- "Hey! I was still watching," He barked at Rukia as she turned off the cartoon. "You're not cute at all. It's no wonder this guy doesn't like you." She was still unphased with his tormenting.
Rukia sat across from him. She laid out the man's photo, "This is Renji Abarai. He was a classmate in high school." He nodded, opening his mouth to ask questions only to have his jaw drop when she whipped out a load of paper. "He's currently unemployed and lives a few miles from here. He's a type A and his birthday is on August 31. We're both twenty-three years old. We're still in contact; sometimes we go grab a cup of coffee-"
"Hold on!" He shouted, sending the papers flying in the air. "This is..." She was insane and clearly was a robot. "You're really scary. First of all, his blood type and birthday shouldn't affect how he feels about you. The 'thing' that would affect how he feels would be you yourself."
Rukia pondered for a second. She never really thought it was her own self that made him not like her. She thought that perhaps it had something to do with his genes and social life. Perhaps she was too much of a businesswoman. "I'm sorry. I work with data a lot and so it comes naturally for me to think about statistics and facts..."
She was hopeless. Ichigo thought it was a miracle for the guy to even give her a second look. He looked at the photo she gave him of Renji - he was a typical looking guy, excluding his crimson hair. However, with the way Rukia was now, even Renji was out of her league. He looked back up at Rukia to see her fumbling for once. "You really like this guy don't you?" He teased, seeing her face tint red for the first time. "You act all high and mighty but in truth you're just a school girl in love."
She felt ashamed to be asking him for help. For goodness sake, he was two years younger than her (21 years old) and a male prostitute! She barely knew the guy and he was a total jerk but there was no denying it - she was desperate.
"Though I must say," he continued, "he's an idiot for not marrying someone like you." She raised her head - a compliment? Did she really just get praised by- "I mean, you're damn rich!" He roared in laughter. Of course, in the end, all that matters to the bird brain man is money. "First off, your looks suck. Get rid of the glare and that ponytail! And stop dressing like you're better than everyone else - you're a woman, dress like one!"
Too slow to react, she only realized he had yanked off her hair band when her eyes were covered by her bangs. Her hair fell apart and a few buttons of her shirt became undone. "Stop this radical behavior of yours."
He observed her, tilting his head to get a better angle of her. "Hm... Much better. Maybe we can cut your hair; it's a mess. A new wardrobe is a must too..."
Her heart fell weak. Ichigo was proposing great ideas, but she was afraid of drastic change. Would Renji be able to recognize her? Would she turn out to look like a fool? "So you're asking me to throw on makeup and look like a goddess so that he'll fall for me?"
Ichigo couldn't laugh; he felt too sorry for her to make fun of her. It was pitiful to see her looking like a cat that was dumped with a bucket of cold water. "Look, I'd be lying if I said looks don't matter. However, what I'm proposing isn't a lot. What you really need to change is that pessimistic and stiff attitude of yours; personality, in the end, is what gets the job done. No guy likes a girl who isn't confident in herself."
Con... fidence? Where would she be able to find something like that? She locked eyes with his caramel-colored ones. Although it was his job to help her, she couldn't help but feel like he did so much more than just that... "Thank-"
His phone began ringing, disrupting the silence. "Ah, hello? Tonight? It's fine. I gotta you show you my new hideout! Come on over," he hung up, dashing into his luggage to find 'stuff' for the night.
Rukia could obviously tell it was a client. "I'll leave you and whoever's coming alone. I'm sure I wouldn't want to be in the same room," she grabbed her keys, "and don't cause trouble." He waved, happy to get rid of her. Having the place all to himself and to boast about it to his client - he really was living the dream.
Leaving, she couldn't but imagine what they would do. Of course, they would do dirty things but... She tried to think of something else but her curiosity kept getting the best of her. Did she approve of him selling his body to people? She couldn't say. He had his reasons and it was his choice, she didn't have a right to judge his actions. It just made her question herself: would she ever be able to make love to someone she had no feelings for? She was disgusted by the thought.
"Ah, Rukia!" She turned back to see Ichigo pointing to his chin, "Chin up! Stop looking at the ground. Remember - confidence!" He hammered into her head before closing the door.
Rukia sighed, forcing to look up. She felt so silly. Change is never easy, but if it would get the person she loved to look at her the same way she looked at him... It would be worth it. "Chin up... Confidence," she repeated as she headed to a hotel for the night.
Rukia sat at the local cafe. She usually came to this place in the mornings to grab a cup of coffee. She usually didn't like sitting alone when there were a lot of pairs in the cafe - it made her look like a complete loner and currently, there were a lot of couples and yes, she was completely isolated from human contact.
She looked around, hoping she didn't look strange sitting by herself. She tried to keep her mind off things, but when she spaced out, she could only wonder if Ichigo was done with... Well of course he is. He couldn't have lasted all night and in the morning. "I hope he changes the sheets-"
"Rukia? It is you! What a coincidence." She jumped at the voice, recognizing it. The soothing quality it had; she couldn't forget it. Renji sat beside her; she thanked heaven for sending him to her at such a great time. Now she wouldn't look so lonely in her table. "I almost didn't recognize you with your hair down. You look good," the wrinkles around his mouth weren't obvious when he smiled, but she always noticed them because she remembered his face so well.
"Do you want a cup of coffee? I'll order you one," Rukia offered kindly. Around other men, she was cold and quiet but around him... She was shy and timid. He accepted her gesture, "I haven't seen you in a week. When are you free? We should go catch another movie." Ever since they were friends, they would always take a trip to the theaters.
He pondered for a second before nodding, "Since I'm unemployed now, my schedule is always open." He sighed, looking quite upset for a brief second. When the coffee came, Rukia urged him to drink, hoping to get his mind off things. He took a few sips before speaking quietly. "Truth is Rukia... I'm struggling. I know I've asked you too many times but-"
"You need another loan?" She was quick to guess. He nodded, embarrassed. She didn't think twice before whipping out her check, "If it's to help a friend, I don't mind. Back in high school, you were my only friend... Just think of this returning a favor. Don't be ashamed," she even bothered to comfort him.
He bowed his head, truly thankful. "I promise I'll owe you back one day." He reached into his pocket, "Ah... I forgot my wallet again."
Rukia's naive love for the man tempted her to be generous towards him, "I'll pay for you, no worries." Her job had landed her a huge salary - something like coffee wasn't a big deal. She signed off ten grand to him, "I hope you'll manage with just this."
He accepted it, thanking her thrice before leaving the shop.
Rukia settled down on the leather couch; Renji never left her mind. "Oh you're back... I cleaned the sheets. I wouldn't sit there if I were you; I haven't cleaned that couch yet-" She immediately stood up, though was too dazed to bark at him. "Your facial expression... Is that how a woman looks like when she's in love?" For some reason, it didn't really seem like he was asking a question. It was more like he was... Amazed.
"You haven't seen someone who looks in love before?" She finally snapped out of her trance. He shook his head.
"All the women I meet are just in it for sex. Nothing more." He spoke with little care. What he said made Rukia a bit... Sad. She couldn't believe that this guy who slept with probably hundreds of women had never met a sincere one.
So many questions she was prompted to ask but she could only bring herself to ask two, "Have you ever fallen in love before?" He looked at her as though he just saw something dreadful. He immediately replied no. "Is it because of your job?"
"There are multiple reasons why. Women are complicated creatures who I don't like to get too involved with. Plus, it gets in the way of my job. Also, I believe that there does not exist a woman who is able to move me."
Actually, she had a third question, "How are you able to prostitute? If it were me, I'd bawl my eyes out every time I would have to have intercourse with a stranger."
"People are willing to do anything for money. After the first time, the rest is no biggie. Now," he pushed her towards the door, "let's have a makeover."
Rukia couldn't help but feel sorry for him. She didn't have the heart to ask him if he was okay with it all, otherwise he'd get angry. It bothered her dearly how someone could sell themselves into the night - did they not love themselves? She wished he would respect himself some more. Although he taught her that confidence was important... With the way things were, it felt like he was sleeping with others because he had no confidence in himself.
"I'm liking this look," Ichigo was pleased with his very own 'masterpiece.' "This is my type of girl. Classy and beautiful," He nodded in approval. For a 'bad boy' type, Rukia found it hard to believe that he would be into the elegant type of woman.
The day ended in success as both the two of them got new wardrobes and she came out with a new appearance. With much struggling, she was able to lose the old her and become someone different.
She looked exactly how Ichigo pictured: her hair was sharp and medium-length, her clothes were stylish and had the right balance between girly and tough, and most importantly... She looked confident. "Is this good-"
She tripped over her own heels. "We'll work on your catwalk."
"I-Is this really alright? I feel like everyone's staring." Uncomfortable... She felt so out of place. When her co workers see her like this, she feared they'd laugh at her and think she was trying too hard to impress someone. "I should revert back-"
"I dare you," he threatened. With the long day of dealing with her tantrums, like hell was he going to let her drop the mission. "You're my masterpiece! Of course you'd be making everyone turn heads. That being said, you better not put me to shame-"
"Turn heads? That doesn't sound too good," she trotted behind him like a horse. One misstep and she could fall and break an ankle. Walking in heels was worse than walking on glass. "I wonder what Renji will think of me when he sees me... I hope he doesn't laugh," she buried her hands into her face.
Ichigo sighed in annoyance, "If he laughs, he's gay!"
Rukia turned ill. It would shatter her forever. She'd be fine with it, but to be dumped in that way... "Don't say that... I'm really hoping he'll return my feelings."
"So what happens if in the end he doesn't? Do I get to keep the condo?" Ichigo didn't even consider her thoughts. He just cared about the money after all. She expected no less. Rukia hadn't even thought about being rejected. She was too focused on making the impossible possible that she completely ignored the possible outcomes of the mission.
Ichigo looked over his shoulder to see the woman quiet and deep in thought. He only realized then how much the man mattered to her. Only to Renji did she show another side to him that nobody knew about and only to him did she look at with adoring eyes. It sort of made him envious. "I'll try harder to get him. Whatever it takes."
He eyed her for quite a while before walking again. "That determination is what'll be your demise."
"Demise? How so-" She gasped, jumping into the alley behind a trash can. Ichigo only realized she had disappeared when he found himself talking alone. Groaning, he yanked her out from her 'fort.' When asked why she did something so dumb, she could only point with a shaky finger at a man, "It's Renji..."
The world really was a small place. To encounter him twice in the same day... Ichigo flicked her on the forehead, "Dimwit. You're doing this all for him aren't you? So why are you hiding now?" He pushed her into the sidewalk. She was nearly thrown against Renji.
Renji looked at her, apologizing. Rukia stammered before him. What would he say to her? Would he fall in love with her? Or would he look at her in disgust? Instead of all of those, he continued to walk. Ah... He didn't recognize her. She felt like an idiot, finally calling out to him. "Renji! It's me, Rukia."
The man stopped, turning back to look at her. This time, he stared with a little more care in his eyes. It took seconds, although it felt like an eternity, for him to finally light up his eyes. "Rukia? Is that really you?" He rubbed his eyes to make sure he wasn't going insane. "Wow... You made a big change - and in only a few hours since I last saw you."
She felt so vulnerable in his gaze. For the first time, he was looking at her with significance. "R-right? I don't look like an idiot, do I?" She dusted her coat and brushed her hair to the side. Renji laughed, shaking his head.
"You look young. It must've taken a lot of courage to make such a change huh?" She blushed, wishing she had enough guts to tell him that it was he himself who gave her that courage. "You worked hard. Well, I really must get going now," he looked at his watch.
Rukia felt a tremor in her heart. He was going to leave, just like that. "M-movies... Would you like to go to the movies?" She hoped with just going out for a little fun, perhaps he would see her as a woman.
"I'm sorry, I really can't make it. Maybe next time. Oh, and thanks again for earlier today. You're really saving me - I promise I'll pay back the loan you gave me!"
"Yeah, he's really gay," Ichigo shook his head while eating dinner. Rukia, who sat in front of him at the table, could only defend Renji.
"He's not! He's sincere, that's all. I would've been depressed if he instantly fell for me just because I had a makeover," she stabbed at her food, imagining the food was Ichigo. A deep groan left his lips; Rukia was really naive. She was whipped.
After today's makeover, she felt like the gap between her and Renji shortened. For once, their relationship was starting to move forward. "Sincere, riiight~ So he tells you you look young and rejects your invitation to a date. That's really something a guy would do. I'm guessing this guy never even touched a woman!"
Rukia could only shoot him a glare. "You're a playboy, that's why you think that way. Renji is modest and looks for a kind heart. However, you on the other hand," she sneered at him, "you only look for someone with sex appeal and money."
Ichigo laughed, stomping his foot on the ground, "So what you're saying is you have no heart, that's why Renji doesn't like you. If I recall, earlier he said you gave him a loan. Guess I'm not the only one interested in money-"
"Renji has his reasons! Besides, he said he'd pay me back-"
"Are you judging me now? You saying I don't have my reasons?" He slammed his fist on the table, causing Rukia to jump a bit.
She took a while to respond. She wasn't sure if it'd be wise to say something about him prostituting. He was her only hope to make Renji fall in love with her and he was a stranger. If he wanted to, he could do something to her. "Forget it..."
"No, tell me. I want to hear what you have to say." He stood up, walking up behind her and grabbing her tense shoulders, whispering into her ear, "You think I'll screw anyone who has a few bucks on them to offer, don't you? You're looking at me as though I'm messed up."
He turned her around to see her, and when he did, he saw tears streaming down her face. The makeup she wore smeared and she looked so pitiful. She wasn't crying because she was scared, she was crying because she thought it was such a waste for someone so beautiful like him to throw himself away like that... "What are your reasons then?"
His grip loosened on her. It was usually against his principles to lay a hand on a woman, "I don't have an obligation to tell my life's story to you. Instead of trying to investigate my life, why don't you go bother Renji. Ask him what his reasons for talking to you are - I bet you he's just into your money." He let her go, grabbing his coat before leaving out the door.
Rukia became quiet, wiping her tears. "Renji is kind... He's not in for my money."
"Good work everybody," Rukia told her co workers before leaving her company building. That day, everyone complimented her on her new look. She knew they weren't making fun of her; she was happy. Little by little, she was being reborn into someone else.
As she walked home, she worried about Ichigo. Had he come back? After last night, she hadn't heard a word from him. His stuff was still at her place, but she wondered if he was still angry with her. Perhaps when she returned home, all his stuff would be gone and they'll never meet again. Their contract would be over and she would have to fight her love battle alone.
Reaching her condo, she opened the door to find that everything was left the same. He hadn't returned- "Ah, Ichigo!" She saw him dragging himself out of the bathroom. "What happened to you? You look like a mess," she noticed the cuts and bruises all over him. The blood on his clothing was obvious and it was clear that someone had attacked him.
He groaned to see her. Apparently he was hoping to get in and sneak out without her noticing. "Thank goodness you're not someone worth impressing, otherwise I'd have to worry about looking uncool," he collapsed on the couch. Too worried to care, she rushed to find the first aid kit. When asked what happened, he responded with, "Some idiot with a bunch of punks jumped me when he found out I slept with his girl."
Seeing him so disheveled made her at least respect him a little for what he does. Prostituting was easy money but at the same time very hard to the person doing it. With a wet cloth, she wiped away his blood. It was awkward being so physically close after their fight. In his condition, she couldn't leave him alone due to their differences. "I admire you," she finally spoke. He was confused by what she meant, "I mean... not saying I think prostituting is anything to be proud of, but because of the things you go through because of it. Only someone brave enough would be able to do it."
She avoided looking him in the eye. Her attention only focused on his cuts; she applied ointment to each one, blowing on his wounds to ease the pain. She placed a band-aid on a cut over his brow; he was little surprised by what she said. Her being so close wasn't helping him relax either. He grabbed her wrist, stopping her. It was the first time someone said something positive about what he did for a living.
Rukia was puzzled when he closed in on her. Her heart pumped adrenaline when she saw his eyes close and his lips pucker a little. Would he... She pulled away from his grasp. "I-I'll let you tend the rest of your wounds," she walked away. Had Renji's image not appeared in the back of her mind... Would Ichigo really have kissed her?
She feared thinking about it. In her mind, she tried telling herself it was just a misunderstanding. He would never kiss a person like her unless she offered him money. Right, she was just over thinking the situation. She laughed to herself, feeling like an idiot for thinking he was going to kiss her. She wasn't going to make the mistake of being overconfident and assume that he was going to plant a smooch on her.
Ichigo on the other hand was beating himself up over what he was about to do. "She's so tsundere - I really am getting lonely," he shook, feeling gross. He assumed he was desperate for body contact, that's why he tried to seduce her. "She'd be the last person I'd ever screw with."
Few Weeks Later
"What is with these people? They see something suspicious looking and they go right towards it!" Ichigo threw up his arms. He lost all faith in humans, "This is why stupid people die early." He and Rukia both watched a movie together in their condo late at night.
While he was screaming in blasphemy, Rukia was watching with great entertainment. On a night when both of them had nothing to do, they would watch a movie or play a game.
Ichigo looked over to see her curl up in a ball. It was no doubt she was an idiot, but the time they spent together were... Nice. Like this, it seemed like they were a real family. Last time, he tried to kiss her but she managed to stop him. He was glad she did, otherwise the two of them would never be able to spend time together normally. Although he'd never admit, he enjoyed these times. He never had a real family but she was able to give him that.
"What?" Rukia asked, noticing his stares. He was caught by surprise, immediately looking away while calling her a freak. She couldn't understand him at all. "I hope they find their friend," she commented on the movie, sighing.
"For a business woman, it's surprising you actually spend time doing these sorts of things."
"Aren't you stereotyping me too much? I know how to have some fun-" Her phone rang; Renji was calling. She gasped like a fish out of water. "He-hello?" Her voice became soft. She melted hearing him say her name. Ichigo understood why no men liked her. She was completely abnormal. "Y-you want to meet? You're outside my house?" She panicked, dropping the phone.
"Idiot!" Ichigo shoved the phone back into her hand. It was clearly obvious she was head over heels for him.
"I'm coming down," she hung up, running to grab a coat. She threw off her glasses, fixing her hair and changing out of her pyjamas, "Do I look okay?" She asked. Ichigo gestured her to move so he could see the movie. Sighing, she left downstairs.
For some reason, Ichigo couldn't help but feel the need to poke his nose into her business. "Hmph. I'm not going to tell her what happens in the movie," he leaned back, putting his feet on the table.
"I'm home~" Rukia called, taking her shoes off while looking for a certain male. Ichigo stuck his head into the fridge, searching for anything to eat. "You're still home?"
He looked back at her in irritation. "I'm sorry I'm such an eyesore, Ms. Kuchiki," he rolled his eyes. In the end, he made himself a sandwich. She laughed. It bothered him to see her so up in the clouds. "You've been smiling lately," he ripped his food apart. Seeing her so bubbly made him sick to the stomach.
"I saw Renji today again," she fixed her lipstick. Indeed, she was a changed person. "I really must thank you." Had she never invited him into her home, she'd probably eating a gallon of ice cream out of depression. "I feel sorry looking at you. You remind me of my old self-"
"Like hell I do," he was offended. This girl who used to be so clueless was now making fun of him, unbelievable. "When is our little deal going to be done? From what you're saying, he's practically in the palm of your hands. Why don't you just give me the condo already and leave?"
Rukia raised a brow. "Not until we're officially dating. Then when the time comes, I'll be out of your life completely."
Ichigo couldn't pinpoint it, but he felt so little in her eyes. "You sure are able to say that without much trouble." He thought that perhaps... No, what is he thinking? For her to feel something for him - what a joke. "I need a good banging tonight. Maybe I'll call someone to get my mind off things."
"You said dates with you aren't for free last time, right?" Rukia asked, sitting next to him while preparing a sandwich as well. He raised a brow, nodding. "I was thinking maybe we should go out for fun today. I never see you out in the sunlight. I don't know what it is, but I feel like something good will happen if we go out today. So," she gulped down a glass of milk, "how much will it cost to rent you for the whole day?"
He laughed at her proposal. She was willing to pay for his company? "Ten grand." With that, surely she'll leave him alone. He didn't want to hang around with the likes of her in public-
"Ok," she wrote a check, "let's go."
At the Amusement Park
"I think I lost my spine back there," Rukia buried her face into a brown bag, ready to hurl out the sandwich from earlier. The rollercoaster had sent them flying left to right and she was sure half her life span was gone.
Ichigo sat beside her, holding her hair back. She gave a loud belch and finally, all the stuff she ate in the past hour came back up. "There there..." He hid behind his shades while others looked at them, pointing at Rukia in worry. "She's fine," he assured them. "I told you you were too weak for the ride," he handed her a bottle of water.
She gurgled it down, giving a weak smile, "I wanted to ride something scary with you, that's all. I think it was worth it because you seemed happy for once- uhh.. I feel it coming again," she stuck her face back in the bag again.
He called her stupid, but secretly, he was... a little touched. She risked her life to make sure he enjoyed himself - it was a brave act indeed. "Here, chew some gum." She thanked him, taking the mint stick.
"Don't laugh at me or assume that I like you, but when you said you were going to have sex for money again tonight, I used this 'date' as an excuse to stop you. It wasn't really because I thought something good was going to come out of this date."
The old him would've been pissed at her answer. He would've assumed she was shaking her head at him in disapproval since she stopped him from prostituting. "Why'd you stop me then?" Rukia couldn't tell what he was thinking since his eyes were blocked by the sunglasses... but she felt this was the same as last time when he tried to kiss her.
If she didn't stop him out of liking him, then why did she? For once, Ichigo realized it. From the moment he tried to kiss her up to now, he denied it all, but really... He liked her. This girl who he saw as a naive and innocent businesswoman, someone with nothing appealing at all, was the one girl who was capable of moving him. That girl who he thought never existed, existed. She was right here before him.
When she didn't answer, he moved a bit closer, "I think something good came out of today's date." He hoped that she would tell him that she stopped him because she liked him or she was feeling jealous that he would sleep with someone else. Anything, just a hint that she cared about him was enough.
She laughed, "Why are you so serious? I only did it because you seemed so tired of the same routine. I'm just helping a friend out," she patted his back. He fell silent. She didn't understand his feelings at all. "Ah, but what happened to you today to make you say that? Did you meet a nice girl?" She winked.
He wanted to hit her for being so dense. She was happy for him and yet he couldn't help but feel alone. If he told her, she would only push him away. "I-"
"Rukia! Wow.. I'm starting to feel like you're stalking me. You're everywhere I go," Renji showed up in front of them. He looked over to Ichigo, "Is this a friend of yours?"
Rukia panicked. If he saw them together like that, he'd assume that she and Ichigo were dating. "N-no. He's a... A relative." His fists clenched at the lie. Renji smiled, extending out a hand to greet Rukia's 'relative.'
"It's nice to meet you," Renji said. Ichigo looked at the hand in disgust. He looked over at Rukia almost as though he were asking if it was safe to shake his hand. She eyed him, urging him to. To think that almost a month ago, he was helping her to catch this guy's attention. Ichigo never expected to fall for Rukia himself. How was he going to try and get Renji to love Rukia back when he developed feelings for her?
To stand at the sidelines and and support her love for Renji was going to be unbearable, but he didn't want her to end up hating him. Finally, he grabbed Renji's hand, "My name's Ichigo Kurosaki..." For the moment, he could only play stupid and stay still, no matter how much he wanted to break Renji's hand.
Both Rukia and Renji were oblivious to the glare Ichigo was sending them. They talked in bliss, ignoring his presence. "Actually, since I'm here," Renji spoke while Rukia listened eagerly, "I'd like to take up on that offer last time. You said you wanted to see the movies?"
Both Rukia and Ichigo reacted. Her eyes bulged in surprise while Ichigo's hand crushed the cup of soda. "I'm free tomorrow. You can pick me up at eight. I'll be looking forward to it," she sighed in joy as Renji smiled, leaving the two to their own. Ichigo looked grossed out to see her so in love. "Eh? What's wrong? Your soda-"
"It's nothing," he stormed off.
"Who would've thought that something good really would happen!" Rukia undressed herself in her room while Ichigo waited in the living room, "Does this look okay?" Rukia swayed side to side in her nude colored dress, "You don't think it's too-"
"You look like you're begging for sex," Ichigo bluntly put, crossing his arms. He didn't even look at her. She felt something was wrong with his attitude, but she assumed it was just because no one has been calling for his 'business.'
She sat next to him, "Or is it because that girl you met yesterday won't look at you too?" She still thought he met a girl the other day at the park. Well, she wasn't completely wrong. He did 'meet' a girl who he started looking at with interest. "It's okay, I was once in your position. But," she assured him, "with hard work, she'll eventually come to like you too."
Ichigo finally looked at her. She was beautiful. It bothered him to know that she was dolling up for Renji only. "Well then tell me, since you know what girls like, how can I become someone likeable? If I tried to get you to like me, what would I have to do for that to happen?"
Rukia was surprised he would even use her as a model. She brushed his feet off the table, "Manners are nice. Besides that, the only thing I would change about you is..." She scooted to the left when she saw how close he was to her. "Don't be mad when I say it, but... I wouldn't be too fond of having a boyfriend who is selling himself to other girls. It'd make me jealous."
"So if I became a gentleman and quit seeing other girls, would you like me back?"
The conversation became... awkward. Rukia walked towards the mirror, putting on her earrings, "You talk as though the girl you're interested in is me," she laughed. She recalled how he would always look at her with disdain; he couldn't possibly like her. No way, it's impossible.
He didn't respond. He'd have to wait until the time was right. Now wasn't the time, she had a date to catch. She shuddered when she saw him behind her in the mirror. "If he tries to seduce you, will you know what to do?" His hands placed themselves on her hips, "He'll probably be disappointed if you're inexperienced."
Rukia shook him off her, "We won't go that far-"
"What if he does?" He turned her around to face him. "Just... think of this as practice." That was an excuse. He wasn't saying and doing this because he wanted to help her captivate Renji. This 'practice' was probably the only way he'll ever be able to get close to her.
His rough hands reached up to her face, holding her still and in position. She knew it was wrong to do this, even if it was practice, but she couldn't bring herself to stop him. His eyes were bewitching her; she couldn't move. "Ichigo..."
She flinched at the touch of his hand on her breast, "First, he'll caress you like this," he whispered into her ear. His other hand went behind her neck, "Then he'll begin to slowly kiss you on every sensitive part of your body," he placed a kiss on her neck, making his way up.
A tingling sensation ran down her legs; why wasn't she doing anything? He looked into her violet eyes, "Then while he's unzipping your dress," he pulled down the zipper while running a finger along her spine, "he'll kiss you on your lips-"
"Stop!" She slapped him, panting in fear. She grabbed her coat and purse, "This is just a date. After the movies, I'm coming straight home. There won't be anything happening between me and Renji," she murmured quickly while rushing to leave the place.
Ichigo watched her slam the door. He ran his fingers through his hair, frustrated with himself. How could he do something so bold and stupid?
"I never thought that the main character would be the bad guy! It's unbelievable," Renji laughed. Rukia faked a smile. She was still concerned about Ichigo's actions earlier. Was it really practice? Or was it something else? "What's the matter? You look bummed."
"Ah, no. I enjoyed it, really." She didn't. During the whole movie, she could only replay the previous events in her head. He bought her story. "I know you were looking forward to dinner at your place tonight," she scratched her head, unsure if something would go on between them if she went, "but I can't make it."
Of course she wanted something to happen, but Ichigo scared her to death with his little act. She just wanted to go home and sleep. "I see... That's fine. Look, Rukia. I've been meaning to ask you for another loan, if you don't mind." He smiled another one of her favorite smiles, "I asked you out tonight because I didn't know any other way to approach you with such a request. Please, forgive me-"
"Is that it...?" She folded her hands together. When he asked her that, she could only remember Ichigo's words - "Ask him what his reasons for talking to you are. I bet you he's just into your money" - Who would've thought he'd be right? Actually, deep down, she always knew Renji was only befriending her for money.
She only chose not to believe it. She loved him too much to accept that he was a gold digger. "What a fool I am," she laughed to herself. She changed everything about herself for him and in the end, he only saw her as a tree that grew money. She couldn't hate him, she could only hate herself. Of course, she was the one who let herself get taken advantage of.
Heartbroken and at loss, she threw the few dollars she had in her purse at him, "Here, take it all! This is what you want, isn't it?" Everyone looked at them with worry and curiosity. Renji laughed in embarrassment, whispering for her to calm down. "How can I be calm? I was so happy to hear you ask me out tonight, but it was just to set the mood up so you can ask me for money again, wasn't it?"
"Wait, Rukia. I'm sorry. I'm not-"
Renji fell to the ground unconscious. People who were watching saw Ichigo come and punch the lights out of him, "Ichigo... What are you doing here?"
He dragged her by the arm, pulling her away from the scene. "What's it look like? I'm saving you," he didn't look her in the eye. He didn't want to show the girl he liked how stirred up he was. The whole time they were walking home, he never let her go nor did he ever tell her, 'I told you so.'
"You didn't have to do something so reckless..." She cleaned the blood on his fist. He could see how out of it she was. It made him curious - does love really make you this sad when it backfires on you? He didn't want to know how it felt. He could only hope that she wouldn't reject him in the end.
Her phone buzzed; it was Renji. For the past hour, he'd been calling like crazy to get into contact with her. "Give me that," he snatched the phone out of her hand, throwing it against the wall. "You can buy another one later," he grumbled.
Her surprised expression gradually turned into a semi-happy smile, "Thanks for coming today... I really felt like crying in front of him, but you came before that could happen. I didn't want to show him how weak I was," she finished wrapping up his hand. Ichigo couldn't help but feel the need to fix her... He wanted to see her smile only at him and get prettied up for him only. His phone rang, disrupting the moment. "A client?"
He hung up before answering it. "It's not important. Truth be told, I think I'm quitting prostituting."
She frowned with the sudden suggestion, "Why? I thought you liked money and sex. I mean, I'm glad to hear that, but why so suddenly?"
He hated how dull she was. Wasn't it obvious? He liked her. "I've found a reason to stop." Rukia heard the doorbell ring. The door pounded and she heard Renji's voice on the other side, demanding her to open the door. She covered her ears, "You stay here. I'll go deal with him-"
"Don't! Just leave it alone. He's my problem."
"Yeah and from what it looks like, you're just running away from it." Ichigo opened the door to see a frantic Renji, "What is it you want? If you're looking for her, she's not here."
"Please move. I need to apologize to Rukia. The truth is... I have a pregnant girlfriend. I need money to raise my child and she's my only hope-"
"Rukia doesn't want to see you!" Ichigo shouted, causing the man to jump in fear. "She's too nice to tell you upfront that you're a loser, but I'm different. A trash like me isn't worried about getting thrown into jail, so if I see you lurking around here again... I won't hesitate to kill you."
Renji stammered; he was dead serious. Getting on his knees, he begged for mercy, "I promise, I'll leave her alone, but I can't go home empty handed. My family is depending on me-"
"How much?" Rukia approached the door.
"Rukia.. You're not really thinking about helping this guy, are you? He used you-"
"As much as possible."
Rukia didn't hesitate to sign a check to the man who had betrayed her. "This is fifty grand. I hope you use it wisely," she handed it to Renji who took it gratefully. When he thanked her, she could only look away, "I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing it for the baby." She closed the door, leaving everything behind like that.
Ichigo couldn't find the right words to say. He wanted to tell her how cool she was and how admirable she was, but he felt it wasn't right to compliment her at such a time. She laughed, crying tears at the same time. "In the end, I'm only able to buy friends with money." Rukia thought it was such a curse to be rich. "It really can't buy you happiness-"
"I'm your friend, aren't I?" Ichigo asked.
"You only agreed to help me after I offered a place to stay-"
"I like you!" Rukia saw how determined he was, "You're the reason why I'm quitting my old ways. I'm not here for your money, I'm here for you." His hands reached up to her, desperate for contact.
Rukia felt his hands touch her face and finally his lips on hers. Soft and gentle, she could feel nothing but sincerity. His delicate lips brushed up against hers; her legs felt weak to the bone. "You gave me a home and were like family. Before I knew it, that empty void feeling in my chest disappeared. I really do like you."
Her heart throbbed. It was the first time she was confessed to. Ichigo waited for a response, but she couldn't bring herself to say a word. "I-I'm tired... When I'm right in the head again, I'll tell you how I feel," she moved away from him.
Ichigo tossed and turned in bed. How could he sleep with his feelings on the line? Rukia had all the power it took to destroy him with a simple 'no' to his feelings. It was the first time he felt so vulnerable, he didn't like this feeling at all.
He jerked when he heard his door creak open, "Rukia?" He called in the darkness. He felt his bed sink in a little as she crawled to his side. His heart raced to feel her in bed beside him. "Is something wrong?" He didn't want to take advantage of her if she were still in a weak state.
She shook her head, "I'm not here to seduce you or anything..." She pressed herself against his chest, "But if you don't mind, can you hold me for just tonight?" He obliged without questions, wrapping his arms around her small frame.
It was then that he felt her shaking in his hold. He felt her tears on his chest as she wept silently. What hurt the most was that he could do nothing to help ease her; he held her closer.
"What are you doing?" Ichigo asked. He had barely awoken to see Rukia packing her things in a rush. She raised her hands up as if she were caught in a crime. Well, she sort of was. She had hoped to leave the place without him noticing. "Were you really thinking about leaving without a word?"
Rukia couldn't lie her way out of it. She nodded. "I said I'd leave you alone when our contract was over. Since Renji already has a family of his own, that means there's no point in us being affiliated with each other anymore," she continued packing.
He stomped over, throwing her boxes aside. "Does that mean you don't acknowledge my feelings for you?"
She nodded, being blocked by him as she tried to move around. "I'm not confident enough to try another shot at love."
Ichigo laughed in frustration, "You're still not in the right mind, are you? You can't isolate yourself from the world just because you had your heart torn in two. It's not fair to push me away when you haven't even given me a chance," he grabbed her shoulders to make her stay still. She didn't bother struggling; she waited for him to calm down and realize that she was serious. "It pains me to see you think of him so much... Won't you for once look at me? Don't I have a chance at all?"
Rukia took his hands off her, "You couldn't possibly know what it is, so don't preach to me about it. What you're feeling isn't love-"
"Not love? Then tell me why I get so angry when I see you smiling from a single phone call from Renji. Tell me why I can't stand you getting your hair and makeup done for him. Tell me why I wish so dearly to be in his place? Do you know how painful it was to help the girl I like try to captivate some other guy? If this isn't love, then I must be crazy."
All this time, Rukia never knew how he felt about her. She felt guilty for making him go through something like that. "A while back, I said I could never fall in love with someone. One of the reasons why was because there never existed a girl who could move me. After I met you, I realized that that nonexistent girl was right in front of me. She exists and I'm madly in love with her."
"Ichigo..." He grabbed her, pulling her in for a kiss. In the kiss, it was almost as if he was begging her, begging for her to love him back. If she still said no, he wouldn't know what to do with himself.
Finally letting go, he looked at her, searching for an answer within her. "Say something, anything..."
She touched her lips with her finger, still feeling the electrifying touch of his, "Why'd you stop?" She smiled, putting a box beneath her to reach up to his height. Finally, she kissed him.
A/N: Holy fried chickens. I can't believe I actually posted this cheesy one-shot up. Truth be told, this was never supposed to be a RukiaxIchigo story. It was an original I created a while ago and I wanted to upload it onto here, but then they don't accept originals I think, so I changed the character names and made this into a RukiaxIchigo one-shot :D
That's why they seem kinda OOC. Hehe, hope you enjoyed it though.