A/N: This is the sequel to Settle Down! It's finally here! It's a whole year later from the first story and I hope I don't disappoint. *crosses fingers* this story really isn't inspired by a song like the others are. It's just a sequel!
~Also, I was looking back on my SD reviews and I saw that most of you said that Ichigo should suffer more. Personally, I felt the same way because he kind of did get off scot-free. So for all of you would say that he didn't get what he deserved, then this is the story for you.
Description: One year later, she thought that it was over, all of the drama in her life. But when the man she forgot comes back into her world, twisting and churning everything she thought she ever knew, he claims that he's here to collect what she owes him. But… what?
Pairing: Ichigo/Orihime, Orihime/Aizen, Ichigo/Rukia
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach, unfortunately.
Orihime looked around the court room.
She looked at her husband and her attorney. The people in their seats. The young child sitting behind her.
And across the room was that evil man. His smirk, his hair, his eyes… All a façade to hide the rotten heart he had in his chest.
But she wouldn't let him.
She refused to let him take the one thing that mattered to her. The one thing that kept her going all these years.
She wasn't going to let him take Tamotsu…
One Month Earlier.
"God damn it…" Ichigo muttered as he turned the corner. It was too dark out to be driving, even for a crazy man. The blades moved back and forth over his window shields as the rain poured down in heavy buckets.
Ichigo slowed the car until he finally saw what he was looking for. He came to a stop.
The woman opened the passenger door and sat down with a wet thump.
Ichigo said nothing but continued to drive as the woman took off her small hoop earrings and soaking jacket.
"Ichigo…" she started "… Thank you…"
"Rukia, I don't know what the fuck is going on-"
"It's a setup. I told you on the phone."
"Why the hell would you drag me into this?" Ichigo looked away from the road to take a glance at her. This is one of the things he admired about Rukia. She was being blackmailed and shunned, but the woman was still holding strong.
"Because you're now part this too. They have pictures of us. Remember when I told you about that video last year, and the stolen money, and I told you about… them..." Rukia shook her head. "They think it was all me. But I know who did it. It was Gin, I know it... It had to be…"
The man squeezed the stirring wheel tighter. "Last year… never happened." Ichigo quickly thought of that evening in his office. They didn't do anything, he'd swear on it. But even the simplest of pictures can speak in a thousand different ways.
"I wouldn't have told you if it didn't concern you." Rukia sniffled and hugged her wet jacket closer. "Besides, you wouldn't have picked me up if you didn't believe me."
"Damn it, Rukia. You put me in a tight spot!" Ichigo squinted down at his watch. It was 11:48. His wife would be fuming.
"I know, and I'm sorry… But I couldn't stay at The Society. No one was talking to me, I couldn't even show my face in at the company… I had to get out of town." The woman stared at Ichigo. "You're the only one I can trust…"
Ichigo muttered another curse when his phone rang.
The duo sat silently until the ringing stopped.
"Was that…" Rukia trailed off, she twirled one of her hoop earrings around on her fingers.
Rukia leaned back and closed her eyes. She promised herself she wouldn't hurt him anymore. But the information of this scandal would soon leak, placing his family smack dab in the middle.
"I don't want to hear it!" Ichigo snapped. "I'm tired of this bullshit. I thought it was kept underground."
"It was, but about four years ago, some famous diamond was stolen-"
"And they think you stole it!"
"No… but they were linking it back to the company and its history. Then they found some records and found some bills… and well I used the company card to pay for hotel rooms…"
"So that's when your indiscretions got out."
"Our indiscretions… Anyway, news of the diamond isn't out yet. Yamamoto is making sure of that." Rukia looked out at the raining city passing by. "Where are you taking me?"
"A motel out of town. You have cash on you?"
"Just a little. I didn't have time to go to the bank. Besides, all of my accounts are frozen by now anyway..." Rukia sniffled again.
And that's when he heard it, that tiny whimper beneath it all. He knew that she was trying her hardest not to make a sound but she couldn't help herself.
Ichigo looked at her, really looked at her. Rukia's wet sable hair clung to her neck and shoulder. Her eyes were bloodshot and puffy, and her cloths drenched from the rain.
Ichigo turned another corner and parked in front of the motel. "Listen, Rukia. We will get through this together. We'll go to court, straighten this all out and find out who's behind all of this." Ichigo turned off the engine. "First things first, where were you when the diamond was stolen? What's your alibi?"
Rukia shook her head.
Ichigo sighed. "You have to tell me."
Rukia took a deep breath. Her alibi isn't any better than the crime she was being accused of committing. "I was with you that day." She looked him in the eye. "We were sleeping together."
Orihime flickered off the television. It was way past her bedtime.
The woman got off the sofa and roamed around the room. Is this how Ichigo wants to act? Everything was going good up until a month ago. Orihime pushed her hair out of her face. She didn't know if she could take it much longer.
Ichigo slammed the front door shut. He hung his wet coat in the hall closet door. Ichigo looked up. "Ori-"
"You missed dinner. Again…" Orihime crossed her arms. "That's the sixth time this month."
Ichigo walked over. "I know."
"No…" Orihime shook her head, her burnt-orange locks bobbing away. "You don't know."
"I had a lot of work to do." Ichigo rubbed her shoulders soothingly. He hated making her feel this way.
Orihime started slowly. "Ichigo… You have a four year old son and a wife at home who want to see you sometime during the day. You leave early in the morning, and come home late at night… What am I suppose to do? What am I suppose to tell Tamotsu?"
"Maybe if you'd tell me what's going on at work, I could help…"
"Look. I'm trying my hardest to get home on time. But there's these journalist, and the press that want to bring my clients down. God knows I can't stand that writer, Shunsui…" Ichigo stopped talking when he realized she was hardly listening.
"It's our anniversary in two days..." she said deadpan.
A smile slid on his face. "Yeah. Seven years." Ichigo said cheerfully.
"Hey, don't be like that." Ichigo lifted her chin so she would look at him. "I promise I'll try to come home earlier." Ichigo smiled. "The key word being 'try'."
Orihime smiled. She couldn't stay mad at him for long. "How about we get some rest?"
Ichigo grasped her hand. "I have a better idea… How about we get started on Tamotsu's siblings?"
Orihime heart gave a tight squeeze. "Actually…, I'm really tired…"
Ichigo didn't let his sadness show, though you could hear it in the drop of his voice. "Oh, well, we can just get some rest then."
Orihime smiled and let him lead her up the stairs.
Ichigo folded up his newspaper. "Good morning, champ."
Tamotsu yawned and climbed onto the kitchen chair. Orihime sat bowl of Cheerios in front of him.
"Morning, daddy." Tamotsu grumbled. His shaggy brown hair hung in front of his eyes.
"Uh, Ichigo." Orihime sat down at the table and pushed her son's hair out of the way. "Tamotsu was telling me that he wanted to play more games with you."
Tamotsu nodded and perked up. "I want to play games with the cards!"
Ichigo's phone rang before he could respond. It was a call from his right hand man, Ishida.
"What is it now, Ishida?"
"Ichigo." His voice was like ice. "Get your ass down here. Now." Click.
The man stared at the phone incredulously.
Ichigo stood and slid his suit jacket on. "I have to go." He sent a quick text to Ishida telling him he's on his way.
Orihime shook her head, unbelievingly. "Ichigo... I thought we were talking..."
"We'll talk about this when I get home." Ichigo muttered and kissed his son and wife on the forehead.
The woman stood and followed him to the living room. "But Ichigo-" Orihime whined.
"When I get home." Ichigo gave her a stern look.
Orihime rolled her eyes and turned her head. "Fine."
Ichigo walked to the front door and grabbed his suitcase and coat, his voice became softer. "We'll talk when I get home, okay. I promise..."
Orihime finally huffed. "Fine!"
Ichigo smiled at his victory and closed the door behind him.
"What is it now, Ishida?" Ichigo strode through the corridor in the office building.
Ishida stepped next to him, keeping up with his pace. "We're taking on a new client, a big one. Lisa."
Ichigo's assistant, Lisa Yadōmaru, handed him a vanilla file.
"He's an entrepreneur. I'm pretty sure you know him. We went to his social event a few years back, and-"
"I'm not representing him." Ichigo stopped in his tracks and clapped the file shut.
"I said; I'm not representing him."
Lisa looked from one face to the other, saying nothing.
Ishida adjusted his glasses and cleared his voice. "Come with me..." The man led the other two into an empty office room and locked the door behind them. "I don't think you get the full picture, Ichigo. A client has come to us. So get your act together. We're representing him if you like it or not."
Ichigo crossed his arms. "Last time I remembered, you worked for me. I say who comes and who goes." The man turned around, hand already on the doorknob.
"Kurosaki-san." Lisa butted in an indifferent voice. "Should I escort him out? Or tell him to wait?"
Ichigo whipped around. "He's here?"
Ichigo cursed under his breath. It was easier to deny a client over email, but in person... no matter who they were, it way more complicated.
Ichigo took a deep breath. "Where is he?"
"Down the hall and in the second meeting room." The three of them moved out of the empty office room. "I don't know what you have against him. But this could be big for our company." Ishida quickly put in, "please put your authority problems to the side just this once, and negotiate a deal with him."
"Yeah, yeah." Ichigo muttered.
Ichigo, with Lisa and Ishida at his flank, strode into the meeting room.
"Hey Tatsuki!" Orihime slowly paced outside the doors of her son's preschool.
"Orihime, how's it going on your end?"
"Well, you know... Tamotsu misses you! You have to visit soon..." A few months back, Tatsuki moved out of town. But who wouldn't considering all of the emotional drama she'd been. But it all seemed like years away from now, and it was.
"What about you?"
"Damn it, Orihime! If you're having problems again, so help me God-"
"We are not having problems again...!" Orihime immediately lowered her voice, not wanting to disturb the class going on inside. "It's just... things are complicated..."
"Things are always complicated with you two all the time."
"It's not really our problems. Just mines. I just have something really important to tell you... It's-"
Children appeared piling out of the door, knocking into her legs. Orihime took a step back and watched the kids run to their other parents in the parking lot.
"Hello? Tatsuki? Are you still there?" Orihime stared at the phone and realized that she accidentally hung up during the commotion.
"Mommy…?" Orihime down and saw her son, as calmly and mature as he always was, walking out of the front doors.
"Hi, Monkey. How was your day?" Tamotsu reached up and took her hand.
The child shrugged. "It was fun. We learned our numbers today..."
"Really? What did you count up to?"
Orihime stopped walking and knelt down in front of him. "But you can already count up to thirty."
"That's what I told our teacher. But she said I didn't, and I said I did, so she said try it, so I counted up to three hundred eighty six and she put me in time-out."
"Aw, honey." Orihime pushed a shagging strand of brown hair out of his eyes. He needed a haircut, but she just couldn't bring her heart to watch all those dark locks disappear. "Do you want me to talk to her? Will that make you feel better?" Besides, it was too beautiful to cut.
Orihime lifted his chin. "Don't let this bring you down. You're a smart, handsome young man. Trust me, preschool isn't that bad."
The boy nodded again. "Yes mommy."
Orihime stood and continued walking her son to the car. "And next time she says you can't count don't stop until you reach five hundred!"
Ichigo walked into the cool shop and shivered a little.
His eyes were almost blinded by the brightness of all the jewelry.
Ichigo walked up to a counter and stared down at the rings. "Hi, how can I help you?"
Ichigo looked up at the smiling saleswoman. "Um, hi. I was looking for an anniversary gift for my wife."
The saleswoman gave a tiny clap with her long, thin hands. "Oh, I just love anniversaries! How long has it been? Three? Five years? Don't tell me…. Ten!"
Ichigo lifted his brow at the exultant lady and shook his head. "No… it has been seven years. But all that we've been through, it feels like twenty."
"Well, we have a nice collection of rings. What's her birthstone, or better yet, we can customize a ring and put seven diamonds around the band!"
Ichigo rubbed the back of his head. Jewelry wasn't exactly his forte. "I was thinking along the lines of a necklace… I want to give her a diamond necklace, one that shines just like her smile."
The saleswoman wagged her finger at him. "I like where your mind is at!" She strode across the room and behind another counter over by a couple looking at a bunch of green bracelets.
"This collection is my personal favorite! I think this one is exactly what your wife-"
"Can I see that one?" Ichigo pointed through the glass at a necklace covered with tiny diamonds and a slightly larger one in the middle.
The woman unlocked the window and slipped the necklace out for him to see. "It is two and a half carats and it is 18k white gold and, well, it's gorgeous isn't it? I could show you the matching bracelet if you'd like…"
"No…" Ichigo smiled. "…I think this is perfect…"
Orihime pushed the sauce around in the boiling pot. Another night… Another dinner… without Ichigo.
Orihime placed the topper back on the pot. It was completely useless by now.
Orihime walked out the kitchen with her spoon still dripping with tomato sauce.
"I'm home." Ichigo placed his suit jacket on the side of the sofa and unbuttoned his shirt's sleeve.
"Why so early?" Orihime asked as he gave her a kiss. She wiped the spoon off on her apron. "It's only seven…"
Ichigo sniffed the air. "What smells so delicious?"
"Why is it such a problem that I'm home early?" Ichigo plopped down on the couch next to Tamotsu who was finishing a Sudoku puzzle.
"It's not a problem... It's just unexpected."
"I've done some thinking, and I want to have family night tonight." Ichigo slipped his shoes off. "Raise your hand if you want family night tonight."
Orihime watched her son and husband raise their hands in the air.
They looked so goofy, sitting there like they were in school, eager to answer a question.
"Let's play games mommy!" Tamotsu gave her his famous big brown eyed puppy dog look.
Orihime stood, stumped, with her wooden spoon.
"Please!" they pleaded in unison.
"Alright, alright. But I need to finish dinner first."
Ichigo came behind her and untied her apron and took the spoon from her. "We don't need stuffy old spaghetti. I'll order us a pizza."
The man in black parked his car across the street from the house. He produced binoculars and stared into the window at the happy family while smacking on a piece of gum.
The man's phone rang and he pressed talk.
"What's the status?"
"They seem to be playing games and shit. Been follow'n dis man around all day. He's done noth'n yet." The man blew a wide, blue, minty bubble.
"Don't let that fool you. Keep an eye on them. We aren't paying you for nothing."
"You ain't paying me noth'n!"
The other man clicked off and the first one cursed him to hell. But still, he was right. He shouldn't let his guard down. Ichigo Kurosaki would do something to screw this happy scene up. He had to get him in action.
The man's eyes were beginning to close. His lids felt heavy and it was pitch black outside.
Then the headlights to the Kurosaki car flicked on. The man couldn't make it out, but it looked like Ichigo driving out of the driveway. He quickly started his engine and slowly drove after him.
It was about one in the morning and it took them about twenty minutes before Ichigo pulled up in front of a shady looking motel. The orange haired man got out of his car and walked inside.
The man's car crawled to a stop on the other side of the lot. He immediately got out his camera and started snapping pictures of Ichigo and the motel.
The man unwrapped another piece of mint gum. He was already in hot water so what in the hell was Kurosaki doing in there?
More importantly… who was inside?
Okay, so that was the first chapter! Obviously, if you guys haven't guessed it, Rukia is inside the motel. But WHY is Ichigo going there? And at one o'clock in the morning! I was so mad at myself for writing that scene.
This chapter is a little short, but I promise the next one will be longer! I can't wait for chapter two! It's going to be so drama filled, but chapter three is where the story really starts to kick up!
P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LuvleeCookieChan! I hope this chapter was everything you hoped for! Have a good one!