It all started with a phone call. Then his life took a steep dive to hell. Now, he's stuck. A married life was the last thing he ever wanted. Ryoma, at the age of twenty-two, was perfectly eligible for marriage. But he just won't yield. Nanjirou took matters in his own hand and suddenly thrust Ryoma into the one thing he just hates. Meeting his father's old coach's granddaughter wasn't exactly smooth. Yet, Ryoma could not do anything. He could only endure. And just when he starts to enjoy—love— fate intervened: fate that was hidden beneath the papers.
Notes from a Muddy Writer:
Hello! I wish you a good morning/afternoon/evening (since we all have different time zones :D ). Anyway, I wanted to finish the entire story first before putting it on as a new story but my excitement betrayed me. T.T
As I was writing/typing this, I was listening to "Full House" (it's a Korean drama) OST(s) non-stop. I don't exactly know why but those songs give me the 'home-y' feeling I want to have in this story. There is one OST though that I have been trying to unearth for ages but I still can't find it. T.T
The original symbol that would have served as line breaks was the infinity sign but FFN won't allow it. (FFN, Y U NO ALLOW THE INFINITY SIGN? XD) So, I resorted to using this instead: ღღღ (Credits to the original maker.)
But my original document has the infinity symbol though. I want to preserve as much of my original format as possible. (Seriously though, why am I telling you all of these? (I just really want to talk with you all~))
There are also lines from various songs (I think most of them are English translations of Korean songs :D) scattered throughout the story. They shall be italicized just so you know that I don't own these sentences.
Lastly, I want to thank my beta-reader. Thank you Ate Christelle for editing this one out. Also for the fun interaction with you on the chat box. *hugs*
I hope that you would all enjoy reading this story as much as I had fun writing/typing this.
'Life is just one damned thing after another.'
- Elbert Hubbard
'You may now read the tale.'
A boy of twenty-two eyed his phone with bored and tired yellow eyes. He apparently received a new message from his old man. Ryoma rolled his eyes as he threw the gadget on his king-sized bed. The man's been pestering him all day, sending him texts about going to the temple, paying him and his mother a visit. Ryoma considered this for his mother but for the old man: "Never" was his harsh resounding answer.
The phone rang again but was disregarded as he entered his bathroom that was larger than a normal person's bathroom. Technically, everything was larger especially if you are a tennis superstar.
He, Ryoma Echizen, was living a life everyone else was dying to have. He has a bachelor's pad that was quite contrary to what people stereotype about.
His clothes are never thrown around like rags nor is his fridge filled with stale food. Guess it all boils down to who you were living with. In Ryoma's case, it was what his dear mother taught him. It is quite well-kept even though a little quiet.
Ryoma wanted to wash off all of the sweat, oil and dirt that had clung to him from practicing tennis all day. He needed to practice extra hard if he wanted to win a Grand Slam: the hand-me down dream of his father.
He then took off his sweat drenched shirt and tennis shorts and entered his luxurious bathroom. The prince needed to be refreshed after all.
Ryoma took his sweet time in the shower. He lost all sense of time while inside.
He did not even hurry to take the call. "Screw whoever's calling," he muttered under his breath. Bathing took precedence.
This continued for some time since Ryoma refused to step out of his glorious bathroom. Finally, after twenty minutes or so, the Tennis Prince stepped out with a towel wrapped around his lower body, exposing his rock-hard abs. His broad shoulders glistened with water drops and his green locks dripped with excess water.
Quickly walking up to his big closet, he selected a fresh set of clothes. He donned them on and sprayed cologne to complete his appearance. It was only then five in the afternoon.
"That's it!" His patience snapped.
"Hello?" Ryoma answered in a deep and lazy tone.
"Oi, Seishounen!" His father shouted over the phone and his usual happy voice came in.
"What now, Oyaji?" He said in an annoyed voice.
"I told you to come for a visit," his father replied in a whiny tone. Ryoma rolled his eyes at his father's immaturity.
"No—"He started speaking, only to be cut off.
"If you will come, I'll be sure to lend you some of my magazines," Nanjirou, his former tennis pro father, bribed. Ryoma pictured the look on his father's face: plain disgusting. He wanted to gag!
"There's no way in hell I'd be interested in those!" He shouted over the phone.
"Oh really," Nanjirou slyly asked. "How about the time I found one under your pillow eh? Not interested huh?"
"Shut up! You placed that one there!" Ryoma retorted.
"Mada mada dana. Anyway, whether you like it or not, you need to come. If you won't, your mother will come and drag you here." Silence hung between them for a moment. "See ya!"
The line went dead. Ryoma weighed his options. If he would choose not to come, his mother will absolutely drag him 'til they reach the old temple. If he does go, he will suffer endless fires of jokes and blabbers from his father. He is caught between Scylla and Charibdis.
"Screw this," he finally said.
A half-hour later, Ryoma found himself trapped in countless greetings from his cousin Nanako, his mother and the old man, all of whom he had not seen in a while. After which his father proceeded to irritate him.
Ryoma calmly shrugged all of the nonsense stuff off even though his fists were shaking in anger. He still has a lot of room to take it all in. Rinko rolled her eyes at the situation her husband and son were making.
"So Mom, why'd you call me here?" Ryoma asked casually once they were all seated comfortably around the dining table. His mother plopped down on a chair beside Ryoma. Nanjirou is on their left side, reading newspapers that secretly hid his obscene magazines.
"Dear," Rinko spoke in a tone when she is about to give advice, "your father has been so concerned of you."
"Pfft, since when?" Sarcasm evident in his voice, "oh yeah, like the time when he inevitably showed me his magazines hence poisoning my innocent mind?"
"We are concerned about you. We always were. And so, we thought this is one way to teach you important lessons in life," his mother proudly declared.
"Tennis is more important." Ryoma thought.
But he was now getting confused, "Wha-what?"
"We have then decided," his father interjected, "to marry you off." He stated in an insouciant manner while still reading his 'papers'. Ryoma's world, however, went downhill after and there's no way in hell he'd allow that.
"What?!" He stood up, enraged.
Marriage was something Ryoma never considered especially at his young age. There is so much you could do with a single life: partying, tennis, clubbing, then tennis, meeting pretty single ladies, uh, tennis? That's not so bad is it?
"Calm down, Ryoma," Rinko said, placing her hands on his son's broad shoulders and urging him down his seat.
"Yeah, calm down. You sound as if it's the end of the world," Nanjirou said curtly. "We made sure it is worth your time though." He had a small smile now.
"Yeah, she'll be worth my time," Ryoma mocked, "when I hit her with multiple twists serves!"
"Now, now," his mother patted his back. "You'll have none of that. You'll do nothing to her except being a good husband."
"Mother," he cried pleadingly, "you will allow this?"
"I have no choice," she answered, "since your love life's currently…"
"A big fat zero," Nanjirou supplied.
An awkward silence enveloped the Echizens. However, Ryoma could feel blood rising up to his ears and cheeks. He coughed. "No, it isn't."
'Since when was my love life an issue?' He thought.
"Yeah, you could fool me," Nanjirou said as he squinted his eyes into Ryoma's face. Ryoma could see he was trying not to laugh.
"But maybe… soon he'll have one, dear. What with his good looks—"his mother tried to reason with his father. Yet, it only made Ryoma's face hotter.
"Don't just rely on your pretty face to steal a girl's heart. Ryoma, when you grow a lot older, you'll see sense in this," His father butted in.
"If that is so, why not let me marry a little bit later?"
"Your mother and I are growing older so you better start giving us grandchildren while it's still early," His father had one of his idiotic smiles on his face again. Worse, his mother was also grinning.
Ryoma thought of all the things that might be on the "not allowed" list when he does marry. Oh yes, he could see it like in broad daylight.
Tired of his son's humorless approach of the situation, Nanjirou sighed and stated "Alright, if you are so desperate, I'll make you a deal."
Even if Ryoma was so eager to hear what his father has to say, he remained dangerously calmly seated. He won't give Nanijirou the satisfaction of making fun of him whatsoever.
"If you will last out forever with her, we will let you off the hook," Nanjirou could not help but let out a boisterous laugh after this thereby irritating Ryoma further more.
"Nanjirou!" Rinko scolded her immature of a husband.
After that statement, Ryoma exited the house with a loud slamming of the door and into the cool night.
Ryoma drove through almost empty streets in the growing darkness. He gripped the wheel so tight his knuckles turned white. If only they could speak, they would ask him to loosen up. He did not even bother to bid his mother goodbye through a text message. He was just so…shocked and probably a bit angry.
How could they agree to such? And worse, who knows what kind of girl he was being married off to. The horrors he has to face every night, being chained forever to a girl that will be so foreign to him. He shuddered, not because of the cold air of his car, but because of the dreadful thoughts that was slowly coming to him like rapids.
Being a man under the bright spotlight, it was an unwritten code to have a playboy image. Playboy is the equivalent to being cool or so they all thought.
With that guiding Ryoma, he was to have a girl on his whims. The cameras are all eyeing him for crying out loud! He needed to play the part. But, his parents are way below the belt! They are marrying him off!
All of a sudden, his smart phone beeped, telling him that someone was calling. He picked it up and went to see who it was. However, Ryoma made a mistake of staring at it for too long that he did not notice someone crossing.
He immediately slammed on the brakes hard but not too soon. Ryoma's car bumped into the person's body yet he was sure nothing too serious occurred.
"Damn!" He cursed as he went out of the car to check the person. To his surprise, it was a crouching lady. She was also visibly shaking that Ryoma would have cracked up if it weren't for the situation.
"Hey! Watch where you're going lady!"
When she looked up, Ryoma momentarily caught his breath and shielded his eyes from the brilliance of the headlights and her beauty. In his head he knew he sounded kinda cheesy but the lady was seriously beautiful.
She wasn't the standard one you see in magazines especially his father's magazine. She held that frail beauty, too delicate to be touched. She was like a princess from some fairytale. Her brown eyes shone brightly in the night and her hair (even though he hasn't touched it yet) looked like fine silk threads, most certainly very soft to the touch.
She glared at him though. "Watch where I'm going? You were the one trying to kill me!" She tried to stand up but her knees buckled beneath her. Ryoma caught her and asked "Are you alright?"
Instead of holding on to him, she pushed him away. "I'll be okay without your help Mister…?"
It took Ryoma a second to register that she was asking for his name. "Echizen," he supplied. "Do you want to be taken somewhere?"
"To a police station please. I want to report what happened."
Panic gripped him. "You're not… serious are you?"
She stared into his face. "Do I look like I'm kidding? Besides, you're name sounds kinda familiar, like it had a bearing of a superstar. So I would imagine this quite a big trouble for you," she stated it so seriously but Ryoma could see a faint curve of a smile on her small lips.
He chuckled. "Fine, fine." Then his phone beeped again.
"I would take it as the cause of the accident," she pointed the phone.
"Oh… ah," he nodded in agreement. "It's from someone important."
"More important than safety?"
"Hmmm, probably not. By the way what's your name?"
"Sakuno. Well, I guess I better be going now then."
"You sure you're going to be okay?"
"If you keep asking that, I'll start thinking you actually care. Bye!" Ryoma noticed that her hips were moving in a… wobbly manner. He cracked a smile while Sakuno hobbled off the opposite direction, leaving him alone in the cool night.
Notes from a Muddy Writer:
Yeah, this chapter went a series of revision… added details, deleted details. When I want to add something, I leave for a few days then read it back again then deleted stuff then read it back again until I'm satisfied.
I hope you enjoyed this one. :D Um, here's my story so review maybe? XD
Preview for Chapter Two:
Title is rated T for language. ;)
Disagreements, Anxieties, Meetings 'N so forth
"Life is a box of chocolates. You never know what's inside."