Hi everyone. Well, here we are, the final chapter in the life of Kaiba and Anika. I will miss them greatly but it has been my immense pleasure to write this story and an incredible honour for me to have you all read it. Thank you to everyone who has ever read, reviewed, followed and/or favourited this story. I appreciate each and every one of you :)
So without further ado, the epilogue...
Anika sat at her desk, excitement bubbling in her chest. She had great news to tell Kaiba. It was actually something she had been mulling over for a while. It was late spring already. In fact, in just a few short weeks it would be summer but it felt like it was already upon them. Of course this time of year also marked the annual Fundraising Gala for the local orphanage. All four of them were attending tonight and Anika could not help but look forward to it.
She left work early in order to meet Francesco at the apartment. As usual he would come to her rescue. Anika had been extremely busy the past few months expanding the business to America and adding on an additional department. She did not have much time to think of the gala apart from making her usual hefty donation.
She made it home with a few minutes to spare before Francesco arrived. She made herself a cup of coffee and soon heard the buzz of her intercom. She let him in and in no time he was knocking at her door.
"Hi Francesco." She greeted warmly as he stepped in.
"Ciao bella." He kissed her on both cheeks beaming at her. "Come stai?"
"I'm great thanks. You?"
"I am also good." He said in his thick Italian accent. He carried with him a metal case filled with makeup and various styling products and a long blue garment bag draped over his arm. "Shall we begin bella?"
Francesco laid out her dress on the bed and Anika was thrilled.
"Oh Francesco..." She whispered. "It's beautiful."
"Yes it is and it will suit you perfectly." He said flamboyantly.
Anika sat still while he did her hair. As he ran the comb through her silky locks she looked at the faint scar that ran down the right side of face. She was not ashamed of all that she had been through but the constant reminder was not something she enjoyed much. Still, it was a reminder that a threat could come from anywhere and she had become a lot more careful and a little more ruthless. As much as her experience had hurt her, it had empowered her and she promised herself that it would never happen again.
Soon enough he was done with her hair and makeup and it was time to slip on her dress. It was quite heavy as it was entirely adorned in red sequins the same shade as the fabric. She slipped her arm into the single long sleeve and pulled up the zip on the side. She stepped into a pair of silver strappy stiletto sandals and fastened the belt around her ankle. Anika opened the door to the room to let Francesco back in.
"Bellissimo!" He gushed. "Here bella, take a look."
Anika looked in the mirror barely recognizing herself. Francesco was the best and she knew it but he out did himself.
Her hair was silky and straight with loose curls at the ends of her locks. He had parted her hair on the side so a curtain or tresses caressed her right shoulder and covered her scar, and a pair of silver chandelier earrings hung off her ears. The dress hugged her beautifully. The scorching red fabric contrasted stunningly with her tan skin. It was a one shouldered dress and a long red sleeve covered her left arm. It hugged her narrow waist, clung to her full hips and cascaded to the floor in a shower of red sequined fabric. The back of the dress flowed into a train that followed after her. The effect was mesmerizing. Alex often said that she and Kaiba were fire and ice and tonight she truly looked the part.
"Grazie Francesco." Anika smiled as she turned to him. "You really are the best." She hugged him.
"Francesco is always happy to help."
"I know." She smiled.
"I hope you and signore Kaiba have a wonderful time. I must go bella."
"We definitely will and thank you again Francesco." They cheek kissed and she let him out of the apartment. Anika felt pretty good about tonight, all she needed now was for Kaiba to arrive.
She did not have to wait long for Kaiba.
"Anika." He called as he walked in.
"Coming Seto." She replied from her room. She quickly picked up her little purse and headed for the lounge. Her breath caught when she saw him.
"Wow Seto... You look amazing." She said softly. She earned a little smile from him which just made him look even more magnificent. He wore a light navy blue suit that was just a little darker than his eyes, it was beautifully tailored to his lean body, with a crisp white shirt and a deep grey silk tie. "Ice." She thought.
Kaiba was equally spellbound by Anika. She looked breathtaking. He pulled her close and kissed her softly on her lips.
"Before we go there is something I want to say." Kaiba said.
"Oh okay. Well, there's something I need to tell you as well but you go first." They sat side by side on her plush white couch.
"Anika." He started. "We've been through a lot this past year and it has given me a brilliant understanding of where you fit into my life and what you mean to me which wasn't easy for me to admit at first. I barred everyone, apart from Mokuba, from my life for so long that letting you get closer was very hard." He spoke with such earnestness. Anika was not sure where this honesty was coming from or what it was leading to but she would not interrupt him.
"However, the hardest decisions usually have the greatest effect on our lives and I am immensely grateful that I let you in. What I'm getting at Anika is that you have brought such joy and life into my dark world and I never want to lose that." He finished looking intensely into her eyes.
"-Anika..." Kaiba cut her off and pulled out a small black suede box out of his pocket, opened it and placed it on her palm. "...will you marry me?"
Anika's heart thrummed furiously. "Seto... I... Of course I will." She beamed. He bathed her in the most glorious smile she had ever seen him wear. He slipped the ring onto her slim finger and she engulfed him in a hug. She thought it was funny that even now his question did not sound like one and she loved it.
She looked at her ring, admiring the beauty, unable to fully understand just how she had managed to be so lucky.
"Do you like it?" He asked.
"I love it Seto! It's magnificent."
She could not keep her eyes of the ring. The narrow band was encrusted in a single row of small white diamonds while a single blue diamond was held in a four arm claw surrounded by white diamonds the same size as those on the band. It was the perfect combination of the simplicity she loved combined with the extravagance Kaiba enjoyed showering upon her. The fact that it was made up of blue and white diamonds did not go unnoticed by her and as she would expect, it was truly her dragon.
"I love you Seto." She whispered, still unable to wipe the smile off her face. He crushed his lips to hers in a passionate and fiery kiss showing her just how happy she had made him.
"We should go." He said as they broke apart.
"Yeah we should."
She locked her door and held onto the crook of his elbow as they walked down to the limo. Kaiba himself could not remember ever feeling the kind of happiness he did right now, in this moment.
The drive to the gala venue was shorter than usual but Anika thought that was probably due to her almost buoyant joy. They made their entrance, posing for a picture in front of the printed background then entered the hall. Her arm was entwined in his and they descended the stairs together looking every bit the powerful, beautiful couple they had become known to be. Mokuba, Alex and his date were already seated at their table and were deep in conversation.
"Mind if we interrupt?" Anika snuck up behind them.
"Red! Hey... Wow! You look amazing." He hugged her.
"Thanks Lex. You don't look too bad yourself." She smiled. "How are you Mana?" She asked Alex's date. His first date with her, before Anika's kidnapping, had gone wonderfully and their relationship had become really strong in the months that had passed.
"I'm good thanks and you?"
"Great thanks." Anika replied.
"And my hug?" Mokuba demanded.
"Come get it." Anika joked.
Alex noticed the diamond ring on her finger when she hugged Mokuba. He waited for her and Kaiba to take their seats between him and Mokuba.
"Red, what is that on your finger?" He enquired grinning.
"You know exactly what it is!" She beamed.
"Oh man! Congrats you guys."
"Let me have look." Mokuba ordered.
Anika held her hand out and he carefully examined the white gold and diamond ring.
"Well you definitely have good taste big brother." He winked.
"I know that Mokuba." Kaiba smirked.
It was clearly obvious that Mokuba and Alex were thrilled for Anika and Kaiba, and were almost as excited as she was. Most of the evening disappeared in happy chatter between the five of them. Soon the speeches were made, thanks were given to all the contributors and then dinner was served. The spread before them was mouth-wateringly aromatic and looked incredibly delectable.
Anika was having a wonderful time. Soon the dance floor filled with elegantly clad people, swaying rhythmically to the music.
"An, can I have this dance?" Mokuba asked.
"It would be my pleasure." She smiled.
He led her to the dance floor and swayed with her with an effortless grace that seemed to be a Kaiba trait. The symphonic melodies flowed and Mokuba twirled her around leading with ease. The light reflecting off her dress made it look like she was bathed in red flame.
"I'm really glad Seto proposed to you." Mokuba said out of the blue.
"I am too." Anika admitted.
"To think of all that you guys have been through."
"I think we've all been through a lot Mokie."
"Yeah true." He said taking a swift look at the side of her face.
"Over the years at times it felt like things would only get worse you know. So when Seto started falling for you – and yes I could tell, he is my brother you know – I was glad. It was nice to know that someone else got to see my brother as I saw him."
"Thank you Mokuba." Anika smiled. "You know I once read somewhere that if you have not reached the "happily ever after" yet, the story isn't over."
"That's a nice thought." He replied.
"I think so too."
They stopped dancing as the last notes died away and returned to their seats. Anika took her place beside Kaiba and held his hand under the table as he spoke shop with another Domino businessman. The gala was attended by celebrities, socialites and business people ensuring that a healthy sum was raised for the orphanage every year.
"I'll be right back." Kaiba said as he turned to face Anika. She nodded back in response and he disappeared into the crowd with the man he had been speaking with.
Anika mingled without Kaiba, meeting several interesting personalities and even a few potential clients but she kept an eye out for Kaiba. A group of people standing in front of her moved aside and she tried not to laugh at the sight she saw. A very irritated Kaiba was being harassed by a woman she had seen earlier in the evening. Vivian they said her name was. Anika knew she had to rescue him.
"Please excuse me. I see Seto. I will definitely call you Monday morning." She said to the man she had been speaking to.
She calmly and confidently strode over to him, a red sequined train following her and she kissed him on the lips. Vivian Wong looked very put out.
"Seto, I've been looking everywhere for you." Anika said sweetly. "I think we should head home don't you?"
"I do. Let's go." He growled.
They walked away from the woman and headed over to Mokuba, Alex and Mana.
"We're leaving now." Anika informed them. "See you tomorrow sometime?"
"Yeah, I'll give you a call." Alex replied.
"Okay. Bye Mokie."
"See you An."
Kaiba and Anika exited amongst a flurry of flashes from several cameras. They quickly climbed into the limo and drove to her apartment. Anika leaned her head against his shoulder and he wrapped his arm around her.
"It looked like you had a quite a productive night." Anika said.
"I did. It should be an even more productive week because of it." He rumbled.
"That's good. I met a good few people as well."
"I noticed. Anyone worth the time?"
"A few. The one guy there seemed fairly well acquainted with you. He has a chain of game shops that's doing well and wants us to help with marketing."
They soon arrived back at her apartment. Anika tossed her purse and keys onto the couch and kicked off her shoes.
"What a night!" She exclaimed gleefully.
Kaiba stepped up behind her wrapping his arms around her waist and nuzzling her neck.
"I almost forgot! Seto there's something I want to tell you." She said turning around to face him.
"What is it Anika?"
"I've been thinking about it a lot recently, more especially this week since our anniversary was on Sunday. I want to move in with you. I feel we are both ready for this and well, after tonight it seems like a good idea. What do you think?" She said softly.
"Anika, are you serious?" He asked.
"Yes." She smiled.
Kaiba pulled her tightly against him kissing her ardently.
"I have waited forever for you to say that." He said. "You know, you're the only one who could keep me waiting."
"I know." She giggled. "But I really wanted to wait for our relationship to be ready to handle the sort of pressure that comes with living together."
"I understood your reasons. It didn't mean I had to like it." He countered.
She pulled him down onto the couch, draped her legs over his and cuddled up to him.
"I love you Seto Kaiba."
"I love you too Anika." He replied. "You looked beautiful tonight." Kaiba added.
"Thank you." Anika blushed.
"Anika Kaiba. Has a nice ring to it." Kaiba chuckled.
"It does but I think Anika Facet-Kaiba sounds better."
"We'll see." He smirked.
They spent the rest of the night together happily contemplating the future that they both longed for and deserved. Neither one of them realized just how bright their lives would become nor the utter joy that awaited them, as they spent the rest of their lives together in blissful harmony.