Megumi's eyes slowly fluttered open, sunlight streaming in, and she sat up from her warm bed. She turned to the side.
Yahiro already left… huh…
She sighed and sat up, stretching. How strange, to imagine that Yahiro was her husband now.
That time when she had first come to his house, holding up that sign to say she liked him… well, she would never have guessed she would end up marrying him.
…not that she was disappointed…
After all, there was no use in denying the butterflies in her stomach, the warm feeling she got in her heart, every time Yahiro did something nice for her. Although… the marriage was a little… forced.
She sighed. She had no idea that telling her mother that Yahiro was her boyfriend would be so troublesome. Yahiro agreed to the plan, for her sake. What they hadn't expected was for Megumi's mother to meet with Yahiro's parents. She also did not expect for Yahiro's parents to take such a liking to her. And by liking, she meant that they had none too subtly brought along a book of baby names to the dinner when they met.
Apparently, they were huge Yamamoto Rin fans. Before Yahiro or Megumi could ever fathom it, their parents had been joyously screeching about marriage. Megumi, of course, was thrown in a complete state of disarray.
She was willing, on her side (of course!), but she knew what a problem it would be for Yahiro. After all, everyone knew his feelings for the Toudou heiress. It was to her shock when he simply said "Okay". Right there at the dinner table! He didn't even look up from his meal, and just agreed to the marriage like that!
Her cheeks turned pink and she could only nod in response.
"It's official then!" Mrs. Saiga nearly exploded from sheer excitement. "Yahiro, you're going to marry Megumi-chan!"
And the only thing Megumi could do was write down \Huh?!/.
Still… it had been so wonderful. She could tell that he didn't love her as much as she did for him, but he still treasured her voice, almost more than she herself did. He would scold her for talking too much, and time to time, he would find some big event for her to sing at, such as concerts and music programs.
Yahiro… it's not that shocking that I fell in love with you, ne?
Yahiro, unfortunately, did not reciprocate those feelings. A lot of the time, his warmth was only shown when either of their parents were around. Megumi wasn't an idiot. How could he honestly love her wholeheartedly when his feelings for Akira were still tender? But still… she had been taken aback when he kissed her for the first time. It was wonderful. His lips were warm and were gently pressing against her. It was then that Megumi decided it didn't matter; she would marry him, and she prayed and hoped that one day, he would feel the same.
And so, after they graduated, the two wed.
Love, however, is never that easy.
For starters, the Special A group was furious; Ryuu had cornered Yahiro during the engagement party, yelling something that vowed a painful, slow death for Yahiro should he mess this up. The next day, Yahiro got a mysterious letter threatening his very existence, which, by complete coincidence, of course, had the Toudou insignia stamped on the back of the letter.
But the true problem was after their wedding, they had gone on their honeymoon, to Hawaii, and it was there that Megumi first experienced true heartbreak. For a short while, everything was going fine, until they were at the hotel, basking in the romantic moonlight. He kissed her, same as usual… and then she tried taking it a step further. He had immediately backed off, looking at her in a different way… Megumi felt her heart break when she saw that look.
It was something akin to disgust. He was disgusted by her. So, she did the only thing possible.
"I'm tired," he turned away. She caught the edge of his shirt, tears leaking from her eyes. He sighed.
"Don't cry… come on, Megumi."
"Look, I'm not in the mood, and-"
"Please… say that you love me," she whispered. His breath caught.
"Y- You can call me Akira," she offered, smiling generously through tears. "You can call me Akira while we're doing it."
He cupped her face before capturing her lips in another kiss, this time softer, gentler… both of them tried to ignore the tears rolling down Megumi's face as he stole the virtue of the innocent nightingale that night. And she tried, in vain, to ignore him whispering "Akira… Akira…" into her hair while they made love.
Megumi sighed as she finished cooking dinner. Although they were making progress as husband and wife, it didn't help that it was slowly sinking in that she might have made a big mistake. Yahiro didn't hate her; that much was obvious. What was so sad, however, was that he didn't love her either. It was clear that when his parents told him to marry her, he had simply thought 'Okay' and gone through with the marriage.
His voice shook her back to consciousness and she turned down the stove before running out to greet him. He was now the handsome, 23-year-old head of the Saiga Corporation; his dedication to the business was astounding. Many women were sorely disappointed upon discovering that the cold-hearted genius was already married.
\Welcome back!/ Megumi smiled cheerfully, holding up her eraser board. He merely glanced at it while he took his shoes off.
\Do you want dinner?/
"I ate," he responded shortly. "I have work to do, so don't bother me tonight."
She lowered her head. "O- Okay…"
He walked by her, then paused. He turned to see her downcast eyes, and sighed.
She looked up hopefully.
"I haven't had dessert yet, in case you're eating that later."
Megumi's eyes widened until she giggled happily.
She practically inhaled the dinner before grabbing the cake she had baked for them.
"Wow… you sure like dessert."
She stuck her tongue out at him, but couldn't deny a smile. This was what she looked forward to almost every day.
Yahiro… spending time with you makes me happy. I'm glad I married you after all.
"Ne… why are you blushing?"
She immediately faced him, cheeks growing redder, waving her hands in denial.
"Ohhhhh?" Yahiro smirked leaning towards her. "Were you daydreaming about me again?"
Her red cheeks may as well have been screaming 'Yes'. He smirked even deeper.
"You're so happy the man you've longed for, for so long, is your husband now, huh?"
She couldn't help a giggle, to which he shook his head.
"You sure get pleased easily."
\I love you!/
She smiled happily, but faltered when he abruptly stood.
"I'm not so hungry after all," he muttered, before going to his study.
The cake on his plate was untouched, and Megumi couldn't help but to feel tears strike her eyes when she heard the door slam.
She was so stupid. Why ruin such a great moment between the two of them? All because she had to open her big mouth (take out her board?) and confess her feelings again.
Yahiro… I really love you. Can't you just accept me?
Yahiro stood on the other side of the door and released a breath. Self-loathing was a horrible feeling, but he was stuck with it anyways. He heard a soft knock and he swiftly moved away.
"Yahiro…?" Megumi called out. "C- Can I come in?"
When she entered, she saw him at his desk, looking through files.
"Um… Yahiro… could we talk?"
"Damn, Megumi," he said in frustration. "Can't this wait?"
She lowered her head. "I… I suppose so."
He turned back to his work, and tried to ignore the sick feeling of self-loathing in himself.
Her close friend grinned. "Been a while."
Kaneshiro Yuuichi... the extremely attractive eldest son of the Kaneshiro Corporation, was standing there, looking very out of place with a shopping basket hanging on his arm, while clad in formal business wear. His golden hair and striking blue eyes made him stand out more, and Megumi wryly noticed a few women standing around, gossiping. Of course, this was not a big shock; whenever she saw him, there were at least a few people, mesmerized by his sheer beauty. The two had been acquainted at a business dinner, and after that, they had been good companions for most of Megumi's high school life. Megumi couldn't help a grin.
"Un!" she smiled and took out her board. \What are you doing here?/
He raised an eyebrow, looking around. "Same as what everyone else is doing at the supermarket. Shopping."
She giggled nervously. \Oh… good point./
There was an awkward silence between them, until Yuu finally asked in a low voice. "How's Saiga?"
\Yahiro is doing well, thank you./
"Is he still treating you like a pet?" he asked lightly, but Megumi didn't miss the bitter tone in his voice. She frowned.
\Yahiro does not treat me badly!/
"Yes he does," Yuu said forcefully. "A real man would not treat you the way he does. Megumi… you already know this, but I-"
"Oh, look at the time!" Megumi interrupted, her voice higher than usual. "Must be getting along!"
She quickly ran away, paid for her groceries, and left the supermarket. Yuu watched her leaving, and sighed before continuing to shop for groceries, not bothering to cast a glance at the small crowd of women who were hopefully following him.
Megumi began to walk home slowly, eyes downcast. How horrible it had felt… when Yuu had first confessed to her, she could only stammer out that she was engaged to Yahiro. The look on her friend's face had almost been too much to bear. He was like her brother (after Jun and Ryuu-nii), and she hadn't wanted to hurt him at all.
But apparently, he still did not like the idea of letting go. She gazed up at the gray, cloud-filled sky.
Yuu-kun... I'm sorry.
"Welcome home," Yahiro muttered, nose buried in the newspaper. Megumi brightened upon seeing him. She dashed to the kitchen, and after putting the groceries away, promptly returned, eyes alight with happiness.
\Yahiro! What are you doing home so early?!/
"Well, you wanted to talk yesterday, didn't you?" he raised an eyebrow. "Let's talk then."
She blinked, then began to scribble some more. \Ne, can we go out?/
"Aren't we a little old for dates?"
She pouted and he sighed. "All right, all right."
Megumi took a deep breath as she gazed around at the luxurious restaurant they were in.
"So? What did you want to talk about?"
She took a deep breath.
"Yahiro… we haven't… I mean, I know our relationship is a little… imperfect, but-"
Megumi paused as the waiter brought their steaks. She couldn't help a giggle.
She quickly sliced through her steak and held it out to him.
"I cut this steak for you already!" she said happily. "We can trade!"
He paused in mid-slice, rolling his eyes. "Do I look like a kid to you?"
"Mou, Yahiro," she pouted. "This is romantic."
He couldn't help a chuckle. "You sure find weird things to be romantic, Megumi. Where'd you get this idea from? A shoujo manga?"
"Bingo," he said dryly. "Just eat your own."
She pouted, then began to eat the deliciously chewy steak. She was tempted to talk to him, but she knew how much he hated being interrupted during his mealtimes. He finally finished, wiping his mouth. She followed suit.
"All right. What did you have to talk to me about?"
"Well… our marriage isn't that perfect, but-"
She snapped her head towards the voice and gulped.
"A- Akira… Tadashi," she murmured, her head bowed. Tadashi came and fondly rumpled Megumi's hair. Both Megumi and Akira playfully glared at him.
\Mou! I'm not a kid!/
"What are you doing, touching my precious Megumi-chan!" Akira roared. Tadashi sweatdropped, laughing nervously. Only Megumi noticed the shadowed gaze Yahiro made in the complete opposite direction of Akira.
Her heart shattered for the second time during their marriage.
"What are you two doing?"
"Having a meal together," Megumi was surprised at how steady her voice was. She was so sure it would sound as tear-filled as she felt right now. Tadashi, noticing this, gently took Akira's hand. Yahiro flinched, ever so slightly.
"Come on, Akira… let's go," Tadashi indicated towards their table. "The waiter will be bringing the food soon."
"A- All right," she cast Megumi another worried glance, to which the Yamamoto girl just smiled assuredly and waved a hand.
"Let's go home," Yahiro said lowly as soon as the two were out of sight. Megumi turned to him.
"You heard me."
He glared at her, and she swallowed.
He threw cash down on the table, more than enough for their meal (and apparently he was tipping the waiters 250%), before stalking out, Megumi meekly following him.
"I'm going to bed," he announced as soon as they entered the house. Her head shot up, eyes widening.
"I'm not in the mood, Megumi."
"…you're never in the mood."
He snapped his head towards the quiet girl.
"What did you just say to me?" he hissed.
"You can't even hear what I have to say!" Megumi shouted angrily, tears starting to fill her eyes again. She hated this feeling. She had cried so much during this marriage, but she just couldn't take it anymore.
"It's not fair!" she cried, emotions filling her body. "I'm your wife! You married me! You're supposed to care about me more than you care about Akira!"
"What the hell is the matter with you?" he retorted. "Even you knew when you entered this marriage, that I couldn't devote myself to you completely!"
Her shoulders slumped, and soon, they were quaking uncontrollably. "Y- You're right… what was I thinking?"
A slight giggle slipped past her lips. "What was I thinking?"
He backed away from, a tiny bit scared. She had never acted so outrageously. He had a good feeling that she must have bottled up these emotions for a long time. She finally looked up, eyes dry.
"All right… that's enough," she shook her head and turned away from him. "I… I guess we should go to bed."
He hesitated, before gently wrapping his arms around her from behind. He had to admit, it was a marvel at how small she was; he towered over her, but she enjoyed that feeling. It was as if to signify that, if she was in his arms, she would always be covered with warmth and protected.
"I…" he hesitated. "I will try harder."
She couldn't help a small smile. "Okay… I'm sorry for shouting."
"Yeah, you'd better be," he scowled. "Don't go using your voice for foolish things like that."
To her surprise, he picked her up and carried her into the room bridal-style. He had never done it before, not once, and she thought he would have thought it too cheesy to do.
She looked up.
"You're all red," he rolled his eyes. "You're daydreaming about me again, aren't you?"
She giggled sheepishly.
"Well, get some sleep," he laid her on the bed they shared. "Let's talk after we've both cooled down a little, okay?"
She nodded, and rolled over.
Yahiro... can I really go through with this?
Phew! This is really strange, huh? I hope it's okay so far though!
See you next chapter!