Beginning Note: A reviewer said it would be interesting if I would write a prequel to More Than Words and I liked the idea. So, here it is, Ashlyn Braere. I do love Mori, but Kyouya is also a favorite of mine. And I question Mori's sexuality after volume 9 of the manga. I haven't really been up to date so that could have changed.
Disclaimer: I do not own these lovely characters. They are the property of Bisco Hatori.
She feels like she's in an interview, everything stiff and formal. There's not even a hint of a smile from the man sitting at the head of the table.
This must be how the other half lives, she thinks, wishing they were at her tiny apartment rather than the oppressive Ootori mansion. At least she and Kyouya would be comfortable. It is awkward for her and Kyouya to sit here in silence. She nervously flattens the cloth napkin resting on her thighs.
"So, Haruhi-chan, how is applying for law school going?" asks Kyouya's older sister, Fuyumi, who always comes to dinner when she was over.
The senior Ootori clears his throat and glares at his only daughter. She falls silent, eyes cast downward at her plate.
"Surely once Fujioka-san marries Kyouya, she will no longer need to apply to school," he says, taking a sip of his wine and looking at her and his son.
Her brows furrow in confusion. Not apply to school? Why would she stop? And she and Kyouya haven't really talked about marriage yet.
"I don't plan on not going to law school, sir," she says politely, meeting the formidable man's gaze. "It's why I applied to Ouran in the first place."
He frowns at her.
"As Kyouya's wife, you are required for certain duties. Being a lawyer is not one of them," he says as if this was his final decision.
She sees the look of panic that crosses over her boyfriend's normally placid face. He knows that she is not pleased with his father. He can see it in her face.
"As a lawyer, Haruhi would be very valuable to the Ootori Corporation," he interjects, somewhat nervously.
"You need a wife who is attentive, not one who is a lawyer and busy," his father snaps, gray eyes, so much like his son's, flashing angrily. "She will need to be dedicated to upholding the Ootori name, not pursuing her own wishes."
Kyouya falls silent, cowed by his father.
"With all due respect, Ootori-san, but you really don't have any say in what I choose to do with my life, regardless of my status with Kyouya," she says, her own fury with him and Kyouya barely masked.
She sees Kyouya wince out of the corner of her eye. He knows that he will feel her anger later.
"Fujioka-san, I understand your passion, but it would be unnecessary for you to have a career after you are married to my son. You have to be in charge of running his household."
She lets out a bark of a laugh.
"I will be in charge of nothing. I am not some trophy for Kyouya to display on his arm at dinner parties, pretty and empty-headed. I'm not some corporate property that you have control over," she quips, at the end of her patience. This man rubs her the wrong way every time she interacts with him. "Kyouya and I haven't even discussed getting married yet."
She glances at Kyouya, who looks away guiltily.
"That's not the impression I was given," the older man tells her coolly, staring the pair of them down. "Kyouya mentioned it to me several weeks ago. I assumed the two of you had discussed the matter already."
She glares at her boyfriend.
"No, we haven't. And if this is the way I am to be treated, this is the last family I would like to be a part of," she says, standing up and placing her napkin on the table. "Please excuse me. I am feeling a bit sick to my stomach."
As she exits the large dining room, she hears Kyouya apologize to his father and sister and the scrape of the chair against the floor as he pushes away from the table.
"Haruhi," he half-whispers, hurrying after her. "What the hell are you doing? Do you realize how angry my father is right now?"
The young woman whirls around to face him.
"Your father's angry?" she hisses, wondering if she's ever felt this angry and betrayed before. "It's not your father's anger that you should be worrying about, Kyouya. It's mine."
He yanks open the front door and pulls her outside so his family doesn't have to hear the fight he knows they are about to have.
"You're a coward, Kyouya!" she yells at him. "You could have at least tried to defend me to your father."
"You don't understand," he pleads with her, a miserable look spreading over his features. "He has this control over everyone in the family. It's just what he expects from us."
"You're not a little boy anymore," she says to him. "Grow up."
Pain flashes in his gray eyes.
"Don't you get it? It's hard to pull from the shadows of my brother and not feel the boot of my father on my neck!" he snaps. "The third son is not supposed to be better than his older brothers."
"God, Kyouya. Why can't you live for yourself? Dating me instead of those stupid airheads your father has insisted pushing on you was a step in the right direction."
She sighs and shakes her head in disgust.
"You are so torn between choosing the life you want to live and the life your father expects you to live," she says in a softer voice.
"I just want him to be proud of me," her boyfriend whispers so quietly, it's almost like he never said it.
"You don't need his approval."
"You don't understand, Haruhi," he protests, getting irritated again. "My father controls everything about me. My future."
She places her hand over his heart, which is racing with adrenaline. He takes her other hand in his large ones.
"He doesn't control everything."
"He will make your life miserable if you insist on applying to law school," he tells her.
The woman's face hardens, the ferocity he fell in love with rising to the surface.
"I'm not some thing your father can control. He has no say in how I live my life," she retorts, clenching her fists as she recalls the dismissive look on the older Ootori's face. "And why the hell did you tell your father that we had talked about marriage?"
"I was planning on asking you soon. I figured I should approach the subject with my father. I didn't think he'd protest you having a career so much."
His girlfriend scowls.
"Your father wishes me to be something I'm not and that something is a pretty, empty-headed heiress."
They both pause when they hear the senior Ootori's voice calling across the foyer for his son.
She stares at him and sees the conflict on his face. Does he stay out her and go home with her or does he go slinking back into the dining room like a kicked puppy? He knows that if he goes back into the house, this will be the end.
"You can either break free from him now or you can be content to live in the shadows of your brothers," she tells him.
"Kyouya!" his father's voice booms again, demanding his son's presence.
"I'm sorry," he says, one hand reaching for the front door knob. "Just wait here for a minute and I'll be right back."
She gives him a sad smile and shakes her head as he opens the large door and starts to head inside.
"I can't do this anymore, Kyouya. I'm spent."
His grip on her hand tightens and the youngest Ootori turns around, panic spreading across his face. He refuses to believe that this is happening.
"Go," she urges gently, tugging her hand out of his. "Don't keep him waiting."
She turns away and runs to her car while he stands there in shock. As she drives away, she can see him sprinting down the driveway after the car in a desperate attempt to stop her.
As she turns off his street, she dials a number on her cell phone with trembling fingers, ignoring Kyouya's incoming phone call. The person she calls answers on the third ring.
"Takashi?" she chokes out, heading towards her apartment.
She sobs into the phone, unable to answer her high school friend.
"Five minutes," her typically silent friend says and relief fills her chest.
The young woman knows that he will let her cry herself out without interrupting or asking what's wrong. In five minutes, he will be waiting for her at her apartment with fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream, ready to be the comfort she needs.
Several miles away, a tall, silent young man gathers his best friend's comfort foods. He knows what this is about and he has been waiting for it to all fall apart with Kyouya for over two years. He knows that the Ootori clan head is too overbearing, too demanding for Haruhi's free spirit.
He loves this girl with everything that he is. One day, he hopes to show her just how much. But until then, he will be there for her in every way possible.
A/N: I've been meaning to finish this for like 4 months… I'm terrible I know. I haven't been doing any writing. I've lacked an immense amount of inspiration. No excuse I know, but forgive me. I hope you enjoyed it! Don't forget to tell me how awesome I am! I mean… Please review!