【 【 【Heart on the Floor】 】 】
Many times have Onodera Ritsu told him that he would no way in hell marry Kohinata An. Blushing, stuttering, his love for almost already ten years would deny it strongly and Takano Masamune, as childish as it sounded wanted to believe that.
As much as Takano Masamune looked like the ideal man, he was so warped up inside. He didn't want to share. He had been waiting and yearning for ten years. Why couldn't he act more childish? More possessive? Or even get mad at being tossed around in uncertainty. He was just a man. He gets tired.
Adding to the fuel, lately, this cute and petite girl who Takano was sure many guys would like to protect was always appearing round their neighborhood.
"I'm sorry but Ritsu's still at work," Takano thought a little grumpily inside his head. He wasn't always showing so much expression on his face but when he was jealous, he gets a tad jealous to the point of entertaining vicious ideas. "When will Ritsu realize that I am the possesive type?"
Increasing his pace towards the fidgety girl in the middle of the night, under the misty air of winter, Takano approached Kohinata An.
Kohinata, blowing on her hands every once in a while saw the figure of a tall man approaching. He had a hair a color of ebony with a dignified and commanding presence. She remembered this was the neighbor and boss of her ex-fiance. Not just a regular relationship was between the two guys though for not long ago this very same man had confessed to her that he loved Onodera. It was a heart break for her right then and there.
She was sure she could no way in the world win against the person who could make Ritsu show such a dreamy expression.
"Takano-san right? Good evening..." the girl bowed and greeted trying to sound more cheerful. She looked past the man's shoulder as if expecting someone. "Ricchan...didn't go home with you?"
"Ricchan?" Takano repeated in his mind. Sure the two of them have known each other since forever but hearing the girl call Ritsu in such endearment was getting on his nerves. "He's in the middle of making his proposals and I came just after a meeting so we're not together."
Seeing a look of anxiety at the girl's face, Takano pursed his lips before inquiring. "Something's the matter?"
The girl's huge eyes grew wider a little. When she exhaled, a good puff of foggy air circled before her before finally disappearing. "No...no...I was just hoping to talk to Ricchan about something."
"Is it that important?" Takano asked, choosing to act like a man but as a lover, seeing his rival, if he was some demon he would not so much as spare a second talking to her.
Kohinata looked towards the dim part of the neighborhood and bit her thumb. "It's...it's something personal."
Rolling his eyes, Takano made a bored gesture of brushing his hair in front of his face and sighed. "If that's that important, you can go in and wait for him in the waiting area instead of freezing here in the cold."
When the girl turned her back following the suggestion, Takano noticed something sticking out of the girl's cream-colored coat. When he focused his eyes to it since the dark was a hindrance, he realized it was a price tag.
"Excuse me, but you still have the tag price of your coat attached," Takano announced, making the girl stop on her tracks.
"Eh?!" she exclaimed, her cheeks burning in red not from the cold but from embarrassment. "I thought I'd removed it..."
With clumsy fingers, the girl whirled and tried to reach her back to feel for the price tag but it was all too far from reach she ended up not being able to. Takano looking at the girl so acting jumpy and flustered decided to offer help.
"Stay still, I'll get it for you."
Takano raised his hands and patiently tried to removed the tag off the coat which also caught some hair strands. To a stranger from afar, it would look like they were a couple having a nice, sweet gesture before turning for the evening. And one person did take that.
"So that is your rumored fiance huh, Annie..." whispered by a man with eyes having a glint of red. It glowed like a beast's on prowl behind a thick pole of electricity. He watched the darkhaired man place his hands on the pretty girl's shoulders as if caressing her neck. "You won't give me a chance because of that guy..." he panted like a mad man. "Well I wonder if erasing him would make you come around..."
"An-chan?!" Ritsu exclaimed huffing. His hair messy from running. He right away went to the waiting area of their mansion after Takano Masamune had texted him that the girl was waiting for him.
The empty waiting area was cold and silent. Ritsu could clearly hear the loud gasp from his exfiance whe she saw him. He threw his bag on the bench and sat beside the girl.
"What's wrong? It's already late..." Ritsu asked, his emerald eyes full of worry. An-chan was always the cheerful type of person so seeing her so riled up made him nervous all the more.
Without warning, An-chan threw herself into Ritsu and clung to the man as if clinging for dear life. She sobbed and cried which sounded muffled as she buried her face on Ritsu's shoulder.
"An-chan...you're scaring me..." Ritsu mumbled. And because they have known each other for a while and he saw the girl as his younger sister, he lifted his arms and wrapped them around the shaking shoulders of the girl. Not realizing that Takano was watching them from behind a huge vendo machine.
Kohinata An wandered her eyes around Ritsu's flat. Her honey colored eyes traced the living room like a hurricane had just passed. And then she grabbed the hem of an overly sized pajamas she was wearing. She bit her bottom lip as she watched Ritsu clumsily pick up some scattered books and clothes on the floor in an attempt to make it neater.
"Ricchan..." Kohinata started. "I think this is a bad idea...wouldn't be...wouldn't be Takano-san mad that you're letting me stay here?"
"HA?!" Ritsu's grip on the book he was holding loosened and it fell back on the floor with an awkward thud. Jumpy and acting all so fine, Ritsu picked it up once more. "W-why should he b-be mad! I can't let a girl go home at a time like this it's 2 already!" the young man answered though he couldn't hide the pink tint on his smooth cheeks.
"I...I'm sorry!" the girl once more broke into a stupor of sobs. "I just didn't know what to do...I can't tell my parents about it because I don't want them to worry! He wasn't a bad guy at first and I really liked him...BUT JUST AS A FRIEND!"
"An-chan..." Ritsu watched the girl cry once more. This friend of his was having a serious case of being stalked and harrassed.
Burying her face on her hands, An-chan cried so desperately. "I...don't want to feel like this but I am getting scared of him. I even noticed him earlier at the coffee shop I was in and I accidentally poured coffee over me I had to buy new clothes. I can't go home with a face like this..."
Sighing, Ricchan could only pat the girl on the shoulder as his way of showing moral support. He would never turn his back at someone needing help. Especially someone he knew.
After Ritsu had made sure that An-chan was already finally sleeping soundly on his bed, the brunette decided that he'd have to buy the girl some toiletries for the day. Putting on his coat back on his shoulders, he picked up his phone and wallet and keys and headed out for the convenience store.
Right after opening the door though, Ritsu gasped, tried to scream but he was all too shocked that it came out as a silent shout.
"...!" Ritsu was so sure he was about to get a heart attack at the man standing before his door. It was Takano.
"P-please don't scare me like that!" Ritsu exclaimed, still clutching his chest. "You nearly killed me..."
Takano just stared at the emerald eyes looking a little sleepy already. The crinkled marks on the brunette's, pink polo shirt was visible. And without fail he could also smell a woman's scent around the brunette.
At the silence, Ritsu felt heavy so he scratched his chin with his index finger lightly, smiling like an idiot. "A-anyway...why are you standing here?"
"So...is your little girlfriend peacefully sleeping now after a tiring night?"
Ritsu's body stiffened. He didn't like the sound in Takano's voice.
"What...what are you talking about?" Ritsu asked in confusion that showed in his shaking voice.
"Was she begging for you to marry her? Did you say yes?"
Ritsu just stared at the hazel-eyes that looked at him with utter coldness. How many times did he have to tell this man before him that he viewed the girl as a family. Hasn't he even been sleeping with him for a number of times he couldn't count? He at least expected that Takano would get that he was not interested with others.
There he was, denying his love for Takano but Ritsu opens his body for the man so he could receive him. Then Takano would accuse him of that?
"I am not marrying her!"
Takano snorted, arms crossed across his broad chest. "Honestly, I am so tired of hearing that," the man replied calmly. "It's because of your half-assed niceties that she wouldn't let go of you."
"Wha...are you saying I just abandon a friend?"
Takano's brows met in an angry frown. "You can't abandon a friend but you can abandon me...great. That's just great."
Everything that has been said just rendered Ritsu immobile and speechless. All his concerns were all in chaos. He wanted to tell Takano about An-chan's predicament. He was planning to, but seeing Takano sad and angry at the same time was too much for his tired body and soul to take.
Stepping back, eyes cold, he turned on his heels to go to the elevator. His long black coat fluttering behind him, Takano started leaving without saying a word.
"T-Takano-san...wait...where are you-"
"Cooling my head."
Hearing those words, it was as if having daggers slash into Ritsu's flesh. It was prickly and hot and most of all, painful. It looked like everything turned to slow motion that even reaching out to the arm that was slowly moving away felt so heavy.
Without turning back or uttering a word, the taller man just stopped. Waiting for Ritsu's defense.
"She...she already gave up on me along time ago! She's not my fiance...and I am not hers..." the brunette explained as if he was being choked. He wasn't even that mindful of their surroundings which was a first. "In my family, she's the only one who knows about us! Please...don't go...to..."
"I'm not going to anyone or anywhere."
Neither men said another word that early morning. They just both went into their respective rooms, their heads with their own thoughts.
Stiffling a yawn, Takano almost had to gulp the gush of air that was supposed to escape his lips. He was just about to push open the door when he saw Onodera, wearing the cardigan he gave him during his birthday in front of the elevator. Kohinata An, looking pretty in the morning as if she wasn't a crying mess last night. And it irritated his eyes. He wanted to believe Ritsu. In fact he believed every damn thing the brunette had told him.
But when he was this tired and confused and lonely and uncertain, he couldn't help himself but bear a little, just a little grudge at Ritsu. A little jealousy, a little annoyance, just a little of everything because Ritsu won't finally say it that he loved him.
"Tsk..." Takano paused and chose not to go out of his room. He'd let the two get away first. Otherwise he just might make a rude remark if the three of them would be stuck in a cramped space.
After standing there for a minute, behind his door Takano remembered some files he had to bring to work so he went back in and looked for it. When he finally got out of his flat, that was when he saw this guy, probably just a little taller than Ritsu, looking back at him as if waiting in earnest.
When the stranger lifted his gaze, his brown eyes widened in surprise as if he got something so certain and then he suddenly realized that something was amiss.
"Uhm..." the guy started. He had long flowing black hair up to his shoulders and his face looked small and young. "I am looking for my cousin..." he said, shyly scratching the back of his head.
"Cousin?" Takano repeated. "Sorry but you might have been waiting at the wrong door."
A sudden flinch passed on the shorter guy's brows and he took a step forward to Takano. "Ah no...Kohinata An. I'm Kohinata An's cousin..."
Takano narrowed his eyes at first but the shorter guy smiled a dumb one. The visitor was the type Takano wouldn't want to do anything with so he turned his back and made sure that he had locked his door.
"Ano...I...I saw you last night you know...you're my cousin's fiance...right?"
At hearing the words, Takano abruptly turned his head towards the guy wearing a spotless white coat that looked expensive. His expression a mix of surprise and disgust. How in the world did I become her fiance? That has got to be one of the most ridiculous mistakes he had ever heard.
"Look...I don't know where you got that idea but you got it all wrong," smiling without his eyes doing so, Takano threw a glance at the door near his. "That..." Takano nodded at Ritsu's door. He wasn't really meaning anything bad about it but he was in a hurry and the guy before him was holding him up. Not to mention the guy was looking at him with such huge eyes like a dog's it was creeping him out. He just said it without thinking.
"That door is Kohinata's fiance's room."
The guy turned to follow Takano's gaze and his eyes turned to slits. "Onodera?" he read the doorplate aloud.
Takano watched the guy for a second before turning on his heels and heading to the elevator.
"I see...so it was a mistake..." Takano heard the guy mumble but he didn't pay much attention to it anymore.
In the lobby of the mansion, Takano looked unfocusedly ahead of him. There was not much people yet since it was still early. Having his other hand occupied with his bag, he raised the other one to clap over his mouth as he once more began yawning. He then realized Ritsu coming over his way in a hurry. And from the outside of the sliding doors, could see Kohinata's profile.
Ritsu bowed, blushing as he neared Takano. "G'morning..."
Takano wondered what was up with Ritsu all smiling and blushing like that. He didn't even manage to say his reply as Ritsu hurriedly went past him. "I left something...so...see you at work," was all Ritsu said before making it in the elevator just in time before it closed.
Frowning for there was no other way for him to get out of their complex but to walk towards the entrance where Kohinata An was, Takano walked and put on his neutral face.
"Ah! Takano-san...ohayo," said the sweet girl in her vibrant smile.
The tall man smiled and commented on the day. It would be the easiest way to hide his irritation. "I heard it's going to be really cold tonight."
The girl's smile disappeared. It might have been just her reading between the lines too much but it definitely sounded like Takano was implying something. Like her snatching his lover when he wanted them to be alone.
"Takano-san...I'm sorry on imposing on you and on Ricchan," she mumbled, her lashes fluttering as she looked down the cold ground.
"Imposing?" Takano shrugged. "No you're not. After all, he's the nice type of guy, isn't he?"
"Uhm," the girl raised her head abruptly, sending her long locks swaying. "I don't want you to get the wrong idea...I am just really at a lost so I came for Ricchan's help. I really am sorry. If you could just see Ricchan earlier...he was all saying 'Takano-san gave this to me on my birthday...should I wear this Aghb but I get too flustered' he says. I can see he really likes you a lot."
The man's eyes widened in a fleeting moment, Kohinata didn't even notice it. "So he's blushing because he saw me seeing him wear it?" he thought, kind of like wanting to laugh in amusement.
"Like me? I wish he say that himself," Takano replied with a tone of sarcasm and joking.
Smiling like how a close friend would talk about a dear friend, the girl tucked her hair on the side of her left ear. "I, got really emotional last night you see. I am being harrassed by someone. And it's only Ricchan I could talk about it because my family would make such a huge fuss over it."
"I was sort of going out with a guy. Technically we're heading into a relationship but I realized that I just wanted to be friends with him. And he...didn't like it. So he'd been stalking me the past days. He even threatened me so I just rushed here last night without thinking...Oh!" she gasped. "Sorry, I just blabbered on..."
At a sudden clicking inside Takano's mind, he remembered the kind of goodlooking guy waiting in front of his door earlier.
"I just remembered...I saw your cousin earlier..."
The girl's face froze in her smile. Her face was smiling but her eyes surely showed terror that even made Takano's stomach churn. He didn't have to hear it all to put the pieces together. Just the mere expression of the girl's face was enough of a conclusion.
"I...my cousins...are all in France..." she whispered, her face had lost color.
His bag falling on the pavement with a thud, Takano's irises dilating as if he had been suddenly deprived of oxygen, he turned to look at the elevator where Ritsu went back in to get back into his flat.
"That door is Kohinata's fiance's room." It replayed in his head like a stupid, broken recorder, sending his insides into chaos.
His feet started walking in such a slow manner like he had turned to jelly. Like he was walking but not getting off the same spot. It was cold but he felt the hot perspiration on his forehead. Before he knew it, he was running like his life depended on it. No, it wasn't 'like his life depended on it'.His life in all respect did really depend on it.
"Ritsu..." Takano called out though he was still inside the small elevator. His neck craning at the blinking numbers above his head.
The silence only made his heartbeat echo in his head. It was beating so wildly that it hurt. It was beating so hard as if it was trying to escape from his chest. All because he had never felt so scared in his life.
As if eternity had passed first, the elevator opened with a sharp 'ding' as if mocking Takano. His field of vision was only looking for someone. His eyes didn't care about the numerous heads he could see. They were all looking down at something. Or someone.
Takano's ears were deaf with the other voices, other noises prevailing in the air. He was just searching for that one voice. That sound that even from far away he would be able to recognize. But that morning, it was just quiet. He couldn't hear it at all.
Despite the number of people that had gathered, Takano, without him knowing how, had pushed himself in front of the circle of people. And that was where his knees gave out.
He just saw his heart on the floor bleeding. Staining the gift he gave to Ritsu on his birthday. Staining the colorless cheeks of Ritsu. Staining the floor.
Unable to scream, not knowing how to touch the motionless form on the floor, Takano tapped the cold cheeks lightly. "Ritsu?"
"Open your eyes...hey...hey..."
He touched the cheeks and cupped the face. He could even feel the fright at his finger tips. His breathing was caught up in his throat.
"I left something...so...see you at work," Takano could even hear that last greeting. "Oi...Rit-"
A silent painful cry escaped his dry mouth before glaring at the onlookers. "GET A DAMN AMBULANCE!"
Rocking Ritsu back and forth on his arms, Takano had buried his face on Ritsu's shoulders. "Ritsu...no...no...stay with me...okay?"
It sounded so soft, barely reaching Takano's ears. "That's good...stay with me...alright?" Takano whispered back, not letting go.
"Don't say it!" Takano suddenly shouted, making their neighbors and the medics to look at him with shock faces. "DON'T DARE SAY IT..."
Takano then started crying. He didn't fucking care if the people looked at him with strange eyes. He didn't even care that Kohinata had already fainted.
"I'm begging you...please don't say it," Takano whispered hoarsely into Ritsu's ears. Takano was dead afraid that if Ritsu said it, that would be the end. "Don't say it at a time like this...don't..."
As the medics gently carried the limp, bloody body on the stretcher, Takano still was holding the weak, cold hands. "Say it, when you're well and good...say it while blushing and looking shy and looking stubborn like you always do...not when you're on the brink of death..."
The Operating room's sign outside turned red. And Takano just stood in front of it like time had stopped.
"It's all my fault. If I hadn't said something ridiculous, that guy would come after me...Not Ritsu..."
How many hours had it been? People in white passing before him. People with blank faces that Takano had wondered if he was seeing ghosts. But when he looked closely at the glass panes of the curtained ICU entrance, he suddenly thought that it was him who looked like a ghost.
The Onodera Family, Kohinata, the entire Emerald team had gathered outside the ICU. Through the faint murmurings of the people around him, he had gathered that the assaulter had been captured. But instead of being thrown into the jail, they had to bring him to a mental hospital.
He'd been standing out of Onodera's room for how many hours he couldn't remember. His shaking fingers on his sides, he just stared at the floor.
I asked for too much...I asked for too much...
His shirt was stained with Ritsu's blood all over. But he couldn't find the strenght and the courage to even leave the front of the ICU. No one talked to him. No one offered any words of encouragement. They just patted Takano on the shoulder and silently peeked at the glass windows of the door.
It was only the family that can enter. And no matter how much Takano wanted to see Ritsu upclose, murmur to the man's ears that he'd be waiting for him and how much he loved him, he couldn't.
"If you ever come out safely...I promise I'd be fine with everything. I will stop being jealous...I'll stop forcing you...I won't ask for anything...just stay alive..." his shaking shoulders made him look so vulnerable. The always in control and confident man was nowhere to be seen.
The blinding lights seared as far as the back of his brain when the ICU doors opened. Takano looked up miserable. He had buried his face on his hands he must have looked like he needed medical care himself.
"Takano...Masamune?" a voice of a woman called, unsure. She had a beautiful face and was dressed simply but the lines on her forehead said all the worry she had inside. "You are Takano-san...right?"
Takano only managed to nod.
"M-y...my son..." she broke into crying. Takano stopped breathing. Was it the news he was dreading so much?
He slowly stood from where he was seated and stared at the woman with a blank expression. His body had already failed to display the chaos in his soul.
"My son...wants...to see his lover."
The man blinked. He stared long at the woman before him. His gaze started to make its way towards the ICU door where faces he wasn't familiar with were looking at him. They weren't smiling, they weren't mad but they didn't look happy either. They just waited for Takano to gather his strenght and go into the room.
"Our family will keep this a secret..." a stern voice of a man murmured into Takano's back. "You're the only support he wanted..."
When he entered, it was only the raspy sound of breathing and medical apparatuses beeping rythmically that welcomed him. Ritsu was there on the bed with all sorts of tubes attached to him. He suddenly looked so frail and thin. And his usual glow was gone.
"Ritsu?" Takano called in a very gentle way, lacing his fingers into the unconsious man's.
To Takano's surprise, the cold hand squeezed back hard, though the brunette didn't open his eyes.
"I've said it..." Ritsu whispered that Takano had to lower his head to hear them. "I've told them...about us..."
Gritting his teeth, Takano looked at the ghostly face painfully. "You, why did you do that?" he asked back, sounding like he was choking.
"No one would really realize how fleeting life is before experiencing something as this...so..." Ritsu's heavy lids started lifting up. The hint of the emerald eyes Takano so loved peeked through them. "Takano-san...I don't want to hide anymore..."
"Idiot...you're an idiot..." Takano slapped Ritsu's cheek lightly, the dry voice and the hot sting in his eyes dropped on the floor.. "Did you know how scared I was you idiot?"
It took several days before Ritsu was transfered into a regular room out of the ICU. The family of the brunette would come by every morning. And Ritsu's friends would drop by too every so often.
The only unchanging scene was Takano. He was there round the clock after he submitted a mandatory leave. He'd been by Ritsu's side all the time that even the nurses and doctors would ask where was Takano when he was not in the room to get some coffee.
That day, a chilly morning, the window wet from the morning dew, the nurse smiled at both the men when she finished checking on Ritsu's wound and condition.
"You're recovering well, Onodera-san. Thanks to Takano-san here," the nurse commented before gathering her equipments.
Once the door had been closed and they were already alone, Takano who was also wearing a hospital pajamas, his way of teasing Ritsu, the man sat on Ritsu's bed.
"Yeah...that's thanks to me," Takano mumbled, leaning closer until finally their lips met.
It lasted for a few seconds but Takano moved away, intently looking at the green eyes blinking back at him.
"You're not going to fuss over it? I just kissed you you know? And we're in a hospital."
Ritsu looked away, his face burning red from cheeks to his ears. "You...you don't care anyway..." he mumbled, frowning even more.
The bed creaked softly when Takano inched forward. Leaning close once more until their noses touched, Takano circled his arms around Ritsu's shoulders and exhaled a contented, happy one while smiling.
Takano was careful not to press on Ritsu's wound at the upper side of the man's back, but he held the brunette still.
"Yeah, you're right. I don't care," he whispered before claiming Ritsu's lips more passionately than before.
chapter end notes;
muahahaha...yey...i'm done with it...i hope you liked it. i am enjoying writing one shots lately..THANKS FOR THE TIME!share your thoughts please!