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Disclaimer: I do not own Skip Beat or any of its characters.


She breathed in deeply and snuggled deeper into the warmth that was wrapped around her like a blanket. The remnants of a peaceful sleep slowly began to fade until she was lying awake with her eyes closed. The sounds of his steady breathing, the smell of his skin, and the heat of his chest against her cheek danced along her senses. With a pounding heart, she finally opened her eyes to see his sleeping face angled above hers.

Smiling, Kyoko raised her hand and with a touch of a feather traced the curve of his eyebrows, down the bridge of his nose, and over the softness of his lips that had her blushing as she remembered the many kisses they shared before sleep finally took them. They were both naked under the covers with their legs intertwined and his strong arms wrapped around her waist like he never wanted to let her go. His natural heat warmed her body from her head all the way down to her toes.

She placed her hand against his chiseled cheek and stared at him for a while, loving the butterflies that were flying around in her stomach. Even though they spent the last two weeks making up for lost time, it still didn't seem like enough. Days were excruciatingly long as Kyoko watched the clock tick by, wanting time to fly by faster so she could run home and see him. And nights were far too short with the sun rising over the horizon to whisk them away from each other's arms. Her need for him seemed to burn stronger every day. The more she saw him, the more she wanted him.

Ren must have felt the same way because not too soon after, he asked her to move in with him. Living in the house that he confessed he had designed for her was like a dream come true. It was everything she ever wanted. Sleeping in his arms, cooking dinner just to see his eyes glow with delight, and cuddling on the couch after a long day's work were happy moments that made her feel like she was living in her own little fairy tale. Her eyes softened as a quiet sigh escaped his lips. This was a fairy tale.

And after gazing longingly at his face for longer than she should have, Kyoko decided it was time to get out of bed and start breakfast, but she didn't have the heart to wake him up just yet. He deserved at least another hour of sleep and she wanted to have everything ready for him as soon as he awoke. Gently untangling her legs, she leaned forward and pressed a kiss to his nose. But just as she was about to swing her legs over the side, an arm snaked around her waist and swiftly pulled her back.

Squealing, she looked up into his playful and highly alert eyes with a bright smile. Her heart fluttered within her chest as he leaned forward and murmured in his husky voice, "Sneaking off, are we?"

"Only for a little bit," she teased.

"I should punish you for that," he growled, nipping at her ear.

A delicious shiver traveled down her spine as she curled her fingers around his neck. "That would work if I was scared," she replied in a breathless voice.

"You're not scared?" he asked, his dark eyes gleaming.

She shook her head bravely.

Then with a smirk that spiked up her heartbeat, Ren pressed his forehead against hers and murmured, "You asked for it." His fingers trailed down her arm, eliciting goose bumps all across her skin before he mercilessly tickled her ribs.

"Ren! Ren!" Kyoko laughed, tears pricking at the corner of her eye as she thrashed within his arms. "No more! No more!"

"I can't hear you," he said over her laughter. "What was that?"

"You win! YOU WIN!"

Moving his hands behind the small of her back, he pulled her tight against his chest until they looked eye to eye, amber to brown. "Are you scared now?" he asked.

Kyoko shook her head with a smile. "Not at all," she answered before she claimed his lips for a kiss.

He let her take control for the first five seconds as he reveled in how sweet she tasted and how soft she felt in his arms. Her hands that were splayed against his chest made their slow path over his muscled shoulders and down his back until he couldn't hold back anymore. With a low rumble building within his throat, Ren slanted his mouth over hers and pressed her body deeper into the mattress. Her moan was like oil to the fire that was already blazing inside of him.

Sparks of desire ignited all of her nerves until she was moving restlessly underneath him. Kyoko felt like she couldn't breathe, but she didn't have the will to let him go either. The way he cradled her body with such tenderness, the desperation of his kiss, and the passion that flowed between them were sending her emotions into overdrive. Trying to find some anchor yet loving the way she felt like she was floating on air, Kyoko sighed and wrapped her arms tight around his neck.

Breathing heavily, Ren leaned back just an inch and stared into her lustful gaze that he knew mirrored his own.

She smiled up at him and pulled at his bottom lip with a finger. "I love you."

"I love you," he repeated tenderly as he placed a kiss upon her palm. Ren then lay back down onto the pillow and pulled her along with him until she comfortably nestled her head into the crook of his shoulder, her arm thrown over his torso. "So what's on the agenda for today?" he asked with his lips in her hair.

"Well," Kyoko began thoughtfully, "we have most of the morning to ourselves until Maria-chan's recital at six. Then afterwards, we are to meet Ryoko-san and Kenji-san for dinner at Alexander's."

Ren nodded. "And at night?"

He could already feel the blush form upon her cheeks as she moved her face closer to his chest and murmured, "Just us."

Trying his very hardest not to smile at her sweet innocence, he held on to her tighter and said, "Then I suppose I should come up with things for us to do."

"Like what?" she asked in a voice so soft he more of felt it than heard it.

Ren's eyes darkened as he flipped over until she was caged within his arms. The look upon her face would have been laughable if not for the way her sensuous lips were telling him to take them for his own. "Oh, I can think of a number of things," he whispered.

Her cheeks flushed bright red and her eyes were glowing with excitement, desire, and just a touch of shyness that was already chipping away at his restraint. If Kyoko had any idea what she did to him, it would be the end of his self control for sure. Of course, she might have some clue as he watched her bite on her bottom lip in the most provocative way he had ever seen.

Ren groaned and pushed up onto his hands. "You're making this really hard, Kyoko."

"What do you mean?"

He smiled down at the puzzled look on her face. Nope, she had no idea.

"We should probably get out of this bed before I keep you here for good," he confessed with a shake of his head to clear the cloud that was threatening to take over his good judgment.

She ran a hand through his silky bed hair and smiled. "Are you sure?"

"Don't tempt me," he rumbled as he nibbled her lower lip, enjoying the flash of pleasure in her eyes. "Because I will do it."

She laughed and propped herself onto her elbows. "I know." And after giving him one last kiss that only left him wanting more, she climbed out from under him and picked up his dress shirt that was lying upon the floor.

Ren kept his eyes on her hands as she turned around and buttoned up the blue garment. Only Kyoko could make the act of dressing seductive. Every morning, she would always wear one of his dress shirts and he enjoyed seeing her in them more than he should. Maybe it was because it was an obvious sign that she was his or how sexy and innocent she looked all at the same.

His heartbeat pounded like a drum in his chest. He couldn't tear his eyes away from her slender legs. It was amazing how she could reduce him into nothing but a puddle of raw, animalistic need. He would spend hours worshipping her body and by the time he was done, Ren wanted nothing more than to start all over. Kyoko brought out feelings he didn't know he had. He was never one to be driven by such need, but in her presence it was as if all rational thought flew out of his head.

"Ren?"

He raised his eyes to hers.

"Aren't you coming?"

Smiling warily at her poor choice of words, Ren grabbed his pair of pants that were hooked over the foot of the bed and pulled them on. He walked up to her until he was standing so close that she practically had to arch her neck back in order to look at him. Lovingly, he cradled her face within his large hands and kissed her forehead.

"You drive me insane."

"That's a good thing, isn't it?"

He grinned. "Very," he replied as he hugged her tight to his chest once before gently releasing her.

Smiling, she watched him walk into the bathroom with that sexy gait of his before she turned towards the vanity mirror and pulled a comb through her hair. Her face was still flushed and her skin had a slight sheen to it, but the joy in her face was obvious. Kyoko just couldn't stop smiling. With all the knots untangled and her hair now a cascade of silky tresses, Kyoko was just about to step outside of the bedroom when her phone upon the bedside drawer vibrated once. Curious as to whom it would be, she walked over and flipped the thin device open to read:

I'm sorry. For everything.

Her heart fell still. Time slowed to a stop. The room suddenly shrunk ten times too small.

A part of her was in disbelief. A part of her wanted to ignore it and an even larger part of her wanted to throw the phone against the wall.

She sat down onto the edge of the bed and felt the pain rise until it formed a thick knot in her throat. Taking a deep breath, she closed the phone within her grasp and dropped her head into her hands. Her thoughts skyrocketed back to that day, that same horrid day that changed her life completely. Kyoko thought back to how much she hated him, how much she wanted him to crawl back to her on his hands and knees, how much she foolishly wanted to him to love her.

Without him, she would have never felt so angry. Without him, she would have never felt so broken. Without him, she would have never—

"Kyoko?"

She raised her head and saw Ren standing at the door, eyes widen with concern.

On approach, he knelt down onto one knee in front of her and looked up into her watery eyes, rubbing a thumb across her cheek. "Is everything alright?"

It was amazing how he could calm her down in an instant. Just the touch of his hand brought her back from the verge of spiraling down a path she didn't want to follow anymore. He truly was her anchor. And as Kyoko stared into his worry-ridden eyes, the haze of raw, uncontrollable emotion weakened until she could finally understand the message for what it was.

These words were far too late. His apology didn't change a thing, but she realized that holding onto this grudge was useless. Hating him wasn't worth it.

Kyoko had always known that they would never be the same again. They would never be friends again and she will never feel for him the way she used to ever again, but it was time to forgive, even if she will never forget. It was time to let go, no matter how much her heart didn't want to. So with blurry eyes, she reached for Ren and allowed the tears to flow.

She cried over a lost love she harbored for so many years. She cried over the pain she had kept inside for far too long and finally she cried over him…one last time.


Two years later

Yashiro glanced at his watch for what felt like the millionth time that day. Was it just him or was the second hand ticking by extra slow this morning? He pulled the curtains aside and saw people standing around the gazebo. Some were already seated while most were enjoying the beautiful scenery, talking, laughing, and smiling without a care in the world.

Yashiro smiled grimly. What he would give to be as relaxed and as happy as them. Although, that wasn't entirely true either. Yashiro was happy. So happy in fact that he wasn't going to let anything ruin this special day. He was going to use every manager skill in the book to keep them right on schedule. Not a hair was going to be out of place. Not today.

Feeling determined more than ever, he turned away from the window and walked back down the hallway. He checked every flower arrangement, every bow on every chair, and every string of crystals hanging in the entire venue before he made his way outside. Yashiro smiled kindly in greeting at the people he met. Director Ogata, Sawara, and even Carrie were among them. Every man was wearing his best-looking suit and every woman a dress that flowed beautifully in the yellow sun.

"Yashiro!"

He turned towards the booming voice and had to choke down his gasp of surprise at President Lory. It wasn't that he looked unusual. In fact, he looked so…normal. Donning a pin-striped suit of navy with a pink dress shirt underneath and a pocket hanky to match, President Lory walked up with his hands clasped behind his back.

Yashiro grinned and bowed his head low. "That's quite a suit, sir."

"Well, I didn't want something too flashy. Wouldn't want to step on any toes," he winked.

"Of course not," Yashiro chuckled. "Did you go see Ren already?"

"I did. That man is wound tighter than a spring. He says you aren't answering any of his calls."

Sighing heavily, Yashiro reached into his pocket for his white cotton gloves before he pulled out the cell phone. He had received 17 texts and eight missed calls from the actor in the last 15 minutes. "Honestly, if I didn't know any better, I would say he didn't trust me."

"Well, by the looks of this place, I would say he certainly can. Everything looks immaculate, Yashiro," President Lory complimented with a sweeping gesture of his hand. "You did a wonderful job."

"Thank you very much, sir, but I didn't do this job alone."

"I helped too!"

They turned around and smiled as Maria ran up to them, wearing a salmon chiffon dress that only enhanced the natural beauty of her hundred watt smile and curly locks. She linked her arm through Yashiro's and looked up at him with sparkling eyes. "Yashiro-san wouldn't have any idea of where to start without me."

He laughed and nodded, affectionately patting her hand. "It's true. She's the true mastermind."

"And since I've made such good decisions so far, I would you like to trust me again, Yashiro-san, when I tell you to come with me."

"Where are we going?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"To change of course! You can't possibly wear this," Maria said as she pointed at his tan suit.

"What's wrong with it?"

Rolling her eyes, Maria held his hand and replied, "It's what you ALWAYS wear! Today comes once in a lifetime and I picked out the most perfect suit that will look incredible on you."

"She does have a knack for fashion," President Lory agreed. "Maria picked out what I'm wearing right now."

"And Grandfather looks great. So," she said with finality, "you will be coming with me, Yashiro-san."

Then like a sign of aid, the phone in Yashiro's grasp suddenly vibrated. Happy for the interruption, Yashiro was about to flip it open and answer when Maria snatched it out of his hand and put it into her purse.

"Wait, Maria—!"

"You've been ignoring his calls anyway," she cut in with a wave of her hand. "Besides, Ren-sama is just getting antsy. He'll be fine. Now we have to go get you changed before Onee-sama and Moko-san arrive!"

Not even bothering to wait for his reply, Maria pulled Yashiro along and back into the main building. She smiled at the people who seemed stunned to watch a grown man be pulled along like a rag doll by such a slim girl, but she didn't stop until they reached the grand room in the back. Yashiro leaned over onto his knees, the stitch in his side throbbing painfully. He really needed to work out a little more.

Maria giggled at the sight of him and said, "Trust me, Yashiro-san. You'll love what I picked out for you and I guarantee that by the end of tonight, you're going to catch more than one woman's eye."

"Whose eye will I be catching?"

She grinned. "You'll see. Your suit is in the closet, Yashiro-san."

He sighed, sensing defeat when he saw one. So without a word of complaint, he opened the back door and picked up the black garment bag on the hanger. When he unzipped it, Yashiro's eyes widened at the dark fabric before him. It was certainly fancier than anything he had ever worn.

"Yashiro-san…" her suspicious voice called, echoing off the walls.

Certain that she must have a sixth sense of some sort, Yashiro called back, "Putting it on now, Maria-chan!"

"Okay!"

Yashiro couldn't help smiling as he peeled off his suit jacket. He had to admit it felt nice to have someone fuss over him when he was always so busy fussing over others. And once he finally turned to face the mirror, Yashiro had to do quite a few double takes before he accepted that the man he saw was actually him. The trousers, the jacket, and the crisp white shirt fitted him to the T. Yashiro didn't want to admit it, but this truly did look better than his original suits on any day.

"Well? Do you like it?"

He stepped out and grinned at the awed look in her eyes that only grew as he got closer. "You tell me."

"Yashiro-san! You look so handsome!"

"Thank you, Maria-chan."

She clapped her hands together and linked her arm through his. "Now you're ready."

And right on cue, the phone within her purse vibrated. Maria pulled it out and squealed with joy as she shouted, "They're here! THEY'RE HERE!"

"REALLY?" He reached for the device and saw Kanae's number flashing on screen. Flipping it open, he held it to his ear and asked breathily, "You're here?"

"We're right outside."

"They're outside," he repeated to Maria who was jumping up and down with glee. "We'll be right there, Kotonami-san!"

Like a whirl wind, they ran out of the room, through the mahogany double doors, out to the front lawn, and down the stone steps until the familiar white limo pulled up in front of them. Once the vehicle stopped, the door opened from the inside. A slender leg in a white high-heeled sandal touched the floor first before Kanae surfaced in a long Greek-influenced dress.

She met his wide-eyed gaze with a slight curve of her lips. "Wow, nice suit."

Blushing, Yashiro stepped forward and stammered, "Y-y-y-you look lovely, Kotonami-san."

Maria grinned widely at the two of them before she stepped around Yashiro and asked, "Where's Onee-sama?"

"Here," a soft voice answered from inside the car.

Maria and Yashiro could barely contain the gasp that left their lips as they watched her step out of the limo. Her gown was made of a beautiful white lace that hugged her in all the right places. The long sleeves and elegant train accentuated her slender figure, but it was the plunging neckline in the back that had the two gawking. So wonderfully classy yet elegantly seductive, Kyoko was the epitome of a vixen as she stood in front of them with a tentative smile at her pink lips.

"Kyoko-chan…wow…I can't believe—oh wow…"

"You're breathtaking!" Maria exclaimed, running her eyes over the immaculate make-up, her shimmering golden hair, and the sparkling jewels around her neck and on her ears. "Ren-sama is going to drop dead on his feet!"

"Is he inside?"

Yashiro nodded. "He's been asking for you all day."

Stepping up, Kanae took her rightful place beside her best friend and asked in a gentle tone, "You ready?"

Kyoko nodded. "Maria-chan?"

The young girl grinned and took her place at her other side. "Ready when you are, Onee-sama."

Kyoko finally looked up and smiled at Yashiro's tender gaze. "Yashiro-san?"

He grasped her extended hand and nodded. "I'll do the honors." Taking out the cellular phone, he dialed his friend's number and barely had to wait for the first ring to finish before he heard his frantic hello.

Yashiro grinned. "It's time to take your place at the altar, Ren…because here comes your bride."


Thank you so much for reading this story. It was something new I wanted to try and I'm so glad that it worked out better than I expected. I hope I made you proud this time around and hopefully I will see you all again for my next story! Thank you!