"Hey tilt your chin a bit more to the side, perfect!" I growled in protest. I hadn't willingly followed that order but was instead forced to by a rough hand. In an instant I felt my neck snap to the opposite direction and heat burn upon my cheek. Tears welled up and I was too much in shock to retaliate. "Shut up, we need pretty sounds from you, got it?" The owner of that hand leaned in and spat, "Real pretty sounds." He smirked, baring his yellowed teeth and alcohol laced breath. I grimaced and tried to get away but I just pressed up to another body that was keeping my arms behind my back.
"Oh, it seems he just likes me better." I felt his other arm slip around my bare waist and feel around my hips. I squirmed and shuddered at every tap his fingers made. They were cold and aggressive and definitely unwanted.
"Hey, you're getting all of this right?" I looked over to be face to face with a phone, filming me. I quickly looked away, but knowing that the damage was already done. "Make sure to not record us okay?" I wanted to scream at these people, why did they have a choice when I didn't?! But I couldn't find my voice no matter how hard I tried. It was just a meek whisper that sounded, weak.
"Please, stop this." When I heard how small my voice sounded, I wished I had just stayed silent. But I couldn't help it. No matter how hard I tried to salvage my pride and strength as a man, I was scared. There was no way out of this, and things weren't looking up either. A tap on my bruising cheek made me turn.
"What did I tell you about bruises?" A dark voice muttered. It was sensei, no it was him. He didn't deserve that title anymore. I found the courage to glare at him and try to break free once again. I put all of my trust into this man and looked up to him from my first day as his assistant. But what the hell was all of this?! Was this how he valued my loyalty and how laughable my ambitions where?! I was so frustrated with this man but so confused; were all those smiles of encouragement a lie? I was so caught up in my own thoughts; I didn't notice a leg swing back and collide with my stomach until it was too late.
I let out a pained scream and slumped forward as much as I could with my arms restrained. I coughed violently and tears flew freely down my face.
"You have to make them in hidden areas." I looked up to see him still pointing the phone at me, I think. My sight was blurry and I couldn't wipe my tears away. "We can't have people finding out now can we?"
"But, Sensei, what if he talks?" The one binding my arms shook me, and my vision spun. I felt like throwing up, but that just didn't seem like the smart thing to do.
"Oh he won't," He smirked at me and I just wanted to get his face behind bars for this. And really? Oh I sure will, I'll tell his boss and have him fired and have him go to prison and- "because we'll record everything that happens tonight." I squeezed my legs even closer now. I couldn't let people see me, not like this! Couldn't they have the decency to at least beat me up with my clothes not three feet away from my body?!
He licked his lips and looked me over from head to toe. "Spread them." Rough hands started pushing my thighs away from each other and I could only struggle back. But my strength wasn't nearly as powerful as I would've like and I could only lower my chin to hide my face as my legs were spread open for the camera. What are they planning?!
"Aw, don't cry," He started gliding his hand up my leg in a sickening sweep, "It's for your beloved Sensei."
My eyes shot open and I sat up in an instant. I brought my hand up to my head but stopped midway when I saw the way it was shaking. My whole body was trembling and my eyes were darting around my room. I wanted to just fall back to bed but I wouldn't dare. I would rather just not sleep for the rest of my eternity if I could make it so.
I just sat there, with my emotions shifting from one to another. I was just a high school student and they took advantage of me. But I was the one who gave up my dream for the likes of them. I shouldn't have given up so easily. But that video is still probably with him. If I ever see him again, I'll make sure to stand my ground. But what if I can't? What if they try that again? They wouldn't dare, after all, I would have no reason to be in a situation like that again. But what if my skills aren't good enough and there's no other way but to start assisting people again? Well, I definitely won't step one foot inside his studio again. I'm sure the people I edit for will be more than happy to help.
I stopped my thoughts abruptly when I noticed something. Why was I considering drawing again? I gave up that dream a long time ago and I love editing even more! But a pang in my heart said otherwise. I stood up to get washed up but immediately sat back down when I felt a wave of nausea go through me. My vision was dark and as it started to come back, it spun. I had to sit still for a while before I got up again. I'm probably not eating enough, I decided and headed for the kitchen.
But of course, my fridge was void of anything but flavored water bottles and a celery stick. With a sigh I just began getting ready for the day. I could probably just get some food from the connivance store before going to work anyway.
I stepped into the shower and let the warm water fall. I leaned back onto the wall and just couldn't calm down. Why did she have to bring my past up? I mean, it's not fair to blame all of this on her, she only meant well. She was one of the people who encouraged me and would give me pointers on how to portray a story into pictures because she was already being published at that point. And we lost contact until quite recently when she came to Marukawa to have an interview.
She was surprised to see me and actually pretended to not know me until we were alone. She was actually not sure so she decided to jab my side repeatedly and verify my 'unique and totally you' laugh. We had a small reunion until I had to go to edit. She never did find out what had happened to make me quit. I had told everyone the same story of my parents wanting me to pursue editing more to support my future with my fiancé; which was true. Editors would make the same base amount of money regardless, of how poorly a book sells as we work as part of the company where as the author works for the company. Although this also meant we wouldn't receive nearly as much when the book would hit a popularity boom, but was more stable as a source of income. Something like that would have never made me quit my obsession with manga, but was a believable enough story to tell. I guess she knew that too so found no harm in cheering me on to start again since she saw me working as a manga editor now.
A loud ring made me almost fall in the shower and I quickly turned off the water and ran to my phone.
"Hello?" I asked, trying to clothe myself with one hand.
"Ritsu? Is that you?" No way, that voice.
"No way, Hana-sempai?! How did you get my number?" I seldom give people my contact information, and when I do, it's just my email address.
"Oh, guess what?!" She squealed into my ear, I heard a faint thumping noise that could only mean that she was literally jumping in excitement.
"Do I want to know Sempai?" I finished getting ready by this time and wash towel drying my hair.
"Aww, you really can't break you habit of calling me sempai! It's okay; you can call me sempai forever!" I smacked my head in frustration, why does it keep slipping! "Anyway, I called SaBy and they want you to enter their rookie contest!"
"What?!" SaBy was short for Sapphire & Ruby, which was the manga department of Sakurami Publishing and was Marukawa's greatest rival in the business. It was also sempai's-I mean Sakurami sensei's parents' company. "Sempai, I'm hardly a rookie in this industry, I doubt I would qualify." Ah, I called her sempai again! "And I have editing to do." I added quickly, I don't want her to think I want to do it, which I don't!
"Those un-credited assistant works don't count!" She said, proudly and confidently.
"No means no sempa- Sensei."
"Well I'll be picking up your rough drafts today so have no worries, I'll go to you!" And she hung up the phone with a closing bye.
WHAT?! Why today? I mean, I'm not actually going to go through with this but curiosity made me look up SaBy's contest and the deadline was one week from today. Oh my god. I am beyond screwed. But how would I be? I'm not even going to go through with this. Not at all.
"You're late!" Takano-san said as I sat down at my desk.
"I'm sorry, it won't happen again." I muttered back, slumping into my chair with a tired sigh. Against all reasoning, I had brought my sketchbook from my high school days.
"Oh come on Takano-san, Ritsu-chan seemed so tired yesterday!"
"Well he got enough sleep yesterday and ended up making us do his work!" Takano-san said back, his eyes not leaving his desk. I looked at my own desk and he was right. The pile of papers that I was supposed to typeset was completely gone and made my desk look so empty compared to everyone else.
I quickly thanked everyone in the room and walked over to Takano-san. "Um, Takano-san?"
"What?" He stopped working to lean his head on his hand and look at me. I just looked away from the dark eyes.
"What should I do? There's nothing on my desk." Usually, every cycle, we would be assigned work that would go through the whole cycle. But today wasn't the end of a cycle so the fact that there was no work on my desk was not normal.
"Oh, someone from Sakurami Publishing called you in so Marukawa split your work to everyone else for the day. It was true, there was a significantly larger pile on everyone's desk including Takano-sans'.
"Who? Why did they do that?" I asked, completely forgetting about the fact that it was probably Hana-sempai's fault. But more confused on why Marukawa didn't just turn them down.
"You know, they want to see who would dare ask for a rival's help." Takano-san simply said and before he could continue someone attacked me.
I froze not know what to do and would have freaked out due to my nightly nightmares had it not been for the, um, breasts that were pressed against my back. "Ritsu!" I turned to see Hana-sempai but caught my sempai calling beforehand.
"Sensei, what are you doing here?" She just kept hugging me and wouldn't let me face her.
"Because! I need you to edit my next project!"
"But I don't know how to edit shonen manga Sensei, I work in Emerald not Sapphire!" Sapphire was the shonen department of Sakurami where as Ruby was the shoujo. She leaned up to my ear and whispered,
"You idiot, I'm here to talk about your entry for SaBy," and then leaned back down, "I don't care, if it's not you I'll cry!" What was she doing? Finally she let go only to fall to the ground and start to actually cry.
"You hate, that's why you won't edit my stuff, Ritsu you stupid head!" Her wails attracted the attention from the other cubicles too and I broke under pressure.
"Okay, okay!" And just like that she stopped.
"Really, really?!" She jumped up and grabbed my hand. "Let's go!" And she sat me down on my desk and pulled a chair for herself. She grabbed my sketchbook and turned to a clean page and started scribbling nonsense for a good hour. Then she gave it to me to look over. Throwing her a suspicious look, I looked over the page only to find a letter.
"Okay Ritsu, hi I know this is really sudden and stuff but I already entered you in the Sensei's Assistant division so there's no backing down now. I knew if I entered you as a soloist, you'd just say there was a mix up so I went in person to confirm the entry! So here ya go! I know you can do it and you have all these ideas that never got to see the light of day! I mean you brought this book today for a reason didn't you? I highly doubt you brought this on a coincidental whim. Plus, you know if you back out, this will make me look like crap. And asdfghjkluytresfdvbjhlukyjthrgdbfhjuy6wesvdfghj6wr asfvxcbvnhjyresnhhf-"
I paused and stared at her who just smiled and pointed towards the end of the page that showed coherent words again.
"-Sorry about that, people keep staring so I wanna keep you on the down low, I mean at least for now. I was just waiting for everyone to forget we're here. I don't want you losing your job or anything. But yeah let's start looking through the book for ideas okay?"
I meekly nodded and we started flipping through the pages. I inwardly cringed at some of the ideas I had as a teenager. People who fight justice with their glasses? Christmas Cakes of Death? I looked over and she seemed to have more the less the same idea. She wrote,
"Let's go to the back, you know, for the more up to date ones^^;;"
I couldn't agree more and we skipped around fifty pages to the back. I kept flipping until she suddenly stopped my hand.
"Go back a couple, to that red one!" She said in a hushed whisper, and then she added, "Oh I think the placement is off, what do you think?" She added to keep up with this act as this was her manga and I was just her editor. At this point I had admitted defeat. I can't let her be punished for backing out of the contest. The manga assistant division is something that is held twice a year to showcase assistant manga artists think are ready to be published and directly represents them to the manga world. The fact she wants me to be done with this in a week and represent her is just insane. But she was always the crazy sempai from our school days.
"Ritsu the red one!" I snapped out of my thoughts and turned to the red page. "Um," she paused to think about her words, "Can you understand the plot here?" I just nodded after looking at it.
"It's about a boy who has difficulty expressing himself so he writes letters to the upperclassmen he likes." I paused and looked it over again to go along with this whole act. "But he never knew and one day he passes by her house only to see all his letters bunched up in an abandoned house." I flipped back one page, "Oh and he was content with not getting any responses because he was afraid of rejection. Just her knowing was enough for him." I looked over it some more and finished with, "Oh and he goes to her house after he sends the last letter of his confession as all the other letters were that of friendly banter." I cringed at the obvious bad placement of many things due to my experience as editor.
She just nodded like she had a clue and took my sketchbook. "I'll be right back; I forgot to make some scans you see?" I almost wanted to stop her and say it would be rejected so fast because it was really bad but that would look to weird wouldn't it? So I just acted like she had forgotten a page as I grabbed a folder and ran after her. When I finally caught up to her she was already at the copy machine. I grabbed my sketchbook and she tried to get it back.
"Come on Ritsu, that was a good plot and I'm sure it'll pass the first screening!" She went on and on about how I should be more confident and this and that.
"Listen to me!" I huffed and she paused her attempts of swiping the book, "I just wanted to make some edits, my instinct as a shoujo editor is killing me right now about this placement of boxes." I showed her my red pen as proof.
"Wait, so really?!" She squealed. "You're seriously doing it?!" She grabbed me into another hug.
"Sempai, I can't tarnish your name." I smiled; I really couldn't bear to think she would get her reputation hurt by a back out. A crappy assistant is one thing, a back out is considered cowardly. "We have a lot of work to do."
"Takano, I told you, he can't control your life!"
"Yokozawa, can it."
"Look at me," Yokozawa grabbed Takano who was stuck in a trance-like stare; looking at his first love and a very pretty lady smile at each other and edit the rough draft. He didn't care about this interaction as it was very common in day to day life as an editor. What bothered him was the way Ritsu called her Sempai. He couldn't help but piece together the fact that Ritsu's fiancé was in fact someone he had heard was an upperclassmen. He had a flashback to the day he heard the news.
"Hey guys did you hear?"
"No way, him?!"
"Damn, that's not fair!"
Saga Masamune just sat at his desk, staring at the cute head of chocolate brown hair swing about outside. With all the things that were going on in his family, that little boy didn't realize how much happiness that he brought him. Ritsu noticed him staring down and he instantly flushed a shade of red that was visible from three floors up. He smiled at how cute his lover was being. That's right, his lover. After all, his father belonged to his mistress and his mother belonged to her new son. And Ritsu was the one thing Saga had for himself. He kept staring at his love and wasting the rest of study hall away. That was until he overheard something.
"So Ritsu's going overseas with her?" He didn't even have to ask, because someone asked her to retell her story as they just sat down. "Yeah apparently, that Onodera Ritsu was seen going in and out of Sakurami Hana's house every couple of days after school! Sometimes he would even stay over the night!" She chirped the gossip to everyone huddled around her.
"Wait, could she be that fiancée he's engaged to?!" Someone called out and everyone around him seemed to go 'ahh' in agreement.
"He's engaged?!" Someone else gawked, who got engaged at this age? Saga just sat there is shock, he didn't even have to say a word and all this information was flowing to his ears.
"I mean it makes sense doesn't it, are you stupid?" Another one said, "Ritsu-kun is heir to Onodera Publishing and Hana-sempai is heir to Sakurami Publishing."
"Oh yeah, I guess that makes sense, damn I'm jealous!"
"And I think they're having an early honeymoon overseas!" Some of the boys wolf whistled and other sulked at Ritsu's apparent luck.
"Wait, how are you so sure about this information?!" The head of this gossip circle only smirked and clicked her tongue.
"First of all, I live in the apartment next to Sakurami-san so I saw them from time to time. And my eyes are sharp so I know who I saw. And I was helping out at the files room and saw both Onodera and Sakurami profiles in the transfer bin! I think they're leaving today!" She finished, seeming proud of all the information she gathered. However there were a lot of flaws in her logic. For one, she didn't notice that Onodera and Sakurami were transferring to different locations and two, that along with Onodera, there were always three other people as well. It just so happened that Onodera would leave a bit earlier than the other three due to school so she never noticed the rest. After all, he was just being an assistant to a manga artist.
But when the words 'transfer' and 'today' reached Saga's ears, he bolted from the classroom to the courtyard where he had seen his beloved only moments before.
"Masamune!" Yokozawa called after him but fell on deaf ears.
"Ritsu, Ritsu, Ristu!" But his Ritsu was nowhere to be found.
Ritsu was in a black car headed to the airport. He planned on leaving the country to escape his tormenter, and make sure his first love would never find out what had happened to him. Because who would want someone who was dirtied right? If he left now, maybe Saga-sempai wouldn't hate him as much? Ritsu just needed to forget, forget about everything.
But the thing was, Saga would never forget. He would remember everything, both his love for Ritsu and the lies he believed to be the truth.
A/N: Hey everyone! And thanks so much for reviewing! I feel bad for my other story, it's so void of reviews ;-; (cough cough but that was me trying different styles out so it reads strangely so it's to be expected _). Haha anyway I've come to realize something. I suck at sex scenes. Did you guys notice how I keep cutting it off right before it gets, juicy? *wiggles eyebrow* Oh dear, that's what I get for raping these cute ukes ;_; And by the way, that manga about the letters and stuff, I actually found a sketch for it in one of my old sketchbooks and decided to let it see some sort of publishing glory xD. And another thing, it's 2:03am right now, if there are grammatical errors or things just wrong in terms of plot I'm sorry _;;.
But enough blabbering, please review! I got my first four reviews so I made this chapter super loooong! Reviews motivate me people :D Thanks so much!