Author's Note: Hi, guys! I'm really back to writing again. To start off, I've got a new story right now which involves Ryo Akiyama and Alice McCoy.
I know this one has an odd pairing but I just wanna try this out. Reviews are welcome and so are criticisms. Thank you so much!
Chapter 1: Double Dilemma
On a sunny afternoon in Shinjuku, a twenty-four-year-old blonde that went by the name Alice McCoy was seated in her air-conditioned office. Her arms were laid on the white desk and her head was resting on it so her face was not seen. Her straight and golden hair was tied into a pony tail while she was wearing her black turtleneck and long-sleeved dress. Her head was positioned in that way since she wanted to take a short nap since she did not have coffee during her fifteen-minute coffee break today.
Seven years ago…
One day, as school gets out, Ryo Akiyama and Alice were walking near the lockers. There was something that made the blonde uneasy lately and she needed to tell this to him.
"Hey, Ryo… I just wanted to tell you something…" Alice said with alacrity. Even if she felt eager, a part of her became nervous at the effect of what she would say to him.
"Yeah, Alice? What is it?" Ryo asked her with a smile.
Alice took a deep breath
"I should've told you ages ago… But I only got the courage now…" she said nervously. "I like you…"
Ryo only stared at her because of what she said. He even did not know what to say.
"I hope that it's only as a friend…" Ryo stuttered. "Because, you know, I'm interested in a girl… I'm sorry, Alice… But we can be friends, right?"
Alice felt that her world was ending. She was totally disheartened after hearing those words. It was not just disheartened, but she was completely shattered.
END OF FLASHBACK
Alice McCoy immediately woke up from that dream and writhed in her seat. It was the same dream that kept lingering in her mind and heart. She placed her palms on her eyes.
Gosh! I need to stop dreaming about it! It won't make it easy for me! Alice thought.
She rubbed her sapphire eyes using her two hands. As her vision grew clearer, she saw white walls and white ceilings. Also, she saw that she was facing the green divider in her cubicle. She knew that she was still in her office.
Damn! Why do I always dream and remember that day?! Alice thought as she also shook her head. That's only part of the past!
Her eyes went to the black wristwatch on her left wrist. It was only 2:35 PM.
Good grief! Alice thought. I'd better get coffee so I could straighten up my thoughts.
Alice eventually stood up and straightened up herself. She checked on her hand mirror for any dirt on her face and placed the mirror on her table. She eventually got out of her cubicle and walked outside.
"Hey, Alice!" a familiar voice greeted the blonde.
Alice turned around and saw Eya Madoka, her brunette officemate and friend who was standing near her cubicle. She smiled a bit.
"Hey, Eya! What's up?" Alice asked.
"I figured out that you needed coffee so I made you one!" Eya said and offered Alice a small cup filled with coffee.
The blonde was surprised but smiled as a "thank you" to the brunette. Eventually, Eya went back to her cubicle and left Alice smiling. Eventually, Alice walked back to her cubicle with a smile on her face and sat on her seat.
I'm so lucky I've got friends here even if I'm not Japanese by blood! Alice thought as she took a sip.
Alice was already working there shortly after her graduation in college. She knew it was not easy but she adjusted to the corporate living well. She worked as a secretary of the division head so it was taxing to do drafts and print papers at the same time. She did not follow her grandfather's footsteps as a programmer since programming seemed to be a pet peeve for her.
Her friendship with the tamers was still the same. She often went with Rika and Jeri for an all-girls' night out. But she easily bonded with Rika since they shared the same personalities. With the male tamers, they were still the same. Henry was dating Rika and Takato was dating Jeri. Kazu and Kenta were still the same. But from Ryo, she definitely heard nothing and she definitely had the plan not to hear a thing from him after what happened to them before.
"McCoy!" a voice boomed from Alice's divider.
Alice was drawn from her thoughts and looked to the left and saw her officemate Jun Kazama who was smiling at her.
"Kazama! What's up?" Alice playfully returned the greeting.
"Just dropping by!" Jun chuckled and noticed Alice's face which seemed to be glowing for him. "Wow! You're really getting beautiful every day, Alice! Do you have someone special nowadays?"
"Nah! I don't have," Alice protested and sipped again her coffee. "And I don't plan to!"
"Oh really? What if I ask you out?" Jun teased.
Alice made a sarcastic smile and just returned to sitting in her desk.
"Come on, Alice! You didn't answer my question!" Jun said with a smirk on his face.
Alice only let out a triumphant smirk while Jun only scratched his head.
"Stu-pid!" Alice said in a sing-song voice. "Anyway, Jun… What's going on with Madame and why do I hear about certain things about losses?"
Jun only shrugged. "I don't know. I just wish it's not true. I've been working here for the past three years and I can't bear to lose a job right now…"
"Me too," Alice replied sullenly and returned to sipping her coffee.
Meanwhile, in another part of Shinjuku, a twenty-six-year-old brunet that went by the name Ryo Akiyama was just finished with his photoshoot inside a studio. The studio had a lot of cameras and refractors which made it more suitable for a photoshoot without any hassles.
"Last take for Mister Ryo Akiyama!" the cameraman said.
Ryo grunted and silently murmured a prayer of thanks since today's activity was totally eventually sat down on a table so he could relax. He was wearing his brown long-sleeved shirt and dark-colored pants along with a pair of black shoes.
"Alright, Ryo… We're done for now," his manager Genji Otara said. "You're going to have photoshoots the next day."
Ryo sighed a bit and he slumped himself in his seat. No wonder why Rika's so mad at photoshoots! It's so tiring!
He grasped for the glass of water which stood at the table and drank.
Well… You wanted this, Akiyama, Ryo thought as he continued drinking. You're modeling so you could get back to your fans at Digimon.
He was deep in his thoughts when he heard some of the assistants calling each other.
"Hey, Alice! Where's the next outfit of Sir Ryo?!" one assistant's voice boomed over. "It's needed right now, you dufus!"
Ryo felt his ears ringing. He heard the familiar name to him but he knew that the Alice there was just an assistant. He often wondered where the blonde went after he graduated in high school. He knew she was hurt because of what he did to her so he wanted to find her and make it up to her.
Oh, Alice… Where are you? I miss you already… Ryo thought as he was seated in his chair. And the others…
He had not gotten to see his friends and that was due to his modeling already. Well, the words had not would be an understatement because it was actually never. Since he arrived from America after studying college four years ago, he eventually ventured into the world of modeling and did not hear from his friends. He did not even expect Rika there since he knew from the start that she would not do it.
And there was Alice. His mind had been full with her from the time he returned from America. He always thought of her and thought when he would see her again. He definitely missed her because she was his other friend. Maybe it was just a fact that he was experiencing the same thing she did before and he was truly guilty of it.
He eventually got his bag and fidgeted for his wallet there. When he unfolded his wallet, he found the wallet size photo of the blonde, wearing her trademark black dress and her golden hair was in pigtail. He got it as a souvenir and he carried it ever since then.
Oh, Alice… I wish I could find you… Let me make it up to you… Ryo thought.
Those were his prayers so that he could find the blonde girl. She was very special to him. Yes, he rejected her before but he realized that his feelings for her when she was already gone. He cursed himself for being dense years ago.
"Excuse me, Ryo?" Ryo heard a voice.
Ryo looked at the source of the voice. It was his manager, Genji Otara. Genji was a man who was four years above his age and he was a wiry black-haired one. The latter was recommended to him by his father when they returned to Japan years ago.
"Genji?" Ryo asked politely. "What's up?"
Genji had a worried look on his face. "You see…"
Ryo could sense the worry on the man's face so he decided to be calm on the situation.
"What is it, Genji?" Ryo asked again.
Genji took a deep breath so he could emphasize what he meant. "Are you aware that Naomi Ohana filed a vacation leave last month?" he asked.
Ryo's forehead writhed. Why was his manager talking about his personal assistant?
"Yeah. What's with Naomi?" Ryo asked curiously and arranged his seat so that he could see Genji face to face.
"You see, Ryo…" Genji paused. "Naomi called me yesterday and…"
"And?" Ryo urged. "And what?"
"Naomi told me that she would resign effectively today," Genji completed. "Therefore, Naomi officially resigned as your personal assistant yesterday."
Ryo grunted. This was the first time this event happened to him.
"Why did she resign?" Ryo asked, feeling serious about the adversary that fell on him.
"When Naomi returned to her hometown in Hokkaido, she realized that she made the greatest mistake. Her family was actually looking for her because she was betrothed to someone. She worked here in Shinjuku in order to escape that. But when she returned, they did not allow her to go back here and she told me to tell you that she would officially vacate her post as your personal assistant," Genji narrated. "I too was surprised with her abrupt resignation but because of family, I understood why."
Ryo nodded as a sign that he understood. For a moment, he felt sorry for Naomi because she got into a setup that would trap her forever and make her unhappy.
"Alright. We shall start out search for my new PA as soon as possible, Genji," Ryo replied with his humor restored.
Genji let out a chuckle. "Shall we hire one of your… uhm… fan girls?" he asked with a wink.
Ryo snorted at the thought of hiring a fan girl. "NOT YOU TOO!"
Genji laughed eventually. "I'm just kidding, Ryo. So shall we start posting ads?"
"Maybe, Genji…" Ryo said.
Meanwhile back in her office, Alice was working on her cubicle when she saw Eya walking towards her in a rushing manner.
"Hey, Alice!" Eya greeted her in a rushing manner.
"Eya! What's wrong?!" Alice asked her officemate.
"There's an emergency meeting down the hall! Come and get your butt here!" Eya called and ran.
Alice eventually stood up and walked as fast as she can.
Emergency meeting? Alice thought as she walked faster so she could catch up to her friend Eya.
Eventually, as they passed through several cubicles, they finally found where their teammates were. Along with the entire department were the superiors and the supervisors.
"Hi!" Eya said to everyone. "So…"
Alice immediately clamped Eya's mouth in order to prevent further embarrassment while Eya only glared at Alice because of what she did.
"Sorry we're late!" Alice said as they stood near a cubicle and removed her hand from Eya's mouth.
The superior, also known as Mrs. Tomomi Katara, only nodded. "Alright. Now that the department is complete, shall we begin our emergency meeting?" she declared.
Her second-in-command named Akihiro Nashita spoke up. "Alright, Ma'am. As you can see, Shinjuku Publishing was already losing and was gaining too many liabilities…"
The entire department gasped in alarm. They figured out what was the superior's next sentence as well.
"So, the proprietor decided to sell Shinjuku Publishing… and our office will be closed permanently," Akihiro answered with a straight face and looked at the members of the department gloomily. "Everybody will be properly compensated…"
Akihiro's words seemed to bring an apocalypse to Alice's mind and it made her heart pounding in fright. The company where she worked was going to close! Where would she work now?
Oh no! My worst nightmare has just begun! Alice thought as she felt her heart beat wildly in vexation. So, what Jun told me earlier was true!
As Alice thought of possibilities in where she would work, her mind became busy. She could always go to America but today, her passport had just expired and she needed to renew it. But the main important thing was her future workplace now that her first job in the company would be gone.
"You may start vacating your positions immediately. The company had given us four days to vacate this which means the deadliest deadline would be on Friday," Akihiro replied. "I know it's saddening but we did not reach our target market."
Alice could see that Eya was close to tears and she decided to comfort her. She placed an arm on Eya's shoulder and the latter only hugged Alice in the shoulders as well.
"Alice!" the brunette wailed.
Alice only nodded but she too could not accept her fate. Where would she go now if she did not have any money anymore? Even she also had her loans in the house she was living right now. Alice felt that she was stressed too much.
Number one, I'm going to lose my job… Number two, I'm going to lose my house if I don't have money coming! Alice thought of the possibilities.
When Eya found a way to calm herself, she had let go of Alice's shoulders and wiped her tears using her handkerchief. She could also see that the employees were starting to break down as well. Alice did not try to let out tears even if she felt sad because she would lose her job.
"All of you will be properly compensated," Tomomi Katara echoed sullenly as she too sniffled a bit. "I know it's saddening but we're happy that you had shared your talents and services to us. We are proud of what you did for this company."
Jun also sniffed as he realized that his prediction came true earlier. He was certainly going to miss working in this company and with his friend and secret crush Alice.
"Alright… The meeting's over… Please start vacating your posts immediately… And to those who have friends absent, please tell them and inform them about what happened… Thank you," Akihiro said, ending the meeting in a monotone voice.
Eventually, he and Mrs. Katara turned around and walked away. The employees started breaking down and sobs could be heard along the hall.
"What am I gonna do!" one employee named Yukiko wailed. She was wearing the same outfit as Alice. "I've got so many brothers and sisters depending on me!"
"Me too!" another named Ayumi agreed while comforting Yukiko.
Eya again broke down and hugged Alice, whose face became plain and did not even react at all. Her eyes were only downcast and she only got a poker face.
What am I going to do now? Alice thought.
Meanwhile, Ryo was inside his black Ferrari and he was driving southward of Shinjuku. He was thinking of the person he would possibly hire. However, when he saw the road once again, it was already full of cars. Eventually, the traffic made it convenient for Ryo to think harder.
Rika? Nah. That woman won't even dare working under me… Ryo thought and chuckled.
Genji laughed since Ryo was stressed due to thinking of how he would hire another personal assistant on such short notice.
"Ryo, are you thinking of something?" Genji grinned.
"Yeah, Genji…" Ryo replied with a snort.
"I know what you're feeling right now, Ryo…" Genji replied. "But don't stress yourself too much. You'd radiate negative energy now that you're also tired."
"I know, Genji… What can I do? A model can't function without an assistant, you know? You know who'd suffer aside from me? It's you, Genji…" Ryo pointed out.
"This is the first time it happened, Ryo," Genji added.
"I so agree, Genji…" Ryo replied as he continued traversing through the busy roads of Shinjuku.
Meanwhile, Alice went home after hearing the bad news in her office. She did not know what to do anymore especially her house was also having loans lately.
Crud… Alice thought as she got out of the taxi and stood in front of her house.
"ALICE MCCOY!" Alice heard a voice.
She turned around and saw her landlady. Her landlady had short black hair, somehow slightly overweight and wore a black blouse and white skirt. Instantly, she felt goosebumps on her skin since she knew that she was in for it. She smiled nonchalantly.
"Hi, Mrs. Fonda!" Alice greeted, trying to hide the nervousness in her voice.
"Hello, Alice! Have you remembered to pay your debt to me?" the landlady, also known as Junko Fonda, asked Alice.
"Uh…" Alice stammered since she remembered that she got a debt to Mrs. Fonda which was worth of a two-month bill for the house. She began to scratch her head sheepishly. "Uh…"
"What do you mean Uh, Alice?" the landlady asked crisply.
Alice's heart raced in anticipation. "Uh… I can explain, Mrs. Fonda."
"What do you need to explain for, Alice?" Mrs. Fonda asked, startled by the blonde's statement.
"Uh… I'm going to pay the pay the rent… but not now, Mrs. Fonda," Alice explained.
"And why? You haven't been paying your rent for two months, Alice!" Mrs. Fonda snapped. "I need your payment now!"
Alice bit her lip in vexation but found the right words to say. "Please, Mrs. Fonda! Give me until next month! I just lost my job today and I would get my compensation on Friday!"
Mrs. Fonda seemed to be deaf to Alice's pleas. "I'm sorry, Alice. But a due is a due," she said. "And if you can't pay me right now, I have no choice but to send you out of this apartment."
Alice turned aghast because of what Mrs. Fonda told her. "No, Mrs. Fonda! Just give me a chance to pay! I don't have a place to stay if you send me out!" she exclaimed.
The landlady only shook her head. "I'm sorry, young lady! If you can't pay me then there's nothing you can do about it. So, you better pack your things and move out. I don't need a delinquent resident here in my apartment!" she said firmly.
And with that, the landlady turned away and left Alice with no choice but to move out.
Wow… They say things come in threes! What's next? Alice thought as she stood there with a point-blank expression in her face.
Now Alice had two dilemmas: where would she work and where would she stay.
Oh great… I better start packing… Alice thought as she fumbled for her keys and opened the door of her apartment.
When she got inside, she opened the lights and found that she had to go and pack her things. Alice sighed in regret for not paying her rental on time sometimes. But she could not avoid it. Her salary was never enough for her and for all her personal budget. She was just a fresh graduate when she applied in Shinjuku Publishing and her starting salary was not that high.
She used the stairs so that she could get to her room at the instant. When she walked towards the bed and sat on it, Alice heaved a sigh after realizing how much she would have to pack. It was like moving into a new dormitory once again.
"Oh great…" Alice said as she scanned the room.
Fortunately, she did not have much decoration so that would make it easy for her to remove all the things inside her room. She started them with her clothes which were located in the dresser.
As fate would have it, Alice heard her phone ringing while fixing her clothes in one baggage.
"Hello?" Alice answered.
"Hey, Alice! It's me, Jeri!" the voice from the other line said.
"Oh, hi, Jeri!" Alice said.
"How's it going?" Jeri asked ecstatically.
Not so good, Alice thought. "Uhm… I'm fine! Hehe! What's up?"
"Oh. Just wanna hang out this night. You free?" Jeri asked.
Alice smacked her head. This can never be good. I already got no money.
"I uh… Sorry… I'm not free… I've got something to do tonight… Maybe next time," Alice replied.
"Oh… Okay!" Jerisaid. "Rika says hi!"
"Oh… Just say hi to her for me!" Alice said while sorting all her clothes. "Bye, Jeri!"
"Bye, Alice! Take care!" Jeri said.
"Bye…" Alice monotonously replied and removed the phone from her ear.
Eventually, she continued fixing her clothes and all of her personal belongings. When she tucked the last shirt away inside the suitcase, she saw a small black book inside the dresser. She took it out and opened the book. Then, she realized that it was the photo album that contained her and the pictures of her friends especially the tamers during their high school years. On the first page was her solo picture wherein she was no longer dressed in her goth outfit but a blue dress that matched her eyes. She smiled at the thought that she changed a lot during that time. The second page was she and her girl best friends, Rika and Jeri.
"The three of us…" Alice chuckled as she held the pages.
The next page showed what she did not expect and made her gasp. It was her and Ryo in a party. She was dressed in a green long-sleeved dress while he was wearing a black tuxedo. She instantly remembered what she dreamed earlier.
Oh man. I saw you again! Well, what can I do? Alice thought as she saw the younger version of herself and the guy who was famous for beating Rika before. I can't hold grudge against you since I'm just… A FRIEND…
After leaving several pages, she decided to close the photo album and resume her packing. She was done with her clothes and her personal belongings were already placed in one bag so there was no need for further fixing.
Alice stood up and skimmed the room for one last time. All of her clothes were already in one bag while all of her things she used to display were also in another. She realized that she had to carry all of them while finding a house to live on.
"Okay, Alice McCoy… You're going to find another house again…" Alice said to herself. "And this isn't going to be easy…"
Eventually, Alice went outside of her room together with the black suitcase and red duffel bag.