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She had been restless when she woke up and for hours just sat in bed. She wasn’t sure why she had started to reflect on how she had lived her life up until now. She had thought about everything. Leaving Japan, coming home. The path she had taken to get to where she was now. These things she tried not to think about… the things pertaining to him… But the memory of the young heart broken girl still came easy to her. She remembered it like it was yesterday. She had only been home for a couple weeks. And she had had such a hard time readjusting to American life.
“Rae, come eat dinner honey.” Her mother was met with silence.
“I said come eat honey.” She sat inside her room, knees pulled up to her chin. Licking her dry lips, she answered softly,
“I ain’t hungry.” She heard her mother sigh.
“I said no. Go away.”
“I don’t know who you talkin to but I will break this door down. I ain’t Minako.” She hid her face in her lap.
“I don’t want no food Ma.” Her mother leaned against the door.
“Well what do you want?” Tears welled up in her eyes.
“I want Hiroto. I miss Hiroto.” Her mother sighed again and shook her head. It had been weeks and still this child cried for that boy.
“You have to come out of that room Ebere. Bein in there is not going to make it better.”
“If I come out will he be there?”
“That boy is in Japan. You’ll never see him again. I tried to tell you honey. I knew this would lead to heartbreak. Falling for those foreign boys always leads to disaster. I told you you were moving too fast and you did not want to listen to me.”
“Ma…. you don’t get it…”
“What I get is that you said you was gon live happily ever after with him. And what became of that fantasy?” There was silence.
“Rae, you have to accept the fact that he only dated you because you were a foreigner and it was exciting to him. Accept it and move on. There is nothing more you can do. Sittin in your room weeping over some boy who wasn’t deserving of you is not the Marshall way. Nor is not eating.”
“Sweetie, he gon back to his own kind honey. It’s time you get back to yours and leave that boy and all the misery he left you with in the past. It’s time to rebuild.”
What her mother had said had broken her heart. She had expected her to take her side but instead she had hurt her with her words. Because of that… because of how her family reacted once she came back… she had cut them all off. Tre. Amee. The rest of her sisters and brothers. Her parents. She had stopped talking to all of them for a while. She couldn’t deal with it all. The heart break. On top of layered past pains.
She had started counseling once she entered college. And while there had met a fellow short girl by the name of Leah Williams. Lee as she called her was just as spunky and unbeknownst to others had a story too, just like her. Through college, they had become really good friends, almost sisters. She smiled. Speaking of Lee, she hadn’t talked to her in so long. She was long overdue for a phone call. Maybe some time when it wasn’t too late. She got up and went into the bathroom to wash her face. She wondered how long she had slept. Her phone blinked in the next room, probably 100 missed calls by now from Kwasame. She sighed and returned to bed. Sure enough, when she glanced at her phone there were 50 missed calls and about 30 voice messages. Rolling her eyes, she pursed her lips. This man was acting like he was a high schooler. If she wasn’t still tired, she’d be irritated at the fact that he actually called her this many times. The clock read 2:15 am. She’d slept pretty good till now. She laid her head back down, tightened her scarf on her head slightly and closed her eyes. She deal with it all later.
After she woke up later that morning, she showered and ate some breakfast. Sitting in the silence, she sighed. Did she honestly want to be in a relationship right now? She felt like she was up and down… all over the place. A part of her couldn’t blame Kwasame for having such a problem. She was holding on to a man she was no longer involved with. But a part of her was almost defensive about it. At the very least, she had to talk to him. It was time to make a choice and make the best one for herself at this moment. Picking up her phone, she decided to call him. Taking a deep breath, she waited until he picked up.
“What is up with you blowin up my phone 100 times last night?”
“I hadn’t heard anything from you in weeks.”
“For a reason.”
“I know sweetheart. I know.”
“What do you want Kwasame?”
“I want us to stop acting foolish.”
“Look, I am not in the mood to go back and forth with you this morning. I don’t apologize for my actions, they were rightfully justified.” She could hear his breathing pick up.
“I’m… I’m sorry.”
“You seem to be saying that more and more lately.”
“I didn’t act like a mature adult. I apologize for that. But you not talking to me is immature too Rae.”
“To be honest, I wasn’t going to call you but I decided it was time to quit playing games. This is not going to go away if we don’t talk about it.”
“We’ll talk once I get to work. Meet me there?”
“I’ll see you then.”
As she was getting out of her car, she saw him standing outside. Shutting her car door, she walked up to him.
“You couldn’t have waited till I actually got in the building?” He swallowed.
“I’ve missed you little lady.”
“You haven’t missed me?”
“I don’t blame you.”
“Is there anything you have to say?”
“I just want to say I’m sorry. I said some things I didn’t mean.”
“I’ve grown tired of this Kwasame. It’s not good for you or for me.”
“What are you saying…” She looked up at him.
“I’m saying that I think we should break up.” He tightened his fists and his jaw grew tight.
“We’ve been together two years and you want to just throw in the towel?”
“I barely knew you when we met and two years later I still know close to nothing about you.”
“The truth is I don’t feel sustained anymore. I don’t feel happy and I don’t feel appreciated. I feel as though you’re dragging me and I’m dragging you. Why continue to do that to ourselves?” He stood there and this time, those two buttons weren’t unbuttoned. It was quiet for a while before he spoke,
“I don’t think I’m ready to let you go.”
“I’ll telling you I’m done Kwasame.” He swallowed again and looked into her eyes, the expression unreadable.
“I was willing to wait for you Rae.”
“You’ve been complaining about it so if it bothers you leave me.” She grabbed her bags.
“I’m going. See you when I see you.” As she began to walk away, she felt an unexplainable feeling that hit her so sharp it took her breath away.
“Ms. Marshall. It is nice for you to join us.”
“It is a pleasure Mr. Rossi. Thank you all of you who have attended this meeting.” She smiled politely and sat down next to him.
“My executive Ms. Marshall shall be sitting in with us from now on.” Mr. Rossi announced to the room. They all looked at her, some approving. Some not.
“We hope she is as good as you say she is Rossi. You’ve pumped her up quite a bit.” Rossi smiled and looked toward the man who had spoken.
“I assure you she is. Don’t underestimate her just yet.” She cleared her throat.
“Thank you Mr. Rossi. But I prefer to speak for myself.”
“By all means,” She locked eyes with the man.
“I am aware that you do not think that I can live up to the high standard of this company. If I may be so frank, may I ask how you think I got this position?” The man paled and a few of the other executives cleared their throats.
“I am not sure what you are implying Ms. Marshall.”
“I will clear it now for you ladies and gentlemen. I did not have to be propositioned, bribed or talked out of my clothes to get to where I am. Surely you think much better of Mr. Rossi. And if you don’t think highly of me now, by the end of this meeting you will.” There was an uncomfortable silence in the room and Mr. Rossi chuckled.
“The fair lady speaks and very well I might add. Now, if there are no more misunderstandings may we proceed with this meeting? Time wasted is money wasted and we all wouldn’t want that would we?”
“You made the right decision in staying Ms. Marshall.”
“And you were trying to ship me off to California.”
“I wanted to see if you would take the bait.”
“Not in a million years. Besides, what would you do without me?” He chuckled.
“I would be entirely too miserable.”
“Yeah I’m sure.”
“Why don’t you accompany me to lunch?” She lowered her cup of coffee she was about to drink from.
“I don’t think that’s appropriate. Especially considering the meeting we just had and the subject matter.” He grinned.
“I suppose not. When did you start to care about them?”
“I care about my job and the reputation for this company.” He smiled.
“The only answer.” He sighed and started to walk towards his office.
“Good job today Rae. In all seriousness. You impressed the hell out of me.”
“That’s what I’m here for.”
“Ah, one more thing before I return you to your duties. There is a gala coming up in about three months.”
“You tryna trick me into going?”
“No. This time I’m actually notifying you ahead of time.” He joked, leaning back against his office door. She sucked her teeth.
“Will you accompany me?”
“Why can’t you find someone else to go? Why it always have to be me?”
“Because I want to take you.” She rolled her eyes.
“I don’t know.”
“You should be jumping for joy Rae. These are the best opportunities to network and get in the know. That’s another reason I take you. You have the same passion for entrepreneurship as I do. I recognize it in you. That is why I want to open as many doors for you as I can.” She sighed and smiled at him.
“I’m appreciative Mr. Rossi.”
“So is that a yes?”
“It’s a yes.” He grinned and turned without a word and went back inside his office. She was going to get him for being so persuasive one of these days. Smiling to herself, she went back to her desk. Antonio Rossi definitely knew what to say to get what he wanted. But so did she.
After work, she had stopped by her parent’s. As soon as she walked in, one of her sisters who sat on the couch called for her.
“Somethin on tv I think you might find interestin.” She yanked off her shoes and set her purse on the counter. In passing, she gave her mother and father a greeting kiss as she came into the living room.
“Today we have the honor of introducing a young man who has accomplished many incredible things. His business which has done so well overseas is now pursuing a new feat on American shores. He comes all the way from Kyoto, Japan and his family is quite well known in Asia. Likened to the Imperial House of Japan, their family history spans many centuries. Ladies and Gentlemen, let us give a warm welcome to Hiroto Iwase.” She gripped the edge of the couch and stared at the television screen. The audience cheered as a tall slender man stepped up on stage. He bowed, his hands straight at his side. The lady clapped before sitting down. Some of the women catcalled as the program began.
“My, Mr. Iwase it seems you have a fanbase in America already.”
“Rae, you okay?”
“I’m cool.” She sat down and glanced over at Amee who had been watching her.
“What?” A pursed her lips.
“Nothin.” They turned their attention back to the television as he began to speak.
“I am very flattered. I am grateful to be here. Thank you for having me.” The voice touched something deep inside her and she inhaled deeply. It was his voice. The voice from the past… but deeper. More mature. Her younger sister Erica blinked.
“This that guy you was datin in high school? His English is as good as ours. Ain’t he from Japan?”
“Yeah. He learned early.” Erica nodded and turned her eyes back on the screen.
“He cute…” It seemed even her younger sister had been taken by his charm. The woman started to talk again.
“You are quite young to own a business but it is a feat nevertheless worth mentioning. What made you want to reach America?” The camera finally showed his full profile.
“You gon fall off the couch Erica.” Her sister cut her eyes and slid back up on the couch. She couldn’t take her eyes off of him herself. He looked so different… and yet just like she had known him. He had grown even more handsome, his hair cut short and professional. His eyes held confidence and he had that oh so familiar bland look on his face. But she had seen him behind that. She knew… it was a mask he had been forced to put back up. He showed no emotion, not even in his voice.
“So this was your man huh? He fine but he dry. He like a robot.” Amee jabbed, grinning as she cut her eyes at her.
“America is a country with which we as Japanese aspire to model in many ways. What I seek to do is reach across borders and extend a international hand in the face of adversity.” She closed her eyes. His voice seemed to cut deep into her soul. She forced herself to open her eyes. This was a man that had chosen to let her go. She was not going to give him the satisfaction of her emotions. She watched the television, a focused neutral expression on her face.
“That is a wonderful aspiration Mr. Iwase. I hope that we can achieve that together.” He nodded and slightly smiled, the corner of his lip curled up. He looked so uncomfortable.
“I’m sure everyone is buzzing about this. And I’m sure you’ve received quite a few questions about it but word around town is you’re getting married.” He cleared his throat and smiled tightly.
“That is such a hot topic these days.” The interviewer laughed.
“You can relax Mr. Iwase. We won’t ask details.” He sighed and sat back in his chair.
“Too many people are concerned with my personal life.”
“I’m sure. You were once an eligible bachelor and now you are taken. Tough day huh ladies?” The audience whined. He only cleared his throat.
“Well I look forward to seeing you again and many well wishes for you and your new business endeavors. May America treat you well.” He nodded.
“Mr. Iwase everyone.” The whole audience, mostly women, stood and cheered as he bowed low again before leaving the stage set. Soon after, the show went to commercial. She sat back and gripped her fingers together. That was certainly a surprise to end my evening. So Hiroto was in New York. After all these years… he’d come. Turning, she found everyone’s eyes on her.
“Oh come on y’all.” They exchanged glances with each other.
“How are you feeling about it Rae?” She shrugged.
“What is there to feel? He had an interview. Big deal.”
“Is that really what you feel?” Her father asked gently.
“Yeah. It is. I refuse to live in my past. It was a shock to see him on our television screen. But he sounds like he’s doing well for himself. That’s great. I’m not going to let you guys treat me like some damn sympathy card. I’ve grown up and I’ve moved on from him. He’s moved on from me. Leave it at that.” Her mother sighed with a soft smile.
“Okay then. I’m proud of you.” She stood up and smiled.
“I’m gonna go y’all.”
“Okay then sweetie.”
“See you guys later.”
As she drove home, she came to the conclusion that if she was going to fully take her life by the reins she would have to completely leave what was dead as dead. The truth was that she missed him sometimes.. thought about him sometimes. She was trying so hard to forget him and what she once felt. But she realized just as hard as she had been trying to let him go, she had been fighting for him. Still, after all this time she was still fighting for him. Their love had been so raw and real. Something she wanted to experience again. Things hadn’t gone their way and for that she accepted it. That was how life was. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. She had made the best of her life after him. And she would continue to do so after he left New York, got married, had kids and went back to Japan. Her life was not dependent upon him. And at the same time… what did lying to herself ever get her? At the end of the day… She was going to let him do him. And she was gonna do her. With her crown readjusted, she could focus back on her throne. There was that one person that touched a Queen’s heart so much she would forever be in love with them. But sometimes, that Queen had to move on and do what was right for her Kingdom. Sometimes, the matters of the heart had to be put behind her.
A/N: So... first lemme say that I am so glad Raebae broke up with Kwasame. He was a loser. Jerk. And everything in between. Nobody care about that British accent. Thinkin he can charm his way nawl bud. Two, what do you think of Rae seeing Roto on tv? :) ;D It's comin y'all. They gon see each other for the first time in ten years... Next chapter ^^ :D Let me know your thoughts as always! I'm off to continue editing and I'm probably going to call it a night. I've been up since 8:30 this morning. Funny cause it's not 8:30 pm lol. haha. Good night. Love you. God bless. <3