Soundtrack: Lake by the Ocean-Maxwell
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
The room was dark, the shades drawn. Faintly, the birds chirped. Quiet. No sound. Suddenly, she jolted awake. She felt cool air and shivered, glancing down. At the sight of her naked flesh, her eyes began to water. Why was she naked? Where…where was she? She lifted thin sheets in her hands and covered herself. Memories, once distant became fresh now. She lifted a shaky hand to her forehead. Why couldn’t she remember? Her gaze drifted towards the door as voices grew nearer. A slice of fear shot through her and she hit the pillows, growing still. Slowly, the door opened and two male voices entered into the room.
“Still sleeping. She’s precious isn’t she?” Fingers unknown to her slid across her cheek.
“She’s beautiful.” Her heart beat a million miles a second.
“Are you satisfied?”
“Just as I wanted.”
“Now, she’ll be yours.”
“Soon she’ll be waking up so why don’t we go get breakfast ready?”
“Sounds good.” The fingers slid away from her face and soon the door closed. She got up and ripped the sheets from the bed, trying to cover every inch of skin she could. Tears, big and hot slipped down her cheeks and she bit her lip. She had to get out of here…before those men came back. Softly, she pulled the curtains back and the bright color of the world shocked her. A large manicured garden. Blue sky and beautiful white clouds. Below the trickling of sparkling water from a decorated fountain met the sun’s rays. She squinted at the light and swallowed.
“What is this? What am I doing here?” She whispered to herself as she glanced back into the dimly lit room. Fragments started to piece together suddenly and all she knew was that the yearning she suddenly felt in her spirit was for…
“Good morning.” She grew still before turning her eyes. They grew wide as they set their vision on the man.
“P…Peter…” He smiled.
“Let’s get you all ready for breakfast.”
“Mr. Iwase, a Ms. Amee Marshall is here to see you.” He blinked, in the middle of reading some business documents.
“Is that so?”
“Yes sir.” He pushed his chair back from the desk.
“I shall be there shortly.”
“Of course sir.” The door closed gently. He reached up to remove his glasses. What was Rae’s sister doing here? He slowly made his way to the double doors.
In the sitting room, she sat in a chair waiting. Upon seeing her, he smiled much to the shock of his secretary.
“Good morning.” She smiled though it didn’t reach her eyes.
“Would you like to come into my office?”
“Sure.” The secretary politely moved to the side as he led her into his office. Once the doors were closed, he turned to face her with a friendly smile.
“Do you know where my sister is?” His eyebrows furled.
“She called me last night to let me know she wouldn’t be making it to work today due to illness. I was going to go see her when I get off.” Amee looked up at him.
“You… you won’t find her.” The smile slid off of his face and soon it grew serious.
“What do you mean?”
“I went to her house Hiroto. She’s not there. She’s not answering any of my phone calls or texts. And no one has seen her.” A feeling of dread rose in his stomach.
“That is very strange…”
“Yeah. You were the last person to see her so… I thought you would know.”
“Last night wasn’t out of the ordinary…I dropped her off at her home and later that night I got a call from her telling me that she had grown ill. I did think it a bit odd to be ill so suddenly but told her to rest. That was it.” Amee fidgeted, her fingers plucking her dress.
“We have to find her Hiroto. Something ain’t right about this. I just feel it.” He went around to the other side of the desk and grabbed his phone. Dialing her number, he paused when it clicked.
“Rae?” At that, Amee sat up, intently watching him.
“Rae, where are you?” The feeling of dread increased as he heard breathing in reply.
“Who is this?”
“Don’t worry about that.”
“What have you done with Rae?” The breathing increased until laugher rang in his ear.
“I’ve only brought her back to where she belongs.” The line disconnected before he could utter another word.
“What happened?” Amee asked, standing up.
“I believe I just spoke with one of her abductors.”
“Oh my God… Hiroto…”
“W-where we goin?”
“Police.” She got up and sniffed as they made their way out of the office.
“Ms. Ninao, there is an emergency that has come up. Unfortunately, I have to leave. Could you contact Daisuke?”
“Y-yes sir. Right away.” He grabbed Amee’s hand and swiftly led her to his car. Once inside, they shot on the freeway.
She felt nauseous. Layer upon layer of ruffles teased her thighs and her breath was restricted by the corset she had been forced into.
“My, you look beautiful.” She swallowed, her eyes growing angry as he came into the room.
“I didn’t want it to ever get this out of hand Rae. But you left me with no choice.”
“I would have preferred to do this without force. But you weren’t listening.”
“You’re sick…how could you do this to me?!”
“You drove me to this! I wouldn’t have had to do any of this if you had just remained in your position.”
“I have you all to myself now. And this time Rae, I’m not sharing. I’ll show you that I’m worthy.” He got up and left her in the room alone. She tried to move her arms but they had grown tired from earlier attempts. Her clear consciousness was starting to blur. No…not…not again…The room began to spin and she leaned her head back as her eyes closed.
“I don’t understand. They just got home from a hiking trip gone wrong…. just shy of a week or two ago. She was just telling me she felt… that Hiroto and her were solid…everything was getting clearer.” He tightened his fists. The words both warmed and chilled his heart.
“Can you tell me what led up to this?” The police officer asked in a comforting tone. He licked his lips.
“Yes. About a couple days ago, she had shown up at my job unexpectedly. ”
“You have a visitor.”
“I’m not taking any visitors right now.”
“A Ms. Marshall is here to see you.” He blinked.
“Is that so?”
“Yes.” He took a deep breath.
“Let her know I am coming.”
“Yes sir.” The door closed gently. He stood up with a slight yawn. What was Rae doing here? Slowly, he made his way to the double doors.
There she was, sitting in the foyer, ankles crossed, hands folded in her lap. She looked beautiful. As he drew closer to her, he smiled much, which left his secretary gaping.
“To what do I owe this pleasure?” He said with a slight grin as she looked up at him.
“Hi.” She stood up from her chair.
“I um…I wanted to come see you…well…w-where you worked I mean.” Before he could respond, his secretary swiftly excused herself out of the space. No doubt a million conclusions were running through her head. Nevertheless, he felt his cheeks grow warm.
“To see where I worked hm?”
“I think you had the first part right.” He grinned at her pursed lips.
“Welp now that I’ve seen you I guess I can go back to work.” He frowned.
“You left work to come here?”
“Why?” She pouted and shrugged.
“Well…it’s lunch break. How much trouble could I get in?” He sighed.
“Let me get my wallet.”
“We’re going to lunch.”
“We are?” He smiled before turning his back towards her.
“One moment please.” He quickly entered his office and grabbed his wallet and keys. Coming to face her again, he sighed.
“Hiroto?” She looked up to see his gaze turned down at the menu he had in front of his face.
“Hm?” She looked away before her eyes roamed any further.
“Can I be honest?”
“Please.” She licked her lips.
“I missed you.” His eyes lifted from the menu and met hers.
“I um…I never been to your work place before so I wanted to come by. Did I interrupt anything?”
“Not at all. Thankfully you came to rescue me from a boring day.”
“Business is boring?”
“Some aspects are rather unenjoyable.”
“I see.” She watched as he smiled and set the menu down. Gently he reached across and softly gripped a finger or two of hers.
“I missed you too Rae. Thank you for coming to see me.” She blushed but cleared her throat.
“No problem. Your buildin is mad nice. You design it yourself?”
“Mm. The best architectural minds in Japan came along to help out.”
“Nice.” To her dismay, he let go of her fingers and sighed.
“Thank you.” She nodded and soon the waitress took their order.
“So, what have you been up to today?” He asked across from her, elbows comfortably on the table.
“Dealing with a man child unfortunately. Antonio driving everybody mad.”
“Is that so?”
“He hasn’t been the same… since… since the gala.”
“He been takin me out a lot lately…” His fingers which held the complimentary cup of water tightened.
“To more meetings. More connections to people I frankly could care less about. More invitations to more events…. it’s all giving me a headache.”
“Mm.” The cup was placed on the table.
“To be honest, I don’t think I can tolerate any more of him.” He was quiet as he listened.
“My job has turned into a socialite endeavor and I feel like he has lost the purpose of Affinity…the mission he originally set out on. He’s let his jealousy for you get the best of him.”
“Before you it was Kwasame. Before him it was men he thought were looking sideways at me. He always made sure to keep me on lock and key…away from prying eyes… always in my cubicle.”
“That sounds like abuse.” He spoke in a hard tone, calm and cool with some bite.
“It…it does don’t it?” He was quiet.
“I can’t agree with anything he’s doing with Affinity lately. I don’t like the man he’s turned into. Today I left without notifying him or anybody. Not even Shelley. After what happened this morning… I just had to find you… had to find somewhere I could go to clear my head.”
“What did he do?” Clear disdain was written over his face. She swallowed.
“If I tell you, you have to promise not to cut up.” He inhaled through his nostrils.
“We’ll see what happens after you tell me.”
“He…he grabbed me and kissed me in front of some of the staff.” His jaw grew tight.
“At first I was in his office and he tried it then but I left. Come into the hive and he’s tailin me. Next thing I know he yanks me back and plants one on me. I tried to push him off but he was not letting go. Another employee had to pull him away from me.”
“He’s officially lost his mind.” He spoke up, frown so deep you could swim in it.
“I know. In all my years he has never done that. It unnerved me.”
“It’s time for you to get out of there Rae.” She sighed and pressed her forehead into the palms of her hands.
“I shoulda left a long time ago. We at one time were such good friends…. such compatible business partners. But…I can’t do it anymore.”
“It’s been going on far too long. Any more of this and you’ll have a sexual harassment case.”
“Yeah I know.”
“Rae,” She lifted her eyes to his.
“You deserve to be in a place where not only is your work valued, but your opinions, intellect and personal and private space.”
“Where can I find a place like that?” He gripped his fingers together.
“Come work with me.” Her jaw dropped and to her disbelief he calmly took another sip of his water.
“Um…d-did I hear you right?”
“Waaait wait wait wait wait. You want me to come work for YOU?”
“I..I can’t just… you are Affinity’s opponent. What I look like comin to work for you when y’all as good as sparrin?”
“You deserve a place to be where you are comfortable and able to do work that you agree with Rae. I would not offer this to you unless I truly believed in you and your talents.”
“You sure it doesn’t have to do anything with the fact that you have a thing for me?”
“I want you to be happy in your work place and at my company I can see you growing and blossoming.”
“Hm….” The waitress came to place their food on the table.
“You’re not supposed to mix business with pleasure Hiroto. You of all people know that.” He smiled softly.
“I’ve learned to balance.”
“I’m sure you have.” She quipped sharply, a deep purse on her mouth.
“At the end of the day the decision is yours Rae. Wherever you choose to go I will support you. All I want is for you to be appreciated. Antonio Rossi is not a man who was ever capable or worthy of you…both as an employee or a woman.” Her tongue grew dry but as she watched him begin to eat she felt the tension leave her chest. She definitely had some thinking to do.
The police officer wrote down his words and paused.
“So let me get this straight. She came to your job and told you that her boss Antonio Rossi harassed her inappropriately and that she was leaving.”
“Continue.” He took a breath and looked at the man directly.
“After lunch, I took her back to my company Shoutoii.”
He sighed as he made a right turn and soon came to a red light. Glancing over, he found Rae’s eyes on him.
“Is something wrong?” She didn’t say anything, just sighed.
“You look angry.”
“Should I not be?”
“The whole situation bothers me.”
“Yeah… that’s why I had to come find you.”
“I’m glad you did.” The drive resumed in silence.
“Thank you for not losing it.” He nodded though with a frown.
“Rossi isn’t worth it.”
“He sho ain’t.”
“Shall I take you back to Affinity?” She bit her lips and turned to look out of the window.
“Actually…could I stay with you? I cannot face him right now.” His fingers tightened on the stirring wheel.
“Sure sweetheart.” She exhaled greatly.
“It’s no problem.” Quietly, they continued on back to his office.
“The next day Rae went to confront Rossi. I accompanied her there. I’m glad I did.”
“She marched into his office fearless and was ready to make her point known. Rossi was not pleased.”
“Where were you?” She held her head high and looked straight ahead at Antonio who sat at his desk fingers steepled. It had taken some deep breaths but she had come back into work the following day and was determined to hold her ground. At the first sighting of her, she was called to his office like some kid caught doing something wrong.
“Considering the inappropriate action by you yesterday I needed some air.”
“Inappropriate…you call one little kiss inappropriate?”
“In front of your whole staff. Unwarranted and unwanted by me.” He actually had the nerve to sit there and not look guilty.
“As for Iwase? You clearly didn’t object to him touching you at the gala that night.”
“Who I let touch me is my business.”
“He doesn’t deserve it.” She scoffed loudly.
“And you do?” He was quiet, just looking at his hands.
“Look at you. I don’t recognize you any more. None of us here do.”
“I’m still the same.”
“No…you’re not. I don’t know who you are anymore.”
“I could say the same about you.”
“Listen I’ve decided to leave Affinity.” He slammed his hands down on his desk and stood up.
“You wouldn’t dare!” She pursed her lips.
“You clearly have lost your vision and your right mind. I refuse to be humiliated and damn near assaulted in front of all of my peers. You not being able to control yourself is not my problem. But I darn sure will take my work somewhere where I will be valued and respected.” He flared his nostrils.
“You’ve let some foreign pretty boy disturb what we had going Rae.”
“Get outta here with that. Look, it hurts me to leave but… I have to. For me and for you.” She took a deep breath and turned her back to him.
“Good bye Antonio.” She started to walk away. Arms yanked her back.
“Rae, think about what you’re saying….”
“Let me go Antonio! I have thought about it.”
“No!” The door to his office opened and Hiroto entered, hands in his pockets, expression cool. Antonio froze, hands gripping her arm.
“I believe she told you to let her go.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I thought it appropriate to accompany her just for safe measure.”
“You never could mind your business.”
“Anything concerning Rae is my business.” Antonio’s hands shrank back from her person and he looked disgusted.
“I figure next you will tell me she is working for you now.”
“You catch on quickly Rossi.” The veins in Antonio’s forehead grew large.
“My, Rae you do travel well don’t you?”
“Think whatever you want Antonio. It doesn’t matter anymore.” Hiroto came to stand next to her.
“I’ve done nothing but be a confidant and a trusted and reliable employee to you for ten years. I’ve wiped both your behind and your tears in times you’ve seemed to have forgotten. This is where I put my foot down. The day you touched me without my permission was the day you lost both a friend and employee.” She cleared her throat.
“Go back to the drawing board. Get yourself together before Affinity goes under.” He stood there shaking, his face and neck crimson.
“This is inexcusable.”
“A direct consequence to your actions. If you treated her less like property and more like a valued part of your company this would not have happened.”
“Shut the hell up Iwase. Who the hell are you to come here and lecture me?”
“Enough! I quit. Thank you for ten years but it’s time to move on. I wish you the best Mr. Rossi.” She began to walk out of the office and without another glance at him, Hiroto began to accompany her. As they came into the hive, all eyes were on them.
“Rae? Where you goin?”
“It’s time I head out guys.”
“NO…WHAT DO YOU MEAN…” Shelley. Tears suddenly welled up in her eyes.
“Shells…I can’t do this anymore. He’s used our friendship to coerce me into staying far longer than I should have. With what happened yesterday that was the last straw. He had no right to do that.” Shelley nodded.
“That was truly out of his character…I don’t know what’s gotten into him.” She sighed.
“It doesn’t matter anymore anyway. I’m leaving.” Shelley’s eyes watered again and she pulled her into a soft hug.
“Rossi will regret this. You’re one of the best employees he has ever had. You practically built Affinity up with him.”
“And look what happened…”
“I don’t want you to go.”
“If I didn’t have another choice I would stay.”
“You have to do what is best for you Rae…” She sighed against her.
“I thought we were going to climb the corporate ladder together…”
“We still can.”
“I’m gonna miss you Rae…”
“It’ll be fine okay?”
“O-Okay.” She let go of Shelley with a watery smile.
“Never let anyone devalue you Shells.”
“Y-You g-got it Rae…”
“Take care Ms. Johnson.”
“Bye Mr. Iwase.”
“He had his hands on her?”
“He was gripping her yes.”
“I’m glad you went with her Hiroto.” Amee said with a shaky voice.
“I had to go with her. I’ve never once trusted him.”
“So, she left with you and started working for you.” The police officer reiterated.
“What happened next?” He ran fingers through his hair, his hands shaking.
“That night I took her home. And as I did I noticed something.”
At night, when Rae and him closed up shop and he would drive her home, there was a car that would be sitting across the street. He’d never before seen this car before but for the past couple of days, it had been posted up across the street. Not in someone’s driveway or even remotely close to one.
“Yeah?” She called behind her as she went to put the key in the door to unlock it.
“Have you noticed something strange lately?” The door opened and she stepped inside.
“Yes.” He replied as he closed her door.
“No… why?” He went to her window and glanced outside. The car, dark in color stood outside, headlights off.
“There’s a car here that is across the street from your house.”
“Okay…??” He turned to see her kicking off her shoes and slowly began to unzip her dress. He quickly shifted his gaze back to the car.
“Well… it’s been sitting in the same spot for days now.”
“Roto…ooh it feel weird callin you Mr. Iwase all day only to go back to Roto…” She retorted as she slipped into her bedroom. He came to sit on her couch and loosened his tie. Soon she came back out in shorts and a t-shirt, her hair pulled back in a puff.
“Well, if it makes you more comfortable, I can be Mr. Iwase when you get home too.” He felt a slap come to the back of his head.
“Ah nothin. You being nasty. Lord have mercy.” He chuckled cheekily and sighed, rubbing the back of his head. She smirked through her pursed lips and playfully pushed his forehead.
“As I was saying, maybe it’s somebody relative or somethin. We can’t just go look in people’s cars.”
“What if it is Rossi?” She stopped her playful poking.
“Roto…” He turned toward her.
“I’m serious. What if it is him?”
“Why would you think it’s him?”
“Need I list the reasons for you?”
“Okay, okay I get your point.”
“Antonio Rossi is not a man to be taken lightly Rae. He’s a powerful man with a lot of connections. I know plenty of men like him.”
“I also know what they can do.”
“Okay now you startin to worry me.”
“I’m just being realistic sweetheart.”
“You really think it’s Antonio out there?”
“I wouldn’t put anything past him.”
“So what do I do?”
“It’s time you start learning how to defend yourself.” She blinked.
“If you’re up for it, we can start during our free time on the weekends.”
“Wait…wait…” She got up and ran fingers through her puff.
“If that man really has the nerve to be outside my house, I know somethin.”
“If he comes to you while I am not here… can you honestly say that you will be able to protect yourself?” That shut her up.
“You’re right. As of right now I don’t stand any chance against him.”
“By the time I’m done you will.” She smiled and pressed her face against his shoulder.
“Thank you Roto.”
He buried his head in his hands.
“The next day was the last time I saw her…” The policeman stacked the paper pad and laid it on the desk.
“Thank you for your cooperation Mr. Iwase. We’ll take the information you’ve given us and draw it into a report.”
“Mr. Iwase go home and try to get a rest. Ms. Marshall, I’ll ask you to come with me to file a missing persons report.” They both stood up.
“Amee.” She turned to look at him. Her eyes were puffy, tears streaming down her cheeks. He gently cupped her cheek.
“Call me when you get home okay?” She nodded, tears wetting his hand.
“Hiroto I’m scared. What… what if…what if something happens to her?”
“Don’t think like that right now. We’ll be strong for her okay?”
“Y-yeah…S-she’ll come back.”
“You know she will.”
“Okay…okay. I’ll…I’ll call you later.”
“Okay.” He let his hand slide away and gave her a friendly smile. But as he walked to his car, he felt his heart sink in his chest. He made Rae a promise and he would keep it. No matter what.
** IMPORTANT READ IMPORTANT READ!**
A/N(1): Hi guys! So if you haven't heard, last night the site crashed for over an hour and much to my and a lot of other authors' dismay, updates, chapters and reviews were lost. While not much can be done about the reviews sadly, I am moreso blessed that I saved my work to be able to upload again. To God be the Glory! At first y'all I was upset because not only pageviews but reviews and readcount was all screwed up but you know what, God does not make mistakes! There was a reason this happened and I know that things will continue to progress and go forward with Transcendence. So it doesn't matter. Thank you for all of you for enduring this process with me and letting me know my chapters were erased!! Now, unto the saved original authors note! <3 **
A/N: Woo y'all! It got really real lol. I wanted to update this Sunday on my birthday but decided to wait lol. Pause: THANK YOU TO ALL WHO WISHED ME A HAPPY BIRTHDAY! It meant so much to me!!! <3 <3 Okay, so this will be one of a double update in celebration of my turning 23! <3 To God be the Glory! I cannot even express how good He is or how grateful I am to have been blessed to live another year!! Okay so chapter: what are your thoughts? I love reading your comments as always so don't forget to leave one! <3 All I have to say about Antonio is that he needs to be hit and put in jail. Him and Peter both. What they have done to Rae is inconceivable and disgusting. All because of jealousy. UGHH. Anywhoo, thank you for reading :D <3 I hope you enjoy this and the next update! <3 God bless you! Till next time,
P.S: Here is the man himself: