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.
Trees thickly shaded the side of the house. Off in the corner there sat a koi pond, the trickling of a fountain evoked peace. The old wooden engawa faced her and as she slid off her shoes and took the hand that helped lift her up, she felt the peace wash over her. Her bare feet met the wood and she smiled. Memories suddenly rushed forth and she gripped his hand.
“You feel it too?” He asked, a blush in his cheeks.
“Yeah… it’s like the house is happy…”
“You’ve come home.” He said gently, pressing a kiss to her fingers. The powerful emotion flooded her and she let him lead her in, sliding the shoji aside.
“Father?” They passed the kitchen where the old kamado sat and came into one of the great rooms.
“Hiroto?” They heard a voice from out in the garden. They went back out onto the engawa and soon the figure of a man faced her.
“Father.” The hands of the man were dirty, seeds worked deep into the ground. He sighed and turned around. At the sight of her, he dropped the bag of seeds.
“Ebere?” His English was accented, but the clarity and warmth within still tangible. She smiled and let go of Hiroto’s hand.
“Hello Mr. Iwase.” She pressed her hands together and bowed until she couldn’t see her feet.
“My my…” He slowly made his way over to them. She lifted up and blushed as arms came around her. Still much taller than she, he nearly swallowed her up. Fingers gripped his jacket. He smelled of the earth, rich and good.
“You’ve returned…I’ve been waiting…” Pulling back from her, he lifted a hand to caress her cheek.
“What a beautiful woman you’ve become…”
“T-thank you very much.”
“My son has finally atoned for his wrongs. Finally, he has brought you back where you belong.” Tears came to her eyes and she smiled gently.
“We must have tea. I did not know you were coming.. either of you. I would have prepared.”
“I wanted to surprise you.” Roto spoke up, a kind expression on his face, so unlike that in his youth.
“Very surprised indeed. My my…” He led the way and the two followed him into the house.
“Rae, please sit over there.” A hand directed her way politely and she obliged, pressing her bottom back against her heel. Squinting, she wiggled uncomfortably.
“It has been a long while since you’ve sat that way I am sure. Please, be comfortable dear.” Thankful, she scooted her legs to the side of her, hands pressed into her lap. Roto came to sit next to her, his back straight and posture stiff.
“You can relax Hiroto.” Instantly, his shoulders relaxed. For a long while, he just stared at the two of them. It unnerved her a bit and she tightened her fingers together.
“Yes my dear?”
“Um… how..how have you been? Hiroto’s told me that you were ill.”
“Ah. Yes. My kidneys are very bad. Drinking too much sake in my youth caused it.”
“The doctors told me it was cancer.” Her eyes grew wide.
“All is well now dear. They wanted me to undergo radiation and chemotherapy.”
“I told them I would approach it naturally.” She blinked.
“Yes. I decided to grow my own foods and use century old family medicinal recipes.”
“Yes. As of now, I am cancer free.” A rush went through her and she finally exhaled.
“Thank God..I am glad to hear you are okay..” Lips smiled.
“I am glad that my eyes have not yet failed me completely.”
“I hope that it can improve.” Shou smiled.
“Do you mind if I talk in Japanese with my son?” She waved her hands.
“No! Please! Who am I to tell you no?” Shou cleared his throat.
“Are you two engaged?” At the question, Roto’s cheeks grew damn near beet red.
“Are you being intimate?” The red crept slowly down his throat.
“Good. It is best that way…for a while.”
“When are you going to ask her to marry you?”
“We’ve recently decided to reenter into a romantic relationship so when it is time.. I will ask her.”
“I see. Very good..” Eyes glanced upon her again.
“No doubt Eri has seen her on the television.”
“Yes. She called me concerning that.”
“That woman still desires to get in the way. At our age, you would think by now she would give up.”
“After everything Rae and I have been through, neither one of us will let anything get in our way again.”
“Mm.” Shou cleared his throat again and pat his thigh.
“I believe now the tea is ready. I will be but a moment.” The both of them bowed their heads and soon it was quiet.
“I forgot how intense he is…” Fingers slid across the tatami and gripped hers.
“He is a bit overwhelming isn’t it?”
“He hasn’t seen you in so long. He couldn’t be more happy.” Shou reentered the room with the kettle, hands clean of the dirt that once covered his hand.
“It is a bit warm today isn’t it?”
“I have a cool green tea and hibiscus for us.”
“Sounds yummy.” Old aged hands poured tea into three small cups.
“Please, take it.” She took her cup and took a small sip. Bitter and sweet, an anomaly. Strong calming scent…it was so relaxing. They all took another sip or two of their tea before putting it back on their saucers.
“Rae, why don’t you tell me how you’ve been?” She licked her lips.
“I have certainly had my share of experiences within the last year.”
“I can imagine. I heard the news on the radio.”
“I’m just grateful Hiroto was there.”
“As am I. He’s a good man.”
“Yes he is.”
“When my son came to visit me before, he was still in a lot of pain. His heart was empty and his mind was still tortured by the things his mother and I did. While I don’t care for my wife or how she feels about it..I became stricken with guilt and heartbreak.” Roto’s fingers gripped hers tighter.
“I began to evaluate my life and I thought to myself: Was everything worth it? Losing my son..was it worth the money, the prestige and the acclaim? It wasn’t.”
“Nothing ever is.”
“Through the hurt, I could see a burning passion inside him… perhaps one he didn’t realize yet. That passion was for you.” She swallowed thickly.
“And today it has come to fruition. Today, I feel as though everything is back to where it should be. Time has forgiven you two and now you are allowed to pick up where you left off. That is the greatest gift anyone can receive.”
“Mm.” He sat back quietly.
“Tell me more about you my dear..” She inhaled shakily.
“Well, before Hiroto came back..I was working for a company by the name of Affinity.”
“Executive assistant.” His eyebrow lifted.
“My, that’s quite a position.”
“I worked my tail off for ten years and wasn’t promoted not one time.”
“Your boss did not value you.”
“Not at all.”
“But through it all, you made a good life for yourself. You did well.”
“Thank you. I had knots and kinks to work out myself…before Roto and I could even be around each other long enough.”
“And for that I apologize. He wouldn’t have made such a grave mistake if his mother and I hadn’t have threatened him in such a vile way.”
“The past is in past. But, I had to apologize to you in person. I am glad that I could.” She smiled and took another sip of her tea.
“Hiroto.” His gaze met his father’s.
“Could you go check on the sunflowers?” He gently put his cup down.
“Of course.” He kissed her hand before getting up and sliding the shoji closed again. Alone, the atmosphere grew even more intense. Shou Iwase put his cup down and looked at her.
“Ebere, I want you to marry my son.” She choked on her tea, coughing as she put the cup down. He waited, expression neutral as she got herself under control.
“Wow…” Patting her chest, she cleared her throat.
“I um…I definitely think that is in our future..” Shou finally laughed, a smile softening his still very handsome features.
“When you were young, I thought the same thing..and that was this: You are worthy of being Iwase.” She inhaled, red flushing her cheeks.
“The name Iwase carries a lot. We come from a proud family, a family that is full of warriors and intellectuals. The men in our family helped create new eras, though often through bloodshed. We have aristocracy in our blood, having worn crowns and reigned lands both at home and abroad.” She kept quiet as he continued,
“Likewise, the women in our family have been just as deadly as they have been beautiful. Strong and unwavering but delicate and warm all the same. These are women who have been queen to a legacy that Hiroto must continue.” She licked her lips.
“And you think I can live up to all of that?” Shou smiled.
“Being that I am a black woman, you don’t think that it will negatively affect the tradition?”
“While we come from many traditions of old, Hiroto must create traditions of his own in order for our family to succeed. Regardless of what color you are, what is most important to me is your character. You changed my son. You loved him. And you were not afraid to be yourself around him or anyone else. Kind and womanly but with a streak of passion. You will be a fitting wife for him and mother to his children.” By now, her face felt like it would fall off from the heat but she just sat still, trying to take it all in.
“You are a good woman Ebere.”
“Thank you…” Her voice was damn near inaudible.
“Thank you for coming to visit me.”
“Of course..” The shoji appropriately slid open and a head peeked in.
“The flowers are fine Father.”
“Ah, good.” He slowly stood up and reached for her hand. Gently putting her hand in his, he lifted her.
“If you two do not mind, would you stay to have some melon?”
“Ah..” He grabbed Hiroto’s hand and pressed her hand into his.
“I will be right back hm? Why don’t you two sit on the engawa?” He left them in silence.
“Seems we’ve both had a conversation with him. I wonder what he talked to you about?” Her mind was still reeling from said conversation but as he helped her sit down, she tried to gather her thoughts.
“He um…gave me a history lesson on your fam.”
“He wants me to consider marriage..” Roto was quiet for a little while.
“He didn’t waste any time did he?”
“He really wants us to tie the knot huh?” Roto grinned. She rolled her eyes and laid back against the engawa, feet spread a bit.
“I’d rather take my time and love you slow than rush and miss anything.” He said as he laid back against the engawa too.
“Me too.” She grew quiet, the birds and sunlight surrounding her.
“Now that we are back together…do you think your mother will try anything?” He turned to face her.
“Eri will not harm you Rae.”
“How the hell do you know that?” He licked his lips.
“I’m making sure she won’t hurt anyone anymore.”
“And how are you doing this exactly?”
“I am taking possession of my family estate.”
“It wasn’t yours to begin with?”
“My father once forfeited. Because of this, all of the power was given to her.”
“Why did he forfeit his own family’s estate?”
“He wanted to please her.”
“By giving up his family estate?
“She used the love my father had for her to gain access to it.”
“That woman is beyond evil.” He tightened his jaw.
“When it concerns you, she better stay in her lane.”
“Ooh hoo, look at you using American slang.. Being around me got you Blackified.”
“Very funny.” He replied, tongue sticking out at her.
“So, you getting back your estate will do what exactly?”
“I’ll have complete control over my life and she’ll finally be silenced in the best way possible. She’s done enough. In her old age, she might as well try to enjoy the last of her wasted life.” She smiled and moved the hair back from his eyes.
“I’m proud of you..” He blushed.
“Son?” They looked up to see a tray up above their faces and eyes humorously peeking down at them.
“Hello. Don’t mind me. Here you are.” He sat the tray next to her head and slightly bowed. Turning around, they heard him slightly laughing as he turned the corner. He said something in Japanese before completely leaving their site.
“What did he say?” She asked, eyes still in the direction he went in.
“Yo daddy is funny…I swear…he is getting a kick out of this.”
“You know he is.” She sighed and schooched closer to him, curling her hands up against his chest.
“Everything is so peaceful here… I missed this.” She said quietly, eyes closed. He wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her even nearer.
“It’s been waiting for you..”
“It feels so much like home it’s crazy.” He didn’t reply, his lips smiling against her forehead.
“Listen, why don’t we eat this melon and get out of here?”
“Where we goin?” He lifted up.
“It’s a surprise.”
“Oh?” He smirked.
“Yep.” She lifted up with a grin on her face.
“Well then…I guess I have to wait and see then huh?”
“Mmhm.” He suddenly leaned towards her as in to kiss her and she stopped him with a piece of melon.
“You ain’t about to lay me out at your daddy’s house.”
“Aw, just one kiss? Please?” He pouted, bottom lip poked out like a two year old. She tried to keep composure but bust out laughing, slowly pulling the melon away from his lips.
“Your face though!”
“You think that is funny hm?” She screeched as he began to tickle her.
“Roto! Stopp! You gon make me have to pee!” She laughed, tears welling up in her eyes. He joined in on her laughter, tears mirroring hers. He half laughed, half breathed, letting his fingers relax against her.
“All you had to do was let me kiss you once..”
“Shut up you ain’t have to tickle me to death…” She said, her breath just as uneven. In her haste to try to escape him, she had laid back against the engawa, her cheeks flushed.
“You ain’t right for that.” He grinned once again, dimples deep.
“You put a piece of melon on my mouth.”
“Well, you was tryna get some suga so I gave it to you. I ain’t bout to have you lay me out here today. It ain’t gon happen today homie.”
“Hush.” She glanced at him, bottom lip stuck back out.
“Aw baby…you really poutin..”
“Okay okay come here…”
“You might melon me again.”
“Not this time…come here..” He slowly turned to face her.
“You better not get jiggy okay? Yo daddy is still here you know.”
“Okay.” Gently their lips pressed against one another’s. A gust of wind rushed them, knocking them against the engawa. Forced apart, she gasped gripping his shirt.
“Whoa…” He though only smiled.
“I believe my grandmother wants us to behave.”
“That was her?” He nodded, a small grin on his face.
“Mm. I’d like to think it was.” She cleared her throat.
“Okay…welp on that note we can go ahead and get outta here. I’ma take these melon pieces and smash on em in the car.”
“Mm.” He helped her stand and once again, they met Shou’s back as he tilled the garden, hands thirsty for the dirt.
“Father, Rae and I are leaving.” He smiled, turning around.
“It was a pleasure to see you again my dear.” She felt her cheeks grow warm and bowed deeply.
“Hiroto, I know you will take care of her this time.”
“Without a doubt.”
“Mm. Good. Very good.”
“We’ll see you later?”
“You will. Until then my dear.”
“Be safe on the road Son.”
“I will.” He waved at them before turning back to his garden. And they soon after were on the road.
He glanced down as her fingers stroked the back of his hand. They had such authority over him. They gave him life. As he turned off of the freeway, he stole another glance at her. She had her eyes turned towards the window, the scenery whirling past. Tightening his hold on her hand, he brought his gaze back to the road. The days had came and went and they had found themselves a few days before their trip had to come to an end. He wanted to take her to so many places but decided not to cram them all in. They would be back. He had a feeling that they would be back..and soon. For now, he wanted to tie up some loose ends and perhaps breathe new life into that which was severed. Her eyebrows knit as they came into a parking lot, a restaurant coming into view.
“You hungry?” She asked, glancing at him.
“Nope. Came for a drink.”
“It’s still kinda early…”
“I’m meeting somebody here.”
“Is it cool to show up like this?” He got out and went to open her door.
“You’re with me babe don’t worry.” She swallowed and took his hand.
“Okayyy.” Pecking her lips, he led her to the door. Inside, a few patrons sat at the bar already. It was afternoon approaching early evening so those that sat were just getting off of work. He guided her hand and let her slide onto the bar stool. Sitting beside her, he messed up his hair a bit. A pretty waitress cruised over, eyes all over him.
“May I get you something sir?”
“Ah, not yet. I am waiting for someone else.” She bowed her head and glanced Rae’s way.
“Is she waiting for someone as well?”
“She’s with me.”
“Ah… okay.” She left them with a bow. Rae strummed her fingers against the bar top.
“Would you like something to drink?” She looked his way.
“Um… nah. I’m good.”
“Okay.” Things grew quiet until she heard another male voice speak behind her.
“Hiro, who is this next to you?” Turning, her mouth dropped open. She screeched loudly and got up, jumping onto the man.
“Rae?” She eyed him from head to toe and shook her head in disbelief. Brotha had grown up into a fine ass man. The once lanky awkward kid had grew into his tallness and it looked good on him. Still slender but he had muscle now to back it up. She eyed his face. Baby fat all gone, all that remained was chiseled jaw and gorgeous high cheek bones. She swallowed thickly and felt tears come to her eyes.
“Hiro..” He turned to look at him, eyes having grown watery too.
“Surprise To-chan.” He sniffed and pulled her against him, arms tight around her.
“I missed you Rae…I missed you so much.” She inhaled his scent, tears of her own threatening to fall.
“I missed you too Bu.” He sighed against her and slowly let go of her.
“I can’t believe it…It’s really you. You’re really here…” She smiled and nod, sniffling.
“Yeah I’m here… I’m back.”
“You can forget about leaving. I won’t let you go.” She laughed softly.
“This won’t be my last time here. I promise.”
“Hiro-kun, you didn’t tell me you were going to bring her here.” He said, teary eyes upon his friend. Roto stood there, the biggest smile she think she’d ever seen on his face.
“That’s the point of a surprise To-chan.” He reached up to wipe his eyes.
“When you left… I felt like a part of me died. And now you’re back.” Her heart grew warm.
“No, I almost kicked his ass that day. It took me a while to even talk to him again after what he did to you. But, I forgave him. It hurt me to not be around someone I practically grew up with so I gave him another chance. At the promise that he would make things right with you. Then and only then would things between us be restored.”
“I’ve been there for him through it all. I had to make sure he got his act together. With you, he had to make sure he was on point.” She grinned, so wide that her cheeks hurt.
“You did a damn good job cause bruh came correct this time.”
“As he should have.” She let go of his hand.
“So uh… when yo English get fluent Mister Nakamura?” Reminiscent of their youth, sure enough his cheeks grew pink.
“Ah, I went to university in the States for a little while…”
“Oh really?” The blush grew.
“Yeah. Don’t sound like I did when we were kids huh?”
“You sound just like my baby Bu. Just older and more confident.” She replied, pinching his cheek.
“I believe this is an appropriate time for a drink.” Roto spoke up behind them, leaning back against the bar.
“Oh hell yeah. I’ll toast to this.” Tobu replied, a boyish grin on his face.
“Lookit you… don went to America and got bold huh?” She teased, poking his arm. The boyish grin grew deeper.
“I assure you Ms. Marshall, I’ve always been this way. Just kept it well hidden.”
“Coulda fooled me. You were the shyest thing in high school.”
“Those are always the ones you have to watch out for aren’t they?” He winked at her, chuckling.
“You still flirty as hell I see.” She said with a laugh.
“Can’t help that one.” She laid her head on his shoulder and he wrapped an arm around her.
“I don’t want you to go.” She whispered, a serene smile coming to her lips.
“If I could stay with you, I would.” He responded, taking a small sip of his sake.
“The trio is back hm?” Roto mused, a grin on his face. Tobu’s grin matched his.
“It’s official then boys.” She said with a grin of her own. As the guys drank and had a good time, she sat and enjoyed the both of them. It was oh so good to be back. It was like high school all over again. Both Roto and Tobu red faced and kidding around, laughing and joking. And then there was her, like a mother hen watching over her two babies. When it was time to leave, she hugged Tobu tightly, feeling warm as he laid his cheek against the top of her head.
“When are you leaving?” He asked, voice low but warm.
“Like two days..”
“Well then I guess for now this is goodbye.”
“No, it’s a mata ne.” He smiled and pulled away.
“That it is.” Sighing, he let her go and went up to Roto.
“This is the best thing you ever could have done for me Hiro.” Roto smiled and said something back.
“You out of everyone deserved to see her the most. It’s the least I could do To-chan.” Tobu gently pat his shoulder.
“Bye you two.”
“See you later Bu bu..”
“Definitely not later. Soon.” He waved and left, leaving her with a full heart.
“Thank you.” She said softly, turning as he came next to her.
“It’s nothing at all. He really missed you and you missed him. Before we left, I wanted you to see each other.”
“I can’t wait to come back so we can actually hang out.”
“What you did was sweet.” She leaned up and kissed his cheek. He flushed.
“It’s no problem babe.” She slid her fingers through his.
“Why don’t we go back to our hotel room and I cook you somethin nice? Chill out and actually watch some movies?”
“Oho you’re spoiling me huh?”
“Ya damn right. You deserved it.”
“You’ll make anything?”
“Name it.” He grinned.
“Soul food.” She bust out laughing.
“Now how in the heck am I going to make soul food here?”
“Can it be done I wonder?”
“Look, I make you some soul food when we go back to the States how bout that?” He sighed.
“What else you want?”
“Somen with cucumber?”
“Okay. That’s doable.”
Rain beat against the window. The water splashed against the side of a curb as a car rushed by. The people below but small specks…some with clear overheads.
“Mr. Iwase?” He turned his attention to a older man and bowed.
“I take it you want to continue the proceedings?”
“Yes. I would like to have them finalized before I leave Japan.”
“All right. Why don’t we get started?”
“Lead the way.” The man led him back to his office and he gently closed the door. Sitting down, he sighed. The next morning he had awakened having left Rae’s side and decided to handle his business. Other business that needed the most priority. He was going to finalize gaining control of his estate. It was now or never. Turning his eyes on the man, he sat straight and stiff in his chair, listening to him as he started to speak.
“As stated before, most of the paperwork was completed in the United States. All we need to do now is go over a few more papers and a signature.”
“All right then.”
“Are you sure you want to do this Mr. Iwase?”
“You ask me this every time.”
“I know but it is something that cannot be undone.”
“I am well aware of that.” The man nodded and stood up.
“I will be right back. I will go retrieve the rest of the papers.”
“Take your time.” As the man left, he gripped his hands together. Jaw tight, he glanced out of the window. The sakura were in full bloom and he watched as petal after petal drifted to the ground. Much like the petals, soon she would have to fall as well. She was the biggest fraud he knew and he wouldn’t stop until he exposed her for exactly what she was. Up until now, she had played her part well. She thought no one would come to know or find out. But through the years, the woman known as Eri Iwase had grown sloppy. Obsessed with Rae, she had taken her eyes off of the one thing she had kept hidden. And now, it would be put on before the whole entire world. Finally, she would get what was coming to her. And this time, it had been her own doing. Inhaling deeply, he sat up straighter as the man returned with the papers.
“Here we are. If you would, please look them over and make sure everything is correct.” He went over the documents he had reviewed and signed while in the States. Everything so far was good.
“It is correct.”
“Great! Now, in the matters of care and marital status I know you haven’t quite yet touched either one of those.”
“We can complete that now.”
“Will you still be wedding Miyamae Noa?”
“No. I never intended to marry her from the beginning.”
“A notation surely by Mrs. Iwase then.”
“Without a doubt.”
“Are you going to wed?”
“By the sound of her name she is not Asian. Is she American?”
“Caucasian-American?” He chuckled to himself.
“Why is it that everyone assumes that she is Caucasian?” The man blinked, truly dumbfounded.
“Ah….no-no reason at all…” He leaned forward on the desk.
“She is African-American.” That made the man pause and for a moment, he couldn’t say anything.
“Is there something wrong?”
“No. Of course not. I will document it.”
“Please do.” A few more minutes turned into an hour and at last, all that remained as a signature.
“If you would, please sign the last page and we can go ahead and get this finalized for you.” He took a deep breath and signed his name in silky black ink. Finally on that dotted line stood everything. Everything that had once meant misery now meant freedom. It meant the world. No limitations.
“It is done.” Eyes were firm.
“Understood. Thank you.” Hands shook and soon the sun appeared to him, its light bright upon his cheek. Tightening his fists, he slid into the backseat of a company car. Eyes wet, he bit his lips before pulling out his phone.
“I finally finished it.”
“The papers for the estate?”
“How’s it feel?”
“It feels damn good.”
“You finally have your freedom. Now, there is nothing that your mother can say or do that can hurt you anymore.”
“The same thing she tried to use against me as a child has been reclaimed. I couldn’t have done it without my father’s vote.”
“Yes. While Eri might be the matriarch in every other sense of the word, this is one thing she just could not touch. That said, what are you going to do about her?”
“I’ll figure that out.”
“Once she hears of what you’ve done, all hell is going to break loose.”
“I’m ready for that.”
“If you need me, I’ll be there man.”
“Well, this certainly calls for a drink. But, I don’t want you to get drunk. Rae’ll have my ass.”
“I won’t be too careless.”
“All right then. Meet up at the usual?”
“You got it.”
“See you then.”
“See you then.”
Finally, they had come to the last day of their two week stay. She didn’t want to leave. Humming to herself, she pinned her hair up away from her face and smoothed her dress down. Laying a small amount of gel on her baby hairs, she brushed it into a cute decorative pattern. She heard his voice call from the living room area.
“Are you ready?”
“Comin.” Balling up her lips, she smoothed in the lipstick and checked herself one last time before coming into the living room. He was standing by the window, hand in the pocket of his jeans. She slowly came behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist. He turned to look down at her.
“You look like you’re deep in thought.” She said quietly, glancing up at him.
“A little bit.”
“Bout what?” He reached down and caressed her shoulder.
“I finally got ownership of the Iwase estate.” She tightened her grip, smiling.
“You don’t look so happy.”
“Believe me..I am. It’s just a strange feeling.”
“Now you know where I’m comin from.”
“But it feels so good to not have to worry.”
“It does.” He sighed and slid his hand across her back, pulling her against him.
“Well my lady..are you ready for our last day out?” She nodded, a bright smile on her face.
“Let’s go.” Fingers tightly intertwined, they headed out into the midday sun, the sky blue as a ocean and the clouds as pillows.
The buildings were so familiar and memories of rain, cold breath and warm kisses fluttered across his mind like butterflies. He knew just where he wanted to take her on her last day. Delving deeper into territory he hoped she remembered. He drove past narrow streets and small mini marts and laundry mats. Out of the corner of his eye, he glanced at her to see if she remembered. Nothing as of yet. He smiled to himself and continued on, houses growing far away. Soon, the cityscape was in the distance and all around, countryside surrounded them. She knit her eyebrows, looking at him.
“Roto, where are we?”
“You don’t remember?”
“Wait and see.” They kept going until he pulled off the freeway, driving onto a dirt road. She looked around and suddenly, she sat up straighter.
“You didn’t.” Grinning, he said nothing as he got out of the car. Coming around to her side, he opened the door.
“You remember now?” Reaching for her hand, he helped her out.
“How could I forget? This is where everything began.” The sound of water trickling in the background rushed to her ears like wind hitting a train. Her scream, his hand tightly glued to hers, kisses creating liquid sparks in deep blue underway played out before her eyes. She thought if she ever saw this place again, all she would be able to think about was Emi. But, that non factor was the farthest thing on her mind.
“You drove all the way out here..to show me this place?”
“Not just this place.”
“Then what?” He smiled.
“Come on.” Grabbing her hand, he led her into the brush, a clear dirt path ahead. Rich swirling green surrounded them on both sides, the smells and moisture from a past rain prickled their skin.
“Just follow me.” He led her deeper into the clearing until they were met with a small field, trees as high as you could see or count. He heard her intake of breath and turned, placing her hand on his chest.
“This is new isn’t it?” She looked around, so much green. so much earth.
“Hiroto, this is beautiful.” He smiled and twisted a curl of hers around his finger.
“You haven’t seen anything yet. Just wait.” He wrapped his arms around her waist pulling her flush against him. She sighed and closed her eyes, slowly leaning back, her arms lifting to taste the wind. Her back an arch, she smiled softly, her neck exposed, head back.
“What does it feel like?” He asked, sliding a hand up her back a bit.
“You and me.” She breathed, revealing more of her neck as his lips came to glide across the skin.
“It feels good doesn’t it?” She smiled a bit, the wind rustling her dress. But his hands pressed flat against her, remained so solid.
“Open your eyes.” Slowly, her eyes opened and she gripped him. It seemed as though a million butterflies flooded around them, wings having taken flight. Colors in every shade, soft pinks, yellows, even deep purples billowed up and up into the sky. She had lost both breath and feeling in her feet, the sight just that astonishing.
“Hm?” She slid her hand up around his neck, her curls teasing his nose.
“I’ve never seen anything like this..”
“It happens every summer. A lot of people forget that this place exists. I used to come here with my grandmother.”
“Since I was a kid, we came here every year. It’s been so long and yet it looks as if nothing has changed. It’s still the same place, frozen in time.”
“That’s beautiful.” He smiled, his fingers sliding down her cheek.
“It can’t compare to you.” She reached up to grip his wrist.
“I want to take you one more place…”
“Okay…just lead…” She stood on her tip toes, lightly pressing her lips against his. A playful brush, wanting but not wanting enough.
“I’ll follow okay?” He didn’t say anything as he finally connected his heart to hers. She sighed against his mouth. Always so polite, always so strict…in this new way… she wanted to take the smallest risk. She grabbed his hands and slowly led them down her back.
“You’re going to get me in trouble.” He whispered against the corner of her mouth.
“A little can’t hurt.” Finally, they had reached her destination. Warm bled into her skin and she let her hands go, sliding back up to his neck. His hands however didn’t move.
“Why are you teasing me?”
“Cause.” He gripped the flesh underneath his palms and pressed her against him, taking her breath with a kiss.
“Don’t tease me…I might not take too kindly to it.” He lifted her into his arms and she wrapped her legs around his hips, pressing her face into his smooth silky strands.
“You started it.”
“I might finish it before we get back to the car.”
“I want you to.” Honesty was always the best wasn’t it? He groaned, gripping her a little tighter.
“This won’t do. Not here.”
“I won’t tell you.” He slowly slid his fingers up her spine, sensation making her hum.
“I will tell you what we’re going to do…we’re going to go back to the car.”
“And do what?”
“Don’t suggest anything else. I just might take you up on it.” A shiver went through her as she pressed against his body, her fingers balling up his shirt.
“O-okay. Driving sounds good.” She bit her lip. Woo shit. Her body screamed for him but she had to quiet it down.
“I think it does too.” His voice was no longer playful nor was it light and airy. A man brought to the gate of temptation, he had to choose which way he would go.
“Okay.” He slowly put her feet on the earth again but before he let her go, he leaned down and kissed her one more time. She gripped his forearms as he squeezed her, deepening the kiss. Her world tilted, spun around the earth and high up into space; it revolved all around him. She was high already and didn’t think she wanted to come down. He suddenly let his hands fall away from her and soon he withdrew his lips as well. Bruised and flushed, he bit them before he cleared his throat.
“Let’s go.” She intertwined their fingers and let him guide her back to the car, the wind rushing to bid them farewell.
Hands deep in soil pulled out rotten weeds. Sweat beating on the brow, am arm wiped the perspiration away.
“Ma’am, you have a visitor.” She looked up, confusion on her face.
“Who is it?”
“A man and a woman.”
“A man and a woman who?”
“Ma’am, please just follow me.” She pursed her lips and took off her apron. The man led her through a lower section of a building full of plants, flowers and other lush greenery. Up into the main building, she came until she faced the big ornate doors.
“Open it.” The man pulled the doors apart and the woman turned. As she turned around tears welled up in her eyes and she froze. Rae.
A/N: Hey y'all!!! This chapter was a pleasure to write! I wanted to have Rae meet Shou again lol. He is such a TRIP! You know he love them kids together it is TOO funny lol! haha. He got straight to the point like Rae, you need to marry my son and quit playin cause uh...lol. I want me some grandbabies. You know that's what he gon ask fer next lol!!! When y'all gon procreate.. lol. Shou is hilarious!!! As for my baby Tobu HE FINALLY RETURNS! YASSSSS! I got pictures of the man visually accompanying Tobu's character too YAS. lol. I got more in store so stay tuned! The last bit 'tween R&R at the end..(THEY SO CUTE I CANNOT LIKEEEE QUIT) I think personally that it was beautifully erotic without being either vulgar or extra. Like... that is how Hiroto and Rae are... the simplest touch means so much and they feel it with their entire being and soul. Touch is more than touch and each one transcends! The simple act of him grabbing her bottom speaks on so many levels... and I wonder if you can catch it. <3 On a side note, I am so proud of Roto for finally getting back what belonged to him! Eri Iwase (I assure you) will not be in the way too much longer. Speakin of her, I wonder.... what is she hiding? What is it that Roto knows?? Lastly (and an end to my rambling LOL), I wonder who that was who saw Rae at the end of the chapter? Come on y'all, y'all know! Hana and Hisae are coming up too. It's 1:07 am and I been up since 7 the previous day. To make a long story short, I adore this chapter and I adore you all for reading! God bless and thank you! Love you! New chapter is in the works as I type :) (I'm on a roll woowee. :D) Any comments, concerns, questions and thoughts leave them in the review! Good night, love you all!
Yuzuru Hanyu as Tobu (PREPARE FOR A SPAM CAUSE TOBU IS MY BABY Y'ALL...)
I also wanted to include the outfits worn in this chapter:
Sakaguchi Kentaro wearing Hiroto's outfit:
THAT'S ALL FOLKS! <3