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Lianne La Havas- Unstoppable 


Arnor Dan- Von 









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.


    Water lapped against the waves. The sun was warm, the clouds billowy and white. Her hands pressed tightly together.

    “There you are.” Turning, brown eyes met the man whose name she’d soon take as her own.

    “Hey…”  He smiled and slowly came towards her. 

    “You’re up early.” She turned her eyes back towards the waves. 

    “I couldn’t sleep.” His eyes soon followed her line of vision and he slid his hands into his pockets. 

    “Neither could I.” She licked her lips and glanced down at her finger. She took a shaky breath. She wasn’t sure if she was scared, excited or both. A part of her wanted to run. But a bigger part of her wanted to scream, cry and laugh all at the same time. She felt her heart pull. Time and time again, she had been feeling as though she was in a dream. But, every time she looked at it…it smacked her in the face. Threading her fingers, she gripped tightly. It was real. This was real. 

    “Rae…” She swallowed and looked up at him. 

    “How do you feel baby?” She pressed her face against his chest. 

    “I’m wondering how much longer I gotta wait till I’m yo wife.” He chuckled.  

    “I’d say we’re pretty close now.” His fingers came to skim her cheek.

    “I can’t wait.”

    “Me neither.” She pulled away from him and slowly entered the water, the element teasing her. He watched intensely as she slowly but surely grew a bit deeper, fingers creating circles around her. 


    “Yeah babe?”

    “Come join me…” She turned to look at him and all feeling in his body shot to hell. As if by magnetism, he drew into the water. How beautiful she was, the Kyoto skyline growing shades of pink and dusty lavender behind her. 

    “Will you rest early tonight?” He asked, pulling her against him. She didn’t say a word just leaned back against his chest, the breeze rustling her dress. 

    “Maybe…” She finally whispered, fingers threading through his. Silence surrounded them and he pressed his lips against her temple. Finally away from the noise of the world, they were able to plug into a different world… their own. He’d freed a good month of his schedule and made sure that in that time they would get some time to relax. They’d taken a trip to Kyoto, his birthplace. They’d never had a chance to visit and he was excited to show her around. They had happened upon some of his favorite spots to eat and now it was growing dark. 

    “Why don’t we head back to the hotel? I’m sure more awaits us tomorrow.” 

    “Mmkay.” Fatigue was heavy on her voice and she let him pull her away from the tide. 

    “Can I have a piggyback?” He smiled but acquiesed, kneeling. She climbed on his back and gently wrapped her arms around him. By the time they returned, he knew she’d be asleep. And that was perfectly fine. It would give him some time to think and reflect. Feet wet in the sand, he made it back to shore. 

    “Rest well sweetheart.” 


    Sunlight streamed in through her window and she pouted, turning her face into her pillow. Growing still, she slowly opened her eyes. When’d she make it back here? Yawning, she slowly sat up and rubbed at her eyes. Hiroto. He’d done all this for her… just to make sure she actually slept. Smiling, she shook her head with a sigh. That man there…A gentle knock at the shoji caught her attention. 



    “Are you awake?”

    “Yeah just got up.”

    “Ah, well I wanted to know if you wanted to go on an adventure with me today.” She slowly got up and slid open the shoji, peering into the surprised face of her own personal goofball. 

    “Is that even a question?”

    “Well…” His cheeks grew pink. 

    “I’m comin Roto. I’m in your hometown… there is no way I’d miss out on anything.” 

    “Okay then. We’ll leave in an hour.”

    “Sounds good.” Before he could leave, she quickly pecked him on the lips. He stole another one before he reached up to shut her door. She peeled off the yukata she’d been sleeping in and ran some bath water. Today was going to be good… she just had a feeling. 



    His chest filled with emotion and he tightened his jaw. Before them stood the home where once his family had lived in peace. His birth home.

    “Oh my gosh… this is beautiful…” 

    “Mm.” Here, his ancestors for a time dwelled. His father and his father and his father’s father were all born behind these walls. His ancestral roots started in this place. 

    “I was born here.” She gently pulled his arm to her chest. 

    “There’s so much history here… I can feel it.” 

    “Yeah. My father and great grandfathers were born here as well. It was a tradition from long ago.”


    “Would you like to go inside?” She looked up at him incredulously. 

    “Roto…I wouldn’t want to mess up anything.” He chuckled lowly. 

    “You wouldn’t. I want you to see me.” She tightened her grip but nodded. 

    “Okay. Let’s go.” They walked up the driveway passing through the small delicately decorated arch. As they came to the door, he reached into his pocket and soon opened the door with a key. She peered inside. 

    “Has anybody lived here since you?” 

    “Mm. Mostly the elders live here now.” 

    “Ohhh okay.”

    “Come on.” Pulling her hand, they stepped inside. Taking off their shoes, they stepped onto the raw wooden floors. 

    “Wow look…” Pictures adorned the walls, some old and grainy. Beautiful women in kimono, hair decorated with ornaments. Men who once stood proudly in dojos, bokken at the ready. As she passed by them, one caught her attention. There stood a small boy, his father’s hand on his shoulder. The two looked identical. 

    “Roto…” He smiled as he approached her. 

    “My father and I.” Her eyes fell to the next picture in the small collection. A woman stood by his father, a small reserved smile on her face. She blinked. That certainly was not the woman he called mother. 

    “Who is this?” 

    “Eri Hada.” She glanced at him but his gaze settled on the woman. 

    “From what my father told me she was a kind hearted girl. She wasn’t of noble blood but he fell in love with her anyway. Something the last few generations of Iwase men have seemed to do.” 

    “Why do you think that is?” 

    “I can’t be sure. But with you, I definitely changed the way we’ve done things.” He came closer to her and wrapped arms around her. 

    “No doubt if she had been my mother things would have been different. But then I’m not sure I would have met you.” She looked up at him who had a serious expression on his face. 

    “Even though it’s been hell, what happened to me brought me to you and for that I’m thankful.” 

    “Yeah… me too babe.” They continued to walk along the pictures of his family until she came to a stop. 

    “Hiroto…is this…” 

    “Yes. My grandmother.” The breath was knocked from her and she couldn’t do anything but stare. 

    “She’s beautiful.” 

    “Yeah. She was.” The woman’s eyes were strong and held just the right amount of mystery. However in all of it, she eluded femininity and grace. The sleeve of her kimono pressed delicately against her face, everything about her intrigued her. 

    “I’m speechless baby.” He smiled against her but pulled her hand, bringing her further into the house. 

    “It's said that some of the famed samurai of the Edo period visited here with many of my relatives.” 

    “Oh wow. That’s crazy….” He led her past the open great room and into an indoor garden. The soft trickle of the water from the bamboo instantly calmed her. For a moment, she closed her eyes and allowed the sensation to surround her. All was quiet as the drops of water splashed against the rocks. There in the distance a bird chirped. Even the sunlight that fell upon her neck was warm and delightful. She heard the quiet footsteps of Hiroto come behind her and his fingers ignited an explosion as they gently grabbed hers. She opened her eyes and turned to look at him. 


    “Come with me. I want to show you something.” She allowed him to pull her in the way he wanted to go and soon they came to a room, traditional in nature, a small circular window the focal point. 

    “In this room my mother gave birth to me.” Her heart twisted and she viewed it much different now. 

    “This space is special then.” 


    “I can imagine you growing up here running down the narrow hallways.” He laughed, tightening his grip on her fingers. 

    “Back then, my grandmother used to chase me. Because my mother and father would be gone a lot, I spent my days with her and the other elderly ladies.” 

    “There were no other children to play with?” He shrugged. 

    “Besides Tomoya and Takamasa when they came to visit from Niigata or Nara.” 

    “No girl cousins?” 

    “Of course. But they made it a mission to keep me separated from them.” Like that did anything. 

    “Oh.” He sighed, looking around. 

    “There is one other thing I want to show you. But you have to promise to keep your eyes closed for this one.” She blinked, mouth beginning to open in protest. 

    “It’ll be but a moment Rae.” 

    “Okay… fine.” She heard him leave the room. Soon he came back. 

    “Okay…open your eyes.” With the quickness she flipped them suckers open to find him holding out a pretty black lacquer box. 

    “Hiroto what is this?” 

    “Open it and see.” His eyes teased her and she felt her heart skip a beat as she took the box. Slowly opening it, she found a small bowl inside. Carefully hand painted, gold leaf and gorgeous pink flowers covered the side facing her. 

    “This is so beautiful…is this a chawan?” 


    “Was this your grandmother’s?” His cheeks grew red. 

    “No. It’s yours.” She blinked, confusion settling in. 


    “This one time…when I was young, my grandmother had me sit down with her and make chawan. She told me to create something for my future wife.” 

    “You were so young then… how could you know…” 

    “I tried all I could to imagine what a girl might like…” She was quiet as he continued. 

    “This tea bowl is so incredibly special to me. It was the last time she was in good health. And it was one of the last things I made with her.” She had looked down at it, tears welling up in her eyes. 


    “Do you know what she told me as we made this?” Lip trembling, she shook her head. 

    “You want to show her that you are good with your hands…one day these hands will build, protect and guide.” She grew quiet, gently touching one of the flowers. 

    “A man should never come to his wife empty handed she said.” At the thought, he smiled deeply, dimples deepening. 



    “Thank you… thank you so much.” 

    “I was waiting for the right girl to give it to and now it’s found its owner.” 

    “I’ll take good care of it baby.” She slid the lid back on top and came to kiss him, standing on her tip toes. His arms came around her and slowly he lifted her into his arms, her legs soon draped around his hips. A sharp breeze shook them, forcing them apart…much like a time before. He grinned, pressing his forehead against hers. 

    “I think that’s our cue to go.”

    “Yeah I feel like yo grandmama tellin us to behave.” He laughed and put her down. 

    “Mm. But I feel like she would be happy if she knew this bowl was with you.”

    “I would have loved to meet her.” 

    “Mm.” Holding the box tightly to her, she sighed. 

    “I’m so glad you brought me here Hiroto. It means so much.” 

    “It’s nothing…come I want to show you more.” From there they went on to discover many more sights, sounds and tastes of the boy she had wanted to know. He looked so happy and so peaceful… being home. With the chawan against her chest, she too felt at peace. Like in a way his grandma had given them her blessing too. 


    Streams of white. Golden sun and crystal clear ripples. In the middle of it all…there…fingers intertwined. Beautiful sakura petals and intensity of torii. Green, lush and rich…the sound and smell of simplicity. The city behind us, tall skyscrapers and many yellow taxis fade into nothingness. The words ‘I do’  and ‘Husband and Wife’ so close. Two hearts form into one and two spirits join together…of One woman and One man. 



    One woman stood on a balcony, a blanket wrapped around her. Lungs inhaled the air and eyes lifted to see the sun rising. The morning buzz of crickets greeted the stillness, tranquility in the air. It was unusual for her to be up quite this early but she found that she couldn’t sleep. Her phone buzzed from inside her room. A message. She wondered who that was. Coming inside, her fingers drifted across the screen. She smiled.

    Are you asleep? Amee. She quickly replied. 

    Nope. I haven’t been able to.

    I figured as much. I haven’t been able to sleep either. 


    Are you ready? 

    I’m ready but nervous as hell. 

    Can you imagine what Hiroto is goin through? He probably ain’t sleep either. 

    Probably not. He probably spent the night pacing and sweatin. 

    I still can’t believe it! It took y’all hell and high water to get to this point.

    I know…

    I’m proud of you Ebbie! Out of everybody, you two deserve it.  


    You should gon get some rest Ebbie. Big day today!! She chuckled. 

    I will! See you later! 



    Feet pounded against the pavement and sweat soaked the shirt of one man, collecting along his hairline. His legs pulsed with energy and he inhaled deeply before turning a corner. The morning sun rose in the sky and it caressed the waterline. Smiling to himself, he finally came to the front doors of the hotel. 

    “You’re the only person I know who runs at 6 in the morning Hiro-kun.” He slowly chuckled and pat his face with a small towel, glancing at the voice.     

    “Sometimes earlier.” 

    “Yeah this is pretty late for you.” 

    “It was very much needed though.” 

    “I was beginning to wonder where you went. I got up and you were gone..” He grinned. 

    “You’re turning into my mother To-chan.”


     “I’m stressed as all hell. It was either run or smoke.”  Tobu sighed and uncrossed his arms. 

    “It is a big day man. I’d be smoking ten packs by now.”  He pat his face and neck one last time and smiled to himself. 

    “I’m really getting married today….damn.” Tobu grinned.

    “Yeah and it isn’t that damn leech your parents tried to trap you with. You’re getting married to Ebere freaking Marshall.” He laughed out loud and looked at Tobu whose grin was bigger than he’d ever seen it.  

    “You look like a kid who got what he wanted for Christmas.”

    “I got everything I asked for and then some. Santa didn’t skip out on anything this year.”

Laughter erupted from his belly. 

    “I have been waiting for this day for eons Hiroto.” He lifted a hand to wipe tears that had formed in his eyes. 


    “Now that you’re back, I say let’s get some food.” 

    “You read my mind Tobu..” He grinned. 

    “After you.” 


    Outside her window there stood old stone streets, hundreds of years of history right beneath her feet. Besides her, a bible laid open, its pages still warm with the touch of her fingers. She looked up into the beautiful blue sky, filled with clouds. A knock sounded at the door.

     “Rae…it’s Hana…may I come in?” She smiled and went to the door, slowly opening it.

    “Come in!” Hana smiled as she came into the large private room, tatami and green quiet still surrounding them. 

    “I couldn’t sleep last night. I had to come see you hime.” At the title, she blushed and looked away. 

    “Aw Hana… you should be sleepin…” 

    “Nonsense…” She clucked her tongue and came to sit on the tatami, her yukata folded neatly underneath her. 

    “It is such a lovely ryokan we are housed hm?” She nodded with a grin. 

    “Oh yes. I’ve never been to one so fancy. Kyoto is gorgeous…just like the pictures.” Hana watched her with a knowing smile. 

    “I’m so glad he’s sharing it with you Rae.”

    “Yeah I’ve always wanted to come back to his birthplace. We’ve never had the time to make the trip.” 

    “I’m sure so many wonderful memories will be made here…” She winked at her which brought a furious blush to her cheeks. 

    “I-I’m sure…” 

    “Come, let me braid your hair. We are having breakfast like old days…” A wave of nostalgia hit her and she felt like the 15 year old she once was coming to sit in between Hana’s legs. 

    “I thought we weren’t gon see them till it started…” She said quietly as Hana’s fingers gently parted her hair.

    “Hibiki-chan insisted. Personally, I think he still can’t stand to be away from you. So cute.” Hana giggled as she began to plait her hair. Hana’s were the some of the only fingers other than her own that she welcomed in her head and how she had missed them. How gentle and careful she was being, the motions soothing her. 


    “A name for Hiroto. It was given to him by his grandmother…” 


    “It means echo. Obaa-chan once said that Hiro-chan was her reflection… her echo. They were so close…at hip.” Her heart tugged. 

    “Mm.” She grew quiet, focusing her eyesight on the birds that came to perch on a nearby tree, chatting amongst themselves. Hana silently finished braiding her hair. Placing it around and down her shoulder, she sighed contently. 

    “All done. Now you finish getting ready and we will go to eat.” 

    “Kay.” Hana sighed and pressed her forehead against hers. 

    “I’ve missed being sisters with you. Thank you for coming home.” She said not another word and got up. With a slight bow, she closed the shoji behind her. Her bottom lip quivered as she felt the urge to cry come to her. Hana…her sweet Hana…

    “Thank you Hana.” She got up and began to freshen up, tears of joy meeting both her cheeks and the morning air. 



    He stood along the wooden ledge of the shoji, fingers tussling his hair. Laughter from within the great room made him smile. Just a moment ago, he had received word that his father would arrive soon to the ryokan. He was thankful that his journey had been safe thus far. Sighing, he turned and paused as his eyes met Rae’s.


    “Good morning.”

    “I wasn’t expecting to see you until the wedding. This was a pleasant surprise.” He chuckled softly. 

    “I didn’t want to wait until then.” She grinned, her lips in a small purse.

    “This all feels so nostalgic.” 

    “Now that you’re here, everything feels right.” His fingers gently lifted her braid. 

    “I see Hana came to visit you…She hasn’t missed a beat.” 

    “We had a nice talk this mornin.”


    “Yeah. Talked bout Kyoto and stuff…” 


    “Thank you Roto…for allowing me to share in this with you.” He pressed his forehead against hers. 

    “I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone else but you baby.” She reached up to loosely grip his collar.     Right then, her stomach started to growl. He laughed softly, pulling her close.

    “Tummy needs food.” Cheeks red, she hid her face in his chest embarrassed as all get out. 

    “Come on, let’s go eat.” 


    “I always knew we’d meet again.” Sure enough, the famed slickster cousin of Hiroto’s grinned at her as they sat down next to him. 

    “It’s good to see you Tomoya-san.” 

    “Oh no no…just Tomo will do. Anything else from you would be a crime.” 

    “Oh geez… you startin already.” He cackled like an mischievous old lady and sat back some, eying the two of them. 

    “I have to say Rae… it hurts me to know you’ve denied me. I think I coulda made you happy too.” 

    “Boy you was already denied. You never had a chance with this boo.” Roto choked on his food and the chuckle that came from him was deliciously humored. Tomoya winced but the playfulness of his nature hadn’t changed. 

    “Damn she’s sharper now than she was then.” He commented, glancing at him. He only grinned. 

    “The offer of being friends was also denied too I take it. You never called.” Tomo continued with a play sniff. Rae rolled her eyes. 

    “I can’t with you. Y’all Iwases just alike.” Tomoya, as he did in their youth, looked offended and put his hand on his chest, exhaling in exasperation. 

    “Must I be compared to Hiroto again?” At that, he eyed him. 

    “Hey, what do you mean?” 

    “I told you Hiro and I are nothin alike.” 

    “And again I’m tellin you y’all are.”

    “No we’re not.” They both answered, pausing as Rae bust out in laughter. He relaxed and his expression softened. Tomo looked satisfied.

    “I can’t deal with either one of you.” She said in between gasps. 

    “Hm.” Tomo shook his head, that deep grin once again resting on his face. 

     “Is time repeating itself or what?” He smiled. 

    “I think it is.” 

    “I knew then that she was the one for you.” He lifted his eyes from his food to find Tomoya looking at him. His lips turned up into a smile. 

    “I recall you telling me to leave her alone should I not be sure.” 

    “Yeah. Rae was and still is something special. All the shit you have been through and yet here you are ten years later…back together.” So reminiscent of long ago, there she was beside him… looking slightly uncomfortable and out of place. He put his hashi down.

    “Fate had it so it seems.” 

    “That other woman was nothing but fodder. Poor girl. She neither suited you nor did she have the heart to be your bride.” 

    “And Rae?”

    “Still has you whipped as hell.” Tomo commented, his cheshire grin in full effect. 

    “Okay y’all don forgot I’m here again…” 

    “Ah… sorry babe.” He replied, a quiet chuckle escaping. Things grew quiet and he glanced at her as she took in all of the other people young and old who had come to join them for breakfast. She spotted her sister sitting with Hisae and Hana, appropriately clothed in her yukata. Faces unfamiliar to her she skimmed past. He reached out and slid fingers through hers, bringing her gaze back to him.

    “Are you okay?” 

    “Mmhm. Just kinda overwhelmed thinkin bout everything.” 

    “Don’t be sweetheart. We’re in this together.” Smiling, she resumed eating. Breakfast continued on for a few more hours and she felt full in more ways in one. Eating with everyone served to bring the whole family together and she had gotten a chance to glimpse at some of her future relatives. The excitement building within her was enough to make her jump over the moon. She couldn’t wait to officially join this beautiful group of people. 

    “Rae…” Looking up, she found Hana and Amee standing there in smiles. 


    “It’s about time you start gettin ready.” At that, Tomoya and Hiroto glanced at her and she felt her cheeks flush. 

    “Okay then.” 

    “Pardon us if we steal her.” Hana said as she bowed slightly. 

    “Go right ahead.” Tomoya replied, returning her bow with a nod. 

    “I’ll see you later then?” She asked, gripping Hiroto’s fingers. 

    “See you soon.” He lifted her fingers to his mouth before letting her get up. 

    “Who is that fine ass man sittin with him?” Amee asked quietly as they began to walk away. She snort. 

    “Girl bye. That’s his cousin.”

    “Oh snap.”     

    “He cool but he flirty as hell.” 

    “He means well though. I can tell he cares a lot for you and Hiroto.” She said with a glance back towards them. 

    “You picked all that up just then?”

    “Girl you know I be observant.” They shared a laugh and headed back towards her room.



    He stood by the pond, fingers tight around a mild orange glow. Smoke curled in the air and he sighed heavily.

    “You couldn’t resist could you?” Turning, he saw his father approaching. Clearing his throat, he flicked the cigarette he’d just lit. 

    “You are truly my son.” 

    “Oh?” He asked as Shou came to stand next to him. 

    “On the day I married your mother…I did the same thing.” 

    “Stood by a pond smoking a cigarette?” He chuckled deeply. 

    “The exact same thing.” The image of a young Shou lifting shaky fingers to his mouth, doused in sweat made him smirk. 

    “So you too were scared out of your mind.” 

    “Very much so. The way you are tells so much.” 


    “You wouldn’t act this way if you didn’t really love her.” His eyes found the koi which seemed to swirl around each other…in union. 

    “I think so too.” The hand of his father came to rest on his shoulder. 

    “I’m so proud of you Hiroto.” He smiled and looked at his father. 

    “Thank you Father.” 

    “I’m ready when you are Son.” He pat him on the back and for a moment he remained still. But soon he turned on his heel and went to his room to get prepared. As he wrapped the hakama straps around his waist, his palms grew sweaty.

    “Hiroto-sama, I just want to keep you aware of the time-”

    “In about a half an hour right?” He interjected. 


    “Understood.” The man at the door smiled. 

    “You’re so nervous your Kansai-ben is coming out. You’ll be just fine.” 

    “Hm.” The man slowly closed the door and he turned back to his reflection. He pulled the straps apart gently until the fabric wafted to the ground. Slipping into something comfortable, he ran fingers through his hair for what seemed the thousandth time. The nervousness sat right in the pit of his stomach and he felt like he wanted to go back to the pond and smoke another cigarette. Another knock at the door brought him away from his thoughts. 

    “Come in.” In came a woman he hadn’t seen since his youth, clad in a beautifully ornate kimono. He stood up at once. 

    “H-Hamako-dono…” The old woman smiled and gently bowed her head. 

    “Hello Hiro-chan.” 

    “W-What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be with the other guests?” 

    “Yes. But I wanted to come see you.” She stepped into the room and went over to the hakama he’d had just placed on a chair. 

    “Put these back on. Just these.” He blushed but slowly headed toward the bathroom, reappearing in the hakama. At the sight of him, Hamako smiled. 

    “Ah, my little Hiro-chan’s not so little anymore.” A blush crept down to his neck but he stood still as the woman came towards him. 

    “You look so handsome. Just as your father did and his father before him.” He said not a word as Hamako gently lifted her hands and caressed his face. 

    “Chieko would be so proud of you. To see you now…” He lowered his head and bit his lip. 


    “I knew from the moment I saw that girl that she would be the one you would marry.  She encourages your gentle spirit to soar. Bless the stars I’ve been allowed to see it.” His eyes teared up and he lifted them to look at her. 

    “Now with the clothing passed down the line, you shall have success in your union.” She gently touched the material. 

    “These were specially restored for you Hiro-chan. Even your father didn’t wear these hakama.” He blinked, perplexed. 

    “Who requested these?” Hamako smiled. 

    “Chieko of course. They belonged to her father.” He glanced at his reflection, mouth ajar. 

    “Though they were from the outside, she thought they fit you. Noble as your birthright but simple yet beautiful as is your spirit.” He couldn’t speak and didn’t try to as the tears that had been welling up in his eyes finally released, trailing down his cheeks silently. 

    “My little Hiro-chan…go forth and be like a bird. Take flight and soar… just as Chieko would have wanted…”  He quietly sobbed, emotion spilling over. The little woman much like his grandmother wrapped her arms around him, her warmth and love flowing into him. 

    “Now now sweet child. Let’s get you together so you can meet your bride.”


    Her fingers shook at her sides and she slowly gripped them. This was it. She could never have anticipated that her life would have ended up like this. In lives like hers only two things happened. You either went to jail or you were killed. Staring at her reflection in the mirror, she felt her eyes tearing up. She was getting married to a good man…having once been a hurt abused woman who once thought that the next body was just good enough. Truly, no one but God had done this. 

    “Rae?” Sniffing, she hastily wiped her tears and turned, finding Minako standing in the doorway.

    “Mina-chan…hi.” She came in a soft smile on her face. 

    “You look so beautiful.” 

    “T-Thank you..” She took her in. 

    “What’s wrong Rae-chan?” 

    “It’s um… it’s nothin.”

    “Rae…” She licked her lips and turned to face her reflection again. 

    “I’m just thinkin about my life. What it once was and how it’s changed so drastically.” Minako was quiet for a long while, the quiet sound of her sniffing pierced the room. 

    “Ebere-chan…” She looked up to find her right in front of her, eyes misty. 

    “The blessings of God have been poured on you from the start. He always desired for you to live in the fullest.” At that she began to cry, tears falling down her cheeks. 

    “No doubt what you experienced as a child has been a trial most do not understand. But now you have a chance to live fully and to help others do the same. Good things are happening to you and for you. Don’t doubt them. Expect them.” She wrapped her arms around her and pressed her face against her chest. 

    “M-M-Mina-chan-n….t-thank y-you…” She said in between cries but Minako only smiled, tears of her own sliding down her cheeks. 

    “I love you my beautiful Rae.” She slowly pulled away and went to go blow her nose. 

    “Look at us in here cryin like babies.” She said softly with a chuckle as she dabbed at her eyes. Mina wiped away her tears with an extended tissue. 

    “Yes this day is a lot on us all.” 

    “But I tell you what Mina, I’m glad you’re here with me.” She reached for her hand and gently squeezed. 

    “I wouldn’t be anywhere else Rae-chan.” 

    “Rae! It’s almost time!” She heard her sister call from behind the door. Straightening up, she sniffed and pat her cheeks. 

    “Kay enough cryin. I got a wonderful man out there who wants to make me his wife. I can’t be cryin over the past.” 

    “That’s right.” Mina came to her and rubbed her shoulders. 

    “You are a most fitting bride Rae.” Tucking some loose strands of hair out of her face, Mina pressed a kiss to her forehead. 

    “Are you ready?” She took a deep breath, hands starting to shake again. This time she held them steady and gave her a smile. 

    “I’m ready.” She grabbed a small bouquet and started to walk down the hall. Patrons peeked their heads out of the shoji, whispering, talking, wondering. Up ahead she heard a commotion bringing her to a stop. 

    “Hiroto we have to go this way! Wait a minute!” That sounded like one of his attendants. She paused and pressed herself against a nearby wall. She could hear him growing closer. 

    “Rae…” Her heart began to race at the sound of his voice.

    “Roto…shouldn’t we be makin our way down?” He sighed and she could feel his weight as he leaned against the other end of the wall. 

    “Yeah but I-I had to see you.” She smiled at his stutter. 

    “You’re not…getting cold feet are you Hiroto?”

    “There is no way on God’s green earth I’d ever turn and run.” Her smile grew deeper. 

    “I’ve dreamt of this day for God knows how long…and now it’s finally happening.”

    “I know. It’s crazy ain’t it…” 

    “Something’s missing out of all of this…”

    “What’s that?” She looked down to find that he had gripped her hand, only the wood between them separating them. 

    “Prayer.” She felt her eyes grow misty but she squeezed his hand back. 

    “You’re right.”

    “Let’s do this properly from the beginning.” She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, pushing out all of the watching curious eyes and chattering. Only the feel of his hand secured her. 

    “Dear God in Heaven, we thank you for this moment. Bringing us together in unity for a time such as this. I pray before we take our vows before your presence that you bless our union. Let our marriage be a prosperous one, a unity that is fruitful and blessed. May you pour out your blessings upon us as we become one to do your will on earth. Thank you for giving me this woman. Thank you for being the foundation upon which we have built our relationship. May you continue to be in the center and at the heart of us. May you, O Lord, continue to guide me in the right way that I may guide Rae and our future children. As you have commanded me, let my hands provide and love, pray and heal. Let me love and cherish Rae as you love and cherish me. And most importantly, allow me to do and be right by this woman, proud and supportive of her always.” She took a shaky breath and softly began to pray. 

    “Father, let our marriage serve as an inspiration and testimony to all who encounter us. Help me to be the wife Hiroto needs and allow me to pour goodness, life and blessings into him. Let our love for one another grow stronger day by day, let it never dry out or wan. Even when we disagree and fight, Lord help us to settle our grievances and resume peace. Thank you for sending this man to me. I have been blessed by his presence, his love, his wisdom and his smile. May we always put you first and may we prosper together until the end.” He tightened his grip on her hand. 

    “In Jesus’ name…” 

    “Amen.”  He slowly let go of her hand and she heard him deeply exhale. 

    “I can breathe now…” Heart full, she gripped her bouquet once again. 



    “I love you.”

    “I love you too.”

    “Hiroto we have to go! You’ll see her in a moment!” Sighing, he pushed off of the wood. 

    “See you soon?” She swallowed, face warm. 

    “See you soon.” 


    The waves crashed against the shore and the sun was shining bright, clouds puffy and white. Off in the distance, the cry of the birds carried on the wind. She felt the wind rustle the flowers interwoven in her hair and tilt her head back, letting it whisper across her skin. All was still. 

    “You look beautiful.” She jumped, turning to find Shou standing behind her, a soft smile on his face. She felt her cheeks grow warm. 

    “Shou-sama… you…you startled me…” He chuckled quietly.

    “I apologize. I didn’t mean to.” Her cheeks grew even more rouge and she bit her lip. Gentle fingers lifted her chin. 

    “I want you to know that you have made me a very happy father-in-law. You are everything I could ask for and I’m so thankful I finally received the daughter I wanted.If you would allow me to…I’d like to present you to him.” She blinked, at a loss for words. 

    “Would that be all right?” She felt tears well up in her eyes and couldn’t contain the whimper that came from her. The man who held her so gently only smiled and pressed his lips against her forehead in a kiss. 

    “I would like that very much.” She said quietly… barely loud enough for him to hear. 

    “Well then my darling. shall we go?” Heart full and love overflowing, she smiled up at him. His kind eyes crinkled up in the corners and she nodded. 

    “Yes.”  He grabbed her hand and wrapped it around his arm and held firmly to her as they slowly but surely made their way towards the first step of her future.



     On the arm of his father, she slowly made her way towards him. Instantly, his knees grew weak and his breath caught in his throat. Every eye was on her and she looked a bit nervous. The crisp white of her dress caressed her body in silky smooth waves and delicate sheer chiffon clothed her arms. Her hair was swept up away from her face, woven with beautiful white green and pink flowers. Closer and closer she came until they were so close he could reach out and touch her. His father extended her hand. Her hand trembled and she kept her gaze low, her cheeks aglow with timidity. He reached out and lifted her chin, bringing her gaze to his. A pulse of electricity shot through him and he felt his heart race. 

    “Are you ready sweetheart?” She took a shaky breath but nodded. She allowed him to take her hand, pulling it away from his father. He gave her a reassuring squeeze and turned his eyes to the members of their respective families. 

    “I want to thank all who have gathered to join us today. We’re so very thankful.” He bowed deeply. He turned to look at her and for a long while, he didn’t say anything. Licking his lips, he felt his cheeks grow warm.The rush of the water calmed him and his silent prayer to God gave him the push he needed.

    “It’s taken us so long to get here hasn’t it? I don’t know where to start.” He sighed heavily, shaky fingers sliding through hair. 

    “When I saw you for the first time…I thought you were the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen and I wanted so badly to know you. My monochromatic world exploded into color and from then on, I saw everything so vividly. Where I once thought my life meant nothing, you showed me that I was worth something.” Tears welled up in her eyes and she reached out to touch his cheek with her fingertips.

    “I found myself trying anything and everything to get a glimpse of you. To me, you were an enigma. Your smile was a light and it shined brighter than the pain that dwelled just behind your gaze. But you also were hard on the outside…someone who had seen and lived. You reminded me of a caged bird…much like me. The more I got to know you, I wanted to give you the love and freedom you so desperately needed.” He gently pulled her closer, hand pressed against her waist.

    “In giving you my love, I also gave you heartbreak. Something meant in good intention turned out nearly ending the both of us. For ten years, I was tormented by it, the guilt of what I had done unbearable. But I still loved you. I couldn’t forget you or what we had.” The tears fell down her cheeks and he wiped them away with his thumb. 

    “I had to make it right. I’d do whatever I needed to in order to be a better man to you. And you allowed me to do that and more. You’ve allowed me to heal the broken pieces of your heart and put them back together again. ” He tenderly took her face in his hands. 

    “Our story is one that is ugly and dirty… but beautiful, real and honest. The love I have for you… I can only hope that some day… someone else will experience it.” He pulled her even closer, pressing his forehead against hers.

    “As my bride and the love of my life, I vow before God that I shall forevermore love and cherish you for the remainder of your life. You’ve entrusted me with your heart, mind, soul, spirit and body. A task I am not worthy of receiving. But, I humbly take charge and will treasure all this you give to me.”


    Fresh tears slid down her cheeks. Here stood the love of her life, baring his entire soul to her. What would she say… what could she say? You can do this Rae. How will you answer him?

    “At every turn there have been plots to destroy us, voices to mislead us even entities to kill us. Through everything we’ve experienced, you’ve changed me and restored me…you’ve shown that hurt bruised and abused little girl what love is…you’ve shown her that not all men are dirty dogs…. you’ve shown her that she is worthy to be cherished…” She paused as the tears overflowed and he bowed his head, tears of his own breaking free.

    “I remember praying to God one day when I was little…if only He could send me someone who would protect me… that wouldn’t hurt me… and wouldn’t let anybody else hurt me…He answered my prayer when He sent you to me. He never forgot about it even when I wanted nothing to do with you. He created you just for me and I’m so thankful…that we are finally free to live our lives together…as we wanted to all those years ago…” She sniffed. 

    “I remember when you asked me to marry you. It was my birthday and you had taken me out to the pier. Your voice trembled and you started to stutter, face red as a tomato.” She lifted fingers to caress his cheek.

    “I also remember a bitter cold winter night, you and I standing in a freezing solarium. My heart was hardened towards you and when I spoke, anger and hurt came out instead of words. Even so, you stood there, cheeks red from the cold and voice gentle but firm. Still haunted by that little boy on the inside who hurt the only girl he’d ever loved. More and more when I looked into your eyes, I saw less of who hurt me and more of the man I needed to love me. You were no longer that same little boy…the young boy who wanted to hide from the world in waves and booze and cigarettes. Instead, I saw a confident man who faced his demons and decided to live his life for no one else but himself. I saw a man who loved me with his heart and soul; who unashamedly pursued me. Someone who showed restraint even when I wanted to ignore it. You knew the meaning of the word no and with me you abided by it.” She took his hand.

    “Now…now I’m saying yes to you. Yes in all that you desire and want of me. Yes to a lifetime of love, joy and laughter. Yes to happiness. I am willing to submit to you in every way as your wife and as your mate. I know that the hands that touch me provide not pain but love. How warm and gentle they are and I trust them to mold and shape our future. I trust that they will join in prayer to ask for guidance and protection and clarity when the direction of our life is unclear.” She slowly lifted his hand and pressed it against her skin. 

    “I pray that in our marriage, we will be strengthened. That we will grow and learn and love…I pray that the favor of the Almighty Father continues to surround us. I pray that the work of our hands will be blessed and that of our children will be blessed.” 

    “I pray the same also.” His voice was full of emotion but steady and it gave her strength. Shou slowly and quietly approached them. He took her hand and one of Hiroto’s, silent and tearful. He pressed their rings into each other’s hands and backed away from them. Hiroto slowly lifted the ring and placed it on her finger, lifting her hand and pressing a kiss there. She took a deep breath and nervously slid his onto his finger. 

    “May you two now be husband and wife.” Shou said, joining their hands together. He cleared his throat and smiled, eyes watery with unshed tears. Cheers traveled throughout the crowd and he picked her up to her surprise and spun her around, laughter springing up like a well. She held on for dear life but soon the sspinning stopped and he set her back to earth. Slowly lifting her face, he pressed his lips to hers.

    “I love you.” He breathed against her lips, eyes meeting hers. Her heart jumped into her throat and her entire face grew flush.

    “I love you too.” 

    “Rae! You’re finally apart of our family! Yay!” Hisae ran towards her, Hana not too far behind.  Hiroto pulled away from her as the young girl ran into her arms. Se hugged her tightly. 

    “Thank you baby.” 

    “Now you can stay with me and mama.” She smiled down at the girl and kissed her cheek. 

    “I won’t leave you again. I promise.” 

    “Everything about that was so heartfelt. I[m so proud of you two… finally choosing your happiness above all else.” Hana exclaimed coming to hug her.

    “It feels so good.” She said with a soft laugh, closing her eyes as his lips kissed her forehead. 

    “Hiro-chan did good. Now I can have peace. He brought you back home and has done right by you…” Hana sighed happily, holding on to her. 

    “Rae…” Amee and Lee came towards them, pushing folks out of the way that had surrounded them. Arms wide open, she nearly ran into her sister, embrace tight. 

    “I’m so proud of you Ebbie. You did it.”

    “You two are so in love with one another. Damn.” Lee said, dabbing at her eyes with a tissue. She pulled away and sniffed. 

    “Love could happen to you too but you steady playin Lee!”

    “Love can’t handle me right now and that’s all there is to it.” Rolling her eyes, she pursed her lips. 

    “Hisae, come here baby. I want you to meet some people. This is your Aunt Amee. She’s my sister.” She bowed her head. 

    “Hello Amee-san.”

    “Hello sweetie! It’s nice to meet you!” 

    “A, this is Hana, Hisae’s mother. She’s practically another sister to me.” Hana bowed her head slightly.

    “Rae has told me so much about you. I’m so glad we’re officially meeting!” The two women gave each other a hug. 

    “You have a good spirit in you like Rae.” The two women started to chat and she observed, grinning. It was always a necessity for her to have them meet each other. Now that they had, it just felt like everything really had come full circle. 

    “Rae where you at?” She could hear the voice of her brother shout over the millions of faces, hands and congratulations.

    “Tre! Over here!” He excused himself around the small group and finally made it over. 

    “Nug, congratulations!” He smiled from ear to ear, lifting her in a bear hug. 

    “This was really dope. Everything was just amazing.” His eyes met Hiroto and he suddenly grinned. 

    “Aye my man! What’s good Hiro?” Hiroto had a grin matching his and she pursed her lips as they joined hands and bumped shoulders. 

    “I’m blessed brother. I’m glad you could make it.” 

    “I wasn’t bout to miss my lil sister’s wedding. Nug, you look beautiful! I know Ma and Pops somewhere mad as hell cause they wasn’t invited.”

    “They shol got they nerve.” He snort and clasped Roto’s hand again.

    “Aye, take good care of my little sister bro.”

    “You know I will Tre.”

    “Um…Rae…who is this?”

    “Hana-chan, this is my brother Tremaine.” He nodded at her. 

    “Tre for short.” She bowed slightly. 

    “It’s nice to meet you Tre.”

    “You too. How you know my sister?”

    “I met her back when she was in high school. We bonded when Hiroto brought her to a family gathering and from there we have been friends ever since. My baby really took to her.” 

    “You have children? You look so young.” Tre inquired, perplexed. Hana laughed, cheeks warm. 

    “Thank you. I have one daughter…Hisae.” Said precious peeked her head out from behind her mother. 

    “Hey there little lady.” Tre smiled at her and she seemed mesmerized by him.


    “I didn’t know you had such pretty friends Nug.” He grinned, turning back towards her. 

    “Hey. Don’t you start.” He lifted his hands in defense. 

    “What? I ain’t do nothin.”


    “Shoo you keep that goin Tre we both gon be kicked out the party.” Lee spoke up, playfully jabbing him. He shook his head. 

    “I ain’t here for nobody but Rae.” 

    “Thank you.”    

    “Well I for one am sad I gotta go. Being around all y’all good folks and these equally fine men is better than bein around old crusty dusty farts back home.” Lee spoke with a pout, crossing her arms. She sighed, sadness sparking on her chest. 

    “Don’t go Lee.”

    “I’m sorry Rae. I have to…” 

    “Rae told me you had an engagement back in the States..” Roto said sadly, a little frown  on his face.

    “Yeah. I gotta convention I gotta go to for my job. I’d rather much stay here with y’all. And uh…meet some of these dudes you got in yo family Hiroto.” She eyed some of them as walked by in their montsuki haori. 

    “Lee you ain’t here to do that anteeway.” Amee said, playfully hitting her. 

    “Girl don’t be acting like you ain’t seen these fineeeeee ass brothas in his family. All I need is one.” 

    “Stop. I beg you.” She replied laughter bubbling up.

    “In all seriousness though…I’m so glad I could come to the wedding. Thank you for inviting me.” 

    “Rae and I are so glad you could come. It means so much to us that you would put work on hold to celebrate with us. Thank you Leah.” She hugged him and flipped her hair over her shoulder, standing up straighter.

    “We gon have to do somethin when I have more free time. All of us.” 

    “Oh hell yeah!” 

    “Sorry to cut this short but I really gotta run. I call you when I’m back in NY.” 

    “Okay boo. Have a safe flight back!” 

    “Love you Rae!”

    “Love you too.” Out of nowhere, Tobu came rushing up nearly bumping into Lee as he pulled her into a hug. 

    “Damn dude…” She heard Lee mutter but the grip on her shoulders brought her attention back to him.

    “Thank you. Thank you for saying yes.” She felt her eyes grow watery and reached up to grip his haori. 


    “Now that you’ve come back… everything will be okay. I’ll be okay.” She sighed against him and he swallowed tightly, pulling away from her.

    “Now that you are officially married, I say we all go back to the ryokan. I see a hell of a lot of sake being consumed tonight.” Roto chuckled. 

    “Yeah you’ll be drinking most of it.” 

    “You damn right. My two best friends got married. I’m drinking till I can’t anymore.”



    “You actually did it.” He grew still as a voice spoke behind him. Turning slightly, he saw his cousin Takamasa standing there with a smirk.

    “So you’re here.” 

    Why wouldn’t I be?” 

    I thought perhaps you had something more important to do.” The smirk slid off of Taka’s face. 

    “In the affairs of the Iwase, I always show up.” 


    “I never thought you would have actually marry her.”

    ‘Is that so?”

    “I thought she was just your latest fling.”

    “Guessed wrong.” Taka snort. 

    “It seems I did.”

    “Are you congratulating me…I’m not sure.”

    “Yes of course. You have a beautiful wife and now you can finally start to uphold your duty as Head of the family.” 

    “Finally?” He eyed him intently, irritation sparking. 

    “I figured you two would be out here.” Both men turned as Tomoya slowly approached them, a deep boyish grin on his face. 

    “So you’re here too.”

    “That I am.”

    “It’s a pity you aren’t married yet Tomoya.” Taka mused dryly, a light grin on his face. 

    “One day.”

    “The cat seemed to drag us all here together again… I don’t know why.” 

    "To celebrate of course.” 

    “I suppose.” 

    “Taka, don’t be mad that Hiro finally got married and you’re still single.” Taka snort again, this time louder. 


    “So… you guys out here havin a mature talk or can we get back to the booze?”

    “Frankly, I’m not sure what we’re doing.” He answered with a withdrawn sigh. 

    “How long has it been since you’ve waited for this?” Taka asked, leaning back against the shoji. 

    “A few years. At last, this man took care of his business and got the girl. There was no way I would miss him marrying my girlfriend.” 

    “Girlfriend hm?”

    “Hiro knows I’m only teasing. Besides, it’s all in good fun.”

    “I’m surprised he lets you get away with that. The last time I was around her he was her security guard.”

    “You intended to get her drunk.” He replied coolly, expression bland. Their eyes met. 

    “I wanted her to partake in Hanami the right way.”

    “Not on my watch.” Taka scoffed, a deep frown on his face. 

    “Are you going to police how much she consumes tonight?” 

    “You are out of line Takamasa. Remember your place and stay in it.” 

    “Guys, chill out.” Tomo interjected, the grin on his face gone. 

    “Look, all I’m saying is that she’s a grown ass woman. She doesn’t need him being her father.” He felt his nostrils flare. 

    “Okay, you’re going to cool it or I’ll make you.” He turned away from his cousin, blood boiling. Not today. Not now. 

    “My intention was to give my well wishes but I think it’s in my best interest if I go back to Tokyo.” 

    “Taka look…I have no doubt that Hiro appreciates your congrats. But all the other stuff is out of line. Leave his wife and how he conducts her alone. Since you’re here, the least you could do is stay for the night.” Tomo said with a sigh, eying him.

    “Good enough. I’ll retire early then. As for you Tomo, you talk big but try not to be all over Rae’s bridal party.” Taka chided before throwing up his hand in farewell. He unclenched his jaw and relaxed as Tomo sat down. 

    “Damn it to hell. You two are as icy now than you were when we were kids.” He shrugged noncommittally. 

    “I was right to keep my eye on him then and damn sure now.” Tomo sighed. 

    “I think we’ve gotten him together. But he holds such an uncanny opinion on Rae.”  He stiffened. 

    “That’s why my eyes will be on him more now than ever.” 

    “You don’t think he’ll do something do you?” 

    “With his character and his reputation I wouldn’t put it past him.” 

    “He won’t.” 

    “Tomoya…have you forgotten what happened so quickly?” Tomo sighed. 

    “I haven’t forgotten. But that was never proven.”

    “With an influential family such as ours it wouldn’t be.” 

    “Do you really think he did it?”

    “I know he did it.”


    “Just as Aki abused Hana behind closed doors. The name carried him. It excused him from any consequence.” 

    “Until you came along.” 

    “He has always been the sly one. I’m man enough now to call him out on it.” Tomo sighed heavily. 

    “All of this is making me wanna smoke. Look, forget all of that for now. He’s just trying to upset you. This is your day and if I remember correctly, you’ve got a gorgeous ass woman in there waiting.”

    “Oh shit. Rae…” He nearly tripped over his feet trying to stand. Tomo chuckled. 

    “You are one lucky bastard you know that?” 


    “Sake?” She smiled and gently bowed. 

    “Please.” Her cup was filled and she slowly took a sip. She sat by the wall, hands pressed into her lap. Everybody and they mama was here drinkin, eatin and laughin. It was truly beautiful to see. She spot Amee laughing with Hana and Tre not too far from her. Mina-chan and her husband sat in the corner, drinking sake and conversing with some of Hiroto’s relatives. Now the only person missin was Hiroto. Sooner than later, she saw him come in. His eyes soon met hers.

    “I was wonderin where you went to.” She said as he drew nearer. He sat down beside her, cheeks rosy.

    “Sorry I kept you waiting babe…” 

    “It’s okay…” Her eyes fluttered closed as the warmth from his lips brushed across a shoulder.

    “What did I miss?” 

    “Not much. Everybody just chillin.” 

    “Ah.” She smiled inside her cup as his fingers inched their way down her back. She leaned against him as he drank a bit. Something about the way he held her made her glance up at him. His face was slightly stony, not relaxed as it should be. 

    “Hiroto..” He glanced down at her, pausing mid sip. 

    “Hm?” Lifting up, she pressed fingers against his cheek. 

    “Somethin wrong?” He put the cup down. 

    “I’m alright.”



    “Girl yo honeymoon bout to be poppin.” Amee peeped, eyes finding them over the top of her cup. Heat flushed her.  

    “Dang where you come from?” She cut her eyes at her but she only pursed. 

    “I been seein y’all all evenin.” 

    “A you just as bad as Lee…quit.”

    “You know yo life bout to be changed.” Roto chuckled, his grin in full effect. 

    “What you grinnin about?” She asked, hitting him on the shoulder. 

    “I have no comment.” 

    “See he know it too.” Amee teased, winking. 

    “Amee, leave em alone. They married now. I’m surprised they still here.” Tre put in as he joined them, a slow grin appearing. 

    “You too? I can’t deal.” 

    “Aye, I’m just sayin. Y’all could be anywhere but here. I ain’t mad at my man Hiro. He feelin up what’s his. That’s aiight.” He lifted his cup and the two men toasted, bringing explosive laughter from the women. 

    “Yo they really toasted like…”

    “Both of y’all officially fired.” A boyish grin sat on Roto’s face and Tre was smug as a mug.

    “Real talk though I’m so happy for y’all. It’s good to see my lil sister so happy.” 

    “I found you!” A voice suddenly cut through the noise. Eyes popped open.

    “Mina-chan!” The woman giggled, eyes teary as she took her in.

    “I hope I didn’t interrupt Tre.” 

    “Nah, you good Ms. Minako.” Her aged hands cupped her cheeks. 

    “You are a beautiful bride.” 

    “T-thank you…”

    “I am blessed I was able to be witness you two wed.”

    “We’re both blessed you could be here Minako-sama.” Roto spoke, eyes gentle. 

    “Now all I have to wait for are the children.” Her eyes grew wide and she glanced up at Hiroto who cleared his throat.

    “Ah… t-that will s-surely come.” He stuttered, face and ears red as a whistle. 

    “But of course.” Minako kissed her forehead. 

    “Enjoy your night my dear. I shall speak to you soon.” She squeezed her hands and left them. It was at that moment that she wanted to retire. Just to be alone. She put her cup down and finished eating what was on her plate.

    “You look tired baby.”  He draped himself around her, his arms loosely hanging at her sides. 

    “Yeah I’m ret to go to bed.” 

    “We’ve had an amazing day.”


    “Ready to go?” 


    “Aw shoot here they go. Okay Rae…” Amee teased, sticking out her tongue.

    “Girl. Goodbye.” She slid fingers through his. 

    “We’re hittin the sack y’all. Goodnight!” 

    “Good night you two!”

    “Have fun.” The group grinned ear to ear. 

    “Let’s toast to that!” 


    Nothing was said as they laid together, the warmth and silence between them comfortable. In the sticky heat of the summer night, the fireflies hovered a breath away from them. His arms wrapped around her and pulled her against him, burying his face against her hair. Sighing, she eyed the ring that sat real pretty like on her finger. The next chapter of their lives had just begun and she couldn’t wait to write upon the fresh pages. In holy matrimony. Turning to face him, she watched him sleep until her eyelids closed and it too claimed her. 



    There in the midst of the dark stood a boy and a girl. Hands together, they looked toward the light that was building. Slowly they began to take a step and soon the light fully engulfed them. No turning back. Now their lives were forever intertwined and as long as they had the light to guide, they would be okay. 

Chapter End Notes:

  A/N: OMG HELLO MY LOVES! <3 <3 HOW HAVE YOU BEEN?! MY BABIES DON FINALLY GOT MARRIED!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! I TELL YOU, THIS CHAPTER TOOK SO MUCH TIME BUT I WANTED TO MAKE SURE IT WAS DONE RIGHT AND FELT RIGHT! IT WENT THROUGH SO MANY CHANGES BUT I THINK IT FEELS R&R NOW. OMG. LOL. Favorite parts of the chapter were: Roto givin Rae her chawan. Seriously.... This is such a beautiful and pivotal part. Truly a piece of his heart and soul. Another part that made me tear up was the scene with Hamako-dono. That prayer bit right before the wedding also was a favorite! <3 Hiroto and Rae were so stinkin cute in this chapter hehehe. I just.... I just have so many emotions right now like.... Their love and their story is truly a blessing to write! I did a wee bit of foreshadowing in here for what's upcoming.. The best is yet to come. Already got ideas for next chapter but for now I just want to revel in the fact that my babies are really married! hehe. OH. I should let you guys know that I have personally contacted this guy here: 

to ask him if he would consider playing Hiroto in real life but see what happened was my Japanese is very limited and uh lol. I hit him up on his instagram and don't know if he ever saw it! BUT! I took the balls to go that far and I really want this to be a thing so I will continue to try to reach him until he finally replies back. Prayers for that guys! I contacted the visual for Rae this beautiful woman here: 

last year and send her the link to Accordance at the time and she read a bit and said she loved it. lol. I freaked out! I was like omg lol. Truthfully though, as much as I would love Natasha to play Rae... in real life she's not as short as Rae is. Sooo if I were to do a casting call for Rae;s character, I'd be looking for a sista that's more along those lines! I would definitely love to involve Natasha in the process however haha. So yes that's exciting hehe, Now I'm gon stop talkin and put a butt load of pictures lol. Please tell me how you liked the chapter, what your thoughts were, etc. I really appreciate them! I love you guys and am so thankful for you supportin my works!!! <3 Let's go till it gets on the big screen! <3 Many blessings to you in Jesus' Name! See you soon! 

P.S- Kansai-ben is the loyal accent of Kyoto and surrounding areas. Kyoto is located in the Kansai region. <3 It is quite a charming accent to hear haha. It differs from the accent heard and spoken in Tokyo.





Chawan Roto made with his grandma: 

Rae's wedding dress: 

Rae's wedding hair (with more white flower accents): 

Rae's ring:



Hiroto's montsuki haori (wedding kimono): 

Hiroto's hair:

Tobu's kimono:


Hiroto's birth home in Kyoto: 

Eri Hada and Shou Iwase as youngsters (in the picture): 

Iwase Chieko (Hiroto's Grandmother): 

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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.