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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.


Two weeks had passed since they had returned home. Rae had several proposals for new initiatives already and interviews booked for several companies. The world was simply fascinated with her and it made him smile from ear to see how his wife was flourishing. At the news of their elopement, media outlets around the globe tried to bombard them. Blinded by millions of camera flashes, they tried their best to jump back into work, amid the craziness. A stack of papers clunked down on his desk, interrupting his thoughts.

    “Guess what these are?” Sliding small glasses down the bridge of his nose, he leaned forward on his desk, bringing his gaze upward.. The voice of his beloved made his heart flutter.

    “What are they?” 

    “Proposals.” His brows drew together. 

    “For?” 

    “Interviews, magazine spreads, you name it.” 

    “You’re serious?” Rae grinned. 

    “As a heart attack. I just got off the phone with the Director at Vivi, an-an and Non-no. They all expressed wanting to feature us in their upcoming projects.” 

    “Really?”

    “Really…” He never in a million years would have thought anyone would want them to be featured in a magazine, much less some of the top magazines in the country.

    “Babe, this is amazing!” She laughed, gripping his fingers. 

    “Boy who you tellin? Everything is moving so fast…it’s crazy.” He smiled and pulled her hands to his lips, gently kissing them. 

    “I’ll look these over and get back with the Directors at a later date.” 

    “Okay. I-I’ll get back and sift through some more upcoming appointments. Don’t forget you have a meeting with Kawanashi-san from Sekkia at noon and two other appointments later in the day.”

    “Thank you babe and…congratulations…” Leaning over, she softly kissed him. 

    “Thank you.” She pulled herself together and straightened, clearing her throat. 

    “Have a good day Mr. Iwase.” 

    “You as well.” He said with a wink. As the doors closed he resumed work, a tremendous grin on his face. 

***

    “Have you been looking?” 

    “Looking…?”

    “For a place for you and Roto.”

    “Oh… yeah when we both have time. ‘Tween the interviews and work, we haven’t had much time.”

    “You excited though? To be in y’all own house?” 

    “Girl yes! I can’t wait to live together.” 

    “Aww you sound so happy. You deserve every little bit of it.”

    “Thanks Lee.” Smiling, she sighed before looking towards the kids as they played indoors. On her own, she had traveled to Ayako to check in on the status of the children. Thankfully, most of the children were doing well, having been cared for properly and some even ventured into school outside Ayako. Scanning the children, she searched for one boy in particular. Found him. Standing, she dusted off her skirt. 

    “Hey Lee?”

    “Yeah boo?”

    “Sorry to cut this short but I gotta run. What time you get off tonight?”

    “Mm….7.”

    “Okay. I call you then if you ain’t sleep.”

    “Okie doke. Give everybody my love.”

    “I will. Love you.”

    “Love you too.”  Hanging up, she licked her lips and started for the boy.  He stood alone, the other children having no interest in him. 

    “Kyouta-kun?” He looked up and surprise blossomed in the young boy’s eyes. 

    “Ms. Ebere?” 

    “Hi there. Why are you all alone?”

    “What are you doing here?” She smiled and knelt to sit with her legs neatly pulled underneath her. It had taken a long while of practice before it no longer hurt. 

    “I wanted to come see you.” He blinked. 

    “Me? Just me?” 

    “Mm.” He swallowed and put the toys he had picked up back down on the play mat. 

    “I’m nothing special. I’m weird and nobody likes me.” Gently, she reached over and grabbed one of his hands, squeezing lightly. 

    “That’s not true Kyouta-kun. You are very special.” 

    “How so?” 

    “You like to build things right?”

    “Mm.”

    “Have you ever thought about building pretty things when you get older?” 

    “N-not really.”

    “You can do anything you put your mind to. The other kids are special too in their own right. But, sometimes, some of us have just that extra bit of uniqueness that makes others uncomfortable.” 

    “It’s no good to be different.” 

    “Says who?” He looked up at her, her hand still holding his. 

    “What?”

    “Who said being different is bad?” That got his little brain turning and he couldn’t answer for a moment. But when he did, the answer broke her heart. 

    “If I wasn’t the way I am, my family would not have rejected me. Being different has gotten me here.”  He pulled his hand away from her and slowly stood up. 

    “Thank you for coming to see me Ms. Ebere. I am glad to see you.” With a deep bow, he left her sitting on the floor, hands now balled up into fists, her eyes watery. 

    *** 

    “Hiroto-kun?”

    “Ah, there you are.”  Having turned back from the window of his office, he smiled warmly at the visitor. 

     “You look great.” Cheeks grew red, hands shoved into pockets. 

    “Yeah well I couldn’t just show up with anything on.” Chuckling, he eyed his friend over once more. Truthfully, he was surprised he actually came. Tobu had been avoiding the professional world for over ten years. Never mind the fact that the man was extremely talented and brilliant. He’d been sent to the States to attend Harvard and scored top of his graduating class in Biomedical Engineering. Yet, the genius had come back to Japan and wasted his life shuffling reports in a lowly desk job. 

    “I’m glad you came Tobu.” The man looked so uncomfortable it appeared he might vomit. 

    “Y-yeah sure.”

    “It’ll be fine To-chan. Relax.”

    “W-what are w-we going to do?” 

    “Shoutoii has a science department, one that is not utilized as much as it should be. In fact, the foundations my father set in place are rapidly declining.”

    “O-okay and what do you want me to do about it?” He smirked. 

    “I want you to restore it.”

    “No.” 

    “Tobu…”

    “No. I can’t do that. I don’t have the ability to do that.” He leaned back onto the edge of his desk, arms crossed. 

    “You know… in many ways you’re still the same.” Tobu blinked, waiting for him to continue. 

    “Although you have outgrown your timidness and physical insecurity, you still second guess yourself. You were always afraid of your intelligence.”

    “Hiroto-”

    “As your friend and brother, I’ll be damned if I let you fall. It makes me sick to see you not use the gifts and talents you were blessed with and right now Tobu, you are wasting your life.”  He swallowed tightly and glanced up at him, fists clenched. 

    “You’ve been saving that for years haven’t you?”

    “Yeah.” Tobu sighed deeply and licked his lips, quiet. He could see the mental gears turning in his head and after a while of being silent, he finally spoke. 

    “How do you propose I revive this sector of your business?”  He grinned. 

    “Glad you asked. Do come. Sit.” 

*** 

    Feet curled up underneath her, hair swept away from her face. She hadn’t been sleeping well and the meeting with Kyouta had been running over and over in her mind. How defeated he was… it did not sit right with her. At all. Looking outwards into the distance, all around them rolling hills and fields a multitude of colors flourished. 

    “Rae?” Turning from the window, she looked up to find Roto standing in the doorway, hands in his pockets. 

    “Hm?” 

    “You haven’t been sleeping much lately. What’s on your mind?” Licking her lips, she slid fingers through her stretched hair. It had grown so long. 

    “Come here.” Inching his way closer to her, he had worry etched into his expression.

    “What’s up?” He asked, coming to sit next to her. 

    “Ion know… I guess I just been thinkin about all we been through.”

    “Mm?”

    “Yeah… I um… I went the other day to visit Kyouta.” His eyes lit up.     

    “Kyou-kun! How is he?” 

    “He’s…he’s healthy on the outside. The staff at Ayako are taking very good care of him… impeccable care of him.” 

    “But?”

    “But his mind is damaged.” His brows furled. 

    “How so?” She reached out and grabbed his hand.

    “Wasn’t yours too when you went through your experiences?” A serious solemn look spread into his face and he swallowed. 

    “Are the other children isolating him?”

    “Yeah. He told me he didn’t think he was special… like he had nothing to offer anyone.” 

    “Rae…”

    “I know that he’s a child and children sometimes say things that are reflective of their society but you don’t understand what that did to me… to see this beautiful little boy have such a self loathing and hatred of his talents.” He was quiet. 

    “He reminds me of you…”

    “That’s why I feel such a connection to him.” She turned to face him. 

    “He has been abandoned and isolated for much of his young life. He deserves love but who can give it to him the way he needs?” He balled up his lips before answering. 

    “I can’t answer that but I can see how much he means to you and to me. He’s truly something special.” 

    “Would you be down if I suggested we take him out for a day?” 

    “Most certainly.”

    “Okay then… be preparing for that.” He slowly sat down on the ground. Sighing, he leaned his head back against her stomach and lifted hands to cradle her legs. 

    “There is someone who wants to interview us but I have hesitations about it.”

    “Why’s that?” Her fingers slowly drifted into his hair and he hummed, opening his eyes to meet hers.

    “He’s the most controversial radio talk show host in Japan. He’s uncouth, rude and has no filter. It’s unbelievable that the radio executives have continued to let him air his show.” 

    “What he be talkin bout on there?”

    “Things not appropriate for children… I’ll leave it at that.” 

    “And he wanna interview us? What’s that about?”

    “No doubt it’s to spout some twisted nationalist agenda of his. He believes that Japanese should be only for Japanese.”

    “Oh so he one of those. Hm.”

    “Yeah…” She leaned down to kiss his forehead.

    “I ain’t scared of him. I say we go for it.” He lifted and turned to face her. 

    “Are you sure?” She nodded.  With a sigh, he pressed his face against her thigh. 

    “It’s settled then.”

    “How’d the meeting with Tobu go?” 

    “He wasn’t open to the idea I proposed at first but give it some time and I think that he will start to take off.”

    “That’s good. Tobu is such a smart dude.”

    “Mm.” A thoughtful silence spread between them. 

    “Ya know…back home lots of folks would look at the way I’m livin and say I think I’m too good.” He looked up at her.

    “And how are they living to have an opinion I wonder.”

    “It’s definitely easy to become arrogant in the life that we’re livin ya know? Money do that to some people.” 

    “Take your life for exactly what it is. Money has not and will not ever change you or I… should we not allow it to. Regardless of what you have in the bank, what is more important is the legacy you are building. You’ve set a wonderful foundation for the future. You’ve helped me transform Shoutoii into a company that is about the people and the welfare of the people…and it is only the beginning.”

    “Hm..”

    “Do you think with the way you’ve been blessed that you inspire others?” 

    “I would hope to God so.” She mused quietly, leaning forward to slide his bangs back from yourhis face.

    “You and I have a lot of things to accomplish together. It just so happens that to complete it all, we must have a considerable amount of money. Never feel guilty for what God’s given you babe.” 

    “You right bae.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her cheek against the top of his head. 

    “I ain’t ever gon stop bein me. No matter what happen. Even though I’m livin like a Queen, I still got my mind of the people who livin like dirt.” He lifted only to press his face against her heart. 

    “And that is what I love about you…your heart is for the people…” Smiling, she pressed a kiss to his hair. 

    “Kay, I’ma gon in here and see what I can make us for dinner. I ain’t familiar with your kitchen so you gon have to help me out.” He grinned against her. 

    “Gladly.” She laughed as he got up and helped her up. 

    “Mr. Eat-Em-Ups reporting for duty!” Sticking out his tongue, he tugged her into the kitchen where their latest adventure awaited. 


*** 

    “What led you to elope?” Hands tightly clasped, the world seemed ready to hear an answer. 

    “We wanted a private ceremony and thought it best to avoid the sensationalism of our union.”

    “I’m sure that many people are put off by the fact that you’ve married a Non-Japanese woman…even more so one who is not of aristocratic blood.” 

    “Titles do not interest me. Irregardless of the fact that my wife is, yes by aristocratic means, ordinary..who she is as a person matters much more to me. The history between us goes deeper than if her blood is or isn’t blue.”  Bullet one avoided, many more up to bat. In all of their interviews of yet, this was the first strictly personal one. The fact that it did not revolve around Shoutoii unnerved her. Shoutoii was a safe space. But now, she and Hiroto were thrown out to the wind, left to toss to and fro. 

    “Ebere, how does it feel being married to one of the most well known and influential men in Asia?” Batter up… She licked her lips and sat up straighter. 

    “It doesn’t feel any different than say you being married to your husband Megumi. Hiroto and I are like any other normal couple. We laugh, cry, fight and get on each other’s nerves. The fact that he comes from noble birth has never impressed me. Before all of that, he is a human being. To me, he is just Hiroto. Nothing else.”  In awe of her answer, the team gaped at them. 

    “A-Ah but of course.”  His hand let go of her and gently came to lie on her knee. 

    “I think that people tend to get caught up in who my family is and the contributions we’ve made to society. But in doing so, they also tend to forget that I am not a god. I am not to be worshipped or put on a pedestal.” Again, they and the whole audience was quiet as he continued, 

    “It doesn’t matter how I was raised and what rhetoric I grew up listening to. I’ve never been comfortable with the idea that what I possessed could and has made people kill, hurt, abuse and lie. I am fortunate to have had a grandmother who instilled in me that money is not everything and that my blood just like everyone else’s is red.” 

    “Mm. Speaking of family, have your parents taken the news to you marrying Ebere well?” 

    “The opinions of my parents are irrelevant.” 

    “Surely, they want heirs.” Damn, they were on them like white and rice. 

    “…”

    “Well this may be perhaps a bit personal question but do you plan intimacy around conception and if so, do you have a preference of gender?” That stopped her cold. She turned to look at him and his hand gripped her knee just a tad bit tighter. 

    “Ah, with all due respect, that’s an entirely too personal question.”

    “It is a reasonable one considering who you’ve married. The whole world wishes to know how soon it has to wait before children are brought up.” 

    “Children are a topic that Rae and I haven’t discussed yet. With our focus on Shoutoii and the children that need us presently, I think I can speak for us both in saying that right now we are content with that.”  She smiled at him and he caressed her arm. 

    “Kids are something that we will be talking about for sure but… y’all gotta stop trippin with all the extra-ness. When Hiroto and I have kids, trust me… y’all will know. I mean.. we just got married for Pete’s sake. Chill out.False smiles plastered to their faces as she gently tossed her hair over her shoulder. 

    “Don’t edit that part out either. Please put everything I have said in the tape.” 

    “O-okay well that’s all the time we have today. Let’s all give Mr. and Mrs. Iwase a round of applause! Thank you both for coming to visit with us today!” Relieved, she stood and bowed as applause roared through the studio. With rushed formalities and goodbyes, they high tailed it out of there, paparazzi waiting for them.

    “Why the secrecy?” 

    “When did your relationship turn romantic?” 

    “How long have you been traveling to New York to see her?” Swamped, he tried to keep her close to him as they hurried to the open car door. Safe behind tinted windows, he exhaled, exhaustion in his face. 

    “That right there is crazy.” She huffed, fell out across the seat.

    “We’ve seen nothing yet.” 

***

    The appointments with Vivi and an-an soon after followed and it was much more comfortable. More her speed. Vivi, being a magazine aimed at teen girls, had prepared so many cute outfits for the both of them and the 4 page spread featured them in cute little scenarios. Inside were bits and pieces of advice they would give their younger selves and other relatable stories of their youth. When Cosmopolitan called, the day went slightly different. 

*** 

    A large golden throne sat in the room, a neutral toned backdrop behind it. Taking a deep breath, she looked at herself in the mirror, makeup and hair done. Clothed in a beautiful African print, a small amount of cleavage showed. Just right. Judging by the way this was going, she figured this wasn’t going to be a kid friendly shoot. Truth be told, she was expecting something like this sooner or later. Reminiscent of the photographer in France, she swallowed. If he looked any better than she did, Houston was gon have a problem. 

    “Rae-san, we’re ready for you.” Here goes…

    Stepping out, she found Roto seated in the oversized throne and as expected, he made every last drop of air come from her lungs. Damn… damn damn damn why. Hair short and messy, he sat dressed in a pure white shirt and black skinny jeans, the shirt open to expose some of his chest. Her heart beat faster but she drew closer and once their eyes met, she felt liquid fire shoot straight to her womb. He took her in, mouth slightly open. 

    “U-Um…s-so where am I to stand again?” She asked, pulling her eyes away from him. 

    “We’re thinking behind him. Here, let’s place your crown on. You have such beautiful hair.” Blushing, she smiled weakly and knelt, letting the woman put the crown on. 

    “It’s pure gold too. Yours to keep should you want it.” Eyes wide, she lifted. 

    “Uh…. what?” 

    “She’s so cute Hiroto-kun. She must not be familiar with aristocracy.” 

    “No, but then that’s what’s refreshing about her. She makes me feel normal.” He spoke, a small grin on his face. Judging by the tone, the two guys were familiar and it made her relax more. 

    “She’s so beautiful. Come this way.” She blinked and came to stand behind him. 

    “Place your hand on his shoulder, almost as if to support him.” 

    “O-Okay…” 

    “Hiroto-kun, please put your crown on.” He did so and glanced up at her. Without a word, he gently lifted the hand she’d placed on his shoulder and kissed the back of it. 

    “Okay guys, look here! The theme for today if you can’t already tell is royalty in modern era. Don’t be shy to be a bit flirty. Let your natural chemistry shine through okay?” Giving a brief nod, she leaned closer and lifted her other arm to drape her arms slightly down his chest as the first click of the shutter sounded. 

    “Okay! Good shot but let’s get a bit more comfortable. It looks strained.” After a couple more shots, she had grown less stiff and had began to pose naturally. 

    “May I suggest something?” He spoke up after a while.     

    “Sure.”

    “Rae is the Queen yes?” 

    “Yes.”

    “Why then is she behind her King?” They blinked for a moment, simply baffled. He lifted her hand and started to pull her around the side of the throne. 

    “Your intention is to primarily focus on me, Rae being but a decoration in the background. If I am not mistaken, a Queen’s place is with her King.” He wrapped a hand around her hip and pulled her until she sat on his lap, surprise written all over her face. But he wasn’t playin. 

    “I want you to shoot with her right here. With me. Not behind me or to the side of me.” 

    “Let’s roll with it! Rae-san, please get comfortable before we shoot.” Taking a shaky breath, she cleared her throat and readjusted herself, bringing her arm to wrap around his neck. His arms stayed stretched on the arms of the throne. The shutter clicked and the Director gasped. 

    “That’s our winning pose! Let’s get a couple more.” The next few shots varied, her hand pressing against his heart, his hand coming to grab her hip, even more daring it appearing as if they were to kiss, her fingers tangled in his hair, the crown meeting her fingertips. By the end of it all, she was trying to hold her composure, burning, bothered and quite ready to get him home. When they came to look at the shots, her breath whooshed out of her. They looked like living breathing art… their love, tenderness, and thinly veiled desire plain for everyone to see. 

    “Wonderful job you two! We will contact you when the issue is in print.” Bowing, they gathered their belongings and with his hand pressed against her back, left the building eager to get into the limo. 

***

    “The world is mad about the new ‘Royal Couple’ as they are being named…Japan’s very own Hiroto Iwase and his new wife, a fellow American, Ebere Iwase! You may have heard of him from his time here in the States, conquering both the Japanese and European markets at the young age of 28. With such success so young, he quickly became the talk of Wall Street. What wasn’t known was that Hiroto Iwase was actually of genteel birth, coming from a long line of Emperors, scholars and yes, samurai. The story of how the two met is still unknown but what is for sure is this: Ebere’s both the luckiest woman in the world as well as the most envied. 

    *** 

    After the Cosmo magazine shoot, it seemed like everything catapulted into overdrive. Everybody wanted to get them on their show to talk about the racy cover and their relationship. Outside of Japan, the UK became their next host for an interview some said was watched by millions. 

*** 

    “After waiting almost two full months, we’ve finally got them on the show! Sure to be a moment you don’t want to miss, we have the couple everyone’s talking about and we’re ready to find out all about them. Let’s give a very big UK welcome to Hiroto and Ebere Iwase!” The applause was deafening but it did nothing but make him more nervous. Luckily for him, the woman holding his hand was smiling, gently encouraging him to do his best. Swallowing, he attempted a smile as the crowd caught view of them. 

    “Welcome! Welcome! Thank you for joining us!” The hosts exclaimed as they rose to give polite hugs. Once seated, he took another deep breath. 

    “Thank you for having us.” 

    “It’s taken so long for us to get to this point, how are you two feeling?” Loosening his grip on her hand, he sat up straighter. 

    “Nervous but well. It’s amazing to see so many wonderful people who have come to be with us today.” The audience cheered. 

    “You’re so beautiful Ebere…wow! I’m sorry but I just had to say that…” She blushed. 

    “T-thank you.”

    “I think we all want to know…how did you two meet?” She glanced up at him before smiling. 

    “Well, that’s a first. So far everyone has been concerned with my skin color.” The audience laughed but she was dead serious. 

    “How did we meet babe?” She asked, grinning as he let a smile out. 

    “We met in high school. She was a transfer student coming all the way from America. And when I saw her for the first time, I think I forgot how to breathe.” 

    “That’s cute…” One of the ladies said with a cheesy smile. 

    “I met Rae under some very unfortunate circumstances however. Just as I had admired her beauty so did others. And they weren’t as polite as I was.”

    “What happened?” 

    “Well… let’s put it like this…one of them tried to come on to me and was trying to be forceful about it.” Eyes grew wide. 

    “Oh my God…”

    “Yeah. Hiroto came just in the nick of time and from that moment, I became fascinated with him.” She intertwined their fingers again. 

    “At first I couldn’t get over how attractive he was. I’d never seen anybody like him before and everything about him I found curious. Slowly but surely, Hiroto and I formed a bond that transcended friendship. No one could come between it or shatter it no matter how hard they tried.” 

    “Did you fall in love at first sight?” She nibbled on her lip a bit before answering. 

    “Truthfully, it was more lust at first. He’s extremely good looking and at the time being teenagers, my hormones were buck crazy. That certain chemistry was definitely there between us from jump but Hiroto was always much more to me than just a body or a face. I began to crave interactions with his intellect, his wisdom and his laughter. Our friendship was so beautiful and deep…”

    “Spiritual.” He input, squeezing her hand. 

    “Yeah. Like… it went on a level beyond the normal. I grew so attached to him that I could almost feel his breath. It was wild.”

    “Wow…” The man sitting next to his co-host swallowed, not quite expecting the answers. 

    “I noticed you are using past tense. Did something happen later on?” Sighing, he took the lead on this one. 

    “I broke her heart.”

    “How?” He licked his lips. 

    “Being that I was the only surviving son, a duty to marry and produce heirs was the primary goal from the beginning. At the time, my parents did not accept Rae; even as a friend. They could not understand why I spent so much time with her. No matter how I tried to tell them it was not her color or status that I cared for… that I had fallen in love with her mind, her personality and her heart. I fully intended to marry Rae once I became of legal age but I chose something else instead.”

    “I see.”

    “Being young, I made the mistake of putting their and my society’s needs above my own. As a Japanese, you are conditioned to live for the culture, for the people and the desires of the people. And with that belief, I accepted to marry one of my own. Choosing the other woman over my happiness was a mistake that I had to atone for in many ways.” 

    “Ah, I believe I know the woman of who you speak. Kiko Miyamae.” He nodded. 

    “Mm.”

    “So… fast forward a few years…how did you two reconnect?”

    “Let me tell you, I had no intention of ever seeing this man again. I was living my own life, had a great job and at the time what I thought was a great boyfriend. He was completely off my radar. Bur inside, I still loved him and still had not truly let him go.”

    “Mm…”

    “The thing about Hiroto is that when he envisions something, he does all that he can to make it realty. He’s persistant and aggressive in his pursuits. Having said that, this man literally flew to New York City, hellbent on finding me. Sure, the New York chapter of Shoutoii was on the list of things to do but his main objective was to make things right with me.” 

    “That true?” He chuckled, glancing at her. 

    “Yes it is. After so long of being apart, I wanted…needed to make amends with her. My relationship with Kiko was nothing but a sham and I had grown tired of pleasing people who only sought to exploit me. I had decided that I was going to life my life for myself and only myself.” 

    “Wow… this is like something you see in a movie! It’s quite unreal to hear of this in real life. Really quickly, Ebere… let’s talk about your role in Shoutoii. You single handedly started a foundation while working for your husband. Are there any plans to start something else?” She released her grip on his hand and clutched hers together. 

    “There are plans in the works yes.”

    “Will they involve more initiatives with children?” 

    “Possibly. Hiroto and I are dedicated to establishing Shoutoii as a company for the People. Anyway we can serve, we shall.”  

    “One last question before we say goodbye. Mr. Iwase, I understand that in recent years you have been openly expressing your Christian faith. Were you always Christian?” He smiled with a sigh. 

    “No. Growing up, I practiced Shintoism. But, in meeting Rae, I noticed that there was a light that seemed to pulsate around her.. it glowed from the inside outward. I became perplexed at its beauty and slightly frightened as to what it was. She always had a peaceful aura and I wondered what made her so peaceful. Being around her seemed to heal me somehow… her presence was unlike anything I’d ever encountered. In our later years after reconnecting, I finally came to understand just where it came from. I decided for myself after a long time of searching to accept Jesus as my savior. An encounter with Him changed my life and I’ve never looked back.” 

    That’s beautiful… utterly beautiful.”  He nodded, a slight color in his cheeks. 

    “Being with this woman is nothing short of a divine experience and I can only hope and pray that through the both of us, those that are lost can be found and healed of what has broken them.” 

    “Wow…well, it appears that it is time for Mr. and Mrs. Iwase to leave us! We humbly thank them for visiting with us today! Please give your support to Shoutoii and keep an eye for their future works! We’ll be right back, don’t go anywhere!” When commercial break came, they all stood. 

    “That was nothing short of phenomenal! You two are such a treat!” She blushed and pulled his arm against her. 

    “We appreciate you all here for showing us such love.”

    “Please do visit again and know that you are very much loved here in the UK.”

    “We shall.” Bowing formally to them, cast and crew, he slid a hand across Rae’s back as he led her out of the building. 

***

    The next few days came and went and to her delight, Tobu was starting to come around more regularly. Though only catching glimpses, she enjoyed seeing him in his natural element. Why it took him so long to let go of his fear she didn’t know but she was damn glad to see him begin to blossom. More and more offers began to pop up, so many of them that the secretary had a hard time keeping up with them. 

    “Mrs. Iwase,” Looking up from her computer, she smiled. 

    “Yes?”

    “He is here. Would you like me to have him wait in your sitting room?”

    “No, I’ll come out there. Thank you Miyako.” Getting up from her desk, she smoothed down her pencil skirt and proceeded out into her sitting room. There sat a nervous child, hands clutched together so tight color was starting to be lost.     

    “Kyouta-kun?” He looked up, swallowing hard. 

    “Yes?” 

    “Feel free to come in sweetie.”

    “O-okay.” Inside, he sat down, obviously nervous. 

    “Y-you wanted to see me?” She sat on the edge of her desk, hands lightly clasped. 

    “Yes.”

    “Why?”

    “Because I missed you.” He looked up at her, cheeks stained pink. 

    “You missed me?”

    “Mm.”

    “Oh…” He looked down at his hands. 

    “What about Oniisama? Does he miss me too?” She smiled deeply before pushing herself off of her desk. 

    “Why don’t we ask him…” The door opened and in walked Hiroto, a gentle smile on his face. Kyouta gasped and sat up straighter, hands now clutching the arms of his chair. 

    “O-Oniisama…”

    “Hi Kyou-kun.”

    “A-ah…um…”

    “Kyouta…” No honorific, he looked up at once. 

    “I have a question for you.”

    “What is it?”

    “Would you like to go to dinner with us?”

    “Ah….I-I don’t know…”

    “Well, if you do, we have a special surprise for you.”

    “What’s that?”

    “Can’t tell you unless you come.” The boy paused for a moment before, 

    “Okay. I’ll come.”

    “Alright! It’s settled! Let’s go boys!” She said with a grin, going over to grab her coat. He slowly stood, unsure of what was happening. 

    “We’re leaving now?”

    “Mmhm. Come on sweetie.”

    “O-okay…”

    “What do you like to eat?”

    “Okonomiyaki.”

    “Sounds good!” What didn’t go unnoticed was that in their walk to the elevators, a small hand reached out and grabbed a little of Roto’s suit jacket. Smiling to herself, she went to open the car door and once he was in tight, they took off.

*** 

    “Is he okay?” 

    “Yeah. Just sleeping.” After dinner, the boy had fallen asleep in the backseat. Full  and happy, he tiredly exclaimed that he didn’t want to go back to Ayako; rather, he wanted to come home with them if only for a night. And now, wrapped in lots of cozy blankets, he slept peacefully, his face covered in fleece. 

    He stood by the door, arms crossed. Watching as Rae knelt over him to tuck him in some more, he couldn’t help but feel a tug in his heart. Up until now, they hadn’t discussed children in detail and had been exceedingly careful not to conceive. He knew that eventually, they would try to get pregnant and that right now, it was entirely too soon. They were still adjusting to married life and even more so to the intimacy between them. All of it still so new. 

    “Rae.” 

    “Hm?” She asked, looking up, away from the child. 

    “Do you think he enjoyed himself tonight?” She smiled softly. 

    “Yeah I do. I think he had a blast.”

    “Mm.”

    “He really missed you Roto.”

    “I missed him just as much.”

    “It’s been a while since you’ve seen him huh?”

    “Mm.”

    “Such a sweetie… he’s tuckered out.” While she laughed quietly, his gaze remained on her intensely. 

    “Rae?”

    “Yeah bae?”

    “I can’t help but observe how you are with him. It’s beautiful to witness.”

    “You think so?”

    “Mm.”

    “You know, that reminds me of somethin Hana said long time ago with Hisae. She said I was a natural mother.” Their eyes met. 

    “Do you want children someday?” Her cheeks instantly flourished in rouge. 

    “O-of course I do babe.”

    “We haven’t yet talked about it and I know it’s way too soon to even think about them. But, I just figured I would ask.” She swallowed, lifting to stand. 

    “Your daddy put you up to this? You know he been buggin ever since we touched back down in Japan.” He chuckled. 

    “True. But no. He hasn’t. I just…I just want to know.” She wrapped arms around herself with a sigh. 

    “There is nothing more I’d love than to have kids with you Hiroto. That definitely is a goal in our future. But… we literally just got married. I don’t know how long is too long to wait.” He licked his lips and came into the room, wrapping his arms around her. 

    “There is no time limit. When we’re both ready, it’ll be the perfect timing.” Smile again delicate as a flower, she gently sifted fingers through Kyouta’s hair before catching herself. Bringing her fingers to a swift pause, she pulled them away and cleared her throat. 

    “Let’s let him sleep. Tomorrow, we’ll take him back to Ayako.”  

    “Mm.” Coming to press her forehead against his chest, she sighed. 

    “Let’s enjoy each other a lil bit longer babe.” 

    “Okay.” She reached up to caress his jawline.  

    “I think you’d make such a wonderful father. I can’t wait to see that.” Kissing her wrist, he smiled. 

    “Mm.” As they went to bed, they had no idea that in the coming months, something new was to come upon them in a form that neither of them expected. 

*** 

    Pictures were ripped out, shreds here and there, littered across the concrete floor. Smiles and held hands but one photo seemed to incite a deep anger, unlike any other. Eyes lifted, staring at it in intensity. Gold crowns adorned their heads and there she sat on his lap, arm around his shoulder. His hands were loose and comfortable on the arms of the chair and he looked every bit of the King he was, confident and powerful. But only one thing tainted the regality of the photo. In all the years that had passed, this she could not forget. Eyes dropped to view the other photos of the shoot. Surrounded by a elaborate garden, he had her gently pressed against a wall of tangled vines and flowers. Her leg had been slightly lifted and the skin of her thigh was seen from underneath the quite beautiful flowy dress she wore. There again gold atop the head, they appeared as if a breath away from kissing. Fingers tangled in his hair, fingers that dared to claim what should never have been hers. The sneaky little bitch. Lastly, the picture that served as a dagger to the heart. In that beautifully ornate throne, she sat, nearly coming out of it as his arm came to lift her, arching her back. Her hands had been lifted, displayed across the tops of the throne and her legs lifted, feet pressed against him as if to pull him closer. Being much larger than her, he hovered over her, hands covering hers, fingers nearly tangled as suddenly in the next frame, they appeared taken by surprise; their moment interrupted. Anger breathed fire inside her and she breathed heavily. This she would never let go. Not until she breathed her last breath. This was one mistake that needed corrected, no matter what the cost. If she had to spend the rest of her life trying, she would. Alas, a change was upon them all indeed. 

 






Chapter End Notes:

 

A/N: So many beautiful beginnings in this chapter! What do you think about Tobu starting out at Shoutoii? I think it's great and can't wait for my baby to SHINE lol .Also, I am highly considering having Rae and Roto adopt Kyouta in the future so this is the beginning of their relationship on a personal level. I think the child is sweet and he needs what only Rae and Roto can give. I think realistically, if a high profile couple came back from honeymoon they would be mobbed as such and interviews would be plenty lol so I wanted to add a few nice interviews in there. There always gon be that one person who hating lol. *shrugs* eh lol. Main outfits for Cosmo photoshoot will be included. Hope you enjoyed this double update hehe. (FINALLY I KNOW RIGHT LOL) Love you all and may God richly bless each and every one of you! Your support means more than words! <3 

P.S Who that at the end? :0 


Outfits: 

Rae: 

 

 

Roto: 

 







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