>> Wednesday, July 13, 2011
If you are interested in reading this, start here or, even if you're a fan, you'll get confused. Note that the disclaimer and introduction still apply.
Disclaimer: these characters and scenarios are based on the work of Nakamura Yoshiki and I'm just speculating on what might happen later in the story. Nothing more, nothing less. It is not an original work and I will never try to market or profit by it in any way. The manga is rated "Teen" but this is probably closer to "older Teen."
When Ren parked his car, he felt drained after an afternoon that had dragged at snail's pace, filled with retakes and delays that had pushed him beyond the projected end time of six. Even if he had not been the cause of the retakes, he hadn't had the strength to herd his co-star into competence this time.
Even so, he felt a sense of relief. No other jobs stared back at him that evening, no rushing to another task. More than that, he felt inexplicably like a weight had been lifted after his talk with the friendly chicken. He couldn't say why, exactly. His situation had not changed, other than getting a bit of a break, but the real problem, his conflicting need/fear to touch Kyoko, was effectively unchanged. Except, for some reason, he didn't feel quite so worried about it. That chicken had his own magic. Her own magic. Funny, he'd never realized the chicken was a girl before. He wondered if he'd recognize her out of costume.
Of course, he had no idea what he should do with the time Yashiro and the chicken had forced on him. He was exhausted, but he didn't think sleep would come easily. As for food, he couldn't begin to imagine what he could eat. Kyoko would certainly scold him if she saw how poorly his kitchen was stocked.
Damn it. He wanted to call her Kyoko, not Kyoko-chan or Mogami-san. The chicken called her Kyoko. Yashiro did, Ogata. The stalker. Even that idiot, Fuwa, called her Kyoko.
Sitting in the car was accomplishing nothing, he told himself. He opened the door and nearly smacked it into Kyoko, who was leaning over to rap on his window. "I'm sorry, Mogami-san. Are you all right? What are you doing here?"
"Yashiro-san said you were going home earlier than usual today and needed a meal, so I offered to make you one. I thought I was going to be late, but it looks like it worked out just perfectly," she said, looking up at him through her lashes like she frequently did when she was embarrassed. His brain stuttered in response.
Yashiro, that busybody! Trying to behave like a gentleman with Kyoko spending the evening with him... He already felt stretched to his limit. "That's very kind of you, Mogami-san," he said with his most polite smile. "But I ate on the way home."
She narrowed her eyes at him. "Oh? What?"
Shit! His mind was a blank. "Grilled frogs."
She didn't even dignify his lie with a reply. "Tsuraga-san, you have to eat decent food regularly or you will end up sick again. When was the last time you ate a real meal?"
The last time she cooked him something as Setsu, but he knew better than to bring that up.
She probably guessed from his face. She shook her head, her finger up, and said loftily. "I've brought food to cook and I'm not leaving until you've eaten it."
"I'm really not hungry," he offered, as he gestured her into his building.
"I'm not leaving..."
Ren sighed, resigned. "Until I've eaten a decent meal. I understand. You are very persistent." He ushered her into the elevator. They were the only ones in the elevator, but she seemed content to be quiet since she'd won her point. As they exited the elevator to his private hallway, he tugged at his tie, wishing he'd dispensed with it after his work that afternoon. Was the hallway overly warm?
He felt her fingers on his tie and stopped still, scared to move as he stared down at her.
"Your tie is askew," she told him. "In all the time I've seen you, I've never seen you look disheveled except for a role. Even when you were sick. You must really be tired." They weren't two steps from his front door, but she'd put down her bag of supplies and was working at the tie with both hands. "Do you want it straightened or do you want it off?"
He couldn't breathe, the air backing up in his lungs. Her hands tight on his tie, he couldn't escape, couldn't... He closed his eyes, his fingers splayed against the side of her throat an instant before he swooped down and captured her mouth in the gentlest possible kiss.
He'd kissed women before. He knew how he felt about her, how much he loved her, wanted her. He knew how close to the edge he was. Still, he wasn't prepared for the storm of emotions that threatened to wash him away or drown him. Her mouth was so soft, so sweet, so honest that the slightest taste made him ravenous for more. He trembled with the effort it took not to plunder or even explore.
He expected her to push him away, perhaps hit him. He was careful not to hold her or pull her in anyway, but she didn't move away, even as the kiss spun on, shredding his tenuous hold on sanity. Instead, her hands tugged harder on his tie as she tipped her head to more fully meet his lips. When her mouth opened slightly in a little sigh, he tore himself away out of self-preservation.
She didn't let go of his tie and stumbled forward with the force of his retreat. "Mogami-san, I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking. I didn't mean—."
She stopped him with fingers against his lips. "Was that a role you were playing?"
He frowned down at her, him mind too befuddled to make sense of what she asked him at first. "No, I was just..." She stopped him with fingers again and left one finger tracing the shape of his lips, sending desire raging through his body.
"Then that was my real first kiss. Don't say you're sorry unless you wish you hadn't kissed me. Do you?"
"No," he breathed, on the edge of madness, still leashed by his tie as her other hand danced over his face. "Unless you throw me out of your life."
"Why did you kiss me?"
He closed his eyes, lost to sensation. "I love you."
She gasped as if such a thing was a shock. "Not like a coworker or a kohai or a sister, right?"
The notion was so ridiculous, that his eyes popped open. "What? No!"
"You desire me?" Her voice was incredulous, skeptical, with such a look of hopeless yearning on her face that he snapped. In one movement, his hand fisted in her short hair, forcing her face up as his other arm lifted her to crush against his body while his mouth feasted on her untutored lips. When she melted against the onslaught, her hands wrapping around his neck, he groaned and pressed her against the door as his hand roamed over her body.
If her mouth was unskilled, she was enthusiastic and a quick study. The scent of her, warm and mysterious, the sweet and pungent taste of her, the feel of her soft flesh against his body as she wrapped her legs around him to support her weight sent his need up yet another level. He wrenched his mouth away from her to press hot kisses on her jaw and neck, murmuring as he did so, "Kyoko, I want you! I need you. You have to believe me."
"Yes," she choked out as he ran his tongue along her earlobe.
"I ache from wanting you. You drive me mad. I can't think any more for needing you. Please, Kyoko, don't leave me."
As his mouth blazed a trail to the nape of her neck, she bent her own head and brushed her teeth lightly along his ear. His fingers spasmed and, for just a moment, he could see losing his last thread of control and taking her right here against his door. Charming, his mind scolded. Fine way to treat the woman you love, slaking your needs with no thought of her, taking her first time like an animal in this hallway.
He released her instantly, slamming his hands against the wall as he tried to regain his rationality. She was wrapped around him, arms around his neck, legs about his waist, so she was still pressed hard against his straining body.
"Ren," she whispered against his ear—and the sound of his name nearly sent him over the edge again—"Is something wrong?"
"Yes. You deserve better than to be treated like this. I'm—"
"Don't say you're sorry," she warned him, sliding down his body in a way that nearly sent his eyeballs rolling back in his head. She let him go with obvious reluctance and bent to retrieve her bag of groceries. At the gap between her top and her skirt, he could see red marks where his fingers had dug into flesh. He was a brute.
"Don't come in, Kyoko. I can't be trusted. I'm exhausted, needy, my control in pieces. If you come in with me right now, I can't promise what I'll do to you, what I'll be able to keep from doing to you."
She looked at him directly, color staining her cheeks, her eyes huge in her pointed face, her mouth bruised and inviting. "So, if I come in, I take my chances. Understood."
"You don't understand."
She took a step closer, standing just under his outstretched arms, close enough he could feel her heat. "I do understand. I understand that, if I come in with you, it will because I'm willing to do what you want with me, even if it scares you, even if it scares me. My choice. I'm not leaving until you've been fed."
He couldn't fight her of course. He wanted her there, in his apartment, more than he wanted to breathe. And neither of them would likely sleep tonight if they left it as it was. He was going to have to find a way to talk to her, tell her the whole story, without losing his last remnants of decency. But he needed one answer before he could let her in. "Why did you let me kiss you that way? Why would you take that kind of risk, coming into my apartment when you know how I feel about you?"
She shrugged. "I love you. I trust you. I have for some time, but I didn't think it was possible that you—"
He wrapped her in his arms as a completely different emotion flooded him: tenderness. How could he have lost sight for even a moment of how precious she was, how fragile, how inexperienced she was? She was his treasure. Even after he'd abused her faith in him, she still said she loved him when there was nothing she feared more than loving someone. When he thought about that, rebuilding his crumbling self-control wasn't nearly as difficult as he'd expected.
She mumbled into his shirt and he allowed himself a little squeeze.
She tipped her head back so she wasn't smothered and tried again. "Tsuruga-san..."
"Ren," he corrected, brushing the back of his fingers along her cheek. "And let me call you Kyoko."
She pinked charmingly, but didn't argue. "R-Ren, are you going to unlock the door?"
He chuckled. "I will. I'm sorry if I scared you, Kyoko. I won't hurt you again, I promise. I can behave myself, and I won't do anything—else—you're not ready for."
"Because I'm immature?" she asked sharply as he released her.
"Because you're precious and deserve consideration," he said gently, opening the door. "You are not to sell yourself short to me or anyone else."
See part three: Dinner Theater
See part four: Matinee
See part five: Curtain Call
See part six: Date with Natsu
See part seven: Shoudown