Meant to be

By
The year is 2031 and peace has been reigning now for over two decades. There have been no wars, no fighting and no death. No one lives in poverty, and everyone has enough to eat. This is the world everyone has dreamed of, and yet it doesn’t fulfil anyone’s dreams. Still people live in horrible conditions, ruled by dictators who are far better off than them. Still people are abused; still people are taken advantage of. It is a better life no doubt, but still not a perfect one, if such a thing even exists.

No one knew this better than Hitomi Shun’u, as she walks down the thin catwalk for the hundredth time that day. She is dressed in barely anything. Merely a small black corset just managing to partly conceal her womanly breasts, and a tight leather skirt, which cut into the tender skin of her upper thighs. Her feet are imprisoned in a pair of high black stilettos which cause her feet to wince in pain at every step. Her deep rich red hair is piled up on her head, and falls down her back in soft waves. Her luscious lips are painted in a fake smile, and her eyes have a dead twinkle.

Reaching the end of the runway, Hitomi reaches out for the pole standing in front of her, and begins the seducing dance that make the on looking men drool in ecstasy that she has perfect many years ago. Now it came automatically to her, and she is at a point where she could almost get through the entire routine without feeling their dirty hands raking her white skin as they shoved money down her small top- almost, but not quite. The smoky downtown bar she is in reeks of sleaze and booze, and fills her with the ugliest sense of foreboding.

Finally, it is another unfortunate girl’s turn to face the penetrating look of the desperate and not always single glare of the awaiting men. Hitomi rushes offstage, giving the small girl a comforting smile. She looks only about 17, what is this world coming to? She quickly pushes open the door to the heaven that is her changing room. She has been at the club so long; she has been given her own special cave of freedom, a sort of promotion. Shivering, Hitomi rips the degrading clothes off her body, and slips into a pair of baggy jeans and a gigantic sweatshirt which has ‘I’m a good girl’ emblazed on its front. Wow, how ironic, I just realised that now… She chuckles softly to herself as she wipes the ton of make-up off her face.

Hitomi hears a soft chuckle coming from the adjoining room. It is quiet and twinkles, and can only have been made by one person, her daughter Miyako. Hitomi runs to the other room, barely slowing down to open the door. Bursting in, she instantly picks up the smiling three-year-old and hugs her Mitsukai tight. “Oh my darling, it’s only been two hours, but I missed you like it was two years. I love you so much.” Hitomi mumbles, burying her face in Miyako’s soft black curls.
“Oka…” Miyako replies, and pulls on Hitomi’s long, deep red hair and shrieks in pleasure. Hitomi smiles at her child, and kisses her on the forehead.
“Hello, Tomi.” A matronly voice calls to her. Hitomi opens her eyes and looks at the person talking to her. A welcoming smile spreads over her face, and she embraces the woman.

“Kisa-san! It’s been so long… How is your mother? Is she still not talking?” Hitomi asks, looking her hero in the face. She is saddened to see the crow’s eyes and tired lines across Kisa’s forehead. “And more importantly, are you ok?” Hitomi adds, frowning.

Kisa smiles at her. “Come, let us get out of this awful place, and go somewhere where we can catch up. I might even buy you something to eat if you’re lucky.” The two friends leave the over ground hell and go to a place more suited to a woman with an innocent baby present. In a small café down the street, the three of them sit and order small coffees and a breadstick for Miyako. This was their food, and all they could afford for the day. Hitomi sips on her coffee guiltily, well; looks like my Mitsukai won’t be getting her sweet today. I’ve nothing left, but I don’t want Kisa-san to know that…

Hitomi takes the time to study Kisa closely. She sees that time has well and truly taken its toll in her. Kisa is only in her mid thirties, but looks far past her late forties. Her once bright orange hair is now silver grey, and her mud brown eyes are hollow.
Her skin is rough and papery thin. Hitomi can see the blue veins running across her face. “So tell me, how is your mother? Has she started talking?” she asks.

Kisa sighs deeply and looks into her coffee. “No. Physically she is in perfect health, but mentally she’s gone. I think she left about the same time daddy died… And short of bringing him back to life, there’s nothing I can do except make her last days comfortable.”
Hitomi reaches out and takes Kisa’s hand in hers, squeezing it gently. “Num num…” Miyako mumbles through a face full of dough. Both women look at her covered face and laugh. Miyako smiles at them, with a satisfied glint in her eye.
“And what about you and Miyako? I hate seeing you live in that horrible flat, and work in that disgusting place. I'm just so sorry I can’t afford to let you live with me, there’s just no space.” Kisa says her voice full of guilt.
Hitomi shakes her head. “Don’t be, it’s not your problem. You know I hate that job, and I hate putting Miyako through that, but what can I do? I’ve tried everywhere in this city, but no one will give a single mother a job; never.” Desperately, Hitomi bangs her hand on the table. “Dammit, this isn’t the world Oka-san worked so hard for!”
“Shhhh, calm down Tom-tom, or we’ll get chucked out.” Kisa says, looking at the owner and smiling apologetically. The balding fat Italian scowls back, and turns away. Frowning, Kisa turns back to Hitomi. “How about you call home? No, why not?” Kisa asks, seeing Hitomi shake her head vigorously.
“No way, I couldn’t face them. They’d be so disappointed with me, after all the fuss I made about coming here. I called them a few weeks ago, and they think I'm working my way through Uni. Otto-san was telling me how proud he is, how was I meant to tell him?” she replies, feeling like she is about to cry.
Kisa sighs once more, something she does a lot. “Well then, you have one other option. Get into contact with the father. Make him pay child support, it’s the least he can do.” Kisa tells her.
Hitomi hangs her head in her hands, and grunts. “I dunno he doesn’t even know he’s a father…”
“Tell me the story.” Kisa asks, sipping her coffee.

Hitomi reaches over and runs a hand through Miyako’s curly black hair. In the glare of the overhead lights, she can see the red tint running through it. Miyako smiles at her, as if she is urging her to continue. It is as if she too wants to hear the story of her conception, the first real time she has ever heard of her father.
“Ok, I’ll tell you. When I first came to the city on a scholarship, I decided to go for a walk. I got lost, and stumbled across this small art show. A new time painter was showing off his work for the first time, and I had to go in. The paintings were so beautiful, almost as good as…” Hitomi stops and sniffs, overcome with emotion.
“As Daichi’s?” Kisa inputs softly. Hitomi nods her head, fighting to hold back the tears. “Oh sweetie, I know how much you love him, and how much his death affected you. But please continue if you can.” Kisa urges taking Hitomi’s other hand.

Hitomi smiles weakly, and starts again. “Anyway, I went inside, and I fell in love with all the paintings, but one special one caught my eye. It was titled ‘Image of love’ and was absolutely fantastic. I could see so much of myself in that picture, and I stared at it for hours. Soon, the exhibition was closing, but I didn’t want to leave. That’s when I met him. The moment I saw him, my heart skipped a beat. I’d thought I’d never feel that way again, but I did. We talked for hours that day, and he took me to dinner the next. That night, we made love, and I was in heaven. About two weeks later, I missed my period and got very worried. I stopped talking to him, and when I found out I was pregnant, I avoided him altogether. I dropped out of school and have been in meaningless jobs ever since.” Hitomi breaths in deeply. She can see Daichi’s face vividly in her mind.
“Wow, what a story. Well then, it seems you must talk to him.”
“But I have no way of contacting him; all I know is his name.” Hitomi says.
“Ok, then give it to me, and I’ll do some digging. I promise you I’ll have his address by the end of the week.” Kisa says, getting out a pen and paper.
Hitomi frowns and hesitates. “His name… His name is Logan Bruno.”
*





*







*
Hitomi looked uncertainly at the little slip of lined paper, and re-read the address. “Here’s Logan’s address, go see him.” Kisa had said not to mention she had assured Hitomi it is the right person. Looking up at the building in front of her, Hitomi isn’t so sure. She is expecting to see a medium sized cottage or house, but instead she finds herself staring at a huge golden mansion. It towers into the air hundreds of feet above her head and shimmers in the sun. The windows gleam and the patio is lush and green. Looks like Shin’ra, only better…
“Yes, what do you want?” a squeaky voice calls out of the blue. Hitomi jumps in surprise, and looks around.
“Who said that?” she asks, staring from side to side.
“Look up to your right.” The voice says. Hitomi looks to see a CCVT camera staring back at her. Oh, that was very blond.
“TV!” Miyako screams from her baby seat on the floor. She reaches out and waves frantically at it.
“Oh what a lovely baby! I’ll let you in straight away!”
Hitomi shakes her head. “N-no, it’s fine. We’re leaving.”
“Oh nonsense! You walked here, and I'm not letting you leave in the cold! Hold on a second.” The intercom crackles and then goes silent. Oh no, now I can’t escape. The big wooden door opens, and a sprite old woman steps out.
Hobbling along the driveway with a thick wooden cane, she reaches the wrought iron gates in record time… for an old woman. She takes a huge bunch of keys out of her pocket, and spends an age finding the right match to the lock. Hitomi waits in silence, getting more apprehensive with each second that goes by.

Finally, the woman finds the right key, and lets Hitomi in. Holding onto the handle of the baby carrier, Hitomi follows the woman into the house and through a corridor that is bigger that her entire one bedroom flat. The living room she is told to wait in is gigantic. The walls are deep mahogany, as is the floor. Huge plush rugs are sprawled on top and wide recliners sit in a semi circle around a roaring fire. Hitomi rests Miyako on the floor beside a chair, and sits down uncomfortably. Why do I get the feeling this is all going to go wrong?

A plump woman enters the room, carrying a huge tray of tea and about a hundred different types of biscuits. Hitomi sees that she is struggling under its weight and jumps up to help her. Taking the tray off the woman, she sits in on the table, and hands a biscuit to Miyako. Miyako takes it eagerly and chomps away on it with her few newly grown teeth. “Thank-you Miss.” The woman says, bowing.
“Please, call me Hitomi, it used to drive me crazy calling people miss, especially people younger than me.” She asks. The woman smiles, and bows again, leaving. Hitomi inspects the array of biscuits. “This entire tray and not a single chocolate one…” she mumbles.
“I see you still love chocolate. I wonder what else still the same remains?” a deep manly voice calls from behind Hitomi, making her shiver. She spins around to face him. It is’ Hogan. Just as he was three years ago. His sandy brown hair falls freely across his face. It is light in places, dark in others with a hint of rose deep in the roots. Even without touching it Hitomi could tell it felt like fine silk to the touch. Logan’s eyes are a deep green like a rainforest; deep and full of hidden things. His lips were full and slightly pouted at the edges and his face was thin and chiselled. His body was lean, thin like a swimmer and surprisingly strong. He smiles at her sadly. “What are you doing here Hitomi?” he asks grimly.
Hitomi opens her mouth to explain, but only a croak escapes. She has lost her voice, and apparently the control over her body. Goosebumps riddle her skin, and her cheeks flush. Get a hold of yourself girl, he isn’t that special… Hitomi gives herself a mental shake, and opens her mouth again, but Miyako beats her to it. “Oka!” she shrieks, reaching out to the biscuits. Hitomi looks down at her and un-straps the baby carrier. Taking her out of it, Hitomi stands her up on the table, and then hands her another biscuit. Biting into the treat, Miyako does a little dance on the table, and then stares at the raging fire. “Hoot…” she says looking at her mother and pointing.
She chuckles, and kisses Miyako’s head softly. “No darling. It’s HOT.” she corrects.
“Hoot…” she says again, and laughs her twinkling laugh.

“What a beautiful baby. Is she yours?” Logan asks, coming over. Hitomi nods in reply, as she watches him pick her up. The resemblance is striking. The same hair colour, same lips and eyes, same twinkling smile. The only attribute passed on by her mother are Miyako’s vibrant violet eyes. “Hey you, what’s your name?” Logan asks, softly tickling her.
She laughs and pinches his nose. “Yaki.” Logan raises an eyebrow.
“Yaki?”
“It’s Miyako. She’s been speaking for ages, but seems to mess up all she says.” Hitomi explains, taking her baby back into her arms. At last, she feels safe again, and holds Miyako close.
Logan smiles his breathtaking smile, a sparkle in his eyes. “March child hey? Let me guess what month she was born…” he jokes.
Hitomi sighs. Oh well, I can’t put off telling him any longer. I wonder if he’ll kick me out. “She was born on March 14th 2028. Nine months before she was conceived on 12th June in a small b and b in-”
“Oh my god…” Logan mutters, and shakes his head. He turns around, and walks to the window overlooking a huge vine garden.
After a pause, Hitomi replies, “It’s true, I'm not lying. She’s…”
“M-my daughter?” Logan finishes, turning around. His face shows pure shock, and Hitomi’s heart begins to sink down to her shoes. She nods. Logan slowly walks back over to them, and looks deep into her eyes. “Are you lying to me?” he asks softly. Hitomi’s eyes begin to water as she shakes her head in reply. Logan closes his eyes, and drops his head. “Oh my god, I'm a father… She’s three.” He says, looking back up at her.
Hitomi gives him a weird look. “So, what’s your point?”
“The point is that I’ve had a daughter for three years and you only tell me now? Why?!” he yells, getting angry.
Hitomi’s anger also rises, and she feels Miyako stir in her arms. Controlling her anger, she replies calmly, “Because we need your help. I was never going to contact you, but I’m sick of that place, and Miyako deserves the best life.” She tells him.
“What place? Where have you been living?”
Hitomi hesitates, but then hardens her face. “I work in a strip club, and we live above it.” She informs him, and watches his mouth open in shock. “But I’ve quit, and now I have no income.” Logan stays quiet, thinking. Hitomi waits for a few moments, and then gets frustrated. “Look, I don’t want much; just an apartment somewhere and maybe we could arrange a sort of pay scheme-”
“No.”
Hitomi looks at Logan, shocked. “You aren’t going to give us anything?” she asks, I was expecting this… I guess…
“No, I’m going to give you everything.” He replies, coming close, and running a finger down Miyako’s cheek. Miyako grabs onto his finger and bites it quickly.
“Boo-boo!” she squeals.
Hitomi shakes her head, confused. “Wait, what do you mean, everything?” she asks.
“Everything!” Logan says, spreading out his arms and spinning around. “Everything I have will be yours.”
“I still don’t get it.” Hitomi says.
Logan sighs, smiling. “You’ve slowed down over the years. I mean I want you to live here, and everything here is yours to use at your dispense.” He explains.
“Oh no.” Hitomi says, shaking her head. She bends down and picks up her baby carrier and begins to leave. “No way, I’m not excepting that. All I wanted is a small apartment dammit.” She says. Logan grabs onto her arm and spins her around. “Let go of me!” Hitomi demands, feeling the electrifying shiver run up her arm.
“No please, reconsider. Let me look after you, please.” Hitomi shakes her head, and pulls her hand out of his. She walks quickly to the door, and reaches for the handle. “Please, Miyako’s already gone three years without her father, don’t let her miss anymore. I want to spend time with me daughter.” Hitomi stops, dammit, he knew that would get to me…
“Ok, we’ll stay.”
“YES!” Logan yells, and runs to embrace her. Hitomi quickly steps out of the way, not trusting herself to touch him without completely breaking down. Logan smiles a sadly happy smile and reaches out for Miyako. Hitomi hands her over unwillingly. “Thank-you, I promise you will not regret this. Rose!” Logan calls, and the plump woman returns. She smiles and bows.
“Yes sir?”
“Please clean and air out a room for Hitomi and Miyako here, they’re going to be staying indefinitely. Give them that room with the French doors leading onto the garden. You’ll love it Hitomi, it looks out over the lake and Sakura trees.” Rose nods and ushers you up a long and wide flight of stairs. The carpet is thick and the banisters are made of polished porcelain. You follow Rose to your new room and pray to god you have done the right thing.
*





*







*
You look around you at the tiny box that has been your bedroom for the past two years. All that fits in here is a bed and a small chest of draws. Next door is a small living room and kitchen and an even smaller toilet and a shower head. This makes up your home, and yet it upset you to leave it. Over the years, you have improved it drastically. The walls are a pastel rose and you have painstakingly painted small thin Sakura blossoms along them to make the entire flat feel like a big garden. You run a hand over the walls, and sigh. Looking down, you are ashamed to see that all your belongings, your entire life fit into two small rucksacks. Picking them up, you and Miyako leave the apartment, locking the door for the last time.

Outside, a limousine is waiting for you. Walking towards it, you feel like an alien. Buckling Miyako into her baby seat, you hand your bags to the chauffer. You turn to look at the tall building one more time, and see two teenagers sleeping on the floor in torn sleeping bags. You walk up to them, “Hi.”
One of them, a girl, looks up at you. “Yeh, what d’ya want rich bitch?” she spits.
“Oi, I used to live here. I’m only just moving out and dammit I deserve to. You shouldn’t be rude to someone who’s trying to help you. Here, take this.” Hitomi hands the girl the keys to her flat. “It’s paid for the next three months and there’s a bit of food in the fridge. Have it, and get yourself a job and keep it. The rents surprisingly low.” You say, and the girl smiles up at you.
“T-thank-you…” she mumbles, and shakes her friend awake. The two of them rush up the stairs and disappear into the building. You smile softly, and turn back to the limo. Getting in, you kiss Miyako on the end of her perfect nose, and swear to god that you will never let that happen to her.
“Ready miss?” the chauffer asks. Hitomi nods and the car purrs into action. Soon, the car pulls up outside the mansion’s door. Rose runs out, and hauls out your bags and takes them inside. Hitomi picks up Miyako and follows Rose to her new room. Rose puts her bags on the bed, and bows to leave.

Hitomi looks around at her majestic surroundings. Huge satin draperies hung from the wall in pastel shades. A huge four poster bed sat in the middle and a walk in closet is to her left. Right in front of her are two French doors that open onto the most spectacular garden that even rivals Hitomi’s dad’s garden back home. A crystal clear lake lies before her, surrounded by Sakura trees. The pale pink blossoms were just beginning to burst open and reveal their inner beauty.

She places Miyako on the bed next to the rucksacks. She instantly unzips one and begins to take out all its contents. Hitomi shake her head. “Ok Yaki, mummy needs to go to the toilet, so be a good girl and stay here.” She says in her loud mummy’s voice.

“Do-do…” Miyako replies and sticks out her tongue. Hitomi gives her a playful shove and leaves the room. Just before she goes, she turns around to take one last look at her daughter. Miyako is sitting there, and taking out the clothes one at a time and putting them in two piles. One for her and one for Hitomi. My daughter is a genius… Now which room is the bathroom?

Walking back from the bathroom, Hitomi hears laughter coming from her bedroom. Intrigued, she hurries up and enters the room to find Rose spinning Miyako high in the air. “What the hell are you doing? Get your hands off my baby!” Hitomi screams, running up to Rose and snatching a laughing Miyako out of her arms. Miyako begins to grumble, her eyes asking Hitomi why she disturbed her fun.
“I-I’m so sorry miss… I couldn’t help myself, I’m so sorry… It will never happen again.” Rose stammers.
“To right it won’t happen again! If you touch my baby again I’ll kill you personally.” Hitomi screeches, her indigo eyes burning into Rose. Rose stumbles, and looks scared.
“I’m so sorry miss.” She mumbles again, her eyes teary.
“Dammit, get out! GET OUT!” Rose turns and leaves, a sob escaping her throat. Hitomi sighs, and looks at Miyako. Miyako stares back, and shakes her head. “And don’t you judge me; you’re a three-year-old. What do you know?”
“Quite a lot by the looks of it.” Logan replies from the entrance. Hitomi turns to face him, and cocks her head.
“And what do you want? To tell me off for yelling at your maid?” she retorts. Dammit, why am I so angry all of a sudden?
“No, just to find out what happened. You could hear the screaming from the other side of the house. You’ve got one voice you do.” He comes over and sits down on the bed, pulling Hitomi down with him. “Come on, spill. What did she do?” he takes Miyako out of her hands, and she goes willingly. Yes, tell him what you did… her eyes tell you, as if chastising you. You muff her hair, and apologise silently to her. She understands like only a daughter can and smiles.
“I dunno I’m not used to having to share Miyako. It’s been just the two of us for ever, and seeing Rose touching her, I flipped. But she shouldn’t have picked her up without asking me, I'm her mother dammit.” Hitomi explains, knowing her excuse sounds lame. She readied herself for a telling off, but didn’t get one.
“I see, well I’ll talk to her, tell her to keep clear.” Logan says.
Hitomi looks up at his rugged face; “Really?” she isn’t expecting that.
“Yes, I’ll tell her that she was out of line, and that she shouldn’t let past experiences cloud-”
“What past experiences?” Hitomi asks.
“Oh don’t you know? It’s not that interesting.” Logan replies.
“No, I'm interested now, tell me please.” Hitomi argues, pulling on his arm.
Logan smiles at her, and she blushes slightly. “Ok then. Rose used to be married to our old gardener- Hiroshi. For years they tried to have a baby and finally Rose got pregnant. I remember on the night she went into labour Roshi ran into our parlour and screamed it out. Too bad we were holding a dinner party at the time; he looked so embarrassed. Anyway, I gave him the keys to my car, and they left.”
“Even though he was hurrying, he was only driving like 40 miles on a highway. And you know what happens then.”
“You get overtaken.” Hitomi adds.
Logan nods. “Yes, some bastard, probably drunk, tries to overtake them. Hell he was almost riding on top of them, and so Roshi had to swerve, right into a truck.” Hitomi’s mouth drops open, Oh god, poor Rosy…
“Anyway, Roshi died instantly, and poor Rosy was still in labour. By the time the ambulance had come, the baby had suffocated to death and was stillborn. ” Hitomi really feels bad now, guilt playing heavy on her heart. “Rose’s always had affection for children, and it’s been years since there’s been a child in this house. I guess she’s just angsting or something.” There is a pause as Logan looks down at you. You stare at the floor, your heart crying. “But still, she was totally out of line. I’ll go talk to her now.” Logan places Miyako on the bed, and gets up.
“No, no please don’t. Just leave it will you?” Hitomi asks her voice cracking. Logan smiles, and nods his head.
“Sure, whatever you want. I was going to take Miyako for a walk through the garden, do you want to come?” he asks, going back over to her. Hitomi shakes her head. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m tired. I think I’ll just stay in here.” Logan shrugs his shoulders and nods. He sits down again.
“Come on then baby, let’s go for a ride.” Miyako eagerly hops onto his shoulders and giggles as Logan stands up. Miyako waves at Hitomi, look mummy, I'm taller then you! Hitomi smiles and waves back. Logan turns around and heads to the door. He turns back, and looks down at the small pile of clothes on the bed. “Hey, are you doing anything tomorrow?” he asks. Hitomi shakes her head and asks why. “Oh nothing, there’s just somewhere I want to take you”
“Where?”
“You’ll find out tomorrow! Bye.” Hitomi watches then leave. She looks out the window and she sees Logan walk down a long gravel path, and pick a flower from the garden and hand it to Miyako. Miyako shakes her head, and points back to the garden. That’s my baby. Hitomi smiles, and gets up.
“I guess its apology time.” She says to herself, and sighs. “Dammit, I hate saying sorry.” Shaking her head, Hitomi slowly makes her way to the servant’s quarters, swallowing her pride on the way.

Knock knock, “Rosy? Can I come in?” the door quickly swings open and Rose looks out at Hitomi in surprise.
“My lady, you didn’t have to come all the way down here! You could have just rung for me…” she stammers, acutely aware that her hair is messy and her apron askew. “Was there something I could do for you? A cup of tea perhaps?” she adds.
Hitomi shakes her head. “No, I just need to talk, can I come in? It’s kind of cold out here.” She asks, and Rose instantly steps out of the way, ushering Hitomi inside.

The room is actually quite big and comfortable furnished. A fire roars in one corner, and huge cushions lie along the floor. Looks a lot like our living room back home, only smaller… Hitomi sits down on a huge plush recliner, and puts her feet up. Rose sits down next to her, in a creaky old rocking chair. For a moment, the two women simply stare at each other, before either has the will to speak.
“Oh Rosy, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to yell like that, and I don’t usually, I promise. It’s just all this is really strange for me, and I'm having trouble adjusting.” Hitomi explains, forcing herself to look at Rose.

Rose’s plump face beams back at her. “Oh my lady, there’s no need to apologise! But I’m so glad you did! Let me get you some tea, you poor mite!” Rose springs to action, making tea and handing Hitomi a plate full of chocolate biscuits. “I herd you liked the chocolate ones.” Rose says, winking at her. “Me too.” Hitomi takes them gratefully, and begins to eat them. By the time Rose hands her a mug of steaming tea, the biscuits are finished.
“Sorry, I’ve got my mother’s appetite.” Hitomi says, as she hands Rose the plate. Rose smiles and quickly fills it again with more biscuits.
“Don’t you worry my dear; it’s good to have a healthy appetite. God knows too many girls your age eat too little and starve themselves.” Rose sits down again and sips her own tea. “I hope you don’t mind me talking like this to you, but I get the feeling that you are a kindred spirit, like Logan. You’re not one of those uptight…”
“Stiffs? No I'm not. I actually used to be a maid for a while, but couldn’t take it. I ended up quitting and breaking a few things.” Hitomi says, and Rose laughs a jolly laugh.
“Oh darling, you’ve had a hard time of it haven’t you?” Rose asks.
Hitomi nods, and sips her tea. Mmm, just like mama used to make it… “But it hasn’t always been like this. I used to live in the most perfect place, surrounded by all the people I love and who love me. In a little cave of heaven, protected from all that is evil and wrong in this world. It was wonderful…”
“Then why on earth did you leave? Not that I'm not glad you did…”
“I was naïve enough to believe the rest of the world was like that too. I left in search of some adventure, and realised that all that was here is hardship and pain. But by then I was too ashamed to go back, I had made such a song and dance of leaving and making my own way.” Hitomi replies, sighing and looking deep into the brown liquid of her tea.
“Oh darling, but everything’s looking up for you now! Logan’s a wonderful man, and he will look after the two of you as best as he can. You can trust him.” Rose says. Hitomi nods, feeling not so sure.
“Anyway, I need to ask you a favour.”
“Of course my lady, anything or you!”
“Well, I was wondering if you would look after Miyako for me, when I go out and stuff. She’s lovely but she’s a hassle sometimes, and I need some time alone. I would hire an on-call babysitter, but I don’t trust easily. She won’t be any trouble, I promise.” Hitomi asks.
“OF COURSE!” Rose screams, nearly dropping her tea. “Oh I would love to! We’d have so much fun, and I’d be ever so careful with her.” Rose bubbles, her tea spilling in her excitement. Hitomi smiles, and gets up.
“Thank-you, you’re a life saver.”
“No sweets, you are.”
*





*







*
“Hey, what are we doing here? You tricked me!” Hitomi exclaims, looking up at the large shopping mall looming in front of her.
“I knew you wouldn’t come otherwise. Come on, let me treat you.” Logan urges, pulling her towards the entrance.
Hitomi fights back, trying to make her way back to the car- she has insisted against the limousine. “No way. I don’t need anything!”
Logan lets go. “Are you sure? What happens when we have a party? Or when you meet my colleges or friends? I mean, I think you look god damn sexy in just jeans and a sweatshirt but I don’t think they will. Come on, please?” Logan insists.
Hitomi stands still, taken back by his words, going limp. Logan takes this as a sign of defeat, and drags her inside the mall before she can say anymore. Logan begins to walk towards the women’s section, but Hitomi pulls him the other way. “If I have to buy something, then we’re doing Miyako’s shopping first.” She says.
Walking into the children’s clothing aisle, Hitomi runs a hand over the beautiful dresses. Dresses in pink, purple, light blue and many others stretch before her. “Choose whatever you want, there’s no price limit.” Logan whispers, close to her ear. Hitomi shivers, and begins to sort through the piles and piles of clothes, closely followed by Logan. For the next few hours, the Hitomi is in heaven, picking up little girls dresses and fawning over them.

“Oh my god, I'm dying…” Logan complains, buckling under the pressure of about a hundred bags.
“Well you did say I could buy anything!” Hitomi exclaims, opening the car’s boot for Logan.
“Yes I did, but I didn’t expect to have to hold them all the way back to the car! You could have helped!” he says, dropping all the shopping into the wide boot. Hitomi shrugs, and begins to get into the car. “Hold on a second missy. You don’t think I’ve forgotten do you? It’s your turn now! Come on!” Logan grabs onto Hitomi and pulls her back into the shop groaning.
Hitomi looks around her at all the stylish and posh skirts and dresses. Everything looks beautiful, but she can’t imagine herself in any of them. “Do I have to?” she whines, and Logan nods. He picks up a black skirt and shows it to her. “How about this? It’s nice.”
Hitomi shakes her head. “Are you kidding me? Look at it, it has no shape and is so long! And not with that top, please!” she says, as Logan picks up a red gypsy top. “Here, let me see.” And Hitomi searches the racks. She finds a beige mid-length skirt with a slit down one side and a deep brown top with a beige flower in the middle. “Now that is a match.”
“Well what can I say? I'm a man, you’re the expert.”
“Yes, now watch the expert at work.” Hitomi says.
Logan smiles. “I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.” Hitomi blushes, and begins to shop.

Collapsing into a huge recliner, Hitomi sighs deeply. “Oh, I’m worn out. Shopping takes a lot of work.” She mumbles. Logan slumps down next to her.
“You’re telling me. I’m the one who had to carry all those bags. They were heavy.” He complains. Hitomi leans over him.
“Aww, did the bags hurt you?” Hitomi says in a mummy voice. Logan nods, and pretends to sob.
“Will you rub it better?” he asks softly, looking deep into her eyes. Hitomi’s heart beats rapidly, and she blushes deep scarlet. She quickly lets go of him, and stands up.
“I um… might just go and check up on Yaki… yes… hmmm...” Hitomi turns and leaves as fast as she can, leaving Logan alone. He sighs, and runs a hand through his hair.
“Dammit, moved too fast…” he mumbles to himself, watching her leave, wanting to call her back but not knowing how.

What the hell is wrong with me? Why do I feel like this whenever he’s around? Hitomi sits down on the rocking chair overlooking the lake and sighs. Picking up a few stray pebbles, she begins to throw them into the water. Oh Daichi, I wish you were here… a tear slides down Hitomi’s face, and she stares intently at the water, forcing herself not to cry. The ripples made by the stone surge outwards, breaking the peaceful stillness of the lake. Unwillingly, Hitomi’s mind flies back to that time, twelve years ago when she had been given news that had broken her heart…

“I’m sorry to announce miss that after three months of searching that Daichi Kishuku is to be presumed dead. We are sorry for your loss.” Kaede’s anguished wail filled the air as she fell to the floor and wept. Kane knelt down beside her, and wrapped her in his arms. Her other children flocked to her, and covered her in a protection of love. Hitomi stared at the police man’s blank and unfeeling face.
“No, how can this be? You have to keep on looking. YOU HAVE TO!” she screamed at him. The policeman merely shook his head and left without another word.

“Tomi…” Kioko said, going over to her. She tried to pull her into a hug, but Hitomi ran outside.
She ran until she could run no more, and found herself on the other side of the lake. Falling to the floor, she began to cry uncontrollably. Why? Why did you have to take my Daichi away from me? My only love… Hitomi gasped and put a hand on her chest. She felt like she was suffocating, that her ribs were crushing her lungs and her heart. I will never love again… “HITOMI! COME INSIDE NOW!” her father called for her.
Hitomi looked deep into the lake, loosing all feeling in her body. “Daichi… Come back to me…” she mumbled, watching the lake ripple. Why is it rippling? Hitomi’s soft young body splashed into the water and it engulfed her. Daichi, I am going to be with you now…
“HITOMI!”

“Hitomi!”
Hitomi head snaps up in shock. She has been concentrating on the water and her daydream is so vivid that she almost thinks that it is real. “Yes?” she asks, clearing her throat and standing up. Rose walks over to her, with Miyako in her arms.
“Its 6 o’clock. Almost time for supper, so you have to get ready.” Rose tells her.
“But we’re eating at 8. Why do I have to get ready so early?” Hitomi asks, taking Miyako out of Rose’s arms and kissing her greedily. Miyako blows her a kiss, and then goes back to playing with her toy.
“Because Miss Bruno will be joining you, so you need to make a good impression. Oh god, she’s one of the stiffest stiffs around.” Rose mumbles, hurrying her inside. “You need to shower, change. I’ll give you a manicure, pedicure, we’ll do your hair…”
“All this for dinner?” Hitomi remarks, as she is pushed into her bathroom.
“Not dinner, SUPPER. And on second thought, I’ll pick what you will wear. Now, in.” Rose instructs, pointing to the full bathtub. Hitomi shrugs her shoulders and handing Miyako to Rose, strips and begins to bathe.
Hitomi sits down at the table, feeling like a doll. She is in a pale pink dress and her lush deep red hair is piled high on her head, exposing her swan-like neck. Her face is made up, and her nails are a deep coral and sparkly. Sighing, Hitomi looks down at the vast array of knifes and forks spread in front of her. I hope I still remember which one to use. I guess all those days of spying on my boss’s dinner parties are going to pay off.

“Wow, look at you all dolled up.” Logan exclaims, walking into the room and sitting opposite her.
“Yes, doll is the right word. Dammit, I’m going to get Rose back for this, she had too much fun…” Hitomi states, sneakily taking off the cream stilettos she is wearing.
“Well, she’s just worried of what mama will think of you.” Logan replies, smiling at her apologetically.
Hitomi rolls her eyes, and reaches for a breadstick. “Damn, I'm hungry. Anyway, I don’t really care what your mama thinks.” She says, biting into the soft dough.
“Well, that’s good to know. Neither do I.” a cold voice calls from the entrance. Hitomi turns to see a woman in her late fifties standing before her. She has her hair pulled back in a tight bun, and is wearing a suit. She strolls in, with an elegance and posture that shrieks “I’m better than you.”
“It is custom to wait before everyone is seated before eating.” She states, staring mockingly at Hitomi.
“Well it is also custom to arrive at the dinner table on time… My lady.” Hitomi retorts, in a mock of the woman’s accent.
For a moment, all is silent, and Logan looks up at his mother anxiously. Oh-oh, maybe I shouldn’t have said that… But then the woman’s face cracks into a smile. “Well so it is. My name is Arisu Bruno, but you can call me Alice. Now, let’s eat, I’m starved.” Alice says, sitting down at the head of the table. Five maids enter and set steaming food onto the table. It all looks delicious, and Hitomi piles her plate full and tucks in, taking care to use the right utensils.
She looks over at Logan, and he smiles broadly and winks at her. Well, I guess I passed the test…
*





*







*
“Well, that’s me finished!” Alice exclaims, and pats her belly. “I love this new cook, such wonderful food.” She mumbles. Hitomi nods in agreement.
“Yes, but I haven’t really got much to compare it to. Just chips and beans really.” Hitomi replies, as she gets up. Picking up her plate, she begins to walk to the door the maids had entered through.
“Where are you going?” Logan asks in bemused confusion.
“To wash up. This is the way to the kitchen right?” Hitomi asks.
Logan nods his head. “Yes, but-”
“Well then, bye.” Hitomi turns around and walks through the door and into the kitchen. Instantly the hustle and bustle of work stops and all is silent. Hitomi looks around at the kitchen workers and smiles. “Oh don’t mind me; I know you’re probably not used to this. How do you do your dishes? In a dishwasher or by hand?”
“B-by hand miss but you needn’t do that.” A small voice tells her. A short and stout woman walks forward, and puts out her hand to take the plate of her.

“Oh don’t be silly. You guys went through the trouble of cooking us a delicious meal; the least I can do is wash my plate. I’d feel like a lazy bum if I didn’t.” Hitomi replies, walking past the woman to the large sink and quickly washing her plate and putting it on the rack to dry. She turns around and finds that the workers are still staring at her in shock. “It’s ok, I’m a friend.” She assures them. After a slight pause, the kitchen staff smiles at her fondly, and return to work. Hitomi leaves the kitchen, knowing that she has been accepted into the band of workers.

Hitomi enters the dining room again to find that Logan has been waiting for her. “Hello you.” he says as she comes over.
“Hello back. I guess I was to your mother’s liking?” she replies.
Logan smiles broadly and nods his head. “Yup. Her exact words were ‘you couldn’t have found a better girl to get up the duff’.”
Hitomi laughs. “Oh my, I see she has great complimenting skills…” Hitomi comments, through peels of laughter. Logan laughs too.
“Yes, well it’s a lot like yours.” He says, pulling a stray hair off Hitomi’s face and behind her ear. Hitomi blushes red, and steps aside.
“Um, I’m going to go… and do something…” Hitomi says, embarrassed. Go and do something? I sound so dumb…
“Well, how about you, Miyako and I go for a walk. Unless you really need to go and do this something?” Logan asks, lifting his eyebrows. Hitomi scrunches her nose, and nods her head. “Ok then, let’s go get her.”

Hitomi breathes in the night air deep and closes her eyes. “Oh what a lovely evening.” She mumbles, feeling at peace with the world.
“Hmm, you’re right. Even if I had to sell the entire house, I’d just live in this garden… It’s beautiful.” Logan says, and bends down beside a garden of petunias.
“Ah-ah!” Miyako screams out, as Logan reaches out to pick one of the pretty flowers.
“What? She did that yesterday as well. What on earth am I doing wrong?” Logan asks, confused.
Hitomi smiles, and bends down next to him. “Answer me this. Would you like it if I ripped your hand off?”
Logan shakes his head. “Of course not, don’t be silly.” He replies.
“Well then, why do you think it’s any different ripping a flower off its branch? They’re living things too you know, and should be treated with respect.”
“Pesrect de lofers.” Miyako says, smiling as if she is the smartest person alive.
“I see I’ll try to remember that for next time.” Logan says, unable to keep himself from smiling. He kisses Miyako on the head. “It’s respect the flowers, sweets.” Miyako sticks out her tongue and laughs loudly.
Shaking her head, Hitomi searches the ground until she finds a stray branch. Picking it up, she hands it over to Miyako who squeals in delight, and inhales its fruity scent. “But that one’s wilting, it’s not very beautiful.” Logan comments, as he looks at the flower.
Hitomi shrugs. “Plants are beautiful not to please us, but as a survival instinct. When we pick them, we turn that instinct into a death sentence.” Hitomi quotes from her father.
For a second, Logan stands stock still. She used to say that… “Logan, what’s wrong?” Hitomi asks, worried.
“N-nothing… So I guess you like gardening?” Hitomi nods.
“Yes, it calms me down when I get angry or upset, and you know I get angry often. I’m hot-headed, just like me daddy.” She says, thinking of her father.
“Do you miss your family?” Logan asks, thinking of his own.
Hitomi nods her head, seeing their smiling faces in her minds eye. She remembers her 10th birthday, the first time she had ridden a bike, and her senior prom. All happy moments, all gone. “What about you?” Hitomi asks.
Logan looks off into the distance, pain clouding his eyes. “My family don’t want to know me…” he replies darkly. Hitomi feels the pain in his voice, and stops walking. Logan looks at her, “What?”
Hitomi wraps her arms around his neck, and whispers in his ear. “No more pain, you have a family now… And we aren’t leaving, so your stuck with us.”
For a second, Logan stands completely still. Then he too wraps his arms around Hitomi and hugs her close. He holds her so tight, Hitomi feels like she is going to burst, but doesn’t want him to stop. She feels a rush of emotion run through her, and her heart begins to thud. She pulls away quickly, before she looses complete control over herself. “Thank-you.” Logan says, and Hitomi smiles up at him. A cold breeze rushes past them, and Miyako sneezes. “Looks like it’s time to go inside. Come on Yaki.” Logan pulls her onto his shoulders, and the three of them walk back inside together.
*





*







*
“Ponomoly is fun.” Miyako says, as Hitomi puts her down on the bed.
Hitomi sighs and shakes her head. “Is there any point in telling you it Monopoly?” she says, and Miyako shakes her head.
“Hitomi, come here.” Logan calls from outside. Hitomi walks over to the huge French doors and onto the veranda.
“What do you want?” she asks, forgetting that she is still in her nightie.
“Come down here will you? I’ve got a present for you.” Damn, she looks sexy… Sighing and shaking her head, Hitomi calls for Rose and then runs downstairs. Why do I always go running when he calls? I’m like a bloody cat…
“Yeh, what is it?” Hitomi asks, walking up to Logan. She crosses her arms over the flimsy material of her top. Dammit, I should have put on some decent clothes before I came downstairs.
Logan takes her hand, and leads her towards the back part of the garden. “Taa-daa!” he exclaims, pointing to a small square of empty land. Hitomi looks at it dubiously and raises an eyebrow, “Well, you said you like gardening, and I know you’d just hate it if I bought you flowers. So I thought I’d let you plant your own instead!” Logan exclaims. A slow smile spreads over Hitomi’s face. “You like?”

Hitomi’s eyes glaze over as she looks down at the dark ground. “This is great.” She mumbles, and turns around to leave.
“Wait, where are you going?” Logan calls after her, have I done something wrong? Hitomi runs back to Logan, hugging him quickly.
“I’m off, look after Yaki till I get back. And then don’t disturb me, I’ll be planting!” she calls, heading towards the front. “Yo, pass us your keys!” Hitomi calls, and Logan throws over the car keys. Logan smiles as Hitomi disappears, who has totally forgotten she is still in her nightie in her excitement. She looks so beautiful when she smiles, she should do it more often…
Logan goes upstairs and picks up a giggling Miyako. “Come on then Yaki, let’s play!”
*





*







*
“There, done!” Hitomi exclaims, getting up and stretching her back. It is now dusk and she has been hard at work on her little garden all day. She looks down at her little creation, and smiles proudly. “I did a good job.”
“You certainly did.” Logan mumbles, and Hitomi whirls around, surprised. “Wow, the soil looks great. What did you plant?” he asks.
Hitomi smiles broadly. “Lotus flowers; my favourite.” Logan’s face pales slightly, and he stares down at the earth. She loved lotus flowers… “Logan, are you alright?” Hitomi asks, going up to him. Logan shakes his head, and smiles back at her.
“I’m fine.” Hitomi gives him an uncertain look, but decides to let it go. Oh my god I must look a state… Hitomi squeals, and rushes off quickly. She hides behind a tree, and hopes Logan will go away.
“Hitomi, what’s up?” Logan asks, going over to her, and pulling her out of the shelter of the trees. He tries to make her look at him, but she pulls away.
“Don’t look at me, I look so ugly…” Hitomi tries to run away, but Logan grabs her around the waist and pulls her to him.
“Why would you think that?” he runs a hand down her face, and brushes a few particles of sweat off her. “Is it because of this? Dammit, you’re a woman not a doll Hitomi. And frankly, the heat and scent of you is driving me crazy.” He mumbles, and slowly kisses Hitomi’s neck. Biting her neck softly, he sends shivers down her back. “Hitomi, you’re so beautiful…”

God, why does he make me feel this way? Hitomi gently pushes Logan off her, and steps back before she gives into temptation. “Logan-“
“OKA!” Miyako shrieks, running towards them on her short baby legs. She is laughing as only a child can, with her hands outstretched towards her mother. Hitomi smiles and bends down to pick her up. Miyako hugs Hitomi tight, and lightly kisses her on her nose. “Oka.” Miyako repeats.
“Yes my darling, it’s me. Come see what mummy’s done. You’re going to love them once they bud.” Hitomi walks towards her little garden, and shows it to Miyako. Even at such a young age, Miyako knows what she is looking at.
“Lotus.” She mumbles, and points to the small bumps in the upturned ground. Hitomi smiles at her child, and knows that she will take after Hitomi’s father.
“Oh my lady, I'm ever so sorry! The little rascal just took off!” rose exclaims through huge puffs of air. Her face is flushed and her cheeks bright red. Rose sits down on a garden chair close by to regain her breath.
Hitomi smiles and lightly pats Miyako on the cheek. “Did you run away from Rosy? You naughty girl.” Hitomi scolds, but kindly. Miyako scrunches up her nose and turns to face rose.
“Gomenasai.” She mumbles, and beams. Rose smiles and comes towards her.
“It is quite alright my dove.” Rose kisses her lovingly on the head. “Now, shall we go back inside? I've made a lovely chocolate cake. Tomi, if you’ve finished here, do come with us.” Rose asks.
Hitomi smiles down at Rose. “Me, turn down chocolate cake? Never. Just give me a second to tidy things up and ill be right there.” Rose nods and takes Miyako inside. Hitomi bends down and begins to gather together her gardening tools, humming to herself. Wait, I swear Logan was here… oh my!

Hitomi gets up and turns. Logan is still standing where she left him, staring at her with almost a look of pain in his mud brown eyes. He walks over to Hitomi and brushes a stray hair off her face. Leaning down, he whispers against her lips. “There’s only so much rejection a guy can take.” Then he turns and leaves, leaving Hitomi stunned and guilty. She watches him leave, with an odd feeling in her gut. This is what I wanted right, for Logan to back off? Then… Why do I feel like I’ve just lost a part of myself? Oh Daichi, I wish you were still alive…
*





*







*
“Tomi my darling, what’s wrong?” Rose asks, leaning forward and shaking Hitomi lightly. At first Hitomi doesn’t answer, completely lost in her thoughts.
“OKA!” Miyako screams from the floor where she is playing with a bunch of pots and pans. Hitomi’s head jerks up suddenly as she is broken from her trance.
“Huh? I’m sorry what did you say?” Hitomi asks, smiling weakly. Rose sighs, and looks at her with worrying eyes.
“My darling sunbeam, what is on your mind? What’s troubling you, tell me and I will help.” Rose repeats.
Hitomi shrugs her shoulders. “It’s just… before you and Yaki came out into the garden, Logan and I… Well we…”
“Ahh, that. Yes, I thought there was something going on there. Oh well that’s wonderful news!... Isn’t it?” Rose asks, seeing the discerning look on Hitomi’s fair face.
Hitomi shakes her head gravely. “I just don’t know. I thought the only one I would ever love was Daichi and when he died I promised to stay true to that but…”
“Oh darling, you must move on! I know how much you love this Daichi, but he’s dead Môn Cherie. Logan is here, and he is the father of your child. Are you saying you have no feelings for him whatsoever?” Rose asks, coming close to Hitomi and resting a hand on her lap.
Hitomi smiles softly, thinking of Logan. “Yes I do. I do have feelings for him but-”
“But nothing! You like him, he obviously likes you and Miyako loves the both of you. I see no reason why you shouldn’t be together. My love, it is time to let go of the past and think about the future.”
“You’re right.” Hitomi states and smiles.
“Good, now all you have to do is tell Logan.” Rose replies.
“I can’t tonight, we’ve got that ball thingy… Oh my god! The ball thingy! It’s in less than two hours!” Hitomi exclaims, jumping up.
“Don’t panic, my dove. Upstairs, I shall make you beautiful!” the three of them rush to Hitomi’s room and fling open the huge doors to the even bigger wardrobe and begin to get ready.
*





*







*
Hitomi looks at herself in the long full length mirror and gasps in awe. I look so beautiful… This mirror must be fixed… she is wearing a black strap gown that fits her like a second skin, articulating her fine curves and cleavage. It ends half way down her calf and there is a slit on the left hand side starting from her mid-thigh, partly showing off her rose tattoo. The gown has a sheer drop at her back, exposing her delicate shoulder blades. At the slit, there is a large diamond broach in the shape of a heart and it sparkles gaily. Her hair is piled high, with soft ringlets falling down and fanning her face and neck. Her face is subtly finished with light make-up that merely accentuated her natural beauty. Hitomi stares at herself and frowns. “There’s something missing…” she says out loud.
“And I know just what it is. Here you go, my child.” Rose says, coming up behind her and fastening a choker around Hitomi’s neck. It is made of old bronze, with a large violet stone in the centre. The bronze weaves in and out of itself, imitating the lush branches of a Sakura tree. The gem sparkles in the light, and Hitomi can just make out a deep hint of red in the purple stone. “Oh my, it’s beautiful. It’s absolutely perfect.” Hitomi gushes, running a hand over the lush stone. “Thank-you.” Hitomi says, tears collecting in the corner of her eyes. She turns around and hugs Rose.
“Oh darling, you’re so very welcome! Oh sweets, don’t cry, your make-up will run.” Rose holds Hitomi at arms length and smiles warmly.
“Me too!” Miyako shouts from the bed. Hitomi looks over at her child and smiles too. Miyako looks adorable in a dress of pale rose, which frills out at her thin waist. She is wearing crystals in her pierced ears and a diamond heart necklace. Her face is glowing with the innocent light of a child, and a huge smile is plastered on it. She opens up her arms and beckons to her mother, who goes and picks her up.
“Oh yes my love, you look absolutely perfect.” Hitomi replies, and Miyako smiles happily.
“Now gorgeous, it’s time for you to go and win over your man and his friends.” Rose says, and Hitomi takes in a deep breath to steady herself.
“Ok, I’m going. Wish me luck.”
“Oh darling, you don’t need it.”
*





*







*
Dammit, where is that girl? Everyone’s already here… When she gets here I'm going to kill her… Logan paces along the floor underneath the stairs. He runs a hand through his hair, and silently begs for Hitomi to come downstairs. He sighs, and looks at his watch. Just like her… Always late… Logan grits his teeth, emotion flooding him. He closes his eyes to avoid crying and instantly sees her face smiling at him. Her soft hair, her full lips, her playful smile. It was all still engraved in his mind, even though she had made it clear that he was no longer on hers. Even after all these years I feel as if she’s right here with me… Why have I been thinking so much of her lately?

Logan stops moving suddenly, sensing someone behind him. Someone familiar, yet so completely strange. It’s her! Logan whirls around and looks around, seeing no one. He slowly turns towards the stairs. Oh… My… God… Logan’s mouth falls open as he watches Hitomi gracefully glide down the stairs, holding his daughter in her arms.
Logan feels his heart tighten and a shiver of electricity run down his spine. He looks into her radiant face, and wants nothing more but to hold her in his arms and kiss her for the rest of time. Hitomi smiles down at him, and waves shyly. Her red hair shines brightly, and a sharp pain hits Logan's heart. God, why does she have to look so much like her? Dammit, it hurts too much that I cant have either of them… He gives himself a mental shake, and cuts off all his emotions. Hitomi reaches the bottom of the stairs and looks up into Logan’s eyes warmly. “How do I look?” she asks.
Logan stares at her for a split second, and then replies “You look fine. Let’s go.” He then turns around and into a throng of people, leaving Hitomi confused. After a moment’s hesitation, Hitomi realises that Logan isn’t coming back and so follows him into the throng of people. Instantly, a million faces crowd around her, asking her questions and commenting on how cute Yaki is. Hitomi put on a fake dazzling smile and began to mingle as best as she could.
*





*







*
“Logan Bruno, what are you doing, sitting here looking like you’re sucking on a lemon?” Alice Bruno asks, coming over to Logan. She folds her arms and waits for an explanation, which Logan knows he must give her.
“I don’t know. I just don’t feel like being sociable today.” He replies. He sighs and puts down his plate of food, which he has barely touched anyway.
“Hmm… And it’s got nothing to do with the fact that Hitomi has danced with every single guy in this room except you? Or that they are all drooling after her? Or even that Yaki has been whisked away too…”
Logan pouted. “I don’t care who she dances with… It’s her choice…”
“Even if it’s with Joshua?”
Logan’s head jerked up at the mention of his sleazy cousin and scanned the hall for Hitomi. He soon spied her and saw that Joshua had his dirty hands all over and she didn’t look pleased. A scowl crossed Logan’s face, bastard. “Go over there. Stop acting like you don’t care because I know you do and I know she does too. Go on, you’re putting the guests off.” Alice orders and Logan briskly walks over to the two dancers. When he gets near them, he hesitates and stops. Dammit, go on. Logan couldn’t move and a slow blush crept over his face.
“You bastard!” Hitomi screeches, as quietly as she could. Logan looks at the two of them, and then at Joshua’s red face. Hitomi has just smacked him, and this makes Logan smile broadly. As Joshua stalks off, Hitomi spins around to leave the floor and comes face to face with a very happy Logan. “And what are you smiling about?” she spits; glaring into Logan’s laughing eyes.
“Nothing, just that you look unbelievably beautiful today.” Logan says, sweeping Hitomi into his arms and whirling her around. Hitomi holds onto Logan’s arms, blushing madly, with nothing to say for once. Logan smiles at her and moves with her to the beat of the music, hoping it will never end. Hitomi leans her head against Logan’s chest and breaths in his scent deeply. For once, she keeps her mouth shut and just enjoys being close to him. She can feel every single girl in the room staring at her evilly and she smiles in satisfaction.

Logan breaths in Hitomi’s scent deeply as he runs a hand through her thick, lush hair. He feels at peace, with her and himself. At that moment, they were one and no one could come between them.

As the music begins to fade away, Hitomi pulls her head back and gazes into Logan’s eyes. “Wow, didn’t know you could dance.” Logan scrunches up his nose and Hitomi giggles. “No, that’s not what I meant….” Logan leans in and kisses the tip of Hitomi’s nose and smiles down at her.
“It’s ok.” Hitomi blushes a deep red and averts her eyes. Logan holds her by the chin and softly angles her face so he can look deep into her ruby red eyes. He noticed the small splattering of freckles across her the bridge of her nose and the small beauty spot near her right eye. The little things that made Hitomi beautiful are the things he loves the most.

Finally the song comes to an end and the two part, staring anywhere else except at each other. Inside her, Hitomi’s heart is racing but on the outside she appears unfazed and bored. Seeing this, Logan clears his throat in an attempt to say something that will keep Hitomi’s attention on him. “Um… So…Are you having fun?” he stammers, mentally kicking himself for saying something totally random and ruining the connection that has grown between them. Hitomi glances at Logan momentarily with a sly smile on her face that sends a trill of electricity down Logan’s back, nods slightly and then walks away gracefully. Finding her child in the middle of a mass of cooing women, she smiles a mother’s smile and goes towards the buffet to feed her daughter. Logan sighs and runs a hand through his jet black hair. What is this woman doing to me? Forcing his mind off the temptress threatening to take over his senses, Logan plasters a smile on his face and begins to mingle with his guests, ever aware that the only woman he wanted to ‘mingle’ with was right behind him the entire time.
*





*







*
Hitomi stared up at the sky. A beautiful stage full of sparkling ballerina’s in silver tutus. She hears the soft treads of her love as he hurried towards their coven. Even though she knew he was trying to be stealthy, his footsteps echoed as if made by elephants in the dead silence of the night. She looked expectantly at the opening of the tree-house until a small head of illuminated black hair appeared. As it did every time she saw this boy, Hitomi’s small heart began to beat ferociously and a soft tingle began to spread through her body from the tips of her toes.
After what seemed like a lifetime her love finally entered the small room and sat down beside her looking not at the beautiful starlit sky but at his own beauty, the one sitting before him. “Hey.” He said energetically, his 14 year old voice beginning to break. Hitomi smiled sadly for she knew that the boy sitting before her was trying to hide the anguish he felt inside form her and was desperately failing.
“You don’t have to hide your feeling from me Daichi. I know what Kaede-sama and Kane-sama said hurt you a lot.” Daichi looked off into the distance, not wanting his darling to see the hurt in his eyes. Like a slap in the face, the entire scene played once more in his mind for what had to be the millionth time…

“WHAT? An ARTS school? You want to go to an airy fairy arts school; even though we need you to help your father keep the training dojo working?” Kaede screamed, flaying her arms in the air. Her slightly pale skin began to go red and her eyes became small slits of anger. Daichi looked up at the mother he adored with pleading eyes.
“Oka-sama, please let me go. Please!” he begged, unable to keep the tears of anguish from falling as he tried in vain to change his mothers mind. Kaede whirled around to face her husband.
“Kane you talk to him. He apparently has no respect for his mother!” she screamed and stormed off. Daichi looked towards his father, his hope fading fast. Kane came over to his son and leaned down, putting a hand on the small boy’s shoulders.
“Look son, I know this is hard for you to understand but we are doing this for your good. I’ve seen your paintings and they’re good but I’m an old man, I can’t keep the dojo going for much longer without your help. You get that don’t you?” Kane implored, looking into the face that so resembled his own. He could see the pain in that face and it was as if he was hurting himself but he knew he had no choice.

“Come on Kane, go easy on the poor kid. It’s his passion and he’s better than good, he’s excellent.” Takai urges from the corner of the room where he, Sakura and Kioko are standing. He begins to walk forward but is stopped by Kane’s harsh words.
“T





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