If I Could - Chapter Four
"I'm taking you home."
Kohana had started toward the gates, shrugging off his arm. "Why
is that?" she asked as she turned to face him.
"Because I'm coming up to take a better look at your room."
He smiled. It was annoying, the way he assumed he would get his
"And what could possibly make you think you were welcome there?"
she asked coolly. The breeze picked up, fluttering her hair and
her skirt and tossing a few dead leaves through the empty archways
lining the paths. She shivered.
"You're not going to ruin our friendship over such a small
thing. I found out. You're not angry, you're plotting revenge."
Taking the few steps toward her, he captured her hand in his. "I
chose you because you're so much like me. I know how you react.
Changing now will only waste energy and effort on both our parts."
"Then don't bother to call it a friendship. If we're not going
to waste our time on games, we might as well drop all of them."
The worst thing was, he was right. At least now she had someone
she didn't need to hide her illness from. But even though she suggested
it, there was no way she was putting aside all of her games. She'd
be vulnerable without them.
"Both you and I know we can't do that. Not all of them, anyway.
Some of them." Rubbing her hand, he continued, "Besides,
I have some gloves so your hands won't be any colder than they already
are. It would be a shame not to use them."
"Fine. Let's get out of here." She started off toward
the parking lot, Kiryuu following her.
The motorcycle was the only vehicle left in the lot. Kiryuu helped
her on with her jacket, pulling a pair of gloves from his pocket
and handing them to her. They were thin leather, the highest quality,
of course, and they looked new. Had he bought them for her? It was
no matter. She slipped them on easily; they were the perfect size.
He started the motorcycle, its rumble filling the quiet air, and
she got on.
It was easy to lose herself in the exhilaration of the ride. She
really would have to learn to drive one of these things. The parents
wouldn't even notice unless she had to ask for more money, and she
knew her account was full. Aside from the occasional trip overseas
and periodic shopping extravaganzas, she didn't spend all that much
When he pulled up in front of the house, she noted with distaste
that the gates were open. That meant one or both of them were at
home. As Kiryuu handed her up from the bike, she asked, "Are
you sure you want to come in? Someone's actually home."
"Will they even notice?" he asked dryly, and then laughed.
"Sorry. Your home is so much like mine that I thought—"
"You thought right. They might not notice." Considering
that for a moment, she said, "Unless it's my mother. She'll
notice until she realizes she's not twenty anymore."
"She should meet my father. They might get along." He
followed her to the door.
Once inside, Kohana quickly determined that both of them were home.
Her mother's voice came stridently from the study off the large
living room, and she could hear her father's murmur underneath it.
Paying them no mind, she walked into the kitchen. "Akiko-chan,
are you busy?"
"No, dear. What do you need?" The round face of her maid
looked up from the pot she was stirring.
"Stop it, you know you don't get paid for that. The cook can
do it." Kohana did feel a sort of affection for Akiko. After
all, she was the one who'd kissed Kohana's scraped knees and showed
her how to make flower wreaths when she was little. Akiko obeyed
instantly, setting her spoon aside. She'd be at it again in a few
seconds. "When's dinner?"
"Half an hour."
"I have company, so bring it up to my room when it's ready.
And if you could bring us something to drink soon, that would be
wonderful." She glanced behind her, and Kiryuu was standing
in the doorway. How unsurprising. "What do you want, Kiryuu-sempai?"
"It doesn't matter."
"Hot chocolate for me, it's cold outside." Her mother's
voice rose to a peak. "How long have they been home?"
"An hour or so," Akiko replied. She glanced over at Kiryuu
and her face became wreathed in smiles. "So nice to see you
again, Kiryuu-san. Thank you for the help the other day."
"It was no trouble," he said, bowing graciously. Damn
him, he'd even made friends with her maid already.
"I hope you've thanked him properly, Kohana," Akiko said
sternly, "You always were one to forget your manners."
Sighing heavily, Kohana began to speak, but Kiryuu overrode her.
"She thanked me very nicely, no doubt due to your efforts."
"All right, Kiryuu-sempai. Don't flirt with her any more than
you need to for your survival. She's married." Anything female.
Absolutely anything female. At least she wasn't that bad.
Smiling at her in a way that should have been illegal outside of
the bedroom, he asked, "Jealous?"
"No. Tired of watching you exercise your charm." At least
he wasn't actually in the kitchen. She didn't want Akiko getting
too used to him, because then there'd be questions when he was gone.
"It's just the two of you?" Akiko asked. Kohana nodded,
and then left the room, pushing Kiryuu aside. Hopefully she could
get him upstairs before her mother got angry enough to—
A door slammed. Her mother had gotten angry enough to leave the
study. Brushing past her mother with a breezy, "Hi, mom,"
Kohana grabbed a hold of Kiryuu and pulled him to the stairs.
"Kohana, aren't you going to introduce me to your friend?"
Glancing over her shoulder, she saw that her mother was tugging
at the low neckline of her grey shirt and watching Kiryuu hungrily.
Smiling sweetly, Kohana said, "No, mother. You probably won't
see him again anyway."
Her mother smiled just as sweetly, and then said, "By the
way, darling, I had to take some money out of your account. You
don't mind, do you?"
"No, I don't mind. I'll just ask Dad for some more."
It was always the same old game. And her mother never understood
that Kohana always came out richer than before. She started to walk
up the stairs, still with Kiryuu's hand in hers.
She got about halfway up before her mother's voice floated after
her. "The results of the last test are in, if you'd like to
see them. You understand all of that jargon about 'musculature'
and 'deterioration' better than I do, anyway."
Spine stiffening, Kohana stopped. Kiryuu nearly collided with her,
but he managed to sidestep before he did. Kohana turned around,
letting go of his hand, and walked back down the stairs. "Give
it to me," she said quietly.
"If you're too busy to introduce me to your young man there,
you're too busy to read boring old medical papers. I'm going out.
I'll see you... when I see you." Her mother walked into the
Kohana waited until her mother had left and then said, "Kiryuu-sempai,
go upstairs if you want. My room's on the left, the last door. There's
something I have to do."
"I'll come with you." He walked down the stairs, laying
a hand on her shoulder as he reached the bottom.
"Suit yourself," she said, shrugging off his arm and
walking into the study. Once inside the room, she walked past her
father to the old adding machine he kept, punched in a few numbers,
added a little and then multiplied a little and then tore off the
final total. After scribbling a note on it, she dropped it on the
desk in front of him.
He stopped reading the papers he was flipping through, glanced
at it and grunted, and then went back to reading. Kohana walked
out, satisfied. She'd doubled the maximum her bank allowed her to
take out in one day without her written permission and added interest.
From a different point of view, her mother had given her eighty
thousand yen. Not bad for five minutes' work.
I hate them.
"Upstairs," she said, wishing Kiryuu hadn't come. The
satisfaction of showing up her mother never lasted; it had paled
long ago, leaving only a hollow ache that refused to go away. Though
she knew that the doctors hadn't found anything different, she couldn’t
help but wish, just a little, that she’d never been born.
Once they were in her sitting room, everything seemed a little
bit better. The dark colors were soothing, and the sight of the
rather grisly paintings she had done eased her mind. Her rooms were
her sanctuary, the place where she could be what she was rather
than what others needed to see to give her what she wanted. Perhaps
that was why no one stayed very long; every single one of the paintings
depicted pain of some kind, whether it was physical or not, and
the vases and little baubles that were scattered about were all
broken in some way. Hardly anyone ever got the joke—that it
was too overdone to be entirely serious. Kiryuu, however, seemed
to understand it; he had a small smile on his face, and he didn't
seem uneasy in the least, though he was surrounded by something
that looked like the set from an old horror movie.
Turning on one of the dim lights, she grabbed her portable phone
off one of the stacks of dog-eared books and dialed the number for
the doctors' office. "Do whatever you like, Kiryuu-sempai.
I'm just going to change."
He nodded, and then the receptionist picked up the phone. Crossing
the sitting room, she opened the door into her room. If anything,
it was more overdone than the sitting room—there were stacks
of books on almost every available surface, most of them battered
through much reading, an old record player graced the single table,
and there were heavy velvet drapes on all of the windows. Everything
was broken, chipped, torn, or otherwise flawed. Even the mirror
that stood in the corner had a spider web of cracks in the corner.
It always made her laugh to see it. Walking to the closet, Kohana
chatted easily with the girl on the other end of the line. As she
asked for the girl to fax the report again, she grabbed some red
silk pajamas and unfastened her skirt. It dropped to the floor and
she kicked it aside, unbuttoning her shirt. The receptionist was
being stubborn about faxing.
"Hoshigawa Kohana, I said. Yes. Yes. That's right. No, I'm
not—wait a second. Did a man ask you to fax them earlier?
Yes, a different number." Warm hands took the shirt and slid
it down her arm. She switched hands with the phone, allowing him
to pull the shirt off her and then leaned on him as she tugged the
waistband of her panties down. He undid her brassiere, pulling it
off while she stepped out of her panties. "No. No. No, he didn't
have my permission. I know. No, I'm not angry. I know he has them.
Yes. Don't worry about it. I know who it is. Just don't do it again.
Now, fax my copy again. Thank you. No, I'm not going to make a complaint,
but I will if you don't fax it right now. Thank you. Goodbye."
Hanging up the phone and throwing it on the bed, she grabbed a
paintbrush from the nightstand and twisted her hair up into a bun,
pushing the brush through it to hold it in place. "Kiryuu-sempai.
Do you want something?"
"I'm in your room and you're naked. I’m sure you can
call me Touga." He pulled her to him, his hands sliding down
her body and resting at her hips.
"Touga, then. Touga, what else do you want?" She was
too keyed up for his attentions right now. "Because I really
need to relax, and you're not helping."
"I know," he said. "I was just going to say that
maybe I should leave. You seem upset."
"No. I just need—" There was a knock at the sitting
The door clicked open, and Akiko called out, "Kohana, I've
got your drinks and a paper from the doctor."
"Coming, Akiko-chan." She quickly pulled on the pants
as Kiryuu draped the chinese style shirt over her shoulders. Rushing
to the door and fumbling with the buttons, she took the paper with
a hurried, "Thanks," stuck it between her teeth, and finished
buttoning the shirt. She disregarded Akiko's disapproving gaze,
and carried her mug and Kiryuu's glass back into the bedroom. The
door clicked shut behind her, and she was in darkness.
Kiryuu turned on the lamp near the door. Handing him the drink,
she took the paper out of her mouth and said absently, "You
don't have to leave unless you want to. I was just thinking I might
like a bath, to relax a bit. It's been a long day." Her eyes
scanned the document quickly; as she expected, there was no change.
Wait a second—
"Some things are worth waiting for," he said. "I
don't mind. I'd enjoy the chance to examine these paintings."
Sensitivity increasing? That could be bad. But the dates were...
from last year to this year. Not too bad, then. The tests showed
that it wasn't increasing very much either. There was a graph...
Kiryuu had spoken. "Sorry, what?"
Instead of answering, he took the paper from her, glancing at it,
and then tossing it on the floor. "It doesn't mean anything."
Of course. He'd seen it earlier today. "I know. What did you
"I said I'd enjoy the chance to examine the paintings. Have
your bath if you want." He smiled, but it wasn't the usual
seductive smile. Just a smile.
"No, I didn't mean that. You can stay and talk to me if you
want, keep me company. It's not like I'm going to be shy about it.
I've already had sex with you; what do I care if you see me naked?"
She paused for a moment, considering, and then added, "You
can join me, as long as you promise not to complain about the bubbles."
Brushing his hair back from his face, he said, "I thought
you needed to relax."
"You'll be a gentleman and let me relax. For a while, anyway."
She turned and walked into the bathroom adjoining her suite, Kiryuu
following her. After setting the hot chocolate down on the countertop,
she started the water, adding a generous amount of vanilla scented
bubble bath. It was an American style bath, one with claw feet on
it. It wasn't as big as a normal Japanese bath, but it would fit
two people. She hoped.
Glancing up into the large mirror as she sipped her hot chocolate,
she saw that Kiryuu was right behind her. He placed his glass on
the counter, taking hers from her and setting it down as well, and
began to undo the buttons of her shirt. Kohana stayed still and
let him. Despite her earlier protests, and the fact that she didn't
think she would actually relax until she gotten into the tub, she
was beginning to feel the first restless stirrings of desire. The
silk slid off of her shoulders and puddled around her ankles.
Hands gliding down to her hips, he pulled the waistband down over
the curve of her behind and let the pants fall. Liquid blue eyes
locked with hers through the mirror. Kohana smiled, leaned against
him, and stretched, letting her hands creep up over his shoulders.
Supporting her easily, he stroked her stomach. "I should relax
first, or it won't be as much fun..." she said.
"If that's what you want." He nibbled on the side of
"Hmm…" Kohana sighed, and then pulled herself away.
"I forgot! Akiko will be bringing up dinner soon anyway."
Chuckling, wryly, she said, "It has been a long day.
And I'm still angry at you."
"I haven't seen much evidence of that," he laughed. "But
there was a reason for both of my invasions, as you'll see."
"And why can't you just tell me?" Kohana asked, piqued.
Pulling her to him again and leaning down to nip at her ear, he
said, "Some things have to be seen to be believed. Why do you
think I've undressed you twice already?"
"You're impossible." It was only habit that he was so
flattering; she knew that as well as she knew her name. It didn't
displease her. It didn't really please her, either. She turned around,
intending to check the water in the bath, but he stopped her, pushing
her up against the cool marble counter.
"So are you. Will you tell me now why you bother to go to
school at all?"
"Maybe. Make sure the bath isn't overflowing." Glancing
behind her to see whether the cups were in her way, she put her
hands flat on the counter and hopped up on it.
"It's not." Kiryuu moved forward, nudging her legs apart
and pushing her back against the mirror so that he could easily
keep her where she was, open to his attentions. He began to kiss
her neck, and whispered, "Tell me."
"Everyone I know is there. A lot of people I don't know are
there too. I don't need to go places to meet people, I just have
to go to school." Why should she change when she didn’t
have time to waste? She promptly tossed the question away as Kiryuu
lightly cupped her breast. His lips made their way down toward it
and she arched her back upward to give him better access to it.
Tenderly, he licked around the nipple, teasing her, until she sighed
and slid her hand into his hair. The moment his tongue touched her
nipple was electric; she moaned, twisting sinuously.
Sighing, she called out, "Just leave it in the sitting room,
Akiko. I'll get it in a minute."
"Do you need anything else?" Akiko called. Kiryuu chuckled,
nibbling lightly at Kohana's nipple.
"Ah!" she hissed, her hands pulling him closer. Keeping
her voice controlled, she called, "No, we're fine. If we need
anything, I'll ring you." At that moment, Kiryuu decided to
suck strongly on her nipple, pinching the other lightly. Kohana
gritted her teeth, grinding the moan that wanted to escape into
tiny bits. He was too good at this.
"All right." There was a distinctly critical tone to
Akiko's voice. Oh well. She didn't have to approve, she just had
to keep her mouth shut.
Akiko was gone. Thank god. Kiryuu was driving Kohana insane with
the teasing flicks of his tongue, the gentle caresses of his hands,
and whenever she tried to reach for the buttons of his uniform,
he would tenderly capture her hand and press it back down to the
marble countertop. He continued on up to her neck, biting the sweet
little spot where her neck and shoulder joined. A shiver of bliss
raced through her; her legs wrapped reflexively around his waist
and she crushed herself up against him.
Before she'd recovered from that delight, his hands slid around
her, holding the small of her back and sliding underneath to cup
her behind. He lifted her easily, still kissing the side of her
neck, and carried her over to the bath. Extricating himself from
her grasp, he deposited her in the water and turned off the taps.
And then walked away.
"And where are you going?" she asked. Did he think he
was just going to leave her after that?
Pausing for a moment, he glanced over his shoulder at her. "You're
relaxing," he pointed out, infuriatingly calmly. Her visible
irritation only made him laugh softly before turning to walk out.
"Bastard!" she hissed, sending a sheet of water flying
It didn't completely miss him, but only a few droplets caught in
his hair and dampened his clothes. He glanced at her once again.
"I'm not leaving. You need to be more patient," he said,
walking out. She could easily imagine the smug smile he was wearing.
Irritated, she yanked the paintbrush out of her hair and threw
it out the open door, then sank down underneath the bubbles. He
obviously thought he had the upper hand. For now, he did. That was
going to change.
A few moments later, he'd returned, bringing a chair and the tray
that Akiko had set their food on. Kohana watched him silently as
he set the chair by the tub and placed the tray on it, and then
unselfconsciously stripped, joining her in the bath. He looked different
when his hair was wet and slicked back; older, perhaps, like he'd
seen things that no one would believe. It brought to mind what he'd
said earlier, about having to see some things before believing them.
"What's the big secret?" she asked abruptly. "Why
did all of the Student Council members look at me like they're condemning
me to death? Why did Saionji make such a big fuss about duties,
and then refuse to agree with your choice of a successor? You know
I noticed the way you all looked at each other, as if there were
conversations going on that I couldn't hear, and I didn't like it."
"You'll understand more tonight. You'd better not have a headache."
Pulling her over to him, he settled her on his lap.
She struggled for a moment, unwilling to accept that. "I'm
tired of being patronized and placated. I want to know why you're
against the rest of the Student Council. Whatever it is, it's got
you worried and it's gone on for a long time. You're only seventeen
and you have little worry lines on your face. That's not normal,
He stared at her for a moment, and then laughed. "Perceptive.
I should have known I wouldn't escape that sharp sight."
"Tell me. I'm tired of waiting."
"Get used to not knowing. There are some things I can't explain,
and there are some things you need to find out on your own."
He pulled her against him, resting his chin on the top of her head.
"You did handle the rest of the Council well today. They were
"I know. Arisugawa and Kaoru were easy enough." She frowned.
"He was upset. If he hadn't been impressed with you, he wouldn't
have tried to warn you off." His voice was absolutely certain
All the cryptic statements were infuriating. "What, do you
talk to them with telepathy? How in hell do you know for sure? And
what is the Student Council mixed up in? I know the main concern
here isn't the fall dance. It seems like something dangerous."
"Does that bother you?" Kiryuu asked, voice so blank
and unreadable that Kohana scowled.
"Then stop asking questions. I can promise you that you'll
enjoy this game. You just have to know when to get out of it."
The finality in his tone was undisputable. This time he really wasn't
going to put up with her demands.
"Fine," she said, grabbing a bowl of half-melted ice
cream from the tray.
"Dessert before dinner?" he asked, amused, and reached
for his plate.
"This is dinner."
She didn't even manage to finish half the bowl. She just wasn't
To tell the truth, she was never hungry. To keep from starving,
she'd substituted most of her meals with the diet replacement drinks
that Sato-sensei, her doctor, had recommended, and she took a handful
of different vitamin supplements every morning and night. Glancing
at the cupboard beneath the marble countertop, she tried to remember
how many pill bottles there were in there. She couldn't. There were
too many, there'd been too many over the years.
Setting her bowl aside, she asked, "Will we be out late tonight?"
"Finished already?" he asked, ignoring her question.
"Yes." Likely they would be out late. Kohana decided
to wait while he finished his meal, settling in and allowing her
mind to drift. There were too many questions she wanted answered.
Too much had gone on. And the bath water was starting to get cold.
She reached up with her toes and turned on the hot water for a few
moments, batting a few bubbles around until the water was almost
too hot. Turning it off, Kohana noticed that Kiryuu was setting
aside his plate. The heat of the water was making her feel sleepy.
She nestled herself into a better position, laying her head on his
chest, and closed her eyes.
"Are you relaxed now?" he asked softly.
She smiled. "…nearly asleep."
The purring amusement in his voice gave her goose bumps. "Open
your eyes. We still have things to do tonight."
"Mmmm… what kind of things?"
"Good things." Running his hands down her body, he gently
tweaked her nipple.
That was enough to fan the flames of her desire. Stretching, twisting,
she ended up kneeling between his legs, her hands on his chest and
her mouth at his neck. Sighing contentedly, he let his head fall
back and stroked her pale skin. It wasn't long before he was pulling
her towards him, spreading her knees and positioning her. "And
you're always telling me to be patient."
"We have somewhere to be. We'll take our time afterward."
He didn't seem especially hurried, though, slowly pulling her down
to impale herself on him. She was more than happy to comply, of
course, sinking down on his cock and savoring the pulse she could
feel so clearly against her stretched internal walls. It left her
breathless and a little dizzy when she moved upward, but she thrust
down on him again despite the rush, moving faster. Kohana leaned
forward, grinding her hips into his, and began to lick the pulse
at his throat while his hands wandered her body. The steamy air
of the room and the warm scent of vanilla combined to send her into
a delicious haze, all of her senses being tantalized at once.
It might have been hours. She always lost track of the time during
amazing sex. Kiryuu was simply her perfect lover, the kind no one
ever really expects to meet. He paid attention to every little sound
she made, used her extreme sensitivity to drive her wild with lust,
found the right balance between attentiveness and frustration of
her desires, and it helped that he was absolutely flawless, physically.
The scent of his skin was an instant aphrodisiac, as was the flutter
of his long lashes on her skin when she pressed her cheek against
his. He always seemed to know exactly what she wanted before she
wanted it; it was only the question of when he would give it to
She supposed that he felt much the same about her. After all, she
did know exactly what he wanted before he wanted it.
Finally she could tell that he was about to come. It was in the
rasp of his breath and the heat of his gaze scorching trails down
her body. She knew exactly what would drive him over the edge. His
fingers worked at her clit, the blazing heat filling her and then
slowly edging closer to a peak, and she moaned, "Touga... please…"
drawing it out, long and low. "Oh, please…" It
was purely psychological. Clamping down with her internal muscles,
she allowed her climax to wash over her, her head falling back as
the rapturous sensations flamed through her. A split second after,
he stiffened beneath her, his cock spasming and filling her with
his hot seed.
Collapsing onto him, she panted, trying to catch her breath. She
was still a little dizzy, but that would pass. His arms wrapped
around her, their chests pushed together, both of them worn out
and rejuvenated by their exertions.
After a while, she sat up and chuckled. "Narcissist."
She would lay a bet that one of the things he’d enjoyed most
was hearing her beg for him. Of course, that was why she’d
done it. Sex just wasn’t as much fun if both parties weren’t
absolutely, utterly absorbed in it.
"So are you." He smiled roguishly. "But we can't
spend all night admiring ourselves."
Wrinkling her nose, Kohana slowly pulled off of him, shivering
slightly at the loss of contact. She stepped out of the bath and
grabbed a robe from the hooks on the door, enjoying the rough terrycloth
against her skin. Kiryuu pulled the plug, stepping out as well and
catching the robe she tossed to him. After a few moments spent drying
off, she grabbed a brush and began to brush her hair, gently working
out the tangles. Once her hair was finished, she wrapped a towel
around it and swapped her robe for a silk one. Kiryuu followed her
into her room, carrying his uniform.
"Do you have a clock?" he asked, glancing around.
"It's six-thirty. Are we late?" They were probably going
to the forest. But what kind of appointment would be in the forest?
He dropped the robe on the bed, pulling on his pants. "No,
we're a little early. I have something to give you first, though."
Kohana helped him on with his shirt, trying not to exhibit any curiosity.
He wasn't actually falling for her, was he?
One look at his face gave her the answer. He wasn't. Heaving a
silent sigh of relief, she deadpanned, "How sweet, Kiryuu-sempai.
Bringing me presents and everything. Maybe I should give up my lewd
and debaucherous ways and settle down with you."
He coughed, glancing sharply at her. She couldn't help but start
to laugh; he looked almost frightened. "Don't ever do that
again," he said, shaking his head. "And I thought you
were calling me Touga."
"Maybe. I haven't decided yet." She walked over to the
closet, searching for something comfortable and warm to wear.
"Don't bother. Your uniform will be here soon." Walking
toward her, he took her hand in his and reached into his pocket.
"Obey the rules of the rose seal and the decrees of the ends
of the world. As the future Seitokaicho, you have a double duty;
to learn all I have to teach, and to uphold the rules as best as
you are able."
It sounded like ritual. Pulling his hand out of his pocket, Kohana
saw that he was holding a silver ring with a pink rose crest much
like the school's. She'd seen the same ring on his finger, but thought
it just some affectation. He held it in front of her eyes for a
moment, watching her examine it, and then slipped it on her finger.
The cool metal made her shiver.
"There's something I have to say before we leave tonight,"
he continued softly. His fine features were set in serious lines,
all vestiges of playfulness or desire gone from them. "Don't
rely on anyone but yourself. The other members are useful, at times,
but they all have their flaws. And don't trust them. Don't ever
turn your back on anyone, in or out of the Council, student, teacher,
anyone." He brought her hand up to his lips, gently pressing
a kiss on the crest of the ring. "Even me."
He was utterly serious! What the hell was going on?
Kohana slowly nodded, unable to think of anything to say. Of course
she didn't trust him. Well, she did, to a certain degree. She trusted
that he wouldn't turn down sex, and that he'd do whatever it took
to get what he wanted. And that he liked having power over people.
Those were qualities she herself had.
The serious look slowly left his face. He let her hand go, smiling
at her. "You'll do well."
"Kohana! There's a package for you!"
Laughing, he said, "Your uniform. You have just enough time
to dress before we have to leave."
"I see," she said. Crossing over to the door to the sitting
room, she stuck her head out. Akiko was there, naturally, and she
was carrying two large boxes. There was a look on her face that
said she wanted to speak privately, and so Kohana came out and closed
Akiko frowned gently and said, "Kohana-chan, you’ve
never talked about this boy."
"Akiko, it’s my decision. I’ll do what I want."
Smiling to take the harsh edge from the words, she took the boxes.
"It’s all right. You don’t need to worry about
Instead of grumbling about parents that didn’t care about
their children, as she usually did, Akiko shook her head. "At
least I know you won’t get your heart broken." Looking
her in the eyes, Akiko said earnestly, "You’re a sweet
girl, Kohana-chan, but there’s something in you that isn’t
sweet at all."
"I know," Kohana murmured, and then grinned. "Don’t
worry about me. I can take care of myself." She waited until
Akiko had left, fingering the ribbons on the boxes uneasily, and
then turned back toward her room.
Carrying the boxes into her room, she wasn't surprised when Kiryuu
took them from her. They smelled faintly of roses. He placed them
on the bed, and then glanced around the room. "Do you ever
open the drapes?"
"Not really. Why?"
"Open the first box," he said, and crossed the room to
the curtains. Opening them threw her whole black and grey room into
sharp detail rather than the gloom she liked best. As well as soothing,
the dark colors were flattering to her. Her pale skin and white
hair showed up against them like the moon in the midnight sky.
She decided to ignore the light as best she could, and opened the
first box, the one that smelled the most like roses.
Inside was a huge bouquet of them, in every color she'd ever seen
and more. Even the black ones were there, vaguely repellent after
what Kiryuu's sister had said to her.
"Pick your favorite color," he said, "And we'll
see if I guessed right."
She could have chosen the black or the pale green ones, just to
throw him off, but instead she decided to be honest. It would be
a test of how well he knew her. She held up a red so deep that it
was almost black, the color of the blood in the painting across
the room. That particular painting was one that she was rather proud
of; the contrast between the gold and white angel, the grey world,
and the red heart he was holding in his hand was especially pleasing.
"Open the other box." Kiryuu's voice was nearly smooth,
but she thought she heard a faint hint of smugness to it. He'd guessed
right. At least, that was her guess.
She opened the box. He had guessed right. A snow white
uniform, much like his own, lay in the box. It was different, however,
in that it was accented with the deep burgundy rather than his pure
red, and—she picked it up, and smiled—made of silk.
He continued, "You should change. We'll be late."
She undid the tie at the front of her robe. "Grab some panties
and a brassiere for me? Top drawer, on the left." Maybe she'd
give him a few ideas as to other things she could be wearing.
She watched out of the corner of her eye as he dug through the
drawer, hands whispering through silky bits of lingerie. "And
stop trying to frustrate me, or we'll be later." he chuckled
when he turned to her, watching her drop the robe on the floor.
He handed the delicate underthings to her, and then walked to a
large vase with a few dried flowers in it. As she dressed, choosing
the pants, he took the flowers out and laid them on a nearby pedestal,
then filled it, first with water and then with the roses.
"I'm ready," she said, smoothing the front of the uniform
and making sure the weighted cord hung properly.
"Then let's go." He looked her over before they walked
to the door. "You were meant to wear that uniform."