- Hiro -
Hiro blinked her eyes repeatedly to adjust her eyes to the bright light shining into the room she inhabited through clear glass windowpanes. She sat up in the bed and looked around at her surroundings. From her position on the bed, to her left was a wall made of glass only, overlooking the city and the horizon of the setting sun. Directly in front of her was a door leading into the bathroom. The lights were off there and she could not see within it.
To her right was a door leading outside to who knows where. On the wall to the side, behind her, there was a door that lead to the closet, a drawer cabinet lay to the left of the door, close to where her bed was.
She swept the sheets from her and moved her legs off the side of the bed. Tentatively, she placed her feet onto the carpeted ground. Wiggling her toes in the softness of the carpet, she frowned slightly.
“Where am I,” she murmured to herself, rubbing the bed spread beneath her body.
She stood up and approached the full-length wall window. She placed a hand on the cold glass and pressed her forehead to it. Withdrawing with a sigh, she treaded over to the door that led outside her room. Hesitating, she gripped the door handle and turned it ever so slightly.
She pulled it open and stepped outside, ramming her face into a body that suddenly appeared before her. A hand caught her behind her back and held her tight, keeping her from falling backward. Her head reclined far up to see who it was.
“Oh, it’s you,” she muttered, pushing the gentleman away.
He pursed his lips and looked down at her.
“Your father wants to see you.”
“He’s not my father,” she snapped, her face lifted to return his look.
“He still wants to see you,” and so saying, the gentleman quickly turned on his heel and went up a spiral staircase across her room to the right.
Frowning, she followed him up. She took each step tentatively and her hands wrung the folds of her dress with anticipation. Stepping onto the landing, she looked up and saw the principal stand before her. His face lit up at the sight of her. Hiro’s frown deepened as she walked around the outskirts of the room to avoid being near the man.
“Now dear, that’s no way to treat your-”
“You are not my father,” she snapped.
He sighed and slumped into a couch behind him. A butler came to his side immediately, offering him a glass of water and some pills. The principal, Sir Renkai, waved the man away and rubbed his temples, a look of exhaustion on his face. Looking up mid rub, he motioned for her to take a seat. Approaching the opposite couch hesitantly, she sat down cautiously as though a trap might’ve been laid for her beneath the cushions.
“What do you want?” she demanded, fist clenched tight in her lap. “You’re obviously tired and my presence here isn’t making things better for you. I suggest you let me go home-”
“This is your home,” he interjected tiredly.
He sat back and stared at her.
“Look how much you’ve grown. I’ve watched you as you attended school but I never had the courage to confront you until it is too late and the game was well underway.”
“I don’t understand how this all comes to play. I’m confused and I refuse to believe you are my father.”
“Why are you so adamant? You have the facts before you and yet you still refuse to believe.”
“Who in their right mind would believe that their whole entire life was a lie? A story fabricated to convince-”
“It is not a lie!” he shouted, slamming his hands down upon the coffee table before him, surprising her. “You are my daughter! What will it take for you to believe it?!”
“No documents, data, pictures, or tests you show me will change my mind or persuade me. How can you barge into my life and call yourself my father? After all these years of knowing you as my principal, I find it very creepy and strange that you would suddenly proclaim that you know me and, on top of that, are related to me.”
She stood and turned to leave when his voice called out to her, “Where will you go? This is your home!”
“I’ll go back to-”
From the corner of her eyes she saw a woman approaching them. She turned her head to look at her fully and realized that it was her “mother”. Her words died on her lips as the lady looked at her and smiled sadly.
“Hello, Miss Hiro.”
She shook her head at Hiro.
“I am only your caretaker and babysitter. I’m anything and everything but your mother.”
Hiro’s eyes widened in shock and she stammered out, “How can this be? You were always-”
“There for you under the orders of your father, Sir Renkai, who is sitting right here before you,” she interrupted.
Hiro’s legs gave way and she fell back into the couch behind her. Her hands rose to the sides of her head and she gripped her hair and shook her head furiously.
“Why,” she whispered. “Why now, why do you want me back now? What do you possibly need me for? Nothing makes sense to me anymore.”
The room was silent as Hiro slowly sobbed into her knees, which she brought up to her chest to hug and cry into.
“It’s a game, my dear, and you play a big role in it,” Sir Renkai said, looking at her huddled form as though he wanted to approach her and comfort her but was afraid to.
“Explain this game of yours,” Hiro snapped back in response.
“Money, power, prestige, whoever has the most will win,” he stopped and glanced at the tall gentleman for a second before continuing. “As you know, the Renkai Corporation is the head of all other companies. You also know that Serizawa is third but is quickly approaching the second position quickly. I, as the head of the Renkai Corp. have come to terms and agreement with the second leading company to merge.”
She waited for him to continue but he didn’t. She looked up and saw that everyone was looking at her.
“What,” she asked, wiping a tear from her cheek.
“You’re the one we need for the unifying of our two companies,” the tall young man said.
Hiro dropped her legs to the ground and sat up straight.
“You don’t mean-”
“No,” was her immediate response.
She stood up and flung a cushion at him, which he swiftly dodged by sidestepping it. She screamed hysterically at him and threw another one. By that time Sir Renkai had stood up and wrapped an arm around hers and pulled her back.
“That’s it?” she shrieked, turning and punching his chest. “That’s all I was needed for? A political marriage to seal some stupid unification between two companies? That’s all I was brought back for?”
“That’s only one of the reason, my dear, please calm down!” Renkai soothed.
She shoved him away from her and retreated to the corner of the room.
“Get away from me, all of you. I don’t know who I am anymore and I don’t want to see any of you again. Leave me alone!!”
She turned from them and attempted to flee down the stairs when an arm wrapped around her waist and hauled her up toward the ceiling. Her head rammed against something hard but soft and she knew it was the tall gentleman’s chest. She squirmed in his hold and glared at him from beneath her bangs.
He simply looked down at her and smiled. He carried her back to the group and continued to hold her as he stood there watching as the other two looked at each other and then back at him.
“You may not like the idea, Hiro, but it’s going to happen. This merger is important. We aren’t doing this for the prospect of staying at the top, but to keep Serizawa from gaining this position. You’ve seen the way his pompous daughter struts about. However arrogant she is, her father is ten times worse,” the gentleman said calmly, looking down at her as he spoke.
She returned his look balefully and turned away from him. He shifted his grasp, which brought her head back to face him.
“You may not remember me, but I remember the day we met. You were like a-”
“Save it,” she retorted, covering his mouth with her hand. “Save your pathetic love story, I don’t care.”
“Love story or not, what I feel for you is true. Don’t be so obstinate,” he muttered, turning away from her.
“There’s a dinner party this evening, Hiro,” Sir Renkai approached hesitantly.
“I’m invited to be shown off as the prized piece, aren’t I?” she snapped, glaring at him.
He sighed and returned her look.
“Now look here, you are not being showed off at this party. You are there because I have finally found you, my daughter.”
Still in the young man’s arms, she shifted in an attempt to get out of his arms and replied at the same time, “You knew where I was for a long time, sir.”
Flabbergasted, he responded, “There was no opportune moment to bring you home! If I had brought you back home when you were younger, the same thing would’ve happened and, by all means, with more casualties. It was important to keep you safe until you were able to fend for yourself. The events in the past week were advancing too quickly and we had to bring you back to my arms. Serizawa is planning something big and I don’t want you to get hurt. Please understand, Hiro, I’m doing this all for you.”
She gazed at him silently and turned to face the young man. She didn’t lift her head but spoke directly at his chest, keeping her eyes down at her hands.
“Put me down,” she whispered.
He obliged and lowered her to the floor. As soon as her feet touched the ground and she stood on her own, she sighed in relief.
“Land,” she sighed contentedly.
The young man chuckled and turned his back to her. She glanced over at him and saw that the tips of his ears were bright red. She scowled and turned to retreat down the stairs. She opened her mouth to say that she was returning to her room to stop the other people in the room from protesting when her phone rang, interrupting her.
She picked it up and asked, “Hello?”
“Yeah this is me, Akari’s awake and she wanted to see you.”
“Really? That’s wonderful news!” she exclaimed happily. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
Hanging up, she flew down the stairs before anyone could say anything. She slipped into her room to retrieve the pair of flats that matched her dress and she returned into the corridor to head down the hall away from the stairs. Footsteps sounded beside hers and when she looked up to see who it was and saw only a chest, she glowered and knew who it was.
“Why are you following me?” she snapped, hastening her pace.
“To help guide you through this maze, you seem lost,” he replied back calmly.
“I am not lost,” she argued. “I’m exploring the place.”
“You sounded a bit eager to see your friend though,” he said.
She stopped in her trek and turned to face him.
“Lead the way then,” she retorted, flourishing a sarcastic curtsey at him.
He gave her a small smile and began to walk before her, leading her through so many hallways and turns and down so many staircases that she lost count. Eventually, they arrived at the large double doors that led outside. She ran towards them and quickly flung them open.
As the young man stepped to follow her outside, a nearby butler exclaimed to him, “Why didn’t you take the main hallway and stairs down to the entry room?”
“I wanted to see if she would really follow me,” he answered with a sly smirk on his face.
The butler shook his head and returned to work as the young man stepped outside into the cold air. Already, Hiro was speed walking down the street that led to the busy shopping district.
He walked to where he parked his car and opened the door to the driver seat. He sat down in the driver seat and closed the door after him. Taking the keys from his pocket, he put it into the ignition and started the car. Putting the car in reverse, he drove out of the driveway. Turning into the street, he put the car in forward and drove after Hiro.
Hiro was close to running now as she heard the tires crunch on the ground behind her. As the sleek black car appeared by her side, she slowed down and looked at the driver through the window that was being lowered.
“Get in the car, I’ll take you to the hospital,” he offered.
“No thanks, I’m capable of getting there on my own,” she replied hotly.
“Get in, please, it’ll take you forever to get there if you walk.”
She stopped mid step and waited for the car to slow down to stop as well. She walked toward it and opened the door to the passenger side and slipped in. Buckling up, she sat as still as a stone and stared down at her hands in her lap. The whole ride was silent and awkward. As soon as the hospital came into view, she unbuckled and pulled the door open, flying out of the car that had not yet parked completely. She ran into the building and spammed the elevator button until the doors finally pulled open. She jumped inside and pushed a number, this time, repetitively smashing the button so that the elevator would close.
A hand snaked between the closing doors and it opened back again. The young man slipped inside the elevator, the doors reclosed and the elevator ascended. She stood there silently and glowered at her shoes while the man looked on with amusement.
“You got here too fast,” she muttered.
“My long legs take me over distances quickly,” he chuckled. “Trying to keep me out?”
She folded her arms across her chest and snapped, “I was trying to avoid being in an elevator with you.”
“I’m not going to do anything to you,” he responded, pausing as though in thought. “Unless you want me to.”
She ignored him and stepped through the opening elevator doors onto the landing. Quickly, she sped over to the room in which Akari was in. She could feel the young man’s presence behind her and she hastily tore open the door and swung it closed behind her, swiftly locking the door.
Akari sat up in her bed and looked at Hiro with surprise.
Hiro smiled sheepishly and nodded her head in greeting, walking over to the chair beside the bed.
“How are you feeling?” she asked.
Akari’s hand took Hiro’s and wrote, “Doing better. I’m so glad you could come.”
Miyamo got up from the couch on the other side of the room and greeted Hiro.
“I’ll step out the room for a bit to give you two some privacy. See you later Hiro.”
Hiro nodded her head and returned to talking to Akari. The door opened and Miyamo slipped through. He held the door open for the young man, who promptly ducked under the door, silently thanking Miyamo, who nodded his head in return and left. The young man stood in the corner by the door and kept quiet, observing the two girls.
“There’s a really tall guy in the room,” Akari scribbled.
Hiro stiffened and turned her head to the side. She recoiled when she noticed the young man standing there staring at her. He looked at her with delight and smirked.
“No and never,” Hiro muttered. “This guy is the worst.”
“What happened between you two?”
Hiro sighed and lowered her head, laying it on the metal bar surrounding the hospital bed.
“I’m supposed to marry him,” she whispered.
Akari sat up in bed and gripped Hiro’s hand tightly. Hiro looked over at her and sighed miserably.
“He’s not bad looking though.”
Hiro waved her free hand dismissively and groaned.
“He looks like he genuinely cares for you.”
“How can you tell?” Hiro asked, lifting her head and turning it slightly so that she could peek at the young man through the folds of her hair.
“The only one he’s looking at is you.”
“Maybe he’s just obsessed,” Hiro muttered, drowsily.
She turned away from him and laid her head back down onto the bar. Akari patted her head and looked at her in concern.
“What’s wrong? You seem so tired,” she scribbled.
“It’s been a long day and I haven’t had enough sleep recently,” Hiro replied, yawning. “Let me rest a bit, if that’s fine with you.”
Akari patted her hand in response and looked up to glance at the young man, who returned her look.
She lifted her free hand to her lips and told him to be quiet. She then waved him over and patted to the opposite side of her bed from where Hiro was. He walked over to her and took a chair as he went. Placing the chair down gently by the bed, he sat down. He nodded his head in greeting and Akari nodded back in return. She held her hand out to him and he took it, thinking she wanted to shake hands with him.
She pulled his hand onto her lap and took a finger, writing on the palm of his hand, “Do you like her?”
He looked quickly at Hiro’s head and then back at Akari.
“I do, very much,” he whispered.
Akari stared long and hard at the young man until he sighed and smiled at her.
“We met when we were kids at an evening dinner party between the top five families. She doesn’t remember me, being she was only a little toddler. I was walking beside my mother and she was in the arms of hers. As our mothers socialized, I looked up at her and she looked back at me. There was something special about her that I just couldn’t figure out.”
“What do you mean?” Akari’s hand scrawled.
“She just shone brighter than everyone else. My love for her may be one sided, and even though I haven’t seen her in several long years, I’ve always been thinking about her.”
“You sound like you’re infatuated with her.”
He chuckled softly and said, “I do, huh.”
“You sound so fake, like you’re only pretending to love her because someone told you to.”
The young man smiled to himself and stared at the folds of the blanket on the bed, thinking deeply about something.
“Whether or not what you said was true, don’t hurt her,” and with that, she withdrew her hand from his and slipped it under her covers, turning away from him so that her back was to him.
He gazed at her and sighed, leaning back in his chair until it tipped backward and balanced precariously on the back two legs.
“What a long day,” he murmured to himself. “And it’s not even finished yet.”
He swung the chair back down and stood up. He walked around the bed and picked Hiro up gently. He shifted her in his arms so that she was in a comfortable position. Approaching the door, he hefted her into one arm and placing her head higher on his shoulder, he opened the door quickly and slid Hiro quickly back into a better grasp. He stepped out of the room and Miyamo stood up from the chair alongside the wall outside.
“We’re done,” the young man said, and turned to leave.
“I’ll call again when she wants to see Hiro,” Miyamo called after him as he disappeared behind a corner.
Miyamo closed the door to Akari’s room and sat back down in his chair. He leaned his head back against the wall and sighed, folding his arms across his chest.
“What a long day,” he sighed, before standing up to pace in front of the room.