122 I will never get mad at you
Iori is looking at the childhood photos. There are a lot of pictures of her, Takeshi, and Haru. Takeshi always fought with her over the smallest matter. Haru would be the mediator. Is it her fault that she could never imagine Takeshi liking her? That aloof boy has never treated her like a girl. That's why she was shocked that she was kissed by him.
Liking her? It felt like a prank.
One of the photographs catches her eyes. It's the first day of middle school. Takeshi's mother took this photo.
They are standing together in the new uniform. Takeshi is looking to his right while she and Haru are gazing straight at the camera. She follows Takeshi's gaze in the picture. She notices that his eyes are focussed on her reflection on the glass wall. The corners of his lips are slanted upward.
"It was that long." She is using a magnifier to observe whether it's a smile or sneer. "Why didn't I... is he one of those guys who bully the girl they like? Seriously, Takeshi, are you an idiot? You treated me like I was an evil witch."
Why did she stay as his friend though? Was she a masochist who liked being bullied?
Her motivation was his brother. She liked visiting his house and getting energized after seeing his brother.
In any case, she shouldn't have laughed when he confessed. That was heartless. It must have been difficult for him to confess finally. Wasn't it the same for her regarding his brother? She didn't even have the courage to confess.
The kiss keeps coming to her mind whenever she thinks of Takeshi. It was her first kiss with a human male.
He has been ignoring her texts and calls for days. At university, he treats her silently. He only comes to sit with her when Haru is there.
She needs to apologize to him.
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"Did something happen todday?" Kiyohira asks Tsuchiya Tsumi.
Tsuchiya looks at the door. "She's quieter than usual. She didn't eat breakfast and lunch."
"I see." He steps inside the room. Dressed in black, Rie is sitting on the bed. She raises her head and smiles at him.
Sensing that something is wrong, he approaches her slowly, as if approaching a wild animal who might attack him at any moment.
Earlier, Chisa had said something that worried him. Then, Rie didn't meet any outsider or get contacted by someone. Even if Chisa did something, it wouldn't reach Rie.
Last night, it was not unusual because it was not the first time when she tried to seduce him. But she didn't do anything else after eating dinner with him. She was too quiet. Then, she just slept and didn't wake up until he left in the morning. He thought that she was upset about not doing it last night.
Confining Rie is one of the ways to prevent her from misunderstanding him. He's doing it to find the missing piece. He doesn't want Chisa to be left with a backup.
He doesn't want to imagine what would happen if Chisa gets her hands on her? Only death can stop Chisa from coming from Rie. He will give her that after destroying Chisa just like Rie wants to ruin Chisa.
"Rie, what happened?" He takes her hands and smiles at her cordially.
"I finalized a few women who can become your second wife."
Her voice is frosty, but eyes are laughing scornfully. Yesterday morning, she acted a little different. When he kissed her, there was something about the way she responded. He cups her face and presses his lips on hers again. She doesn't respond or move. The cold laughter in her eyes isn't gone.
"You can stop looking." Why do all of his plans backfire miserably? He only wanted her to realize that she also had feelings for him. Instead, she is turning out like this. Are they really that hopeless? Will she never love him back?
"You want me to stop looking." She smiles brightly. "You must have already chosen her. You should have told me already. I worked so hard to find the one."
"You." He pokes her temple. "You are the only suitable woman. I want you to be with me. There's no one else who can take that place."
She guffaws and rolls on the bed. "That's the most hilarious joke that I heard in a while."
"Rie." He sighs. "Will you ever take me seriously?"
"Wait!" She raises her index finger. "There was another joke. What was it? Oh, yes! Another joke is me. I am the fool of the century."
She's speaking strangely. "You aren't a fool."
"Then, what I am?" She rolls on her side. "Kiyohira, answer me."
"Umezaki Rie, the most beautiful woman in the world." He pushes away the strands of hair from her face. "You are anything but a fool."
"Anything but a fool?" She mumbles. "Kiyohira, you are a true businessman."
"What does that mean?" He frowns at her.
She cocks her head. "Kiyohira, do you love me?"
"You know that I do."
"More than my life."
"Then, can you give me your life if I ask?"
"Sure." He grins at her. "Rest of my life is yours."
The smile is gone from her lips. She watches him quietly. "This is what I meant. You have the ability to make anyone believe you."
"If you believe me then, give me your heart in return." He spreads his palm in front of her. "A true businessman always think of benefits."
She places her hand in his hand quietly. "Your hand is warm."
"Your hand is cold." He frowns. He rubs her cold hand. "What were you doing before I came?"
"Thinking." She blinks at him. "What were you doing before you came back?"
"I was..." He hesitates. He can't tell her about Chisa. He's meeting her. Though it takes every ounce of his energy not to butcher her at the spot, he bears with it because of his goal. Everything must be taken away from Chisa before she is taken down. "It was a business meeting."
"You drank alcohol." She takes her hand back and looks away. "It must be an important meeting."
"I am preparing a present for you." He plants a kiss on her forehead. "Though you might get mad at me in the future."
"Mad at you?" She shakes her head slowly with an insane light in her eyes. "I will never get mad at you, Kiyohira. Nothing can make mad at you anymore. I won't be surprised by anything anymore."
"Really?" He creases his forehead. It sounds wrong. "I am sure that you will be surprised. You will also get mad at me."
"We will see in the future." She looks at him thoughtfully. "You can have dinner by yourself. Goodnight"
He has zero belief that she wouldn't get mad at him. "I can't let you sleep with an empty stomach."
He hears her sigh. He can understand how she's feeling. It's only temporary. After a few days, she will understand the reason behind his actions.