Complex :: Chapter 2 – Empty Words (PG)

Title : Complex
Chapter : 2
Author: ICC
Rating: NONE… this chapter is clean.

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Chapter 2 :: Empty Words
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Akitsuki Shinnosuke was sitting by his work desk, which was positioned in front of a full-length glass window pane. He was reading through a proposal brought up by one of his subordinates. The small font was causing his eyes to water. Irked by the alien feel on his face, he used a handkerchief to swab the moisture off. When he felt a little more comfortable, Shinnosuke brought the document back to his eye level and continued perusing it.

“Sadaijin-sama,” his attendant entered his office after knocking. “Her Majesty had requested your presence in her villa.”

“Prepare the car,” he ordered the attendant who was still in a 90 degree-bow position. Shinnosuke stood up and left the document on the neat desk. Glancing a little to the right, a metallic photo frame caught the attention of the minister. He took it up and held it closer, smiling unknowingly; it was like a reflex arc. Whenever he looked at the picture in the frame, he would experience a warm, fuzzy emotion welling up in him. A beautiful woman with a swollen tummy would be first noticed when one looks at it. She had long, flowing black hair that looked soft and nice to run your fingers in. Her eyes were of warm hazel, her tenderness and loving nature could be seen in her eyes even though it was only a picture. She was twinkling with happiness as seen from her breathtaking smile as she lovingly leaned onto another figure in the picture. He was carrying a toddler with one arm and hugging her with the other. In his strong hands, the toddler will be the next to capture anyone’s attention for she looked like the woman. The same black hair but a little wavier, the bright eyes that shimmers in happiness and the smile. They have the same smile. Shinnosuke ran his forefinger across the glassy surface of the frame.

“Yori … her name will be Yori,” a tender voice resonated at the back of his head. When he decided that he had reminisced enough, he gently set the frame back to its original position on the desk, picked up his blazer from a nearby metallic coat stand and strode towards the now-ajar door, held open by his attendant.

__________________________________________

Seating himself on an armchair facing the Empress’s, Shinnosuke felt uneasy at the soft squishy feel.

“Akitsuki-dono, please have some tea,” she motioned towards the tray with a teapot and two sets of cup and saucer containing a clear brown liquid. The aroma of the fruit fusion tea had pervaded the room causing Shinnosuke to feel a little groggy from the overbearing smell. The Empress lifted her cup towards her mouth and took a small sip.

“The Crown Prince had sent back some of the best tea leaves from Great Britain,” she replaced the cup onto the saucer. Shinnosuke kept his silence.

“Akitsuki-dono,” she looked earnestly into Shinnosuke’s eyes. “Yori will have to leave for the Tachibana family now.”

Your Highness, I beg your pardon?” Shinnosuke widened his eyes.

“Well… when I say now, I don’t mean immediately,” the Empress explained when she noticed Shinnosuke’s expression had changed. “It would take a few days for the Tachibana family to prepare for her arrival.”

“You know that’s not what I’m asking!” Shinnosuke raised from his seat and rose his voice. “I’m sorry for the insolence… Your Highness,” he retreated with the realization that he was speaking to the Empress and not the Fujiwara subordinate from before.

“It’s alright…” she started again when Shinnosuke retook his seat. “She will have to go over someday, and the earlier the better it will be for her own good too, don’t you agree?” When someone in the Royal Family says “Don’t you agree?”, it is a given to agree, there is not much room for dispute. However, Shinnosuke wanted to save Yori. He challenged the Empress by looking straight into her face. The Empress was the daughter of another family of the Fujiwara clan and a previous subordinate of his. After taking a better look at her, he realized that she had not aged much over the years, still looking very much like the day she wedded into the Royal Family; young and haughty.

“They promised to leave her alone till she graduates,” he said in a calmer tone.

“Things have changed, the agreement will not hold when against the circumstances that we will be facing,” the Empress finally divulged her concerns.

“The Crown Prince… he knows?” Shinnosuke questioned.

“He doesn’t… but he will be returning soon,” she said, taking another sip off the porcelain cup. “She will only be adopted into the Tachibana family. I will see to it that the engagement will not take place so soon.”

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Shinnosuke walked down the long corridor towards the family room. Along the way, he was deep in thoughts and was ignoring the usual greetings from his servants.

Master, welcome back,” another one of the servants greeted him with a 90-degree bow. It was not till Shinnosuke walked past before he stood up straight and continued down his original route.

Master seems to be in a bad mood today,” the servant thought to himself.

When he reached the entrance to the family room, a servant standing by the closed doors greeted him.

Master, welcome back. The young masters and young mistress are in the room.”

Shinnosuke did not wait for the servant to open the doors for him. He pushed open the double doors and marched into the room.

“Otou-sama!” Chito was the first to noticed him. The group of five greeted him unanimously.

“Welcome home, Otou-sama.”

As if to give a report of what they were doing in the room, Shou (his eldest son and secretary) said,”We are just gathering around to congratulate Yori.”

“Congratulate? They know…?” Shinnosuke thought.

“Yori-nee-sama had gotten into the Fujiwara Academy for the Elites!” Setsuna’s exclamation replied his doubt.

In front of him stood his beloved daughter, an almost splitting image of his wife.

“Otou-sama… here are the official documents,” she handed a big white envelope out with two hands while bowing 45 degree.

Shinnosuke hesistated. He clenched his fists hard and wondered what to do next. She would not be able to go to the academy if she was to be adopted into the Tachibana family.

“Shinnosuke-sama…” He heard his wife calling out to him from the back of his head. Yori still had her head down, hands reached out with the white envelope. Deciding that he would not reveal the news immediately, he took the documents from her.

“You will not be going to the academy,” he announced sternly. He thought that it would be easier for her to receive the news if she did not get her hopes high.

“Otou-sama?” she looked up fearfully.

“Why?” It was Shou who brought up the question.

“There is no why. A girl should behave like one and attend etiquette lessons. The academy is for the male elites of our clan. As the chairman, I will not allow any derogation to the academy,” he lied.

“You were the one who encouraged Yori-nee-sama to take the entrance tests!” Setsuna yelled in defense of his sister.

“I changed my mind,” Shinnosuke replied Setsuna’s insolence with a firm tone. With that, he threw the envelope into the fireplace.

“No!” He thought he heard a few of his children exclaiming in despair when he turned and left the room.

“It’ll be easier if she did not have her hopes up,” he kept repeating to himself as he trudged to his room.

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The next morning , he announced the news during breakfast when everyone was gathered at the dining table.

“Yori will be going to the Tachibana family when they are ready to receive her,” he continued to read his papers after the announcement.

He was waiting to hear Yori’s cries of resentment but none came. The only voice he heard was from Setsuna.

“You old fool! Why must Yori-nee-sama go to the Tachibana family now?” he said indignantly.

“What about the agreement between the Tachibanas and our family?” Shou asked in a concern voice. He knew his father well enough to know that he is not the kind to make decisions like this at a whim.

“It had been decided that she will be adopted into the Tachibana family, that’s all. No more questioning from you. I will not tolerate such insolence towards me anymore,” Shinnosuke had put his newspaper away.

“Otou-sama…” He heard Yori calling out to him and instinctively turned to face her. “I will go.” His wife’s image had superimposed onto Yori’s miserable expression. His heart just ached even more when he felt that he had caused his wife to make an expression like that. He could no longer differentiate if she was his beloved wife or his precious daughter.

By the time he was walking out of the dining room, Chito was holding Setsuna back with both arms.

“You old fool! They promised to leave her alone!” Setsuna was cursing out loud at him but he disregarded the outburst and continued his way.

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April 10, 2008. Tags: . Complex, Complex [PG-version].

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