Music of My Soul

BY : ReadtoEscape
Category: Wei▀ Kreuz > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1198
Disclaimer: I dont own Weiss kreuz, Ran, Yohji, or any of the guys. I write/post for my own enjoyment. No profit is made. Well, except the stress relief of writing it, & the warm fuzzies I get if you like it. But as those are intangibles,


MUSIC OF MY SOUL – CHAPTER  11



 



 



CHAPTER  11



 



Ran stared at his reflection, and on autopilot adjusted his dark violet tie. His eyes flicked yet again to the cell phone lying silent on the end table. Still, lifeless, silent, like his heart. It was time. Time to go, to seal his name to Miko’s, and Yohji still hadn’t responded to his text of late this morning. In all fairness, Ran knew Yohji was busy, was performing. Traveling, setting up, and then interviews and autograph sessions before the spring break concerts started. Yohji’d  made absolutely certain that today would be full, busy, bustling.... Ran couldn’t blame Yohji, he only wished with all his heart he could have found some way to occupy himself.



Ran sighed, twitched his shoulders once more in his suit jacket, slipped the silent phone into his pocket, and stepped out into the hallway. He made his way to the door at the end and entered the chapel’s main room. Taking his place at the side of the podium, he thanked whatever twisted gods were allowing this travesty that at least he’d been able to convince their fathers to go with a small, private ceremony. He’d played up the costs for a large to do; such that would be expected of a Krittiker executive’s wedding, let alone the son of Persia; the media circus that would be certain to arise at an arranged marriage in today’s America; (and he’d left no doubt that if Persia pushed it, someone  would leak that it was an arranged marriage),  the “no friends or family, let’s not overwhelm the bride” card; and had insisted on a small, private, quiet ceremony. Never mind that the sorry excuse for family that Ran had was Persia, this was a farce anyway. Why should he care who stood witness for him. He didn’t want Yohji here; WEISS either, his almost friends **if they remained such after this** No, in this Ran found the only reason he’d been able to find to be glad of not having Aya near. He’d hate to have her witnessing this nightmare. Especially to know she was the leverage used against him.....



So, for Ran stood Persia and Persia’s two “hounds” and his “ferret” -  the muscle who carried out his threats, disguised as *bodyguards* and the little weasel who dug up leverage for Persia’s manipulations, disguised as his *executive assistant*. Ran allowed himself a glare at the ferret off to the side and was rewarded by a paling face and lowered eyes. That little bastard was the prick who’d reported on Ran’s dance date with Yohji and the confrontation at the Masque, Ran knew it. Ran tore his gaze from the little prick and found instead his vision filled with Persia’s smirk. The smug superior gleam in his eye made it plain he knew Ran’s thoughts as he glared at his ‘ferret’ and that he enjoyed it.



Ran closed his eyes, took a calming breath, and schooled his features. He blanketed himself with the ice prince that was Ran of Krittiker. Unfeeling, numb disdain and cold arrogance replacing the anger. He was above this, apart, he felt nothing, thought nothing, was nothing. Nothing but a body, a shell. No soul, no heart, no life.... Ran closed his eyes again, pain lancing through him for an instant as a memory of Yohji’s warm loving voice washed through him “not nothing, you’re amazing, you’re mine.”  No. Not today. His soul, his being, Ran locked away. That was Yohji’s; the core of who he was belonged to Yohji, always, only Yohji.



But.... today, today Krittiker’s Ran became the whore he’d always sworn he was not, would never be. Ran put a thick, cold steel box around his heart, locked it tight, and became an undead, heartless machine. An android, a robot. He would not feel, could not. Would not think of what was coming, or care about it.... he would do this, respond to life around him, answer when spoken to, but it wouldn’t be him.....



Ran raised his head as soft music began. Miko’s father appeared at the entrance to the chapel. One hand outstretched, an impassive look on his face. Ran watched as the petite, silk clad bride stepped forward, placing a small delicate hand into her father’s. She looked up at Elder Esset briefly, then turned to face the aisle. She was dressed in a classic straight cut gown, simple, elegant, white silk and satin. Floor length, straight skirt showcasing her slim, petite figure, with lace trim at the collar and cuff of the flowing, wrist length sleeves.



Ran stood there waiting, exquisite in his own right clad in a black suit and white silk shirt, hair shining crimson under the altar lights, a pale, cold beauty. His expression remained unchanged as Miko walked gracefully down the aisle toward him, but his heart tried once again to cry out for rescue, for escape, a last minute reprieve. Ran viciously clamped down on that cry of fear/torment/need and walled it off, leaving himself with a bleeding, ragged wound inside, utterly numb.



He died as he took Miko’s hand in his and turned to face the official there. Reciting his meaningless, yet binding, vows, Ran’s eyes remained trained on a spot just above Miko’s ear, on a soft peach mum in her hair. He placed the ring on her finger, carefully, and his ears heard, but ignored, her repeated vows as he watched her delicate fingers slide a plain gold band *shackle* onto his own hand. His eyes shifted to the platinum band on his right hand cupping hers as cold fingers dug into his soul. He dropped his right hand, fist clenching convulsively, feeling the cool metal of his true vow digging into his palm. He’d not been able to leave the ring behind, to leave it off.



The brief flare of emotion faded and the numbness returned as the official placed Miko’s left hand into his own and said clearly, “I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss your bride.” Ran, like a marionette guided by the strings of his tortured fate leaned in for a soft, chaste kiss, refusing to deepen it or expound on the moment in any way. He turned to face Persia; cold, dead eyes locked on that hated face and he spoke, “I will return in ten days. I will see Aya then.” His tone brooked no argument, left no room for leeway or question.



He turned without waiting or allowing any chance for a response, placed an arm behind Miko, and guided her out through the main doors to the limo waiting out front. Their bags had been loaded before the ceremony, everything was ready for their immediate departure. He carefully assisted Miko into the car and walked slowly to the other side. Seating himself he directed the driver. “Yuri, the airport please.”



Miko was silent, subdued, during the ride to the airport. She could obviously sense his ... tension, unease. As they arrived and he assisted her exit from the car, she spoke. “Ran?” she questioned softly. Ran turned to look down at her by his side, “hm?’ he responded as he watched Yuri load their bags onto the cart. Miko stepped forward and tentatively took the small bag from the top. “It’s a long flight Ran. I’d... I would like to change, before we board?” she spoke quietly, differentially, but kept her eyes on his.



Ran blinked. “Of course. My apologies. Yuri, please delay a moment as we both change before I check in.” Ran reached up, taking his own bag from the pile and directed Miko to the executive washrooms just off the limousine staging area. He entered the men’s room and was relieved to find it empty. Entering the last, large stall he removed his suit jacket and went to hang it on the hook on the back of the door. A light clang sound reminded him of the cell in the inside pocket.



Ran sighed and quickly changed into his travel clothes: black, well-fit Dockers and a ribbed charcoal grey shirt, hugging his physique. He kept the slip on black shoes he wore and gathered suit pants, white shirt and tie together. He lifted the jacket from the hook and removed the cell from the pocket. A blinking light indicated a waiting message.



With shaking hands Ran opened the cell. He knew the message was from Yohji. Persia certainly didn’t send him a text and Tina knew he was “getting married” today. She would direct all inquiries to Persia until Ran returned.



“Ran” the text began, “I know. Always. Only. Ever. Me too. I wait, as promised. I am, and will be, yours.” Ran found himself a timeless moment later with his head leaned against the back of the door, shaking, fists clenched around the phone, not breathing. He forced a breath into his body and stood back. He slipped the phone into his pocket and took a short moment to gather himself.  He stepped out into the lobby area and waited only a moment before his pixie bride exited the ladies room next door.



She looked to him shyly, tote bag over one shoulder and the long dress draped over her arm. “Ran?” she asked quietly. “Allow me.” Ran answered, taking the dress from her, he guided her to the waiting chairs. “Let me take this to Yuri and check in our bags. I’ll return in a moment.” He turned toward the sliding glass doors. Yuri waited patiently with the luggage cart and car. Ran placed the dress carefully onto the back seat and tossed the suit onto the front passenger seat. “Thank you Yuri. Take these back to the house. Drape the dress across the bed, and the suit can be placed over the quilt rack. Then enjoy your vacation. I will see you when our flight returns in ten days.”



“very good sir.” Yuri replied, and, after assisting the luggage cart up onto the sidewalk, walked around the limo and drove away. Ran checked his watch. Their time was good. He made his way to baggage check, showed the VIP tickets and checked their luggage with the airline. The VIP line was empty at his arrival and he made excellent time. It was with fifteen minutes to spare before needing to report to security that Ran found himself making his way back toward the waiting lounge.



Spotting a coffee shop off to one side, Ran detoured. He placed an order for a hazelnut coffee and a strawberry tea and waited a moment for the order to be processed. He could not shake the feeling, the need, the insistent tug on his heart demanding that he call Yohji. He took the two cups to a table in the corner near the exit and pulled out his cell. It was almost 8:00 o’clock, he didn’t know Yohji’s time slot, or how long the sets ran, but he had to try. Try to hear Yohji’s voice at least once more before leaving for his “honeymoon.”  He hit speed-dial before he could talk himself out of it.



After the 4th ring, just when Ran expected the voicemail to pick up, he was blasted with sound coming from the earpiece. “Ran!?” Yohji yelled into the phone. “What’s going on? Shouldn’t you be on a plane? Are you ok?” Ran could hear the partying in the background, slightly fading as Yohji seemed to distance himself from the tumult. “Angel?” Yohji called again.



“Yohji” Ran breathed, almost groaned. Afraid to yell loud enough to really be heard over the party, he spoke firmly. “Yohji. I wanted to hear your voice before..... before I board... leave.” Ran hadn’t even considered the noise. Of course it would be chaos. Spring break events, at the beach, and in Florida no less. Why hadn’t he considered that?..... “Are things.... going well, there?”  Ran inwardly cursed that he couldn’t call out his heart, his soul’s cries, and hoped Yohji understood his... reserve.



“Ah Babe.” Yohji replied and sighed. “You’re at the airport, hmm?” the background noise suddenly lessened and Yohji explained. “I’m in the shower pavilion now Babe. Closed the door. We got a couple minutes.” Yohji sighed again, then went on, voice husky as his throat tried to close off. “miss you Angel” Yohji murmured quietly.



“Me too Nissho.” Ran answered. “So much” he rasped. “Is –“ he coughed, just lightly, “Is the concert going well?”   



“yeah, it’s actually going..... good. Real good. Omi’s made some killer connections. WEISS is gonna come out of this... pretty set up. We’re... we’re gonna tour more Ran. When........ when you get back” Yohji’s voice broke and he cleared his throat quickly. Ran clenched his eyes shut, fist tightening around his coffee. His eyes flew open as the motion caused the coffee to spill over a bit. He hissed quietly and sucked on his hand as Yohji went on.



“When you ... get back, I’ll have WEISS’s new schedules. I’ll email everything. Omi should have all squared away by then. We’ll ....... we’ll get together Ran, when we’re both in New York. That sounds good-“



Ran cut into the false cheer. “Yohji. We will.” He hissed, “I swear, we will. We’ll make time, we’ll.... spend time. I -” Ran spotted Miko making her way toward baggage from the waiting lounge. “Yohji” he sighed, “I love you” he spoke sincerely, firmly, but quietly. “I... I have to go Nissho. Remember. Please. Always.”



“I will Ran.” he heard Yohji whisper. Then the phone went dead.



Ran stood slowly, slipping the cell into his pocket, and picked up the cups. “Miko” he called just as she passed by the shop. “I thought you could use some tea.” He stepped to her side. “Strawberry, right?” He knew he’d pleased her by the way she smiled up at him as she took her drink. “We have a few minutes before we need to check in at security, but let’s head that way in case there is a long line.” He steered her down the walkway with one hand at the small of her back.



She looked up at him, shy smile on her face, eyes downcast after a brief look into his eyes. Brief though the look was, it was telling. Yohji was right. *wasn’t he always?* As she gazed into Ran’s eyes, he saw it. The same look he saw in his own reflection whenever he found himself dreaming of Yohji. Damn. She did  think she was falling in love with him. Just because he was considerate, treated her with.... respect. She must be as starving for someone to care as he’d been himself, before Yohji. Her father was very traditional, as evidenced by his willingness to marry her off to secure business. Her mother was dead.... Ran sighed, softly. Yes. His .... consideration in dealing with her during the *courtship* would easily be misconstrued or accepted as.... affection. And, after tonight....



He knew she was a virgin. Pure. Innocent. He would awaken in her passions, as Yohji’d done for him, and that would cement her love for him. And someday..... someday Aya would wake, or Ran would find a way out of this prison, and would break her heart as surely as his was broken now.



How? How could he consider, contemplate.... being with her, touching her, arousing her, taking her, taking what only should be given to one who would cherish it, one who would cherish it for the gift it was, cherish both it and her.



Instead.... all the while, as Ran touched her, took her, he would know what he would do at the first possible opportunity.... the instant the option became available. And that he would continue  in the farce, would continue to be intimate with her repeatedly.... in their marriage bed. Yet, always, in the back of his mind, only waiting for the opportunity to betray her, to escape whenever he was able, to refresh his soul, to be withYohji .... to kiss Yohji.... to touch Yohji, to hold Yohji, as he would never hold her, to be held by Yohji, to make love to Yohji....



But he would. He would do this, would do whatever  it took, to keep Aya safe, Yohji safe.



Ran pushed the thoughts from his mind. Aloof, apart, separate from himself. This was not him, it didn’t matter, nothing mattered but enduring until freedom could be won. And, someday, it would be over. He just had to imagine it as.... as a mission..... a challenge.... a prison.... Yes.  He was a prisoner. A prisoner of war, coerced by the enemy. And just as prisoners of war would sometimes endure the indignities and tortures inflicted upon them by closing off their minds, by distancing the core of their being from what happened to the body, to the mind, during their captivity, by becoming.... someone else, so would Ran. He would have to, if he was to come out of this nightmare with any soul left......



Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



Ran watched Miko as she lay sleeping against his shoulder. His wife. She wrinkled her nose as a shaft of sunlight pierced the clouds, shining across her face. She snuggled deeper into his shoulder before the clouds hid the sun again. There was no way he could reach over her to pull the shade down without dislodging and waking her. And he preferred that she sleep....



He wanted this time for himself. Some solitude to reflect and reorient himself, before they landed and he had to face New York and his life again. The last ten days had been a contrast in emotion. Anger and frustration at the injustice of it all. Hatred for Persia, burning hatred that at times threatened to utterly consume him. Worry for Yohji and Aya. Joy at visiting Paris, a dream for years, seeing all the beauty and art he’d often imagined. And guilt. Lots of guilt. Guilt at what he was doing to Miko and to Yohji. Guilt at the pleasure he was able to find, both in the visit of Paris and the physical pleasure he’d found in Miko’s body.



He’d been hesitant at first; their wedding night, as she stood there before him in the thin sil and lace negligee; unwilling to move forward for so many reasons..... Until he’d come to realize his dread was becoming noticeable, his hesitancy deepening Miko’s vulnerability and nervousness at baring her body to her new husband; a man she barely knew, yet cared for nonetheless.



Ran had locked away his doubts and thoughts, and pulled her close against his own body. Just standing there a moment , caressing her back, feeling her body warm against his, until she relaxed against him. She rested her head on his chest with a soft sigh, raising her arms to his waist tentatively.



“Miko.” He spoke softly, continuing to stroke her hair and back. “I’m sorry. This.... should be .... more, so much more. We barely know each other. Neither of us had any choice in this, and you should be giving yourself to a man you love beyond reason. Should be lost and consumed with need and passion, not trembling from fear about to give this most precious gift to a stranger.” Ran closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and brought to mind all the recent research he’d done in the realms of gentle pleasures; of rituals to ease maidens into womanhood. He’d read books recommended by internet searches, Jean Aeul’s “Valley of Horses” and “Mammoth Hunters” among others about ways to please a woman. Ways to ease her through this rite with little or no pain....



He leaned down and gently kissed her temple. Keeping his eyes closed he traced down and around her ear, then behind; noting the shiver that coursed through her as his tongue traced over a certain spot. He raised back up until her could caress her lips. He kissed gently, just open mouthed, drawing her lips into his mouth with gentle nips before easing his tongue into her mouth. She tasted of fruit, oranges and pineapple from the frozen  dessert they’d enjoyed after dinner.



Her heart was pounding. He could feel it against his hand that had caressed from across her back to cup one breast. His other hand held her head, caressing the nape of her neck, fingertips grazing over that special spot he’d found. Her hands had come to rest on his biceps and she clung to him. Her breath grew ragged, and she gasped as he moved his hand to trace his palm over her breast. He slipped his hand into the gown, rubbing gently over her peaked nipple. “Ran” she called, breathless, eyes closed, head resting back into his cupping hand, completely trusting to his strength.



He rubbed his palm in gentle circles before grabbing the hardened nub between his fingers and pulling gently. She arced into the pull, leaning back. “Ran!” she cried out in her sweet, trembling, princess voice; followed by a whimper and light pants. Her knees began to buckle and Ran swept her into his arms, carrying her toward the bed.



Her arms instinctively came up around his neck, and her eyes flew to his, wide and darkened to almost black with desire. She smiled at him and ran one delicate hand over his jaw. “I give myself to you, Ran. No, we did not choose, but.... had we been given a choice, I .... I may very well have chosen you. You are.....” she lowered her eyes and went on, shyly. “You are very .... sexy, Ran. And I .... I like your voice.” She traced circles over his shoulder, watching her hand as he lowered her gently to the bed. “you’re smart, cultured, yet easy to talk to; you’re fit and strong.... well muscled. When I am with you, I feel safe, shielded, protected. Love can grow Ran, it can.”



She looked up at him and brought her hand up to trace his lips. “I will be a good wife to you, I swear. I will do all I can, to cultivate that love. This is a beginning for us. I give myself to you, Ran and do so willingly.” She traced over his lips again, then raised her eyes to his. Vulnerable again with the passions cooled, shyly she asked, “Will you kiss me again?” she moved her hand back into his hair and looked up at him. So innocent, so trusting....



Ran closed his eyes, sighed.... raged.... cried inwardly and cupped her face with his right hand, leaning down to renew his seduction.



Over the days that followed Ran learned her body and discovered that he could find mindless, physical pleasure in another body; just as Yohji’d said. And he also found, as Yohji’d said he would, that he grew to care for her; to want to bring her pleasure at his touch, not to just take her for his own. He didn’t love her, not as he did Yohji, but he did care about her.



If this weren’t such a horrible, terrible situation, he could even consider her a friend. She had a sharp mind, eager to learn, for someone to hear her and not to only see her as a commodity or a servant. She had a quick wit and was truly caring and compassionate. He found himself enjoying being the cause of her smile; pointing out areas of interest as they explored Paris. Watching various street performers, sidewalk artists, laughing at bumbling tourists or street clowns, taking in the amazing architecture and works of art all around them. She was delighted to learn that he painted and would sit quietly with him as he sketched the scenes around them, working on her own embroidery or reading a book.



Yes, perhaps.... perhaps they could be friends. Oh not, not true friends. He could never really confide in her, not about Yohji and Persia, not the secret parts of his heart. But, they shared some interests, they found pleasure in each other, and.... she would understand about Aya. They’d been friendly as girls during those extended summer visits. She would understand the loss, miss the vitality warmth, as he did.....



Ran looked again at his sleeping bride and sighed. As though she felt his gaze, she stirred. Smiling sleepily up at him before stretching carefully in her seat she asked, “Ran? Are we close?”



“yes” he murmured. “We’ll touch down in less than an hour. Should I call the attendant? Are you thirsty?”



“Oh that would be wonderful Ran, thank you.” She smiled and pulled out her bag to freshen up as Ran ordered her a chilled juice and bagel, familiar with her tastes and preferences now.



Yuri was waiting as they came to the luggage claim and quietly loaded their bags onto the wheeled cart. They followed as he made his way to the limousine park, and Ran assisted Miko into the passenger side as Yuri began to store the bags. As he stood back to close the door, his eyes found and were captured by deep emerald from across the lot.



He froze. Just stopped a moment, unable to breathe. Yohji. He closed the door, eyes never leaving Yohji, drinking in the vision, filling his sight with Yohji’s perfection. Yohji raised one hand holding his cell phone and deliberately pressed a button. A moment later, Ran’s phone beeped once in his breast pocket. He placed his hand over the phone and began to walk around the car. But, as he started to head out across the lot rather than making the turn toward the door, Yohji shook his head and deliberately mouthed, distinctly. *no, not now*



Ran stopped and Yohji let his gaze wander over Ran’s figure before coming back to rest on his face. Yohji took a deep breath, shook his head, and turned to walk away, one hand raised in a wave, then dropping to light a smoke as he walked.



It took all of Ran’s discipline not to follow. Pressing the cell tighter against his heart he took a deep breath and turned to Yuri. He was surprised to see a look of sympathy in those black eyes before the mask of indifference worn by all servants reformed. “shall we go sir?” Yuri asked quietly.



Ran blinked, shook himself, and answered. “Yes Yuri. Thank you. Let’s get to the Tow-“ he stopped. Took a quick breath and began again, “to the house, please” 



Ran opened the door and seated himself next to Miko as Yuri made a show of closing the trunk, moving a few bags around as though they’d only just finished with the luggage. Ran made a mental note to give Yuri a raise.



“Let’s go home Ran,” Miko murmured tiredly as she raised her head from where she’d rested it and snuggled up to his right arm. Ran lay his own head back on the seat and closed his eyes. He pictured Yohji again behind his closed eyelids. His intense gaze, the sun shining off his beautiful hair.... Unconsciously, Ran tapped his hand against the cell in his pocket. He wanted so badly to read the message, but wanted to be alone, to be able to savor it, to hear Yohji’s voice speaking whatever words were waiting there....



They arrived at his and Miko’s “home” and he and Yuri unloaded the bags quickly. He saw Yuri off, thanking him quietly and discreetly slipped him a nice tip. He convinced Miko to soak in a nice hot bath while he sorted things out, then she would prepare them a light dinner while he showered before leaving for the hospital to see Aya. Finally see Aya.....



Miko’d tried to convince him to sleep off the jet lag and go tomorrow, but he was adamant that he see Aya tonight. He’d have gone straight there instead of coming here, but of course he could not. First, he didn’t really want Miko to understand how desperate he was, what was going on. And he didn’t want her there either. He needed to see Aya for himself, by himself, after so long apart. He hadn’t gone more than two days without seeing her since her injury, not counting the London trip, and then he’d had Yohji as a stand in....



Persia’d returned Aya to the hospital that had provided such impeccable care for so long, from wherever she’d been relocated, and finally he would see her. As soon as he’d received the email from Persia yesterday he’d called and gone through a complete report. Nothing had changed. She was in the same condition, no signs of awakening.... but at least no change also meant she was unharmed by her seclusion. She’d lost no weight, her skin remained unblemished, her vitals all normal. At least according to the report. But Ran had to see her for himself, had to know she was truly alright. Unharmed. Safe. Back.



Miko had agreed to remain here tonight, to rest from their long flight, understanding Ran’s need to see Aya alone after such a long separation. Even if she did think it was due to her need for “isolation.”



Once he saw Miko safely sunk down into the bubbles of the deep, recessed, overlarge bath, he returned to the bedroom, and sat on the edge of the bed.



He opened his cell with trembling hands to find Yohji’s welcome message. “Welcome home. Missed you, a lot. Check your email as soon as possible. “ that was it. Ran was slightly disappointed, but, well, his cell wasn’t as secure as his email was. Now that he was a “married man” it was always possible Miko may use the phone. Ran quickly booted up the laptop on the bedroom desk and logged in to his personal email.



“Angel, Lover, Koi, Ran:



I love you. I missed you. Dreamed of you. Your touch, your tasted, your arms, your smile....



I wish we could have experienced Paris together. I bet you were in heaven with all that art and atmosphere everywhere. And I bet as much as you loved it, you hated yourself for enjoying anything. Don’t. It’s OK Ran, to find joy or comfort in a bad situation. I’m glad it was Paris. At least you got to have that dream. Who knows, maybe someday we can go there together.



Omi did some incredible PR work for WEISS while we were in Florida, even hit the Mtv Spring Break circuit of interviews for a bit, and we have upgraded our contract somewhat. We leave Saturday morning for a 12 week  spread of one and two day concerts all over the east coast, and even inland as far as Cleveland. All the exposure from this short tour and the online stuff Omi has going very likely will lead to more.... It looks like we have finally hit “our big break” and it’s about time. We’ve sure worked hard enough for it....



One good thing is that we’ll be so busy with photo shoots and interviews and recording, filming, that I won’t have time to wallow. I’ll still miss you, but I won’t just be .... sitting, waiting....



Anyway, today you come home. I have to see you, and will be watching in the shadows at the airport. If I can’t help myself, and I give in, to look into your eyes, let myself be seen, well.... I hope it’s OK. I hope it .... helps, not hurts. Both of us.



I love you Ran. I know you’re gonna be really busy, just getting back. And I know, or at least I hope, you’ll be spending time with Aya. And I know three days is short notice, but, God, I hope we can have some time, together, before WEISS leaves.....



Email me. The guys know, I am yours at a word as long as, and whenever, we are in New York. We’ve wrapped the studio work as of this afternoon, so.... my days, and of course, my nights are.... open.  



Yours, always,



Yohji”



Ran read the message through twice, then looked shortly at his calendar. Today was the 8th , Tuesday. Saturday was the 12th. Tonight, as soon as they’d refreshed and eaten, he would  finally see Aya.



He was scheduled to return to the office tomorrow afternoon. That left Thursday and Friday to try to schedule some time with Yohji before he left Saturday morning. For twelve weeks. God. Three months....



Ran checked quickly through his online calendar for the office. Bless Tina, she’d booked him light. Mostly catch up paperwork, only a few meetings set for Friday. He knew various deliveries were scheduled to be made to the house tomorrow and one on Thursday morning. Furniture and other items, drapes, plants, etc. that they’d *Miko* selected. Miko would be setting up the house to become their home. She would be occupied and busy.



Ran quickly blocked out the afternoon and evening of Thursday off his work calendar and sent Tina an email with details to schedule Miko a shopping spree and full pampering spa day for Thursday afternoon and evening: shopping, hair, nails, facial, massage, dinner... everything. She wouldn’t get home until after 8.



He arranged for the certificate to be delivered to the house by limousine Thursday just after lunch, with flowers and a card with a message from Ran thanking her for all of her work at creating their home and for her to pamper herself, with a driver at her disposal. He then emailed Yohji to let him know he’d be at the Towers by 2pm Thursday.



Logging off, Ran sorted through their bags, separating what would need to be put away from what needed to be cleaned or otherwise needed attention. As he placed the last bag into the hallway, Miko came from the bath, wrapped in her sky blue satin robe. “I’ll make us some soup and sandwiches, shall I Ran?” she asked quietly.



He stood from placing the bag and nodded. “that sounds good Miko. I’ve sorted most of this. I’ll grab a quick shower and join you before I leave for the hospital.”



She nodded, smiled, and gave him a soft kiss before leaving the room.



Ran contained himself admirably during dinner, letting none of his desire to bolt from the house show through. He forced himself to eat the dinner Miko’d prepared, quite delicious in fact, and helped to clear the dishes before slipping on his leather jacket.



As he shrugged it onto his shoulders he turned toward Miko in the archway leading into the kitchen. “I’ll be late. Don’t try to wait up.”



“I’m glad she’s doing better Ran.” she stepped forward onto her tiptoes to kiss Ran lightly. “if I’m sleeping when you come home, if I don’t wake” she tiptoed up to kiss him gently, “Sleep well. I’ll see you in the morning before you go to the office.” She stepped back and watched as he took his keys from the hook by the door and exited the side door to the garage. Ran flipped the switch by the door and pressed the remote mounted there as he entered the garage. His eyes fell on the beauty sitting there under the fluorescent lights.



As the shackles of the forced marriage decreed by Persia had settled over Ran’s soul, and he’d found no glimmer of hope for escape, Ran had grown rebellious in a way he’d never before experienced. In his position with Krittiker Ran had a hefty expense account that he’d almost never used. He’d paid for flights and such, like the trip to London, from the account, but had never really indulged in the perks available.



He’d been more than willing to allow Persia to reclaim any ‘surplus’ funds at each budget review and apply those funds to Aya’s care. Anything to shut the prick up in his bitching about the exorbitant costs of maintaining her care. At the outset he’d told Persia to take any funds left each budget year for the hospital.  But. In January, Persia’d taken her. Ran didn’t know where she was, who cared for her, anything. And dammed if he was gonna give Persia any money.



Besides, he’d reasoned, his monthly salary was half what any comparable company would pay, reduced almost immediately as his trust fund disbursement was final. Persia owed him. Not only for the money he’d shafted him, not only for the horrible excuse for a father he’d been to both Ran and Aya, not only for taking Aya away and forcing this marriage, but for hurting Yohji.



And Ran knew, the absolute best way to get to Persia was in the bank accounts. The man had no qualms spending for his own luxury, but it just killed him to have to spend money on Ran or Aya.



Ran had acquisitioned the funds under his executive contract for a company funded vehicle expenditure. He’d reasoned that as a married man, with a wife from another country who’d never driven, she would need the safety and convenience of the limo he’d been regularly assigned.



Ran didn’t want her taking a cab everywhere. It wasn’t safe. Not for the wife of a high profile executive. She was taking driving lessons, but there was no reason really for her to drive. She was the trophy wife. Part of Persia’s contract with Esset. Let her be displayed, pampered.



Besides, while the Towers had had limousine parking available given the clientele of executives and celebrities living there, this little house Persia had provided did not. A car was on call for Miko at all times, a fifteen minute wait at most if she wanted to get out, but if Ran wanted to go somewhere after he’d returned home from the office, to the hospital, take his *wife* to dinner, whatever, it made sense to have a car. If Ran had any need of a limo he could still always commission one from the Krittiker pool.



So, Ran had taken his entire executive stipend and bought a beautiful baby of his own. Ran grinned outright at the thought of Aya’s sure fire, smart comment about using Persia’s money to but himself this beauty.  Very similar to the one he’d seen that day at the car show with Yohji, it was pearlescent white Porsche, shimmering with color in the sunlight, and deep, dark violet leather and oak interior, with a state of the art sound system.



Ran trailed a hand down the fender as he made his way to the driver’s door. He had to laugh at himself as he started the engine and sat for a moment enjoying the powerful purr. He revved it twice, and chuckled. He’d actually missed  the damn car. How do you develop affection for a car? Yohji loved his ‘vette, but hell, his parents’ deaths had purchased it, it was all wrapped up in their being gone. This car... it was almost like blood money or stud service, but ... still, Ran inhaled the smell of the leather, felt the vibration of the car. Yes. He loved the damn thing.



He shook his head as he backed from the open garage and waited until the door had closed and the outside light had blinked twice to show the security system was reset before pulling the rest of the way from the driveway and turning toward the familiar pathway to the hospital.



A tingle of anticipation burned in his chest and his throat tightened at the thought that he was actually on his way to Aya’s bedside. Finally, he would see her again.



Ran parked the Porsche at the farthest lit parking spot, away from the likelihood of others parking close by. He’d put a fence around it every time he parked if he thought he could get away with it. As it was, the far edge parking was the best he could do.



Setting the alarm, Ran turned toward the hospital. He froze a moment at the pain that shot through him and swayed a moment before clenching his teeth and taking a deep breath. Using every ounce of self control he possessed, Ran walked into the building instead of running flat out.



Ran stopped once again outside Aya’s door, jut drinking in the sight of her lying there, watching the rise and fall of the blankets. Alive, safe, here.



He pushed through the door and stepped to her side. With a trembling hand he reached out and took her small hand into his. The other hand traced the tendrils of soft hair fanned out on the pillow. “God I’ve missed you Aya. So much.” He leaned down and kissed her cheek then just stood there a moment, taking in the vision of her, searching her face. She was no thinner, she’d received proper nutrition it seemed. Her skin tone was good, heartbeat strong....



 Ran sank to his knees at the side of the bed, not letting go of her hand. He rested his head against the edge of the mattress. “I’m sorry Aya. So sorry. I swear, someday I will find a way out for us. There has to be a way.” He choked as a sob tried to escape. ”if only you’d wake up Aya. I miss you.”  he sighed, then settling comfortably began to talk to her as he’d always done, bringing her up to date in his life.....



 



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