Chapter 13 - Gratification
After a half-hearted bite to eat, Nina exited the diner, leaving half of her lunch behind. Her mind was on other things. She found herself wandering around the streets of Tokyo almost aimlessly, her mind off on its own in a distant universe. The warm sun filtering through the occasional, fluffy white clouds warmed her skin from beneath her grey turtleneck, but inside, she was still cold.
She’d set herself up for a fall, and taken it.
She should have known that he wouldn’t have been receptive. He had never been a people’s person, why had she expected him to suddenly become one for her? He would only ever love one woman, even if she was dead. Hell, he was dead too.
Since the grass was dry and warm, she had no resignation about crashing down on it…ironically enough, in almost exactly the same spot that she’d led Kazuya the night before. The night before came rushing into her mind as soon as she inadvertently followed its every movement; his delicate, almost fearful hand resting on her waist, the other lightly grasping her arm, his lips pressed to her neck, his warming breath tickling the hair on the back of her neck. The moments they shared sitting together after his little meal; his silent submission to her attention. No wonder Jun loved him. She knew Jun was hired to do nearly the same thing as her; dispose of him…only in very different ways. Ironic how he avoided it, really. Both fell for him, but one succeeded in thawing out his icy heart.
She was the failure. But she didn’t want to be. She knew she could have won him, after all, she was, in the eyes of a great many, a lot more attractive than Jun. Hell, she had curves…how did Kazuya resist the temptation?
Maybe it was hopeless trying to win such a creature’s love and affection. And she remembered how horrible she’d been, indirectly, to him in the past – sworn to have him dead. Typical elusive Kazuya, though. He’d avoided her every attack. And even now, his heart was eluding her. She wanted him, she had to admit it at this point, but she was having a great deal of difficulty accepting that he was out of her reach – he was too much of an enigma.
But it was enigmatic, mysterious men that tantalised her the most. The charming bastards that tried to tempt her and woo her outright ought to die; it was these dark, elusive characters that had her screaming for more. Pity they were always the hardest to get.
The sudden awareness of another person nearby was the only thing that brought her back to reality. Beside her, Jin had just sat down, and was looking at her thoughtfully, his tilted on an angle, the side of a finger pressed to his rosy lips.
“You love him, don’t you?” His voice was without accusation or hatred. Bizarre.
She blushed slightly, and turned away to face the river. “I don’t know who you’re talking about.”
His lips formed a soft smile. “What if I was talking about the man you kissed last night?”
That brought her attention to his words. Startled, she looked at him with saucer-plate eyes for one moment, and found herself having to hold back tears of shame in the next. She’d openly flirted with the boy’s father, and he knew. “You…you don’t hate me…do you Jin?”
Both his brows shot up with that, and he shook his head hastily. “No no, of course not!” The smile returned to his face, and he pulled his knees up to his chest, wrapping his arms around them. “Why would I be? I mean…you are just trying to make him happy, aren’t you? Stop him from being so lonely?” One would have thought it was a friend of brother he was referring to.
She shrugged. “That’s one way of putting it, I suppose. I’m so sorry Jin, I didn’t mean to…well, I know how much Jun means to the both of you, and I don’t want to replace her, because I know I can’t…I just, I dunno, Jin…I…”
He interrupted her before she tied herself up in more knots. “Love him.” It was as simple as that. He looked at her straight, staying silent until he had her complete attention. “Nina, don’t you realise he loves you too?” The serious tone in his voice was more than enough to make her eyes widen in surprise and relief, but with definite disbelief. “I know you can’t replace Mom, she was too much of a wonderful person for anyone to replace…but in your own way, you can fill the gap in his heart. Imagine it…being alone for twenty years just after you’ve discovered your first love…and being too scared to return, or fill the growing void within your heart. I can see right through him, ya know?” He found his eyes following a pair of ducks waddling about on the grass, frenzied by the barrage of bread crumbs coming from a pair of young children standing on the bank. “I can tell he loves you, Nina. The only reason he won’t let himself is me. It’s my fault.”
His last statement was barely audible, and when Nina glanced at him, he was looking down at the grass, almost as if he felt the guilt for a crime he didn’t commit. “Oh no, Jin, surely…”
He held a hand up to stop her. “He said it himself. He feels guilty for pursuing another relationship while he has a son. I’ve grown to know him incredibly well in the short time we’ve known each other. He would never betray my respect by going with a woman other than my mother; he knows what damage it does to a child to have a parent show love to someone who isn’t the other parent.” His soft, hazel eyes caught Nina’s. “But he forgets that I’m twenty-one years old now. I’m old enough to look after myself, and I understand how he feels.” Again, his eyes found the ducks, and he chuckled silently as one attacked the other for stealing its bread crust. “Hell, I’m only this age and I feel the pain of loneliness. I can only imagine how he feels.”
Now if only Steve were so mature. She’d learned of her violation whilst in cryogenic stasis. While she’s grown to appreciate her son, she still feels filthy, violated, for being used as nothing but a reproduction machine, and against her consent. Against her will. With a son like that, Kazuya should have known he could let his soul rest at ease. A smile, for the first time today, crossed Nina’s lips. “So you don’t mind me being around your Dad?”
A wide, happy grin broke across his face. “Of course not! Actually, I think it would do him good. You’re so much better than a lot of women he could have chosen from…if anyone were to try and replace my mother…I want it to be you.”
Before she could react, he reached out and hugged her as a close friend. “Go on, go find him.”
She took no second order; she stood up after returning his hug and giving him a light peck on the cheek, and set out in search for the object of her dreams.
As he watched her go, he felt two ways about the situation he’d created. On the one hand, he was happy for his father. It was a good thing for him, this relationship with Nina; but on the other hand, how could such a soul as Jun be replaced? It hurt to see one parent find attraction in someone else, but considering his family history, it was no sin. He was a ‘bastard child’ anyway; the product of an unmarried couple’s enjoyment. But his parents were good people, that he couldn’t deny. He regretted nothing of his past.
He hoped, in fact he knew, he would regret none of his future to come.
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