The Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 Continuation Fanfic Series

by P. Kristen Enos

Most of these stories take place AFTER the TV Series! So DON’T blame me if I ruin the ending for you because you read these stories first!
Lesbian/Yuri/Shoujo Ai Warning! (Non-explicit — at least in the “PG13″/”R” sort of way.) Just not written for children because they probably wouldn’t get half of it.
All rights belong to JVC/AIC, ADV Films and the other creative powers that be. I just want credit for writing the story.

Chapter 5: Priorities

3:17 p.m., March 19th, Tokyo

“… We calculate that we should have the shell completely built by the end of May,” Sho reported excitedly through the videophone. “But there are some new things in the frame that I don’t recall our team even discussing. I’m able to figure out the purposes of some of the differences but I don’t know what would initiate their use without being able to look at the model’s core design specs.”

Reika frowned slightly at the words. “Would the changes get in the way of having the boomer work at a level similar to the original Sylvie?”

She was back home in her bed that had been augmented to serve as an office. Even though she was now able to walk around, Mrs. Takeuchi had ordered her to remain in bed as much as possible to better focus her energies on healing.

Sho shook his head adamantly. “I can create and code a core that can use all of the functions that I know about. The newer ones would just be dormant until I can figure what they are and how to trigger them.”

“So how far did the Watanabe’s get with this shell?”

“There was no way they could have made her work. The Sylvie model was so far in advance of anything else that had been on the boomer market. I’m still struggling trying to reprogram the core program from memory. But the biggest stumbling block is that we just don’t have the material parts for a workable core, both technical and cellular.”

“You’ve just lost me,” Reika admitted, not bothering to add any excuse of why.

Realizing that his scientist enthusiasm was getting the better of him, he nodded and explained, “A boomer core has two basic components: a micro processor and brain cell matter. The two parts must be compatible in order for the boomer to work, like a right brain and a left brain in a human. While we can eventually recreate the computer component – though some parts will have to be manufactured from scratch, the cellular base is the biggest issue.

“The reason why we were able to make Sylvie work is that the vault where we had discovered the original boomer schematics also contained frozen brain cell matter from the original experiments. After several cloning attempts, we were able to produce a sustainable sample to create the core that was used for Sylvie. The boomer brain cell matter currently available on the market is nowhere near the quality level needed to support such an advanced model. When the Watanabe’s acquired this model, it was not understood by their people that a special core was needed, that you couldn’t just use the cellular matter from a mass manufactured boomer.”

“So then are we stuck?”

“Well, no, not really. The Watanabe’s have started the work for initiating another inside job to get the missing components. But since Genom has put in counter-measures because of the first break-in, there’s a lot of planning going into this. I think they’re planning to strike by mid April.”

“Who in the Watanabe’s is planning this?”

“I believe it’s Yoshiko and her people.”

Feeling that the matter was in good hands, Reika nodded and said, “Good. Keep me posted on how everything goes.”

* * *

10:17 a.m., April 2nd, Rome

“Isn’t she beautiful?!” Sho proclaimed as the proud father that he was.

‘Not really,’ Reika thought as she stared down at the object of his pride, which was a headless and skinless boomer body in the prep tank. She glanced at him and noted just how much his eyes glowed with passion and excitement, the clear signs of a man who was doing what he loved to do.

She looked around the very sophisticated lab with the small army of workers buzzing around machinery parts and computer terminals like an efficient hive. All of the activity made her feel all the more self-conscious of the shawl she wore, which hid her casts and her current physical handicap. She did have freedom of movement of her left arm in that only her forearm was in a cast, but it was limiting nevertheless.

“And I’ve been saving this for you,” Sho said as he led her to his desk with the computer terminal. On the screen was an open program displaying various female faces with a variety of skin colors and hairstyles.

“What is this?”

“Well, I figured since we’re building her for you, that you’d want a final say on what her final appearance will be.”

“Oh.” Judging by his enthusiasm, Reika didn’t have the heart to admit that she really didn’t care. “Um, then what are my options? All of these faces?”

“Or we can continue to customize to whatever you want,” he said as he sat down and started to pull up templates that had a variety of noses, mouths, etc.

Reika looked closer at the proposed samples and frowned. The looks were clearly on the beautiful and sexy side – obviously meant for people more interested in the non-security related aspects of having such a boomer around. While she could appreciate boomers as being sentient beings, she definitely had no interest in having sex with one. Like men.

“I don’t want her to stick out or attract unnecessary attention. Can you make her Asian but just not as… appealing? I want her to be a bodyguard, not a escort trophy.”

Sho frowned to himself a bit as he looked at the faces. He seriously didn’t think the program had the option to build a non-beautiful face. “I guess we could come up with something like that. You honestly don’t have any preferences?”

“Tell you what: you now know what I want. Give me a couple of proposals and I’ll choose one. I just don’t want to choose one of those.”

“Okay,” he said, apparently satisfied with the guidelines of his new challenge. “But we do need you to finalize a name for her. We can’t keep calling her Supermodel.”

“… You’re calling her ‘Supermodel’?” Reika asked, barely able to contain her disdain.

The man merely blushed in response as he pretended to pay more attention to the face construction program.

And this is the man my father thought could be the next head of the Hou Bang?

Since this felt like naming a rottweiler puppy, any names that came her mind did not feel appropriate. “Do you have any suggestions?”

“How about ‘Sylvie’?!” he offered, his full enthusiasm returning.

She stared at him. “I don’t think so.”

“Um, how about ‘Anri’?” he offered hesitantly.

“Fine. ‘Anri’ it is,” she conceded with an inward sigh, glad that the name was a little more Japanese.

“Ah, good, you’re both here,” Yoshiko Watanabe announced, causing the activity in the lab to abruptly pause at her appearance.

Reika turned to look at her but was more immediately distracted by the woman just a couple of steps behind. She recognized Mei right away, despite the hair combed in a way to hide part of her face. While she knew the former Knight Saber was Yoshiko’s partner, it felt a little awkward to finally be in the woman’s presence again after all of these years.

And Mei’s narrow stare back was no less relaxing.

“— We’ve received some urgent news from Tokyo that we need to have a meeting on right now.”

* * *

“ — Genom finally uncovered our insiders and had them terminated,” Yoshiko explained cryptically as the four of them sat in the conference room with Largo’s picture displayed on the screen. “They shouldn’t be able to trace anything back to us but getting that core sample is now going to be virtually impossible.”

“So, Dr. Yamada, do you have any suggestions?” Largo asked.

He thought furiously and said, “Well, the only option now is to get a sample from a deployed unit. But they’d be fully functional combat boomers now.”

“But with your expertise, you could help us develop ways to exploit their weaknesses to take at least one down long enough to get a cell sample,” Yoshiko pointed out. “After all, we were planning to develop such equipment after that model was built.”

“True,” he nodded.

“Would we be able to locate deployed models without inside information from Genom?” Largo asked.

“These boomers were built to be linked via satellite. They may have changed the frequency that was implemented with the models I worked on, but if we monitor Genom’s satellite communications, we’re bound to discover the current communication channel.”

“So that means we will be able to identify them. Now we just have to figure how we can temporarily, if not permanently, immobilize one to get a core extraction.”

Sho nodded and said, “Let me pull the team together and get started on that…”

— End Chapter 5 —

* * *

Chapter 6: Appearances

5:38 p.m., April 20th, Los Angeles

Dressed in a form fitting, black sequin dress, Reika noticed that she was once again carefully shifting and flexing her left shoulder and arm. It was a habit she had developed over the course of regaining freedom of movement for the arm, with the cast finally being removed that morning.

“Sorry,” she said to Jun as her secretary tried to pull on the long glove that would be worn to hide the many surgical scars.

“There. Done,” Jun said as she handed Reika the silver shawl. She then stepped back to check her boss’s appearance with the eagle eye of a woman who didn’t want to miss a detail. “Is there anything else?”

“No, I think that’s it,” Reika said as she checked herself out in the hall mirror of the hotel suite. This would be her first public appearance since the attack. But even if that wasn’t the case, she wanted to look as good as possible because of her vanity. Her years of being a model only reinforced that. She still had a removable cast on her right hand, but this was the closest she felt to being fully functional again.

Densuke let out an appreciative whistle as he appeared from the bedroom in his tuxedo, with only his bow tie left to be taken care of. “It’s been a while since I saw you in something that tight!”

Reika looked at him narrowly and said, “Are you already drunk?”

“No, no, no!” he said with an exaggerated slur. “Just very relaxed.”

She was silent for a tense pause before remarking dismissively, “Remember that this is your family’s event.”

He gave her a full salute and clicked his polished loafers.

Jun stood patiently by, her gaze shifting between the two. In the beginning of her employment, she used to have her breath taken away by the occasional appearance of the devastatingly handsome man. She initially thought that Reika could take such a man for granted only because she was just so gorgeous. But the more Jun watched their relationship up close, the more she understood why Reika never spent time with him if she could help it.

She then noticed how the bleary-eyed Densuke was very unsuccessfully trying to tie his bowtie while Reika completely ignored him as she did the final checks of her make-up. Sighing to herself, she stepped forward and once again took over the task of doing his bowtie. She was also dressed up for the black tie dinner but had nowhere near as glamorous of an aura as her employers.

Densuke readily let his hands drop as he stared down and watched her.

Annoyed by the overpowering smell of alcohol, and a little overwhelmed by his nearness, Jun purposefully did not meet his gaze as she finished her task. She also did not notice the glance of her boss in the mirror’s reflection.

“Are we ready now?” Reika asked the two of them expectantly.

* * *

Much Later

More than a little bored, Reika scanned the crowded ballroom of the ritzy hotel. Since this was a public event celebrating the opening of the Watanabe Grand Hotel in downtown L.A., everyone was on their best behavior as business and personal deals were started, closed and renegotiated left and right. However, she had to admit that she liked playing the role of the trophy fiancée instead of feeling any pressure to make connections or presentations.

The full set of Watanabe siblings were on hand to put their best front for this grand occasion.

“Would you like something else to drink?” Jun asked, wanting something to do since standing still was not her best trait.

Reika smiled and held up her glass. “Yes, please. Another one of these. And if you could get me something to nibble on, like vegetables would be nice. ”

Happy with having a task, Jun nodded and departed.

“So it is you, Reika!” a hauntingly familiar female voice declared in American English.

She turned to see a dazzling and curvaceous Caucasian woman with flowing locks that were a shade of red that was clearly not natural but attractive, nevertheless.

“Leslie?” she said at the sight of a former flame.

“Yep. You almost fooled me with speaking Japanese. But your beauty was always too distinctive to be unrecognizable,” she said as she sauntered up to her. She glanced in the direction of Jun, who was on her errand. “She’s cute. Was she the reason why you left L.A.?”

“Oh, no,” she answered in flawless English. “She’s my secretary. Literally.”

The other woman was clearly impressed. “Wow. You leave the country for over a year and suddenly you’re able to afford fancy duds and a personal assistant.”

“Well, I should comment the same of you,” Reika countered as she made a note of the other woman’s flashy attire. “I never would have guessed I’d run into you at an event like this.”

“I’m working it tonight. Escort service,” she admitted. “While I do have pride in being a starving actress, I realized I really like eating on a regular basis and paying my rent. I fell into this as a lark a few months ago and since the pay is pretty incredible, I decided to kiss my wait staff days goodbye. A couple of gigs a month lets me play and audition the rest of the year.”

Reika narrowed her eyes curiously and asked, “How much do you ‘escort’?”

Leslie gave an evasive shrug and said, “It’s all acting…” She then gave Reika a very alluring look and whispered into her ear, “Of course, if you want to blow this joint with me, I promise no faking.”

Reika blushed from head to toe as it suddenly hit her how much physical and sexual frustration she had built up over the past couple of months. “Aren’t you here because you’re escorting someone?”

“I can figure out an excuse to ditch him. Remember, I’m good at improvising.”

Carefully swallowing and regaining her composure, Reika stated, “I admit it’s a tempting offer but I actually am here because I’m connected to the Watanabe family.”

“Yes, I’m the connection!” Densuke declared in flawless English as he stepped up to the two women. He was all grins as he eyed both of them up and down appreciatively.

Reika’s face turned stone and Leslie blinked at him on confusion.

“Leslie,” Reika said stiffly, “This is Densuke Watanabe. My fiancé.”

Leslie’s eyes widened noticeably.

“Densuke, this is Leslie. A friend of mine when I used to live here,” she explained in English for Leslie’s benefit as well.

“Ah,” he smirked to her in Japanese, “Only a friend?”

Reika gave him the Hou Bang Clan Leader glare that stated Go! Away! Now!

Densuke abruptly did what he was ordered by giving the women a parting bow before drifting off into the crowd.

“Double wow!” Leslie said with a low whistle.

“It’s… a family situation,” Reika explained stiffly.

“Honey, I can spot a beard a mile away. I just never thought you’d be the one to play that game.”

Reika just kept her mouth shut since there was nothing she could say to that point. At least nothing that didn’t feel very, painfully obvious.

Leslie’s eyes twinkled again. “But that just makes me think you’d really want to take me up on my offer, if only for a little break from playing wifey-to-be. No strings, no drama, this time. I swear. My service already booked a suite upstairs for me just in case. With this crowd, no one’s going to notice us being gone for a bit.”

Reika’s mental wheels were spinning madly as the offer started to become too tempting to pass up. While she would never seriously date Leslie again since the other woman proved to be very emotionally extreme, they definitely had a certain physical chemistry when the circumstances were right.

“Well, I’m also a little handicapped,” she admitted, holding up her still healing hand. “And my left arm is still not completely up to par.”

With a triumphant grin, Leslie said, “Well, if I remember correctly, you and I were great at improvising together.”

Reika gave her a conceding smile as she said, “I need to check with my staff first…”

* * *

So this was the other reason why she didn’t pay attention to Densuke.

Jun watched the two women leave out the side door of the ballroom under the escort of Kou.

Now unexpectedly having the evening off, she wondered what to do.

She then noticed Densuke standing nearby, his gaze also on the exit where the women had disappeared through. He had the expression on his face of a man who didn’t like what he saw.

— End Chapter 6 —

* * *

Chapter 7: Fissures

10:43 p.m., April 20th, Los Angeles

In the moonlight of the open curtains, Reika took a deep breath and forced herself to sit up in the bed, even though she could have easily convinced herself to stay.

“You’re really leaving?” Leslie asked from the pile of sheets.

“Yes. We’re flying back to Tokyo first thing in the morning. Since there are several people going on a private jet, including my in-laws to be, I don’t think I can delay.”

Leslie sat up to kiss the back of Reika’s shoulder. “But that’s in the morning. That’s still several hours away.”

Reika started to feel some tingles of déjà vu. While the physical contact had been nice, something in her was preventing her from actually orgasming. She didn’t know if it was just too much stress, not having had sex in a very long time, or that the last time she had seen Leslie, the latter woman was on her knees begging and crying for Reika not to end their relationship. Of course, it could have been everything.

“It was nice, but I really have to go and take of things before I leave tomorrow,” Reika said honestly. “The deal was no strings, no drama, remember?”

Leslie noticeably stiffened and then withdrew. “You’re right… Do you plan to come back to L.A. any time soon?”

“I don’t know. My schedule is going to become very hectic very soon. Densuke and I are supposed to be married in June.”

“Oh. Well, it was nice seeing you. Take care,” Leslie said as she made sounds of rolling over in the bed and wrapping herself up in the sheets. There seemed to be a little tension in her tone.

“You too.”

* * *

With her heels in hand, Reika walked into the grand suite and was glad to see that the lights were off, meaning that no one was waiting for her. She made her way to the bedroom, yawning all the while. She flipped on the lights and almost jumped out of her skin at the sight of Densuke planted in the chair in the corner.

“You scared me to death!” she proclaimed, clutching at her pounding heart. “And what the hell are you doing here?! This is my suite!”

He stared at her with such forceful intensity that she knew she was now seeing a side of him that she had never seen before. She noted the apparently empty bottle of wine on the table beside him.

“Where were you?” he asked sternly.

She stared at him in surprise before regaining her composure and said, “Did someone ask?”

“I did… No one would tell me. But it was clear that they knew where you were.”

Reika frowned, trying to brush off his uncharacteristic seriousness. “I didn’t think I had report my every move to you. After all, you’ve had your share of disappearances. Now would you leave? I’m very tired.”

“I’m just one big joke to you, aren’t I?!” he said, his anger starting to brim over.

Her own anger was ignited. “Densuke, you’ve never given me a reason to treat you as anything but a joke!”

“I understood Sylia because I knew you two genuinely loved each other. But I didn’t realize that your taste ran into cheap whores.”

“You’re being incredibly hypocritical right now. And I am not in the mood to deal with this!” She pointed to the door. “Leave!”

Glaring at her, he slowly stood and took steps forward.

Instinctively, Reika braced herself as she realized he would have to walk by her to exit. But her stubbornness kept her planted. He strode forward and paused when he was right in front of her. Now seeing him so close that she could smell the alcohol on his breath, she was surprised that he was looking at her with such hunger.

Suddenly, he tackled her to the floor, his greater weight and size easily pinned her down as he held his hand over her mouth and nose, which not only kept her from fully crying out but also made breathing difficult. In a mad frenzy, he smothered her all over with kisses of a starved man who was finally offered a feast. Her heart pounding furiously, Reika tried to twist and kick herself free as she heard her dress start to rip underneath his roaming hands.

Densuke forced her legs apart with his knees when he was jerked off of her completely.

A furious Kou had him in a headlock and easily dragged the now choking man to the bathroom.

Taking deep breaths to clear her mind and calm her pounding heart, Reika remained on the floor as she felt someone gently place her wrap around her shoulders as an attempt of modesty.

For several minutes, the only sounds came from the bathroom, where Kou repeatedly forced Densuke’s head into the toilet bowl.

A stunned Jun didn’t know what to say except, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right,” a grateful Reika said. “Better to have arrived now rather than later.”

Finding focus to speak, Jun explained, “We knew Densuke had entered your room earlier this evening. I told hotel security to let me know if Densuke hadn’t left by the time you came back. It was just a precaution.”

“I assure you that I’m not complaining.” She then paused to listen to the noises of the struggle in the bathroom. “I suppose I should go in there to keep Kou from accidentally killing him… Maybe I’ll wait for a few more minutes…”

* * *

9:12 a.m., April 21st

A very haggard looking Densuke stood quietly off to the side as family and hotel staff were busy trying to load the train of cars and limos with everyone’s luggage. With sunglasses to protect his bloodshot eyes from the sunlight, he kept his hand underneath his blazer to press against his ribcage, which was throbbing with pain from being slammed against the toilet bowl several times. At least Kou kept his temper enough in check to keep from damaging his face.

He glanced around warily to make sure he stayed well out of the way of his fiancée and her entourage.

Then, to his surprise, Reika walked up to him, not looking at all pleased. “Get into the limo,” she said in a low voice, not really caring if anyone else could see the unspoken drama that was going on. “You and I are going to have a talk on the way to the airport.”

He meekly did as he was told. Reika was going to step in with him when she noticed Kou was right behind her.

“I need to talk to him alone. Please ride in the front.” She glanced over at the anxiously watching Jun, whom she had already given orders to ride in the other limo.

Kou was clearly reluctant to heed the orders of the woman who was like a daughter to him.

Seeing his clear concern, Reika gave him a gentle smile and stepped forward to kiss his cheek. “Thank you for last night.” She then discreetly reached underneath his coat and pulled out one of his revolvers from the shoulder harness to take it with her. “Will you ride in the front now?”

“… Just make certain the safety is off,” he stated as he finally did what he was told.

* * *

“I’m really sorry,” Densuke said when he and Reika were finally alone in the limo as it cruised along the freeway. “It won’t happen again. I obviously had too much to drink.”

Reika kept her vision focused on the passing L.A. scenery. “You are not to ever touch me again. Any children we have will be through artificial insemination.”

“I understand,” he said softly as he kept his head bowed. “I also understand if you want out of the marriage.”

She was quiet for a moment before she said in an annoyed tone. “No, you don’t understand, Densuke. I’m at a point that I need to be married to you. My life and safety depends on it. And you have no idea how lucky you were that it was Kou that stopped you. My next bodyguard may not have such discretion…

“But the thing that really irks me the most is that I still don’t give a shit of what kind of husband you’re going to be. However, it finally occurred to me that I really do care about what kind of a father you’re going to be to our children. And an alcoholic rapist is not going to cut it. Understood?”


– End Chapter 7 –

* * *

Chapter 8: Looking Forward

8:23 a.m., April 23rd, Tokyo

“Welcome home!” Irene declared at the appearance of her sister at the dining room doors. She was happily enjoying a full Japanese breakfast with the excuse of ‘eating for two’ that her pregnancy offered. “How was L.A.?”

“Just another hotel opening,” Reika answered lightly as she took her place at the head of the table. She ordered a light breakfast from the waiting servant before letting out a deep sigh.

“Well, that sounded heavy,” Irene remarked. “Did it make you miss America?”

“No, not really… It made me realize how much I’m not that person anymore.”

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” her sister asked carefully.

Reika gave her a slightly pained smile. “I’m not too happy with the person I am now so I don’t know. Since the attack, I’ve been fantasizing a lot about not having this life. Where I can’t eat in public without taking anti-poison precautions. That I can’t go the restroom without fear of an ambush. Or that I have to wear a bullet-proof vest under my business suits. But now I don’t know what life I’m meant to have….

“Would it bother you if I tried to groom someone else to be the new leader? So that we both can finally have a peaceful life?”

Irene stood and embraced her sister from behind. “I want you to be happy. I’ve always been proud of you as someone who can do anything. But I don’t want you to do it at some ludicrous price.”

“Funny you should say that when I feel like such a failure. And I think that’s the one thing that’s keeping me from really taking steps to putting someone else in the place of leadership. I feel I’ll be letting our father down. He worked so hard to build up our family esteem and yet I’m dragging it through the mud.”

She paused at the appearance of the servant with her food.

“I don’t see that,” Irene said firmly as she sat back down. She waited for them to be alone again before stating, “I think Dad and Mom would be very proud.”

Reika studied her for a bit. “Do you like our lifestyle? I mean, you’ve been trapped on the compound since you’ve come back. And when you leave, you have an entourage of four bodyguards following you everywhere. Don’t you feel like a prisoner? I used to feel so sorry for Mom when I would see her sit by herself in the garden.”

Irene shook her head. “I’m at peace with this life. In fact, I’ve been much happier here than I’ve been in London, even though the circumstances are a little different. This is home, with all of its flaws. And even though I spend a lot of time here, it’s not as if I’m constantly surrounded by people. I can still have my peaceful, private moments. Just like Mom.

“I admit I don’t think I can ever have a casual shopping day in Tokyo again, but that’s what we grew up with. And we both know that even if you give up the Clan leadership, we’re both still in danger of kidnapping and revenge. I don’t want to give up who I am again, like I did when I tried to live as a ‘Chen’. I guess expecting a child makes you realize what’s really important… Still, if you give up the leadership, you won’t have to marry or have children. That should be a huge relief.”

“I know…” Reika said softly. “I know I have to decide soon what I should be doing with all of this. I’m making all of these plans that feel so permanent. But honestly, I can’t imagine what kind of life I would have if I didn’t have this. Even when Dad let me play hooky in L.A., I always had it in the back of my mind that this is where I would end up…”

“By the way, thank you for the new job offer you gave Sho.” Irene then held up her hand, “I still don’t want to know the details. But I haven’t heard him be this excited since when I first dated him.”

“He does seem like a kid in a candy store. I envy that about him. I don’t recall ever feeling that kind of excitement about anyone or anything.”

Irene looked a little confused. “Not even about Sylia?”

Reika thought carefully about her words before answering, “She’d always been there. I remember panicking when I thought she wasn’t going to be around but to be truly excited about being with her? I don’t think so. We were already so comfortable with each other by the time we became lovers. Maybe I took her for granted.”

“Well, I think a solid, deep love is more enviable.”

“Yes, I suppose so,” Reika said cryptically as she took a sip of tea.

* * *

That afternoon

Standing in Reika’s office, Jun stood over the computer to double-check that the calendar entries were synchronized between her and Reika’s portable data pads.

She glanced up at the sudden appearance of Densuke standing at the open door, clearly looking around the otherwise empty room. Though still impeccably dressed in fresh casual clothes, he still had the haggard look on his unshaven face.

She felt her heart beat a little furiously at the awkwardness of witnessing what he was capable of. “Um, sh-she’s not here. She might be up in her bedroom.”

“Oh,” he said softly. He looked a little distracted as he glanced around the hallway before he stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. “Well, I need to talk to you too.”

Jun unconsciously started to position herself behind the desk as a safety precaution.

Densuke took a hesitant step forward. With a fortifying breath, he gave her a deep bow even though it caused a sharp pain at his rib cage. “Thank you for keeping me from going too far in L.A. I understand that you were the one that had hotel security on standby with me.”

Quite startled, Jun blinked. “Oh. You’re welcome.”

“Of course, being the staff of my family’s hotel, they told my brother what had happened last night. So I got a good talking to from him that let me know that my actions would not have been acceptable from my own family.”

“Oh. Sorry, about that,” she said genuinely. “I didn’t mean to have more people know than necessary.”

He gave her a sad smile and said. “Don’t apologize for doing the right thing. If I had not been stopped, I would have regretted everything. Honestly… But, I guess you must think I’m a complete asshole now.”

“I wouldn’t use the word ‘complete’,” she answered, and then blushed at how callous that sounded. “I – I just think you have a lot of opportunity for improvement.”

He actually chuckled. “That’s the kindest thing anyone has said to me in a long time.”

Her long-burning curiosity now giving her some confidence to speak, Jun opened her mouth but then shut it.

Seeing this, Densuke gave her a prompting look. “If you want to tell me off, you definitely have a right to. After all, I attacked your boss and gave you an up-close view of the lifestyles of the rich and idiotic.”

She shook her head and said hesitantly, “I just… feel that you’re very much in love with her. Am I wrong?”

The man was clearly startled at her words, but turned completely beet-red in response. “It just makes me be more pathetic, doesn’t it?”

Jun felt compelled to ease his embarrassment. “I have a lot of experience with unrequited loves, so I know the signs.”

Getting his composure back, Densuke smiled and said, “A pretty girl like you? I find that hard to believe.”

They both then blushed when they realized how that sounded like a come on.

Densuke cleared his throat and said, “Well, I have to go. I’ve been ordered to ‘dry out’ in a clinic in Hawaii for the next month. If Reika needs me for any appearances, just let her know that I need at least three days notice… Oh, and you’re doing a good job of taking care of her. Thank you. Goodbye. I’ll see you later.”

He opened the door to exit and almost jumped out of his skin to see Kou standing menacingly on the other side. The huge mountain of a man wasn’t going to move from his place in the doorway so Densuke was forced to squeeze his way by him.

Once he was gone, Kou looked at Jun questioningly. “Did he behave himself?”

She nodded and gave him a genuine smile. “I sincerely think he’s learned his lesson.”

The bodyguard looked skeptical but gave a nod before stepping away.

– End Chapter 8 –