The Secrets Between Us
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“It’s been a while…is Jun coming or not?” Meisa grumbled as she sat behind the bush looking around her for the young prince getting worried.

“He’s probably gone back to his parents already. He’s a smart kid…” Osamu leaned back into the bushes as he looked towards Meisa who awkwardly sat beside him.

“To go back to his parents?”

“To leave you alone with me.” His gaze towards her grew only more so angry as he looked at the wisp of a woman who loved to evade his remarks. He had wanted to talk alone with her all evening.

“I don’t understand why we had to hide together in the first place.” She cursed and shifted away from him and he placed his fingers through his hair attempting to calm his aggravated and aroused heart.

“I wanted to talk to you Meisa.” He bit out unable to disguise the hate he felt when he thought of the secret she had slipped him a week ago, like a drug in his drink that caused him to react in ways that he hadn’t expected. The effects of Meisa did not wear off as easily as any material substance. She was a plague in his thoughts now one he could not escape no matter how many prayers he may say.

She laughed bitterly shaking her long straight hair out of her face. “That’s mighty coming from the man whose been ignoring me for the past week.”

“I- I didn’t mean to react that way when I heard.” He was conflicted as he saw the way Meisa’s eyes grew stormier in their look at him as if they couldn’t quite believe his words. He looked away ashamed and she had to stop herself from hitting him for being with her like this. She should never have let him know. He was afraid with the wrong words he would cause her heart the same amount of irreparable damage that Takuya had already caused it. “Why did you tell me?” His words were a whisper and the plead in them could not be ignored so Meisa answered honestly as she looked up at the stars in the sky.

“I needed to tell someone…and it didn’t matter who. You may not be Christian but confessing to you seemed right.” Meisa turned away shaking her head. “I never should have…I was weak. Takuya had made me drink before showing up at the board anyways. I was foolish. I was out of my head and we’d agreed to it before I realized. When I saw you standing there- it was like you were meant to be my savior. However foolish that sounds I had this strange feeling you could save me.” Meisa laughed leaning back into the bushes. “It’s crazy to imagine right? You couldn’t do anything. Nor do you want to.” Her own plea went softly past Mukai’s ears as he detested for just a second their births and their lives that had inevitably caused him to be unable to answer her as they looked at each other.

Mukai’s silence was all Meisa heard as she stood up to leave and Mukai immediately pulled her back so that she fell down again onto the ground on her knees in front of him. He couldn't let her leave, not like this. He felt every strand of her hair bounce lightly off his chest and couldn’t help the tiny gulp that rose in his throat as he watched the way her eyes expanded. Her look was positively sinful no matter how she really felt even as she looked at him with faith and hope all he could feel was-nothing better than what he supposed Toda Takuya felt when he looked at her.

To hold himself back from such things was one of the hardest things he’d ever had to overcome when he’d decided on being a monk. Meeting Meisa was a challenge that powers higher than him had decided to present to him. To be there for her without ever acting on these realizations he was having. “I- I can’t save you if you won’t save yourself Meisa.” Her eyes flashed with realization at his words and they looked at each other soundlessly breathing. Meisa looked unable to move as the tears finally flew to her eyes and she crumbled into his arms, her arms finding their way around him as he felt her face dig into his neck unable to stop the flood that had finally found its way out.

Now that the anger had dissipated she needed someone to cry on…and so Mukai stayed still with her offering her support the only way he could without ruining his own world.

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“Where’s Meisa? How am I supposed to get home.” Erika sighed tiredly looking out the door as Shota relaxed his head against Maki’s shoulder blowing the air from his cigarette out. Mao looked eager to inhale whatever the mysterious air was and Erika couldn’t help the way she glared at Shota as she covered Mao’s nose. His eyes lit up when he realized he’d angered her and for some reason Erika found herself hardly believing this was the same man she’d been foolishly infatuated with when she was more foolish herself. He laughed at her look and passed the cigarette to Maki who after taking a puff put it out.

“Gomen. Gomen.” Maki chimed for them as a Shota called one of the servants over to speak with and Erika couldn’t help but keep her eyes glued to Mao who was happily jumping about in her lap.

Toma turned back leaning his back against the large paned window that stretched up to the high ceiling above them staring at them all at their seats. Maki was a little bit drunk already on the whiskey she was constantly sipping. She had sent Jun to bed. “Why don’t we send one of the palace drivers with Erika-san?” Toma suggested as he took a drag of his own cigarette but thankfully the toxic air infected no one’s lungs but his own as he considerately blew it out of the window.

Maki’s face of amazement was exaggerated as she clapped her hands together and looked down to her husband who was still on her shoulder looking up at her lazily. “That’s not a half bad idea Shota.” Maki leaned forward again to take a sip from his glass of scotch and then tilted her head back up to Erika. “Unless of course you’ve changed your mind Erika? We’d love to have you for drink.” She rolled the crystalline glass in her hands with hooded eyes and Erika shook her head and saw the way the Cheshire smile stretched onto Maki’s face as she placed the glass back down on the table and Shota pressed a quick kiss to her shoulder blade and Erika looked away.

The moment she’d seen it, images that she hadn’t wanted to fly back to her mind had.

“No thank you…I don’t drink.” She bowed her head as Shota and Maki exchanged their own little humoring grins ready to look as if they were about to laugh at her for her statement but Erika kept her firm smile straight on her face as Shota examined her before he finally let his eyes drift from her face as he turned to look at Toma whose arm was still in its sling.

“IKUTA!” Shota yelled and Toma turned around bowing his head the look of loquacity never present on his face. “Come keep my wife company as you usually do. She’s been rather lonely without you lately.” Shota stood up as he offered his hand to Erika and she tried to ignore the stench of tobacco and alcohol that surrounded him as she took it and stood up carefully picking up Mao after. “I’ll walk Erika out to the drivers.”

Maki laughed riotously as she took another sip of her drink and Erika found herself glad to be leaving. She’d never been that sort of girl who could drink or be a true ‘boy’ in the sense of the word that Maki epitomized it.

Or should she correct herself, act or think like a boy, because there was nothing masculine about the delicate beauty or the way she looked at Erika when she walked out of the room. Maki placed her head on Toma's shoulder who sat wordlessly beside her downing the glass of scotch that was on the table.

Erika stood directly behind Shota as if she wasn’t his equal but rather a servant following him and he turned around to look at her as he said tiredly. “Is it that scary to walk beside me?”

Erika gulped; her gaze fixed downwards as she shook her head. “No.” When she risked a look at him and saw him shake his head before reaching his hand out to her arm and pulling her forward so that they were side by side. Then he let her go.

Shota and her walked out of the room and Erika felt her eyebrows furrow when she realized Toma's eyes were glued to Shota and herself as they made their way out the door.

“So…where has Jin disappeared off to Erika?” Shota asked shoving his hands into his pockets as he watched Erika from the corner of his eye as they walked the palace’s large halls each step in step with the others.

The question caught her off guard as she froze unable to look at him as she fixed her eyes on the ground and the baby in her arms pulled her arms around her mother as if shielding her from some unseen force. “He’s where he’s always wanted to be.” She chose to answer looking up at Shota who scoffed laughing as he raked his fingers through his hair.

“I suppose I don’t deserve much of a straight answer do I?” He teased at her vague attempt at giving him something that would satisfy his curiosity.

“It wouldn’t make too much sense for you to want a straight answer.” She corrected walking ahead. His words however little they did mean to her, stl caused her heartbeat to quicken.

“Isn’t it funny then how it seems to make perfect sense in my head but none in yours.” His feet clattered and the gusty wind blew so that Erika’s hair blew around her as she looked up at him and he sighed with a smile on his face. “It just doesn’t make sense to me why someone who was so in love with you would have left you. That’s all.”

“Not everything in the world makes sense Shota…especially when you’re the prince of a country in turmoil.” She bowed her head noticing the entrance far off. “So-“

“We’re here.” He bowed his head. “Until the next time we’re never supposed to each other.” He joked and Erika let a small smile touch his face as he walked forward downstairs towards the valet who looked frantic at the arrival of the prince. Erika stood watching him as he spoke with the valet, looking up at her every so often.

He came back upstairs and the look on his face begged that she ask him. “Is everything okay?” She jogged Mao lightly in her hands as she felt the little girl fall asleep enveloping herself closer to her mother’s warmth.

“Our drivers are all at the event with Ryuhei and- well the one who was supposed to take you home just left to take his break with his car.”

Erika grew scared as she looked at him shaking her head. “I’m not going to have to stay here am I?”

“Of course not! We have a spare...and well. I do know how to drive." He looked at her bowing his head. "Will you allow me to drive you home? I had the least amount of alcohol and I promise I will keep you safe.” Here he paused to look for a second as if he’d just remembered the baby in her arms. “And Mao of course.” He added as Erika stood her eyebrows furrowed as she nodded gingerly. It wasn’t the best option but it was the only one she had. She knew her mother was probably worried sick about her anyways.

“Let’s go.”
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The entire ride over had been tainted with silence as Erika kept her eyes watchfully over Mao, tucking her baby’s head into her lap and Shota kept his eyes glued onto the road looking over once in a while to make sure Erika was comfortable.

When they finally arrived it seemed like a blessing in disguise. “I’ll be right back.” Erika uttered softly as she kept Mao steady in her arms and walked inside her house. Everyone was sleeping already. She laid her baby in the crib before rushing back out the door to bid Shota goodbye.

He was seated staring intently at something on the wheel of the car. “Please be careful when you’re driving back to the palace.” She bowed low outside his car and Shota turned to look at her in shock shaking his head.

“This may sound bold of me-“ He started but then his eyes seemed to grow stronger as he shook his head,. “But I’m afraid if I never ask this of you right now I’ll never get the chance Erika.” He finished looking at her shaking his head. “For some reason someone or something has always come in between our conversations haven’t they? First Meisa that night at the play, then Jin at the store, today Maki.” Erika wasn’t quite sure how to respond as he started ticking off their meetings. “So I have the strangest request to ask of you.”

She was afraid of what he was about to say…of course she was. She could never have answered properly if it was what her heart was telling her. She also didn't want to offend the Prince.

“Would you speak with me?” His plea was so utterly innocent that Erika’s eyes widened in shock and at the look of astonishment on her face he rolled his eyes. “What did you think I was going to ask to sleep with you?”

“Almost yes. Your reputation before Maki doesn’t help your situation too much ou-“

“We decided you were calling me Shota.”

“Shota-sama.” She ended smiling and nodding her head. “I understand what you mean. I’ve always kind of felt some sort of kindred friendship with you but I’ve never really spoken to you enough to discover if it actually exists.”

“Here’s our opportunity.” He joked patting the seat beside him and Erika nodded entering the car once more as silence overtook them. “I thought it would be easier…”

“Well…we could talk about our childhoods?” Erika asked softly and Shota laughed.

“You already know mine.” He teased. “That’s not fair.”

“What’s not fair is that I’m getting bombarded.” She teased back as she settled into her seat watching the laugh come onto his face shaking his head. “Why don’t you tell me about Kisuke and Hina. The play and why you hate your co-actress so much?”

“I didn’t hate her today I can tell you that much.” The comment that didn’t go unheard left Erika blushing and heating up their entire car with her cheeks.

“Mah! Don’t compliment me too much. Or I’ll get a big head.”

“What I wanted out of Hina I got today…almost.” At that he turned to look at her with a teasing smile on his face as Erika blushed and turned away from his placing her head in her hand unable to understand to what he was referring to. Thankfully Shota decided to not make her uncomfortable any longer. “In my head I’m assured Erika you’re the perfect Hina. Why did you leave acting anyways?”

Erika sighed before answering somewhat hesitantly. “My marriage to Jin was actually partially responsible for that.”

Sensing that it would be delicate for him to approach the topic again he shook his head disapprovingly. “That scoundrel.” He looked at her with a foolish sort of joking face and Erika burst into laughter shaking her head.

“He’s actually probably the most perfect man for me. It was my father who decided for me to stop acting once he had set my marriage with Jin.”

“They should have never stopped you.” Erika smiled shaking her head unbelieving that the nation’s prince was being so forthright with her.

She rolled her eyes turning to him with a girlish grin on her. “Would you have liked to act with me?”

“Very much so.” He teased. “To be honest I’m thinking about dropping out of that project. Mayuko will make me look bad and I can’t look bad, not just because of me being an actor but being a failure will affect my family and our standing the public. I can’t allow that to happen. No matter how much I may want to be involved within the project.” Shota confessed as she listened quietly. “I think for the first time I felt like I was completely in tune with an actress and she was in tune with what I wanted out of her with my every action. It was truly an experience.”

Erika bowed her head to the prince as she realized that she had been here longer than her parents would approve and shook her head. “It’s time I should be getting home. Thank you for inviting us into your home today…please be sure to send Meisa off safe as well.”

“She’s probably lying in Mukai’s bed as we speak.” Shota rolled his eyes and Erika felt her mouth drop in shock at the bluntness of the prince as his look completely changed talking about their friends.

“Meisa isn’t so-“ At this Shota gave her a pointed look that shut Erika up even if she was upset with him.

“Okay…then goodbye.” She spoke sourly getting ready to leave feeling the somewhat happy feeling leaving her tummy as she felt Shota’s callous words about Meisa rest on her.

“Hey Erika?” She sighed as she poked her feet out of the car and got ready to leave but Shota grabbed her arm and pulled her back into the seat so that she fell with a thud.

“What was that for?!” She yelled surprising him as he felt his mouth stretch wider at the realization that Erika might not be as docile or sweet as she seemed.

“I wasn’t done.” He spoke in such a factual manner that made her want to walk out even more.

"Well finish by yourself.” Erika grumbled shaking her head. “You insulted my best friend, you can’t think I’m going to sit here and listen to you as you continue to-“ She wasn’t sure what had happened but suddenly her voice had gone silent as she felt Shota’s hands come up on her cheeks and hold her face still. “Shot-“

“Don’t talk.” His words were soft. “Don’t ruin it.” Erika felt her tongue go slack as she realized what he was going to do. She wanted to push him off she did but her entire body froze in shock. She couldn’t believe what was happening.

His lips came upon hers and he pulled her head closer to him and his mouth moved against hers and she felt butterflies flutter in her stomach, he brought his hands down towards her waist and grasped her tightly around her jacket and she felt his hand go under her jacket and immediately the shock that had frozen her in his grasp broke as she slapped him. Effectively shocking him into moving apart from her.

“What was that for?” He asked his eyes confused as he gingerly touched his cheek. “You just slapped a prince!” He didn't really sound upset with her but rather in awe.

“I didn’t slap a prince.” Erika spat out disgusted with herself as she realized what they’d just done. “A prince who loves his wife would not have done what you just did right now, a prince who “ who the world ADMIRES would not have done that. I slapped you Shota. I didn’t slap a prince.” She got up angrily shaking her head this time stalking out of the car and banging the door shut running into her house feeling her blood pump through her veins as she struggled to breathe.

Unable to stop the beating of her heart.

Author's Chapter End Notes

Part of the Anniversary day =D

Thank you guys and I' hope you enjoyed the past couple of updates coming up and as well as this chapter of Erika. Hopefully the next one will be coming up soon =D


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