They weren’t going the same way Toma had dragged her through though. The myriad of hallways that she was being pulled through now were totally different.
She found her feet tripping over themselves as Jun moved swiftly through the short wooden and paper made hallways. He really didn’t care whether she banged against the wall or him or whether her limbs were bruised at the speed at which they were rushing through the house.
Finally they seemed to have reached their destination. She heaved soft breaths into her lungs placing a hand over the bones in her chest. It wasn’t at a door in particular but at the opening long corridor of rooms. “Out of breath already? Here I was thinking you had better stamina. What a disappointment.” She gave the man before her a dirty look as he snickered at her expression. “Relax I need to pick something up then we’ll go. Don’t move an inch and you won’t get hurt okay?”
“Would you really hurt me?” She couldn’t help but bite out. Jun liked to talk big but when it came to action she didn’t really see him ever really hurting her.
He scoffed. “I said that for your benefit more than mine. Stay where you are…or you’ll hurt yourself.” It was a strange parting gaze he gave her. A mixture of disappointment and pity and she couldn't help but hate him for it. Who was he to look at her like that when he'd almost killed her back there with his father-in-law?
Jun disappeared along the corridor and she stood quietly by the entryway. What choice did she really have other than to shut up and stay anyways?
That was when she heard it, the loud bellow of a man whose voice was really too familiar, at a scene that was too curious to not look into.
Jun may have been right but there was too much detective in her blood to not want to find out what was happening. “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO SAY?”
A loud shriek interrupted the bellow as she reached the door and cracked it open just in time to see Christol slap Toma. “HOW ABOUT FUCKING SORRY? DOES THAT WORK FOR YOU? TOMA HOW COULD YOU DO THAT? DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE?” The girl’s eyes were tightly shut as if she couldn’t afford him seeing her weakness, every piece of her body shook with anger and Ikuta beside her tensed.
Both Rie and Christine would know why all his gestures were like this. Why he would hold himself back even though he so obviously didn’t want to. He couldn’t bear seeing Christol cry and know simultaneously that she was only crying because of him.
Yet he couldn’t say sorry because he wasn’t and Ikuta Toma was never the type of man who did things he would have to later apologize for. His every action was planned so that he would never have to demean himself like that and make himself vulnerable before another human. So all he did was move forward quickly and in a flash his lips enveloped that of the girl before him.
It was the only apology he could give her.
It was strange that Rie felt her eyes avert as quickly as she did because she found herself looking at the thin walls before her and gulped softly. It was like an automatic reaction she hadn’t even thought about. Had she wanted to look away? Not that she should be looking into these things or wanting to look into them- indeed she knew she shouldn’t. These moments were not meant for her eyes and yet she simply couldn’t walk away from them.
She heard a whimper fly to her ears accompanied by silent sobs and Toma’s heavy breaths as he pulled Christine to him. There was a rip of fabric and she gulped squeezing her eyes shut more than before as if she blocked out all sight so would the sound disappear.
A snarl came forth from Toma’s throat and she felt her heart jump into her throat, her stomach plunge all the way down to her toes and she leaned against the wall.
But it didn’t because Christine’s voice led out a series of notes in soprano and Rie felt her stomach turn over itself as she clapped a hand over her mouth to resist making a sound in response. She wondered what sound her own mouth would make if she hadn't covered it. Revulsion? Shock?
Or maybe she'd scream so loud she didn't know why she was screaming.
Though Christine was angry, Rie knew the girl couldn’t just walk away from all of what Toma was trying to sway her with…because after all Toma was the love her life.
And you can't just walk away from the love of your life...not when it was using it’s mouth to plead with you.
She wondered if she could have ever walked away from Mukai but she supposed she wouldn’t really know until they were in that situation. Would Mukai ever look at her like that, with desperation and disappointment?
Rie tried to calm her thoughts before they grew even more frantic and her heart before it became loud enough that they could hear. She made a move to start leaving, careful to tread softly, when she heard it.
There was a large intake of breath from both parties, they’d parted from ravaging each other.
Despite her better judgment she felt her eyes turn back to the scene playing out. Christine was crumbled on the ground in a heap. Toma was leaning down beside her. “I can’t do it anymore- I can’t support you anymore. Do you know how much that hurts?” Her face was dug deep into her hands as if she felt ashamed of the words leaving her mouth.
“I don’t need you to support me Christine.” His words were soft and the bitter edge to them could not be ignored. Christine lifted her eyes from her hands, her curly hair twisting over her face in a manner so pretty that Rie understood why half the men in the bar were crazy over her, why Takuya would want to use her as a means to an end.
“That's not my name anymore. You might still be Toma but I stopped being 'Christine' a long time ago. When you stopped being with me and when I married that asshole." She laughed softly but there was nothing funny about the situation, she was leaving for that asshole now after all.
For a brief second, Rie remembered Koyama who was one of Yamapi’s lackeys. Would he leave with her as well? Would he have another option? His official assignment hadn't been taking care of Rie after all- he'd always been here for Christine. If she was no longer there, there would be no reason for Koyama to stay at Tryst either.
When her eyes turned back to the two hidden in the room, Toma had started to cradle Christine in his arms like a precious jewel. Rie bit her lip to hold back a scream that licked the edge of her teeth teasingly. She shut her eyes as she saw his hands caress the top of her head as Christine’s arms wrapped around him in return. “I won’t stop…you know that. I won’t let you stay there. I’ll bring you back. I promise.”
“Don’t say that.” Christine’s tone was harsh and Rie couldn’t help but open her eyes again. She was looking at him like she didn’t believe him, but more like she was about to cry again. "The worst part is... you let him have me, the thing that I’ve exchanged for you…I can’t leave it alone in that world. Or another monster like Yamashita Tomohisa or Takuya would be created and I could never forgive myself for such an action.” She pulled herself off him and he looked at her hurt tugging on her hand again.
Rie found herself detesting the sight of the woman who could bring forth such a gentle Ikuta Toma. This was an Ikuta she had never seen herself nor did she think she would ever be privy to seeing. Rie wasn’t someone to protect to him after all…not the way Christine was.
A bitter laugh stopped him from coming up with what would only sound like another excuse to Christine's jaded ears. “The funny thing is Toma, you couldn’t stand up for us…and that killed us. And now you're standing up for someone that will definitely kill you.” Rie opened her mouth to gasp and she felt a hand clap over it and saw the flashing eyes of a very angry Jun beside her.
Before she could look at Toma’s reaction to Christine’s words she was dragged away, struggling only slightly because she knew if Jun had never shown up then maybe she would have seen it all and she couldn’t bear the thought of it somehow. Like seeing everything they would exchange would-
Well the idea of it was just agonizing.
They were silent all the way to the car and it was only once she was in the car did she realize she had tears in her eyes, that she was crying and that no matter how many breaths she took or how much she slapped her cheeks that her tears weren’t relenting. A shriek escaped her lips despite her trying to control the level of noise she was making.
It didn’t matter that Jun was here and it didn’t matter that she looked positively insane doing it. It didn’t matter because it had been so long and everything that was happening was finally catching up to her. She couldn’t take it. It was as if Christine’s words had set off a bomb in her that wouldn’t shut up. She was going to ruin him. It was a fact beyond truth and yet the more she got to know him the more she understood that she couldn't do it.
She was shocked to feel Jun’s hand land on her curled back and slowly he ran his hand across her back trying to comfort her. There was nothing disgusting or lusty about his touch and it seemed to do the trick as she slowly raised herself back up unable to stop the sobs that continuously racked her lungs. “Because of me…because of me they can’t be together.” That is the only acceptable reason she can give him right now.
“It isn’t because of you.” Jun corrected quickly as her eyes directed towards his face. “It doesn’t have anything to do with you. None of this does…but we’re all using you as we like, maybe not the way we usually end up using the girls at the club but it doesn’t change its effect. It’s breaking you and I’m sorry about that.” He was apologizing for what he’d done back there. What he’d tried to make her so Toma would get in trouble, what had almost killed her.
She couldn't forgive him that easily. “Why did Takuya want me dead Jun?” Her question caught him off guard but he didn’t yell at her. Not like he had on the day he’d caught her staring at Sam and Junno. As if he understood that she was no longer just some girl in the club but a more important piece in this game than he’d originally intended.
A pawn who became a knight.
“Let’s drive for a while…then we’ll talk okay Lillith?” Her nod was the only agreement he needed as he turned out of the house quickly. “We’re all caged here…not unwillingly but we are.” His thought was meant to jog her mind she was sure. Jun didn’t drive like Jin or Toma. His moves were precise, like he’d already calculated how everything would turn out.
If a car came in front of him that he hadn’t anticipated, she could see his face contort distastefully and he’d snarl and swerve away from the unexpected event.
Finally they reached a place that she knew wasn’t her home and she knew it couldn’t have been because he didn’t want to take her home yet. Once she saw they were walking towards a bar though her feet stopped moving and she grabbed his arm roughly giving him a pointed look. “I need a drink if I’m going to be talking to you about this.” He explained quickly pulling on her hand without a care. He didn’t bother waiting to be seated but walked to an empty black booth.
She sat across from him and saw that shockingly unlike the Jun she’d seen inside Takuya’s house. The dim light surrounding their booth darkened his expression. His eyes looked puffy and she wondered what had caused this sort of a tiredness to grace his face. “It wasn’t Takuya Lillith, it was Christine who wanted you dead.” He cleared his throat. Rie felt her fists tighten at his next words as she looked away from his face.
“It’s my fault...it’s all my fault. That’s why I need your forgiveness, I didn’t want to kill you. I never expected it would go that far. I just wanted to use you to get Toma out of the running. Somehow contort what the two of you were actually doing into something much more. Christine overheard me whispering things in Takuya’s ears about how careful Toma is to never let you the new girl out of his sight. I don’t know what happened after but I’m sure she asked him to get rid of you somehow, told him why you two were together all the time. How Toma’s worked against him by hiring you…pushing all the blame on you. I’m sure of it. Takuya couldn’t use any of his own men of course…Toma or I would have found out and stopped anything from happening, we would have saved you. He couldn't let that happen so Takuya went to that monster son-in-law of his ,” Rie wondered why it was that everyone referred to Christol’s husband as such. Jun’s eyes flashed upwards as he looked at her again with the same pathetic pleading in his eyes. “She’s not beyond it…she is born of the same flesh and blood that whole family is.”
A silence came over them and she found herself looking up at him blinking silently. “The only reason she grew like that was because of you though wasn’t it Jun? You lied. You lied to Takuya that I was sleeping with Toma. You instigated everything in the end didn't you?” Her tone was so blank that it caught him off guard. If anything he had expected more questions about Christine, not accusations directed towards him. The more he spoke the more she felt her blood boil against him. How could he even-
“I’m sorry but-“
“DO YOU THINK A SORRY FIXES WHAT YOU DID!” She couldn’t control her shriek as she watched him shift back into his shell. Whatever confidence he’d had in Takuya’s room had been fake. She realized now why Jun would never become the head contender to take over Takuya’s clan. Why Takuya had chosen Toma. Inside, Jun was a coward. He never found ways to rightfully get what he wanted. “A sorry doesn’t equal what they have to go through because of you. Inadvertently because of you Christine had to save Toma and now they’re separating. You almost killed me. A sorry doesn’t equal my life Jun. Sorry can't fix this. You're going to have to do much better than that.”
The bar was eerily quiet and she suddenly realized that they were all looking at them. Jun leaned over clutching her hand but she quickly pulled it away feeling her stomach push its contents up through her throat at the feeling of his hand over hers. “I- never wanted this.” His hands were jittering and Rie looked at him unable to stop her eyes from watering again at his pathetic excuse. She wanted to barge out of this place and never look at this man again. “But Lillith-“
“I agree…I’m a liar. I’m a horrible person and that maybe you should never forgive me for almost killing you with my words and my ambitions. I’m sorry that I can’t be the type of honorable man you seem to favour so intensely. I’ve never learned how to do things the hard way but you just proved me right. You've proven everything I've said to Takuya right.” He looked so sure of himself that Rie started doubting her own words.
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t lie to me. Not to me.” She felt a shudder come over as the darkness in his eyes grew. “I’m not interested in you, not the slightest. I treat you with respect that I would treat a fellow comrade. Someone I admire. So when I see you do things that make me ashamed of you and I ask you about them…don’t lie to me.”
Enough was enough. She couldn’t take this. “I’m not lying what the fuck are you talking about Jun?”
“Why did you jump in front of him?” The same question, over and over and her answer to the question wasn't becoming any more clear to her either. “Don’t lie to me. I know it wasn’t to gain his trust. I know you, something as cruel as that couldn’t be your motivation. You’re too pure despite you trying to act otherwise.”
How could he EVER even know purity when he saw it? She seethed in her mind. “If you think you know me so well why don’t you tell me the reason?”
“You have feelings for him” He did not even pause and Rie felt her heart freeze. This was the first time someone had insinuated so openly that she liked him.
Not that she was sleeping with Ikuta Toma, not that they were together against the world...no this was the first time someone had highlighted this particular fact. That it was her, and her alone, who felt things for Ikuta Toma.
She thought of the crazy lunatic that Ikuta was. She couldn’t have feelings for that type of man. He was insane, he had practically no conscience. He treated her like shit most of the time. Why on earth would she ever have feelings for that sort of man?
Especially when she was already engaged, sure Jun and their kind didn’t know about Mukai but she did! Why would her mind ever want to betray her like that?
No. She refused to ever consider such a ridiculous proposition. Sure it made logical sense, it gave her mind a reason to finally understand her own lunacy in jumping before him but that sort of reasoning was simply unacceptable to her. “You’re off the fucking base Jun. I’ll get home myself.” She shot up from her seat and darted out the door quickly and heard his feet sounding off the stone floor as they made their way outside.
When she realized he was closer to her she felt her feet pick up by themselves. She was running- but she had no reason to run away from him. Her arm hurt with every long stroke of her hands but she couldn’t bring herself to care. It was better to cry about something physically painful. She hadn’t cried so much since her first day at the club. She doubted she'd ever been this frustrated either.
She couldn’t run quite fast enough though. Jun may have been a coward but he was still an important asset to Takuya with his good looks, killer speed and quick mind. Before she realized what had happened Jun’s hands wrapped around her waist pulling her into the air. His arms were perfectly capable and a snake though he might be weak he most certainly was not. She kicked against him, her hands flying into the air as he attempted to block her attacks and she kept going. Her elbow connected with the side of his face and she felt him buckle over when her leg managed to twist and hit his stomach. He finally let her go dropping to the ground, groaning as he rolled over holding his stomach as she panted heavily falling to the ground beside him and crashing lightly on the pavement. Thankfully the only thing she could feel was a small numbness in her hip.
The sky was dark above them and the wind was bitingly cold on her bare legs as she looked at him with a narrowed gaze in her eyes. “Lillith,” His eyes shut soundlessly as he said it and she felt bad that she’d kicked him this badly. They opened again slowly to make sure that she was listening to him.
“What is it Jun?”
“Let’s agree that you didn’t jump in front of him for your feelings. That you have no feelings for him.”
“Because it’s true.” But was that really true? How sane were her motives really? Jun was right...she was never that scheming to think of his trust as her motive to jump forward. There hadn't been enough time to think of something like that. Besides hadn't she thought she'd already earned his trust when he pulled her up from the ledge?
“Why is it then that when I revealed what I did, and when you yelled at me, that you mentioned his suffering first? That Christine would have no option but to leave him? That you put your own death behind their love story?” Her limbs snapped into attention from their weakened state, her back sitting up straight as she looked at him her own eyes widening.
He sat up slowly as he grabbed her hands within his own and suddenly she felt herself reminded of Toma and Christine’s position but hours ago.
Had they done all they could before she left him forever?
Her heart sped up to an alarming rate and she cursed her mind for wondering whether they were still together even now.
Was Jun right?
She looked up at him and she must have looked beyond perplexed because she saw that look in his eyes again. The one of disappointment and pity, he lunged forward and grabbed her pulling her into his arms. She was so shocked by her own thoughts that she didn’t even care as his words echoed over and over in her ears. "It's okay. I won't tell anyone...I won't even tell you again."