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28 February 2006 @ 08:09 pm
Sparkling cider was always her favorite  
[[All parts played respectively on MSN.]]

Characters: Inoue Orihime, Kojima Mizuiro
Location: Mizuiro's house
Summary: Orihime goes to Mizuiro's house for some Romeo and Juliet practice... however, things quickly change as both begin to reveal hidden emotions and secrets. **WARNING: LOTS of FLUFF!! <3**

Mizuiro watched as the clock slowly approached 8:00 pm. The young man was pretty excited; his parents were away, as usual, and he was happily anticipating the arrival of one of the most stunning girls from school. Mizuiro ran hastily around the house, gathering snacks, scripts, preparing a warm fire, and even retrieving a few suitable costumes for Juliet that Yumichika had offered. After all was ready, Mizuiro simply sat in his living room armchair, awaiting the fair maiden’s arrival.

Orihime climbed off her bike and walked it up the driveway, placing it flush with the building. Tucking her red hair behind her ears, she walked to the door and rang the bell, smoothing out the work shirt from the cafe uniform under her jacket. Her cheeks were rather flushed from the ride and she hoped she didn't look too much like a mess.

Mizuiro practically leaped up at the sound of the bell, and he rushed over to open the door, although he took care to calm himself down before doing so. “Good evening, Orihime!” he greeted enthusiastically, ushering her in. He felt very tempted to give her a hug, but refrained, as it seemed that the young woman was short of breath. “You look like you need a bit of a rest, Orihime,” he remarked, taking her jacket and hanging it up in the closet, “May I offer you something to drink? Juice? Water?”

“Or…” Mizuiro grinned ever so slightly, “some sparkling cider to get into the mood?”

Orihime's eyes lit up at the mention of sparkling cider. "My favorite!" she exclaimed. "Oh, I mean, thank you, Mizuiro-kun." she let him take her jacket and looked around. "I rode my bike from the cafe so I'm a little flustered is all."

“Sparkling cider it is, then!” Mizuiro smiled, leading Orihime into the spacious living room. “I prepared some snacks, since I remembered Tatsuki saying something about how the café owner doesn’t give you much of a break during shifts,” he said, pointing to an array of foods spread on the table.

Mizuiro poured some sparkling cider into two champagne glasses, then carefully carried them over and handed a glass to Orihime. “I’m not exactly sure what you eat normally, so I just got the type of foods I noticed you eating at school,” Mizuiro said apologetically. On the table, a vast array of exquisite cakes and pies were laid out, ranging from crumb cake to Boston crème pie.

Orihime's lips part slightly as she took the glass and looked around. "This is....amazing." She was hungry. She was always hungry; especially now that money was tighter. The girl hesitated, then picked up something and took a bite, shooting Mizuiro a beaming smile.

Mizuiro smiled brightly back. “Eat as much as you’d like, Orihime… my parents don’t appreciate my work enough anyway—“ Mizuiro gasped ever so slightly; he had felt so comfortable sitting with Orihime that he had let himself reveal his secret hobby, which was baking. He flushed a deep red and took a long sip from his glass to avoid eye contact.

"You made this?" Orihime leaned forward, her eyes bright. "This is heavenly! I almost wish you were on the cheerleading squad so you could help with our bake sales." she laughed a little.

“Y…you think so?” Mizuiro asked shyly, still blushing. “I… I wouldn’t mind helping out with the cheerleading squad, if you’d like. I bake all the time anyway, in my free time… might as well put them to good use.” Mizuiro noticed a bit of frosting framing Orihime’s rosy lips, used his finger to brush it off, then licked the frosting off. “Really, Orihime… seeing you enjoy my baking makes me so incredibly happy.”

"I do think so; and not just because I happen to love food." Orihime said, almost not noticing him take the frosting off her mouth. "And I'm sure the girls would be so happy to have help; I made some things last time but I don’t think my taste is the same as most peoples. Anyway, have you thought about doing anything with it? You could probably make a good career as a dessert chef or specialize in things like wedding cakes." she said earnestly.

“Oh no,” Mizuiro laughed sadly, “My parents would never let me do such a thing. They want me to take over the family business… you know, find a pretty wife, have kids…” Mizuiro took another sip out of his glass. “I can understand why my parents have such goals for me, and it’s not like I don’t want a family, because I do—“ Mizuiro stopped abruptly, realizing that he had suddenly taken a serious turn in the conversation, “but I mean, who cares about what I do, right?” Mizuiro laughed once again, in the same tone as before.

"I would. You're a very nice young man and if it's important to you then it must be important to someone else too. You have friends, don't you?" she asked, earnestly serious, cake almost forgotten.

Mizuiro laughed and put his arm behind his head. “Hehe, well, yeah, I suppose… Ichigo and Keigo have always been my best friends, really. But recently, both of them seem so absorbed in their own lives, and I don’t want to disturb them. Normally, I guess I would’ve gone clubbing or just meeting some nice girls from school, but…” Mizuiro sighed and sat back. “It just feels empty.”

The young man looked over at Orihime and twirled a lock of her hair around his finger. “People always think that all I ever want to do is play around with girls, but that’s not true… I honestly want to find someone who I can identify with, someone who I can talk to without worrying about driving them away.” Mizuiro’s gaze was very soft as he smiled warmly at Orihime.

"I think most people want that." she said softly, watching him play with her hair. A lot of people liked her hair, so it wasn't odd that he would touch it.

Mizuiro ran his fingers very gently through the ends of Orihime’s hair. “Have you found someone like that, Orihime?” he asked, hoping she would answer as he hoped.

"Tatsuki and I can talk like that." she smiled. "That's why she's my best friend."

Mizuiro giggled to himself, not quite expecting Orihime’s answer. He leaned over slightly towards Orihime. “You know… I thought about auditioning for Romeo at first. I even memorized his lines.” Mizuiro smiled and demonstrated his acting skills. “Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take. Thus, from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.” Mizuiro kissed Orihime softly, his lips seeking hers gently, almost as driven by an emotional need.

Orihime's eyes widened and she froze momentarily, cheeks reddening. But if her mind was confused, her body responded, lips softly pressing against his. She pulled back, smiled softly - almost sadly - and quoted, "Then have my lips the sins that they have took."

Mizuiro couldn’t quite understand; he felt Orihime’s sadness, felt it to such an extent that his own heart began to ache. More than anything, at this moment he wanted to cure her sadness, to make sure that the only expression she would ever need again was her bright smile. But he didn’t know the source. He didn’t know how to fix it. “Sin from my lips?” He certainly felt unworthy of her. “O trespass sweetly urged! Give me my sin again.” He leaned in for another kiss, hopelessly wishing that somehow, in some way, his kisses could erase her hurt.

Orihime's lips trembled, eyes sadder than before, but she leaned forward and touched her lips gently to his. She closed her eyes, a tear falling down her cheek.

He couldn’t bear it. He pulled back slowly, shaking slightly himself. “I… I’m sorry, Orihime,” he apologized, “I had no place to—“ Mizuiro looked at Orihime’s face, saw her tears, and before he could finish his sentence, he suddenly took her into his arms, hugging her in a manner that was both strong yet gentle. “Orihime, what’s wrong? What have you been hiding under your smile? Why are you crying?” Mizuiro tightened his hold slightly. “Is it my fault? Orihime, I’m so sorry… please, tell me, what’s wrong? I don’t like to see you hurting like this.”

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that." Orihime said. "I'm sorry, Mizuiro-kun. No, it's not your fault. It's mine. I shouldn't have kissed you. I'm terrible."

Mizuiro mentally swore at himself. “It’s not your fault, Orihime—I just couldn’t control myself. I just… couldn’t help it.” Mizuiro bit his lip, realizing that he had gone too far. Why had he kissed Orihime? Surely, she had no reason for liking someone such as himself. Mizuiro took a deep breath, then turned to look at Orihime, smiling sadly. “I’m very, very sorry, Orihime.” He got off his seat, then bowed down in front of Orihime. “I’m truly sorry…”

She knelt down in front of him and took his hand. "Don't be...this was....the most romantic thing anyone's done for me. If... If things were different, I'd be swept off my feet." she stated honestly. "I am, a little. Well, more than a little." she wiped her cheeks. "You're very sweet. I wish..." she sighed. "I've done something, Mizuiro-kun and I can't go back on it. Not in my situation."

Mizuiro looked up at Orihime. He took her hand in his gently, as though she were a fragile flower that he needed to protect from the harsh winds. “At the expense of being a jerk, could you… give me any idea about what happened?” He looked straight into her eyes, his own almost pleading with her for a chance. What could have hurt her so? Whatever could be so important that Orihime felt she couldn’t go back?

Orihime looked away, hesitating. "Please....don't tell anyone..." she murmured, blushing. "But...I...there..." she took a breath. "My parents stopped sending money." she murmured. "And I ran out; working at the cafe isn't enough to support myself and so...I worked a deal. With someone."

Mizuiro’s eyes widened. “What type of deal? Orihime, you… you shouldn’t have to go through something like this!” He reached out for Orihime’s chin and turned her face towards him. “Orihime, listen. I can offer you whatever this person is offering you. And I won’t ask anything in return.” He gestured towards the rest of the house. “Have you seen this house? Large, full of luxuries, but not an ounce of love or caring in it. At least, not until you stepped in.”

The young man beseeched the beauty. “Orihime, my parents haven’t slept in this house for years. They’re always off on their separate paths, making more money than they or I could use in our lifetimes. Let me share it with you. I care about you, Orihime. I’m not like some jerk who’s going to hold your freedom ransom. Please let me help you… please don’t let yourself be trapped any longer.”

She was speechless. Her mouth moved. "He's not a jerk..." she said weakly. "But...I can't just...accept...." She looked at him. Mizuiro's parents had abandoned him in a way, just like hers had. Orihime rubbed her eyes, trying to think.

The girl leaned her head against his shoulder. "Won't your parents ask questions?" she asked huskily.

Mizuiro ran his fingers gently through Orihime’s hair, comforting her in the way that he had never been. “My parents have never bothered to check up on me. They haven’t spoken a word to me in over a year. Even when they’re in the house, it’s… stifling. They come for an hour, I make them tea, then they leave.”

The young man embraced Orihime gently. “Every month, my parents drop off a ridiculously large sum in my bank account. I have over a million dollars just… sitting there. Please, Orihime… let me support you. And in return, just show me that smile, tell me your troubles and concerns… it’s more than I could ever dream of.” Mizuiro kissed Orihime’s forehead gently. “I don’t want you to cry… you don’t deserve to go through this.”

She melted in his embrace, closing her eyes and let him hold her for a minute before her arms went around his waist and she nodded wordlessly. "I'll stay." she murmured just above a whisper. "As long as you'll have me, Mizuiro-kun..."

Mizuiro’s heart was beating faster than he could ever remember. “Of course, silly,” he said, voice quavering. He pulled into his arms and softly held her, keeping her safe from the rest of the world. “You have no idea… how happy you’ve just made me,” he said, smiling widely.

She felt safe - for the first time in a long time. Recently, the world had been so hard and confusing. She laid her head on his chest and smiled softly. "I'm glad then, Mizuiro-kun..." she murmured softly.
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