Chapter 12

“No.”

Oshiro raised his eyebrows questioningly.

“Stay away from my family.” I demanded, “Let’s settle everything between us here and now, without involving unnecessary people.”

“Things don’t work that easily here,” Toro sighed, “Oyabun has made a decision and that is final.”

“The only family I have is my mother, what do you intend to do?” I asked.

“You’re thinking I’ll hurt her, don’t you?” Oshiro laughed, amused.

I remained silent as I glared back at him. If only you dare…

 Toro laughed along with Oshiro, until Oshiro stopped and gave him a ‘that’s-enough’ look.

“Rest assured, unless you push us to… we won’t do anything rash.” He said, confusing me.

“Unless I push you to? What is that supposed to mean?” I frowned, looking at both at Oshiro and Toro.

I heard Akira scoff behind me in a scornful way. He had backed away from most of the conversation and was leaning against the wall behind us, looking bored.  Although he wasn’t saying much, his presence alone was starting to irritate me.

Ayano was still waiting somewhere in this building, all because of this moron.

I reminded myself to talk some sense into Ayano after this too… her naïve nature was a danger in itself.

“Would you consider joining us if we convinced your mother?” Oshiro continued.

“Like I said, stay away from my mother.” I sneered. These people were frustrating. Not only were they keeping Ayano hostage, but now they wanted to go after mom too.

“Akira…” Oshiro suddenly leaned back in his chair and called to him.

“Dad,” Akira pushed himself off the wall and took a few steps forwards until he was standing right next to me.

“Bring him to that girl,” Oshiro ordered, “It seems his mother is enough to accomplish this. We will talk to her tomorrow so we have no need for the girl…as of yet.”

“But dad, as long as we have this girl he will follow our orders like a dog!” Akira retorted.

I sneered under my breath, trying not to let my temper reach its boiling point.

Oshiro remained silent as he picked up his pen from the desk again and started tapping it against the wood impatiently.

“Akira,” Toro cleared his throat.

I noticed the atmosphere had changed a little and Akira took a step back. I looked at him curiously.

“Yes dad.” Akira gave in humbly before bowing slightly and leaving the room.

I wasn’t sure whether I was dismissed yet too, but my feet instinctively followed him anyway.

“That girl…” Oshiro suddenly spoke up right before I stepped out of the door. I stopped and turned around, waiting for him to finish his sentence.

“What is that girl to you?” He asked inquisitively.

“That doesn’t concern you.” I answered him with a hard look and left.

For a moment, as I silently followed Akira, I was surprised that I had been able to leave that room without getting shot in the head. I knew the way I was talking to him was dangerously rude, but having fear of someone I had no respect for was unlike me. Akira’s reaction on the other hand surprised me. He seemed like he would never be submissive to anyone… but in front of Oshiro he was as obedient as one could be.

I looked forwards and stared at Akira’s back. He wasn’t talking as he walked and I wondered if he was in a foul mood because of what had happened earlier.

“Why are you so keen on using Ayano? Weren’t you two friends?” I asked. I disliked him enough to want to talk with my fists, but to get any answers out of him I had no choice but to remain calm.

He stopped walking. I stopped too.

“Friends?” He asked with a hint of ridicule in his voice. He sounded amused.

I observed him from the back as he tightened his hand into a fist.

“You’re partly right.” He answered, “Our families were friends for generations. But that doesn’t mean I wanted any part in it…”

I narrowed my eyes, “But your past with Ayano…”

“…Revenge,” He said quietly, I wasn’t sure if he meant for me to hear it.

I frowned, unable to grasp what he just said. Revenge?

I followed him as he continued to walk. Ayano… I couldn’t imagine that she even had the ability to cause harm to anyone but herself. “What exactly do you mean by that?”

“Nothing,” He said defensively, suddenly trying to forfeit from the conversation. It seemed like he let personal information slip out without intending to.

“Wait up; I thought you were trying to use her to get ME. It’s actually the other way around?!” I paced up, starting to get angry. It was only a matter of time until I reached the limit of holding back my fists.

Suddenly he slammed a door open before us and barged into a room where a bunch of rough looking men were playing cards around a table. They were probably gambling.

I walked into the room too and found Ayano sitting in the opposite corner of the room. She looked frightened as she slowly got up from her seat. Her eyes lit with relief.

“Ayano…” I said and stepped forwards, only to be blocked by Akira’s arm.

I glared at him, “What are you doing?”

“Shouldn’t we let the lady decide who she wants to go with herself?” He smirked knowingly.

“Look I don’t know what your problem is with Ayano, but you better forget about it. To hurt her, you’re going to have to get past me first… and that’s not happening in your lifetime.” I hissed, pushing his arm out of my way before heading towards Ayano.

Akira looked at me scornfully, “We’ll see.”

“You really came…” She blinked at me, “How did you find this place?”

“Forget that, be happy that I did. Let’s leave.” I said before holding onto her wrist and leading her towards the exit.

“Wait, Akira…” She turned around as I pulled her away, her eyes searching for him. But he was gone.

“O-ow…” Ayano winced.

“What?” I snapped.

“I think you’re going to break it.” She said.

“Break what?”

“My wrist…”

I had unknowingly tightened my grip around her wrist in irritation. I loosed the grip but didn’t let go of her until we got out of the building.

She rubbed at it as soon as I let go of her, but remained silent whilst glancing at me from the corner of her eyes now and then. It seemed like she knew that I was angry and judging from her silence she was probably feeling guilty too. At least she knew she did something wrong.

“I’m sorry…” She finally mumbled quietly after I placed my helmet into her hands.

“Get on,” I said as I climbed onto the bike and started the engine.

She put the helmet onto her head and talked a little louder so that I could hear her through it.

“I’M SORRY!” She said, climbing onto the bike behind me, “I won’t do that again…”

“If you do, don’t expect me to come and find you. I’ll leave you to die.” I said before driving off at full speed.

“Okay—AAAAHHH!!!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ayano nearly fell of the bike when she tried to climb off it in front of her apartment.

Dizzily, she pulled the helmet off her head and handed it back to me.

“T-thank you, for coming to find me today.” She slurred like she was drunk.

I laughed inwardly at her bird nest hair and nodded.

“See you tomorrow!” She said before turning to leave.

I grabbed hold of her arm and pulled her back, making her gasp in fright. She stared at me with wide eyes, questioningly.

“You’ve seen what Akira is really like for yourself now. Only he is capable of leaving his female childhood friend behind at a place like that…” I warned. “Don’t trust him anymore.”

Ayano looked at the ground uncertainly, “He changed…”

“Glad to know you’ve realised. So stay away from him.” I stated, about to start the engine again until she said something.

“I can’t.”

“What?” I asked, wondering if I heard her right.

“I can’t…stay away from him.” She bit her lip, “No matter what he’s still Akira. He helped me a lot with all the problems I’ve had as a kid. Only he can understand the things I went through with my family…He might have changed a little, but he could never become a bad person.”

I remained speechless. Her faith for him was so pure and strong, yet it was making me angry. It was being wasted on a guy who was only intent on hurting her.

“He’ll acknowledge me if I make it into Taigou University,” Ayano looked at me hesitantly, “So please… continue to help me.”

She wanted to be with the guy who possibly intends to kill her…and she’s asking me to help with it. I laughed to myself, knowing that protecting her was going to be harder than I thought.

I didn’t want the truth to cut her too harshly, but it seemed like there was no other option. Not if the lamb wanted to skip right into the lion’s cave.

“Up to you then,” I started the engine. If she wanted to learn the hard way, I wasn’t going to stop her. “See you tomorrow, same time.”

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