Rating: This chapter is rated T, for swearing mostly.
Story So Far: Hiruma Youichi hadn't been openly married to his wife, that was something Anezaki has come to learn as she re-encounters Hiruma Youichi through his daughter, Emiko.
Warnings: Mentions of shitty father-son relationships and shitty mother-daughter relationships.
Notes: Be My Escape is by Relient K, I do not own it.
Links: To the youtube playlist
To the links post
Songs for Daddy
Yuuya was sitting with Saburo Teru, his old friend and business partner. Teru was bald, wrinkled and looked frail with dull brown eyes. It turned out that Teru had gotten cancer, not too surprising at his age, and had just recently begun his chemo therapy. The result was that the once fit and athletic man was transformed into this ragged shadow of his old self.
“You look terrible.” Yuuya told the man sympathetically.
“They tell me if all goes well, I’ll be back up and at it within four years.” Teru gave his friend a small smile.
“I hope that comes to pass.” Yuuya was sincere.
“Me too, but the reason I called you here was to discuss what happens if all does not go well.” Teru was deadly serious. “Four years is more than enough time for something to go wrong.”
“...What’s your plan?” Yuuya asked, getting serious himself.
“As it stands, my daughter will be inheriting my business,” Teru explained, “but you and both know how sickly she is.”
“Yes.” Yuuya nodded. Chizue had to have a heart transplant as a young child and as a result spent her days living on immune-system repressive medication to keep herself alive. This of course meant that she got sick easily. Chizue’s lack of good health was a concern for her parents especially because she was their only child.
“She’s 26 now and unmarried,” Teru went on, “I want to her to marry soon so that there can be someone can take care of the business should the worst happen.”
“I understand, but what does this marriage have to do with me?” Yuuya couldn’t help but to wonder.
“Your son, Youichi is 27 now right?” Teru waited for Yuuya’s hesitant nod, “he struck me as a responsible boy. I think it would be a good match.”
“…I see.” Yuuya rubbed his temples slowly, a headache already starting. Youichi was difficult to deal with at the best of times for Yuuya, telling his son to enter an arranged marriage wasn’t going to work.
“Are you alright?” Teru asked, concerned.
“Youichi and I have had a few… misunderstandings in the past. I think it would be best if I talked to him about this proposal of yours before either of us commit to anything.” Yuuya phrased his sentences carefully.
“I understand. I already spoke with Chizue about it and she said she wants to meet your son before she commits to anything.” Teru admitted.
“I’ll call you after I’ve spoken to my son about this.” Yuuya told his friend. “Hopefully Youichi will be open to the idea.”
-Two days later, at a restaurant-
Youichi sat in the truck with his friends Takekura and Kurita. Takekura’s hair looked pretty interesting as he was in the process of growing out the rest of his hair to have its length match that of his Mohawk. Kurita was a big, fat man, with a warm welcoming face. Kurita had round features and his hair was slicked up into a point (this made his head look kind of like a chestnut).
The truck the three old friends were sitting in was parked outside a restaurant that Youichi had been told to meet his father at. Because of the tension in the relationship between Youichi and his father, Kurita and Takekura had insisted on coming along as moral support. Youichi hadn’t been fond of the idea in the first place, but then Takekura offered him a ride in his truck. Youichi was unable to say no to a ride to a remote part of town that was pretty far off the bus line.
Youichi glanced in the side mirror on the car and saw his father walking up the street. Youichi’s frown deepened. Takekura noticed the man in the mirror and the expression on Youichi’s face; it wasn’t hard to put the facts together.
“He’s here?” Takekura asked, breaking the silence. Youichi grunted.
“Do you want us to wait for you?” Kurita asked, knowing that exactly what the grunt meant.
“…I’ll call you if I need your help, fatty.” Youichi told his friend as he unbuckled his seatbelt slowly.
“We’ll stay in the neighborhood.” Takekura assured Youichi as he got out of the car. Youichi nodded once and shut the door. Takekura started the engine and drove the truck two blocks away to a near by park and parked it there.
Youichi watched his friends drive away for a little bit, then took a deep breath and walked into the restaurant. After sweeping his eyes over the interior of the restaurant, Youichi decided it wasn’t a fancy place. The seating consisted of a sushi bar and a few booths that looked used but not abused. A waitress in a blue uniform walked up and greeted him.
“Just you, sir?” The waitress asked him simply.
“…I’m meeting with someone.” Youichi remarked after a moment. “We’ll sit at the bar.
“Then take any seat you like.” The waitress pointed Youichi to the bar with a flourished gesture. Youichi nodded to her and took a seat on the end and waited for his father. The man came in two minutes later and sat down next to his son.
“You wanted to talk to me.” Youichi remarked neutrally not looking up from his menu.
“I did,” Yuuya admitted, “and I would really appreciate it if you would hear me out.”
Youichi looked up from his menu and raised a dubious eyebrow at his father.
“I’m sure that you recall my business partner, Saburo Teru,” Yuuya began and waited for Youichi’s robotic nod before he continued, “his health has been failing as of late.”
“Cancer.” Youichi remarked, having heard that bit of news elsewhere already.
“Yes, cancer.” Yuuya agreed, deciding not to ask his son where he had learned that. “His daughter doesn’t have that great a bill of health either.”
“Heart transplant.” Youichi nodded once.
“Saburo-san wants to marry her to you.” Yuuya held up a hand to stop the protest he knew was coming. “His daughter isn’t entirely open to the idea and would like to meet you first.”
“I’m not getting married because you told me so.” Youichi glared at his father.
“…I have a proposal for you.” Yuuya confessed after a long moment.
“Talk.” Youichi ordered.
“If you marry her, I’ll stop being in your life on one condition.” Yuuya held up one finger to make his point clear. “If I have any grandchildren, I would like to know and see them at least once.”
“That’s it? I marry this girl and you never say another word to me?” Youichi blinked having not expected that.
“…You don’t have to commit to anything right now, I’m sure you’d like to meet the girl first.” Yuuya pointed out. “When is a good time for you?”
Youichi didn’t answer right away. He picked up a napkin and wrote some days and times on it and handed it to his father.
“Call me.” Youichi told Yuuya and left. Feeling unsure and slightly unclean, Youichi decided to walk through the near by park to cool his head and decide to do. Takekura and Kurita came up behind him and stepped in stride with him silently. Youichi was quietly grateful for their support, presence, and silence. After a few more minutes Youichi turned and made eye-contact with both of his friends. They nodded and led the way to the truck.
The drive home was in silence that was neither awkward nor forced.
-Later, outside the Saburo residence-
Youichi looked at the building feeling a little dirty. If he walked across that threshold, it would be admitting that he was low enough a creature to marry for the sake of convenience. At the same time a large part of him wanted to finally cut the lingering strings that tied his fate to his father.
With a grimace, Youichi stepped across the threshold, his choice made. Entering the house he found himself going through the polite greeting gestures and motions until he was sat down at a table next to his father.
Across from him was an empty seat that was to be occupied by this Saburo Chizue, a woman whom he had never met nor had much information on. Saburo Teru and Saburo Haruka sat on either side of the empty chair, waiting for their daughter.
Youichi swallowed hard when he felt the emptiness on his left. His mother would have wanted to be here, that Youichi knew. It seemed unfair to be arranging a marriage without her.
“Hiruma-san, where is your wife?” Haruka asked innocently.
“She passed away several years ago.” Yuuya answered simply, his tone flat. Youichi simply nodded in agreement once.
“I’m sorry.” Haruka bowed a little in her apology. Yuuya and Youichi choose not to comment.
Chizue entered the room, breaking the awkward silence that had fallen over the four of them. She walked in and carefully sat down, looking at Yuuya and Youichi somewhat nervously.
‘She’s hiding something.’ Youichi observed dully.
“I’m glad you finally joined us, Chizue-chan.” Teru remarked with a chuckle. “Aren’t you going to greet them?”
“…H-hello.” Chizue bowed a little, her timidness reminding Hiruma of one of his high school friends, Kobayakawa Sena. The thought of that almost destroyed Youichi’s calm mask, because it was unbelievable that there was someone as timid as Kobayakawa.
“Nice to meet you Saburo-chan.” Youichi bowed his head a little in greeting. Carefully Youichi looked the woman across from him up and down. She seemed to be fairly strong, not something he had expected. She carried herself like she didn’t have even a third of the strength her muscles told him she had.
“Nice to meet you too, Hiruma-kun.” Chizue bowed her head, looking a little flustered. Maybe the nervousness from earlier was just nerves. The group fell right back into silence.
“Hiruma-kun, what is it you currently do for a living?” Teru asked, trying to start up a conversation.
“I’m a finical advisor for Takekura Construction Company.” Youichi answered simply.
“How’d you get that job?” Haruka asked, mildly surprised. Takekura Construction Company was well known as the current leader in environmentally friendly and economic buildings in all of Japan. It was a very profitable business and had an extremely popular company football team.
“Takekura-sama and I went to school together,” Youichi admitted, “we’ve been friends for a long time. When we got out of school, he took over his father’s business and asked me to work for him.”
“So are you the one to blame for their success?” Teru asked with a small, approving grin.
“The success of the company was a victory won with team effort, not the work of a handful of individuals.” Youichi answered simply. “Everyone is important and plays their part.”
“T-that’s kind of cool.” Chizue remarked, sounding awkward.
“What is it you do?” Youichi asked Chizue, feigning both interest and curiosity.
“Just a secretary.” Chizue answered, looking down, not being able to meet Youichi’s eyes.
“I see.” Youichi nodded and made no move to continue that conversation.
“What do you think?” Haruka blurted out, startling everyone present.
“…I think I would like to talk to your daughter,” Youichi paused and met Haruka’s eyes, “in private if that is okay.”
“Ah! Yes!” The parents left en mass, leaving Youichi and Chizue in silence.
“…I have a confession.” Chizue muttered in a small voice.
“Hm?” Youichi was mildly surprised.
“If I married you, it would be for selfish reasons.” Chizue explained nervously.
“Same here.” Youichi told her, stunning her. “What benefit do you get from this marriage?”
“…My mother off my back.” Chizue answered simply. “Yourself?”
“That bastard out of my life.” Youichi answered just as simply.
“…Now what?” Chizue muttered, sounding a little uncertain.
“We could get married, live in the same house and live separate lives without drawing any attention to the marriage. Get divorced if one of us actually finds a real life partner. And reap the benefits of being married.” Youichi remarked casually. “Or we could call it off and continue as we have before.”
“…And that is okay with you?” Chizue met Youichi’s eyes with a remarkably piercing gaze.
“As long as we continue to have this understanding, I don’t see any problems.” Youichi remarked truthfully.
“So we’re just using one another because it’s most convenient for the two of us at this time?” Chizue phrased her question slowly, wanting to be sure she really did understand what was happening.
“Yeah.” Youichi nodded once.
“I think I can be okay with that.” Chizue admitted.
“There’s a catch.” Youichi warned her.
“There always is a catch, what is it?” Chizue rolled her eyes slightly.
“No kids.” Youichi was deadly serious.