Note: This takes place Immediately after Wedding Day.
The limousine slowly drove through the iron gates, down the gravel path and up to the white front of Jeremy's manor house. The driver swung open the passenger's door and Jeremy emerged, looking up at his home with a proud smile. He glanced over to his companion, Reiko, as she looked up at the manor in awe, marvelling at the beauty of the place.
"Welcome Reiko," he said with a warm smile. He quickly took up her bag from the back. She nodded to him, her eyes blinking in surprise. "Well, we have a very important matter to discuss."
Hearing his serious tone, Reiko pulled herself away from the sights of the extravagant home. She faced him directly, and nodded slowly.
"Please, follow me inside," he said and strode towards the entrance. He casually handed Reiko's bag to a waiting attendant, and motioned for her to follow him to his office. She trailed behind him in silence, openly gaping at the house as she went.
The office was comfortable, spacious and well furnished. Jeremy offered her a seat, and took his own place behind the broad desk. She watched him all the while as the pair sat.
He took a deep breath and leaned forwards, looking intently at her. "Well, I don't know how to start this but... I will start by telling you my name is different from the one you were used to. I am not a teacher or a student, also."
She blinked twice, her mouth falling open in surprise as she stared up at him.
"But I am the same person. The thing is: I am the owner of Bio Track corporation and needed a contact with Jinsei..." He trailed off, watching for her reaction.
The colour drained from her face, and she covered her mouth with both hands. Her look changed to one as horror as she stared at him, transfixed.
"But my plans changed completely while I was there... I started to think you were an interesting person."
She lowered her hands to her side. Her mouth quivered, as if she was about to speak, then she fell silent again.
"I am offering you an opportunity to have your own life, to keep studying and working if you want, as well as protection from..." He thought back to the circumstances of her marriage, and the father who had arranged it all. "Well, you know."
She bit her lip, her mouth still quivering as she watched him intently.
He pressed on, undaunted. "It is up to you Reiko. I know I am not the good guy I seemed to be but I am trying to balance things now and pay what I owe you for my treason."
She finally looked away from him, her eyes cast down at the floor. She sniffed loudly as her eyes moistened, then wiped away the coming tears with the back of her hand.
Jeremy drew a handkerchief from his coat and gently offered it to him. She recoiled away from him in place, shaking her head furiously. He nodded solemnly, and drew back.
His tone became earnest. "Well Reiko, I like you. I think you are an interesting person. I think you deserve more than this and more that what you had. I am offering you this chance."
Her body shook, and the tears came. Silently, without the slightest sound, she closed her eyes, letting her tears run unhampered down her face as her body shook with every breath.
He just watched her crying and decided that the best now was to let her decide it. "I will let you stay here. When you decide, come and tell me and remember I am the same person, only with a different name." He quickly stood and walkedout of the office.
Unseen, unheard, Reiko buried her face in her hands and wept.
The hours dragged by slowly. Jeremy made use of the time to got through the first information from his bug. He had full access to Retsu's computer, including his personal files, and a number of high-level Jinsei projects. Jeremy smiled as he flicked through Retsu's logs, looking to make sense of the Zone invasion.
But none came. It seemed that even the head of Jinsei Japan was in the dark about the true purposes of the invasion. Putting his wonderment aside, Jeremy cut to the chase and went for the project files. A few items on the list wet his appetite for more, and he dove into them, examining them closely. This could be quite useful, he thought, and a plan began to form.
Soon enough lunchtime came around. Checking with his staff, Reiko had not left the office, nor even the chair she had sat in. If she won't come to me, he thought, I'll go to her.
Not long afterwards, he slowly opened the door to his office. Reiko was there, back to him as he entered. He walked towards the table and gently touched her shoulder. She turned suddenly in place, staring up at him then abruptly looking away.
"You might be hungry," he said quietly. He laid the tray before her, showing her the simple pasta dish and juice that awaited her. She made no reply nor any movement, but simply sat, looking at the floor.
"Please, at least eat the pasta," he said and quietly left.
His office seemingly off limits, Jeremy set himself up in a smaller, spare room. He busined himself with his company, checking the progress of his own projects and bringing himself up to date. After a brief time, he was interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Come in," he called out.
The door opened, and Reiko silently stepped inside. He stoped his work and relaxed on the chair, focusing his attention on her. She gave a deep bow, possibly in respect or gratitude, then straightened up again.
"Please, take a seat." She nodded, and sat opposite him. She seemed to scrunch up in the seat, making her look smaller than usual.
"Enjoyed the meal?" he asked. She nodded quickly.
"Good," he said, smiling. She sat in silence, watching him with saddened eyes.
"Reiko, I've already explained everything to you, haven't I?" Her only response was a nod.
"Do you want to ask anything?" To this, she nodded slowly.
"Please ask," He offered.
She opened her mouth as if to speak, yet no words came out. She seemed to struggle with her voice for a second, then closed her eyes in failure. Her body shook as she started to cry once more.
He slowly approached her to gently clean her tears. "Don't cry..." He said softly. She tried to fight back her tears as her body shook to the bone. Jeremy gently embraced her, slowly.
And finally the tears came. She cried, leaning her head on his shoulder, shuddering with each breath yet not making a sound. He pulled her body closer to him trying to make her feel confortable. She continued to cry in his arms, wrapping her own around him.
At length he drew out his handkerchief and gently cleaned her tears. She pulled away slightly, looking in his eyes.
"Feel better?" He asked softly. When she slowly nodded in response, he just smiled warmly.
She wiped away her tears and stepped back, pulling herself away from him. Again, she bowed deeply.
"Well, I am wondering if you reached a decision?" She let out a long sigh, and nodded slowly. "And?" he asked.
Reiko took a deep breath, and slowly shook her head. "That means you want to leave?" Jeremy asked her. There was a pause as she considered her response, then shook her head.
He took her hands softly in his. "Please Reiko, say," he said, seeming to be anxious for the answer. Again she opened her mouth to speak, but the words wouldn't emerge.
He kept cool and just studied her expression, trying to figure what she was trying to say. She seemed to be torn between her options. While she was reluctant to stay with Jeremy, he caught a hint of firm resovle when he mentioned leaving. Knowing her thoughts on the matter, she would almost certainly not want to go back to Japan.
"Reiko, listen, you don't need to give the answer now. You have all the time you want." She nodded quietly.
"Let me show you your room now." He opened the door, and lead the way out. She nodded her thanks, and fell into step behind him.
"Please, don't walk behind me." He waited untill she was on his side. She cringed in embarassment, and took her place by his side.
He walked towards the guest room, a large, well decorated suite dominated by a huge bed. Her bag was already there, placed at the foot of the bed. She gaped openly at the place then, finding her manners, turned and bowed in gratitude once more.
"Well, if you need anything, just ask." He turned around and slowly departed. She only watched him silently.
The day rolled by quietly, and came again to morning. Jeremy made sure to have Reiko invited to breakfast with him, in his expansive dining hall. He was already seated and tucking in before she arrived, dressed head to toe in a formal black dress, simpler than the one she had worn on her wedding day.
He glanced up at her entrance, and watched her slowly approach his table. "You look very nice in that dress," he said warmly and smiled.
She blushed, cringing in embarassment before a slight smile came across her face.
"Hope you enjoy the kind of breakfast we eat here. It is very light meal." She nodded, and stood behind her chair, waiting.
"Um, why don't you take a seat? Feel at home." She nodded and took her seat opposite him. She took the chance to look around the room, taking in the decorations.
"What do you think?" He asked casually. She turned back to him, smiling warmly, but said nothing. "Please, tell me your honest opinion."
Her smile faded, and she looked down at the table. "Reiko?" Jeremy asked, his smile fading. When she glanced up at him again, he asked "What you think of the decorations?"
Again she opened her mouth to speak, but simply bit her lip and was silent.
Seeminly ignoring her odd response, he just resumed eating. Reiko slowly started her breakfast, keeping her eyes down on the table.
Again Jeremy looked up at his guest. "How was your night?" He asked casually.
This time she merely looked at him, sadness filling her eyes. "Please," he responded, "Try to smile instead of crying."
She nodded her head, and forced a smile across her face. "Much better" he smiled brightly trying to make her smile even more. Reiko only nodded, and returned to her breakfast.
Jeremy slowly shook his head and returned to his paper. Try as he might, he couldn't figure out what was happening. She wouldn't leave, but didn't want to stay; she was silent, yet wanted to speak; and she seemed both happy to see him and afraid of his touch. Maybe time would tell, he thought.
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