Chapter 6

Sherry still had very little idea how to go back home when she entered the hall of the hotel. She had come on Gin's car, but he must have left as soon as, according to her plan, the police released all suspects. She couldn't really blame him – why on earth would he want to be surrounded by police officers while carrying a one-million-yen bribe and one hundred grams of drugs? Especially not in order to wait for someone he had just had an argument with.

She had nearly reached the front door, having come to terms with the idea of taking a taxi, when a gloved hand clutched her wrist.

She turned, only to find Gin right behind her.

For a while the two stood perfecty still on the tiled floor, staring at each other. People walked past them in a slow but constant stream, occasionally throwing a curious glance or two before they looked away in what Sherry identified as either shame or plain disinterest.

It was Gin who eventually broke the silence, 'You've solved it.'

Sherry kept quiet.

'I just saw Kaori, the long-haired woman, being escorted away by the police, handcuffed,' he explained. 'It's taken you a bit longer to appear.'

'They took the elevator and I took the stairs,' Sherry spoke. 'You've waited for me.'

Gin nodded and let go of her wrist.

'I'm sorry for what I said earlier. I… blew a fuse. I was scared.'

'It's okay.'

'But you were right,' he added. 'I had given up. I didn't want to admit it, but I had truly given up.'

'I was a bit cruel, too,' she acknowledged.

'I needed it, actually – to have the truth slap me on the face, in order to wake up and… well, face it. You know that, sometimes, that's the only thing that'll work with me.'

Sherry gazed down. Gin's hand dangled at mere inches from hers.

'The only reason I refused to give up today is you,' she confessed. 'I had to protect you no matter what. Even when I felt hopeless and wanted to give up, I kept on fighting, every minute, every second – only to protect you. I… I didn't want anything bad to happen to you.'

Gin took a step closer to Sherry – so different from the one he had taken back at the room. She looked up.

A pale blush covered Gin's cheeks as he muttered, 'I love you, too, Shiho.'

Sherry's heart seemed to skip a beat.

'Shall we go?' he suggested with a kind smile.

Sherry nodded her head and swung a timid hand towards Gin. He held it and widened his grin.

Hand in hand, the two calmly made their way out of the hotel. As they crossed the threshold of the magnificent front door, Sherry moved a few inches closer to Gin. She savoured the warmth of his hand against hers, the subtle pulse on his thumb, the quiet sound of his breath.

She smiled.


A/N:

The core idea for this fic first came to me in May 2015. More specifically, at the early stages of working on Hokkaido views. For a short while I considered having Sherry be sent to the hotel in the fic as a trophy wife that would help strengthen Gin's cover. Although I soon came up with a plot I liked better, the idea of Sherry being sent as a trophy wife started to develop in my mind, with an exciting addition: to have no other than Sherry save the day.

I'm not too good with dates, so the only ones I can mention are those I wrote down, but it was at some point during last summer that I started to really work on this fic. However, it wasn't until early November that I came up with a solid plot (the one I finally used). By then, I had already looked up and planned how to posion the victim in the murder mystery, although I didn't give her and her friends names until late November. Up to then, I referred to them within the fic using nicknames between square brackets (as I mentioned on Tumblr): 'sturdyman' for Tora, 'youngman' for Jun, 'victim' for Aki and 'murderer' for Kaori. In the end, their names are meaningful as well: 'Tora' means 'tiger,' referring to his physical strength and build; 'Jun' means 'purity;' 'Aki' means 'autumn,' a reference to death, and 'Kaori' means 'scent,' because she uses poison.

But did Aki die? To be honest, I don't know, just as I don't know why Kaori tried to kill her. I planned and decided on everything in the fic except for those specific details. The reason is that the fic is narrated from Sherry's perspective and, as she declares in chapter five, she doesn't really care about the murder itself, only about its consequences – namely, threatening Gin's safety. Gin is what Sherry cares the most, what keeps her going. It is only for his sake that she solves the crime.

There are some things I know of the background of the murder mystery, though. Tora and Jun are like brothers to her, just as she is like a sister to them. I even considered making Tora her actual, literal brother! Also, as suggested in the fic, Aki has had a history with substance abuse. She can come across as rude sometimes, but she's ultimately good-hearted and very loyal to her few true friends, which are roughly the ones in the fic (including the woman whose wedding she is attending). Many people turned their back to her as a result of her substance abuse.

Thank you everyone for reading. I hope you've liked the fic!