Chapter 1: First Day
Kagome Higurashi walked through the double sliding doors of Taisho Corps. The tall metallic building towered over all the other buildings, glittering in the sunlight.
She was met by a blast of cool air as she entered the building. Everything was spotless and gleaming with lacquered wood or marble. Three receptionists sat behind a long marble counter, two on the phone and one typing furiously into her computer. Drawing a deep breath, Kagome approached them.
Kagome knew she looked painfully young, even with her hair tied in a bun and her height raised with high heels. The receptionists didn't look up as she appeared before them.
"New company policy – All boy/girlfriends of employees are to wait in the basement parking lot or outside," droned one of the receptionists in a monotone voice after a few minutes of Kagome shifting around awkwardly before her.
"Actually, I'm here for my first day," said Kagome.
The receptionist didn't look impressed. "Oh? Which department interviewed you?" she asked in a you-slept-with-that-department-head voice.
Kagome glanced at her hands uncomfortably. "Well, I was told by my interviewer I would be assigned something when I got here. My name is Kagome Higurashi."
The receptionist sat up straighter, and flipped through a large stack of papers and files. "Miss Higurashi, isn't it? I have a note here saying that you are placed in the customer service department... That's the twenty- fourth floor. Check with the receptionist on that floor." She handed Kagome a brown manila envelope. "Your identity card and security pass. Have a nice day, the elevators are on the right."
As Kagome left, she heard the receptionist whisper snidely to her friend. "Well, well... Customer service... Are you sure she's not into boss service too?"
Kagome flushed slightly, but headed to the elevator anyways.
She pressed the button and stepped inside. A young man in a suit with silver hair met her stare evenly.
"Are you coming inside or not?" he inquired politely, amber eyes locking onto hers.
"Sorry," said Kagome, blushing slightly.
"New here, aren't you? Which floor?" At least his voice was friendly.
"Yeah, first day. Twenty-fourth floor," stated Kagome.
"Oh? You're in my department," he told her with grin. "Floor twenty to thirty covers all aspects of marketing. I'm on the thirtieth floor. We lowly people get the lower levels. At least you start on the twenty-fourth – I started on the ninth. My smart-ass older brother started on the fortieth and currently sits on the executive floor with people triple his age."
The elevator rang, signaling that Kagome was at her floor.
"Thanks for the help, I'm Kagome," she said, extending her hand.
He took it. "I'm Inuyasha, nice to meet you."
Kagome left the elevator. "That wasn't so bad. I've only got to face another snobby receptionist who thinks I've slept with all the managers."
This time, though, a friendly face behind the desk greeted her.
"Hi, are you new here? You're Kagome isn't it? I'm Sango. I've got you down here for a secretarial job." She leaned in for a conspiratorial whisper. "You're Kouga's secretary. Now, he's not that bad but he's a bit, well, spaced out. Ah well. Your desk is to the left of his office. You'll find it easily, it's the only one with 'Kouga' in gold letters on the door."
"Thanks for the tip," smiled Kagome.
"Oh, and can you bring the coffee to our department head? His secretary Kikyo normally does it, but she's on leave and I'm too busy to fill in for her."
"Sure, what does he drink?"
"Black, with sugar, no cream. He likes it in the red mug with the white puppies on it." Sango was already facing her computer screen.
"Right," said Kagome. She found Kouga's office and found him away at a meeting. Sango was right about the desk. Kagome found the pantry right next to her desk. Perfect – not just that she needed to make some big-shot a drink, but she needed one herself. To be on the good side of her immediate superior, she made another cup and left it on Kouga's desk. Sipping hers quickly, she poured the rest of the coffee into the red puppy cup and headed back to the elevator.
"Which floor is the department head on..." muttered Kagome as the elevator doors opened." Right, Inuyasha said the higher the level the further the floor. This coffee belongs to the highest person in the marketing department... should be on the thirtieth floor." Glad she had managed to make such an inference, Kagome pressed the button and the elevator zoomed off.
The receptionist on that floor wasn't a Sango. She was, if it were possible, worse than the ground floor ladies.
"Aren't you supposed to be working somewhere other than this floor?" This woman had perfected the art of snapping in a dull tone.
"Yes, but I've brought coffee for the department head. Who might that be?"
"Leave it here, I'll take it in," she said crisply.
Kagome felt a surge of irritation. "I made it; no one else is getting the credit for what I did."
"Listen honey, here, there's one rule, and it's this: You listen to superiors, you share whatever bonus salaries you get, and when you sleep with the boss you recommend your friend. Now, give me the coffee or I'll have your ass fired before you can say you're sorry."
"Excuse me," gasped Kagome. "You're a receptionist. I'm a secretary. Who's got the higher rank, I'd like to know."
The lady clucked her tongue loudly. "Here, only the floors count. You can be a cheap whore, but as long as you work on the executive floor, you hold more power than a manager."
"Hello, Yura," came a pleasant voice from behind. "Oh, hello, Kagome. You've brought my coffee. Thank you so much." The voice sounded familiar.
"Inuyasha!" exclaimed Kagome. "I didn't know you were the department director."
"Well, now you do. I've got to run for a meeting, but say, catch you later, say, a sandwich for lunch? I like to get to know my workers better," he said, taking the coffee from her and promptly boarding the elevator Kagome just stepped off from.
"Say, Kagome, you know him?" asked Yura in awe, her attitude completely turned around.
"I just met him this morning on my way up," Kagome replied airily.
Yura now sounded respectful. "Wow. You're meeting Inuyasha for lunch... that must be something."
Kagome smiled warily. "He's just the department head."
Yura's eyes widened. "You didn't know? Tell me, Kagome," she demanded, "Do you not know Inuyasha's last name."
"Not really, he introduced himself by his first name only," Kagome said truthfully.
Sounding like an old hand at battle giving a new recruit advice, Yura sighed loudly. "Inuyasha's last name is Taisho. You still don't get it? Inuyasha. Is. This. Company's. Founder's. Son."
Kagome would have dropped the coffee cup had she still been holding it. "I swear to god I didn't know!" she squeaked, and rushed down to the fifteenth floor – her floor – where she felt secure without people way up high the corporate ladder.
"Say, Miroku," said Inuyasha with a wink as he slid into the meeting chair next to his best friend. "I've got a new employee. Not that I like crude jokes, but she's got an even better ass than Sango."
Miroku perked up immediately, a spark appearing in his violet eyes. "Did you ask her out for the customary lunch?" Inuyasha had promised Miroku that whenever a beautiful employee came, he would ask her for a get-to-know-you lunch while bringing Miroku along.
"You damned pervert," chuckled Inuyasha. "This one actually looks like someone I could bear to go on dates with. She looks slightly like Kikyo, but much younger and more innocent."
Inutaisho, founder of the company, sat at the head of the meeting table and rapped on it. "Can we start now, please?"
"I'll fill you in later," mouthed Inuyasha as he sighed and turned to listen to his dad.
"Inuyasha asked you to lunch?" Sango said sharply.
"Yes, why, is something wrong?" Kagome raised.
"Oh my lord. You need to know a lot of things first. God knows he's going to bring along that pervert Miroku..." Sango quickly filled Kagome in on her lunch experience with Inuyasha. "Now, Inuyasha's decent enough, but you have to watch that Miroku. His hand is always up to no good, usually on your rear end..."
All Inuyasha's thoughts were focused off lunch with his new underling. Their competitor's company, Naraku Inc., had tripled Taisho Corp.'s income in the last quarter.
"We have to do something about it," barked Inutaisho from the head of the table. "All you department heads – earn your salary for a change. There are twelve of you. I want twelve proposals to counter this new problem on my desk in seven days. Understood?"
Muttering, not all happy, filled the room.
"Very well. Dismissed." Inutaisho rose with a curt nod and left.
"Holy fuck..." whispered Inuyasha. "Dad's trying to kill us, I swear it. Yesterday he called me to his office and gave me a big dressing down. Marketing was taking the worst hit, he said. And it was my entire fault." He rolled his eyes. "I supposed Sesshoumaru over there, in charge of like, everything, had nothing to do with it? He's technically in charge of marketing too."
"So?" shot back Miroku as they headed out the door. "God, our infrastructure side isn't doing too well either... But at least I'm co-head with Hojo. I can always blame it on the dimwit, he probably got his position by sleeping with Inutaisho's daughter or something."
Inuyasha halted his step. "You fucking imbecile," he cursed. "I don't have a sister."
"You'll be surprised. Probably an illegitimate one. All men are the same."
"Yes, I suppose you're the exception," growled Inuyasha sarcastically.
Kouga had given her folders and folders of tasks, while asking her to correct his briefs. Kagome nearly wept over the amount of grammar and spelling mistakes in them.
A slight cough startled her from her work.
"Wow, you sure work hard," commented Inuyasha. "Ready for lunch?"
"Sure," said Kagome, and grabbed her purse.
Inuyasha led her to the underground car park and ushered her towards a silver Mercedes.
He paused as he saw a figure crossing the car park in their direction.
"Hey, bro," he called. "Where are you going?"
"None of your business," was the cold reply.
"Whatever. Sesshoumaru, this is Kagome, Kagome, this is my older brother Sesshoumaru."
Kagome took in Sesshoumaru. Silver hair and amber eyes were the only resemblance the two had. The elder brother was fair, tall, and had a regal, cool air. The younger was tanned, not as tall but tall enough, and had a friendly feel to him.
"Good day, Miss Kagome," nodded Sesshoumaru, heading for a convertible parked a safe distance away from Inuyasha's car.
"Don't mind him," whispered Inuyasha as they got into the car. "He was dropped on the head as a baby."
Kagome giggled. "Don't be so mean about your brother. He's actually pretty cute."
Inuyasha rolled his eyes as they pulled away from the building. "That's what they all say. Perfect, gorgeous, clever –"
"I think you're pretty ok too," laughed Kagome. Men; all needed some ego- stroking once in awhile.
He smiled at her and drove on. They lapsed into an easy silence.
"I thought you said a sandwich," said Kagome as Inuyasha stopped outside the Grand Hyatt hotel doors and gave the car to the valet.
"Well, there's a rather nice deli here if you like," Inuyasha replied with an innocent air. "Oh, we're meeting another colleague here, he's also another department head. He's –"
"Don't tell me. Miroku," Kagome cut in.
He looked surprised. "How'd you guess?"
Kagome grinned slyly. "I have my ways."
"Well, I should like to learn from you sometime, Kagome. Is regular Japanese food fine with you?"
"Of course," Kagome said.
They found Miroku already there.
Not bad, appraised Kagome. At least Taisho Corps does more than hire smart guys, they hire them hot too. First Inuyasha, then Sesshoumaru, now Miroku...
"Miss Kagome," he smiled, standing as the waiter showed them to their table. "Please, do me the honor..."
"Miroku, she'll sit by me," interrupted Inuyasha.
It took a bit of arguing, but in the end they agreed on the guys sitting together with Kagome sitting opposite them. Miroku ordered the food, making sure there was a generous order of sake to go with it.
He proffered Kagome a cup.
"No thank you," smiled Kagome. "I don't drink."
"Don't or won't?" asked Inuyasha.
"Can't," replied Kagome. "It gets into my head. Green tea will work fine, thank you."
Miroku sighed deeply. She would be one hard girl to get into bed. Not that he minded – Miroku loved a challenge.
Towards the end of the meal, Kagome set down her chopsticks. "Excuse me; I need to go to the ladies'."
The moment she was gone, Miroku downed two cups of sake in quick succession.
"You..." he spluttered, choking on his drink, "are... fucking... lucky..."
"I know," Inuyasha smirked. "Looks, check, manners, check, personality, check. If she gets a check for her brains, she'll be even better than Kikyo."
Miroku grinned lasciviously, remembering Kagome's curves and innocuous beauty. "I know... give her a hypothetical situation, say, if one company's competitor was stealing all its profits. What should the company do? If her answer is good, not only does it prove she's smart, but you can use it in your proposal for dear Inutaisho."
Inuyasha surveyed his friend. It was a good idea, after all.