Hi All!

I will like to thanks everyone who has been patient during this long update. I know… I haven't updated for a long time.

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"The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along." By Maulana Jalalu'ddin Rumi

Chapter 19

You Already Did

The morning sunshine was dazzling outside and was warming up the large study room. The sound of the calming water from the small pond in the garden can be heard through the room in the quiet afternoon. Rukia and Byakuya were sitting in his study room enjoying a quiet afternoon alone together. There were no crazy elders running around telling them what to do for their wedding. Also, most maids were off duty today. Therefore, they almost have the entire mansion to themselves. Alone. Together.

Sometimes life most memorable moments truly are the once that are the simplest. Especially for the two that could have anything in the world. With the wealth and influential power of the Kuchiki family, they really could buy almost everything. The simplest moment spend together are the once that could never be brought with money.

Byakuya sat behind his hardwood desk perfecting his calligraphy writing, while Rukia lay flat on her stomach on the hardwood floor beside the desk reading the monthly issue of her favorite manga.

Writing was one of his favorite hobbies because no matter how good he was at it, it can never be perfect and there was always room for improvement.

Byakuya glazed at the distance and thought of how frozen this large mansion felt before Rukia entered the family. Even during the warmest months with the sun burning on the roof, this home felt so distance and cold each time he stepped through the large wooden gate. Everyone within the family was cold towards him after his grandfather's passed away because he was no longer just a simple noble child from the main branch family; instead he became the head of the noble clan with endless responsibly and heavy burdens. Even when all those relatives might have a smile on their face, it was mostly fake smiles pretending to be friendly.

Now this place felt like home because of her. With Rukia, there was always something going on in the house. Everything seems more lively and fun. However, it was not always like this, when Rukia first moved in, he thought that it does not matter for an extra person in the house. Since she would just an extra mouth to feed. However, the moment he saw her smiling like a child when she tasted her first spoon of dessert at the mansion, he knew nothing would be the same. Her smiles had brightened everything around him, and cause the frozen walls around his heart to melt. No matter how hard he tried to hide behind those walls, it just did not work. His emotions and his body just kept responding to her. He was completely hopelessly falling in love with her.

"Is something on your mind?" she asked when she noticed his puzzled features.

"There is always something on my mind," he stated and moved the paper weight to the side of the paper.

"Want to share with me what you are thinking? I find it helpful to share your mind with someone," Rukia suggested.

"You just have to keep smiling," he said candidly.

"I always smiles anyway." A wide smile grew on her face. She knew that she was the type that always smiles like an idiot all the time.

"Then you are already helping me," he stated.

"But I want to share your burden with you," she said and closed her manga.

"You already have," he said as he knew how much of the burden she has carried since she entered into his family, and the burden would only be heavier when she became Lady Kuchi, his wife. This fact gave him much guilt because all he wanted was for her to smile. He could not imagine being with anyone else but her in the future.

"I want to be helpful to you," she said firmly.

"Trust me you have already helped me," Byakuya stated clearly. "Rukia, are you hungry?" He asked as he opened a new piece of Hanshi paper to continue practicing his writing. Byakuya had the full intention to change the current topic at hand.

"Not yet," she smiled and rolled on her back for a second for a change in position. Her stomach was falling asleep. "Are you hungry?"

She secretly sneaked a long peek at him and was struck by how good looking he was in his casual clothes. His long silky black hairs are draped around his shoulder. A part of his collar bone was showing with the loose neckline of his dark purple kimono. He looked so serious when he writes, which made her want to distract him even more. She wanted to make him smile.

"No" he answered indifferently without even looking back at her.

When Rukia was not looking at his direction, from the corner of his gorgeous grey eyes, he could secretly watch how she gently kicked her feet in the air while she reads. How she could sometimes licks the tips of her finger to help her turn a stubborn page. Once in a while Byakuya would hear a giggle or a sigh escaped from her sweet lips. Each time she laughed, he would wonder what made her chuckle, and when she sighs, he would wonder what made her sad. However, he was too proud to ask her the reason for her emotions. Instead he only secretly watched her like he always has.

"I am sorry that you have to be stuck with me on this beautiful afternoon," he said as he combed his long black hair with his free hand.

"No, I wanted to be by your side. To know you better," she stated candidly as her violet eyes looked directly into his gorgeous grey eyes.

"You already know everything about me," he said and his eyes traveling helplessly to her delicious red lip. He blinked a few times before turning his face away from her. She already knows what he does for a living, what his hobbies are, and what his favorite food. What else does she want to know?

"But I believe there are many things I yet find out." She said with one of her silly smiles.

"Then what do you want to find out about me?" he asked in his emotionless tone. As usual his voice was deep and sexy.

"Not sure yet, but I have a feeling I will find out on its own because we are technically stuck to each other," she waved her wrist in the air showing the sparkling crystal bangle. "I am sorry" she added as she bit off part of strawberry favor Pocky stick.

"Why are you apologizing?" he questioned and put his pen on the side of the table.

"Because I have put us into this situation," Rukia whispered her reason softly as she inhaled deep breath thinking that if she never agreed to Elder's marriage arrangement, they would have never been able to force Byakuya into this situation.

"No one can force me to do anything I do not want," he declared truthfully. Although, it took him a long time to admit that. He could not help but to fall in love with her.

He once thought of living alone by himself for the rest of his life. He thought he could have a happy ending alone. However, now he understood that he could no longer do that because a happy ending would not exist without her sharing a part of his life.

"The Elders did force you to marry me," she exclaimed as she lifted her head to look at him and back to the sparkling bangle around her slender wrist.

"No they did not," he said firmly. He knew that the Elders were only able to set up this marriage only because in the bottom of his heart, he had always wanted to be with her. It was her that melted away the doubts in his heart.

Did that meant he wanted to marry her on his own? Rukia thought for a hard minute and concluded maybe she was reading too much into his last statement. Of course the Elders forced him, else why would he choose to marry such a plain girl like herself instead of a beauty fitting of his status. Byakuya must have lied to protect her emotions.

"Do you want to try practicing writing?" he asked to break the silence in the room.

"No! I can never write as good as you," without even thinking, she refused the offer because she still remembered the writing lessons which was forced upon her when she joined the noble family. Each lesson felt like a never ending test on her tolerance. She could barely stand it. She hated it. "Even if I practice non-stop for next decade, I will never be as good as you."

"huh," he looked at her and wondered why she always belittle herself. To his knowledge, Rukia was skilled in everything she learned because all her teacher all praised her for her hard work and dedication. They always say she was their best student. She was far more of an obedient student than him.

"Then again, you are perfect and good at everything. I am always envy of your talent and skills." She revealed.

"But I am jealous of you," Byakuya stated.

"Jealous of me?" she questioned his statement because someone of his status should not be jealous of a girl like herself. Though to many women would be jealous of her, she was like a princess story from fairy tale because she turned to noble overnight and now going to marry one of the hottest guy in soul society.

"It is nice to be able to work hard for something," he explained.

"You never had to work hard to accomplish anything?" she asked in surprised. She knew he was a genius and is good at everything but she did not know it came naturally.

"Nothing seems difficult to me, and I never need to work hard for anything," he stated as their eyes met.

"That must be nice," she commented.

"Depends how you see it," he said.

"Are you jealious of me for anything else?" she asked curiously as her head tilted a little.

"The way you can fight against the destiny and act upon all your feelings," he stated. "It is something I can never do."

"You already did. Else I will not be standing here with you right now," she stated honestly. She knew that if he did not act upon his feelings, she would never have become a Kuchiki.

Instead of saying anything, Byakuya returned her with a slight smile. As always, her words always make him smile. Though, he had to admit, there were times when her words hurts more than a sharp dagger. Like the time when she begged him to let her save her best friends. She even told him that she would do it even if it would cost her life. She might as well take a knife and stabbed in his chest because if she died, a part of his heart would die with her anyway.

"Do you want to try reading my manga?" she asked.

"When did you start reading manga?" he asked.

"Just recently. Ichigo got me addicted while was studying in living world," Rukia explained. Usually she hated when people answer a question with another question, because that was just a way people use to not answer the question. However, some reason, no matter what Byakuya does, it does not annoy her.

Again, it is the boy which kept rushing to her side when she was in trouble. Or in a lot of the cases, she went rushing to his side to help him to protect their friends.

"Let's go out for a walk," Byakuya suggested in a deep husky tone.

He walked slowly toward her. Each step he took towards her, it made her heart skip a beat and melted.

"Where are we going?" Rukia asked as she reached to his hand to get up.

"Surprise," he simply stated as he lightly pulled her up from the sitting position.

"You are so gentle," she commented. What was he doing to her? Her heart was beating faster with each second.

"Gentle isn't a good word to describe men," he said as he tender stares burned at her.

"Soft?" she asked. She noted how his beautiful grey eyes narrowed to that word, which she found completely amusing how such simple words can cause such emotions from him.

"That is worst," he answered as he glazed her from the comer of his grey eyes.

"Then what word should I use?" she asked innocently.

"Strong," he said emotionlessly while taking a big breath of air to fill his chest.

"How about hard," she said as she noticed how hard his muscle with her touch. She was sure she will forever remember the time she spends with him today.

"That will work," he stated as they walk side by side out the study room.




To Be Continued…

Japanese words used:

Hanshi: thin calligraphy paper