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Royal Scandal

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Being in the center of attention, finally being in the center of attention, is wonderful.

Every father's guest politely nods to him or, even more, bows, and Kencho proudly smiles, feeling so grown-up, so important. He never felt that way before. He doesn't let himself relax for a mere second – this is, after all, his very first Christmas as a Saikou heir, handsome and shining, not Megami's little silly brother, second best, as this went all the other years.

He is the true star of this evening tonight.

Kencho doesn't let himself relax, but his thoughts keep trying to escape and leave reality.

He can't see her in the crowd. Truth to be told, he is not entirely sure, if she will show up at all, even though he repeats and repeats to himself that only a fool would ignore an invitation to such a grand party from Kencho Saikou himself. Ayano Aishi is no fool, he learnt that very well. So he keeps watching, when there is no need to talk to another guest. Watching for the beautiful red dress he sent her himself, and trying, how naive, to hear her elegant steps in all this noise of irrelevant people's voices. Ayano doesn't walk, she floats, and somewhat reminds him of a purebred cat. His mother has a lot of these.

Kencho hates cats. He kicked them a lot as a child, trying to get rid of anger, irritation and jealousy, but if he had one like Ayano, he would only gently pet it and bring it the best pieces of most rare fish.

He finally sees the dress and, politely apologizing, dives into the crowd of guests, trying to reach his icy witch and catch her. All of his doubts disappear the same second – why would he even worry about her not coming, if he was the one to send the invitation. And why should he care about the fact that Ayano would trade all of this for a whole evening of watching her stupid Yamada through the window? Someday she will understand that there is nothing to wait from that fool.

"A beautiful lady decided to spare some of her time for me" – he smiles when saying this, but Ayano's face is still and emotionless. It's not fake – Ayano is always like that. When Kencho met her for the very first time, she didn't give his a single emotion, just quietly said "Let's start". No admiring, no annoyance, no diligence. No thing at all, and damn, it was such a tease. Good for their little scheme, bad right now. "Hello, Ayano"

"I'll call you by your name" – "As you wish. I don't care"

Kencho has a bunch of ugly nicknames for many people, but he can't think of one for her. In her coldness she is further than Megami, an ice statue with sharp deadly corners.

"Your sister is with Senpai, and her friends are around" Aishi hisses the moments he finishes speaking. Senpai-senpai-senpai. Does she have a thing for older boys? Kencho can start wearing heels, not a big problem. "Didn't you promise to keep her at home?"

"Megami is not an easy one to chain up" clatters he his tongue.

The dancing begins, and Kencho, before Aishi can say a word, pulls her to his father with a child's playfulness. Mister Saikou looks with suspicion a slight disapproval , but then just waves them off – he already had agreed. After all, Kencho knows the right words and always gets what he wants most. He had to learn how to do that.

Ayano's face is close, if he lifts his head a little. A stone, but a graceful stone, sculpture created by such a skillful master, even Kencho's mother, who likes to collect artwork so much, won't be able to find one.

"She will spent a whole evening with senpai"

"And we will spent a whole evening together" answers Kencho. Maybe he is happier than he should be because of champagne. Usually he is so serious with Ayano, they are partners in their little big crime after all, but today his blood is boiling from all the attention and all of this wonderful happiness, that comes from the knowledge how everyone loves him and how everyone hates Megami now. He is first. He is no more a useless shadow. He has everything he ever wanted.

"Then do me a favor and think how we can get rid of her once and for all" spits Ayano. "I came here to discuss something"

He has everything, yet this Ice witch won't let him even touch her.

She has given him so much already. If not for Ayano, Megami would still sit on her golden throne, so perfect and ideal, and he would still stand so low, filled with painful dark jealousy. Ayano waved her magical wand – and suddenly everyone hates and despises his sister, and Kencho has a pair of glass slippers and all of the gold in the universe. He can cover her with gold too, so she will shine more than any of the brides that father tries to present to him. But Aishi, just like his disgusting stupid sister, has her eyes on that low peasant, the one who can give her absolutely nothing.

"Fine" he agrees. "When the official part ends, we'll lock ourselves somewhere"

It sounds wonderful, but Kencho doubts that Ayano will let him kiss her.

"What's so important about this senpai anyway?" he called Taro idiot one day, and Ayano nearly broke his arm, just as deceptively weak, as Megami, "Tell me, how can his house be better that this whole place?"

"I don't care where as long as I'm with Senpai" she simply says, dancing with him around the hall. Her dark hair are put so beautifully today, just one strand out of place. Kencho gently puts it back, but Ayano shows no sight of embarrassment, just looks at him with her dark lakes of eyes with some cruel parody of impatience.

Kencho grits his teeth.

"You want some champagne?" he asks, trying to chase thoughts of stupid Yamada away. "The best one, you'll never find anything alike in Japan"

"I don't mind" Ayano shrugs. Her shoulders are white, as if they are made of marble, and Kencho playfully touches one with his finger, covered in just as white glove. Ayano slaps his hand away the same second. "Think of what you are doing for once, before your father gives the whole corporation to his niece"

"He won't" snorts Kencho. "Grandfather will never let him"

Ayano doesn't answer, instead they dance near the drink stand and stop. Kencho wonders what will she say if he vulgarly will slip a ring with a few diamonds into her wineglass. Probably will take it out with no emotion and return. Maybe she'll add something like "What? Are you trying to poison me?"

"To my sister's complete disappearance" the clinking of glasses is almost like music. "And to you, Ayano"

He wants to say "my Ayano" or "my dear Ayano".

She drinks with no word. Alcohol has no effect on her, no matter how expensive are the bottles that Kencho brings are . Nothing has effect on her, but it only teases and provokes him more and more.

One day he will surely find a priceless trinket that will force this stubborn witch to realize that boring and cheap Taro has no use for her.