“Thank you, director, I’ll send her your way now,” the receptionist chirped into the phone before turning to address the nerve-stricken woman unconsciously fiddling with her hands. “Dr. Ryutsubak will be expecting you, miss. Please proceed to make a left at the end of the corridor, and his office is the very last door at the end of the hallway.”
“I appreciate your help,” MC responded, dipping her head into a polite bow. “Have a wonderful rest of your day!”
Exhaling deeply, her nerves fluttered in the pit of her stomach while she trudged closer and closer to her destination. Today was the day she was finally going to reveal to Tsubaki her romantic feelings for him. Somewhere along the way during their reunification, admiration had grown to friendship. And friendship had evolved into feelings of wanting to strengthen their bonds beyond the lines of comradeship. With a pep talk from Ryoko, sprinkled in with her own self-courage, MC was armed with a present of homemade chocolates in honor of the romantic holiday of Valentine’s Day. Her mission was that by the end of this conversation, she was going to be victorious in securing herself a date with Tsubaki.
Occupied with envisioning the scene playing out in her head, MC hardly noticed that she had eventually arrived at the door of Tsbuaki’s office. Caught up in her fantasy, imagine MC’s surprise when-
“Tsubaki!” MC yelped, when the door her knuckles had been resting on flung open and she was yanked inside the office, revealing the handsome doctor occupying her mind rent free ever since the day that fate destined they reunite with one another.
Even hidden beneath the layer of his doctoral white coat clinging to the silhouette of his upper body, the cuts of Tsubaki’s biceps rippling didn’t go unseen when he folded his arms across the front of his chest. The smirk that this beautiful specimen of a man would boast whenever he was feeling confident beamed onto his face; flashing her a glimpse of his brightened, polished teeth. Though the posture of his fame indicated that he stood confident and assured, there was a tenderness in the emerald tint of his eyes gazing back at MC.
“I could never grow tired of how smoothly my name rolls off your tongue,” Tsubaki intentionally exaggerating the emphasis on each word before casting a wink in her direction, when MC rolled her eyes. “I wonder how you would sound in another context if we-”.
“Don’t say anymore, Tsu-you! Otherwise, I won’t tell you the reason that I came to see you today,” MC scolded, hiding the bag containing the chocolates behind her back.
“Aw, don’t be like that. I was only teasing you,” Tsubaki pretended to pout, blinking those puppy dog eyes that he knew made MC weak in the knees. “You’re incredibly adorable when you’re all flustered, and I couldn’t help but poke fun to draw it out of you. Forgive me? And please say my name again. Please?”
Reaching out, his hand cupped her chin and he tilted her head up, so they were glancing at each other. The pad of his thumb circled soft strokes on her cheek, eliciting a quiet gasp from MC. Captivated by the allure of his gaze and his gentle touch, MC found that the words that had been running through her brain all morning were now lost.
MC wasn’t sure there was a soul in the world save for Taki that could ever stand to refuse him when he radiated such innocence. Gulping, she inched a step back. The sound of the gift bag she had hidden from Tsubaki’s sight had crinkled from the sudden swaying of her movements.
“Tsubaki…..Tusbaki, I actually came here because I’ve had something on my mind for a while now that I’ve wanted to discuss with you,” MC declared, her confidence fading away as her voice grew softer with each passing word.
Noticing the woman that Tsubaki had an unrequited crush back in high school seemed to be rendered speechless, he wrapped his arm around the curve of MC’s waist to draw her closer, only to snatch the bag away and ascend it high into the air above her head. Although MC pretended to pout as she jumped in an attempt to snatch the bag back, she was also eternally obliged to Tsubaki for easing the tension that had been building up in anticipation. She was ready for this.
Come on, you can do it!
“Tsubaki, I-I was wondering if perhaps you would….,” MC wavered, succumbing to the mental demons of the memories from the failed relationship with Tomohiro that was threatening to consume the perseverance of her path exploring future happiness. The confidence once bubbling within her was decimated as the horrible flashbacks from her past ex swarmed her brain. Feelings of preceding anguish rippled throughout her body, reminding her of the hurt prior when the ties broke with her significant other.
Not again. I can’t go through this again!
“Hey, hey, hey,” Tsubaki swooped in to hush the frantic woman, cradling the side of her face to hold her steady. “Look at me. Look at me, MC.”
Having successfully managed to capture MC’s attention, Tsubaki sighed when the tension seemingly seeped from her frame as she relaxed her disposition. The sheeness of her skin was returning from underneath the coat of perspiration that transpired from the haste of anxiety that had momentarily clouded her judgment.
“Your past is in the past for a reason. Your heart might have some scars that are still healing, but they don’t define you, nor determine the course for the rest of your life.”
Reaching out, Tsubaki unclenched MC’s fist and placed the handles of the bag into her palm. He enclosed her fingers around the strap, securing the gift before stroking the top of her head.
“I already know what you’re about to confess,” Tsubaki revealed, his gaze never leaving hers. “However, I would love to hear it from you directly. I can guarantee you that you don’t need to fear what my response will be.”
Mortified, MC groaned when Tsubaki’s resolve gave her the confidence to ask him to spend the holiday with her, and instead she was pretty sure her declaration
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to blurt out my invitation in a manner that an overly ecstatic high-school girl with a crush would,” MC rushed to explain, fully determined to work past her nerves thanks to Tsubaki’s easement. “In case it wasn’t blatantly obvious, I’m kind of a wreck and still processing the insecurities from my divorce. However, if you’re willing to have me, I want to grow through them with you by my side.”
Handing the gift bag full of chocolate to Tsubaki for which MC hoped would be the final time, this time she felt confident that this confession would be the one. After the support this dear man had shown her, the very least she could do to repay him was hold her head high while extending the date invitation.
“Tsubaki? You already seem to be aware of the reason I came to visit you at work today, but allow me to ask you anyway…..,”
“....Will you spend Valentine’s Day with me? I was planning on cooking you a meal-!”
The sound of the bag of chocolates dropping to the floor echoed around Tsubaki’s office when he leaned in to cradle the side of MC’s face to press his lips up against hers.
“Mhhm!” MC gasped, swallowing a moan when the hot doctor’s tongue slipped past her lips, stealing her breath away. “Tsubaki, not here!”
MC’s hands found his chest, and reluctantly pushed him away to regain her composure in case a faculty member suddenly approached the director’s office. Chuckling at the cute scene of MC frantically rubbing her cheeks to instill their normal color, he questioned just what it was he had done in life to earn himself another chance with the one that slipped away. Not quite sure how he could be so fortunate, Tsubaki vowed to himself right then and there that it was an opportunity that he would never take for granted and prove that it wasn’t wasted on him.
“Hey, Tsubaki?” MC abruptly called out once satisfied she was once again level-headed. “Was it that obvious that I-well, you know?”
“Was it obvious you had taken an interest in me? “Of course I figured it out. You were always giving me that love-struck gaze,”” Tsubaki teased, reaching out to embrace MC in a hug. “Seriously, how could I not notice the woman that’s held a special place in my heart after all these years dropping hints here and there whenever we would text or meet up together. I wanted you, however, I also wanted to respect your timeline. I wasn’t sure when the day would come that you would finally approach me, but I’m beyond grateful that you had the courage to finally do so.”
No longer caring that the pair was in Tsubaki’s office, MC threw her arms around his neck. Leaping into the warmth of his embrace, she nuzzled her forehead into his. Time appeared to have come to a standstill as they remained in a comfortable lull holding each other.
MC’s road to a healthy and whole heart again, was going to be a journey. Though with Tsubaki by her side, this was a journey she was sure that one day she would be able to overcome.