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The Escalating Romance

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The moment he saw her standing on the escalator, Yuu knew she was special. He only had a moment's time to take in her face, to feel the connection stretch taut between the two of them, but there was no chance he was letting this opportunity, this chance to slip through his fingers.

He stretched his hand, touched her shoulder, and desperately said, "Wait for me upstairs." He turned his face towards hers, craning his neck along the opposite way of the escalator's movement. Soon he'd have to let go of her shoulder. "I'll be there soon."

Her blush stayed with Yuu all the way down, and then all the way back up the escalator, and the rest was history.

Or, rather, a mistake.

(But don't tell him that just yet.)

*

The kiss left him breathless with desire for her. He didn't know her name, only that is started with 'So' and that she wrote it deftly and surely and with confidence.

Her face was bright red, her breathing shallow, and she was still holding onto the lapels of his halfway undone shirt from across the table.

Yuu could still hear her words: Unfortunately, it wasn't. It wasn't her first kiss. He found that somewhat disappointing, but not enough to break off their future marriage.

"So who kisses better?" he asked.

Her reply was swift and decisive and more than a little flattering. She drew him forward by his jacket and fitted her mouth against his own, and he didn't think he could ever let her go again.

"You," she said not even a second after they separated, her lips swollen and red and still wet with their mixed saliva. And just as quickly she bent over the marriage registration form and finished signing her name.

"Sonomi," he said. She glanced up at him, and he felt like he was drowning in her eyes. "It's a beautiful name."

"It's an okay name, I guess," she shrugged. "So are we married now?"

He took the registration form from her and looked it over. Dismay washed over him. "We need to find two witnesses," he said. "And have your parents approve." And the most important: "We'll take my name."

Sonomi snatched the document from his hand. It left a papercut in its wake, but what was a papercut in the face of their upcoming nuptials?

"Why yours?" she demanded. "I like my name."

"It's how I'm established in the business world," he said. "I can't change it."

"Take it as your common name."

"I have built my entire reputation on my name," he argued.

Sonomi didn't look too impressed. "My name sounds nicer."

Yuu had to admit she was right, even though it stung. "We'll talk about it later," he finally said. "Let's get the witnesses and your parents to sign first."

"Why would they --" she scanned the page until she found what she was looking for. He didn't know why she had to be so argumentative. "Ah. Because I'm under twenty."

As if Yuu needed any more reason to consider himself a cradle robber! He cleared his throat in what he hoped was an inconspicuous manner.

"So first we'll go get my parents to sign, and then the witnesses, and tomorrow morning you can drop it off at the Ward's before work," she said, making Yuu's head spin. He pushed away the feeling that he didn't he get to say anything on the matter, and focused on the fact that by this time tomorrow afternoon they would be married. To each other. And, hopefully, have had sex at least once already.

*

The weather had taken a turn to the worse by the time they left his apartment to go to her place. It had got late by then, and cold, and even though it wasn't snowing yet, the beginning of frost covered the roads.

It was a good thing they'd chosen to go by public transportation.

They walked arm in arm, close to each other, puffs of air visible with their every breath. Sonomi clung to his side with a force that wouldn't have shamed a man. In fact, said man would've loved to have some of her apparent strength, because he was certain he was developing bruises where she held onto him.

He could feel the glances of the people they passed, and wondered how they knew that there were eleven years between the two of them. Was his age obvious? Was hers, and he was just blind to it?

They made it to Sonomi's house long after dinnertime. Yuu secretly hoped that while her parents signed the form, they would treat them both to something. He was starving.

Sonomi let his arm go long enough to unlock the front door and take her shoes off. He did likewise, but took her hand as soon as it was safe to do. "Mum? Dad? I'm home!" she called out.

"Sonomi?" a woman called back, and soon a person Yuu assumed was Sonomi's mother joined them in the hallway. She glanced at their joined hands in obvious distaste. "Dear? Could you come out here for a moment?"

Yuu could discern at a second's glance that Sonomi had got her delicate features from this man. It made him a little uncomfortable for reasons he did not wish to articulate.

"Explain yourself," the man told Sonomi.

"We're in love," Sonomi said in a clear voice. "We want to get married."

Sonomi's parents exchanged a long, long look. "Sonomi," her mother started. "You know you're not allowed to date boys before graduating high school."

"We wouldn't be dating, Mum!" Sonomi said. "We'd be married. It's not like before!"

Another look. "No," said her father. He looked at Yuu. "Please leave."

"But --" Yuu said, but didn't finish the sentence; Sonomi's mother had grabbed hold of her daughter, and tugged her deeper into the house.

When they were the only two remaining in the hallway, Sonomi's father added in a mildly threatening manner, "Now."

It took Yuu only seconds to put his shoes back on and get out of the door. He made his way back home slowly, slowly, cherishing the bruises Sonomi had left on his arm, and mourning the both the marriage and the marriage bed that were simply not to be.