Maimi laughed as Ayase made a joke. She was sitting with Tezuka’s family around the Japanese table, having tea. Just now, all guests went home after knowing Tezuka’s future wife while the disappointed candidates were sent home.
“I’m sorry for what I’ve said to you before,” Grandma Megu told her, smiling. Maimi shook her head, “No, it’s okay. It happens all the time. No worries!” Then, she winked at Tezuka. He rolled his eyes. To think it again, why must he picked Maimi? She was too old for him. An old miss!
“Good. So, this is it. You guys are gonna be engaged now literally,” Mrs. Fujimoto said. Tezuka was startled. “Next week is the wedding so, you guys are going to be engaged witness by us now,” Grandma Megu continued.
Tezuka grunted. Maimi smiled all the time. She was so excited. Momoko came in with a tray. There was a beautiful silver ring with love-shaped diamond on it and it sparkled. Maimi was shocked. Grandma Megu took the ring and asked the couple to sit close to each other.
Maimi placed herself close enough for Tezuka to feel her body. He glared at her.
“This ring represents your engagement. Tezuka will wear it for you, Maimi,” Grandma Megu told everyone. Tezuka received the ring and reluctantly face the old miss. Maimi’s eyes danced. He never knew the old miss’s eyes were so big and beautiful.
Okay, concentrate! He told himself. He reached for Maimi’s tiny fingers and that was the first time he touched those. But he could feel something weird. Lastly he wore the ring gently into Maimi’s sweet finger. Everyone clapped their hands. They bowed, “Omedettou gozaimasu!”
Maimi’s face lifted up. She was so cheered up all of a sudden. Tezuka just looked at her in blank. Next, it was his. Maimi placed the ring into his finger and smiled broadly at him. Everybody was so excited.
“Okay, as you can see, we don’t wanna further the engagement so, we’re gonna hold the real wedding next week,” Grandma Megu said. “Listen, both of you need to go to the wedding shop I picked in these two days. Then, clean yourselves at the sauna and spa I chose for you too and you guys also need to finish before the wedding on Saturday.”
Tezuka frowned. “But I have office to be handled with-“
“Na-uh! Forget about works for a week and be with your future wife,” Grandma Megu told him. Maimi laughed. “Thanks, Grandma Megu. Arigatou Mrs. Fujimoto, Grandpa To, Mr. Fujimoto, Ayase, and Momoko.”
They nodded. Maimi smirked. “Thank you for accepting me to join your family. Even though I’m too old for Tezuka-san, I hope I can be a good wife for him.”
“And a good manager under him for his company,” Grandpa To and Mr. Fujimoto said together. Maimi and Tezuka were surprised.
“What do you mean?” Maimi asked. Grandpa To shifted his glasses and said, “I pick Maimi as your future little manager.” Tezuka wrinkled his face.
“Nani?!” Maimi shrieked.
Grandma Megu smiled. “That’s great, dear. She can help you with any works there. Anyway, Mai-chan, I heard from Momoko that you came here by bus and just now, you wanna get home by bus too, you ain’t no money? How come? You’re a saloon’s manager’s daughter, right?”
Maimi held her breathe. Tezuka looked at her. He never noticed that. She was like an ordinary girl back there during the blind date but later the old miss mentioned that her mother owned a saloon. She must be rich too. Maimi swallowed hard, “Um...I-I-I don’t wanna trouble my mom. Oh, and she’s a bit busy. Hehe...”
Everyone felt weird but they nodded. Maimi let out a relief sigh while being watched by Tezuka. He felt something was not right with her.
Tezuka opened the maindoor that led to his office on the first floor. He was so tired since yesterday. Moreover, he still needed to go to his office the next day. How pitiful.
“Good morning, sir!” Was the only phrase he heard everytime he entered the hallway. Of course, he was the C.E.O. The most respected man in the building. Still, he was never late to arrive at his office. He was so punctual.
“Ah, ohayo, sir,” Ayaka greeted him as she passed him in front of his door. “Ohayo,” he replied and got in. “Tell me.”
Ayaka’s heart pounded so fast. She followed her boss and stood still in front of his desk while he was placing down his briefcase and adjusted his coat. He was wearing black and he looked cool and handsome as always. Ayaka cleared her throat. “Everything’s fine for now. You will attend a meeting with other C.E.O this evening.”
“Around three,” she said. Tezuka nodded slightly and put his hand on the desk, opening the files. Ayaka was taken back when she saw a ring around her boss’s finger. “Um...boss, you’re wearing a...ring?” she asked, sputtering.
Tezuka looked up with a bit sternness. “I got engaged yesterday.”
Engage????!!!! Ayaka’s eyes widened. “Nani? With-with who?”
“I don’t have the mood to say it now. You’ll see her on our wedding this weekend.”
Ayaka’s body melted. She exited the room plainly. She can’t do anything since it was too late now. Her beloved boss was engaged and he was going to get married this weekend!!!
“Wow! Fantastic.....,” Peppei said, eyes locked at Maimi’s ring. The customer who was sitting on a chair next to them heard it and glanced at the ring. It was already Monday, the morning was filled with rushing customers to get their hair done for the day. The saloon was as busy as always. Maimi squealed. “Really?! I know. And I’m lovin’ it!” The ring was imported from Paris and it was well done by a famous blacksmith.
Peppei smiled. “You are so lucky young girl. I’m glad you made it!”
“Well, thank you, pal. I wouldn’t make it until now without your help,” Maimi told her sincerely. “Plus, he’s so my type.”
Peppei laughed at her friend. “Things are going to be just fine. You must be so pretty in wedding dress.” Maimi looked at her. “Speaking about that, who’s gonna accompany me to the boutique?”
Peppei kept quiet. The customer also did the same. “Of course your husband wannabe!” They said together.
“ This investment will do well if you guys invest more into this company. I’m sure the profit will rise. You guys gonna get the benefit,” Tezuka explained to his clients from Thailand. The clients nodded in mesmerize. They could not think of how good the young manager will do a splendid job. Plus, he was so damn good-looking.
“You look like someone I know,” the female one spoke out. “So....handsome.”
Tezuka sighed. He knew that she was flirting him and that was the 500th times. “So, how’s it?”
A large, white hand of the male’s slammed the desk slightly. “Okay! I agree! I take it.” Tezuka nodded.
Maimi arrived at the building’s hallway. She wore torn out skirt and a pale yellow blouse with old flip-flops, walking towards the counter across the hall. Her flip-flops formed quack sound and it attracted everyone who walked pass her to turn back to see.
The girl at the counter wrinkled her eyebrows as Maimi neared the counter. “Hello!”
“Um....hello?” the counter girl answered. “What can I do for you....miss?”
“Hehe!” Maimi responded. “I’m here to see Fujimoto-san.” The girl squinted a bit. She looked around. To her, someone like Maimi will never ever want to see the best manager of all. Why would she? “Um...pardon me?” Yes, maybe she misheard her.
Maimi giggled. “Nope!”
The girl chocked. She slammed her chest hard. “Oh, are you okay?” Maimi worried.
“Yes, yes! I’m fine,” she said. “Um, You wanna see Mr. Fujimoto?”
Maimi nodded. She blinked her eyes. “Yes. He’s my future husband.”
“Thank you so much, sir,” Tezuka said and bowed in front of the male client. “Hope God bless you.”
“Hahahaha!” he giggled. “You did great today. Your grandpa must be so proud of you.” The female client curved a flirtatious smile at him. “Do come to our hotel for dinner.”
“Sure. If I have time to do so,” tezuka told her. “Let me walk you out.”
“Okay, thank you, dear.” Both of the clients said. Tezuka walked them out of his office room by the time that Maimi burst in front of him. “Nezumi-chan!”
Everyone darted their eyes at the area. Tezuka was so shocked. The clients were froze. “I’m sorry, Mr. Fujimoto!” the counter girl panted as she arrived there. “I told her to wait but she refuses.”
Tezuka grabbed Maimi’s arm. “Nakahata-san, bring this clients out, please.”
“Wait!” Maimi yelled when Tezuka dragged her into his office. He let go of her and stared straight into her eyes. “What are you doing here?!”
“Um, I wanna see you.”
Tezuka sighed. He studied the clown-like outfit of her future wife. “In that costume,”he said.
Maimi looked at his point then looked up at him. She forgot that she was putting a lie to him and his family about how rich she was. But she went there in that outfit. She was totally forgot. “Uh...I.....love this dress?”
Tezuka glanced away, avoiding her. “Okay, why do you wanna see me? You interrupt my work here and you humiliate me with your clown costume.”
Maimi pouted. “Don’t you forget? We have a date with the boutique owner. To see our wedding dresses?” Tezuka startled a bit. He sighed while looking at his watch. It was almost eleven in the morning. He totally forgot about that. “Is that all?”
Maimi nodded. Her eyes shone. Tezuka sighed again and grabbed his cellphone and went to the door. “Come on.”
A smile formed at the cute girl’s face. She followed him at the back childishly. As the door was opened, a bunch of co-workers quickly walked away from the door. Tezuka glared at them. Ayaka came. “Sir, may I know where are you heading?”
Tezuka looked at her. Maimi came behind him. Ayaka was surprised.
“I’m going to the boutique. Please rearrange my schedule for today,” Tezuka told her. Ayaka gulped silently. She looked straight into the girl’s eyes then down to her flip-flops.
“Ohayo,” Maimi greeted. Ayaka startled, “Uh, um, ohayo.”Later, Tezuka exited the place followed by Maimi. Ayaka and the others were curious. Who was that girl?
Maimi quickly got into Tezuka’s BMW. It was in shiny black. The car was well taken care of. Maimi gasped as she settled down beside the driver’s seat. Tezuka came in later and he roared the engine. He closed the door and realised the old miss was still letting her door opened. She was amazed with the car.
“Aren’t you gonna let that door open?” Tezuka said sarcastically.
“Oh, sorry!” she responded then closed the door. She looked in front, waiting for the car to move but she noticed Tezuka was looking at her. She laughed.
“Seat belt?” Tezuka told her in angry tone. Maimi opened her mouth and smacked her forehead. “Foolish me! Haha!” and quickly pulled out the seat belt and applied it around her. “There! Oh, my God! I can’t believe I’m in Nezumi-chan’s car!”
Tezuka was about to start driving but as he heard that, he stopped. “Nezumi-chan?”
“Um! From now on, I will call you Nezumi-chan because you love to eat cheesecake! So cute!” Maimi explained and she giggled all by herself, dreaming. Tezuka sighed.
“Welcome,” a woman in white dress welcomed Tezuka and Maimi as they entered the boutique. The door formed a sound of a bell and it attracted Maimi to check it out. It was a cute, tiny doorbell with beautiful butterflies around it. Maimi smiled, “Kawaii...”
They bowed to each other. The woman smiled, “I’m Mrs. Suzuki. I’m gonna take care of your wedding dress and appearance for the wedding.” Tezuka nodded slightly. He turned to his side to expect Maimi to do the same or talk about anything but she was not there. He turned behind. The old miss was touching the doorbell and jumped as it sounded.
Mrs. Suzuki giggled with a hand covered her mouth. Tezuka cleared his throat. Maimi heard it and she immediately neared him. “What?”
Tezuka grunted. He extended his hand at Mrs. Suzuki for a second and sighed. “Oh!” Maimi said. She faced the woman. “Where’re our dresses?”
Tezuka rolled his eyes. Mrs. Suzuki just smiled sweetly. She pointed her hand at the right turn of the boutique and said, “This way, please.” Maimi and grabbed her future husband’s arm and followed the woman. Tezuka took back his arm and glared at her. Maimi just grinned at him.
Mrs. Suzuki took out a hung bride dress in white. It had beautiful sewed flowers around the bottom of the dress. It was topless and the cutting was elegant-like. “This dress may looks simple but it worth 800 000 yen,” she explained. Maimi’s jaw dropped open. “Without this pair of high heels and tiara,” Mrs. Suzuki told her and showed her a pair of three inches high heels in white too decorated with sparkling gems.
“Wow!!!!” Maimi shouted. Tezuka sighed more and more as he could. Mrs. Suzuki smiled. She handed the dress and the high heels to her. “Try it now. I can correct it if it doesn’t fit you.”
Maimi took them and ran to the fitting room eagerly. Mrs. Suzuki laughed and slowly kept silence. Her eyes locked at Tezuka, her number one customer since he was in middle school. He would always order several outfits to wear for a function or holiday trip with family. “Tezuka-kun?”
Tezuka turned at her as he kept his cellphone into his pocket. Mrs. Suzuki sat down on a couch. She pleased him to sit next to her. Tezuka followed her.
“I haven’t seen you in a while. You’re busier than I thought since you start being a manager,” she began the conversation. “Why? I’m longing here to make you a new suit.”
Tezuka looked away. “Yes, I’m busy. There’re too many mistakes going on in my company and I can’t seem to figure it out. By the way, grandma is busy forcing me to get a life partner.” Mrs. Suzuki nodded, “I understand. But I agree with your Grandma Megu. You need a life partner since you’re very available, young man.” She laughed.
“I’m not ready for this. It’s too early and grandma doesn’t notice,” he explained. Mrs. Suzuki was like his second mother. He felt more comfortable talking about his problems with the 40 year-old boutique owner ever since he was in middle school. “She’s an old miss, by the way.”
Mrs. Suzuki frowned. “Old miss? Who? ”
Tezuka tilted his head a bit at his right which pointed at the fitting room. The woman grinned, “Why do you call her an old miss? She looks young but...she’s bad in fashion.” Tezuka sighed again, harder. “She’s four years older than me.”
“Oh, really?” Mrs. Suzuki responded. She smiled. “You can’t say that. She’s your wife wannabe. You should take care of her once both of you share the same house.”
Both Mrs. Suzuki and Tezuka glanced at the fitting room. “Is everything okay, my dear?” the woman asked.
Tezuka sighed. Mrs. Suzuki smiled. She got up and took a red velvet case from a cabinet and said, “You know what? No one knows how love will turn out soon. And it’s for better.” Then, she went to the fitting room and took a look inside through the curtain. “Dear?”
“Ah! Just a sec,” Maimi responded, a bit shocked. Mrs. Suzuki smirked and stay backed. She glanced at Tezuka and nodded slightly. Tezuka did not know what that was for but as he noticed Maimi came out of the room, he froze. She looked beautiful and elegant in that wedding dress with matching high heels. Mrs. Suzuki took out a shining tiara out of the case and put it on Maimi’s head. She smiled broadly.
“Nezumi-chan, how’s it?” she asked with a cute smile. Mrs. Suzuki giggled. Tezuka quickly looked away and cleared his throat. “Whatever.”
Maimi pouted her mouth and turned to her right. There was full-length mirror and it reflected her smiling. “I look beautiful!” Tezuka grunted. Mrs. Suzuki cleared her throat softly, “Tezuka-kun, it’s your turn.”
Tezuka got up and bowed. “It’s okay. I trust your choice.” He looked at Maimi who was dreaming of kissing him in front of the mirror. “I need fresh air.” Then, he left. Mrs. Suzuki watched him leaving and sighed a little.
It was only two days before the wedding. The whole Japan was surprised about the wedding. The citizens were curious who was the girl and why did Tezuka choose her. A picture of them met in front of Tezuka’s office was the headlines for newspapers around that week. Only the VVIP’s were invited. The wedding will be held at Hilton Hotel on Saturday in the morning. The picture of Maimi’s in that previous ‘clown’ outfits hit the news.
“Ah!” Maimi shouted as she slammed the tabloid in front of her by the Japanese table in the living room. Peppei came next to her, “What?”
“Look! I look terrible! Why would they take this picture!!!” she cried. Peppei studied the headlines and sighed. “It’s your own fault, okay? Who told you to wear that when you’re meeting Tezuka-kun and when you’re gaining popularity? This is a cheap popularity!”
Maimi’s tears started to fall down. “I look bad....”
“It’s okay, dear. You’ll be fine,” Mrs. Kazui pampered her. “As long as they know we’re like this.”
Maimi closed her mouth. She looked away and talked to herself. Oh, no! I lied to the Fujimoto’s family about that! Peppei frowned, “Pardon me?”
“Nothing! Really!” she responded.
“You’re really up to something,” Peppei said then continued to read the tabloid. Maimi smacked her head and looked at the ceiling, thinking of whether or not to tell them about that.
“Um...,” Maimi began. Peppei responded, “Hmm?”
“Uh...,” she stuttered. “Actually...I lied about that...”
“About...I mean, I told them that I came from rich family. Like....my mom is the owner of the salon....”
Maimi gulped as she saw Peppei’s expression began to change. Her eyes ignited fire. “Maimi-chan!!!!!”
Mrs. Kazui was surprised too. She would never her daughter say that. “Maimi...”
“Yah!!!!!” Maimi screamed and snatched her bag and ran out of the house. Peppei aftered her, shouting as crazy as she could. “Maimi-chan!!!!! Come back you!!!!”
Maimi ran into a corner as she was sure that she had ran for about 15 feet away from her. She panted. “Oh, my. Sorry!”
“Sir,” a female worker handed Tezuka a glass of lemonade. He received it and took a sip at it before he placed the drink beside. He was having a body feet massage at a sauna specialized for rich people. It was morning, a sunny morning but he did not feel like having the day. His grandmother cancelled all of his schedules for the week until the wedding day. He was forced to be there and have the treatment.
Tezuka was lying on a folded wooden chair beside a pool while two female workers were massaging his feet. He was in light blue bathrobe.
Tezuka quickly looked behind and saw Maimi entered the entrance. She was late for the treatment. “I’m sorry.”
She was damn lucky that day. She received body massage, face massage, feet massage and nail polishing treatment. She felt great! “Thanks!”
Maimi was still in her pink bathrobe and she walked around the entrance. Her eyes caught a guy in blue bathrobe was reading newspapers on a couch near the maindoor. Her eyes danced. She came and sat next to him. Tezuka did not even look at her.
“Hi!” she greeted. The female workers were whispering with each other, happy to see the real couple getting married. Maimi looked down and searched for his face. “Hi!”
Tezuka leaned his head against the wall and sighed with his eyes closed. “What?” he responded coldly. Maimi smiled, “I can’t wait for this wedding day to come. You?”
Tezuka gave her a corny look and said with a sarcastic tone, “Me too.” Then, he got up, slammed the newspapers on the couch and went straight to a direction. Maimi frowned. She got up and went after him. “Nezumi-chan-“
“Don’t call me with that stupid name!”
“But it suits you,” she replied. Tezuka’s temper rose. His steps became heavy as he left for the men’s. Maimi pouted.