Chapter 24 (Prologue for Part 2)
Summary: Our quiet university life was rudely shattered by a series of kidnappings. Even though we were in a new environment, surrounded by new faces, the fact that I, the future leader of a yakuza organisation, will have enemies coming after me will never change.
"Hey," Ichigo greeted as he got into his seat.
I looked at my husband from across the table with a fake frown, "You're late, Carrot."
"Sorry, Usagi-Kaichou," he smiled apologetically. "I was checking up on my patients."
"I know. You always do before you leave the hospital," I smiled before looking back at the menu. I waited until the waitress took our orders and walked away before I talked again. "How are my bodyguards doing?"
A week ago, on the way to Kuchiki Enterprise, the car I was travelling in was attacked. The attackers continuously showered us with bullets for a solid ten minutes. Two of my bodyguards and Renji protected me but two bullets managed to hit me. I was allowed to leave the hospital yesterday but the three of them were still recuperating.
"Aoi-san and Youichi-san should be able to leave the hospital in another two days, but Renji might have to stay another week."
"Is his condition really that bad?" I bit my lip.
Ichigo nodded, "He was shot by the most bullets. But he'll be fine. I'll make sure of it."
I released the breath I had been unconsciously holding and contemplated whether I should ask my next question. Noticing my unease, Ichigo reached over, took my hands in his and rubbed my hands softly with his thumbs, but that didn't make his next words any less grim.
"He's still… sleeping."
"Right," I gave him a small nod. "Of course."
Distress flashed across Ichigo's face when he saw my pained expression so I quickly replaced it with a tight smile as a weak attempt to reassure him that I was alright. It's been almost half a year but it seems my brother-in-law still refuses to wake up.
"Members from my family sure love to go into comas," I joked without humour.
The waitress arrived with our orders, cutting Ichigo off and also putting an end to that morbid topic. I caught the waitress winking at Ichigo and leaning lower than was necessary when she placed the plate of food in front of Ichigo and I sighed while rolling my eyes. Ichigo played with his wedding ring pointedly and I felt the waitress's gaze sweep over me before she quickly shuffled away.
"Why does this have to happen every time?" I sighed after giving the waitress a long glare.
Ichigo shrugged proudly, "They can't help it. I'm just too good-looking."
"Keep dreaming, Carrot," I scoffed.
"You know it's true," he grinned and I fought the urge to slap that smile off his face. "Oh, before I forget," he said suddenly. "I'm invited to give a few speeches at our old university in Bunkyou. I'll be there for about a week. Want to come with me?"
"That place, huh?" I was suddenly overcome with nostalgia. "I should probably go have a look, too. When are you leaving?"
"In two weeks, probably on the 15th."
"Hmm… I think I have a meeting that day," I frowned. "Should I reschedule it?"
"It's ok," he shook his head. "Just come over when you can."
"Fine but remember to keep your ring on while you're there," I reminded him. "Don't forget what happened last time."
"Yes, your highness," he replied with a slight bow.
"So, what were you thinking about?"
"You seemed to be deep in thought when I arrived…."
"Oh that… I passed our old high school today, and it brought back some memories…"
"Of when we first met...?" he finished the sentence for me. "I do, too. Every time I drive pass it."
"Kind of fits the occasion though, doesn't it?" I ask while reaching for my wine glass with a smile.
"Indeed it does," Ichigo did the same. "Kanpai, Usagi-Kaichou."
"Happy wedding anniversary, Carrot," I toasted.
I felt the red wine burn its way down my throat and I let out a content sigh.
Our university, huh? I thought while I ate my meal. Old memories couldn't help but resurface. Now that I thought about it, our days studying at university were laced with hardships - especially that first year.It was a miracle we stayed together… or even stayed alive for that matter.