"Rukia-sama, are you feeling alright? Your face is really red," my cook asked me in concern while stepping out of the elevator.
"I'm fine," I replied while sitting down on the massage chair and turned it on. After a few minutes I frowned and sat up. I never really liked these chairs. "I want a massage."
"Certainly, Rukia-sama," he went away in search of a masseuse.
I sighed heavily. I could act all uncaring and calm around others but find it hard just keeping a straight face around Ichigo?
My mind drifted back to the kiss earlier and I mentally punched myself. No, just – no!
After that… incident… I slapped him, stood up, straightened my glasses and ran straight back to my apartment. Luckily the foyer was empty so I reached the safety of my apartment without being seen.
I felt something nudge my foot and I bent down to pick up Chappy. I placed her on my lap and patted her head lovingly. She looked up whist nibbling on her afternoon snack of the day.
My face fell, "Why, Chappy, of all vegetables…"
'Itami mo kurushimi mo subete wo uketomeru yo
Dakara nakanai de
Waratte ite ichirin no hana'
I placed Chappy and her orange vegetable on the floor and reached for my phone.
"Nee-sama?" It was her first call to me in nearly three months.
"Where are you?"
"Me? I'm at home."
"Good. I've sent over a group of people and they will be arriving soon to get you ready for tonight."
"Tonight?" I furrowed my brow in confusion.
"We're holding a party, Rukia. Byakuya and I thought you should join us. Your driver should know which hotel we're at."
"Ok…?" I said into the phone and she hung up while humming cheerfully. Her cheerfulness gave me a bad feeling…
There was a chime as the elevator reached my penthouse apartment and five women in their twenties and thirties bustled out.
"Good afternoon, Rukia-sama," they all chirped.
Without saying anything I led them to my walk-in closet that was the same size as an en suite bedroom. Together, the five of them spent an hour deciding on my outfit, make-up and hair.
After two hours of trying on different dresses, I emerged from my closet tiredly. I left my fake glasses on the table. I was clad in a long silver dress that hugged my body and my silky hair tumbled over my shoulders like a waterfall. Thankfully there was only minimal make-up on my face.
I hated that stuff.
The phone beside the elevator door rang and one of the women picked it up.
"The car is here, Rukia-sama," she called.
I walked to a cupboard beside the door. From there a pair of silver stilettos was chosen and I quickly slipped them on.
I arrived at a grand hotel owned by my brother-in-law in a matter of minutes and I went straight inside with a small, silver purse clutched tightly in my hand.
However, as I reached the large front doors of the hotel a security guard put out his hand. "Sorry, miss, this hotel is booked for tonight."
I was about to talk when another security guard hit the first one on the head, "Idiot, can't you recognise her. She's the boss's little sister, Rukia-sama!"
The first guard paled, "I'm sorry, miss, I didn't… I'm sorry!"
He stepped aside and I glared at him before I went inside.
"Sh*t, she hates me! I'm going to lose my job!" I could hear the guard exclaim.
"Calm down," the second guard hissed. "She acts that way towards everyone."
Everyone except him though, I thought and sighed.
"Ukitake-sensei?" I stopped in the middle of the foyer and stared at my silver-haired principal. What was he doing at my brother's function?
Danger! My brain alerted. Scanning around the room I was shocked to find someone crouching in the shadows on the balcony above us. Something glinted in their hand…
"Hello, Rukia-san," he greeted with his usual gentle smile. "What's wrong?"
I continued to stare at the rifle in that person's hand. Of course, I'd met many people who wanted to shoot me before to threaten my brother. But…
The gun was pointed at the principal? What the hell was going on?
I felt a light tap on my shoulder, "Rukia-san?"
I snapped out of my daze, "Nothing, Ukitake-sensei. Are you attending my brother's party as well?"
"I was just about to leave," he replied. "Are you and Ichigo-kun getting along alright?"
I immediately thought of the kiss. Not meeting his gaze, I mumbled, "Um, I guess…?"
"That's good. Well, I shall be taking my leave now. I shall see you at school, Rukia-san."
I saw him leave the building with mixed emotions.
The sniper had disappeared, I realised in disappointment. Maybe that sniper was there because brother wanted to be careful? Like a well-known saying - you can never be too careful.
Pushing the sniper out of my mind, I continued on my way.
I found one of the large dining halls already crowded with people but I quickly spotted my brother. The memory of our last conversation – or argument – that took place roughly six months ago appeared in my mind. I bit my lip and put on my best poker face.
As I got closer I saw my sister was with him as well. She was wearing a sky-blue gown that ends just below the knees. My tall brother-in-law was in a smart, black suit with a white shirt underneath and a dark purple tie. His hair was tied neatly at the nape of his neck.
"Rukia," Hisana gave me a small wave. "How've you been? You look skinnier!"
"Nee-sama, Nii-sama," I greeted. My sister gave me a tight hug and I patted her back lightly.
When I was barely one, my sister had taken me and left our abusive parents. She met my brother-in-law when we were struggling on the streets and he took us in. My sister was more like a mother to me and she's one of the few people who I show emotion to.
"Rukia," I turned to my brother when he called my name. He was gesturing to a man standing in front of him who grinned at me. I gave the silver-haired man a slight nod and shuffled half a step back. "This is Ichimaru Gin, the CEO of the company we've partnered with since the time my grandfather inherited Kuchiki Enterprise from my great-grandfather."
"Hello," I bowed whilst wondering why I was asked to come to an event like this.
"It is my pleasure to finally meet you, Rukia-san. Your sister often talks about you," Gin grinned.
"Nice to meet you, too," I said whilst giving my sister a questioning glance. In response, she gave me a 'gentle' push.
"Wah!" I squeaked as I stumbled into Gin. He caught me and kept a hand on my arm as I steadied myself.
"It's alright," he replied with a smile before returning to his conversation with my brother.
I clicked my tongue as I turned to glare at my sister accusingly. My sister gave me a knowing smile and whispered.
"He's a fine gentleman, isn't he?"
And it finally dawned on me what was actually happening. I turned back to the 'gentleman' and my brother and said in a barely contained voice, "Excuse us for a moment." I then pulled my sister away from the crowds. "What are you thinking?"
"Well, Byakuya and I thought now was a good time for…"
"Nee-sama, I'm still in 17!" I interrupted her.
"I got married when I was younger than that," my sister smiled dreamily.
I mentally hit myself, "Nee-sama… just, no, ok?"
"You should give that boy a chance," my sister kept urging. "See, he's got the looks, the attitude and the money." I gave her a look. "I'm joking, Rukia, there is nothing wrong with him. Unless… "My sister leaned toward me and smiled cheekily. "You have someone you like?"
I jumped back as if she was on fire, "N-no Nee-sama, I just don't want a… a… boyfriend… yet."
"Aww, I'll tell your brother, then," she said in a disappointed voice.
I watched her walk to my brother and whisper something to him while feeling lost.
Very, very lost.
After the events of the whole day- yes, the meeting in Principal Ukitake's office, the k… the incident, meeting my principal again and then this was all in a single day- I needed an escape.
Despite my sister's complaint and the weird look from my brother and Gin, I left the scene. My driver was parked loyally outside the front doors of the hotel and I quickly got home, changed, and went out again.