In the present day, the now 20 year old Alexander was looking through the window of the Japanese traditional house, which served as CAJ headquarters and where the 20 soldiers plus Alex’s parents and a housekeeper lived. The young man, once said to have the appearance of an angel, was now seen as the rebellious and cocky guy who enjoyed flirting with every young woman in town. Being well built, tall, with long curly blond hair that went till the middle of his back and bright blue eyes, many young women saw him as a Greek god and didn’t mind that he flirted with them. Karen, however, wasn’t happy about this situation. The young woman, that still preserved some of the doll appearance, with her long wavy brown hair and expressive brown eyes, wasn’t too happy with the womanizer attitude that Alex was having.
After being looking through the window for a half an hour, the young man finally looked away.
" I hate storms" – The other boys in the room, gazed surprised at him. A younger man, also with long blond hair, turned confused at him.
"Really? I thought that you liked it." – Alex looked sternly at him. He was really in a bad mood.
"Why do you say that Birak?" – The other blond, Birak, a young man with Korean origins, scratched the back of his head. The look in Alex’s face made him uneasy.
"W-Well, you can control lightings." – Alex frowned.
"So?" – Before Birak could answer, another male voice interrupted.
"Leave him alone Alex! No one has fault if you’re in a bad mood!" – The two blonds turned to gaze at the older man who sat in a corner, reading. The boy had short black hair and brown eyes; it was Karen’s older brother, Michael. Realizing who had spoken, Alex frowned even more.
"Mind your own business Michael! And look who is talking, you’re constantly in a bad mood! I don’t know how Jennifer puts up with you!" – At this provocation, Michael put his book aside and got up.
"Shut up! You don’t know anything about my relationship with Jennifer!" – After a small pause, Karen’s brother smirked, something unusual for him. – "I really feel bad about my sister. To have to put up with you every day! That must be tough, especially with your childish behavior! She was really unlucky to have to be stuck with you!"
At the mention of Karen, Alex lost his composer and punched Michael. Soon, the black haired man fought back and punched the blond hard. The other occupants of the room, rushed to separate and hold them.
Meanwhile, attracted by the commotion, the girls came to the room where the boys were, and were surprised to see that situation. Jennifer, a young woman with long red head and green eyes, rushed to Michael’s side and tried to calm him down. When Karen managed to reach the room, she was shocked at what she saw. She quickly went near them and realizing that Jennifer was calming her brother down, she turned to Alex.
"Alex what are you doing? You shouldn’t be fighting against each other!" – The blond looked at her, stopped fighting against his companions’ grip and raised his hands in the air.
"You can let me go. I’m calm." – They released him and he turned to Karen.
"It’s over, are you happy?" – After saying this he left and Karen quickly followed him. He went to the training room and when he felt her entering the room, he turned around to face her. – "What?!" – She slapped him, surprising him.
"Don’t talk to me like that! I did nothing to you! I just didn’t want to see you fight with my brother!" – The blond gazed at her again and was surprised to see unshed tears in her eyes. She turned her gaze away and then noticed that the man’s right hand was bleeding. The brunette held his hand tenderly. – "You’re bleeding! We have to take care of this." – He took his hand away from hers.
"It’s alright, I’m fine. You should go see your brother, I punched him hard." – The woman smiled a little.
"He’s alright. Jennifer is taking care of him. I’ll take care of you." – Without another word, they both sat on the tatami floor and she began doing the first aid to his hand. A little later, Alexander finally spoke.
"Why did you insist in taking care of me? I hit your brother." – The woman smiled.
"Well, I couldn’t leave you with a bloody hand. And I’m sure there was some exchange of bitter words between the two of you. Even when you’re in a bad mood, you don’t attack people without any reason." – He watched her every move as she wrapped his hand with bandages. The dim light in the room provided by an old lamp gave her a beautiful aura. She was very beautiful and he knew that, he wasn’t blind. But in that moment, she looked even more beautiful. The way her dark hair touched her smooth white skin, how her slender and yet strong hands worked on his injured hand, the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed… every little movement was entrancing to him. Suddenly, before he could control himself he leaned forward and caressed her face tenderly, surprising the woman who stared inquisitively at him.
"Alex…?" – The sound of her voice woke him up from his trance and he took his hand away from her face, as he turned his gaze away.
"S-Sorry, you had something on your face. I took it for you." – She smiled brightly at him, causing him to blush a little.
"Thank you Alex!" – The woman looked at his hand that she was treating. – "Well, it’s done." – The man smiled at her.
Before he could finish his sentence, she had squeezed his injured hand tightly. When he raised his gaze he saw an expression of fear in her eyes. At first he gazed confused at her but then he realized what had happened and pulled her closer to him, on to his arms, embracing her tightly. In that moment a huge thunder was heard, causing the woman to sink further in the blond’s arms.
She was afraid of thunders since she was little and every time there was a storm she went near Alex to protect her, and he did.
He began caressing her back and hair, trying to soothe her as another thunder ripped the air.
"It’s alright Karen. I’m here, nothing bad will happen. I won’t let anything happen to you." – She nodded against his chest, but didn’t pull away. He embraced her even more tightly, now concentrated on her presence. The blond buried his face on her hair, inhaling her scent. “She has the scent of a Sakura flower…” he thought as he closed his eyes and let that sweet fragrance swirl around him.
After a while in his arms, Karen now felt more calm and secure. She smiled as she snuggled closer to him.
"Alex… "- The man caressed her back without opening his eyes.
"Hum?" –The woman giggled.
" Your breath on my neck is tickling me!" – Alexander opened his eyes surprised and then smirked as he began tickling her on her abdomen. This caused Karen to lay on the ground rolling from side to side laughing, trying to avoid Alex’s hands and his tickles. – "No! Stop! Please… Alex!" – The man smiled and continued tickling her.
He stopped after a while and looked down at her, who was laying on the floor beneath him.
"It seems like you’re calmer now." – She smiled at him, a light blush gracing her cheeks due to their positions.
"Yes I am. And it seems that you’re in a better humor." – Alexander remained serious and caressed her face tenderly once again. Although surprised, Karen remained silent and leaned on to his touch.
After a while in silence, Alex stopped what he was doing and got up abruptly. She also got up and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Is everything alright?" – He looked at her and smiled.
"Yeah, everything’s fine." – She bit her lower lip, not convinced by his answer.
"Does your hand hurt?" – Realizing the worry in her voice, he shrugged it off.
"Nah, I only feel a little tingle. That’s all." – Hearing this, she relaxed a little.
"Great then! Now, let’s go the other room, near the others." – Alex frowned but remained silent and followed her to the other room, where the others were gathered.
When they entered the room Alex and Michael’s gazes locked. If looks could kill, both of them would be dead in minutes. Karen noticed the nasty looks they were sending to each other and touched Alex’s face, making him stop looking at her brother and look at her instead.
"Stop that. I don’t like seeing you two fighting. Please?" – The blond man took a deep breath.
"All right." – He sat on the floor and then grabbed her arm. – "Now come here." – He pulled her on to the floor and made her seat in between his legs, her back leaning against his muscular chest, and placed his arms around her in a very protecting manner. The woman rested her head on the crook of his neck and caressed his face tenderly.
"Are you sure everything’s alright?" – He touched her hand that was on his face and kissed it lightly, surprising the woman and causing her to blush.
"You worry too much. I already told you that everything is fine. It’s just that the thunders aren’t over yet. So, I want you near me. I want you to know that you’re safe." – She turned to look at him, a smile gracing her lips.
"Thank you Alex, but how…?" – Her sentence was cut off by a thunder and she let herself being pulled closer to the man that held her so protectively. The brunette shut her eyes closed and gripped his shirt tightly. – "Alex!" – The man touched her hair and kissed the crown of her head.
"Shhh, it’s alright. It won’t hurt you." – At this moment, everyone was staring confused at the pair.
None of them, with Michael’s exception, knew about Karen’s fear, and they were surprised to see Alex being so tender with the woman. The blond man noticed the curious looks, but ignored them, and continued to soothe the woman in his arms.
"I don’t let it hurt you. I promise." – He looked through the window. – "This is why I hate storms! They leave you upset and uneasy. I hate that!" – He looked down at her again and kissed her forehead. – "It seems that the storm will go on till morning, and so will the thunders." – The brunette snuggled closer to the blond.
"How do you know?" – He caressed her back.
"I can feel it. Now, are you going to be alright during the night?" – The woman nodded weakly.
"Yeah, I’ll be fine. Besides, I’m already tired." – He smiled as he realized that she was trying her best to not fall asleep.
"Then sleep. I’ll carry you to your bed." – The brunette giggled slightly.
"Your father would kill you if he saw you near the girls’ bedroom." – The blond assumed a serious expression and kissed her cheek tenderly, causing her to blush furiously. He ignored her flushed face and caressed her lips softly.
"I don’t care about him at all. If you gave me your permission, that’s more than enough for me." – Karen was looking directly at his eyes and she almost felt herself drown in the depths of his blue orbs. She finally looked away, unable to stand his deep gaze.
"Of course I give you permission to go into my bedroom. You always had it, and you always will." – The man leaned forward and kissed her forehead. Then he pulled her closer and made her rest her head on his chest.
"Then sleep. I’ll take you there later." – She nodded slightly and snuggled closer to him, closing her eyes.
Soon, she was fast asleep in his arms. Alex looked down and smiled tenderly at the sight. Outside, the thunders continued to echo in the solitude of the night. The other occupants were still staring at the pair. Tired of seeing them staring, Alexander stared at them with an angry look.
"What?! What are all of you looking at?!" – Most of them turned their gaze away, but Lola, a blonde girl and Karen’s good friend smiled at the man.
"Well, we never saw you being so nice to anyone. Especially in such a tender way, like you’re being now with Karen." – Alexander frowned.
"She’s my soul mate!" – His gaze softened as he looked at the brunette’s sleeping face. – "She’s the only one that matters to me." – Lola stared at him, surprised by the seriousness in his voice.
"You say that, however, sometimes you don’t treat her very nicely." – The man took a deep breath.
"Mind your own business Lola!" – He got up, with Karen in his arms, while the blonde looked questioningly at him.
"Where are you taking her?" – He looked at her by the corner of his eye.
"To her bed. She’s asleep." – The woman got up abruptly as she gazed shocked at him.
"You can’t go to the girls’ room! The men aren’t allowed in there!" – At this Alexander smirked.
"I’ve been there more than once. I can tell the disposition of that bedroom by heart." – Everyone in the room heard this remark and stared surprised at the man. The girls felt outraged; Jennifer went closer to him and looked at him in an aggressive manner.
"Why did you go there?! Who let you go inside?! How dare you enter our room without our consent?!" – Alex frowned.
"I don’t need your consent! I went there to be with Karen!" – At this Michael got closer to the man who carried his younger sister and gazed fiercely at him.
"What did you do to my sister?!" – The blond frowned even more.
"I did nothing! She’s my best friend! I would never do anything with her! Now be quiet or you’ll wake her up!" – Alexander looked down at the woman sleeping in his arms and before anyone could speak again he left the room and took her to the room that the girls shared, laying her on her Japanese futon. He kissed her forehead tenderly and smiled at her sleeping face before going out of the room.
When he entered the room where everyone was gathered, with the exception of his parents and the housekeeper, Michael grabbed him by his shirt collar.
"What did you do to Karen you perverted jerk?!" – Alexander pushed him away furiously.
"I’ve told you that I didn’t do anything! She’s my friend! Nothing else!" – At this Jennifer interrupted the two men.
"Actually, you two are supposed to become lovers." – The blond looked at her with a murderous gaze.
"Mind your own business Jennifer! And I don’t follow what the heavens tell me blindly! Karen and I are friends! Just that! Not lovers! The heavens are mistaken this time!" – Everyone gasped at this. They knew that if his father heard that, he would be severely punished. Lola approached him.
"Don’t say that! The heavens are never mistaken! You and Karen are destined to become lovers!" – Alex frowned as he gazed at the blonde woman.
"I choose my destiny! Not the heavens or anyone else!" – After saying this he left and went to his bedroom.
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