This is a sequel to A Dangerous Interaction...
Heating up the Kitchen is Book Three in the series and takes place during the same time.
Rin Akechi sat in her dorm room, looking at her phone. She had four missed calls, and she really didn’t want to call one of the two people back. So she squared her shoulders and pressed the digits she knew so well and waited.
“Hi, Rin.” the voice greeted her, she knew the voice all to well as it was her adopted father who was married to her biological aunt who took her and her three siblings in after her father went on a drug-fueled binge and ended up dying because of it. That was the past now thirteen years later, she was in her third year at college and her first year out of the house that was rapidly getting too small for the family.
“Hi, Dad.” Rn responded, “What’s up?”
“We are having a family dinner at the end of the week for your brother’s birthday,” he said, and she smiled.
“Which one?” she asked, and she could hear him chuckle.
“Boogs,” Mitsuhide replied with a laugh. “He is turning thirteen. You know your other brothers birthdays as well so nice try.”
“Well, you and mom are like rabbits, so it is hard to tell sometimes,” she replied.
“Cute.” Mitsuhide replied, “So about that.”
“Really another one?” Rin exclaimed.
“It looks like it,” Mitsuhide said with a sigh.
“Don’t you think this is enough. I mean, you have eight kids now.” Rin said.
“Your mother said something almost exactly like that.” he chuckled. “It wasn’t like we expected the twins.”
“That is your excuse?” Rin asked.
“No excuse but I love your mom,” he said.
“I know,” Rin replied. Her mother had found love right under her nose because of something that happened to her. Mitsuhide had fit right into the family, and it seemed ready-made. It wasn’t a surprise when the first of the new brothers was born. What was a surprise is only a few months later after the birth of their first child together, they were expecting another which turned out to be two? Rin had to wonder if she would ever find someone who could just accept her for who she was like her mother did so effortlessly. “Is Gabbie coming home?”
“I think so,” he replied.
“Then I guess you will have a full house again,” Rin said.
“We invited Yuki as well,” Mitsuhide said.
“Why?” Rin asked.
“Problems on that front?” Mitsuhide asked with a slight concern in his voice.
“Not discussing this with you, dad,” Rin said. She knew how close all his friends were, and Yukimura was one of them. Though almost ten years younger than her dad, he was as close as a brother to him. It was the bane of her existence now. She was in the wonderful stage of trying to find herself really without the influence of other people. She wanted to know everything, and she wanted to do it on her own. Yukimura, on the other hand, was always there. Always there. He called all the time, and when she didn’t respond, he would show up at the dorm just checking on her.
Yuki had been a key person in her recovery from the incident that brought her parents together. He had been the first to guard her in the hospital. He was also the one who would listen without judgment, and it seemed she finally had someone who was in her corner. A friend who was cool and funny sometimes. He was as awkward as she was, so it was perfect. He never tried to smother her. He never forced his opinions on her. He was simply always there.
She wanted to spread her wings, but it was hard because he was always there. Other guys would back away when he was, and she realized that he oozed protection. That was the one thing she didn’t want.
“Well as to that Bones I won’t say anything,” Mitsuhide said.
“Dad.” she sighed.
“I will be up there to get you on Friday,” Mitsuhide said.
“Okay, dad,” she said as she hung up. She looked at her room, and she decided she really didn’t want to be inside at the moment. She walked out of the room and out the door and right into a man.
“Well, hello, there sweet thing,” he said. His voice was deep, and she looked him up and down as if she was judging if he was worth her time. He was very much worth her time in her mind.
“Hi,” Rin said with a bright smile.
“And you are?” he asked.
“Rin. You?” she asked.
“Tommy,” he replied, and he put out his hand. “Very nice to meet you, Rin.”
“Same Tommy,” she said as she shook his hand with a laugh. She went to move to continue on her way.
“Where you headed?” he asked.
“To the Co-op,” she said over her shoulder.
“Same,” he said as he was following her.
“You were walking into the building,” she said with a laugh.
“I found something better to do,” he replied.
“And that is?” she asked as she turned around to face him.
“Find out about a beautiful woman,” he replied, and she judged him to be a year maybe two older than her. She shook her head.
“Nice try,” she said as she turned.
“Got a boyfriend?” he asked.
“Not really,” she said, and as she did, Yuki’s face appeared in front of her. He wasn’t a boyfriend though he almost was. They had been friends for years, but they had never acted on the undercurrents between them. She didn’t know if she ever could.
“Not really? I think I will take the chance.” Tommy said as he reached her in a few steps and walked with her to the school store. He sat down with her as she ate, and they began talking. When she looked down at her watch, it had been three hours. “Sweetheart I would like to do this again.”
“I think I would too,” Rin said with a smile, and he walked her back to her dorm. They made plans for the next day, and he bent down and kissed her cheek softly. Rin smiled and managed to turn before he saw her face turn a few different shades. She walked in and went to her room. She looked at her phone again and decided maybe it was time to move on from Yuki and her slight crush on her friend who was like an uncle.
Yukimura sat at his computer, looking at his phone for the nine hundredth time in the past three hours. He had called Rin three times, and she still had not responded. He didn’t want to call again, but he wanted to talk to her. He had something good to share, and he wanted to see if she would play Xbox so they could talk. He was also waiting for her to log in. He knew she was busy in college, but he was still trying to find his place in her life. He knew what he wanted. He had been hanging onto her for four years now. She was perfect in his eyes, and he knew the way she affected him. Everything she did was wonderful.
He couldn’t say it still. Instead, he had been on the fringe of her life the past year as she needed space. She wanted to grow up and find herself, and he was deathly afraid that she would find someone smarter than him, someone better looking than him, or someone who would take her away from him. He knew he loved her. He thought maybe one day she would feel the same but now as she was now twenty and he was twenty-seven he was ready to move forward, the only problem was he only wanted to move forward with her.
He knew he was in deep as did everyone else around him. The fact she was the daughter of two coworkers should have been enough to keep him at bay, but the fact was he lost his heart the day he saw her for the first time as she was pulled out of the freezing water by Mitsuhide after being attacked and left for dead. He couldn’t think for a few days after seeing her.
When given the chance to meet her, he jumped in a way that he thought he was not letting everyone in his unit know how he felt. They all did. They all knew. Mitsuhide and Kit knew too. Kit had been the one who agreed to let him be her friend even though the age difference. It was also Kit who invited him to family events. It seemed she was trying to pave the way even now when Rin was pulling away from her faster then he understood. Mitsuhide, for his part, had stayed clear of the subject. One threat stood in the air and over his head.
“You hurt my daughter; I will hurt you.” Mitsuhide had said to him quickly on the stairs in the basement of their house. Those were the words he knew he would never cross. Mitsuhide might not be the biggest in the unit, but he was one of the most deadly, and Yukimura knew he meant the words as well. Kit, on the other hand, had told him good luck because he was going to need it. She was busy with all her kids now, so she was glad of the help keeping an eye on her oldest.
His phone rang, and he looked it wasn’t her, it was her father. “Hello?”
“You are coming this weekend, right?” Mitsuhide asked.
“I was planning on it,” Yukimura replied.
“Good,” Mitsuhide said.
“Why is that good Akechi?” Yuki asked.
“I just talked to Rin. She is coming home as well. I have to go get her on Friday.” Mitsuhide said.
“I can go get her,” Yuki said.
“I think I need to talk with her.” Mitsuhide said, “She is having a few issues with the new kids.”
“Well, you keep having them,” Yuki said with a laugh.
“Maybe she could stay with you.” Mitsuhide said, and Yukimura looked around his one bedroom apartment and though where?’
“Sure,” Yuki said.
“Good,” Mitsuhide said as he hung up.
“What did I just agree too?” Yukimura asked the thin air. He shook his head and started picking up everything. It was going to be a long week until the party.
Mitsuhide turned to his wife and smiled. She looked at him and shook her head. “Mitsu what are you doing?” Kit asked as she looked down at the baby in the bouncer while the twins now a year and half along with their first son were playing in the backyard under the watchful eyes of Kissi who was fifteen.
“Time for a push,” he said with a smile.
“What do you mean?” Kit looked at her husband and saw the creeping grin emerge.
“It is time for them to grow up,” Mitsuhide replied.
“Mitsu do not force them to act,” she said, shaking her head as she thought of the headstrong girl that was their oldest daughter. “This is going to be a ride if you do.”
“That’s the plan.”