“Why is that?“, she asked looking up at him.
“You don’t want a repeat of the first time.“, he said softly. “I don’t blame you.”
“You don’t?“, she asked surprised by this turn of events. She normally got how stupid she was for staying or the pity that crossed over other people’s eyes. She hated that so she kept to herself instead.
“Of course not. The way I see it you were a perfect victim for a person like him. you were smart but not wise enough to know what was going on. Most people don’t understand the mind control aspect of a bad relationship like that one. You were young, and you had very few people to rely on. It can rewrite how you view people and how you view life. it takes a lot to undo something like that, and for some people, it can’t be undone.“, Mitsuhide responded.
“I see.“, she replied, and she did. He was looking to the whole story, not just the one she had said, but it was like he could see directly at the situation instead.
“I don’t believe in hitting people. Any person male or female. I use words, but I try not to be too harsh unless completely necessary. I can’t stand when a man hits a woman for any reason. The damage done is hardly just a bruise but tends to go on. I can promise you, my love, that you will never feel pain from my hands. If you ever just wish to talk I have two ears that I have been told they listen well.“, he said chuckling. “I am simply saying that while we are married, you do not have to fear me in any way, I will protect you as if you were really mine because for the moment you are.”
“Thank you Mitsuhide.“, she said softly almost to the point of a whisper. She knew she had turned from people and hid part of herself from them for years because of that incident. She rarely talked anymore, and she never wanted a life of solitude. Maybe he was the first step to find what she really wanted. The fact that she was already attracted to him helped to some extent, but there was so much more about him that she didn’t know. Maybe this mission could be helpful to her in learning how to trust again. They were already married so no one could fault her on that if she just let him be her friend as well. She sat there pondering the fact as he looked around the room.
“You don’t have much in here.“, he stated.
“My family cut me off when I left.“, she said.
“Just like that? No wonder you were so easy a target.“, he replied. “My family is not close either.”
“Really?“, she asked.
“No. Not really. I never really saw it as a loss either. My brothers and I weren’t close growing up. There was always a complication that was there that our parents made. My sisters were treated like princess’s of the realm though I am not sure why.“, he replied.
“So you are alone too.“, she said.
“I guess I am.“, he chuckled. “I never saw it that way. It was more something that I was searching for not something I lost.”
“What do you mean?“, she asked.
“I would like to have a family one day. One of my own.“, he replied. “One where my parents and brothers and sisters have no part of.”
“I see.“, she said. “I did want that too, a long time ago.“, she said softly.
“I think this is the most I have ever heard you talk before.“, he said. “It is nice.”
“It is?“, she asked.
“He was an asshole, princess. Whatever you have to say from now on just say it. I won’t call you names even if I think what you say is silly. You are not stupid I will go ahead and say that. You are not alone anymore. You are perfect the way you are. Do not hide yourself from me, if you do I will be disappointed.“, he said as he looked at her surprise. He knew in that moment she had no idea how he really felt about her. The surprise also let him see into her mind for a minute. He knew she did believe the things her previous relationship had said. He refused even in his own mind to say the word husband for the man before him. he was her husband now. that was all that mattered.
She looked him over as he watched her. She knew he was dangerous in ways. He was also true to his word, she knew that. She knew that she did not have to afraid of this man. He was everything like the first one she had known, but he would not hurt her. That much was true. She knew she could let down her guard when it came to him and she would. “I guess we should think of the mission as a vacation.“, she broke the silence.
“Why is that?“, he asked as he cleared his throat.
“A vacation is where you relax and reinvent yourself.“, she said. “That is exactly what I need to do.”
“Relax yes, I don’t think you need to reinvent yourself though. I like you just the way you are.“, he said as his grin took over and she felt her heart race. She yawned again as he noticed the dark circle under her eyes. He knew she didn’t sleep well. She said so herself. “You need to sleep. I should go.”
“I always need to sleep.,” she said.
“Still it is getting late, and I should be going. It was enough to get this far.“, he said.
“You don’t have to go.“, she said softly. “I can’t offer much, but you can stay if you want. I will be up most of the night anyway.”
“Sweetheart Just so you understand I am not running away from you, but I do have some packing to do as well as you do as well. We made more progress than I thought we would and I know that if I stay, I will be pushing that progress out the window and on to a pile of glass or something like that.“, he said chuckling. “I will see you first thing in the morning.”
He stood up and stretched for a second as she scrambled to her feet to at least walk him out. She really didn’t want him to leave in those seconds but understood why he wanted to. They did have a lot of things to take care of in the next day. He probably needed sleep much more than she did. As the neared the door, he stopped as she opened it. He leaned forward and kissed her forehead.
“Good night my Princess.“, he said softly as he turned and walked out the door.
“Night Mitsuhide.“, she said equally as soft as he went to his car and started it up. She watched as he pulled out and drove down the street. She had the sense to know everything just changed between them. She wondered at how far he was going to push this marriage on her. She wondered even more how much of this marriage she was going to resist him on. A faint smile appeared on her face as she shut the door. For once in her life, she made up her mind not to make up her mind. This is will happen regardless of anything else going on.
“You’re late.“, he said as he looked up in the doorway the next morning with a smile.
“Traffic was bad this morning.“, she said as she shrugged off her shoulder bag and took the seat across the table from him. when she looked down, there was a breakfast sandwich and coffee waiting for her.
“It may be a little cold now.“, he said as he looked back into the file he was holding.
“Thank you.“, she said as she reached for the coffee and took a sip. She had woken up for the fourth time late and didn’t have time to throw a pot on.
“They are saying we should stay here for the night. At some point, we will have to go get our stuff, and then we should be ready to go sometime really early tomorrow morning. We are going to fly all over tomorrow and then reach the retreat sometime tomorrow late afternoon.“, he said without looking up.
“So this is really happening?“, she asked softly.
“A lot quicker than I had hoped.“, he replied.
“Have you got a handle on anything yet?“, she asked.
“Not really I have an idea, but it is still a working theory. The way I see it we have to find the point of drugging, figure out what they are using, what the point of it is, and then stop it.“, he said as he looked up to her.
“That shouldn’t be too hard.“, she said with a smile.
“It depends.“, he said.
“I know.“, she said laughing softly. “We have to do all that and not be dosed as well. From what I can see so far nothing really out of the ordinary is being delivered to the retreat by normal means. A lot of herbal things but nothing that could cause a mass drugging. It has to be coming in through a back door, but I don’t see how.”
“What do you mean?“, he asked.
“Nothing like what we are being told. I ran the sims in my head and taking into consideration the compounds of each thing they get delivered nothing points to a mass drugging of any sort. Either there are more properties to those herbs than I know or they are getting the chemicals somewhere else. The size of the retreat is large. We have a lot of ground to cover, but we have time. The thing we both have to do is not stick out like a sore thumb. We have the time to do this right because we both know we are it. This is a one-shot deal.“, she said.
“So we have to play out parts to the tee.“, he said with a smile.
“I think a couple trying to fix their marriage is the way to look. That way if we are separated it makes sense. If we are slightly awkward, it also makes sense. We are trying to relearn each other, and it would give the same appearance as us basically learning each other.“, she said.
“I agree.“, he replied. “It is good, sweetheart now we just have to get past the gates.”
“They really screen us that much?“, she asked.
“Yes, they do.“, he said. “We will be going in completely alone with not much backup, really only each other. In a few months, there will be a ship that will pass by for short term communication if we have something. The dates will be written done, but that is about it.”
“How will we get away if we have too?“, she asked.
“That remains to be seen, but I will figure something out when we get there and see the place. The views we have are not that good. They do something to scrabble the pictures of the retreat themselves, but I will don’t worry.“, he said as he reached over the table. “You aren’t eating.”
“I have trouble eating first thing in the morning. I will save it for lunch.“, she said.
“You do need to eat sometime today.“, he said softly.
“I will.“, she replied as they sunk into a comfortable silence for a few hours.